Issue No. 940 - 27/Jamadah-2/1432 AH
Corresponding to May 31, 2011 AD
* Mihrab Platform:
Imam al Baqir (a.s.), a Nation's Educator and Teacher
Imam al Baqir (a.s.)1, a Nation's Educator and Teacher
The main axes of the subject:
1- The fifth of the suns
2- An Explorer of Sciences
3- A Nation’s Educator and Teacher
We will shed the light on a number of the virtues of Imam Mohammad Bin Ali al Baqir (a.s.) that touched the nation, educationally and pedagogically, coupled with testimonies of some people.
Exporting the Subject:
Abdullah Bin Ata'a al Makki said: "I've never seen any scholar dwarfed to this extent but by Abu Jaafar, Mohammad Bin Ali Bin al Hussein (a.s.)."2
The fifth of the suns:
Imam Mohammad Bin Ali Bin al Hussein Bin Ali Bin Abi Talib (PBUT) is the fifth of the Muslim Imams and the successors of Allah's messenger (s.a.a.w.)3. He was born in the holy city of Medina on Friday, Rajab, 57 AH, and was martyred in 124 AH at the age of 57 years. His mother is the mother of Abdullah, Fatima the daughter of al Hassan (al Mojtaba) peace be upon him.
The imam lived with his grandfather al Hussein for 4 years, with his father 39 years, and lived after his father for 18 years. During his imamate, his contemporary Umayyah rulers were: Malik Abdul Malik Bin Marwan, Malik Suleiman Bin Abul Malik, Omar Bin Abdul Aziz, Yazid Bin Abdul Malik, and Hisham Bin Abdul Malik.4
Regarding the stipulation of his Imamate, Othman Bin Khalij recounts that Imam Ali Bin al Hussein (a.s.), during his fatal illness that ended in his martyrdom, had gathered his sons Mohammad, al Hassan, Abdullah, Omar, Zayd, and al Hussein, and commanded that his son Mohammad be his successor, naming him al Baqir and assigning him to be their guardian.5
An Explorer of Sciences:
From the noble accounts that reached us from Allah's messenger (s.a.a.w.) and his de-scendants-the inerrant Imams (a.s), one can conclude that the Imam was named al Baqir in the past by the very prophet (s.a.a.w.). The accounts stated that Jabir bin Abdullah al Ansari said that Allah's messenger (s.a.a.w.) told him:
"O Jabir, your life will continue until you meet my progeny Mohammad Bin Ali Bin al Hussein Bin Ali Bin Abi Talib, named by the Torah 'al Baqir'. If you meet him, greet him for me. Later, Jabir visited Ali Bin al Hussein (a.s.) to find his son Mohammad Bin Ali (a.s.) still a boy. He told him: Child, approach me, and he approached him. Then asked him: go back, and he did. Jabir said: He's an image of Allah's messenger (s.a.a.w.) I swear in the Kaaba. After that, he approached Ali Bin al Hussein asking him: Who is this? He replied: this is my son and the master after me, Mohammad al Baqir."6
One can understand from the narration that Allah (The Exalted) named him "al Baqir". Why was he named al Baqir? This is because he (a.s.) explored the sciences and ex-panded them to be divided and subdivided into sections.
Al Mouhit dictionary states that "the Arabic word 'Baqarahu' means split it open and widened it further. Al Baqir, Mohammad Bin Ali Al Hussein (a.s.) was named after that word for his exploration in sciences."7
Jabir al Jaafi answered (one of his senior companions) to a question: Why was al Baqir Named Baqir? He said: Because he cracked the sciences open, split them into several parts to be demonstrated clearly."8
A Nation’s Educator and Pedagogue
Imam Abu Jaafar (a.s.) corroborated the generosity and ethics of Islam and was a great manifestation of this religion through his behavior, attitude, relations and conversations, words and deeds. It would be sufficient for us to read the narration of Mohammad Bin Suleiman, who said:
“A man from the citizens of Sham (Damascus now) used to visit Abu Jaafar (a.s.), whose station was in the city. He visited the council of Abu Jaafar (a.s.) to say to him: O Mohammad (the Imam (a.s.)), don’t you see that I am visiting your council out of my diffi-dence towards you. Simply, the one that I mostly hate on this earth is ‘the Household of the Prophet’… The reason that forces me to visit you is your meritorious manners. Mohammad Bin Suleiman said: Later, the Shami Umayyah (the same person) became one of the companions of Abu Jaafar (a.s.).9
Here is another story of the man who wanted to advise the Imam when he saw him sweating as he worked during a very hot hour, considering the Imam was attached to this worldly living. He said to him: One of the old men of Quraish at this hour in this condition making a living! What will be of your case if death comes to you in this state? The Imam (a.s.) replied: “I swear to Allah, should death come to me in this state of mine, come to me while I am obeying Allah (The Exalted), it will refrain me from you and the people. In fact, what frightens me most if death comes to me while I am disobeying Allah (The Exalted). The man said: May Allah blesses you; all I wanted is to advise you but, you advised me instead.”10
It was well known that Imam al Baqir (a.s.) was the one who opened colleges of science in the city to the point where it became Mecca for the greatest scholars of the nation and interlocutors of different sciences. Later, his colleges' reputation became widespread. The greatness of the Imam dwarfed the stallions of science and experts of literature.
The accounts narrate that Abdullah Bin Ata’a al Makki – one of the Imam’s senior con-temporaries and contraries – used to say: “I never saw scholars being dwarfed to that ex-tent anywhere but at Abu Jaafar Mohammad Bin Ali Bin al Hussein (a.s.). Once I saw Al Hakam Bin Oteibah, the greatest among his people, sitting with the Imam like a boy sitting with his teacher.”11
Jabir Bin Yazid al Joufi, one of the Imam's senior companions, had memorized eighty thousand hadiths of him.
Each time Jabir quoted a hadith from Mohammad Bin Ali, he would say: “The regent of the regents and the inheritor of the knowledge of prophets, Mohammad Bin Ali Bin al Hus-sein (a.s.) said to me…”12
One time a man protested the Imam telling him you transmit the hadith without attribu-tion, and he would reply: “If I speak a hadith without attribution, this means my attribution would be in this order: my father quoting my grandfather quoting his father quoting his grandfather Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) quoting Gabriel quoting Allah (The Exalted).”13
One man asked Abdullah Bin Omar – an old man – about a matter, and he did not know what to reply. He told him: go to that lad, indicating to Mohammad Bin Ali al Baqir, ask him and let me know what he tells you. So he asked him and obtained his answer. He returned to Ibn Omar and told him what the Imam said. Ibn Omar said: It is a well-taught family.”14
Al Jahez – A great scholar and author – once said: “Mohammad Bin Ali Bin al Hussein (a.s.) has summarized the goodness of the world with all its details in two words: all sub-sistence must be good and companionship must equal one measurement: two-thirds of sharpness and one-third of inadvertence.”15
Mohammad Bin Moslem – one of the Imam’s senior companions and a companion of his son Jaafar (a.s.) – said: “Whenever a matter confuses me I would ask Abu Jaafar (a.s.) about it to the point where I asked him about thirty thousand hadiths. I also asked Abu Ab-dullah about sixteen thousand hadiths.”16
This is the rich knowledge of Islam, the springing fountain of the sciences of the house-hold of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.a.w.), the invigorator and regenerator of the religion, the supporter and partisan of righteousness, Imam Ruhullah al Mousawi al Khomeini (RIP) said:
“We are proud because the explorer of sciences belongs to us, the most sublime per-sonality in history. None has and no one will ever reach his rank but the prophet (s.a.a.w.) and the inerrant Imams.”17
1- A.s.: Abbreviation for alaihis-salam, which means peace be upon him.
2- Al Ershad, P. 280.
3- S.a.a.w: Abbreviation for salla allahu alaihi wa alihi, which means God sends blessing on him and his household.
4- E'lam al Wara Fee A'lam al Wara, by Al Tabarsi, P. 259.
5- Kifayat al Athar, by Khazzaz al Qummi, P. 239.
6- Al A'mali, by Sheikh al Sadouq, P. 353.
7- Al Mouhit dictionary, by Fayrouz Abadi, Vol. 1, P. 375, in summary.
8- Elal al Sharaye', by Sheikh al Sadouq, Vol. 1, P. 233.
9- Al A’mali, by Sheikh al Tousi, P. 261.
10- Al Ershad, bh Sheikh al Mufeed, P. 284.
11- Al Ershad, P. 280.
12- Al Ershad, P. 280.
13- Al Ershad, P. 284.
14- Makaqib A’al Abi Talib, by Ibn Shahr Ashoub, Vol. 1, P. 315.
15- Al Bayan wa al Tibyan, by al Jahez, Vol. 1, P. 84.
16- Rajah al Khashi, P. 109. Al Mufeed Fil Ekhtisas, P. 201.
17- Al Wasiyah al Khaliday by Imam al Khomeini (RIP), P. 14.