The Beacon-Lights of Guidance for Humanity
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
Imam Sajjad (A.S.), the Fourth divinely-decreed Imam of the Ummah
5th of Sha’ban, is the birthday of the noble great-grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), the Survivor of the Tragedy of Karbala, Imam Ali ibn al-Husain Zain al-Abedin (AS).
“O Allah bless Mohammad and the Progeny of Mohammad with a plenteous blessing that would make them pleased; and do justice to the right of Mohammad and the Progeny of Mohammad, with Your power and might, O Lord of all the worlds!
“O Allah, bless Mohammad and the Progeny of Mohammad, the good and the pious, the chosen ones, whose right You have made mandatory to observe, enjoining obedience to them and acknowledgement of their Wilayah (guardianship or authority)!
“O Allah, bless Mohammad and the Progeny of Mohammad and make my heart thrive with obedience to You. Do not put me to humiliation by being guilty of disobedience to You. Enable me to do kindness to those whose provision You have tightened through the plenty You have provided me with Your grace, and what You have apprised me of Your justice, and made me flourish in Your shade!
“This is the month of Your Prophet, the Chief of Your Messengers—Sha’ban, which You have enveloped in Your mercy and Your approval, the month wherein it was the practice of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his Family, to observe, until his death, its fast and to perform devotions during its nights and days, in order to do it honour and reverence out of humility before You! O Allah, so help us in following his example with regard to it and to win his intercession!”
What you heard were phrases that inculcate in us the sense of reform and self-building from a famous supplication which the faithful recite at noon every day in the month of Sha’ban, the month associated with Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), who used to fast and observe other non-obligatory acts of worship in this month for the pleasure of God Almighty. As is clear from the wordings, the devotion to the Prophet’s progeny is compulsory for every Muslim, the lack of which is blatant disobedience of the commandments of the All-Merciful Lord. As a matter of fact, this supplication was taught to us for firming up our faith by the great-grandson of the Prophet who was born in Medina on the 5th of this month in the year 38 AH – 27 years after the Prophet’s departure from the mortal world. He was named Ali in honour of his grandfather, the Prophet’s vicegerent, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). As a matter of fact, he was born during the model rule of social justice of the Prophet’s righteous successor. His father was none other than the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS), while his mother was Princess Shahrbano of Iran. He was thus a fruit of union of the noblest of Arabs and Persians that made poets of the age laud him as “Ibn al-Khiyaratayn”
As a 23-year youth, the Fourth Imam survived the heartrending tragedy of Karbala because of being bedridden with a fever that prevented him from active combat on the battlefield. His combat, or more properly Jihad, which means striving selflessly in the way of God was rather unique. It was not with swords, lances or other weapons. Nor did it involve hand-to-hand scuffles or brawls with the enemy. In fact, his Jihad was with fettered hands and feet, and despite being dragged to the courts of the tyrants with a halter around his neck, he put up a brilliant fight that shook to its very foundations the power of the usurper caliph. His speeches had a profound impact on the audience and in some cases brought tears to the eyes of hardened hearts, to the extent that the fearful Yazid ordered release of the noble captives of the Prophet’s Household.
In the holy cities of Medina and Mecca, the Survivor of the Tragedy of Karbala continued his novel jihad for 34 long years, including the ten-year farcical period of Islamic history—from 64 to 73 AH—when two immorally unprincipled usurpers laid claim to the caliphate and fought with each other in the Hijaz, in Syria, and in Iraq, by shedding the blood of Muslims. These two culprits were Abdullah ibn Zubayr and Abdul-Malik bin Marwan – both of whom sworn enemies of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt and hence disobedient sinners in the sight of God despite their pretensions to be Muslim.
During this period, the Prophet’s great-grandson, as the 4th divinely-decreed Imam of the Ummah, earned the epithets of Zain al-Abedin which means Ornament of the Pious, and Seyyed as-Sajedin, which means Chief of those who sincerely prostrate to God. Often he was simply called Sajjad. His supplications in the Divine Court not just focus on the principles of religion, beseeching of salvation in afterlife, and pleading of forgiveness, but also cover a wide variety of social issues including such scientific facts as the weight of light. These eloquently moving supplications which have been collected in book form as Sahifat as-Sajjadiyya, are today recited fervently by the faithful all over the globe, and have been translated in major world languages, including English.
The original Arabic of these supplications is eloquent that even scholars of other denominations of Islam have become amazed and spellbound by their wise contents, forcing them to acknowledge the God-given superiority of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt. This is another proof of the peerless position of the Prophet’s progeny in Islam, while there is no trace today of the tombs of the Omayyads and Abdullah ibn Zubayr, who troubled and tormented Imam Zain al-Abedin.
He was indeed the picture of patience, and during the 34 years he was alive after the tragedy of Karbala, he taught Muslims the egalitarian concepts of Islam with such dynamism, by setting personal examples, that his legacy is alive and flourishing till this day. Although, the tomb of the 4th Imam, along with that of his uncle, Imam Hasan Mojtaba, son, Imam Mohammad Baqer, and grandson, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (peace upon them), have been criminally destroyed in the Baqie Cemetery of Medina by the heretical Wahhabis, his teachings reign all over the world.
On 25th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 95 AH, Imam Ali Zain al-Abedin (AS), the 4th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), attained martyrdom at the age of 57 as a result of a fatal dose of poison administered on the orders of Waleed I, the 6th self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime. The 4th Imam, who was born in Medina in 38 AH, was the son of the Immortal Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS). His mother was Princess Shahrbano of Iran, the daughter of the last Sassanid Emperor, Yazdgerd III.
Following the tragedy of Karbala, the 23-year old Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) was made a prisoner along with the womenfolk and children of the Prophet’s blessed household, and taken to the courts of the tyrants in Kufa and Damascus. He waged a unique jihad in this state of captivity and despite being in chain and fetters, rocked the court of Yazid through his eloquent sermons that exposed the hypocrisy and Godlessness of the Omayyads.
During the 34 years of his imamate or divinely-decreed authority, the he revived the genuine teachings of Islam and groomed a large number of scholars at the fledgling academy of Medina which was to blossom under his son, Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), and later under his grandson, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), at whose feet 4,000 scholars used to study various branches of science.
The 4th Imam who was also known as “Seyyed os-Sajedin” or simply “Sajjad”, because of his long hours of prostration to God Almighty. Among his immortal legacy is the Treatise on Rights, which is more perfect than the UN Charter of Human Rights. He also bequeathed to humanity the brilliant collection of supplications known as “Sahifat as-Sajjadiyah” that not only covers morals and fundamentals of faith, but also scientific issues, including the weight of light.
Imam Muhammad Baqer (A.S.), an excellent exemplar to mankind
The 7th of Zilhijja, the martyrdom anniversary of the 5th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He was Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), and was descended on both sides from the Prophet. If his father Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) was the son of the Prophet’s younger grandson, Imam Husain (AS) the Martyr of Karbala, his mother Fatema (SA) was the daughter of the Prophet’s elder grandson, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS).
Born on the 1st of Rajab in Medina in 57 AH, and named Mohammad, he acquired the epithet Baqer al-Oloum, which means Splitter and Spreader and Sciences, which was actually given by the Prophet over a half-century before his birth. As a boy of four years, he witnessed the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, and was taken prisoner at this tender age by the Omayyad forces, along with his parents and the rest of the survivors of the massacre of Ashura. For the next 24 years, he was firmly beside his father in the safeguarding of the genuine teachings of Islam in those dark days of Omayyad tyranny. At the age of 38 years, following the martyrdom through poisoning of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the divinely-decreed mandate of imamate came to rest on his shoulders. For the next 19 years, he admirably fulfilled this divine trust until he was martyred through poisoning on the orders of the self-styled Omayyad caliph, Hesham Ibn Abdul-Malek, at the age of 57 years at a time when the Hajj pilgrimage was in progress. He was laid to rest in the Sacred Baqie Cemetery of Medina, where alas, the grand holy mausoleum housing his tomb and the tombs of his father, his maternal grandfather, and his son, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), was criminally destroyed by the Wahhabis in 1925.
Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), like his Infallible Forefathers before him and Infallible Progeny that succeeded him, had no equal in knowledge and science. Learned men used to sit at his feet to acquire knowledge and sciences. Even those that were not the followers of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt would attend his classes, for there was no restriction. One day, a person who was notorious for aversion to the Prophet\'s blessed household attended his class. The man arrogantly told the Imam: I have no attachment to the Prophet\'s Ahl al-Bayt, but since I have heard about your erudition, I have come to your class, although I am not your follower. At this the Imam smiled and replied: \"Nothing remains hidden from God.\" Hatred towards the Prophet’s blessed household was engrained in that person’s heart, and despite attending the Imam’s class, he continued his habit of insulting the insulting the Imam at every opportunity. After a while, the man fell sick, and despite medical treatment could not recover. One night he saw a strange and shocking dream. When he woke up he told his dream to his family, saying: I saw my soul departing from my body and death end my life, but at this moment I saw Imam Mohammad Baqer praying for my health. God answered his supplication and granted new life to me. Since I am sick and cannot move, could someone from you go to him and request him to visit me.
On hearing of such a dream and the sudden change of behavior towards the Prophet’s household by a person known for his opposition to the Ahl al-Bayt, his family and friends were surprised, but their kinsman continued to insist, saying: True, I was hostile to Imam Mohammad Baqer, but he never got angry at me and patiently endured my arrogant presence in his classes. He is so kind that even in the dream I saw him praying for me; so please request him to come. When Imam Baqer (AS) was informed of the man\'s sickness and his pleas, he went to his house early next day after performing the Morning Prayer. On seeing the radiant countenance of the Imam, the bedridden man expressed happiness. The Imam helped him to sit in his bed, and then gave guidelines to his family to prepare a certain medication. When the medicine was ready, the Imam personally gave the dose to the sick man. As Imam Baqer (AS) had given the tidings, within a few days the sick person fully recovered his health. He now became a changed man, dropped his hostility towards the Prophet’s Household and went to Imam Baqer (AS), with tears streaming down his face. In front of several students, he said in a clear voice: I testify that you are the proof of God to mankind; whoever follows anyone other than you, will be the looser.
The Infallible Imams were excellent exemplars to mankind. Their engrossment in knowledge did not make them ignore ethics and virtues, while their immersion in spirituality and worship of God, did not make them oblivious of social relations and proper enjoyment of the blessings of material life, made lawful by God. They lived a simple life, earning their own bread, despite their status as successors of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Imam Baqer (AS), while cultivating his agricultural patch in Medina, used to work in hot weather, in order to teach people how to earn a lawful and respectable livelihood, whenever he had free time from his classes. His fame even attracted non-Muslims to Medina from various parts of the world. He thus founded a broad scientific and cultural movement, thus laying the groundwork for the Great Islamic Academy that would flower under his son and successor, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS). He thus revived in society the genuine teachings of Islam as presented by his ancestor, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). As a matter of fact, he always strove to keep alive the real Sunnah and Seerah of the Prophet in those dark days of Omayyad tyranny, when the political boundaries of the realm were expanding over Asia, Africa and Europe, but the letter and spirit of Islam was being bludgeoned by the Godless caliphate.
As the righteous heir of the Prophet, Imam Baqer (AS) never kept silent against oppression and firmly opposed the deviant policies of the rulers of the usurper Omayyad regime. For this reason, he was subjected to periodic harassment by the self-styled caliphs in Damascus. When Hesham Ibn Abdul Malek, who was notorious for his enmity towards the Prophet’s progeny, became ruler, he ordered the killing of some of the disciples of the 5th Imam, as a vain measure to curtail the voice of freedom and justice. Next, he forced Imam Baqer (AS) to come to Damascus, where he tried to ignore the Imam in front of the whole court. Imam Baqer (AS), however, made his presence felt and in front of the whole court told the self-styled caliph: If for the moment you are in authority, beware that the lasting authority belongs to us, and no one has any precedence over our (God-given) authority. Hesham was angry and imprisoned Imam Baqer (AS), who now turned challenges into opportunities by reforming the inmates and enlightening them with the pure and pristine teachings of Islam. When Hesham heard of this, he became more alarmed and released the Imam, but denied permission to return to Medina. In Damascus, the 5th Imam’s knowledge and spiritual glory became manifest to the seekers of truth, including the chief Christian Monk of Syria, who became a Muslim. Hesham was further infuriated and sent Imam Baqer (AS) t him back to Medina, but at the same time, wrote to his governor to secretly poison the Imam. Alas on this day in 114 AH, exactly 1320 lunar years ago, Imam Mohammad Baqer left the world – a martyr.
The guiding role of Imam Sadeq (A.S.)
On 25th of Shawwal, the tragic day in history, when Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), the 6th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was martyred in the year 148 AH – corresponding to 765 AD – through poisoning by Mansour Dawaniqi, the 2nd self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime. He was 65 years of age, and was laid to rest in the sacred cemetery of Jannat al-Baqie in Medina, which alas has been desecrated by the Wahhabis, who 90 years ago, destroyed the grand mausoleum housing his tomb and the tombs of his father, Imam Mohammad Baqer, grandfather, Imam Zain al-Abedin, and Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (peace upon them).
Born in the year 83 AH on the auspicious 17th of Rabi al-Awwal, the birth anniversary of his ancestor, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), he was 12 years old when his grandfather, the Survivor of the Tragedy of Karbala, was martyred through poisoning, and 31 years old, when his own father was subjected to the same fate by the tyrannical Omayyad regime. In 114 AH, the divine mantle of imamate came to rest on his shoulders, and for the next 34 years, until his own martyrdom this day, he guided the Ummah in reviving the genuine sunnah and seerah or practice and behavior of his ancestor Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Of this period, 18 years coincided with the rule of the hated Omayads and 16 years during the rule of the new regime of the Abbasids, who turned out to be equally tyrannical, despite their propaganda of returning the rule of the Islamic realm to the Prophet’s progeny. It was indeed a critical era in Islamic history, as is evident by the 6th Imam’s rejection of the offer of caliphate by one of the victorious generals of the anti-Omayyad uprising, and this action by Imam Sadeq (AS) made it clear that real authority is from God and does not depend on the whims and inclinations of the people.
The era of Imam Sadeq (AS) saw the influx into the Islamic world of philosophical ideas of other cultures, such as the Greek, the Indian, the Egyptian, the Persian, and the Chinese. It was the era when Muslims had begun to acquire and expand various branches of science. Such tendencies naturally led to distortion of ideas propagation of false beliefs that were detrimental to the divine teachings of Islam. At that sensitive juncture, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS) rose to the occasion by properly guiding the Muslims and imparting to them the genuine teachings. As a result a scientific atmosphere was created. Moreover, the political climate when the Omayyads were on the decline and the Abbasids were fighting to seize and consolidate powers, provided the 6th Imam with the necessary condition to promote in peace, without harassment by the regime, the true teachings of Islam. The result was the flourishing of the famous academy of Medina, where some 4,000 students, studying the different branches of science, sat at the feet of the Prophet’s 6th Infallible Successor to acquire the bezels of wisdom including practical sciences such as chemistry. Among them was Jaber Ibn Hayyan, who is considered as the Father of Chemistry, and was known to medieval Europe as Geber through the translations of his works into Latin.
At the same time, Imam Sadeq (AS) emphasized on morals and the necessity to resist against oppression. Among his famous saying in this regard is: Whoever praises an oppressive ruler and is humble before him in pursuit of his worldly gains, will be in the company of that oppressive ruler in the fire of hell.
Regarding the fundamental principle of Wilayat-al-Mutlaqa or Divinely-decreed authority, after Monotheism, Divine Justice, and Prophethood, Imam Sadeq (AS) as the holder of this authority from God, which was entrusted by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) on the historic day of Ghadeer to Imam Ali (AS), used to say: Wilayat is superior to prayer, fasting, Zakat and Hajj pilgrimage, for; it is the key to all these.
When asked whether the holy Qur’an includes all human sciences, Imam Sadeq (AS) has been quoted as saying: God Almighty has expressed everything in the Qur’an. By God that everything which mankind needs to know has been mentioned in the holy Qur’an. Imam Sadeq says: The Book of God contains everything from the beginning of creation till the day of resurrection. It contains news of the earth and heaven, paradise and hell, as well as the past and present, and I know all of them well.
Imam Sadeq (AS), when was asked how the Qur’an is always up-to-date despite the passage of centuries since its revelation, replied: It is because God Almighty did not sent the Qur’an for a specific time or place, but made it universal – for all periods and all places till the day of resurrection. On the recitation of the holy Qur’an, the 6th Imam said: By God recitation of the Qur’an is not just to read and memorize its ayahs but the goal is to ponder on the meanings of the ayahs. A person asked Imam Sadeq (AS) the explanation of ayah 59 of Surah Nisa which reads: \"O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the Prophet and those vested with authority among you.\"
The Imam said that those vested with authority means we the Ahl al-Bayt, and the believers have been commanded to obey us till the day of resurrection. When asked why the name of Imam Ali (AS) and other Imams of the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt has not been mentioned in the holy Qur’an, he explained in a thought-provoking and rational manner by pointing to several ayahs of the holy Qur’an, saying: For instance, in the Qur’an God commands us to pray but does not mention whether the prayer is 3 or 4 Raka’ats, which means it was the duty of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) to clarify the exact number of Raka’at, for each of the five daily prayers. Another instance is the ayah on Hajj which does not mention that the pilgrims should circumambulate the holy Ka’ba seven times in order to complete a Tawaf, and it was Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) who determined the number of rounds by the command of Almighty God. Thus ayah 59 refers to the authority after the Prophet of Imam Ali, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (AS), although it does not mention their names.
Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS) then pointed to the famous saying of the Prophet on the Day of Ghadeer while returning from his Farewell Hajj pilgrimage; \"For whoever I am Master (Mowla), Ali is his Master (Mowla)\"
The Imam said that this is ample proof of the authority vested by God Almighty in Imam Ali (AS) and his Infallible Descendants as Leaders of mankind. He then went on to cite the famous Hadith Thaqalayn, in which Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) explicitly says: “I am leaving behind among you two precious things (thaqlayn): the Book of Allah (i.e. the holy Qur’an) and my progeny, my Ahl al-Bayt; hold fast to them, for the two will never part with each other even when they return to me at the Pool (of Kowthar on the Day of Judgement).”
The Prophet also said: Do not try to teach anything to the Ahl al-Bayt since they are more knowledgeable than you and they never mislead you. Thus, as the holy Qur’an says in ayah 33 of Surah al-Ahzaab: \"Indeed Allah desires to keep away all uncleanness from you Ahl al-Bayt and preserve you thoroughly purified.\"
Once when a person asked Imam Sadeq (AS) to give a rationally convincing proof of God, he said: Have you ever boarded a ship. The man said yes. The Imam said: Were you caught in a storm at sea with no hope of being rescued? He replied in the affirmative. The Imam then said, the power that saved you from certain death and destruction is God when there was no hope of survival.
The guiding role of Imam Sadeq (AS) was an anathema to Mansour Dawaniqi, the second self-styled caliph of the new Abbasid regime, who ironically before seizing political authority was an insignificant person claiming to be a follower of the Ahl al-Bayt. He very well knew that Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS) was the rightful successor of the Prophet, and for this reason, on usurping political rule of the Islamic state, he starting harassing the 6th Imam. Mansour pressured the Imam to close the famous academy of Medina. Finally, on this day he had the Imam martyred through a fatal dose of poison.
Upon the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) the government of Bani Umayyah was shaken which turned the people into their enemy and pessimist about them. This opened the avenue for the formation of Bani Abbasid government. The gap between these two powers opened the way for the propagation of Shi’a ideology and school of thought. Imam Jafar- al- Sadeq (as) managed, through a learning movement, to propagate and extend the learning’s of Islam to a larger rang of people in the World. Characteristic of Imam Jafar—al— Sadeq (as) We all know that the conduct of a person is the reflection of their inner character and everyone can be recognized by their conduct. There are only a few people who do not exhibit whatever they have in their hearts but what is in their heart kindles their exterior, like an electric switch. The whole life of Imam Jafar- al- Sadeq (as), so as the other Imams (as), was the enlightened lessons of the real true Islam.
He was considered to be the example and specimen ofthe Islamic ethic and moral. One cannot find a father and a son amongst all tribes and families who may exactly resemble the members of their family from all angles of ideas, thoughts or characters, But the family of the Prophet of Islam (s) was all on the same line and performed their heavenly duties with one aim and one ideology and did not have any kind of discrepancy in their speech or their ethical conduct. Ethical value and virtue of Imam Jafar-al- Sadeq (as) About the ethical value and virtue of Imam Jafar- al- Sadeq (as), it is sufiicient to know that out of four thousands of his students not even one objected or criticized upon the moral character and demeanour of Imam Jafar- al- Sadeq (as) neither find any weak point in it. He was a practical example and specimen for all the Muslims alike with respect to all aspects ofthe life. He had the same social manors with his friends as he had with his children.
His Life During the Imamate ofthe sixth Imam, a much greater possibility and a more favourable climate existed for him to propagate religious teachings. This came about as a result of revolts in Islamic lands, especially the uprising of the Abbasids to overthrow the Umayyad caliphate, also the bloody wars which finally led to the fall and extinction of the Umayyads. Also a more constructive ground that the fifth Imam had already established during his twenty years of Imamate - through the propagation of the true teachings of Islam and the sciences of the Household ofthe Prophet (s) - gave Imam Jafar a more thriving situation. The Imam took advantage of this occasion to propagate the religious sciences until the very end of his lmamate, which was contemporary with the end of the Umayad, and beginning of the Abbasid caliphates. He instructed many scholars in different fields of the intellectual and transmitted sciences, such as Zararah, Muhammad ibn Muslim, Mu`min Taqi, Hisham ibn Hakam, Aban ibn Taghlib, Hisham ibn Salim, Hurayz, Hisham Kalbi Nassabah, and Jabir ibn Hayyan, the alchemist.
Even some important Sunni scholars such as Sufyan Thawri, Abu Hanifah, the founder of the Hanan school of law, Qadi. Qadi, Abu`l-Bakhtari, and others, had the honour of being his students. It is said that his classes and sessions of instruction produced four thousand scholars of hadiths and other sciences. The number of traditions preserved from the fifth and sixth Imams are more than all the hadiths that have been recorded from the Prophet (s) and the other ten Imams combined. Towards the end of his life the Imam was subjected to severe restrictions by the Abbasid caliph Mansur, who ordered torture and merciless killings of many of the descendants of the Prophet (s) so much as his actions even surpassed the cruelty and heedlessness of the Umayyads. On his order Shi’ites were arrested in groups, some thrown into deep and dark prisons and tortured until they died, while others were beheaded or buried alive or placed at the base or between the walls ofthe buildings, and walls were constructed over them. Hisham, the Umayyad caliph, had ordered the sixth Imam to be arrested and brought to Damascus. Later on, the Imam was arrested for the second time by Saffah, the Abbasid caliph, and brought to Iraq and Enally Mansur had him arrested again and brought to Samarrah where he was kept under surveillance . Mansur was in every way harsh and discourteous towards him. Several times he thought of killing the Imam but eventually he was allowed to return to Medina where he spent the rest of his life in hiding. Mansur however did not leave the matters alone. Through the intrigue of Mansur, The Imam was poisoned and martyred on the 15th of Shawwal, year 148 AH Upon hearing the news of the Imam‘s martyrdom, Mansur wrote to the governor of Medina instructing him to go to the house of the Imam on the pretext of expressing his condolences to the family, to ask for the Imam\'\'\'\'s will and testament.
Whoever was chosen by the Imam as his inheritor and successor should have been beheaded on the spot. Of course the aim of Mansur was to put an end to the whole question of the Imamate and to Shi`ite aspirations. Soon the governor of Medina, following orders of Mansur, read the last will and testament of the Imam, he learnt that the Imam had chosen four people rather than one, to administer his last will; the Caliph himself; the govenior of Medina ‘Abdallah Ahab; the Imam’s eldest son and Musa, his younger son. In this way the plot of Mansur failed.
Imam Musa al-Kazem (A.S.), the Holy Prophet’s Seventh Infallible Heir
On 25th of the sacred month of Rajab, the day on which in the year 183 AH a most venerable descendent of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was martyred through poisoning in the dungeon of Baghdad on the orders of the tyrannical Abbasid caliph, Haroun Rashid.
He was none other than Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), the Prophet’s 7th Infallible Heir who has left a lasting legacy including a statement on momentous events in the far distant future that is attributed to him in books such as Bihar al-Anwaar and which reads: “A man from Qom will rise and invite people towards truth. Around him will gather people like slabs of iron (of iron-resolve), who will not be shaken by strong winds and storm, and will neither get tired of war nor will they back down; and they have trust in Allah. The outcome is for the pious.”
Although this prophecy pronounced over thirteen centuries ago does not name the revolutionary leader and his followers of iron-resolve, it appears to be a remarkable reflection of the events that happened in the closing years of the 14th century and the start of the 15th century AH. To be more specific, no such events had occurred in the history of the city of Qom and the region before the uprising of 15th Khordàd in Iran, that is, the June 5, 1963 Islamic movement of the Iranian people under the leadership of the 7thImam’s noble descendent, Seyyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, whose anniversary today coincides with the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Musa Kazem (AS). Please stay with us for a special feature on the Prophet’s 7th Infallible Successor.
\"To You belongs all praise if I obey You, and Yours is the justification (for punishing me) if I disobey You. Neither I nor anyone else can do any good except with Your favour! O You who pre-exist all things, O You who bring all things into existence, You have indeed power over all things…
\"So I beseech You to bless Muhammad and the Family of Muhammad and to make my life a life of purity, my death a death of integrity and my place of return one of sublimity, not one of humiliation and shame!
\"O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Family, the Imams, the fountains of wisdom, the mediators of Divine blessings, the mines of infallibility, and preserve me for their sake from all harm, and do not take me away in the state of delusion and neglect, and do not make the consequences of my deeds a cause of regret, and be pleased with me, for indeed Your forgiveness is meant for wrongdoers…”
What you just heard was part of a highly recommended supplication which the faithful recite on the eve of the first night of the month of Rajab in the state of prostration after the \"Tajahhud\" or late midnight prayer. The contents speak for themselves. They unravel the realms of divine mercy; remove the feeling of despondency; strengthen the spirit of repentance and self-reform; and inspires communion with the Almighty Creator. Alas, today on the 25th of Rajab we mourn the person who taught us this unique supplication which determines both the course of our life in this world and the journey of the soul in the Hereafter towards the bliss of paradise. He was Imam Musa (AS), the namesake of Prophet Moses, and he waged a unique jihad against the Pharaohs of his days. Born in 128 AH in Abwa between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, he was only 55 years, when he was martyred by the Abbasid tyrant, Haroun Rashid, in the dungeon of Baghdad through a fatal dose of poisoning. He had spent the last two years of his life in imprisonment – first in Basra and then in Baghdad. Of the 35 years of his imamate or divinely-decreed authority, a total of 14 intermittent years were spent in the prisons of the tyrants Mansour Dawaniqi, Mahdi al-Abbasi, Hadi al-Abbasi, and Haroun. Now since he was no more, the wardens, acting upon the orders of the debauched caliph, placed his coffin on the bridge across the River Tigris. He was finally taken to the outskirts of the cityand laid to rest in the cemetery of the Quraysh.
The usurpers of the caliphate thought that by extinguishing his life and burying him in a public cemetery they had succeeded in removing the greatest hurdle in their path and thus ensured the continuation of their misrule. How wrong they were? Today, Imam Musa (AS), whose epithet \"Kazem\" means Restrainer of Anger and Emotions\" rules not just the capital of his killer, Baghdad, from his spacious golden-domed mausoleum in Kazemayn, but draws pilgrims from all over the world, while there is no sign of even a tombstone for the Abbasid caliphs, let alone traces of their places.
It is indeed Divine Justice that the rotten bones of Haroun Rashid lie at the feet of the son of his victim in Mashhad, Khorasan where pilgrims to the shrine of Imam Reza (AS), while saluting the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt, invoke curses on the Abbasid tyrant. Today Baghdad is echoing with the chants of Ya Bab al-Hawa\'ej (or Gateway of Boons), as more than a million mourners have assembled in Kazemayn to pay homage to the 7th Imam. In Iran, the grateful nation that yesterday commemorated the passing away of the 7th Imam’s noble descendent, who as prophesied centuries ago, brought about the Islamic Revolution, are clad in black as well, and have converged in huge numbers on the shrines of his sons and descendants that are found in most Iranian towns and cities, especially Mashhad and the city of Qom, where the shrine of his esteemed daughter, Hazrat Fatema al-Ma’souma (SA) is located.
Here we present you an interesting piece of poetry by Iran’s English language poet, Dr. Hassan Najafi as a form of tribute to Imam Musa Kazem (AS):
No one dared to search for a shade
The body of the Imam to be therein laid,
Over the bridge of Baghdad the body was kept
Among the population whoever heard wept.
You and prisons, fancy brings to mortal eyes
Your soul corresponds to its kindred skies,
Heavenly born and bred on high
To crown the favourites of the sky
Faith it is that visit on fealty to pray
And seek blessings at your tomb to wrap up the day.
His wardens leaned his virtuous side
To relieve every wicked was his pride.
After imprisonments long, tortured delay
To the brighter worlds his soul found the way.
Nor changed nor wished to charge his place
Remote in prisons he ran his golden race.
From distant time neglected virtue through your calls
When heard any wretched in shame and agony falls.
Enquires! Cease, many things still remain: He is the Son of Prophet, a pole in Imamate\'s domain.
Whoever refuses him, his life spent in vain
He is the Gateway of Needs
Knock at his doorstep to collect the proceeds
The charity with a smile to welcome
Whoever comes goes with handful sum.
The gravity that can save;
It is his love in the grave.
Imam Hasan al-Askari (as): Faith, Vision and Firm Will
The fourth month of the Islamic calendar coincides with one of the reported dates of birth of the eleventh Shi\'i Imam, Imam Hasan al-Askari (a). Ambiguities concerning the life of the Imam extend not only to relatively meagre issues like historical dates, but unfortunately, much of his life - just as with his noble father, Imam Ali al-Hadi (as) and Grandfather, Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (as) -has been lost to history, and veiled from his lovers and the Ummah at large. This sad reality is owed primarily to the heavy repression of the ruling Abbasid caliphate. Indeed, one of the most common epithets used for the eleventh Imam, al-Askari (as), points toward this fact.
Driven largely by the motivation of isolating the Imam from the popular base of his following, and by the attempt to relegate the supreme inheritors of Prophetic knowledge to obscurity, the Abbasid caliph of the time, alMutawwakil, forcefully summoned Imam al-Askari (as) \' s father from Medina to a military garrison in Iraq. Later transformed into a city that came to be known as Samarra, the location was initially a military outpost that housed the Abbasid caliph, his advisors, generals and army personnel.
Naturally, within this context, the movements of the Imam were heavily restricted and constant surveillance was applied to this end. This status quo persisted throughout the life of Imam al-Hadi (as) and continued right up until the martyrdom of his son. Nevertheless, as with all Satanic plots devised to silence the Divine prophets and righteous throughout history, the Abbasids\' scheme to somehow eradicate the Imams from the psyche of Muslims failed miserably. Numerous reports have come down to us highlighting the lofty qualities of Imam al-Askari (as), as well as his keen and certainly crucial role in guiding and attending to the most pressing issues that affected Muslims. One of the central themes observed in the correspondences of the Imam to his followers is his repeated emphasis on fostering unity. The era of the Imam was marked by growing confusion and discord amongst the Shia, at various levels, which was owed to the plots of the Abbasid caliphate. In response, the Imam masterfully dealt away with these confusions and divisions, and defended the faith from the disorienting waves of scepticism, most visibly illustrated in the story of Ishaaq al-Kindi.
This rich legacy, no matter how constricted by historical circumstance, calls on us to pay a closer look and urges us to draw inspiration from its treasures. As Muslims living through a sensitive era today, the personality and example of the Imam holds even greater signiﬁcance Try to picture: a lonely man pulled away from his hometown, family and companions, and hurled right into the midst of a military outpost as an enemy, where every move is watched and the most basic supplies cut off. If that were not enough, one is also regularly plunged into the dark dungeons of the oppressor whose horrors one can only imagine. Now ask yourself, what choices would one make when confronted by this reality? The life of the Imam presents a perfect model to be emulated even when confronted by the harshest and cruellest of contexts. It is a practical call for his followers to act with integrity and to be individuals of ﬁrm will and determination.
Selecting defeatist notions, losing faith in Divine grace, and creating rifts and discord are all antithetical to the teachings of the Imam. Words of advice and admonitions delivered by the Ahlul Bayt (as) contain, no doubt, the guiding lanterns for our salvation in both worlds, as well as the ﬁrmest security from falling into the traps of doubt and misguidance. Here then is one of the letters of Imam Hasan al-Askari (as) addressed to his followers: \"I recommend you to fear Allah, be pious in your religion, strive for Allah, be truthful in speaking, give deposits back to its owners [regardless of whether] he is good or bad, increase prostration, and be good to neighbours. By these (principles) Muhammad (s) came with his mission. Associate with your kin, attend their funerals, visit their sick, and carry out their rights; for if anyone of you is pious in his religion, truthful in his speech, he gives deposits back to its owners, and treats people kindly, it shall be said about him: \'this is a Shia\', and this shall please me.\"
Fear Allah, be good and do not be bad! Attract every love to us, and keep any obscenity away from us, because whatever good is said about us we deserve it, and whatever bad is said about us is not in us. We have a right in the Book of Allah, kinship to the messenger of Allah, and puriﬁcation from Allah that no one other than us claims but a liar. Mention Allah constantly and remember death! Recite the Qur\'\'an and send peace and blessings on the Prophet (s), because the sending of blessings on the Prophet (s) has ten good deeds. Keep in mind what I have recommended you! I pray Allah to protect you (I farewell you), and send peace unto you.\'\"