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9th infallible heir of Prophet (s) - Imam Al-Jawad (a)
By: Hyder Reza Zabet
The Ninth Infallible Imam and the Greatest Miracle of his age Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad (A.S.) who enriched and expanded the Islamic thought and Shari'a was born in the holy city of Madina-the city of his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), on 10th Rajab 195 A.H. He was the son of Imam Ali Reza (A.S.) and Hazrat Sabika also known as Khaizarun (S.A.).
Imam Reza (A.S.) was forced to leave Madinah and move towards the city of 'Merv' (in Khurasan - Iran) to accept Ma'mun's invitation after many refusals and abstentions. Before moving to Merv, he took with him his son Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (a.s.), then, he (a.s.) started out from Madina towards Mecca in order to pay a visit to the Sacred House (Ka'ba) and also to say farewell to it. Imam al-Reza (A.S.) performed hajj (pilgrimage) with his son al-Jawad who was only four years at that time.
Indeed, the young Imam expressed his adherence and love for his father by his insistence to stay under the care of the holy embrace. It was difficult for him to return home (Madinah), alone, and depart from his father, who wrote, in his farewell letter to the Sacred House, that he would not return.
The moments of farewell ended and the hour of departure approached; the young Imam al-Jawad (A.S.) returned home (to Madinah), bearing the yearnings of love, the adherence of a son for his father; his father moved towards the city of Merv while his heart departed to Madinah, following the procession of the beloved al-Jawad.
Imam al-Reza (A.S.)'s Letters to his Son, al-Jawad (A.S.)
Arriving at the city of Merv, the then capital of the Abbasid caliphate, Imam al-Reza (A.S.) rested there while his heart still inclined towards his son. From there, he (A.S.) began to correspond, address, advise, guide and take care of him. Historians state the fact that Imam al-Reza (A.S.) used to address his son al-Jawad (A.S.), with honour and glory in his correspondences and call him by his surname 'Abu Ja'far'.
The Divine Leadership of Imam al-Jawad (A.S.)
The period of transferring the leadership to Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad (A.S.) faced a dangerous problem, which caused debates and arguments concerning the personality of Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad (A.S.) because of his youth. He (A.S.) was young, at the age of seven, when his father passed away. Books of history and biographies record some of these discussions about the personality of the young Imam (A.S.) and his capability for the leadership at that age.
When Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (a.s.) was born, the same questions were sent to Imam al-Reza (A.S.) in order for them to know who would be the Imam after al-Reza (A.S.). Was not Muhammad al-Jawad (A.S.) a child? And how could he bear the responsibility of the leadership and its affairs if he was at this age? Indeed, Imam al-Reza (A.S.) always confirmed that the Imam after him would be his son, Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad (a.s.).
Ibn Qulawaih, on the authority of Kulaini, on the authority of Hussein bin Muhammad, on the authority of Khariani, on the authority of his father, said: "I (i.e. Khayrani's father) was standing in front of Abul-Hasan al-Reza (A.S.), in Khurasan. Someone asked him: 'My master, if something happens, to whom will authority belong?"
"To Abu Ja'far (al-Jawad), my son," he replied. The speaker indicated that the age of Abu Ja'far was too young. So, Abul-Hasan al-Reza (A.S.), replied: "Allah, may He be praised, sent Jesus, son of Mary, to be an apostle, a prophet, the bringer of a revealed law (Shari'a), to begin (his mission) when his age was younger than that of Abu Ja'far (al-Jawad), peace be upon him."
Narrated Mu'ammar bin Khallad that he heard Imam al-Reza (A.S.), saying: "When he mentioned something and, then, said: 'What need have you for that? Here is Abu Ja'far, whom I have brought into my meetings and whom I have made to be my successor.' Then, he added: 'We are the family of the House (Ahlul-Bayt). Our young inherit from our old, like one feather (on a wing) followed by the next.'"
Holy Imam (A.S.)'s Martyrdom
When Ma'mun died, Mu'tasim ascended the throne. He (Mu'tasim), like his Abbasid ancestors, was worried about the leadership of Ahlul-Bayt (A.S.) and their political and scholarly status. Therefore, he exiled Imam al-Jawad (A.S.) from Madinah to Baghdad in the year 219 A.H., for fear of his popularity and extending his effect.
Indeed, Imam al-Jawad (A.S.) was exiled to Baghdad from Madina and stayed in Baghdad until in the year 220 A.H. when he was martyred by poisoning by his wife Ummul Fadl, daughter of Ma’mun, at the instigation of the ruling Abbasid caliph Mu'tasim.
His short life lasted twenty-five years and some months, and was full of historical, ideological and scholarly struggle and achievements. The Holy Imam (A.S.) was martyred in Baghdad in the year 220 A.H., on the 29th of Zee al-Qa'adah and was buried in the graveyard of Quraish behind his grandfather, Imam Musa bin Ja'far (A.S.) the seventh holy Imam which was since then became famous as Kazmain.