2012/05/23 - 13:51
May 23, the Birth Anniversary of Imam Mohammad al-Baqir
Navideshahed: Heartiest congratulations to you on a very special occasion. Today is the first of the sacred month of Rajab, a day of great blessings, on which the faithful fast, pray and supplicate to the Lord Most High.
The doors of Divine Mercy are flung open this day and special acts of worship have been prescribed for this day, according to narrations from Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). To add to the significance of the 1st of Rajab, the Almighty decreed the birth of the Prophet's 5th Infallible Successor on this day – a Successor who as the Prophet prophesied, would be Baqer al-Uloum, which means the Splitter and Spreader of Sciences. Please stay with us for a special feature in this regard.
Born in Medina on the 1st of Rajab in 57 AH, 46 years after the departure from the mortal world of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), he was named Mohammad and was destined to be the Reviver of the genuine teachings of Islam as bequeathed by his great ancestor. Imam Mohammad al-Baqer (AS) needs no introduction. If his father, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) was the son of the Prophet's younger grandson, Imam Husain (AS), his mother, Fatema (peace upon her), was the daughter of the Prophet's elder grandson, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS). He was a picture of piety, wisdom, knowledge, bravery, truthfulness, justice, magnanimity and all other positive characteristics to the extent that even his enemies were forced to admit his merits during the 57 years he graced Planet Earth, of which 19 were as the Imam of mankind. For instance, his mortal enemy, the Omayyad caliph, Hisham bin Abdul Malek, who eventually martyred him through poisoning, had to humbly admit the peerless position of the 5th Imam.
Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS) lived more than three years under the care of Imam Husain, and witnessed the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, where almost all male family members were martyred. The next 34 years, he spent with his father, in those days of Omayyad tyranny. For the next 19 years till his own martyrdom through poisoning by the despicable Hesham ibn Abdul-Malik in 114 AH at the age of 57 years, Imam Baqer's (AS) magnetic personality groomed such leading lights of Islam who could be called immortals. Names that come to mind are Zurara the master theologian, Mohammad bin Muslim bin Riyyah the eminent jurisprudent, Burayd the prominent jurisprudent, Abu Basir Lais al-Bakhtari the famous traditionist. These four have been described as the “Tent Pegs of the World." Then there was Abu Hamzah Samali who held an esteemed place among the companions of the 5th Imam and through whom some moving supplications have been conveyed to posterity including the famous one recited by the faithful to this day before Sahar or late midnight in the fasting month of Ramadhan. Among the Imam's companions was also the renowned poet and master of Arabic literature Kumayt bin Ziyad al-Asadi, whose panegyrics titled al-Hashemiyaat are still recited to this day.
As a matter of fact, Imam Baqer (AS) was conveyed the greetings of his ancestor the Prophet, sent over a half-a-century earlier through the revered companion of the Prophet, Jaber bin Abdulla Ansari, who is reported to have said: You may live long enough to see a son of mine from the loins of Husain (AS), called Mohammad. He will certainly split and spread knowledge, and should you see him, convey my greeting to him.
Needless to say, Jaber dutifully conveyed to the lad the Prophet's greetings and recognized him as the 5th Imam of the Ahl al-Bayt. Imam Baqer's peerless personality enlightened all, as is borne out of historical facts. The events of the life of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) including his defence campaigns were recorded on his authority. Even the accounts of the past Prophets were narrated on his authority. It was also on his interpretation that so many ayahs of the holy Qur'an were properly understood in those days of Omayyad tyranny and distortion of Islam on a wide scale. Abdulla bin Ata Makki is reported to have said: "Never have I seen scholars so limited in knowledge in the presence of a scholar like Mohammad bin Ali al-Baqer (AS)." Mohammad bin Talha Shafe'i is reported to have said that, "Mohammad bin Ali al-Baqer (AS) was the one who cut through knowledge, collected and disseminated it. He raised it many degrees, outwitted others in exploring it, imbibed it and decorated it with gems of thought. His heart was serene, his good deeds ever-growing, his soul chaste, and his morals noble.
A thorough examination of the books written on the life of Imam Baqer (AS) presents us with a long list of top intellectuals who shone like stars in the sky of Islamic civilization, all of whom had drank from the gushing spring of the school of the 5th Imam. He benefitted from the political situation and worked hard to complete the great educational project initiated by his father, Imam Zain al-Abedin. He provided the reform movement with more cadres through his unceasing educational efforts at the highest levels. That is why so many people, of different backgrounds, used to visit him, coming from various parts of the Muslim world. Famous scholars from various schools including the rationalists, and the mystics, used to call on him, either to discuss with him certain religious matters or to benefit from his knowledge. During the 19 years the Imam was at the helm of affairs, two years coincided with the rule of his father's assassin Walid bin Abdul-Malik, and two other years with the rule of Sulaiman bin Abdul-Malik. The next ruler, Umar bin Abdul-Aziz restored to Imam al-Baqer (AS), the orchard of Fadak that was seized from his noble ancestress Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), considering its confiscation by the previous caliphs as outright usurpation. Umar bin Abdul-Aziz remained in power for only two years and five months. After him, Yazid bin Abdul-Malik, notorious for his adultery, debauchery and obscene poetry, took over. But, if Yazid could not find time, due to his indulgence in his pleasures, to block the Islamic march led by Imam Baqer (AS), his successor, the tyrannical Hisham bin Abdul-Malik, adamantly opposed him. Rough mannered, miserly, coarse, and hating non-Arab Muslims, he raised the taxes imposed on them. It was Hisham who eventually poisoned this repository of divine knowledge, after the famous incident when following the 5th Imam's release from the prison of Damascus and the debate he held with the leading Christian hermit of Syria, the latter along with his flock embraced the truth of Islam.
We congratulate you once again on this auspicious occasion, and present you a poem composed by Iran's English language poet, Dr. Hassan Najafi:
The Prophet to Jaber: His name is mine,
His features too take after mine.
My son shall be of knowledge a mine,
You outlive, convey him greetings of mine.
He is the Fifth Imam born today,
Son of Imam Sajjad, who loved to pray;
Fatema, daughter of Imam Hasan, is his mother;
An incident about her is worth mentioning here:
She was sitting beside a wall,
The wall cracked and was about to fall.
Fatema raised her hand and said wait;
The wall hung, suspended in the air its fate,
During pregnancy she used to hear voices,
Tidings of birth to her of one best of the choices;
By his birth her prestige more and more raised,
She was by the celestial angels praised,
The day of his birth she saw everywhere light–
Columns of light rising to giddying height,
A son born to Imam Zain al-Abedin –
The dried land, remote and near, turned green.
People wondered and asked one another,
The cause they discovered – birth of Imam Baqer.
Mohammad bin Muslim recorded hadith thirty-thousand,
From Imam Baqer in whose bosom knowledge emblazoned,
He towers above the great,
To speak of him is beyond the limits of my fate.
All the knowledge existed and shall exist in later ages
God has vested with us and we preserve as do the pages.
His behaviour with even servants is worth noting,
When he assigned a job he too joined them in doing.
Now I dwell briefly on his saying
Full of wisdom and paying
"When prolongs a friendship
It turns into a kinship."
"Forgive, keep alive the relation,
And endure the persecution."
"A scholar is better than thousands of worshippers,
Because his knowledge benefits God's creatures;"
"A believer if dies and leaves a written page
It will curtain him from flames – the hell’s rage."
"Belief and modesty go together,
If goes one doesn’t remain the other."
Thus for the Imam our love does flow
Then alone secrets of the souls glow
It is a tillage that stints one into your smiling plain,
If life ends into a grave in the grasp of your domain,
You, son of Ghadeer! The Barometer of Belief,
Shame on the sons of Saqifa for their disbelief,
These are the hues I gain unborrowed of the sun –;
From infancy this is the run, on this run I run.
Source: IRIB World Service