An introduction to the infallible “Imam Baqir” (A.S)
mam Mohammad Baqir (A.S.) was born on the 1st of the month of Rajab, 57th Hijrah, in the city of Madina. Because of the resemblance that he had with his grandfather he was named Mohammad and because of it that he analyzed the knowledge and manifested its secrets he became known with the title of "Baqir".
His father was Hazrat Sajjad (A.S.) and mother Fatimah who was one of the daughters of Imam Hassan (A.S.). He was the first Imam (A.S.) whose lineage ascended and reached the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) both from the paternal and maternal sides.
His life history can be divided into two parts1.
The period before his Imamate which is nearly 35 years and was the peaceful part of his life, led in Madina. 2.
The Period of Imamate, which stretched, up to twenty years and is counted as the duration of the propagation and dissemination of Islamic knowledge and wisdom.
The Salient Features of Imam"s Character
About his manners and training, it is written that he never laughed loudly and always spoke in a calm and respectable way. He never became furious and enraged and with whosoever he met he would give him respect and shook hands with him and said, "this act (shaking hands) brings the hearts close to each other and puts an end to the enmities and hostilities."
Although Imam (A.S.) wept much during his confidential conversation with God but he did not weep loudly. Whenever he spoke he would start and end his talk with the name of God.
He had gardens and fields in abundance and large number but he himself visited them like a farmer and shared the work with the cultivator and workers, took food with them, and talked to them. He was a master who had close working relations with his servants.
Whatever agricultural products he received from his gardens and fields he would give it in the name of God. He fulfilled all the needs and requirements of his workers to such extent that he was one of the most generous men of his time in Hijaz.
Sheikh Mufid writes about Imam (A.S.), "he had access to and acquaintance with all the branches of knowledge and intuitive learning. He led his life busy in the obedience of God. He was strong and balanced at the station of piety and rigidly honored his word, promises, and commitments. His piety, open heartedness, spiritual purity, and humanly conducts made all and sundry love him. And he trained them in Islamic ethics”.
Ibn-e-Hajar, who is a prejudiced Sunni scholar, writes about the character of Imam (A.S.) "Imam Mohammad Baqir (A.S.) had a clean, pure heart. His speech and talk was harmonies and in accordance with his practice. His conduct and dealing with people was humanly and Islamic. He was a great Gnostic and unmatched worshiper. He was so very ornamented and decorated with human qualities that I do not have the means and capacity to praise him."
One of his slaves said about him, "Once I accompanied his graciousness to Mecca. When Imam (A.S.) sighted the house of God(Kaabah). He wept so much that he got feeble and nerveless I said to him, "Why do you weep so much?"
He said, "Perhaps God may become kind to me because of these tears and tomorrow (on justice day) He may bless me with salvation.
Then Imam stood for his prayers and lengthened the prostration. When he picked his head up, the place of prostration was wet with tears from his eyes."
The Knowledge Status of Imam
Sheikh Tusi writes a man from among the Syrians visited Imam Mohammad Baqir (A.S.) and said, "Since you are a man of knowledge and learning your assembly is fruitful, valuable and worthy for me and so I attend your teaching session but I have enmity with you and your lineage." Imam did not reply him.
After a few days that man fell ill. Imam (A.S.) visited him along with his friends and sat by his bed, and enquired after his health. When the Syrian man saw this graciousness and magnanimity of the Imam he extremely repented about what he had said, and was ashamed. He did not know what response to give to the Imam (A.S.).
Imam (A.S.) gave orders about his food, treatment to his family members and prayed for him and got up. Not very long had passed that he got cured and left the ailment bed. Next day, he made it a point to reach the assembly of Imam (A.S.) and expressed repentance over what he had said and asked for apologies and became one of the permanent and everlasting friends of Imam (A.S.)
The Training mode of Imam (A.S.)
Since the knowledge and wisdom of Imam (A.S.) like the other Imams originated from the revelation therefore, he never failed to give a response. His personality of knowledge and wisdom had so graciousness greatness grandeur and magnificence that in his assembly the scholars were like children before a teacher.
Whenever Imam (A.S.) sat in the session of teaching he shed the drops of knowledge and wisdom upon the hearts of his students like a saturated cloud. Every one benefited from it according to his own capacity and capability.
In the year 106 Hijrah, Hasham (the well known poet) went to Mecca and a group of Syrians were accompanying him. After the Hajj ritual was over, he sat in a corner of Masjid-ul-Haram to relax. Suddenly, he sighted Imam Mohammad Baqir (A.S.) sitting in a corner and people had surrounded him asking him questions about their problems and difficulties and listening to his response.
Hasham became furious and inflamed and sent Nafey, one of the wise men, to ask questions from Imam (A.S.) and according to his idea enfeeble and debilitate him, and devalue him in the eyes of the people.
The court scholar came forward, saluted and asked for his permission to make queries and interrogate him. Imam (A.S.) replied, "Do ask what ever you wish!"
Nafeh asked him, "What was the length of the duration of period between Christ Essa (A.S.) and Mohammad (P.B.U.H.). Imam said, "In our opinion Five Hundred years." Nafeh asked, "The verse of the holy Qur"an which says "va-as-al" "you ask". Who was the one Prophet interrogated? Imam (A.S.) replied, "From the God"s eternal table, wherein all the things were present."
Nafeh asked, "From when and how long God has been present?"
Imam (A.S.) said, "Woe to you, God is the creator of age. He is not a body and has not been born from anything so that he might need age and time."
Nafeh was ashamed and said, "By God, you are the wisest man out of the people of your age."
A man asked a question from Abdullah Ummer, he could not reply him so he said, "This child is Imam Mohammad Baqir (A.S.) go to him and describe your problem whatever response he gives come and let me know too. That man went near him and enquired and got the correct answer. Then he came to Abdullah Ummer and reproduced the answer of the Imam (A.S.) before him.
Abdullah Ummer replied, "These (men) are a family whom God has decorated with the ornament of knowledge and wisdom." The splendor and grandeur of the knowledge of Imam (A.S.) was so sublime and glittering that whosesoever there would be the talk about the Prophet"s family. People said he is the sole heir of the knowledge and perfections of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
Martyrdom of Imam(A.S.)
Finally, Imam Mohammad Baqir (A.S.) after years of troubles, grief"s, labor, and service to the Islamic culture was poisoned and martyred by the order of Hasham on the 7th of Zil Hijja 114 Hijrah at the age of 57 years. His pure and sublime body was buried beside the graves of other Imams in the graveyard of Baqi.
Imam Brief Sayings1.
To lie is from the desolation and depravity of faith. 2.
The faithful does not become coward, greedy and miser. 3.
God is the friend of modest, tolerant and forbearing person. 4.
The scholar whose existence is fruitful and useful his worth is more than seventy thousand silly, witless ascetics (worshipers). 5.
God does not like the scurrilous. 6.
Whosoever commits excesses over the servants of God, will not be from our Shias. 7.
Avoid envying and being jealous of each other keep away from selfishness (egotism), do not adopt cruelty, be vigilant and watchful about your prayers, be the friend of oppressed ones.