Imam Jafar al-Sadiq founded the school of the Ahl al-Bayt (as). Before him, the teachings of the Ahl al-Bait (as) was more of an oral tradition, but with his coming, a systematic doctrine of pure Muhammadan Islam was born.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel! Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) was the sixth Imam of the Ahl al-Bayt (as). The Imams after the Prophet Muhammad (s) were 12 in total.
The 12ver Shi’i school of thought is known by various names. Sometimes it is called the Imami branch of Islam, and at other times it is called the Jafari branch of Islam. If we have 12 Imams, why is Imam Jafar so important? Why isn’t the school called the Husayni or Hasani school of Islam?
In this lesson, we will answer this question and go into the qualities of the school that Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) established.
BODY OF TEXT
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) was born in the year 702 of the common era and he died in the year 765, which is the 148th year of the Hijri calendar.
He was the son of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as), the grandson of Imam Zayn al-Abidin (as), the great grandson of Imam al-Husayn (as). Imam al-Sadiq (as) became an Imam when he was in his mid-thirties.
Since the beginning of the Imamate of Imam Ali (as) until the Imamate of Imam Zayn al-Abidin (as), the Imams were overwhelmed with political turmoil. Despite this, they still managed to educate their followers on the basic precepts of Islam.
Despite the restrictions that confined much of Imam Zayn al-Abidin’s (as) intellectual life, he still managed to spread his theological doctrine by means of duas. So if you look at his duas, you will notice that they are not just duas but they are also lessons in theology!
Although the Imams had taught various subjects until this time, it is only during the time of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) that organized schools began to be established. In his capacity as an official teacher, Imam al-Baqir (as) began teaching various subjects, the most popular of which was Islamic law.
But it is during the time of his son Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) that things reached its peak. The Ummayads and the Abbasids at the time were waging wars against one another so they were too busy to oppress the Imams and keep them from spreading the authentic and unadulterated message of Islam.
Imam al-Sadiq (as) had thousands of students, much more than his father. He taught all subjects, Qur’anic exegesis, theology, history, law, ethics, science and more. For a limited time in his life, he was relatively free to teach, his students also had some more space to spread the message as well, although they still had to be careful. Unfortunately, this did not last too long as the authorities were quick to come and control him and his followers through the threat of death.
Thanks to this brief window of freedom, if you open any of our major works of hadith, you will see that the majority of these hadiths go back to Imam al-Sadiq (as).
The 8th century was the most critical period of Islamic history. It was the formative period of Islam. This is when all the various schools of Islamic law and theology were being founded. The 8th century was the century of Abu Hanifa, Malik ibn Anas, Muhammad al-Shāfiʿī and even Ahmad ibn Hanbal – although the latter spent most his life in the 9th century.
This period was a period of flourishing. All the questions and answers people had were crystalizing into recognizable schools. What was so important about this period is that whatever we have today, whatever we believe Islam to be, really goes back to that time. Today we have Mālikis, Hanafis, Shāfiʿis, Hanbalis among our Sunni brothers and sisters and they all go back to that time.
Although this was a time of intellectual flourishing, it was also a time of severe disagreement. Schools really differed from one another and it was difficult to know what Islam actually taught. I
mean really, if there are so many opinions, how can we be sure what the Prophet (s) actually taught?
This is why Imam al-Sadiq (as) was so important. He was an infallible Imam, he received knowledge from Allah and made no mistakes in his teachings about Islam. Everything he taught was exactly in line with what the Prophet (s) had taught. In the midst of intellectual chaos, Imam al-Sadiq (as) made sure to create a school that would go beyond this chaos, a school that we could, with certainty, say was purely Muhammadan.
Now you may ask yourself this question, don’t people who subscribe to the school of Ahl al-Bayt have disagreements about what the Imams themselves taught? Isn’t this the same problem all over again? Well, here is the answer. There is about 75% agreement among Shia scholars when it comes to Islamic law. When it comes to theology and ethics (that is, akhlaq) then our agreement is above 90 or even perhaps 95%. That’s a pretty good when it comes to consistency.
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
Why is Imam Jafar so important?
He turned the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) into a systematic school
Why do we have so many more hadiths from Imam Jafar (as)?
During his time, the Ummayads and Abbasids were busy fighting each other, so this gave the Imam more space to teach given their distraction.
Why is Shi’ism also called the Jafari school of Islam?
Because most of our teachings go back to Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as)
When did the formative period of Islam begin?
Who was Imam Jafar’s (as) father?
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as)
School of Jafar al-Sadiq
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir
school of ahl al-bayt
formative period of Islam