A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam Jafar al-Sadiq until Imam Hasan al-Askari)
A brief look at the lives of the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh Imams.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel! Our current series is an introduction the 14 Infallibles of the Ahl al-Bayt (as).
In this lesson, we will be continuing with the lives of the infallibles. We have so far covered Imam Ali (as) and Fatima al-Zahra (as). Here we will continue by briefly discussing the lives of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq, Imam Musa al-Kadhim, Imam Ali al-Rida, Imam Muhammad al-Taqi, Imam Ali al-Naqi, and Imam Hasan al-Askari (peace be upon them all).
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Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as)
The School of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) is sometimes known as the Jafari school of thought in Islam which takes its name from Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) who was born in 702 A.D.
It is called the Jafar school of thought because it was under Imam Jafar that the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) became a full fledged, self-contained school of thought in Islam. Why was this important? By the time Imam al-Sadiq (as) became an Imam, Islam had already faltered to many competing sects that diverged greatly from one another.
The importance of Imam al-Sadiq (as) at this time is perhaps best summed up by his companion Aban bin Taghlib who, when asked what Shi’ism (following the Ahl al-Bayt) meant to him, he said:
“When there are differences in terms of what the Prophet (s) taught, we take the version of [Imam] Ali, and when there are differences of opinion as to what Ali taught, we take the version of [Imam] Jafar al-Sadiq.”
As such, Imam al-Sadiq (as) completed the established of Shi’ism as both a legal and theological school of thought.
Imam al-Sadiq (as) died in the year 765 A.D
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as)
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as) was the son of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq and was the 7th Imam of the Ahl al-Bayt (as). He was born in the year 745 A.D. Imam Musa was called al-Kadhim, which means “one who suppresses his anger.” Imam Musa was called such as he was a very patient man despite all the evil people had done to him.
Imam Musa (as) spent many years of his life in prison as the Caliphate at the time saw him as a threat. Despite this, Imam al-Kadhim (as) was not bitter. He was kind and generous to his enemies. Even prison guards expressed great admiration for him.
Perhaps one of the greatest legacies of Imam Musa (as) is how most Sayyids, that is, people who are descendants of the Prophet (s), come through Imam al-Kadhim’s (as) bloodline. Remember that it is thanks to the efforts of the Sayyids that the school of Ahl al-Bayt (as) managed to survive during those times.
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as) died in prison in the year 799 A.D. He was poisoned by the authorities.
Imam Ali al-Rida (as)
Imam Ali al-Rida (as) was the 8th Imam and the son of Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as). He was born in the year 766 A.D. By the time of Imam al-Rida (as), the previous Imams had established a fully functioning system of theology and law in Islam.
Imam al-Rida' (as) worked on this trend by expanding further into mysticism and spiritual ethics. During al-Rida (as)’s lifetime, many mystics had risen and Sufism was flourishing across Muslim lands. Al-Rida (as), making sure that mysticism and spiritual practices and beliefs stayed within the fold of authentic Islam, began teaching the subject.
Many students were appointed as his emissaries in spreading Islamic mysticism and spirituality in conformity with pure Muhammadan Islam.
Today, many spiritual groups trace their teachings back to Imam al-Rida (as).
Imam al-Rida (as) died of poisoning (at the hands of the Caliph of his time) during the year 818 A.D
Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (as)
Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (as) was the son of Imam al-Rida (as) and he was born in the year 811 A.D. He is also known as Imam Muhammad al-Jawad, which means “the generous” (al-Taqi means the “pious.”)
A distinguishing feature of Imam al-Taqi was the fact that he became an Imam when he was less than 10 years old. In fact, he had been appointed as his father’s representative at Madina at the age of 4. People were incredulous at this, but when they would ask him questions, they were amazed at his mature and scholarly answers. Imam al-Taqi (as) was to set the precedent for the 12th Imam who was to be an Imam at the age of 5.
Imam al-Taqi (as) died in the year 835 A.D by poisoning.
Imam Ali al-Naqi (as)
Imam Ali al-Naqi, also known as Imam Ali al-Hadi, was born in the year 829 A.D. Like his father, he became an Imam at a very young age (around 7 or 8). The powers that be at his time had tried to steer him away from the Imamate by appointing a teacher for him to brainwash him away from the religion of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) However, the teacher was shocked at the Imam’s knowledge at such a young age who knew more than his teacher and was able to outsmart him in any Islamic topic.
Again, the Imam’s young age was setting a precedent for the community for the coming of the 12th Imam who was to be an Imam at the age of 5.
Imam Hasan al-Askari (as)
Imam Hasan al-Askari (as) was the son of Imam Ali al-Naqi (as) and was born in the year 846 A.D. Al-Askari means someone who is in house arrest in a military garrison.
An unfortunate characteristic of the 11th Imam’s time was that the Qur’an’s meaning was in disarray. Some people questioned the Qur’an’s integrity, and others deviated its meaning for the sake of their own interests. Despite being in house arrest for much of his life, Imam al-Askari (as) took the pains to restore the Qur’an and its true meaning in the Muslim community.
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
Descendent of the Prophet
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq
Imam Musa al-Kahdim
Imam Ali al-Rida
Imam Muhammad al-Taqi
Imam Ali al-Naqi
Imam Hasan al-Askari
Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi
Ahl al-Bayt: Ethical Role Models by Ansariyan
Ahl al-Bayt and Caliphate by Murtaza Mutahhari
A Brief History of the Lives of the Twelve Imams
A Concise Treatise on the Twelve Imams by Ayatullah Jawad Tabrizi