Wiladat of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (AS) 1st Rajab
1st Rajab 57 AH in Madina
Titles Baqir; Shakir; Haadi
Death 7th Dhulhijjah 114 AH in Madina
“Indeed Allah has hidden three things in three others: His pleasure in His obedience. So do not belittle anything from His obedience since His pleasure may be in the same one. And Allah has concealed His wrath and anger in sins. So do not belittle any sin and consider it to be small. May be the wrath of Allah is in it. And He has concealed His friends and saints among the people. So do not look down upon anyone perhaps he may be the friend and saint of Allah.” (Bihar al-Anwaar)
The blessed Imam was born on 1stRajab 57AH in Madina. His mother was Fatima, the daughter of Imam al-Hasan (A) and his father was Imam Ali bin Husain, Zain al-Abidin (A). He was unique amongst the Imams (A) in that both his paternal and maternal grandfathers were also Imams (A). He was present in Kerbala – he was only 4 years old, but remembered the events clearly. The insignia of his ring was “Al Izzatu Lillah” – All greatness/honour belongs to God. 1
According to many traditions, the name – which means expounder of sciences/knowledge was bestowed to him by the Prophet (S) in a tradition that goes back to Jabir bin Abdallah al-Ansari. Thus it is reported on the authority of Jabir in a direct tradition:
The Apostle of God (S), said to me: “You will live until you meet one of my children descended from al-Husain (A), called Muhammad, who will split wide open knowledge of religion. When you meet him, recite my greeting to him.” 2
Imam al-Baqir (A) himself reported:
I visited Jabir bin ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, may God be pleased with him. I greeted him and he returned my greeting. Then he said to me: “Who are you?” That was after he had lost his sight. I answered, “Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Husain, peace be on them.”
“My young child, come close to me” he said. I went closer and he kissed my hand. Then he stooped down to my foot and kissed that. I turned away from him. Then he said to me: “The Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, recites his greeting to you.”
“Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be on the Apostle of God” I said. “How is that, Jabir?” He told me: “One day I was with him when he said to me: “Jabir, perhaps you will live until you meet one of my descendants called Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Husayn, peace be on them, on whom God will bestow light and wisdom. Then recite to him my greetings.” 3
His Eminence amongst Scholars
Sunni and Shi’a sources describe Imam al-Baqir (A) as an eminent scholar. He is well known among the early fuqaha (jurists). His traditions appear in major works of hadith, and he is an authority for al-Tabari’s historical and exegetical works. In Sufi circles, too, Imam al-Baqir’s sayings are quoted. In Shi’a tradition (both Ithna’ashari and Ismaili), Imam al-Baqir is seen as the inaugurator of the legal and religious teachings that were further developed under his son and successor, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq. Zaydi tradition, too, relied heavily on Imam al-Baqir through his disciple, Abul-Jarrud.
Imam al-Baqir lived at a time in history when religious doctrine was at the centre of both the intellectual and political life of the community. The late first and early second centuries of Islam were crucial times for establishing the foundation of the studies connected with the Qur’an; this involved interpretation of the Qur’an that relied, in turn, on the recollected actions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Madina, where Imam al-Baqir resided, continued to be the centre of religious learning after the time of the Prophet, and it was in this cusp of history that Imam al-Baqir played a remarkably significant role.
1. al-Kafi, 2/473
2. Mufid, al-Irshad
Article taken from course notes “The History of the Imams” by Sheikh Abbas Jaffer.
The Title: al-Baqir [al-Ulum] and the Greetings of the Prophet (S)