The psychological aspect of Imam al-Sadiq’s (as) personality represents whatever human beings might be honoured with and all nobilities of character and honourable tendencies by which man may soar.
In the personality of Imam al-Sadiq (as), all sublime elements that made him an excellent comprehensive exemplar for humankind and an ever-existent Muslim example amass. The beam of this example covered the entire earth. We will touch some of his personal characters that have enlightened the entire darkness of horizons and the entire ignorance of all ages. These characters have also been the subjective continuation of his grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S), who civilized nations, honoured humankind and demonstrated knowledge.
Imamate is one of the most prominent values in the personality of Imam Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq (as), because he would not be endued with Imamate unless he would join all characters of perfection.
Imamate is a gift granted by Allah (SwT) to the best of His servants. Just like Prophethood, Imamate is not subjected to the choice or election of people; rather, it is deserved by none except one whom Allah (SwT) chooses to lead the nation spiritually for a certain period and one whom He grants such unique spiritual and energies that none else owns. Since Imamate is one of the most prominent characteristics of the Imam (as), he paid lots of attention to it and granted it high importance. There are several evidences among the collection of traditions regarding the case. Among those are the following.
Imamate is one of the main methodologies in the policy of Islam. It aims at distributing justice, security and comfort among the people. Imam al-Sadiq (as) has announced the following about the necessity of the existence of a just Imam amongst the people:
“Allah (SwT), praise and glory be to Him, is too exalted and great to leave the earth without a just Imam (i.e. leader).”
A just Imam is the heart of the society and the principle of its progress since he establishes perfect justice and pure right among people and fulfils all their requirements and wishes.
The Immaculate Imams (as) are the representatives of Allah (SwT) on the earth and His arguments against His servants. This fact has been confirmed in many traditions that are reported from the Imams (as). Imam al-Sadiq (as) once said:
“The Successors are the doors from which Allah, praise and glory be to Him, can be reached. Without these Successors, Almighty Allah (SwT) would not have been known. Through them, the Almighty established arguments against His servants.”
The Imams (as) are the delegates of the Holy Prophet (S), the custodians of his knowledge and the doors to his wisdom. It is they who carried the lantern of monotheism and always confronted the anti-Islam currents. Without their sacrifices, none would have ever served or professed Allah (SwT) as the One and Only Lord.
The Infallible Imams (as) are the tree of Prophethood and the essence of Messengership. Listen to what Imam al-Sadiq (as), the successor of Prophethood, says:
“We are the tree of Prophethood, the house of mercy, the keys to wisdom, the core of science, the object of the Message, the frequently visited by angels and the hoarders of Allah’s (SwT) secrets. We are also the deposit of Allah (SwT) with His servants. We are the greatest sanctuary of Allah (SwT). We are the inviolability of Allah (SwT). We are the pledge to Allah (SwT). Hence, whoever fulfils his pledge to us has in reality fulfilled his pledge to Allah (SwT) and whoever breaks his pledge to us has in reality broken his pledge to Allah (SwT).”
The Imams (as) of the Ahl al-Bayt (i.e. the family of the Holy Prophet (S)) are the commissioners of Allah’s (SwT) commands and the hoarders of His knowledge. Imam al-Sadiq (as) has indicated to this point by saying:
“We are the commissioners of Allah’s (SwT) commands and the hoarders of His knowledge.”
Imam al-Sadiq (as) emphasized the necessity of obeying and recognizing the Imams (as), considering these two to be among the essential elements of faith. Consider the following brilliant tradition from Imam al-Sadiq (as):
“Verily, you will not be righteous before you recognize, you will not recognize before you believe, and you will not believe before you submit. These are the four pillars none of which is admitted without the others. Those who adhere to three and deny one (of these four pillars) have completely strayed off and have wandered in a remote error.
Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, admits nothing but a righteous deed. He does not admit but meeting of the qualifications and fulfilment of the pledges. Hence, whoever meets the qualifications that Allah, the Almighty and Majestic, sets and applies himself to the terms of the pledges that He decides and fulfils his promise to Him, then verily Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has already guided His servants to the path of true guidance, installed the lantern that they should follow when taking this path, and taught them how to take that path. He thus said, ‘And most surely I am most Forgiving to him who repents and believes and does good, then continues to follow the right direction.’ He also said, ‘Allah doth accept of the sacrifice of those who are righteous.’
One who fears Allah (SwT) in what He commanded one to do will meet Allah (SwT) as believer in what Muhammad, peace be upon him and his Household, has come with. Too far has it been! Too far has it been! Many a people have missed that and died before they could find the true guidance while they misthought that they had believed while they have actually set other gods with Allah (SwT) wherefrom they did not realize.
Most surely, one who has entered the houses from their doors has followed the true guidance; but one who has followed other ways has taken the path of destruction.
Allah (SwT) has established a connection between the obedience to the men of His authority to the obedience to His Prophet (S) and between the obedience to His Prophet (S) to the obedience to Him. Hence, he who repudiates obedience to the men of Allah’s authority has obeyed neither Allah nor His Prophet. This is the submission to what has been sent down from Allah, the Almighty and Majestic.
Take your adornments with yourself when you are directing towards mosques and enter the Houses that Allah (SwT) allowed to be elevated and where He permitted His Name to be called. He has informed you that these (who do so) are men who are never distracted by business or trading from praising Allah (SwT), establishing regular prayers and giving alms. They fear the day on which hearts and eyes are anxious.
Allah (SwT) has devoted His Messengers (as) to performing His commands. He then devoted them to Himself after they had believed in His warnings. He thus said: ‘There never was a people without a warner having lived among them (in the past).’
Straying off is he who is ignorant, and following the true guidance is he who has observed and understood. Allah, the Almighty and Majestic, says, ‘Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts.’ How can one be guided without ever trying to see? How can one see without ever trying to think?
Follow the Messenger of Allah (S) and his Household, submit to what was come from Allah (SwT), follow the traces of guidance, for they are the signs of honesty and piety, and be it known to you that he is truly nonbeliever that who denies Jesus the son of Mary as Prophet and confesses to the Prophethood of all the other Messengers. Pursue the path (of true guidance) by following the lantern. Figure out the traces from behind the screens so that you will have all the affairs of your religion perfected and you will believe in Allah (SwT) as your Lord.”
This holy tradition bears a creative method that necessitates recognition of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) who are the source of awareness and intellectuality in the Islamic world. The Imam (as) has established a connection between obedience to them and obedience to Allah (SwT). Thus, he who obeys them has in fact obeyed Allah (SwT), because they are the commissioners of carrying out His commands and the guides to the obedience to Him and the winning of His pleasure.
Imam al-Sadiq (as) gave a speech before a crowd of Muslims, expressing the supremacy, position, and great regard of the Ahl al-Bayt (as). Amongst those expressions are the following:
“Indeed, Allah the Almighty and Majestic has made clear His religion through the Imams of true guidance from the family of our Prophet (S), demonstrated the path to His course through them, and opened the esoteric fountains of His knowledge through them.
Anyone, belonging to the nation of Muhammad (S), who recognizes his duty towards his Imam will definitely taste the sweetness of his faith and will have acquaintance with the virtue of the pleasure of belonging to Islam, because Allah the Blessed and Exalted has appointed the Imam as signpost for His creatures, specified him as argument against the elements of His creation and world. Allah (SwT) has dressed the Imam with the crown of dignity and overcast him with the light of the Omnipotent Lord.
The Imam is connected to the Heavens through a connection due to which the materials of the heavens are never interrupted. All that which is with Allah (SwT) cannot be obtained except by a means of the Imam. Moreover, Allah (SwT) does not accept His servants’ deeds except by means of their recognition of the Imam. The Imam is thus familiar with whatever is relegated to him, such as murky confusing issues, mystifying traditions, and baffling seductive matters.
Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has always chosen them (i.e. the Imams), to lead His creatures, from the descendents of al-Husayn (as) and from the offspring of each Imam, by selecting and deciding on them, and accepting them for (leading) His creatures and approving of them.
Whenever an Imam passed away, Allah (SwT) elected another Imam from the offspring of the previous one to lead His creatures and to be a principal and evident signpost, an illuminating guide, a custodian leader, and a knowledgeable argument. The Imams (as) are thus appointed by Allah (SwT) to guide to the truth and to apply justice.
They are the proofs, demonstrators, and custodians appointed by Allah (SwT). The servants are led to the true religion through their (i.e. the Imams’ (as)) guidance, the countries are lit up by their light, and the lands are grown up through their blessings. Allah (SwT) has made them life for the beings, lanterns in murkiness, keys to wordings, and pillars of Islam.
Thus have the decrees of Allah (SwT) been incumbently decided for them. The Imam is thus the purely selected, the well pleased, the guide, the entrusted with the divine secret, the undertaker of the mission, and the expected (for establishing the religion). Allah (SwT) has chosen him for this, brought him up before His Eye in the First World when He created him and in the first creation when He created him as shadow before the creation of any other being to the right of the Divine Throne, endowing him with wisdom in the Unseen Knowledge with Him.
Allah (SwT) has thus chosen him out of His knowledge and selected him for his purity as the best representative of Adam (as), the most preferred among Noah’s (as) offspring, the most elected from Abraham’s (as) family, the best of Ishmael’s (as) progeny, and the most select of Muhammad’s descendents, peace be upon him and his Household.
The Imam has always been supervised by the Eye of Allah (SwT), Who has always guarded him and put him under the watch of His covering. The tricks of Iblis (i.e. Satan) and his troops are warded off from him, the gloom of evils and the puffing of all wicked beings are kept away from him, and the perpetrations of malevolence are fended off from him.
He has also been far away from defects, screened against faults, protected against slips, safeguarded against all sorts of indecencies, well known for forbearance and dutifulness in his early age, and ascribed to chastity, knowledge, and virtue in his late age.
The mission of his father is referred to him although he keeps silence during the Imamate of his father. Then, when the period of Imamate of his father terminates as Allah (SwT) has decided for him and the will of Allah (SwT) has been decided for him (i.e. the next Imam), the command of Allah (SwT) will be his, the religion will be his responsibility, he is appointed as the argument against the servants and the custodian of the lands, he is supported by the Spirit of Allah (SwT), endued with the knowledge of Allah (SwT), informed of the virtue of explication, entrusted with the secret of Allah (SwT), commissioned to carry out the great liability, informed of the virtue of the explication of His knowledge, appointed as the signpost for His creatures, and made the argument against the inhabitants of His world, the lantern for the people of His religion, and the custodian on His servants.
Hence, Allah (SwT) has accepted him as their leader, entrusting him with His secret, commissioning him to retain His knowledge, handing him over His wisdom, asking him to safeguard His religion, deciding on him to carry out the great responsibility of (managing) His affairs, and restoring to life the courses of His path, obligations, and provisions through him.
He will then maintain justice when people of ignorance will be too perplexed to find the truth due to the spurious argument arisen by the people of baseless arguments by demonstrating the glowing illumination and healing remedy that is shown by means of the manifest right and evident explication that establishes exits from every item of confusion towards the course that was adopted by his past veracious fathers, peace be upon them all.
So, no one can ever neglect the right of his knowledgeable person except the miserable, no one will struggle against him except the deluded, no one will fend off except one who challenges Allah, the Majestic and Exalted.”
This lecture contains very important topics. What follows are some of them:
First: Allah, the Exalted, has enlightened the features and laws of the religion through the Imams of true guidance who explained these features and laws for all people and made them aware of whatever may take them nearer to Allah (SwT).
Second: Allah, the Exalted, appointed Imam Ali (as) as the leading personality for the nation and the referential authority for people after the great Prophet (S). It is thus Almighty Allah (SwT) Who crowned Imam Ali (as) with Imamate and endued him with all items of virtue. Similarly, He appointed the Imams of true guidance to lead this nation after him in order to guide them towards achieving their goals and expectations.
Third: The Imam, in the previous discourse, has highlighted the lofty attributes by which the Holy Imams (as) are characterized, such as knowledge, forbearance, inerrancy, as well as many other high moral standards and nobilities of character.
Most certainly, Allah the Exalted has granted the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) knowledge, wisdom and clear judgment due to which, as is unanimously agreed upon by historians and narrators, they had huge scientific capabilities although they did not join any school or teaching institute of that time.
Supporting this fact, historians have narrated that al-Mamoun, the Abbasidd ruler, summoned all scholars of that time to Khurasan, a city northern Iran, to examine Imam Ar-Ridha (as), in the hope that he would fall short to answer any of their questions and, as a result, the ruler would find a presence to disprove the Shiah’s claiming their Imams (as) being the most knowledgeable in all fields of knowledge, and the most skilful in the laws of the Islamic code of law.
Scholars gathered in Khurasan after they had prepared the most complicated and ambiguous problems in the various fields of knowledge, such as medicine, philosophy, physics, chemistry and so forth. They asked the Imam (as) twenty four thousand questions in different sessions. He expertly answered all their questions causing them to be astonished by his huge scientific wealth. They therefore had to confess of his Imamate. Al-Mamoun then had to prevent the Imam (as) from meeting with scholars so that people would not be charmed by him.
Al-Mamoun did the same thing with Imam al-Jawad (as), who was a young adolescent when he took over the Imamate after his father’s death. Scholars of Baghdad asked him about the most complicated questions and he proficiently answered them, covering the askers with astonishment and making most of them believe in his Imamate1. There are so many proofs in this regard.
Imam Ali (as) once expressed the following:
“If I were given the position of judgment, I would issue religious decrees for the followers of Torah, Gospel, and the Quran according to their own books.”
He has also said, “Ask me before you lose me.”
He has also stated, “Ask me about the routs of the heavens, because I know them more than I know the routs of the earth.”
This is why people were so perplexed about his character that a group of them exaggerated about him to the degree that they ascribed Godhead to him.
Talking about the vastness of the Ahl al-Bayt’s (as) knowledge, Imam al-Sadiq (as), once, said to Abu Basir,
“O! Abu Muhammad! Almighty Allah did not grant anything to the Prophets (as) before He had decided it for Prophet Muhammad (S). He thus granted Prophet Muhammad (S) everything He had given the Prophets (as), and we are the inheritors of Muhammad (S), and we have with us the tablets of Abraham (as) and Moses (as).”
Abu Basir asked, “Do you mean these tablets?” “Yes, I do”, answered the Imam.2
Bakr ibn Bakr al-Sayrafi has reported that he heard Abu Abdullah (al-Sadiq (as)) saying,
“We have things that make us dispense with Opinionism (ray), analogy (qiyas), and all people, while all people do need us. This is a book, dictated by the Prophet (S) and handwritten by Imam Ali (as), which comprises every legal and illegal item. Due to this book too, we know whether you will accept or deny the advice that we offer to you when you ask us anything.3
Imam al-Sadiq (as) has developed the knowledge with his creative thoughts and precise sights filling the earth with his sciences. He once said:
“Ask me before losing me. No one will speak to you as I do.”
No other one said this statement except his grandfather, Imam Ali (as). Informing about his knowledge, he said,
“I swear by Allah (SwT) that I know the Book of Allah (SwT) from the beginning to the end as it is part of my existence. It contains the knowledge of the heavens and the news of earth. It includes what happened formerly and what will happen in the future. Allah the Almighty and Majestic, said, ‘The manifestation of everything can be found inside it (i.e. the Holy Quran).’”
Another thing that demonstrated his high knowledge was the four thousands students who distributed sciences and cultures in all Islamic countries and spread the features of religion and the religious instructions.
One of the Imam’s (as) most striking characteristics is his purity and his being away from sins, deterioration and deviation. Infallibility is a grant from Allah (SwT) to His best creatures and to those who are getting closer to Him. It belongs to the great prophets (as) and messengers (as). Imams (as) in turn were also granted this rank as they are among Allah’s (SwT) best creatures both in obedience to Him and in belief in Him.
In addition, they are far from sinning and arrogance. Infallibility is one of the main creeds in which the Shiah believe. Imams (as) must be infallible from any kind of intentional sin. The Shiah present a collection of reasons demonstrating the necessity of infallibility of the Imams (as). We have presented the details of this subject in our book entitled ‘The Life of Imam al- Baqir.’
Imam al-Sadiq (as) was the most generous person at his time. He always tried to donate to the poor and the deprived. Narrators have reported many examples of his generosity, such as the following:
(1) Ashja al-Salami dropped in on to see the Imam (as), but he found him ill. As he asked about the cause, the Imam (as) answered, “Leave the cause. Tell me what for you came.” He answered, “I ask Allah (SwT) to give you the complete health from your illness and sleep. Wish the illness to free you, as you are freed from lowly requesting.” Imam al-Sadiq (as) understood what he needed; he therefore asked his servant whether he had something to give. The servant answered, “I have four hundred.” The Imam (as) ordered him to give it to the man.”
(2) Mufaddhal ibn Rummanah, one of the trustworthy companions, visited Imam al-Sadiq (as) and complained about his bad conditions, asking the Imam (as) to pray for him. The Imam (as) asked his servant to bring that package which Abu Jafar brought. When that package was brought, the Imam (as) said, “This package contains four hundred dinars. This might assist you.” Al- Mufaddhal said, “I swear by Allah (SwT) that I did not come for this, I just wanted to ask for your prayer.” The Imam (as) replied, “I will not forget to pray for you.”
(3) Once a poor man asked Imam al-Sadiq (as) for help, and the Imam (as) granted him four hundred dinars. He took them and thankfully left. The Imam (as) asked his servant to bring him back! His servant said, “He asked and he was given. So what should be there after the donation?” The Imam (as) replied: “The Holy Prophet (S) once said, ‘The best donation is that which enriches.’ But I did not make him rich. Now! Take this jewel and give it to him. I have paid ten thousands dinars for this. If he needs, he may sell it with this price.”
(4) Imam al-Sadiq (as) had a ranch near al-Madinah called Rain Ziyad. It contained a lot of dates. When the dates were ripe, he commanded his agents to open public ways in the walls of the ranch through which people could get inside the garden and get benefits from the dates. He used to order his agents to give an amount of dates to the neighbours of the ranch who could not come either because of old age or illness. What remained would be carried to the city to be distributed among the people and most generally amongst the poor and the needy. The price of the dates that was the result of the ranch reached to four thousands dinars. He used to donate three thousands and keep one thousand for himself.
(5) Imam al-Sadiq (as) used to give whatever he had in charity until no food or cloth would remain for him and his family. One day, a man passed by the Imam (as) who was eating something. The man did not greet the Imam (as), but the Imam (as) invited him to have a share in their meal. Some of his companions were not pleased with this invitation; they therefore said, “Usually, one should greet and then being invited, but this man did not greet you intentionally.” The Imam (as) smilingly faced him and said: “This is a kind of method that has some miserliness.”
Secret donation is one of the most outstanding tasks one may do. It is favoured by Almighty Allah because it stands for a pure task that no worldly aim can be mixed with. In view of that, the Holy Imams (as) used to encourage people to practice it and to take it as life style. Imam al-Sadiq (as), as well as the other Holy Imams (as), used to help the poor in dark nights carrying packages on his shoulder containing bread, meat and money.
Nobody could understand until the Imam (as) would pass away. Only then could they understand that it was Imam al-Sadiq (as) who used to carry food and other things to them, because by his death, this custom was interrupted.
Ismail ibn Jabir said: “Abu Abdullah (as) gave me fifty dinars in a pack and told me to pass it to a Hashemite person without letting him know about the source of this donation. I gave that person that pack and he asked about the source of the pack. I informed him that it was from someone who did not want you to know him. He replied, ‘This person has been sending me such money, helping me go on my life, while I have never received anything from Jafar!’”
Another example on the Imam’s (as) generosity was his interest in guests whom he used to honour and receive hospitably. It is narrated that Imam al-Sadiq (as) used to welcome and serve his guests personally. He used to serve them with the best and most delicious food, saying, “One who loves us more will eat more here.” Every day, he used to order his servants to cook ten bags of food, each back feeding ten persons.
Imam al-Sadiq (as) was also characterized by unselfishness and inclination to modesty although he was the master of Muslims and the leader of millions. As a sign of modesty, he used to sit on mats as he refused to sit on luxurious rugs. He always rejected the arrogant. One time, he asked someone about the chief of his tribe. The man answered, “I am.” The Imam (as) denied this reply and said, “If you were actually the head and the master, you would not say it in this way.”
He hated arrogance and looking down at people, considering these two traits as the worst traits that lead men to ill reputation and bad end result.
This is a story demonstrating the Imam’s (as) modesty and self-denial: An ordinary man used to accompany the Imam (as) for a while. After some time, the Imam (as) missed the man and asked about him. Another man answered scornfully, “He is Nabataean!” The Imam (as) replied, “The origin of each individual is his intellect; his fame is his religion; his generosity is his faith; and all people are of the same origin.”
Imam al-Sadiq (as) was famed for his high moral standards. He could capture hearts with his behaviour, which was the continuation of his grandfather’s morality, who exalted the rest of the Prophets (as) with the nobility of his character. One of his high morality and nobility was his kindness to those who behaved badly with him.
Narrators mentioned that a man, in the Hajj ceremony, thought that his bag was lost. He went out to look for it and saw Imam al-Sadiq (as) praying in the Prophetic Mosque. He went there and said the following without ever knowing the Imam (as), “Did you take my bag?” “What was in it?” Imam (as) replied kindly and friendly. “One thousand dinars” the man said. Then Imam (as) gave him a thousand dinars and the man returned to his place where he suddenly found his bag. He returned to the Imam (as) carrying the bag and asking forgiveness. The Imam (as) did not accept to take the bag and said, “What goes out of my hand will not return to it.” The man was left in surprise and afterwards he was told that the man was Jafar al-Sadiq (as). He went back saying with astonishment, “It is not surprising for this man to do such things.”
Imam al-Sadiq (as) is reported to have said,
“We are from a family whose morality calls us to forgive those who behave badly with us.”
Honouring the attendants of his lectures, he once said,
“By Allah (SwT), I have not seen a gathering more noble and honourable than yours.”
One of the striking characteristics of the Imam (as) was his high patience in hard times. As an instance of his patience we can mention the time when his son Ismail, who was an outstanding figure in politeness, knowledge and kindness, was dead. At that period, he invited some of his friends and provided the best meal.
Afterwards, some of his companions posed the following question: “Our master! Why cannot we see the sign of sadness in your face because of your son?” He answered: “I am nothing other than what you are looking at.”
There is a statement made by the most honest, who is his grandfather, the Prophet (S), saying: “My companions! I will die as well as you will.”
Willingness to pray to Almighty Allah is one of Imam al-Sadiq’s (as) most prominent characteristics. He was one of the most obedient slaves to Almighty Allah at his time. He was the most sincere in worshiping Allah (SwT) to the most extent. What follows is a brief of his prayers and adorations.
Prayer is one of the most important obligations in Islam, and Imam al-Sadiq (as) praised this kind of worship in many of his speeches, as follows:
“Nothing, other than knowledge, makes a servant closer to Allah (SwT) than praying.
Prayer is the most important thing in Almighty Allah’s view on the Resurrection Day. What is better for a servant than having a good ablution?
Prayer saves all the devout.
The dearest practice to Allah, the Almighty and Majestic, is prayer. It is the last advice of the Prophet (S). So, whenever one wants to do the best, one may perform (the ritual) ablution and then change the place to somewhere quiet where no one can see him. Afterwards, one may turn to Allah (SwT) kneeling and bowing. Once a slave lengthens his prostration, Satan shouts saying: ‘Woe unto you! You obeyed and I did not, you prostrated and I denied.’”
Abu Basir narrated the following: “I visited Umm Hamidah to express my sympathy. She wept and I wept for her weeping. Then she said: Abu Muhammad! If you were looking at Abu Abdullah (as) when he was close to death, you would become astonished. He opened his eyes and said: ‘Gather all those whom there are relations between us.’ Then she added that they called all the relatives and left no one. He then looked at them and said:
‘Our intercession will not be for those who disparage prayer.’”
Many narrations have discussed the high regard and importance of prayer in the view of the Holy Imams (as). This emphasizes that prayer is amongst the best practices that draws nearer to Almighty Allah. When the Imam (as) planned to pray, his face would turn into yellow and his body would tremble because of fear of Allah (SwT) and His Majesty.
It is also worth mentioning that the Imam (as) would not miss any supererogatory prayer, which he used to perform with full submissiveness.
Fasting is considered an important obligation in Islam, in addition to its significance in social benefits, moral and health concerns. It is also considered protection and prevention from Hellfire, as Imam al-Sadiq (as) expressed.
Imam al-Sadiq (as) urged fasters to adorn their behaviours with the following cases. He said:
“If you fast, try preventing your ears, eyes and tongue from doing what is wrong and disallowed. Leave arguing, hurting servant and try treating in a way to show the sedateness of a faster. Do not make the day on which you fast be the same as the day you do not.”
He observed fasting most of the days of his life in order to get closer to Almighty Allah. Speaking about the blessed month of Ramadhan, he prepared himself to receive this month with high eagerness. There are also some significant traditions regarding looking at the crescent (new moon) as well as others related to the days of the month, the Qadr Night and Greater Bairam.
Hajj, in addition to its holiness, is considered one of the most striking political meetings in the Islamic world. It is aimed at discussing the most important problems facing Muslims whether they are economical, social or external political issues. In addition to the above-mentioned cases, Hajj is one of the most outstanding relations that allow Muslims to know one another.
Imam al-Sadiq (as) performed the ritual Hajj several times and met a large number of Muslims therein. He was the teacher and guide for them in Hajj issues. The Imam (as) and his father did their best in teaching the Hajj instructions, from which narrators and jurisprudents took their instructions.
He used to perform the Hajj ceremony with precise modesty starting from Tawaf (circumambulation of the Holy Kabah) and then staying at Mount Arafah and Mina. Bakr ibn Muhammad al-Azdi narrated the following: “I went out to perform my Tawaf. Next to me was Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq (as). Afterwards, he went and prayed in a corner between The House and the Black Stone, when I heard the following from him:
‘I have prostrated humbly for you. There is truly no God but You, before everything and after everything. I am in your presence. Forgive me, as no one is able to forgive heavy sins save You. Forgive me! I am confessing my sins. No one is able to remove the heavy sins other than you.’
Then, he raised his noble head, as if his head was dipped in water because of weeping.”
Hamad ibn Uthman said: “I have seen Abu Abdullah Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) in a situation raising his hands towards the sky. This was the same situation in which the Prophet (S) was and his palms were towards the sky.”
He used to say the following when leaving the Holy Kabah:
“Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest! O Allah! Do not harden our tribulations and do not let our enemies gloat at our misfortunes. You are the One Who can both hurt and help.”
It is worth mentioning that Hafs ibn Umar, the muezzin of Ali ibn Yaqtin, said: “We informed people that the best person would stand in front of them in Hajj (in 140 A.H.). I went to Hajj at that year but I was shocked with the fact that Ismail ibn Abdullah ibn Abbas stood there. A heavy sorrow surrounded us, but after a few minutes we saw Imam Abu Abdullah (as) standing up next to him and this brought back happiness to me. Then I went announcing the good news to my companions and I said: ‘This is the best person whom I talked about earlier.’”
He was among the greatest modest persons in Hajj ceremony. Sufyan al- Thawri narrated the following: “I swear by Allah (SwT) that I have never seen anyone similar to Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) in undertaking the Hajj ceremony. When he reached Arafah, he went aside from people and undertook his prayers there.”
Imam al-Sadiq (as) shocked the world with his intelligence, creativity and what could be considered the establishment of Islamic culture, enhancing the mankind’s intellect with the variety of knowledge and sciences.
Scholars in different eras were astonished by his huge scientific capabilities, confessing and believing in his superiority as one of the important figures in creating the human civilization. We will come across some of the Imams (as) and other personalities who made valuable expressions regarding the excellence of this great Imam (as).
Imam Baqir (as) publicly announced the superiority of his son, Imam al-Sadiq (as), in front of his followers. What follows are amongst his sayings:
Tahir narrated the following: “I was beside Abu Jafar (as) when Jafar (as) came. Then Abu Jafar (as) said: ‘This is the best creature.’”
There is no expression greater, simpler, more eloquent and more realistic than this word that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) stated about his son Imam al-Sadiq (as) who was really the greatest in morality, sciences and virtue. Therefore he is indeed the greatest creature in the world.
Abul-Sabbah al-Kinani narrated the following: “Abu Jafar (as) took a look at Abu Abdullah (as) who was walking and said: ‘Do you see this? He is one of those about whom Allah (SwT) said: And We wished to be Gracious to those who were being depressed in the land, to make them leaders (in Faith) and make them heirs.’”
The family of the Prophet (S) lived under pressure during the Umayyad ruling regime. The Umayyad governors exaggerated in their cruelty, brutality and persecution against this family. That is why none of the Imams (as) was able to distribute knowledge and sciences among people at that time.
But at the time of Imam al-Sadiq (as), the Umayyad ruling regime had to encounter unsettlement, riots and then finally been abolished. Imam al-Sadiq (as) seized this opportunity to undertake his mission. So, he played a role and established spiritual kingdom around the nation by extending various sciences, expanding the jurisprudence of Islam to a level due to which all the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt School could gain the required knowledge. This caused their school to be one of the richest schools in Islam due to advanced jurisprudence that kept race with all ages all over history. That is why Imam al-Sadiq (as) was among the most brilliant Imams (as) that the above-mentioned verse addressed.
The great revolutionist, Zayd ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn, declared his idea regarding his brother’s son Imam al-Sadiq (as). In a statement about his high rank and great position, Zayd stated the following:
“In all time, Almighty Allah establishes an argument-person against his creatures in order not to miss the true path. The argument in our era is the son of my brother, Jafar (as) by whom no follower will be lost and no denier will be guided to the truth.”
Zayd was always admired by the excellence of his nephew, Imam al-Sadiq (as). Once he told his followers: “He who likes jihad comes with me but he who likes science may go with my nephew, Jafar (as).” As Zayd was the eternal brave in the Islamic world, his nephew, Imam al-Sadiq (as), was the greatest referential authority in jurisprudence and science.
Yahya ibn Zayd, one of the great personalities of the prophetic family, is considered the bravest men in Islamic fights against the cruel authorities. He was asked about the Imam of his time the obedience to whom is compulsory, and he answered: “He is Jafar (as). He is the most knowledgeable jurisprudent in Banou-Hashim.”
Malik ibn Anas, a founder of the Malikiyyah School, met Imam al-Sadiq (as) and expressed his high interest in his great personality, which covered the earth with excellence and effects. He said:
“I met Jafar ibn Muhammad (as). I have never seen him in a state other than one of the following: Either praying or fasting or reciting the Holy Quran. I never saw him speaking about the Prophet (S) unless being clean and pure. He did not speak about something he was not concerned with. He was among those ascetic scholars who feared Allah (SwT) when praying.”
Malik ibn Anas indicated the following about the superiority of Imam al-Sadiq (as):
“No eyes have ever seen, no ears have ever heard and no hearts have ever noticed anyone greater than Jafar ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (as) in his knowledge, sciences, prayers and devoutness.”
In the eyes of the founders of the Islamic schools of thoughts, Imam al-Sadiq (as) was seen as a great personality. They were sure about his being the most outstanding referential authority in Islam regarding his jurisprudence and the other fields of knowledge. Abu Hanifah, who had the honour of being one of Imam al-Sadiq’s (as) students, expressed his idea and spoke about him with interest and astonishment. He made a variety of statements regarding the Imam’s (as) high position.
Abu Hanifah declared that the period in which he studied under Imam al-Sadiq (as) assisted him in establishing a strong fundament of his jurisprudence. He said:
“Without these two years, there would not be Numan (Abu Hanifah).”
Commenting on this statement, Al-Alousi says, “Abu Hanifah, the founder of a major Sunni school of law, takes pride and frankly says, ‘Without these two years, there would not be Numan.’ By this, he refers to the two years when he studied under Imam al-Sadiq (as).”
Abu Hanifah has reported the following incident:
“I have never seen anyone more knowledgeable in jurisprudence than Jafar ibn Muhammad (as). One day, al-Mansour, the Abbasidd ruler, summoned him. Just before that, al-Mansour summoned me and said, ‘Abu Hanifah! People here are astonished by Jafar ibn Muhammad (as); I therefore want you to prepare the most difficult questions you can to forward to him.’ I prepared forty questions.
Afterwards, al-Mansour, who was in al-Hirah, asked me to come. I went there and found Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) sitting on his right side. As soon as I saw Jafar (as), I was astounded by his dignity more than I was with the ruler, al-Mansour. I greeted him and he pointed to me to have a seat.
The ruler turned to Jafar (al-Sadiq (as)) and said, ‘Abu Abdullah! This is Abu Hanifah.’ Jafar (as) said, “Yes!” Then, al-Mansour turned to me and said, ‘Abu Hanifah! Forward your questions to Abu Abdullah (as).’ I began asking and he replied all my questions as follows: ‘According to your view, the answer is so-and-so. According to the view of the people of Medina, the answer is so-and-so. However, in my view, the answer is so-and-so.’ He would agree to my or the people of Medina’s view in some questions while he would reject the all in other questions. The same was done with all of my forty questions.
I have always said that the most knowledgeable of all people is the one who is most acquainted with all of the different views of people.”
We can conclude the following points from the abovementioned report of Abu Hanifah:
(1) The incident indicates that the Abbasidd ruling authorities feared from the gathering of people around the Holy Prophet’s (S) progeny in general and Imam al-Sadiq (as) in particular, because they understood that such gathering represented a continuation of the Holy Prophet (S) and Imam Ali (as), a matter that would deprive the Abbasidd rulers of any national support, and a fact that increased their fury and desire for getting rid of the Holy Prophet’s (S) progeny, represented by their head, Imam al-Sadiq (as).
(2) The dignity of Imam al-Sadiq (as), which resembled the dignity of the prophets (as), overflowed Abu Hanifah to the extent that it went away with the dignity of the ruler himself.
(3) This incident indicates that Imam al-Sadiq (as) was full acquainted with all views in jurisprudence issues and proves that he was the most well-informed of all laws of Islam, as Abu Hanifah stated.
Abu Hanifah is also reported to have said:
“Without Jafar ibn Muhammad (as), people would be left unaware of the Hajj laws.”
He is also reported to have said:
“Nobody has ever seen someone more knowledgeable than Jafar ibn Muhammad (as). He is the most knowledgeable in the Muslim nation.”
Abd al-Rahman ibn Abu Layla al-Ansari, one of the most brilliant jurisprudents of his time, was the judge-in-chief in both the Umayyad and Abbasidd reigns. He confessed the superiority of Imam al-Sadiq (as) in the fields of jurisprudence and judgment.
All scholars unanimously agreed that Imam al-Sadiq (as) was the highest referential authority in all issues concerning laws of Islam and his words were the final in all debates and arguments.
Amr ibn Thabit, known as Ibn Abul-Miqdam al-Haddad al-Koufi, was one of the Shiite, striking and trustworthy figures. He was contemporary with a number of the Holy Imams (as) and he believed in them as the arks of salvation and sources of security for the nation. He made a golden statement regarding Imam al-Sadiq (as), saying:
“Whenever I looked at Jafar ibn Muhammad (as), I believed more and more that he was from the Holy Prophets’ (S) descendents.”
Al-Mansour al-Dawaneeqi, the second Abbasidd ruler, was the most violent enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt (as). He made innumerable attempts to hurt them and they suffered much from him, even more than what they endured from the Umayyad rulers. In spite of his spiteful personality towards the Ahl al-Bayt (as), the characteristics of Imam al-Sadiq (as) overwhelmed him and forced him to make some expressions admiring the superiority of the Imam (as). Some of them are as follows:
After the death of Imam al-Sadiq (as), al-Mansour said:
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) was one of those about whom Almighty Allah said: ‘Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our Servants as We have chosen.(35:32)’ He was one of those whom Allah (SwT) chose and those hurrying towards performing good doings.”
Most certainly, Imam al-Sadiq (as) is one of those whom Almighty Allah gave the Book, knowledge and wisdom in inheritance. He was granted excellent capability of delivering lectures as he excelled all the others in kindness, morality and perfection.
Addressing Imam al-Sadiq (as), al-Dawaneeqi said:
“We are still benefiting from your ocean and visiting you. It is you who restore light to the blind and light up gloom. Therefore, we are circumambulating your holy places and your endless oceans.”
These words indicate that al-Mansour was interested in the huge scientific capabilities of the Imam (as); such science to which all scholars and jurisprudents took recourse.
Addressing those who mentioned the creativity of Imam al-Sadiq (as), al-Mansour said:
“This is what strangles me; he is the most knowledgeable in his time.”
Imam al-Sadiq (as) was the object of a national interest; he enjoyed a distinctive position in the Muslim world, which al-Mansour and his family did not have. That is why Imam al-Sadiq (as) represented nightmare for the ruler and something strangled him. In spite of all this, the ruler had no other way than confessing the Imam’s (as) most knowledgeability.
Abd al-Karim ibn Abil-Awja was much more than what could be called unbeliever and infidel. He tried to spread moral corruption among Muslims as he openly waged vehement wars against Islam. Nevertheless, he had to glorify Imam al-Sadiq (as), considering him the only one deserving to be the perfect example of human. He thus stated about the Imam (as):
“He is not a mere human being. He is such a spiritual being who could be human if he wished and would be a spirit if he wished.”
The great poet, Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, was amazed with Imam al-Sadiq (as) and his high position. He therefore composed magnificent poetic verses about the Imam (as), indicating that the Imam (as) had such an admiring personality that it was so difficult to express him as exactly as he deserved, because all words of praise would not describe him as he deserved as he was beyond all words of admiration.
In one of his poems, he conveys the beliefs of the Shiah about the Holy Imams (as) being the Ahl al-Bayt (as), the representatives of the Holy Prophet (S), and the true leaders of the Muslim nation. The Holy Prophet (S) added them to the Holy Quran and described them as the ark of salvation and the sources of security.
Al-Sayyid al-Himyari sincerely admired the Ahl al-Bayt (as) to the most extreme level. He dedicated his creative mind and overflowing intelligence to uttering their superiorities and excellences. In one of his poems, he demonstrates the brilliance of the Imam (as), resembling it to the glory of his great grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S). Alluding to the Imam’s (as) generosity and kindness, the poet proves that all people admit this fact.
Imam al-Sadiq (as) took care of a large number of the poor to the degree that nothing would remain for him and his family, as confirmed by narrators and historians. Referring to this particularity of the Imam (as), al-Sayyid al-Himyari mentioned a similarity between the Imam (as) and his great grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S), in perfection and morality that distinguished the Holy Prophet (S) from the other prophets. So, Imam al-Sadiq (as) was akin to his great grandfather in personality and characteristics.
In another poem, the poet expresses his belief in the superiority of Imam al-Sadiq (as) as being the Argument of Almighty Allah against His creatures and the one and only guide to the true path.
Al-Awni4, the inspired poet, demonstrated his fondness of Imam al-Sadiq (as) and his explicit interest in his personality.
Salih al-Jafari composed some poems admiring the Imam (as) under the title of: Sadiq, the first teacher.
The inspired poet, al-Hasan ibn Muhammad, the follower of Imam al-Sadiq (as) composed some excellent poems about the Ahl al-Bayt (as).
Al-Arbali’s poems revealed the interest of its poet in Imam al-Sadiq (as).
Muayyid al-Din, a brilliant character in the Ismailiyyah Sect, was an inspired poet. He admired Imam al-Sadiq (as) highly and expressed his feelings in many of his poems showing some aspects of the Imam’s (as) personality.
Abu Hatam al-Razi, or Muhammad ibn Idris, was among the most striking scholars of the same level of al-Bukhari and ibn Zarah al-Razi. He made a valuable expression admiring Imam al-Sadiq (as), saying:
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) is such a trustworthy person that none can escalate to level.”
Imam al-Sadiq (as) was the most trustful in narrating and the most honest in speeches. He was called Sadiq because of his high care in what he said. Dissimilar to other narrators’ statements, his statements were not discussed to see whether they were valid or not, but they were wholly accepted.
Ibn Hayyan said:
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) is one of the masters in jurisprudence, knowledge, science and excellence from the Ahl al-Bayt (as).”
Imam al-Sadiq (as), in his knowledge and merits, was a master as he is one of the Holy Imams (as) who were the best creatures of Allah (SwT) in their distinguished acceptability in all characteristics and admirable doings.
Abu Bahr al-Jahiz was a great figure in literature and rhetoric. Although he rejected the divinely commissioned leadership of Imam al-Sadiq (as), he could not stop confessing the Imam’s (as) doubtless superiority, saying:
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) filled the world with knowledge and jurisprudence. It is said that Abu Hanifah and Sufyan al-Thawri were among his students and this is a sufficient pride in this respect.”
These words speak out the great effects of the Imam’s (as) huge capabilities in knowledge and sciences, which filled the world. They also stand as proof of what the Shiah believe; that is the fact that an Imam is the most knowledgeable in his time and no one can ever reach his superiority and comprehensiveness of the various fields of knowledge.
Muhammad ibn Talhah has made a valuable statement regarding the personality of the great Imam (as), saying:
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) is one of the scholars of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) who are well-known for their diverse sciences, abundant worshiping, continuous prayers, worldly renouncement, frequent recitation of the Holy Quran, adherence to its concepts, deriving the most valuable ideas from it, inferring its importance, and spending their time with various kinds of worship so as to guard themselves against all sorts of impiety.
Looking at him reminds us of the Resurrection Day, listening to his speech make us renounce worldly pleasures, and following him guarantees Paradise. He is from the Prophetic Family; the purity of his actions proves his belongingness to the descendent of the Holy Prophet (S). Many traditions were reported from him, many prominent scholars benefited from his knowledge, including Yahya ibn Said al-Ansari, ibn Jarih, Malik ibn Anas, al-Thawri, ibn Uyaynah, Ayyoub al-Sajistani and many others. These master scholars considered what they took from him as honouring grants from them.”
The above-mentioned words reveal some aspects of the Imam’s (as) life, including the following:
(1) The Imam (as) had an absolute experience and a full acquaintance with various fields of knowledge.
(2) The Imam (as) paid much interest in acts of worship and did not miss any single supererogatory prayer.
(3) The Imam (as) was the most ascetic one of his time and the farthest from comforts and luxuries.
(4) He used to recite the Holy Quran carefully and thoughtfully in order to infer all intellectual and behavioural concepts that are included in it to distribute the grasped concepts and thoughts.
(5) He was very precise and exact in managing his time. He tried not to waste any second of his life without doing something that makes Allah (SwT) satisfied with him.
(6) Looking at the Imam (as) reminds of the Hereafter, just like the way looking at his successors who presented their lives for Allah’s (SwT) satisfaction. In addition, listening to his words encouraged people to be ascetic; following him would lead to guidance and adherence to his behaviours would result in gaining Paradise.
(7) A group of prominent Muslim scholars studied under the Imam (as); they used to respect this event and have honour in it.
Ahmad ibn Hajar, a great Muslim scholar, did not believe in the Imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (as). He yet stated the following:
“The knowledge of Imam al-Sadiq (as) has been useful for successive generations. It is distributed in all countries and the founders of many schools of thoughts narrated from his traditions. Among those were Yahya ibn Said, Ibn Jarih, Malik, al-Sufyani, Abu Hanifah, Shubah and Ayyoub Gorjestani.”
Although Muhammad ibn Abd al-Karim Al-Shahristani was known for his unwillingness to the Imams (as), he showed respect, astonishment and interest in the personality of Imam al-Sadiq (as), saying:
“Jafar ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (as) is known for his well-versedness in sciences, comprehensive wisdom, worldly renouncement of pleasures, and complete devoutness in preventing himself from following his personal desires. He spent some time in Medina making his followers benefit from his knowledge and the secrets of sciences.
Afterwards, he entered Iraq and did not mention any single word about Imamate at all. He did not argue anyone about caliphate. Anyone dived and drowned in the ocean of his knowledge would do a mistake and anyone who is lifted to the peak of the truth would fear falling.”
The famous scholar, Ibn al-Sabbagh al-Maliki has admired Imam al-Sadiq (as), saying:
Imam Jafar (as), among his brothers, was the leader, guide, and Imam after his father. He was the most distinguished among the companions and followers, the cleverest, and the most respectful. People narrated many stories about his knowledge, which moved to the coming generations. His fame, virtue, excellence, and characteristics spread in the Islamic world.
Al-Hafiz Abu Naim wrote a comprehensive biography about the Imam (as). He talked about some of his affairs and situations. Here is an excerpt from what he said:
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as), the great speaker, the owner of glorified history, Abu Abdullah Jafar ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq, directed for praying, humility and modesty instead of demanding with rulership.”
Muhammad ibn Hamzah, the chief of Aleppo, expressed his interest in the personality of the Imam (as), saying:
“Abu Abdullah, the great Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq (as) is the owner of creativity, outstanding signs and the knower of unseen.”
The chief pointed to what all historians confess about some of the extraordinary events seen from the Imam (as) who informed and foretold about many events that took place in the future. As an example, the Imam (as) foretold the failure of the revolution conducted by the great leader Dhul-Nafs al-Zakiyyah and his brother and that caliphate would be for Mansour al-Dawaneeqi.
Al-Yafii, in his book about the biography of Imam al-Sadiq (as), expressed his high interest in his personality, saying:
“Being from the Prophetic family and the mine of magnanimity, Abu Abdullah Jafar al-Sadiq (as) is the son of Abu Jafar Muhammad al-Baqir (as), the son of Zayn al-Abidin Ali ibn al-Husayn (as), the Hashemite. His father is from the Prophetic family and his mother is the descendent of Abu Bakr. He was born in 80 A.H. in Media as he passed away there, too. He was buried in Baqi Cemetery near the tombs of his father, Muhammad al-Baqir (as), his grandfather, Zayn al-Abidin (as), and his grandfather’s uncle, Hasan ibn Ali (as).
He was called Sadiq (honest and truthful) because of his honourable and trustful personality. He has invaluable talks in monotheism and other fields of religious knowledge. One of his students, Jabir ibn Hayyan the Sufi, wrote a one thousand page book that included five-hundred theses.”
Dr. Mahmoud al-Khalidi honestly and sincerely wrote about Imam al-Sadiq (as), saying:
“Imam al-Sadiq (as) was indeed the Imam after his father from among his brothers. He surpassed the companions with high superiority. He was the cleverest and most respectful of all. The number of his companions who narrated from him was about four thousand. This is not strange; rather, it is quite normal, because debates about Imamate and infallibility reached the acme in that time.
So, the Shiah had to investigate proofs on the authenticity of that issue. The Ahl al-Bayt (as) are the most knowledgeable in the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (S). It is thus quite usual that they direct towards debates, teachings and discussions, especially when the Umayyad governors did their best in keeping them away from government and policy.”
Sayyid Mir Ali al-Hindi, a creative researcher in Islamic and historical fields, wrote a valuable statement about Imam al-Sadiq (as), saying:
“There is no doubt that distribution of knowledge in that time freed minds. During that time, philosophical debates were held in every Muslim city. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that the leader of this movement was the grandson of Ali ibn Abi-Talib (as); namely, Imam al-Sadiq (as) who was highly intelligent, deep-minded thinker, and well-versed in every field of knowledge.
He is also considered the pioneer in establishing well-known philosophical schools in Islam. Not only did the founders of Muslim school of thoughts attend his lectures, but also many students of philosophy came to him from various regions.”
Ahmad Amin, although known for his unwillingness in the Ahl al-Bayt (as) and spite against their followers, confessed the high position of Imam al-Sadiq (as), the leader of Shiah and the first founder of their jurisprudence. He thus said:
“The greatest personality of that era in Shiah’s constitution of laws, or perhaps the most striking personality in that age, or even all ages, was Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as).”
Peters al-Bustani said the following about the personality of the great Imam (as):
“Jafar al-Sadiq (as), the son of Muhammad al-Baqir (as), the son of Ali Zayn al-Abidin (as), the son of al-Husayn (as), the son of Ali ibn Abi-Talib (as), is one of the Shiah’s Twelve Imams (as). He was from the masters of the Ahl al-Bayt (as). He was called Sadiq because of his truthfulness in speech and his great merits.
He has articles in chemistry and psychological sciences. His student, Jabir ibn Hayyan, authored a one-thousand-page book comprising the letters of Jafar (as), which were five hundred. The book ‘al-Jafariyyat’ is also attributed to him.5 Jafar (as) was high-ranked intelligent, devout and wise.”
Muhammad Farid Wajdi abbreviated his research about the biography of Imam al-Sadiq (as) while he wrote in length about Jafar al-Barmaki. He said:
“Jafar, Abu Abdullah, al-Sadiq (as), one the Twelve Imams of the Shiah and a chief of the Ahl al-Bayt (as), was called al-Sadiq because of his truthfulness in speech. He was superior and had articles in chemistry and psychological fields. His student, Abu Mousa Jabir ibn Hayyan, the Sufi and Tarsousi, authored a one-thousand-page book consisting of five hundred letters of Jafar al-Sadiq (as).”
Ahmad Atiyyatullah said the following about the Imam (as):
“Jafar al-Sadiq (as), one of the twelve Imams, a successor of Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), and the son of Muhammad al-Baqir ibn Zayn al-Abidin (as), was called al-Sadiq because of his fame in telling the truth. He was famous in chemistry as well. It is said that Jabir ibn Hayyan, the Arab’s greatest chemist was his student, and he took the principle of this modern science from the Imam (as).”
Khayr al-Din al-Zarkali wrote the following about the Imam (as):
“Jafar (as), the son of Muhammad al-Baqir (as), the son of Ali Zayn al-Abidin (as), the son of Husayn (as), the grandson of the Prophet (S), Abu Abdullah, is called al-Sadiq. He is the sixth Imam amongst the Twelve Imams. He was within the high-ranked followers (i.e. the second generation) and had a privileged position in science.
Several people studied under him, such as Abu Hanifah and Malik. He was called al-Sadiq because no one has ever heard a lie from him. Here are stories about his interaction with the Abbasidd rulers. He was very courageous in dealing with them. He had a clear loud voice in protecting the truth. Many of his splendid theses are mentioned in a book entitled Kashf al-Vunoun.”
Said Abbas al-Makki wrote the following about Imam al-Sadiq (as):
“Imam al-Sadiq (as), one of the Twelve Imams, was from the chiefs of the Ahl al-Bayt (as). He was called Sadiq because of his truthfulness in speech. His superiority was very famous and why not? He is the son of the master of the Muslim nation and has researches in chemistry and psychology. His student Abu Mousa Jabir ibn Hayyan al-Sufi al-Tarsousi had written a book with one thousand pages containing five hundreds letters of the Imam (as).”
Umar Rida Kahhalah said the following about Imam al-Sadiq (as):
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as), the grandson of the Prophet (S) from the offspring of Husayn (as) and the tribe of Quraysh, was called al-Sadiq Abu Abdullah. He is sixth Imam among the Twelve Imams. Many scholars were his students, including Abu Hanifah and Malik. He also has a collection of letters in a book.”
Mustafa Ghalib, the Ismailite, confessed of the Imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (as), saying:
“Imam al-Sadiq (as) was among the most prominent Muslim personalities in his era and after that. However, his scientific character is the most ambiguous as it requires people to discover its profound secret, not only for its importance in the history of Islamic thoughts, but also the history of sciences and knowledge asks us to realize the true characteristics of this greatest scientific figure, who had a special school in Islam with important interaction with the rest of various intellectual and Islamic streams.
Many new schools of thoughts graduated from his school, such as al-Mutazilah, Sufism, and al-Batiniyyah. These were in addition to what is called cosmic sciences derived from the Islamic spirit and Greek philosophy.
As the Western civilization takes pride in its humanitarian culture, we should undoubtedly be proud of the humanitarian tendency which was founded by the Islamic trend and whose basis was established by Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as), the superior who dedicated his life to achieving this aim, in addition to his steady frankness in awakening the complete humankind’s mission in its respected objectives and appropriate aims.”
The Imam (as) was indeed the greatest human personality in view of what he has presented from humanity in the fields of sciences and knowledge that were not known earlier. His character is not ambiguous at all, as Mustafa claims; rather, it was quite clear and uncovered. It was a grant from the Prophet (S) and kindness from Allah (SwT) for this nation. Allah (SwT) assigned to him the responsibility of Imamate and spiritual leadership and granted him, as well as his forefathers, knowledge.
It is really the case when Mustafa said that Muslims are proud of Imam al-Sadiq (as), the discoverer of awareness and wisdom in the Islamic world, the motivator of human consciousness and the saviour of people from ignorance and backwardness.
Arif Tamir, Ismailite, accepted the Imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (as) and wrote the following about him:
“When a researcher begins his research about the personality of Imam al-Sadiq (as), the truthful, Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), and considering the following prerequisites (pure consciousness, intellectual reality, scientific abstractness, adhering to the modern methods of studying the lives of great people, being away from sentiments, fatigue and racial and sexuality), there would be nothing but to confess that they are a philosophical collection full of liveliness and pulsation, with his enlightening spirit which was accompanied with a creative mind. It was the method of inferring the knowledge, creating thoughts, discovering the laws and customs and the establishing organization and instructions.
The personality of Imam al-Sadiq (as), in my opinion, is not a simple usual character to study about, but it is hard to get through it, or to understand it’s thinking, considering the overall tasks done. It is an extraordinary figure with high position, which was granted much glorification and elevation. It was above the general limited level of humankind to elevate its sight to metaphysics, hidden from our sight.”
Shaykh Mahmoud ibn Wahib has written the following about the Imam (as):
“Jafar al-Sadiq ibn Muhammad al-Baqir ibn Ali Zayn al-Abidin ibn Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), was nicknamed Abu Abdullah or Abu Ismail. His titles were al-Sadiq (the honest), al-Fadil (the virtuous) and al-Tahir (the immaculate). The first title is the most well known. People narrated about his knowledge for generations. His fame spread throughout the world. Many high-ranked scholars narrated from him, including Yahya, Malik and Abu Hanifah.”
Shaykh Abdullah al-Shabrawi said the following about the Imam (as):
“Jafar al-Sadiq (as) is a multi-virtuous man. Many master scholars narrated from his speeches, such as Malik ibn Anas, Abu Hanifah, Yahya ibn Said, ibn Jarih, al-Thawri, ibn Uyaynah, Shubah and others. He was born in 80 A.H. in Medina. His brilliance and nobility are comprehensive and his glory and honour are well suited.”
Al-Dhahabi is well known in his deviation from the Ahl al-Bayt (as) and his spiteful behaviour, but he declared the high scientific rank of the Imam (as), saying:
“Jafar, the son of Muhammad, the son of Ali, the son of al-Husayn, the martyr, Imam Abu Abdullah (as), the Alawid, from Medina, al-Sadiq, was a prominent figure. Malik, Sufyan al-Thawri and Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, Hatam ibn Abu Ismail, Yahya al-Qattan, Abu Asim al-Nabil and others narrated from him.”
Ibn Abu Hatam said the following about Imam al-Sadiq (as):
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) narrated from his father, al-Qasim, Nafi, al-Zuhri, Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir, and Muslim ibn Abu Maryam. The following narrated from him: Yahya ibn Said al-Ansari, ibn Jarih al-Thawri, Shubah, Malik, ibn Ishaq, Sulayman ibn Bilal, ibn Uyaynah and Hatam. Hafs asked Abu Zarah: ‘What did Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) narrate from his father and what did Suhayl ibn Salih and al-Ala narrate from their fathers? And which one is more preferred?’ He answered that there is no comparison between Jafar (as) and the others.
Jafar (as) is higher than all of them in all concepts and meaning.”
Ahmad ibn Abdullah al-Khazraji said the following about the Imam (as):
“Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib al-Hashimi, Abu Abdullah Imam al-Sadiq (as) al-Madani, one of the prominent masters, was referenced by uncountable people.”
What is interesting to note here is that this text mentions the fact that innumerable people narrated from the Imam (as). This proves what some historians said about the Imam’s (as) four thousands students, which is quite logical. What made this possible was the fact that there was no official control in the last years of the Umayyad government and the beginning of the Abbasidd rule. This allowed the public to gather around the Imam (as) from different parts of the Muslim world to benefit from his knowledge.
Dr. Ahmad Mahmoud Subhi said:
“Shiism is attributed to Imam al-Sadiq (as), and the Shiite jurisprudential school carries his name. His opinions were not restricted to religious sciences; rather, they hit upon other fields of knowledge such as chemistry, medicine and other sciences. Al-Sadiq’s (as) superiority on the rest of the Imams and scholars in science and religion raises the following question: If the granted knowledge was the result of inspiration, according to what Shiah believe about the Imams’ (as) knowledge, then there should be no difference in this scientific rank.
Shiah do not interpret the superiority of al-Sadiq as the failure or inability of the others in their knowledge and virtue, but the reason was the fact that the ruling authorities did not allow people to refer to the Imams (as) in knowledge; therefore, they could not distribute knowledge among people. Therefore, none of them was given the opportunity to reveal what they were granted from the Prophet (S).
Shiism, with pride and glory, is attributed to this great Imam (as) and the first teacher of the founders of the other Muslim schools. He is the discoverer of the fundaments of science and wisdom in the earth. He enriched Shiism with what he had left for them, such as rules for worshiping and transaction. He saved his followers from begging anything from others. How great and useful he was for them!”
The knowledge of Imam al-Sadiq (as) exceeded the borders of the Islamic laws. It encompassed the secrets of the universe, space, the rays of planets, gravity, the secrets of life and death and many other surprising sciences, which show why the Shiah believe in their Imams (as) as the inheritors of the sciences of the Prophet (S).
It is worth mentioning that Imam al-Sadiq (as) did not exceed the rest of the Holy Imams (as) in knowledge, since they all are at the same scientific and spiritual level. It is only that the other Holy Imams (as) could not distribute their knowledge because of the cruelty and brutality of their contemporary rulers, such as the Umayyad and Abbasidd rulers who applied rigorous supervision on their activities and severe punishment for those contacting with them.
Muhammad Amin al-Suwaydi said the following about the Imam (as):
“Jafar al-Sadiq (as), among his bothers, was the successor of his father. The amount of what was narrated from him has never been narrated from any other one. He was really a leader in Hadith with many excellences.”
Aboul-Fath al-Arbali al-Wazir wrote the following about the Imam (as) mentioning many of his affairs:
“The outstanding traits of al-Sadiq (as) are too many; his characteristics in honour are comprehensive; he followed the lifestyle of his respected fathers and adhered to their guidance, he devoted himself to worship as sort of obeisance and asceticism. He therefore dedicated his life to praying to Almighty Allah and glorifying Him even if the world stood against him.”
Abd al-Aziz Sayyid al-Ahl wrote an outstanding book about Imam al-Sadiq (as) mentioning his valuable life conditions. Among what he wrote about the Imam (as) was the following:
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) is the pride of Muslims forever. He gave science to its seekers. He guided the anxious, encouraged the endangered, and destroyed brutality and cruelty. He established justice and called upon Muslims’ congregation and reunion as he believed that victory will never be for those who contradict Allah (SwT) and the Prophet (S).”
Shaykh Abu Zuhrah authored a valuable book about Imam al-Sadiq (as), writing the following:
“Jafar (as) was brought up in the fountain of knowledge; that is the Prophetic house where knowledge was prevalent for uninterrupted generations. He lived in Medina, the city of his grandfather. The light of wisdom enlightened his heart.
He was an intelligence power. He did not stop at religious studies, Quran, traditions and ideology; therefore, he directed towards studying the universe and its secrets. Then he began his investigation in the sky, the solar system, moon and stars. Additionally, he did his best in understanding and studying human psychology, as history said the following: Socrates had brought the philosophy from the sky to the earth and Imam al-Sadiq (as) studied the sky, the earth, man, and various religions.
In Islamic sciences, he was the Imam to which all would refer, as he was the most knowledgeable according to what different jurisprudents confessed firmly. His speech was the final solution. Abu Hanifah considered him his master in jurisprudence.
Regarding his psychological and intellectual characteristics, he surpassed all people and took them high to the skies. He was abstract in truth. He devoted his time to knowledge and worshiping. He was away from worldly affairs. His sight overcame darkness; his honesty was greater than any other one. His origin was from the Prophetic tree.
Where should honesty be found if it was not available in the successors of the Prophet (S) and Ali (as), the hero of Islam? So, they inherited honesty and sincerity one after another. They loved Allah (SwT) and felt angry for His sake, considering this one of the principles of faith and manifestations of belief.”
Dr. Muhammad Abd al-Munim al-Khafaji, a professor at the University of al-Azhar, presented a valuable piece of work entitled ‘Imam al-Sadiq, as Known by Western Scholars’, which is among the best books written recently. About twenty-five well-known western scientists participated in authoring the book. They subjectively and comprehensively studied the personality of the great, inspired Imam al-Sadiq (as), and his works in various fields of sciences and skills.
The book undeniably proves the truth of what the Shiah follow about their Imams (as) as they are perfect in sciences, awareness and knowledge not only in religious laws but also in all fields of knowledge. Dr. al-Khafaji writes down:
“The reader will indeed feel astonished when reading these chapters and then he will find himself in front of the greatness of this scientific spirit whose light reflection can be seen in these studies. In the first place of this elevated list, the brilliant, shining, high-ranked, honest wisdom and vast experiences in understanding life and people and glorified personality of Imam al-Sadiq (as) is outstanding.
The greatness of this personality is revealed in the greatness of these researches. Beyond them, there is the whole truth, which we did not know anything about. We know the fact that this great mind built what could be built for humanity, and what could be considered the principles of the world civilization and welfare.
Whenever we mention Imam al-Sadiq (as), we mention the highest merit, the greatest work, the most outstanding personalities in the Islamic thought and civilization, and in the origin of the constructive jurisprudence of Muslims scholars. You can speak about the successor of the Prophethood and the inheritor of its merits, excellence, pride, knowledge and wisdom.
Speak about his Allah-fearing, renouncement of worldly pleasures, religiousness, faith, knowledge, jurisprudence, expertise in events, fights in dangerous situations, confronting cruelty, facing brutality, familiarity with the life and his deep knowledge of the time and nation.
This great man opened up various types of sciences never heard before, which positively participated in enhancing and advancing mankind’s thoughts; establishing humanitarian civilization, in addition to the advanced researches and studies in the Islamic affairs and building a special independent body for the Shiite jurisprudence which goes well with the time. Nevertheless, it could overcome human problems based on the public benefits, in which human beings are staying under its protection and support.”
Mr. Muhammad Jawad Fadlullah researched about Imam al-Sadiq (as) and went on discussing his characteristics in details. He wrote the following at the preface of his book:
“Talking about Imam al-Sadiq (as) is long and difficult.
It is the talk about faith and truth.
It is a talk about the history, science and knowledge.
It is a talk about Islam in all its high morals and characteristics.
It is a talk, which represents the amount of capabilities, intelligence and inspiration one owns, in spite of human’s limitations.
This is the talk about Imam al-Sadiq (as), which began by the moment he was born and will not come to end till there will remain nothing called life.”
Shaykh Abu Abd al-Rahman Al-Salami, in his book Tabaqat al-Mashyakhah al-Soufiyyah, wrote the following about Imam al-Sadiq (as):
“Jafar al-Sadiq (as) surpassed all his peers as well as being of high knowledge in religion and faith. He renounced worldly affairs and tried to be away from worldly desires and adhered to full politeness and wisdom.”
Our friend, Shaykh Asad Haydar, Allah’s (SwT) mercy be upon him, has allocated the majority of his time researching and investigating about Imam al-Sadiq (as) and the other four schools of thoughts. He decorated the Islamic libraries with his invaluable collection, which no one is dispensed with. He said the following in his book:
“The great personality of Jafar ibn Muhammad (as), which was one of the greatest Muslim figures, should be more emphasized in history, as he was the most striking character of his time and the most knowledgeable person in his nation.
We should not be away from the reality about Imam al-Sadiq (as) whose steps during the brilliant era of science gave lessons and taught people what the characteristics of the leader are and who should be followed by the nation and scholars. It is worth mentioning that he granted knowledge his personal qualifications. Additionally, the way he could make himself acceptable by the society without using power and wealth is important too.”
Fakhr al-Islam Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Muhammad Ibn Numan al-Akbari al-Baghdadi known as Shaykh al-Mufid said the following about the Imam (as):
“Al-Sadiq Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn (as) was the successor of his father among his brothers. He was the Imam of the nation after his father. He surpassed the companions with superiority, as he was the most virtuous, the most glorified, and the best in public and private gatherings.
People narrated sciences from him. Scholars have referred to no one of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) more than him. Those professionals in Hadith gathered the name of narrators who narrated from him, considering all differences in opinions, and they concluded that the number of those narrators reached to four thousands men.
He had clear reasons for his Imamate and this was what astonished the hearts and intercepted his rivals from stating doubts and suspicions.”
Al-Hafiz Abu Hafs Umar ibn Shahin said the following:
“Uthman ibn Abu Shaybah was asked about Imam al-Sadiq (as), and he replied: ‘Do you ask about Jafar?! He is the most trustful of all those who can be trusted.’”
Dr. Farouq Umar said:
“Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) inherited the leadership of Husayni Shiites after his father. Sadiq’s (as) personality played a significant role in crystallizing the Shiah school of thought or what is called the Twelve-Imam school. He could explain the principles of this school, which is attributed to him and is called al-Jafari school of thought.
Hudson, the Orientalist, believes that there are three main principles affecting the high position of al-Sadiq (as). They are:
(1) His claim that Imamate is from Allah (SwT) and the Prophet (S) and the fact that the Husayni Imamate is a mission.
(2) His claim of the inherited knowledge of the unseen. This means that they are surrounded by divine knowledge being inherited from one to another. This familiarity increased his holiness among his followers making him eligible to decide the suitable time for revolution and uprising against the Abbasidd rulers and announcing Imamate.
(3) Peaceful policy and keeping away from carrying weapons against the government and paying attention to sciences and the establishment of gatherings to distribute his thought among people in a peaceful manner throughout the region.
Perhaps this is the third factor which increased the number of his followers, because the majority of the public prefer a peaceful environment and not to engage into riot and war.”
The famous historian, Ahmad ibn Abu Yaqoub known as Ibn Wadih, said:
“Imam al-Sadiq (as) is the best and most knowledgeable in Allah’s (SwT) religion. Whenever scholars mentioned something they heard from him, then at the time of narration they say: ‘Our scholar informed us.’”
The Orientalist, Adam Hodgeson, said:
“Jafar (as) is considered the greatest Imam for the majority of Shiites. These twelve mentioned themselves as they own a religion and school called the Jafari School. He was expert in tradition and more preferably in jurisprudence. The heads of Sunni schools talk about him with respect.”
Abu Shakir al-Disani, a masters of atheism in the East, who was highly known for his infidelity and enmity towards Islam, admired Imam al-Sadiq (as) at the same time and said the following about him:
“You are one of luminous stars; your fathers were brilliant moons; your mothers were honourable; you are from the most generous elements; whenever scholars mention you, their necks should be bowed.”
Ramadhan Lawand said:
“Al-Sadiq (as) was a branch of a tree which is well known for generosity in the Arab world. He inherited the spiritual power that reached from the Prophet (S) and the generous Ahl al-Bayt (as). He inherited the decisive willpower that does not know failure and defect. In addition, he inherited a high understanding and sensitivity.
Briefly, he inherited the strange motive and incentive, which researchers could not find an interpretation for what they knew about the humanitarian facts and hidden spiritual aspects. It was he whom the intelligence of the nation was represented with. His life conditions created a situation for the representative of two kinds of intelligence: scientific and behavioural. Therefore, he was an Imam for the followers of a great religion, which planted forever wins throughout the history in art, policy and thought.
His life was always an unstoppable enlightening ray that was the source of scholars’ pride. He spread love for knowledge and participated in clear logical inference and intellectual meditation. His life was also an unstoppable ray forming love, generosity, patience, nobility of spirit, and purity of conscience.”
The scholar, Sayyid Hasan al-Amin, said:
“The first thing that burst into mind when mentioning Imam al-Sadiq (as) is that his knowledge and culture does not exceed the religious field and the similar. And it was thought that someone in the position of Jafar al-Sadiq (as) should be knowledgeable in what is related in religious instructions and their problems. But his case was much wider than this.
He strongly encompassed many sciences rather than jurisprudence and so forth. They included many aspects of various sciences, which were among the greatest international sciences and cultures. Then he went on establishing institutions based on these sciences and afterwards we saw the graduates of his institutions involving jurisprudents, narrators, interpreters, philosophers, mathematicians, chemists, physicians, poets, authors and general culture trainers.”
Abd al-Rahman Muhammad al-Hanafi said:
“Scholars crowded at Jafar ibn Muhammad’s (as) door and took from his knowledge. He spoke about the profound secrets and factual sciences when he was just seven years old.”
Mr. Muhammad Sadiq Nashat, a professor in Department of Literature at the University of Cairo, said:
“The house of Jafar al-Sadiq (as) was similar to a university where great scholars in tradition, interpretation, wisdom and scholastic theology crowded. Most of the time, two thousands people attended his classes and sometimes four thousands famous scholars attended it. His students compiled all his lectures and lessons in collections of books which can be considered something similar to an encyclopaedia of the Shiah or the Jafari sciences.”
Dr. Mustafa al-Shakah said:
“The personality of Imam Jafar (as) was such in knowledge, excellence, faith and easy-going that made all Muslims with their various schools of thought glorify and respect him. Is there any Muslim not fond of the Ahl al-Bayt (as)? What about this man whose knowledge is great, his wisdom is much, his politeness is complete, with asceticism and God-fearing as well as being away from exaggeration, innocent from extremeness and one who dislikes isolation and seclusion? These were the traits of Imam Jafar (as).”
Let us now take a look at some of the words said about Imam al-Sadiq (as) by master scholars of Muslim schools of thought and high-ranked authors of different eras:
• He is the best creature, as expressed by his father, Imam Baqir (as), and this expression was not based on comity or emotion, because the rank of the Imam is higher than this. He stated this after he had known his son and found out that there were no similar copies in his benevolence and great characteristics.
• The Imam (as) was unique in intelligence and creativity to the extent that no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no heart has ever felt anyone better than him, as stated by Malik ibn Anas after he had known the Imam (as), studied under his supervision and realized his brilliance.
• The Imam (as) inherited the Book of Allah (SwT). Allah (SwT) elected him from among His servants and he was the one who advanced towards benevolence. This was what was stated by the Imam’s (as) most severe enemy, al-Mansour al-Dawaneeqi.
• The Imam (as) filled the world with knowledge and jurisprudence, as Abu Bahr al-Jahiz admitted.
• The Imam (as) was one of the chiefs of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) in knowledge, devoutness and faith; and the Ahl al-Bayt (as) are the masters of the world in faith, God-fearing and high attention in worship, as stated by Ibn Hayyan and others.
• Imam al-Sadiq (as) is at the highest level of trustworthiness and sincerity. No one doubted about his speech, as expressed by Abu Hatam al-Razi.
• The Imam (as) guided the scientific movement in his era, which was expanded to the rest of the eras, as announced by Sayyid Mir Ali al-Hindi.
• Imam (as) was given the title al-Sadiq because of his trustfulness and sincerity in speech, as confessed by Peters al-Bustani and others.
• The Imam (as) is the highest and greatest personality in the Muslim world and it is quite reasonable for him to be the source of pride and respect for all Muslims, as Mustafa Ghalib and others mentioned.
• The personality of the Imam (as) is a collection of active philosophy, great spirit, and creative mind, which established the knowledge, created the thoughts, invented customs, and founded instructions and regulations, as expressed by Tamir al-Arif.
• The Imam (as), among the founders of Muslim schools of thought, had the largest variety of opinions in all fields of knowledge not only in religious sciences but also in chemistry, medicine and so forth, as Dr. Ahmad Mahmoud Subhi confessed.
• The Imam (as) owned a powerful creative intellectual power and did not stop at Islamic, Quranic and traditional studies, but he also experienced the fields of universe, astronomy, and psychological studies, as stated by Shaykh Abu Zuhrah.
• The Imam (as) was the florescent mind that built what could be called worldly civilization and welfare for human beings. Dr. Muhammad Abd al-Munim al-Khafaji expressed this fact.
• The speech about Imam al-Sadiq (as) is the speech about Islam with all its characteristics and properties. This speech went beyond the limits of human power, capability and creativity. Sayyid Muhammad Jawad Fadlullah confessed this.
• Historians are required to show the personality of the Imam (as) to the world as a service to thoughts, knowledge and life. Imam al-Sadiq (as) was the most striking figure in his era and the most knowledgeable, as Shaykh Asad Haydar stated.
A group of perverted persons incurred the animosity of this successor of the Prophet (S) and source of Imamate; namely, Imam al-Sadiq (as), because of the familiarity of his name, the circulation of his mention, the gatherings of scholars and jurisprudents around him to narrate his traditions and attend his classes, and the general acceptance of glorifying and admiring him. Among those spiteful ones are the following:
Ibn Sad was known with his perverted from the Ahl al-Bayt (as) and among those spiteful against Imam al-Sadiq (as). He said the following about him: “He was speaking a lot; no one would ever trust him; and he was usually neglected. He was asked once whether you’ve heard this tradition from your father? He replied: ‘Yes’. Once again he was asked the same and he said: ‘I found it in my father’s book.’” Ibn Hajar commented on this, saying: “It is possible that these two questions were instances of two different traditions. So he said that he had heard when he heard it, and when he did not, he found that. This will prove his truthfulness.”
Abu Bakr ibn Ayyash was well known as one perverted from the Ahl al-Bayt (as) and those spiteful against Imam al-Sadiq (as). Malik was asked: “You did not hear from Jafar ibn Muhammad (as) and you say that you’ve believed him? He said, I asked: Did you hear any of the traditions he narrated? He said: No, but they were traditions narrated from our fathers.”
Let us ask Abu Bakr the following: Does the Imam’s narration come from his fathers, the guiding Imams (as) and the prominent figures of Islam who in turn narrated from their grandfather the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be to him, require the slandering in the correctness of the traditions and its posing? Their finals are hard and difficult from the almighty Allah (SwT). They denied their Prophet’s (S) successors, whom Allah (SwT) ordered in being kind with them and those whom the Prophet (S) allocated them as rescue ships and secure lands.
One of those spiteful against the Imam (as) was Yahya ibn Said al-Qadi (the judge) who was asked about the Imam (as) and the said: “I am not comfortable with him and I like Mujalid more than him”
Yahya did not clarify what he kept in himself about the Imam (as) till the point in which he rejected to narrate from him. Wasn’t the Imam (as) from the offspring of the Prophet (S) and from the mine of knowledge and wisdom in Islam? Was he the Imam who renewed Islam and the one who resuscitated its traditions and effects?
So why did Yahya behave spitefully with him? The late al-Sayyid Muhammad Jawad Fadlullah commented on that saying: “If the traditions of Imam al-Sadiq (as) were from Abu Hurayrah, Muawiyah and Marwan, they would be given a high position of trueness, but what is wrong with his traditions is that his traditions are from his fathers and their book, which are all granted by the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be to him.” This is really a strong and firm comment. So the secret behind Yahya’s stopping from narrating from the Imam (as) was that he was not narrating from Abu Hurayrah and other similar distrusted.
One of those spiteful against Imam al-Sadiq (as) and those weakening his traditions was Muhammad ibn Ismail, whose book is known as Sahih al-Bukhari. Ibn Hajar found pretence for him in not narrating traditions from the Imam (as), saying: “The difficulty of distinguishing between what is true and what is false made al-Bukhari not to narrate anything from his traditions.”
The late al-Sayyid Jawad Fadlullah commented on this expression, saying: “Ibn Hajar did not mention how al-Bukhari distinguished between the true and false in what was narrated by Abu Hurayrah and other similar distrusted who were inventing traditions. Maybe he would say that they were from the companion of the Prophet (S).
This pretence is worse than the sin itself, after proving the falsity of this expression, by looking at the behaviour of some of the companions with each other and denying one another. We cannot find a reason for this strange happening unless prejudice, and the existence of a religious background, which was poisoned by spite and hate against the Members of this Family.
This emphasized process continued by the attempts of Muawiyah, his agents and his cruel successors after him. This aimed to deepen the gap between the nation and the Members of the Prophetic Family and keeping them away from the reality of the general life.” Anyway al-Bukhari was attacked aiming to criticize his manner in leaving narrating from Imam (as).
Therefore, al-Bukhari left narrating from Imam al-Sadiq (as), the successor of the Prophet (S) and the creative intelligent mind in humanity. This happened at the same time of filling his book with narrations from those not fearing the religion. What follows are examples of those instances:
Imran ibn Hattan al-Sadousi al-Basri was from the prominent figures of Khawarij, who became enemies of Imam Ali (as) and those who publicly announced their enmity, in addition to admiring the killer of Imam Ali (as) with the suspicion that this fact would make him closer to Allah (SwT).
Oh Allah (SwT)! How far is this criminal from Islam while al-Bukhari trusted his traditions and left the traditions of Imam al-Sadiq (as) who was from the brilliant figure in religion and from the masters of the Ahl al-Bayt (as)?
Aboul-Ahmar al-Sab ibn Farroukh was from the most famous spiteful against the descendents of the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be to him. He said the following to Abu Tufayl: “Allah (SwT) witnesses that Abu Tufayl and I are different. He was deviated by following Imam Ali (as), as the Jewish were deviated from the truth.”
Al-Bukhari trusted and depended on the traditions of this person with deformed religion and ideology while he did not narrate the traditions of the Imam of Guidance and light of masters.
Jarir ibn Uthman al-Himsi announced his severe enmity against the descendents of the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be to him. He was speaking about Imam Ali (as), saying: “I do not like Ali (as), because he killed my fathers.” He also said: “We keep our Imam - meaning Muawiyah - and you keep your Imam - Meaning Imam Ali (as).”
Ishaq ibn Suwayd from Tamim tribe who died on 131 A.H. and who was known with his enmity and hostility against the brother and the gate of science of the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be to him.
Abdullah ibn Salim from Ashari tribe died on 179 A.H. severely hated the Ahl al-Bayt (as) and Imam Ali (as) who was always with the Holy Quran and the Holy Quran was always with him as the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be to him, stated.
These were some of those whom al-Bukhari was narrating from in his book while leaving narrating from the Imams of Guidance.
- 1. In my book on the life of Imam al-Jawad (as), I have mentioned these questions in details.
- 2. See Diya al-Alamin, vol. 2 (manuscript).
- 3. See Diya al-Alamin, vol. 2 (manuscript).
- 4. It is said that Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz ordered to whip al-Awni because of his poems admiring the Imam (as) and the Ahl al-Bayt (as). As a result, he died.
- 5. This book contains special statements in interpreting some verses of the Holy Quran.