Table of Contents

Chapter 5: The Qualities of His Character

Imam Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir), peace be on him, had all the noble qualities that made him appropriate for undertaking the spiritual and the temporal leadership of this community. Each of his qualities raised him to the top which no one reaches except the unique people of the time. He was as the poet said:

He was from the Hashimites whose glory was as high as the sky.

They made the people die of jealousy.

They were the people for whom Allah wanted the noble

qualities of religion and this world to be without time.

Through his abilities and his talents the Imam was distinguished from the great men and the reformers. He was distinguished by his outstanding merits and his immortal deeds. He was distinguished by his clear lineage. He was distinguished by all that though which man becomes high. Among the things by which he was distinguished are as follows:

His Imamate

Allah endowed him with the Imamate and singled him out with the general authority on behalf of his grandfather, Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. He was among his successors and his trustees whom the Prophet regarded as life-boats, the security of people, related to the Quran, and appointed as signposts (of knowledge) for his community to protect it from divisions, discords, and crises.

The Prophet, may bless him and his family, took intense precautions for the affair of his community. He appealed it not to be behind the caravan of the communities and the nations. He wanted glory and dignity for it. He wanted it to be the best community that was brought forth for the people. Thus, he took much care of the Caliphate and Imamate. He summoned the people to take care of it more than he summoned them to take care of any other religious obligations. That is because it is the solid base for developing his community in the intellectual, social, and political fields. He confined it to the pure Imams from the members of his House, who did not yield in all conditions to any material desire. Rather they preferred Allah's obedience and the interest of the community to all things.

Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him talked about his Imamate subjectively and inclusively. We will mention it when we talk about his intellectual and scientific heritage. As for his Imamate, the general and the private nominations indicated it. Among them was the nomination of Imam (‘Ali), the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, and the Imamate of the pure Imams after him.1 There are other nominations for his Imamate. We will mention them in the chapters that follow.

Infallibility

Among the highest qualities of Imam Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir), peace be on him, were infallibility and purity from deviation and atrocities.

Indeed, infallibility is a favor from Allah, the Most High. He grants it to whomever He wills from His servants whose hearts He tests with belief, whom He purifies and chooses to carry out His message and reform His creatures. Infallibility is among the firm beliefs with the Shi‘ites, and one of the basic principles for the Imamate with them. We will talk briefly about it:

The Definition of Infallibility

The Shi‘ite theologians gave various definitions of infallibility. Among them is the definition of Shaykh al-Mufid. He defined it as follows: Infallibility means refraining willingly from committing sins and abominations during the favor which Allah, the Most High, does for the person. The person who is singled out with the favor refrains from sins and leaving disobedience willingly.2 Concerning the definition of infallibility, scholar al-Hilli said: “It is a favor from Allah. He grants it to the person. With that, the person has no excuse to leave obedience and commit sins willingly.”3 The Shaykh of the sect, Shaykh Tusi, defined it: “Infallibility means that the person refrains from sins when he is able to commit them.”

In the light of these definitions, infallibility is the absolute perfection of the soul, its perfect freedom from all the inclinations of desire, conceit, and recklessness, and refraining from committing any crime or sin whether intentionally or unintentionally. It is natural that no one is distinguished by that except him whom Allah chooses to convey His message and to guide His creatures, whether the person is a prophet or an Imam.

The Evidence for Infallibility

The Shi‘ites produced enough undoubtable evidence in support of the infallibility of the Imam. Hisham b. al-Hakam, a Shi‘ite theologian, produced wonderful evidence in support of infallibility. He said: “Indeed there are four reasons for sins. There is no fifth reason for them. These reasons are: envy, anger, miserliness, and desire. The Imam had none of these qualities. It is impossible for the Imam to be miserly for this world, for this world was under his ring. He was the trustee of the property of the Muslims. So, why was he miserly? It was impossible for him to be envious. That is because the person envies those who are superior to him. There was no one superior to him. So, why did he envy those who were inferior to him? It was impossible for him to be angry for a certain affair of this world.

However, it was possible for him to be angry for Allah, the Great and Almighty. That is because Allah made it incumbent on the Imam to put punishments into practice. It was impossible for him (the Imam) to follow desires and prefer this world to the next world. That is because Allah made desirable the next world for him, as He made desirable this world for us. So, the Imam looked at the hereafter, as we look at this world. Thus, have you ever seen a person who prefers an ugly face to a pretty face, bitter food to delicious food, rough clothes to smooth clothes, and close immortal blessing to transient mortal world?”4

The Shi‘ites produced enough reliable, rational and traditional evidence in support of the necessary infallibility of the Imams. Their theological books are full of them.5 Donna Ledson said: “The Shi‘ite idea of infallibility has developed Islamic theology. Thanks to them for studying this matter not only in Islam but also in all the other religions.”6 They were the first to open the door of scientific argument and conversation based on the rational proofs that have fixed the affairs of their basic principles in the Imamate.

Doubts and Imaginations

Many doubts and imaginations have been raised about infallibility. The Shi‘ites have been accused of inactivity and exaggeration. Those who criticized them said: “Indeed the Imams were like other people. They obeyed Allah and disobeyed him. They committed sins intentionally or unintentionally. There was no difference between them and other people.

I firmly believe that the violent attacks against the cleaving of Shi‘ites to the infallibility of their Imams were launched to justify the Umayyad and the ‘Abbasid kings who had given themselves great qualities and noble titles. They claimed that they were the servants of the religion and the caliphs of Allah in his earth. Still, they committed sins and crimes. Therefore, infallibility is not a condition for him who undertakes the affairs of Muslims. The Shi‘ites have intensely denied that. They believe that the caliphate of those kings was illegal. That is because their deeds did not agree with the simplest rules of the Islamic religion. In other words, they went too far in practicing prostitution, amusement, and impudence. Moreover, their palaces became theaters for amusement, dance, and corruption. Thus, the poet said concerning al-Mahdi, the ‘Abbasid Caliph,:

Banu Umayya (the sons of Umayya), wake up,

for your sleep has become long.

Indeed the Caliph is Ya‘qub b. Dauwd.

O People, your caliphate has become lost.

Look for Allah's caliph between the flute and the lute.

The desire controlled the Caliph. Thus, he was between the flute and the lute. So, was it possible for him to be the Imam of the Muslims and caliph of Allah in the earth?

Islam took great care of the affair of the Islamic caliphate. That is because it is the important center for the happiness of the Muslims, their progress, and the development of their life. Thus, it is illogical to call those kings the caliphs of Allah in His earth, and His trustees (of authority) over His servants. Besides it is illogical to believe in the legality of their caliphate.

The Shi‘ites believe in the infallibility of their Imams, for their Imams were the most high example of man's perfection. The historians have unanimously agreed on that none of the Imams deviated from the right path or disobeyed Allah's orders and prohibitions. Didn't Imam (‘Ali), the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, say: “By Allah, if I was given the seven regions and what is under their orbits to disobey Allah through taking a grain of barley from the mouth of a locust, I would not do (that). “This is the infallibility which the Shi‘ites ascribe to their Imams, peace be on them. Thus, there is neither inactivity nor exaggeration in this infallibility.

Rather it was agreeing with the reality that indicated the behavior the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, who conformed intensely to the affairs of their religion, and preferred Allah's obedience to all things. Thus, the Holy Book has denoted their infallibility and their purity from deviation and sins. Allah, the Most High, said: “Allah only wants to keep away the uncleanliness from you, the members of the House, and purify you thoroughly. “The Great Prophet joined them to the Quran. He, may Allah bless him and his family, said: “I leave behind me among you two things which, if you cleave to them, you will never go astray that is the Book of Allah and my offspring from my family. They will never scatter (from you) till they lead you to me at the (sacred) waters of (Heaven). Falsehood does not come to the Holy Book from before it nor does it comes to it from behind it. Such is the pure family (of the Prophet). Otherwise the comparison between them is incorrect.

His Clemency

As for clemency, it was the most prominent quality of Imam Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir), peace be on him. The historians have unanimously agreed that the Imam did not mistreat those who wronged him and were aggressive towards him. Rather he forgave them and treated them kindly. The historians have reported many examples of his clemency. Among them are:

1. An adherent of a revealed religion (kitabi) attacked the Imam, was aggressive towards him, and addressed him with bitter words: “You are baqar (cows).”

However, the Imam treated him kindly. He smiled at him, saying: “No, I am Baqir.”

The adherent went on attacking the Imam, saying: “You are the son of the cook.”

The Imam smiled at him. This aggression did not excite him. Rather he said to him: “That is her job.”

Still the adherent went on attacking the Imam, saying:

“You are the son of the black woman.... ”

The Imam did not become angry. Rather he treated him kindly, saying:

“If you are truthful, may Allah forgive you. If you are a liar, may Allah forgive you.”

Thus, the adherent admired the Imam's high morals that marked the morals of the prophets. Then he became Muslim.7

2. Among those wonderful examples of his clemency is a Syrian attended his assembly, listened to his lectures and admired them. Then the Syrian walked towards the Imam, saying: “Muhammad, I am afraid of your assembly. I do not love you. I say: No one is more hateful with me than you, the members of the House. I know that the obedience of Allah and the obedience of the Commander of the Faithful is through your hate. However, I think that you are an eloquent man with morals and good utterance. I visit you frequently because of your good manners!”

However, the Imam treated him kindly. Then the Syrians became righteous. He loved the Imam and followed him. He became a friend of the Imam till death came to him. Thus, he asked the Imam to pray over him.8

Through these high morals, the Imam followed the example of his grandfather, the Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who could with his standard morals bring the hearts together, unify the feelings and the sentiments, and make the people follow the word of monotheism while they had been groups and parties. “Each party is rejoicing in that which is with them.”

His Patience

Patience was among the personal qualities of the pure Imams from the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Indeed they were patient through the hardships of time and the misfortunes of the days. They bore the misfortunes which the creatures were unable to bear. At the plateau of Karbala', Imam Husayn, peace be on him, received the exhausting misfortunes, saying: “O Lord, I am patient towards Your decree. There is no god but You. “Imam al-Baqir, like his grandfathers, was patient towards the hardships and the misfortunes, of which are the following:

1. (The people of) authority disparaged his pure grandfathers. They cursed them openly on the pulpits and through the minarets (of the mosques). He, peace be on him, listened to that. However, he was unable to say even a word. He restrained his anger. He entrusted the affair to Allah to judge among his servants with the truth.

2. Among the hard misfortunes which the Imam endured was the headmen from the hirelings of the Umayyad authority who tortured severely and killed the followers of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. However, the Imam was unable to say even a word. That is because (the Umayyad) authority kept an intense eye on him. They surrounded him with their secret agents. They did not respond to any request from him concerning the affair of his followers.

3. Concerning the Imam's great patience, the historians reported that while he was sitting with his companions, he heard a loud cry from his house. One of his servants hurried to him and told him secretly (about the accident). However, the Imam, peace be on him, said to the servant: “Praise belongs to Allah for what he has given and praise belongs to Him for what he has taken. Prevent them from weeping. Prepare him for burial. Ask her to be calm and tell her: ‘No harm will hit you. You are free for Allah because of the fear that has controlled you.'

“Then the Imam went back to his conversation. The people were unable to ask him (about the accident). Then his servant came to him and said to him: We have prepared him for burial. Then, the Imam ordered his companions to pray over his son and to bury him. He told his companions concerning his son and said to them: ‘He fell off a slave-girl who was carrying him and died.’”9 States change and civilizations perish while these ‘Alid morals are immortal, for they represent the honor of humanity and its noble values.

4. The historians said: “The Imam had a son. The son became ill. Thus, the Imam feared for his safety, for he loved him very much. Then the son died. So, the patience of the Imam became calm. Thus, it was said to him: ‘We fear for your safety, son of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family.’ However, the Imam answered with calmness and satisfaction with the decree of Allah, saying: ‘Indeed we pray to Allah in what He loves. If what we hate occurs, we do not oppose Allah in what He loves.’”10

Surely, the Imam habituated himself to patience. He faced the misfortunes of the world and the disasters of time with strong will and firm belief. He endured the misfortunes without boredom, for he was desirous of the reward from Allah.

His Honoring the Poor

Among his high morals was that he glorified the poor and raised their position lest the people should see the abasement of the need on them. The historians said: “He ordered his family not to say to the beggar: ‘Beggar, take this.’ Rather he ordered them to say: ‘Servant of Allah, you are blessed.’11 He also ordered them to call the beggars with their best names.”12

Surely, they are the morals of the Prophet, who came to make man high, to supply him with glory and dignity, and to save him from submission and abasement.

His Releasing the Slaves

The great Imam was fond of releasing the slaves and saving them from enslavement. He released a family of eleven slaves.13 He had sixty slaves. He released one-third of them when he was about to die.14

His Spending on his Companions

The most enjoyable thing for the Imam in this world was spending on his companions. He did not tire of spending on them and those who came to him and hoped from him.15 Moreover, he entrusted his son al-Sadiq to spend on his companions and his students. For he wanted them to devote themselves to proclaiming knowledge among the people.

His Alms to the Poor of Medina

The Imam, peace be on him, did a lot of charity and favor for the poor of Medina (Yathrib). His alms for them were counted. They amounted eight thousands dinars.16 He gave them a dinar as alms every Friday. He said: “The alms on Friday is better than it is on the other days.”17

His Generosity and his Liberality

As for generosity, it was among the basic elements of the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Indeed, they lent a helping hand to the poor and the beggars. Concerning them, the poet said:

If there was a custom of glory before them

You would find it from them for miles.

If you came to them, you would see among their houses

generosity that protects you from the attitudes of beggary.

The light of prophethood and noble deeds is burning in the old

and the children from them.18

Concerning them, al-Kumayt said:

They are rains and lions. When the people become hungry,

they (the Imams) are the shelter of the nurses of the orphans.

Concerning them, al-Kumayt also said:

If a cloud arises from them in a land,

then the plant is not prohibited,

nor is lightning without rain.

How wonderful what was said is! For it is appropriate for them:

They are generous and those who were before them were generous, too.

Their children after them are generous.

The people are a land in generosity and liberality.

When the generous are numbered, they (the Imams) are a sky.

The Imam had a natural disposition for doing good, spending on the people, and making them happy. Ibn al-Sabbagh al-Maliki said: “Though Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn (al-Baqir) had knowledge, outstanding merits, leadership, and Imamate, his generosity was apparent in Shi‘a and non-Shi‘a, he was famous for generosity for all people, and he was known for favor and kindness in spite of his big family and his middle condition.”19

The historians said: “Imam al-Baqir was the least of the members of his House in money. Still, he was the greatest of them in provision.”20 In spite of that, he gave generously what he had to help the poor and the deprived. The narrators have mentioned many attitudes of his generosity. Among them are:

1. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Ubayd and ‘Amru b. Dinar reported. They said: “When we met Abu Ja‘far Muhammad b. ‘Ali (al-Baqir), he gave us money and clothes. Then he said: ‘These had been prepared for you before you met me.’”21

2. Sulayman b. Qaram reported: “Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir) gave us five hundred, six hundred, or one thousand dirhams. He was not tired of spending on the companions, those who came to him, and those who hoped from him.”22

3. Al-Hasan b. Kuthayr said: “I complained to Abi Ja‘far Muhammad b. ‘Ali (al-Baqir) of the need and the abandonment of the friends. He, peace be on him, was moved (by that). Then he said: ‘Bad is the friend who takes care of you when you are rich and abandons you when you are poor.' Then he ordered his servant-boy to take out a pouch in which were seven hundred dirhams. Then he said: ‘Spend these (dirhams). When you have used them, then inform me (of that).’”23

4. He, peace be on him, gave from a hundred to a thousand (dirhams) to the people who came frequently to his assembly. He liked sitting with them. Among them were ‘Amru b. Dinar and ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Ubayd. He gave them gifts and clothes. Then he said to them: We have prepared them for you since the beginning of the year.’”24

5. His retainer, Salma, reported: “His companions came to him. They did not leave him till he offered them delicious food and gave them good clothes and granted them dirhams. “Salma blamed him for that. Thus, he said to her: “Nothing is hoped in this world except the relatives and the companions.”25 He used to say: “The world is not good except for the gift of the companions and the relatives.”26 These are some of the attitudes which have been reported concerning his generosity and liberality. They indicate that kindness and charity were among his elements and qualities.

His Worship

Imam Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir), peace be on him, was among the Imams of the pious. He knew Allah to the extent that this knowledge included all his heart. He devoted himself to his Lord through a repentant heart. He was very excellent at obeying Him. As for the aspects of his worship, they are:

A. His Reverence in his Prayers

The historians reported that when he prepared himself for prayers, his color became yellow out of fear of Allah.27 He knew the mighty of Allah, the Exalted, the Creator of the universe and Giver of life. Thus, the Imam worshipped him as the pious and the repentant did.

B. His many Prayers

He said many prayers. The reporters said: “He said one hundred and fifty ruk‘as by day and night.”28 His scientific affairs and his general authority for the community did not divert him from saying many prayers. That is because the prayers were the most lovable thing with him, for they were the relationship between him and Allah.

C. His Supplications during his Prostration

It has been mentioned in the tradition: “The servant is closer to his Lord when he is prostrate (in prayer). Thus, during his prostration, the Imam, peace be on him, headed for Allah through his heart and his feelings. He whispered a supplication to Him sincerely. Some supplications have been reported on his authority. The following are some of them:

1. Ishaq b. ‘Ammar reported on the authority of Abi ‘Abd Allah (al-Sadiq), who said: “I prepared bed for my father and waited for him till he came. When he went to his bed and slept, I went to my bed. One night he was late. After the people had slept, I went to the mosque to look for him. There was no one in the mosque except him. Suddenly, I saw him prostrating in the mosque. I heard him say:

“O Allah, glory belongs to You. You are my true Lord. O My Lord, I am prostrating my self in worship and slavery. O Allah, my deed is weak, so double it for me. O Allah, protect me from Your torment on the day when You raise Your servants from the dead. Forgive me. Indeed You are the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”29

2. Abu ‘Ubayda al-Hadha' reported: While Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir) was prostrating himself in worship, I heard him say:

“(O Allah), I ask You by Your beloved one, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, to change my sins into good deeds and reckon me easily.”

Then he said in the second prostration:

“I ask You by Your beloved one, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, to suffice me the provision of the world and weaken the terror before Paradise.”

Then he said in the third (prostration):

“I ask You by Your beloved one, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, to forgive me my few and many sins and accept the little work from me.”

Then he said in the forth (prostration)

“I ask You by Your beloved one, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, to make me enter Paradise, to make me among its dwellers, and to save me from the burning fire through Your mercy. May Allah bless Muhammad and his family.”30

These supplications denote his intense attachment to Allah, his great turn to Him in repentance, and his cleaving to His obedience.

D. His Supplication during his Personal Prayers

Some supplications which he said during his personal prayers have been reported on his authority. The following are some of them:

“O Allah, indeed, my enemy has followed his vigor, persisted on his enmity, and felt safe from the consequence through the clemency that has included him. Thus, he has dared against You and disobeyed You when he has separated himself from You. O Allah, You have moments of wrath at night when they are asleep, by day when they are heedless, openly when they play, and suddenly when they are forgetful. Indeed the strangling rope has become more intense, the shackle has become stronger, the hearts have been eliminated, the minds are disguised, patience has perished and its strings are about to break. Surely, You observe the oppressive and see the grieved. The passing of overtaking does not hurry You and the prohibition of the forbidder does not make You powerless. Rather You act carefully. Your argument is intense and irrefutable in all circumstances. The weakness of humanity and the feebleness of mankind are in Your servants. The supreme power of divinity, the kingdom of creation, the violence of deliberateness, and the punishment of perpetuation are for You.

“O Allah, if there is a reward in bearing patiently the cordiality of the supported one from the oppressive and the sadness of him who sees from those who alternate you, then grant me more support and a help of directing till the time when Your will is valid towards him whom You make happy and him whom You make unhappy. Do me a favor to submit to Your inevitable decrees and to bear Your issued determinations. Grant me love for what You love from the past and the next (things), the immediate and the postponed (things). (Grant me) preference to what You choose from the close and the remote (things). In spite of that, do not deprive us of the sentiments of Your mercy and Your good protection.”31

I do not think that there is a political document that showed the same ability in mentioning the situations of the country at that time as this supplication showed. That is because the Imam talked about the political crises from which the Muslims suffered during the days of the Umayyad government with which the Imam was contemporary, and especially as it concerns the tyrant, ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, who did his best to abase the Muslims and to force them to follow what they hated. He appointed over them the tyrant, al-Hajjaj b. Yousif al-Thaqafi, who wasted their religion and world and made trouble in the earth. He poured all kinds of oppression on the Muslims to the extent that the insights missed the mark, the hearts rose up to the throats, and patience was over. Thus, the Imam asked Allah to save the Muslims from their critical situation and to punish severely the disobedient oppressive Umayyads.

2. He, peace be on him, prayed to Allah with this supplication in his personal prayers: “Through Your favor and generosity. O You Who knows the obsessions of inner selves, the hidden places of consciences, and the facts of thoughts. O You Who is present for every unseen, remember every forgotten (person), have power over all things, see all (the creatures), the slowness has become far, the moment of death has approached, the deed has become weak, and the hope is full of doubt.

“O Allah, You are the last as You are the first. You destroy whom You originate and turn into wear. You entrust their deeds to them and make them carry their burdens till the time of their resurrection from their raise from the dead when the trumpet will be blown, the sky split open with the light, and coming out of the place of resurrection to the yard of the gathering. Their eyes will not revert to them and their hearts vacant. They will run into the worry of their past deeds. They will be asked for a long time when they had lived. There they will be reckoned for what they had committed. Their books will be wide open around their necks. They shall bear their burdens on their backs. There will be neither escape nor refuge from the punishment. The proof will confute them. So, they will live in the perplexity of the destination and the whisper of the noise. They will be deviated from the destination except him who Allah promised good. So, he will be safe from the fearful sight and the great coming. And he was not among those who disobeyed (Allah) in the world. He did not annoy Allah's friends nor did he enslave them nor did he possess alone their rights.

“O Allah, indeed the hearts have risen up to the throats, the souls have come up to the throats, and the lives have come to an end because of waiting (for Your ease), not because of the paucity of insight nor because of the accusation of a decree, but because they have disobeyed You, opposed Your orders and prohibitions, played with Your friends, and supported Your enemies.

“O Allah, therefore, approach that which has become close, bring that which has become imminent, achieve the thoughts of those who are certain (of You), and make the believers achieve their hopes in establishing Your justice, supporting Your religion, and showing Your proof.”32

This Holy Supplication denotes that Allah has vast knowledge. He encompasses all things whether they are seen or unseen. It also denotes the hereafter. Moreover, it indicates that people will be raised from the dead on the Day of Judgment to be reckoned by Allah. They will carry on their backs the sins of what they had done in the world. They will be asked about what they had committed. They will be reckoned for what they had done. No one will be safe from that fearful sight except those whom Allah promised good, those who had not mutinied against (Allah) in the world nor had they enslaved Allah's servants. Worth mentioning, in this supplication, the Imam confronted the Umayyad rulers possessed alone the property of Allah and enslaved his servants. Thus, the hearts had risen up to the throats because of their oppression and tyranny, as the Imam, peace be on him, said.

His Pilgrimage

When Imam Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir), peace be on him, made the pilgrimage to Mecca, he dedicated himself to Allah and turned to Him in repentance. The marks of humility and obedience appeared on his face. His retainer, Aflah, reported: [I performed the hajj with Abi Ja‘far, Muhammad al-Baqir. When he entered the mosque, he wept loudly. So, I said to him:]

“May my father and mother be ransom for you, the people are waiting for you. If you please, weep quietly.”

However, the Imam paid no attention to him. Rather he said to him: “Aflah, woe unto you! I am weeping loudly in order that Allah may look at me through his mercy. So, I will win it tomorrow.”

Then the Imam circumambulated the Kaaba, and he came to pray behind the standing place (of Prophet Abraham). When he ended (his prayers), the place of his prostration became wet out of the tears of his eyes.33 One time when he, peace be on him, performed the hajj, the pilgrims surrounded him and crowded around him. They asked him for legal opinions concerning the affairs of their religion. The Imam answered them. Thus, the people admired his vast knowledge. They asked each other about him. So, one of his companions introduced him to them, saying:

“This is the one who has split open the knowledge of the apostles. This is the one who has explained the ways. This is the best one who became firmly established in the backs of the owners of the ship. This is the (grand) son of Fatima, the Chaste. This is the (grand) son of Muhammad, Khadija, ‘Ali, and Fatima. This is the standing signpost of religion.”34

The references have not mentioned the number of his pilgrimages to the Sacred House of Allah, for they have neglected that.

His Whispered Prayer with Allah

The Imam, peace be on him, said whispered prayers with Allah in the darkness of night. Among what he said in his whispered prayer is:

“You have ordered me, but I have not followed Your order. You have prevented me, but I have not followed Your prevention. Here I am, Your servant before You.”35

His Praising Allah

The historians said: “He always remembered Allah. His tongue praised Allah constantly. He walked and praised Allah. He spoke to the people, but that did not divert him from praising Allah. He gathered his children and ordered them to praise Allah till the sun rose. He also ordered them to recite the Quran. He ordered those who could not read to praise Allah.”36

His Renouncing Worldly Pleasures

Imam Abu Ja‘far (al-Baqir), peace be on him, renounced all the worldly pleasures. He turned away from the ornament of life. He did not furnished his house. Rather he spread out a mat at his sitting-place.37 He looked deeply at life. He considered carefully all its affairs. Thus, he renounced its pleasures and devoted himself to Allah through a repenting heart. Jabir b. Zayd al-Ju‘fi said: Muhammad b. ‘Ali (al-Baqir) said to me:

“Jabir, I am grieved and my heart is busy.”

“What is your grief? What has made your heart busy?” asked Jabir.

The Imam, peace be on him, spoke to him about what had made him grieved and made him renounce this world, saying:

“Jabir, whoever enters the religion of Allah, the Great and Almighty, through a pure heart, it (Allah's religion) diverts him from other than Allah.

Jabir, what is the world? What may it be? Isn't it a mere riding animal you ride or a garment you wear or a woman you marry?”38

Many words have been reported on his authority. They urge (people) to renounce worldly pleasures, and to cleave to Allah. Meanwhile they warn them of the vanities and sins of the world. We will mention that in this book. With this, we end our talk about some of the aspects of the Imam's bright character.

  • 1. Al-Saffar, Basa’ir al-Darajat, p.108
  • 2. Sharh ‘Aqa’id al-Saduq, p.114
  • 3. Tawfiq al-Tatbiq, p.16
  • 4. ‘Aqidat al-Shi‘a, p.317
  • 5. Al-‘Allama al-Hilli, al-Alfayn
    Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Awa’il al-Maqalat fi al-Madhahib al-Mukhtara
    Al-‘Allama al-Hilli, Minhajj al-Karama
  • 6. Nazariyat al-Imama lada al-Shi‘a al-Ithna ‘Ashariya, p.134
  • 7. A‘yan al-Shi‘a, 4/Q1/504
  • 8. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.11, p.66
  • 9. ‘Uyyun al-Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, p.218
  • 10. Tarikh Dimashq, vol.51, p.52. Ibn Qutayba, ‘Uyyun al-Akhbar, vol.3, p.57
  • 11. ‘Uyyun al-Akhbar, vol.3, p.208
  • 12. Al-Bayan wa al-Tabiyyin, p.158.
    A‘yan al-Shi‘a, Q1/4/472
  • 13. Sharh Shafiyat Abi Firas, vol.2, p.176
  • 14. Ibid
  • 15. Ibid
  • 16. Ibid
  • 17. A‘yan al-Shi‘a, Q1/4/471
  • 18. Zahr al-Adab, vol.1, p.94
  • 19. Al-Fusu al-Muhimma, p.227
  • 20. A‘yan al-Shi‘a, Q1/4/171
  • 21. Al-Irshad, p.299
  • 22. Ibid
  • 23. Safwat al-Safwa, vol.2, p.63
  • 24. ‘Uyyun al-Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, p.217
  • 25. A‘yan al-Shi‘a, Q1/4/506. Safwat al-Safwa, vol.2, p.63
  • 26. Ibid
  • 27. Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, vol.51, p.44
  • 28. Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, vol.125.
    Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, vol.51, p.44.
    Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol.3, p.182
  • 29. Furu‘ al-Kafi, vol.3, p.323
  • 30. Ibid
  • 31. Muhajj al-Da‘awat, p.51
  • 32. Ibid, p.52
  • 33. Safwat al-Safwa, vol.2, p.63
  • 34. Ibn Shahr Ashub, al-Manaqib, vol.4, p.183
  • 35. Nur al-Absar, p.130
  • 36. A‘yan al-Shi‘a, 4/Q1/471
  • 37. Da‘a’im al-Islam, vol.2, p.158
  • 38. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol.9, p.310