He was called Muhammad and his best known epithets are Jawad and Taqi. His father was Imam Ridha and his mother was called Sabikah. He was born on Rajab 10, 195. He assumed leadership in 203 at the age of 9. Of course, as we noted earlier, the leadership of Imam is a divine position that is assigned by God and the Prophet and has nothing to do with age. That is, the great Prophet has determined that after the eighth leader, Imam Ridha, his son, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali should succeed and therefore, Imam Ridha introduced him as the successor.
One day, when Imam Jawad (‘a) entered the great Prophet’s mosque, ‘Ali ibn Ja’far, the son of Imam Ja’far, who was the uncle of his father was sitting there, and as Imam walked into the mosque, he rushed toward Imam barefoot and without his cloak, and bowed to him and kissed his hand and stood by him respectfully. Imam Jawad asked him to be seated. ‘Ali ibn Ja’far replied, “How could I sit while you are standing?”
Following the departure of Imam Jawad (‘a), some people who had witnessed this went up to ‘Ali ibn Ja’far and reproached him and said, “You are the uncle of his father and he is the grandson of your brother, why do you honor him? (He should respect you) ‘Ali ibn Ja’far held his white beard in his hand and said, “When God has not deemed me with my white beard worthy of the position of leadership and has regarded him deserving of the leadership despite his young age, then how do you tell me not to accept it. I seek refuge in God from what you are saying.” (He is our Imam and it is incumbent upon us to submit to him and to honor him).1
Yahya ibn Aksam says, “One day, I entered the mosque of the Prophet and was paying tribute to his tombstone when I noticed Imam Jawad there.” I posed some questions and he answered them all very well and then I said, “I have a question but I don’t dare to raise it.” He said, “Before posing your question, I will say it. Your questions is, who will be the leader of Muslims after my father, Imam Ridha?” I said, “By God! That was my question.” He said, “After my father, I will be the Imam and God’s proof.”2
He was poisoned to death at the order of Mu’tasim ‘Abbasi, on the last day of Dhu’l-Qa’dah of 220 at the age of 25. He was buried next to his grandfather, Imam Musa in Baqdad (Kazimayn).
Someone asked Imam to advise him, Imam said, “Will you take it?”
He replied, “Yes.” Then Imam expressed remarks with this theme,
Quit lustful desires and oppose your evil ego. Beware that God sees you constantly so watch what you are doing and how you are doing.3