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Chapter 2: The Phases Of Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘A) Life

Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) life is divided into two distinctive phases:

1. Before Imamah (leadership);

2. Imamah (leadership) era until martyrdom.

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) lived for about twenty-five years with his grandfather, Imam ‘Ali (‘a), his uncle, i.e. Imam Hasan (‘a) and his father Imam Husayn (‘a). He lived for about four years with his grandfather, Imam ‘Ali (‘a). According to other reports, he spent only two years with his grandfather. Ten years he lived alongside his uncle Imam Hasan (‘a) who was martyred in the year fifty of Hijrah. He also lived for ten years with his noble father, i.e. between 50 until 60 years (AH).

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a), during the first phase, spent 25 years while his grandfather, his uncle, and his father were still alive (however these were severe years of their lives. Whilst training in preparation to be the Imam (leader), they were martyred.) His father, along with his best companions was also martyred on the day of ‘Ashura’. Historians hold Mu‛awiyah responsible for this event, as he had established it while Yazid Ibn Mu‛awiyah was the direct perpetrator.

During the second phase, which lasted for around 35 years, he lived during the reign of Yazid Ibn Mu‛awiyah, Mu‛awiyah Ibn Yazid, Marwan Ibn Al-hakam and ‘Abd ul- Malik Ibn Marwan. He was then assassinated due to the direct order from the Caliph Walid Ibn ‘Abd ul- Malik, martyred around 25 Muharram at 94 or 95 AH. He was either 57 years old,1 or less, when martyred.

Thus we will divide this second phase, weighted with struggles and evil occurrences, into two distinctive phases:

1. His struggles after the tragedy of Karbala, before settling down in Madinah

2. His struggles after settling in Madinah.

We can, therefore, summarize his life stages into three main phases:

1.) His life before his father was martyred.

2.) His life after his father’s martyrdom, before settling in Madinah.

3.) His life after he settled in Madinah.

  • 1. Ibn Shahrashub, Al-Manaqib 3/310; Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/8-15. 15.