- Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far (a.s.)
- Father’s name
- Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.)
- Mother’s name
- Janabe Hamidah Khatoon (S.A.)
- Date of Birth
- 3rd Safar/ 7th Safar, 128 A. H.
- Place of Birth
- Abu Ibrahim, Abul Hasan al-Awwal, Abul Hasan al-Maazi
- Zaaahir, Kazim, Abd as-Saleh, etc.
- 55 years
- 25th Rajab, 183 A. H.
- Kazmain, Iraq
Appointed after him (Imam Sadiq (a.s.)) Musa (in whose time) there will be a severe calamity because the path of My obedience will not be cut off and My Hujjat will not be hidden.
As mentioned in the previous chapter, the Abbasids followed a path similar to the Ummayids or even worse. The very people who played a major role in overthrowing the Bani Umayyah and fought in support of the Bani Abbas were regretting their decision.
The new caliphs began oppressing the divine leaders of Islam (the Holy Imams (a.s.)) with greater intensity. During his life time, Imam Kazim (a.s.) witnessed the reign of four caliphs namely Mansoor, Mohammad Mahdi, Moosa al-Hadi and Haroon Rashid. He faced a lot of suffering because of them and passed a large part of his life in the prisons of Muhammad Mahdi. Moreover, he remained in the prisons of Basra and Baghdad on the orders of Haroon Rashid, the powerful and pleasure seeking Abbasid caliph. Nonetheless, during the 35 years of his Imamat, Imam (a.s.) was under severe control and watch of government.
Love for Imam (a.s.)
The matter which increased the jealousy of the Abbasid caliphs, particularly Haroon towards Imam (a.s.) was the great love, affection and reputation he enjoyed among the different groups of people in the society. The caliphs observed that their pomp and position did nothing in winning over the people not realizing that this affection of the people towards Imam (a.s.) was a divine endowment.
Characteristic of Imamat
When Imam Sadiq (a.s.) wanted to speak regarding the qualities of his son Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.), he would say: In him is the knowledge of judgement, understanding, generosity and cognition due to which the people need him in solving disputes in religious affairs and he possesses a good conduct. He is a secured neighbour and a gate from the gates of (recognizing) Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He.
Haroon tells his son Mamoon about his awareness towards the divine position of Imam (a.s.) in these words: This is the leader of the people and the Proof of Allah upon His creatures and His Caliph upon His servants.
While Imam (a.s.) passed a greater portion of his life in strict custody and vigilance of the authorities, he took care of the affairs of the Muslims and his Shias with his innovative plans. Imam (a.s.) had some Shia agents in the government.
Through this method, he gathered information about the plans and schemes of the rulers and also provided facilities to his friends (who were always subjected to harassment and atrocities by the authorities for they were accused of being Shia). The most famous of these agents was Ali Ibn Yaqteen, the prime minister of Haroon. This part of Imam’s (a.s.) life teaches us that within legitimate limits we should make use of means at our disposal to achieve our goals. By putting forward baseless arguments, we should not overlook the group possessing power, lose all positions under various pretexts and surrender all of them in favour of blood thirsty enemies.
Helping the Believers
The brief letters left by Imam (a.s.) in the scrolls of history addressed to the government authorities indicate the use of various elements and his hidden influence at different levels of the Abbasid government. For instance, in a letter written to the governor of Rey province advising and recommending him the case of one of the Shias (who was heavily taxed illegitimately and who could not afford to pay it), the Imam (a.s.) wrote: In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. Know that there is a shadow under the throne of Allah (arsh) whereunder none can reside except the one who has either rendered a goodness to his brother or removed from him a grief and made him joyous and happy. And this person is your brother. Was-salaam
A careful study of the text of the letter which apparently makes no mention of either the addressee or the writer nor the person who is recommended, indicates the precautions which Imam (a.s.) took to conceal the personalities of his contacts in the caliphate. This was meant to prevent all possible problems for them. Naturally, the presence of these figures in the higher echelons of government could by itself result in the failure of the plots hatched by the Abbasids to assassinate Imam (a.s.). It would result not only in the safety of Imam’s (a.s.) life but the people could continue to benefit from this ocean of knowledge and wisdom.
Worship in Prison
A study of Imam’s (a.s.) manner and conduct in prison teaches us valuable lessons. Imam (a.s.) utilized this opportunity in uplifting his soul through worship of Allah in such way that it astonished everyone. Fazl Ibn Rabi, one of the jailers, has described the period of Imam’s (a.s.) confinement in his own words which is recorded in the book ‘Aayaan al-Shia’. He speaks about the magnificence of his spirit and his profound inclination in prayers and prostration before the Almighty Allah.
This fact is also reflected in the statement of the sister of Sendi Ibn Shahek, the last jailor of Imam (a.s.). So impressed was she by the spiritual state and the worship of Imam (a.s.) that she would repeatedly say: What a loser is the community that stretches its atrocious and cruel hands towards this great man.
Anyhow, the 35 year period of Imam’s (a.s.) leadership passed in this manner where he would not spare an effort in serving Islam and finding ways and means to safeguard it. When Haroon would request him for counsel, he would not only comply with the request but also give statements replete with an ocean of meaning: Your eye does not see anything but in it is an admonishment.
But it needs an open eye and an attentive ear to take advice from this preaching.
To rein in the arrogance of Haroon, he would write to him: Know that my hard days and your days of pleasure pass away concurrently and we shall come to an eternal period when the wrongdoers will be in heavy loss.
This is a sign of the elevated and liberal spirit of a free man who is apparently in prison but talks firmly to a powerful person like Haroon. This teaches us the freedom of personality, spiritual power and firmness of faith.
Importance of Religious Knowledge
To bring the Muslims closer to the Holy Qur’an (the illuminator of the path) and its sciences, he wrote in his will: Acquire deep knowledge in religion. For, deep knowledge is the key to insight and the perfection of worship and a means to reach and attain the exaltation in religion and the world. The superiority of the learned scholar over the worshipper is like the superiority of the sun over the stars. Anybody who fails to acquire deep knowledge in his religion, Allah will not be satisfied with his deeds
Finally, on Friday, the 25th of Rajab in the year 183 A.H., he bid farewell to the world on account of the poison given by Sendi Ibn Shahek in the Baghdad jail at the behest of Haroon leaving behind the Shias and lovers of truth and freedom in tears, grief and sorrow.