Thursday July 6, Dhul Hijjah 18: Anniversary of Event of Ghadir (Celebration)
End of Dhu al-Qidah (June 18 pending moon-sighting): Martyrdom Anniversary of Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (p) (220 A.H.)
Wednesday May 31, 2023 marks the Birth Anniversary of Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (A) 148 A.H.
Sunday May 14, 2023 marks the Shahadah Anniversary of Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (A)
Saturday April 1, 2023 marks demise anniversary of Lady Khadijah Al-Kobra (S) Condolences!
Special Iftar Program 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Thursday March 23, 2023 is First Day of Ramadhan 1444
Our Ramadhan Daily Program will be
- 6:30 PM One Juz Quran Reading Circle
- 7:30 PM Dua Iftitah
- 7:40 PM Salatul Maghrib Jama’ah
- 7:50 PM Light Potluck Iftar (Tea/Dates/Refreshments)
Wednesday March 8, 2023
Good Books & Articles to Read about Imam Mahdi (AJT)
Friday February 24, 2023
Friday 2/24; 3rd of Shaban: Birthday Anniversary of Imam Hussain ibn Ali (A)
Saturday 2/25; 4th of Shaban: Birthday Anniversary of Abal-Fadl al-Abbas (A)
Sunday 2/26; 5th of Shaban: Birth Anniversary of Imam Zayn al-Abidin (A)
Saturday February 18, 2023
Mab’ath – The Beginning Of Prophet’s Mission
Mab’ath means the beginning of his mission: when the Prophet received the very first verses from his Lord; when he was meditating, and reflecting, and worshiping in Cave Hira in Mount Noor, just outside Mecca, on the suburbs of Mecca. For 10 years, the Prophet used to climb this mountain and stay in this cave.
Sometimes three days, sometimes a week, in some occasions, 40 days and nights in this cave for meditation, for reflection. To remember his Lord or communion with his Lord. On the twenty seventh of the month of Rajab, the Archangel Gabriel descended upon the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, with the first five verses in Chapter 96, Surat-ul-Alaq, The Blood Clot. Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim, “Iqra bismi rabbikal lazee khalaq”(96:1)
While the Prophet was in the cave, he hears this voice ‘Iqra’. Recite in the name of your Lord who created. “Khalaqal insana min ‘alaq”(96:2). Created man from a single blood clot. “Khalaqal insana min alaq. Iqra wa rabbukal akram”(96:2-3). Recite in the name of your Honorable Lord. ”Iqra wa rabbukal akram. Al ladhee allama bil qalam”(96:3-4) Who taught with the pen. “Allamal insaana maa lam ya’lam”(96:5). He taught the human that which they did not know. These are the first five verses in the Quran that the Prophet received, of course, the Holy Quran descended upon the Prophet in two ways.
One way was the ‘an-nuzulul jam’ee’, the descension that arrived at once, the entire Quran from beginning till the end arrived at once at the heart of the Prophet. “Nazala ‘alaa qalbika li takoona minal munzireen, bi lisanin arabiyyin mubeen”(26:193-195) Descended upon the mind and the heart of the Prophet. The second version, the second type of descension (Nuzul) is ‘an-nuzulut tadreeji’, the gradual step by step, over the period of twenty three years. But the beginning of it was on the twenty seventh of the month of Rajab.
Thursday February 16, 2023
Thursday, February 16th, 2023, marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A), 25th of Rajab, 1444 A.H.
Born in Madina on 7th Safar 128 Hijri (10.11.745AD). Died in Baghdad Iraq 25th Rajab 183 Hijri (4.9.799 AD) Period of Imamate was 35 years.
Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far was born during the struggle between the Ummayads and the Abbasids. He was only four years old when Abul Abbas “Saffah”, “The Shedder of Blood”, came to the throne as the first Abbasid caliph. For twenty years he was under the authority of his father, who died ten years before the end of the long reign of Mansur.
The Imamate of the 7th Imam extended through the ten remaining years of the caliphate of Mansur, and included the ten years of the rule of Mahdi, one year and some months of Hadi and about twelve years of the reign of Harun al- Rashid. Thus for thirty five years he was the Imam. He held this coveted distinction as the longest period of Imamate of the Eleven Imams.
With six brothers and nine sisters Imam Musa (as) grew up in a large family. Ismail the oldest brother died at a young age and Musa was chosen by Divine providence to succeed his father as the Imam. There were those among the followers of the 6th Imam who thought that Imamate should be hereditary and therefore the eldest son of the 6th Imam should succeed.
They misunderstood the whole concept of Imamate which was neither hereditary nor mandatory for any one person. It was divinely selected and the Imam at his death bed reveals the name of the next Imam.
The Abbasid caliphs were always on the alert with this distinctive source of Imamate and our 7th Imam was fully aware of this danger. The Caliphs were on the alert to discover any real or imaginary disloyalty with the Imam or his followers and they would immediately put them under arrest.
This natural anxiety, however, does not appear to have seriously interrupted his life as an Imam. He continued to disseminate Qura’nic teachings as his father Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) used to do through the Islamic schools opened in Madina during the life of the 5th Imam.
Ibn Khalikan related that caliph Mansur saw in his dream Imam ‘Ali (as) who was reciting the verse from the Qur’an, “O’Muhammad, were you ready therefore, if you had been put in authority, to commit evil on the earth and to violate the ties of blood.” Mansur sent for his favorite companion Ibn Younus at night and told him of his dream.
He then said,” bring me Musa Ibn Ja’far.” The Imam Musa ibn Ja’far was brought in all the way from Madina to Baghdad. When he arrived Mansur embraced him and said to him, “Abul Hasan, I have just seen in a dream ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) who was reciting this verse.
Give me your assurance that you will not revolt against me or against any of my children. Imam replied, By Allah I have no such intentions. The caliph then gave him a thousand dinars and restored him to his family in Madina.
This story give us some idea how these Abbasid caliphs were so afraid of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt that in spite of their total lack of evidence for any kind of revolt against their earthly power, they would not leave them alone.
From time to time the Imams were brought in from Madina, kept in Baghdad either on house arrest or inside prisons under the most difficult of conditions. But it was the Imams great Divine Characters that managed to keep them going in the most severe of conditions. It is because of these uncertain times that the Imam said,
“How base is the world for a people, unless God give them joy; and how great is this life , if God is not angry with them.” Total submission to the Will of God in all circumstances.
It was widely known that Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far had been given powers of healing. Once he was passing by a house and heard little children weeping. He enquired as to why they were crying. He was told that they were orphans and their mother had just died and now they had no one to look after them.
He went inside the house, made two prostrations and prayed to God for her life. Moments later the woman stood up well and in good health. People who saw this and cried out, “Behold it is Jesus son of Mary.”
Once Harun al Rashid was visiting Madina. He went to the mosque of the Prophet near his grave and said, My Salaams to you O’cousin of our fathers. Imam Musa was there who saluted the grave of the Prophet with the words, My Salams to you O’our grandfather. At this Al-Rashid was disconcerted and went away angry.
This occurrence was sufficient to explain his first summons from Al Rashid to come to Baghdad. There he was kept in prison. But after nearly a year in prison Harun saw in a dream that an Abyssinian slave was rushing towards him with a javelin and telling him to release Musa Ibn Ja’far or he will slay him.
Harun immediately called the head of the prison and told him to release the Imam and give him thirty thousand Dirhams. When this man reached the door of the prison he found Imam was waiting for him and welcomed him, saying how quickly he had come to release him. The man said how did he know.
Imam replied “I saw the Holy Prophet in my dream who told me to recite these words and then I will be released from prison for I had been put here unjustly.” The man asked what were those words, Imam replied,
“O thou who hearest every voice,
O thou who lets no opportunity escape;
O thou who clothes the bones with flesh
and who wilt raise them up after death;
I invoke thee by thy Holy name, and by that great and splendid name which is treasured up and closely hidden, by that name which no created thing shall ever know;
O thou who art so mild and whose patience is never equaled;
O thou whose favors never cease and cannot be numbered, set me free. (Masudi, Muruj el Dhahab)
So you see what happened. The superintendent of prisons was flabbergasted and released the Imam immediately, organized an escort for him to take him to Madinah.
Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far (as) was one of the illustrious Imams who God had set a paragon of moral excellence. Each member of this noble family possessed cardinal virtues. Naturally in some individuals a particular virtue is dominant and more conspicuous. The seventh Imam excelled in tolerance and forgiveness, so much so that he was entitled al-Kazim, the suppressor of anger.
Never was he heard speaking roughly or harshly to anyone. Even in the most unpleasant situations, he was seen smiling bearing the pain gracefully. This was in accordance with the saying of his ancestor Imam ‘Ali (as) that the faithful keeps his grief confined in his heart with a smile on his face.
One State official of Madina was a persistent source of harassment to the Imam. He even used abusive language regarding Imam ‘Ali. (as) But our 7th Imam always directed his followers not to retaliate in the same abusive manner.
When his manner became too rude to be tolerated, Imam’s followers sought permission from the Imam to retaliate against him. The Imam appeased them, promising to decide the matter in his own way.
Pacifying his followers, the Imam went to that man on his Farm and treated him with such noble benevolence that the man felt ashamed of his conduct and subsequently changed his attitude and altered his conduct. Explaining his policy to his followers, the Imam asked,“ Was my behavior better than the methods you suggested?”
They admitted that it certainly was. He thus carried out the instructions of his great ancestor Imam ‘Ali (as) which is recorded in Nahjul Balagha to subdue the enemy with benevolence since it is more effective than trying to defeat them with the same methods. No doubt this requires a correct judgement of your adversary’s nature. Imam ‘Ali (as) has therefore warned not to use this policy with the vile and mean, or they will be encouraged to do more mischief.
To vanquish the enemy with goodness certainly requires the foresight the Imam possessed. Strictness is permissible only when the enemy’s continuous vile conduct justifies retaliation or the use of force. If not, these dignified Nufus preferred to deal with that kind of person gently so as to have a valid pretext against the opponent and leave no ground for him to justify his aggression.
This was the noble method usually adopted by all members of Ahlul Bayt. Imam ‘Ali (as) even on his death bed behaved liberally with Ibn Muljim who had dealt him a mortal blow only the day before. Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far (as) showered his generosity on many of his relatives even when he knew that some of them were envious of him and conspired with the ruler of the time Harun al-Rashid.
As to what may have led to his final imprisonment, we find that it is stated by Al-Fakhri that there were some of the relatives of Musa Ibn a’afar who were envious of him and carried false reports about him to Al-Rashid, saying, “The people paying him the Khums, or one fifth of the property, are accepting the Imamate and he is about to revolt against you”.
They brought this report to Al-Rashid so frequently that it made him anxious and agitated. He gave the accuser some money to keep bringing him more information. But it is related through authentic sources that this relative of the Imam did not have the chance of enjoying that reward for espionage, for as soon as he reached Madinah, he suffered a serious illness and died from it.
It was in that year that Al-Rashid went on the pilgrimage, and when he arrived in Madina, he arrested the Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far, brought him to Baghdad and imprisoned him under the care of al-Sindi ibn Shahik. (Al-Fakhri-Ibnul Tiktika)
This agrees with Majlisi’s comment in Bihar al Anwar that “Harun took him from Madina ten days from the end of the month of Shawwal 177 Hijiri. Then Harun set out for Makka and took the Imam with him when he returned to Basra and had him imprisoned with Issa. About one year later he was taken out of the Basran prison and taken to Baghdad.
He was put in prison there under the watchful eye of the cruelest person named al-Sindi. Majlisi goes on to say that the Imam died in his prison and was buried in the cemetery of Quraish on the south side of Baghdad.
Al-Fakhri adds,” Al-Rashid was at Rakka and sent orders that he should be put to death. They then brought a number of so called reputable men to Karkh to act as coroners and to testify publicly that the Imam died a natural death.
The place he was buried was a cemetery of the Quraish. But soon this place became the focus of pilgrimage on the grave of the Imam. A town grew around the grave yard. The name of the town became Kazimiya, the town of the Imam Kazim (as) A reputed school of theology was founded in this town which is still a source of learning for many students from all over the world.
Monday February 6, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023, marks the demise anniversary of Sayyida Zaynab bint Ali (p), 15th of Rajab, 1444 A.H.
Sayyida Zaynab(p) is reported to have said to Yazid:
“Scheme whatever you may scheme, and strive for whatever you may strive, and put forth your best efforts – but, by God, you will never erase our mention.”
[Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 45, p. 135]
Sayyida Zaynab bint Ali (peace be upon them)
Father: Ali ibn Abi Talib (pbut)
Mother: Sayyida Fatimah bint Muhammad (p)
Born: 5 Jamadi al-Awwal, 5 A.H.
Death: 15 Rajab, 62 AH
Age at Death: 57
Buried: Damascus, Syria (per most historians), however, it is also said that she was buried in Madinah, in the Arabian Peninsula, or Cairo, Egypt.
Sayyida Zaynab bint Ali (p)
With parents such as Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (p) and Sayyida Fatima (p) and grandparents such as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Lady Khadija (p), there is no doubt that the upbringing of Sayyida Zaynab (p) would be beyond exemplary.
She grew up in Medina, where she was married to Abdullah ibn Jafar al-Tayyar, who was brought up under the direct care of the Holy Prophet (pbuh & hp)[i]. Together they had five children, four of whom were sons, Ali, Aun, Muhammad, and Abbas, and one daughter, Umm Kulthum[ii].
Sayyida Zaynab (p) was no stranger to death or oppression. We know her best for the crucial role she played during the events of Karbala in 61 A.H. when she was 55 years old. She witnessed the martyrdom of her own children, her nephews, companions, and most significantly her beloved brothers Abbas ibn Ali Talib (p) and Imam al-Hussain (p). Sayyida Zaynab’s (p) strong upbringing, piety, and nobility ensured she was not weak in the face of adversity. Therefore, after Imam Hussain (p) was mercilessly martyred, she became the pillar for the other women and children. She, therefore, serves as an example of steadfastness, courage, humility, and strength for all of us.
The following is an excerpt of the sermon Sayyida Zaynab (p) gave in the courtyard of Yazid’s palace in Damascus after they were brought as prisoners:
“Whatever you consider today, as a bounty would turn into reparation for tomorrow, whatever you have sent in advance would be received by you. Allah does not like oppression toward his servants. I complained to Him and put my trust upon Him; thus whatever deceit you want to practice, go ahead and do it; whatever endeavors and efforts you can make, try them. By Allah you would never be able to remove our remembrance from the hearts [of the believers], nor would you ever be able to destroy our revelations; you would never reach our splendor and majesty; you would never be able to wash this ugly spot of tyranny from your [dress]; your opinion and suggestions are invalid and unstable. The duration of your rein is very short, and your assembly would soon be scattered; on that day when the heavenly crier would announce: ‘Praise be upon the Lord of the Worlds, and our beginning- with prosperity and salvation-and our end-with martyrdom and blessing. I beseech the Almighty to bestow upon them [Imam Hussain (p), his family (pbut), and his loyal companions] His best recompense and may [He] increase their rewards. O You, Who is just and righteous toward us, and Who is the most compassionate among all the compassionate ones, we put our trust only upon You.” [iii]
[i] Muna Haeri Bilgrami, The Victory of Truth: The Life of Zainab bint Ali (p), (Qum: Ansariyan Publications).
[ii] Muna Haeri Bilgrami, The Victory of Truth: The Life of Zainab bint Ali (p), (Qum: Ansariyan Publications).
[iii] Bihar al Anwar, Vol. 45, p. 133
Saturday February 04, 2023
Birth Anniversary of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (A)
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon them)
Title: Asadullah (Lion of God); Haydar (Brave-hearted), Abu Turab (Father of Dust), Amir al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Faithful)
Kunya: Abu al-Hassan; Abu al-Hassanain
Father: Abu Talib (Peace be upon him)
Mother: Fatimah bint Asad
Born: 13th Rajab, 23 BH/595 CE inside the Holy Kabah in Makkah, Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula
Died: 21st Ramadan, 40 AH/661 CE, after being struck on the head with a sword by the Kharijite, Ibn Muljam
Age at Martyrdom: 63
Period of Imamate: 29 years
Buried: Najaf, Iraq
Imam Ali (p)
“…and I am leaving with you two weighty things. As long as you hold onto them both, you will never go astray,” said Muhammad, the Messenger of God.
Someone from the crowd then called out, “…O Messenger of God, what are the two weighty things?”
Prophet Muhammad then stated, “The Book of God (the Qur’an) – a connection between God and you – so hold onto it; and the other is my family (Ahl al-Bayt)… Indeed, (God,) the All-Attentive, the All-Aware, has told me that these two will not separate until they reach me at the pond (in heaven)…”
The Messenger of God then took the hand of ‘Ali, raised it for everyone to see, and declared three times, “…So for whomever I am the Leader, ‘Ali is the Leader.”
Prophet Muhammad continued to pray, “O God…love those who love him, detest those who detest him…and turn the Truth with him, whichever way he turns.”[i]
These were the words of Prophet Muhammad on the day of Ghadir. Following the announcement, people proceeded to congratulate their Divinely-appointed leader. Imam ‘Ali was the disciple who emanated wisdom, faith, and valor from every corner of his being. In the sphere of intellectual thought, Imam ‘Ali was an eye of piercing insight. As Commander of the Faithful, he was closest in resemblance to Prophet Muhammad. In the path of justice, Imam ‘Ali’s bravery was legendary. This was the personality of the Commander of the Faithful.
Imam ‘Ali was raised by the Prophet himself and was truly the Prophet’s shadow for most of his life. Even when the Prophet went out to the desert or nearby mountains, the young Imam was his companion. Imam ‘Ali recalled some of these moments later on in his life, when he said, “…Every year he (the Prophet) used to go in seclusion to the Cave of Hira’, where I saw him but no one else did.”[ii]
After the Prophet received revelation in the Cave of Hira’, the first man to outwardly accept the Prophet’s message was Imam ‘Ali. Indeed, Imam ‘Ali was among the very few who never believed in or bowed down to false idols – neither before nor after the advent of Islam. Prophet Muhammad once said to his companions, “The first among you to meet me at the pond (in heaven) is the first among you to embrace Islam – that is ‘Ali…”[iii]
Upon the Muslim migration (hijrah) to Madinah, the Prophet paired each one of the Muslim migrants (muhajirin) with a Muslim brother from the people of Madinah (anṣar). Once everyone had been paired, Imam ‘Ali came up to the Prophet with teary eyes saying, “You have not paired me with a brother…”
Prophet Muhammad then replied, “You are my brother, in this world and the Hereafter.”[iv]
Glimpses of the Legend
The virtues of Imam ‘Ali are too numerous to be encompassed by this short page. But mentioning some of the eternal images in Imam ‘Ali’s life may provide a glimpse into the life of a true legend.
The Battle of the Trench (Khandaq) was a notable scene for displaying Imam ‘Ali’s valor. The hero of the enemies – Amro – had been taunting the Muslims, calling out for a challenger. Many Muslims were terrified of the infamous Amro. But not Imam ‘Ali. Each time the vicious Amro would call out for a challenger, Imam ‘Ali would ask the Prophet for permission to fight. Upon the third request, Prophet Muhammad told Imam ‘Ali, “He is Amro…”
To which Imam ‘Ali replied, “And I am ‘Ali.”
Prophet Muhammad then granted Imam ‘Ali permission to fight. After some words with Amro, it became clear that a fight was inevitable. The two fought until Imam ‘Ali was struck and injured on the head. However, Imam ‘Ali was able to strike back and gain victory.
The Muslims were relieved that the invaders had just lost their wicked icon. Prophet Muhammad commented on the incident by saying,
“The challenge that ‘Ali met Amro with on the Day of the Trench (Khandaq) is greater than the deeds of my entire nation until the Day of Judgment.”[v]
While Imam ‘Ali was a courageous defender of truth on the battlefield, he was also a profoundly wise and patient leader. Imam ‘Ali carefully picked his battles without ever sacrificing his principles. After Prophet Muhammad passed away, many of the prominent companions disobeyed God’s directives to follow Imam ‘Ali as their leader. Instead, different political leaders were chosen by some of the companions. In order to safeguard the Muslim nation from civil strife and self-destruction, Imam ‘Ali opted not to bear arms against the illegitimate rulers. Imam ‘Ali continued to advise these rulers, insofar as the greater benefit of serving the truth was concerned.[vi]
Unfortunately, even when the majority of Muslims pledged allegiance to Imam ‘Ali years later, dissident groups forced Imam ‘Ali into battle, and internal conspiracies prevented him from executing all of his reformatory plans. Eventually, an assassin struck Imam ‘Ali with a poison-laden sword, while he was in prayer at the Mosque of Kufah. In the coming nights, many of the poor stopped receiving the charity they had awaited so anxiously. They realized that the mysterious angel who came to give them sadaqah at night had been none other than Imam ‘Ali.[vii][viii]
The Path of Eloquence
Some of Imam ‘Ali’s words of wisdom have been preserved and gathered in a collection known as the Path of Eloquence (Nahj al-Balaghah). Here is a taste of some of Imam ‘Ali’s words describing God, in the Sermon of Skeletons (Khutbah al-Ashbah):
“…He is Powerful, such that when imagination shoots its arrows to comprehend the extremity of His power, and mind, making itself free of the dangers of evil thoughts, tries to find Him in the depth of His realm, and hearts long to grasp the realities of His attributes and openings of intelligence penetrate beyond description in order to secure knowledge about His Being, crossing the dark pitfalls of the unknown and concentrating towards Him, He would turn them back. They would return defeated, admitting that the reality of His knowledge cannot be comprehended by such random efforts, nor can an iota of the sublimity of His Honor enter the understanding of thinkers…”[ix]
Another excerpt of Imam ‘Ali’s words teaches us a lifelong lesson on how to deal with others, especially if we find ourselves in a position of authority. In a letter to Malik al-Ashtar, the Governor of Egypt –– Imam ‘Ali wrote the following:
“…Remember, Malik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have – they are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than yours – they are human beings like you. Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to, they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally, without realizing the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect God to show mercy and forgiveness to you…”[x]
[i] Pg. 34-35 of al-A’immah al-Ithnay Ashar by Sh. Jafar Subhani
[ii] Pg. 18-21 of al-A’immah al-Ithnay Ashar by Sh. Jafar Subhani
[iii] Pg. 35 of Seerat al-A’immah by Sh. Jafar Subhani
[iv] Pg. 42 of Seerat al-A’immah by Sh. Jafar Subhani
[v] Pg. 52-54 of Seerat al- A’immah by Sh. Jafar Subhani
[vi] Pg. 61-62 of Seerat al- A’immah by Sh. Jafar Subhani
[vii] Pg. 82 of Seerat al- A’immah by Sh. Jafar Subhani
[viii] Ch. 66 of A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims by S. Ali Razwy
[ix] “Letter to Malik al-Ashtar,” Nahj al-Balaghah
[x] “Khutbat al-Ashbah,” Nahj al-Balaghah
Wednesday February 01, 2023
Birth Anniversary of the 9th Imam, Mohammad Taqi Al-Jawad (A)
Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (peace be upon him)
Title: al-Taqi [the Pious]; al-Jawad [the Generous], al-Qani’ [the Content]
Kunya: Abu Ja’far, al-Thani (the Second); Ibn al-Ridha
Father: Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (Peace be upon him)
Born: 10th Rajab, 195 AH/811 CE in Madinah, Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula
Died: End of Dhu al-Qidah (which may fall on the 29th or the 30th, depending on moon-sighting), 220 AH/835 CE, after being poisoned by al-Mu’tasim
Age at Martyrdom: 25
Period of Imamate: 17 years
Buried: Kadhimayn, Baghdad, Iraq
Words of Wisdom from Imam al-Jawad (p)
“The best worship is sincerity.”1
“A bounty that is not thanked is like a sin that is not forgiven.”2
”There are three qualities which allow the servant to attain God’s grace: oft-repentance, humbleness in front of others, and abundant offering of charity.”3
Salient Features of Imam al-Jawad’s Life
One of the biggest challenges that faced the early Shia community was identifying the next Imam, particularly for those who are not close confidantes with the preceding Imam. This was evident during the time immediately after the martyrdom of Imam al-Rida (p). When his father passed away, Imam al-Jawad (p) was quite young, and the dilemma was the first of its kind for the Shia, as they had to confirm through his knowledge and piety whether he was truly the representative of God on earth. Though we have reports from Imam al-Rida, for instance, which state, “Abu Jafar (Muhmmad al-Jawad) is the successor after me,”4 these statements were not accessible far and wide to the broader community.
1. Evidence of the Imam’s Knowledge as a Child
After Imam al-Rida’s martyrdom, the Abbasid ruler Ma’mun relocated his headquarters to Baghdad. One day, Ma’mun went hunting on the outskirts of town. After he passed the city limits, he saw a group of young boys playing, while another boy was standing near them.
As Ma’mun approached, all the boys ran away except for the nine-year-old boy who had been standing there. Ma’mun then came closer and asked the boy, “Young man! What stopped you from running away as your friends did?!”
The boy replied promptly, “My friends ran away out of fear; while the thoughts of you should be positive (in the sense) that the one who is not at fault should not run away from you; and the road was not (too) narrow such that I should move to the side.”
Ma’mun was impressed by the young man’s words and radiant features. “What is your name, young man?” asked Ma’mun. The boy responded, with the memory of his poisoned father still fresh in his mind, “Muhammad, son of ‘Ali al-Rida.”5
The ninth Imam, Muhammad, son of ‘Ali, was the first among the twelve immaculate Imams to actively begin his role as divine representative while still a child. How was this possible? Even when Imam al-Jawad was only three, Imam al-Rida (p) defended the future Imam, saying, “What is wrong with that? Indeed, Jesus fulfilled the proof (as a witness upon creation) when he was less than three years old.”6
2. Under the Abbasid Authorities
After Ma’mun secretly poisoned Imam al-Rida (p), he tried to cover up his crime by showing signs of mourning and sadness in public. However, these acts did not fool the close companions of Imam al-Rida (p) and it quickly became clear to the Shia that Imam al-Rida (p) was murdered by none other than Ma’mun.
Ma’mun, fearing Shia reprisal, thought up another one of his devious plots. He had Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (p) forcibly taken from Madinah to Baghdad and kept under close surveillance. For purposes of gaining legitimacy and appearing to be on Imam al-Jawad’s side and keeping tabs on the Imam, Ma’mun made arrangements for his daughter to marry the Imam.7,8
Many Abbasids objected to the marriage arrangement. They complained that the young man could not possibly have sufficient knowledge and understanding to be an appropriate suitor. But Imam Muhammad al-Jawad was bound to refute this assumption soon enough.
3. Hunting in the State of Ihram
Mamun agreed to allow the Abbasids to test Imam al-Jawad’s knowledge. Hence, the Abbasids chose one of the most notable scholars of their day to ask Imam al-Jawad an intricate question in Islamic law. The area of law which was chosen was hajj (pilgrimage), which is distinctly complex when compared to other areas of fiqh. The question dealt with a muhrim (someone in the ritual state of ihram), who is prohibited from several actions which are normally allowed. The Abbasid scholar asked, “What do you say…about a muhrim who hunted (some type of) prey?”
The young Imam al-Jawad responded eloquently with a detailed breakdown of the different branches which the question could apply to. “Did (the muhrim) hunt beyond or within the sanctuary? Was the muhrim knowledgeable or ignorant? Did (the muhrim) hunt intentionally or mistakenly? Was the muhrim free or a servant? Was (the muhrim) young or elderly?”
After Imam al-Jawad divided the question into eleven distinct subsections, the Abbasid scholar was baffled and began stumbling over his words. At that point, the audience realized the gravity of their false assumption about the young Imam.
When Imam al-Jawad explained the answer to each branch of the original question, it was his turn to ask the Abbasid scholar a question…After hearing the question, the Abbasid scholar was dumbfounded once again. He asked Imam al-Jawad to explain the answer to him and the Imam did so. Repeated exchanges, such as this one, eliminated the doubts some may have had regarding the superior intellectual merit of Imam al-Jawad. 10
4. The Unexcused Thief
An Abbasid named Mu’tasim came to power after Ma’mun’s death. He made sure to have Imam al-Jawad brought to Baghdad once again since the Holy Imam had since returned to Madinah. Mu’tasim had become aware of Imam al-Jawad’s growing influence throughout the Muslim world. Fearing that Imam al-Jawad’s noble qualities and spiritual eminence may threaten his rule, Mu’tasim monitored the Imam’s activities very carefully. While this limited Imam al-Jawad’s mobility, it also gave the ninth Imam opportunities to propagate knowledge in Mu’tasim’s court.11
One such opportunity took place when Mu’tasim sought Imam al-Jawad’s view on the penalty of an unexcused thief. Based on God’s directives to humanity, Mu’tasim and the scholars of his court knew that the thief’s ‘hand’ was to be severed. But the definition and limits of the word ‘hand’ were the topic of discussion.
Mu’tasim first asked the scholars of his court for their opinions, along with supporting evidence. Some scholars said that the hand, up until the wrist, was to be severed. Others said that the hand, up until the elbow, was to be severed. Each jurist presented his supporting evidence, but Mu’tasim was not satisfied.
After Mu’tasim insisted that Imam al-Jawad present his opinion, the ninth holy Imam said that all Mu’tasim’s scholars were mistaken. Not even the palm of a thief’s hand was to be severed. As the Imam explained, his proof was based on “the words of the Messenger of God, ‘Prostration is (performed) on seven (body) parts: the face, the (two) hands (meaning: palms), the (two) knees, and the (two) feet.’ If the (person’s) hand is severed from the wrist, or the elbow, (the person) would no longer have a hand (meaning a palm) to prostrate upon; and God – the Blessed, the Exalted – has said, ‘The places of worship (prostration) belong to God,’ meaning these seven (body) parts that one prostrates on, ‘so do not invoke anyone along with God.’12 That which belongs to God is not severed.”
Mu’tasim was pleased by Imam al-Jawad’s discussion and the sentence was carried out in accordance with it.13
5. The Imam’s Martyrdom
The scholars of Mu’tasim’s court felt humiliated by the episode of the unexcused thief. Some of these scholars approached Mu’tasim and attempted to convince him that the way he had sided with Imam al-Jawad may compromise his grip on power. Mu’tasim, realizing the danger to his rule, and following in the footsteps of Abbasid rulers before him, decided to murder the Imam.14
The corrupt Mu’tasim eventually executed his evil will and had Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (p) poisoned. The Imam was just over twenty-five years old. Imam al-Jawad was buried near his grandfather, Imam Musa al-Kadhim (p), in present-day Kadhimiyya.15
- Allamah Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 67, p. 245.
- A’lam al-Din, al-Daylami, 309.
- Allamah Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 75, p. 81.
- Shaykh Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, vol. 2, p. 266.
- Sh. Ja’far Subhani, al-A’immah al-Ithnay ‘Ashar, p. 103.
- Allamah Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 50, p. 21.
- Sh. Mahdi Beshwai, Siret al-A’immah, 474.
- Sh. Mahdi Beshwai, Sirat al-A’immah, 496-498.
- Sh. Mahdi Beshwai, Sirat al-A’immah, 486.
- Sh. Mahdi Beshwai, Sirat al-A’immah, 487-489.
- Sh. Mahdi Beshwai, Sirat al-A’immah, 502.
- The Holy Quran, 72:18.
- Sh. Mahdi Beshwai, Sirat al-A’immah, 490-491.
- Sh. Mahdi Beshwai, Sirat al-A’immah, 502.
- Sh. Ja’far Subhani, al-A’immah al-Ithnay ‘Ashar, 106.
“١. روي عن الإمام محمد الجواد (ع): “أفضل العبادة الإخلاص
“٢. روي عن الإمام محمد الجواد (ع): “نعمة لا تشكر كسيئة لا تغفر
“٣. روي عن الإمام محمد الجواد (ع): “ثلاث يبلغن بالعبد رضوان الله تعالى: كثرة الاستغفار , وخفض الجانب , وكثرة الصدقة
“٤. روي عن الإمام علي الرضا (ع): “أبو جعفر وصيي وخليفتي في أهلي من بعدي
٥.روي أنه لمّا توفّي الاِمام الرضا _ عليه السلام _ وقدم المأمون بغداد، اتّفق أنّ المأمون خرج يوماً يتصيّد، فاجتاز بطرف البلدة وصبيان يلعبون ومحمّد الجواد واقف عندهم، فلمّـا أقبل المأمون فرّ الصبيان ووقف محمّد الجواد، وعمره آنذاك تسع سنين، فلمّـا قرب منه الخليفة قال له: يا غلام ما منعك أن لا تفرّ كما فرّ أصحابك؟! فقال له محمّد الجواد مسرعاً: «يا أمير المؤمنين فرّ أصحابي فرقاً والظنّ بك حسن أنّه لا يفرّ منك من لا ذنب له، ولم يكن بالطريق ضيق فانتحي عن أميرالمؤمنين» فأعجب المأمون كلامه وحسن صورته فقال له: ما اسمك يا غلام؟ قال: «محمّد بن عليّ الرضا _ عليه السلام
٦.روي عن الإمام الرضا (ع) أنه قال في حق ولده الإمام محمد الجواد (ع) لما سئل عن توليه الإمامة في سن صغيرة “وما يضره من ذلك؟ قد قام عيسى بالحجة، وهو ابن أقل من ثلاث سنين”
٧-١١. من كتاب سيرة الائمة عليهم السلام لمهدي البيشوائي (بتصرّف)
١٢. قال الله تعالى: ((وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا))
١٣-١٤. من كتاب سيرة الائمة عليهم السلام لمهدي البيشوائي (بتصرّف)
١٥. من كتاب الأئمة الاثنا عشر عليهم السلام لجعفر السبحاني (بتصرّف)
Wednesday January 25, 2023
Imam Ali al-Hadi (peace be upon him)
Title: al-Hadi; al-Naqi (the Guide; the Pure)
Kunya: Abu al-Hasan (al-Thalith/the 3rd)
Father: Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad (Peace be upon him)
Born: 15th Dhu al-Hijjah; 2nd Rajab according to a different narration, 212 AH/827 CE in the Holy City of Madinah
Died: 3rd Rajab, 254 AH/868 CE, after being poisoned by the Abbasid Caliph al-Mu’tazz
Age at Martyrdom: 42
Period of Imamate: 34 years
Buried: Samarra, Iraq
The Tenth Imam
“…The imaginations of those who imagine are lost; the sight of those who see is short; the descriptions of those who describe disintegrate; and the words of the falsifiers vanish – before understanding the wonder of His state; or being able to reach the height of His station; For He is in the position which is unlimited; and in the place upon which (the gazes of) eyes have never fallen – neither through a signal, nor an expression; far (be it), far (it is)!”[i]
These were the words of Ali, son of Imam Muhammad al-Jawad while answering a question about the Originator of Existence, the Almighty God. The beauty of the awareness of God exudes from the words of such an individual, as if calling out, “This must be an immaculate Imam!”
Imam Muhammad al-Jawad, the ninth Imam, stated, “The Imam after me is my son Ali. His command is my command, his words are my words, and obedience to him is obedience to me…”[ii]
The tenth Imam was known by many titles which designated his virtuous qualities. Two of the most famous of these titles were al-Hadi (the guide) and al-Naqi (the pure).[iii]
Throughout his life, Imam Ali al-Hadi proactively worked to nourish the hearts and minds of the believers with Divine wisdom. The Imam’s words and actions called for an elevation of awareness toward realizing the purpose of life. By helping others reflect on the changing, impermanent nature of the world, Imam al-Hadi reminded people of the Hereafter. As the Imam said, “The world is a market; some people gained in it, while others lost.”[iv]
Imam Ali al-Hadi
After Imam Muhammad al-Jawad was poisoned, Imam Ali al-Hadi lived in Madinah, where he remained for several years. Although the Abbasid rule had been cruel under Mu’tasim, the levels of oppression increased drastically under the Abbasid ruler Mutawakkil. A companion of Imam al-Hadi by the name of Ibn Sharaf narrates the following, “I was walking with Imam al-Hadi in Madinah and he said to me, ‘Aren’t you Ibn Sharaf?’ So I said, ‘Yes.’ Then I wanted to ask him about a (religious) question, but before I asked him, he said, ‘We are in the middle of the road (in public), and this is not the situation for a (religious) question.’”[v]
This encounter hints at the terror exercised under Mutawakkil’s rule, such that it led Imam al-Hadi to keep Shia religious matters confidential. Indeed, it was Mutawakkil who persecuted and arrested several prominent Shia. Mutawakkil forcibly took Imam al-Hadi to Samarra’ (an Abbasid city north of Baghdad) and imprisoned him. Then this wicked caliph demolished the burial site of the Master of Martyrs, Imam Hussain, setting up police stations to prevent devotees from visiting…[vi]
The tenth Imam thus maintained secret communications with the Shia living in various areas. Through an intricate network of representatives, Imam al-Hadi would receive the religious dues from observant believers, as well as answer questions of faith, Islamic law, and politics.[vii]
In the face of political and intellectual challenges, Imam al-Hadi stood with wisdom and fortitude. From the foolish ones of Mutawakkil’s court to the twisted extremists making false claims, Imam Ali al-Hadi uprooted the trees of distortion with his sound proofs and powerful reminders.[viii]
A Reminder through Poetry
On a dark night, Mutawakkil’s guards stormed Imam al-Hadi’s residence. Word had reached the Abbasid ruler that weapons and letters from loyal supporters were hidden in the Holy Imam’s home. The guards barged in and searched the premises for any sign of dissidence. They initially found nothing of the sort…
But then the guards opened the door of a closed off room, only to find the Holy Imam… Their gazes rested upon the devout master – who was dressed in wool, sitting on the sand and gravel, and directing himself toward the Almighty while reciting verses from the Holy Scripture. Reminded of their orders, the guards carried Imam al-Hadi off to Mutawakkil.
“We did not find anything in his house; and we found him facing the qiblah (direction of prayer), reading the Quran.” explained the guards. Mutawakkil had been drinking alcohol when the Holy Imam was brought before him. The corrupt ruler offered the Holy Imam his drink (which is forbidden by Islam). Imam al-Hadi refused, saying, “By God, never has it mixed with my flesh and blood at all, so excuse me.”
The corrupt ruler accepted. Then he demanded, “Recite poetry for me.” Imam al-Hadi replied, “I narrate little (when it comes to) poetry.” But Mutawakkil insisted. Therefore, the Holy Imam recited the following lines of poetry, as a reminder for those who would wish to be reminded:
“They stayed on the beds of mountains, while guarded –
– by the overpowering (ones) among men. Yet these beds did not save them
And they were brought down – after glory – from their fortresses…
Then they were deposited into holes. What terrible (places to) stay!
A screaming caller yelled out to them after they were buried:
‘Where are the beds, the crowns, and the wardrobes?’
‘Where are those faces that used to be pampered –
– before them, veils and wreaths were drawn down?’
The grave then spoke out on their behalf as (the screaming caller) asked them:
‘Those faces…are what worms fight over (now)’
So long did they eat – for a time – and (for) so (long) they did drink…
But – after having eaten for so long – they are now being eaten
And for so long, they built houses to guard them…
But they departed the houses, the families, and moved on
And for so long, they treasured wealth and saved it…
But they left it behind for their enemies, and traveled on
Their homes have become neglected wasteland…
As the (original) inhabitants have gone to the graves”
Historians note that Mutawakkil was touched by this poem and started to cry, as did those present. But even so, the corrupt ruler failed to mend his ways.[ix]
Martyrdom and Words of Wisdom
Eventually, Mutawakkil was killed by his own son, Muntasir. While Muntasir was not as tyrannical as his father, his rule only lasted for about six months. Muntasir was succeeded by two tyrants, Musta’in and Mu’tazz, who followed suit with the traditional Abbasid oppression.[x]
Imam Ali al-Hadi remained under close surveillance and political pressure, but he continued to reject injustice with steadfast resistance and never submitted to corruption. During Mu’tazz’s reign, Imam al-Hadi was poisoned… The holy tenth Imam was buried at his residence in Samarra’, Iraq.[xi]
Imam al-Hadi’s following words call for insightful contemplation on the topic of death. They specifically discuss the way to think of this world and the next. “Indeed, God has made this world an abode of trials, and the Hereafter an abode of outcome. He made the trials of this world to be a cause for the reward of the Hereafter, and the reward of the Hereafter to be a compensation for the trials in this world…”iv
“…Think of your death, in the arms of your family (members), while no doctor can stop you (from dying), and no loved one can do you any good…”[xii]
[i] Pg. 250 of al-Ihtijaj by Sh. Tabrasi
[ii] Pg. 118, Vol. 50 of Bihar al-Anwar by Allamah Majlisi
[iii] Pg. 113, Vol. 50 of Bihar al-Anwar by Allamah Majlisi
[iv] Pg. 483 of Tuhaf al-‘Uqul by Sh. Hurani
[v] Pg. 509 of Sirat al-A’immah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani
[vi] Pg. 521-525 of Seeratul A’immah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani
[vii] Pg. 510-511 of Seeratul A’immah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani
[viii] Pg. 535-539 of Seeratul A’immah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani
[ix] Pg. 519-520 of Seeratul A’immah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani
[x] Pg. 506, 532 of Seeratul A’immah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani
[xi] Pg. 544 of Seeratul A’immah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani
[xii] Pg. 311 of Aalamu Deen by Sh. Daylami
Monday January 23, 2023
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p) is reported to have said:
“The believers are brothers of each other. They do not insult, deprive, or have bad suspicions about each other.”
[Al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.296]
روي عن الإمام محمّد الباقر (ع):
“إنَّ المُؤْمِنَ أخُ المُؤْمِن لا يَشْتِمَهُ وَ لا يَحْرِمَهُ وَ لا يَسِيءُ بهِ الظَّن”
[الحرّاني، تحف العقول، ص ٢٩٦]
Picture Gallery of Previous Programs
Muharram 1444 – 2022 (13 Nights Event Pictures)