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Ja‘far ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Alī
Umm Farwa (Fatimah bint Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr)
Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sādiq (Arabic: جعفر بن محمد الصادق) (702-765 C.E. or 17th Rabī‘ al-Awwal 83 AH - 25th Shawwāl 148 AH) is believed by the Twelver and Ismaili Shi'a Muslims to be the sixth infallible Imam (to Nizari, fifth), or spiritual leader and successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He is the last Imam recognized by both Ismaili and Twelver Shi'a sects and the dispute over who was to succeed him led to a division within Shi'a Islam.
Al-Sadiq is said to be highly respected by both Shia and Sunni Muslims for his great Islamic scholarship, pious character, and academic contributions. Although he is perhaps most famous as the founder of Shia fiqh, known as Ja'fari jurisprudence, he had many other accomplishments. As well as being an imam on the shia chain, his presence also graces the Naqshbandi Sufi chain. He was a polymath: an astronomer, alchemist, Imam, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, writer, philosopher, physician, physicist and scientist. He was also the teacher of the famous chemist, Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber), and of Abu Hanifa, founder of a Sunni Madh'hab.
Ja'far Al-Sadiq has three titles; they are As-Sadiq, Al-Fadil, and At-Tahir. His father, Muhammad al-Baqir (the fifth Shi’ah Imam), was much happy and pleased by the birth of his son. His mother, Umm Farwa, was the granddaughter of Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, who was one of the companions of Ali.
Ja'far al-Sadiq was 34 years old when his father, Muhammad "al-Baqir" was killed and he inherited the Imamate.
Marriage and offspring
Following his wifes death Al-Sadiq purchased a slave of African origin, Hamidah Khātūn (Arabic: همده خاتون), freed her, trained her as an Islamic scholar, and married her. She bore Mūsá al-Kāżim (the Twelver Imām-designate) and was revered by the Shī‘ah, especially by women, for her wisdom.
As a child, Ja'far Al-Sadiq studied under his grandfather, Ali ibn Husayn. After his grandfather's death, he studied under and accompanied his father, Muhammad al-Baqir, until Muhammad al-Baqir died in 733.
Ja'far Al-Sadiq became well versed in Islamic sciences, including Hadith, Sunnah, and the Quran. In addition to his knowledge of Islamic sciences, Ja'far Al-Sadiq was also an adept in natural sciences, mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, anatomy, alchemy and other subjects.
The foremost Islamic alchemist, Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, known in
- Scholars believed to have studied extensively with Ja'far Al-Sadiq:
- Jabir Ibn Hayyan - known in
Europeas Geber, a great alchemist.
- Musa al-Kazim - his son, the seventh Shi’ah Imam according to the Twelvers
- Isma'il ibn Jafar - his son, the seventh Shi'ah Imam according to the Ismaili
- Sunni scholars who either attended Ja'far Al-Sadiq's lectures or studied with him:
- Abu Hanifa - founder of the Hanafi school of thought.
- Malik ibn Anas - founder of the Maliki school of thought.
- Others that attended lectures by Ja'far Al-Sadiq:
Ja'far al-Sadiq developed Ja'fari jurisprudence at about the same time its Sunni legal fiqh counterparts were being codified. It was distinguished from Sunni law "on matters regarding inheritance, religious taxes, commerce, and personal status."
Ja'far Al-Sadiq lived in violent times. Ja'far Al-Sadiq was considered by many followers of Ali ibn Abi Talib to be the sixth Shi'a imam, however, the Shi'ahs were considered heretics and rebels by the Umayyad caliphs. Many of Ja'far Al-Sadiq's relatives had died at the hands of the Umayyad. Shortly after his father's death, Ja'far Al-Sadiq's uncle, Zayd bin Ali led a rebellion against the Umayyads. Ja'far Al-Sadiq did not participate, but many of his kinsmen, including his uncle, were killed, and others were punished by the Umayyad caliph. There were other rebellions during these last years of the Umayyad, before the Abbasids succeeded in grasping the caliphate and establishing the Abbasid dynasty in 750 CE, when Ja'far Al-Sadiq was forty-eight years old.
Many rebel factions tried to convince Ja'far al-Sadiq to support their claims. Ja'far Al-Sadiq evaded their requests without explicitly advancing his own claims. He is said to burned their letters (letters promising him the caliphate) commenting, "This man is not from me and cannot give me what is in the
The incidents and difficulties, which come into human life can, measure and find out the extent of his energy and faith. The difficulties, which cropped up in the life of Ja'far Al-Sadiq and the patience and forbearance, which, he showed towards them, illuminated his personality and worth. Howsoever they (enemies) abused and teased him he showed patience and forbearance and admonished them. He never cursed or used foul language about them.
The new Abbasid rulers, who had risen to power on the basis of their claim to descent from Muhammad's uncle Abbas, were extremely suspicious of Ja'far, whom many considered to have a better claim to the caliphate. Ja'far was watched closely and, occasionally, imprisoned to cut his ties with his followers. Ja'far endured the persecution patiently and continued his study and writing wherever he found himself.
After Ja'far al-Sadiq's death during the reign of the ‘Abbāsids, various Shī‘ī groups organised in secret opposition to their rule. Among them were the supporters of the proto-Ismā‘īlī community, of whom the most prominent group were called the "Mubārakiyyah".
Some of the Shī‘ah claimed Ismā‘īl had not died, but rather gone into hiding, but the proto-Ismā‘īlī group accepted his death and therefore that his eldest son, Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl, was now Imām. Muḥammad remained in contact with this "Mubārakiyyah" group, most of whom resided in Kūfah.
In contrast, Twelvers don't believe that Ismā‘īl was ever given the nass ("designation of the Imamate"), but they acknowledge that this was the popular belief among the people at the time. Both Shaykh Tusi and Shaykh al-Sadūq did not believe that the divine designation was changed, arguing that if matters as important as Imāmate were subject to change, then the basic fundamentals of belief should also be subject to change. Thus Twelvers accept that Mūsá al-Kāżim was the only son who was ever designated for Imāmate.
This is the initial point of divergence between the proto-Twelvers and the proto-Ismā‘īlī. This disagreement over the proper heir to Ja‘far has been a point of contention between the two groups ever since. The split among the Mubārakiyyah came with Muḥammad's death. The majority of the group denied his death; they recognised him as the Mahdi. The minority believed in his death and would eventually emerge in later times as the Fāṭimid Ismā‘īlī, ancestors to all modern groups.
1. Whoever attacks a matter without knowledge cuts off his own nose.
2. Intellect is the guide of the believer.
3. The perfection of intellect is in three (things): humbleness for God, good certainty, and silence except for good.
4. Ignorance is in three (things): Arrogance, the intensity of dispute, and the ignorance about God.
5. Certainly, knowledge is a lock and its key is the question.
6. When the believer becomes angry, his anger should not take him out of the truth; and when he becomes satisfied, his satisfaction should not bring him into falsehood.
7. Some manners of the ignorant are: the answer before he hears, the opposition before he understands, and the judgment with what he does not know.
Someone once asked Ja'far Al-Sadiq to show him God. The Imam replied, "Look at the sun." The man replied that he could not look at the sun because it was too bright.
Ja'far Al-Sadiq replied: "If you cannot see the created, how can you expect to see the creator?"
- Muhammed Al-Husain Al-Mudaffar, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq.
- Sayyid Mahdi as-Sadr, THE AHLUL-BAYT Ethical Role-Models.
- Mohammad Hussein il Adeeb, The Brief History of the Fourteen Infallibales.
- Ja'far ibn Muhammad, an article of Encyclopedia Britanica Online
- Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq's life according to a Sunni Sufi source (Naqshbandiya Mujaddidiya Khalidiya Haqqaniya Tariqa of Sufism)
- THE LIFE OF IMAM AL SADIQ(AS) BY SHEIKH MOHAMMED AL HUSAYN AL MUZAFFAR TRANSLATED BY JASEEM RASHID
- Mufaddal - Hadith on wonders of Nature- Imam Jafar al Sadiq (as)
- The Sixth Imam
- Imam Al-Sadiq
- Biography of the Sixth Imam by Sheikh al-Mufid
- Proof that Abu Hanifa was a student of Imam Jafar