His Parents &
He was the only son of the eighth Imam Ali Riza (a.s.) The
Prophet (pbuh&hf) had said:
"My father be
sacrificed on the mother of the 9th Imam who will be a pure and
Kadhim (a.s.) had told one of his companions that his
daughter-in-law (Sabika) would be one of the most pious of women
and to give her his salaams. She came from the same tribe as the
Prophet's(pbuh&hf) wife - Maria Kubtiya who bore the Prophet his
son Ibrahim (who died in infancy).
Taqi (a.s.) was born when his father was 45 years old. Till then
Imam Ali Riza (a.s.) had constantly been taunted that he had no
children. When the 9th Imam was born, a brother of Imam Ali
Riza(a.s.) was angry because he would lose out in inheriting the
Imam's property and in his jealousy spread a rumour that Imam
Ali Riza(a.s.) was not the father. He was eventually proved
wrong by a person who could tell parentage.
The 9th Imam was 5 years old when his father was called to
Baghdad by Mamun Rashid to be his 'heir apparent'. When Imam Ali
Riza (a.s.) was leaving he saw his son putting sand in his hair.
He asked why and the young Imam replied that this was what an
orphan did. Imam Riza(a.s.) was fully aware of the treacherous
character of the ruling king and was sure that he would not
return to Medina. So before his departure from Medina he
declared his son Muhammad al-Jawad(a.s.) as his successor , and
imparted to him all his stores of Divine knowledge and spiritual
Riza(a.s.) was poisoned on 17th Safar 203 AH and with effect
from the same date Imam Muhammad al-Jawad(a.s.) was commissioned
by Allah to hold the responisbility of Imamate . At the tender
age of eight there was no apself chance or means of the young
Imam reaching great heights of knowledge and practical
achievements . But after a few days he is known not only to have
debated with his contemporary scholars on subjects pertaining to
fiqh ( Islamic jurisprudence ) , hadith ( tradition ) , tafsir (
Qur'anic exegesis ) , ect . and outwitted them , but also to
exhort their admiration and acknowledgment of his learning and
superiority . Right from then the world realized that he
possessed Divine knowledge and that the knowledge commanded by
the Holy Imam was not acquired , but granted by Allah.
life & works
The ruler of the time, Mamun Rashid, thought that as all the
rulers before him had oppressed the Imams and their schemes had
backfired that he would try to bribe the Imams. He tried to make
the 8th Imam his heir apparent and give him power and wealth but
that also backfired.
He now tried
to use power and wealth with the 9th Imam again but from a much
younger age thinking that he would be able to influence him. His
main purpose was also to make sure that the 12th Imam (whom he
knew would bring justice to the world) would be from his progeny
and therefore intended to give his daughter Ummul Fadhl to the
Imam for a wife. Mamun still continued oppressing the family and
followers of the Ahlul-bayt (a.s.).
the young Imam (a.s.) to Baghdad from Madina and offered his
daughter. This infuriated his family (Banu Abbas). To prove to
them the excellence of Imam even at a young age he arranged a
meeting between Imam and the most learned of men at that time -
Yahya bin Athkam.
It was a
grand occasion with some 900 other scholars present. Imam (a.s.)
was first asked by Yahya:
What is the
compensation (kaffara) for a person in Ehraam who hunted and
killed his prey?"
that there were many more details required before he could
answer the question:
Muhrim (one in Ehraam) hunt in the haram or outside?
Did the Muhrim know Sharia or not? Did he hunt intentionally or
Did he hunt for the first time or was this one of many times?
Was he free or a slave? Was his prey a bird or an animal?
Was it big or small?
Had he hunted by day or by night?
Was he baligh or not?
Was he repentant or not?
Was his ehraam for Hajj or Umra?
stunned. He looked down and started sweating.
the young Imam(a.s.) to answer the question, which he did, and
then Imam(a.s.) asked Yayha a question which he could not
answer. Then Ma'mun addressed the audience thus : ``Did I not
say that the Imam comes of a family which has been chosen by
Allah as the repository of knowledge and learning ? Is there any
one in the world who can match even the children of this family
?'' All of them shouted , ``Undoubtedly there is no one parallel
to Muhammad ibn `Ali al - Jawad .'' In the same assembly Mamun
wedded his daughter Ummul Fadl to the Imam(a.s.) and liberally
distributed charity and gifts among his subjects as a mark of
rejoicing . Imam (a.s.) read his own Nikah (the khutba of which
is used today) with the Mehr of 500 dirhams. Imam(a.s.) wrote a
letter to Mamun that he would also give Ummul Fadhl Mehr from
the wealth of Aakhira. This was in the form of 10 duas which
were for fulfilling any hajaat (desires) [Chain of narrators
upto Prophet - Jibrail - Allah]* . Thus his title Al-Jawad (the
* These duas are found in Mafatihul Jinaan (pg 447 - In margin)
lived for a year in Baghdad with Ummul Fadhl. She was very
disobedient to Imam(a.s.). When she found out that Imam(a.s.)
had another wife (from the progeny of Ammar-e-Yasir(a.r.)) and
that there was also children she was jealous and angry realizing
that her father's plan had failed. She complained to her father
who also realized that his plan, to keep the 12th Imam in his
progeny, had failed. He was enraged and in his rage he drank
heavily and went to the 9th Imam's(a.s.) house and attacked the
Imam(a.s.) with a sword. Both Ummul Fadhl and a servant saw the
attack and believed that the Imam(a.s.) was dead. Mamun, on
waking next morning, realized the consequences of his attack and
was thinking of arranging the disposal of Imam's(a.s.) body when
he saw Imam(a.s.) well without even a scratch on him. He was
confused and asked Imam(a.s.) who showed him an amulet which is
called Hirze Jawad. Imam(a.s.) told him it was from his grand
mother Bibi Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and kept the wearer safe from
all except the angel of death. Mamun asked Imam(a.s.) for it and
Imam(a.s.) gave him one.
Now Mamun was
scared and tried a new tactic. He tried to deviate Imam(a.s.) by
sending him beautiful girls and musicians. When he realised
nothing was working he let Imam(a.s.) return to Madina.
used this time to prepare the masails of Taqleed and Ijtihaad in
preparation for the 12th Imam(a.s.) knowing that both the 10th
and the 11th Imams(a.s.) would spend most of their lives in
prison. He also prepared the people of Madina teaching true
Islam knowing that this would be the last time they would be
able to receive guidance directly from an Imam(a.s.) for a long
continuously complained of Imam(a.s.) to her father who sent her
Mamun died in
218 a.h. and was succeeded by his brother Mo'tasam Billah. He
openly announced that all Shias were non-Muslims. He said it was
required for people to kill and prosecute Shias, and to destroy
property belonging to Shias.
now started complaining to her uncle who was sympathetic to her.
Mo'tasam called the Imam(a.s.) to Baghdad. He asked him to pass
judgement of how to punish a thief. Imam(a.s.) said only fingers
could be cut as the palms were for Allah (as in Qur'an - it is
one of the wajib parts to touch the ground during sajda). As
this decision was contrary to the decision of the other 'Ulema'
it strengthened the position of the Shias. The other 'Ulema'
complained to Mo'tasam.
With instigation from both the 'Ulema' and Ummul Fadhl, Mo'tasam
sent poison which Ummul Fadhl put in Imam's(a.s.) drink and gave
it to him. Imam(a.s.) died on 29th Dhulqa'ada at the age of 25
years and is buried near his grandfather in Kadhmain. His son
the 10th Imam, Imam Ali Naqi(a.s.) gave him ghusl and kafan.
It is he who prepared and wrote books for the masails of
Ijtihaad and Taqleed which were essential to prepare believers
for the ghaibat of the 12th Imam.