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Newsletter for October 2016


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The Fifth Imam: Muhammad ibne Ali (AS)

                                                                                                                     By Syed Haider Husain Shamsi



Name          Muhammad

Title            al-Baqir

Epithet       Abu Ja'far

Father         Ali bin Husain

Mother        Fatima daughter of Imam Hasan

Date of Birth:          Rajab 1, 57 AH (December 16, 676 AD)

Place of Birth:          Madinah

Progeny from Umm Farwa binte Qassim bin Muhammad bin Abu Bakr:

                        Two sons: Ja'far, Abd Allah

                        He had other children from other wives

Date of Death:          Zilhaj 7, 114 AH (January 28, 733 AD)

                                     He live to an age of 57 years

Place of Death:          Madinah

Place of Burial:          Jannatul-Baqi




Imam Muhammad (Baqir) had the blessings and the nurture of his grandfather, Imam Husain.  He witnessed the tragedy of Karbala at the tender age of about three and a half years.  He had sustained the thirst of three days when the Umayyad army had cut off the water supply to the camp of Imam Husain in Karbala.  He was among the survivors of the massacre, and had endured the toil some journey from Karbala to Damascus, followed by the year of captivation in the Umayyad prison along with his father and other members of the Able Bait.

In Madinah he lived a life of peace and piety, and remained under the patronage of his father Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen for thirty-four years.  Imam Baqir grew under the care of his father and was appointed Imam by him before his martyrdom by poisoning in 95 AH by the Caliph Walid bin Abd al-Malik.

The reign of the Umayyad Caliph Walid bin Abd al-Malik ended at his death in 96 AH, and was succeeded by his brother Salaaming bin Abd al­Malik.  However, the rule of Sulayman lasted for only three years until 99 AH.

Umar bin Abd al-Aziz became the next ruler of the Muslim world.  He was the only just ruler the people saw in a long chain of Umayyad tyrants.  He is popularly known as Umar, the pious.  It was during his reign that the long standing claim of the fertile groves of Faddak, originally launched by Fatima binte Muhammad was finally recognized by a ruler of the land, and was returned to the family of the rightful claimants.  It was also by his orders that the ignoble tradition of throwing abuses on Imam Ali during the congregational prayers (started by Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan) was finally discontinued.

The rule of Umar bin Abd al-Aziz was also short- lived and lasted for only two years.  He was succeeded by Yazid bin Abd al-Malik who ruled the land between the years 1O1 AH and 105 AH.  After him, a relatively longer reign of Hisham bin Abd al-Malik followed from the year 105 AH to 125 AH.  The Umayyad rulers came and went, and did what pleased them, but the Imam continued his services to the believers and to the faith of Islam.  He gathered a sizeable galaxy of students and learned disciples who took his message to the far comers of the Muslim world.

The jurist Abu Hanifa attended the school of leaming under the Imam in Madinah before returning to Iraq.  Abu Hanifa left Madinah with a tremendous respect and acclaim to the Imads knowledge of the Wan and the Sunnah.  The Imam disagreed with Abu Hanifa on his method of resolving issues of Shatiyah (canonic law) by Raai (individual personal logic) or Qiyas (speculative derivation).

Hishain bin Abd al-Malik could not see the growing popularity of the Imam and had him martyred with poison in the year 114 AH.  The Imam appointed his son Ja'far to take charge of the duties of the hnarnate to serve the faith and the faithful.

By the time of his martyrdom, he had spent twenty years of his life as the Imam of his time. A wealth of quotes and interpretations were collected by his followers.



Imam Baqir was a complete reflection of the life of his father in sincerity, piety, knowledge and worship.  His superlative conduct is considered to be the criterion for these fine qualities in the human being.

The greatest of the learned are dwarfed by the grandeur of his wisdom and knowledge.  He earned the title of al-Baqir as a result of the depth of his knowledge.

He is well known for his depth of knowledge and for the vastness of his quotes and interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah.  This material was collected by his students and companions and is available for guidance today.

Abu Hanifa, a famous jurist of his time and an Imam to a large sector of the Sunni Muslims, was a student of Imam Baqir.  He acknowledged the superior knowledge of the Imam on the Qur'an and the Sunna.



The majalis (religious gatherings specifically intended to educate masses about the mission of Imam Husain) are the tradition of Zainab binte Ali who held her first majalis while the captives were still in Damasus.  Although they were continued by Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen during his times, Imam Muhammad Baqir formalized them into an institution of learning.  Since then they have served as a unique method of propagating the Truth to the masses throughout the ages.

As the followers and the devotees of Ahle Bait visited the Imam they enquired about the tragedy which the members of Ahle Bait had to sustain.  The Imam took the opportunity to retell the causes of the conflict, the events of the suffering, and in the process, was able to teach and preach Islam to them.  Since the people came already receptive to listen and to learn the Imam was able to spread the Message of Islam with case and continuity.  This institution of majalis has evolved with time, and has continued to be an effective vehicle for the dissemination of the teachings of the school of the Ahle Bait.

Selected Sayings

1.     The best combination is knowledge with forbearance.

2.    Three things are counted the best of deeds in the world and hereafter:

(i)            forgiveness over someone's cruel behavior;

(ii)            kindness to someone who has broken relations with you;

(iii)            tolerance to someone's foolish behavior.

3.         One who does listen to the call of his conscience cannot benefit from advice from others.

4.         There are many who say, "may Allah see the down fall of your enemies," although Allah may Himself be that person's enemy!

5.         To seek help from the newly made rich is like retrieving a coin from the snake's mouth: that there is need for it but not without danger!

6.    There is vast wealth in four things:

(i)        keeping your deprivation a secret to yourself,

(ii)       giving charity without announcing it;

(iii)       not making your pain apparent to others;

(iv)       not making your troubles public.

7.         The best of public behavior is to sit at a lower level than your status, wish well to one you see ahead of you, and not indulge in wasteful arguments even when you know you are right.

8.         Modesty and Faith are two intertwined jewels.  If you lose one, the other goes with it.

9.         Keep away from laziness and in patience.  A lazy person cannot deliver the dues of others, and the impatient person lacks the elements of forbearance.

IO.       To give sadaqa (a form of charity) in the morning is to protect you from the mischief of shaitan (devil).



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