Imam Sadiq Online Seminary offers heartfelt condolences on the occasion of 25th of Shawwal, the Martyrdom Anniversary of the cornerstone of Islamic Sciences, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (peace be upon him)
One of the most manifested attributes of Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) is his truthfulness, knowledge, and training of students. The majority, if not all the well-known scholars of Islam have benefitted either directly from the Imam or his students. The honor and respect he had amongst the friends and foes are widely acknowledged by historians. In one of the sittings, the caliph of the time, Al-Mansoor asked Abu Haneefah to prepare a set of questions that the Imam would not be able to answer or at least wouldn’t be comfortable answering. The Imam apart from answering all the questions with ease also elaborated on the difference of opinion present amongst various scholars from Medina, Iraq, etc. Such was the honor of the Imam that Imam Haneefa, as known by the Sunni sect describes Imam Sadiq as the ‘most learned scholar’ he had ever seen.
Other personalities were no different than Abu Haneefa in their awe of the knowledge of the Imam (peace be upon him). So much so that caliph who apparently was a Muslim yet denied the right of the Imam, used to say ‘A member of the Ahle Bait (peace be upon him) is ever-present to narrate traditions (Muhaddith) and Jafar Ibn Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the narrator of this age…’
The Imam was not only considered a cornerstone for Islamic Sciences as per our contemporary understanding of the word rather he delivered lectures on the science of physics and chemistry etc. as well. His student – Jabir Ibn Hayyan has compiled a booklet with narrations from him (Imam Sadiq peace be upon him). It is narrated that more than 4000 people have attended his lectures and have benefitted from them. It only befits that the Shia sect which adheres strictly to the teachings of the infallible Imams is named after this Imam and is known as the Ja’fari sect.
Greater than knowledge of these sciences was his mastery over ethics, spirituality, rationality, etc. Various sects and sub-sects in different fields of Sciences take pride in attributing their findings to be in line with the opinion of the Imam. History failed to narrate even a single instance of a slip in thought and behavior of the Imam. All these virtues indicate to the divine authority and Infallibility of the Imam.
Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) paid special attention to training students potent enough to know and understand the reality and then be able to defend the truth. In one such instance Yunus ibn Ya’qub, one of the companions of Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him), narrates:
I was in the presence of Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) when a man from Syria came to him and said, “I am a man of Kalam (theology), Fiqh (laws), and Fara’iz (rules of inheritance); I have come to debate your people."
… The Imam told me, “Find out who is outside who could debate him and bring them in.” I then brought in Hamran ibn ’Ayan, Ahwal, Hisham ibn Salim, and Qays ibn Masir, who were all good in debating. After a while, Hisham ibn al-Hakam came in. He had just grown a small beard, and all of us were older than him. The Imam made room for him and said, “He is our supporter with his heart, tongue, and hands.”
The Imam then asked his companions to debate the man. Each of the companions debated the man in his own specific field. The Imam then asked the man from Syria to speak with Hisham ibn al-Hakam.
The man said, “O boy! Ask me about the Imamate (spiritual leadership) of this man.”
Hisham said, “Well! Is your Lord more protective of His people or are the people more protective of themselves?”
The man said, “Naturally it is My Lord Who is more protective of His creatures.”
Hisham then asked, “What then has He done to protect them?”
The Man said, “He has established His authority and guidance so that they would not differ and disunite and be united. It is the divine leader who keeps them in the correct path and reminds them of their duties towards Allah.”
Hisham asked, “Who is the authority and guide that He has established?”
The man said, “He is the Messenger of Allah.”
Hisham then asked, “Who is the Divine authority after the Messenger of Allah?"
The man replied, "It is the book of Allah and the Sunnah."
Hisham then said, "Have the Book and Sunnah helped us today in removing our differences?"
The man said, "Yes, they have helped us."
Hisham then asked, "Why then do we have differences among us? You have come all the way from Shaam to oppose and debate us."
The man then remained quiet. The Imam asked him, "Why don’t you speak?"
The man said, "If I were to say that we have no differences, I would be lying. Were I to say that the Book and Sunnah solve our differences, it would be invalid because they can be interpreted in so many ways. Were I to say that we do have differences and each claims to be the rightful party, then the Book and the Sunnah would have been proved to be of no help. However, I can ask the same question from him also."
The Imam then said to the man from Shaam, "Ask him, and you will find him knowledgeable.”
The man from Shaam then turned to Hisham and asked, "Is your Lord more protective of His people or are the people protective of themselves?"
Hisham said, "It is My Lord Who is more protective of His creatures."
The man then asked, "Has He then established for them a means that would remove their differences, unite them, remove their deviation, and show them right from wrong?"
Hisham asked, "Do you mean during the time of the Messenger of Allah or at this time?"
The man from Shaam said, "At the time of the Messenger of Allah that means was the Messenger of Allah. Who is the (Divine) authority at this time?"
Hisham said, "(The Divine authority) at this time is the person sitting among us. To him, people journey long distances to find answers to their questions. He tells us about the news of the heavens and the earth as he has inherited it from his father and grandfather."
The man from Shaam said, "How would I know that?"
Hisham then said, "Ask him whatever you like."
The man from Shaam said, "You have left no excuse for me, and I must ask."
Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) then said, "O man from Shaam, I can tell you how your journey was and how your road was.” Then the Imam proceeded to give him more details about his journey.
The man agreed, acknowledged the details, and said, "At this time I testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger and that you are one of the executors of the will of the Messengers of Allah."
On this day of grief, we pray to Allah to hasten the reappearance of the inheritor of the knowledge of Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) and help us to be amongst his righteous Shias.