Each Shiite Imam used his capabilities and available resources based on the conditions of his time to best defend and preserve true Islam. Imam Jawad (PBUH) faced an additional problem, which was his age. People doubted his leadership to the extent that even a large number the Shiites in his time delayed before accepting him as the Imam. To add to the problems, the ruler of the time made it very difficult for the Shiites to freely interact with the Imam.  Ultimately, Imam Jawad (PBUH) was martyred at the age of 25.

Despite his suppressed and short life, Imam Jawad took advantage of his limited visits and letter communications throughout the entire Islamic nation to spread his teachings to his followers and battle the newly created sects and propagated beliefs and jurisprudences. 

Shiites from different countries would travel to visit Imam Jawad (PBUH) in Medina to ask questions regarding religious matters, social and personal issues. The following is a narration from Hurr Ibn Uthman Hamedani that addresses a group of Shiites from Rey who visited the Imam.  Among the group was a Zedi1 individual whom after asking several questions and hearing the answers finally accepted Imam Jawad as the true Imam.2

Followers of the Imam were also in contact with him through letters to his representatives (in different regions). For instance Imam Jawad wrote a letter to Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Hamedani: “I have received the funds you sent and may Allah (SWT) accept it from you and be satisfied with our followers and keep them close to us in this world and the hereafter…. I have also written a letter for my friends in Hamedan and I have emphasized for them to follow you; as I have no other representation in that region.”۳

Furthermore, Imam Jawad’s (PBUH) followers published and distributed the books of narration by all Imams, which shows the amount of attention the Imam gave to intellectual development; this was very constructive in the propagation of beliefs and jurisprudence of Shia in many regions. When Imam Jawad (PBUH) was asked about a narration book gathered secretly by his companions, he replied: “Use those narration as they are indeed true and correct.”۴ It was in this manner that the Shiites rejuvenated and distributed traditions of the past Imams, and strengthened Shia Jurisprudence overall.

Imam Jawad (PBUH) had many interactions with divergent sects, such as the People of the Hadith, the Waqifa and the Qalat, and he would often guide the Shiites about the various sects and their stances toward them.  For example in regards to the People of the Hadith who believed Allah to have a physical body or the Waqifa who did not believe in the divine leadership of Imam Reza (PBUH), the Imam would say that they are not allowed to pray behind them or pay them their zakat.5  Furthermore, the Imam also made it clear that the Qalat, who gave Shia a bad name by giving Imams unnecessary deity qualities and fabricating hadith, were far from Allah’s blessings.6

Indeed, Imam Jawad al-A’immah (PBUH)  strived to protect the true religion of Islam despite the many hardships and limited time put upon him.

(Selection taken from the book The Thought and Political Life of Shia Imams by Hujjat ul Islam Rasul Ja’fariyan, with minor changes)

Roshd Shia Islamic Website Congratulates you dear friend and all other devotees of the Imam

On the 10th of Rajab, the Birth Anniversary of the

Manifestation of Generosity and Piety,

The Treasurer of Blessings,

And the Origin of Wisdom,

The 9th Shiite Imam

Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad (PBUH)

Footnotes:

1.     People who believe in the divine leadership of Zaid ibn Ali, the other son of Imam Sajjad (PBUH) instead of Imam Muhammad Baqir (PBUH)

2.     Al-Thaqib fi al-Manaqib, p. 519, hadith# 450.

3.     Rijal al-Kishi, pp. 611-612

4.     Kafi, vol. 1, p. 53.

5.     Al-Tawhid, p. 101; Al-Tahzib, vol. 3, p. 283; Man La Yahzaroho al-Faqih, vol. 1, p. 379.

6.     Rijal al-Kishi, pp. 528-529.