It is not unrealistic or an exaggeration to call the teaching system of Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (PBUH) a University. This University had a great scientific legend, and it trained numerous specialists who became noble intellectuals and professional scholars.
The great Ja’fari University guided the nation towards understanding the rules of interpretation, Hadith validation, compilation, and categorization of Islamic laws. Despite all the attempts to inhibit the progress and fame of this school, it became a focal point for scholars and students across the Muslim world. Records show that over “four hundred authors have compiled four hundred books about the answers Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (PBUH) provided to questions. His students came from Iraq, Syria and Hijaz and surpassed four thousand people” (1).
Among those narrators are individuals who later became leaders of Islamic sects, such as:
1. Abu Hanifah (Nu’maan bin Thaabit), the leader of the Hanafi sect. He is known to have said, “There is no one more knowledgeable than Ja’far ibn Muhammad. He is the most knowledgeable one among the Muslims” (2). Abu Hanifah stayed in Medina for two consecutive years to learn from the Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (PBUH). He has said,” If it was not for the two years that I benefited from the knowledge of Ja’far ibn Muhammad, I would have perished” (3).
2. Malik ibn Anas, the leader of the Maliki sect has also saidy,” No one has found a person who has preceded Ja’far ibn Muhammad in terms of knowledge, deeds, and piety” (4).
(The above is a selection taken from “Imam Sadiq (PBUH) and the Four Islamic Sects”, by Assad Haydar)
2- Siyar A’lamin Nubala, vol. 6, p. 257
3- Al-Tuhfah al-Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, p.8
4- Tahdhib al-tahdhib, vol. 2,p.104
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