After the martyrdom of Imam Reza (PBUH) in the province of Khorasan by the Abbasid Caliph, the period of Imam Jawad’s (PBUH) Imamate began. A wave of public anger towards the martyrdom of Imam Reza (PBUH) by the order of Ma’mun took place. Ma’mun of the Abbasid Dynasty thereafter travelled from Khorasan towards Baghdad, and moved the capital of the empire to Baghdad once again. In order to cover his betrayal to Imam Reza (PBUH), and in order to face the elites of the Abbasid Dynasty, and to win the hearts of the general public, he sent a messenger to Medina to formally invite Imam Jawad(PBUH) from Medina to Baghdad.
On a day of his stay in Baghdad, Imam Jawad (PBUH) was crossing the street, and people had gathered in the Imam’s path, trying to get a better look at the Imam. One of the people by the name of Qasem ibn Abdol Rahman(a Zeidi1), who was among the crowd narrates the following incident:
“I began my travel to Baghdad, and when I arrived I saw people anxiously on the move, some were running, others were finding a spot on the tops of buildings, and some were standing.
I asked them what is going on? They said, ‘The son of Reza! The son of Reza! (Referring to Imam Jawad (PBUH), the son of Imam Reza (PBUH)) I began thinking that I too will stand here to see him.
Moments later, I saw a man on a horse appear. I found myself uttering, ‘May Allah keep the Shiites away from his blessings, for they believe that obeying this man is an obligatory act commanded on them by Allah (SWT)!’2
As these thoughts passed my mind, the Imam (PBUH) turned towards me and said, ‘O Qasem ibn Abdul Rahman! The clan of Thamud said, ‘shall we obey a man (Prophet Saleh (PBUH)) from among ourselves! Truly should we then be straying in mind, and mad!’3
My thoughts again wandered as I thought to myself, ‘truly he is a magician.’
And again the Imam turned to me and continued with the next verse, ‘Is it that the Message is sent to him, of all people amongst us? Nay, he is a liar, an insolent one!’4
And with that, the Imam left. It was then that I refuted my false beliefs and found faith in the Imamate of the son of Imam Reza (PBUH), where I pledged that he is the representative of Allah on the people.”5
With the recitation of these verses, Imam Jawad (PBUH) indirectly reminded the man of his ill judgment. The Imam had compared Qasem’s judgment to the wrong judgment of the clan of Thamud in which Allah (SWT) had appointed them a prophet from among themselves. For the Thamud clan it was difficult to accept that a man from among themselves, had been chosen as a prophet, and they were required to obey him. Even though he who is appointed by Allah (SWT) to carry out a divine responsibility will be equipped with certain abilities and characteristics by Allah (SWT). The same can be said about the position of Imamat. The Imam is chosen by Allah (SWT), and age is not a barrier in the will of Allah. When Qasem saw how the Imam had read his mind for having called him a magician, the Imam responded with another verse. The mentioned verse 25 of the Surah al-Qamar illustrates that prophets and other divine leaders are blessed with inspiration and divine knowledge, and can be aware of what goes on in the hearts of people. Their knowledge is not comparable with the limited and false work of gypsies and sorcerers.
Selection taken from the book The Guiders to the Path of Light, Life of Imam Mohammad Taqi (PBUH) by Ayatullah Sayyed Mohammad Taqi Modarrasi (with minor changes)
The Roshd Website offers condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon the
last day of Dhi al-Qa’da, the anniversary of the martyrdom of
the leader of the pious, the ninth Imam,
Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad (PBUH).
1. 1. Zeidieh is a branch of the Shia sect. It was founded in year 2 A.H. The sect believes that after Imam Hussein (PBUH), Zayd the son of Imam Sajjad (PBUH) became the Imam.
2. 2. The incident took place in the year 211 A.H., in a time when Imam Jawad (PBUH) was only 16 years old.
3. 3. The Holy Quran 54:24
4. 4. The Holy Quran 54:25
5. 5. Kashf al-Qammah, vol. 2, p. 363
Keywords: Imam’s knowledge of the unseen, the guidance of a Sunni by Imam Jawad (PBUH), Quranic proof, The knowledge of the Imam on the hearts of the people