There is a question that occupies the minds of many of us; what will remain of us in this world after we are long gone? Have we left this world and the generations followed by us a worthy legacy? Or we will soon be forgotten? Or even worse, we have left so much evilness and destruction that would never be wiped away from the face of this world? Looking at the lives of prominent figures, throughout the history of Islam, we realize how much effort they have put into spreading a valuable message and leaving behind an enduring legacy for future generations. Despite being under the restraint and pressure of the Caliphs of his time, Imam Sadiq (AS), the sixth Imam of Shias and one of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) grandchildren, has left Muslims with the most considerable amount of religious content which turned into an essential point of reference for them until the present.
In what follows, we will have a look at the life of Imam Sadiq (AS), this praised personality.
Ja'far b. Muhammad b. 'Ali b. al-Husayn b. 'Ali b. Abi Talib (AS), known as Imam Sadiq (AS), was born on April 20, 702, in Medina. His father was Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (AS), and his mother was Umm Farwa, the daughter of al-Qasim, son of Muhammad b. Abi Bakr . He had the opportunity to spend twelve years of his life with his grandfather, Imam Sajjad (AS), and thirty-one years with his father. His title al-Sadiq, which literally means "truthful," was given to him, since he avoided any direct involvement in the uprisings of his time .
Imam Sadiq (AS) had ten children, among whom was Imam Musa al-Kazim (AS), who was born on 745 A.D.
After the martyrdom of Imam Baqir (AS), Imam Sadiq (AS) was chosen as the leader of Shia Muslims, which lasted thirty-four years. The period of Imam Sadiq (AS) 's leadership coincided with the reign of the last five Umayyad caliphs, including Hisham b. 'Abd al-Malik, Valid b. Yazid b. 'Abd al-Malik, Yazid b. Valid b. 'Abd al-Malik, Ibrahim b. Valid b. 'Abd al-Malik and Marwan b. Muhammad.
While Imam Sadiq (AS) witnessed a period of hardship and restrain under the reign of Hisham, after some years due to the weakening of Umayyads, which finally led to the fall of this dynasty, he found the chance to engage in scholarly activities and promote the actual Islamic teachings. He held many secret gatherings and meetings in which up to four thousand people attended, Imam Sadiq (AS) transferred his knowledge to his students, which later quoted many Hadiths from him and turned into authentic sources for future Muslim scholars .
After the fall of the Umayyad dynasty, Imam Sadiq (AS) witnessed the rise of Abbasid caliphs and lived during the reign of two of them, including al-Saffah and al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi. During the time of the first Abbasid caliph, al-Saffah, which was a period of instability and social and political upheavals, being engaged mostly in abolishing the remaining of Umayyad dynasty and their followers, provided Imam Sadiq (AS) with an excellent chance to go on with his scholarly and religious efforts and attract as many students as he could.
Nevertheless, with the coming of al-Mansur to the throne, a period of total suppression and severe restraint began. During his realm, people lived in utter terror, and any kind of opposition was punished severely. Therefore, al-Mansur considered Imam Sadiq (AS) and his followers as a threat to his throne, and since Imam Sadiq (AS) was a public figure respected by all the people, he couldn't hurt him directly. So, he tried to weaken Imam's (AS) reputation and social status by enticing his students to engage in a debate with Imam Sadiq (AS) and defeat him. But all their efforts were futile .
Al-Mansur made many attempts to bring harm to Imam Sadiq (AS) and summoned him a few times to his court, intending to assassinate him, yet he wasn't successful. Imam Sadiq (AS) generally didn't tend to meet al-Mansur and attend his court. Al-Mansur was offended by Imam Sadiq's (AS) manner and one day asked him, "Why don't you come to meet me in my court like others?" and Imam (AS) answered, "I didn't do anything to be afraid of you, and you don't benefit us in the hereafter so that I would have hope in you. This position of you is not a blessing to be congratulated by me, and you don't find it a disaster to be comforted by me. So why would I attend you?" 
During Imam Sadiq's (AS) life, some religious groups formed, which deviated from the true teachings of Islam and Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) tradition. To oppose these movements and save Islam from such deviations, Imam Sadiq (AS) held many debates with the heads of these groups and tried to bring their falsehood into the light. Or he would send his students to have discussions with them. He always advised his students and followers to be wary of such deviatory movements and cut all ties with them.
As it was mentioned above, Imam Sadiq (AS) enjoyed an excellent opportunity to spread his knowledge among as many people as he could, which resulted in the transmission of a significant number of hadiths from him to the future generation. Therefore, most of the hadiths in fiqh or theology are from Imam Sadiq (AS) . Due to his significant role in spreading the true Islamic teachings, Twelver Shiism is often called Ja'fari School . Moreover, he held many dialogues and debates with theologians and scholars of different sects and religions, and even atheists, in which he managed to prove the authenticity of his stance. Some of the most famous students of Imam al-Sadiq (a) are Zurara b. A'yan, Burayd b. Mu'awiya, Jamil b. Darraj, 'Abd Allah b. Muskan, 'Abd Allah b. Bukayr, Hammad b. 'Uthman, Hammad b. 'Isa, Aban b. 'Uthman, 'Abd Allah b. Sinan, Abu Basir, Hisham b. Salim, Hisham b. al-Hakam.
Imam Sadiq was famous for his piety, knowledge, abundant and devoted worship, and great generosity . It is reported that he spent a significant part of his time praying, fasting, or saying dhikr (remembrance) .
Many narrations are reported about his generosity and kind manner toward people who lived in poverty. For instance, "it is reported that the Imam (AS) gave four hundred dirhams to a beggar, and when he thanked the Imam (a), he (a) gave him his ring, which was worth 10,000 dirhams. According to another report, the Imam would put some bread, meat, and money in a bag and would take it to the houses of the poor and divide it among them, without letting them know who he was. Abu Ja'far al-Khath'ami reports that Imam al-Sadiq (a) gave him a bag of money and asked him to give it to someone from Banu Hashim without telling him from where the money was coming. When Abu Ja'far gave the money to that man, he prayed for the sender and told him that this person always sends him money, but Imam al-Sadiq (a) never sends him anything even though he is rich!" 
Imam Sadiq (AS) was martyred on 765 A.D. at the age of sixty-three, poisoned by order of al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi. He was buried in the al-Baqi' Cemetery beside his father, Imam Baqir (AS), his grandfather Imam Sajjad (AS), and his uncle Imam Hasan (AS) .
- Mufīd, Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-. Al-Irshād fī maʿrifat ḥujaj Allāh ʿalā l-ʿibād. Vol.2, P.180.
- Pākatchī, Aḥmad. 1389 Sh. "Imām Jaʿfar Ṣādiq (a)". Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif-i Buzurg-i Islāmī 18:180-220.
- Shahīdī, Sayyid Jaʿfar. Zindigānī-yi Imām Ṣādiq Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad (a), p. 47.
- Al-Suyuti, History of the Caliphs, p. 208-209.
- Baha' al-Din 'Ali b. 'Isa al-Irbili, Kashf al-ghumma fi ma'rifat al-a'imma, vol.2, p.208.
- Kulaynī, Muḥammad b. Yaʿqūb al-. Al-Kāfī. vol. 1, p. 79, 80, 171-173.
- Baha' al-Din 'Ali b. 'Isa al-Irbili, Kashf al-ghumma fi ma'rifat al-a'imma, vol.2, p.691.
- Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 47, p. 16.
- Imam sadiq
- Ibn Shahrāshūb, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 4, p. 210.
Every day we meet several people at work, in the shops, at the university, in the neighborhood, or at parties and gatherings with whom we communicate and interact. Talking, telling jokes, shaking hands, touching or kissing usually happen in these interactions; but, is a Muslim allowed to do all these with whoever he/she wants? Or is he/she permitted to be exposed to such acts? These and many similar questions are answered in Islam.
To clarify and form the relations among people, Islam has presented the concept of Maharim and the two categories “Mahram” and “non-Mahram” which sometimes serve as conditions, requirements, or the basis of several Islamic laws. Regarding the Islamic rules on marriage, these categories define who a person can and cannot marry. Likewise, when dealing with the Islamic dress code, i.e., explaining whom one must cover specific parts of a body in front of, the concept of Maharim is required.
One’s Mahram is anyone whom it is permanently forbidden to marry because of blood ties, marriage ties or breastfeeding. However, a woman does not need to cover her hair and put on Hijab when she is in their presence. A woman's male Mahrams fall into three categories plus her spouse . Mahrams for a man are derived similarly. The Maharim for both, extracted from the verses of the Holy Quran (4:22-23) and (24:31), are listed below , and all other people and relatives are considered as non-Maharams.
Permanent or blood Mahrams, with whom one is Mahram through blood ties:
parents, grandparents, and further ancestors;
children, grandchildren, and further descendants;
siblings of parents, grandparents, and further ancestors (cousins and their children are not Mahram);
children and further descendants of siblings;
In-law Mahrams, with whom one becomes Mahram through marriage ties:
stepfather (mother's husband) if their marriage is consummated, stepmother (father's wife) even if their marriage is not consummated;
stepson (husband's son) even if their marriage is not consummated, stepdaughter (wife's daughter) if their marriage is consummated[i];
Rada or "milk-suckling Mahrams," with whom one becomes Mahram because of being breastfed by her. When a woman breastfeeds an infant that is not her child for a certain amount of time under certain conditions, she becomes the child's rada mother and everything concerning blood Mahrams apply here, such as rada father/mother, rada sister/brother, rada aunt/uncle and so on. In English, these can be referred to as milk-brother, milk-mother, etc. [ii].
It is forbidden (Haram) to marry Mahrams, but one can marry non-Mahrams who have reached puberty. As explained above, Married couples are Mahram to each other. But unlike other Mahrams, the limitations and rulings on looking and touching do not apply to them; i.e., married couples are the only ones allowed to touch and look at the whole body of one another; even the private parts.
Regarding social interactions, there are some rules according to the concept of Maharim:
Women and men are both required to keep their gazes downcast and should not stare at the other person when facing non-Mahrams or talk to them. Even Mahrams are not allowed to see certain parts of the body of each other (this will be discussed more under a separate topic “the Islamic rules on looking“);
When talking to non-Mahrams, the tone of voice should be serious, and the dialogues should be direct and as much as necessary. One should also avoid telling jokes and laughing loudly [iii];
Any physical contact (i.e., shaking hands, hugging touching) with non-Mahrams is forbidden (haram), except for curing patients. In this case, if a doctor of the same gender as the patient exists and can cure, then it is forbidden to refer to a non-Mahram doctor.
When being sole in a closed room (where no one else can enter, i.e., locked place), it is forbidden for a non-Mahram man to remain alone in the company of a non-Mahram woman. The Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) said: “No man is alone with a woman except that Satan is the third one present ” ;
It is required (Wajib) to cover specific parts of a body in the presence of a non-Mahram according to the Islamic dress code. For men, this includes from navel to knee. For women, the clothing should cover their hair and body, but covering the face and the hands, from the wrist to the fingers, is not mandated .
[i] sister-in-law and brother-in-law are not Mahram.
[ii] Refer to your source of emulation (Marja’ Taqlid) for more details and the rulings.
[iii] See the article on modesty.
- Mahram and non Mahram
- S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 20, p. 131.
- A. Aroussi Howayzi, “Tafsir Noor al-Thaqalayn”, vol. 3/589, T. 105.
Being a Muslim and living in or traveling to non-Muslim countries, always brings about the challenge of where to eat and what to eat. For Muslims who are adventurous eaters, food is not just something to provide energy for a more useful life, although that would be the desire for a real Muslim believer. But here we are not discussing such high levels of faith.
Here we are just Muslims in non-Muslim countries, facing different cultures and tastes and those giant advertised burgers, seafood, various kinds of Italian Pizza, etc., and at some point, we realize that we are not capable of going home and enjoying our toast and fried eggs. That is where we seek an inspiring call, inviting us to eat and enjoy life, and that is where that verse of the holy Quran echoes in our minds: “Say, who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which he has produced for his servants and the good (lawful) things of provision?”(7:32) and thus, we decide to find those “lawful provisions”; The Halal food.
Finding restaurants of all types in all different parts of the world that serve Halal food is not a difficult job these days. From the Far West to the Far East we can see restaurants with a Halal label on their signs. But have you ever happened to ask the restaurant staff if the food is Halal? And have you ever heard the firm reply “Yes, madam. Feel sure. Even our pork is Halal!” This point, my friends, is where our project of finding a real Halal restaurant begins.
In some non-Muslim countries, the population of Muslims in some specific cities or specific areas of the town is quite noticeable. Often, in these areas, the number of Halal restaurants owned and run by Muslim managers is large. We could usually trust these restaurants as the managers care about Islamic law, and therefore the food they serve.
However, in some western countries, my friends and I have come across restaurants in which their managers came from Islamic countries, and so we thought that the food would be Halal. But after some local investigations, we realized that the manager is not a practicing Muslim, and the food they serve is not Halal. Now, what do we do?
Since selling Halal food brings more customers to the burger shops or restaurants, many non-Muslim restaurant owners have decided to serve Halal meat. Therefore, apart from the Halal label on their signs, they keep a certificate in the restaurants, usually hung on the wall someplace all caring customers can see.
Now you might be thinking about how we can trust those certificates? How do we know they are not fake? From the Islamic law viewpoint, you can trust that and enjoy your meal . Do keep in mind the verse that says: “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…” (2:185)
Even in some coffee shops that serve sandwiches, the managers have provided an extra sandwich-maker for Muslim customers with which they do not roast pork and other non-Halal sandwiches.
Living in a non-Muslim country, it is prevalent to socialize with non-Muslim friends or colleagues. It often happens that our group of friends or colleagues decide to dine together at a fancy restaurant that may not be Halal. It is understandable that isolating yourself from the group may have some personal or social consequences. What can we do at these times?
First of all, we can remind the rest of the group that we only eat Halal food, and they may agree to dine at a Halal restaurant. But if they did not accept, what does Islamic law say about eating vegetarian or Halal food in restaurants that serve pork or wine? According to Islamic law, if we did not have a choice, we should not be too harsh on ourselves, and we should trust the vegetarian or Halal food of non-Halal restaurants .
Thinking deeply of the verse “Then let mankind look at his food.” (80:24), one may realize the importance of the food we eat and its influence on the human soul. Apart from Islamic law, almost all Muslim jurists emphasize that we should be extra careful about what we eat. Because what we eat affects our souls.
Therefore if we intend to treat our souls and ascend the steps of spirituality, it is necessary to find food we are sure of is Halal. In such cases, it would be good to be fussy about eating in non-Halal places. And if the spirituality of the soul matters to us more than socializing with friends, then better to be isolated for a while, rather than preventing the soul from its spiritual growth.