Facts about Imam Sadiq (AS)

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. 

Birth and Lineage

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 [1]. 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 [2]. 

Imam Sadiq (AS) had ten children, among whom was Imam Musa al-Kazim (AS), who was born on 745 A.D. 

Imam Sadiq (AS) 's Life at the time of Umayyad's Caliphate 

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 [3]. 

Imam Sadiq (AS) 's Leadership at the time of Abbasid's Caliphate

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 [4]. 

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?" [5]   

Fighting against Deviatory Movements 

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. 

Scholarly and Scientific Movement 

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) [2]. Due to his significant role in spreading the true Islamic teachings, Twelver Shiism is often called Ja'fari School [3]. 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. 


Prominent Moral Characteristics

Imam Sadiq was famous for his piety, knowledge, abundant and devoted worship, and great generosity [7]. It is reported that he spent a significant part of his time praying, fasting, or saying dhikr (remembrance) [8].  

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!" [9] 


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) [10].   


[1] Mufīd, Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-. Al-Irshād fī maʿrifat ḥujaj Allāh ʿalā l-ʿibād. Vol.2, P.180.  
[2] Pākatchī, Aḥmad. 1389 Sh. "Imām Jaʿfar Ṣādiq (a)". Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif-i Buzurg-i Islāmī 18:180-220. 
[3] Shahīdī, Sayyid Jaʿfar. Zindigānī-yi Imām Ṣādiq Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad (a), p. 47. 
[4] Al-Suyuti, History of the Caliphs, p. 208-209. 
[5] Baha' al-Din 'Ali b. 'Isa al-Irbili, Kashf al-ghumma fi ma'rifat al-a'imma, vol.2, p.208.  
[6] Kulaynī, Muḥammad b. Yaʿqūb al-. Al-Kāfī. vol. 1, p. 79, 80, 171-173. 
[7] Baha' al-Din 'Ali b. 'Isa al-Irbili, Kashf al-ghumma fi ma'rifat al-a'imma, vol.2, p.691. 
[8] Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 47, p. 16.
[9] http://en.wikishia.net/view/Imam_Ja%27far_b._Muhammad_al-Sadiq_(a) 
[10] Ibn Shahrāshūb, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 4, p. 210.