Jafar al Sadiq

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Jafar al Sadiq

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala paid tribute to his Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by saying:

 

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيْمٍ

And indeed, you are of a great moral character.[1]

 

This praise was an indication to the sublime character traits possessed by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the importance of adopting such by all others. Under the general meaning of this comes the trait of continuously seeking out the truth. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala commands us:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا اتَّقُوْا اللَّهَ وَكُوْنُوْا مَعَ الصَّادِقِيْنَ

O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.

 

Falling under the banner of ‘those who are true’ is whom we speak of today. Abu ‘Abdullah Jafar al Sadiq al Qurashi al Hashimi al ‘Alawi al Madani. An eminent personality and son of Muhammad al Baqir ibn Zayn al ‘Abidin ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. So, by extension he is the son of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

نورا و من فلق الصباح ضياء

نسب كان عليه من بدر الدجى

 Lineage upon which shines the full moon; lustres with divine light as dawn breaks.

 

When the grandfather of Jafar al Sadiq saw that his son, Muhammad al Baqir, had reached the beginning of his youth with a fervour for knowledge and abstinence, he intended marrying him to a pious spouse. His eye fell on Umm Farwah bint al Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Searching for a true partner he looked at the house of truth, the house of Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He spoke to his son, Muhammad al Baqir, regarding the relation to which he expressed jubilation. After the union was sanctified and he went to see his new bride, he found her to be a woman of knowledge. She had inherited her fathers’ knowledge, one of the seven master theologians of Madinah who had been under the tutelage of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. Knowledge passed down by luminaries. It is no wonder he would say, “I am the grandson of Abu Bakr in relation and knowledge.”[2]

Jafar al Sadiq would take pride in the connection he shared with Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The love he had for the Khalifah would shine through when he would come to know of someone speaking ill of him.

Salim Ibn Abi Hafsah says:

 

Jafar once said to me, O Salim, you know well Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is my grandfather, can one speak ill of their own grandfather? The intercession of my Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam can never be attained by me unless I love Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma together with absolving myself from those who harbour ill towards them.[3]

 

The title of al Siddiq was given to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu just as the title of al Sadiq was given to Jafar. They both shared a common peculiarity. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu had never belied Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Jafar was never known to utter a falsity in his life.

Imam Jafar al Sadiq was born in the 80th year of the hijrah in Madinah and held the great fortune of seeing the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He is counted amongst the great Tabi’in and scholars of Madinah. The city of his birth and death. He had reached the epitome of knowledge which is why great scholars would narrate from him and the critical evaluators of narrators consider him strong and trustworthy. When Imam Abu Hanifah was asked whom he had encountered with the deepest understanding, he replied Jafar ibn Muhammad.[4]

One wonders at the accomplishments of this august personality that erudite scholars found it an honour to pay tribute to him. His personality an embodiment of awe, his knowledge an ocean, and his lineage that of the prophets. ‘Amr ibn Abi al Miqdam says, “When I would look at Jafar ibn Muhammad, I could clearly see his prophetic lineage.”[5]

His teachers played a major role in his intricate knowledge of the sciences. They were masters in their fields. He acquired knowledge from his father Muhammad al Baqir, his grandfather Qasim ibn Muhammad, ‘Ubaidullah ibn Abi Rafi’, ‘Ata ibn Abi Rabah, Muhammad ibn Munkadir, Zuhri, and others. He narrates from ‘Urwah ibn Zubair who was a special student of his aunt, Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. He therefore had gathered the knowledge of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha via ‘Urwah as well.

His students were countless and of those that became leaders in their own right here are many. However here are some of those that studied under his tutelage, his son Musa al Kazim, Yahya ibn Sa’id al Ansari, Aban ibn Taghlib, Ibn Jurayj, Sufyan, Shu’bah, Malik, Ismail ibn Jafar, Yahya al Qattan, Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah, and others.

Jafar al Sadiq has narrated a particularly lengthy hadith which describes the pilgrimage of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as Jabir radiya Llahu ‘anhu had witnessed it. Imam Muslim has included this narration in his authentic compilation.[6]

Jafar al Sadiq though an Imam in the sciences was down to earth and humble as though the following verse was always at the top of his mind:

 

وَمَا أُوتِيْتُمْ مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيْلًا

And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little.[7]

 

This has always been the true hallmark of true scholars and the advice of prophets and pious. Ayub says, “I heard Jafar saying ‘I do not know all that you ask me, others are superior in knowledge to me.”[8] Humility through and through. It was this humility of his that raised his rank and spread his fame throughout the earth. The narration is clear:

 

من تواضع لله رفعه الله

Whoever humbles himself for the sake of Allah, will be elevated by Allah.[9]

 

Together with his humility his generosity was famed. Hayyaj ibn Bistam says, “He would spend so much in charity that nothing would remain for his family.”[10]

لجاد بها فليتق الله سائله

ولو لم يجد من ماله غير نفسه

 If there was nothing left but his life, he would give that too, fear Allah, O beggar.

 

Just as his heart was big, so too was it clean. Though he was truthful to no end, lies were fabricated against him just as was done to his father and grandfather. He was not unaware of this and was quoted saying, “People are dead set on fabricating lies against us.”[11] It is imperative for us to know that some of what has been attributed to him are nothing short of lies. Not everything we read with his name attached to it guarantees its authenticity. Research and investigation through the proper channels are a must to confirm the veracity of such statements.

Extremists rose and attributing things to the Ahlul Bayt which can only be attributed to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. They attributed the qualities of giving life and death, harm and benefit, and the ability to control natural phenomena to them. Other erroneous beliefs they held were that the Ahlul Bayt had knowledge of the unseen, knowing when they will die, and death only comes through their permission.

Imam Jafar al Sadiq stood against this barrage of falsities, halting this dam of misguidance.

 

فوالله ما نحن إلا عبيد الذي خلقنا واصطفانا وما نقدر على ضر ولا نفع وإن رحمنا فبرحمته وإن عذبنا فبذنوبنا والله ما لنا على الله من حجة ولا معنا من الله براءة وإنا لميتون ومقبورون ومنشرون ومبعوثون وموقوفون ومسؤولون

By Allah! We are the slaves of the Being Who created us. We do not have power to cause harm or benefit. If we are blessed it is through His mercy and if we are punished it is through our sins. We have no might against Allah, nor are we independent of Him. We will die, be buried, resurrected, made to stand before Him, and be questioned. I make you witnesses that I am a man, a descendant of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and have nowhere to turn but to Allah. If I obey Him he will shower His mercies upon me and if I disobey Him he will punish me [12]

 

Jafar al Sadiq held a very close link to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, whom he fully placed his trust in. He would continuously engage in Dua, beseeching Him. This saying of his speaks volumes of his deep insight:

 

ان الله تبارك وتعالى يعلم ما يريد العبد إذا دعا ولكنّه يحبّ أن تبثّ إليه الحوائج

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows what a slave wants when he prays to Him, He however loves that the slave pours his heart out to Him.[13]

 

We conclude this chapter with a Dua of his:

 

اللهم احرسني بعينك التي لا تنام واكنفني بركنك الذي لا يرام واحفظني بقدرتك علي ولا تهلكني وأنت رجائي رب كم من نعمة أنعمت بها علي قل لك عندها شكري وكم من بلية ابتليتني بها قل لك عندها صبري فيا من قل عند نعمته شكري فلم يحرمني ويا من قل عند بليته صبري فلم يخذلني ويا من رآني علي المعاصي فلم يفضحني ويا ذا النعماء التي لا تحصى أبدا ويا ذا المعروف الذي لا ينقضي أبدا أعني على ديني بدنيا وعلى آخرتي بتقوى يا من لا تضره الذنوب ولا تنقصه المغفرة اغفر لي ما لا يضرك وأعطني ما لا ينقصك يا وهاب أسألك فرجا قريبا وصبرا جميلا والعافية من جميع البلايا وشكر العافية

O Allah keep me in check with your Eye that never sleeps, surround me with Your impenetrable forces, protect Me with the power You hold over me. Do not destroy Me, You are my hope. My Lord, how many favours You have bestowed upon me that I have not thanked You for and how many trials You have afflicted me with where I haven’t displayed patience. O the One who hasn’t deprived me despite my ingratitude nor despised me despite my impatience. O the One who has seen me sinning and has not punished me. O the One of innumerable favours. O the One who showers goodness without end. Assist me in my faith by the world and my hereafter by taqwa. O the One who sins do not harm nor reduce His forgiveness. Forgive me as that will not harm You and grant me as that will not decrease Your treasures. O the Best of Givers, I ask of comfort and patience together with ease from all trials and gratitude on that.[14]

 

May Allah accept. Such sweet words in the calm of the night as a slave beseeches his Master. This is what Jafar al Sadiq has taught us by way of truth and sincerity in Dua to the only Lord, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

 

NEXT⇒Musa al Kazim


[1] Surah al Qalam: 4.

[2] Kashf al Ghummah, vol. 2 pg. 374; Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 5 pg. 575; Tadhkirat al Huffadh, vol. 1 pg. 166.

[3] Musnad Imam Ahmed fi Fada’il al Sahabah, 176; Sunnah li ‘Abdullah ibn al Imam Ahmed, vol. 2 pg. 558; Usul I’tiqad Ahlus Sunnah, vol. 7 pg. 1301; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 6 pgs. 258/259; Tarikh al Islam, vol. 1 pg. 1054 with a sound chain of narration.

[4] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 6 pgs. 258.

[5] Al Kamil, Ibn ‘Adi, vol. 2 pg. 132; Hilyat al Awliya’, vol. 3 pg. 193.

[6] Sahih Muslim, 1218.

[7] Surah al Isra’: 85

[8] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ vol. 6 pg. 261.

[9] Sahih Muslim, 4689.

[10] Hilyat al Awliya’, vol. 3 pg. 194.

[11] Bihar al Anwar of al Majlisi, vol. 2 pg. 246.

[12] Bihar al Anwar, vol. 25 pg. 289; Rijal al Kashi, 225; Mu’jam Rijal al Hadith, vol. 19 pg. 301.

[13] ‘Awali al Laali, vol. 4 pg. 20.

[14] Ibn Abi al Dunya in Al Farj ba’d al Shiddah, vol. 1 pg. 45; Tarikh Dimashq.