Imam Muhammad al-Baqir

December 7, 2020
Tafsir of the Noble Qur’an
December 7, 2020

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Imam Muhammad al Baqir

Name and agnomen

He is Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib al Hashimi al Qurashi, commonly known as al Baqir. His mother is Umm ‘Abdullah bint Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhum.[1]

He was given the title of al Baqir because of his distinction in and depth of knowledge, as stated by Ibn al Manzur in Lisan al ‘Arab:

Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali was called al Baqir, may Allah be pleased with all of them, because he baqara (cut open) the sciences and understood its essence; substantiating from it, secondary rulings. The root meaning of the word al Baqr is to cut, cleave open, expand. You will say: Baqartu al Shay’ Baqran, which means that you opened it and expanded it. It is stated in the Hadith of Hudhayfah, “What of those who yabqurun our houses…” yabqurun means those who open up and enter our homes.[2]

Al Qurazi said about him:

يا باقر العلم لأهل التقى وخير من لبّى على الأجبل

O (you) who split open (Baqir) knowledge (making it available) to the people of piety and the best of those who seek to answer the call of the Exalted.[3]

Al Mufid has mentioned in Kitab al Irshad and al Majlisi in Bihar al Anwar that the one who awarded him this title was the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. However, there is no authentic chain of narration for this in the books of Hadith nor in the books of history. Muhammad Asid Muhsini has gathered all of these narrations in his book, Mashra’ah Bihar al Anwar, and ruled them all to be inauthentic.


Praise of the scholars

Al Dhahabi rahimahu Llah said about him:

A reliable Imam, a Hashimi ‘Alawi Madani, one of the scholars.[4]

He also said:

He is amongst those who possessed knowledge, jurisprudence, eminence, trustworthiness, reliability, and authority. He was suitable to be Khalifah.[5]


Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah said:

Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib al Qurashi al Hashimi, Abu Jafar al Baqir. His mother is Umm ‘Abdullah bint Hassan ibn ‘Ali. He is a senior eminent Tabi’i of lofty calibre. He is one of the senior scholars of this Ummah, excelling in knowledge, practice, nobility, and eminence.[6]


He also said:

He was called al Baqir due to his depth in his knowledge and ability to derive rulings. He would remember Allah profusely, was god-fearing, and tolerant. He was from the links of Nubuwwah, having noble ancestry and descent. He was knowledgeable of the destructive traits, would weep often, and remained distant from arguments and confrontation.[7]


Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani rahimahu Llah said about him:

Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Abu Jafar al Baqir: Reliable, praiseworthy.[8]


If one were to gather all the statements of the scholars concerning Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah, you would find no difference in opinion regarding their praise for his lofty status. In fact, even Taqi al Din Ibn Taymiyyah—who is often falsely accused of bearing hatred towards the Ahlul Bayt—has praised him on a number of instances in his books. Any person who wishes to verify this for himself may refer to Majmu’ al Fatawa, (19/69), as an example and not that it is the only reference.

The extremist will not be satisfied except with exaggeration about him. He will, thus, attribute infallibility, absolute knowledge, and other attributes [meant for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala only] to Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah; and accuse all those who refuse to believe in these exaggerations of being enemies of the Ahlul Bayt. They seem to be forgetting the bequest of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Maryam, for I am only the slave of Allah. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Messenger.[9]

When exaggeration about the Best of Creation, Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is forbidden then how can we exaggerate about those who are lesser than him in virtue, knowledge, and piety. If only these extremists would cast aside their stubbornness and suffice upon what is in the Book of Allah and the authentically established Sunnah of His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then they too would find the guidance and path of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Ahlul Bayt.


Birth and upbringing

Imam Muhammad al Baqir rahimahu Llah was born in the year 56 A.H according to Ahmad ibn al Barqi.[10] This was four years before the martyrdom of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah said:

My grandfather Hussain was killed when I was four years old. I remember his murder and what was inflicted upon us at that time.[11]


Ibn Khallikan said:

He was born on Tuesday, 2 Safar 57 A.H. He was 3 years old at the time when his grandfather Hussain was killed.[12]


The house in which Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah was raised was a home filled with piety, spirituality, knowledge, and worship; as we will elaborate on in the forthcoming pages.


His father

His father is the illustrious Imam ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib al Hashimi al Madani rahimahu Llah, famous by the tile Zayn al ‘Abidin (Adornment of the Worshippers)[13]. His mother was an Umm Walad[14] by the name of Salafah bint Yazdegerd, the Emperor of Persia. It has also been said that her name was Ghazalah.[15] Abu al Qasim al Zamakhshari has mentioned in his book, Rabi’ al Abrar, that when the Sahabah returned to Madinah with the prisoners of Persia during the Caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the three daughters of Yazdegerd were among them. All the captives were sold off, and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu ordered that the daughters of Yazdegerd be sold as well.

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to ‘Umar, “The daughters of kings should not be treated as the other captives.”

‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu enquired, “How then should they be treated?”

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied, “Let her choose a man among the Muslims and he will pay her price from the spoils he earned.”

So he gave one daughter to ‘Abdullah ibn Umar, one to his son Hussain, and the other to Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al Siddiq—his stepson.[16] The daughter given to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu bore him Salim, the daughter given to Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu bore him Zayn al ‘Abidin, and the daughter given to Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr bore him Qasim. These three were all maternal cousins, their mothers being the daughters of Yazdegerd.[17] The people of Madinah were not in favour of their slaves mothering their children until these three grew up before their very eyes: ‘Ali ibn Hussain, Qasim ibn Muhammad, Salim ibn ‘Abdullah, elevating the reputation of Madinah in fiqh and piety. Thereafter, they remained reluctant no more.[18]

Sayyidina Zayn al ‘Abidin rahimahu Llah was a reliable transmitter, a devout worshipper, an ascetic, a pious scholar, and a possessor of numerous virtues. A number of element scholars have enumerated his praises.

Ibn Sa’d has said under the biography of Zayn al ‘Abidin:

He was thiqah (reliable), trusted, profuse in Hadith, elevated, eminent, pious.


Ibn ‘Uyaynah transmitted from al Zuhri:

I have not seen another Qurashi better than ‘Ali ibn Hussain. He was with his father the day he was killed, but was saved due to him being ill at the time.


He also said:

I have not seen anyone with greater jurisprudic ability than him, but he narrated very little Hadith.


Ibn Wahab transmitted from Imam Malik:

There was none equal to ‘Ali ibn Hussain from the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.


Hammad ibn Zaid narrated from Yahya ibn Sa’id:

I heard from ‘Ali ibn Hussain, and he was the best of the Hashimids that I met.


It has been reported from Sa’id ibn al Musayyab:

I never saw anyone more pious than him.


Al ‘Ijli said:

He was Madani, a Tabi’i, Thiqah.


Juwairiyah ibn Asma’ said:

‘Ali ibn Hussain never took a single dirham on account of his relation to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[19]


Sayyidina ‘Ali Zayn al ‘Abidin rahimahu Llah had a deep love for the righteous pious servants of Allah, and at the top of that list, the best of those to walk this earth after the Prophets, viz. the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He would shower praise upon Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, such that he was asked, “What is the status of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he said while gesturing towards the grave of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “The same as their position is with him now.”

Imam Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah narrated from his father:

A person came to my father and asked, “Tell me about Abu Bakr.”

Zayn al ‘Abidin said, “Do you ask about al Siddiq?”

The man enquired, “Do you call him al Siddiq?”

Zayn al ‘Abidin responded, “May your mother be bereaved of you! Those who are superior to me named him al Siddiq: The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Muhajirin, and Ansar. Whoever does not call him al Siddiq, may Allah never give his word any credibility! Go and love Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, associate yourself with them. If there is anything wrong with what I say that it is upon my neck.”[20]


He would also say:

By Allah, ‘Uthman—may Allah shower him with mercy—was killed unjustly.[21]


He was known for his excellent character and soft temperament. People held him in high esteem, none more so than the Khalifas of his era. It has been reported that Hisham ibn ‘Abdul Malik went to perform Hajj before he became Khalifah, and whenever he advanced to kiss the al Hajr al Aswad (Black Stone) he was impeded by the large crowd. However, when ‘Ali ibn Hussain came towards al Hajr then people gave way out of respect for him. Hisham was astonished by this and enquired, “Who is this? Why do I not know him?” In response, the poet Farazdaq recited:

والــبـيـت يـعـرِفُـه والــحـلُ والــحـرمُ هــذا الــذي تـعـرف الـبـطحاء وطـأته
إلـــى مــكـارم هـــذا يـنـتهي الـكـرم اذا رأتـــــه قـــريــش قــــال قـائـلـهـا
بـــجــدّه أنــبــيـا الله قـــــد خــتــمـوا هــذا ابــن فـاطـمةٌ إن كـنـت جـاهله
أو قـيل مـن خير أهل الأرض قيل همُ إن عــد أهــل الـتـقى كـانـوا أئـمـتهم
هــذا الـتـقي الـنـقي الـطـاهر الـعلمُ هـــذا ابـــن خــيـر عِــبـاد الله كـلـهـم
عـن نيلها عرب الاسلام والعجم يـنمي إلـى ذروة الـدين التي قصُرت
كــفــر وقـربـهـم مـنـجـى ومـعـتـصمُ مــن مـعـشرٍ حـبـهم ديــن ٌوبـغضهم
الـعُـرب تـعـرف مــن أنـكرت والـعجم ولــيـس قـولـكم مــن هــذا بـضـائره

This is he whose ability the valley (of Makkah) recognizes; he is known by the (Sacred) House, and the Holy sanctuary, and the lands outside the sanctuary.

When the Quraysh saw him, their spokesman said; Liberality terminates at the outstanding qualities of this (man).

This is the son of Fatimah if you are unaware; his grandfather, the seal of prophethood.

If the pious were gathered he would be their leader; the best of those that reside on the earth.

This is the son of the best of Allah’s servants; This is the pure pious man, the pure eminent man.

He belongs to the top of glory which the Arabs of Islam and non-Arabs fall short of reaching.

He is from the people whose love is religion, whose hate is unbelief, whose approach is refuge and protection.

Your words, “Who is this?” do not harm him. All the Arabs and non-Arabs recognise him whom you deny.

Which is part of a lengthy beautiful poem.[22]


His mother

The mother of Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah is Umm ‘Abdullah bint Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhum. As a result of this noble union, Sayyidina Muhammad al Baqir is blessed with noble link to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from both his father and mother; his father being the son of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his mother being the daughter of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.


His brothers

Imam Muhammad al Baqir rahimahu Llah had a few brothers, and the following narrations have recorded the praises which he had conferred upon them.

Abu al Jarud Ziyad ibn al Mundhir said:

Abu Jafar (al Baqir) was asked, “Who from your brothers is most beloved to you and the most superior?”

Abu Jafar replied, “As for ‘Abdullah, he is my hand with which I hold. (‘Abdullah was his true brother) As for ‘Umar, he is my eyes with which I see. As for Zaid, he is my tongue with which I speak. And Hussain, he is the forbearing one who walks upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace.”[23]


It is an established fact that Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah was not the only one from his brothers to be blessed with piety, righteousness, knowledge, and eminence; but the entire household of Imam ‘Ali ibn Hussain rahimahu Llah were devoted lovers of Allah and followers of the Sunnah of the Best of the Prophets, Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They were all scholars worthy of emulation and a means of guidance for all those who traversed in their footsteps. Amongst them is:


Sayyidina Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain

Abu al Hussain Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhum al Hashimi al ‘Alawi al Madani was the uterine brother of Abu Jafar Muhammad al Baqir rahimahu Llah.

He narrated from his father, his brother—Abu Jafar al Baqir, and ‘Urwah.

Those who narrated from him were his nephew—Jafar al Sadiq ibn Muhammad, Shu’bah, Fudayl ibn Marzuq, al Muttalib ibn Ziyad, Sa’id ibn Khuthaym al Hilali, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi al Zinad, and others.

Al Dhahabi said about him:

He was one of the pious scholars. He made an error in judgement and was martyred, which became a means of raising his status in the Hereafter.[24]


Imam Zaid rahimahu Llah was a scholar of the Qur’an, and there is a commentary of the Qur’an which some narrators transmitted from him while he was imprisoned by Hisham ibn ‘Abdul Malik.

It is reported that when he and his brother—Muhammad al Baqir rahimahu Llah—would deliberate over religious issues, people would gather around them with their quills and inkwells, to record the knowledge that flowed forth from the two of them.[25]

Concerning his martyrdom, al Dhahabi said:

Abu al Yaqzan reported from Juwairiyah ibn Asma’ or other than him that Zaid ibn ‘Ali travelled from Madinah to Yusuf ibn ‘Umar al Thaqafi—Amir of the Iraqis—who awarded him a generous stipend. He then returned to Madinah, and then a group from Kufah came to him.

They said, “Return, for Yusuf is nothing. We will take over Kufah for you.”

So many people gathered around him, and departed with him in his army. However, they were intercepted by the Iraqi army. Zaid was killed in the encounter and then he was crucified. His body remained suspended like that for four days, then he was brought down and his body burnt. To Allah do we belong and unto Him shall we return.[26]


A number of scholars have praised Imam Zaid rahimahu Llah. Some criticism can be found as well, but that emanated from those who followed their passions and deviant creeds.

Al Dhahabi records:

It is reported that ‘Amr ibn al Qasim came into the presence of Jafar al Sadiq while a group was with him, and he said to him, “These people dissociate themselves from your uncle, Zaid.” Al Sadiq replied, “May Allah disassociate from all those who disassociate themselves from him (Zaid). By Allah, he was the best reciter of the Qur’an amongst us, the most knowledgeable regarding the Din of Allah, and the one who maintained family relations the most. There isn’t amongst us any equal to him.”[27]


The praise which Imam al Sadiq rahimahu Llah heaped upon his uncle, Imam Zaid, is a reflection of the immense love that he bore for him, and the reverence the Banu Hashim had for him in that era.

An example of the depth of his substantiatory capability can be found in the narration reported by Ibn ‘Asakir:

Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali came before Hisham ibn ‘Abdul Malik, and the Mother of Zaid was an Umm Walad.

So Hisham said to Zaid, “It has reached me that you think yourself worthy of Imamah, whereas Imamah is not suitable for the children of slaves.”

Zaid responded, “O Amir al Mu’minin, there was Ismail ibn Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam, who was the son of a slave girl as well, yet he was worthy of Nubuwwah. Indeed, he was true to his promise and was to his Lord pleasing. And Nubuwwah is greater than Imamah.

Hisham said, “O Zaid, Allah does not combine Imamah and Nubuwwah for anyone.”

Zaid replied, “O Amir al Mu’minin, this is what Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has said:

أَمْ يَحْسُدُونَ النَّاسَ عَلَىٰ مَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۖ فَقَدْ آتَيْنَا آلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَآتَيْنَاهُم مُّلْكًا عَظِيمًا

Or do they envy people for what Allah has given them of His bounty? But we had already given the family of Ibrahim the Scripture and wisdom and conferred upon them a great kingdom.[28][29]


This is an excellent example of the mental capacity of Imam Zaid rahimahu Llah as well as his courage and intellectual capability.

Imam Zaid rahimahu Llah had a deep love for the Sahabah, at the head of them Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, paying no heed to the disparagement of the deviants on account of this love. It has been narrated that he said:

Abu Bakr was the leader of the Shakirin (grateful).[30]

After which he recited the verse:

وَسَيَجْزِي اللَّهُ الشَّاكِرِيْنَ

And Allah will reward the grateful.[31]


Kathir al Nawa said:

I asked Zaid ibn ‘Ali about Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and he replied, “Associate yourself with them and dissociate yourself from those who dissociate from them.”[32]


Hashim ibn al Barid narrated from Zaid ibn ‘Ali:

Dissociating from Abu Bakr is disassociating from ‘Ali.[33]


Fudayl ibn Marzuq narrates:

Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali said, “As for me, if I were to have been in the position of Abu Bakr then I would have passed the same ruling as Abu Bakr regarding Fadak.”[34]


Muhammad ibn Salim narrates:

Zaid ibn ‘Ali was sitting concealed amongst us. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were then mentioned, and some objections were raised.

So Zaid said, “Stop, O Muhammad ibn Salim! If you were to have been present (there at that time), what would you have done?”

He said, “I would have done as ‘Ali was doing.”

Zaid retorted, “Then be pleased with what ‘Ali did.”[35]


There is difference of opinion concerning the exact date of his proceeding to Kufah. Mus’ab al Zubayri said:

He was killed in Safar 120 A.H, when he was 42 years old.


Abu Nu’aym said:

He was killed on the day of ‘Ashura’ in 122 A.H.

This was reported by Ibn Sa’d as well.


Hisham al Kalbi, Layth ibn Sa’d, al Haytham ibn ‘Adi, and others said:

He was killed in the year 122 A.H.


Muhammad ibn Hassan said:

Zaid was killed on Monday, 2 Safar 122 A.H.

A similar opinion has been reported from Yahya ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan ibn Hassan.[36]


May Allah shower His mercy upon the Martyr Zaid rahimahu Llah, and unite us with him in Jannat in the company of his father and grandfather radiya Llahu ‘anhum.


Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain

He was amongst the esteemed scholars of his age, and was in charge of distributing the charities of his grandfather, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, for a period of his life. He would not prevent anyone from consuming from these charities.[37]

Amongst his famous statements, may Allah be pleased with him:

The one who exaggerates in his love for us is like the one who exaggerates in his hatred for us. Award us only that which Allah has awarded us and do not say about us that which we do not possess.[38]


The fact that Imam Zayn al ‘Abidin rahimahu Llah named his son ‘Umar is a clear sign of the love and admiration the Ahlul Bayt had for the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in general, and for Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma specifically.[39] ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain rahimahu Llah passed away at the age of 70.[40]


Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain

‘Abdullah ibn Zayn al ‘Abidin rahimahu Llah was a scholar and narrator of Hadith. He is the one who narrated from his father, who narrated from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

A true miser is the one who does not send salutations upon me when my name is mentioned before him.[41]


He passed away when he was 57 years old.[42]


Sayyidina Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain

He is more commonly known by the name Hussain al Asghar. He has narrated from his father, who narrated from his paternal aunt—Fatimah bint Hussain, and from his brother—Abu Jafar al Baqir. People recorded Hadith from him. Imam al Nasa’i called him Thiqah (reliable) and his narrations are reported by both al Tirmidhi and al Nasa’i.[43]

He passed away in Madinah and was buried in al Baqi’, the year 157 A.H. He was commonly called Abu ‘Abdullah and his progeny continued.[44]


Children of Imam al Baqir

Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah had five sons: Jafar, ‘Abdullah, Ibrahim, ‘Ubaidullah (who passed away in infancy), and ‘Ali (who also passed away in infancy).[45]

It should be noted that the mother of Imam Jafar al Sadiq was Umm Farwah, the daughter of the renowned Faqih of Madinah, Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr. The mother of Umm Farwah was Asma’ bint ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Bakr. Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah himself relates to us the story of his marriage to the pure daughter of Qasim rahimahu Llah and great granddaughter of Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he relates:

Sa’id ibn al Musayyib said to me, “When you intend marrying, then let me know; as I am well-acquainted with the ancestries of the Quraysh.”

I then married the daughter of Qasim ibn Muhammad, but did not tell him. When he learnt of this he said, “What an excellent choice al Hussaini [referring to al Baqir] has made for himself.”[46]


This union bore the most splendid of fruits, viz. Imam Jafar al Sadiq ibn Muhammad al Baqir rahimahu Llah. Imam al Sadiq would take pride in his ancestry saying:

Abu Bakr fathered me twice.[47]


And he was fully entitled to take pride in his ancestry, as his paternal grandfather was the Leader of Mankind—our master and beloved, Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam—and his maternal grandfather was Abu Bakr al Siddiq—the Companion, friend, and advisor of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his father-in-law, as well as his Khalifah after him.

This marital union is a splendid example of the love that existed between the Ahlul Bayt and the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, and is a proof of the amicable cordial relations that existed between them their entire lives; and it is a dagger through the hearts of those who bear hatred for the noble Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.


Demise of Imam Muhammad al Baqir

The historians are in disagreement about the year in which he passed away. It has been said that he passed away in the year 114 A.H, while others say it was 115 A.H, 116 A.H, and some say 117 A.H. Ibn Sa’d stated that he passed away in the year 118 A.H.[48] The most correct view, however, is that he passed away in the year 114 A.H, and Allah knows best. This was given preference to by a number of historians and Muhaddithin.[49]

The inscription on his ring was:

All Power belongs to Allah entirely.[50]


He passed away in al Humaymah.[51] He was then brought to Madinah and buried in al Baqi’, in the same grave wherein his father is buried and the paternal granduncle, Hassan ibn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It is in the same tomb as the grave of ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[52]

Ibn Babuwayh al Qummi has reported a narration which suggests that Imam al Baqir was poisoned, accusing the Umayyad Khalifas of perpetrating this act. He intends thereby to:

Malign the Umayyad Khalifas and incite hatred against them. He attempts thereby to create the impression that the Umayyad Khalifas had no other purpose except to persecute the Ahlul Bayt and assassinate them. We do not mean by this to exonerate the Umayyad Khalifas from the atrocities that they meted out against those of the Ahlul Bayt who opposed them—as well as those who were not from the Ahlul Bayt[53]—but what we do deny is the exaggeration found in these historical reports which seek to portray a relationship of lifelong enmity and opposition between the Banu Hashim and Banu Umayyah.[54]

It is a fact that the [later] Umayyad Khalifas had many faults but they also have a number of accolades to their name; such as: the many victories they attained and expansion of the Islamic empire and bringing many into the fold of Islam, amongst others. It is imperative for a Muslim to be fair and unbiased, freeing himself from all prejudice and bias. The words of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala are sufficient for us in this regard:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.[55]


And the verse:

وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَاعْدِلُوا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰ

And when you testify, be just, even if [it concerns] a near relative.[56]


Desire to follow the Sunnah even in his Final moments

Imam Muhammad al Baqir was an ardent follower of the Sunnah and despised Bid’ah (innovation) and its advocates, even in his final moments of his life.

Al Kulayni has reported in al Kafi from Jafar ibn Muhammad:


My father’s parting words to me were like this, when death approached him, he said, “Call for me some witnesses.” So, I called four men of the Quraysh, amongst them Nafi’—the freed slave of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar.

My father said, “Write! This is what Yaqub bequeathed to his sons:

يَا بَنِيَّ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَىٰ لَكُمُ الدِّينَ فَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims.

Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, thus, bequeaths to Jafar ibn Muhammad and instructs him to bury him in the robe in which he used to pray Jumu’ah, and tie his turban on his head. Also, to raise his grave, but not more than four fingers, and undo the ties [around his burial shroud] when burying him.”

He then said to the witnesses, “Go, may Allah have mercy upon you.”

I said, after they had left, “O my father, what was in this bequest that it was so necessary that it have witnesses?”

He said, “O my son, I disliked that I pass and it be said, ‘he did not make a bequest to him.’ So, I desired that you have some proof.”[57]


There a number of wisdoms that may be deduced from this narration:

  1. Following the practices of the Prophets and righteous in their actions. The bequest of al Baqir rahimahu Llah was the same bequest that Nabi Yaqub ‘alayh al Salam had made to his sons, as is mentioned in the revelation.
  2. He followed the practice of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in prohibiting his grave from being raised more than four fingers. We learn from this that building upon the grave, erecting tombs and mausoleums, wherein the graves are circumambulated and assistance sought from the one in the grave, as well as other innovations, was not prescribed by the illustrious Imams of the Ahlul Bayt nor were they pleased with it.[58] In this they were strict followers of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said:

O Allah! Do not make my grave an idol that is worshipped. The anger on those who took the graves of their Prophets as places of prostration was terrible.[59]

As well as his saying, which is reported by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

Do not take my grave as a place of congregation, and do not make your graves a place of prayer and your houses a place for graves.[60]


Perhaps the most profound example of how he followed the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was his stern prohibition of tearing one’s clothes, wailing, and slapping one’s cheeks during times of death or grief. He said:

There is no believer who is afflicted with a difficulty in this world and says, “To Allah do we belong and unto Him shall we return,” except that Allah forgives all his previous sins.[61]


He also said:

The worst form of grieving is screaming and wailing, striking the face and chest, and pulling the hear from the forelocks. And whoever appoints a Nawwahah[62] has abandoned patience and adopted a path other than his [the Prophet’s]. Whoever adopts patience and recites, “To Allah do we belong and unto Him shall we return,” and praises Allah, he is indeed pleased with the decree of Allah and his reward will be from Allah. Whoever does not do this then judgement will be passed against him, he is contemptible, and Allah will wipe away his reward.[63]


This was following the practice of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who had lost his own beloved son, Sayyidina Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam, but did not instruct a memorial gathering (Matam) to be observed nor did he instruct people to mourn over his demise. On the contrary, he said:

Our eyes shed tears and our hearts are filled with grief, but we do not say anything except that by which Allah is pleased. O Ibrahim, we are grieved for you.[64]


Al Nur al Tabarsi has reported that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

The grief that appears in the heart or the eye is mercy; however, the grief expressed with the tongue or the hand is from Shaitan.[65]


The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advised his beloved daughter, Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, prior to his demise to hold on to his Sunnah and steer far away from the practices of the Age of Ignorance. Al Kulayni has reported in al Kafi that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to his daughter before his demise:

When I die then do not strike your face, pull your hair, wail out loudly, and do not appoint one to mourn over me.[66]


NEXT⇒ Tafsir of the Noble Qur’an

[1] Tahdhib al Kamal, 26/137.

[2] Lisan al ‘Arab, 4/73.

[3] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 4/404.

[4] Tadhkirat al Huffaz, 1/124.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 9/338.

[7] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 9/339.

[8] Taqrib al Tahdhib, 2/114.

[9] Sahih al Bukhari, # 3189; Khulasah ‘Abaqat al Anwar, 3/305.

[10] Tarikh al Islam, 7/436; Tahdhb al Tahdhib, 9/312.

[11] Tarikh al Yaqubi, 2/320.

[12] Wafayat al A’yan, 4/174.

[13] Tarikh al Islam, 6/431.

[14] Umm Walad: A slave who bears children for her master, as a result she cannot be sold and will be automatically set free on the death of the master.

[15] Siyar A’l al Nubala’, 4/386.

[16] This is an excellent illustration of the amicable relationship that existed between Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[17] Wafayat al A’yan, 3/267.

[18] Ibid, 3/268.

[19] All taken from Tahdhib al Tahdhib, 7/269.

[20] Siyar A’lam al Nubala, 4/395.

[21] Siyar A’lam al Nubala, 4/397.

[22] Siyar A’lam al Nubala, 4/399.

[23] Sharif al Murtada: Al Nasiriyyat, pg. 64.

[24] Tarikh al Islam, 8/105.

[25] Tafsir al Alusi, 24/122.

[26] Tarikh al Islam, 8/106.

[27] Tarikh al Islam, 8/106.

[28] Surah al Nisa’: 54.

[29] Tarikh al Dimashq, 19/468.

[30] Tarikh al Islam, 8/107.

[31] Surah Al ‘Imran: 144.

[32] Tarikh al Islam, 8/107.

[33] Tarikh al Islam, 8/107.

[34] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 5/310.

[35] Tarikh al Dimashq, 19/463.

[36] Tarikh al Islam, 8/108.

[37] Lubab al Ansab wa al Alqab wa al A’qab, 1/26.

[38] Lubab al Ansab wa al Alqab wa al A’qab, 1/26.

[39] Refer to the book Asma’ wa Musaharat Bayna Ahlul Bayt wa al Sahabah (translated into English on under the title Names and Marital Relations Between the Ahlul Bayt and Sahabah) wherein the author has gathered the names of many members of the Ahlul Bayt who were named after the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, especially those who had the name Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman.

[40] Lubab al Ansab wa al Alqab wa al A’qab, 1/26.

[41] There is a break in the chain of narration.

[42] Lubab al Ansab wa al Alqab wa al A’qab, 1/26.

[43] Tahdhib al Tahdhib, 2/299.

[44] Lubab al Ansab wa al Alqab wa al A’qab, 1/26.

[45] Tarikh al-Yaqubi, 2/321.

[46] Tarikh Dimashq, 49/165.

[47] Ibn ‘Inabah: ‘Umdat al Talib, pg. 195; Al Khu’i: Mu’jam Rijal al Hadith, 15/49; Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 29/651; Al Arbili: Kashf al Ghummah, 2/374.

[48] Tahdhib al Tahdhib, 9/312.

[49] Refer to al Wafi Fi al Wafiyat, 4/77; Tahdhib al Tahdhib,9/312; al ‘Ibar, 1/25; Ibn Makula: al Ikmal, 1/173.

[50] Hilyat al Awliya’, 3/186.

[51] Al Humaymah: A village in the valley of Murr, near Makkah between Sarwa’ah and Burayra’.

[52] Al Wafi Fi al Wafiyat, 4/77.

[53] Some of the Umayyad Khalifas covetous of authority and were quick to shed the blood of anyone who threatened that authority. A great many scholars of the Ummah—from the Ahlul Bayt and besides them—were tortured and killed in pursuit of this power. Amongst them: the famous Sahabi Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the famous Sahabi Hussain ibn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu—the leader of the youth of Jannah, the famous Sahabi ‘Abdullah ibn Zubayr radiya Llahu ‘anhu—son of the Hawari (disciple) of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain rahimahu Llah, the famous Tabi’i Sa’id ibn Jubayr rahimahu Llah, Abu al Bakhtari, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Layla, Muslim ibn Yasar al Madan, and many others. The number of scholars that were killed during the tyranny of Ibn al Ash’ath is sufficient testimony to this fact. Furthermore, a few of the Umayyad Khalifas did not hesitate to even assassinate their own brothers and cousins in pursuit of power, as occurred during the era of Walid ibn Yazid ibn ‘Abdul Malik. As for those who did not threaten their authority, they did not harm them in the least, whether they were from the Ahlul Bayt or not. Such as: ‘Ali ibn Hussain, his son Muhammad al Baqir, Jafar al Sadiq ibn Muhammad al Baqir, Hassan ibn Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, and others.

[54] Also, amongst that which refutes this claim is the many marital links between the Banu Umayyad and Banu Hashim; approximately 30 intermarriages between these two families. Worthy of mention: Fatimah and Sukaynah—the daughters of Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu—who married to ‘Abdullah and Zaid—the sons of ‘Uthman ibn Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. For further reading one can refer to al Nasb wa al Musaharat of ‘Ala al Din al Mudarris and Asma’ wa Musaharat Bayna Ahlul Bayt wa al Sahabah by Abu Mu’adh al Sayyid Ahmad ibn Ibrahim (translated into English on under the title Names and Marital Relations Between the Ahlul Bayt and Sahabah).

[55] Surah al Ma’idah: 8

[56] Surah al An’am: 152.

[57] Al Kulayni: Al Kafi, 1/307, # 8.

[58] Refer to the book, ‘Aqidah Al al Bayt by ‘Abdullah Juran al Khadir.

[59] Muwatta’, the narration of Yahya al Layth, # 376; rerpoted by the Shi’ah in Ahkam al Shari’ah, 1/410.

[60] Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 2/379.

[61] Bihar al Anwari, 79/132.

[62] A lady hired to mourn someone who has died, female mourner at a funeral.

[63] Al Kafi, 3/222.

[64] Sahih Muslim, # 4279.

[65] Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 2/463.

[66] Al Kafi, 5/527.