Musa al Kazim

Jafar al Sadiq
June 13, 2018
Muhammad ibn Idris al Shafi’i
June 13, 2018

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Musa al Kazim


Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in his holy book:


إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيْرًا

Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.[1]


Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has most definitely purified the Ahlul Bayt and adorned the young and old with sublime character. They illuminated the path for those wishing to tread the path to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Dear reader, if you are searching for role models that had perfect character, an undeniably faultless moral compass, and knowledge of the sages then take to this group of noble men and women of the Ahlul Bayt, you will find what you search for.

Musa al Kazim ibn Jafar al Sadiq ibn Muhammad al Baqir ibn Zayn al ‘Abidin ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhum is one of those saintly, knowledgeable, and revered of the Ahlul Bayt whose life adorns the pages of this chapter.

The title al Kazim (Controller of anger) was given to him due to his intense will to do good to others by adopting patience, swallowing his anger, and repaying evil with good.

There was a man who repeatedly caused harm to him. His companions wished to attack him, but he did not allow them to do so. He then went to the man’s farm. When the man saw Musa al Kazim, he cried out to him not to tread on his crops.

He approached the farmer and kindly asked, “How much did you spend on cultivating your crops?”

The man replied, “100 dinars.”

He then asked, “How much will you benefit from the farm?”

The man said, “I do not have the knowledge of the hidden.”

Musa al Kazim asked, “How much do you hope to benefit?”

The man replied, “200 dinars.”

The Imam gave 300 dinars to him and said, “These 300 are yours and keep your crops as well.”

The man, speechless stood before Musa al Kazim and kissed his forehead. He then said, “Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best where he places his message.” This man would thereafter continuously pray for him. Musa al Kazim then turned his attention to his companions and posed a rhetorical question to them asking which was better, what they had intended doing to the man or what he achieved by way of reconciliation. Al Dhahabi, after quoting this incident says, “If this incident is authentic, it is the epitome of forbearance and forgiveness.”[2]

لا يذهب العرف بين الله و بين الناس

من يفعل الخير لا يعدم جوازيه

 Good acts will attract returns; from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and from man.


Yahya ibn al Hassan says, “Musa al Kazim was known as a pious man due to his worship and tireless devotions.”[3] Al Dhahabi has mentioned an incident of him entering the masjid of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at the beginning of the night, prostrating and praying thus, “My sins are great, forgive me from your side, O the One that forgives.” He continued praying in this manner till the morning.[4]

He was a leader of the Banu Hashim in his era, well known for his devotions and knowledge. He was born at Abwa, a place near Madinah and resided in Madinah. His contribution to knowledge can be identified by his narrations from his father, ‘Abdullah ibn Dinar, ‘Abdul Malik ibn Qudamah and others which are recorded in books such as Jami’ al Tirmidhi and Sunan ibn Majah.

Together with possessing a great amount of piety, he would constantly fast during the days and stand during the night observing the night prayer vigil, crying and beseeching his Creator. Besides these inordinate virtues, he was the grandson of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam thereby being part of the Ahlul Bayt. Once Harun al Rashid was visiting Madinah. He went to the grave of the prophet—with him was Musa al Kazim—and said, “My greetings and salutations to you, O Rasulullah, O cousin [Harun al Rashid was a descendant of ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the uncle of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam].” Musa al Kazim then saluted the grave of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with the words, “My greetings and salutations to you. O father.” Subhan Allah! If Harun al Rashid intended boasting then Musa al Kazim was more worthy of it. He is the grandson of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he in turn unto him like a father. Harun al Rashid though disconcerted, asserted the right of Musa al Kazim saying, “O Abu al Hassan, this truly is worth boasting.”[5]

This Imam, notwithstanding his great status, was arrested and jailed on the false accusation of people wanting to pledge allegiance at his hands. Though he distanced himself from any claim to leadership, the seat of khilafah was adamant on imprisoning him. ‘Ammar ibn Aban says, “Musa al Kazim was imprisoned at Sindi ibn Shahik who had his sister see to his needs upon her request. She relates his amazing devotions:

When Musa al Kazim would conclude the night prayer he would engage himself in Dua and remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala till a portion of the night would lapse. He would then take to standing in prayer till he would conclude at Fajr. After Fajr he would sit and make dhikr till the sun had risen. After ablution and partaking of food he would wait till just before the sun reached its zenith and continue remembering Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala till the night. His days in prison were spent on worship. She would say, the people that have interfered with this man are losers.[6]


إذ لمولاهم أجاعوا البطونا

أفلح الزاهدون والعابدون
فمضي ليلهم وهم ساهرونا

اسهروا الأعين العليلة فيه

 The abstinent worshippers have succeeded; keeping themselves hungry for their Master.

Keeping awake at night; spending their nights without sleep for Him.


Musa al Kazim was the envy of the pious by way of his worship and charity. Worship is a crown on the head of a man amongst the pious slaves, worthier than the crown atop the heads of kings and rulers. When the inactive tire the worshipers tread on for their Lord.

Musa al Kazim once sent a letter to the khalifah, its words bearing the weight of his tears and laments, “Each day of difficulty I spend mirrors a day of ease you spend till we both will come to our last days, wherein the sedentary folk will despair.”[7]

May Allah have mercy on those souls who tired their bodies in his devotion till they tasted the sweetness thereof. Musa al Kazim is a role model for us in sincerity of worship, charity, and ultimate trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

O Allah be pleased with the Sahabah, and the Ahlul Bayt. O Allah we bear witness to our love for your Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his Ahlul Bayt, Sahabah, and those that tread the path of your Beloved salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.


NEXT⇒Muhammad ibn Idris al Shafii

[1] Surah al Ahzab: 33.

[2] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 6 pg. 272.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Tarikh al Islam, vol. 2 pg. 1416.

[6] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 6 pg. 273.

[7] Tarikh Bagdad, vol. 13 pg. 31; Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 29 pg. 50.

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