Imam Muhammad Taqi (as)
Name: Muhammad bin Ali
Titles: At-Taqi, Al-Jawad
Kuniyya: Abu Ja'fer.
Father: Imam Ali Ridha (A.S.)
Mother: Sabika (also known as Khaizarun)
Birth: 10th Rajab 195 A.H. Madina
Death: 29th Dhulqa'da 220 A.H. Baghdad. Buried in Kazmain
Imam Muhammad Taqi (as) was born when his father was 45 years old. Till then Imam Ali Raza (as) had constantly been taunted that he had no children. Imam Mohammad Taqi (as) was the only son of Imam Ali Ridha (as).† The Prophet (pbuh) had said:† "My father be sacrificed on the mother of the 9th Imam who will be a pure and pious Nubian."
Imam Musa Kadhim (as) had told one of his companions that his daughter-in-law (Sabika) would be one of the most pious of women and to give her his salaams. She came from the same tribe as the Prophet's wife - Mary Copt who bore the Prophet his son Ibrahim (who died in infancy).
When Imam Taqi (as) was 5 years old, his father was called to Baghdad by Mamun Rashid to be his 'heir apparent'. When Imam Ali Raza (as) was leaving he saw his son putting sand in his hair. He asked why and the young Imam replied that this was what an orphan does.† This act of our 9th Imam showed that an Imam is hujjat-e-Khuda and has the knowledge of unknown regardless of his age.
During Imam Taqi (as)ís childhood, the story of Mamun al-Rashid's first meeting with him is exceptionally remarkable. Once when Imam Taqi (as) was only nine years old, he was walking down a street of Baghdad, when Mamun al-Rashid and his soldiers came by. All the other children on the street ran away but Imam Taqi (as) did not.
Noting this, Mamun al-Rashid stopped his carriage and asked, "Young man, why did you not run away like the other children?"
Imam Taqi (as) replied calmly, "Neither had I committed a crime, nor was I blocking the way. Why should I have run away or be afraid? And I also know that you will not cause any unnecessary trouble when your way is not blocked."
Mamun al-Rashid was surprised with this mature reply and asked, "What is your name?"
"Muhammad," came the reply. Whose son are you? asked Mamun al-Rashid. "Son of Imam Ali Ridha (as)."
Mamun al-Rashid carried on. During his hunt the hawk returned to him with a fish in its beak. Mamun al-Rashid was surprised. He returned back toward the city. Once again, he found children playing on the same spot, who ran away seeing the caliph's soldiers, except this young man who said he was Muhammad son of Imam Ali Ridha (as) who remained where he was.
Mamun al-Rashid hid the fish in his palm, stopped his carriage near Imam Taqi (as) and said, "Tell me, what is there in my fist?"
Imam Taqi (as) replied, "Allah (SWT) has created tiny fish in the river. The hawks of kings sometimes catch fish from there and bring it to the Kings. They hide it in their fist and ask a member of the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet, "Tell me what is there in my fist."
Mamun al-Rashid said, "Truly, you are the worthy son of Imam Ali Ridha (as). Mamun al-Rashid took the young Imam Taqi (as) with him, and let him live in a nearby house next to the Royal Palace.
Imam Taqi (as) had an uncle called Ali Ibne Jaffar, who was a very knowledgeable, pious old man. Whenever he went to the mosque, people would surround him and ask him questions.
One day Imam Taqi (as) arrived at the mosque. When his uncle who was sitting in the middle of a large group of people saw him, he immediately got up and kissed the hand of Imam Taqi (as).
Imam Taqi (as) asked his uncle to sit down, to which his uncle replied that he could not sit while Imam Taqi (as) was standing. When Ali Ibne Jaffar returned among his friends, after Imam Taqi (as) had left, his friends told him that it was wrong for him to show so much respect to that child Imam Taqi (as) as he was an old man and the uncle of the child.
Ali Ibne Jaffar replied that he was showing respect to the child because of who he was. He continued that Imamate is an office and a station from Allah (SWT), and Allah (SWT) did not deem him an old man fit and capable for the leadership of the ummah, but considered the child capable for it. Therefore they should all obey his (Imam Taqi (as)ís) commands.
Mamun Rashid thought that as all the rulers before him had oppressed the Imams and their schemes had failed in trying to bribe the Imams. He tried to make the 8th Imam his heir apparent and give him power and wealth but that scheme also backfired.
He now tried to use power and wealth with the 9th Imam again but from a much younger age thinking that he would be able to influence him. His main purpose was also to make sure that the 12th Imam (whom he knew would bring justice to the world) would be from his progeny and therefore intended to give his daughter Ummul Fadhl to the Imam for a wife. Mamun still continued oppressing the family and followers of the Ahlul-bayt (A.S.).
Mamun called the young Imam (A.S.) to Baghdad from Madina and offered his daughter. This infuriated his family (Banu Abbas). To prove to them the excellence of Imam even at a young age he arranged a meeting between Imam and the most learned of men at that time - Yahya bin Athkam.
It was a grand occasion with some 900 other scholars present. Imam (A.S.) was first asked by Yahya:
What is the compensation (kaffara) for a person in Ehraam who hunted and killed his prey?"
Imam replied that there were many more details required before he could answer the question:
- Did the Muhrim (one in Ehraam) hunt in the haram or outside?
- Did the Muhrim know Sharia or not?
- Did he hunt intentionally or not?
- Did he hunt for the first time or was this one of many times?
- Was he free or a slave?
- Was his prey a bird or an animal?
- Was it big or small?
- Had he hunted by day or by night?
- Was he baligh or not?
- Was he repentant or not?
- Was his ehraam for Hajj or Umra?
Yahya was stunned. He looked down and started sweating.
Mamun asked the young Imam to answer the question, which he did, and then Imam asked Yayha a question which he could not answer. The Banu Abbas admitted defeat and Mamun took the opportunity to offer his daughter in marraige to Imam. Imam (A.S.) read his own Nika (the khutba of which is used today) with the Mehr of 500 dirhams. Imam wrote a letter to Mamun that he would also give Ummul Fadhl Mehr from the wealth of Aakhira. This was in the form of 10 duas which were for fulfilling any hajaat (desires) [Chain of narrators upto Prophet - Jibrail - Allah]* . Thus his title Al-Jawad (the generous one).
* These duas are found in Mafatihul Jinaan (pg 447)
Imam lived for a year in Baghdad with Ummul Fadhl. She was very disobedient to Imam. When she found out that Imam had another wife (from the progeny of Ammar-e-Yasir) and that there was also children she was jealous and angry realizing that her father's plan had failed. She complained to her father who also realized that his plan, to keep the 12th Imam in his progeny, had failed. He was enraged and in his rage he drank heavily and went to the 9th Imam's house and attacked Imam with a sword. Both Ummul Fadhl and a servant saw the attack and believed Imam was dead. Mamun on waking next morning realized the consequences of his attack and was thinking of arranging the disposal of Imam's body when he saw Imam well without a scratch on him. He was confused and asked Imam who showed him an amulet which is called Hirze Jawad Imam told him it was from his grand mother Bibi Fatima Zahra (A.S.) and kept the wearer safe from all except the angel of death. Mamun asked Imam for it and Imam gave him one.
Now Mamun was scared and tried a new scheme. He tried to deviate Imam by sending him beautiful girls and musicians. At last he realized that even this scheme of his has failed, he let Imam return to Medina.
Imam used this time to prepare the masails of Taqleed and Ijtihaad in preparation for the 12th Imam knowing that both the 10th and the 11th Imam would spend most of their lives in prison. He also prepared the people of Madina teaching true Islam knowing that this would be the last time they would be able to receive guidance directly from an Imam for a long time.
Ummul Fadhl continuously complained of Imam to her father who sent her letters back.
Mamun died in 218 A.H. and was succeeded by his brother Mo'tasam Billah. He openly proclaimed that all Shias were not Muslims. He said it was required for people to act against and execute Shias, and to obliterate any assets belonging to Shias.
Ummul Fadhl now started complaining to her uncle who was sympathetic to her. Mo'tasam called Imam to Baghdad. He asked Imam to pass judgment of how to punish a thief. Imam said only fingers could be cut as the palms were for Allah (as in Qur'an - it is one of the wajib parts to touch the ground during sajda). As this decision was contrary to the decision of the mullas of that time it strengthened the position of the Shias. The mullas complained to Mo'tasam.
With instigation from both the 'Ulema' and Ummul Fadhl, Mo'tasam sent poison which Ummul Fadhl put in Imam's drink and gave it to him. Imam died on 29th Dhulqa'ada at the age of 25 years and is buried near his grandfather in Kazmain (the 10th Imam gave him ghusl and kafan).
Shaheed Foundation Pakistan's whole team extends Congratulations to Imam-e-Asr (as) and the entire Muslim ummah on this wonderful occasion of the birth anniversary of our ninth Imam, Mohammad Taqi (as), a personality who never bowed down before the oppression and showed the people of all time how to stand up against the coercion and never to leave the path of Allah.