One of the well-known Muslim schools of thought, also known as the 12er Shia school of thought, is the Jafari school of thought. The word ‘Jafar’ in ‘Jafari’ refers to the sixth blessed Imam of the Prophet’s family (AhlulBayt), peace be upon all of them. The martyrdom of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) will be commemorated in the upcoming days.
Imam Jafar as-Sadiq was born on 17 Rabiee Awwal, 83 AH, in Medina, present-day Saudi Arabia, to the fifth Imam, Imam Muhammad Al Baqir, and Um Farwah. The Imam lived in a time when the Umayyad Dynasty was losing control of power to the Abbasid Dynasty. During this period, the power gap allowed for the Imam to spread the knowledge of Ahlul Bayt and teach the true teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family).
Imam as-Sadiq was known to be the most knowledgeable of his time in the Qur’an, Hadith (traditions), and other religious sciences. Imam as-Sadiq had thousands of attendees taking part in his classes. Those who agreed, those who disagreed, and those who just wanted to listen flocked from different parts of the world to hear the great imam. One of the most famous students of the Imam was Jabir Ibn Hayyan. Jabir was the great chemist who is known as Geber in the Western world.
The Imam had many debates and wise responses to atheists and followers of different schools of thought. In one instance, someone asked Imam as-Sadiq to show him God. The Imam replied, “Look at the sun.” The man said that he could not look at the sun because it was too bright. Imam as-Sadiq replied, “If you cannot see the created, how can you expect to see the Creator?”
Imam As-Sadiq used to give his companions general outlines about how to validate hadiths and know the laws. The Imam once said, “Do not accept any hadith supposedly narrated by us except that which is in harmony with the Qur’an and the Sunnah, or if you find in it a witness (to the meaning) from an earlier narration.”
The Imam also confirmed to his companions another general rule, “My narration is the narration of my father, and the narration of my father is the narration of my grandfather, and the narration of my grandfather is the narration of Ali son of Abu Talib, and the narration of Ali is the narration of the Messenger of Allah, and the narration of the Messenger of Allah is the Word of Allah the Exalted.”
It was not very long before the Abbasid Dynasty tightened its clutch over the Muslim world and began to sense the danger of a man like Imam Jafar as-Sadiq. The Abbasids feared that a population armed with the knowledge of Ahlul Bait would not be good for their politics. The Abbasid Caliph, Mansur Al Dawaneeqi, poisoned the Imam on 25 Shawwal, 148 AH. Imam Jafar as-Sadiq was buried in the Baqee cemetery in Medina. He is visited by thousands of Muslims every year.