SHAFAQNA- Zechariah, who was a Christian, drew the attention of his Muslim friend Abdollah towards a person who was going to the mosque, and said: “Do you know him? Do you know how kind he is?
Abdollah replied: Yes, but I thought that only Muslims know him and not the followers of other religions.
Zechariah, the Christian gentleman, who was still not properly acquainted with the identity of the man going towards the mosque, said: I am indebted for my life to him. Once when I had lost my way in the desert and was dying of thirst, he kindly approached me, gave me water to drink from his goatskin water carrier, although it was almost empty. He even gave his food to me and showed me the way towards Medina. I thought Prophet Jesus (A.S) has come to my help.
Abdollah told his Christian friend: He is the leader of Muslims; he is Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S) who is a direct descendant of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H&H.P). He adheres to the ways and behavior of his forefathers and his name is a byword for generosity, forgiveness and virtue.
Zechariah, the Christian gentleman, who had pinned his eyes to the mosque even after Imam Sadiq (A.S) had entered it, saw several youths hurrying towards the mosque although it was not the time for prayer. He asked his friends: Why are they going to the mosque?
Abdollah replied: Soon Imam Sadiq (A.S) will start giving lessons and these are his students who have come from different lands to learn different sciences from him.
Zechariah enthusiastically got up and said he was eager to hear the words of the Imam.
Abdollah said: do not hurry, we will go together. I am one of his students and I have benefited much from the vast sea of his knowledge.
The two entered the mosque and sat down among the students. Although a Christian, Zechariah listened with rapt attention to the Imam’s discourse. He felt amazed at the depth of knowledge of Imam Sadiq (A.S). He had regularly visited Churches and monasteries but had never heard such wise words with clear reasoning.
Abdollah realized the change of state of Zechariah and turning to him said that soon you will be a student and disciple of the Prophet’s successor. It was not long when the clear reasoning and rational proofs of the 6th Imam transformed Zechariah into a devoted Muslim and follower of the Ahlul-Bayt.
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S) was thus the 6th infallible Imam. He was born in 83 AH and was twelve years old when his grandfather, Imam Zayn al-Abidin, the survivor of the tragedy of Karbala, passed away. At the age of 31 the mantle of divinely-decreed leadership fell on his shoulders when his father, Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S), was fatally poisoned. For the next 34 years Imam Sadiq built up the nucleus of the Muslim society by training a whole generation of Islamic scholars in various fields of knowledge including practical sciences. Jabir ibn Hayyan who is considered as the Father of Chemistry, was among his students.
The political conditions of the time when the Omayyad and the Abbasid were fighting for control of the realm, provided precious breathing space to Imam Sadiq (A.S) to propound to the Muslim masses the practice, behavior, hadith and jurisprudence of the Prophet. For this reason, the genuine Islamic jurisprudence is also known as Fiqh-e Ja’fari in honor of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S) although whatever he thought was not innovation but the word and deed of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H&H.P). This school of thought with its dynamic concept of Ijtihad or independent reasoning on the basis of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet had excellently catered to the expanding human needs in view of the times and conditions .
On the auspicious birthday of Imam Sadiq (A.S) we bring you two wise statements from that him: He said:
“Either be a scholar, or try to seek knowledge or at least be a follower of the possessors of knowledge.”
“No comfort is better than good temper. Good temper promotes love and affection.”
Ref: Islamic Education Center