Ima`m Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, had carried out his immortal message: he had spread knowledge and Islamic manners among people. Then Allah chose him to be His neighbor. He wanted him to enjoy the shade of His mercy and His gardens. He wanted him to be happy through meeting his grandfathers, whopassed the methods of justice and fairness in the earth.
The Imam announced his own Death.
The Ima`m felt the approach of his certain death. So, he hurried to his aunt, Fa`tima daughter of Ima`m al-Husayn, peace be on him. He announced his death to her, saying: “I have completed fifty-eight years.(1. Tadhkirat al-Khawas, p. 350. In Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 2, p. 322, it has been reported on the authority of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, peace be on him, who said: [ My father Mohammed al-Baqir, peace be upon him, said] ” Ali was killed at the age of fifty-eight, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn died at the age fifty-eight. I am fifty-eight years old.).
Fa`tima understood what the Ima`m meant. Her heart melted with sorrows for her nephew. For he was the rest of the members of his family, who were killed by the swords of aggression and error. The Ima`m completed fifty-eighty years full of misfortunes. Those years filled his heart with sorrow and sadness. His father, Ima`m Zayn al-‘Abidin, and his grand father, Ima`m al-Hasan, peace be on them, departed life at the same age. Thus, the Ima`m felt that he was about to die.
The Martyrdom of the Holy Imam(A.S.)
Ima`m Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, did not die a natural death. Rather, some sinful persons, who did not believe in Allah and the hereafter, gave him poison to drink. The historians differed over which sinful person who committed such a crime. The following are some of the views:
1. Hisha`m b. al-Hakam gave the Ima`m poison to drink.(Bihar al-Anwar)
This is the most acceptable view. For Hisha`m was the most spiteful person towards the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. His soul was full of malice and hatred towards them. It was he who forced the great martyr, Zayd b. ‘Ali, peace be on him, to revolt against him. That was when he scorned and abandoned Zayd. Surely, the great Ima`m Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, shook the position of this tyrannical person (Hisha`m). That because the Ima`m’s knowledge and outstanding merits were famous. So, the Moslems talked about his talents and abilities. Hence, Hisha`m killed the Ima`m to get rid of him. (Akhbar al-Duwal, p. 111)
Ibra`him b. al-Walid gave the Ima`m poison to drink. Sayyid b. Tawu`s thought that Ibra`him b. al-Walid took part in murdering the Ima`m, peace be on him.(Bihar al-Anwar)
This means that Ibra`him helped other persons to murder the Ima`m, peace be on him.
Some references have ignored the name of the person who assassinated the Ima`m, peace be on him. They have only mentioned that the Ima`m died of poisoning.( Nur al-Abbsar, vol. 131. Ibn Tolan, al-A’imma al-Ithna ‘Ashar, p. 281)
These are some of the views mentioned concerning murdering the Ima`m, peace be on him, with poison.
1. The Imam’s high Character
Ima`m Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, had the highest character in the Islamic world. Moslems have unanimously greed on his high character. They have admitted his outstanding merits. All Moslem religious scholars from all Moslem countries came to him to learn his sciences and his morals. For the Ima`m learned that from his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.
The Ima`m, peace be on him, possessed the sentiments of the people. Thus, they admired and respected him. For the Ima`m was the most prominent figure in the family of the Prophet, may
Allah bless him and his family.
Hence, the Ima`m’s high social rank displeased the Umayyads. Accordingly, they decided to murder him to get rid of him.
2. The Events of Damascus
Among the reasons that moved the Umayyads to kill the Ima`m, peace be on him, were the events the Ima`m faced in Damascus. These events are as follow:
A. The Ima`m exceeded the Umayyads and others in shooting. That was when Hisha`m summoned the Ima`m to compete with the Umayyds and others for shooting. Hisha`m thought the Ima`m would fail in hitting the target. Thus, he would be able to use the Ima`m’s failure as means to degrade the importance of the Ima`m and to mock him before the Syrians. However, the Ima`m shot and hit the target several times. The people had never seen such skillfulness in the world of shooting. Hisha`m was full of anger. So, he decided to murder the Ima`m from that moment.
B. The Ima`m debated with Hisha`m on the affairs of the Ima`mate. The Ima`m defeated Hisha`m. So, the latter was full of malice towards the former.
C. The Ima`m debated with the scholar of the Christians on certain affairs. The Ima`m also defeated the scholar. So, the Syrians were busy talking about the Ima`m’s victory over the Christian scholar. We have mentioned these matters in detail in the previous chapters.
Imam al-Baqir(A.S.) designated al-Sadiq(A.S.)
Ima`m Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, designated his son al-Sa`diq, peace be on him, as an Ima`m. For al-Sa`diq was the pride of the world. He was the pioneer of culture and science in Islam. His father designated him to be an Ima`m and successor and general authority for the community after him. He said to his followers that it was incumbent on them to follow and obey his son.
Ima`m Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, lauded his son, Ima`m al-Sa`diq, peace be on him. He gave an explicit designation for his Ima`mte. Abu` al-Saba`h al-Kina`ni reported. He said: [Abu` Ja’far Mohammed looked towards his son Abu` ‘Abd Allah (al-Sa`diq), peace be on him, and said (to us): “Do you see that man? He is one of those of whom Allah, the Mighty and High, said: We wish to grant a favor to those who have been humiliated in the land and We will make them Ima`ms and inheritors.(Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 306)
‘Ali b. al-Hakam reported on the authority of Ta`hir, who said: [I was with Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him). When Ja’far (al-Sa`diq) approached, Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir) said:] “Here is the best of creatures.(Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 306)
His Testamentary Enjoinments
Ima`m Mohammed al-Ba`qir, peace be on him, gave several enjoinments to his son, Ima`m al-Sa`diq, peace be on him. Among them are the following:
1. He said: “Ja’far, I give testamentary enjoinments to you (to treat) my followers well.” So, Ima`m al-Sa`diq, peace be on him, replied: “May I be your ransom, I will make them (know their religion so well) that any man among them in the country will not (have to) ask any one (for advice). (Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 306)
He, peace be on him, enjoined his son to spend (money) on them and to take care of their affairs to make them devote themselves to seek knowledge, to record his traditions, and to spread his sciences and morals among the people.
2. He, peace be on him, enjoined his son al-Sa`diq, peace be on him, to shroud him in the cloak in which he used to perform the prayer.(Safwat al-Safwa, vol. 2, p. 63. Ibn al-Wadi, Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 184. Abi al-Fida’, Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 214. Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 7)
He wanted that to be a truthful witness with Allah for his great worship and his obedience to Him.
3. He endowed some of his money to some female weepers to weep for him for ten years at Mina.(Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 11, p. 62).
The reason for that is that Mina was the greatest center where Moslems gathered, and that there were many female weepers at it. This would make the Moslems ask about the reason for weeping. They would be told that the Umayyads persecuted and killed Ima`m Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him. So, the Umayyad would be unable to hide the murder of the Ima`m.
As for the text of his testamentary enjoinments, it was reported by Ima`m Abu` ‘Abd Allah al-Sa`diq, peace be on him, who said: [When my father was near to death, he said (to me): “Call witnesses for me.” I summoned four men from Quraysh, among them Na`fi’, retainer of ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar. (My father said:) “Write this testimony which I bequeath (like) Jacob did to his sons: My sons, Allah has chosen the religion for you. So, do not die except as Moslems.
Mohammed b. ‘Ali makes this last testimony to Ja’far b. Mohammed. He orders him to shroud him in his cloak in which he used to perform the Friday prayer, to put his turban on him, to make his grave a square, to raise it the height of four fingers above the ground, and to take his shabby clothes away from him at his burial.
Then he said to the witnesses: “Depart, may Allah have mercy on you.
You”Father,” I said to him (after they had gone), “what was in this that there had to be witnesses for it?”
“My son,” he answered, “I was unwilling for you to be overcome and for it to be said that no testimony had been mad for him. I wanted you to have proof.
(Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 307)
To the Highest Paradise
The poison acted quickly on the body of Ima`m Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him. So, death approached fast. During his last hours, he gathered all his feelings and sentiments, and cleaved to Allah, the Most High. He began reciting the Holy Koran. He asked Allah’s forgiveness. While his tongue busy praising Allah, death came to him. So, his great matchless soul ascended to its Creator after it had enlightened the cultural scientific life in Islam. When the Ima`m died, the most wonderful stage of the Islamic message, which provided the Islamic community with the elements of awareness, development, and prosper, ended.
His Preparation (for Burial)
Ima`m al-Sa`diq, peace be on him, prepared the holy body for burial. He washed it and shrouded it. He was weeping bitter tears for the missing of his father, who was the best person under the sky in knowledge, outstanding merits, and devoutness.
The people carried the great body from al-Hamima. They gathered around it. They were shouting: “There is no god but Allah! Allah is Great!” They were greatly moved to touch the coffin of the Ima`m. They were mentioning the laudable and favors of Ima`m Abu Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him.
Then they reached at Baqi’ al-Gharqad. They dug a grave alongside the grave of his father, Zayn al-‘Abidin, the greatest Ima`m, peace be on him, and besides his great-uncle, Ima`m al-Hasan, the Lord of the Youth of Heaven, peace be on him. Then Ima`m al-Sa`diq buried his father in his final resting place. He buried with him knowledge, clemency, and kindness to people.
The martyrdom of Ima`m Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, was the greatest loss for the Muslims then. For they missed the leader, the pioneer, and the guide, who spared no effort to spread knowledge and cultural awareness among Moslems.
The Holy Ima`m, peace be on him, was martyred at the age of 58.
The Muslims condoled Imam al-Sadiq(A.S.)
The Moslems were full of sadness. So, they hurried to Ima`m al-Sa`diq, peace be on him, to condole with him on the death of his father. Among the condolers was Sa`lim b. Abi Hafsa, who said:
“I said to my companions: ‘Wait for me. For I want to go to Abu` ‘Abd Allah (al-Sa`diq) to condole with him on the death of his father.’ I went to him and condoled with him and said to him:
‘To Allah we belong and to Him is our return. By Allah, the one who used to say: ‘Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said,’ has passed away. He was not asked about what was between him and Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. I have never seen the like of him.”
He Sa`lim added: “Ima`m Abu` ‘Abd Allah (al-Sa`diq), peace be on him, kept silent for an hour. Then he turned to his companions and said to them: Allah, the Great and Almighty said: ‘Some of My servants give part of a date as alms. So, I will grow (the alms) for them, as they grow the foal.’
Then Sa`lim went out. He admired Ima`m Abu` ‘Abd Allah (al-Sa`diq), peace be on him. Hence, he turned to his companions and said to them: “I have not seen (any person) more wonderful than this (Ima`m). We regarded as great Abu` Ja’far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, who used to say without any authority: ‘Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said.’ Abu` ‘Abd Allah (al-Sa`diq), peace be on him, said to me without an authority: ‘Allah said.’(Al-Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Amali, p. 125)
Ima`m al-Sa`diq, peace be on him, took his traditions from his fathers, who took their sciences from their grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.