SHAFAQNA – A glimpse at the Babul Hawaij – Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A)
Imam Musal al-Kadhim (A) was such a blessed personality, that whosoever took his name as a wasila, they found that all their Dua were accepted. It is for this reason, that the people of Iraq referred to him as Baabul Hawaaij (The Door at which all their problems were answered). It was widely known that Imam Musa Ibn Ja’afar had been given powers of healing. Once he was passing by a house and heard little children weeping. He enquired as to why they were crying. He was told that they were orphans and their mother had just died and now they had no one to look after them. He went inside the house, made two prostrations and prayed to God for her life. Moments later the woman stood up well and in good health. People who saw this and cried out, “Behold it is Jesus son of Mary.”
The Imam (A) who attracted the hearts of people
Despite the relatively brief contact he had with his followers, Imam al-Kazim (A) was held in very high esteem by the Muslims and his traditions are found in many Sunni works (Sunan Tirmidhi, Musnad ibn Hanbal, Sunan ibn Maja)in addition to Shi‟a works.
He is frequently compared to Imam Sajjad (A) in terms of his continuous acts of supplication and devotion – he is called al-Abd al-Salih. He not only transmitted hadith, he also interacted with Sufis – all Sufi lineages of course go back to Imam al-Sadiq (A) and nearly all to Imam Ali (A).
On an occasion when the Abbaside Caliph, Harun al-Rashid arrived at Medina, he went to pay a visitation to (the tomb of) the Prophet (S) The people went with him. Al-Rashid went forward to the tomb of the Apostle of God (S) and said: “Greetings to you, Apostle of God! Greetings to you, cousin”. He was seeking to show his proud position over the others by that. But then the 7th Imam (A) went forward to the tomb and said: “Greetings to you, Apostle of God! Greetings to you, father.” (The expression on) al-Rashid’s face changed and the anger in it became transparently obvious.
In 793 Harun Rashid, went for the Hajj. He had Imam (A) arrested at night and sent to Basra, while also sending a decoy caravan elsewhere to fool the Shi‟a. After a year, Haroon instructed the governor in Basra to put the Imam (A) to death. The governor, was reluctant, saying that he had not observed any treasonable political activity on the part of the Imam (A); in fact while he had been in his care, he had observed the Imam (A) busy only in acts of devotion and scholarship. He further wrote that he was unwilling to bear the responsibility of detaining the Imam (A) any longer.
Haroon therefore removed the Imam (A) from Basra and had him taken to Baghdad, where he was imprisoned in a succession of different houses. Imam‟s (A) conduct throughout was such that he was able to incline the hearts of his various jailors towards him, to a point where Haroon had one of them publicly whipped for his supposed treachery to the caliphate.
The 7th Imam (A) setting the foundations for the great Uleamaa of today
The Holy Imam (A) has emphasized how important it is to keep close relation with the Ulemaa: “It is better to talk with an ‘Alim’ near a garbage heap than talking with an illiterate man sitting on a soft carpet”
From the time of the 6th Imam al-Sadiq (A), the Imams (A) appointed their representatives (wakil/wukala) in the lands where their followers existed. These agents collected and forwarded khums, organized the judicial systems (were the Hakim of the area), and acting as couriers of information to and from the Imam (A). Their positions later became very important as the Imams (A) were increasingly confined by the rulers, and truly the 7th Imam (A) was very often captured and sent to jail or kept under house arrest.
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (A)’s lineage was very prosperous – many past and contemporary scholars are Syed Al-Musawis, e.g Syed Khui (R) and Imam Khomeini (R)
7th Imam (A)’s kindness and view of equality
One day 7th Imam, Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) was passing by the tent of a Nomad who was a black man. Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) went up to him and said “Salam Alaikum”, in a warm and friendly manner.
Upon leaving Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) said good-bye to him in a very kind manner with these words: “If there is anything I can do for you, I’m more than willing to do it”.
One of the followers of 7th Imam, Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) who saw this attitude said “Is it suitable for you, the son of the messenger of Allah, to sit and talk with a man of no reputation and make such an offer as: If you need me in any work, I’m more than willing to do it? Is it right for a man of great dignity to talk to a man like that?”
7th Imam, Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) replied, “This is one of Allah’s creatures. Allah has created all men equal. Besides, as a Muslim, he is our brother in faith. After all, life does not remain the same forever. One who needs help today may be the one who will be able to help us tomorrow when we’ll need help! If we don’t pay any attention to him today, one day when we may need him we will be embarrassed to ask him for help”.
One State official of Madina was a persistent source of harassment to the Imam. He even used abusive language regarding Imam Ali (A). But our 7th Imam always directed his followers not to retaliate in the same abusive manner. When his mal manner became too rude to be tolerated, Imam’s followers wanted to punish the rude man, but Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) would not allow them to. Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) told them that he himself would teach this man a lesson. One day Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) rode out to the rude man’s farm where the man was working. When the man saw Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) he stopped working and put his hands on his hips, ready to be abusive again.
Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) dismounted went towards the man and greeted him with a friendly, smiling face. Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) then told him that he should not overwork himself and that the land he had was very good. He then asked him how much he was expecting to receive for the crop.
The farmer was amazed at Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) politeness and sincerity, he waited a little then said that he was expecting to get around 200 gold pieces. Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) took out a purse and gave it to the farmer telling him that in it was 300 gold pieces, more than the value of his crop. Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) told the man to take the money and also to keep the crop, and that he hoped the man would receive more for it.
The farmer faced with such kind behavior and good manner (Akhlaq), was very ashamed of himself and asked Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) for forgiveness. After that when ever the man would see Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (A) he would greet him very politely. Imam Musa Al-Kadhim’s (A) friends were very surprised!
The last imprisonment and martyrdom of the Imam (A)
As to what may have led to his final imprisonment, we find that it is stated by Al-Fakhri that there were some of the relatives of Musa Ibn J’afar who were envious of him and carried false reports about him to Al-Rashid, saying, “The people paying him the Khums, or one fifth of the property, are accepting the Imamat and he is about to revolt against you”. They brought this report to Al-Rashid so frequently that it made him anxious and agitated. He gave the accuser some money to keep bringing him more information. But it is related through authentic sources that this relative of the Imam did not have the chance of enjoying that reward for espionage, for as soon as he reached Madinah, he suffered a serious illness and died from it. It was in that year that Al-Rashid went on the pilgrimage, and when he arrived in Madina, he arrested the Imam Musa Ibn Ja’afar, brought him to Baghdad and imprisoned him under the care of al-Sindi ibn Shahik. (Al-Fakhri-Ibnul Tiktika). This agrees with Majlisi’s comment in Bihar al Anwar that “Harun took him from Madina ten days from the end of the month of Shawwal 177 Hijiri. Then Harun set out for Makka and took the Imam with him when he returned to Basra and had him imprisoned with Issa. About one year later he was taken out of the Basran prison and taken to Baghdad. He was put in prison there under the watchful eye of the most cruel person named al-Sindi. Majlisi goes on to say that the Imam died in his prison and was buried in the cemetery of Qoraish on the south side of Baghdad.
Al-Fakhri adds,” Al-Rashid was at Rakka and sent orders that he should be put to death. They then brought a number of so called reputable men to Karkh to act as coroners and to testify publicly that the Imam died a natural death. The place he was buried was a cemetery of the Qoraish. But soon this place became the focus of pilgrimage on the grave of the Imam. A town grew around the grave yard. The name of the town became Kazimiya, the town of the Imam Kazim (A) A reputed school of theology was founded in this town which is still a source of learning for many students from all over the world.
Golden Sayings of the 7th Imam (A)
“If there is a walnut in your hand and people say that it is a pearl, their saying will not benefit you in any way when you know that it is actually a walnut. And if there is a pearl in your hand and people say that it is a walnut, their saying will not harm you in any way when you know that it is actually a pearl.“
“Indeed cultivation and growth takes shape in a soft, even land and not in a rocky (barren) land. Likewise, wisdom grows and develops in a humble heart and not in a proud, vain and arrogant heart.“