Martydom of Imam Ja’ffar al-Sadiq (as)

“O you who believe! Observe Taqwa (safeguard against evil with full awareness of divine laws) and be (always) with the Truthful ones”. (9:119)


In the above verse, we have been instructed to do two things: Observe Taqwa and always be with the Truthful ones.




Abu Hazim Abdul-Ghaffar narrates that:

In the days of Mansoor Dawaniqi, the Abbaside Caliph, I came to kufa with Ibrahim bin Ad-ham. Co-incidently, in those days Imam Ja’ffar ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (as) also happened to be in Kufa.


When the Imam (as) was departing from kufa, many scholars and dignitories escorted him till outside the city of kufa. Prominent people like Sufyan Thauri and Ibrahim Ad-ham were also among them. However, something unusual and very interesting thing happened.


While escorting the Imam (as), few people happened to walk ahead whereas others were behind with the Imam (as) when suddenly, a fierce lion blocked the path of those who were infront. Not daring to move any further, they all froze waiting for the Imam (as) to come. Ibrahim Ad-ham said, “Let us not move from here till Ja’ffar ibn Muhammad (as) comes and then we shall see what he does with this beast”. When the Imam (as) arrived and he was informed about the situation, without any fear or hesitation, he (as) just walked towards the lion and holding its ears, pulled it to the side of the road. Then turning towards the dignitories who had escorted him, he (as) said, “If people had obeyed the commands of Allah (SWT) as He ought to be obeyed, they would have been able to use lions in carrying their loads”. (Ahsanul-Maqaal)


In this statement, Imam al-Sadiq (as) has made reference to what is known as Taqwa meaning “absolute obedience to the commands of Allah (SWT)”. Indeed, this is such an attribute which empowers man with extra-ordinary strength in life.




The Truthful are those who lead us to the path of Taqwa and they, according to our belief, are the Holy Prophet (saww) and the Infallible Imams (as) from his progeny.


Nafe’ bin Abdullah bin ‘Umar, in reference to the above quoted verse, states:

“In this verse, Allah (SWT) has first asked the Muslims to observe Taqwa and has then said, ‘…be always with truthful ones’ meaning ‘be always with Muhammad and his progeny’ “. (Tafseere Namoona)




Our 6th Imam, Imam Ja’ffar ibn Muhammad (as) is popularly known and refered to as al-Sadiq meaning “The Truthful”.


Allama Majlisi (a.r) writes that: “Our 6th Imam (as) was given the title of al-Sadiq by the Holy Prophet (saww) himself and it is apparent that he was always recognized with this name among the people of the heavens from before”. (Jilaa al-‘Uyoon)


Ibn Khalqan states that: “He (as) earned this title in a manner that it integrated with his own name because of the truth and reliability of what he spoke (during his days)”. (Wafiyyaat al-A’yaan)


Such was the profound Knowledge and Character of Imam al-Sadiq (as)!




Many who study the history of our Imams (as) may wonder why our Imams did not play an active role in the political affairs of their time. Was it because they were weak and therefore feared risking their lives?


In the case of Imam al-Sadiq (as), he lived during such a period when there was a shift of power from Banu Marwan of ‘Umayyad dynasty to Banu ‘Abbas. Banu Marwan were staunch enemies of the Ahlul-Bayt (as) whereas the Banu ‘Abbas revolted with the slogan of restoring the rights of Ahlul-Bayt (as). Why then did our 6th Imam (as) not play an active role in securing his khilafah?


Our Imams (as) were not opportunists when it came to material power. Moreover, they had wisdom to assess the situation as well as the characters. Banu ‘Abbas were not lesser evil rather they were equaly corrupt and wicked or even worse. Had the Imam (as) participated with Banu ‘Abbas in overthrowing the Umayyads, two things would have happened:


1. Readers of history would have blamed Imam (as) for the calamities which befell upon Muslims through Banu



2. People would not be able to see the line which separates truth from falsehood, and right from wrong.




The following incidents shows that Imam al-Sadiq (as) did not fear the ruler of his time. Infact, whenever he (as) found an opportunity, he (as) lashed Mansoor Dawaniqi:


Once Imam al-Sadiq (as) was present in the court of Mansoor when a fly was being nuisance. It was every now and then sitting on the nose of Mansoor. Mansoor got so agitated that he turned towards Imam al-sadiq (as) and asked, “Why did Allah create flies?” The Imam (as) responded by saying: “So that oppressive and dictator rulers are humiliated and are made to feel weak despite everything…”

(Nuqooshe ‘Ismat)


Mansoor once asked Imam al-Sadiq (as), “Why don’t you fear me like others do?” Imam (as) said, “O Mansoor! We (Ahlul-Bayt) have nothing in this world which we fear losing them (on account of not fearing you) nor do you have anything in the hereafter which we feel that we shall be denied of”. Mansoor said, “Then provide me with your company and render advice to me”. Imam (as) responded, “O Mansoor! One who is seeker of the world can never advice you (truly) and one who is seeker of the hereafter, can never provide company to the like of you”. (Nuqooshe ‘Ismat)

Mulla Mujaheedali Sheriff


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