His mother was Sayyida Sabika Khaizarun.
He was born on the 10th of Rajab 195 A.H. in Madina.
One day when he was 5 years old, he was with some other children. The bad ruler Ma’mun who had poisoned his father passed by in his carriage. All the other children ran away but Imam stayed.
Mamun stopped his carriage and asked the young Imam why he was standing there. Imam told him that the road was wide enough for all of them and he had not done anything wrong. Ma’mun asked him who he was. When Imam told him that he was the son of Ali Ar-Ridha (A.S.) Ma’mun asked him if he knew what was in Ma’mun’s hand (Ma’mun was hiding a tiny fish in his hand).
Imam said: “Allah has made tiny fish in the rivers. These fish are hunted by the rulers and it is the Aimma who reveal the secrets of the rulers.”
Imam Muhammad At-Taqi (A.S.) prepared the Muslims for the time when the 12th Imam would come. He did this by training the Muslims to ask questions and take advice from those who had learnt the Qur’an, the laws of Islam and who were muttaqee (those with taqwa – who did all the wajib things and did not do haram things). This is called taqleed.
After Ma’mun died the bad ruler Mu’tasam arranged for Imam to be poisoned.
Imam was only 25 years old when he was poisoned and he is buried near his grandfather in Kadhmain (Iraq). His wafat (death day) is on the 29th of Dhulqa’da 220 A.H
Name: Muhammad bin Ali.
Titles: At-Taqi, Al-Jawad.
Kuniyya: Abu Ja’fer.
Father: Imam Ali Ridha (A.S.)
Mother: Sayyida Sabika (also known as Khaizarun).
Birth: 10th Rajab 195 A.H. Madina.
Death : 29th Dhulqa’da 220 A.H. Baghdad.
His Parents & Birth
He was the only son of Imam Ali Ar-Ridha (A.S.) The Prophet (S.A.W.) had said: Imam Muhammad At-Taqi (A.S.) was born when his father was 45 years old. Till then Imam Ali Ridha (A.S.) had constantly been taunted that he had no children. When the 9th Imam was born a brother of Imam Ali Ar-Ridha (A.S.) was angry because he would lose out in inheriting the Imam’s property and in his jealousy spread a rumour that Imam Ali Ar-Ridha (A.S.) was not the father. He was eventually proved wrong by a person who could tell parentage.
N.B. Same sort of accusation was made on Mary Copt about Ibrahim during the Prophet’s time.
The 9th Imam was 5 years old when his father was called to Baghdad by Mamun Rashid to be his ‘heir apparent’.
He became an Imam at the age of 9. Mamun Rashid thought that as all the rulers before him had fought and oppressed the Aimma and their schemes had backfired he would try to buy (bribe) the Aimma. He tried to make the 8th Imam his heir apparent and give him power and wealth but that too backfired.
He now tried to use power and wealth with the 9th Imam again but from a much younger age thinking that he would be able to influence him. His main purpose was also to make sure that the 12th Imam (whom he knew would bring justice to the world) would be from his progeny and therefore intended to give his daughter Ummul Fadhl to the Imam for a wife.
He (Mamun) called the young Imam to Baghdad from Madina and offered his daughter for marriage. This infuriated his family (Banu Abbas). To prove to them the excellence of Imam even at a young age he arranged a meeting between Imam and the most learned of men at that time – Yahya bin Athkam. It was a big occasion with 900 other scholars present too. Imam’s discourse with Yahya proved his superiority in knowledge, bravery, etc… The Banu Abbas admitted defeat and Mamun took the opportunity to offer his daughter in marraige to Imam. Imam read his own Nika (the khutba of which is used today) with the Mehr of 500 dirhams. Imam wrote a letter to Mamun that he would also give Ummul Fadhl Mehr from the wealth of Aakhira. This was in the form of 10 duas which were for fulfilling any hajaat (desires) [Chain of narrators upto Prophet - Jibrail - Allah]* . Thus his title Al-Jawad (the generous one)
* These duas are found in Mafatihul Jinaan (pg 447 – In margin)
Imam lived for a year in Baghdad with Ummul Fadhl. She was very disobedient to Imam. When she found out that Imam had another wife (from the progeny of Ammar-e-Yasir) and that there was also children including Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.) she was jealous and angry realising that her father’s plan had failed.
She complained to her father who also realised that his plan, to keep the 12th Imam in his progeny, had failed. He was enraged and in his rage he drank heavily and went to the 9th Imam’s house and attacked Imam with a sword. Both Ummul Fadhl and a servant saw the attack and believed Imam was dead. Mamun on waking next morning realised the consequences of his attack and was thinking of arranging the disposal of Imam’s body when he saw Imam well without a scratch on him. He was confused and asked Imam who showed him an amulet which is called Hirze Jawad Imam told him it was from his grand mother Sayyida Fatima Zahra (A.S.) and kept the wearer safe from all except the angel of death. Mamun asked Imam for it and Imam gave him one.
Now Mamun was scared and tried a new tactic. He tried to deviate Imam by sending him beautiful girls and musicians. When he realised nothing was working he let Imam return to Madina.
Imam used this time to prepare the masails of Taqleed and Ijtihaad in preparation for the 12th Imam knowing that both the 10th and the 11th Imam would spend most of their lives in prison.
Ummul Fadhl continuously complained of Imam to her father who sent her letters back.
Mamun died in 218 A.H. and was succeeded by his brother Mo’tasam Billah. He openly announced that all Shias were not Muslims. He said it was wajib for people to kill and prosecute Shias ,and destroy property belonging to Shias . They would not be prosecuted.
Ummul Fadhl now started complaining to her uncle who was sympathetic to her. Mo’tasam called Imam to Baghdad. He asked Imam to pass judgement of how to punish a thief. Imam said only fingers could be cut as the palms were for Allah (as in Qur’an – it is one of the wajib parts to touch the ground during sajda). As this decision was contrary to the decision of the other ‘Ulema’ and it strengthened the position of the Shias. The other ‘Ulema’ complained to Mo’tasam.
With instigation from both the ‘Ulema’ and Ummul Fadhl, Mo’tasam sent poison which Ummul Fadhl put in Imam’s drink and gave it to him. Imam died on 29th Dhulqa’ada at the age of 25 years and is buried near his grandfather in Kadhmain (the 10th Imam gave him ghusl and kafan).
It is Imam Muhammad AT-Taqi (A.S.) who prepared and wrote books for the masails of Ijtihaad and Taqleed which were essential to prepare believers for the ghaibat of the 12th Imam.