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Imam Ja'far b. Muhammad al-Sadiq (a)

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Ja'far b. Muhammad al-Sadiq
6th Shi'a Imam
Born Rabi' I 17, 83/April 24, 702
Birthplace Medina, Arabia
Beginning of Imamate Dhu l-Hijja 7, 114/1 February, 733
Duration of Imamate 34 years
Martyrdom 18 December 765(765-12-18) (aged 61)
(Shawwal 25, 148 AH)
Deathplace Medina, Arabia
Cause of Death Was martyred by poison
Place of Burial Jannat al-Baqi', Arabia,
24°28′1″N 39°36′50.21″E / 24.46694°N 39.6139472°E / 24.46694; 39.6139472
Predecessor Muhammad b. 'Ali
Successor Musa b. Ja'far
Father Muhammad b. 'Ali
Mother Umm Farwa
Spouse(s) Fatima, Hamida
Son(s) Musa, Isma'il, 'Abd Allah, 'Ali, 'Abbas
Daughter(s) Asma', Umm Farwa
Other Titles al-Sadiq (the Truthful)
The Twelve Imams
'Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, al-Sajjad, al-Baqir, al-Sadiq, al-Kazim, al-Rida, al-Taqi, al-Hadi, al-'Askari, al-Mahdi

Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad b. ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn (a) (Arabic: جعفر بن محمد بن علي بن الحسین (ع)), (b. 83/704 – d. 148/765) known as Imām al-Ṣādiq (a) (الإمام الصادق), the sixth Imam of Shi'a passed away at the age of 65 and was buried beside his father Imam al-Baqir (a) in the al-Baqi' Cemetery. His imamate's period was thirty four years. He (a) became Imam (a) when Umayyads had become weak and different groups made uprisings, but Imam al-Sadiq (a) did not support them because they wanted to take the power for themselves, and did not want to remove false innovations or revive the religion.

Hadiths narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) vary in different fields of fiqh and kalam and that is why Shi'a are also called Ja'fariyya school. The slight political freedom turning out in the first years of his imamate helped people more freely turn to Imam al-Sadiq (a) and ask him to help them solve their problems in fiqh and other fields.

The Sunni scholar, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said, "People narrated so much from his knowledge that his fame reached all cities. Great leaders such as Yahya b. Sa'id, Ibn Jurayh, Malik, Sufyan b. 'Uyayna, Sufyan al-Thuri, Abu Hanifa, Shu'ba b. al-Hajjaj, and Ayyub al-Sakhtiyani narrated from him."

None of other Imams (a) had as many students as Imam al-Sadiq (a) had and the number of narrations received from none of them is as many as the narrations received from him. Hadith scholars have counted those who narrated from him as many as 4,000.

He was martyred due to the poison given to him by the order of al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi. After Imam's (a) martyrdom, Shi'a were divided into 4 groups: one group believed in the imamate of Imam al-Kazim (a) and the rest made the foundations of Isma'ilites, Fatahiyya and Nawusiyya.

Lineage, Kunya and Titles

Ja'far b. Muhammad b. 'Ali b. al-Husayn b. 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) was the sixth Imam of Shi'a. The name of his mother was Fatima or Qariba and her Kunya was Umm Farwa.[1] Umm Farwa was the daughter of al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr.[2] Umm Dawud, al-Hasan al-Muthanna's wife, was his foster mother.[3]

Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
Lady Fatima
Imam Ali
Umm al-Banin
Imam al-Husayn
Imam al-Hasan
Lady Zaynab
Umm Kulthum
Abd Allah
Umm Kulthum
'Abd Allah
'Abd Allah
Imam al-Sajjad
'Ali al-Akbar
'Ali al-Asghar
Imam al-Baqir
Imam al-Sadiq
'Abd Allah
'Ubayd Allah
Imam al-Kazim
Umm Farwa
'Abd Allah
Imam al-Rida
Imam al-Jawad
Imam al-Hadi
Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari
Imam al-Mahdi

His famous Kunya was Abu 'Abd Allah (because of his second son, 'Abd Allah al-Aftah), but in some sources, other kunyas such as Abu Isma'il (because of his eldest son, Isma'il) and Abu Musa (because of his son Musa al-Kazim (a)) are mentioned.

His famous title was al-Sadiq which means "truthful".[4] According to a hadith, the Prophet (s) gave this title to Imam (a) to distinguish him from Ja'far al-Kadhdhab.[5] It is mentioned in another hadith that he (a) was "Sadiq" before the dwellers of the skies.[6] According to another report, in a dispute between Imam (a) and one of the leaders of Abbasids, a call was heard from the grave of the Prophet (s) saying that, "Ja'far is Sadiq [truthful]".[7]

This title was also common among Sunnis at the time of Imams (a). For example, Malik b. Anas[8], Ahmad b. Hanbal and al-Jahiz mentioned this title for Imam (a).[9] Abu l-Faraj al-Isfahani said that Imam's (a) foreseeing about the killing of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya was true; thus, when al-Mansur al-Abbasi became the caliph, called Imam (a) "al-Sadiq" and it became popular.[10] According to an analysis of the history at that time, Imam al-Sadiq (a) was titled "al-Sadiq" because he (a) avoided any involvement in the uprisings of his time, especially in comparison with 'Abd Allah b. Hasan who was Imam's (a) rival among the descendants of Imam al-Hasan (a) and made an uprising against Abbasids and later was called "Kadhdhab".

Other titles have also been mentioned for Imam (a) including: Sabir, Tahir and Fadil.

Birth and Martyrdom

Usul al-Din (Beliefs)
Main Beliefs TawhidProphethoodResurrection'AdlImamate
Other Beliefs 'IsmaWilayaMahdawiyya: Occultation (Minor Occultation, Major Occultation), Intizar, Zuhur, and Raj'aBada'
Furu' al-Din (Practical Orders)
'Ibadi Orders PrayerFastingKhumsZakatHajjJihad
Non-'Ibadi Orders Forbidding the EvilEnjoining the GoodTawalliTabarri
Sources of Ijtihad Qur'anSunnaReasonIjma'
Virtues ForgivenessGenerosityGenerous help
Vices Greater SinsKibr'UjbGhururJealousy
Sources Nahj al-BalaghaAl-Sahifa al-SajjadiyyaLetter of Imam 'Ali to Imam al-Hasan
Challenging Issues
Succession of the Prophet (s)Shafa'aTawassulTaqiyyaMourningMut'aCompanions
Shi'a Imams Imam 'Ali (a)Imam al-Hasan (a)Imam al-Husayn (a)Imam al-Sajjad (a)Imam al-Baqir (a)Imam al-Sadiq (a)Imam al-Kazim (a)Imam al-Rida (a)Imam al-Jawad (a)Imam al-Hadi (a)Imam al-'Askari (a)Imam al-Mahdi (a)

Men: HamzaJa'far b. Abi TalibSalman al-FarsiMiqdad b. AswadAbudhar al-Ghifari'Ammar YasirMalik al-AshtarMuhammad b. Abi Bakr'Aqil'Uthman b. HunayfAbu Ayyub al-AnsariJabir b. 'Abd Allah al-AnsariIbn 'Abbas'Abd Allah b. Ja'farKhuzayma b. ThabitBilalYasir

Women: KhadijaLady Fatima (a)ZaynabUmm KulthumAsma' bt. 'UmaysUmm AymanUmm Salama
Scholars LitterateursScholars of UsulPoetsScholars of RijalFaqihsPhilosophersBibliographersExegetes
Mecca: Al-Masjid al-Haram
Medina: Al-Masjid al-NabawiAl-Baqi'
Al-Quds: Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa
Najaf: Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a)Masjid al-Kufa
Karbala: Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a)
Kadhimiya: Shrine of al-Kazimayn (a)
Samarra: Shrine of al-'Askariyyayn (a)
Mashhad: Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a)
Damascus: Zaynabiyya
Qom: Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma
Shiraz: Shah Chiragh
Rey: Shrine of 'Abd al-'Azim al-Hasani
Eid al-FitrEid al-AdhaEid al-GhadirMab'athProphet's birthdayImams' birthdays
FatimiyyaMuharram (Mournings of Muharram), Tasu'a, 'Ashura and Arba'in)
MubahalaEvent of GhadirEvent of Saqifa Bani Sa'idaFadakEvents of Lady Fatima's HouseBattle of JamalBattle of SiffinBattle of NahrawanEvent of KarbalaHadith al-ThaqalaynAshab al-Kisa'Tathir VerseKilling Shi'as
Qur'anNahj al-balaghaal-Sahifa al-SajjadiyyaThe Four Books: (al-Istibsaral-KafiTahdhib al-ahkamKitab man la yahduruh al-faqih) • Mushaf of Fatima (a)Mushaf Imam 'Ali (a)Kitab SulaymWasa'il al-Shi'aBihar al-anwaral-GhadirMafatih al-jinanMajma' al-bayanal-MizanOther Books
Ithna 'AshariyyaIsma'iliyyaZaydiyyaKaysaniyya

Imam al-Sadiq (a) was born on Rabi' I 17, 83/April 24, 702 in Medina and was martyred on Shawwal 25, 148/December 18, 765 at the age of 65. Another report mentions his martyrdom in the middle of Rajab or Shawwal. He was buried in the Baqi' Cemetery beside his father, Imam al-Baqir (a), his grandfather Imam al-Sajjad (a) and his uncle Imam al-Hasan (a).[11]

Some historians and biographers have mentioned his birth in 80/699.[12] And Ibn Qutayba has recorded his martyrdom in 146/764.[13] Twelve years of his life were contemporary with his grandfather and nineteen years of it were contemporary with his father and his imamate period was thirty four years.[14]

It is mentioned in al-Fusul al-muhimma, Misbah al-Kaf'ami and other sources that Imam al-Sadiq (a) was given poison.[15] In al-Manaqib, Ibn Shahrashub has written that al-Mansur gave him poison since he hated Imam (a) so much and feared that people would turn to him.[16] Those who know about al-Mansur's life know that he did not have mercy even on those who endeavored to take him to caliphate. He even killed Abu Muslim al-Khurasani who greatly helped in the establishment of 'Abbasid government.[17]

Wives and Children

His wives were

  • Fatima, daughter of Husayn b. 'Ali b. al-Husayn b. 'Ali (a) who was the mother to three of his children.[18]
  • Hamida who was the mother of three other children of him.[19]
  • some other women who were mothers to his other children.[20]

al-Shaykh al-Mufid listed 10 children for him:[21]

The recent four children were from different mothers.

Al-Tabrisi wrote that, "Musa (a), Ishaq, Fatima and Muhammad were from one mother whose name was Hamida al-Barbariyya."[22]

Isma'il was his eldest son whom was beloved by Imam al-Sadiq (a) and some Shi'a thought that he was to succeed Imam (a), but he passed away while Imam al-Sadiq (a) was alive and was buried in the Baqi' Cemetery. It is reported that Imam al-Sadiq (a) was so mournful upon his demise. He was very distressed and walked ahead of his coffin barefooted without wearing cloak. Before burying him, several times Imam (a) ordered to put his coffin down, removed his shroud from his face, looked at him and asked people around to look at him so that those who thought that he would become the Imam after Imam al-Sadiq (a) become sure that he had really passed away.[23]


Imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (a) was 34 years[24] and it was contemporary with the caliphate of

Imam al-Sadiq (a) was martyred ten years after the beginning of the rule of al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi by him.[25]

Imam (a) was at least once summoned by al-Mansur to Iraq and went there accompanied by Safwan al-Jammal[26] and was forced to stay there for a while.[27]

Proofs for Imamate

Several people have narrated from Imam al-Baqir (a) about the imamate of his son Ja'far among whom are Hisham b. Salim, Abu l-Sabah al-Kanani, Jabir b. Yazid al-Ju'fi and 'Abd al-A'la mawla Al Sam.[28]

Al-Shaykh al-Mufid wrote that, "In addition to the Imam al-Baqir's (a) will about the imamate of his son Ja'far, his superiority and merits in knowledge, piety, and practice over all his brothers, cousins and all other people of his time proves his imamate."[29]

Scientific Movement

After the demise of the Prophet (s), whenever caliphs or companions of the Prophet (s) had a problem in fiqh, they turned to Imam 'Ali (a) and he (a) solved their problems. When 'Ali (a) was martyred, enemies made the situation difficult for his friends and followers and made separations between them and people. On the other hand, those who had sold their religion in exchange for the worldly advantages invented hadiths for the pleasure of the rulers or their own benefits to the extent that distinguishing authentic hadiths from non-authentic ones became difficult for fiqh scholars. It can be said that since 40/660-61 up to the end of the first/seventh century, except for a few companions and followers, others were deprived of authentic fiqh of the progeny of the Prophet (s). At the time of Imam al-Baqir (a), a little freedom turned up and the years between 114/732-33 until 148/765-66 (the period of Imam al-Sadiq's (a) imamate) was the age of spreading the fiqh of Ahl al-Bayt (a) or in other words, the age of teaching and learning Ja'fari fiqh. During these years, Medina changed greatly.[30]

The period of Imam al-Sadiq's (a) imamate was contemporary with declination and then the fall of Umayyads' rule and while political freedom became available and grounds for religious uprisings and revolts against rulers were prepared, the freedom for scientific discussions in different fields was also brought up.[31]

Narrations received from Imam al-Sadiq (a) are a diverse collection in different issues concerning fiqh and kalam and that is why Shi'a school is called Ja'fari school. The freedom found at the beginning of the third decade of the second/eighth century, helped people more freely turn to Imam al-Sadiq (a) and ask him about the solution of their problems in fiqh and other fields.[32]

Scholars have not narrated from any other member of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) as much as they narrated from him and none of them had as many students as Imam al-Sadiq (a) had. People of hadiths have counted narrators of his hadiths as many as four thousand people.[33]


Al-Dhahabi quoted from Abu Hanifa, "I never saw any scholar better in fiqh than Ja'far b. Muhammad (Imam al-Sadiq (a))."[34]

Malik b. Anas, the leader of one of the four Sunni schools said, "I never saw anyone better than him in knowledge and piety."[35]

Zubayr Bakkar wrote, "Abu Hanifa had many meetings with Imam al-Sadiq (a). In one of these meetings, Imam (a) told him, 'Fear God and do not make deduction only based on analogy in religion since the first person who made such analogical deduction was Satan. God told him to prostrate before Adam. But 'Said He, 'What prevented you from prostrating, when I commanded you?' 'I am better than him,' he said. 'You created me from fire and You created him from clay.' (7:21)" Then, Imam (a) asked Abu Hanifa, "Which one is worse, killing an innocent or adultery?" He said, "Killing an innocent!" Imam (a) said, "Why is killing an innocent proved by testimony of two witnesses while adultery can be proved by testimony of four witnesses? How would you justify that make deduction only based on analogy?!" Then Imam (a) asked him, "Which one is more important to God, fasting or prayer?" Abu Hanifa said, "Prayer!" Imam (a) said, "Then, why is that when a woman comes to menstruation period in the middle of fasting she has to make it up on another day but she does not have to make it up for her prayer? …O servant of God, fear Him and do not make deduction only based on analogy!"[36]


Imam al-Sadiq (a) had debates with some theologians of different sects and denominations and due to the nature of theological debates, he (a) took a theological approach. In Shi'a hadith references, several debates of Imam al-Sadiq (a) with different people such as Ibn Abi al-'Awja', Zandiq Misri, 'Abd Allah Daysani, Mutakallim Shami and others have been recorded. Also, the vast usage of theological concepts in the speeches of Imam al-Sadiq (a) needs to be noted which suggests his positive approach towards the science of kalam. It also needs to be mentioned that some of Imam's (a) close companions such as Abu Ja'far Ahwal (Mu'min al-Taq), Humran b. A'yan, Qays Nasir and Hisham b. Hakam were theologians.[37]

It can sometimes be seen in the reports about Imam al-Sadiq (a) that he (a) prohibited some of his companions from studying kalam for his concern about their incompetence in management of such discussions; however, he (a) encouraged some others towards it and this shows that studying theological discussions was basically approved by Imam (a) and his prohibitions were just few cases; i.e. they were due to certain people's incompetence in management of theological discussions.[38]

Al-Kulayni quoted from Yunis b. Ya'qub that, "I was with Abu 'Abd Allah (i.e. Imam al-Sadiq (a)) and a person came from Syria and addressed Imam (a) saying, 'I know kalam, fiqh and obligations and I have come to discuss with you.'

Imam (a) asked him, 'Your knowledge of kalam is your own idea or from the Prophet (s)?'

He answered, 'part of it is mine and part of it is from the Prophet (s).'

Imam (a) asked him, 'So, you are the Prophet’s (s) partner?!'

He said, 'no.'

Imam (a) asked, 'Have you received any revelation from God, the Almighty and He has given you news?'

He said, 'no.'

Imam (a) asked, 'Is obeying you obligatory like obeying the Prophet (s)?'

He said, 'no.'

Then, Abu 'Abd Allah (a) turned to me and said, 'O Yunus! This man became his own enemy before engaging in discussion of kalam. If you find it helpful, you may engage in discussion with him.'

I felt regretful why I did not know kalam. So I said, 'May I be sacrificed for you, I heard that you prohibited people from discussing kalam and you said woe be on theologians who say that, 'this is acceptable and that is not. This is correct and that is not. We accept this by the rule of reason and not that one.'

Imam (a) said, 'I said woe be on them if they abandon my word (what us the Ahl al-Bayt (a) have) and give their own idea (and debate).'

He (a) then said, 'now go out and see if you can find a fellow theologian.'

I went out and saw Humran b. A'yan and Ahwal (Muhammad b. Nu'man known as Mu'min al-Taq) and Hisham b. Salim, who knew kalam well and brought them with myself to Imam (a). I also brought Qays b. Nasir with myself whom I thought knew better kalam than others and had learned it from 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a). Hisham b. Hakam who was still a young man also arrived. Imam al-Sadiq (a) asked him to sit beside him and told him, 'you are our helper by your heart, tongue and hand.' Then Imam (a) asked Humran and Mu'min al-Taq to debate with the man from Syria. They won him. Then, Imam (a) told Hisham b. Salim, 'Debate with him!' and he did so. Then, Hisham b. Hakam began discussing with the man. Hisham asked the man, 'Who knows better the creatures, God or creatures themselves?'

The man answered, 'My Lord knows better.'

Hisham asked, 'What has He done for them?'

The man answered, 'He has established proofs for them so that they do not scatter and has informed them of their obligations.'

Hisham asked, 'Who is that proof?'

the man answered, 'The Prophet (s).'

Hisham asked, 'And after him?'

The man answered, 'The Book and Tradition.'

Hisham asked, 'have the Book and tradition done anything beneficial to remove our disagreements?'

The man answered, 'Yes.'

Then Hisham asked, 'Then why are you and I disagreeing and you have come from Syria to debate with me?'

The man remained silent.

Here Imam al-Sadiq (a) asked him, 'why do not you say anything?'

The man answered, 'If I say that we do not have disagreement, I have lied; and if I say that the Book and Tradition removes disagreements among us, I have said something wrong; and if I approve that we have disagreements and each one of us claims that he is right, then the benefit of the Book and Tradition will be nulled. But I have an alibi in his talk against him.'

Imam (a) said, 'Ask him! You will find him competent and knowledgeable.'

The man asked Hisham, 'Who knows better the creatures, God or creatures themselves?'

Hisham answered, 'God.'

The man asked, 'Has He established any proofs for them to unify their talks and helps them distinguished right from wrong?'

Hisham asked, 'At the time of the Prophet (a) or now?'

The man said, 'At the time of the Prophet (s), it was the Prophet (s), but what about now?'

Hisham pointed to Imam (a) and said, 'This man to whom people come from everywhere and he (a) informs you about anything.'

The man finally accepted imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (a)."[39]

Such debates can frequently be seen between Imam (a) and his enemies. These debates manifest the great position of Imam (a) in knowledge and shows debaters' knowledge in theological discussions and the requirements of such discussions.[40]

His Social and Political Activities

From the life of Imam al-Sadiq (a), it can be learned that he (a) kept himself away from politics and kept this position in both Umayyad and Abbasid times. In answer to those who encouraged him to make uprising, he (a) mentioned the low number of his true companions as the reason for not making an uprising. Ibn Shahr Ashub reported that, "One day, a man from Khurasan came to Imam (a) and said that, 'you have a hundred thousand companions! Why do not you make an uprising?' Imam (a) ordered to prepare an oven with fire and told the man to enter it, but he did not accept it. That time, Harun al-Makki who was one of the companions of Imam (a) arrived and Imam (a) told him to enter the oven and he immediately entered the oven. Imam (a) asked that man from Khurasan, 'how many people do you have like him? He answered, 'we do not have even one.' Imam (a) said, I would not make an uprising unless I have five persons like him [Harun].' After this conversation, Harun came out of the oven completely fine."

However, while Imam (a) kept away from political rivalry, he (a) was very attentive to the society and its destiny and he (a) advised rulers about justice in the government, consultation with people and caring about their requests.

Regarding social and political activities, the life of Imam al-Sadiq (a) can be divided in two parts: the time of Umayyads and the time of Abbasids.

The Time of Umayyads

Toward the end of the caliphate of Hisham b. 'Abd al-Malik, proper grounds for anti-Umayyad uprisings were provided which had religious motives. Above all these uprisings, the uprising of Zayd b. 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a) in 122/739-40 and the uprising of Yahya b. Zayd in 125/742-43 can be mentioned which were directly linked with Imam al-Sadiq (a) since Zayd was Imam's (a) uncle and Yahya was his cousin and thus he (a) could not be indifferent towards these uprisings. The uprisings of 'Abd Allah b. Muhammad al-Baqir (a) and 'Ubayd Allah A'raj b. Husayn b. Zayn al-'Abidin (a) need to be added to the uprisings occurred at the time of Imam al-Sadiq (a).[41]

Uprising of Zayd b. 'Ali

About the uprising of Zayd b. 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a), Imam al-Sadiq said, "he was among the scholars of the children of Muhammad (s). He became angry for the sake of God and fought the enemies until he was killed."[42] It can be understood from narrations that the uprising of Zayd was approved by Imam al-Sadiq (a), since in 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida (a), al-Saduq said, "When Zayd b. Musa b. Ja'far (a) rose in Basra and burned the houses of 'Abbas; Ma'mun told Imam al-Rida (a), 'that your brother Zayd did this was because Zayd b. 'Ali did so in the past and was killed. If it was not because of you, I would kill him since he did something horrible.'

Imam (a) said, 'Do not compare my brother with Zayd b. 'Ali (a)! He was among the scholars of the progeny of Muhammad (s). He raged for the sake of God and fought the enemies until he was killed. My father, Musa b. Ja'far (a), heard from his father, Ja'far b. Muhammad (Imam al-Sadiq (a)), saying, 'May God forgives Zayd! He called people to 'al-Rida min Al Muhammad' and if he could become successful, he would fulfill his promises. He consulted me when he wanted to rise. I told him, 'O uncle! If you are pleased to be killed and be hanged at the Kunasa of Kufa, you go on.'"[43]

He also narrated from 'Abd Allah b. Siyaba who reported that, "We were seven people and went to Imam al-Sadiq (a) in Medina. He (a) asked us, 'do you have any news about my uncle Zayd?'

We said, 'he is either risen or about to rise.'

He (a) said, 'let me know if you are informed.' After some days, we received the letter of Bassam Sayrafi in which he said, 'Zayd rose on the first Wednesday of the month of Safar and was killed on Friday.' We went to Imam al-Sadiq (a) and submitted the letter to him. He (a) read the letter and cried and then said, 'Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him do we indeed return.' (2:156) We leave [the account of] my uncle upon God. He was our man of this world and the hereafter. By God, I swear he was martyred like those martyrs accompanied the Prophet (s), 'Ali (a), al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a).'"[44]

It is mentioned in another narration about rising with sword before rising Qa'im [the Riser] that, "Do not say 'Zayd revolted' since he was a knowledgeable and truthful man. He did not call you to himself but to al-rida min Al Muhammad (s). If he could become successful, he would fulfill his promises."[45]

The Time of Abbasids

On the verge of Abbasid caliphate, they had a cold but non-hostile relation with Imam al-Sadiq (a) and even al-Mansur al-Abbasi praised Imam (a).

The first wave of Abbasid pressure on Imam (a) was made in the first two years of Abbasid caliphate when they were not yet unconcerned about Imam (a). Some months after Ababsids took the power from Umayyads in 132/750, Abu Salama Khilal, known as the minister of Al Muhammad, and a former inviter of Abbasids, tried to support a branch of Alawis from Banu Hashim against Abbasids and take them to caliphate. First, he proposed caliphate to Imam (a), but he (a) openly rejected it and avoided going along with him. Even when Abu Salama mentioned his idea to Abd Allah Mahd and he went to Imam (a), Imam (a) prohibited him from accepting it.

In 134/751-52, Bassam b. Ibrahim decided to make an uprising against Abbasids and wrote a letter to Imam (a) and promised that if he (a) wants to become the caliph, Bassam could take the allegiance of the people of Khurasan for him, but Imam (a) considered this suggestion a plot and warned the caliph about the intention of Bassam.

Thus, the Abbasid government became certain that Imam (a) did not want to make an uprising or become the caliph. While, in the last years of the caliphate of Saffah and first years of the caliphate of al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi, there was a kind of tolerance between Imam (a) and the government, Imam (a) used every occasion to criticize tyranny and seeking worldly desires and criticized the liking and tendency toward the kings.

The Uprising of the Children of 'Abd Allah al-Mahd

Toward the end of the rule of Umayyads, some of Banu Hashim including 'Abd Allah al-Mahd and his sons and also Saffah and al-Mansur gathered in Abwa' to give allegiance to a person among themselves. In that session, Abd Allah introduced his son as "Mahdi" and asked others to give allegiance to him. When Imam al-Sadiq (a) was informed about their intention, advised them that,

"Do not do this, for its time (coming of Mahdi (a)) has not come." and told 'Abd Allah, 'If you think your son is Mahdi, [you are wrong]; he is not Mahdi and it is not the time for the coming of Mahdi (a) yet. But if you are going to make an uprising for the sake of God and enjoining to the good and forbidding the evil; by God I swear, we will not abandon you, since you are a chief and we will give allegiance to your son.'"

'Abd Allah became angry and said, "by God I swear that God has not informed you of the unseen and what you say is out of envy you have toward my son." Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, "By God I swear that what I said is not out of envy, but this and his brothers and his sons… (put his hand on the shoulder of Abu l-'Abbas Saffah and then on the shoulder of 'Abd Allah b. Hasan); yes, by God, (caliphate) is not yours or your sons’ and both of your sons will be killed."

After Abbasids reached power and began putting pressure on Alawis, the ground for the uprising was prepared and Muhammad and Ibrahim, the two sons of 'Abd Allah, made uprisings in 145/762-63, but both of them were defeated and the foreseeing of Imam al-Sadiq (a) about their killing happened. It is mentioned that at the time of the uprising of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya in Medina, Imam (a) went out of the city to avoid interference to the benefit of either party and stayed in the house he (a) had in the suburb of Medina and returned to the city after the end of the uprising and defeat of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya.

Selection of Hadiths

  • Once a man asked Imam al-Sadiq (a) to teach him something short which bring him the good of this world and the hereafter. Imam (a) said, "Don't lie!"[46]
  • Imam (a) was asked "Why God has prohibited usury?" He (a) answered, "So that people do not stop each other from munificence."[47]
  • "If one needs me, I will hurriedly fulfill that before he becomes needless of that need, or I do it with delay and it would be considered late."[48]
  • "Faqihs are trusted to prophets (a), if you see a faqih approaching men of power, criticize them (do not regard them truthful)."[49]

His Companions, Students and Transmitters of Hadiths

In his Rijal, al-Shaykh al-Tusi mentioned the name of 3200 people as the transmitters of hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a). Also, in his book about Rijal written about the students of Imam al-Sadiq (a), Ibn 'Uqda, among Zaidi scholars, mentioned the number of transmitters of hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a) four thousand people. However, he considered those who received knowledge from Imam (a) during the time he (a) taught, and did not mean that they attended his class every day.

Some of al-Usul al-arba'ami'a were written by the students of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and in the recent conference on Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a), the names of 100 of them were listed from Shi'a rijal references.

Some of his companions were expert in different fields such as fiqh, kalam, and ... some of them are among the ashab al-ijma', the most important ones are Zurara b. A'yan, Jamil b. Darraj, and Hammad b. 'Isa. Hisham b. Hakam and Mu'min al-Taq are among those who were expert in kalam. Abu Hamza al-Thumali, an exegete, was another well-know companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a). Jabir b. Hayyan, an expert in alchemy, philosophy, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, was also mentioned among imam's companion.

By refereeing to the books on rijal and biographies, it can be learned that some of the companions and students of Imam al-Sadiq (a) were among famous Sunni scholars such as Abu Hanifa, Malik b. Anas and were either judges or at the position of issuing rulings and there were many of the descendants of the companions of the Prophet (s) and caliphs, some famous theologians, biographers, historians and exegetes among them.

Some of the followers who narrated from him are mentioned in Kashf al-ghumma including,

Also among the leaders of schools

  • Malik b. Anas
  • Shu'ba b. al-Hajjaj
  • Sufyan al-Thuri
  • Ibn Jurayh
  • 'Abd Allah b. 'Amr
  • Ruh b. Qasim
  • Sufyan b. 'Uyayna
  • Sulayman b. Bilal
  • Isma'il b. Ja'far
  • Hatam b. Isma'il
  • 'Abd al-'Aziz b. Mukhtar
  • Wahb b. Khalid
  • and Ibrahim b. Tahman

narrated from him.[50]

Jabir b. Hayyan al-Kufi has also been considered among the students of Imam al-Sadiq (a).[51]

Place in Sunni Sources

Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani described him as, "al-Hashimi al-'Alawi, Abu 'Abd Allah al-Madani al-Sadiq (a)" He also wrote, "Ibn Habban said, 'he (a) was among great men of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) in fiqh, knowledge and virtues.'"[52]

The Sunni scholar, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said, "People narrated so much from his knowledge that his fame reached all cities. Great leaders such as Yahya b. Sa'id, Ibn Jurayh, Malik, Sufyan b. 'Uyayna, Sufyan al-Thuri, Abu Hanifa, Shu'ba b. al-Hajjaj and Ayyub al-Sakhtiyani narrated from him."[53]

Even though Imam al-Sadiq (a) has a great credit among Sunni scholars as a religious personality, his opinions in fiqh have not been credited even as a common fiqh scholar before them. In comparative fiqh, compilations where opinions of many fiqh scholars previous to Imam al-Sadiq (a) such as al-Awza'i, Sufyan al-Thuri, Rabi'at al-Ra'y, Layth b. Sa'd, and Ibn Mubarak and alike are mentioned in addition to opinions of the four leaders of Sunni schools, unexpectedly there is no mentioning of Imam al-Sadiq's (a) opinions even as a scholar and this has been mentioned by some twelver Shi'a scholars such as al-Sharif al-Murtada as a criticism on Sunni scholars. He pointed out, "How is that you do not mention Imam al-Sadiq's (a) opinions beside Abu Hanifa and al-Shafi'i and even at the level of the opinions of Ahmad b. Hanbal, Dawud al-Zahiri, and Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari?"[54]

See Also


  1. Shahīdī, Zindigānī-yi imām Ṣādiq Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad (a), p. 5.
  2. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 180.
  3. Sayyid b. Ṭāwūs, al-Iqbāl bi-l-aʿmāl al-ḥasana, vol. 3, p. 241.
  4. "Alqāb al-Rasūl wa ʿitratih", p. 59-60.
  5. Ṣadūq, Kamāl al-dīn, p. 319.
  6. "Alqāb al-Rasūl wa ʿitratih", p. 60.
  7. "Alqāb al-Rasūl wa ʿitratih", p. 59.
  8. Ḥimyarī, Qurb al-asnād, p. 22.
  9. See: Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 122; Jāḥiẓ, "Faḍl Hāshim ʿalā ʿAbd al-Shams", p. 422.
  10. Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil al-ṭālibīyīn, 1385 AH, p. 173.
  11. Ibn Shahr Āshūb, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 4, p. 210; Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 180.
  12. Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 2, p. 691.
  13. Ibn Qutayba, al-Mʿārif, p. 215.
  14. Ṭabrisī, Iʿlām al-warā, vol. 1, p. 514.
  15. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 47, p. 1-2.
  16. Ibn Shahr Āshūb, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 4, p. 280.
  17. Shahīdī, Zindigānī-yi imām Ṣādiq Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad (a), p. 5.
  18. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 209.
  19. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 215.
  20. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 209.
  21. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 209.
  22. Ṭabrisī, Iʿlām al-warā, vol. 1, p. 546.
  23. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 209-210.
  24. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 180.
  25. Ṭabrisī, Iʿlām al-warā, vol. 1, p. 514.
  26. See: Thaqafī, al-Ghārāt, vol. 2, p. 850-856.
  27. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-niḥal, vol. 1, p. 147.
  28. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 180-181.
  29. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 182.
  30. Shahīdī, Zindigānī-yi imām Ṣādiq Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad (a), p.60
  31. Shahīdī, Zindigānī-yi imām Ṣādiq Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad (a), p.47
  32. Shahīdī, Zindigānī-yi imām Ṣādiq Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad (a), p.61
  33. Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 2, p. 701.
  34. Dhahabi, Tadhkirat al-huffaz, vol.1 p.166
  35. Shahīdī, Zindigānī-yi imām Ṣādiq Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad (a), p. 60-61
  36. Ibn Bakkar, al-Akhbar, pp.76-77
  37. Pakatchi, Da'irat al-ma'arif buzurg islami, vol.18 p.199
  38. Pakatchi, Da'irat al-ma'arif buzurg islami, vol.18 p.200
  39. Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.1 pp.171-173
  40. Shahidi, Zindigani imam Sadiq, p.57
  41. Pakatchi, Da'irat al-ma'arif buzurg islami, vol.18 p.183
  42. Saduq, 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida, vol.1 p.15
  43. Saduq, 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida, vol.1 pp.194-195
  44. Saduq, 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida, vol.1 p.197
  45. Kulayni, Rawda l-kafi, p.264
  46. Shahidi, Zindigani imam Sadiq, p.102
  47. Shahidi, Zindigani imam Sadiq, p.103
  48. Al-Saduq, 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida, vol.3 p.175
  49. Al-Isfahani, Hilyat al-awliya', vol.3 p.196
  50. Al-Irbili, Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2 p.186
  51. Shahidi, Zindigani imam Sadiq, p.65
  52. Al-'Asqalani, Tahdhib al-tahdhib, vol.2 pp.103-104
  53. Al-Haytami, al-Sawa'iq al-muhriqa, p.201
  54. Al-Sharif al-Murtada, al-Intisar, p.77


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Further Reading