Imam Musa b. Ja'far al-Kazim (a)
|This article is under revision.|
|Musa b. Ja'far al-Kazim (a)|
7th Shi'a Imam
12 November 745 CE |
(Safar 7, 128)
|Beginning of Imamate||Shawwal 25, 148/18 December, 765|
|Duration of Imamate||35 years|
c. 5 September 799 (aged 53) |
(Rajab 25, 183)
|Cause of Death||Death by Poisoning|
|Place of Burial|
|Predecessor||Ja'far b. Muhammad (a)|
|Successor||Ali b. Musa (a)|
|Father||Ja'far b. Muhammad (a)|
|Son(s)||'Ali (a), Ahmad, Hamza, Muhammad, Ishaq, Ibrahim, ...|
|Daughter(s)||Fatima al-Kubra, ...|
|Other Titles||Al-Kazim (the suppressor [of his rage]), al-'Abd al-Salih (the righteous servant), Bab al-Hawa'ij (gate to the wishes)|
'Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, al-Sajjad, al-Baqir, al-Sadiq, al-Kazim, al-Rida, al-Jawad, al-Hadi, al-Askari, al-Mahdi
Mūsā b. Jaʿfar (a) (Arabic: موسی بن جعفر) titled as al-Kāẓim (الکاظم) was the seventh Imam of Shi'a, born in 128/745 in the village of Abwa' (between Mecca and Medina). After his father Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) was martyred during the power transition from Umayyads to Abbasids, he (a) became the Imam of Shi'a for thirty five years from 148/765 until 183/799. His imamate coincided with the caliphate of four Abbasid caliphs namely, al-Mansur, al-Hadi, al-Mahdi and al-Harun. He was imprisoned by al-Mahdi and al-Harun for a number of times. He (a) was finally poisoned and martyred on Rajab 25, 183/September 5, 799 in the prison of Baghdad by Sindi b. Shahak. Following his martyrdom, imamate was transferred to his son, Imam al-Rida (a).
The Sunni scholar, Ibn Hajar al-Haythami (d. 974/1567) said, "He (a) was called al-Kazim due to his great forbearance and was known to people of Iraq as Bab qada' al-hawa'ij 'ind Allah [the gate to requests before God] and the most pious, most knowledgeable, and most generous people of his time."
- 1 Lineage, Kunyas, and Titles
- 2 Birth
- 3 Wives and Children
- 4 Imamate
- 5 Contemporary Shi'a Sects
- 6 Shi'a Uprisings at the Time of Imam al-Kazim (a)
- 7 Arrest and Imprisonment
- 8 Companions and Narrators
- 9 References
- 10 Further Reading
Lineage, Kunyas, and Titles
His lineage was, Musa b. Ja'far b. Muhammad b. Ali b. Husayn b. Ali b. Abi Talib (a). His mother was Hamida al-Barbariyya and his Kunyas were Abu Ibrahim, Abu l-Hasan al-Awwal, Abu l-Hasan al-Madi, and also Abu Ali.
He (a) was known as al-'Abd al-Salih due to his great piety and worshiping, and known as al-Kazim since he (a) forbore against maltreatment of others. His other titles were Bab al-Hawa'ij.
|Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)|
Imam al-Kazim (a) was born on Sunday, Safar 7, 128/November 12, 745 or Safar 7, 129/November 1, 746 in the village of Abwa', between Mecca and Medina, when his parents, Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Hamida al-Barbariyya, were returning from Hajj. Some have mentioned his place of birth in Medina.
Wives and Children
The number of Imam al-Kazim's (a) wives is not clear, but it is reported that most of them were concubines he (a) bought and either freed or married them, the first of whom was Najma, mother of Imam al-Rida (a).
About Imam's (a) children, there are different historical reports. According to al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Imam al-Kazim (a) had thirty seven children. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid listed the names of his eighteen sons and nineteen daughters as below,
- Imam al-Rida (a)
- Fatima al-Kubra; mother of 'Ali and Fatima was a concubine named Najama,
- Qasim; whose mothers were concubines
- Husayn; mother of him, Harun, Ja'far, and also Isma'il was a concubine;
- Hamza; the mother of his, Muhammad, and Hamza was a concubine
- 'Abd Allah
- 'Ubayd Allah
- Fatima al-Sughra
- Umm Abiha
- Ruqayya al-Sughra
- Umm Ja'far
- Umm Salama
- Umm Kulthum
In the list above, the two girls with the name of Fatima (Fatima al-Kubra and Fatima al-Sughra) are mentioned among the children of Imam al-Kazim (a). The grave of a daughter of Imam al-Kazim (a) with the name of Fatima in Qom is among the famous pilgrimage sites of Shi'a, who was Fatima al-Kubra. In the works of Shi'a hadith scholars (who lived shortly after the time of the infallibles (a) including al-Shaykh al-Saduq and Ibn Quluwayh al-Qummi), there are several narrations about the reward for visiting her shrine, addressing her as Fatima, daughter of Musa (a). According to some reports, Fatima al-Sughra is buried in Baku, known as Bibi Haybat.
After the martyrdom of his father in 148/765, Imam al-Kazim (a) became the imam of Shi'a for next thirty five years. It is narrated in some sources that Imam al-Sadiq (a) introduced five people, including the Abbasid caliph himself (al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi), in order to foil his plot of killing the next Imam. Although Imam al-Sadiq (a) had introduced the next Imam to his special disciples, the situation was still unclear for the Shiites. In this period, even some of the outstanding companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a) such as Mu'min al-Taq and Hisham b. Salim al-Jawaliqi had become doubtful. First they turned to 'Abd Allah al-Aftah who had claimed to be Imam and asked his about zakat, but his answers were not convincing so they met Musa b. Ja'far (a), asked the same question, were convinced by his answers and accepted his imamate.
Proofs for Imamate
Some certain close scholars and trusted friends of Imam al-Sadiq (a) have narrated his words about the imamate of Imam al-Kazim (a), including Mufaddal b. 'Umar al-Ju'fi, Mu'adh b. al-Kathir, 'Abd al-Rahman b. Hajjaj, Fayd b. Mukhtar, Ya'qub al-Sarraj, Sulayman b. Khalid, and Safwan al-Jammal.
There is a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) saying, "God gave me a son who is the best of God's creatures." Or in another narration, he (a) is reported saying, "I wish I had no children other than him so that I shared my love with no one else but Musa."
Imam al-Kazim (a) was contemporary with four Abbasid caliphs during his imamate,
- Al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi (ruled 136/753 - 158/774)
- Al-Mahdi al-'Abbasi (ruled 158/774 - 169/785)
- Al-Hadi al-'Abbasi (ruled 169/785 - 170/786)
- Harun al-Rashid (ruled 170/786 - 193/808)
Contemporary Shi'a Sects
Some Shi'a of the time of Imam al-Sadiq (a) believed in the imamate of Isma'il and although he passed away while Imam al-Sadiq (a) was alive, they did not believe his demise and still believed in his imamate. After martyrdom of Imam al-Sadiq (a), some who were disappointed of the imamate of Isma'il considered his son Muhammad b. Isma'il as Imam and were later known as Isma'ilids.
After the martyrdom of Imam al-Sadiq (a), some others followed 'Abd Allah al-Aftah and were known as Fatahiyya. Among other sects of the time of Imam (a) were Nawusiyya, following a person called Nawus who considered Imam al-Sadiq (a) as the last Imam, and another group who believed in the imamate of Muhammad b. Ja'far, known as Dibaj.
After the martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (a), some people did not believe in the imamate of Imam al-Rida (a) and stopped following anyone after Imam al-Kazim (a) and believed in him being the al-Mahdi and the Upriser and were called Waqifids. The movement of Mahdism is of course among the essential principles of Shi'a adopted from narrations of the Infallibles (a) which suggests that a person called "al-Qa'im" [Upriser] and "Mahdi" will rise from among the progeny of the Prophet (s) and will spread justice in the world.
Shi'a Uprisings at the Time of Imam al-Kazim (a)
The first uprising was the one lead by al-Husayn b. Ali b. al-Hasan b. al-Hasan b. Ali b. Abi Talib known as Shahid Fakh against the Abbasids and it was unsuccessful. Although, Imam al-Kazm (a) did not order his Shi'a to rebel, but he (a) was aware of its formation and was in contact with al-Husayn b. Ali. Imam's (a) advice about endeavoring at war and jihad and informing him of his martyrdom shows Imam's (a) awareness about the uprising of Shahid Fakh. Among other uprisings of 'Alawis are the uprisings of Yahya b. 'Abd Allah and Idris b. 'Abd Allah.
Arrest and Imprisonment
There are different reports about the cause of Imam al-Kazim's (a) arrest which clarify Imam's (a) position among the Shi'a. According to historical reports, the cause of Imam's (a) capture was the malicious slander against Imam (a) to Harun al-Rashid made by Yahya al-Barmaki or one of Imam's (a) brothers. Imam al-Kazim (a) was imprisoned twice by Harun, about the first term of which there is no report but the second term was 179/795 to 183/799 which led to Imam's (a) martyrdom. Harun al-Rashid arrested Imam (a) in 179/795 in Medina. Imam (a) was imprisoned in the prison of Basra, known as the prison of 'Isa b. Ja'far on the Dhu l-Hijja 7/15 March. He (a) was then moved to the prison of al-Fadl b. al-Rabi' in Baghdad. The prisons of al-Fadl b. Yahya and Sindi b. Shahak were the prisons in which the Imam (a) was until the end of his life.
Imam al-Kazim (a) was martyred on Rajab 25, 183/September 5, 799 in the prison of Sindi b. Shahak in Baghdad. After Imam's (a) martyrdom, Sindi ordered to put the body of Imam (a) on the bridge of Baghdad and announced to people that Imam (a) had died a natural death. There are different reports about the martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (a). Most historians have reported the martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (a) following poisoning and have introduced Yahya b. Khalid and Sindi b. Shahak as his killers; however, some have said that Imam (a) was suffocated to death by wrapping in the carpet and some others believed in pouring melted lead in Imam's (a) throat as the cause of his martyrdom.
Burial Place and the Reward for Ziyarah
After finding about Imam's (a) martyrdom, the Shi'a gathered for a funeral and buried his body in the Quraysh cemetery of Kadhimiya. Imam al-Rida (a) said, "anyone who visits my father's grave is like the one who visits the graves of the Prophet (s) and Ali b. Abi Talib (a)." In another narration, he (a) is narrated saying that the reward given for visiting the grave of his father is like the reward given for visiting the grave of Imam al-Husayn (a).
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi's Word Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi quoted from al-Hasan b. Ibrahim Abu Ali al-Khallal, Shaykh of Hanbalis of his time, saying that, "no problem I faced and then went near the grave of Musa b. Ja'far (a) and entreated him, except that God, the Almighty, facilitated towards what I liked it."
Companions and Narrators
The names of many companions and narrators have been mentioned in authentic traditions who narrated from Imam al-Kazim (a). Al-Shaykh al-Mufid said, "Imam al-Kazim (a) was the horizon of his time and people narrated many traditions from him." Al-Shaykh al-Tusi counted the number of narrators and companions of imam al-Kazim (a) as 272 people, including,
- The material for this article is mainly taken from امام موسی کاظم علیه السلام in Farsi Wikishia.