Imam Muhammad b. 'Ali al-Baqir (a) (Arabic: إمام محمد بن علي الباقر) (b. 57/677 – d. 114/733) known as Imām al-Bāqir (a) and Bāqir al-'Ulūm, was the fifth Imam of the Shi'a, whose period of Imamate lasted nineteen years.
The period of the imamate of Imam al-Baqir (a) was contemporary with the weakening of the Umayyad government and the struggle among them for power. In this period, Imam al-Baqir (a) made a great scientific movement which reached its peak at the time of his son Imam al-Sadiq (a). He (a) was greater than anyone in knowledge, piety, grandeur, and merits. His narrations in religion, conduct of the Prophet (s), Qur'an sciences, moral conduct, and manner is more than what is remained from the children of Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a). Thus, during his imamate, a great step was taken towards organization of Shi'i thought in different fields including ethics, fiqh, kalam, exegesis, etc.
Great scholars from the Sunni school of thought attested to his scholarly and religious power. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said, "Abu Ja'far Muhammad al-Baqir (a) disclosed hidden treasures of sciences, the truth behind rulings, wisdom, and intricate points. He (a) spent his life worshiping God and in the ranks of mystics, he reached a status beyond description. He (a) has many words in the journey towards God and Islamic teachings."
At the time of Imam al-Baqir (a), the emerging foundations and expression of different beliefs and thoughts were rife, due to opportunity and the lack of pressure and control by the government; this caused deviant thoughts in society. In this situation, Imam al-Baqir (a) had to announce authentic Islamic beliefs, denounce and reject false beliefs, and answer related questions. Therefore, he (a) held his theological discussions with the direction towards the mentioned issues. Read more...