Ahmad b. al-Imam al-Kazim (a)

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Descendant of Imam
Ahmad b. al-Imam al-Kazim (a)
File:حرم احمد بن موسی بن جعفر.jpg
His mausoleum
Well-Known As Shahchiragh
Father Imam al-Kazim (a)
Mother Umm Ahmad
Place of Burial Shiraz

Aḥmad b. Mūsā b. Jaʿfar (Arabic: أحمَد بن مُوسی بن جَعفَر), known as Shāhchirāgh (Persian: شاهچراغ) and also as Sayyid al-Sādāt al-Aʿāẓim (Arabic: سَیِّد السادات الأعاظِم), was one of Imam Musa al-Kazim's (a) sons. He is a well-known Imamzada in Iran. He traveled to Iran during the caliphate of al-Ma'mun al-'Abbasi, and once he heard the news about the martyrdom of his brother, Imam al-Rida (a), he stayed in Shiraz and was martyred there. His grave in Shiraz was hidden for some centuries.

Birth and Lineage

The year of his birth is not known. His father, Musa b. Ja'far (a), was the seventh Shiite Imam, and his mother was known as Umm Ahmad.[1]

Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
'Abd Allah
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-'Askari
Imam al-Mahdi


The title, "Shahchiragh" (or Shah Cheragh, literally: the king of the lights), has its origin in recent stories, fictions, and books, and it is not found in early sources.


It is reported that Ahmad b. Musa (a) was very generous, and his father, Imam al-Kazim (a), loved him very much.[2]

Al-Shaykh al-Mufid referred to him as a great figure, saying: "Ahmad b. Musa (a) was a man of dignity, highly respected, and pious, and was loved by his father and preferred by him over his other children. Imam al-Kazim (a) gave him his farm, known as 'Yasira'. Ahmad b. Musa b. Ja'far (a) emancipated 1000 slaves".[3]

Al-Shaykh al-Mufid cited a hadith from Isma'il b. Musa b. Ja'far (a) according to which 20 of his father's servants accompanied Ahmad and respected him. Whenever Ahmad stood or sat, they stood or sat with him out of respect. He says that his father, Imam al-Kazim (a), highly regarded of Ahmad, never ignored him, and always looked after him.[4]

Al-Kashshi referred to Ahmad b. Musa (a) as a knowledgeable person in his time and as a hadith transmitter who transmitted many hadiths from his father and ancestors. He wrote that Ahmad b. Musa (a) transcribed the whole Qur'an with his handwriting.[5]

After Imam al-Kazim's (a) Martyrdom

After the martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (a), some people gathered around Ahmad b. Musa (a) on the thought that he was his father's successor in imamate, but he explicitly announced: "As you pledge your allegiance to me, I pledge my allegiance to my brother, 'Ali b. Musa al-Rida (a), and he is the leader and the successor after my father".

After this, everyone pledged their allegiance to Ali b. Musa al-Rida (a), and the Imam (a) prayed for his brother.[6] However, some authors of books concerning religious denominations and sects talked about a Shiite sect, called "Ahmadiyya", as followers of Ahmad b. Musa (a). These people held that he was the Imam and the successor of Imam al-Kazim (a) after his martyrdom.[7]


Many genealogists believe that Ahmad b. Musa (a) had no children,[8] but others believe that he had children. For example, Damin b. Shadqam mentioned four sons for Ahmad b. Musa (a): Muhammad, Ali, Abd Allah, and Dawud.[9] Al-Fayd al-Qummi believes that Imamzada Ibrahim who is buried in Qum was Ahmad's son.[10]


Many sources have referred to an uprising by Ahmad b. Musa (a) against the Abbasid caliphate, without providing any details. Such historical accounts imply that Ahmad attended Ibn Tabataba's uprising.[11]

Migration to Iran

Ahmad b. Musa (a) migrated to Iran together with a big caravan allegedly consisting of 3000 to 15000 people.[12] Two reasons have been mentioned for his migration:

  • For the vengeance of his brother, 'Ali b. Musa al-Rida (a) who was martyred by al-Ma'mun.
  • To meet his brother in Merv, although he heard the news of his brother's martyrdom on the way.[13]


Qutlugh Khan, the ruler of Shiraz and al-Ma'mun's agent, met Ahmad b. Musa (a) and his caravan in Khan Zinan (8 parasangs from Shiraz), giving them the news of the martyrdom of Imam al-Rida (a). The news discouraged people accompanying Ahmad and some of them left him. Ahmad and his close companions went to Shiraz, but he was martyred there in a battle.[14]

Discovery of Grave

Historical sources provide different accounts of how Ahmad b. Musa's mausoleum was discovered:

  • There is no mention of Ahmad b. Musa's burial place until the late 4th/10th and early 5th/11th centuries.[15] Some sources, such as Riyad al-ansab by Malik al-Kuttab al-Shirazi and Bahr al-ansab by Taymuri, reported that Ahmad b. Musa's mausoleum was found in the 4th/10th century in the period of 'Adud al-Dawla al-Daylami. They claim that Ahmad b. Musa's grave was hidden until it was discovered in the period of 'Adud al-Dawla (reign: 338/949-50 - 372/982-3).[16]
  • According to a citation by Mulhaqat anwar al-nu'maniyya from al-Bayhaqi's Lubab al-ansab and that of Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin's from al-Nisaburi's Lubb al-ansab, Ahmad b. Musa's burial place was found in Shiraz in the early 5th/11th century.
  • Other sources such as Shadd al-azar, Ibn Battuta's travel log, and Nuzhat al-qulub—all of which were written in the 8th/14th century, Ahmad b. Musa's burial place was found in the 7th/13th and 8th/14th centuries.[17] According to other sources, his mausoleum was found in the period of Amir Muqarrab al-Din, a minister and a close companion of Atabak Abu Bakr (reign: 653/1255-6 - 658/1259-60).[18] His corpse was allegedly recognized by the signet of his ring on which the following phrase was inscribed: "the dignity is for God. Ahmad b. Musa."[19]

See Also


  1. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 48, p. 308.
  2. Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 2, p. 226; Ibn Ṣabbāgh, al-Fuṣūl al-muhimma, vol. 2, p. 961.
  3. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 244.
  4. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 245.
  5. Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 294.
  6. Baḥr al-ʿUlūm, Tuḥfat al-ʿālim, vol. 2, p. 27.
  7. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-niḥal, vol. 1, p. 169; Nawbakhtī, Firaq al-Shīʿa, p. 85.
  8. ʿAqīqī, al-Muʿqabīn, p. 43.
  9. Ḍāmin b. Shadqam, Tuḥfat al-azhār, vol. 3, p. 296.
  10. Fayḍ al-Qummī, Gangīna-yi āthār-i Qom, vol. 2, p. 364-371.
  11. Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 472.
  12. Sulṭān al-wāʿiẓīn, Shabhā-yi pīshāwar, p. 117.
  13. Sulṭān al-wāʿiẓīn, Shabhā-yi pīshāwar, p. 118.
  14. See: Sulṭān al-wāʿiẓīn, Shabhā-yi pīshāwar, p. 117.
  15. Zāhidī, "Aḥmad b. Mūsā", p. 98.
  16. Majd al-Ashraf, Āthār al-aḥmadīyya, p. 2-8.
  17. Zāhidī, "Aḥmad b. Mūsā", p. 98.
  18. Furṣat Shīrāzī, Āthār al-ʿajam, vol. 2, p. 745.
  19. Junayd Shīrāzī, Shadd al-azār, p. 289-290.


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