Imam Mohammad Baqir, Key to Spiritual Knowledge
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Imam Mohammad al-Baqir (a.s.) is the fifth Apostolic Imam. His epithet was Abu Ja'far. He was entitled as "al-Baqir" and his mother was the daughter of Imam Hassan (a.s.). Thus, he was the only Imam who was connected with Hazrat Fatima Zahra (a.s.), both from his paternal and maternal sides. Imam Mohammad al-Baqir was brought up in the holy lap of his grandfather Imam Hossein (a.s.) for three years. For 34 years he was under the gracious patronage of his father, Imam Ali Zain al-Abidin (a.s.).
The Holy Imam was present in Karbala at the time of the tragic massacre of his grandfather Imam Hossein and his companions. After the tragedy of Karbala, the Imam passed his time peacefully in Medina praying to Allah and guiding the people to the right path. The downfall of the Umayyad dynasty had begun since Yazid, son of Muawiyah, killed Imam Hossein. Yazid realized the evil consequences of his deeds even during the short period of his rule. His son Muawiyah the second, refused to accept the caliphate saying: “I cannot favor such a throne which has been erected on the basis of oppression and tyranny.”
Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, a famous scholar belonging to the Sunnite School says: "Imam Mohammad al-Baqir disclosed the secrets of knowledge and wisdom and unfolded the principles of spiritual and religious guidance. Nobody can deny his exalted character, his God-given knowledge, his divinely-gifted wisdom and his obligation and gratitude towards spreading knowledge. He was a sacred and highly talented spiritual leader and for this reason, he was popularly entitled “al-Baqir” which means the revealer of knowledge.”
The Holy Imam collected the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his Ahl ul-Bayt in the form of books. His pupils compiled books on different branches of science and arts under his instructions and guidance.
Imam Mohammad al-Baqir resembled the Holy Prophet and his great grandfather, Ali ibn Abi Talib and was truly a perfect model for them.
The more the Umayyad government learnt about Imam’s prestige and popularity, the more intolerable his existence became to them. On the 7th of Zul-Hajja, when he was fifty-seven years old, Hisham ibn Abdul Malik- the ruler- had Imam martyred by poison. The funeral prayers were conducted by his son Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) the sixth Imam, and his body was laid to rest in a cemetery (known as Jannat al-Baqi) beside the graves of other Imams in Medina. According to the Imam's will, he was shrouded in three pieces of cloth. These included a Yamani sheet, which he used to put on during Friday prayers and a shirt which he always wore.
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