Imam Jawad (a.s) and Generosity
Imam Jawad’s (A.S.)seventeen
years of Imamate coincided with the
reigns of Ma’mun and Mu’tasim
Abbasi, two of Abbasid Caliphs: 15
years in the reign of Ma’mun(1) and
two years in the reign of Mu’tasim. During this
period the Imam experienced great hardship in
Ma’mun’s reign was especially hard on the Imam
for as Ibn Nadim has said: “Ma’mun was the most
knowledgeable of the caliphs in jurisprudence and
theology.” Imam Jawad’s (A.S.)first fifteen years
were similar to that of his father in that he was
forced to deal with the most knowledgeable and
deceitful Abbasid Caliph.
When Ma’mun entered Baghdad in the year 204
A.H, he ordered for Imam Jawad (A.S.) who
according to some narrations was ten years old at
the time, to move to Baghdad so that he could
suppress Imam Jawad (A.S.)just as he had done so
to his father, Imam Reza (A.S.).
Ma’mun was accused for the murder of Imam Reza
(A.S.) further he greatly feared the Shiites and the
Muslims’ affection toward the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.).
Thus by marrying his daughter, Umm al-Fazl, to
Imam Jawad (A.S.) he not only wanted to set
himself free from these fears and accusations, but
to also strengthen the basis of his government by
putting on a false facade of being a devotee of the
Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.).
Imam Jawad (A.S.) saw his situation like that of his
father, and agreed to his marriage with Umm al-
Fazl. Little however did Ma’mun know that this act
of the Imam actually destroyed Ma’mun’s plans of
killing Imam Jawad (A.S.) and his followers. The
Imam, who was fully aware of Ma’mun’s political
ambitions and plans of taking advantage of his
political and religious position in society, refused to
remain in Baghdad and returned to Madinah.
Umm al-Fazl’s letters to his father about Imam
Jawad’s (A.S.)lack of attention toward her, and her
not having a child from the Imam are clear proof to
the fact that this marriage was a forced marriage
upon the Imam. For, Ma’mun had planned that by
receiving a grandchild from the Imam and Umm al-
Fazl, he would have taken advantage of the child’s
lineage and refers to him as the grandson of
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). He would have then
used this title to strengthen future movements of
the Abbasid Dynasty.
In the year 218 A.H. Ma’mun passed away on his
way to war with Rome. Despite the military forces of
the Abbasid dynasty’s desire to pay allegiance to
Abbas, the son of Ma’mun, instead Abbas acted
according to the will of his father and paid allegiance
to his uncle, Mu’tasim.
Mu’tasim, the eight Abbasid Caliph, ordered for
Imam Jawad (A.S.) to move from Madinah back to
Baghdad. The Imam had not choice, and so upon
introducing his son, Imam Hadi (A.S.) as his
successor, Imam Jawad (A.S.) went to Baghdad
with his wife Umm al-Fazl.
Mu’tasim’s character differed greatly from
Ma’mun’s for Mu’tasim had a military attitude, and
lacked the insight and knowledge of Ma’mun. He did
not have Ma’mun’s art in treachery, and thus acted
in an opposite manner toward the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.),
making his true face apparent amongst the people.
In the last two years of Imam Jawad’s (A.S.) life,
the Imam was therefore under an even more severe
surveillance by the military forces of Mu’tasim. Yet
despite this restraint, the Imam would prove his
Imamate to others through his presence in
scholarly and scientific debates and through his
gifted powers and generosities.
Apart from all said, Mu’tasim would continue to
devise plans for murdering Imam Jawad (A.S.).
Allamah Majlisi records on the martyrdom of Imam
Jawad (A.S.) that Mu’tasim ordered the Imam’s wife
Umm al-Fazl to poison him. Mu’tasim, who was
aware of the Imam’s interest in Arabian Jasmine
grapes, poisoned the grapes and gave them to
Umm al-Fazl who gave them to the Imam.(2) And, it
was upon such that the Imam was martyred at the
age of twenty five.