Imam Musa Al–Kazem (As): In Remembrance of our Great Martyrs

By Sheikh Muhammad Mahmud Turi

In the name of Allah who states “And say not of those slain in the way of Allah; they are dead, Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not” Q2: 154


Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His noble servant, our master Muhammad and his pure progeny.


Twenty fifth Rajab is commemorated as the day of Imam Musa’s martyrdom -one of the twelve pure leaders of the Ummah from the prophet’s descendents. The Islamic movement in Nigeria uses the same occasion to mark its martyrs’ day. This year’s event was the 24th in twenty two years.


To greatly suffer and die for religious belief is commonly regarded as Martyrdom. A martyr therefore is a person who has made a great sacrifice in the interest of his or her religion and made to greatly suffer or die in protecting the religion and society on the principle of justice.


Generally speaking, various religions and nations have their respected martyrs over history. In Islam, we have different categories of martyrs which include those killed in defense of their persons, family and wealth. So also, the innocently killed out of tyranny and oppression for their ambition to ensure social justice and societal reform.


Martyrdom is an honor that Allah gives to whom He likes. Many prophets and rightly predecessors were honored in that way and remain indelible in the hearts of all believers. The same is evident in the struggles of Shehu Danfodio and Imam Khomeini (may Allah have mercy on them) in the recent past.


Martyrdom of Imam Musa Al – Kazem (as):                                                                                                                                            “There is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with understanding. It is not an invented tale, but confirmation of what went before it, a detailed exposition of all things and a guide and mercy to any such as believe” Q12:111  


Of the commemorated events in this sacred month was martyrdom of Imam Musa al – Kazem (as) who was born in Abwa on the 7th of Safar, 128 years after hegira to Imam Jaafar al – Saadiq and Hamidah al – Barbariyyah (as).


Like his parents, he was brought up under the spiritual guidance of his father Imam Jaafar al – Saadiq for twenty years. In addition to the high insight and unique brilliance he was endowed, the Imam received an excellent training and education which made him to excel in spiritual leadership. Thus, he lived embodiment of great piety, chivalry and generosity.


Like his parent, the Imam has faced great enmity and hostility from the ruling class under Harun, whom they called Rasheed and was finally assassinated through poisoning on the 25th of Shawwal, 148 AH.


Thus, he attained martyrdom by refusal to join the oppressive regime. He lost nothing and remained a greatly respected Islamic personality of the first order. Allah says “And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead; nay they are alive but you do not perceive” Qur’an: 2:154


Ever since, millions of Muslims from all nooks and crannies of the world visit his tomb in Kazimiyyah, Iraq. A total of seven million people visitors were recorded according to last year’s statistics. “Say o Muhammad, unto mankind); I do not ask of you a wage for this except love of my kinsfolk” Qur’an: 42:23


Martyrs of the Islamic Movement


Conceptually, the Islamic movement in Nigeria under the charismatic leadership of sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) started in the late 1970’s when he was a student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The movement was greatly influenced by the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, which was founded in Lagos in 1954.


The sheikh was the society’s secretary – general of the Ahmadu Bello University main campus branch in the 1970’s and later became the vice – president in charge of international affairs of the main MSS body.


At that time, there was great id