Martyrdom of Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s)
Imam Abu` Ja'far (al- Baqir), peace be on him, did not die a natural death. Rather, some sinful persons, who did not believe in Allah and the hereafter, gave him poison to drink. The historians differed over which sinful person who committed such a crime. The following are some of the views:
1. Hisham bin Abdul Malik gave the Imam poison to drink.
This is the most acceptable view. For Hisham was the most spiteful person towards the family of the Prophet, May Allah bless him and his family His soul was full of malice and hatred towards them. It was he who forced the great martyr, Zayd b. 'Ali, peace be on him, to revolt against him. That was when he scorned and abandoned Zayd. Surely, the great Imam Abu` Jafar (al-Baqir), peace be on him, shook the position of this tyrannical person (Hisham). That because the Imam's knowledge and outstanding merits were famous. So, the Moslems talked about his talents and abilities. Hence, Hisham killed the Imam to get rid of him.
Ibrahim b. al-Walid gave the Imam poison to drink. Sayyid b. Tawus thought that Ibrahim b. al-Walid took part in murdering the Imam, peace be on him.
This means that Ibrahim helped other persons to murder the Imam, peace be on him.
Some references have ignored the name of the person who assassinated the Imam, peace be on him. They have only mentioned that the Imam died of poisoning.
These are some of the views mentioned concerning murdering the Imam, peace be on him, with poison.
Reasons for the Murder of the Imam
The Umayyads murdered the Imam, peace be on him. The reasons for that are as follows:
Imam Abu` Ja'far (al- Baqir), peace be on him, had the highest character in the Islamic world. Moslems have unanimously agreed on his high character. They have admitted his outstanding merits. All Moslem religious scholars from all Moslem countries came to him to learn his sciences and his morals. For the Imam learned that from his grandfather, Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.
The Imam, peace be on him, possessed the sentiments of the people. Thus, they admired and respected him. For the Imam was the most prominent figure in the family of the Prophet, may
Allah bless him and his family.
Hence, the Imam’s high social rank displeased the Umayyads. Accordingly, they decided to murder him to get rid of him.
Among the reasons that moved the Umayyads to kill the Imam, peace be on him, were the events the Imam faced in Damascus. These events are as follow:
A. the Imam exceeded the Umayyads and others in shooting. That was when Hisham summoned the Imam to compete with the Umayyds and others for shooting. Hisham thought the Imam would fail in hitting the target. Thus, he would be able to use the Imam’s failure as means to degrade the importance of the Imam and to mock him before the Syrians. However, the Imam shot and hit the target several times. The people had never seen such skillfulness in the world of shooting. Hisham was full of anger. So, he decided to murder the Imam from that moment.
B. the Imam debated with Hisham on the affairs of the Imamate. The Imam defeated Hisham. So, the latter was full of malice towards the former.
C. the Imam debated with the scholar of the Christians on certain affairs. The Imam also defeated the scholar. So, the Syrians were busy talking about the Imam’s victory over the Christian scholar.
Imam Abu` Ja'far (al-Baqir), peace be on him, designated his son al-Sadiq, peace be on him, as an Imam For al-Sadiq was the pride of the world. He was the pioneer of culture and science in Islam. His father designated him to be an Imam and successor and general authority for the community after him. He said to his followers that it was incumbent on them to follow and obey his son.
Imam Abu Ja'far (al- Baqir), peace be on him, lauded his son, Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him. He gave an explicit designation for his Imamte. Abu al-Sabah al-Kinani reported. He said: [Abu` Ja'far Mohammed looked towards his son Abu` 'Abd Allah (al-Sadiq), peace be on him, and said (to us): "Do you see that man? He is one of those of whom Allah, the Mighty and High, said: We wish to grant a favor to those who have been humiliated in the land and we will make them Imams and inheritors.
Imam Mohammed al-Baqir, peace be on him, gave several enjoinments to his son, Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him. Among them are the following:
1. He said: "Ja'far, I give testamentary enjoinments to you (to treat) my followers well." So, Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, replied: "May I be your ransom, I will make them (know their religion so well) that any man among them in the country will not (have to) ask any one (for advice).
He, peace be on him, enjoined his son to spend (money) on them and to take care of their affairs to make them devote themselves to seek knowledge, to record his traditions, and to spread his sciences and morals among the people.
2. He, peace be on him, enjoined his son al-Sadiq, peace be on him, to shroud him in the cloak in which he used to perform the prayer.
He wanted that to be a truthful witness with Allah for his great worship and his obedience to Him.
3. He endowed some of his money to some female weepers to weep for him for ten years at Mina.
The reason for that is that Mina was the greatest center where Moslems gathered, and that there were many female weepers at it. This would make the Moslems ask about the reason for weeping. They would be told that the Umayyads persecuted and killed Imam Abu` Ja'far (al-Baqir), peace be on him. So, the Umayyad would be unable to hide the murder of the Imam.
As for the text of his testamentary enjoinments, it was reported by Imam Abu Abd Allah al-Sadiq, peace be on him, who said: [When my father was near to death, he said (to me): "Call witnesses for me." I summoned four men from Quraysh, among them Nafi', retainer of 'Abd Allah b. Umar. (My father said :) "Write this testimony which I bequeath (like) Jacob did to his sons: My sons, Allah has chosen the religion for you. So, do not die except as Moslems.
Mohammed b. 'Ali makes this last testimony to Ja'far b. Mohammed. He orders him to shroud him in his cloak in which he used to perform the Friday prayer, to put his turban on him, to make his grave a square, to raise it the height of four fingers above the ground, and to take his shabby clothes away from him at his burial.
Then he said to the witnesses: "Depart, may Allah have mercy on you.
You “Father," I said to him (after they had gone), "what was in this that there had to be witnesses for it?"
"My son," he answered, "I was unwilling for you to be overcome and for it to be said that no testimony had been made for him. I wanted you to have proof.
Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, prepared the holy body for burial. He washed it and shrouded it. He was weeping bitter tears for the missing of his father, who was the best person under the sky in knowledge, outstanding merits, and devoutness. The people carried the great body from al-Hamima. They gathered around it. They were shouting: "There is no god but Allah! Allah is great!" They were greatly moved to touch the coffin of the Imam. They were mentioning the laudable and favors of Imam Abu Ja'far (al- Baqir), peace be on him.
Then they reached at Baqi' al-Gharqad. They dug a grave alongside the grave of his father, Zayn al-'Abidin, the greatest Imam, peace be on him, and besides his great-uncle, Imam al-Hasan, the Lord of the Youth of Heaven, peace be on him. Then Imam al-Sadiq buried his father in his final resting place. He buried with him knowledge, clemency, and kindness to people.
The martyrdom of Imam Abu Ja'far (al- Baqir), peace be on him, was the greatest loss for the Muslims then. For they missed the leader, the pioneer, and the guide, who spared no effort to spread knowledge and cultural awareness among Moslems.
The Holy Imam, peace be on him, was martyred at the age of 58.
The Year of his Death
It is famous that Imam al- Baqir peace be on him, died in the year 114A.H.
The Muslims condoled Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.)
The Moslems were full of sadness. So, they hurried to Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, to condole with him on the death of his father. Among the condolers was Salim b. Abi Hafsa, who said:
"I said to my companions: 'Wait for me. For I want to go to Abu Abd Allah (al-Sadiq) to condole with him on the death of his father.' I went to him and condoled with him and said to him:
'To Allah we belong and to Him is our return. By Allah, the one who used to say: 'Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said,' has passed away. He was not asked about what was between him and Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. I have never seen the like of him."
He Salim added: "Imam Abu Abd Allah (al-Sadiq), peace be on him, kept silent for an hour. Then he turned to his companions and said to them: Allah, the Great and Almighty said: 'Some of My servants give part of a date as alms. So, I will grow (the alms) for them, as they grow the foal.'
Then Salim went out. He admired Imam Abu Abd Allah (al-Sadiq), peace be on him. Hence, he turned to his companions and said to them: "I have not seen (any person) more wonderful than this (Imam). We regarded as great Abu` Ja'far (al Baqir), peace be on him, who used to say without any authority: 'Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said.' Abu` 'Abd Allah (al-Sadiq), peace be on him, said to me without an authority.
Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, took his traditions from his fathers, who took their sciences from their grandfather, Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.