He was born on Sunday, the 7th of Safar, year 128 Hijrah at the land of Abwa situated between Mecca and Madina from his mother named “Hameeda.” He had access to Imamate at the age of twenty-one years.
Abu Baseer says, “We traveled to perform Hajj along with Imam Jaffar Sadiq (A.S.). No sooner we had reached a place known as Abwa,” and after the breakfast was over, the Imam was informed that God had bestowed upon him a son.
He happily and merrily got up to see his wife “Hameeda.” Not very long afterwards he came back smiling and said to us, “God has given me a son who is the best gift of the God.”
His mother described that, “when my son came to the world, he set his head on ground for prostration, and thanked God, and this is the sign of his Imamate.” When Imam Sadiq (A.S.) arrived Madina, he laid the meal tables for as long as three days and invited all the afflicted and poor ones to it.
Yaqoob Siraj says, I happened to visit Imam Sadiq (A.S.) in Madina, I saw him near the cradle of his son Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.). I saluted him and he cheerfully answered it. Then he said, “Come near the Imam succeeding me and salute him.” I came close and saluted. He responded eloquently and said, “God has given you a daughter to whom you have not given a good name. Go and change her name.”
Although the mother of Imam (A.S.) was a maid who was purchased by Imam Sadiq (A.S.) but she was trained in such a way under the shadow of Imam’s (A.S.) training that she became conversant and knowledgeable regarding the religious problems. As such, Imam (A.S.) used to order women to enquire the answer to their religious problems from her.
The Imam’s (A.S.) life can be divided into two parts.
1. The period (20 years) during which Imam was present before his father in Madina, which falls before the beginning of his Imamate period.
2. The period of the beginning of combat, Prison, and his exile which comprised his Imamate.
Imam’s (A.S.) Moral Specifications
The Imam (A.S.) had a lean and thin body but a very strong and powerful soul. He used to put on rough clothes under his dress. He walked on foot, saluted the people, loved his family members and respected them. He was thoughtful and consider ant about the poor and afflicted ones. During the nights he carried food upon his shoulders to distribute among the needy without being discovered who he was and he gave monthly stipend to few of them.
One of the friends of Imam says about his forbearance and patience that, “the enemy use to feel shy and ashamed by his morality and nice behavior.” There lived a man in Madina, whenever he saw the Imam (A.S.) he would stop him and use foul language about him. The friends of Imam (A.S.) said, “permit us to reprimand him.” Imam (A.S.) said, “Leave him alone and do not bother him.” A few days passed and there were no news about him. Imam (A.S.) enquired after his health. They said he has gone out of Madina towards his agricultural fields. Imam (A.S.) rode upon the horse and moved towards the fields. When that man saw the Imam he shouted from a distance “Do not enter my field I am an enemy of you and your fore fathers.”
Imam came near him. Saluted and enquired after his health and well-being and said kindly to him, “How much have you spent over these fields.” He replied, “A hundred dinars.” He asked, “How much profit do you expect from it.” He said, “Two hundred dinars.” Imam took out a bag containing three hundred dinars and gave it to him and said, “Take this amount and the agricultural (products) fields may also be yours.”
The rude and impudent man who had been taking liberties with Imam (A.S.) for a long time, and did not expect such a thing, was very much ashamed. When Imam (A.S.) returned to Madina he said, “Repulse the evil from yourself in this way.” This is the very reason why Imam (A.S.) became known by the title of “Kazim.” Meaning thereby one who suppresses his anger when disturbed and uneasy. He repaid evils with goodness and virtue. So that he put his enemies to shame.
Imam used to show love and warm feeling to his relative and said, “Be there any amount of enmity between the relatives. But if they shake hands while they see each other their enmity will finish up, and all of them will have the feelings of comfort and enjoyment.”
Imam (A.S.) was famous and well known among the people for his generosity and munificence such as; he set free one thousand slaves. He used to help those in distress and involved in problems and paid their debts.
Ibn-e-Sheher Ashoob narrates that one-day “Mansoor” summoned Imam (A.S.) to his court and asked him to be seated there on the day of Nauroze, and take the gifts being brought in custody. Although the Imam did not have inclination towards this work but was obliged to accept it. He sat there. The chieftains, dignitaries and nobles who had participated in the official salutation surrendered their gifts to Imam (A.S.) by the order of Mansoor. A person was appointed by Mansoor to record and write down the details of all of them, and prepare their inventory.
Finally, an old man came and said, “Oh son of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) I do not have any thing from this world to present it to you, but I have composed a few rhymes of elegy regarding the agony and grief of your grandfather Imam Hussain (A.S.) which I have brought as a gift.”
That man recited his verses, which greatly affected Imam (A.S.). He ordered the official of Mansoor to go and ask Mansoor what was to be done with those gifts? The man went and returned saying, The King said, “I give all of these to you, give it to anybody you wish!”
Imam (A.S.) facing the old man, said, “For the sake of the rhymes which you have recited in connection with calamities and sufferings of my grandfather, I bestow these gifts upon you, so that you are freed of poverty and hardships.”
Imam’s (A.S.) Struggle for the Life
He cultivated the land, which was his personal property and got his income for the life expanses. Sometimes, due to more work his body would perspire all over.
Once, one of his friends name “Ali Batai” who had some work with Imam (A.S.) visited his agricultural fields. When he saw Imam (A.S.) in a state of trouble and inconvenience he was much depressed and said, “may I lay my life for you, why do you not let others do this work?”
Imam (A.S.) said, “Why must I lay it upon the shoulder of others, whereas, those who were better than myself performed it.”
I asked, “Who were those?”
He said, “The Prophet of God (P.B.U.H.) and Amirul Momineen Ali (A.S.), and all my fathers and grandfathers.” Work and pains (taking) is the style of Prophets and Executors of God and His worthy and decent servants were always after the work and hardships of the world so as to provide and meet their life expanses with their own earnings.
Imam’s (A.S.) style of propaganda and guidance
Once Imam (A.S.) was crossing a street. The sound of music and singing was coming out of a house. The owner of the house, who was considered to be one of the dignitaries, had formed a pleasure center for himself and was busy making merry.
Suddenly a maidservant came out of the house to empty the dustbin in a corner. By chances she saw Imam (A.S.) she stood still and saluted him.
The Imam (A.S.) asked her, “Is the owner of this hose a slave or a free man?”
She replied, “A free man.”
Imam (A.S.) said. “Yes it is evident and known that he is a free man. Had he been a slave he would had fear of God and not performed these activities.”
The maid entered the house back and when his master asked her why she was late. She narrated the matter and the words of Imam (A.S.).
The man pondered for a moment and thought about the words of Imam (A.S.) Suddenly, he got up from his place and rushed bare footedly behind the Imam (A.S.) and reached him. He saluted the Imam (A.S.) and expressed his remorse and repented before him.
From then onwards, he turned his pleasure center into a place of worship and to commemorate and cherish the memories of that day he always walked bare footed and got known by the name of “Busher Hafi”, meaning, the Bushar who become bare footed.
Imam’s (A.S.) Piety and Prayers
Imam (A.S.) was so well known for his piety and prayers that where ever people talked about him they said, “he is a lover of prayers, servitude and devotion.” Sheikh Mufeed wrote about him, “He was the most devout and worshiper of his age.” In the nights he would remain busy with the prayers and whenever he performed prostration he lengthened it, and such was his weeping that the hair of his face became wet with tears.
Maulana Shabli, one of the Sunni scholars writes about him, “Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) was the most pious and Gnostic man of his age. He was the most sage, wise, generous and merciful of all. He helped and attended the afflicted and most of the time he remained busy with saying his secret praying to God. He would say, “Oh God make the death easy for me and forgive me during my being held in reverence on the doom’s day.”
He was such a lover of God that everyone would be astonished and amazed at it. So far so, that he made Fazal the prison in charge weep. The special maid servant of Haroon, who was sent to the prison to attract and lure the Imam’s (A.S.) heart towards herself so that Haroon may lay hand upon an excuse, was so much effected by him that she returned weeping and objected upon Haroon regarding the imprisonment of Imam (A.S).
The Incident of Fakh
Hussajn Ibn-e-Ali one of the Alvis of Madina stood up by the order of Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) against Hadi the Abbasade caliph along with three hundred men, because of the pressure and brutalities, and tyranny of that government committed against the sons of Ali (A.S.).
Finally, the soldiers of Hadi besieged them on the land of Fakh and committed a mass killing of them, cutting their heads off. And carried the heads along with some prisoners to Hadi. Hadi ordered the prisoners to be slain. This event is known as the incident of Fakh and this Alvi fighter is known as the “Hussain,” martyr of Fakh.
Imam’s (A.S.) first migration to Baghdad
Mansoor was killed in the year 158 Hijrah and his son “Mehdi” succeeded him as the next caliph. He adopted a people deceiving politics. He posed himself and acted as a religious person before the people but secretly committed sin. When he was empowered he set the political prisoners who were the Shias of lmam free, and returned their confiscated properties back to them. But he gave ample prizes to the poets who used foul language about the family of Imam Ali (A.S.). As such he gave a prize of seventy thousand dirhams to “Bushar Bin Burd” and one hundred thousand dirhams to “Marwan”.
He spent the “Bait-ul-Mal” (Muslims treasury) for the sake of his luxuries and pleasures. Such as, he spent fifty million dirhams in connection with the marriage of his son.
Once when his spies informed him about the fame and people’s tendency and inclination towards Imam (A.S.) he got seriously upset and order to send the Imam (A.S.) from “Madina” to “Baghdad” and imprison him.
Abu Khalid says, one day Imam (A.S.) accompanied by the officials arrived my house in “Zubala”. Imam (A.S.), in a short chance, escaping the sight of the officials, ordered me to purchase a few things, I was much disturbed and grieved and was weeping. Imam (A.S.) said to me, “Do not be afraid about me because I will return soon, and wait for me on such day, and on such and such place.
I presented myself as Imam (A.S.) had ordered me and saw him leading a caravan. I was much happy and went ahead and kissed the Imam (A.S.). He said, “Oh Abu Khalid they will take me again to Baghdad and I will not return from that journey.”
When I searched the reason of Imam’s (A.S.) being set free, I came to know that Mehdi saw Imam Ali (A.S.) in his dream, on the same night, He was reprimanding and warning him with furious and angry looks. In the morning he set the Imam (A.S.) free and sent him back to Madina honorably and respectfully.
In spite of the extreme suffocation and suppression atmosphere in Madina, Imam (A.S.) was busy in guiding and orthodox of the people. Not very long afterwards, Mehdi passed away and his son Hadi succeeded him. Hadi, on the contrary to his father, did not observe the apparent conduct and very obviously and openly started a combat against the sons of Ali (A.S.). The most shameful of his misdeeds was the doleful and heart rending event of “Fakh”, which is considered to be the second incident of history after that of Karbala.
Hadi was an unclean, bad character and incompetent person. He spent lavishly over his pleasures and luxuries and gave out exhoberent prizes to those who recited poems and sang for him.
“Hadi” died in the year 170 Hijrah and “Haroon” succeeded him. Then Imam (A.S.) was 42 years of age. The age of “Haroon” was the climax period of the power and fruitation and enjoyment of Abbasades.
Haroon, after the oath of allegiance and fealty of the people, appointed “Yahya Barmaki”, who was an Iranian, as his minister and delegated him full powers. He got himself busy with the embezzlement of the Bait-ul-mal (Muslim treasury) although the Bait-ul-mal had a large and swollen income in those days.
He spent all of it lavishly for his pleasures and enjoyments, so much so, that the expenses of his one time meal were four thousand dirhams.
Obstinacy or Haroon regarding Family of Imam Ali (A.S.)
Haroon was very much annoyed with the combat of the sons of Imam Ali (A.S.) against Abbasades. He, by using all the possible means endeavored to segregate and separate the people from the family of Imam Ali (A.S.). He used to give ample amount of money to the poets to use foul language, cut jokes, and make fun of them. Therefore, Mansoor ordered that one of the poets, who had used indecent language about the family of Imam Ali (A.S.), may be led to the treasury so that he may choose and pick whatever he wished.
He banished the Sadaat (family of Imam Ali [A.S.] and Fatimah [S.A.]) from Baghdad to Madina, and killed lot of them.
Hameed Bin Fahtaba, who was the representative of Haroon in Khorasan narrated to Abdullah Bazzaz Naishapuri, Haroon had a garden in Naishapur, which he visited every year. One of the years, he summoned me at the midnight and said, “Tell me how faithful you are to me?” I said I sacrifice my life and wealth for you. He said, “what else?” I said, I sacrifice my honor, wife and son for you.” He asked, “what else?” I said, “My religion.” Haroon raised his head and laughed saying, “You have now said what I desired.” Come, take this sword and carry out order of my slave which he gives to you.”
The slave guided me to a house where sixty men, young and old, from the family of Imam Ali (A.S.) were imprisoned. Then he took them out one by one and would order me to kill them and I too obeyed and carried out his orders. After I had killed all of them I pushed them into a well in the compound, which was dug pre-handedly.
Oh friend! When I remember this incident my body shivers and trembles. Haroon, went up to such extent of evil and dirty character that he ordered that the grave of Imam Hussain (A.S.) and the surrounding houses to be dismantled and dug so that people may not be able to visit his tomb.
Imam’s (A.S.) Pledge
Quite clearly and evidently Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) definitely could not coordinate and cooperate with such a terrorist and killer government and remain silent before it. Therefore, he stood up against Haroon. Wherever he deemed it suitable, he presented and unveiled and showed the demerits and ugly character of Haroon before the people and put him to shame and disgraced him. He would order his friends to avoid extending any kind of help and assistance to him. Nonetheless, he told his friend “Safwan”, “you are a good man from all the aspects except that you lend your camels on hire to Haroon.” “Safwan” replied “I only give them to him on the Hajj occasion and then I do not accompany him, too. Imam (A.S.) said, “Oh Safwan do you not like it that up till such time of your camel return, Haroon may remain alive, so that you receive your hiring amount. He said, “Yes I do.” Imam (A.S.) said, “The person who loves it that the a tyrant remains living, would be one of them.”
Although Safwan had held an agreement with Haroon that he would provide the means and equipments to the caliph for his Hajj journey, yet when he heard what Imam (A.S.) said, he sold all his camels. Haroon summoned and reprimanded him and insisted that he must reveal the reason of his selling the camels but he did not tell him.
Finally, Haroon understood and said to him, if I did not have regard for your previous friendship, just now I would have ordered to behead you. I know very well on whose command you have done it. Musa Ibn-e-Jaffar (A.S.) ordered you to do that. Although Imam (A.S.) did not allow and permit anyone to perform the slightest co-working with Haroon, yet he would order a segment of capable and faithful men to enter the governmental machinery of Haroon, build influence and help the friends of Imam (A.S.) in difficulties and inform the friends about the decisions taken by the government. Therefore, he gave permission to Ali Ibn-e-Yaqteen to retain the post of Haroon’s minister and help his friends and Shias.
One day, the Imam (A.S.) wrote to him when you are alone make ablution alike us, but when others accompany you make ablution like them. Accept the gifts given to you, as a test, by Haroon and do not reject them.
Haroon questions Imam (A.S.) and Imam (A.S.) responds
Haroon tried to do something to make the Imam (A.S.) unable and handicapped about giving answer to queries and thus devalue and degrade him by this meant But whenever he neared the ocean of Imam’s knowledge he found himself incapacitated, unable and disgraced. On one of such occasions Haroon brought Imam (A.S.) from Madina to Baghdad and started a discussion.
Haroon: I want to ask you a question about a certain subject, which has remained unanswered in my mind.
Imam (A.S.): “If I have the freedom of expression I will answer you.”
Haroon: You are free to express yourself.
Imam (A.S.): So say what you feel like?
Haroon: Why do you believe that you are superior to us, the sons of Abbas? Whereas, both of us are from the same lineage and (common ancestor) that is to say we are all the sons of Hashim.
Imam (A.S.): We are closer to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) than you.
Imam (A.S.): Because, our father Abu Talib and the father of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) are from the same father and mother. But your father Abbas is related from his father’s side only.
Haroon: When the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) deceased, your father Abu Talib had passed away but our father Abbas was living. It is clear that till the time uncle is alive you the cousins cannot get the heritage.
Imam (A.S.): Till the time a child is living; the uncle does not get heritage. Therefore, when Fatima Zahra (S.A.) is living your father Abbas cannot gain the heritage.
Haroon: Why do you allow people to call you the son of Prophet (P.B.U.H.) whereas, you are the sons of Ali (A.S.). Because everybody is related to his father and Prophet (P.B.U.H.) is your maternal grandfather.
Imam (A.S.): If the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) becomes alive and asks you the hand of your daughter in marriage, are you prepared to give her hand to him?
Haroon: With great and utmost honor.
Imam (A.S.): But the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) will never ask me the hand of my daughter in marriage.
Imam (A.S.): Because, he is my father although from mother side but he is not your father. Therefore, I can consider myself the son of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
Haroon got silent, calm and cool by the crushing answers of Imam (A.S.) and he asked Imam (A.S.) to demand anything from him. Imam (A.S.) said, “I do not want anything from you, just let me go free to do my work.”
Dishonesty of one of Imam’s (A.S.) relatives
The nephew of Imam (A.S.) named Ali Bin Ismail was invited by the companions of Haroon to go to Baghdad and inform Haroon about the condition and state of Musa Ibn-e-Jaffar (A.S.). When Imam (A.S.) was informed about his being invited, he called him and said, “Which way do you want to go?” He said, “I am going to Baghdad?”
Imam (A.S.) said. “What for? Are you going there?” He said, “I am indebted perhaps I may be able to procure some money to pay my debt.”
Imam (A.S.) said, “I pay all of your debt and also pay you the money for the sustenance of your family.”
Ismail did not accept it and kept insisting on going. At the end, he said to Imam (A.S.), “I am resolute to go I request you to admonish me.”
Imam (A.S.) said, “I request and it is my precept that do not take part and share in my blood because its consequences are not good.”
Ismail said to himself. “What does it mean anyway?” He said I again requested him to admonish me. Imam (A.S.) repeated the same sentence. He did not know that Imam (A.S.) was aware about all that had to take place. Ismail got up from Imam’s (A.S.) assembly to go. Imam (A.S.) gave him three hundred dinnars and said, “This is for your children.” He took the money and went away.
Then Imam (A.S.) addressed those present and said, “By God this nephew of mine will take part in (spilling) my blood and turning my children into orphans.” They said, “Oh son of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) when you know he will commit dishonesty, then why did you help him.”
He replied, “My grandfather the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) of God said if one does favor and loves one’s relative and the later has an evil conduct with him God will torment him, and he will not reach his goal.” What Imam (A.S.) had said that took place?
Ismail arrived Baghdad and arrived to the house of Yahyah Barmaki and then went to see “Haroon” along with him and said to him, “Oh Haroon! Musa Ibn-e-Jaffar (A.S.) governs and rules Madina and ample amount of money is sent to him from all around and he has decided to rise and overthrow your government.”
Haroon was pleased with his words, and gave him two hundred dirhams. Ismail took the money and happily came out to go back to his house. But a pain caught his throat and he died at the spot. Haroon decided to come to Madina and arrest the Imam (A.S.) and imprison him.
In the same year he wrote letters to all the directions and gathered all and went to Macca and Madina. On his way back he ordered the governor of Madina to arrest Imam (A.S.) and send him to Basra. Imam (A.S.) spent one year in the prison of the ruler of Basra, Yahyah.
The morality, human conduct, and servitude of Imam (A.S.) affected Yahyah to the extent that he wrote to “Haroon”, “Oh Haroon, I did not see anything from him (Imam [A.S.]) during this period except goodness and piety. I cannot keep him a prisoner any longer. Receive him back or I will let him go free.” That great magnanimous man was taken to Baghdad as ordered by Haroon, and imprisoned under the custody of Fazal. He too like Yahyah got in love with Imam (A.S.) and asked Haroon to take Imam (A.S.) from him into his own custody. Finally, Imam (A.S.) was transferred to the prison of “Sindi Bin Shahik” who was a wicked and bad man.
Imam’s (A.S.) Combats in Prison
Haroon tried and endeavored to get the Imam’s attention diverted towards him. One day, he sent Yahyah bin Khalid to the prison, to bring Imam (A.S.) around to request for amnesty. Then set him free. But Imam (A.S.) was not prepared for it. Imam (A.S.) wrote to Haroon, “Each single day which I pass in hardship you will live to the same degree in repose, tranquility and welfare. Wait till both of us proceed towards that day, when the corrupt ones will be the losers (sufferers).”
Why Imam’s (A.S.) Prisons Changed
The reason of the change of prisons was this that Haroon asked each of the prison in-charges to kill Imam (A.S.) but they did not submit to his will. So that finally Sindi who was a stone hearted executioner poisoned the Imam (A.S.).
Haroon tried to exhibit and show the death of Imam (A.S.) as a normal and natural death, by the help of false witnesses. So that by these craftiness and tricks he might get himself cleared off that crime and also stop his partisans and disciples from revolt and uprising. But all in vain. Finally, by the efforts of one of the relations of Haroon named “Suleman” a revolt took place in Baghdad. The funeral of Imam (A.S.), which they desired to burry confidentially and stealthy, they failed in it. It became inevitable for Haroon to join the gathering of mourners and the burial ceremonies.
At last Imam (A.S.) was buried in Kazmain amid the sorrow, grief and anguish of the people. His tomb is still the center point of Shias.
Friends of Imam (A.S.)
When his honorable father Imam Sadiq (A.S.) passed away the students and disciples of his father focused their attention upon him and took knowledge benefit from him for a period of Thirty-three years.
Some of his students were:
1. Ibn-e-Abi Omair: This man benefited from three Imams (A.S.) [(Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.), Imam Reza (A.S.), and Imam Jawad (A.S.)] he was one of the well-known and renowned learned men of his time. He has left over large number of traditions as a memorial.
Some people had informed the government that Ibn-e-Abi Omair recognized the Shias of Iraq. He was arrested and they asked him to tell them the names of those whom he knew. He did not submit to their will, he was turned naked and tied up to the palm date tree. They sentenced him to hundred whips. But he did not speak.
Sheikh Mufid says this grand friend of Imam was imprisoned for as long as seventeen years. All his property was destroyed. Even after all these torments and tortures he kept his lip tightly closed and did not utter a single word.
2. Ali Ibn-e-Yaqteen: was one of the friends of Imam Sadiq (A.S.). Marwan followed and pursued him, to get him arrested. But he himself escaped and flew and sent his wife and children to Madina. He returned to Kufa following the fall of Bani Omaiyide and Bani Abbasade’s taking over the power. He established close contacts with the Abbasades and occupied important posts in their government machinery and used to help the Shias a lot.
Haroon fixed Ali Ibn-e-Yaqteen as his minister. Actually he was the delegate of Imam (A.S.). Whatever Imam (A.S.) ordered him he put that into practice.
Many times he desired to leave the Abbasades aside. But the Imam (A.S.) stopped him from doing so.
He died, during the period when Imam (A.S.) was in prison. He left over many books, as memorials, which are the relics and vestiges of Ahl al-Bayth (A.S.).
3. Momin ut Tak: He was one of the companions of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) and Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.), Imam Sadiq (A.S.) called him one of his great friends, and held him in great esteem.
Momin was most powerful in discussion and he entered with whosoever into discussion achieved success and defeated him.
Imam Sadiq (A.S.) said about him “Momin” is like a hunter falcon pouncing upon its prey.
4. Hisham Bin Hakam: He was a great expert of logical discussion. Where ever a knowledge problem cropped up he would be sent there by Imam Sadiq (A.S.). He had a great expertise and mastery in the discussions concerning Imamate. He was ready witted and had abruptness in answering. He had a mastery and expertise in the problems concerning monotheism and belief.
He wrote great number of books and had discussions with different scholars and overcame and defeated all of them.
Brief Sayings of Imam (A.S.)
1. Always say the right thing although it may lead to your loss.
2. Whenever you get a pious leader and ruler (then) thank God for this boon.
3. Be tough and strict with the cruel so that you may take the right of the oppressed from him.
4. The best of generosity is the help to the oppressed.
5. The world is soft and beautiful like a snake but there is a (disastrous) killer poison hidden inside it.