Imam Musa bin Ja’far al-Kazim(A.S.) The Seventh Holy Imam.Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kazim(A.S.), the Seventh Holy Infallible Imam of the Shiites whose matchless devotion and worship of God has earned him the titles of “Abd-e-Saleh” and “Bab-ul-Hawaij” (The Door to Fulfilling Peoples’ Needs).
Kunyat: Abu Ibrahim
Born: at Abwa (between Mecca and Medina) on Sunday the 7th Safar 128 A.H
Father’s name: Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.).
Mother’s name: Hamida Khatoon.
Martyred:aged 55 years at Baghdad on Friday, 25th Rajab 183 A.H.
Poisoned by: Harun-al-Rashid.the ruling Abbasid caliph.
Buried:at Kazmain, Baghdad.
Name Epithet and Titles
Name “Musa”, epithet Abul Hasan and his famous title was Kazim. His matchless devotion and worship of God has also earned him the title of “Abd-e-Saleh” (virtuous slave of God). Generosity was synonymous with his name and no beggar ever returned from his door empty handed. Even after his martyrdom, he continued to be obliging and was generous to his devotees who came to his Holy tomb with prayers and behests which were invariably granted by God. Thus one of his additional titles is also “Bab-e-Qaza-ul-Hawaij” (the door to fulfilling needs).
The Holy Imam Moosa-e-Kazim(A.S.) was the son of Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) the sixth Imam. The name of his mother was Hamida who was the daughter of a noble man named Saed, hailing from the country of Berber(present Algeria).
The Holy Imam was born on 7th Safar 128 A.H. at a place called Abwa, situated between Mecca and Medina.
Imam Moosa-e-Kazim(A.S.) passed 20 years of his sacred life under the gracious patronage of his Holy father. His inherent genius and gifted virtues combined with the enlightened guidance and education from the Holy Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.), showed in the manifestation of his future personality. He was fully versed with Divine knowledge even in hisÂ childhood.
Allama Majlisi relates that once Abu Hanifa happened to call upon the holy abode of Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) to ask him about some religious matters (Masail). The Imam was asleep and so he was kept waiting outside till the Imam’s awakening.
Meanwhile Imam Moosa Kazim(A.S.), who was then 5 years old, came out of his house, Abu Hanifa, after offering him his best compliments, enqired:
“O the son of the Holy Prophet! what is your opinion about the deeds of a man? Does he do them by himself or does God makes him do them?”
“O Abu Hanifa”, the five year old Imam replied at once, in the typical tone of his ancestors. “The doings of a man are confined to three possibilities. First, that God alone does them while the man is quite helpless. Second, that both God and the man do equally share the commitment. Third, that man does them alone. Now if the first assumption is true, it obviously proves the unjustness of God who punishes his creatures for sins which they have not committed. And if the second condition be acceptable, even then God becomes unjust if He punishes the man for the crimes in which he is equally a partner. But the undesirability of both these conditions is evident in the case of God. Thus we are naturally left with the third alternative to the problem that men are absolutely responsible for their own doings.”
The Holy Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) was martyred by the Abbasid caliph by poisoning on 15 Rajab 148 A.H. and with effect from the same date Imam Moosa-e-Kazim(A.S.) succeeded the Holy Office of Imamat as the seventh Imam. The period of his Imamat continued for 35 years. In the first decade of his Imamat, Holy Imam Moosa Kazim(A.S.) could afford a peaceful execution of the responsibilities of his sacred office and carried on the propagationof the teachings of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.). But soon after, he fell a victim to the ruling kings and a greater part of his life passed in prison.
Imam Moosa-e-Kazim(A.S.) lived under the most crucial times in the regimes of the despotic Abbasid kings who were marked for their tyrannical and cruel administration. He witnessed the reigns of Mansur-e-Dawaniqi, Mahdi and Haroon-al-Rashid. Mansur and Haroon were the despotic kings who put a multitude of innocent descendants of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) to the sword. Thousands of these martyrs were alive inside walls or put into horrible dark prisons during their lifetime. These depraved Caliphs knew no pity or justice and they killed and tortured for the pleasure the derived from human sufferings.
The Holy Imam was saved from the tyranny of Mansur because the king, being occupied with his project of constructing the new city of Baghdad, could not get time to turn towards victimising the Holy Imam. By 157 A.H. the city of Baghdad was built. This was soon followed by the death of its founder a year later. After Mansur, his son Mehdi ascended the throne. For a few years he remained indifferent towards the Holy Imam. When in 164 A.H. he came to Medina and heard about the great reputation of the Holy Imam, he could not resist his jealousy and the spark of his ancestral malice against the Ahl-ul-Bayt(A.S.) was rekindled. He somehow managed to take the Holy Imam along with him to Baghdad and got him imprisoned there. But after a year he realised his mistake and released the Holy Imam for jail. Caliph Mehdi was succeeded by Hadi who lived only for a year. Now in 170 A.H., the most cruel and tyrannical king Haroon-al-Rashid appeared at the head of the Abbasid Empire. It was during his reign that the Holy Imam passed the greater part of his life in a miserable prison till he was martyred.
Moral and Ethical Excellence:
As regards his morality and ethical excellence, Ibne-Hajar remarks, “The patience and forbearance of Imam Moosa-e-Kazim(A.S.) was such that he was given the title of Al-Kazim (one who swallows down his anger). He was the embodiment of virtue and generosity. He dovoted his nights to the prayers of God and his days to fasting. He always forgave those who did wrong to him.”
His kind and generous attitude towards the people was such that he used to patronise and help the poor and destitutes of Medina and provide for them cash, food, clothes and other necessities of sustenance secretly. It continued to be a riddle for the receivers of gifts throughout the Imam’s life-time as to who their benefactor was, but the secret was not revealed until after his martyrdom.
Time and circumstances did not permit the Holy Imam Moosa-e-Kazim(A.S.) to establish institutions to impart religious knowledge to his followers as his father, Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) and his grandfather, Imam Muhammad-al-Baqir(A.S.) had done. He was never allowed to address a congregation. He carried on his mission of preaching and guiding people quietly. He also became the author of a few books of which the most famous is “Musnad of Imam Moosa-e-Kazim(A.S.)”.
In 179 A.H. king Haroon-al-Rashid visited Medina. The fire of malice and jealousy against the Ahl-ul-Bayt was kindled in his heart when he saw the great influence and popularity which the Holy Imam enjoyed amongst the people there. He got the Holy Imam arrested while he was busy in prayer at the tomb of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) and kept him in prison in Baghdad for a period of about 4 years. On the 25th of Rajab 183 A.H., he got the Imam martyred by poison. Even his corpse was not spared humiliation and was taken out of the prison and left on the bridge of Baghdad. His devotees however, managed to lay the Holy body of the Imam to rest in Kazmain (Iraq).