All praise belongs to Allah, Who destroys kings and replaces them with others. Peace and the blessings of Allah be on the leader of the Muslim preachers, the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers, Muhammad, the chosen Prophet, and on the guards of shar'iah, the successors of the great Messenger, his household, and on his pious followers.
Since Satan tempted Adam (a.s.) to eat the forbidden fruit, and he was driven out of Paradise, when Cain murdered his brother Abel, the fierce, and bloody struggle began between virtue and vice, truth and falsehood, justice and injustice, humbleness and arrogance, morality and corruption, good and evil, guidance and deviation...and in a nutshell, between Islam and ignorance. This struggle will go on until the Awaited One eliminates all negative characteristics of man.
Whenever the sword of oppression was drawn, it was the tongue that said nothing but the truth, the blood of a free man who fortified himself with piety, and the true preacher who held onto Allah, the Almighty, that confronted it.
Every conflict on earth ends in the triumph of Allah's word, and the fulfillment of His will. The tyrants' word remains low, and their power diminishes like the sea- froth.
The Abbassids inherited the corrupt rule and unjust power from the Umayyads, but they outran them in brutality and oppression. They persecuted, murdered, and made homeless the members of the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.), the leaders of Muslims, who stood up to their tyranny, and traded their souls for the pleasure of Allah. These people shed their blood and laid out their souls challenging the forces of deviation, defending the faith, and aiding the Muslims. They won immortality until the Judgement Day. Their enemies reaped nothing but disgrace, shame and damnation.
Like a high mountain, our revolutionary Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.), the scion of prophethood and grandson of the pure family of the Prophet (s.a.w.), stood boldly in the face of corruption. Like true, brave warnors, he fought the policies of extravagance, debauchery and terrorism. He kept up defending the shar'iah from the falsehoods of the oppressors and corrupters, and protecting the ummah from the brutalities of the tyrants, until he was martyred by poison, in his shackles inside his jail, and his body was thrown on a bridge in Baghdad.
Al-Balagh Foundation is honoured to present to its dear readers, glimpses from the life of this divinely infallible Imam.
We pray to Allah to grant us success in keeping up our jihad, and purifying the earth from the mischief of the mischief makers and the corruption of the corrupt rulers, until Allah makes His religion triumph over all religions, even if the polytheists hate it.
"..Allah only desires to take away uncleanness from you, O people of the household, and to purify you a (thorough) purifying."
Holy Qur'an (33:33)
The great message begets great men. The immortal principles produce immortal leaders. The uniquely great creed is certainly able to nurture uniquely great men.
Islam, the great faith, the immortal creed and the divine, uniquely great message, came to change life for the better, tear down the foundations of ignorance, uproot the causes of backwardness and corruption, and mould man's character on the basis of divine guidance, and in accordance with the moral values and the principles of equity and perfection. By this religion, man can reach perfection and join himself to the Eternal, Absolute Truth.
Islam is practical, taking life's facts into consideration, when it lays the plan for man's life, refines behaviour, leads humankind, and creates civilization.
The phenomenon of leadership and Imamate is unmistakably the most critical phenomenon in man's social life. The most controversial and important issue faced by the creeds, principles and values is the existence of the pioneering man, the exemplary personality, and the good example who understands his role, carries out his task, and leads the way for other people to march. Allah chose the Imams and leaders of this ummah from the Prophetic household, Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali and his sons (a.s.). The Qur'anic exegetes say that the above mentioned verse was revealed concerning Ali bin Abi-Talib and his wife Fatimah (a.s.), the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), and their sons, Hassan and Hussein (a.s.).
Abu-Hurayrah, quoted Umm-Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, as saying, "Fatimah came to see the Apostle of Allah with an earthenware pot filled with sweet paste she herself had made. She placed the pot in a tray and put it in front of him. 'Where is your cousin and your two sons?' asked the Prophet. 'At home,' replied Fatimah. 'Call them over' ordered the Apostle of Allah. She went to Ali and said to him, 'The Prophet (s.a.w.) wants to see you and your two sons.'
Umm-Salamah went on, "When he saw them coming, he stretched out his hand to a shawl on the bed and spread it out on the floor and seated them on it. Then, with his left hand, he grabbed the four corners of the shawl and drew them together over their heads. He motioned, with his right hand, to his Lord, may His Name be exalted, and said, 'O Lord!, these are my family. Remove uncleanness from them and purify them '"[^1]
The Apostle of Allah (s.a.w.) is reported to have said, "Allah had certainly made the offspring of every prophet in his loins, and has made my offspring in the loins of this man," pointing to Ali.[^2]
The truthful, trustworthy Prophet (s.a.w.) also said, "All the sons of a father are inclined towards him, with the exception of the sons of Fatimah. I am their father and I am the one to whom they are closely related".[^3]
Ibn Abbas is reported to have said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) saying, 'I Ali, Hassan, Hussein, and nine men from the loins of Hussein are purified and infallible".[^4]
The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.), by the exact words of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and the consensus of the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.), was the most knowledgeable, judicious, and courageous man, among them. He preceded them in embracing Islam. By these virtues, he deserved truly to be the Imam of Muslims. On the 21st of the holy month of Ramadhan, 40 A.H. the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.), just before his martyrdom, gathered his sons, members of his family and companions, and appointed his elder son, Hassan (a.s.), as the next Imam. Imam Hassan (a.s.) did the same thing when he was on his deathbed. He appointed his brother, Hussein (a.s.), the next Imam after him. On his martyrdom day at Karbala, Imam Hussein (a.s.) appointed his son, al- Sajjad Ali bin Hussein (a.s.), the next Imam. Imam Al-Sajjad (a.s.) appointed his son, Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.), his successor to the office of Imamate. Imam Al- Baqir (a.s.) appointed his son, Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.), the Imam who would succeed him. Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) appointed his son, Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.), the next Imam. Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) appointed his son, Ali bin Musa al-Ridha (a.s.), the next Imam. Imam al-Ridha (a.s.), in turn, appointed his son, Muhammad al- Jawad (a.s.), the next Imam. Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) appointed his son, Ali al-Hadi (a.s.), as Imam after him. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) appointed his son, Hassan Al-Askari (a.s.), the next Imam after him. Imam Al-Askari (a.s.) appointed his son, Muhammad bin al-Hassan al-Mahdi (a.s.), the next Imam. The Awaited Mahdi is believed, by all Muslims, to be the hope of humanity and the awaited saviour of humankind. Muslims, from all schools of thought and denominations agree on the fact that he is a descendant of the Prophet (s.a.w.), but they hold diverse views regarding the saying,
"Days and nights will nor cease until Allah sends a man from my household, whose name is similar to mine. He shall fill it up (the earth) with justice and equity, the same way it has been filled up with injustice and oppression."[^5]
Humanity is still waiting for this great saviour, and leading reformer, who will establish the state of divine justice and pull out, forever, the roots of loathsome jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era of ignorance).
History recorded the ascension of the Imams from the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to the office of Imamate, whom the Apostle of Allah (s.a.w.) praised by saying, "My household is certainly like the ark of Noah. He who embarks on it shall find salvation, but he who lags behind shall drown "
He (s.a.w.) urged Muslims to follow them. He said, "I am leaving among you two weighty things: the Book of Allah and my descendants, my household. As long as you hold onto them you shall never go astray after me".
Their religious, military and political roles were recorded by history for the coming generations. Every one of them carried out his responsibility, bore the burden of the message in his time, raised the banner, and later handed it over to the following Imam.
If one closely examines the Prophetic traditions, historical accounts, Qur'anic exegesis, Islamic beliefs, biographical books, Islamic sciences, and probes the political history of the dawn of Islam, and that of the Umayyad and Abbasside eras, he will certainly find that the twelve Imams, came successively and uninterruptedly to hoist the Islamic banner. Each one of them was the Imam of his time, and the most prominent and leading man in knowledge and jihad. They were not fuqaha' squatting in their schools and classrooms, nor were they worshippers, shut out off from life. They were beacons of guidance, and well-known historical symbols. They were leaders to whom fingers were pointed, and leaders whom people resorted to in adversities, and in defense of the faith and the ummah. The tyrants feared them. The scholars felt dwarfed before them. The minds, however sharp, were modest compared to theirs. They were exemplary images for the ascetics and ordinary worshippers.
That is why Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) had entered all the pure, faithful hearts across generations and decades. Their impact and influence remain vivid as long as the faith is immortal on earth. This is the Divine Will.
"Nay, We hurl the truth against falsehood, so it knocks out its brains and lo! it vanishes..."
Holy Qur'an (21:18)
"...then as for the scum, it passes away as a worthless thing; and as for that which does good to people, it tarries in the earth…"
Holy Qur'an (13:17)
On the other side, their foes and adversaries achieved nothing but a short-lived ecstasy of power, enjoying cheap wordily gains.
Thus the study of the history of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.), the examination of their lives, horizons of thought, and jihad are of great importance for Muslims. The Imams of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) represent the school of Islam, the spiritual leaders of this ummah and the leaders of its historical march. Their paramount concern was continuous fighting for the sake of preserving Islam's originality and pureness. The researcher would find a bitter, long-drawn epic of struggle between the Imams (a.s.) and their enemies. It is a struggle that still pounds on the gates of time, and keeps the spirit of jihad alive.
Imam Musa bin Ja'far (a.s.) is a good example to be followed by Muslims, especially regarding his opposition to oppression and injustice. He is a member of a household chosen by Allah, the Exalted, from among the sons of Adam (a.s.). He purified them, and set them as good examples and beacons of guidance for mankind. They are, as the Apostle of Allah (s.a.w.) said regarding them, "We are members of a household to whom no one could ever be compared"
It is only natural that Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) would suffer from the oppression of the rulers, and the injustice of the tyrants.
They were made homeless, hunted down, killed, thrown in prison and intimidated. The Imams (a.s.) led the ummah, lifted the banner of opposition, and called for the implementation of Islam's laws. As a result, people's hearts leaned toward them, and their eyes were fixed on them. The downtrodden rallied around them, seeing in them the hope of salvation. And it is only natural that the tyrants would fight them, and use every means possible to silence them. This is a fact pointed out by the Apostle of Allah (s.a.w.). He is reported to have said:
"We are a family for whom Allah preferred the Hereafter over this life. The members of my family shall certainly face tribulations, made homeless, and exiled from their homeland. That shall go on until some people come from the east, raising black standards. They shall ask for their right, but shall be denied it. They shall fight, helped by others, and shall be given what they seek. They shall not accept it until they give it (the leadership) over to a man from my family, who shall fill the earth with justice after being filled with injustice. Whoever is lucky to live at that time, let him join them even if it is hard for him to do so, as hard as crawling over a snowy land"[^6]
Muslims agree that this great man is from the household of the Prophet (s.a.w.). He is the Mahdi, the saviour. He shall implement the shari'ah, and make the dream of the prophets (a.s.) of a state in which justice prevails, a reality, and raise the banner of monotheism over all parts of the world.