Chapter 5: Revelations of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S)
Imam Mohammed al-Baqar and Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S) knew that the Muslim world would be flooded with books of the philosophers of Greece and Alexandria and that the Muslims would blindly accept everything they had written as the Gospel truth. Thus, many of the false and fallacious theories would catch their imagination, corrupt their minds, and keep them under total darkness for centuries, which is actually what had happened in the past. For example the theory of Ptolemy that the earth is the centre of the universe and the sun, the planet and the stars rotate around it was generally accepted by the Muslims as true.
The two Imams explained to their students who were to spread their teachings among the Muslims the theories of those philosophers, pointed out their mistakes and presented their own correct theories. Similarly they taught them physics, chemistry, geography etc prior to the translation of these subjects from Indian ,Greek and Persian into Arabic. Because they were Imams (representatives of Allah on Earth) they had the knowledge of the theories of Greek philosophers and others.
The momentous intellectual awakening of Muslims witnessed in the second century of the Hijra was not due to Hellenic or other foreign influences, as some Western historians have recorded. It was this result of the untiring and ceaseless efforts made by the members of the Prophet's family to bring about that golden age of knowledge. Among all the Abbasid caliphs, only al-Mamun was interested in knowledge. The rest were only interested in accumulation on wealth, worldly pleasures and satisfaction of carnal desires. A halo of glory and grandeur has been placed round the head of Harun by the historians and story tellers. He was nothing but a tyrant and a despot.
The Abbasid caliph al-Mansur was well aware of the popularity of the Living Imam - Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S). It is reported on the authority of Mufazzal bin Umar that al-Mansur wanted to kill the Imam. He called him many times with this intent, but when he saw him, he was filled with fear and could not carry out his vicious plan. Instead, he placed the Imam under house arrest for long periods of time. He eventually poisoned him secretly. This was the end of the Medina Academy which was founded by the Imam. To destroy the influence of the Imam in the field of Religion, al-Mansur and his successors encouraged sectarianism. Many new schools of Islamic Jurisprudence appeared in that period and were fully supported by them. Since the leaders of these new sects had the backing of the government, their ideologies spread and the number of their adherents increased. On the other hand those who followed the teachings of the Imam were systematically persecuted by the Abbasid !caliphs. However, as al-Mansur could not still find in the Muslim world anyone who could rival the Imam in physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and other sciences, he spent large sums of money and imported books from different countries on scientific subjects. They were translated in to Arabic, and taught in schools and colleges. Gradually the names of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Ptolemy became a household name and their scientific and philosophical theories captured the imagination and dominated the thoughts of the Muslims for centuries. That scheme proved so successful that in the course of time, Muslims totally forgot about the scientific achievements of the Imam and the important discoveries made by him. As a result the world lost more than a thousand years of knowledge as the science introduced by the Imam was only discovered by common man in the 19th century onwards. And the credit of this discovery also went to the person who discovered it rec! ently. Little does the world know that they were all made known by the Imam 14 hundred years ago. Learned scholars from Europe started studying Islamic literature from the beginning of the 17th century.