The first of Rajab marks the date of birth of Imam Muhammad Baqar (A.S.), son of Imam Ali Zain-ul-Abideen (A.S.), son of Imam Husain (A.S.), younger grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.). His mother is Hazrat Fatima (S.A.), daughter of Imam Hasan (A.S.), elder grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.). He was the first Imam whose lineage ascended and reached Prophet Muhammad, both from the paternal and maternal sides. Therefore, it can be said that he is the first Imam where Hasani and Husaini lineages united. The year of birth is 57 AH.
His name is Muhammad, title Baqar and kunniyat Abu Jafar. Because of the resemblance that he had with his grandfather, the Prophet, he was named Muhammad and because he analyzed knowledge and made manifest its secrets, he came to be known as Baqar.
Meaning of Baqar
- Baqar is a derivate of the word ‘Baqara’ which means to open up or to expand. Imam Mohammad Baqar (A.S.) was named as such since he introduced and spread the knowledge and teachings of various dimensions and implemented the knowledge streams in a manner which had never been seen earlier. Allamah Noorullah Shoostri writes in Majalis-al-Momineen: Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W.) said that Imam Mohammad Baqar (A.S.) will introduce, spread and open up knowledge just like the ground is opened up for cultivation. Imam Muhammad Baqar (A.S.) instructed people in percepts of religion, taught tafseer-e-Quraan, taught them the ethics of life, and used to strive very hard to educate, enculture and guide the people. During the course of his life, he taught the people thousands of theological and religious principles, as well as scientific subjects, and his teachings have been handed down to us. Imam Muhammad Baqar (A.S.), like the other Imams, had no equal in knowledge and science. Great learned men benefited from his knowledge and science and used to ask him to solve their problems.
- Imam Muhammad Baqar was awarded the title Baqar-ul-Ulum (Revealer of Knowledge) because of his religious and judicial knowledge and his enthusiasm to teach. Muhammad Baqar’s (A.S.) son, Imam Ja’far-e-Sadiq (A.S.), founded the precursor to Islamic jurisprudence. His students included prominent scholars Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal and Imam Shafei.
Jabir, son of Abdullah, faces Imam Muhammad Baqar (A.S.)
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) told one of his companions named Jabir, son of Abdullah, “Oh Jabir! You will live and will see my grandson Muhammad, son of Ali, whose name in Torah (The Old Testament) is Baqar, convey my compliments (Salam) to him.”
Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) left the world and Jabir remained alive for long times to come. He devoutly waited for the time when he would meet the fifth Imam. Each morning he would come out from his house, sit by the roadside and wait for the sound of the footsteps to recognize the fifth Imam. One such day while he was waiting in the street of Medina, he heard someone walking towards him, the sound of footsteps reminded him of the way Muhammad used to walk. Jabir stood up, stopped the man and asked his name.
He replied, “Muhammad.”
Jabir asked, “Whose son?”
He replied “Ali, son of Husain”.
Jabir immediately recognized that the man he was talking to was the fifth Imam. He kissed his hands and conveyed the message of Muhammad (S.A.W.W.).
Muhammad Al-Baqar’s eyes filled up with tears and he said, “Compliments and benediction be upon my great-great-grandfather, the Prophet of Allah, until the Sky and Earth are stable (firm) and upon you too, O Jabir, son of Abdullah, that you conveyed his compliment to me.”
Traits of Imam Muhammad Baqar (A.S.)
Ibn-e-Hajar, who is a Sunni scholar, writes about the character of Imam (A.S.), “Imam Mohammad Baqar (A.S.) had a clean, pure heart. His speech and talk was harmonious and in accordance with his practice. His conduct and dealing with people was humanly and Islamic. He was a great Gnostic and unmatched worshiper. He was so very ornamented and decorated with human qualities that I do not have the means and capacity to praise him.”
Abdullah, son of Hazrat Umar (second caliph), said about the Ahl-e-Bayt (A.S.) on seeing Imam’s wisdom, “These (men) are a family whom God has decorated with the ornament of knowledge and wisdom!”
Imam Muhammad Baqar (A.S.) left this world on the 7th of Zilhajj, 114 AH, having been poisoned by Hisham (L.A.), son of Abdul Malik (L.A.), and was buried in Jannat-ul-Baqi, Madinah.
Interesting Thing to Note
Imam Muhammad Baqar (A.S.) is the 5th of the 12 Imams and 7th of the 14 Infallibles. When you combine 5 and 7, you get 57. He was born in 57 AH. And when he was poisoned in 114 AH, his age was 114 – 57 = 57 years!