- 1 The Birth of Imam Jawad (AS)
- 2 Imam Jawad (AS), a Blessed Birth
- 3 Imamate During Childhood
- 4 Political and Social Events of the Era of Imam Jawad (AS)
- 5 The Guiding and Preaching Methodology of Imam Jawad (AS)
- 6 An excerpt from the book of virtues and merits of Imam Jawad (AS)
- 7 Miracles of Imam Jawad (AS)
- 8 Ethical Conduct of Imam Jawad (AS)
- 9 Imam Jawad in the Words of Others
- 10 Glimpses from the Enlightening Words of Imam Jawad (AS)
- 11 In the Sanctuary of Jawadain (AS)
The Birth of Imam Jawad (AS)
Historians have differing opinions about the birth date of Imam Jawad, peace be upon him. Some believe his birthdate to be the 10th of Rajab, others the 15th of Ramadan, and yet others the 19th of Ramadan in the year 195 AH in the city of Medina.
The esteemed father of Jawad al-Aimmah, peace be upon him, is Imam Reza, peace be upon him; a dignified personality whose virtues, scholarly, worshipful, and religious life are well-known to all.
The mother of Imam Jawad, peace be upon him, was a noble and chaste lady named “Sabika” (also known as Sakina) and according to another narrative, “Khayzuran.” This faithful lady was related to the esteemed family of Umm al-Mu’minin, “Maria al-Qibtiyya”. Some also have referred to her as “Rayhana” and “Durrat”.
Imam Jawad (AS), a Blessed Birth
Imam Jawad, peace be upon him, is referred to as a blessed birth. Abi Yahya San’ani said: “I was in the presence of Imam Reza, peace be upon him, when his young child, Imam Jawad, peace be upon him, was brought in. Imam Reza, peace be upon him, said: ‘This is a child whose birth, greater and more blessed, has not occurred for our Shia.'”
The era of the birth of Imam Jawad, peace be upon him, was one of the most difficult times for the Ahl al-Bayt, peace be upon them. This period coincided with the caliphate of Ma’mun, one of the most powerful and politically astute Abbasid caliphs. Moreover, during this time, among the Shia, there were strange deviations and disputes, one of the most significant being the Waqifite sedition, to which Imam Reza, peace be upon him, likened them and their followers to the “people of the donkey.”
During this period, there were also whispers among the specific Shia of his holiness that caused distress and grief to that Imam; because the Shia believed that one of the signs of an Imam is that he has a successor who must necessarily be his son, and Imam Reza, peace be upon him, had not had a child from any of his concubines or wives until he was 44 years old. This situation had paved the way for even the specific Shia of his holiness to become suspicious and doubt his Imamate.
Imamate During Childhood
Since Imam Jawad was the first Imam to assume the position of Imamate in his childhood, some questioned whether the leadership of the community could be entrusted to a seven-year-old child. Could a seven-year-old possess the management skills, foresight, and wisdom of a mature man? Is it possible for a person at such a young age to reach such perfection that he could be the successor to the Prophet of God? And has such a precedent ever been set in previous nations? These issues were among the most controversial topics of that era.
From the perspective of the Shia belief, which considers Imamate a divine gift, the answer to this question is clear. From this viewpoint, Almighty God selects whoever He deems worthy for the position of community leadership, even if they are in their childhood. Although old age is considered a measure of maturity among people, in the divine vision of the Quran, it is possible for an individual in their childhood to possess the virtues, perfections, and conditions for community leadership, and to have the special qualifications necessary for leadership, Imamate, and prophethood, and for Almighty God to bestow the gift of prophethood and Imamate upon him, and make obedience to him obligatory and necessary for the people.
Political and Social Events of the Era of Imam Jawad (AS)
Imam Jawad (AS) began his Imamate at a time when, despite the power of the Shia, the political and social landscape of the society was plagued by deep ideological challenges and various conflicts.
The era of his Imamate coincided with the rule of two of the tyrannical Abbasid caliphs (Ma’mun and Mu’tasim).
Ma’mun, having become infamous and destabilized due to the murder of Imam Reza (AS), did not deem it appropriate to harass Imam Jawad (AS) further. Also, due to the power of the Shia at the time, he did his utmost to keep the situation calm. Therefore, to achieve such a goal, he was forced to tolerate His Holiness as he had tolerated his father, Ali bin Musa al-Reza (AS).
The Guiding and Preaching Methodology of Imam Jawad (AS)
Imam Jawad (AS) was the first Imam to reach Imamate at the age of seven, a characteristic shared by Imam Jawad (AS), Imam Hadi (AS), and Imam Mahdi (AS). If this had not occurred for the first time during the time of Imam Jawad (AS), it would have harmed the Shia community. His Holiness, enduring many hardships, cleared the minds of the Shia from satanic temptations.
Actions taken by Imam Jawad (AS) for the growth of Islam:
1. Participating in Q&A sessions with Shia scholars,
2. Presenting various miracles and Quranic and historical arguments,
3. Sending representatives to Shia-dominated regions (the Imam would choose a just and knowledgeable representative in each region where Shia were present to be the people’s point of reference and the only one in communication with the Imam, so the Shia community would not become confused and scattered after the Imam’s exile or imprisonment).
An excerpt from the book of virtues and merits of Imam Jawad (AS)
Mutarraf said: When His Holiness Reza (AS) passed away, he owed me four thousand dirhams, and no one knew about it except him and me. Then Imam Jawad (AS) sent for me to come to him the next day. When I went to His Eminence, he said: “Did Abu al-Hasan Reza (AS) owe you four thousand dirhams when he passed away?” I said: “Yes.” Then he lifted the prayer rug that was under his feet, and I saw gold coins under it, which he gave to me, equivalent to four thousand dirhams.
Mu’ali bin Muhammad said: Near the death of his noble father, Imam Jawad (AS) came out of the house. I looked at him from head to toe to describe his height and stature to my friends and co-religionists. I saw that His Eminence sat down. Then he said: “O Mu’ali! Indeed, God has the same argument and proof in Imamate as He has in prophethood. [God said about the prophethood of Yahya]: ‘And We granted him judgment [prophethood] while yet a boy’ (Maryam, 12).”
Miracles of Imam Jawad (AS)
Abasalt narrates: After the burial of Imam Reza (AS), by Ma’mun’s order, I was imprisoned for a year. After a year, worn out by the constraints of the prison and sleepless nights, I was distressed. I prayed and sought intercession through Muhammad and the family of Muhammad (PBUH) for my liberation from prison. I asked God to provide relief in my situation through the blessings of the family of Muhammad (PBUH). Before my prayer was even complete, His Holiness Abi Ja’far (AS), the savior of the troubled ones in the world, entered the prison and said, “O Abasalt, have you grown restless from the tightness of the prison?” I swore to God that I was indeed very restless. He commanded, “Rise,” and he touched the chains, and the shackles and chains fell from my hands and feet to the ground. Then he took my hand and led me past the prison guards. The guards, while watching me, could not speak to me, and I left the prison. Then His Holiness said, “Go in God’s protection, neither Ma’mun’s hand will reach you nor your hand will reach Ma’mun.” Abasalt says: Just as His Holiness had said, I have not seen Ma’mun to this day.
Ethical Conduct of Imam Jawad (AS)
Serving people and addressing their needs is central in the lives of the infallible Imams (AS). Imam Jawad (AS) was a pioneer in this field. The great Imam said: “A person can attain the position of divine pleasure and satisfaction by possessing three commendable qualities: frequently seeking forgiveness, being gentle and forbearing with people, and giving charity abundantly.”
From the perspective of Imam Jawad (AS), serving people is a result of God’s mercy descending upon a person. If someone neglects or is careless in this field, they might lose divine blessings. Therefore, His Holiness said: “The blessings of God abundantly descend upon someone only when the needs of the people towards him increase. Whoever does not strive to address these needs and endure the hardships is putting the divine blessing at risk of fading away.”
The noble Imam considered good deeds and service to others more beneficial for the doers than the recipients, stating: The benevolent are in greater need of doing good than the needy and destitute; because benevolent people record rewards in the afterlife, honor, and a good name in their book of deeds. Whoever serves and behaves kindly towards people and those in pain, first brings goodness and kindness to themselves. Therefore, they should not expect gratitude or appreciation for an act they have performed for themselves.
Imam Jawad in the Words of Others
Imam Jawad (AS), like the other infallible Imams, is a role model and example for us. The short life of this worthy servant of God was spent in the struggle against disbelief and rebellion. He was appointed as the leader of the Muslim community in his youth and, in a few short years, engaged in an intense struggle against the enemies of God. So much so that at the age of 25, still in his youth, his existence became intolerable for the enemies of God, and they martyred him with poison. Just as the other Imams (AS) each added a chapter to the glorious history of Islam through their struggle, this great Imam implemented a significant corner of the comprehensive struggle of Islam in practice and taught us a great lesson. That lesson is that when we face hypocritical and pretentious powers, we must strive to awaken people’s awareness to confront these powers. If the enemy openly shows hostility and does not pretend or act hypocritically, their task is easier. But when an enemy like the Abbasid Ma’mun adorns himself with a facade of sanctity and support for Islam, recognizing him becomes difficult for people. In our era and throughout history, the powerful have always tried, when they are unable to confront people directly, to resort to the trickery of hypocrisy and deceit.
Glimpses from the Enlightening Words of Imam Jawad (AS)
Abdul Azim Hasani narrates that he said to Imam Jawad: “O son of the Messenger of God! Narrate a hadith from your fathers for me.” He said: “My father quoted from his fathers that Amir al-Mu’minin said: ‘People continue to be in goodness as long as they are diverse and different; but if they become the same, they will perish and be ruined.”
I said: “O son of the Messenger of God! Tell me more.” He said: “My father quoted from his fathers that Amir al-Mu’minin said: ‘If your inner selves were exposed, you would not bury each other!’”
I said: “Tell me more.” He said: “My father quoted from his fathers that Amir al-Mu’minin said: ‘You cannot win the hearts of people with your wealth and possessions; but you can with your pleasant demeanor and good conduct.’”
I said: “Add more.” He said that his father quoted from his fathers that Amir al-Mu’minin said: ‘Whoever criticizes the times [but does not work on improving themselves], their blame will be long-lasting.’
I said: “O son of the Messenger of God! Add more.” He said: “My father quoted from his fathers that Amir al-Mu’minin said: ‘Associating with the wicked leads to distrust of the good.'”
Companions and Disciples of Imam Jawad (AS)
From the era of Imam Jawad to Imam Askari (peace be upon them), due to political pressures and the strict control of their activities by the caliphate court, their scope of activity was very limited. Consequently, compared to the time of Imam Sadiq (AS), there was a significant decrease in the number of narrators and those nurtured in their school. Therefore, if we read that the number of narrators and companions of Imam Jawad (AS) was about one hundred and ten and that a total of 250 hadiths have been narrated from him, we should not be surprised. This is because, on one hand, he was under strict political surveillance and control, and on the other hand, he was martyred early and, by consensus of scholars, did not live more than twenty-five years!
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that among this limited number of companions and narrators, there were prominent figures and luminaries such as Ali bin Mahziyar, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Nasr Bazanti, Zakariya bin Adam, Muhammad bin Ismail bin Bazi’, Hussein bin Said Ahwazi, and Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Khalid Barqi. Each of these individuals was a significant figure in the scientific and jurisprudential scene and some had multiple publications.
In the Sanctuary of Jawadain (AS)
Specific narrations have been transmitted regarding the effects of visiting Imam Jawad (AS), two examples of which are as follows:
1. Dawood Sairafi said: I told Imam Hadi (AS) that I visited your father and dedicated the reward of it to you. Imam (AS) replied, “There is great reward and appreciation for you, and we will be grateful.”
2. Ibrahim bin Uqba said: I asked Imam Hadi (AS) in a letter about the reward for visiting Imam Hussain, the seventh Imam, and Imam Jawad (AS). Imam (AS) replied in the letter: “Visiting Aba Abdullah Al-Hussain (AS) is superior and takes precedence, and visiting those three nobles is more comprehensive and has a greater reward.”