Lesson twenty two: the fifth Imām and the seventh infallible figure, Imām al-Bāqir (‘a)

Lesson twenty two:
the fifth Imām and the seventh infallible figure, Imām al-Bāqir (‘a)

He was called Muḥammad and was distinguished with the epithet Bāqir al-‘Ulūm, literally, explorer of sciences. His father was Imām Ḥusayn  and his mother was Fāṭimah, the daughter of Imām Ḥasan, therefore, he was directly related to Imām ‘Alī ibn Abīṭālib through both of his parents.

He was born on Rajab 1, 47 in Medina and attained the position of leadership at thirty nine in 95. Since toward the end of his life, the Banī Umayyah regime had declined and was on the verge of disintegration, he managed to utilize the opportunity to explain Islamic laws and teachings to people and train innumerable students and scholars. The contemporary scholars and jurists honored him and drew benefits from him.

‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Atā has said, “I never saw scholars and scientists honor and venerate anyone as much as they did Imām Muḥammad. For example, whenever Ḥakam ibn Utaybah, who was one of most prominent scholars of the time, met Imām, he behaved so respectfully, as if an elementary pupil behaves toward his teacher.”[45]

Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) has said, “My father, Imām Bāqir, was always praying to God and on occasions when I walked with him, I noticed that he prayed as he walked. He was constantly worshipping God, during meals, at services with people, and he used to urge us to recite Koran.”

Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (‘a) has also observed, “Whenever my father, Imām Bāqir instructed his servants to do something, he went to supervise them and if he saw they had difficulty performing that, he tried to help them.”[46]

Imām Bāqir (‘a) passed away at fifty seven on Dhū’l-Ḥijjah 7, 114 and was buried at Baqī‘ cemetery in Medina.

Some remarks by Imām Bāqir (‘a)

Imām Bāqir told Jābir Ja‘farī, who was one of his companions, “O Jābir! I swear by God that our follower (Shī‘ah) is one who submits to the command of God and is pious and god-fearing. God is not biased toward anyone and the dearest servants before God are those who are the most righteous and comply with divine edicts better and more often than others. By God, the only way to please God and get closer to Him, is through obedience and submission. We can not save you from the flames of hell. Anyone who obeys God is our companion and friend and anyone who commits sins and wrongdoings and disobeys God is our enemy. O Jābir! One can not attain our affection but through piety and good deeds.”[47]


[45] Al-Anwār al-Bāhiyah, p. 62.
[46] Al-Anwār al-Bāhiyah, p. 66.
[47] ‘Uṣūl al-Kāfī, vol.2, p. 74.