Lesson twenty three:
the sixth Imām and the eighth infallible figure, Imām al-Sādiq (‘a)
He was called Ja‘far and was known with the epithet, Sādiq. His father was Imām Bāqir and his mother was Umm Farwih, who was one of the most devout women of her time. He was born on Rabī ‘al-Awwal 17, 83 in Medina. He assumed leadership at the age of thirty two. He dedicated his life to educating and training thousands of students and seized the opportunity (that is, when Banī Umayyah regime was declining and fighting with Banī ‘Abbās) and opened up the gates of Islamic sciences and teachings to the Muslim community.
Around 4000 people have recounted narrations from that Imām and some of them have achieved high ranks of faith and conduct.
One of them is Jābir ibn Ḥayyān, who is unanimously acknowledged to be the founder of chemistry. Muḥammad ibn Muslim is another figure who has heard and reported thousands of ḥadīths from that Imām and the third is Hishām ibn Ḥakam who was the most prominent figure in rhetoric and beliefs of that time.
Mu’ālī ibn khunays, who was one of the companions of the Imām, says, “On a rainy night, I noticed Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq leave his house and set out toward the shelter of Banī Sā‘idah where the homeless and the needy slept overnight. I also followed the Imām and all of a sudden something dropped from his hand, I went up to him and said hello. He told me to pick them up. When I bent, I realized that they were pieces of bread and I gathered them and gave them to him. He put them in a bag. I asked him to let me carry the bag but he declined and said that he was more worthy of doing that. When we arrived at that shelter, I saw a number of the poor sleeping there. He put some bread near each one of them and went past. I asked him whether they were his followers. He said if they had been his followers, he would have attended to them much more.”
Indeed, the great Prophet, ‘Alī (‘a), and other leaders constantly helped the needy and the wretched and sympathized with their misery.
Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq was poisoned to death by Manṣūr, an ‘Abbāsī ruler, on the 25 of Shawwāl in 148 at the age of 65. He was buried at Baqī’ cemetery next to the tombs of his father, Imām Bāqir, and his grandfather, Imām Sajjād, and his uncle, Imām Ḥasan.
His advice on deathbed
Umm Ḥamīdah, the magnanimous wife of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq says, “Before his death, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq opened his eyes and asked all his relatives to meet at his bed. All members of Banī Hāshim got together, and then Imām glanced at them and said, “’Our intercession won’t benefit anyone who scorns the obligatory prayers and does not attach importance to them.’”
 Thawāb al-A‘māl by al-Ṣadūq, Ghifarī, p. 173.
 Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah, vol.3, p. 17.