Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq [as] was born in Medina in the year 83 A.H; died in the year 148 A.H. at the age of 65. He was buried in the cemetery of al-Baqi alongside his father, his grandfather and his great uncle. His mother was Umm Farwa, the daughter of Al-Qasim. Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq’s Imamate lasted for thirty-four years.
Imam Al-Sadiq [as] instructed many scholars in different fields of the intellectual and transmitted sciences, such as Zorarah, Muhammad ibn Muslim, Mu’min Taq, and Hisham ibn Hakam. Imam Al-Sadiq [as] taught important Sunni scholars such as Sufyan Thawri, Abu Hanifah – the founder of the Hanafi school of law, and others also had the honor of being his students. The number of traditions preserved from the fifth and sixth Imams is more than all the ahadith that have been recorded from the Prophet and the other ten Imams combined.
Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq [as] would say: “Our knowledge is of what will be (ghabir), of what is past (mazbur), of what is marked in hearts (nakt fi al-qulub), and of what is tapped into ears (naqr fi al-asma). We have the red case (jafr), the white case, and the scroll of Fatima(s.a.) and we have (the document called) al-jami’a in which is everything the people need.”
He was asked to explain these words and he said: “Ghabir is knowledge of what will be; mazbur is knowledge of what was; what is marked in the hearts (nakt fi al-qulub) is inspiration; and what is tapped into the ears (naqr fi al- asma) are words of angels; It will never leave us until the one (destined) among us arises.
Towards the end of Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq’s life many restrictions were put upon him by the Abbasid Caliph, Mansur. Mansur had ordered for the descendants of the Prophet [pbuh] to be tortured and and killed mercilessly. At his order, some of the descendants were thrown into deep and dark prisons and were continuously tortured until they died, while others were beheaded or buried alive.
Hisham, the Umayyad caliph, had ordered Imam Al-Sadiq [as] to be arrested and brought to Damascus. Later, the Imam(a.s.) was arrested by Saffah, the Abbasid caliph, and brought to Iraq. Finally, Mansur had him arrested again and brought to Samarrah where he had the Imam (a.s.) kept under supervision and thought of killing Imam [as] on many occasions. Eventually the Imam (a.s.) was allowed to return to Medina where he spent the rest of his life in hiding, until he was poisoned and martyred through the intrigue of Mansur.
Sayings by Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq [as]:
- Daughters are advantages and sons are graces. You will be rewarded for the advantages and asked about the graces.
- If a believer leaves behind a sheet of paper on which some knowledge is written, this very sheet of paper will serve as a wall between him and the Hell and against each letter written on it, Allah will give him a city in a paradise seven times this world.
- Morals are of two forms: one is intent while the other is nature. Imam al-Sadiq (AS) was asked, “Which of them is better than the other?” He answered: The intentional morals are better than the natural, because the owner of natural morals cannot change them, while the owner of the intentional morals is preserving the acts of obedience (to Allah).
- Knowledge is the comrade of the faithful believer, clemency is his supporter, patience is the commander of his army, lenience is his brother, and charity is his father.