Hazrat Imam Muhammad Baqir
Razi allahtala Anhu
Al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir [d. 114AH/732C.E] alayhi al-rahmah wa'l-ridwan
His full name and lineage is Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abu Talib al-Qurashi al-Hashimi, born in the Noble City of Madinah in the year 57 A.H. His father and teacher was Hadrat Imam Ali Zaynul-Abideen, survivor of the tragedy of Karbala, son of the Sayyid of Shuhadaa, Sayyidina Husayn bin Ali, Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu.
His mother was Sayyidah Fatimah bint al-Hasan bin Ali (Radhi Allahu Anha). From this marriage was born the first generation of the Ahlul-Bayt that was both al-Hasani and al-Husayni, therefore both the paternal and maternal sides were connected to Sayyidina Ali bin Abu Talib and Sayyidah Fatimah az-Zahra, may millions of Salaams be upon them.
A king requested the presence of a Sayyid in his court, but with the intent of destroying him. When the Sayyid appeared, the king sought his forgiveness, begged his pardon, bestowed many gifts upon him, and then dismissed this Hashimite in a very courteous manner. In response to the inquiry as to why he acted in such a manner, the king said "When he came in, I saw two lions, one on his right and one on his left who threatened to destroy me if I should attempt to do harm to him."The Wali whom Allah Ta'ala protected in this story is Al-Imam Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir, Radhi Allahu 'Anhu. This tremendous conveyer of 'Ilm is a great asset of Al-Islam, though very few know about him.
The kunya for Hadrat Muhammad bin Ali (Radhi Allahu Anh) was Abu Ja'far, though his was given many titles, such as Abu Abdullah, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, and Maulana al-Baqir ul-'Uloom. The most commonly used title is "Al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir."Baqir literally means to rip open or cut open, and in the case of Imam al-Baqir, he split open knowledge, that is scrutinized it and examined the depths of it so that it can be spread to all people, therefore, his title also meant "The Expounder of Knowledge."Those who were fortunate to be in his presence would unanimously report that he would rip knowledge down to its very root, reaching its origin, and then convey that knowledge to the people. Hadrat Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Makki, Rahmatullahi alayh, wrote in his book, As-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa:
"Al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir has disclosed secrets of Ilm and Hikmah and unfolded the principles of spiritual and religious guidance. Nobody can deny his character, his God-given knowledge, his divinely-gifted Hikmah, and his obligation and gratitude towards the spreading of knowledge. He was a sacred and highly talented spiritual leader and for this reason, he was popularly titled al-Baqir, which means the expounder of knowledge. Kind in heart, spotless in character, saved by soul, and noble by nature, the Imam devoted all his time to Allah's Ibadah. It is beyond the power of a man to count the deep impression of knowledge and guidance left by the Imam on the hearts of the faithful. His saying in devotion and abstinence, in knowledge and wisdom and in religious exercise and submission to Allah are so great in number that the volume of this book is quite insufficient to cover them all.”
Hadrat Imam al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu Anhu) was the half-brother of Al-Imam Zaid bin Ali Shahid (Radhi Allahu Anhu). The lives of both were dedicated to upholding al-Islam in spite of the degeneration of Deen which issued forth from Yazid The Damned and other corrupt rulers (see Endnote) of those times. The approach to the upholding of Deen-ul-Islam differed between the two Imams (Radhi Allahu Anhuma), both of whom being being 'Alim-ud-Deen and rightly guided Imams. Al Imam al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu Anhu) knew that due to the fitnah that was present at the time, Shari'ah must be instilled, Madrasahs established. Imam Zaid's (Radhi Allahu Anhu) dedication to Deen-ul-Islam was to remove the Khulafat from the Banu Umayya, who were bringing a very bad name to Islam (much like the al-Sa'ud family is doing in present times) through their bad deeds, and take the office of Khalifah. Imam Zaid (Radhi Allahu Anhu), however, fell prey to Shi'ah conspiracy and desertion as did his Noble grandfather (Radhi Allahu Anhu) in Karbala. (see Endnote)
Hadrat Shibli Nu'mani, Rahmatullahi 'alayh, writes in his book, Sirat-e-Nu'mani that "the Ahli-Bayt were the fountainhead of Hadith, Fiqh, and in fact, all religious learning,"and because of this truth, many seekers of Islamic knowledge sought after Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, Radi Allahu 'Anh, as he possessed great knowledge of the Noble Qur'an and the Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasul-e-Akram Salla Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa Sallim. Many of the Tabi'een, Taba at-Tabi'een, fuqaha, and mujtahideen, related and reported numerous Islamic sciences on the authority of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, Radi Allahu 'Anh, as he was distinguished for his extensive knowledge of Islamic science and for his subtle indication as to the meanings of the Ayats of the Noble Qur'an. Because of the great knowledge of Hadith, Allah blessed him with, his name is found in the isnad of many Sahih Ahadith collections. He was also known for his conveying the history and life of Nabi Akram, Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim, and his family. He became recognized as one of the Fuqaha of Madinah who many learned men would come to for answers to questions of jurisprudence. A famous quote from him that describes this station held by the Ahli-Bayt came from the question he was asked regarding Allah's Ayat in Surah an-Nahl: "Ask the Ahl al-Dhikr if you do not know,"he answered: "We are the Ahl al-Dhikr."
The Saliheen from amongst the Ahlul-Bayt of Sayyidina Rasul-e-Akram, Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim, never chase after Dunya, nor do they have any regards for this worldly life. They devote their time and efforts to the service of the Ummah, seeking the pleasure of only Allah Ta'ala. This was the case with Sayyidina Muhammad al-Baqir Radi Allahu 'Anh as he was not only well-known for his vast knowledge, but also for the immense Ibadah he would put time into. Imam Abul-Hasan Ali bin ‘Uthman al-Hujweri Rahmatullah alayh and Qadi Abu Fazl Iyad bin Musa al-Yahsubi Rahmatullah alayh relate in their works, Al-Kashf al-Mahjub and Al-Shifa, respectively, that Abu Ja'far Muhammad al-Baqir Radi Allahu 'Anh was a very devout Muslim and spent very much time performing 'Ibadah. He would spend much of his nights glorifying Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala As a result of his devotion to Allah Ta'ala, he was endowed with 'Ilm of many sciences of the Nafs, thus endowed with knowledge of both the exoteric and esoteric sciences of the Deen.
Hazrat Abu Ja'far Radi Allahu 'Anhu returned to Allah on the 7th of Dhul-Hijjah in the year 114 A.H. in the Holy City of Madinah. He is buried in Al-Baqi cemetery where many other members of the Ahlul-Bayt, Shuhadaa, and Sahabi (May plenty of Salaam be upon them all) rest. The world benefitted from this Imam of exalted memory as he was an educator for many of the Ulama of Al-Islam as well as a preserver of the Sunnah of Nabi Muhammad, Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam. It is unfortunate that not many know about him. The well-respected scholars of Al-Islam have had nothing but good to say about Hazrat Abu Ja'far al-Baqir and to sum it up, Muhammad bin Khavendesh bin Mahmud wrote in Rauza-tus-Safaa that "neither pen nor tongue can describe the merits and the traditions of Imam Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir." May millions of most perfect Salaams be upon Sayyidina Rasulullah, his progeny, and his descendants. Aameen.