Name: Muhammad bin Ali.
Titles: At-Taqi, Al-Jawad.
Patronymic: Abu Ja'fer.
Father:Imam Ali Reza(A.S.)
Mother: Sabika (also known as Khaizarun).
Birth: 10th Rajab 195 A.H. Madina.
Martyrdom: 29th Dhulqa'da 220 A.H. Baghdad. Buried in Kadhmain.
Name and Lineage
His name was Muhammad, kunniyat Abu Jafar and his well-known appellatives were Taqi and Jawad. Hence, he is generally known as Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.). Since prior to him Abu Jafar had also been the kunniyat of Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S.), he is called Abu Jafar the second, and Jawad which was his second appellative. His esteemed father is Hazrat Imam Reza (A.S.) and the name of his revered mother is Janab Sabika or Sakina.
He was born in Madinah on 10 th Rajab 195 A.H. At that time Ameen, son of Harun Rasheed, was on the throne in the capital city of Baghdad.
Rearing and Upbringing
It is a very heart-rending fact that at a very early age Hazrat Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.) had to prepare himself to face the hardships and sufferings of life. For a very short time, he could pass his days under the loving and instructive shadow of his father. It was in the fifth year of his age when his father, Hazrat Imam Reza (A.S.) was forced to leave Madinah for Khurasan. After separation from his father at that age, Imam Muhammad Taqi did not get the opportunity to meet him again in his lifetime. Mamun martyred Imam Reza (A.S.) The world must have been under the impression that there were now no means left for Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.) whereby to gain access to the heights of knowledge and accomplishments and, thereby, the seat or learning of Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S.) would remain unoccupied from now onwards. Nevertheless, the amazement of the people knew no bounds when after some time they witnessed this young child taking his seat by the side of Mamun, engaging himself in disputations with eminent scholars on jurisprudence, traditions, exegesis, reasoning, and compelling them to accept his viewpoint. Their astonishment was not to end until they were prepared to admit that against physical means there was also a divine system to impart knowledge and training. Without such a realization, the puzzle could not and cannot be solved.
Manners and Virtues
In respect of his manners and qualities, Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.) occupied that lofty position of humaneness that is the distinguished characteristic of the Prophet (SAW) and his progeny. The predominant feature of his life style was to meet everybody with humility, to help the needy, to maintain human equality and observe simplicity. To offer help to the indigent secretly, to treat not only friends but even adversaries kindly and politely, to be attentive in entertaining the guests and to keep the springs of bounties overflowing for those thirsty for religious and scholarly knowledge, were his chief occupations. His life pattern was the same as that of the other members of this chain of the infallible ones whose life history has already been given in earlier chapters.
The worldly people who did not have a full idea of the greatness of his soul must have certainly been under the impression that the very fact of a small child becoming the son in-law of the emperor of a great Muslim empire must alter his thoughts, nature, behavior and habits and, thus, completely remold his life style. In fact, this must have been an important objective before Mamun's shortsighted vision. The animus of the Abbasids or the Umayyad kings was not so much against the members of the Prophet' (SAW) progeny as for their extraordinary God-given qualities. They were ever endeavouring to break that centre of lofty manners and humaneness that was established at Madinah and had become nucleus of exemplary spirituality against the material power of the realm. Accordingly, in desperation, they devised and tried various means with a view to achieving this objective. The demand of oath of allegiance from Imam Husain (A.S.) was one form of it and the appointment of Imam Reza (A.S.) as heir apparent another. Only outwardly in one case the method of dealing with the situation was hostile and in the other, seemingly devotional. Just as Imam Husain (A.S.) was martyred when he refused to pledge allegiance, Imam Reza (A.S.), being out of step with the materialistic objectives of the regime, was silenced forever through poisoning.
Now from the point of Mamun it was a valuable opportunity. The successor of Imam Reza (A.S.) was a mere child of about eight years who had been separated from his father three years back. The political sagacity of Mamun made him wrongly expect that it would be very easy to bring over that child to his own way of life after which the still and silent but extremely dangerous centre that was firmly established against the government of the day would be destroyed forever.
He did not deem the failure of Mamun in his plan related to the appointment of Imam Reza (A.S.) as the heir apparent as a ground for any disappointment. He felt so because the life pattern of Imam Reza (A.S.) was firmly based on a particular principle. If it did not alter, it did not follow that Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.), after having been brought in the palace environments right from the early formative years, would stick to his ancestor's principled wav of life.
Except those who were conversant with the God-gifted perfections of these chosen beings, everybody in those days must have been of Mamun's mind. But the world was amazed to see that the eight year old child who had been made the son in-law of the emperor of the Islamic domain, was so steadfast in following his family traditions of sobriety and uprightness and its principles that he refused to stay in the imperial palace after marriage and, while in Baghdad insisted on residing in a rented house. An idea of the strong will power of Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.) can be had from another event. Usually when the bride's family financially occupies a higher place it prefers that the son in-law should reside with it in the same house; if not, at least in the same town. However, Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.), only a year after the marriage, forced Mamun to let him (and his wife) return to Madinah. Certainly, this must have been extremely unpalatable for a loving father and a powerful potentate like Mamun. Nevertheless, he had to bear the pain of separation of his daughter and let the Imam (A.S.) return to Madinah along with Ummul Fazl. After coming to Madinah the style of functioning of the household was the same as before. There was no gatekeeper, no check and restraint, no pomp and show, no particular meeting time and no discrimination in dealings with the visitors. Mostly the Imam (A.S.) used to sit in the Prophet's mosque where Muslims in general came to benefit from his preaching and counseling. Narrators of traditions used to put questions about traditions and scholars would place their problems before him and seek solutions. It was evident that it was surely the successor of Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S.) who, occupying the same seat of learning was providing guidance to the people.
With regard to household affairs and matters relating to conjugal life, he kept Ummul Fazl confined within the bound within which his ancestors used to keep their wives. He did not at all care for the fact that his wife was the daughter of the emperor of his time. Therefore, in the presence of Ummul Fazl he married an esteemed woman from amongst the progeny of Hazrat Ammar Yasir. The chain of Imamate should continue the divine will through this woman who became the mother of Imam Ali Naqi (A.S.). Ummul Fazl dispatched a written complaint to her father in his regard. For Mamun also this event must not have been any less painful. However, he had now no option but to bear with what he had himself done. He wrote to Ummul Fazl in reply that his objective in marrying her with Abu Jafar (A.S.) was not to make unlawful for him that God has made lawful. He forbade her writing such letters to him in future.
By writing this reply, he had only tried to wipe off his own humiliation. There are instances before us where in the presence of a venerable lady, from religious point of view, the husband did not take a second wife during her lifetime. Hazrat Ali (A.S.) and Hazrat Fatima Zahra (A.S.) are examples in this respect. In their lifetime, neither the esteemed Prophet (SAW) nor Hazrat Ali Murtaza (A.S.) even thought of having a second wife. However, to confer this distinction on the daughter of an emperor simply because she was the daughter of such a person, violated the Islamic spirit of which the progeny of Muhammad (SAW) was guardian. Therefore, Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.) considered it his duty to follow a path different from theirs (that is, having a second wife in the lifetime of the first one).
Preaching and Guidance
His speech used to be very attractive and effective. Once, during Haj period, standing amongst the congregation of the Muslims he delivered a sermon propounding the edicts of the Shariat so beautifully that very eminent scholars were amazed and spellbound. They had to admit that never before they had heard such a consummate speech.
During the time of Imam Reza (A.S.) a group of people had come to the fore which entertained the belief that the chain of Imamate had ended with Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) i.e., they did not acknowledge Imam Reza (A.S.) as an Imam after him. They were called Waqfiya. During his tenure Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.) so successfully explained the factual position to this sect that all of them abjured their stance and during his lifetime itself not a single person of that creed was left.
A large number of scholars of high standing acquired from him the true knowledge of the teachings of the house of the Prophet (SAW). There is also a treasure of his short and sagacious sayings of the same pattern as are ascribed to his forefather, Hazrat Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S.). The sayings of Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.) occupy a special place after those of Hazrat Ameerul Momineen (A.S.). There are also extant some of his sermons of high standard on the subjects of Divinity and Oneness of God.
After the arrival of the Imam (A.S.) in Baghdad , Mutasim apparently did not treat him with any kind of harshness. Nevertheless, his stay there was in itself by way of compulsion which can I called nothing but a sort of forcible confinement. Thereafter, his life was brought to an end with the same secret weapon that had been used before in the case of the elders of his household. He was martyred by poisoning on 29th Zee al-Qadah 220 A.H. was buried adjacent to his esteemed grandfather Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.).
By virtue of his sharing of the place, the city came to be known as Kazmain, according to Arabic grammar (which means two Kazims, that is, two persons who restrained their anger). In assigning this name to the city the appellative of Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) was clearly given prominence. On the other hand, present the railway station in Kazmain is known as Jawadain (that is the two jawads or two generous persons). In this case, the appellative of Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S.) has been prominently displayed as he was called Jawad as well as Taqi.