Life of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir:
Imam Muhammad Baqir (AS) was born in the year 57 Hijri, in the city of Medina. He was 39 years old at the time of the death of his father, Imam Zayn al-Abedin (AS) (who passed away in 94 Hijri). His name was Muhammad, while his kunya was Abu Jafar, and his agnomens were Baqir and Baqir al-olum. His mother was Umm Yabdullah, the daughter of Imam Hassan Mujtaba (Ýa).
Although he lived in unfavorable and restrictive times, Imam Baqir (AS) engaged in disseminating the reality of Islam. He is famously known for analyzing and explaining various intellectual issues. He brought about an extensive movement in learning and science and laid the foundations for an Islamic university, which reached its zenith in the time of his son Imam Sadiq (AS). Great learned men benefited from his knowledge and science and used to ask him to solve their problems.
Meaning of Baqir:
Baqir is a derivate of the word "Baqara" which means to open up or to expand. Imam Muhammad Baqir (PBUH) was named as such since he introduced and spread the knowledge and teachings of various dimensions and implemented the knowledge streams in a manner that had never been seen earlier. Imam Muhammad Baqir (PBUH) instructed people in percepts of religion, taught exegesis of the Quran, taught them the ethics of life, and used to strive very hard to educate culture and guide the people. During the course of his life, he taught the people thousands of theological and religious principles, as well as scientific subjects, and his teachings, have been handed down to us.
Presence in Karbala:
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (PBUH) was about two and a half years old when he had to accompany Imam Hosein (PBUH) and the rest of his family members on the journey to Karbala. After the tiring journey from Medina to Karbala, he witnessed the shocking and tragic events of Karbala and then the heart-rupturing events in Syria and Iraq. After one year of detention in Damascus he returned in 62 A.H. to Medina when he was 4 years.
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir imamate era:
He was the only Imam who was Alawiite from both the side of the Mother and the Father. Imam Sajjad (PBUH), according to the command of Allah and the decree of the Prophet (PBUH), appointed his son, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (PBUH), to Imamate and leadership of the people in the 95 A.H. He remained Imam for the rest of his life until 114 A.H. and the total period of his Imamate is 19 years.
Advancement of Sciences by Imam al-Baqir:
The talents and genius of Imam al-Baqir resulted in great abilities of knowledge that included all sciences, such as tradition, philosophy, theology, jurisprudence, high maxims, and standard morals. Moreover, it included the events the Imam had predicted before they occurred. His knowledge was greatly vast.
He, as the narrators said, heaved deep sighs and said with grief, If I found (carriers) for my knowledge which Allah, the Great and Almighty, has given to me, I would proclaim monotheism, Islam, religion, and Islamic laws.
He saw that the Islamic community had lost all of its qualities. It lost all the characteristics which Allah wanted for it, such as unity, perfection, and development in the fields of knowledge and production. So, through his spiritual leadership, the Imam did his best to renew the glory of the community and to rebuild its cultural entity. Thus, he proclaimed knowledge and thought. He refrained from practicing all political activities and devoted himself to knowledge only.
Wonderful Maxims of Imam al-Baqir (AS):
- He said: If you can deal with anyone and do him a favor, do that.
- He said: Nothing is mixed with a thing better than (mixing) clemency with knowledge.
- He said: Assume the truth. Leave that which does not concern you. Avoid your enemy. Be careful of your friends except the trusty one who fears Allah. Do not make friends with the sinner. Do not inform him of your secrets. Ask the advice of those who fear Allah.
- He said: He for whom Allah does not make a preacher from his own self, the preaching of people do not avail him.
- He said: He whose outward (deeds) are heavier than his inward (deeds), his scales are light.
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir Martyrdom and burial:
In 100 A.H., Hasham bin Abdul Malik became the Caliph. He was a known enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt and he did not waste any opportunity to bring hardship to the Ahl al-Bayt.
Allame Majlisi writes that during the last days of his caliphate, Hasham came to Mecca for Hajj. Imam Muhammad Baqir (PBUH) and his son Imam Jafar Sadiq (PBUH) were also present. Hasham was informed that Imam Jafar Sadiq (PBUH) delivered a sermon among the Hajis that he and his father were Allah's vicegerent and His command on earth and whoever was their friend and well-wisher will go to heaven and whoever is their enemy will be destined to hell.
This infuriated Hasham and when he reached Damascus, he ordered the governor of Medina, Ibrahim bin Walid to send the two Imams (PBUH) to his court. Hasham had planned to malign the Imams in his court but the Imams (PBUH) overturned his plans which further ignited his enmity and he ordered the Imams (PBUH) to be jailed. While in the jail, Imam Muhammad Baqir (PBUH) gave sermons to the other prisoners which created an atmosphere of great enthusiasm and devotion towards the Imam (PBUH) and against Hasham and sensing the gravity of the situation and the risk of a revolt, Hasham ordered the release of the Imam (PBUH). He then ordered the governor of Medina that Imam Muhammad Baqir (PBUH) should be poisoned as he is becoming a constant threat (Jala-ul-Ayoon Page 262). The governor of Medina - Ibrahim bin Walid carried out the orders and poisoned the Imam (PBUH) in 114 A.H.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (PBUH), lived in this world for a period of 57
years, and in the 114th year of the Hijra, on the seventh day of the
month of Zil-Hijjah, in Medina he left this world. His body was buried
in Baqi cemetery alongside the graves of Imam Hasan (PBUH) and Imam
Sajjad (PBUH) in Medina.