HakimeKhatoon, Imam Reza’s sister, said: “Once, my brother, Imam Reza (A.S) called me and said: Hakime! Tonight, my son would be born. You should certainly be there in his birth time. I stayed with the Imam (A.S). That night, he brought me and other women who were responsible for his son’s birth to a room. He turned on the light for us, and then he went out. Imam Reza’s wife was about to bear her son. While we were going to start the operation, the light went out. We got deeply sad and scared. At this time, Imam Javad (A.S) was born. He wore a thin curtain like clothes in which there was light and shone all the room. I picked up the baby and uncovered the curtain. At this time, Imam Reza (A.S) came in. When I put on the baby’s cloths, the Imam (A.S) took it from us, put him in the cradle and told me: ‘don’t separate of this cradle.”
In the third day, the baby opened his eyes. He looked around and said eloquently Shahadatein - I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. seeingthis scene, Hakime went to Imam Reza (A.S) and told what she saw.
He said:”What you will see about his strange tasks will be more than what you have seen.”
Therefore, Imam Javad (A.S) was born in Rajab 10th, 195 (April 12th, 811) or, as other said, on 15th or 19th, Ramadan 195 (15th or 19th June, 811) in Medina. His mother’s name was Sabikeh, who was also called Khizaran, Reihane, and Sakineh. His face was light yellow. His epithets were Abu Ja’far and Abu Ali. His nicknames were pious, generous, independent, Montajab, satisfied, content, knowledgeable, etc.
Although Imam Javad’s birth made Imam Reza’s family happy, Imam Reza (A.S) notified the people of his son’s heart-rendingmartyrdom by mentioning his son’s calamities from the first days of his birth. We can point out Kaltham- ibn – iImran’s news who said:” When Imam Javad (A.S) was born, Imam Reza (A.S) said: ’God has granted me a son who is similar to Musa –ibn – i Imran who splitted the sea, to Jesus whose mother was saint and he was born chaste and holy. My son will be killed due to oppression. The people who are in the sky will cry for him, God will rage over his enemy, his killer, and his oppressor who will not enjoy life after his murder, and soon God will punish him.”
In Father’s Shade
Although Imam Javad (A.S) lived with his father for a short period of time, there is some information from this time. This period is divided in two sections:
1. Before Imam Reza’s travel to Tus
2. After his father’s travel
In the first period, Imam Reza (A.S) generally introduced Imam Javad (A.S) and expressed his competences for receiving Imamate. It was vital due to Vaqefiyeh’s seduction. Masudi said based onZakaria–ibn-i Adam’s words:
“I was with Imam Reza (A.S). Imam Javad (A.s), who was younger thanfour years old, came. He sat down next to his father. He put his hand on the ground, lifted his head to the sky, and thought for a long time. Imam Reza (A.S) asked his son: ‘My dear son! Why do you think deeply?”
Imam Javad (A.S) answered: “I think deeply due to the oppressions which my mother, Excellency Zahra – Prophet Muhammad’s daughter suffered. By God, I will bring those two killers of my mother, will burn them with fire, and will spread their ashes to seas. Imam Reza (A.S) hugged his son, consoled him, kissed between his eyes and told him: ’My dear son, you will be the next Imam after me.”
Anyway, this period lasted for 5 years, between 195 (A.H.) (811) (Imam Javad’s birthday) to 200 (A.H.) (816) (Imam Reza’s travel to Khurasan).
Worrying for Father
In 200 (A.H.), Ma'munRashid made Imam Reza (A.S) come to Khurasan. Imam Reza (A.S) went to Mecca with his son, Imam Javad (A.S). Omiyat –ibn-i Ali said:
“I was with Imam Reza (A.S) in this travel. When Imam Reza (A.S) did farewell tawaf (a special circumambulation in Mecca which says you won’t come to Mecca anymore) and went to Abraham’s position for saying prayer. I saw one of Imam Reza’s slaves putting Imam Javad (A.S) on his shoulder and doing tawaf. After tawaf, the Imam (A.S) came down of his shoulder and sat down in Ishmael’s stone. We were waiting for some minutes, but he didn’t come. Movafaq, Imam Reza’s slave, went to him and said” Please move; we should go.” But the Imam (A.S) didn’t move. He was deeply sad. He answered:”I will not stand up unless God wants.” Movafaq went to Imam Reza (A.S) and told him about his son. The Imam (A.S) himself came to his son and wanted him to move. But his son didn’t move and said:” I myself saw that it was your farewell tawaf. I found out that you will not come back.” Finally, Imam Reza (A.S) insisted and he stood up and they moved.”
Imam Reza (A.S) himself was aware of his martyrdom in this travel, too. Therefore, he called his family before travel and ordered them to cry for him. Then he went to Prophet Muhammad’s grave with Imam Javad (A.S). He put his son’s hand on the grave and requested the prophet (S.A.W) to save him… Then he invited all of his lawyers and ordered them to obey Imam Javad (A.S) and do not oppose him.
So Imam Reza (A.S) went to Khurasan. During these five years, Imam Reza (A.S) connected to Imam Javad (A.S) by writing letters. One of these letters is as follows:
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
My son! I wish that God grants you a long life and protects you from your enemies. My dear son! All of my possessions are yours. I’m alive now but I’m tired of your separation. I wish God helps you by your benevolent behavior and financial help to your relatives and prepares what is good for you…..
Imam Reza’s worries continued till his martyrdom.
Sheikh Tabarsi wrote based on Umayat –ibn-i Ali:
“Once Imam Javad (A.S) called his slave and said: ’Call all the people in the family and tell them to prepare for mourning.’ I asked: ‘Mourning for whom?’ He answered: ‘Mourning for the best person in the Earth.’ Some days later, we received the news of Imam Reza’s martyrdom when Imam Javad (A.S) notified us.
In the next step, Imam Javad (A.S), who was a teenager, should be present over his father’s corpse, did ablution forhim,buried him and prayed since an Imam must bury another Imam and prayfor his corpse. How did Imam Javad (A.S), about eight years old, come from Medina to Khurasan? Homeiri and QutbRavandi quoted from Moamaribn – i Khalad by a correct document that “Once Imam Javad (A.S) told Moamar to get on. I asked where we should go. He answered ‘get on and do not ask any questions.’ When we arrived to a desert, he said:’ Wait here.’ The Imam (A.S) disappeared and came back one hour later. I asked: ’where were you?’ He answered: ’I was in Khurasan and buried my oppressed father.”
When Imam Reza (A.S) was assassinated in 203 A.H. while he was 55 years old, Imam Javad (A.S) became the next Imam as the ninth infallible Imam while he was 9 years old. In this critical period, Imam Reza’s advice and instructions could get his followers to accept his son’s Imamate. However, exact readings of historical books reveal that it was effective just for his special followers and others who were superficial were waiting for rational reasons. Therefore, it was about to shape a painful crisis about accepting Imam Javad’s Imamate, which included some special followers to some extent. Hence, the Imam (A.S) ought to have features so that he can convince different groups and leads them to the admission of truth sun. Imam’s knowledge was a feature which brought about these groups and their scattered hearts.
Muhammad BaqerMajlesi wrote:
“When Imam Reza (A.S) was assassinated, Imam Javad (A.S) was about 7 years old. The people in Baghdad and around it had different ideas about Imam Javad’s Imamate. Therefore great people such as Ryan –ibn-iSalt, Safwan–ibn -iYahya, Muhammad –ibn -i Hakim, Abdul Rahmanibn - iHajjaj,Younis–ibn -i Abdurrahman and othersgathered in Abdul Rahman–ibn -iHajjaj’s house and solaced one another. Younis–ibn -i Abdurrahman stood up and said:” Stop crying. What is going to happen for Imamate? Whom should we ask our religion questions? How many years shall we wait for Abu Ja’far (Imam Javad (A.S) in order for him to grow up to be able toanswer our religion questions and be our Imam?” As Ryan –ibn -iSalt got sad of these words, he stood up and stopped him and said:”Your faith must be superficial. You are doubtful about Imamate in your conscience. If Imam Javad (A.S) has reached this position (Imamate) by God's grace, he will be as knowledgeable as an old man even if he is one day old. If he hasn't reached it by God, he will be like an ordinary man even if he lives for 1000 years… "
The scientists, scholars of Baghdad …. went to Mecca in a group of eighty people. They came in Medina and went to Imam Sadiq’shouse, which was non residential and held a big ceremony to mourn for Imam Reza (A.S).First, Abdullah, Imam Reza's brother, entered and tried to introduce himself as the next Imam. Soon, it was found out that he is not knowledgeable. Then, Movafaq, Imam Javad's slave, told that Imam was coming. Imam Javad (A.S) came in and answered all the questions. He criticized his uncle and said:" Why did you issue fatwa while you aren't knowledgeable and there is one who knows more than you?"
Koleini and Ibn – i ShahrAshoob have told that thirty thousand questions of the most difficult questions were asked Imam Javad (A.S) in one meeting or several days and the Imam (A.S) answered all the questions.
Obligatory Travel to Baghdad
Therefore, the society gradually got ready to accept his Imamate, which was unpleasant for Abbasi caliphsince his legitimacy went under question as it did in Imam Reza's Imamate. Hence, he tried to bring the Imam (A.S) to Khurasan and avoided his stability and comfort in his life and activities before he became famous among his followers. Consequently, Ma'munwrote a letter to Imam Javad (A.S) and invited him politely pretentiouslyin order to exonerate himself from killing Imam Reza (A.S) and showed his remorse when he came to Baghdad a year after Imam Reza's martyrdom.
The caliphs of Imam Javad'sage/ duration/ Period
1. Muhammad Amin ibn-i Harun / until 198/ Before Imam
2. Ma'munibn-i Harun,/ from 198 to 218 / until 203 (before Imamate ) from 203 to 218 after Imamate
3. Mo'tassemAbbasi / from 17th of Rajab or Sha'ban / after Imamate
The Caliphs of Imam's Period and Imam's Opposition with Them
Imam Javad (A.S) was present during two Abbasi caliphs, the longest of which was in Ma'mun’s period about 15 years and the shortest of which was in Mo'tassem’s period, just two year. Ma'mun was met stigma and insecurity in his government since he had killed Imam Reza (A.S). Hence, he should avoid teasingImam Javad (A.S). Consequently, he tried to make the atmosphere of the society quiet because of the power of Imam’s followers in his time.
One of the evidences which reveal the power of Imam’s followers in that time is when Imam Javad (A.S) was assassinated and his followers brought out his corpse while they had carried over their shoulders, they made adeath covenant, and they neutralized caliph’s decision in order to avoid funeralfor the Imam (A.S). Muhammad Hussein Mozafar wrote:" It is concluded that Shi'a had many followers in that time by reading such events and had the power and the glory."
Basically, the weakness of the central government and current riots made Ma'mun change the center of caliphate to Baghdad, which showed that the caliph had a fragile position so that he was made to suffer Imam Javad (A.S). Therefore, caliph’s kindness was not due to caring and saving superficial reputation, but due to tottering his governmental components in that dangerous and riotous period. Consequently, Imam Javad's admission of the affairs will not mean being tricked by the caliph.
Imam Javad's position was so great among his followers all over the Islamic world that made the caliph shared the power with him like his father, Imam Reza (A.S), so the Imam (A.S) accepted abiding the province providing that he wouldn't interfere in any affair, wouldn't judge, wouldn't assign anyone in the governmental position, ……. , which made others hesitate about caliph’s legitimacy. Although the caliph started this political game, it showed his disability against Imam's influence in hearts. The Imam (A.S) showed his being obligated to accept abiding province by mentioning some conditions not to interfere with governmental affairs and he neutralized caliph’s plan to show his government legitimate.
By this analysis, we can easily find out the basic nature of his obligatory marriage with caliph’s daughter;the marriage which apparently happened due to caliph’s wonders of Imam's knowledge. Also, others believe that it was softness that the Imam (A.S) took advantage of it due to the safety and protection of his followers. At least he considered the interest of forty four thousand people of Sadat Alawi and BaniHashim, who were living in Hejaz, Iraq, Shamat, and Iran and Mammon had gradually called them and were Ma'mun’s employees.
1. Character Assassination
Although the caliph had to behave kindly with the Imam (A.S), all of his tasks were full of meanness; he tried hard to injure the Imam (A.S), and he did everything to reach his dirty goals.
Ibn – i AbiDavud talked about it to his relatives: "The caliph is going to show Imam Javad (A.S) obscene, drunk and infected by women’s perfumes. What do you think of it?"Theyanswered:"It will neutralizehis followers' reasons. "One of them stood up and said:"Some spies among his followers told me that they say:' There must be a divine Imam every period. When a government disturbs his affairs, it will be the best reason that he is a divine Imam."
ibn – i AbiDavud reported the result of the meeting to the caliph and continued:"Today, there is no trick to do about the Imam (A.S), so don't molest him." It is interesting that all the plans were designed after he got married with caliph’s daughter.
2. Creating Defect in His Scientific Character
The other instrument the caliph used to undermine the Imam (A.S) was to hold different debates to find even one blind spot. He, also, followed this wicked plan in the debates having been held for Imam Reza (A.S). Consequently, he said to Hamid ibn-iMehran, who was going to have a debate with Imam Reza (A.S):" Loss of his dignity is the best thing for me." He also told Suleiman Marvazi:"Since I know your scientific power, I invited you to have a debate with him (Imam Javad (A.S) ). My only purpose is that you find a point to convict him."
Certainly, both Imams (Imam Reza (A.S) and Imam Javad (A.S)were victorious in the debates and Ma'mun and the others in the center of the government got more angry and jealous. One of the famous debates is the debate of Imam Javad (A.S) with Yahyaibn – iAksam which occurred in the pop-up question meeting and defamed the scholars in the center of the government.
Yahyaasked:"What is the duty of the person who hunts while he is pilgrim in Mecca and the prey is killed?"
Imam Javad (A.S) answered:
"1. Is it done around the shrine or out of it?
2. Did he know the punishment of his task?
3. Was it done intentionally or unintentionally?
4. Was he a slave or not?
5. Was he young or old?
6. Did he do it before?
7. Was the preya bird or not?
8. Was the prey small or big?
9. Did he continue it or was he remorseful?
10. Was the hunting in the day or at night?
11. Was his pilgrimage in the state ofUmrah or Hajj?
Yahyaibn – iAksam was surprised and couldn't answer the Imam (A.S). The caliph asked the answer of the questions in his loneliness with the Imam (A.S).
The Imam (A.s) answered:
"1. If a pilgrim hunts out of the shrine, the prey is killed, and it is a big bird, he should atone a sheep.
2. If this prey with the above-mentioned features is done around the shrine, he should atone two sheep.
3. If the prey is a chick bird, and he hunts out of the shrine, he should atonea new sheep which hasn’t eaten milk recently.
4. If the same chick bird is hunted around the shrine, he should atone a new sheep which hasn’t eaten milk recently besides paying the price of that chick bird.
5. If the prey is one of the animals and even it was a zebra, the atonement is a cow.
6. If the prey is an ostrich, its atonement will be a camel.
7. If the prey is deer, its atonement is a sheep.
8. If the prey is one of the three above-mentioned items and is done around the shrine, the atonement of each one will be twice.
9. If a person committed a fault which leads to atonement in Hajj pilgrims, its ،atonementanimal will be sacrificed in Mana and if this fault is done in the state of Ihram Umrah, itwill be killed in Mecca.
10. The informed and uninformed hunter has the same rules, but if the hunting is intentional, it will include both atonement and sin, but if it is done unintentionally, he hasn't committed any sin.
11. A person who is not slave, he himself should atone, and slave’s owner should atone.
12. If a young child (a boy younger than15 years old and a girl younger than 9 years old) commits a sin, he/she shouldn't atone, whereas an old person (a boy older than 15 years old and a girlolder than 9 years old) commits a sin, he/she should atone
13. If the sinner atones, there will be no punishment in the hereafter. If he continued to commit the crime, there will be punishment in the hereafter."
Then, the Imam (A.S) asked Yahyaibn-iAksam a question which he couldn't answer. When the Imam (A.S) himself answered the question, the caliph stood up and told:"The people of this family are better than others in virtue. Although he is young, it won't decrease his value. Don't you knowthat Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) began his invitation to Islam in his family which Imam Ali (A.S) accepted it in spite of being 10 years old…… The prophet (S.A.W) accepted Imam Hassan (A.S) and Imam Hussein (A.S)'s allegiance although they were belowsix years of age and he didn't accept the children's allegiance.
Anyway, after Imam Javad (A.S) got married with caliph’s daughter and stayed with him for some months, the Imam (A.S) requested Ma'mun to go to Mecca and Medina. He stayed there untillMa'mun died in 218 A.H.and trained his students and family.
When Ma'mun died on 17th of Rajab or Sha'ban, his brother, Mo'tasem, became the next caliph. After establishing fairly stability in his government, he decided to oppose the Imam (A.S). He wrote a letter to Muhammad ibn-i AbdolMalakZiadat, his mayor in Medina. He ordered him to invite Imam Javad (A.S) with his wife and kindly send him to Baghdad. The mayor gave the letter to Ali ibn -i Yaqtin and ordered him to equip the Imam (A.S), so the Imam (A.S) had to go to his last travel.
Ismail ibn-i Mehranstated:"I told Imam Javad (A.S) in his first travel to Medina:"I'm worried about you. What is our duty and who is the next Imam?" While smiling, the Imam (A.S) said:"What you think (my martyrdom) will not happen in this travel."
I asked the same question in his second travel to Baghdad.
The Imam (A.S) cried so much that his tears made wet his mustache and said:"It will be a dangerous travel and the next Imam is my son, Ali."
So, The Imam (A.S) entered the city while they superficially respected him and watched him carefully in a place near the palace. In this period, Imam's knowledge influenced others even the caliph, so did his father, Imam Reza (A.S). Therefore, appropriate practical advertising was conducted either intentionally or unintentionally for the Imam (A.S). Anyway, the caliph like Ma'mun took advantage of Imam's opinions in the scientific sessions. It always accompanied Imam's victory against the other party which led to hatred against the Imam (A.S).
Ayyashi stated in his interpretation:" Ibn – i AbiDavud came out sadly of Mo’tasam’s meeting. He was asked why he was sad. He answered:' Today, Imam Javad (A.S) said something that defamed us. A thief had been caught. The caliph ordered to cut his hand. He asked me from which part it should be cut. I answered from palm. Some agreed me and others told his elbowshould be cut. Everybody presented his reasons. The caliph asked the Imam (A.S) to express his idea. He answered that others did. The caliph continued: 'I don't mind their ideas. What's your idea?' Finally he answered after caliph’ swear: "His four fingers should be cut and leave his palm for praying. He presented some reasons which we couldn't answer. I had such a bad feeling as if it were the hereafter. I wish I had died twenty years ago and I hadn't seen such a day."
Ibn – i AbiDavud went to the caliph and said:"It is my duty to be benevolentfor the caliph. What happened some days ago was not good for our government. The caliph faced a difficult problem, asked it from the current scholars and asked their ideas while the ministries, writers, rulers and grandees were present. In such a meeting, you asked a man who is known to be the Imam by half of the world and you are the right violator by them and finally you preferred his reply to our replies. It was spread among the people and became a reason for his followers.
At this time, Ibn – i AbiDavud'stemptations in addition to the deep hatred of Bani Abbas against Imamate made the caliph more resolved to kill the Imam (A.S). As the caliph heard it, his face turned red and said:" God bless you. You made me aware of a task which I was negligent about." Therefore, the caliph ordered one of his writers to invite the Imam (A.S) to his house and venom his food. He did so.
Since the Imam (A.S) was never present in the meetings of such people, he attended due to extreme persistence and ate one morsel which was poisonous. When he found out that it was poisonous, he stood up. The accursed host persisted, but the Imam (A.S) answered:" It is not advisable for you that I stay in your house by the task you did. The Imam (A.S) left the house and was sick in all the day and night till he became martyrdom.
QutbRavandi wrote:" The Imam (A.S) told: 'I will die tonight. When God do not doom the world for Imams, He will take usto Himself."
There are, also, other narrations about Imam's martyrdom in different books such as:
1. Some evidences reveal that His wife assassinated him. Since Mo'tasem knew that Om al-Fazl, his wife, did not have any children and didn't love him, he stimulated her and she assassinated the Imam (A.S) by poisonous grapes.
2. Some other evidences reveal that Mo'tasem suggested his army commander to make him drink a poisonous juice. Although the Imam (A.S) avoided drinking it, the commander persisted and made the Imam (A.S) dink it and finally he was successful to carry out his evil plan.
3. Ibn – i Baboye and others believe that VaseqBellah assassinated the Imam (A.S) (after Mo'tasem).
He wrote in his book titled Grades Insights according to a person who always accompanied Imam Hadi (A.S) [Imam Javad’s son]:” Imam Javad (A.S) was in Baghdad. Once we sat down next to Imam Hadi (A.S). He was a child and had a board and was reading it. Suddenly, his feeling changed. He stood up and came in the house. Suddenly we heard the sound of wailing which was from the house.”
Imam Hadi (A.S) came out after one hour. I asked what happened. He answered:’ My dear father passed away in this hour. ’ I asked:’ How did you find it out?’ He replied: ‘I had a feeling that I have not experienced yet. I found out that my father has passed away and I’m the next Imam.’ After a while, everybody found out that Imam Javad (A.S) had been assassinated.”
Others have quoted that Imam Hadi (A.S) went to Baghdad by Teyal Arz (a special action in which you can be everywhere in few seconds), did ablution for his father, buried him and returned Medina.
Event / Time
1. Imam Javad’s birthday (195 A.H.)
2. Imam Reza’s travel to Khurasan (200 A.H.)
3. Imam Javad’s age in Imam Reza’s travel / About 6 years old
4. Imam Reza’s martyrdom / 203 A.H.
5. Imam Javad’s age in his father’s martyrdom / about 8 to 9 years old
6. Imam Javad’s travel to Baghdad / 204 A.H. (10 years old)
7. Imam Javad’s martyrdom / the last day of Ziqa’deh (25 years old) 25 years and two months and eighteen days
8. Imam Javad’s Imamate Period / 17 years