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Knowledge of Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) (According to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik ibn Anas)

Knowledge of Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as)As far as the knowledge of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (pbut) is concerned, it is sufficient to say that Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) was the teacher of the two Sunni Imams, i.e., Imam Abu Hanifa (Numan ibn Thabit) and Imam Malik ibn Anas.

Imam Abu Hanifa sat in the company of Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) for two years in Madina and learned a great deal from him, despite their disagreement after that time Abu Hanifa used to say: 'Without those two years, Numan would have perished.' Although Imam Abu Hanifa was 3 years older than Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as), he learned the various religious sciences in these two years. Malik ibn Anas also confessed straightforwardly that he had not met anyone learned in Islamic Jurisprudence better than Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as).

"Abu Hanifa al-Numan! People have become so infatuated with Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) and placed him far too highly in their esteem. Therefore, I want you to prepare some very difficult questions which you will put to him in my presence and in front of other scholars." These were the instructions given to Abu Hanifa al-Numan by Mansur Ad-Dawaniqi the second Abbasid Caliph.

Much as he loved Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) and respected his scholarly achievement, Abu Hanifa al-Numan had no choice but to comply with Abbasid Caliph's request. Therefore, he prepared 40 such questions and waited for a call from the Caliph, which soon arrived.

Imam Abu Hanifa went to Mansur Ad-Dawaniqi to find Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) sitting with him as well as many other people. As he looked at Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as), he was in awe of him much more than of Abbasid Caliph.

Mansur Ad-Dawaniqi asked Abu Hanifa al-Numan to put his questions to Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) and he did, one by one. Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) answered all questions in detail. Needless to say, these were questions on issues subject to much controversy among scholars. Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) said in his answer to each question, as reported by Abu Hanifa al-Numan: "You, i.e. the scholars of Iraq, say so and so, but the scholars of Madina say such and such, while our own view is the following. He may agree with us or with the scholars of Madina or may disagree with us all, elucidating his own opinion. None of the 40 questions represented any difficulty for him."

Such was the standing of Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) whom Abu Hanifa al-Numan describes as the 'most learned scholar I have ever seen.' This is in line with Abu Hanifa al-Numan's criterion which states: "The most learned scholar is the one who knows best the differences among scholars."

Scent of a flower from the school of Imam Sadiq (pbuh) (Shahadat/Martyrdom Anniversary)

The value of a school of thought can to a great extent be determined by viewing its students' accomplishments. If a school of thought hands over well educated students to the society, then surely that school of thought has the ability to nourish the minds of its community.

Therefore, on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Sadiq (pbuh) 25th Shawwal, we want to give a glimpse of the different aspects of his life, his characters and especially his knowledge by showing examples through his students.

Historians have estimated that nearly four thousand students have studied in the school of Imam Sadiq (pbuh). Great scholars graduated from his school of thought in different fields of Islamic studies such as jurisprudence (divine law), interpretation of Noble Qur'an and Hadith, history of religions, science of beliefs and several other sciences of that era.

Scent of a flower from the school of Imam Sadiq (pbuh)Gaining proficiency was highly regarded in the school of Imam Sadiq (pbuh). Some of his students and their specializations are as follows:

  • Hamran ibn Aa'yan - Science of Qur'anic recitation
  • Abaan ibn Taghlab - Arabic language
  • Zurarah - Jurisprudence
  • Mu'min Taaq - the Divine Word
  • Hamzah Tayyar - free-will and predestination
  • Hisham ibn Salim - Monotheism
  • Hisham ibn Hakam - Imamah

From amongst the students, Hisham ibn Hakam was one of the best students in the school of Imam Sadiq (pbuh). Even though Hisham was young, Imam Sadiq (pbuh) had great respect for him. Hisham had studied many religions and schools of thought but none of them convinced him except the school of Ahl al-Bayt (pbut) and Imam Sadiq (pbuh). Thus, Hisham excelled in the skills of logic, inductive reasoning and especially in debates. Many scholars thought of him as a great indisputable professor and were afraid to challenge him. Hisham had participated in many debates and discussions with people of diverse religions and beliefs. One of whom he had had a debate with about Christianity and the eternity of the hereafter, was Jathaliq Nasraani (the leader of Christians at that time).

To conclude, we will include one of the debates Hisham had with Dirar ibn Umar, a Sunni scholar, in regards to Imamah:

Hisham: Dirar! Is the criterion for qualifying someone for the position of Wilayah (Mastership) his outward or inward characteristics?

Dirar: His outward appearance, because no one can judge about a person's internal thoughts, except by the help of revelation.

Hisham: Indeed you have spoken the truth. Now tell me who has defended and helped Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) more? Ali or the first Caliph? Has Ali fought more in the battles against the enemies or the first Caliph?

Dirar: Of course Ali served Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) more, yet Abu Bakr's knowledge and certainty was more than Ali's.

Hisham: Certainty is something that can be understood only through a person's heart. And as you yourself mentioned, none can be aware of the inner thoughts through appearance. Thus, apparently you just proved that Ali is better for the position of Wilayah.

Dirar: Yes, apparently it is so.

Hisham: Are you aware of the following prophetic narration? Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said to Ali, "Your status with respect to mine is equivalent to the status of Haroun/Aaron with respect to Musa/Moses, except there will be no prophet after me." (This is the Hadith of Manzilat which is an authentic Hadith and has been recorded in both Shia and Sunni sources)

Dirar: Yes.

Hisham: Do you think it is right for Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) to say such a thing when that person does not have the true faith within him?

Dirar: No.

Hisham: Thus, it is clear that Ali ibn Abi Talib has the basis for Imamah, through both inward and outward appearances. However, in case of your leader, even his outward actions have not proven anything ... and praise be to Allah!

Hisham was only one example of the graduates of Imam Sadiq's (pbuh) excellent school of thought. Then how far is the horizon of the origin of this knowledge? Only Allah (SWT) knows!

Scholarly Jihad of the sixth Holy Imam Jafar Sadiq (as)

Scholarly Jihad of the sixth Holy Imam Jafar Sadiq (as)Imam Jafar Sadiq stood out among his peers for his great merits. He was the most celebrated personality of his time, the greatest in rank and the most illustrious in the eyes of both the non-Shia and the Shia Muslims. Upon his authority the religious sciences were transmitted and great travelers carried these with them to many nations and his wisdom and piety were known and respected in other lands.

The learned scholars have transmitted more traditions on the authority of Imam Jafar Sadiq than any other member of Ahl al-Bayt (pbut).

During the period of his Imamate, a more favorable climate existed for the propagation of this religious teaching. This was a result of revolts within the Islamic realm, in particular the uprising which was aimed at overthrowing the Umayyad Caliphs, and the bloody wars which finally led to the fall and extinction of the Umayyad dynasty.

The greater opportunities for the teaching of the Shia Muslim faith were also a result of the favourable groundwork that the fifth Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir, had prepared during the twenty years of his Imamate, through the propagation of the true teachings of Islam and Ahl al-Bayt (pbut).

The end of the Imamate of Imam Jafar Sadiq was coupled with the end of the Umayyad dynasty and the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate. Emam Sadegh (as) instructed many scholars in different fields of intellectual and transmitted sciences (Maqul and Manqul), such as Zurarah and Jabir bin Hayyam the alchemist. Indeed, the first personage to give attention to chemistry was Imam Jafar Sadiq and it can be stated, without fear of contradiction, that he is the forerunner of chemistry.

The Greek texts on this area of science had not yet been translated into Arabic and the Muslims possessed no knowledge of this subject. It is the result of Imam Jafar Sadiq's deep thinking that the developed the science of chemistry. The aforementioned Jabir bin Hayyam would visit Emam Sadegh (as) daily, only missing to see him on one occasion when Jabir was ill. The latter beseeched the Imam to pray for him via a written communication and Jabir was subsequently cured.

Emam Sadegh (as) spent his whole life in propagating the teachings of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and never strove for power. His acclaim attracted the envy of the Abbasid ruler, Mansur Ad-Dawaniqi who, fearing the popularity of the Imam, decided to do away with him. Mansur ordered the torture and arrest of the descendents of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), many of whom were brutally murdered. Eventually he also succeeded in poisoning our 6th Emam Sadegh (as).

In the end let us heed to the following saying of Imam Jaf'ar Sadiq (as): "Either be a scholar, or try to seek knowledge or at least be a follower of the possessors of knowledge."

Definition of youth according to Islam (Piety and devotion of Emam Sadegh (as))

Piety and devotion of Emam Sadegh (as)Emam Sadegh (as) once asked the students and companions who had gathered around him: "Who is a youth?"

A person answered, "Someone who is young in age."

Emam Sadegh (as) said, "Despite the old age of the People of the Cave, on account of the faith which they possessed, Allah (SWT) has referred to them as 'youths'. In verse 10 of the chapter al-Kahf (18) in Noble Qur'an, Allah (SWT) says: When the youths sought refuge in the cave. Emam Sadegh (as) then continued, "Whoever believes in Allah (SWT) and observes piety is a youth."

Emam Sadegh (as) was asked the meaning of Piety, Emam Sadegh (as) Replied:

"Piety is that Allah (SWT) does not miss you in the place where He has commanded you to be, and does not see (find) you where He has forbidden you from."

Piety and devotion of Emam Sadegh (as)

The piety and abstemiousness is the standard of the man's value. Noble Qur'an considers all the people as equal, except for those who are decorated with the ornament of piety.

Most of the time Emam Sadegh (as) was clothed in a dress of coarse material or wool, due to which his body was in great discomfort. This woolen dress was also patched. One of his companions was disturbed on seeing him dressed thus. Emam Sadegh (as) said, "Remember, one who has no modesty, has no faith. One who also does not spend according to his income may be involved in financial hardships. One who does not wear old clothes, makes himself prone to pride."

"When Emam Sadegh (as) went out of the house he used to put on new, clean, valuable and costly dress and climb up a horse. A group of ignorant people thought this act negated the piety and asceticism. Therefore, they would come and object and when they heard the response they would be ashamed."

Narrator says, "One day I saw Emam Sadegh (as) sitting on bare floor. I said, 'O son of the Messenger of Allah, where is that floor spread on which you used to sit?' He said, 'I saw a person shivering in cold and told him if that spread could save him from cold he may take it. He said it would, so I gave it to him?' I said, 'Master! Then for how long could you continue to sit on a bare floor?' He said, 'I would not mind even if I have to sit on it all life long. O man, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) often sat on the bare ground with his companions. Why are you surprised if I also sit in the same manner?'"

Malik bin Ans says, "Emam Sadegh (as) was always busy praying to God and considered to be one of the great ascetics and devoted ones."

Abdul Ala says, on a hot day of summer I saw Emam Sadegh (as) on one of the roads of Madina while he was going for a job. I said, "May I lay my life for you, why have you put yourself into inconvenience in such a hot weather, with all the faith upon God and association with Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)?" Emam Sadegh (as) said, "I have come out for the job and to earn my livelihood, so that I must not remain needy towards others.

Another one says, "I saw Emam Sadegh (as) wearing rough dress and he was working in a garden like an ordinary labor and perspiring all over." I said to him "O son of the Messenger of Allah, allow me to work for you." Emam Sadegh (as) said, "I love working for my livelihood and to taste the hardship of the burning heat of the sun like others."

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016