By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"O you who have faith; be wary of Allah and be with the Truthful...” (Holy Qur’an 9:119)
The Almighty Creator commands the believers to be ever-cognizant of His Omnipresence in order not to veer off the straight and unwavering path that leads to paradise, for attaining whose eternal bliss we have to adhere to the divinely-designated Truthful.
The Arabic word used by the Holy Qur’an for those determined Truthful by the Lord Most High is "Sadeqin”. It is a plural form of "Sadeq”
This means there is a lot of difference between those whom the All-Wise God has designated as "Truthful” and those whose hypocrisy misleads some of us to mistakenly call "Siddiq”.
The true believers, however, are never deceived, because they firmly adhere to the instructions of the First and Foremost "Sadeq”, that is, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), whose blessed birthday we celebrated yesterday on Rabi al-Awwal 17.
The Seal of Messengers did not leave the Ummah in doubt and darkness. He clearly stated, as per divine commandments that after him will be TWELVE Imams, of whom the first is his dear cousin, ward, and son-in-law, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), whom he publicly proclaimed as Vicegerent while addressing a huge 120,000 strong assembly of Hajj pilgrims on 18th Zilhijja 10 AH at the pond (ghadeer) of Khom, near Juhfa.
These TWELVE Infallible Imams are indeed the "Sadeqin” or the Most Truthful, to whose path we are commanded to adhere.
Since the Ahl al-Bayt and the Holy Qur’an never part with each other, as the Prophet informed us in the famous Hadith Thaqalayn (Two Weighty Things), there was indeed Divine Wisdom that the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) should be the day on which his 6th Infallible Heir was born in 83 AH.
Moreover, as the Prophet was the "Sadeq”, the newborn who was named Ja’far by his father, Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS) – descended from the Prophet on both sides; through his father Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) the son of Imam Husain (AS), and his mother Fatema (SA) the daughter of Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS) – was destined to be universally acclaimed as "as-Sadeq” or the Most Truthful of his times.
No wonder, the 6th Imam was the Reviver of the "Sunnah” and "Seerah” (behaviour and practice) of his illustrious ancestor, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).
Thus, "Sadeq” became the exclusively epithet of the 6th Imam, who flourished at a crucial period of history, when the Ummah was exposed to the influx of a variety of philosophical and pseudo-religious ideas from the various nations that were coming in the fold of Islam. In addition, the tyrannical regimes had forbidden the collection of authentic hadith and the proper interpretation of the ayahs of the holy Qur’an.
As a result the people were bewildered, and to stop the confusion, Imam Ja’far (AS) embarked upon rectifying beliefs and correcting the Islamic ideology.
The struggle for power between the tottering Omayyad regime and the insurgent Abbasids, provided the 6th Imam with the opportunity to take to towering heights the academy of Medina, whose foundation had been actually laid by his grandfather, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), and which had been developed by his father, Imam Muhammad Baqer (AS).
So thoroughly did Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS) revolutionized it that at one time 4000 scholars from various parts of the Islamic World – Asia, Africa and Europe – sat at the feet of the heir of the Prophet to learn various disciplines, including jurisprudence, theology, rhetoric, ethics, hadith, exegesis of the holy Qur’an, accounts of the past Prophets (history), and natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, botany, etc. Among its proud products was the Father of Chemistry, Jaber ibn Hayyan (known as Geber to medieval Europe).
The 6th Imam, during his 34-year imamate continued the enlightening task of the Prophet to revive in society the genuine teachings of Islam. This naturally brought him into a confrontation not only the pseudo jurisprudents of his time, who were for brief period his students (actually school dropouts whose names are not worth mentioning here) but also devious tendencies, such as the Sufis and Ghullats (the extremists).
As the most truthful person of his age, he deplored the double standards of the Sufis, since most of these self-styled ascetics either did not practice whatever they preached or twisted matters beyond proportion to lead naïve down the self-destructive path of shunning the blessings and bounties of God.
The Imam recommended spiritual purification, paying attention to spirituality and enjoying the blessings of nature and its manifestations as permitted by the holy Qur’an and the practice of the Prophet. He used to debate with the leaders of Sufism, such as Sufyan Thawri, to convince them that their religious practice was not rational, and on no account God wants His creatures to avoid the blessings of food clothe and other lawful and permissible pleasures.
At the same time, the 6th Imam had to confront the Ghullat or the extremists who although claiming to be followers of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt had distorted their beliefs and were misleading people by attributing things and characteristics to the Infallible Imams that are exclusively for God Almighty.
Imam Sadeq (AS) openly cursed such persons, saying: "We are servants of Allah, Who created us and made us superior to the others of His creation. Certainly we shall die and shall stand before Allah for reckoning. He who is a friend of the Ghalis is our enemy; and he who is their enemy is our friend. The Ghalis are infidels and polytheists; curse upon them.”
Congratulations on the Blessed Birthday of Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS)