By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"O Allah, I beseech You knowing that You are the Sovereign, that You have power over all things, and whatever You Will, comes into being.
"O Allah, I turn to You through Your Prophet, Muhammad, the Messenger of Mercy – Allah bless him and his progeny.
"O Muhammad, O Prophet of Allah! I turn to Allah through You, your Lord and my Lord, that He may fulfill my request for your sake.
"O Allah, for the sake of Your Prophet, Muhammad, and the Imams of his progeny – Allah bless him and his progeny – fulfill my request!”
We are passing through the blessed days of Rajab, the sacred month in which the floodgates of God’s mercy are opened for the seekers of proximity to the Divine Court through special prayers and supplications. It is the month in which blessings galore for the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt.
The above-mentioned supplication in the Divine Court is among those which the faithful recite on the eve of the advent of Rajab. As is evident, it is unique. Although the English translation might lack the electrifying impact of the original Arabic, nonetheless, as could be clear by the wordings, the one who bequeathed this supplication to humanity was not an ordinary person.
As is obvious, first the Almighty is directly beseeched by the supplicant, who then addresses Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) as the intercessor with Allah, and then implores Allah again for the sake of the Messenger of Mercy and the Imams of his Household.
Perhaps the naïve might not grasp the message of this supplication, but anyone well-versed with God’s Revealed Word, the Holy Qur’an, where the Almighty Himself speak of "shafa’a” or intercession and "wasila” or means, in the Divine Court, know for sure that these wordings are indeed hidden treasures, or else their prayers would never have been answered.
Moreover, the Prophet himself set the precedent in this regard by teaching the faithful to supplicate to Allah by invoking those whom the Almighty Creator holds near and dear.
To be more precise, this particular supplication was taught by the person whose birth anniversary we celebrate every year on the 10th of Rajab.
He was the 9th Infallible Heir of the Last and Greatest of Prophets. He was entrusted the "imamate” or Divinely-designated leadership of mankind, at the tender age of 8 years. Yet despite his young age, he immediately set about to prove his mission by making speechless the prominent preachers and orators of his era.
In fact, so powerful were his words of wisdom that silver-bearded scholars of his days, whose sceptical minds had been unable to comprehend the Ayahs of the Holy Qur’an that speaks of John (Yahya) being granted wisdom and the book while still a child, tried to pose questions to him beyond his age. It is a matter of regret that these self-styled scholars also seemed to have forgotten the Ayahs of Surah Maryam where the infant Jesus speaks of his mission from the cradle.
The 9th Imam, whose epithet "Taqi” means Pious, while another famous epithet "Jawad” means Generous in both material and spiritual matters including knowledge, jolted from deep slumber the minds of the self-doubting scholars.
As the son of the Martyr of Khorasan, Imam Reza (AS), he gave glimpses of his God-given knowledge to all those who came into contact with him, thereby proving beyond any doubt that he was Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) spotlessly pure heir.
During his 17-year mission, he enlightened minds and souls, grooming a large number of scholars in various fields, who would carry on for the benefit of posterity the legacy the Prophet had bequeathed to his Vicegerent, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) at Ghadeer-Khom, on the express commandment of God, while returning from his Farewell Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca in 10 AH.
Born in Medina in the year 195 AH, the 9th Imam was orphaned at the age of 8 on the martyrdom through poison of his illustrious father, Imam Reza (AS), in distant Khorasan. Yet despite his tender years he ably carried on his young shoulders the heavy responsibility of the guidance of the ummah.
His debates with religious leaders of various religions, and scholars of different schools of philosophical thought, including with the grey-bearded Mu’tazallie ideologue, Yayya ibn Aktham, are well known. They deal with wide-ranging subjects, including the Hajj rituals, the rules of hunting birds and animals, marriage, laws of permissibility regarding women, and the important matter of "wilayah” or God-given authority that is vital in this world for unified leadership of the Ummah, and essential in essential in afterlife for the safe and proper journey of the human soul.
For over 15 years, Imam Jawad (AS) was under the watchful eyes of the crafty caliph, Mamoun, the killer of his father. The Abbasid ruler forced his daughter in marriage upon Imam Jawad (AS), who was already married and was the father of several children.
Although not happy with this mismatch, he continued the mission of his illustrious forbears. He laid the groundwork for the foolproof system of "wikala” or representation that bound the Ummah scattered throughout the vast realm, to the Imam, without arousing the suspicions of the Abbasid agents. Later during the occultation of Imam Jawad’s (AS) great grandson, the awaited Imam Mahdi (AS) the "wikala” was to play a vital role in guiding the believers.
After Mamoun’s death, the 9th Imam was for around two years under the constant watch of the next caliph, Mu’tasim, who eventually martyred him through poisoning at the young age of only 25 years.
Imam Taqi (AS) was laid to rest in the shrine of Kazemain, north of Baghdad, beside his grandfather, Imam Musa Kazem (AS), which is now the principal centre of pilgrimage in the Iraqi capital for Muslim, whether Shi’a or Sunni.
Since time and space do not permit me go into details about the other important aspects of the life of the 9th Imam, who trained a vast number of scholars, such as such as Khaled al-Burqi who wrote over a hundred books and treatises, and Ahmad bin Mohammad Bizanti – of Greek Byzantine origin as his surname suggests – who compiled the encyclopedic work "Jame’ Bizanti”.
Here, it will suffice to say that once when a newly converted Muslim wrote a letter to Imam Jawad (AS) asking whether to be kind to his father or throw him out of the house for being angry with him for having accepted Islam.
The Imam replied: "I read your letter, I will pray for you, but beware that it is better for you to be kind to your father – even if he is not a Muslim.”
This is indeed the dynamic legacy of the Messenger of Mercy, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), as expounded by his spotlessly pure Ahl al-Bayt, in contrast to the terror tactics of most of the Salaf, who before becoming Muslims – for a variety of reasons – were polytheists and atheists, immersed in a bestial life of abominable sins and fratricide (as their followers the takfiri terrorists, who neither believe in "wasila” or means and "shafa’a” or intercession, continue to do).