News ID: 104546
Publish Date : 06 July 2022 - 21:48

By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz

“The Hajj and the Umrah are two markets for (profits of) the Hereafter. The person who performs the Hajj and the Umrah very often is Allah’s guest; if Allah keeps him alive he remains forgiven, and if Allah takes away his life he will enter Paradise.”
We are in the state of mourning for the person who gave us the above-mentioned tidings of the benefits of pilgrimage to the Symbolic House of God, the Holy Ka’ba in Mecca – the first ever edifice built on Planet Earth by the Father of the human race, Adam.
He did not coin these phrases, but was expounding to the faithful the Hadith of his illustrious ancestor, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), from whom he descended on both sides – his mother Fatema (SA) being the daughter of the Prophet’s elder grandson, Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (AS), and his father Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) being the son of the Prophet’s younger grandson, Imam Husain (AS), the Martyr of Karbala.
His identity should be obvious by now. He was none other than the Prophet’s namesake and his 5th Infallible Heir, Imam Muhammad (AS), whose epithet “Baqer al-Uloum” (Splitter and Spreader of Sciences) was prophesied by the Prophet himself.
We are commemorating his martyrdom today, since it was on the 7th of Dhu’l-Hijjah that he was forced to depart from the world from his home in Medina, on the eve of the climax to the Hajj – an obligatory act of worship for those who can financially and physically afford the journey, regarding whose rites, such as the “talabiyya” or the pilgrims’ responding to the Call of the Almighty, he had said:
“Whoever says “Labbayk” seventy times out of faith and conviction, Allah will assign thousands of angels to bear witness to his immunity from the Fire (of Hell) and schism.”
Among the many Hadith on the significance of the Hajj and its rituals narrated by Imam Baqer (AS) from the Prophet, is the following:
“The supplications of every person, whether pious or impious, who stays in Arafat and at Mash’ar al-Harram, will definitely be answered (by Allah). The supplications of a pious person will be of benefit in both this world and afterlife, while the supplications of an impious person will be of benefit only in matters of this (transient) world.”
He also said:
“One Raka’ah of prayer in the Masid al-Haraam (Sacred Mosque surrounding the Holy Ka’ba in Mecca) is better than a hundred thousand Raka’ahs of prayer in other mosques.”
Another narration from him reads:
“Whoever reads the whole Qur’an in Mecca within a week, less or more, and finishes it on Friday, Allah will write for him as many rewards as Fridays in this world…”
Imam Baqer (AS) was not a mere narrator. In fact, he punctually practiced whatever he preached. He set lofty precedents for the faithful regarding the sanctity of the Holy Ka’ba and its inviolable precincts – which unfortunately have been violated in the past by the Godless who masqueraded as caliphs and in our times by those who style themselves as Custodians of the Two Holy Shrines.
According to a person named Aflah, whom the 5th Imam had bought from an Arab and freed from enslavement: “I was accompanying Imam Baqer (AS) during the Hajj pilgrimage, when on entering the Masjid al-Haraam and sighting the Holy Ka’ba, he started weeping incessantly. I said, ‘My parents be sacrificed for you; people are watching you; can you not lower your voice to a whisper?’ The Imam answered:
“O Aflah, this is the House of Allah; why should I not weep? I will certainly be of esteem in His Sight and attain salvation in the Hereafter.”
Aflah says the Imam then circumambulated the Holy Ka’ba, performed the Special Prayer for Tawaf in its proper place, and fell into prostration. When he raised his head, his forehead was wet with tears.
No wonder, the Prophet had prophesied the merits of Imam Baqer (AS) and sent his greetings through the faithful companion, Jaber ibn Abdullah al-Ansari, over half-a-century before the birth of this Immaculate Grandson of both his Infallible Grandsons – the Leaders of the Youths of Paradise.
On his authority scholars learned the correct exegesis of the holy Qur’an, penned down the accounts of the Prophets of the past, and were enlightened about the genuine “Sunnah wa Seerah” (Practice and Behaviour) of the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger.
This was the reason the Omayyad usurpers were dead scared of him, and the tyrant Hesham ibn Abdul-Malik forced him to come to Damascus, along with his eldest son, the future Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS).
Following a debate on the legitimacy of succession to the Prophet, the self-styled caliph became speechless and in anger imprisoned father and son. Soon he had to release them on learning that Imam Baqer (AS), like Prophet Joseph, was reforming the inmates to become good Muslims.
He, however, refused permission to them to return to Medina, until the famous discourse of the Fifth Imam with the chief Christian priest of Syria that made the latter embrace the truth of Islam along with many of his followers – a factor that greatly alarmed the Omayyads.
May Allah curse Hisham ibn Abdul-Malik, who did not allow the Imam to live in peace in Medina, and fearful of the popularity of the Prophet’s Righteous Heir among the Muslims, ordered the governor of Medina, Ibrahim bin Waleed, to place a saddle fitted with poisoned nails on Imam Baqer’s (AS) mount.
Alas, as the Hajj neared, the 5th Imam succumbed to the fatal bait and attained martyrdom at the age of 57.
Before departing from the mortal world at the end of his 19-year imamate, Imam Baqer (AS) set aside a sum of money and willed that at Mena during the Hajj where Muslims from various lands converge for the climax to the annual pilgrimage, the sufferings of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, including his own, should be narrated.
Peace unto the 5th Imam, who as a 4-year child witnessed in Karbala the tragic martyrdom of his grandfather, Imam Husain (AS), and was imprisoned by Yazid’s ungodly forces of Yazid who subjected him to whiplashes; the marks of which were visible on his body at the time of the funeral bath and burial this day in 114 AH in the Sacred Jannat al-Baqie Cemetery – blasphemously destroyed by the Wahhabis in 1926.

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