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Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) from the Viewpoint of Sunni Scholars

It is known from various history books and various sources of Hadith that when Imam As-Sadiq was a young boy, he used to come to the schools and Madrasas founded by his father the 5th Imam and instead of learning as many other youngsters and older pupil did, he used to discuss serious matters of Fiqh and Jurisprudence with much older students of the Madrasas.

The 6th Imam, Ja’far Ibn Muhammad As-Sadiq (as) was Born in Madinah on 17th Rabiul Awwal 83 Hijiri (23.4.702 AD). Died in Madinah on 15th Shawwal, 148 Hijri (7.12.765 AD) at the age of 63. Period of Imamate 34 years.

It is known from various history books and various sources of Hadith that when Imam As-Sadiq was a young boy, he used to come to the schools and Madrasas founded by his father the 5th Imam and instead of learning as many other youngsters and older pupil did, he used to discuss serious matters of Fiqh and Jurisprudence with much older students of the Madrasas.

Listed below are just a few references from the numerous mentions made about Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) by the Sunni leaders and scholars.

His Imamat

  1. Shams al-Deen Zahabi says: Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) – of tremendous stature, from the Imams of knowledge, he was worthier of caliphate than Abu Jafar al-Mansoor al-Dawaniqi…
  • Seyar Aalaam al Nobala vol 13 p 120

He also says – Jafar’s (a.s.) virtues are excessive and he was appropriate for caliphate owing to his seniority, excellence, knowledge and nobility.

  • Tarikh al-Islam – Hawadith Wafiyyat from period 141-160 A.H. p 93
  1. Abu Zakariyya Muhy al-Deen Sharaf Nawawi (exp. 686 A.H.) writes – They (Muslims) are unanimous about his Imamat, magnificence and leadership.

Umar Ibn Abi al-Miqdam says – Whenever I used to look at Jafar Ibn Muhammad (a.s.), I was certain that he was from the progeny of prophets (a.s.).

  • Tahzeeb al-Asma wa al-Lugaat vol 1 p 155
  1. Salah al-Deen Safadi (exp. 764 A.H.) documents – Jafar Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn al-Husain Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) – he was famous as al-Sadiq, the Madani Imam of knowledge…he possesses multiple virtues, he was deserving of caliphate owing to his seniority, knowledge and nobility.
  • Al-Waafi bil Wafiyyaat vol 11 p 126-128
  1. Hafiz Shahab al-Deen Ahmed Ibn Ali Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (exp. 852 A.H.) records – Jafar Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn al-Husain Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) al-Hashimi Abu Abdillah famous as al-Sadiq, (he was) truthful, jurist and the sixth Imam…
  • Taqrib al-Tahzeeb vol 1 p 91
  1. Ibne Khallekaan records: Al-Imam Jafar Ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (a.s.) – he is the sixth Imam from the pure Ahle Bait (a.s.) and he was titled al-Sadiq due to truthfulness in speech. His excellence is too well-known to need any mentioning.

He was born in the 80th A.H. and passed away (martyred) in 148 A.H. He was buried in al-Baqi adjacent to his father Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) and his grandfather Ali, Zain al-Abedeen (a.s.) and latter’s uncle al-Hasan Ibn Ali (a.s.). May Allah reward him how much nobility and grace He has bestowed on his grave.

  • Wafaayaat al-A’yaan vol 1 p 327

His knowledge

  1. Abu Usman Amr Ibn Bahr Jaahiz (exp. 250 A.H.) says – And Jafar Ibn Muhammad (a.s.) is the one who has filled the earth with his knowledge and jurisprudence. And it is said that Abu Hanifah was among his students as also Sufyan al-Sawri…
  • Rasaail al-Jaahiz p 106
  1. Muhammad Ibn Habbaan Ibn Ahmed Tamimi Basti (exp. 354 A.H.) narrates – Jafar Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn al-Husain Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) – his agnomen was Abu Abdillah. He has narrated traditions from his father and he was from the chiefs of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) in jurisprudence, knowledge, excellence. Al-Sawri, Malik (Ibn Anas), Shobah and others have narrated traditions from him.
  • Al-Theqaat vol 6 p 131
  1. Ibne Sabbaagh al-Maliki writes: He (Imam Sadiq a.s.) has been quoted in the traditions from a group of famous Imams like Yahya Ibn Saeed, Ibne Juraij, Malik Ibn Anas, (Sufyan) Sawri, Abu Oyainah, Abu Hanifah, Shobah, Abu Ayyub al-Sajistani, etc.
  • Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah fi Ma’rifah Umoor al-A’immah p 222
  1. Suyuti records: Surely he is the Imam (a.s.) who established recording of traditions from his forefather and ancestors (a.s.) at a time when the Muslims hastened to organize traditions after ignoring its importance in the initial stages. This period of organizing traditions continued till 143 A.H.
  • Tarikh al-Khulafa under caliphate of Mansoor (l.a.)
  1. Muhammad Abu Zahrah writes: Muslim scholars notwithstanding their differences have not reached a consensus on a matter like the excellence and knowledge of Imam Sadiq (a.s.)…
  • Al-Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) by Abu Zahrah p. 53 from Hilyah al-Awliya vol 3 p 198

He adds: Imam Sadiq (a.s.) delivered lectures on the science of physics and chemistry. His student – Jabir Ibn Hayyan has compiled a booklet with narrations from him (Imam Sadiq a.s.). Ibne Khallekaan has alluded to this in his book ‘Wafaayaat al-A’yaan’. And similarly, he taught all sciences in vogue during the era. Greater than knowledge of these sciences was his mastery over ethics and causes of its corruption. Access to this knowledge was made possible from inspiration, spirituality, excessive worship and adhering to the straight path…

  • Al-Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) p 53, 54
  1. Abu Jafar al-Mansoor al-Dawaniqi (l.a.) says – A member of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) is ever present to narrate traditions (Muhaddith) and Jafar Ibn Muhammad (a.s.) is the narrator of this age…
  • Tarikh al-Yaqubi vol 3 p 177
  1. Muhammad Ibn Idris Ibn Munzir Abu Hatim Raazi (exp. 275/277 A.H.) writes – Jafar Ibn Muhammad (a.s.) is trustworthy, there is no question of his equal.
  • Al-Jarha wa al-Ta’deel vol 2 p 487
  • Tazkerah al-Huffaaz vol 1 p 166
  1. Shaikh Momin Ibn Hasan Shiblanji records – …his (a.s.) virtues are too many to be recounted…a group from the most renowned Imams and knowledgeable ones have narrated from him like Yahya Ibn Saeed, Malik Ibn Anas, al-Sawri, Ibn Oyainah, Abu Hanifah, Al-Ayyub al-Sakhtiyani, among others…
  • Noor al-Absaar p 160-161
  1. Shaikh Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Aamir Shabraawi Shafe’ee (1171 A.H.) records: Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) was the sixth Imam. He possessed multiple virtues and famous traits. Many Imams have narrated from him like Malik Ibn Anas, Abu Hanifah, Yahya Ibn Saeed, Ibn Juraij, al-Sawri, Ibn Oyainah, Shobah, among others.
  • Al-Ittehaaf be Hubbe Al-Ashraaf p 146
  1. Abul Fath Muhammad Ibn Abdil Karim Shahrastaani (exp. 548 A.H.) records – Jafar Ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (a.s.) was a possessor of plentiful knowledge and perfect morals, wisdom, abstemiousness from the world, perfect piety from carnal desires. While in Medina he imparted knowledge and secrets to his Shias…
  • Al-Melal wa al-Nehal vol 1 p 166
  1. Ibn Athir al-Jazari (exp. 630 A.H.) writes – He (a.s.) was titled al-Sadiq due to truthfulness in speech and actions…and his virtues are well-known.
  • Al-Lubaab fi Tahzeeb al-Ansaab vol 2 p 3
  1. Muhammad Ibn Talha Shafe’ee (exp. 652 A.H.) records – He (a.s.) was from the esteemed and chiefs of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). He was a man of abundant knowledge and excessive worship and continuous remembrance and abstemiousness, excessive recitation, he understood the meanings and concepts of Quran and derived its oceans of precious stones and inferred its wonders…
  • Mataalib al-S’ol fi Manaaqib al-Rasool (s.a.w.a.) vol 2 p 111
  1. Ibn Abi al-Hadeed (exp. 655 A.H.) – Regarding Imam Baqir (a.s.) he writes – And he was from the chief of jurists of Hejaz (Mecca and Medina) and people learnt jurisprudence from him (a.s.) and his son Jafar (a.s.).
  • Sharh Nahj al-Balaaghah vol 15 p. 274
  1. Ahmed Ibn Hajar al-Haithami (exp. 974 A.H.) writes – Those travelling there have narrated sciences from him (a.s.) and have transmitted it to all cities.
  • Sawaaeq al-Muhriqah p 305

His martyrdom

Ahmed Ibn Yusuf Kirmani documents: …he was born in 80 A.H. and passed away (martyred) in 148 A.H. in Medina…it is said that he was poisoned at the time of Mansoor’s reign and he is buried in Baqi.

  • Akhbaar al-Dawl vol. 1 p. 334

Learning for Muslims

Evidently, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) was the guiding light of his age for all Muslims. He was a river of knowledge from which every notable ‘Imam’ of the period including the likes of Abu Hanifah, Sawri, Malik Ibn Anas satiated themselves. These so-called Imams then went on to establish their own power centers and invited the people towards themselves rather than directing them towards Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.), without whom they could never have achieved their status of ‘Imamat’ – a fact Abu Hanifah openly confesses.

Equally evident is the fact that Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) was best suited for Imamat given his knowledge, seniority, piety, excellence and relation to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – a fact acknowledged by many noted ‘Sunni’ scholars. Yet the Muslims ignore his superior claim to Imamat and instead follow others like Abu Hanifah and Malik and consider Mansoor as their leader and caliph.

A point worth noting is that if Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) was more suited to caliphate and Imamat, then this makes Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) even more suited for caliphate as he (a.s.) was superior to Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) in every aspect. If there was no equal for the son, where is the question of the Muslims producing an equal for the father?

Even worse is that after failing to acknowledge and accept Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.), the extremists go one step further in their deviation and prevent others from accepting Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.). They call them names like ‘Rafizis’ and even go as far as killing and torturing them for the crime of rejecting others and accepting Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.).

If these Muslims don’t want to acknowledge and obey their own leaders’ confessions about Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.), at least they should not prevent others from doing so.

‘Who hinder men from the path of Allah and desire to make it crooked; and they are disbelievers in the hereafter.’ (Surah Hud (11): 19)

About Ali Teymoori

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