Chapter 17 : IMAM MUHAMMAD IBN 'ALI AL-JAWAD AT-TAQI
The ninth Imam or Leader and Mawla or Master of the Muslims, to whom obedience was commanded by the Prophet (pbh) at the incident at Ghadir Khum during his Last Pilgrimage was Muhammad Ibn Ali al-Jawad at-Taqi, the son of a beautiful Nubian maidservant named Sabikah. He was born in the month of Ramadan 195 AH / 811 CE in Medina and was designated as the successor to the Imamate after his father, Imam Ali Ibn Musa ar-Rida when he was just a child.
To some who were concerned that his age at designation was too young and initially led them to doubt or disbelieve that such a young child could have the necessary wisdom to be the successor, Imam al-Rida reminded them that Jesus the son of Mary (pbh) was made an apostle and prophet by God when he was even much younger. When his father died of poisoning, Imam Muhammad at-Taqi was only 8 years old .
The ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Ma’mun had earlier forced the Imam's father to accept being the Caliph's heir-apparent. This was to consolidate his empire to win the sympathy and support of the Persians who were inclined towards the Ahl 'l Bait, the Prophet's Household and of the Shi'ahs in general. The Caliph expected Imam al-Rida to lend him support in political affairs and even had his sister Umm Habibah married to Imam al-Rida.
When Caliph al-Ma'mun realized that the Imam was
The Caliph announced that he decided to marry his daughter Umm’l-Fadl to Imam al-Jawad and this made the Banu ‘Abbasid become extremely disconcerted, fearing that their power would eventually be lost. He told the rest of the 'Abbasid that he had chosen the Imam for his superiority, despite his youth to all men of merit in knowledge and for his miraculous nature. To discredit this, the 'Abbasid arranged for Yahya Ibn Aktham, then the most outstanding scholar and jurist of Baghdad, to interrogate the Imam on issues of jurisprudence.
In front of a distinguished audience of officials and scholars, Yahya asked Imam al-Jawad, who was only 9 years old about his verdict concerning a man who hunts while in ihram or pilgrim garb. The Imam replied, "Your question is vague and misleading. You should have definitely mentioned whether he hunted within the jurisdiction of the Ka’bah or outside; whether he was literate or illiterate; whether he was a slave or a free citizen; whether he was a minor or a major; whether it was for the first time or he had done it previously; whether that prey was a bird or some other creature; whether the prey was small or big; whether he hunted in the day or at night; whether the hunter repented for his action or persisted in it; whether he hunted secretly or openly; whether the ihram was for ‘umrah or Hajj. Unless all these points are explained no specific answer can be given to this question." Yahya was staggered and the 'Abbasids silenced.
After a year of marriage, the Imam left Baghdad with his wife and settled in Madina. Caliph al-Ma’mun died in 218 AH / 833 CE and was succeeded by his brother al-Mu’tasim. Imam al-Jawad was made to travel to Baghdad on the 9th Muharram 220 AH / 835 CE at the summon of the new Caliph and died less than a year later on the 29th Dhu al-Qa'da 220 AH / 835 CE of poisoning at the age of 25 years. Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad was buried with his grandfather, Imam Musa al-Kazim at al-Kazimiyyah in Baghdad.
Among the Hadith narrated by the Imam was 'The trust in Allah is the price of everything that is precious and the ladder to every goal which is high and sublime'.