Father: Imam Ali Reza(AS)
Kunniyat (Patronymic): Abu Jafar
Laqab (Title): Taqi and Jawad
Birth: He was born in Medina on Friday, 10th of Rajab 198 A.H
Martyrdom: He was poisoned by Mu’tasin the Abbaside Caliph on the 29th Zilqad 220 A.H, and died at the age of 25 at Kazmain in Iraq
Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) Birth & Upbringing
The Holy Imam was born on the 10th Rajab in Medina, and known for two great titles of Al-Jawad and At-Taqi.
Imam Muhammad Taqi was brought up by his Holy father Imam Ali Reza for 4 years. Under the force of circumstances Imam Ali Rida had to migrate form Medina to Khurasan (Iran), leaving his young son behind him.
The Imam was fully aware of the treacherous character of the ruling king and was sure that he wouldn’t return to Medina. So before his departure from Medina he declared his son Muhammad Taqi as his successor, and imparted to him all his stores of divine knowledge and spiritual genius.
Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) Titles
Imam Muhammad Jawad or Taqi is the Ninth Apostolic Imam. His epithet was Abu Jafar and his famous titles wereTaqi and at-Taqi.
Since Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, the Fifth Imam was called Abu Jafar historians have mentioned this Imam as Abu Jafar the second.
Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) Imamate & Knowledge
Imam Ali Reza was poisoned on 17th safari 203 A.H and with effect from the same date Imam Muhammad Taqi was commissioned by Allah to hold the responsibility of Imamate.
At the tender age of eight there was no apparent chance or means of the young Imam reaching great heights of knowledge and practical achievements. But after a few days he is known not only to have debated with his contemporary scholars on subjects pertaining to fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), hadith (traditions), tafsir (Qur’anic exegesis), etc and outwitted them, but also to exhort their admiration and acknowledgment of his learning and superiority.
Right from then the world realized that he possessed divine knowledge and that the knowledge commanded by the Holy Imam was not acquired, but granted by Allah
Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) Literary Attainments and Qualities
The span of the life of Imam Muhammad Taqi was shorter than that of his predecessors as well as his successors.
He become Imam at the age of 8 years and was poisoned at the age of 25; yet his literary attainments were many and his commanded great respect and esteem.
The Holy Imam Taqi was the symbol of Prophet Muhammad’s affability and Imam All’s attainments.
His hereditary qualities comprised of gallantry, boldness, charity, learning, forgiveness and tolerance, The brightest and most outstanding phases of his nature and character were to show hospitality and courtesy to all without discrimination, to help the needy, to observe equality under all circumstances, to live a simple life, to help the orphans, the poor and the homeless, to impart learning to those interested in the acquisition of knowledge and guide the people to the right path.
Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) Political Condition
For the consolidation of his empire, it was realized by Mamoon, the Abbasid king, that it was necessary to win the sympathy and support of the Iranians who had always been friendly to the Ahlul-Bayt. Consequently, Mamoon was forced, from a political point of view, to establish contacts with the tribe of Banu Fatimah at the expense of the ties with Banu` Abbas and thereby win the favour of the Shia.
Accordingly, he declared Imam Ali Reza as his heir even against the Imam’s will and got his sister Umm-Habibah married to him.
Mamoon expected that Imam Ali Reza would lend his support in political affairs of the state. But when he discovered that the Imam was little interested in political matter and that the masses were more and more submitting themselves to him due to his spiritual greatness, he got him poisoned.
Yet the exigency which directed him to nominate Imam Ali Reza as his heir and successor still continued.
Hence he desired to marry his daughter Umm-ul-Fazl to Muhammad Taqi, the son of Imam Ali Reza and with this object in view, he summoned the Imam from Medina to Iraq.
The Banu Abbas were extremely disconcerted when they come to know that Mamoon was planning to marry his daughter to Imam Muhammad Taqi.
Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) Great Debate
Mamoon continued to admire the learning and excellence of the Imam. He would say that though Imam Muhammad Taqi was still young, yet he was a true successor to his father in all his virtues and that the profoundest scholars of the Islamic world could not compete with him.
When the `Abbasides noticed that Mamoon attributed the Imam’s superiority to his learning they chose Yahya ibn Aktham, the greatest scholar and jurist of Baghdad, to contend with him.
Mamoon issued a proclamation and organized a grand meeting for the contest which resulted in huge gathering of people from all parts of the kingdom. Apart from noble and high officials, there were as many as 900 chairs reserved for scholars and learned men only.
The world wondered how a young child could contest with the veteran judge in religious laws (Qazi-ul-Quzat) and the greatest scholar of Iraq.
Imam Muhammad Taqi was seated beside Mamoon on his throne face to face with Yahya ibn Aktham, who addressed the Imam thus:
“Do you permit me to ask you a Question?”
“Ask me whatever you wish ,” said the Imam in the typical tone of his ancestors.
Yahya then asked the Imam, O what is your verdict about a man who indulges in hunting while he is in the state of Ehram.” (In the code of religious law hunting is supposed to be forbidden for a pilgrim.)
The Imam at once 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 of illiterate, whether he was a slave of a free citizen, whether he was a minor or a major, whether it was for the first time of he had done it previously, also whether, that victim 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 of persisted in it, whether he hunted secretly of openly, whether the Ehram was for Umrah of for Hajj.
Unless all these points are explained no specific answer can be given to this question.
Qadi Yahya was staggered in listening to these word of the Imam and the entire gathering was dumbfounded.
There was no limit to Mamoon’s pleasure, he expressed his sentiments of joy and admiration thus, “Bravo! well done! O Abu Jafar!, your learning and attainments are beyond all praises.”
As Mamoon wanted that the Imam’s opponent be fully exposed, he said to the Imam,
“You may also put some question to Yahya ibn Aktham.”
Then Yahya also reluctantly said to the Imam, “Yes, you may ask me some questions. If I know the answer, I will tell it, otherwise, I shall request you to give its answer.”
Thereupon, the Imam asked a Question to which Yahya could not reply. Eventually, the Imam answered his question.
Then Mamoon addressed the audience thus:
“Did I not say that the Imam comes of a family which has been chosen by Allah as the repository of knowledge and learning? Is there any one in the world who can match even the children of this family?”
All of them shouted, “Undoubtedly there in no one parallel to Muhammad Taqi.”
Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) Wafat / Martyrdom
After the death of Mamoon, Motasim Billah ascended the throne, he got and opportunity to persecute the Imam and to ventilate spite and malice against him.
He summoned the Imam to Baghdad. The Imam arrived at Baghdad on 9th Muharram 220 AH and Motasim Billah got him poisoned in the same year.
He died on 29th of Zilqad 220 A.H and was buried beside his grandfather, Imam Musa Kazim the Seventh Imam, in Kazmain, in the suburb of Baghdad (Iraq).