The commandment of God is crystal clear. The believers are asked to follow the “Sadeqeen” that is the truthful persons. This word is plural of “Sadeq”, which is Arabic for a truthful person. In other words, anyone with even an iota of untruth cannot be among the divinely-decreed leaders of the Ummah – whether elected, selected, or nominated.Today on the 17th of Rabi al-Awwal we are celebrating the birth anniversary of the “Sadeqeen”. To be more precise it is the birthday of two of the most truthful-ever persons. Both of them are known in history as “Sadeq”.
Whenever the epithet “Sadeq” is mentioned it is either the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), or the Reviver of his Shari’a, this is, his 6th Infallible Successor, Imam Ja’far (AS).As a matter of fact, “Sadeq” has become the exclusively epithet of the 6th Imam, who flourished at a crucial period of history, when the Ummah was exposed to the influx of a variety of philosophical and pseudo-religious ideas from the various nations that were coming in the fold of Islam.
In addition, the tyrannical regimes had forbidden the collection of authentic hadith and the proper interpretation of the ayahs of the holy Qur’an. As a result the people were bewildered, and to stop the confusion, Imam Ja’far (AS) embarked upon rectifying beliefs and correcting the Islamic ideology.
Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS) needs no introduction. Born in the year 83 AH on the 136th birth anniversary of the Prophet, he left the world, a martyr, in 148 AH at the age of 65, after serving as God’s authority amongst the ummah for 34 years that could roughly be divided into equal parts in the reigns of the Omayyad and Abbasid tyrants who claimed to be caliphs – although neither God nor the Prophet had vested any authority in them. The first 18 years of his imamate saw the tyrannical rule of Hisham ibn Abdul-Malik, Walid II, Yazid III, Ibrahim ibn al-Walid, and Marwan al-Hemar (literally the Donkey) – all of whom had no pretension to religiosity and were notorious for their open violation of the laws of God and the teaching of the Prophet.
During these years, the 6th Imam, despite facing persecution, especially from Hisham, took to new heights the academy of Medina that was founded by his grandfather, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) – the Survivor of the Karbala Tragedy – and consolidated by his father, Imam Muhammad al-Baqer (AS).So thoroughly did the Imam revolutionize it that at one time 4000 scholars from various parts of the Islamic World – Asia, Africa and Europe – sat at the feet of the heir of the Prophet to learn various disciplines, including jurisprudence, theology, rhetoric, ethics, hadith, exegesis of the holy Qur’an, accounts of the past Prophets (history), and natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, botany, etc. Among its proud products was the Father of Chemistry, Jaber ibn Hayyan (known as Geber to medieval Europe), the exegete of the holy Qur’an Aban ibn Taghlib, the master rhetorician Hesham ibn al-Hakam, and the founder of the school of jurisprudent known as ‘Hanafi’ –Abu Hanifa Noman bin Thabet, the son of an Iranian Zoroastrian convert to Islam.
In the next 16 years of his imamate, the Prophet’s 6thSuccessor shouldered a graver responsibility. First, after the overthrow of the Omayyads, there was the offer of caliphate by one of the victorious generals of the uprising, and the Imam whose authority was God-given, burned the sealed envelope of the offer in the flame of a lamp. Next was the devilish plot of Mansour Dawaniqi, the 2nd self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime. Originally a follower of the Ahl al-Bayt, he had memorized thousands of hadith on the merits of Imam Ali (AS), but became a turncoat on assuming rule of the Islamic realm. He not only tormented Imam Sadeq (AS), whose God-given authority he had acknowledged in his days as a persecuted fugitive during Omayyad rule, but labeled the Shi’as or devoted followers of the Ahl al-Bayt as “Rafezoon”, which means rejecters of the caliphate.
Mansour’s next treason was to coin a new term “Ahl as-Sunnawa’l-Jama’ah” for those who had no idea of what the real Sunnah and Seerah of the Prophet was. It was a seditious act since no such sect had ever existed before in Islamic history. In the face of such intricate plots, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), as the Righteous Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) bequeathed to the seekers of truth the jurisprudence known as “Fiqh al-Ja’fari” which is actually the “Shari’at-al Muhammadi” in its genuine form.
Once an Iranian chieftain from Khorasan, named Sahl bin Hassan came to Medina and asked Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), as to why he wasn't actively fighting for his denied political rights in spite of the truth being on his side when there were thousands of supporters ready to fight with him. The Imam with the intention of giving him a practical answer, asked him to sit down and wait. In the meantime, a servant came and was asked by the Imam whether the fire had been kindled. On receiving the reply in the affirmative, the Imam took Sahl bin Hassan with him and went to the fireplace.
The fire was blazing red. Imam turned to Sahl and told him to jump into the fire. Sahl trembled and begged forgiveness from Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS) and asked not to be burnt. At this moment, Harounal-Makki one of the sincere companions of the Imam happened to arrive. The Imam told Haraunal-Makki to jump into the fire, and he did this at once, without hesitating. The Imamthen turned to Sahl bin Hassan and started to brief him about the circumstances prevailing in Khorasan, as if he had been there to witness the events taking place.After a while, Imam Sadeq(AS) asked Sahl bin Hassan to go check on Harounal-Makki.
Sahl saw Harounal-Makki sitting cross legged in the fire safely. Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS) then asked Sahl bin Hassan how many of his followers in Khorasan were like this man. Sahl replied, "no one O master". Imam Sadeq (AS) then asked Harun Al-Makki to leave the fire and no burns were seen on him! Imam Sadeq (AS) then explained, "I shall not stage an uprising when I do not have even five sincere companions. (And do remember) we are very well aware as to when we should stage an uprising."
Here we present you a piece of English poetry in praise of Imam Sadeq (AS), composed by Dr. Hassan Najafi.
Creation’s mildest charms in you combined
As Reviver of the Prophet’s Sunnah glows your mind.
Serene over your bosom the Qur’an holds its state
With crystal clear aims, exceptionally great,
Lofty the house where angels inspired
Where celestial mirth, ethereal smile retired,
Beyond the vast meadows of thought
Who can estimate your toil which can’t be wrought,
Your name Ja’far, Truthful as Muhammad,
He was Sadeq, you also Sadeq, the Heir of Ahmad.
Your voice was heard; soft, clear and close,
At your feet springs of knowledge rose.
You the Heir of Ghadeer, reason you applied,
Qiyas, the legacy of Saqifa, you exposed as falsity reviled,
The Omayyads and the Abbasids faded at your light
You promulgated the Prophet’s path, dazzling and bright
The caliphate they stole and led people into wilderness
You gave Muslims life, meaning and sense.
You regulated them in Islam
And your jurisprudence restored the norm.