“The supplications of every pious or impious person who stays in Arafaat, and in Mash’ar al-Haraam the following night, will definitely be answered (by God). The supplications of a pious person will be fulfilled in matters regarding both this world and afterlife, but the supplications of an impious person will be fulfilled only in matters regarding this (transient) world.”
What you heard was a passage from a supplication in the Divine Court. These days, when pilgrims to the Holy Ka’ba are pouring into Mecca and will soon depart for the plain of Arafaat to follow the footsteps of Adam, Abraham, and the Prophet of Islam (peace upon them), it is worth pondering on this supplication that throws light on some of the obligations of the Hajj pilgrimage, and how to correctly perform them. It was not a prophet who is informing us in this passage of the mercy of God, whether in this world or in afterlife. It is clear that every person who spends the day in devotions at Arafaat and the next night in Muzdalefa or Mash’ar al-Haraam – where pebbles are picked up by the Hajj pilgrims for the stoning of the thee devils at the spots where Satan had tried in vain to temp Abraham, his wife Hajar, and his son Ishmael (peace upon them) – is doing so in obedience to the commandments of the All-Merciful Lord. Thus, such a wise statement cannot be the words of any ordinary Muslim.
To find the answer, we ought to cast our look towards the Prophet’s city Medina, especially towards the blasphemously demolished Jannat al-Baqie Cemetery, where on the 7th of Zil-Hijja, the faithful pay homage at graves baking under the hot sun of Arabia. Of the four graves beside a dilapidated wall that was once part of a magnificent towering shrine where the believers used to glorify God Almighty and invoke Divine Mercy for the sake of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, the mourners have their moist eyes fixed on one grave. It is the resting place of the person who bequeathed to us bezels of wisdom as the above-mentioned hadith. He was the Prophet’s namesake and the 5th in line of divinely-decreed succession from the Prophet. He was in fact, descended on both sides from the Almighty’s Last Messenger to God. If his father was the son of the Prophet’s younger grandson, Imam Husain (AS) the Martyr of Karbala, his mother was the daughter of the Prophet’s elder grandson, Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (AS). His father and maternal grandfather repose in peace beside him, while the 4th grave is that of his son, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS). Now we know that the narrator of the hadith or supplication that we recited is none other than Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), who was martyred this day as a result of having to sit on saddle laced with deadly poison on the orders of the tyrant Hesham ibn Abdul-Malik, the self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime.
Known as Baqer al-Uloum or the Splitter and Spreader of Sciences – a title bestowed on him several decades before his birth by his great-great-grandfather, the Prophet of Islam, he spared no efforts in enlightening people with the genuine Sunnah and Seerah of his ancestor. Present as a four-year toddler at the heart-rending tragedy of Karbala, he spent the next 34 years with his father in holding aloft the torch of genuine Islamic teachings in those dark days of Omayyad tyranny. His own period of imamate was 19 years during which his son and successor, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS) was always beside his side – even in the dungeon of Damascus, where the tyrant Hesham put them to satisfy his inflated ego that would soon be punctured forever. The 5th Imam, in the manner of the imprisoned Prophet Joseph of the days of the Pharoah of Egypt, reformed the inmates to the exasperation of Hisham, who had no other choice but to release them. Upon release, Imam Baqer (AS) had a meeting with the Chief Christian Prelate of Syria, and after a lively debate convinced him of the truth of Islam. As a result flocks of Christian became Muslims. Hisham was at his wit’s end, and reluctantly send the father and son to their hometown, but soon hatched a plot to martyr the Prophet’s 5th Infallible through poison. Peace unto Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), and once again we offer condolences to our listeners.
Here are two aphorisms from the 5th Imam to enlighten our minds and souls:
"Our followers are of three kinds, one who follows us but depends on others, one who is like a glass involved in his own reflections, but the best are those who are like gold, the more they suffer the more they shine.”
“I admonish you regarding five things; if you are wronged, do not commit wrong doing to others, if you are betrayed, do not betray anyone, if you are called a liar, do not be furious, if you are praised, do not be jubilant, if you are criticized do not fret and think of what is said in criticism, if you find in yourself what is criticized about you, then you are falling down in the eyes of God; when you are furious about the truth, it is much greater calamity then your falling down in the eyes of the people. And if you are opposite of what is said (in criticism) about you, then it is a merit you acquired without having to tire yourself in obtaining it.”
Here is a tribute in verse to the 5th Imam by Iran’s English language poet, Dr. Hassan Najafi:
Knowledge is graced by you in every stage
Your equal never found in your age.
Big trees dropped their fair leaves in your soil
The nectar of knowledge indebted to your toil,
Nursed by your knowledge sees its myrtles bloom
And cast shadow over your grave of no tomb.
Your birth is an everlasting morning’s opening ray
In vain went the calendar to hope an equal day.
A melting sign, a flowing tender tear
No one else, you to your friends are so dear.
Your radiant vision if fortune present
Enough to me when I in the mid-death tent.
Your friends with your love blest
Live in your empire, rules over every breast.
Your enemies are the spoils of time, hearts unroll
And doomed is their fate, putrid their soul.
At your grave truth is seen in animated bust
While the Holy Qur’an is recited by the silent dust,