14 Infallibles

#11 - Imam Muhammad b. 'Ali al-Jawad (AS)


Muhammad b. ʿAli b. Musa (Arabic: محمد بن علي بن موسی) known as Imam al-Jawad (a) (Arabic: امام الجواد) was the ninth Imam of Twelver Shia, his kunya was Abu Ja'far and he is mentioned in haidth sources as Abu Ja'far al-Thani (the second Abu Ja'far). He (a) was born on Rajab 10195/April 8, 811 in Medina and was Imam for 17 years. He was martyred when he (a) was 25 years old and was buried in Kadhimiya beside the grave of his grandfather Musa b. Ja'far (a). He was the youngest Imam when he was martyred.

Because Imam al-Jawad was an 8 year old child, some Shi'a followed 'Abd Allah b. Musa and some others followed Waqifids. But most Shi'a accepted the imamate of Imam al-Jawad (a) due to his scientific superiority in spite of his age. At that time, due to restrictions made for Imam (a), his connections with Shi'a were mostly made through agents.

Scientific debates of Imam al-Jawad (a) in his childhood age with religious scholars of different Islamic sects in theological issues such as the position of caliphs and in jurisprudential issues such as hajj rituals are among well-known debates of Imams (a).

Biographical Snapshot


Abu Ja'far, Abu 'Ali


Rajab 10195/April 8, 811




From Safar 30203/September 6, 818
(for 17 years)

Contemporary Rulers



Dhu l-Qa'da 30220/November 25, 835 in KadhimiyaIraq

Burial Place



'Ali b. Musa al-Rida (a)


'Ali b. Muhammad al-Hadi (a)


'Ali b. Musa al-Rida (a)




SamanaUmm al-Fadl




Fatima, Amama


Abu Ja'far al-Thani, al-Jawad (the generous), al-Taqi (the pious)Ibn al-Rida (Son of al-Rida)



Detailed Information

Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. Musa b. Ja’far b. Muhammad is the ninth Imam of Twelver Shi’a who is known as al-Jawad and Jawad al-‘A’imma. His father Imam al-Rida (a) was the eighth Imam of Twelver Shia.[1] His mother was Sabika from the family of Mariya al-Qibtiyya, the wife of the Holy Prophet (s). In some sources, the name of his mother is mentioned as Khayzuran, Nawbiyya and Rayhana.[2]


His kunya was Abu Ja’far[3] and it is mentioned in historical narrations as Abu Ja’far al-Thani so that he (a) is not mistaken with Abu Ja’far al-Awwal who is Imam al-Baqir (a).


His most famous title was al-Jawad and they have mentioned other titles for him such as al-Taqi, al-Murtada, al-Qani’, al-Radi, al-Mukhtar, al-Mutawakkil, and al-Muntajab.[4]

According to the report of historians, Imam al-Jawad (a) was born in 195/811 in Medina. However, there is a disagreement about the day and month of his birth. Some have regarded Imam’s (a) birthday as Ramadan 15/June 11.[5] The famous and unique report is Rajab 10/April 8 which has been mentioned by al-Shaykh al-Tusi in Misbah al-mutahajjid.[6]


Blessed Child

Imam al-Jawad (a) was born in last years of Imam al-Rida’s (a) life. They have said that before his birth, Imam al-Rida (a) had no children and some enemies spread this rumor that Imam al-Rida (a) is not going to leave any lineage after himself and the chain of imamate will be broken. According to narrative sources, when Imam al-Jawad (a) was born and they brought him to his father; Imam al-Rida (a) said, “This is a child, more blessed than him is not born for our followers.” Also, a report narrated by Ibn Asbat and ‘Ubbad b. Isma’il said, “We were at the presence of Imam al-Rida (a) that they brought Abu Ja’far (Imam al-Jawad (a)). We asked, ‘Is this that blessed child?’ Imam al-Rida (a) said, ‘This is the child, no more blessed than him is ever born.”[7]

Al-Ma’mun al-Abbasi married her daughter, called Umm al-Fadl, to Imam al-Jawad (a) in 202/817-18[8] or 215/830-1.[9] This marriage took place following the request of al-Ma’mun and Imam (a) expressed his consent with this marriage after specifying the dowry similar to that of Fatima al-Zahra (a) (which was 500 Dirhams).[10] Some sources have said that during Imam al-Rida’s (a) stay in Khorasan, Imam al-Jawad (a) went to see him once[11] and that was when al-Ma’mun asked him to marry his daughter. According to Ibn Kathir, the marriage contract of Imam al-Jawad (a) and al-Ma’mun’s daughter was made at the time of Imam al-Rida (a) but the marriage ceremony was held in 215/830 in Tikrit, Iraq.[12] The marriage of Imam al-Jawad (a) with Umm al-Fadl was made by the request of al-Ma’mun.[citation needed] Al-Ma’amun said that he sought to be the grandfather of a child who was a progeny of the Prophet (a) and Imam Ali (a). Al-Shaykh al-Mufid considered that marriage because of al-Ma’mun’s love for Imam al-Jawad (a). Some researchers believe that this marriage had political motives, including that al-Ma’mun wanted to control Imam al-Jawad (a) and his relations with Shi’a through that marriage;[13] or to show himself interested in Alawis and prevent them from making uprising.[14] This marriage caused the opposition of some of al-Ma’mun’s agents, because they were afraid of transferring caliphate from ‘Abbasids to ‘Alawis.[15]


Other wife of Imam al-Jawad (a) was Samana al-Maghribiyya, who was a concubine.[16] Imam (a) did not have any children from Umm al-Fadl[17] and all his children are from Samana.[18]

According to al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Imam al-Jawad (a) had four children with the names, ‘Ali (Imam al-Hadi (a)), Musa, Fatima and Amama.[19] However some sources regarded three daughters for Imam (a) with the names of Hakima, Khadija, and Umm Kulthum.[20]

Imamate of Imam al-Jawad (a) was contemporary with two Abbasid caliphs: the first was al-Ma’mun (r. 193/808-9 to 218/833) and Imam (a) spent 23 years of his life at the time of his caliphate. The second was al-Mu’tasim al-Abbasi (r. 218/833 to 227/841-42) two years of his caliphate were contemporary with imamate of Imam al-Jawad (a). Imamate of Imam al-Jawad (a) lasted 17 years from 203/818 until 220/835. After the martyrdom of Imam al-Jawad (a), his son, Imam ‘Ali b. Muhammad al-Hadi (a) , took responsibility of imamate.




In the views of Shi’a, Imam will only be appointed through a prior Imam; i.e. every Imam needs to introduce, in clear words, the Imam after himself. In several cases, Imam al-Rida (a) declared the imamate of Muhammad b. Ali (a) for his companions. In all the books of al-Kafi[21]al-Irshad[22]I’lam al-wara[23], and Bihar al-anwar[24], there is a chapter about the proofs for the imamate of Muhammad b. Ali (a) which have mentioned 14, 11, 9, and 26 hadiths respectively.


There are many reports and proofs for Imamate of Imam al-Jawad (a) including the report that one of the companions of Imam al-Rida (a) asked about his successor, and Imam al-Rida (a) pointed with his hand towards his son Abu Ja’far (Imam al-Jawad (a)) who was standing in front of him.[25]


In another narration, Imam al-Rida (a) said, “This is Abu Ja’far I have seated in my place and I have left my position to him. We are the family, the children of whom inherit like their old ones.” (which means that the same way our old ones inherit and receive knowledge, our children inherit knowledge from the old ones.)[26]


In another report, Imam al-Rida (a) said, ‘Abu Ja’far is my successor among my people.'”[27]


Imamate in Childhood


Imam al-Rida (a) was martyred in 203/818 when his son, Imam al-Jawad (a) was only 8 years old and became Imam and this caused disagreement among Shi’a so that some of them followed ‘Abd Allah b. Musa b. Ja’far, brother of Imam al-Rida (a); but since they did not want to accept imamate of a person without any reason, some of them asked ‘Abd Allah some questions and after they found him unable to answer, they abandoned him.[28] Some other Shi’a joined Waqifids.[29] Nevertheless most of the companions of Imam al-Rida (a) believed in the imamate of Imam al-Jawad (a). According to al-Nawbakhti, the reason of such a division was that they considered the age of puberty as one of the requirements of imamate.[30]


The issue of imamate in childhood was risen by some people at the time of Imam al-Rida (a), and he mentioned the prophet ‘Isa (a) [Jesus] and said, “when ‘Isa (a) was given prophethood his age was lower than my son”.[31] The issue was risen more seriously in after the martyrdom of Imam al-Rida (a) and even some of the close companions of Imam al-Rida (a), like Yunus b. ‘Abd al-Rahman, doubted about the imamate of Imam al-Jawad (a).[32] Later the same issue was risen about the imamate of Imam al-Hadi (a) and Imam al-Mahdi (a).[33] The answer was from the Qur’an about the prophethood of Prophet Yahya (a) (John), where the Qur’an says: “And We gave him judgment while still a child”,[34] and speaking of the Prophet ‘Isa (a) (Jesus) in the first days after birth[35] Imam al-Jawad (a) answered to the issue by mentioning the successorship of Prophet Sulayman (a) (Solomon) after Prophet Dawud (a) (David) and said, “When Prophet Solomon (a) was still a little child and took the sheep out for grazing, Prophet David (a) made him his successor.”[36]


Testing for Certainty


Although in several cases Imam al-Rida (a) had declared the imamate of Imam al-Jawad (a),[37] but some Shi’a tested Imam al-Jawad (a) with some questions to become more certain.[38] This testing was made about other Imams (a) as well,[39] but due to the low age of Imam al-Jawad (a), Shi’as felt it was more necessary about him.[40]


There are several reports about Shi’a’s questions and answers of Imam al-Jawad (a) in hadith sources. Imam’s (a) answers promoted his position in the eyes of Shi’a and their acceptance of his imamate. However, Shi’a did not only tested Imam al-Jawad (a) by their questions, but they tested others, who claimed to be imam, the same way.[41] Some people from Baghdad and other cities went to Medina during hajj. In a meeting they had with ‘Abd Allah b. Musa, Imam al-Jawad’s (a) uncle,-who was thought to be the Imam after Imam al-Rida (a)- they asked him some questions, but his answers was not right and they became disappointed and sad. Then they went to Imam al-Jawad (a) and asked him the same questions and he (a) gave them the right answers which made them happy, praised Imam (a) and prayed for him.[42]

From the questions of Shi’as and the answers of Imam al-Jawad (a) mentioned in Shi’a sources, it can be learned that during the imamate of Imam al-Jawad (a), People of Hadith, Waqifids, Zaydis and Ghulat were also active that time. People of Hadith believed in the embodiment of God and Imam al-Jawad (a) prohibited Shi’a of following them in congregational prayers and paying zakat to them.[43]


In answering Abu Hashim al-Ja’fari who asked about the meaning of the verse “The sights do not apprehend Him, yet He apprehends the sights” (Qur’an 6:103), Imam al-Jawad (a) rejected the possibility of seeing God by eyes (the belief in the embodiment) and said, “fantasies of the heart are more delicate than the eyesight. Human being can fantasize things he has not seen. When fantasies of the hearts cannot perceive God, how may the eyes see Him?”[44]


There are hadiths narrated from Imam al-Jawad (a) in which he (a) considered Zaydiyya and Waqifiyya similar to Nasibis.[45] He (a) said that the verses “Some faces on that day will be humbled, (2) wrought-up and weary” (Qur’an 88:2-3) were revealed about them.[46] Also, Imam al-Jawad (a) prohibited his companions from following Waqifiyya in congregational prayers.[47]


Imam al-Jawad (a) also cursed Ghulat [exaggerators] such as Abu l-Khattab and his followers. He (a) also cursed those who doubted or were silent about cursing Abu l-Khattab.[48] He (a) introduced people such as Abu l-Ghamr, Ja’far b. Waqid, and Hashim b. Abi Hashim, as followers of Abu l-Khattab and said that they abuse people in our names.[49] Also in a hadith, he (a) permitted the killing of two of Ghulat who were Abu l-Mahri and Ibn Abi Razqa’ because of their role in deviation of Shi’a.[50] It is said that in letters Imam (a) sent to his deputies, prohibited Shi’a of associating with Ghulat.[citation needed]


Also, Imam al-Jawad (a) addressed Muhammad b. Sinan and rejected the claim of Mufawwida about leaving the creation and management of the world to the Prophet (a).[51]

Some sources considered the title of “al-Jawad” (the generous) given to Imam (a) because to his great generosity and giving to people.[52] According to a letter Imam al-Rida (a) sent to his son from Khorasan, Imam al-Jawad (a) was known for his generosity since the first years of his life. When his father was in Khorasan, his companions sent out Jawad (a) from a side door of the house to meet less people who would gather at his door to receive charity. According to this report, Imam al-Rida (a) sent a letter to his son and advised him not to follow those who told him not to use the main door. In that letter, Imam al-Rida (a) advised his son, “whenever you want to go out of home, take some gold and silver with you. No one should ask you but you give them something.” He (a) had also made special advice about his close relatives such as his uncles and aunts.[53]


Al-Qarashi introduced Imam al-Jawad (a) the most ascetic and purest of the people of his time. He also spoke about the many nafila prayers Imam al-Jawad (a) performed. According to al-Qurashi, Imam al-Jawad (a) made a nafila prayer in every rak’a of which, he (a) recited each of the suras al-Fatiha and al-Tawhid 70 times.[54] Also, according to a hadith transmitted by al-Sayyid b. Tawus, upon the coming of every new moon, Imam al-Jawad (a) performed two rak’as of prayer, in the first rak’a of which recited Sura al-Tawhid 30 times and in the second rak’a, he (a) recited Sura al-Qadr 30 times and after the prayer, he (a) give charity.[55]

About 250 hadiths are transmitted from Imam al-Jawad (a).[56] These hadiths are about topics in fiqhtafsirsupplication, and theology. The low number of hadiths transmitted from Imam al-Jawad (a) in comparison to hadiths of other Imams (a) is because of the surveillance over Imam al-Jawad (a) and also his young age at the time of martyrdom.[citation needed]


Imam al-Jawad (a) had several debates with fiqh scholars of the court of ‘Abbasids. Historical reports suggest that some of these debates were made following the requests of the courtiers of al-Ma’mun and al-Mu’tasim who wanted to test Imam al-Jawad (a) and the result astonished those who were present in those sessions. 9 debates are reported, four of which were with Yahya b. Aktham and one of them was with Ahmad b. Abi Dawud, the judge of all judges of Baghdad. Also, some of his conversations with ‘Abd Allah b. MusaAbu Hashim al-Ja’fari‘Abd al-‘Azim al-Hasani and al-Mu’tasim are reported. The topics of these conversation were issues in fiqh, about hajj, divorce, punishment for robbery and also theological issues such as the attributes of the companions of Imam al-Mahdi (a), merits of the two Caliphs and also the attributes of God.[citation needed]


Debate in the Meeting of al-Ma’mun


Imam al-Jawad’s (a) debate with Yahya b. Aktham was among the important debates of Imam (a) which took place at the time of al-Ma’mun al-‘Abbasi in Baghdad. According to some Shi’a sources, the cause for happening this debate was al-Ma’mun’s proposal for the marriage of Imam (a) with Umm al-Fadl. After Abbasid noblemen were informed of that, they objected to al-Ma’mun. To justify his decision, al-Ma’mun suggested to them to test Imam al-Jawad (a) and they accepted and arranged a debate to test Imam (a).


In the debate, first Yahya mentioned a question about a muhrim (one who perform rituals of hajj) who hunts an animal. Then, Imam (a) explained different aspects of the issue and asked Yahya to define which aspect he meant. Yahya could not answer and the people there were surprised. Then, Imam (a) himself answered the question regarding different aspects. After hearing Imam’s (a) complete answer, Abbasid scholars and courtiers admitted to his competence in fiqh. It is said that upon seeing this, al-Ma’mun said, “Praise to God that what I had thought happened.”[57]


Debate about the Two Caliphs


According to Shi’a hadith sources, in a session where al-Ma’mun and many jurists and courtiers were present, Imam al-Jawad (a) had a debate with Yahya b. Aktham about the merits of caliphs (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar). Yahya turned to Imam (a) and said, Gabriel conveyed the message of God to the Prophet (s): “Ask Abu Bakr if he is pleased with me? I am pleased with him.” Imam (a) answered, I do not reject merits of Abu bakr but anyone who has narrated this hadith needs to pay attention to other hadiths of the Prophet (s) and that he (s) said, “when you receive a hadith from me, present it to the Book of God and my sunna; if it is in agreement with them, accept it and if it is not, do not accept it because liars and forgers of hadiths will increase.” Then, Imam (a) continued that this hadith is not in agreement with the Qur’an because the Qur’an says, ‘We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.’ (50:16) Then, was not God aware of Abu bakr’s satisfaction that had to ask him?”[58]


Then, Yahya asked about this hadith which said, “Abu bakr and ‘Umar on the earth are like Gabriel and Michael in the skies.” Imam (a) answered, “this hadith is not true because Gabriel and Michael have always served God and have not committed a sin while Abu bakr and ‘Umar have long been polytheist before they become Muslims.”[59]


Cutting the Hand of a Thief


When Imam (a) was living in Baghdad, events happened which promoted the position of Imam (a) among people such as his ruling about thieves. Once there was a disagreement over the question that from where the hand of a thief has to be cut; some said that it needs to be cut from wrist and some said that it needs to be cut from elbow. Al-Mu’tasim, the Abbasid caliph asked Imam al-Jawad (a) to give his opinion in this regard. After caliph insisted, Imam (a) said, “Only the four fingers of a thief have to be cut and the rest of his hand needs to remain. He referred to the following verse of the Qur’an as his reason, “The places of sajda belong to Allah, so do not invoke anyone along with Allah.” (72:18) Al-Mu’tasim liked Imam’s (a) answer and ordered to follow his ruling.[60]

See also: List of Companions of Imam al-Jawad (a)


Many of his companions who were also among the companions of his father and his son (Imam al-Hadi (a)) had written works in fiqh and theology and were known as influential people in their own communities. Companions of Imam al-Jawad (a) and narrators of his hadiths were about 120 people who have narrated about 250 hadiths from him. These hadiths are about different subjects in fiqhexegesis and theology. The small number of hadiths narrated from Imam al-Jawad (a) is due to his surveillance and his young age at the time of martyrdom. Among his famous companions are ‘Abd al-‘Azim al-HasaniIbrahim b. Hashim al-Qummi‘Ali b. MahziyarAhmad b. Abi Nasr al-BazantiZakariyya b. AdamMuhammad b. Isma’il b. Bazi’al-Hasan b. Sa’id al-Ahwazi and Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Barqi. His companions and narrators of his hadiths were not exclusive to Shi’a and there were people from other sects including Sunni sects among them as well.[61]

Through appointing agents in different parts of the Islamic world, Imam al-Jawad (a) was connected with Shi’as. Imam al-Jawad (a) had agents in in Islamic lands including BaghdadKufaAhvazBasraHamadanQomReySistan, and Bost.[62] The number of the deputies of Imam al-Jawad (a) is mentioned as 13.[63] They took religious taxes of Shi’a and delivered them to Imam al-Jawad (a). Ibrahim b. Muhammad al-Hamadani in Hamadan[64] and Abu ‘Amr al-Hadhdha’ in Basra[65] were deputies of Imam (a). Salih b. Muhammad b. Sahl managed donated properties in Qom[66]. Also, Zakariyya b. Adam al-Qummi[67]‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. Muhtadi al-Ash’ari al-Qummi[68]Safwan b. Yahya[69]Ali b. Mahziyar[70] and Yahya b. Abi ‘Imran[71] were among the deputies of Imam al-Jawad (a). Some authors referred to some evidences and mentioned Muhammad b. Faraj al-Rukhkhaji and Abu Hashim al-Ja’fari among his deputies as well.[72] Also, Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Sayyari claimed deputyship of Imam al-Jawad (a), but Imam (a) rejected his claim and asked Shi’a not to give him religious taxes.[73]


That he (a) was not connected with Shi’a directly and benefited from agents had some reasons, one was that Imam (a) was under serious surveillance and control of ruling government and another was that he (a) wanted to make preparations for the Occultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a).[74]


Imam al-Jawad (a) met Shi’a and spoke with them during hajj. Some researchers believe that the journey of Imam al-Rida (a) to Khurasan made the relations of Shi’a with their Imams (a) develop.[75] Thus, Shi’a from Khurasan, Rey, Bast and Sajistan went to visit Imam al-Jawad (a).[citation needed]


Also, the connection of Shi’a with Imam (a) was through sending letters (See: tawqi’). Much of the teachings remained from Imam al-Jawad (a) are mentioned in his letters to Shi’as.[76] In their letters, Shi’as mentioned their questions which were mostly jurisprudential issues and Imam (a) answered them. In most cases, the name of the one who has written letter to Imam (a) is mentioned[77] and few cases, the name of the author is not mentioned.


In Mawsu’at al-Imam al-Jawad (a),[78] except the names the father and son of Imam al-Jawad (a), the names of 63 people with whom Imam (a) had correspondences are collected from hadith and rijal sources; however, some letters have been written to a group of Shi’as.[79]


Imam al-Jawad (a) also wrote some letters to his agents in different cities such as Hamadan and Bost and also some Shi’as of Iran went to visit him in Medina. These visits are in addition to visits which took place during the days of hajj between Imam (a) and Shi’as.[citation needed]

Many merits and virtues are reported for Imam al-Jawad (a). His superiority in debates and scholarly discussions with scholars in his childhood is among these mentioned virtues. Some of the wonders narrated for him are as follows:


Healing Blindness


Qutb al-Din al-Rawandi narrated from Muhammad b. Maymun, “when Imam al-Jawad (a) was a child and Imam al-Rida (a) had not yet gone to Khorasan, he (a) had a journey to Mecca and I was with him. Upon his return, I told him, ‘I want to go to Medina. Please write a letter to Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Jawad (a) I take to him.’ Imam (a) smiled and wrote a letter. I took the letter to Medina. That time I had become blind. Muwaffaq, the servant of Imam, brought Muhammad al-Jawad (a) while he (a) was in his cradle and I gave him the letter. Imam (a) asked Muwaffaq to unseal the letter and open it. Then he (a) asked, ‘O Muhammad! How are your eyes?’ I said, ‘O son of the Prophet (a), my eyes have a disease and my eyesight is lost.’ He (a) then touched my eyes and by the blessings of his hand, my eyes were healed. Then, I kissed his hands and feet and went out while I was not blind anymore.”[80]


Acceptance of Prayer


Dawud b. al-Qasim said, “One day, I went with Imam al-Jawad (a) to a garden. I told him, ‘May I be sacrificed for you! I am greedy to eat mud. Please make a du’a for me!’ (so that I give up this habit). Imam (a) did not answer and some days later, he (a) told me, ‘O Abu Hashim! God removed [the habit of] eating mud from you.'” Abu Hashim says that, “Since then, there was nothing I hated more than mud.”[citation needed]


Fertility of Trees


Upon the return of Imam al-Jawad (a) from Baghdad to Medina, a group of people accompanied Imam (a) out of Medina to see him off. By the time of maghrib prayer, they arrived in a place where an old mosque was located. Imam (a) went to that mosque to say his prayer. There was a cedar tree in the yard of that mosque which had not yielded any fruits until that time. Imam (a) asked for some water and made wudu beside that tree and then led a congregational prayer there and after the prayer made a sajda of gratitude. He (a) then said goodbye to people and went away. The next day, the tree yielded so much fruit and people became so surprised of that. It is narrated from al-Shaykh al-Mufid that he has seen this tree many years later and has eaten from its fruits.[81]

Imam al-Jawad (a) went to Baghdad twice following the request of his two contemporary caliphs. The first trip at the time of al-Ma’mun was not long.[82] Al-Mu’tasim, the Abbasid caliph summoned Imam al-Jawad (a) from Medina to Baghdad. On Muharram 28220/February 1, 835, Imam (a) entered Baghdad and passed away in Dhu l-Qa’da/November of the same year[83] at the age of 25 and was buried beside his grandfather Imam al-Kazim (a) in Kadhimiya.[84]


The day and month of his martyrdom have been mentioned in some sources as Dhu l-Hijja 5 or 6 (December 4 or 5)[85] and in some other sources as the end of Dhu l-Qa’da (Dhu l-Qa’da 30220/November 25835).[86]


About the cause of his martyrdom, it is said that Ibn Abi Duwad, the judge of Baghdad slandered against Imam (a) after Imam’s (a) opinion about cutting the hand of a thief was accepted and Ibn Abi Duwad and many other jurists and courtiers were discredited. After caliph was influenced by the words of the judge, he decided to kill Imam (a). Al-Mu’tasim used one of his ministers and poisoned Imam (a) and martyred him.[87] However, some believe that Imam (a) was poisoned by Umm al-Fadl, daughter of al-Mu’mun.


Based on another hadith, when people were giving allegiance to al-Mu’tasim, he wrote a letter to ‘Abd al-Malik al-Ziyyat, governor of Medina to send Imam al-Jawad (a) with Umm al-Fadl to Baghdad. When Imam (a) arrived in Baghdad, al-Mu’tasim showed a façade of respect toward him and sent some gifts for him and Umm al-Fadl. Based on this hadith, al-Mu’tasim sent an orange juice to Imam (a) by his servant (called Ashnas). Ashnas told Imam (a), “The caliph has given this orange juice to some noble people including Ahmad b. Abi Dawud and Sa’id b. Khadib before you and now has ordered that you too drink of it.” Imam (a) said, “I will drink it at night.” But, Ashnas insisted that he (a) should drink it as long it is cold and that its ice would melt. So, Imam (a) drink that and was martyred by it.[88]


Al-Shaykh al-Mufid (d. 413/1022) said, “Even though some have said that Imam (a) was martyred by poison; however, this has not been proved to me so that I can swear about it.”[89] But al-Mas’udi (d. 346/957) said, “al-Mu’tasim and Ja’far b. al-Ma’mun (brother of Umm al-Fadl, wife of Imam al-Jawad (a)) were always thinking about killing Imam (a). Since Imam (a) did not have any child from Umm al-Fadl and his son ‘Ali (a) was from his other wife, Ja’far induced his sister to poison Imam (a). This way, they poisoned grapes and Imam (a) ate from them.” Al-Mas’udi continues that afterwards, Umm al-Fadl became so regretful of her work and cried so much and Imam (a) cursed her and she was afflicted with a severe illness.”[90]

Imam al-Jawad’s (a) scientific dialogues and debates at the time of the government of al-Ma’mun and al-Mu’tasim which solved many scientific problems and issues in fiqh made Islamic scholars and researchers including Shi’a and Sunni ones surprised so that many of them considered Imam (a) an outstanding figure and praised him. They mentioned his knowledge, piety, and generosity.[91] some of them believe that al-Ma’mun chose him to become his son-in-law because even with being young, he was superior to all scholars in knowledge and forbearance.[92] Jahiz ‘Uthman, the mu’tazili scholar, has mentioned him as knowledgeable, pious, worshiping, brave, generous, pure, with pure origin.”[93]

According to consults of some Shi’a scholars, some Shi’as make tawassul to Imam al-Jawad (a) for increase in their daily sustenance and solution of their material problems and call him Bab al-Hawa’ij [Gate of Requests]. An example of such consults is quoted by the Second Majlisi from Abu l-Wafa’ Shirazi who claimed that the Prophet (s) advised him in his dream to make Tawassul to Imam al-Jawad (a) in material issues.[94][95]


According to a hadith Dawud al-Sayrafi transmitted from Imam al-Hadi (a), visiting the shrine of Imam al-Jawad (a) has great rewards.[96] Also in a letter to Imam al-Hadi (a), Ibrahim b. ‘Uqba asked about visiting the shrines of Imam al-Husayn (a)Imam al-Kazim (a) and Imam al-Jawad (a), and Imam al-Hadi (a) mentioned visiting the shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a) more important and said that visiting all the three is perfect and has many rewards.[97] The shrine of Imam al-Jawad (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a) is in Baghdad, where Muslims and especially Shi’a visit. They visit his shrine in Kadhimiya and make entreaty to him. In the martyrdom anniversary of Imam al-Jawad (a), Shi’a hold mourning ceremonies, recite elegies and beat their chests.[citation needed]

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