Heartiest congratulations to you on a very auspicious day. In fact, the 10th of Rajab is a day of double rejoicing. It is the day on which two wonder boys were born in the household of the Prophet of Islam, although a century and 35 years apart.
The first was the infant martyr of Karbala, Ali al-Asghar (AS), who in 61 AH attained immortality at the tender age of 6 months, with a smile on his parched innocent lips, as the arrow of the brutal Omayyad marksman, Harmala, pierced his slender neck, even as his father Imam Husain (AS) lifted him to demonstrate his acute thirst to enemy troops that had cut off the camp of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt from the fresh flowing waters of the Euphrates. The second brilliant boy born today was Imam Mohammad at-Taqi al-Jawad (AS) who graced Planet Earth in the year 195 AH, was hardly six years when his father Imam Reza (AS) was forced to leave Medina for distant Khorasan, where the martyrdom through poisoning of the 8th Infallible Imam in 203 AH, meant that the 8-year old boy was now the divinely-designated Heir of the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger to all mankind.
“O John! [We said,] ‘Hold on with power to the Book!’ And We gave him wisdom while still a child,”
What you heard was ayah 12 of Surah Maryam of the Holy Qur’an, where God informs us of how He granted a heavenly scripture and wisdom beyond years to Prophet Yahya or John the Baptist, who was a mere boy while receiving divine honours. Again, to dispel any doubt that gifted children can be repositories of knowledge if God choses them to be guides and leaders of mankind, we present you ayahs of 29 and 30 of the same Surah, which refer to the start of the mission of the Virgin-born Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary (peace upon them), when the ever-intransigent Israelites tried to ridicule the infant and his chaste mother.
“Thereat she (Mary) pointed to him (that is Jesus). They (the Israelites) said, ‘How can we speak to one who is yet a baby in the cradle?’
“He (the infant Jesus) said: ‘Indeed I am a servant of Allah! He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet.”
The phrases that you heard are passages from are the Revealed Words of God to all mankind for all time. The Receiver of this universal message – the Qur’an – was the Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), after whom no prophet will be raised nor will any scripture be sent from heaven. The Words of God are crystal clear. Those in doubt cannot be considered Muslims. Likewise, those who think that divine guidance ended with the end of the mission of Seal of Messengers, cannot be considered believers at all. They should immediately review and rectify their beliefs as Muslims, because God Almighty does not leave people in dark. That was the reason, the Prophet of Islam emphasized in clear words:
“I am leaving behind among you the Thaqalayn (two precious things); the Book of God (Qur’an) and my progeny the Ahl al-Bayt. Hold fast to them and you will never go astray, for the two will not separate with each other even when they return to me at the Fountain (of Kowthar on the Day of Resurrection).”
The Hadith Thaqalayn, accepted by all Muslim denominations, is thus clear proof that guidance of the Ummah continues through the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt – the first of whom is the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) who was proclaimed vicegerent at Ghadir-Khom by the Prophet on God’s command, while the last is the 12th Imam who will reappear in the end times as Mahdi al-Qa’em to establish the global government of peace, prosperity and justice.
Today, the 10th of Rajab provides us the opportunity to dwell briefly on the life and times of the Prophet’s 9th Infallible Heir, Imam Mohammad Taqi (AS), who was born this day in Medina in the year 195 AH. As said earlier, he was a mere boy of 8 years when his father, Imam Reza (AS), was martyred through poisoning in Khorasan by Mamoun, the self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime. Before leaving Medina, the 8th Imam had explicitly told his companions to look to his small son for guidance after him, citing these very ayahs of the holy Qur’an that we have mentioned. It is outside the scope of this brief radio programme to dwell on the first meeting between the 9th Imam and Mamoun, and how to the amazement of his father’s assassin, he had given the ruler answers beyond the wisdom of children. It would be tedious to repeat the debate arranged by Mamoun between the boy-Imam and the Mu’tazlite ideologue Yahya ibn Aksam, and how the grey bearded scholar had stuttered for words when posed questions by the Prophet’s 9th Infallible Successor.
These are ample proofs of the God-given wisdom and knowledge of Imam Jawad (AS), whose 17-year imamate ably guided the faithful. Once when a certain man named Ali came from Egypt and asked the 9th Imam to provide him guidelines for the benefit of the Egyptian people who otherwise might become prey to the doubts spread by the weak of faith, he replied: “God has appointed Imams as proofs, just as He appointed Prophets as proofs, when He said: ‘and We gave him (Yahya) wisdom while he was still a child.”
Despite the hurdles placed by Mamoun, who in order to keep a constant watch upon the 9th Imam, forcibly married his daughter to the teenaged boy, the Prophet’s rightful successor continued his contact with his followers in the far-flung provinces through the foolproof system of “wikala” or representation. This was part of Divine Providence to keep alive the hopes of the faithful for the long period of occultation of the 12th Imam before his final reappearance to rid the world of injustice and oppression. Thus, when someone asked him about the Awaited Saviour of humanity, the 9th Imam said:
“(He is called al-Qa’em) because he rises again after his remembrance is forgotten, and the turning away of most of those who previously believed in his Imamate. (He is called al-Muntazar) because his occultation will be very lengthy. The firm of faith will await his reappearance, while the doubting people will deny it, and the stubborn will mock at it. People will lie in specifying the time of his return, and those who are hasty in awaiting it will be destroyed. (Only) the ones who submit will be saved (during the occultation).”
The 9th Imam acquired the epithet “Taqi”, which means thoroughly purified. His other famous epithet “Jawad” indicates his ocean of generosity in the diffusion of knowledge. As a matter of fact, so diligently did Imam Mohammad at-Taqi al-Jawad (AS) enlightened minds and souls during his era that volumes of books were written on a wide range of subjects by his students. In the those days of Abbasid tyranny, he so firmly established the intellectual bases of the Islamic shari’a, as was expounded by his great-grandfather Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), that till this day the seekers of truth have recourse to these guidelines.
The Imam strove to promote friendship and harmony in society, and expounded to the people the real meaning of charity and goodwill. Once when a person said that as per a statement of Imam Reza (AS) that the best day for a person is the day when he helps his friends in need, he has granted something to ten of his needy friends, and was obviously feeling happy, Imam Jawad (AS), approving his deed of charity. He, however, cautioned him by reciting ayah 264 of Surah Baqarah, where God Almighty says:
"O you who have faith! Do not render your charities void by reproaches and affronts."
Today, the hearts of the faithful are turned towards the twin-domed gold-plated mausoleum of Kazemayn (near Baghdad in Iraq) where the 9th Imam reposes in eternal peace beside his grandfather, Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), having been martyred through poisoning in the prime of his youth, at the age of 25 years. Let us turn towards his mausoleum and recited:
“Peace be upon you; O the Light of Allah; Peace be upon you; O the Argumentation of Allah; Peace be upon you O the Guide of the believers; the Heir of the Prophets’ knowledge.”
Here are three of the countless wise sayings from the 9th Imam that are worth pondering upon:
“Delay of repentance is self-deception, excessive procrastination is perplexity, and arrogance against Allah is perdition…”
No one can consider himself secure from the retribution of God except those who are lost.
God’s increasing blessings will be stopped when the creatures stop showing Him gratitude.