conducted by his son Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq, the Six Imam, and his body was laid to rest in Jannatul-Baqi’ in Medina.
Imam Jaafar is the son of Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir and Umm Farwah. He was born on the 17th of Rabi Al-awal 83 A.H. in the holy city of Madina. His famous titles were Al-Sadiq, Al-Fadl, and Al-Tahir. Imam Jaafar was brought up by his grandfather, Imam Ali ibn Hussain (4th Imam) for a period of 12 years and then remained in the patronage of his father Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir for 19 years. The period of his Imamate coincided with the most revolutionary and eventful era of Islamic history, which saw the downfall of the Umayyad Empire and the rise of the Abbasid caliphate. It was due to the political strife between two groups, (the Umayyads and `Abbasids) for power which left the Imam undisturbed to carry out his devotional duties and spread the teachings of the Holy Prophet. His disciples compiled hundreds of books on various branches of science and arts. Other than fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), hadith (tradition), tafsir (exegesis of the Holy Qur’an), the Holy Imam also imparted mathematics and chemistry to some of his disciples. Jabir ibn Hayyan at-Tusi, a famous scholar of mathematics, was one of the Imam’s disciples who benefited from the Imam’s knowledge and guidance and was able to write 400 books on different subjects. However, on 25th Shawwal 148 AH, the governor of Medina (by the order of Al-Mansur), killed the Imam through poison. The funeral prayer was conducted by his son Imam Musa Al-Kazim, the Seventh Imam, and his body was laid to rest in the cemetery of Jannatul-Baqi’.
Imam Musa is the son of Imam Jaafar Al-Sadiq and Hamidah Al-Barbariyyah. He was born in the city of Ibwa (in between Mecca and Madina) on the 7th of Safar 128 A.H. His famous title is Al-Kazim and Al-Abed Al-Salih. Generosity was synonymous with his name and no beggar ever returned from his door empty handed. The Imam spent 20 years under the patronage of his father. He was known to be fully verses with Divine Knowledge, and was enlightened by the guidance and education from his father, Imam Jaafar Al-Sadiq. Imam Musa al-Kazim lived under the most crucial times in the regimes of the Abbasid kings who were marked for their tyrannical and cruel administration. He witnessed the reigns of Al-Mansur Ad-Dawaniqi, Al-Mahdi and Harun Al-Rashid. At the age of 42, the Imam was imprisoned for the greatest portion of his life and was poisoned by Harun Al-Rashid 13 years later. He passed away on the 25th of Rajab 183 AH at the age of 55 in the city of Baghdad.
Imam Ali was the son of Imam Musa Al-Kathim and Umm Al-Banin Najmah. He was born in Medina on the 11th of Dhul-Hijjah in 148 AH. His titles were Al-Rida and Abul-Hassan. Imam Ali Al-Rida was brought up under the guidance of his father for 35 years. His insight in religious matters combined with the excellent training and education given by his father made him unique in his spiritual leadership. Imam Al-Rida had the great task before him of coming out with the correct interpretation of the Holy Qur’an; especially under the most unfavorable circumstances under the government of Harun Al-Rashid. Imam Al-Rida was a popular Imam, since many devoted followers showed great amounts of love, loyalty, and respect towards him. Al-Mamun (the Abbasid King preceding Harun Al-Rashid) was conscious of the fact that he would not survive for long if he did not express his loyalty to the great leader. Thus, he summoned (in a compelling way) Imam Ali Al-Rida to his royal court, pretended to give respect and consideration towards the Imam. He asked the Imam on multiple occasions to take over the Caliphate but the Imam refused, knowing that they wanted to control the Muslim Ummah through him. However, after a final summoning and offering of the Caliphate, Al-Mumun ordered the Imam accept his offer or else he will be executed, and so the Imam laid out the following grounds: “I will agree to what you want of me as far as succession is concerned on condition that I do not command, nor order, nor give legal decisions, nor judge, nor appoint, nor dismiss, nor change anything from how it is at present.” Surprisingly, Al-Mamun agreed to the said points. One of the most important points to discuss is how Imam Al-Rida used the so-called “caliphate” to worship, serve the people, and initiate the Majalis of Imam Hussain and his tragedy of Karbala. He laid out of the grounds of poetry, lamenting, and discussing the tragedy for all those to learn. With this, Al-Mamun grew worrisome of the growing popularity of the Imam and decided he wanted to get rid of him. After inviting him for dinner, Al-Mamun poisoned the Imam with grapes, and thus, he took his last breath on the 17th of Safar 203 AH. He was buried in Tus (Mashad) and his grand shrine speaks well for his great personality.
Imam Muhammad was the son of Imam Ali Al-Rida and Sabika. He was born on the 10th of Rajab in 195 AH. His titles were Al-Jawad, Al-Taqi and Abu Jaafar. Imam Muhammad al-Jawad was brought up by his Holy father Imam `Ali Al-Rida for four years. Under the forced circumstances of Imam Ali Al-Rida having to migrate from Medina to Khurasan (Iran), he left his son behind him. The Imam was fully aware of the treacherous character of the ruling king and was sure that he would not return to Madina. So before his departure, he declared his son Muhammad Al-Jawad as his successor. Furthermore, he imparted to him all of his Divine knowledge and spiritual genius. The span of the life of Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad was shorter than that of his predecessors as well as his successors. He became Imam at the age of eight, and was poisoned at the age of 25; yet his literary attainments were many and he commanded great respect and esteem. The most outstanding phases of his nature and character were to show hospitality and courtesy to all without discrimination. Furthermore, to help the needy and 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 to guide the people to the right path. After the death of Al-Mamun, Al-Mutasim ascended the throne, getting the opportunity to persecute the Imam and to ventilate his hatred towards him. Upon the Imam’s arrival in Baghdad on 9th Muharram 220 AH, Al-Mutasim got him poisoned at the young age of 25. He died on 29th Dhi’l qi’dah 220 AH and was buried beside his grandfather, Imam Musa al-Kazim the Seventh Imam, in al-Kazimiyyah, in the suburb of Baghdad (Iraq).
Imam Ali was the son of Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad and Sumanah. He was born in the outskirts of Medina on the 2nd of Rajab in 212 AH. His titles were Al-Hadi, Al-Naqi, and Abul Hassan. The Holy Imam devoted himself to the sacred mission of preaching in Medina, thus earning the faith of the people as well as their allegiance. This reputation of the Imam evoked jealousy of Al-Mutawakkil against him. Being too occupied in State affairs, Al-Mutawakkil( the Abbasid Caliph of the time) did not get any time to harass the Imam and his followers for four years. The governor of Medina wrote to Al-Mutawakkil that Imam Ali Al-Hadi had been maneuvering a coup against the government and a multitude of Shias were pledged to his support. Although enraged by this news, Al-Mutawakkil still preferred the diplomacy of not arresting the Holy Imam. Under the garb of pretended respect and love, he planned to put him under life imprisonment after inviting him to his palace. Al-Mutaz (The King preceding Al-Mutawakil), understanding the uncontrollable and intense devotion of the people towards the Imam, eventually conspired the Imam’s assassination. He got him poisoned through an ambassador which resulted in the Imam’s death within a few hours. The murder occurred on 26th Jumada’th-thani 254 AH, and his funeral prayer was conducted by his son, Imam Hasan Al-Askari. The Imam was only 42 years old at the time of death. The period of his Imamate was 35 and was also buried in Samarra’, Iraq.
Imam Hassan was the son of Ali Al-Hadi and Haditha. He was born in Madina on the 8th of Rabi Al-Thani in 232 AH. His titles were Al-Askari and Abu Muhammad. The Imam lived alongside his father for 22 years and took the Caliphate after his death. During this time, restrictions were placed on him, thus he spent the majority of his seven years as the Imam in hiding. He did not have social contact with even the most common Shia population of his time. Only the elite of the Shia were able to see him. Even so, he spent most of his time in prison. There was extreme repression at that time because the Shia population had reached a great level in both numbers and power. Everyone knew that the Shia believed in Imamate, and the identity of the Shia Imams was also known. Therefore, the caliphate kept the Imams under its closest supervision. It tried to remove and destroy them through many secret plans. Also, the caliphate had come to know that the elite among the Shia believed that the 11th Imam (according to traditions cited by him as well as his forefathers), would have a son who was the promised Mahdi (or Messiah). The coming of the Mahdi had been foretold in authenticated hadith of the Prophet in both Sunni and Shia sources. For this reason, the 11th Imam was kept under close watch by the caliphate, more so then any other Imam. The caliph of the time had decided to put an end to the Imamate in Shiaism through any possible means. The Imam died at the young age of 28, after being poisoned by the Abbasid ruler Al-Mutamid. He was buried in Samarra alongside his father.
Imam Muhammad is the son of Imam Hassan Al-Askari and Narjis. His titles are Al-Mahdi (The Messiah), Al-Hujjah (The proof of God), Al-Ghaib (The one not present physically) and Abu-Al-Qasim. He was born in Samarra’ in 255 AH and until 260 AH when his father was martyred, lived under his father’s care. He was hidden from public view and only a few of the elite among the Shi’ah were able to meet him. After the death of his father, he became Imam and by Divine Command went into Occultation (ghaybah). Thereafter, he appeared only to his deputies and even then only in exceptional circumstances. Imam Muhammad Al- Mahdi is the Imam still living amongst us today in Occultation. He will reappear in the end of times in order to bring peace and harmony in the world after it was been filled with evil and injustice. Imam Al-Mahdi was prophesized by the Holy Prophet himself as well as by all the 11 Imams that preceded him, outlining his great stance and noble character. It is most famously stated that Jesus Christ will actually return back to Earth to fight alongside Imam Al-Mahdi, and bridge the Christians and Muslims together. He is the savior that the Shia and Sunni sects believe will save the world.