7th Holy Imam Musa al-Kazim(a.s.) was the son of Imam
Jafar as-Sadiq(a.s.), the Sixth Imam . The name of his
mother was Hamidah , the daughter of a noble man hailing
from the States of Barbary.
Musa al-Kazim(a.s.) passed twenty years of his sacred
life under the gracious patronage of his holy father .
His inherent genius and gifted virtues combined with the
enlightened guidance and education from Imam Jafar
as-Sadiq(a.s.), showed in the manifestation of his
future personality . He was fully versed with the Divine
Knowledge even in his childhood. al-`Allamah
al-Majlisi(a.r.) relates that once Abu Hanifah happened
to call upon the holy abode of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq(a.s.)
to ask him about some religious matters ( masa'il ) .
The Imam(a.s.) was asleep and so he kept waiting outside
till the Imam's(a.s.) awakening . Meanwhile , Imam Musa
al-Kazim(a.s.) , who was then five years old , came out
of his house . Abu Hanifah , after offering him his best
compliment , enquired: ``O the son of the Holy Prophet !
what is your opinion about the deeds of a man ? Does he
do them by himself or does God make him do them ?'' ``O
Abu Hanifah'' , the five years old Imam(a.s.) replied at
once , in the typical tone of his ancestors , ``the
doings of a man are confined to three possibilities .
First , that God alone does them while the man is quite
helpless . Second , that both God and the man do equally
share the commitment . Third , that man does them alone
. Now , if the first assumption is true , it obviously
proves the unjustness of God who punishes His creatures
for sins which they have not committed . And if the
second condition be acceptable , even then God becomes
unjust if He punishes the man for the crimes in which He
is equally a partner . But the undesirability of both
these conditions is evident in the case of God . Thus ,
we are naturally left with the third alternative to the
problem that men are absolutely responsible for their
own doing .''
Holy Imam Jafar as-Sadiq(a.s.) breathed his last on 25th
Shawwal 148 AH , and with effect from the same date Imam
Musa al-Kazim(a.s.) succeeded the holy office of
Immamate as the Seventh Imam . The priod of his Imamate
continued for thirty - five years . In the first decade
of his Imamate , Imam Musa al-Kazim(a.s.) could afford a
peaceful execution of the responsibilities of his sacred
office and carried on the propagation of the teachings
of the Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf) . But soon after , he fell
a victim to the ruling kings and a greater part of his
life passed in prison.
Musa al-Kazim(a.s.) lived under the most crucial times
in the regimes of the despotic `Abbasid kings who were
marked for their tyrannical and cruel administration .
He witnessed the reings of al-Mansur ad-Dawaniqi ,
al-Mahdi and Harun ar-Rashid . Al-Mansur and Harun
ar-Rashid were the despotic kings who put a multitude of
innocent descendants of the Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf) to the
sword . Thousands of these martyrs were buried alive
inside walls or put into horrible dark prisons during
their lifetime . These depraved caliphs knew no pity or
justice and they killed and tortured for the plessure
they derived from human sufferings.The Holy Imam(a.s.)
was saved from the tyranny of al-Mansur because the king
, being occupied with his project of constructing the
new city of Baghdad , could not get time to turn towards
victimizing the Imam. By 157 AH the city of Baghded was
built . This was soon followed by the death of its
founder a year later . After al-Mansur , his son
al-Mahdi ascended the throne . For a few years he
remained indifferent towards the Imam(a.s.) . When in
164 AH he came to Medina and heard about the great
reputation of the Imam , he could not resist his
jealousy and the spark of his ancestral malice against
the Ahl-al-bayt(a.s.) was rekindled . He somehow managed
to take the Imam(a.s.) along with him to Baghdad and got
him imprisoned there . But after a year he realized his
mistake and released the Imam(a.s.) from jail . al-Mahdi
was succeeded by al-Hadi who lived only for a yaer . Now
, in 170 AH , the most cruel and tyrannical king Harun
ar-Rashid appeared at the head of the `Abbasid Empire .
It was during his reign that the Holy Imam(a.s.) passed
the greater part of his life in a miserable prison till
he was poisoned. Harun had the Imam(a.s.) arrested in
the Prophet's)pbuh&hf) mosque whilst Imam was praying.
He was handcuffed and shackled and sent to Basra.
Imam(a.s.) was put into prison under the custody of Isa
bin Ja'fer. After a year Isa wrote to Harun saying he
could no longer imprison Imam(a.s.) as he could find
only piety and righteousness in him.
had the Imam(a.s.) moved to Baghdad under the custody of
Fadhl bin Rabi who too became a follower of Imam(a.s.).
The prisons were so small that there was no room to
stand and the food was a cup of water and two pieces of
dry bread a day. Imam(a.s.) remained patient. Harun
finally moved Imam in the care of Sindi bin Shahak (a
very cruel man). Imam remained in prison for the last 19
years of his life.
years of imprisonment gave the Shia population a little
relief as the rulers concentrated on Imam. It enabled
the Shias to disperse from Arabia to Iran, India etc.
thus spreading Islam and it was one of the factors
towards the popularity of the 8th Imam.
and Ethical Excellence
regards his morality and ethical excellence , Ibn Hajar
al-Haytami remarks : ``The patience and forbearance of
Imam Musa al-Kazim(a.s.) was such .hat he was given the
title of al-Kazim ( one who swallows down his anger ) .
He was the embodiment of virtue and generosity . He
devoted his nights to the prayers of God and his days to
fasting . He always forgave those who did wrong to him ,
His kind and generous attitude towards the people was
such that he used to patronize and help the poor and
destitutes of Medina and provide for them cash , food ,
clothes and other necessitities of sustenance secretly .
It continued to be a riddle for the receivers of gifts
throughout the Imam's(a.s.) lifetime as to who their
benefactor was , but the secret was not revealed until
after his death.
and circumstances did not premit Imam Musa
al-Kazim(a.s.) to establish institutions to impart
religious knowledge to his followers as his father ,
Imam Jafar as-Sadiq(a.s.) and his grandfather , Imam
Muhammad al-Baqir(a.s.) had done . He was never allowed
to address a congregation . He carried on his mission of
preaching and guiding people quietly.
AH , Harun ar-Rashid visited Medina . The fire of malice
and jealousy against the Ahl-al-bayt(a.s.) was kindled
in his heart when he saw the great influence and
popularity which the Holy Imam(a.s.) enjoyed amongst the
people there . He got the Imam(a.s.) arrested while he
was busy in prayer at the tomb of the Holy
Prophet(pbuh&hf) and kept him in prison in Baghded for a
period of about four years . On the 25th Rajab 183 AH ,
he got the Imam(a.s.) martyred by poison . Even his
corpse was not spared humiliation and was taken out of
the prison and left on the Bridge of Baghdad . When
Harun Rashid's brother Sulayman heard of this he was
furious and arranged for his burial in a Quraysh
cemetery outside Baghdad (the 8th Imam gave ghusl and
kafan). A town grew around the tomb of Imam called
Kadhmain (meaning the two Kadhims) since the 9th Imam is
also buried there.