According to all Shia and Sunni scholars, because Imam Baqir (a.s.) had considerable knowledge, Jabir Ibn Abdullah al-Ansari narrated that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) named him “Baqir” and “Baqir ul-Ulum” because, as the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said about him, Baqir means one who “dissects sciences completely.”
(Al-Kafi, vol. 1, pp. 536-537)
This means that Imam had knowledge of the most delicate issues and was also able to bring out new ideas and sciences from the existing knowledge. In the Imam’s biography, historians have accepted this reason, and for his vast knowledge, even Sunni historians considered him as one of the jurists of Medina.1 Great lexicographers such as Ibn Manzŭr and Zubeydi referred to Imam Baqir while explaining the meaning of the root ba-qa-ra and considered the reason for his naming a proof of meaning of this word. The name is also used in prayers and ziyarats as follows:
The one who dissects the sciences after the Prophet
The one who dissects the sciences of the prophets
1 Wafiyat al-Ayaan, vol. 3, p. 314; al-Vafiy bal-vafiyat, vol.3, p. 102;
Shazarat al-Zahab, vol. 1, p. 149
⦁ The cultural aspects of Imam Baqir (a.s.)’s accomplishments
⦁ Imam Baqir (a.s.) in the era of Islamic jurisprudence
The scientific and cultural outcomes of the activities of Imam Sajjad (a.s.) helped establish the school of Ahlul Bayt at the time of Imam Baqir (a.s.), who was one of his father’s students, and successor to his Imamate. This school influenced the jurists and many students were trained. The great number of scholars, students, and learners in that university as well as remarkable variety of taught sciences indicates significance and vastness of scientific and cultural dominance of the Imam.
Regarding the Imam (a.s.)’s intellectual status and the scholars’ regard for him, Sheikh Mufid wrote that the companions who survived as well as prominent successors and jurists narrated religious issues from the Imam.2 The Imam (a.s.) narrated information from the past peoples and prophets, and his society learned about the biography of the Prophet, including his way of life and the military expeditions.
They relied on Imam Baqir (a.s.) during the Hajj
2. Al-Irshad fi Ma’rifat Hujaj Allah ala al-Ibad, vol. 2, p. 157.
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) informed: I swear by Allah, who split the grain and created the wind, that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.) swore that no one loves me but a believer, and no one hates me but a hypocrite. If I strike the nose of a believer with my sword he will not hate me, and even if I grant the hypocrite this and that, they will not love me.
(Bashaarah al-Mustafa Le Shiah al-Murtaza, vol. 2, p. 152; Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 39, p. 284)
pilgrimage and wrote down his Qur’anic commentary. Both laymen and the elite regarded his narrations as hadith and trusted and valued his statements.1 These cases were so great in number that Imam became an epitome of virtue.2 According to Sheikh Tusi, prominent students of Imam Baqir were 466.3
⦁ Struggle with the politico-religious thought of
The Kharijis raised the objection of accepting an arbiter in Islam. In response to them, the Imam (a.s.) referred to this verse:
Appoint [two] arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation.
(Surah al-Nisa, 4: 35)
Sa’ad Ibn Ma’az acted as an arbiter in in the battle of Bani Quraidah and this was another historic example which Imam pointed out.4
⦁ The Issues of compulsion and volition
The Qadarites (Mu’tazilis) and Fatalists (Ash’arites) were two schools of thought that existed during this time. These groups argued for their own claim from some verses of the Qur’an:
Every group is happy because of whatever they have. (30:32)
These sects deviated due to separation from the Ahlul Bayt, intellectual poverty, and separating human intellect from the divine knowledge and revelation.
By rejecting both theory of absolutism in both compulsion and volition which went to extremes, Imam Baqir established a moderate way, neither compulsion nor volition.
1 Ibid., p. 163
2 Ibid., p. 157
⦁ Rijal al-Tusi, pp. 102-142
⦁ Al-Ihtijaj alaa Ahl al-Lijaj, vol. 2, p. 344. Cited in “Imam Baqir (a.s.): The Manifestation of Imamate in the Horizon of Knowledge.” pp. 80- 81; There are other examples as well.
⦁ Confronting extremism
Some of the extremists believed in the divinity of Imam Ali and some of the Imams such as Imam Hasan (a.s.), Imam Husain (a.s.), and Imam Baqir (a.s.). Like the Imams before and after himself, Imam Baqir firmly opposed extremists. He began fierce and all-out combats by dissociating from them, explaining true and right beliefs, uncovering their conspiracies and in some cases ordered to execute them.
Extremists who labelled themselves Shia tarnished the reputation of the Shia society through their opinions and immodest actions. Disgracing the Shia in public caused the greatest damage to Islam and the Shia Imams. These extremists were usually permissive and immodest in their own deeds and behaviour.
Some of them believed Allah (s.w.t.) to be physical, with body parts such as having hands, feet, eyes, and ears as interpreted from the Holy Qur’an. They also denied corporeal resurrection, the necessity of some religious obligations, propagatingliberalism, permitting sinful acts, marrying those whom are forbidden to marry, and belief in reincarnation. Later a group called the Baqiriah believed Imam Baqir (a.s.) is the last Imam who never dies.
These beliefs were held to attack Islamic and Shia thoughts, and it was only the Imam who guarded and protected Islam and Shi’ism.
Imam Baqir (a.s.) and his students were the pioneers who combated such intellectual-religious deviations. Discussions about divine unity (tawheed), the attributes of Allah, and an exegesis on some Quranic verses were the most significant accomplishments in clarifying and publicizing true Islam.
In this intellectual movement and cultural struggle, the Imam powerfully opposed the Jews and spread of Jewish Lore since it was one of the reasons for banning hadees documentation.
⦁ Political endeavors
Because little has been recorded on the life of Imam Baqir (a.s.), little is known about his political measures. Imam Baqir (a.s.) practiced dissimulation (taqiyyah), and his political and cultural activities play a remarkable role in explaining the Shia point of view in various issues.
The calling people to the Imamate of the Ahlul Bayt, introducing the Imam, raising the issue of the scientific authority of Ahlul Bayt, proving of rightfulness of caliphate and Imamate of Ahlul Bayt and negating the legitimacy of Umayyad caliphate were cultural and political activities whose political message and effect indicates a widespread and undeniable movement.
Regarding his accomplishments, Imam Baqir (a.s.) disclosed the Umayyads’ plans: he knew the Umayyad rulers attempt to avert people from inclining to the Ahlul Bayt. He strived to prevent the forging and spreading false hadiths, campaigned against denying the Shias liberty and security, and confronted the maligning and belittling of the Shia Imams. All these undertakings, including his objection to Hisham, his teachings on the right of the Ahlul Bayt in guiding people, and considering the Umayyad rule short-lived led to his imprisonment.1
The Imam’s support of his brother Zayd, preventing some Shi’as from accepting official positions since they 1 Al-Kafi, vol. 8, p. 120; Al-Irshad, vol. 2, pp. 163,164.
were at risk for taking part in government crime, and expressing distrust in response to some from Iraq who had expressed their preparedness for obedience to the Imam all indicate his political shrewdness.2
Another way in which the Imam (a.s.) protected Islam and Muslims against the Romans was his advice to engraving Islamic coins in place of the Roman coins with the motto of tawheed (unity of God) and prophethood.3 His advice to rulers, especially to Umar ibn Abdul Azeez, as well as a letter he wrote to Umayyad rulers was noteworthy and enlightening.
⦁ The Encyclopaedia of the Islamic World, the entry of “Al- Baqir” p. 633, in addition to it. Of course, he used to guide rulers when it was necessary for protecting the honour of Islam and in Muslim’s interests. It was reported that somebody had traded weapons before becoming Shi’a.
He decided to give up his job after he had accepted Shi’ism and acquainted with political ideas of Shi’ism, and understood that selling weapons to the oppressive rule, the real enemies of Allah and Imams of Shia, strengthened enemy, and asked Imam Baqir about it. Imam Baqir (a.s.) told him: “Sell your weapons to them, because God will repulse enemies (Romans) by them.” Imam Baqir: the Manifestation of Imamate in the Horizon of knowledge, pp. 149, 150; Narrated from Al- Kafi, vol. 5, p. 112.
⦁ Ibid., pp. 151-153, with narrating difference of opinions about this issue. History of Islamic civilization (Tarikh tamaddun islami), p. 102, for more information cf: Sawaqib, Jahanbakhsh, “striking coins in Islamic
caliphate” Mishkat Magazine, No. 68-69, p. 264.
Once Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was seated while there were people around him. A man stood up and said – O Ameerul Momineen – you are in an elevated position while your father is being punished in the Fire (Allah forbid). He (a.s.) retorted – Shut up – may Allah clamp your mouth. By the One who raised Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) with the truth as a Prophet. If my father intercedes for all sinners across the face of the earth, most certainly Allah will accept his intercession. How can my father be punished in the Fire while his son is the distributor of the Heaven and the Fire! By the One who raised Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) with the truth surely Abu Talib’s (a.s.) light on the Day of Resurrection will extinguish all lights except the five lights – light of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), light of Fatima, light of Hasan (a.s.), light of Husain (a.s.) and light of his infallible sons (a.s.). Surely Abu Talib’s (a.s.) light is from our light. Allah created it two thousand years before Adam.