Martyrdom of the 5th Imam

Date:11/07/1393
On Thursday, the 7th of Zilhijjah in Iran and several other countries, we mourn the martyrdom of another Infallible Heir of the Prophet. He was the namesake of the Prophet.
On Thursday, the 7th of Zilhijjah in Iran and several other countries, we mourn the martyrdom of another Infallible Heir of the Prophet. He was the namesake of the Prophet. He was the great-great-grandson of the Prophet from both the father's and mother's sides. As a matter of fact, he was the first among the Prophet's direct descendants to be named Mohammad. It is interesting to note that not only was his birth prophesied by the Prophet, but his epithet,“Baqer al-Uloum”which means Splitter and Spreader of Sciences was also given by the Prophet – along with posthumous greetings through the eminent companion, Jaber ibn Abdullah al-Ansari.
 
Born in 57 AH – 46 years after the passing away of the Prophet – to Imam Zayn al-Abedin (PuH), the son of the Prophet's younger grandson, Imam Husain (PuH), and to Fatema (peace upon her), the daughter of the Prophet's elder grandson, Imam Hasan Mujtaba (PuH), he grew up to acquire the noble traits and characteristics of the Prophet. It is said that he even resembled the Prophet in physical appearance as well as in modes, manners, wisdom, and knowledge, to the extent that accounts of the Prophet's life, including behaviour, practice, sayings, and meanings and purport of the ayahs of the holy Qur'an, were recorded on his authority, not just by followers of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt but also by scholars of the general Muslim populace.
This enabled Imam Mohammad Baqer (PuH) to dispel one of the major misunderstandings about his Immaculate Ancestor that had crept into the minds of simple-minded Muslims, because of the propaganda of the hypocrites, especially the ruling Omayyad regime, coupled with the ignorance of the self-styled jurists, who knew little about Islam and nothing about the Prophet. For instance, when a certain Ali bin Asbaat asked him that the general people, citing the word 'Ummi' in ayah 2 of Surah Juma's description of the Prophet of Islam, claim that he was raised from amongst the illiterate and unlettered Arabs, and hence was himself illiterate and unlettered, the Imam replied: How could that be?
The 5th Imam, as the Splitter and Spreader of Sciences reasoned: Doesn't Allah the Exalted say in the same ayah that the Prophet recites to them God's message and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, although they were indeed in manifest error before?
The Imam further said: How did he teach them the Book and the Wisdom while he could neither read nor write?
Ali ibn Asbaat asked the Imam: “Then why was he called an-Nabi al-Ummi?”
Imam Baqer (PuH) replied: “Because he was ascribed to Mecca, which is Umm al-Qura, or Mother of Cities, as is clear from the words of Allah, the Great and Almighty (in ayah 7 of Surah Shurah):'That you may warn Umm al-Qura and those around it'. This is the reason the Prophet was called Ummi.”
Alas, if these enlightening words cleared the mist from the minds of the sincere seekers of truth, they intensified the animosity in the malicious hearts of the enemies of the Prophet and his Blessed Household, the Ahl al-Bayt. The most avowed enemy of Imam Baqer (PuH) and the Prophet's pristine teachings was the caliph, Hesham bin Abdul-Malik, the grandson of Marwan bin Hakam – the accursed father-and-son duo who were banished from Medina by the Prophet because of their enmity to Islam.
Hesham, who years earlier while governor of Mecca had received a mouth-shattering reply from the poet Farazdaq, when he tried to ridicule Imam Zayn al-Abedin (PuH) as people politely gave way to the Prophet's heir for kissing the Hajar al-Aswad at the holy Ka'ba, had now become caliph. He now left no stone unturned to harass Imam Baqer (PuH). He forced the 5th Imam to come to his capital Damascus, where when he tried to ignore the Prophet's heir in front of the whole court, he was cut down to size by the latter's reminder to the audience that real authority, on the basis of the holy Qur'an, belongs to the Ahl al-Bayt.
Hesham was further humiliated and imprisoned Imam Baqer (PuH) when the Prophet's Successor, contrary to the caliph's expectations, proved his marksmanship by shooting seven arrows in a row at the bull's eye, each splitting the previous one.
In the prison when the Imam reformed inmates and turned them into good Muslims, the caliph felt more exasperated and released him, but refused to allow him to return to Medina. Imam Baqer (PuH) used this opportunity to engage the Chief Christian Priest of Syria in a dialogue that made the prelate embrace Islam with his flock, much to the chagrin of the crestfallen caliph. Afraid of doing open bodily harm to the Prophet's Heir, Hesham reluctantly send him back to Medina but with instructions to the escort not to allow him to get in touch with people in the towns and villages on the way. In 114 AH, the tyrant whose armies in addition to suppressing Muslim sentiments in the Islamic realm, were terrorizing people in such far flung places as Sindh in the subcontinent and southern France in Europe, administered a fatal dose of poison to the Imam, through his governor of Medina, at a time when preparations were underway for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.  On 7th Zilhijja, the 5th Infallible Successor of the Prophet, whose habit was to make people during the Hajj aware of the tragedy of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Husain (PuH), left for his heavenly abode, and was laid to rest in the Baqie Cemetery.
Here are some wise sayings to ponder upon from the 5th Imam:
"Our followers are of three kinds, one who follows us but depends on others, one who is like a glass involved in his own reflections, but the best are those who are like gold, the more they suffer the more they shine.”
Another famous saying of the 5th Imam is:“I admonish you regarding five things; if you are wronged, do not commit wrong doing to others, if you are betrayed, do not betray anyone, if you are called a liar, do not be furious, if you are praised, do not be jubilant, if you are criticized do not fret and think of what is said in criticism, if you find in yourself what is criticized about you, then you are falling down in the eyes of God; when you are furious about the truth, it is much greater calamity then your falling down in the eyes of the people. And if you are opposite of what is said (in criticism) about you, then it is a merit you acquired without having to tire yourself in obtaining it.”