Muhammad b. Ali popularly known as Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) (677 AD), the Shiite 5th Imam who led the Shiite community for a period of 19 years. According to the hadith narrated by Jabir b. Abdullah Ansari, before the birth of the Imam, his name Muhammad and nickname Baqir (splitter) were given to him by the prophet of Islam. He was nicknamed as Baqir al-Ulum (the splitter of knowledge), Shakir (one who shows gratitude), Hadi (one who guides) and Amin (the trustworthy). His most famous nickname was Baqir. Yaqubi writes (he was name Baqir because he split knowledge). In this regard Shaykh Mufid said that Imam Baqir (as) was the best in knowledge, asceticism and greatness of all his brothers, his prestige was greater and everyone praised him for his greatness.
Most historians believe that his birth was in 57 AH; so he was born 4 years before the event of Karbala, and was present in this tragic with his noble father. His father was Imam Ali b. Husayn (as), known as Zain ul-Abidin the 4th imam, and his mother was Fatima daughter of Imam Hasan Mujtaba (as), the second Imam. Since the noble lineage of Imam Baqir from both mother and father’s side was connected to Imam Ali (as) and Hazrat Fatima (sa), he was called Alawi Bayn al-Alawiyyin and Fatimi Bayn al-Fatimiyyin.
What is established is that Imam Baqir (as) with the mysterious and secret plan of Husham b. Abdul Malik, was poisoned and martyred, although the cause and manner is not clear. According to some writers Ibrahim b. Walid b. Yazid b. Abdul Malik (Hisham’s nephew) was the one that poisoned the Imam, but according to others Zaid b. Hassan by the order of Hisham, rubbed poison on the horse’s saddle and brought it to Imam Baqir (as) and insisted that the Imam ride on it; the Imam inevitably rode on it and the poison affected his body, so that his thighs became swollen and he fell seriously ill for three days and was finally martyred.
His holy tomb is in Baqi Cemetery in Saudi Arabia; Baqi is the first burial mausoleum that was created by the order of the Holy Prophet (SAWA) with the help of the early Muslims of Islam. In this holy shrine there are the graves of four holy Imams -Imam hasan Mujtaba, Imam Sajjad, Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq (as). This cemetery is the most important Islamic cemetery, which contains an important part of the history of Islam and is a great book and narration of the history of Muslims. In 1220 AH, the first destruction of the holy tombs of the Imams in Baqi by the Saudi Wahhabis took place during the time of the fall of the first Saudi government by the Uthman government. After this historical-Islamic event, with the investment of Shiite Muslims and the use of special facilities, the destroyed shrine was rebuilt in the most beautiful way and with the construction of a dome and a mosque. Baqi became one of the most beautiful pilgrimage shrines and in fact a place of pilgrimage-tourism for Muslims. The second and in fact the most painful historical-Islamic incident of contemporary era occurred on 8th Shawwal (1344 AH) after the coming to power of the third Wahhabi government of Saudi Arabia; the year when the Wahhabis scholars issued a fatwa to their leaders on insulting and humiliating the Shiite shrines. The holy shrines of the Imams and the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet (SAWA) were subjected to their second savage attack, turning Baqi into a ruined tomb, which was in fact abandoned and unknown.
Knowledge and cultural biography of Imam Mohammad Baqir (as)
Imam Baqir (as) during his imammate, despite the unfavorable conditions that overshadowed the field of Islamic culture, with a serious and extensive effort, he designed a great movement in the field of science that advanced to an extent that led to the establishment of a prominent Islamic university, the dynamism and greatness of which reached its peak during the time of Imam Sadiq (as).
Many narrations have been narrated from Imam Baqir (as) in the fields of jurisprudence, monotheism, the Prophetic tradition, the Qur’an, ethics and etiquette. Also during his Imamate, the compilation of Shiite views in various fields such as ethics, jurisprudence, theology, interpretation were initiated.
Imam Baqir (as) by establishing the field of study, fought with distortions, eliminating scientific challenges, consolidating the foundations of pure Islamic teachings and principles, relying on the guiding verses of the Qur’an, and examined all the jurisprudential and doctrinal topics from the Qur’anic point of view, he devoted himself to the nurturing of scientists ,intellectuals of his time and the great scientific movement; to the extent that a scholar like Jabir bn Yazid Ja’fi whenever he wanted to talk about knowledge- despite the huge amount of knowledge he possessed – would say: “God’s successor and inheritor of the knowledge of the prophets Muhammad bn Ali (as) told me this” and because he sees little of his knowledge in comparison to the position of the Imam, he would not make any personal comment.
Abdollah Ibn Atta, who was one of the prominent personalities and great scientists of the Imam’s era, says: I have never seen the scholars of Islam in any circle and assembly to be scientifically inferior and small as the circle of Imam Muhammad Baqir (as). I saw “Hakam Ibn Utaybah” who was famous in science and jurisprudence in the service of Muhammad Baqir, like a child in front of the great master, with his kneels humbly on the ground and so fascinated and captivated by Imam’s words and personality.
It is stated in the Shiite traditions that Abdul Malik bn Marwan at the suggestion of Imam Baqir (as) started the minting of Islamic coin. Before that, transactions were done with Roman coins. Though this incident took place during the time of Imam Sajjad (as), some have attributed the suggestion of minting coins to Imam Sajjad (as) and some have said that Imam Baqir (as) made this proposal by the order of Imam Sajjad (as), Imam Baqir (as) also provided a ground for Imam Sadiq (as) that was not available to any other Imams (as), this ground help Imam Baqir (as) and Imam Sadiq (as) to leave behind a legacy of views on jurisprudence, interpretation and moral in their jurisprudential and hadith books. Therefore, narrators such as Muhammad bn Muslim have narrated 30,000 hadiths and Jabir Ja’fi has quoted 70,000 hadiths from Imam Baqir(as). Imam Baqir’s fame in knowledge was widespread not only in the Hejaz, but also in Iraq and Khorasan, to the extent that a narrator was saying: People from Khorasan circle around the Imam and ask him about their scientific problems.
It is said that Sheikh Tusi counted the number of companions and disciples of Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) who narrated hadith from him as 462 men and 2 women.
According to Shiite scholars, Zararah Ibn Ain, Maroof Ibn Kharbuz Makki, Abu Basir Asadi, Fadhil Ibn Yasar, Muhammad Ibn Muslim Taifi and Barid Ibn Mu’awiyah Ajli are among the prominent jurists of the early days of Islam from the companions of Imam Baqir (as) and Imam Sadiq (as).