|Born||10 May 676
01 Rajab 57 AH
|Died||28 January 732 (aged 57)
07 Dhu al-Hijjah 114 AH
|Cause of death||Poisoning by Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik according to most Shia Muslims|
|Resting place||Jannat al-Baqi cemetery, Medina, Saudi Arabia|
|Other names||Muhammad ibn ‘Alī ibn Husayn|
|Predecessor||Ali ibn Husayn|
|Spouse(s)||Farwah bint al-Qasim
Umm Hakīm bint Usayd ibn al-Mughīrā al-Thaqafī
Muhammad al-Baqir (Arabic: مُحَمَّد ٱلْبَاقِر) full name Muhammad bin 'Ali bin al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib, also known as Abu Ja'far or simply al-Baqir ("the one who opens knowledge") (677-733) was the fifth Shia Imam, succeeding his father Zayn al-Abidin and succeeded by his son Ja'far al-Sadiq.
His mother, Fatima Umm abdallah, was the daughter of the second Shia imam, Hasan ibn Ali.
Al-baqir, as a known religion scholar, laid the foundation of shi'ism, which was elaborated later by his son and successor, Ja'far al-sadiq.
Al-baqir lived all his life in the city.
Like his father, he tried not to be engaged in the conflicts fueled against Umayyed Khaliphs, even tried to speak his half-brother, Zayd ibn Ali, out of the conflicts.Al-baqir, spent his time elaborating the theory of Imamat.
He was in Medina, however most of his disciples were living in Kufa.
Birth and early life
See also: Family tree of Ali
Al-Baqir had a prominent seyyid lineage.
When Al-Baqir was a child, his family was affected by the Battle of Karbala; he was three or four years old when his grandfather, Husayn, was killed.
Al-Baqir is an abbreviation of Baqir al-'ilm, which means "he who opens knowledge", and al-Baqir is said to have been known for his knowledge.
According to Ibn Khallikan, he received the nickname "al-Baqir" (the ample) due to the "ample fund of knowledge" he collected.
However, Ya'qubi believed that he was called al-Baqir because he "split open knowledge", examining its depths.
The Shiites believe that Baqir al-'ilm was not an ordinary title, because it was given to him by Muhammad.
Although Medinans thought that Jabir was insane, he assured them that Muhammad had told him: "O Jabir!
You will meet a man from my family who will have the same name and the same characteristics as mine.
He will split open knowledge extensively."
Abd Allah saw that the imam was still a child, and examined him to see if he had the features which Muhammad had described.
Jabir asked, "Characteristics of the Messenger of Allah; by Him in whose hands is my soul, O boy, what is your name?"
When al-Baqir answered that he was Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn, Jabir "approached him, kissed his head and swore by his father and mother that Muhammad had recited greeting upon him."
According to al-Kafi, Imam Baqir stressed the importance of intelligence saying that Allah will hold everyone accountable on the day of judgement according to the degree of intelligence they received in the worldly life.
Disagreements within the Umayyad party kept them occupied, and they left members of the household undisturbed for some time.
However, tyranny in the Battle of Karbala had attracted many people to the imams.
These conditions had permitted people (particularly the Shiites) to travel to Medina in large groups and visit the imam freely.
The possibility of spreading Islam (which had not existed for the previous imams) was available to the fifth imam, indicated by a number of traditions about the imam and scholars trained under him.
After the death of Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin (the fourth Imam), most of the Shiites agreed upon his son al-Baqir as the next imam; a minority favored another son of the imam (Zayd ibn Ali), and became known as Zaidiyyah.
According to Ibn Khallikan, Zaid (Muhammad al-Baqir's brother), appealed for people to support his cause.
According to Al-Masudi, he asked for advice from Muhammad al-Baqir; al-Baqir advised him not to rely on the people of Kufa, explaining how they had previously behaved toward the members of his household.
Zaid did not listen to his brother's advice, and led the people of Kufa in a fruitless riot.
Zaid had also announced that the position of imam was conditional on his appearing publicly to assert his rights.
Muhammad al-Baqir replied, "Your faith then is merely in your father, as such, for according to your theory he was not an imam, for he certainly never came forth to assert his claims."
Under the Umayyad rulers
Despite his non-involvement in political activities, the Umayyad rulers harassed Muhammad al-Baqir.
He was also distrusted because of the uprising of his brother Zayd ibn Ali and other relatives.
At a gathering, al-Baqir delivered a sermon: "We are the favorite and chosen servants of God, and His vicegerents on the face of the earth.
One who obeys us is successful and one who opposes would be evil and wretched."
When they arrived, he kept them waiting for three days; on the fourth he called them to court, where he was practicing archery with his officials.
Muhammad al-Baqir is known for establishing the school of Law, known as the Ja'fari Madhhab.
He brought back rituals like the expression Heyya ala al-salat (come to the best of deed) to Adhan; forbade wiping the soles of footwear, instead of feet, in the Wudu; and lifted prohibition from Nikah mut'ah.
Al-Baqir also was initiator of some principles which later became distinctive tenets of Twelver Shia Islam, such as Nass (the Imam's explicit designation of his successor), Ilm (the special knowledge of the Imam), Ismah (the infallibility of the Imam) and Taqiyya (precautionary dissimulation in order to avoid persecution).
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad al-Baqir.