Over and above Imam Rida's introduction of Imam Taqi (a.s.) to the followers,
there was also one special quality that Allah had given to Imam Taqi (a.s.) that
made him acceptable as Imam of his time despite his young age; this quality was
his unique intelligence. To see this quality' at work, consider the following
After Imam Rida's martyrdom, Mamoon Rashid decided to call Imam Taqi (a.s.) to
Baghdad so as to silence those who believed that he had caused Imam Rida's
Imam Taqi (a.s.) came to Baghdad and his first meeting with Mamoon occurred in a
Bazaar of Baghdad.
Imam (a.s.) was in the streets of Baghdad when Mamoon accompanied by his
choicest friends and generals passed by, riding fast-running horses, All
children who were playing in the streets ran away, fearing mischief from the
Royal procession. The Imam (a.s.), however, stood fearlessly watching the King
and his entourage.
Mamoon had not yet met the Imam (a.s.) and therefore did not recognize him as
such. But he could not help observing the charm and the courage of the Imam
(a.s.). He stopped his horse, and inquired.
"Young man, what made you stand here fearlessly when all other children of your
age ran away in fear of the running horses?" The Imam (a.s.) replied without any
Why would I want to run away when there is enough passage for you and your
horses to pass by and when I have done nothing wrong to fear reprisals from
The child's perfect manners and eloquence stunned Mamoon. He asked in
bewilderment. "Whose son are you, young man?" "I am Mohammad the son of Ali Bin
Musa," replied the chold.
Mamoon went away on his hunting expedition, full of thoughts about what he had
seen and heard.
As part of his hunting exercise, Mamoon set-free in the air hunting falcons. One
of the falcons returned carrying a live fish in its beak. This was not usual.
For how could a fish be in the air to be hunted by a falcon? Mamoon was a
quick-thinking person. He thought of an idea and hid the fish in his palms.
On his way back, he met Imam Taqi (a.s.) again. Mamoon dismounted from his
horse, came near the Imam (a.s.) and said. "O the son of Prophet! Can you tell
me what is hidden in my closed palm?"
The Imam (a.s.) replied, "Allah has created seas and rivers and other water
bodies. In them live fishes. Sometimes, as a result of strong currents, some
small fishes are pulled into the air, and become a prey of hunting falcons.
Kings hide the fish in their palms to test the knowledge of the children of the
Prophet." Mamoon was very much impressed by the Imam's superb reply and took him
to his palace.
Such display of intelligence was not accidental. The Imam (a.s.) was to show it
again so abundantly that both friends and foes could not help but acknowledge
his unsurpassable knowledge and wisdom.
We shall see these instances at the appropriate places in this unit. At this
point it is enough to mention that at such young age he used to run classes in
Medina in the Mosque of the Prophet, surrounded by scholars from different parts
of the world.
At one such instance, a group of pilgrims asked him as many as thirty thousand
questions and he answered them all, to their satisfaction.
His recognition as a scholar was universal. Ismail bin Ibrahim says that one he
was present among scolars in the luminous presence of their great teacher, Ali
bin Imam Jaffer Sadiq (a.s.). Then came a young boy who was hardly thirteen
years old. Their teacher, Ali Bin Jaffer stood up and would not sit down, out of
respect, till the young boy implored him to do so. After a short conversation,
the young boy went away.
The respected teacher accompanied him for some distance. In the presence of the
young man the teacher behaved as if he himself was a learner.
After the departure of the young man, Ismail bin Ibrahim says they could not
help but protest to their teacher, saying that he had no cause for treating a
young boy with such respect, not minding his own advance age and high status as
These objections upset Ali Bin Jaffer. Holding his white, flowing beard in his
hands, he said, "What else am I supposed to do? What Allah did not see in these
white hairs, that He saw in the youthfulness of the one whom you can a child,
and made him His representative on this earth.
I seek refuse in Allah from underestimating the position of that child and from
failing to show due respect to him."
* Adapted from
the book: "Biography Of Imam Mohammad Bin Ali (a.s.) - Al-Taqi" by: "M. Dungersi