Imam al-Rida Declares al-Jawad as the Imam After Him

Life of Imam Al-Jawad

Imam al-Rida (a.s) declared the imamate of his son al-Jawad and appointed him as the successor after...

Imam al-Rida (a.s) declared the imamate of his son al-Jawad and appointed him as the successor after him and the general authority to whom Muslims would refer in their religious affairs. Many narrators have narrated the appointment of al-Jawad as the imam after his father. We mention here some of these narrations:

1. Muhammad al-Mahmoori

Muhammad al-Mahmoori narrated from his father as having said, “Once, I was standing near Imam al-Rida (a.s) in Tooss1 when one of his companions asked him, ‘If something happens (to you), to whom shall we refer?’ He asked about the next imam after him so that they would know to whom they should obey and submit. Imam al-Rida (a.s) said, ‘To my son Abu Ja’far.’

Imam al-Jawad (a.s) was yet a child. The man said, ‘I think he is very little as of yet.’

Imam al-Rida (a.s) replied, ‘Allah sent Jesus the son of Mary (as a prophet) though he was even younger than Abu Ja’far will be when he shall become the imam.’”2

The answer of Imam al-Rida (a.s) was a decisive evidence that Allah the Almighty had chosen Jesus Christ (a.s) as a prophet and given him knowledge while he was still a child and younger in age than Imam al-Jawad (a.s). Prophethood and imamate are from one source, and they are not entrusted to a young or an old man, but rather, they are in the hand of Allah Who chooses for them whom He likes from amongst His people.

2. Safwan bin Yahya

Safwan was among those who narrated traditions of the appointment of Imam al-Jawad (a.s) by his father as the imam after him. He narrated, “Once, I said to al-Rida: we often asked you, before Allah granted Abu Ja’far to you, about the imam after you and you would say ‘Allah will give me a boy.’ Now, Allah has given you a boy and has delighted our eyes. If something happens (to you), to whom shall we refer? He pointed to Abu Ja’far (al-Jawad) who was before him and who was at that time three years old. I said, ‘He is a three-year-old child!’ He said, ‘It does not matter. Jesus Christ (a.s) was entrusted with prophethood while he was less than three years.’”3

3. Ma’mar bin Khallad

Ma’mar narrated the traditions of Imam al-Rida (a.s) about the appointment of his son al-Jawad as the imam after him. He said, “I heard him (Imam al-Rida) saying to his companions after having mentioned something to them, ‘What else do you want? This is Abu Ja’far. I have seated him in my place and made him my successor…We are the people of a house whose young inherit from the old, one after the other and each one is equal to the other.’”4

4. Abdullah bin Ja’far

Abdullah bin Ja’far said, “One day, Safwan bin Yahya and I went to Imam al-Rida (a.s) while Abu Ja’far, who was three years old then, was before him. We said, ‘May Allah make us die for you! If something happens5 – Allah forbid – who shall be the imam after you?’ He said, ‘My son.’ He pointed to his son al-Jawad. We said, ‘Even though he is of this age!?’ He said, ‘Yes! Allah the Almighty has given Jesus Christ (a.s) as an argument though he was but two years old.’”6

5. Muhammad bin Abu Abbad

Muhammad bin Abu Abbad narrated from his father who said, “I heard Imam al-Rida (a.s) saying: Abu Ja’far is my guardian and successor in my family after me.”7

And there are many other traditions related from Imam al-Rida (a.s) declaring the imamate of Muhammad al-Jawad (a.s) after his father and his being one of the caliphs of the Prophet (a.s) for his Umma.

* The Life of Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad. By: Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi. Author: Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi. Translator: Abdullah al-Shahin. Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum

1- In Khurasan.
2- Ad-Durr an-Nadheem, p.218, a manuscript in Ameerul Mo’mineen Library.
3- Al-Fusul al-Muhimmah by ibn al-Sabbagh, p.251, Usool al-Kafi, vol. 1 p.379.
4- Al-Fusul al-Muhimmah, p.251, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 12 p.103.
5- They mean “if you die”.
6- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 12 p.117.
7- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 12 p.104, Ithbat al-Hudat, vol.6 p.161.

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