Muhammad al-Baqir

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Muhammad al-Baqir
5th Imam of Twelver and 4th Imam of Ismaili Shia
Grave Fatema(single one) and other Imams.JPG
His desecrated grave at Al-Baqi' in Saudi Arabia
Native name محمد بن علي الباقر  (Arabic)
Born c. 676 CE[1]
(1 Rajab 57 AH AH)
Medina, Umayyad Empire
Died c. 31 January 733(733-01-31) (aged 57)
(7 Dhul Hijja 114 AH)
Medina, Umayyad Empire
Cause of death
Death by poisoning
Resting place
Jannatul Baqi, Saudi Arabia
24°28′1″N 39°36′50.21″E / 24.46694°N 39.6139472°E / 24.46694; 39.6139472
Other names Muhammad ibn ‘Alī ibn Husayn
Ethnicity `Arab (Quraysh)
Term 712 – 733 CE
Predecessor Ali ibn Husayn
Successor Ja'far al-Sadiq
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Farwah bint al-Qasim
Umm Hakīm bint Usayd ibn al-Mughīrā al-Thaqafī
Parents `Ali ibn Husayn
Fatimah bint Hasan

Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī al-Bāqir (Arabic: محمد ابن علي الباقر ‎) (676-733 AD or 1 Rajab 57 AH – 7 Dhu al-Hijjah 114 AH)[3] was reportedly the Fifth Imām to the Twelver Shi‘a and Fourth Imām to the Ismā‘īlī Shī‘ah, and one of the Ahlu-ll-Bayṫ of the Islâmic Prophet Moḥammad. His father was the previous Imām, ‘Alī ibn Ḥusayn, and his mother was Fatimah bint al-Hasan. He is revered by Shi'i Muslims for his religious leadership and highly respected by Sunni Muslims for his knowledge and Islamic scholarship as a leading jurist of Madinah, the City of the Prophet.


Muhammad al-Baqir was born on the 1st of the month of Rajab, 57th Hijra, in the city of Medina.

Because of his resemblance to his great-grandfather he was named Muhammad, because of it that he analyzed the knowledge and made manifest its secrets he became known with the title of al-Baqir.

He was the first Imam whose lineage ascended and reached the Islamic prophet Muhammad both from the paternal and maternal sides.

His life history can be divided into two parts:

  • the period before his Imamate, led in Medina, that is nearly 35 years and was the peaceful part of his life
  • the Period of Imamate, which stretched up to 20 years and is counted as the duration of his propagation and dissemination of Islamic knowledge,glory and wisdom.

Prophecy of Birth[edit]

[5] Shia historians allege a hadith, that one of the companions of Muhammad, Jabir ibn Abd-Allah Ansari was in the presence of Muhammad. He asked Muhammad about the names of descendants from his daughter Hazrat Fatimah and Ali. Muhammad told him,

“O Jabir, you will have a long life, and although you will go blind, but you will meet the 5th in line of my descendants whose name will be my name, who will walk like me and who will be the 5th Imam of the time. When you will meet him, give my salaams (peace greetings) to him”.

As predicted by Muhammad Jabir ibn Abd-Allah Ansari had a long life and became blind in his old age. But he devoutly waited for the time when he would meet the 5th Imam. Each morning he would come out from his house, sit by the road side and wait for the sound of the footsteps to recognise the 5th Imam. One such day while he was waiting in the street of Madina, he heard someone walking towards him, the sound of footsteps reminded him of the way Muhammad used to walk. Jabir stood up, stopped the man and asked his name. He replied,”Muhammad”, Jabir asked, whose son?, he replied “Ali ibn Hussain”. Jabir immediately recognised the man he was talking to was the 5th Imam. He embraced him and told him the message from Muhammad and that Muhammad sent his greetings to him. Imam took him to his home, asked his friends to gather as many people as they can. When they all assembled in his house, the Imam asked Jabir to tell the whole story again. Jabir narrated the story to the companions, they all attested in unison of the Imamat of the Fifth Imam and also the names of the other Seven Imams in his line up to the Twelfth Imam.


Imam Muhammed al-Baqir was awarded the title Baqir al-'Ulum "Revealer of Knowledge" because of his ample religious and judicial knowledge and his enthusiasm to teach others. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir’s son, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq, was his student and benefited from his knowledge. He founded the precursor of Shī‘ah jurisprudence.[6] Many historians like Yakubi asserts that the Imam split open knowledge, that He scrutinized it and examined the depths of it so that it can be spread to all people truly and correctly. In his life of respectable and scholarly retirement at Madina, the Imam was frequently called upon to explain particular teachings in regard to Imamat. A synopsis of his teaching in the Ma’athirul-Baqir is given in Cannon Sell’s Ithna Ashariya, an interesting part of which may well be quoted, as it shows the emphasis at this early period on the intellectual and spiritual character of the Imamat.

While in Medinah Imam Muhammed al-Baqir continued with the progress of the schools of theology opened up on his advice and with the support of the companions of Ahlu-ll-Bayṫ. It is noted by many historians that until the death of The 5th Imam there were 25000 students in these schools learning Fiqh, Theology and Islamic science. It was at this time that 400 books of Hadith were compiled by the students of these school under the guidance of Imam Muhammed al-Baqir.

For information about his relationship with Sunnî Imâm Abû Ḥanîfah, see Abū Ḥanīfa#Sources and methodology.

During the Umayyad rulers[edit]

Despite his aversion to politics, the Umayyad rulers harassed Muhammad al-Baqir for fear of his popularity and influence. This was the time when the early discussions and differences in the community surrounded the question of who has the right to rule.[7] The actions of his brother and other kinsmen made them distrust him. Numerous Shia individuals and delegations from Kufa traveled to Medina under the cover of the Hajj ritual to attend al-Baqir's teaching and to ask him specific questions.[8]


The historical tomb of Al-Baqi' has been destroyed in 1926. Muhammad al-Baqir was one of four shia Imams buried here.

Muhammad al-Baqir was poisoned by the order of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik[3][9] on 7 Dhu al-Hijjah 114 at the age of 57 years. His body was buried beside the graves of other Imams in the graveyard of Jannatul Baqee'.[2][3] [5] The more the Umayyad Government learnt about The Imam’s prestige and popularity, the more intolerable his existence became. At last they resorted to the same soundless weapon, poison which used to be applied by the cunning monarchs quite often to eliminate their opponents or suspects. A saddle was presented to the Imam in which poison was applied most skilfully. When he mounted on it the poison affected his whole body. After few days in pain the Imam died on 7th of Dhu al-Hijjah 114 Hijri.

According to his Will he was shrouded in three pieces of cloth. These included a Yamani sheet which he used to put on Friday prayers and a shirt which he always wore. He was laid to rest underneath the same dome in Jannatul Baqee where Imam Hasan ibn Ali and Imam Zayn al-Abidin were buried.

Some Sayings of the Imam[6][edit]

"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".

"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 criticised do not fret and think of what is said in criticism, if you find in yourself what is criticised 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".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shabbar, S.M.R. (1997). Story of the Holy Ka’aba. Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Shaykh al-Mufid. "The Infallibles - Taken from Kitab al Irshad". Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  3. ^ a b c d A Brief History of The Fourteen Infallibles. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. 2004. p. 117. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f al-Qarashi, Baqir Shareef. "3". The life of Imam Mohammad al-Baqir. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. 
  5. ^ a b by the Ummayad Government.
  6. ^ a b sayings of the Imam.
  7. ^ Meri, Josef W (2005). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia (1st ed.). Routledge. p. 523. ISBN 978-0-415-96690-0. 
  8. ^ Dakake, Maria Massi (2007). The Charismatic Community: Shi'ite Identity in Early Islam. USA: State Univ of New York Pr. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-7914-7033-6. 
  9. ^ Campo, Juan E. (2009). Encyclopedia of Islam (Encyclopedia of World Religions). USA: Facts on File. ISBN 978-0-8160-5454-1. 

External links[edit]

Shia Islam titles
Preceded by
Zayn al-‘Ābidīn (‘Alī ibn Ḥusayn)
5th Imam of Shi'a Islam
Succeeded by
Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad al-Sādiq