Musa al-Kadhim

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For the Twelver Shī‘ah scholar, see Musa al-Sadr. For the African-American Muslim activist, see Abdul Alim Musa.
Musa al-Kadhim
موسى الكاظم  (Arabic)

7th Imam of Twelver Shia Islam
Born c. (745-11-10)10 November 745 CE[1]
(7 Safar 128 AH)
Abwa, Medina, Umayyad Empire
Died c. 4 September 799(799-09-04) (aged 53)
(25 Rajab 183 AH)
Baghdad, Abbasid Empire
Cause of death
Death by poisoning
Resting place
Al-Kadhimiya Mosque, Iraq
33°22′48″N 44°20′16.64″E / 33.38000°N 44.3379556°E / 33.38000; 44.3379556
Other names Musa ibn Ja'far
Ethnicity Arab, Berber
Term 765 – 799 CE
Predecessor Ja'far al-Sadiq
Successor Ali al-Ridha
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Ummul Banīn Najmah[5]
and 3 others
Parents Ja'far al-Sadiq
Hamīdah al-Barbariyyah[2][3]

Mûsâ ibn Ja‘far al-Kâdhim (Arabic: موسى بن جعفر الكاظم‎) (November 6, 745 AD - September 1, 799 // Safar 7, 128 AH – Rajab 25, 183 AH)[2][3] was the seventh of the Twelve Imams and regarded by Sunnis as a renowned scholar. He was the son of the sixth Imam, Ja‘far aṣ-Ṣādiq and his mother was Hamidah Khātūn, a student and former slave of East African descent. His wife Najmah was also a former slave purchased and freed by Hamidah, his mother.[11]

Mūsá al-Kādhim was born during the power struggles between the Umayyad and the Abbasid. Like his father, he was assassinated by the Abbasids. He bore three notable children: the eighth Imām, Ali al-Ridha, and two daughters, Fāṭimah al-Ma‘sūmah and Hajar Khatun. In total from all his wives he bore 37 children, 19 daughters and 18 sons.

The Festival of Imam Musa al-Kadhim celebrates his life and death.


Mūsá al-Kādhim was born in Abwa between Mecca and Medina. His mother was a slave of Berber origin. After his mother was freed, his father trained her as an Islamic scholar.[12]


Imam Musa ibn Ja'far's physical appearance is disputed among narrators of tradition. There are traditions that indicate,

"He was very brunet."[4][13]

Similarly, Shaqiq al-Balakhi states,

"He had a good face, was very brunet and weak-bodied."[4]

In terms of skin color, some narrations point out the Imam Musa had a black color.[4][14][15] While other narrations state that he had a bright color, medium height, and had a thick beard.[4][16]

Ring Inscription[edit]

Imam Musa has "The kingdom belongs to Allah only" inscribed on his ring.[4][17] According to Sharif al-Qarashi, the inscription displays that Imam Musa cleaved and devoted himself to Allah.[4]

Designation of the Imamate[edit]

Musa al-Kadhim became the seventh Shi’ah Imam at the age of 21. According to the Kitab al-Irshad of Sheikh al-Mufid:

Among the shaykhs of the followers of Abu Abd Allah Ja'far al-Sadiq, peace be on him, his special group (khassa), his inner circle and the trustworthy righteous legal scholars, may God have mercy on them, who report the clear designation of the Imamate by Abu Abd Allah Jafars peace be on him, for his son, Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him, are: al-Mufaddal b. Umar al-Jufi, Mu'adh b. Kathir, Abd al-Rahman b. al-Hajjaj, al-Fayd b. al-Mukhtar, Yaqub al-Sarraj, Sulayman b. Khalid, Safwan al-Jammal... [That designation] is also reported by his two brothers, Ishaq and Ali, sons of Jafar, peace be on him.[18]

Some Shi‘ah believe that the eldest son of Imam Ja‘far, namely Isma'il ibn Jafar, received the Imamate rather than Mūsá al-Kādhim. The Twelvers believe he predeceased his father[19] and therefore was never appointed Imam, and this is affirmed in the most respected contemporary history book of the Ismailis themselves, written by historian Farhad Daftary, a twelver Shi'a in the employ of the current Ismaili Imam, Aga Khan IV.[20] The descendents of the supporters of Isma'il's Imamate today comprise the Ismaili, which includes several independent groups, which include the Bohras, and Nizari Aga Khanis.

Other Shia believed that Imam al-Sadiq's eldest surviving son Abdullah al-Aftah was the Imam to succeed his father. This sect was known as the Aftahiyya/Fathiyya/Fathites.

His death[edit]

In 795, Harun al-Rashid imprisoned Imam Mūsá al-Kādhim; according to Twelver Shia tradition, four years later, he ordered Sindi ibn Shahiq to poison the Imām. Imam Mūsá al-Kāżim's body is now said to rest within al Kadhimiya Mosque in Kadhimayn, Iraq. He left eighteen sons and nineteen daughters.

A group of Shia rejected the death of Musa al-Kadhim. They were called the Waqifite Shia. They believed Imam Musa was the Mahdi, particularly the Imam Mehdi and was alive, but in occultation. This group no longer exists today, and it has been determined that the represented Imam Musa al-Kadhim while he was imprisoned and brought the khums back to him, started this sect so they could get money from the Shias, on the pretense that they were giving it to Imam Musa al-Kadhim.[citation needed] Until Imam Ali al-Ridha finally had his only son, Imam Muhammad al-Taqi, there were many Shias who were doubtful of the Imamate of Ali ibn Musa.


The number of children that Imam Musa al-Kadhim had is disputed by various traditions and historical documenting. They are as follows:

  • He had thirty-three children: sixteen males and seventeen females.[4][21]
  • He had thirty-seven children: eighteen males and nineteen females.[4][22][23][24]
  • He had thirty-eighty children: twenty males and eighteen females.[4][25][26]
  • He had forty children: eighteen males and twenty-two females.[4][27]
  • He had sixty children: twenty-three males and thirty-seven females.[4][28][29][30]

Traditionally, the Shia believe that Imam Musa al-Kadhim had 73 children, however this is not verifiable as only 37 have been recorded by Shia scholars.

The following are the names of his children which are documented.
19 sons:

  • Ali al-Ridha
  • Ibrahim, Abbas
  • Salih
  • Qasim
  • Ahmad
  • Mohammad
  • Hamza
  • Ismail
  • Ja'far
  • Haroon
  • Husayn
  • Abdullah
  • Ishaq
  • Ubayd-il-lah
  • Zayd, Hasan
  • Fadl
  • Sulayman[31]

18 daughters:

  • Fatima al-Kubra
  • Fatima al-Sughra
  • Ruqaya al-Kubra
  • Ruqaya al-Sughra
  • Hakeema
  • Umm Abeeha
  • Umm Kulthum
  • Umm Salma
  • Umm Ja'far
  • Lubana
  • Alya
  • Amina
  • Hasana
  • Bareeha
  • Aisha
  • Zainab
  • Khadija
  • Hajar Khatun[32]


al-Kadhimiya Mosque
  1. The best generosity is the help to the oppressed.
  2. The world is soft and beautiful like a snake but there is a fatal poison hidden inside.
  3. Reliance on Allah has grades. One of them is that you rely on Him in every matter and be pleased with whatever He decides for you and know that He never hesitates in providing you any good and grace and that every decision is from Him so leave every affair to His Will and rely and put trust only in Him[33]
  4. One who gives circulation to a sin is banished and forsaken and the one who covers a sin will be forgiven by God[34]
  5. Every person who strives to obtain Halaal (permissible) sustenance or provision is like a fighter in the path of God[35]
  6. After the acknowledgement of God, the best acts of the offertory to God are the prayers, piety to the parents, and evasion of envy, self-conceit, and pride[36]
  7. The few deeds of the intelligent will be accepted and doubled, while the many deeds of the followers of passions and the ignorant will be rejected.[37]


Musa al-Kadhim
of the Ahl al-Bayt
Clan of the Banu Quraish
Born: 7th Safar 128 AH 6 November 745 CE Died: 25th Rajab 183 AH 1 September 799 CE
Shia Islam titles
Preceded by
Jafar al-Sadiq
7th Imam of Twelver Shi'a Islam
765 – 799
Succeeded by
Ali al-Ridha

See also[edit]

Quotations related to Mūsā al-Kādhim at Wikiquote


  1. ^ Shabbar, S.M.R. (1997). Story of the Holy Ka’aba. Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e A Brief History of The Fourteen Infallibles. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. 2004. p. 131. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The Infallibles Taken from Kitab al Irshad By Sheikh al Mufid". Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Sharif al-Qarashi, Bāqir. The Life of Imam Musa Bin Ja'far al-Kazim (as). Trans. Jāsim al-Rasheed. Najaf, Iraq: Ansariyan Publications, n.d. Print. Pgs. 59-60, 596, and 622
  5. ^ A Brief History of The Fourteen Infallibles. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. 2004. p. 137. 
  6. ^ al-Irshad, by Shaikh Mufid [p.303]
  7. ^ Kashf al-Ghumma, by Abu al-Hasan al-Irbili [vol.2, p.90 & 217]
  8. ^ Tawarikh al-Nabi wa al-Aal, by Muhammad Taqi al-Tustari [p. 125-126]
  9. ^ al-Anwar al-Nu`maniyya, by Ni`mat Allah al-Jaza’iri [vol.1, p.380]
  10. ^ Umdat al-Talib, by Ibn Anba [p. 266 {footnote}]
  11. ^
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Ibn al-Sebbagh, al-Fusool al-Muhimma. Akhbar al-Duwal, pg. 112
  14. ^ Umdat al-Talib, pg. 185
  15. ^ al-Nefha al-Anberiya, pg. 15
  16. ^ A'yan al-Shi'a, vol. 4, pg. 9
  17. ^ Akhbar al-Duwal, pg. 112
  18. ^ Imam al-Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.)
  19. ^ Hitti, Philip K. (1961). History of the Arabs: From the Earliest Times to the Present 7th Ed. Macmillan & Co. Ltd. 
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ Tuhaf al-Azhar wa Zulal al-Anhar
  22. ^ Sihah al-Akhbar
  23. ^ al-Fusool al-Muhimma, pg. 256
  24. ^ al-Bihar
  25. ^ Kashf al-Ghumma, pg. 243
  26. ^ Tadhkirat al-Khawas, pg. 84
  27. ^ Sir al-Silsila al-Alawiya
  28. ^ al-Mujjdi
  29. ^ Umdat al-Talib
  30. ^ Menahil al-Darb fi Ansab al-Arab
  31. ^ (1)ارشاد المفيد 2 : 244 ، تاريخ الامامة (مجموعة نفيسة) : 20 ، مناقب ابن شهرآشوب 4 : 324 ، دلائل الامامة : 149 ، تذكرة الخواص : 314 ، الفصول المهمة : 241 (2) لعل المصنف أراد نسبته إلى جده ، وكذا هو في الارشاد ، حيث ان اسمه محمد بن محمد بن زيد . انظر : رجال الكشي ـ ترجمة علي بن عبيدالله بن حسين العلوي ـ 256|671 ، تاريخ الطبري 8 : 529 ، مقاتل الطالبيين : 513 ، والكامل في التاريخ 6 : 305 . ‏‏‏‏بن زي انظر : رجال الكشي ـ ترجمة علي بن عبيدالله بن حسين العلوي ـ 256|671 ، تاريخ الطبري 8 : 529 ، مقاتل الطالبيين : 513 ، والكامل في التاريخ 6 : 305 . (3) ارشاد المفيد 2 : 244 ، كشف الغمة 2 : 236 ، الفصول المهمة : 242 .
  32. ^ تاريخ النبي و الآل ١٢٥ - ١٢٦
  33. ^ Al Kafi 2:65
  34. ^ Al Kafi
  35. ^ Bihar al-Anwar 103: 4, 7, 113
  36. ^ "Maxims of Imam Al-Kadhim". Tuhaful Uqool/Tuhaf ul-Uqoul. Compiled by Abu Muhammed Al-Hasan bin Ali bin Al-Hussein bin Shu’ba Al-Harrani, Translated by Badr Shahin. Iran: Ansariyan Publications. 2000. 
  37. ^ Tuhaful Uqool, Ch: Maxims of Imam Al-Kadhim.