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In the Name of God بسم الله
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The shrine of the 7th Imam Musa Kazim (as) and 9th Imam Taqi Al Jawwad (as) in Kazmain, Iraq


Imam Musa ibn Ja'far al-Kazim(A.S.), the seventh holy immaculate successor of the Prophet (phuh&hp) was confined in prisons for 14 years by the ruling Abbasid caliphs and finally martyred by poisoning in the prison of Baghdad on 25th Rajab, 183 A.H., by the tyrant and cruel Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid.


The Holy Imam Musa al-Kazim (A.S.) was the son of Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) the sixth Imam. The name of his mother was Hamida Khatoon (R.A) who was the daughter of a noble man named Saed, hailing from the country of Berber (present Algeria).


Imam Musa bin Ja'far al-Kazim (A.S) was born on Sunday, Safar 7, 128 A.H. at Abwa', midway between the cities of Mecca and Madina. It is the very place where the mother of the Noble Prophet (S.A.W.), Amina (A.S), the daughter of Wahub, had passed away and was buried.

Name Epithet and Titles

Name "Musa", epithet Abul Hasan and his famous title was Kazim. His matchless devotion and worship of God has also earned him the title of "Abd-e-Saleh" (virtuous slave of God). Generosity was synonymous with his name and no beggar ever returned from his door empty handed. Even after his martyrdom, he continued to be obliging and was generous to his devotees who came to his Holy tomb with prayers and behests which were invariably granted by God. Thus one of his additional titles is also "Bab-e-Qaza-ul-Hawaij" (the door to fulfilling needs).


Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) lived under the care of his father, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) and learned from the school of his father, to which the religious scholars, jurisprudents (religious experts), philosophers and preachers flocked. He inherited, from his father, his knowledge, manners and morals. He came to epitomize high morals, generosity, asceticism, patience, bravery, perseverance and holy striving (jihad). During the Imamate of his father he directed his attention to acquiring knowledge, and after his father's death, he shouldered the responsibility of leading the umma.

Imam Moosa al-Kazim(A.S.) passed 20 years of his sacred life under the gracious patronage of his Holy father. His inherent genius and gifted virtues combined with the enlightened guidance and education from the Holy Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.), showed in the manifestation of his future personality.

He was fully versed with Divine knowledge even in his childhood. Allama Majlisi relates that once Abu Hanifa happened to call upon the holy abode of Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) to ask him about some religious matters (Masail). The Imam was asleep and so he was kept waiting outside till the Imam's awakening. Meanwhile Imam Musa Kazim(A.S.), who was then 5 years old, came out of his house, Abu Hanifa, after offering him his best compliments, enqired:

"O the son of the Holy Prophet! what is your opinion about the deeds of a man? Does he do them by himself or does God makes him do them?" "O Abu Hanifa", the five year old Imam replied at once, in the typical tone of his ancestors.

"The doings of a man are confined to three possibilities. First, that God alone does them while the man is quite helpless. Second, that both God and the man do equally share the commitment. Third, that man does them alone.

Now if the first assumption is true, it obviously proves the unjustness of God who punishes his creatures for sins which they have not committed. And if the second condition be acceptable, even then God becomes unjust if He punishes the man for the crimes in which he is equally a partner. But the undesirability of both these conditions is evident in the case of God. Thus we are naturally left with the third alternative to the problem that men are absolutely responsible for their own doings."


Ali bin Ja'far, the brother of Imam Musa al-Kazim (A.S.), a dependable, trustworthy narrator, is reported to have said, "I heard Abu-Ja'far bin Muhammad (a.s.) saying to some people from his entourage and close friends, 'Take good care of this son of mine, Musa. He is the best of my sons, and the best among whom I leave after me. He shall be my successor and the proof of Allah, the Exalted, over all his servants after me.'"

The Holy Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) was martyred by the Abbasid caliph Mansur al-Dawaniqi by poisoning on 15 Rajab 148 A.H. and with effect from the same date Imam Musa Kazim(A.S.) succeeded the Holy Office of Imamat as the seventh Imam. The period of his Imamat continued for 35 years.

In the first decade of his Imamat, Holy Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) could afford a peaceful execution of the responsibilities of his sacred office and carried on the propagationof the teachings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp). But soon after, he fell a victim to the ruling kings and a greater part of his life passed in prison.

Political Condition

Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) lived under the most crucial times in the regimes of the despotic Abbasid kings who were marked for their tyrannical and cruel administration. He witnessed the reigns of Mansur-e-Dawaniqi, Mahdi and Haroon-al-Rashid. Mansur and Haroon were the despotic kings who put a multitude of innocent descendants of the Holy Prophet(pbuh&hp) to the sword.

Thousands of these martyrs were alive inside walls or put into horrible dark prisons during their lifetime. These depraved Caliphs knew no pity or justice and they killed and tortured for the pleasure the derived from human sufferings. The Holy Imam was saved from the tyranny of Mansur because the king, being occupied with his project of constructing the new city of Baghdad, could not get time to turn towards victimising the Holy Imam.

By 157 A.H. the city of Baghdad was built. This was soon followed by the death of its founder a year later. After Mansur, his son Mehdi ascended the throne. For a few years he remained indifferent towards the Holy Imam. When in 164 A.H. he came to Medina and heard about the great reputation of the Holy Imam, he could not resist his jealousy and the spark of his ancestral malice against the Ahl-ul-Bayt(A.S.) was rekindled. He somehow managed to take the Holy Imam along with him to Baghdad and got him imprisoned there.

But after a year he realised his mistake and released the Holy Imam. Caliph Mehdi was succeeded by Hadi who lived only for a year. Now in 170 A.H., the most cruel and tyrannical king Haroon-al-Rashid appeared at the head of the Abbasid Empire. It was during his reign that the Holy Imam passed the greater part of his life in a miserable prison till he was martyred.

Moral and Ethical Excellence

Imam Musa Kazim (A.S) earned many nicknames for his great status among the people and his unique refined character. He was called 'Abd Salih' (The Good Servant) for his perfect character and manners, "Zainul-Mutahajjideen" (The Ornament of Performing The Mid-Night Prayers) for his lengthy worship and supplication, 'al-Kazim' (The one Who Curbs His Anger) for his extreme endurance, patience and bravery in the face of adversities, his curbing of pain and anger, and for being kind to those who harassed him, 'Bab al-Hawa'ij' (The Gateway to Satisfaction of peoples' needs) for his great position in the sight of Allah, and the fulfillment of one's desires and needs when one besseches Allah, invoking his name.

It is said that:

"He was the best one among the memorizers of the Book of Allah, the Exalted, He had a melodious voice when he recited the Qur'an. When he recited the Qur'an, those present would be so moved that they would break into tears for merely listening to him. People in the city of Madina called him 'The Ornament of the Toilers.'"

His closeness to Allah, his longing to meet Him and his endeavours to please Him, made him journey to the Sacred House of Allah on foot. It was reported that he had gone to Mecca, along with his brother, Ali bin Ja'far, four times on foot. It took 26 days for him to reach Mecca the first time,25 days the fourth time.

It is said that "When he stood in the presence of Allah, to perform his prayer, tears would roll down his face." He used to ask Allah's forgiveness and thank Him for his graces.

Hisham bin Ahmar is reported to have said: "I was riding with Abul-Hassan (Imam Musa bin Ja'far al-Kazim) on a street in Madina when he dismounted and prostrated. He remained so, motionless, for a lengthy period of time. Then, he raised his head and remounted. "May I be your ransom", asked I. "I saw you going down in a long prostration?" He replied; 'I remembered a grace which Allah favoured me with. I loved to thank my Lord for it."

Sheikh Mufid said:

"He used to weep out of his fear of Allah until his beard became wet. He was distinguished by his care for his family and relatives, whom he would visit and help if they needed him. In the dead of night, he used to call on the poor people of Madina, carrying to them, in a basket, gold Dinars and ordinary Dirhams, flour and dates. He would deliver all that to them without letting them know who he was, or who the donor was."

When Harun al-Rashid placed Imam al-Kazim (A.S.) in a prison, one of the spies, who kept a watchful eye on him, heard the Imam (A.S.) saying, "O my Lord, You know that I had been asking you to spare me time to devote myself to Your service. You have done that. Praise be to You."

Regarding his attitude with people, Sheikh Mufid, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "Abul-Hassan was the most devoted worshipper among the people of his time, and the most versed in fiqh. He was the most generous, and the kindest of all people..."

Historians maintain that when someone reviled him or said something bad about him, the Imam (A.S.) would send a bag stuffed with 200-300 Dinars. Thus he returned the bad with good, lavishing his kindness on all people. Such bags were sent to the needy and indebted. The money-bags of Imam Musa bin Ja'far (A.S.) became proverbial.

Such was the Imam's (A.S.) manner, and his tolerance. He used to buy and emancipate the slaves and set them free for the sake of Allah, demanding nothing in return.

As regards his morality and ethical excellence, Ibne-Hajar remarks, "The patience and forbearance of Imam Moosa-e-Kazim(A.S.) was such that he was given the title of Al-Kazim (one who swallows down his anger). He was the embodiment of virtue and generosity. He dovoted his nights to the prayers of God and his days to fasting.

He always forgave those who did wrong to him." His kind and generous attitude towards the people was such that he used to patronise and help the poor and destitutes of Medina and provide for them cash, food, clothes and other necessities of sustenance secretly. It continued to be a riddle for the receivers of gifts throughout the Imam's life-time as to who their benefactor was, but the secret was not revealed until after his martyrdom.

Literary Attainments

Time and circumstances did not permit the Holy Imam Musa Kazim(A.S.) to establish institutions to impart religious knowledge to his followers as his father, Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq(A.S.) and his grandfather, Imam Muhammad-al-Baqir (A.S.) had done. He was never allowed to address a congregation. He carried on his mission of preaching and guiding people quietly. He also became the author of a few books of which the most famous is "Musnad of Imam Musa Kazim(A.S.)".

Biographical books and those related to traditions manitain that upward to 300 men had quoted from Imam Musa Kazim (A.S). Proudly, history cites a list of Imam's students who were distinguished as great scholars, and prominent religious scholars. Most of them authored and compiled rich, and great books on the different sciences of Islam.


In 179 A.H. king Haroon-al-Rashid visited Medina. The fire of malice and jealousy against the Ahl-ul-Bayt was kindled in his heart when he saw the great influence and popularity which the Holy Imam enjoyed amongst the people there. He got the Holy Imam arrested while he was busy in prayer at the tomb of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) and kept him in prison in Baghdad for a period of about 14 years.

The Imam (a.s.) made his prison a mosque, and his loneliness and the dreariness of the jail a pleasant place filled with the remembrance of Allah, the Most High. He fasted during the day, and prayed and recited supplications in the night, staying up until daybreak.

Imam al-Kazim (A.S.), on the orders of Harun al-Rashid, was transferred from one prison to another. Rashid meant to hide Imam Musa (A.S.), drive him out from the attention of the umma and kill the spirit of resistance.

On the 25th of Rajab 183 A.H., Harun got the Imam martyred by poison at the age of fifty five. Even his corpse was not spared humiliation and was taken out of the prison and left on the bridge of Baghdad. His devotees however, managed to lay the Holy body of the Imam to rest in Kazmain, (Baghdad, Iraq).

Tnx for



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