by Jonathan Azaziah
The 25th of Rajab. A day that will whistle forever in woe; that will scream eternally in sorrow; that will ache in our hearts perpetually in affliction, agony and anguish. Yes, upon us today is the 1,220th anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Moussa al-Kazim (A.S.), the 7th Imam of we Jaafari Shi’a; the Original Dean of the Wrongly Accused and Unjustly Imprisoned; the Behind Bars Breaker of Bullies; Jihadi General of the Jailed; the Marshall of the Mewed; the Sentinel of the Shackled; the Reserved Renegade; the Tenderhearted Toppler of Tyrants; the Endurer of Entropy; the Zen Zulfiqar. Indeed, of all his names, from Al-Sabir (the Patient) to Al-Zahir (the Brilliant), Al-Sayyed (the Master) to Al-Wafi (the Faithful), Abdul Saleh (the Most Pious of Worshipers) to Al-Amin (the Trusted One), Qa’id al-Askar (Commander of the Troops) to Dhou al-Nafs al-Zakiyya (the Pure-Souled One) to Bab al-Hawa’ijj (the Gate of Needs), Al-Kazim (the Restrained/the One Who Restrains His Fury) is most fitting for no matter how much oppression he was confronted with, never did he get frazzled; never was he vexed; never did his temper flare. And as Allamah Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Tabataba’i (R.A.) notes on page 205 of his “Shi’ite Islam”, Al-Kazim (A.S.) lived under Abbasid despots Mansour (L.A.), Hadi (L.A.), Mahdi (L.A.) and Haroun al-Rashid (L.A.) To somehow find a way to cope with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR dictators in a single lifetime was a feat in and of itself, truly.
As the son of Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq (A.S.), the sixth Imam of the Jaafari school of thought and a giant personality whose teachings laid the foundation not only for almost all Shi’a fiqh to this day, but that of the four Sunni madhabs as well, Qa’id al-Askar (A.S.) was raised in an environment of knowledge, gnosis, jurisprudence and various sciences, both spiritual and physical as well as the social and political. Before he even hit puberty, he was capable of tangling with minds quadruple his age and higher. Abou Hanifa, the founder of the Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence and a student of Al-Kazim’s (A.S.) grandfather Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S.), once came to the house of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) in Medina to debate him on key issues, including the doctrine of compulsion. Before the discussion unfolded however, he was greeted by young Moussa ibn Jaafar (A.S.) and they talked about the matter instead! By the time it was over, Abou Hanifa was so taken aback and impressed with the boy’s depths and insights, that he left before even getting the chance to see Al-Sadiq (A.S.), feeling thoroughly defeated and unable to respond. The incident became famous among Medina’s Gnostics and poets. Allamah Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi relays this encounter on pages 68-69 of his lengthy but gripping and imperative work, “The Life Of Imam Musa Bin Ja’far Al-Kazim”.
Imam Sadiq (A.S.) said of his son and successor, “If you ask this son of mine about what is between the two covers of the Holy Qur’an, he will give you an answer to it with knowledge.” It was this Qur’anic wisdom that guided Dhou al Nafs al-Zakiyya (A.S.) in challenging the atheist militant Muhammad Ibn Maqlas al-Asadi aka Abdul Khattab (L.A.), a vile innovator who instructed his companions to engage in forbidden acts and desecrate their Islamic duties. Al-Kazim (A.S.), still a teenager at the time, informed his father’s companion Isa al-Shalqani of Abdul Khattab’s (L.A.) aggressions, labeling him as one of the persons “who were given faith and deprived of it” (Qurashi, pages 70-71). Al-Wafi (A.S.) renounced the world entirely, keeping nothing in his home but a basket, a sword and a copy of the Holy Qur’an. On top of mere renunciation, he actively expressed his discontent with the Dunya, outright turning away from it. He refused to even keep furniture in his home. He modeled this behavior after the great sahabi Abou Zarr (R.A.) and took every penny gained from his inheritance of Al-Basariya to spend on the Moustazafeen (Qurashi, page 124). The Imam also went against neo-capitalist Jewish moneychangers and crypto-pagan “elites” of his day, forgiving debts, fighting usury, freeing slaves and uplifting the poor (Qurashi, pages 125-128).
Of the many intellectual and theological contributions Imam al-Kazim (A.S.) made to the Islamic discourse, perhaps none were as profound as his ruling on Bada’, or, “revealing after concealment”, or “shifting of ALLAH’s (SWT) Divine will”. Essentially, Bada’ is the concept that a Heavenly Decree is not set in stone; that predestination is to be discarded; that ALLAH (SWT), as is indeed revealed in the Holy Qur’an, does whatever He (SWT) wishes and whenever He (SWT) wishes. It is noteworthy that the Jews were the first to reject this (Qurashi, page 180), centrally out of their own arrogance and supremacist perversion of religion in general, thinking that once they–as “God’s chosen people”–are told of something occurring, it cannot be changed. As if they are above the Lord of All The Worlds (SWT), a3ouzoubillah.
This manifested with supercilious furtherance during the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) because they declared that the “hands” of Al-Mousawwir (SWT) were “chained”. Abdul Saleh (A.S.) rebuked the Jews (and the Muslims who unfortunately adopted this very Judaic belief), explaining that from ALLAH’s (SWT) knowledge came His will; and from that, came His desire; and from that, came His ordaining; and from that, came His decree; and from that, came His execution… And within His execution, we find descriptions and ultimately, clarity (Qurashi, pages 180-181). This is Bada’. And the eloquence of the Imam stands the test of time today–something that the rabbinate still hates him for.
Interestingly enough, Imam al-Amin (A.S.) had a run-in with a group of Jewish scholars when he was younger. They had come to Medina to challenge Imam Sadiq (A.S.) on the matter of Rasoulallah’s (S.A.W.W.) Prophethood. Instead it was the teenage Kazim (A.S.) who stepped into the fray, transmitting proofs from none other than the Prophet Moussa (A.S.) for the authenticity of Muhammad al-Moustafa (S.A.W.W.) These rabbinical elites were “dazzled”–to use Allamah al-Qurashi’s word on pages 206-207 of his aforementioned biography of the Imam (A.S.)–so dazzled in fact that they bore witness that there is no God but ALLAH (SWT) and Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) is His Messenger… Right on the spot. Jaafar al-Sadiq (A.S.) was so delighted with his boy that he kissed his forehead and said to him, “You are the one who will undertake the office of the Imamate after me.” He also gave clothes and other gifts to the new Muslims and bid them farewell. The incident is recounted in the 4th volume of Bihar al-Anwar, page 148. This display of kindness, understanding and mercy towards the Jews did the Imam (A.S.) no favors however later in his life when he’d confront the highest-ranking Jew of the Abbasids’ regime. This shall be returned to in due time.
Al-Sabir’s (A.S.) troubles began following the murder of his father Imam Sadiq (A.S.) at the hands of Al-Mansour’s (L.A.) agents. The Abbasid tyrant sought to behead the successor to the Alawid Imamate swiftly but as if he was continuing to resist tyranny from beyond the grave, Sayyed Abou Jaafar (A.S.) left behind a last will and testament that named four administrators of his final wishes, among them Al-Mansour (L.A.) himself (Tabataba’i, pages 204-205). This forced the despot to leave Imam al-Kazim (A.S.) alone for the time being although he did keep him under strict, oppressive surveillance. His ruthlessness was notorious as he brutalized the rebellion of holy resistor Ibrahim ibn Abdallah al-Zaki (R.A.), crushed the free thinkers of Islamic society, persecuted anyone who loved Ahlul Bayt (A.S.), pillaged private properties and routinely slaughtered innocents (Qurashi, pages 298-302; page 310). Allamah al-Qurashi says, “The Muslims did not come to know a ruler more tyrannical, more violent and more severe than Al-Mansour (Qurashi, page 318).” The dictator died when the Imam (A.S.) was 30 years of age and his son, Al-Mahdi (L.A.), took over the Abbasid regime.
Al-Mahdi (L.A.) was a debauched tyrant who spent tens of millions of dirhams on parties, rugs, carpets, gold, silver, ornaments, perfumes, pearls and furniture. He was said to have put Persian kings and Roman Caesars to shame, all while the people of the “caliphate” descended deeper and deeper into poverty. The new Abbasid “king” also presided over a regime of corruption, with his governor in Egypt and functionaries in Baghdad lining their pockets with absurd and obscene land taxes. The most despicable of his expenses was the amount of public funds that he utilized to curse the Holy, Pure, Pristine Household of Ahmad al-Habib (S.A.W.W.), hiring poets to this effect and vandalizing properties held dear by Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) He was the first “caliph” to imprison Imam Kazim (A.S.), for no other reason except the 7th Imam’s name was spreading throughout the Islamicate due to his vast knowledge and never-relinquished serenity–this made the “caliph” insane with jealousy. And while he’d release Al-Wafi (A.S.) immediately, the illegitimate Abbasid ruler nevertheless continued to keep him under tight supervision, harass him, deny him the full restoration of Fadak and would then arrest him again out of spite before releasing him and imprisoning him YET AGAIN in Baghdad years later before Al-Mahdi’s (L.A.) own demise (Qurashi, pages 322-332).
Al-Hadi (L.A.), the son of Al-Mahdi (L.A.), was the worst and most monstrous autocrat yet. It was he who presided over the dark event known as the Battle of Fakh. Led by Sayyed Hussein ibn Ali (R.A.), the grandson of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (A.S.), a group of Alawid revolutionaries rose up to reclaim the rights of their grandfathers and great grandfathers, only to face what would be described in the modern era as “scorched earth” tactics. Outnumbered and overrun, the righteous mutineers were ravaged by Al-Hadi’s (L.A.) barbarians. Bodies were mutilated, heads were cut off and placed on spears then paraded around cities and countries regionwide. Corpses weren’t buried. The crimes were akin to the dystopian hellishness that unfolded on the plains of Karbala during Ashoura (Qurashi, pages 336-337)
Imam Kazim (A.S.) foresaw the failure of the rebellion, but because it was a Godwary uprising against what he deemed “hypocrisy and polytheism”, he blessed his cousin Hussein ibn Ali’s (R.A.) actions and told him to “sharpen his sword” before leading the band of moujahideen in prayer. They pledged allegiance to him and it is here where he was deemed Qa’id al-Askar. Following this encounter, Sayyed Hussein ibn Ali (R.A.) would head out to the battlefield one more time before being beheaded much like his namesake and grand-uncle, Sayyed al-Shouhada Imam Hussein (A.S.) His head, and those of his Sahaba (R.A.), were sent to Imam Kazim (A.S.), who declared, “Hussein was among the righteous. He used to fast, pray, enjoin the best of goods; forbid the worst of evils; and none from his household were like him (Quraishi, pages 342-344).”
His support for the man Allamah al-Qurashi called “the Great Revolutionist (Qurashi, page 337)” drew the ire of Al-Hadi (L.A.), who now openly threatened the life of the Imam (A.S.) It mattered not to Ibn Jaafar (A.S.), who brushed off the threats and actually smiled when he was warned by his companions of the development. He faced the Kaaba and began a long supplication against the Abbasid murderer, “O’ ALLAH, how many an oppressor has oppressed me with his tricks, […] only for You to throw him down upon his head right into his own pitfall and dump him into a hole of his own digging.” Al-Hadi (L.A.) died not too long thereafter (Qurashi pages 346-354). ALLAHU Akbar.
This episode is of the utmost importance because it dispels the myth put forth by “quietist” ‘ulema that the Imams (A.S.) weren’t active in the affairs of Mouqawamists and preferred asceticism over revolution. Beyond being categorically false, this is also a massive insult to the Imam’s (A.S.) character, legacy and intentions. Just as Imam Zayn al-Abideen (A.S.) supported Al-Mukhtar’s (R.A.) counterattack on the Umayyads, Imam Moussa al-Kazim (A.S.) unquestionably and proudly stood with Hussein ibn Ali (R.A.) against the Abbasids. And his commandment to his cousin to “sharpen his sword” is the foundation of Imam Khamenei’s “fire at will” commandment to all the Officers of the Soft War.
The Divine-triggered end of the malicious and bloodthirsty Al-Hadi (L.A.) set the stage for what would be the showdown that ended the life of Imam Kazim (A.S.) Indeed, Haroun al-Rashid (L.A.) proved himself to be the top dog of terrorism, tyranny and turmoil. More so than all three of his predecessors combined and multiplied about ten times over, he despised Abou Ali (A.S.) Like Al-Mahdi (L.A.), he was a degenerate obsessed with jewels, once buying a single ring for 100,000 dirhams (Qurashi, page 374) He was a full-blown alcoholic too, drinking wine whenever and wherever he could, whether by himself, with his minions or with his slave girls (Qurashi, page 389). He gambled as well, specifically with backgammon, and implemented many other forms of decadence prohibited by Islam (Qurashi, page 391-392). The 4th opponent of Imam Kazim (A.S.) was deliberately thumbing his nose at Deen al-Fitra to provoke a reaction from Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) as a means of justifying war to achieve his political aims. Sounds like game theory warfare, doesn’t it? As if Haroun al-Rashid (L.A.) had a certain tribe which believes it was “chosen” by “God” whispering in his ear, right? Keep reading, we’re almost there.
For all of these reasons and more, Abou al-Hassan (A.S.) took a stance of open and no-holds-barred defiance against the oppressive regime, passing a fatwa that made it 100% forbidden for Muslims to cooperate with Haroun al-Rashid (L.A.), who the Imam called “the tyrannical one”. He even said that anyone who took money from the despot would enter Jahannam (Qurashi, page 393). Replicating the policies of those before him, Haroun al-Rashid (L.A.) implemented harshness and barbarity towards Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) and its followers, executing some, imprisoning others and paying poets (also like Al-Mahdi [L.A.]) to insult those who survived his vicious purges (Qurashi, pages 394-395).
He went as far as ordering the demolition of Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) shrine – failing in that specific endeavor – and assassinating Imam Zayn al-Abideen’s (A.S.) grandchildren as well as Sayyed Idris ibn Abdallah (R.A.), one of the survivors of the Battle of Fakh and the founder of the Moroccan state (Qurashi, pages 401-404), among many others. Rather than cower in fear, Imam Kazim (A.S.) only doubled down in his opposition to the hellish brute who unfortunately bore the name of Nabi Moussa’s (A.S.) brother, “If I fell off a high mountain and was cut into pieces, it would be better for me than undertaking work for the oppressors or walking on a carpet of a man from among them.” (Qurashi, page 462)
Seething with rage and unbridled hatred for Bab al-Hawa’ijj (A.S.), the Abbasid chieftain let his emotions get the best of him like a schizophrenic woman in the midst of her menstrual cycle and foolishly challenged the Imam to a public debate about who was nearer to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) and ALLAH (SWT). After sending Salawat on his great, great grandfather, Imam Kazim (A.S.) demolished the tyrant with decisive proofs, sending him into an even greater, more furious frenzy. Al-Rashid (L.A.) demanded that he be taken into custody post-haste and to a dark, underground prison Imam Kazim (A.S.) went (Qurashi, pages 652-653).
He was dragged away by Al-Rashid’s (L.A.) goons in chains and bounced around from one dank, hole-in-the-ground-style jail to another, starting in Basra and then Baghdad (Qurashi, pages 657-659). Showing his increasing mania and irrationality, Al-Rashid (L.A.) would release the Imam (A.S.), plot to kill him and then have him detained once more in the house of Al-Fadhl ibn Yahya (R.A.), a believer in the Imamate who refused to harm Al-Kazim (A.S.) and was ultimately flogged 100 times for it. From there, Abou al-Hassan (A.S.) was locked up in Wasit (Qurashi, pages 666-670).
The final stop on Abou Ali’s (A.S.) “prison tour” was the torture house of Dar al-Mousayyab, run by the individual we referred to earlier as “the highest-ranking Jew of the Abbasids’ regime.” As indicated by his Hebrew last name, Al-Sindi al-Shahik (L.A.), was indeed Jewish. This has been mentioned and confirmed by Shahid Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari (R.A.) on page 100 of his “Sayrī Dar Sīra-yi Aʾimma”. Known as the “sinful rogue”, Shahik (L.A.) hated ALLAH (SWT) and didn’t believe in the Akhira–typically Jewish traits. He kept Al-Kazim (A.S.) shackled in iron and spared no form of punishment in harming the Imam physically and emotionally (Qurashi, pages 671-672)–as if he was reenacting torturous fantasies from the corrupted “Torah”.
Yet none of this broke the spirit of Al-Kazim (A.S.), who passed his days praying and attaining stations of closeness to ALLAH (SWT) that the vast majority of human beings have never and will never even comprehend let alone reach. His resistance to the fake Abbasid government never wavered, quoting to some of his companions who were allowed to briefly visit him in the hell-cell a revelation delivered to Nabi Dawoud (A.S.), “O’ Dawoud, if a servant of Mine resorts to harming a creature of Mine, I will cut off the means of Heaven to him and I shall then make the ground beneath him sink.” Subhan’ALLAH. Whilst locked away in the Jew Shahik’s (L.A.) dungeon, there were two miracles that occurred. The first, Haroun al-Rashid (L.A.) sent a stunning slave-girl to the Imam (A.S.) as a temptation. Instead, Dhou al-Nafs al-Zakiyya (A.S.) rejected her advances and waved his hand. A garden full of flowers and silk-embroidered couches emerged. There were various foods and servants decked out in pearls, crowns and silky green garments. She was, quite literally, given a glimpse into Jannah. Overwhelmed, she reverted to Islam on the spot, dropping down for prayer and mimicking the Imam’s (A.S.) Salat motions. Upon hearing this from her, Al-Rashid (L.A.) erupted in anger (Qurashi, pages 679-680).
The second miracle was one more failed assassinated attempt by the Abbasids against Imam Kazim (A.S.) The tyrant took a fresh batch of 20 dates, poisoning 1 of them, and then ordered one of his minions to deliver them to the Imam (A.S.) in the dungeon and ensure that he ate them all. There was a female dog in the prison that Al-Rashid (L.A.) loved dearly and kept in gold jewelry to mock the Imam (A.S.), as if to say, “I respect the dog more and treat her better than you.” Upon receiving the dates, Al-Kazim (A.S.) ate several of them but stopped after arriving at a particular piece. He tossed it to the despot’s female dog which immediately bit into it, swallowed it and died. Returning the mockery, the Imam (A.S.) then ate the rest. When the news reached the Abbasid monocrat, he damn near went delirious with vexation and then gave the green light to Al-Sindi al-Shahik (L.A.) to murder Al-Wafi (A.S.) with whatever means he chose to employ (Qurashi, page 681; page 686). The Jew was chomping at the bit with glee.
Shahik (L.A.) repeated the dates scenario, only this time around, he’d shove the food down the Imam’s throat with Abbasid police surrounding him. The poison reached Al-Kazim’s (A.S.) heart, setting it on fire according to the evidences gathered by Allamah al-Qurashi, and cutting his intestinal tract into pieces. He died in the most excruciating manner imaginable. The Hebrew hitman then called in dozens of paid Abbasid clerics and intellectuals to cover up the murder (Qurashi, page 687). Fresh off pinning the Imam (A.S.) down while he was forcefed poisoned fruit, Abbasid police, at Shahik’s (L.A.) behest–a showing of just how much power and influence this Parasite had at the time–let Shahik (L.A.) himself run the investigation into Al-Kazim’s (A.S.) death and then allowed Al-Rashid (L.A.) to follow it up! Have you ever heard of anything so crooked?!? Then in their last act of defilement, Shahik (L.A.) and his police auxiliaries took the Imam’s (A.S.) dead body to Al-Rasafa Bridge where they put it on display for all to see, unmasking his face for the purpose of degrading him. Abou Ali (A.S.) remained there for three whole days (Qurashi, pages 691-695).
No “Shi’a” rose up for him. No “Shi’a” came to his aid. His father Imam Sadiq’s (A.S.) famous saying, “Everyday is Ashoura, every land is Karbala” rang out. The horrific slaughter of Imam Moussa al-Kazim (A.S.) was absolutely another Karbala. And the “Shi’a” of that time were most definitely the accursed, apathetic hypocrites of Ahlul Kufa.
Al-Zahir (A.S.) instructed us, “Fear ALLAH (SWT) and say the truth though therein is your destruction, for therein is your salvation. Fear ALLAH (SWT) and leave falsehood though therein is your salvation, for therein is your destruction (Qurashi, page 188).” Meaning that tell the truth no matter what, because even if you’re destroyed in this life, you will have sustenance and liberation in the Akhira; and avoid falsehood no matter what, because even if you have deliverance through it in this life, you will be destroyed as a result of it in the Akhira. It is for this reason that we decided to blow the whistle on the identity of Imam Kazim’s (A.S.) true killer and delve deep into his unabashed position on resistance against an untenable, debaucherous regime. For as we noted in our opening, Imam Moussa al-Kazim (A.S.) is the Original Dean of the Wrongly Accused and Unjustly Imprisoned; the Behind Bars Breaker of Bullies; the Jihadi General of the Jailed; the Marshall of the Mewed; the Sentinel of the Shackled.
When you protest for the thousands of Palestinians locked away in ‘Israeli’ dungeons, especially those who survived after epic hunger strikes like Khader Adnan, Samer Issawi and Hannah al-Shalabi, think of the Imam (A.S.) When you make du’a for Sedki al-Maket, Amal Abou Saleh and Bashira Mahmoud, the Syrian heroes who exposed the Zionist-Takfiri alliance, think of the Imam (A.S.) When you send positive energy to Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese revolutionary stalwart unjustly caged by the French ZOG, think of the Imam (A.S.) When you pray for the safe return home of IRGC legend Major General Ahmad Motaveselian and his comrades from the clutches of the Zio-Tumor, think of the Imam (A.S.) Verily, Moussa ibn Jaafar (A.S.) is the grandsire of them all and many more. And while you’re at it, do also never forget that the “chosenite” evil which took his life in this world is the very same malevolence that we are fighting right now in this moment. Never forget that Al-Sayyed (A.S.), like the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) and Haydar al-Karrar (A.S.), was as much of an Anti-Parasitic struggler and speaker of Haqq as he was an Imam. In fact, the former two statuses solidify the latter. Labaykah ya Kazim (A.S.)!