According to Rahyafte(the missionaries and converts website)In the name of Allah, the Inclusively Merciful, the Exclusively Merciful
Imam Mohammad Baqir al–Ulum (PBUH), the one who spilt open knowledge
Written by Zahra Gonzalez
Imam Mohammad Baqir (PBUH) was the fifth Imam and the son of Imam Zain al-Abedeen (PBUH). According to historical records, he was born in Medina on the first of the holy month of Rajab in the year 57 AH and was martyred at the age of 57 (7 Zilhaja 114 AH). His duration of Imamate lasted for 19 years and within these precious years Imam Baqir (PBUH) was able to accomplish an impressive feat. However, in order for anyone to be able to realize such a feat, he should first be trained well. Looking back into Imam Baqir’s (PBUH) upbringing, we realize that as a child he was present with his father and aunt (Hazrat Zaynab) during the events of Karbala and Sham (Damascus), and without a doubt these life–transforming events influenced him in many positive ways.
The Imamate of Imam Baqir (PBUH), which lasted throughout five Umayyad caliphs, offered excellent opportunities for him to advance scientific and religious knowledge, in particular during the third caliphate of Umar ibn Abd–Aziz (99 AH–101 AH). After the horrific events of Karbala and Sham, these caliphs felt almost certain that the Shia Imams would not be adventurous or courageous enough to lunch any sort of attack or opposition on their government. This false sense of contentment caused the caliphs to refocus most of their attention on invading foreign lands to expand their empires although their attention was not fully distracted and they did restrict and harass the Imam, and the fifth caliph is suspected in having a hand in the Imam’s martyrdom.
Nonetheless, Imam Baqir (PBUH) was an intellectual as well as a spiritual person and he realized that the partial distractions of the caliphs presented a great opportunity for him to successfully carry out his divine mission. Hence, the Imam strategically opened a grand school in Medina to teach the Quran, authentic hadiths and narrations, as well as science, astronomy, and mathematics as taught by his Holy Grandfather, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH&F), which was free of any political or personal corruption.
His school received international attention with thousands in attendants, including women, and students from many countries traveled to Medina to attend his lectures. He was also well-known for his logical and intellectual debates with people from other religions and ideologies. Imam Baqir (PBUH) is considered the Imam that started a great scientific movement within the Muslim Ummah that eventually spread to non-Muslim communities and his school reached its intellectual peak during the Imamate of his son Imam Sadiq. (PBUH).
Another important aspect of the Imam’s imamate is that during the third caliph’s reign (Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz, 99 AH–101 AH) of two years and five months, the Imam and the followers of the Ahlulbait (PBUT) were granted reprieve. Hence, during this short time the caliph banned the customary and obligatory cursing of Imam Ali (PBUH) at all Friday prayers. Umar ibn Abdul–Aziz also returned the stolen land of Fadak, saying that he wanted to rectify the wrong done to the Ahlulbait (PBUT). The return of Fadak land with its plentiful orchards was instrumental in funding the grand school of the Imam.
In summary, the life of Imam Baqir (PBUH) was one of great achievements that are still felt today – after all his school not only taught the Shia but also the Sunni communities and non-Muslims as well. we can also gain a valuable lesson from Imam Baqir (PBUH): Great opportunities can be found in extremely dire situations.
May Allah bless the holy Imam Baqir (PBUH) and his holy family and quicken the advent of our last Imam, Mahdi and may Allah allow us to benefit in the vast knowledge of the Ahlulbait (PBUT).