|Meaning of Baqir
Baqir is a derivate of the word ‘Baqara’ which means to open up or to expand. Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) was named as such since he introduced and spread the knowledge and teachings of various dimensions and implemented the knowledge streams in a manner which had never been seen earlier. Allama Noor Allah Shostri says in Majalis-al-Momineen (Page 117) that Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) said that Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) will introduce, spread and open up knowledge just like the ground is opened up for cultivation. Imam Muhammad Baqir(a.s.) instructed people in percepts of religion, taught tafseer-e-Quran, taught them the ethics of life, and used to strive very hard to educate, culture and guide the people. During the course of his life, he taught the people thousands of theological and religious principles, as well as scientific subjects, and his teachings have been handled down to us.
Imam Muhammad Baqir(a.s.), like the other Imams, in knowledge and science had no equal. Great learned men benefited from his knowledge and science and used to ask him to solve their problems.Presence in Karbala
Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) was about two and a half years old when he had to accompany Imam Hussain(a.s.) and the rest of his family members on the journey to Karbala. After the tiring journey from Madina to Karbala, he witnessed the shocking and tragic events of Karbala and then the heart rapturing events in Syria and Iraq. After one year of detention in Damascus he returned in 62 A.H. to Madina whe he was 4 years.
Meeting with Jabir ibn-e-Abdullah Ansari(r.a.)
It is a proven fact that Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) had informed about the birth of Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) about 64 years before his birth. Sheikh Saduq(a.r.) states in his book Amali (page 353) – Imam Jafer Sadiq(a.s.) narrates that one day Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) said to Hazrat Jabir ibn-e-Abdullah Ansari(r.a.) “you will stay alive untill you meet my son Mohammad bin Ali bin Hussain bin Ali ibn-e-Abi Talib(a.s.) who is mentioned in the Torah as Baqir. Give him my salutation (salam) when you meet him”. One day when Jabir visited Imam Zain-ul-Abideen(a.s.), he saw the young boy sitting next to the Imam(a.s.). He addressed the young boy and asked him to come closer and show his back. Then he proclaimed that by God, that young boy had the features and traits of the Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf). Then he asked Imam Sajjad(a.s.) who the young boy was and Imam(a.s.) replied that he was his son and the successor to the Imamate and his name was Mohammad Baqir(a.s.). Hearing this, Jabir(r.a.) rose up and kissed the young Imam and said “Son of Rasool Allah(pbuh&hf), may I be taken ransom for you, accept the salutation (salam) of Rasool Allah(pbuh&hf). He asked me to convey it to you”. Imam Jafer Sadiq(a.s.) states that his father burst into tears on hearing this and said “Jabir my salutation to my grand father until this sky and earth survives. You conveyed the salam of my grand father to me so I convey my salam to you as well”.
Imam Mohammad Baqir and Abu Hanifa
The founder of the Hanafi School of thougth, Imam Abu Hanifa was a disciple and student of Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) for a long period. He used to study fiqh and ilm-e-hadees and other branches of knowledge from the Imam(a.s.) and both Shia and Sunni Ulema agree that most of his knowledge was derived and obtained from Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.). Allama Shabrawi Shafaee writes that on several occassions Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) tested Abu Hanifa on matters of fiqh and Abu Hanifa could not answer them and then Imam Baqir(a.s.) explained the reasoning and logics to him.
Abu Hanifa was also an associate of his son Imam Jafer Sadiq(a.s.) and benefitted a lot from his knowledge as well.
His Death and burial
In 100 A.H. Hashsham bin Abdul Malik became the Caliph. He was a known enemy of the Ahl-e-Bait(a.s.) and he did not waste any opportunity to bring hardship to the Ahl-e-Bait(a.s.). Allam Majlisi writes that during the last days of his caliphate, Hashsham came to Makkah for Hajj. Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) and his son Imam Jafer Sadiq(a.s.) were also present. Hashsham was informed that Imam Jafer Sadiq(a.s.) delivered a sermon among the Hajis that he and his father were the Allah’s vicegerent and His command on earth and whoever was their friend and well wisher will go to heaven and whoever is thier enemy will be destined to hell. This infuriated Hashsham and when he reached Damasacus, he ordered the governor of Madina, Ibrahim bin Walid to send the two Imams(a.s.) to his court. Hashsham had planned to malign the Imams in his court but the Imams(a.s.) overturned his plans which further ignited his enmity and he orderd the Imams(a.s.) to be jailed. While in the jail, Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) gave sermons to the other prisoners which created an atmosphere of great enthusiaism and devotion towards the Imam(a.s.) and against Hashsham and sensin the gravity of the situations and the risk of a revolt, Hashsham ordered the release of the Imam(a.s.). He then ordered the governor of Madina that Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) should be poisoned as he is becoming a constant threat (Jala-ul-Ayoon Page 262). The governor of Madina – Ibrahim bin Walid carried out the orders and poisoned the Imam(a.s.) in 114 A.H.
Imam Muhammad Baqir(a.s.), lived in this world for a period of 57 years, and in the 114th year of the Hijra, on the seventh day of the month of Zil-Hijjah, in Medina he left this world. His body was buried in Baqi cemetry alongside the graves of Imam Hasan(a.s.) and Imam Sajjad(a.s) in Medina.
His last will and instructions
Before his martyrdom, Imam Mohammad Baqir(a.s.) instructed his son Imam Jafer Sadiq(a.s.) about several issues and said to him that he is hearing the voice of his father who is calling him(Noor ul Absar Page 131). He gave special instructions for his kafan and burial since only an Imam can say the prayers of an Imam (Shawahi-un-Nabowah page 181). Allama Majlisi states that in his will, he also mentioned that 800 Dirhams should be spent on his azadari and mourning and arrangement should be made that the Hajj pilgrims would commamorate his martyrdon in Mina for the next 10 years. Ulema also mention that in his will, the Imam(a.s.) also mentioned that his kafn should be opened after his burial and his grave should not be higher that 4 fingers.