Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (A.S.)
(Peace be Upon him)
The holyImam Ja'far as.-Sadiq was the sixth in the succession of the twelve Apostolic Imams. His epithet was Abu 'Abdillah and his famous titles were as-Sadiq, al-Fadil and at.-Tahir. He was the son of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, the Fifth Imam, and his mother was the daughter of al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr.
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq was brought up by his grand- father, Imam Zaynu 'I-'Abidm in Medina for twelve years and then remained under the sacred patronage of his father Imam Muhammad al-Baqir for a period of nine- teen years.
Imamate: After the death of his holy father in 114 AH, he succeeded him as the Sixth Imam, and thus the sacred trust of Islamic mission and spiritual guidance was relayed down to his custody right from the Holy Prophet through the succession of the preceding Imams.
The period of his Imamate coincided with the most revolutionary and eventful era of Islamic history which saw the downfall of the Umayyad Empire and the rise of the 'Abbasid caliphate. The internal wars and political upheavals were bringing about speedy reshufflements in government. Thus, the Holy Imam witnessed the reigns of various kings starting from 'Abdu 'l-Malik down to the Umayyad ruler Marwan al-Himar. He further survived till the time of Abu 'l-'Abbas as-Saffah and al-Mansur among the 'Abbasids. It was due to the political strife between two groups viz., the Umayyads and 'Abbasids for power that Imam was left alone undisturbed to carry out his devotional duties and peacefully carry on his mission to propagate Islam and spreading the teachings of the Holy Prophet. In the last days of the Umayyad rule, their Empire was tottering and was on the verge of collapse, and a most chaotic and demoralized state of affairs prevailed throughout the Islamic State. The 'Abbasids exploited such an opportunity and availing themselves of this political instability, assumed the title of "Avengers of Banu Hashim". They pretended to have stood for the cause of taking revenge on the Umayyads for shedding the innocent blood of the Holy Imam Husayn. The common people who were groaning under the yoke of the Umayyads were fed up with their atrocities and were secretly yearning for the progeny of the Holy Prophet to take power. They realized that if the leadership went to the Ahlul-Bayt, who were its legitimate heir, the prestige of Islam would be enhanced and the Prophet's mission would be genuinely propagated. However, a group of the 'Abbasids secretly dedicated their lives to a campaign for seizing power from the hands of the Umayyads on the pretext that they were seizing it only to surrender it to the Banu Hashim. Actually, they were plotting for their own ends. The common people were thus deceived into supporting them and when these 'Abbasids did succeed in snatching the power from the Umayyads, they tuned against the Ahlu 'l-Bayt.
The downfall of the Umayyads and the rise of the 'Abbasids constituted the two principal plots in the drama of Islamic history. This was a most chaotic and revolutionary period when the religious morals of Islam had gone down and the teachings of the Holy Prophet were being neglected, and a state of anarchy was rampant. It was amidst such deadly gloom that the virtuous personage of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq stood like a beacon of light shedding its lustre to illuminate the ocean of sinful darkness around. The world got inclined towards his virtuous and admirable personality. Abu Salamah al-Khallal also offered him the throne of the caliphate. But the Imam keeping up the characteristic tradition of his ancestors flatly declined to accept it, and preferred to content himself with his devotional pursuits and service to Islam. On account of his many debates with the priests of rival orders like Atheists, Christians, Jews, etc.