Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad

A Short Biography of The Ninth Imam, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Taqi al Jawad (as)

Born in Madina, 10th Rajab 195 Hijri (12.4.811 AD). Died in Baghdad Iraq 29th Zeeqad 220 Hijiri (27.11.835, aged 25 years, Period of Imamate 17 years.

At the time of the death of Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as) our 9th Imam was only 9 years old. Some people from among the followers of Ahlul Bayt and others, doubted Imam’s eligibility to become Imam at this young age. Kulaini in his Kafi relates that the Mutawalli of the Holy Ka’aba questioned Imam for several days before he was satisfied and accepted him as the Imam of the Time.

It is an undeniable fact that the whole episode of the call for Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as) to Tus, and his appointment as heir apparent to Mamun was a game played for political convenience to get the sympathies and support of the Persians to get his empire back from his step brother Amin. Once this was achieved Mamun had the Imam poisoned to get him out of his way.

But the fact is that Mamun being the most learned among all the Abbasid rulers, was aware that the family of the Prophet had a special type of knowledge which should be appreciated and be known to other people as long as power remained in Mamun’s hands and his authority remained supreme. This became apparent when he arrived in Baghdad victorious.

He began a policy of reconciliation with the Abbasid elders and also with those who had inclinations towards the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet. He reappointed Hasan ibn Sahl as Governor of Iraq who had openly supported the cause of Ahlul Bayt. Ibn Sahl being a scholarly person, co-operated handsomely in the literary and cultural interest in the Emperor’s Court.

For in spite of the fact that there was warfare and political turmoil in all directions during the reign of Mamun, the period marks perhaps the apex of the oriental renaissance. There was freedom of speech and expression which resulted in open discussions on many issues which were taboos previously.

Most significant for the life of Imam Muhammad Taqi (as) was the fact that Mamun’s favors towards the Ahlul Bayt did not cease because of their scholarly and intellectual approach to Islam. Although after arriving in Baghdad Mamun replaced the Hashemite Green color to the black color of the Abbasids on flags and court dresses, he still encouraged the intellectuals to engage in open discussions about the concept of power and authority.

Indeed he took that action as political necessity for he did not want to alienate his Persian friends and supporters. For not only prominent friends of Ahlul Bayt were appointed to responsible positions, but particular public favor was shown to the family of the deceased Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as).

One of the Imam’s brothers was chosen to preside at the annual pilgrimage in Makka, and it was but a short time until Mamun married his own daughter Umme Fadhl to Imam Muhammad Taqi (as) According to Yakubi, Mamun bestowed upon the bride groom one hundred thousand Dirhams, and said, “Surely I would like to be a grandfather in the line of the Apostle of God and of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as).

It is a well-known fact that the Imam gave all this money to the poor rather than spend it upon himself, which his wife Umme Fadhl, who was the daughter of Mamun did not like at all and complained to her father about this. But Mamun knew the ways of Ahlul Bayt, rejected her complaints and told her to live like the wife of an Imam of the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet.

The story of Mamun’s first meeting with the young son of Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as) is interesting. One day, when the young Imam was only nine years old, the caliph Mamun went out hunting. The Imam was standing silently by the road side where some children were playing. The caliphs entourage came that way. Seeing the soldiers of the caliph all the children ran away, but the young Imam remained standing at his place.

Noting this, Mamun stopped his carriage and asked, “Young man, why did you not run away like the other children?”

The Imam replied calmly, “ Neither had I committed a crime, nor was I blocking the way. Why should I have run away or be afraid? And I also know that you will not cause any unnecessary trouble when your way is not blocked."

Mamun was surprised with this mature reply and asked, “ What is your name?”

“Muhammad,” came the reply. Whose son are you? asked Mamun. "Son of ‘Ali ibn Musa (as) ."

Mamun rode on. During his hunt the hawk returned to him with a fish in its beak. Mamun was surprised. He returned back toward the city. Once again, he found children playing on the same spot, who ran away seeing the caliph’s soldiers, except this young man who said he was Muhammad son of ‘Ali ibn Musa (as) who remained where he was.

Mamun hid the fish in his palm, stopped his carriage near the Imam and said, “Tell me, what is there in my fist?” The Imam replied, “God created clouds between earth and sky. The hawks of kings sometimes catch fish from there and bring it to the Kings. They hide it in their fist and ask a member of the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet, “Tell me what is there in my fist.”

Mamun said, “ Truly, you are the worthy son of Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as) (Bihar-al Anwar ,Majlisi). Mamun took the young Imam with him, and let him live in a nearby house next to the Royal Palace.

It was during this stay of the 9th Imam nearby that Mamun had the chance of seeing him closely and gaining an insight into the intellectual abilities of this pious household.

Mamun convened many conferences during this period in which many intellectuals and scholars assembled in order to listen and learn from the Young Imam. Mamun told the Abbasid hierarchy that Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’’s son was no doubt a boy of tender age, but he had inherited his father’s virtues and qualities in full.

The learned scholars of the Islamic world could not compete with him. If they doubted, they could put the young Imam to the test. This reply, though totally said in jest, amounted to a challenge. Impulsed by Mamun’s taunts they consented to judge the boy’s knowledge in a contest with the most learned authority then, namely Yahya ibn Aaktham.

Mamun convened a magnificent gathering for this open contest. There was anxiety to see this unequal match where a boy of Twelve was to contest with the seasoned and renowned Chief Justice of the Abbasid Empire. People crowded from every quarter. Historians have recorded that apart from dignitaries and nobles, 900 seats were reserved for scholars only. Mamun’s’ reign was described as the golden age of learning.

Experts of every trade and profession assembled in that great capital from every corner of the Empire. Mamun had a carpet laid by the side of his throne to seat Imam Muhammad Taqi (as) . In front of him was accommodated the Chief Justice Yahya ibn Aktham. There was a pin drop silence among the audience who waited to hear the arguments.

Silence was broken by Yahya who said, “ Will His Majesty allow me to put some questions to Imam Muhammad Taqi (as) Mamun replied, “ You may seek permission from the Imam himself.”

Yahya said to the Imam, “ Do you allow me to put some questions to you?” “Yes, you may” replied the Imam. Yahya began by asking a question, “What is atonement for a person who hunts a game while he is dressed in the pilgrimage garb (‘Ahram).” The question itself indicated that Yahya underestimated the scholarly attainments of his opponent.

Drunk with the pride of position and knowledge, he thought that the young man might well be aware of simple daily routine problems of prayer or fasting, but the possibility that he might be totally ignorant of the statutes of pilgrimage or of the atonement of sins or mistakes committed by a pilgrim never entertained his mind.

The sagacious young Imam was clever enough for the seasoned enquirer. Instead of giving a general or a vague reply, he analyzed the different aspects of the problem so dexterously that the audience immediately had a true estimate of the Imam’s knowledge and of Yahya’s shallow mindedness. Yahya too was puzzled and felt humiliated when the Imam addressed him in the following manner:

“Your question is utterly vague and lacks definition. You should first clarify whether the game killed was outside the sanctified area or inside it; whether the hunter was aware of his sin or did so in ignorance; did he kill the game purposely or by mistake, was the hunter a slave or a free man, was he adult or minor, did he commit the sin for the first time or had he done so before, was the hunted game a bird or something else, was it a small animal or a big one, is the sinner sorry for the misdeed or does he insist on it, did he kill it secretly at night or openly during daylight, was he putting on the pilgrimage garb for Hajj or for the Umra? Unless you clarify and define these aspects, how can you have a definite answer?”

Whatever Yahya’s knowledge might have been, he was undoubtedly a well-read man in Jurisprudence. While the Imam was unfolding all such details of the problem, he had judged that he was no match for his ingenious opponent. His face lost color and the audience realized the situation well. His lips were sealed and he made no reply. Mamun fully assessed his condition and thought it was useless to put any further pressure on him.

He then requested the Imam to solve all the aspects of the question. Yahya silent and puzzled, gazed at the Imam. But Mamun was bent on carrying the matter to the end. He therefore requested the Imam to put some questions to Yahya if he liked. The Imam then said to Yahya, “ May I ask you a question? Disillusioned, Yahya who now had the true estimate of the Imam’s capacity and had no misunderstanding about his own worth, said in a humble tone,”

Your grace can ask, I shall reply if I can or I shall get it solved by your own self.” Then the Imam put a question in reply to which Yahya admitted his ignorance. The Imam explained it too. Mamun's joy knew no bounds. What he had asserted came true.

Addressing the audience he said, “Did I not tell you that the people of the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet have been gifted by God with limitless knowledge? None can cope with even the children of this elevated House.”

The excitement of the gathering was great. All unanimously exclaimed that Mamun’s guess was correct and that the Imam Muhammad Taqi al Jawad (as) was a matchless person. The Emperor then thought it advisable to marry his daughter to Imam there and then.

The Imam himself recited the marriage Khutba. This address (Khutba) became so famous that as a remembrance, it has been recited at weddings everywhere throughout the Muslim world ever since. Over joyed at this auspicious occasion Mamun displayed his full generosity, giving away millions in charity to the poor.

When the people departed and a few of the courtiers remained including the Chief Justice Yahya ibn Akhtham, Mamun asked the Imam to tell them the law concerning the aspects into which the killing of the animal was done by a Muhrim. (Meaning a pilgrim in Aahram)

“Yes,” replied the Imam. “ If he had killed the animal outside the sacred ground and it was winged and large ,an atonement of sheep would have been necessary for him. If he had struck it down in the sanctuary, the penalty required of him would be doubled.

If he killed a young bird outside the sacred ground, then the atonement of a lamb which had been weaned off milk would have been required of him. If he had killed it in the sanctuary, then he would have been required to sacrifice a lamb and the value of the young bird. As for wild animals, if it was a wild ass, he would have been required to sacrifice a cow.

If it was an ostrich, the sacrifice of a camel would be necessary. If it had been a deer, then a sheep would have been necessary. If he had killed any of those in the sanctuary, the penalty would have been doubled. Imam continued to describe all avenues of penalties for the Muhrim to the astonishment of the audience.” ( Al Irshad by Mufid) “You have done well Abu Jaafar and God has adorned you,” said Mamun to him.

Character and Virtues

Imam Muhammed Taqi (as) occupied the highest position in human virtues and moral attainments as this was the marked feature of the Prophet’s family. It was customary for the Imam to meet everyone humbly, fulfill the needs of the poor, maintain Islamic requisites of equality and simplicity, help the poor secretly, treat even foes fairly, extend hospitality, impart true Islamic knowledge to all and specially to the scholars of religion and the like, marked his saintly life-in full conformity with other members of this sacred series of infallible Imams.

Common people who could not appreciate such heights of moral excellence, might have thought the new relationship, i.e. to become son-in-law of the most influential monarch of his time, must influence the pattern of life of the Imam and change his manners altogether.

Mamun too, might have thought on the same lines because spiritualism which was the chief characteristic of this household was against the practices of worldly rulers. It could be said that neither the Ummayads nor the Abbasids had any personal grudge against the Prophet or his family, the Ahlul Bayt, but they were at war with the moral standards set by them.

They always tried to destroy the center of moral excellence and human values which was shown as the polar star of ideal spiritual perfection, overshadowing their royal glory.

In order to uphold their imperialistic and luxurious norms of life, these monarchs wanted to do away with these godly saints who demonstrated righteousness, compassion, faith, piety, fraternity and justice as the main teachings of Islam. Yazid’s demand of obedience from Imam Husayn (as) or Mamun’s appointment of Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as) as his heir-apparent were two different aspects of the same desire.

The procedures were different but the end purpose was the same. Imam Husayn (as) did not bow to pay homage, so he was slain in the battlefield. Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as) did not serve the cause of Abbasid imperialism, so he was silenced with poison.

Mamun, however, took it as a great opportunity to serve his objective to patron the Imam who was only a young man. The political sagacity suggested that it would be far easier to cast a young man into the desired mold and thus it would be possible to demolish the center of the Prophet’s teachings in Madina or elsewhere in the Islamic world which, although working silently, was dangerous to the imperialistic designs of the antithesis called Muslim Monarchy.

No doubt Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as) did not conform to Mamun’s designs, or to his desires, but this could not disappoint him. Imam Ridha’’s mature way of thinking and simple way of life could not be changed.

But there was the hope that in all probability a man of a tender young age, who was brought up in the luxurious atmosphere of a Royal Palace would grow into an ambitious merrymaking prince, altogether against his ancestral ways and views.

With the exception of a few enlightened persons, everybody would think on the same lines. But the world stood aghast to see that the young son-in-law of the most distinguished monarch of his time refused to stay in the royal palace and lived instead in a small house, thus maintaining the Islamic values of virtue and ethics of a simple and humble life.

It is usually seen that if the bride’s people are comparatively rich, they wish that the groom might live with them, if not in the same house, at least in the same town and in a house of the same standard.

The Will power of the Imam can be judged from the fact that he lived in a separate dwelling and of a humble standard in Baghdad. After one year when Mamun realized that the Imam was not pleased with staying in Baghdad, he allowed the couple to go to live in Madina.

On his return to Madina the Imam maintained the same ancestral unimposing behavior: no body guards, no pomp, no restrictions on people meeting him, no visiting times, and no discriminations against anyone meeting the Imam and learning from him.

He spent most of his day time sitting in the Mosque of the Prophet where Muslims came to avail from his knowledge and preaching. The narrators of Hadith and other students of theology came to enquire about religious sciences and the Imam guided them by explaining every complicated matter. All the world saw that Imam Ja’far Sadiq’s successor, seated on the same mat, was guiding the people towards piety which was the hall mark of Islam.

Imam Muhammad Taqi (as) allowed the same amount of freedom to his wife Umme Fadhl and imposed the same restrictions on her as his ancestors had done in the case of their wives. He did not care much about the fact that Umme Fadhl was a princess.

Although she lived with him, he married another lady who was a descendant of Ammare Yasir. God had intended to continue the line of Imamate through her and she gave birth to Imam ‘Ali Naqi (as) the tenth Imam.

Imam Muhammad Taqi’s speech was very charming and effective. Once during the Hajj season he addressed a gathering of the pilgrims and stated commandments of the Divine Law of Sharia’a. The audience included learned scholars who admitted that they had never heard such an eloquent and comprehensive speech.

Many scholars came to learn the teachings of Ahlul Bayt. A collection of brief and wise sayings is also left by the Imam, resembling the wisdom of his ancestor Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) Some profound discourses on theology and monotheism are also to his credit.

Mamun died in 218 Hijri (833 AD). As long as he lived no harm came to the Imam. Mamun was succeeded by his brother Mu’taman, the second heir-apparent after Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as) . He came to be known as Al-Mu’tasim billah Abbasi.

His niece Umme Fadhl now began to write to him complaining more than she did during the reign of her father because Mamun always rejected her complaints. But Mu’tasim was jealous of Imam ‘Ali Al-Ridha’ (as) from the very beginning. He had also opposed the marriage of Umme Fadhl to Imam Muhammad Taqi (as).

Al- Mu’tasim now got a chance to settle his differences in this matter. Imam Muhammad Taqi’s (as) fame as a great scholar and the constant gathering of people around him as well as the fame of his world renown noble character annoyed him.

The failure of the political tactics too, intensified his resentment. All these factors irritated him into enmity. In the second year of his reign he summoned the Imam from Madina to Baghdad, ordering his Governor in Madina expressly about it. Imam was compelled to set out for Baghdad leaving his son ‘Ali ibn Muhammad (Naqi) with his mother in Madina.

For one year after the Imams’ arrival in Baghdad, Mu’tasim did not do anything. He was hoping that the Imam would conform to the Royal ways of living and then this would be a source of infamy for the Ahlul Bayt. But when he realized that the man was becoming more popular in Baghdad with his scholarly discourses with the scholars there, he had to act to stop this as all his ancestors did before him and use the silent weapon of poison to eliminate that thorn in his heart.

The Imam died of poison on the 29th of Zeeqa’ad 220 Hijiri (24.11.835 AD). He was buried by the side of his grandfather Imam Musa ibn Ja’far. It is because of the two Imam’s who were famous for their suppression of anger that the place was called Kazemain, the two Kazims, the enduring ones.

Imam Mohammad Taqi and Enemies of Islam

Imam lived for a year in Baghdad with Ummul Fadhl. She was very disobedient to Imam. When she found out that Imam had another wife (from the progeny of Ammar-e-Yasir) and that there was also children she was jealous and angry realizing that her father's plan had failed. She complained to her father who also realized that his plan, to keep the 12th Imam in his progeny, had failed.

He was enraged and in his rage he drank heavily and went to the 9th Imam's house and attacked Imam with a sword. Both Ummul Fadhl and a servant saw the attack and believed Imam was dead. Mamun on waking next morning realized the consequences of his attack and was thinking of arranging the disposal of Imam's body when he saw Imam well without a scratch on him.

He was confused and asked Imam who showed him an amulet which is called Hirze Jawad.The Holy Imam told him it was from his grand mother Bibi Fatima Zahra (A.S.) and kept the wearer safe from all except the angel of death.

We, also, observed how Ma'mun held meetings and councils in which he invited various scholars, thinkers and jurisprudents like the Qadi ul-Qudat(Chief Judge) of the Abbasid state, Yahya bin Aktham for scholarly discussions and debates which lasted hours and days. In such meetings, they introduced the Imam Jawad (A.S..) to critical legislative and theological questions to which he answered wisely and accurately.

The debate was attended by top officials of the state, military commanders and leaders.Then, the Qadi, Yahya bin Aktham approached Abu Ja'far al-Jawad (A.S.) and asked him some questions he had prepared before. The Imam Jawad (A.S.) answered them correctly and, in which, he showed the cause for correcteness.

Therefore, the debate went on between Yahya and Imam al-Jawad (A.S.) in the following way:

Ask me whatever you wish," said the Imam in the typical tone of his anscestors

Yahya, then, asked the Holy Imam, "What is your verdict about a man who indulges in hunting while he is in the state of Ihram'. (In the code of religious law hunting is forbidden for a pilgrim).

The Imam at once replied, "Your question is vague and misleading. You should have definitely mentioned whether he hunted within the jurisdiction of the Ka'ba or outside; whether he was literate or illiterate; whether he was a slave or a free citizen; whether he was a minor or a major; whether it was for the first time or he had done it previously; also, whether that victim was a bird or some other creature; whether the prey was small or big; whether he hunted in the day or at night; whether the hunter repented for his action or persisted in it; whether he hunted secretly of openly; whether the 'Ihram' was for Umra (the lesser pilgrimage) or for Hajj (the greater pilgrimage). Unless all these points are explained no specific answer can be given to this question.".

Qadi Yahya was bewildered and staggered in listening to these words, of the Holy Imam, and the entire gathering was dumbfounded. Inability and indecision were clear on Qadi Yahya's face.

Thus, the historical period, and what it contains of religious scholars and jurisprudents, acknowledges the leadership of Imam al-Jawad (A.S.) in order to continue the right path of his forefathers and their footsteps and, also, bear the religious scholarly and political burdens of divine succession of the Holy Prophet (S.W.A).

Yahya VS Imam Jawad (as)

Imam Jawad (as) was seated beside al-Ma'mun on his throne face to face with Yahya ibn Aktham, who addressed the Imam thus: "Do you permit me to ask you a question?"

"Ask me whatever you wish," said the Imam in the typical tone of his ancestors.

Yahya then asked the Imam, "What is your verdict about a man who indulges in hunting while he is in the state of ihram." (In the code of religious law hunting is supposed to be forbidden for a pilgrim.)

The Imam at once replied, "Your question is vague and misleading. You should have definitely  mentioned whether he hunted within the jurisdiction of the Ka'bah or outside; whether he was literate or illiterate; whether he was a slave or a free citizen; whether he was a minor or a major; whether it was for the first time or he had done it previously; also whether, that victim was a bird or some other creature; whether the prey was small or big; whether he hunted in the day or at night; whether the hunter repented for his action or persisted in it; whether he hunted secretly or openly; whether the ihram was for umrah or for hajj. Unless all these points are explained no specific answer can be given to this question."

al-Qadi Yahya was staggered in listening to these words of the Imam and the entire gathering was dumbfounded. There was no limit to al-Ma'mun's pleasure.

He expressed his sentiments of joy and admiration thus: "Bravo! well done! O Abu Ja'far! your learning and attainments are beyond all praises." 

As al-Ma'mun wanted that the Imam's opponent be fully exposed, he said to the Imam, "You may also put some question to Yahya ibn Aktham."

Then Yahya also reluctantly said to the Imam: "Yes, you may ask me some questions. If I know the
answer, I will tell it; otherwise, I shall request you to give its answer."

Thereupon, the Imam asked a question to which Yahya could not reply. Eventually, the Imam answered his question. Then al-Ma'mun addressed the audience thus: "Did I not say that the Imam comes of a family which has been chosen by Allah as the repository of knowledge and learning? Is there any one in the world who can match even the children of this family?"

All of them shouted, "Undoubtedly there is no one parallel to Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad."

The period of transferring the leadership to Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Javad (A.S.) faced a dangerous problem which caused debates and arguments concerning the personality of Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Javad (A.S.) because of his youth.
Imam Javad (A.S.) was young, at the age of seven, when his father passed away. Books of history and biographies record some of these discussions about the personality of the young Imam (A.S.) and his capability for the leadership at that age.
When Imam Muhammad al-Javad (A.S.) was born, the same questions were sent to Imam al-Reza in order for them to know who would be the Imam after al-Reza (A.S.).
Was not Muhammad al-Javad (A.S.) a child?
 And how could he bear the responsibility of the leadership and its affairs if he was at this age?
 Indeed, Imam al-Reza (A.S.) always confirmed that the Imam after him would be his son, Muhammad Taqi al-Javad (A.S.), and the one who was most qualified.
Ibn Qulawaih, on the authority of Kulaini, on the authority of Hussein bin Muhammad, on the authority of Khariani, on the authority of his father, said:
"I (i.e. Khayrani’s father) was standing in front of Abul-Hassan al-Reza (A.S.), in Khurasan. Someone asked him: "My master, if something happens, to whom authority will belong?"
"To Abu Jafar (al-Jawad), my son," he replied.
 The speaker indicated that the age of Abu Jafar was too young. So, Abul-Hassan al-Reza (A.S.), replied: "Allah, may He be praised, sent Jesus, son of Mary, to be an apostle, a prophet, the bringer of a revealed law (Sharia), to begin (his mission) when his age was younger than that of Abu Jafar(al-Javad), peace be upon him."
Narrated Muammar bin Khallad that he heared Imam al-Reza (A.S.), saying: "When he mentioned something and, then, said: "What need have you for that? Here is Abu Jafar, whom I have brought into my meetings and whom I have made to be my successor." Then, he added: "We are the family of the House (Ahlul-Bayt). Our young inherit from our old, like one feather (on a wing) followed by the next
Allamah Majlisi narrated, in his book "Uyoon Mu"jizat", a description of certain events of that critical period from the age of leadership, and which included the following text:
"... it was pilgrimage season. Some jurisprudents (Fuqaha") of Baghdad and other nations and their religious scholars, numbering 80, went to Medina to perform Hajj ceremonies and, then, they intended to see Abu Jafar Imam Javad (A.S.). When they reached the house of Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S.), because of its emptiness, entered it and sat on a big carpet.
"Then, Abdulla bin Musa (Imam al-Reza’s brother) came and sat at the head of the meeting. A caller stood and said: "This is the son of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), therefore, whoever has any question, and he may ask him." He (Abdulla bin Musa i.e. Imam al-Javad’s nephew) was questioned about things, to which he inappropriately answered. His answers caused the Shi"a to be bewildered and grieved, therefore, the jurisprudents were confused among themselves and started leaving the pleace and telling each other that if Abu Jafar (the Imam) was present, he would have been able to answer all the questions addressed to Abdulla bin Musa.
"Then, a door was opened at the front of the meeting and Muwafaq, the Imam’s servant, entered and said: "This is Abu Jafar Imam Javad (A.S.)." All those who were present stood up, welcomed and greeted him, and then the Imam (A.S.) entered.
He (A.S.) sat while all people kept silent. Then, the questioner stood up and asked the Imam (A.S.) different questions, to which he (A.S.) answered perfectly and correctly. His answers caused those present to be happy, give thanks and praise the Imam.
They told him: "Indeed, your uncle, Abdulla, gave verdicts so and so." He (A.S.) said: "There is no god but Allah, o my uncle, Abdulla, gave verdicts so and so." He (A.S.) said: "There is no god but Allah, O my uncle! It is great to stand tomorrow (on the resurrection day) before His hands and He will say to you: "Why did you give verdicts (issue religious decrees) to My servants about things you did not know, while there was someone among people who had more knowledge than you."
Even religious scholars and jurisprudents confirmed their declaration for the Imam Javad’s being qualified with the position of leadership. The vivid declaration of Imam al-Reza (A.S.), for his leadership, and the acknowledgement of the famous traditionist, Ali bin Jafar, are, also, proofs for the Imam’s qualification for the position of leadership.
He became an Imam at the age of nine. Mamun thought that as all the rulers before him had oppressed the Holy Imams and their schemes had backfired that he would try to bribe the Holy Imams. He tried to make the 8th Imam his heir apparent and give him power and wealth but that also backfired.
He now tried to use power and wealth with the 9th Imam again but from a much younger age thinking that he would be able to influence him.
His main purpose was also to make sure that the 12th Imam (whom he knew would bring justice to the world) would be from his progeny and therefore intended to give his daughter Ummul Fadl to the Imam for a wife. Mamun still continued oppressing the family and followers of the Ahlul-Bayt (A.S.).
Mamun called the young Imam (A.S.) to Baghdad from Madina and offered his daughter. This infuriated his family (Banu Abbas). To prove to them the excellence of Imam even at a young age he arranged a meeting between Imam and the most learned of men at that time - Yahya bin Athkam, the Chief Judje of his period .
Imam (A.S.) read his own Nika (the khutba of which is used today) with the Mehr of 500 dirhams. Imam wrote a letter to Mamun that he would also give Ummul Fadhl Mehr from the wealth of Aakhira.