Special Reports

International Conference on Imam Jafar

New Delhi: An international conference on Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq was organized by the Delhi-based Tafheem-e-Islam organization in collaboration with the Department of Persian of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI). Speakers at the conference were Islamic scholars and intellectuals from India and Iran.

Eminent Islamic scholar, Dr. Kalbe Sadiq, said in his inaugural speech, "Imam Jafar Sadiq is like the light of sun. You can't see it but it can illuminate your path to God. You can take guidance from that light and tread forward." Dr Sadiq suggested that the book of Imam Sadiq, "Tauheed-e-Mufaddal", compiled by one of his disciples, should be translated into English, Urdu and Hindi. "This book explains many sciences including cosmology, astronomy and physics etc. which can astonish scientists of today. He had over 4000 disciples," said Dr Sadiq quoting Imam Abu Hanifa's saying that his age is only two years, that is the period he spent learning from Imam Sadiq."

Speaking about the plight of the Shia community in India, Sadiq said, "There are not even seven Shia colleges in the country while other communities have many. We have such a great universal scholar and his followers are so backward in education. I appeal to the Shia orators that they should emphasize on the teachings of the Imams instead of delivering emotional speeches."

Sadiq shared an anecdote in which a Hindu priest was set free by ISIS terrorists because they thought he was reciting Qur'an although the priest had recited verses of Bhagvad Gita. This proves that ISIS people never read Quran, said Dr Sadiq.

Dr. Syed Shah Khusro Hussaini, Sajjadanasheen of Hazrat Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah of Gulbarga (Karnataka), read the keynote address on Imam Sadiq titled "The divinely-inspired Imam". Hussaini said, "The word 'Sadiq' means truthful, one who never spoke a lie in his life. His 34 years of Imamate is the longest period among Shiite imams. The Imam himself said that Imamate is not a matter of self-appointment. He never took part in politics and refused to accept caliphate. He did not support uprisings during his time. Hussaini quoted the Imam as saying "No enemy is harmful compared to ignorance." Someone told the Imam: I want to see Allah. The Imam told him to look at the Sun. The man replied, how can I look at the Sun? The Imam replied, when you cannot look at a creature, how will you see the Creator?

 Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, editor of The Milli Gazette, focussed in his paper on the affinity of Sunni scholars to Imam Sadiq. He said, "Imam Jafar Sadiq was born to the grand-daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr, the first caliph, and his lineage is related to both Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Abu Bakr, the two caliphs of Islam. Imam Sadiq was the teacher of Sunni jurisprudents like Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik Ibn Anas. Sunnis do not deem Imams as infallible but they consider the Imam like caliphs and revere him as a highly respected scholar. He said, Sunnis and Shia parted ways after Imam Sadiq. Today, the old debates of Akhbari and Usooli Shia ulama have been settled in favour of the Usooli ulama and a wali-faqih has emerged who is practically not much different from the Sunni concept of "Khalifa". Hence, a little courage on the part of Sunni and Shia ulama can unite the Ummah again, he said.

Ayatollah Mahdi Mehdavipur, representative of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, said, "Imam Sadiq had established the biggest university in the history of Islam. He produced scholars of every school of thought, every science and taught every section of knowledge." He quoted Imam Malik as saying, "Imam Sadiq was one the like of whom was never seen by human eyes." Mahdavipur added, "Many books of the Imam and his disciples were destroyed by the evil Abbasid caliphs. He narrated that the Imam used to go out incognito at night and feed hungry families.

Another scholar from Iran, Dr Syed Mahdi Mehdizadeh, said, "Islamic society is now deviated and radicalism is dominant. Splinter groups engulf every society of Muslims. He said Takfir is the biggest problem today. We need to fight the takfiri groups. Unity of the Muslim society is the need of the hour. Fortunately, both India and Iran do not have any takfiri groups. These seminars and conferences alone can dissolve differences."

Maulana Mohsin Taqwi, the Friday Imam of the Kashmiri Gate mosque in Delhi said, "4000 disciples of the Imam are recorded but there must have been many more whose names were not recorded in books."

Five books on various aspects of Imam Sadiq were released during this event including 'Afkar-e-Islami', a book by Ayatollah Khamenei.  The academic sessions of the conference were held next day during which dozens of papers were presented by scholars from across India. (Hasan Rizvi)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 October 2016 on page no. 13

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