Imam Ja'far Muhammad As - Sadiq ( S.A.) contributions to the advancement of Science, philosophy, literature and Irfan (Gnostics ) are stupendous but it is a matter of regret that, the Islamic world has not given due credence that his contributions to the Sciences deserve.
It is indeed very surprising at the same time perplexing that there are tombs of books, manuscripts and references made about a few of his famous students, where as the great contributions of the true TEACHER and IMAM do not get honorable mention in the least.
Just one example from many such instances. In Encyclopedia of Islam complied by Ahmad A'ti there are more than 400 pages devoted to Imam Shafi - a student of Imam Ja'far as Sadiq ( A.S.) where as a mere seven line mention on the Imam ( A.S.)
In Sahih al Bukhari more than a thousand narrations on Fiqh ( Jurisprudence) and other related topics are attributed to Abu Hanifa - another student of Imam Ja'far as Sadiq ( S.A.) who studied under him for two years, but not a single narration attributed to the Imam ( S.A.) Abu Hanifa who commands a following of approx : 31 % of the Muslim Ummah largely in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries, and was in the habit of acknowledging at the start of his lectures that he has received knowledge from ' my Master Imam Ja'far as Sadiq ( S.A.) and he has famously been reported to say that ' if it was not for my two years of study under the Imam, I would have been finished'
If one is to ask the followers of Abu Hanifa known as ' Hanafi School' who the true teacher of their Imam was, most of them will know not.
Likewise Malik ibn Anas another student of the Imam ( S.A.) who has a following of 25 % of Muslim Ummah, largely concentrated in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia regions, and was reported to have famously said that ' no eye has seen, no ear has heard a man of knowledge like my Imam 'as Sadiq'. Malik Ibn Anas is the center of love and devotion of his followers, who hardly know about his TEACHER - Imam Ja'far as Sadiq ( S.A.)
Another famous student was Jabir bin Hayyan ( Geber to the Orientalists ) a prominent alchemist, pharmacist, philosopher, astronomer and physicist. If one just Google him, there will more than a lakh page hits. He acknowledged Imam as his TEACHER and famously said ' My Master taught me about Calcium and everything in Chemistry and other Sciences I learnt from him.
Ja'far ul Barmaki was a prominent personality whose daughter Hasana fell very ill and was not responsive to treatments by the experts. Some one suggested the name of Jabir Hayyan a student of Imam Ja'far as Sadiq ( S.A.) who was requested to come. On seeing the girl he immediately surmised that lack of Calcium was making the bones brittle. Under Jabir's expert treatment, Hasana bounced back to good health.
Jabir earned favors from the powerful Barmaki family, he married one of the daughters and on the fall of the Ummayads was gifted their palace Jamea ul Awami, where with his numerous students carried out scientific research.
Thus for centuries as his students became world famous the contribution of the true TEACHER the Imam was only confined to a few of his followers. A really sad state of affairs.
The contribution of Imam Ja'far as Sadiq (S.A.) to the Sciences was bought at center stage of the academia in the recent years by five Ph. D students - The Research Committee of Strasbourg - France. The thesis was translated in Persian and has become a best seller and gone into its fourth publication and Kaukali Ali Mirza has done an English translation ' The Great Muslim Scientist and Philosopher - Imam Jafar Ibn Muhammad As- Sadiq A.S. The Great Scientist and Philosopher' This great work enlightens how the Muslim world in particular and the entire humanity is indebted to the Imam for their scientific and intellectual awakening.
Imam Ja'far Sadiq (S.A.) was born in 83rd Hijri (702 A.D.) during the oppressive Ummayed rule , lived for 63 years and during his life time witnessed the horrendous acts of both the Ummayed and Abbasids, but found an opportune moment for spread of knowledge as a time when the Ummayed rule was tottering and the Abbasid revolt to seize power was on the rise.
Such was the pathetic state of the Muslim Ummah that Ummayed Khalif Walid bin Abdul Malik in a fully intoxicated state told one of his wife who was also in a drinking binge with him to lead salaat prayers. After mild protest, she did lead the Muslims in prayers, and not a single one had the courage to protest, although they were fuming inside.
A chance meeting with Al Masoor the Ummayed Khalif in Kaba and saving him from embarrassment by answering for him a fiqh matter,resulted in his granting permission to the Imam to teach in Kufa. Thus ilm Ladunni (Divine knowledge) started to flow in torrents from Masjid e Kufa, so much so that at a given time there were about 900 halqas (circles) of students imbibing Fatemi Uloom from various teachers who had studied under Imam on different subjects, and Imam in person practicing and preaching and becoming a radiant example.
Malik ibn Anas is reported to have said : ' I have seen the Imam engrossed in three things - fasting, salaat and teaching and tilawat of Quran'
Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A.S.) love for knowledge started at a very young age under the tutelage of none other than Imam Zainul Abedeen (S.A.) When he was 12 years of age, his grand father - the great Imam departed and till the age of 31 he received knowledge and guidance from his illustrious father and Imam Mohammad al Baqir (S.A.)
At a very young age he had mastered the teachings of Philosophers of Greek and Alexandria, and not only that he pointed out the shortcomings in their teachings. His student Hisham bin Hakim after receiving knowledge from Imam (S.A.) use to debate with atheist, and proved the existence of Allah.
Imam Ja'far as Sadiq (S.A.) was one of the most patient and tolerant teachers of his time. If one is to read the account of his long discussion with a confirmed and powerful atheist Abu Shakir, one will realize that only Haq na saheb, and that to an illustrious Imam can patiently answer the tirades and personal affronts made by the atheist. (Those interested may read it on
'The momentous intellectual awakening of Muslims witnessed in the second century of the Hijra was not due to Hellenic or other foreign influences, as some Western historians have recorded. It was the result of the untiring and ceaseless efforts made by the members of the Prophet's family to bring about that golden age of knowledge.' al-islam.org
At the age of 12 years he rejected the theory of four elements of Aristotle, and stated that water, air , earth and fire were not elements but a mixture of Elements. the Imam said it 1100 years ago before European Scientists conclusively proved that air was not an element and had separated its constituents.
Hope readers will be motivated and inspired by this short 'write up' and make sincere efforts to acquire more knowledge on the immense contributions of our Imams (S.A.)
Ref: You Tube video ' Biography of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) Sayed Ammar Nakshawani'