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Al-Kadhimiya Mosque

Born c. 10 November 745 CE

(7 Safar 128 AH)
Abwa, Medina, Umayyad Empire

Died c. 4 September 799 (aged 53)
(25 Rajab 183 AH)
Baghdad, Abbasid Empire
Cause of death Death by poisoning
Resting place Al-Kadhimiya Mosque, Iraq

33°22′48″N 44°20′16.64″E

Other names Musa ibn Ja'far
Ethnicity Arab (Quraysh), African
Title List[show]
Term 765 – 799 CE
Predecessor Ja'far al-Sadiq
Successor Ali al-Ridha
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Ummul Banīn Najmah

and 3 others

Children List[show]
Parents Ja'far al-Sadiq

Hamīdah al-Barbariyyah

Mûsâ ibn Ja‘far al-Kâdhim (Arabic: موسى بن جعفر الكاظم‎) (November 6, 745 AD - September 1, 799 // Safar 7, 128 AH – Rajab 25, 183 AH) was the seventh of the Twelve Imams and regarded by Sunnis as a renowned scholar. He was the son of the sixth Imam, Ja‘far aṣ-Ṣādiq and his mother was Hamidah Khātūn, a student and former slave of East African descent. His wife Najmah was also a former slave purchased and freed by Hamidah, his mother.

Mūsá al-Kādhim was born during the power struggles between the Umayyad and the Abbasid. Like his father, he was assassinated by the Abbasids. He bore three notable children: the eighth Imām, Ali al-Ridha, and two daughters, Fāṭimah al-Ma‘sūmah and Hajar Khatun. In total from all his wives he bore 37 children, 19 daughters and 18 sons. This is why most of the Sayyid population are Kādhimī Sayyids, or otherwise known as Mūsawī Sayyids, and trace their lineage back to the Prophet Muhammad, through one of Imam Musa al-Kadhim's children who were not his successor, Imam Ali Al-Ridha.

The Festival of Imam Musa al-Kadhim celebrates his life and death.


Mūsá al-Kādhim was born in Abwa between Mecca and Medina. His mother was of East African origin. Medieval Muslim geographers referred to East Africa as 'Barbary' which has led to the common mistake that the Imam's mother was a Berber. After his mother was freed, his father trained her as an Islamic scholar. His mother was not East African, she was from North Africa


Imam Musa ibn Ja'far's physical appearance is disputed among narrators of tradition. There are traditions that indicate,

"He was very brunet."

Similarly, Shaqiq al-Balakhi states,

"He had a good face, was very brunet and weak-bodied."

In terms of skin color, some narrations point out the Imam Musa had a black color. While other narrations state that he had a bright color, medium height, and had a thick beard.

Ring Inscription[]

Imam Musa has "The kingdom belongs to Allah only" inscribed on his ring. According to Sharif al-Qarashi, the inscription displays that Imam Musa cleaved and devoted himself to Allah.

Designation of the Imamate[]

Musa al-Kadhim became the seventh Shi’ah Imam at the age of 21. According to the Kitab al-Irshad of Sheikh al-Mufid: Among the shaykhs of the followers of Abu Abd Allah Ja'far al-Sadiq, peace be on him, his special group (khassa), his inner circle and the trustworthy righteous legal scholars, may God have mercy on them, who report the clear designation of the Imamate by Abu Abd Allah Jafars peace be on him, for his son, Abu al-Hasan Musa, peace be on him, are: al-Mufaddal b. Umar al-Jufi, Mu'adh b. Kathir, Abd al-Rahman b. al-Hajjaj, al-Fayd b. al-Mukhtar, Yaqub al-Sarraj, Sulayman b. Khalid, Safwan al-Jammal... [That designation] is also reported by his two brothers, Ishaq and Ali, sons of Jafar, peace be on him. Some Shi‘ah believe that the eldest son of Imam Ja‘far, namely Isma'il ibn Jafar, received the Imamate rather than Mūsá al-Kādhim. The Twelvers believe he predeceased his father and therefore was never appointed Imam, and this is affirmed in the most respected contemporary history book of the Ismailis themselves, written by historian Farhad Daftary, a twelver Shi'a in the employ of the current Ismaili Imam, Aga Khan IV. The descendents of the supporters of Isma'il's Imamate today comprise the Ismaili, which includes several independent groups, which include the Bohras, and Nizari Aga Khanis.

Other Shia believed that Imam al-Sadiq's eldest surviving son Abdullah al-Aftah was the Imam to succeed his father. This sect was known as the Aftahiyya/Fathiyya/Fathites.

His death[]

In 795, Harun al-Rashid imprisoned Imam Mūsá al-Kādhim; according to Twelver Shia tradition, four years later, he ordered Sindi ibn Shahiq to poison the Imām. Imam Mūsá al-Kāżim's body is now said to rest within al Kadhimiya Mosque in Kadhimayn, Iraq. He left eighteen sons and nineteen daughters.

A group of Shia rejected the death of Musa al-Kadhim. They were called the Waqifite Shia. They believed Imam Musa was the Mahdi, particularly the Imam Mehdi and was alive, but in occultation. This group no longer exists today, and it has been determined that the represented Imam Musa al-Kadhim while he was imprisoned and brought the khums back to him, started this sect so they could get money from the Shias, on the pretense that they were giving it to Imam Musa al-Kadhim. Until Imam Ali al-Ridha finally had his only son, Imam Muhammad al-Taqi, there were many Shias who were doubtful of the Imamate of Ali ibn Musa.


The number of children that Imam Musa al-Kadhim had is disputed by various traditions and historical documenting. They are as follows:

  • He had thirty-three children: sixteen males and seventeen females.
  • He had thirty-seven children: eighteen males and nineteen females.
  • He had thirty-eighty children: twenty males and eighteen females.
  • He had forty children: eighteen males and twenty-two females.
  • He had sixty children: twenty-three males and thirty-seven females.

Traditionally, the Shia believe that Imam Musa al-Kadhim had 73 children, however this is not verifiable as only 37 have been recorded by Shia scholars.

The following are the names of his children which are documented.
19 sons:

  • Hazrat Imam Ali Raza(as)
  • Ibrahim, Abbas
  • Salih
  • Qasim
  • Ahmad
  • Mohammad
  • Hamza
  • Ismail
  • Ja'far
  • Haroon
  • Husayn
  • Abdullah
  • Ishaq
  • Ubayd-il-lah
  • Zayd, Hasan
  • Fadl
  • Sulayman

18 daughters:

  • Fatima al-Kubra
  • Fatima al-Sughra
  • Ruqaya al-Kubra
  • Ruqaya al-Sughra
  • Hakeema
  • Umm Abeeha
  • Umm Kulthum
  • Umm Salma
  • Umm Ja'far
  • Lubana
  • Alya
  • Amina
  • Hasana
  • Bareeha
  • Aisha
  • Zainab
  • Khadija
  • Hajar Khatun


  1. The best generosity is the help to the oppressed.
  2. The world is soft and beautiful like a snake but there is a fatal poison hidden inside.
  3. Reliance on Allah has grades. One of them is that you rely on Him in every matter and be pleased with whatever He decides for you and know that He never hesitates in providing you any good and grace and that every decision is from Him so leave every affair to His Will and rely and put trust only in Him
  4. One who gives circulation to a sin is banished and forsaken and the one who covers a sin will be forgiven by God
  5. Every person who strives to obtain Halaal (permissible) sustenance or provision is like a fighter in the path of God
  6. After the acknowledgement of God, the best acts of the offertory to God are the prayers, piety to the parents, and evasion of envy, self-conceit, and pride
  7. The few deeds of the intelligent will be accepted and doubled, while the many deeds of the followers of passions and the ignorant will be rejected.