Ja'far ibn Muhammad

Ja'far ibn Muhammad

biographical name

(born 699/700, Medina, Arabia—died 765, Medina) Sixth imam of the Shi'ite branch of Islam and the last to be recognized by all the Shi'ite sects. He was the great-grandson of 'Ali. As a possible claimant to the caliphate, Ja'far was viewed as a threat to both the Umayyad and 'Abbasid dynasties. He traveled to Baghdad in 762 to prove to the caliph that he was not seeking power, then returned to his native Medina, where his pupils included Abu Hanifah. After his death the Shi'ites began to splinter. One sect, the Isma'iliyyah, became followers of his son, Ismail. Another, the Ithna 'Ashariyyah, traced a succession from Ja'far to the Twelfth Imam awaited at the Last Judgment.

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