There is some confusion in our community over celebrating the birth anniversaries of Imam Baqir (a.s) and Imam Kadhim (a.s) in the month of Safar. Can you please shed some light on it?
1. Birth of Imam Baqir (a.s): The 1st of Rajab has been considered the famous date for the birth of Imam Baqir (a.s) among the Shi’a from the time of Sh. Mofid (4th Century AH) and his student Sh. Tousi. The 3rd of Safar is more of the Sunni narration (such as Ibn Khallekan in the 7th century AH).
2. Birth of Imam Kadhim (a.s): Early sources and scholars have not mentioned the date of birth other than the year (128 or 129 AH). Shahid Awal (8th century AH) is among the first famous Shi’a scholars who has suggested 7th of Safar as the date of birth and after him many other scholars followed.
There is however an authentic narration from Abu-Baseer (Behar vol. 48, p. 3) that Imam Kadhim (a.s) was born on the way back from Hajj in the year 128 AH. Based on this narration some scholars have assumed that the holy Imam is born in Dhul-Hijjah. Also Sh. Tabari (4th century) in his book has quoted from Imam Askari (a.s) that Imam Kadhim (a.s) was born in Dhul-Hijjah but unfortunately his narration is mursal ( the chain of transmitters or part of it is not mentioned). Also, the narration of Abu-Baseer only mentions that the birth took place on the way back from Hajj. As it would be possible in those days to stay in Mecca after Hajj for a while, early Safar is still a possibility. That’s why the absolute majority of our scholars as well as Sunni historians have accepted 7th of Safar as the birth of Imam Kadhim (a.s).
3. Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s): Early Shi’a scholars like Kolayni and Mofid have mentioned the 28th of Safar as the date of martydom, while later scholars like Shahid Awwal (8th century) and Kaf’ami (10thcentury) suggested 7th of Safar for the date of martyrdom. In Iran, the 28th of Safar is the official date of martyrdom, but in Iraq it is the 7th of Safar. As none of those scholars have quoted any narrations to prove their points, either date remains valid and possible.
1. The birth of Imam Baqir (a.s) should be celebrated in Rajab, not Safar.
2. On the 7th of Safar we can speak about the virtues of both Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba and Imam Kadhim (a.s) and even read a Majlis for Imam Hasan (a.s). (this was the suggestion of the late Ayatollah Bahjat).
3. Given that Safar along with Muharram is the month of mourning for the martyrs of Karbala and the captives of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s), normal celebration and illumination for Imam Kadhim (a.s) does not sound appropriate.
And God knows best.
Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei