An imam of knowledge and man of justice in early Islamic history was Imam Musa bin Ja’far (SA).
Imam Musa Al-Kathim bin Ja’far As-Sadiq bin Muhammad Al-Baqir bin Ali As-Sajjad bin Al-Husayn As-Sibt bin Ali Al-Murtada bin Abi Talib (SA) was born in Al-Madinah during the government of Bani Umayyah. His mother was named of Hamidah, who was of Berber ethnicity. He was described as being dark brown (asmar ‘amiq) in complexion.
Imam Musa mastered all of the religious sciences under the instruction of his father Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (SA). According to Adh-Dhahabi in Siffah As-Safwah, he would stand in prayer during the night while others were asleep, and his character was of perseverance and generosity.
Imam Musa is considered to be an imam of knowledge for madhhab Zaydi and is regarded as a transmitter in the unbroken chain (silsilah) of spiritual knowledge for the Qadiri and Naqshanbandi orders. He is also revered as the 7th imam of madhhab Ja’fari.
In Al-Madinah, Imam Musa witnessed his cousin Imam Al-Husayn bin Ali Al-Fakhi (SA) call the people towards revolution against the tyranny of Bani Abbas. After the thwarted revolution and massacre at Fakh, Imam Musa was eventually imprisoned in Iraq by the Abbasi oppressor Harun bin Musa otherwise known as Harun “Ar-Rashid.”
Imam Musa achieved martyrdom by being poisoned while in prison. By the order of Harun Al-Abbasi, his corpse was then displayed on a bridge in Baghdad for people to witness.
Prior to his martyrdom, he passed down the spiritual teachings of Ahl al-Bayt to his son Imam Ali Ar-Rida (SA). From the wisdom passed down was the saying of Imam Musa that “the best generosity is to help the oppressed.”