Birth and early life
Musa al-Kadhim was born during the conflict between the
Umayyads, and was four years old when
As-Saffah, the first Abbasid Caliph, took the throne. His mother, Hamidah, was a former slave from either
Andalusia. Al-Kadhim was brought up in a large family, with nine sisters and six brothers. His oldest brother
Ismail predeceased his father Ja'far al-Sadiq, who held the position of Imam. According to
Twelver Shiites, Musa was chosen by divine order and decree of his father as the next Imam.
According to some sources, al-Kadhim was religiously minded as a child.
Muhammad Baqir Majlisi relates an incident where
Abū Ḥanīfa called on
Ja'far al-Sadiq to ask his advice. While there, he encountered al-Kadhim, who was then five years old. Hanifa asked al-Kadhim the question meant for his father, saying: "Boy, from whom does disobedience (issue)? Does it issue from Allah or from the servant?" Al-Kadhim answered, saying: "Either it issues from God and not from the servant at all, so God does not punish the servant for what he does not do; or it issues from the servant and God, and God is a stronger partner. Therefore, the stronger partner has no right to punish the weak for a sin in which they are equal; or it issues from the servant and not from God. So if He wills to pardon (him), (He will pardon him), and if He wills to punish (him), (He will punish him); and God is He whose help is sought." Upon hearing this, Hanifa left, saying that the answer had been good enough for him.
In another incident,
Abū Ḥanīfa complained to al-Sadiq, saying: "I have seen your son, Musa, pray while the people were passing (walking) before him. He did not prevent them from that."
[b] The Imam ordered his son to be brought before him, and asked him whether it was true. Al-Khadhim replied "Yes, father, the
One to Whom I pray is nearer to me than them;
Allah, the Great and Almighty, says:
We are nearer to him than the jugular vein."
[d] On hearing this response, the Imam rose, hugged his son, and said; "May my father and mother be your ransom, O he in whom secrets have been deposited!"