Imam in Damascus

Ibn Taus related that once caliph Hisham bin Abdul Malik visited Mecca on pilgrimage. On that occasion, Muhammad al-Bakir and his son Jafar Sadik were in Kaba, where the latter delivered the following speech:-

"I thank God Who conferred the honour of Prophethood on Muhammad and made all of us august through him. We are therefore the chosen and elected caliphs of God on earth. He who follows us is blessed. He who opposes us is unfortunate."

Hisham's brother communicated the words of the above speech to Hisham, who at that time remained silent. He returned to Damascus and wrote to his governor of Medina to send al-Bakir and his son. Thus, both father and son went to Damascus, where they had to wait for three days in the city, and were summoned at the court on fourth day. Hisham was sitting on his throne, and there was staged a platform for arrow shooting (rami al-nushshab) in the middle. Hisham asked al-Bakir to shoot arrows, but the latter wanted to be excused on the ground that he was too weak and incapable for it. When Hisham insisted repeatedly, al-Bakir took the arrow and bow and shot. It hit the bull's eye with the first arrow. He then shot another arrow at the first arrow's target, and process continued nine times one after another. Hisham exclaimed: "O' Abu Jafar! what a good shooting performance it is? I have never seen a perfect archer like you." Thereupon, a religious deliberation was held between al- Bakir and Hisham, and in the course of which the former quoted authorities from the Koran and the traditions, and the caliph was silenced. Both father and son at last retired in the court and took their way back to Medina.

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