Imam Sajjad (AS) lived during a critical and complex political situation. When studying the life of Imam Sajjad, one can divide his Imamat into two different periods. The first period begins at Karbala on the day of Ashura, continues to Kufa and Damascus, and ends with the Imam’s return to Medina. The second period begins after his return to Medina and lasts until his martyrdom, a period of about 34 years. During the first period, the tragedy of Karbala was the biggest sorrow of the Ahlul-Bayt, the progeny of the Prophet. Although Imam Sajjad was very sick and in captivity, he did not fear for his life, and knew that his silence would fade the message of Karbala. He spoke up against Ibn Ziyad and Yazid, condemned their actions, and confronted their justifications. The Imam also tried to awaken the people by delivering subjective lectures. The Imam’s lectures pressured Yazid to deny his role in the tragedy of Karbala and free the captives, and caused the people to doubt the government.
The second period of the life of Imam Sajjad in Medina was during a long period of wars and uprisings. It was as if God had punished the people responsible for the tragedy of Karbala. This punishment was not limited to just the killers of Imam Hossein (AS), but everyone whose reluctance or approval led to the tragedy of Karbala from all around the Islamic territory. The Imam isolated himself from politics and put all of his efforts into saving the lives of his followers in the endless wars for power. Any political activity in this time would endanger the Imam’s life, since the fugitive rulers were looking for any excuse to remove the Imam and stabilize their own governments. During this situation, the Imam was planning an ideal Islamic government in the long-term. His goal was to influence the people with his prayers and moral actions, and to attract them towards true Islamic teachings. The Imam also trained real Muslims in a society where everyone called themselves Muslims, yet did not abide by the Prophetic values. Imam Sajjad reconstructed the Islamic foundation from the beginning, similar to what the Prophet had done.