Hazrath Ameerul Moomineen Syedina Imam Ali Sha Raza Razi Allahu Tha'ala Anhu

          The eighth Holy Imam Reza (a.s) is the son of the 7th Holy Imam Musa Kazim (a.s) and BiBi Ummul Baneen Najma, born on Thursday, 11th Zilqad, 148 A.H. in Madina, Martyred on Tuesday, 17th Safar, 203 A.H. at the age of 55 years old, Poisoned by Mamoon, the 'Abbaside caliph and buried at Mashad, Iran.


          Holy Imam Musa Kazim (a.s) was well aware of the aggressive designs of the government in power against the Imamate and therefore, during his lifetime he declared Holy Imam Ar_Reza as his successor in the presence of hundred and seventy one prominent religious divines and called upon his sons and his family to submit to him and refer to him in all matters after him. Holy Imam Musa Kazim (a.s) also left behind a written document declaring the succession of Holy Imam Reza duly signed and endorsed by not less than sixteen prominent persons. All these necessary steps were taken by the great Imam to avoid any confusion that may have arisen after his death.


          The Holy Imam Musa Kazim (a.s) was poisoned while he was still in prison and expired on 25th Rajab 183 AH, and on the same day Holy Imam Reza (a.s) was declared as the Eighth Imam of the Muslim world. Holy Imam Reza (a.s) had the great task before him of coming out with the correct interpretation of the Holy Qur'an. specially under the most unfavourable circumstances prevailing under the government of Harun ar-Rashid. Many belonging to the faith were imprisoned and those who were free and could not be jailed faced untold atrocities and sufferings.

          The Holy Imam Reza, of course, stamped his impression upon his age by carrying on the mission of the Great Prophet (pbuh) in a peaceful manner even during the most chaotic periods, and it was mostly due to his efforts that the teachings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his descendants became widespread. Holy Imam Reza had inherited great qualities of head and heart from his ancestors. He was a versatile person and had full command over many languages. Ibnu 'l-Athir al-Jazari penned very rightly that Holy  Imam Reza (a.s) was undoubtedly the greatest sage, saint and scholar of the second century (AH). Once, on his way to Khurasan, when he (the Imam) was brought by force by the guards of al-Ma'mun from Madina, he arrived on horseback at Nayshabur.

          Myriads of people gathered round him and all roads were over crowded as they had come to meet and see their great Holy Imam. Abu Dhar'ah ar-Razi and Muhammad ibn Aslam at-Tusi, the two great scholars of the day, stepped out of the crowd and begged the Holy Imam (a.s) to halt there for a moment so that the faithful may be able to hear his voice. They also requested the Holy Imam (a.s) to address the gathering. The Holy Imam (a.s) granted the request and in his brief address told the mammoth gathering the real interpretation of la ilaha illa Allah. Quoting Allah, he continued to say that the kalimah is the fortress of Allah and whoever entered the fortress saved himself from His wrath. He paused for a moment and continued that there were also a few conditions to entitle the entrance to the fortress and the greatest of all conditions was sincere and complete submission to the Holy Imam of the day; and very boldly and frankly explained to the people that any disloyalty to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his descendants would withdraw the right of the entrance to the fortress.

          The only way to earn Almighty Allah's pleasure was to obey the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his progeny and that was the only path to salvation and immortality. The above mentioned incident speaks clearly of the great popularity of Holy Imam Reza (a.s), and the love, loyalty and respect the Muslims gave their beloved Imam. Al-Ma'mun, the king, was conscious of the fact that he would not survive for long if he also did not express his loyalty to the great leader and his intelligence department had made it clear to him that the Iranian people were truly and sincerely loyal to the Holy Imam (a.s) and he could only win them over if he also pretended to give respect and sympathetic consideration to Holy Imam Reza (a.s). Al-Ma'mun was a very shrewd person. He made a plan to invite Holy Imam Reza and to offer him the heirship to the throne. The Holy Imam Reza (a.s)  was summoned by a royal decree and was compelled, under the circumstances, to leave Madina - where he was living a quiet life - and present himself at the royal court of al-Ma'mun.

          On the arrival, al-Ma'mun showed Holy Imam Reza (a.s) hospitality and great respect, then he said to him: "I want to get rid of myself of the caliphate and vest the office in you." But Holy Imam Reza (as) refused his offer. Then al-Ma'mun repeated his offer in a letter saying: "If you refuse what I have offered you, then you must accept being the heir after me." But again Holy Imam Reza (a.s) refused his offer vigorously. Al-Ma'mun summoned him. He was alone with al-Fadl ibn Sahl, the man with two offices ( i. e., military and civil). There was no one else in their gathering. Al-Ma'mun said to Holy Imam Reza (a.s), "I thought it appropriate to invest authority over the Muslims in you and to relieve myself of the responsibility by giving it to you." When again Holy Imam Reza (a.s) refused to accept his offer, al-Ma'mun spoke to him as if threatening him for his refusal. In his speech he said, " 'Umar ibn al-Khattab made a committee of consultation (shura) (to appoint a successor). Among them was your forefather, the Commander of the faithful, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib. ('Umar) stipulated that any of them who opposed the decision should be executed. So there is no escape for you from accepting what I want from you.

         I will ignore your rejection of it." In reply, Holy Imam Reza (a.s) said: "I will agree to what you want of me as far as succession is concerned on condition that I do not command, nor order, nor give legal decisions, nor judge, nor appoint, nor dismiss, nor change anything from how it is at present." Al-Ma'mun accepted all of that. On the day when al-Ma'mun ordered to make the pledge of allegiance to Holy Imam Reza (a.s), one of the close associates of Holy Imam Reza (a.s), who was present, narrates, "On that day I was in front of him. He looked at me while I was feeling happy about what had happened. He signaled me to come closer. I went closer to him and he said so that no one else could hear, 'Do not occupy your heart with this matter and do not be happy about it. It is something which will not be achieved.' " Quoting al-'Allamah ash-Shibli from his book al-Ma'mun, we get a very clear picture of how al-Ma'mun decided to offer his leadership to Holy Imam Reza (a.s). "Holy Imam Reza a.s) was the Eighth Imam and al-Ma'mun could not help holding him in great esteem because of the Imam's piety, wisdom, knowledge, modesty, decorum and personality.

          Therefore, he decided to nominate Holy Imam Reza (a.s) the rightful heir to the throne. Earlier in 200 AH he had summoned the 'Abbasids. Thirty-three thousand 'Abbasids responded to the invitation and were entertained as royal guests. During their stay at the capital he very closely observed and noted their capabilities and eventually arrived at the conclusion that not one of them deserved to succeed Holy Imam Reza )a.s). He therefore spoke to them all in an assembly in 201 AH telling them in categorical terms that none of the 'Abbasids deserved to succeed Holy Imam Reza (a.s). He demanded allegiance to Hol Imam Reza from the people in this very meeting and declared that royal robes would be green in future, the color which had the unique distinction of being that of the Holy Imam's dress. A Royal decree was published saying that Holy Imam  eza will succeed al-Ma'mun. Even after the declaration of succession when there was every opportunity for the Holy Imam Reza (a.s) to live a splendid worldly royal life, he did not pay any heed to material comforts and devoted himself completely to imparting the true Islamic conception of the Holy Prophet' s (pbuh) teachings and the Holy Qur'an.

          Holy Imam Reza (a.s) spent most of his time praying to God and serving the people. Taking full advantage of the concessions given to him by virtue of his elevated position in the royal court, he organized the majalis (meetings) commemorating the martyrdom of the martyrs of Karbala'. These majalis were first held during the days of Holy Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s) and Holy Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s) but Holy Imam Reza (a.s) gave the majalis a new impetus by encouraging those poets who wrote effective poems depicting the moral aspects of the tragedy and the suffering of Holy Imam Hussain (a.s) and his companions. Al-Ma'mun had been very scared of the growing popularity of the Holy Imam Reza (a.s)  and he had appointed Holy Imam Reza (a.s)  as his heir to the throne only for the fulfillment of his own most ambitious and sinister designs and getting the Imam's endorsement to his tricky plans.

          But the Holy Imam Reza (a.s) naturally refused to give his endorsement to any such plans which were against the teaching of Islam. Al-Ma'mun therefore became very disappointed with Holy Imam Reza (a.s)  and decided once and for all to check his growing popularity and ensuring his own survival by acting according to the old traditions of killing the Holy Imam. Wanting to do it in a more subtle manner, he invited the Holy Imam Reza (a.s) to dinner, and fed him poisoned grapes. The Holy Imam died on 17th Safar 203 AH, he was buried in Tus (Mashhad) and his Grand Shrine speaks well for the great personality the Holy Imam (a.s) possessed. Myriads of Muslims visit his Shrine every year to pay their homage to this Holy Imam Reza (a.s)

Holy al-Imam Ar_Reza, peace be Upon him, said:

          Doing seven things without doing the seven other things is self mockery: asking for forgiveness from Allah verbally without repenting with the heart; asking for Allah's help without undertaking any effort; making a firm resolution to do something without taking due precautions; asking Allah for Paradise without enduring the related hardships; beseeching deliverance from the Hell fire without refraining from lusts; remembering Allah without anticipating to encounter Him.

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