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Martyrdom of Imam Reza (AS)

imam reza martyrdom

Heartfelt condolences to you all on yet another day of tragedy. Today the last day of the month of Safar, is the tragic day when Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was made to leave the world, a martyr, through a fatal dose of poisoning. We have prepared an exclusive feature in this regard as follows:

Born in the Prophet’s city Medina on the 11th of the month of Zilqa’dah in the year 148 AH, corresponding to 766 AD, he was named Ali (AS), in honour of his illustrious ancestor, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). His father was Imam Musa Kazem (AS), while his mother was the pious lady, Najmah (peace upon her). He earned the epithet of Reza, because of his contentment with the Will of God Almighty. His period of imamate was 20 years. He reposes in eternal peace in what is today the city of Mashhad in Khorasan, northeastern Iran, having been forced to eat poisoned grapes in the nearby city of Tous by Mamoun, the self-styled caliph of the usurper Abassid regime. His shrine is the source of pilgrimage for Muslims from throughout the world, and is the most sacred spot in the whole of Iran. It is open round-the-clock for the benefit of the faithful, and tens of millions of pilgrims visit it every year. His grandfather Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS) died one month before his birth. The family must have been consoled by his birth which took place after such a great loss. He was brought up and instructed by his affectionate father under whose supervision he passed his boyhood and youth.
Imam Musa Kazem (AS) could foresee that the hostile Abbasid ruler would not allow him to live peacefully and circumstances would take such a turn that his followers would not be able to see him or enquire about his successor prior to his death. So while free and undisturbed in Medina he felt the need to introduce his successor to his followers. He, therefore, assembled seventeen prominent dignitaries from the descendants of Imam Ali (AS) and proclaimed that his son Ali ar-Reza (AS) would succeed him. He also wrote his will on which 60 respected elders of Medina signed as witnesses. Such elaborated arrangements were never made by any other Imam and they proved to be most appropriate due to the controversy about the Imamate which would ensue after the martyrdom of the 7th Imam. Imam Reza (AS) was 35 years old when his father died in prison of the tyrant Harun ar-Rashid, who lived for ten more years, and although he was opposed to Imam Reza (AS), he could not do anything more, because of already losing his face because of his prolonged maltreatment and eventual assassination of Imam Musa Kazem (AS). The local Governors of Medina who wished to please the ruler could not afford to be fair to Ahl al-Bayt either. People could not visit the Imam to freely learn from him. At this time, political wrangling between two of the sons of Harun were rocking the Empire. His elder son Amin who had an Arab mother had the support of the Arabs and most of the Abbasid elders, while the younger son Mamun who had a Persian mother and was supported by the Iranians. To console both factions Harun took a pledge from both his sons that after his death Amin will rule the Arab part of the Empire while Mamoun will rule the Persian side. When Harun died in far away Tous, the northern town of his Persian realm, Mamoun was with him and buried him there. Amin in Baghdad immediately proclaimed himself the caliph of the whole empire and immediately deposed Mamoun from the rulership of the Persian province. Five years later the two fought a war in which Amin lost his life and the empire to Mamoun, whose main concern now was to strengthen his base in the Persian province under any circumstances. He realised that most Iranians favoured the teachings of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt and if somehow he could persuade the Prophet’s true successor in Medina to side with him, he could confirm his rule there. Once he felt secure on that side of the Empire, he would then rise against his brother and easily depose him. So the orders were sent for the Imam to leave his home in Medina and go to the Abbasid ruler in far away Tous. The Imam, as if by some miracle knew what was to come. So he left his wife and only son Mohammad at-Taqi al-Jawad (AS) in Medina. The date of his departure was in the month of Rajab 200 Hijri. It was a long journey to Merv in what is now Turkmenistan which then was part of Khorasan. In Shawwal his caravan reached the port of Basra in Iraq, from where he crossed over the Shatt al-Arab or Arvand-Roud to the Persian side of the waterway, heading towards the town of Qum. It was in the month of Zilhijja that he reached Qom where he stayed for a while. The month of Moharram the 8th Imam spent in Qom where it is said that he established for the first time a Majlis to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS). This was the first Moharram in 201 Hijri that set the tradition of Majlis, beginning in Iran the way the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt had wanted it and the way it was observed in Medina and Mecca and throughout the province of Hejaz, and to some extent in Iraq where people thronged for pilgrimage to the Shrine of Imam Husain (AS).
On his stopover in the city of Nishapour, Imam Reza (AS) when pressed by huge gathering that greeted him, recited the famous Hadith Qodsi of the Prophet, saying: “The Almighty says the testimony of God’s Oneness is My impregnable fortress and whoever enters My impregnable fortress is safe from My wrath.” Then the Imam added that entering this impregnable fortress of God requires certain conditions, and I am one of these conditions, which means adherence to my imamate and that of the 12 Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) means safety from God’s wrath. On arrival in Merv, Mamoun welcomed the Imam with great ceremony and pomp. Mamoun initially offered the Imam the caliphate which he refused politely, before being forced to become his heir-apparent although the Imam was 20 years senior. Once Mamoun achieved his desire to get the consent of the Imam, he declared this openly to all in an assembly of thirty-three thousand. He then replaced the black emblems of the Abbasids with the green of the Ahl al-Bayt. Mamoun’s political ambition was achieved. He secured the help of the Persians fully behind him.
In Merv, with the help of his Iranian prime minister, Fazl ibn Sahl, debates were arranged between Imam Reza (AS) and the leaders of different creeds and schools of thoughts, including Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews, Hindus and atheists. It was in these discussions with leaders of other faiths that the Imam clarified the Infallible position of the Prophets and the Imams. Mamoun’s plot was to try to belittle the position of the Imam, but he was defeated. In one such gathering on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr, the whole strategy of Mamoun and the shear hypocrisy of the drama he was playing was exposed. He had asked the Imam to lead the Eid Prayer at the end of Ramazan that year. First the Imam declined, but when Mamoun insisted, he agreed on the condition that he will direct the occasion as he would deem fit. On the morning of the Eid al-Fitr, when the military and civil leaders assembled outside the door of the Imam to come out and lead the prayers, they saw the Imam come out of the house bare foot, wearing a white shirt and white headgear. The Imam also advised his companions to follow him in the same manner. He came out on the road to the mosque outside the city of Merv. All the citizens who saw the Imam in this fashion copied him and all walked barefoot. Even the military chiefs and civil judges walked bare foot. A huge crowd followed the Imam. He was saying Takbir loudly and all were following him and shouting God is Great. The situation became so tense that when Mamoun was informed of this huge number of people following the Imam he immediately sent a request to the Imam to withdraw from leading the Eid prayers. The Imam withdrew and this made the people more hateful of Mamoun.
About a year after this incident, Mamoun decided to leave for Baghdad on being informed that his uncle Ibrahim al-Mahdi had been proclaimed as caliph there. He had already strengthened his position due to the help of the Iranians. With a huge army beside him Mamoun prepared his journey back home. He was accompanied by Imam Reza (AS). On reaching Tous, the crafty Mamoun decided to poison Imam Reza (AS) by forcing him to eat poisoned grapes. A few days later, the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Successor passed away from the mortal world. Mamoun now feigning grief laid the body to perpetual rest beside the grave of Harun, who was buried there ten years ago. Soon all traces of Harun’s grave vanished, while the tomb of Imam Reza (AS) became the centre of pilgrimage. Imam Reza (AS) followed the example of his forefathers in leading a simple life despite Mamoun’s plot to declare him heir apparent. The Imam did not like to decorate his house with expensive carpets, instead he covered its floor with rough mats during the winter and grass mats during the summer. When food was served, he would call all his servants, including the gatekeeper to sit and eat with him. One day when someone suggested that it would be better to make separate eating arrangements for the servants, the Imam replied: “All are created by God, Adam is their father and Eve is their mother. Everyone will be dealt with by God according to his deeds. Why should there be any discrimination in this world.”
In Khorasan, Imam Reza (AS) continued the tradition of holding mourning ceremonies for the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS). On the sighting of the crescent of Moharram, the commemoration of the Martyrs of Karbala began. Everybody was expected to recite the tragic events that befell the Prophet’s household in an atmosphere of sorrow and grief. The Imam himself convened these Majalis in which he recited first and then allowed others to recount the tragic events of Karbala. Abdallah ibn Thabit and De’bal al-Khuzai were the poets who asked to recite poems narrating the tragic events. Once again we offer condolences on the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Reza (AS).

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On the Sad and Mourning occasion of the martyrdom anniversary of Holy Prophet of Islam Hadrat Muhammad Mustafa (S.A.W.), Imam Hasan Mujtaba(A.S.) and Imam Reza(A.S.) Majzooban Noor news website extend its Heartfelt Grief and Condolences to the presence of the Holy great Qutb of Nematollahi Gonabadi Order, Haj Dr. Noor-Ali Tabandeh, “Majzoob Ali Shah”, all Gonabadi Dervishes and all the Millions Muslims and all the lovers of the Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.) in the world.