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 Imam Raza stories2

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PostSubject: Imam Raza stories2   Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:02 pm


Quoting a witness from "Balkh", in his famous work entitled "Kafi", the celebrated scholar "Kulayni" relates the following:

"On the way to "Khorasan" I was among the attendants of His Holiness Imam Reza (A.S.). At dinner the Holy Imam (A.S.) invited all his men around him and asked them to have dinner with him. There a few negro servants were among those men. Declaring that they were all of the same flesh and blood the Holy Imam (A.S.) asked that the whole company should have had dinner at one table. His Holiness practically combated against the superiority of race and colour in connexion with the distinction of the human beings. The Holy Imam (A.S.) tried to revive the Islamic precepts of fraternity and equality in the Muslim community.


Eleisha ibn Hamza says: "I was once talking to Imam Reza (A.S.) when a large crowd of people assembled to ask him about what is permissible in Islam and what is not. A man as tall as Adam came to him and said:

"Assalamo Alaikom, O Son of the Messenger of God! I am a man who loves you, your fathers and grandfathers, and I have just been on my way to perform the pilgrimage when I discovered that I had lost everything with me and now I do not have anything enough even for a leg of the trip. If you will, please help me with the expense of going back home, and I am a recipient of God's blessing (i.e., well to do). As soon as I reach there, I will give to the poor as much as you will give me, for I do not qualify to be a recipient of alms."

He said to him: "Sit, may God be merciful to you," then he kept talking to people till they dispersed except that man, Sulaiman al-Ja'feri, Khuthai'ama and myself. Then he (Imam Reza) said: `Do you permit me to enter (the room)?' Sulaiman said to him: `May God advance your endeavour.' So he entered the room and stayed for about an hour after which he came out and closed the door behind him, stretched his hand above the door and said: `Where is the man from Khurasan?'

The man answered: `Here I am!' He said: `Take these two hundred dinars, use them for your preparations for the trip; may God bring you blessings thereby, and do not spend an equal amount to it on my behalf, and leave the room in a way that I do not see you and you do not see me,' then he left. Sulaiman then said: `May my life be sacrificed for yours! You have made quite a generous offer, but why did you hide your face?' He answered: `I did so for fear of seeing the humiliation on the face of the man due to my assistance for him.

Have you not heard the hadith of the Holy Messenger of Islam (S.A.W.) in which he said: `The one who hides a good deeds receives rewards equal to performing the pilgrimage seventy times; one who announces his sin is humiliated, while one who hides it is forgiven'?

Have you heard the saying of the example of the first case: Whenever I approach him, one day, with a plea, I return home and my dignity is still with me.

Then he hides himself from the person who appeals to him when he gives him something so that he does not see the humiliation on his face, and so that the pleading person retains his dignity when he does not see the face of the benevolent one who is giving him?"

He asks him to leave without seeing him in order to safeguard himself against feeling as having the upper hand over the pleading person, and in order to relieve the pleading person from having to show his gratitude to him.

While in Khurasan, Imam Reza(A.S.) once distributed his entire wealth to the poor on the day of Arafat, so Al-Fadl ibn Sahl, the Prime Minister during Mamun's reign said to him: "Now you are bankrupt!" he said: "On the contrary! I am now wealthier than ever. Do not consider trading my wealth for God's rewards and pleasure as bankruptcy."

He does not give others in order to buy their affection or friendship; rather, he considers giving with generosity as a good trait whereby man gets nearer to his Maker by including His servants in the wealth with which He blessed him. This is the difference between his method of giving and the method of others.

Ya'qub ibn Ishaq al-Nawbakhti is quoted saying:

"A man passed by Imam Reza (A.S.) and begged him to give him according to the extent of his kindness. He said: `I cannot afford that.' So he said: `Then give me according to mine,' whereupon he ordered his servant to give the man two hundred dinars."

The reason why the Imam Reza (A.S.) abstained from giving the man according to the extent of his own kindness, as the man asked him the first time, is probably due to the fact that he simply did not have as much money as he liked to give. As regarding his own affection towards the poor and the indigent, and his way of looking after them.

Mu'ammar ibn Khallad narrates this anecdote:

"Whenever Imam Abul-Hassan al-Reza (A.S.) was about to eat his meal, he would bring a large platter and select the choicest food on the table and put on it, then he would order it to be given away to the poor. After that he would recite the following verse: `But he hath made no haste on the path that is steep.' After that he would say: `God, the Exalted and the Sublime, knows that not everyone has the ability to free a slave, nevertheless He found means for them to achieve Paradise (by feeding others).'"


Imam Reza's (A.S.) behavior with the poor, the slaves, the servants, and the destitute, was humane in the deepest sense of the word. He looked on them as his co-religionists and brothers in humanity. One of his followers related the following:

I was with Imam Reza (A.S.) when he travelled to Khurasan. One day he laid the table-cloth and gathered all his servants. "May I be your ransom, said I, "would not it be better if you lay a separate table-cloth for these?' "Do not say that" the Holy Imam (A.S.) replied, "The Lord, the Blessed and High, is One, and all the human beings are the children of Adam and Eve, and everyone shall be rewarded or punished according to his deeds.

One of his servants Nadir, says: Imam Reza (A.S.) would never assign a task to any of us, the servants, while we were eating, until we had finished.

Another servant, Yasir, reported the same about Imam Reza (A.S.), saying, "Abul Hasan said to us: "If I request you to do something and you are eating, do not get up until you have finished". Sometimes he called for some of us, but when he was told that we were eating, he would say. "Leave them till they finish their food".

When Imam Reza (A.S.) had spare time, he would gather all his servants, and talk to them. He would show his pleasure with them, which he did to please them. And when he sat at the dining table-cloth, he would invite all those around him, to eat food with him.


Imam Reza (A.S.) was the best worshipper of his time. Even his enemies acknowledged this fact and could not ignore this prominent trait of his. Mamun, the Abbasid caliph, for instance praises the virtues of Imam Reza (A.S.) in the "Covenant of Allegiance", in which he declared His Holiness as his successor.

Reja bin Zahhak, who forced Imam Reza (A.S.) into exile from Medina to Marw on the orders of Mamun, the Abbasid caliph, also describes the Holy Imam's piety and worship saying "I accompanied him from Medina to Marw. I swear by Allah! I have never seen a man who remembered Allah all the time like him, nor have I seen a man more fearing Allah, the Mighty and High, than he. At day break he would say his morning-prayers. Finishing his prayer, he would stay in his place glorifying Allah, and reciting these phrases repeatedly 'Praise is to Allah', 'Allah is Great', 'There is no god but Allah', "O Lord, Bless Muhammad (S.A.W.) and his progeny" till sunrise. Then he would go down in prostration till sunrise. Then he would go down in prostration till forenoon. Then he would see the people, asking about their concerns and enjoining them to do good. This would last till noon.

Ibrahim bin Abbas, one of the high-ranking officials during Mamun's reign, said about the Holy Imam's worship.

"He slept little at night, staying awake most of it. Most of the time, he stayed awake till the morning. He also often fasted. He used to fast three days of every month. He called this fasting "Fasting of Lifetime". He was very charitable, giving out alms in secret to the needy, often at night. Who ever claims that he has seen someone else who matches him in his virtues, do not believe him."


A guest once kept entertaining him part of the night when the lamp started fading and the guest stretched his hand to fix it, but Imam Abul-Hassan al-Reza (A.S.) swiftly checked him and fixed it himself, saying, "We are folks who do not let their guest tend on them."

Al-Manaqib states that Imam Reza (A.S.) once went to the public bath-house and someone asked him to give him a massage, so he kept giving the man a massage till someone recognized him and told that person who that dignitary was. The man felt extremely embarrassed; he apologized to the Imam (A.S.) and gave him a massage.


Once when our 8th Imam, Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A.S.) was travelling through a town called Nishapur, the people of the town asked Imam (A.S.) to tell them a hadith from the Prophet (S.A.W.).

Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A.S.) told them the following hadith:
"My father Musa al-Kadhim (A.S.) told me,
from his father Ja'far as-Sadiq (A.S.),
from his father Muhammad al-Baqir (A.S.),
from his father Ali Zainul Abideen (A.S.),
from his father the martyr of Kerbala (Hussain) (A.S.),
from his father Ali ibn Abu Talib (A.S.),
from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).
from Jibrail (A.S.),
from Almighty Allah:

"The Kalima of 'La ilaha illallah' is My fort, and whosoever says it will enter My fort, and whosoever enters My fort is safe from My punishment."

This hadith is known as the golden chain hadith. This is because each member of the chain was a Masoom. The people of Nishapur began reciting the Kalima and thought that His Holiness talk was over, but to their amazement the Holy Imam (A.S.) added the following words to what he had previously stated:

"But all this depends on some conditions, and I am considered to be one of those conditions".

This historical and the most famous Hadith Qudsi is called "Silsilat al-Dhahab". Imam Ridha (A.S.) confirms that worshipping God will be counted as a perfect procedure when it is based on the obedience of the immaculate Holy Imams (A.S.). This historical statement of Imam Ridha (A.S.) implied the presentation and assertion of the Imamat (socio-religious leadership) of His Holiness.

Just to say something will be of no use. Only when you understand what you are saying and believe in it enough to follow it then will it be of use to you.


The people of king Mamun were very angry that he had made our 8th Imam, Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A.S.), his heir.

To show Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A.S.) that they did not respect him, the servants of Mamun decided that when Imam (A.S.) came to the court they would not open the doors, or lift up the curtains for Imam (A.S.) to pass through.

That day when Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A.S.) came to the court, the doors and curtains were opening by themselves for Imam (A.S.) under the command of Allah.

The servants became very scared and ashamed and resumed their duty of opening the doors and curtains for Imam (A.S.).


No-one can do anything to you when Allah is looking after you, as Allah is the most powerful and in control of everything.
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