دوشنبه, ۲۵ شهریور ۱۳۹۲، ۰۸:۵۶ ب.ظ
In the name of Allah
Birth anniversary of Imam Reza (A.S.), the Eighth Infallible
Successor of the Holy Prophet Muhammad S.A.W
The 11th of Zil-Qa’dah, the day when the holy city of Medina became illuminated in the year 148 AH with the birth of Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). No we have a special feature on the Imam who reposes in peace in the northeastern Iranian city of Tous, which has ever since become famous as Mashhad ar-Reza, and is the most blessed spot in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The city of Mashhad is bedecked like a bride these days, as people from all over Iran and from other parts of the world are streaming in to pay homage to the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Heir. Imam Reza (AS) needs no introduction. He was the son of Imam Musa al-Kazem, while his mother was the pious lady, Hazrat Najma (peace upon her). In his youth, Imam al-Reza (AS) enjoyed such an outstanding virtue and scholarship that people referred to him as a religious authority. Imam Kazem (AS) referred people to him, saying: “My son’s writing is as my writing; his words are as my words, and his envoy is as my envoy; whatever he says is the very truth.”
The Sunni scholar, Ibn Hajar, has written that Imam Reza (AS), when only twenty and some years old, would give fatwas or legal judgments in the Mosque of the Prophet during the lifetime of his father. This is proof of his God-given knowledge. At the age of 35 years, the mantle of Divine Trust came to rest on his shoulders, following the martyrdom through poisoning of his illustrious father in the dungeon of the tyrant Haroun Rashid in Baghdad. For the next 17 years, the 8th Imam lived in his hometown Medina, grooming scholars and imparting to the seekers of truth, the genuine teachings of Islam and the Seerah and Sunnah of his ancestor the Prophet. As a result his popularity spread throughout the Muslim realm and beyond, alarming the usurper Abbasid regime.
In 200 AH, Mamun, the self-styled caliph, who was based in Khorasan in the city of Merv (which is currently in Turkmenistan), felt nervous about the position of the Imam, and in a bid to isolate him from the ummah, forced him to leave Medina, and come to his capital. Here in Merv, Mamun pretended to respect the Imam, and offered him the caliphate, an offer which the Imam refused. Next he deceitfully, against the Imam’s will, declared him as heir apparent, and to fool the people, even had coins minted in the Imam’s name. The plot was to keep Imam Reza (AS) under strict surveillance, and if possible to humiliate him by arranging debates with the scholars of various religions and philosophical schools. To the surprise of the caliph, however, the Imam as the rightful successor of the Prophet, triumphed in all such debates, making his opponents admit the truth of Islam, and the creed of the Ahl al-Bayt. Books of history and hadith are full of the details of such debates and discourses, which are outside the scope of a brief radio programme. Here we present our listeners with an interesting debate mentioned in the book Tuhaf al-Oqoul between Imam Reza (AS) and a Sabean scholar, named Imran as-Sabi
Imran as-Sabi said to Imam Reza (AS): Do we declare the oneness of God by reality or by description?
The answered: Certainly, God the Light, the Initiator of this cosmos, and the Foremost is One without any associate or any accompanying thing. He is Unique without a second. The Initiator has been Self-Existent and the Light that is dispending with everything. He did not exist in a definite time and will not last for a definite time. He has not existed in anything, has not hidden Himself in anything… No sayer can invent a statement describing Him even if he thinks of light, example, apparition, or shadow. All that was before the creation and in the situation where there was nothing but Him. The same situation is in this position. There are only imaginary attributes and a translation of a picture in the mind purposed for making others understand. Did you understand, Imran?”
Imran as-Sabi who was not a monotheist, and lacked proper cognition of God, the One and Only, had no choice but to admit the truth of Islam, after this lively discourse on the Almighty Creator, of which we have only presented excerpts.
Imam Reza (AS) held similar debates with Jewish and Christian scholars as well and proved to them the truth and righteousness of Islam. Among the In a debate with the Jewish scholar Ra's al-Jaloot, Imam Reza (AS) asked about the Prophethood of Moses (AS), and the Jewish scholar said: like the miraculous parting of the sea waters and the turning of the staff into a giant snake. Imam Reza (AS) said; so you believe in Moses since he did what others could not do. Therefore whoever claims prophethood and then does something which others are not able to do, you would believe him?
Ras al-Jaloot replied: no, I believe in Moses because he has a high status in the sight of God and we cannot believe whoever claims to be prophet unless he brings miracles such as those of Moses. Imam Reza (AS) said: how you believe in the Prophets before Moses whereas they could not bring miracles such as those of Moses? The Jewish scholar replied: I said that I believe those who perform some miracles for proving their prophethood. Imam Reza (AS) said: Why do you not have faith in Jesus? Did he not revive the dead and healed the blind, leprous and mad and built birds from clay and made them alive on the command of God?
The Jewish scholar replied: It is said that he did these but we did not see them. Imam Reza (AS) then said: Have you seen the miracles of Prophet Moses or you have just heard them from reliable persons? The Jewish scholar acknowledged the words of the Imam, who then went on to say that Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), as the last and greatest Messenger of God, was an orphan and worked as a shepherd, but it was God Who gave him the Eternal Miracle of the holy Qur’an, which will remain forever, while the miracles performed by the other prophets, including Moses, were time-bound. The Imam thus proved that the miracle of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), that is the holy Qur’an is eternal and alive, and can be seen and acknowledged by all, while the miracles of the past prophets are events of the past.
“Whoever claims to love me but does not love Ali, is a liar.”
Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) expressed this famous statement in front of his companions, while holding the hand of his dearest cousin and son-in-law.
All denominations of Islam are unanimous on the peerless position of Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), since no true Muslim would like to be among the liars.
Among the narrators of this hadith about the unrivalled excellence of Imam Ali al-Murtaza (AS) is Imam Ali ar-Reza (AS), the 3rd Infallible Ali (AS) from the lineal descent of the Commander of the Faithful and the 8th divinely-decreed heir of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).
11th of Zilqa’dah, the blessed birth anniversary of the person who reposes in eternal peace in the land of Khorasan, far away from his hometown Medina, here is a related hadith that removes questions that may crop up in the minds of the doubters as to why the overwhelming majority of the neo Muslims (all of them converts from decades of idolatry) did not abide by the Prophet’s proclamation on the 18th of Zilhijja, 10 AH at the plain of Ghadeer-Khom – on the express commandment of God (Holy Qur’an 5:67) – on the appointment of Imam Ali (AS) as vicegerent and caliph.
Imam Reza (AS), when asked the reason the people distanced themselves from the Commander of the Faithful, despite knowing his excellence and achievements as well as his relationship to the Prophet, replied: “Because their fathers, fore-fathers, brothers, uncles, and near of kin, who battled against Allah and His Prophet and they were many in number, were killed (in self-defence and defence of Islam) by Imam Ali (AS); they were thus vindictive towards him and not willing to come under his guardianship…”
Interestingly, in these critical days of ours, when sedition is rife and terrorism is being conducted on a grand scale against Muslims by a group calling itself Salafi (adherents of those companions of the Prophet who denied the Ahl al-Bayt their right of leadership), the following hadith from Imam Reza (AS) ought to serve as an eye-opener: When asked, whether Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) said, “My companions are like the stars; whichever of them you follow, you will be guided,” he replied: “Yes, what the Prophet (SAWA) means are those (of his companions) who did not change or transform the way.”
Asked on ways to ascertain those who had drifted away from the Prophet’s path after him, the Imam said: By means of the Prophet’s hadith – related by Sunni Muslims as well – which says: “On the Day of Resurrection, some of my companions will be distanced from the Fountain (of Kowthar), just like strange camels are distanced from water. I will say: O Lord! My companions (are these)! I will be told: Do you not know what they did after you? (Then) I will say: May they be far! May they perish!”
Imam Reza (AS) added: “Do you think this would be for those (of the Prophet’s companions) who remained unchanged and unvaried (after the passing away of the Prophet)?”
No wonder, these discourses of the 8th Imam, if they enlightened the hearts of the seekers of truth, they made the enemies of God, Prophet, Ahl al-Bayt and humanity, more rancorous.
As a matter of fact, Imam Reza (AS), who lived at a crucial juncture of history when the crafty Abbasid tyrant, Mamoun, was using every deceptive slogan to try to undermine the superiority of the Ahl al-Bayt, and when a group of Shi’ite Muslims were denying his imamate by calling themselves Waqifites (those who have stopped at a certain stage) and consider Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS) as the last Imam, played a crucial role to unmask the deceit of all deviated elements.
The reason for the schism of the Waqefites was the temptation of worldly life for their leaders (Ali bin Abu Hamza al-Bata’ini, Ziyad bin Marwan al-Qandi, and Othman bin Isa), who during the frequent bouts of imprisonment of the 7th Imam, had accumulated huge amounts of money and property meant for distribution among the poor, and were now unwilling to part with this fortune; hence their denial of the imamate of Imam Reza (AS).
The often repeated events of the last three years of his life in Khorasan, including the famous Hadith Silsalat-az-Zahab, Mamoun’s forcing him to be his heir-apparent, the incident of the Eid Prayer at the Musalla in the city of Merv (-currently in Turkmenistan), and the debates he held with the scholars of various creeds and philosophical schools of thought are also outside the scope of this brief newspaper column.
Today, when people from all over Iran and from the farthest parts of the globe (of different ethnicities) are in Mashhad to partake of the blessings of the birthday of Imam Reza (AS) at his holy shrine, by supplicating in their own native tongues, I end the column by referring to an incident that is proof of the universality of the mission of Prophet Muhammad (AS) and the Infallible Imams of his household.
When a person from India named Ismail as-Sindi came to Arabia to enquire about the Prophet’s rightful successor, he was guided to Imam Reza (AS). He says: “Since I did not know Arabic, I greeted him in Sindi language. (To my surprise), he answered my greeting in my own language. I talked to him in my language and he talked back to me in my language. I told him: ‘I have come to see Allah’s authority in Arabia.’ He answered: ‘It is me (Allah’s authority), ask whatever you like.’ I asked my questions and the Imam answered in my own language. When I wanted to leave, I said, ‘I do not know Arabic; ask God to inspire Arabic language to me! He rubbed his blessed hand on my lips, and I was able to speak Arabic!”
A similar incident occurred in Basra, Iraq, when a certain Amr bin Haddab challenged Imam Reza (AS) to prove his claim of knowing any language, by speaking with the Romans, Hindus, Persians, and Turks who were in the town in their own language. “Call them in,” said the Imam and number of speakers of various languages were brought to his presence. He talked to all of them in such fluency that all admitted to his mastery in their native tongues. The Arabs were astonished, since Imam Reza (AS) had never had a teacher in this regard and had never learned any language with anyone, nor had he associated with such persons in Medina.
No wonder, truth is with Imam Ali (AS) and his Infallible Descendants
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz.