SHAFAQNA – Imam Ridha (a.s.) lived for almost 55 years. That is to say, he was born in the year 148 – the year when Imam Sadiq (a.s.) was martyred – and he was martyred in the year 203 of the Hijri calendar. The entire life of this great personality with all its greatness, depth and dimensions took place in this fairly short era. Nineteen, twenty years out of these 55 years constituted the era of the Imamate of this great personality. But if you take a look at this short era, you will see that it exerted a considerable influence on the world of Islam, it gave great depth to the true meaning of Islam and it helped people follow the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) household and get familiar with their teachings. This is an extraordinary phenomenon and it is like a deep sea.
When that Imam achieved Imamate, his close friends and his followers said, “What can Ali ibn Musa do in such an environment which is filled with Harun’s oppression?” There is a narration which says, “Blood trickles from Harun’s sword.” These friends and followers used to say, “In such conditions, what can this young Imam do to continue the jihad of Shia Imams and to carry out the great responsibility which falls on his shoulders?” This is the beginning of the Imamate of Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (a.s.). When you take a look, you will see that after the passage of 19, 20 years – when Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha was martyred and his Imamate ended – the ideas and thoughts of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) household and the issue of commitment to the Imams were established, in the world of Islam, so firmly that the oppressive and dictatorial Abbasid regime could not confront it. Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha had done this.
You have heard that De’bel-e Khozayee went to Merv in Khorasan and composed and recited a number of well-known poems in praise of Imam Ridha for which he was rewarded. He stayed in Merv and other cities of Khorasan for a few days and then he went towards Baghdad, Kufa and other cities that he wanted to visit. In the middle of the way, some bandits attacked and looted the caravan on which De’bel was travelling. The travelers sat and watched the looting of their property. The chief of the bandits was sitting on a rock and proudly watching the prisoners and captives of this caravan and the things which they had stolen and collected.
De’bel heard that the chief was whispering a poem. He listened and he realized that it was his own poem. It was one of the couplets of the qasida that he had recited one month or one month and a half ago in Merv: “I see that their property has been looted and divided among outsiders and wicked people.” [Speaking in Arabic] In the middle of the way to Rey and Iraq, the chief of the bandits was reciting this poem from memory. De’bel became happy. He stood up and said, “Who has composed the poem that you are reciting?” The chief said, “It belongs to De’bel-e Khozayee.” De’bel said, “Well, I am De’bel-e Khozayee.” When the chief saw that this person was De’bel-e Khozayee, he stood up, held De’bel in his arms, kissed him and said, “Because of the presence of this person in the caravan, give them back all their property.” They gave them back all their property, respected them and helped them move towards their destination.
Well, this is a small event in history, but it has a great significance. The poem which was composed in praise of Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha was recited and memorized, in Rey and Iraq, by a bandit after the passage of almost one month or one month and a half since the poem was composed. What does this mean? It means that the ground for promoting the position of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) household and the auspicious name of Imam Ridha was so prepared that, in a short time, this poem – at that time, poetry was one of the most effective means of communication – spread rapidly by word of mouth until it was picked up by a bandit in the middle of a desert. This indicates the great movement which was launched during the Imamate of Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha in order to promote the school of thought of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) household. During this time, the love of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) household was shared by all individuals and the hearts of all people felt the presence and existence of the Imams in the Islamic community.
The movement of the honorable children of the Imams towards Iran has a positive and meaningful dimension as well as a tragic dimension because of their martyrdom in the middle of the way to Iran. The reason for their movement towards Iran was the request of the people and their acceptance of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) household. As you know, when we speak about the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) household, we mean the school of thought which was established by the Imams and the Islamic concepts which they introduced. It means a deeply cultural and spiritual achievement and a great ideological feat.
This is the movement of Imam Ridha (a.s.). According to the events that you know and have heard about, Ma’mun finally feels that he has to martyr Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (a.s.) – he had forced that great Imam to leave Medina in order to get close to him and he did not plan to kill Imam Ridha at first – contrary to what he had planned. The divine will and plan to bury a member of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) household in this place, which was faraway from Medina, was exercised by the enemies of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) household. This is divine wisdom and engineering.
Statements made during a meeting with Commanders of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps; September 17, 2013.