Imam Reza (AS) – a legacy foretold

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SHAFAQNA - Imam reza (PBUH) was born on in the year 148 on the 11th of Ziqadah in Medina. Before traveling to Marv, Imam reza (PBUH) lived in Medina; city where the shrine of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his fathers grave exists. He was occupied with guiding people, indicating Islamic educations and Prophets (PBUH&HP) Sirah (manner and behavior).  People of Medina loved him and assumed him as their father. Although he had spent most of his life in Medina, he had many followers throughout the Islamic counties. He points out this fact on a discussion about succession: In fact succession didnt make a distinction for me. When I was in Medina, people in east and west obeyed me and nobody was superior to me. They told me their requirements and I granted their requests and they treated me as a magnate.

His Imamate was announced repeatedly by his father, grandfathers, and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP).  Especially Imam Kazem (PBUH) mentioned him as the Imam after himself several times. For instance, one of his followers narrates,

“One day Imam Kazem (PBUH) came to us, holding his sons (Ali) hand. We were 60 people. He said: Do you know me? I said:  You are our leader. He said: Say my name and title I said: You are Mosa bin Jafar bin Muhammad He said: Who is this guy with  me? I said: Ali bin Mosa bin Jafar. He said: So profess that he is my representative during my life and my successor after my death.”

He is further introduced as the eighth Imam in a saying of Prophet (PBUH&HP) narrated by Jaber.  Also, Imam Sadegh (PBUH) told Imam Kazem (PBUH&HP) that the knowledge of Prophet”s (PBUH&HP) progeny is of your sons and he is your successor.

Imam rezas (PBUH) Imamate lasted eight years, which can be divided into three Period:

1-The first ten years was contemporary to Haroons caliphate.

2-The next five years was contemporary to Amins caliphate.

3-The last five years was contemporary to Mamoons caliphate.

It was during the first period that great disasters, especially the martyrdom of Imam Kazem (PBUH), happened to the Alavi people (the children of Imam Ali (PBUH)).  Haroon was instigated to kill Imam reza (PBUH), but had not found the opportunity. After Haroon, Amin became the caliph.  At that period, the government was weakened.  Amin was drowned in his corruption and paid no attention to Imam and his followers.   This period was peaceful for Imam and his followers.

However, Mamoon killed his brother, Amin, and became the caliph.  He suppressed the objectors and gained the control of all the Islamic countries. He gave the leadership of Iraq to one of his agents and settled in Marv.  He then chose Fazl ibn Sahl, who was a great politician, as his minister.  But the Alavi people were a threat to his government. After suffering murder, plunder and torture for a century, they had found the opportunity to object the government and to overthrow it. They were successful in gaining peoples support, because they also had suffered great losses from the Abbasid Caliphate.  Therefore, Mamoon decided not to confront them and wanted to bring back peace and security to strengthen his government.

So, after consulting Fazl, he came up with a treacherous plan. He decided to offer the caliphate to Imam reza (PBUH) and withdraw himself.  Because whether the Imam accepted or not, it would still be a victory for Mamoon.  If Imam accepted, and became Caliph allowing for Mamoon to be the vice-caliph, that would guarantee the legitimacy of Mamoon”s government. Thus Ma”moon decided to force the position of Caliph on Imam.  It was then easier for him to eliminate

Imam reza (PBUH) and become the legal leader.   In this case, the Shiites would consider his government to be legitimate and would be satisfied with it and accepted him as Imam”s successor.  Furthermore, the risings made against his government would lose their attraction and legitimacy.

However, if Imam didn”t accept the caliphate, he would then oblige Imam to be his successor and guarantee the legitimacy of his government through this to weaken the uprisings. On the other hand, he could make Imam settle near himself to control Imam and suppress his followers. In addition, Imam reza”s (PBUH) Shiites and followers would criticize him for not accepting the caliphate and he would lose his respect among them.

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