The Excellence of the Visitation to the Imam’s Holy Shrine
The Shrine of Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, in Khurasa’n has become one of the dear shrines in Islam, for it has acquired a halo of admiration and sanctification, to the extent that none of the shrines of Allah’s friends has such admiration and sanctification, for millions of Muslims visit it in order to seek nearness to Allah through it. Muhammad b. al-Mu’ammal says: “We went out along with the Imam of the traditionalists, his brother-in-law Abu’ ‘Ali al-Thaqafi, a group of our Shaykhs, who were then coming to visit the grave of ‘Ali b. Musa’ al-Ridha’ at Tu’s. Ibn Khuzayma magnified that place, behaved humbly before it, and pleaded (to Allah) beside it, to the extent that he bewildered us.1”
Surely Allah, the Exalted, has singled out the grave of His friend Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, with an excellence, for He has made it as a refuge for those who are afflicted (with disaster). All people have come to know of this wide-spread miracle. Two poetry lines has been written on one of the sides of the Holy Shrine as follows:
If one wants to be pleased by seeing a grave through
which Allah removes the distress of him who sees it,
then let him come to this grave, surely Allah has made dwell in it a distinguished one belonging to Allah’s Messenger.2
Many traditions ensured by many lines of transmission have been mentioned regarding the visitation to Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him. The following are some of them:
1. Ja’bir b. Yazid al-Ju‘fi has narrated, saying: [I heard the testamentary trustee of the testamentary trustees and inheritor of the knowledge of the prophets, Abu’ Ja‘far Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abu’ Ta’lib, peace be on him, say: The master of the worshippers ‘Ali b. al-Husayn related to me on the authority of the master of martyrs al-Husayn b. ‘Ali on the authority of the master of the testamentary trustees, the Commander of the faithful ‘Ali b. Abu’ Ta’lib, peace be on him, who said: Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “A piece of me will be buried in the land of Khurasa’n. If a distressed person visits it, Allah will remove his distress; if a sinful one (visits it), Allah will forgive him his sins.3”
2. Muhammad b. ‘Amma’ra has narrated on the authority of his father, on the authority of Imam al-Sa’diq, peace be on him, on the authority of his fore-fathers, on the authority of Imam (‘Ali), the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, who said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “A piece of me will be buried in the land of Khurasa’n. If a believer visits it, Allah, the Great and Almighty, will make the Garden obligatory to him, and his body will be prevented from (touching) the Fire.4”
3. Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Washsha’’ has narrated, saying: [Abu’ al-Hasan al-Ridha’, peace be on him, said:] “I will unjustly be killed by poison. So he who visits me out of knowledge of my right, Allah will forgive him his past sins and those to follow.5”
4. Sulayma’n b. Hafs al-Marwazi has narrated, saying: [I heard Abu’ al-Hasan Musa’ b. Ja‘far, peace be on him, say:] “Surely my son ‘Ali will unjustly be killed by poison and buried beside Ha’ru’n (al-Rashid) at Tu’s. He who visits him is like him who visits Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family.6”
5. Al-Saqr b. Dalaf 7 has narrated, saying: [I heard my master ‘Ali b. Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Ridha’, peace be on him, say:] “He who has a need with Allah must wash his body, visit the grave of my grandfather al-Ridha’, peace be on him, at Tu’s, perform two rak‘as by his head, and ask Allah for his need during his personal prayers (qunu’t), for surely He will respond to him, unless he asks (Him) regarding a sin and cutting the bonds of blood relatives; his (al-Ridha’’s) place is one of the places of the Garden. If a believer visits it, Allah will release him from the Fire and make him stay in the Abode of Stability.8”
Other traditions have been transmitted from the Imams of guidance; they urge men to visit the Shrine of Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and mention an increasing reward for those who visit it.
The Shrine of the Imam, peace be on him, was of great importance with the Muslim kings. For example, King ‘Abba’s ordered the holy dome over the grave to be brocaded with gold. He spent his pure property on it, and it took him six years to build it. After it had been built, King ‘Abba’s walked from Asfaha’n to Khurasa’n in order to visit the Holy Shrine.9
The Iranian kings, their ministers, and rich good-doers took care of the Holy Shrine. They endowed buildings and wide lands, specified for it special banks in order to supply it with millions of funds. A group of the Iranian army guarded it and rendered services to it. A precious library has been built near to the Holy Shrine. The library is regarded as the best one in the Middle East, for it contains more than forty thousand manuscripts, hundred thousands of printed books, all kinds of old and modern sciences. A guest-house has also been built near to the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and the guest-house undertakes giving food to visitors. As for the expenses of the guest-house, they are given by the above-mentioned banks.
With this paragraph we will turn over the last page of this book; I (i.e. the author) want to repeat what I have mentioned in the introduction to the book that there is no sufficient room in this book in order to mention all the excellences of the Imam, peace be on him, and what has been transmitted from him such as marvelous, wise sayings, and good manners; therefore, this book contains a simple, brief research (on the Imam). We ask Allah to accept it; surely He, the Exalted, is the One Who grants success.