Table of Contents

Chapter 16: The Reasons for his Imprisonment

It is necessary for us to talk about the reasons that moved Harun al-Rashid to imprison Imam Musa, peace be on him, in dark underground prisons, to make him far from his family and his homeland, and to deprive him of meeting with his followers. Perhaps, that is, as we think, is of the severest ordeals and misfortunes from which the Imam suffered throughout his lifetime.

We have elaborated on the kings of his time, studying their affairs, their acts in the political and social fields, their persecuting the Muslims in the general and the Shi‘a in particular. We have also elaborated on the heavy problems and events by which the time of the Imam was marked. We have in detail dealt with the biographies of his companions, the narrators of his traditions and sciences.

To speak at great length about that may be regarded as wide of the subject. However, I (the author) think that there is no escape from presenting that. That is because encompassing it is necessary for those who want to study the personality regarded as on top of Islamic society. Of course, to understand that discloses to us a big part of the life of Imam Musa, peace be on him.

I think that gentle readers are interested in understanding the reasons for which the Imam was imprisoned and in knowing the role of his great ordeal during the days of persecuting him in the prison of Harun, the tyrannical. We will mention that in details. The following are some reasons for imprisoning him.

1. His High Personality

Imam Musa, peace be on him, was the most brilliant Islamic character at that time. That is because he was of the Imams of the Muslims, among the testamentary trustees of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, over his community. Besides a large group of Muslims adopted his Imamate.

The Muslims, regardless of their different creeds, have unanimously agreed on admiring and respecting the Imam. We have mentioned a chapter on the opinions of the great writers and scholars in respect with magnifying and praising him.

The people of his time talked about his sciences, his fear of Allah, his piety, and his miracles. Harun al-Rashid himself was among those who magnified him. He thought that the Imam was more appropriate for the Islamic Caliphate than him. This was related by al-Ma’mun when he said to his drinking companions:

-Did you know who taught me Shi‘ism?

-No, by Allah, we did not know.

-Al-Rashid taught me that.

-How was that while al-Rashid killed these household?

-He killed them for power, for power is blind.

Then al-Ma’mun related that to them, saying: “One year I went with him (al-Rashid) to perform the hajj. When he arrived in Medina, he said: ‘Let no man from its inhabitants or from the Meccans whether they are of the children of the Emigrants and the Ansar or of the Banu Hashim unless he makes me know his lineage and his family.’

The delegates came to him one by one. They made the chamberlain know their lineage. Harun gave them permission (to meet him) and gave them gifts according to their rank and position. One day al-Fadhl b. al-Rabi‘, his chamberlain, walked towards him and said to him: ‘There is a man at the door; he claims that he is Musa b. Ja‘far b. Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib.’

“When Harun heard of that, he ordered those sitting in his gathering to cling to respect and calmness. Then he said to his chamberlain: ‘Permit him; and let him not dismount except on my carpet.’”

The Imam, peace be on him, walked towards (Harun). Al-Ma’mun described him, saying: “Surely he was an old man; worship exhausted him. He looked like an old, small (water) skin; prostration injured his face. When Harun saw him, he rose for him. The Imam wanted to dismount, but al-Rashid shouted: ‘No by Allah, (you should not dismount) except on my carpet.’

So the chamberlain prevented him from dismounting. We looked at him with admiration and magnification. He walked riding his mount to the carpet. The chamberlains and the leading figures of the people surrounded him. Harun received him. He kissed him on the face and the eye. He took him by the hand and seated him in the front of his gathering. He asked him about his conditions, talked with him, and said to him:”

-O Abu al-Hasan, how may (persons) are dependent on you?

-Over five hundreds.

-Are they your children?

-Most of them are followers and servants. As for my children, they are thirty and some.

-Why do you not marry the women to their cousins?

-The hand falls short of that (i.e. I do not have money).

-What about the country estate?

-It sometimes produces and sometimes does not produce.

-Are you indebted?

-Yes.

-How much?

-About ten thousand dinars.

-Cousin, I will give you an amount of money to marry your children and to plant your country estates.

-You have linked your womb (relatives). Allah has thanked you for this beautiful intention. The blood relationship is touching and close. The lineage is one. Al-‘Abbas is the uncle of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and full brother of his father. He is the uncle of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and full brother of his father. May Allah not send you far from doing that. He has opened you hand, made your origin honorable, and made high your lineage.

-Certainly, I will do that, Abu al-Hasan.

-Surely Allah, the Great and Almighty, has made it incumbent on rulers to relive the poor from among the community, to pay the debts of the indebted, and to clothe those naked. You are appropriate to do that.

-I will do that, Abu al-Hasan.

Then the Imam, peace be on him, went away. Harun rose to honor him; he kissed him on the forehead. Then he turned to his children and said to them: “Go before your uncle and master; take the stirrup; arrange his clothes; and accompany him to his house.” They set out to serve the Imam.

Meanwhile, the Imam, peace be on him, confided a secret to al-Ma’mun. He gave him good news of that he would be a caliph. He asked him to be kind to his children. After they had served the Imam and accompanied him to his house, al-Ma’mun said: “I was the boldest of the children of my father (in asking him).” When the people scattered, I (al-Ma’mun) asked him:

-O Commander of the faithful, (a man came in). You magnified (the man), rose for him from your gathering, received him, seated him in front of the gathering, sat down behind him, and then you ordered us to take the stirrup on his behalf. Who was that man?

-This is the Imam of the people, the Proof of Allah's mercy to His creation (Hajjatullah) and His caliph among His servants.

- O Commander of the faithful, do these qualities not belong to you? Are they not in you?

-I am outwardly the Imam of the masses by force and through oppression, while Musa b. Ja‘far is the Imam in truth. And surely he, by Allah, is more worthy of being the successor of the Messenger of Allah as the caliph than I am and anyone else among all the people. And by Allah, if you yourself attempt to take such caliphate from me, I shall take it away from you even if that means gouging your eyes, for power is blind.

Harun remained in Yethrib (Medina) for some days. When he intended to leave, he ordered a little amount of money to be given to the Imam; the amount was two hundred dinars. He asked al-Fadhl b. al-Rabi‘to apologize to the Imam on his behalf. Al-Ma‘mun was astonished at the little gift his father gave to the Imam in spite of his magnifying and respecting him. He said to him:

“O Commander of the faithful, you gave five thousand dinars to the children of the Emigrants and of the Ansar, all Quraysh, the Banu Hashim, and those who had unknown lineage. You magnified and respected Musa b. Ja‘far; nevertheless, you gave to him two hundred dinars which was the meanest gift you gave to any of the people.”

Harun became displeased with al-Ma’mun and shouted at him, saying: “Silence! May you have no mother! If I gave this (Imam Musa) what I had promised, he would hit me in the face with one hundred thousand swords of his followers. The poverty of this and of his household is safer to me and you than making their hands open.”1

This narration clearly indicates that Harun thought that Musa, peace be on him, was an Imam, that he was the Proof of Allah’s mercy to His creation (Hajjatullah) and His caliph among His servants, that he had a special right to undertake the Islamic caliphate, and that there was none worthier of it than him.

However, the thing that moved him and other than him to deprive him of the caliphate was love for the world, for power is blind. Besides, in his statement, Harun has mentioned the reason for depriving the Imam of giving according to his position. He was afraid that if the economic circumstance went well with the Imam, he would revolt against him. This is the economic war some states use against their opponents to exhaust and undermine them.

Certainly, Harun came to know of the position of the Imam. He thought that he was Allah’s caliph among His servants, and that he was the inheritor of the knowledge of the prophets. He asked him about the events to happen after him, and he, peace be on him, told him about them. He asked him about al-Amin and al-Ma’mun, and he told him about what would happen between them.

That hurt him, and he felt great and severe pain. Al-Asma‘i has narrated, saying: [I was absent from him in Basrah for a year. Then I came and visited him. He ordered me to sit by him, and I sat down. Then I rose, so he ordered me to sit down, and I sat down. When the people scattered, he asked me:]

-Asma‘i, do you not like to see my sons, Muhammad and ‘Abd Allah?

-Yes, Commander of the faithful. Surely I like to do that; I have come to greet them. Harun al-Rashid ordered them to be brought. They came and stood before their father. They greeted him, and he ordered them to sit down. Muhammad sat on his right hand, and ‘Abd Allah sat on his left hand. Then he ordered me to compete with in literature. I asked them about all kinds of literature, and they correctly answered. So al-Rashid asked me:

-What is your opinion of their literature?

-Commander of the faithful, I have never seen anyone better than them in cleverness, understanding, and mind. May Allah prolong their lifetimes and provide the community with something of their mercy and pity. Then al-Rashid took and embraced them. Then he wept, and his tears flowed down his beard. Then he permitted them to rise. They rose and went away. Then he said:

-Asma‘i, they will show enmity toward each other and hate one another. A battle will take place between them, to the extent that blood will be shed. Many people will prefer their death to their life.

-I was astonished at that and asked him: “Commander of the faithful, have the astrologers told you about that on their birthday? Have the religious scholars related it (to you) in respect with their affairs?

-The religious scholars have narrated it on the authority of the testamentary trustees, on the authority of the prophets in respect with their affairs.

Al-Ma’mun said: “Al-Rashid heard from Musa b. Ja‘far all that which would take place between us.”2 The Imam’s high position and the Muslims’ faith in his Imamate made al-Rashid harbored malice against the Imam and imprison him in dark underground prisons.

2. Harun’s Malice

Malice was among al-Rashid’s psychological qualities. He harbored malice against all the remarkable personalities of his time. He was displeased when he heard the people talk about any person with a high social rank. He wanted to prevent the people from that lest they should turn away from him. He wanted to monopolize good reputation.

Al-Rashid envied al-Beramika when their name became famous and the people talked about their laudable deeds. Malice destroyed his heart, and he severely punished them. Then he erased them and removed their oppression from earth. Of course, he had malice against Imam Musa, peace be on him, for he was the most brilliant personality during his time.

The people talked about the Imam’s merits; the circles reported his knowledge and his talents. Many Muslims believed in his Imamate; they believed that he was worthier of the office of the caliphate than al-Rashid. High-ranking officials such as ‘Ali b. Yaqteen and Ibn al-Ash‘ath believed in the thought of the Imamate. Harun himself thought that Imam Musa was worthier of this important office than him.

He was displeased when he knew that there was among the people someone better than he. He was restless when he came to know that the masses and popular circles believed that the Imam was worthier of the Imamate than him, and that he was excellent in knowledge, excellence, and achievements. Harun was displeased when he heard that the Muslims unanimously agreed on that the Imam was great, and that they reported his merits and knowledge. Accordingly, he decided to imprison Imam Musa and to veil him from the people.

3. His Craving after Power

Harun craved after power and lost himself in loving his supreme authority. He sacrificed for them all sacred things and values. He showed his craving after power through his words: “If Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, attempted to take such caliphate from me, I should take it away from him even if that meant gouging his eyes.”

Yes, if Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, attempted to take such caliphate from him, he would take it away from him even if that meant gouging his eyes.

Harun severely craved after power, so how was it possible for him to release Imam Musa? How was it possible for him to be pleased with the Imam, while he came to know that the people loved and respected him?

Harun was alert. He went out wearing clothes other than his formal ones. He went out disguised to hear the conversations of the general populace, to understand their trends and desires. He heard them say nothing except that they praised and lauded the Imam. He came to know that they loved the Imam and wanted him to undertake their affairs. Accordingly, he committed an offence; carving after power and malice moved him to kill the Imam.

4. His Hating the ‘Alawids

Harun’s soul was full of hatred toward the ‘Alawids. He inherited the enmity toward them from his forefathers. It is worth mentioning that his forefathers severely punished the ‘Alawids. They showered them with painful punishments, drove them to graves and prisons. They pursued them, and they escaped aimlessly out of fear and terror.

As for Harun, he surpassed his forefathers in exhausting the ‘Alawids. He buried them alive. He spread among their houses orphan hood, mourning, and sadness. He used all his abilities to destroy them. He imposed on them house arrest in Baghdad and prevented the people from visiting them. He deprived them of their natural rights.

Harun was very displeased when he saw Imam Musa, head and master of the ‘Alawids, led a life of ease, tranquility, and security. As a result his meanness and his inherited enmity moved him to imprison the Imam and to deprive the Muslim community of making use of his knowledge, his pieces of advice, and his teachings.

5. Informing against him

Some people sold their consciences and religion. They were void of humanity. So they informed Harun against the Imam, that they might flatter him through that and attain some of his world. Islam and Muslims have been afflicted with such people. Oppressors seek help from them throughout history to carry out their plans aiming at spreading oppression, tyranny, and corruption on earth.

These criminals informed Harun against the Imam through various ways:

Collecting Money for him

Some wicked people went to Harun and informed him that a lot of money was collected for Imam Musa from all the Islamic countries. They informed him that the Imam bought a country estate called al-Beseriya for thirty thousand dinars. This piece of information moved Harun’s hidden rage and malice.

That is because he followed a certain policy to make the ‘Alawids poor through imposing on them an economic siege. This can simply be concluded from his answer to his son al-Ma’mun: “Their poverty is more lovable to me than their riches.” Ibn al-Sabbagh believed that this informing was among the reasons that moved Harun to imprison Imam Musa.

His Seeking the Caliphate

Since its dawn, the Islamic society has been inflicted with a group of those who sell their consciences, sanctify nothing except material and that which achieves their low desires. Such people torture and harm Muslims very much, for they hurt the reformers who seek general interests for their homelands and community.

The history of Islam if full of the acts of these destructive people who represent the strong factors of evil and corruption. Were it not for them, the supreme authority was unable to do oppression and tyranny. A group of such people informed Harun against Imam Musa, peace be on him. They kindled rancor in his heart against him and exited his hidden malice against him.

They said to him: “He (Imam Musa) seek the Caliphate. He writes (letters) to all Muslim countries and summon them to him. He urges them to revolt against your government.” Yehya al-Bermeki was on top of those informers. The narrators say that the reason for his informing is that al-Rashid put his heir apparent under the care of Ja‘far b. Muhammad b. al-Ash‘ath.

This (procedure) displeased Yehya, and bitter suspicions came to his mind. He feared that if Muhammad undertook the affairs, his state and that of his children would come to an end, and that Ja‘far would took the reins of government. Yehya came to know of Ja‘far’s inclination to the ‘Alawids. He knew that Ja‘far went to Imam Musa, peace be on him.

So he was alone with him and told him about his thought and that he had an inclination to the ‘Alawids. Ja‘far was pleased with that, and he told him about his faith. When Yehya heard that from him, he informed al-Rashid against him. Al-Rashid became displeased with Ja‘far but he did not subject him to any detested thing. That is because he remembered his good deeds and those of his forefathers to the ‘Abbasids.

Ja‘far came in to al-Rashid, and he gave him a wide place among his gathering. A conversation took place between them. Al-Rashid regarded the conversation as good, so he ordered twenty thousand dinars to be given to Ja‘far. As a result Yehya became angry. On the following day, he came in to Harun and said to him:

-Commander of the faithful, I had already told you about Ja‘far’s doctrine. Do you deny that? There is a decisive criterion.

-What is it?

-When he receives an amount of money from a person, he gives one fifth of it to Musa b. Ja‘far. Without doubt, he will give one fifth of the twenty thousand dinars to him.

-This is a decisive criterion.

Immediately Harun sent for Ja‘far. When the messenger reached him, he understood that Yehya informed Harun against him. He had no doubt that Harun sent for him in the dark night to kill him; so he performed the ghusl for the dead. He went to (Harun) al-Rashid. When Harun saw him and smelt the camphor, he asked him:

-What is this?

-Commander of the faithful, I have come to know that Yehya informed you against me. When your messenger came to me at this hour (of night), I came to know that you became displeased with that which said against me. So you sent for me to kill me.

-No, but I have been informed that you send to Musa b. Ja‘far the fifth of the money sent to you. You have done that in the twenty thousand dinars I gave to you. So I like to know that.

-Allah is Greater! Commander of the faithful, command a servant of yours to bring it to you. Al-Rashid sent a servant of his, and he brought it to him. It was as it had been before. Yehya took nothing of it. Harun became delighted and said:

-We have come to know of the first lie of the one who informs against you. You are truthful, Ja‘far. Go home safely. I will not accept the words of anyone concerning you.

Accordingly, Yehya became ashamed. He brought on himself disgrace and loss. His angry and fury increased. So he spared no effort to overthrow Ja‘far’s position and to remove his comfort. He decided to inform Harun against Imam Musa, peace be on him, that he might hurt Yehya.

He said to Yehya b. Abi Maryam:

-I want you to lead me to a man from among the family of Abu Talib. He must love the world that I may give him generously.

-Yes, that is ‘Ali b. Isma‘il b. Ja‘far. Yehya sent for ‘Ali. When he met with him, he said to him:

-Tell me about your uncle Musa, his Shi‘ites, and the money sent to him.

-Yes, I have such information.

‘Ali told Yehya about all things he wanted. So Yehya asked him to go with him to Baghdad, that he might make him meet (Harun) al-Rashid. He responded to him. When Imam Musa, peace be on him, heard that ‘Ali would go with Yehya, he sent for him and asked him:

-I have heard that you want to travel?

-Yes.

-Where?

-Baghdad.

-What will you do there?

-I am indebted and poor.

-I will pay your debts and undertake your affairs. ‘Ali paid no attention to the Imam’s words. Satan whispered evil to him. So he responded to the summoner of mean desires and deserted the Imam. When he intended to leave, the Imam, peace be on him, said to him: “Do not make my children orphans!”

Then he ordered three hundred dinars and four thousand dirhams to be given to him. Then he, peace be on him, said: “He (‘Ali) will inform (Harun) against me to shed my blood and to make my children orphans!”

A companion of his asked him: “May Allah make me your ransom, why have you given (money) to him while you know his behavior?” The Imam, peace be on him, replied: “Yes, my father related to me on the authority of his forefathers, on the authority of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said:

‘Surely if blood relation is cut off and is linked, Allah will cut it off.’” ‘Ali went out and covered the desert. He arrived in Baghdad and came in to (Harun) al-Rashid. He greeted him and said to him: “I did not think that there was two caliphs on earth until I saw (the people) greet my uncle Musa b. Ja‘far and call him caliph.”

It was said that ‘Ali said to Harun: “Money is carried to him (Imam Musa) from the east and the west. He has treasuries. He has bought a country estate for thirty thousand dinars and called it al-Beseriya.”

When Harun heard that, he lost his mind and boiled with anger. He ordered two hundred thousand dirhams to be given to ‘Ali, provided that he should get them from a district in the east. So the collectors went to collect the money for him. ‘Ali came into the W. C. and fell into it. His belly was split open and his intestines came out. Then he came out of the W. C. suffering from deadly pain.
It was said to him: “The money has just come.” “What shall I do with it while death is close at hand?” he asked. It was said that he came back home and perished on the same night when he met with Harun. 3 So he sold his life in the hereafter for his life in the world. He did not take advantage of it. He drew on himself disgrace and painful chastisement.

A source has mentioned that Ya‘qub b. Dawud 4 was among those who informed Harun against Imam Musa. This is a very weak opinion. That is because al-Mehdi imprisoned Ya‘qub in an underground prison, for he released some ‘Alawids. Ya‘qub remained in prison throughout the Caliphate of al-Mehdi and of al-Hadi. When Harun became a caliph, the Bermekis interceded for him with him.

So Ya‘qub was released while he had become blind. Al-Rashid made him choose between residing in Baghdad and residing in another Islamic country. As a result Ya‘qub chose to live in Yethrib (Medina). He stayed there and was far from policy. He was busy managing his personal affairs until he died. Therefore, none thinks that he informed Harun against the Imam.

6. The Imam’s Demonstrations

Among the reasons that motivated Harun to arrest the Imam and to throw him in a dark, underground prison is that the Imam, peace be on him, indicated to him that he was the most appropriate for the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, of all the Muslims. That is because he was among his grandsons and his inheritors, and because he was more appropriate for the Caliphate than other than him.

The Imam gave his demonstrations to Harun in the Holy Shrine of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. That was when Harun paid a visitation to it. The notables, the nobility, the military commanders, and the high-ranking officials surrounded Harun. That was when he walked towards the Holy Shrine, greeted the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and said: “Al-salamu ‘alayka (peace be on him), O Cousin!”

He prided himself on that and boasted of his close relationship to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. He wanted to say that he undertook the Caliphate due to his nearness to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Imam Musa was then present. He greeted the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, saying: “Al-salamu ‘alayka (peace be on him), O Father!”

So al-Rashid lost his mind and became displeased. That is because the Imam preceded him to that glory and pride. He burst with anger and said: “Why have you said that you are nearer to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, than us?” The Imam, peace be on him, answered with an answer al-Rashid was unable to refute or discuss.

He asked him: “If Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, was raised from the dead and asked you for your daughter’s hand, would you respond to him?” “Glory belongs to Allah,” replied Harun, “I would pride myself on that against the Arabs and the non-Arabs.” The Imam explained to him why he was nearer to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, than him saying: “But he would not ask me for my daughter’s hand, nor would I marry (my daughter) to him. That he is our (grand) father, not your (grand) father. For this reason we are nearer to him than you.”

Then the Imam, peace be on him, wanted to support his statement with another proof, so he asked Harun: “Was it permissible for him to come in to your womenfolk when they were unveiled?” “No,” replied Harun.

“But it was permissible for him to come in to my womenfolk,” replied the Imam, “So we are nearer to him than you.”5 The Imam gave a decisive proof to his opponent. He stunned him and gave him no way to defend himself. He clothed him in the garment of failure and disgrace.

He explained to those around him that al-Rashid’s belief was invalid. That is because the Imam was more appropriate for the Prophet than him and worthier of the Caliphate than him, for he was his grandson and his inheritor. As al-Rashid was exhausted by such demonstrations, he returned to the methods of those weak. He ordered the Imam, peace be on him, to be arrested and to be thrown into a prison.6

7. His Specifying the Borders of Fedek

Among the reason which filled Harun’s soul with malice against the Imam, peace be on him, and urged him to arrest him and to kill him was that the Imam, peace be on him, determined the borders of Fedek. He indicated that it included most of the Islamic areas. That was when Harun asked him about it to return it to him. So he, peace be on him, refused to take it except with its defined borders.

So al-Rashid asked him:

-What are its borders?

-If I determine them, will you refuse them?

-Do that, by the right of your grandfather.

-As for the first border, it is ‘Adan. As for the second border, it is Semerqend. As for the third border, it is Afriqya. As for the fourth border, it is Sayf al-Beher, beyond the Islands and Armenia.

-Therefore, we will have nothing.

-I had come to know that you would not refuse them. Harun became displeased, so he decided to punish the Imam severely.7 That is because the Imam explained to him that some Islamic regions from ‘Adan to Sayf al-Beher belonged to his authority, that Harun and the caliphs before him possessed alone power and usurped the Caliphate from the members of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.

8. The Imam’s firm Attitude

Imam Musa’s attitude toward Harun, the tyrannical, was negative; it was strict and solid for the truth and justice. We have explained that in a chapter of this book. The Imam prevented his Shi‘ites (followers) from cooperating with the ruling authority. An example of that is that he prevented his companion Saffwan al-Jammal to hire his camels to Harun, while the people used to hire them to go to Mecca to perform the hajj.

So Saffwan was forced to sell his camels. Harun came to know that. He harbored malice against Saffwan and intended to kill him. Yet another example is that the Imam prevented Ziyad b. Abi Selema from working for the authority. The Imam’s religious verdict concerning obeying Harun and other tyrannical rulers spread among the Islamic circles. Accordingly, Harun became angry and displeased.

Certainly, the Imam, peace be on him, did not flatter and tolerate Harun. His attitude toward him was frank and clear. That was when he came to him in his beautiful palace the like of which was neither in Baghdad nor in other than it. Harun, who was delighted with ecstasy of power, asked the Imam:

“What is this house?”

The Imam answered him paying no attention to his power and might, saying to him: “This is the house of the sinners! Allah, the Most High, has said:

I will turn away from My communications those who are unjustly proud in the earth; and if they see every sign they will not believe in it; and if they see the way of rectitude they do not take it for a way; and if they see the way of error, they take it for a way.(7:146)

Harun shook all over and became full displeased. So he asked the Imam:

-To whom does this house belong?

-It belonged to our Shi‘ites for a period (of time); and it is a trial for other than them.

-Why does the owner of the house not take it?

-It was taken from him prosperous; and he does not take it unless it is prosperous.

-Where are your Shi‘ites?

-The Imam, peace be on him, recited these words of him, the Exalted: Those who disbelieved from among the followers of the Book and the polytheists could not have separated (from the faithful) until there had come to them the clear evidence (98:1). So Harun became exited and said angrily:

-Are we unbelievers?

-No, but (you are) just as Allah, the Most High, has said: Have you not seen those who have changed Allah’s favor for ungratefulness and made their people to alight into the abode of perdition.(14:28) Accordingly, Harun became angry and spoke rudely to the Imam.8

The attitude of the Imam, peace be on him, toward Harun was strict, for he thought that Harun usurped the office of the Caliphate. To here we will end our speech about some reasons that moved Harun to imprison Imam Musa, peace be on him.

  • 1. Al-Bihar, vol. 11, p. 270-272.
  • 2. Al-Dimyari, Hayat al-Hayawan, vol. 1, p. 77.
  • 3. 'Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha’. Al-Toosi, al-Ghayba. Al-Bihar. Al-Menaqib. It was said that Muhammad b. Isma'il informed al-Rashid against him.
  • 4. 'Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha’.
  • 5. Akhbar al-Duwal, p. 113.
  • 6. Tedhkirat al-Khawas, p. 359.
  • 7. Al-Menaqib, vol. 2, p. 381
  • 8. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 11, p. 279.