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Majlis 61

Martyrdom Of Imam Al-Ridha’ (A)

Today is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Ali Al-Ridha’ (A), therefore I shall quote a tradition in order to connect ourselves to the bounties of his holy presence. This tradition is called Hadith Tawhid and Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab i.e. A tradition whose chain of narrators consists of narrators who are as pure as gold.

Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab

For instance, if a tradition is narrated by a narrator from Ahmad from Mahmood from Khalid from Zurarah from Muhammad Ibn Muslim till it reaches an infallible Imam, the narrators present in between are called chain (silsila) i.e. chain of narrators.

The tradition, which I am going to narrate here, is named Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab - A tradition whose chain is golden. It is a comparison made by others. Why? Because it is tradition narrating which Imam Al-Ridha’ (A) had said:

“I narrate this tradition from my holy father, Musa Ibn Ja‘far from his holy father, Ja‘far Ibn Muhammad from his holy father, Muhammad Ibn Ali from his holy father, Ali Ibn Al-Husayn from his holy father, Al-Husayn Ibn Ali from his holy father, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A) from the Holy Prophet (S) from archangel Gabriel from the tablet and pen from the Almighty Allah.”1

Now, which chain of narrators can be more golden than this? ‘Golden’ is used for something about which nothing better can be imagined.

Imam Al-Ridha’ (A) should not be made to pass through areas populated by Shias. This incident took place in Nishapur, which proves how much people; especially the people of Iran loved the holy Imams (A).

Even after many efforts of the supporters of the Al-Abbasid caliphate, it is amazing that Mamoon made Imam Al-Ridha’ (A) depart from Medina with all respects to show diplomacy, which cannot be discussed in detail here.2 However, he had given secret orders that the Imam should not taken through cities populated by Shias.

Hence, he was made to pass through areas not populated by Shias and where the people did not know him. Look at the apparent respect given to Imam Al-Ridha’ (A) by Mamoon and his political move, which was veiled.

That is why the Imam was not taken to Qum, which was the center of Shias. Apart from this, Baghdad, the capital of caliphate was not the center of a single group. It was populated by all groups. It was possible to bring the Imam there but he was not made to pass through there fearing an atmosphere of enmity against Mamoon because of his presence.

Similarly, he was not made to pass through Kufa also and was taken through unknown routes to Nishapur. The reason was that they had not expected that they would come across such exuberance and people would come out of their houses in such large numbers in this remote town of Khorasan to welcome the Imam.

Imam Al-Ridha’ (A) In Nishapur

When the Imam’s mount reached Nishapur. a flood of people gathered to welcome him. Men, women, young and elderly, everyone gave him a warm welcome.3 The scholars of the city also gathered in his love. The greatest scholar of the city requested that he should be given the honour of holding the reins of Imam Al-Ridha’‘s (A) mount. Thus, the greatest scholar of Nishapur was given this honour.

Imam (A) was not permitted to halt at any place by the people of Mamoon. He was supposed to go through every area as soon as possible. On the other hand, the people desperately wanted that the Imam’s mount should be halted for some time. However, the armed soldiers denied permission saying that they were in a hurry as Mamoon was waiting for them. If they delayed, they could be punished.

Fortress Of Tawhid

The people requested the holy Imam, “O master! We want you to leave a memento, which would remain with us forever. Hence, we request you gift us something as you pass through and the best gift would be to narrate a tradition for us, which we can write down and keep with us forever.”

The popular saying that twelve thousand people had gathered with golden pen and paper to note down the tradition and hence, it is called Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab is absolutely baseless. It is called Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab because each of its narrators is infallible. This place was a center of traditionalists and hence, the Imam was requested to narrate a tradition.

It is mentioned that when the Imam peeped out from the curtain of his mount and the people saw him, they immediately exclaimed, “It seems as if we are looking at the Holy Prophet (S).”4 The enthusiasm of people increased. Then the Imam said,

“I narrate this tradition from my holy father from his holy father” and so on till it reaches the Holy Prophet (S) and then from there till the tablet and pen and finally the Almighty Allah said, “The statement, ‘there is no God except Allah.’ is My fortress and whoever enters My fortress shall be safe from My chastisement.”5

When a person enters the fortress of monotheism, everything follows after that much in the same way as all letters are followed by A. The basis of relegion is monotheism.

The first and the last praise be to Allah.

And may Allah bless Muhammad and his pure and chaste progeny And curse be on all their enemies from now till the Judgment Day.

  • 1. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol 49, Pg 126 Munlahaiul Amaal, Vol: 2 Pg 453.
  • 2. Interested persons should read Ustad Mutahhari’s book, Seerat al-Aimma al-Athaar.
  • 3. In those days, Nishapur was the center of Khorasan. It was also called central Khorasan or south Khorasan. (It did not include the cities of Mawaraun Nahr, which are to the north of Khorasan) There were big cities like Balkh, Bukhara and Merv but the center of current Khorasan was Nishapur. Tus is four farsangs away in the west of holy Mashad. There is tomb of Firdausi in Tus. In those days Tus was a small hamlet.

    The place of holy Mashad today used to have two small hamlets. One of them was called Sanabad. Imam Al-Ridha’ (A) is buried at this place only. Another hamlet was called Naughan, which is famous as locality of Naughan even today. It is at the end of the city of Mashad. The historical significance of this place is that Haroon fell sick at this place on his journey to Khorasan. Then his illness increased so much that he died and was buried in Sanabad.

    We know that Haroon is buried in the mausoleum of Imam Al-Ridha’ (A) at the feet of his grave exactly in the center of the dome.

    The grave of Imam Al-Ridha’ (A) is not in the center of dome. There is very little place above the head of Imam’s grave. The reason is that Haroon’s grave is in the center of dome and Mamoon wanted that Imam Al-Ridha’ should be buried at the feet of his father’s grave. However, as narrated in many traditions, some unusual circumstances led them to bury the Imam at the head of his grave. Earlier this dome was called “Baq-a’h haruniyyah.”

    Dibit Khuzai was an amazing poet. In modem terminology, he can be called a revolutionary poet. According to me, a poet like Dibil has not been born in our age. He used to say that he roamed carrying his crucifix on his shoulders for fifty years. It means, Dibil quoted such verses continuously for fifty years, which could have caused his death anytime. Dibil was a poet who enraged the Al-Abbasids. For example:

    There are two graves in Tus. One Is of the best creature and another of worst creature and this fact is a good lesson.

    Can that impure benefit from that purest? Can that purest be affected by the impurity of that impure one? Absolutely not.
    Naturally, these verses would have infuriated the Al-Abbasids much. (Ustad Mutahhari)

  • 4. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 2, Pg. 451.
  • 5. Tawhid, Sadooq, Pg. 25; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 49, Pg. 127.