Table of Contents

Chapter 2: Traditions About Imam Al-Ridha’'s Mother And Her Name

2-1 In the year 235 A.H. (849 A.D.) al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated from his home in Neishaboor that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowly said that Abul Hassan Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) is Ali ibn Musa ibn Ja'far ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Al-Husayn ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). His mother was an Umm Walad1 who was called Toktam. She was named Toktam when Abul Hassan Musa ibn Ja'far (a.s.) became her master (i.e. husband).

2-2 Al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi quoted on the authority of al-Sowly, on the authority of Own ibn Muhammad al-Kendy quoted on the authority of Abul Hassan Ali ibn Maysam2 - Imam Al-Kazim's mother - who was one of the noble Persian ladies called Hamideh, bought a female slave of the Mowalledeh3 type named Toktam. Toktam was one of the noblest ladies in regards to intelligence, religion and respect for her master and his mother Hamideh. She respected Lady Hamideh so much that she would never sit down in her presence. Then Lady Hamideh told her son - Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (a.s.), “O my son! Toktam is a female slave. I have never seen any female slave better than her. I have no doubt that God will purify any generations from her offspring. Therefore, I will bestow her on you. Treat her with kindness. When she gave birth to Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.), Imam Al-Kazim (a.s.) called her Taherah.”

Then Ali ibn Maysam added, “Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) drank a lot of milk and was a chubby baby. Then his mother asked for a wet-nurse to breast-feed the baby. She was asked if she had run out of milk. She replied, ‘No, I

حَفْصٍ الْمَرْوَزِيِّ قالَ: كانَ مُوسَى بْنُ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلىِّ بْنِ الحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلىِّ بْنِ أَبي طالِب عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلاَمُ يُسَمِّي وَلَدَهُ عَلِيّاً عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ، الرِّضا وَكانَ يَقُولُ: «اُدْعُوا لِي وَلَدِيَ الرِّضا» وَ«قُلتُ لِوَلَدِيَ الرِّضا» وَ«قالَ لِي وَلَدِيَ الرِّضا» وَإِذا خاطَبَهُ قالَ: «يا أَبَا الحَسَنِ».

2

بابُ ما جاءَ فِي اُمِّ الرِّضا عَلِىِّ بْنِ مُوسَى‏عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ وَاِسْمِها

1 - حَدَّثَنا الْحاكِمُ أَبُو عَلِيٍّ الحُسَيْنُ بْنُ أحْمَدَ الْبِيْهَقِيُّ فِي دارِهِ بِنِيْسابُورَ فِي سَنَةِ اِثْنَتَيْنِ و خَمْسِينَ وَثَلاثِمِائَةٍ و قالَ: أَخْبَرنا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى الصُّوليُّ قِراءَةً عَلَيْهِ قالَ: أَبُو الحَسَن الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ هُوَعَلِيُّ بْنِ مُوسَى بْنِ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِىِّ بْنِ الحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلِىِّ بْنِ أَبِي طالِب عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلاَمُ وَاُمُّهُ اُمُّ وَلَدٍ تُسَمّى‏ تُكْتَمُ، عَلَيْهِ اسْتَقَرَّ اِسْمُها حِينَ مَلَكَها أَبُو الحَسَنِ مُوسَى بْنِ جَعْفَرِ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ.

2 - حَدَّثَنا الْحاكِمُ أَبُو عَلِيِّ الحُسَيْنُ بْنُ أحْمَد الْبِيْهَقِيُّ قالَ: حَدَّثَنا الصُّوليُّ قالَ: حَدَّثَني عَوْنُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ الْكِنْدِيُّ قالَ: سَمِعْتُ أَبَا الحَسَنِ عَلِىَّ بْنَ مِيْثَم - يَقُولُ: وَما رَأَيتُ أَحَداً قَطُّ أَعْرَفَ بِاُمُورِ الأَئِمَّةِ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلاَمُ وَأَخْبارِهِمْ وَمَناكِحِهِمْ مِنْهُ - قالَ: اشْتَرَتْ حَمِيدَةُ المُصَفَّاةُ وَهِيَ اُمُّ أَبِي الحَسَنِ مُوسَى بْنِ جَعْفَر عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ، وَكانَتْ مِنْ أَشْرافِ العَجَمِ جارِيَةً مُوَلِّدَةً وَاِسْمُها تُكْتَمُ وَكانَتْ مِنْ أَفْضَلِ النِّساءِ في عَقْلِها وَدِينِها وَإِعْظامِها لِمَوْلاتِها حَمِيدَةَ المُصَفَّاةِ، حَتّى‏ إِنَّها ما جَلَسَتْ بَيْنَ يَدَيْها مِنْذُ مَلَكَتْها إِجْلالاً لَها، فَقالَتْ لِإِبْنِها مُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: يا بُنَيَّ إِنَّ تُكْتَمُ جارِيَةٌ ما رَأَيتُ جارِيَةً قَطُّ أَفْضَلَ مِنْها و لَسْتُ أَشُكُّ أَنَّ اللَّهَ تَعالى‏ سَيُطَهِّرُ نَسْلَها إِنْ كانَ لَها نَسْلٌ وَقَدْ وَهَبْتُها لَكَ، فَاسْتَوْصِ خَيْراً بِها فَلَمَّا وَلَدَتْ لَهُ الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ سَمَّاها الطَّاهِرَةَ، قالَ: وَكانَ الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ يَرْتَضِعُ كَثِيراً وَكانَ تامَّ الْخَلْقِ فَقالَتْ: أَعِينُونِي بِمُرْضِعٍ، فَقِيلَ لَها: أَنْقَضَ الدَّرُّ؟! فَقالَتْ: ما أَكْذِبُ، وَاللَّهِ

swear by God that I have not run out of milk, but since the birth of this baby I cannot attend to my own prayers and supplications.’”

Al-Hakim Abu Ali quoted on the authority of al-Sowly, “One proof that the name of Imam Al-Ridha’'s mother is Toktam can be found in this poem composed about Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.):

The Noble Ali is the best of the people
Who has the best father, forefathers and tribe.
Toktam gave birth to him
Who is the eighth Leader.
With his knowledge and patience
He will stress God's covenant with the people.”

Al-Sowly said, “And some people have ascribed this to my paternal uncle - Ibrahim ibn Abbas - but no such thing has been narrated for me about him. I neither accept nor will I reject what has been narrated for me or what I have not heard. However, the following poem was undoubtedly composed by my paternal uncle - Ibrahim ibn Abbas:

The deeds of just men are just witnesses for their doers.
O yes, they have some considerable amount of new wealth
That is not at all similar to what they had before.
They4 give you5 only one percent of your own wealth,
Yet they mention it as if they are doing you a favor.
Whoever eulogizes your enemies, has not eulogized God.
You are nobler than your eighth-generation cousin (al-Ma’mun)
Just as your forefathers were nobler than his forefathers.”

Al-Sowly said, “I found these verses written in my father's notebook in his own handwriting. My father used to say that his brother had recited these poems and said that our uncle had composed them about Ali6. There is a note in the margin of one of the pages of that notebook stating, ‘What is meant by eighth-generation cousin is Al-Ma’mun, since both Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) and Al-Ma’mun were eighth generation descendants of Abdul Muttalib.”

وَاللَّهِ ما نَقَصَ الدَّرُّ، لكِن عَلَىّ وِرْدٌ مِنْ صَلاتِي وَتَسْبِيحِي، وَقَدْ نَقَصَ مُنْذُ وَلَدْتُ.

قالَ الْحاكِمُ أَبُو عَليِ: قالَ الصُّوليُّ: وَالدَّلِيلُ عَلَى أَن اِسْمَها تُكْتَمُ قَوْلَ الشَّاعِرِ يَمْدَحُ الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ:

ألا إنَّ خَيْرَ النَّاسِ نَفْساً وَوالِداً

وَرَهْطاً وَأَجْداداً عَلِيُّ المُعَظَّمُ

‏أَتَتْنا بِهِ لِلْعِلْمِ وَالْحِلْمِ ثامِناً

إِماماً يُؤَدِّي حُجَّةَ اللَّهِ تُكْتَمُ‏

وَقَدْ نَسَبَ قَوْمٌ هذا الشِّعْرَ إِلى عَمِّ أَبي إِبْراهيمَ بْنِ العَبَّاسِ وَلَمْ أَرْوِهِ لَهُ، وَما لَمْ يَقَعْ لِي بِهِ رِوايَةً وَسَماعاً فَإِنِّي لا أُحَقِّقُهُ وَلا اُبْطِلُهُ بَلِ الَّذِي لا أَشُكُّ فِيهِ أَنَّهُ لِعَمِّ أَبي إِبْراهيمِ بْنِ العَبَّاسِ قولَهُ:

كَفى‏ بِفِعالِ امْرِءٍ عالِمٍ

عَلى‏ أَهْلِهِ عادِلاً شاهِدا

أَرى‏ لَهُم طارِفاً مُونِقاً

وَلا يُشْبِهُ الطّارِفُ التَّالِدا

يُمَنُّ عَلَيْكُمْ بِأَمْوالِكُمْ‏

وَتعطون من مائَةٍ واحِدا

فَلا يَحْمَدُ اللَّهَ مُسْتَبْصِرٌ

يَكُون لأَعْدائِكُمْ حامِدا

فَضَلْتَ قَسِيمَكَ فِي قُعْدَدٍ

كَما فَضَلَ الوالِدُ الوالِدا

قالَ الصُّوليُّ: وَجَدْتُ هذِهِ الأَبْياتَ بِخَطِّ أَبي، على‏ ظَهْرِ دَفْتَرٍ لَهُ يَقُولُ فِيهِ: «أَنْشَدَنِي أَخِي لِعَمِّه فِي عَلِيِّ (يَعْنِي الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ) - تَعْلِيقٌ مُتَوَّقٌ - فَنَظَرْتُ فَإِذا هُوَبِقَسِيمِهِ فِي القُعْدَدِ الْمَأمُون، لأَنَّ عَبْدَ المُطَّلِبِ هُوَالثَّامِنُ مِنْ آبائِهِما جَمِيعاً.

Moreover, Toktam is an Arabic name that is often seen in Arabic poetry. Al-Sowly said, “My uncle - Ibrahim ibn Abbas - had composed a lot of eulogies about Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.). He used to recite them in public. However, he was finally forced to hide them. Later he searched for them and compiled them again.”

Some people have narrated that the name of Imam Al-Ridha’'s noble mother was Sakan An-Nawbiyeh. She was also called Arwa, Najma, and Somayeh. Her nickname was Ummul Banin.

2-3 Tamim ibn Abdullah ibn Tamim al-Qurashi - may God be pleased with him - narrated that his father quoted on the authority of Ahmad ibn Ali Al-Ansari, on the authority of Ahmad ibn Ali Al-Ansari, on the authority of Ali ibn Maysam, on the authority of his father, “When the mother of Imam Al-Kazim (a.s.) - Lady Hamideh - bought (the female slave) Najma who later gave birth to Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.), she said, ‘I had a dream. In my dream God's Prophet (S) told me to give Najma to my son Musa (a.s.). The Prophet (S) told me that Najma and Musa (a.s.) will have a child who will be the best man on the Earth. Then I gave her to my son Musa (a.s.).’ When Najma gave birth to Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.), Imam Musa Al-Kazim (a.s.) named her Taherah. She also had other names including Najma, Arwa, Sakan, Samaneh and Toktam. Toktam was her last name.” Ali ibn Maysam added on the authority of his father, “I heard my mother say that Najma was a girl when Lady Hamideh bought her.”

2-4 (The author of the book narrated) my father - may God be pleased with him - narrated that Sa'd ibn Abdullah quoted on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Isa, on the authority of Al-Hassan ibn Mahboob, on the authority of Yaqoob ibn Ishaq, on the authority of Zakariya al-Wasety, on the authority of Hisham bin Ahmed that Abul Hassan the first (Imam Al-Kazim (a.s.) said, “Do you know anyone from the West who has come here?” I said, “No.” Imam Al-Kazim (a.s.) said, “Yes, a red man has come here. Let’s go to see him together.” We mounted our horses and rode over to see him. He was a Western man with several slaves. Imam Al-Kazim (a.s.) said, “Show us your slaves.” The man showed the Imam (a.s.) nine of his female slaves. About each one of them Imam Al-Kazim (a.s.) said, “I do not need her.”7 Then he said, “Show us the rest of them.” The man said, “I do not have any more.”

وَتُكْتَمُ مِن أَسْماءِ نِساءِ العَرَبِ قَدْ جاءَتْ فِي الأَشْعارِ كَثِيراً مِنْها فِي قولَهُمْ:

طافَ الخَيالانِ فَهاجا سَقَما

خِيالُ تُكْنى‏ وَخِيالُ تُكْتَما

قالَ الصُّوليُّ: وَكانَتْ لإِبْراهِيمَ بْنِ العَبَّاسِ الصُّوليِّ عَمِّ أَبي فِي الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ مَدائِحُ كَثِيرَةٌ أَظْهَرَها، ثُمَّ اضْطُرَّ إِلى أَنْ سَتَرَها، وَتَتَبَّعَها فَأَخَذَها مِنْ كُلِّ مَكان.

وَقَدْ رَوى‏ قَوْمٌ أَنَّ اُمَّ الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ تُسَمّى‏ سَكَنَ النَّوابِيَةِ، وَسُمِّيَتْ أَرْوى‏، وَسُمِّيَتْ نَجْمَة وَسُمِّيَتْ سَمانَة، وَتُكَنّى اُمُّ البَنِينَ.

3 - حَدَّثَنا تَمِيمُ بْنِ عَبْدِاللَّه تَمِيمُ القُرَشِي رَضِىَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قالَ: حَدَّثَني أَبي، عَنْ أَحْمَدِ بْنِ عَلِى الأَنْصارِي قالَ: حَدَّثَني عَلِىُّ بْنِ مِيْثَم، عَنْ أَبيهِ قالَ: لَمّا اشْتَرَتِ الحَمِيدَةُ اُمُّ مُوسَى بْنِ جَعْفَرعَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ اُمِّ الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ نَجْمَة، ذَكَرَتْ حَمِيدَةُ: أَنَّها رَأَتْ فِي المَنامِ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ‏ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ، يَقُولُ لَها: يا حَمِيدَةُ هَبي نَجْمَةَ لِإِبْنِكَ مُوسَى، فَإِنَّهُ سَيُولَدُ لَهُ مِنْها خَيْرَ أَهْلِ الأَرْض، فَوَهَبَتْها لَهُ، فَلَمَّا وَلَدَتْ لَهُ الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ سَمَّاهَا الطَّاهِرَةَ، وَكانَتْ لَها أَسْماءُ مِنْها نَجْمَةُ وَأَرْوى‏ وَسَكَنُ وَسَمانَةُ وَتُكْتَمُ وَهُوَ آخِرُ أَساميَها، قالَ عَلِىُّ بْنُ مِيْثَم: سَمِعْتُ أَبي يَقُولُ: سَمِعْتُ اُمِّي تَقُولُ: كانَتْ نَجْمَةُ بِكْراً لَمّا اشْتَرَتْها حَمِيدَةُ.

4 - حَدَّثَنا أَبي رَضِىَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قالَ: حَدَّثَنا سَعْدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّه، عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى، عَنْ الحَسَن بْنِ مَحْبُوب، عَنْ يَعْقُوبَ بْنِ إِسْحاق، عَنْ أَبي زَكَريَّا الواسِطِىَّ، عَنْ هِشامِ الأَحْمَرِ قالَ: قالَ ابوالحَسَن الأَوَّلُ‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: هَلْ عَلِمْتَ أَحَداً مِنْ أَهْل المَغْرِبِ قَدِمْ ؟ قُلتُ: لا، فَقالَ‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: بَلى‏ قَدْ قَدِمَ رَجُلٌ [أحمرُ] فَانْطَلِقْ بِنا إِلَيْهِ، فَرَكِبَ وَرَكِبْنا مَعَهُ حَتّى‏ انْتَهَيْنا إِلَى الرَّجُلِ، فَإِذا رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْل المَغْرِبِ مَعَهُ رَقِيق فَقالَ لَهُ: اِعْرِضْ عَلَيْنا فَعَرَضَ عَلَيْنا تِسْعَ جَوار كُلِّ ذلِكَ يَقُولُ أَبُوالحَسَن‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: لا حاجَةَ لي‏

The Imam (a.s.) said, “Yes you do. Show them to us. The man swore to God and said, “I swear by God that I do not have any more. There is just an ill female slave left.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “What would happen if you also show her to us?” The man refused and then the Imam (a.s.) left. The next day Imam Al-Kazim (a.s.) sent me to that man, instructed me to ask him what the last price was for her and to accept whatever price he quoted for her. Then I went to see that man. He said, “I will not sell her for an less than so much.” I said, “O.K. I accept the amount. Here is the money. It is yours.” He said, “O.K. That female slave is ours. But please tell me who the man with you was.” I said, “He is from the Hashemite8 tribe.” He asked, “Which branch? “I answered, “He is from the noble men of the Hashemite tribe.” The man said, “Please explain more.” I said, “I do not know anymore than this.” Then the man said, “O.K. Let me tell you then. I bought this female slave from one of the farthest towns away in the West.” A woman of the People of the Book saw me and asked me, “What is this female slave doing with you?” I said, “I have bought her for myself.” She said, “It is neither proper nor possible for her to be with people like you. She must live with the best of the people on the Earth. She will give birth to a child after living in their house for a short while to whom all the people of the East and the West will be humble.” Hisham said, “After buying her, I took her to Imam Al-Kazim (a.s.). Then after a short while, she gave birth to (Imam) Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha’ (a.s.). Muhammad ibn Ali Majiluwayh - may God be pleased with him - quoted the same tradition in the same form for me on the authority of his uncle Muhammad ibn Ali al-Qasim, on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ali al-Kufi, on the authority of Muhammad ibn Khalid, on the authority of Hisham bin Ahmed.

  • 1. Umm Walad in Arabic is used for a slave-wife who delivers her master's child.
  • 2. Al-Kindy said that he had not seen anyone more knowledgeable about the history of the Divine Leaders (a.s.) than Abal Hassan Ali ibn Maysam.
  • 3. This applies to slaves born among the Arabs and raised by them. Such slaves are familiar with Arab traditions and customs: quoted from BIHAR UL-ANWAR by Muhammad Baqir al-Majlesi.
  • 4. The Caliphs
  • 5. The Divine Leaders
  • 6. meaning Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.)
  • 7. Implying I do not want her
  • 8. The name “Hashem” is actually that of Qusay’s grandson, who was the great-grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad (S). The Hashemites are the direct descendants of the Prophet (S) through his daughter Fatima (a.s.) and her husband Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.). Ali (a.s.) and Fatima (a.s.) had two sons: Al-Hassan (a.s.) and Al-Husayn (a.s.). The direct descendants of their eldest son, Imam Al-Hassan (a.s.), are called the Hashemites.