Table of Contents

Chapter 64: On What (Abu Habib) Harthama ibn A’yan Narrated About the Martyrdom of Ar-Ridha’ by Being Poisoned With Pomegranates and Grapes

64-1 Tamim ibn Abdullah al-Qurashi - may God be pleased with him - narrated that his father quoted on the authority of Muhammad ibn Yahya, on the authority of Muhammad ibn Khalaf at-Tateri, on the authority of Harthama ibn A’yan, “One night I was in the presence of Al-Ma’mun. He granted me permission to leave at four hours after the beginning of the night. I went home. At midnight, I heard someone knock at the door. My servant answered the door. The man at the door told him, ‘Tell Harthama that his master has summoned him.’ Then I got up immediately, quickly put on my clothes and rushed to the house of my master Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.).

ثُمَّ ضَرَبَ يَدَهُ إِلَى الْقُيُودِ الَّتِي كَانَتْ فَفَكَّهَا وَأَخَذَ بِيَدِي وَأَخْرَجَنِي مِنَ الدَّارِ وَالْحَرَسَةُ وَالْغِلْمَةُ يَرَوْنَنِي فَلَمْ يَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ يُكَلِّمُونِي وَخَرَجْتُ مِنْ بَابِ الدَّارِ ثُمَّ قَالَ لِيَ امْضِ فِي وَدَائِعِ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّكَ لَنْ تَصِلَ إِلَيْهِ وَلا يَصِلُ إِلَيْكَ أَبَداً فَقَالَ أَبُو الصَّلْتِ فَلَمْ أَلْتَقِ مَعَ الْمَأْمُونِ إِلَى هَذَا الْوَقْتِ‏

2- حَدَّثَنا الحاكِم أَبُو عَلِيٍّ الحُسَين بن أَحمَد البيهقي قالَ حَدَّثَني مُحَمَّد بن يحيى الصولي قالَ حَدَّثَنا أَبُو ذكوان قالَ سَمِعتُ إِبراهِيم بن العَبَّاس يَقُولُ: كَانَتِ الْبَيْعَةُ لِلرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ لِخَمْسٍ خَلَوْنَ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ سَنَةَ إِحْدَى وَمِائَتَيْنِ وَزَوَّجَهُ ابْنَتَهُ أُمَّ حَبِيبٍ فِي أَوَّلِ سَنَةِ اثْنَتَيْنِ وَمِائَتَيْنِ وَتُوُفِّيَ سَنَةَ ثَلاثٍ وَمِائَتَيْنِ بِطُوسَ وَالْمَأْمُونُ مُتَوَجِّهٌ إِلَى الْعِرَاقِ فِي رَجَبٍ وَرَوَى لِي غَيْرُهُ أَنَّ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ تُوُفِّيَ وَلَهُ تِسْعٌ وَأَرْبَعُونَ سَنَةً وَسِتَّةُ أَشْهُرٍ وَالصَّحِيحُ أَنَّهُ تُوُفِّيَ فِي شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ لِتِسْعٍ بَقِينَ مِنْهُ يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ سَنَةَ ثَلاثٍ وَمِائَتَيْنِ مِنْ هِجْرَةِ النَّبِيِ‏ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ.

64

بابُ ما حَدَثَ بِه أَبُو حَبيبِ هَرثَمَةُ بنُ أَعيَنَ مِن ذِكرِ وَفاةِ الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ‏

وَأَنَّهُ سُمِّ في العِنَبِ وَالرُّمانِ جَمِيعاً

1 - حَدَّثَنا تميم بن عَبدُ اللَّه بن تميم القرشي‏ رَضِىَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قالَ حَدَّثَنا أبي قالَ حَدَّثَني مُحَمَّد بن يحيى قالَ حَدَّثَني مُحَمَّد بن خلف الطاطري قالَ حَدَّثَني هرثمة بن أعين قالَ: كُنْتُ لَيْلَةً بَيْنَ يَدَيِ الْمَأْمُونِ حَتَّى مَضَى مِنَ اللَّيْلِ أَرْبَعُ سَاعَاتٍ ثُمَّ أَذِنَ لِي فِي الانْصِرَافِ فَانْصَرَفْتُ فَلَمَّا مَضَى مِنَ اللَّيْلِ نِصْفُهُ قَرَعَ قَارِعٌ الْبَابَ فَأَجَابَهُ بَعْضُ غِلْمَانِي فَقَالَ لَهُ قُلْ لِهَرْثَمَةَ أَجِبْ سَيِّدَكَ قَالَ فَقُمْتُ مُسْرِعاً وَأَخَذْتُ عَلَى أَثْوَابِي وَأَسْرَعْتُ إِلَى سَيِّدِيَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ.

The servant entered first and then I entered. I saw my master sitting in the yard. When Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) saw me he (a.s.) said, ‘O Harthama!’ I said, ‘Yes, my master!’ Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, ‘Sit down.’ Then I sat down and Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, ‘O Harthama! Listen carefully to what I tell you. Now it is time for me to return to God the Highest and join my grandfather and my forefathers (a.s.). My life has come to an end. This rebel (al-Ma’mun) has decided to poison me with chafed grapes and pomegranates. He has poisoned a thread, and has put it through the grapes using a needle and has poisoned the pomegranates by having one of his servants rub poison on his hands, and the servant has peeled the pomegranates and pulled out all the seeds, thereby covering them with poison. Then tomorrow Al-Ma’mun will invite me (to his house), offer me these grapes and pomegranates, and he will ask me (i.e. force me) to eat them. Then I will eat them. The decree will come to happen and I will die. Once I (Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.)) die, Al-Maa’mun will say, ‘I must perform the ceremonial burial ablutions of his body with my own hands.’ Once Al-Ma’mun says that, you should privately tell him that I (Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.)) told you to tell him (Al-Ma’mun) not to perform the ceremonial burial ablutions for me, shroud me or bury me; else the Divine Punishment that is to brought upon him (Al-Ma’mun) later will be brought upon him sooner. And that which he is trying to avoid will rush towards him. Then Al-Ma’mun will accept this and give up.’

Then Harthama added, “I said, ‘Yes my master!’ Then Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) continued, ‘Then Al-Ma’mun will appoint you to perform the ceremonial burial ablutions for me. Al-Ma’mun himself will sit at a high point to watch you wash my body. O Harthama! Do not do anything related to my ceremonial burial ablutions until you see a white tent set up next to the house. Once you see it set up, take me inside wearing the clothes which I had died. Stay outside and wait along with the others. Do not raise the tent to look in, lest you will be destroyed. Then Al-Ma’mun will come to you and ask, ‘O Harthama! Don’t you say that no one but a Divine Leader can wash a Divine Leader’s body? Then who washed Abal Hassan Ali ibn Musa (a.s.) while his son Muhammad (a.s.) was in Medina that is one of the cities in Hijaz, and Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) is here in Toos?’ Once Al-Ma’mun says this, you should answer him as follows, ‘No one needs to perform the ceremonial burial ablutions for a Divine Leader, except for the Divine Leader after him.

فَدَخَلَ الْغُلامُ بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ وَدَخَلْتُ وَرَاءَهُ فَإِذَا أَنَا بِسَيِّدِي‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ فِي صَحْنِ دَارِهِ جَالِسٌ فَقَالَ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ فَقُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ يَا مَوْلايَ فَقَالَ لِيَ اجْلِسْ فَجَلَسْتُ فَقَالَ لِيَ اسْمَعْ وعَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ هَذَا أَوَانُ رَحِيلِي إِلَى اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَلُحُوقِي بِجَدِّي وَآبَائِي‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ وَقَدْ بَلَغَ الْكِتَابُ أَجَلَهُ وَقَدْ عَزَمَ هَذَا الطَّاغِي عَلَى سَمِّي فِي عِنَبٍ وَرُمَّانٍ مَفْرُوكٍ فَأَمَّا الْعِنَبُ فَإِنَّهُ يَغْمِسُ السِّلْكَ فِي السَّمِّ وَيَجْذِبُهُ بِالْخَيْطِ فِي الْعِنَبِ وَأَمَّا الرُّمَّانُ فَإِنَّهُ يَطْرَحُ السَّمَّ فِي كَفِّ بَعْضِ غِلْمَانِهِ وَيَفْرُكُ الرُّمَّانَ بِيَدِهِ لِيَلْطَخَ حَبَّهُ فِي ذَلِكَ السَّمِّ وَإِنَّهُ سَيَدْعُونِي فِي ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ الْمُقْبِلِ وَيُقَرِّبُ إِلَيَّ الرُّمَّانَ وَالْعِنَبَ وَيَسْأَلُنِي أَكْلَهُمَا فَآكُلُهُمَا ثُمَّ يَنْفُذُ الْحُكْمُ وَيَحْضُرُ الْقَضَاءُ فَإِذَا أَنَا مِتُّ فَسَيَقُولُ أَنَا أُغَسِّلُهُ بِيَدِي فَإِذَا قَالَ ذَلِكَ فَقُلْ لَهُ عَنِّي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ إِنَّهُ قَالَ لِي لا تَتَعَرَّضْ لِغُسْلِي وَلا لِتَكْفِينِي وَلا لِدَفْنِي فَإِنَّكَ إِنْ فَعَلْتَ ذَلِكَ عَاجَلَكَ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ مَا أُخِّرَ عَنْكَ وَحَلَّ بِكَ أَلِيمُ مَا تَحْذَرُ فَإِنَّهُ سَيَنْتَهِي قَالَ فَقُلْتُ نَعَمْ يَا سَيِّدِي قَالَ فَإِذَا خَلَّى بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ غُسْلِي فَسَيَجْلِسُ فِي عِلْوٍ مِنْ أَبْنِيَتِهِ مُشْرِفاً عَلَى مَوْضِعِ غُسْلِي لِيَنْظُرَ فَلا تَعَرَّضْ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ لِشَيْ‏ءٍ مِنْ غُسْلِي حَتَّى تَرَى فُسْطَاطاً أَبْيَضَ قَدْ ضُرِبَتْ فِي جَانِبِ الدَّارِ فَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ ذَلِكَ فَاحْمِلْنِي فِي أَثْوَابِيَ الَّتِي أَنَا فِيهَا فَضَعْنِي مِنْ وَرَاءِ الْفُسْطَاطِ وَقِفْ مِنْ وَرَائِهِ وَيَكُونُ مَنْ مَعَكَ دُونَكَ وَلا تَكْشِفْ عَنِ الْفُسْطَاطِ حَتَّى تَرَانِي فَتَهْلِكَ فَإِنَّهُ سَيُشْرِفُ عَلَيْكَ وَيَقُولُ لَكَ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ أَلَيْسَ زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّ الإِمَامَ لا يُغَسِّلُهُ إِلاّ إِمَامٌ مِثْلُهُ فَمَنْ يُغَسِّلُ أَبَا الْحَسَنِ عَلِيَّ بْنَ مُوسَى وَابْنُهُ مُحَمَّد بِالْمَدِينَةِ مِنْ بِلادِ الْحِجَازِ وَنَحْنُ بِطُوسَ فَإِذَا قَالَ ذَلِكَ فَأَجِبْهُ وَقُلْ لَهُ إِنَّا نَقُولُ إِنَّ الإِمَامَ لا يَجِبُ أَنْ يُغَسِّلَهُ إِلا إِمَامٌ.

However, if someone violates this principle and performs the ceremonial burial ablutions for the Imam, this act will not void the Imam’s Divine Leadership. It will neither void the Divine Leadership of the Imam succeeding him, even if someone forces him not to perform the ceremonial burial ablutions for his father’s body. If Abul Hassan Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) was in Medina when he passed away, it is apparent that his son Muhammad (a.s.) would have performed the ceremonial ritual ablutions for him (a.s.). However, this did not happen, but Muhammad (a.s.) performed the ceremonial burial ablutions for his father (a.s.) in secret.’

Once the sides of the tent are lifted up you will see me in my shroud. Then lift up my body, place it in the coffin and carry me. Once he (al-Ma’mun) decides to have my grave dug, he will try to dig it in such a position that the grave of his father Harun Al-Rashid is located in the direction of the Qibla from my grave. This, however, will never happen. No matter how hard they hit the ground with a mattock, it will not be dug up, and they will not make any headway. Once they have made enough effort and got tired, tell Al-Ma’mun that I have ordered you to use a mattock and hit the ground at the location in the direction of the Qibla from the grave of his father Harun Ar-Rashid just once. Then once you do this the ground will open up, a grave will be dug and a tomb shall be erected. Once Al-Ma’mun accepts this and you see the grave appear, do not place me in it immediately. Wait until some clear water comes up and reaches the level of the ground. Then a fish as large as the grave will appear swimming there. Do not put me in it as long as the fish is moving. Then the fish will disappear and the water will be drained. Then take me to the grave and place me in it. Do not let anyone throw any dirt over my body. The grave will get filled and covered up by itself.’”

Harthama added, “I said, ‘Yes. My master!’ Then Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) told me, ‘Remember what I told you and act accordingly. Do not disobey.’ Then I (Harthama) said, ‘O my master! I take refuge in God that I will not disobey your orders.’”

Harthama added, “Then I left there crying and sad. Tears were falling down like drops sizzling in a frying pan. No one but God the Highest knew how I felt Then Al-Ma’mun called me in and I went to him. I stood near him until daytime. Then Al-Ma’mun said, ‘O Harthama! Go to Abil Hassan Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.), express my greetings to him and tell him, ‘Come to us if it is not difficult for you. Else I will come to see you.’ If Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) accepts to come, insist that he (a.s.) comes sooner.’”

فَإِنْ تَعَدَّى مُتَعَدٍّ وَغَسَّلَ الإِمَامَ لَمْ تَبْطُلْ إِمَامَةُ الإِمَامِ لِتَعَدِّي غَاسِلِهِ وَلا بَطَلَتْ إِمَامَةُ الإِمَامِ الَّذِي بَعْدَهُ بِأَنْ غُلِبَ عَلَى غُسْلِ أَبِيهِ وَلَوْ تُرِكَ أَبُو الْحَسَنِ عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُوسَى بِالْمَدِينَةِ لَغَسَّلَهُ ابْنُهُ مُحَمَّد ظَاهِراً مَكْشُوفاً وَلا يُغَسِّلُهُ الآْنَ أَيْضاً إِلا هُوَ مِنْ حَيْثُ يَخْفَى فَإِذَا ارْتَفَعَ الْفُسْطَاطُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي مُدْرَجاً فِي أَكْفَانِي فَضَعْنِي عَلَى نَعْشٍ وَاحْمِلْنِي فَإِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَحْفِرَ قَبْرِي فَإِنَّهُ سَيَجْعَلُ قَبْرَ أَبِيهِ هَارُونَ الرَّشِيدِ قِبْلَةً لِقَبْرِي وَلا يَكُونُ ذَلِكَ أَبَداً فَإِذَا ضُرِبَتِ الْمَعَاوِلُ نَبَتَ عَنِ الأَرْضِ وَلَمْ يَنْحَفِرْ مِنْهَا شَيْ‏ءٌ وَلا مِثْلُ قُلامَةِ ظُفُرٍ فَإِذَا اجْتَهَدُوا فِي ذَلِكَ وَصَعُبَ عَلَيْهِمْ فَقُلْ لَهُ عَنِّي إِنِّي أَمَرْتُكَ أَنْ تَضْرِبَ مِعْوَلاً وَاحِداً فِي قِبْلَةِ قَبْرِ أَبِيهِ هَارُونَ الرَّشِيدِ فَإِذَا ضَرَبْتَ نَفَذَ فِي الأَرْضِ إِلَى قَبْرٍ مَحْفُورٍ وَضَرِيحٍ قَائِمٍ فَإِذَا انْفَرَجَ ذَلِكَ الْقَبْرُ فَلا تَنْزِلِي إِلَيْهِ حَتَّى يَفُورَ مِنْ ضَرِيحِهِ الْمَاءُ الأَبْيَضُ فَيَمْتَلِئَ مِنْهُ ذَلِكَ الْقَبْرُ حَتَّى يَصِيرَ الْمَاءُ مَعَ وَجْهِ الأَرْضِ ثُمَّ يَضْطَرِبَ فِيهِ حُوتٌ بِطُولِهِ فَإِذَا اضْطَرَبَ فَلا تُنْزِلْنِي إِلَى الْقَبْرِ إِلا إِذَا غَابَ الْحُوتُ وَغَارَ الْمَاءُ فَأَنْزِلْنِي فِي ذَلِكَ الْقَبْرِ وَأَلْحِدْنِي فِي ذَلِكَ الضَّرِيحِ وَلا تَتْرُكْهُمْ يَأْتُوا بِتُرَابٍ يُلْقُونَهُ عَلَيَّ فَإِنَّ الْقَبْرَ يَنْطَبِقُ بِنَفْسِهِ وَيَمْتَلِئُ قَالَ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ يَا سَيِّدِي ثُمَّ قَالَ لِيَ احْفَظْ مَا عَهِدْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَاعْمَلْ بِهِ وَلا تُخَالِفْ قُلْتُ أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكَ أَمْراً يَا سَيِّدِي قَالَ هَرْثَمَةُ ثُمَّ خَرَجْتُ بَاكِياً حَزِيناً فَلَمْ أَزَلْ كَالْحَبَّةِ عَلَى الْمِقْلاةِ لا يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِي إِلا اللَّهُ تَعَالَى ثُمَّ دَعَانِي الْمَأْمُونُ فَدَخَلْتُ إِلَيْهِ فَلَمْ أَزَلْ قَائِماً إِلَى ضُحَى النَّهَارِ ثُمَّ قَالَ الْمَأْمُونُ امْضِ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ إِلَى أَبِي الْحَسَنِ فَأَقْرِئْهُ مِنِّي السَّلامَ وَقُلْ لَهُ تَصِيرُ إِلَيْنَا أَوْ نَصِيرُ إِلَيْكَ فَإِنْ قَالَ لَكَ بَلْ نَصِيرُ إِلَيْهِ فَتَسْأَلُهُ عَنِّي أَنْ يُقَدِّمَ ذَلِكَ.

Harthama added, “Once I went to Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.), he (a.s.) asked me, ‘O Harthama! Do you remember what I have advised you to do?’ I replied, ‘Yes.’ Then Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, ‘Give me my shoes. I know why Al-Ma’mun has sent you here.’”

Harthama added, “Then I did this. Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) put them on and walked towards Al-Ma’mun. Then when he (a.s.) entered, Al-Ma’mun stood up for him, embraced him and kissed him on the forehead. Al-Ma’mun had Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) seated on his couch next to himself. He started talking to him for hours until daybreak. Then he ordered one of his servants to bring pomegranates and grapes.”

Then Harthama added, “Once I heard this I could not control myself. I started to shiver. I turned around and quietly left the meeting, since I did not want Al-Ma’mun to see me in that state. I went to a corner of the palace. When the sun was about to go down, I sensed that my master had left. He had left there and returned home. Then I saw that Al-Ma’mun ordered that doctors and nurses be called in.”

Harthama added, “I asked, ‘What has happened?’ They told me, ‘Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) has become ill.’ The people were in doubt, but I was certain about what had happened since I knew.”

Harthama added, “When the second one-third part of the night came, loud crying could be heard from the house. I heard the crying and rushed in there from amongst the people who were rushing in. I looked and saw Al-Ma’mun standing there on his feet with a bare head and open buttons. He was crying. Then I stood among the people and wept with deep sighs until the morning. Then Al-Ma’mun held the mourning ceremonies. Then he stood up and walked to the place where our master Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) was placed and said, ‘Prepare a place for us. I want to perform his ceremonial burial ablutions in person.’ I stepped forward and told Al-Ma’mun what my master Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) had told me regarding the ceremonial burial ablutions, shrouding and burying of his body. Then Al-Ma’mun told me, ‘O Harthama! I will not object to your performing the ceremonial burial ablutions for him. Do as you please.’ I was standing and saw that a tent had been set up. I and everyone in the house subject to me were standing behind the tent. We could hear the praises of God and His glorifications being recited along with the sound of water being poured and pans being moved. We could also smell such a good scent that we had never before smelt before.

قَالَ فَجِئْتُهُ فَإِذَا اطَّلَعْتُ عَلَيْهِ قَالَ لِي يَا هَرْثَمَةُ أَلَيْسَ قَدْ حَفِظْتَ مَا أَوْصَيْتُكَ بِهِ قُلْتُ بَلَى قَالَ قَدِّمُوا نَعْلِي فَقَدْ عَلِمْتُ مَا أَرْسَلَكَ بِهِ قَالَ فَقَدَّمْتُ نَعْلَهُ وَمَشَى إِلَيْهِ فَلَمَّا دَخَلَ الَْمجْلِسَ قَامَ إِلَيْهِ الْمَأْمُونُ قَائِماً فَعَانَقَهُ وَقَبَّلَ بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ وَأَجْلَسَهُ إِلَى جَانِبِهِ عَلَى سَرِيرِهِ وَأَقْبَلَ عَلَيْهِ يُحَادِثُهُ سَاعَةً مِنَ النَّهَارِ طَوِيلَةً ثُمَّ قَالَ لِبَعْضِ غِلْمَانِهِ يُؤْتِي بِعِنَبٍ وَرُمَّانٍ قَالَ هَرْثَمَةُ فَلَمَّا سَمِعْتُ ذَلِكَ لَمْ أَسْتَطِعِ الصَّبْرَ وَرَأَيْتَ النَّفَضَةَ قَدْ عَرَضَتْ فِي بَدَنِي فَكَرِهْتُ أَنْ يَتَبَيَّنَ ذَلِكَ فِيَّ فَتَرَاجَعْتُ الْقَهْقَرَى حَتَّى خَرَجْتُ فَرَمَيْتُ نَفْسِي فِي مَوْضِعٍ مِنَ الدَّارِ فَلَمَّا قَرُبَ زَوَالُ الشَّمْسِ أَحْسَسْتُ بِسَيِّدِي قَدْ خَرَجَ مِنْ عِنْدِهِ وَرَجَعَ إِلَى دَارِهِ ثُمَّ رَأَيْتُ الآْمِرَ قَدْ خَرَجَ مِنْ عِنْدِ الْمَأْمُونِ بِإِحْضَارِ الأَطِبَّاءِ وَالْمُتَرَفِّقِينَ قُلْتُ مَا هَذَا فَقِيلَ لِي عِلَّةٌ عَرَضَتْ لابِي الْحَسَنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ مُوسَى الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ فَكَانَ النَّاسُ فِي شَكٍّ وَكُنْتُ عَلَى يَقِينٍ لِمَا أَعْرِفُ مِنْهُ قَالَ فَلَمَّا كَانَ مِنَ الثُّلُثِ الثَّانِي مِنَ اللَّيْلِ عَلا الصِّيَاحُ وَسَمِعْتُ الْوَجْبَةَ مِنَ الدَّارِ فَأَسْرَعْتُ فِيمَنْ أَسْرَعَ فَإِذَا نَحْنُ بِالْمَأْمُونِ مَكْشُوفَ الرَّأْسِ مُحِلَّ الأَزْرَارِ قَائِماً عَلَى قَدَمَيْهِ يَنْتَحِبُ وَيَبْكِي قَالَ فَوَقَفْتُ فِيمَنْ وَقَفُوا وَأَنَا أَتَنَفَّسُ الصُّعَدَاءَ ثُمَّ أَصْبَحْنَا فَجَلَسَ الْمَأْمُونُ لِلتَّعْزِيَةِ ثُمَّ قَامَ فَمَشَى إِلَى الْمَوْضِعِ الَّذِي فِيهِ سَيِّدُنَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ فَقَالَ أَصْلِحُوا لَنَا مَوْضِعاً فَإِنِّي أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُغَسِّلَهُ فَدَنَوْتُ مِنْهُ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ مَا قَالَهُ سَيِّدِي بِسَبَبِ الْغُسْلِ وَالتَّكْفِينِ وَالدَّفْنِ فَقَالَ لِي لَسْتُ أَعْرِضُ لِذَلِكَ ثُمَّ قَالَ شَأْنَكَ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ قَالَ فَلَمْ أَزَلْ قَائِماً حَتَّى رَأَيْتُ الْفُسْطَاطَ قَدْ ضُرِبَ فَوَقَفْتُ مِنْ ظَاهِرِهِ وَكُلُّ مَنْ فِي الدَّارِ دُونِي وَأَنَا أَسْمَعُ التَّكْبِيرَ وَالتَّهْلِيلَ وَالتَّسْبِيحَ وَتَرَدُّدَ الأَوَانِي وَصَبَّ الْمَاءِ وَتَضَوُّعَ الطِّيبِ الَّذِي لَمْ أَشَمَّ أَطْيَبَ مِنْهُ.

At once, I heard that Al-Ma’mun called me to come up to the balcony of the house and said, ‘You thought that no one would perform the ceremonial burial ablutions for a Divine Leader, except a Divine Leader like himself. Then where is his son Muhammad ibn Ali (a.s.) to come and perform the ceremonial burial ablutions for him? Now he (a.s.) is in Medina, while this one (Leader) is here in Toos.’ I (Harthama) replied, ‘O Commander of the Faithful (Al-Ma’mun)! That is what we say. It is not incumbent upon anyone to perform the ceremonial burial ablutions for a Divine Leader, but another Divine Leader - one like him. However, if someone transgresses and performs the ablutions for the Divine Leader, that will not void the Divine Leadership of the Imam. Neither will the transgression of the one who has performed the ablutions for the Divine Leader void the Divine Leadership of the Imam that is to succeed, since he has been oppressed and not allowed to perform the ceremonial burial ablutions for his father. If Abul Hassan Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) was in Medina, then it is apparent that his son Muhammad (a.s.) would have washed him. However, now it is apparent that even though his son did not do this in public, he performed the ceremonial burial ablutions for his father in secret.’ Then Al-Ma’mun became quiet and said nothing more. Then the sides of the tent were lifted. When I looked, I saw my master Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) shrouded. His body was placed where Al-Ma’mun and the rest of the people present there prayed over it. Then Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) was lifted up and taken up to the location of the grave. Then I saw a group of people who were trying to dig up the ground near Harun’s grave in such a way as to position Harun’s grave to be in the direction of the Qibla from Ar-Ridha’’s (a.s.) grave. However, no matter how hard they tried, not even the least bit of dirt was removed from the ground. Al-Ma’mun said, ‘O Harthama! Do you see how the dirt refuses to be dug up for his grave?’ I told Al-Ma’mun, ‘O Commander of the Faithful! Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) has indeed ordered me to hit one stroke of the mattock on the ground in the direction of the Qibla from the grave of your father Harun Al-Rashid, and no more.’ Then Al-Ma’mun asked me, ‘O Harthama! What will happen if you make just one strike on the ground?’ I said, “Indeed Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) has informed me that it is not allowed that the grave of for your father - Harun - be positioned in the direction of the Qibla from his (Ar-Ridha’’s) grave. And if I just strike the ground once, a prepared tomb will appear where there is no need to dig up the ground and remove any dirt. A large tomb shall appear in the middle.’

قَالَ فَإِذَا أَنَا بِالْمَأْمُونِ قَدْ أَشْرَفَ عَلَيَّ مِنْ بَعْضِ عَلالِي دَارِهِ فَصَاحَ بِي يَا هَرْثَمَةُ أَلَيْسَ زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّ الإِمَامَ لا يُغَسِّلُهُ إِلا إِمَامٌ مِثْلُهُ فَأَيْنَ مُحَمَّد بْنُ عَلِيٍّ ابْنُهُ عَنْهُ وَهُوَ بِمَدِينَةِ الرَّسُولِ وَهَذَا بِطُوسَ بِخُرَاسَانَ قَالَ قُلْتُ لَهُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِنَّا نَقُولُ إِنَّ الإِمَامَ لا يَجِبُ أَنْ يُغَسِّلَهُ إِلا إِمَامٌ مِثْلُهُ فَإِنْ تَعَدَّى مُتَعَدٍّ فَغَسَّلَ الإِمَامَ لَمْ تَبْطُلْ إِمَامَةُ الإِمَامِ لِتَعَدِّي غَاسِلِهِ وَلا بَطَلَتْ إِمَامَةُ الإِمَامِ الَّذِي بَعْدَهُ بِأَنْ غُلِبَ عَلَى غُسْلِ أَبِيهِ وَلَوْ تُرِكَ أَبُو الْحَسَنِ عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُوسَى الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ بِالْمَدِينَةِ لَغَسَّلَهُ ابْنُهُ مُحَمَّد ظَاهِراً وَلا يُغَسِّلُهُ الآْنَ أَيْضاً إِلا هُوَ مِنْ حَيْثُ يَخْفَى قَالَ فَسَكَتَ عَنِّي ثُمَّ ارْتَفَعَ الْفُسْطَاطُ فَإِذَا أَنَا بِسَيِّدِي‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ مُدْرَجٌ فِي أَكْفَانِهِ فَوَضَعْتُهُ عَلَى نَعْشِهِ ثُمَّ حَمَلْنَاهُ فَصَلَّى عَلَيْهِ الْمَأْمُونُ وَجَمِيعُ مَنْ حَضَرَ ثُمَّ جِئْنَا إِلَى مَوْضِعِ الْقَبْرِ فَوَجَدْتُهُمْ يَضْرِبُونَ بِالْمَعَاوِلِ دُونَ قَبْرِ هَارُونَ لِيَجْعَلُوهُ قِبْلَةً لِقَبْرِهِ وَالْمَعَاوِلُ تَنْبُو عَنْهُ لا تَحْفِرُ ذَرَّةً مِنْ تُرَابِ الأَرْضِ فَقَالَ لِي وَيْحَكَ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ أَمَا تَرَى الأَرْضَ كَيْفَ تَمْتَنِعُ مِنْ حَفْرِ قَبْرٍ لَهُ فَقُلْتُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِنَّهُ قَدْ أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَضْرِبَ مِعْوَلاً وَاحِداً فِي قِبْلَةِ قَبْرِ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَبِيكَ الرَّشِيدِ لا أَضْرِبَ غَيْرَهُ قَالَ فَإِذَا ضَرَبْتَ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ يَكُونُ مَا ذَا قُلْتُ إِنَّهُ أَخْبَرَ أَنَّهُ لا يَجُوزُ أَنْ يَكُونَ قَبْرُ أَبِيكَ قِبْلَةً لِقَبْرِهِ فَإِنْ أَنَا ضَرَبْتُ هَذَا الْمِعْوَلَ الْوَاحِدَ نَفَذَ إِلَى قَبْرٍ مَحْفُورٍ مِنْ غَيْرِ يَدٍ تَحْفِرُهُ وَبَانَ ضَرِيحٌ فِي وَسَطِهِ.

Then Al-Ma’mun said, ‘Glory be to God! What does all this mean? How amazing is what Abil Hassan has said! O Harthama! Strike the ground with the mattock so that we see what happens.’ Then I picked up the mattock with my hands and hit the ground with it once in the position of the direction of the Qibla from Harun Al-Rashid’s grave. Then a dug-up and prepared grave with a tomb appeared in the middle. The people were looking at it. Al-Ma’mun said, ‘O Harthama! Place Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) in it.’ Then I said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful (Al-Ma’mun)! Indeed my master has ordered me not to place him in the grave until there gushes out of the earth clear water and the grave gets filled up with it up to the level of the earth. Also a fish as large as the grave shall appear and move in the water. Then I am instructed to take Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) next to the grave and just leave him there when the fish disappears and the water totally drains away.’ Then Al-Ma’mun said, ‘O Harthama! Do whatever you have been ordered to do.’ Then I waited until the water and the fish appeared. Then the fish disappeared and the water was drained away while all the people were watching. Then I took the corpse next to the grave and left it there. At once, I saw that a white tent was set up next to the grave in such a way that we could no longer see the grave. Someone other than those who were present there picked up the body, and placed it in the grave. Al-Ma’mun pointed at the people to throw dirt over the body and fill up the grave. I said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful (Al-Ma’mun)! We will not do that.’ Al-Ma’mun said, ‘Woe be to you! Then who will fill up the grave?’ I said, ‘Indeed Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) has ordered me not to throw any dirt over his body. He (a.s.) has informed me that the grave will be filled up by itself. Then it will be raised up and a four-sided tomb will be formed.’ Then Al-Ma’mun ordered the people not to throw any dirt over him. The people dropped the dirt that they had picked up. The grave was filled up, raised and turned into a four-sided tomb. Then Al-Ma’mun returned. He called me in and asked me in private, ‘O Harthama! I ask you to swear to God and tell me the truth about whatever you heard from Abal Hassan Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) - may God sanctify his spirit.’ Then I told the Commander of the Faithful (Al-Ma’mun) whatever Imam Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) had told me. Then he told me, ‘I swear to you by God to tell me if he informed you of anything else.’ Then I said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful! I will answer any questions that you ask.’ Al-Ma’mun asked, ‘O Harthama! Did Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) tell you anything else in private?’ I replied, ‘Yes, he (a.s.) did.’ Al-Ma’mun asked, ‘What was it?’

فَقَالَ الْمَأْمُونُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ مَا أَعْجَبَ هَذَا الْكَلامَ وَلا عَجَبَ مِنْ أَمْرِ أَبِي الْحَسَنِ فَاضْرِبْ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ حَتَّى نَرَى قَالَ هَرْثَمَةُ فَأَخَذْتُ الْمِعْوَلَ بِيَدِي فَضَرَبْتُ فِي قِبْلَةِ قَبْرِ هَارُونَ الرَّشِيدِ فَنَفَذَ إِلَى قَبْرٍ مَحْفُورٍ وَبَانَ ضَرِيحٌ فِي وَسَطِهِ وَالنَّاسُ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْهِ فَقَالَ أَنْزِلْهُ إِلَيْهِ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ فَقُلْتُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِنَّ سَيِّدِي أَمَرَنِي أَنْ لا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِ حَتَّى يَنْفَجِرَ مِنْ أَرْضِ هَذَا الْقَبْرِ مَاءٌ أَبْيَضُ فَيَمْتَلِئَ مِنْهُ الْقَبْرُ حَتَّى يَكُونَ الْمَاءُ مَعَ وَجْهِ الأَرْضِ ثُمَّ يَضْطَرِبَ فِيهِ حُوتٌ بِطُولِ الْقَبْرِ فَإِذَا غَابَ الْحُوتُ وَغَارَ الْمَاءُ وَضَعْتُهُ عَلَى جَانِبِ قَبْرِهِ وَخَلَّيْتُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ مَلْحَدِهِ قَالَ فَافْعَلْ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ مَا أُمِرْتَ بِهِ قَالَ هَرْثَمَةُ فَانْتَظَرْتُ ظُهُورَ الْمَاءِ وَالْحُوتِ فَظَهَرَ ثُمَّ غَابَ وَغَارَ الْمَاءُ وَالنَّاسُ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ جَعَلْتُ النَّعْشَ إِلَى جَانِبِ قَبْرِهِ فَغُطِّيَ قَبْرُهُ بِثَوْبٍ أَبْيَضَ لَمْ أَبْسِطْهُ ثُمَّ أُنْزِلَ بِهِ إِلَى قَبْرِهِ بِغَيْرِ يَدِي وَلا يَدِ أَحَدٍ مِمَّنْ حَضَرَ فَأَشَارَ الْمَأْمُونُ إِلَى النَّاسِ أَنْ هَالُوا التُّرَابَ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ فَاطْرَحُوهُ فِيهِ فَقُلْتُ لا تَفْعَلْ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ قَالَ فَقَالَ وَيْحَكَ فَمَنْ يَمْلَؤُهُ فَقُلْتُ قَدْ أَمَرَنِي أَنْ لا يُطْرَحَ عَلَيْهِ التُّرَابُ وَأَخْبَرَنِي أَنَّ الْقَبْرَ يَمْتَلِئُ مِنْ ذَاتِ نَفْسِهِ ثُمَّ يَنْطَبِقُ وَيَتَرَبَّعُ عَلَى وَجْهِ الأَرْضِ فَأَشَارَ الْمَأْمُونُ إِلَى النَّاسِ أَنْ كُفُّوا قَالَ فَرَمَوْا مَا فِي أَيْدِيهِمْ مِنَ التُّرَابِ ثُمَّ امْتَلا الْقَبْرُ وَانْطَبَقَ وَتَرَبَّعَ عَلَى وَجْهِ الأَرْضِ فَانْصَرَفَ الْمَأْمُونُ وَانْصَرَفْتُ.

وَدَعَانِي الْمَأْمُونُ وَخَلا بِي ثُمَّ قَالَ: أَسْأَلُكَ بِاللَّهِ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ لَمَّا أَصْدَقْتَنِي عَنْ أَبِي الْحَسَنِ‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَدَّسَ اللَّهُ رُوحَهُ بِمَا سَمِعْتُهُ مِنْكَ. فَقُلْتُ: قَدْ أَخْبَرْتُ أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِمَا قَالَ لِي. فَقَالَ: بِاللَّهِ إِلا مَا قَدْ صَدَقْتَنِي عَمَّا أَخْبَرَكَ بِهِ غَيْرَ الَّذِي قُلْتَ لِي. قُلْتُ: يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فَعَمَّا تَسْأَلُنِي؟ فَقَالَ يَا هَرْثَمَةُ هَلْ أَسَرَّ إِلَيْكَ شَيْئاً غَيْرَ هَذَا قُلْتُ نَعَمْ. قَالَ: مَا هُوَ.

I replied, ‘Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) informed me about the grapes and the pomegranates.’ Then Al-Ma’mun turned colors. He turned yellow, red, and black. Finally he yawned and fainted. While Al-Ma’mun was unconscious I heard him say, ‘Woe be to Al-Ma’mun from God! Woe be to him from God’s Prophet (S)! Woe be to him from Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). Woe be to Al-Ma’mun from (the Blessed Lady) Fatima - az-Zahra (a.s.)! Woe be to Al-Ma’mun from Al-Hassan (a.s.) and Al-Husayn (a.s.)! Woe be to Al-Ma’mun from Ali ibn Al-Husayn (a.s.)! Woe be to Al-Ma’mun from Muhammad ibn Ali (a.s.)! Woe be to Al-Ma’mun from Ja’far ibn Muhammad (a.s.)! Woe be to Al-Ma’mun from Musa ibn Ja’far (a.s.)! Woe be to Al-Ma’mun from Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.)! By God, this is the clear loss.’ Al-Ma’mun kept repeating these same words. When I saw that this change of state lasted for a long time, I got up and left. I sat in a corner of the palace. Al-Ma’mun became conscious again and called me in. I went in and saw him sitting like a drunk person. He said, ‘By God, you are not in the least dearer to me than Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) was. Not even all the residents of the heavens and the earth are dearer to me than him. I swear by God that if I hear that you have told anyone else what you have heard from him, I will kill you.’ I (Harthama) said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful! Shedding my blood will be allowed for you, if you realize that I have expressed anything about this to anyone.’ Al-Ma’mun said, ‘By God, I will not accept this unless you swear and make a covenant to keep this a secret.’ Al-Ma’mun made me make a promise and a covenant, and made me swear to them. Once I left, he hit himself on the head with both hands and recited the following verse, ‘They may hide (their crimes) from men, but they cannot hide (them) from God, seeing that He is in their midst when they plot by night, in words that He cannot approve: And God Doth encompass all that they do.’1

And Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) had a son named Muhammad - the Imam (a.s.). Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) had said the following about him (a.s.), ‘He is honest, patient, noble, the light of the believers’ eyes and the cause of rage for the unbelievers.’”2

قُلْتُ خَبَرُ الْعِنَبِ وَالرُّمَّانِ قَالَ فَأَقْبَلَ الْمَأْمُونُ يَتَلَوَّنُ أَلْوَاناً يَصْفَرُّ مَرَّةً وَيَحْمَرُّ أُخْرَى وَيَسْوَدُّ أُخْرَى ثُمَّ تَمَدَّدَ مَغْشِيّاً عَلَيْهِ فَسَمِعْتُهُ فِي غَشْيَتِهِ وَهُوَ يَهْجُرُ وَيَقُولُ وَيْلٌ لِلْمَأْمُونِ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَيْلٌ لَهُ مِنْ رَسُولِهِ وَيْلٌ لَهُ مِنْ عَلِيٍّ وَيْلٌ لِلْمَأْمُونِ مِنْ فَاطِمَةَ وَيْلٌ لِلْمَأْمُونِ مِنَ الْحَسَنِ وَالْحُسَيْنِ وَيْلٌ لِلْمَأْمُونِ مِنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ وَيْلٌ لَهُ مِنْ مُحَمَّد بْنِ عَلِيٍّ وَيْلٌ لِلْمَأْمُونِ مِنْ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّد وَيْلٌ لَهُ مِنْ مُوسَى بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ وَيْلٌ لَهُ مِنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ مُوسَى الرِّضَا هَذَا وَاللَّهِ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ يَقُولُ هَذَا الْقَوْلَ وَيُكَرِّرُهُ فَلَمَّا رَأَيْتُهُ قَدْ أَطَالَ ذَلِكَ وَلَّيْتُ عَنْهُ وَجَلَسْتُ فِي بَعْضِ نَوَاحِي الدَّارِ قَالَ فَجَلَسَ وَدَعَانِي فَدَخَلْتُ إِلَيْهِ وَهُوَ جَالِسٌ كَالسَّكْرَانِ فَقَالَ وَاللَّهِ مَا أَنْتَ أَعَزُّ عَلَيَّ مِنْهُ وَلا جَمِيعُ مَنْ فِي الأَرْضِ وَالسَّمَاءِ لَئِنْ بَلَغَنِي أَنَّكَ أَعَدْتَ بَعْدَ مَا سَمِعْتَ وَرَأَيْتَ شَيْئاً لَيَكُونَنَّ هَلاكُكَ فِيهِ قَالَ فَقُلْتُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِنْ ظَهَرْتَ عَلَى شَيْ‏ءٍ مِنْ ذَلِكَ مِنِّي فَأَنْتَ فِي حِلٍّ مِنْ دَمِي قَالَ لا وَاللَّهِ أَوْ تُعْطِيَنِي عَهْداً وَمِيثَاقاً عَلَى كِتَْمانِ هَذَا وَتَرْكِ إِعَادَتِهِ فَأَخَذَ عَلَيَّ الْعَهْدَ وَالْمِيثَاقَ وَأَكَّدَهُ عَلَيَّ قَالَ فَلَمَّا وَلَّيْتُ عَنْهُ صَفَقَ بِيَدِهِ وَقَالَ يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَلا يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَهُوَ مَعَهُمْ إِذْ يُبَيِّتُونَ ما لا يَرْضى‏ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ وَكانَ اللَّهُ بِما يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطاً وَكَانَ لِلرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ مِنَ الْوَلَدِ مُحَمَّد الإِمَامُ وَكَانَ يُقَالُ لَهُ الرِّضَا وَالصَّادِقُ وَالصَّابِرُ وَالْفَاضِلُ وَقُرَّةُ أَعْيُنِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَغَيْظُ الْمُلْحِدِينَ

  • 1. Qur’an, 4:108
  • 2. It must be noted that some researchers have stated that Harthama ibn A’yan was one of the army heads of Al-Ma’mun who was killed in Al-Ma’mun’s jail in the year 200 A.H in which Al-Ma’mun sent Raja ibn Abi Dhahhak to Medina to bring Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) to Toos. This discrepancy thus makes it seem that the chain of narrators of this tradition is somewhat questionable. As a result the validity of the tradition itself might be questionable. Only God knows the truth.