imam reza(A.S.)


imam reza(A.S.)

Islamic Research Foundation Astan Quds Razavi

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Table of Contents

Exsplicit Statements Concerning Imam Reza's

Socio-religious leadership··· 7

Visage of the Holy Imam(A.S.)··· 8

The Imam's Broad Field of Knowledge··· 10

The Holy Imam's Social Behaviour··· 12

Imam's Method of Training Others··· 15

The Abbassid Caliphs, The Holy Imam's Coevals··· 16

Amin's Caliphate··· 18

Ma'moon's Caliphate··· 22

Was Ma'moon a Shiah?··· 24

The Holy Imam(A.S.) in the Age of Ma'moon··· 26

Ma'moon Invites Imam Reza(A.S.)··· 27

Towards Khorasan··· 28

Arriving in the Capital City··· 32

The Rain Invocation··· 34

The Shocking Ritual of "Fitr" Prayer··· 36

The Holy Imam's(A.S.) Scholarly Discourses.··· 39

The Big Question of Imam Reza's(A.S.) Vicegerency··· 42

Fazl's Scheme on Imam Reza's(A.S.) Vicegerency··· 45

Some Exaggerations In Historical Evidences··· 47

The Historical Deeds and Documents··· 50

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Some Other Evidences··· 52

A Brief Account on

Fazl's Policy··· 54

Was Ma'moon Honest in His Proposal?··· 56

Some Critical Examinations··· 57

The Abbasid and The Shiite··· 60

The Alavid's Uprising··· 61

Ma'moon's Political Viewpoints··· 62

Why did Imam Reza(A.S) refuse to be the Caliph?··· 65

Why did the Holy Imam(A.S) accept vicegerency?··· 68

After The Vicegerency··· 70

Fazl's Policy was Disapproved··· 72

Fazl's Clandestine Acts··· 73

The Holy Imam(A.S) Informs Ma'moon··· 74

The Murder Case of Fazl Ibn Sahl··· 78

The Blood Bath··· 81

Further Investigations··· 83

The Martyrdom of Imam Reza(A.S)··· 84

The Last Moments of the Life of the Holy Imam(A.S)··· 85

The Funeral Procession and Burial Ceremony of

the Holy Corpse of Imam Reza(A.S)··· 86

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On Thursday 11th Zee al-Qa'dah 148A.H., the first son of Musa Ibn Ja'far (the seventh Imam of the Shiah) was born in the city of Medina.

The distinguished mother of this boy was a gentlewoman from the west.

She was called Toktam, Najmeh and was often named "Tahera" (chaste) by her husband and her attendants too.

The new-born child was named Ali by his honourable father and was divinely entitled "Reza" (meaning that Allah and His messenger were deeply pleased with him. He was even respected by his opponents.)

Subsequent to the martyrodom of his father, he attained

the position of Imamat (Socio-religious leadership) when he was a thirty five-year-old man.

Exsplicit Statements Concerning Imam Reza's Socio-religious leadership

For many times Imam Musa Ibn Ja'far(A.S.) did explicitly introduce his eldest son "Ali" as his immediate successor to

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accede to the divine position of "Imamat".

Several authentic texts confirm this divine designation

and some competent companions of Imam Musa Ibn Ja'far(A.S.) have narrated the authenticity of this case. Like other immaculate Imams His Holiness Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza (A.S.) was divinely granted privileges and virtues that made him distinct from the other people.

He was a sinless person, and was the wisest of all. His

servitude to God was enriched by his piety.

No one could compete with him in the fields and aspects of morality, asceticism and knowledge:

In a word he was a perfect man who appeared as an example of competence and merit, and could easily administer the affairs of the Muslim community.

Visage of the Holy Imam(A.S.)

Imam Reza's mien and his demeanour were very attractive. His face was rather tawny, beautifully surrounded with a bushy beard. A heavenly charm glittered in his black eyes neatly set under bushy eyebrows.

His long hair looked like that of his honourable great grandfather the Holy messenger of God(S.A.W). Historical

records confirm that Imam Reza's(A.S.) stature was

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middle-sized and thus he resembled the Holy Prophet(S.A.W) more than did the others.

Imam Reza(A.S.) was a man of dignity who preferred to wear simple garments.

In banquets and in public His Holiness was used to wearing fashionable cloaks.

It is said that the Holy Imam(A.S.) sat and rested on a mat made of straw in summer, and reposed on a coarse carpet in winter. His shirts were mostly made of coarse material too. He appeared well-dressed in public meetings as if he intended to fight against pharisaism. In order to attract the attention of the simple-hearted people some hypocrites pretended to look ascetic through ignoring worldly dainties.

They inwardly loved all the secular and superficial aspects of life, but tried to remain in disguise of abstinence.

Imam Reza(A.S.) argued with them on their false way of interpreting the true concept of piety. His Holiness said:

"True Muslim believers do not think of worldly affluences as their objectives of life. They wisely enjoy the available secular blessings"

In response to a protest made by some narrow-minded

people who believed in superficial abstinence Imam Reza(A.S.) emphatically declared that a qualified caliph or a

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competent pontiff should sincerely strive to administer

justice and must be a truthful ruler as well.

He ought to fulfil his promises too.

God the Almighty hath not inhibited people from wearing nice costumes and from consuming delicious foods:

His Holiness then recited the following Quranic verse:

"Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His Providing?"(Surah 7, Verse 32. Pickthall"

The Imam's Broad Field of Knowledge

Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.) had inherited the divine knowledge from his great grand father, the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.).

The Holy Imam(A.S.) was practically like an ever-flowing fountain that quenched the knowledge seekers' thirst for learning. His father Imam Musa Kazim(A.S.) often advised the members of the family to consult with Imam Reza(A.S.) about the problems they had in understanding the true concepts of the Islamic doctrines or about other religious issues. The Holy father enjoined them to learn by heart whatever Imam Reza(A.S.) recommended.

Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.) was known as the

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wisest of all his contemporaries. His Holiness always succeeded in answering the questions raised by Ma'moon, the ruling caliph, with reference to the Quranic verses.

The caliph's official who was on duty to attend and escort the Holy Imam(A.S.) from Medina to Marv narrates the following:

"I swear I could not find any person more abstemious and God-fearing than he was. On our way to Marv throngs of people rushed to welcome His Holiness, and requested him to give answers to their complicated questions in connexion with different aspects of life and the divine creed presented and propagated by the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W). The Holy Imam Reza(A.S.) related many traditions

attributed to his forefathers. I reported the details of my personal observations to Ma'moon who in his turn approved of my views about the exalted status of the Holy Imam(A.S.), and confirmed that His Holiness was the best and the wisest and the most virtuous servant of God.

In order to explain the details of the divine knowledge

bestowed upon the Holy Imam(A.S.) one needs not quote the views of others in this regard.

A glance at the books on "Hadith" (the prophetic tradition) will help us to get acquainted with the rich words

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and discourses of Imam Reza(A.S.) uttered and delivered on subjects like the principles of Islam, the Islamic ideology, the juristic issues, medicine and, the hygienic problems and many other subjects of research.

Ma'moon's perspicacity and his judgment of Imam Reza's vast extent of knowledge can be counted as proofs of the Holy Imam's competence in this regard. Historical records confirm that Ma'moon, the caliph, was himself a celebrated erudite and his views were sound here.

In his official charter for the appointment of Imam Reza(A.S.) as his immediate successor Ma'moon points out the following statement:

"I know not any person superior to this man in the whole world."

The Holy Imam's Social Behaviour

A distinguished impartial judge has declared the following words about the socio-personal conduct of Imam Reza(A.S.):

- His Holiness never irritated others by verbal or practical teasings.

- His Holiness did not interrupt others' speeches.

- The Holy Imam(A.S.) never refused the demands of

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- I never witnessed him to have his legs stretched out before the others.

- And I could never find him in a resting position in the presence of other people.

- His Holiness never swore at his servants.

- His Holiness never cachinnated in happy circumstances.

- I never saw him spit his saliva out.

- At dinner all his servants including porters and even the stablemen were served in his attendance.

- His Holiness was used to staying up all nights invoking God the Almighty. The Holy Imam(A.S.) also observed the religious duty of fasting and gave alms in secret.

Quoting a witness from "Balkh", in his famous work entitled "Kafi", the celebrated scholar "Koleini" relates the


"On the way to "Khorasan" I was among the attendants of His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S.). At dinner the Holy Imam(A.S.) invited all his men around him and asked them to have dinner with him. There a few negro servants were among those men. Declaring that they were all of the same flesh and blood the Holy Imam(A.S.) permitted that the whole

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company should have had dinner at one table.

His Holiness practically combated against the superiority of race and colour in connexion with the distinction of the human beings. The Holy Imam(A.S.) tried to revive the Islamic precepts of fraternity and equality in the Muslim community.

Imam Reza(A.S.) was very generous and many true narratives have been related as evidences of his excessive generosity:

Once a stranger went to him and demanded some money for his own travel expenses. Addressing the Holy Imam(A.S.) the new comer promised to return the wanted loan as soon as he arrived in his own place.

On hearing the man's request Imam Reza(A.S.) gracefully went out and after a short while he called the stranger to take the money from his hand being solely seen from behind the curtain: His Holiness did not like to be looked by the demandant, nor did His Holiness want to witness bashfulness on the visage of that person.

Being Ma'moon's crown prince the Holy Imam(A.S.) once generously donated all his own possessions to the needy who lived in the province of Khorasan.

Some other narratives have been related about the

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boundless generosity of His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S.).

Imam's Method of Training Others

Like all other religious leaders His Holiness Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.) permanently endeavoured to train and guide talented persons in appropriate opportunities.

In addition to his sermons the Holy Imam(A.S.) strived to lead others practically.

Once some of his servants took a kind of fruit and cast

aside the half-eaten leavings. After Praising God the Holy Imam(A.S.) addressed them and said:

"If you need not this fruit any more, behold there are many people who desire to take some of this edible blessing. Then don't spoil it and proceed to feed the needy on it."

Here the Holy Imam(A.S.) has tried to enjoin people to abandon evil acts of dissipation. Unfortunately the well-to-do people of today are seriously involved in this dangerous catastrophe. These ignorant people leave behind considerable amounts of half-eaten foods carelessly and do not think of the urgent wants of the needy.

A distinguished companion of Imam Reza(A.S.) has narrated the following true story: "Once I was in the presence of the Holy Imam(A.S.), and His Holiness asked me

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to dinner. I accepted the invitation and entered the abode

of Imam Reza(A.S.) . There among the servants of the house we saw a blackish domestic who seemed to be an alien fellow. The Holy Imam(A.S.) inquired about that man and asked whether his wage had been fixed in advance. They stated that the blackish labourer did not complain of the amount of the paid wage.

On hearing this the Holy Imam(A.S.) suddenly became angry and reminded his attendants of observing the following instruction: "First Fix the wage, then employ the toiler."

The Holy Imam(A.S.) has pointed out the relationship between the employers and the workers in this aphorism of his.

Here the rights of the both sides will be righteously reserved and no aggression will be troublesome in their bilateral contract.

The Abbassid Caliphs, The Holy Imam's Coevals

The Holy Imam(A.S.) in the Reign of Haroon-ar-Rashid:

Imam Musa Ibn Ja'far(A.S.) the seventh socio-religious leader of the Shi'ite Muslims was poisoned and martyred in

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prison by order of Haroon-ar-Rashid in the year 183 (A.H.).

Subsequent to the heavenly departure of this distinguished Imam, the great position or mission of "Imamat" was divinely bestowed upon Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.), son and successor of the late Imam Musa Kazim(A.S.).

This event was reported to Haroon, the ruling caliph, by

a talebearer who cunningly instigated him to be watchful of His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S.).

Being still involved in his irritating evil thoughts in

connection with the martyrdom of the murdered Imam Musa Kazim(A.S.), Haroon angrily yelled and said:

"What is it in your mind?

Do you expect me to draw sword and eradicate the Alavid


Haroon's fury made his courtiers keep quiet, and none of them dared to gossip more behind the back of the Holy Imam(A.S.) in that audience.

Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.) openly professed himself the Imam of the Muslim community, and contrary to his forefathers, he did not dissimulate his divine mission.

Some of his loyal companions reminded His Holiness of the danger of that policy. But the Holy Imam(A.S.) was

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strongly confident of his personal behaviour, and did not

observe the act of dissimulation the accomplishment of which was lawfully allowed according to some Islamic precepts.

Despite the indirect threats from the side of Haroon (the ruling caliph), His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S.) was not a bit afraid of that tyrant who tried much to persecute the Alavid (Ali's followers) as soon as he seized the evil opportunity.

Once an army was dispatched to Medina with the intention of plundering the possessions of the House and descendants of His Holiness Imam Ali(A.S.) (the first Imam of the Shiah, martyred about 130 years before this date).

The cruel commander of those vicious men directly went to Imam Reza's dwelling place, and rudely demanded every thing found in the Holy Imam's abode including the ornaments and garments of the women residing there. Imam Reza(A.S.) went inside and fetched the wanted objects and articles, and handed them over to the cruel officer who first insisted on intruding into the house of the Holy Imam(A.S.).

Amin's Caliphate

In spite of the superficial glory of the sovereignty of the

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Abbasid caliphs, especially the delusive luxurious court of Haroon-ar-Rashid the famous caliph of that dynasty, these despotic rulers could not enjoy their dominant positions because of the revolts and the political movements that occasionally broke out here and there in their subjugated lands and from among their subjects.

The oppressed Muslim people who had suffered intolerable agonies in the reign of the Umayyads tyrants, and had striven to overthrow that devilish dynasty, were now hopeless and fed up with the ever increasing oppression and crime imposed by the ruling Abbasid caliphs who had succeeded the cruel Umayyad rulers.

Moans and groans of the victims of oppression were sometimes manifested in the forms of revolts and socio-political movements run under the banner of some benevolent reformers, while the wicked profiteers and vicious opportunists took advantage of the forces of such uprisings and tried to gain popularity.

All this was however an alarm sounded in the Abbasid's royal palace, the pillars of which became unsteady too.

This political crisis reached its climax in the latter years

of Haroon's reign

The committed Iranian Muslims whose hearts were

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filled with love and sincerity toward the House of Imam

Ali(A.S.), and had actually a greater part in the fall of the Umayyad dynasty, pretty soon found out about the corruption of the Abbasid's caliphate court, and proceeded to protest against the ruling class.

In 193 (A.H.) reports were submitted to Haroon-ar-Rashid in connexion with the fire of the revolts inflamed in the different cities of Khorasan. The cruel military commanders were no more able to suppress those revolutionary movements. After holding consultations with his ministers and his counsellors, Haroon decided to make a journey to "Khorasan" in an expedition under his direct command. He in fact intended to examine his monarchical power for the suppression of such revolts emerged here in that territory. Haroon left his first crown prince, Amin behind in Baghdad and took Ma'moon, the second crown prince with himself to "Khorasan" where Ma'moon had been designated as governor according to his father's decree.

Haroon succeeded in suppressing the chaotic social situation prevailing on that province. Revolts were repressed, and on account of falling sick the cruel caliph was not able to return home. He then became a creature of the bed and was confined to rest there till he encountered the

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agony of death. Rumours say that he had been poisoned by

some friends of Amin who was to succeed his father.

At any rate Haroon died in Toos, and his body was buried in Sanabad (Mashhad).

The Holy Shrine of Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.) has been erected in the same enclosure.

"Fazl Ibn Rabee", the close counsellor of Haroon and an intimate friend of Amin, immediately reported the death of the caliph to his first crown prince (Amin), and informed him of the allegiance of the people who had sworn for him in "Khorasan".

On hearing about that incident the Iraqi people also promised Amin their loyalty. He then officially acceded to the throne in Jomadal Akhar 15, 193 (A.H.)

His rule, however, did not last long and soon after five

years he was overthrown and killed by Tahir Ibn Abd-Allah, the commanding officer of Ma'moon's army.

In the reign of Amin no conflict or quarrel happened between Imam Reza(A.S.) and the officials of the ruling caliph. The reason lies in the fact that during this period of time Amin and Ma'moon were busy fighting against each other for the accession to the throne, and could not seize an appropriate opportunity to annoy the Alavid in general and

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vex the Holy Imam(A.S.) in particular: Thus for five years Imam Reza(A.S.) could easily manage to gather earnest students and committed followers of his forefathers, around him with the intention of reviving the Jafari theological and Islamic scientific centre.

Ma'moon's Caliphate

According to Haroon's will and testament Ma'moon was to be Amin's crown prince, and could accede to the caliphate seat after the decease of Amin. But some close attendants of Amin like Fazl Ibn Rabee and Ali Ibn Eesa Ibn Mahan, the chief commanding officer of the army did not like this enjoinment left behind.

They then contrived to allure Amin, a man of revelry, to

depose Ma'moon from the post of a crown prince contrary to the contents of the late caliph's will and testament.

Amin had decided to maintain this high ranking post for

his own descendants.

Ma'moon's deposal instigated the Iranian nobles to rise and revolt against the ruling caliph who was now in Baghdad. They in fact detested that regime and under the pretext of demanding Ma'moon's right, an expeditionary army set out for Baghdad under the military command of

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Tahir Ibn Abd Allah.

Being very clever Ma'moon knew about the strong attachment of the Iranians toward the House of the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W) and to the descendants of His Holiness Ali(A.S.).

The two armies met in Ray, and in the course of some battles Ali Ibn Eesa, the commander of Amin's army was defeated and killed by Tahir who successfully advanced towards Baghdad through the Persian cities, and eventually he won the war and conquered the capital seat of the caliphate. The victorious Tahir severed Amin's head and sent it for Ma'moon who was now ruling the province of Khorasan.

Thus the seat of caliphate was transferred to Marv and was submitted to Ma'moon who tried to introduce himself as a Shiah (a loyal follower of Ali(A.S.) and of his descendants(A.S.).

All this happened in the year 198(A.H).

Unlike his brother, Ma'moon was a learned man. He was very smart in every walk of life, and it may be taken for granted that from the viewpoint of such attributes he was superior to all other Abbasid caliphs.

In his reign efforts were made for the propagation and

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prosperity of different fields of knowledge and various

debate sessions were held here and there in every corner of his subjugated realm. He himself participated in these scholoarly meetings and propounded his own views pertaining to the raised questions over there.

Was Ma'moon a Shiah?

Despite occupying the seat of caliphate usurped by the Abbasids Ma'moon explicitly admitted the undeniable fact concerning the right of Imam Ali's immediate succession in connection with his accession to the caliphate. Thus the new caliph pretended to Shiism. The integrity of his claim is, to some extent, ambiguous, and views vary in this regard.

His hot discussions on defending Imam Ali's right, however, prove his ideological tendency toward the House of Ali(A.S.).

Ma'moon, seriously, defended the legal permission of the temporary marriage and rejected Omar's (The second caliph) religious innovation in connexion with this phenomenon.

He had also had some debates with the Sunni scholars on this matter. Likewise according to his order Muawiyah was strongly cursed in public. "I detest those who praise

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Muawiyah. You must know that Ali Ibn Abutalib is superior

to all next to the Holy Messenger of God(S.A.W.)" stated Ma'moon. He also returned Fadak (A real estate) to the descendants of Her Holiness Fatima(A.S.), and expressed his intimate feelings toward them. He proclaimed his forefathers guilty of being tyrants in connection with their behaviours toward Hazrat Fatima's offspring. Ma'moon declared that he had learnt the true concept of Shiism from his father (Haroon): "Once despite his spite toward Musa Ibn Ja'far(A.S.) and to other members of the House of Ali(A.S.), my father sincerely welcomed him in a public audience.

In his privacy I asked my father (Haroon) of his friendly

attitude towards Musa Ibn Ja'far(A.S.). In answer to my question my father frankly admitted that that distinguished guest of honour (Imam Musa Kazim(A.S.) had been divinely appointed as the righteous Imam of the Muslims.

I asked my father whether he had not been the very competent person chosen to occupy the seat of the caliphate. He answered that he was but a superficial leader ruling the Muslim community by force, and added that Musa Ibn Ja'far(A.S.) was the right man for that official post. But he continued that according to the meaning of the famous saying "Sovereignty is barren", said Ma'moon.

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Then it will not be astonishing when being informed of Imam Reza's exalted status, Ma'moon decides to set a snare in the way of His Holiness. The wicked caliph forced the Holy Imam(A.S.) to be his crown prince, and after the lapse of sometime he ruthlessly martyred that immaculate Imam.

The cruel caliph had learnt his father's remark by heart:

"Sovereignty is barren".

The Holy Imam(A.S.) in the Age of Ma'moon

With the accession of Ma'moon to the throne of caliphate, a new chapter was opened in the book of the Holy Imam's life career. In the course of this late period the Holy Imam(A.S.) lived in agonies and sorrows.

The usurpers of the seat of caliphate whether from the Umayyads or from the Abbasid were very afraid of the members of the household of Ali(A.S.) who were publicly recognized as the worthy successors of the messenger of God(S.A.W.).

The honourable descendants of Ali(A.S.) were therfore constantly persecuted and tortured by the ruling caliphs of the time. These innocent figures were ruthlessly murdered by those tyrants, and were known as Holy martyrs.

Ma'moon occasionally pretended to have concern for

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Shiism. His courtiers were generally Iranians who used to

hold special respect for Imam Ali(A.S.) and his descendants (the Holy Imam of the Shiah). He therefore could not easily imprison the Holy Imam(A.S.) under some invented pretexts, as had done his father Haroon (keeping Imam Musa Kazim(A.S.) in jail).

Ma'moon chose a new policy and plotted a new scheme not being very different from what had been experienced by his predecessors. He contrived to invite Imam Reza(A.S.) to Marv (the city where his seat of caliphate was) with the evil intention of making false friendship with His Holiness. The cruel caliph intended to take advantage of the presence of the Holy Imam(A.S.); acquiring knowledge from His Holiness, and also he preferred to have a direct eye on His Holiness.

Ma'moon Invites Imam Reza(A.S.)

In the beginning Ma'moon respectably invited Imam Reza(A.S.) and some of the nobles of the house of Ali(A.S.) to the seat of caliphate located in Marv.

The Holy Imam(A.S.) did not first accept this so-called invitation, but unceasing insistences through messages and letters made His Holiness submit to the ruling caliph's request or summon, and eventually accompanied by some

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attendants from the house of Abi Talib, Imam Reza(A.S.) set out for Marv.

Orders were issued to hold regards and respect for this

esteemed expedition, while the Holy Imam(A.S.) explicitly displayed his dissatisfaction of such a compulsory emigration.

On his departure from Medina Imam Reza(A.S.) gathered the members of his family and enjoined them to shed tears for his last journey, with no return. His Holiness then entered the Mosque of the Messenger of God where the tomb of Holy Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.) was located.

Imam Reza(A.S.) intended to bid farewell to the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) with tearful eyes.

Towards Khorasan

According to Ma'moon's command the direction of Imam Reza's(A.S.) caravan from Medina to Marv was predetermined; that is, the caravan was to make its long journey via Basra, Ahwaz and Fars in order not to pass through the cities like Kufa, Kermanshah and Qum where large numbers of the Shiite had already resided and had centralized their identities.

On his arrival in Nishabour the Holy Imam(A.S.) preferred

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to lodge in the house of a woman who did not belong to a

high social class. The days of his stay in Nishabour are not explicitly recorded, but the most interesting incident occurred in that city was the tradition of "Silsilatul Dhahab narrated by His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S.).

The day His Holiness was gracefully passing on horseback through an avenue in Nishabour, throngs of people earnestly gathered round his pompous retinue, and there a couple of distinguished persons requested the Holy Imam(A.S.) to narrate a tradition (Hadith) from his honourable forefathers especially from the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.). They in fact wanted to be blessed with a holy remembrance of Imam Reza's journey to the province of Khorasan.

Accepting their request, His Holiness ordered his men to draw the reins of his horse ,and then the Holy Imam(A.S) drew the hanging curtain of his litter aside.

On beholding the holy visage of Imam Reza(A.S.), the witnessing people present there suddenly burst into tears of joy and happily cried out. Some of them tore their robes, and knelt to kiss the stirrup of the horse on which the Imam's litter had been placed.

What a public uproar of admiration!!

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Nothing could extinguish the fiery applause of the huge

multitude assembled there.

The scholars and the erudites present there tried to make the excited people quiet in order to take advantage of the Holy Imam's sermons.

Then Imam Reza(A.S.) looked at that congregation and said:

Musa Ibn Ja'far(A.S.) my dignified father once quoted the words of his father Ja'far Ibn Mohammad Sadiq(A.S.) who in his turn related the words of his father Mohammad Ibn Ali(A.S.) who narrated the words of his father Ali Ibn Hosein(A.S.) who likewise quoted Hosein(A.S.), the master of the youth residing in paradise, who also related the words of his father Ali Ibn Abu Talib(A.S.) who directly quoted the Holy messenger of God(S.A.W.) who narrated the words of Gabriel who quoted the divine words of the Exalted Lord as follows:

Professing "La Ilaha Ilallah" (there is no god save Allah) is My stronghold. He who sincerely professes this one-ness of God (Tawhid) will be given a safe quarter in My fortress.The significance of this professing will be recognized when my

" personal status is included as a sacred termination."

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added the Holy Imam(A.S.)

This statement of Imam Reza(A.S.) implied the presentation and assertion of "the Imamat" (socio-religious leadership) of His Holiness.

Proportionate to the situation Imam Reza(A.S.) could intelligently seize the appropriate opportunity for propounding the important subject of "the leadership". His Holiness tried to set forth this significant issue in addition to relating the sweet sermons and enjoinments of the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.)

Imam Reza(A.S.) called people to monotheism, and injoined them to profess God's One-ness

The Holy Imam(A.S.) intended to rend apart all chains and bonds of slavery and man's captivity in order to establish the divine unification that was propagated by his honourable great grand father, the Holy messenger of God(S.A.W.) in a couple of centuries before: "Say: La IlahaIlallah'(There is no god save Allah).

His Holiness also explained the reason why despite being sincere monotheists, the Muslim believers could not yet attain salvation:

The question of "Velayat" and the issue of the socio-religious leadership in their full sense will directly

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make perfect the true concept of "Monotheism". That was why Imam Reza(A.S.) added a phrase to his oration in connexion with narrating of Silsilatul Dhahab tradition. His Holiness said: "There exist some conditions in administrating the divine unification creed all over the world, and now I am one out of those stipulations."

Arriving in the Capital City

Accompanied by his retinue Imam Reza(A.S.) set out for Marv the capital city and the ruling seat of Ma'moon.

His Holiness was welcomed by the caliph himself and by Fazl Ibn Sahl and some distinguished nobles of the house of Abbas in a place a few leagues outside the metropolis. On the Holy Imam's arriving in Marv full accommodations were offered according to Ma'moon's command, and after some days of reposing the caliph requested Imam Reza(A.S.) to accept the high position of the caliphate. His Holiness seriously rejected Ma'moon's proposal.

Fazl Ibn Sahl amazedly uttered that he had never seen such a scene of degradation for the post and position of the caliphate. Sovereignty was indifferently ignored.

Anticipating the Holy Imam's refusal, Ma'moon

suggested the office of the crown prince that was rejected

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by His Holiness as well.

The cruel caliph became angry and menacingly compelled Imam Reza(A.S.) to submit to his proposal.

At last the Holy Imam(A.S.) reluctantly accepted to be Ma'moon's crown prince on condition not to interfere in the state's afairs including the employing and deposal of the government's officials.

The people of Marv were unexpectedly informed of this so-called glad tidings.

The firman or the related charter for the designation of

Imam Reza(A.S.) was written and sanctioned by Ma'moon himself, and the Holy Imam(A.S.) also wrote down his consent on the same official paper.

The ceremony of swearing allegiance was magnificently performed and Imam Reza(A.S.) acceded to the seat of vicegerency.

Abbas, the son of Ma'moon was the first fellow who offered his loyalty to the Holy Imam(A.S.).

The other nobles and military authorities swore the same allegiance and announced their fidelity to His Holiness.

Now it was the eulogists turn; the poets who had written odes and eulogies in praise of the house of Ali(A.S.).

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Debel Khozaee, the celebrated Arab poet, recited one of his famous poems; in some of its lines the oppressions and crimes committed by Bani Abbas towards the house of Ali(A.S.) were pointed out.

The Holy Imam(A.S.) added a couple of tragical couplets in order to mourn for his own self.

Then Ma'moon issued an order to eulogize Imam Reza(A.S.) in the official orations and have the name of His Holiness minted on the current coins used in the country.

It was evident that all those proceedings made the followers and friends of the Holy Imam(A.S.) feel happy, but His Holiness seemed to be sad and afflicted among those people.

Addressing a jolly fellow standing there Imam Reza(A.S.) said: "Don't be very glad of the present situation; it will not last long".

The Rain Invocation

Once there happened a drought in Khorasan in the years of Imam Reza's(A.S.) vicegerency.

The inhabitants of that area were strongly scared and frightened because of the lack of rain; it had not rained there for a long period of time. Some narrow-minded

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people or perhaps wicked fellows spread rumours that the

Holy Imam's designation had been a sinister cause for the rain ceasing. Ma'moon the ruling caliph requested Imam Reza(A.S.) to perform the related devotions invoking God to descend His Mercy upon the thirsty people and on the arid lands.

Accepting the caliph's demand, His Holiness ordered those people to go on fasting for three successive days.

On the third day coinciding with Monday attended by a huge multitude, the Holy Imam(A.S.) marched out of the town and sat on a pulpit placed somewhere in the wilderness stretched in the vicinity of Marv.

Supplicating to the Divinity, the Holy Imam(A.S.) implored the following:

"O, Lord! thou hath ordered people to dignify us (The House of Mohammad(S.A.W.).

They then resort to us to intercede for them with Thee.

They strongly hope to be divinely blessed with thy Mercy and thy Beneficence. May thou descend affluent rain from heaven. Thou art Merciful."

The sky suddenly turned stormy, and dark pieces of cloud appeared with thunder and lightning. There emerged a heavy rainfall and everywhere was richly irrigated.

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The Shocking Ritual of "Fitr" Prayer

In the late Ramadan 202(A.H.) Ma'moon, the ruling caliph, sent a message to Imam Reza(A.S.) requesting His Holiness to conduct the religious service of the celebration of "Fitr Prayers" (Festival at the end of the fasting month).

The Holy Imam(A.S.) did not first accept that task, but due to Ma'moon's insistence, His Holiness consented to perform the related ritual just on the basis of the simple method the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.) used to practise.

It must be mentioned that in the reign of the Umayyads and the Abbasid caliphs this "Prayer" was pompously performed and the conductiong caliph appeared in full luxury before the congregation.

He was escorted by the armed men wearing fashionable uniforms to the place for public prayer.

The performance was in fact a superficial gesture with no genuine Islamic spirit.

But Imam Reza(A.S.) agreed to establish this worship within the limits and framework of the tradition of Holy Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.).

The Holy Imam(A.S.) evidently repeated the sacred words of Ali(A.S.), his honourable great-grand father who had consented to be the caliph of the Muslim Community on

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condition His Holiness could freely rule and issue orders

according to the Quranic precepts and on the basis of the policy of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.).

The Muslims living in the second century(A.H) and especially the people of Iran including the inhabitants of the city of Marv did not clearly know the way or method Holy Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.) performed this very prayer.

Even Ma'moon himself did not have the necessary information about the Holy Prophet's Practice of Devotions. He therefore accepted Imam Reza's(A.S.) suggestion concerning this issue.

Early in the morning of the celebration day of "Fitr" the horse of the caliph ornamented with glossy galloons was waiting at the gate of the Holy Imam's dwelling place.

The high-ranking officials of the state such as military

commanders, senior judges, distinguished savants and celebrated authorities of Marv were all in costly costumes waiting to escort His Holiness.

They expected to witness Imam Reza(A.S.) in the same fashionable posture, who would ride the exclusive horse of the caliph and would move ahead of his retinue towards the place for the public prayer.

Large numbers of people were waiting here and there,

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even on the roofs of their houses to visit and welcome the

Holy Imam(A.S.).

Unexpectedly His Holiness appeared in plain clothing before that congregation, attended by his own men who were in plain garments too.

Bare-footed, the Holy Imam(A.S.) and his attendants marched forward while Imam Reza(A.S.) glorified God loudly; saying "Allah Akbar" (God is the Greatest of all).

The procession was extraordinarily magnificent, and as soon as the officials of the state beheld Imam Reza(A.S.) in simple clothing with barefeet, got embarrassed and hurriedly jumped down from the saddles of their horses and tried to take off their boots.

The Holy Imam(A.S.) continued glorifying God with repeating the phrase: "Allah Akbar" (God is the Greatest of all).

One would probably say an earthquake had unexpectedly occurred in that area; from every direction the call of "Allah Akbar" could be heard, and during his graceful marching the Holy Imam(A.S.) loudly glorified God, and the congregation present there followed His Holiness and shouted: "Allah Akbar".

The splendour of that demonstration was rapidly

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reported to Ma'moon, and the rally was related as an alarm

for the caliph. He inevitably or helplessly dispatched one of his men to request the Holy Imam(A.S.) to cease the continuation of that ritual under the pretext of some excuses Ma'moon had verbally invented.

Despite being deeply annoyed, Imam Reza(A.S.) promptly wore his shoes and rode on a horse and left the place and the people who had now turned into a fiery mass.

The Holy Imam's(A.S.) Scholarly Discourses.

Those who have hitherto examined Islam's methodical report-card, maintain that the age of the reign of Haroon and that of Ma'moon have been known as a brilliant scholarly epoch in the literary history of this divine religion (Islam).

In the course of this eminent period of time the Muslims succeeded in becoming acquainted with the western scientific findings through translating the Greek works, and thereafter they profoundly studied those versions and added large numbers of new scholarly subjects of research such as studies on theoretical and rational sciences to those themes.

The Muslim scientists attained success to discover many

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acids like nitrous acid, sulphuric acid and other substances

as the infernal stone.

The access to the western philosophy as well as the availability of the Greek written sources and the acquaintance with the views and doctrines of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato and their disciples, paved the way for the Muslim scholars to develop their studies on natural sciences and on metaphysical issues as well.

The freedom of thought provided and permitted by Islam made facilities for the scholars of other religions to hold debate sessions on exchanging their ideas in connection with questions and problems concerning the precepts and doctrines of their creeds.

Likewise the expansion of the Islamic territories caused

the association of the Muslims with non-Muslim peoples including the Jews, the Christians and even too many atheists.

These opponents tried to propound disputes and invent doubtful allegories about the faith of the Muslims.

The situation was very critical and the ideological assault seemed to be more dangerous than a military invasion in those days.

Certainly God's will and His Grace blessed Imam

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Ali-Ibn Musa-ar-Reza's(A.S.) arrival in Marv.

Here as a competent leader His Holiness could easily direct people to the right path and skilfully remove deviated views of the antagonists who endeavoured to distort Islam.

Ma'moon was a learned man who had acquired a broad field of knowledge and helpful controversies.

He often managed sessions of debates to be held in his own royal palace, and celebrated scholars of various religions were invited there to exchange and discuss their different views on religious issues.

The splendour of such meetings was sometimes so attractive that some friends and followers of Imam Reza(A.S.) warned His Holiness of participating in them, lest the Holy Imam(A.S.) would have been involved in the wrong debates set forth there.

Imam Reza(A.S.) was always victorious in all those debate sessions, and soon his opponents recognized the scientific status of His Holiness. The legitimacy of the Islamic ideology was explicitly displayed and explained for those non-Muslim people and participants by the logical reasonings from the side of the Holy Imam(A.S.).

The dualists as well as the atheists and the Jewish erudites took part in those controversy meetings where the

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Christian scholars were also attending.

The conversations and discourses raised in those sittings

will make a voluminous collection in case be compiled.

These infidels were ultimately overcome, and had to submit to Imam Reza's(A.S.) vast field of knowledge and to the spiritual privileges of His Holiness.

All this had a great impact upon the revival and spread

of the Islamic learnings.

The Big Question of Imam Reza's(A.S.) Vicegerency

Shiism,the Front of Refusal

Undoubtedly the most important and critical chapter of Imam Reza's(A.S.) life has been restricted to the short time of those few years His Holiness lived in Marv where Ma'moon's seat of the Caliphate had been previously installed. As a crown prince the Holy Imam(A.S.) was naturally compelled to have some relations with the royal court of the ruling caliph while His Holiness had to accomplish his task and religious duty he was divinely blessed with as the responsible successor of the Holy Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.).

Imam Reza's(A.S.) main mission was to safeguard the principles of Islam and propagate this creed in order to

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protect the rights of the Muslim community, and to waken

the believers to fight against tyranny and injustice.

The immaculate Imams of the Shiah Islam and their loyal followers always tried to mobilize a front of refusal against the oppressive usurpers such as the cruel caliphs. Those sinless Imams severely avoided cooperating with these oppressors despite the imposed insistence from the side of them.

Attending the ruling caliphs meant the approval of their

sovereignty, and directly reinforced their executive power. Thus such courtiers would have fallen into the pits of sins and oppression. Silence and indifference in the face of the commitment of sins were also signs of surrendering to the caliphs' tyranny.

Nevertheless in some cases the followers and companions of the Holy Imams were permitted to hold official posts in the reign of the Abbasid caliphs. Those people were enjoined to render service to the needy oppressed and eliminate social injustice as much as they could.

Now let's examine the case of Imam Reza(A.S.) in connection with the designation of His Holiness as the successor or crown prince of Ma'moon.

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(A.) Why did the Holy Imam(A.S.) accept that high position?

(B) In case the choice was good, why did His Holiness not accept to succeed Ma'moon and become the caliph of the Muslims?

Before going into the details of the answers to those questions, it will be worth studying the reasons of Ma'moon's intention of selecting the Holy Imam(A.S.) as his immediate successor.

Ma'moon, the clever and smart Abbassid caliph, had acceded to the throne at a dear cost; that is, he became the ruler of the Muslim countries in exchange for killing his own brother. But despite his strong love for attaining the sovereignty, he unexpectedly proposed his seat of the caliphate to Imam Reza(A.S.) and when His Holiness refused the proposal, the shrewd caliph cunningly compelled the Holy Imam(A.S.) to be his vicegerent. There are also some other questions which might have been set forth in this regard as follows:

(1) Did the Iranian military commanders employed in Ma'moon's army such as Fazl Ibn Sahl, Hassan Ibn Sahl and Tahir Ibn Abd-Allah force the caliph to designate Imam Reza(A.S.)?

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(2) Was Ma'moon really truthful in his proposal to the Holy Imam(A.S.) whom the ruling caliph had recognized as the heir apparent to occupy the seat of the caliphate and be the leader of the Muslim community?

(3) Was the whole proposition merely a political game or deceit plotted by Ma'moon?

If so, the shrewd caliph intended to defame the Holy Imam(A.S.) by offering His Holiness the throne which he thought would have induced Imam Reza(A.S.)to commit evil acts as the ruling predecessors had done during their reign.

Thus the people and the followers of His Holiness would have held less regard and respect for Imam Reza(A.S.), according to Ma'moon's conspiracy.

These cases are to some extent probable.

There are several available deeds and documents which acknowledge the authenticity of the writer's research on this proposition.

Fazl's Scheme on Imam Reza's(A.S.) Vicegerency

A summary of Fazl's Biography

He was the son of Sahl, an inhabitant of Sarakhs in the

province of Khorasan.

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Sahl was a learned Zoroastrian and was a broad-minded man as well.

It is said that he was a friend and compatriot of the Barmaki house, and later he converted to Islam persuading his sons Fazl and Hassan to embrace Islam too.

They were all introduced to the Abbassid court with the

intercession of Ja'far Barmaki.

At his first audience before Haroon the caliph, Fazl strangely got embarrassd and was not able to utter a word of courtesy while meeting the caliph. Haroon was a little irritated at the man's silence, but soon he regained his normal posture when Fazl humbly confessed his feeling of awe in the presence of the dignified caliph. Thenceforth the members of the family of Sahl including his sons Fazl and Hassan could succeed in attaining high official posts there.

They fortunately did not face the adversities the house

of Barmak were eventually doomed to suffer as their fatal fate.

Haroon had previously assigned Fazl to train Ma'moon in different directions and dimensions.

Thus when Ma'moon became the second crown prince and the governor of Khorasan, Fazl Ibn Sahl was among his retinue as a distinguished companion of the young successor

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of the ruling caliph.

Later on subsequent to the reign of Haroon, in all the following events that happened in the country, Fazl wisely acted his role as an intelligent counsellor or a thoughtful minister of Ma'moon who had appointed him the commander of the army as well as the chief of the civil affairs.

In addition to being an ingenious figure, Fazl was actually a man of letters. He was an expert on astronomy, and was a renowned scholar in this field of science. His brother Hassan, was appointed the governor of Iraq according to the firman (charter) issued by Ma'moon.

Some Exaggerations In Historical Evidences

Despite the available authentic evidences concerning the big role of Fazl Ibn Sahl in persuading Ma'moon to designate Imam Reza(A.S.) as his immediate successor, there exist many deeds and documents which denote the emergence of exaggeration in those historical records.

Fazl, in fact, intended to represent himself as the true heir of Abu-Muslem Khorasani and of Ja'far Barmaki who had formerly displayed themselves as two famous reformists

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at the big events occurred in the history of Islam.

He actually liked to have his name recorded as a hero in

the golden pages of the world history and that was the reason why he had planned to utter the holy name of Imam Reza(A.S.) before Ma'moon, urging him to appoint His Holiness as his immediate vicegerent and successor.

Fazl was an Iranian citizen and Ma'moon's mother was an Iranian woman who had fostered her son in Iran for a long time.

Therefore Ma'moon did not show bigotry toward his Arabian stock, and Fazl had discovered the caliph's indifference in this regard.

Being aware of Ma'moon's pervasive concern for the Alavid especially in the generous being of His Holiness Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.), Fazl decided to use his own diplomatic forces in order to transfer the caliphate from the house of Bani Abbas to the house of Bani Fatima.

Thus he could succeed in leaving a magnificent memorial in the history of the world.

After thinking over what was told in connection with recommending Imam Reza(A.S.), Ma'moon finally submitted to Fazl's proposal, and immediately sent a letter to the governor of Medina, and ordered him to despatch His

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Holiness pompously to Marv.

What has hitherto been said about the influential role of Fazl Ibn Sahl in the designation of Imam Reza(A.S.) as the immediate successor of Ma'moon, is an expression quoted from some Persian writings on the biographies of the Shiite's immaculate Imams.

It seems as if the Iranian writers and historians prefer to exaggerate the personal status of their fellow country men who are known as men of distinction in the course of the world history.

For example some of these historiographers have only recorded the helpful proposal of Salman Farsi in the battle of Khandaq, and likewise have introduced His Holiness Imam Hossein(A.S.) as the son-in-law of the Iranians (His Holiness married a Persian girl), and have also narrated the fight of Ma'moon against his brother Amin under the title of a war from the side of the Iranians waged upon the Arabs.

In other words it has been called the quarrel between "two brothers".

We do not deny the truth concerning the exalted status of the Iranian dignitaries who, after recognizing the veracity of Islam, cordially converted to this divine creed. Those

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distinguished Persian figures sincerely devoted much to

prove their loyalty toward the house of Ali(A.S.).

Ferdowsi the great Persian epic poet has written:

"Although we suffered the caliph's tyranny much, yet we acquired exalted teachings from Ali's(A.S.) House"

Despite all this the impartial historians would have better had avoided exaggerations in their expressions pertaining to the part of the Iranian authorities in the spread of Islam, and in the stabilization of Shiism.

Here the great role of the Arab nobles like Ammar Yaser, Meqdad, Abuzar, Oweis Qarani, Komeil Ibn Ziya Nakhaee, Malik Ibn Hareth-Ashtar Nakhaee and too many other devoted Arab personages might have carelessly been ignored in the promotion and establishment of Shiism!

Fortunately a large number of broad -minded writers and historiographers have not been bigots in narrating the true historical events.

The Historical Deeds and Documents

Excluding the excessive exaggerations propounded in the afore-mentioned lines, some historical evidences have already confirmed the veracity of the influential role of Fazl Ibn Sahl in encouraging Ma'moon to Appoint Imam

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Reza(A.S.) as his immediate successor:

In "Oyoon-Akhbar Reza", Sadooq quotes the view of Salami, the author of "the History of Khorasan", and maintains the verity of this issue.

Ibn -e-Athir also believes that Fazl was a Shiah, and induced Ma'moon to designate His Holiness Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.) as the vicegerent of the seat of the caliphate.

Quoting Abd-Allah Tahir, Beihaqi says:

"On Ma'moon's accession to the throne, Fazl Ibn Sahl enjoined him to observe rights of kinship in connexion with Imam Reza(A.S.).

Thus the young caliph could compensate for his father's crimes, and would hopefully be divinely blessed according to Fazl's exhortations.

Being unable to oppose Fazl's proposal, Ma'moon immediately despatched an expedition to Medina to invite Imam Reza(A.S.) to Marv"

Some other narrations or stories have confirmed the authenticity of Fazl's part in persuading Ma'moon to appoint the Holy Imam as his immediate successor.

Ma'moon Refutes such an Opinion Rayan narrates

On an evening I was admitted to Ma'moon's presence.

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Addressing me the young caliph grumbled at the rumour spread in connexion with the role of Fazl concerning the fulfilment of Imam Reza's(A.S.) designation as the successor and vicegerent of his.

I affirmed the verity of the rumour, and reported the public opinion in this regard.

The caliph suddenly burst into anger, and shouted that no wise powerful ruler would concede the privileges of vicegerency to others. He then explained the reason of his enterprise and told me the story of his vow; something which sounded an invented tale as far as the judgment of keen eyes and ears are concerned.

Some Other Evidences

Many other available evidences confirm Fazl's envy and enmity toward Imam Reza(A.S.).

In the procession of the "Fitr Prayer", it was Fazl who warned Ma'moon of His Holiness Imam Reza's(A.S.) presence among the huge congregation of his followers.

The caliph requested the Holy Imam to return home conceding the practice of that public religious duty to some other official agent.

In his famous work "Ershad", quoting a group of

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historiographers Sheikh Mufid has narrated the following:

"When initially Ma'moon expressed his idea of appointing Imam Reza(A.S.) as his successor or even conceding the seat of the caliphate to His Holiness, Fazl and Hassan the two brothers opposed the caliph's decision, while Ma'moon reminded them of his so-called vow and pledge."

Fazl preferred to have the seat of the caliphate established in Marv rather than in Baghdad. He, in fact, intended to keep Ma'moon unaware of the riots and revolts occurred in Iraq. But Imam Reza(A.S.) tried to inform the young caliph of every probable danger: His Holiness exhorted Ma'moon to beware of Fazl and of his evil plots.

Addressing the caliph, Imam Reza(A.S.) said:

"You have entrusted the state affairs to a person who issues orders contrary to God's decrees".

Eventually Fazl was murdered in a Turkish bath according to Ma'moon's order, and every thing was over.

But Sheikh Sadooq, the celebrated Shiite scholar maintains that despite his superficial tendencies, Fazl did not truly like Imam Reza(A.S.), and the vicegerency of His Holiness.

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A Brief Account on Fazl's Policy

It seems as if Fazl actually tried to deceive both the Holy Imam(A.S.) and Ma'moon. He and his brother Hassan strived to use trickery on those two distinguished figures.

In spite of professing Shiism, the two brothers held much regard for their ideology of "Nationalism". They intended to establish the Islamic state in the east part of Iran, and had plotted to dethrone Ma'moon.

the following story may disclose the variety of ruses and

tricks used by Fazl:

One day accompanied by a friend called Hisham, Fazl had an audience with His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S.). Addressing the Holy Imam(A.S.) Fazl requested His Holiness

to permit an interview in private. He then said:

"I swear that you are in the right, and we all attest that sovereignty is yours. We will kill Ma'moon in order to pave the way for you".

Fazl's statement was alluring. As a powerful agent he could easily manage to murder Ma'moon. But on hearing that mortal suggestion of his, Imam Reza(A.S.) angrily bawled him out, and cursed them all. Those double-dealers suddenly changed the scene and their subject and cunningly told His Holiness of their loyalty to the caliph. They added

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that they merely intended to find out the Holy Imam's personal opinion and judgment about Ma'moon.

Imam Reza(A.S.) seriously looked at them and said:

"You are falsifying. Your intention is vicious, but as soon as you found me against your plot, you decided to change the direction of your discourse."

Fazl and his companion directly went to Ma'moon's place and informed him of their visit with the Holy Imam(A.S.). Distorting the whole story, they told the caliph of their intention on discovering the view of His Holiness in this regard.

Fazl was not really in need of consulting Imam Reza(A.S.) on embarking in the assassination of Ma'moon. He, in fact, intended to introduce His Holiness as an accessory to this crime; some mortal enterprise which would have been judged as high treason by the ordinary people.

Fazl's final intention was but taking the reins of the state in his own hands with no rivals, whether the caliph or the Holy Imam(A.S.).

His big blunder ultimately ended in his own murder according to Ma'moon's command.

These evidences therfore, prove that Fazl's measures were not so effective in the appointment of His Holiness

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Imam Reza(A.S.) as Ma'moon's successor, but we should not ignore the rumours publicly spread in those days in favour of Fazl in the case of the Holy Imam's designation.

The whole power of the state was explicitly placed in the hands of Fazl, and one could easily say that he had been able to do anything he wanted.

Tabari, the famous scholar and historiographer has narrated the following:

"When the news of Imam Reaz's(A.S.) vicegerency was reported to Baghdad,the Bani-Abbas (the members of the house of Abbas) protested the caliph's decision, and announced that they would not let the rule leave their own stock. They maintained that all this had been but Fazl's intrigue.

It was only a guess from their side.

Was Ma'moon Honest in His Proposal?

The second presumption is that on the basis of his faith

and belief, Ma'moon intended to transfer the seat of the caliphate from the house of Abbas to the House of Ali(A.S.) Whose members were in fact the true heirs of caliphate.

They were the immediate successors of His Holiness Mohammad(S.A.W.), the holy Prophet of Islam.

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It is quite clear that through historical records and evidences, Ma'moon had acquired the necessary information in connection with the truth and legitimacy of the rule of the House of Ali(A.S.) over the Muslim community. He had thoroughly recognized the exalted position of His Holiness Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.), and repeatedly reminded Fazl of the vow and covenant he had concluded with God in favour of Imam Reza(A.S.).

In these last lines we actually intend to examine Ma'moon's initial views and purposes in designating Imam Reza(A.S.) as his immediate successor.

He might have changed his optimistic opinion about the Holy Imam(A.S.), and have consequently plotted the device of the murder of His Holiness on account of lust for worldly pomps.

Some Critical Examinations

A number of clear evidences are available here in connection with the disloyalty of Ma'moon toward Imam Reza(A.S.):

(1) Why did he not appoint the Holy Imam(A.S.) as his successor during His Holiness' residing in the city of Medina?

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(2) Then why did Ma'moon persist in calling or inviting

Imam Reza(A.S.) to Marv while His Holiness did not like that sort of summoning?

(3) Why did the tricky caliph issue orders to escort Imam Reza(A.S.) via Basra, Ahwaz and Fars instead of travelling through Kufa and Qum?

(4) Why did he not manage things to cede the seat of the caliphate to the Holy Imam's descendants including Imam Jawad(A.S.).

(5) Why did he use force or threat to induce Imam Reza(A.S.) to accept his proposal?

(6) And why Ma'moon did not cede the post and position of his vicegerency to Imam Jawad(A.S.) after the martyrdom of His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S.)?

(7) Why did he make the Holy Imam(A.S.) return home on his way to the appointed place for public prayer?

(8) On setting out for Baghdad why did Ma'moon not consent to the stay of Imam Reza'(A.S.) in Marv as the deputy of the travelled caliph who was not at that time present in the capital city of the Muslim countries?

The designation of Imam Reza(A.S.) has been undoubtedly Ma'moon's personal device originated in political grounds. But how and why?

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It has sometimes been stated that in order to defame the piety and abstinence of the House of Ali(A.S.), Ma'moon plotted to invite Imam Reza(A.S.) to reside in his royal court for a long period of time. Then the sly caliph intended to captivate His Holiness by the luxuries found in his place. This, Ma'moon thought would have gradually penetrated into the sacred demeanour of the Holy Imam(A.S.); probably changing His Holiness into a secular materialistic figure!!. The people would have consequently withheld their confidence from the House of Ali(A.S.) as Ma'moon imagined!

Despite all this, it is said that Ma'moon had been a clever man who knew much about the exalted and pure personality of the distinguished descendants of His Holiness Ali(A.S.). Nothing could have had impact upon their divine character.

Thus we may assuredly draw the conclusion that the scheme of the designation of His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S.) has been actually a smart political enterprise proceeded by the sly caliph. In order to go into further details for excavating historical facts in connection with this issue, the following examination concerning the socio-political conditions and the state of the caliph's court will be helpful:

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The Abbasid and The Shiite

The accession of the Abbasid caliphs to the throne had undoubtedly been much indebted to the devotion and self-sacrifice of the Iranian gallants who had embraced Islam with deep insight, and had discovered the evil acts committed by the Umayyad rulers.

Those Iranian people had found out that the seat of the

caliphate should have been ceded to the House of the Holy prophet(S.A.W.); to the ones who were known as examples of piety and abstinence.

Yea, the virtue, wisdom and the genuine character of the descendants of His Holiness Ali(A.S.) had intensely appealed to the eyes and hearts of the Muslim Iranians who had risen to concede the privilege of sovereignty to the House of Ali(A.S.).

But soon they encountered another oppressive government (the Abbasid), the ruling officials of which were more cruel and indulged in revelry compared to their preceding counterparts.

It was now too late, although they were sorry for what they had done in favour of the sovereignty of the Abbasid.

Abu Moslem Khorasani, the famous Iranian

commander and reformer, who overthrew the rule of the

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Umayyads and paved the way for the accession of the Abbasid to the throne was ruthlessly murdered by Mansur the cruel and cunning Abbasid caliph.

This was a mortal reward the saviour received from those whom he had faithfully assisted!!

The Alavid's Uprising

These incidents were not completely concluded.

A large number of revolts and movements broke out here and there in favour of the descendants of His Holiness Ali(A.S.).

The people searched to find a member of the House of Ali(A.S.) in order to appoint him as their leader and warlike commander against the ruling Abbasid usurpers.

Ma'moon had no alternative but permanently suffer the state of fear from a probable attack by the Alavid. He might have been in the right -we do not know -; anticipating hazardous dangers from this side. He perhaps could guess the outbreak of some revolts and threatening movements which had not yet appeared, and are not recorded and mentioned in the history of Islam.

In answer to the letters sent by some Abbasid people in connection with their disapproval of Imam Reza's(A.S.)

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vicegerencey, Ma'moon wrote:

"Do you think that I intended to submit the rule to them? (the House of Ali(A.S.)).

No I was on your side, thinking about your prosperous future (the Abbasid people).

But you were all heedless of what was going round you. You were neglectfully indulged in revelry, and were unaware of the schemes planned against you."

(Behar al-Anwar. Vol. 12, page. 63)

Ma'moon's Political Viewpoints

Taking advantage of such a political situation, Ma'moon

decides to appoint Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S.) as his heir and successor.

He finds the Holy Imam(A.S.) twenty years older than he is, and he naturally anticipates that His Holiness will soon die leaving the power for him as before. Thus his political plots will work well as follows (Ma'moon believes):

(a) He succeeded in satisfying the Shiah Alavid by designating Imam Reza(A.S) as the vicegerent of the seat of the caliphate. There would remain no excuse or cause for them to rise against the ruling caliph (Ma'moon himself).

(b) The past crimes committed by his forefathers and

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the oppressions inflicted upon the Alavid, he thought, would

have been compensated through drawing or perhaps attracting the common people's optimistic attention.

(c) Ma'moon had actually kept the Holy Imam(A.S) under his direct watch in Marv.

He knew about the power and popularity of His Holiness, so he plotted to invite Imam Reza(A.S) to Marv, because he was scared of letting His Holiness reside in Medina where the Holy Imam(A.S) could easily manage and run his socio-political activities.

Notwithstanding the fact that Imam Reza(A.S) was actually the heir and successor of the ruling caliph, some detectives and secret agents permanently had His Holiness, residence under surveillance.

The Holy Imam was encircled by too many invisible spies from the side of Ma'moon.

Hisham Ibn Ebrahim was a close companion of His Holiness Imam Reaz(A.S). He was actually the Holy Imam's steward in Medina: accomplishing his task as a financial agent. But when he resided in Marv as an attendant of His Holiness, he was gradually allured by Fazl, and was turned into a secret agent of that powerful minister of the caliph, reporting the Holy Imam's daily affairs to him. Hisham was

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then designated as the doorkeeper and private porter of His Holiness in order to inform Ma'moon of whatever happened in the Holy Imam's dwelling place, and even in his privacy.

(Tanqih al-Maqal, Vol. 3, page 292).

In fact Imam Reza(A.S) was respectably detained and imprisoned by Ma'moon whose descendants followed the same policy and plotted to keep direct eyes on the Imams of the Shiite and on every individual of the House of Ali(A.S).

(d) Imam Reza's exalted dignity was actually a great support for the stability of Ma'moon's rule in Marv. The latter could easily take advantage of the former's comprehensive sagacity. Ma'moon knew that he and his court were desperately in need of having a competent erudite blessed with broad knowledge. His reign coincided with an age of scholarly debates and scientific researches, and new issues along with new findings on the Islamic matters being propounded here and there.

Being aware of Imam Reza's vast field of knowledge, Ma'moon decided to invite His Holiness to Marv, and then designated the Holy Imam as his heir and immediate successor as mentioned in the previous pages of this book.

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Why did Imam Reza(A.S) refuse to be the Caliph?

It has already been mentioned that in his preliminary talks Ma'moon proposed to cede and submit the seat of the caliphate to His Holiness Ali Ibn Musa ar-Reza(A.S) while he intended to hold the post and position of the Holy Imam's vicegerency.

Supposedly, His Holiness agreed to Ma'moon's proposition and acceded to the throne of the caliphate, and little by little deposed that man and other Abbasid officials from their socio-political posts. Then what would have happened? Every orthodox Muslim knows that the politico-spiritual leadership of the Muslim community has always been a divine mission decreed by God.

Then why did Imam Reza(A.S) not consent to become the caliph in order to gain political power for improving and prospering the affairs of the Muslims!?

The smart politicians and secular statesmen would have undoubtedly taken advantages of such available good occasions.

Such opportunists will make the most of the acquired situation, and by taking the reins of the government tight in their hands, will eliminate any obstacle found in their way

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including assumed troublesome people.

Thus they pave the way for their sovereignty at present

and in future.

There exist many examples of this sort in the pages of the history of the world rulers. But His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S) has been a godly figure with no personal aspirations.

Imam Reza(A.S) knew what was in Ma'moon's mind, and was sure of his superficial proposition. To His Holiness the young caliph was not a truthful companion in this bargain.

Who knows what would have happened in case the Holy Imam had accepted Ma'moon's offer!? The sly caliph might have eluded his obligation, and even he could have plotted the murder of His holiness in order to pave the way for his own interest in connection with a new accession to the throne!

Ma'moon's proposition was based on the condition of being Imam Reza's vicegerent and successor if His Holiness had accepted to succeed the ruling caliph (Ma'moon himself).

In this case the Holy Imam had directly ratified the competence of Ma'moon as a qualified heir and official successor for the seat of the caliphate and then other

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Abbasid claimants were alternatively free to rise and demand some invented rights in connection with the accession to the throne.

It must be noticed that as soon as Ma'moon was appointed the vicegerent, even the Holy Imam could not depose him, nor could His Holiness murder him under the pretext of some political intrigues.

Imam Reza(A.S) was, in fact, a godly figure, and not a politician in its ordinary sense.

Besides, the phenomenon of designation and deposal of the Muslim caliphs and of their successors has been originated in the divine decrees according to the belief of the immaculate Imams of the Shiite Muslims.

Then how could Imam Reza(A.S) consent to the appointment of Ma'moon as a so-called crown- prince!? At best us let finally assume that Ma'moon was truthful in his offer (he was not), and let us take it for granted that everything was apparently well accomplished.

The Holy Imam(A.S) could not then reach his exalted final goal; an obligation which was divinely put on his shoulders.

Now after the lapse of a couple of centuries since the age of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.), how could Imam Reza(A.S)

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agree to Ma'moon's proposition in connection with accession to the throne and rule over a perplexed Muslim community which had suffered years of agony under the yoke of the cruel and free liver Ummayyads and Abbasid caliphs!?

It is quite clear that His Holiness could not be indifferent and silent in confrontation with the crimes and injustices committed by the existing officials and agents of the ruling caliph.

"Sovereingty tastes sweet when justice is administered and oppression is uprooted." used to say Imam Ali(A.S).

Why did the Holy Imam(A.S) accept vicegerency?

Different questions have hitherto been raised in connection with Imam Reza's consent to be Ma'moon's heir and successor.

The following lines convey some direct quotations of the Holy Imam's discourses and interviews with a number of people who really wanted to find out the fact about the cause and reason of the agreement of His Holiness to be designated as the caliph's vicegerent:

*Addressing Imam Reza(A.S), Mohammad Ibn Orfa once

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asked His Holiness of the reason the Holy Imam(A.S) had accepted Ma'moon's vicegerency.

"For the same cause Ali(A.S) my great grandfather accepted to be a member of the famous "Designation Council" (held after the decease of Omar" replied Imam Reza(A.S).

* (Oyoon Akhbar Reza, Vol. 2, Page. 140)

* Reyan Ibn Salt has narrated that once he had

reported the public rumours to His Holiness; quoting the people's contradictory views on the piety of the Holy Imam(A.S) and the acceptance of the vicegerency of the ruling caliph.

"God knoweth the truth. I was forcibly pushed in a junction: I had to make my choice of either accepting the caliph's offer or his mortal threat of assassination".

* (Oyoon Akhbar Reza, Vol. 2, Page. 139).

Yasir Khadem (the private attendant) has related his direct witnessing in connection with the posture of His Holiness Imam Reza's demeanour subsequent to his accession to the high post and position of the caliph's vicegerency.

"O Lord! Thou knowest that I had force on me to submit to this proposition. I beseech Thee not call me to account, just as Thou reproved not Thy servant Prophet Joseph for his

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accepting the rule of Egypt." implored the Holy Imam(A.S)

(Behar al Anwar, Vol. 12, Page, 37.)

Likewise "Mufid" in "Ershad" (Page. 290) and "Abel Faraj" in "Maqatel-al-Talebin" have remarked the historical case of Imam Reza's appointment. They have mentioned that Ma'moon menaced His Holiness to accept his offer; reminding the Holy Imam(A.S) of the submission of Ali(A.S) to Omar's forcible proposition in being a member of that "Council".

Shaykh Saduq (R.A.) has also related the following direct quotation from Ma'moon.

"You permanently reject my proposition, you think that my indignation will not inflict any harm on you. I swear in case you refuse to be my heir and successor (crown prince), you will receive a mortal stroke from my side!!"

Elal-al-Sharaya, Vol. 1, page 266)

After The Vicegerency

The Related Reactions:

The appointment of His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S) relatively suppressed the revolts and movements of the Alavid just as Ma'moon had previously anticipated the desirable results.

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The designation of the Holy Imam(A.S) rejoiced all the Iranians who sincerely respectd the honourable descendants of Holy Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.). And yet some contradictory protestations were demonstrated here and there in Marv and in other places in connection with this issue.

Those who could find their illegal interests under the protection of the Abbasid rule, and those criminals who had prorated the high official posts of the state among themselves were now alarmed by Imam Reza's designation.

They were intensely displeased with this appointment.

* Three military commanders of Ma'moon's army

strongly opposed the Holy Imam's vicegerency. The caliph inevitably imprisoned them, and according to some historical evidences they were ultimately sentenced to death.

* (Oyoon-Akhbar Reza, Vol.2, Page 159)

Later on oppositions were widely displayed in Baghdad (the main capital of the caliphate), and there the averse wing of the Abbasid assembled and dethroned Ma'moon, and appointed his uncle as the ruling caliph with whom they swore allegiance.

These incidents and many other social occurrences were not roported to Ma'moon.

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It is said that Fazl Ibn Shal the powerful minister seriously tried to conceal such pieces of news and information from Ma'moon who more or less knew about the activities of the opposition wing against his procedures. He could not openly tell his relatives of his personal policy, and consequently he had to comply with them and their reactions.

Fazl's Policy was Disapproved

Fazl's extreme socio-political power was a major factor

which helped the accretion and spread of those afore-mentioned oppositions.

He recklessly acted as a despotic ruler, although he was

apparently Ma'moon's chancellor.

He had wad also gained the caliph's confidence and thus he had succeeded in taking the reins of military and civil affairs of the state in his own hands. Ma'moon trusted Fazl who had paved the way for his succession to the throne.

The caliph had actually turned into a formal sovereign,

ceding the state affairs to Fazl.

In short the unlimited personal power of Fazl and his despotic policy were not approved by many Abbasid chiefs

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who could do nothing against that powerful man.

They feared lest they would have either been dismissed or even doomed to death.

Fazl's Clandestine Acts

Fazl Ibn Sahl always tried to conceal the news of these

incidents from Ma'moon, because most of them were actually the effects of his despotic diplomacy. And a great number of those evil events originated in his brother's misdeeds spread all over Iraq where he ws the governor. Fazl, in fact, did not like to let Ma'moon be informed of what usually happened in Iraq. He feared lest the caliph would decide to move there or even shift his seat of the caliphate from Marv to Baghdad.

Eventually a number of military commanders of Ma'moon's army assembled and formed an allied front against Fazl's harmful despotism. His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S) was their only hope who could freely visit Ma'moon in privacy.

The caliph in his turn had much confidence in the Holy Imam's righteousness, and thus nobody including Fazl could easily ackbite His Holiness.

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The Holy Imam(A.S) Informs Ma'moon

Ibn Khaldoon says:

"The chief commanding officers of the army were permitted to Imam Reza's audience, requesting His Holiness to inform Ma'moon of the facts existing in the social conditions of the country" (Ibn Khaldoon vol, 3, page 249)

It is not yet quite clear that whether Fazl had been a selfish power-seeking person who endeavoured to safeguard Ma'moon's rule, or he intended to gradually demolish the structure of the Arab's sovereignty due to his having excessive concern for his racial identity.

The historical records and evidences are in fact, ambiguous in relation to this issue.

But some available findings prove that Fazl's policy was

not in accordance with the interests of the Muslim community, and in Imam Reza's opinion his personal procedure was but a threat to the Islamic society.

In spite of his announced conditions in connection with not interfering in the governmental affairs including the employment or dismissal of the state officials while being designated as Ma'moon's heir and successor, Imam Reza(A.S) permanently tried to protect the rights and interests of the Muslim community, even though his own interests might

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have been put at stake. His Holiness used to follow the

exalted instructions of Imam Ali(A.S), and put into action whatever his great grand-father performed for safeguarding the stability of Islam and the Islamic society.

Thus ImamReza(A.S) realized that he should have informed Ma'moon of Fazl's obstinacy and of his clandestine activities which created revolts and rebels here and there in the Muslim cities and in the other places being under the dominance of the Islamic state.

According to shaykh Sadooq's quoting the result of the visit and conversation happened between Imam Reza(A.S) and Ma'moon has not yet been disclosed to the historiographers.

Addressing Ma'moon the Holy Imam(A.S) said:

"O Caliph! fear God in relation to your task and your responsibility for the Muslim community so long as you have occupied the seat of the caliphate. You have spoiled the affairs of the Muslim individuals since appointing a wrong-doer as your counsellor who rules over people in disguise of an apostate!! You are residing in Marv, and you do not know about what happens in the main centre and capital of Muslim lands.

The oppressed are not able to be supported by your protection. O caliph! fear God, and remember that the ruler

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of the Muslim community must live in a place within the reach of all the subjects of the country."

"What am I supposed to do?"asked Ma'moon.

"Move to the capital of the country, and do not leave the public affairs to incompetent officials, because you are accountable before providence". replied His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S)

(Behar, vol. 12, page 49, Quoted from Oyoon Akhbar Reza)

Tabarsi relates the following:

"Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S) rendered Ma'moon a full account in relation to the dissatisfactions of some groups of the people and the emergence of several anarchical movements here and there in the Muslim lands. Ma'moon inquired whether such revolts or incidents had been known to other people. His Holiness named a number of army commanders who awfully feared Fazl's vengeance and requested the caliph to give them papers of quarter in order to be safe and sound from any probable harm from the side of Fazl and his agents."

(Tabarsi, Vol. 8, page 564)

Ma'moon began to ponder. He found himself snared, as was his father trapped in the net of the Barmakids.

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Haroon could seize the opportunity of eradicating all the members of the house of Barmak who had gathered too near to him. But how could Ma'moon get rid of Fazl who lived in Marv and of his brother Hassan who was at that time in Iraq?

Ma'moon, in fact, feared the socio-political position of

Fazl, and according to Tabarsi's narration subsequent to being informed of the complaint of those army commanders who had reported him to the caliph, Fazl did not pay any attention to the afore-mentioned letter of quarter, and ordered his men to torture those military officers. In answer to the protest of Imam Reza(A.S) in relation to this violation Ma'moon confessed that he had to compromise with Fazl.

This historical narration denotes how greatly Ma'moon feared the menacing power of Fazl who in his own turn was terribly scared of going to Baghdad where his numerous crimes might have publicly been disclosed. He requested the caliph to let him stay in Marv, but his proposition was rejected by Ma'moon. He lastly besought to be granted a letter of quarter with the seal and signature of the caliph.

Ma'moon agreed to his last request, and issued orders for preparing the required deeds and documents in relation to this issue.

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Too many ownership documents of real estates and large numbers of registered properties were donated to Fazl according to Ma'moon's command. The high-ranking courtiers and some other erudites also endorsed and testified the validity of Fazl's letter of quarter.

Fazl was not yet contented. He actually wanted to have Imam Reza's seal set to that official paper. Ma'moon reminded him of His Holiness' pre-conditioned issues not to interfer in the state affairs. The caliph, however , let him free to go to the Holy Imam(A.S) for his request. While having an audience with Imam Reza(A.S) Fazl entreated His Holiness to listen to the contents of those official papers. When the reading was over the Holy Imam(A.S) said:

"As long as you remain virtuous, I will justify the validity

of these deeds and documents."

No more words were uttered.

On his taking leave of His Holiness Fazl looked greatly


(Behar, Vol. 12,page 49)

The Murder Case of Fazl Ibn Sahl

Departing from Marv

The caravan of the ruling caliphleft Marv and set out

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for Baghdad. The distinguished passengers of this caravan

were Ma'moon the Abbasid caliph, His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S) the heir and successor of the caliph, and Fazl Ibn Sahl the minister and commander of the civil and military forces of the country.

No soul could guess what was in the minds of those three travellers, and the historical records and evidences have not yet explicitly denoted their decisions for the subsequent years. But the socio-political conditions of those days roughly clarify the subject of our discussion in this regard:

Ma'moon is now pondering on his present and future status. He intends to go to Baghdad capital city where his forefathers used to rule.

He, also wants to summon and gather the Arab chiefs who have devotedly endeavoured to safeguard the rule of his father as well as his own sovereignty.

But those high-ranknig people do not like Fazl and his proceedings, because he has already dismissed lots of them from official posts and has taken the reins of the government in his own hands. Apart from all this His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S) is now holding the high position of vicegerency and is designated as Ma'moon's successor.

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Then how can the ruling caliph acquire the intimacy and support of the Abbasid people who have actually been ignored by him!?

Nay! it is not wise for Ma'moon to go on such a journey; being accompanied by the active power of Fazl and the being of Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar Reza(A.S) two big bothersome companions, as he thought.

What would have happened if these two men were accidentally killed!?

Then Ma'moon could take a fresh breath!!

But how? What about the friends and followers of Imam Reza(A.S)?

How could he manage to suppress the powerful agents of Fazl and the Persian army?

Let him be lenient and wise for the moment.

Likewise Fazl Ibn Sahl was afraid of going to Baghdad despite the presence of his brother Hassan who was the governor general of Iraq at that time, and had suppressed all the revolts and detained all the rebels.

Then how could Fazl manage to give Ma'moon convincing answers if he would have been impeached by him!?

Being smartly cautious he had received some papers of

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quarter from the caliph in advance. But there was something

in his mind which persuaded him to get rid of the whole.

The Blood Bath

The incident occurred in Sarakhs.

Fazl had received a letter from his brother Hassan who had written about some astrological calculations he had experimented in connection with the fate and future of him.

He had alarmed Fazl of an ominous event, and had enjoined him to go to a Turkish bath in company with Imam Reza(A.S) and Ma'moon. This he had indicated would have nullified that sinister incident.

Fazl sent the same letter to Ma'moon requesting him to agree to go to a Turkish bath attended by himself and in company of His Holiness Imam Ali Ibn Musa-ar-Reza(A.S) on the appointed day. Ma'moon informed the Holy Imam(A.S) of the contents of that letter, and demanded the consent of His Holiness.

In reply to the caliph's letter Imam Reza(A.S) expressed his opposition to giong to the Turkish bath, and exhorted Ma'moon and Fazl to cancel their decision too.

The Holy Imam(A.S) wrote to the caliph that he had seen in a dream the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) enjoining all the three of

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them not to go to that Turkish bath on the following day.

Ma'moon obeyed the Holy Imam's direction, but being unaware of everything, Fazl entered the Turkish bath and provided the means of cupping. A gang of invaders with unsheathed sabres suddenly rushed in, and killed Fazl on the spot.

The news of this assassination soon spread in the city,

and the military forces or loyal agents of Fazl gathered round the dwelling place or palace of Ma'moon for ransom and vengeance.

The caliph apparently expressed his sadness and immediately ordered his men to detain the assassins and alloted a sum of 10,000 dinars as the prize to be awarded to the ones who could find them.

The murderers formed a group of four private servants of Ma'moon, and were executed according to his prompt command.

Those four criminals could not seize the proper opportunity to defend themselves, because they have been designated by Ma'moon himeself to commit the murder.

Ma'moon was not yet satisfied, so he summoned some other military officials, and after having them questioned he sentenced them to death. The victims were actually

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The severed heads of those slain men were despatched to Baghdad for Hassan.

By an official letter Hassan was appointed as Ma'moon's minister and the commander of his army. Ma'moon cunningly intended to condole him and suppress his anguish.

Further Investigations

Was this letter truly sent by Hassan?

In case he was the sender who thereby intended to inform Fazl of some evil incident, then why had he written about the going of Imam Reza(A.S) and Ma'moon to that Turkish bath?

And why Ma'moon accepted that unusual invitation?

And why did this caliph insist on taking the Holy Imam(A.S) with himself to the bath-house?

That letter might have been a forged document prepared by Ma'moon himself who had viciously planned to murder Imam Reza(A.S) and Fazl in the bath.

Probably Fazl himself might have forged that mysterious

letter with the intention of killing Ma'moon, but he was fated to be killed instead.

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The Martyrdom of Imam Reza(A.S)

Without the being and presence of Fazl the imperial caravan of Ma'moon left Sarakhs and set out for Baghdad.

The vicious caliph was not yet satisfied, and plotted how

to murder Imam Reza(A.S) too.

Some narrations have confirmed that from the beginning of his residence in Marv, the Holy Imam(A.S) had been permanently under Ma'moon's direct surveillance.

Few people were allowed to visit His Holiness, and the situation seemed as if the Holy Imam(A.S) was imprisoned according to the order of the caliph. The guards or the watchmen who were apparently the attendants of Imam Reza(A.S), did not let the earnest people visit His Holiness under the pretext of an invented story reporting that the Holy Imam(A.S) had been unceasingly busy praying and performing his religious services.

Finally Ma'moon decided to murder Imam Reza(A.S), but he plotted to commit the murder so latently that no body could have suspected him. He also planned to be superficially kind to the son of the Holy Imam(A.S) in order to hide himself beneath a mask of friendliness.

A number of great scholars like Sadooq, Sheikh Mofid and Abolfaraj Esfahani have authentically proved

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Ma'moon's guilt in this murder case.

Ma'moon then sent a letter to his kinsmen who resided in Baghdad, and reported the entire tragic event of the demise of ImamReza(A.S) to them. "You all blamed me of having him appointed to my succession, Now he is deceased, and it is your turn to submit to my sovereignty."

Imam Reza's indisposition and His Poisoned State:

In order to poison His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S), Ma'moon chose the best way so carefully as not to leave a clue behind.

First he managed to the Holy Imam(A.S) with poisonous grapes, and then he Cunningly induced His Holiness to drink venomed pomegranate juice at the time Imam Reza(A.S) was resting in his bed due to some unknown indisposition.

The Holy Imam knew everything about that intrigue, and when a companion entered to ask about his health the innocent Holy Imam reported the murderous attempt of Ma'moon.

The Last Moments of the Life of the Holy Imam(A.S)

In his last day in this world, after saying his noon prayer

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Imam Reza(A.S) summoned his private servant and inquired whether the other servants had their lunch.

"My lord, how can we eat food when we witness you seriously ill in bed!?" answered the man

On hearing this statement the tender heart of the Holy Imam(A.S) was profoundly impressed, and His Holiness tried to muster up his energy in order to be able to eat some food in the company of his loyal attendants. While having lunch the Holy Imam(A.S) affectionately talked with each servant of his and caused the joy of all.

Suddenly His Holiness was seized by some intensive languor, and consequently fainted.

The holy soul of the Holy Imam pompously departed to heaven and the entire world of faith and sincerity fell into lamentation.

His Holiness lived about 55 years in this temporal world.

The Funeral Procession and Burial Ceremony of the Holy Corpse of Imam Reza(A.S)

On hearing the demise of His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S) Ma'moon hurriedly entered the dwelling place of the Holy Imam(A.S) and in a confused state he began to lament over

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the holy body of His Holiness.

Many People had gathered round the house of the departed Holy Imam(A.S) with tearful eyes and moanful miens. They murmured about the role of Ma'moon whom they believed might have been the murderer.

Being scared of a funeral procession at daytime, Ma'moon contrived to have the burial ceremony done in the dark of night.

He ordered his men to inter the Holy corpse of Imam Reza(A.S) by the side of the grave of Haroon (Ma'moon's dead father) which was situatd somewhere in Humaid Ibn Qahtaba's garden.

The present shrine of His Holiness Imam Reza(A.S) is a sacred centre of pilgrimage for the visitors who earnestly arrive in the city of Mashhad.

Th large extent of this city has been once a small village

called: "Sanabad".

Hearing the sad news of Imam Reza's martyrdom, Debel Khozae, the celebrated Arab poet wrote an elegy in praise and commemoration of His Holiness. The following is a translated theme of the purport of that famous ode:

"Two graves are located in Toos. One belongs to the best man, while the other is occupied by the worst creature. This

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serves as an example for others.

That wicked spirit can gain no benefit from its nearness

to the pure body of the Holy Imam(A.S) and the sacred corpse of His Holiness will not be polluted by its foul neighbour!"

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