Imam Ali Ar-ridha (a)

Once when our 8th Imam, Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) was travelling through a town called Nishapur, the people of the town asked Imam (A) to tell them a hadith from the Prophet (S).

Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) told them the following hadith:

"My father Musa al-Kadhim (A) told me, from his father Ja'far as-Sadiq (A), from his father Muhammad al-Baqir (A), from his father Ali Zainul Abideen (A), from his father the martyr of Kerbala (Husain) (A), from his father Ali ibn Abu Talib (A), from the Holy Prophet (S). from Jibrail, from Allah:

"The Kalima of La ilaha illallah is My fort, and whosoever says it will enter My fort, and whosoever enters My fort is safe from My punishment."

This hadith is known as the golden chain hadith. This is because each member of the chain was a Ma'sum. The people of Nishapur began reciting the Kalima. Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) continued, that there was one condition to the safety in this fort and that was that they had to obey and follow the Imams (A).

Moral:

Just to say something will be of no use. Only when you understand what you are saying and believe in it enough to follow it then will it be of use to you.

The king at the time of our 7th Imam, Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) was Ma'mun.

Ma'mun had forced Imam (A) to take the position of his heir apparent (i.e. Imam (A) was supposed to take over as king after Ma'mun); because he wanted to be accepted by the Shias.

Although Imam (A) did not want to take this position, he made full use of it to preach Islam openly.

To show to the people how much he thought of Imam (A), Ma'mun changed the colour of his court from black to green (the colour of the Imams (A).), he also had new coins made with Imam Ali ar-Ridha's (A) name on it.

Each Imam (A) is remembered for a specific thing: eg.4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (A) - In illness. 6th Imam, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A) - For sustenance. And in the same way our 8th Imam, Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) is called upon when someone is about to go on a journey.

When you go on journeys you take with you something called Imam-e-Zaamin (another name for Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A)) which is some money tied in a cloth. This tradition probably came from the time of Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) when people used to carry money with them especially because it had Imam's (A) name on it.

As Ma'mun had had coins minted with the name of Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) on them, it was very easy for the Muslims to carry the name of Imam (A) with them, especially when they went on journeys.

There is a hadith of the Prophet that when you travel you should give charity (sadqa). So is it not better to give the money of Imam-e-Zaamin before you go on your journey rather than when you get back, so that it may reach the poor quicker.

It is said that the Sura of Tawheed (Sura Ikhlas) if written and cut into two halves, one given to the traveller and the other left at his home, will always come together again and so ensure the safe journey of the traveller.

Moral:

  1. Make best use of your circumstances.
  2. Give Sadaqa to avoid calamities.

Our 8th Imam, Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) is also known as Imam Zaamin (A). Zaamin means safety.

One day when Imam (A) was walking he came across a hunter who was about to kill a deer. The deer was trying to get away and when she saw Imam (A) she said something to him.

Imam asked the hunter to free the deer so that she could go and feed her little baby deer who were very hungry. Imam (A) also told the hunter that once the deer had fed her babies she would come back.

The hunter allowed the deer to go because Imam (A) had told him to, but he did not think she was coming back, so Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) waited with the hunter until the deer returned with her young ones. She asked Imam (A) to look after her babies.

The people of king Ma'mun were very angry that he had made our 8th Imam, Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A), his heir.

To show Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) that they did not respect him, the servants of Ma'mun decided that when Imam (A) came to the court they would not open the doors, or lift up the curtains for Imam (A) to pass through.

That day when Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) came to the court, the doors and curtains were opening by themselves for Imam (A) under the command of Allah.

The servants became very scared and ashamed and resumed their duty of opening the doors and curtains for Imam (A).

Moral:

No-one can do anything to you when Allah is looking after you, as Allah is the most powerful and in control of everything.