Islamic Thought

Ahlul Bayt

The Lamp of Allah - Imam Reza (a.s.)

"We gave the Book an Inheritance to Our Chosen Servants" (Quran: 35:32)

"I say that the Allah the Blessed refers to the immaculate progeny of the Prophet exclusively." (Imam Reza a.s.)

When Imam Reza, peace be on him, was born, the earth shone; waves of delight and happiness spread through the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Household. As for Imam al-Kazim, he received with more delight the news of the birth of his blessed baby, so he hurried to his wife and congratulated her on her baby, saying: “I congratulate you, Najma. It is a mark of nobility for you from your Lord!"

Imam al-Kazim took his blessed baby, folded it with a white piece of cloth, and performed the religious rites for it. He said the adhan in its right ear, said the iqama in its left ear, called for sweet water and rubbed its lower jaw with it, and then he returned it to its mother and said to her: “Take it, for it is the rest (baqiyat) of Allah on His earth.[1]"

The first picture which the Prophet’s grandson (Imam Reza, peace be on him) saw in the world of existence was that of his father, the Imam of the Allah-fearing and leader of the monotheists; and the first voice which he heard was:
“Allah is Great!"
“There is no god but Allah!"
These brilliant words are the secret of existence and song of the Allah-fearing.

Imam al-Kazim, peace be on him, named his blessed baby with the name of his grandfather Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, that he might get blessing seek good omen in this name, which stood for the greatest personality created in the world of Islam and had all good qualities of the world.

He inherited the knowledge of his grandfather the Messenger of God (S.A.W.), thus becoming its pioneering fountainhead that quenched the thirst of those who were thirsty for knowledge. History narrates a great deal of his scholarly stances and intellectual discourses in which he achieved victory over those who opposed the Divine Message, excelling in various branches of scholarship with which he provided the seekers of knowledge and the thinkers of the time.

As for the solemnity of Imam Reza(A.S.); faces were humbled in fear of it, for it was similar to that of the prophets and the testamentary trustees (of authority) whom Allah clothed in His light. All those who saw him respected him. An example of his solemnity was that when he sat with the people or rode off with them, none was able to raise his voice because of his great solemnity.

As for the qualities of Imam Reza(A.S.),they represent all virtues. All noble qualities gathered in him. Allah endowed him with all outstanding qualities just as He endowed his great fathers. He endowed him with nobility and made him an eminent figure for the community of his grandfather (the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family). So the Imam guided the perplexed and the straying (to the truth), and he enlightened minds. They following are some of his noble qualities:
As for the noble traits of Imam Reza(A.S.), they were part of those of his grandfather, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, by which he was distinguished from the rest of the prophets. Through his exalted manners, (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, was able to develop man and saved him from the ill traits of those who lived in the pre-Islamic period. As for Imam Reza(A.S.),he had the high noble qualities of his grandfather. Concerning his noble traits, Ibra`hïm b. al-'Abba`s has said:

"I have never seen nor have I ever heard that there is a person more meritorious than Abu` al-Hasan Imam Reza(A.S.).He never turned away from anyone; nor did he interrupt anyone; nor did he refuse to do someone a favor he was able to do; nor did he ever stretch out his leg before an audience; nor did he ever lean upon something while his companion did not; nor did he ever call any of his servants or attendants a bad name ; nor did he ever spit or burst into laughter; rather, his laughter was just a smile. When he was ready to eat, he seated with him all his attendants, including the doorman and the groom. He slept little at night. He spent most of his nights from begging to end (in praying or reciting the Qur'a`n). He did abundant charity, most of which was at dark nights."

These words display the Imam's noble moral traits, which are as follows:

  1. He did not turn away from any of the people, whether they were his friends or his enemies; rather, he received them warmly and smiled at them.
  2. He did not interrupt anyone while he was speaking; rather, he let him talk until he finished his talking.
  3. Among his exalted morals is that he did not stretch out his legs before those who sat with him; rather, he sat politely.
  4. He did not lean upon something while his associate did not.
  5. He did not call any of his retainers or attendants a bad name even if they mistreated him.
  6. He did not show haughtiness toward them; rather, he seated them with him when he was ready to eat.
  7. He prayed abundantly and spent his nights in praying and reciting the Book of Allah.
  8. He did a lot of good for the poor; he gave alms to them at dark nights lest none should recognize him.

These are some of the Imam's noble moral traits which Ibra`hïm b. al-'Abbas had witnessed. Another example of his morals is that when he undertook regency, the most exalted office in Islamic state, he did not order any of his supporters and retainers to carry out his many affairs; rather, he himself carried them out. The narrators have said:

"When he was in need of taking a bath, he hated to order anyone to prepare the bath for him. He went to the public bath-house in the city. The owner of the bath-house never thought that the deputy (of al-Ma'mu`n) would come to a public bath-house and wash in it; rather, he thought that the kings would take a bath in their own houses. When the Imam entered the bath-house, there was a soldier in it. The soldier removed the Imam from his place and ordered him to pour water on his head, and the Imam did. Then a man who recognized the Imam entered the bath-house, and he shouted at the soldier, saying: 'You have ruined yourself! Why have you ordered the son of the daughter of Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, to give you a massage?' So the soldier felt extremely embarrassed; he kissed the Imam's foot and apologized to him, saying: 'O Son of Allah's Messenger, why did you obey me when I ordered you?' However, the Imam smiled at him and said to him gently. 'It is a reward. I did not want to disobey you in what I was rewarded.' "

Another example of his exalted morals is that when he was ready to eat, he seated with him his retainers even the doorman and the groom. In this manner he taught them that there was no color discrimination among men, and that they were equal. Ibra`hïm b. al-'Abbas has said: " I heard 'Ali b. Mu`sa` al-Reza` saying: 'I swear by emancipation and when I swore by it, I would emancipate one of my slaves till I emancipated each and everyone of them that I do not see myself as better than that (and he pointed to a black slave of his who remained in his service) on account of my kinship to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, except if I do a good deed which would render me better."

A man said to him: "By Allah, no person on the face of earth is nobler than you in father." He, peace be on him, said: "Reverential fear made them noble and obedience to Allah preserved them."

Another person said to him: "By Allah, you are the most meritorious of the people."

The Imam Reza(A.S.) answered him, saying: "Do not exaggerate; he who fears Allah and obeys Him is better than me. By Allah this verse has not been abrogated:

'O men! Surely we have created you of a male and female, and made you nations and tribes that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the most Allah-fearing of you; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware."

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