Question 642: Can you please let us know the Brief Biography of Imam Ali bin Musa al-Ridha / Imam Ali al-Reza peace be upon him with reliance on trustworthy sources? Thanks in advance.

Answer 642: Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Reza (A.S.), the eighth Shi’ite Holy Imam was born on 11th Zee al-Qa’adah 148 A.H. in the holy city of Medina.[1]

His wife was Sabikah. It is said that He had another wife beside Sabikah as Mamun suggested him to get married to his (mamun) daughter, in order to get closer to the Imam (as). Her name was Umm Habib. [2]

Imam had five sons and one daughter. They were: Muhammad Qane’, Hassan, Jaafar, Ebrahim, Hussain and Aisha.[3]

‘Alī bin Mūsā al-Riḍā (P.B.U.H.) is the son of Mūsā bin Ja’far. His mother’s name was Taktam who after the birth of Imam Riḍā (P.B.U.H.) was named as Tāhira. What is significant in this regard is that all Islamic denominations are unanimous on the fact that Riḍā (P.B.U.H.) is the son of Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H. & H.F.). This fact is being testified by Hākim Neyshābūrī who says, “One of the greatest honors and virtues of ‘Alī bin Mūsā al-Riḍā (P.B.U.H.) is that he is a descendant of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.).”; He insists that it is believed by Sunnites as well.[4]

Imam Ridha’ (as) was 35 years old when his father died in prison of Harun al-Rashid in Baghdad and the responsibilities of the Imamate devolved on him.[5]

He was divinely entitled ‘Al-Reza”(meaning that Allah, the Almighty and His Holy Messenger (SAW) were deeply pleased with him). The Imam (A.S.) is also considered as the Aalim (the Greatest Erudite) of the Holy Ahlul Bayt (pbuth).

When the Imam (as) traveled from Medina to Marw as the “successor of the khalifah” he aroused an amazing enthusiasm among the people all through his journey, particularly in Iran. The people rushed from everywhere to meet him, eagerly surrounded him, and learned the teachings and precepts of Islam.

The followings are some places where the Imam passed through from Medina to Marw: Medina, Naqarah, Hawsajah, Nabaj, Hafr e Abu Musa, Basra, Ahwaz, Bihbahan, Estakhr, Abakuh, Deh Shir (Farashah), Yazd, Kharaneq, Rubat Posht e Baam, Neyshabour, Qadamgah, Deh Sorkh, Tus, Serakhs, Marw.[6]

By the unprecedented and surprising attention that the people paid to the Imam (as), al-Ma’mun found out that his policy was erroneous. In order to make reparation for his political failure, al-Ma’mun poisoned and martyred al-‘Imam al-Ridha’ (as). Afterwards, the old policy of the khulafa’ towards the Ahl al-Bayt (as) and their Shi\’ah followers was again pursued.[7]

So, the Imam (as) was poisoned by Mamun, the Abbasid caliph in Sanabad, in Toos region (Khurasan). And martyred on the last day of the month of Safar 203 A.H./ 818 A.D. and was buried in Sanabad village.[8]

On the Happy and Auspicious Occasion of the Birthday Anniversary of Imam Reza (A.S.) we extend our Heartiest Felicitations and Happy Greetings to all the lovers of the Holy Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) in all over the world.

For further information on this issue, please read the following answer:

Index: Going for Hajj or Ziyarat of Imam Hussain or Imam Reza (pbuth), answer 124.

Index: Ziyarat of Imam Hussain when you are far away from Karbala, answer 057.

Index: Importance of Marifat Imam / Definition of Marifat, answer 283.

May Allah, the Almighty grant you success, health and a long blessed life.

The Ask Islam Team

[1] . Kulayni, al-Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 486; Sadouq, Oyoun Akhbar al-Rida as, 1378 A.H, Vol. 1, Pg. 13; Mufid, al-Irshad, Vol. 2, Pg. 261; Tabarsi, Aalam al-Wara bi Aalam al-huda, 1417 A.H, Vol 2, Pg. 64.

[2] . Tabarsi, Aalam al-Wara bi Aalam al-Huda, 1417 A.H, Vol. 2, Pg. 91; Kulaini, al-Kafi, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah, Vol. 1, Pg. 492; Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 7, Pg. 149; Soyouti, Tarikh al-Khulafa, 1425 A.H, Pg. 226.

[3] . FadlAllah, Tahlili az Zendegani Imam Reza (as), Pg. 44.

[4] . Jaafariyan, Hayat Fekri wa Siyasi Imamn Shia, Pgs. 425-426; Sadouq, Oyoun Akhbar al-Rida as, 1378 A.H, Vol. 1, Pgs. 14-41.

[5] . Tabarsi, Aalam al-Wara, bi Aalam al-Huda, 1417 A.H, Vol. 2, Pgs. 41-42.

[6] . Mutahari, Majooeh Athar Ustad Shahid Murtadha Mutahari, Vol. 18, Pg. 124; Jaafariyan, Atlas Shia, Pg. 95; Sadouq, Ma’ani al-Akhbar, 1403 A.H, Pg. 371.

[7] . Kulayni, al-Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 486; Aameli, al-Hayat al-Siyasiyyah lil Imam al-Ridha, 1430 A.H, Pg. 169; Tabarsi, Aalam al-Wara bi Aalam al-Huda, 1417 A.H, Vol. 2, Pg. 41; Al-Qurashi, Hayat al-Imam Ali bin Musa al-Ridha, 1429 A.H, Vol. 2, Pgs. 503-504; Mufid, al-Irshad, Vol. 2, Pg. 270.

[8] . Mufid, al-Irshad, Vol. 2, Pg. 271.

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