Imam Ali Rida (203, Iran)

Imām ʿAlī Riḍā ʿalaihi as-salām was the eighth Imām in the Golden Chain of twelve Imams. His epithet was Abu’l-Ḥasan and title was Riḍā. He was the son and successor of Imām Mūsā Kāẓim. He was born in Madīnah on Thursday 11 Rabīʿ al-Awwal 153 AH (15 March 770) [Shawāhid an-Nubuwwah].

He was one of the top scholars of Hadīth, and many scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah have narrated Ḥadīths from him. Ḥāfiẓ Ibn-Ḥajar ʿAsqalānī has mentioned the names of the narrators of Ḥadīth who have heard directly from him [Bārā Imām].

Imām Ibn-Mājah narrates a Ḥadīth in his well-known Sunan Ibn Mājah:

I was informed by Sahl ibn Abī-Sahl and Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl, who both were informed by Abd as-Salām ibn Ṣāliḥ Abu’ṣ-Ṣalt al-Hirawī, who was informed by ʿAlī ibn Mūsā ar-Riḍā, by his father (Mūsā al-Kazīm), by Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad (Ṣādiq), by his father (Muḥammad Bāqir), by ʿAlī ibn Ḥusayn, by his father (Imām Ḥusayn), by ʿAlī ibn Abī-Ṭālib, who said, the Messenger of Allāh said, may peace be upon him:

“Faith [Īmān] is knowledge in the heart, words on the tongue, and actions with the faculties (limbs of the body).”

(Imām Ibn-Mājah further says) Abu’ṣ-Ṣalt (the narrator who heard this Ḥadīth from Imām ʿAlī Riḍā) said: “If this Isnād (chain of narration from ʿAlī Riḍā to the Prophet) is recited on a mad person, he will recover.”

(Sunan Ibn Mājah, Book of the Sunnah, Ḥadīth 68)

According to Ibn-Kathīr and other historians, in 201 AH, the caliph Maʾmūn ar-Rashīd appointed him as his successor in caliphate and even printed his name on the coins. He also married his daughter Umm-i Ḥabīb with Imām ʿAlī Riḍā in 202 AH [Shawāhid an-Nubuwwah]. However, the Imām died before the caliph’s death.

Numerous miracles were seen from him. One of those is the following:

Abū-Ismāʿīl Sindhī reports that when I went to visit Imām ʿAlī Riḍā, I did not speak Arabic so I greeted him in Sindhi language. He also greeted me in my own tongue. Then I asked him some questions in Sindhi and received replies in the same language (seemingly, the Imām had not formally learned Sindhi and spoke it only as a miracle). When departing, I requested him that as I cannot speak Arabic, pray that God may grant me the knowledge of Arabic. He rubbed his blessed hand over my lips, and I immediately started speaking Arabic. [Shawāhid an-Nubuwwah]

Among his golden sayings are the following:

  1. Helping the relatives and behaving well with neighbors leads to increase in one’s wealth.
  2. Honey contains cure. Honey received as a gift should not be returned back.

Imām ʿAlī al-Riḍā had five sons: Ḥasan, Jaʿfar, Ibrāhīm, Ḥusayn and Muḥammad Taqī. His progeny continued from the last one [Bārā Imām].

One of his deputies is the dignified saint Khwāja Maʿrūf Kharkhī.

He lived for about fifty years and died in a town near Ṭūs, Iran in 202 or 203 AH. Now the city is called Mashhad and his tomb is a place of pilgrimage and source of blessings.

He was succeeded by his son Imām Muḥammad Taqī.

The name of Imam Ali Rida on the wall of Masjid an-Nabawi, Madinah

The name of Imam Ali Rida on the wall of Masjid an-Nabawi, Madinah

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