A Brief Biography of Imam Reza (AS)

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    Source: Story of the Sun (Book)


    Imam Reza's (AS) Life in a look


    Name: Ali


    Father's Name: Imam Musa Ibn Jafar


    Mother's Name: Najma or Taktom


    Nickname: Abul Hassan


    Label: Reza


    Birth date: 11th of Zi Gha'da Year 148 (HG)


    Birth Place: Holy Medina


    Children: Imam Muhammad AlTaghi, but there is disagreement on whether he had other children or not

    Caliphs of his time: Mansour Davanighi, Mahdi Abbasi, Hadi Abbasi, Harun Al Rashid, Muhammad Amin, Ma'mun Abbasi


    Crown Princed at: Ramadhan 201 (HG), Forced by Mam'un


    Age (According to common belief): 55 Years


    Date of Martyrdom: The end of the Month of Shaban 203 (HG)


    Murderer of Imam: Ma'mun Abbasi, by poison


    Imam's Shrine: The holy city of Mashhad which is well known all around the world.[1]


    Imam Reza's Date of Birth:

    Most historians and narrators believe that Imam Reza was born on the 11th of Zi Gha'da 148 (HG)[2]. This is the same year that Imam Sadigh (AS) was martyred, but some scholars believe that Imam Reza was born 5 years after the demise of Imam Sadigh (AS)[3].


    Mother of Imam Reza (AS):

    The mother of Imam Reza was an honorable woman named Najma or Taktom. She was named Tahera[4], which means clean and pure, after the birth of Imam Reza (AS). She was a chaste[5] and wise woman from the Iranian nobles.[6] 

    Narrations have it that Lady Taktom said:"Help me with a nurse (to help foster Imam Reza)". She was asked: "Is your milk not enough?" She replied: "It is, but I have [non obligatory] prayers and worships to do which I have missed after the birth of this baby".[7]


    Imam Reza's Children:

    There is disagreement about the children of Imam Reza amongst narrators and historians. Most scholars such as Sheykh Mofid[8] and Ibn Shahre Ashoob[9] believe that he had only one child, Imam Jawad (AS), whereas others name other children as well, one of which is Fatema[10]. But, some narrations say that he only had one child.

    A man named Hanan Ibn Sadir says:

    I said to Imam Reza: Is it possible for an Imam to not have a child and a successor?

    Imam Said: "No, but shall you know that I shall have no more than one child, but God shall give him (that child) many children[11]".


    Birthday of Imam Ali Ibn Musa Al Redha

    The great mother of Imam Reza, Lady Najma said:"When I was pregnant to my son Ali, I didn't feel any heaviness, when I was sleeping, I could hear a sound of zikr from inside myself which made me scared. When I gave birth to him and he put his hands and feet on the ground, he faced the sky and moved his lips as if he was saying something.

    When Imam Musa Ibn Jafar saw his child, he said:" هنیئاً لک یا نجمه کرامه ربّک: Oh Najma, congratulations on God's present". Then they rapped the child in white cloth and gave him to his father. He read the Adhan in his right ear and the Eqama in the left one, then he asked for water from the river of Forat, gave a bit of it to the child, and said to his mother:" خُذیهِ فَاِنَّهُ بَقِيّه اللهِ تَعالى فى اَرْضِهِ: Take him for he is God's representative on earth".[12]

    After the birth of Imam Reza, Imam Kazem chose the name Tahera for Imam Reza’s mother which means clean and pure.[13]

    Imam Sadigh wished to see Imam Redha

    Imam Musa Ibn Jafar (AS) said to his children:

    This brother of yours, Ali ibn Musa, is the knowledgeable of Muhammad's dynasty; ask him about your religion and memorize what he says. I heard my father Musa Ibn Jafar saying multiple times:

    اِنّ عالِمَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ لَفى صُلْبِكَ وَ لَيْتَنى اَدْرَكْتُهُ فَاِنَّهُ سَمِىُّ اَمیرِالمُؤْمِنینَ علی

    The knowledgeable of Muhammad's dynasty is of your descents. I wish I could see him, he shall have the same name as Amir al-Momenin, Ali".[14]

    Many narrations from the Holy Prophet (SAWS), Amir al-Momenin, and Imam Sadigh point out to the being of Imam Reza, his innocent martyrdom, his holy shrine in Khorasan, and the great reward for visiting his shrine which shall be explained in the coming chapter about the martyrdom of his majesty.


    [1] Taken from Biharol Anwar .Note that: There is some difference of opinion on his majesty's birth date.
    [2] Elam al Wara 302. Bihar 3/49
    [3] عیون اخبارالرضاA، 1/18، مروج الذهب 3/441؛ اثبات الوصیه / 182
    [4] عیون اخبارالرضاA، 1/15.
    [5] عیون اخبارالرضاA، 1/17.
    [6] احقاق الحق 12/343 از ینابیع الموده.
    [7] بحارالانوار، ج 49، ص 5.
    [8] الارشاد 2/263.
    [9] مناقب 4/367
    [10] منتهی الامال 2/352
    [11] بحارالانوار، 49/221.
    [12] اخبارالرضاA، ج 2، ص 250.
    [13] بحارالانوار، ج 49، ص 7.
    [14] بحار، ج 49، ص 100 از اعلام الوری

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