The life of Imam Ali Bin Musa al-Rida

By: Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi

img3Translated by Jasim al-Rasheed

Before we speak about the birth of the pure Imam Abu Mohammed, peace be on him, and the affairs accompanied it, we will mention his brilliant, exalted lineage, which is related to Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, who is the source of flow, bestowal, good, and mercy to mankind. So which lineage is more exalted and greater than that of Imam al-Rida, peace be on him, who is one of the fruit of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and one of his brilliant branches. The following is an outline about his noble origin.

His Father

As for the father of Imam al-Rida, peace be on him, he is Imam Musa al-Kazim b. Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq b. Imam Mohammed al-Baqir b. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin b. Imam al-Husayn b. Imam ‘Ali b. Abu Talib, peace be on them.

In the world of lineage, there is no lineage more exalted or purer than this lineage. It is certain that the pure Imams are the successors of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and his testamentary trustees (of authority). In the paragraphs that follow, we will mention an outline about his father Imam Musa, peace be on him.

His Mother

As for the mother of Imam al-Rida, peace be on him, she was endowed with all qualities of honour and virtue, through which the Muslim woman becomes exalted, such as chastity, purity, and great soul. She is among the glorious women in Islam. His mother was a slave-wife, and this quality does not decrease her position, for Islam has made piety and good deeds as a measure to differentiate men from each other, and every thing other than this measure is not important.

The narrators have reported many narrations about how Imam al-Kazim married this glorious lady. The following are some of them:

1. She was among the noble non-Arabs and was the retainer of Mrs. Hamida, the mother of Imam Musa, peace be on him. She was among the meritorious women in her intellect, her religion, and her honouring her mistress, Hamida. She did not sit before her in order to honour and magnify her. So Hamida said to her son Imam Musa: “My little son, surely Takktum is a slave-girl. I have never seen a slave-girl better than her. I have no doubt that Allah will manifest her children. I have granted her to you and advise you to treat her kindly ('Iyun Akhb ar al-Rida, vol. 1, pp. 14-15.)”

2. Hisham b. Ahmed has reported: “Abu al-Hasan the First (Musa al-Kazim) said to me: ‘Did you know that one of the people from al-Maghrib has come?’ ‘No,’ I replied. ‘Indeed,’ he, peace be on him, said, ‘a man from the people of al-Maghrib has come to Medina. So come with us.’ He rode off and I rode with him until we came to the man. There he was, a man of al-Maghrib. He had with him slave-
girls. ‘Show us your wares,’ I told him. He showed us nine good slave-girls. However, all the time Abu al-Hasan was saying: ‘I have no need of those.’ Then he told him: ‘Show us something else.’ ‘I have nothing except a sick slave-girl,’ he replied. ‘What is (wrong) with you (not) to offer her (for sale) he (Abu al-Hasan) said. The man refused and went away. On the next day he (Abu al-Hasan Musa), peace be on him, sent for me and told me: ‘Ask him how much is the maximum he wants for her?  Whatever he says, tell him that you will take her.’ I went to the man and he said to me: ‘I would not take less than such-and-such a sum. ‘I will take her,’ I said. ‘She is yours,’ he replied, ‘but tell me about the man who was with you, yesterday.’ ‘He was a man from the Banu Hashim,’ I told him. ‘Which Banu Hashim?’ he asked. ‘From among their chiefs,’ I answered, ‘I do not have more (information) than this. ‘I want more than (this sum of money),’ he demanded. ‘I have nothing more than this,’ I explained. Then he said: ‘I will tell you that when I bought her from a remote area of al-Maghrib, a woman from ahl al-kitab (the people of the Book, i.e. Jews and Christians) met me and asked me who this maidservant was whom I had with me. I told her that I had bought her for myself but she said it was not appropriate that she should be with the like of me. It is fitting that this slave-girl should be with the best person on earth, for she will soon give birth to a son such as has not been born in the east or the west.’ I took her to Abu al-Hasan (Musa). It was not long afterwards that she gave birth to ‘Ali (al-Rida) (Ibid, pp. 17-18.  Us?l al-K?fi, vol. 1, p.  487.  Kashf al-Ghumma, vo l. 3, p. 102).”

3. It was reported that Imam al-Kazim, peace be on him, said to his companions: “By Allah, I have bought this slave-girl according to Allah’s command and inspiration.” He was asked about this statement and he replied: “While I was sleeping my grandfather and my father came to me, and there was with them a piece of silk cloth. They spread the piece, and suddenly there was a shirt in which was the picture of this slave-girl. Then they said: ‘Musa, from this slave-girl you will have the best of the people of the earth after you.’ Then my father ordered me: ‘If a baby-boy is born for you, name him ‘Ali.’ Then he said: ‘Allah, the Great and Almighty, will manifest justice and mercy through him. Blessed is he who believes in him, and woe unto him who shows enmity toward him and denies him! (Yousif  b.  H?tam  al-Sh?fi'i, al-Durr al-Nazim fi Man?qib al-A'imma).”
These are some of the narrations which have been reported about how Imam Musa al Kazim, peace be on him, married this noble lady. He showed sincere love for her, and she enjoyed admiration and respect in his house.