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Name: Ali Ibn Musa, Al-Rida
Title: Abu al-Hasan
Date & Place of Birth: Madina 11th Zeeqaad 148 Hijri (1.1.766 AD)
Father: Musa Al-Khadim
Mother : Ummul Banīn Najmah
Date & Place of Martyrdom: City of Tus, Iran on 29th Safar 203 Hijri (26.5.819 AH)
The 8th of the Shi’ite Imam, Ali ibn Musa (as) was born a month after his grandfather was reclaimed by Allah, hence it was thought that the baby acted as a form of consolidation for the family during a period of mourning.
Throughout his youth, the Imam had the guidance and loving support of his father, Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far (as), who, from young, trained his son to be an adequate successor after his own passing. Within the history of islam and the successions of each of the 12 Shia Imams, no more arrangements were put in place for the succession period than that of the arrangements for after the passing of Ali ibn Musa’s (as) father. It is narrated that his father could foresee the future in which there was great confusion and complication as to his own succession, and he knew that his son was to succeed after him as Imam so he put relevant measures in place to ensure this. These measures ensured that his son would definitely be successful in being appointed, without losing the position to anyone else who would try to gain this.
The timing of the measures that Imam Musa (as) put in place was critical. He knew that at some point the peace and tranquility of his life will be disturbed by the tyrannical Abbasid ruler of the time, so before this took place, he began ensuring that his son would succeed him. It is narrated that one day, Imam Musa (as) gathered his followers and upon doing so he introduced his successor to his followers. The reason behind this was simple; Imam Musa (as) knew that a time would come where he would be imprisoned, and thus his followers would not be able to consult him with regards to the future of his Imamate and that of his successor. Introducing them to his son whilst there is peace in Madina allowed him to make sure his followers were aware of who would be the successor.
The second measure that was taken place to ensure this was the writing of Imam Musa’s (as) will, with 60 witnesses to back up the validity of this should any doubts grow in anyone's minds. At the young age of 31, Imam Ali Ibn Musa’s (as) father passed away whilst in the captivity of Harun al-Rashid in Baghdad. Since the passing of his father, Imam Ali Ibn Musa (as) carried on spreading the message of Islam, as his father once did.
It is taught to us through narrations that, when orders were sent to the imam in Madina to go to see the Abbasid ruler in Tus, Iran, he left his family and began this long journey. Upon doing so, he set out from Madina and his first stop was to perform Umra in Makkah. Upon completion, his next stop was during the month of Shawal in the town of Basra. The Imam then continued towards Persia and in the month of Zilhijja he reached the city of Qum. This is where the Imam, during the month of Muharram, established the tradition of Majalis for the commemoration of Imam Hussain in persia.
Our 8th imam, passed away in the same manner as Imam hassan through the consumption of poisoned grapes, narrated to have been given to him by Ibn Hisham, a follower of Ma’mun the son of Harun .
Author: Mohammed Abbas Nasser