Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) from the Ahle Tasannun viewpoint

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The Muslim majority rejects the leadership (Imamat) of the infallible Imams (a.s.). They maintain that the Imams (a.s.) although virtuous never claimed Imamat. It is only the Shias in their zeal who have elevated them to the position of Imamat.


Even a cursory glance at the life of the infallible Imams (a.s.) and the views and comments of the Ahle Tasannun scholars, historians, jurists, Imams is sufficient to show the Muslim world that the Imams (a.s.) were indeed divine representatives and successors of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Whether the Muslims want to accept them that way or not is another matter.

Over here we see how Imam Ali Ibn Moosa al-Reza (a.s.) has been acknowledged as a man of untold virtues and excellence and the rightful leader and caliph, in a chain that began with his grandfather Ameerul Momineen, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).

His Imamat

Ibn Sabbaagh al-Maaliki writes – Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) said – I bear witness that this son of mine – pointing to Imam Ali Ibn Moosa al-Reza – is my successor and the Qaim of my affair and my caliph after me.

  • Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah fi Marifah al-Aimmah p. 226

Visitation of his grave

Sayyed Ali Hamadani records – Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed – Soon a part of my flesh will be buried in Khorasan. A sorrowful soul will not visit him but Allah will dispel his sorrow; a sinful one will not visit him but Allah will forgive his sin.

  • Mawaddah al-Qurba p. 140
  • Yanabi al-Mawaddah p. 265

Hamweeni documents – Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said – Soon a part of my flesh will be buried in Khorasan. A believer will not visit him (a.s.) except that Allah will make Paradise for him and prohibit the Fire on his body.

  • Faraid al-Simtain vol.2 p. 188

Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Moammal narrates – We set out for the visitation of Imam Ali Ibn Moosa al-Reza’s (a.s.) grave in Tus along with the Imam of the Ahle Hadith Abu Bakr Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibne Ali Saqafi along with a group of teachers. We witnessed Ibn Khuzaimah offering respects to the grave and expressing humility and grief so much so that we were astonished.

  • Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb vol. 7 p. 339

Muhammad Ibn Hibbaan Ibn Ahmed Tamimi Basti (exp. 354 A.H.) – author of Sahih al-Hibbaan – the most authentic book of the Ahle Tasannun after the Sihaah of Bukhari, Muslim and Ibne Khuzaimah writes –

Ali Ibn Moosa al-Reza (a.s.) was poisoned with a drink by Mamoon in Toos….his grave, located in Sanaabad outside Nauqaan, is famous. People visit his grave, which is adjacent to the grave of Haroon (l.a.). Whenever I got into any difficulty I went to the grave of Imam Ali b. Moosa al-Reza (a.s.) and asked Allah for the fulfillment of my need. Every time I was answered and my difficulty was removed. This is such a reality that I found it to be true no matter how many times I did it. May Allah grant us death on the love of Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) and his blessed Ahle Bait (a.s.).

  • Al-Theqaat vol. 8 p. 456,457, trad. 14,411

His Virtues

Ibn Hajar Haithami Makki, the Nasibi who penned the book – Al-Sawaaiq al-Muhriqah – against the Shias says: And he (Imam Reza a.s.) was among the children of Moosa b. Jafar (a.s.). At the time of his martyrdom, he had 37 sons and daughters and Ali Reza (a.s.) was one of them. He was the most well-known and majestic among them.

  • Al-Sawaaiq al-Muhriqah pg 122

Samhoodi says – Ali al-Reza Ibn Moosa al-Kazim (a.s.) was the foremost one of his era, having eminent status, it is well-known that Abu Mahfooz famous as al-Karkhi accepted Islam at his hand…’

  • Jawahir al-Aqdain p. 353

Ibn Hajar Asqalani says – He was Reza (a.s.), from the scholars and of noble lineage.

  • Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb

Zahabi, student of Ibn Taymiyyah, documents – Al-Imam al-Sayyid Abul Hasan al-Reza… he was a man of knowledge, religion and high stature.

  • Seyar Aalaam al Nobala vol. 9 p. 387, 38

Shaikh Abdullah Shabrawi Shafe’ee records – Ali al-Reza (a.s.), he possessed lofty virtues and impeccable traits…his achievements are too many to be counted and too well-known to require mentioning.

  • Jaame Karaamaat al-Awliya vol. 2 p. 312

Ahmed Ibn Yusuf Kirmani – he was a man of lofty traits and great virtues and his achievements are too many and his merits are famous, he slept little and fasted a lot…

  • Akhbar al-Duwal p. 140

Imam of the Hanbali sect – Ahmed b. Hanbali said about the tradition of Silsilah al-Zahab narrated by Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) – if (just) the chain of narrators is mentioned in front of a mad person, he will be cured of his madness.

  • Al-Sawaaeq al-Muhriqah of Ibne Hajar al-Haithami p. 310

Muhammad Ibn Umar al-Raazi (called by his followers as Fakhruddeen) (exp. 604 A.H.) documents under the exegesis of Surah Kausar – …the third meaning is that it refers to the progeny of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). In this context the meaning of the verse (of Surah Kausar) will be – Allah has granted him (s.a.w.a.) a progeny that will survive for a long time. Behold how many members of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) were killed but a scholar always survived in their midst. So much so that the Bani Umayyah who oppressed them no longer exist (but one from the Ahle Bait a.s. always exists). How many great scholars existed in their midst like al-Baqir, al-Sadiq, al-Kazim, al-Reza…

  • Tafseer Mafaateeh al-Ghaib (famous as Tafseer-e-Kabeer) under Surah Kausar

Ibn Abil Hadeed (exp. 655 A.H.) records the virtues of Imam Moosa Ibn Jafar al-Kazim (a.s.) – and his son was Ali Ibn Moosa (a.s.) and was nominated as his successor for caliphate and was selected for the covenant (of Imamat). Among men, he was the most learned, most generous and most well-mannered.

  • Sharh Nahj al-Balaaghah vol. 15 p. 278

Learnings for the Muslims

These references clearly inform the Muslim nation that the scholars / Imams of the Ahle Tasannun, their historians, narrators and jurists have documented that Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) was an extraordinary individual far superior to his peers. His status and majesty is clear as the mid-day sun, as is his superior claim to caliphate.

In view of such overwhelming evidence, Muslims are duty-bound to accept Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) as their leader and caliph. When none existed like him in the world or even the heavens for that matter, why are Muslims squandering their beliefs and hereafter over disgraceful individuals who have usurped caliphate from Aal-e-Muhammad (a.s.)?

Even if they don’t wish to accept Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) as their Imam, in the very least they should not criticize the Shias for taking him as a guide and leader. And they must not condemn Shias for visiting the grave of Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) and other Imams (a.s.) and for taking them as a medium to acquire divine proximity when their own Imams like Ibn Habbaan have offered glowing tributes of the shrine and its untold virtues.

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