Life Sketch of Imam Ali Ibne Musa Reza (AS)

It was 11th of Zilqad of 148 A.H. when the eighth successor of Prophet and the eighth of the Imams was born in Medina. Although in some traditional reports it is mentioned as 11th Zilhajj 153 A.H.

His respected father was Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) and honorable mother was Lady Najma Khatun about whom Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had advised Lady Hamida Khatun in dream that Najma be betrothed to my son, Musa Kazim (a.s.) and she herself says that she used to hear voices of divine glorification and praise in her womb and she did not feel any type of heaviness in her pregnancy. ‘And after delivery, my son looked at the sky and uttered some words under his breath, which I could not understand and when I mentioned this to Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.), he said: My son is divine proof.’


  • Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) recited Azaan and Iqamat in his ears and made arrangements for Aqiqah as an Imam is born circumcised.
  • •                                          Names of Lady Najma are recorded differently according to the difference of circumstances and languages. Tuktam, Arda, Sakan, Samana, Ummul Baneen, Khizran, Saqr, Shaqra and after Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) was born, she was called as Tahira.
  • The name of Imam Reza (a.s.) was Ali and Kunniyat was Abu Hasan and titles were: Sabir, Fazil, Razi, Wafi, Qurratu Ainil Momineen, Ghaizul Mulhideen, but the most famous was Reza, which his holy grandfather, Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.s.) had given him. It is another thing that when the world liked his rule, this title became more famous and in this it became clear that the world would inevitably select the chosen servant of God, whether he is in the form of Ali Murtada or Ali Reza.


  • Approximately fifteen days after his birth, his respected grandfather, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) passed away, whose desire was to see this grandson as he said to his son, Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) that very soon a son was going to be born to him who would be the scholar of Aale Muhammad (a.s.); “If only I had been able to live till that his time.”
  • Among the rulers of his time, at the time of his birth it was the reign of Mansur Dawaniqi. From 158 A.H., it was the period of Mahdi Abbasi; in 169 A.H. Hadi came to the throne; from 170 A.H. began the reign of Harun; in 194 A.H., Amin came to the throne and from 198 A.H. began the reign of Mamun. It was this tyrant who had the Imam assassinated through poison in 203 A.H.
  • Mansur, Mahdi, Hadi and Harun have already been introduced. Amin and Mamun were two sons of Harun. Amin was from an Arab lady and Mamun from a Persian slave girl.
  • Amin was extremely profligate and wanton man and Mamun was considerably intelligent and skillful, but since his mother was Persian, the Arabs were not prepared to accept him as heir apparent. Harun did not want to appoint Amin as his successor as it posed a great risk to the kingdom; but due to the pressure of tribes, he divided his kingdom into two: Arab territories of Syria, Hijaz and Yemen were given to Amin and Iran, Khorasan and Turkey were given to Mamun. In this way at least one problem was solved, but another arose when both sons took over their kingdoms and the father was abandoned and in spite of being caliph of Muslims he lived at the mercy of his sons and they wanted him to live on simple food and clothes so that power hunger may not overtake him a second time and the kingdom may not be taken away from them. There was nothing surprising in this as this is the end of usurped kingdom and irreligious style of power and Almighty Allah punishes the tyrant rulers in this world itself so that they may get an idea of the chastisement of the hereafter and also that they may gain lessons from their circumstances.


  • The tug of war that had begun during the lifetime of the father became public as soon as he passed away and the two brothers wanted complete authority on Islamic dominions without any partnership. So a power struggle between Arabs and Persians began and at last armed confrontations began between the two parties. It resulted in the victory of Persians and the Arab prince was killed. Once again it became clear that there is neither brotherhood in un-Islamic system nor sympathy; there is neither rule nor law.
  • Till 183 A.H., Imam Reza (AS) spent the first thirty or thirty-five years of his life under the care of his respected father and continued to survey the circumstances, which included a long period of imprisonment also and severe pressure from the regime. So much so that poison was administered to him while he was bound in chains and the corpse was taken out of the prison in this manner. The bier was placed at Baghdad Bridge and it was announced that he was the Imam of Shia and the ultimate insult was heaped when coolies were employed to carry the bier.
  • •                                          In such circumstances, at the age of thirty or thirty-five years he took over the responsibility of leading the Ummah and desired to keep alive this character whose example was presented by the respected father so that no one should fall into doubts that seeing the calamities of his father he has changed his style and in some way or the other made peace with the regime. Thus from 183 A.H. for approximately 17 years, he continued this practice as was the life of Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.). It is another thing that the Imam’s poisoning in the prison and affront to his corpse had created such a situation for Harun that now he had no more strength left to oppress further and internal factors had also compelled him to divide his kingdom and retire from active role in the regime. As a result, this period was to some extent peaceful for Imam Reza (a.s.) and he did not have to face the hardships that his respected father had to. It is a strange phenomenon of history of Aale Muhammad (a.s.) that each of the Imams had to face different, on the contrary, opposite situations and its main reason was that the regime used to try each tactic and when it did not succeed, it used to change it and the next Imam had to face completely different situations. For example, Muawiyah Ibne Abi Sufyan fought a bloody war against the Imam and after his martyrdom became ready to make peace with Imam Hasan (a.s.). Muawiyah made peace with Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Yazid was ready to fight Imam Husain (a.s.).
  • The first problem that Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) had to face was that Harun under the pretext of uprising of Muhammad Ibne Ja’far ordered destruction of all the houses of Saadaat and Isa Jaludi refreshed the memory of Yazid’s army. During the plunder of Medina, when they came to the house of Imam Ali Reza (a.s.), he declared: Neither can strangers enter the house nor touch the ladies; I will myself hand over all the goods and jewellery. It happened in this way only and he brought all the things leaving only clothes on ones body and the oppressors were pleased with this plunder and considered it to be their victory.