HIS RECITATION OF THE HOLY QURAN
Ibrahim bin Abbas has reported that the conversations of Imam Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (as) and the examples he (as) gave were all based upon the teachings of the Holy Quran. Imam (as) used to complete the recitation of the Holy Quran in every three days time and has also said, “If I wish, I can complete the recitation of the Holy Quran in less than three days. However, I do not recite any verse except that I ponder over its in-depth meanings and see as to when and why that verse was revealed? It is for this reason that I complete the recitation of the Quran in three days time”. (‘Uyoon Akhbaar ar-Ridha)
Raja bin Abi al-Dhahhak has narrated that when Imam Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (as) was travelling to Khurasan, he (as) continuously engaged himself in the recitation of the Holy Quran throughout the journey. Whenever the Imam (as) came across verses, which talked about Paradise or Hell-fire, he (as) paused and wept; and then either prayed to Allah (SWT) for attaining success in Paradise or sought His protection from Hell-fire. And whenever the Imam (as) said his prayer, during day or night, he (as) recited Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem loudly. (‘Uyoon Akhbaar ar-Ridha)
Di’bal Khuzaa’ee was a great poet of Ahlul-Bayt (as) in the days of Imam ar-Ridha (as). It is reported that he visited the Imam (as) with his brother Abul-Hasan and stayed near him for two years. Thereafter, as Di’bal was preparing to depart for Qum, Imam (as) presented him with a shirt, some Radhawi dirhams and a silver ring that contained the stone of ‘Aqeeq (agate). Imam (as) said, “O Di’bal! You are going to Qum and these dirhams will be of help to you. Take care of the shirt, which I have given to you because I have prayed 1000 units of prayers in 1000 nights wearing this (same) shirt and I have also completed recitation of the Holy Quran 1000 times in it”. (Aamaali of Shaykh al-Toosi)
Ma’mar bin Jallaad has reported that whenever Imam ar-Ridha (as) sat to eat, a big plate was placed before him. He (as) would look towards the best of the dishes and pick little from each and put in his plate. He (as) would then instruct that the plate is taken and the food is distributed among the poor and needy. He (as) would then recite: “Yet he has not embarked upon the uphill task”. (90:11) And say: “Allah (SWT) is aware that not every person has the power of freeing a slave therefore He (SWT) has guided them to ways that lead to Paradise”. (Bihar al-Anwaar)
There is a very good but difficult act, which Allah (SWT) has considered it as a way of expressing His gratitude and that act is of freeing a slave. He (SWT) says:
“Yet he has not embarked upon the uphill task. And what will show you what is the uphill task? (It is) freeing of a slave, or feeding (the needy) on a day of starvation…” (90:11-14)
It is reported from a person called Rayyan that he once asked Imam Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (as), “What do you say about the Holy Quran?” Imam (as) replied, “It is the speech of Allah. Do not venture ahead of it nor seek guidance from other than it otherwise you shall be led astray”.
Muhammad bin Musa Nasr al-Raazi has narrated that he heard his father telling Imam ar-Ridha (as), “By Allah! There is no one more noble than your father and forefathers on this earth”. Imam (as) said, “It is TAQWA (Godwariness) that made them so noble and it is obedience of Allah that gave them greatness”. Then another person said, “By Allah! You are the best of all people”. Imam (as) said, “O Man! Do not take an oath (on this matter). Better than me is he who is more Godwary and more obedient to Allah than me. By Allah! This verse has not been abrogated: ‘..And We made you nations and tribes that you may identify with one another. Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most Godwary among you’. (49:13)”. (‘Uyoon Akhbaar ar-Ridha)
Hasan bin Musa al-Baghdadi has reported that:
[Once Zayd, a brother of Imam ar-Ridha (as) was seen boasting about himself and his family to others. Imam (as) came nearer to listen to what he was saying and then addressed him in the following manner:
“O Zayd! What has made you so boastful about yourself? Indeed Fatimah al-Zahra (as) is the best, purest and the chastest of all; and that Allah has forbidden the fire of Jahannam on her progeny. But by Allah! Except for al-Hasan and al-Husayn who were born from her pure womb, her progeny does not include anyone else. On one hand Musa ibn Ja’ffar (referring to their own father) used to obey the commands of Allah, spend his days in fasting and nights in worship and on the other hand it is you (the son) who is sinning! Do you think that on the Day of Judgement Allah will treat you both (father and son) equally and that you shall enjoy a respectable and higher position than him in the sight of Allah?
Certainly, Ali ibn al-Husayn (as) used to say: ‘From among us – the Ahlul-Bayt, one who does a good act shall be rewarded twice and one who commits a sin shall be punished twice’.”
Imam (as) then turned towards Hasan bin Musa and said, “How do you read this verse: ‘O Nuh! Verily he is not of your family; Verily his conduct is other than righteous’.? (The verse that refers to the son of Nuh (as) who drowned on account of his disbelief and Nuh (as) was distressed by it).
Hasan bin Musa said, “Some say that it means the deed of Nuh’s son was not righteous and some claim that he was not Nuh’s son”. Imam (as) said, “This is certainly not true! He was indeed the son of Nuh but on account of his disobedience to Allah, he was removed from the family of Nuh. Similarly, anyone from the Ahlul-bayt who disobeys Allah is not from us; and you (O Hasan) if you obey Allah, you will become part of us – the Ahlul-bayt”. ] (Bihar al-Anwaar)
HIS GUIDANCE FROM QURAN
“Faith (Imaan) stands on four supports: Trust in Allah; Satisfaction in whatever He destines; Submission to His commandments; and entrusting Him with all the affairs. The virtuous servant says: ‘..And I entrust my affairs to Allah. Indeed Allah sees best the servants. Then Allah saved him from their evil schemes..’ (40:44-45)” (Tuhaf al-‘Uqool)
“Regard your relatives even by providing them a mouthful of water. The best form of maintaining ties with your relatives is to save them from your evil. Allah says: ‘Do not render your charities void by reproaches and affronts’. (2:264) (Tuhaf al-‘Uqool) In other words, the instruction is that do not make your charities towards your relatives fruitless by reproachfully reminding them about your favours and making them feel inferior and insulted.
Imam ar-Ridha (as) was once in the court of Mamoon ar-Rasheed during the session in which the discussion was about whether night preceded day in creation or vice-versa. Al-Fadhl bin Sahl addressed the question to Imam (as). Imam (as) asked, “Do you want me to extract the answer from Allah’s Book or the astronomical estimations?” Al-Fadhl said, “I would like you to mention the astronomical estimations first”. Imam (as) said, “You claim that the world began with Cancer and the stars were in its prospect. On that account, Saturn was in Libra, Jupiter in Cancer, Mars in Capricorn, Venus in Pisces, the Moon in Taurus and the Sun in Aries in the middle of the sky. This occurs only in daylight”. Al-Fadhl asked, “What about the Book of Allah?” Imam (as) replied, “The answer is in Allah’s saying: ‘Neither it behooves the sun to overtake the moon, nor may the night outrun the day…” (36:40) This means that day preceded night.” (Tuhaf al-‘Uqool)
The last words of Imam (as)’s life were:
“Say: ‘Even if you had remained in your houses, those destined to be slain would have set out toward the places where they were laid to rest’”. (3:154) “And Allah’s commands are ordained by a precise ordaining”. (33:38) (Quran-o-‘Itrat)