by Jonathan Azaziah
Congratulations to the entire Ummah on the 1,253rd birthday of Imam Ali ibn Moussa ar-Reza (A.S.), the 8th Imam for we Jaafari/Twelver Shi’a and a figure beloved by Zaydi Shi’a, numerous Sufi orders and many Sunnis too. The Marvel of Medina, the Tower of Knowledge, the Mountain of Wisdom, the Crown of Cures, the Master of Medicine, the Ruby of Resistance, Imam Reza (A.S.) was a figure as prolific in his dissemination of different aspects of exoteric and esoteric ‘ilm and hikmah as he was in his steadfast stances against tyranny. There are true scholars from the Hawzas in Iraq, Iran and Yemen infinitely more eloquent and exuberantly more capable than me in telling you what the virtues of the Imam (A.S.) are as well as all the intricate details of his magnificent 53 years upon ALLAH’s (SWT) Green Earth. So instead I will just relay a moment that has always resonated with me, especially considering what we are contending with as we speak.
The time was just after the death of the tyrant Haroun ar-Rashid (L.A.), who had barbarically persecuted Imam Reza’s (A.S.) father, the 7th Shi’a Imam Moussa al-Kazim (A.S.) There was a struggle for power among the despot’s two terrible children and it was Al-Ma’moun (L.A.) who ultimately prevailed. With Shi’a all over the “caliphate” in full-blown revolt, the new dictator thought he could quell the rebellions by making Imam Reza (A.S.) his successor. He even went as far to change the black Abbasid flags to the green usually worn by Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) and minted coins with his name and that of the Imam (A.S.) next to each other. He would even speak in praise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.W.) Pure, Pristine and Unblemished Household (A.S.) out in public – something no Abbasid or Ummayyad “caliph” had done before – as a means of lulling the Imam (A.S.) into a false sense of security. But being of Divine appointment, Imam Reza (A.S.) was gifted with the insight to see all these overtures for what they were: A strategic and calculated but still cheap political move meant to bring him and his partisans to heel. Presenting his rejection of the proposal in a manner that was polite but nevertheless FEROCIOUS, the Imam said, “If this ‘caliphate’ is yours by right, then it is not permissible for you to take off the garment in which ALLAH (SWT) clothed you with and tell someone else to wear it. If the ‘caliphate’ is not yours by right, then it is not permissible for you to give me that which wasn’t yours in the first place.”
Al-Ma’moun (L.A.) was humiliated. He went into a frenzy and threatened retribution against the Imam (A.S.), his family and his flock. As a means of placating Al-Ma’moun (L.A.) and relieving pressure from the innocents around him, Imam Reza (A.S.) would eventually accept the title “Crown Prince” in name – and in name alone – while the “caliph” would maintain all the duties associated with the position. But the tyrant’s plan backfired and instead of keeping Imam Reza (A.S.) and the Shi’a at bay, the Imam’s (A.S.) popularity skyrocketed. Even more enraged than he was before, the oppressor went the path of all the oppressors before him in their hatred of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) and poisoned Imam Reza (A.S.), who was, as tradition goes, aware on the day of his murder that he’d achieve martyrdom and he made supplications in thanks to ALLAH (SWT) that he’d die a Shahid like the rest of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) and also to give strength to the 9th Imam, his son, Muhammad al-Jawad (A.S.) Subhan’ALLAH.
The lesson to be learned here – and no doubt the one that Imam Reza (A.S.) was trying to teach – is that even if you don’t have an army at your disposal…. Even if it is your very speech that can put you in a grave… In the face of a tyrant… The ONLY COURSE OF ACTION you have is to speak truth to such a devil with no fears of anything other than ALLAH (SWT). It is a gemstone we should apply to our struggle against the tyrant of today and perhaps the most vicious tyrant in all of history – World Jewry, which seeks to use ideological constraints on all of humanity to prevent us from screaming atop roofs about its malevolence. 9/11 Truth. “Holocaust” Revisionism. Anti-Parasitism. Striking Star Solidarity with Islamic and Christian resistance movements and states throughout the world. Unwavering commitment to support the Moustazafeen wherever they are. Ruthless analysis when exposing the twin cults of Anti-Sunni Wahhabiism and Anti-Shi’a Shiraziism. If Imam Reza (A.S.) was here with us today – and as a Martyr of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.), he most certainly is – he would tell us to use each of these instruments to bludgeon our enemy before it bludgeons us; use each of these instruments to awaken the slumbering before their sleep becomes so deep they’re lost forever.
Be like Imam Reza (A.S.) and speak truth to all unjust rulers. Be like his grandchildren – Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Sayyed Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Sayyed Hashem al-Haidari, Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi and Syrian Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun – and resist the Dajjalic Beast of New Khaybar. Can’t think of a better and more Islamic way to honor his legacy and celebrate his birthday than THAT. Labaykah ya Ali ar-Reza (A.S.)!