Decorm For Visiting the Shring of Imam Rida A.S
Decorum For Visiting the Shrine of Imam Rida(A.S)
It certainly is a pleasant task, and a beneficial one, to introduce the heavenly visage of the eighth bright star of the heaven of Imamate (divinely appointed leadership) and wilāyah (divine friendship and guardianship), Imam Riḍā(A.S) and to explain the decorum appropriate for a pilgrimage to visit his shrine (ziyārah), the spiritual rewards (thawāb) for making such a pilgrimage, what one should do when one is honored to enter the angelic court of the shrine, and to offer a selection of some authentic prayers to be recited there. The pleasure and benefits redouble, especially considering that some of the pilgrims have traveled hundreds of kilometers to kiss the threshold of Imam Riḍā(A.S) and to renew their covenant (Ahd) with that pure descendant of the Apostle of God(S.A.W) They have come to wash away the dust on the mirror of their hearts with the tears of eagerness and to clean the dirt of their sins by repenting in the presence of God, the Most Kind and the Forgiving. They have come to engage in praising God with hearts full of certainty, gnosis, serenity and peace.
Then, just like the light-winged pigeons of the Holy Shrine, having enjoyed the divine blessings and favors of Imam Riḍā(A.S), they will return to their homes. As a gift, they will take the message of the Imam's(A.S) kindness, favor, and hospitality to his whole-hearted friends.
I n addition to its scientific and research activities. the Islamic Research Foundation presents some concise authentic current works for the common people who are whole¬heartedly eager pilgrims of the bountiful court of 'Ali ibn-Musa al-Riḍā (may thousands of praises be upon him). That which is presented here has been compiled and published by the Foundation at the request of the respectful director of the Islamic Relations and Propagation Department. We beg God the Exalted to accept the pilgrimage of the pilgrims and may He grant success to our dear colleagues in presenting the most and the best cultural works.
Islamic Research Foundation Astan Quds Radawi
We are happy to congratulate you upon having the good fortune to visit the Holy Shrine of Imam Riḍā(A.S). We hope you will find your journey to be spiritually satisfying.
Spiritual blessings and heavenly rewards will certainly be obtained in the most perfect way only when you know the meaning of your pilgrimage to the shrine (ziyārah) and you understand what it is to resort to the Imam (A.S). You should also possess at least a little knowledge about the Imam (S.A) so that, according to what has been narrated(hadith), your pilgrimage will be performed with spiritual understanding (ma 'rifah).
What you will find in this book is a brief explanation of these topics, but first, we should learn the rules of Islam about a journey and its decorum, so that before arriving in the presence of the Imam(A.S), our words and deeds may correspond to the instructions of religion and we may be prepared spiritually to have the honor of being in attendance at the celestial court of Imam Riḍā (A.S).
Travel and Its Islamic Decorum
In Islam, going on a journey is an advisable task. It is considered a key to good health and a motivating factor for acquiring . This is by no means incompatible with the weariness and hardships that come to pass on a journey (this point is indicated in some narrations (hadih)), because for all the bitterness and difficulty, the good results and advantages of a journey outweigh its trouble, especially when it is performed for the purpose of paying a visit to the Friends (awliyā) of God.
In order to better undertake a journey especially a journey for pilgrimage and to avoid misfortune, there are points of decorum and instructions for travel, some of which will be indicated here:
- The Apostle of Allāh(S.A.W) said, 'The friend, then the road.' This means that you should first find a good and suitable travel companion, and then set out on the journey.
- Travel with someone who shows respect to you equal to the honor and esteem in which you hold him, who returns your respect and does not ignore it .
- Give something as charity before setting out on the journey.
- Luqman the Wise advised his son when going on a trip not to forget the necessary gear, such as a water container, medicines as needed, clothes, a needle and thread, a toothbrush and appropriate means of defense.
- Luqman also ordered his son to make an agreement with his travel companions before setting out on how much distance is to be covered, stops to be made, expenses and anything else relevant, and to consult with his companions about every decision that needs to be made, to accept their suggestions and to treat them with a smiling face and a generous spirit. - The Apostle of Allāh(S.A.W) said, 'If three people are traveling together, they should say their prayers in congregation and place one from among themselves in charge.
- The Noble Prophet(S.A.W) said, 'The head of a group is the one who works the most and serves the rest.'
Once, during a journey on which his companions accompanied the Apostle of Allāh(S.A.W), when the need for food arose, each one took responsibility for doing something, so that one slaughtered a sheep, another removed its skin, a third cut it into pieces, and a fourth got ready to cook it. The Apostle of Allāh (S.A.W) said, 'I will bring some firewood.' His companions said, 'May our fathers and mothers be your ransom, we will do your work. We beg you not to trouble yourself.' The Prophet (S.A.W) replied, 'God is not pleased with a member of a group who does not do his share of the work.' Then he busied himself with collecting the firewood.
- You should plan your trip in such a way that your religious duties are performed without a flaw .
- Insofar as possible, women should not travel unless accompanied by a close relative (mahram).
- On a trip, you should let your companions make use of your supplies. If there is anything which has caused you bitterness, difficulty or misery, you should not mention it. As long as it does not lead to sin, do not forget to joke and be cheerful.
- When on a journey, nothing should ever be taken as a bad omen.
- After a trip, bring a gift for your family, no matter how small.
- On the road, arrange the distance between yourselves so that you do not lose sight of your caravan, or the car ahead and behind.
- Plan your return so that you do not arrive home at night and wake the others up.
- If your traveling companions are not able to spend as much as you, try to decrease your own spending and expenses.
These are just a few points of decorum for traveling that catch one's eye among the things implied by various reports (hadith).
The Purpose of Travel
People travel for various reasons. One may travel to perform the duty of hajj, jihad, pilgrimage to the Friends of God (awliyā), visiting relatives (Ṣilah rahim), emigration, or escaping from civil strife. Sometimes travel is for trade, education, gaining experience, helping others, or healthy recreation. The intentions for such journeys are sacred and honorable. However, sometimes travel is for an unlawful purpose, such as desertion of duty, performance of an unworthy deed or the commission of sin; and sometimes it is just to waste time or for the sake of diversions that ultimately lead to corruption and ruin.
God the Exalted has revealed in the Holy Qur 'an:
(And reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead; nay, they are alive and are provided sustenance from their Lord.)
Therefore, the sacred souls of the Immaculate Imams( S.A), all of whom (except for the 12th Imam) were martyred in the way of God and Truth, are alive and aware of our pilgrimages (ziyārah), supplications (du'a) and
petitions (tawassul). Hence, Imam Ṣādiq(A.S) has said, 'For anyone who visits us after our martyrdom, it is as if they had come to visit us during our lives.' So:
Pilgrimage is presence with yearning at the sacred shrines of the immaculate Imams(S.A) and a spiritual visit with them.
Pilgrimage is setting up a relation of the heart with the proofs of God who are the intermediaries for the delivery of God's grace and mercy to His servants.
Pilgrimage to an Imam(A.S) means entering into a covenant with the Imam; and it means keeping alive the memory of the Imam's giving and his martyrdom.
Pilgrimage to an Imam(A.S) means expressing love for and allegiance with the Imam(A.S). God revealed to His Apostle, (Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives)
Pilgrimage to an Imam(A.S) means announcing that despite the martyrdom of the Friends (awIiya) of God, their names and goals will not be forgotten.
The place to which the pilgrimage is made, i.e., the holy shrine, is the site of the rendezvous of lovers of the way of wilayah (special divine friendship and guardianship).
The recitation of the prayer for visiting the shrine (ziyarat nameh) is a declaration of support for the line of the leadership of the immaculate Imams(S.A), and of abhorrence toward the tyrannical idol tāghūt and its way.
Hadrat Fatimah Zahra, peace be with her, used to leave Medina every week to visit the graves of the martyrs of Uhud. When the Apostle of Allah(S.A.W) taught Fatimah Zahra(S.A) to say 'Allah-u Akbar' thirty-four times, 'Al-hamdu li-Allah' thirty-three times and 'Subhana Allah' thirty-three times, she took some earth from the grave of Hadrat Hamzah, made mud from it, and with that she made one hundred beads through which she ran a string. With those beads she would count her recitations of the dhikr (remembrance) she had been taught. In this way, along with the remembrance of God, the memory of the martyrs was also honored.
After the Master of Martyrs (Sayyid al-Shuhada Imam Husayn(A.S)) was innocently martyred, prayer beads were made from the pure clay of his sacred grave. It is also recommended that when we say our prayers, we should place our foreheads on clay from Karbala during our prostrations. We have also been advised to recite the prayer for visiting the shrine of Sayyid al-Shuhada(A.S) every night of Qadr, every Thursday night, and all the holy nights and holy days. Whenever we drink water, it is suggested that we recall Imam Husayn(A.S) who was martyred with dry lips by his oppressors. All of these things are so that we do not forget the way of the immaculate leaders, for every misfortune and affliction Muslims have faced has been because of forgetting the divine and immaculate leaders and following idols(tāghūt) and tyrants.
Pilgrimage to Imam Riḍā(A.S)
According to some narrations (hadith) going on a pilgrimage to the shrine of the eighth Imam 'Ali ibn Musa al-Riḍā(AS) brings an abundance of blessings, as reported in the following narrations.
Imam Jawad(AS) said, 'God will forgive all of the sins of one who pays a visit to my father's grave, and paradise is his.'
Imam Ṣādiq(AS) said, 'Whoever pays a visit to Imam Riḍā(A.S), it is as if he paid a visit to the Apostle of God.'
Imam Jawad(A.S) said, 'For he who makes a pilgrimage to my father, I guarantee heaven.'
Imam Riza(A.S) said, 'On the Day of Resurrection, I will save whoever has made a pilgrimage to me, at three levels, at the scale (Mizan), at the bridge (Sirat), and when he is given the record of his deeds'
'Abd al-Salam al-Harawi reported that Imam Riḍā(AS) said 'Soon Tus will become a site of the coming and going of the Shiah and my pilgrims. Know that he who visits me at Tus, which is located far from my homeland, will be with me and at my level on the Day of Resurrection, while his sins will be forgiven.'
It is narrated from Imam 'Ali al-Naqi(A.S), 'Whoever has a need and makes a pilgrimage to the grave of my grandfather Imam Riza(AS) at Tus, after performing the major ablution (ghusl), and says a two-Rak'ah prayer above his head, and during the qunoot of the prayer asks for what he needs, verily God will grant his request unless he desires to commit a sin or to break off the ties of relationship(Silah Rahim). Surely the place of his grave is one of the tracts of heaven'.
God the Almighty has erected the order of creation through instruments and intermediary means. Rain falls by means of vapor, clouds, and wind. God talked to His Apostle through Gabriel. In the Noble Qur 'an, God the Glorious introduces the angels as the intermediaries for His management of affairs. And even for presenting one's requests to the Lord, seeking an intermediary is worthwhile, as God Himself states: (and seek means of nearness to Him). What is meant by recourse (tawassul) is resorting to the special friends of God, the awliyā, in requesting the fulfillment of one's needs from God the Almighty.
Imam 'Alil(A.S) said, 'We are the means of connection between the people and God.'
Hadrat Zahra(S.A) also said, 'We are the channel of connection between creatures and the Creator. ' Many ahadith have been narrated in this regard.'
Not only resorting to the pure, holy, and sincere special Friends (awliyā) of God, but commemorating and honoring blessed days are also helpful. Imam Sajjad(A.S) swore to God by the truth of the month of Ramadan.' Imam Husayn(A.S) swore to God by the truth of the night of 'Arafah. The Qur'an was sent down on the Grand night, the Night of Qadr, which is a blessed night considered to be even better than one thousand months.
Imam Baqir(A.S) said, 'The sins will be forgiven of one who spends the Night of Qadr awake in worship.'
We read in the Qur'an:
It has been written in the Quran, (and they ask forgiveness for those on earth .. .) that is, the angels who are honored by God are to ask forgiveness for the people residing on the earth.
That which is wrong and incorrect is resorting to a stone, wood, fire, stars and so on. Without any doubt, the case of the special Friends (awliyā) of God is different from that of inanimate, lifeless objects. We read in the Qur'an that the prophet Jacob rubbed Joseph's shirt on his blind eyes and they were healed. Although the shirt was nothing but a piece of cloth, because it was connected with the pure body of Joseph for some time, it came to have a curative effect.
My companion's perfection has had an effect, Save for that I remain the same clay with defect.
When the Noble Prophet(S.A.W) would cut the hair of his blessed head at Mina (near Mecca) as part of the rites of hajj, his companions gathered the clippings as a blessing.
By no means do we consider those of religious status or stature to have any power independent of God; rather we believe that the source of the power of God's Friends (awliyā) is the divine essence alone. The Qur'an says: (Allah and His Apostle enriched them out of his grace ) In this verse the name of the Apostle of God comes next to the name of God. It is clear that this power of the Prophet is a ray of God's power bestowed on him.
Anyway, the issue of recourse (tawassul) and its legitimacy is so clear and obvious that there is no excuse for the bias of the Wahhabis against it or for, in the words of Imam Khomeini (may his soul be sanctified), atheist fools.
During his illness, Imam Hadi(A.S) sent someone to Karbala to pray for him by the pure grave of Imam Husayn(A.S). Being himself an Imam, Imam Hadi’s request shows that Imam Husayn(A.S) had a higher station and that his pure shrine is a place for the granting of needs.
Since Imam Hadi(A.S) surprised the man he sent by this request, he explained, 'The Apostle of AlIah(S.A. W) was more excellent than the House of God (i.e., the Kaʿbah) and the Black Stone; but he circumambulated the Kaʿbah and touched and kissed the Black Stone. Likewise, Almighty God has made some tracts of land special where He likes supplications to be made and He likes to grant the requests of the supplicants there. The holy shrine of Imam Husayn(A.S) is one such
During the time of 'Umar ibn Khattab, when the Muslims were afflicted with famine, he went to 'Abbas, the Prophet's Uncle, and swore to God by the station of 'Abbas ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib.
It has been narrated that someone said, 'Imam Riḍā sent me a package as a gift. When I opened it, there was some earth in it. I asked the man who had brought the package, 'What is this earth?' He replied, 'This earth was taken from the grave of Imam Husaynv' Imam never sends anything, whether clothes or anything else, to anyone unless he puts some of this earth inside it and says, “By God's will and permission, this earth will give protection against calamities.”
It is narrated that 'Abd Allah ibn Abi Ya'fur Jafar arrived in the presence of Imam Ṣādiq(A.S) and said, 'Someone takes some earth from the grave of Imam Husayn(A.S) and it becomes helpful for him; while someone else takes some of it but it does not yield the same result. Imam Ṣādiq(A.S) replied, 'No, by Allah! Whoever takes it and believes that it will be helpful, surely it will be helpful for him.”
Aside from all this, every year millions of people have the honor of visiting Mashad, supplicate God, and their needs are fulfilled. The fulfillment of the needs of the people in the honorable Mashad is itself reason to confirm this matter. Indeed, is there anyone who has called upon God with a heart full of faith and humility in the Sacred Tombs, in hope of what may be left to them of the blessings of God, and whose prayer has not been answered?
We read in the Quran, (When they were unjust to themselves, if they had come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Apostle had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-Returning, Merciful.)
The Construction of Domes and Courts
According to the Glorious Qur'an building a mosque above the tomb of godly people is perrnissible. A dome and court indicates that the person resting in that sacred place was committed to tawhid.
In this regard it has been written in the Sunan of Abi-Dawud: 'When 'Uthman ibn Maz'un passed away, his corpse was buried .... The Prophet(S.A.W) ordered a man to bring him a stone, but the man was not able to carry it. The Prophet(S.A.W) stood up, rolled up his sleeves, ... brought the stone, and placed it at the head of the grave. Then he said, 'I set this here as a sign of my brother's grave. I will bury any of my family who dies beside him.”
It is clear that building sanctuaries and domes above the pure graves of the Immaculate Ones(S.A) is a way of honoring and glorifying those proofs of God who were martyred after a lifetime of struggle to guide and lead the people. In this way the memory of those religious leaders is kept alive.
Kissing the Doors of the Haram
The only reason we kiss the doors of the haram or the holy burial chamber or we believe they arc sacred is to respect the proof of God, the Immaculate Imam(A.S). Their sanctity is due to the Imam's holiness and blessings. It is just like kissing the cover of a Qur 'an. Due to the holiness of the Qur'an the paper on which the words of the Quran have been written or the leather that has been used as the cover of a Quran obtain holiness. If the same leather had been used as a shoe or clothes, it would never have gained such sanctity.
Saluting the Friends of Allah
It is first in the Qur'an that the friends of God were saluted. We read in the Qur'an: (Peace and salutation to Noah among the nations).
(Peace be with Abraham).
(And Peace be him with Moses and Aaron.)
(And peace be with him Jesus(A.S) on the day he was born, and on the day he dies, and on the day he is raised to life)
(And peace be with the apostles)
Following the Qur'an, we also offer our salams to the Honorable Messenger(S.A.W) and
the Immaculate Imams(S.A). In this way we express our respect and gratitude toward them and ask God to grant them exceeding mercy and higher stations. Likewise it is a kind of thanking them for their struggle for the propagation of the truths of Islam due to which, today, we are Shi'ites.
Remembering Virtues and Calamities
In the Quran, God reminds us of the problems and troubles which the prophets and their companions faced.
(And how many a prophet has fought with whom were many worshippers of the Lord; so they did not become weak-hearted on account of what befell them in Allah's way, nor did they abase themselves: and Allah loves the patient.)
In most of the books about how to perform ziyārah there are descriptions of the problems and hardships endured by the Imams(S.A) in the way of God, and the intolerable things said to them by their enemies because of their insistence on the truth. Attention to and reflection upon the lofty meanings of such narratives, such as those found in the book, Ziyārah Jami 'ah, makes one more and more conscious and aware of how persecuted and how rightful the leaders of Islam were.
Now we turn our dear readers' attention to some issues that are useful for pilgrims.
The Decorum of Pilgrimage
1.We should go on our pilgrimage with halal money, because with even a morsel of haram food, our prayers and pilgrimage will not be accepted, and our supplications will not be answered.
2. Let us keep away from sin, because God Almighty accepts the good deeds of none but those who have taqwd (God-wariness, piety).
3. When we leave home and bid farewell to our spouses and children, we should advise them to have taqw (to be God-wary, pious) and to do good deeds, because reminders given at the moment of saying good-bye are more effective.
4. When we arrange for tickets or a means of transportation, we must not annoy anyone, behave badly, lie, violate the rights of others, or misuse public property, because any of these can take away the real value of the sacred journey of a pilgrimage.
5. We should know that if, prior to this, we have despised any Muslim and refused to receive him, Imam will also refuse to receive us.
During the Imamate of lmam Kazim(A.S) Ali ibn Yaqtin was a vizier of Harun al-Rashid. One day Ibrahim Jammal, who was a camel driver and a Shi'ite wanted to enter into the company of the vizier. 'Ali ibn Yaqtin refused to receive him. It happened that in the same year he went on the hajj, and while in Medina he wanted to have the honor of visiting Imam(A.S) . The Imam would not receive him. The next day he saw the Imam(A.S) and asked him,'0 sir! What is wrong with me [that you have refused to see me]?' The Imam(A.S) replied, 'I did not receive you because you did not allow your brother, Ibrahim Jarnrnal to enter into your company.”
6. Insofar as possible, we should treat our traveling companions and friends well and help them.
Marazirn ibn Hakim said, '[On a trip to Medina] I was in the company of Muhammad ibn Musadif When we arrived in Medina, I became ill. He would go to the mosque and leave me by myself. I complained about this to him, and he conveyed the matter to Imam Ṣādiq(A.S). The Imam sent him this message, 'Staying beside him is better than your praying in the mosque.”
7. Let us not consider being of service to others as unimportant or negligible. Helping our traveling companions has a special reward.
Isma'il Khath٬ami said, 'I said to Imam Ṣādiq(A.S), 'When we arrived in Mecca, my companions went to circumambulate the House of God [the Ka'bah] and left me to guard their luggage.' Imam(A.S) replied, 'You have been rewarded more than all of them.”
8. When entering the shrine, it is appropriate to wear neat and clean clothes, and to scent ourselves so that we smell good, and we should never have the unpleasant odor of sweat or dirty socks or feet, because it might cause discomfort or annoyance to the other pilgrims.
9. We should enter the precincts of the shrine (haram) calmly and with dignity, after having performed wudu (minor ablution), and if possible after ghusl (major ablution) for ziyiarah, After a prayer requesting permission to enter, we should come into the presence of the Imam with humility, hope, presence of heart and crying eyes. If it does not bother the other pilgrims, we should stand facing the pure darih (burial chamber); but if we are bothering the others, we should stand back further from the darih to make our ziyiarah, and say:
0 Imam(A.S)! Always our ugly deeds are presented to you, and we cause you to suffer because of our bad deeds and bad words. Now, we are at your mercy asking for your pardon.
O Imam(A.S)! You are of the household of the Apostle of Allah (S.A.w), the place of the coming and going of the angels of God, a mine of knowledge and mercy of God.
O Imam(A.S)! You [and the other Imams(S.A)] are proofs of God and the guardians of our blessings! You arc the claimants to Imamate; you arc the political leaders and the refuge of the people. God has chosen you, who possess perfect intelligence, who are a mirror of divine knowledge (ma'rifat) and treasures of knowledge and learning. You are the interpreters of divine revelation and are witnesses to the deeds of the people. God has protected you from any kind of sin, lapse or deviation. You have advanced along the way of God by giving your life generously, and you have guided the others along the same way.
O Imam (A.S)! You are Light in the Darkness. Wherever there is a truth you are its origin and termination. You are the pivots of virtue, truthfulness, glory, guidance and mercy. You are the representatives of God on the Earth. You are the divine proofs for the people. You are the possessors of the knowledge of hidden things, perfect gnosis, pure love and affection, and powerful wisdom. You are the establishers of prayer and of the limits set by God, you give the poor rate (zakat) and offer up your lives in the way of God”
We should whisper such words, kiss the doors and the walls with the love of the Imam(A.S), and pray for our ancestors, and the scholars who prepared the ground for us to be led through this way. We should seek God's help in training children in awareness of the Imams' rights.
10. While reflecting upon its meaning, we should recite one of the authentic written prayers, (such as Ziyārah Amin Allah or Ziyārah Jami'ah), then follow this with saying a two rak'ah prayer with the intention of saying a prayer of ziyārah, and of pilgrimage, and continue with praying for our parents, children, friends, relatives, the righteous, and those who have requested us to pray for them. We should ask God, the Exalted, for the amelioration of the affairs of the Muslims, for the health and long life of person in the high station of leadership, Ayatullah Khamenei, and the other employees who serve the government of the Islamic Republic.
11. We should perform our daily obligatory prayers in congregation, and benefit from the blessings of performing the prayers at their specifically proper times.
12. We should observe the directions of the servants of the Holy Shrine and avoid bothering others.
13 . We should not waste our time in the Holy Shrine by napping, chatting or arguing; rather we should make the most of our time by reciting the Qur'an, the Ziyārah Jami'ah and other authentic prayers, saying prayers to make up for those we or our parents may have missed, or saying recommended prayers to store up some spiritual provisions for our afterlife.
14. We should not forget to pray for the advent of Imam Zaman(A.S) may Allah hasten his appearance, the savior of humanity and great reformer.
Bits of the Insight and Way of Imam Riḍā(A.s.)
The tyrannical idol, taghut. Two travelers arrived in Khurasan and came before Imam Riḍā(A.S) to ask the ruling about their prayers, whether while traveling they should be performed with two or four rak'ah. Addressing one of them Imam(A.S) said, 'You should shorten your prayers to two rak'ah' Addressing the other, he said, 'You should say your prayers with four rak'ah' The two men were surprised at the difference that Imam made between them. Pointing to the first, Imam said, 'You whose prayer is of two rak'ah, it is because your journey is legitimate, halal, for your purpose was to visit me and make ziyārah. On a legitimate journey a four rak'ah prayer is shortened to two cycles. But the purpose of the other was to visit the tāghūt and this makes his trip illegitimate, haram. On an illegitimate journey, the four rak'ah prayer is unchanged.”
Guests. A guest arrived before the Imam(A.S). They sat in a house around a lamp, busy conversing with the Imam. The wick of the lamp became impaired, and the guest started to fix it. Imam(A.S) stopped him and said, 'We never allow a guest to do work.”
Servants. The servant of Imam Riḍā(A.S) said, 'The Imam(A.S) never ordered the Male Servants to do anything when they were eating food.” He said, 'If I am standing over you and you are busy with eating food, do not stand up to show respect for me.’
Imam Riḍā(A.S) used to talk kindly and compassionately with his servants, whether old or young.
Once it was suggested to the Imam(A.S) that he give permission to have a separate tablecloth spread for the blacks, so that he would not have to sit beside them. Imam(A.S) said, 'The God of all of us is one, we are all from one father and mother, and the reward of each of us is equal to his deeds, so why should we be separate?”
Generosity. In Khurasan on the day of 'Arafah, Imam Riḍā(A.S) divided all his wealth among the deprived. Someone said, 'What a huge loss!' The Imam said, 'No way! This spending is an investment for rewards and blessings from the Lord .”
Imam and Courtesy. Ibrahim ibn 'Abbas said, 'I never saw Imam Riḍā(A.S) talk harshly, and I never saw him interrupt anyone until they finished what they were saying. When he was able, he never sent a needy person away without satisfying his needs. While sitting before somebody he never stretched his legs, and he never leaned on anything before someone who was sitting with him. I never saw him curse any of his companions or servants. His laughter always took the form of smiles. Whenever he was alone and a tablecloth was spread for him, he seated his companions, slaves, and even the doorkeepers and grooms around it.”
Imam(A.S) and Conservation. Sometimes the servants would leave the fruits half-eaten, so some parts of the fruits were thrown away. Imam said, 'Good God! if you do not need them, there are people who are in need and they are starving. You may give the additional amounts to them.”
Imam(A.S) and Forgiveness. A man named Jalludi was sent by the government of Haroonn al-Rashid to attack the houses of the descendents of Abu Talib. When he reached the house of Imam Riḍā(A.S), he wanted to go in and rob the women’s jewelry and ornaments. Imam Reda(A.S) said, 'Since you have been commanded to commit this injustice, wait a bit, and I will bring the jewelry for you myself.' And he did so. After some time, the political condition changed. Imam Riḍā(A.S)was appointed to succeed Ma'mun, and Jalludi was thrown into prison. When the time came for his trial, Imam Riḍā(A.S)said to Ma'mun, 'Let that old man be. Forgive him for me.' Jalludi, who was observing the conversation between Imam(A.S) and Ma'mun from a far distance, thought that Imam(A.S) was proposing that he be executed. So he called Ma'mun, 'By God, I'm telling you by my right not to do what that man says.' Ma'mun replied, 'Now that you yourself have sworn in this way, an evil fate awaits you.' And he gave the order for him to be executed.
Imam(A.S) and Plain Living. A slave girl said, 'I was sold to Ma'mun at Kufa. While I was staying at Ma'mun’s house I used to enjoy the best foods and rare perfumes, but for the period of time when I was brought to live in the house of Imam Riḍā(A.S), there was nothing to be found of such luxuries, and Imam(A.S) encouraged us to nightly prayers and devotions. Imam's plain living and the nightly devotions were so difficult for me that I requested to be transferred from the house of the Imam(A.S).
Imam(A.S) and the Qur 'un. All the answers that Imam gave to the people were in the words of the Qur 'an. Every three days and nights, he recited the entire Quran, and he said, 'If I wanted to, I could read it in less than three days, but because I contemplate every ayah, it takes three days to do it.”
Imam and the Intimate Prayers of the Night. Imam(A.S) would spend most of the nights reciting the Quran. When he came to the verses denoting a chastisement he would cry and seek refuge in God. He used to spend the last third of the nights engaged in the remembrance (dhikr) and glorification of God, and also in asking for God's forgiveness. Then he would brush his teeth, make wudu, and say the night prayer. Instead of the four rak'ah of the night prayer, he would say the Ja'far Tayyar prayer, which is also a four rak'ah prayer.
At nights, he slept little and was awake much. Most nights he maintained his vigils from the beginning until the break of dawn. He often fasted, and never missed fasting for three days during each month. He said, 'This is [equivalent in reward to] fasting all the time.' He often performed good deeds, and gave much secretly for charity Ṣādiqah, mostly in the dark of night.
Imam and Brotherhood. Imam Riḍā(A.S) said to his brother, 'One who is without taqwa (God-wariness, piety) is not of us, and we are not of him. You are my brother when you do not sin. If you become an offender, the link of brotherhood between us will be cut off.”
Imam's Behavior Towards the Shi'ites.
Musa ibn Yasar said, 'I was with Imam Riza(A.S) near Tus when we heard the sound of mourning. We followed the sound and came upon a funeral procession. Imam immediately dis-mounted from his horse and walked toward the corpse. Just like a mother embracing her son, he embraced the corpse and said, 'God will forgive all the sins of the one who escorts the funeral of our friends.' Then he followed it to the edge of the grave. There he placed his palm on the chest of the corpse and promised it paradise.' I said, 'May I be ransomed for you! Had you known him'?' Imam replied, 'Do you not know that every dawn and evening the deeds of our followers are presented to us? If they have done good we give thanks to God, but if they have done wrong we pray God to forgive them.”
Once someone who was returning from Hajj lost his money. He met Imam and said, 'Help me out, and as soon as I get to my own town, I will give the money to the poor as charity (Ṣādiqah) on your behalf.' Imam waited until all the others left the room. Then he went into one of the inner rooms and from behind the door offered the man two hundred dinars and said, 'Spend this money. You do not need to pay it as charity on my behalf.' The friends of the Imam asked him, 'Why didn't you face the man when you were giving him the money?' Imam replied, 'I didn't want him to feel ashamed at receiving money.”
Imam's Humility. One day Imam Riḍā(A.S) arrived in a bathhouse, and someone said to him, 'Hey man, wash and rub down my body!' Imam began washing the man's body. The people who were there introduced Imam to him. The man apologized to the Imam for being so rude, but the Imam calmed him down and continue washing him.
Imam Riḍā(A.S) used to sit on a straw mat in summer and on sackcloth in winter, but when he appeared before people he used to wear fine neat clothes.
Imam(A.S) And Determining the Workers' Wages. Sulayrnan ibn Ja'far Ja'fari said, 'I was in the presence of Imam Riḍā(A.S) because of some matter, and when I wanted to return home, he said to me, 'Come with me and stay the night with me.' I went with him. When we arrived at his house, the servants were applying mud to a stable. He saw that there was a black man working with them who was not one of his servants. Imam(A.S) asked, 'Who is this man?' The servants replied, 'He is working for us and we are going to give him something.' Imam(A.S) said, 'Have you made a contract with him for his wages?' They replied, 'No. He will be satisfied with whatever we give him.' Imam(A.S) turned to wipe them and spoke to them angrily. I said, 'May I be ransomed for you! Why did you get angry?' Imam(A.S) said, 'I have repeatedly forbidden them from employing anybody before fixing his wages.
Imam Riḍā's(A.S) Behavior Towards Oppressors. Hasan ibn Husayn Anbari said, 'For fourteen years I corresponded with Imam Riḍā(A.S). I asked his permission to work for the government. In my last letter, I reminded him that I was afraid that they would cut my head off, and that the governor said that I was a rafidi (one who rejects the caliphate, a Shtite), and that undoubtedly I was refusing to work for the government because of my being rafidi. Imam Rise(A.S) wrote to me, 'I read your letter in which you wrote that you feared for your life. If you know that when you obtain authority you will behave as the Prophet of God(S.A.W) has commanded, and accordingly, you will choose your assistants and secretaries from among the Shiah, and whenever anything is placed at your disposal, you will disperse it equally among the disadvantaged, so that you yourself will be included as one of them, in that case you may do it, but otherwise, no.'
The Political Conduct of Imam Riḍā(AS). After Harun al-Rashid, one of his sons by the name of Amin took over the government. His other son, Ma'mun, attacked and beheaded Amin. Then he had his brother's head taken from town to town. In this way he took control of the government. Ma'mun was a learned and clever person. He schemed and worked out a top secret plan to bring Imam Riḍā(A.S) from Medina to Marv, the capital of his caliphate, and then to appoint the Imam(A.S) to be his successor. In this section, we begin by explaining the political aims of Ma'mun’s scheme, and then we describe the moves made by Imam Riḍā(A.S) to neutralize Ma'mun's satanic plans.
1. Ma'mun was worried about Imam's(A.S) presence in Medina, so he tried to use whatever tricks he could to keep Imam(A.S) away from there and to bring him to the center of the caliphate, where he could be placed under surveillance. In this way he sought to extinguish the religious and political movements and activities of the people of Medina.
It was not easy to get Imam to leave Medina. It required much groundwork to be prepared, much planning and propaganda. So, his courtiers spread the word about that they were going to bring Imam(A.S) from Medina to the center of the caliphate in order to appoint him to a position. Thus they assured the people that they had no intention of doing him any harm.
2. Ma'rnun intended to declare Imam as his successor so as to introduce Imam(A.S) as an accessory to his own crimes and put the blame on him.
3. With this action, Ma'mun intended to display himself as a friend of the Shi'ah, and to put a lid on the crime of his father, Harun, who martyred Imam Kazim'r(A.S) while he was in prison.
4. Ma'mun wanted to do this in order to present his caliphate as legitimate and Islamic, so that his caliphate would be considered religiously lawful.
5. Ma'mun wanted to take two powerful weapons out of the hands of Imam Riḍā(A.S): his being seen as an oppressed innocent and the holiness associated with the descendants of the Apostle of Allah(S.A.W). He tried to show people that Imam(A.S) was neither an oppressed innocent nor holy, since he would be given the position of successor to the caliphate, and would not only accept it, but would enjoy the pleasures of the palace, its luxuries and being treated as royalty.
6. Ma'mun wanted to use Imam(A.S) as a means to justify his own deeds.
7. Imam's presence at the court would prevent the movements and uprising of the revolutionary descendents of Imam 'Ali(A.S) around the country. They would never be upset with the government, for they would say to themselves that if there were any need for making a move or for rebelling against the regime, Imam(A.S), who holds a top position, would do it. There is no need for us to make any effort.
8. By providing a sumptuous life for Imam(A.S), Ma'mun intended to bring about a distance between Imam(A.S) and the people, and by keeping him away from his friends and followers he intended to diminish his popularity.
9. Ma'mun wanted to turn the hot revolutionary militancy into cold political discussion.
These arc examples of the clandestine policies of Ma'mun. Now let us see how Imam Riḍā(A.S), with his divine policies, neutralized such plots.
I. When the agents of the government came to Medina to take Imam(A.S) away, Imam bade farewell to the grave of the Apostle of Allah(S.A.W) and to the people. By his own lamenting and weeping and that of the people, they understood that this trip would not have a good outcome, and that its purpose was his martyrdom. This moaning and crying and manner of saying good-bye tipped off the people to Ma'mun and neutralized his first plot.
2. Imam(A.S) repeatedly said, 'I have never been content with being the successor to Ma'mun, but since I have now been threatened with murder, I accept it with repugnance and under compulsion and on the condition that I would never be a partner to him in any action nor an assistant to him. In this way he made everyone understand that he was no partner in the crimes of Ma'mun, In this way, Ma'muns second plot was foiled.
3. Imam considered the government to have been usurped and Ma'mun to be a tāghūt (despot, idol). This is why Imam(A.S) said to the man who had come to visit Ma'mun, 'But the purpose of the other was to visit the tāghūt and this makes his trip illegitimate, haram' and told him that he had to say his prayers in full format. In this way, Ma'mun was introduced, like his father, Harun, as a taghut, and Ma'mun’s third plot was made void.
4. From the beginning, Imam(A.S) made a condition that he would never take part in any state affairs, for in his opinion, Ma'mun’s government was unlawful and non-Islamic. In this Way the fourth trick of Ma'mun was nullified.
5. Piety, deliverance, plain living, and keeping company with the poor preserved Imam's (A.S) heavenly holiness, and by drawing aside from the formalities of the taghuti court, he disclosed his innocence and as a result he made Ma'mun’s fifth trick invalid.
6. Imam(A.S) never made excuses for Ma'muns crimes; rather, by making the most of the opportunities, he unveiled Ma'mn's devilish plans. So his sixth trick was not put into effect.
7. Several times, Imam(A.S) was requested to stop movements of the followers of 'Ali(A.S) in different towns, but he never accepted to do so. Hence, Ma'mun was prevented from achieving his seventh goal.
8. Although a distance was sometimes created between Imam(A.S) and the people; Imam (A.S)said what he had to say along the route, in Ahwaz, Basra, Qum and Nishapur. It is narrated that when Imam(A.S) arrived in Nishapur, which at that time was an important city, the scholars gathered around the Imam(A.S) and asked him to recite a hadith. Imam Riḍā(A.S), who was sitting in a litter on a mount, put his head out and narrated from his forefathers, 'The Apostle of Allah(S.A.W) said, 'I heard from God, the Mighty and Magnificent, 'La ilaha ila Allah (There is no divinity but God) is My firm fortress. Whoever enters this bastion will be safe from My wrath.' The narrator continued, 'After his mount took a few steps, Imam(A.S) called to us and said, 'This has conditions, and I am among its conditions.' What Imam(A.S) meant by conditions was confessing to the fact that Imam Riḍā(A.), like his forefathers, was Imam and hujjah (proof) by divine appointment, and obedience to him is obligatory for all.
Likewise, during the period while he was designated as the successor to Ma'mun, when he was asked to lead the prayer for Eid al-Fitr, he said, 'On condition that I say the Eid prayer in the manner of the Apostle of Allah S.A.W).' At first, Ma'mun accepted. Imam(A.S) went barefoot among the masses of the people saying takbir (Allahu akbar, God is the greatest). There was so much excitement in the city that Ma'muu's advisors informed him that if Imam(A.S) were to perform the prayer with such quality and holiness so as to remind the people of the magnificence and glory of the ritual of the Eid prayer of the Apostle of Allah(S.A.W), the pillars of the government of the caliphate would be seriously in danger. It was possible that the end of the ceremony would be the end of the Abbasid dynasty. Therefore, Ma'mun immediately ordered that Imam(A.S) be sent back midway.
This splendid move by Imam made all the treacherous plots of Ma'mun and his assistants against the Imam(A.S) ineffective. Hence, Ma'mun decided to commit a deadful crime, poisoning and martyring the Imam.
Flowers from the Garden of Imam Riḍā(A.S.)
1. One who has been granted blessings is obliged to provide more Well-being for his family.
2. Among the virtues of the prophets is cleanliness.
3. Worship is not the abundance of fasting and praying; rather, worship is only the abundance of contemplation about the affairs of Allah.
4. The oldest brother holds the position of the father.
5. The friend of each person is his intellect, and his enemy is his ignorance.
6. Showing love toward the people is half of the intellect. .
7. Verily, Allah hates idle talk, wrangling, wasting property, and excessive questioning.
8. Imam Riḍā(A.S) was asked about the best servants of God. He replied, 'They are those who become happy when they do good deeds. They ask forgiveness when they do wrong. When they are granted something, they are thankful. When they face troubles, they are patient. When they become angry, they forgive.
9. Keep good relations with your relatives, even if only to the extent of offering water.
10. One who is generous eats the food of others so that they will eat his food; one who is stingy does not eat the food of others so that they do not eat his food.
11. Your helping for those who are weak is one of the best forms of charity (sadaqah)
12. The truth of faith of a servant of God will not be perfect until he has three characteristics: deep understanding of religion, good planning for his living and patience during calamity.
Rules of a Traveler's Prayers
A passenger who travels at least eight continuous parasangs (approximately 45 kilometers )-even if the distance is covered by going and returning-should shorten the four rak'ah daily prayers (i.e., zuhr, 'asr, and 'isha) to two rak 'ah, provided that the following five conditions hold:
1. From the start, the traveler intended to go eight parasangs (defined by Islamic law, shar'ah; not that unintentionally he set out and accidentally went eight parasangs.
2. The traveler did not intend to stay for ten days. If he does not know whether he will stay for ten days or not, he must say his prayers in the shortened format.
3. The traveler did not set out for an unlawful (haram) purpose (such as theft), and the trip itself was not unlawful (haram), as when the trip is harmful for one, or when a woman travels without the permission of her husband when the trip was not obligatory for her.
4. The traveler is not a nomad, unless the trip was taken for ziyārah, hajj, trade or the like. In these cases the prayer must be said in shortened format.
5. The traveler's job is not traveling, such as a driver, unless he takes the trip for another purpose, such as ziyārah, in which case his prayer must be said in shortened format.
A traveler who intends to stay for ten days continuously in one place, must say his four rak'ah prayers in full format, as when one intents to stay in one place from the morning of the first day until the evening of the tenth day (equal to ten days and nine nights), or from noon of the first day to noon of the eleventh day.
If a traveler intends to stay for ten days, and performs a four rak'ah prayer, and then changes his mind, however long he stays, he still has to say his prayers in full format, with four rak'ah.
If one intends to stay for ten days but remains longer, he still has to say his prayers in full format.
If one knows that he is a traveler and knows that he should shorten his prayers, but he forgets it, and says a prayer in full format without paying attention out of habit, his prayer is invalid. Furthermore, if he forgets the rules for travelers or the rule for his trip, he must say his prayer over again if he has time; rather, according to an obligatory precaution (ihtiyat wajib), if the time has passed, he should say a make-up prayer (qada).
If a traveler who does not know that he must say his prayer in shortened format (i.e., with two rak'ah) says his prayer in full format, his prayer is correct.
If someone who must say his prayer in full format says it in shortened format, then no matter what, the prayer is invalid.
If someone is in his own home town at the beginning of the time for prayer, and sets out to travel without saying his prayer, he must say his prayer in shortened format. If he is a traveler at the beginning of the prayer time, and he does not say his prayer, when he reaches his hometown, his prayer should be in full format.
Someone who, for example, comes to Mashhad, and from when he first enters Mashhad intends to go to the surrounding area, such as the village of Turqabeh, which is outside the city, cannot intend to stay for ten days and must say his prayer in shortened format. However, if from when he first enters Mashhad, his intention is only to leave the city for the surrounding area for one or two hours during the duration of the ten days, this does no harm to his intention of staying for ten days, and he must say his prayers in full format. (What is meant by the surrounding area is those places that are less than four shar'i parasangs-approximately 22.5km.) If one goes out of town further than four parasangs the intention to stay for ten days is violated, and when one returns to the town, prayers must be said in shortened format or another ten day intention must be made.
Those who decide to compensate on their trip for prayers missed while they were home must say them in full format as they would if at home.
A traveler who has made the intention of residing for ten days and who says his prayers in full format is obliged to fast during Ramadan. In other months he may perform recommended fasts or make up for missed obligatory fasts.
A traveler who must say his prayers in shortened format may not perform an obligatory or recommended fast. However, if he had made a vow (nadr) to fast on a specific day(such as 15th of Sha٬ban), even if he is a traveler it is obligatory for him to fast on that day.
A traveler may participate in the FRiḍāy congregational prayer, and say his prayer behind the FRiḍāy prayer leader. In this case, his FRiḍāy prayer suffices for noon prayer of that day.
It is permissible to make prostration (sajdeh)on the stones of the shrine, its porches and its courtyards.
If the Muhr (the clay tablet on which prostrations are usually made )is lost while one is saying prayers, or if a child runs away with it, and if there is nothing available on which it is legitimate to make prostrations, then, if there is sufficient time, one must break off his prayer and find a muhr (or something else on which it is permissible to make prostrations) and say his prayers with it. If there is not enough time, he should prostrate on what grows from the ground but is not edible and cannot be used for clothing, such as a dry leaf or paper made from straw or cotton. If such things are not available, he should prostrate on his cotton clothes, but if this is also not possible, he can prostrate on the back of his hand.
Placing one's forehead on the door of the haram or kissing it, and likewise touching or kissing the grating of the burial chamber (darih), is not necessary for the acceptability of one's ziyārah, rather, if such a deed causes trouble for the other pilgrims it will be impermissible.
If one has intended to drop some money or some thing down into the immaculate burial chamber, while this would cause trouble or annoyance for the other pilgrims, it would be better to give it to the Endowment Office of the harem (nudhurat) and get a receipt for it.
It is not allowed to take a Qur'an, Mafihal-Janan, or a muhr out of the immaculate shrine or from Guhar Shad Mosque to a hotel or inn, even if it is intended to return back there.
It is not permitted to write anything, such as one's initials, what someone saw in a dream, etc., on the pages of the Qur'an, Mafihal-Janan or the prayer books.
During menstruation, ladies may enter the courtyards and porches of the haram, and may occupy themselves with their ziyārah, reciting supplications and repeating the fourfold tasbihat (i.e., subhana Allahi wa al-hamdu lillahi wa la ilaha illa Allahu wa Allahu akbar). However, they cannot stay in places where there is a mosque, such as the Masjid Balasar, Masjid Guhar Shad and likewise, the Rawdah Munawwarah (the place where the immaculate grating of Imam is).
If one vows to sacrifice a sheep for Imam Riḍā(A.S) to be used in the dining hall of the shrine, one must act according to the vow. Hence, it is not permitted to divide the money for the sheep or its meat among the other pilgrims or the poor at one's inn or place of residence.
This booklet is the English translation of Adab Ziyārah which was translated from Farsi byDr. Muhammad Legenhausen&Azim Sarvdalir, published by Islamic Research Foundation of Astan Quds Razavi, Mashad, Iran. It was dedicated by Assistance of Propagation and Islamic Relations of A.Q.R.c
منبع : Decorm For Visiting the Shring of Imam Rida A.S
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