Leaving behind the town where one is born and raised is a daring decision, which is often followed by many challenges and difficulties. You enter a new world, have to live with new people, and speak a new language. Yet it becomes even more daring when your mission is to spread a peaceful message, to lead people toward what is right and remind them of human values, which they might have forgotten, or put aside. Imam Rida (AS), the eighth infallible Imam (AS) of Shias, was made to migrate to another country and live among the people whom he didn't know. Nevertheless, his eminent personality and unique characteristics won him such a position among the people of that town that they still honor him centuries after his demise, a person whose fame went beyond any borders and reached every corner of this world.
In what follows, we will have a glance at the life journey of Imam Rida (AS), this honorable figure.
Ali ibn. Musa al-Rida was born on December 29, 765 A.D in Medina. His father was Imam Musa al-Kazim (AS), the seventh infallible Imam of Shias, and his mother was Tuktam . He is a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), the Prophet of Islam. His most famous title was al-Rida, meaning "the satisfied one" and was chosen for him due to his utter devotion and submission to Allah, which also brought him Allah's satisfaction. As Imam Jawad (AS), his son, said, "The Almighty Allah named him Rida because He was pleased with him in the heavens and the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) and the Imams of guidance (AS) were pleased with him on earth" .
According to some sources, Imam Rida (AS) married twice in his lifetime. His first wife was Sabika, who was a descendant of Maria, prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)'s wife &. It is reported that Imam Rida (AS) married his second wife on al-Ma' mun's suggestion, the caliph of the time, to marry his daughter, Umm Habib. This incident happened around 817 A.D. Al-Ma' mun's intention on forming this tie was to get closer to Imam Rida (AS) and to continually have him under his supervision to avoid any action against himself by Imam Rida (AS) &&.
There is a disagreement on the number of his children, yet one thing is definite; he had a son called Muhammad, also known as Imam Jawad (AS), who would follow the leadership after him .
On 799 A.D. and after the demise of Imam Musa al-Kazim (AS), the period of Imam Rida (AS) 's leadership began, in which he followed his ancestors' path in enlightening Muslims and reminding them of the true message of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). In the first 17 years of his leadership, which he spent in Medina, he turned into one of the well-known figures among Muslims praised for his many virtues, including his significant command of Islam and Islamic sciences . The contemporary caliphs during Imam Rida (AS) 's period of leadership include Harun al-Rashid, Muhammad al-Amin, and al-Ma' mun all belonging to the Abbasid dynasty.
After the death of Harun al-Rashid, his two sons, al-Amin and al-Ma' mun, initiated a dispute over succeeding their father's crown. To secure his position and realizing Persians favor over Imam Rida (AS) and the teachings of Ahl-ul-Bayt, al-Ma' mun sent orders to Imam Rida (AS) to leave his town and join him in Khorasan, a province in Iran. If Imam Rida (AS) would side with him, al-Ma' mun thought, his throne would have become stronger, and he could have defeated his brother effortlessly . Therefore, on 817 A.D. Imam Rida (AS) was made to migrate from Medina to Iran. The route which al-Ma' mun's representative chose to take Imam Rida (AS) to Khorasan was intentionally planned not to pass any city in which the adherents of Imam (AS) resided to avoid any possible gathering against al-Ma' mun's throne . Nevertheless, he met many people on his way to Khorasan, which asked him to make a speech for them or tell them a hadith, the most famous of which was the hadith which he narrated in Neyshabur on the request of a Muslim scholar. This hadith, best known as the "Hadith of the Golden Chain (Silsilat al-Dhahab)", whose source goes back to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and is one of the most authentic hadiths in Islamic texts, emphasizes on the importance of adhering to the Imam of the time who are chosen by Allah to continue the path of spreading His message in the absence of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) .
On reaching Merv, the town al-Ma' mun chosen as the center of his caliphate, Imam Rida (AS), was summoned by al-Ma' mun to both welcome him and inform him of an important decision he had made with regard his throne. He first welcomed Imam Rida (AS) warmly and then told him that he had decided to leave the crown to him, yet Imam (AS) firmly refused this idea. He then came with another offer, asking Imam (AS) to be his heir and successor of his throne. But Imam (AS) refused to accept this offer, too, since he knew al-Ma' mun had certainly another plan in mind and only wanted to win Imam Rida's (AS) support to save his own position against possible threats. Nevertheless, al-Ma' mun didn't give up and repeated his offer, this time implying a death threat on Imam Rida (AS) in case of his refusal. Therefore, Imam Rida (AS) was reluctantly made to accept being al-Ma' mun's successor, under certain conditions: "So, I accept if I do not give any command and do not prohibit, I neither give Fatwa (religious creed) nor do I judge, I neither assign anyone to any task nor do I change anything's position." . As a result, al-Ma' mun gave allegiance to Imam Rida (AS) as his crown prince on March 817 A.D. in front of people.
As it was mentioned above, "Imam Rida (AS) knew about al-Ma 'mun's intention and told him, 'you want that people say, 'Ali b. Musa (AS) is not uninterested in the world and leadership, but it is the world that is uninterested in him. Do not you see how he (AS) has accepted to become the crown prince greedy for caliphate?' He answered those who asked him why he accepted to be the prince, "I accepted that unwillingly and under pressure.' The conditions Imam Rida (AS) declared for taking this position were, in fact, his withdrawal from cooperation in the government of al-Ma' mun, because Imam (AS) said that he neither would assign anyone to work nor would depose anyone; he neither would break a custom nor would he change anything in the current situation" . This dubious agreement ended when al-Ma'mun felt his position in danger due to the threats he received from other members of the royal family and decided to remove Imam (AS) by murdering him.
Moreover, Imam (AS) had revealed his hostility toward al-Ma' mun's caliphate through many of his manners. One of the most notable instances is his attendance in Eid-al-Fitr prayer. Despite al-Ma' mun's constant request on Imam Rida (AS) to lead the Eid prayer, Imam (AS) refused due to the conditions he had set on accepting al-Ma' mun's successorship. Yet, upon al-Ma' mun's insistence, he agreed to lead the prayer provided that he would attend it the way Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did. Therefore, despite the people's expectation to see Imam (AS) coming for the prayer in the pompous manner of caliphs, he appeared in modest clothes and barefooted while reciting Takbir (Allah-u-Akbar, e.g., Allah is the Greatest) [i]. When people saw Imam's (AS) manner, they also followed him and took off their shoes and said Takbir. Terrified for this gathering to end in a rebel against his throne, al-Ma' mun ordered one of his handlers to ask Imam (AS) to return and leave off leading the prayer. Therefore, Imam (AS) went back home without performing the prayer .
Despite being a crown prince and having the opportunity to use the pretentious joys of wealth, Imam Rida (AS) led a simple life and treated everyone with honor and respect regardless of their social level or wealth. It is reported that when the food was served in his house, he would call everyone, even the servants, to sit and eat with him. When others saw this manner of Imam (AS), they would recommend him to separate his food from his servants and treat them differently, yet he would say, "All are created by God, Adam is their father and Eve is their mother. Everyone will be dealt with by God according to his deeds. Why should there be any discrimination in this world."
In another account, a man praised Imam (AS) and told him, "By God, there is none who is superior to you in the nobleness of your ancestry." Yet, Imam (AS) replied, "My ancestors are honored merely for their Godliness, piety, and worship." Another man once declared," By God, you are the best in the world." The Imam checked him by saying: "Don't you declare an oath. Any man who is more pious than me can be better than me" .
Following his forefathers' footsteps, Imam Rida (AS) cared deeply for the people in less desirable circumstances and tried to help them by all means. According to an account, Imam Rida (AS) had given all his money away at once on the day of Arafah. One of his companions found Imam's (AS) action to be harmful to him, yet he answered, "It is, in fact, useful. Never regard an action which will be rewarded on the hereafter, as a compensation" .
In another account, a man on his way back from the holy pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) came to Imam Rida (AS) and asked him some money since he had lost all his money on his journey. Imam (AS) went inside his house, returned after some time, and without showing himself passed a significant amount of money to the man from behind the door and told him, "Take this money and make the most of it. Now leave here instantly, so that neither I see you, nor do you see me." When Imam (AS) was asked of the reason for this manner, he replied, "I didn't want him to see him ashamed and feeling belittled because of his request" .
Imam Rida (AS) was famous for his many debates with great scholars of different sects and religions in his time about religious and jurisprudential issues. When he was in Medina, he would sit in the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) mosque, and people brought their questions and problems to him to solve. Also, when he migrated to Merv, Al-Ma' mun brought many knowledgeable and well-known scholars to engage in a debate with Imam (AS) and, of course, secretly desired to belittle Imam's (AS) position should he defeat in any of these debate sessions. However, all these scholars were amazed by Imam's (AS) vast knowledge and excellent command of religious matters and admitted his superiority over them . When al-Ma' mun saw that these debate sessions are turning into a threat against his seemingly high position, he tried to restrict them and forbid Imam (AS) from holding these gatherings anymore .
Moreover, in the hadiths and narrations left by him, Imam Rida (AS) includes many recommendations regarding health, medicine, proper eating habits, ways to prevent diseases, and personal hygiene. His book called, Tibb al-Rida (AS), also known as Risala al-Dhahabiyya (The Golden Treatise), contains these kinds of information.
The reason for all the significant characteristics that Imam Rida (AS) manifested in his manners was definitely his deep faith in Allah. He was so immersed in his devotion to the One and Only Creator, which didn't even take a step without first considering His satisfaction.
This devotion both appeared in his manners toward people and the way he worshiped his Lord. It is reported that he would instantly interrupt a debate session on hearing the call to prayer (Adhan) to attend his Beloved Lord and perform Salat. Numerous accounts narrate his long and sincere worship at night. Once, Imam Rida (AS) told the man to whom he gave his shirt away, "take care of this shirt with which I have prayed a thousand rak' as every night for a thousand nights and wearing which, I have finished recitation of the Qur'an for a thousand times" .
Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Rida was finally martyred by al-Ma' mun through giving him a poisonous fruit in 818 A.D . After establishing Imam (AS) as his successor, which he did to strengthen his throne and win the favor of Persians by having Imam's (AS) support, al-Ma' mun found that Imam (AS) was not the kind of person to be suppressed and taken benefit from. Imam Rida (AS) implicitly showed his hostility and opposition to al-Ma' mun's crown on many occasions and gatherings. Therefore, in one of their meetings, he gave Imam (AS) a poisoned fruit, which resulted in his death two days later . Imam Rida's (AS) body now rests in a shrine in Mashhad, Iran.
[i] It is a tradition to say Takbir loudly on the Eid al-Fitr before the prayer.
- Ṣadūq, ʿUyūn akhbār al-Riḍā, vol. 1, p. 14.
- Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, V.49, P.4.
- Ṭabrisī, Iʿlām al-warā bi-aʿlām al-hudā, vol. 2, p. 91.
- Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 492.
- Yāfiʿī, Mirʾāt al-jinān, vol. 2, p. 10.
- Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī, vol. 7, p. 149.
- Qarashī, Ḥayāt al-Imām ʿAlī ibn Mūsā al-Riḍā, vol. 2, p. 408.
- Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 271.
- Ṭabrisī, Iʿlām al-warā bi-aʿlām al-hudā, vol. 2, p. 64.
- S.M.R. Shabbar, Story of the Holy Ka'aba And its People, p.85. Pdf.
- Motahari, Majmūʿih āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahari, vol. 18, p. 124.
- Sadūq, Maʿānī l-akhbār, p. 371.
- Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 259.
- Jaʿfarīyān, Ḥayāt-i fikrī wa sīyāsī-yi Imāmān-i Shīʿa, p. 443-444.
- S.M.R. Shabbar, Story of the Holy Ka'aba And its People, p.90. Pdf.
- Ibn Shahr Āshūb, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī. Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol.4, p.360.
- Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.49, p.101.
- Ṣadūq, ʿUyūn akhbār al-Riḍā, vol. 1, p. 152.
- ibid, vol. 2, p. 172.
- Ṭūsī, al-Amālī, p. 359.
- Āmilī, al-Ḥayāt al-sīyāsīyya li-l-Imām al-Riḍā, p. 169.
- Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 270.
Having the major themes that were mentioned in the previous article in mind, while going out for fun in Islam, we can realize if the sort of entertainment that we are up to, is lawful or not. Now, let’s have a look at a few lawful (Halal) fun activities:
In Islam having a good relationship with relatives is an obligation even if that relative is not Muslim . Therefore having gatherings with friends, family and relatives is not even lawful (Halal) but also recommended, keeping in mind that in all sorts of gatherings we must avoid gossiping, backbiting, humiliating others, and using bad words, as they have prohibited in Islam [i].
In chapter (Surah) Mu’minoun when Allah is describing the features of a real believer, he says: “And those who avoid vain talk” (23: 3)
Although we have many verses with the content mentioned above, it does not mean that Muslims should be charmless and moody. Therefore we have to find out what vain talk really means. The vain talk could be a sort of talk that can annoy other people [ii]. However, telling jokes that have no bad content or have a sort of humorous attitude that can make the listener laugh and make him/her happy and energetic, is recommended in Islam. It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (AS) that “among the most precious actions in the eyes of God is to bring joy and happiness to the heart of a believer.” 
Having fun in Islam with the non-Mahram opposite sex is forbidden. Instead, getting married and enjoying a relationship with the spouse is highly recommended. It is narrated from Imam Baqir (AS) that, “the fun of a believer is in three things: enjoying his/her spouse, joking with friends, and the night prayer.” 
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “Travel so that you stay fine and healthy.” 
Going out to nature, being only a few hours in a park or camping in the woods overnight, or traveling to other cities or countries is not only a change of mood, but there are also lessons and edification in it for a believer [iii].
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) used to encourage people to necessarily learn sports such as horse riding, swimming, and archery. There are many narrations concerning these three specific sports as well as other sorts of fun in Islam that our prophet (PBUH&HP) used to get involved in at his time. For example, it is narrated that he used to take part in camel riding races and he was really good at it.
However it does not mean that in our time we should stick to archery, horse riding, or camel riding, rather we should find the types of sports that suit our time and are also required in life. We can say that these days driving replaces horse riding. Or even cycling, karate and running or walking are easy and useful sports.
World championship sports these days mostly serve international political reasons rather than health and joy.
These kinds of activities are fun and exciting. Some people enjoy these activities alongside activities such as bungee jumping. Some people have adventurous personalities and need a kind of entertainment like this, so they can gain energy and stability to go back to work on a Monday morning. Therefore there is no problem to enjoy them.
Reading is a calming and relaxing activity. Sitting by the fire on a winter’s day and drinking a cup of tea while reading, or on a summer’s day doing the same thing on the balcony would be so joyful. Most of our jurists recommend inserting reading into our daily lives. But we have to be careful about what we read. Reading all types of books is, not lawful (Halal) for a Muslim. A Muslim should be cautious about the contents of the books she/ he chooses to read. The book should help elevate the life and soul of the reader and not engage his/ her mind with useless information.
Playing computer games as long as there is no unethical content in the game is not forbidden. If people play computer games to rest, or change their moods, it would be fine. But we have all seen how some people are addicted to digital games that have no use for them and only waste their energy as well as physically hurting them. However, spending too much time on a computer game that may have no use for the growth of one’s soul is detestable (Makruh). The same rule applies to movies. When choosing a movie to watch, it is important to make sure that the content of that movie does not harm our souls.
Playing cards, especially when a group of friends comes together can be fun. However, any sort of card games that are known to be used for gambling, even if we do not bet on them, is forbidden. Imam Reza (AS) said: “God has prohibited His servants from all sorts of gambling (games with winners and losers), and commands them to avoid these games…” , as they are “abominations of Satan’s doing” [iv].
In conclusion, by keeping in mind that the entertainment of a believer should do no harm to him/her or others, but should also have some benefits for him/her, we can understand why Imam Ali (AS) says: “working is the greatest fun of a believer”. 
[i] “O you who have faith! Let not any people ridicule other people: it may be that they are better than they are, nor let women [ridicule] women: it may be that they are better than they are. And do not defame one another, nor insult one another by [calling] nicknames. How evil are profane names subsequent to faith! As for those who are not penitent [of their past conduct]—such are the wrongdoers. O you who have faith! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins. And do not spy on one another or backbite. Will any of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. Be wary of Allah; indeed Allah is All-clement, all-merciful.” (49:11- 12)
[ii]“Woe to every scandal-monger and slanderer” (104:1)
[iii]“Have they not traveled in the land and seen how was the fate of those who were before them? They were more powerful than them, and they plowed the earth and developed it more than they have developed it. Their apostles brought them manifest proofs. So it was not Allah who wronged them, but it was they who used to wrong themselves.” (30: 9)
[iv]“O you who have faith! Indeed wine, gambling, idols, and the divining arrows are abominations of Satan’s doing, so avoid them, so that you may be felicitous.” (5: 90)
- Mafatih al-hayat, p. 211
- Al-kafi, vol. 2. P. 188
- Mafatih al-hayat, p. 205
- Al-hadith, vol. 2, p. 145
- Mafatih al-hayat, p. 205
- Nahjulbalaghah, Hekmah no. 39
Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions in the world, with many apparent similarities between their beliefs. However, there is a crucial difference among some sects of Christianity and Islam, which is the question of the divinity of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). Christianity is usually regarded as a Monotheistic religion, some of its denominations, though, hold that Jesus (PBUH) is a part of Trinity and is God. But Muslims believe Jesus (PBUH) is a human being. They love prophet Jesus (PBUH) and honor him as one of the greatest prophets, yet for them, Jesus (PBUH) is not God nor the son of God.
According to the verses of the Quran and what Muslims believe, God is One and unique in essence, attributes and actions, and is not like any of His creatures. So having a child, which is the reproduction of a similar one, is impossible for Him. “The originator of the heavens and the earth—how could He have a child when He has had no spouse? He created all things, and He has knowledge of all things” (6:101).
From the Islamic perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to consider human form for Allah. This is also acknowledged in the bible as Jesus (PBUH) said once when he was among his followers: “You have never heard His voice at any time nor seen His form” John (5:37).
Muslims believe Jesus (PBUH) was created just as Adam (PBUH) was created without a father. And that his life as a human began miraculously by Allah just as He created Adam (PBUH) the first time. If Jesus Christ (PBUH) was God, then how could he be born of his mother, Saint Mary? Or how could he die in the hands of humans? Also, if God could take human form, wouldn’t there need to be another God to run the universe? These ideas are explicitly rejected in the holy Quran: “There is no god but Allah, and indeed Allah is the All-mighty, the All-wise” (3:62)
We, human beings, need to have children for various reasons. We would satisfy many of our desires, having them, like our sensual or emotional needs. Some of us might want to have one to assist us with our works and needs. Some might seek a name after death, etc. None of these, however, would make any sense about Allah, who is the Creator of the universe, the All-mighty and the All-sufficient: “O mankind! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah, and Allah—He is the All-sufficient” (35:15).
The other reason that proves Jesus Christ (PBUH) is not God or the son of Him is that he was a human being with all human attributes and requirements. He was in his mother’s womb for some time; he was born; he would eat, drink and sleep and was nothing different from all other human beings except that he was the messenger of Allah: “The Messiah, son of Mary, is but an apostle. Certainly, [other] apostles have passed before him, and his mother was a truthful one. Both of them would eat food. Look how We clarify the signs for them, and yet, look, how they go astray!” (5:75).
More importantly, Jesus Christ (PBUH) himself never claimed that he is a God and has to be worshipped. In fact, he said the contrary in Mathew (15:9): “They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Or, in Numbers (23:19), he said: “God is not man… or a son of man”. In many other verses, he admitted that he was only an apostle of God, not God, nor the son of Him, and there is only one true God: “Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only TRUE God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” John (17:3).
You see, there are serious contradictions and misconceptions between different verses of the New Testament and also what Christians believe about Prophet Jesus (PBUH). But what the holy Quran suggests is clear: “Say, ‘He is Allah, the One. Allah is the All-embracing. He neither begat, nor was begotten, nor has He any equal.’” (112:1-4) And that Jesus (PBUH) was a prophet, born without a father, just as Adam and Eve were born without parents. Miracles were given to him by Allah to convince people that Allah, the only true God exists.