Every year, 30millionpeople including loversandpilgrims, from all over the world,gotoMashhadtovisitthisvastmonastic complextosetfootonthe Imam Reza shrine (RA).Itis interestingtoknowthatthe Imam Reza Shrineisthelargest mosqueinthe worldintermsof sizeandcapacityof 500,000as wellasthe thirdlargestmosque inthe worldintermsofcapacity.Insidethesanctuary,there areseveralfloors,mosques,porticoes,museums,and librariesallhaveuniquecharacteristics.Duringthe year,one canwitnessthe most importanteventsinthecompound ofImam Reza, which are celebrated inthe greatsplendorofthe crowd.
Before anything else, youneedto enter with the purityof your bodyandsoul,you will splashthe water to thebody as asymbol oftheremovalof impurity from yourbody.
Who is Imam Reza?
Ali al-Ridha is the eighthsuccessor of the ProphetMuhammad(p) and the eighth Imam of Shi’a Muslims. He was born inthecityof Medinainthe year148 AH.Hisnoblefather,ImamMoses,wasthe seventhrulerofthe Shi’a. His mostfamousnickname is ‘Reza’.Hisson,ImamMohammadJawad,explained thereasonforthetitle:
“GodcalledhimReza, of Godinheaven,andthe ProphetofGod,andthe Imams were pleased with him. Also forhisgoodhumor hisfriendsand foes werecontentwithhim.”
Attheageof 33, HazratAli IbnMusaal -RezabecameImamandspentmostofhislifeinMedina. The timeoftheirleadershipcoincidedwiththeCaliphateandthissymmetrymademanydifficultiesforthem.Atthe beginningofthe Imamat, Abbasid Caliphate was in power. Mamun the son of Caliph Harun al-Rashid decidedtooverthrowthecaliphatebyplanning to kill his brother Amin,andchosethe cityof MervforhisCaliphate.AftertheadventofmanyShiasandMuslimsinthe nameof Alavian,they foundthe opportunityand rebelled againstthe government. In order to quiet the many Shia rebellions around his government, Mamun summoned Imam Reza to Khorasan and wanted to offer him the role of the Crown Prince to prevent the Shias and relatives of Imam Reza from rebelling against the government, seeing as they would then be fighting their own Imam; secondly, to cause the people to lose their spiritual belief and inner attachment to the Imams, because the Imam would be associated with the corrupt government of Mamun. Thirdly, he intended it to fool other Shias into believing that his government was not so bad after all, because Imam Reza would then come into power after Mamun. And fourthly, he wanted to keep a close watch over the Imam of the Shias himself
Al-Ridha, who knew the real reason of this offer, politely refused it and said:
“If this caliphate belongs to you, then it is not permissible for you to take off the garment in which Allah has clothed you and to give it to other than you. If the caliphate does not belong to you, then it is not permissible for you to give me that which does not belong to you.”
Finally, Imam agreed to Mamun’s suggestion with a few conditions. Iftheyarenot allowed tobe installedorremoved,theywill not changethe official,takethe traditionalformandviewtheestablishmentofthe Caliphate, and accept the order ofthe caliph.
Thissituationcontinuedfor a whileuntil Mamun was unable toaccepttheexistence ofImam Reza,forcedhimto drink thetoxic pomegranate juice.Hourslater,the nobleand the 8thShiaprocession was Martyred at dawn of Safar29thintheyearof 203 AH.