The 25th of Rajab; the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Musa al-Kadhem (peace be upon him)

The people of the House of the Prophecy were distressed on the twenty-fifth of Rajab 183 AH of the martyrdom of the seventh of the guidance moons from Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), Imam Musa al-Kadhem (peace be upon him).

Imam al-Kadhem (peace be upon him) has suffered from the severest kinds of misfortunes and punishment. He was shackled, harassed, harmed, burdened with heavy chains and fetters, treated most brutally and inhumanly, imprisoned and prevented of any kind of contact with the outer world. And after Harun Rasheed had poured upon him all kinds of painful disasters, he maliciously killed him to escape from this responsibility by ordering "al-Sindi Ibn Shahek" to put a deadly poison in the dates, to offer them to the Imam (peace be upon him) and to force him to eat some of them.

The poison circulated all over the body of the Imam (peace be on him). The Imam suffered from severe pain and aches. He (peace be on him) came to know that his meeting with Allah was close at hand. So he sent for al-Sindi. When al-Sindi was in his presence, he ordered him to bring him his retainer (mawla) from Madinah who was staying at the house of al-Abbas Ibn Muhammed at the cane-market (mashra‘at al-qasab), that he might wash and shroud his body. Al-Sindi asked the Imam to permit him to shroud him but he, peace be on him, refused. He said: “I am a member of the House (of the Prophet). The giving of dowries for our women, the performing of pilgrimages on behalf of those of us who have not made the pilgrimage, and the shrouding of our dead can only be performed by one of our retainers who is pure. I already have my shroud.” Al-Sindi brought him his retainer.

The Imam (peace be upon him) became critically ill. He reached the decreed end. He suffered from the aches of death. So he sent for al-Musayyab Ibn Zahra and said to him: “I have told you about my demise to Allah, the Great and Almighty. When I ask for a drink of water and drink it, you see me swollen, my colour turns red, green, and other colours, then tell the tyrannical (Harun) about my death.”

Al-Musayyab said: “I was still watching him until he asked for a drink of water and drank it. Then he summoned me and said: ‘O al-Musayyab, surely this dirty one, al-Sindi Ibn Shahik will claim that he will undertake washing and shrouding me. How far! How far! That will never happen! When I will be carried to the cemetery called the cemeteries of Quraysh, bury me in it. Do not let my grave be higher than four open fingers. Do not take any of my earth [soil] to get the blessing of it. For all our earth is forbidden except that of my grandfather al-Hussayn Ibn Ali (peace be on him). For Allah, the Great and Almighty, has made it as a cure for our Shi‘ites and friends.’”

Al-Musayyab said: “Then I saw a person looked like him sitting beside him. I knew my master ar-Reda (peace be upon him) when he was young. I wanted to ask him, but my master Musa said to me: ‘Did I not prohibit you?’ Then that person disappeared from me. I approached the Imam and found him a motionless corpse on the 25th of the month of Rajab."

O Allah! O Muslims! Imam Musa (peace be on him), the Prophet’s grandson, Imam of Muslims, master of those Allah-fearing and worshipful, and giant of Islamic though-was put on the Bridge of al-Rusafa while he was dead. Those near and far looked at him. The passers-by watched him. The police surrounded his Holy Body and uncovered his face for the people. They intended to violate his sacredness, to degrade his dignity, and to slander him. Harun paid no attention to the womb kinship between him and the Imam, nor did he respect his sacredness while he was dead.

Through this procedure of his, al-Rasheed attempted to abuse and insult the Shi‘ites. This measure had a bad effect on them, and they remembered it throughout their historical stages with sorrow and sadness.

What terrible the disaster was! What awful the misfortune was! Al-Sindi violated the sacredness of Islam and the dignity of the members of the House [Ahl al-Bayt] (peace be on them). He ordered his policemen to call the people to come and see the body of the Imam with that painful call that terrified the souls and filled them with sorrows and sadness. He did not order them to attend the funeral of the good one, son of the good one. Rather he ordered them to say something opposite to that. So those salves walked through the streets and the lanes. They shouted at the top of their voices with that dirty, ugly call. He also ordered them to say: “This is Musa Ibn Ja‘far whom the Rafidites (Shi‘ites) say that he does not die! So look at him while he is dead!”

Of course, al-Sindi did not take such a measure by himself. Rather the supreme authorities ordered him to do that, that they might annoy, abase the Shi‘ites and disparage the members of the Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them).

The Imam (peace be upon him) remained on the bridge for three days. His holy body was not buried. It was put in prison, that the police might investigate the even. Then it was put on the bridge, so the passers-by might look at it. These measures were taken to make little of the Imam and to undermine his social rank.

Sulayman Ibn Abi Ja‘far al-Mansur undertook preparing the Imam for burial and escorting him to his final resting place. His palace towered over the Tigris. He heard crying any noise. He saw the people in Baghdad walking like waves and in disorder. He was afraid of that, so he turned to his sons and his servants and asked them: “What is the news?”

“This is al-Sindi Ibn Shahik announcing (the death of) Musa Ibn Ja‘far,” they replied.

They told him about that severe, horrible announcement. So his sentiments exited; his condition changed; and a wave of rage controlled him. As a result he shouted at his sons, saying: “You and your servants, go down and take him (Musa) from their hands. If they prevent you (from taking him), then hit them and tear up their black uniforms (the uniform of the police and the army).”

Sulayman’s sons and servants quickly went down and took the body of the Imam from them. The police did not oppose them. For Sulayman was the uncle of the Caliph. The most important and brilliant figure from among the ‘Abbasid family. All the people obeyed his orders. The servants carried the coffin of the Imam and brought it to Sulayman, and he immediately ordered them to call out in the streets of Baghdad with a call opposite to that of al-Sindi. The servants walked through the streets and said at the top of their voices: “Whoever wants to attend the funeral of the good one, son of the good one, Musa Ibn Ja‘far, then let him come!”

Sulayman prepared the Imam. He washed and shrouded him. Then he wrapped him up with a hibra on which all Quran was written and which he bought for two thousand and five hundred dinars.

Al-Musayyab Ibn Zahra narrated, saying: “By Allah, I saw the people with my own eye. They thought that they were washing him (Imam Musa), but their hands did not reach him. They thought that they were washing, perfuming, and shrouding him. However, I saw that they did nothing. I saw that person who attended his death (Imam ar-Reda). It was he who washed, perfumed, and shrouded him. He showed help to them, but they did not recognize him. After he had finished his affair, he turned to me and said: “O Musayyab, whatever you doubts a thing, do not doubt me, for I am your Imam, your master, and Allah’s proof over you after my father. O Musayyab, I am just like Yousuf, the truthful, and they are like his brothers when they came in to him and denied him.’”

The people of Baghdad hurried to escort the Imam to his final resting place. It was a well-attended day the like of which Baghdad had never seen. The pious, the sinful, the righteous, and the wicked went out to escort the grandson of the Prophet and to win a success through carrying his coffin. The processions walked and roamed through the streets and the lanes. They repeated the words of sorrow and sadness. They brought it to the cemeteries of Quraysh. A grave had been dug there, where his sanctuary and shrine is right now, which is visited by millions of visitors like the shrines of his grandfathers Imam Ali and Imam al-Hussayn (peace be upon both of them).

So, peace be upon you of Master Musa Ibn Ja'far the day you were born, the day you were martyred in the dark depths of prisons and the day you will be raised alive. "Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return."
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