Unfortunately the dynasties, such as the Umayyads, Abbasids, the Ottomans in Turkey and today’s Wahhabis, which ruled under the pretext of Islam, showed a dark image of Islam and paved the way for others to blame Islam. These administrations, bearing the label “Islamic” not only avoided to forgive the guilty, they in fact repressed the innocent in their prisons, under brutal torture of their gloomy tyrannical rule.

If true history had not depicted the perfect behavior of the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his Household (PBUH) as the true representation of Islam, there would be no trace of Islam and Islamic mercifulness at hand.

The infallible Household of the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) went through all the tortures of the prisons and other bloody incidents in order to be signs for the people of the future and be marked as the premier and leader of the Islamic nation for all times. In this respect their moral ethics, their mercifulness and forgiveness toward the guilty is regarded as one of the key promoters of this holy religion.

Imam Ali Ibn Musa al-Reza (PBUH) much like his great ancestors  was keen to forgive at all times and show compassion towards people. As an example:

During the reign of Haroun al-Rashid and after the martyrdom of Imam Musa ibn Jaffar (PBUH) some of the forces of the Caliph under the command of a brutal person called Jaloudi were ordered to attack the Bani Hashim district in Medina and loot the property of the houses.

Jaloudi took the order and entered Medina and attacked the houses, including the house of Imam Musa ibn Jaffar (PBUH) while Imam Reza (PBUH) resided there; they surrounded the house. Imam Reza (PBUH), aware of all what was happening, guided all the women and children in the house to a room and stood by the doorway himself. Jaloudi addressed Imam (PBUH) harshly and said: “I have been ordered by Amir al-Mu’minin Haroun to enter this room, besides confiscating all belongings and this will be done.”

Imam Reza (PBUH) said in reply: “You wait here and have patience; I swear that I will bring you whatever these ladies have whether jewelry, gold, valuable clothes etc.” But Jaloudi did not accept and was stressing on his decision. Imam Reza (PBUH) too was insisting that “if you wait I promise to bring you whatever property there is” until Jaloudi finally accepted.

Imam (PBUH) entered the room and ordered the women that they put forward to Jaloudi whatever jewelry or ornament they own and even their scarves except a sole shirt.

This incident passed until Imam Ail ibn Musa al-Reza (PBUH) came to Khorasan while being so-called the “heir” of Ma’moun the Abbasid. Ma’moun ordered all the court men to pay allegiance to Imam Reza (PBUH). Everyone accepted except a few including Jaloudi. Therefore Ma’moun put all of them in the prison guilty for not paying allegiance to Imam Reza (PBUH).

In spite of all the animosity and indecencies of Jaloudi as well as his recognition of Imam’s position, he was forgiven compassionately by Imam Reza (PBUH). The story was that, One day after the imprisonment of Jaloudi, Ma’moun visited Imam Reza (PBUH) and told him about this treatment of those who had not paid allegiance including Jaloudi; he then ordered to bring the prisoners.

Imam Reza (PBUH) was sitting beside Ma’moun that he saw Jaloudi being brought forward. Although Imam (PBUH) has been humiliated by Jaloudi and indecently looted and offended by him, and in spite of the fact that he knew that this person is openly showing animosity, he forgave Jaloudi largely and mercifully. Therefore he turned toward Ma’moun and said kindly: “Forgive this old man (Jaloudi), with my intercession and set him free.” 

Ma’moun whispered: “This is the person that harassed the daughters of the Prophet and looted your house.” Jaloudi, because of the opposition he had toward Imam Reza (PBUH), thought that Imam would want Ma’moun to punish him. Therefore he asked Ma’moun: “For the sake of God and my service to your father Haroun, please do not accept his decision about me.”

When Ma’moun saw the situation, he was stunned both by Imam’s (PBUH) compassion and Jaloudi’s viciousness, and said to Jaloudi: “I swear to God that I will not execute his choice toward you.” Then he ordered his executor to cut his head off.(1)

(The above is a selection taken from, ”The Role of Imam Reza’s (PBUH) Leadership”, by Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad Shirazi)

Roshd Website offers condolences to all Muslims, especially your dear friend, upon the last day of the month of Safar, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the kind leader and the refugee for the weak, the eighth Imam of Shiites, Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Reza (PBUH).

Footnotes:

1- A’yaan al-Shi’a, vol. 1, p. 42