He feared light like a thief. Evidently, he was afraid of the beneficent and sun-like presence of Imam Kadhim (PBUH) among the people. Therefore he decided to arrest Imam (PBUH).

The most powerful Abbasid caliph, Harun al-Rashid entered Medinah, in order to achieve his sinister goal, as well as to deceive people under the excuse of the seasoning of the Hajj pilgrimage.

The people of the suburbs of Medinah came to greet him.

At that instance Imam was praying in the mosque of the Great prophet (PBUH&HP).

Harun, first after entering the mosque visited the grave of the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) and entered his holy Rawdah. He started the first part of his sinister goal with standing against the grave saying out loud: “O Prophet of Allah, I apologize from you before implementing my decision… I have decided to imprison Musa bin Ja’far (your son). He wants to sow discord among the people and cause bloodshed. For the sake of people’s security I have no solution but putting him in the prison.  

He said his words out loud so that people could hear him. The terror and fear forced them to silence. Therefore, when he didn’t see any serious reaction from the people, he realized that the situation is ripe to arrest Imam Kadhim (PBUH).

This matter paved the way for Harun to implement his second part of the plan. Benefiting from the maximum of the people’s fear he shamelessly ordered to arrest Imam Kadhim (PBUH) while Imam was conducting the prayer (Salat). They even didn’t allow for Imam to finish the divine practice of Salat, and guided him out of the Mosque.

Harun who still feared the reaction of the proponents of Imam Kadhim (PBUH) implemented his third part of the plan. The conspiracy of the ordering to provide two Howdajs(1) to carry Imam (PBUH) secretly was followed by sending one to Baghdad and the other to Basra, carrying Imam inside it. 

The final goal for Harun was the deprivation of people from their Imam so that they live in darkness. Harun, the greatest empirical power on earth, with an empire stretching to the corners of the globe, could not even tolerate the presence of Imam Kadhim (PBUH) as a citizen among the people. Therefore he ordered to imprison Imam (PBUH) in Basra.

Musa bin Ja’far (PBUH) was kept there for almost a year. Afterwards, Imam (PBUH) was moved from Basra to the prison of Fazl bin Rabi'(2) in Baghdad. He was there until it was informed to the caliph that Fazl bin Rabi’ has provided convenience for Imam and he is not being tortured or disturbed there. Therefore Imam Kadhim (PBUH) was moved to the prison of Fazl bin Yahya and kept there for a while.

The practice of constantly moving Imam (PBUH) from one prison to another lasted for years. However, the enduring fear of Harun from the presence of Imam led him to the decision of sending Imam to the prison of Jewish Sindi bin Shahak who was the commander in Baghdad and was known for his harshness and inhumanity. In this prison Imam Kadhim (PBUH) was put in the harshest situation. Sindi bin Shahak used to chain Imam Kadhim (PBUH) and tortured him.

Finally Harun, after years of tremendously disturbing him, decided to deprive the people from the beneficial existence of Imam (PBUH). He ordered Sindi to poison Imam (PBUH). At last Imam Kadhim (PBUH), suffering the worst tortures in the dungeon, was poisoned by one of the most inhumane people of all times, and left this world to the Almighty God.

(The above is a selection taken from “The Smell of the Muhammadi Flower”, by Ayatullah Muhammad Zia’ Abadi)

Roshd offers its condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend on the 25th of Rajab, Martyrdom of the manifestation of light and wisdom, inheritor of peace and calmness, the seventh Imam, Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kadhim (PBUH).


1. Howdaj was a small room in which the traveler sat. The people outside could not see its inside.

2. One of the ministers of Harun

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