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Differences of Personalities of al-Amin and al-Mamoon

There was a clear difference in mentality and way of thinking between al-Amin and his brother al-Mamoon. Al-Mamoon was broader in mentality and more open-minded than his brother, and he was more receptive to new ideas, more deep in his political and theological philosophy. Al-Mamoon, moreover, was more serious than his brother in the administrative management of the government. 

Al-Amin did not enjoy these merits, and the reason may be the fact that he was pampered and spoiled by his parents, that he was brought up to feel distinctly superior to his brother al-Mamoon. Add to this his temper of hereditary stubbornness which he inherited from his mother who was daughter of Ja'fer son of (caliph) al-Mansoor; as regarding al-Mamoon's mother, she was a women who gave birth to several children, and her name was Marajil. Al-Amin's mother raised her son to be aware of the class distinctions by narrating to him some interesting anecdotes involving herself and al-Rashid whenever the latter felt a psychological and emotional inclination towards his son al-Mamoon.

Adapted from: "Imam al-Ridha (a.s.), A Historical and Biographical Research" by: "Muhammad Jawad Fadlallah"

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