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From the Series of Tragedies

One incident which took place during the reign of al-Rashid reminds us of the chain of tragic events from which the Alawides suffered during the reign of al-Mansour. In Medina, Muhammad ibn Ja'fer declared rebellion against the government; therefore, al-Rashid sent an army under the command of al-Jalloodi to crush his rebellion, ordering al-Jalloodi to behead the man if he could lay his hand on him. Al-Rashid, furthermore, was not satisfied with just that. He instructed his commander to assault the houses of the descendants of Abu Talib and loot everything their women had without leaving even one piece of clothing on them. Al-Jalloodi tried to execute al-Rashid's order in person; therefore, he attacked the house of Imam al-Rida (A.S.) using his cavaliers. Having seen him, the Imam (A.S.) put all the women in one house, and he stood at its door. Al-Jalloodi said to Abul-Hassan: "I have got to enter the house and strip the women of everything just as the commander of the faithful ordered me." Al-Rida (A.S.) said: "I can do that for you, and I will not leave anything for them." The Imam (A.S.) kept requesting him to accept, swearing that he would do just that till the man calmed down and consented. Abul-Hasan took their wares, including their ear-rings, anklets, shirts, and every valuable item in the house, small or big. 

This incident, if true, does not depict an unusual behaviour by al-Rashid towards the Alawides since he was full of grudge and animosity towards them. What encourages us to believe in it is what Ibn al-Athir narrates about al-Rashid at the time of his death, shortly before meeting his Maker. He was moaning and groaning while saying, "How horrible my evil deeds are towards the Messenger of God! How Horrible!"77 This is a clear expression of the admission of the calamities he inflicted upon the family of the Prophet (S.W.A.), of his horrible sins, of a bitter regret which was consuming his soul at the time of its departure.


77 Ibn al-Athir, Vol. 5, p. 130.

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

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