Imams and the Persecution of Rulers
The Imams were tested during various periods of their lives by pressing crises due to the trespassing of oppressive rulers on their civil liberties. They pursued their followers and sincere adherents, straitening on them in various aspects of their everyday life, so much so that the word rafidi came to represent in the eyes of the rulers the final indictment of anyone proven to be "guilty" of its context, a believer in its background. Because of that, the chance was lost for many of those who sought knowledge to derive from that leading fountainhead, and the chance to find the scholarly solutions for the intellectual problems because of which they were disturbing their minds. Despite all these pressures and violent trespassing, mankind is not intellectually deprived of a great deal of intellectual masterpieces which the Imams (A.S.) dictated to their students and disciples in various aspects of scholarship.
Some of those students used to give jailers whatever they demanded so that they might agree to carry written questions to the jailed Imam (A.S.) and bring them back his answers thereto, out of their desire to benefit from the presence of the Imam (A.S.), and due to their desire to be faithful to the trust of scholarship, and in order to protect it from the labyrinths of doubt. The biography of the jailed Imam Mousa ibn Ja'fer (A.S.) bears witness to that according to those who quoted him. Historians and biographers of Imam al-Rida (A.S.) do in fact mention some books authored by the Imam (A.S.) besides his narration of hadith and issues which he dictated to those who asked him and to his close companions who used to frequently question him about the types of knowledge which they could not understand. To positively identify these books as authored by the Imam (A.S.) may require a convincing evidence which we may not sometimes have.
Adapted from: "Imam al-Ridha (a.s.), A Historical and Biographical Research" by: "Muhammad Jawad Fadlallah"
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