Story of the Gold Chain
According to Tarikh Nishapur, as quoted in Al-Fusool al-Muhimma by Ibn al-Sabbagh the Malekite, when the Imam (A.S.) entered Nishapur on his way to Marw, he was inside a dome with curtains conveyed on a gray mule, and he went through Nishapur where the two Imams who memorized the ahadith of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the students of the Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A.W.), namely Abu Zar'a al-Razi and Muhammad ibn Aslam al-Toosi, with countless scholars and seekers of knowledge, traditionists and critics, and they both approached the Imam (A.S.) saying, "O most honourable dignitary and the son of the master Imams! By the rights of your purified forefathers (A.S.) and your glorious ancestors, could you please let us see your blessed face, and could you narrate for us hadith from your forefathers quoting your grandfather Muhammad (S.A.W.) whereby we can remember you?" So he ordered to have the mule halted, and he cooled the eyes of the throngs with his blessed sight. He had two locks of hair on his shoulders, and people from all classes were standing and looking at him, some loudly crying and rolling in the dust before him while others were kissing the hooves of his mule. The noise became much louder, and the leading scholars loudly called upon people, "O folks! Listen and learn! Listen to what benefits you and do not harm us by your loud screams and cries!" The person who requested permission to write down then was Abu Zar'a Muhammad ibn Aslam al-Toosi. Ali ibn Mousa al-Rida (A.S.) said: "My father Mousa al-Kazim (A.S.) narrated to me from his father Ja'fer al-Sadiq (A.S.) from his father Muhammad al-Baqir (A.S.) from his father Ali Zaynul-Abidin (A.S.) from his father, the Martyr of Kerbala (A.S.), from his father Ali ibn Abu Talib (A.S.) saying: `My loved one, and the pleasure of my eyes, the Messenger of God (S.A.W.), narrated to me once that Jibrail (Gabriel) told him that he had heard the Lord of the Throne, Glorified and Praised be His Name, saying, `The kalima of LA ILAHA ILLA-ALLAH is My citadel; whoever said it would enter My citadel, and whoever entered My citadel was safe from My retribution.'" Then he let the curtains loose on the dome and went away while the scribes outnumbered twenty thousand.
Abu Na'im said in Hilyat al-Awliya, after quoting the narrative above, "This is a firm hadith famous in this way of narration through the line of narrators from among the Purified Ones (A.S.) who quote their forefathers, and some of our predecessors who were traditionists used to say whenever this tradition was narrated that if this narrative was narrated to a madman, he would come back to his senses."
Adapted from: "Imam al-Ridha (a.s.), A Historical and Biographical Research" by: "Muhammad Jawad Fadlallah"
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