Salaam dear young friends. Heartiest felicitations to you all again, and this time on the auspicious eve of the birth anniversary of Imam Reza (AS), which we are all set to celebrate on Friday, July 3.
As a matter of fact, the 11th of Zil-Qa’dah, the 8th Imam’s blessed birthday, could be called icing to the cake of "Dah-e Karamat” or Ten Days of Munificence that we celebrate every year in the Islamic Republic of Iran at the start of this auspicious month – beginning with the birthday of Our Innocent Lady of Qom, Hazrat Fatema al-Ma’souma (SA).
In between, the 6th of this sacred month is celebrated every year in honour of another venerable descendent of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). He is Imam Reza’s (AS) brother, Ahmad ibn Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS). He reposes in peace in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, which has been declared as the 3rd holy place in Iran, after Mashhad and Qom. He is revered as "Shah Cheragh” because of a miraculous incident several centuries ago of a beam of light emanating from his blessed grave.
Imam Reza (AS) needs no introduction. His multi-dimensional personality beckons millions of pilgrims throughout the year to his sprawling golden-domed holy shrine in Mashhad, Khorasan.
You youngsters, especially those living in Iran, very well know that Imam Reza (AS) is often called "Zamen-e Ahou” or the "Guarantor of the Deer” because of his convincing of a hunter to let go of a freshly ensnared doe that had young ones in the forest to whom it wanted to give suckle. We need not repeat here how the doe returned from the forest along with its fawns and how the astonished hunter freed the animals in appreciation of the Imam’s miraculous powers.
Do you know that the 8th Imam did not earn the epithet of "Zamen”, which means "Guarantor”, "Protector”, or "Guardian” solely because of this incident?
As a matter of fact, there are several instances of his being "Imam-e Zamen” or the Leader who is an indisputable Protector/Guardian/Guarantor of anyone who entrusts himself/herself to his care, long before he came to Iran, such as the guarantee provided by him for the safety of pilgrims to the holy shrine of his ancestor, Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala, which the tyrant Haroun had forbidden.
It is also worth noting that when silver coins were minted in honour of Imam Reza (AS) on his arrival in Marv, the people of Khorasan started revering them. They used to tie these silver coins in a band of cloth on the right arm of any traveler as guarantee for safe journey, so that anyone encountering the traveler would refrain from harming him as a person under protection of Imam Reza (AS).
Later, when the journey was over, the coin or coins would be distributed amongst the needy as charity.
Interestingly, this practice is continued to this day in the Subcontinent, where the Muslims, whether Shi’a or Sunni, tie on the right arm of a traveler or newlywed couples, an amulet or a piece of cloth with a coin inside and known simply as "Imam-e Zamen” and entrust them to the care of Imam Reza (AS), in order to ensure the safe return of the traveler or the prosperity of the bride and groom.
Yes, dear friends, let us all join together and entrust our dear country, the Islamic Republic of Iran, to the only Infallible Heir of the Prophet who reposes in peace on Iranian soil, so that for the sake of Imam Reza (AS), God Almighty will protect us and our dear leaders from the plots of the enemies and the evil of the Great Satan (the US) and also from the new deadly virus Covid-19.