The Young and Fearless Imam
Imam Al-Jawad was only nine years old, he and other children were walking down a street of Baghdad, when Mamun Al-Rashid and his soldiers came by, all the children on the street ran away but Imam Al-Jawad did not. Mamun Al-Rashid stopped his carriage and asked, “Young man, why did you not run away like the other children?” Imam Al-Jawad replied calmly, “Neither had I committed a crime, nor was Blocking the way. Why should I have run away or be afraid? And I also know that you will not cause any unnecessary trouble when your way is not blocked.” Mamun Al-Rashid was surprised with this mature reply and asked, “What is your name?” “Muhammad,” came the reply. “Whose son are you?” asked Mamun Al-Rashid. “Son of Imam Ali Al-Ridha”
Mamun Al-Rashid rode on. During his hunt the hawk returned to him with a fish in its beak. Mamun Al-Rashid was surprised. He returned back towards the city. Once again, he found children playing on the same spot, who ran away seeing the caliph’s soldiers, except this young man who said he was Muhammad son of Imam Ali Al-Ridha who remained where he was. Mamun Al-Rashid hid the fish in his palm, stopped his carriage near Imam Al-Jawad and said, “Tell me, what is there in my fist?” The Imam replied, “God has created tiny fish in the river. The hawks of kings sometimes catch fish from there and bring it up to the kings. They hide it in their fist and ask a member of the family of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny), “Tell me what is there in my fist.”
Mamun Al-Rashid said, “Truly, you are the worthy son of Imam Ali Al-Ridha.” Mamun Al-Rashid took the young Imam Al-Jawad with him, and let him live in a nearby house next to the royal palace. It is important to note that Mamun’s act wasn’t an act of kindness, he forced Imam Al-Jawad to live nearby as a way to control him and hinder the spread of the holy household’s teachings.
- book: Story of the Holy Ka’aba and its people by sayyyed Muhammad Raza Shabbar