Qualities of Imam Rida (A.S.)
Imam Rida (A.S.) had the high noble traits of his grandfather – Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his household).
Concerning his noble traits, Ibrahim b al-Abbas narrates: I have never seen nor have I ever heard that there is a man more meritorious than Abu al-Hasan al-Rida (A.S.). He never turned way from anyone; nor did he interrupt anyone; nor did he refuse to do someone a favor he was able to do; nor did he ever stretch out his leg before an audience; nor did he ever lean upon something while his companion did not; nor did he ever call any of his servants or attendants a bad name; nor did he ever spit or burst into a laughter; rather his laughter was just a smile. When he was ready to eat, he seated with him all his attendants, including the doorman and the groom.
He slept little at night. He spent most of his nights from beginning to end (in praying or reciting the Quran). He did abundant charity, most of which was at dark nights.
These words display the Imam’s noble traits, which are as follows:
A- He did not turn away from any of the people, whether they were his friends or his enemies; rather he received them warmly and smiled at them.
B- He did not interrupt anyone while he was speaking; rather he let them talk until he finished his talking.
C- Among his exalted morals is that he did not stretch out his legs before those who sat with him, rather he sat politely.
D- He did not lean upon something while his associate did not.
E- He did not call any of his retainers or attendants a bad name even if they mistreated him.
F- He did not even show haughtiness (arrogance) toward them; rather, he seated with them when he was ready to eat.
G- He prayed abundantly and spent his nights in praying and reciting the Book of Allah.
H- He did a lot of good for the poor, he gave alms to them at dark nights lest none should recognize him.
These are some of the Imam’s noble traits which Ibrahim b al- Abbas had witnessed.
Reason behind his title – ‘al- Rida’
A group of historians maintain that it was al–Mamun who gave him this title, for he was satisfied with him and appointed him as his successor. Imam Jawad (A.S.) refuted this statement before a group of his companions, saying: Verily Allah, the Blessed and the Most High named him al–Rida, for he was the pleasure of Allah, of His Messenger (peace be upon him and his household) and of the Imam’s (A.S.).
Somebody asked him, Weren’t all your past forefathers (A.S.), the pleasure of Allah, His Messenger (peace be upon him and his household) and of the Imams (A.S.).
Yes, replied Imam Jawad (A.S.).
Why has only your father been named al–Rida, asked the man.
Because both his opposing enemies and obedient supporters were pleased with him, while this did not happen to any of his fathers, so only he was named al–Rida.
* Life of Ali bin Musa al – Rida by Baqir Sharif al – Qarashi.