The Zamin (The Guarantor) of Deer

The Life of Imam Al-Rida

When Imam Rida, peace be on him, was born, the earth shined waves of delight and happiness spread through the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bles

When Imam Rida, peace be on him, was born, the earth shined; waves of delight and happiness spread through the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Household. As for Imam al- Kadhim, he received with more delight the news of the birth of his blessed baby, so he hurried to his wife and congratulated her on her baby, saying: "I congratulate you, Najma. It is a mark of nobility for you from your Lord!"

Imam al- Kadhim, peace be on him, named his blessed baby with the name of his grandfather Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, that he might get blessing seek good omen in this name, which stood for the greatest personality created in the world of Islam and had all good qualities of the world. They are other titles for Imam Rida (A.S) as follow:

Imam Rida Titles

1. Rida

The historians and narrators have differed over the person who gave this exalted nick-name to the Imam, peace be on him, to the extent that it has prevailed him and become a name through which he is recognized. The following are some of the statements:

2. Imam Musa

Some narrators believe that it was Imam Musa al- Kadhim (A.S), peace be on him, who gave this nick-name to his son. Suleiman bin Hafs reported: "Imam Musa bin Jafar named his son ‘Ali Rida. He would say: ‘Summon to me my son Rida.’ I asked him: ‘To my son belongs pleasure (Rida).’ He answered: ‘My son is Rida.’

When he addressed him, he said: ‘O Abu al-Hassan.’1 " These are some statements about giving him this noble nick-name. Ahmed al-Bizanti gave the reason for giving this nick-name to him, saying:

"He was given the nick-name of Rida because he is the good pleasure of Allah, the Most Exalted, in His heaven, the pleasure of His Messenger, and of the Imams after him on His earth.2"

3. Al-Sabir3

He was given the nick-name of al-Sabir (the patient) because he was patient toward the troubles and misfortunes caused to him by his opponents and enemies.

4. Al-Zaki4

Imam ‘Ali bin Musa Rida, peace be on him, was pure, noble, and honorable.

5. Al-Wafi5

As for loyalty, it was one of the Imam’s qualities, for he was loyal to his community and homeland.

6. Sirajj Allah6

The Imam was the Siraj of Allah (the Lamp of Allah). He guided the misled and the perplexed (to the right path).

7. Qurrat ‘Ayn al-Mu’minïn7

Among his noble nick-names is Qurrat ‘Ayn al-Mu’minïn (the delight of the eye of the believers), for he was their ornament, their pride, their cave, and their stronghold.

8. Makkyadat al-Mulhidïn8

He was given the nickname of Makkyadat al-Mulhidïn (the stratagem of the unbelievers), for nullified their vague errors and refuted their imaginations. This was through his debates which were held in the ‘Abbasid palace, and with which he established the originality of Islamic principles and values.

9. Al-Siddïq9

He was given the nick-name of Al-Siddïq (the very truthful one), for he was like Yusuf (Joseph), who ruled Egypt. He led Islamic world and had an absolute leadership over it.

10. Al-Fadil10

He was given the nickname of al-Fadil or the most meritorious one, for he was the most meritorious and perfect of all the people of his time.


The other most popular title of our eighth Imam (A.S) is that of Imam al-Thaamin al-Zamin meaning ‘the eighth Imam – who is the guarantor’. Where did this concept come from? Once a thief was brought to the court of Mamoon for Judgment. The king immediately ruled that his hands should be chopped off. But the thief protested and said that the king could not do this due to three reasons:

Firstly, the king was responsible for creating such an economical climate whereby poverty was on increase and that he had no choice but to steal to feed his family.

Secondly, the thief claimed that he was a Seyyed (a descendant of the prophet) and he accused the king, rightly so, of stopping ‘Khums’ from reaching him. And thirdly, he said that he was a free man whereas the king was a slave! And as such a slave cannot punish free men.

When the king heard this, he was extremely infuriated and asked the thief about this riddle that he was a slave whereas the thief was a free man. The thief said, "Your father had bought a female slave from public treasury (and not his personal wealth) and you were born from her womb. This means that you remain as a slave and are considered as public property". All this was too much for the king so he sought the help of Imam Rida (A.S). Imam (A.S) said, "The thief was correct and his hands cannot be cut". Hence, it was the Zamanat of Imam (A.S)’s knowledge and wisdom that saved the poor thief’s hands from being cut.

Once Imam (A.S) was passing by through wilderness when a deer, which was being followed by a hunter came running to Imam (A.S) and said something to him.

Indeed a divine Imam (A.S) understands and speaks all the languages including that of the birds and animals. Imam Baqir (A.S) has said, "We have been taught the language of the birds and we have been given of everything".

As soon as the deer spoke to Imam (A.S), Imam (A.S) interrupted the hunter and said, "The deer has requested that it be spared for the time being as it had to go and feed her two kids. She has promised to return to the same spot and then you can kill her and sell her flesh". The hunter was puzzled and asked, "How can you understand its language and what’s the guarantee that the deer will return?" Imam (A.S) said, "I will give the guarantee and I will stand at the spot until it returns". The hunter let the deer go and meanwhile, many people gathered around to see the spectacle. After feeding its two kids, the deer returned and stood at the same spot. It also asked the Imam (A.S) to take care of her two kids and that she was ready to be killed. People were amazed by this miracle. Even the hunter gave up the idea of killing that deer and this started off the tradition of Imam-e-Zamin, which means ‘the Imam who guards’.

Imam Rida Kunya

The Imams of the Household (of the Prophet), peace be on them, would give kunya to their children when they were young, and this is an example of Islamic education aiming at improving personality and making child feel that he or she has position with his family. Imam Rida, peace be on him was given the following kunya:

1. Abu al-Hassan

His father Imam Musa al- Kadhim, peace be on him, gave him this kunya.11 He, peace be on him, said to ‘Ali bin Yaqtïn: "O ‘Ali, this son of mine""and he pointed to Imam Rida""is the master of my children, and I have given him my kunya.12" Imam Rida was given the kunya of Abu al-Hassan. As this kunya was common between them, Imam al- Kadhim was called: Abu al-Hassan the past, and Imam Rida was called Abu al-Hassan the second that the people might distinguish between the two kunyas.

1- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 12, p. 3.
2- Ibid.
3- Jawharat al-Kalam fi Madh al-Sada al-A‘lam, p. 143.
4- Al-Sirat al-Sawi, p. 199.
5- Tadhkirat al-Khawas, p. 361. Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 210.
6- Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 210.
7- Ibid.
8- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 12, p. 4.
9- Ibid.
10- Ibid.
11- Ibid., p. 3.
12- Ibid.

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