Imam Reza's Regency
Immediately after setting the firm foundations of government and his becoming the sole caliph, Ma'moon, according to the tradition started by Mu'awiya who secured the oath of allegiance for his son Yazid to succeed him on the throne, had to name his successor, and he had to be extremely careful about this weighty matter due to the precarious circumstances he underwent during his collision with his brother and thereafter. It was not easy for him to select just anyone from his immediate family or from others; rather, he had to subject each step he undertook in this regard to precise calculations linking past outcomes to future expectations and taking into consideration the sentiments of Shi'a Alawides who dominated Khorasan and the territories under its control. Among the latter party may be included men such as"Dhul-Riyasatayn"
and his brotherHassan bin Sah
l who were among the most powerful elements that paved the way for him to survive the dangerous stage during his confrontation with his brotherAmin
, although we doubt such an inclusion which we will discuss later.
Ma'moon, however, did not find the idea of taking caliphate out of Abbasids
and giving it to others, Alawides or non-Alawides, easy for him, despite his ideological inclination towards Shi'ism which lacked a practical implementation, would spare no effort to safeguard the legacy which he inherited from his forefathers in its framework and context. We can be acquainted with the accuracy of this theory if we research the plausible reasons which led him to force Imam Reza (PBUH) to accept regency.Regency Between the Imam and Ma'moon
Why the Imam Rejected the Regency
Ma'moon Reveals His Intentions
Ma'moon's Objective Behind Regency
Forcing the Imam to Accept the Regency
Imam's Awareness of Ma'moon's Schemes
Imam's Contempt for the Regency
Political Motives Behind the Regency
Ma'moon Determines Imam's Route
Imam in Nishapur
Story of the Gold Chain
Imam Continues His Trip to Marw
Analyzing Imam's Negative Stance Towards Such Responsibility
Sending Imam Back
Analyzing Imam's Handling of Eid Prayers
Some of the Imam's Dawah Methods
Regency Between the Imam and Ma'moon
While researching the motives which prompted Ma'moon to force Imam Reza (PBUH) to be his heir to the throne, we will find out that they were far-sighted political motives Ma'moon hoped thereby to achieve selfish gains for both himself and the Abbasid caliphate, for Ma'moon was quite an intelligent man in selecting Imam Reza (PBUH) for this post since he represented the opposition group. But Imam Reza (PBUH), upon rejecting his selection for this post, proved to be more aware of Ma'moon and his aims than Ma'moon had thought. Harawi quotes the Imam saying:"By God! Reza did not accept this matter willingly, and he was transported to Kufa against his wish, then he was taken from there, passing by Basrah and Persia, to Marw."Why the Imam Rejected the Regency
The reason we understand as to why he rejected it is that the Imam realized that Ma'moon, by selecting him, aimed at using him as a bargaining ticket between him and the Abbasids on one hand, between him and the Alawides on another, and between him and the Shi'as of Khorasan and other areas on yet another hand; otherwise, what is the wisdom in the insistence of Ma'moon that Reza (PBUH) should accede, and why did he even threaten him if he insisted on his rejection?
Irshad narrates that Ma'moon discussed the subject of regency with Reza (PBUH), saying, "I have decided that you should be my successor." The Imam said: "Exempt me from that, O commander of the faithful, for I have neither the ability nor the strength for that." He said: "I have decided that you should be my successor." The Imam said: "Exempt me from that, O commander of the faithful." Ma'moon responded with a statement which was more of a threat than anything else; he said to him: "Umer bin Khattab entrusted six persons to consult regarding caliphate, one of them was your grandfather Ali bin Abu Talib
(PBUH), and he preconditioned that anyone who went against their decision should be executed; therefore, you will have to accept what I have decreed for you, for I see no way that I can ever change my mind."
The Imam, therefore, had to agree. It is also narrated that a lengthy discussion went on between both men in which Ma'moon offered the Imam to be the caliph and the Imam refused to accept, then he offered him the regency and he refused too, so Ma'moon said to him, "You always say what I hate to hear, and you think that you are safe from my might; therefore, I swear by God that you should either accept the regency willingly or I shall force you to do so; therefore, accept out of your own will; otherwise, I shall certainly strike your neck with the sword."Ma'moon Reveals His Intentions
Ma'moon himself revealed to us the far-sighted implication of his choice for regent in a letter to Bani Hashim answering their objections regarding the promise of regency to the Imam in which he said: "As regarding my intention behind choosing Ali ibn Mousa (PBUH) as the regent, although he is qualified for it, out of my own selection of him, the reason for that is my desire to safeguard your lives and protect your properties by establishing permanent friendly ties between us and them, and it is a method I employed to honor the descendants ofAli bin Abu Talib and
to heel their wounds with very little of what they are entitled to. You claim that I desired that they would be the recipients of benefits thereof and to be in charge, while I have in mind the interest of your posterity and children after you even while you are unaware, blindly stumbling, not knowing what plans others have in store for you."
He does not wish to transfer the government from the descendants of Abbas to the descendants of Abu Talib, as the Abbasids imagined; rather, he aimed by such an action to contain the consequences which might cause a great deal of trouble for the government. In other words, he aimed by taking such a political action, to retain a position of strength for the Abbasids.Ma'moon's Objecive Behind Regency
As regarding his request that the Imam should accept to be the caliph after he himself abdicates, his objective was more than just proving to the public that the Imams from the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUH) were certainly after the glory of this life, coveting it, and that their asceticism and distancing themselves therefrom was only because they were unable to reach their worldly goals as some stories claim and on which yet other conclusions are based.
The Imam, in fact, did not underestimate the power to rule nor did he willingly stay aloof from its responsibilities; how could he do so while viewing himself as more worthy of the post of the supreme ruler and more capable than him in managing its affairs with equity? The fact is that he was confident that such thing would not happen for him, and that the whole matter was a clever political trick performed by Ma'moon which he wanted to carry out by using Imam Reza (PBUH) as a ploy. When Ma'moon offered to abdicate the throne for the Imam, he was calculating the matter to end up with one of two cases: either the Imam would agree, or that he would refuse, and in either case, he would gain for himself and for the Abbasid government a victory, for the Imam's agreement would be preconditioned upon accepting that he, Ma'moon, would be named the regent, thus securing the legitimacy of his own caliphate after the Imam before all parties; otherwise, Ma'moon was not so naive or short-sighted to the extent that he would offer his own post on a silver platter to the Alawides and become a subject dealt with as such. If Ma'moon came to be a regent, it would be easy for him to put an end to the life of the Imam in order to succeed him without anyone finding out, thussatisfying the ambitions of the Alawides
for the government while convincing their Shi'as of his own legitimate caliphate. Ma'moon had his own particular methods in eliminating his political foes, and we will mention the mysterious method he employed to put an end to the life of Dhul-Riyasatayn Fazl ibn Sahl and his murder of those who killed him despite their admission that he was the one who incited them to assassinate Fazl.
As regarding the case of the Imam refusing to accept the caliphate, this, Ma'moon calculated, would cause him to be very widely criticized by his own Shi'a followers and companions due to their own belief that caliphate was rightfully his and he had to accept it, but the Imam's companions were endowed with a great deal of political awareness to the extent that they would not be tricked by a trick like that carried out by Ma'moon. Also, he would be excused by various Shi'a factions for not accepting it for himself and his family, and that he tried so but could not succeed and thus would silence those who might dispute with him in this regard from Shi'a opposition groups.Forcing the Imam to Accept the Regency
Having failed to convince the Imam that he, Ma'moon, would abdicate the throne for him, Ma'moon requested him to accept to be the regent and to name him the succeeding caliph after him, but the Imam again insisted on refusing, so much so that Ma'moon had to seek the assistance of some of his best aides despite the fact that they themselves were not convinced that it was such a good idea, thinking that Ma'moon was serious. Irshad states:
"A group of historians and court biographers who were contemporary to the caliphs say that when Ma'moon wanted to nameImam Reza (PBUH)
as his successor, and having thought seriously about the matter, he ordered Fazl bin Sahl to come to him and he informed him of his intention, ordering him to seek the assistance of his brother Hassan bin Sahl in this regard, and he did just that. So they met with him, and Hassan kept pointing out the magnanimity of the consequences of his idea, acquainting him with the outcomes resulting out of taking his family out of it and affecting his own life. Ma'moon, thereupon, said to him: `I pledged to God that if I lay my hand on the person who deposed me, I would hand the caliphate over to the best person among the progeny of Abu Talib, and I do not know anyone better than this man on the face of earth.' So, when both Fazl and Hassan saw his determination to carry out this matter, they stopped opposing him and he sent them to Reza (PBUH). They offered him caliphate, but he refused, and they continued pressing him till he finally agreed, so they went back to Ma'moon and told him about his approval whereupon he was very pleased."
Abul-Faraj Asbahani stated something similar to the above with this variation: "He dispatched them to Ali bin Mousa Reza (PBUH) and they offered it to him, and they continued pressing him while he was refusing till one of them said to him,`If you agree, let it be so, but if you do not, we shall surely harm you,'
and he threatened to kill him. Then one of them said, `By God he ordered me to strike your neck with my sword if you go against his wish.'"Imam's Awareness of Ma'moon's Schemes
Imam Reza (PBUH) knew beforehand about Ma'moon's intentions through his knowledgeable foresight of the circumstances which led Ma'moon to vest the regency upon him, and he was contented that he would not actually accede to the throne in the future. Madaini quotes one of his sources saying: "When Reza (PBUH) was seated during the regency celebration, with the orators and poets surrounding him and the flags fanning him, one individual who was present there and then said, `I was close to him that day, and he looked at me with an optimistic smile on his face regarding the event, and he beckoned for me to come close. When I did, he told me while nobody except me could hear him: `Do not let this excite you, and do not be overly optimistic, for it would never materialize.'"Imam's Contempt for the Regency
The Imam (PBUH) expressed his contempt for the regency through statements he made which express his inner bitterness and pain and during times when he was suffering from emotional irritation. He was unable to do anything in the face of the stubborn insistence of the government to accept its designs without enjoying the freedom of choice, of expression, and of movement. Moreover, the Imam (PBUH) knew beforehand that the regency was only a transient step undertaken by the Abbasid government and dictated to it by circumstances of that period.
And when the government achieves its end objective, the beginning starts, and the Imam (PBUH) feels psychologically irritated for such disguised use of his own person, and such irritation is spelled out during times of extreme bitterness. Yasir the servant said: "Whenever Reza (PBUH) returned home from the mosque on Friday, his face washed with his sweat, stained with dust, he would raise his hands and supplicates saying,`God! If my deliverance from my suffering is by death, then I plead You to please hasten that hour,' and he remained distressed till he breathed his last, blessings of God be upon him."
The companions of the Imam (PBUH) could not easily understand why he accepted the post of regent, although inwardly they were satisfied with the soundness of the Imam's stance and at the same time fully aware of the psychological agony the Imam (PBUH) was suffering from. The Imam's answers to their repeated questions were exciting in their way of expressing the political necessity which caused the government to force him to be the regent. Muhammad bin Arafa narrated saying that he once asked the Imam (PBUH): "O Son of the Messenger of God! What caused you to be involved in the regency issue?" The Imam (PBUH) answered: "It is the same that caused my grandfather the Commander of the Faithful (PBUH) to be involved in the Ashura
."Political Motives Behind the Regency
We can summarize the causes which forced Ma'moon to decide the issue of regency in the following:1.
In order to please the Shi'a public opinion in Khorasan and its territories which were credited with paving the road for Ma'moon's accession to the throne and for a victory over his brother Amin, thus he would secure a legitimate stamp for his government when the Imam (PBUH) agreed to be his successor, since the Imam's agreement meant a recognition of the legitimacy of Ma'moon's caliphate. Such recognition would guarantee for him the loyalty of his subjects in those regions, and I personally think that this is the most significant reason which caused Ma'moon to do so because it would put an end to the argument of traditional opponents to the Abbasid government who used to always criticize such government and consider it illegitimate and baseless. For this reason, we can find no public discontent with the regency; on the contrary, it was a cause for elation and joyful endorsement in various circles.
It is not unlikely that Ma'moon may have felt that some underground movement was preparing to assault his throne, snatch the government from him and hand it over to the Alawides; therefore, he tried to encircle that movement by making the Imam (PBUH) a partner with him in the forefront of the government by naming him his regent. Such an action may win him the sympathy of the Khorasanis especially after all the suffering they had to put up with and the persecution of the Abbasid caliphate which murdered them and pursued them throughout the country as fugitives in a manner which caused bitterness and agony. What supports this cause are some paragraphs of a letter Ma'moon wrote toBaniHashim
in which he said: "You claim that I desired that they would be the recipients of benefits thereof and to be in charge, while I have in mind the interest of your posterity and children after you even while you are unaware, blindly stumbling, not knowing what plans others have in store for you."
What these ambiguous statements imply, especially after the writer admitted that the nomination of Imam Reza (PBUH) was something the man rightfully deserved due to his qualifications, is that Ma'moon sensed the danger of the precarious political situation around him, and he feared losing his grip on the reins of government since the popular base was faithful to theAlawides
. Add to this the fact that many leading elements in the political and military establishments were strong supporters of the Alawides. We can appreciate this fact by evaluating the extent of the public acceptance of the nomination of the Imam (PBUH) for the regency, and if there was any opposition, its voice was so weak it vanished amidst the tumultuous voice of overwhelming support. Ma'moon did not wish the Alawides to take charge; rather, he only wished to preemptively encircle the crises which might uproot the Abbasid government if he let events shape themselves on their own.2.
To avoid a clash with the Alawides who always threatened the Abbasid government by their rebellions and uprisings during various epochs, presuming that the Abbasids had usurped the government from them, having stated that their call to uproot the Umayyads was on behalf of Reza(PBUH), descendant of the Progeny of Muhammad (S.A.W.), especially since Ma'moon wanted his government to be stable and to avoid disturbances and crises which might weaken his position as the supreme ruler since he was still engaged in a political struggle of survival with Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate, and it was not a coincident that the issue of regency took place at the outset of that struggle.
But the Alawides had already succeeded in winning the sympathy and public support of the Islamic world and were able to maintain that to their credit. An excellent proof for that was the wide response their revolutions won among various Islamic circles. All of that was due to the violent persecution and merciless pursuits, to the murdering and banishment, and to the norms of torture and retribution from which they suffered at the hands of the ruling apparatus, so much so that even Ma'moon testified to that in his letter to Bani Hashim quoted above.
But Ma'moon in his afore-mentioned letter to Bani Hashim supports our argument in making this one of the causes of his decision regarding naming the Imam (PBUH) as his successor; he says, as we quoted above,"... The reason for that is my desire to safeguard your lives and protect your properties by establishing friendly ties between us and them which is a method I employ in being clement to the descendants of Abu Talib and to heel their wounds with very little of what they are entitled to."
When he ties the knot of regency for the Imam (PBUH), he wishes to put out the fire of rebellion in the souls of the Alawides and their followers and to keep the ghost of danger away should they oppose the Abbasids and try to compete with them in their bid for the government, and he did, indeed, achieve what he wanted.3.
To warn the Abbasids about what they had already done to him and how they reneged on their oath of allegiance to him, by their rebellion against him and removal from regency, that all of their actions would not disable him from overcoming them and subjecting them to his authority and, moreover, take the caliphate out of their dynasty and hand it over to their Alawide adversaries.
It is possible that the tense psychological atmosphere between Ma'moon and the Abbasids in Baghdad posed a real challenge, and Ma'moon found no way to force them and stir their deeply rooted sensitivities better than sending them a threatening signal that he was going to take the caliphate out of their court and throw it into that of their Alawide adversaries who constituted a point of weakness in the Abbasid psyche. Ma'moon found no better weapon to threaten them with stronger than that in the face of their challenges which almost uprooted his position when they all agreed to depose him in response to the call of his brother al-Amin.Ma'moon Determines Imam's Route
Ma'moon had already ordered his messenger to take a group of dignitaries who were descendants of Abu Talib to the Basrah highway, then toAhwaz
, keeping in mind that the alternate route, which was Kufa, Jabal, Kerman Shah, Qum, was mostlyinhabited by Shi'as
and it has their strongholds, and they might be carried away by their enthusiasm upon finding out that the Imam (PBUH) was among them and might decide to keep him there and thus involve the government in dangerous consequences which might cause its weakening and collapse.Imam in Nishapur
When he entered Nishapur, he stayed at a neighborhood called Qazwini where there were crowds of pigeons, the pigeons which they call todayReza pigeons
, and there was a spring there the water of which had receded, so he hired workers who repaired it till its water became plentiful. He had a pool built on its outside where stairs were also built according to his instructions leading to the low level of the spring water, so the Imam (PBUH) went down, made his ablution, came out and said his prayers on the outside.Story of the Gold Chain
When the Imam (PBUH) 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 Hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH) and the students of the Sunnah of the Prophet, namely Abu Zar'a Razi and Muhammad bin Aslam Toosi, with countless scholars and seekers of knowledge, traditionists and critics, and they both approached the Imam (PBUH) saying, "O most honorable dignitary and the son of the master Imams! By the rights of your purified forefathers (PBUH) 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 (PBUH) 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 bin Aslam Toosi.
Imam Reza (PBUH) said: "My father Mousa Kazim(PBUH)
narrated to me from his father Ja'far Sadiq (PBUH)
from his father Muhammad Baqir (PBUH
) from his father Ali Zaynul-Abidin (PBUH)
from his father,the Martyr of Karbala (Imam Hosein) (PBUH)
, from his fatherAli bin Abu Talib (PBUH)
saying: `My loved one, and the pleasure of my eyes,the Messenger of God (PBUH)
, narrated to me once that 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 (There is no God Except 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 (PBUH) 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."Imam Continues His Trip to Marw
The Imam (PBUH) after that continued his trip till he finally reached Marw where Ma'moon had prepared a comfortable place for him and surrounded him with excellent manifestations of respect and veneration and all means of honoring and glorification. It was then that Ma'moon started to execute the plan he had planned for the regency.Imam Preconditions
Finally the Imam (PBUH) bowed his head with the agreement to be the caliph's successor, but it was not before he had taken from the government an excitingly negative stance; he preconditioned that he would not be required to bear any responsibility, general or specific, related to the government and its ruling systems, and Ma'moon accepted the condition quite reluctantly, but he did try at times to involve the Imam (PBUH) in such responsibilities, and the Imam (PBUH) kept refusing, reminding him to honor his condition.
Having been convinced to accept, the Imam (PBUH) said to Ma'moon: "I also agreenot to name anyone in a post nor remove anyone from a post, that I do not cancel any decree or tradition, and to stay as an advisor
," and he agreed to all of that. Analyzing Imam's Negative Stance Towards Such Responsibility
We have no choice here except to clear some of the ambiguity which encompasses this negative stance of the Imam (PBUH) towards the government, for why should he refuse to cooperate with Ma'moon in carrying out the state affairs?
Before doing anything, we have to evaluate the Imam's viewpoint towards the government and its "legitimacy" under the leadership of Ma'moon and the counsels of Fazl bin Sahl and his views regarding its leaders and heads.
Of course, his viewpoint was not positive due to his belief that a government was not legitimate as long as it remained distant from his own leadership in his status as the pristine Imam (PBUH) named so by the Messenger (S.A.W.) himself according to a series of instructions conveyed by one Imam (PBUH) to the next. For this reason, we see how his companions unanimously disagreed that he should accept the post of regent which carried an implied recognition of the then caliphate. We can see the only justification they accepted was that the Imam (PBUH) was forced to accept it, and that that post which was forced on him would not change his stance towards the government one iota, for he did not enter into it except like that who entered to exit and that what caused him to agree was the same that caused his grandfather the Commander of the Faithful (PBUH) to agree to be part of the Ashura committee.
Had Imam Reza (PBUH) wished to share the burdens of government with Ma'moon, it would have been regarded as his recognition of the legitimacy of the makeup of that government, and an endorsement of all its actions undertaken by its higher authorities, but he preferred to assume the role of an advisor who kept his stances in order to safeguard the interests of Islam the safeguarding of which was his own very mission in life. But the Imam (PBUH) did not want to grant Ma'moon the status of a custodian over his behavior and actions, nor would he be the executor of his will and the person to fulfill his every ambition, for he did not have the ambition to achieve a stronger ruling status, or the one who controls the government apparatus, so that he would provide Ma'moon similarly to what Fazl bin Sahl and others provided. Those individuals used to press to win his favor, flatter him, and carry out his desires whatever they might be so that they would be the first to win a stronger position in the government vehicle.
Let us suppose that the Imam (PBUH) had accepted the principle of taking part in managing the state affairs. That would mean his exposure to an overwhelming and fierce opposition by others who consider Imam Reza (PBUH) as an element differing from their systems in conduct, program, framework and context, and he might push them away from the cycle of government especially since he could not accept all their actions most of which may go beyond the limits legislated for them. Or such a confrontation may expose the Imam's stance to dangerous repercussions which may historically affect his being and personality even if through cheap means and methods they plot behind the scenes to accuse him in order to incite the wrath of the government against him and also distort the sacred halo with which others surround him.
Do these persons lack special means to cast a shadow of doubt on the movements of the Imam (PBUH) and misinterpret his behavior to the caliph Ma'moon? Take the case of that person who raised Ma'moon to the throne after turning the tables upside down on the government in Baghdad, removed Amin from his throne through whatever political and military means he had, was he then not capable of plotting to eliminate the Imam (PBUH), or hurt his reputation, in order to secure for himself to remain in the center of power?! In fact, despite the generous amount of intelligence Ma'moon enjoyed by forcing the Imam (PBUH) to accept regency, the Imam (PBUH) was likewise aware of his situation, keen to the consequences when he practically distanced himself from the areas of responsibility.Regency Celebrated
When the Imam (PBUH) accepted regency, Ma'moon wanted to celebrate the event in a grand style, so he conducted a meeting with his closest aides on a Thursday, then Fazl bin Sahl went out and informed the public of the decision Ma'moon had made regarding Ali bin Mousa Reza(PBUH) and that he chose him to be his successor and named him "Reza" and ordered them to wear green and come on Thursday to swear the oath of allegiance to him as such and take a year's allowance from the state treasury.
On that day, people in their various social classes, leaders, chamberlains, judges and others, all draped in green outfits, rode to the designated place where Ma'moon had seated himself, putting for Reza (PBUH) two huge pillows. He even spread the carpet in person for Reza (PBUH) and seated him on it near him while wearing a turban and carrying a sword. Then he ordered his son Abbas bin Ma'moon to be the first to swear allegiance. Reza (PBUH) raised his hand, with its back facing his face and its palm facing them. Ma'moon said to him: "Stretch your hand so that people swear allegiance to you." Reza (PBUH) said: "The Messenger of God (PBUH) used to put his hand like that before accepting people's allegiance." People swore the oath of allegiance to him while his palm was thus facing them. Tens of thousands of dirhams were brought in; orators delivered speeches and poets said their poems exalting the merits of Reza (PBUH) and the status to which Ma'moon had chosen him for. Then Abu Abbad called upon Abbas son of Ma'moon. He stood and came close to his father and kissed his hand. His father ordered him to sit, then Ali Muhammad bin Ja'far bin Muhammad was called upon, and Fazl bin Sahl said to him, "Come up," and he did till he was close to Ma'moon. He stood there but he did not kiss his hand. He was told to go and take his money. Ma'moon then called him and told him to go back to his place, which he did. Abu Abbad kept inviting one Alawide and one Abbasid to take their money till all cash was depleted.Then Ma'moon asked Reza (PBUH) to deliver a sermon.
The Imam (PBUH) praised God and glorified Him, then he said: "We have over you a right designated by the Messenger of God, and you have a right over us as well; so, if you perform your obligation towards us, we will be bound to perform yours."
Historians do not record any other sermon he delivered besides this one on that occasion. Ma'moon ordered a new dirham currency to be minted with Reza's name on it. Ma'moon ordered that all countries must mention Reza (PBUH) during their sermons and pray for him in his capacity as the successor of the caliph of the Muslims.Silent Opposition
There were other elements of dissent who did not relish the nomination of the Imam (PBUH) as the successor and to the possibility of taking caliphate out of the Abbasids, but they submitted to reality while hiding ill intentions just to avoid a clash with the government in which they are not strong enough to oppose its will. But they could not keep it to themselves for too long; instead, they expressed the bitterness they felt towards such an "irresponsible" act, according to their way of thinking, of the caliph.Eid Prayers
One of the manifestations which was not destined to finalize of the regency celebration was the Eid prayers which Ma'moon insisted that the Imam (PBUH) should conduct in person because he himself had caught a very bad cold, or he may have had another excuse. Al-Irshad quotes Ali bin Ibrahim who in turn quotes Yasir the servant and Rayyan bin Salt saying that when the Eid approached, and Reza (PBUH) had already been named as the caliph's successor, Ma'moon invited him to ride to the place where the occasion was to be celebrated and to say the prayers and deliver the sermon, and Reza (PBUH) sent him a word saying, "You know what terms exist between both of us; so, please exempt me from conducting the prayers to people." Ma'moon answered saying, "My intention is that people's hearts must rest at peace regarding you and they should come to know your excellences." Messengers kept going between both men carrying messages and when Ma'moon insisted on his suggestion, he sent him a message saying, "If you exempt me, I would appreciate it, and if you do not, I shall come out just as the Messenger of God (PBUH) and the Commander of the Faithful Ali bin Abu Talib (PBUH) did," whereupon Ma'moon said, "Come out however you please," and he ordered the leaders and chamberlains and the public to go early to Reza's house. People waited to see Reza (PBUH) in the alleys and on rooftops and women and children too gathered waiting for him to come out. The army commanders and their troops stood guard at his door mounted on their horses till the sun started rising. Imam Reza washed, put on his outside clothes and wore a turban made of cotton, leaving a portion of it drape down on his chest and a small portion of it between his shoulders. He rubbed his hands with some perfume and took in his hand a cane and told his servants to do likewise. So they all came out, and he was barefoot, and he raised his trousers up to half the leg and his clothes were hanging loosely on him. He walked for a short while, raised his head above and made the takbir and his servants did likewise. Then he walked till he reached his doorstep. When the leaders and troops saw him looking like that, they all alighted in the speed of lightning, so much so that lucky was the one among them who happened to have a knife to cut the leather stirrups so that he could jump faster than others, take his sandals off and remain barefoot just as the Imam (PBUH) had done. Reza (PBUH) made takbir again, and everyone else did likewise, so much so that it seemed to everyone as if the sky and the walls echoed with him and Marw was shaken with the noise of weeping and hassle when its residents saw Abul-Hassan and heard him say Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!...Sending Imam Back
Ma'moon came to know about all of that. Fazl bin Sahl said to him, "O Commander of the faithful! If Reza (PBUH) reaches the mosque in such a condition, people will be fascinated by him and we all will have to fear for our lives; so, send him a messenger and tell him to go back." Ma'moon sent him a message saying, "We have over-burdened you and wore you out, and we do not wish that you should suffer any hardship on our account; so, go back home, and let people say their prayers behind whoever they have been praying." Imam Reza, therefore, asked for his sandals back, put them on and went back. People on that day differed regarding their prayers, and he did not participate in their prayers.Analyzing Imam's Handling of Eid Prayers
Thus did the Imam (PBUH) desire to give the Eid prayers their great spiritual meaning and separate them from the fake appearances which were attached to them by ruling caliphs who were using them to make a display of the power they commanded and to secure the sense of awe and greatness in the minds of the public. Such a splendid show whereby the Imam (PBUH) tried to bring the legislative system back to its pristine genuineness was something with which the public were not familiar at all, and it was a magnificent surprise that the emotions of the masses were amalgamated with the Imam's position which was rebellious in nature against the traditions followed by the caliphs on such occasions.
People lived during those moments a supreme spiritual outburst which deepened within their souls the sense of belief and distanced them from artificial and fake appearances. Such an objective stance the Imam (PBUH) took was an open invitation to the nation to reevaluate the ruling apparatus that played havoc with their lives and properties, and inspire to them to see how fake the government apparatus was and how distant from the reality of the Islamic message. This is why Fazl was swift to warn Ma'moon about the embarrassment of the situation and alert him against people falling in love with the Imam (PBUH) and turning in hatred against the government if he did not send the Imam (PBUH) back. Ma'moon was moved by Fazl's warning; therefore, he had to send someone to ask the Imam (PBUH) to go back home.Some of the Imam's Dawah Methods
The Imam (PBUH) had his own particular method in promoting the dawah, for he took advantage of some exciting situations in order to open people's eyes to see how corrupt the government and its ruling system was, having no freedom of movement due to the restrictions Ma'moon and his minister Fazl bin Sahl had enforced on him of strict surveillance over all his actions and speeches. Among such situations which were dictated by the nature of his mission was his conditional acceptance of the regency that he would not have to issue orders nor cancel the orders of others, that he would not depose or nominate anyone, nor have anything to do with the state affairs. All in all, this indicates that he did not feel that the government was legitimate enough for him to cooperate with and which would raise some questions by people around him. Retrieved from: http://www.al-islam.org/al-rida/1-4.htm