“Surely, the brain is a world of wonders. No creature can match it in greatness, for it contains stores which never are full and it preserves whatever knowledge is deposited in it. If we want to mention the wonders of the brain, then we have to write a full book about them. Glory belongs to Him Who has originated and created the brain!”
This brilliant description of the brain is not by any philosopher, neither by any neurologist, nor by any religious scholar.
It is by a person who was one of the repositories of divine knowledge, whom God Almighty collectively calls “Rasekhouna fi ilm” in the holy Qur’an.
He was none other than Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Infallible Heir of the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). He lived in a crucial era of history when the sciences of neighbouring cultures were pouring in unfiltered into the Islamic heartland, confusing scholars and laymen alike.
As the divinely-designated leader of mankind, he felt it his duty to enlighten people’s minds. At every opportunity, he imparted to the people of his age the bezels of God-given wisdom. Those who properly used the power of the intellect benefitted from him, while the retarded brains failed to comprehend his words, and the ones who had allowed their minds to become the devil’s workshop in exchange for craftiness, turned hostile toward him and eventually martyred him.
These days are related to Imam Reza (AS). If yesterday the 23rd of Zi’l-Qa’dah, according to a narration, was his martyrdom anniversary in 203 AH, tomorrow the 25th (Dah al-Ardh – the day on which dry land emerged for the first time from underneath water), it is highly recommended to perform pilgrimage to his shrine in Mashhad.
In between is the 24th of this month today. It is the day on which the 8th Imam was forced to leave his hometown Medina for distant Marv in Khorasan, the capital of Mamoun, the crafty Abbasid caliph whose lust for power had turned his mind into a devil’s workshop.
Mamoun, after killing his eccentric brother Amin in Baghdad, had become the sole caliph of a realm spreading from North Africa to Central Asia. He, however, was apprehensive of his legitimacy to rule. He knew that as long as Imam Reza (AS) was in Hijaz, the Muslim masses would never acknowledge his claim to be the political heir of the Prophet.
Mamoun thus devised a devilish plot to force the Prophet’s righteous heir to come to his court and be declared heir apparent despite the fact that the Imam was twenty years his senior. In this way, he would achieve two goals with one move – assume legitimacy in the eyes of the ordinary simple-minded people, and tarnish the image of the Imamate in the eyes of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Imam Reza (AS) neither refused the request of the senior Abbasid officials sent to escort him in honour to Khorasan, nor did he instruct his followers to organize resistance against the regime, although he left his hometown with a heavy heart and tearful eyes, especially while taking leave from the Prophet’s shrine and bidding farewell to his only surviving son, Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (AS), who was only five-years old.
As the person possessing divine authority, which no caliph could seize from him, the Imam’s vision was piercing the future through the centuries that would follow, in which he and the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt will be the real victor, ruling not just the hearts and minds of the people of the lands that lay in his route to Marv, but also beyond, in the farthest parts of the world, long after Mamoun and the Abbasids have vanished into oblivion.
To be brief, the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Heir turned the challenge of the journey and his forced designation as the crafty caliph’s heir apparent that would end in his martyrdom, into a golden opportunity.
At every halting place – in Arabia, in Iraq, and in Iran – he warmly greeted the masses that turned up to see him (whether with reverence for him or out of curiosity) and conveyed to them part of the genuine teachings of his ancestor, the Prophet.
The famous “Hadith Silsalat-az-Zahab” (Narration of the Golden Chain of Authority) which the Imam recited to a huge gathering in Naishapur, need not be repeated here. Nor does time and space allow me to provide even glimpses of his less than 3-year stay in Khorasan that sowed the seeds of the love of the Ahl al-Bayt in the hearts of the people of Iran and adjoining lands.
The fact that his magnificent golden-domed shrine today is the rendezvous of the faithful from all over the world, saluting him with reverence as they enter its sprawling courtyards, is proof of the fact that it is only proper use of the great gift of the brain that guarantees salvation of the human race.
Courtesy – Kayhan International, Iran’s English Language Daily