Birth of Imam Reza (AS)
According to renowned historians and traditionists, Imam Reza (AS) was born on Thursday or Friday, Zul-Qa'dah 11 in the year 148 AH. Therefore, the year of his birth coincides with martyrdom of his great ancestor Imam Sadiq (AS). The Imam’s names and epithets represent a special message. His noble name is Ali and his notable epithet is Reza and Abu al-Hassan, although traditionists and historians have introduced other epithets such as “glorious light of the Prophet’s lineage”, “guiding light”, “delight of the eyes of the believers”, “revoker of the atheists”, “prudent”, “patient”, “loyal”, “innocent”, …
Some historians believe that the epithet of Reza has been chosen by Ma’mun, claiming that when Imam Reza (AS) accepted the crown prince position, Ma’mun picked out this name for him. However, there are some other reasons than what the historians claim in naming and assigning epithets for the Imam, the reasons that are explainable from the perspective of Shia and believers in the authority of the Ahl al-Bayt. According to these reasons, the names and epithets of the Prophet’s family have been already determined by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself or maybe by Gabriel. In determining the name of Imam Hassan (AS), the Prophet said: “In assigning his name, I would not exceed my Lord”. In another account, the Prophet (pbuh) stated that “God has called him Reza in his Guarded Tablet.” Other reasons include traditions, which were announced by previous Imams and they have emphasized the epithet Reza. Sheikh Saduq quotes Suleiman bin Hafs Marvazi that Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS) called his son Reza and advised others to call him by that name. This naming and instruction from Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS) is related to the time when the issue of regency of Ma’mun and the imposition of crown prince position to Imam Reza (AS) was not proposed.
Parents and Personal Family
Imam Reza’s noble father was Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), the seventh Shia Imam, and his dear mother was a dignified lady with these different names: Tuktam, Najma, Samman, Khayzuran, Sakan, Najiyya and Tahira, although the most renowned one is Tuktam. She was named Tahira after Imam Reza’s birth. Tahira was a virtuous and wise woman and was considered a distinguished non-Arab person. Imam Reza’s wife was a chaste lady called Sabika. Historians have also mentioned Umm Habiba, Ma’mun’s daughter. In the process of the crown prince position of Imam Reza (AS), Ma’mun married her off to Imam Reza (AS) for political reasons. Imam Reza’s only child was Imam Javad (AS) from a mother named Sabika.