On this day, we find inspiration in Imam Ali Al Rida, who was a champion for acquiring knowledge, interfaith dialogue and community service.
He was silenced for 50 years and when he was giving the chance to speak he shared his knowledge with people of all faiths, Christian, Jews, Muslims and nonbelievers under the banner of civil discourse.
He is an inspiration to all immigrants. Imam Al Rida lived in Madina in Saudi Arabia, and then the Abbasid ruler at the time move him to Khorasan (in modern-day Turkmenistan). Against his will, Imam Al Rida made the best of it, serving the government faithfully, engaging the community and working for peace, equality and justice.
His name was Al Rida, which means the pleasing one, an attitude that earned him the respect of both friends and foes. Today, he is buried in Mashhad in Iran, and millions of people visit his sprawling shrine today.
So, we learn from him to be proud of your new country and work to become a model citizen. And if you are not happy with the status quo or with your leadership, then educate yourself, get involved in the community, run for office or vote for candidates who share your values.
We are blessed to live in America, where we have the freedom to do all of that. It may not be the perfect country, but it is better than most. God bless America, the land of the free and the brave.
Imam Al Rida
Title: al-Rida (the Pleasing One)
Kunya: Abu al-Hasan
Father: Musa ibn Jafar (Peace be upon him)
Mother: Umm al-Baneen Najmah
Born: 11th Dhul-Qa’dah, 148 AH/765 CE in Madinah, Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula
Died: 17th Safar, 203 AH/818 CE, after being poisoned by the Abbasid Caliph Mamoon.
Age at Martyrdom: 55
Period of Imamate: 20 years
Buried: Mashhad, Iran
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