Imam Ali bin Mousa al - Reza(PBUH), the eighth Imam of Shias, is of the progeny of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH&HP) and his eighth successor.At age 35 he became the leader of the Islamic union. His life was contemporary to the Abbasid reign and therefore, he suffered great difficulties made by the Abbasids. Finally, he was martyred by Ma’moon(the contemporary Abbasid Caliph) at the age of 55. This article will briefly discuss an overview of his life. His father was Imam Mousa al - Kadhim(PBUH), the seventh Imam. He was martyred by Haroon on 138(AH). His mother was Najmah. His Imamate was announced repeatedly by his father, grandfathers, and Prophet Muhammad(PBUH&HP). Especially Imam Kazem(PBUH) mentioned him as the Imam after himself several times. For instance, one of his followers narrates, “One day Imam Kazem(PBUH) came to us, holding his son’s(Ali) hand. We were 60 people. He said: ” Do you know me? ” I said: “You are our leader. ” He said: ” Say my name and title. ” I said: ” You are Mouse bin Jafar bin Muhammad. ”He said: ” Who is this with me? ” I said: “Ali bin Mouse bin Jafar. ”He said: “So profess that he is my representative during my life and my successor after my death. ”4 He is further introduced as the eighth Imam in a saying of Prophet(PBUH&HP) narrated by Jaber. Also, Imam Sadegh(PBUH) told Imam Kazem(PBUH&HP) that the knowledge of Prophet’s(PBUH&HP) progeny is of your sons and he is your successor. To accomplish his mentioned goals, Ma’moon sent some of his special agents to Imam Reza(PBUH) in Medina to force him to set on a journey to Khurasan. He also ordered to take Imam Reza(PBUH) through a path that has the least number of Shiites. The main roads in those days were the roads to Kufa, Jabal, Kermanshah, and Qom, which were all mainly Shiite cities. It seemed probable to Ma’moon that Shiites may get excited when they see Imam and prevent him to continue his travel to stay with them instead. To prevent these troubles, Ma’moon made Imam Reza(PBUH) travel through the paths of Basreh, Ahvaz, and Fars to Marv. His agents also watched Imam continuously and reported to Ma’moon on all of Imam’s activities.Imam’s manner and behaviorHis moral virtues and piety was such that besides his followers and companions his enemies were attracted to him. He treated people as respectfully and kindly as possible and never separated himself from the people. One of his companions say: “I never remember him, talk badly to anyone and interrupt someone while speaking. If he afforded to help, he would never reject any poor and never stretched his legs in front of people. I never remember him talk badly to his servants. He always smiled instead of laughing loudly. While having a meal, he invited all the servants to have the meal with him. He slept little at nights and was used to staying up and saying prayer during almost all nights. He always performed three fasts in the month. He helped the poor secretly in the dark nights. ” One of his other companions says: “His carpet was of sackcloth in winter and a mat in summer. He wore rough and coarse clothes at home, but he wore nice clothes in public parties.(He wore nice and common clothes.) ” One night while Imam was talking to his guest, there was a problem with the light. The guest wanted to correct it, but Imam did not let him to do so. He fixed it himself and said: ‘We are the ones who do not put our guests to work. ’” A man told Imam: “By Allah I swear that no one on earth equals your ancestors in superiority and nobleness. ’ Imam said: ” Taqwa gave them nobleness and obedience to Allah gave them superiority. ”9 A man from Balkh says: ” I was with Imam Reza(PBUH) during the travel to Khurasan. One day while having a meal Imam invited all the servants including the Blacks to have the meal with them. I told Imam: ” It is better they(the servants) sit somewhere else. Imam said: ” Be quiet! The creator of everyone is the same. The father and mother of all are the same and reward is according to deeds. ”10 The servant of Imam - Yaser – says: ” Imam Reza(PBUH) had told us that if I was above your head(and ordered you to do something) and you were having a meal, do not stand up till you finish it. Therefore it frequently happened that Imam called us for a work, and he was responded that he(the servant) is busy having a meal; then Imam would say: ” Let him finish his food. ”11 One day a stranger came to visit Imam Reza(PBUH). He said hello and continued: ” I love you and your fathers and ancestors. I have come back form Hajj and have run out of money. If it is possible give me some money so that I could go back to my house. I promise to spend the same amount there as Sadaghah, for, I am not poor in my city. Imam stood up and went to another room. Then he came behind the curtain and said: ” Get this 200 Dinar and spend it for your travel, there is no need to pay the same back as Sadaghah. The man got the Dinars and went. Imam was asked for the reason of his secret help, he answered: ” I did such, in order not to see the shame of need in his face. ”12 Our infallible and great Imams guided their followers both by sayings and behavior. In other words by their behavior, they taught their Shiites the true way of behaving. One of Imam’s companions said: ” One day I was with Imam on the way to his home. At home his servants were busy repairing the house. Imam saw a stranger among them and asked of him. They answered: ” He helps us and we pay him. ” Imam asked: ” Have you defined the amount of payment? ” They answered: ” No, but he accepts whatever we pay him. ” Imam was disturbed and told me: ” I have told them many times that before you bring anyone, define the amount of payment and contract. The one, who works without any contraction, thinks that you have paid him little, even if you give him three times more. But if you contract and give him according to the contraction, he will be pleased with receiving his right. Now if you pay more even just a little, he will understand you have paid more and will be thankful to you. ”13 Imam’s servant says: ” One day his servants were eating fruits. They ate some and through out the rest. Imam Reza(PBUH) told them: ” Subhanallah! If you do not need it, give it to someone who needs. ”Imam’s martyrdomMa’moon had told one of his servants not to cut his nails, and ordered him to put some poisons in his nails and prepare a pomegranate and pollute it with the poison. The servant obeyed his master and prepared the pomegranate. Ma’moon offered the poisonous pomegranate to Imam. Imam rejected, Ma’moon insisted and threatened Imam that he would kill him if he didn’t eat. Imam ate some pomegranate under obligation. After a few hours the poison polluted Imam’s body and he became ill. The morning of the next day(29th of Safar of year 203 H. G.) Imam Reza(PBUH) was martyred. By divine will and power, Imam’s son, Imam Jawad(PBUH) washed his father’s body and said prayer for him. Imam’s body was buried in Mashhad with the accompaniment of many of his Shiites and followers. Though centuries pass from the life of Imam Reza(PBUH), his holy shrine is the cause of blessing and honor for the Iranians. First published inRoshd. org