There is a hadith of the Holy Prophet Mumammad (s.a.w.a.) that when you travel, you should give charity (Sadaqah). So is it not better to give the money of Imam- e-Zaamin before you go on your journey rather than when you get back, so that it may reach the poor quicker. It is said that the Sura Tawheed (Sura Ikhlas), if written and cut into two halves, one given to the traveller and the other left at his home, will always come together again and so ensure the safe journey of the traveller.
The king at the time of our 8th Imam, Imam Reza (a.s.) was Mamoon al-Abbasi son of Haroon al-Abbasi. Mamoon al-Abbasi had forced Imam Reza (a.s.) to take the position of his heir apparent (i.e. Imam Reza (a.s.) was supposed to take over as king after Mamoon al- Abbasi); because he wanted to be accepted by the Shias. Although Imam Reza (a.s.) did not want to take this position, Imam Reza (a.s.) made full use of it to preach Islam openly. To show to the people how much he thought of Imam Reza (a.s.), Mamoon al-Abbasi changed the colour of his court from black to green [the colour of the Imam Reza (a.s.)], Mamoon al-Abbasi also had new coins made with Imam Reda’s (a.s.) name on it.
Each Imam (a.s.) is remembered for a specific thing: EX: 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) – In illness. 6th Imam, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) – For sustenance. And in the same way our 8th Imam, Imam Reza (a.s.) is called upon when someone is about to go on a journey.
The eight Imam, Imam Reza (a.s.) is also called as Imam-e-Zaamin. When Muslims go on journeys they take with them something called Imam-e-Zaamin (another name for Imam Reza (a.s.)) which is some money tied in a cloth. This tradition probably came from the time of Imam Reza (a.s.) when people used to carry money with them especially because it had Holy Imam’s (a.s.) name on it. As Mamoon al-Abbasi, the Abbasid caliph the contemporary of Imam Reza (a.s.), had coins minted with the name of Imam Reza (a.s.) on them, it was very easy for the Muslims to carry the name of Imam Reza (a.s.) with them, especially when they went on journeys.
Imam Reza (a.s.) is also known as Imam-e-Zaamin(a.s.). Zaamin means “The Guarantor”.
One day when Imam Reza (a.s.) was on his historical journey from Madina to Marw (Khurasan), while in a jungle Imam Reza (a.s.) came across a hunter who was about to kill a deer. The deer was trying to get away and when she saw Holy Imam Reza (a.s.), she said something to him. Holy Imam Reza (a.s.) asked the hunter to free the deer so that she could go and feed her little baby deers who were very hungry. Imam Reza (a.s.) also told the hunter that once the deer had fed her babies she would come back. The hunter allowed the deer to go because Holy Imam Reza (a.s.) had told him to, but he did not think the deer will come back. But Imam Reza (a.s.) waited with the hunter until the deer returned with her young ones. The hunter was amazed on witnessing this miraculous event and he set the deer free as a mark of respect for Imam Reza (a.s.). After this historical event Imam Reza (a.s.) became famous as Imam-e-Zaamin (a.s.).
The famous artist of the contemporary world, Ustad Mahmud Farshchiyan has depicted this historical event in this beautiful masterpiece iconograph entitled “Zaamin-e-Aahu” (The Guarantor of the Deer).
Intercession of Imam Reza (a.s.)
It is written in ‘Zillul Mateen’ that Meer Mu’inuddin Ashraf who was one of the virtuous attendants of the shrine of Imam Reza (a.s.) says that, “Once I dreamd that I was in the shrine of Imam Reza (a.s.) and was coming out to perform ablution (Wuzu). When I came near the mound of Ameer Ali Sher, I saw a group of people entering the shrine of Imam Reza (a.s.). An eminent personality was leading them, and they all carried spades in their hands. As soon as they entered the shrine, the eminent personality pointed towards a particular grave and said, “Dig out the wretched fellow from his grave”. Hearing his command they started digging the grave. I asked one of those men as to who that man was. He replied that, he is the Commander of the faithful, Ali ibn Abi Talib. Suddenly I saw that Imam Reza (a.s.) came out of his shrine and greeted the Commander of the faithful, Ali ibn Abi Talib. The Commander of the faithful, Ali ibn Abi Talib answered His greeting. Imam Reza (a.s.) said, “O my Respected Grandfather! I request you, and have faith, that you will forgive this person on my behalf who lies buried here under the shelter of my shrine”. The Commander of the faithful, Ali ibn Abi Talib answered, “O my dear son! Do you know that he was a mischief-creator, an adulterer, and a drunkard”? Imam Reza (a.s.) replied, “I do know, but when his last moment neared he willed to be buried under the shelter of my shrine, so I request you to forgive him on my behalf.” The Commander of the faithful, Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) forgave him and left. I awoke from my sleep in awe and woke up the other attendants and related to them my dream. We all went to the place which I had seen in my dream, and found a newly constructed grave, whose mud was scattered. After inquiry we learnt that a Turkish man who had died was buried there the day before”.
Haji Ali Baghdadi had the honour of meeting Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and ask him some questions. One of the questions put forward by him was that, “Is it true that a person who goes for the pilgrimage (Ziyarah) to the shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.) on Friday night receives salvation”? Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) replied, “Yes, by Allah”. Haji Ali Baghdadi says that I saw tears in the eyes of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Then I asked him another question, “In the year 1269 A.H. when we went for the pilgrimage (Ziyarah) to the shrine of Imam Reza (a.s.), we met a nomadic Arab who was a native of Najaf. We invited him for a meal and asked him his views regarding the reward of the love of Imam Reza (a.s.). He (a.t.f.s.) replied, “Paradise”, and said, “Since the past fifteen days I have been the pilgrim of Imam Reza (a.s.), do Munkar and Nakir have the nerve to come near me. The food which I consumed from the table of Imam Reza (a.s.) has turned into flesh and blood”. I asked Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) whether his claim was true. Imam Reza (a.s.) replied, “Yes it is true. Imam Reza (a.s.) himself will come and save him for the questioning in the grave. For verily by Allah! My Grandfather is a Zaamin (Guarantor) Imam”.
(Manazile Akherah by Shaykh Abbas bin Muhammad Reza Al-Qummi, pp. 62-64.)