Martyrdom of Imam Reza
Martyrdom of Imam Reza is an Iranian religious and public holiday celebrated on the 29th or 30th day of the Islamic month of Safar. It is dedicated to Ali al-Ridha, also known as Imam Riza, the eight Shia Imam.
Ali al-Ridha was the son of Musa al-Kadhim, the seventh Shia Imam. He was a descendant of Prophet Muhammad. He was designated the new Imam after the death of his father in 799. Ali al-Ridha lived in a period when Abbasid caliphs were facing numerous difficulties.
The Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun decided to appoint the Imam as hist successor, hoping that it would bring an end to Shiite revolts. However, the growing popularity of the Imam made the caliph anxious, and he decided to kill Ali al-Ridha.
Imam Reza died unexpectedly in 818. According to most Shia Muslims, he was poisoned by the caliph al-Ma'mun. The Imam was buried in a village in Khorasan Province. The village was later named Masshad, which means “the place of martyrdom”. Currently Masshad is Iran's second most populous city. The Imam Reza Shrine is visited by millions of pilgrims every year.
Martyrdom of Imam Reza is a public holiday in Iran, as the Shia branch of Islam is the official state religion. It is celebrated in the month of Safar.