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Raja' b. Abi Dahhak

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Raja' b. Abi Dahhak
Religious Affiliation Islam
Well-known Relatives Fadl b. Sahl
Birth unknown
Place of Birth Jarjaray, Iraq
Death 226/840
Notable roles Accompaniing Imam al-Rida (a) from Medina to Merv
Activities He was in charge of cataloguing taxes for Abbasid

Rajā' b. Abī Ḍaḥḥāk (Arabic: رجاء بن ابي ضحاك) was an agent who accompanied Imam al-Rida (a) from Medina to Merv. His accompaniment and his treatments were widely talked about in early sources. During the trip, he monitored the Imam's actions and gave reports to Medina. He was an Abbasid statesman who occupied positions, such as the catalogue of taxes, during the reign of caliphs such as al-Ma'mun al-'Abbasi, al-Mu'tasim, and al-Wathiq.

Brief Introduction

Raja' b. Abi Dahhak was a statesman. He occupied positions in the Abbasid government during the reign of al-Ma'mun and then al-Mu'tasim and al-Wathiq. Raja' was from Jarjaray,[1] and had a kinship with Fadl b. Sahl, al-Ma'mun's vizier. In some sources, he is said to be the son of Fadl's paternal uncle or the son of Fadl's sister.

There is no information about Raja' b. Abi Dahhak's date of birth. The date of his death was allegedly 226/840. He was killed by 'Ali b. Ishaq, the supplier of the Army of Damascus, after quarrels with him. His son, al-Hasan, was later assigned to some positions in the Abbasid government.

Ordered to Accompany Imam al-Rida from Medina to Merv

What made Raja' famous in the history of Islam was his accompaniment of Imam al-Rida (a) in his trip to Merv. He had quarrels with some Talibids such as Muhammad b. Ja'far, known as Muhammad al-Dibaj. He was ordered by al-Ma'mun to accompany Imam al-Rida (a) in his journey to Merv. This is cited in historical works and those of sects and hadiths.

During the journey, he monitored the Imam's behaviors and gave an elaborate report of these to al-Ma'mun. His reports of the Imam's worships during the journey have been cited in Shiite sources, particularly jurisprudential sources. In some areas where the Imam (a) did a supernatural act, he tried to take the Imam (a) and his companions out of the area immediately.

There is a report according to which some companions of the Imam (a) decided to assassinate Raja' on the way, but it was prohibited by the Imam (a). The Imam's words when deterring his companions from killing Raja' led some people to regard Raja' as a good person. On some accounts, Raja' was commanded to take some other Talibids together with the Imam (a) from Medina to Merv.

In some sources, the person who accompanied the Imam (a) is said to be 'Isa b. Yazid al-Jaludi. In order to reconcile the two reports, some people believe that the agent who accompanied the Imam (a) from Medina to Fars was al-Jaludi, and the agent who accompanied the Imam (a) from Fars to Merv was Raja'.

Governmental Jobs after the Martyrdom of Imam al-Rida

Raja' b. Abi Dahhak succeeded al-Ma'mun when he left Khorasan, and then at some point, he was appointed as the ruler of Hyrcania. Sometime during al-Ma'mun's caliphate, he was in charge of cataloguing taxes, and in the period of al-Mu'tasim, his jurisdiction was limited to taxes of Damascus. During the reign of al-Wathiq, he was in charge of the taxes of the army of Damascus.

Notes

  1. Jarjaray was an area between Wasit and Baghdad, which no longer exists today.

References