Martyrdom Of Imam Reza

The Martyrdom of Imam Reza is a national holiday observed annually on the 30th day of Safar in Iran. It commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam, in the 9th century. On this holiday, millions of Iranians mark the anniversary of the martyr by attending mourning processions and special religious services.

It is also a day when pilgrims from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and several other Islamic countries visit the city of Mashhad to visit Imam Reza’s mausoleum. Additionally, memorial services are held across Iran, including in the cities of Qom and Shiraz.

The History of the Martyrdom of Imam Reza

After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, there was a period of religious upheaval in the Islamic faith, leading to the division of the religion in Iran into Sunni and Shia branches. The Imam, or spiritual leader, of the Shia was chosen from the descendants of Muhammad. Alī ibn Mūsā ar-Riḍā became the eighth Shia Imam, or Imam Reza, following the death of his father, Imam Musa al-Kadhim.

For nearly two decades, Reza served as Imam and was recognized as a spiritual leader who was very knowledgeable and respected in his community. According to tradition, Imam Reza was poisoned in 818 by Caliph Al-Ma’mun due to his popularity. He was then buried at the Imam Reza shrine in what is now known as Mashhad in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi.

Observing the Martyrdom of Imam Reza

This religious and national holiday is observed across Iran with religious services, mourning processions, and fasting. Pilgrims from around the Middle East visit Iran on this day to visit the mausoleum of Imam Reza or one of the other shrines across the country dedicated to this Imam.

Where is it celebrated?
Iran (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
September 4 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
August 24 Sunday
Last year (2023)
September 15 Friday