Why call Shi’a call themselves slaves of the Imams?
After claims were circulating that Imam al-Ridha said people are slaves to them (Imams).
In this al-Kafi hadith, the Imam clarifies that the people are slaves to the Imam in terms of obeying him and loyalty to him with regards to their religion.
This is why we name our children “Abd al-Husayn”, etc - meaning slaves to the Imam in obedience and loyalty in religion.
(Al-Kafi, vol 1, page 187)
“I made residence with al-Ridha in Khurasan and he had several of Bani Hashim with him - including Ishaq ibn Musa ibn Isa al-Abbasi.
So he [the Imam] said:
It has been reported to me that the people are saying, that we (i.e, the Imam) claim that people are slaves to us.
No, I swear by my relation to Rasul Allah, I have not said that ever nor heard it from my fathers - nor has it been narrated to me from them.
However, I do say: the people are slaves to us in terms of obedience and their loyalty to us with regards to religion.
Thus - the one present (in this gathering should inform the one who is absent from what I said.”
10 - وبهذا الاسناد، عن مروك بن عبيد، عن محمد بن زيد الطبري قال: كنت قائما على رأس الرضا عليه السلام بخراسان وعنده عدة منبني هاشم وفيهم إسحاق بن موسى بن عيسى العباسي فقال: يا إسحاق بلغني أن الناس يقولون: إنا نزعم أن الناس عبيد لنا، لا وقرابتيمن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله ما قلته قط ولا سمعته من آبائي قاله ولا بلغني عن أحد من آبائي قاله، ولكني أقول: الناس عبيد لنا فيالطاعة، موال لنا في الدين، فليبلغ الشاهد الغائب.
Wa Allahu A’lam