In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent The Merciful
Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Ali al-Askari (a.s.) is the eleventh imam of the infallible imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) who carried the banner of Islam, undertook the goals of the true religion, sacrificed their lives into its way, and accustomed themselves to face disasters, difficulties, and hardship to spread the high values and goals of this religion… and how many favors they had done to Muslims!
This great imam had intellectual, scientific talents and powers that made him one of the genius men of the human intellect, as he was one of the heroes of history by his resisting the different events and his standing against the deviate, oppressive Abbasid rule. He rebelled against the corruptive regimes and spared no effort in achieving truth and justice among people.
Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) was like his fathers in his tendencies and aims. They all were like each other in reaching the highest ranks of virtue and perfection.
In his wide knowledge, he was nonesuch at his time. Historians say that he was the most knowledgeable one in the religious verdicts and affairs and that all scholars and ulama
of his age were in need of him to ladle from the fount of his knowledge and sciences.
He was the most devoted, pious worshipper of all people of his time. He preferred the obedience of Allah to everything. He was the most patient and forbearing one. He suppressed his anger and pardoned whoever did him wrong. He was the most generous, the kindest to the poor, and the most charitable to the needy. He appointed agents in many countries of the Islamic world entrusting them with the distributing of the legal dues, which came to him, among the poor and the weak of Muslims to get them out of their poverty and deprivation, whereas he himself lived like the poor. He paid no attention to the pleasures and desires of this life like his fathers who turned their backs to this world and turned completely towards Allah and the afterworld.
Historians mention that all people glorified and honored Imam al-Askari (a.s.) and acknowledged his virtue and preference to all of the Alawids and the Abbasids at his time. When the imam (a.s.) came to the Abbasid royal palace, every one of the attendants stood up and bowed glorifying him. Viziers, clerks, army leaders, and all statesmen regarded him so highly. Al-Fat~h bin Khaqan, the prime minister of al-Mutawakkil, preferred Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) to all eminent scholars and ulama and acknowledged that no one had the virtues and qualities that the imam (a.s.) had at that time.
It was natural that the nation, with all classes, regarded and glorified Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) for they saw his guidance, piety, righteousness, asceticism, loyalty to the truth, and devotedness to Allah. They were certain that he was the caliph of Allah in the earth and the only representative of his
grandfather the great Prophet (a.s.). In addition to that, Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) undertook the fatal issues of the Islamic nation and defended the rights of Muslims. He criticized the rulers of his time for wronging people and disregarding their rights. Therefore, the nation glorified him and acknowledged his necessary leadership.
The Abbasid kings became displeased when they saw and heard that the masses glorified Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.), and that great numbers of Muslims believed in his imamate and thought that he was worthier of the caliphate than the Abbasids who had no quality that might make them fit for the Islamic caliphate. Spite against the imam (a.s.) filled the hearts of the Abbasid rulers who took severe procedures against him. They imposed economical blockade against him, and put him under house arrest in Samarra’. They surrounded him with policemen and detectives to watch even his breaths. They subjected every one who contacted with him to severe punishments. This was-as I think-the reason that made just few narrators narrate traditions from him, and so not many maxims, literatures, and religious rulings were transmitted from him.
There was another very sensitive reason that led the Abbasids to watch Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) strictly. It was that Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) was the father of Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (a.s.) the awaited savior and reformer who would fill the world with justice, and would destroy oppressors and oppression. The Prophet (a.s) and his guardians gave good tidings, and told the nation that this savior would spread political, social justice in the earth, and all Muslims of different trends believed in that. Therefore, the Abbasids were afraid of that and thought that he would remove their rule and authority. They spread spies on Imam
al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) to know his son. They sent female spies to see which of his wives would give birth to a male baby to be taken away, but Allah the Almighty made the pregnancy and the birth of Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.) unknown as He had made the birth of Prophet Moses (a.s.) unknown to the Pharaoh.
This book studies the age of Imam al-Askari (a.s.) and all its events. The study of the age is necessary because it sheds lights on the intellectual, social, economical, political life of that age, and naturally it has direct influence on the life of one who lives in that very age, besides that it uncovers the dimensions of his life and personality and the extent of the influence of the events of that age on him.
The book shows the economical life of that age which was neither sound nor stable but confused and paralyzed. The Abbasid governments at the age of Imam al-Askari (a.s.) did not achieve ease for people or the noble life that Islam wanted for the nation. Excessive wealth was accumulated in the possession of the members of the Abbasid family, statesmen, and their agents. They spent lavishly. They appropriated the treasures of the earth while the majority of the Muslim peoples suffered poverty and deprivation besides the pains, sufferings, and subjugation they faced from the government officials in collecting the land tax and other taxes.
We have also presented a study on the kings of the age of Imam al-Askari (a.s.). Most of those kings were insignificant and ineffective. They submitted to their lusts and desires and were fond of maids and songstresses. Their red nights were full of erring. They were indifferent to what Allah had ordered the guardians of Muslims to do in order to better the
general life of the nation, to offer the necessary services for people, and to find equivalent opportunities for all citizens. However, most Abbasid kings did nothing of that. Rather they appropriated the wealth of Allah for themselves and took the people of Allah as slaves. They ran the nation violently and oppressively. They entrusted the Turks, who were harsh, ignorant, and unaware of administration and politics, with absolute authority over the nation, and they sank the nation into seditions and disasters.
Loyalty imposes on a researcher who researches in history to look into the historical facts with accuracy and scrutiny. Many historical facts and events were mixed together, distorted, or fabricated because some historians intended to overlook the errors of some kings and rulers. They tried to praise them with noble epithets and good qualities that they did not have, whereas, in fact, those kings and rulers were the worst tyrants who threw the nation into an abyss of oppression and corruption, and exploited the economy of the state for their own pleasures and fancies, and afflicted the public with poverty and wretchedness. It is neither from fidelity nor from truth to regard those tyrants with the eye of holiness and sacredness and to trust in them as ideal personalities. It is too necessary to study the Islamic history thoughtfully, impartially, and away from any fanaticism. Authors must write just for the truth and the good of the nation.
Also, in this book, we have mentioned a group of jurisprudents, scholars, and narrators who narrated traditions from Imam Abu Muhammad al-Askari (a.s.) and took from his knowledge and sciences. This is necessary-as I think-because it completes the research on the noble personality of the imam (a.s.) for it shows the extent of his association with the men of knowledge and their association with him at that critical
period where the Abbasid government put the imam under severe watch, and punished whoever associated with him. This confinement affected the imam (a.s.) and caused him much pain, because nothing would be more painful to the genius and talented persons more than preventing them from showing their knowledge and sciences and transmitting their opinions and ideas after them.
And here, I find it from gratefulness and loyalty to the great efforts of the grand Allama my brother Sheikh Hadi Sharif al-Qurashi who went through some reference books concerning the subject of this book besides his useful directions and valuable instructions. I pray Allah to reward him with the best of His reward that He rewards His loyal people with.