Birth and upbringing
The Imam’s Noble Lineage
Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) was from the heart of the prophetic family by which Allah had honored the Arabs and Muslims. It was the holiest family that had undertaken the issues of truth and justice among all peoples of the earth. There was, is, and will be no lineage in this world like this noble lineage which Imam al-Askari (a.s.) belonged to.
He was the son of Imam al-Hadi bin Imam Muhammad al-Jawad bin Imam Ali ar-Redha bin Imam Musa al-Kadhim bin Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq bin Imam Muhammad al-Baqir bin Imam Ali Zaynol Aabidin (as-Sajjad) bin Imam al-Husayn bin Imam Ali bin Abu Talib (peace be on them). These were the infallible imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) whom Allah had kept uncleanness away from and purified a thorough purifying, and whom the Prophet (a.s) had made as the boat of rescue and safety for people.
 Bin means “son of”.
His father was Imam Ali al-Hadi (a.s.), the tenth imam of the Shia. He was from the masters of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) and the most knowledgeable, pious, and virtuous of all people at his time.
His mother was the best of women at her time in her chastity, purity, and piety. Historians say she was from the good knowing women. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) praised her by saying, ‘Saleel (her name) was purified from error, defect, and impurity.’
She was a bondmaid from an-Nawbah. It did not harm her that she was a bondmaid, for man in the view of Islam is exalted by his guidance, piety, and propriety, and he is degraded by deviation from the right path.
Historians disagreed on her name. Some of them said her name was Saleel which was the most correct according to the previous tradition of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). Some said she was called Sawsan. Others said her name was Hadithah, and others said Hareebah.
 Uyun al-Mu’jizat.
 A’yan ash-Shia, vol.3 p.289.
 Usul al-Kafi.
 Sirr as-Silsilah ath-Thahabiyyah, p.39. An-Nawbah is a wide area in the south of Egypt. The Prophet (a.s) praised the people of an-Nawbah by saying, ‘Whoever has no brother, let him take a brother from an-Nawbah.’
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol.50 p.37.
 Al-Irshad, p.315.
The Great Newborn Child
The birth of the newborn boy, Abu Muhammad, the descendant of prophethood and the remainder of imamate, made the world shine and made Yathrib (Medina) and Samarra’ bloom. This great newborn baby was the continuity of the life of his infallible fathers who lit the intellectual life in the world of Islam. Delight and joy filled the hearts of the Prophetic family for they knew that he would be the imam after his father as Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) had told them.
Some historians said he was born in Medina, and some others said in Samarra’. Historians also gave different dates for his birth. It was said that he was born in Rabee’ al-Awwal 230AH, or 231, or 232, or 233.
Ceremonies Of Birth
After the birth of this blessed son, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) recited the azan in his right ear, and the eqama in his left ear. This was the first hymn that this blessed newborn baby met life with; “Allah is great, there is no god but Allah”.
On the seventh day after birth, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) cut the hair of his newborn child and gave silver or gold as much as the weight of his son’s hair to the poor as charity.
 Akhbar ad-Duwal, p.117, Bahr al-Ansab, p.2, Tuhfat al-Imam, p.86, Ilal ash-Sharayi’.
 Jawahir al-Ahkam.
 The third month in the Islamic calendar.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol.50 p.35, Tareekh Abul Fida’, vol.2 p.48, Ilal ash-Sharayi’.
 An-Nujoom az-Zahirah, vol.3 p.32, Sirr as-Silsilah al-Alawiyyah, p.39.
 Bahr al-Ansab, p.2, Akhbar ad-Duwal, p.117, al-Ittihaf Bihubil Ashraf, p.86, al-Kamil, vol.5 p.373.
 Encyclopedia of al-Bustani, vol.7 p.45.
His Name And Surname
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) named his blessed newborn child as al-Hasan like the name of his great uncle, the master of the youth of Paradise. He surnamed him as Abu Muhammad, and Muhammad was the name of the awaited Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.), the great reformer and savior of humanity and the sought hope of the deprived and the disabled in the earth.
His epithets expressed his high and noble qualities. He was called:
1. Al-Khalis (the pure)
 Akhbar ad-Duwal, p.117, Bahr al-Ansab, p.2, Tuhfat al-Anam, p.86, an-Nujoom az-Zahirah, vol.3 p.32.
 Akhbar ad-Duwal, p.117, Bahr al-Ansab, p.2.
 Bahr al-Ansab, p.2.
 Tuhfat al-Anam, p.87, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.50 p.236.
 Tuhfat al-Anam, p.87.
 Jawharat al-Kalam, p.154.
 Safinat al-Bihar, vol.1 p.259.
Ahmad bin Ubaydillah bin Khaqan said about Imam al-Askari (a.s.), ‘He was brown with big eyes, fine stature, beautiful face, and good body. He had gravity and solemnity. And it was said he was between brown and white.’
Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) grew up in the house of guidance and the center of imamate and general authority of Muslims…that noble house which Allah had kept uncleanness away from its people and purified them thoroughly.
Ash-Shabrawi says about this exalted house, ‘What an honorable house it is and what a glorious lineage it is! It is the house of pride and exaltation. They are all equal in the noble root, in the good inners, and in glory like the teeth of a comb. How an exalted house it is! It has competed with the heaven in its highness and nobility, and has gone higher than the polestars in rank and position. It has all qualities of perfection that it is not excepted by “other than” or “except”. These Imams have been ordered in glory like the order of pearls, and harmonized in honor that the first of them equals the next. Many were those who strove to degrade this house but Allah exalted and still exalts it, and many were those who spared no effort to separate the unity of this house but Allah gathered and gathers it. How many rights of this house were lost but Allah does not ignore or lose…’
Educational studies say that house has great influence on the forming of man’s behaviors and the building of his
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol.50 p.326.
 Ibid., p.238, Akhbar ad-Duwal, p.117.
 Al-Ittihaf Bihubil Ashraf, p.68.
personality. The good or bad scenes he sees inside the house are pressed inside him and shall adhere to him throughout his life. In the light of this fact, Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) got the highest scenes of the purest education. He grew up in a house that Allah had purified and exalted…that house that raised the Word of Allah high in the earth and offered dear sacrifices for the sake of Islam.
Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) grew up in the house of the Qur'an and the heart of Islam. His father Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) fed him with guidance and ideals to be the continuity of the mission of Islam.
The distinct aspect in the childhood of Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) was the fear of Allah. He was God-fearing since his early years. Historians mentioned that one day some man passed by Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) and saw him cry while he was with his fellow children. The man thought that this child cried for the toys in the children’s hands and that he could not participate in their playing. The man told the child that he would buy him what he might play with. The child said,
‘No! We have not been created for play.’
The man was astonished and said, ‘Then, what for we have been created?’
The child said, ‘For knowledge and worship.’
The man asked the child, ‘Where have you got this from?’
The child said, ‘From this saying of Allah (What! Did you then think that We had created you in vain).’
 Qur'an, 23:115.
The man was astonished and confused. He said to the child, ‘What has happened to you while you are guiltless little child?’
The child said, ‘Be away from me! I have seen my mother set fire to big pieces of firewood but fire is not lit except with small pieces, and I fear that I shall be from the small pieces of the firewood of the Hell.’
The faith in Allah was a part and an element of Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.). He did not fear but Allah and this remained in him until the last moment of his life.
With His Father
Imam Abu Muhammad al-Askari (a.s.) spent a part of his life with his father Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). He did not part with him even in his travels. He saw in his father a true picture of the morals of his grandfather the messenger of Allah (a.s.) who had been preferred to all prophets, and saw in him the spirits of his fathers the infallible imams (a.s.). On the other hand, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) saw in his son the natural continuity of the great imamate and general authority of the Prophet (a.s) and therefore he cared much for him. He praised him saying,
“My son Abu Muhammad is the best of the progeny of Muhammad (blessing be on him and on his progeny) in nature, and the most trustworthy in authority. He is the eldest of my children, and he is my successor and to him imamate and our verdicts get.”
Of course, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was far above flattering or submission to emotions. He did not praise his son and announce his virtue unless he saw in him all noble aspects
 Jawharat al-Kalam, p.155, the Encyclopedia of al-Bustani, vol.7 p.45.
 A’yan ash-Shia, vol.3 p.295.
and high qualities. And it was so, because Imam Abu Muhammad al-Askari (a.s.) had all virtues and nobilities.
Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) kept to his father Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and saw what he suffered from the Abbasid kings especially al-Mutawakkil who spared no effort in oppressing Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). This tyrant was excessive in harming the Imam. He house-arrested him in Samarra’ and surrounded his house with policemen and detectives to watch him, and to prevent the ulama, jurisprudents, and the rest of the Shia from associating with him. Al-Mutawakkil also oppressed Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) in his living affairs, and ordered his men to search the house of the imam from time to time and take him to al-Mutawakkil in whatever state he was. It was al-Mutawakkil himself who had prevented officially the visiting to the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.), and ordered the shrine to be destroyed. All those terrible events took place before the eyes of Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) while he was yet in the early years of his youth. His heart was filled with pains and sorrows during the period he lived with his father.
The Death Of His Brother
Muhammad Abu Ja’far, the brother of Imam al-Askari (a.s.), was a wonderful example of the infallible imams and a true picture of their thoughts and principles. He was too intelligent, with high morals and very wide knowledge until many of the Shia thought that he would be the imam after his father Imam al-Hadi (a.s.).
Al-Aarif al-Kilani said about Abu Ja’far, ‘I accompanied Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali since he was young. I saw no one purer, graver, or more honorable than him. Abul Hasan al-Askari (Imam al-Hadi) left him in Hijaz while he was a child and then he came to him a young. He kept to his brother Abu
Muhammad (a.s.) who educated him and fed him with his knowledge, wisdom, and morals.’
Abu Ja’far became seriously ill that might be because of poison inserted for him by the Abbasids. He remained some days suffering intolerable pains while his brother Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.), who loved him too much, was with him all the time. However, after no long, Abu Ja’far left to the better world, but Imam Abu Muhammad’s heart was broken and he was very sorrowful and distressed for the loss of his dear brother.
With His Brother Al-Husayn
Al-Husayn bin Ali al-Hadi was a pure man of wide knowledge and high morals. He was always with his brother Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) and they were called “as-Sibtayn” like their two grandfathers Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn (a.s.). They were famous of this surname at that time. Abu Hashim said, ‘One day, I rode on my sumpter and said: ‘(Glory be to Him Who made this subservient to us and we were not able to do it). One of as-Sibtayn heard me say that and said to me, ‘You have not been ordered of this, but you have been ordered to remember the blessing of your Lord on you when you ride on it (on the sumpter).’
 Al-Mujdi fin-Nasab (manuscript).
 The two grandsons.
 Qur'an, 43:13.
 Safeenat al-Bihar, vol.1 p.259.
The Loss Of His Father
Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) suffered the great loss of his father and it was the heaviest calamity he had ever faced in his life.
The Abbasid tyrant al-Mu’tamid assassinated Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) by inserting poison into his food, when he saw all people talk here and there about the virtues and vast knowledge and the high position of the imam. He was very angry and was filled with envy against Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). Then, he committed his terrible crime against him.
After the poison, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) suffered terrible pains and retired to bed. The Shia and high statesmen visited him. Some poets visited him like Abu Hashim al-Ja’fari who composed a sorrowful poem on him. Abu Du’amah visited him and when he wanted to leave, the imam said to him,
‘O Abu Du’amah, you have a right on me. Do I tell you a tradition that shall delight you?’
Abu Du’amah said, ‘I am in utmost need of that O son of the messenger of Allah.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘My father Muhammad bin Ali told me from his father Ali bin Musa bin Ja’far from his father Ja’far bin Muhammad from his father Muhammad bin Ali from his father Ali bin al-Husayn from his father al-Husayn bin Ali from his father Ali bin Abu Talib that the messenger of Allah (a.s.) said to him, ‘Write down!’ Ali said, ‘What shall I write down?’ The messenger of Allah (a.s.) said, ‘Write down: “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Faith is that which hearts acknowledge and deeds prove, and Islam is that which tongues witness and marriage becomes lawful with.’
 Al-Manaqib, vol.4 p.401.
Abu Du’amah said, ‘O son of the messenger of Allah, I do not know which of them is better; the tradition or the narrators!’
Ali al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘It is a book written down by the hand of Ali bin Abu Talib and the dictation of the messenger of Allah (a.s.) that we inherit one from the other.’
Before his death, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) announced that the imam after him would be his son Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.). He appointed him as the general authority for the Shia and entrusted him to prepare his corpse (after death), offer the prayer on him, and bury him. He entrusted him with other affairs too.
To The Paradise
The poison reacted inside the body of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and he grew weaker and weaker. Death approached him hastily, and when he felt his end, he turned towards the qiblah and began reciting some suras from the Qur'an. His pure soul went high to the heaven surrounded by angels while his lips and heart were busy mentioning Allah. The earth shook for the terrible disaster. The leader, the instructor, and the father of the weak and the deprived died! A bondmaid went out of the Imam’s house crying out, ‘It was terrible that which we have met on Monday before and now!’
The women’s eyes were filled with tears after this alarming cry, and their memories went back to that Monday where the meeting of as-Saqifah was held and since then disasters and misfortunes were poured over the Ahlul Bayt (a.s).
 Murooj ath-Thahab, vol.4 p.171.
 Murooj ath-Thahab, vol.4 p.171.
 It was the day of the prolonged and acerbic negotiations which preceded the nomination of Abu Bakr as the successor of the Prophet (a.s) who died just then and was not buried yet at the time of that meeting.
Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) washed the pure corpse of his father, and enshrouded it. Then he offered the prayer on his father while his heart was full of sorrow and pain for the great loss.
Samarra’ shook for the terrible affliction, and people of all classes hurried to escort the pure corpse of their imam. Stores, markets, and state offices were closed. Viziers, ulama, judges, high officials, and the rest members of the Abbasid family were before the bier while mentioning the virtues and high qualities of the imam and talking about the great loss that afflicted the Muslim nation. Historians said that Samarra’ had never seen such escorting throughout its history.
Under a halo of takbir and before masses of human beings who were like sea waves, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was put by his son Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari, whose tears were flowing over his cheeks, into his last abode.
When Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) died, Imam al-Askari (a.s.) was twenty or twenty-three years old. He assumed the imamate and the general religious authority over Muslims while he was too young yet.
All elements of piety and righteousness, all virtues of this world, manners of prophethood, and qualities of imamate were gathered in Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) whom there was no any one better than at his time. Here we talk in brief about his worship:
 Bahr al-Ansab, p.2.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol.50 p.236.
Imam Abu Muhammad al-Askari (a.s.) was the best worshipper among all people of his time. He spent the night with praying, prostrating, and reciting the Book. Muhammad ash-Shakiri said, ‘The imam sat in the mihrab and prostrated. I slept and awoke while he was still in prostration.’
In his prayer, he turned with all his heart and feelings towards Allah the Creator of the universe and the Giver of life. He felt or paid attention to nothing of the affairs of this life while he was in prayer. His soul clung to Allah devotedly and totally.
In his prayer, Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) recited this du’a,
“O You, Whose light covers darkness, O You, by Whose holiness rugged mountain passes are lit, O You, to Whom all the inhabitants of the earth and the heavens submit, O You, to Whom every insolent tyrant surrender with obedience, O You the Aware of hidden consciences, You are Merciful to everything and Aware of everything, forgive those who repent and follow Your path, protect them from the torment of Fire, give them soon Your victory that You have promised them of and You do not fail the promise! Devastate the people of evil and take them to the worst abode in the worst punishment and the ugliest retreat.
O Allah, You know the secrets of creatures, and are aware of their consciences. You are in need of nothing except that You carry out what You have promised of. You do not uncover the
 Dala’il al-Imama, p.227.
 Qunut is a supplication recited in the prayer.
hidden secrets of Your people. O my Lord, You know what I conceal and what I show of my behaviors, movements, and all my emotions. O my Lord, You see the sufferings of the people of Your obedience and what they meet from Your enemies, and You are generous and not stingy in Your blessings, and the more efforts require more reward. You have ordered Your people of supplication if they turn to You sincerely and this requires the more of Your favors.
These forelocks and necks are submissive to You subserviently acknowledging Your deity, invoking on You with their hearts, and looking forward to Your prompt rewarding, and what You willed took place and what You will shall take place. You are the called upon, the hoped for, and the asked that no taker whatever great he is shall decrease You(r favors), and no asker whatever he insists and invokes shall weary You. Your kingdom shall not come to an end, and Your eternal glory shall remain forever, and nothing in the ages is out of Your will a bit. You are Allah, there is no god but You the Merciful, the Mighty. O Allah, assist us by Your assistance, suffice us with Your protection, and give us what You give those who hold fast by Your rope, who shade themselves under Your shade…’
His Du’a In The Morning
“O You, the greater than every great, Who have no partner and no vizier, O You, the Creator of the sun and the lighting moon, the shelter to the resorting fearful, the Liberator of tied captives, the nourisher of young babies, the setter of broken bones, the Merciful to the old, the light of light, the Manager of affairs, the Resurrector of those in graves, the Healer of chests, the Maker of shadow and hot, the Aware of all in chests, the Revealer of the Book, light, the great Qur'an, and
 Muhaj ad-Da’awat, p.62-63.
the Book of Psalms, O You, Whom angels glorify in the morning and night, O You, the Permanent and Eternal, the Bringer forth of plants in the early morning and afternoon, the Enlivener of the dead, the Resurrector of decayed bones, the Hearer of sounds, the Everlasting, the Dresser of bones that decay after death! O You, Whom nothing distracts from any other thing, Who do not change from a state to another, Who do not need to move or advance, Whom no affair prevents from any other affair, Who cancel for charity and supplication what has been determined and affirmed in the Heaven of bad judgment, Whom no place can include or encompass, Who put remedy in what You like of things, Who keep alive from serious disease with the least of nourishment, Who remove by the least of remedy the worst of diseases, O You, Who if promise, carry out, if threaten, pardon, O You, Who possess the needs of requesters, Who know what is there inside the consciences of the silent, O You, the Most Magnificent, the Generous in pardoning, O You, Who have a face that does never become old, Who have infinite sovereignty, Who have inextinguishable light, Whose throne is over everything, Whose authority is over the land and the sea, Whose wrath is in the Hell, Whose mercy is in the Paradise, Whose promises are true, Whose favors are uncountable, Whose mercy is wide, O You, the Helper of the callers for help, the Responder to the call of the compelled, O You, Who are in the high view and Your creation is in the low view, O You, the Lord of the mortal souls, the Lord of the worn bodies, the most perceptive of seers, the most hearing of hearers, the promptest of accounters, the wisest of judges, the Most Merciful of the merciful, the Giver of gifts, the Releaser of captives, the Lord of glory, the One of piety and forgiveness, O You, Whose limit cannot be perceived, Whose number cannot be counted, Whose aid does not cease, I bear witness, and the witness to me is honor and supply, and from me obedience and submission, and by which I hope deliverance on the day of sigh and regret,
that You are Allah; there is no god but You alone with no partner, and that Muhammad is Your slave and messenger, Your blessing be on him and on his progeny, and that he has informed and carried out on behalf of You what was his duty to You, and that You always create, provide with livelihood, give, deny, exalt, humble, enrich, impoverish, disappoint, help, pardon, show mercy, forgive, overlook what You know, do not wrong, straiten, enlarge, omit, fix, initiate, reproduce, enliven and make die; have mercy on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and guide me from You, give me from Your favor, spread on me from Your mercy, and send down to me from Your blessings, for You often have accustomed me to good and favor, given me too much, and uncovered my ugly deeds.
O Allah, have blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and hasten my deliverance, forgive my slips, pity my loneliness, take me to the best of Your worships, gift me with healthiness from my illness, plenty of my supplies, inclusive soundness in my body, insight in my religion, and help me to ask you for forgiveness before death comes and hoping stops, and help me bear death and its distress, grave and its loneliness, the scales and their lightness, the sirat and its slip, the Day of Resurrection and its terror. I ask You for the acceptance of deeds before death, and ask You for strength in my hearing and sight for the doing of the best of that You have taught and made me understand. You are the lofty Lord, and I am the humble slave, and how great difference there is between us! O You, Compassionate, Benefactor, of Glory and Honor, have blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad the good, the pure!”
 Sirat means “way” or “path” but in the Islamic terminology, it means the bridge that dominates the Hell.
 Muhaj ad-Da’awat, p.277-278.
He was ideal in faith, morals, and psychology. He inherited all the perfections of his fathers who had been created for virtue and honor. We refer here to some of his perfections:
Historians unanimously mentioned that Imam Abu Muhammad al-Askari (a.s.) was the most knowledgeable and the best of the people of his age, not only in the religious affairs and laws but in all fields of knowledge. Bakhtshou’ the Christian physician said to his disciple Batriq about the imam, ‘…and he is the most knowledgeable of all those under the sky in our day.’
If the Abbasid tyrants had given way to the imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) and not subjected them to strict chase and confinement, they would have filled the world with their knowledge and sciences, and humanity would have got kinds of knowledge and intellectual development that it had never got throughout all ages and times.
The Abbasids perceived that if they did not prevent the people of knowledge and intellect from associating with the infallible imams, they (the imams) would spread powers of knowledge and culture and open new horizons not only in the fields of sciences but also in the political and social fields which would show to people the ignorance of the Abbasids and their being away from the Islamic values. Of course, this would shake their thrones, and therefore they tried their best to separate between the nation and its real leaders.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol.50 p.261.
Imam al-Askari (a.s.) was from the most patient people. He always suppressed his anger and treated whoever did him wrong with kindness and forgiveness.
The Abbasid government arrested and put him into prison while he was patient saying nothing. He did not complain to anyone about what he suffered, but he entrusted his case to Allah the Almighty. This was from the signs of his patience.
His Strong Will
Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) was distinguished by his strong will. The Abbasid rulers tried to involve him into the government body and spared no effort to subject him to their desires, but they failed. The imam (a.s.) insisted on his independency and keeping away from them. The Abbasids considered him as the only representative of the opposition against their policies that were based on subjugation and oppression.
He resisted all the seductions that the Abbasid government offered to bring him into its way. He preferred the obedience of Allah and the satisfaction of his conscience to everything else.
No one was more generous than him among all people of his time. He appointed agents in most of the Muslim countries, and entrusted them to receive the legal dues and spend them on the poor and the deprived, to reconcile between people, and in other ways of the general welfare.
From that which historians mentioned about his generosity was that Muhammad bin Ali bin Ibrahim bin Imam Musa bin Ja’far al-Kadhim said, “We were in utmost need. My father
said, ‘Let us go to this man (Imam Abu Muhammad). It is said he is generous.’
I said, ‘Do you know him?’
He said, ‘No, and I have never seen him at all.’
We went to him. On our way, my father said, ‘How much we need that he may order to give us five hundred dirhams; two hundred for clothes, two hundred for flour, and one hundred for spending!’
I said with myself, ‘Would that he order to give me three hundred dirhams; one hundred to buy a donkey, one hundred for spending, and one hundred for clothes so that I can go to the mountain!’
When we stopped at his (Imam Abu Muhammad’s) door, his servant came out and said, ‘Let Ali bin Ibrahim and his son Muhammad come in!’
When we came in and greeted him, he said to my father, ‘O Ali, what made you not visit us all this time?’
My father said, ‘I felt shy to meet you in this case.’
They (Ali and his son) stayed with the imam for some time and then came out. The servant of the imam came, gave Ali bin Ibrahim a pouch of money and said, ‘These are five hundred dirhams; two hundred for clothes, two hundred for flour, and one hundred for spending.’ He gave Muhammad a pouch of three hundred dirhams and said to him, ‘Make one hundred for buying a donkey, one hundred for clothes, and one hundred for spending, and do not go to the mountain but go to Sawra!’ Muhammad went to Sawra and became one of the wealthy Alawids.
 Kashf al-Ghummah, vol.3 p.200.
Abu Hashim al-Ja’fari said, ‘Once, I complained to Abu Muhammad the distress of imprisonment and the pains of ties. He wrote to me, ‘You shall offer the Dhuhr (noon) Prayer in your house today.’ I was set free (from prison) at noon and I offered the prayer in my house as the imam said. I was in need and I wanted to ask him for help (but I did not) in the letter I had sent to him. When I arrived in my house, he sent one hundred dinars to me and wrote to me, ‘If you need something, do not feel shy or refrain from asking. Ask and you shall get what you like inshallah.’
Historians mention many stories on his generosity showing his love and kindness to the poor and the deprived.
Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) was nonesuch in his very high morals. He met friends and enemies with his noble character. He inherited this nature from his great grandfather the Prophet (a.s) whose high morals included all people.
His high morals affected his enemies and opponents, and they turned to be his loyal lovers. Historians say that he was imprisoned during the reign of al-Mutawakkil who was the bitterest enemy to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) and the progeny of Imam Ali (a.s.). The caliph ordered the imam to be punished too severely, but when he communicated with the imam and saw his high morality and piety, he turned upside down. After that, he did not raise his eyes before the imam as a kind of respect and glorifying. When the imam left him, he praised the imam with the best words.
 Kashf al-Ghummah, vol.3, 202.
 Kashf al-Ghummah, vol.3 p.204.
The Twelver Shia consider infallibility as a condition in their imams. They mean by infallibility that it is impossible for an imam to mistake whether intentionally or unintentionally. Because of this, the opponents of the Shia waged violent attacks against them claiming that there was no difference between the imams and the rest of people in committing sins and disobediences. However, this claim has no any bit of reality. The serious studies on the lives of the imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) give us the result that they were infallible and no one of them had ever erred or committed a mistake since birth until the last breath. Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘By Allah, if I am given the seven districts with all that under their skies to disobey Allah in a bran of a grain of barley that I deprive it of a mouth of a locust, I will never do.’ Is this not infallibility?!
The truth in its brightest pictures and aspects appeared in the lives of the imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s). Whoever reads their biographies can find a slip neither in their doings nor in their sayings, but he only finds true faith, piety, and high morality. And we do not mean by infallibility except these meanings.
Imamate is the firm base of political and social development in Islam. It is one of the most important pillars on which the civilization, safety, and ease of man, and the equality in opportunities among the members of society are built. It provides the noble life that people can live at ease under its shade. Under imamate, there are no racial or natural differences, but the criterion in Islam is as much as the services man offers to the nation and as much as what takes him closer to Allah.
Imamate is a kindness from Allah and a gift from His mercy. The Shia have believed in the imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) and considered that as a part of their doctrinal life depending on many reasons such as:
First, the Prophetic traditions in which the Prophet (a.s) made it obligatory on Muslims to follow the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) whom the Prophet (a.s) had made as the equal to the Holy Book. He said, “I leave to you what if you keep to, you shall not go astray after me. One of them is greater than the other; the Book of Allah which is a rope extended from the heaven to the earth, and my household. They shall not separate until they shall come to me at the pond (in Paradise). See how you will obey me through them.”
This tradition shows clearly that imamate would be limited to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) and shows that they were infallible because the Prophet (a.s) compared them with the Book of Allah, and of course, every error from them would take them away from the Book whereas the Prophet (a.s) announced that they would not separate from the Qur'an until they would come to him at the pond in Paradise.
The Prophet (a.s) also said, ‘The example of my household for you is like the example of the Noah’s Ark which whoever rode on was rescued and whoever lagged behind drowned, and the example of my household for you is like the example of the gate of Hittah (repentance) for the Israelites that whoever entered through it would be forgiven.’
Imam Sharafuddeen al-Aamily said when talking about this tradition, ‘You know that the purpose behind comparing them (the Ahlul Bayt) to the “Ark of Noah” is that whoever resorts
 Sahih of at-Tarmithi, vol.2 p.308.
 Majma’ az-Zawa’id, vol.9 p.168, Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol.2 p.43, Tareekh Baghdad, vol.2 p.19.
to them in religion and takes its bases and branches from them shall be safe from the torment of Fire, and whoever turns his back to them is like one who betook himself (on the day of the great flood) to some mountain which might save him from the command of Allah, but he drowned in water and would be in the Hell. The purpose behind comparing them to the “gate of Hittah” is that Allah the Almighty has made that gate as a matter of humbleness to Allah and submission to His commands, and therefore it was a cause for forgiveness. This is the point of comparison. Ibn Hajar said, after he mentioned these traditions and others like them, about the cause of comparing them (the Ahlul Bayt) to the “Ark of Noah” that whoever loved and glorified them out of gratefulness to the blessing of their honor, and followed the guidance of their ulama would be safe from the darkness of disagreements, and whoever lagged behind that would drown in the sea of ungratefulness to blessings and would perish in the wilderness of oppression…until he said, ‘and comparing them to the “gate of Hittah” is that Allah has made the entrance through this gate, which was the Gate of Ariha or Jerusalem, with humbleness and with asking for forgiveness, as a cause for forgiveness, and He has made the love to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) as a cause for this nation to be forgiven…’
Second, the Shia believed and followed the imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) because the represented honor and dignity that there were and there will be no likes to them throughout the history of humanity. No one in the whole Muslim world was like them in their guidance, conducts, devotedness, and adherence to Islam.
The faith of the Shia in the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) was not out of emotion or fancy, but it was due to the reality and situations of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s).
 Al-Hashimiyyat, p.22-23.
Third, the Shia did not believe in the imamate of the Umayyad and the Abbasid kings because they were naked of moral and humane values. During their reigns, the nation suffered terrible kinds of oppression and cruelty. They extorted the wealth of the nation and spent it on their pleasures and amusement. They encouraged debauchery and corruption among Muslims. Therefore, the Shia and other than the Shia rose in armed revolts against those rulers in order to establish justice among people.
The Traditions On His Imamate
The following are some of the traditions that were transmitted from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) concerning the appointing of his son Abu Muhammad al-Hasan as the imam after him.
1. Yahya bin Yasar al-Anbari said, ‘Abul Hasan Ali bin Muhammad (al-Hadi) entrusted his son Abu Muhammad al-Hasan with the matter (imamate) four months before his death and made me and some of his mawali (adherents) bear witness to that.’
2. Ali bin Umar an-Nawfali said, “Once, I was with Abul Hasan (al-Hadi) (a.s.) in the yard of his house when his son Muhammad (Abu Ja’far) passed by us. I said to him, ‘May I die for you! Is this our man (the imam) after you?’ He said to me, ‘Your man after me is al-Hasan.”
3. Shahwayh bin Abdullah al-Jallab said, “Abul Hasan wrote a letter to me saying in it: ‘You wanted to ask about the successor after Abu Ja’far and you were worried about that. Do not worry because (Allah will not mislead a people after He has guided them) Your man (the imam) after me will be my son
 Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah by ibn as-Sabbagh, p.66, Usool al-Kafi, vol.1 p.325.
 Usool al-Kafi, vol.1 p.324.
 Qur'an, 9:115.
Muhammad. He has all what you shall need. Allah advances what He wills and delays what He wills; (Whatever verse We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it). I have written what has a clear proof for one of an awake mind.”
4. Dawud bin al-Qassim said, “I heard Abul Hasan (a.s.) saying, ‘The successor after me will be al-Hasan. How will you deal with the successor after this successor?’ I said, ‘Why? May I die for you!’ He said, ‘You shall not see him and it will be not permissible for you to mention him by his name.’ I said, ‘How shall we mention him then?’ He said, ‘You say: al-Hujjah (the authority) from the progeny of Muhammad (peace be on them).’
5. Abu Bakr al-Fahfaki said, “Abul Hasan (peace be upon him) wrote to me saying, ‘My son Abu Muhammad is the best of the progeny of Muhammad in nature and the most trustworthy in authority. He is the eldest of my children, and he is my successor and to him imamate and our verdicts get. Whatever you asked me about, you can ask him about for he has all that which people need.’
6. As-Saqr bin Dulaf said, “I heard Ali bin Muhammad bin Ali ar-Redha (Imam al-Hadi) saying, ‘The imam after me will be al-Hasan and after al-Hasan will be his son al-Qa’im (Imam al-Mahdi) who will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it has been filled with injustice and oppression.’
7. Abdul Adheem al-Hasani narrated that Imam Ali bin Muhammad al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘The imam after me will be my
 Qur'an, 2:106.
 Usool al-Kafi, vol.1 p.328.
 Ibid., p.327.
 Ikmal ad-Deen, vol.2 p.55.
son al-Hasan, but how will people deal with the successor after him?!’
8. Ali bin Mahziyar said, ‘One day, I said to Abul Hasan, ‘If something happens-God forbid!-then to whom the imamate will be?’ He said, ‘To the eldest of my sons. (He meant al-Hasan).’
9. Abdullah bin Muhammad al-Isfahani said, “Abul Hasan said, ‘Your man after me is the one who will offer the prayer on me (after death).’ We did not know Abu Muhammad before that, and when Abul Hasan (a.s.) died, Abu Muhammad came out and offered the prayer (of the dead) on him.’
These are some traditions narrated by reliable narrators from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) about the appointing of his son Abu Muhammad al-Hasan (a.s.) as the next imam besides other traditions transmitted from Imam al-Jawad (a.s.). As-Saqr bin Dulaf said, “I heard Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali ar-Redha (Imam al-Jawad) saying, ‘The imam after me is my son Ali. His command is my command, his saying is my saying, and obedience to him is obedience to me. And the imam after him will be his son al-Hasan.’
There are other traditions that were narrated from the Prophet (a.s) concerning the appointing of the guardians and caliphs after him among whom was Imam Abu Muhammad al-Askari (a.s.). These traditions were mentioned in the famous reference books of Hadith and history.
 Ikmal ad-Deen, vol.2 p.55.
 He meant that if the imam died.
 A’lam al-Wara, p.368.
 Ikmal ad-Deen, vol.2 p.50.
From The Signs Of His Imamate
Allah had provided the prophets and their guardians with miracles that ordinary people were unable to do in order to be as true proofs on the missions of these prophets and guardians, otherwise they would fail in achieving their missions, and none of people would believe them. Allah had made them know what there was inside the inners of people and what events would take place. Allah had granted that to the infallible imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) and one of them was Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.). Here we mention some narrations concerning this matter:
1. Al-Hasan an-Naseebi said, ‘It came to my mind that whether the sweat of a junub was pure or not. I went to the house of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan to ask him about that. It was night and so I slept. At dawn, he came out and found me sleeping. He waked me and said, ‘If it is lawful, it is pure, and if it is from unlawful thing, it is not.’
2. Isma’il bin Muhammad al-Abbasi said, ‘One day, I complained to Abu Muhammad about my neediness and I swore to him that I did not have even one dirham.’ He said to me, ‘Do you swear by Allah falsely while you have buried two hundred dinars? My saying to you does not mean that I do not gift you. O servant, give him what there is with you!’ The servant gave me one hundred dinars. Then he (the imam) said to me, ‘You make the dinars that you have buried unlawful while you are in utmost need to them.’ I searched for the money but I could not find it. I found that one of my children knew about this money, and so he stole them and ran away.’
 A ritually impure person: janaba is the major (or minor) ritual impurity caused by sexual intercourse, wet dreams…
 Mir’at az-Zaman, vol.6 p.192.
3. Muhammad bin Hujr complained to the imam at the oppression he received from Abdul Aziz and from Yazid bin Eesa. The imam (a.s.) said to him, ‘As for Abdul Aziz, I have relieved you from him, but as for Yazid, you and he shall have a situation before Allah the Almighty.’ After a few days, Abdul Aziz died, but Yazid killed Muhammad bin Hujr and he shall have a situation (be punished) before Allah (on the Day of Resurrection).’
4. Abu Hashim said, ‘Once, I complained to Abu Muhammad of the distress of imprisonment and the pains of ties. He wrote to me, ‘You shall offer the Dhuhr (noon) Prayer in your house today.’ I was set free (from prison) at noon and I offered the prayer in my house as the imam had said.’
5. Abu Hashim said, ‘I was in need and I wanted to ask Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) but I felt shy to do that. When I arrived in my house, he sent one hundred dinars to me and a letter saying, ‘If you need something, do not feel shy or refrain from asking. Ask and you shall get what you like inshallah.’
6. Abu Hashim said, “I heard Abu Muhammad (a.s.) saying, ‘In the paradise there is a gate called al-Ma’ruf (good deed). No one will come through it except the people of good deeds.’ I thanked Allah with myself and felt delighted for I often satisfied the needs of people. Abu Muhammad looked at me and said, ‘Yes, I knew what you were thinking of. The people of good deeds in this life will be the people of good deeds in the afterlife. May Allah make you from them, O Abu Hashim, and have mercy on you.’”
 Manaqib Aal Abi Talib, vol.4 p.433.
 A’lam al-Wara, p.372.
 Ath-Thaqib fil-Manaqib by Muhammad bin Ali al-Jirjani, p.241.
 Noor al-Absar, p.152.
7. Muhammad bin Hamza ad-Duri said, ‘I wrote to Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) asking him to pray Allah for me to make me rich after I had become poor and I feared to be exposed. His reply came to me saying: “Be delighted! Wealth has come to you from Allah the Almighty. Your cousin Yahya bin Hamza died and left for you one hundred thousand dirhams. He had no inheritor except you. The money shall come to you soon. Thank Allah, be economical, and beware of wasting!” The money and the news of the death of my cousin came to me a few days later. My poverty disappeared. I paid the rights of Allah, helped my brothers, and became economical after I had been wasteful.’
8. Muhammad bin al-Hasan bin Maymun said, ‘I wrote to my master al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) complaining of poverty, and then I said to myself: has Abu Abdullah (Imam as-Sadiq) (a.s.) not said, ‘Poverty with us (the Ahlul Bayt) is better than wealth with our enemy, and being killed with us is better than living with our enemy.’? The reply to my letter came saying, ‘Allah the Almighty tries our followers, when their sins increase, by poverty, and He may forgive many (of sins). It is as your self said to you: poverty with us is better than wealth with our enemy. We are a shelter for whoever resorts to us a light for whoever seeks light, and preservation for whoever turns to us. Whoever loves us will be with us in the highest position, and whoever deviates from us will be in Fire.’
9. Abu Ja’far al-Hashimi said, ‘I was with some men in prison when Abu Muhammad and his brother Ja’far were brought to prison. We hurried to him. I kissed him on the face, and seated him on a mat that was under me. Ja’far sat near to him. The guard of the prison was Salih bin Waseef. There was a man with us in the prison claiming that he was Alawid. Abu
 Noor al-Absar, p.152, ad-Durr an-Nadheem.
 Manaqib Aal Abi Talib, vol.4 p.435.
Muhammad turned to us and said, ‘If some one, who is not from you, was not with you, I would tell you when Allah will deliver you…’ Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) beckoned to that man and said, ‘This man is not from you. Beware of him! There is a book in his clothes in which he writes to the ruler all what you say.’ One of the prisoners searched him and found with him a book in which he accused us of great accusations and claimed that we wanted to pierce the prison and escape from it.’
10. Ahmad bin Muhammad said, “I wrote a letter to Abu Muhammad (a.s.) when al-Muhtadi, the Abbasid caliph, began killing the Shia and said to him, ‘O my master, praise be to Allah Who has made him (the caliph) busy away from you for I have heard that he threatened you and said: ‘by Allah, I will dispel them again.’ Abu Muhammad wrote with his handwriting: ‘This makes his life shorter. You count from this day five days and he shall be killed in the sixth day after meeting meanness and disgrace.’ And it was as the imam said.’
11. Abu Hashim narrated, ‘Once, al-Fahfaki asked Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) about the reason that makes man take two shares while woman takes one share in the inheritance. The imam (a.s.) answered: ‘For neither jihad, nor expenditure, nor guarding (in castles) are required from woman.’ It came to my mind that this question was the same question that ibn Abul Awja’ had asked Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) and Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) answered with the same answer. Imam Abu Muhammad turned towards me and said, ‘Yes, this is the question of ibn Abul Aw’aj and the answer is the same from us. If the meaning of the question is the same, the answer of the last one of us will be like the answer of the first one of us. The
 Ad-Durr an-Nadheem fee Manaqib al-A’immah, 2897.
 A’lam al-Wara, p.375.
first and the last of us are the same in knowledge and imamate, and the messenger of Allah and Ameerul Mo’mineen (the blessings of Allah be on them) have the preference to them.’
12. Abu Hashim narrated, ‘One of the Shia wrote to Abu Muhammad (a.s.) asking him for some supplication. The imam replied, ‘Pray Allah with this du’a: “O You the most Hearing of hearers, the most Perceptive of seers, the best of lookers, the promptest of accounters, the Most Merciful of the merciful, the Wisest of judges, have blessing on Muhammad and on the progeny of Muhammad, and increase my livelihood, prolong my old, favor me with Your mercy, make me from those who defend Your religion, and do not replace me by other than me…!” I (Abu Hashim) said with myself: ‘O Allah, make me from Your party and Your group!’ Abu Muhammad turned to me and said, ‘you are in His party and in His group if you have faith in Allah and believe His messenger.’
13. Shahwayh bin Abd Rabbih said, ‘My brother Salih was in prison. I wrote to my master Abu Muhammad (a.s.) asking him about some things and he answered by writing to me: ‘Your brother Salih shall be set free from prison on the day when my this book shall come to you. You wanted to ask me about him but you had forgotten.’ While I was reading his book, some one came and told me that my brother was set free. I received him and read this book to him.’
14. Abu Hashim narrated, ‘It came to my mind whether the Qur'an was created or not. Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) looked
 Al-Manaqib, vol.4 p.437, A’lam al-Wara, p.374.
 A’lam al-Wara, p.374.
 Al-Manaqib, vol4 p.438.
at me and said, ‘O Abu Hashim, Allah is the Creator of everything, and everything other than Him is created.’
15. Abu Hashim said, ‘Once, I went to Abu Muhammad (a.s.) and wanted to ask him for a stone that I wanted to make a ring from to bless myself with it. When I sat with him, I forgot what I had come for. When I said farewell and wanted to leave, he gave me a ring, smiled, and said, ‘You wanted a stone and we gave you a ring, and so you won the stone. May Allah delight you by it!’ I was astonished at that and said, ‘O my master, you are the guardian of Allah and my imam by whose favor and obedience I serve Allah.’ He said to me, ‘May Allah pardon you, Abu Hashim!’
16. Abu Hashim said, “Once, I heard Abu Muhammad saying, ‘On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will forgive with forgiveness that cannot be even imagined by people, until polytheists shall say: by Allah, we were not polytheists.’ I remembered with myself a tradition narrated to me by a man from our companions from the people of Mecca that the messenger of Allah (a.s.) recited: (Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, for Allah forgives all sins), and some man said, ‘even polytheists.’ I denied that and hid it into my heart. While I was thinking of that with myself, Abu Muhammad turned to me and recited, (Surely Allah does not forgive that anything is associated with Him, and He forgives all save that to whom He pleases). How bad what that man said was and how bad what he narrated was!’
 Al-Manaqib, vol4, p.436.
 A’lam al-Wara, vol375, al-Manaqib, vol.4 p.437.
 Qur'an, 39:53.
 Qur'an, 4:116.
 Ad-Durr an-Nadheem.
Historians mentioned many examples on the imam’s knowledge of what people concealed inside themselves, and on his predicting of different events and occurrences. All those were signs on his imamate, for other than the imams had no knowledge about that. Abu Hashim, who was one of the best, reliable scholars, and who was a close companion to Imam Abul Hasan al-Hadi (a.s.) and Imam Abu Muhammad al-Askari (a.s.), narrated most of the traditions that talked about the signs of these two imams (a.s.). He said, ‘Whenever I went to Abul Hasan and Abu Muhammad (peace be upon them), I saw a proof and evidence (on their imamate).’
 A’lam al-Wara, p.375.