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Life Sketch of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) - Extract from 'Nuqoosh Ismat'

08 January, 2014 16:11
Life Sketch of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) - Extract from 'Nuqoosh Ismat'

by Allama Zeeshan Haider Jawadi

It was 10th Rabius Thani, 232 A.H. when the eleventh successor of Prophet from the series of Imamate arrived in to this world and Medina became illuminated with effulgence of the elegance of Imamate. [ Shawahidun Nubuwwah, Pg. 210; Sawaiqul Mohriqa, Pg. 124; Nurul Absar, Pg. 110; Jilaul Uyun, Pg. 295; Irshad Mufeed, Pg. 502; Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 163; Iqbalul Aamaal, Hadaiqur Riyaz]

He was named Hasan and his titles were: Zaki, Askari and Ibnur Reza. His Kunniyat was Abu Muhammad and his mother was Hudaisa or Sulail; regarding whom Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) said that she is pure of all defects and a chaste lady. At the time of the birth of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), she was around sixteen years of age. [Jilaul Uyun, Pg. 295; Wasilatun Najaat, Pg. 411; Nurul Absar, Pg. 150; Shawahidun Nubuwwah, Pg. 210; Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 122; Manaqib, Vol. 4, Pg. 125]  He was called Askari, because he resided in the locality of Askar in Samarrah and it was called Askar, because it was army cantonment of the regime. Mutawakkil had displayed his armies there in order to overawe Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.). But when the Imam made him see the heavenly armies, he fell down unconscious. [ Biharul Anwar, Vol. 12, Pg. 154; Wafayatul Ayan, Vol. 1, Pg. 135; Majmaul Bahrayn, Pg. 322; Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 163; Tadkiratul Masoomeen, Pg. 222]  

 

The inscription on his finger ring said: “Glory be to the one who has the keys of the heavens and earth,” or according to another version it was, “Indeed I am present before Allah.” Fusulul Muhimma]   The ruler of his time was Wathiqbillah and after that Mutawakkil ruled till 247 A.H. In 247, Mustansir Ibne Mutawakkil came to the throne; in 248 A.H., Mustaeen came to power; in 252 A.H. Motazbillah assumed power and he had Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) martyred by poison. In 255 Motadi came to power and in 256 A.H. Motamad Alallaah came to the throne and he had Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) martyred. [Tarikh Abul Fida; Nurul Absar; Tarikh Ibnul Wardi; Tarikh Kamil] He was four years old when in 236 A.H., Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) was summoned from Medina to Samarrah and he went along with his respected father to Samarrah. Before departing from Medina, Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) gathered the elders of Medina and announced that his successor is Hasan and he made a number of people testify. [ Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 162] After coming to Samarrah, one day he was standing on the road and children were playing over there, when Bahlool Dana passed from there. Seeing his loneliness and sorrow, Bahlool said: Son, if you don’t have any toy, I will get it for you; don’t be sad about it. He immediately recited the verse of Quran that we are not created for playing; the Lord of the worlds have created us for a particular aim and we have to go back to His court and give account of our life. [ Sawaiqul Mohriqa, Pg. 124; Nurul Absar, Pg. 151; Tadkiratul Masoomeen, Pg. 230]  The rulers of his time behaved with him just as they had behaved with his ancestors. Mutawakkil had earned special notoriety in his enmity to Aale Muhammad (a.s.) and his oppressions were in no way less than Yazid Ibne Muawiyah. Mustansir continued to tread in his footsteps. Mustaeen had Mutawakkil imprisoned so what can kindness could have been expected from him with regard to Imam (a.s.)? Mohtadi had the Imam lodged in the prison of Salih Ibne Wasif and instructed him to be extremely cruel to him. Thus he appointed Ali Ibne Yarmish and another person to persecute the Imam, but later it was discovered that the two of them became high-ranking believers and pious men. So he summoned them and asked for the reason. He said: Our prisoner fasts during the days and prays all night. In such a situation we have no justification to harass him and it is a good opportunity to gain the lesson of servitude from him. When Bani Abbas heard this explanation from Salih, they went away disappointed. [Tadkiratul Masoomeen, Pg. 223] It is famous about Mustaeen that he bought a refractory horse, which could not be tamed in any way. People advised him to make Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) mount this beast, so that he is also finished. Mustaeen liked the suggestion and summoned the Holy Imam (a.s.). When Imam (a.s.) went to the horse, it submitted to him most meekly and he mounted it. He rode it for sometime and then dismounted and asked if there was anything else he could do. Mustaeen was ashamed and he gifted that horse to the Imam as no one else could mount it and expression of power of Imamate posed a continuous danger to the regime. [Shawahidun Nubuwwah, Pg. 210; Usul Kafi, Chapter of the Birth of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.)] When Ahmad bin Muhammad, a companion complained about the oppressions of Mahdi Abbaside, the Imam told him to remain patient as it would only long for five more days; thus after five days, Mahdi died. [Kashful Ghummah, Pg. 126] He was married to Lady Narjis, who was the paternal granddaughter of Caesar of Rome and maternal granddaughter of Shamoun, successor of Prophet Isa (a.s.) and she was extremely chaste and pious lady whom the Lord of the worlds had given the honor to be mother of the Last Proof. [Jilaul Uyun, Pg. 298; Ghayatul Maqsood, Pg. 175]

 

Knowledge and Perfections

Mulla Jami writes that a man intended to meet Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) with his father and wanted to take 800 dirhams on loan from the Imam. By chance, the Imam passed that way, but these two did not know the Imam. The Imam himself approached them and gave 800 dirhams. They were amazed how he came to know about what was in their mind?  [Shawahidun Nubuwwah, Pg. 211] A man who was condemned to prison requested the Imam to pray for his release and felt ashamed to mention his poverty. Imam (a.s.) prayed for his release and said: As for that which you have not mentioned, I will soon send you a hundred dinars. [Shawahidun Nubuwwah, Pg. 211]  

 A person wrote a letter to him and asked about the meaning of ‘Mishkat’ and also requested him to pray that he may get a male child. He replied that it denotes the heart of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and may Almighty Allah give you patience and give you better in exchange. Thus that boy was stillborn; after that Almighty Allah gave him another son. [Shawahidun Nubuwwah, Pg. 211] Hasan Ibne Zareef asked about the time of reappearance of the Imam of the time; he said it depends on divine exigency and you did not ask about fever; its cure is that you write: O fire be cool and safe, and hang it in your neck; the fever would be cured. [Allamah Irbili (r.a.) has mentioned this incident.] We should know that even if Tafseer Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) may not be directly written by the Imam it in any way proves that Imam (a.s.) has given so many explanations of Quranic verses that if his sayings are compiled a book of Tafseer can be prepared and it is nothing astonishing. It is for this purpose that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) had left Ahle Bayt (a.s.) with the Holy Quran that they should explain and interpret it. Although the actual words of Quran have always been preserved with Muslims, but inspite of that 73 sects came into being and till now the system of division continues and every person claims that his sect is compatible with this same Quran and all other schools have come into being as a result of deviation from Quran. [Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 165 ]

Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), like other Holy Imams (a.s.) had divine support that when he replaced the pen after writing, the pen used to move by command of God and the writing used to be complete. It is not surprising as the Holy Imams (a.s.) did not have any other aim and intention except that which is Divine Will; so Almighty Allah also made them as a repository of Divine Will. In such circumstances, they used to write only that which Almighty Allah desired and when the job was to be according to Divine Will; there were both possibilities for Providence; to make the blessed hand of the Imam as a means and also to rely on sincere intention of the Imam and complete it through other means. As ultimately their aim is same as the aim of God. [Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 179; Biharul Anwar, Uyunul Mojizat]

 Sufficient to prove the expertise of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) about the Holy Quran is that when Ishaq Kindi, the mad philosopher of that time started writing Tanaquz Quran, and began to claim that there were contradictions in verses of Quran, Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) asked a student of Ishaq why he does not stop his teacher from such things. When he excused himself, the Imam said: At least ask him if this contradiction is in the meaning that you derive or it is in divine implication? If it is in divine implication, what was the means of understanding it? And if it is in your understanding, the author of a discourse is not responsible for anyone’s understanding. One day the student got an opportunity and posed that question to Ishaq and he fell into bewilderment. He only asked: Who asked you this? He said: It is the creation of my imagination. Ishaq said: How it came into your mind when your teacher cannot think of such a thing? Tell me the true source of this. He said: His Eminence, Hasan Askari mentioned it. Ishaq said: Now you have told the truth; none but a member of that household can make such a statement. Saying this he consigned all his writings to the fire. [Manaqib Ibne Shahr Ashob, Vol. 4, Pg. 424; Biharul Anwar, Vol. 12, Pg. 172; Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 183]

 This incident also proves that true understanding of Quran depends on knowing the correct implication of God; otherwise he would think that there are contradictions in Quran and most interpreters of Quran are under this false impression. They try to reconcile the verses of Quran as they could not understand anything beyond the apparent meanings; and that is why they think that there are contradictions. 

In spite of the fact that there was a large group of Muslims in existence and among them there were so many accomplished companions also yet Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered attachment to Progeny, because learning of Muslims and companions is derived from schools and teachers and knowledge obtained from schools and teacher is limited to apparent meanings. The purified members of Ahle Bayt (a.s.) are those whom Almighty Allah bestowed knowledge of realities through revelation and inspiration and they are cognizant of divine implications; therefore there is no contradiction in the meaning explained by them. Ishaq Kindi died, but other Kindis continue to be born in every period and will continue to do so. Till this continues, Islamic Ummah cannot become needless of interpretation of purified Ahle Bayt (a.s.).

 Miraculous acts

Ja’far Ibne Sharif says: I came to the Imam in Samarrah after performing Hajj and said: People of Jurjan are eager to meet you; sometimes honor them by your Ziyarat. He said: After 17 days you will reach your hometown on Friday, 3rd Rabius Thani. The same happened and after announcement of Ja’far Imam (a.s.) also appeared there and the cognition of Imamate and its miracle was displayed at the same time; on the contrary a person named Nazar Ibne Jabir requested the Imam to pray for restoration of eyesight of his son, he passed his hands over his eyes and cured his blindness and then returned the same day. [ Kashful Ghummah, Pg. 128; Mukhtarul Kharaij, Pg. 213]

A man wrote a letter to him without using ink and he replied and also mentioned the name and father’s name of   the writer; after which he could not remain without accepting faith. [ Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 172] Abu Hashim says: Imam (a.s.) was walking towards the desert, so I also accompanied him. On the way, I realized that the amount I had taken on loan was due to be paid; how I would repay it? Imam (a.s.) bent down and placed a mark on the earth and said: Abu Hashim, pick it up and repay your debt. Abu Hashim saw that it was gold; and he preserved it according to his command. After walking for sometime, he realized that winter was near; what would he do about warm clothes? Imam (a.s.) hit the ground with the lash and said: Pick up this also. Abu Hashim took that gold as well and on returning home calculated the amount. The first piece was same in value of the amount owed and the second was exactly as per his needs. [ Mukhtarul Kharaij, Pg. 214; Biharul Anwar, Vol. 9, Chap. 4, Pg. 272] Once Imam (a.s.) clearly told Abu Hashim: You should not feel shy to express your needs; we are perfectly capable to fulfill them by command of God and it is our duty to care for the needs of our followers. [ Usul Kafi, Chapter of the Birth of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) ]

 Ismail Ibne Muhammad Ibne Ali Ibne Ismail Ibne Ali Ibne Abdullah Ibne Abbas Ibne Abdul Muttalib says: I was sitting on the road when Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) passed from there; I complained to him about my poverty. Imam (a.s.) said: Even after burying two hundred gold coins, you talk of poverty? I said: I possess nothing. Imam (a.s.) said: Don’t lie, I am giving you a hundred dinars, but those two hundred would not be of any use to you. After a long time when he needed money, he could find nothing from that which he had buried, but later he discovered that his sons had learnt about it and taken it away. In this way the miraculousness of the Imam (a.s.) was also proved. [ Kashful Ghummah, Pg. 128; Shawahidun Nubuwwah, Pg. 211] Umme Khanam holds a distinctive rank in history of Islam; she is also called as the owner of pebbles. She used to meet the Holy Imams (a.s.) and seek proof of Imamate and then have it marked on pebbles. She died during the period of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.). A son of hers, Majma Ibne Sult Ibne Uqbah Ibne Samaan Ibne Khanam, Ibne Umme Khanam began to search for Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) to seek the proof of Imamate from him. By chance Imam noticed him and said: Bring me the pebbles so that I may mark them for you. Majma Ibne Sult was amazed how the Imam knew about it. Then he assured himself by getting the pebbles marked. [ Usul Kafi; Shawahidun Nubuwwah, Pg. 211, Lucknow; Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 172; Elamul Wara, Pg. 214; Manaqib Ibne Shahr Ashob, Vol. 4, Pg. 441; Kashful Ghummah, Vol. 3, Pg. 314; Ghaibat Tusi, Pg. 132 ] 

 Once during his time, there was a famine and Muslims faced great hardships. All prayed for rain, but it was of no use. So much so that a Christian monk came into an open field and started praying. He hardly raised his hands when it started raining and all Muslims were shocked and many of them fell into doubts about their faith. Same thing was repeated the next day and people became more confident of the monk. When Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) learnt of this, he said: Call me when all have gathered. As soon as the monk raised his hand, the Imam removed the bone held between his fingers and the clouds that had gathered went away again. The crowd was amazed and the monk was also embarrassed. Imam (a.s.) said: This rain is not because of the power of prayer of this monk. He had a bone of a prophet and its miracle is that when it is opened below the sky Divine mercy becomes impassioned; without it if the monk prays his whole life he cannot cause rain. Thus after that the Imam prayed and there was rain through which Muslim community learned about the knowledge and miracle power of the Imam. [ Sawaiqul Mohriqa, Pg. 124; Kashful Ghummah, Pg. 129; Nurul Absar, Pg. 151; Akhbar Dual, Pg. 117] This incident proved to be very detrimental to the life of Imam (a.s.) as the regime of that time realized that the world has become aware of his miracles and now in his presence that regime cannot be successful. The first reaction of that was the Imam was initially put in prison and the warden was instructed to torture him as much as possible and it was due to that torture that the Imam could not live for more than twenty-eight years and passed away as a result of poison in 260 A.H. [ Sawaiqul Mohriqa, Pg. 124; Jilaul Uyun, Pg. 296; Anwarul Husainia, Vol. 3, Pg. 56 3 Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 302 ]

Wise Sayings

Do not indulge in vain arguments as you would lose respect and do not be too humorous as people would become bold enough to talk to you. [ Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 302 ]

 It is strange psychological point seen in our daily lives that one who cracks too many jokes, his respect is lost and everyone become bold enough to rebut him and same is the condition of one who disputes much; as his elegance goes away and he becomes valueless in view of people. Humility is also that you greet anyone you come across and if you enter a gathering, you should take seat at the most unnoticeable place.

It is an important point through which arrogance and pride can be cured and if man becomes inclined to the reform of his self, and wants to change his conditions, he does not have a better choice.  The most careful person is one who stops at doubtful places and the most pious is one who observes all obligations. And the most religious is one who abstains from all prohibited things and the most severe struggler is one who leaves all sinful acts. 302 [ Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 302] A fool’s heart is in his tongue and the tongue of the wise is in his heart. It means that a fool speaks before thinking, in this way the tongue comes before his heart and the one who is wise, first he thinks and then opens his tongue thus his tongue also inhabits the heart. The sustenance that is guaranteed should not stop you from the act which is made obligatory on you. [ Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 302]  The greatest weakness of man is that becomes ignorant of his duties, which he should fulfill and spends all the time in struggling for his sustenance, which is guaranteed by God. To express joy in presence of one who is in sorrow is against good manners. [Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 302 ]  In addition of being an ethical point, it is an expression of hearty sorrow, which can be felt only by one going through the same phase; when instead of giving him condolence, people are busy in pastimes.

To train an ignorant person and to wean a person from his habit is not less than a miracle. [ Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 302] This can be realized only by one whose duties include training the ignorant people and to wean the humanity away from the worst habits. He knows how difficult a task it is. Do not accord respect to a person through something which might be inconvenient for him. [ Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 303]  This can be realized when believers intend to take out a great personality in a procession or when they stay in his residence and do not give him any respite and consider it to be a great honor. On some occasions, it is also noticed that they force the religious scholar to walk for miles in order to show respect to him and consider that also as a mark of respect. Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) prohibited such homage, because homage is that, which should not cause discomfort.  One who advised his brother in faith in isolation, reformed him and one who advised him before others, made him defective. [ Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 303]  Rendering good advice is a very nice thing, but its method and consequences should be kept in view; it should not expose ones faults to the public and this way instead of reformation he is degraded in public. One, who becomes attached to God, feels scared of the company of the people. [ Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 303]  

The greatest weakness of man is that he becomes so attached to other human beings that he is fearful of standing on the prayer mat in the court of God. And he feels scared of the recitation of God’s discourse instead of speaking of God.

Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said that instead of becoming attached to people and feeling afraid of God, you should become attached to God so that you become aloof from those who have no relation to God. And whose remembrance makes you oblivious of the remembrance of God. If you want attachment, you should be attached to those who themselves remember God and attachment to them is the best means of remembrance of God. There is a limit and quantity for everything and more than that is harmful. For example, there is a limit for generosity and kindness, exceeding that a person enters the limits of squandering and a limit is fixed for precaution also, after exceeding which cowardice begins and there is a limit for economy and moderation; too much of it makes a man miserly; there is a limit for valor, its excess creates uncontrollability and the best way to discipline the self is to dislike for others what you dislike for yourself. [ Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 303]  There are five signs of perfection of faith of a believer: (1) To recite Bismillah aloud (2) To prostrate on dust (3) To wear a ring on finger of the right hand (4) To pray fifty-one rakat prayers in a day (5) To recite the Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) on day of Arbaeen.[ Usul Kafi ] 

 This tradition mentions points, which generally the Islamic Ummah has ignored and instead made some distortions; otherwise there are other signs of believers as well as Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) has mentioned another five points in other reports. With regard to these signs, it is a brief request that Muslim world has created different contradictions about Bismillah. According to one: whetherBismillah is a verse or not? Another dispute is that if it is a verse; is it a part of Surah Hamd or it is a part of other Surahs as well.

If it is a part of Surah, is it to be recited aloud like the Surah or softly in a special way. According to school of Holy Imams (a.s.), Bismillah is a verse of Quran and it is a part of every Surah (except Surah Taubah) and to recite it aloud is also recommended, whether it is a prayer in which the Surah is not recited aloud. And this method was customary from the time of Prophet and that is the reason when Muawiyah did not recite Bismillah; there was a furor that he has committed theft of a verse and made it disappear. Same is the matter of prostrating on dust; although Sajdah is possible on the earth and that which grows out of it, provided it is not used for eating and wearing; but the superiority of earth is confirmed and in this one cannot deny the superiority of dust of Kerbala. Prostrating on dust is a sign of humility and to prostrate on dust of Kerbala is a means of stability of servitude as it is the greatest place of sacrifice and absorbed in this dust are all remembrances which are the best means of remembrance of God. Although it is accepted by all Muslims that it is recommended to wear a ring, some Muslim scholars emphasize on wearing it in the left hand as Shia wear it on the right. Since it has become a distinct feature of Shia, it is necessary to oppose it; although this method is according to Sunnah of Prophet; but it is necessary to leave this Sunnah so that there should be no similarity with other sects and communities! Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) called the attention of believers to this point as well that if people of other sects can abandon Sunnah of Prophet in your opposition, it is your duty also to continue following it to the letter and continue to make it as your distinctive quality, so difference becomes clear between those who act on practice of Prophet and those who abstain from it and that the true Islam is differentiated from mere claim of Islam.  

With regard to ring also it is worth noting that the Holy Imams (a.s.) have also accorded importance to the inscription on the ring as well and traditional reports mention the inscription of every Imam’s ring, which shows that Imam had made it also as a means of propagation of faith and every Imam adopted that inscription, which was appropriate to his time and necessary for fulfilling his aim; which can be realized only if we study the inscription on the ring of each Imam. Fifty-one rakats prayers comprise of seventeen rakats of obligatory prayer and thirty-four rakats of recommended prayer which is considered necessary for perfection of duties and ascension of servitude. Reciting Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) on Arbaeen day is also an emulation of practice of Imam Sajjad (a.s.) and a protest against Bani Umayyah as their persecutions did not allow survivors of Imam Husain (a.s.) to commemorate the fortieth day of Imam Husain (a.s.) and after a year when they were released from captivity in Syria they came to Kerbala and performed Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) and for the first time survivors saw the graves of their dead, when more than a year had passed since their martyrdom. With the above points in view, it can be realized that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) has not mentioned any obligatory acts in the signs of faith; on the contrary, he has only mentioned recommended acts, which is an open sign that obligatory acts are related to perfection of Islam and recommended acts are related to perfection of faith; a complete believer is not one who may become oblivious of obligatory duties; it is one who along with obligatory duties, takes care to perform recommended acts as well and includes those recommended acts in his daily program. He recites Bismillah aloud, prostrates on dust, wears a ring on his right hand, prays fifty-one rakat prayers daily and is regular in reciting Ziyarat Arbaeen  annually.[ Mafatihul Jinaan ]

Martyrdom

Although the Holy Imams (a.s.) have always been targets of oppression of the tyrants of the time and there was hardly any ruler who had not made oppressing Aale Muhammad (a.s.) as important aim of his regime, the life of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) remained the target of a strange calamity, whose example is not found in the lives of other infallibles also and its most important secret is that the world of Islam had heard since the time of the Prophet of Islam that: My twelfth successor would be that proof of Almighty Allah who would fill with justice and equity the earth, which would have been fraught with injustice and oppression and bring down every kind of regime. Therefore rulers of every age were careful to assure that the Mahdi of the time should not come into public. Till the period of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) they were confident that Mahdi would be the ninth descendant of Husain and not even eight descendants of Husain have appeared; but by the time the period of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) arrived, every learned and informed person realized that time was ripe for arrival of Mahdi and that he would be among their descendants only. Thus special surveillance was made on Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) and the same treatment began with his house as Firon meted out to Bani Israel, only to ensure that the boy who is to destroy the rule of Firon should not come into being. So far it was the style of the rulers of the time that they used to place the Holy Imams (a.s.) in prisons and if they feared rebellion of people or if the prison warden began to deviate under influence of character of the infallibles, Imam was placed under house arrest; but in case of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) the regime faced a unique dilemma; it feared that if he was imprisoned, the jail wardens would be influenced by him and all of them refused to persecute him. But if he was allowed to remain at home, it was feared that the last divine proof would come into being, which endangered the rule. Thus in the beginning he was housed in prison and the warden was issued special orders to torture the Imam as much as he can; but when this proved ineffective, they had him placed under house arrest in a part of his palace to keep an eye on him and that he may not be able to develop any rapport with the people; but when it was felt that this was a danger of making the soldiers posted in the palace sympathetic to Imam (a.s.), they placed him under house arrest in his own house. In this way the God of Musa arranged for the birth of another Musa, and on 15th Shaban, 255 A.H. that divine proof entered this world; whose prediction was made since the time of Prophet and who was awaited by the poor and deprived of every period. In this way, that danger became real imagining which had made one sleepless. With regard to the character of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), Allamah Majlisi has quoted the statement of Ahmad Ibne Ubaidullah Ibne Khaqan, governor of Qom in charge of trusts who was extremely inimical to Ahle Bayt (a.s.). He states that I have not seen in Samarrah anyone more pious and chaste than Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.). It was the practice of my father that when he came to the throne, he used to give a nice place to him in the centre of gathering or address him as Ibne Reza. He considered Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) to be more respectable than even the caliphs of Islam. Thus, when one day when I objected to him in private, he said: Son, there is no one better than him in the whole world and if caliphate had come out of Bani Abbas they would have been no one more eligible than him. So much so that once the caliph arrived while the Imam was there; and till he did not bid farewell to the Imam from another door, he did not welcome the caliph or pay any attention to him.  

One day I said: If he is a descendant of Prophet, his brother Ja’far is also like him; why he is not accorded so much respect? My father angrily said: Beware, don’t compare Ja’far to him; he is an extremely profligate and the Imam is extremely pious and religious. Caliphs were worried because of this and finally Motamid had him martyred through poison and when it became public knowledge that the Imam’s condition was deteriorating, they summoned the physicians and along with the leaders of country ten scholars were also summoned who would testify that he was ill because of a natural illness and that he was not poisoned. Thus they testified and remained there till the martyrdom of Imam. And because in his house there was only Aqeed, his slave and Saiqal, his wife; they continued to observe her carefully so that she may not deliver the boy who was going to destroy their kingdom and no one knew that the divine proof has already arrived four years ago. [ Usul Kafi, Book of Divine Proof, Chapter of the birth of Muhammad Ibne Hasan Ibne Ali; Manaqib, Vol. 5, Pg. 124; Irshad Mufeed, Pg. 505; Tadkiratul Masoomeen, Pg. 229]  After demise of the Imam, the bier was prepared and apparently the funeral prayer was also performed, but the search for his successor continued till Ja’far claimed inheritance and he tried to offer two hundred thousand dinars as bribe to my father, but he declined saying that Imamate is not obtained through wealth; character is necessary for it. [ Usul Kafi, Book of Divine Proof, Chapter of the birth of Muhammad Ibne Hasan Ibne Ali; Manaqib, Vol. 5, Pg. 124; Irshad Mufeed, Pg. 505; Tadkiratul Masoomeen, Pg. 229 ]

 Abul Adyan says: “I was a servant of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), and carried his letters to different cities and environs. I had the honor to attend his service in his last illness. When he gave me the letters for the last time, he said: ‘Go to Madayan. Your journey will last for fifteen days. On the fifteenth day, you will return to Samarrah.

 Wails and cries from my house will greet you. You will see me in the room where corpses are given the ritual bath.” I asked, ‘Master! In such a case, who will be the Imam after you?’ Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) responded, ‘One who will ask you about the replies to my letters will be my successor.’ I requested, ‘Please provide me more details.’ Imam (a.s.) replied, ‘He will lead my funeral prayers.’ I pleaded again, ‘Please furnish more information.’ He retorted, ‘He will inform you about what is there in the bag.’ The aweinspiring personality of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) prevented me from further inquiry about the bag. I took the letters to Madayan and procured the ripostes. On the 15th day, just as Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) had predicted, I entered Samarrah. Loud voices of wailing and crying echoed from the house of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.). I saw Ja’far, the brother of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), standing on the door and receiving condolences and consolation from local Shia. I said to myself, ‘If this man is Imam, then it will be clear that the position of Imamate has undergone a change. For I have seen him drink wine, gamble and play musical instruments.’ I went to him and offered my condolences. He did not ask me anything. Afterwards Aqeed emerged from the house and said: ‘Master! Your brother has been shrouded. Come and lead his funeral prayers.’ Ja’far went ahead to lead the prayers. Around him were some Shia including Samman and Hasan bin Ali alias Salma, whom Mutamid killed. When I entered the Imam’s house I saw that his corpse had been shrouded and Ja’far bin Ali went forward to pray the funeral prayer. As he was about to announce the Takbir, a young boy with a wheatish complexion, curly hair, broad teeth, shining like a brilliant moon, came out of the house. He caught hold of Ja’far’s robe and pushed him aside, saying, ‘Uncle! Move aside. I am more worthy of leading the funeral prayers of my father.’ Ja’far withdrew in a corner and his face went  colorless. The child went ahead to recite the prayers on his father’s dead body and buried him next to his father’s (10th Imam’s) grave. Thereafter, he turned towards me and said: ‘O Basri! Give me the replies of the letters that are with you.’ I handed the letters to him and said to myself: ‘Two prophecies are already fulfilled. Now only the third one, about the contents of the bag remains.’ I went to Ja’far bin Ali and saw him sighing. Hajiz Washsha said to him: Master, who is that lad? So that I can establish the proof on him. He said: By Allah I had never seen him and I don’t know who he is. We were sitting when some residents of Qom arrived and asked about the condition of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.). When they were informed about his demise, they inquired about the Imam after him. People guided them towards Ja’far Ibne Ali. They saluted him and offered their condolences. They wanted to know from him about the money that they had brought along with themselves, to whom did it belong and how much? Ja’far stood up from his place, and while gathering his clothes, said: ‘They expect me to know the unseen!’ Afterwards, a servant emerged from the house of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) and announced, ‘The letters of so and so are in your possession. You also have a bag containing a thousand dinars. Of which, ten dinars are coated with gold. They gave the letters and money to this servant saying, ‘The one who has sent you must be an Imam.’ Ja’far bin Ali came to Mutamid and narrated everything. Mutamid sent his soldiers to the Imam’s house that arrested and brought Saqeel. Mutamid told her to surrender the child of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) who was born a few year ago.”  [ Jilaul Uyun, Pg. 299; Sawaiqul Mohriqa, Pg. 124; Matalibus Soool, Pg. 292; Kashful Ghummah, Pg. 126; Damatus Sakiba, Vol. 3, Pg. 177; Elamul Wara, Pg. 218; Kamaluddin, Pg. 150 ]

 With regard to his passing away, it is the statement of Aqeed that when the poison took effect, he summoned me and said “O Aqeed, boil for me some mastic water.” Aqeed obeyed and after the water was procured, Saiqal, the mother of Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.) brought it to His Eminence. His Eminence took hold of the vessel but his hands shook so much that the bowl clattered against his teeth. The Imam let go of the vessel and said: “Go inside the house where you will find a boy in prostration. Bring him to me.” Aqeed said: When I went inside to bring that boy I saw that the boy was in a prostration and he had raised his index finger to the sky. I saluted him. He shortened his Prayer. I said respectfully: “The master has called you.” At that moment his mother arrived and taking his hand brought him to his father. When the boy came to His Eminence, he saluted him. His face was glowing like a pearl; he had short hair and wide teeth. When the eyes of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) fell upon him, he wept and said: “O master of my family, give me this water so that I may proceed to my Lord.” The young master complied and taking up the bowl of mastic water brought it to the lips of his father so that he may drink it. Then Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said: “Prepare me for the ritual prayer.” That child kept a towel before the Imam and made ablution for him by washing his face and hands in turn. Then he did Masahof his head and both feet. The Imam said: “O my son, I give you glad tidings that you are the Master of the Time and the Proof of Allah on the face of the earth. You are my son and successor. You are born from me and you are M-H-M-D, the son of Hasan son of Ali son of Muhammad son of Ali son of Musa son of Ja’far son of Muhammad son of Ali son of Husain son of Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) and you are from the progeny of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and last of the Purified Imams (a.s.). And the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) gave glad tidings about you and informed about your name and patronymic. This was told me by my father from his purified forefathers - blessings of Allah be on Ahle Bayt. Indeed our Lord alone is worthy of praise and glorification.”  

Imam Hasan bin Ali Askari (a.s.) spoke these sentences and passed away at that very moment. May Allah bless them all. [Kamaluddin, Pg. 150]  The regime was concerned that no one should have any idea that he was poisoned, so they declared official mourning and secretly the Imam of the Age performed the last rituals and apparently the regime arranged for them and there was chaos in Samarrah; when the bier came out of the house, there was chaos everywhere and men and women were crying uncontrollably till he was buried next to his father. [ Nurul Absar, Pg. 168; Arjahul Matalib, Pg. 468; Tadkiratul Masoomeen, Pg. 229; Jilaul Uyun, Pg. 292 ] Ali Ibne Isa Irbili, author of Kashful Ghumma has narrated that once Mustansirbillah went to visit Samarrah and he saw the mausoleums of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) and Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) and he saw a huge crowd of devotees and after that he visited the graves of his ancestors where there was no one; they were absolutely desolate and some were strewn with animal droppings. Seeing this, some confidants said: Sir this is astonishing that there is so much pomp on the tombs of Ahle Bayt (a.s.) and nothing on the graves of your ancestors who were in power and are still in power; there tombs are still desolate. Can you not do something about it? Mustansir said: This has no relation to rulership and power; it is a divine matter and no power remains after death and after death the matter is in the hands of the Lord of the worlds who makes the graves of His sincere servants inhabited and turns into ruins the graves of those who deviate from His path and I or you have no say in it.3The matter of the fact is that in this statement, Mustansir has mentioned a strange point that if you want some position and greatness after your death, it is not possible through power; it is only possible through sincerity of faith, without which nothing is possible in the world. And that is the reason when Saudi rulers have razed the tombs of Jannatul Baqi and in their view made the graves sign-less, true devotees continue to visit their graves and there is quite some pomp over there whereas no one is concerned about the graves of rulers and no one recites Surah Fatiha with sincerity. No matter what official arrangements are made, it is impossible for personality and greatness to be created through it. This is by the grace of God; He gives it to one He likes. [ Kashful Ghummah]   

Wives and Children

There is consensus between Shia and Sunni scholars that his honorable wife was Saiqal or Narjis and he had only one son, whose name was Muhammad and Kunniyat, Abul Qasim and he is the last divine proof, to whom Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) has handed over all the relics of Imamate before his passing away and it were he who had given him water to drink and who had performed the last rites and removing Ja’far from there had prayed the funeral prayers, after which he disappeared and even though the regime tried their best, they could not locate him; and in this way Almighty Allah fulfilled His promise that He is in any case going to perfect His light no matter how much it may be distasteful to the polytheists. [ Sawaiqul Mohriqa, Pg. 124; Kamaluddin, Pg. 150; Jilaul Uyun and Matalibus So-ool etc.] With reference to his life history, the following incident has been recorded in the history of Qom with regard to the respect of progeny of Prophet. Abul Hasan Husain Ibne Hasan Ibne Ja’far Ibne Muhammad Ibne Ismail Ibne Ja’far Sadiq, who was very famous in Qom for profligacy and wine drinking; once he came to Ahmad Ibne Ishaq Ashari, who was the official representative of religious trusts in Qom, and sought his help. Ahmad Ibne Ishaq declined to meet him as he was well known for his acts. By chance that same year, he went for Hajj and he passed through Samarrah. He came to pay a visit to Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) and prayed for audience, but the Imam refused him. He wept and pleaded and at last permission was given to him. He asked: Master why are you so angry with me? He replied: You refused to meet a Sayyid. Ahmad Ibne Ishaq said: Master, he is a drunkard and I refused because of his character. Imam (a.s.) said: You should have accorded respect to the genealogy of Sayyids. Ahmad Ibne Ishaq apologized and when he returned home, and along with others Husain Ibne Hasan also came to meet him, he stood up with respect. Husain asked about the reason and Ahmad said: It is the command of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) that the progeny of Prophet is to be respected no matter what their character is. Husain thrashed his head in regret and broke up and threw away all his goblets. He became engrossed in constant worship after that and passed away in that same condition. [ Tarikh Qom; Biharul Anwar, Vol. 9, Chap. 6, Pg. 326 781]  Such incidents cause misunderstanding to some people that genealogy of Sayyids is higher than law of Shariah and for the sake of Saadaat, the Islamic law of their ancestor can also be trampled. Although it is never like this; the style of this incident shows that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) knew that after this respect Husain Ibne Hasan would return to the right path leaving wine; that is why he stressed more on relationship to Prophet and realization of this relationship created a revolution in the life of Husain Ibne Hasan. It means that ordinary people are duty bound to accord respect to Saadaat because of their relationship to Prophet and it is the duty of Saadaat that taking their genealogy they should not do anything which is against the respect of their relationship and should not cause defamation of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

Companions of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.)

1- Abu Ali Ahmad Ibne Ishaq Ibne Abdullah Ibne Saad Ibne Malik Ahwas Ashari. He was an extremely reliable, trusted and pious man. He was from the companions of Imam Jawad, Imam Hadi and Imam Askari (a.s.). Many prominent scholars came from his family and the Imam has also praised him. He was also the representative of Imam (a.s.) and had the honor of seeing Imam Zamana (a.s.). He requested Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) for shroud cloth and the Imam told him not to worry, ‘you will get it’. Thus when he died on road to Kermanshah, Imam (a.s.) sent his servant, Kafur with the shroud and had him reach there miraculously. He gave the shroud and then companions buried him after praying the funeral prayers. [Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 312; Kamaluddin, Shaykh Saduq 2 Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 314; Isbatul Wasiyya, Masudi ]

2- Ahmad Ibne Muhammad Ibne MutahhirHe is called as the special companion of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), which is a rank above ordinary companions and students. Thus during the last days of his Imamate, Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) sent his mother for Hajj and appointed Ahmad Ibne Muhammad in charge of the journey and said: Even if people return fearing thirst, you must continue your journey; Insha Allah there is nothing to fear.

 3- Abu Sahl Ismail Ibne Ali Ibne Ishaq Ibne Abi Sahl Ibne Naubakht He was the greatest theologian of Baghdad and possessed a sort of ministership. He has authored a number of books on different topics of which, Al-Anwaar fee Tarikhil Aimmatil Athar is particularly famous. He had the honor of seeing Imam Zamana (a.s.) as well and when Mansur Hallaj invited him claiming that he was the special representative of Sahibul Amr, he wrote back: If you really have this post, prove it to me by making the hair of my beard black and that I should not need to dye it. Mansur realized his helplessness and refrained from replying; but Abu Sahl mentioned this incident in gatherings all the time and degraded Mansur forever and proved his claim baseless; otherwise there was a possibility that a large number of people would have got deviated.[ Ahsanul Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 315 ]

Bani Abbas

History of Islam is full of persecutions of Bani Umayyah. From the martyrdom of Imam Ali (a.s.) till the tragedy of Kerbala, which injustice was there in which Bani Umayyah did not have a hand? And everyone’s blood was the responsibility of one or other Bani Umayyah ruler. In spite of that the poet has versified the persecutions of Bani Abbas in the following words: “By God, the persecutions of Bani Umayyah are not even one tenth in comparison to oppressions of Bani Abbas. Bani Umayyah oppressed the living and trampled the corpses after death; but after that they stopped the persecutions; whereas Bani Abbas even planned to wipe out the traces of graves and every successor made one forget the persecutions of his predecessor. This bloodshed began with Abul Abbas Saffah and reached its peak during Mansur’s reign. Whichever ruler of Bani Abbas came to the throne, his first aim was to harass the progeny of the Prophet and to destroy their traces as well.( Tarikhul Khulafa Suyuti) As a result of this, when the descendants of Prophet raised up their voices of protests, they became more victims of oppression. There were revolutions, but no revolution was successful, because the people had no strength to rise up in revolt in opposition of these persecutions. It was only the descendants of Ali (a.s.) that they continued to remain targets of oppression and continued to raise their voices against injustice. The Holy Imams (a.s.) in these hard times using their God- given capability adopted a very wise way. As a result of esoteric knowledge they knew about future failures so they did not want to openly lead those revolutions; but on the other hand they were also concerned about the duty of helping the oppressed so, they could not even stop them from raising their voices against oppression; because to remain absolutely silent in face of oppression is also against Islam. Thus they continued to warn the revolutionary groups about their consequences, but did not prohibit them in their steps; on the contrary whenever there was a new persecution on them, they also raised their voices against it and continued to give moral support to the revolutionaries. Thus in view of Abdullah Ibne Hasan’s persecution by Mansur, he wrote a memorable letter of condolence to him, which is the best means of comforting and sympathy. He writes: “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. To the righteous son and the chaste progeny: So to say, if you and your family members have borne so many hardships among the revolutionaries, you are not alone in your pain and sorrow. I also face such calamities and persecutions; but I have always adopted patience and restraint according to command of God. Almighty Allah has ordered patience and forbearance on various occasions in the Holy Quran. He told His Messenger: “And wait patiently for the judgment of your Lord, for surely you are before Our eyes…” (Surah Tur 52:48) “So wait patiently for the judgment of your Lord, and be not like the companion of the fish…” (Surah Qalam 68:48) “And if you take your turn, then retaliate with the like of that with which you were afflicted; but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient.” (Surah Nahl 16:126)  

“And enjoin prayer on your followers, and steadily adhere to it; We do not ask you for subsistence; We do give you subsistence, and the (good) end is for guarding (against evil).” (Surah Taha 20:132) “Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return. Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course.” (Surah Baqarah 2:156- 157) “…only the patient will be paid back their reward in full without measure.” (Surah Zumar 39:10) “…and bear patiently that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage.” (Surah Luqman 31:17) “Musa said to his people: Ask help from Allah and be patient; surely the land is Allah’s; He causes such of His servants to inherit it as He pleases; and the end is for those who guard (against evil).” (Surah Araaf 7:128) “Most surely man is in loss, except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.” (Surah Asr 103:2-3) “Then he is of those who believe and charge one another to show patience, and charge one another to show compassion.” (Surah Balad 90:17) “And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient.” (Surah Baqarah 2:155) “And how many a prophet has fought with whom were many worshippers of the Lord; so they did not become weakhearted on account of what befell them in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken, nor did they abase themselves; and Allah loves the patient.” (Surah Aale Imran 3:146) 786 “…and the patient men and the patient women…- Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward.” (Surah Ahzab 33:35) “And follow what is revealed to you and be patient till Allah should give judgment, and He is the best of the judges.” (Surah Yunus 10:109)My uncle and my cousin, remember that Almighty Allah does not care that people have harassed His followers as in His view there is nothing more preferable to Him. He also does not care that the world accords respect to His enemy that if He had not liked hardships and patience for his saints, the enemies of God would not have dared to eliminate the holy saints and rule comfortably. If He had not borne calamities for His saints, martyrdom of Zakariya and Yahya (a.s.) would not have occurred. Your grandfather, Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) would not have been martyred; the tragedy of Kerbala and the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) would not have taken place. He has given respite to oppressors and given them chance to do what they desire. He has also mentioned this fact in Surah Zukhruf: 33 and Surah Mominoon: 55. The true merits of patience are displayed in calamities and patience is the favorite quality of Almighty Allah. It is also mentioned in traditions that: If there had been no concern to the discomfort of believer the infidel would not have had any headache also. This world is not even worth the wing of a mosquito. If a believer takes refuge on a mountain peak Almighty Allah would give the infidels to harass him so that the soul of his patience may be displayed. When Almighty Allah likes a person, there is continuous descent of hardships on him; he comes out of one and enters the other.  

For a believer, only two gulps are best: swallowing of anger and bearing of hardship with patience and forbearance. Companions of Prophet used to desire for their oppressors, a long life, physical health and numerous children so that they may do maximum oppressions and that companions may display as much patience. So Uncle, cousin and brothers, all of you may adopt patience and contentment. Remain patient of divine destiny. Continue to obey Almighty Allah; fulfill the commands. May God bestow to you unlimited patience and a goodly end. May He save us through His power from every danger; He is the hearer and the most proximate one to servants. May Allah, have mercy on His chosen servant, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and his Ahle Bayt (a.s.). [ Biharul Anwar, Vol. 47 ] This letter vividly describes the circumstances that descendants of Imam Ali (a.s.) were facing and it can also be known that the Holy Imams (a.s.) were not unconcerned about circumstances of oppressed and deprived were not aloof from the revolutionaries. Circumstances had not permitted them to rise up in revolt; otherwise they were immune of every oppressor and supportive of movement against every oppression provided that its foundations lay on religion, faith, honesty and sincerity. Such was the intensity of the calamities before Bani Abbas could strengthen their power; what would have been the position after they became established? It can be realized from the same circumstances. Continuous imprisonment of Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) by Harun and martyring him in a condition of captivity; Mamun’s making Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) as heir apparent and then martyring him; making Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) as son-in-law and then making him target of persecution and his poisoning at the hands of Motasim.

Mutawakkil’s efforts to destroy traces of grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) and such innumerable oppressions, which have come before the Holy Imams (a.s.) and unscrupulous rulers of Bani Abbas who tried to destroy the ones in whose name they had seized power. Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) got a new share from these calamities. The oppressors knew that the twelfth successor of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) would overthrow the tyrants and after his arrival, oppression will be eradicated. They also knew that he is the eleventh descendant so the complete direction of persecutions was his being and everyone of them wanted to eliminate him and to adopt such a plan that no blame should come on them. It was very easy for the regime, but none can destroy one whom Almighty Allah wants to save. So instead of killing, the oppressors adopted the way of persecution as it was the best way of expression of merits of patience. Oppressions exceeded all limits, captivity, isolation, house arrest and such severe hardships had to be faced; Imam was kept as a prisoner in a part of the castle in which the tyrant took comfort as this was the best recompense to descendants of Prophet in view of Muslims. But in spite of all this, the last divine proof arrived into this world and words of “The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished…”proved true. The night of persecution came to its last stage and the sun of justice and equity arose.[ Elamul Wara, Biharul Anwar etc. 789]


source: http://www.duas.org

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Life Sketch of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) - Extract from 'Nuqoosh Ismat'
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