The tenth Imam Ali Ibn Mohammed Al-Naqi (as) was born in a place called Sarriya, about 3 miles from the Holy city of Medina, on the 15th day of the month of Zilhaj in the year 212 A.H. and he passed away from this banal world on the 3rd day of the month of Rajab in the year 254 A.H. The 10th Imam was given poisen by Mutaz and was buried in his own house in the city of Samarra. Imam Naqi (as) served the longest period of Imamate (besides the 12th Imam); 34 years which can be divided into two parts - 17 years of freedom and 17 years under arrest.
Imam Naqi (as) was the eldest son of the 9th Imam, Mohammed al-Taqi (as); his mother's name was Umm al-Walad and she was called Samana Khatoon. He had one brother named Moosa and two sisters named Fatima and Emama.
The Abbasid Caliphs of his time were: Mo'tasim billah son of Haroon, then his son Montasir billah, after whom came Mosata'een billah another son of Mo'tasim, who was followed by Mo'taz billah son of Mutawakkil. It was this Mutawakkil who was always on the lookout for a chance to torture the Tenth Imam and to kill him and he was the one who ordered the grave of Imam Husain (as) in Karbala to be dug out and desecrated.
Saqar ibn Dalaf narrates, Imam Mohammed al-Taqi (as) once stated, "After me, my son Ali shall be my successor and Imam. His ruling shall be my ruling and his word shall be my word; and after Ali, his son Hassan shall be the Imam after him". Kamal al-Deen, book 2, page 50.
The period of Imamate of our 10th Imam overlapped with the decline of the power of the Abbasid Empire. They were threatened by the Turks and had to move the Capital from Baghdad to Samarrah. He was only 6 years old when his father Imam Muhammad Taqi (as) was martyred in Baghdad when poisoned by Mu'tasim Billah Abbasi.
The 10th Imam lived in Madina for the remaining 8 years of the reign of Mu'tasim and 5 years of the reign of Wathiq Billah. It was when Mutawakkil became caliph in 236 Hijiri (847 AD) the Imam was called over to the Abbasid capital Baghdad. Mutawakkil, was the most malicious and deadly opponent of the Ahlulbayt (as), who tried to drown the Grave of Imam Hussain (as) in Karbala by diverting the waters of the Euphrates River. But by a miracle the river water encircled the grave and did not go over it regardless of the fact that the surrounding land was higher. When the Caliph failed in his action of drowning the grave he ordered that the whole area should be made into farmland but when the horses unable take the plough over the grave, he realized his idiocy. Ultimately he left the holy ground as it was but as long as he lived he forbade any pilgrimage to the Shrine of Imam Hussain (as). The pilgrims to the grave of Imam Hussain (as) maintained to go despite of the threat to their lives. Indeed many were killed during the journey to the Shrine but their eagerness to visit the grave never collapsed.
The 10th Imam (as) asked his followers, his Shias, to fast on four days in a year apart from the obligatory month of Ramadan, and those days include 17th Rabi-ul-Awal, the birth of the Holy Prophet, 27th Rajab, the day of declaration of his Prophethood, 25th Zulq'ada, the day the Earth was spread, and the 18th of Zilhaj, the day of declaration of Imamat of Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) as the ‘mola’ of the people after the Holy Prophet.
Some of the most memorable and golden sayings of Imam Ali Naqi (as) are:
1. There are definite places in which Allah likes the servants to supplicate to Him. One of these places is the tomb of Al-Hussein: Master of the Martyrs (as).
2. Others will fear him who fears Allah. He who obeys Allah will be obeyed. He who obeys Allah will not care for the dissatisfaction of the creatures. He who enrages the Creator should be sure of encountering the dissatisfaction of the creatures.
3. No one can describe Allah with attributes other than these with which He describes Himself. How can anyone describe Him when senses are too short to perceive Him, illusions are too short to comprehend Him, ideas are too short to mark Him, and sights are too short to appreciate Him? He is remote in His nearness and near in His remoteness. He created the how without being asked "How?" and founded the where without being asked "where?" He is out of how and where. He is the One and Only. Exalted be His Majesty and sacred be His Names.
4. He who feels secure from Allah's unexpected retribution and painful penalty will feel arrogant until Allah's act and inevitable decree (death) will befall him. He whomever receives evidence from his Lord will belittle the worldly misfortunes even if he is cut into pieces.
5. The thankful of a grace should be happy for thankfulness more than it is for the grace.
6. Allah has made this world for testing while He has made the life to come for receiving the result. He has also made the misfortunes of this world the cause of gaining the rewards of the life to come and made the rewards of the life to come as the compensation for the misfortunes of this world.
7. The clement oppressor is about to be acquitted for his clemency, while the foolish one is about to extinguish the illumination of his right with the blows of his foolishness.
8. You should present thorough obedience to those who present for you their thorough love and advice.
9. Do not feel secure from those who disgraced their personalities.
10. This world is like a market in which some profited and others lost.
11. Do not expect honesty and purity of intention from someone who has suffered from your malice; do not expect loyalty from one to whom you have been disloyal; do not expect goodwill from someone whom you regard with ill-will: his heart towards you is the same as your heart towards him.
12. Others will fear him who fears Allah.He who obeys Allah will be obeyed.He who obeys Allah will not care for the dissatisfaction of the creatures.He who enrages the Creator should be sure of encountering the dissatisfaction of the creatures.
13. You should present thorough obedience to those who present for you their thorough love and advice.
14. He who feels secure from Allah's unexpected retribution and painful penalty will feel arrogant until Allah's act and inevitable decree(death) will befall him.He whomever receives evidence from his Lord will belittle the worldly misfortunes even if he is cut into pieces.
15. There are definite places in which Allah likes the servants to supplicate to Him.One of these places is the tomb of Al-Husayn(as),Sayyid ush-Shuhada(Master of the Martyrs).
16. Al Hasan-bin-Mas'ud related: One day, one of my fingers was hurt, a rider hit me in the shoulder, and a crowd of people caused my clothes to be torn. In this manner, I visited Abul-Hasan Ali-bin-Mohammed (as) and said: Allah protect me against the evil of such an ill-omen day." Imam Al-Hadi (as) worded: O Hasan, do you accuse the guiltless of your guilt while you are frequently visiting us?"
I then regained my intellect and noticed my flaw; therefore, I said, "O master, I seek Allah's forgiveness."
The Holy Imam (as) said: O Hasan, what was the fault with days that you regard as evil portent while the fact is that you are punished for your own deeds during them?"
I said, "O Son of Allah's Messenger, I seek Allah's forgiveness and declare my repentance against so."
The Imam (a) then added: To dispraise days and regard them as evil portent is useless for you. Allah, however, will punish you for dispraising the days for matters that are out of their control. O Hasan, do you not know that the only rewarder and punisher for the deeds, sooner of later, is Allah?" "I know, master," I said. He (as) then added: Do not repeat it again and do not say that days have any effect in the affairs of Allah. "I will, master," I said.
17. Dawud As-Sarmi related: My master Imam Al-Hadi (as) ordered me to do many actions then he tested whether I had retained them all. When he noticed that I could not maintain them all, he took a pen and wrote down.
"In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. I will remember it, Insha'Allah. All the matters are in Allah's hand
" I smiled and the Holy Imam(as) asked me about the reason. I said, "Allah make me your sacrifice, this record reminds me of the report that one of our acquaintances related to me on the authority of your grandfather Imam Reza(as). He said that whenever the Imam (as) ordered of a matter, he used to write down: "In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. I will remember it, Insha'Allah."
The Holy Imam(as) said: O Dawud, I am honest to tell you that the neglector of the Bismillah is as same as of the neglector of the (obligatory) prayers.
Abu Hashem Jafferi narrates an incident, which took place in the time of Imam Ali Naqi (as) under the government of Mutawakkil Abbasi. A woman affirmed to be the daughter of Bibi Fatima (sa). Mutawakkil told her "But you are young, and the granddaughter of the Holy Prophet died years ago?” She replied, "The Holy Prophet placed his hand on my head and prayed Allah to make me young all over again every 40 years. I remained silent all these years but now I have come out in the open to declare my true identity, and there is a purpose". Therefore Mutawakkil called the people of the House of Abu Taleb, House of Abbas, and all the Quraish to witness this strange phenomena, and to know there opinions about it. Most of them refuted her saying she could not be the one she is purporting to be!
She irately turned towards them and said, "All of you are wrong, for none of you know the truth that I am what I am, Zainab the daughter of Bibi Fatima the daughter of the Holy Prophet. None of you know this because I was living a life of exclusion and without exposing my identity, so how could anyone know about my life and death?" All those present there did not dare to say anything. Mutawakkil announced, "If any one amongst you does not challenge her allegation, I would then free her and let her go". All the people were very perturbed regarding this situation yet none of them dared to speak out loud; then all of a sudden they collectively suggested to call Imam Ali Naqi (as) for he undoubtedly must have an answer to this dilemma. The Masoom Imam was called and told about the confrontation and he said, "She is a liar, for Bibi Zainab daughter of Bibi Fatima died on such and such a day and such and such a year". Mutawakkil said, he would set her free if no one thwarts her in her attempts in calling herself Zainab the granddaughter of the Holy Prophet.” Imam Ali Naqi (as) continued, "The flesh of Sons of Fatima (sa) has been prohibited on all creatures; if this woman is what she claims to be, then put her in front of these animals and nothing should happen to her". Upon hearing this she said, "Probably this man wants that I should be killed; let him undergo this test himself before me and let us see if he himself stands this test!" Mutawakkil within his heart had always wanted to harass, torment and cause distress to the Imam and his followers. Upon hearing this proposal he instantly approved to send the Imam into the enclosure where six or seven hungry lions were kept.
Imam Ali Naqi (as) was sent into the enclosure and he with poise and casualness, walked and sat on a rock close to the animals. The hungry lions came towards the Imam as if paying salutation to him, sat down close to the holy Imam with their front paws folded. The Holy Imam (as) spoke kindly to those animals and also pated their manes and backs. He then ordered them to go and sit in the corner as asked by the Hujjat-e-Khuda. The astounded viewers were watching all these strange phenomena. Mutawakkil, who was feeling humiliated and discomfited, ordered the woman to be put into the lions' enclosure and at the same time he whispered to his Vizier to take out Abul Hassan, Imam Ali Naqi (as) instantaneously from the field, for if the people got to know about this miracle of the Imam (as) they would love the Imam (as) more and the entire Islamic world would come to know the qualities and prominence of the Masoomeens (as).
When the son of Ali and Fatima (sa) walked out serenely, Mutawakkil went to him and guiltily smirked and said, "O Abul Hassan, I did not mean to harm you but only ascertain what you had told". When the 10th Imam was about to leave the enclosure, the lions came once again to him and started rubbing their faces with his robe; he grinned gently at them and asked them to go back and they all obeyed his orders. He then told the gathering to send the woman down into the enclosure to be convinced that she is from the progeny of the Bibi Fatima (sa) at which, the woman threw commotion, started crying, and said, "I am not what I had claimed to be, do not put me to the lions." She kept weeping and pleading, but Mutawakkil, his arrogance completely merged in dust and his power and authority all reduced to ashes, refused to listen to her and she was eventually thrown into the enclosure. The lions jumped upon her and she was utterly eaten away.
Imam Ali Naqi(AS) built a house in Samarrah and did not go back to Madina either of his own free will or under the orders of the rulers of that time. Due to his continued reside there and the shortage of interference by the government, the students, keen for knowledge, thronged around him to be taught the teachings of Ahlaibait. This worried Al-Mu’taz so much that he decided to end the sacred life of the Imam. He arranged to poison Imam’s food. The Imam embraced shahadut after eating the poisonous food.
Imam Ali Naqi’s demeanor and an ethical excellence were the same as those displayed by each infallible of his time. Whether in the prison or freedom, the sacred souls of the sinless Imams (as) were busy worshiping of Allah and with helping the oppressed and needy people. Totally refraining from desire, greed and worldly ambitions, they lived dignified in misfortune, dealt fairly even with their foes. To help the impoverished, were the characteristics marking their conduct. The identical qualities were replicated in the life of Imam Ali Naqi (as).
While serving the time of his sentence, the Imam had a grave dug up ready by the side of his prayer mat. Some visitors articulated apprehension or surprise. The Imam explained, “In order to remember my end I keep the grave before my eyes.”
The Imam died in Sarammara, the funeral was attended only by his son Imam Hasan al Askari (as) who led the funeral prayers and arranged his burial, laying him to rest in his house.
Even after centuries of Imam (as)’s shahadat, the Yazeedi terrorists of today attacked the Shrine of Imam Ali Naqi (as) and Imam Hasan Askari (as) in February of 2006. Another bomb blast occurred in June of 2007.