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Name : Ali

Title : an-Naqi (The Pure) and al-Hadi (The Guide)

Kuniyat : Abul Hasan

Father : Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (A)

Mother : Bibi Summana Khatoon (A)

Birthdate : 15th Zilhaj 212 A.H. in Madina

Imamat : From 220 A.H. to 254 A.H.

Martyrdom : 3rd Rajab 254 A.H.

Buried : Samarra, Iraq.

Imam (A) was only 8 years old when his father died. Thus, like his father, he also took over the responsibility of Imamat at a very young age.

The Abbaside Caliph Ma'mun Rashid was succeeded by Mu'tasim, who ruled for 8 years. He was in turn followed by Wathiq Billah. During the 5 years of the reign of Wathiq, Imam (A) and the Shia were allowed to live peacefully. After Wathiq, his brother Mutawakkil came to power.

Mutawakkil was notorious for his free living, immodesty and intoxication. He was the first Abbaside Caliph to hold and participate openly in parties where music, drinking, vain talk and all kinds of evil were practised.

For the first 4 years of his rule, Mutawakkil was occupied in state matters, so he did not trouble Imam (A). After he was free from his affairs, he turned his attention to the activities of Imam (A).

At the time, Imam (A) was preaching to the people in Madina, guiding them to the right path and increasing their faith in Islam. The recognition of his great knowledge and attributes grew day by day. When Mutawakkil heard about his reputation and popularity, he was overcome by jealousy and felt that his own power was threatened.

Mutawakkil disguised his hatred for Imam (A) and wrote to him, respectfully inviting him to come to Samarra to meet him. He claimed that he believed in the position of Imam (A) and wanted to settle matters peacefully.

Although Imam (A) was well aware of Mutawakkil's evil intentions, he knew that the consequences of refusing would be sure death. He therefore reluctantly decided to leave Madina, the beloved city of the Holy Prophet (S).

When he arrived in Samarra, Mutawakkil totally ignored him and ordered that he should be put up in an inn provided by the state for beggars and homeless people.

Mutawakkil now showed his true colours by imprisoning Imam (A) under the custody of a cruel hearted man by the name of Zarraqui. This man, however, soon changed his feelings on witnessing the manners and behaviour of Imam (A). Thereafter, Mutawakkil transferred him to the prison of another cruel man called Sayeed. Here Imam (A) remained until Fateh bin Khaqan became the prime minister of Mutawakkil. Fateh was a Shia and could not bear to see the miserable condition of Imam (A), so he used his influence to secure his release. However, Mutawakkil kept a close watch on the activities of Imam (A), trying to prove that he was acting against the government so as to have an excuse to kill him.

Although Mutawakkil was his most deadly enemy, Imam (A) did not return this enmity. Once Mutawakkil happened to suffer from a serious sickness and his own doctors declared him incurable. Mutawakkil's mother approached Imam (A) for help, and he prescribed an ointment that resulted in a spontaneous cure.

Mutawakkil made it his duty to hunt out and kill all the descendants of Abu Talib and made life so terrifying for them that they were scattered far and wide. He did not content himself with this, but also showed his disrespect for the dead by demolishing the grave of Imam Husain (A).

He prohibited anyone from going to Ziyarat to Karbala. If anyone tried, they were put into underground prisons, never to be seen again.

Mutawakkil was finally killed by his own son Muntansir, who succeeded him. He was followed by Mustain Billah and Mu'taz Billah. It was the accursed Mu'taz who decided to kill Imam (A) because he could not bear to see the devotion of the people to him. A messenger of Mu'taz came to Imam (A) and managed to poison him. Imam (A) died within a few hours. The funeral prayers were conducted by his son, Imam Hasan al-Askari (A), and he was buried in Samarra. He was only 42 years at the time.

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