HAZRAT IMAM HASSAN ASKARI (A.S.), THE 11TH IMAM

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Name : Hasan

Title : al-Askari (One who Lives Near the Soldiers)

Kuniyat : Abu Muhammad

Father : Imam Ali an-Naqi (A)

Mother : Bibi Saleel (A)

Birthdate : 10th Rabiul Akhar 232 A.H. in Madina

Imamat : From 254 A.H. to 260 A.H.

Martyrdom : 8th Rabiul Awwal 260 A.H.

Buried : Samarra, Iraq.

Imam (A) began his period of Imamat during the reign of Mu'taz Billah. Mu'taz was followed by Mu'tadi and then Mu'tamad. Although the Abbaside Caliphs were busy with their own political problems, they all kept a very strict eye on Imam (A), and restricted his movements. In fact Imam (A) spent the greater part of his life in the prisons of these cruel rulers.

The Abbaside Caliphs were more worried about the presence of Imam (A) because they knew that his son would be the awaited "Mahdi". The Hadith of the Holy Prophet (S) about the Mahdi was well known and the people eagerly awaited for him to come and relieve them from their difficult life under the Abbasides. As a result, the rulers inflicted all sorts of calamities on Imam (A). In spite of the fact that he had very little time with the people, he remained ever busy in guiding them to the right path by imparting his great religious knowledge. He managed to discharge his duties of Imamat with cheer and perseverance. History shows that the commentators of the Holy Qur'an have often quoted the interpretation of verses from Imam (A).

When Mu'tamad came to power he realised that the way to stop the birth of the Mahdi was to make sure that Imam (A) had no chance to marry and have a child. Accordingly, he decided to imprison him for life. Imam (A) passed very difficult times in this prison and often had to go without food or water. He used to offer his prayers by carrying out Tayammum with earth.

One day Mu'tamad decide to torture Imam (A) by putting him before wild lions. To his surprise and disappointment the beasts bowed in respect to Imam (A) and did not harm him at all.

Imam (A) had been in the prison of Mu'tamad in Baghdad for 2 years when Allah set into motion a series of events that was to lead to the birth of the Mahdi, our 12th Imam (A). At the time, there was a drought in Baghdad and people were desperately praying for rain. A Christian came to Baghdad and claimed that he could make it rain by praying in the Christian manner. As soon as he raised his hands in prayer, it began to rain.

The people became confused and many began to listen to his teachings because of his miraculous powers.

When news of this reached Mu'tamad, he realised that he had to do something to save the situation. After all, he was ruling in the name of Islam and he knew that his power would be threatened if the Muslims began to turn to Christianity.

Not knowing what to do, Mu'tamad at last decided that there was only one person who could help and that was Imam (A). When Mu'tamad came to him, Imam (A) did not refuse to help because it was his duty to defend Islam.

Imam (A) asked Mu'tamad to gather the people and then call the Christian. When the people had assembled, he invited the Christian to demonstrate his ability. When he raised his hands to pray, some rain clouds appeared.

Imam (A) stopped him and asked a soldier to go over to the Christian and bring back what he had in his hands. The soldier returned with a bone. When the Christian was told to resume his prayers, nothing happened.

Imam (A) explained to the people that the Christian was using a bone from the body of a Prophet of Allah. It was a special blessing from Allah that whenever a bone of one of His Prophets was raised to the sky, it showered with rain. Now Imam (A) told the people that he himself would pray for the rain to fall.

As he raised his hands, rain clouds appeared immediately. The people began to go to their homes in fear of being drenched, but Imam (A) told them that those clouds were not for Baghdad. Finally some clouds appeared which he said were meant for Baghdad. He told the people to go to their homes and then there were heavy rains and the water shortage in Baghdad came to an end.

The people were delighted at the actions of Imam (A). Many did not know him because he had been in the prison for most of his life. When they asked him his address, he pointed to Mu'tamad and said that he was the king's guest. Mu'tamad was too embarrassed and scared to admit to the people that Imam (A) was his prisoner, so he gave them the address of Imam Ali an-Naqi's (A) house in Samarra. The people escorted Imam (A) to his home and here he lived for a time during which our 12th Imam (A) was born.

Mu'tamad could not bear hearing about the popularity of Imam (A) and tried many times to have him killed. At last he sent a poisoned drink to him which caused the martyrdom of the Imam (A) at the age of 28 years. The funeral prayers were led by our 12th Imam (A) who was only 5 years old. Imam (A) is buried besides his father in Samarra.

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