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Biography of Imam Al-Hasan Bin Ali Al-Askari (AS)

Imam Al– Hasan Bin Ali Al–Askari (AS)


Biography

Name : Al-Hasan
Title : Al-Askari
Agnomen  : Abu Muhammad.
Father’s name : Ali al-Hadi ( An Naqi )
Mother’s name : Hadithah ( or Susan )
Birth : In Madina, on Friday, 8th Rabi’uth Thani 232 AH (846 A.D).
Death : Died at the age of 28, in Samarah, on Friday the eighth Rabi-ul-Awwal 260 A.H. ( 873 A.D.) buried in Samarah

The Holy Imam Hasan al-Askari spent twenty two years of his life under the patronage of his father, Imam Ali al-Hadi (an Naqi) after whose martyrdom he became his divinely commissioned Imam and through the decree of the previous Imams. During the seven years of his Immamat, due to untold restrictions placed on him by the caliphat, he lived in hiding and dissimulation ( Taqiyyah ). He did not have any social contact with even the common people among the Shi’ite population . Ibid. p.155.

Reports about His Nomination:

[Abu al-Qasim Ja’far b. Muhammad informed me on the authority of Muhammad b. Ya’qub, on the authority of Ali b. Muhammad, on the authority of Muhammad b. Ahmad al- Nahdi, on the authority of Yahya b. Yasar al- Anbari, who said: ].

Abu al-Hasan Ali b. Muhammad (al-Hadi), peace be on him, made his testamentary bequest to his son four months before his death. He indicated that the affair) of the Imamat) would belong to him after himself. He made me (i.e. Yahya b. Yasar al- Anbari) and a group of servants (mawali) witness that Kitab-al.Irshad, p. 508

[Abu al- Qasim Ja’far b. Muhammad informed me, on the authority of Muhammad  b. Yaqub, on the authority of ‘ Ali b. Muhammad, on the authority of  Ja’far b. Muhammad al- Kufi, on the authority of  Bashshhar b. Ahmad al- Basri, on the authority of Ali  b. “ Umar al- Nawfali, who said:]

I (i.e. ‘Ali b. ‘Umar al-Nawfali) was with Abu al-Hasan (al-Hadi), peace be on him, in the courtyards of the house. Muhammad, his son, passed us and I said to (al Hadi ) :” May I be your ransom, is this our leader after you?”

“No,” he replied, “your leader after me is al-Hasan.”Kitab-al-Irshad. P. 508.
[With the same chain of authorities (isnad), on the authority of Bashshar b. Ahmad, on the authority of ‘ Abdallah b. Muhammad al- Isphahani , who said:]
“Abu al-Hasan (al-Hadi), peace be on him, said to me (i.e. Abdallah b. Muhammad al- Isphahani): “Your leader after me is  one who will say the prayers over me (at my funeral) Kitab al-Irshad.   pp.507-508.

Imam’s  Social  Status:

Indeed Imam al-Askari (AS), like his noble fathers, was a prominent scholar and a leader (Imam) whom none of his own period could ignore. He (AS) was a chief of religious scholars, an ideal of worshippers, a leader of politics and opposition, and towards whom the hearts of people adhered with love and respect inspire of the existence of brutal terrorism, and political hostility to the  Ahlul-Bait (AS).

He (AS) and his companions always suffered persecution and oppression by the, then government and were thrown into prison and jails.

Ahmad bin Ubaidullah bin Khaqan, being an open enemy of Imam al-Askari (AS), narrates a full description about his position and social and political status :

“Hussein bin Muhammad Ash’ari and Muhammad bin Ali said: During his assembly one day the Alawites (i.e.) followers of Imam A’li) and their beliefs were mentioned. Ahmad bin Abdullah bin Khaqan was in charge of estates and the land tax in Qom. He was violently anti- Shia and far from favoring the house (AS). He was the severe enemy of the descendents of Ali ibn. Abi Talib, who said: ‘ I had not seen a man from the Alawites like Hassan bin Ali bin Muhammad bin Ali al-Rida.

Once, the Imam’s servant visited my father and said : Abu Muhammad bin al-Rida is standing at the door. Therefore he permitted them to enter,, and welcomed him (the Imam). Then, the caliph made him sit down on his prayer mat which he had been sitting on. He sat beside him facing him and began to speak to him and to use honorific expression- may I be your ransom.

I was amazed at what I saw. When the Imam wanted to leave, he (my father) bid farewell to him. Then, I asked my father about him (the Imam ) and he replied : O my son ! That was the Imam (leader) of Rafidah and if the office of leadership was to be taken from our caliphs entitled i.e. the family of al Abbas, none of the family pf Bani Hashim would be more entitled to it than him (the Imam) because of his great merit, his self restraint, his modesty, his fasting, his prayer He added saying : ‘I have never seen the one who is more plentiful in knowledge and manner, nor sweet in tongue than Hassan al Askari’. Ahlul Bait 13, Al Balagh Foundation ,1999, Tehran IRI. Pp 19-20.

Abdullah bin Khaqan, describing a part of the Imam’s great status and his social position and the peoples adherence and respect towards him , said :

‘When the news of his (the Imam) death was spread, Samarra’ became one uproar. The markets were empty. Banu (the family) Hashim, the military leaders, the secretaries, the judges, the attestators and the rest of the people rode to his funeral. On that day, Samarra seemed like the (day of) Resurrection. When they had finished the preparations for him, the authorities sent for Abu Isa bin Mutawakkil and ordered him to say the funeral prayer over him. Ibid. p. 21

The Imam’s Worship:

History is replete with news and narrations which talk about the Imam’s devotion (to Allah), asceticism, and piety. Among them one is:
The testimony of his opponent, Ubaidullah b. Khaqan for his son. Describing Imam al-Askari he told his son :

……my son, if the Imamat was to be taken from our caliphs, the family of Banu Abbas, none of the Banu Hashim would be more entitled to it than him (the Imam  A.S.)”  Ibid p. 24
Kulaini quoted another narration which talked about the Imam’s worship, asceticism, and how he spent his time in prison praising, worshipping and devoting himself to Allah, the Almighty, to the extent that he (AS) even had an impact on his own jailer and said:
“The Abbasids went to Salih b. Wasif when Abu Muhammad (Hassan al-Askari), peace be on him, was imprisoned .

They told him: be hard on him. Don’t give him any ease,.’What can I do with him Salih told them. ‘I entrusted him two most evil men I found (to guard the Imam). These two men became (men) of worship, prayer and fasting to an amazing extent. When they were called by the authority and questioned for not doing any thing to harm the Imam. They answered “What can we say about as man who fasts in the day and stands (in prayer) at night, who does not speak, and occupies himself with nothing except worship?” Ibid. p. 26.

Imam’s Cultural School:

“Imam’s main task was to safeguard the message of Islam, to defend originality, to  call people towards it and to  convey its principles and values.

Indeed the Imams of Ahlul-Bait (AS) spared no efforts in defending Islamic faith and thought, in spreading the knowledge of sharia, and its sciences and to acquaint people with them. They are the teachers of the religious scholars and the source of knowledge and sciences in this umma.

Imam al-Askari (AS), like his forefathers, practiced his cultural and scholarly role within the course of the school of Ahlul-Bait (AS) - which concentrated its activity on the Book (Quran) and prophetic traditions, safeguarding the originality of the message and discovering its contents.

The Imam (AS) lived during the third century of Hijra, in which ideological schools perfected their identity, particularly in the field of jurisprudence, interpretation, theology, the principles of jurisprudence, philosophy, and hadith…etc.”  Ibid. p. 51
“It was clear that the ideological and cultural activity in Islamic society at that time started moving on various centers.

Different schools and currents were appeared, but the school of Ahlul-Bait (AS) was distinguished one in jurisprudence, hadith, interpretation, political thought, theology, philosophy, understanding Islam…etc.”

“The one who studies the lives of Imams of the Prophet’s Household (Ahlul-Bait), will vividly recognize that every Imam practiced his role in managing the scientific school, in his downtime, and enriching it with knowledge and science. He will, also, recognize that each Imam represented a great figure to whom most religious scholars turned and a peak towards whom the followers of knowledge showed their respect and regards.” Ibid p. 51

Account Of Death Of Imam Hasan Al- Askari :

“Imam Abu Muhammad (al-Hassan al-Askari) fell sick on the Ist on the month of Rabi al-Awwal in the year 260 A.H. (873 A.D.). He died on Friday of that month in the same year.At the time of death he was 28 years old. He was buried in the same house in Sammara where his father was buried. He left behind  his son- the one who is awaited (to bring about) the state of truth. His birth was not disclosed because of the difficulties of the time and circumstances. Kitab-al-Irshad, Shaikh Mufid. P. 523.

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