Salaam, and heartfelt condolences to you all on the tragic 3rd of the month of Rajab, the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Ali an-Naqi al-Hadi (AS), the 10th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Following is an exclusive feature on his life and times.
Born in Medina in 212 AH, he was in the prime of manhood, when he was martyred at the age of 42 in 254 AH in Samarra, Iraq, as a result of a fatal dose of poisoning by the tyrannical Abassid caliph, Mu’taz. His period of Imamate was 34 years, having entrusted with the divine trust of leadership of mankind, at the young age of 8 years on the martyrdom of his father, Imam Mohammad at-Taqi al-Jawad (AS) in 220 AH in Baghdad. As his epithets an-Naqi and al-Hadi indicate, he was of spotlessly pure character and a guide for mankind from the darkness of ignorance towards the light of faith and knowledge. In a bid to take advantage of the young age of 10th Imam, his father’s assassin, the crafty Abbasid caliph, Mu’tasim, tasked the famous Arabic scholar Obaidullah al-Junaydi to be the teacher of the Imam in order to try to brainwash him. To the surprise of the supposed teacher, and to the horror of the caliph, it was the young less-than-10-year boy-Imam who influenced Junaydi through his God-given knowledge and made him a devotee of the Ahl al-Bayt. A person named Mohammad bin Sa’eed said: I came across al-Junaydi on Friday and asked him how the Hashemite child was progressing with his education is. He became angry and said, this child is the greatest scholar of the Hashemite clan. Then al-Junaydi asked me: By God! Do you know any person more learned than me in Medina? I said no. Al-Junaydi said: by God whenever I dwell on a scientific point with the assumption that it is only me who is aware of it, the Imam opens for windows of knowledge unknown to me. When I ask him to recite a Surah of the holy Qur’an, he does it so eloquently and authoritatively that I get astonished. By God he is the best person on the earth and the best creature of God.
Imam Hadi (AS) ruled the hearts of people. Another incident from the boyhood years of the 10th Imam’s life is the encounter with the famous Mu’tazalite ideologue, Yahya ibn Aktham, who over a decade-and-a-half earlier had been outwitted in a memorable debate in front of the whole Abbasid court of Mamoun with the Prophet’s 9th Infallible Heir, Imam Mohammad at-Taqi (AS), who was then still a beardless boy. Yayha ibn Aktham in the vain hope of trapping Imam Hadi (AS) in a complicated theological debate, sent a list of questions, but at the same time avoided direct meeting. To his utter amazement, Imam Hadi (AS) gave highly satisfactory replies to all the complicated queries with the words:
“I have received your questions through which you want to test us out of your obstinacy so that you may find a gap for which you may criticize us. We, hereby, explain your questions. Lend your ears, open your mind, and engage your heart for receiving our answers, but therefore, some jealous people were unhappy with this.”
As time passed, this vast knowledge of the Tenth Imam and his popularity among the masses made some jealous and they wrote to the Abbasid caliph Mutawakkil that Imam Hadi (AS) had collected weapons and money in his house for possible revolt against the authorities. Mutawakkil sent Yahya bin Harthama along with 300 troops to Medina to forcibly bring the Imam to Samarra in Iraq. The house was searched and nothing was found of weapons and money. Nevertheless, the Imam saw wisdom in accompanying Ibn Harthama to Iraq. When he arrived in Baghdad, he was given a huge welcome by the people, before moving on to Samarra.
Thus after having preached the message of genuine Islam in Median for 16 years, the Imam had to settle in Samarra where for the next 18 years he was kept under close surveillance of the Abbasid regime. Here is also he continued his mission, and the more pressure the Abbasids put on him the further felt the need to enlighten the masses. As the same time, whenever an opportunity arose, Imam Hadi (AS) exposed the vicious nature of the caliph, whose claim to rule was dubious. Mutawakkil, who has earned notoriety as the most Godless of the Abbasid caliphs tried in vain to implicate the 10th Imam in the various uprisings that rocked the realm from Khorasan in the east to North Africa in the west, but to no avail. The Imam’s setting of the highly secret and foolproof network of “wikala” of representation through the Islamic realm, indicates the pressures upon him by the Abbasids. At the same time, the Imam strengthened the scientific and academic centres. He trained a great number of faithful believers. The number of qualified scholars trained by him stands out around 185. These scholars campaigned against the spread of distortions. He had to confront the deviated Jabriyya group who believed that humans have no choice and whatever they do, it is God Who forces them. Imam Hadi (AS) gave dynamic answers to quell such absurd ideas. Once during an encounter with such persons he resorted to logic and reasoning to dismiss their views. He aid: The one who believes in force means that God obliges His servants to commit sin, and then (paradoxically punishes them. Such person has actually denied God.
Mutawakkil, the destroyer of the shrine of the Master of Martyrs, Imam Husain (AS) was killed by his own son with the help of the Turkic guards before he could do physical harm to the Imam. His son and successor was soon deposed and replaced by another of his sons, Mu’taz, who now took the dastardly step of lacing with poison the Imam’s food. As a result, the Imam achieved martyrdom on the 3rd of Rajab and was laid to eternal rest in his own house in Samarra, which is now the grand site of pilgrimage for people from all over the world.
Once again we offer our heartfelt condolences and in conclusion bring you some of Imam Hadi's sayings:
"There are definite places in which Allah likes the servants to supplicate to Him. One of these places is the tomb of Imam Husain: Master of the Martyrs (AS)."
"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."
Here is a supplication to God from Imam Hadi (AS):
“O Allah, the founts of Your gifts are brimful, the doors of Your supplications for one who hopes in You are wide-open, and Your merciful looks on one who resorts to You are not cut. Caution is bridled, need is urgent, and people of patience are unable to wait. O Allah, You are in watch over all places, and You do not ignore but (provide) respite. Whoever takes refuge with You will be secure, and whoever resorts to You will succeed and get to Your door safe....”