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Announcing Imam Hadi's (a.s.) Imamate

The Shia paid much attention to the matter of imamate because it was one of the bases of Islam. They often asked the present imam about the imam after him so that they would refer to him in their religious and worldly affairs, obey and follow him. Many reliable Muslims narrated the assigning of Ali al-Hadi (a.s.) as the imam by his father Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (a.s.). Here are some of them:

1. Isma’il bin Mihran

When Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) went to Baghdad in his first travel, Isma’il bin Mihran visited him and said to him, ‘May I die for you! I fear for you in this travel (from the Abbasids). Who is the imam after you?’

Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) smiled at him and said, ‘It is not as you thought. It is not in this year.’

When al-Mu’tasim (the Abbasid caliph) sent for Imam al-Jawad (a.s.), Isma’il went to the imam to know the imam after him. He said to Imam al-Jawad (a.s.), ‘You are going. To whom will the matter (imamate) be after you?’

Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) cried and was anxious in his travel and thought that he would not go back again to Yathrib. Therefore, he appointed his son Ali al-Hadi as the imam after him. He said, ‘Now, it is to fear for me. The matter (imamate) after me is to my son Ali…’ 5

What Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) predicted came true. Al-Mu’tasim, the Abbasid caliph, assassinated him while he was in the bloom of his youth yet.

2. Al-Khayrani

He was one of the narrators who narrated the appointment of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) as the imam after his father. We shall mention that in a coming chapter.

3. As-Saqr bin Abu Dalf

As-Saqr narrated, ‘I heard Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali ar-Redha (Imam al-Jawad) saying, ‘The imam after me is my son Ali. His Command is my command, his saying is my saying, and his obedience is my obedience. Imamate after him is to his son al-Hasan…’ 6

4. Some of the Shia

When Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) traveled to Baghdad, he said to some of his followers, ‘I am going 7 and the matter (imamate) will be to my son Ali. He will have rights on you after me as I had on you after my father.’ 8

5. Ahmad bin Abu Khalid

Ahmad narrated that Abu Ja’far (Imam al-Jawad) had recommended to his son Ali al-Hadi (a.s.) to be the imam after him. We shall mention the terms of this will later on. 9

These are some of the narrators who narrated that Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) had appointed his son Ali al-Hadi (a.s.) as the imam after him. The texts on this matter were successive. The Shia believe that the appointing of imams was not out of passions or tendencies, but it was according to the command of Allah Who chose and appointed them through the Prophet (a.s.) who carried out what he was ordered by his Lord. The Prophet (a.s.) announced that the caliphs (successors) after him would be twelve ones, whom Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was one of. The texts on this matter are successive and true. 10

5. Al-Irshad, p.369, Usul al-Kafi, vol.1 p.323.

6. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.13, p.127, Ikmaluddeen by as-Saduq.

7. He predicted that he would die (be killed) and it was so.

8. A’yan ash-Shia, vol.4 p.256.

9. Usul al-Kafi.

10. Sahih of Muslim, chap. Of al-Imarah (emirate), Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol.5 p.89, Sahih of al-Bukhari, p.164.

Adapted from the book: "The Life of Imam ALI bin Muhammad AL-HADI" by: "Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi"

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