Rafed English

Breaking into the Imam’s house

Adapted from: "The Life of Imam ‘Ali al-Hadi, Study and Analysis" by: "Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi"

Some villains went to al-Mutawakkil and informed him against Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) claiming that he had books, arms, and monies and that he might revolt against the government of al-Mutawakkil, who became worried and terrified when hearing that. Al-Mutawakkil ordered some of his Turk policemen to attack the house of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) in the night and arrest him. They attacked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) unexpectedly and found him in a simple house wearing a garment of wool and there was nothing between him and the ground save a carpet of sand and pebbles while facing the qibla and reciting this saying of Allah,

Nay! do those who have wrought evil deeds think that We will make them like those who believe and do good that their life and their death shall be equal? Bad it is that they judge.40

They took him to al-Mutawakkil while he was in that state 41 that represented the asceticism of prophets and spirituality of apostles. Al-Mutawakkil was drunk at the table of wine. When he saw Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), he offered him a glass of wine, but Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) shouted at him, ‘By Allah, it has never mixed with my blood and flesh at all.’
Al-Mutawakkil asked the Imam, ‘Recite me some poetry!’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘I seldom recite poetry.’
Al-Mutawakkil insisted on him saying, ‘You must recite me some poetry!’

Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) found himself obliged to recite some poetry, and so he recited the following verses that changed the ecstasy of al-Mutawakkil into sorrow and weeping,
“They were on the tops of mountains,
Guarded by strong, brave men, but those tops sufficed them not.
After glory, they were taken down from their positions,
and put into holes. How bad abode they dwelt in!
A crier called them after been buried:
Where are the thrones, crowns, and treasures?
Where are the faces that were at ease and luxury,
that curtains and screens were put before them?
The grave showed those faces where worms were fighting on them.
How long they ate and drank!
But after that long eating, they were eaten!”

Al-Mutawakkil was shaken and intoxication flew from his head. He began terribly crying. The attendants in the meeting feared for Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) that al-Mutawakkil might assault him and they thought that al-Mutawakkil would revenge on him.

Al-Mutawakkil ordered his men to take the glasses of wine away from the meeting. He turned to the pure Imam (a.s.) and said to him reverently, ‘O Abul Hasan, are you in debt?’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘Yes, four thousand dinars.’

Al-Mutawakkil ordered four thousand dinars to be given to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and returned him back to his house with respect and honor. This event showed the jihad of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and his fixed situation towards that tyrant. He did not care for his rule and power. He preached him and warned him from the punishment of Allah and said to him (through poetry) that he would die and neither his armies nor his authority would save him from death, and that his delicate body would be food for worms in the grave. Certainly al-Mutawakkil had never heard such preaches before. Instead, he filled his ears with the voices of songsters and songstresses. And finally death came to him while he was between musicians and cups of wine, and the mention of Allah did not come to his mind throughout his life.


40. Qur'an, 45:21
41. Rawdhat al-A’yan, manuscript


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