Imam Ali al-Hadi (a.s.)
- :Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi
His birth and upbringing
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was a pure branch from the tree of prophethood and a shiny bough from the tree of imamate. By him and his fathers Allah has consolidated Islam and exalted monotheism. Before talking about the aspects of his great personality, we talk about his pure origin, birth, and upbringing.
The origin and the birth
The father of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was Imam Muhammad al-Jawad bin 2 Ali bin Musa bin Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abu Talib (peace be upon them). It is the most exalted lineage in Islam. Humankind, throughout all its ages, has never had a lineage more honorable and more exalted than this lineage that has lit the world with the essence of Islam and faith. From this great, honorable family Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) came to the existence. His father, Imam al-Jawad (a.s.), was the wonder of the world through his talents and geniuses. He, after the death of his father Imam ar-Redha (a.s.), assumed the general religious authority and leadership of the nation while he was seven years and some months. The Abbasid government seized this opportunity and charged Yahya bin Aktham, who was one of the great ulama at that time, to test Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) and refute him so that the fact that the imam was the most knowledgeable one of his age, which was and is one of the basic elements in the Shiite doctrine, would come to nothing. Yahya asked Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) before a big crowd of scholars, viziers, and officials of the Abbasid government about a jurisprudential question and Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) ramified the question into many branches. Yahya was astonished and he felt a failure and acknowledged the exceptional scientific abilities of Imam al-Jawad (a.s.). The news of this event and of others circulated in the meetings of Baghdad and everywhere.
Before we talk about the mother of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) we would like to say, as we have said many times before, that Islam has adopted the unity of society and struggled against all the means that might lead to disagreement or break that unity. In the light of this fact, the imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) walked. They did not differentiate between the White and the Black. They got married to bondmaids in order to do away with all kinds of racial segregation. Imam Ali bin al-Husayn Zaynul Aabidin (as-Sajjad) (a.s.) got married to a bondmaid who gave birth to Zayd the eternal martyr, and Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (a.s.) got married to a bondmaid who gave birth to Imam Ali al-Hadi (a.s.).
Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) bought this bondmaid and he himself educated her. She lived in the house of imamate with the Alawid women, the daughters of the messenger of Allah (a.s.), who were the example of honor, chastity, and purity. She was affected by their conducts and devoted herself to worship Allah. She spent her nights worshipping and reciting the Book of Allah. 3
It sufficed her that she had given birth to a master from the masters of Muslims and an imam from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) whom Allah has made safety and deliverance for people.
Historians disagreed on her name. Here are some of the names as mentioned by historians:
1. Sumana al-Maghribiyya 4 and known as Lady Ummul Fadhl 5
2. Mariya al-Qubtiyya 6
3. Yadash 7
4. Haweet 8
There are other sayings but the detailing in this point is not so important to the subject.
Great newborn baby
Ali al-Hadi (a.s.) was born in Siriya 9 in Yathrib (Medina) 10 and by this birth the world was delighted. No one had ever been born in that age more pious, more devoted, or more knowledgeable than him at all. He inherited all qualities of good, honor, and nobility.
Ceremonies of the birth
Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) performed the certain rituals for his blessed newborn son. He performed azan in his right ear and eqama in the left, circumcised him on the seventh day after the birth, cut the hair of his head, gave silver, as much as the weight of the hair, to the poor, and slaughtered a ram as aqiqa 11 as it was usual for the imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) with their children when being born.
Most of historians agreed that Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was born in 212 AH 12 and it was also said that he was born in 214 AH 13 but they disagreed on the month and day of birth. Here are some of their sayings:
1. He was born on the twenty-seventh of Thul Hijja. 14
2. He was born on the thirteenth of Rajab. 15
3. He was born on Monday, the third of Rajab.
4. Some sources mentioned that he was born in Rajab but without mentioning the day. It has been mentioned in some du’as (supplications) that, “O Allah, I ask You by the ones born in Rajab, Muhammad bin Ali the second and Ali bin Muhammad al-Muntajab”.
Some historians did not mention the month and the day of his birth but said he was born in Medina. 16
His father Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) named him Ali like the blessed name of his two great grandfathers Ameerul Mo’minin Imam Ali (a.s.) and Imam Ali bin al-Husayn Zaynul Aabidin (a.s.). He resembled his grandfather Imam Ali (a.s.) in eloquence and rhetoric and his grandfather Imam Zaynul Aabidin in piety, worshipping, and asceticism.
Giving a surname to a child was a kind of honoring which helped his personality grow well towards perfection. The infallible imams (a.s.) noticed this important fact and therefore, they surnamed their children in their early childhood. The Arabs were proud of surname.
Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) surnamed his son Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) as Abul Hasan which was the same as the surnames of his two grandfathers Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) and Imam ar-Redha (a.s.). Narrators differentiated between these three imams in this surname by saying Abul Hasan the First (Imam Musa al-Kadhim), Abul Hasan the Second (Imam ar-Redha), and Abul Hasan the Third (Imam Ali al-Hadi).
His epithets expressed the high qualities he had. His epithets are as follows:
1. An-Nasih (loyal); he was called so because he was the sincerest advisor to the nation.
2. Al-Mutawakkil (reliant on Allah); he disliked this epithet and ordered his companions not to call him with it. I think he hated this epithet because it was the epithet of the Abbasid caliph Ja’far al-Mutawakkil who had bitter grudge, spite, and enmity towards the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
3. At-Taqiy (pious, devout); he was called so because he feared Allah and turned to Him. Al-Mutawakkil, the tyrant Abbasid caliph, tried his best to attract Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) to the fields of amusement and debauchery but he failed.
4. Al-Murtadha (being pleased with by Allah); it was his most famous epithet.
5. Al-Faqeeh (jurisprudent); he was the most aware of his age in jurisprudence and he was the authority that jurisprudents and scholars referred to.
6. Al-Aalim (knowledgeable); he was the most knowledgeable one of people at that time not only in the Islamic laws, but all branches of knowledge and sciences.
7. Al-Ameen (trustee on religion and life)
8. At-Tayyib (generous, good-hearted, good-natured …)
9. Al-Askari (military); he was called so because he resided in Surra Men Ra’a (Samarra’) which was called al-Askar. 17
10. Al-Muwadhdhih (explainer of the verdicts of the Holy Book and the Sunna)
11. Ar-Rasheed (wise, prudent); he was called so because he was the wisest and most prudent of his time.
12. Ash-Shaheed (the martyr) because he was martyred at the hands of the enemies of Allah.
13. Al-Wafiy (loyal); he was the most loyal of his people, and loyalty was an element of his personality.
14. Al-Khalis (pure from every defect and bad)
He was brown18 like his father Imam al-Jawad and grandfather Imam ar-Redha (peace be upon them). Narrators described that he was black-eyed, with thick hands, wide chest, hooked nose, pretty face, and good body odour. He was stout in body like his grandfather Imam Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (a.s.), neither short nor tall, with wide shoulders, big organs 19 …straight stature.20
Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) resorted to Allah the Almighty to protect his son Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) from troubles and adversities of time and from every evil. Every day he charmed him with this du’a that showed his devotedness to Allah:
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, there is no power save in Allah, the Exalted, the Great. O Allah, the Lord of angels and Gabriel, prophets and messengers, the Omnipotent over the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth, and the Creator and Possessor of everything, protect me from the harm of our enemies, and whoever wants to do us wrong from the jinn and human beings. O Allah, blind their eyes and hearts and make between us and them screen, guard, and defender. You are our Lord and there is no power and might save in Allah. On Him we have relied and to Him we have turned and He is the Mighty, the Wise. O our Lord, save us from every evil, and from the evil of every living creature you have control on, and from the evil of everything that calms down on the day and the night, and from every bad, and from the evil of every evildoer. O Lord of the worlds and the Lord of messengers, have blessings on Muhammad and all his progeny and favor Muhammad and his progeny with the best of everything, and there is no power save in Allah, the High, the Great. In the name of Allah, and in Allah I believe, and from Allah I seek protection, and to Allah I resort, and with Allah I seek refuge, and by the glory and might of Allah I seek protection from the devils of the humans and the jinn, and from their footing, knighting, and running, and from their cunning and evil, and from the evil of what they do under night and under day, from far and from near, and from the evil of the present and the absent, and of the witness and the visitor alive or dead…and from the evil of far people and close people, and from the evil of my self in its obsession, and from the evil of the devils, and the sense, touch, and dubiosity, and from the envy of the jinn and the humans.
And by the name, which the throne of Balqis 21 shook for, I protect my religion and self, and all those under my care from the evil of every figure or imagination, whiteness or blackness, statue or appearance, ally or not ally of whatever dwells in the air, cloud, darkness, light, shadow, hot, cold, seas, plains, badlands, ruins, building, hills, marshes, moors, churches, graveyards (of Christians), deserts and cemeteries, from the emanating who appear in the night and disappear on day, evening and morning, afternoon and sunset, and from the suspicious and accusers, and the talebearers in the night, the devils, the Pharaohs, Satan, and from their soldiers, wives, tribes, and clans, and from their backbiting, slandering, expectoration, maligning, magic, beating, playing, deceit, and from the evil of every wicked of magicians, the jinn, their wind, and all what they generate…and from the evil of every wicked coming or going, accidental or resisting, calm or moving, and the beating of a vein, and headache and fever…and from the evil of every living creature you have power on, You are on Right Path. O Allah, have blessing on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and much peace…’
Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) fed his great newborn son with this du’a so that he would receive live with confidence that the power which ran and managed this universe was but Allah the Almighty, the Creator of everything and the Maker of life and whatsoever else than Him had no power. Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) planted in his son the absolute faith in the powers of Allah, and taught him that resorting must be only to Allah Who saved from all misfortunes and distresses.
2. Bin means “son of” and bint means “daughter of”.
3. Refer to Uyoon al-Mu’jizat.
4. Tathkiratul Khawas, p.39.
5. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.13 p.126, ad-Durr an-Nadheem.
6. Bahr al-Ansab, p.35.
7. Mir’at az-Zaman, vol.9 p.553 (manuscript).
8. Tareekh al-A’imma, p.16.
9. A village established by Imam Musa al-Kadhim (s) about three miles from Medina.
10. Al-Ittihaf bihubil Ashraf, p.67, Jawharatul Kalam fee Madh as-Sadah al-A’lam, p.151.
11. Aqiqa is the name of the sacrifice on the seven day after the birth of a child.
12. Usul al-Kafi, vol.1 p.497, al-Irshad, p.368, A’yan ash-Shia, vol.4 p.252.
13. Al-Ittihaf bihubil Ashraf, p.67, Jawharat al-Kalam, p.151, Mir’at al-Janan, vol.2 p.159, Tareekh al-Khamees, vol.2 p.321.
14. A’yan ash-Shia, vol.4 p.252.
15. Tareekh al-Khamees, vol.2 p.321, Mir’at al-Janan, vol.2 p.159.
16. Al-Ittihaf Bihubil Ashraf, p.67.
17. It is mentioned in Umdat at-Talib, p.188 and Ilal ash-Sharayi’, p.241, that the quarter where Imam al-Hadi (s) lived was called Askar and therefore he was called al-Askari.
18. Noor al-Absar, p.164, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.13 p.127, Jawharat al-Kalam, p.151.
19. Ma’athir al-Kubara’ Fee Tareekh Samarra’, vol.3 p.20.
20 Jawharat al-Kalam, p.151.
21. She was a sovereign on Yemen.
Adapted from the book: "The Life of Imam ALI bin Muhammad AL-HADI" by: "Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi"
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