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Imam Ali al-Hadi (A.S.) - The Guardian of Islam

Imam Ali al-Hadi (A.S.) - The Guardian of Islam
By: Hyder Reza Zabet

Imam Ali-un-Naqi Al-Hadi (A.S.), the tenth holy Imam, was the son of Imam Muhammad Taqi Al-Jawad (A.S.) and Hazrat Samana al-Maghribiya (A.S.). He was the Infallible Leader of the Muslims who safeguarded the Islamic Sharia from the innovations spread by the ruling Abbasid caliphs was martyred by poisoning on the third day of the month of Rajab in the year 254 A.H. at Samarra (Iraq) by the Abbasid caliph Mu'taz.


The Tenth Holy Imam (A.S.) like his father was also elevated to the rank of Imam in his childhood. He was six years old when his father Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (A.S.) was martyred.

Holy Imam Tortured by Abbasid Caliphs

After the death of al-Ma’mun, al-Mu`tasim succeeded him, and was later followed by the caliph al-Wathiq. In the first five years of the reign of al-Wathiq, Imam Ali al-Hadi (an-Naqi ) lived peacefully . After al-Wathiq, al-Mutawakkil came to power. The Holy Imam devoted himself to the sacred mission of preaching in Medina and did thus earn the faith of the people as well as their allegiance and recognition of his great knowledge and attributes. This reputation of the Imam evoked the jealousy and malice of al-Mutawakkil against him.
The governor of Medina wrote to al-Mutawakkil that Imam `Ali al-Hadi (A.S.) had been maneuvering a coup against the government and a multitude of Shi'ites were pledged to his support. Although enraged by this news al-Mutawakkil still preferred the diplomacy of not arresting the Holy Imam. Under the garb of pretended respect and love towards the Imam, he planned to put him under life imprisonment after inviting him to his palace.
Prior to his imprisonment, in a series of correspondence with the Imam, he expressed the view that he was convinced of all the claims of the Imam and was ready to settle them amicably. He wrote to the Imam that having been acquainted with his great personality, his matchless knowledge and his peerless attributes, he was impatiently looking forward to the honour of seeing him, and he most cordially invited him to Samarra'.

Holy Imam Prisoned in Samarra

When the Imam arrived at Samarra' and al-Mutawakkil was informed about it, he took no notice of the Imam's arrival. When asked about where the Imam should stay, he ordered that the Imam should be put up in the inn meant for beggars, destitute and homeless people.
Al-Mutawakkil who was a deadly enemy of the Ahlul-Bayt (A.S.) removed the Imam from this inn and entrusted him to the custody of a stonehearted brute named Zurafah. But, by the grace of Allah, his enmity was, in a short time, transformed into love and devotion for the Imam (A.S.). When al-Mutawakkil learnt about it, he shifted the Imam into the custody of another cruel man called Sa'id. The Imam remained under his strict vigilance for a number of years, during which he was subjected to boundless tortures.
But even in this miserable imprisonment, the Imam (A.S.) kept devoting himself at all times to the worship of Allah. The watchman of the prison used to comment that Imam `Ali al-Hadi (A.S.) seemed to be an angel in human garb. When Fath ibn Khaqan became the vizier of al-Mutawakkil, he being a Shi`ah could not stand the idea of the Imam's captivity. He endeavored to have him released from imprisonment and arranged for his comfortable residence in a personally purchased house at Samaraa'.

Historical Event

Still al-Mutawakkil could hardly refrain from his antagonism to the Imam and he appointed spies to watch the Imam and his connections. But through all these attempts, his hope of creating some fabrication to prove the Imam's activity against himself could not be realized. In the time of al-Mutawakkil there was a woman named Zaynab who claimed to be a descendant of Imam Husayn (A.S.). Al-Mutawakkil sought the confirmation of Zaynab's claim from the Imam (A.S.) who said:
"That as the beasts are prohibited to eat the flesh of the descendants of Imam Husayn (A.S.) he would throw Zaynab to the beasts and test her claim."
On hearing this, Zaynab began to tremble and confessed that she was a fake. Al-Mutawakkil then ordered the Imam (A.S.) to be thrown to the beasts to test the claim. To his great surprise, he witnessed the beasts prostrating their heads before the Imam.
Once al-Mutawakkil happened to suffer from a serious malady that was eventually declared incurable by his physicians. When the Imam was approached for some remedy, he prescribed an application, which resulted in a spontaneous cure. Once al-Mutawakkil was informed that the Imam was preparing a revolt against him. Thereupon, he ordered a detachment of the army to launch a raid on the Imam's residence. When the soldiers entered his house, they found him sitting on a mat, reciting the Holy Qur'an.

Holy Imam Martyred

Not only al-Mutawakkil, but also his successors' opposition to the Imam (A.S.) was fierce. After the death of al-Mutawakkil, al-Mustansir, al-Musta`in and al-Mu`tazz carried on the same mission of harassment against the family of the Imam. Al-Mu`tazz, understanding the uncontrollable and intense devotion of the people towards the Imam, eventually contrived the Imam's assassination. He got him poisoned through an ambassador that resulted in the Imam's martyrdom.
The martyrdom occurred on 3rd Rajab 254 AH, and his funeral prayer was conducted by his son, Imam Hasan al-`Askari (A.S.). The Imam (A.S.) was only forty-two years old at the time of martyrdom. The period of his Imamate was thirty-five years . He was buried in Sammarra' Iraq.

Imam Hadi's (A.S.) Sayings

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.

Others will fear him who fears Allah. He who obeys Allah will be obeyed. He who obeys Allah will not care for the dissatisfaction of the creatures. He who enrages the Creator should be sure of encountering the dissatisfaction of the creatures.

You should present thorough obedience to those who present for you their thorough love and advice.

Do not feel secure from those who disgraced their personalities.

He who feels secure from Allah's unexpected retribution and painful penalty will feel arrogant until Allah's act and inevitable decree (death) will befall him. He whomever receives evidence from his Lord will belittle the worldly misfortunes even if he is cut into pieces.

There are definite places in which Allah likes the servants to supplicate to Him. One of these places is the tomb of Al-Husayn (A.S.), Sayyid ush-Shuhada (Master of the Martyrs).

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