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Imam Hasan al-Askari (A.S.):The Reviver of Islam

Imam Hasan ibn Ali Askari, the son of the tenth Imam,Ali-un-Naqi al-Hadi(A.S.), was born on 8th Rabi al-Thani in 232/845 and was poisoned and martyred on 8th Rabi al-Awwal in 260/872 through the instigation of the Abbasid caliph Mu'tamid. The eleventh Imam gained the imamate, after the martyrdom of his noble father, through Divine Command and through the decree of the previous Holy Imams(A.S.). During the seven year's of his imamate, due to untold restrictions placed upon him by the caliphate, he lived in hiding and dissimulation (taqiyah). He did not have any social contact with even the common people among the Shi'ite population, Only the elite of the Shi'ah were able to see him, Even so, he spent most of his time in prison.

There was extreme repression at that time because the Shi'ite population had reached a considerable level in both numbers and power, Everyone knew that the Shi'ah believed in the imamate, and the identity of the Shi'ite Imams was also known. Therefore, the caliphate kept the Imams under its close supervision more than ever before. It tried through every possible means and through secret plans to remove and destroy them. Also, the caliphate had come to know that the elite among the Shi'ah believed that the eleventh Imam, according to traditions cited by him as well as his forefathers, would have a son who was the promised Mahdi.

The coming of the Mahdi had been foretold in authenticated hadiths of the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.) in both Sunni and Shi'ite sources. For this reason the eleventh Imam, more than other Imams, was kept under close watch by the caliphate. The caliph of the time had decided definitely to put an end to the imamate in Shi'ism through every possible means and to close the door to the imamate once and for all.

Therefore, as soon as the news of the illness by poisoning of the eleventh Imam reached Mu'tamid, he sent a physician and a few of his trusted agents and judges to the house of the Holy Imam(A.S.) to be with him and observe his condition and the situation within his house at all times.

After the martyrdom of the Holy Imam(A.S.) they had the house investigated and all his female slaves examined by the midwife. For two years the secret agents of the caliph searched for the successor of the Imam until they lost all hope.

The eleventh Holy Imam(A.S.) was buried in his house in Samarrah next to his noble father.
Here it should be remembered that during their lifetimes the Imams trained many hundreds of scholars of religion and hadith, and it is these scholars who have transmitted to us information about the Imams. In order not to prolong the matter, the list of their names and works and their biographies have not been included here."

Imam Hasan Askari(A.S.) - A Brief Look At His Life

Name: Hassan.

Title: Al-Askari.

Kuniyah: Abu Muhammad.

Birth: 8th Rabi-al Thani 232 A.H. in Madinah.

Mother: Bibi Sulail (or Hudaitha).

Father: Imam Ali-un-Naqi al-Hadi(A.S.) .

Martyrdom: Martyred at the age of 28, in Samarra', on Friday 8th Rabi-ul Awwal 260 A.H.. poisoned by al-Mu'tamid, the Abbasid ruler;.

Buried: In Samarrah.

Birth and Childhood

When he was born his father said that it was an order from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) that he should be named Hasan.

His mother was Sulail (or Hudaitha. The tenth Imam said of her that she was one of the righteous ones. After the eleventh Imam's martyrdom he left all the "orders" of Imamate with her (his mother).

Once when Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A.S.) was a young child he fell into a well near their house. His father Imam Ali An-Naqi (A.S.) was praying and didn't even notice the commotion around him of the ladies crying. When he finished praying and asked what had happened, he was told. He went towards the well. The water rose and all saw the 11th Imam sitting peacefully on the water and playing.

Bahlool once saw the young Imam crying in the street where all the other children were busy playing with their toys. He asked whether Imam was crying because he had no toys to play with. Imam replied: "We have not been created to play!"

Bahlool asked where he had learnt his from and the Imam said :

"Have you not read the Qur'an where it says - "Do you think we have created you in vain and that you will not be returned to us".

When Bahlool heard this he asked Imam for some advice. Imam talked about death, barzakh and qiyama and cried so much, he fainted. When he came to, Bahlool asked him why he was so fearful as he was not even baligh yet. Imam said:

"I have watched my mother light a fire; she uses the little twigs to get the big pieces of wood to burn; I fear that on qiyama Allah too will use little ones to light the big ones.

Title: Al-Askari

The tenth and eleventh Imamayn were both called Al-Askari as they lived in an area of Samarra called Askari.

Another reason that the eleventh Imam was called Askari is said to be that once Mutawakkil wanted to show the Imam the strength of his army of 90,000 men and so he asked his men to fill their sacks with sand and pile all the sacks up. He then showed Imam this mountain of sacks. Imam asked Mutawakkil, to look through his (Imam's) two fingers, where he saw a an army of armed Angels. Imam told him that they were at his disposal but he would not use them. (An army is called Askari).

Life and Works

Ahmed Bin Ishaq relates that when he heard of the martyrdom of the 10th Imam he went to Samarra and asked for the whereabouts of the 11th Imam. He was told that Imam had been imprisoned by Mo'taz Billah. After bribing the guards he was able to visit Imam one night. He described the prison as a tunnel under the Khalifa's home where there was no space to stretch ones legs nor room to be able to stand. Ahmed says he cried when he saw Imam's condition. Food was only one glass of water and a piece of dry bread a day.

He was imprisoned because all the rulers knew of the justice that was promised to come with the coming of the 12th Imam and they wished to prevent anyone being born of the 11th Imam.
Whilst in prison he told his companions to accumulate all the issues(masails) of jurisprudence(Fiqh) and he completed the masails on the chapters that were found missing. He introduced the institution of "Taqleed"[Following Fuqaha in Jurisprudence] advising people to follow those who were learned, "Muttaqi", and just Fuqaha, as he was in prison and it was extremely difficult for people to meet him. Khums was collected through his representative and masails too asked to him, Abu-Ja'fer Uthman bin Saeed, who was later to become the representative of the 12th Imam.

There was once a severe drought in Samarrah and a Christian priest came who whenever he raised his hands caused rain to fall from the heavens. The Muslims faith started wavering and the Khalifa Mo'taz Billah got worried for if they left Islam he would have none to rule over.

He went to the 11th Imam saying that Imam's grandfathers religion was in trouble. Imam asked him to call all the people outside Samarra with the Christian priest. He asked the Christian priest to pray for rain. When he raised his hands to pray it started to rain. Imam asked for whatever was in this hands to be taken away and then asked him to pray for rain again. There was no rain this time. Imam showed that what the priest had in this hand was the bone of a Prophet which whenever placed under the open sky caused it to rain.

Imam then prayed for rain and it rained. Mo'taz could not re imprison Imam for some time for when the people saw the miracle they all wanted to visit Imam and asked where they might find him. Imam pointed to the Khalifa and asked them to ask him. Mo'taz told them that Imam was staying at the house where the 10th Imam used to reside.

Bibi Nargis was there and it was in that year that the 12th Imam was born. Imam was allowed out of prison for 13 months after which he was rearrested.


In the six years of his Imamate several attempts were made on his life. On the 1st of Rabi-ul Awwal 260 A.H. Mo'tamad arranged for Imam to be poisoned in prison and then sent him home. Imam was in great pain and difficulty for 8 days. On the 8th of Rabi-ul Awwal he asked his son, the 12th Imam, to bring him some water and then leave him. He passed away that day and was given ghusl & kafan by his son, the 12th Imam.

Burial The funeral prayers were led by the 12th Imam and it was then that a lot of Shia's saw him for the first time. A large number of people attended the funeral and he is buried in Samarrah.

The Signs of a Mu'min (Believer).

The 11th Imam was once asked of the signs of a mo'min (believer).He listed the following signs.

He is one prays 51 rakaats of salaat daily.

He prostates on Khake Shafaa.

He wears rings on his right hand.

He repeats the verses of Azaan & Iqama.

He recites "Bismillah" loudly in Salaat

He prays his Fajr Salaat before the stars disappear and his Zhuhr prayers before the sun starts to decline.

He recite Qunoot in Salaat.

He dyes his hair and beard.

He recites 5 takbirs in Salatul Mayyit.

Short Maxims of Imam Hasan al-Askari(A.S.)

1- Do not dispute (with others) lest you will lose splendor and do not joke (with everyone) lest you will be disrespected.

2- As for those who accept to sit in a place other than the first row of a session, Allah and His angels will bless them until they leave that session.

3- Imam Hasan al-Askari(A.S.) answer the man who asked him a miracle or a proof of Imamat: The punishment will be doubled for those who refuted the miracle or proof of Imamat after it had been presented to them according to their demand. He who shows patience will be supplied with the support of Allah. People are accustomed to publicize false missives that they themselves forge. We supplicate to Allah for guiding us (to the right). Matters are either submission or destruction. The end results of everything belong to Allah.

4- Imam al-Askari(A.S.) answered the man who reported to him the disagreement of Shias: Allah has addressed to the intelligent exclusively. People are of different classes: some are the discerning on a way of salvation; they are holding fast to the right and clinging to the branch of the origin; they are neither doubtful not suspicious; they do not consider a shelter other than me. Some are those who have not received the right from its very people; they are like those who embarked on a ship; they ripple when the sea is wavy and calm down when the sea is calm. Some are those who are dominated by the Shaitan; their one and only job is to refute the people of the right and substitute the wrong for the right out of envy. Hence, leave those who went astray to the right and left. When a shepherd wants to gather the hoard, he will not need to exert efforts for so. Beware of divulging our secrets and seeking power, for these two things drive into perdition.

5- Within the unforgivable sins are the sins whose committers wish if they would not commit anything else." Imam al-Askari(A.S.) then said: "Polytheism of people is more hidden that the creeping of ants on a black piece of cloth in a gloomy night.

6- "Bismillah ar Rahman ir Rahim -- in the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful-" is as near to the Great Name (of Allah) as the iris to the white of the eye.

7- In the time of Imam al-Hasan Askari(A.S.), some of the Shias disagreed about his Imamat; therefore the following message was publicized carrying his signature: No one of my fathers suffered the (affliction of the) disagreement of such a group like I did. If this matter of Imamat that you have believed in and embraced is temporary, then I doubt it. If it is as permanent as the affairs of Allah, then what is the meaning of this doubt?

8- The mutual love of the pious. The hate of the sinful to the pious is an advantage for the pious. The hate of the pious to the sinful is debasement for the sinful.

9- To greet everyone you pass by and to sit in a place other than the first class of a session are signs of modesty.

10- Reasonless laughter is a sign of ignorance.

11- Within the misfortunes that deal a death blow is the neighbor who overshadows any good feature that he notices and propagandizes any defect that he notices.

12- Imam al-Askari(A.S.) said to his adherents (Shias) I command you to fear Allah, show piety to your religion, work hard for Allah's sake, tell truths only, return the deposits to their owners whether they are pious or sinful, prostrate yourselve before Allah for a long time, and treat your neighbors courteously. These are the matters that Mohammaed(S.A.W.) brought. Offer prayers in the middle of your folks, attend their funeral ceremonies, visit their ill ones, and fulfill their rights. I am pleased if people point to you and say "this is Shi'ite", when you behave piously, tell truths only, return the deposits to their owners, and condutct courteously with people. Fear Allah, be good (examples) and do not be evil. Attract people's fondness of us and save us from every awful character, for we are surely the people of every good thing that is said about us, but we are definitely not the owners of any evil thing that is imputed to us. We enjoy a (distinctive) right in the Book of Allah, a relation (of kinship) to the Messenger of Allah, and a purification whose source is Allah. Only can the liars claim of enjoying our distinctive features. Refer to Allah very much, refer to death, recite the Quran, and bless the Prophet(S.A.W.). A single blessing of the Prophet(S.A.W.) is ten advantages. Retain the matter of which I have commanded you. Allah keep you under His supervision. Peace be upon you.

13- Very much offering of prayers and fasting is not the worship; the very worship is the very much pondering over the affairs of Allah.

14- The worst servants - of Allah - are those who are two-faced and two-tongued; they praise their present friends and backbite the absent; they envy them for obtaining graces and disappoint them when they suffer a misfortune.

15- Anger is the key to every evil.

16- In 260 A.H. Imam al-Askari(A.S.) said to his adherents: We have previously ordered you to put the rings in your right hands when we were among you. Now, because you will no longer meet us (normally), we order you to put your rings in your left hands until Allah make your, as well as our, Question prevalent. This is surely the best proof through which you can prove your being loyal to our leadership; i,e. the leadership of the Prophet's family. All the attendants took their rings out of their right hands to put them in the left. The Imam(A.S.) then ordered: Convey this commandment to all of our adherents -Shias.

17- The least comfortable of people is the spiteful.

18- The most pious of people is he who stops at suspicious matters. The best worshipper is he who performs the obligatory religious affairs duly. The most abstinent of people is he who abandons the unlawful. The most hard-working of people is he who deserts sins.

19- You are plunging into decreased deadlines and limited days. He who sows good will harvest delight and he who sows evil will harvest regret. Each cultivator will gain only what he has cultivated. The slow will not gain but his own share. The acquisitive will not catch that which is not his. The source of every advantage is Allah, and the actual protector from every evil is Allah, too.

20- The faithful believer is a blessing for the believers and a claim against he disbelievers.

21- The heart of the foolish is in his mouth and the mouth of the wise is in his heart.

22- The guaranteed sustenance should not engage you from the ordained deed.

23- The excessiveness of the (ritual) ablution is as same as defect.

24- The powerful will be definitely humiliated if he ignores the right and the humble will be definitely valued if he takes in it.

25- Fatigue is the friend of the ignorant.

26- Nothing is above two characters: believing in Allah and benefiting the friends.

27- The babies who dare their fathers will surely treat them impiously when they attain maturity.

28- To show happiness before the grieved is not a sign of good mannerism.

29- Everything that you dislike your life if you lose it is surely preferred to your life, and everything that you desire for death if it befalls you is surely eviler than death.

30- To educate an ignorant and to prevent a habit are two impossible actions.

31- Modesty is an unenviable favor.

32- Do not bestow upon anyone with matters that are difficult for him.

33- Those who advice their friend secretly are respecting them, and those who advice them openly are humiliating them.

34- Allah's favors encompass every misfortune.

35- It is so ugly for a believer to follow a passion that causes him humiliation.

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