One of the charismata of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was the swift response of Allah to his supplications because of the high position he and his fathers had near Allah. Historians have mentioned many examples regarding this matter.
1. Al-Mansur narrated that his father’s uncle said, “Once, I went to Imam ‘Ali al-Hadi and said to him, ‘O my master, this man (he meant al-Mutawakkil, the Abbasid caliph) has turned his back to me and stopped my salary, and this is because he knows I have kept to you.’”
He asked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) to intercede for him with al-Mutawakkil. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said to him, ‘You shall be satisfied insha’Allah.’ During the night, the messengers of al-Mutawakkil came to the man and he hastened with them to the caliph. When he got to the palace, al-Fatah the doorkeeper scolded him for his delay and allowed him to go in to al-Mutawakkil.
The caliph received him with smiles saying to him, ‘O Abu Musa, what made you busy and forget about us? Do you need anything from me?’
The man asked for what he needed and for his salary that was stopped. Al-Mutawakkil ordered him to be given more than what he wanted. The man left delightedly. He saw al-Fatah at the door and said to him, ‘Did ‘Ali bin Muhammad (Imam al-Hadi) come here?’
Al-Fatah said, ‘No.’
The man said, ‘Did he send a letter?’
The doorkeeper said, ‘No.’
The man left and al-Fatah followed him saying, ‘I have no doubt that you have asked him (the Imam) to pray for you. Please, ask him to pray for me!’
The man went to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), and when he had the honor of being before him, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said to him, ‘O Abu Musa, I see satisfaction on your face.’
The man said submissively, ‘It is by your blessing, my master. But, it was said to me that you neither went to him (to al-Mutawakkil) nor did you ask him for anything.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) smiled and said, ‘Allah the Almighty has known from us that we do not resort in serious matters except to Him, and do not rely in misfortunes except on Him. He has accustomed us to His response whenever we ask Him for something, and we fear that if we change, He also will change with us…’
The man understood that Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) had prayed to Allah for him in loneliness. He said to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), ‘O my master, al-Fatah asks you to pray for him.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) did not respond and said, ‘Al-Fatah believes in us outwardly and avoids us inwardly. We pray for him if he is loyal to Allah, believes in the messenger of Allah (peace be on him and on his progeny), and acknowledges our rights, we the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).’
The infallible Imams (a.s.) prayed Allah for pure persons who believed in Allah, His messenger, and the right of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). They did not pray for those who do not believe.
The man asked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) to teach him a supplication (du’a) that would benefit him and Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) guided him to the following du’a:
“O You, my supply, my hope and reliance, my resort and support, O You One and Unique, O You, Who “say: He, Allah, is One”, O Allah, I ask You by those whom You have not created like them in Your creation, to have blessing on them…and then you ask for your need.”34
2. There was a man in Isfahan (in Iran) called Abdur-Rahman who had embraced Shi’ism and believed in the Imamate of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). Abdur-Rahman was asked about the reason behind that decision, and he said, ‘I was poor, but brave and eloquent. I, with a group from the people of my town, went to al-Mutawakkil to complain.
When we arrived in Surra Man Ra’a, we went to his palace. While we were waiting at the door of al-Mutawakkil, an order was issued from the palace to bring ‘Ali bin Muhammad bin ar-Ridha (a.s.). I asked about him and it was said to me that he was an Alawid man, whom the Rafidha (the Shi’a) believed in as their Imam.
It was said that al-Mutawakkil might order him to be killed. I said to myself, ‘I will not leave my place until I see him.’ I waited not long when Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) came riding a sumpter. People stood up glorifying and honoring him. When I saw him, I loved him.
I began praying Allah to keep him safe from the plotting of al-Mutawakkil. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) caught sight of me. He came towards me, and said, ‘Allah has responded to your prayer. He will prolong your age and increase your wealth and children.’
I trembled because he knew what was in my mind and what I intended. We came in to al-Mutawakkil, carried out our affairs and then I left for Isfahan. Allah endowed me with great wealth that I had not even dreamed of. Now I have one million dirhams in my house besides the wealth I have outside the house. I have ten sons and I am now more than seventy years old.35 All of that was a result of the blessing of the du’a of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.).
3. ‘Ali bin Ja’far was one of the deputies of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). One day, he was betrayed near al-Mutawakkil who threw him in prison. He remained in prison for a long time and eventually he could not bear this any longer. Therefore, he asked an agent of the Abbasid government to intercede for him to be set free and he would give him three thousand dinars for that.
The agent went to Ubaydillah, who had a good position near al-Mutawakkil, and asked him to intercede with al-Mutawakkil for ‘Ali bin Ja’far. Ubaydillah responded to him and interceded with al-Mutawakkil to set ‘Ali bin Ja’far free, but al-Mutawakkil refused and said to him, ‘If I doubted you, I would say you are a Rafidhi (Shi’a). This is a deputy of Abul Hasan al-Hadi and I am determined to kill him.’
Ubaydillah regretted his intercession and told his friend (the agent) that al-Mutawakkil was determined to kill ‘Ali bin Ja’far and there was no chance for setting him free. ‘Ali bin Ja’far became so distressed and wrote a letter to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) saying to him, ‘O my master, please do something for me! I fear I may lose my faith.’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied to him, ‘Since the matter has reached this point with you, I will pray Allah for you.’
Al-Mutawakkil became seriously ill and his fever increased, and so he ordered his men to set free all prisoners and gave a special order to set ‘Ali bin Ja’far free. Al-Mutawakkil ordered Ubaydillah to set ‘Ali free and to beg him to forgive him (al-Mutawakkil) for what he had done to him. ‘Ali was set free and went to live in Mecca as Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) had ordered him.36
4. Ahmad bin al-Khasib hated Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). He insisted that the Imam should give him his house without paying a price. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) became very angry and said to him, ‘I will pray to Allah that nothing of yours shall remain.’
It was not long after that when the wrath of Allah afflicted Ahmad and he perished.37
These are some examples historians have mentioned of Allah’s responding to the prayers of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). It is definite that the response to prayers is not man’s doing but it is by the will of Allah Who responds to the prayer of whomever He likes of His people. There is no doubt that the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) had a very high position near Allah because they devoted themselves to Him as far as loyalty had meaning, and obeyed Him in the full sense of obedience, and, therefore, Allah responded to their prayers immediately and made their holy shrines from among the places where prayers are responded to.
34. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 13 p.129, al-Amali by as-Saduq.
35. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.13 p.132.
36. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.13 p.142.
37. Ibid., vol.13 p.132.