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Who Was the Imam after Hasan `Askari?

On Friday evening the group met at Engineer Madani's house. The session formally began with the question raised by Dr. Jalali.

Dr. Jalali: I have heard that Imam Hasan 'Askari had no son at all!

Mr. Hoshyar: There are several methods to prove that Imam Hasan 'Askari did have a son:

(a) In numerous traditions reported on the authority of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) and the Imams it is related that Hasan b. 'Ali b. Muhammad 'Askari will have a son who will return to launch a universal reform movement after a long absence and will fill the earth with justice and equity. This matter has been related in various forms in the traditions. If you recall, we have mentioned a list of hadith-reports in the previous discussion in which it is affirmed that the Mahdi will be the ninth descendant of Imam Husayn; that the Mahdi will be the sixth descendant of Imam Sadiq; that he will be the fifth descendant of Imam Kazim; the fourth descendant of Imam Rida; the third decendant of Imam Muhammad Taqi; and so on.

(b) In several traditions it is related that the Mahdi will be the son of Imam Hasan 'Askari (peace be upon him). For example, Saqr b. Abi Dalf relates that he heard from Imam 'Ali Naqi who said:

The Imam following me is my son Hasan. After Hasan his son is the Qa'im who will fill the earth with justice and equity just as it is filled with injustice and tyranny.1

(c) In a number of hadith-reports Imam Hasan 'Askari has informed that the Qa'im and the Mahdi will be his son and that the house of the Imam and the Prophet is protected from falsehood and error. The following is the tradition related by Muhammad b. 'Uthman, the second deputy of the twelfth Imam during the Short Occultation (ghaybat-i sughra), who received it from his father, the first deputy:

I was in presence of Imam Hasan 'Askari when someone asked him regarding the hadith that was related from his forefathers, namely: "The earth will never be void of the hujjat (God's proof), and any one who dies without acknowledging the Imam of the Age dies the death of ignorance." The Imam responded: "Yes, indeed the matter is as clear and real as daylight." The person went on to ask: "Who is the hujjat and the Imam after you?" He said: "After me the hujjat and the Imam will be my son Muhammad. Any one who dies without acknowledging him will die a death of ignorance. Be aware that my son will go into occultation. The people, because of that, will experience confusion. Those who are unfaithful will perish, whereas those who fix the time of his appearance will be uttering falsehood. When the period of his occultation comes to an end he will launch a revolution. I see the white flags waving over his head in Najaf."2

(d) Imam Hasan 'Askari informed a number of his close companions about the birth of his son. The following are some of those traditions:

(1) Fadl b. Shadhan, who died after the birth of the twelfth Imam and before the death of Imam Hasan 'Askari, wrote in his book on Ghayba, relating from Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Hamza, who said: "I heard Imam Hasan 'Askari saying: 'The Proof of God and my successor was born circumcised on the 15th night of Sha'ban, year 255 (870 CE), in the early hour of dawn.'"3

(2) Another close associate of the Imams, Ahmad b. Ishaq heard Imam Hasan 'Askari say: "Thank God that He did not take me away from this world without showing me my successor. He (my son) is closest to the Prophet in his features and character. God will keep him for a while in occultation and then He will cause him to emerge so that he will fill the earth with justice and equity."4

(3) Ahmad b. Hasan b. Ishaq Qummi related: When the righteous successor [of Imam Hasan 'Askari] was born, a letter came from the Imam 'Askari through Ahmad b. Ishaq. The Imam had written: "A son has been born to me. Keep this matter secret, because I will not divulge it except to my close associates and relatives."5

(4) Again Ahmad b. Ishaq relates that one day he was with Imam Hasan 'Askari when the latter asked him: "Ahmad, what do you say about the matter in which people have fallen in doubt?" He said: "When your letter announcing the birth of your son arrived, for all of us, that is, men, women, children, old and young, truth became manifest and we believed in what you conveyed to us." The Imam said: "Don't you know that the earth cannot be without God's proof in it?"6

(5) Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. 'Uthman 'Amri, the second deputy of the twelfth Imam, has related that when the Imam of the Age was born Imam Hasan 'Askari asked for Abu 'Amr, 'Uthman, his father and the first deputy of the twelfth Imam. When he came the Imam told him: "Buy a thousand pounds of bread and a thousand pounds of meat and distribute it among the Hashimites. Also, arrange for some sheep to be sacrificed for my newly born son's head-shaving ceremony ('aqiqa)."7

All these traditions provide the necessary evidence that there was a son born to Imam Hasan 'Askari (peace be upon him).

1 Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 6, p. 275.

2 Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, p. 160.

3 Muntakhab al-athar, p. 320.

4 Ibid.

5 Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 6, p. 432.

6 Muntakhab al-athar, p. 345.

7 Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 6, p. 430.

Adopted from the book : "Al-Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.); the Just Leader of Humanity" by : "Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini"

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