Author : Baqir Shareef Al-Qurashi

Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) spent his short life in sufferings and distresses. The Abbasid kings spared no effort in oppressing him. They moved him from a prison to another. They subjected him to confinement and imposed on him an economical blockade. They prevented him from meeting with his followers as they prevented ulama and scholars from contacting with him to take from the fountains of his sciences. And this, as I think, was the worst distress the Imam suffered. They tried more than one time to assassinate him but Allah protected him from their plots. The Abbasids bore envy towards Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) for his popularity and the great respect that all classes of society showed him, whereas the authority was in the hand of the Abbasids who received nothing of respect or honoring from people. Therefore, they plotted day and night to do away with him. Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) departed from this world to the better world on the eighth of Rabee’ul Awwal in 260 AH, while he was twenty-eight years old and still in the prime of youth.

Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) spent his short life in sufferings and distresses.

The Abbasid kings spared no effort in oppressing him. They moved him from a

prison to another. They subjected him to confinement and imposed on him an

economical blockade. They prevented him from meeting with his followers as they

prevented ulama and scholars from contacting with him to take from the fountains

of his sciences. And this, as I think, was the worst distress the Imam suffered.

They tried more than one time to assassinate him but Allah protected him from

their plots.

 

There were some reasons that made the Abbasids bear a grudge against Imam Hasan

Al-Askari (a). Here are some of them:

 

First, the Abbasids feared the Awaited Imam about whom the Prophet (s) had

brought good news, and through divine knowledge, foretold of his coming as the

greatest reformer of whose like mankind had never seen throughout all stages of

history. The Prophet (s) had said that the Awaited Imam (a) would spread

political, social justice all over the world; that he would do away with all

kinds of injustice and oppression, and defeat all tyrants and oppressive powers

in the world. He would do away with polytheism and atheism, and raise the banner

of faith and truth. He would revive the annulled laws of Allah. Therefore, the

Abbasids tried to kill Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) to be sure he would not leave

offspring. Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) said about that, ‘They claimed that they

wanted to kill me in order to cut off my offspring, but Allah falsified their

saying, and praise be to Allah.’[1]

 

Second, the Abbasids bore envy towards Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) for his

popularity and the great respect that all classes of society showed him, whereas

the authority was in the hand of the Abbasids who received nothing of respect or

honoring from people. Therefore, they plotted day and night to do away with him.

 

Third, the Alawids rose in many revolts against the Abbasid rule since its

beginning aiming at achieving the political justice of Islam and applying its

economical and social programs in life. Those revolts were supported by great

masses of people in the different Muslim communities that harmed the stature of

Abbasid rule and shook its throne and were about to overthrow it.

 

Those revolts filled the hearts of the Abbasids with hatred and grudge against

the Alawids, and so they ordered their policemen to chase every Alawid. It was

natural that Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) suffered the bitterest distresses from the

Abbasids because he was the master and chief of the Alawids and the Imam of

Muslims at that time.

 

Now, let us come back to the last days of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a).

 

Appointing Imam Al-Mahdi as the Next Imam

 

Imam al-Mahdi (a) is the hope not only for Muslims but for all oppressed human

beings who suffer slavery, oppression, and subjection. He is the Savior who will

free the will of man and save peoples and nations from the oppression of the

corruptive regimes who have turned this world into unbearable hell.

 

Imam al-Mahdi (a) was and is a great miracle in Islam. Allah concealed his

birth, as he had concealed the birth of Prophet Moses (a), because the Abbasid

government looked for him…and in his remaining alive (in occultation) throughout

the long stages of life is also a miracle for Islam, and in his reappearance and

announcing the pure principles of Islam is another miracle too.

 

The following are some of the traditions transmitted from Imam Hasan Al-Askari

(a) concerning the Imamate of his son al-Mahdi (a).

 

1. Ahmad bin Isaaq bin Sa’eed al-Ash’ari said, “Once, I went to Abu Muhammad al-Hasan

bin Ali (a) intending to ask him about the successor after him. He said to me

before I asked him, ‘O Ahmad bin Isaaq, Allah the Almighty did not deprive the

earth since He created Adam and He does not deprive it until the Day of

Resurrection of an authority over His people. By him (the authority) distresses

are pushed away from the people of the earth, by him rain falls down, and by him

the blessings of the earth are emitted.’

 

I said to him, ‘O son of the messenger of Allah, who is the Imam and successor

after you?’ He got up hastily and went in the house. Then, he came out holding a

three-year-old boy, whose face was like a full moon, on his shoulder and said,

‘O Ahmad, were it not for your honor near Allah the Almighty and near His

authorities, I would not show you this, my son. He was named and surnamed like

the messenger of Allah (a). He will fill the earth with justice and fairness

after it has been filled with injustice and oppression. O Ahmad, he, in this

nation, is like al-Khidhr (Elijah) and Thul Qarnayn. By Allah, he will hide in

an occultation, during which no one shall be saved except one whom Allah fixes

on the believing in his Imamate and supplicating Allah to hasten his

deliverance.’ I said, ‘Is there any sign so that I may be sure?’ The young boy

said, ‘I am the representative of Allah in His earth and the avenger on His

enemies. Do not look for a sign after a proof!’

 

I left delightedly. On the following day, I came back to him and said, ‘O son of

the messenger of Allah, my delight was so great for what you favored me with.

Would you please tell me what norm with al-Khidr and Thul Qarnayn was?’

 

He said, ‘Long occultation.’

 

I said, ‘O son of the messenger of Allah, shall his (Imam al-Mahdi’s)

occultation last long?’

 

Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) said, ‘Yes, by my Lord, until many of those, who

believe in this matter (occultation and reappearance), shall apostatize, and no

one shall remain (believing) except those whom Allah has taken from them a

covenant on our guardianship, fixed faith in their hearts, and supported them

with a mercy from Him. O Ahmad, this is a command from Allah, a secret from the

secrets of Allah, and an unseen matter from the unseen of Allah. Take what I

told you, and be from the grateful, you shall be with us in Illiyin.[2]”[3]

 

2. Muhammad bin Uthman al-Umari narrated that his father said, “Once, I was with

Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Ali (al-Askari) when he was asked about the tradition

transmitted from his father that the earth would not be empty from an authority

from Allah over His people until the Day of Resurrection, and that whoever died

without knowing the Imam of his age would die as an unbeliever. He said, ‘This

is true as day is true.’

 

Someone asked him, ‘O son of the messenger of Allah, then, who shall be the

authority and Imam after you?’

 

He said, ‘My son Muhammad is the Imam and the authority after me. Whoever dies

without knowing (acknowledging) him shall dies as an unbeliever. He will be in

an occultation where the ignorant will be confused, deniers will perish, and

daters[4] will tell lies. Then, he will reappear, and as if I see white flags

fluttering over his head at the hill of Kufa.’”[5]

 

3. Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) said, ‘Praise be to Allah Who did not take me out of

this life until He made me see the successor after me. He is the most similar in

shape and morals to the Messenger of Allah (s). Allah will protect him in his

occultation and make him reappear to fill the earth with justice and fairness

after it will be filled with injustice and oppression.’[6]

 

4. Musa bin Ja’far al-Baghdadi narrated that he had heard Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan

bin Ali al-Askari (a) saying, ‘As if I see that you will disagree after me on my

successor. Surely, he, who believes in the Imams after the Messenger of Allah

(a) but denies my son, is like one, who believes in all prophets and messengers

of Allah but denies the Prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) (s),

because the obedience of the last of us is like the obedience of the first of

us, and one, who denies the last of us, is like one who denies the first of us.

My son will have an occultation where people will be in doubt about it except

those whom Allah preserves.’[7]

 

The Imam Comforts Himself

 

Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) perceived from behind the unseen that he would leave

this life and go near his Lord. He said to his mother, ‘In the year two hundred

and sixty I shall suffer bad fever from which I shall be afflicted…’

 

She was distressed, and sorrow overcame her. She began crying. Imam Hasan Al-Askari

(a) calmed her down saying, ‘The fate of Allah must take place. Do not worry…!’

 

In the year two hundred and sixty, he died as he had predicted.[8]

 

Assassinating The Imam

 

Al-Mu’tamid, the Abbasid tyrant, could not bear Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) any

longer, for he saw and heard people everywhere full of praise for the Imam and

preferring him to all the Alawids and the Abbasids. Finally, he made his mind to

do away with the Imam. He assassinated him by inserting fatal poison to him.[9]

Poison reacted on his body, and he began suffering bitter and severe pains,

while being patient, resorting to Allah.

 

The Government’s Confusion

 

The Abbasid government was too confused when Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) became

seriously ill. Al-Mu’tamid ordered five of his trusted statesmen, among whom

Nahrir was, to remain in the Imam’s house and report to him about every new

happening. He also ordered a committee of physicians to test the Imam’s health

day and night. After two days, he ordered the physicians not to leave the Imam

alone because his state was too bad.[10]

 

To the Best of Abodes

 

The Imam’s health got worse, and the physicians were desperate of his recovery.

Death began approaching him quickly. At those last moments of his life, Imam

Hasan Al-Askari (a), mentioned Allah, glorified Him, and asked Him to take him

nearer to Him. His lips were busy reciting verses from the Holy Qur’an. He

turned towards the Qiblah, and after no long, his pure soul flew towards the

Heaven surrounded by the angels of the Beneficent Lord.

 

It was the greatest loss Muslims suffered in that age. They lost their leader,

reformer, and instructor who loved and helped their weak, poor, and orphans.

 

The Imam’s body was (ritually) washed, enshrouded, put in the coffin, and

carried to be prayed on by Muslims. Eesa son of al-Mutawakkil led the prayer by

al-Mu’tamid’s order. After the prayer, he uncovered the Imam’s face before the

Hashemites, the Abbasids, army leaders, government clerks, state officials,

judges, and physicians and said to them, ‘This is al-Hasan bin Ali bin Muhammad

bin ar-Redha (peace be on them). He died a natural death in his bed. So-and-so

of Ameerul Mo’minin’s (al-Mu’tamid) servants and trusted men, So-and-so of

judges, and So-and-so of physicians were present with him.’ Then he covered his

holy face.[11]

 

The painful news spread everywhere in Samarra’. It was a great shock for Muslims

who hurried up to the Imam’s house while crying and wailing. Government offices

and all markets were closed. It was as if it was the Day of Resurrection in

Samarra’.[12]

 

Samarra’ did not witnessed before a day of escorting like that. Waves of human

beings and flowing masses of people from all classes and trends came to escort

the holy corpse of this pure Imam (a) while mentioning his virtues and favors

and talking with great sorrow and regret about the great loss they were

afflicted with.

 

In his Last Abode

 

The pure corpse was brought under a halo of takbir and tahlil[13] towards the

last abode. Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) was buried in his house beside the tomb of

his father Imam al-Hadi (a).

 

Samarra’ had two Imams from the twelve imams and leaders of Muslims, and it

became at the head of the holy places in the Muslim world. It received and still

receives thousands of visitors from everywhere in the world who came to visit

the two holy shrines of Imam al-Hadi and Imam al-Askari (peace be on them).

 

Once, an-Nasir Lideenillah, the Abbasid caliph, visited the holy shrines of

these two infallible imams to be blessed and close to Allah. His vizier

suggested to him that he should also visit the tombs of his fathers of the

Abbasid kings and he agreed. When he reached there, he found the graves dark and

miserable where sweepings had accumulated and crows gathered. The vizier asked

the king to take care and pay money to rebuild these graves, but the Abbasid

king said,

 

‘How far! That is of no use.’

 

The vizier asked, ‘why, O Ameerul Mo’minin?’

 

He said, ‘Did you see the flourish of the tombs of the pure imams?’

 

The vizier said, ‘Yes.’

 

The king asked, ‘Do you know the secret behind that?’

 

The vizier answered, ‘No.’

 

An-Nasir Lideenillah said, ‘My fathers associated with Satan, and these masters

associated with Allah, and all that which is for Allah remains, and all that

which is for Satan perishes and disappears.’[14]

 

The Alawids, the Abbasids, and Ja’far, Imam Hasan Al-Askari’s brothers stood at

the tomb and the masses of people began consoling them for this painful

affliction.

 

The Date Of His Death

 

Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a) departed from this world to the better world on the eighth of Rabee’ul

Awwal[15] in the year two hundred and sixty of Hijra,[16] while he was

twenty-eight years old and still in the prime of youth.[17]

 

References:

 

[1] Kifayat al-Athar.

 

[2] Illiyin is the highest position in the Paradise.

 

[3] Ikmaluddeen by Sheikh as-Saduq, p.216-217.

 

[4] Those who defines certain dates for the reappearance of the awaited imam

(a).

 

[5] Kifayat al-Athar.

 

[6] Kifayat al-Athar, Ikmaluddeen, p.228.

 

[7] Kifayat al-Athar.

 

[8] Muhaj ad-Da’awat, p.274.

 

[9] Al-Irshad, p.383.

 

[10] Al-Irshad, p.383.

 

[11] Al-Irshad, p.383.

 

[12] Al-Irshad, p.383, Encyclopedia of al-Bustani, vol.7 p.45.

 

[13] Takbir is the saying “Allahu Akbar-Allah is great” and tahlil is the saying

“la illaha illallah-there is no god but Allah”.

 

[14] Kashf al-Ghummah.

 

[15] Tareekh Baghdad, vol.7 p.366.

 

[16] Mir’at al-Jinan, vol.2 p.462, Tareekh al-Khamees, vol.2 p.343, Tareekh ibn

al-Wardi, vol.1 p.325.

 

[17] Jami’ al-Akhbar, p.42, Akhbar ad-Duwal, p.117, al-Irshad, p.389.

 

Source: Selected excerpt from the book

 

The Life of Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a) by Baqir Shareef Al-Qurashi

Source:- alhassanain.com


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