Martyrdom of Imam Al-'Askari (pace be upon him)

On the occasion of the martyrdom's anniversary of the eleventh of the guidance Imams, Imam Al-Hassan Al-'Askari (peace be upon him), we convey our sincere condolences and express our grief to console the "Rest of God [Baqiyyatu Allah]" on earth, His argument on His slaves, the Owner of the Order and the Time (May our souls vanish for the redemption of the soil of his coming) and to all the lovers and followers of Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them).

Imam Abu Muhammad Al-Hassan Al-'Askari (peace be upon him) was from the heart of the prophetic family, the holiest family that had undertaken the issues of truth and justice among all peoples of the earth. There was, is, and will be no lineage in this world like this noble lineage which Imam Al-'Askari (peace be upon him) belonged to.

He was the son of Imam Al-Hadi bin Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad bin Imam Ali Ar-Redha bin Imam Musa Al-Kadhem bin Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq bin Imam Muhammad Al-Baqer bin Imam Ali Zayn Al-'Abideen (As-Sajjad) bin Imam Al-Hussayn bin Imam Ali bin Abu Taleb (peace be on them). These were the infallible imams of the Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them) whom Allah had kept uncleanness away from and purified a thorough purifying, and whom the Prophet (prayers and Allah's peace be upon him and his holy Household) had made as the boat of rescue and safety for people.

His epithets expressed his high and noble qualities. He was called: Al-Khalis (the pure), Al-Hadi (the guide), Az-Zakiy (pure, chaste, righteous), At-Taqiy (pious), Al-Khass (peculiar), that Allah had distinguished him with virtues and with the responding to his supplications. As-Samit (silent), that he was silent and he spoke just wisdom, knowledge, and the mention of Allah. As-Siraj (lamp), that he was as a lamp lighting the way and guiding the deviant to righteousness. And the most famous: Al-'Askari (military); he was called so because of the country (Samarra’) he lived in which was a military camp.

He was born on the eighth of Rabi' At-Thani 232 AH in Medina. His mother was Lady Sawsan "The Moroccan", or Hadeethah and she was a bond-maid. His wife was Narjiss daughter of Joshua the son of Roman Caesar, and she was also a bond-maid.

His age was only 28 years, and the duration of his Imamate is 6 years, Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) was contemporary with four Abbasid kings; Al-Mutawakkil, Al-Mu'taz, Al-Muhtadi and Al-Mu'tamid, who oppressed him, threw him into prison, and tried to do away with him, but Allah protected him from that by afflicting those kings with important events like rebellions or the domination of the Turks over them.

Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) got the highest scenes of the purest education. He grew up in a house that Allah had purified and exalted…that house that raised the Word of Allah high in the earth and offered dear sacrifices for the sake of Islam. Imam Al-'Askari (peace be upon him) was from the most patient people. He always suppressed his anger and treated whoever did him wrong with kindness and forgiveness. The Abbasid government arrested and put him into prison while he was patient saying nothing. He did not complain to anyone about what he suffered, but he entrusted his case to Allah the Almighty. This was from the signs of his patience.

In a narration from Ali Ibn Shaboor: Once, people suffered rainlessness. Al-Mu’tamid, the Abbasid caliph, ordered people to go out in the open air for three days in order to offer the prayer for rain. They did, but no rain fell down. Christians as well went out with whom there was a monk who whenever stretched his hand towards the sky it rained. He did that many times and some ignorant (Muslims) doubted their religion and some others apostatized. This was hard for Al-Mu’tamid. He went to Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was in prison then and said to him, ‘Attain to the nation of your grandfather before they will perish!’
Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to him, ‘Let people go out tomorrow and I shall remove their doubts inshaAllah.’
Al-Mu’tamid set the imam free from prison, but the imam asked him to set free all his companions from prison too, and Al-Mu’tamid responded to him. On the following day, people went out to offer the prayer for rain. The monk raised his hand towards the sky and it clouded and rained. Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) asked his men to catch the monks hand and take what there was in it. There was a bone of a human being. The imam took the bone from the monk and asked him to pray for rain again. The monk raised his hands towards the sky, but clouds disappeared and the sun shone. People were astonished.
Al-Mu’tamid asked Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) what that was and the imam said, ‘This is a bone of one of the prophets that this monk has got in a way or another from some grave. Whenever a prophet’s bone is exposed under the sky, it will rain…’
Al-Mu’tamid checked that and it was as the imam said. Then suspicions and doubts were refuted.

The caliphate came to Al-Mu’tamid while the Imam (peace be upon him) was twenty-five years old. Historians say, ‘He was dissolute, and interested in lusts and amusements. He was busy with music and singing paying no attention to his subjects. He committed sins that made people hate him.’ In his reign, Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) died after meeting distresses and misfortunes from him. He ordered his men to arrest Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his brother Ja’far and put them into prison. He instructed the jailer Ali bin Jurayn to inform him of his news and his talks at all time. The jailer told the caliph that the imam did not do anything that might oppose the Abbasid policy, and that he turned his back to this world and turned to Allah the Almighty. He fasted the day and spent the night in worships. Another time, the caliph asked the jailer to inform him about everything the imam did or said, and he answered with the same. He ordered him to set the imam free, send him his greeting, and apologize to him. The jailer hurried to the imam and found him ready to get out. He had put on his clothes and shoes. The jailer wondered at that. He informed the imam of the decision of Al-Mu’tamid. Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) rode on his horse but did not move. The jailer asked him why and he said, ‘Until Ja’far comes.’
The jailer said, ‘But he ordered me to set you free alone without him.’
The imam said, ‘Go and tell him that I and he were taken together from the house. If I go back alone, there will be something that you know!’The jailer went and told Al-Mu’tamid what the imam said. He ordered him to set Ja’far free too. Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) left the prison while reciting, (They intend to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse).

Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) suffered different kinds of harms and distresses from Al-Mu’tamid. He surrounded the imam with detectives and policemen to watch him and to chase anyone of jurisprudents, ulama, or the Shia who tried to meet him. He remained under watch until he was assassinated with poison by the order of Al-Mu’tamid, on the 8th of Rabi' Al-Awal 260 AH, and he was buried in the holy city of Samarra' next to his father Imam Ali Al-Hadi (peace be upon him).

The role of Imam Al-'Askari (peace be upon him) in the preparation and setup of the state of his son Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) is distinct and prominent. Though the Awaited Imam whom the Prophet (prayers and Allah's peace be upon him and his holy Household) had brought good news about and told that he would be the greatest reformer that mankind had never seen like him throughout all stages of history. The Prophet (prayers and Allah's peace be upon him and his holy Household) told that the Awaited Imam (peace be upon him) would spread political, social justice allover the world, would do away with all kinds of injustice and oppression, and defeat all tyrants and oppressive powers in the world.

The following is a narration transmitted from Imam Abu Muhammad Al-Hassan Al-'Askari (peace be upon him) concerning the Imamate of his son Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance).
Ahmad bin Isaaq bin Sa’eed al-Ash’ari said, “Once, I went to Abu Muhammad Al-Hassan bin Ali (peace be upon him) 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 honour near Allah the Almighty and near His authorities, I would not show you my this son. He was named and surnamed like the messenger of Allah (prayers and Allah's peace be upon him and his holy Household). 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 favoured 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 Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) 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] the highest position in the Paradise.”

Imam Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) 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 Abu Muhammad (peace be upon him) 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.

Shaykh Al-Tusi has reported through a considerable series of narrators that Imam Al-Hassan Al-'Askari (peace be upon him) said, “My grave will be in Surra-man-Ra’a (currently Samarra). It will be shelter for both the parties.” Explaining this saying, Shaykh Al-Majlisi says that ‘both the parties’ means the Shi’ah and the Sunnah. This means that the virtue of the Imam (peace be upon him) includes both his adherents and his enemies. Similarly, the holy tomb of Imam Al-Kadhem (peace be upon him) and Imam Al-Jawad (peace be upon him) is shelter for the people of Baghdad.

Peace be upon our master Al-Hassan Al-Zaki Al-'Askari the day he was born, the day is was poisoned and left as oppressed martyr, and the day he will arise alive with the holy family of Mohammed (prayers and Allah's peace be upon him and his holy Household).
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