8th of Rabi’ Awwal, martyrdom anniversary of Imam al-Hassan al-‘Askari (peace be upon him)

On the eighth of Rabi' Awwal, a painful occasion for the lovers of Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them); the martyrdom anniversary of the eleventh Imam; Imam Al-Hassan Al-'Askari (peace be upon him) son of Imam Ali al-Hadi son of Imam Mohammad al-Jawad son of Imam Ali ar-Redha son of Imam Musa al-Kadhem son of Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq son of Imam Mohammad al-Baqer son of Imam Ali Zayn al-'Abideen (As-Sajjad) son of Imam al-Hussayn son of Imam Ali Ibn 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 (lantern) 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.

Imam Abu Mohammad (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, transferring him from prison to another 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 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.

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 alike his grandfather Imam al-Jawad (peace be upon him) he had the shortest imams' age, as Imam al-Jawad (peace be upon him) was martyred and he was only 25 years old.

His life (peace be upon him) was rich in all meanings of Highness and asceticism, and he (peace be upon him) was known by his utmost fear of Allah the Almighty in his youth as he used to cry out of fear of God when he sees firewood, which is not surprising or strange from the people of the house of infallibility and purity (peace be upon them).

He (peace be upon him) had a high status in the eyes of his father Imam Ali Al-Hadi (peace be upon him) as he was the first to live with him and to know his right status, that is why he has hidden his son from people and only the closest friends could see him, to protect him for the survival of the descendants of the Imamate. And at the same time he used to show his status, as for example when Fahfaki has asked him about who will be the Imam after him, he (peace be upon him) answered: "Abu Mohammad, my son, is the soundest of the family of Mohammad (Allah's prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household) in excellence and the firmest of them in proof. He is the eldest of my (surviving) sons. He is the successor. To him, end, the bonds of leadership (Imamate) and our laws. Whatever you used to ask me about ask him. With him, you find what you are in need of."

After his reverend father, the Holy Imam (peace be upon him) undertook the task of leadership "Imamate'. His succession lasted about six years, and, in which, he practised different kinds of political and scholarly responsibilities as his divinely appointed forefathers accurately and efficiently did.

Imam Abu Mohammad (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, Ulema, or the Shia who tried to meet him.

The reason that caused the Abbasids to be more envious against the high position of the Holy Imam (peace be upon him), among the Ummah, was their being afraid of his son, the Awaited Imam Mahdi (peace be upon him). They knew that Imam would be the son of Imam Al-‘Askari (peace be upon him) whom he referred to in one of his letters: "They thought that they could kill me in order to cut off my offspring, but Allah denied their sayings and praise be to Allah." The anger of the caliph, Mu'tamid, increased more when he saw that the whole Ummah glorified, and showed great respect and superiority to the Holy Imam (peace be upon him); and the Shias more than the Abbasids. On the other side, the caliph, Mu'tamid was greatly hated by the whole Ummah. Therefore, he decided to annihilate the Holy Imam (peace be upon him) and assassinate him.

He remained under watch until he was assassinated with poison by the order of Al-Mu’tamid, on the 8th of Rabi' Awwal 260 AH. At the time of his death, he was twenty-eight years old. He was buried in the house in which his father was buried in Samarra'. He left behind his son - Living Holy Awaited Saviour Imam Mohammad Al-Mahdi (peace be upon him) the one who is awaited to bring about the heavenly rule of truth in the whole world.
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