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A brief look at Imam Askari (AS)'s holy life
By: Asiya Sayed
Kuniyya: Abu Muhammad
Birth: 10th Rabi-ul Aakher 232 a.h. in Madina.
Mother: Hazrat Sulail (or Hudaitha) (a.s.)
Father: Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.)
Martyrdom: 8th Rabi-ul Awwal 260 a.h. in Saamarra
Burial place: Saamarra, Iraq
Birth & Childhood
Hazrat Imam Hassan Askari (A.S) bin Hazrat Imam Ali Naqi (A.S) was born in Medina al Munawwara in the year 232 A.H
When he was born his father said that it was an order from the prophet s.a.w. that he should be named Hassan. His mother was Sulail (or Hudaitha) (AS). The 10th Imam said of her that she was one who was free from all vice and pollution and that she was one of the righteous ones.
Once when Imam Hasan Al-Askery (A.S.) was a young child he fell into a well near their house. His father Imam Ali An-Naqi (A.S.) was praying and didn't even notice the commotion around him of the ladies crying. When he finished praying and asked what had happened, he was told. He went towards the well. The water rose and all saw the 11th Imam sitting peacefully on the water and playing.
Bahlool once saw the young Imam crying in the street where all the other children were busy playing with their toys. He asked whether Imam was crying because he had no toys to play with. Imam replied: "We have not been created to play!"
Bahlool asked where he had learnt his from and the Imam said :
"Have you not read the Qur'an where it says - "Do you think we have created you in vain and that you will not be returned to us".
When Bahlool heard this he asked Imam for some advice. Imam talked about death, barzakh and qiyama and cried so much, he fainted. When he came to, Bahlool asked him why he was so fearful as he was not even baligh yet. Imam said:
"I have watched my mother light a fire; she uses the little twigs to get the big pieces of wood to burn; I fear that on qiyama Allah too will use little ones to light the big ones.
The reason that the 11th Imam was called Askery is said to be that once Mutawakkil wanted to show the Imam the strength of his army of 90,000 men and so he asked his men to fill their sacks with sand and pile all the sacks up. He then showed Imam this mountain of sacks. Imam asked Mutawakkil, to look through his (Imam's) two fingers, where he saw an army of armed Angels. Imam told him that they were at his disposal but he would not use them. (An army is called Askery).
Life & Works
Ahmed Bin Ishaq relates that when he heard of the death of the 10th Imam (AS) he went to Samarra and asked for the whereabouts of the 11th Imam (AS). He was told that Imam had been imprisoned by Mo'taz Billah. After bribing the guards he was able to visit Imam one night. He described the prison as a tunnel under the Khalifa's home where there was no space to stretch ones legs nor room to be able to stand. Ahmed says he cried when he saw Imams condition. Food was only one glass of water and a piece of dry bread a day.
He was imprisoned because all the rulers knew of the justice that was promised to come with the coming of the 12th Imam and they wished to prevent anyone being born of the 11th Imam.
There was once a severe drought in Samarra and a Christian priest came who whenever he raised his hands caused rain to fall from the heavens. The Muslims faith started wavering and the Khalifa Mo'taz Billah got worried for if they left Islam he would have none to rule over.
He went to the 11th Imam (AS) saying that Imam's grandfather (SAWW)'s religion was in trouble. Imam (AS) asked him to call all the people outside Samarra with the Christian priest. He asked the Christian priest to pray for rain. When he raised his hands to pray it started to rain. Imam (AS) asked for whatever was in his hands to be taken away and then asked him to pray for rain again. There was no rain this time. Imam (AS) showed that what the priest had in this hand was the bone of a Prophet, which whenever placed under the open sky caused it to rain.
Imam (AS) then prayed for rain and it rained. Mo'taz could not re imprison Imam (AS) for some time for when the people saw the miracle they all wanted to visit Imam (AS) and asked where they might find him. Imam (AS) pointed to the Khalifa and asked them to ask him. Mo'taz told them that Imam (AS) was staying at the house where the 10th Imam (AS) used to reside.
Hazrat Nargis (AS) was there and it was in that year that the 12th Imam (ATF) was born. Imam (AS) was allowed out of prison for 13 months after which he was rearrested.
In the six years of his Imamate several attempts were made on his life. On the 1st of Rabi-ul Awwal 260 a.h. Mo'tamad arranged for Imam (AS) to be poisoned in prison and then sent him home. Imam (AS) was in great pain and difficulty for 8 days. On the 8th of Rabi-ul Awwal he asked his son, the 12th Imam, to bring him some water and then leave him. He martyred that day and was given ghusl & kafan by his son, the 12th Imam (ATF).
The 12th Imam (ATF) led the funeral prayers and it was then that a lot of Shia's saw him for the first time. A large number of people attended the funeral and he is buried in Samarra.