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A Forgotten Imam

ImageAfter the recent second attack on the Al Askari Shrine in Samarra, Iraq, there was an increased mention of the 11th Imam of Ahlul Bayt, Imam Hasan Al Askari (peace be upon him). 

After the recent second attack on the Al Askari Shrine in Samarra, Iraq, there was an increased mention of the 11th Imam of Ahlul Bayt, Imam Hasan Al Askari (peace be upon him). 

But many people don't realize that there are two "Askaris," the first being the 10th Imam, Imam Ali Al Hadi (peace be upon him).  The commemoration of Imam Ali Al Hadi's martyrdom is held in this Islamic calendar month of Rajab.

Imam Ali Al Hadi was born in Medina on the 15th of Dhul Hijjah, 212 AH (828 CE), son of the 9th Imam, Imam Muhammad Al Jawad (peace be upon him).  Imam Ali Al Hadi was about nine years old when his father was martyred.  In the early years of Imam Ali Al Hadi's Imamate, under the Abbasid Caliphs, Mu'tasim and Wathiq, the Shia community of Medina lived in relative peace, with the Imam mostly engaged in teaching.  The Imam married a woman named Sawsan and they had four boys amongst whom was the 11th Imam, Imam Hasan Al Askari.

During the reign of the Abbasid Caliph, the Caliph Al Mutawakkil received warnings of Imam Ali Al Hadi's growing popularity.  Fearing a coup, Al Mutawakkil had Imam Ali Al Hadi and his son Imam Hasan Al Askari escorted to Samarra, Iraq, to be put under house arrest.

Toward the end of the Imam's life, Al Mutawakkil asked the Imam to say some poetry for him.  After initially refusing, the Imam agreed to say a few verses of poetry.  The poetry described how the beautiful faces of tyrants would soon go back under the ground, where worms would feed on them: "Then the grave responded when they inquired: 'Those are the faces which worms fight over! So long did those faces eat and drink –But after their feast,  they are now devoured'."

Imam Al Hadi was martyred by poisoning on 3 Rajab, 254 AH (868 CE).  He was buried at his house in Samarra by his son, who was also the only person to attend his funeral.

 

 

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