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Birth Anniversary Of Our Eleventh Imam
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Posted 25 March 2010 - 04:59 AM
Birth Anniversary of our Eleventh Imam Hasan al-‘Askari
Imam Hasan al-‘Askari was born in Madinah on the 10th of Rabi’ al-Akher 232 Hejri. The word “‘Askar” in Arabic is used for army. Our Eleventh Imam’s title became known as ‘Askari, the one who lived all his life in a garrison town.
There is another story related with this name by many historians. Once the Caliph called him in his palace and ordered his army to march past before him. The Caliph wanted to boast or to impress the Imam of his power or to dissuade the Imam from any thoughts of revolution against the Abbasid Caliphate. When the march past was over, Imam asked the Caliph to gaze between two of his fingers. What the Caliph saw was a huge army of lancers and swords men marching past, a much bigger crowd than the Caliphs army. He was astonished at this miracle and named him ‘Askari, i.e. the man with a big army.
Imam Hasan al-‘Askari’s life from childhood to adulthood was spent in this house where his father Imam ‘Ali an-Naqi was to remain under house arrest. But despite this close guard on the Imam, he conducted his duties as Imam from inside the house. He taught people Quran and instructed his followers the true teachings of Islam as taught by the Prophet of Islam and his Ahlul-Bayt. In fact Imam Hasan al-‘Askari wrote a complete Tafsir of the Quran which was mentioned by many scholars, historians and exegetes, including Kulayni and Sadouq.
Imam’s life in Samarra was not in peace even under house arrest. From time to time he was taken to Baghdad, questioned and put in prison there. On one such occasion, the Imam was taken by the Turkish guards to Baghdad where he was kept in prison during the short reign of the Caliph al-Muqtadi and al-Mu’tamid afterwards.
While he was a prisoner in Baghdad there was a severe draught. Rain had not fallen for some time and crops were drying up. People were facing a famine. They did not know what to do. A Christian priest came to the rescue. He lifted his hands in prayer and rain fell. The Caliph became concerned lest for this reason people would forsake Islam and become Christians.
When the Imam was consulted, he said that when people assembled to see the so-called miracle performed by the Christian priest, he would remove their doubts. The Imam was allowed to leave the prison to go where the crowd assembled to see the miracle performed by the priest.
Imam stood there with the crowd and when the priest raised his hands for pray and rain began to fall, Imam told one of his companions to seize the hands of the priest and bring the piece of bone hidden in his hands.
When this bone was brought before the Imam, he said that it was the bone of a Prophet of God. It was the effect of this holy bone when lifted in prayers to God that brought God’s mercy and brought rain to the land. This way the Imam lifted the doubts from the minds of the people.
After this the Imam himself spread his prayer mat and performed two raka’ats of prayers then lifted his bare hands to God for rain to come to the land and wipe out the draught. The Imam’s prayers were heard by the Almighty and rain fell so much that the land became fertile again and crops began to grow (Kulayni, Akhbar al-‘Alam). In recognition of this service the Imam was allowed to leave the prison in Baghdad and live in his house in Samarra, still under house arrest. He was still not allowed to go to Madinah.
Imam once wrote in his letter to ‘Ali ibn Babawayh Qommi:
“Praise be to Allah. As you are from our Shi’ah so I advise you:
- Be pious and virtuous
- Forgive and pardon the mistakes of people
- Suppress your anger
- Do good with your relatives
- Help the needy
- Get acquaintance with Holy Quran
- Establish prayer (salat) and perform ‘ibadat (worship)
Follow my commandments and induce others to do so.”
Some a’amal of this glorious and blessed day are reported which are as under:
- To keep fast;
- Perform A’amal al-Khayr;
- Recite Ziyarat al-Jame’ah
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