1- A Brief History of the Prophet's Life
The oldest and noblest tribe in the whole of Arabia was Banu Hashim. They were the descendants of Ibrahim through his son Isma'il. The Arabs respected and loved them for their goodness, knowledge, and bravery.
'Abd al-Muttalib was the chieftain of Banu Hashim and he was also the Guardian of the Ka'bah. Among his ten sons, 'Abdullah was the father of the Holy Prophet.
In Mecca, a baby boy named Muhammad was born on 17th Rabi' al-Awwal, 570 AD. His father 'Abdullah, son of 'Abd al-Muttalib, died before he was born and when he was six, he lost his loving mother Aminah bint Wahab. His Grandfather, 'Abd al-Muttalib, took the responsibility of bringing up the orphan. At the age of ten, he was berefted of his venerable grandfather. On his deathbed, he appointed his son Abu Talib as the guardian of Muhammad. As a gentle, soft spoken, tall and handsome boy, Muhammad, accompanied the trading caravans of Abu Talib, across the deserts, giving him deep insight into nature and man.
The wealthy noble widowed lady Khadijah, in looking for a manager for her rich merchantile caravans, selected Muhammad (SW) as her manager. The able and fair dealing Muhammad (SW) was a tremendous success. Khadijah already an admirer of Muhammad (SW), made him an offer of marriage. Muhammad (SW) was twenty five and Khadijah forty. In spite of this disparity in age, the marriage proved to be a very happy one.
Lover of nature and quite worrried about human sufferings, Muhammad (SW) often retreated to Mount Hira' for meditation. One night - Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Majesty) - a voice addressing him, commanded "Recite in the name of thy Lord." Deeply excited by the strange phenomena of the Divine Visitation, Muhammad (SW) hurried home to his wife, Khadijah, who listened to him attentively and said that "I bear witness that you are the Apostle of God." After an interval, the voice from heaven spoke again "O thou shrouded in thy mantle, arise, and warn, and magnify thy Lord." This was a signal for him to start preaching the gospel of truth of One God. In the beginning Muhammad (SW) invited only those near him, to accept the new Faith. The first to embrace Islam among women was Khadijah and among men Ali (AS). Soon after, Zayd ibn al-Harithah became a convert to the new Faith. For three long years, he laboured quietly to wean his people from the worship of idols and drew only thirty followers. Muhammad (SW) then decided to appeal publicly to the Quraysh to give up idol worship and embrace Islam. The new Faith, is simple without complications, practical, and useful for everyday life. It commands to believe and do good, to keep up prayer and to pay the poor tax (alms). Almost ten years of hard work and preaching, in spite of all persecution, produced over a hundred followers, physical cruelties and social boycott made life unbearable in Mecca. The Holy Prophet of Islam advised his followers, to seek refuge in the to seek refuge in the neighbouring country of Ethiopia. Eighty eight men and eighteen women sailed to the hospitable shores of the Negus, under the leadership of Ja'far at-Tayyar (brother of 'Ali) and the cousin of the Holy Prophet. several times the chieftains came to Abu Talib saying, "We respect your age and rank, but we have no further patience with your nephew. Stop him or we shall fight you." Abu Talib asked Muhammad for his decision. With tears in his eyes, the Apostle firmly replied, "O my uncle! If they place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left, to force me to renounce my mission, I will not desist until God manifests His cause or I perish in the attempt."
In a period of troubles, trials and tribulations two major tragedies afflicted Muhammad. First the venerable guardian uncle Abu Talib died and shortly afterwards his noble wife Khadijah died, leaving behind her daughter Fatimah (peace be on her) - the only child she had from the Holy Prophet - the daughter who looked after her father so much so that the prophet called her Umm Abiha (the mother of her father).
With the death of the old patriarch Abu Talib, the Meccans planned to assassinate the prophet. Under Divine guidance, he asked 'Ali to sleep in his bed and Muhammad put his green garment on 'Ali. While the murderes mistook 'Ali for muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam escaped to Medina. The Muslim era of Hijrah (Emigration) is named after this incident and dated from 17th Rabi' al-Awwwal, 622 AD. From the time he came to Medina, he was the grandest figure upon whom the light of history has ever shone. We shall now see him as the King of men, the ruler of human hearts, chief law-giver and supreme judge.The Preacher who went without bread, was mightier than the mightiest sovereigns of the earth. No emperor with his tiaras was obeyed, as this man in a cloak of his own clothing. He laid the foundation of the Muslim commonwealth and drew up a charter which has been acknowledged as the work of highest statemanship, a master-mind not only of his age, but of all ages. Unlike the Arabs, the Prophet, had never wielded a weapon, but now he was forced to defend Islam by force of arms. Commencing from the battle of Badr, a series of eighty battles had to be fought, which the infant commmunity defended successfully.
Next year, Abu Sufyan, the famous long-lived enemy of Islam, again attacked the Muslims at Uhud. Hamzah, the first flag-bearer of Islam and uncle of the Prophet, was killed in action. In spite of strict instructions from the Prophet, a few Muslim soldiers deserted their post, when victory was in sight. This changed the course of the battle. Khalid ibn al-Walid attacked the Prophet and the grave situation was saved by the timely arrival of 'Ali. The enemies ran away and the issue was decided. Muhammad was deeply grieved at the death of Hamzah.
The Muslims had been in self exile for six years and began to feel a keen yearning for their homeland, Mecca. The Prophet desired to perform a pilgrimage to Ka'bah. When he forsook his home town he was weak, but when
he wanted to return, he was strong. He did not use his strength to force an entry into the sacred city. Finding the Quraysh hostile, Muhammad entered into a treaty Known as the Peace of Hudaybiyyah, appearing not very advantageous to the Muslims, but which revealed the Islamic character of moderation and magnanimity. For the strong to excercise restraint and toleration is true courage. Having reached upto the door of their birth place with hearts over-flowing with impatient longing to enter it, the Muslims retraced their steps peacefully to Medina, under the terms of the treaty, which allowed them to perform the pilgrimage next year.
In The 8th year AH, the idolators violated the peace of Hudaybiyyah by attacking the Muslims. The enemies were defeated and Mecca was conquered. The Prophet who fled from Mecca as a fugitive, now returned home as a mighty conqueror. The Rahmatun lil 'Alamin (mercy unto all beings, i.e., the Prophet) entered the city with his head bowed low in thankfulness to the Almighty (Allah) and ordered a general amnesty, instead of the mass massacre of those who persecuted him and his followers.
Under the Divine intuition of his approaching end, Muhammad prepared to make the farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. Before completing all the ceremonies of Hajj, he addressed a huge multitude from the top of mount 'Arafat on 8th Dhi al-hijjah, 11 AH, in words which shall ever ring and live in the atmosphere. After finishing the hajj the Holy Prophet started for Medina. On his way, at Ghadir Khumm the Voice from Heaven cried: "O Apostle! deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message and Allah will protect you from the people, surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people. (5:67) Muhammad immediately ordered Bilal to recall the Muslims, who had gone ahead, who were behind and who were proceeding to their homes at the junction, to assemble. The famous Sunni mutakallim and commentator, Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi in his At-Tafsir al-Kabir, vol. 12, pp. 49-50, writes that the Prophet took 'Ali by the hand and said: "Whoever whose mawla (master) I am, 'Ali is his master. O Allah! Love him who loves 'Ali, and be the enemy of the enemy of 'Ali; help him who helps 'Ali, and forsake him who forsakes 'Ali."
On Muhammad's return to Medina, he got busy settling the organization of the provinces and the tribes which had adopted Islam. His strength rapidly failed and the poison (administered at Khaybar by a Jewess) took its deadly toll. So ended the life dedicated to the service of God and humanity from first to last, on 28th Safar, 11 AH. The humble Preacher had risen to be the ruler of Arabia. The Prophet of Islam not only inspired reverence, but love owing to his humility, nobility, purity, austerity, refinement and devotion to duty. The Master inspired all who came into contact with him. He shared his scanty food; he began his meals in the Name of Allah and finished them uttering thanks; he loved the poor and respected them; he would visit the sick and comfort the heart broken; he treated his bitterest enemies with clemency and forbearance, but the offenders against society were administered justice; his intellectual mind was remarkably progressive and he said that man could not exist without contant efforts. There is no god but One God and Muhammad is the Apostle of God, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his descendants.
2- Hazrat Imam Ali (A.S) Ameer Al Momneen Leader of all momneen
All the human beings experience ups and downs and face different problems in life The individuals , usually get weak and unable when facing a problem and try with the aid and guide of the experts to save themselves from the trouble; And by finding the "examples" in any field , and then following them , perform their duties in the best way as to solve their problems and relieve their pains. One of these examples is the honoured prophet (p) whom the holy koran has described (indentified) as such. Other than the messenger of God (p) , if we look for another example and replacement for his holiness we would find a great example as the (leader of the) pious his holiness Imam Ali (p). Morals and behaviour, to go through his holiness ups and downs, and amazements of life.
Manner of birth:
His holiness Ali (p) is the first child in the family of Bani-Hashem whose both selfs are children of Hashem. His father Abu-Taleb is the son of Abdul-Mottaleb the son of Hashem bin Abd-Manaf and his mother is fatemah the daughter of Asad who is the son of Hashem bin abd-manaf. The Hashemi family in the tribe of Qoraish is well-known (famous) for its moral virtues and high (supreme) humanistic characteristics among the Arab tribes. Magnanimity, generosity, courage and so many other virtues are characteristics of Bani-hashem. Moreover, each of these virtues at its highest degree exist in his holiness Ali's (p) existence. Fatemah, the daughter of Asad went to the holy mosque when labour pain and came close to the wall of Kabaa and said : O God, I have firm faith in you, the prophets and the books sent by you and also the speech of my grand father the builder of this house . O God, in consideration to the respect of the one who built this house and for the sake of the child in my womb make the birth of this child easy. An instant later, in front of the eyes of Abbass bin Abdul-Mottaleb and Yazeed bin Taaf the south east wall of Kabaa cracked and Fatemah entered the Kabaa; the wall closed again. She was the guest of God for three days in the holiest place in the universe and their she gave birth to her child. Three days after the thirteenth of Rajab, thirty years passed the year of the Elephat; Fatemah , the daughter of Asad, came out of the same cleavage in wall which opened again and said: I heared a message from the unsean to call him Ali.
Period of childhood:
His holiness Ali stayed with his selfs. Since it was God's well for him to gain more perfection, therefore, the honoured prophet from the beginning of his birth took care of his indirect education. Untill an unsual famine occurred in Mecca. Abu-Taleb the uncle of the prophet having many children faced a heavy living expense. The honoured prophet (p) with the consultation of his uncle Abbass, came to agreement that each one of them take one of the children of Abu-Taleb with him as to make a relief for Abu-Taleb. Therefore Abbass took Jaffar and the prophet (p) took Ali (p) to his house. In this way his holiness Ali (p) was completely besides the prophet (p).
Ali (p) was always accompanying the prophet (p) even when the prophet (p) would leave to town and go to the mountain and desert.
Appointment of the prophet (p) and his holiness Ali (p):
There is no doubt that acceleration in good deeds is a kind of privilege virtue and (the exalted) God in several verses asked his salves to perform them and called them to compete with each other. One of the virtues of his holiness Ali (p) is that he is the first one to believe in the prophet (p). Ibn Abeel Al-Hadeed says related to this : Know that among the great , big and scholastic theologians of the Mutazilites there is no dispute that Ali bin Abee-Taleb is the first person to believe in Islam; and to support the messenger of God.
His holiness Ali (p) the first supporter to the honoured prophet (p) :
After the revelation of God , the selection of his holiness the prophet Mohammad (p) for prophethood and the three years of secret preaching, finally, the messenger of revelation arrived and the order for public preaching was given. At this juncture, his holiness Ali (p) was the only enforcer of the prophet (p) plans in his divine propagation; And was the only companion and sympathetic to his holiness in the invitation arranged to acquainte his relatives to Islam and to call them to the religion of God. In this invitation the prophet (p) asked the people present: "who is among you to help me in this way so to be my brother, successor and representative among you". Only Ali (p) answered : "O prophet of God, I will support you in this way". The prophet (p) after three times repeating the question and hearing the same answer said : O my relatives ; Know that Ali (p) is my brother , successor and Caliph after me among you. Of the other glories of his holiness Ali (p) is his perfect courage in sleeping in the prophet's (p) bed , therefore, nullifing the plot of the idol- worshipers to kill the prophet; And , farthermore, prepared the ground for the prophet's (p) migration. His holiness Ali (p) after the migration: After the migration of his holiness Ali (p) and the prophet (p) to Madina, we explain two examples of the virtues of Ali (p):
1- Sele-sacrifice and endangering in the field of struggle His presence in 26 battles of the 27 battles of the prophet (p) and participation in different expeditions are of the glories and virtues of his holiness.
2- Registering (keeping) and writing the revelation [koran]: Writing the revelation, organizing (arranging) many of the historical and political documents and writing propagational and invitation letters, both in Mecca and Madina, And for this reason he is considered one of the writers of the revelation and memorizers of the Koran.
It was in this period that the prophet (p) issued the decree of Moslems brotherhood, concluded the contract of brotherhood with his holiness Ali (p) and said to his holiness Ali (p): "You are my brother in this world and in the here after, swearing by the God who has appointed me with the truth. I choose you as my brother, a brotherhood that is to the extent of both worlds". His holiness Ali (p) the son-in-law of the honoured prophet (p): Omar and Abu-Bakr with the consulation with Saad Maath the head of the tribe of Aws realized (found out) that there is no body other than Ali (p) competent (appropriate) for Zahra (p) . therefore, when Ali (p) was among the trees of the garden of one of the Ansar busy watering. They suggested this subject to him and he said : "I love the daughter of the prophet (p)." And went towards the house of the prophet (p) . When he reached to the honoured prophet (p) the glory of the presence of the prophet (p) prevented him from speaking until the honoured prophet (p) asked for the reason for his return; Then his holiness Ali (p) depending on his virtues , piety and bright past in Islam said: "do You deem it wise for me to marry Fatemah". After the acceptance of Zahra (p) his holiness Ali (p) won becoming the son-in-law of the honoured prophet.
The pond of Khom :
In the last Year of his holiness the prophet's (p) life , after finishing the rituals of piligrammage and when returning in a place called the Khom pond close to Johfa , he Ordered to stop, because the revelation commanded the prophet (p) to complete his message. After the noon prayer the prophet went up the (minbar) pulpit of the camels' saddles and said: "O people, it is soon that I answer the call of God and go from among you. what do you think about me". People said: "we witness that you have propagated the religion of God". Prophet (p) said:" Don't you witness that there is no God but the one God and Mohammad is his slave and messenger". People said:"Yes, we witness". Then the prophet (p) raised the hand of his holiness Ali (p) and said: "O People! among the believers who is more worthy than them selves. People said : "God and his prophet know better". Then the prophet said:" O People who ever Iam his master and leader; Ali is his master and leader. And repeated this sentence three times. then the people congratulated this selection to his holiness Ali (p) and swore allegience to him.
His holiness ali (p) after the death of the honoured prophet (p) :
After the death of the honoured prophet (p) because of special conditions that arised, his holiness Ali (p) with draw from the scene of the society and choose silence; He neither participated in any struggle nor spoke officially in the society . He put the sword in the sheath and engaged with individual duties and educating the individuals.
Activities of Imam Ali (p) in this period were/briefly as follows :
1- Worshiping God , according to the level of his holiness Ali (p).
2- Interpretation of the koran, solving religious problems and decreeing the rule of incidents that didn't have a resemblance along the 23 Years of the prophet's life.
3- Answering to questions of scholars from other religions and other towns.
4- Expressing the rule for many of the new events which didn't occur previously in Islam.
5- Solving the problems when the caliphate system faced dead ends in political matters and some other problems.
6- Educating and raising a group who have pure con science and prepared soal for spiritual journey.
7- Work and strife to secure the life of many of the poor and disabled to the extent that he would establish gardends and extract aqueducts and then would give them as endowments in the way of God.
Period of the caliphate of his holiness Ali (p) in the time of his holiness caliphate many wars occurred as Seffin, Jamal and Nahrawan which had specific consequences following. After the war of Nahrawan and the suppression of the Kharijites. Some of the Kharijities among whom was Abdul-Rahman bin Moljam Moradi and Barak bin Abdulla Tameemi and Amr bin Bakr-tameemi in one of the nights got together and considered the ciruims tances of that time the blood-sheds and civil wars and remembered Nahrawan and their deads and finally reached to this conclusion that the reason for this blood-shed and brothers killing are his holiness Ali (p), Moawiah and Amr bin Aass and if these three one removed the moslems will know there duties therefore, they concluded the treaty that each one of them he responsible for killing one of the three. Ibn Moljam undertook killing Imam Ali (p) and on the ninetheenth night of the month of Ramadan accompanied with some stayed in the mosque of Koofa. That night his holiness Ali (p) was a guest of his doughter's and was aware of the morning accident. When he mentioned this subject to his daughter. Om-Kolthoom said: Tomorrow send Joada to the mosque. His holiness Ali (p) said: It is not possible to escape the Godly decree, then he fastened his belt and while humming these two verses he went to the mosque. Fasten your back firmly for death Because death will meet you and when death comes to you don't fear or scream While his holiness Ali (p) was in prostation, Ibn Moljam hit him with the sword on his forehead and blood from his holiness head streamed in the altar and blood dyed his honoured beard. In this condition his holiness said: I swear by the God of Kaaba that I won. Then reate verse 55 from soora Taha:
From it we created you and into it we shall send you back and from it we
raise you a second time. This holiness Ali was at his last moment of his life still thinking of the welfare and happiness of the peoples adviced his chidlren relatives and all the moslems saying : Idvice you of piety and to organize your deeds and always think of causing reconciliation among the moslems. Dont forget the orphans, regard the rights of the neighbours. Make Koran the practical programme for yourself. Respect (honour) praying because it is the pillar of your religion. His holiness Ali (p) attained martyrdom on the 21 st of the month of Ramadan and was burried in the honoured Najaf . His shrine became the tryst for the lovers of the truth and reality.
1- Soora Ahzab, verse:21.
2- Foroogh welayat, p.35 (kashf Al-Ghoma v.1 , p.9)
3- Aftab welayat, p.19 (Al-Kharaej and Al-Jaraeh v.1 , p.171)
4- Aftab welayat, p.19 (Behar Al-anwar v.35 , p.18)
5- Aftab welayat, p.37 (seerah bin Hesham v.1 , p.236)
6- Aftab welayat, p.38.
7- Aftab welayat, p.131 (Soora Bakara , verse:148)
8- Aftab welayat, p.86 (Mostadrak Hakem v.3 , p.14 Isteeaab , v.3 , p.35)
9- Aftab welayat, p.141 (Soora Maeda , verse:47)
10- Aftab welayat, p.697.
11- Aftab welayat, p.697 (Behar Al-Anwar quoting from Amali , v.9 , p.650)
12- Aftab welayat, p.697.
3- A Brief History Of Bibi Fatima (a.s)’s life
Fatimah, the only daughter of the Holy Prophet of Islam, was born in Mecca on 20th jumada ‘th-thaniyah 18 B.H. The good and noble lady Khadijah and the Apostle Of Allah bestowed all their natural love, care and devotion on their lovable and only child Fatimah, who in her turn was extremely fond of her parents.
The Princess of the House of the Prophet, was very intelligent, accomplished and cheerful. Her sermons, poems and sayings serve, as an index to her strength of character and nobility of mind.Her virtues gained her the title “Our Lady of Light”. She was tall, slender and endowed with great beauty, which caused her to be called ” az-Zahra’ ” (the Lady of Light). She was called az-Zahra’ also because her light used to shine among those in heaven.
After arriving in Medina, she was married to ‘Ali, in the first year after Hijrah, and she gave birth to three sons and two daughters.Her children, Hasan, Husayn, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum are well-known for their piety, goodness and generosity. Their strength of character and actions changed the course of history.
The Holy Prophet said, “Fatimah is a piece of my heart”. He would go out to receive his daughter whenever she came from her husband’s house. Every morning on his way to the Mosque, he would pass by Fatimah’s house and say, “as-Salamu ‘alaykum ya ahli bayti ‘n-nubuwwah wa ma’dani ‘r-risalah” (peace be on you O the Household of Prophethood and the Source of Messengership).
The Best Woman
Fatimah is famous and acknowledged as the “Sayyidatu nisa’i ‘l-’alamin” (Leader of all the women of the world for all times) because the Prophethood of Muhammad would not have been everlasting without her. The Prophet is the perfect example for men, but could not be so for women. For all the verses revealed in the Holy Qur’an for women, Fatimah is the perfect model, who translated every verse into action. In her lifetime, she was a complete woman,being Daughter, Wife and Mother at the same time.As a daughter, she loved her parents so much, that she won their love and regard to such an extent that the Holy Prophet used to rise, whenever she came near him.As a wife, she was very devoted. she never asked ‘Ali for anything in her whole life.As a mother, she cared for and brought up wonderful children; they have left their marks on the face of the world, which time will not be able to eraze.
4- A Brief History of Imam Hasan's Life
The Son of the Prophet
Imam Hasan Mujtaba -upon whom be peace- was the second Imam. He and his brother Imam Husayn were the two sons of Amir al-mu'minin Ali and Hadhrat Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet. Many times the Prophet had said, "Hasan and Husayn are my children". Because of these same words Ali would say to his other children, "You are my children and Hasan and Husayn are the children of the Prophet." Imam Hasan was born in the year 3 A.H. in Medina and shared in the life of the Prophet for somewhat over seven years, growing up during that time under his loving care. After the death of the Prophet which was no more than three, or according to some, six months earlier than the death of Hadhrat Fatimah, Hasan was placed directly under the care of his noble father.
Imam Hasan and Mu'awiyah
After the death of his father, through Divine Command and according to the will of his father, Imam Hasan became Imam; he also occupied the outward function of caliph for about six months, during which time he administered the affairs of the Muslims. During that time Mu'awiyah, who was a bitter enemy of Ali and his family and had fought for years with the ambition of capturing the caliphate, first on the pretext of avenging the death of the third caliph and finally with an open claim to the caliphate, marched his army into Iraq, the seat of Imam Hasan's caliphate. War ensued during which Mu'awiyah gradually subverted the generals and commanders of Imam Hasan's army with large sums of money and deceiving promises until the army rebelled against Imam Hasan. Finally, the Imam was forced to make peace and to yield the caliphate to Mu'awiyah, provided it would again return to Imam Hasan after Mu'awiyah's death and the Imam's household and partisans would be protected in every way. In this way Mu'awiyah captured the Islamic caliphate and entered Iraq. In a public he officially made null and void all the peace conditions and in every way possible placed the severest pressure upon the members of the Household of the Prophet and the Shi'ah. During all the ten years of his imamate, Imam Hasan lived in conditions of extreme hardship and under persecution, with no security even in his own house. In the year 50 A.H. he was poisoned and martyred by one of his own household who, as has been accounted by historians, had been motivated by Mu'awiyah.
Imam Hasan's Character
In human perfection Imam Hasan was reminiscent of his father and a perfect example of his noble grandfather. In fact, as long as the prophet was alive, he and his brother were always in the company of the Prophet who even sometimes would carry them on his shoulders. Both Sunni and Shi'ite sources have transmitted this saying of the Holy Prophet concerning Hasan and Husayn: "These two children of mine are Imams whether they stand up or sit down" (allusion to whether they occupy the external function of caliphate or not).
5- IMAM HUSSAIN SAYYIDU AL-SHUHADA Peace be on him
Death of Imam:
Martyred in Karbala (Iraq) at the age of 57, on friday, 10th Muharram 61 AH and buried there.
IN THE house of the Holy Prophet, which presented the best image of both the worlds - the heaven and the earth - a child who benefited humanity as if he was Divine Impression reflecting the earth, was bron on one of the nights of the month of Shaban. His father was Imam Ali, the best model of kindness towards his friends and the bravest against the enemies of Islam, and his mother was Hadrat Fatimah, the only daughter and child of the Holy prophet who had as universally acknowledged, inherited the qualities of her father. Imam Husayn, is the third Apostolic Imam. When the good news of his birth reached the Holy Prophet, he came to his daughter's house, took the newly-born child in his arms, recited adham and iqamah in his right and left ears respectively, and on the 7th day of his birth, after performing the rites of aqiqah, named him al-Husayn, in compliance with Allah's command. Hasan and husayn, the two sons of the Holy Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and Hadrat Fatimah,our Lady of Light, were respected and revered as the "Leaders of the Youths of Paradise" as stated by the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him and his progeny, had openly prophesied that the faith of Islam would be rescued by his second grandson Husayn, when Yazid, son of Muawiayh, would endeavour to destroy it. Yazid was known for his devilish character and brutish conduct. He was known as the most licentious of men. The people having known and understood the character of Yazid, fromed a covenant by which Muawiyah could not appoint Yazid as his successor. This undertaking was given by Muawiyah to Imam Hasan from whom Muawiyah had snatched power. Muawiyah violated this undertaking and nominated Yazid who succeded his father. Immediately as he came to power, Yazid began acting in full accordance with his known character. He started interfering in the fundamentals of the faith and practised every vice and wickedness freely with the highest degree of impunity and yet held himself out as the successor of the Holy Prophet, demanding allegiance to himself as the leading guide of the faith. Paying allegiance to Yazid was nothing short of acknowledging the devil as God. If a divine personality like the Holy Imam Husayn had agreed to his authority, it would be actually recommending the divil to humanity in place of God. Yazid demanded alleginace from the Holy Imam Husayn, who could have never agreed to it at any cost. The people fearing death and destruction at the hands of the tyrant had yielded to him out of fear. Imam Husayn said that come whatever may, he would never yield to the devil in place of God and undo what his grandfather, the Holy Prophet had established. The refusal of the Holy Imam to pay allegiance to this fiend, marked the start of the persecution of the Holy Imam. as a result he had retired to Medina where he led a secluded life. Even here he was not allowed to live in peace, and was forced to seek refuge in mecca where also he was badly harassed, and Yazid plotted to murder him in the very precincts of the great sanctuary of Kabah. The people of kufah getting tired of the tyrannic and satanic rule of Yazid, had written innumerable letters and sent emissaries to Imam Husayn to come over and give them guidance in faith. Although Imam Husayn knew the ultimate end of the invitations, he as the divinely chosen Imam could not refuse to give the guidance sought for. When the Holy Imam with his entourage had reached Karbala, his horse mysteriously stopped and would not move any further. Upon this the Holy Imam declared: "This is the land , the land of sufferings and tortures." He alighted from his horse, and ordered his followers to encamp there saying: "Here shall we be martyred and our childern be killed. Here shall our tents be burned and our family arrested. This is the land about which my grandfather the Holy Prophet had foretold, and his prophecy will certainly be fulfilled." On the 7th Muharram water supply to the Imam's camp was cut and he torture of thirst and hunger started. The Holy Imam's camp consisted of ladies, innocent chidlren including babies and some male members of the Holy Prophet's family; along with a samll band of some faithful friends of Imam Husayn who had chosen to die with the Holy Imam, fighting against the devil for the cause of Allah.
The Day of Ashura ( 10th of Muharram ):
At dawn the Imam glanced over the army of Yazid and saw Umar ibn sad ordering his forces to march towards him. He gathered his followers and addressed them thus:" Allah has, this day, permitted us for our martyrdom. So Perpare yourselves to fight against the enemies of Islam with patience and resistance. O sons of the noble and self - respecting persons, be patient! Death is nothing but a bridge which you must cross ater facing trials and tribulations so as to reach Heaven and its joys. Which of you do not like to go from this prison (world) to the lofty palaces (Paradise)?" Having heard the Imam's address, All his companions were overwhelmed and cried
out ," O our Master! We are all ready to defend you and your Ahlu l-bayt, and to sacrifice our lives for the cause of Islam." Imam Husayn sent out from his camp one after another to fight and sacrifice their lives in the way of the Lord. Lastly, when all his men and children had laid down their lives, Imam Husayn brought his six- month old baby son Ali al- Asghar, and offering him on his own hands, demanded some water for the baby, dying of thirst. The thirst of the baby was quenched by a deadly poisoned arrow from the brute's forces, which pinned the baby's neck to the arm of the helpless father. At last when the six-month old baby also was killed, Imam Husayn Addressed Allah: "O Lord! Thy Husayn has offered in Thy way whatever Thou hath blessed him with. Bless Thy Husayn, O Lord! with the acceptance of this sacrifice. Every thing Husayn could do till now was through Thy help and by Thy Grace." Lastly Imam Husayn came into the field and was killed, the details of which merciless slaughter are heart rending. the forces of Yazid having killed Imam Husayn, cut and severed his head from his body and raised it on a lance. The severed head of the Holy Imam beagn glorifying Allah from the point of the lance saying,` Allahu Akbar'. "All glory be to Allah Who is the Greatest!" After the wholesale, merciless and most brutal slaughter of the Holy Imam with his faithful band, the helpless ladies and children along with the ailing son of Imam Husayn, Imam Ali Zaynu l - Abidin, were taken captives.
Some Sayings of the Holy Prophet During his Lifetime with Reference to Imam Husayn:
1. Hasan and Husayn are the leaders of the Youths of Paradise.
2. Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn , Allah befriends those who befriend Husayn and He is the enemy of those who bear enmity to him.
3. Whoever wishes to see such a person who lives on earth but whose dignity is honoured by the Heaven dwellers, should see my grandson Husayn.
4. O my son! thy flesh is my flesh and thy blood is my blood, thou art a leader , the son of a leader and the brother of a leader; thou art a spiritual guide, the son of a spiritual guide and the brother of a spiritual guide; thou art an Apostolical Imam , the son of an Apostolical Imam and the brother of an Apostolical Imam; thou art the father of nine Immas, the ninth of whom would be the Oaim (the last infallible spiritual guide).
5. The punishment inflicted on the murderer of Husayn in Hell would be equal to half of the total punishment to be imposed on the entire sinners of the world.
6. When the Holy Prophet informed Hadrat fatimah of the Martyrdom in store for his grandson, she burst into tears and asked, "O my father! when would my son be martyred?"
"In such a critical moment," replied the Holy Prophet," When neither I nor you, nor Ali would be alive. "This accentuated her grief and she inquired again," Who then, O my father, would commemorate Husayn's martyrdom? The Holy Prophet said, "The men and the women of a particular sect of my followers, who will befriend my Ahlu l-bayt, will mourn for Husayn and commemorate his martyrdom each year in every century."
Ibn Sad narrates from ash-shabi:
Imam Ali while on his way to Siffin, passed through the desert of Karbala, there he stopped and wept very bitterly. When interrogated regarding the cause of his weeping, he commented that one day he visited the Holy Prophet and found him weeping. when he asked the Apostle of Allah as to what was the reason which made him weep, he replied, "O Ali Gabriel has just been with me and informed me that my son Husayn would be martyred in Karbala, a place near the bank of the River Euphartes. This moved me so much that I could not help weeping."
Anas ibn Harith narrates:
One day the Holy Prophet ascended the pulpit to deliver a sermon to his associates while Imam Husayn and Imam Hasan were sitting before him. When address was over, he put his left hand on Imam Husayn and raising his head towards Heaven, said:"O my lord! I am Muhammad Thy slave and Thy prophet, and these two are the distinguished and pious members of my family who would fortify my cause after me. O my Lord! Gabriel has informed me that son Husayn would be killed. O my Lord! bless my cause in recompense for Husayn's martrydom, make him the leader of the martyrs, be Thou his helper and guardian and do not bless his murderers".
Sir Muhammad Iqbla says:
Imam Husayn uprooted despotism forever till the Day of Resurrection. He watered the dry garden of freedom with the surging wave of his blood, and indeed he awakened the sleeping Muslim nation. If Imam Husayn had aimed at acquiring a worldly empire, he would not have travelled the way he did ( from Medina to Karbala). Husayn weltered in blood and dust for the sake of truth. Verily he, therefore, became the bed-rock (foundation) of the Muslim creed; la ilaha illa Allah ( There is no god but Allah).
Khwaja Mu inu d-Din Chishti says:
He gave his head but did not put his hand into the hands of Yazid. Verily, Husayn is the foundation of la ilaha illa Allah. Husayn is lord and the lord of lords. Husayn himself is Islam and the shield of Islam. Though he gave his head (for Islam) but never pledged Yazid. Truly Husayn is the founder of "There is no Deity except Allah."
Brown in his A Literary of Persia Writes:
As a reminder, the blood-stained field of Karbala where the grandson of the Apostle of God fell at length, tortured by thirst and surrounded by the bodies of his murdered kinsmen, has been at any time since then sufficient to evoke, even in the most lukewarm and heedless, the deepest emotion, the most frantic grief and the exaltation of spirit before which pain, danger, and death shrink to unconsidered trifles. Yearly, on the tenth day of Muharram, the tragedy is rehearsed in persia, in India, in Turkey, in egypt, wherever a Shiite community or colony exists.
6- A Brief History of Imam Ali ibn Al-Husayn's Life
The Remained Son
Imam Sajjad ( Ali ibn Husayn entitled Zayn al-abidin and Sajjad ) was the son of the third Imam , and his wife , the queen among women , the daughter of Yazdigird the king of Iran . He was the only son of Imam Husayn to survive, for his other three brothers Ali Akbar , aged twenty-five , five year old Ja'far and Ali Asghar ( or Abdullah ) who was a suckling baby , were martyred during the event of Karbala . The Imam had also accompanied his father on the journey that terminated fatally in Karbala, but because of severe illness and the inability to carry arms or participate in fighting he was prevented from taking part in the holy war and being martyred . So he was sent with the womenfolk to Damascus . After spending a period in imprisonment he was sent with honor to Medina because Yazid wanted to conciliate public opinion . But for a second time , by the order of the Umayyad caliph , Abd al-Malik , he was chained and sent from Medina to Damascus and then again returned to Medina.
The Lonely Imam
The fourth Imam , upon returning to Medina , retired from public life completely, closed the door of his house to strangers and spent his time in worship . He was in contact only with the elite among the Shi'ites such as Abu Hamzah Thumali , Abu Khalid Kabuli and the like . The elite disseminated among the Shi'ah the religious sciences they learned from the Imam . In this way Shi'ism spread considerably and showed its effects during the imamate of the fifth Imam . Among the works of the fourth Imam is a book called Sahifah sajjadiyah. It consists of fifty-seven prayers concerning the most sublime Divine sciences and is known as 'The Psalm of the Household of the Prophet'. The fourth Imam died ( according to some Shi'ite traditions poisoned by Walid ibn Abd al-Malik through the instigation of the Umayyad caliph Hisham ) in 95/712 after thirty-five years of imamate.
7- Imam MUHAMMAD IBN `ALI AL - BAQIR (Pease be on him)
In Medina , on Tuesday , 1st Rajab 57 AH .
Died at the age of 57 , in Medina on Monday , 7th Dhi 'l - hijjah 114 AH ; poisoned by Hisham ibn `Abdi ' l - Mailk ; buried in jannatu 'l - Baqi` , in Medina.
THE HOLY Imam Muhammad al - Baqir is the Fifth Apostolic Imam . His epithet was Abu Ja`far and he was populary titled ``al - Baqir'' . His mother was the daughter of Imam Hasan . Thus , he was the only Imam who was connected with Hadrat Fatimatu 'z - Zahra' , both from his paternal and maternal sides. Imam Muhammad al - Baqir was brought up in the holy lop of his grandfather Imam Husayn , for three years . For thity - four years he was under the gracious patronage of his father , `Ali Zaynu 'l - `Abidin. The Holy Imam was present in Karbala' at the time of the gruesome tragedy of the wholesale massacre of his grandfather Imam Husayn and his companions . He also suffered with his father and the ladies of the House of the Prophet ( Ahlu 'l - bayt ) the heartless captivity and imprisonment at the hands of the devilish forces at the command of Yazid ibn Mu`awiyah After the tragedy of Karbala' , the Imam passed his time peacefully in Medina praying to Allah and guiding the people to the right path. The downfall of the Umayyads had begun since Yazid , the son of Mu`awiyah , had slaughtered Imam Husayn . Yazid himself had completely realized the evil consequences of his deeds even during the short period of his rule . His son Mu`awiyah , the second , refused to accept the caliphate saying: I cannot favour such a throne which has been erected on the basis of oppression and tyranny. Ibn Hajar al - Haytami , a famous scholar belonging to the Sunnite School says : ``Imam Muhammad al - Baqir has disclosed the secrets of knowledge and wisdom and usfolded the principles of spiritual and religious guidance. Nobody can deny his exalted chracter , his God - given knowledge , his divinely - gifted winsdom and his obligation and gratitude towards spreading of knowledge . He was a sacred and highly talented spiritual leader and and for this reason he was popularly titled `al - Baqi' which means `the exponder of knowledge' . Kind of heart , spotless in character , sacred by soul and noble by nature , the Imam devoted all his time in submission to Allah ( and in advocating the teachings of the Holy Prophet and his descendants ) . It is beyond the power of a man to count the deep impression of knowledge and guidance left by the Imam on the hearts of the faithful. His sayings in devotion and abstinence , in knowledge and wisdom , and in religious exercise and submission to Allah are so great in number that the volume of this book is quite insufficient to cover them all .'' ( as - Sawai`qu 'l - muhriqah , p . 120 ) The Holy Imam managed to collect the teachings and reforms of the Holy Prophet and his Ahlu 'l - bayt in the from of books . His pupils compiled books on different branches of science and arts under his instructions and guidance. In the excellence of his personal purity and godly traits , the Holy Imam Muhammad al - Baqir was a model of the Holy Prophet and his great grandfather , Ali ibn Abi Talib . His admonitions created a spiritual sensation among the Muslims in general . He was not only hospitable even to his worst enemies but also used to contiually exhort them to the right path. He urged people to earn their livelihood by their own hard work. The Holy Imam gave much importance to convening majalis ( meetings ) in commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn . Kumayt ibn Zayd al - Asadi , one of the most famous and highly talented poets of that time , used to recite the elegy of Imam Husayn in those majalis . Such type of majalis were also greatly encouraged by Imam Ja`far as - Sadiq and Imam `Ali ar - Rida , the Sixth and the Eighth Imams. Imam Muhammad al - Baqir continued his preaching peacefully till 114 AH . On the 7th Dhi 'l - hijjah when he was fifty - seven years old , Hisham ibn `Abdi 'l - Malik ibn Marwan , the then ruler , got him martyred through poison . The funeral prayers for this Holy Imam were conducted by his son Imam Ja`far as - Sadiq , the Six Imam , and his body was laid to rest in jannaru 'l - Baqir` in Medina .
al - `Allamah at - Tabataba'i writes
Imam Muhammad ibn `Ali al - Baqir ( the word `baqir meaning he who cuts and dissects , a title given to him by the Prophet ) was the son of the Fourth Imam and was born in 57/675 . He was present at the event of Karbala' when he was four years old . After his father , through Divine Command and the decree of those who went bafore him , he became Imam . In the year 114/732 he died , according to some Shi`ite traditions , he was poisioned by Ibrahim ibn al - Walid ibn `Abdillah , the nephew of Hisham , the Umayyad caliph. During the Imamate of the Fifth Imam , as a result of the injustice of the Umayyads , revolts and wars broke out in some corner of the Islamic world every day . Moreover , there were disputes within the Umayyad family itself which kept the caliphate busy and to a certain extent left the members of the Household of the Prophet alon . From the other side , the tragedy of Karbala' and the oppression suffered by the Household of the Prophet , of which the Fourth Imam was the most noteworthy embodiment , had attracted many Muslims to the Imam . These factors combined to make it possible for people and especially the Shi`ites to go in great numbers to Medina and to come into the presence of the Fifth Imam . Possibilities for disseminating the truth about Islam and the sciences of the Household of the Prophet , which had never existed for the Imams before him , were presented by the Fifth Imam . The proof of this fact is the innumerable traditions recounted from the Fifth Imam and the large number of illustrious men of science and Shi`ite scholars who were trained by him in different Islamic sciences. These names are listed in books of biographies of famous men in Islam. ( Shi`ite Islam )
8- A Brief History of Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad's Life
Birth and Imamate
Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad, the son of the fifth Imam, was born in 83/702. He died in 148/765 according to Shi'ite tradition, poisoned and martyred through the intrigue of the Abbasid caliph Mansur. After the death of his father he beacame Imam by Divine command and decree of those who came before him.
The Imam's sciences
During the imamate of the sixth Imam greater possibilities and a more favorable climate existed for him to propagate religious teachings. This came about as a result of revolts in Islamic Lands, especially the uprising of the Muswaddah to overthrow the Umayyad caliphate, and the bloody wars which finally led to the fall and extinction of the Umayyads. The greater opportunities for Shi'ite teachings were also a result of the favorable ground the fifth Imam had prepared during the twenty years of his imamate through the propagation of the true teachings of Islam and the sciences of the Household of the Prophet. The Imam took advantage of the occasion to propagate the religious sciences until the very end of his imamate, which was contemporary with the end of the Umayyad and beginning of the Abbasid caliphates. He instructed many scholars in different fields of the intellectual and transmitted sciences, such as Zorarah, Muhammad ibn Muslim, Mu'min Taq, Hisham ibn Hakam, Aban ibn Taghlib, Hisham ibn Salim, Hurayz, Hisham Kalbi Nassabah, and Jabir ibn Hayyan, the alchemist. Even some important Sunni scholars such as Sufyan Thawri, Abu Hanifah, the founder of the Hanafi school of law, Qadhi Sukuni, Qadhi Abu'l- Bakhtari, and others, had the honor of being his students. It is said that his classes and sessions of instruction produced four thousand scholars of hadith and other sciences. The number of traditions preserved from the fifth and sixth Imams is more than all the hadith, that have been recorded from the Prophet and the other ten Imams combined.
Toward the end of his life the Imam was subjected to severe restrictions placed upon him by the Abbasid caliph Mansur, who ordered such torture and merciless killing of many of the descendants of the Prophet who were Shi'ite that his actions even surpassed the cruelty and heedlessness of the Umayyads. At his order they were arrested in groups, some thrown into deep and dark prisons and tortured until they died, while others were beheaded or buried alive or placed at the base of or between walls of buildings, and walls were constructed over them. Hisham, the Umayyad caliph, had ordered the sixth Imam to be arrested and brought to Damascus. Later, the Imam was arrested by Saffah, the Abbasid caliph, and brought to Iraq. Finally, Mansur had him arrested again and brought to Samarrah where he had the Imam kept under supervision, was in every way harsh and discourteous to him, and several times thought of killing him. Eventually the Imam was allowed to return to Medina where he spent the rest of his life in hiding, until he was poisoned and martyred through the intrigue of Mansur. Upon hearing the news of the Imam's martyrdom, Mansur wrote to the governor of Medina instructing him to go to the house of the Imam on the pretext of expressing his condolences to the family, to ask for the Imam's will and testament and read it. Whoever was chosen by the Imam as his inheritor and successor should be beheaded on the spot. Of course the aim of Mansur was to put an end to the whole question of the imamate and to Shi'ite aspirations. When the governor of Medina, following orders, read the last will and testament, he saw that the Imam had chosen four people rather than one to administer his last will and testament: the caliph himself, the governor of Medina, 'Abdullah Aftah, the Imam's older son, and Musa, his younger son. In this way the plot of Mansur failed.
9- MUSA IBN JA`FAR AL - KAZIM ( Pease be on him )
In Abwa' ( between Mecca and Medina ) on Sundey , 7th Safar 128 AH.
Died at the age of 55 , in Baghdad , on 25th Rajab 183 AH ; poisoned by Harun ar - Rashid ; buried in al - Kazimiyyah , Baghdad.
THE HOLY Imam Musa al - Kazim is the Seveth Apostolic Imam . His epithet was Abu 'l - Hasan and his famous title was al - Kazim . His matchless devotion and worship of God has also earned him the title of `` `Abdu 's - Salih'' ( virtuous slave of God ) . Generosity was synonymous with his name and no beggar ever returned from his door empty handed . Even after his death , he continued to be obliging and was generous to his devotees who came to his holy tomb with prayers and bahests which were invariably granted by God . Thus , one of his additional titles is also ``Babu 'l - Hawaij'' ( the door to fulfilling needs ).
The Holy Imam Musa al - Kazim was the son of Imam Ja`far as - Sadiq , the Sixth Imam . The name of his mother was Hamidah , the daughter of a noble man hailing from the States of Barbary.
Imam Musa al - Kazim passed twenty years of his sacred life under the gracious patronage of his holy father . His inherent genius and gifted virtues combined with the enlightened guidance and education from the Holy Imam ja`far as - Sadiq , showed in the manifestation of his future personality . He was fully versed with the Divine Knowledge even in his childhood. al - `Allamah al - Majlisi relates that once Abu Hanifah happened to call upon the holy abode of Imam Ja`far as - Sadiq to ask him about some religious matters ( masa'il ) . The Imam was asleep and so he kept waiting outside till the Imam's awakening . Meanwhile , Imam Musa al - Kzim , who was then five years old , came out of his house . Abu Hanifah , after offering him his best compliment , enquired: ``O the son of the Holy Prophet ! what is your opinion about the deeds of a man ? Does he do them by himself or does God make him do them ?'' ``O Abu Hanifah'' , the five years old Imam replied at once , in the typical tone of his ancestors , ``the doings of a man are confined to three possibilities . First , that God alone does them while the man is quite helpless . Second , that both God and the man do equally share the commitment . Third , that man does them alone . Now , if the first assumption is true , it obviously proves the unjustness of God who punishes His creatures for sins which they have not committed . And if the second condition be acceptable , even then God becomes unjust if He punishes the man for the crimes in which He is equally a partner . But the undesirability of both these conditions is evident in the case of God . Thus , we are naturally left with the third alternative to the problem that men are absolutely responsible for their own doing .''
The Holy Imam Ja`far as - Sadiq breathed his last on 25th Shawwal 148 AH , and with effect from the same date Imam Musa al - Kazim succeeded the holy office of Immamate as the Seventh Imam . The priod of his Imamate continued for thirty - five years . In the first decade of his Imamate , Imam Musa al - Kazim could afford a peaceful execution of the responsibilities of his sacred office and carried on the propagation of the taachings of the Holy Prophet . But soon after , he fell a victim to the ruling kings and a greater part of his life passed in prison.
Imam Musa al - Kazim lived under the most crucial times in the regimes of the despotic `Abbasid kings who were marked for their tyrannical and cruel administration . He witnessed the reings of ar - Mansur ad - Dawaniqi , al - Mahdi and Harun ar - Rashid . al - Mansur and Harun ar - Rashid were the despotic kings who put a multitud of innocent descendants of the Holy Prophet to the sword . Thousands of these martyrs were buried alive inside walls or put into horrible dark prisons during their lifetime . These depraved caliphs knew no pity or justice and they killed and tortured for the plessure they derived from human sufferings.The Holy Imam was saved from the tyranny of al - Mansur because the king , being occupied with his project of constructing the new city of Baghdad , could not get time to turn towards victimizing the Imam . By 157 AH the city of Baghded was built . This was soon followed by the death of its founder a year later . After al - Mansur , his son al - Mahdi ascended the throne . For a few years he remained indifferent towards the Imam . When in 164 AH he came to Medina and heard about the great reputation of the Imam , he could not resist his jealousy and the spark of his ancestral malice against the Ahlu 'l - bayt was rekindled . He somehow managed to take the Imam along with him to Baghded and got him imprisoned there . But after a year he realized his mistake and released the Imam from jail . al - Mahdi was succeeded by al - Hadi who lived only for a yaer . Now , in 170 AH , the most cruel and tyrannical king Harun ar - Rashid appeared at the head of the `Abbasid Empire . It was during his reign that the Holy Imam passed the greater part of his life in a miserable prison till ha was poisoned.
Moral and Ethical Excellence
As regards his morality and ethical excellence , Ibn Hajar al - Haytami remarks : ``The patience and forbearance of Imam Musa al - Kazim was such .hat he was given the title of `al - Kazim' ( one who swallows down his anger ) . He was the embodiment of virtue and generosity . He devoted his nights to the prayers of God and his days to fasting . He always forgave those who did wrong to him ,'' His king and generous attitude towards the people was such that he used to patronize and help the poor and destitutes of Medina and provide for them cash , food , clothes and other necessitities of sustenance secretly . It continued to be a riddle for the receivers of gifts throughout the Imam's lifetime as to who their benefactor was , but the secret was not revealed until after his death.
Time and circumstances did not premit the Holy Imam Musa al - Kazim to establish institutions to impart religious knowledge to his followers as his father , Imam Ja`far as - Sadiq and his grandfather , Imam Muhammad al - Baqir had done . He was never allowed to address a congregation . He carried on his mission of preaching and guiding people quietly.
In 179 AH , Harun ar - Rashid visited Medina . The fire of malice and jealousy against the Ahul 'l - bayt was kindled in his heart when he saw the great influence and popularity which the Holy Imam enjoyed amongst the people there . He got the Imam arrested while he was busy in prayer at the tomb of the Holy Prophet and kept him in prison in Baghded for a period of about four years . On the 25th Rajab 183 AH , he got the Imam martyred by poison . Even his corpse was not spared humiliation and was taken out of the prison and left on the Bridge of Baghdad . His devotees , however , managed to lay the holy body of the Imam to rest in al - Kazimiyyah ( Iraq ).
10- Imam Ali Al Raza
The Eight Imam
Imam Rida (Ali ibn Musa) was the son of the seventh Imam and according to well-known accounts was born in 148/765 and died in 203/817. The eight Imam reached the imamate, after the death of his father, through Divine Command and the decree of his forefathers. The period of his imamate coincided with the caliph- ate of Harun and then his sons Amin and Ma'mun. After the death of his father, Ma'mun fell into conflict with his brother Amin which led to bloody wars and finally the assassination of Amin, after which Ma'mun became caliph. Until that day the policy of the Abbasid caliphate toward the Shi'ites had been increasingly harsh and cruel. Every once in a while one of the supporters of Ali (alawis) would revolt, causing blood wars and rebelions which were of great difficulty and consequence for the caliphate.
The Shi'ite Imams would not cooperate with those who carried out the these rebellions and would not interfere with their affter. The Shi'ites of that day, who comprised a considerable population, continued to consider the Imams as their religious leaders to whom obedience was obligatory and believed in them as the real caliphs of the Holy Prophet. They considered the caliphate to be far from the sacred authority of their Imams, for the caliphate had come to seem more like the courts of the Persian kings and Roman emperors and was being run by a group of people more interested in worldly rule than in the strict application of religious prin- ciples. The continuation of such a situation was dangerous for the structure of the caliphate and was a serious threat to it.
Ma'mun thought of finding a new solution for these difficulties which the seventy-year old policy of his Abbasid predecessors had not been able to solve. To accomplish this end he chose the eighth Imam as his successor, hoping in this way to overcome two diffi- culties: first of all to prevent the descendants of the Prophet from rebelling against the government since they would be involved in the government themselves, and secondly, to cause the people to lose their spiritual belief and inner attachment to the Imams. This would be accomplished by having the Imams become engrossed in wordly matters and the politics of the caliphate itself, which had always been considered by the Shi'ites to be evil and impure. In this way their religious organization would crumble and they would no longer present any dangerst to the caliphate. Obviously, after accomplishing these ends, the removal of the Imam would present no difficulties to the Abbasid.
In order have this decision put into effect, Ma'mun asked the Imam to come to Marw from Medina. Once he had arrived there, Ma'mun offered him first the caliphate and then the succession to the caliphate. The Imam made his apologies and turned down the proposal, but he was finally induced to accept the successorship, with the condition that he would not interfere in governmental affairs or in the appointment or dismissal of government agents. This event occurred in 200/814. But soon Ma'mun realized that he had committed an error, for there was a rapid spread of Shi'ism a growth in the attachment of the populace to the Imam and an astounding reception given to the Imam by the people and even by the army and government agents. Ma'mun sought to find a remedy for this difficulty and had the Imam poisoned and martyred. After his death the Imam was buried in the city of Tus in Iran, which is now called Mashhad. Ma'mun displyed great interest in having works on the intel- lectual sciences translated into Arabic. He organized gatherings in which scholars of different religions and sects assembled and carried out scientific and scholarly debates. The eighth Imam also participated in these assemblies and joined in the discussions with scholars of other religions. Many of these debates are recorder in the collections of Shi'ite hadiths.
11- MUHAMMAD IBN `ALI AL - JAWAD (AT - TAQI) (Pease be on him)
In Medina , on Friday , 10th Rajab 195 AH.
Died at the age of 25 , in al - Kazimiyyah on Wednesday , 29th Dhi 'l - qi'dah 220 AH , poisoned by Mu`tasim , the `Abbasid caliph ; buried in al - Kazimiyyah , Baghded.
IMAM MUHAMMAD al - Jawad ( or at - Taqi ) is the Ninth Apostolic Imam. His epithet was Abu Ja`far and his famous titles were al - Jawad and at - Taqi . Since Imam Muhammad al - Baqir , the Fith Imam was called Abu Ja`far , historians have mentioned this Imam as Abu Ja`far the Second.
Imam Muhammad al - Jawad was brought up by his Holy father Imam `Ali ar - Rida for four years . Under the force of circumstances Imam `Ali ar - Rida had to migrate from Medina to Khurasan ( Iran ) , leaving his young son behind him . The Imam was fully aware of the treacherous character of the ruling king and was sure that he would return to Medina no more . So before his departure from Medina he declared his son Muhammad al - Jawad as his successor , and imparted to him all his stores of Divine knowledge and spiritual genius.
Imam `Ali ar - Rida was poisoned on 17th Safar 203 AH and with effect from the same date Imam Muhammad al - Jawad was commissioned by Allah to hold the responisbility of Imamate . At the tender age of eight there was no apself chance or means of the young Imam reaching great heights of knowledge and practical achievements . But after a few days he is known not only to have debated with his contemporary scholars on subjects pertaining to fiqh ( Islamic jurisprudence ) , hadith ( tradition ) , tafsir ( Qur'anic exegesis ) , ect . and outwitted them , but also to exhort their admiration and acknowledgment of his learning and superiority . Right from then the world realized that he possessed Divine knowledge and that the knowledge commanded by the Holy Imam was not acquired , but granted by Allah.
Literary Attainments and Excellence
The span of the life of Imam Muhammad al - Jawad was shorter than that of his perdecessors as well as his successors . He became Imam at the age of eight years and was poisoned at the age of twenty - five ; yet his literary attainments were many and he commanded great respect and esteem.The Holy Imam al - Jawad was the symbol of Porphet Muhammad's affability and Imam `Ali's attainments . His hereditary qualities comprised of gallanrty , boldness , charity , learning , forgiveness and tolerance. The brightest and most outstanding phases of his nature and character were to show hospitality and courtesy to all without discrimination , to help the needy ; to observe equality under all circumstances , to live a simple life ; to help the orphans , the poor and the homeless ; to impart learning to those interested in the acquisition of knowledge and guide the people to the right path.
Migration to Iraq
For the consolidation of his empire , it was realized by al - Ma'mun , the `Abbasid king , that it was necessary to win the sympathy and support of the Iranians who had always been friendly to the Ahlu 'l - bayt. Consequently , al - Ma'mun was forced , from a political point of view , to establish contacts with the tribe of Banu Fatimah at the expense of the ties with Banu `Abbas and thereby win the favour of the Shi`ah . Accordingly, he declared Imam `Ali ar - Rida as his heir even anaginst the Imam's will and got his sister Umm Habibah marrried to him . al - Ma'mun expected that Imam `Ali ar - Rida would lend him his support in political affairs of the State . But when he discovered that the Imam was little interested in political matters and that the masses were more and more submitting themselves to him due to his spiritual greatness , he got him poisoned . Yet the exigency which directed him to nominate Imam `Ali ar - Rida as his heir a and successor still continued . Hence he desired to marry his daughter Ummu 'l - Fadl to Muhammad al - Jawad , the son of Imam `Ali ar - Rida and with this object in view , he summoned the Imam from Medina to Iraq. The Banu `Abbas were extremely disconcerted when they came to know that al - Ma'mun was planning to marry his daughter to Imam Muhammad al - Jawad. A delegation of some leading persons waited on him in order to dissuade him from his intention . But al - Ma'mun continued to admire the learning and excellence of the Imam . He would say that though Imam Muhammad al - Jawad was still young , yet he was a true successor to his father in all his virtues and that the profoundest scholars of the Islamic world could not comprte with him . When the `Abbasids noticed that al - Ma'mun attributed the Imam's superiority to his learning they chose Yahya iba Aktham , the greatest scholar and jurist of Baghdad , to contend with him. al - Ma'mun issued a proclamation and organized a grand meeting for the contest which resulted in a huge gathering of people from all parts of the kingdom . Apart from noble and high officials , there were as many as nine hundred chairs reserved for scholars and learned men only . The world wondered how a young child could contest with the veteran judge in religiouse laws ( qadi 'l - qudat ) and the greatest scholar of Iraq. Imam Muhammad al - Jawad was seated beside al - Ma'mun on his throne face to face with Yahya ibn Aktham , who adderssed the Imam thus: ``Do you permit me to ask you a question ?'' ``Ask me whatever you wish ,''said the Imam in the typical tone of his ancestors. Yahya then asked the Imam , ``What is your verdict about a man who indulges in hunting while he is in the state of ihram .'' ( In the code of religious law hunting is supposed to be forbidden for a pilgrim ). The Imam at once replied , ``Your question is vague and misleading . You should have definitely mentioned whether he hunted within the jurisdiction of the Ka`bah or outside ; whether he was literate or illiterate ; whether he was a slave or free citizen ; whether he was a minor or a major ; whether it was for the first time or he had done it previously ; also whether, that victim was a bird or some other creature ; whether the prey was small or big ; whether he hunted in the day or at night ; whether the hunter repented for his action or persisted in it ; whether he hunted secretly or openly ; whether the ihram was for `umrah or for hajj . Unless all these points are explained no specific answer can be given to this question .'' al - Qadi Yahya was staggered in listening to these words of the Imam and the entire gathering was dumbfounded . There was no limit to al - Ma'mun's pleasure . He expressed his sentiments of joy and admiration thus , ``Bravo ! well done ! O Abu Ja'far ! ( Ahsanta , ahsanta ya Aba Ja'far ) , your learning and attainments are beyond all praises .'' As al - Ma'mun wanted that the Imam's opponent be fully exposed , he said to the Imam , ``You may also put some question to Yahya ibn Aktham .'' Then Yahya also reluctantly said to the Imam , ``Yes , you may ask me some question . If I know the answer , I will tell it ; otherwise , I shall request you to give its answer .'' Thereupon , the Imam asked a question to which Yahya could not reply. Eventually , the Imam answered his question. Then al - Ma'mun addressed the audience thus : ``Did I not say that the Imam comes of a family which has been chosen by Allah as the repository of knowledge and learning ? Is there any one in the world who can match even the children of this family ?'' All of them shouted , ``Undoubtedly there is no one parallel to Muhammad ibn `Ali al - Jawad .'' In the same assembly al - Ma'mun wedded his daughter Ummu 'l - Fadl to the Imam and liberally distributed charity and gifts among his subjects as a mark of rejoicing . One year after his marriage the Imam returned to Medina from Baghded with his wife and there he set about preaching the Commandments of Allah.
When after the death of al - Ma'mun , al - Mu'tasim ascended the throne, he got an opportunity to persecute the Imam and to ventilate spite and malice against him . He summoned the Imam to Baghded . The Imam arrived at Baghded on 9th Muharram 220 AH and al - Mu'tasim got him poisoned in the same year. He died on 29th Dhi 'l - qi'dah 220 AH and was buried beside his grandfather, Imam Musa al - Kazim the Seventh Imam , in al - Kazimiyyah , in the suburd of Beghded ( Iraq ).
12- ALI IBM MUHAMMAD AL - HADI (AN - NAQI) (Pease be on him)
In Suryah ( in the environs of Medina ) , on Friday , 2nd Rajab, 212 AH.
Died at the age of 42 , in Samarra' , on Monday 26th Jumada 'th - thaniyah 254 AH ; poisoned by al - Mu'tazz, the `Abbasid caliph; buried in Samarra' ; North of Baghdad ( Iraq ).
THE TENTH Holy Imam , like his father , was also elevated to the rank of Imam in his childhood . He was six years old when his father Imam Muhammad al - Jawad died . After the death of al - Ma'mun , al - mu`tasim succeeded him , and was later followed by the caliph al - Wathiq . In the first five years of the reign of al - Wathiq , Imam Ali al - Hadi ( an - Naqi ) lived peacefully . After al - Wathiq , al - Mutawakkil came to power . Being too occupied in State affairs , al - Mutawakkil did not get any time to harass the Imam and his followers for four years . But as soon as he freed himself from State affairs , he started to molest the Imam . The Holy Imam devoted himself to the sacred mission of preaching in Medina and did thus earn the faith of the people as well as their allegiance and recognition of his great knowledge and attributes . This reputation of the Imam evored the jealousy and malice of al - Mutawakkil against him. The governor of Medina wrote to al - Mutawakkil that Imam `Ali al - Hadi had been manoeuvring a coup against the government and a multitude of Shi'ites were pledged to his support . Although enraged by this news al - Mutawakkil still preferred the diplomacy of not arresting the Holy Imam. Under the garb of pretended respect and love towards the Imam , he planned to put him under life imporisonment after inviting him to hos palace. Prior to his imprisonment , in a series of correspondence with the Imam, he expressed the view that he was convinced of all the claims of the Imam and was ready to settle them amicably . He wrote to the Imam that having been acquainted with his great personality , his matchless knowledge and his peerless attributes , he was impatiently looking forward to the honour of seeing him , and he most cordially invited him to Samarra' . Although the Imam was well aware of al - Mutawakkil's treacherous intentions , he anticipating the fatal consequences of refusing the offer , reluctantly decided to leave Medina . But when the Imam arrived at Samarra' and al - Mutawakkil was informed about it , he took no notice of the Imam's arrival. when asked about where the Imam should stay , he ordered that the Imam should be put up in the inn meant for beggars , destitutes and homeless people. al - Mutawakkil who was a deadly enemy of the Ahlu 'l - bayt , removed the Imam from this inn and entrusted him to the custody of a stone - hearted brute named Zurafah . But , by the grace of Allah , his enmity was , in a short time , transformed into love and devotion for the Imam . When al - Mutawakkil learnt about it , he shifted the Imam into the custody of another cruel man called Sa'id . The Imam remained under his strict vigilance for a number of years , during which he was subjected to boundless tortures . But even in this miserable imprisonment , the Imam kept devoting himself at all times to the worship of Allah . The watchman of the prison used to comment that Imam `Ali al - Hadi seemed to be an angel in human garb. When Fath ibn Khaqan became the vizier of al - Mutawakkil , he being a Shi`ah could not stand the idea of the Imam's captivity . He endeavoured to have him released from imprisonment and arranged for his comfortable residence in a personally purchased house at Samaraa' . Still al - Mutawakkil could hardly refrain from his antagonism to the Imam and he appointed spies to watch the Imam and his connections . But through all these attempts , his hope of creating some fabrication to prove the Imam's activity against himself could not be realized. In the time of al - Mutawakkil there was a woman named Zaynab who claimed to be a decendant of Imam Husayn . al - Mutawakkil sought the confirmation of Zaynab's claim from the Imam and said : ``That as the beasts are prohibited to eat the flesh of the descendants of Imam Husayn he would throw Zaynab to the beasts and test her claim .'' On hearing this , Zaynab began to tremble and confessed that she was a fake . al - Mutawakkil then ordered the Imam to be thrown to the beasts to test the claim . To his great surprise , he witnessed the beasts prostrating their heads before the Imam. Once al - Mutawakkil happened to suffer from a serious malady which was eventually declared incurable by his physicians . When the Imam was approached for some remedy , he prescribed an application which resulted in a spontaneous cure. Once al - Mutawakkil was informed that the Imam was preparing a revolt against him . Thereupon , he ordered a detachment of the army to launch a raid on the Imam's residence . When the soldiers entered his house , they found him sitting on a mat , reciting the Holy Qur'an. Not only al - Mutawakkil , but his successors' opposition to the Imam was fierce . After the death of al - Mutawakkil , al - Mustansir , al - Musta`in and al - Mu`tazz carried on the same mission of harassent against the family of the Imam. al - Mu`tazz , understanding the uncontrollable and intense devotion of the people towards the Imam , eventually contrived the Imam's assassination. He got him poisoned through an ambassador which resulted in the Imam's death within a few hours . The martyrdom occurred on 26th Jumada 'th - thaniyah 254 AH , and his funeral prayer was conducted by his son , Imam Hasan al - `Askari . The Imam was only forty - two years old at the time of death . The period of his Imamate was thirty - five years . He was buried in Sammarra' Iraq.
13- AL-HASAN IBN `ALI AL-`ASKARI (Pease be on him)
I Medina , on Friday , 8th Rubi`u 'th - thani 232 AH .
Died at the age of 28 , in Samarra' , on Friday , 8th Rabi`u 'l - awwal 260 AH ; poisoned by al - Mu`tamid , the `Abbasid ruler ; buried in Samarra` ( Iraq ) .
THE HOLY Imam Hasan al - `Askari spent twenty - two years of his life under the patronage of his father , Imam `Ali al - Hadi ( an - Naqi ) after whose martyrdom he became his divinely commissioned Imam . Imam Hasan ibn `Ali al - `Askari , the son of the Tenth Imam , was born in 232/845 and according to some Shi`ite sources was poisoned and killed in 260/872 through the instigation of the `Abbasid caliph al - Mu`tamid . The Eleventh Imam gained the Imamate , after the death of his noble father , through Divine Command and through the decree of the previous Imams . During the seven years of his Imamate , due to untold restrictions placed upon him by the caliphate , he lived in hiding and dissimulation ( taqiyyah ) . He did not have any social contact with even the common people among the Shi`ite population . Only the elite of the Shi`ah were able to see him . Even so , he spent most of his time in prison . There was extreme repression at that time because the Shi`ite population had reached a considerable lavel in both numbers and power . Everyone know that the Shi`ah believed in the Imamate , and the identity of the Shi`ite Imams was also known . Therefore , the caliphate kept the Imams under its close supervision more than ever before . It tried through every possible means and through secret plans to remove and destroy them . Also , the caliphate had come to know that the elite among the Shi`ah believed that the Eleventh Imam , according to traditions cited by him as well as his , forefathers , would have a son who was the promised Mahdi . The coming of the Mahdi had been foretold in authenticated hadith of the Prophet in both Sunni and Shi`ite sources . For this reason the Eleventh Imam , more than other Imams , was kept under close watch by the caliphate . The caliph of the time had decided definitely to put an end to the Imamate in Shi`ism through every possible means and to close the door to the Imamate once and for all . Therefore , as soon as the news of the illness of the Eleventh Imam reached al - Mu`tamid , he sent a physician and a few of his trusted agents and judges to the house of the Imam to be with him and observe his condition and the situation within his house at all times . After the death of the Imam , they had the house investigated and all his female slaves examined by the midwife . For two years the secret ageins of the caliph searched for the successor of the Imam until they lost all hope . The Eleventh Imam was buried in his house in Samarra' next to his noble father.
14- A Brief History of Imam Mehdi's Life
Birth and Imamate
The promised Mahdi, who is usually mentioned by his title of Imam-i 'Asr (the Imam of the "Period") and Sahib al-Zaman (the Lord of the Age), is the son of the eleventh Imam. His name is the same as that of the Holy Prophet. He was born in Samarrah in 256/868 and until 260/872 when his father was martyred, lived under his father's care and tutelage. He was hidden from public view and only a few of the elite among the Shi'ah were able to meet him. After the martyrdom of his father he became Imam and by Divine Command went into occultation (ghaybat). Thereafter he appeared only to his deputies (na'ib) and even then only in exceptional circumstances.
The Imam's Deputies
The Imam chose as a special deputy for a time Uthman ibn Sa'id Umari, one of the companions of his father and grandfather who was his confidant and trusted friend. Through his deputy the Imam would answer the demands and questions of the Shi'ah. After Uthman ibn Sa'id, his son Muhammad ibn Uthman Umari was appointed the deputy of the Imam. After the death of Muhammad ibn Uthman, Abu'l Qasim Husayn ibn Ruh Nawbakhti was the special deputy, and after his death Ali ibn Muhammad Simmari was chosen for this task. A few days before the death of Ali ibn Muhammad Simmari in 329/939 an order was issued by the Imam stating that in six days Ali ibn Muhammad Simmari would die. Henceforth the special deputation of the Imam would come to an end and the major occultation (ghaybat-i kubra) would begin and would continue until the day God grants permission to the Imam to manifest himself.
The Two Occultations
The occultation of the twelfth Imam is, therefore, divided into two parts: the first, the minor occultation (ghaybat-i sughra) which began in 260/872 and ended in 329/939, lasting about seventy years; the second, the major occultation which commenced in 329/939 and will continue as long as God wills it. In a hadith upon whose authenticity everyone agrees, the Holy Prophet has said, "If there were to remain in the life of the world but one day, God would prolong that day until He sends in it a man from my community and my household. His name will be the same as my name. He will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny."
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