The Ninth Imam
He is Imam Mu9ammad al-Jaw"d (a.s.) son of !Al: al-Rida (a.s.). His mother was Lady Sabikah. He was born on the tenth day of the month of Rajab of the year 195 A.H. (8th April 811 C.E.) in the enlightened city of Medina, and died of poisoning in Baghdad on the 30th of the month of DhYl-Qa!da of the year 220 A.H. (25th November 835 C.E.) at the age of 25 years. His son !Al: al-H"d: (a.s.) conducted his funeral and he was buried by his grandfather MYs" ibn Ja!far al-K"dim (a.s.) at al-K"dim:yya, Iraq where his grave remains to this day.
He was the most knowledgeable of his peers and the most virtuous and magnanimous of them and the best company and the finest character. Whenever he rode he would carry gold and silver with him and whenever anyone asked him he would give to them. If any one of his uncles asked him he would never give him less than 50 gold coins, and if any one of his aunts asked him he would never give her less than 25 gold coins. An example of his knowledge which was made manifest to the people is when eighty scholars from all over the land gathered with him after the 9ajj pilgrimage one year and asked him various questions all of which he answered.
It is also related that a great many scholars and notables gathered with him and, over a number of days, asked him thirty thousand questions all of which he answered without failing or erring. It is related that his age at that time was nine years. This, however, is not strange for the household of the Prophet of revelation (N). The Abbasid ruler al-MavmYn married him to his daughter after having examined him with important questions all of which he answered as is related in a well known tradition.
Hadith from Imam Jawad (A)
‘He who trusts upon Allah, He guides him to felicity and happiness. He who depends upon Allah, He suffices him the matters of his life. The trust in Allah is a fortress where no one other than the trustworthy believer is housed. Reliance on Allah is salvation from all evil and protection from all enemies. Islam is a source of honour. Knowledge is treasure.
Silence is light. The utmost degree of Zuhd (abstinence) is avoiding sin. There is no destruction for Islam like innovations (heresy). Nothing is more decadent for man then greed. Through (the pious) ruler the people are guided. Through supplication calamities are repelled. . . .’ ‘If the ignorant keeps silent, people would not differ.’ ‘As the beneficences of Allah upon a person increase, the needs of the people towards him enhance. Thus he who does not meet those needs, exposes those beneficences to annihilation.’
‘You should know that you never go out of sight of Allah, so watch in what state you are.’ ‘The one who commits aggression and tyranny, and the one who helps him to it, and the one who condones it, they are all partners in crime.’ ‘Forbearance is the garment of the scholar, make sure you clothe yourself with it.’ ‘The believer needs three qualities; facility from Allah, selfadmonishing, and acceptance of constructive criticism.’ ‘Three practices enable an individual to reach the pleasure and approval of Almighty Allah: frequent repentance, leniency, and giving to charity regularly.
And (there are) three qualities which if one possesses, he would never regret: avoiding hastiness, consulting (with others), and to rely on Allah once a decision is made.’
What others have said about Imam Muhammad al-Jawad The Abbasid ruler al-MavmYn said of him: ‘I have chosen him due to his prominence over all other virtuous and scholarly people despite his young age. He is a prodigy. I would like him to display to the public what I have witnessed from him.’277 An Archbishop said: ‘This man is probably either a prophet or descended from a prophet.’278 Ibn al-Jawz: said: ‘He followed the path of his father in terms of knowledge, piety, self-restraint and generosity.’279 Al-£ifd: said: ‘He had a magnanimous nature and for this reason he was given the name al-Jaw"d (the generous). He is one of the twelve Imams.’280
The Tenth Imam
He is Imam !Al: al-H"d: (a.s.) son of Mu9ammad al-Jaw"d (a.s.). His mother was Lady Sam"na. He was born in the enlightened city of Medina on the 15th of the month of DhYl-.ijja, or, according to another narration, the 2nd of the month of Rajab in the year 212 A.H. (27th September 827/6th March 828 C.E.). He died of poisoning at S"mar"v, Iraq on a Monday the 3rd of the month of Rajab of the year 254 A.H. (18th July 868 C.E.) at the age of 42 years. His funeral was conducted by his son Imam .asan al- !Askar: (a.s.) and he was buried at S"mar"v, Iraq where his shrine is to this day. He was the best of his peers and the most knowledgeable and virtuous and generous and most kindly spoken of them and the most devoted to Alla>h, the most pure hearted and the finest of character.
Al-Arbal: relates that the Caliph once sent to Imam al-H"d: (a.s.) 30,000 silver coins. He gifted them to a Bedouin Arab from Kufa saying: ‘Pay off your debts with this and spend the rest on your family and dependents and excuse me [for not giving you more].’ The man said: ‘O son of the Messenger of Alla>h, I didn’t ever hope for even a third of this amount but Alla>h knows well where he places his mission.’ Then he took the money and left.281
Hadith from Imam Had i (A)
‘Better than the good-deed is he who performs it. More striking than the beautiful words is he who says them. More worthy than knowledge is he who conveys it. More evil than evil is he who causes it. More frightening than fear is he who brings it.’ ‘Allah cannot be defined except with what he has defined himself. How can He be defined when wits are unable to perceive Him, imaginations fail to reach Him, minds cannot explain Him, and the visions cannot encompass Him?’ ‘When justice is dominant, one may not suspect another unless he is sure of his suspicion about him, and when injustice is dominant, one should not assume good thing about another unless he is sure of it.’
‘Jealousy erodes the good deeds and brings about the bad fortunes.’ ‘Beware of jealousy for it will work against you and will have no effect on your foe.’ ‘Indeed, both the scholar and the student share in prosperity.’ ‘Allah has made the world a place of calamity and the hereafter a place of outcome. He has set the calamities of the world to be the cause of the reward of the hereafter, and has made the reward of the hereafter a substitute for the calamities of the world.’ ‘Self-conceit restrains (one) from seeking knowledge and brings about scorn and ignorance.’ What others have said about Imam Ali al-Hadi Al-Junayd: said: ‘I swear by Almighty Alla>h that he is the best of the people of the earth and the most virtuous of Alla>h’s creation.’ The physician Yazd"d said: ‘If any created being knows the unseen then he does.’282 Al-Y"fi!: said: ‘He was a devoted worshipper of Alla>h, a learned jurist and an Imam.’
Ibn .ajar al-Haytham: said: ‘He was heir to his father’s knowledge and magnanimity.’283 Ibn al-!Im"d al-.anbal: said: ‘He was a learned jurist, an Imam, and a devoted worshipper.’284 Al-Shibr"w: al-Sh"fi!: said: ‘He had many charisms (kar"m"t).’285 The Eleventh Imam He is Imam .asan al-!Askar: (a.s.) son of Imam Mu9ammad al- H"d: (a.s.). His mother was Lady Jadda. He was born on Monday the 10th Rab:! II in the year 232 A.H. (4th December 846 C.E.), and died of poisoning on Friday the 8th Rab:! I in the year 260 A.H. (1st January 874 C.E.) at the age of 28 years. His burial was undertaken by his son Imam Mu9ammad al-Mahd: (a.s.) and he was buried beside his father at S"mar"v, Iraq where his shrine remains today.
His virtues and knowledge and nobility and his worship of Alla>h and his humility and all his other noble traits are well known. He was of good stature, handsome and well proportioned and was very venerable despite his young age. He was like the Prophet (N) in his character.
An example of his generosity is related by Ism"!:l who said: ‘I waited for Aby Muhammad (hasan al-Askari) (a.s.) by the side of the road. When he passed by I complained to him that I was in need and swore that I had not a silver coin to my name let alone more than that nor lunch nor dinner.’ He said: ‘Do you swear by Allah falsely when you have already saved up 200 gold coins?! And I do not say this to get out of giving to you. [Then he indicated to his squire] Give him what you have.’ Then his squire gave me 100 gold coins.’286 Once a man went to him after he had heard about his generosity and magnanimity and he needed 500 gold coins. So the Imam gave him 500 gold coins and an extra 300 gold coins. The Christians testified that he was like the Messiah, Jesus, in his virtue and knowledge and miracles.287 He was very devoted to Alla>h, kept constant night vigils, was righteous and very venerable.
Hadith from Imam Askari (A)
‘No respectful individual abandons the truth unless he becomes debased, and no abject individual pursues the truth unless he becomes honourable.’ ‘He who advices and criticises his brother covertly, has decorated him. He who does so in public has rebuked him.’ ‘The best of your brothers is the one who forgets your sins and remembers your favour to him.’ ‘The heart of the fool is in his mouth, and the mouth of the wise is in his heart.’ ‘He who uses false means to achieve his ends would regret his policy.’ ‘Rage is the key to every evil.’ ‘It is sufficient politeness and courtesy for you to refrain from what you dislike to see from others.’ ‘Be cautious about seeking fame and power for they lead to annihilation.’
What others have said about Imam Hasan al-Askari
The vizier Ibn Kh"q"n said to his son: ‘O my son, were the leadership of the Islamic nation (imamate) to be taken away from the Abbasid Caliphs no-one from the Hashimites would deserve it except him [.asan al-!Askar:] because of his virtue, his piety, his self-restraint, his being guided, his worship of Allah, his beautiful character and his righteousness.’288 The physician Bakht:shY! said: ‘He is the most knowledgeable in our day than everyone on earth.’289 AnYsh the Caliph’s scribe said addressing the Imam: ‘We have found reference to you [people of the Prophet’s house] in this Gospel and you are like the Messiah Jesus son of Mary in the sight of Allah.’ A monk of the monastery of !wqYl said to him: ‘You are the equal of the Messiah in his signs and proofs.’
The Twelfth Imam
He is ‘Alla>h’s proof’ (9ujja) and the rightly guided Imam and the Mahdi (mahd:) Mu9ammad son of .asan al-!Askar: (a.s.). His mother was Lady Narjes. He was born at S"mar"v on the eve of the 15th of the month of Sha!b"n in the year 255 A.H. (29th July 869 C.E.). This Imam is the last of the proofs of Alla>h on earth and the ‘seal’ of Messenger of Alla>h’s (N) successors and the last of the twelve leaders of the Muslims. He remains alive and on earth since, by Alla>h’s will, his life has been prolonged and he is hidden from view. He will appear at the end of days after the world has been filled with oppression and injustice to fill it with justice and equity. He will take charge of the entire world and propagate justice and dispose of the tyrants. As Almighty Alla>h has said: eIt is He [Alla>h] who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion to make it prevail over all religion even though the Polytheists may detest itf290 There are many widely known traditions in this regard related from the Prophet (N) and the Imams (a.s.) which have been narrated by Sh:!a and Sunni scholars alike.291 As for his longevity, this is not strange since the power of Alla>h is all encompassing: eAnd He has power over all thingsf292 The prophet Noah (a.s.) also lived for a long time according to the Holy Qurv"n which says: eAnd he [Noah] remained amongst them for a thousand years save fifty yearsf293 Modern science also confirms the fact that it is possible to live for thousands of years.
This great Imam became concealed from sight by the order of Almighty Alla>h while he was in his house, and since then, Muslims have taken the place associated with him in S"mar"v, Iraq – known as sirdab al-ghaybah – as a place of pilgrimage and worship.
O Allah! Hasten his victory, ease his reappearance, and make us amongst his helpers and supporters.
*Hadith from Imam Mahdi (A): * ‘Almighty Allah sent Muhammad peace be upon him as a Mercy to the worlds, and with him He perfected His beneficence, and sealed His prophets, and He sent him (with His message) to all people (to come).’ ‘And as for the reason of the occultation, Almighty Allah says, .O ye who believe! ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble.1 ‘My benefit (to the people) during my occultation is similar to that of the sun when it disappears from sight behind the clouds.’
‘I am the Mahdi, and I am the leader of the time, I am the one who would fill it (the earth) with justice after it has been overcome with injustice and aggression. Indeed the earth never remains without a Proof and Authority (of Allah).’ ‘I am the seal of the aws}iya>’ (successors) and through me Allah would remove the hardship from my people and my followers (Shi’a).’
‘We have not ignored your consideration, and have not forgotten your mention; otherwise hardship would have descended upon you and your enemies would have exterminated you.’ 1 The holy Qur’an: The Table Spread (5): 101.
‘. . . and if Allah give us the permission of speech, then truth will manifest and falsehood would disappear.’ ‘As for the ongoing events, refer to the narrators of our hadith (i.e. the Fuqaha>’), for they are my claim and proof upon you and I am the claim and proof of Allah upon them.’ ‘Let every one of you do what brings closer to our love, and abstain from what brings about our displeasure and anger.’ ‘Increase and maintain the Du’a for the Faraj (the reappearance of the Imam) for that is the relief for you too.’ ‘Allah insists that eventually Truth must hold and Falsehood must decline.’ ‘Nothing like the daily prayers forces the nose of the Satan to the ground, so perform the daily prayers and force his nose to the ground.’
‘If our Shi’a (followers), may Allah help and succeed them to His obedience, were united in wholeheartedly honouring the promise and obligation that is upon them, there would have been no delay in meeting us (i.e. in our reappearance), and bliss and felicity for them would have hastened by seeing us with full knowledge and certainty of testifying to our (leadership)’ ‘As for the Dawn of the Relief (i.e. the reappearance of the Imam), this is for Allah to say, and those foretellers (about the time of the dawn) say lies.’
‘None of my fathers, peace be upon them, but each of them had (enforced) upon him an allegiance to the tyrant of his time. However when I arise there will be no allegiance upon me for any of the tyrants.’
‘O My Master! You are the One who bestowed upon me this position and station, and with it favoured me over many of Your creatures. I ask You to send your mercy and bliss upon Muhammad and his household, and to fulfil what You promised, for You are truthful and You do not break Your promise, and You are able upon everything.’ What others have said about Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi Al-Rif"!: said: ‘.asan al-!Askar: had a child who has the sird"b (vault) in S"mar"v. He is the awaited one, the proof and friend of Alla>h Mu9ammad the Mahdi.’
Al-J"m: said: ‘The Mahdi is a leader of the world.’294 Ibn .ajar said: ‘AbY al-Q"sim Mu9ammad is the 9ujja or proof of Alla>h and he was five years old at the death of his father. Alla>h gave him wisdom at that age and he is named “the Awaited One, who will rise”.’295 Ibn Kothayr said in a tradition he narrates: ‘Jesus will pray behind the Mahdi.’296 Ibn Kothayr also said: ‘[With] black banners will come the companions of the Mahdi.’297 The role of the Imams and their followers (Shi!a) The Imams of the house of Mu9ammad (Ahl al-Bayt) gave the greatest of services to Islam and the Islamic nation, and, were it not for this, Islam would have been subject to the same storms which rocked previous religions and diverted them from their true paths.
The Sh:!a themselves have strived in the path of Alla>h throughout history and helped to bring many people to the true religion of Allah. They stood in the path of various adverse (ideological) trends and currents and, were it not for the Sh:!a, Islam and the Muslims may well have been swept away. All of this is detailed in the history books - a glance at the books a!y"n al-sh:!" of al- !wmul:, and al-dhar:!a of al-Tehr"n: is sufficient to prove this fact.
Human civilisation is, in many respects, indebted to the services of Shi!ites and this has been recognised by secular and religious scholars alike and the Sh:!a have finally gained the recognition they deserve.
Evidence for the Shi!ite Point of View
The Sh:!a have a great deal of evidence to support their point of view, so much so that the great scholar al-.ill: composed a book named al-alfayn ‘the two thousand’ in which he mentioned two thousand proofs for the Sh:!ite point of view many of which are sourced from Sunnite books and collections of traditions. In what follows, a few of these evidences will be mentioned:298 The Evidence for the Successorship of Ali The Messenger of Alla>h Mu9ammad ibn !Abdull"h (N) alluded to and indicated, stated and reiterated time and again about the successorship of !Al: ibn Ab: ھ"lib (a.s.). For example:
1. The Warning of his close family
This occasion known as the day of warning (yawm al-indh"r) has been documented by many top Sunnite scholars such as Ibn Is9"q, Ibn Jar:r, Ibn Ab: ."tim, al-ھabar: and others.299 This happened at the beginning of the Prophet’s mission, before Islam appeared openly in Mecca after Alla>h had revealed to the Prophet (N) the words: eAnd warn thy close familyf300 The Messenger of Alla>h (N) invited his relatives to the house of his uncle AbY ھ"lib (a.s.) and there were forty men there more or less, including his uncles AbY ھ"lib, .amza, al-!Abb"s, and AbY Lahab. At the end of the discussions the Prophet said to them: ‘O sons of !Abd al-MuUUalib, I swear by Alla>h that I do not know of a young man of the Arabs who has brought his people something better than that which I bring you - I bring you the best of this world and the next. Alla>h has ordered me to invite you to this [Islam], so which of you will aid me in this affair of mine so that he will be my brother and my trustee and my successor amongst you?’
All were silent except for !Al: (a.s.) who was the youngest of them. He stood up and said: ‘O Prophet of Alla>h, I will be your aid in this affair.’ Then the Messenger of Alla>h (N) put his hand on !Al:’s shoulder and said: ‘This is my brother and my trustee (waN:y) and my successor (khal:fa) amongst you so hear him and obey him.’
2. The Day of Ghadir
The tradition of Ghad:r has been related by one hundred and twenty of the companions of the Messenger of Alla>h (N) and eighty-four of the generation after them (al-t"bi!Yn). The number of prominent traditionists who narrated this tradition exceeds three hundred and sixty.301.302 Those who have written about this tradition in books from both the Sunni and Sh:!a schools number more than 166 people. In brief, when the Messenger of Alla>h Mu9ammad (N) returned from the final ‘farewell’ .ajj pilgrimage he reached a location named ‘Ghad:r Khumm’. There he halted the people and mounted a pulpit in the noonday heat and delivered a long sermon in front of more than one hundred thousand people. During this speech he took hold of the hand of !Al: (a.s.) and said: ‘O people, Alla>h is my master (mawla>) and I am the master of the believers and I have more authority over them than they do over their own selves. So whoever I am the master of then this man - !Al: - is his master. O Alla>h, be allied with who is allied with him and the enemy of he who is his enemy. I will surely ask you, when we meet again [in the afterlife] about the two weighty matters (al-thaqalayn) and how you act towards them after I am gone - the greater weighty thing is the Qurv"n, the book of Almighty Alla>h. It is a heavenly course (sabab) one end of which is in the hand of Alla>h and the other end is in your hands so hold firmly on to it and go not astray and do not take any substitute for it. And [secondly] my family, the people of my house, for the Subtle and All-Aware [Alla>h] has informed me that they will never perish until they meet me at the well of Paradise.’303
Imam A9mad mentions in his musnad: ‘that the Prophet (N) took the hand of !Al: (a.s.) and said to those present: ‘Do you not know that I have more authority over the believers than they do over their own selves?’ They said: ‘Indeed we do.’ He said: ‘Do you not know that I have more authority over every believer than he does over his own self?’ They said: ‘Indeed we do.’ The he said: ‘Whoever I am his master (mawl": lit. place of authority) then !Al: is his master. O Alla>h, be allied to his allies and be an enemy to his enemies.’ The narrator continues: ‘Then !Umar went to him afterwards and said to him: ‘Congratulations O son of AbY ھ"lib, you have now become the master of every believing man and woman!’ 304
In his book al-wil"ya, al-ھabar: relates that after this the Messenger of Alla>h (N) ordered that his companions greet !Al: in acknowledgement of him as commander of the believers. Hence, the companions used to come to him and say to him ‘Peace be upon you O Commander of the Faithful ()!’
In answer to those who say that the Prophet (N) did not nominate a successor we would say that this is not sensible or logical especially as the Prophet was the most intelligent and sensible of people. He would not ever leave Medina even for a few days without nominating someone to lead the community in his place so when it came to his death it is not possible that he should leave his community rudderless.305