Imam Hadi (PBUH)
Imam Ali Al-Hadi Al-Naqi (Arabic: علي الهادي النقي), also known as Hadi is the tenth Imam of Shia Muslims.
Birth in Medina
Imam Hadi (PBUH) was born in Midina in 828 A.D (212 A.H) accepted that he was born between 827–830 CE (Zul Hajjah, 15, 212 A.H). Imam Hadi (PBUH) was born in Medina to the ninth Shia Imam, Imam Jawad (PBUH) and Lady Sumanah.
Imam Hadi (PBUH) assumed the official role of Imamate (leadership) at a very young age of 7 or 8 years (because he had the divine knowledge). At that age, he had become a point of reference for the Muslims. People would refer to him and seek his guidance in almost everything pertaining to their lives.
When the enemies of Ahl Al-Bayt (the progeny of the prophet Muhammad) saw this, they were displeased with the situation. So, in conjunction with the government of the time, which was in opposition of Ahl Al-Bayt, they began looking for a person who was the most knowledgeable of the time yet a sworn enemy of Ahl al-Bayt, so that Imam Hadi (PBUH) is put under his care for training and the Muslims, particularly the Shia do not get any access to him.
Finally, Ubaydullah Junaydi, a prominent scholar from Iraq and a sworn enemy of Ahl Al-Bayt was appointed for the task. Ubaydullah took the Imam into his care and did not allow any Shia to visit him. This way, the guidance of Imam Hadi (PBUH) was suspended for his Shias. One day a person came to Ubaydullah Junaydi and asked him, “How is the Hashimite (Banu Hashim, decentents of Hashim’s tribe) servant doing?” Junaydi, a sworn enemy of Ahl Al-Bayt became extremely furious with the man and said to him, “Do not call him a Hashimite servant for he is not a servant but a leader of Banu Hashim. By Allah! Despite his young age, he is more knowledgeable than I am. People think that I am disciplining him but the truth is that he is disciplining me. I swear by Allah! He is not only the Hafiz of Quran (someone who has Quran verses in memory) but also possesses its knowledge. To be precise, he is the best of all on the face of this earth”. (Al-Dam’ah al-Saakibah)
They found al-Junaydi to perform the task. However, al-Junaydi often reported on the Imam’s intelligence. Imam Hadi (PBUH) often provided perspectives on literature that al-Junaydi hadn’t thought of, and at his young age he had even developed a comprehensive understanding of the Quran and the revelations within. Al-Junaydi, impressed and astounded by the young boy, concluded that it could only be by divine causes that the Imam could be so knowledgeable, and so he dropped the animosity he had held towards the family of the Prophet.
Imam Hadi (PBUH) utilized the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina as a place to teach people about knowledge, principles, and morals that could be derived from Islam. The Imam was dedicated to teaching, so much that he would pay for students’ supplies if they needed it (in addition to the regular charity he gave to the poor). Due to his kindness, most people in Medina that interacted with him were loyal to him.
Despite the general population’s love for the Imam, one man despised the Imam for the support he had amongst the people. Abdullah bin Muhammad was the guardian of Medina, and he told Mutawakkil (Abbasid caliph) that Imam Hadi was dangerous because some Islamic nations were giving him money with which he could buy weapons; those weapons could then be used to revolt against Mutawakkil.
When Imam Hadi (PBUH) learned of what Abdullah bin Muhammad had told the caliph, he sent a letter to Mutawakkil assuring him that the warning had no bearing, and that it was merely a product of a grudge he had held against the Ahl al-Bayt. Mutawakkil responded to the letter with another, stating that he had deposed the guardian and that the Imam should come to Samarra (in Iraq) and be under house arrest so that the caliph could “protect” him.
At the same time, Mutawakkil ordered Yahya Ibn Harthama to go to Medina both to investigate Abdullah’s claims and to bring Imam Hadi (PBUH) to Samarra. When the Imam received the letter, he knew that in being invited to live in Samarra, he was actually being banished from Medina. While he hated to leave, he also knew that if he rejected the invitation, he would eventually be forcibly removed, it was a situation which he wished to avoid. Yahya then searched the Imam’s house and found nothing more than copies of the Quran; afterward he had but one task left.
Yahya thus forced the Imam and his family to leave Medina for Samarra. After arriving at Samarra, Yahya met Mutawakkil and spoke good things about the Imam, and he told him that he didn’t find anything in his home that supported Abdullah’s claims. Mutawakkil dropped his anger towards the Imam and met him. Even though the caliph had no reason to be suspicious of Imam Hadi (PBUH), he insisted upon his staying in Samarra under house arrest. While the Imam was under house arrest, Mutawakkil maintained a strange relationship with the Imam. The caliph turned to and trusted the Imam over his own personal jurisprudents when he was presented with legal problems; however, part of the caliph still held resentment toward him.
On one occasion, Mutawakkil organized a conference to be held in his palace. He had asked Ibn as-Sakkit to ask the Imam a question that he didn’t think the Imam would answer, so that Mutawakkil could embarrass and defame him before the theologians and jurisprudents he had invited. Not only was the Imam able to answer as-Sakkit’s question, but he also answered the questions that Yahya Ibn Aktham had been told to prepare as backup. Despite Ibn as-Sakkit’s acceptance of the task, he actually ended up dying at the hands of Mutawakkil; the caliph asked him “Are my sons more respectable than Hassan and Hussain (second and third Imams)?” To which as-Sakkit replied,”…Imam Ali’s servant Qamber (one of the best companions of Imam Ali) is more respectable than both of your sons.”
In addition to this attempt to humiliate the Imam, Mutawakkil imposed penalties upon anyone who was found giving the Imam gifts, giving him money, or trying to obtain knowledge about Islam from him. Furthermore, even with the Imam suffering under the caliph’s house arrest, Mutawakkil order on several occasions the arrest of the Imam and the searching of his house on suspicion of having money and weapons with which he could revolt; each time the Imam was cleared of the charges.
There were many times throughout the Imam’s life that he exhibited extreme generosity. In one instance, two men came to the Imam, with one complaining of the other’s debt to him. To solve the problem, the Imam gave to both men 30,000 dinars According to Twelver Shias, Imam Hadi (PBUH) is described as being endowed with the knowledge of all languages such as Persians, Slavs, Indians and Nabataeans in addition to foreknowing unexpected storms and as accurately prophesying other events.
The Imam worked on his farm to support and feed his family. Through working on the farm, he relieved himself and his family of any tendencies towards lavishness; whatever they needed they would provide for themselves. It was reported that when people would ask Imam Hadi (PBUH) why he worked on a farm, he would answer: “Who was better than I and my father, who worked with a spade on his farm.” When they would inquire as to whom he was talking about, he would tell them that he was referring to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Imam Hadi (PBUH) also understood the importance of the Prophet’s teachings, and because of this he dedicated his time to obtaining them so that people could find guidance with regards to morals, disciplines, intellectual issues, and social issues. In addition to narrating Hadith, Imam Hadi thought it very important for people to comprehend and follow Hadith and the sayings of the infallible Imams, and he instructed those Muslims who understood them to adhere to them, and those who didn’t to approach their present infallible Imam and ask him to explain them.
Imam Hadi (PBUH) was dedicated to upholding Sharia law with regards to its verdicts, teachings, and principles. He was considered to be one of the most knowledgeable men of his time concerning the matter, and there were many occasions where even al-Mutawakkil would refer to him for help.
Imam Hadi (PBUH) lived during a time when people had grand misunderstandings about the theology surrounding Islam. As such, the Imam not only found it necessary to confute these misconceptions, but he contributed to the books of “argumentation” that were compiled by Shia scholars to further refute misguided beliefs about the religion.
One such issue the Imam dealt with was whether or not it was possible to see Allah (God). Imam Hadi (PBUH) said that it was impossible to see Him, because, “When the seer equals the seen thing in the cause of sight between them, sight takes place, but those who compare between the seer (man) and Allah(God), they are mistaken, because they have likened Allah to man… Essentially, to say that you can see Allah is to say that you have the same qualities as Allah, which, in this case, is the ability to be seen.
Another issue that the Imam dealt with was the belief that Allah has a body (embodiment of God). Imam Hadi (PBUH) chastised those who believed it and stated that, “He, who claims that Allah is a body, is not from us, and we are free from him in this world and the afterworld…body (substance) is created, and it is Allah Who has created and embodied it. To attribute Allah with embodiment is to characterize Him with need and to limit Him to a body. Essentially, it is wrong to equate Allah with created things due to His nature as our creator. “
Mutawakkil had tired of people preaching of the knowledge and piety of Imam Hadi (PBUH), but mostly he was angry about hearing the Shia talk of how the Imam was more worthy of the caliphate. It was at this point that the caliph hired several non-Muslims to kill the Imam. After explaining what he wanted to do, Imam Hadi (PBUH) arrived with several palace guards. When Mutawakkil saw him, he started to reflect on what he had ordered, and became afraid for his fate in the afterlife. He immediately embraced the Imam, addressed him as “my master,” and kissed him on the forehead. His actions confused the men he had hired, and so they refrained from killing the Imam. The caliph, having given up on killing Imam Hadi (PBUH), decided he would try to humiliate him instead. He ordered that the officials, notables, and the Imam (so it wouldn’t look like the act was intended for him) would have to travel on foot during a hot summer day while the caliph remained mounted on his horse. The Imam, having almost suffered a heat stroke, recited the Quranic verse, “Enjoy yourself in your abode for three days that is a promise not to be belied.” Another account of this prediction stated that the Imam was imprisoned by the caliph, and it was that act which provoked the Imam to foretell of his death. Within three days of that event, plotters assassinated the caliph; one of the assassins was actually his son, al-Muntasir.
Finally, in the time of the one of the Abbasid caliphs, the caliph felt the same way that his predecessor al-Mutawakkil did about Imam Hadi (PBUH), He was jealous of how people talked of the Imam’s virtues and knowledge, so he poisoned Imam Hadi (PBUH) and martyred him in 868 A.D (Rajab, 3, 254 A.H). The poison reacted violently and caused great amounts of pain upon the Imam until his martyrdom. His son and successor, Hassan al-Askari (PBUH), performed the purification rituals and buried his father in a grave outside the house.
This burial spot in Samarra is now the al-Askari Shrine, one of the holiest Shia shrines. On 22 February 2006, a bomb attack in Iraq badly damaged the shrine of Imam Hadi (PBUH) and his son Imam Hassan Al-Askari; another attack was executed on 13 June 2007, which led to the destruction of the two minarets of the shrine. Those attacks took place by Wahhabis.