al-Askari(a.s.) spent twenty-two years of his life under the
patronage of his father , Imam Ali Naqi al-Hadi(a.s.) after
whose martyrdom he became his divinely commissioned Imam .
al-Askari(a.s.), the son of the Tenth Imam , was born in 232 AH
and according to some Shi`ite sources was poisoned and killed in
260 AH through the instigation of the Abbasid caliph al-Mu`tamid
. The Eleventh Imam(a.s.) 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
extreme repression at that time because the Shi`ite population
had reached a considerable lavel in both numbers and power .
Everyone knew 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(pbuh&hf) in both Sunni and
Shi`ite sources . For this reason the Eleventh Imam(a.s.), 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 Imam Hasan Askari(a.s.) reached al-Mu`tamid ,
he sent a physician and a few of his trusted agents and judges
to the house of the Imam(a.s.) to be with him and observe his
condition and the situation within his house at all times .
death of the Imam(a.s.), 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(a.s.) until they lost all hope . The Eleventh Imam(a.s.)
was buried in his house in Samarrah next to his noble father.
When he was
born his father said that it was an order from the prophet
s.a.w. that he should be named Hasan. It was so well known that
the last Imams father would be called Hasan that people had
previously looked for the 12th Imam amongst the sons of Imam
Hasan Al-Mujtaba (a.s.)
was Sulail (or Hudaitha) who was a slave of the 10th Imam whom
he had freed and subsequently married. The 10th Imam said of her
that she was one who was free from all vice and pollution and
that she was one of the righteous ones. After the 11th Imam's
martyrdom he left all the "orders" of Imamate with her (his
Imam Hasan Al-Askari(a.s.) was a young child he fell into a well
near their house. His father Imam Ali An-Naqi(a.s.) was praying
and didn't even notice the commotion around him of the ladies
crying. When he finished praying and asked what had happened, he
was told. He went towards the well. The water rose and all saw
the 11th Imam(a.s.) sitting peacefully on the water and playing.
saw the young Imam crying in the street where all the other
children were busy playing with their toys. He asked whether
Imam(a.s.) was crying because he had no toys to play with.
Imam(a.s.) replied: "We have not been created to play!"
where he had learnt this from and the Imam said :
"Have you not
read the Qur'an where it says - "Do you think we have created
you in vain and that you will not be returned to us".
heard this he asked Imam(a.s.) for some advice. Imam(a.s.)
talked about death, barzakh and qiyama and cried so much, he
fainted. When he came to, Bahlool asked him why he was so
fearful as he was not even baligh yet. Imam(a.s.) said:
watched my mother light a fire; she uses the little twigs to get
the big pieces of wood to burn; I fear that on qiyama Allah(swt)
too will use little ones to light the big ones".
The 10th and
11th Imamayn were both called Al-Askery as they lived in an area
of Samarra called Askery.
reason that the 11th Imam was called Askery is said to be that
once Mutawakkil wanted to show the Imam the strength of his army
of 90,000 men and so he asked his men to fill their sacks with
sand and pile all the sacks up. He then showed Imam this
mountain of sacks. Imam asked Mutawakkil, to look through his
(Imam's) two fingers, where he saw a an army of armed Angels.
Imam told him that they were at his disposal but he would not
use them. (An army is called Askery).
Life & Works
Ishaq relates that when he heard of the death of the 10th Imam
he went to Samarra and asked for the whereabouts of the 11th
Imam. He was told that Imam had been imprisoned by Mo'taz
Billah. After bribing the guards he was able to visit Imam one
night. He described the prison as a tunnel under the Khalifa's
home where there was no space to stretch ones legs nor room to
be able to stand. Ahmed says he cried when he saw Imams
condition. Food was only one glass of water and a piece of dry
bread a day.
imprisoned because all the rulers knew of the justice that was
promised to come with the coming of the 12th Imam and they
wished to prevent anyone being born of the 11th Imam.
prison he told his companions to accumulate all the masails of
Fiqh and he completed the masails on the chapters that were
found missing. He introduced the institution of "Taqleed"
advising people to follow those who were learned, "Muttaqi", and
just, as he was in prison and it was extremely difficult for
people to meet him. Khums was collected through his
representative and masails too asked to him, Abu-Ja'fer Uthman
bin Saeed, who was later to become the representative of the
once a severe drought in Samarra and a Christian priest came who
whenever he raised his hands caused rain to fall from the
heavens. The Muslims faith started wavering and the Khalifa
Mo'taz Billah got worried for if they left Islam he would have
none to rule over.
He went to
the 11th Imam saying that Imam's grandfathers religion was in
trouble. Imam asked him to call all the people outside Samarra
with the Christian priest. He asked the Christian priest to pray
for rain. When he raised his hands to pray it started to rain.
Imam asked for whatever was in this hands to be taken away and
then asked him to pray for rain again. There was no rain this
time. Imam showed that what the priest had in this hand was the
bone of a Prophet which whenever placed under the open sky
caused it to rain.
prayed for rain and it rained. Mo'taz could not re imprison Imam
for some time for when the people saw the miracle they all
wanted to visit Imam and asked where they might find him. Imam
pointed to the Khalifa and asked them to ask him. Mo'taz told
them that Imam was staying at the house where the 10th Imam used
was there and it was in that year that the 12th Imam was born.
Imam was allowed out of prison for 13 months after which he was
In the six
years of his Imamate several attempts were made on his life. On
the 1st of Rabi-ul Awwal 260 a.h. Mo'tamad arranged for
Imam(a.s.) to be poisoned in prison and then sent him home.
Imam(a.s.) was in great pain and difficulty for 8 days. On the
8th of Rabi-ul Awwal he asked his son, the 12th Imam, to bring
him some water and then leave him. He died that day and was
given ghusl & kafan by his son, Imam Mahdi(a.s.).
prayers were led by the 12th Imam and it was then that a lot of
Shia's saw him for the first time. A large number of people
attended the funeral and he is buried in Samarra.
The 11th Imam
was once asked of the signs of a mo'min (believer).He listed the
He is one
prays 51 rakaats of salaa daily.
He prostates on Khake Shafaa.
He wears rings on his right hand.
He repeats the verses of Azhan & Ikama.
He recites "Bismillah" loudly in Salaa.
He prays his Fajr Salaa before the stars disappear and his Dhuhr
prayers before the sun starts to decline.
He recite Qunoot in Salaa.
He dyes his hair and beard.
He recites 5 takbirs in Salatul Mayyit.