Imam Hassan Askari (AS), The Eleventh Imam

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SHAFAQNA- The Imam was born in Madina on the 10th of Rabiul Thani 232 Hijri ( 6.12.846 AD).

He was martyred in Samarrah, now Iraq, on 8th of Rabiul Awwal 260 Hijri (4.1.874) aged 28 years. The period of his Imamate was 6 years.

Samarra (Surre Mun Ra’) was a garrison town about 60 miles north of Baghdad. River Euphrates flows in the middle of the town, and because of the surrounding hills a cool breeze keeps the area cooler in comparison to Baghdad. The word ‘Asker’ in Arabic is used for army. Our 11th Imam’s title became known as Askari, the one who lived all his life in a garrison town.

There is another story related with this name by many historians. Once the Caliph called him in his palace and ordered his army to march past before him. The Caliph wanted to boast or to impress the Imam of his power or to dissuade the Imam from any thoughts of revolution against the Abbasid Caliphate.

When the march past was over, Imam asked the Caliph to gaze between two of his fingers. What the Caliph saw was a huge army of lancers and swords men marching past, a much bigger crowd than the Caliph’s army. He was astonished at this miracle and named him Askari, i.e. the man with a big army.

Imam Hasan al Askari’s (AS) life from childhood to adulthood was spent in this house where his father Imam Ali Naqi (AS) was to remain under house arrest. But despite this close guard on the Imam, he conducted his duties as Imam from inside the house.

He taught people Quran and instructed his followers the true teachings of Islam as taught by the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) and his Ahlul Bayt. In fact, Imam Hasan al-Askari wrote a complete Tafseer of the Quran which was mentioned by many scholars, historians and exegetes, including Kulaini and Saduq.

Imam’s life in Samarrah was not in peace even under house arrest. From time to time he was taken to Baghdad, questioned and put in prison there. On one such occasion, the Imam was taken by the Turkish guards to Baghdad where he was kept in prison during the short reign of the Caliph al-Muktadi and al-Mu’tamid afterwards.

While he was a prisoner in Baghdad there was a severe draught. Rain had not fallen for some time and crops were drying up. People were facing a famine. They did not know what to do.

The Imam performed two Rak’ats of prayers then lifted his bare hands to God for rain to come to the land and wipe out the draught.

The Imam’s prayers were heard by the Almighty and rain fell so much that the land became fertile again and crops began to grow. In recognition of this service, the Imam was allowed to leave the prison in Baghdad and live in his house in Samarrah, still under house arrest.

Imam Hassan Askari (AS), The Eleventh Imam

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