the Imam after \asan `Askarí?
On Friday evening the group met at Engineer Madaní's house. The session formally began with the question raised by Dr. Jalálí.
Dr. Jalálí: I have heard that Imam \asan 'Askarí had no son at all!
Mr. Hoshyár: There are several methods to prove that Imam \asan 'Askari did have a son:
(a) In numerous traditions reported on the authority of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) and the Imams it is related that \asan b. 'Alí b. Mu<ammad 'Askarí will have a son who will return to launch a universal reform movement after a long absence and will fill the earth with justice and equity. This matter has been related in various forms in the traditions. If you recall, we have mentioned a list of <adíth-reports in the previous discussion in which it is affirmed that the Mahdí will be the ninth descendant of Imam \usayn; that the Mahdí will be the sixth descendant of Imam @ádiq; that he will be the fifth descendant of Imam Ká~im; the fourth descendant of Imam Ri_á; the third decendant of Imam Mu<ammad Taqí; and so on.
(b) In several traditions it is related
that the Mahdí will be the son of Imam \asan 'Askarí
(peace be upon him). For example, @aqr b. Abí Dalf relates
that he heard from Imam 'Alí Naqí who said:
The Imam following me is my son \asan. After \asan his son is the Qá'im who will fill the earth with justice and equity just as it is filled with injustice and tyranny.
(c) In a number of <adíth-reports
Imam \asan 'Askarí has informed that the Qá'im and
the Mahdí will be his son and that the house of the Imam
and the Prophet is protected from falsehood and error. The following
is the tradition related by Mu<ammad b. 'Uthmán, the
second deputy of the twelfth Imam during the Short Occultation
(ghaybat-i sughrá), who received it from his father,
the first deputy:
I was in presence of Imam \asan 'Askarí when someone asked him regarding the <adíth that was related from his forefathers, namely: "The earth will never be void of the <ujjat (God's proof), and any one who dies without acknowledging the Imam of the Age dies the death of ignorance." The Imam responded: "Yes, indeed the matter is as clear and real as daylight." The person went on to ask: "Who is the <ujjat and the Imam after you?" He said: "After me the hujjat and the Imam will be my son Mu<ammad. Any one who dies without acknowledging him will die a death of ignorance. Be aware that my son will go into occultation. The people, because of that, will experience confusion. Those who are unfaithful will perish, whereas those who fix the time of his appearance will be uttering falsehood. When the period of his occultation comes to an end he will launch a revolution. I see the white flags waving over his head in Najaf."
(d) Imam \asan 'Askarí informed a number of his close companions about the birth of his son. The following are some of those traditions:
(1) Fa_l b. Shádhán, who died after the birth of the twelfth Imam and before the death of Imam \asan 'Askarí, wrote in his book on Ghayba, relating from Mu<ammad b. 'Alí b. \amza, who said: "I heard Imam \asan 'Askarí saying: 'The Proof of God and my successor was born circumcised on the 15th night of Sha'bán, year 255 (870 CE), in the early hour of dawn.'"
(2) Another close associate of the Imams, A<mad b. Is<áq heard Imam \asan 'Askarí say: "Thank God that He did not take me away from this world without showing me my successor. He (my son) is closest to the Prophet in his features and character. God will keep him for a while in occultation and then He will cause him to emerge so that he will fill the earth with justice and equity."
(3) A<mad b. \asan b. Is<áq Qummí related: When the righteous successor [of Imam \asan 'Askarí] was born, a letter came from the Imam 'Askarí through A<mad b. Is<áq. The Imam had written: "A son has been born to me. Keep this matter secret, because I will not divulge it except to my close associates and relatives."
(4) Again A<mad b. Is<áq relates that one day he was with Imam \asan 'Askarí when the latter asked him: "A<mad, what do you say about the matter in which people have fallen in doubt?" He said: "When your letter announcing the birth of your son arrived, for all of us, that is, men, women, children, old and young, truth became manifest and we believed in what you conveyed to us." The Imam said: "Don't you know that the earth cannot be without God's proof in it?"
(5) Abú Ja'far Mu<ammad b. 'Uthmán 'Amrí, the second deputy of the twelfth Imam, has related that when the Imam of the Age was born Imam \asan 'Askarí asked for Abú 'Amr, 'Uthmán, his father and the first deputy of the twelfth Imam. When he came the Imam told him: "Buy a thousand pounds of bread and a thousand pounds of meat and distribute it among the Háshimites. Also, arrange for some sheep to be sacrificed for my newly born son's head-shaving ceremony ('aqíqa)."
All these traditions provide the necessary
evidence that there was a son born to Imam \asan 'Askarí
(peace be upon him).
Who Saw the Imam of the Age When He Was Small
Dr. Jalálí: How can it be possible that a person could have a son and no one in the world would know about him? Moreover, how can it be so that five years would pass and he would remain unknown? Did not Imam 'Askarí live in Sámarra? Was not he visited by anyone? Could one believe the only report on the presence of the infant son of the Imam coming from Abú 'Amr 'Uthmán b. Sa'id?
Mr. Hoshyár: Although it was clear from the very beginning that, under the circumstances which prevailed in Sámarra under the 'Abbasids, the birth of Imam 'Askarí's son would be kept secret, there were those trustworthy associates and relatives who had seen the child and had testified to his presence. Let us examine some reports to that effect:
(1) Among those who were present at the
birth of the twelfth Imam and who reported the event in great
detail was \akíma Khátún, the daughter of
Imam Mu<ammad Taqí and the aunt of Imam \asan 'Askarí.
The story in brief is recounted by her as follows:
One day I was visiting Imam 'Askarí's house. At night, which happened to be the fifteenth night of Sha'bán (255 AH/29th July, 870), when I wanted to return to my home, the Imam said: "Aunt, stay with us tonight, because God's friend and my successor will be born this night." I asked: "Which one of your slave-girls is expecting?" He said: "Sawsan." Hence, I started looking at her to see if there were any signs of pregnancy in her. I could not see any. After breaking the fast and finishing prayers, I slept in the same room as Sawsan. After a while I woke up from my sleep and began to think about what Imam 'Askarí had predicted. Then I started performing the midnight prayers. Sawsan also woke up and prepared to perform her prayers. It was getting close to the dawn. But there was no sign of child-birth in her. I was beginning to doubt what the Imam had predicted when he said from his room: "Aunt dear, do not doubt. The time for my son's birth is approaching."
All of a sudden Sawsan's condition started changing. I asked her if everything was alright. She said that she was feeling some discomfort. I began to prepare things that were needed for delivery and took charge of the situation. Within a short while God's friend was born, all clean and pure. Just then Imam 'Askarí said: "O Aunt, bring my son to me." When I took him to the Imam he held him close to himself and stroked his tongue over the infant's eyes. The eyes of the infant opened immediately. Then he stroked his mouth and ears with his tongue, and his head with his hand. At that time the infant began to recite verses from the Qur'an. Then he gave the infant back to me and asked me to take him back to his mother. I brought him to his mother and went home.
On the third day, I came back to Imam 'Askarí's house and straight away I went to Sawsan's room to see the child. But I did not see him. I went to the Imam's room. but hesitated to ask about the infant. The Imam at once informed me: "O aunt, my son is in concealment in God's protection. When I depart from this world and when you see my followers in dispute about my successor, tell those trustworthy among them what you have witnessed in connection with his birth. However, make sure that the event is guarded in secrecy because my son will be in occultation."
(2) The two maids at Imam 'Askarí's residence have related that when the Imam of the Age was born he sat on his legs and raised his finger toward the sky [bearing witness to the Unity of God]. Then he sneezed and said: "Praise be to God, the Lord of the universe."
(3) Abú Ghánim, the servant at Imam 'Askarí's house, relates that a son was born to Imam \asan 'Askarí, whom he named Mu<ammad. "On the third day he showed him to his companions and said: 'This son of mine will be your master and Imam after me. He is the Qá'im who is being awaited by everyone. When the earth is filled with injustice and tyranny, he will rise, and fill it with justice and equity.'"
(4) Abú 'Alí Khayzarání relates from the slave girl he had presented to Imam 'Askarí that she was present at the time when the twelfth Imam was born. His mother's name was @ayqal.
(5) \asan b. \usayn 'Alawí said: "I personally went to see Imam \asan 'Askarí in Sámarra to congratulate him on the occasion of his son's birth." A similar tradition has been related by 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbás 'Alawí.
(6) \asan b. Mundhir reports that one day \amza b. Abú al-Fat< came to see him and informed him: "Last night God granted Imam 'Askarí a son. However, he has asked us to keep the matter secret. I asked him his name. He said it is Mu<ammad."
(7) A<mad b. Is<áq relates
that one day he came to see Imam \asan 'Askarí with the
intention of asking about his successor. The Imam began the conversation.
O A<mad b. Is<áq, from the time God created Adam until the Day of Resurrection, God has not and will not leave the earth without His proof. It is because of the existence of this person that calamity is removed from earth and rain falls on it, through which the earth brings forth blessings.
At that juncture A<mad asked the Imam
about his successor. The Imam went in the private quarters of
his house and returned carrying a three year old boy whose face
was shining like the fourteenth night moon and said:
O A<mad, if you had not been close to the Imams and highly respected by them I would not have shown my son to you. Know that this boy's name and patronymic are the same as the Prophet's name and patronymic. He is the one who will fill the earth with justice and equity.
(8) Mu'áwiya b. \akím, Mu<ammad
b. Ayyúb and Mu<ammad b. 'Uthmán 'Amrí
related the following account:
We were forty people who had come together in Imam \asan 'Askarí's house. The Imam presented his son to us and said: "This is your Imam and my successor. After me you must obey him. Do not get into a dispute on this matter, otherwise you will be destroyed. However, you must remember that after this you will not be able to see him."
(9) Ja'far b. Mu<ammad b. Málik
was among the group of the prominent members of the Shí'a
that included 'Alí b. Bilál, A<mad b. Hilál,
Mu<ammad b. Mu'áwiya b. \akím and \asan b. Ayyúb.
He relates the following occasion:
We were all gathered at the Imam 'Askarí's house to find out about his successor. We were some forty people there. At that time 'Uthmán b. 'Amr stood up and asked: "O son of the Prophet, we have come to ask you about something of which you have better knowledge." The Imam said: "Please be seated." He then left the room asking everyone to remain there. He returned after an hour, having brought with him a small boy whose face was shining like the moon. He then announced: "This is your Imam. Obey him. And also know that you will no more see him after today." 
(10) Abú Hárún reports that he saw the twelfth Imam when his face was shining like the full moon.
(11) Ya'qúb relates that one day he went to visit Imam 'Askarí. On the right side of the Imam he saw a room with a curtain hanging on its entrance. He asked the Imam as to who was the Master of the Age. The Imam said: "Raise the curtain!." When he raised the curtain, a boy appeared and came and sat on the Imam's lap. At that time, the Imam told Ya'qúb: "This is your Imam."
(12) 'Amr Ahwází reported that Imam 'Askarí showed him his son and told him that he was the Imam after him.
(13) A Persian servant related the following:
I was standing at Imam \asan 'Askarí's door when I saw a maid leaving the house with something covered in her hands. The Imam said to her: "Reveal that which you have in your hands." The maid uncovered a beautiful boy. The Imam told me: "This is your Imam." After that one time I never saw that boy again.
(14) Abú Na#r, the servant, and Abú 'Alí Mu>ahhar relate that they saw the son of Imam \asan 'Askarí.
(15) Kámil b. Ibráhím relates that he saw the twelfth Imam in the house of Imam \asan 'Askarí. He was four years old and his face was as beautiful as the full moon. The Imam answered his questions before he asked him.
(16) Sa'd b. 'Abd Alláh recounts: "I saw the Master of the Age as his face was bright like the full moon. He was sitting on his father's lap and responded to the questions I asked."
(17) \amza b. Nu#ayr, Imam 'Ali Naqí's slave relates from his father: When the twelfth Imam was born the family members in the household of Imam \asan 'Askarí were congratulating each other. When the Imam had grown a little older I was asked to buy daily meat with some bone and it was said that the meat was for "our younger master."
(18) Ibráhím b. Mu<ammad
Once because of fear of the governor I decided to escape from Sámarra. I came to Imam \asan 'Askarí's house in order to bid him farewell. I saw a beautiful child next to him. I asked him: "O son of the Prophet, who is this child?" The Imam replied: "He is my son and successor."
This was the list of the trustworthy associates,
relatives, and servants of Imam \asan 'Askarí who had seen
his son in his childhood and who had testified to his existence.
When one puts this testimony along side the information given
by the Prophet and the Imams, then certainty about the existence
of the son of Imam \asan 'Askarí is attained.
Was the Twelfth Imam Not Mentioned in the Will of Imam \asan 'Askarí?
Engineer Madaní: It is said that in his last days when Imam \asan 'Askarí was ill he appointed his mother as the executer of his will so that she could manage his affairs after his death. This matter was officially approved by the court. In this will there was no mention of his son. Moreover, his estate was divided between his mother and his brother. Had he had a son then he would have certainly mentioned him in his last will so that he would not be deprived of his share of inheritance.
Mr. Hoshyár: Imam \asan 'Askarí intentionally kept his son's name off his last will so that he would remain immune from all the danger that could come to him from the ruler of the time. In fact, he was so careful in this matter and was so fearful about his son's birth being uncovered that at times, out of necessity, he would employ precautionary dissimulation in the matter of his son with his close associates to obscure the situation for them.
One of the companions of Imam \asan 'Askarí
by the name of Ibráhím b. Idrís relates that
the Imam sent him a sheep with a message that he should sacrifice
it for the latter's having performed the ceremony of shaving off
his son's birth hair ('aqíqa), and share the meat
with his family. Ibráhím carried out the Imam's
order. But when he came to see him the Imam said: "Our child
has died." However, once again he sent Ibráhím
two sheep with a letter in which the Imam instructed Ibráhím:
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Sacrifice these sheep for your master's ceremony of 'aqíqa and eat the meat with your family.
Ibráhím carried out the order. But when he came to see the Imam the latter did not mention anything about it. 
Imam @ádiq had also taken similar
precautions in his last will. He had appointed five persons as
executors of his will, including the 'Abbasid caliph Man#úr,
Mu<ammad b. Sulaymán, the governor of Madina, his two
sons, 'Abd Allah and Músá, and his wife \amída,
Músá's mother. By doing so
he saved the life of his son Músá from imminent
danger, because he knew that if his Imamate and legateship became
known to the caliph, Man#úr would have tried to get rid
of his son. As a matter of fact events did happen exactly as Imam
@ádiq had thought, because the caliph ordered that if the
legatee of the Imam @ádiq was a specific person, then he
should be killed.
Did Others Not Know about the Twelfth Imam's Birth?
Dr. Fahímí: The custom is that when a child is born to anyone, then relatives, neighbors, and friends come to know about it. This is true in the case of a person who is well respected. As such no one disputes the existence of a child for that person. How can one believe that the people would have no information about a son born to Imam \asan 'Askarí in spite of the respect that he held among them and that they would have doubts about that and dispute with each other about it?
Mr. Hoshyár: You are correct that normally the situation is exactly the way you have described. However, Imam \asan 'Askarí from the very beginning had decided that he would not divulge any information about the birth of a son to him. Rather, such a decision was made when the Prophet was alive and when other Imams were faced with a situation where secrecy about the birth was among the signs of the last Imam. Thus we have a report which says that Imam Zayn al-'Ábidín predicted that: "The birth of our Qa'im will be concealed from the people and that will cause the people to say that he is not born at all, so that when he takes the command no one's allegiance will be on his neck."
In another tradition 'Abd Alláh b.
I said to Imam Báqir: "Your followers in Iraq are numerous. By God, no one in your family has the status that you have. Why don't you rise?" The Imam said: "O 'Abd Alláh, you have allowed nonsensical talk to enter your mind. By God, I am not the promised commander of the affairs." I asked: "Then who is the commander of the affairs?" He said: "Look out for someone whose birth will be concealed from the people. He will be your commander." 
Dr. Fahímí: Why did Imam \asan 'Askarí conceal the birth of his son from the people so that they would fall into doubt and perplexity and would be led astray in the matter of Imamate?
Mr. Hoshyár: As I have said earlier, the story of the promised Mahdí was widespread among Muslims from the very early days of Islam. The traditions and the <adíth-reports about the subject that were related by the Prophet and the further confirmation of these reports by the Imams had circulated among the people. The rulers of the time were also well aware of these <adíth-reports which announced that the promised Mahdí will be among the descendants of Fá>ima and \usayn. Moreover, these traditions announced the destruction of unjust governments by the Mahdí, who will establish the rule of justice and equity all over the world. Consequently, they were in fear of the birth and emergence of the promised Mahdí and were determined to rid themselves of the danger of the revolution of the Mahdí. It was for this reason that the homes of the family members of the Prophet, that is, the Háshimites, and more particularly Imam \asan 'Askarí's home, were under constant surveillance and under the watchful eyes of secret agents of the 'Abbasid state.
Mu'tamid, the 'Abbasid caliph, had assigned a number of midwives to conduct espionage missions in the Háshimite families to collect information about pregnancies and child births. When the caliph got the news about Imam \asan 'Askarí's illness, he instructed his agents to keep a constant watch over the house of the Imam. When he heard that the Imam had died, he ordered a search of the Imam's house to find the whereabouts of his son. In addition, he sent some of these midwives to examine the slave girls of the Imam to determine if they were pregnant. If a woman was found pregnant she was detained and imprisoned.
The midwives suspected one of the women to be pregnant and reported her to the caliph. The caliph ordered her to be confined to one of the rooms and commissioned Ta<rír, his servant, to watch over her. He did not set her free until he was sure that she did not carry the Imam's child. He did not stop with the household of Imam \asan 'Askarí. Rather, as soon as the funeral was over he ordered all the houses to be searched and kept under watch.
Now you can appreciate that Imam \asan 'Askarí, living under those dangerous circumstances, could not do anything other than conceal his son's birth from the people so that he would remain immune from their evil designs. The Prophet and his rightful successors, the Imams, used to predict these conditions and inform the people of the twelfth Imam's birth in secret.
However, such stories are not unknown in historical annals. As you know, when Pharaoh came to know that a child would be born among the Israelites who would put an end to his kingdom, he attempted to forestall the danger and so sent his spies around to keep a watch over all pregnant women and to kill all the boys and imprison all the girls that were born. With all these criminal acts he did not reach his aim, and God caused the birth of Moses to remain concealed so that the divine aim could be fulfilled.
As for Imam \asan 'Askarí, in spite
of that dangerous situation, he revealed his son to a number of
his trusted companions and followers so that they would continue
to receive the guidance. Nevertheless, he asked them to keep the
matter secret from the enemies and requested that they not even
mention his name.
Mother of the Twelfth Imam
Dr. Jalalí: What is the name of the mother of the Master of the Age?
Mr. Hoshyár: His mother was introduced in the sources with various names. Among them are: Narjís, @ayqal, Ray<ana, Sawsan, Khum>, \ukayma, and Maryam. If you keep the two following points in mind you will understand the source of this confusion:
(a) Imam \asan 'Askarí had several slave girls with different names. On two occasions \akíma Khátún has mentioned these slave girls. At one time she came to visit Imam \asan 'Askarí and saw him seated in the courtyard of his house, surrounded by his slave girls. She asked him: "Which one of these girls is going to be the mother of your successor?" The Imam replied: "It is Sawsan."
In another report \akíma relates the event of the birth of the twelfth Imam, cited earlier, in which Imam \asan 'Askarí requests her to spend the night of 15th Sha'bán (255 AH/870 CE) in his house because a child was going to be born. At that point \akíma asked him: "Which of your maidens is the mother of the child?" The Imam said: "It is Narjís." \akíma said: "Yes, I too like her the most among your slave girls."
From these two and other similar reports it appears that Imam \asan 'Askarí had several slave girls.
(b) As stated earlier Imam \asan 'Askarí's child was born in an extremely dangerous situation because the 'Abbasid caliphs and even some members of the Háshimite clan had been aware of the approaching time for the birth of the Mahdí, who was to end unjust and tyrannical rule and establish justice and equity. Hence, the agents of the 'Abbasids were guarding the homes of the Háshimites in general, and the Imam in particular, day and night. The secret agents of the caliph were involved in searching for the newborn in these homes to deliver him to the caliph.
Having noted these two things, it must be pointed out that it was certainly decreed by God that in such a threatening environment and in such a home of importance a son had to be born to Imam \asan 'Askarí who should remain protected from all sorts of dangers. It was for this reason that all necessary precautions had to be taken. Hence, to begin with, according to the related accounts, there were no signs of pregnancy in his mother. Moreover, Imam \asan 'Askarí did not reveal her real name. In addition, at the time of the delivery only \akíma Khátún, and probably some slave girls were present. This is despite the fact that usually in such circumstances assistance is sought from a midwife and other experienced women. In fact, nobody knew whether Imam \asan 'Askarí was married or not and, if he was married, no one knew the identity of his wife.
On the fifteenth night of Sha'bán when it was completely dark, at night, the child was born under fear and veiled circumstances. This too happened in a home where there were several slave girls of whom none had any visible signs of pregnancy. At the time of delivery, with the exception of \akíma, there was no one present and no one dared to reveal the situation.
For a long while the matter was kept a secret and only later the close, trusted companions of Imam \asan 'Askarí began to inquire and were told about it. Some among the followers believed that God had favored Imam \asan 'Askarí with a son, whereas others denied it. Since all the slave girls lacked visible signs of pregnancy, the story about the dispute over the identity of the child's mother was naturally bound to occur. Some knew the mother to be Sawsan, some Narjís, some @ayqal, and so on. Nobody, except a select few, knew the true state of affairs. But they were not allowed to divulge that information. Even \akíma, who was the witness and was present during the birth of the twelfth Imam, for the sake of protecting the identity of his mother, sometimes used to mention her name variantly as Narjís, @ayqal or Sawsan, and at other time, as a precautionary measure she would ascribe the child to Imam \asan 'Askarí's mother.
In the year 262 AH/877 CE A<mad b. Ibráhím came to see \akíma Khátún, the daughter of Imam Jawád. He spoke to her from behind the curtain and asked her about her beliefs. She introduced her Imams and mentioned Mu<ammad b. \asan as her last Imam. A<mad said: "Were you yourself witness to the matter (of his birth) or are you saying this on the basis of what you have heard?" She replied saying that the matter was according to what Imam \asan 'Askarí had written to his mother. So A<mad went on to inquire as to whom the Shí'a should follow in that matter. \akíma said that they should follow Imam \asan 'Askarí's mother. A<mad objected saying: "In this will of testament should we follow one woman?" \akíma responded that actually Imam \asan 'Askarí was following his forefather, Imam 'Alí b. \usayn in this matter. Imam \usayn had made his sister Zaynab his legatee and the knowledge that was possessed by 'Alí b. \usyan was ascribed to Zaynab. Imam \usyan had done that, added \akíma, so that the matter about the Imamate of 'Alí b. \usayn would remain secret. Then she said: "You are the people who know the traditions. Have not you been informed that the inheritance belonging to the ninth among the descendants of \usayn will be distributed while he is alive?"
As you can see, in this report \akíma has not responded to the inquiry about the last Imam's birth directly. In fact, she has attributed the story to Imam \asan 'Askarí's mother. It is also likely that out of fear for revealing the true state of affairs to the reporter she employed 'prudential concealment' (taqiyya). Or, she simply wanted to present the report in a manner that would generate bewilderment. However, the same \akíma in another place relates the event that led to the marriage of Imam \asan 'Askarí with Narjís Khátún and the birth of the Mahdí, to which she was herself a witness, in great detail. She ends this account with the following statement: "I now see my master (i.e., the twelfth Imam) regularly and talk to him."
In short, the differences of opinion regarding the name of the last Imam's mother is not something unusual. On the contrary they point to the most difficult and even frightful situation at that time. Moreover, the number of the slave girls that belonged to Imam \asan 'Askarí and the extreme precaution that he took in keeping the matter secret would have necessarily created confusion. It is not unlikely that the story about the serious dispute that erupted between the Imam's mother and brother, Ja`far, the Liar, could have been part of a state conspiracy masterminded by the caliph in order to extort information about Imam \asan 'Askarí's son.
According to Shaykh @adúq in his Kamál al-dín, at the time when Imam \asan 'Askarí's mother got into the dispute with Ja'far, his brother, over the inheritance and when the matter was referred to the caliph, one of the slave girls belonging to Imam \asan 'Askarí by the name of @ayqal claimed to be pregnant. @ayqal was brought to the palace of the caliph, Mu'tamid, and was kept under strict guard and under the watchful eyes of the midwives and other women in the palace to determine the fate of her pregnancy. At that very time, political turmoil as a consequence of the insurrection led by @affár, the death of 'Abd Alláh b. Ya<yá, and the revolution of the Zanj engulfed the caliphal state. The 'Abbasids were forced to abandon Sámarra. Hence, they became occupied with their own troubles and gave up the surveillance of @ayqal's pregnancy.
There is also another reason for differences in the name of the mother of the twelfth Imam. It is possible to say that all those names were given to one and the same person. That is to say that the twelfth Imam's mother had several names. This explanation is not far fetched because it was customary among Arabs to give several names to a person of importance.
The evidence for this is provided in Shaykh @adúq's Kamál al-dín. He himself has related from Ghiyáth that Imam \asan 'Askarí's successor was born on Friday, and his mother was Ray<ána, who was also known as Narjís, @ayqal, and Sawsan. Since at the time of her pregnancy she had some kind of brilliance over her face, she was known as @ayqal.
To sum this discussion up, it is important
to remind ourselves that in spite of some ambiguity in identifying
the actual name of the twelfth Imam's mother, there is no doubt
that she existed. In other words, such an ambiguity does not detract
authenticity from her existence. As you have noticed all the Imams,
including Imam \asan 'Askarí, have informed about the existence
of a son for the latter. In addition, \akíma, the daughter
of Imam Jawád, was a highly trustworthy woman who reported
in detail the birth of the Imam. Moreover, a number of trustworthy
companions and servants of Imam \asan 'Askarí saw the son
and testified to his existence, regardless of his mother's name.
'Ulamá' and the Birth of the Mahdí
Dr. Fahímí: If Imam \asan 'Askarí had a son then the Sunni 'ulamá' and historians should have recorded that in their books.
Mr. Hoshyár: Yes, indeed there is a group of them who also have related the event of the birth of [Ibn] Imam \asan 'Askarí and have accepted and recorded his and his father's history in their books. Thus, for instance:
(1) Mu<ammad b. ^al<a Sháfi'í writes: "Abú al-Qásim Mu<ammad b. \asan was born in the year 258 AH/873 CE in Sámarra. His father's name was \asan Kháli#. Among the titles [of this last Imam] are: \ujjat, Khalaf @áli< (the righteous offspring) and Munta~ar (the awaited one)." Following this statement he has related several traditions on the subject of the Mahdí, with the concluding statement: "These <adíth-reports confirm the existence of Imam \asan 'Askarí's son, who is in concealment and will appear later."
(2) Mu<ammad b. Yúsuf, following his entry on the death of Imam \asan 'Askarí, writes: "He did not have any child beside Mu<ammad. It is said that he is the same as the Awaited Imam (imám munta~ar)."
(3) Ibn @abbágh Málikí writes: "Section Twelve on the Life of Abú al-Qásim Mu<ammad, \ujjat, Khalaf @áli<, the son of Abú Mu<ammad \asan Kháli#: He is the twelfth Imam of the Shí'a." Then he has recorded the history of the Imam and has related the traditions about the Mahdí.
(4) Yúsuf b. Qazúghlí, after writing his account of the life of Imam \asan 'Askarí, writes:  "His son's name is Mu<ammad, and his patronymic is Abú 'Abd Alláh and Abú al-Qásim. He is the Proof of God's existence, the Master of the Age, the Qá'im, and the Munta~ar. The Imamate has come to an end with him." Then he reports traditions about the Mahdí.
(5) Shablanjí in the book entitled Núr al-ab#ár, writes: "Mu<ammad is the son of \asan 'Askarí. His mother was a slave girl by the name of Narjís or @ayqal or Sawsan. His patronymic is Abú al-Qásim. The Twelver Shí'ites know him as: \ujjat, Mahdí, Khalaf @áli<, Qá'im, Munta~ar, and Master of the Age."
(6) Ibn \ajar, in his al-@awá'iq al-mu<arriqa, following the biography of Imam \asan 'Askarí writes: "He has not left a son besides Abú al-Qásim, who is known as Mu<ammad and \ujjat. That boy was five years old when his father died."
(7) Mu<ammad Amín Baghdádí in the book entitled: Sabá'ik al-dhahab writes: "Mu<ammad, who is also known as Mahdí, was five years old at the time of his father's death."
(8) Ibn Khallikán relates in his biographical dictionary Wafayát al-a'yán: "Abú al-Qásim Mu<ammad b. al-\asan al-'Askarí is the twelfth Imam of the Imámiyya, that is the Twelver Shí'ites. The Shí'ites believe that he is the one who is the awaited Qá'im and the Mahdí."
(9) In Raw_at al-#afá Mír Khwánd writes: "Mu<ammad was the son of \asan. His patronymic is Abú al-Qásim. The Imámiyya acknowledge that he is the \ujjat, the Qá'im, and the Mahdí." 
(10) Sha'rání writes in his al-Yawáqít wa al-jawáhir: "Mahdí is the son of Imam \asan 'Askarí. He was born on the fifteenth night of Sha'bán, 255 AH. He is alive and will remain so until he will emerge with Jesus. Now it is 957 AH. He is, thus, 703 years old."
(11) Sha'rání, quoting Ibn 'Arabí's Futuhát makiyya, section 366, writes: "When the earth will be filled with tyranny and injustice the Mahdí will rise and will fill the earth with justice and equity. He will be among the descendants of the Prophet and from the line of Fá>ima. His grandfather will be \usayn, and his father will be Imam \asan 'Askarí, the son of Imam 'Alí Naqí, the son of Imam Mu<ammad Taqí, the son of Imam 'Alí Ri_á, the son of Imam Músá Ká~im, the son of Imam Ja'far @ádiq, the son of Imam Mu<ammad Báqir, the son of Imam Zayn al-'Ábidín, the son of Imam \usayn b. 'Alí b. Abí ^álib."
(12) Khwája Pársá in his book Fa#l al-khi>áb writes: "Mu<ammad, the son of \asan 'Askarí, was born on fifteenth night of Sha'bán, 255 AH/870 CE. His mother's name was Narjís. His father died when he was five years of age. From that time until now he is in occultation. He is the awaited Imam of the Shí'a. His existence is well established among his companions, trusted associates and family. God will prolong his age as He has done in the case of Elijah and Eliash."
(13) Abú al-Falá< \anbalí in his Shadharát al-dhahab and Dhahabí in al-'Ibar fí khabar min ghabar write: "Mu<ammad is the son of \asan 'Askarí, the son of 'Alí Hádí, the son of Jawád, the son of 'Alí Ri_á, the son of Músá Ká~im, the son of Ja'far @ádiq, 'Alawí, \usayní. His patronymic is Abú al-Qásim and the Shí'a know him as Khalaf @áli<, \ujjat, Mahdí, Munta~ar, and the Master of the Age (@á<ib al-zamán)."
(14) Mu<ammad b. 'Alí \amawí writes: "Abú al-Qásim Mu<ammad Munta~ar was born in the year 259 AH/874 CE in Sámarra."
In short, besides all these above mentioned Sunni scholars there are numerous others who have recorded the birth of Imam \asan 'Askarí's son.
At this time it was quite late in the night.
The meeting was adjourned and it was decided that the following
session would be held at Dr. Jalálí's residence.