The scholars and men of intellect, who were contemporary with Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.), glorified him, and acknowledged his virtue and preference to all others for his talents, geniuses, vast knowledge, and piety. Here we quote some words said by some of those men about him:
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) praised the high position of his son Abu Muhammad (a.s.) by saying, ‘My son Abu Muhammad is the best of the progeny of Muhammad in nature, and the most trustworthy in authority. He is the eldest of my children, and he is my successor and the recipient of the handholds of imamate and its governance …’1
Abu Hashim associated closely with Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.). He loved them excessively and composed many poems in their praise. He said in one of his poems:
“He (Allah) gave him all signs of imamate,
like Moses, and the cleaving of the sea, the hand, and the staff.”2
He was the most famous physician at the age of Imam al-Askari (a.s.) and he was the special physician of the royal family. One day, the imam needed a physician to phlebotomize him, and so he asked Bakhtshu’ to send him one of his disciples. Bakhtshu’ sent for his disciple Batriq and ordered him to go to treat the imam. He said to him, ‘The son of ar-Ridha asked me to send him someone to phlebotomize him. You go to him. He is more knowledgeable than every one under the sky. Beware not to object to him in all what he orders you of…’3
One of the famous statesmen and politicians at the time of Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) said about the imam,
‘I have neither seen nor known in Surra Man Ra’a a man from the Alawids like al-Hasan bin Ali bin Muhammad bin ar-Redha, nor have I heard the like of his guidance, faith, chastity, nobility, and generosity near his family and near the rulers, among all the Hashimites who preferred him to their important and old men, and also near the leaders, viziers, clerks, and all classes of people…’4
He was one of the important politicians at that time. He said about Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.),
‘If the caliphate is removed from the Abbasids, no one from the Hashimites will deserve it except this man (he meant al-Hasan bin Ali al-Askari). He deserves it by his virtue, chastity, guidance, gravity, asceticism, worshipping, good morals, and righteousness…’5
Ubayd did not believe in imamate. In fact, he was contrary to that, but the bright reality of Imam Abu Muhammad (a.s.) made him declare that the imam was the worthiest of the caliphate for the high qualities he had.
Sheikh al-Mufid said, ‘The imam after Abul Hasan Ali bin Muhammad (al-Hadi) was his son Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Ali for he had all high qualities and virtues and he was preferred to all people of his age. He deserved imamate and leadership for his incomparable knowledge, asceticism, perfect mind, infallibility, courage, generosity, and the many good deeds that took him close to Allah…’6
Ali bin Muhammad al-Maliki known as ibn as-Sabbagh said, ‘The qualities of our sire Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari show that he is a master, and a son of a master, that no one ever doubts or suspect his imamate. Know that if a good quality was sold, the seller was other than him and he was the buyer…. He was unique in his time with no equal, and he was the one with no like. He was the master of the people of his time and the imam of the people of his age. His sayings were true and his deeds were praiseworthy. If the good people of his time were as a poem, he would be the main verse of that poem, and if they were organized as a necklace, he was the unique, middle pearl. He was the knight of knowledge with whom it was not possible to keep pace with, and he was the explainer of mysteries with whom it was not possible to argue. He was the revealer of facts by his true thinking, and the discloser of minutes by his sharp reason. He was the informed one in secrecy of the unseen. He was the high-born, of high soul and high essence…’7
Abu Ja’far Rasheedudeen Muhammad bin Ali bin Shahrashub as-Sarawi said about the imam, ‘He was al-Hasan bin Ali the guide, the subjugator of difficulties…. He was pure, free from any fault, trustee of the unseen. He was the essence of gravity with no blemish, humble, with a liberal hand, modest, true to his word … of little food, of much smiling, patient, the father of the (awaited) successor…’8
Ibn Shadqam, the genealogist, said, ‘Al-Hasan al-Askari was a guiding imam, exalted master, and a pure guardian.’9
Ibn al-Jawzi said, ‘The highest feature and characteristic that Allah had distinguished him (Imam al-Askari) with, and made unique to him, and as eternal aspect that time would not wear out and tongues would not forget reciting and repeating was that Muhammad al-Mahdi (peace be on him) was his offspring that was created from him, and his son that was ascribed to him…’10
Ruknuddeen al-Husayni al-Musili said, ‘Imam Abu Muhammad al-Askari…his virtues, qualities, and charismata were uncountable…the highest quality that Allah had distinguished him with was that al-Mahdi (peace be upon him) was his son…’11
Al-Yafi’iy said, ‘Sharif al-Askari Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Ali bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Musa bin Ja’far as-Sadiq was one of the twelve imams as the Shi’a believed and he was the father of the awaited imam (peace be on him)…’12
Yusuf bin Isma’yl an-Nabahani said, ‘Al-Hasan al-Askari was one of the imams of our masters, the great Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), and one of their noble chiefs (may Allah be pleased with them). Ash-Shabrawi mentioned him in his book “al-Ittihaf Bihubil Ashraf” but he abbreviated his biography and mentioned no charm of his.
However, I myself witnessed a charm to him. In the year 1296 AH I traveled to Baghdad from Kooy Sanjaq, one of the Kurd villages, where I was a judge, but I left it before I completed the specified period because of the high costs and drought which prevailed in Iraq that year. I travelled by a kalak, which was a means of water transportation.
When the kalak reached Samarra’, which was the capital of the Abbasid caliphs, we liked to visit (the shrine of) Imam al-Hasan al-Askari. When I came to his holy tomb, something spiritual happened to me that nothing like it had ever happened to me…it was his charm. Then I recited, as many as I possibly could, verses from the Qur'an, supplicated Allah with some du’as, and left.’13
Allama Ali bin Eesa al-Arbali said about the imam, ‘He was the knight of knowledge that was not possible to keep pace with him, and he was the explainer of mysteries that it was not possible to argue with him. He uncovered the facts by his true viewing, the discloser of minutes by his piercing insight, the knower - by the will of Allah - of the secrets of creatures, the informer - by the will of Allah - about the unseen, the informed - by Allah - about what had happened and what would happen, the inspired with the unseen matters, the noble in origin and soul and essence, the man of proofs, signs, and miracles …
The interpreter of verses, the confirmer of traditions, the heir of the good masters, the son of the imams, and the father of the awaited one. So look at the branch and the origin and think again and be sure that they were more brilliant than the sun, and brighter than the moon. If branches are good, surely the fruit will be good. Their (the imams’) features and traditions are the eyes of history, and the headlines of conducts.
By Allah, I swear that whoever deems Muhammad as grandfather, Ali as father, Fatima as mother, the imams as fathers, and al-Mahdi as son is worthier of reaching the heaven with his highness and honor…. How can I count his virtues and news whereas my tongue is short and my eloquence is tired? So my tongue and eloquence come back tired from his high rank, and dwindle because of failure and inability…’14
Al-Bustani said, ‘Al-Hasan al-Khalis bin Ali al-Hadi… they mentioned about him many characteristics that were well-known in the people of this house of the Talibites15… perception and wisdom appeared in him since his early childhood…’16
He said, ‘Al-Hasan bin Ali al-Hadi bin Muhammad al-Jawad al-Hashimi: Abu Muhammad the eleventh imam to the Twelver Shi’a… he was paid homage as the imam after the death of his father. He was like his good ancestors in piety, asceticism, worshipping…’17
Al-Abbas bin Nooruddeen al-Mekki said, ‘Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari… his lineage is more renowned than the moon in its fourteenth night. He and his father are known as al-Askari. As for his virtues, tongues cannot count…’18