A brief account on how Nargis (r.a.) travelled to find imam Askari (as), her origins, her captivity, their encounter, their marriage and the blessed birth of Imam Mahdi (aj) The Imam of our Time, may Alat Ta’ala hasten his reappearance
The sound of the Azan from the minarets of the mosque could be heard in the lanes of the city. I woke up from the sleep and sat on my bed. The stars were twinkling in the sky. A cool breeze was blowing from the river and the smell of fresh fish could be felt everywhere. I got up yawned, picked up the vessel of water and went toward the courtyard. I performed the ablution and prepared myself for the prayers. When I washed my face in the cold water, my sleep vanished and I became completely fresh.
After the completion of prayers, I put some dry wood in the oven and lit a fire. When the voice of the milk peddler was heard, I picked up a mud vessel and went towards the gate. I purchased milk and boiled it over the oven. Then, I had bread with dates along with some milk and thus satisfied my hunger.
It was still dark when I left the house and went towards the seaside. The city of Baghdad was empty and the people had still not ventured from their house. When I reached near the river of Euphrates, the Sun just began to ascend. I stood near the bridge and stared and gazed at the river. Some small boats could be seen with their fishermen who were waiting with patience and forbearance for their prey. Gradually and gradually, a crowd gathered around me. Moments later, I saw different types of people.
The army men and the heads of the caliphate corps were seen with special dresses tied around their belts. The businessmen and the traders had worn expensive and dazzling clothes; the clothes that could reflect the rays of the sun. The youths had worn clothes of different and joyous colors. They were talking loudly and laughing.
Suddenly, a tumultuous uproar and commotion could he heard. All the eyes were directed at the noise. I also turned my gaze towards it. Some big boats were coming towards the bank of the river. The crowd rushed towards the river and waited anxiously for it. The big boats halted near the bank of the river. In the beginning, some people came out from the boats. Then, women and girls whose hands had been tied with rope were led out from the boat. Every slave master went toward his tent that had been specially prepared for him from before. They removed the ropes and made the slaves to stand in a row.
The crowds formed groups amongst themselves and each group formed a ring around a group of slaves. I was searching for a slave master called Omar bin Yazid who was unknown to me. I asked one of the slave masters about his whereabouts. With his hands, he directed me towards him. I went toward him and from amongst the crowd waited for him. Omar would bring the slaves one after the other and with a thunderous but flattering manner would describe them. It was not known whether the description he was giving from the slaves was true or false. Then the crowd would approach the slave and look up and down on him to measure and weigh him. If they would approve the slave, then they would propose their price. Omar would wait for some time and hear all the different proposals. Then, he would sell the slave to the highest bidder.
Anyhow, the slave master brought forward a slave. The slave had worn a long silk cloth. She had hidden her face with her hands and was not allowing anybody to touch her. Some of the people approached the slave and wanted to touch her, but she moved herself away and did not allow anybody to touch her. The people had become annoyed at this behavior of the slave and very soon left her all alone and went toward the other slave girls. Only a young man remained who had worn an expensive cloth and was looking with admiration at her modesty and humility. It was clear that he had become fascinated and enamored of her chastity and purity. Anyhow; the youth approached the slave girl and told her:
"I shall buy her for three hundred Dinars."
The slave master who had been delighted at this price turned toward the girl and said, "This man will pay three hundred Dinars for you. Are you willing to go with him?"
The slave replied:
"No, I shall never go with him."
The slave master who did not expect such an answer replied with a loud voice:
"Why don't you go with him? He is a generous and rich man. Greatness and magnanimity has encompassed him. His eyes are loving and affectionate. He spends lavishly. Anyone who lives with him will become prosperous and needles. Good foods, clothes etc.
The slave interrupted the words of the slave master and said: "No it is not possible. If he touches me, I shall kill myself." This time, the slave master furiously replied:
"Do not kick your fortune and luck. Nobody is willing to purchase you at this price. No one is willing to spend so much for you...."
The slave turned her face towards the young man and said:
"O man! If you attain power and get wealth to the extent of Prophet Sulaiman and if you rule over the entire world, I shall never have any love or attachment toward you. Do not waste your money unnecessary. Go and select somebody else."
The young man who was controlling his anger departed from there. The slave master turned towards the girl and said:
"Today you have made a great loss for me. What should I do? How can I compensate this great loss?"
The slave replied:
"Do not make haste, I should find somebody who has faith and virtue. I should have full faith in his trustfulness and honesty. I should find comfort by looking at him and my soul should find peace with him."
The slave master replied furiously:
"Where is the man whom you are after him?"
During this time, I went towards Omar and told him:
"One of the nobles is interested to purchase this great lady. The great man has written a letter in Roman language for her. In that letter, he has written about his generosity, virtue, faith and magnanimity Give this letter to the slave girl. If she likes my master, then entrust the slave girl to me."
Omar took the letter and gave it to the girl. She opened the letter. As soon as she saw the writings of the letter; she kissed it and kept it over her eyes. Then, she began to read it once again. She kissed the letter and placed it on her eyes. Tearfully, for the second time, she said,
"Sell me to the master of this man."
The slave master who had become confused and perplexed said in haste, "How much you will pay for her?"
I said "Two hundred and twenty Dinars."
The slave master laughed while anger could be seen in his face and said,
"Two hundred and twenty Dinars only! Some moments before, they were purchasing here for three hundred Dinars but I did not sell her..."
I placed my hands on the shoulders of the slave master and said, "Were you reluctant selling her or it was this lady who refused to oblige?"
The slave master was taken aback and did not expect such a reply. He said: "What is the difference? It appears this girl is something special. She is chaste anddecentandisthemostmodestgirlthatIhaveeverseeninmylife.
Maybe, she is the daughter of one of the prophets! If you roam throughout Baghdad, you will not come across such a virtuous and modest girl. In this world, such girls are very rare. She is an absolute jewel, her value and worth is more then what you are offering. I will sell her not less than three hundred Dinars."
I laughed and said:
"My master will pay two hundred and twenty Dinars only, not more nor less." The slave master turned towards the girl and said,
"What should I do?" The girl replied: "Sell me to the master of this man. Nobody can become my master other than the master of this man."
The slave master put forward his hand out of necessity and said, "Give me your money."
I put my hands on the shawl tied around my waist and brought out a bag and gave it to him. He counted and was astonished and said: "Exactly two hundred and twenty Dinars? It seems as if everything has been preplanned, it is unbelievable!"
I said, "Why! Have belief that the powerful Divine hand is above all other hands."
The slave master placed the bag of money in the shawl of his waist and entrusted the girl to me. We went far from the banks of the river. A chariot was called for. We sat on it and went toward a house. Still, the lady had the letter on her hands and would repeatedly read it. She would kiss it and place it on her eye and her face. She would place her finger on every sentence of the letter and again rub her hands on her heart. She was showing great restlessness and becoming impatient from the great anxiety.
How strange were her actions! Her excessive love and affection to the letter of someone whom she had never seen was indeed puzzling. Her eagerness and enthusiasm for meeting that person and her joy for the writings of the letter was most astonishing. Finally, I could not control myself and asked:
"How do you kiss a letter whose writer you have not seen nor you know him?" She smiled silently and said:
"You speak in such manner as if you are alien and do not recognize the value and position of the sons of the Prophet?"
In utter astonishment, I replied:
"Are you aware that I am the messenger and carrier of the son of the Prophet?" She replied:
"Yes, I know". I said:
"How strange and unique is your incident. Can you also inform me about your past events?"
She said "First, you relate and recount your incident for me". I said:
"My name is Boshr Ibn Sulaiman. I am a resident of Samarra’. Our house is near the house of my master Imam Hadi (as).
Imam Hadi (as) is from the progeny of the last prophet, Hazrat Mohammad (S). He is the leader and pontiff of the Shiahs. The Almighty placed the Imamat and successorship of the Prophet in the progeny of his holy daughter and his holy son-in-law. Imam Hadi (as) is the tenth successor to the holy Prophet (S) and is from the progeny of Amir-ul- Mu'menin Ali (as)."
The lady smiled and said: "I am aware of all these information!" I said:
"The cruel and the oppressive Caliph exiled Imam Hadi (as) from Medina to Samarra’. He imprisoned the holy Imam in a military garrison under the watchful vigilance of his cruel army. Some of the loyal and faithful followers of Imam (as) who could not endure and tolerate the separation from their Imam came to Samarra’. They took residence around the house of their holy and affectionate Imam so that they could benefit and share his blessing and grace much easier. I am also from amongst one of them who could not endure his separation. It was for this reason that I migrated along with my family to Samarra’ and took up residence near the house of his holiness. At present; I am one of his trusted and faithful servants. Sometimes, I do some special and exclusive works for him."
Some days before, a long time had passed from the night and I was in deep sleep. I was suddenly awakened by the noise of someone knocking at my door. I got up and immediately went towards the door. Fear and anxiety had overtaken me. I stood behind the door and asked:
"Who are you?"
A voice came from the other side of the door. "I am Kafoor. Open the door."
Kafoor was the servant and employee of Imam Hadi (as).
Surely, the holy Imam had an important work with me. Terror shed itself from me. I became glad and happy that the evil and cruel Abbasid despot had no work with me. You know that the government is cruel and oppressive. In the middle of the nights, the agents and officers of the cruel ruler swoop in the houses of the Shiahs, arrest and take them as prisoners. They are taken to unknown places.
Many have vanished and there is no sign about them. It is not known whether they are alive or have attained martyrdom. The government is oppressive and has no mercy on anyone. They are very vigilant of the Shiahs and even follow their shadows. But, on that night, I was at peace from the cruel hands of the government agents. The holy Imam had summoned me to meet him immediately. I returned to my room in haste, wore my clothes and went along with Kafoor.
Kafoor was not carrying any lantern. The city was in dark and with great difficulty, we could find our path. We were talking in a very low tone and walking slowly so that the cruel Caliph's agents could not see us. Anyhow, we reached the house of the holy Imam (as) safely. The door was open. We knocked at the door, entered the house and reached at the threshold of the holy Imam (as). The holy Imam was sitting and waiting for us.
When he saw me, he got up and replied to my greetings.
I went near him, kissed his hands and observed the manner of the etiquette in front of him. The holy Imam (as) sat and made me sit beside him. There was a moment of silence. Then the holy imam (as) turned towards me and said:
"O Boshr. You are from the children of the Ansars (helpers). Your family was always the supporters and friends of Ahlul Bait (as). Thus, we trust and have confidence in you."
Then, the holy Imam (as) observed a moment of silence and then said:
"Now, I want to entrust you an important task that would bring you honor and moral distinction. You will always be held in high esteem and revered by the Shiahs. I shall inform you secretly and in private."
Then, the holy Imam (as) turned his face from me. He asked for a paper and a pen and wrote something on it. He wrote in a language that was strange and unknown to me. I had heard that the holy Imam (as) was cognizant and was aware of all the worldly languages. By the will of the Almighty, he could speak and write in every language, but I had not seen such a thing ever before. The holy Imam (as) stamped the letter with a ring; he closed it and gave it to me. Then he brought out a bag that contained money and placed it near the letter.He explained to me that the letter is in Greek language and it has been written for one of the Romans. Inside the bag, there is two hundred and twenty Dinars of money".
The holy Imam (as) said:
"Take this bag and go towards Baghdad. When you reach there, at dawn of such and such day, go towards the bank of the river Euphrates. Remain there until the boats carrying the slaves reach the shore."
During that period, war had broken out between the Arabs and the Romans. In this war, the Roman emperor Caesar had himself participated. The Roman had lost in this war and a great number of them had been taken as captives. These captives were being taken to different cities for sale. Then, the holy Imam (as) said that on that day some of the women captives would be brought for sale. The people would gather around them and would compete for purchasing them.
One of the slave sellers called Omar bin Yazid would bring a women captive for slave who is very modest and chaste. She would cover herself from the men and would not allow any stranger to touch her. One person very captivated and enamored of her chastity and modesty will decide to purchase her at an exorbitant price, but the women captive will not submit to this offer. She will threaten that if the slave master sells her by force to anybody whom she is not willing, then she will commit suicide. Immediately, at this juncture Boshr is having duty to approach the slave master. He should give the letter of Imam to the women captive. After the captive has read the letter and agrees to be sold to the owner of the letter, he should purchase her for two hundred and twenty Dinars from the slave master.
"The holy Imam (as) has narrated the event so precisely for me as if he himself was present at that time and was seeing everything. I obeyed all the in instructions of the Imam very gladly. The holy Imam gave me the letter and the bag containing the money. I got up, kissed his hands and asked his permission to leave and departed from his house. The next morning, I left immediately for Baghdad, I rented a house over there and today morning, I came out to perform the instructions of the Imam. Whatever has happened is exactly the same thing as the Imam (as) had mentioned to me from before. This itself is a greatness and magnanimity of his holiness. Salaam and greetings of the Almighty be upon the Ahlul Bait of the Holy Prophet (S) who are the everlasting source of Divine knowledge and Wisdom."
At that moment, the chariot halted in front of a house. I told the lady:
"If you are tired, then you can rest today and I shall take you to Samarra’ tomorrow."
The lady replied:
"Though I am very tired, but I am so much keen and eager to meet my Master that I wish to meet him at this very moment."
I said, "Please wait for some time over here so that I pick up my belongings and pay the rent of the house to its owner. Then, we can go to Samarra’ with the same chariot."
When the chariot began to move forward, I said:
"I have narrated for you my events and happening; I shall be glad and pleased if you narrate for me your story.’
The lady while still staring and gazing at the letter said:
"My name is Melika. I am the daughter of Yashooa. My father is the son of Caesar, the powerful and mighty emperor of Rome. My mother is from the progeny of Shamoon. Shamoon is one of the disciples and followers of Hazrat ‘Isa (as).He was the successor of Hazrat ‘Isa (as) and I am also from the lineage of Shamoon as well as from the lineage of Caesar. My incident and adventure is sweet, attractive and pleasant then any of the events that you have ever heard before."
Thirteen years from the spring of my life had passed. My grandfather Caesar decided to give me in marriage to one of his brothers. When my father and mother gave their consent to this proposal, he ordered for a magnificent celebration.
The great hall of the palace was made ready and decorated for our marriage celebration. On the night of the marriage, all the palace was illuminated with light. All the nobles and aristocrats were invited. All had worn their best and the most expensive clothes. All the corner of the hall was adorned and bedecked with flowers and plants. The pleasant and agreeable perfume of the flowers along with the perfume of aloes wood and frankincense had filled the hall everywhere. Caesar had placed his jewel-decorated throne at our disposal for sitting on it. The throne had been placed on forty stands. On the door and the walls the cross that was filled with gold and jewels were installed and fixed.
The best of the fruits and the sweets were brought for the marriage celebration that was gathered from different places of the country. All the nobles had attended the celebration in the best of their clothes. Three hundred of the monks and clerics, all from the lineage of the disciples of Hazrat ‘Isa (as) with long black clothes and golden robes and with expensive rosary had arrived there to recite the Bible. Seven hundred religious nobles and four thousand commanders of the army and the nobles of the tribes from the different cities gathered in the hall with official and colorful clothes.
They were waiting for the marriage celebration to be officially opened. Anyhow, the due time arrived and the groom entered the hall. With a special ceremony, he sat on the jewelry bedecked throne. The clerics and the monks stood and gathered around the groom forming a circle. They opened the Holy Book so as to perform and recite the marriage ceremony. But at this time, a strange and extraordinary incident took place. Suddenly, the place began to shake the chandeliers and the crosses broke and fell on the ground.
The pillars of the throne broke down. In one moment, everything was changed to turmoil. Alarmed and confused, everyone headed for the door. The vessels broke and the fruits, sweets and the drinks were destroyed. When the trembling of the palace stopped and the dust, smoke and commotion subsided, they saw the dead body of the groom which had been scattered everywhere.
Horror and panic could be seen everywhere. The Archbishop who was the biggest Christian priest in the country, tired and with an aching body went towards Caesar and in a trembling voice said:
"O mighty emperor! Please forgive and excuse us with the performance of this marriage ceremony. This ominous and inauspicious event is the sign of the destruction of this country and the Christian religion. Please abandon this marriage relationship."
Caesar who had become frightened most readily accepted and the marriage was broken. Everybody was scattered. A long time passed. One day, Caesar again summoned all the Christian priests and said:
"I have taken this decision to marry my granddaughter with the brother of my past groom. May be, this marriage relationship will bring prosperity to my country and the Christian religion. Bad omen and disaster will perish from our country."
Though the priests were not agreeing by heart, but they accepted it under compulsion. Again the hall of the palace was redecorated and it was made ready with more grandeur and splendour. The night of the marriage ceremony reached.
All the noble and the great men were present. The groom was brought and made to sit on the throne. The Bibles were opened. But before the Archbishop could utter any word, a great tremor with greater intensity then the previous one, shook the palace once again. Whatever was made was completely destroyed and ruined. The pillars supporting the throne broke and the groom felt down and was killed. Commotion ensued and the people ran in panic.
The voice of mourning and wailing could be heard instead of joy and cheers. The palace was drowned in grief and sorrow. I went to my room and with tears and kept my head on the pillow. I cried so much till I went to a deep sleep.
Boshr who was astonished and amazed at this unusual event said: "It is impossible".
She continued, "I saw a strange dream on that night. It was a beautiful and pleasant dream. I was taken to another world that completely changed the path of my life. In the dream, I saw that I was in the hall of the mighty palace of Caesar. A lot of nobles and big men were present. Hazrat ‘Isa (as) was present with his faithful followers; my grandfather Sham'oon was also present. I recognized them from whatever I had read or heard about them. A halo of sanctity and piety could be seen around the visage of Hazrat ‘Isa (as). Everybody had gathered around his holiness. They were pointing towards me and showing me to him and were whispering something and smiling. Hazrat ‘Isa (as) was also happy and smiling.
In the place where the throne of Caesar was always kept, an enlightened pulpit was kept. The pulpit was very huge and big. Its end was not known. Its radiance and luster was dazzling. Like the rays of the sun, it had brightened everywhere. At this time, a holy and shining person entered the hall. He was dignified, majestic, glorious and charismatic. Everybody stood up to pay their respect to him. There was silence everywhere. The great man went towards the pulpit. Hazrat ‘Isa (as) went forward and embraced him.He welcomed him and his companions. I asked in a whispering tone:
"Who is he?"
One of the disciples said:
"He is the last of the Prophet. He is Hazrat Muhammad (S). The one who is behind him is his groom and successor Hazrat Ali (as). All the other great men are the sons of the Holy Prophet (S) from the lineage of Hazrat Ali (as).
The Holy prophet (as) sat on the pulpit. Hazrat ‘Isa (as) went forward and stood in front of the pulpit. Hazrat Ali (as) along with his children had gathered around the pulpit. The Sun was shining amongst the stars. Everything was in its best in its grandeur, spirituality and greatness.
The Holy prophet (as) turned towards Hazrat ‘Isa (as) and said:
''O soul of Allah. I have come to ask and propose for Melika, the daughter of your successor Sham'oon for my son."
The Holy Prophet (S) pointed to one of those who had accompanied him.
He was the youngest of all those present. The one who was standing beside me said:
"He is Imam Hasan Askari (as), the son of Imam Hadi (as). He is the eleventh Imam and the leader of the Muslims. See how much attractive and dignified he is."
Hazrat ‘Isa (as) smiled. He looked at Imam Hasan Askari (as) in esteem and with admiration. Then; he turned his face towards Sham'oon and said:
"O Sham'oon! An everlasting honour and dignity has been destined for you. Put your lineage in the generation of the Holy Prophet (S)."
Sham'oon paid his respect towards the Holy Prophet (S) and said,
"I am indebted and under great obligation. I heartily accept this grand proposal. And it is an honor for me until the Day of Judgment."
The Holy Prophet (S) smiled in such a way that his white and graceful teeth could be seen. Then, he recited a sermon of marriage agreement between Imam Hasan Askari (as) and me. Hazrat ‘Isa (as), Sham'oon and the other Imams and the companions were a witness to this ceremony.
Slowly, I raised my head and looked at Imam Hasan Askari (as) with humility and shyness. His love and affection was ingrained in my heart. My heart was overflowing with his affection and expectation. I got up from sleep with profound enthusiasm and eagerness. There was darkness everywhere except for the illuminating presence of the Holy Prophet (S) that sprinkled in my mind.
The next day in the morning, I got up and decided to meet Caesar and tell him about my sleep. The palace was drowned in grief and sorrow. Suddenly, a thought passed in my mind which intimidated me not to do such a thing. Caesar was in grief and it was possible that he would get annoyed and hence kill me. I returned to my room, closed the door, and guarded the precious secret within myself.
Days and months passed Every moment and every day, my love and affection toward Imam Hasan Askari (as) increased. His remembrance had engulfed in me from everywhere. I was not thinking of anything other than him. I was impatiently waiting for him. Every night that I would go to sleep, I would wait so that once more I could see him in sleep. But I could not see. I could not sleep nor eat anything; the flames of his love were boiling every part of my body. I was burning in myself. My relatives could feel my pain and agony. They would tell me that I am sick; they would put their hand on my forehead.
Yes, I was sick and I was burning in my sickness. Like a candle, I was soon fading. My relatives and surroundings turned uneasy for me. Finally, I became bed ridden; they brought a medical doctor for me. But it was of no use. The flame of my life was gradually kindling. All the reputed doctors of the country were called for to examine me. But medical prescription could not extinguish the flames of me. I was burning in my sickness and would lament and wail in grief. My relatives would weep and beat their hearts in despair and disappointment.
One day Caesar who liked me very much came to visit me.
He sat near my sickbed. He looked at me with love and kindness. He took my burning and weak hands and was caressing it while he was weeping. He said,
"O my dear child. Are you having any wish and desire in your heart which I can fulfill?"
I replied in a voice which could be heard with great difficulty:
"I am seeing that all the doors of salvation and deliverance are being closed on me. But if you desist and abandon the persecution and torture of the Muslim prisoners, remove their chains of captivity, open the doors of the prison for them, if you give them water, food and clothing and release them from the bondage of captivity, then I am hopeful that Hazrat ‘Isa (as) and Holy Maryam (sa) will return my health and cheer back to me."
My grandfather, the mighty Roman Caesar kissed my hands and said:
"Though your request is big and difficult, but I shall accept and approve it just for your sake."
Then, he issued an immediate directive to release the Muslim prisoners from their bondage and captivity.
After this incident, I showed that my health has become better, I started to eat little food and pretended that due to the good behaviour of Caesar, I have been enlisted amongst those who have been a shown mercy by Hazrat ‘Isa (as).
Two weeks passed from that incident, one night I saw another bizarre and strange dream. I was sleeping in my sick bed. The Holy Maryam (sa) was sitting next to my bed was worried and apprehensive of my health. At this time, a respected lady with a halo of light shining like the Sun entered the room. Behind her a lot of women who seemed to be the Houris of paradise were accompanying her. The Holy Maryam (sa) stood up and kissed her hands and said to me:
"This great lady is the chief of the women of the world. She is Hazrat Fatema Zahra (sa), the daughter of the Holy Prophet (S) and your mother in law."
Suddenly, a ray of hope and expectation again brightened and illuminated in my heart. I got up from my bed. I fell at the holy feet of Hazrat Zahra (sa). I caught the holy skirt of the most beloved women of the world, kissed it, wept and cried. I cried so much that all my grief sorrow and anxiety departed with the tears of my eyes. I wept profoundly and complained about my separation and isolation from Imam Hasan Askari (as).
The holy lady Hazrat Zahra (sa) sat. I kept my head on her laps. She touched my forehead with her gentle hands.
She helped me to sit on my bed, wiped the tears from my face, looked at me with her affectionate eyes and said:
"My dear daughter, until the time you are following the Christian religion, my beloved son cannot meet you.My sister, the holy Maryam (sa) has shown weariness to the Almighty from this religion. If you wish to be enlisted and covered under the mercy of the Almighty and if you desire that the Almighty, my son and Hazrat ‘Isa (as) and the holy Maryam (sa) be pleased and satisfied with you and that you get the honor of seeing your husband, then you should became a Muslim."
I said "What I should do?"
She replied: "Say that I witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad (S) is the Messenger of Allah."
Immediately, I repeated this statement from the depth of my heart. Then, Hazrat Zahra (sa) embraced me warmly and kissed me.
Suddenly all my sickness and illness disappeared and I felt easy and in great health. I felt easy and light. Tranquility and spiritual peace prevailed upon me. Then she said:
"Now wait for the visitation of my son. I will send him for you."
I jumped from my sleep in sheer enthusiasm and eagerness while in sleep I had cried do much that my pillow had become wet. With a heart full of expectation, I waited for the visit Imam Hasan Askari (as). The day passed and the night came. On the night, I slept with the hope of visiting my beloved husband. I had not gone in deep sleep when I saw Hazrat Zahra (sa). She had promised me that she will bring her son Imam Hasan Askari (as). Accompanying her was my future beloved husband, the holy Imam Hasan Askari (as).
I looked at my beloved with intense uneasiness and restlessness. It was as if I was saying to my master and my chief:
"How far I longed to see you. How much you have kept me in waiting and anticipation. I have sacrificed my life in your love and affection and I have watered down like the flame under the intense burning of your expectation and love."
The holy Imam replied me with a voice full of warmth and affection,
"I could not come and visit you. You were not the follower of Islam. But as you have become a Muslim now. I will come to visit you every night."
From that night onwards Imam Hasan Askari (as) came to visit me every night.
At this time, the lady kept silent and wiped her tears with her hands. Suddenly I came to myself. The one sitting next to me was the descendant of Hazrat ‘Isa (as) and the granddaughter of the Roman emperor Caesar, and she was to enter into a marriage agreement with Imam Hasan Askari (as). What an auspicious and unique incident? How big honour and glory for me as I became aware of this divine miracle before anybody else. This time with a tone full of respect and courtesy, I asked:
"How did you bring yourself over here from the place of Caesar?" The lady heaved a sigh of relief and said:
"During one of these nights, I saw Imam Hasan (as) in dream who told me as such: "Very soon, a bloody conflict will place between the Muslims and the Romans. Caesar will go to fight the Muslims with a huge army. You wear the clothes of the women attendants and workers. Secretly, hide yourself in the workers quarter. And with the nurses and the workers, go towards the battle frontline".
Thereafter, the battle commenced, I disguised myself as a nurse and a women attendant and entered the battlefield along with the Roman army. The Muslims waged a night assault against us. The Roman army was defeated and retreated backwards. A lot of people were killed and many were taken as prisoners of war. I was also amongst the captives. Then they made us to board the ship and brought us to Baghdad. And then you were a witness to the other incidents which followed."
Then she turned towards me and said:
"Nobody except you knows that I am from the household of the Romans emperor Caeser. Never should you divulge this secret and about myself to anybody."
I promised her that I shall preserve this secret and then said:
"It is strange that you are from Rome but you speak so well Arabic". She smiled and said:
"My grandfather loved me very much. He endeavored and strived very much for my learning and education. I had a lot of teachers who had been given instructions to teach me everything. There was a lady who knew the Arabic language. She would visit me twice during the day and thought me the Arabic language. The Divine fate and destiny had been predestined and programmed in such a way from before."
I still had a lot of questions that I wished to ask from the respected lady. But we had reached the city of Samarra’ and we had to pay a visit to the house of Imam Hadi (as).
We reached the house of the holy Imam. We knocked at the door and entered the house. The servant of Imam (as) guided us to a room where Imam Hadi (as) was sitting. We entered and paid our greetings and salaam to him. The holy Imam (as) replied warmly. Then he looked at the Roman lady with a face overflowing with pleasure and happiness and said,
"Did you see how the Almighty showed you the honour and glory of Islam? And how he manifested for you the futility of Christianity. And did you see how the Almighty revealed to you the dignity, superiority and magnanimity of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (S) and his Household for you?"
The Roman lady with a lot of courtesy and politeness and while looking down with shyness and modesty replied,
"O son of the holy Prophet (S). What should I say about a thing which you are more aware and learned about it?"
The holy Imam (as) smiled and said:
"You are an esteemed and honored number of our household. I wish to give you a gift and present so that you will know how much you are respected and held in high esteem by us. What do you want? Do you want ten thousand Dinars of money or do you want that I should give glad tiding to you about your happiness and prosperity in this life and the hereafter. This gift will be the cause of your honor during the day of Judgment. With it, you can be honored and revered by all the women of the world."
Immediately, the granddaughter of the Romans emperor replied,
"I was the daughter of the mighty emperor of the world. I had a lot of wealth and money. I am not in need of any money. Please give me a present and a gift which will be worthy of all these difficulties and hardness that I have endured."
The Imam (as) praised, applauded and prayed for her. Then, he said,
"Very soon, you will give birth to a son who will occupy the entire world from the East to the West. He will become the sovereign ruler. During his rule, justice, tolerance and honor will encompass and overflow from everywhere. He will destroy all the injustice, oppression and inequity from the Earth."
The girl feeling embarrassed asked in a tone full of modesty and charting: "Who is the father of this child?"
The holy Imam (as) replied:
"He is the same person whom the Holy Prophet of Islam (S) during that night proposed you for him from your ancestor Sham'oon. During that night, Hazrat ‘Isa (as) and Sham'oon gave you in marriage to which person?
"Your esteemed and honorable son, Hazrat Imam Hasan Askari (as). The holy Imam (as) asked "Do you know him?".
"How is it possible that I do not recognize him as, after embracing Islam, he would visit me every night in my sleep and promise the end of this separation and our meeting of each after?
The holy Imam (as) replied happily:
"You will soon meet him and you will attain prosperity and happiness forever." Then, the Imam instructed that the guest should be entertained and welcomed warmly. He called his servant Kafoor and instructed him that he should go to the house of his sister Hakimah and invite her immediately to his house. After the end of the meeting, Boshr got up, said a courteous farewell and departed from the house.
My name is Hakimah. I am the sister of Imam Hadi (as) and the paternal aunt of Imam Hasan Askari (as). His family members respect me very much and they bear witness to my faith and virtue. One day I was sitting in the house when I heard a voice. I got up and went behind the door. I heard the voice of Kafoor who called me. I opened the door.
Kafoor said "Imam Hadi (as) has an important and urgent work with you". In a very short time, I reached the house of Imam Hadi (as)
A virtuous and chaste lady was sitting in front of the holy Imam (as). Nobility and humility had encompassed all herself. She had lowered her head with shyness and was sitting silently.
The holy Imam (as) turned his head towards me and said: "Dear sister do you know her?"
Then without waiting for my negative reply, he replied:
"She is the same person about whom I had spoken to you previously and you were waiting so anxiously for her".
I was filled with joy and happiness. I ran towards the girl, embraced her warmly and kissed her very much. The holy Imam (as) smiled and said:
"Take her to your house. Teach her the religious matters and the obligatory and abominable Islamic instructions. She is the wife of my son Hasan and the mother of Qaem Al-e- Muhammad (aj).
I replied "Most certainly and willingly"
I took the hands of the beloved girl and took her to my house. She was my guest for some time. I trained her in Islamic matters Ahkam (practice) and rules.
With great enthusiasm and in a short time, she learned all the Islamic matters. The holy Imam (as) named her as Nargis and instructed me to be fully vigilant and heedful of her so that the agents and the spies of the caliph would not become aware and suspicious of her presence.
Undoubtedly, if the caliph gets news that this respected lady is the mother of an Imam who will put the stamp of destruction on all their oppression, cruelty and injustice, then certainly he will endeavor to kill her.
One day, Imam Hasan Askari (as) visited my house as a guest. When he entered the room and saw the Roman lady, he was drowned in astonishment and profound thinking. He heaved a sigh of relief.
When I saw the Imam's eye which was full of love and affection, I asked in a laughing manner.
"Why are you astonished so much? Do you know her?" The holy Imam (as) replied:
"Yes she will soon be the mother of a child who will have a lofty and elevated position in front of the Almighty. Through this child, the Almighty will save the world from the evil claws of oppression and crime and will fill it with justice and goodness."
I asked "Would you like to marry with Nargis?"
The holy Imam (as) smiled gracefully and replied,
"About this matter, talk with my respected father and seek his permission".
When Imam Hasan Askari (as) departed, I was overflowing with joy and happiness. I changed my clothes and hurriedly reached the house of my brother Imam Hadi (as). When I entered the house and greeted him, I was still breathing profusely and was drowned in perspiration. Before I could say anything to the holy Imam, his holiness turned towards me and said:
"My dear sister! Please make ready the marriage of Nargis with my son". I replied, "I have come to meet you for this very reason"
The holy Imam (as) recommended and advised me to perform the works in secret so that the caliph's spies who were scattered everywhere would not doubt anything. I returned to my house very happily and gave this glad news to Nargis. She was overwhelmed with joy and happiness.
I began the preparation immediately. It was a very simple marriage ceremony. After the recitation of the Islamic Khutba; I placed the hands of Nargis over the hands of Imam Hasan Askari (as). The holy Imam (as) took his wife to his house and they commenced their new life. After some days, they came to the house of Imam Hadi (as) and paid their courtesy and politeness to their revered father. The holy Imam (as) felicitated and congratulated them and wished success and prosperity for them.
Aside from us, only a few of the most trusted and faithful Shiahs were aware of this incident. All of us were striving to keep this matter as highly secret and that nobody should became informed or conscious of this predestined event.
Whenever I used to visit the house of Imam Hasan (as), the holy Imam would call his revered wife with different names.
Sometimes, he would call her as Nargis and at times he would call her as Raihana. Sometimes, he would call her by the names of different flowers. In fact, this holy lady was beautiful and sweet smelling like the flowers. The aromatic fragrance of her presence had completely filled the house of Imam Hasan Askari (as).
One year had passed from this memorial incident. Imam Hadi (as) had been martyred and Imam Hasan Askari (as) was nominated by the Almighty to lead the mankind and to become the Imam for them. From that time onwards, I used to frequently visit his house and benefit from his holy presence.
During one of these visits, once Nargis came forward and saluted me. She wished to help me in removing my shoes. At that time, I had become old and weak. With great difficulty I could perform my own work. But I did not allow her to help me with this work. I caught her hands and said:
"You are my chief and a respected lady. By the Almighty, I will never be satisfied that you should serve me. It is a great honour and privilege for me to always be your servant and slave. What prosperity and success is bigger than this..."
Imam Hasan (as) who was a witness to our conversation smiled and said, "My dear Aunty may the Almighty favor you with a good reward."
On that day, I remained in the house of the holy Imam until the sunset. I talked with Nargis and helped her in her works. The sun was setting. I got up so as to wear my veil and return to my own house. Nargis wanted me to remain with her in the house. But my eyes had become weak and wished to be in my own house before the sunset. It was difficult and hard to walk in the darkness. During this time, Imam Hasan (as) came towards me and said,
"O my (paternal) aunt! Tonight, stay with us." I asked:
"Why, is there any news?" The holy Imam (as) replied,
"Tonight is the same promised and predestined night. A blessed and a hallowed child will come in this word that will enliven the dead earth. He will give life to this lifeless world."
I looked at Nargis in great astonishment. There wasn't any sign of pregnancy in her. I asked in bewilderment,
"From whom? Is it from Nargis?" The holy Imam (as) replied:
"Yes, the promised child is the son of Nargis".
Unbelievingly, I went towards Nargis and touched her stomach with my hands. No, I had not become so old so as not to understand that her stomach had became big or otherwise. No change could be seen in her.
As a matter of fact, her manner and behavior did not reflect any sign of her pregnancy. She was normal. She was like any other girl who had been recently married. Even the color of her face had not changed.
She was not having any sort of pain. It was hard to believe that she had become pregnant.
I went in the presence of Imam Hasan Askari (as) and said
"I cannot see any sign of pregnancy in her". The holy Imam (as) smiled and said:
"My dear (paternal) aunt! During the dawn of the next morning, the signs of pregnancy will be manifested in her. The Mahdi Ale- Muhammad is having similarity with the Prophet Moosa (as). During the birth of Hazrat Moosa (as), there was no sign of pregnancy in his mother. Till the time of his birth, nobody was aware of this secret".
I had lost myself and did not know what to do. The holy Imam (as) asked me to remain silent. With the Dua of Imam (as), tranquility and peace dawned on me. I went towards Nargis. I took her hand with affection and peace and took her at one corner of the room. I placed a cushion for her and made her sit down. Nargis was smiling and looking at my works with astonishment.
It was midnight. The city was asleep, but I could not sleep. There was no news. I woke up sooner than before, performed the ablution and stood up for prayers. From the other room, the prayers and invocations of Imam Hasan (as) could be heard. With my noise, Nargis also woke up from her sleep. She went out of the room and performed her Wudhu’. She returned and prepared herself for performing the night prayers. I finished my prayers and when I departed from the room, she was still praying.
I looked at the sky. It was the night of 15th Sha'ban. The moon was full, perfect and shining in the sky. The sky was full of stars. A cool breeze was blowing and the crickets were chirping. The barking of the dogs could be heard from far. It was nearing the dawn of the morning. But still, there was no sign of the sayings of the eleventh Imam (as). Gradually, I was beginning to doubt on the authenticity of his sayings. Was it possible that the Imam was making fun of me? But the holy Imam (as) is not a person to do such things. If he wished that I stay overnight in his house, he had just to instruct me. He was the Imam and his instructions were obligatory on me.
I was drowned in the ocean of deep thinking and doubt when the voice of Imam (as) brought me to myself. The holy Imam (as) said: "O my (paternal) aunt. Do not doubt on anything. As per the will of the Almighty, you will soon witness the seeing".
I was flushed will shyness and coyness. Why did I doubt on the sayings of the holy Imam (as)? May be, anyone in my place would have doubted. I consoled myself. I returned toward the room. As soon as I reached near the room, I saw Nargis who was hesitantly coming out of the room. I told her:
"May I be sacrificed for you? Do you feel anything?" She replied:
"Yes, aunty. I feel there is something in me which is shaking".
I consoled her and said,
"God willing do not get worried and anxious".
I helped her towards her room and made her lie on the bed. The effects of child delivery pains could be seen in her.
Her face was perspiring and she was breathing heavily. I began to recite the verses of the holy Quran very slowly. Suddenly, Nargis disappeared from my vision. It was as if a veil of curtain had been put between me and her. I could not see her any more. I could not see anything. I shouted loudly out of fear and ran towards the door. Once again, I heard the voice of the holy Imam (as) which was echoing on my ears:
"Dear aunty, return as you will see her in her own place."
I swallowed the saliva that had collected in my mouth. I returned while trembling and fearing. When I entered the house, a dazzling light had casted itself on the room. Nargis was sitting on the bed and a light like the rays of the sun had lightened the dark room. Nargis was looking at one corner of the room and smiling. I turned towards her.
I saw a new born child like the disk of the sun and with his knees lying on the ground, and his forehead on the ground in a state of prostration was saying:
"I bear witness that there in on God but Allah. He is unique and there is no partner with Him. I bear witness that my grandfather Muhammad (S) is the messenger of Allah and my father Ali is the chief of the faithfuls."
Then, the new-born child recited the names of all the Imams one after the other till he reached to his own holy name. At this time, he turned towards the sky and said:
"O Allah. Accomplish for me whatever you have promised me. Help me to successfully finish my mission. Destroy the enemies and opponents and help me to overpower my opponents and to prevail over then. Let equity and justice dominate and prevail over the world through me."
The voice of the angels reciting the Duas in the sky and on the earth was being echoed everywhere. I had lost myself. All the creatures were in a state of worship and praising the Almighty.
The earth was in a state of praising the Almighty. The echo of the voice glorifying our Lord could be heard from the sky. All the doors and the walls could be heard singing His praise. Involuntarily, I was also whispering and humming.
"Great is my Lord in whose Hand is all the Power and He is Omnipotent (over everything).
The promised Night had come. The promised and the predestined Mahdi had been born. How revered and holy was this grand night. How graceful and auspicious was this dawn. I recollected the words of the Almighty:
"Thy desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect his light, though the unbelievers may be averse.
And involuntarily, the following words flowed from me:
"So said the truth, the Almighty and Great Allah."
1. What was the name of the slave-seller who had in control the captives?
2. In which writing and language had Imam Hadi (as) written his message?
3. What was the name of Imam Hadi's (as) ambassador?
4. How much money was there in the bag which Imam Hadi (as) entrusted to his ambassador?
5. During that time, the Muslims were at war with which tribe and nation?
6. Write down the full description of the family background of Imam-e- Zaman's (aj) mother before her marriage with Imam Hasan Askari (as).
7. Which one of the Ulul-Azm prophet's was the ancestor of Imam Mahdi's (aj) mother?
8. What was the name of Imam Hasan Askari's (as) aunt?
9. What name did Imam Hadi (as) select for Imam-e-Zaman's (aj) mother?
10. The style of birth of Imam-e-Zaman (aj) was similar to the birth of one of the prophets. Name the prophet.