The qualities of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) were like the qualities of his fathers who were distinguished by them over all people. All elements of honor and dignity met together in him. He possessed all virtues and excellences. It sufficed for him that he was one of the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) whom Allah had purified and kept uncleanness away from them. Here we shall talk in brief about some attributes of his honorable personality:
Imamate is a kindness from Allah to His people which He does not give to anyone but His loyal slaves, whom He has tried by faith, and purified from all kinds of injustices and defects. In our books on the lives of the infallible Imams we have discussed “Imamate” in details in some of them and in brief in others. In this book we talk in brief about Imamate and refer to some of its aspects.
Imamate is an affair from the affairs of the Islamic life. Without Imamate Islamic life does not function properly; not only because it controls religious life, but also because it runs the economical, political, and social life, and leads to the nation’s independency and freedom and secures safety, ease, and peace.
Perhaps, the most important reason behind the need for Imamate is to make spiritual powers dominate and to spread virtue and good between people and resist bad tendencies of selfishness, haughtiness, greed, envy and other kinds of deviation. All good powers in the world are based on the faith in Allah, because this is the only path that protects the world from destruction and disasters of wars. The faith in Allah is the strongest weapon in the earth that keeps the world safe from misfortunes.
The infallible Imams cared much for this side. They raised the banner of faith high, and struggled in the way of Allah very diligently. They left luminous works in the way of inviting to Allah. Nahjol Balagha of Amir ul-Mu’mineen (Imam ‘Ali) is full of the fragrances of true faith. It invites people to ponder on the creation of everything in the world, which inevitably leads to faith.
It also invites people to good morals and high qualities and warns of evil tendencies that lead to backwardness and deterioration. We also find spiritual nourishment in as-Sahifah as-Sajjadiyya of Imam as-Sajjad (a.s.) which is considered the Bible of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), and it is a fertile source of faith. In all supplications transmitted from the infallible Imams (a.s.) we find this spiritual nourishment that purifies the soul from the dregs of ignorance and pride.
In the books of argumentation you find irrefutable evidences which the infallible Imams offered regarding monotheism that confuted the enemies of Islam who denied the Creator. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) praised the jihad of his fathers in the fields of faith and the invitation to Allah in his Ziyarah called “al-Jami’ah”. He said,
“Peace be on the propagandists of Allah, the guides to the contentment with Allah, the residents in the command of Allah, the absorbed in the love of Allah, the loyal in monotheism, those who manifest of the mission of Allah…’
He added, ‘You honored His glory, exalted His standing, glorified His generosity, kept His remembrance, confirmed His covenant, confirmed His obedience, were sincere to Him secretly and openly, called unto His way with wisdom and good exhortation, sacrificed your selves to please Him, were patient with what afflicted you for Him, offered prayers, gave zakat, enjoined the good, forbade the wrong, struggled truly in the way of Allah until you announced His mission, declared His obligations, spread His laws, fixed His verdicts, and became by that in the eye of His contentment, submitted to His fate, and believed in His past prophets…’
These wonderful lines expressed the struggle that the infallible Imams undertook to raise the word of monotheism and defend the values of Islam and faith. They offered their lives as pure sacrifice to Allah looking forward just to His reward.
The infallibility of the twelve Imams (a.s.) is an important element in the Shiite doctrine. Some people deny this concept claiming that it cannot be realized. In our studies on the lives of the infallible Imams (a.s.) we have confuted the deniers of this concept and proved the reality and possibility of infallibility. He who reads the lives of the infallible Imams does not doubt their infallibility at all. They never committed any kind of sin or disobedience whether intentionally or unintentionally.
None of them ever deviated from the right path or sound conduct. All of them were absolutely pious. Al-Mutawakkil, the Abbasid tyrant, tried his best with all the means available to him to deceive Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) in order to get him to walk in his own deviated ways and engage in the traditions of amusement and debauchery, but Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) abstained from all that and at last al-Mutawakkil failed in his plans to tempt him. With his great status, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) proved his infallibility as well as his pure fathers’ that the Twelver Shi’a believe in.
The knowledge of the infallible Imams was like the knowledge of the prophets with no difference between them. As the knowledge of the prophets and messengers of Allah was inspirational such that Allah had endowed them with to be the authority on His people, so was the knowledge of the infallible Imams (a.s.).
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) spoke about the great treasures of knowledge the infallible Imams (a.s.) had and how they obtained that knowledge when saying, ‘Our knowledge is ancient, primordial, beating in hearts, and knocking in ears. We have the red jafr, the white jafr, the book of Fatima (peace be upon her), and al-Jami’ah (compilation), in which there are all what people need…’
He was asked to explain what he had said and he replied, ‘The ancient knowledge is the knowledge of what shall happen, and the primordial knowledge is the knowledge of what had happened. The beating in hearts is inspiration and the knocking in ears is the talk of angels that we hear their speech but we do not see their figures. As for the red jafr, it is a container having the weapon of the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) and it shall not appear until Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.) reappears.
The white jafr is a container having the Torah of Moses, the Bible of Jesus, the Book of Psalms of David, and the first Books of Allah. The Book of Fatima (peace be upon her) has accounts of all events and names of those who rule in the world until the Day of Resurrection. As for the jami’ah, it is a book of seventy cubits long having the dictation of the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) written down by ‘Ali bin Abu Talib (a.s.). By Allah, it has all that which people need until the Day of Resurrection even the amount of blood money of a scratch, a whip, half a whip…’1
What further proves this claim is the different kinds of knowledge and sciences transmitted from the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). As an example, Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) the gate of the Prophet’s city of knowledge, had opened many sections of knowledge and sciences, which numbered about thirty-two sciences according to al-Aqqad.2
It was he who had informed people about the technological progress and scientific development that would appear on the stage of life. He said, ‘A time will come where the people in the East can see the people of the West, and the people in the West can see the people in the East.’ He also said, ‘A time will come where the people in the East can hear the people of the West, and the people in the West can hear the people of the East.’
This saying came true by inventing the TV and the Radio. He also said, ‘A time will come to people where iron will move.’ It came true by inventing trains, cars, and other means of transportation. There are many other examples like these that Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) had informed of.3 It was he who had said, ‘Ask me about the Book of Allah! By Allah, there is no verse, unless I know whether it has been revealed in the night or day, in a plain or a mountain.’4
From the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), who had spouted springs of knowledge and wisdom in the earth, was the miracle of knowledge and intellect in the world Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.).
He foretold about the pollution in space and seas and its bad effects on man. He also told about the existence of life on some planets. It was he, who had established the bases of anatomy and peculiarities of man’s organs and the wonders in them. All that was mentioned in the book Tawhid al-Mufadhdhal. He was the first founder of physics and chemistry. He established their bases through his disciple Jabir bin Hayyan the pride of the East and the pioneer of the human development in the earth.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was not more than seven years old when his father Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) died. Still in his early years yet, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) had knowledge that astonished others’ minds. Great scholars tried him by most difficult and complicated questions in jurisprudence, philosophy, and theology but he answered them all as if he was an expert jurisprudent. Therefore, ulama’ and scholars believed in his Imamate, and thus it was clear evidence that Allah had endowed the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) with such knowledge, wisdom, and virtue that He had never endowed others with.
The Shi’a paid much attention to the matter of Imamate because it is one of the bases of Islam. They often asked the present Imam about the Imam after him so that they would refer to him in their religious and worldly affairs, obey and follow him. Many reliable Muslims narrated the assigning of ‘Ali al-Hadi (a.s.) as the Imam by his father Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (a.s.). Here are some of them:
When Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) went to Baghdad in his first travel, Isma’il bin Mihran visited him and said to him, ‘May I die for you! I fear for you in this travel (from the Abbasids). Who is the Imam after you?’
Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) smiled at him and said, ‘It is not as you thought. It is not in this year.’
When al-Mu’tasim (the Abbasid caliph) sent for Imam al-Jawad (a.s.), Isma’il went to the Imam to know the Imam after him. He said to Imam al-Jawad (a.s.), ‘You are going. To whom will the matter (Imamate) be after you?’
Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) cried and was anxious in his travel and thought that he would not go back again to Yathrib. Therefore, he appointed his son ‘Ali al-Hadi as the Imam after him. He said, ‘Now, it is to fear for me. The matter (Imamate) after me is to my son ‘Ali…’5
What Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) predicted came true. Al-Mu’tasim, the Abbasid caliph, assassinated him while he was still in the bloom of his youth.
He was one of the narrators who narrated the appointment of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) as the Imam after his father. We shall mention that in a coming chapter.
As-Saqr narrated, ‘I heard Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin ‘Ali ar-Ridha (Imam al-Jawad) saying, ‘The Imam after me is my son ‘Ali. His Command is my command, his saying is my saying, and his obedience is my obedience. Imamate after him is to his son al-Hasan…’6
When Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) traveled to Baghdad, he said to some of his followers, ‘I am going7 and the matter (Imamate) will be to my son ‘Ali. He will have rights on you after me as I had on you after my father.’8
Ahmad narrated that Abu Ja’far (Imam al-Jawad) had recommended his son, ‘Ali al-Hadi (a.s.), to be the Imam after him. We shall mention the terms of this will later on.9
These are some of the narrators who narrated that Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) had appointed his son ‘Ali al-Hadi (a.s.) as the Imam after him. The texts on this matter were successive. The Shi’a believe that the appointing of Imams was not out of passions or tendencies, but it was according to the command of Allah Who chose and appointed them through the Prophet (S) who carried out what he was ordered by his Lord. The Prophet (S) announced that the caliphs (successors) after him would be twelve ones, whom Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was one of. The texts on this matter are successive and true.10
One of the prominent qualities of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was his generosity. He was the most liberal and generous person of his time. He was like his fathers, who gave food out of love for Him to the poor, the orphan, and the captive. They gave food to others until no food remained for their families and themselves, and gave clothes to others until no clothes remained for them. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) gave food and clothes to people until nothing remained for his family.11
Historians mentioned many examples on the generosity and charity of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) to the poor and needy. We mention some of them here:
1. Once, Abu Amr Uthman bin Sa’eed, Ahmad bin Isaaq al-Ash’ari, and ‘Ali bin Ja'far al-Hamadani went to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). Ahmad bin Isaaq complained of a debt of his. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) turned to his agent Amr and said to him, ‘Give him thirty thousand dinars and to ‘Ali bin Ja’far thirty thousand dinars.’
He also gave a sum like that to his agent. Ibn Shahrashub commented on this noble trait by saying, ‘This is a miracle that no one can perform except kings. We have not heard of such a gift.’12 Doing this, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) secured comfortable living to these notable persons and saved them from the distress of neediness.
3. Historians mentioned that one day Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) went from Samarra’ to a village he possessed. A nomad man came to him but did not find him in his house. His family told the nomad that Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) had gone to his garden. The nomad went and found Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) there. He said to him with faint voice, ‘O son of the messenger of Allah, I am from the nomads of Kufa who believe in the guardianship of your grandfather ‘Ali bin Abu Talib. There is a heavy debt on me and I have no one to go to except you…’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) had pity on him but he himself was in lack of money and did not have anything to help this nomad with. He wrote on a piece of paper with his handwriting that he was in debt to the nomad and he mentioned a certain amount. He said to the nomad, ‘Keep this paper with you. When I go to Surra Man Ra’a (Samarra’) and when some people come to my meeting, you come and ask me to pay back your debt. You are to insist upon this from me and mention that I have not paid you your debt. Do exactly as I say to you!’
When Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) went to Surra Man Ra’a and a group of people, among whom were some officials and secret policemen, attended his meeting, the nomad came, showed the piece of paper, and asked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) to pay back the debt mentioned in the paper. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) apologized that he could not pay back the debt and the nomad insisted. When people left the meeting, the policemen went to al-Mutawakkil and told him about this matter. Al-Mutawakkil ordered his men to send thirty thousand dirhams to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and they did. When the nomad came, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said to him, ‘Take this money and pay back your debt and spend the rest on your family!’
The nomad found that great and said to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), ‘My debt is less than the third of this amount…but Allah is more aware where He reveals His mission.’15 The nomad left for his family delightedly while praying Allah for Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) who had saved him from poverty and neediness.
4. Historians mentioned that once Abu Hashim al-Ja’fary underwent a severe state of neediness and he resorted to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). When Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) saw his wretchedness, he wanted to comfort him. He said to him, ‘O Abu Hashim, which blessing of Allah you want to be grateful for? Allah has endowed you with faith that saves your body from fire, endowed you with soundness that helps you in obedience, and endowed you with satisfaction that keeps you away from degradation.’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) gave him one hundred dinars.16
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) turned his back on all pleasures of this worldly life and lived absolutely an ascetic life. He kept to worship, piety, and asceticism. He paid no attention to worldly pleasures and preferred the obedience of Allah to everything else. His house in Yathrib and his house in Surra Man Ra’a had no furniture. Once, the policemen of al-Mutawakkil broke into his house and searched it but found nothing of worldly furniture. They also searched his House in Surra Man Ra’a and found him wearing a wool garment and sitting on sand and pebbles. Nothing was between him and the ground.
As-Sibt bin al-Jawzi said, ‘‘Ali al-Hadi had no interest in this worldly life. He kept to the mosque. When they searched his house, they did not find in it save copies of the Holy Qur'an, books of du’a, and scientific books.’
He lived in the light of the noble life his fathers had lived; in asceticism and turning away from the material pleasures of this life except that which concerned the truth. His grandfather Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) was one of the most ascetic men in this life. During his rule as the caliph of Muslims his shoes were from the fibers of palm tree and he himself mended them with his hands.
His belt also was from fibers of palm tree. He suffered hunger out of asceticism and in order to comfort the poor. His wife the head of the women of the world Fatima az-Zahra’ (a.s.) also turned away from the worldly life and lived in a small house with no furniture and her hands were hardened by the quern. In this path did all the infallible Imams walk. They divorced this life and turned their backs on its pleasures. They turned to Allah devotedly and did all that which took them nearer to Allah.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was free of every material tendency. He was free from any kind of selfishness and he did not submit to any pleasure or fancy. Historians say that he worked in his farm to secure the living of his family. ‘Ali bin Hamza said, “Once, I saw Abul Hasan the third (Imam al-Hadi) work in a farm while his feet were soaked with sweat. I said to him, ‘May I die for you! Where are the men?’
He said, ‘O ‘Ali, one, who was better than me and my father, worked with a spade in his farm.’
I said, ‘Who was he?’
He said, ‘The messenger of Allah (SwT), Amir’ul- Mu’minin, and all my fathers worked with their hands. It was the work of prophets, apostles, and good saints…”17
Work was the sign of prophets. Every prophet worked in some field. We have quoted this holy tradition in our book “Work and the rights of workers in Islam” to prove the importance and honor of work and that it was from the conducts of the holy prophets.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) cared much for guiding the deviants who digressed from the truth. From among those, whom Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) had guided, was al-Hasan al-Basri known as al-Mallah who was a waqifite.18 Once, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) met him and said to him, ‘Until when is this slumber? Is it not yet time for you to awake?’
These words affected him deeply and so he turned back to the truth and guidance.19
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) warned his companions and all Muslims from associating and mixing with Sufis because they were a source of error and deviation to people. They affected asceticism to seduce simple and naïve people.
Al-Husayn bin Abul Khattab said, ‘One day, I was with Abul Hasan al-Hadi (a.s.) in the mosque of the Prophet (S) when some of his companions, among whom was Abu Hashim al-Ja’fari, came to him. Abu Hashim was an eloquent man and had a high position near Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). While we were standing, a group of Sufis came into the mosque. They sat in a corner of the mosque and began saying “la ilaha illallah; there is no god but Allah”.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) turned towards his companions and said to them, ‘Do not pay attention to these deceivers for they are allies of the Devils and destroyers of the bases of religion. They become ascetic to relieve their bodies and watch to hunt cattle…they do not practice rites except to deceive people, and do not decrease food except to…cheat the foolish…their worship is but dancing and clapping, and their praises are but singing.
No one follows them except the stupid, and no one believes in them except the foolish. Whoever went to visit any of them alive or dead, it’s as if he went to visit Satan and idolaters, and whoever supported any of them, as if he supported, Mo’awiya, Yazid, and Abu Sufyan…’
One of the companions said, ‘Even if he acknowledges your rights?’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) scolded him and shouted, ‘Do not say that! He, who acknowledges our rights, does not disobey us. Do you not know that they are the worst group of Sufis, though all Sufis are dissentient to us and their way is contrary to ours? They are but Christians and magi of this nation. They do their best to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, and Allah will not consent save to perfect His light, though the unbelievers are averse…’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) honored people of intellect and knowledge, welcomed and preferred them to the rest of people because they were the source of light in the earth. Once, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was informed that one of the Shiite ulama’ had argued with an opponent of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and confuted him. He was delighted by that.
When that scholar came to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), he welcomed him warmly in his meeting which was full of Alawids and Abbasids. He seated him on a sofa and began talking with him eagerly and respectfully. The Hashemites in the meeting became angry and said to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), ‘Why do you prefer him to the masters of Bani20 Hashem?’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said to them ‘Beware to be from those whom Allah has said about,
Have you not considered those (Jews) who are given a portion of the Book? They are invited to the Book of Allah that it might decide between them, then a part of them turn back and they withdraw.21
Do you accept the Book of Allah as a judge?’
They all said, ‘O son of the messenger of Allah, we do.’
He began proving his opinion by saying, ‘Has Allah not said,
O you who believe! when it is said to you, Make room in (your) assemblies, then make ample room, Allah will give you ample, and when it is said: Rise up, then rise up. Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees; and Allah is Aware of what you do22?
Allah does not accept for a knowledgeable believer but to be preferred to an unknowledgeable believer, just as He wants a believer to be preferred to an unbeliever. Allah has said,
Allah will exalt those of you who believe and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees.
Has He said, ‘Allah will exalt those, who are given honor of lineage, in high degrees’? Allah has said,
Are those who know and those who do not know alike?23
Then, how do you deny my honoring him for what Allah has honored him?
His defeating that opponent of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) with the proofs that Allah has taught him is more honorable than every honor of lineage.’
The attendants kept silent after this reply, but one of the Abbasids said, ‘O son of the messenger of Allah, you have preferred this man to us and degraded us lower than one who has no lineage like ours, while since the beginning of Islam until now those better in lineage are preferred to those lower than them.’
This is a nonsensical argument since Islam focuses only on right values which that Abbasid man did not understand. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied to him saying,
‘Glory be to Allah! Had al-Abbas (the Prophet’s uncle) not paid homage to Abu Bakr who was from Taym24 while al-Abbas was a Hashemite? Did Abdullah bin Abbas not serve Umar bin al-Khattab who was from Adiy while Abdullah bin Abbas was a Hashemite and the father of the (Abbasid) caliphs?
And why did Umar appoint people far in lineage in the shura and did not appoint al-Abbas? If preferring a non-Hashemite to a Hashemite is denied, then you have to deny the homage of al-Abbas to Abu Bakr and the service of Abdullah bin Abbas to Umar. If that was permissible, this is permissible too.’
The Abbasid man was confuted.25 When he did not understand the proofs derived from the Holy Qur'an, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) argued with him by the homage of al-Abbas to Abu Bakr and the service of Abdullah bin Abbas to Umar though these two caliphs (Abu Bakr and Umar) were not equal in lineage to al-Abbas and Abdullah bin Abbas.
When you read the lives of the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), you find that the prominent aspect of their lives was their devotedness to Allah and their spending the night in worshipping, hymning, and recitation of the Qur'an.
Abu Firas al-Hamadani, the poet, compares the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to the Abbasids by saying,
“Recitation (of the Qur'an) is heard in their houses until dawn,and in your houses music and singing.”
At that age, people did not see a worshipper, devout and pious person like Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). He offered all recommended worships (nafila). In the third rak’a of the nafila of Maghrib (sunset) he recited the sura of al-Hamd (1) and the beginning of the sura of al-Hadid (57) until the end of the six verse, and in the fourth rak’a he recited the sura of al-Hamd and the sura of al-Hujurat (49).26 Another nafila of two rak’as was reported in which he recited in the first rak’a the sura of al-Hamd and the sura of Yasin (36), and in the second rak’a he recited the sura of al-Hamd and the sura of ar-Rahman (55).27
Many supplications were transmitted from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) which he recited in the qunut28 of his prayers, showing the extent of his devotedness and submissiveness to Allah. Here are some of them.
1. “O Allah, the founts of Your gifts are brimful, the doors of Your supplications for one who hopes in You are wide-open, and Your merciful looks on one who resorts to You are not cut. Caution is bridled, need is urgent, and people of patience are unable to wait. O Allah, You are in watch over all places, and you do not ignore but (provide) respite. Whoever takes refuge with you will be secure, and whoever resorts to you will succeed and get to your door safe.
O Allah, overtake those who persist on oppression and continue in their ignorance to the end of disbelief. Your patience with them has made them covetous of doing as they desire. They harm your guardians with their evils, and hurt them with their vices, and take their harm to them in their habitation. O Allah, dispel torment from the believers and send it openly on the unjust!
O Allah, drive torment away from reliers and pour it on the haughty! O Allah, assist the followers of the truth, and surprise the assistants of injustice with snap! O Allah, make us delighted with gratefulness, give us victory, and keep us safe from the bad bada’,29 bad end, and danger!’30
The supplications of the infallible Imams were not limited to the spiritual side, but they included all sides of life. This supplication pictured the political life and the oppression that people suffered during the reigns of those kings who were excessive in oppressing people and forcing them to do what they were unwilling to do. I think that, in this supplication, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) invoked Allah against al-Mutawakkil who excessively oppressed the Alawids.
2. “O You, Who are unique in deity, and alone in oneness, O You, by Whose name the day glows, and lights shine, by Whose command night darkens, and by Whose gift rain comes down, O You, Whom the distressed call upon and You respond, the frightened resort to and You rescue them, obedient worship and You thanked them, and the grateful praise and You reward them. How exalted You are! How high your authority is! How executable your commands are! You are the Creator (who creates) without effort and the Judge (who judges) without injustice.
Your excuse is irrefutable, and Your words are undeniable. To You I have resorted and sought protection from the blows on knots (magic), and the watches of the atheists who deny Your attributes, harm Your guardians, support the killing of Your prophets and chosen ones, intend to put out Your light, deny Your messengers, resist Your signs, take guardians other than You and Your guardians, and worship their idols instead of You.
But You favor Your guardians with Your great blessings, generously give them Your bounties, endow them with the best of Your reward to save them from opposing the prophets and from the ways of deviation, and respond to them when they carry out the covenants, and so the turning hearts submit to You with agreements.
O Allah, I ask You by Your name which the heavens and the earth have submitted to, and by which You enliven the dead among things, make living beings die, gather every separated thing, separate every gathered thing, perfect the words, show great signs, assist the repentant, and delay the acts of the corruptive and make their deeds vain…to have blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and make my Shi’a (followers) from those who have been charged and they believed, and been interrogated and they spoke while safe and trusted.
O Allah, I ask You for them the success of the people of guidance, the deeds of the people of certainty, the loyalty of the people of repentance, the determination of the people of insight, the God-fearingness of the people of piety, the concealment of the truthful until they, O my Lord, fear You with fear that prevents them from Your disobediences so that they obey You to obtain Your dignity, and until they become loyal to You and for You for fear of You, and until they become sincere to You in repentance so that You give them Your love which You have necessitated for the repentant, and until they rely on You in all their affairs out of their good will towards You, and until they entrust their affairs to You out of their trust in You.
O Allah, Your obedience is not obtained except through Your reconciliation, and no degree from the degrees of goodness is obtained except by You. O Allah, the Master of the Day of Judgment, the Aware of the secrets hidden in the chests of people, purify the earth from the impurity of the people of polytheism, and silence the liars from fabricating lies against Your messenger!
O Allah, eradicate tyrants, snap slanderers, and destroy fabricators who, when the verses of the Beneficent are recited before them, say: fables of the ancients. O Allah, fulfill Your promise to me, and hasten the deliverance of every suppliant seeker; You are ever watchful! I seek Your protection from every dubiosity, and from every heart that is locked up away from knowing You, and from a soul that disbelieves if it is distressed, and from one who speaks about justice while his deeds are opposite to justice, and from one who seeks the truth while he is far away from true qualities, and from one who gains fame while he is lowered in his fame, and from a face which, in spite of successive blessings, is gloomy. I seek Your protection from all that and everything like it, You are Knowing, Wise.”
“O You, the greater than every great one, Who has no partner and no vizier, O You, the Creator of the sun and the lighting moon, the shelter to the resorting fearful, the Liberator of tied captives, the nourisher of young babies, the setter of broken bones, the Merciful to the old, the light of light, the Manager of affairs, the Resurrector of those in graves, the Healer of chests, the Maker of shade and heat, the Aware of all that is in breasts, the Revealer of the Book, light, the great Qur'an, and the Book of Psalms,
O You, Whom angels glorify in the morning and night,
O You, the Permanent and Eternal, the Bringer forth of plants in the early morning and afternoon, the Enlivener of the dead, the Resurrector of decayed bones, the Hearer of sounds, the Everlasting, the Dresser of bones that decay after death!
O You, Whom nothing distracts from any other thing, Who do not change from a state to another, Who do not need to move or advance, Whom no affair prevents from any other affair, Who cancel because of the charity and supplication (of believers) what has been determined and affirmed in the Heaven of the unfavorable judgment (that is their due), Whom no place can include or encompass, Who place remedy in what You like among things, Who keep alive from serious disease with the least of nourishment, Who remove by the least of remedy the worst of diseases,
O You, Who, if promise, fulfill, if threaten, pardon,
O You, Who possess the needs of requesters, who know what is there inside the consciences of the silent,
O You, the Most Magnificent, the Generous in pardoning,
O You, Who have a face that never becomes old, Who have unlimited sovereignty, Who have inextinguishable light, Whose throne is over everything, Whose authority is over the land and the sea, Whose wrath is in the Hell, Whose mercy is in Paradise, Whose promises are true, Whose favors are uncountable, Whose mercy is wide,
O You, the Helper of the callers for help, the Responder to the call of the compelled,
O You, Who are in the high regard and Your creation is in low regard,
O You, the Lord of the mortal souls, the Lord of the worn bodies, the most perceptive of seers, the most hearing of hearers, the promptest of accounters, the wisest of judges, the Most Merciful of the merciful, the Giver of gifts, the Releaser of captives, the Lord of glory, the One of piety and forgiveness,
O You, Whose limit cannot be perceived, whose number cannot be counted, Whose aid does not cease,
I bear witness, and the witness to me is honor and supply, and from me obedience and submission, and by which I hope deliverance on the day of sigh and regret, that You are Allah; there is no god but You alone with no partner, and that Muhammad is Your slave and messenger,
Your blessing be on him and on his progeny, and that he has informed and carried out on behalf of You what was his duty to You, and that You always create, provide with livelihood, give, deny, exalt, humble, enrich, impoverish, disappoint, help, pardon, show mercy, forgive, overlook what You know, do not wrong, straiten, enlarge, omit, fix, initiate, reproduce, enliven and make die; have mercy on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and guide me from You, give me of Your favor, spread on me of Your mercy, and send down upon me of Your blessings, for You often have accustomed me to good and favor, given me too much, and uncovered my ugly deeds.
O Allah, have blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and hasten my deliverance, forgive my slips, take pity my loneliness, take me to the best of Your worships, gift me with health from my illness, plenty of my supplies, inclusive soundness in my body, insight in my religion, and help me to ask you for forgiveness before death comes and hope ends, and help me bear death and its distress, the grave and its loneliness, the scales and their lightness, the sirat31 and its slipping, the Day of Resurrection and its terror.
I ask you for the acceptance of deeds before death, and ask You for strength in my hearing and sight for the doing of the best of that You have taught and made me understand. You are the lofty Lord and I am the humble slave, and how great a difference there is between us. O You, Compassionate, Benefactor, of Glory and Honor, have blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad the good, the pure!”32
“O You, Who have raised high and been great, overcome and been mighty, been mighty and overcome,
O You, Who have been mighty and so been great in His might,
O You, Who have spread shade over his creation, who have endowed His people with favor, I ask You, O You Mighty of retribution, Who avenges with His might on people of atheism,
I ask You by the right of Your guardian ‘Ali bin Abu Talib and I make him the means between You and my needs, to have mercy on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and to help me satisfy my needs, perform my nafilas (supererogatory prayers) and obligations and be pious to my brothers, and (make me) perfect in Your obedience, O You, the Most Merciful of the merciful.’33
One of the charismata of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was the swift response of Allah to his supplications because of the high position he and his fathers had near Allah. Historians have mentioned many examples regarding this matter.
1. Al-Mansur narrated that his father’s uncle said, “Once, I went to Imam ‘Ali al-Hadi and said to him, ‘O my master, this man (he meant al-Mutawakkil, the Abbasid caliph) has turned his back to me and stopped my salary, and this is because he knows I have kept to you.’”
He asked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) to intercede for him with al-Mutawakkil. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said to him, ‘You shall be satisfied insha’Allah.’ During the night, the messengers of al-Mutawakkil came to the man and he hastened with them to the caliph. When he got to the palace, al-Fatah the doorkeeper scolded him for his delay and allowed him to go in to al-Mutawakkil.
The caliph received him with smiles saying to him, ‘O Abu Musa, what made you busy and forget about us? Do you need anything from me?’
The man asked for what he needed and for his salary that was stopped. Al-Mutawakkil ordered him to be given more than what he wanted. The man left delightedly. He saw al-Fatah at the door and said to him, ‘Did ‘Ali bin Muhammad (Imam al-Hadi) come here?’
Al-Fatah said, ‘No.’
The man said, ‘Did he send a letter?’
The doorkeeper said, ‘No.’
The man left and al-Fatah followed him saying, ‘I have no doubt that you have asked him (the Imam) to pray for you. Please, ask him to pray for me!’
The man went to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), and when he had the honor of being before him, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said to him, ‘O Abu Musa, I see satisfaction on your face.’
The man said submissively, ‘It is by your blessing, my master. But, it was said to me that you neither went to him (to al-Mutawakkil) nor did you ask him for anything.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) smiled and said, ‘Allah the Almighty has known from us that we do not resort in serious matters except to Him, and do not rely in misfortunes except on Him. He has accustomed us to His response whenever we ask Him for something, and we fear that if we change, He also will change with us…’
The man understood that Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) had prayed to Allah for him in loneliness. He said to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), ‘O my master, al-Fatah asks you to pray for him.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) did not respond and said, ‘Al-Fatah believes in us outwardly and avoids us inwardly. We pray for him if he is loyal to Allah, believes in the messenger of Allah (peace be on him and on his progeny), and acknowledges our rights, we the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).’
The infallible Imams (a.s.) prayed Allah for pure persons who believed in Allah, His messenger, and the right of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). They did not pray for those who do not believe.
The man asked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) to teach him a supplication (du’a) that would benefit him and Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) guided him to the following du’a:
“O You, my supply, my hope and reliance, my resort and support, O You One and Unique, O You, Who “say: He, Allah, is One”, O Allah, I ask You by those whom You have not created like them in Your creation, to have blessing on them…and then you ask for your need.”34
2. There was a man in Isfahan (in Iran) called Abdur-Rahman who had embraced Shi’ism and believed in the Imamate of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). Abdur-Rahman was asked about the reason behind that decision, and he said, ‘I was poor, but brave and eloquent. I, with a group from the people of my town, went to al-Mutawakkil to complain.
When we arrived in Surra Man Ra’a, we went to his palace. While we were waiting at the door of al-Mutawakkil, an order was issued from the palace to bring ‘Ali bin Muhammad bin ar-Ridha (a.s.). I asked about him and it was said to me that he was an Alawid man, whom the Rafidha (the Shi’a) believed in as their Imam.
It was said that al-Mutawakkil might order him to be killed. I said to myself, ‘I will not leave my place until I see him.’ I waited not long when Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) came riding a sumpter. People stood up glorifying and honoring him. When I saw him, I loved him.
I began praying Allah to keep him safe from the plotting of al-Mutawakkil. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) caught sight of me. He came towards me, and said, ‘Allah has responded to your prayer. He will prolong your age and increase your wealth and children.’
I trembled because he knew what was in my mind and what I intended. We came in to al-Mutawakkil, carried out our affairs and then I left for Isfahan. Allah endowed me with great wealth that I had not even dreamed of. Now I have one million dirhams in my house besides the wealth I have outside the house. I have ten sons and I am now more than seventy years old.35 All of that was a result of the blessing of the du’a of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.).
3. ‘Ali bin Ja’far was one of the deputies of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). One day, he was betrayed near al-Mutawakkil who threw him in prison. He remained in prison for a long time and eventually he could not bear this any longer. Therefore, he asked an agent of the Abbasid government to intercede for him to be set free and he would give him three thousand dinars for that.
The agent went to Ubaydillah, who had a good position near al-Mutawakkil, and asked him to intercede with al-Mutawakkil for ‘Ali bin Ja’far. Ubaydillah responded to him and interceded with al-Mutawakkil to set ‘Ali bin Ja’far free, but al-Mutawakkil refused and said to him, ‘If I doubted you, I would say you are a Rafidhi (Shi’a). This is a deputy of Abul Hasan al-Hadi and I am determined to kill him.’
Ubaydillah regretted his intercession and told his friend (the agent) that al-Mutawakkil was determined to kill ‘Ali bin Ja’far and there was no chance for setting him free. ‘Ali bin Ja’far became so distressed and wrote a letter to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) saying to him, ‘O my master, please do something for me! I fear I may lose my faith.’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied to him, ‘Since the matter has reached this point with you, I will pray Allah for you.’
Al-Mutawakkil became seriously ill and his fever increased, and so he ordered his men to set free all prisoners and gave a special order to set ‘Ali bin Ja’far free. Al-Mutawakkil ordered Ubaydillah to set ‘Ali free and to beg him to forgive him (al-Mutawakkil) for what he had done to him. ‘Ali was set free and went to live in Mecca as Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) had ordered him.36
4. Ahmad bin al-Khasib hated Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). He insisted that the Imam should give him his house without paying a price. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) became very angry and said to him, ‘I will pray to Allah that nothing of yours shall remain.’
It was not long after that when the wrath of Allah afflicted Ahmad and he perished.37
These are some examples historians have mentioned of Allah’s responding to the prayers of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). It is definite that the response to prayers is not man’s doing but it is by the will of Allah Who responds to the prayer of whomever He likes of His people. There is no doubt that the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) had a very high position near Allah because they devoted themselves to Him as far as loyalty had meaning, and obeyed Him in the full sense of obedience, and, therefore, Allah responded to their prayers immediately and made their holy shrines from among the places where prayers are responded to.
- 1. Al-Irshad, p.307-308, Usul al-Kafi.
- 2. An Egyptian author, researcher, and man of letters.
- 3. The life of Imam Muhammad al-Jawad, p.69.
- 4. Al-Jami’ li-Ahkam al-Qur’an, vol.1 p.35.
- 5. Al-Irshad, p.369, Usul al-Kafi, vol.1 p.323.
- 6. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.13, p.127, Ikmaluddeen by as-Saduq.
- 7. He predicted that he would die (be killed) and it was so.
- 8. A’yan ash-Shi’a, vol.4 p.256.
- 9. Usul al-Kafi.
- 10. Sahih of Muslim, chap. Of al-Imarah (emirate), Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol.5 p.89, Sahih of al-Bukhari, p.164.
- 11. Sifat as-Safwa, vol.2 p.98.
- 12. Al-Manaqib.
- 13. The first day of the hajj. Tarwiya means watering.
- 14. Bihar al-Anwar.
- 15. Al-Ittihaf Bihubil Ashraf, p.67-68, Sharh Shafiyat Abu Nu’as, vol.2 p.167, Jawharat al-Kalam, p.151.
- 16. Amali of as-Saduq, Bihar al-Anwar.
- 17. Man La Yahdhuruhu al-Faqih.
- 18. The waqifites were a group of people believing in the Imamate of the first seven Imams from Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) to Imam Musa bin Ja’far al-Kadhim (a.s.) and did not believe in the remaining five Imams.
- 19. Man La Yahdhuruhu al-Faqih.
- 20. Bani means “the family or tribe of”.
- 21. Qur'an, 3:23.
- 22. Qur'an, 58:11.
- 23. Qur'an, 39:9.
- 24. Taym was a big family from Quraysh.
- 25. Al-Ihtijaj by at-Tabarsi.
- 26. Wassa’il ash-Shi’a, vol.4 p.750.
- 27. Ibid., vol.5 p.298.
- 28. Qunut means “obedience, submissiveness, God-fearing…”, but here it is a part of prayer in which one recites supplication in a specified manner.
- 29. The emergency of new circumstances which cause a change in an earlier divine ruling.
- 30. Muhaj ad-Da’awat, al-Misbah.
- 31. Sirat means “way” or “path” but in the Islamic terminology it means the bridge that dominates Hell.
- 32. Al-Misbah by al-Kaf’ami, Bihar al-Anwar.
- 33. Al-Misbah by al-Kaf’ami.
- 34. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 13 p.129, al-Amali by as-Saduq.
- 35. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.13 p.132.
- 36. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.13 p.142.
- 37. Ibid., vol.13 p.132.