A brief history of the Twelve Imams life / Imam Reza to Imam Hassan Asgari p.b. u.t

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The 8th Imam/ Reza -p.b. u.h
In the fourth part it is supposed to study the life of Imam Reza to Imam Hassan ASgari( peace be upon them).

Imam Rida (Ali ibn Musa)was the son of theson of the seventh Imam and according to well- known accounts was born in 148/765 and died in 203/817 (usul al –kafi, VOI,I,P,486,Irshad, PP,284-295, Dalai l al- mamah, PP, 175- 177, al fusul al- muhimmah, PP,225-246, Tarikh-I Ya’qubi, VOI, III, P, 188). The eight Imam had reached the imamate, after the death of his father, through Divine Command and the decree of his forefathers. the period of his imamate coincided with the caliphate of Harun and then his son Amin and Ma’mun. after the death of his father, Ma’mun fell into conflict with his brother Amin, which led to bloody wars and finally the assassination of Amin. After which Ma’mun became caliph (Usul al –kafi, VOI, I, P, 488, al fusul al-muhimmah, P 237). Until that day the policy of the Abbasid caliphate toward the shi’ites had been increasingly harsh and cruel Every once in a while one of the supporters of Ali (ahawis) would revolt, causing bloody wars and rebellions which were of great difficulty and consequence for the caliphate.

The shi’ite Imam would not cooperate with those who carried out these rebellions and would not interfere with their affairs. The shi’ites and would not interfere with their affairs. The shi’ites of that day, who comprised a considerable population, continued to consider the Imams as their religious leaders to whom obedience was obligatory and believed in them as the real caliphs of the holy prophet, they considered the caliphate to be far from the sacred authority of their Imams, for the caliphate had come to seem more like the courts of the Persian kings and Roman emperors and was being run by a group of people more interested in worldly rule than in the strict application of religious principles. The continuation of such situation was dangerous for the structure of the caliphate and was a serious threat to it.

Ma’mum’s policy for cutting off the Alavie’s insurrection
Ma’mun thought of finding a new solution for these difficulties which the seventy- year old policy of his Abbasid predecessors had not been able to solve. To accomplish this end he chose the eighth Imam as his successor, hoping this way to overcome two difficulties, first of all prevent the descendants of the prophet from rebelling against the government since they would be involved in the government themselves, and secondly, to cause the people to lose their spiritual belief and inner attachment to the Imams. This would be accomplished by having the Imams become engrossed in worldly matters and the politics of the caliphate itself, which had always been considered by the shi’ite to be evil and impure, in this way their religious organization would crumble and they would no longer present any dangers to the caliphate, obviously, after accomplishing these ends, the removal of the Imam would present no difficulties to the Abbasids (Dalai l –imamh, P 197, Manaqib of ibn shahrashub, VOI, IV, P, 363).

Accepting the caliphate by Imam Reza
In order to have this decision put into effect, Ma’mun asked the Imam to come to Marw from Medina. Once he had arrived there, Ma’mun offered him first the caliphate and then the succession to the caliphate, the Imam made his apologies and turned downthe proposal, but he was finally induced to accept the successorship, with the condition that he would not interfere in governmental affairs or in the appointment or dismissal of governmental agents (Usul kafi, VOI,I, P, 489, Irshad, P, 290, al- fusul al- muhimmah, P 237 ).

This event occurred in 200/814, but soon Ma’mun realized that he had committed an error, for there was a rapid spread of shi’ism, agrowth in the attachment of the populace to the Imam and an astounding reception give to the Imam by people and even by the army and governmental agents. Ma’mun sought to find aremedy for this difficulty and had the Imam poisoned and martyred. After his death the Imam was buried in the city of Tus in Iran, which is now called Mashhad.

Ma’mun displayed great interest in having works on the intellectual sciences translated into Arabic, he organized gatherings in which scholars of different religions and sects assembled and carried out scientific and scholarly debates, the eighth Imam also participated in these assemblies and joined in the discussions with scholars of other religions. Many of these debates are recorded in the collections of shi’ite hadiths (Manaqib of Ibn shahrashub, VOI, IV, P, 351).

The 9th Imam/ Javad -p.b. u.h
Imam Muhammad (ibn Ali) Taqi (some times called Jawad and Ibn al- Rida) was the son of the eighth Imam. He was born in 195/ 809 in Medina and according to shi’ite traditions was martyred in 220/835, poisoned by his wife, the daughter of Ma’mun at the instigation of the Abbasid caliph Mu’ tasim. He was buried next to his grand father, the seventh Imam, in kazimayn. He became Imam after the death of his father through Divine Command and by the decree of his forefathers. At the time of the death of his father he was in Medina, Ma’mun called him to Baghdad which was then the capital of the caliphate and outwardly showed him much kindness. He even gave the Imam his daughter in marriage and kept him in Baghdad. In reality he wanted in this way to keep a close watch upon Imam from both outside and within his own house hold. The Imamspent some time in Baghdad and then with the consent of Ma’mun set out for Medina where he remained until Ma’mun’s death, when Mu’tasim became caliph he called the Imam back to Baghdad and, as we have seen through the Imam’s wife had him poisoned and killed (Irshad, P 297, Usul kafi, VOI,I, P492-497- Dalai l –imamh, PP, 201, 209).

The 10th Imam/ hadi p.b. u.h
Imam Ali ibn Muhammad Naqi ( some time s referred to by the title of Hadi), was the son of ninth Imam he was born in 212/ 827 in Medina and according to shi’ite accounts was martyred through poisoning by Mu’tazz the Abbasid caliph in 254/868 (Usul kafi, VOI,I, PP, 497- 502, Irshad, P 307).

During his lifetime the tenth Imam was contemporary with seven of the Abbasid caliphs: Ma’mun, Mu’tasim, wathiq, Mutawakkil, Muntasir, Musta’in and Mu’tazz it was during the rule of Mu’tasimin 220/835 that his noble father died through poisoning in Baghdad. At that time Ali ibn Muhammad Naqi was in Medina there he became the Imam through Divine Command and the decree of the Imam before him, he stayed in Medina teaching religious sciences until the time of Mutawakkil. In 243/857, as a result of certain false charges that. Were made, Mutawakkil ordered one of his government officials to invite the Imam from Medina to samarrah which was then the capital. He himself wrote the Imam a letter full of kindness and courtesy asking him to come to the capital where they couls meet (Irshad, PP, 307-313, Usul kafi, VOI,I, P501, al fusul al muhmmah P, 261). Upon arrival in samarrah the Imam was also show certain outward courtesy and respect, Yet at time same Mutawakkil tried by all possible means to trouble and dishonor him. Many times he called the Imam to his presence with the aim of killing or disgracing him and had his house searched.

Mutawakkil’s enemity toward Alavies
In his enmity toward the household of the prophet Mutawakkil had no equal the Abbasid caliphs. He was especially opposed to Ali, whom he cursed openly, he even ordered a clown to ridicule Ali at voluptuous banquets, in the year 237/850 he ordered the mausoleum of Imam Hossein in Karbala and many of the house around it to torn down to the ground. The water was turned upon the tomb of the Imam. He ordered the ground of the tomb to be plowed and cultivated so that any three of tomb would be forgotten (Manqatil al- Talibiyyn, P, 395).

During the life of Mutawakkil the condition of life the descendants of Ali in Hijaz had reached such a pitiful state that their womenfolk had no veils with which to civer themselves. many of them had only one old veil which they wore at the time of the daily prayers. Pressures of a similar kind were put on the descendants of Ali who lived in Egypt (Ibid, PP, 395-396). The tenth Imam accepted in patience the tortures and afflictions of the Abbasid caliph Mutawakkil until the caliph died and was followed by Muntasir, Musta’in and finlly Mu’tazz, whose Martyred.

The 11th th Imam/Hassan -p.b. u.h
Imam Hasan ibn Ali Askari, the son of the tenth Imam, was born in 232/845 and according to some shi’ite sources was poisoned and killed in 260/872 through the instigation of the Abbasid caliph Mu’tamid (Irshad, P, 315 Dalai l –imamh, P, 223, al fusul al muhmmah PP, 272, Manqatil al- VOI,I, P, 422, Usul kafi, VOI,I, P,503). The eleventh Imam gained the imamate after the death of his noble father, through Divine Command and through the decree of the previous Imams. During the seven years of his imamate, due to untold restrictions placed upon him by the caliphate he lived in hiding and dissimulation (taqiyah), he did not have any social contact even the common people among the shi’ite population. Only the elite of the shi’ite were able to see him,
Even so, spent most of his time in prison (Irshad, P234, Usul kafiVOI,I, P512).

The reason of extreme repression on Imam Hassan Asgari -p.b. u.h
There was extreme repression at that time because the shi’ite population had reached a considerable level in both numbers and power. Every one knew that the shi’ite believed in the imamate, and identity of the shi’ite Imams was also known. Therefore, the caliphate kept the Imams under its close supervision more than ever before, it tried through every possible means and through secret plans to remove and destroy them, also the caliphate had come to know that the elite among the shi’ah believed that the eleventh Imam, according to traditions cited by him as was the promised Mahdi. the coming of the Mahdi had been foretold in authenticated hadihs of the prophet in both Sunni and shi’ite sources (Sahih, of Timidhi, Cairo, 1350-52, VOI, IX, al fusul almuhimmah). For this reason the eleventh Imam, more than other Imams, was keptunder close watch by the caliphate, the caliph of the time had decided definitely to put an end to the imamate in shi’ism through every possible means and to close the door to the imamate once and for all.

Therefore, as soon as the new s of the illness of the eleventh Imam reached Mu’tamid, he sent a physician and a few of his trusted agents and judges to the house of the Imam to be with him and observe his condition and the situation within his house at all times. After the death of the Imam, they had the house investigated and all his female slaves examined by the midwife for two years the secret agents of the caliph searched for the successor of the Imam until they lost all hope (Usul kafiVOI,I, P505 Irshad, P319). The eleventh Imam was buried in his house in samarrah next to his noble father.


shiah- pages:303 to 311


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