Abu l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-Hādī, (b. 212/828 - d. 254/868) (Arabic:ابوالحسن علي بن محمد الهادي) was the son of Imam al-Jawad (a) and he was the tenth of the twelve Imams of the Shia. He is also known as al-Naqī (النقي, the pure) and al-Hādī (الهادي, the guide). He was the Imam (leader) between 220/835 and 254/868 for a period of thirty-four years.
Many years of the imamate (leadership) of Imam al-Hadi (a) took place in Samarra under direct surveillance of the rulers of his time. His imamate was contemporary with the rule of some Abbasid caliphs including al-Mutawakkil al-'Abbasi.
Different hadiths are narrated from Imam al-Hadi (a) about ideological issues, interpretation of the Qur'an, fiqh, and ethics. Al-Ziyarah al-Jami'a al-Kabira which includes Shi'a ideological concepts about the Imams, is narrated from Imam al-Hadi (a).
Imam al-Hadi (a) was in contact with Shi'a and managed their affairs through the Wikala network. Some of his students and companions are as follows: 'Abd al-'Azim al-Hasani, 'Uthman b. Sa'id, Ayyub b. Nuh, al-Hasan b. Rashid and al-Hasan al-Utrush.
His shrine is in Samarra. The dome and some minarets of his shrine were destroyed by terrorist attacks in 2006; and again, in 2008 other minarets of the shrine were also destroyed by another bombing. The shrine has been reconstructed from 2010 to 2015 by Iran.
Imam al-Hadi (a) and his son Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a) became famously known as 'Askariyyayn; since Abbasid caliphs took them to Samarra in 233/847-848 and held them under surveillance until the end of their lives.
Imam al-Hadi (a) was also known under other titles such as al-Naqi, al-Najib, al-Murtada, al-'Alim, al-Faqih, al-Amin, and al-Tayyib.
His kunya was Abu l-Hasan. Since the Kunya of Imam al-Kazim (a) and Imam al-Rida (a) was also Abu l-Hasan; to avoid any mistake, in haidth sources Imam al-Kazim (a) is called Abu l-Hasan al-Awwal (the first Abu l-Hasan), Imam al-Rida (a) is called Abu l-Hasan al-Thani (the second Abu l-Hasan) and Imam al-Hadi (a) is known as Abu l-Hasan al-Thalith (the third Abu l-Hasan).
The inscription of Imam al-Hadi's (a) ring read, "Allah rabbi wa huwa 'ismati min khalqih" (اللّه ربّی و هو عصمتی من خلقه; Allah is my Lord and He keeps me warded from His creatures).
|[Expand]Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)|
According to al-Kulayni, al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Shaykh al-Tusi and Ibn Athir, Imam al-Hadi's (a) birth was in the middle of Dhu l-Hijja, 212/March 10, 828 in a region called Sarya near Medina. It was reported by some, that the 2nd or 5th day of Rajab (1st or 4th of October, 827) was the day of his birth.
According to the narrations of al-Shaykh al-Mufid and others, Imam al-Hadi (a) was martyred in the month of Rajab 254/July, 868 after twenty years and nine months of being held in Samarra. Some sources have mentioned the date of his martyrdom as Rajab 3/July 2,, while others have mentioned it being the twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth of Jumada II (25th or 26th June), during the rule of al-Mu'tazz, the thirteenth Abbasid caliph.
Most Shi'a scholars have listed four sons of Imam al-Hadi (a), but there is disagreement regarding the number of daughters. Al-Hadini wrote Imam al-Hadi's (a) sons were al-Hasan (a), Muhammad, al-Husayn and Ja'far (who claimed imamate and was later called Ja'far al-Kadhdhab).
Regarding his children, al-Shaykh al-Mufid wrote, "His successor was Abu Muhammad al-Hasan who was Imam after him, and then there are al-Husayn, Muhammad and a girl named 'A'isha." Ibn Shahrashub mentioned another daughter for him called 'Aliyya. However, according to different evidences and references, it may have been the case that Imam al-Hadi (a) had only one daughter who had different names. According to Sunni scholars, Imam al-Hadi (a) had four sons and one daughter.
Imam al-Hadi (a) became the Imam in 220/835. Since the Shi'a (except a few) had passed the issue of the small age of Imam al-Jawad (a) upon becoming Imam, no obvious doubt was raised about the Imamate of Imam al-Hadi (a). According to al-Shaykh al-Mufid, all followers of Imam al-Jawad (a) except a few, accepted the imamate of Imam al-Hadi (a). The other few people, for a short period of time believed in the imamate of Musa b. Muhammad (d. 296/909) known as Musa al-Mubarqa' who is buried in Qom; however, after a while, they turned from his imamate and accepted the imamate of Imam al-Hadi (a). Sa'd b. Abd Allah attributed the turning of these people from Musa al-Mubarqa' due to the fact that Musa al-Mubarqa' himself rejected this belief.
According to al-Tabrisi and Ibn Shahrashub, the consensus of the Shi'a, on the imamate of Imam al-Hadi (a) is a strong and undeniable proof for his imamate. However, al-Kulayni and others have previously mentioned statements about imamate and some narrations suggest that when Imam al-Jawad (a) was summoned by al-Mu'tasim al-'Abbasi to Baghdad and since Imam al-Jawad (a) deemed it a threat for his life, he (a) introduced Imam al-Hadi (a) as his successor to the Shi'a and even left a written statement about his imamate, in order for no doubt regarding this to remain afterwards.
During his imamate, Imam al-Hadi (a) was contemporary with some Abbasid caliphs, chronologically with:
Prior to al-Mutawakkil's accession to power, the caliphs' policies were the same as al-Ma'mun's, which defended Mu'tazilits against Ahl al-Hadith and this had brought a favorable environment for the Alavis. Upon the coming of al-Mutawakkil, Ahl al-Hadith were supported and incited against Mu'tazilites and Shi'a and this resulted in them becoming more oppressed.
Abu l-Faraj al-Isfahani mentioned bad behavior of al-Mutawakkil towards Talibids and mentioned 'Ubayd Allah b. Yahya b. Khaqan, al-Mutawakkil's minister, similar to al-Mutawakkil, among the serious enemies of the Alavis. The severe actions of al-Mutawakkil towards Talibids included: destroying Imam al-Husayn's (a) shrine, plowing the lands on and around the grave of Imam al-Husayn (a) and severely punishing the pilgrims. This was only because the grave of Imam al-Husayn (a) in Karbala proved as an emotional link between masses of Shi'a and their Imams (a).
In 233/848, al-Mutawakkil decided to take Imam (a) from Medina to Samarra. After mentioning the spiteful talks of some people about the Ahl al-Bayt (a) before al-Mutawakkil, Ibn al-Jawzi writes, "Due to these reports implying the bond between people and Imam al-Hadi (a), al-Mutawakkil summoned Imam to Samarra".
Al-Shaykh al-Mufid wrote, "In a letter to al-Mutawakkil, Imam al-Hadi (a) rejected malicious reports. In replying to Imam, al-Mutawakkil wrote a respectful letter and cunningly asked Imam to move towards Samarra". Al-Kulayni and al-Shaykh al-Mufid have mentioned the text of al-Mutawakkil's letter.
Al-Mutawakkil had planned to take Imam al-Hadi (a) to Samarra in such a way that people's emotions would not be stirred and the Imam's (a) forced move would not have any undesirable side effect, however the people of Medina had become aware of the plot in advance.
Regarding this, Ibn al-Jawzi narrated from Yahya b. Harthama, "I went to Medina and entered the city. People became agitated and made unexpected slow reactions. Gradually, the distress of the people reached a level that they began complaining to an extent, that was never before seen in Medina".
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463/1071) wrote that Ja'far al-Mutawakkil brought him [Imam al-Hadi (a)] from Medina to Baghdad, and then to Samarra and he lived there for twenty years and nine months, he passed away at the time of al-Mu'tazz and was buried there.
Upon entering Samarra, Imam al-Hadi (a) was welcomed by people and stayed at the home of Khuzayma b. Hazim.
According to al-Shaykh al-Mufid, the first day Imam (a) entered Samarra, al-Mutawakkil ordered that he (a) be held in "Khan Sa'alik" for one day and the next day Imam (a) was taken to a house which was assumed for his residence. According to Salih b. Sa'id, this was done in order to humiliate Imam (a).
For twenty years until the end of his life, the Imam (a) lived in that city. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid mentioned Imam's (a) compulsory residence in Samarra and wrote, "Apparently, Imam al-Hadi (a) was respected by the caliph, however in disguise, al-Mutawakkil made plots against the Imam (a), none of which succeeded".
In Samarra, the people highly revered the Imam's (a) great personality and spirit. They all showed great amounts of humbleness before him.
During his compulsory residence in Samarra, Imam (a) seemingly had a calm life and al-Mutawakkil wanted to show him in the role of a courtier and decrease his grandeur in the eyes of the people, while he took Imam (a) under surveillance.
The agents keeping surveillance, reported to al-Mutawakkil that there were weapons and letters from the Shi'a in the house of the Imam (a). He ordered for some soldiers to quickly rush to the Imam's (a) house. Upon arriving at the Imam's (a) residence, they found him (a) alone in a room with the floor covered by sand, while he (a) was wearing woolen clothes, had a head covering and murmured some verses of the Qur'an; so they took him in that state to al-Mutawakkil.
When Imam (a) entered, al-Mutawakkil had a cup of wine in his hand; he seated Imam (a) beside himself and offered Imam (a) a cup and asked him, "Drink!" Imam (a) excused himself and said, "My meat and blood have never been fouled by wine." Then, al-Mutawakkil asked Imam (a) to recite a poem that would entertain him. Imam (a) said "I hardly ever recite poetry," but al-Mutawakkil insisted and the Imam (a) recited a poem about the powerful people who moved from palaces to graves after their death, and their state in the grave. When the Imam (a) finished reciting the poem, all attendants and even al-Mutawakkil himself were so moved, that al-Mutawakkil's face had become wet with tears. Al-Mutawakkil then ordered that the drinking table be removed. He ordered for the Imam (a) to be taken back to his house respectfully.
After al-Mutawakkil, his son al-Muntasir came to power and this lessened the government's pressure on the Alavis; thus the pressure on Imam al-Hadi (a) also decreased, even though in different regions, statesmen still suppressed the Shi'a.
The decrease of suppression in comparison to previous times, had led to better organization of the Shi'a in different regions and if at any time, one of the deputies of Imam (a) in the cities was arrested, Imam (a) appointed another person instead.
One of the deviations Ghulat (exaggerators) brought up and caused other Islamic sects to attack the Shi'a, was the issue of altering the Qur'an .Sunnis are also affected by this due to the insertion of inauthentic hadiths in their books.
In an extensive treatise narrated by Ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani, Imam al-Hadi (a) strictly insisted on the priority of the Qur'an and mentioned it as an accurate standard for assessment of hadiths and distinguishing authentic ones from inauthentic ones. He officially declared the Qur'an as the only text that all Islamic groups refer to.
Elsewhere regarding a conflicting issue, Imam (a) referred to the Qur'an and convinced everyone to agree with him. Al-'Ayyashi narrated a hadith stating, "Abu Ja'far and Abu 'Abd Allah, peace be with them, said we do not accept anything unless it agrees with the Book of God and the conduct of His Prophet (s)"
One of the most important issues of the third/ninth century which kept the Sunni school of thought occupied, was the dispute over the issue of Huduth and Qidam (creation or eternity) of the Qur'an which created divisions and sects among them.
The Shi'a kept silent following the instructions of Imams (a) over this issue. In a letter, Imam al-Hadi (a) ordered one of the Shi'a not to give opinion over this issue and not to display any bias with either of the opinions regarding creation or eternity of the Qur'an.
This helped the Shi'a not to become engaged in such fruitless arguments.
Different opinions among different Shi'a sects made it difficult for the Imams (a) to direct the people. The Shi'ites were scattered in different regions which meant that every once in a while, they became influenced by others' opinions which added to the former mentioned issue. In this confusion, non-Shi'a groups and anti-Shi'a oppositions incited these disagreements and falsely projected them deeper than they actually were. There is a narration from al-Kashshi that explicitly shows a person made up three sects named Zurariyya, 'Ammariyya, and Ya'furiyya and attributed them to each of the great companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a) (i.e. Zurara b. A'yan, 'Ammar al-Sabati, and Ibn Abi Ya'fur).
Imams (a) of the Shia sometimes confronted questions, origins of some of which were these disagreements among Shi'a scholars, which were sometimes just discussion-oriented or sometimes deeper and the Imams (a) had to be judges among these issues.
Consequently, more than twenty one narrations are reported from Imam al-Hadi (a) about Tanzih, some of which are very comprehensive and they all indicate that Imam (a) approved of Tanzih.
Regarding the Imams' (a) opinions about predestination and free will, there is a comprehensive treatise available from Imam al-Hadi (a). In this treatise, Shi'a theological principles regarding predestination and free will, are explained according to the Qur'an and the interpretation of the hadith, "La jabr wa la tafwid bal amrun bayn al-amrayn," (there is no predestination or free will, but the matter is between the two issues) narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a).
Among narrations reported from Imam al-Hadi (a) with the title of Ihtijajat, most of them are about predestination and free will.
Imam al-Hadi (a) made great efforts in educating and familiarizing Shi'a Muslims with Shi'a teachings through Du'a (supplication) and Ziyarah (visiting either physical or vocal). Such du'as in different ways, mentioned some political and social points as well as supplicating to God. These points were very influential in the political realm of the Shi'a and regularly inspired certain concepts within the Shi'a society.
This Ziyarah (visiting) is a wonderful course of Shi'a teachings and introduces the position of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) which was initiated by Imam al-Hadi (a) following the requests of the Shi'a.
Although there was a great suppression made by Abbasid caliphs at the time of the last Imams (a), the Shi'a had vastly spread throughout Islamic lands and there were connections between Imam al-Hadi (a) and the Shi'a of Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, and other places. This Wikala network guaranteed the establishment, preservation, and strength of this connection. In addition to collecting Khums and sending correspondence to the Imam (a), deputies had a constructive position in theological and conflicts regarding jurisprudence. The system had a pivotal role in their region for establishing the leadership of the next Imam (a).
According to Dr. Jasim al-Husayn, "It can be understood from historical narrations that there were four regions for appointment of deputies," each region included some cities as below:
The Imams' (a) deputies were in contact with the respective Imam (a) through letters carried via trustworthy people. A great part of jurisprudential and theological teachings of these Imams (a) were delivered to the Shi'a through these deputies.
'Ali b. Ja'far al-Hamani was one of the deputies of Imam al-Hadi (a) from Haminia, a village near Baghdad.
Some reports were submitted about him to al-Mutawakkil, which led to his arrest and imprisonment. After being released after a long duration of imprisonment, Imam (a) ordered him to go to Mecca and remain there until the end of his life.
Al-Hasan b. 'Abd Rabbih, or according to some other reports, his son 'Ali, was one of the deputies of Imam al-Hadi (a) and after him, Abu 'Ali b. Rashid was appointed and announced by Imam (a) as his deputy.
Since the time of Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a), the title of Qummi can be seen in the last name of some of the companions of Imams (a). They were Ash'aris with Arab origin who lived in Qom.
At the time of Imam al-Hadi (a), Qom was the most important center of the Iranian Shi'a population and there were strong connections between Shi'a of this city and the Imams (a). Exactly opposite to the extent of deviating and exaggerating tendencies that existed among the people of Kufa, there was anti-exaggeration and moderation among the people of Qom. The Shi'a of Qom showed great attention to this issue.
The two cities of Aveh and Kashan, near Qom were also influenced by Shi'a teachings and followed the Shi'a insight of the people of Qom. In some hadiths, Muhammad b. 'Ali al-Kashani is mentioned as one who asked Imam al-Hadi (a) questions about the Unity of God.
The people of Qom had some financial relationships with Imam (a). In this regard, it is said Muhammad b. Dawud al-Qummi and Muhammad al-Talhi were responsible for collecting khums, people's gifts, and religious questions and delivered them to Imam (a).
The Shi'ites of the other cities of Iran had the same relationship with the Imams (a). Although most cities of Iran were populated with the Sunnis and the Shi'ites were the minority due to the influence of Umayyads and Abbasids.
Abu Muqatil al-Daylami, a companion of Imam al-Hadi (a) wrote a theology and hadith book about the issue of imamate. Daylam (East of Gilan province) embraced many Shi'a since the late second/eighth century. Moreover, some immigrants from Daylam who came to Iraq became Shi'a.
The epithets of some of the companions of Imam al-Hadi (a) which are derived from city names suggest their nationality as Iranian, such as Bishr b. Bashshar al-Nisaburi (Neyshabur), Fath b. Yazid al-Jurjani (Gorgan), Ahmad b. Ishaq al-Razi (Rey), Husayn b. Sa'id al-Ahwazi (Ahwaz)), Hamdan b. Ishaq al-Khurasani (Khorasan), 'Ali b. Ibrahim al-Taliqani (Taliqan) who lived in different cities of Iran. Due to the activities of the Shi'a, Gorgan and Neyshabur gradually became Shi'a centers in fourth/tenth century. There are other evidences which show that there were people from Qazwin who were among the companions of Imam al-Hadi (a).
It was famously said that peopl