by Jonathan Azaziah
May the peace, blessings and mercy of ALLAH al-Mousawwir (SWT) be upon the Ummah today for the 1,190th birth anniversary of Imam Ali al-Hadi, also known as Imam al-Naqi and Abou al-Hassan III (A.S.), among other titles. The 10th Imam of we Jaafari Shi’a and a figure adored by Muslims the world over for his upright character, generosity, wit, intelligence, insight, humbleness and hatred for oppression, the son of Imam Jawad (A.S.) was a Struggler of Strugglers whose defiance of despots and challenges of tyrants were as boundless as his Qur’anic knowledge and Godwariness.
Abou al-Hassan (A.S.) was like a Dawah machine, arguably bringing more people into the warm embrace of Al-Khalil (SWT) than anyone in Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) outside of the Holy Prophet Muhammad al-Moustafa (S.A.W.W.) and Imam Ali al-Karrar (A.S.) The reason for this was because, unbeknownst to many, Imam al-Naqi (A.S.) was a highly gifted polyglot! He spoke Farsi, Hindi, Russian, Bulgarian and several other Slavic dialects, not to mention several variations of Arabic as well as the ancient language of Aramaic. It was the last of those that gave him a great deal of credibility among Christians, theologians especially, and through his love of Christ (A.S.) and eloquent discourses on the Messiah’s deeds and miracles by ALLAH’s (SWT) leave, he led many to Islam.
Through his modest teaching grounds in Medina, he gained followers, students and admirers from across the Hijaz, Iraq, Iran and Egypt. His activity and exponentially large caravan of devotees garnered the attention of the Abbasid tyrants who were fearful of what his popularity meant for their rule. Al-Mansour (L.A.) and Al-Wathiq (L.A.), their open anti-Shi’a sectarianism aside, let him be for the most part. It was the brother of the latter dictator, Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.), who led the Abbasid regime in Samarra from 847-861, that really made life a living hell for the Imam. He was renowned for his visceral despisal of Shi’a and implemented many a policy hostile to the Household born from Lady Khadija (A.S.) and Nabi Muhammad (S.A.W.W.), including, most despicably, the destruction of Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) tomb.
What they all refused to see however was that Imam al-Hadi (A.S.), being of Muhammadi-Alawi stock, didn’t have a power-craving bone in entire body. Nay! Not a power-craving blood vessel! Additionally, he was poorer than poor could possibly be, giving away every penny that he had to the point he was remembered for oftentimes not having money for his own basic needs like halfway-decent food and clothing other than rags. That’s why he was also called Al-Tayyib (A.S.), because his munificence was immeasurable–and due to it being so genuine, all who came in this path found themselves attached to him. These truths of the Imam’s (A.S.) life make the Abbasids’ repression of him that much more devilish.
In Allamah Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi’s authoritative work, “The Life of Imam Ali Bin Muhammad al-Hadi: Study and Analysis”, pages 202-209 document the first stratagem applied against Al-Tayyib (A.S.) by the dastardly and despotic Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) Well-known scholars of the era, Yaqoub al-Ishaq [more than likely a Jew], also known as Ibn al-Sikkit, and Yahya bin Akhtam, approached the Imam with absurd, circuitous questions designed to humiliate him firstly and spread fitnah secondly, thus weakening the overall position of the Shi’a and Ahlul-Bayt-(A.S.)-loving Sunnis within Abbasid society. The Q&A sessions were held at a massive scientific conference inside the Abbasid Palace. Sheikhs of substantial influence, those specializing in jurisprudence and other theologians were in attendance.
Imam al-Naqi (A.S.) was aware of what the aims were so he flipped the script, answering the questions not with militancy, but eloquence, strength and honor towards his great grandfather, Rasoulallah (S.A.W.W.) The crowd, which was told by Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) that they would see the downfall of “one of the sons of Haydar (A.S.)”, instead saw that very son handle his adversaries like a true descendant of Isma’il (A.S.) and demolish the “caliph”. It was such a thrashing that Ibn al-Sikkit said to Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) in the aftermath, “We would like that you do not ask this man about anything further after my questions to him. In his display of knowledge, there will only be strengthening for the Rafidah.”
When public shaming failed, Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) went the route of subversion and sent Turkish agents of his to the Imam’s house to cause a ruckus and show him that he’d never be safe. Much to the subverters’ surprise though, they found Al-Hadi (A.S.) on his prayer mat in recitation of the Holy Qur’an. Enraged like children thinking he was “showing them up”, they dragged him back to Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.), who at the time was getting drunk off loads of wine. He offered the Imam a glass, who not only declined but snapped at the tyrant for his debauchery. The Abbasid degenerate proceeded to demand the Imam soothe him with poetry. Al-Naqi (A.S.) replied in only a way he could, rattling off several Qur’anically-inspired lines in a freestyle about riches and excesses that brought Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) to tears. The dictator was so sheepish in that moment, so reduced down to the size of an infant, that he ordered the wine away and even more bizarrely, issued another edict that all of the Imam’s debts be rendered paid. Another win in the column of Imam al-Hadi (A.S.)
Several weeks following this event, Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) had fallen ill due to abscesses and he was on the verge of death. Al-Faqih (A.S.), as the 10th Imam was also known, decided to execute an act of Muhammadi mercy on his oppressor in hopes of bringing him towards the Nour of the Holy, Unblemished Household of Ahmad (S.A.W.W.) When the illegitimate ruler’s representative came to him for advice, he obliged, providing him a remedy which would cure him outright. And cure him it did, subhan’ALLAH. Yes, that was another one of Al-Naqi’s (A.S.) talents–proficiency of the highest order in the realm of medicine.
Al-Moutawakkil’s (L.A.) mother was so overjoyed by her son’s extended life that she sent 10,000 dinars to Imam Ali al-Hadi (A.S.), closing the money-filled envelope with her seal so he knew it was from her. This brought the tyrant to the point of manic rage and ordered one of his minions to break into the Imam’s house AGAIN and retrieve the monies. When his mother admonished him about his cruel and pathetic actions, he apologized to Al-Hadi (A.S.) and ordered another sack of cash to be delivered to the Imam along with what he had stolen. 3 for Al-Naqi (A.S.), 0 for the despot.
As if he was taking orders from the future in the form of the American ZOG and AIPAC, Al-Moutawakkil’s (L.A.) next repressive measure was severe economic sanctions. Anyone who’d fork over even a cent to the Imam would face harsh consequences. This caused such a stir among what was once a plentiful flock of students and followers, that they departed his presence at the first sign of hardship, truly becoming Ahlul Kufa. Visitations almost stopped entirely during this time as everyone feared the backlash of the increasingly ruthless regime. The Imam was alone. Starved. Thirsty. He embraced this struggle however and only increased his prayers; doubled his Qur’anic recitations; and tripled his steadfastness. Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) was astonished that the Imam would not break and subsequently ordered his imprisonment.
Upon being tossed into jail, the Abbasids’ cronies dug a grave inside the cell to scare the Imam. All he did was smile at them. Only his righteous and brotherly companion Saqr Ibn Abou Doulaf (R.A.) had the courage to visit him whilst he was behind the walls and the sight of the grave horrified him. Saqr couldn’t help but feel fear for the Imam’s life and he broke down, gushing a river of tears. Al-Tayyib (A.S.) wiped his companion’s eyes and said to him softly, also with a smile, “Ya Saqr! Do not worry! They cannot harm us!”–perhaps this is where Imam Sayyed Ruhollah Khomeini (R.A.) derived his famous declaration about the US ZOG during the Iranian students’ takeover of the US spynest, “America can’t do a damn thing against us!” Afraid that Saqr Ibn Abou Doulaf (R.A.) would rally the people behind Al-Naqi (A.S.) after witnessing such brutal and inhuman conditions, not to mention being equally afraid of what making Saqr a Shahid would do, Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) set the Imam free.
Pages 219-220 of the aforementioned book reveal a tremendously startling fact. Incapable of dropping his hatred for Al-Hadi (A.S.), and with people flocking back to the Imam following the unjust prison sentence, he decided to kill him. And the assassins he hired to do the job were from none other than the Jewish kingdom of Khazaria. As if he been given a warning of the assassination plot by ALLAH (SWT) Himself, Abou al-Hassan III (A.S.) departed for the Abbasid Palace to confront Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.), whose own guards were so taken aback by the Imam’s presence that they glorified him and became his loyalists on the spot. Embarrassed, foiled and disgraced, Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) attempted pleasantries with the Imam but was rebuked. Al-Naqi (A.S.) warned him of ALLAH’s (SWT) punishment if he proceeded further with the scheme. Even the Jewish assassins, who were looking forward to assassinating one of the great grandchildren of their hated enemy, Muhammad al-Moustafa (S.A.W.W.), were flabbergasted by the reverence displayed towards the Imam, not to mention his own purity, and they backed off. That’s 6 wins for the Imam, none for the tyrant.
The end for Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) came in his 7th and final defeated plot against Ali al-Hadi (A.S.) It was the height of summer and he decided to issue an edict that the Imam would have to travel barefooted everywhere he went. As a means of masking his true intentions, he made this to be law for every single one of his “subjects” in Samarra, showing how much of a citizen-hating, elitist, barbaric megalomaniac he was. Even his vizier, Zuraqa, who had gone along with all of the autocrat’s savagery and had a reputation for being a drunkard himself, was terrified of where this was leading.
Zuraqa actually saw Imam al-Hadi (A.S.) in the street and noticed without too much effort that he was weary from the heat and the trek. He offered a cloth to the Imam to wipe the sweat from his face and also encouraged him to sit down in the shade. As Abou al-Hassan III (A.S.) looked around, seeing so many innocents suffering, Zuraqa could tell that he was getting angry and tried to convince him that this wasn’t Al-Moutawakkil’s (L.A.) intention. The Imam grew furious and told him to stop the excuses at once. He then ominously quoted the 65th Ayah of Surat al-Hud, “Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. That is a promise not to be denied”, a verse that prefaces ALLAH’s (SWT) destruction of the ingrates who defied Prophet Saleh (A.S.) and butchered the She-Camel.
Zuraqa knew this meant his boss would be dead and gone in 72 hours. That night, Imam Ali al-Hadi (A.S.) prayed to ALLAH (SWT) for the overthrow and death of the godless tyrant Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.), bellowing in a du’a, “No oppressor can protect himself by his power from You (SWT), nor can his soldiers defend him against You. No defeater can defeat You by his might, and no mighty one can stand against You with his abundance. You overcome him wherever he goes, and subject him to whatever he had resorted to. The wronged come to Your door o’ ALLAH (SWT), and the oppressed from us rely on You, only You, and turn to You. They ask You for help when helpers fail them, and cry for Your support when supporters turn their backs to them. They resort to You when shelters disappoint them, and knock on Your door when other doors are closed before them; and get to You when inadvertent kings hide from them. You are aware of them before they complain to You, and know what benefits them before they ask You for it. Praise be to You, the Hearing, the Seeing, the Kind, the Mighty.”
Three nights after this Du’a of Thunder, Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) was dead and toppled by his own son, the magnanimous Al-Mountasir (R.A.)–who overturned just about every anti-Shi’a policy his miserable criminal of a father had in place, allowing all citizens to visit the shrines of Imam Ali (A.S.) and Imam Hussein (A.S.) and even returning Fadak, the inheritance of Lady Fatima (A.S.), back into the hands of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) Unfortunately, this new reality of peace and unity did not last long as the Turkish loyalists of Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) would murder Al-Mountasir (R.A.) with a poison blade via one of their proxies. Al-Mousta’een, an incompetent materialist–though completely indifferent towards Al-Hadi (A.S.)–would take his place, only to hand the “caliphate” over to the hateful and brutish Al-Mou’tazz (L.A.) a short time afterwards. Al-Mou’tazz re-instituted anti-Shi’a sectarianism and kept Al-Naqi (A.S.) under suffocating pressure as well as invasive surveillance that would make Mossad, Unit 8200 and Talpiot operatives proud. Taking a page out of Al-Moutawakkil’s (L.A.) playbook, he largely used Turkish agents as well as hired guns from Judaic Khazaria to do his dirty work.
Al-Mou’tazz (L.A.) would order the Imam to run a school in Medina for him but Al-Naqi (A.S.) refused. Resisting every bit of oppression dished out by the latest dictatorship, the Imam built a house in Samarra where students from around the Islamicate would flock again, enamored with Abou al-Hassan III (A.S.) following his victorious tussle with Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) Disregarded at every turn, Al-Mou’tazz (L.A.) ordered one of his spies–and most accounts that specifically mention the assassin, note that it was a mercenary, which would indicate it was indeed a Khazar Jew responsible–to poison the Imam’s food.
Al-Khalis (A.S.)–another name of the Imam’s–died at only 38, but in martyrdom, he joined his nine predecessors and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) in leaving the Dunya as blessed and sublime as can be imagined. And of course, while the Abbasid caliphate is nothing but a bad stain on Islamic history, the revolutionary teachings of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.), passed down from Imam al-Naqi (A.S.) to his son Imam Hassan al-Askari (A.S.) and so forth, remain beating, bleeding, fighting and screaming in the hearts of hundreds of millions of Shi’a worldwide. Sunnis too. Even Christians and other non-Muslims who have come to love Ahlul Bayt (A.S.)
Verily, the moral of the story here is that no matter what he faced, from public humiliation to subversion, thievery to sanctions, imprisonment to torture to attempts on his life, Imam Ali al-Hadi’s (A.S.) defiance of despotism was boundless. It would be more appropriate for one to say that they are “Hadiing” or “Naqiing”, not struggling–that’s how much nobility and heroism that the Imam brought to the very conceptualization of struggle.
Yes, the Imam “died before he died” and possessed an intellect only comparable to other members of his Household (A.S.), but above and beyond that, he was a Jihadi General that utilized knowledge and poetry to fight tyranny… And win. His showdown with Al-Moutawakkil (L.A.) showed strategic genius and innovative mastery, deploying all weaponry in the arsenal, even going out on a limb to save the despot’s soul before saying “enough’s enough” and calling on ALLAH (SWT) to deliver vengeance. Before Imam Khomeini (R.A.) toppled the Shah (L.A.), Imam Ali al-Hadi (A.S.) brought one of the most malicious tyrants the Islamic world had ever seen down from his sajjadah. The power of Salat. The faith of the sons of Al-Karrar (A.S.) The promise by Al-Mudil (SWT) to always wreak havoc on the oppressors. Happy 1,190th birthday o’ Naqi, o’ Tayyib, o’ Faqih, o’ Khalis, o’ Abou al-Hassan III, o’ Ali al-Hadi (A.S.)! We see the living, breathing signs of your life and reflect graciously in your triumph.