||10th Rabi-ul Aakher 232 AH in Madina
||8th Rabi-ul Awwal 260 AH Samarrah, Iraq
“Generosity has a limit, which when crossed becomes extravagance; caution has a limit which when crossed becomes cowardice; thriftiness has a limit, which when crossed becomes miserliness; courage has a limit, which when crossed becomes fool-hardiness. Let this moral lesson suffice: refrain from doing anything which you would disapprove of if done by someone else.”
(as quoted in A Brief History of The Fourteen Infallibles p. 155-157)
Samarra is a garrison town about 60 miles north of Baghdad. River Euphrates flows in the middle of the town, and because of the surrounding hills a cool breeze keeps the area cooler in comparison to Baghdad. The word ‘Asker’ in arabic is used for army. Our 11th Imam’s title became known as Askari, the one who lived all his life in a garrison town
There is another story related with this name by many historians. Once the Caliph called him in his palace and ordered his army to march past before him. The Caliph wanted to boast or to impress the Imam of his power or to dissuade the Imam from any thoughts of revolution against the Abbasid Caliphate. When the march past was over, Imam asked the Caliph to gaze between two of his fingers. What the Caliph saw was a huge army of lancers and swords men marching past, a much bigger crowd than the Caliphs army. He was astonished at this miracle and named him Askari, i.e. the man with a big army.
Imam Hasan al-Askari’s (AS) life from childhood to adulthood was spent in this house where his father Imam Ali an-Naqi (AS) was to remain under house arrest. But despite this close guard on the Imam, he conducted his duties as Imam from inside the house. He taught people Qur’an and instructed his followers the true teachings of Islam as taught by the Prophet of Islam and his Ahlulbayt. In fact Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS) wrote a complete Tafseer of the Qur’an which was mentioned by many scholars, historians and exegetes, including Kulaini and Saduq.
Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS) lived a short life, only 28 years and in this short life he had to endure great sufferings by the hands of the Abbasid caliphs. But in spite of all that suffering and confinement under house arrest in Samarrah, many students of Islam benefited from his God-gifted knowledge and later became scholars in their fields. He discussed with agnostics of that age many times about the existence of God and the reasons for the necessity of the Prophets and Imams and many atheists changed their minds and converted to Islam. One of those was Ishaq al-kindi who was writing a book about contradictions in Qur’an. Imam invited some of his students and taught them lessons from the Qur’an.
These students of Al-kindi confronted their teacher and rejected his arguments about the contradictions in the Holy Book. Al-Kindi realised that these arguments could not have come from the brains of these young students. He asked them about the secret of their extensive knowledge of the Qur’an. In the end they confessed that Imam Hasan al-Askari taught them. Kindi himself became the disciple of our Imam, burnt his own writings on atheism and later wrote many treatises on Islam.
In spite of the fact that the Imam had never given any cause for concern to the Caliphs of his time, their guilt in this matter was so great that they did not leave these pious personalities in peace. If they had no fear of their throne they were afraid of the excellence and knowledge of the Imams. In the case of Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS), the same type of jealousy led to the poisoning of the Imam to end this life of a saint whose only activity was to teach Qur’an as the Prophet and his Ahlulbayt taught before him. During the rule of Al-Mu’tamid poison was given to the Imam mixed in some fruit and he died on 8th Rabi-al-Awwal 260AH. He left only one son, whose name was Muhammad who was only five years old when his father died.
Story of the Holy Ka’aba And its People; By S.M.R. Shabbar; published by Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain
“9th of Rabi al-Awwal is the day of Eid. It is our greatest Eid and the Eid of our followers.” (As narrated to Ahmad ibn Is-haq al-Qummi by Imam Muhammad al-Hadi (A)
With heavy hearts, we take this opportunity to bid farewell to the Martyrs of Karbala as the Ayyam-e-Aza come to an end. We will have to wait for another year to witness and experience maajlis, matam, Ashura, Arbaeen, mourning, and azadari at this scale. As we remove the black cloth from the walls, we salute the Martyrs of Karbala and declare that we are with you, we are with you, surely we are against your enemies. We will endeavour to perform your Ziyarat, and will endeavour to shed tears in your remembrance every Thursday night. Furthermore, we will strive to apply the principles you stood for in our daily lives; the foremost of which is dedication and loyalty to the Imam of the Time (A).
Ahmad ibn Is-haq al-Qummi was a great companion of Imam Hassan al-Askari (A). On the 9thRabi al-Awal, Muhammad Hamadani and Yahya Baghdadi came to visit him and were informed that Ahmad was busy performing Ghusl for that day. When they inquired what the Ghusl was about, they were told that Ahmad had heard from Imam Muhammad al-Hadi (A), who said: “9thof Rabee’ al-Awwal is the day of Eid. It is our greatest Eid and the Eid of our followers.”
After performing his Ghusl Ahmad ibn Is’haq said to the two visiting men: “I have performed Ghusl because today is the Eid of 9th Rabi al-Awwal. I visited Imam Hassan al-Askary (A) on this day and noticed that his ring was shinning. The people of his household wore new clothes and had applied perfume. When I asked the reason, Imam (A) said, ‘Today is 9th Rabee’ al-Awwal. It is the day of Eid for us and for our follower.”
Narrators of history suggest four historic events which mark the day of 9th Rabi ul-Awal as significant. Firstly, historians are of the opinion that the Holy Prophet (SAW) was born on the 9th Rabi al-Awal. There are two other opinions: 12th Rabi al-Awal and 17th Rabi al-Awal respectively. For the Shia’hs, the most popular narration is the one which states that the Holy Prophet (SAW) was born on the 17th Rabi al-Awal 570 AD.
Whatever the case, its date does not make a big difference. Ayatullah Ruhullah Musawwi al-Khumaini (RA) had declared the week between 9th and 17th Rabi al-Awal as Usboo’ al-Wahda meaning “the week of unity amongst Muslims.” Muslims all over the world are urged to get together and celebrate the birth of the Holy Prophet (SAW) for the whole week.
Secondly, it is noted that the Prophet of Islam himself was seen smiling and ‘celebrating’ on this day while in the presence of Imams Ali, Hassan and Hussain (A) and said, “It is on this day that Allah will destroy your enemies and the enemies of your grandfather and it is on this day when Allah will accept the actions of your Shi’a and those who love you. This is the day when the words of Allah came true where He said (in the Qur‘an): ‘So those are the houses fallen down because they were unjust.’ (27:52) And this is the day when the Pharaoh (Firawn) of the time of the Ahlul Bayt was destroyed ...”
Thirdly, 9th of Rabi al-Awal is also known as Eid-e-Zahra meaning the festival of Fatima al-Zahra (A), because 3 to 4 years after the tragedy of Karbala, it was on this day that joy and happiness was restored in the family of Ahlul-Bayt (A). From the tragedy of Karbala in 61 A.H. till this day, the family members of the Holy Prophet (SAW) had continuously mourned and grieved the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (A).
Then Mukhtar bin ‘Ubaydullah al-Thaqafi, together with Ebrahim bin Malik al-Ashtar and others rose to avenge the blood of Imam al-Husayn (A). They arrested every killer of Karbala and executed them. Finally, Mukhtar arrested ‘Umar ibn Sa’d (commander-in-chief of Yazid’s army at Karbala) and ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad (governor of Yazid in Kufa). He beheaded them and sent their heads to Imam Sajjad (A) in Medina. These two heads reached the Imam (A) on 9th Rabi al-Awal and on seeing them, Imam (A) went into prostration and said, “I thank Allah who kept me alive to this day so that I could see the heads of the tyrants who killed my father.” He then instructed the members of his family to remove the clothes of mourning, adorn themselves and celebrate the day with joy and happiness.
Lastly, 9th Rabi al-Awal is the first day of the Imamate of our Living Imam, Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (ATF) – a day of rejoicing and celebration.
It is true that an Imam is an Imam from birth but every Imam assumed the official role of his Imamate after the death of the previous Imam. The reason why we celebrate, in particular, the Imamate of our Living Imam (ATF) is to perhaps remind ourselves of his presence and about our responsibilities towards him. Imam Hassan al-Askari (A) passed away on 8th Rabi al-Awal 260 A.H. and our 12th Imam (ATF) assumed his Imamate formally at a young age of 5 years on 9th Rabi al-Awal 260 A.H.
One of the ways which we can strive to be amongst the companions of our Imam is to follow the responsibilities which rest upon us, including the recitation of Dua al-Ahd (the Pledge) every morning in which we proclaim: “O’ Allah, truly I renew on the dawn of this day and all the days of the remainder of my life my pledge, covenant and allegiance to him, as my obligation, which I shall neither contravene, nor neglect … O’ Allah include me among his helpers, defenders, those fulfilling his wishes and commands, his defenders, the fore-runners to carry out his intentions and those to be martyred in his presence … O’ Allah: make him the refuge for Your oppressed servants; a helper for him who has no other helper besides You; the reviver of the commandments of Your book which have been neglected; the strengthener of the sciences in Your religion, and the traditions of Your Prophet. May Allah’s blessing be upon him and his progeny.”