Life of Shias 10th Holy Imam 'Ali al-Naqi al-Hadi'

Imam Hadi was martyred of poisoning on third day of Rajab by the Abbasid caliph Mu'taz in 254 A.H. at Samarrah in Iraq and is buried there. The Holy Imam (A.S.) was 42 years old at the time of his martyrdom.



By: Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi

Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was a pure branch from the tree of prophethood, and a shiny bough from the tree of Imamate. By him and his fathers Allah has consolidated Islam and exalted monotheism. Before talking about the aspects of his great personality, we will discuss his pure origin, birth, upbringing and martyrdom.

The Origin And The Birth

His Father

The father of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was Imam Muhammad al-Jawad bin[1][2] Ali bin Musa bin Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abu Talib (peace be upon them). It is the most exalted lineage in Islam. Humankind, throughout all its ages, has never had a lineage more honorable and more exalted than this lineage that has lit the world with the essence of Islam and faith. To this great, honorable family Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was born. His father, Imam al-Jawad (a.s.), was the wonder of the world through his talents and intellectual abilities. After the death of his father, Imam ar-Ridha (a.s.), he assumed the general religious authority and leadership of the nation while he was only seven years and some months old.

The Abbasid government seized this opportunity and charged Yahya bin Aktham, who was one of the great ulama’ at that time, to test Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) and deny his status, so that the fact that the Imam was the most knowledgeable one of his age, which was and is one of the basic elements in the Shiite doctrine, would be proven wrong. Yahya asked Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) before a large crowd of scholars, viziers and officials of the Abbasid government about a jurisprudential question and Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) ramified the question into many branches. Yahya was astonished and he felt a failure and acknowledged the exceptional scientific abilities of Imam al-Jawad (a.s.). The news of this event and of others circulated in the meetings of Baghdad and everywhere.

His Mother

Before we talk about the mother of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) we would like to say, as we have said many times before, that Islam has adopted the unity of society and struggled against all the means that might lead to disagreement or break that unity. The Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) always acted in light of this fact.

They did not differentiate between the White and the Black. They got married to bondmaids in order to do away with all kinds of racial segregation. Imam Ali bin al-Husayn Zaynul Aabidin (as-Sajjad) (a.s.) married a bondmaid who gave birth to Zayd the eternal martyr, and Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (a.s.) got married to a bondmaid who gave birth to Imam Ali al-Hadi (a.s.).

Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) bought this bondmaid and he himself educated her. She lived in the house of Imamate with the Alawi women and the daughters of the messenger of Allah (SwT), who were the example of honor, chastity, and purity. She was affected by their conducts and devoted herself to the worship of Allah. She spent her nights worshipping and reciting the Book of Allah.[2][3]

It sufficed her that she had given birth to a master from the masters of Muslims and an Imam from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) whom Allah has sent for the safety and deliverance of the people.

Historians disagreed on her name. Here are some of the names as mentioned by historians:

1. Sumana al-Maghribiyya[3][4] and known as Lady Ummul Fadhl[4][5]
2. Mariya al-Qubtiyya[5][6]
3. Yadash[6][7]
4. Haweet[7][8]

There are other sayings but the details of this particular point is not so important to the subject.

Great Newborn Baby

Ali al-Hadi (a.s.) was born in Siriya[8][9] in Yathrib (Medina)[9][10] and by this birth the world was delighted. No one had ever been born in that age more pious, more devoted, or more knowledgeable than him. He inherited all qualities of good, honor, and nobility.

Ceremonies of the Birth

Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) performed the special rituals for his blessed newborn son. He performed Azan in his right ear and Iqama in the left, circumcised him on the seventh day after the birth, cut the hair of his head, gave silver, as much as the weight of the hair, to the poor, and slaughtered a ram as aqiqa[10][11], as it was the norm for the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to do with their children when they were born.

Birth Date

Most of historians agreed that Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was born in 212 AH[11][12], and it was also said that he was born in 214 AH[12][13], but they disagreed on the month and day of his birth. Here are some of their sayings:

1. He was born on the twenty-seventh of Thul Hijja.[13][14]
2. He was born on the thirteenth of Rajab.[14][15]
3. He was born on Monday, the third of Rajab.
4. Some sources mentioned that he was born in Rajab but without mentioning the day. It has been mentioned in some du’as (supplications) that, “O Allah, I ask You by the ones born in Rajab, Muhammad bin Ali the second and Ali bin Muhammad al-Muntajab”.

Some historians did not mention the month and the day of his birth but said he was born in Medina.[15][16]

His Name

His father Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) named him Ali like the blessed name of his two great grandfathers Amir’ul- Mu’minin Imam Ali (a.s.) and Imam Ali bin al-Husayn Zaynul Aabidin (a.s.). He resembled his grandfather Imam Ali (a.s.) in eloquence and rhetoric, and his grandfather Imam Zaynul Aabidin in piety, worship, and asceticism.

His Surname

Giving a surname to a child was a way of honoring the child which helped his personality grow well towards perfection. The infallible Imams (a.s.) paid attention to this important fact and therefore, they surnamed their children in their early childhood. The Arabs were proud of their surnames.

Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) surnamed his son, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), as Abul Hasan, which was the same as the surnames of his two grandfathers Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) and Imam ar-Ridha (a.s.). Narrators differentiated between these three Imams in this surname by saying Abul Hasan the First (Imam Musa al-Kadhim), Abul Hasan the Second (Imam ar-Ridha), and Abul Hasan the Third (Imam Ali al-Hadi).

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