IMAM ALI UN NAQI (a.s.): A BRIEF LOOK INTO HIS LIFE
Imam Ali un Naqi (alaihis salaam), a brief look into his Life
||Friday 15th Dhulhijjah 212 a.h. in Surba (Suburb of
||Bibi Sumaana (Seyyida).
||Imam Muhammad At-Taqi (a.s.)
||3rd Rajab 254 a.h. in Samarra aged 42 yrs. Poisoned by
||In Samarra in his house.
Parents, Birth & Childhood
Imam Ali un Naqi (a.s.)'s mother was a very pious lady who spent her whole life
fasting. The 10th Imam has said that his mother was one of the ladies of paradise and one
of those from 'Ahlul Haqq' (people of truth).
Imam Ali un Naqi (a.s.) became an Imam at the age of 8 years. The khalifa wrote to the
governor of Medina asking him to send the young Imam to a person called Junaydi for
tutorage (the governor of Madina was threatened that if he did not do this than the people
of Madina would be annihilated). Junaydi was a well known poet of that time and 'anti -
Ahlulbayt' and was 80 years old. The Khalifa felt that if this was done than anything that
the Imam did or said could be attributed to Junaydi i.e. it was taught to Imam by Junaydi.
When Junaydi was once asked about the progress of his student he said :
- "I am the student and he is the teacher. I now know what knowledge is. What I
say is because of what I have been taught by Imam".
The Khalifa's plan had failed yet again.
For a while the Khalifa left Imam in peace and freedom as they were engrossed in
sorting out their own affairs (Removing the Iranians from power; adding the Turks and
establishing power in Samarra). Imam used the time to open Madrasas and the atmosphere in
the mosque of the Prophet was once again like in the time of the 6th Imam Ja'fer As-Sadiq
Imamate - His Life & Works
Imam Ali un Naqi (as) served the longest period of Imamate (besides the 12th Imam) - 34
years which can be divided into two parts - 17 years of freedom and 17 years under arrest.
In 234 a.h. came one of the most tyrannical rulers of the Abbasid Khilafate -
Mutawakkil. He ruled with tyranny, killing, looting and terrorising especially those who
were the followers of Ahlulbayt. Mutawakkil is also the one who ordered the desecration of
the grave of Imam Husayn (a.s.) wanting to remove Imam's body and burn it (He did not
succeed). He tried running water over the grave so no traces of the grave would remain but
was unsuccessful. He ordered that all those wanting to visit Kerbala would have their
fingers cut off, then hand and feet cut then only be able to go if one other from the
family was killed. Imam still asked Shias to visit Kerbala. When Mutawakkil saw that all
had failed and it did not discourage the visits than he banned all visits to Kerbala
Mutawakkil called Imam to Samarra. Imam was called under the pretext of respect and
love towards him. Imam was aware of Mutawakkil's intentions but went knowing that this
would be an opportunity to show the Turks too what true Islam was. On arriving in Samarra
the Turkish spies sent with Imam were amazed at Imam's knowledge of the Turkish language
when he had never visited the Turks before.
It was an opportunity for Imam to prepare the Mu'mineen in Samarra for ghaibat. Imam
was put up in an Inn which was meant for beggars, destitute and criminals. From this Inn
he was removed and put into the custody of an evil man called Zarraqui (who changed to be
an avid supporter of Imam) and then a man called Seyyid.
Mutawakkil knew of the progress Imam had made in Madina in 14 years of spreading
knowledge. In fact he himself had to ask Imam when the Caesar of Rome wrote to him
(Mutawakkil) to ask him:
- "I have heard that there is a chapter of a divinely revealed book which does not
contain the letters ( t d k S X ) and if this chapter is recited it grants the reciter
paradise! I would like to know which chapter and in which book and why these letters are
Mutawakkil's 'Ulema' were confused and eventually Mutawakkil turned to Imam. Imam told
him that the chapter was Suratul Fatiha in the Qur'an and the above letters were
not present because it was a chapter of mercy and each of the above letters represented
words of Adhab (punishment) or Ghadhab (anger of Allah).
e.g.*- jaheem (hell), *- khusr (loss), *- zaqqum (fruit of Jahannam)
Mutawakkil seeing that he could not humiliate Imam in any was he announced his arrival
in Samarra as Ibnur Ridha (son of 8th Imam) and subjected him to things such as handing
him a glass of wine in his hands in his court, asking him to sing, making him run in front
of his (Mutawakkil's) carriage..etc. Imam Hasan Al-Askery (a.s.) was placed under separate
house arrest than his father at the young age of 5 years as Mutawakkil did not want the
birth of the 12th Imam.
Whilst under house arrest Imam Ali An-Naqi (a.s.) arranged for the coming of Bibi
Nargis to Samarra and for her to be well versed in Fiqh by his learned sister Bibi Hakima.
Imam spent his life making the imminent ghaibat of the 12th Imam easier. Soon after
Mutawakkil was killed by his own son who could not withstand the behaviour of his father.
After Mutawakkil's death his son Muntasir was the successor and he lifted the
restrictions of visiting Kerbala. His rule was unlike his father's tyranny but remained in
power for only 6 months and died at the age of 25 years. Then came Mustan Billah (Ahmed
bin Mo'tasam) followed by Mo'taz Billah who continued his tyranny on Imam and his
Mo'taz arranged for the poisoning of Imam through an ambassador and Imam was martyred
on Monday 3rd Rajab 254 a.h. nobody except Imam Hasan Askery (a.s.) was present at the
time of his death. he gave his father ghusl and kafan and wept bitterly.
Children of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.)
It is reported that Imam had 5 children
- Imam Hasan Al-Askery (a.s.) the Eleventh Imam.
- Muhammad (known as Syed Muhammad - Tomb near tomb of Balad).
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