Ali AL-Hadi, Abul-Hasan B. Muhammad B. ‘Ali B. Musa al-‘Askari, is the 10th imam of the Imami Shiʿites (d. 254/868). Besides Hadi, his most common epithet is Naqi; in Shiʿite sources he is often referred to as Abu’l-Hasan al-Thaleth. He was summoned to Samarra by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil and lived under direct surveillance of the rulers of his time. There he was treated roughly by the caliph and his successors until, according to Shi’ite accounts, he was poisoned through intrigue of Al-Mu'tazz the Abbasid caliph, in 254/868, and was buried in Samarra.
Birth and Early Life[edit | edit source]
He was born, according to the best authenticated report, on 16 Dhu’l-hejja 212/7 March 828 in Sorayya, a village three miles from Medina founded by his great-grandfather, Musa al-Kazem. Other dates given for his birth are in Rajab or Dhu’l-hejja, 213 or 214/September, 828/January, 830. His mother, Samana or Susan, was probably of Maqrebi origin. When his father, Imam Muhammad al-Jawad, died in Baghdad on 6 Dhu’l-hejja 220/30 November 835, he was still a minor. According to his father’s will, he was to receive his estates, property, and slaves after reaching majority to the exclusion of his brother Musa.
Imamate[edit | edit source]
The followers of his father generally recognized him as imam. Later a small group broke away under unexplained circumstances, claiming that Musa was the imam; they soon returned to allegiance to Ali, since Musa dissociated himself from them.
After the accession of Mutawakkil  to the caliphate, the governor of Medina, Abdallah b. Muhammad b. Daʾud Hashemi, wrote the caliph, warning about the activity of Ali and his followers. The imam in turn sent a letter to Mutawakkil defending himself against the accusations. Mutawakkil replaced the governor and, in a letter, assured Ali of his highest regard and trust but requested that he move to the caliph’s residence, together with those members of his family, clients, and servants whom he might wish to bring along. He sent Yahya b. Harthama b. Aʿyan to Medina to provide the imam with a military escort. Mutawakkil’s letter as quoted by Kolayni and Shaikh Mofid may well be authentic, though its date was evidently wrongly transmitted to Mofid as Jomada II, 243/October, 857, instead of 233/January, 848. When the imam reached Baghdad, many people gathered to see him, and the governor, the Taherid Eshaq b. Ebrahim, rode out to meet him and stayed with him for part of the night.
He arrived in Samarra on 23 Ramadan 233/1 May 848. The caliph did not immediately receive him but, on the next day, assigned a house for his residence. The imam remained in Samarra for the rest of his life under constant observation. He was evidently able to maintain contact with his representatives among his followers, sending them his instructions and receiving through them the financial contributions of the faithful from the khoms and religious vows.
Martyrdom[edit | edit source]
According to Shi’ite accounts, he was poisoned through intrigue of Al-Mu'tazz the Abbasid caliph. According to Tabari and Kolayni, he died on 26 Jomada II 254/21 June 868. Other dates mentioned in the sources fall within Jomada II and Rajab 254/June-July, 868. The caliph Moʿtazz sent his brother Abu Ahmad Mowaffaq to lead the funeral prayer for him. When large crowds gathered to lament him, his corpse was returned to his house, which he had bought from the Christian Dolayl b. Yaʿqub, and was buried there. His son Abu Jaʿfar Muhammad, who had originally been expected to succeed him in the imamate, had died before him in Samarra. Two other sons survived him—Hasan, who became his successor, and Jaʿfar.
In Shiʿite hagiography[edit | edit source]
Imami tradition relates many miracles of Imam Ali al-Hadi; he is described in particular as endowed with the knowledge of the languages of the Persians, Slavs, Indians, and Nabateans, as foreknowing unexpected storms and as accurately prophesying deaths and other events. Thus, he is reported to have cursed Mutawakkil and to have correctly predicted his death within three days after the caliph had either humiliated him (by ordering him, together with other Hashimites and dignitaries, to dismount and walk in front of himself and Fath b. Khaqan) or had imprisoned him. In the presence of Mutawakkil, he unmasked a woman falsely claiming to be Zaynab, the daughter of Imam Hussain, by descending into a lions’ den in order to prove that lions do not harm true descendants of Ali (a like miracle is also attributed to his grandfather Ali al-Reda). He brought a lion pictured on a carpet to life and made it swallow an Indian juggler who had, on the order of Mutawakkil, tried to put him to shame by his tricks; and he turned a handful of sand and stones into gold for a needy follower. According to Ebn Babuya, he was poisoned by Mutawakkil or Moʿtamed , neither of whom, however, was caliph at the time of the death of the Imam. A theological treatise on human free will and some other short texts and statements ascribed to him are quoted by Ebn Shoʿba Harrani.
References[edit | edit source]
- r. 232-47/847-61
- r. 256-79/870-92
- Tohaf al-ʿoqul, Beirut, 1389/1969, pp. 338-58
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Yaʿqubī, II, pp. 591f., 614.
- Nawbaḵtī, Feraq al-šīʿa, ed. H. Ritter, Istanbul, 1931, pp. 77-79.
- Ašʿarī Qomī, al-Maqālāt wa’l-feraq, ed. M. J. Maškūr, Tehran, 1963, pp. 99-101.
- Tabari, III, pp. 1379, 1697.
- Kolayni, al-Kāfī, ed. ʿA. A. Ḡaffārī, Tehran, 1381/1961, I, pp. 323-25, 497-502.
- Masʿūdī, Morūǰ VII, pp. 206-09, 379-83.
- Idem (?), Eṯbāt al-waṣīya, Naǰaf, 1958, pp. 187-97.
- Mofid, al-Eršād, ed. K. Mūsawī Meyāmavī, Tehran, 1377/1957-58, pp. 307-14.
- Taʾrīḵ Baḡdād XII, pp. 56f.
- Sebṭ b. Jawzī, Taḏkerat al-ḵawāṣṣ, Naǰaf, 1383/1964, pp. 359-62.
- Ebn Ḵallekān (Beirut), III, pp. 272f.
- Maǰlesī, Beḥār al-anwār, Tehran, 1335 Š.-/1956-, I, pp. 113-232.
- D. M. Donaldson, The Shiite Religion, London, 1933, pp. 209-16.
- Aʿyān al-šīʿa IV/2, pp. 252-78. EI2 I, p. 713.