Islam World

Shia world celebrates blissful birth anniversary of Imam Ali al-Hadi on 15th of Dhul Hajjah

Imam Ali bin Muhammad al-Hadi, also known as Imam al-Naqi or Imam al-Hadi, holds a revered place in the eyes of the Shai Muslims worldwide. His life and teachings are intertwined with the critical period of the Major Occultation of Imam Mahdi, the twelfth Imam, as he took it upon himself to prepare the Shiites for that period of tribulations and trials in accordance with the Divine decree.

Imam al-Hadi, peace be upon him, was born in 212 AH (828 CE) in Samarra, Iraq. His blessed lineage traces back to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his pure family, as the nineth Imam from the descendants of Ali ibn Abi Talib, peace be upon him.

Imam al-Hadi assumed the imamate in 220 AH (835 CE) after the martyrdom of his father, Imam al-Jawad, peace be upon him. His leadership spanned thirty-four years, during which he faced the rule of several Abbasid caliphs, including al-Mutawakkil.

His Holiness was forced to leave Holy Medina to Samarra on the order of the oppressive Abbasid Caliph, who intended to keep the Imam under tight scrutiny and strip him of the growing popularity his Majesty was gaining, as he viewed the Imam a threat to his tyrannical rule.

Despite all restrictions, Imam al-Hadi managed to reinforce the network of agents (Wikala) as a crucial link between himself and the Shia community. This network facilitated communication, especially in distant regions of the Islamic world. The agents acted on behalf of the Imam, ensuring that the Shia remained connected to their spiritual leader.

Imam al-Hadi left behind a wealth of teachings and gems of knowledge. This includes insightful exegeses of the Holy Qur’an, theology (Ilm al-Kalam) and theological discussions, Du’as and Ziyarahs, including the famous Ziyarah al-Jami’a al-Kabira and Ziyarah al-Qadiriyya, which lay out a constitution of Shi’a ideological concepts about Imamate.

Imam al-Hadi’s role in preparing the Shia for the age of occultation remains pivotal as he gave crucial instructions to the Shia community on how to connect to an Imam who was apparently out of reach, preserving hope for support at all times of need. Another major contribution of Imam al-Hadi, peace be upon him, was his constant encouragement for the Ziyarah of Imam al-Hussein, peace be upon him, during a period when despotic Abbasid Caliphs went to great lengths to abolish this virtuous tradition and threatened to take away the pilgrims’ lives and properties on discovering their intention for visitation of the Master of the Martyrs, peace be upon him.

His shrine in Samarra stands as a testament to his enduring influence as his Holiness is visited by millions every year, especially in the neighbourhood of Holy Arba’een.

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