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March 6,2009 :
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NAME AND PARENTAGE
His name is al-Hasan, Abu Muhammad. Being a resident of 'Asgar a suburb of Samarra', he is titled al-Asgari. His father was Imam 'Ali An-Naqi (A.S.) and his mother was Salil Khatun, an ideal woman in piety, worship, chastity and generosity. He was born in Medina on the tenth of Rabi' al-Akhir, 232 A.H. (December 4, 846 AD).
UPBRINGING AND INSTRUCTION
He lived under the care of his respected father upto the age of 11. When his father had to leave for Samarra' he was to accompany him and thus share the hardships of the journey with the family. At Samarra', he passed his time with his father either in imprisonment or in partial freedom. He had, however, the chance to benefit from his father's teaching and instruction
His father died in 254. A.H. (868 AD) when he was twenty-two. Four months before his death, the father declared his son to be his successor and executor of his will, asking his followers to bear witness to the fact. Thus the responsibilities of Imamate were vested upon him which he fulfilled even in the face of great difficulties and hostile environment.
In the early days of his lmamate, Al-Mu'tassam Al-'Abbasi was the caliph. When the latter was deposed, he was succeeded by al-Muhtadi. After his brief reign of only eleven months and one week, al-Mu'tamad came to the throne. During their regimes, Imam Hasan al-Askari (A.S.) did not enjoy peace at all. Although the Abbaside dynasty was involved in constant complications and disorders, each and every king thought it necessary to keep the Imam (A.S.) imprisoned.
One of the Holy Prophet's traditions ran that the Prophet (S.A.W) would be succeeded by twelve soccessors, the last of whom would be the Mahdi, Qa'im 'Al-Muhammad (A.S.). The 'Abbasides knew well that the true successors of the Prophet (S.A.W) were these very Imams. AI-Hasan (A.S.) being the eleventh, his son would surely be the 12th or the last. They, tried to put an end to his life in such a way, that it would ensure there would be nobody to succeed him.
As the simple confinement inflicted on Imam 'Ali an-Naqi (A.S.) was considered inadequate for Imam Hasan al-'Askari (A.S.), so he was imprisoned, away from his family. No doubt the revolutionary intervals between two regimes gave him brief periods of freedom. Yet as soon as the new king came to the throne, he followed his predecessor's policy and imprisoned the Imam again. The Imam's brief life therefore was mostly spent inside dungeon cells.
APPOINTEMENT OF DEPUTIES
Under all circumstances, the Imams carried out their duties of guiding the people. Imam Hasan Al-'Askari was subjected to numerous restrictions,and those who sought to learn the teachings of AhI al-Bayt (A.S.) and their Shi'ah point of view could not reach him. In order to solve this problem, the Imam appointed certain confidants as his deputies in view of their knowledge of jurisprudence. These persons satisfied the curiosity of inquirers as much as they could. But if they could not solve certain theological problems, they would keep them pending the acquisition of their solutions from the Imam (A.S.) whenever they got the opportunity to see him.
The Khums (1/5 of total savings), which was being paid to the Imams (A.S.) by the believers who cherished these Imams and regarded them as representatives of the Divine Law was spent by these sacred saints on religious matters, and to sustain the Prophet's descendants. This Khums was collected by these deputies, who spent it according to the directives of the Imam. They accordingly were in constant danger of being identified as such by the despotic rulers.
Imam Al-Hasan al-'Askari, peace be on him, said:
Generosity has a limit, when crossed becomes extravagance; caution has a limit when crossed becomes cowardice; thriftiness has a limit, when crossed becomes miserliness; courage has a limit, when crossed becomes fool-hardiness. Let this moral lesson suffice: refrain from doing anything which you would disapprove of if done by someone else.
A Part of Imam Hasan Al-Askariís Commandments to His Shia
Let piety be your provision, patience be your garment, and buy hardship in the path of Allah.
Be true in your speech, trustworthy in performing your deeds, prolong your sajdah (prostration), deal with others with best behavior, and treat your neighbor amicably.
Perform your prayers even with those whom you think to be your opposition; attend their funeral ceremonies, visit their sick, and give them their rights.
Verily I tell you that whosoever is honest and has good behavior in the eyes of others, he is the pious Shia whom I will be proud of. Therefore, fear Allah, be as adornment on behalf of us and be not as shame that defames our name. This is the only way by which others shall be attracted toward us (the Ahlul Bayt of the Holy Prophet s.a.w.w).