By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"There is no armour against the fate:
"Death lays its icy hands on kings.
"Sceptre and crown must tumble down,
"And in the earth be equally made,
"To the labourer’s scythe and spade,
"No fortress on the mountain peak,
"Could save the kings from the jaws of death
"Their pomp and power proved too weak,
"The cold earth asks them in contempt:
"Wither is thy robe, crown, and throne?!”
These verses which are a clear pointer to the perfidious place in the bowels of the earth for all puffed-up potentates, whether kings, emperors, presidents, prime ministers, and caliphs, were not composed by a professional poet.
This was in fact an extempore, on the spot composition, by an Infallible Heir of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), when pressed by a dissolute ruler of a vast empire stretching from Central Asia to North Africa, to recite some verses at his drinking party in Samarra, Iraq.
The Man of God, who was forcibly brought to such a depraved gathering, tried to excuse himself, but the tyrant who styled himself as ‘caliph’ – although legally and religiously he was not – was intent upon humiliating the person whom he regarded as the gravest danger to his un-Islamic rule.
Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS), the 10th divinely-designated successor of the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger to all mankind, felt he had no choice, especially since the imposter, Mutawakkil al-Abbasi, was destroying the very principles of Islam and the commandments of God, through his wanton life and misrule.
Promptly he expressed in the most eloquent Arabic the above-mentioned verses that stunned the whole debased assembly and made the usurper tremble at the thought of the fate awaiting him.
Mutawakkil, about whom the Commander of the Faithful, the Prophet’s Vicegerent, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), had prophesied two centuries earlier as the "most infidel of rulers” amongst the Abbasid usurpers, dismissed the gathering and respectively permitted Imam Hadi (AS), to leave.
The so-called caliph, who had forced the Imam to leave Medina and come to Samarra, so as to be under virtual house arrest under the watchful eyes of his guards, did not feel any remorse. Neither he repented of his immoral ways and crimes against humanity, nor did he ever think of serving Islam and Muslims.
The satanic caliph, who in 236 AH had blasphemously destroyed the holy shrine of the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Husain (AS), in Karbala, and forbidden pilgrimage, had more devilish plans in his evil mind, but before he could carry them, he was killed by his own son Muntasir and dispatched to hell.
For the Tenth Imam, who is also famous as "an-Naqi” or the Spotlessly Pure because of his peerless personality, it was a temporary relief.
Born in Medina in 212 AH (828 AD), Imam Hadi (AS), who at the tender age of 8 years had been entrusted with Imamate or the leadership of mankind – similar to God’s granting of book and wisdom to Yahya (John the Baptist) in childhood, and prophethood to Jesus (AS) while still an infant in the cradle – strove throughout his 42-year fruitful life that was cut short this day on 3rd Rajab (254 AH), for the glory of Islam and guidance of Muslims.
Despite the hardships, he trained many scholars and rationally handled contentious issues, especially by pseudo jurisprudents, such as the Mu’tazalite ideologue Yahya ibn Aktham, who decades earlier had been defeated in a memorable debated by his father Imam Muhammad at-Taqi al-Jawad (AS).
It happened that when Ibn Aktham tried to test the God-given knowledge of Imam Hadi (AS) through a list of complicated questions, he was again astounded to receive logical answers beyond his ken.
Here is one of these irrefutable answers that confirm not just the Prophets’ clear naming of their successors, but also expose the caliphate as a dubious and illegal institution that violated Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) historical declaration of Imam Ali (AS) as his successor on the express commandment of God at Ghadir-Khom on the 18th of Zilhijja 10 AH in front of a huge gathering of 120,000 people.
Imam Hadi (AS) told Yahya ibn Aktham: "Regarding your question about God’s saying in the holy Qur’an (27:40): "The one who had knowledge of the Book said, ‘I will bring it (the throne of Queen Sheba from Yemen) to you (in Palestine) in the twinkling of an eye,” it was Asef bin Barkhiya. Prophet Solomon (AS) was not in need of the knowledge of Asef, but he wanted to introduce him as his successor before his nation that included mankind and jinn. The knowledge of Asef was only a part of Solomon’s knowledge that he delivered to his successor according to God’s instructions so that the nation would not conflict on the question of the Prophet’s succession. (You should also recall) During the lifetime of Prophet David (AS), God had instructed Solomon to solve a problem so that people would recognize his leadership after his father…”
Alas, on this day, the 3rd of Rajab, the cowardly Mu’taz had the Tenth Imam martyred through a fatal dose of poison in Samarra. Today, there is no trace of the graves of the Abbasid caliphs, let alone their palaces, while Imam Hadi (AS) continues to rule the hearts of those endowed with Iman or true faith. His glorious shrine in Samarra stands to this day to welcome pilgrims from all over the world.