Born on the 10th of Rabi ul Thani in the year 232 AH (846 AD), Imam Hassan ibn Ali al-Askari (peace be upon him) is the 11th Imam of the school of the Ahlulbayt (peace be upon them all). While Imam al-Askari is known to his followers as the 11th Imam, not much else is widely known about him, unfortunately. In this post, we will highlight some of the key events Imam Hassan al-Askari’s life and how they relate to us in 2020!
1. At the age of 22, Imam Hassan al-Askari’s father was martyred and he became the leader of the followers of the Ahlulbayt.
Lesson for us in the modern world: As we continue to see the rise of changing times and challenges facing us, we must not neglect the role that youth play in the development and strengthening of our community. Age does not predict responsibility or capacity for change. The more challenges we face in society the more we should continue to encourage youth to get involved and make a change.
2. During the majority of the Imamate of Imam Hassan al-Askari he was under prison or house arrest. While living in isolation Imam Al-Askari spent much of his time teaching others. It was during this period where he also wrote a complete exegesis of the Qur’an for his followers to refer to understand the meaning of the holy book.
Lesson for us in the modern world: This year more than any other have we truly felt the difficulties of isolation. With the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have begun to feel alone and isolated due to the necessary social distancing measures. However, through the example of Imam Hassan al-Askari we can understand that isolation does not have to be entirely negative. We can learn from the Imam to utilize our time in isolation to gain and spread knowledge.
3. In his lifetime Imam al-Askari spent much time discussing and in dialogue with those who had differing views to his own.
Lesson for us in the modern world: Do not be intolerant or hasty when speaking to those with different views. It is often seen that people are becoming much more polarized with their views and much less willing to discuss with others. Having a peaceful dialogue is the way to build understanding and destroy intolerance.
4. Imam al-Askari was married to one of the greatest women, Sayeda Nargis, the mother of the current living Imam, Imam Mahdi (May Allah hasten his reappearance). Sayeda Nargis was Roman and not from Medina.
Lesson for us in the modern world: Race and background are not determinants of rank or piety. Before the advent of Islam, many Arabs believed (and many continue to believe), that they were the superior race and looked down upon others from different backgrounds. The teachings of the Ahlulbayt highlighted that this is not the case. Race is not a factor which should be considered when judging or dealing with a person.
5. Imam al-Askari was known to be the most generous towards those in need amongst all the people of his time. He would appoint individuals in different regions to collect the religious dues and support those in need with these funds. They would spend them on the poor and for general welfare.
Lesson for us in the modern world: To be sure not to neglect our own religious dues and supporting those in need. We should always be generous and follow the example of the Imam who went out of his way and put effort into ensuring the poor and needy were provided for.
Imam al-Askari said, “There are two qualities such that there is no quality above them; faith in Allah and the serving of brothers.”
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