Heartiest congratulations to you all on the blessed birthday of Imam Hasan Askari (AS), the 11th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
Today 8th of Rabi al-Akher, the day Imam Hasan Askari (AS) was born in Medina. It is indeed a blessing of God that this year the blessed birthday of this noble descendent of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) has coincided with the Ten-Day Dawn that we are celebrating in Iran on the 35th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
The 11th Imam during his short life of 28 years, of which six were as the divinely-decreed Imam of mankind, following the martyrdom through poisoning of his illustrious father, Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS). In Iran, we feel proud to be indebted to the Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet whose exemplary life is guidance for us. Their salvation role was likened by the Prophet to the Ark of Noah in a famous statement quoted by all Muslim denominations including Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. It says:
"The likeness of my Ahl al-Bayt is that of the Ark of Noah; whoever boards it is safe and whoever leaves it is drowned."
Born in 232 AH, Imam Askari lived at a crucial time in the history of Islam, when the Abbasid usurper regime has made life miserable for Muslims and prevented them from having recourse to the Prophet's rightful heirs, the Ahl al-Bayt. The regime was worried of the approaching figure of 12 Imams as foretold by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and so tried to keep the 10th and the 11th Imams under close scrutiny in prison or house arrest, in the hope of preventing the birth of the Promise Mahdi (AS), who will appear in the end times to fill the Earth with the global government of peace and justice. But despite their plots, God had willed that Imam Askari should have a son.
In view of these facts, one of the major responsibilities of Imam Hasan Askari (AS), for which he endeavoured earnestly was to introduce the Imam after him to his followers and to inform them of the next Imam's occultation. For this reason, the 11th had keep the birth of his son as a top secret, known to only a very few select followers. Many narrations have been recorded on this matter, but in this excerpt we will refer to only one. Ahmad ibn Is'haq, one of the reliable companions of Imam Hasan Askari (AS), has narrated: "In one of my visits to the Imam, I had intended to ask about his successor. Yet before I had spoken, the Imam said: "O Ahmad ibn Is'haq! From the creation of Adam, Allah has never left the earth without His successor on people, and will never do so until the Day of Judgment."
I asked: 'O son of the messenger of Allah! So who is the successor and Imam after you?'
Imam Askari (AS) stood up immediately, and entered the house. He then returned carrying a three-year-old boy, whose face was filled with a halo of light. He said: "O Ahmad! If it were not for your eminence in the eyes of Almighty Allah and His chosen people, I would not have shown you my child. His name and kuniyah are the same as that of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA); and it is he who will fill the earth with justice after it has been corrupted with oppression. By Allah! He will live through a long occultation from which people will not survive perdition and deviation, except for those who stand firm on believing in his Imamate, and those who are honored with the opportunity to pray for haste in his reappearance."
Ahmad ibn Ishaq narrates: the minute I asked Imam Askari (AS) 'Will any sign or miracle appear to make me confident, the child began speaking: "I am the remainder of Allah (Baqiatullah) on earth; the one who will take revenge on the enemies of Allah; and after seeing me, do not search for any other signs!"
Imam Askari (AS) strove to enlighten people with the genuine teachings of the Prophet and correct interpretation of the Revealed Word of God, that is, the holy Qur'an. He proved through lively discussion with agnostics many times the existence of God and the reasons for the necessity of the Prophets and Imams.
As a result, many atheists changed their minds and converted to Islam. One of the doubters of his age was the philosopher Ishaq al-Kindi who was writing a book about what appeared to his mind as contradictions in the holy Qur'an. The Imam invited some of his students and taught them lessons from the Qur'an.
One of these students of al-Kindi politely raised the question of the Qur'an and told him what the 11th Imam had said. Al-Kindi knowing the intellectual capacities of his students, insisted as to who had told enlightened his mind with such a dynamic concept. When the student said that it was Imam Askari (AS), al-Kindi realized his own mistake, and burned the controversial book he was writing. He acknowledged the God-given knowledge of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Imam Hasan Askari (AS) narrated many hadith of the Prophet and recorded many explanations of the ayahs of the Holy Qur'an One of the famous hadith learnt through Imam Askari (AS) was, " The wine drinker is like an idolater." Ibn al Jawzi in his book "Tehrim al Khamr" mentioned this tradition from the Imam from the most reliable narrators of Hadith.
Historians have noted many names of the Imam's students who became scholars of their time. One of the famous students of the Imam was Abu 'Ali al-Hasan ibn Khalid who prepared a commentary of the Holy Qur'an which should be considered the work of the Imam himself. The Imam used to dictate its contents to Abu 'Ali who went on writing the commentary. Scholars indicated that the book consisted of 1920 pages.
The advices of Imam Askari (AS) are guidelines for us till this day in all spheres of life, and Iran is proud to owe the victory of the Islamic Revolution to the Ahl al-Bayt, since the establishment of the Islamic Republic is among the signs of the appearance of the Promised Saviour of mankind.