Imam Hasan al-‘Askary (as) lived a short life of 28 years. In this short life, he (as) had to endure great sufferings at the hands of the Abbasid tyrants. But inspite of all that suffering and confinement in Samarrah, ‘Iraq, many students benefited from his God gifted knowledge and later became scholars in their fields. He (as) discussed with agnostics of that age many times about the existence of God and the reasons for the necessity of the Prophets and Imams and many atheists changed their minds and converted to Islam.


One of those was Ishaq al-Kindi. This man was a great philosopher of ‘Iraq. He collected such verses of Quran whose meanings were apparently contradictory. He wanted to prove thereby that it was not the word of Almighty Allah. One day his disciples came to Imam al-‘Askary (as) who told them, “Refrain your teacher from such tactics”. They said, “We are students, how can we dare to do such things?” Imam (as) said, “Alright, you ask him as I instruct you”. “Yes, that is possible”, they said. Imam (as) said, “When he mentions to you such verses that apparently carry contradictory meanings, you tell him: What would you say if the speaker of these words (Allah) comes to you and says: What have you understood is not what I meant to say. The words are Mine and you ascribe their meanings, what type of logic is it? Did you ever ask Me what I meant to say through these words? If you never had the opportunity to ask Me, why do you needlessly ascribe meanings to My words? You only have the right to invent meanings of your own words and not for My words. Only he can explain the meanings of My words whom I have informed”.


The students heard these statements of the Imam (as) and returned to their teacher and repeated the same to him. He was absolutely shocked and said, “Except for the Ahlul-Bayt (as), no one can think of such a thing. I am sure that Hasan al-‘Askary (as) has told you all these”. Thereafter Ishaq al-Kindi destroyed all the material he had collected on this subject.

                                                                                    (Akhlaaq al-Aimma)


Once somebody asked Imam Hasan al-‘Askary (as), “Whom does the verse refer to: ‘Nay! These are clear communications in the breasts of those who are granted knowledge’ (29:49)?” Imam (as) replied, “It refers to us – the Ahlul-bayt”. (Akhlaaq al-Aimma)


Similarly, someone asked, “What does good in: ‘Whoever brings good, he shall have better than it’ (27:89) and evil in: ‘And whoever brings evil, these shall be thrown down on their faces into the fire’ (27:90) mean?” Imam (as) replied, “Good – denotes recognition of a divine Imam and his obedience; and Evil – stands for the denial of Imamate”.

                                                                               (Akhlaaq al-Aimma)



Allah (SWT) says: “…Then for the male shall be the like of the share of two females…” (4:176)


A person well known for his knowledge and virtues came to Imam Hasan al-‘Askary (as) and asked, “Women are naturally weaker than men. Then why is it that they are given one share in inheritance? And men, despite their strength are given two shares? Justice demands that it should be on the contrary”. Imam (as) said, “You have seen apparent weakness of women but have not reflected on the duties of men and women. The difficulties of men are much more than those of women. Jihad is incumbent on men and not on women; the responsibility of earning livelihood rests on men and not on women; the maintenance of women is on men. Then in such circumstances if the share of men is double, is it against justice and equity?” (Akhlaaq al-Aimma)



The level of Imam Hasan al-‘Askary (as)’s knowledge can be estimated from the Exegesis of Quran that is famous as ‘Tafseer of Imam Hasan Al-‘Askary’. Late Syed Haider Hussein Shamsi in his book entitled ‘The Times and Life of Imam Hasan Al-‘Askary’ writes:

As the grip of the rulers tightened and degree of suppression of the Imams increased, it became harder and harder for the followers to gain access to him to obtain direct guidance. Since most of the questions asked used to be on the interpretation and expounding the meanings of the Book of Allah, the Imam (as) found necessary to have this material committed to pen. This was collected in the form of a book known as the ‘Tafseer Al-‘Askary’.

The book that is available today is incomplete, as it does not cover the Quran in its entirety. It is possible that several sections of it were lost or destroyed due to many turmoil the world of Islam had endured with time. It is possible that the Imam had only a limited time to have such a mammoth task completed before his martyrdom. It is also possible that he had given lectures and interpretations to some of the learned students and entrusted them to complete the task after him, and in turn they were also eliminated by the tyrants of the time. However, what is available today reveals the enormity of the rich language and the depths of the meanings extracted from the verses of the Quran. Besides a book of learning, it is a beautiful piece of literature attributed to the eleventh pillar of the Ahlul-bayt for the devotees.

 By Mulla Mujaheedali Sheriff


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