Majlis Summary

In the Lions cage :

During the time of Abbasid Ruler Mutawakkil a lady claimed that she was Zainab the daughter of Bibi Fatimah a.s. Mutawakkil said, "Many long years have passed since that period when Zainab lived and you are quite young."
She replied, "Yes, but the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w. prayed for me to remain young forever."  
Mutawakkil called upon all the wise men to visit him and enquired from them, "What do you say about the claim of this woman."
All of them said, "she tells a lie."
Mutawakkil said, "I know that she is lying, but what proof and logic do you have to condemn her."They said, "We do not know,……."

Thereafter Mutawakkil  summoned  a young man to his court and told him about that matter. This young man advised, send her to the cage of the lions, if she is telling the truth, because the beasts do not molest the children of Fatimah a.s. and do not eat their flesh.

In response the woman said, "This man wishes that I may be killed. If he is right then let him do it himself." Mutawakkil said to the young man, "she is right, you must do it first yourself."

The young man went to the lions in the cage and sat among them. All observed with amazement, that the lions sat very respectfully before the young man and sometimes even caressed themselves against his body and he caressed their bodies with his hand, affectionately. When the young man  ordered the lions move to a corner, all of them crept to a nook.

Then he came out of the cage and Mutawakkil said to the lady, "Oh woman now it is your turn." The woman started crying and begging saying,
"I told a lie, I am the daughter of such and such man, and wanted to play a trick and a hoax but it did not work.

This young man is the tenth holy Imam Ali AnNaqi a.s.
He was born in Medina on 15th Dhulhijjah in the year 212 A.H. He is the son of our ninth holy Imam Muhammad At -Taqi a.s. and Bibi Samanna. The mother is from the progeny of Ammar Yasir, a prominent companion of holy prophet.
Imam Ali An-Naqi a.s. lived in the care of his father Imam Muhammad At-Taqi a.s. At the shahadat of his father he assumed the office of Imamat on 29th Dhulq’ada 220A.H. and led the Ummah till the time of his martyrdom, on 3rd Rajab 254 A.H.,  due to poison by the Abbasid Ruler M’utaz bin Mutawakkil.

Al Hadi :The guide :

In addition to being called al Hadi, other titles of the Imam were An Naqi ( the pure), An Nasih (the counselor), Al Amin ( the trustworthy),Al Faqih (the jurist),At Tayyib (the upright).Like his father the 9th Imam, he too was fondly called Ibn Ridha.

Samarrah : the new capital :

During Mamun Rashid rule Baghdad was the capital of his empire. His successor Mutasim, who relied greatly on the Turks forces, increased his entourage. Tasting power these supporters behaved haughtily in Baghdad creating havoc on the community who complained. Thus Mutasim built a new capital Surra Man Ra-a ( become delighted  on seeing it), commonly known as Samarrah, 120km north of Baghdad on the banks of river Tigris.

The Banu Abbasi Rulers :

Imam Ali An Naqi a.s. lived through the rein of 7 Banu Abbasi rulers. One of them was Mutawakkil bin Mutasim who was intolerant to the Alawis- descendants from Imam Ali a.s. In a long letter full of kindness and courtesy, delivered by a military contingent, Mutawakkil  invites the Imam to come to Samarrah. Imam had to comply leaving Madina in 236 A.H. along with his family including his young son -the eleventh Imam.

Dishonour to Imam :  

 Mutawakkil did not receive the Imam on his arrival in Samarrah, so the Imam and his family had to spend the night in an inn for travelers. Next day he was set up in a house and put under strict surveillance. Mutawakkil would regularly summon the Imam to his court in demeaning manner such as holding glass of wine and asking him to join him in his pleasures.

Mutawakkil put forth a series of declarations :

  •    All non muslims to wear identifying sign on their garments
  •    Non muslims could not hold positions in the Imperial Secretariat
  •    Tombs of non muslims were to be razed to the ground
  •    Imposed heavy taxation including penalty of death for those visiting Najaf , Karbala for ziyarat  
  •    Razing the tombs of Najaf and Karbala 
  •    Destroy the houses around the graves in Karbala, diversion of river Euphrates to flood the holy graves, plough the surrounding land…

Imam Ali An Naqi was extremely pained, but he could do nothing. Thus whilst suffering he continued discharging leadership to the Ummah by impartation of knowledge in the Islamic sciences and strengthening the institution of his representatives ( Wikalat) in different parts of the land. Sheikh Tusi in his biographical book –Rijal At-Tusi mentions 185 students who have learned from the tenth Imam a.s.

Some lessons on akhlaq from Imam Ali An Naqi a.s.:

  1. The displeasure of parents is followed by shortage of sustenance and leads towards humiliation.
  2. This world is a market.A community reaps benefit in it whereas another community faces loss.


Fazle Abbas Datoo
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Resident Alim
Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat