That Imam's father was Imam Mohammad Taqi Jawad Al-Aemmeh (A.S.) and his mother was Samanah, a virtuous and righteous woman who had been bestowed the divine mission of nurturing the high-standing position of Velayah and Imamah and so well fulfilled her motherhood obligations and therefore rose up to heed her divine calling. The name of that Imam was Ali, the nickname of that gallant Imam was "Abul Hasan" and the famous titles of that Imam were "Hadi" and "Naqi". Imam Hadi (A.S.) succeeded his glorious father in Imamah when he had only 8 years of age and his Imamah lasted for 33 years. Imam Ali Al-Naqi (A.S.) ruled contemporaneously with six Abbasid Caliphs in the course of his thirty-three Imamah period; with Mo'tasem, the eighth Abbasid Caliph (220-227 AH), for about seven years; with Vaseq, Mo'tasem's son (227-232 AH), for about five years; with Motevakkel, Vaseq's brother (232-247 AH), for about fifteen years; with Montaser, Motevakkel's son, for six months; with Mosta'ein, Montaser's cousin (247-252 AH), for about five years and with Mo'taz, Motevakkel's second son (252-254 AH), for about two years.
Imam Hadi's (A.S.) position was firmly disposed toward all of them and never approved of any one of them and never gave up to any one of them either; as Ahmad Mohiti Ardakani writes on one dimension of life of this gallant Imam and his invaluable advice: "Imam Hadi (A.S.), on proper occasions, by implicit references and sometimes even explicitly, called them Taqouts (dictators/ despots) and prohibited the Shiites from any kind of help to them; in such a way that Motevakkel Abbasi, built palaces consecutively, to such an extent that their number reached twenty and each one had a special name. One of the most important palaces of Motevakkel was named "Emarah al-Jafari" which cost two million dinars. When this palace was being built, Imam Hadi (A.S.) walked past it and told one of his companions: "This Taqout (referring to Motevakkel), will be killed by a pharaoh among the Turkish pharaohs before the completion of this building".
In this brief statement, Imam Hadi (A.S.), on the one hand, called Motevakkel a tyrant and also presented his killer, who was one of the Turkish officers prompted by Motevakkel's son, as a pharaoh, and on the other hand, miraculously forewarned about the future and marked that Motevakkel would die prior to the completion of that palace.
Go on Pilgrimage of Hayer Hussaini
Abu Hashem, one of the Companions of Imam Hadi (A.S.), says elsewhere, "When Imam Hadi (A.S.) was bedridden, I paid him a visit. Imam said, ‘O, Abu Hashem; send one of our friends to Hayer Hussaini to ask him to pray for me (to heal)’”.
I departed to find a friend, and came across "Ali ibn Balal". I told him the issue with Imam and asked him to go to "Karbala" and to pray for the holy Imam (A.S.).
"I am all ready by heart and soul; yet I hold Imam Hadi (A.S.) to be by far superior to "Hayer Hussaini" for he is one of the shrine owners himself and that Imam's prayer for himself indeed far surpasses my prayer for him" said Ali in wonder.
I returned and informed Imam (A.S.) of what "Ali ibn Balal" had said.
Imam (A.S.) said," The Prophet of Islam (P.B.U.H.) was superior to "Kaaba" and "al-Hajar al-Aswad". Nonetheless, he would circle the "House" and appeal to "al-Hajar al-Aswad. There are mediatory to God on the earth and God must be invoked through those means and the prayer of people is granted through such intermediaries and "Hayer Hussaini" is one of them".
And in another narration, Imam has been quoted to have said that, "By my bounty send a group to "Hayer Hussaini (to pray for me to heal)…".
Was this act by Imam Hadi (A.S.) merely a personal and an individual matter? This might have been the interpretation of Companions of the Imam (A.S.) including "Abu Hashem" and "Ali ibn Balal" and this very same act might have led to their bewilderment and amazement and eventually their inquiry into the wisdom and philosophy of this deed. Whereas, by this act, the Imam (A.S.), taught the others that "Hayer Hussaini" has been a door of the gates of divine mercy and the Kaaba of love and serenity and self-sacrifice and legend of stability and resistance to break the glittering idols of deception, the revival of which is the elevation of the banner of righteousness and justice and liberty on the heights of the pinnacle of humanity.
It appears that this deed by Imam (A.S.), more than being a personal event, was an ideological, political and strategic act.
In circumstances under which Abbasid rulers, specifically Motevakkel, considered "Hayer Hussaini" as a dangerous foothold endangering their tyrannical government, and Motevakkel committed that horrific crime against "Hayer Hussaini" and destroyed all around it and plowed it and took major steps toward its destruction, Imam Hadi (A.S.) took this necessary action and was wisely disposed toward the desperate attempts of the enemy, and drew the public opinion to the most memorable, most burning and most inspiring foothold for Imamah, that is, Karbala.
Do not Forget to Commemorate True Scholars!
One of the indispensible tasks of Imam Hadi (A.S.), as the other Holy Immaculate Imams (A.S.), was maintenance of the intellectual and cultural mentality of Shiite ideology and prevention from the dissidents' inductions, and this task required formation of the seminary and teaching of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) and beliefs and primary principles and training of distinguished and active students.
In the age of Imam Baqer and Imam Sadeq (A.S.), the fields of education and knowledge were widely and deeply enhanced. Subsequently, other Imams, even in very dire circumstances, followed their examples in one way or another.
Imam Hadi (A.S.) also took huge steps in this regard and educated outstanding students such as Abd al-Azim Hasani, Khayyeran al-Khadem, Ibn Sakit Ahvazi, Abu Hashem Jafari, Hussain ibn Muhammad Madayeni, Jafar ibn Soheyl, Ismaeil ibn Mehran, etc. He gathered the distinguished students of his father and grandsire and they all established an active and vigorous seminary in Medina.
Some have mentioned the number of the students of Imam Hadi (A.S.) to have been 178 individuals and Sheikh Tousi (R.H.) has cited 185 individuals.
In this regard, Imam Ali Al-Naqi (A.S.) held true scholars and researchers in considerable respect and encouraged his friends to respect them and considered them as the best of humans, pronouncing:
"If after Mahdi’s Occultation, there be no active scholars to summon people to him (A.A.T.F) and guide and usher them and defend the sanctity of their religion by divine proof and save the weak servants of God from the inductions of the Satan and his followers and the deceptions (and traps) of Nasebis (Enemies of Ahl al–Bayt), all those devoted to God will become apostates from the religion of Allah. Yet these very scholars will seize the reins of Shiite souls (that are weak in terms of belief and thought) [and save them from drowning in the water of deception], in the like manner that a sailor steers the ship. These scholars are the best of humans before the divine presence of God".
Do not Keep the Company of Untruthful Ones
One of the eminent students and Companions of Imam Hadi (A.S.) was Abu Hashem Jafari. One day Imam (A.S.) came across him and said, "Why are you often in the company of Abd al-Rahman ibn Yaqub?"
Abu Hashem said, "Abd al-Rahman is my uncle".
The Imam (A.S.) said, "What Abd al-Rahman says with respect to God is untruthful and describes the pure essence of God with bodily and corporeal features; either keep his company and turn your back on us; or keep our company and turn your back on him".
"He can say what he wants to; I do not believe in what he says, what harm can he cause me?" inquired Abu Hashem.
The Imam (A.S.) replied then, "Fear you not lest a punishment be decreed upon him and to submerge you as well? Have you not heard of the fate of the boy who was among the disciples of Moses (A.S.) and whose father was among the companions of Pharaoh? When pharaoh's army (following the army of Moses (A.S.)) reached the sea, that boy departed from the army of Moses (A.S.) and approached his father so as to advise him and disjoin him from pharaoh's army and lead him toward the path of Moses (A.S.); while disputing with his father and inviting him to the straight path, they both reached the sea and suddenly divine chastisement came upon them, and pharaoh's army was drowned. The father and son who were near pharaoh's army were drowned as well. Prophet Moses (A.S.) was asked, "The father deserved punishment, but why was the son punished too?" Moses (A.S.) answered, "That boy was held in mercy by God yet when the time comes for chastisement, the one who is near the sinner will be submerged as well"".
Only Appeal to God for Any Entreaty
One of the Shiite disciples of that Imam named Abu Musa says, "One day I paid a visit to Imam Hadi (A.S.) and told him, "O, my lord! This man (Motevakkel Abbasi), having known that I am a friend and Shiite disciple of yours, has cut all relations with me and my wages as well and has indeed caused me sorrow. If you show me such mercy and kindness to advise him in this regard, he will surely rely on your words. Please do me this favor and upon a request to Motevakkel, restore me my living.
The Imam (A.S.) said, "Do not feel down. God willing, you will prosper". Abu Musa says, "Night fell and on the same night, a couple of the messengers of Motevakkel came to my house and called me out. I went out and saw Fath ibn Khaqan (Vizier of Motevakkel) standing at the door. He inquired, "Wherefore this man (Motevakkel) has troubled me tonight and has sent me hither to summon you?"
Abu Musa says, "(Along with Fath ibn Khaqan) I approached Motevakkel's house and saw him sitting on his seat; at seeing me, he turned to me saying, "O, Musa! We forgot you and you also forgot us, what is it that you inquire of us?"
I said, "The wages and the earnings and the like".
Motevakkel ordered twice the amount to be granted to me; I said to Fath ibn Khaqan, in wonder, "Did Imam Hadi (A.S.) come here?" He said, "No".
Ibn Musa says, "Hence, I visited Imam Hadi (A.S.); having seen me, Imam said, "It seems you are delighted and in mirth".
I said, "Aye, my Lord! Because of the blessings and graces from you, I am. However, I was told that you did not visit Motevakkel to advise him in this regard".
"God Almighty knows well that at times of need we seek refuge in no one but Him and at times of sorrow, we rely upon no one but Him; whenever we appeal to Him, He will grant us our wish. We fear thus praying to one other than Him and being deprived of his grace" said Imam Hadi (A.S.).
I said further, "Also, Fath ibn Khaqan asked me to appeal to you to pray for him".
Imam Hadi (A.S.) said, "Fath pretends to be a friend of us, but avoids us indeed. Prayers will be granted for the persons who deserve it…".
Furthermore, it has been stated that Jonah the Painter was one of the Shiite disciples and friends of Imam Hadi (A.S.). One day he approached Imam Hadi (A.S.) while he was trembling with fears, and beseeched, "O, my Lord! I implore you look after my family!"
Imam (A.S.) said, "What has transpired?"
"I am all ready for death" Jonah said.
Imam Hadi (A.S.) said with a smile, "Wherefore say you so Jonah?"
Jonah retorted, "Musa ibn Boqa (Motevakkel's General) has given me an invaluable gem upon which to paint; yet the gem broke into a half while I was handling it and tomorrow I should it give it back. If Musa comes to know that I have broken this gem of high worth, he will either punish me with a thousand lashes or will kill me. Imam Hadi (A.S.) said, "Go to your home; tomorrow nothing ominous will come by".
Johah, who was extremely anxious, returned home and slept through a rough night. Early in the morrow, he called upon Imam Hadi (A.S.) again, looking desperately worried, and implored, "The messenger of Musa has come now and asks for the gem; what shall I do?"
"Go to Musa, nothing ominous will come by" said the Imam.
"But my lord! What shall I tell him?" Jonah implored.
Imam Hadi (A.S.), smiled and said kindly, "Go to Musa and listen to what he tells you; that will be surely far from ominous and evil".
Jonah went to the house of Musa. Shortly after, he came back to Imam Hadi (A.S.), looking joyous and mirthful, and said to the Imam (A.S.), "O, my Lord! I went to Musa and he told me: "My little girls are fighting over this gem; please divide this gem into a half so that each half will be one of my daughters'; if you do so, I will bestow measureless riches upon you".
Imam Hadi (A.S.), prayed to God that one of his true Shiite disciples was shielded from harm by virtue of occult divine graces, and invoked, "O, Lord! Praise be to you that have given us the strength to praise thee as due".