Imam is responsible for all the prophet's duties
Imamate is a supreme position. In fact, Imamate is the continuation of Prophet’s position and Imam is responsible for all the prophet's duties; the difference is that the prophet goes through divine revelation by God and is the founder of the religion yet this point does not apply to an Imam. Imam states religious concepts while answering new questions, defining true laws for people's lives, ordains Jihad and so on.
Therefore, those who consider this Imamate a publically chosen one need to know that Imamate is a divine and appointive, not chosen, authority; hence, Imam is no different from prophet, except for the mentioned point. The Holy Quran somehow refers to the point, saying: "And we appointed Imams among them." Some prophets reach Imamate: "And they are the tolerant." Their tolerance to propagate the religion leads them to reach Imamate instead of being a prophet. Reflect on this verse: "And they were patient yet believed in our signs, we made them leaders to guide [people] on our command." Ibrahim (P.B.U.H) reached Imamate after prophecy when he went through all trials and positions, since he was a prophet before being an Imam; however, this position is not higher than that of the prophet. Ahl al-Bayt owns the position succeeding prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H).
According to Islamic narrators' quotations, such as Moslem in his book Sahih, prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) says which I quote the exact phrase: "After Prophet Mohammad, 12 Imams would appear which are connected" (Moslem's Book of Sahih, V.12, P.189). Therefore, it refers not to one but the 12 Imams.
Gem of Creation
Let's get to know Imam-Hadi (A.S.): Abo-Al-Hassan Imam Hadi (A.S.) was born in the city of Medina in 212 AH. inhabiting the city to 236 AH. After the martyrdom of his honorable father, Imam Javad (A.S.), he was chosen for Imamate yet his blessed age was 8 or 9. However, the fact that an 8-year-old child could accept such a huge responsibility as: "They measure not Allah His rightful measure. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty" (Al-Hajj, 74). Provided we get to know the Imam and his status, its comprehension is easy. Jesus, son of Mary, is chosen as a prophet in childhood in the cradle: "He spoke: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet" (Mary, 30) or John, the son of prophet Zachariah, reached prophecy in childhood: "[And it was said unto his son]: O John! Hold fast the Scripture. And we gave him wisdom when a child" (Mary, 12). We ought not to mix up such gems and creations with other gems.
Imam Hadi (A.S.) teaches jurisprudence and Hadith in Medina solving people’s problems; however, Al-Mutawakkil becomes furious as Medina's Commander who informs him of the people who travel to the city, visiting Imam Hadi and consulting their scientific, financial problems with him: "I fear they move against you one day" (Al-Ershad , P.435; Elam Al-Vari, P. 365; Qoreishi, Imam Hadi's (P.B.U.H) Life, P. 386). Clearly, those who love authority leave no stone unturned in this way; hence, the most unimportant news that endangers their authority is catastrophic to them.
Exile to Samarra
Al-Mutawakkil ordered Yahya, the son of Herethmeh, to transfer the Imam from Medina to Samarra at the time he was 24; the news broke that Yahya, the son of Herethmeh, is ready to transfer the Imam to Samarra with 300 soldiers, people of Medina moved and shed tears. They shed tears so much that Yahya promised them no little harm would come to Imam. Yahya, the son of Herethmeh, who was responsible for Imam's transfer, says: "When we reached Bagdad with Imam, Isaac, the son of Ibrahim Taheri, the governor of Bagdad told me: "O Yahya, this man is the son of prophet Muhammad (A.S.); if you tempt Al-Mutawakkil for his murder, you're prophet's enemy." I said: "I haven't seen anything but good of this man.” Then, we moved toward Samarra. Once we got there, Wasif Al-Turki (a Turkish commander in Abbasid court) told me: "I take you responsible if the smallest harm comes to this man."
The time to visit Al-Mutawakkil arrived. Yahya takes a step in the last moment saying: "I probed his house; there was nothing except some mats he was praying on as well as some prayers book and the Holy Quran, the given reports are all lies; he is in the position of guidance and propagation and is not thinking of moving against you" (Ali, the son of Hossein Masoudi, Moravej Al-Zahab, Beirut, Press Scientific Institute, BiTa, Vol. 4, P. 183). This caused Al-Mutawakkil's anger settle, hence, leading to imam's residence in Samarra.
Abbasid policies changed during al-Ma'mun's reign. Abbasid had been murdering Ahl al-Bayt before Al-Ma'mun yet since Al-Ma'mun they decided to scrutinize them; thus, they provided the Imam with a house near Al-Mutawakkil's dwelling to live with his family; however, the Shiites were visiting the Imam with different excuses. It is supposed that the imam lived in the city of Samarra since 236 AD to 254 AD.
Imam's Scientific Stance
Imam devoted himself to Imamate duties in Samarra as well. Firstly, he had educated 85 religious scholars and Hadith Experts. Educating one of them is no easy task, especially at that political repression in Samarra. Imam's scientific stance is so high that everyone bestow upon him. The Imam devoted himself to teaching in Samarra as well. The Imam has a doctrine on determinism and submission in which he rejects both concepts taking advantage of signs and quotes and proves the 'Affair of the Affairs' (Tohf Al-Oqul, PP. 338-356; Imam Hadi's (A.S.) Stance; PP. 198-213). Such words and perfections are signs for Imam's scientific stance.
Even though there were people around Al-Mutawakkil who were calling themselves jurists, they were referring to Imam Hadi (A.S.) for many problems. Mau'udi in Moravaj Al-Zahab says: "A Zammi - who follows one of divine books yet living in the shadow of Islam in condition that he respects the rules of Islam and doesn't break the law – did an evil act with a Muslim woman; he was taken to the Caliph and the jurists sentenced him to execution. As they were about to perform the verdict, he smartly stated the Declaration of Faith to deceive the present jurists as "Islam Connives the Sins Past" (Great Ewalli In Religious Conversation, Vol. 2, P. 54). The fact that he became a Muslim leads to ignore his past; however, some jurists doubted his Islam, as not a real one.
Al-Mutawakkil who knows Imam, says: "Ask the solution from Ab-al-Hassan Hadi." Imam writes a letter to jurists telling them that the man must be executed as he deserves it. Jurists ask for the reason for his judgment. Imam extracts the following reason from the Holy Quran. See how this sophisticated man, of the family of Prophet Mohammad (A.S.), extracts the judgment from verses 84 and 85 of Al-Ghafer: " Then, when they saw Our doom, they said: We believe in Allah only and reject [all] that we used to associate [with Him]. But their faith could not avail them when they saw Our doom. This is Allah's law which hath ever taken course for His bondmen. And then the disbelievers shall be ruined." The verses let us know that a faith is effective that is not out of fear or to get away with punishment. The Zammi is proclaiming faith to get away with punishment and execution. Such extreme knowledge of the Holy Quran is no ordinary one. Thousands had been reading the verses before but no one had noticed it before Imam Hadi (A.S.).
The Imam would be referred to in some clear cases. Al-Mutawakkil had a non-Muslim servant named Ibn-e-Nuh who has given him a nickname.
A nickname is a sign of respect and mostly the Arabs who come from a tribe choose a nickname for their children calling them with "Abu" or "Ibn" (The son of). Al-Mutawakkil was calling the servant Ibn-e-Nuh. Jurists who were unaware of signs and verses, said: "We ought not to call a non-Muslim with a nickname as a nickname is a sign for respect." They said: "Ask Imam Hadi (A.S.)." The Imam read this verse: "The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish" (Al-Masadd, 1). God has given him a nickname and these are not the signs of respect.
What do non-Shiites say?
The Imam had a great stance in the world those days so much that Islam scientists, even those not of Twelve Imam Shiites, were clearly praising him for his greatness. I quote some of their words to see others were respecting him except us.
Ab-al-Fallah Hanballi has written down the biography of the celebrities in a book named “Shazrat al-Zahab”. He mentions in his book: "Imam Hadi is the jurist with deep religious beliefs;" of course, a person who does not respect the divine Imamate of Imam Hadi cannot be expected more than this. Yafy owns a book named "Marat-al-Janan" which is a great book and repeats the same words; however, Ibn-e-Sabbaq Maleki in "Important Chapters on Knowledge of Imams" says: "Imam Hadi is a character whose merits and virtues have filled the ground and skies and I'm unable to express a part in my writing."
Even though the properties were sent to Imam's dwelling, he divided them among the poor and he chose a mat to live on; he provided himself with a farm in Samarra and once in a while he would work there in order not to have his life dependent on public rights (Important Chapters, Ibn-e-Sabaq Al-Maleki, Vol. 2, P. 1073). The narrator says: "I saw Imam Hadi (A.S.) is working there while he was sweating profusely. I asked him where his friends were; let them work. He said: "People better than me lived with their own income, I mean my ancestor Prophet Mohammad, Ali Ibn-e-Abitaleb and my grandfathers" (Kafi (T-Al-Islamieh), Vol. 5, P. 75).