The Martyrdom of Imam Hassan al-Askari is commemorated every year on the eighth day of the third month in the Islamic calendar, the month of Rabi al-Awwal. This year, it will be observed on September 23. A descendant of the prophet Muhammad, al-Askari is regarded as the eleventh of the Twelve Imams. At the young age of 28, al-Askari died on the eighth day in the month of Rabi al-Awwal, estimated to be around December of 873 A.D. or January of 874 A.D. on the Gregorian calendar. Most Shias believe that al-Askari’s death was caused by poisoning at the behest of al-Mu’tamid, the caliph.
History of Martyrdom of Imam Hassan Asgari
According to Shia sources, Hasan ibn Ali ibn Muhammad, better known as Hasan al-Askari, was born in Rabi al-Awwal 230 in the Islamic calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, this would be between November 844 A.D. and 847 A.D. He was born in Medina or Samarra to Ali al-Hadi, the tenth Shia Imam. At the age of two, Hasan and his father moved to Samarra. After al-Hadi died around 868 A.D., most of his followers accepted al-Askari as the new Imam, though Ja’far, another one of al-Hadi’s sons, tried unsuccessfully to claim the Imamate for himself.
During his time as Imam, al-Askari was closely watched by the Sunni Abbasid Caliphate and was barely allowed to have contact with the Shia population. In fact, the name ‘al-Askari’ was attributed to him because he was forced to live in Samarra, also known as Askar. Other than the fact that there was a general persecution of Shias by the Caliphate, it’s also been suggested that the reason behind this restriction was the belief among certain members of the Shia elite that the eleventh Imam would be the one to father the Mahdi. In Islam, the Mahdi is believed to be a messianic deliverer who will bring justice and equality to the earth, restore true religion, and usher in a golden age lasting eight or nine years before the world’s end.
At the young age of 28, al-Askari died on the eighth day of the month of Rabi al-Awwal, somewhere around December of 873 A.D. or January of 874 A.D. Most Shias believe that al-Askari’s death was caused by poisoning at the behest of al-Mu’tamid, the caliph. He was buried in his ancestral home, next to his father. The house was later converted into a shrine by major Shia and Sunni patrons.
Martyrdom of Imam Hassan Asgari timeline
The Abbasid Caliphate is established in Iraq.
Al-Askari is born to Ali al-Hadi, the tenth Shia Imam.
Al-Askari becomes the eleventh Imam after the death of his father.
Al-Askari dies at the age of 28.
Martyrdom of Imam Hassan Asgari FAQs
For how long did the Abbasid caliphate exist?
The Abbasid Caliphate lasted from about 750 A.D. to 1517.
Where is Samarra located?
Samarra is a city located in Iraq.
Did Hasan al-Askari have a wife?
It is believed that an agent of al-Askari’s father providentially brought him a Byzantine concubine, known as Narjis or Narcissus.
How to Observe Martyrdom of Imam Hassan Asgari
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5 Key Facts About Samarra
Samarra is a holy city
Samarra is one of the four Islamic holy cities in Iraq.
It was built in 836 A.D.
Samarra was built in 836 A.D. by Caliph Al-Mu'tasim.
It was the capital of the Caliphate
From 836 A.D. to 892 A.D., Samarra was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, replacing Baghdad.
It lies on the River Tigris
Samarra lies on the east bank of the Tigris River.
It has a small population
Samarra has a population of about 200,000 people.
Why Martyrdom of Imam Hassan Asgari is Important
He was the eleventh Imam
In Shia Islam, al-Askari is revered as the eleventh of the Twelve Imams. Thus, he is believed to be the father of the eschatological Mahdi, who will restore peace and justice to the earth.
He stood for his beliefs
Despite the religious persecution of Shias by the Abbasid Caliphate, al-Askari still practiced and stood up for his beliefs. Shias believe it was for this reason that he lost his life at the young age of 28.
He was a descendant of Muhammad
Al-Askari was a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad. This gives him a special place in Islam.
Martyrdom of Imam Hassan Asgari dates