He was Imam Ali an-Naqi al-Hadi (AS), who was the source of blessing for the seekers of truth. No we have a special article in this regard as follows: “Whoever expects to meet (encounter) Allah (should know that) Allah’s (appointed) time will indeed come, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”
That was ayah 5 of Surah Ankabout of the Holy Qur’an that you heard, and in which the word “meet” or “meeting” gives the feeling of close proximity to God, Who, however, is far glorious to have any shape, form, and place – all three of which signify limits and restrictions, and thus against the nature of the Source of all creation. Thus, whoever strives on the path of virtue, prays, fasts, abstains from undesirable things, acts, and sights, definitely feels proximity with the Lord Most High, but the first and foremost condition for this proximity or meeting is faith. In other words, it is faith based on firm conviction, and in accordance with what Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), as the Last and Final Emissary of God, has said about the Omnipresent. Here is an interesting hadith from the Prophet on “meeting” with the Lord (of course not physical), and the conditions stipulated for any such proximity. It reads: “He, who likes to meet Allah (on the Day of Resurrection) safe, purified, and without fearing the great horror, let him follow you O Ali, and follow your two sons Hasan and Husain, and (your grandsons) Ali ibn al-Husain, Mohammad ibn Ali, Ja’far ibn Mohammad, Musa ibn Ja’far, Ali ibn Musa, Mohammad ibn Ali, Ali ibn Mohammad, Hasan ibn Ali, and al-Mahdi the last of them..”
The hadith is lengthy and elaborates on the benefits of love, affection, and obedience for the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), whom the Prophet, on the express orders of God Almighty, had proclaimed as his vicegerent on the 18th of Zilhijja, at Ghadeer-Khom, while returning from his Farewell Hajj Pilgrimage. The important point to note is that the Prophet clearly specified by name the successors of his divinely-decreed successor, since he knew that a group of his disobedient companions would usurp the political right of Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) and deprive the Ahl al-Bayt of the caliphate, which would become the prerogative of the unprincipled, the immoral, the unjust and the ungodly. No wonder, the narrator of this wonderful hadith from the Prophet that emphasizes the chain of authority in Islam, is a member of this elite group itself. He is Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS), the Prophet’s 10th Infallible Successor whose martyrdom anniversary we commemorate today.
This representative of the blessed event of Ghadeer-Khom was a victim of a person who traced his questionable political rule to the scandalous gathering Saqifa Bani Sa’da in Medina, no sooner the Prophet had left the mortal world. Since he was the Prophet’s Legitimate Heir and one of the 12 persons whose obedience ensures proximity and meeting with Almighty Allah, the caliph placed him under house arrest, so that Muslims would be deprived of the chance to meet him – and subsequently be deprived of proximity to God. Nonetheless, despite the restrictions placed upon him, the 10th Imam continued his enlightening task and whenever opportunity came his way he expounded to the Ummah the genuine teachings of his illustrious ancestor, the Prophet, such as the above-mentioned hadith. Thus to make sure that people will always have access to the Chosen of God, long after the disgraceful institution called the caliphate vanishes from the scene, Imam Hadi (AS) bequeathed gems of guidance for the faithful, concerning his grandson, the Promised Saviour of humanity, Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance).
Imam Hadi (AS) said: “During the ghayba – or occultation – of your Qa’em (i.e. the 12th Imam) a group of the ulema will call people to believe in his Imamate and defend his creed by citing proofs revealed by Allah so that they might save the weak-minded from either the deceptions of the Satan and his hordes, or the deceptions of the nawasib (plural of nasibi or Imam Ali’s [AS] enemy). In the absence of such ulema, everyone would have strayed away from the religion (decreed by) Allah. Thus, as the pilot holds the rudder of the ship, these ulema will hold firmly onto the hearts of the Shi’ites (steadfast adherents of the Prophet’s Household) preventing them from straying. Such ulema are the most excellent in the sight of Allah the Exalted.”
Imam Hadi (AS), whose imamate could be roughly divided into two equal parts (about 17 years in Medina and 17 years in Samarra where he was placed under virtual house arrest by the Abbasid regime), shouldered the crucial task of grooming Muslims for the eventual start of the ghayba or period of occultation of his yet-to-be-born grandson, the 12th Imam who will rise as Mahdi al-Qa’em (AS) to cleanse the earth of all vestiges of corruption and oppression by establishing the global government of peace, prosperity and justice. In view of the guidance of posterity, the 10th Imam groomed a great many ulema, who through a solid chain of succession have kept alive the aspirations of the faithful till this day, over a millennium and almost two centuries later.
At the same time, in that politically volatile period when uprisings frequently rocked Abbasid rule from Khorasan in the east to North Africa in the west – mostly by descendants of the Prophet, other than the Infallible Imams – he strengthened the foolproof system of wikala or representation in the farthest parts of the realm to keep in constant contact with the faithful without detection by the regime. All this he did for the sake of facilitating the path of the faithful for the meeting or proximity with Allah. Perhaps one of the most wonderful intellectual and scientific traditions transmitted from the 10th Imam is the letter that he sent to the people of Ahwaz in Iran in which he refuted the concept of “compulsion” that the Ash’arite School adopted and spread claiming that human beings are compelled into actions and have no will or option. In contrast to “compulsion:, the Imam also refuted the concept of “free will” that the Mu’tazilites believed in. After refuting these two concepts, Imam Hadi (AS) proved with irrefutable, scientific proofs the concept of “the matter between the two matters of compulsion and free will”, as taught by the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt.
Here are some excerpts of the epistle of Imam Hadi (AS) to the people of Ahwaz: “Your letter came to me and I understood what you mentioned of your disagreement in your religion, your plunging in the matter of “fate”, the belief of some of you in “compulsion”, and others in “free will”, and the disagreement, separation, and enmity among you because of that. The ummah agrees unanimously with no disagreement that the Qur’an is the truth that has no doubt in it for Muslims of all sects. The Qur’an is the truth that there is no difference between them (Muslims) in its revelation and truthfulness. So when the Qur’an testifies the truthfulness of some news but a group of the ummah denies it, they have actually deemed themselves as outcasts from the (Muslim) ummah…’
In other words, the Imam meant to say that Muslims must refer to the Qur’an, to which falsehood shall not come from any direction. The Qur’an is the truth and that which contradicts it, is falsehood. Whoever believes this falsehood will be out of Islam. He added, ‘The first news that is proved, witnessed, and confirmed by the Book is the saying of the Messenger of Allah, ‘I leave to you the two weighty things (Thaqalayn); the Book of Allah and my household. You shall not go astray as long as you keep to them. They shall not separate until they shall come to me at the pond (in Paradise).’ We found the evidences of this Hadith in the Book of Allah where Allah said, (Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow. And whoever takes Allah and His Messenger and those who believe for a guardian, then surely the Party of Allah (Hezbollah) shall be triumphant.
All Muslim sects have narrated traditions that this ayah, which is 55 of Surah al-Ma’eda, was revealed when Imam Ali (AS) had given his ring as charity while he was bowing in prayer and Allah praised him for that and revealed this verse. We found the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (aAS.s.) saying, ‘Whoever I was his guardian, Ali is to be his guardian’ and (addressing Imam Ali), ‘You are to me as was Aaron to Moses but there will be no prophet after me’ and, ‘Ali repays my debts, carries out my promises, and he is my caliph over you after me’…
The tradition clearly indicated the caliphate of Imam Ali (AS) after the mission of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and Imam Ali ranked second after the Prophet. Thus on the basis of these undeniable facts, Imam Hadi (AS), refuted the ideas of both the groups, whether those claiming “compulsion”, and those claiming “free will”. Thus through debates and rational explanation of the holy Qur’an and the genuine hadith of the Prophet, the 10th Imam enlightened many of the Muslims and saved them from disbelief. We once again offer our condolences to you on the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hadi (AS).