The despot disarmed

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Masoodi – the celebrated scholar of Ahle Tasannun – records in his book Murooj al-Zahab:

Somebody complained to Mutawakkil the Abbasi Emperor (may Allah curse him) that in the house of Imam Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Hadi (peace be on them both) were books and weapons from the Shias of Qom and that he (peace be on him) is planning to attack the government.

So, he sent a taskforce of Turks who attacked his house at night. But they could not find anything. They saw him (peace be on him) locked in a room, upon him was a woolen cloak, sitting on sand and pebbles, attentive to Allah the High and reciting the verses of the Holy Quran.  In this very condition, they carried him to Mutawakkil and reported, ‘We did not find anything in his house and found him reciting the Quran facing the Qiblah.’

Mutawakkil, who was busy in his drinking session with a glass of alcohol in his hand, was awed by him (peace be on him), respected him, made him (peace be on him) sit next to him and offered him the glass in his hand. Imam (peace be on him) responded, “By Allah! My flesh and blood have never ever experienced alcohol. Excuse me.” He excused the Imam.

Mutawakkil said, “Recite some poem for me.” Imam (peace be on him) replied, “I have little tradition for poetry.”  Mutawakkil insisted, “You must”.

So Imam (peace be on him) started reciting a poem while sitting near Mutawakkil:

They slept on the peaks of mountains guarding them were

                                                Many men but the peaks did not benefit them

They descended after (their) might from their strongholds

                                                ‘Stay in graves’ O how badly they have descended!

After their burial, a caller will call out to them

                                                Where are the bracelets, the crowns and the robes?

Where are the faces that were comforts?

                                                On which were put veils and crowns  

The graves expanded for them when they were questioned

                                                These faces on which were insects tearing them apart

How long were the periods when they were eating and drinking!

                                                After eating, one day they got up to see they were being eaten

On hearing this poem of Imam Hadi (peace be on him), Mutawakkil cried so copiously that his beard was soaked with his tears. Those present also started with his crying. He handed four thousand gold coins to Imam Hadi (peace be on him) and escorted him to his house with utmost respect.

After recording this narration, Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) comments: Sa’d Ibn Hebatillah al-Karaajki reports in Kanz al-Fawaaed, “Mutawakkil threw his glass on the ground and his enjoyments and pleasures for that day was spoilt.”

(Reference: Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 50, p. 211 under Hadis 25)

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