Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A.S) spent his short life in sufferings and distresses. The Abbasid kings spared no effort in oppressing him. They moved him from a prison to another. They subjected him to confinement and imposed on him an economical blockade. They prevented him from meeting with his followers as they prevented ulama and scholars from contacting with him to take from the fountains of his sciences. And this, as I think, was the worst distress the Imam suffered. They tried more than one time to assassinate him but Allah protected him from their plots. There were some reasons that made the Abbasids bear a grudge against Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A.S). Here are some of them:
First, the Abbasids feared the Awaited Imam about whom the Prophet (PBUH) had brought good news, and through divine knowledge, foretold of his coming as the greatest reformer of whose like mankind had never seen throughout all stages of history. The Prophet (PBUH) had said that the Awaited Imam (A.S) would spread political, social justice all over the world; that he would do away with all kinds of injustice and oppression, and defeat all tyrants and oppressive powers in the world. He would do away with polytheism and atheism, and raise the banner of faith and truth. He would revive the annulled laws of Allah. Therefore, the Abbasids tried to kill Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A.S) to be sure he would not leave offspring. Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A.S) said about that, ‘They claimed that they wanted to kill me in order to cut off my offspring, but Allah falsified their saying, and praise be to Allah.’ Second, the Abbasids bore envy towards Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A.S) for his popularity and the great respect that all classes of society showed him, whereas the authority was in the hand of the Abbasids who received nothing of respect or honoring from people. Therefore, they plotted day and night to do away with him.
Third, the Alawids rose in many revolts against the Abbasid rule since its beginning aiming at achieving the political justice of Islam and applying its economical and social programs in life. Those revolts were supported by great masses of people in the different Muslim communities that harmed the stature of Abbasid rule and shook its throne and were about to overthrow it. Those revolts filled the hearts of the Abbasids with hatred and grudge against the Alawids, and so they ordered their policemen to chase every Alawid. It was natural that Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A.S) suffered the bitterest distresses from the Abbasids because he was the master and chief of the Alawids and the Imam of Muslims at that time.
Now, let us come back to the last days of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A.S). Appointing Imam Al-Mahdi as the Next Imam Imam al-Mahdi (A.S) is the hope not only for Muslims but for all oppressed human beings who suffer slavery, oppression, and subjection. He is the Savior who will free the will of man and save peoples and nations from the oppression of the corruptive regimes who have turned this world into unbearable hell.
Imam al-Mahdi (A.S) was and is a great miracle in Islam. Allah concealed his birth, as he had concealed the birth of Prophet Moses (A.S), because the Abbasid government looked for him…and in his remaining alive (in occultation) throughout the long stages of life is also a miracle for Islam, and in his reappearance and announcing the pure principles of Islam is another miracle too.
The following are some of the traditions transmitted from Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A.S) concerning the Imamate of his son al-Mahdi (A.S).
1. Ahmad bin Isaaq bin Sa’eed al-Ash’ari said, “Once, I went to Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Ali (A.S) intending to ask him about the successor after him. He said to me before I asked him, ‘O Ahmad bin Isaaq, Allah the Almighty did not deprive the earth since He created Adam and He does not deprive it until the Day of Resurrection of an authority over His people. By him (the authority) distresses are pushed away from the people of the earth, by him rain falls down, and by him the blessings of the earth are emitted.’