14 Gems of Wisdom from Imam al-Askari

On the occasion of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam al-Askari, we found 14 of his thought-provoking sayings that can serve as advice for any Muslim throughout their lives.

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On the occasion of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam al-Askari, we found 14 of his thought-provoking sayings that can serve as advice for any Muslim throughout their lives.

Imam al-Askari is a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), born on 8 Rabi’ al-Thani, 232 AH and martyred on 8 Rabi’ al-Awwal. He is a pivotal personality and, in some schools, is considered the father of Imam al-Mahdi. Imam al-Mahdi is a universally accepted personality by all schools in Islam as someone who will appear in the end times and restore the Earth with peace and justice.

Imam al-Askari lived during the Abbasid caliphate and was known as a pious individual. This is attested by many. One such is a politician by the name of Ubayd bin Khaqan who said:

If the caliphate is removed from the Abbasids, no one from the Hashimites will deserve it except this man (he meant al-Hasan bin Ali al-Askari). He deserves it by his virtue, chastity, guidance, gravity, asceticism, worshipping, good morals, and righteousness.”


Here are 14 pieces of wisdom from Imam al-Askari that can serve as guidance for Muslims.

Reminding People of the Prophet’s Sunnah

We can revive the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by reminding each other of it. This is what Imam al-Askari did.

I recommend you to fear Allah, be pious in your religion, strive for Allah, be truthful in speaking, give deposits back to their owners, whether he be good or evil, increase prostration, and to be good to neighbors. By these (principles) Muhammad (a.s.) came with his mission.”


Relying on Allah’s (SWT) Timing

Sometimes we become impatient because we’re not getting married or finding a job. Imam al-Askari uses a beautiful metaphor that reminds us to trust God and his timings.

Do not hasten towards a fruit that it is not ripe yet because it is picked only at its time. He, Who manages your affairs, is more aware of the time that is good for you (to pick the fruit). Trust in His experience in your affairs and do not hurry for your needs at the beginning of your time, as then your heart may be distressed and despair may overcome you.”

[Nuzhat an-Nadhir]

Reminding People to Work for the Hereafter

The dunya and its glitters affect us all from time to time, and this was no different for the people who lived at the time of Imam al-Askari, which is why he reminds them of their ultimate destination and home.

You are in short lives, and few days, and death comes unexpectedly. Whoever sows good shall harvest happiness, and whoever sows evil shall harvest regret. Every sower shall reap what he has sowed. No slow one is preceded by his luck, and no careful one gets what has not been determined for him. Whoever is given good, Allah has given him that, and whoever is saved from an evil Allah has saved him from it.”


Pondering Upon Allah (SWT)

Pondering upon Allah (SWT) inculcates His remembrance in our hearts. Every ritual act has its limitations. Obligatory prayers are no more than five. Obligatory fasting is no more than a month. And so on. But there is no cap on pondering and thinking about Allah (SWT).

Worship is not abundant fasting and praying, but worship is abundant pondering; it is the continuous thinking of Allah.”


On Why God Instituted Fasting

The wisdom of behind fasting is to help a person develop taqwa and piety. For the rich, an additional purpose of fasting is to help create empathy for the poor.

Allah has imposed fasting so that the wealthy might suffer hunger and be kind to the poor.”

[Kashf al-Ghummah]

On Hypocrisy

Imam al-Askari summarises the characteristics of the hypocrite. It’s important to reflect within and ask ourselves whether we are exhibiting any of these qualities. If so, we must purge ourselves from them.

What a bad man he is who has two faces and two tongues! He praises his brother when he is present and eats his flesh (backbites him) when he is absent. He envies him if he is given (becomes in good state), and betrays him if he is afflicted.”


Thinking Before Speaking

Before speaking, an individual should take a moment to understand whether what they’re about to say is about to add value and assess if it will cause good or harm. Sometimes silence is better. Developing an internal filter and not simply saying everything we want to is the sign of a foolish person.

The heart of a fool is in his mouth, and the mouth of a wise man is in his heart.”

[The Life of Imam al-Askari, Baqir Qureshi]

The Characteristics of a Good Muslim

The characteristics of a good Muslim, according to Imam al-Askari:

The most pious of people is he who refrains before suspicion. The most worshipful of people is he who keeps on obligations. The most ascetic one is he who refrains from unlawful things. The best mujtahid is he who refrains from sins.”

[The Life of Imam al-Askari, Baqir Qureshi]

On the Importance of Keeping up Obligatory Acts

Our worldly affairs should not stop us from our obligations to worship God. Sure, earning a halal earning is meritious. But this shouldn’t come at the expense of missing our prayers.

Let no secure livelihood make you too busy to perform an obligatory deed.”

[The Life of Imam al-Askari, Baqir Qureshi]

On Concealing our Joy

In the age of social media, we all show off our accomplishments in front of thousands of people, be it a new job, marriage or the birth of a child. We’re not entirely sure to whom these posts are reaching. What if someone who lacks what we want sees them? They already feel sad about not having it, and seeing someone celebrate achieving it may make them feel worse. We’re not doing this intentionally, but it’s certainly food for thought.

It is not from politeness to show joy before a distressed person.”

[The Life of Imam al-Askari, Baqir Qureshi]

Advising in Secret

Another thing social media allows to happen is calling out people in public for alleged sinning or bad behaviour. If someone is openly sinning and causing fitnah, it is our duty to call them out openly and make it known to the masses – for the protection of the Ummah. Unfortunately, we see people being ‘exposed’ for things they do in their private life and/or things that are not even proven. If we feel someone is doing something wrong (provided that act is not hurting the community), we should advise them in private. Public advice can sometimes be humiliating.

He, who advises his brother secretly, does him good, and he, who advises him openly, does him wrong.”

[The Life of Imam al-Askari, Baqir Qureshi]

On Being Forgiving

Mercy is the crux of this religion. Allah (SWT) describes Himself as Merciful more than any other trait.

The best of your brothers is he who forgets your wrong against him, and remembers your kindness to him.”

[The Life of Imam al-Askari, Baqir Qureshi]

On the Night Prayer

The night prayer, Salatul Layl has been encouraged by every prophet, imam, saint and scholar.

Reaching Allah the Almighty is a journey that is not achieved except by riding at night.”

[The Life of Imam al-Askari, Baqir Qureshi]

On Being Wary of Polytheism

Polytheism isn’t just worshipping and bowing to idols. Polytheism is thinking something other than Allah (SWT) can help us. Idol worship is one type of polytheism. Proper tawhid is letting nothing other than Allah (SWT) reside in our hearts. If we are not mindful of the state of our hearts, polytheism can sneak in without us knowing. Our tongues may profess tawhid but our hearts may be in a different state.

Polytheism in people is more inconspicuous than the creeping of ants on a black cloth in a dark night.”

[The Life of Imam al-Askari, Baqir Qureshi]