Al-Mutawakkil was unable to bear Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) any more. It bothered him that people talked about the virtues, vast knowledge, piety, and asceticism of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and that the Shia believed in his imamate and believed that he was worthier of the caliphate than him (al-Mutawakkil).
Al-Mutawakkil was unable to bear Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) any more. It bothered him that people talked about the virtues, vast knowledge, piety, and asceticism of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and that the Shia believed in his imamate and believed that he was worthier of the caliphate than him (al-Mutawakkil). Therefore, he tried to assassinate the imam and get rid of him but however he failed to achieve his aim.
Al-Fadhl bin Ahmad al-Katib (the clerk) narrated that his father, who was the clerk of al-Mu’tazz, said, ‘We were with al-Mu’tazz when one day we went to al-Mutawakkil who was sitting on his throne but very angry looking askance at his vizier al-Fat~h bin Khaqan and shouting, ‘This is whom you said about what you said!’
Al-Fat~h tried to calm him down. He said to him, ‘O Ameerul Mo'minin,1 it was fabricated against him.’
Al-Mutawakkil paid him no attention and said, ‘By Allah, I will kill this…who fabricates and defame my rule.’ He brought four men from the Khazar, who understood nothing, gave them arms and ordered them to kill Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) when he would come to him. He said angrily, ‘By Allah, I will burn his body in fire after killing him.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) came surrounded by the guards of the palace who glorified him by saying loudly “la ilaha illallah; there is no god but Allah” and “Allahu akbar; Allah is great”. They said, ‘This is the son of ar-Redha.’
When al-Mutawakkil caught sight of him, he was affected by his solemnity and Allah cast terror into his heart. He jumped from his throne, received the imam warmly, kissed him on the forehead, and said to him reverently, ‘O my master, son of the messenger of Allah, the best of whom Allah has created, my cousin, my lord Abul Hasan…’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) advised and warned him of the punishment of Allah.
Al-Mutawakkil asked him, ‘My master, why did you come at such a time?’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘Your messenger came to me saying; al-Mutawakkil sends for you.’
Al-Mutawakkil said, ‘The son of…lied. My master, go back to where you have come from!’ Al-Mutawakkil turned towards his viziers and sons and said, ‘Fat~h, Abdullah, Mu’tazz, escort your master!’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) left surrounded by a halo of reverence and glorification and the Khazars refrained from killing him when they saw his solemnity, the honoring of the guards, and the glorification of al-Mutawakkil towards him.2 And thus the attempt of al-Mutawakkil failed.
* Adapted from the book: "The Life of Imam ALI bin Muhammad AL-HADI" by: "Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi"
1- It refers to al-Mutawakkil.
2- Al-Kharayij by ar-Rawandi.