We read or hear about many impressive romantic love stories, and yet, we do not consider these worth our time because we know these are merely fictitious and imaginary stories. As for the true stories, they do not impress us much because they appear ordinary besides giving rise to doubts of exaggeration, deception, and depravity most of the time. Thus, such stories lose credibility and charm.
Here, we have a true and pure love story that emanates fragrance of the platonic love and the great sacrifice. A love story that God blessed and bestowed in return a great child glorified by heaven and awaited by the earth to establish the kingdom of justice thereon.
So, what is the story? The story unfolds in Samarra city of Iraq, where a holy shrine of Shia Muslims is located that was blown up by Wahabi terrorists twice in the last few years (2006-2007). About 1250 years ago, the site of this shrine was a humble house inhabited by Imam Ali Al-Hady (Peace be upon him), the Tenth Imam from among the descendants of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him and his pure family), who was the legal heir appointed by the Prophet.
However, much like his Imam forefathers, he never ruled since the time revolutionaries led by two companions of the Prophet “Abu Bakr and Omar”, launched military revolt after the martyrdom of the Prophet to take control of the administration and to deprive his family from power.
Like his Imam forefather, Imam Ali Al-Hady (Peace be upon him) lived in his house under the oppressive rule of Abbasids who imposed house arrest on him. He spent most of his times offering prayer, seeking blessing, receiving believers and imparting them spiritual and moral education.
One morning, Imam sent one of his servants to a believer asking him to see him. His name was "Bashar Bin Suleiman". He was among the grandchildren of "Abu Ayyub Al Ansary", who was one of the companions of the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him and his pure family).
When Bashar came, the Imam told him: "O' Bashar! You are among the children of those who helped my grandfather. You have always been loyal to us, the family of the Prophet. Therefore, I entrust you with a secret task which will make you feel proud and honoured among all believers."
Bashar expressed his full obedience to Imam’s command and his deep devotion for him. Thereafter, Imam took a parchment and began writing a letter on it.
Bashar was astonished because he saw the Imam writing that letter in Latin! In fact, only a few people knew that Imams are well-versed in the non-Arabic languages and that they know all languages of the world because the divine revelation comes to them from heaven.
When Imam finished writing the letter, he sealed it with his personal seal bearing his noble name. Thereafter, he took out a yellow money bag which had 220 dinars and said: "O, Bashar! Take this letter and this money and proceed to Baghdad. On the day that I specify to you, go to the bridge on the Euphrates river before noon. When you reach there you will see boats floating on the river. You will see women prisoners on board captured in the wars by the soldiers of this tyrannical government of Abbasid.
"Wait for a while and you will notice these boats anchoring on the bank and women getting down in groups. For all groups, there is a dealer and one of such dealers is Omar bin Yazeed. Carefully observe this person and the women who will be auctioned by him one by one.
You will notice that there is a young woman among these ladies wearing two thick clothes of silk so that no part of her body is visible. When her turn comes she appears in the height of decency and chastity. Whenever a person wants to buy her, she refuses and does not allow men to touch her and shouts at them in words which will be incomprehensible to you, because actually she is complaining in Latin of what is happening because she considers it an offence on her chastity despite the fact that no one has ever touched her."
Bashar continued to hear Imam's words in astonishment about the minute description of the future event being narrated to him: "Since the young woman is very much particular about her chastity, you will notice that interest of the people in her increases. Everybody offers higher price hoping to obtain her. But the young woman continues to reject. Omar bin Yazeed, the slave-trader, tries to sell her against her will but she threatens to commit suicide if he did that."
At that time, you should come closer and say to this slave-trader: I have a letter written in Latin by a noble person. "What do you think if we give that letter to this woman so that she could read the letter and know the qualities of this noble person.’? I don't know, she may agree to be sold to that person."
At this, the Imam finished his talk. Bashar took the letter and money and bowed before the Imam bidding him goodbye. He went and prepared for the journey to Baghdad, the capital of Iraq today.
When Bashar reached Baghdad, he found all that was mentioned by the Imam Al Hady did happen with the same minute details! When the young woman read the letter, she wept incessantly and told the slave-trader in Arabic: "Sell me to the sender of this letter and if you do not do that I will kill myself."
The slave-trader agreed and started bargaining with Bashar on the amount and they agreed on the same amount that he had been given by the Imam. He handed the money over to the slave-trader and took the beautiful young woman who had a delicate smile on her face for the first time after all the hardships.
Bashar went with the young woman to a rest house in Baghdad so that the preparation could be made for their return journey to Samarra. As soon as she entered the rest house, the young woman took out the letter of Imam from her pocket, put it on her eyes and cheeks and then started kissing the name.
Bashar was surprised and wondered about the identity of this woman and her story. He knew that Imam does not do anything arbitrarily or foolishly. So, why did he send him to buy this woman? Is it wise to think that she is merely a maid or maidservant?
Bashar tried to know the secret of this noble woman and asked her: "Why do you kiss this letter when you still don't know the sender?" She replied, "You did not understand! Listen to me carefully to know my story."!
When the woman started narrating her story, Bashar was taken aback. He could never imagine that this woman, who had been captured in the war, could be the granddaughter of the Emperor of Rome, Caesar! He had not heard that the soldiers of the Abbasid administration waged a war and were able to capture women from the emperor's family. So, how had she been arrested and why had she come over here?
"I am Maleeka, daughter of Yashua son of Caesar, the Emperor of Rome. My mother is among the descendants of Simon Peter, who was one of the greatest disciples of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) and he also succeeded him after his departure". Thus, the young lady started her talk while Basher remained utterly bewildered.
"When I was thirteen years old, my grandfather Caesar wanted to marry me off to his nephew. The date for the royal wedding in the palace was fixed and invitation was sent to the governors, dignitaries, priests, clerics and army commanders. My grandfather issued an order to decorate the palace with big golden stones and to beautify his throne with different types of fabulous jewels.
"As per the traditions, they first brought in the person with whom they wanted me to marry. When he entered and started stepping on the stairs which led to the throne of my Grandfather, suddenly the palace trembled and the golden stones fell down on the earth and smashed heads of many people. The pillars of the throne were razed to the ground. The person with whom they wanted me to marry fell down unconsciously and they carried him away!
“The priests and clerics grew pale and they were caught in a panic. The senior cleric said: O' my master Caesar! The incidence shows that this marriage is ominous and it cannot be completed peacefully! Even if it is completed, it will threaten your empire since it is against the will of God! Please excuse me from solemnising this marriage.
"My Grandfather shouted saying: "Fix these stones again and change this throne! Present the brother of this inauspicious man (intending the person whom they wanted me to marry) so that I get him married with my granddaughter and keep this satanic evil away from us."
"Within seconds they brought the second one. As soon as they brought him and he climbed the throne and stopped, there was a repeat of the same incidents. The stones fell down and palace trembled. The crowd went off believing that we were preordained to this unfortunate happening! My Grandfather was aggrieved and ordered to cancel the marriage. The celebration was over and happiness transformed into misery."
The young woman went on narrating her story while Bashar listened with amazement: "On one night, when I was asleep I dreamt of Jesus Christ and my maternal grandfather Simon Peter accompanying him along with twelve disciples. All of them gathered in the palace of my grandfather Caesar and erected at the site of my Grandfather's throne an elevated forum that touched the heaven.
"While Jesus Christ was talking to his disciples, Prophet Mohammed entered with his successor Ali bin Abi Talib and his sons. All stood up in his respect; Jesus came forward and embraced him. Prophet Mohammed told him: "O' the Spirit of God! I came to ask your successor Simon Peter to give her daughter Maleeka in marriage to my son Hasan Askary!
"Jesus Christ looked towards Simon Peter saying: "This is a great honour for you! Accept this offer so that your family is associated with the family of Prophet Mohammed. Simon Peter said: Yes, I accept that. Then, my marriage was solemnised with Hassan Askary and all of them were pleased and happy!"
Who is Hasan Askary? He is the Eleventh Imam who succeeded his father Imam Ali Al Hady. He is also father of Imam Mahdy (Peace be upon them). In this way, God wants that Imam Mahdy is born of a father who is descendant of Prophet Mohammed and a mother who is descendent of Prophet Jesus Christ (Peace be upon them). When Imam Mahdy will be born, Lord Jesus will come down to offer prayer for him in Jerusalem. Let us imagine the beauty of this congregation when the Muslims and Christian will be together and peace will prevail on the earth.
Lady Maleeka, who will be called (Nargis) later on, ends her story saying: "When I awoke I was afraid to tell my dream to my Grandfather as I believed that he would kill me. So I kept it secret. However, my health deteriorated and I became weak and lost appetite for any kind of food or beverage because I had fallen in love with Hassan Askary! It was unbearable for me to be away from him since the time I saw him with Prophet Mohammed in that dream. I loved him with all my heart!
"My Grandfather called many doctors but my condition further deteriorated but still I did not reveal the real reason to them. One day my Grandfather said: "O' my sweetheart! Ask what you like. I only want you to recuperate and get rid of this disease. I took this opportunity and told him: "O' my Grandfather! I feel that I will never get rid of this pain. What do you think about releasing the Muslim prisoners who are being punished in our jails? Jesus Christ and his virgin mother may bless me with health if we did that.
"My Grandfather issued an order to release the Muslim prisoners. Despite my illness I started forcing myself to take some meal and drinks in order to keep my Grandfather happy. In fact, I was unable to eat or drink anything because I pined for my beloved and that deprived me of the taste of everything.
"14 nights after that, I dreamt Lady Fatima Al Zahra with Lady Mariam, the virgin (Peace be upon them). They had come to see me. They had been accompanied by thousand of maids from heaven. Lady Mariam told me pointing to Lady Fatima: "This is Chief of the Women and mother of your husband Hassan Al Askary. I clung to her, cried and complained to her about my inability to see him and that he did not visit me and about our separation from each other. Lady Fatima said: "My son Hassan Al Askary cannot visit you as long as you believe in a religion other than Islam. My sister Mariam will confirm to you that your present religion is false and is opposed to what Jesus was taught by Jesus. If you really wanted to worship God, to please Him and your husband Hasan Al Askary, say: "I testify that there is no God except Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet."
"When I said that, Lady Fatima as well as Lady Mariam hugged me. Thereafter, Lady Fatima told me: "From now on, you should expect that Hassan Askary will visit you in your dream and I will ask him to do so.”
"I awoke from my sleep and I was very happy and pleased expecting to see my husband after I embraced Islam as my religion. Of course, next night he visited me and I saw him in my dream. He was a handsome and good-looking man; a light was emanating from his face. I told him: "O' my love! Why were you away from me? Don't you see how I have ruined myself in your love? He replied saying: "I wanted to visit you. I hesitated because you believed in a religion that is false. But now as you have become a Muslim I will visit you every night until we meet and live together."
"What happened thereafter and how did the soldiers capture you then”? Bashar asked astonishingly. The young woman who had fallen in love with Imam Hassan Askary replied: "Since that time my husband continued visiting me every night when I could see him in my dream. One night he told me: "Your grandfather Caesar is going to attack the Muslims; you should disguise in the dress of maids and join them in the army; bear with what befalls you, keep patience until we meet and live together.
"I was not hesitant and followed as he instructed me. Muslims won that war and took me with rest of the imprisoned women! I hid my identity from the soldiers and did not reveal that I was granddaughter of the Emperor. When they asked me my name I told them that my name was Nargis."
"So, you are granddaughter of Caesar of Rome! Then, how do you know and speak Arabic? Bashar asked.
"My Grandfather Caesar ordered that the children of his family should learn world languages and Arabic is one of them. He had appointed lady teachers for that who would come every morning and evening for that and hence I acquired the knowledge of Arabic, Lady Nargis (peace be upon her) responded.
So, this is the truth! A truth that never came to the mind of Bashar bin Suleiman. Suleiman made preparation for his journey to Samarra and the young woman was counting minutes and seconds to meet her beloved after all the travails she had patiently undergone!
When she reached there, Bashar produced her before Imam Al Hady. He offered her a warm welcome and told her: "I want to give you a glad tiding. A child will be born of you who will rule the world and establish a just kingdom of God."
"Who will be the father of that child, o' my master? Lady Nargis asked. Imam Al Hady replied her in Latin "Father of this child will be the person with whom your marriage was solemnised by Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ and Simon Peter on that night." "Hassan Al Askary?" Lady Nargis asked. "Do you know him?" Imam Al Hady asked.
How will I not know him when he visits me every night since the time Chief of the Women Lady Fatima Zahra came to me and I embraced Islam? Imam Al Hady called his sister Lady Hakeema. When she came, he told her: "There she is!" pointing to Lady Nargis. Lady Hakeema stood up and gave her a warm hug joyously. Then, Imam Al Hady told her sister: "O' daughter of Allah's Prophet, take her to your home and teach her the principles of Islam because she is wife of my son Hasan Al Askary and mother of the awaited Imam."
Lady Nargis was so happy though she still had not seen her beloved! But she was happy to be near to him and soon she will be together with him. Some days later, Lady Hakeema adorned and prepared Lady Nargis for the happy marriage. She called her nephew Imam Hassan Al Askary to her house. Finally, this faithful lady met her lover and husband and they lived a beautiful life together bearing the master of this age, Imam Mahdy (Peace be upon him)
We will never get such a love story. Which girl will be ready to give up royal palace and present herself for imprisonment only for the sake of her beloved? However, this pure lady, who was committed to the high morals and who did not get embroiled in immorality, actually did that. She became a saint of Islam as Allah selected her to be the mother of the last noble Imam from among the family of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him and his pure family).