Imam Hadi( peace be upon him) was born in Medina to the ninth Shiah Imam, Muhammad al-Taqi, (also known as Imam Muhammad al-Jawad), and Lady Samane was his mother and His father, Imam al-Jawad , ( peace be upon him) was the wonder of the world through his talents and intellectual abilities
His epithets expressed the high qualities he possessed. His epithets are as follows: An-Nasih (loyal); he was called so because he was the sincerest advisor to the nation.Al-Mutawakkil (reliant on Allah). At-Taqiy (pious, devout); he was called so because he feared Allah and turned to Him. Al-Murtadha (being pleased with Allah); it was his most famous epithet. Al-Faqeeh (jurisprudent); he was the most informed person of his age in jurisprudence, and was the authority that jurisprudents and scholars turned to. Al-Aalim (knowledgeable); he was the most knowledgeable one among the people of his time, not only in the Islamic laws, but all branches of knowledge and sciences. Al-Ameen means trustee on religion and life. At-Tayyib means generous, kind-hearted, good-natured.
He was brown17 like his father Imam al-Jawad and grandfather Imam ar-Ridha (peace be upon them). Narrators described that he was black-eyed, with thick hands, wide chest, hooked nose, pretty face, and good body odor. He was stout in body like his grandfather Imam Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (a.s.), neither short nor tall, with wide shoulders, big organs…straight stature.
The intelligence, intellectual abilities, and talents which Imam al-Hadi ( peace be upon him) had in his childhood astonished the minds and amazed the intellect. He had a strong memory, excessive intelligence, and sharp wit. Historians have mentioned many examples of his intelligence.
They mentioned that al-Mu’tasim, the Abbasid caliph, after having assassinated Imam Muhammad al-Jawad ( peace be upon him), charged Umar bin al-Faraj to go to Yathrib (Medina) in order to choose a teacher for Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) who was six years and some months old then. He asked him to choose a teacher that must be one of the enemies of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) so that he (the teacher) would feed him hatred towards the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
When Umar arrived in Yathrib, he met the wali there and informed him of his task. The wali and some others directed him to al-Junaydi who had intense ill will towards the Alawids. Umar sent for al-Junaydi who accepted the task. A monthly salary was assigned to al-Junaydi and he was charged to prevent the Shi’a from visiting or contacting Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). Al-Junaydi began teaching Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) but he was astonished at his sharp wit and acute intelligence. One day, Muhammad bin Ja’far met al-Junaydi and asked him,
‘What about this boy (Imam al-Hadi) whom you teach?’
Al-Junaydi said to him angrily, ‘Do you say “this boy” and not “this sheikh”? I ask you by Allah; do you know anyone in Medina more aware in knowledge and literature than me?’
Muhammad bin Ja’far said, ‘No!’
Al-Junaydi said, ‘I mention some matters of literature and think that I have elaborated upon them, but he (Imam al-Hadi) opens sections of literature where I myself learn from him. People think that I teach him, but, by Allah, I learn from him…’
After some time Muhammad bin Ja’far met al-Junaydi again and asked him, ‘What about the boy?’
Al-Junaydi said to him, ‘Let you not say so! By Allah, he is the best of the inhabitants of the earth and the best of the creatures of Allah. Many a time, when he wants to enter his room, I say to him, ‘You do not enter the room until you recite a surah.’ He says, ‘Which surah you want me to recite?’
I ask him to recite long surahs and he recites them in a way that I have heard no recitation better than his. He recites the surahs with a voice nicer than the pipes of Prophet David (a.s.). He has memorized the Qur'an from its beginning until its end and he knows its revelation and interpretation…’ Al-Junaydi added, ‘This young boy grew up in Medina between black walls. How did he obtain this immense knowledge? Glory be to Allah!’
Al-Junaydi gave up his enmity towards the Ahlul Bayt and believed in them and in their Imamate.
Imam Hadi’s sayings
1. Humbleness is treating the people the way you like to be treated.
2. God has some areas where he likes to be supplicated in and the prayer of the supplicatory is accepted; the Hossain's (P.B.U.H.) sanctuary is one of these.
3. Whoever feared God , people fear him whoever obeyed God is obeyed ( by others ) ; whoever obeyed God didn't care for creature's wrath ; and whoever made God angry ( with him ) should have certitude that he will meet the creature's wrath.
4. The one who doesn't eat meat for forty days, and the one who eats meat for successive forty days get ill-humored.
5. Whoever was firm and persistence in the way of obedience to God , the afflictions of this world are easy for him even if cut in to pieces.
6. If I said that the one who leaves precautionary concealment is as the one who leaves praying, I have said the truth.
7. The thanking person is more happy for thanking than for the blessing causing the thanking , because the blessing is the article of this world ( while ) thanking is the blessing of this world and the hereafter
8. God made this world the inn for examination the hereafter the inn for reckoning, the afflictions of this world the means for the hereafter's reward and the here after's reward the compensation for this world's affliction.
9. It is likely that a meek oppressor is forgiven by his meekness and the rightful fool is likely to extinguish the light of his rightness by his foulness.
10. Don't be secured from the evil of the one who is disrespectful to himself.
11. If all people chose a path to walk on, I would go to the path of the one who sincerely worships only: God.
12. Envy destroys good-deeds. Envy destroys good-deeds.
13. Arrogance causes enmity. Arrogance causes enmity.
14. Poverty is the self's greed and increased despair
15. Greed is an inadmissible trait.
16. Greed is the most un-recommendable character and moral.
17. Anger at your subordinates is meanness.
18. Whoever was pleased with himself the (number of the) enraged with him increase