One day Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH) sent someone for Bakhtishu, one of the greatest physicians of his time, and asked Bakhtishu to send one of his students to the Imam. At that time Imam al-Askari (PBUH) was under surveillance of the Abbasid dynasty in Samarra, and Bakhtishu was the major physician of the Abbasid caliph. As Bakhtishu knew about the character of the Imam, he called his best student and told him,

“Go there, but be aware that he is the most knowledgeable person on earth. Don’t make objections to whatever he orders you.”

According to the order of the Imam, the student performed the act of Fasd (Phlebotomy) (1) and took a considerable amount of blood from the Imam several times with an astonishing method. The student finished the operation and returned to his professor. When the amazed student told Bakhtishu about the method, he was amazed too. Bakhtishu was confronted with something which he had never seen or heard of before. He studied the books of medicine with his student for three days, but could not recognize the act that Imam al-Askari (PBUH) had suggested. He decided to ask his teacher who lived in seclusion in Deir al-Aaqul and was the top Christian scientist at that time. So Bakhtishu sent his student with a letter explaining the situation and asking for advice.

This priest, who had spent years in seclusion and prayer, received the letter in a basket, which was sent down by a rope, and read it. Then he asked, “Are you the person who did the operation with Hassan Al-Askari?” The student said, “Yes.” He said, “God bless your mother.” Then he suddenly mounted a horse and along with the student went to Samarra to Imam Hassan al-Askari’s (PBUH) house.

The student saw that the door opened. A servant came out and said, “The priest of Deir al-Aaqul, come in!” The door of the house of Imam al-Askari (PBUH) closed, and there was no news from the scientist till the next day.

The next day the scientist came, having exchanged the priest’s clothing and cross for Islamic dress. He had become a Muslim. Then he told the student, “Let’s now go to Bakhtishu.”

As Bakhtishu saw the scientist he rushed to welcome him and asked him, “What separated you from your religion?” He replied, “I saw Jesus, and I converted to Islam because of him.” Bakhtishu asked, “Did you really see Jesus?” He replied, “I saw Jesus’s counterpart. Indeed this kind of Fasd (Phlebotomy) was accomplished once in the history of medicine by Jesus. He (Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH)) is another Jesus, and he is similar to Jesus in miracles and signs.”

After meeting with Bakhtishu, the scientist turned back to Imam Hassan (PBUH) and served the Imam until the end of his life.

(Selection taken from the book “At the Threshold of Absence, the Life of Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH)” by Muhammad Dashti and Mirza Mahdi Sadeqi, p. 164)


1. Phlebotomy (Fasd) is the act of taking blood from a person which has been operated for preventing or curing some diseases.

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