Although it was clear from the very beginning that, under the circumstances which prevailed in Samarra under the 'Abbasids, the birth of Imam 'Askari's son would be kept secret, there were those trustworthy associates and relatives who had seen the child and had testified to his presence. Let us examine some reports to that effect:
Among those who were present at the birth of the twelfth Imam and who reported the event in great detail was Hakima Khatun, the daughter of Imam Muhammad Taqi and the aunt of Imam Hasan 'Askari. The story in brief is recounted by her as follows: One day I was visiting Imam 'Askari's house. At night, which happened to be the fifteenth night of Sha'ban (255 AH/29th July, 870), when I wanted to return to my home, the Imam said: "Aunt, stay with us tonight, because God's friend and my successor will be born this night." I asked: "Which one of your slave-girls is expecting?" He said: "Sawsan." Hence, I started looking at her to see if there were any signs of pregnancy in her.
I could not see any. After breaking the fast and finishing prayers, I slept in the same room as Sawsan. After a while I woke up from my sleep and began to think about what Imam 'Askari had predicted. Then I started performing the midnight prayers. Sawsan also woke up and prepared to perform her prayers. It was getting close to the dawn. But there was no sign of child-birth in her. I was beginning to doubt what the Imam had predicted when he said from his room: "Aunt dear, do not doubt. The time for my son's birth is approaching."
All of a sudden Sawsan's condition started changing. I asked her if everything was alright. She said that she was feeling some discomfort. I began to prepare things that were needed for delivery and took charge of the situation. Within a short while God's friend was born, all clean and pure. Just then Imam 'Askari said: "O Aunt, bring my son to me." When I took him to the Imam he held him close to himself and stroked his tongue over the infant's eyes. The eyes of the infant opened immediately. Then he stroked his mouth and ears with his tongue, and his head with his hand. At that time the infant began to recite verses from the Qur'an. Then he gave the infant back to me and asked me to take him back to his mother. I brought him to his mother and went home.
On the third day, I came back to Imam 'Askari's house and straight away I went to Sawsan's room to see the child. But I did not see him. I went to the Imam's room. but hesitated to ask about the infant. The Imam at once informed me: "O aunt, my son is in concealment in God's protection. When I depart from this world and when you see my followers in dispute about my successor, tell those trustworthy among them what you have witnessed in connection with his birth. However, make sure that the event is guarded in secrecy because my son will be in occultation."
The two maids at Imam 'Askari's residence have related that when the Imam of the Age was born he sat on his legs and raised his finger toward the sky [bearing witness to the Unity of God]. Then he sneezed and said: "Praise be to God, the Lord of the universe."
Abu Ghanim, the servant at Imam 'Askari's house, relates that a son was born to Imam Hasan 'Askari, whom he named Muhammad. "On the third day he showed him to his companions and said: 'This son of mine will be your master and Imam after me. He is the Qa'im who is being awaited by everyone. When the earth is filled with injustice and tyranny, he will rise, and fill it with justice and equity.'"
Abu 'Ali Khayzarani relates from the slave girl he had presented to Imam 'Askari that she was present at the time when the twelfth Imam was born. His mother's name was Sayqal.