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The Second Imam, ‘Hasan (a.s.) Ibn Ali (a.s.)

 

Name
Imam Hasan (a.s.)
Father’s name
Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)
Mother’s name
Janabe Fatema Zahra (a.s.)
Date of Birth
15th Ramazan, 3 A. H.
Place of Birth
Madina
Kuniyyat
Abu Muhammad
Titles
Mujtaba
Age
47 years
Martyrdom
28th Safar, 50 A.H.
Buried
Jannatul Baqi, Madina

 

Then I have selected Hasan as the mine of my knowledge after the completion of his father’s term.

Imam Hasan (a.s.) was the first child born to the family of Ali (a.s.) and Fatema (s.a.). The news of his birth made the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) very happy. According to the Islamic tradition, he (s.a.w.a.) himself recited the Azaan and Iqaamah in the ears of his grandson and named him ‘Hasan’. ‘Mujtaba’ is the famous title of Imam Hasan (a.s.). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) performed his ‘Aqeeqah’ on the seventh day after his (a.s.) birth. This holy practice is still prevalent among Muslims.

Imam Hasan (a.s.) lived for nearly eight years with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his mother Janabe Fatema (s.a.). The immense love and affection of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for Imam Hasan (a.s.) was evident for all. Right from the beginning of his childhood, Imam (a.s.) gained education and training in the house of revelation. He would listen to the sayings of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the Masjid everyday and repeat them for his (a.s.) respected mother (s.a.) at home. His mother (s.a.) used to be delighted with the precision of these narrations. After the death of his grandfather and mother, Imam (a.s.) lived with his father for thirty years. He (a.s.) stayed in the company of his father and in the period of Caliphate of his father, he was considered amongst his close advisors. Numerous advises given by Imam Ali (a.s.) to his son are an indication of their close proximity.

His unmatched valor was witnessed in the battles of Jamal, Siffeen, and Naharwan. He was always seen in the forefront in the battlelines and none else was able to surpass him (a.s.). In the battle of Siffeen, he showed such selflessness and fought so bravely in the midst of the enemies that Ali (a.s.) said to a group of his companions to go immediately to stop Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) from fighting. The reason for this was that they were fighting so fiercely and in such a manner that Ali (a.s.) feared the termination of the progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) upon their death in the battlefield.

During the eleven months of the Battle of Siffeen, Imam Hasan (a.s.) with sensational speeches would at all times exhort and encourage the army of Imam Ali (a.s.). He (a.s.) played a vital role in boosting the morale of the army.

The Caliphate of Imam Hasan (a.s.)

At the age of 37, Imam Hasan (a.s.) became the divine Caliph after the martyrdom of Imam Ali (a.s.).The ways and manners of Imam’s (a.s.) life are illuminative and educative for us. His moral character and behavior were proverbial and famous amongst the people. Food and wealth were distributed to the poor and needy people from his (a.s.) house. In spite of his honorable family background, he (a.s.) accepted the invitation of poor people and sat in their company to eat food on the ground. He thus fought against the social norms of class distinction.

He showed that Islamic laws do not recognize aristocracy and class distinction. The noblest individual i.e. Imam (a.s.) would sit next to the lowest person (according to the criteria laid down by the society) of the society, thus practically demonstrating that the only source of virtue and excellence in Islam was piety.

Imam’s (a.s.) Ethics

To understand the excellent character of Imam (a.s.), it would be enough to say that, he was often insulted and offended by foolish and ignorant people but he never showed any reaction to their insults. Rather when the person finished his abusive speech, Imam (a.s.) would invite him to his house, inquire about his difficulties and problems and try to solve them for him. He (a.s.) would show such humility that in the end the person would seek forgiveness and testify that Imam (a.s.) is the true successor of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), whose excellent character and behaviour endorsed by Allah in the following verse: And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime
morality.

A detailed account from one of these incidents is that once a Syrian hurled abuses at Imam (a.s.). The unexpected and supremely ethical reaction of Imam (a.s.) left him speechless. Ultimately, he was ashamed and repented with the following words: Allah best knows where He places His message.

Worldly Life in the Eyes of Imam Hasan (a.s.)

This aspect of Imam Hasan’s (a.s.) life teaches us that it is very useful not to consider this world as the aim of life. In Islam, that kind of worldly life is condemned which itself becomes the aim of life and does not bring one nearer to Allah. He (a.s.) gave his entire life and wealth in the way of Allah. He distributed half of his wealth three times among the needy and the poor.1 This great bounty can be acquired only if a person has wealth but is not enslaved by its love. He is focused not on riches but on divine satisfaction. “Abstinence” (Zuhd) does not mean to leave the world. Rather it means not to love it madly. Islam condemns such love of the world which makes a person blind to the prohibited and the permissible and encourages a person to disobey his Creator. The life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) is the best example of this abstinence. In brief, the thing desired by Allah is to adopt piety and fear Him as the Holy Quran says: Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).

Worship of Imam Hasan (a.s.)

The supplications and worship of Imam (a.s.) were renowned. He (a.s.) performed pilgrimage to the House of Allah twenty-five times. In most of these holy journeys, though having a horse and a well-equipped caravan, he walked (at times even barefooted) the distance from Madina to Makkah (i.e. approximately 600 km). When he (a.s.) performed ablution, he shivered and his face turned pale. When he (a.s.) reached the entrance of the mosque, he (a.s.) prayed: O Allah! Your guest has come to Your door. O the One who Obliges, a sinner has come to You. Then forgive my evil deeds with Your beauty, O Noble One.

This should be guided to the Shias about the etiquette of worshipping Allah.

Greatness of Character

When Moaviyah failed in his attempts to define the great status and affection for Imam Hasan (a.s.) even after the peace treaty, he schemed to sully the reputation of Imam (a.s.) with the help of some wretched individuals. They alleged that Imam (a.s.) used to marry and divorce many women and had more than 50 wives. The following becomes clear from analyzing the history with regards to these allegations:

These accusations were spread by Moaviyah.

The main propagandist was Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Madaaeni. He was a courtier of Moaviyah and recited his eulogies.

Though Moaviyah spread such propaganda through him, he could not get these accusations authenticated.

Thus one of the important authors from among the Sehaah-e-Sittah has considered him as unreliable.

Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, the leader of the Hanbali sect has also declared him to be a liar and fake.1 It is easy to lie but very difficult to justify it.

The false propagandist will suffer the severest of punishment on the day of Judgement. An analysis of the personalities of these people reveals the fact that these were the results of the efforts of Moaviyah and Bani Ummayah who tried to malign the personality of Imam (a.s.) with their cowardly deeds. Unfortunately, the effect of the propaganda of Moaviyah can be seen even today. Occasionally, we witness this fact that the position of Imam Hasan (a.s.) in the minds of some people with weak beliefs is subject to instability. Unfortunately, Imam Hasan (a.s.) is not considered by them to be of the same stature as Imam Ali (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.). This is incorrect and a great injustice.

The Apparent Caliphate

The biggest obstacle during the 10 years of Imam’s (a.s.) caliphate was the government of Moaviyah in Syria. After the battle of Siffeen, which Moaviyah won by the deceit of Amr Ibn Aas, and after engineering the assassination of Imam Ali (a.s.), he became an absolute monarch. The first step that Imam Hasan (a.s.) took after ascending to the divine caliphate was to mobilize an army to fight Moaviyah. However, the materialistic people and those with weak faith were so engrossed in the worldly charms that they refused to support Imam (a.s.) wholeheartedly and always created hurdles in the implementation of his policies.

Before dwelling on the history of the Caliphate of Imam Hasan (a.s.), we should pay attention to the fact that in Islam there is no single law by the name of “war” which is not subject to any change or modification at any time. However, if Islam sees that negotiation and peace are effective in attaining its aim, it never resorts to war. This fact is also witnessed in the life history of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) when he (s.a.w.a.) entered into a peace treaty with the disbelievers at Hudaibiyyah. Peace pacts are not a sign of weakness but foresight. Whenever man keeps his aim in mind, selection of the legal channels (either war or peace) which lead him to his goal depending on the situation will be similar.

After realizing this fact, we should remember that Imam Hasan (a.s.) strove hard with all his might for mobilizing an army to fight against Moaviyah. But every time, he faced sabotage by his own treacherous commanders. Moaviyah benefitted from the weakness of those people who were discontented after the battles of Jamal, Siffeen, and Naharwan with the just and equitable behavior of Imam Ali (a.s.). Moaviyah, with his cunningness and shrewdness, coerced and bribed the commanders of Imam (a.s.) and won them over his side. In one of his preparation to fight against Moaviyah, Imam (a.s.) sent his cousin Obaidullah Ibn Abbas as a head of a 12,000 strong army.1 Imam (a.s.) also left Kufa to fight against Moaviyah. But not much time had elapsed when it was reported to Imam (a.s.) that Obaidullah had escaped from the battlefield along with 8000 soldiers after receiving a million dirhams from Moaviyah.

Machiavellian Moaviyah

A rumor was spread by Moaviyah among the soldiers of Imam Hasan (a.s.) that Imam (a.s.) had signed a peace treaty with Moaviyah. After hearing these rumors, the soldiers of Imam’s (a.s.) army attacked his camp in Madaaen, plundered his property and were on the verge of assassinating him (a.s.).2 From the same camp, when Imam (a.s.) moved to ‘Sabaath’ to launch an attack on Syria, a Khareji attacked him on the way causing severe injury to him. Due to this attack, his health deteriorated and he returned to Madaaen along with his companions. Taking advantage of the situation, Moaviyah signed a blank paper and sent it to Imam Hasan (a.s.), indicating that he was ready for conciliation on any terms. Following the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Imam Hasan (a.s.) entered into a peace treaty. Moaviyah was least concerned with the following of the Quran and traditions. He just wanted to seize absolute power by any means whatsoever.

The great Shia teacher Shaikh Mufeed (a.r.) has analyzed in depth the condition of the unfaithful companions of Imam Hasan (a.s.).1 Every independent and just researcher will conclude that in the prevalent situation signing a peace treaty was the only option left with Imam Hasan (a.s.).

Some people, who were unhappy with this peace treaty, used to taunt Imam Hasan (a.s.) thus, “Greetings to you, O disgracer of believers!”

Imam (a.s.) however remained patient and silent and never reacted to their jibes. Some soldiers of Imam (a.s.) had reached an understanding with Moaviyah that in the event of a war, they would seize any opportunity to arrest Imam Hasan (a.s.) and hand him over to Moaviyah. There were others who were always waiting for an opportunity to attack Imam (a.s.). Hence, Imam (a.s.) used to wear an armor beneath his dress whenever he (a.s.) came to the mosque for leading prayers.

His Foresight

Whatever we have studied so far, were, in short, the causes and reasons for the peace treaty being signed by Imam Hasan (a.s.) with Moaviyah. By signing the peace treaty, Imam Hasan (a.s.) dealt the greatest blow to Moaviyah since Imam Hasan (a.s.) was sure that Moaviyah would not act upon the clauses of his own imposed peace treaty. Breach of the agreement was considered as a great crime among the Arabs even during the jaahiliyyah and Islam too has laid great emphasis in this regard.

In this way, Imam Hasan (a.s.) exposed Moaviyah. It became clear to all that Moaviyah neither possesses the honor of Arabs nor he is faithful to Islam. Thus, the peace treaty finally exposed Machiavellian Moaviyah.

Imam Hasan (a.s.) has himself mentioned about one of the causes of signing the peace treaty, thus: (O Moaviyah) If I had companions who were patient, knowledgeable and who acknowledged my rights, I would never have submitted to you and would never be handed over to you that which you desired.

War and Peace:

People, who are unaware of the truth and divine teachings, exaggerate the differences between the peace of Imam Hasan (a.s.) and the uprising of Imam Husain (a.s.). Such people are oblivious to the following:

Every step of Imam (a.s.) is according to the divine will.

Imam (a.s.) always acts for the benefit of the Ummat and never in self-interest.

Imamat is a divine position not connected to any war or peace. Allah grants this position to His infallible servants and an infallible is free from any fault.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has already replied to this objection in traditions:“Both Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) are Imams whether they are standing or seated. Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) are the leaders of the youths of Paradise”

Rising or being seated over here indicates peace and war. Thus, they are Imams whether they enter into peace or war!

Besides, the leadership in Paradise will be acquired by only the one who has not disobeyed his Lord in the least and who led a successful life in light of divine teachings.

Martyrdom of Imam (a.s.):

In spite of all this, the personality of Imam (a.s.) left deep impressions on the hearts. Due to this, the Caliphs of Bani Umayyah were always afraid. Consequently, they were also always jealous of the family of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) [They were ignorant of the fact that this effect was due to divine mastership which could never be bought by people like Moaviyah on the basis of power and wealth. It can never be destroyed by the speakers and writers who were on the payroll of the Ummayid government.] Moaviyah did not fulfill any condition of the peace accord. By appointing Yazid (l.a.) as his successor, he openly contravened one of the most important clauses of the treaty that he would not nominate any successor. He knew that Imam Hasan (a.s.) would object to his transgressions and hence he started exploring possibilities for assassinating Imam Hasan (a.s.). On many occasions, his agents unsuccessfully tried to poison Imam Hasan (a.s.). Finally, he took help of the treacherous wife of Imam (a.s.), Ju’da bin Ash’ath Ibn Qays al-Kindi. He promised her a hundred thousand dirhams and marriage with Yazid if she poisons her husband. Finally, on 28th Safar, 50 A.H. coinciding with the death anniversary of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Imam (a.s.) at the age of 47 years was martyred in Madinah.

In accordance with his last wishes, the holy body of Imam (a.s.) was taken to the tomb of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for circumbulation and to be buried near the grave of his grandfather.1 But Ayesha, due to her past malice with the family members of Imam Ali (a.s.) prevented them from doing so. Finally, the holy body of Imam (a.s.) was buried in Jannatul Baqi. Till the year 1344 A.H., a tomb existed over his holy grave. However, on 8th Shawwal of that year, the tomb of Imam Hasan (a.s.) along with other infallibles2 buried in Jannatul Baqi was razed to the ground3. This was the act of the Government of Saudi Arabia under the influence of Wahhabism. Today, the remains of the grave along with other graves of the infallible (a.s.) can be seen on one side of the graveyard of Baqi in Madinah.

Summary:

The ritual of ‘Aqeeqah’ in Islam commenced after the birth of Imam Hasan (a.s.)

The biggest obstacle during the 10 years of Imamat of Imam Hasan (a.s.) was the government of Moaviyah in Syria.

Moaviyah utilized his wealth to bribe the companions of Imam (a.s.) and win them over his side.

Imam (a.s.) was attacked by his own companions. His own companions troubled him a lot.

Imam (a.s.) had to sign a peace treaty with Moaviyah as he was not having enough reliable supporters to fight Moaviyah.

Imam (a.s.) was poisoned by his wife at the behest of Moaviyah.

Bani Umayyah and Ayesha prevented the holy body of Imam (a.s.) from being circumambulated around the grave of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).