Al Hasan bin Ali (a.s.)
Ummul Walad - Susan.
He was born at Samarrah in the year 232 A.H.
He was poisoned in 260 A.H. at Samarrah and is buried there.
His name is al-Hasan, Abu
Muhammad. Being a resident of "Asgar a suburb of Samarra", he is titled al-askari.
His father was Imam "Ali An-Naqi (A.S.) and his mother was Salil Khatun, an
ideal woman in piety, worship, chastity and generosity. He was born in
Medina on the tenth of Rabi" al-Akhir, 232 A.H. (December 4, 846 AD).
Upbringing and Instruction
He lived under the care of
his respected father upto the age of 11. When his father had to leave for
Samarra" he was to accompany him and thus share the hardships of the journey
with the family. At Samarra", he passed his time with his father either in
imprisonment or in partial freedom. He had, however, the chance to benefit
from his father"s teaching and instruction.
His father died in 254. A.H.
(868 AD) when he was twenty-two. Four months before his death, the father
declared his son to be his successor and executor of his will, asking his
followers to bear witness to the fact. Thus the responsibilities of Imamate
were vested upon him which he fulfilled even in the face of great
difficulties and hostile environment.
In the early days of his
lmamate, Al-Mu"tassam Al-"Abbasi was the caliph. When the latter was
deposed, he was succeeded by al-Muhtadi. After his brief reign of only
eleven months and one week, al-Mu"tamad came to the throne. During their
regimes, Imam Hasan al-askari (A.S.) did not enjoy peace at all. Although
the Abbaside dynasty was involved in constant complications and disorders,
each and every king thought it necessary to keep the Imam (A.S.) imprisoned.
One of the Holy Prophet"s
traditions ran that the Prophet (S.A.W) would be succeeded by twelve
soccessors, the last of whom would be the Mahdi, Qa"im "Al-Muhammad (A.S.).
The "Abbasides knew well that the true successors of the Prophet (S.A.W)
were these very Imams. AI-Hasan (A.S.) being the eleventh, his son would
surely be the 12th or the last. They, tried to put an end to his life in
such a way, that it would ensure there would be nobody to succeed him. As
the simple confinement inflicted on Imam "Ali an-Naqi (A.S.) was considered
inadequate for Imam Hasan al-"askari (A.S.), so he was imprisoned, away from
his family. No doubt the revolutionary intervals between two regimes gave
him brief periods of freedom. Yet as soon as the new king came to the
throne, he followed his predecessor"s policy and imprisoned the Imam again.
The Imam"s brief life therefore was mostly spent inside dungeon cells.
Appointement of Deputies
Under all circumstances, the
Imams carried out their duties of guiding the people. Imam Hasan Al-"askari
was subjected to numerous restrictions,and those who sought to learn the
teachings of AhI al-Bayt (A.S.) and their Shi"ah point of view could not
reach him. In order to solve this problem, the Imam appointed certain
confidants as his deputies in view of their knowledge of jurisprudence.
These persons satisfied the curiosity of inquirers as much as they could.
But if they could not solve certain theological problems, they would keep
them pending the acquisition of their solutions from the Imam (A.S.)
whenever they got the opportunity to see him. Of course the visit to the
Imam (A.S.) by a few individuals could be allowed by the government but
certainly not by groups who wished to see the Imam (A.S.) on a regular
The Khums (1/5 of total
savings), which was being paid to the Imams (A.S.) by the believers who
cherished these Imams and regarded them as representatives of the Divine Law
was spent by these sacred saints on religious matters, and to sustain the
Prophet"s descendants. This Khums was secretly collected by these deputies,
who spent it according to the directives of the Imam. They accordingly were
in constant danger of being identified as such by the governments’ secret
intelligence service. In order to divert this danger, Uthman ibn Sa"id and
his son Abu Ja"far Muhammad, two prominent deputies of the Imam (A.S.) in
the capital Baghdad, ran a big shop trading in oils. This provided them with
free contact with the concerned people. It was thus that even under the very
thumb of the tyrant regime that those devotees managed to run the system of
the Divine law unsuspected.
Character and Virtues
Imam Hasan Al-"askari (A.S.)
was one of that illustrious series of the immaculate infallible each member
of whom displayed the moral excellence of human perfection. He was peerless
in knowledge, forbearance, forgiveness, generosity, sacrifice and piety.
Whenever Al-Mu"tamad asked anybody about his captive Imam Hasan al-"askari (A.S.),
he was told that the Imam fasted during the day and worshipped during the
night, and that his tongue uttered no word but remembrance of his creator.
During the brief periods of freedom and stay at home, people approached him
hoping to avail from his benevolence, and they went back well rewarded. Once
when the "Abbaside caliph asked Ahmed ibn "Abd Allah ibn khaqan, his
Minister for Charities (awqaf), about the descendants of Imam "Ali (A.S.),
he reported: "I do not know anybody among them who is more distinguished
than Hasan al-"askari. None can surpass him in dignity, knowledge, piety and
abstinence, nor can anybody match him in the point of nobleness majestic
grandeur, modesty and honesty".
As Center of Learning
Imam Hasan al-"askari (A.S.)
had a brief span of life, only twenty-eight years, but even in this short
period, which was furled by a chain of troubles and tribulations, several
high ranking scholars benefited from his ocean of knowledge. He also stemmed
the flood of atheism and disbelief, which ensued, from the philosophers of
that age, winning conspicuous success over them. One of those was Ishaq al-Kindi.
He was writing a book on what he called "self-contradictions" in the Holy
Qur"an. When the news reached the Imam (A.S.), he waited for an opportunity
to refute and rebut him. By chance, some of Ishaq"s students came to him.
The Imam asked them: "Is there anyone among you who can stop Ishaq from
wasting his time in this useless effort fighting the Holy Qur"an?" The
students said: "Sir, we are his students: how can we object to his
teaching?" The Imam urged that they could at least convey to their teacher
what he had to tell them. They replied that they would be ready to cooperate
as much as they could in that respect.
The Imam (A.S.) then recited
a few verses from the Holy Qur"an, which the philosopher thought as
contradictory of one another. He then explained to them thus: "Your teacher
thinks that some of the words in these verses have only one meaning. But
according to the Arabic language, these words have other meanings too which,
when taken into consideration, indicate no contradiction in he overall
meaning. Thus, your teacher is not justified for basing his objections and
claim of contradictions on the premises of the "wrong meaning" he himself
selects for such verses". He then put up some examples of such words before
them so clearly that the students conceived the whole discussion and the
precedents of more than one meaning.
When these students visited
Ishaq al-Kindi and after routine talk, reproduced the disputed points, he
was surprised. He was a fair-minded scholar and he listened to his students"
explanations. Then he said: "What you have argued is beyond your capacity:
tell me truly who has taught you these points?" The students said that it
was their own reflection, but when he insisted that they could never have
conceived those points, they admitted that, it was explained to them by Abu
Muhammad Imam Hasan al-askari (A.S.). The instructor said: "Yes: this level
of knowledge is the heritage of that House and only that House". Then he
asked the students to set fire to all such works of his.
Imam Hasan al-askari (A.S.)
was a reliable authority for traditionalists who had recorded several
traditions in their collections on his authority. One tradition about
drinking runs thus: "The wine drinking is like an idolater". It has been
recorded by Ibn al-Jawzi in his book "Tahrim al-Khamr" (prohibition of wine
drinking) with continuous chain of references tracing its narrators. Abu
Na"im Fadl ibn Waki states that the tradition is true as it has been
narrated by his companions such as Ibn "Abbas, Abu Hyrayra, Anas, AbdAllah
ibn Awf al-Aslami and others.
storehouses of knowledge are not available.
Imam Al-Hasan al-"askari,
peace be on him, said:
Generosity has a limit, when
crossed becomes extravagance; caution has a limit when crossed becomes
cowardice; thriftiness has a limit, when crossed becomes miserliness;
courage has a limit, when crossed becomes fool-hardiness. Let this moral
lesson suffice: refrain from doing anything which you would disapprove of if
done by someone else.
A Part of Imam Hasan
Al-askari’s Commandments to His Shia
Let piety be your provision,
patience be your garment, and buy hardship in the path of Allah. Be true in
your speech, trustworthy in performing your deeds, prolong your sajdah
(prostration), deal with others with best behavior, and treat your neighbor
amicably. Perform your prayers even with those whom you think to be your
opposition; attend their funeral ceremonies, visit their sick, and give them
their rights. Verily I tell you that whosoever is honest and has good
behavior in the eyes of others, he is the pious Shia whom I will be proud
of. Therefore, fear Allah, be as adornment on behalf of us and be not as
shame that defames our name. This is the only way by which others shall be
attracted toward us (the Ahlul Bayt of the Holy Prophet s.w.)