Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)
Fatimah az-Zahra (a.s.), the daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
Al-Sibt al-Kabir (the elder grandson), Al-Mujtaba.
He was born in Madina in the middle of the month of Ramadhan in 3 A.H.
He died on the 28th of Safar in the year 50 A.H. He was
buried in the graveyard of Baqi in Madina.
The Son of the
Imam Hassan Mujtaba (as) was
the second Imam. He and his brother Imam Hussein were the two sons of Amir
al-mu"minin Ali and Hadhrat Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet. Many times
the Prophet had said,"Hassan and Hussein are my children". Because of these
same words Ali would say to his other children, "You are my children and
Hasan and Hussein are the children of the Prophet."
Imam Hassan was born in the
year 3 A.H. in Medina and shared in the life of the Prophet for somewhat
over seven years, growing up during that time under his loving care.
After the death of the
Prophet which was no more than three,or according to some, six months
earlier than the death of Hadhrat Fatimah,Hassan was placed directly
under the care of his noble father.
The beginning of Imam
Hasan's (A) Imamat
The Holy Imam (A) helped his
father throughout his life until Imam Ali (A) died when the Holy Imam (A)
was 37 years old. At this age he inherited his father and became the
guardian of the Ahlul Bayt and the Shia. In his well-known will Imam Ali (A)
appointed him as the next Imam.
The martyrdom of Imam Ali
(A) on the 21st of Mahe Ramadhan, 40 A.H. marked the beginning of Imam
Hasan's (A) Imamat. The Muslims pledged their allegiance to him and
finalised the formality of Bay'at (Oath of Allegiance). No sooner had he
taken the reins of leadership in his hands than he had to meet the challenge
of Muawiya bin Abu Sufyan, the governor of Syria, who began trying to
undermine his authority. The Holy Imam (A) decided that Muawiya would have
to be ousted by force and he prepared for war. He appointed a representative
in Kufa and proceeded to Nukhayla where he had asked the army to gather.
After 10 days, only 4,000 men had assembled, so he went back to Kufa and
made another call for people to come to arms, sending out Hujr bin Adi to do
Slowly the people answered
the call for Jihad. A mixed band of people formed the army. Some were
sincere Shia, others were Kharjites who wished to fight Muawiya by any means
possible, some were men who loved fighting and desired war booty, some were
unsure about the right of the Holy Imam (A) to the Caliphate, while others
blindly followed their tribal leaders with no thought for religion.
The Holy Imam (A) gave an
address to the army in which he first praised Allah and the Holy Prophet
(S). He then told the people that he was their sincere advisor and urged
them to unite rather than be divided in factions. This message was
misunderstood by some, who thought that he planned to hand over authority to
Muawiya. There was a riot amongst the people and a group of them attacked
the Holy Imam (A) while he was in his tent. The Shia gathered around him and
Later, during the march
towards Syria, a man from the Bani Asad attacked the Holy Imam (A) and
struck him on the thigh with an axe. Due to the injury, the Holy Imam (A)
was forced to stop at Mada'in, from where he sent Ubaidullah bin Abbas with
12,000 men to stop Muawiya, who had advanced into Iraq.
Muawiya managed to bribe and
threaten many of the Holy Imam's (A) followers into abandoning him,
including Ubaidullah, who was paid one million dirhams to betray the Holy
The Holy Imam (A)
realised that he could not trust the intentions of most of his men and the
only people he could rely on were his Shia, who were too few to resist the
Syrian soldiers. Meanwhile, Muawiya wrote to him suggesting a truce and
Peace Treaty on the Holy Imam's (A) terms.
Muawiya was still not
satisfied with affairs. He knew that the treaty was never meant as a
surrender of authority by the Holy Imam (A), because he was Divinely
Appointed as the Imam.
It was merely an interim
transfer of the administration of the Islamic State, subject to the
condition that it would be returned to the Holy Imam (A) after Muawiya's
death and then it would be in turn inherited by Imam Husain (A). However,
Muawiya had plans to declare Yazid, his son, as his successor, and he
decided to get rid of the Holy Imam (A) first.
In human perfection Imam
Hassan was reminiscent of his father and a perfect example of his noble
grandfather. In fact, as long as the prophet was alive, he and his brother
were always in the company of the Prophet who even sometimes would carry
them on his shoulders.
Both Sunni and Shiite
sources have transmitted this saying of the Holy Prophet concerning
Hassan and Hussein:"These two children of mine are Imams whether they
stand up or sit down" (allusion to whether they occupy the external
function of caliphate or not).
The researcher who
examines the life of the
Holy Prophet’s grandson,
Imam Hassan and his brother,
Imam Hussein (as),can’t help drawing the
conclusion that they enjoyed a high level of education and spiritual and
ideological upbringing, which no other person had won next to their
grandfather (pbuh),mother and father (as).
The imprints of the
revelation and Divine care marked their characters, in all its aspects,
ingredients and angles.
They were highly
refined and brought up in line with Islam’s teachings by their grandfather,
the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), their father,
Imam Ali (a.s.), and their mother
Fatima (a.s.) , through excellent examples and
direct daily guidance. Although they lost both their grandfather and mother
at an early age, their upbringing suffered no interruption. Their father,
Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib (a.s.), the disciple of the
Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), and the graduate from the school of Divine
revelation, who was the beacon for the people, was alive, throwing his shade
over them. There is no doubt that
Imams Hassan and
Hussein (a.s.) wound up in the stage of Divine
They were prepared to
shoulder the responsibility of the Divine message, in form and content. The
ultimate result was that both Imams Hasan and Hussein (a.s.) became Islam
personified walking on the earth.
As the ingredients of the
characters of the two Imams were the same, they were singular in their
behavior, march, steps and goals, which were Islamic in their
entirety.The nature of our discussion dictates that we present lively
examples from Imam Hassan’s (a.s.) spiritual, scientific, and ethical
1. Spiritual Side:
The excellent preparation
which was provided for the grandson of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), helped his
spiritual entity to sublimate. His closeness to Allah, and his attachment to
Him was a source of awe and respect.
Following are a few
narratives which shed light on this side of his character:
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.)
bin Ali (a.s.) was certainly the most true worshipper, ascetic and
merited man among the people of his time."
Ali ibn Jadh’an, and Abu-Na"im
report in Helyat al-Awaliya" (Ornament of the Saints) and Tabaqat ibn Sa"d
that Imam Hasan had given all his money to the needy twice, seeking Allah"s
pleasure, and had given half his money to the needy three times. He would
even give a single shoe and retain the other, and give a single sandal and
retain the other. When he approached the door of the mosque, he would say.
"O Lord! Your guest is at Your gate. O Generous! The transgressor has come
to You. Forgive me my ugly deeds with Your Generosity. O Generous!"
2. Scientific Side:
All of the rightly guided
Imams either received their education directly from the Messenger (s.a.w.)
or indirectly from the preceding Imam.
As for the new questions and
developments of life, the sublime, inner entity of the Imam himself, and his
boundless spirituality, qualified him for self-acquired knowledge. That is
why the Muslim orators dubbed the knowledge of the Imams, from the
perspective of the "present knowledge". An Imam wouldn’t need to be tutored
or taught by others in this respect. He acquired knowledge by means of
Following are a number of
reports about Imam Hasan"s vast knowledge.
Hasan al-Basri wrote to Imam Hassan (a.s),
asking him about the Divine decree. The grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)
answered him in these words:
"Mind you, he who does not
believe that all sudden incidents that happen, be they good or bad, are
known earlier by Allah, is an infidel. He who blames sins on Allah, is
unchaste. Allah is not obeyed against His will. He is not sinned against by
force. He does not leave aside His servants in His Kingdom. He is the Owner
of what He gives to them. He is the Powerful over whatever He puts at the
disposal of them. Nay, He orders them with no coercion, and prohibits them
as a warning. If they opt to obey Him, none would stand in their way, and if
they choose to sin, He may prevent them from doing it. But if He does not,
He is not to blame, because it is not He Who forces them to do it, or
compels them into committing it against their will. But He does them a favor
by opening their eyes, teaching, warning, ordering and prohibiting them. He
does not force them to do what He orders, so as to be like the angels, not
does He pressure them to keep away from what He forbids. Allah"s is
certainly the conclusive argument. If Allah willed, He would have guided you
to the right path..."
is asceticism?" the Imam was once asked.
"The desire to be pious and
abstemious in this life," he replied.
"What is forbearance?" he was
"Restraining one"s anger and
controlling oneself," he answered.
"What is righteousness?" he
"Replacing the bad with the
good," he answered.
"What is honor?" they asked.
"Being kind to one’s
relatives and shouldering people’s burdens of sin."
"What is the succour?" he was
"Defending the neighbor,
patience in war, and advance during adversities," he said.
"What is glory?" he was
"Giving while being in debt
and forgiving others their offences."
3. Ethical Side:
Covering this aspect of the
character of the grandson of the Prophet (s.a.w.) by no means signifies
a difference among the guiding Imams (a.s.) in this respect, or in any
other ingredient of the ideal Islamic character.
They are equal in this. We
will confine ourselves to presenting some narratives of the Imam’s behavior
with the people.
A. His Modesty:
1. It is reported that he
once chanced upon some poor men who put a few crumbs of bread on the ground
in front of them, which they had earlier picked up from the road. They were
eating them. They invited him to eat with them. He accepted the invitation
and said: "Certainly Allah does not like the proud."
Having finished eating with
them he invited them to his house. He showered them with money, fed and
2. It is reported that he was
sitting in some place. When the Imam (a.s.) rose to go, a poor man came in.
The Imam greeted him, and spoke kindly to him. "You have come at the time
when I was taking leave," he said to the man. "Do you permit me to go?"
"Yes, O son of the Messenger of Allah," replied the man.
B. His Kindness to the
A Syrian, imbued with hatred
and spite against the family of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), by
Mu’awiyah bin Abi-Sufyan, once saw the Imam on horseback. He at once emitted
a series of curses! Imam Hasan (a.s.) did not put in a word of protest or
interruption. When the man finished, Imam Hasan (a.s.) approached him with a
tender smile. He said to him:
"O old man! I think you are a
stranger here. Maybe you mistook me for someone else? If you propitiate us,
we will satisfy you. If you ask us, we will give you what you need. If you
ask our advice, we will guide you. If you ask us to give you a ride, we will
take you with us. If you are hungry, we will satisfy you. If you are naked,
we will clothe you. If you are in need, we will make you rich. If you are a
refugee, we will give you lodgings. If you have a request, we will grant it.
If you join your luggage to ours, and be our guest until the time of your
travel, it will be more useful to you, because we have a spacious place, a
good social position, and a vast amount of money."
Upon hearing these words, the
Syrian broke into tears.
Then he said: "I bear
witness that you are the viceroy of Allah on the earth. Allah knows best
whom to entrust with His message. You and your father were the most
hateful creatures of Allah to me. But now you and your father are the
most beloved from among all the creatures of Allah to me."
Then the Imam took the
Syrian to his house as his guest till the time of his departure. The man had
completely changed his opinion and position toward
C. His Generosity:
Maybe the most eminent of
Imam Hassan’s (a.s.) attributes is his generosity. He believed that money
was only a means to clothe the naked, help the destitute, pay the debts of
the indebted, or satisfy the hungry. Once, he was asked: "We do not see you
disappoint a beggar. Why?"
He replied:" I am asking
Allah for His favors, and I love to be near Him. I am ashamed, as I am
myself in need of Allah, to repulse a beggar. Allah got me used to a habit;
to shower me with His bounties, and I get Him used to me showering His
bounties on the people. I fear that should I stop my habit, He may stop His
One of the Holy Imam's (A)
wives was Ju'da binte Ash'ath bin Qays. Muawiya conspired with Ju'da to give
the Holy Imam (A) some poison. In return she would get 100,000 dirhams and
he would marry her to Yazid. This evil woman put poison in the Holy Imam's
(A) drinking water and he immediately fell gravely ill as a result. After
great suffering, the Holy Imam (A) departed from this world. Just before he
died, he entrusted the affairs of Imamat to his brother Imam Husain (A) and
made him the guardian of his own family.
The Holy Imam (A) had stated
that before he was buried in Jannatul Baqee, his body should be taken to the
grave of the Holy Prophet (S) for a final visit. When the Bani Hashim
attempted to carry out the last wishes of the Holy Imam (A), they were
stopped by Ayesha and members of the Bani Umayyah, who thought that they
wished to bury him next to his grandfather. Imam Husain (A) did not want
bloodshed so he directed that the body be taken straight to Jannatul Baqee,
where Imam Hasan (A) was buried next to his grandmother Fatima binte Asad.
He was 48 years old when he was martyred.
When Ju'da came to Muawiya
to claim her reward, he gave her the money, but refused to marry her to
Yazid, declaring that a woman who could poison one husband would certainly
not hesitate to poison another.