Imam Hassan (as)
By: Um Ali
Hassan (as) bin Ali (as)‘al Mujtaba’ was born on the 15th of Ramadhan, 3 AH into an auspicious household. His mother was Fatima (as), daughter of the Prophet (pbuh) Mohammed (pbuh) (pbuh), mistress of the ladies of paradise. His father was the first male muslim after the Prophet, the leader of the believers, the vicegerent of the Prophet, Ali (as)ibn Abi Taleb (as). It’s no surprise that a child born into such a blessed family would turn out to be an infallible imam, a proof of Allah and leader of the muslim ummah.
Sayeda Fatima (as) delivered her firstborn, healthy baby boy at age 12. The midwives wrapped him in a yellow cloth, and presented him to his grandfather, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) of Islam (pbuh) who read the adhan in his right ear and the iqama in his left. The Prophet (pbuh) was displeased, and removed the yellow cloth, replacing it with a white one. At the time, nobody knew the reason for this, but modern experiments in psychology have shown that the color yellow makes newborns anxious and nervous, while white makes them feel calm and secure. Fatima (as) and Ali (as)asked the Prophet (pbuh) to name the child. The angel Gabriel revealed to the Prophet, that he should name him Shubbar, after the progeny of the Prophet (pbuh) Aaron, since Imam Ali (as) held the same position to the Prophet (pbuh) as Aaron to Moses, except there would be no Prophet (pbuh) after him. However, the Prophet (pbuh) replied to Gabriel that his tongue was Arabic, (he was an Arabic speaker). Gabriel then told him to call him Al Hassan (as), by the order of Allah, lord of the worlds.
It has been narrated that to show his joy, the Prophet (pbuh) handed out sweets to visitors who came to congratulate him on the birth of his first grandson, Hassan (as). Some of the present followers of ahlul bayt continue this tradition. On the night of the 15th of Ramadhan, households make candies and nuts available to the children who happily go door to door, collecting their sweets in sacks. This occasion is otherwise known as Garga’oon.
Hassan (as) spent the first 7 years of his life thriving on the knowledge and upbringing of his grandfather, mother and father. His life was simple, but filled with love and compassion. He was the light of his mother’s eyes, and the fruit of her soul. He enjoyed a special relationship of his grandfather as well. The Prophet (pbuh) used to embrace and kiss Hassan (as) and his younger brother Hussein (as). He carried them on his shoulders and let them ride on his back while he was in prostration. Once Abu Bakr saw the Prophet (pbuh) carrying his grandsons on his back and exclaimed to them: “what an excellent ride you have!” And the Prophet (pbuh) replied: “and what excellent riders they are!” He called them two sweet basils, and the leaders of the youths of paradise. Hassan (as) was an infallible member of the holy household mentioned in the ayah Tat’heer (33.33) Verily, Allah intends to remove all impurity from you, oh family of the house of the prophet, and purify you a thorough purification. This is confirmed by Hadith e Kisa or the Tradition of the Cloak. Once the Prophet (pbuh) was feeling ill, so he asked Fatima (as) to give him a Yemani cloak to lie under. Hassan (as) entered and smelled the sweet scent of his grandfather. His mother informed him that he was lying under the cloak. Hassan (as) approached the cloak and asked his grandfather for permission to enter with him. It was granted to him, and subsequently as well to Hussein (as), Ali (as)and Fatima (as). These are the five members of the ahlul bayt, the remaining nine came from the descendants of Hussein (as).
Due to their extraordinary upbringing, Hassan (as) and Hussein (as) were wise from an early age and their manners were exemplary. Once they saw an old man performing ablutions incorrectly. They didn’t want to embarrass him or be impolite, so they started arguing between themselves who did ablutions the best. They asked the man to watch them and judge. When they both performed the ablutions the same way, the man realized his mistake. He happily informed them that they were right and had corrected his mistake in a polite way. Another famous incident was when Hassan (as) and Hussein (as) were ill. Ali (as), Fatima (as), their servant Fizza and the two children observed fast for 3 days. They had only a little bread to break their fast with. Each day right before sunset, a needy person would appear: first a poor man, then a destitute ophan, and finally a freed slave. In their generosity, they never refused anyone, and gave away their food each time and went hungry, breaking their fast with water. Soon after this the children returned to good health. It was this event that led to the verses 5-7 of Surah Insan being revealed.
إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ يَشْرَبُونَ مِن كَأْسٍ كَانَ مِزَاجُهَا كَافُورًا
عَيْنًا يَشْرَبُ بِهَا عِبَادُ اللَّهِ يُفَجِّرُونَهَا تَفْجِيرًا
يُوفُونَ بِالنَّذْرِ وَيَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا كَانَ شَرُّهُ مُسْتَطِيرًا
Surely the righteous shall drink of a cup the admixture of which is camphor.
A Fountain where the Devotees of Allah do drink, making it flow in unstinted abundance.
They fulfill vows and fear a day the evil of which shall be spreading far and wide.
The blissful childhood that they had while the Prophet (pbuh) and their parents were alive was foreshadowed by an ominous cloud. The Prophet (pbuh) held knowledge of the unseen given to him by Allah through Gabriel. His prophecies of the future of Hassan (as) and his brother Hussein (as) were heartbreaking, and he was often seen crying or distressed over their demise, as his ummah would kill his grandsons. He often used to kiss Hassan (as) on his lips and Hussein (as) on his neck, since the former would die by drinking poison and the latter by sword. He declared them two imams, whether they sat down or stood up, which was a prophecy in itself: Imam Hassan’s (as) Peace Treaty with Muawiya (la) bin Abu Sufyan (la) and Imam Hussein’s (as) martyrdom at the hands of Yazid. (la)
2 great losses
As the Prophet (pbuh) lay ill on his deathbed, Fatima (as) carried Hassan (as) and Hussein (as) to him and asked him for their inheritance. Most people leave wealth or property as inheritance, however, the Prophet (pbuh) left Hassan (as) and Hussein (as) with noble qualities. He bequeathed Hassan (as) his form and nobility and Hussein (as) his generosity and bravery.
Upon the death of the Holy Prophet, life changed drastically for these two young heroes. Hassan (as) was 7 years old and Hussein (as) was 6. Their father’s rights as the successor of the Prophet (pbuh) were usurped by some greedy companions at Saqifa while the Prophet’s family buried him. His mother’s inheritance, an orchard called Fadak, was confiscated by the same scoundrels. His mother bitterly mourned her father, so much that Ali (as) built her a house nearby the cemetery called the house of grief. She spent her days there, waiting to be the next to join the Prophet, as he had whispered in her ear right before he died. Hassan (as) was present to see his pregnant mother crushed between the door and wall of her own home for her refusing to give obeisance to Abu Bakr, the first caliph. Fatima (as) miscarried a son, Mohsin. She was fatally wounded, broken and died shortly after of her wounds. On the day of her death, she got out of bed and bathed her sons, for they would soon be without their mother. She advised her husband to marry her cousin, who would care for her orphan children as her own, and offer companionship to him. She died angry with those who usurped the caliphate, took her inheritance and injured and attacked her. She was buried in secret during the night.
Life with his father
Imam Ali (as) married a virtuous woman: Fatima AlKalabi, or Um Al Banin. She was from a pious family known for strength and bravery. Before accepting Ali’s proposal, she first went to his home and asked permission from Hassan (as) and Hussein (as). They agreed. She helped raise Imam Ali’s orphan sons and had 4 of her own who were later martyred at Karbala defending Imam Hussein (as).
Imam Hassan (as) lived though the rule of Abu Bakr, Omar and Uthman, the first 3 caliphs. During these years, Hassan (as) received tutelage from his father, the gate to the city of knowledge. He was grown when his father became the 4th caliph. On the 19th of Ramadhan, Abdul Rahman ibn Muljam struck his father while praying in the mosque, fatally injuring him. Before dying 2 days later, he passed the imamate on to his oldest son.
After burying his father, Hassan (as) proceeded to the mosque and addressed the grieving ummah. He said:
“There has died tonight a man who was the first among the early Muslims in good actions. Nor did any later Muslims attain his level. He used to fight alongside the Prophet, and protect him with his own life. The Prophet (pbuh) used to send him with his standard while Gabriel supported him on his right and Micheal on his left. He would not return until Allah brought victory through his hands. He has died on this night on which Jesus, son of Mary, was taken up to Heaven, on which Joshua, son of Nuh, the testamentary trustee of Moses, died. He has left behind him no gold and silver except 700 dirhams of his stipend, with which he was intending to buy a servant for his family. “
The people wept as he continued:
“I am the grandson of the one who brought the good news. I am the grandson of the warner. I am the grandson of the man who, with Allah’s permission summoned the people to Allah. I am the grandson of the light which shone out to the world. I am of the House, from whom Allah has sent away abomination and whom He has purified thoroughly. I am of the House for whom He has required love in his book when He said:
Say: I do not ask you for any reward except love for my kin. Whoever earns good, will increase good for himself. The good is love for us, the ahlul bayt. (42.23)
Imam Hassan (as) accepted the caliphate and ruled justly for 6 months. People rushed forward to pledge allegiance to him as a successor. When asked about politics the imam said:
“Politics means observing the rights of allah and the rights of the living and the rights of the dead. Rights of Allah are that you should obey His orders, and avoid what He forbids. Rights of the living are that you should observe your duty to your brothers, and not tarry in serving your ummah. You should be faithful to the one in authority among you as long as he is faithful to his ummah. You should speak up in his face should he deviate from the right path. Rights of the dead are that you should remember their good deeds and overlook their bad ones. They have a Lord who shall ask them about whatever they did.”
However, Muawiya (la) bin Abu Sufiyan, the governor of Syria had other ideas. He was an irreligious person who was consumed with the greed for power at any costs. He wore a guise, the thobe of religion, and had an army of false scholars around him. He would stop at nothing to overpower Imam Hassan (as). Having control of great wealth, he sent spies and spread rumors amongst Hassan’s (as) followers and troops. He threatened and murdered using fear as a tactic, and bought off some high ranking officers, including one of Imam Hassan’s (as) own cousins. Imam Hassan (as) readied for war and rose twice against him. He was stabbed in his thigh by a poisoned sword, and due to lack of supporters he was forced to change his strategy. Muawiya (la) himself initiated the correspondence and offered to make a truce. Imam Hassan (as) agreed, in order to prove the irreprehensible, evil intentions of Muawiya (la), and to expose him. He inherited the divine caliphate from the Prophet (pbuh) and his father, and would never agree to call Muawiya (la) the spiritual leader of the people. He did agree to the following conditions:
1. The caliphate will be returned to Imam Hassan (as) (or his successor) after the death of Muawiya (la).
2. Muwaiya must not appoint Yazid as his successor.
3. Muawiya (la) must not harass or persecute the shia.
4. Muawiya (la) must ensure the safety and security of the shia and guard their wealth and possessions.
5. The common practice of cursing of Imam Ali (as)and the shia would be put to a stop.
Imam Ali (as) justifies patience being the wisest decision when nobody would assist him in his mission. And the same applies to Imam Hassan’s (as) case.
Upon agreeing to the contract, Imam Hassan (as) returned to Medina. He lived under duress during the 10 years of Muawiya (la)’s rule, and patiently stayed near his home. He taught the true religion of his grandfather and when he spoke in public, his audience flooded the streets. However, he lived in fear and under duress from the spies of Muawiya (la) and the enemies of Islam.
After signing the Peace Treaty, some people were brazen enough to try to find fault with Imam Hassan (as). He replied to them: “Am I not the Hujjat of the Almighty, being his remembrance upon his creatures? Did not the Holy Prophet (pbuh) of Islam (pbuh) say: “Hassan (as) and Hussina are two Imams, whether they are standing or sitting?” If I had not agreed to this, all of the shia would have been annihilated.”
With this reply, Imam Hassan (as) reached his objective: the discernment of truth over falsehood. Muawiya (la) confirmed this. Shortly afterwards, he would not only breech the conditions of the contract, but publicly announce: “By God, I have not fought against you to make you pray, nor to fast, nor to make the pilgrimage, nor to pay zakat. I fought you so that I might have power over you and God has given that to me when you were reluctant to obey Him. Indeed I have been requested by Hassan (as) to give him things and I have given things to him. All of them are now trampled under my foot and from now on, I will not fulfill any of them.”
When Muawiya (la) gloated over what he had taken from Imam Ali (as) and his son, Imam Hassaan replied:
“O you who mention Ali, I am Al Hassan (as), and Ali (as)was my father. You are Muawiya (la) and our father was Sakhr (Abu Sufyan). My mother was Fatima (as) and your mother was Hind. My grand father was the apostle of Allah and your grandfather was Harb. My grandmother was Khadija and your grandmother ws Futayla. May Allah curse him who tries to reduce our reputation and to diminish our nobility, who does evil against our antiquiy and yet who has been ahead of us in disbelief and hypocrisy.
Rumors and a prophecy:
Even after the Peace Treaty, the enemies of islam continued spread rumors. They accused Imam Hassan (as) of disbelief to incite the Khawarij against him. In addition to rumors to divide and deceive the troops, they tried to discredit the Imam’s infallible nature and impeccable morals. They claimed Imam Hassan (as) was often marrying, that he had between 300 and 500 wives. Common sense tells us that if he had married that often, he surely would have had several hundred sons. If so, where were these sons on Ashura, the 10th of Muharram, when Imam Hussein (as) was martyred? Wouldn’t hundreds have showed up to defend their uncle instead of only Qassim, Abdullah, Hassan AlMuthanna and Amir?
Like his grandfather, he had some knowledge of the unseen, and knew that his wife would poison him. However, out of justice, he would not divorce her or turn her out for a crime that she had not yet committed. Had he turned her out, there would have been reason for criticism of his outstanding character.
His morals and generosity
The Holy Imam devoted himself to prayers in such abundance, that he bore scars of prostration on his limbs. He spent most of the nights in absorption and humiliation, shedding tears and trembling. He went on the pilgrimage 25 times on foot. He had worldly possessions and wealth at his disposal, but used it to improve the condition of the poor, as he was charitable in nature. One day a man came to him and said that poverty and bad luck were torturing him and asked Imam Hassan (as) to save him from this cruel enemy. The imam gave him 5,000 dinars to start a business and relieve himself of debt, poverty and reourcelessness. Hassan (as) once set a servant free when she offered him a bouquet of flowers. He kept company with poor and beggars, never making them feel inferior to him. He was patient and had control over his emotions. Once a man from Syria saw Imam Hassan (as) riding his horse and started abusing him. Imam Hassan (as) greeted him cheerfully and asked for forgiveness, offered him transportation, food, clothes, and to grant his rights and protect him. Feeling ashamed, the man cried upon realizing that he was Allah’s heir on earth. He admitted formerly resenting the Prophet (pbuh) and his family, but now seeing Imam Hassan’s (as) true nature, repented and professed their love and obedience.
In order to break the condition of the Peace Treaty and hand the caliphate over to Yazid, Muawiya (la) instigated Imam Hassan’s (as) wife, Joadah bin Ashath to poison him in return for 100,000 dinars and the promise to marry her to Yazid. She carried out the vile act, but was not married to Yazid, but to a man from the family of Talha. She had sons with him and when an argument arose between them and the clans of Quraish, they were taunted as ‘the sons of a woman who poisons her husband’. Imam Hassan (as) had been poisoned before, but lived through it. This poison however was fatal, and so strong, that he spit up pieces of his liver into a basin. The infallible imam, son of Fatima (as) and Ali, grandson of the Prophet, mercy to the worlds, was now going to depart from the world. He declared his brother Hussein (as) his successor and confirmed his belief, welcoming his death as the will of Allah, to whom be belong and to whom we return. He knew that that the followers of the companions who usurped the caliphate and robbed his father and mother of their rights would object to him being buried by the Prophet. He willed his brother Hussein (as) to wash him and shroud his body and take him to visit his grandfather’s grave. His wishes were carried out and his suspicion was correct. No sooner did they arrive with his body near the Prophet’s grave, did Aisha, wife of the Prophet, daughter of Abu Bakr, arrive on her mule along with many from the tribe of Bani Ommaya to protest his burial next to the Prophet. The visitation was made and he was laid to rest in Baqi Cemetary, near his grandmother, Fatima (as) bint Assad on 7th of Safar, 50 AH.