He will keep Islam and Muslims safe from the hands of its destroyers. Historians note that this child looked like his grandfather the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in looks and in manners.
Under the blessed shadow of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) ,Hassan(as) was receiving his training from the most blessed parents on earth. Coming to the mosque of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), listening to the Sermons of his grandfather and seeing Islam prosper was the lesson one can never forget.
In human perfection Imam Hassan (as) was reminiscent of his father and a perfect example of his noble grandfather. In fact, as long as the prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) was alive, he and his brother were always in the company of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) who even sometimes would carry them on his shoulders.
Both Sunni and Shia sources have transmitted this saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) concerning Hassan(as) and Hussain (as) :”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).
Whenever he came to the mosque, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) would pick him up, would let him sit beside him and let the attentive companions see and behold who this boy was. They all loved his presence in the mosque and cared for him.
Time soon passed and Imam Hassan (as) was hardly 8 years old when his grandfather prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) became martyr and soon after, his mother also became martyr. The next 25 years of his life in Madina was with his father Imam Ali (as) and with his younger brother Imam Hussain (as). They were prepared to shoulder the responsibility of the Divine message, in form and content. The ultimate result was that both Imams Hassan(as) and Husayn (as) 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 (as) spiritual, scientific, and ethical activities.
This was the period in which conquests of many lands took place and the city of Madina and its people prospered. His father Imam Ali (as) or any member of the family of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) did not take any hand in these conquests. They remained aloof but not from the growing Muslim society. Their main aim was to teach and prepare this fledgling into a mature Muslim society for harder times ahead.
Wealth was pouring in from the conquests of Egypt and Persia and many companions of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) did not know what to do with it or how to spend it properly. Many companions built large houses for themselves with stables and servants. What Imam Ali (as) and his family did was to form a Trust and whatever share of prosperity came to them they put all into this Trust.
It is through this Trust those who did not have much to gain from this prosperity were given to have a decent life. Both children of Imam Ali (as) were the Trustees of this holy trust and with the help of many senior companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) the workings of this trust prospered and many new converts were helped to settle themselves in this new society.
Every evening food was served to many of those who were not in a position to provide for themselves. While the family of Imam Ali (as) lived in small house and without any pomp or luxury for themselves. This was the example they were setting for all to see and follow that even when you have become rich you share your bounties with other Muslim brothers and sisters to make the society equally prosperous and happy.
In these 25 years Imam Hassan (as) has seen the Islamic State grow into a much larger and more powerful Muslim nation. After the death of the 3rd caliph Osman his father ‘Ali (as) was elected caliph by a popular vote of the companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) . people came to Imam Ali’s(as) house and begged him to became their caliph. But soon there emerged those who wanted a lot of favor from ‘Ali (as) and when they did not get it they stood against him.
‘Ali (as) has appointed his own trustworthy Governors of the provinces but none of them from his own family. All his children stayed with him at the center or in Madina to control the Trust he had formed earlier or to join in the battles of Jamal, Siffin and Nahrwan fought during the life of the Imamat of ‘Ali (as) Hassan (as) took part with his father in all these battles and shown the customary Hashemite bravery and skill in defeating the enemy.
In these battles the real adversary of Imam Ali (as) and his family was Moawiya son of Abu Sofian who challenged Imam Ali’s (as) authority and fought with him to remain the governor and later the ruler of the province of Syria.
His atrocities against the rule of Imam Ali (as) continued even after the near defeat at Siffin. After the martyrdom of Imam Ali (as) in the mosque of Kufa in 41 Hijri and In his well-known will Imam Ali (as) appointed him as the next Imam.
The beginning of Imam Hassan’s (as) 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 ibn Abu Sufyan, the governor of Syria, who began trying to undermine his authority. The Holy Imam 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 ibn Adi to do the same.
Slowly the people answered the call for Jihad(holy war). A mixed band of people formed the army. Some were sincere Shia, others were Kharijites(khawarij) 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 to the caliphate, while others blindly followed their tribal leaders with no thought for religion.
The Holy Imam Hassan(as) gave an address to the army in which he first praised Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Then he 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 Hassan (as) while he was in his tent. The Shia gathered around him and protected him.
Later, during the march towards Syria, a man from the Bani Asad attacked the Holy Imam Hassan(as) and struck him on the thigh with an axe. Due to the injury, the Holy Imam Hassan (as) 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 (as) followers into abandoning him, including Ubaidullah, who was paid one million dirhams to betray the Holy Imam Hassan (as).
The Holy Imam (as) 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 Hassan’s (as) terms.
The Treaty agreed upon between Moawiya and Imam Hassan (as) tells us the following salient points:
- That Moawiya should rule strictly according to the Holy Qur’an and the Sunna(tradition) of the Prophet.
- That Moawiya should not appoint or nominate anyone to the Khilafat after him and after Muawiah, caliphate has to reach to Imam Hassan(as). If an accident happened to him (Imam Hassan (as)), the authority should be for his brother Imam Hussain(as).
- The people should be left in peace, wherever they are in the land of God. He should give security to the black and the red alike. He (Moawiya) should bear their slips, should not follow some of them for the bygone, nor should he punish the Iraqis foe hostility.”
- That the persecution of the companions of Imam ‘Ali (as) should immediately be stopped; their lives and properties and families guaranteed safe conduct and peace.
- That the cursing of Imam ‘Ali (as) from the pulpit should stop immediately.
- That no harm should be done secretly or openly against Imam Hassan (as) and his brother Imam Hussain (as) or any of the family.
This agreement concluded, Imam Hassan (as) went to Kufa, shortly followed by Moawiya who came there to take the allegiance of the people. In a speech delivered in front of Moawiya, Imam Hassan (as) explained the situation clearly:
“O’People, Allah has guided you through our elders (Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and ‘Ali (As)) and spared you from bloodshed through those who followed (referring to himself). Indeed this (the caliphate) is nothing but a passing phase, these worldly possessions keep shifting and changing hands.”
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 Hassan (as) after Muawiya’s death and then it would be in turn inherited by Imam Hussain (as). However, Muawiya had plans to declare Yazid, his son, as his successor, and he decided to get rid of the Holy Imam Hassan(as) first.
For inasmuch as Moawiya desired the sovereignty in this world, so Imam Hassan’s (as) concern was not with worldly leadership for its own sake, but as a tool whereby he might guide the people towards God and His true commandments.
After his abdication he retired to Madina where he spent the remaining ten years of his life teaching the Qur’an and knowledge of true religion to all seekers of truth that came to him. Imam Hassan (as) had never relinquished the position of an Imam and guide as appointed by God.
History tells us that from day one Moawiya did not comply with any one of the terms of the treaty agreed upon between him and Imam Hassan (as). He trampled the treaty under his feet saying to the people of Kufa,”do you think I have taken power to teach you about Islam. No, I have taken power for the sake of it and if any one of you tries to disagree with me shall pay a costly price of losing his head”.(Tarikul Kholafa, Jalaluddin Soyuti)
- 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 clothed them.
- It is reported that he was sitting in some place. When the Imam (as) stood to go, a poor man came in. Imam Hassan(as) 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.
His Kindness to the Wrongdoers:
A Syrian, imbued with hatred and spite against the family of the Messenger of Allah, by Moawiya son of Abi-Sufyan, once saw the Imam Hassan (as) on horseback. He at once emitted a series of curses! Imam Hassan (as) did not put in a word of protest or interruption. When the man finished, Imam Hassan (as) 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 Hassan(as) 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 Ahlul-Bait (prophet Muhammad’s family).
One of the Holy Imam’s wives was Ju’da daughter of Ash’ath son of Qays. Muawiya conspired with Ju’da to give the Holy Imam Hassan (as) 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 drinking water and he immediately fell gravely ill as a result. After great suffering, the Holy Imam Hassan (as) departed from this world. Just before he became martyr, he entrusted the affairs of Imamat to his brother Imam Hussain (as) and made him the guardian of his own family.
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.