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Imam Hassan bin 'Ali (A.S)

Imam Hassan bin 'Ali (A.S)

Publisher: www.alhassanain.org/english

Imam Hassan bin 'Ali (A.S)

Author: Al Balagh Foundation

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought


Table of Contents

Publisher's Word 3

Introduction 4

Glorious House5

What a Baby!9

Prophet's Grandson In The Book And Sunnah10

Imam Hasan's Character13

Spiritual Side14

Scientific Side15

Ethical Side18

His Modesty 19

His Kindness to the wrongdoers20

His Generosity 21

Imam Hasan's Role In Islamic Life22

Stage One: During His Father's Lifetime23

Stage Two: During His Imamate26

Justifications Of The Treaty With Mu'awiyah And Its Terms31

Post-Treaty Era 36


Publisher's Word

Imamate, which means leadership, is a principle of Islam that is probably one of the most debated and, at the same time, most misunderstood of all its principles. Even the word "Imam" has been taken on as a general term of leader, where, in Islam it has a very precise designation.

The Imams of the Ahlul Bayt [a] were not leaders chosen by the people, although many times in order to take their rightful position among the ummah they were "selected" by the people. The true Imams, those descending from the first Imam, Ali bin Abi-Talib [a] and Fatimah al-Zahra [a] were chosen by Allah, Most High and number, including Imam Ali, twelve.

These twelve, Fatimah [a] and the Messenger of Allah [s] make up the Ahlul-Bayt [a]. They were pure, sinless and possessed Divine knowledge of the seen and unseen. They are those who were "deemed weak in the land" and upon whom the "favour of Imamate" was bestowed. May they intercede for us on the Day of Judgement.

In these series of books about the Ahlul Bayt [a], Al-Balagh Foundation hopes to clear up many of the distorted "historical facts" about this most blessed group of human beings, may Allah, Most Gracious, count us among their lovers and followers.

The purpose of Imamate, through the kindness and love of Allah for His creatures, was to provide a guide for us after the death of the last Prophet, Muhammad bin Abdullah [s]. These guides would keep us on the straight path and lead us to victory in this life and the next. The first of them was Imam Ali [a] and the last of them is Imam al-Mahdi, the Awaited One [a].

Eleven of these blessed Imams came to power and proceeded with their Divinely assigned task. All of them met with the same fate -assassination.

The last of them, Imam Mahdi, through Allah's most high grace, has been given a long life to manage the affairs of the ummah in occultation until Allah calls him forward to achieve the task for which he was created - to bring justice to a world filled with injustice and to bring mankind to its final stage.

This book is about the second Imam, Imam Hasan [a]. He was the son of the first Imam who received his commission upon the death of his father, may Allah allow us to be called his Shi'ah. Many erroneous accounts have been given about Imam Hasan [a], the most treacherous of them being about the number of wives he had and attributing worldly passions to him, God forbid! The most misunderstood and underestimated act of this great Imam was the signing of a peace treaty with the usurper Mu'awiyah.

A large portion of this book has been dedicated to clarifying this treaty. Why it was made, why Imam Hasan [a] was forced to sign it. What it contained and how it was broken.

We pray that Allah is pleased with our efforts and that the true glory of this Imam shines forth for all to see.


Praise be to Allah, the Praiseworthy, and peace and the blessing of Allah be upon the choice of His Messengers, Muhammad, and on the chosen people from among his ummah, his pure household and his righteous companions.

Leaving aside what the "official" historians have written and the fabrications, lies and falsehoods they have made, we will see that the majority of unbiased analysts and the common biographers recounted the life of Imam Hasan bin Ali [a], the Prophet's grandson, with no analysis or explanation about the great and unique position he took towards Mu'awiyah bin Abu Sufyan.

It is axiomatic that one cannot evaluate any historical event devoid of its major heroes, causes, reasons, the circumstances that led to it, and its results. Given objective, comprehension and unbiased examination into the event, the judgement can be correct, and the conclusion sound. History can, thus, say the truth.

The basil of the Messenger of Allah, peace and the blessings of Allah be with him and his progeny, the pure Imam Hasan bin Ali, peace be with him, drew the most excellent image of political expertise and clever sense of jihad (Holy War), by his move against Mu'awiyah. It is not because he chose to seek peace or compromise that he agreed to a treaty in the Year of Unity as it was later called. It was because he wished to disclose the veiled falsities, and foil the plot of the unbelievers with the conditions he stipulated in the treaty with Mu'awiyah. Imam Hasan [a] was sure Mu'awiyah wouldn't honour any one of them. That is exactly what had happened. Mu'awiyah put the terms of the treaty under his foot!

Moreover, Hasan [a] wanted to reserve his brother, Husayn [a] for the Day of Taff (sacrifice). By so doing, the epic would be consummated. The family of the Messenger of Allah [s] would attain martyrdom. No child, youth or grown-up would be spared. The family of the Prophet, the trusts of Allah, the Compassionate, would be taken captive from Karbala to Yazid bin Mu'awiyah, bound up in fetters and shackles.

In signing and agreeing to this treaty, Imam Hasan [a] aimed at perpetuating the steadfastness of the right in the face of the falsehood, and supporting the uprising of the mujahidin (those who fight in the way of Allah) against any deviation from Islam.

In presenting "Rays from the Life of Imam Hasan bin Ali [a]", Al-Balagh Foundation hopes the present Muslim generation would find in it the light which brightens their path towards Allah, the Most High, and a flame which sharpens their determination, and solidifies their will to fight the enemies of Islam and humanity.

Allah, the Most High, is certainly, the best Patron, and best Supporter.

Glorious House

The companions of the Prophet [s] competed with one another to win the hand of Fatimah Al-Zahra [a], his only surviving child. They all knew the great status and high position she enjoyed in Islam. She was part of the Chosen Prophet [s], his beloved daughter, and the chief of Women of the World.

The Messenger of Allah [s] turned down all his companions' offers to marry Fatimah [a].

One day Imam Ali [a] was told of some of the companion's proposals. He heard of the Messenger's objection to her marriage to any of his companions. He felt a desire to go to the Messenger [s] and ask for his daughter's hand.

Before Imam Ali's [a] call on the Prophet [s], to tell him of his desire, Jibr'il [a] had informed the Messenger [s] of the command of Allah, the Exalted and High, to marry Fatimah to Ali [a].

The Divine command, as related by the Holy Revelation, was:

"...O Muhammad Allah, the Most high, sends His greeting to you, and says to you: "I have certainly married Fatimah, your daughter, to Ali bin Abi Talib in heaven. So marry her to him on the earth."[1]

Imam Ali [a] knocked on the door of the room of Um-Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her. The Messenger of Allah [s] was inside. The Messenger of Allah [s] told him to come in. Imam Ali [a] seated himself next to the Messenger [s] who said to him:

"I see that you have come on business - Tell me about it. Unburden your soul. Any of your requests are granted..."

Imam Ali [a] told his dear leader that he desired Fatimah's hand. On hearing this, the Prophet's face lit up. He went to Al-Zahra [a] to tell her of Ali's request. By doing so, he set an eternal Islamic concept that marriage should be based on mutual consent and agreement, so that the future family would be built on co-operation, love and peace.

The Messenger of Allah said to his daughter:

"Ali bin Abi-Talib is known to you, in his closeness (to us), his merits and profession of Islam...he talked about you. What do you say?"

Fatimah al-Zahra [a] was too shy to say a word. Silence fell on the room and lingered.

The Prophet [s] kept looking at her countenance. Satisfaction and consent were clearly drawn on it. Presently, he went out, repeating from the depths of his pure heart:

Allah is great! Her Silence signals her consent!"

As soon as he returned to Imam Ali [a], the Prophet [s] asked him:

"Do you have anything with which I marry you (to Fatimah)?"

Once more, the Messenger [s] established an Islamic rule for his ummah throughout its generations which stipulates that the man should import the dowry to his wife as the first sign of maintenance, and of his responsibility of managing the affairs of the family.

Imam Ali had nothing beside his sword, a camel for watering his field, and his coat of mail. He told the Prophet [s] of it. The Prophet [s] said:

"As for the sword, you cannot do without it; with it you strive in the way of Allah and fight the enemies of Allah. With your camel you water your date-palms and on it bring water to your family. When you travel you carry luggage on it."

He ordered Imam Ali [a] not to sell his sword and camel but allowed him to sell his coat of mail which was given to him by the Prophet [s], to protect him from the strikes of the enemies.

Imam Ali [a] sold his coat of mail and brought the money to the Messenger of Allah [s] to buy the bride's trousseau.

The Holy Prophet [s] delivered the money to Bilal, Salman and Um-Salamah. They were assigned with the task of buying the needed furniture, perfumes, and clothes. They bought good, simple things.

The Messenger of Allah [s] wanted to inform the Muslims of al-Zahra's betrothal to Ali [a]. He gathered some of his companions to witness the ceremony of the blessed contract of marriage. He addressed them in the following words:

"Praise be to Allah, Who is praised through His favours, worshipped through His power, obeyed through His authority. He is the One feared, due to His trials and punishment, Whose order is executed in His heavens and earth. He created the creatures by His power, distinguished them with His laws, strengthened them with His religion, and honoured them with His Messenger, Muhammad. Allah, may His name be blessed, and His greatness be high, made marriage an attached lineage and an ordained duty by which He solidified family ties and drew people together. He, the Mighty, says:

"And He it is Who has created man from the water then. He has made for him blood-relationship and marriage-relationship and your Lord is Powerful."

Holy Qur'an (25:54)

"Allah's command certainly is executed as His decree. And His decree is obeyed as it is His will. Every decree is issued at a certain time, and every time has a duration, and every duration is fixed. Allah confirms or abrogates what he pleases. His is the Eternal Book. Allah, the Most High, ordered me to marry Fatimah, the daughter of Khadijah, to Ali bin Abi Talib. Bear witness that I have married him (to Fatimah) with a dowry of four hundred mithqals (unit of weight equal to about 5 grams) of silver. That is, it Ali bin Abi Talib agrees to that."

Then he called for a dish of dates. It was placed in front of the gathering.

"Partake of it," the Prophet [s] ordered, and they ate.

All were eating when Imam Ali [a] entered. The Prophet [s] smiled. Then he said: "Allah has ordered me to give to you Fatimah, in marriage with a dowry of four hundred mithqals of silver if you agree to it."

"I agree to it, O Messenger of Allah," Ali replied.

Anas said: "The Prophet said: 'May Allah strengthen the bond that connects you, make your grandfather happy, bless you, and cause you to produce much good.'"

"By Allah", Anas said, "He caused them to produce much good."[2]

Before one month had slipped by after the ceremony of the contract of marriage, Aqeel bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, contacted his brother, Imam Ali [a], urging him to consummate the marriage.

"Why do you not?" he asked. "Ask the Messenger of Allah [s] to bring her (to your house), so that your happiness, by your union, will be completed."

They agreed to approach the Messenger of Allah [s] on the matter. But before doing anything, they met with Um-Ayman Barakah, the daughter of Tha'labah, a respected woman and consulted her. She suggested that she would talk about it to the mothers of the faithful (Prophet's wives), who would, in turn, talk to the Messenger of Allah [s].

The women met with the Prophet [s]. Um-Salamah, on behalf of them, explained the matter to the Messenger of Allah [s]. He sent for Ali. When he came, the Prophet asked him:

"Do you want your wife to be brought to your house?"

"Yes," the Imam replied.

"With pleasure." the Messenger [s] agreed. Then the Noble Prophet [s] asked Imam Ali [a] to make a feast for the faithful. The wives of the Prophet [s] themselves cooked the food. The guests enjoyed it.

Then the Messenger of Allah [s] ordered Um-Salamah and the rest of his wives to take Fatimah to her new house. A procession presently started off led by the Prophet [s] chanting: "There is no god but Allah," and "Allah is great."

The wives of the Prophet [s] recited some verses from the Holy Qur'an in honour of the occasion.

After the wedding ceremony, the Messenger of Allah [s] came to congratulate Imam Ali [a]. He said to him:

"May Allah bless you on account of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah."

He took a bowl of water, recited some Qur'anic verses over it, and ordered Imam Ali and Al-Zahra [a] to drink from it. Then he sprinkled a bit of it on their heads and faces and held his hands up in prayer:

"O Lord! They are the most beloved of the creatures to me. Bless their offspring and protect them. I command them and their descendants into Your protection from the accursed Satan."

Thus glory dwelt in the most honoured house. The school of Imamate was built in the shade of the revelation and the message. It was made under the care of Allah, in the light of His Shari'ah and His righteous path. These ceremonies speak volumes of Islam's simplicity and ease. It is Islam that responds to the needs of the spirit and the body. It doesn't flee in the face of human nature. It is harmonious with life, and the status quo, with no pretension, imposition or injustice.

On the fifteenth of the holy month of Ramadhan, in the third year after Hijrah (migration), the Prophetic house announced the birth of the first grandson of the Prophet [s]. This good news was given to the Chosen Prophet [s]. A look of joy covered his noble face and happiness flooded his heart. He hastened to the house of his daughter, the chaste Zahra, to communicate his congratulations and show his delight.

What a Baby!

The blessed newborn baby was taken to him, in the arms of Um-Salamah, or in another version, Asma', daughter of Umays. The Prophet [s] received him with the whole of his pure existence. He carried him in his arms. He kissed him and pressed him to his chest. Then he said the call to prayer (adhan) in his right ear and recited the call to begin the prayer (iqamah) in his left ear. The first voice that embraced the newborn's hearing and entity was, thus, the voice of right.

The Holy Prophet [s] turned to Imam Ali [a] and asked him:

"What name did you give my son?"

"I wouldn't precede you in doing it," Imam Ali [a] replied.

"Nor would I precede my Lord," averred the Prophet [s].[3]

No sooner did this short dialogue take place between the Messenger [s] and his trustee, about the name of the new baby, than the Divine, Holy revelation came to the Messenger of Allah [s] telling him that Allah, the Glorified, had named the baby, Hasan.[4]

That was the first phase of the Islamic rituals in honouring Imam Hasan [a], the noble baby.

Prophet's Grandson In The Book And Sunnah

Imam Hasan [a], the grandson of the Prophet of Allah [s], like the rest of Ahlul-Bayt [a], enjoys a high position in the Book of Allah, the Most High, and the sunnah of His Messenger [s].

The Holy Qur'an, the constitution of the ummah, and Islam's eternal miracle, has many verses which speak volumes of the position of Imam Hasan [a], and Ahlul-Bayt in the sight of Allah, the Most High, and His Message, including:

1. The verse of Purification (Tathir):

"...Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you O people of the house! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying."

Holy Qur'an (33:33)

It is reported that the reason the Verse of al-Tathir (purification) was revealed was that the Prophet [s] called for a Khaibari cloak (made in Khaibar), and covered Fatimah, Imams Ali, Hasan and Husayn [a] with it, and said:

"O Lord! These are my family. So keep away uncleanness from them and purify them."[5]

In response to the prayer of the Prophet [s], this ayah was revealed. It is a witness, given by Allah, in the Holy Qur'an, about the purity of Ahlul Bayt [a], and that they were Islam incarnate.

2. The Verse of Malediction (Mubahalah):

"...come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people,..."

Holy Qur'an (3:61)

The exegetes, in explaining the cause of the revelation of this verse known as the verse of al-Mubahalah (malediction), say that the Christians of Najran agreed with the Messenger of Allah [s] to pray to Allah to kill the parry which espoused falsehood. The Messenger of Allah [s] went out accompanied only by his family; Fatimah, Imams Ali, Hasan and Husayn [a] to the contest. When the Christians saw the blessed faces which the Messenger [s] had brought with him to pray to Allah for death on the liars, they backed out offering some excuse. They yielded to his authority and paid him the jizyah (a tax paid by the non-Muslims who live in the Islamic state).

As we can see, the holy verse calls Imams Hasan and Husayn [a] "our sons", and the Holy Prophet [s] and Imam Ali [a] "ourselves", while Her Holiness Fatimah Al-Zahra [a] represented the women of all the Muslims, as she is called "our women". It is a frank, and incontrovertible proof of the great stature of Ahlul Bayt in the eyes of Allah and His Messenger [s].

3. The verse of Affection (Mawaddah):

"...Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives..."

Holy Qur'an (42:23)

Exegetes say that this ayah called al-Muwaddah (love) was revealed concerning Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn [a]. The two sahihs (authentic books of hadith), Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal (Book of Hadith with complete chains of transmission), the Qur'anic exegesis of al-Tha'labi, and the Qur'anic exegesis of bin Abbas quotes bin Abbas as saying:

"When the verse '...say: I do not ask of you any reward for it...' was revealed, they (the Muslims) asked: 'O Messenger of Allah! who are your relations whom you ordered us to love?' 'Ali,' he replied, 'Fatimah, and her two sons.'"[6]

Imam Ali bin Husayn [a], Sa'id bin Jubair, Amru bin Shu'aib, Abu-Ja'far, and Imam Husayn [a] quoted the Messenger of Allah [s] as having said when asked about the interpretation of the verse, 'To love my relatives...'[7]

If we confine ourselves to these few verses, the lofty position in the eyes of Allah, of Imam Hasan [a], the grandson of the Messenger of Allah [s], and all of Ahlul Bayt, becomes clear. We deem it useful to cite some other texts, however, conveyed from the Messenger of Allah [s] about Imam Hasan [a], and his high status in the world of Islam, and in the sight of the leading Prophet [s]:

1. Al-Bukhari and Muslim report on the authority of al Bara', that be said: "I saw the Messenger of Allah [s] carrying Hasan bin Ali [a] on his shoulder. He was saying: 'O Lord! I love him, so love him.'"

2. Al-Tirmidhi reports from bin Abbas as saying: "The Messenger of Allah [s] was carrying Hasan bin Ali [a], when a man said: "What an excellent mount you are riding, lad." "What an excellent rider he is," the Holy Prophet [s] replied."

3. Al Hafid Abu-Na'im reports on the authority of Abu Bakr, who said: "The Messenger of Allah [s] was leading us in prayer. Hasan, who was still a child, would come to him while he was in prostration, and sit on his back or sometimes on his neck. The Prophet [s] would lift him tenderly. When the prayer was finished, they (the Muslims) asked him: 'O Messenger of Allah! You are doing to this boy what you do not do to another person?' 'He is my basil,' he replied."

4. Anas bin Malik said: "The Messenger of Allah [s] was asked: 'Who is most loved by you from among your family?' 'Hasan and Husayn', he answered."

5. A'ishah reports that "the Prophet would pick up Hasan and embrace him and say: 'O Lord! This is my son, and I love him. Love him, and love who loves him.'"

6. Jabir bin Abdullah says: "The Messenger of Allah [s] said: 'He who pleases to look at the Lord of the Youths of Paradise, let him look at Hasan bin Ali.'"

7. Ya'la bin Murrah says: "We went with the Prophet [s] to a feast, to which we were invited. We ran into Hasan [a] who was playing near the road. The Holy Prophet [s] went ahead of the people hurriedly, and put out his hand to the boy. Then he pretended to pass by Hasan one time on his right hand, and another time on his left hand, to make the boy laugh. Then he approached him. He put one hand on his neck and the other on his head. Presently he embraced and kissed him. Then he said: 'Hasan is from me and I am from him. Allah loves whoever loves him.'"

8. Al-Ghazali in his book, Al-Ihya' (Revival), reports that the Prophet [s] had said to Hasan: "You resemble me in my appearance and disposition."[8]

This is only a small number of the narratives about Imam Hasan [a]. He who wants more should refer to: Yanabee al-Muwaddah (Springs of Love), by al-Qandoozi al-Hanafi, Fada'il al-Khamasah min al-Sihah al-Sittah (Outstanding Merits of the Five Persons from the Six Authentic Books of Hadith), by al-Firoozabadi, Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Tadhkirat al-Khawas (Reminder of the Pious), by Sibt Bin al-Jawzi, etc.

Through the Holy Qur'an, the Prophet's sunnah, and the many books of authentic ahadith, the exalted position of the Prophet's beloved grandson, Imam Hasan, becomes undeniable.

Imam Hasan's Character

The researcher who examines the life of the Holy Prophet's grandson, Imam Hasan and his brother, Imam Husayn [a], 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 [s], mother and father [a].

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], their father, Imam Ali [a], and their mother Fatimah Al-Zahra [a], 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], the disciple of the Messenger of Allah [s], 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 Hasan and Husayn [a] wound up in the stage of Divine preparation.

They were prepared to shoulder the responsibility of the Divine message, in form and content. The ultimate result was that both Imams Hasan and Husayn [a] 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 behaviour, march, steps and goals, which were Islamic in their entirety.

Spiritual Side

The excellent preparation which was provided for the grandson of the Holy Prophet [s], 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] said:

"Hasan bin Ali [a] was certainly the most true worshipper, ascetic and merited man among the people of his time."

Rawdhat al-Waideen (Orchard of the Preachers) mentions that whenever "Hasan would do his ablution, he would tremble and his face would turn pale. He was asked about it, and he replied: 'It is only natural that one who stands in the presence of the Lord of the Throne turns ashen, and trembles...'"

Imam al-Sadiq [a] is also reported to have said:

"Hasan bin Ali [a] had certainly gone to Hajj twenty-five times on foot. He shared his property with Allah twice...or three times."

Ali bin Jadh'an, and Abu Na'im report in Hulyat al-Awaliya (Ornament of the Saints) and Tabaqat bin Sa'd (Castes of bin 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!'

When he remembered death he wept. When he thought of the grave he wept. When he thought of the Resurrection and Day of Judgement he gasped so deeply and painfully that he fainted because of it.

When he recited the Qur'an and came across a verse addressing the faithful by these words: 'O you who believe...,' he said: 'Here I am, my Lord, here I am...'

Scientific Side

If a living, receptive mind is rated as the mainstay of the Islamic character, and if the Messenger of Allah [s] and the guiding Imams of Ahlul-Bayt [a] had ascended to the top peg of the ladder of Islamic characteristics due to their direct subjugation to the Divine preparation, Imam Hasan [a], the grandson of the Prophet [s], as well as all of the blessed, guiding Imams [a] were pioneering activists in the sphere of thought. They had no match in that.

This can be attributed to the nature of their upbringing and the care they were favoured with. All of the rightly guided Imams either received their education directly from the Messenger 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 direct inspiration.

Inspiration, as it is known, is something different from revelation. Any good-natured reader would realise this fact, through his research into the lives of the Holy Imams [a]. History would never stop hesitantly to say that an Imam found difficulty in any branch of knowledge. Nor, would it say that he couldn't offer and answer a question, inquiry or problem, either ideological, religious, scientific, or in any other field. Following are a number of reports about Imam Hasan's [a] vast knowledge.

1. Hasan al-Basri wrote to Imam Hasan [a], asking him about the Divine decree. The grandson of the Messenger of Allah [s] 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 favour 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..."[10]

By these eloquent, concise words the Imam explains one of the most complicated, and thorny matters of thought. It was so difficult, that many intellectuals were perplexed and at a loss because of it. Moreover, it gave rise to extremely fanatical groups.

Imam Hasan [a], however, expressively shows his profound and pristine knowledge in Islamic sciences. This discloses Imam Hasan's [a] firm connection with the fountainhead of the Message and its original concepts.

2. "What is asceticism?" the Imam was once asked.

"The desire to be pious and abstemious in this life," he replied.

"What is forbearance?" he was asked.

"Restraining one's anger and controlling oneself," he answered.

"What is righteousness?" he was asked.

"Replacing the bad with the good," came the answer.

"What is honour?" they asked.

"Being kind to one's relatives and shouldering people's burdens of sin."

"What is the succour?" he was asked.

"Defending the neighbour, patience in war, and advance during adversities," he said.

"What is glory?" he was asked.

"Giving while being in debt and forgiving others their offences."

"What is manliness?"

"Holding onto the faith, keeping one's self-respect, being merciful, being kind, giving back people's trusts, and ingratiating oneself to the people..."[11]

3. A man from Syria asked Imam Hasan [a]:

"What distance is between the right and the falsehood?"

"Four fingers," the Imam replied. "What you see with your own eye is the right. You may hear a lot of falsehoods with your ear."

"What distance is between faith and certitude?" the Syrian asked.

"Four fingers," Imam Hasan [a] again answered. "The faith is what we hear, and certitude is what we see."

"What is the distance between the sky and the heaven?" asked the Syrian.

"The prayer of the wronged," replied Imam.

"What is the distance between the east and west?" asked the Syrian.

"A day's travel of the sun," said the Imam.[12]

4. Imam Hasan [a] is reported to have said:

"O people! He who is faithful to Allah, taking His words as a beacon, is guided to that which is most upright. Allah helps him to attain righteousness and leads him to goodness. The neighbour of Allah is certainly secure and protected. His enemy is fearful and in failure. Be cautious of Allah's wrath by much remembrance of Him. Fear Allah by piety and draw close to Allah by obeying Him. He is Near and Answering. Allah, the Blessed and Most High, says:

"And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely l am very near; I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way."

Holy Qur'an (2:186)

Imam Hasan [a] continued,

"Be obedient to Allah, and have faith in Him. It is unbecoming of him who grasps the greatness of Allah, to be haughty. The loftiness of those who know the greatness of Allah is expressed in their modesty, and those who know the highness of Allah in humbleness before Him. The safety of those who know the power of Allah is expressed in their surrender to Him, undenial after they have known the truth, and not straying after they have been guided. You should know for sure that you will not attain piety until after you have known the nature of guidance. You will not hold onto the covenant of the Book until after you have known those who turned their backs on it. You will not recite it as you should, until after you have known those who tried to distort it. Having known that, you can know the innovations and pretensions, see the lies against Allah and the distortion, and see how those who go astray will fall aside. Do not be influenced by the ignorant. Seek the knowledge from its bearers. They are the light with which one can enlighten oneself. They are the rightful Imams whom one can follow. With their existence, knowledge revives and ignorance fades away. They are those whose knowledge tells you about the non-existence of ignorance in them, the way of their reasoning about the soundness of their judgements, their appearance about their inner self. They do not go against the right, nor do they differ on it. Allah set a sunnah for them, and issued His verdict on them. It is a reminder for those who want to remember. Understand what I say when you hear it, take care to act in compliance with it, and do not try to grasp it as if it were conveyed to you by the word of mouth. It is because the transmitters of the Book are many, but those who preserve it are few. Allah is the One Whose support is sought."[13]

5. One day Imam Hasan [a] was asked about politics. He 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."

Ethical Side

Covering this aspect of the character of the grandson of the Prophet [s] by no means signifies a difference among the guiding Imams [a] 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 behaviour with the people. We hope that his morals are the ones which we adopt and follow.

His Modesty

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.

1. Imam Hasan [a] reportedly passed by some boys who were eating. They invited him to share their food with them. He accepted their invitation, then called them to his house and generously rewarded them.

2. It is reported that he was sitting in some place. When the Imam [a] rose to go, a poor man came in. The Imam [a] 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

1. He once found out that an ewe had a broken leg. He called one of his slaves and asked him: "Who did it?" "I," the slave answered.


"So as to disconcert you!" the slave retorted.

The Imam [a] smiled to him and said: "But I will make you happy."

He freed him and generously rewarded him.

2. A Syrian, imbued with hatred and spite against the family of the Messenger of Allah [s], by Mu'awiyah bin Abu Sufyan, once saw the Imam on horseback. He at once emitted a series of curses! Imam Hasan [a] did not put in a word of protest or interruption. When the man finished, Imam Hasan [a] 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. It 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."

His Generosity

Maybe the most eminent of Imam Hasan's [a] 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 favours, 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 habit."

Following are examples of his unlimited generosity:

An Arab desert-dweller once asked for help. In response Imam said: "Give him what is in the safe." In it there was ten thousand Dirhams.

"Sir," the Bedouin said, "won't you allow me to reveal my need and praise you?"

Imam's reply was something like this:

"We are people whose bounties are flowing. In them hopes and wishes dwell. Our souls give out before we are asked in fear of the disgrace of the one who asks. Should the sea know how much we give who asks us, it will shrink, after its flooding, in shame."

The grandson of the Holy Prophet [s] bought an orchard from the Ansars (the supporters of the Holy Prophet [s] in Madina), at the price of 400,000 Dirhams. Then he got word that they lost their wealth. He gave them the orchard back with no charge.

These are only a few insights into Imam Hasan's [a] generous acts. Such good deeds had the greatest effect in personifying his high Islamic ethics.[15]

Now we are able to form a clear idea of the ingredients of the character of Imam Hasan [a]. It was the top example of the Muslim character ever witnessed by this planet after the prophets [a]. This was the character of the Ahlul Bayt [a] generally and all of them shared the same character and personality.

Imam Hasan's Role In Islamic Life

At an early age, the role of the grandson of the Holy Prophet [s] began to evidence itself. It was before he was officially appointed to the office of Imamate by his father. His positive role took shape clearly from the moment the Muslim ummah gave their pledge of allegiance to Imam Ali [a] as the new caliph. It rose to its zenith after the martyrdom of Imam Ali [a].