Imam Hasan (as), a brief look into his Life
Imam Hasan (as), a brief look into his Life
(This is) an account of the Imam after the Commander of the
faithful, peace be on him, the date of his birth, the evidence for his Imamates the period
of his succession, the time of his death, and the place of his grave. (It also provides) a
brief outline of the reports about him.
The Imam after the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, was
his son al-Hasan, the son of the mistress of the women of the worlds, Fatima, daughter of
Muhammad, the Lord of messengers, may God bless him and his pure family. (Al-Hasan's)
kunya was Abu Muhammad. He was born in Medina, on the night of the middle day of the month
of Ramadan, three years after the hijra (624).
His mother, Fatima, peace be on her, brought him to the Prophet, may
God bless him and his family, on the seventh day in a silken shawl from Heaven, which
Gabriel had brought down to the Prophet, may God bless him and his family. He named him
Hasan and sacrificed a ram for him (in the ceremony of aqiqa).
[It is reported by a group (of authorities), including Ahmad b.
Salih. al-Tamimi on the authority of Abd Allah b. Isa, on the authority of Jafar al-Sadiq
b. Muhammad, peace be on him;]
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, was the most similar person to the
Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, in form, manner and nobility.
[It is reported by a group (of authorities), including Ma'mar, on
the authority of al-Zuhri, on the authority of Anas b. Malik, who said:]
No one was more like the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his
family, than al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on them.
[Ibrahim b. Ali al-Rafi'i reported on the authority of his father,
on the authority of his grandmother Zaynab, daughter of Abu Rafi' - and Shabib b. Abi
Rafi' al-Rafi'i on the authority of those who told him - she said:]
Fatima, peace be on her, brought her two sons, al-Hasan and al-
Husayn, peace be on them, to the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, at the
time when he was suffering from the sickness from which he died.
"Apostle of God," she said, "these are your two
(grand) sons. Give them something as an inheritance."
"As for al-Hasan," he replied, "he has my form and my
nobility. As for al-Husayn, he has my generosity and my bravery."
Al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on him, was the testamentary trustee
(wasi) of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, over his family, his children
and his followers. He bequeathed him to look after his position and (the position of) his
taxes (sadaqat) and he wrote him a covenant (of succession) which is well-known. His
testamentary trusteeship is obvious in terms of the outlines of religion, the essential
characteristic of wisdom and good-breeding. A great number of scholars have reported this
trusteeship and many of the men of understanding have realised the truth of this through
his (attitude to) the world.
Al-Hasan's Succession to the Caliphate and his Abdication
When the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, died, al- Hasan
addressed the people. He reminded them of his right (to authority). The followers of his
father pledged allegiance to him in terms of fighting those he fought and making peace
with those with whom he made peace.
[Abu Mikhnaf Lut b. Yahya al-Azdi reported: Ashath b. Suwar told me
on the authority of Abu Ishaq al-Sabi'i and others, who said;]
Al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on them, addressed the people towards dawn
on the night in which the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, died. He praised and
glorified God and blessed the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family. Then he
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 in (good)
actions. He used to fight alongside the Apostle of God, may Allah bless him and his
family, and protect him with his own life. The Apostle of God, may God bless him and his
family, used to send him forward with his standard while Gabriel supported him on his
right and Michael supported him on his left. He would not return until God brought victory
through his hands. He, peace be on him, has died on this the night on which Jesus, son of
Mary, was taken up (to Heaven), on which Joshua, son of Nuh, the testamentary trustee
(wasi) of Moses, peace be on him, died. He has left behind him no gold and silver except
seven hundred dirhams of his stipend (ata'), with which he was intending to buy a servant
for his family.
Then tears overcame him and he wept and the people wept with him.
Then he continued:
I am the (grand) son of the one who brought the good news. I am the
(grand) son of the warner. I am the (grand) son of the man who, with God's permission,
summoned (the people) to God. I am the (grand) son of the light which shone out (to the
world) . I am of the House, from whom God has sent away abomination and whom God has
purified thoroughly. I am of the House for whom God has required love in his Book, when
God, the Most High, said: Say: I do not ask you for any reward except love for (my) kin.
Whoever earns good, will increase good for himself [ XXXIII 33 ]. The good is love for us,
Then he sat down.
Abd Allah b. al-Abbas, may God have mercy on him, arose in front of
him and said:
People, this is the son of your Prophet, the testamentary trustee
(wasi) of your Imam. So pledge allegiance to him.
The people answered him saying:
No one is more loved by us nor has anyone more right to succession
They rushed forward to pledge allegiance to him as successor. That
was on Friday on the eleventh of the month of Ramadan in the year 40 A.H. (660). Then he
assigned (the posts of) the tax collectors and he gave instructions to the governors (of
the provinces). He sent Abd Allah b. al-Abbas to Basra. He took charge of all the matters.
When Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan learnt of the death of the Commander of
the faithful, peace be on him, and the people's pledge of allegiance to his son, al-Hasan,
peace be on him, he sent a man of secretly to Kufa and a man from Banu al-Qayn to Basra.
They were to write reports to him to undermine affairs for al-Hasan, peace be on him.
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, learned of that. He ordered the Himyari to be brought out from
among (the tribe) of Lakhm in Kufa. He had him brought out and executed. (Al-Hasan) wrote
to al-Basra, ordering the Qayni to be brought out from among the Banu Sulaym. He was
brought out and executed.
Then al-Hasan, peace be on him, wrote to Muawiya:
You sent men to use deception and to carry out assassinations and
you sent out spies as if you want to meet (in battle). That is something which will soon
happen so wait for it, if God wills. I have learnt that you have become haughty in a way
that no wise man would become haughty. In that you are just as al-Awwal described:
Say to him who desires the contrary of the one who has died: Prepare
for another like him, as if (from the same) root.
I and the one among us who has died are like the one who goes in the
evening so that (the other) may come in the morning.
Muawiya replied to him with his letter, which there is no need to
mention. There followed between him and al-Hasan, peace be on him, correspondences
messages and disputes regarding the right of al- Hasan, peace be on him, to authority and
the unlawful seizure of power of those who came before his father, peace be on him, and of
Mu'awiya's attempt to strip the nephew of the Apostle of God, may God bless him anel his
family, from his authority and of their (the House's) right to it apart from them. (All
these) matters would take too long to describe.
Muawiya set off towards Iraq. When he reached the bridge of Manbij,
al-Hasan, peace be on him, reacted. He sent Hujr b. Adi to order the leaders of Amman to
set out and to call the people together for war.
They were slow to (answer) him and then they came forward. (Al-
Hasan) had a mixed band of men: some of them belonged to his Sh'ia and to his father's:
some of them were members of the Muhakimma (i.e. Kharijites) who were influenced by (the
desire of) fighting Muawiya with every means (possible); some of them were men who loved
discords and were anxious for booty; some of them were doubters; others were tribal
supporters who followed the leaders of their tribes without reference to religion.
He set off until he came to Hammam Umar, then he went on to Dayr
Kab. He stopped at Sabat, just before the bridge and spent the night there. In the
morning, he, peace be on him, wanted to test his followers and make their situation clear
with regard to obedience to him, so that in that way he might be able to distinguish his
friends from his enemies and be in a clear mind (about his position) to meet Mu'awiya and
the Syrians. He ordered the call to be made:
The prayer is a general one (which all should attend) (al-salat
They gathered and he went up on the pulpit and addressed them. He
Praise belongs to God whenever a man praises Him. I testify that
there is no god but God whenever a man testifies to Him. I testify that Muhammad is His
servant and His apostle whom He sent with the truth and whom He entrusted with revelation,
may God bless him and his family. By God, I hope that I shall always be with God's praise
and kindness. I am the sincerest of God's creatures in giving advice to them. I have not
become one who bears malice to any Muslims nor one who wishes evil or misfortune tor him.
Indeed what you dislike about unity (jama'a) is better for you than what you like about
division. I see what is better for you better than you see for yourselves. Therefore do
not oppose my commands and do not reject my judgement. May God forgive both me and you and
may He guide me and you to that in which there is love and satisfaction.
The people began to look at one another and asked each other,
"What do you think he intends by what he has just said?
"We think that he intends to make peace with Muawiya and hand
over the authority to him" they answered.
"By Gods the man has become an unbelievers they declared and
they rushed towards his tent. They plundered him to the extent that they even took his
prayer mat from under him. Then Abd al- Rahman b. Abd Allah b. Ja'al al-Azdi set on him
and stripped his silk cloak from his shoulder. He remained sitting, still girt with his
sword but without his cloak. He called for his horse and mounted it. Groups of his close
associates and his Shia surrounded him and kept those who wanted (to attack) him away from
him. He said:
Summon (the tribes of) Rabia and Hamdan to me.
They were summoned to him and they surrounded him and defended him,
peace be on him, from the people. A mixed group of others went with him (as well). When he
was passing through the narrow pass of Sabat, a man of Banu Asad called al-Jarrah b. Sinan
caught hold of the reins of his mule. He had an axe in his hand. He cried:
God is greater (Allaku akbar)! You have become a polytheist, Hasan,
just like your father became a polytheist before.
Then he stabbed him in the thigh. It penetrated right through to the
bone. He seized (al-Hasan) by the neck and they both fell to the ground. A man from
al-Hasan's Shi'a called Abd Allah b. Khatal al- Tai; pulled the axe away from his hand and
struck him with it in the stomach. Another man called Zubyan b. Umara attacked him, struck
him upon the nose and killed him. Another man who had been with (al-Jarrah) was caught and
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, was carried on a stretcher to al- Mada'in
where he was lodged with Sa'd b. Masud al-Thaqafi. The latter was the governor of (Ali),
the commander of the faithful, peace be on him, there and al-Hasan had confirmed him in
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, was distracted by his own (discomfort)
and with treating his wound. (In the meantime) a group of the tribal leaders wrote
secretly to Mu'awiya offering to accept his authority (lit. to listen and obey). They
urged him to come to them and they guaranteed to hand over al-Hasan, peace be on him, when
they got to his camp, or to kill him treacherously.
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, learnt of that when a letter came to him
from Qays b. Sa'd, may God be pleased with him. He had sent Qays with Ubayd Allah b. Abbas
(to go on ahead) when he had set out from Kufa to meet Muawiya and to drive him out of
Iraq, and make himself a commander of a unified people (jama'a). He had said to Ubayd
If you are struck down, then the commander will be Qays b. Sad.
Qays b. Sad's letter arrived informing him that they had stopped
Muawiya at a village called al-Habubiyya opposite Maskan. Then Muawiya had sent to Ubayd
Allah b. Abbas, urging him to come to him and offering him a million dirhams, half of
which he would give him immediately, and the other half on his entry into Kufa. Ubayd
Allah had slipped away in the night with his close associates to (join) Muawiya's camp. In
the morning the people found their leader missing. Qays b. Sa'd, may God be pleased with
him, said the prayer with them and took charge of their affairs.
Al-Hasan's awareness of the people's desertion of him increased, (as
did his awareness) of the corrupt intention of the Muhakkima (the Kharijites) against him,
which they made obvious by cursing him, accusing him of disbelief, and declaring that it
was lawful to shed his blood and plunder his property. There remained no one to protect
him from his unfortunate predicament except the close associates from his father's Shia
and his own Shia, and they were a group which could not resist the Syrian soldiers.
Muawiya wrote to him about a truce and peace treaty. He also sent
him the letters of his followers in which they had guaranteed to kill him treacherously or
to hand him over. He offered him as many conditions as he wanted, to answer his (call) for
peace and he gave his (sworn) covenant by whose fulfilment everybody's interests would be
served. Al-Hasan, peace be on him, did not trust him. He was aware of his deception and
his attempts at assassination. However he could find no escape from assenting to his
demands to abandon the war and bring about a truce because of the weakness of his
followers' understanding of his right, their corrupt attitude towards him and their
opposition to him. (In addition, he was aware) of the view of many of them in declaring it
lawful to shed his blood and to hand him over to his rival. (He also knew) of his cousin's
desertion (of him) and his joining his enemy, as well as the inclination of the people
towards the immediate present and their reluctance (to show concern) for the future.
Therefore he, peace be on him, bound himself (in a treaty) with
Muawiya as a result of the confirmation of the proof (of his situation) and with the
excuses before God, the Most High, and all the Muslims, of what had taken place among
them. He stipulated:
That the cursing of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him,
should be abandoned and the practice of using the personal prayer (qunut) in the formal
prayer (salat) (as prayer) against him should be set aside;
That his Shia, may God be pleased with them, should be given
security and that none of them should be exposed to any evil; That each of them who had
certain rights should attain those rights.
Muawiya accepted all that and made a treaty with him to observe
that. He swore to him that he would fulfil it. When the truce had been concluded, Muawiya
went on until he reached al-Nukhayla. That was on a Friday; he prayed the mid-morning
prayer (duha al nahar) with the people, and he addressed them. In his address, he Said
By God, I have not fought against you to make you pray, nor to fast,
nor to make the pilgrimage, nor to pay zakat. Indeed you do that (already). I fought 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 al-Hasan, peace be on him, (to give him)
things and I have given things to him. All of them are now under my foot. And from now on
I will not fulfil anything.
Then he went on until he entered Kufa. He resided there for several
days. When the pledge of allegiance by its inhabitants had to be carried out, he went up
on the pulpit and addressed the people. He mentioned the commander of the faithful, peace
be on him, and that he had taken from him and from al-Hasan, peace be on him, what he had
Al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them, were present. Al- Husayn,
peace be on him, rose to reply but al-Hasan, peace be on him, took him by the hand and
made him sit down. Then he, himself, (al-Hasan) arose and spoke:
O you who mention Ali, I am al-Hasan and Ali was my father. You are
Muawiya and your father was Sakhr (Abu Sufyan). My mother was Fatima and your mother was
Hind. My grand father was the Apostle of God and your grandfather was Harb. My grandmother
was Khadija and your grandmother was Futayla. May God curse him who tries to reduce our
reputation and to diminish our nobility, who does evil against our antiquity and yet who
has been ahead of us in unbelief and hypocrisy.
Groups of the people in the mosque shouted out: "Amen,
When the peace between al-Hasan, peace be on him, and Muawiya was
concluded in the way we have mentioned, al-Hasan, peace be on him, left for Medina. He
resided there, restraining his anger, staying close to his house, and awaiting the command
of his Lord, the Mighty and High, until Muawiya had completed ten years of his
administration. (Then) the latter decided to have the pledge of allegiance given to his
son, Yazid, (as his successor). He communicated secretly with Ju'da, daughter of
al-Ash'ath b. Qays- she was the wife of al-Hasan, peace be on him - to urge her to poison
him. He gave an undertaking to her that he would marry her to his son, Yazid, and he sent
her a hundred thousand dirhams. Juda gave him the poison to drink but he lingered on sick
for forty days. He passed along his (final) road in the month of Safar in the year 50 A.
H. (670). At that time, he was forty-eight years of age. His succession (to the Imamate)
had been for ten years. His brother and testamentary trustee (wasp), al-Husayn, peace be
on him, undertook the washing and shrouding of his body, and buried him with his grand
mother, Fatima, daughter of Asad b. Hashim b. Abd Manaf, may God be pleased with her, in
(the cemetery) of al Baqi.
Reports of the Cause of the Death of al-Hasan, Peace be on him, and
of Mu'awiya Poisoning him, the Story of his Burial and the Actions and Statements
[Isa b. Mihran reported: Ubayd Allah b. al-Sabb'ah told us: Jarir
told us on the authority of Mughira, who said:]
Muawiya sent to Juda daughter of al-Ashath b. Qays:
I will arrange for you to marry my son, Yazid, on condition that you
He also, sent her a hundred thousand dirhams.
She did that: she poisoned al-Hasan, peace be on him. (Mu'awiya)
gave her the money but did not marry her to Yazid. Instead he gave her a man from the
family of Talha as a substitute. The latter gave her children. Whenever any argument
occurred between them and the clans of Quraysh, they would revile them saying:
Sons of a woman who poisons her husbands.
[Isa b. Mihran reported: 'Uthman b. Umar told me Ibn Awn told us on
the authority ot 'Umar b. lshaq, who said.]
I was with al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them, in the house.
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, came in from outside and then went out again. He said:
I have been given poison to drink several times but I have never
been given poison like this. A bit of my liver has come out of my mouth and I began to
turn it over with a stick I had.
Who gave you the poison to drink, al-Husayn, peace be on him, asked
him, and what do you want for him? Do you want him killed? If he may remain as he is, then
God will be more terrible in His vengeance than you. It he may not remain as he is, then I
should like to be free of any blame.
[ Abd Allah b. Ibrahim reported on the authority of Ziyad al-
Makhariqi, who said:]
When death was close to al-Hasan, peace he on him, he summoned
al-Husayn, peace be on him, and said.
My brother, I am leaving you and joining my Lord. I have been given
poison to drink and have spewed my liver into a basin. I am aware of the person who
poisoned me and from where I have been made a subject to this deceitful action. I will
oppose him before God, the Mighty and High. Therefore by the right I have with regard to
you, say nothing about that and wait for what God, the Mighty and High, will decide
concerning me. When I have died, shut my eyes, wash me and shroud me. Then carry me on my
bier to the grave of my grandfather, the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family,
so that I may renew my covenant with him. After that take me to the grave of my
grandmother, Fatima daughter of Asad, may God be pleased with her, and bury me ther. My
brother, the people will think that you intend to bury me with the Apostle of God, may God
bless him and his family. For that reason, they will gather to prevent you from doing it.
I swear by God that you should not shed even your blood into the cupping-glass in
(carrying out) my command.
Then he made his testamentary bequests to his family and his
children. (He gave him) his heirlooms and the things which the Commander of the faithful,
peace be on him, had bequeathed to him when he had made him his successor, had declared
him worthy to occupy his position, and had indicated to his Shia that he was his
successor, and set him up as their sign-post after himself.
When he passed on his (final) journey, al-Husayn, peace be on him,
washed and shrouded his (body). Then he carried him on his bier. Marwan and those of the
Banu Umayya who were with him had no doubt that they would try to bury him beside the
Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family. They gathered together and armed
themselves. When al-Husayn, peace be on him, approached the tomb of the Apostle of God,
may God bless him and his family, with (the body of al-Hasan) so that he might renew his
covenant with him, they came towards them with their group. 'A'isha had joined them on a
mule and she was saying:
What is there between you and me that you should allow someone I
don't want to, to enter my house?
Marwan began to recite:
O Lord, battle is better than ease.
(Then he went on:)
Should Uthman be buried in the outskirts of Medina and al-Hasan be
buried alongside the Prophet, may God bless him and his family? That will never be while I
carry a sword.
Discord was about to occur between the Banu Umayya and the Banu
Hashim. Ibn 'Abbas hurried to Marwan and said to him;
Go back to where you came from, Marwan. Indeed we do not intend to
bury our companion with the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family. But we want
him to be able to renew his covenant with him by visiting him. Then we will take him back
to his grandmother, Fatima, and bury him alongside her according to his last instructions
concerning that. If he had enjoined that he should be buried alongside the Prophet, may
God bless him and his family, you know that you would be the least able to deter us from
that. However, he, peace be on him, was much too aware of God and His Apostle and the
sacredness of his tomb to bring bloodshed to it as others have done (who) have entered it
without his permission.
Then he went to A'isha and said to her:
What mischief you bring about, one day on a mule and one day on a
camel! Do you want to extinguish the light of God and fight the friends (awliya') of God?
Go Back ! You have been given assurance against what you fear and have learned what you
wanted (to know). By God, victory will come to this House, even if it is after some time.
Al-Husayn, peace be on him, said:
By God, if there had been no injunction to me from al-Hasan, peace
be on him, to prevent bloodshed and that I should not even pour blood into a cupping-glass
in (carrying out) his command, you would have known how the swords of God would have taken
their toll from you, you have broken the agreement which was made between you and us, you
have ignored the conditions which we made with him for ourselves.
Then they went on with (the body of) al-Hasan, peace be on him, and
they buried him in (the cemetery of) al-Baqi' beside his grandmother, Fatima daughter of
Asad b. Hashim b. 'Abd Manaf, may God be pleased with her.
Kitab al Irshad (The Book of Guidance)
Pages 279 - 289
By Sheikh al Mufid
Translated by I.K.A Howard
Published by Tahrike Tarsile Quran
Paper back, I.S.B.N 0-940368-11-0
Contributed by Br. Ali Abbas, firstname.lastname@example.org