The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
By: Ayatollah Kashif al-Ghita’
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The Prophet’s grandson, Imam Abu Muhammed al-Zakiy (al-Hasan), was the first of the eleven grandsons from among the progeny of Prophet Muhammed, the master of the Prophets. He was among the progeny of Ali, the lord of mankind. He was the first in whom the two lights met together; the light of prophethood and the light of imamate. He was the junction of the two lights, one of the two brilliants, and the confluence of the two seas. He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together.[^1] There come forth from them pearls, both large and small.[^2] Ali was the sea of the light of the Imamate; Fatima was the sea of the light of the prophethood and dignity. There came from them green pearls like the (green) shells in the heaven and the red porgy like the redness of the ground because of blood. Al-Hasan was the first of the infallible Imams from the progeny of the master of guardians (Imam Ali). He showed the truth and destroyed falsehood. He prevented bloodshed through his making peace (with Mu‘awiya).
According to the most famous report, al-Hasan was born in Medina, on the night of the middle of the month of Ramadan. My writing these words fell on this night, the night of the light, when the members of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) were happy and delighted. We should be happy in accordance with their happiness and show sadness due to theirs. Therefore, I announce anthems, hymns, and congratulations to the master of beings (Prophet Muhammed), Ali, and Fatima, Allah’s blessings be on them. I congratulate them on this blessed child, concerning whom and his brother the cause of the existence and the mirror of Allah, Prophet Muhammed, has said: “Your camel is the best camel; and you are the best riders!”
Through this essay I have quickly written with my pen, I do not attempt to mention Abu Muhammed al-Zakiy’s greatness of achievements, achievements of greatness, glory of greatness, greatness of glory, high glorious deeds, virtues, and glorious deeds of heaven. No, and then no. For the hawk of my information and the eagle of my pen, in spite of my wide knowledge and information, are not able to ascend to that throne mutinous to intellects, of
[^1] Qur’an, 55, 19. [^2] Qur'an, 55, 22.
which thoughts, though exalted and excessive, nothing obtain except astonishment and perplexity.
Rather, I want to deal with one of the sides of his life, one of the signs of his miracles and the miracles of his signs. It is the side of his making peace with Mu‘awiya, the tyrant, son of the misguided father and mother. That is because this side has been complicated and worn the thickest gown of vagueness. Doubts have guided it badly, all assumptions have failed, doubt has come into force, the pillars of faith have declined even those of his sincerest companions, those of his father’s, those of the most loyal of his followers and clients. This was when rage and anger moved that high mountain (a great figure) to misbehave. He had to say assalamu ‘alayka, O one who has made the believers mighty; however, he said something opposite.
Vagueness and confusion have covered this matter with the worst garment even to those who believe in his Imamate and infallibility. However, the sentiment and the shock of the misfortune have overcome prudence and reflection. If they carefully consider the matter and give place to reason, they will see it as clear as the sun. Surely the whole righteousness and the righteousness of all Muslims were accomplished through what he had done. That is not because of worship, submission, and yielding to the accomplished fact good or evil.
That is not because of the faith in infallibility and that the infallible Imam’s deed should agree with wisdom. No, if we carefully consider the event, its sides, conditions, circumstances, results, and its premises, we will definitely and certainly come to know that what he had done was the (religious) duty, and nothing other than it was right. Yes, it was the determination itself and victory over his opponent.
It was the attack itself against his enemy according to the military techniques and the timely policy. He performed the deed of someone worldly-wise, prudent, and experienced. That was when he warred against his enemy through peace and won a victory over him through making peace with him. He could put out his enemy’s fire, removed the curtain from him, and showed the people his defects and tricks. It was right for him to war against him through making peace and not through weapon, to kill him through his deeds not through fighting against him and throwing arrows at him.
This deed is the most perfect and definite of all proofs in putting an end to the excuses, and most decisive in repelling doubts and vague errors. Explaining and illuminating all these things, to the extent that they can be touch by the hand and seen by the eye, requires an excellent explanation, a strong heart, and a wide speech. Nothing of my sick body, weak sight, many works, worn out mind, little time, and my bad conditions can help me do that. May Allah be kind to me and allow me to seize another opportunity, that I may fully explain in this respect, and remove the curtains from this vagueness in order that the truth may appear and the lights may shine. However, there is no escape from ending this word of mine with the pure truth. Generally speaking, it was incumbent on Imam al-Husayn (a.s) and his companions to revolt against the tyrant of his time (Yazid bin Mu‘awiya) during those circumstances, to the extent that they were killed and the members of Imam al-Husayn’s family, who were the family of Allah’s Apostle, were taken as prisoners of war. This was incumbent on him according to the technique of policy, the rules of victory and prudence regardless of the divine commands and the eternal will. It was also incumbent on al-Hasan (a.s) during his conditions to make peace with the tyrant of his time (Mu‘awiya bin Abi Sufyan). Had it not been for the peace treaty of al-Hasan and the martyrdom of al-Husayn, Islam would have been destroyed forever.
The efforts of Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, the good, the blessing, the guidance, and the mercy he had brought to people would have been lost, because Abu Sufyan, his bastard (son) Mu‘awiya, and his corrupt grandson Yazid spared no effort to efface Islam and to make the people follow their pre-Islamic beliefs such as worshipping the idols al-Laat and al-Uzza. Perhaps, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, had referred to this important point through the famous tradition which is as clear as light in correctness. He, (a.s), has said: “Al-Hasan and al-Husayn are two Imams whether they rise or sit down.” Perhaps, he meant that al-Hasan was an Imam through his sitting down (making peace), and that al-Husayn was an Imam through his rising.
Some historians and biographers have related the matter of al-Hasan (a.s) and his making peace with Mu‘awiya. They have dealt with its surface meaning and its simple form without any analyzing, explaining, studying thoroughly, checking out, and without taking into consideration the circumstances of the event, its conditions, principles, and objectives. They have condemned it because they have not reflected on it and carefully considered it.
However, as the truth and fact are light, Allah has prepared some meritorious people from among those who have skillful pens, excellent understanding, correct viewpoints, and free thoughts. So they have, through their books, removed the vagueness and complication from the life of Imam al-Hasan, from his behavior, and his peacemaking (with Mu‘awiya). Through their books they have unveiled some imaginations of the contemporary writers and of those before them.
Among those who well and skillfully wrote the biography of Imam al-Hasan (a.s) is the knowledgeable, meritorious, highborn, writer, Sheikh Baqir al-Qurashi, may Allah support him with the essence of care from Him and success. He submitted to me some chapters of the first volume of his book The Life of Imam al-Hasan, and I have found in them the essence of ambition and the ambition of soul. I have found in them a longing soul that has made a good progress. If he is at the beginning, he is about to reach the goal. The best proof of his book is his book itself. May Allah reward him for his efforts and make him reach his wishes.
Through his spiritual father’s supplication
Muhammad al-Hasan Aal-Kashif al-Ghita’ Theological Center in Holy Najaf On the 20th of Ramadan, 1373 A. H.
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan (a.s) has a brilliant history full of the most wonderful pages of heroism and jihad. He has noble manners beating with justice and piety. His life flows with unique abilities and good tendencies. Noble moral traits, original thoughts, and deep thinking meet together in that personality. The biographers have unanimously agreed on that al-Hasan was the most clement of the people, and the ablest of them in restraining rage, showing patience toward harmful and detested things. He was kind to people and always pardoned them and forgave their mistakes. He was like his grandfather, the Prophet (a.s), whose ethics and clemency embraced all the people.
There was a sufficient witness indicating his great clemency. The witness was stated by Marwan bin al-Hakam, who was his bitter opponent. Marwan hurried to carry al-Hasan’s sacred body, but al-Husayn, the master of martyrs, found that strange and asked him: “Why have you carried his corpse while you had grieved him?”
“I did that to one whose clemency was as much as mountains!” replied Marwan.
Al-Hasan was not only the most clement of people but also the most prominent of them in giving correct thoughts. That was clear through his making peace with Mu‘awiya. He avoided opening a door to war, for the country was full of parties, the heads of the tribes and the military commanders sold Mu‘awiya their consciences. They joined Mu‘awiya’s camp not because they had faith in his matter; rather, they craved after his money and responded to their psychological desires, seeking influence, domination, and abundant wealth. Besides, al-Hasan’s fighters were wicked and rude. They preferred peace to war. There are other factors we will in detail mention within the book. Accordingly, Imam al-Hasan (a.s) surrendered to the accomplished fact and made peace with Mu‘awiya. Through that he could protect the people, prevented their bloodshed, and saved them from the bad results whose dangers none had known except Allah.
The historians have unanimously agreed that al-Hasan was the most generous of people, the greatest of them in giving (gifts) to Allah’s servants, the kindest of them to the poor and the deprived. So he was given the nickname of the generous one of the Ahl al-Bayt though they were the origins of generosity and good deeds. Groups of the poor and the needy went to him, and he showed them kindness, and saved them with his many gifts from begging and neediness.
The historians have unanimously agreed that al-Hasan (a.s) was the most worshipful of the people of his time, the most pious of them, and the greatest of them in piety and devotedness to Allah. He performed the hajj to the Sacred House of Allah (the Kaaba) twenty-five times. He did all mediations through which he sought nearness to Allah. He freed himself from the amusement of the world and turned away from its vanities. We will in detail mention that when we speak about his ideals and the aspects of his great personality.
We face a problem in the history of Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan. The problem is that some traditions have been fabricated and added to his brilliant history. The historians who were hirelings of the ruling authority have put these traditions into the Islamic history. They have ascribed to him something from which he was far away. They have accused him of being Uthmani in inclination, that he condemned his father (Imam Ali) on the Day of ad-Dar, for he did not give an aid to Uthman, nor did he save him from the revolutionists. They have reported that he thought that his father did not respond to the desires of the people who cheered his name and insisted on nominating him for the office of the caliphate, but the Commander of the faithful (Imam Ali), as the historians say, disobeyed them and responded to the summons of the revolutionists.
The historians have charged accusations to Imam al-Hasan’s brilliant life. They have said that he married and divorced many women. They have exaggerated when they said that he in most of his days married a woman and divorced another. They wanted to degrade his position importance. The historians have written these reports. The modern writers have depended on them. Dr. Taha Husayn is on their top.[^1] He has inclined to these reports and sent them to readers. However, he had to make sure of their chain of authorities, that it might be clear to him that the reporters were accused of fabrication and deviation from Ahl al-Bayt. We have refuted a large group of them in our studies, and showed the weaknesses in them whether in the chain of authorities or other than it.
[^1] In his book Ali wa Banuh (Ali and his Sons), Dr. Taha Husayn has depended on the fabricated reports. We will mention and criticize them in the book.
The most important thing the necessity of research requires is that we must check the reports in order to know their reporters and be sure of them. We rely on the narrations of those who report correctly, are free from lying, and not accused in respect of their religion. We depend on them in building the Islamic history. We do not depend on those narrators who follow rulers, write for their purposes, strengthen their power, pay no attention to religion, and tell lies. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to reject their reports and not to depend on them. Islam has frankly ordered us to be sure of the reports of those who are accused in respect of their religion.
Allah, the Most High, says: “O you who believe! If an evil-doer comes to you with a report, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done.”[^1] The verse is clear in that we should look carefully into the reports of the evil-doers. Which sin is greater than fabrication and telling lies intentionally? Generally speaking, the verse includes the reports on the fabricated things of which are the reports on historical events and other than them.
We find it strange that some writers are satisfied with and they accept the reports of Abu Hurayra al-Dousi[^2] and Samra bin Jundub, a headsman. They have relied on such reports in building the Islamic faith, while many of them do not agree with the authority of reason and wisdom. In the mean time they oppose the precepts of Islam that does not believe in fables and imaginations.
Every researcher is required to look carefully into the reports whether they concern the religious affairs or other than them. It is incumbent on them to reject what the devious persons and the hirelings of the authorities have narrated.
The prominent thing at the time when Imam al-Hasan (a.s) lived was that some parties spread, and their trends reacted. For example, the Qurashi party, which had been formed before the demise of the Prophet (a.s), decided to turn away the office of the Islamic caliphate from the members of the Ahlul Bayt, peace be on them. That was for several reasons such as: they rushed upon authority and envied the family of the Prophet (a.s) for the outstanding qualities and talents Allah had given to them. It has been narrated that they said: “Surely the Prophethood and the caliphate should not meet together in
[^1] Qur’an, 49, 6. [^2] In his book Abu Hurayra, Imam Sharaf al-Deen has mentioned Abu Hurayra’s fables. In his book Sheikh al-Mudira, the great ‘Allama, Sheikh Mahmud Abu Riyah, has also mention Abu Hurayra’s fabrications and lies.
one house.” Ibn Abbas falsified this statement with his strong evidence during his conversation with Umar bin al-Khattab. After a long speech, Umar said to him: “O Ibn Abbas, do you know what have prevented your people from (electing) you after Muhammad (a.s)?” Ibn Abbas said: “I hated to answer him, so I said to him: ‘If I do not know, then the Commander of the faithful (Umar) knows!’” Umar said: “They have hated to gather the prophethood and the (office) of the caliphate for you lest you should wrong your people and rejoice. So Quraysh have chosen something for themselves and they are right and successful.”
Ibn Abbas could not face Umar to falsify his statement, for he was afraid of his sternness and rudeness. He asked permission from him that he might frankly tell him about the reality, saying to him: “Commander of the faithful, if you allow me to speak and be not angry with me, I will speak.” “Speak, O Ibn Abbas,” replied Umar.
“O Commander of the faithful, as for your statement, ‘Quraysh have chosen something for themselves and they are right and successful,’ it is that if Quraysh had chosen for themselves at the time when Allah chose for them, then rightness would have been in their hand, and none would have rejected and envied them. As for your statement, ‘They have refused to let the Prophethood and the (office) of the caliphate reach us,’ it is that surely Allah, the Great and Almighty, has described some people with hatred when he says: ‘That is because they hated what Allah revealed, so He rendered their deeds null’”.[^1]
Ibn Abbas hurt Umar with his words. Umar said to him: “How far, Ibn Abbas! Some things (issued) from you have come to me. I do not want to tell you about them, lest your prestige should shake near me.”
Ibn Abbas was afraid of Umar’s punishment, so he answered him softly: “What are they, O Commander of the faithful?” If they are true, they must not remove my position from you. If they are untrue, I can remove the untrue things from myself.” Umar calmed down and said: “I have heard that you said: ‘They have turned the caliphate from us out of envy, aggression, and injustice.” Ibn Abbas answered him through his great words: “Commander of the faithful, as for your statement, ‘out of injustice’, it has become clear to the [^1] Qur’an, 47, 9.
ignorant and the clement (who the unjust are). As for your statement, ‘out of envy’, it is that Adam was envied; and we are his envied children.” Umar became excited and he shouted at Ibn Abbas: “How far! How far! By Allah, O Banu Hashim, your hearts have refused all things except envy that is not removed!”
Ibn Abbas said: “Slow, Commander of the faithful! Do not describe with this the hearts of the people from whom Allah had kept away the uncleanness and purified with a thorough purifying!”[^1]
This conversation has disclosed the malice and hatred the Quraysh had harbored against Ahl al-Bayt, so they turned the office of the caliphate from them. Umar thought that they were successful in that. However, they were really not successful in that, nor did they hit the right viewpoint and reason, for their choosing resulted in that the Umayyads won the government while they were the enemies of Islam, and the terrible massacre of Kerbela was one of the results of their enmity toward Islam. That was when they commanded their military commanders to destroy and uproot Ahl al-Bayt and the progeny of Muhammad (a.s).
Accordingly, those military commanders annihilated that pure choice from among the family of Muhammad (a.s). They cut off their limbs on the hills of Kerbela’ and took the Prophet’s womenfolk as prisoners of war (to Syria). When the captives from among the family of the Prophet (a.s) arrived in Yethrib (Medina), Amr bin Sa‘eed, Yazid’s governor over Medina, happily turned to the Holy Shrine of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) and addressed him (the Prophet). He said to him: “O Allah’s Apostle, a day for the Day of Badr!”[^2] Then he went up on the pulpit of the Prophet and addressed the Muslims, saying: “O people, it is a blow for a blow and a shock for a shock! How many a sermon after a sermon; strong wisdom-but warnings do not avail!”
Before him, Yazid had said:
I do not belong to Khandaf if I do not Seek revenge on Ahmed’s children.
This was the choice of Quraysh in whom they had been successful, as they say. They wronged the Prophet’s pure family, who are equal to the Qur’an, whom the Muslims should take care of and should honor. However, to Allah we belong and to Him is our return!
[^1] Ibn al-Athir, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 24. Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 3, p. 107. [^2] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 1, p.361.
We have pondered on the events that took place during the time of Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan (a.s). History, as we have already mentioned, has mixed subjects to the extent that it is difficult for a historian to conclude the truth. However, we have concluded from those events many subjects concerning the life of Imam al-Hasan (a.s) and the time when he lived.
This book had been published twelve years ago. It was out of print and not available in market. His Eminence, great Allama, Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Naqawi, may Allah protect him, translated the book into Urdu. The book was printed in India by the Kejjhawbehar press. Many of those whom such researches concerned wanted the book to be reprinted after it had been out of print. However, I postponed that to another time, for I hoped that I had to review it. I thought that some of its chapters were in need of more explanations and details. My brother Sheikh Hadi al-Qurashi did me a favor. He willed to review and run over the book, so I found no escape from responding to him. I reviewed the first volume of it and added many chapters. Readers may find that this edition is different from the previous one due to the new additions, elegant print, wonderful ordering, and exact production for which the Adab Press is famous.
Before I end this introduction, I have to thank Hajj Muhammad Rashad Ajina for his denoting money to reprint the book. I ask Allah to grant him success in achieving his efforts and to reward him for that. Surely He undertakes success!
Baqir Shaerif al-Qurashi Holy Najaf Dhul Qi’dah 28th, 1384