The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Viii : the Ideals
High qualities and noble ideals were available in Imam Abu Muhammad (al-Hasan). The Islamic abilities, elements, and fundamentals embodied in him. According to his abilities and tendencies, he was among the human unique minds, one of the ideals of the mankind’s perfection, and among the great Muslim figures. Imam al-Hasan reached the top in his merits, achievements, genuine opinion, exalted thinking, strong fear of Allah, abundant clemency, good manners, and the like of his talents on which Muslims pride themselves. We will mention some of them as follows:
The most prominent quality in him was the Imamate, for the Imamate required ideals and abilities that were not available but in those whom Allah has chosen from among his servants. Allah had endowed him with it. The noble Prophet announced that when he said in respect of him and his brother: “Al-Hasan and al-Husayn are two Imams whether they rise or sit down.” It is necessary for us to pause to explain the meaning of the Imamate and some affairs concerning it, for they display the Imam’s high position and his great importance. We mention that here:
The meaning of the Imamate
Theologians have defined imamate saying: “Imamate is the general leadership of a human being over the affairs of the religion and the world.” Therefore the Imam, according to this definition, is the general leader and followed head who has an exclusive authority over people in respect of their religious and worldly affairs.
People are in need of Imamate
The Imamate is among the necessities of life that none is in no need of it under all circumstances. Through it the crooked regulation of the world and the religion is set right, the greatest justice Allah wants on his earth is established, security and peace among people are achieved, turmoil is repelled from them, and the strong are prevented from controlling the weak. The most important reason for the existence of an Imam is that he helps people worship Allah, spread His laws and teachings, and supply society with the spirit of faith and piety, that man may be far from evil and head for good. So it is incumbent on the community to yield to the Imam and obey his orders, that he may set right its deviation, unite it, and guide it to the straight path.
The Imam’s Duties
The Imam should do the following:
- He should keep the religion, guard Islam, and protect it from those who make light of good manners and values.
- He should carry out the religious precepts, put an end to disputes, and take the right of the oppressed from the oppressive.
- He should protect the Muslim countries from the outside invasion, whether the invasion is military or cultural like that which is in these times when some destructive doctrines have invaded our countries and tried to destroy the foundations Islam has established.
- He should administer the prescribed punishments and put an end to all the crimes that bring about unhappiness to man.
- He should fortify the borderline cities.
- He should wage the holy jihad.
- He should collect properties such as zakat, land taxes, and other affairs the Islamic law has determined.
- He should employ trustworthy persons in the government. He should not employ them out of favoritism or preference.
- He should supervise the subjects’ affairs. He should not depend on others to supervise them, for that is among the subjects’ rights on him.[^1]
- He should put an end to unemployment, spread inclusive welfare throughout the regions of the community, and save them from poverty and deprivation.
These are some affairs the Imam should put into effect. We have in detail explained these duties in our book The Administrative Regulations in Islam [^1] Al-Siyasa al-Shar‘iya, p. 7.
The Imam should have the following qualities:
- Justice in all its exclusive conditions such as refraining from committing great sins and insisting on small ones.
- Knowledge of what the community needs in all fields, the reasons of the revelation and the religious precepts.
- Sound senses such as the ears, the eyes, and the tongue, that he may through them undertake what he realizes. The other senses should have no defect.
- The opinion leading to ruling the subjects and managing the general interests.
- Courage, help, ability to protect the entity of Islam, and waging holy jihad against enemies.
- Lineage; it is that the Imam should belong to Quraysh. Al-Mawardi and Ibn Khaldun have mentioned these conditions.[^1]
- Infallibility; theologians have defined infallibility as: “It is a mercy Allah has given to the most perfect of His servants, and through which he (the Imam) refrains from committing crimes and offenses intentionally or unintentionally.” The Shia have unanimously agreed on that the Imam should be infallible, and that the proof of it is Hadith al-Thaqalayn in which Allah’s Apostle (a.s) has compared the Qur’an to his family. As the Qur’an is infallible of errors and slips, and so are the Prophet’s family; otherwise the comparison and equality between them is incorrect. We have already explained that.
None has such qualities except the Imams from Ahlul Bayt, who embraced Islam, protected it, led people to the good pleasure of Allah and to the obedience to Him. Al-Kumayt, the poet, has described them, saying:
They are close to generosity and far from the injustice in the ties of the precepts.
They give right answer to the matter over which people differ. They have established the rules of Islam. They are sufficient protectors at war when it becomes hot. They are like rain when the people suffer from drought. They are like a shelter for the nursemaid of orphans. [^1] Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniya, p. 4. Al-Muqaddama, p. 135.
They are overweighing in opinion, having perfect justice in behavior, and knowledgeable of heavy affairs. They are leaders, but they are not like those who rule people and sheep in the same way.[^1] Most surely the Imams from the Ahlul Bayt, peace be on them, have displayed their infallibility of errors and slips through their behavior and guidance. The events have proved that and indicated that they are unique in the history of mankind, for they had great merits, fear of Allah, and commitment to the religion.
The Shia have believed that the community and the influential have no right to appoint the Imam. They have also believed that electing the Imam is invalid and choosing him is impossible. Therefore, Imamate is similar to prophethood. As man has no right to find and form prophethood, he has no right in finding and forming the Imamate. That is because none knows the infallibility, which is among the qualities of the Imam, except Allah, Who knows the things hidden in souls. This has been explained and indicated by Imam al-Mehdi (a.s) through his talk with Sa’d bin Abdullah, who asked him about the reason for preventing men from electing an Imam over them. He (a.s) said to him:
-Do they (people) choose a reformer or a mischief-maker? -A reformer. -Is it possible for them to choose a mischief-maker, for none knows the righteousness or corruption comes to the mind of someone other than him? -Yes. -Shall I give you the reason through a proof that your reason trusts? Tell me about the apostles Allah had chosen, to whom He had revealed the Books, supported with inspiration and infallibility. They were the great figures of the nations and the most rightly-guided to be chosen. Examples of them are Moses and Jesus Christ. Was it possible for them, in spite of their abundant reason and perfect knowledge, to choose a hypocrite while they had thought that he was a believer? -No. -This is Moses, the one who talked with Allah. Although he had an abundant [^1] Al-Hashimiyat.
reason, perfect knowledge, and that the Revelation came down to him, he chose for the appointed place and time of his Lord, seventy men from among the leading personalities of his people and the prominent men of his troops. He had had no doubt of their faith and loyalty. However, he chose some hypocrites. Allah, the Great and Almighty, has said: “And Musa chose out of his people seventy men for Our appointment…We will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly, so the punishment overtook them.” We have found that the choice of one whom Allah had chosen for prophethood fell under the mischief-maker other than the most righteous, while he had thought that they were the righteous. So we have come to know that none has the right to choose except Him Who knows what chests and consciences hide.[^1]
Most surely man’s abilities fall short of realizing the most righteous person with whom the community is happy. Man has no right to choose him; rather Allah, Who knows hidden affairs, chooses him. This is an outline of the Imamate. Whoever wants more details about this topic finds them in the books of theology.
His Noble Morals
Some sociologist has said: “Nations contend for superiority during the condition of nomadism through strength. If they advance, they contend for superiority through science. Then if they reach an objective of progress, they contend for superiority through noble moral traits. Therefore good manners are the utmost of what man reaches in his highness, perfection, and education.” If soul is disposed by nature for noble moral traits, it is impossible for it to deviate from the straight path or selfishness replaces unselfishness or temptations and defects control it. For this reason noble moral traits are the most important elements on which individual and social life is built; likewise, they are the strongest reasons for the survival of nations, and continuation of their civilizations and originality.
Most surely the strongest cause for the appearance of the heavenly laws and the continuation of their spiritual authority is their taking care of noble moral traits, educating souls, and bringing them up with good inclinations. The Prophet took great care of them and regarded them as among the most prominent reasons for which he had been appointed as a prophet. He (a.s) has said: “I have been sent as a prophet to complete noble moral traits.” Through his noble moral traits he was able to enlighten mankind, establish the [^1] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 13, p. 127.
foundations of the civilization in the world, and to change the course of history. That was when he reconciled the hearts, united feelings and sentiments, gathered the people in the field of love and brotherhood. Because of his great manners, the Prophet was an example of the Divine mercy that fills the miserable, sad hearts with hope and mercy. He visited the poor Muslims. He visited the sick from among them. He witnessed their funerals. He responded to the invitations of those who invited him. He refused neither the invitation of a slave nor that of a poor person.[^1] When someone sat with him, he remained talking with him until that someone himself left. When someone shook hand with him, he never drew his hand from him until it was he who would release his hand. He took great care of gladdening people and avoided mistreating them.
These noble moral traits were available in Imam al-Hasan due to his inheritance from his great grandfather. History has mentioned many examples of his noble moral traits. We will mention some of them as follows:
- Some poor persons collected some pieces of bread from the streets. They put them on the ground and began eating them. Imam al-Hasan passed by them, and they invited him. He responded to them and said: “Most surely Allah does not love the arrogant!” After he had had food, he invited them. Then he entertained them and gave clothes to them.[^2] He showered them with his boons and kindness.
Humbleness is a proof on that the soul is perfect, high, and noble. It has been mentioned in the tradition: “Most surely humbleness adds to the servant (nothing) except highness; therefore, behave humbly, may Allah have mercy on you!”[^3]
While some boys were having food, Imam al-Hasan passed by them. They invited him, and he responded to them. Then he took them to his house. He showered them with his kindness and charity and said: “They have the favor, for they had nothing other than that which they give to me as food; while we find what we give to them.”[^4]
He overlooked those who mistreated him and he kindly treated them. He had a ewe. One day he came to know that the ewe’s leg was broken. He (a.s) asked his servant:
[^1] Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, vol. 2, p. 466. [^2] A‘yan al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 24. [^3] Nihayat al-Irab fi Funun al-Adab, vol. 3, p. 443. [^4] Al-Sabban, p. 176.
-Who has done that?
-I. -Why have you done that? -To grieve you! The Imam (a.s) smiled and said to him: “I will delight you!” He set him free and gave him many gifts.[^1]
- Once, he was sitting in some place. While he was going to leave, a poor man came. He welcomed the poor man and treated him with kindness. He said to him:
-You came when I was ready to leave. Do you permit me to go?
-Yes, O son of Allah’s Apostle!
Most surely respecting the rights of the one who sits with you is among the social good manners which bring about love and friendship, find cooperation and strong relationships among people. For this reason Islam has ordered and urged Muslims to cling to them. 5. There was a person from among those whom Mu’awiya made harbor hatred and malice against Ahlul Bayt. The Imam passed by the person, and he abused him several times. As for the Imam, he kept silent and refuted nothing of the person’s words. After the person had finished abusing, the Imam turned to him and addressed him with soft words. The Imam smiled at him and said: “O Sheikh, I think you are a stranger? If you ask us (for money), we will give you. If you ask us for guidance, we will guide you. If you ask us to maintain you, we will maintain you. If you are hungry, we will give you food. If you are in need, we will grant your need. If you are homeless, we will lodge you.” The Imam (a.s) went on treating the Syrian man with kindness, that he might uproot evil and enmity from him. The Syrian old man became so astonished at the Imam’s behavior that he was unable to refute the Imam’s speech. He was perplexed and ashamed. He thought of a way to apologize to the Imam and to repair his sin, so he said to the Imam: “Allah knows where He places His message!”[^2]
In this manner the Imam (a.s) was a model of noble humanity and symbol of
[^1] Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn, vol. 1, p. 147. [^2] Ibn Shahrashub, al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 149. Al-Mubarrad, al-Kamil, vol. 1, p. 190. It has been mentioned in it: “The Bedouin went away while he was saying: ‘By Allah, none on the surface of the earth is more lovable to me than he!”
great manners. Anger did not excite him, and the detested things did not bother him. He put before his eyes these words of Allah, the Exalted: “And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best, then lo! he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend.”[^1] He treated with kindness all those who mistreated him and harbored malice against him. He was patient with them and he pardoned them, to the extent that his bitter enemy, Marwan bin al-Hakam, admitted his high clemency and noble moral traits. That was when the Imam joined the Most High Comrade (Allah). Marwan hurried to carry his coffin. So Imam al-Husayn, the master of martyrs, asked him:
-Today you are carrying his coffin while yesterday you bothered him?
-I did that toward him whose clemency was equal to mountains![^2] Imam al-Hasan was similar to his grandfather, the Prophet, in his abundant clemency, great good manners, and pardoning those who mistreated him. History has mentioned many examples of his noble moral traits indicating that he was on top of the moralists and those who took part in building ethics and good manners in the world of Arabs and Muslims.
Whoever is generous, open-handed, far from all kinds of miserliness is good, has great confidence in Allah, great soul and self. Allah’s Apostle (a.s) has talked about this noble aspect, saying: “Allah loves two qualities; good manners and generosity.” He has also said: “Generosity is from faith.”
Most surely generosity indicates good heart, shows psychological merits, and displays man’s mercy and kindness. Of course generosity is so when it is done out of good and kindness, not out of reputation, praise, laudation, and other purposes which has nothing to do with kindness. History has mentioned many examples of those who gave thousands of (dinars) to those who visited them and entertained guests. However, the people quickly came to know that they performed such deeds out of affection, not out of generosity and kindness. These deeds are similar to Mu’awiya’s giving and gifts to those who visited him. Such deeds were not because of kindness; they were for buying consciences for the sake of holding the reins of government.
Most surely real generosity is doing good for good, and kindness for kindness. This high quality was available in Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan
[^1] Qur’an, 41, 34. [^2] Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 5.
(a.s) to the extent that he was given the nickname of Kareem Ahlul Bayt (the Generous One of the Prophet’s household). The Imam took this quality from his pure grandfathers, who were famous for generosity, good deeds, helping the weak, kindness to the poor and the deprived. The poet has said in respect of his ancestor:
Amr, the highest one, crumbled and sopped bread in broth for his people, while the men of Mecca were poor and lean! As for al-Hasan, he exceeded his ancestor in respect of generosity. He thought that money was insignificant and not important unless it should be used for satisfying the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the grieved, and paying the debt of a debtor. Most surely generosity was among his selfness and one of the fundamentals of his mood. It has been narrated from him that he never said “no” to a beggar. He was asked: “Why do you not refuse the request of a beggar?”[^1] He answered: “Most surely I beg Allah and desire for Him. I feel shame that I refuse (the request of a beggar) while I beg (Allah). Allah has made me used to that he showers me with His boons, and I have made Him used to that I shower the people with His boons. Therefore I fear that if I stopped the habit, He would deprive me of the habit.”
Then he began reciting:
When a beggar comes to me, I say welcome to him towards whom kindness is a quick religious duty on me. And He whose favor is a favor on all the generous; and the best days of man are when he is begged.[^2] Some poetry lines have been ascribed to him. He has composed them on generosity, saying:
Most surely generosity is a religious duty on people for Allah; it is recited in the firm Book. Allah has promised generous people His gardens, and He has prepared the Hellfire for the miserly. Whoever does not give generously is not a Muslim.
[^1] Al-Sha‘rani, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 23. Al-Qaraghuli, Jawhart al-Kalam, p. 112. [^2] Noor al-Absar.
Al-Hasan has also said: The creatures have been created through a power. Some of them are generous, and some of them are miserly. As for the generous, they are at ease. And as for the miserly, they (suffer from) long sadness.[^1] The poor and the needy crowded before Imam al-Hasan, and he showered them with his charity and gave them generously. History has mentioned many examples of his generosity. We will mention some of them here: 1. One day, a Bedouin came and begged the Imam, and the Imam (a.s) said: “Give him what is in the strongbox.” Ten thousand dirhams were in the strongbox. The Bedouin asked him: “O my master, why have you not let me mention my need and spread my praise?” The Imam answered him:
We are the people whose giving is fresh; the hopeful enjoy it.
Our souls give generously before begging, for fear that (the beggar) may lose face. If the sea came to know the excellence of our giving, it would decrease after its overflow out of shame.[^2]
- Imam al-Hasan (a.s) passed by a black boy. There was a loaf of bread before the black boy. He was eating a piece of it and giving another to his dog.
The Imam asked him:
-What has made you do that? -I feel shame when I eat without feeding it.
The Imam came to know that the black boy had the most lovable quality to him. He decided to reward him and reward his kindness with kindness. Imam al-Hasan (a.s) said to the boy: “Do not leave your place!” Then he went to the boy’s master and bought him from him. He also bought the garden where he worked and made him own it.[^3]
- One day, he walked through the streets of Medina and heard a man asking Allah to give him ten thousand dirhams. So he went home and immediately sent such an amount to the man.[^4]
[^1] Al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 156. [^2] ‘Ayan al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, pp. 89-90. [^3] Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 8, p. 38. [^4] Al-Sha‘rani, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 23. Al-Sabban, p. 177.
- Once, a man showing poverty and neediness went to the Imam. The Imam (a.s) said to the man: “This will not fit your request. It is great, as I know, that which you deserve. And it is difficult for me when my hand falls short of giving you that of which you are worthy. And the much for the sake of Allah is little. There is no fulfillment for your thankfulness in what I have. Therefore, if you accept that which available with us and relieve from us the burden of the welcome and the care, I would do.” The man said to him: “O son of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) I will accept the little and thank you for the giving and will excuse you if you do not give any.” The Imam (a.s) brought his deputy and said to him: “Bring the remainder!” The remainder was fifty thousand dirhams. He gave them to the man. The imam (a.s) was not satisfied with that. Rather, he said to his deputy: “What have you done with the five hundred dinars that were with you?” “They are with me,” replied the deputy. He ordered him to bring them. Then he gave them to the man and apologized to him.[^1]
Most surely his statement: “The much for the sake of Allah is little” indicates that this giving was for the sake of Allah, the Most High, and that he did not want any reward or thankfulness from anyone.
- Imam al-Hasan (a.s), his brother al-Husayn (a.s), and their cousin Abdullah bin Ja‘far[^2] went to the Sacred House of Allah (the Kaaba). On their way to
[^1] Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 7, p. 39. Al-Ghazali, Ihya’ al-‘Uloom, vol. 3, p. 171. In it he has added: “He (al-Hasan) said to the man: ‘Bring someone to carry these properties.’ So he brought him two porters. He (al-Hasan), peace be on him, give his garment to the two porters as a wage. Accordingly, his followers said to him: ‘O son of Allah’s Apostle, we have not any dirham!’ He, peace be on him, said to them: ‘I hope that I have a great reward with Allah!’”
[^2] Abdullah bin Ja‘far bin Abi Talib al-Hashimi- whose mother was Asma’, daughter of Umays al-Khath‘amiya-was born in al-Habasha. That was when his father emigrated to it. When his father Ja‘far was martyred, the Prophet rubbed on Abdullah’s head and said: “O Allah, compensate Ja‘far in respect of his children.” He (a.s.) has said concerning Abdullah: “He is similar to me in form and good manners.” He (a.s.) saw Abdullah selling along with some boys. So he said: “O Allah, bless his selling or his bargain!” Abdullah is among the famous, generous people. Many stories have been narrated in respect of his generosity. Concerning him Abdullah bin Qays al-Ruqayyat has said:
I was (nothing) except the like of the generous one (Abdullah) bin Ja‘far. He thought that money did not stay; so, he has retained his name. Concerning him al-Shammakh bin Dhirar has said: Most surely you, O son of Ja‘far, are the best young man and the best shelter of the night-comer. Many a guest, who comes to the district by night, finds food and the talk he likes.
Mecca, they became hungry and thirsty. Their luggage had preceded them (with the caravan). They went to a house in the desert. When they reached the house, they found none there except an old woman. They asked her for food and water. The woman responded to them out of her generous soul, saying: “Yes.”
When soul is disposed by nature for good and generosity, it gives all that which it has for exaltedness and glory. The old woman had nothing except a ewe. She brought the ewe with her own hand and said to them: “Take this ewe. Milk it, and drink the milk!” When they did that, the old woman said to them: “I appeal to you to slaughter the ewe. I am going to prepare some firewood, that you may grill it.” They did that, and the old woman prepared the wood. After they had had the food, they decided to depart and introduce themselves to the old woman, that they might reward her for her favor when they came home. They said to her: “O servant of Allah, we are some people from Quraysh. We are going to make the pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah. When we safely come back, come to us, that we may reward you for this favor.”
Then they went away. When the sun went down, the old woman’s husband came as usual. The old woman told him about the story, and he became angry for they had nothing except that ewe. As a result he said to her: “Woe unto you! Why did you ordered the ewe to be slaughtered for some people whom you had not known? Then you say that they are from Quraysh!”
The time passed. One year passed, and another one came. A strong crisis befell the desert. The sky had prevented its rain from coming down, to the extent that the sources of livelihood were over. Accordingly, the old woman and her husband left the desert and resided in Medina. They could find no work to live with except collecting dung from streets and roads. They adopted that as a job. One day, while they were practicing their work, Imam al-Hasan (a.s) saw the old woman and recognized her. It was time for him to reward her for her favor. He (a.s) ordered his servants to bring her. When she stood before him, he (a.s) asked her:
-Have you recognized me, O servant of Allah? -No.
Abdullah bin Ja‘far died in the year eighty A. H. The year when he died was called the Year of the Flood. That was because a flood happened in Mecca. The flood swept away the pilgrims and the camels carrying cargoes. This has been mentioned in the book al-Isaba, vol. 2, pp. 289-290.
-I was among your guests on the year so-and-so! -I have not recognized you! -If you have not recognized me, then I have recognized you.
Then Imam al-Hasan (a.s) ordered his servants to buy her a thousand sheep and give a thousand dinars to her. He (a.s) ordered one of his servants to take her to his brother al-Husayn (a.s) and to make him recognize her. The servant took her. When she came in, al-Husayn (a.s) recognized her. He asked the servant: “How much did my brother give to her?” The servant told him about his brother’s giving, and he (a.s) gave her money equal to that which his brother had given to her. Then al-Husayn sent the old woman to Abdullah bin Ja‘far. When she came in to him, he ordered a thousand sheep and a thousand dinars to be given to her. The old woman took all those things and went away.[^1] Her condition changed from abject poverty into riches and wealth. All that happened due to al-Hasan’s charity and favor.
One day, Imam al-Hasan (a.s) bought a garden from the Ansar for four hundred thousand (dinars). He heard that they were in need of that which was in the hand of the people, so he returned the garden to them.[^2] Most surely saving these people from the abasement of begging and returning their honor to them was the best kind of munificence and the highest rank of generosity.
Once, his slave girl greeted him with a bouquet of basil, and he (a.s) said to her: “You are free for the sake of Allah!” Anas blamed him for that, and he (a.s) said to him: “Allah has brought us up when He has said: And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better (greeting) than it or return it. The better than it is releasing her.”[^3]
Marwan bin al-Hakam said: “I am interested in al-Hasan’s mule. Who can bring it to me?” Ibn Abi Ateeq said to him:
-I will bring it to you provided that you should grant me thirty needs. -I will grant that.
Ibn Abi Ateeq said to Marwan: “When the people gather before you tonight, I will mention the achievements of Quraysh and refrain from mentioning those of al-Hasan. Blame me for that.” When the people gathered, Ibn Ateeq began
[^1] Al-Ghazali, Ihya’ al-‘Uloom, vol. 3, p. 173. Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 7, p. 39. [^2] Al-Sabban, p. 176. [^3] Al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 23.
mentioning the laudable deeds of Quraysh and refrained from mentioning those of Imam al-Hasan (a.s). Marwan said to him: “Why have you not mentioned the merits of Abu Muhammad (al-Hasan) while he has in this respect that which none of us has?” Ibn Abi Ateeq said: “We have mentioned the nobility. If we had mentioned the prophets, we would have mentioned the merits of Abu Muhammad (al-Hasan)” When the Imam (a.s) went out, Ibn Abi Ateeq followed him. When al-Hasan (a.s) looked at him, he smiled at him and came to know of the purpose for his praising. He (a.s) asked him: “Do you have a need?” “Yes,” he replied, “I have remembered the mule.” The Imam (a.s) dismounted it and gave it to him.[^1]
Some man asked the imam (a.s) to give him some thing, and he (a.s) said to him: “Most surely begging is not right but in a heavy debt or abject poverty or blood money.” “I have come for one of them,” replied the man. The Imam (a.s) ordered one hundred dinars to be given to him. Then the man went to al-Husayn (a.s) and asked him as he asked his brother, and he gave him ninety-nine dinars, for he hated to be equal to his brother in giving. Then the man went to Abdullah bin Umar and asked him for money. Abdullah gave him seven dinars, and he said to him: “I had gone to al-Hasan and al-Husayn.” He related to him what had happened between them, so Ibn Umar said to him: “Woe unto you! Do you want to make me equal to them. They have been supplied with knowledge and money.”[^2]
When he (a.s) bought a garden from people, and they became in need of the garden, he returned it to them or along with the cost. [^3]
A poor man went to him. The poor man complained to him of his condition. On that day, the Imam had no money. He found the affair difficult and felt shy of refusing the request of the poor man. He (a.s) said: “Most surely I will guide you to something from which you get good.” “What is it, O son of Allah’s Apostle?” asked the poor man. He (a.s) said: “Go to the Caliph. His daughter has died and he has showed sorrow at her death. He has never heard an eloquent consolation from anyone. Therefore, condole him with these words, and you will get good from him.” “O son of Allah’s Apostle,” retorted the poor man, “make me memorize them.” The Imam (a.s) said: “Say to him: ‘Praise belongs to Allah, Who has covered her through your sitting by her grave and not violated her through her sitting by your grave.” The poor man memorized these words and went to the Caliph. He condoled him with
[^1] Al-Mubarrad, al-Kamil, vol. 2, p. 13. [^2] Ibn Qutayba, ‘Uyun al-Akhbar, vol. 3, p. 140. [^3] Al-Sha‘rani, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 23.
these words. The Caliph became happy, so he ordered a gift to be given to the poor man. Then he asked him: -Do these words belong to you? -No, they belong to Imam al-Hasan. -You are right, for he is the origin of eloquence. Then he ordered another gift to be given to him.[^1]
Biographers have mentioned many examples of Imam al-Hasan’s charity and kindness to the poor, that he might save them from neediness and poverty and make them lead a life of ease and welfare. All the charities that the Imam rendered were for the sake of Allah. They were not mixed with any other purpose. He had given the poor gifts and charities before they mentioned their needs, praise, and laudation, lest they should lose face.
His Worship and Fear of Allah
Whenever man knows Allah more, his faith, obedience, and love for Him increases, and he makes every effort to make him closer to Him. As for Imam al-Hasan, he was supplied with genuine knowledge, original faith, and real religion. His ideals were impressed in his inner self. Accordingly, he was the best of all people in faith, loyalty and obedience to Allah. Narrators have talked about his obedience, saying: “During all the times he was seen mentioning Allah continuously.[^2] When he remembered the Paradise and the Fire, he became disordered as one stung by a scorpion did. He asked Allah for the Garden and sought refuge with Him from the Fire. When he remembered death and the resurrection after it, he wept bitterly.[^3] When he remembered the stand before Allah, he sobbed and fainted.[^4] He was the best of people in learning a lesson from death. When he attended a funeral ceremony, he became calm for several days. When a neighbor of his died, he wailed and lamented as those in the house of the dead one did.[^5] ” These affairs indicate his great obedience to Allah and his fear of Him. We will mention some aspects of his worship as follows:
[^1] Noor al-Absar, p. 111. [^2] Al-Saduq, al-Amali, p. 108. [^3] A‘yan al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 11. [^4] Al-Saduq, al-Amali, p. 108. [^5] Warim, Majjmu‘a, p. 317.
His Ritual Ablution and Prayers
When Imam al-Hasan wanted to perform the ritual ablution, his condition changed, and he had strong fear, to the extent that he turned pale and he shook allover with fear. He was asked about the reason for that, and he answered: “It is incumbent on one who stands before the Lord of the Throne to shake allover (with fear) and turn pale.”
When he had finished performing the ritual ablution and wanted to enter the mosque, he said loudly: “O Allah, Your guest is at Your gate! O Good-doer, the evil-doer has come to You! Therefore, overlook the bad that I have through the good that You have! O Generous!”[^1] When he intended to perform his prayers, submission, reverence, and fear appeared on his face, to the extent that he shook allover.[^2] When he finished the Morning Prayer, he said noting except the remembrance of Allah until the sun rose.[^3]
His Performing the Hajj
An example of his worship, his great loyalty and obedience to Allah is that he performed the hajj to the Kaaba on foot for twenty-five times, while the good horses were driven before him.[^4] He was asked about the number of the pilgrimages he made to Mecca on foot, and he answered: “I feel shame of my Lord when I do not go on foot to His House!”[^5]
Reciting the Qur’an
Imam al-Hasan carefully recited the Qur’an. When he recited a verse addressing the believers, he said: “Here I am! O Allah, here I am!”[^6] Each night he recited the Sura of al-Kahf.[^7]
**Giving his Properties as Alms ** For the pleasure of Allah, the Imam sacrificed all his expensive and precious possessions. He gave the land taxes of his properties twice. For the sake of Allah he made the people equally shared him his properties three times, to the extent that he gave his pair of sandals and retained another.[^8]
[^1] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 93. Al-Saduq, al-Amali, p. 108. Roudat al-Wa‘izeen. [^2] Al-Saduq, al-Amali, p. 108. [^3] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 93. [^4] Al-Lum‘a, Chapter on Hajj and the Shi‘ite great Figures. It was said that he performed the hajj for ten or fifteen times. In his book al-Amali, al-Saduq has mentioned that Imam al-Hasan might go bare-footed to the House of Allah. [^5] A‘yan al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 11. [^6] Al-Saduq, al-Amali, p. 108. [^7] Ibn Kuthayr, Tarikh, vol. 8, p. 37. [^8] Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 2, p. 13. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 94.
Imam al-Hasan refused all the pleasures of life. He renounced worldly pleasures and comforts. He headed for the Everlasting Abode that Allah has prepared for the pious from among his servants. He (a.s) has talked about his renouncing the world and his satisfaction with the little, saying:
Most surely a piece of bad bread satisfies me, and a drink of water suffices me.
A piece of thin cloth suffices me when alive, and when I die it is enough for me as a shroud.[^1] He engraved in his ring two verses of poetry indicating his great asceticism: Perform for yourself piety as far as possible, Most surely death will befall you, O man! You have become happy as if you had not seen that your beloved ones were Decayed in the cemeteries.[^2]
He always recited this poetry:
O you who enjoy the worldly pleasures which do not last; most surely the Deception in a transient shade is foolishness.[^3] The following poetry in respect of the deceived by the world and who are fond of it are ascribed to him:
Say to him who is resident in other than the abode of residence:
It is time for you to see off the beloved ones. Those whom you met and with whom you associated have become earth in the graves.[^4] Among the aspects of his asceticism is that which has been narrated by Mudrik bin Ziyad, who has said: “We were in the gardens of Ibn Abbas. Al-Hasan, al-Husayn, and al-Abbas’s sons came and walked through the garden. Then they sat down at the banks of a brook. Al-Hasan said: ‘O Mudrik, do you have any food?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. Then I fetched him some bread, salt, and two bundles of vegetables. He ate some of it and said: ‘O Mudrik, what delicious this food is!’”
[^1] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 94. [^2] Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, vol. 4, p. 219. [^3] Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusool al-Muhimma, p. 162. [^4] Al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 145.
After that, the food was brought. The food was delicious and good. However Imam al-Hasan (a.s) turned to Mudrik and asked him to call the boys and give the food to them. Mudrik invited them. They ate some of the food, but the Imam did not eat anything of it. Mudrik asked him: “Why do you not eat any?” He (a.s) said: “That food was more lovable to me[^1] , for it is the food of the poor and the deprived.”
Yet another example of his asceticism is that he renounced the authority for Allah’s pleasure and for fear that the Muslims’ blood would be shed. About the Imam’s asceticism, Muhammad bin Babawayh al-Qummi[^2] has written a book and called it Zhud al-Hasan (the Asceticism of al-Hasan). The biographers have unanimously agreed on that Imam al-Hasan was the most ascetic and best of all the people with the exception of his grandfather and his father.