The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
His Dignity and Veneration
Imam al-Hasan’s personality filled the eyes and dominated the hearts due to the fact that all the elements of the prophethood and the Imamate gathered in him, and the dignity of the Prophet presented itself in him. Wasil bin Ataa’[^3] has narrated: “The signs of the prophets and glory of kings appeared on the face of al-Hasan.”[^4]
Ibn al-Zubayr has said: “By Allah, women have never born anyone similar to al-Hasan bin Ali in dignity and is high position.”[^5]
[^1] Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, vol. 4, p. 212. [^2] Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Husayn bin Musa bin Babawayh al-Qummi is among the great Shi‘ite figures and head of the traditionists. None among the people of Qum was similar to him in his memorizing and abundant knowledge. He was the teacher of al-Sheikh al-Mufid. He has written three hundred books. He died in al-Ray, in the year 381 A. H. This has been mentioned in the book al-Kuna wa al-Alqab, vol. 1, p. 212. [^3] Wasil bin Ataa’ al-Basri was a declamatory, eloquent theologian. He lisped the letter r. It has been narrated from him that he abandoned and avoided the letter r during his orations. It has been said in respect of him:
He changed al-bir (wheat) into qamh (wheat) during his adaptation And he opposed al-raa’, to the extent that he employed tricks in poetry.
He was not able (to pronounce the word) matar (rain), so he sought protection with al-ghayth (rain) out of fear (of saying the word) al-matar. He has written several books of which are: Asnaf al-Murji’a, al-Tawba, and Ma‘ani al-Qur’an. He had doubt about the justice of those who took part at the Battle of al-Jamal. He was the Sheikh of the Mu‘tazilites and was among their great figures. He was born in Yathrib (Medina) in the year 80 AH. He died in the year 131 A. H. This has been mentioned in the book Lisan al-Mizan, vol., 6, p. 214.
[^4] A‘yan al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 12. Al-Manaqibin [^5] Ibn Kuthayr, Tarikh, vol. 8, p. 37.
Imam al-Hasan was so dignified that some rugs were spread at the door of his house. When he went out and sat down, none would walk through the street because all the people sat down out of admiration and respect for him. When he noted that, he entered his house.[^1] Imam al-Hasan was so solemn and he had a great social rank in the souls of Muslims. When he and his brother al-Husayn passed by some riders during their going to make the hajj to the Kaaba, the riders dismounted as a sign of admiration and respect for them. The masses of hajjis found it difficult to perform the hajj on foot. So they talked to Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas in this respect, and he went to Imam al-Hasan and said to him: “O Abu Muhammad, the hajjis have found it difficult to perform the hajj on foot. When they see you, they are not pleased with riding their camels. If you please ride (a camel) as a sign of showing mercy towards them”
The Imam answered: “We will not ride, for we have made a covenant with Allah that we go to His House on foot, but we will avoid the public way.”[^2] Imam al-Hasan put on an excellent garment, rode a brisk mule, and walked through a street of Yathrib. His holy face shone with light. His servants and retinue surrounded him. A stupid Jew saw him and said to him:
-O son of Allah’s Apostle, I have a question. -What is it?
-Your grandfather, Allah’s Apostle (a.s) has said: “The world is the prison of a believer and garden of an unbeliever!” You are a believer and I am unbeliever. The world is but a garden for you. You enjoy it, while you are a believer. As for me, it is just a prison; its heat has destroyed me; and its poverty has exhausted me. - In the hereafter Allah has prepared for me and believers things of which no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and that which has not come to someone’s mind. If you looked at that, you would come to know that I had been in prison during this condition and before my moving to it. And if you looked at that which Allah had prepared for you and the unbelievers in the hereafter such as the flame of the Hellfire, severe, everlasting, and painful chastisement, you would see that you were in a wide garden and an inclusive blessing.[^3] Then the Imam went away, while the Jew was bursting with rage and malice.
[^1] A‘lam al-Wara fi A‘lam al-Huda, p. 125. [^2] Al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 142. A‘yan al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 20. [^3] Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusool al-Muhimma, p. 161.
A stupid, spiteful person saw the Imam’s veneration and dignity, and then he said to him: “You have greatness (haughtiness)!” The Imam answered him, saying: “I have might (honor)!” Then he recited these words of Him, the Exalted: “And to Allah belongs the might and to His Apostle and to the believers.[^1] ”[^2]
Al-Hasan was similar to his grandfather the Prophet (a.s) in his veneration, righteousness, and noble natures.
His Scientific Talents
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) was from the sources of intellect, and the founts of wisdom and knowledge in Islam. He practically and positively had participated in forming the human reason and developing the scientific and intellectual life in his age. It was narrated that, ‘Al-Hasan and al-Husayn poured knowledge…’[^3] Biographers agreed that Imam al-Hasan (a.s) was from the authorities of fatwas in the Islamic world. The Prophet’s companions crowded to listen to his speech and ladle from his sciences. Many narrators narrated from him. We will talk about this matter in one of the following chapters. The wonderful scientific heritage transmitted from his is the best proof on his abundant knowledge.
His good Style and Eloquence
All the perfect qualities presented themselves in Imam Abu Muhammad (al-Hasan), and his noble personality was distinguished by them. From among his wonderful qualities was eloquence and good style in speech. He (a.s) was the most skillful of the eloquent in saying correct speeches during the ceremonies, the ablest of them in abridgement, inimitability, and creativity of speech. Indeed he was such, for he branched from the tree of the good style, eloquence, and sound judgment. His grandfather, Allah’s Apostle (a.s) was the most eloquent of those who spoke Arabic, and his father, Imam Ali, was the master of the eloquent and eloquence.
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) was similar to his father in his good style and eloquence. He (a.s) has left behind him an excellent inheritance and eloquent, wise sayings containing the principles of social morals, advice, guidance, and immortal preachments. They have been inlaid with pretty pronunciation and high meaning. We will mention some of them.
[^1] Qur’an, 63, 8. [^2] Al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 149. [^3] An-Nihaya by Ibnul Atheer.
Imam Ali (a.s) asked al-Hasan some questions related to the principles of morals and virtues, and he (a.s) answered him with spontaneous intuitions and thoughts. His answers were among the signs of eloquence and inimitability. Imam Ali: O my little son, what is rightness? Al-Hasan: O father, rightness is repelling evil deeds with good deeds.
-What is honor? -It is choosing a tribe and avoiding guilt. -What is manhood? -It is chastity, and that man should set right his property. -What is vice? -It is looking into the small and preventing the insignificant. -What is meanness? -Man heaps up money for himself and degrades his honor.[^1] -What is munificence? -It is giving generously in good days and bad days. -What is stinginess? -It is that you see what is in your hand as an honor and what you spend as waste. -What is brotherhood? -It is loyalty during hardship and ease. -What is cowardice? -It is audacity toward the friend and recoiling from the enemy. -What is gain? -It is the wish for piety and renouncing the world. -What is clemency? -It is suppressing rage and controlling self. -What is riches? -It is that the soul is satisfied with what Allah apportions even if it is little, for riches is that of the soul. -What is poverty? -It is that the soul is greedy toward all things.
[^1] Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 7, p. 39. -What is power?
-It is strong courage and fighting with strong people. -What is humiliation? -It is the fear during telling the truth. -What is boldness? -It is the agreement with the associates. -What is hardship? -It is that you speak in respect of that which does not concern you. -What is glory? -It is that you should pay debt and pardon (someone’s) sin. -What is reason? -It is that it memorizes all that which you want it to memorize. -What is foolishness? -It is that you show enmity toward your Imam and raise your voice before him. -What is laudation? -It is that you do favors and give up the ugly. -What is determination? -It is patience, leniency toward governors, and caution of people through mistrust. -What is honor? -It is the agreement with brothers (friends). -What is impudence? -It is following the mean and making friends with the misguided. -What is inattentiveness? -It is that you abandon the mosque and obey the mischief-maker. -What is deprivation? -It is that you refuse your luck when it is put before you. -What is a master? -A master is he who takes care of the affairs of the tribe.[^1]
The soul stands perplexed before these spontaneous answers of Imam al-Hasan. He answered without affection. He has knowledge of the meaning of [^1] Ibn Kuthayr, Tarikh, vol. 8, p. 39.
these important questions. Therefore, the soul cannot but admires. It has a good impression, admits this greatness, and yields to these scientific talents.
Noble Moral Traits
Jabir has said: “I have heard al-Hasan (a.s) saying: ‘Noble moral traits are ten. They are the truthfulness of a tongue, the truthfulness of courage, giving to the beggar, good manners, the reward for a favor, retaining kinship, protecting the neighbor, regarding the right of a friend, entertaining a guest, and the head of them is modesty.” [^1] One day Mu’awiya turned to Imam al-Hasan (a.s) and said to him:
-O Abu Muhammad, I have found none to give me an answer about three qualities. -What are they?
-manhood, generosity, and courage. -As for manhood, it is that man should set right the affair of his religion, undertake his properties well, spread al-salaam (greetings), and show affection to people. As for generosity, it is that man should give before he is asked, do favor willingly, and give food at the appropriate time. As for courage, it is that man should defend his neighbor, resist during a misfortune, and be patient during hardships. A man came to Imam al-Hasan and asked him:
-O son of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) who is the best of people? -He who takes people as partners in his livelihood. -Who is the wickedest of people? -He who takes none as partner in his livelihood.[^2]
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) has said: “Three (vices) destroy people: haughtiness, greediness, and envy. As for haughtiness, it destroys the religion; and Iblis was cursed because of it. As for greediness, it is the enemy of soul; and because of it Adam was taken out of the Garden. As for envy, it is the pioneer
[^1] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 201. [^2] Ibid., p. 202.
of evil deeds; and because of it Qabil (Cain) killed Habil (Abel).”[^1] Without doubt these vices, which Imam al-Hasan has urged people to avoid and of whose damages he has given some examples, are the origins of crimes and mothers of vices.
Urging to seek Knowledge
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) has said to his children: “Seek knowledge, for you are the young of the people and their grown-ups tomorrow. Whoever of you does not memorize, then he must write down.”[^2] He (a.s) has said: “Teach people and learn the knowledge of other than you, and then you must master your knowledge and have known what you had not known.”[^3] He (a.s) has said: “A good question is the half of knowledge.”[^4]
The Excellence of Reason
He (a.s) has said: “Whoever has no reason has no good manners. Whoever has no determination has no cordiality. Whoever has no religion has no modesty. The head of reason is associating with people in a good manner. The happiness in the two abodes (this world and the hereafter) are obtained through reason; whoever is deprived of reason is deprived of them all.” [^5]
The Excellence of the Qur’an
He (a.s) has said: “Most surely the Qur’an has the lamps of light and cure of hearts; therefore, man should purify his heart with it and tie this quality to his heart, for thinking gives life to heart endowed with insight just as one walks through the shadows of darkness using light.”[^6] Supplication He (a.s) has said: “When Allah, the Great and Almighty, opens for someone the door to request, He does not close the door to response. When He opens for someone the door to deed, he does not close the door to acceptance. When He opens to someone the door to giving thanks, He does not close the door to an increase.”[^7]
[^1] Noor al-Absar, p. 110. [^2] Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusool al-Muhimma, p. 142. [^3] Al-Ithna ‘Ashariya, p. 37. [^4] Noor al-Absar, p. 110. [^5] A‘yan al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 88. [^6] Kashf al-Ghumma, p. 171. [^7] A‘yan al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 88.
Someone asked Imam al-Hasan about his viewpoint of politics, and he answered him: “Politics is that you should take care of Allah’s rights, the rights of the living, and the rights of the dead. As for Allah’s rights, they are that you should perform what He has commanded, and refrain from what He has prohibited. As for the rights of the living, they are that you should fulfill your obligations towards your brothers. You should not fall short of serving your community. You should be loyal to the ruler as long as he is loyal to his community, and shout at the top of your voice when he deviates from the straight path. As for the rights of the dead, they are that you should mention their good deeds and overlook their evil deeds, for they have the Lord Who will reckon them.”[^1]
Mu’awiya asked Imam al-Hasan:
-What is obligatory on us in respect of our authority? -That which Sulayman bin Dawud (Prophet Solomon) has said. -What has Sulayman said?
-He has said to a companion of his: “Did you know what is obligatory on the king in respect of his power? He should fear Allah secretly and openly. He should be just during anger and pleasure. He should economize during poverty and riches. He should not take the properties by force, nor should he spend them wastefully.”[^2]
This is the correct policy. If rulers followed it, they would remain forever, and peoples would lead a life of ease and comfort. Imam al-Hasan (a.s) stated these valuable opinions before his opponent Mu’awiya for the sake of public interests, that his opponent might follow the light of the truth.
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) has said: “Shall I tell you about a friend who was the greatest of people in my sight? The head of that which made him great in my sight was that the world was insignificant in his sight. He was away from the power of his stomach. He had no desire for the unlawful, nor did he heap up what he found. He was outside the authority of ignorance, so he did not stretch out a hand unless he was sure that it was for a profit. He did not complain nor did he grumble. He always kept silent. When he spoke, he surpassed and overcame the speakers. He was weak and was deemed as weak.
[^1] Al-‘Urfan Magazine, vol. 40, part 3. [^2] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 202.
When seriousness came, he was a running lion. When scientists gathered, he listened more than he spoke. When his speech was overcome, his silence was not overcome. He did not say what he did not do, nor did he do what he did not say. When two affairs occurred to him, and he did not know which of them was nearer to the truth, he pondered on the closer of them to his desire and he opposed it. He did not blame anyone for anything for which he might apologize. He said nothing unless he saw a just judge and witness.”[^1]
He (a.s) has said to a son of his: “O my little son, do not make friends with anyone unless you know his manners. The close one is he whom affection makes close, and the far one is he whom affection makes far even if his lineage is close.” A man asked him to make friends with him and sit with him, and he (a.s) said to him: “Beware of praising me, for I am more knowledgeable of my self than you are. Beware of accusing me of lying, for a liar has no opinion. Be ware of backbiting someone in my presence.” Accordingly, the man said: “Permit me to go away!” He said to him: “Yes, if you wish.”[^2]
Munificence and good Deeds
While Imam al-Hasan (a.s) was circumambulating the Kaaba, a man asked him about the meaning of “generous one”. He answered him, saying: “Most surely your speech has two meanings: If you are asking about the creature, then the generous one is he who performs what has been made obligatory on him, and the miser is he who withholds from performing what has been made obligatory on him. And if you are asking about the Creator, then He is Generous if He gives, and He is Generous if He deprives. If He gives a servant something, He gives him that which does not belong to him, and if He deprives him, He deprives him of something which does not belong to him.”[^3] He (a.s) has said: “The good deed is that which is not preceded by postponement and not followed by reminding, and the giving before asking is the greatest kind of righteousness.”[^4]
[^1] Ibn Qutayba, ‘Uyun al-Akhbar, vol. 2, p. 55. Others have mentioned it in a different expression. [^2] Tuhaf al-‘Uqool, p. 55. [^3] Majjma‘ al-Bahrain, Chapter on Munificence. [^4] A‘yan al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 88.
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) has said: “Miserliness includes bad deeds and defects, and cuts off affection from hearts.” He (a.s) was asked about miserliness, and he answered: “Miserliness is that man regards what he spends as wastefulness and what he withholds as honor.”[^1]
**Humbleness ** He (a.s) has said: “The most knowledgeable one of his brothers’ rights and the best in carrying them out is the best of them to Allah. Whoever shows humbleness toward his brothers in this world is near Allah among the very truthful and among the followers of Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s).”[^2] Relying on Allah It was said to him: “Abu Tharr often said: ‘Poverty is more lovable to me than riches and illness is more lovable to me than well-being.’ He said: ‘May Allah have mercy on Abu Tharr. As for me, I say: ‘Whoever relies on Allah’s good choosing does not desire for a condition other than that which Allah has chosen for him.”[^3]
The people of Basra sent a letter to Imam al-Hasan (a.s) and asked him to give his viewpoint about compulsion[^4] , and he (a.s) replied: “Whoever does not believe in Allah, His decree, and His determination is an unbeliever. Whoever ascribes his own sin to his Lord is dissolute. Most surely Allah is not obeyed unwillingly, nor is He disobeyed out of overcoming. He possesses what He has made them possess and the Powerful over that which He has
[^1] Nihayat al-Irab fi Funun al-Adab, vol. 3, p. 398. [^2] Warram, Majjmu‘a, p. 312. [^3] Ibn Kuthayr, Tarikh, vol. 8, p. 39. [^4] The research on compulsion (jabr) and authorization (tafwidh) is among the most important and difficult theologian problems. In respect of them the scientists’ viewpoints are disorderly and different. The thought of compulsion (jabr) was famous in Basra because of al-Hasan al-Basri and Abu al-Hasan al-Ash‘ri, the grandson of Abu Musa al-Ash‘ri. Generally speaking, the thought of compulsion (jabr) is that the action issues from a servant is not created by him or her; rather it is created by Allah, the Most High. The servant’s intention and ability have nothing to do with finding action whether it issues from him willingly or unwillingly. Aayat Allah, professor, Sayyid Abu al-Qasim al-Khu’i, may Allah have mercy on him, has fully discussed the subject matter. He has indicated that compulsion (jabr) and authorization (tafwidh) are corrupt. He has established that the intermediate position, which the Shi‘ites maintain, is correct. I (the author) have written what he, may Allah have mercy on him, has mentioned in a separate book.
made powerful. Therefore if they act with obedience, He does not come between them and what they do. If they do not do, then it is not He Who compels them to do that. If Allah compelled the creation to obey Him, then He would drop from them reward, and if he compelled them to disobey Him, then he would drop from them punishment. If he neglected them, then there would be feebleness in His capability. But He has in them the will He has made absent from them. Therefore if they performed the acts of obedience, then He did a kindness for them, and if they performed the acts of disobedience, then He had the proof against them.”[^1]
Fear of Allah
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) has said: “Most surely Allah has not created you in vain, nor will He vainly leave you. He has determined your terms of death and apportioned among you your livelihoods, that every owner of a position may come to know his position, and that what He decrees for him befalls him, and what He turns away from him does not befall him. He has sufficed you the burden of the world, given you free time to worship Him, urged you to thank Him, made obligatory on you remembering Him, commanded you to fear Him, and made the fear of Him the utmost of His pleasure. Fear of Allah is a door to all kinds of repentance, head of wisdom, and honor of deeds. Through the fear of Allah the Allah-fearing have succeeded. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has said: ‘Surely for those who guard (against evil) is achievement.’ [^2] And He has said: ‘And Allah shall deliver those who guard (against evil) with their achievement; evil shall not touch them, nor shall they grieve.’[^3] Therefore, fear Allah, O servants of Allah. You should know that whoever fears Allah, Allah will find for him a way to get out of discords. He will direct him in respect of his affairs, prepare for him guidance, and make him successful in his proof. He will whiten his face, give him his wish to be with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly companion are they.”[^4]
Preaching and Guidance
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) has said: “O son of Adam, refrain from the things made prohibited by Allah, and you are a worshiper. Be satisfied with what Allah apportions, and you are rich. Neighbor well those who neighbor you, and you
[^1] Rasa’il Jamharat al-‘Arab, vol. 2, p. 25. [^2] Qur’an, 78, 31. [^3] Ibid., 39, 61. [^4] Tuhaf al-‘Uqool, p. 55.
are a Muslim. Associate with people in the same manner you want them to associate with you, and you are just. The people before you collected (money) very much, built houses, and hoped for the far-fetched things, but their collecting has become waste, their deeds have become vainglory, and their graves have become their houses. O son of Adam, you have demolished your lifetime since you were born. Therefore give generously from that which is in your hands. A believer makes provision, and an unbeliever enjoys.” After this speech of his, Imam al-Hasan, used to recite these Qur’anic verse: And make provision, for surely piety is the best (kind) of provision.[^1]
And he (a.s) has said: “O servants of Allah, fear Allah, be earnest in requesting (good deeds), and hurry to (perform good) deeds before death, for the ease in the world does not last, the tragedies wherein can come anytime, and the evil deeds wherein are not avoided. It (the world) is a changeable deception and an inclined pillar. Therefore, O servants of Allah, learn from the lessons, take an example from the Prophetic traditions, be restrained by the favors, and make use of the sermons. Sufficient for a place of protection and helper is Allah! Sufficient for an arguer and opponent is the Book! Sufficient for a reward is the Garden! And sufficient for punishment and harm is the Fire!”[^2]
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) consoled a man for the death of a relative of his. He said to him: “If this misfortune brought about a lesson to you and made you gain a reward, then it is good and well; otherwise your misfortune in respect of your own self is greater than your misfortune in respect of your dead one.”[^3]
A rich man went to Imam al-Hasan and said to him: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, I am afraid of death.” “That is because you have delayed your property,” replied the Imam (a.s) “if you advanced it, then you were pleased to follow it.”[^4] Imam al-Hasan (a.s) passed by some people playing and laughing on the day of Eid al-Fitr. He (a.s) stopped, turned to them, and said: “Allah has regarded the month of Ramadan as a field where His creatures compete with each other for obeying Him to obtain his pleasure. Some people preceded and succeeded. Some other people fell short and failed. Therefore, I fully wonder at one who laughs and plays on the day when good-doers are rewarded, and evil-doers
[^1] Qur’an, 2, p. 197. [^2] Tuhaf al-‘Uqool, p. 56. [^3] Warm, Majjmu‘a, p. 411. [^4] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 202.
lose. By Allah, if the cover (between them and the unseen) was removed, they came to know that the good-doer is busy performing his good deeds, and the evil-doer is busy performing his evil deeds.” Then he (a.s) left them and went away.[^1] He (a.s) has said: “I advise you to fear Allah and think continually, for thinking is the father of the free and the slave.” He (a.s) has said: “Whoever knows Allah loves Him, and whoever knows the world renounces it. A believer does not play lest he (or she) should become inattentive. When he (or she) thinks, he (or she) becomes sad.”[^2] He (a.s) passed by a dead person prepared for burial and said: “Most surely the affair whose end is this, its beginning is worthy of renunciation. And the affair whose beginning is this, it is appropriate (for one) to fear its end.”[^3]
He (a.s) has said: “People are in the abode of inattention and heedlessness. They work but they do not know. When they reach the hereafter, they will reach the true abode where they know but they do not work.”[^4]
He (a.s) has said: “Do not strive for livelihood with the striving of the victor, and do not rely on fate with the reliance of the submissive. Seeking livelihood is recommended, and moderation in respect of seeking livelihood is of chastity. Chastity does not repel livelihood, nor does greediness bring it about, for livelihood is apportioned, and using greediness is similar to using sins.”[^5] Mosques He (a.s) has said: “Whoever frequently goes to mosques obtains eight qualities: a firm (clear) verse, useful brotherhood, original knowledge, expected mercy, a word leading him to guidance or preventing him from misguidance, and giving up sins out of shyness or fear.”[^6]
[^1] Jaami‘ al-Sa‘adat, vol. 3, p. 376. Tuhaf al-‘Uqool, p. 56. Warm, Majjmu‘a, p. 54. [^2] Warm, Majjmu‘a, p. 37. [^3] Al-Jahiz, al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi‘, p. 256. [^4] Al-Ithna ‘Ashariya, p. 37. [^5] Tuhaf al-‘Uqool, p. 55. [^6] Ibn Qutayba, ‘Uyoon al-Akhbar, vol. 3, p. 3.
The manners of Having Food
He (a.s) has said: “Washing the hands before having food removes poverty, and after it removes worry.”[^1] He (a.s) has said: “There are twelve qualities in respect of having food. It is incumbent upon a Muslim to know them. Four of them are obligatory, four are recommended, and four are moral. As for the obligatory qualities, they are: knowledge, satisfaction, saying “in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”, and giving thanks. As for the recommended ones, they are: performing the ritual ablution before having food, sitting on the left side, eating with three fingers, and licking the fingers. As for the moral ones, they are: eating from the food which is in front of you, making the bite small, chewing it well, and little looking at the people’s faces.”[^2]
Devotion to the Ahlul Bayt
A man said to Imam al-Hasan: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, I am from your Shia.” The Imam (a.s) said: “O servant of Allah, if you obey our commands and prohibitions, then you are truthful. If you are contrary to that, then do not increase your sins through claiming a high position to which you are not entitled. Do not say that you are among our Shiaites; rather say that you are among those who support us, show love for us, and show enmity toward our enemies, and you are in good and will be to good (end).”[^3]
Warning against those who distort Allah’s Book
He (a.s) has said: “O people, whoever is loyal to Allah and uses His words as a guide for guidance toward that which is the most straight, Allah grants him success for guidance and show him the way to good. The neighbor of Allah is safe and guarded, and his enemy is fearful and deserted. Therefore guard against Allah through remembering Him too much, fear Allah through piety, and seek nearness to Him through obeying Him, for He is Near and Answering. Allah, the Most High, has said: And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.[^4] Therefore, respond to Allah and
[^1] Al-Ithna ‘Ashariya, p. 37. [^2] Abdullah Shubbar, Masabeeh al-Anwar fi Hal Mushkilat al-Akhbar, vol. 2, p. 271. [^3] Warm, Majjmu‘a, p. 301. [^4] Qur’an, 2, 186.
believe in Him, for whoever knows His Greatness should not show greatness (before Him). Indeed the highness of those who know Allah’s might is that they should be humble (before Him). Those who know Allah’s greatness should lower themselves (before Him), and the safety of those who know Allah’s power is that they should yield to Him, nor should they deny their own selves after the knowledge (of Him), nor should they go astray after the guidance. You certainly should know that you do not know piety unless you know the quality of guidance. Nor do you hold fast to the covenant of the Book unless you know him who leaves it, nor do you recite the Book with a true recitation unless you know him who distorts it. If you know that, you know innovations and affection, you see fabricating lies against Allah, and see how he falls who falls. Do not let those, who do not know, make you ignorant. Seek that from its people, for they are a special light from whom light is sought, and they are Imams who are followed. Through them knowledge lives and ignorance dies. It is they whose clemency tells you their knowledge, wise speech (tells you) of their silence, and their outward (tells you) of their inward. They do not oppose the truth nor do they differ over it. Precedence from Allah in respect of them has passed, and a decree from Allah in respect of them has elapsed. Most surely in that there is a reminder to the mindful. And understand it when you hear it with the understanding of carefulness, and do not understand it with the understanding of narration. The narrators of the Book are many, but those who understand it are few. And we seek help from Allah.”[^1]
Al-Shahid and al-Mashhood
A man went to the Mosque of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) to ask about the meaning of these words of Him: “Wa Shahidun wa Mashhood.” The man saw three persons sitting in the mosque. A group of people surrounded each of them, and they told about what they had heard from Allah’s Apostle (a.s) such as the religious precepts and good manners. The man went to one of them and asked him about his question. He said to him: “Al-Shahid is Friday, and al-Mashhood is the Day of Arafat.” Then the man went to the second person and asked him the same question. He said to him: “Al-Shahid is Friday, and al-Mashhood is the Day of Immolation.” Then the man went to the third person and asked him his question. [^1] Tuhaf al-‘Uqool, p. 53.
He said to him: “Al-Shahid is Allah’s Apostle (a.s), and al-Mashhood is the Day of Resurrection.” He confirmed his speech with some proofs, saying: “Have you not heard Allah say in His Holy Book: O Prophet, surely we have sent you as a witness (shahid), and a bearer of good news and as a warner. And He, the Most High, has said: And this is a day that shall be witnessed (mashhood).”
The man asked about the first person, and it was said to him that he was Abdullah bin Abbas.[^1] He asked about the second person, and it was said to him that he was Abdullah bin Umar.[^2]
[^1] His full name is Abdullah bin Abbas bin Abd al-Muttalib bin Hashim, the uncle of the Prophet (a.s.). His mother is Umm al-Fadhl, daughter of al-Harith al-Hilali. He was born three years before the emigration, and it was said that he was born five years before it. Allah’s Apostle (a.s.) supplicated Allah for him, saying: “O Allah, make him understand the religion and teach him the interpretation.” And he (a.s.) has said: “O Allah, increase him in knowledge and understanding.” So he-due to the blessing of the supplication of Allah’s Apostle (a.s.)-was among the great religious scholars. Masruq has said: “When I saw Abdullah bin Abbas, I said he was the most handsome of the people. When he spoke, I said he was the most eloquent of the people. When he talked, I said he was the most knowledgeable of the people.” It was said that if the Persians, the Romans, and the Turks had heard his speech, they would have been Muslims. He became blind at the end of his lifetime, so he said:
If Allah has taken the light of my eyes, then I have light of them in my tongue and my heart. My heart is clever, my mind is sound, and in my mouth there are sayings as sharp as the sword.
He died in al-Ta’if in the year 68 A. H. That was during the days of Ibn al-Zubayr. He was seventy years old. It was said that he was seventy-one years old, and it was said that he was seventy-four years old. Muhammad bin al-Hanafiya performed the prayer over him and said the takbeer (Allah is great!) over him four times. He said: “Today the divine person of this community has died.” This has been mentioned in the book al-Isti‘ab, vol. 2, p. 350.
[^2] His full name is Abdullah bin Umar bin al-Khattab. He was born three years before the day when the Prophet was appointed as a prophet. He died in the year 84 A. H. Other than that has been said. This has been mentioned in the book al-Isaba, vol. 2, p. 347. It has been mentioned in the book al-Isti‘ab, vol. 2, p. 343: “He (Abdullah bin Umar) did not follow (Imam) Ali. He refrained from (paying allegiance to him), but he felt remorse for that. When he was about to die, he said: ‘I find in my soul (nothing) except that I did not fight along with Ali bin Abi Talib against the rebellious group.’” In his book Muruj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 238, al-Mas‘udi has mentioned: “Some people did not pay allegiance to Ali.” He has mentioned Abdullah bin Umar as among them. The reason for their refraining from pledging allegiance (to Ali) was as a rebellion against the power and as an apposition to Ali, peace be on him.
He asked about the third person, and it was said to him that he was al-Hasan bin Ali.[^1]
Some of al-Hasan’s Sermons
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) was an eloquent orator. He was the most skillful and capable of orators in improvising and creating speeches. We will mention to noble readers some of his sermons.
He (a.s) has said: “We are the successful party of Allah, and the closest family of the messenger of Allah (to Allah), and his pure, good household. We are one of the two weighty things (Thaqalayn) that Allah’s Apostle (a.s) has left behind him. The second is Allah’s Book, in which there are details about all things, falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it[^2] , and depended on. We do not make mistakes in interpreting it; rather we are sure of the facts in it. Therefore obey us, for the obedience to us is obligatory if it is coupled with the obedience to Allah, the Apostle, and those in authority. Then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle.[^3] If they referred it to the Apostle and those in authority from among them, then those who conclude it from among them would know it. I warn you against listening to Satan’s call, for he is your clear enemy, lest you should be like his friends to whom he has said: No one can overcome you this day, and surely I am your protector. But when the two parties came in sight of each other, he turned upon his heels, and said: Surely I am clear of you, surely I see what you do not see.[^4] Therefore, you throw strength before the spears, slaughtering before the swords, errors before intention, and a target before the arrows. Then its faith shall not profit a soul which did not believe before, or earn good through its faith.[^5] And Allah is more knowledgeable.”
One day Imam Ali fell ill, and he ordered Imam al-Hasan to lead the people in the Friday Prayer. He (a.s) went up on the pulpit, praised and lauded Allah, and then said: “Allah did not send a prophet unless he chose for him a self (associate), a group, and a household. By Him who sent Muhammad with the Truth, when someone decreases something of our right, Allah decreases his lifetime equal to that. When the time turns against us, the end will be to us. And most certainly you will come to know about it after a time.[^6] ”[^7]
[^1] Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusool al-Muhimma, p. 160. [^2] Qur’an, 41, 42. [^3] Qur’an, 4, 59. [^4] Ibid., 8, 48. [^5] Ibid., 6, 158. [^6] Qur’an, 38, 88. [^7] Al-Mas‘udi, Muruj al-Thahab, vol. 2, p. 306.
His short, wise Sayings
Death has exposed the world.[^1] Be with your body in this world and with your heart in the hereafter. Regard that which you seek in the world and do not obtain as like that which does not come to your mind. When people consult each other, they reach their rightness. Whoever seeks worship must purify himself for it. Joking spoils respect. The silent get more gravity. The boons are ignored when they last. When they go, they are known. Promise is an illness in the generous, and its cure is in fulfilling it. An asked one is free until he promises, and he is enslaved by promise until he fulfills it. Do not hasten sin with punishment, and make between them a way for apologizing. Definite knowledge is the excuse of the learned. Certainty is the refuge of safety. The wise do not cheat whoever consults them. When superfluous prayers harm obligations, then leave them. Opportunity quickly passes and slowly comes back. Someone asked him about silence, and he (a.s) said: “It covers tiredness and adorns honor. Its doer is comfortable, and his companion is safe.” Missing something is better than requesting it from unworthy people. Bad manners are worse than misfortune. Whoever remembers a distant travel gets ready. A close one is he whom affection makes close even if he is far in lineage, and a far one is he whom affection makes far even if he is close in lineage.
He (a.s) said to a man who recovered from his illness: “Allah remembered
[^1] Warram, Majmu‘a, p. 201. Khalid bin Safwan has said: “The most eloquent of people is al-Hasan bin Ali due to his saying this golden statement representing inimitability, creation, and conciseness.”
you, so remember Him, and he forgave you, so thank Him.” If your soul does not obey you in that which you force it to do what it dislikes, then do not obey it in that which it forces you to do what it likes. Whoever starts speaking before greeting, do not reply to him. Disgrace is easier than the Fire. He (a.s) has said to his companions: “Have you ever seen an oppressor as oppressed?” “How is that, O son of Allah’s Apostle?” they asked. “The envier,” he replied, “for he is tired, and he whom he envies is comfortable.” The generosity of contentment and satisfaction is greater than that of giving. Completing favor is better than beginning it.
His composing of Poetry
As for his composing of poetry, it is little. In the previous chapters of the book, we have mentioned some poetry ascribed to him. However, Ibn Rasheeq has numbered Imam al-Hasan (a.s) as among poets. He has mentioned the poetry that the Imam said when he was dressed in black: We blacken the top of them (hair), but their origins refuse that. I wish that their origins became black.[^1]
In the book A‘yan al-Shi‘a it has been mentioned that he (a.s) has said in respect of preaching: Leave the troubles of days. Most surely their clearness went along with the bygone days of delight. How does time deceive him between whom and nights there are firm experiences? In the book al-Manaqib it has been mentioned that he (a.s) has said:
If a time saddened me, I would determine to be patient; and every tribulation that does not last is easy. And if it delighted me, I would not rejoice at its delight; and every delight that does not last is mean. With this subject matter we will end our talk about Imam al-Hasan’s inheritance and ideals.
[^1] Al-‘Umda, vol. 1, p. 21.