The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
In the Quarters of Basra
A’isha’s caravan moved and covered the desert and was about to enter Basra. When the governor of Basra, Uthman bin Hunayf[^1] , knew that, he sent Abu al-Aswad al-Du’ali to her to ask her about her coming. When Abu al-Aswad met with her, he asked her: -What has made you come, O mother of the faithful? -To avenge Uthman! -None of those who killed Uthman is in Basra! -You are right, but they are along with Ali bin Abi Talib in Medina. I have come to arouse the people of Basra to fight against him. Do we defend you from Uthman’s whip, and not defend Uthman from your swords?
He answered her:
-There is no relationship between you and the whip and the sword. You are the wife of Allah’s Apostle (a.s). He ordered you to stay at your home and to recite your Lord’s Book. There is no is more appropriate than you and closer than you to the Prophet in kinship. They are Abd Manaf’s children. -I will not go away until I achieve what I have come for. Do you think, O Abu al-Aswad, that there is someone who dares to fight against me? -By Allah, they will fight against you with a fighting the least of which is severe!
Then he left her and went to al-Zubayr. He reminded him of his past relationship with Imam Ali (a.s) saying:
[^1] Uthman bin Hunayf al-Ansari was from al-Aws tribe. He was appointed as a governor by Umar. Then Imam Ali appointed him as a governor over Basra. When the Imam left it, he removed him from it and appointed over it Abdullah bin Abbas. It was said that Umar bin al-Khattab consulted the companions in respect of the man he wanted to send to Iraq, and they unanimously agreed on Uthman bin Hunayf, saying: “If you send him for something more important than that because he is a man endowed with insight, reason, knowledge, and experience.” Accordingly, Umar hurried and appointed him over Iraq. Uthman imposed as a tax a dirham and a Qafiz (a certain measurement) of food on every Jarib (a measurement) of land, whether it was cultivated or flooded. So the taxes imposed on the land of Kufa amounted a hundred millions and some one year before Umar died. After the event in Basrah, he resided in Kufa and stayed there until the time of Mu‘awiya. Al-Isti‘ab, vol. 3, p. 79. -O Abu Abdullah, people knew that on the day when the allegiance was pledged to Abu Bakr, you were catching your sword and saying: “None is more appropriate for this matter (the caliphate) than (Ali) bin Abi Talib.” There is a great difference between this attitude and that. -We avenge Uthman.
-You and your friend had appointed him as a caliph, as we have heard.
Al-Zubayr yielded to Abu al-Aswad’s speech. He saw in it advice and guidance but he asked him to meet with Talha and discuss the matter with him. Abu al-Aswad quickly went to him and discussed the matter with him, but he did not respond and insisted on error and aggression.[^1]
Abu al-Aswad set off to Uthman bin Hunayf and told him about the people’s intention and their insistence on fighting. He gathered his companions and addressed them, saying: “O people, you pledged allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is above their hands. Therefore whoever breaks (his faith), he breaks it only to the injury of his own soul, and whoever fulfills what he has covenanted with Allah, He will grant him a mighty reward.[^2] By Allah, if Ali knew that there was someone more appropriate than him for this matter, he would not accept it, and if the people had pledged allegiance to someone other than him, he would have paid homage and obeyed that one.
He is in no need of the companions of Allah’s Apostle, and none is in no need of him. He has their good qualities, but they did not. These two men (Talha and al-Zubayr) paid homage not for the sake of Allah. They hurried for weaning before suckling, and suckling before birth, and birth before pregnancy. They sought the reward of Allah from the people. They have claimed that they unwillingly paid homage. If they had been forced before their pledge of allegiance and were from Quraysh, then they would have to say, and not to be commanded. Most surely the guidance is that which the majority followed; and the majority had paid homage to Ali. Therefore, what do you think, O people?”
Hakeem bin Jabalah said: “We think that if they came in to us, we would fight against them. And if they stopped, we would receive them. By Allah, I do not worry if I fight against them by only myself even though I love life. In the way of the truth I fear no loneliness, no change, and no bad return to the Resurrection. The one who is killed during this summon is martyr, and the one who remains alive is successful. And going quickly to Allah before the reward is better than the delay in the world. And this is (the tribe of) Rabee‘a. They are with you.”[^3]
[^1] Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 8. [^2] Qur’an, 48, 10. [^3] Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, vol. 1, pp. 64-65.
After that the people decided to resist the aggression and to return in kind if they had aggressed against them and not to start them with fighting if they did not start them with fighting.
The Conclusion of the Truce
Some violent clashes took place between the two parties and led to killing some people and wounding others. As for Uthman bin Hunayf, he had intended to make peace with them and to fight against the people before he received a command from Imam Ali. Accordingly, he stopped fighting and concluded a timely truce until he knew the Imam’s viewpoint. This is the text of the truce: “This is for which Uthman bin Hunayf al-Ansari and the believers from among the Shia of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali bin Abi Talib, have made peace with Talha, al-Zubayr, the believers, and the Muslims from among their followers.
The things that belong to Uthman bin Hunayf are the House of Government, the courtyard, the mosque, the public treasury, and the pulpit. And as for the things that belong to Talha, al-Zubayr, and those with them, they are that they have the right to reside wherever they wish in Basra. They should not harm each other on a road, at a gap (of a river), in a market, through a law, or through a public utility until the Commander of the faithful, Ali bin Abi Talib, comes. If they like, they will follow that which the community has followed. And if they like, every people have the right to follow their own opinion, or fighting, peace, departure, or residence. Concerning that which they have written, the two parties should conform to Allah’s promise and covenant. They should also conform to the strong promise and covenant Allah had taken from His prophets.”
The two parties signed the truce. As for Uthman bin Hunayf, he went to the House of Government and commanded his companions to lay down their weapons and go to their houses.
Treachery and Treason
Talha and al-Zubayr sent letters to the prominent and notable people. They summoned them to avenge Uthman and depose Imam Ali, and dismiss Uthman bin Hunayf. The tribes of al-Azd, Dhabbah, Qays, and Aylan responded to them. Many simple people and the ambitious followed them, too. When the affairs went well with them, they betrayed and broke the truce they had concluded. They attacked Uthman bin Hunayf in the House of Government in the dark night. They arrested and punished him. They pulled out the hair of his head, his beard, and his eye-brows.[^1] They looted that which
[^1] Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 50. It has been mentioned: “They dismissed
was in the public treasury. When the time of the prayer came, Talha and al-Zubayr disputed with each other about leading the people in prayer. Each one of them prevented his companion from leading the prayer, to the extent that the time of the prayer passed, and people shouted at them. A’isha interrupted the dispute between them and said that Muhammad bin Talha had to lead the people in prayer one day, and Abdullah bin al-Zubayr one day.[^1] Ibn al-Zubayr went to lead the people in prayer, but Muhammad bin Talha drew him and tried to lead the people in prayer, but Ibn al-Zubayr prevented him. All people thought that the best way to end the dispute was to draw lots. They drew lots, and it was Muhammad bin Talha who would lead the people in prayer. He recited this Qur’anic verse: One demanding, demanded the chastisement which must befall[^2] .[^3]
Most surely the people were moved by the motive of the reign and supreme authority. If the affair had gone well with them, they would have killed each other, for they were at the beginning of the way while they showed the signs of division and disagreement. They mutinied against Imam Ali’s government for nothing except some material advantages. Ibn al-Zubayr admitted that. When some man went to him in Basra Mosque and asked: “I adjure you before Allah in respect of your travel, had Allah’s Apostle promised you anything in respect of it?”
As for Talha, he kept silent. Al-Zubayr answered him: “No, but we have heard that you have some dirhams, and we have come to participate in them.”[^4]
Al-Zubayr specified their mutiny against Imam Ali. It was only for ambitions and advantages. There was no promise from the Prophet (a.s) in respect of that.
Any way, Basra fell into their hands, and their troops occupied all the places there. As for A’isha, she ordered Uthman bin Hunayf to be killed, but a lady regarded that as a great sin and said to A’isha: “I adjure you before Allah, O mother of the faithful, in respect of Uthman and his companionship with Allah’s Apostle.” As a result, she changed her opinion and ordered him to be
Uthman bin Hunayf, and he joined Ali. When he saw him, he wept and said to him: ‘I left you while I had hair, and I have come to you without hair.’ So Ali said: ‘To Allah we belong and to Him is our return!’ He said that three times.”
[^1] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 157. [^2] Qur’an, 70, 1. [^3] Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, vol. 5, p. 39. [^4] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, p. 183.
imprisoned.”[^1] Then she ordered the policemen and the guards of the public treasury to be killed. Their number was seventy persons. They were from among the good, righteous Muslims.[^2] The mother of the faithful (A’isha) paid no attention to shedding their blood nor did she paid attention to committing sins in respect of orphaning children, and spreading sadness and mourning among their families. She turned away from what Allah had commanded in respect of refraining from shedding blood with no right.
The Murder of Hakeem Bin Jabalah
When Hakeem bin Jabalah heard of what the people did to Uthman bin Hunayf, and the killing of the policemen and the treasurers, he went out along with three hundred men from (the tribe of) Abd Qays[^3] . The people went out and carried A’isha on a camel. That day was called the Minor Day of the Camel, and her battle against Imam Ali (a.s) was called the Major Day of the Camel. The two parties engaged in a sword fight. Hakeem and his faithful companions showed extreme courage. A man from al-Azd from A’isha’s camp attacked Hakeem and cut off his leg. As for Hakeem, he sat down on the ground. He took his amputated leg, hit al-Azdi who had cut it off, and killed him. He went on fighting in spite of his amputated leg and saying:
O my leg, do not be afraid! Most surely my arm is with me; I protect my leg with it.
He was still in such a state of extreme heroism and bravery, defending the thought and doctrine until his blood bled. He set off to the man who cut off his leg and leaned against him, while he was dead. A person passed by him and asked: “Who has done this to you?” “My relatives,” he replied. Then Saheem al-Hamadani[^4] killed him, his three brothers, and all his companions.[^5] That pure blood which was shed, the noble souls which were killed for the sake of defending the religion of Allah and Imam Ali, are in the protection of Allah.
Imam Ali seeks the Help of Kufa
Imam Ali (a.s) was ready to invade al-Sham where Mu’awiya had declared the mutiny against his government and refused to pay homage to him. While he was earnest in managing the affair, he was surprised by the news of that
[^1] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, p. 178. [^2] Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 50. [^3] In another narration it is that he went out along with seven hundred of his companions. [^4] Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 2, p. 40. [^5] Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 51.
the people of Mecca were excited to avenge Uthman out of the provocation of Talha, al-Zubayr, A’isha, and their Umayyad followers. Accordingly, the Imam feared that the Muslims will be divided. He thought that their danger was stronger than that of Mu’awiya, and their wickedness was stronger than that of his. If he had not hurried to put an end to that trouble, it would have been about to be wider, and mutiny and disagreement be greater. So he prepared himself to go to them. The righteous from among the Muhajireen and the Ansar hurried to support him.
They quickly went out to catch up with them before they could enter a city lest they should corrupt it. When they arrived in al-Rabadha, they knew that they (the enemy) had entered Basra and some events had taken place there. The Imam stayed at al-Rabadha for some days to make firm his affairs. He sent for the people of Kufa seeking their help and support to put an end to the discord. He delegated to them Muhammad bin Abi Bakr and Muhammad bin Ja’far.[^1] He supplied them with a letter in which he said: “I have chosen you over the cities. I have hurried to you because of what has happened. Therefore, be helpers and supporters for the religion of Allah. Support us and rise with us. What we want is righteousness, that the community may be brothers. Whoever likes that and prefers it likes the truth, and whoever detests that detests and overlooks the truth.”[^2]
The two messengers covered the desert and arrived in Kufa. They showed the Imam’s letter to Abu Musa, the governor of the city. However they did not find any response from him. Rather, they found that he had unusual attitude. He discouraged the people, weakened the troops, and prevented them from responding to the Imam’s call. The two messengers severely talked with him. He answered them through justifying his stubbornness, saying: “By Allah, the pledge of allegiance to Uthman is a trust with me and with your leader. Therefore, if there is no escape from fighting, we will not fight against anyone until we put an end to those who killed Uthman!”
[^1] Muhammad bin Ja‘far bin Abi Talib al-Hashimi was the first emigrant to be given the name of Muhammad. It was said that he was born in al-Habasha. He married Umm Kulthum, daughter of Imam Ali. It was said that he was martyred in Tastur, and it was said that he was martyred at (the Battle of) Siffin. He fought against Ubaydillah bin Umar, and they killed each other. Al-Isaba, vol. 3, p. 372. It has been mentioned in the book Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 4, p. 313, that when the news of the death of Ja‘far reached Allah’s Apostle, he went to Ja‘far’s house and said: “Fetch me the children of my brother, Ja‘far!” Abdullah, Muhammad, and Oun went out to him. He put them on his thigh and prayed for them, and then he said: “I am their guardian in the world and in the hereafter.” Then he said: “As for Muhammad, he looks like our uncle Abu Talib.”
[^2] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 393.
The two Muhammads sent the news to the Imam and informed him of the mutiny of Abu Musa and his discouraging the people. The Imam sent Hashim al-Mirqal to undertake the leadership and supplied him with a letter in which he has mentioned: “I have sent Hashim to undertake the matter of Muslims on my behalf. Therefore, return the people to him. I have entrusted you to be among my helpers for the truth.”
Hashim went and arrived in Kufa. He knew that Abu Musa was insistent on his mutiny and going too far in his malice and enmity. They tried to convince him and return him to the true way but with no use. Abu Musa sent for Sa’ib bin Malik al-Ashqari to consult with him about the matter, and he advised him to follow the Imam and carry out his orders. However, he did not pay attention to the advice and remained insistent on his rebellion and stubbornness. As a result, Hashim sent the Imam a letter in which he informed him of his failure in his task and mediation.
Imam Ali delegates al-Hasan
Imam Ali delegated his son al-Hasan along with Ammar bin Yasir. He supplied him with a letter in which he deposed Abu Musa from his office and appointed Qurdha bin Ka’ab[^1] instead of him. The following is the text of his letter: “I think you should withdraw from this matter in which Allah has placed no share for you through your refraining from carrying out my command. I have sent al-Hasan bin Ali and Ammar bin Yasir to urge the people. I have also sent Qurdha bin Ka’ab as a governor over the city. Therefore, withdraw from our work (while you are) dispraised and expelled. If you do not do, then I have commanded him to declare war against you.”
Imam al-Hasan arrived in Kufa, and the people gathered around him in masses. They expressed their submission and obedience to him, and showed him friendship and loyalty. In the meantime Imam al-Hasan announced the deposal of the rebellious governor from his office and the appointment of Qurdha in his place. However, Abu Musa remained insistent on his deception and error. He went to Ammar bin Yasir and talked to him about Uthman’s [^1] Qurdha bin Ka‘ab bin Tha‘laba al-Ansari al-Khazraji was present with the Prophet (a.s.) at the Battle of Uhd and other battles. During the time of Umar bin al-Khattab, Allah conquered (many countries) at his hand. He was among the ten persons Umar sent to Kufa to teach its people reading and writing. The Imam appointed him as a governor over Kufa. When he went out for the Battle of Siffin, he took him with him. And he appointed over it Abu Mas‘ud al-Badri. Qurdha bin Ka‘ab was present with Imam Ali during all his battles. He died in the house he had built in Kufa during the Imam’s caliphate. The Imam prayed over him. (This has been mentioned in the book) al-Isti‘ab, vol. 3, p. 266.
affair that he might find a way in his speech to accuse him of the murder of Uthman, and that he might use that as means to make the people desert the Imam. He said to him: “O Abul Yaqdhan, have you wronged the Commander of the Faithful (Uthman) as those who wronged him, and placed yourself among the sinners?”
“I did not do,” replied Ammar, “why have you accused me of evil?” Al-Hasan knew Abu Musa’s purpose, so he interrupted the argument, saying to him: “O Abu Musa, why have you discouraged the people?” Imam al-Hasan talked with him with kindness and leniency, that he might uproot the spirit of wickedness and obstinacy from his soul, saying: “O Abu Musa, by Allah, we have wanted nothing except righteousness, and none fears the Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) for a thing.” Abu Musa became astonished. He could not stand his obstinacy and tyranny, so he said to the Imam: -You are right, may my father and mother die for you! However, the adviser is trustworthy.
-I have heard Allah’s Apostle saying: “There will be a sedition. The one who sits down during it is better than the one who stands up. The one who stands up is better than the one who walks. The one who walks is better than the one who rides.” Allah, the Great and Almighty, has made us brothers and made it unlawful for us to plunder our properties and shed our blood. He has said: “O you who believe, do not devour your property among yourselves falsely, except that it be trading by your mutual consent; and do not kill your people. Surely Allah is merciful to you.[^1] ” And He, the Great and Almighty, has said: “And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell.”[^2]
As for Ammar, he confronted him, refuted his false sayings and deception, saying: -Have you heard that from Allah’s Apostle?
-Yes, and these are my hands (ready to be cut off) for what I said. Ammar turned to the people and said to them: -Most surely, Allah’s Apostle meant Abu Musa with that. For when he sits down is better than when he rises.
[^1] Qur’an, 4, 29. [^2] Ibid., 4, 93.
Ammar’s speech, and al-Hasan’s kindness and long patience were useless to this rude, rebellious person, who did not yield to anything except severity and force. He remained insisting on discouraging the people and making them withdraw from going to support Imam Ali.
The Prophet’s grandson (al-Hasan) began arousing the determinations, activating the souls, and motivating them for jihad. He addressed them, saying: “O People, You have known what for Commander of the Faithful, Ali bin Abi Talib jhas marched. We have come to you to seek your help, for you are the front of the Ansar and heads of the Arabs. You have heard that Talha, al-Zubayr, and A’isha have gone out (to fight against Imam Ali) after their pledge of allegiance. And you know that women’s feebleness and weak opinion vanish. For this reason, Allah has regarded men as caretakers over women. By Allah, if none of you supports him, I hope that those, who have come with him from among the Muhajireen and the Ansar, will be sufficient; therefore, help Allah, and He will help you.”
Then Ammar rose and began urging the people for jihad and he explained to them the reality of the state in respect of Uthman’s affair, saying: “O people of Kufa, if our news are absent from you, then our affairs have reached you. Most surely those who killed Uthman have not apologized to the people for killing him nor have they condemned that. They have placed Allah’s Book between them and their arguments. Allah has made some live and some others die . And as for Talha and al-Zubayr, they were the first to stab (Uthman) and the last to command (the people to avenge him). And they were the first to pay homage (to Imam Ali). But when what they hoped missed them, they broke their allegiance without any reason. And this is the son of the daughter of Allah’s Apostle. You know him. He has come to seek your help. And Ali has (come to you) with the Muhajireen, the Badris, and the Ansar who have headed the abode and faith.”
After them, Qays bin Sa’d rose and summoned the people to carry out their religious duty and support Ameerul Mo'minin (Imam Ali), saying: “If we had faced the men of the Consultative Committee with the matter, then Ali would have been the most appropriate for it, and the fight against those who refused him would have been lawful. With a greater reason the proof is against Talha and al-Zubayr. They had willingly paid homage to him. But they have opposed him out of envy. Ali has come to you along with the Muhajireen and the Ansar.”
Any way, Abu Musa went on insistence on his tyranny. He discouraged people and summoned them to desert Ameerul Mo'minin (the Commander of the faithful) and not to help him. He paid not attention to all that which he heard from al-Hasan and the orators, to the extent that al-Hasan became tired in spite of his clemency. He shouted at him with excitement and violence. He said to him: “Withdraw from our work, O man, and leave our pulpit!”
Al-Hasan went on urging the people to go to jihad and help his father. He rose among them and said: “O people, respond to the summons of your commander and go to your brothers, for there will be those who hurry for this matter. By Allah, if men with reason undertake it, it will be better for them in the sooner, the later, and the end. Respond to our summons and help us with that with which you and we have been afflicted. The Commander of the faithful (Ameerul Mo'minin) says to you: ‘I have gone out (to fight) whether I am an oppressor or oppressed. I remind of Allah the man who takes care of Allah’s right that he may hurry for jihad. If I am oppressed, then he should help me, and if I am an oppressor, he should punish me. By Allah, Talha and al-Zubayr were the first to pledge allegiance to me and were the first to betray me. Have I possessed alone any property or changed any religious precept? Hurry to jihad, enjoin the good, and forbid the evil.”
People responded to al-Hasan with listening and obedience to his summons. But the leader, Malik al-Ashtar, thought that the affair would not go well unless that Abu Musa should be brought out as disrespected and degraded. So he along with a group of his people went and surrounded the palace. When Abu Musa’s servants looked at them, they quickly went to him. Fear and terror prevailed them, so they said to him: “O Abu Musa, this is (Malik) al-Ashtar. He has entered the palace. He has hit and brought us out.”
Accordingly, the rogue (Abu Musa) came out of the palace. Astonishment dominated him. Malik al-Ashtar shouted at him: “Get out of our palace, may your mother lose you!”
Abu Musa al-Ash‘ary hesitated for a while, but Malik shouted at him again: “Get out! May Allah bring out your soul! By Allah, you are among the hypocrites!” Al-Ash‘ary said with a faint, weak voice: -Postpone me for this night!
-You shall have it, and do not spend the night in the palace. The people entered the palace to loot Abu Musa’s possessions and properties. However, Malik al-Ashtar did not turn away from his opponent. He took a noble attitude towards him. He prevented people from looting his belongings and from punishing him. He said to them: “I have postponed him for this night. I have driven him away, so refrain from him.”
Accordingly, people refrained from him. In the morning, this aggressive sinner (Abu Musa) went out of the palace in disgrace. The affairs went well with Imam al-Hasan. He talked to people to go out for jihad, saying: “O people, I will leave early in the morning, so whoever likes to go out with me on the backs of mounts or on water can do that.” The people responded to the Imam’s summons. When Qays bin Sa‘ad saw that, he became glad and delighted, and he recited some poetry. As a result, Kufa was full of mujahideen. Many thousands of them left for Jihad. Some of them embarked ships, and some others rode mounts. They were pleased and satisfied. Al-Hasan headed them. When they arrived in Thi Qaar[^1] , they met Imam Ali (a.s) who had stayed their. He was pleased with his son’s success. He thanked him for his great efforts.