The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Xii : the Demise of the Truth
After the Battle of Siffin, Imam Ali stayed in Kufa. He was sad and distressed. He received various kinds of terrible misfortunes. He saw that justice was wronged, good was lost, error became great, and tyranny was excessive. He knew that Mu’awiya’s falsehood became firm and his affair became perfect. He was unable to battle against him because his army mutinied against him. He commanded them, but they did not obey him. He summoned them, but they did not respond. They inclined to rest, hated tiredness, and hated the jihad for the sake of Allah. These disasters left in his soul bitter sorrows, to the extent that he wished for the departure from this world, that he might get rid of its problems and evil. He supplicated Allah to quicken his travel to Him, saying: “O Allah, hasten al-Muradi’s unhappiness!” Addressing the people of Kufa, he said: “By Allah, I wish that Allah took me out from among you to His Mercy!”
Max Nordaw has decided the survival of the bad instead of the best, because the best does not last long in the world of falsehood. Imam Ali was the most brilliant reformer in the world. He spared no effort to establish justice and spread equality in the earth. So how was it possible for him to stay in the world of desires and deviation? The opportunists fought against him. The seekers of high ranks and authority resisted him. The society, which mean desires played with and which ambitions spoiled, denied him. Therefore, how was it possible for his government to continue in that insignificant society? The Imam’s sadness increased because he had lost the righteous remainder from among the companions of the Prophet (a.s) who knew his trend and studied in his school.
His companions were Ammar bin Yasir, Hashim al-Mirqal, Thush Shahadatayn, and the like from among the prominent believers on whom he had depended to establish the truth, refute falsehood, and enliven the principles of the religion. After he had lost them, he lived as a stranger in that society. He had neither a supporter nor a friend. He supplicated Allah and beseeched Him to take him to His neighborhood, that he might get rid of the pains of this world where he found nothing except exhaustion and tiredness.
The Mean Plot
During the season of hajj some Kharijites held a meeting and remembered their companions and the Muslims who had been killed. They accused three unbelievers, as they claimed, of that. The three were Imam Ali (a.s), Mu’awiya, and Amr bin al-Aas. Abdurrahman bin Muljam said: “I will kill Ali bin Abi Talib for you.” Amr bin Bukayr said: “I will kill Amr bin al-Aas for you.” And al-Hajjaj bin Abdullah al-Suraymi said: “I will kill Mu’awiya for you.” They agreed on a certain day to assassinate these three men. The day was the 18th of Ramadan, in the year 40 A. H. They also appointed the time of the assassination. It was the time of the Morning Prayer. Then they separated. Each of them headed for the person that he was to kill. Abdurrahman bin Muljam arrived in Kufa carrying with him evil and unhappiness to all the inhabitants of the earth. He came to put out the light that illuminated the world. He went to his malicious cousin, Qatam. He fell in love with her. Qatam believed in the Kharijites’ thought. Her father and brother were killed at the Battle of al-Nahrawan. So she was bereaved of them. Abdurrahman bin Muljam proposed to her[^1] , but she refused to accept him as a husband unless he would satisfy her thirst for revenge. He said to her: “I will carry out all what you want!”
She told him about the dowry she wanted. It was three thousand dirhams, a boy servant, a girl servant, and to kill Ali. The sinner, Abdurrahman bin Muljam said: “You can have all you asked for, but as for the killing of Ali, I see that shall not get it.” He intended to conceal the matter from her. However, this sinful woman (Qatam) made him approve to kill Imam Ali and encouraged him to commit the crime, saying: “If you kill him, you will please me, and life with me will be happy for you. If you are killed, then the reward of Allah will be better for you than this world.” When he saw that she was serious, he made her know about his intention, and that he had come to that town just for that purpose.
The Imam’s companions feared that the Kharijites would assassinate him. They asked him to take some guards to guard him when he went out to offer prayers or to carry out some task. However, he (a.s) refused that and said to them: “On me there is great protection from Allah. When my death comes, it (the protection) will leave me and hand me over (to death). At that time the arrow (of death) will not fail, and the wound will not heal.”
e Great Disaster
The month of Ramadan is the best of months and the greatest of them in sacredness with Allah, that it has been ascribed to Him and called the Month of Allah. When this month came, the Imam knew that he would depart to Allahin this month. He had supper one evening with al-Hasan, one evening [^1] Al-Mas‘udi, Muruj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 289. It has been mentioned in (the book) al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, p. 197: “(Abdurrahman) bin Muljim proposed to al-Rabab, Qatam’s daughter.”
with al-Husayn (a.s), and one evening with Abdullah bin Abbas. He never had more than three mouthfuls of food. On one of those nights, he was asked about that, and he replied: “I like that the decree (death) of Allah comes to me while I am hungry.”[^1] When the eighteenth night of Ramadan came, the Imam was very upset. He walked around the courtyard of the house. He looked towards the stars and reflected on them. He foretold the occurrence of the important event on that night, saying: “By Allah, I have not lied nor have I been accused of lying. It is the night which I have been promised of.”[^2]
The Imam (a.s) was upset and sad throughout that night. He supplicated his Lord and asked Him for forgiveness and contentment. He recited the Qur’an. Before the light of the dawn shone and the shadow of the dark night ended, he had performed the ritual ablution. When he wanted to leave the house for prayer in the mosque, some gees, which were given to al-Hasan as a gift, hooted before him. He, from the hooting of the gees, predicted the occurrence of the terrible event and the breaking misfortune, saying: “There is no might and power save with Allah! Hooters that will be followed by weepers!”[^3]
Imam Ali (a.s) wanted to open the door but it was not opened. He plucked it out. Al-Hasan became worry because of his father’s going out during that early time. He asked him:
-What made you come out at this time? -The dream I saw this night has frightened me! -You have seen good, and good will happen! Tell me about it! -I have seen Gabriel coming down from the heaven on the Mountain of Abi Qubays. He took two stones of it and went to the Kaaba. He struck them against each other and they turned into ashes. Some of these ashes entered all the houses in Mecca and Medina. -What is the interpretation of this dream?
-If my vision was true, then your father would be killed. Worry and sadness for me would enter all the houses in Mecca and Medina. [^1] Ibn Kuthayr, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 168. [^2] Al-Sawa‘iq al-Muhriqa, p. 80. [^3] Al-Mas‘udi, Murujj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 291.
Al-Hasan became sad. He asked his father: -When will that happen? - Allah, the Exalted, says: “And no one knows what he shall earn tomorrow, and no one knows in what land he shall die.”[^1] However, my beloved, Allah’s Apostle (a.s) promised me that it (death) would be within the last ten nights of Ramadan. Abdurrahman bin Muljam will kill me! -Since you have known that, then you kill him. -It is not permissible to punish him before the crime, and the crime has not been committed by him yet. Imam Ali asked his son al-Hasan to go to his bed. Al-Hasan did not find any escape from yielding to him.[^2] Imam Ali went out to the mosque in the early dawn. It has been mentioned in the traditions that the early dawn is the time when Allah sends mercies, kindness, and good, and responds to supplication.”
When the Imam arrived in the mosque, he, as usual, wakened the people to worship, and then he began performing prayer. While he was present before the Generous Creator, the prayer was between his two lips, and his heart was busy remembering Allah, the sinful rogue (Abdurrahman bin Muljam) struck him on the head and uttered the slogan of the Kharijites: “Judgment is to Allah, not to you!”[^3] He struck the Imam on the head and split open his holy forehead that often and always touched the earth in submission to Allah. The severe blow reached the Imam’s sacred brain. When the Imam (a.s) felt the sword on his head, he cried out: “I have won, by the Lord of the Kaaba!”
The Imam succeeded. Which success was greater than his success? The inevitable end came while he was before Allah, and His Name was between his lips in one of the most sacred houses of Allah (the mosque of Kufa) and in the greatest month to Allah (Ramadan)!
[^1] Qur’an, 31, 34. [^2] It has been mentioned in al-Isti‘ab: “Al-Hasan went out along with his father and did not separate from him.” [^3] This sinful person (Abdurrahman) did not kill the Imam by himself. Shabeeb bin Buhayrah and Mujashi‘ bin Wardan were with him. They went to Qatam, and she put silk turbans on their heads. Qatam was in the mosque. These three men took their swords and sat opposite to the gate of al-Sadda through which the Imam used to go to the mosque. Al-Ash‘ath came to know of the intention of Abdurrahman bin Muljim. He urged him to commit the crime, saying: “Hurru up! The morning will expose you!” When Hajr bin Adi heard his speech, he said to him: “Have you killed him, O one-eyed? May Allah kill you!” Abdurrahman bin Muljim struck the Imam on the head. Shabeeb struck the jamb of the mosque instead. Ibn Wardan escaped. This has been mentioned in Muruj al-Thahab, vol. 2, p. 290.
The true Imam succeeded because he had satisfied his conscience. He did not equivocate nor did he deceive throughout his lifetime. He was killed not for a property that he had taken or a world he had enjoyed or an Islamic sunna (law) he had changed! The Imam succeeded. Which success was greater than his success? Immortality has given him survival forever, that he may be a symbol of justice, a title of the truth, and a model of the perfect humanity that has ascended the ladder of perfection and reached its top! The Imam succeeded. Which success was greater than his success? He is mentioned as equal to the truth and justice. His sacred beliefs are mentioned as a wonder for the leaders of man’s thought, that they may follow and act according to them in the field of righteousness! When the Imam fell on the ground in his mihrab, he introduced his killer, saying: “The son of the Jewish woman (Abdurrahman bin Muljam) has killed me! Do not let him escape from you!”
So the people from all classes hurried to the mosque. They were weeping and wailing. The misfortune astonished them, and the incident terrified them. They were very sad. On the head there were the children of Imam Ali. They found the Imam lying down in his mihrab, and saw Ju‘da bin Hubayra[^1] and a group of Muslims surrounding and helping him (the Imam) to perform the prayer while he was unable to do that. When the Imam looked at his son al-Hasan, he ordered him to lead the people in prayer.[^2] Imam Ali performed the prayer while sitting and yet he was bleeding. When al-Hasan finished the prayer, he took his father’s head and put it in his lap, and his tears were flowing on his holy face. He asked him:
-Who has done this to you? -The son of the Jewish woman, Abdurrahman bin Muljam! -From which way did he go?
-Let none go to seek him. He is coming to you through that gate (he indicated with his hand to the gate of Kinda).
[^1] Ju‘da bin Hubayra al-Makhzumi, son of Umm Hani, daughter of Abi Talib, was a companion of the Prophet. Ibn Ma‘een has said: “He heard nothing of the Prophet.” Al-‘Ijli has said: “He is a trustworthy successor.” This has been mentioned in Tahthib al-Kamal, p. 53. It has been mentioned in al-Isti‘ab: “Ju‘da was a jurist. His uncle, the Imam, appointed him as a governor over Khurasan.” Abu ‘Ubayda has said: “Umm Hani’, daughter of Abi Talib, born Hubayra three sons who were Ju‘da, Hani’ and Yousuf.”
[^2] Matalib al-Sa‘ool fi Manaqib Aal al-Rasool, p. 63.
The people were busy looking at the gate. After a while, there was an outcry indicating that the sinful criminal was arrested.[^1] He was brought tied and bare-headed. He was stood before al-Hasan who said to him: “O cursed one, you have killed Ameerul Mo’minin and the Imam of the Muslims! Is this his reward while he lodged you and brought you nigh? Why have you rewarded him with this reward?” Then al-Hasan turned to his father and asked him: “Father, this is the enemy of Allah and your enemy, (Abdurrahman) bin Muljam! Allah has enabled us to arrest him!”
The Imam opened his eyes and said in a weak voice: “You have committed a dangerous thing and a great affair! Did I not have mercy on you and prefer you to others in giving? So why have you rewarded me with this reward?” Then he ordered al-Hasan to be kind to him, saying: “O my son, be kind to your captive, have mercy on him, and feel pity for him!” Al-Hasan said: “Father, this cursed one has killed you and made us bereaved of you while you are ordering us to be kind to him?!” Imam Ali (a.s) answered him: “O my son, we are the people of the house of mercy and forgiveness. Give him food of what you eat. Give him a drink of what you drink. If I died, then you punish him by killing him. Do not maim the man. I have heard Allah’s Apostle (a.s) say: ‘Beware of maiming even a mordacious dog. If I remain alive, I am more aware of what I do to him. I am more appropriate for pardoning. We are the members of the Ahlul Bayt who do not meet whoever commits error against us except with pardoning and generosity.”
Then Imam Ali (a.s) ordered the people to carry him home. He was carried while the people were running, and were about to die because of crying and wailing. They were shocked. They were crying out: “The Imam of the truth has been killed! The Imam of the truth has been killed!”
His daughters and family received him with crying and wailing. Al-Hasan sadly said: “Father, who will be for us after you? Our affliction in you is like ours in the messenger of Allah (a.s)!”
[^1] In his book Muruj al-Thahab, vol. 2, p. 290, al-Mas‘udi has mentioned: “When the sinful one (Abdurrahman) bin Muljim struck the Imam, the people attacked him, threw stones at, and shouted at him. Al-Mughira bin Nawfal hit him on the face and knocked him down. Then the people brought him to al-Hasan.” There are other sayings in respect of arresting him.
The Imam embraced him and calmed his fear, saying: “O my son, may Allah calm your heart with patience, increase your reward, and reward your brothers with a reward as equal to your affliction in me!”
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) brought some physicians. The most experienced of them was Athir bin Amr al-Sukuni. He ordered a warm lung of a ewe to be brought to him. He followed a vein of it and he took the vein out. He put it into the Imam’s wound. Then he blew at the vein and took it out. He found that the vein was covered with the whiteness of the brain. The blow had reached the Imam’s brain. Athir become disordered. He turned to the Imam and hopelessly said to him: “O Ameerul Mo’minin, make your will, for you are about to die!”
Al-Hasan wept and said to his father: “Father, your loss will break my back! How can I see you in this condition?” Imam Ali (a.s) looked at his son and he knew that sadness dominated him. He gently said to him: “O my son, there is neither sadness nor impatience for your father after this day! Today, I am going to meet your grandfather Muhammad al-Mustafa, your grandmother Khadija al-Kubra, and your mother al-Zahra’. The houris are waiting for your father and looking forward to his arrival an hour after an hour! There is no harm on you! O my son, do not weep!”
The Imam’s blood became poisoned, and his holy face turned yellow. During that condition, he had a calm soul and he was pleased. He did not leave the remembering and glorifying of Allah. He looked towards the sky and implored Allah through supplicating Him, saying: “O Allah, I ask You for the association with the prophets and the guardians and for the highest degrees in the Paradise!”
Then he fainted. Al-Hasan’s heart melted and he began crying bitterly. Some of his tears fell on his father’s face, and he came to consciousness. He said to him to calm his fear: “O my son, what is this weeping for? There is neither fear nor impatience for your father after today! O my son, do not weep! You will be killed with poison, and your brother al-Husayn will be killed by the sword!”
Imam Ali advised his children to cling to noble moralities. He put before them high ideals. He gave them valuable lessons. In the first, he (a.s) advised his two sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn. Secondly he advised the rest of his children and all the Muslims, saying: “I advise you (both) to fear Allah and that you should not hanker after the (pleasures of this) world even though it may follow after you. Do not be sorry for anything of this world that has been away from you. Say the truth and act for reward. Be an enemy to the oppressors and a helper to the oppressed.
“I advise you (both) and all my children and members of my family and everyone, whom my book reaches, to fear Allah, to keep your affairs in order, and to maintain good relationships among yourselves. I have heard your grandfather (the Prophet) (a.s) saying: ‘Keeping straight the relations among yourself is better than prayers and fasting.’
“Keep Allah in mind concerning the orphans! Let them participate in your food. Let them not be lost among you. “Keep Allah in mind concerning your neighbors! They were the recommendation of your Prophet. He still recommended of them that we thought he would make them inherit us.
“Keep Allah in mind concerning the Qur’an. No one should precede you in acting according to it. Keep Allah in mind concerning prayer, for it is the pillar of your religion. Keep Allah in mind concerning your Lord’s house (mosque). Do not forsake it as long as you live, for if it is abandoned, you will not be looked at with mercy and dignity by Allah.
“Keep Allah in mind concerning jihad with your own property, lives, and tongues in the way of Allah. “Retain kinship and help each other. Do not cut kinship and mutual relations. Do not give up enjoining the good and forbidding the evil lest evildoers may gain power over you, and then you pray but it will not be responded to you.” Addressing his family and relatives, he said: “O children of Abdul Muttalib, certainly I do not wish to see you plunging harshly into the blood of Muslims saying: ‘Ameerul Mo’minin has been killed! Ameerul Mo’minin has been killed!’ Beware, do not kill for me except my killer. “Wait! If I die because of this blow, then strike him a stroke for a stroke. Do not maim the man. I have heard Allah’s Apostle (a.s) saying: ‘Beware of maiming even to a mordacious dog!’”[^1]
Then he (a.s) specially advised his son al-Hasan, to cling to the principles of the religion and to perform its rites. He said to him: “I advise you, O my son, to fear Allah, perform prayer on its time, pay zakat when it is due, and to [^1] Muhammad ‘Abda, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 3, p. 85.
perform the ritual ablution well, for no prayer is accepted except with purity. I advise you to forgive (others’) sin, restrain anger, retain kinship, show clemency toward the ignorant, understand the religion, be sure of affairs, take care of the Qur’an, treat neighbors well, enjoin the good, forbid the evil, and to avoid ill-deeds.”[^1]
On the 20th of Ramadan, people crowded around the Imam’s house asking a permission to visit him. He gave permission to them all. When they sat down, he turned to them and said: “Question me before you lose me, and let your question be light due to the affliction of your Imam!” People avoided asking him because of his painful wound.
**Appointing al-Hasan as Imam ** When Imam Ali (a.s) knew that he would leave the world, and that his meeting with his Lord was close at hand, he entrusted his son al-Hasan with the caliphate and the Imamate. He installed him as an Imam after him that the community might resort to him in respect of their affairs. The Shia have not disagreed on that. Thiqat al-Islam, al-Kulayni[^2] , has mentioned: “Ameerul Mo’minin appointed al-Hasan as his successor, and he made al-Husayn, Muhammad (bin al-Hanafiya), all his (other) sons, the heads of his followers (Shi‘a), and his household as witnesses to the declaration of his will. Then he handed him the books (documents) and the weapons. He said to him: ‘O my son, Allah’s Apostle (a.s) had commanded me to appoint you as my successor and to hand over to you the books and the weapons which are with me. It is just as Allah’s Apostle had appointed me as his successor and handed his books and weapons over to me. And he commanded me to command you that, when death comes to you, you should hand them over to your brother al-Husayn.”
Al-Kulayni has also narrated that Imam Ali said to Imam al-Hasan: “O my son, you are the guardian of (my) blood. If you forgive (the man who struck me), that is up to you, and if you kill him, then a blow for a blow.”[^3]
[^1] Ibn Kuthayr, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 170. [^2] Al-Kulayni is Muhammad bin Ya‘qub bin Ishaq. He is among the greatest Shi‘ite religious scholars. He was among those who renewed the Imami doctrine in the third century of hijra. Among his most famous books is al-Kafi. He spent twenty years in writing it. It is among the greatest and most important Islamic books. In respect of its advantages, Muhammad Amin al-Asterabadi said that he heard from some religious scholars who said that no book similar to it has ben written. He (al-Kulayni), may Allah have mercy on him, died in Baghdad, in the year 329. A. H. Muhammad bin Ja‘far performed the prayer over him. He was buried at the gate of Kufa. Al-Kuna wa al-Alqab, vol. 3, p. 98. [^3] Al-Kulayni, Usool al-Kafi, vol. 1, pp. 297-298.
Some Sunnis maintain that Imam Ali (a.s) did not entrust the authority after him to his son al-Hasan. They have indicated that through what Shu‘ayb bin Maymun al-Wasiti[^1] narrated, saying: “Ali was asked: ‘Will you not appoint anyone as a successor? He replied: ‘If Allah wants good to the community, He will gather them on their good.” This narration is among Shu‘ayb’s fabricated and denied traditions, as Ibn Hajar has mentioned.[^2]
Imam al-Hasan was the darling of Allah’s Apostle and the master of the youths of the Paradise. He was an Imam whether he rose or sat down, as Allah’s Apostle said. Allah purified him from all defects and uncleanness, as the Verse of al-Tatheer has mentioned. Moreover, he had all the qualifications that the caliphate required such as knowledge, fear of Allah, determination, and merit. Therefore, how did Imam Ali (a.s) not direct the community to pay homage to him and not to appoint him as an Imam after him?
Imam Ali was the most careful of Muslims for the unity of the nation. Therefore, how was it possible for him to leave the authority in chaos after him and not to install an Imam whom the community should resort to, especially as it concerned that critical period when dangers and problems surrounded the Muslims?
To the Better World
After Imam Ali had finished his recommendations, he began suffering the agonies of death while he was reciting some Qur’anic verses and supplications, and asking Allah for forgiveness. When the inevitable death came to him, he this verse: For the like of this then let the workers work.[^3] Then his pure soul went to the gardens of Paradise and rose to the Most High Comrade![^4] That Divine mercy rose to its Source, for he was the light that
[^1] Shu‘ayb bin Maymun al-Wasiti, the man of al-buzoor; Abu Hatam has said: “He (Shu‘ayb bin Maymun al-Wasiti) is unknown.” And so said al-‘Ijli. Al-Bukhari has said: “He was suspected.” Abu Hayyan has said: “He narrated denied traditions on the authority of the famous (traditionists). None uses him as a proof when only he narrates a certain tradition.” Tahthib al-Tahthib, vol. 4, p. 357.
[^2] Tahthib al-Tahthib, vol. 4, p. 357. It has been mentioned in it: “Among his denied traditions is that which he narrated on the authority of Husayn al-Sha‘bi, on the authority of Abi Wa’il, who said: ‘Ali was asked: ‘Will you not appoint anyone a successor…?’”
[^3] Qur’an, 37, 61.
[^4] The historians have differed over the night when Abdurrahman bin Muljim struck Imam Ali. It was said that it was on the 18th of Ramadan. This has been mentioned by al-Mas‘udi in his Muruj al-Thahab. It was said that it was on the 17th of Ramadan. This has been mentioned by Ibn ‘Abd al-Bir in his al-Isti‘ab. The Shi‘ite historians have mentioned that it was on the 19th of Ramadan. As for his holy age, it was said Allah had created to disperse the shadows of darkness. The pillars of justice swung, and the principles of the religion were effaced. The helper of the weak, shelter of strangers, and father of orphans died! My master, O Abu al-Hasan, you have gone to the immortal world while you were overworked and tired. Your right and high position were ignored by many! You spent your life among that dark generation that paid no attention to knowledge and justice, that did not understand your goals of building a society where justice, welfare, and good had to prevail! If mankind had had luck, they would have handed over the leadership of the community to you, that you might supply the world with your sciences and knowledge! To Allah we belong and to Him is our return!
Imam Ali is prepared for Burial
Al-Hasan (a.s) prepared his father for burial. He washed the pure corpse, embalmed it with scent, and shrouded it. When the last part of the night came, he and a group of his family and companions carried the sacred body to its final abode. They buried the Imam in Holy Najaf where his present Shrine is a Kaaba for comers, a visiting place for believers and the pious, and a school for learners. After Imam al-Hasan had buried his father, he returned home while overcome with sorrow and astonishment.
The killer is punished
In the morning of that day, Imam al-Hasan ordered the sinful criminal Abdurrahman bin Muljam to be brought to him. When he was before him, he (bin Muljam) asked Imam al-Hasan:
-What did your father order you to do? -He ordered me not to kill other than his killer. He ordered me to satisfy your stomach, and to be kind to you. If he lived, he would punish or pardon you. If he died, I would make you follow him. The sinner said: “Your father said the truth and acted according to it during anger and pleasure!”
Then Imam al-Hasan struck him with the sword. However, the cursed sinner (Abdurrahman bin Muljam) protected himself against the sword with his hand, and it was cut off. Then al-Hasan killed him and did not maim him.[^1] The