The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba

Chapter Xiii : the Pledge of Allegiance

Islam has taken great care of the caliphate (Khilafa), made great responsibilities in it, and regarded it as responsible for the Muslims’ renaissance, development, progress in the fields of science, and for directing them towards good, keeping them away from the ways of misguidance and corruption, finding sound means for their strength and welfare. Islam has also made the caliphate to safeguard the religion, keep its affairs, and preserve its ideals. Therefore, the caliphate is the pivot on which the policy of Islam and all its affairs turn.

Most surely the reality and thought of Islam include all the religious and political fields. Islam has established a harmonious unity between them and regarded them as one inseparable part. Many orientalists have realized this fact. One of them has said: “Islam is not just a religious phenomenon; rather it has brought a political regime, for its founder was a prophet and an ideal ruler. He was expert in the ways of government.” Jeet has said: “Islam is not mere individual religious beliefs; rather it requires establishing an independent society having a certain method in ruling, special laws and regulations.”[^1]

Most surely there is a close relationship between the caliphate and Islam. Therefore, it is a part of its programs and a chapter of its chapters. So there is no escape from establishing it on the arena of life. Sheikh Muhammad ‘Abda has said: “Islam is a religion and law. It has established penalties and assigned rights. Apparently, not every belief is a precept…. That is because caprice may overcome (its owner) and desire may control (him). Therefore, the truth is denied, and the aggressor exceeds the limit. So the proof is not complete unless there is a force to administer the criminal punishments, to carry out the decision of a judge, and to protect the regulations of the community.”[^2]

Islam has brought a perfect group of regulations and laws aiming at regulating life, protecting rights, putting an end to deception and oppression, establishing security and justice in the country. Of course they are in need of a force and a state to protect them and apply them to the reality of life. [^1] Al-Nizam al-Siyasi fi al-Islam, p. 15. [^2] Al-Islam wan-Nasraniya, p. 65.

Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, has talked about the qualities of one who undertakes the leadership of government and manages the affairs of the country. He has said: “You certainly know that he, who is in charge of honor, life, booty, (enforcement of) legal commandments and the leadership of the Muslims, should not be miser, for his greed would make him wish for people’s wealth, nor should he be ignorant, as he would then mislead them with his ignorance, nor should he be of rude behavior lest he would estrange them with his rudeness, nor should he deal unjustly with them by preferring one group to another, nor should he accept a bribe while taking decisions, as he would forfeit (others’) rights and hold them up without finality, nor should he ignore the Sunna as he would ruin the people.”[^1]

Imam Ali (a.s) views that whoever undertakes the Muslims’ affairs should be generous, free from miserliness, knowledgeable of what the community needs, should not deal unjustly with wealth, not take a bribe for his deeds, not cancel Allah’s laws, and not leave the Sunna of His Prophet (a.s). If he is void of these qualities, the community faces during his reign many problems and the country is liable to crises and disasters.

In the story of Ibrahim (Abraham) (a.s) the Holy Qur’an has mentioned one of his children who was worthy of the Imamate. Allah, the Exalted, has said: “Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.”[^2] The commentators of the Qur’an have mentioned that the meaning of the covenant is the Imamate; and (the meaning of) the Imamate is the caliphate. Therefore it (the covenant) does not include one who gets involved in oppression during any stage of his lifetime, whether he has wronged himself or others. Accordingly, this favor is not given to him.

Certainly Islam has taken great care of him who undertakes the Muslims’ affairs. It has required him to be an example of justice, manifestation of the truth, and a source of all the psychological merits, that he may take care of the community’s interests and to achieve all what it needs such as might and dignity. Certainly none had the high qualities Islam stipulated for the wise leadership except the Prophet’s Household (Ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. That is because Allah had taken away uncleanness from them and purified them thoroughly. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, compared them to Allah’s Holy Book, falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it, and regarded them as life-ships and security for mankind. Of [^1] Muhammed ‘Abda, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 19. [^2] Qur’an, 1, 124.

course, such great care of them resulted from nothing except their importance and that they were unique in man’s history. Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, has talked about their noble qualities and their high tendencies, saying: “They are life for knowledge and death for ignorance. Their forbearance tells you of their knowledge, and their silence tells you of the wisdom of their speaking. They do not go against right nor do they differ (among themselves) over it. They are the pillars of Islam and the asylums of (its) protection. With them right has returned to its position and wrong has left its place and its tongue has been severed from its root. They have understood the religion attentively and carefully, not by mere heresy or from relaters, because the relaters of knowledge are many but those who understand it are few.”[^1] In addition to these abilities and talents they had, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, singled them out for the caliphate, for they were worthier of it than others. Traditions ensured by many ways of transmission have been reported from him in this respect. An example is his saying: “This religion is still standing until the Hour (the Day of Resurrection) comes. There will be over them (Muslims) twelve caliphs. All of them are from Quraysh.”

He, may Allah bless him and his family, has also said: “There will be after me twelve commanders (emirs).” And he has said: “All of them are from Quraysh.”

Traditions similar to these have frankly indicated that the caliphate is limited to them, that they are life-ships for the community and that they guide it to good and lead it to the Garden.

An example of the twelve pure Imams the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, had appointed as successors after him and entrusted with propagating his message is Imam al-Hasan, has darling and elder grandson. He installed him as an Imam over his community. He has said concerning him and his brother (al-Husayn): “Al-Hasan and al-Husayn are two Imams, whether they rise or sit down.”

After ‘Imam Ali had been struck with the sword by Abdurrahman bin Muljim, he appointed al-Hasan as the Imam after him. After the death of Ameerul Mo'minin, the Muslims hurried to al-Hasan (a.s) and paid homage to him. They gathered in Kufa Mosque in the morning, the 21st of Ramadan, in the year 40 AH. Then Imam al-Hasan (a.s) came accompanied by the remainder of the Muhajireen and of the Ansar. He ascended the pulpit, praised and [^1] Muhammed ‘Abda, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 259.

lauded Allah. Then he praised his father the greatest lost justice. He mentioned some of his merits and talents, saying: “Last night a man died who was the first among the early (Muslims) in (good) deeds. No any later (Muslims) did attain his level in (good) deeds. He used to fight alongside the Apostle of Allah (a.s) and protected him with his own life. The Apostle of Allah (a.s) used to send him forward with his standard while Gabriel supported him on his right and Michael supported him on his left. He would not return until Allah brought victory through his hands. He (a.s) has died on this night on which Jesus, son of Mary, was taken up (to Heaven), on which Joshua, son of Noon, the testamentary trustee of Moses (a.s) died. He has left behind him no gold or silver except seven hundred dirhams from his stipend, with which he intended to buy a servant for his family. He has ordered me to return them to the Muslims public treasury.”[^1]

The image of his father came into his mind. Then tears overcame him and he wept and the people wept with him. Sadness and sorrow prevailed. Then the Imam continued his speech. He explained to the people his high position, the genuine honor and glory he had, saying: “O people, whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not, then I am al-Hasan bin Ali. I am the (grand) son of the Prophet. I am the son of the guardian. I am the (grand) son of the one who brought the good news. I am the (grand) son of the warner. I am the (grand) son of the man who, with Allah’s permission, summoned (the people) to Allah. I am the (grand) son of the light that shone out (to the world). I am from the House where Gabriel came down to us and ascended from us. I am from the House, from whom Allah has kept away abomination and whom Allah has purified thoroughly. I am from the House for whom Allah has imposed love on all Muslims, when Allah, the Almighty and Exalted, said to His Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family: Say: I do not ask you for any reward except love for (my) kin. Whoever earns good, will increase good for himself. The good is love for us, the Household.”

This eloquent speech has the following points:

  1. He informed people about his father’s struggle (jihad), his extreme courage in Islam, his protecting Allah’s Apostle (a.s) with his own life in all the attitudes and battles. He praised him with an eloquent speech. And indeed, Ameerul Mo'minin was the greatest personality who surpassed all the reformers throughout the stages of history. Indeed he was so. Throughout the past and the present none has surpassed Imam Ali in his ideals, his talents, and his unequal struggle for Islam. [^1] Al-Futooh, vol. 1, p. 146.

  2. In his wonderful speech he has displayed the sacredness of the night on which his father went to the Gardens of immortality. On that night, Jesus, son of Mary (a.s) ascended to Heaven, Joshua, son of Noon, the trustee of Moses (a.s) went to the Neighborhood of Allah, the Most High. And on that night Imam Ali, the master of guardians, the head of the pious, the defender of the entity of Islam moved to the Neighborhood of Allah. Therefore, it was indeed the most sacred and glorious night with Allah.

  3. He explained to the people his father’s asceticism and his renouncing of the worldly pleasures. That was when he left to he better world and left behind him nothing of its vanities while he was able to live in luxurious palaces, wear excellent silk garments, eat delicious food, an possess maids and servants. However, he left that because Allah has prepared for him comfort, dignity, and happiness in the Abode of Survival, and has given him in this world an immortal name, good laudation and reputation coupled with admiration and sanctification with all the people. The inevitable moment of death came to Imam Ali while he left behind him nothing of the vanities of the world. He left behind him neither gold nor silver nor a house nor a real estate, while he was the supreme ruler of the Muslims and enormous properties were brought to him from the various Muslim countries, but he (a.s) refused to take anything from that.

  4. His speech included the summons to the people to pledge allegiance to himself. The summons was wonderful in the full sense of the word. He introduced himself to the people saying in a very clear way. He speech implies that there was no one worthier of the caliphate than him for he had all perfect qualities and virtues.

After Imam al-Hasan (a.s) had finished his speech, of which history has narrated nothing except one part, ‘Ubayd Allah bin al-Abbas urged the Muslims to hurry to pay homage to him. He said to them: “O people, this is the (grand) son of your Prophet and the guardian of your Imam; therefore, pledge allegiance to him!”

The people responded to this blessed summons. They declared their obedience, consent, and yielding (to Imam al-Hasan), saying: “None is more beloved to us nor has anyone more right to succession (caliphate) than him.”[^1]

They hurried to Imam al-Hasan to pay homage to him; and they indeed paid homage to Allah and His Apostle. [^1] Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 34. Al-Irshad, p. 167.

Qays bin Sa‘d al-Ansari, a believing, revolutionist, resolute, and leader, was the first to pledge allegiance to Imam al-Hasan. He was full of enthusiasm and yearning for fighting against the enemies of Allah and opponents of Islam. So he said to him: “Stretch out your hand to pledge allegiance to you (to act) according to Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Prophet and to fight against those who have regarded (killing Muslims) as lawful.”

The Imam found it difficult to say to Qays that it was sufficient for him to act according to Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Prophet, and that he was in no need of the stipulation of fighting against those who regarded (killing Muslims) as lawful. That is because they have explained all things. So he said to him with gentleness and leniency: “(I will act) according to Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Apostle, for they satisfy all conditions.”[^1]

Ibn Qutayba has mentioned that some people went to Imam al-Hasan to pay homage to him. The Imam turned to them and said: “(When) you pledge allegiance to me, (you should) listen (to me), obey me, fight against whomever I fight, and make peace with whomever I make peace with.” When they heard these conditions, they refrained from paying homage (to him). They withheld their hands (from al-Hasan). And so did he. Accordingly, they crowded before al-Husayn to pay allegiance to him. They said to him: “Stretch out your hand to pledge allegiance according to what we had pledge allegiance to your father and to battle against those who have regarded (killing Muslims) as lawful, those who have gone astray, the people of Sham (the Syrians).”

However al-Husayn rebuked them, saying: “I seek refuge with Allah from pledging allegiance to you as long as al-Hasan is alive!”

After al-Husayn (a.s) had refused to accept their request, they went to al-Hasan (a.s) and unwillingly paid homage to him.[^2] This speech is very far from the reality. I (the author) think that it is among the fabricated things, for it shows that Imam al-Hasan had the desire for making peace with his opponent (Mu’awiya) at the beginning of the attitude. This speech is contrary to his numerous attitudes indicating that he decided to battle against his opponent and that he had no desire for making peace with him. We will mention that in detail. If we admitted that as true, then that was with the Kharijites, who intended to create disorders and riot among the Iraqi people, to spread fear and terrorism among them through the fact that the Imam had decided to war

[^1] Ibn al-Athir, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 174. Ibn Khaldun, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 186. [^2] Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, vol. 1, p. 170.

(against his opponent Mu’awiya). The proof for that is that they refrained from paying homage to him in the first place. This shows that they were psychologically disordered and that they had neither confidence nor faith in the new Caliph. The Kharijites were famous for that. As for Imam al-Hasan’s followers, his companions, and his special associates, they fully believed him, trusted him, loved him, and were loyal to him.

Anyway this speech includes both war and peace. It includes both of the affairs: making peace with those who obeyed him and fighting against those who disobeyed him, whether they were from the Kharijites or from the people of Sham. However the Kharijites did not admire that, so they made troubles in respect of the affair (of the pledge of allegiance). They intended to fight against the people of Sham. Before we end this chapter, we have to explain some affairs concerning it. They are as follows:

  1. Accepting the Caliphate

Many critics have asked about the reason why Imam al-Hasan (a.s) accepted the caliphate while the Islamic capital was afflicted with dangers and troubles. They have said: “He had to be slow in (accepting) the authority, and not to be hasty.” His Eminence, late Hujjatollah Aal Yaseen, may Allah have mercy on him, has answered, saying:

Firstly, as it was religiously incumbent on the people to yield to the pledge of allegiance to the appointed Imam, the Imam, who had supporters, had to accept the pledge of allegiance from the people. As for the proof, it is that the people throughout the Muslim countries willingly crowded to pay homage (to Imam al-Hasan). This is apparently a sufficient proof for accepting the caliphate. There was no excuse (for al-Hasan) to fail to (undertake) the religious duty whose conditions were available.

Secondly, most surely the reason for this primitive reversal from the affair of al-Hasan (a.s) is that (the researchers) considered the caliphate from a worldly side only, while it was more appropriate for them to interrogate it from a religious side. That is because there was a great difference between the world and the religion in the Imam’s viewpoint. From this side the affair is a success, not a loss. We shall explain that in an appropriate place. Though the caliphate brought about pain, the pain was for the sake of Islam. Who was more appropriate than al-Hasan to bear pain for the sake of Islam, which grew in his house?

Thirdly, as al-Hasan (a.s) had a high position among the Muslim leaders, an excellent lineage, and remarkable scientific position, so he could not be away (from the caliphate) even if he willingly wanted that. In the meantime, people would not leave him even if he wanted to leave them. There was no escape from that the violent shocks pushed one another towards him to move him to shoulder the responsibility, to carry out the truth, and to forbid the evil just as his brother al-Husayn did during his time.[^1]

Sheikh Aal Yaseen went on giving proofs of that it was necessary for Imam al-Hasan (a.s) to accept the caliphate and to respond to the people who hailed him. Generally speaking, without doubt, if he had failed to ascend the throne and left the affair to chaos, then the community would have faced dangers and difficulties. Then what was the justification for that al-Hasan had not to be hasty in respect of the authority while the community had unanimously agreed on paying allegiance to him, just as His Eminence late Aal Yaseen has mentioned in detail?

  1. The general Pledge of Allegiance

The Muslims throughout the Islamic world unanimously agreed on paying allegiance to Imam al-Hasan, yielding to his government and obeying his commands. Forty-two thousands from the people of Kufa pledged allegiance to him; to follow and to obey. The people of Basra, al-Mada’in, and all the people of Iraq paid homage to him. Persia pledged allegiance to him through Ziyad bin Abeeh. The people of al-Hijaz and Yemen paid homage to him through the hands of Jariya bin Qudama, a watchful, resolute military commander. None refused to pledge allegiance to him except Mu’awiya and his followers just as they had refused to pay homage to Imam Ali, peace be on him. Therefore, the pledge of allegiance to al-Hasan (a.s) was general and it included all the regions in the Islamic world; it was similar to that of his father.

  1. Making the State firm

After allegiance had been paid to him, al-Hasan (a.s) began making his state firm. He appointed governors, employed noble and experienced men from among the just believers and righteous Muslims, gave resolute orders to the (military) commanders, and increased the salaries of the troops hundred per cent. Imam Ali did that at the Battle of al-Jamal. Through this first plan of good deeds and charity he gave to the military troops, al-Hasan possessed the hearts and the swords. Ibn Katheer has said: “They loved him more than they [^1] Sulh al-Hasan, p. 47.

loved his father.”[^1] In this manner Imam al-Hasan (a.s) spared no effort to reform his state, to make it firm, and to protect it. He addressed people, and his speech was full of urging them to clinging to obedience to him, for he was from the pure family (of the Prophet) and from among the two weighty things (the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s progeny) that the Prophet (a.s) had left among his community. Imam al-Hasan (a.s) warned his subjects against listening to and following Mu’awiya’s propaganda, slanders, and lies. He ordered them to cling to co-operation, union, and unity that they might resist the Umayyad aggression which endangered the Islamic society and made it liable to lose life. We have mentioned his speech in the first part of the book. [^2]

  1. Historical Mistakes

Some writers and historians have made some mistakes regarding the allegiance to Imam al-Hasan. I think that I have to mention them:

A. Al-Mas‘udi

Al-Mas‘udi has mentioned: “Most surely the allegiance was paid to Imam (al-Hasan) two days after the death of his father.”[^3] This speech does not agree with what the majority of historians have mentioned: “The allegiance was paid to him in the morning after burying his father the night before.”

B. Farid Hajji

Professor Farid Hajji has mentioned: “The allegiance was paid to al-Hasan (peace be on him) before the death of his father. When the pledge of allegiance (to him) was over, his father died.”[^4] This speech is similar to the previous one, for it is contrary to the general agreement of the historians, who have unanimously agreed on that the pledge of allegiance (to al-Hasan) was immediately after the murder of Imam Ali. As far as I know, no historian has mentioned that the allegiance was paid to Imam al-Hasan during his father’s lifetime.

C. Al-Khudhari

Concerning the pledge of allegiance to Imam al-Hasan, Sheikh Muhammed al-Khudari has mentioned: “Al-Hasan regarded the allegiance to him as not similar to that of his father. That is because it was not general, but it was

[^1] Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 8, p. 41. [^2] Vol. 1, p. 363. [^3] Al-Tanbeeh wa al-Ashraf, p. 260. [^4] Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 3, p. 443. He has repeated that in his book Kanz al-‘Uloom wa al-Lugha, p. 380.

limited to his followers (Shia) from among the people of Iraq.”[^1] This speech is also contrary to the reality. The allegiance to Imam al-Hasan was not limited to his followers from among the people of Iraq. The governors appointed by the Imam throughout the Muslim countries took allegiance to the imam from the Muslims, as we have mentioned. No country refused to pay homage to him except that which was ruled by Mu’awiya.

D. Taha Husayn

Concerning the allegiance to Imam al-Hasan, Dr. Taha Husayn has said: “Anyway al-Hasan did not ask the people (to pay homage to him), nor did he interfere with their pledge of allegiance (to him). It was Qays bin Ubada who summoned the people to this allegiance. When the people wept and responded (to him), he brought al-Hasan out for the pledge of allegiance.”[^2] What Dr. Taha Husayn has mentioned is incorrect for the following reasons:

  1. His saying, ‘Al-Hasan did not ask the people (to pay homage to him), nor did he interfere with their pledge of allegiance (to him),’ is untrue. It is refuted by al-Hasan himself when he made a speech to praise his father. He urged the people to pay homage to him and moved them to obey him. That was when he mentioned the lineage and the merits by which he was distinguished. The purpose for mentioning them during his praising his father was to summon the people to pay homage to him and to make them know that no one was worthier of the caliphate than he was.

  2. As for his statement, ‘It was Qays bin Ubada who summoned the people to pay allegiance (to al-Hasan). When the people wept and responded (to him), he brought al-Hasan out for the pledge of allegiance,’ it is a clear mistake and strange mixture. That is because the summons to the pledge of allegiance (to al-Hasan) took place after the Imam had ended his previous speech, and it was not before that. The one who summoned people to that was Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas. Qays bin Sa‘d was the first to pledge allegiance to Imam al-Hasan, as we have previously explained. Most researches of Dr. Taha Husayn on Imam al-Hasan are void of inquiry and far from correctness. He passed by Imam al-Hasan’s life and his making peace with Mu’awiya but he did not understand the fact nor did he approach the reality. We will mention his historical mistakes or conclusions concerning the research. [^1] Itmam al-Wafa’ fi Sirat al-Khulafa’, p. 225. [^2] ‘Ali wa Banuh, p. 195.

Unfortunately, many historians and writers have not carefully gone through the researches on Imam al-Hasan (a.s) nor have they understood the fabricated lies against his brilliant life, which was similar to that of his grandfather, the great Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, in all its dimensions and mental trends aiming at an inclusive reform among people.

Most historians and writers have submitted to their traditional sentiments and followed their cheap desires, which have missed the truth and misled the public opinion in many sides of their ideological life. Their researches on the first grandson of the Prophet may Allah bless him and his family, are distorted and disordered. They do not represent any side of the truth, nor do they shed any light on the society where Imam al-Hasan (a.s) lived. During that terrible period of time the organs of government intended through their mass media and intelligence to create lies and misleading propagandas, paying no attention to committing sins in respect of that.

Certainly Imam al-Hasan suffered from the Umayyads to the extent that none had ever suffered from them. He faced painful troubles and difficulties. He faced the black treason of his troops who submitted to the misleading propaganda Mu’awiya’s military intelligence spread among them saying that Imam al-Hasan had responded to making peach with Mu’awiya. Accordingly, the Imam’s troops absolutely believed in that, plundered his belongings and attacked him. The Imam suffered from the problems plotted by the Kharijites (rebels). It is worth mentioning that the Kharijites had no awareness. They were a group of terrorists. They spread fear and terror among the people. They regarded as lawful the aggression against the Muslims and their properties. That was lawful according to the law they made to justify the oppression and mischief they made in the land.

Imam al-Hasan suffered too much of these ordeals and difficulties. He was terribly afflicted with them. The book will shed light on many of these sides.