The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Xvi : in Al-mada’in
In history there are tragic events that make the heart melt with sadness and regrets because of their terror. That is because of the terrible effects, the bad complications, the problems, and the hardships -such as spreading oppression and tyranny, wronging the truth, and losing justice- they have left behind. The most tragic of these events and the severest of them is that the oppressors won a victory over the Imams of the truth and justice; and this certainly paralyzed the reformative movement, destroyed man’s values, and made injustice and tyranny appear in the country.
This sorrowful tragedy appeared in the ugliest form on the arena of life through the conflict between Imam al-Hasan (a.s) and Mu’awiya, and through the victory of the former over the latter. Through that the forces that harbored malice against Islam and mutinied against the Muslims won a victory, and the high principles the religion brought were defeated.
Indeed, of the trouble of the world is that Mu’awiya won a victory over the Prophet’s grandson, usurped his right, and imposed himself as a ruler over the Muslims in the name of Islam, while he was its opponent and enemy. There are many factors and reasons for Mu’awiya’s victory. The most important of them are the severe events that happened at Maskan[^1] where the vanguard of the Imam’s Army was, and the sorrowful events that took place in al-Mada’in where all his troops resided. Because of them Imam al-Hasan suffered from difficult kinds of ordeals and misfortunes, and then he was forced to make peace with his opponent Mu’awiya. We have to consider those events carefully, for we think that they were the most important factors and reasons for the peacemaking. They are as follows:
After Imam al-Hasan had entrusted the general leadership of the vanguard of his Army to Ubaydillah, the latter and his Army covered the desert. They arrived in Sinor, and then they went to Shahi[^2] . Ubaydillah walked past the Euphrates and through al-Fallujah. Then he arrived at Maskan and resided
[^1] A place near Awana on al-Dujayl river. The battle between ‘Abd al-Malik bin Marwan and Mas‘ab bin al-Zubayr took place at it in the year 72 A. H. Mas‘ab and Ibrahim bin Malik al-Ashtar were killed and buried at it. They have famous graves. (This has been mentioned in the book) Mu‘jam al-Buldan, vol. 8, p. 54. [^2] Shahi is a place near al-Qadisiya.
there. He was face to face with the enemy. As for Mu’awiya, he practiced destruction and spoiling. He used all the means to put an end to the originality of the vanguard, to divide its unity, and to deaden its military activities. He spread among its members fear, rumors, rebellion, and mutiny. We will deal with some of them as follows:
The beginning of the dangerous plots Mu’awiya had made to spoil the vanguard was that he sent spies, that they might spread fear and terror and discourage the Army. One of the rumors was: “Most surely al-Hasan is corresponding with Mu’awiya for making peace, so why are you killing yourselves?”[^1] This wave of rumors left in the souls horrible disorders and strong fear and brought about a general mutiny among all the (military) units.
Bribing the prominent Personalities
Mu’awiya not only used such acts of destruction but also he used something most dangerous. That was when he bought the cheap consciences of the commanders of the Army residing at Maskan. He gave them a lot of money and made them desire for jobs and offices. As a result they responded to him, slipped away in the night and in broad daylight to join his camp. Ubaydillah wrote al-Hasan (a.s) their stories in detail.[^2] Seducing Ubaydillah
Mu’awiya came to know that he was very successful in bribing (the prominent persons), so he actively acted to seduce those with upset consciences and sick souls. He extended the wires of his cunning to Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas. He attracted him towards him, and he became a puppet in his hand. Through that Ubaydillah betrayed the Prophet’s Household. He left the camp of the truth and guidance and joined the camp of the treason and tyranny. As for the letter through which Mu’awiya deceived him, it reads: “Most surely al-Hasan is corresponding with me about making peace. He is going to hand the authority over to me. If you entered the obedience to me now, you would be followed; otherwise, you shall enter (into it) while you are a follower. If you responded to me now, you shall have a million dirhams, half of which you shall have immediately, and the other half on my entry into Kufa.”[^3]
[^1] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 15. [^2] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 28. [^3] Ibid.
The clear lying and flagrant cunning appeared in his statement: “Most surely al-Hasan is corresponding with me about making peace.” When did the Imam correspond with him about making peace? Was that in his letters and notes containing his threatening him with declaring war if he did not obey him? Or Was that through his setting out to fight against him? Without doubt Ubaydillah firmly believed that this statement was false. That is because if Imam al-Hasan had corresponded with Mu’awiya about making peace, then why had he (Mu’awiya) made Ubaydillah desire for this plentiful money, and what his value would have been if the Imam had responded to him?
Perfidy and Treason
Through his letter, Mu’awiya invaded the feelings of Ubaydillah, who thought for a long time of committing the crime and treason. The seductive points Mu’awiya offered to him appeared before him, and are as follows:
- Al-Hasan corresponded with Mu’awiya according to the claimed statement.
- To join Mu’awiya’s camp while he was followed was better for him than to be a follower.
- Earning a million dirhams.
He spent his night awake and thinking of the affair. He was fully perplexed. The money for which Mu’awiya made him desire appeared before him, for he did not earn some of it during the Hashimite government, which established justice and equality. At last his sinful soul seduced him to desert (al-Hasan) and to break the pledge of allegiance. He responded to the world of Mu’awiya. He turned away from the truth and deviated from the right way. He betrayed Allah and His Apostle. He left the Prophet’s grandson and darling. He joined the camp of oppression and tyranny and wore the garments of shame and disgrace.
Ubaydillah slipped away in the night with eight thousand (fighters)[^1] from among the Army, from among the possessors of ambitions, on whose hearts the religion had no effect-and they joined Mu’awiya’s camp. Therefore, Ubaydillah, the sinful traitor, was responsible for destroying al-Hasan’s Army. That is because his treason led to shake the army, divide its units, and make it disordered.
[^1] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 191.
The plan Mu’awiya followed was the most important reason for paving the way to his success, winning a victory over the attitude, and overcoming the events. It brought about the defeat of the Imam’s Army, destroyed its determination, and opened a door to perfidy and treason.
The Army is disordered
The rest of the Army looked for their leader to lead them in the morning prayer, but they did not find him. When they came to know about his perfidy and treason and his joining the enemy, they became disordered, entered into discords, disputes, and disagreements. When Qays bin Sa‘d saw the violent shocks and the black discords destroying the Army, he rose and led them in the morning prayer. After he had finished the prayer, he made a speech in which he calmed their fear, directed them to correctness and guidance. This is the text of his speech: “Most surely this (Ubaydillah), his father, and his brother have never made good one day. Most surely his father, the uncle of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, fought against him at (the Battle of) Badr. He was taken as a prisoner of war by Abu al-Yaseer, Ka‘b bin ‘Amr al-Ansari[^1] . He brought him to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and he took his ransom and divided it among the Muslims. As for his brother, he was appointed by (Imam) Ali as a governor over Basra. He stole his and the Muslims’ money. He bought slave girls and claimed that it was lawful to do so. As for this (Ubaydillah), he was appointed by Ali as a ruler over Yemen. He escaped from Bisr bin Arta’a. He left his sons, and they were killed. Now, he has done what he did!”[^2]
Through his strong speech, Qays possessed the sentiments and feelings of the Army. The army came to know that there was a true logic in his speech and firm faith in his personality. It was clear that Ubaydillah was worthy of
[^1] Ka‘b bin ‘Amr al-Ansari al-Salami witnessed (the Battle of) Badr after al-‘Aqaba. It was he who took al-‘Abbas as a prisoner of war at (the Battle of) Badr. He took the polytheists’ standard, which was in Abu ‘Uzayz’s hand. He witnessed (the Battle of) Siffin with (Imam Ali), the Commander of the faithful. He died in Yathrib (Medina), in the year 55 A. H. This has been mentioned in (the book) al- Isti‘ab, vol. 4, p. 215. In (the book) Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, it has been mentioned: “He was the last of the people who took part in (the Battle of) Badr to die. He witnessed all the battles with (Imam Ali), the Commander of the faithful. He died at the age of 120 years.” Among his traceable traditions is: “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, sent him for a need. He saw him going away, so he said: ‘O Allah, let us enjoy him!’” So he was the last of the companions (of the Prophet) to die. When he narrated this tradition, he wept and said: “Enjoy me, for my lifetime (is so long) that I am the last of them!”
[^2] Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 35.
treason and of accusation of evil. It came to know that if he had owned noble feelings and human sentiments, he would not have escaped and let his two sons to be killed by the criminal one, Bisr bin Arta’a. All the military units supported Qays and yielded to his speech, saying: “Praise belongs to Allah, Who has taken him out from among us!”[^1] After Ubaydillah’s treason, Qays undertook the leadership according to the Imam’s nomination. When he undertook his new office, he sent Imam al-Hasan a note in which he told him about the sorrowful incident and about his undertaking the tasks of the leadership. This is the text of the note: “They have stopped Mu’awiya at a village called al-Jinubiyyah opposite to Maskan. Then Mu’awiya has sent to Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas, urging him to come to him and offering him a million dirham, half of which he will give him immediately, and the other half on his entry into Kufa. Ubaydillah had slipped away in the night with his close associates to Mu’awiya’s camp. In the morning the people found their leader missing. Qays bin Sa‘d offered the prayer with them and took charge of their affairs.”
Allah helped Imam al-Hasan’s heart when this sorrowful news reached him. His noble soul was full of grief and pain. He became hopeless of success and victory. He came to know that the majority of those with him were traitors and conscience-sellers, that they would hand him over (to Mu’awiya) and desert him when the war broke out. When the military forces residing with him in al-Mada’in came to know about Ubaydillah’s treason and his joining Mu’awiya’s camp, discords and confusion spread among them, and panic and fear dominated them. In the meantime the majority of their commanders looked for ways to join Mu’awiya and to obtain some of his properties.
Lies and Rumors
After Mu’awiya had stabbed the Iraqi Army in the heart through bribing it, he followed other ways to corrupt it and to paralyze its activities. He sent some spies and commanded them to spread terrorism and rumors among all the military units in al-Mada’in or at Maskan. The rumors were of different kinds:
- In al-Mada’in they rumored that Qays bin Sa‘d made peace with Mu’awiya and joined him.[^2] The Army had no doubt about this rumor. That is because Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas, who was the closest of the people to Imam al-Hasan in kinship, deserted and betrayed him.
[^1] Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 35. [^2] Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 8, p. 14.
In Maskan they rumored that Imam al-Hasan made peace with Mu’awiya and responded to him.[^1]
They told lies to those in al-Mada’in, saying: “Most surely Qays bin Sa‘d has been killed; therefore, escape!”[^2]
These false rumors destroyed the nerves of the army, and deadened its military activities. As a result it became divided; discords and disorders spread over it.
A Summary of the Events
The summary of the previous, black discords, of the flagrant treason with which the vanguard, the strongest of the military units, was afflicted is as follows:
- The possessors of distinction and influence from among the noble houses and prominent families slipped away to Mu’awiya.
- The commander-in-Chief, Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas, deserted and betrayed the Prophet’s grandson.
- Eight thousand military fighters betrayed the Imam and joined Mu’awiya’s camp. Accordingly, the vanguard became weak and disordered.
- The members of the army at Maskan and in al-Mada’in became disordered because of the rumors spread by Mu’awiya’s followers such as that al-Hasan made peace with Mu’awiya, and that Qays was killed.
This is an outline of the horrible dangers with which the vanguard was afflicted. They brought about its collapse and paralyzed its activities. As a result the vanguard had no ability to resist the events, to defend itself, and to stop the treacherous enemy who had perfect military abilities, and huge defense powers. After these shocks that befell the vanguard, is it right to say that the vanguard was a strong front and had the ability to war against Mu’awiya?
The Events of Al-Mada’in
Imam al-Hasan left his capital, and mixed groups of people went with him. He walked through Hammam ‘Umar until he reached Deir Ka‘b, at Muzlim Sabat [^3] and stayed there. As for Mu’awiya, he made mischief among Imam al-
[^1] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 191. [^2] Al-Dimyari, Hayat al-Hayawan, vol. 1, p. 57. [^3] Muzlim Sabat was a place near al-Mada’in. This has been mentioned in the book Mu‘jam al-Buldan, vol. 8, p. 91.
Hasan’s Army and spread terror over it, to the extent that the Army led a life of discords and disorders. We will deal with the horrible disasters and events Imam al-Hasan faced.
The Summons to Peace
Mu’awiya’s first act was that he sent Abdullah bin ‘Aamir to summon Imam al-Hasan to make peace and to spare blood. Abdullah set out and called out the units of the Iraqi Army at the top of his voice. He said to them: “O people of Iraq, most surely I have not seen the fighting; rather I belong to Mu’awiya’s vanguard. So recite my greetings to Abu Muhammad (Imam al-Hasan) and say to him: ‘I adjure you before Allah in respect of your soul and the souls of the people with you!” When they heard that, they regarded it as good and they discouraged each other, for they were tired of fighting, they hated war, and inclined to peace and rest.
Bribing the Leaders
In the past and present bribe is the only gap through which colonialists pass to dominate peoples, to plunder their supremacy, and to destroy their originality. As for Mu’awiya, he went too far in employing bribe to buy consciences, protection, and religions, that he might strengthen his kingdom and to put an end to Imam al-Hasan’s government. To achieve this objective he used all means and employed all ways; “the goal justifies the means.” The bribe he used was of different kinds:
He granted those who deserted Imam al-Hasan and responded to him important jobs and offices such as the authority over one of the Muslims countries or the general leadership over one of his armies. 2. He spent a lot of money; one hundred thousand (dirhams) and more.
He promised to marry them to a daughter of his. It is strange that the mean bribe made him reach such a level indicating that he had ignoble soul and that he went too far in practicing vices and offences.
These ways indicate that Mu’awiya had knowledge of the Iraqis’ psychology. He came to know the persons whose consciences he bought for money, so he spent money generously on them. As for the persons who paid no attention to money, he made them desire for offices and influence. As for the persons who sought nearness to him, he made them desire for marrying a daughter of his. Al-Saduq, may Allah have mercy on him, has mentioned these groups of people, saying: “Mu’awiya sent a spy of his to ‘Amr bin Hurayth[^1] , al-Ash‘ath
[^1] ‘Amru bin Hurayth bin ‘Uthman al-Makhzumi, al-Kufi was 12 years old when
bin Qays, and Hajjar bin Abjar[^1] . He had made them desire for leading one of his armies or marrying a daughter of his or taking a hundred thousand dirhams if they killed al-Hasan. When he heard of that, he put on his breastplate to be protected when offering the prayer.”[^2]
The Effect of Bribe
The sick souls that the religion had not educated responded to Mu’awiya’s summons, followed his beautiful world, and were deceived by his attractive promises. They hurried to him, responded to his requests, and yielded to his commands. As a result, some noble, great, and prominent persons sent him letters in which they expressed their readiness for punishing Imam al-Hasan severely whenever he (Mu’awiya) requested and wanted. There were two suggestions:
A. Handing over al-Hasan to Mu’awiya secretly or openly. B. Assassinating or killing al-Hasan when Mu’awiya wanted that. Mu’awiya sent their letters to Imam al-Hasan to inform him of the treason of his Army. When those letters were put before Imam al-Hasan, he became sure of their corruption and their evil intentions.[^3]
Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, died. He was among the young prisoners of war who were released by the Prophet. He became a governor of Kufa after Ziyad and his son ‘Ubayd Allah. He died in the year 75. (This has been mentioned in the book) Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, p. 17.
[^1] Hajjar’s father was a Christian. Hajjar said to his father: “I have come to know that some people have followed this religion and become honorable. I want to embrace it.” His father said to him: “O my little son, be patient till I go with you to ‘Umar, that he may honor you. Beware of that you have a concern less than the maximum objective!” Abjar went to ‘Umar and said to him: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Hajjar bears witness that Muhammed is Allah’s Apostle.” ‘Umar asked: “What has prevented you yourself from saying it?” Abjar replied: “Rather, I am the head of today or tomorrow!” In his book Mu‘jam al-Shu‘ara’, al-Marzabani has mentioned: “Abjar died a Christian during the time of (Imam Ali), the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, a short time before his murder. When he died, the Christians escorted him to his final resting-place. As for Hajjar, he was walking aside along with some people from among the Muslims.” This has been mentioned in (the book) al-Isaba, vol. 1, p. 373. Many history books have mentioned that Hajjar was among the people who sent letters to (Imam al-Husayn), the master of martyrs, peace be on him, urging him to come to Iraq. When he came to Iraq, this sinful person (Hajjar) was on top of those who attacked him. [^2] ‘Ilal al-Sharaiya‘, p. 84. [^3] Jannat al-Khuld, Chapter 9. Kashf al-Ghumma, p. 154. And others.
An example of the influence of bribe on those sick souls void of all kinds of honor is that Imam al-Hasan (a.s) appointed a commander from Kinda over four hundred men. Then he commanded him to camp in al-Anbar (a city in Iraq) and not to do anything until commands would come to him. When he stopped there, Mu’awiya sent a messenger to him with a letter, saying: “Most surely if you came to me, I would appoint you as a ruler over a district of Sham and al-Jazirah.” He sent him five hundred thousand dirhams. As for al-Kindi, he received the money and went to Mu’awiya with two hundred men from among his close associates and the members of his family. Imam al-Hasan (a.s) heard of that and became very sad. He sadly made a speech and showed his sorrow because of those people who followed treason and became victims of falsehood and misguidance. He (a.s) said: “This al-Kindi has headed for Mu’awiya. He has betrayed you and me. I told you time by time that you had no loyalty. You are slaves of the world. I am sending another man to take his place. Most surely I know that he is going to do to you and me just as your leader had done. He will not fear Allah in respect of me and you!”
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) sent another man from Murad with four thousand fighters. He walked towards him before the eyes of the people and focused on him. But he told him that he would betray just as al-Kindi had betrayed. So he (the new commander) took a strong oath that he would not do that. However al-Hasan was not sure of him, so he predicted, saying: “Most surely, he will betray!” The new commander moved to al-Anbar. When Mu’awiya came to know about him, he sent him messengers, wrote him letters like those he wrote to his companion, sent him five hundred or five hundred thousand dirhams, and made him desire for a district of Sham and al-Jazirah. Accordingly, he deserted al-Hasan, went to Mu’awiya, and did not keep the covenants al-Hasan had taken from him.[^1] Many noble, prominent persons committed this treason. This deed shook the entity of the Army, made it disordered, and divided it.
Plundering Imam al-Hasan’s Properties
The souls of that Army horribly became mean. The consciences of its members became void of dignity and honor. So they committed all crimes and offences. An example of their ignoble souls is that they plundered each other. They were not satisfied with that; rather they plundered Imam al-Hasan’s property. Most likely the Kharijites played a major role in practicing such a crime. That is because they paid no attention to the Imam’s property and to
[^1] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 110.
other than that. Their crooked plans regarded as lawful plundering the properties of those who did not follow their thought and religion. Plundering the Imam’s property happened two times: 1. When Mu’awiya sent his spies to the Imam’s Army to rumor that the leader Qays bin Sa‘d had been killed. So when they heard of that, they plundered each other, and then they plundered al-Hasan’s property. Some books have mentioned that they took the prayer mat on which the Imam was sitting and stripped him of his cloak.[^1]
- When Mu’awiya sent al-Mughira bin Shu‘ba, Abdullah bin ‘Aamir, and Abdurrahman bin al-Hakam to Imam al-Hasan to negotiate with him about peacemaking; when they left him, they rumored among the units of the Army to create a discord among it, saying: “Most surely Allah has spared blood through the son of the daughter of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family! He has responded to us in respect of peacemaking!” When the members of the Army heard their statement, they became very excited, attacked the Imam, and plundered his properties.[^2]
Accusing him of Unbelief
Ignorance spread over the hearts of the members of that Army of bad manners and thoughts. So they followed the fields of unhappiness and error. They went too far in committing sins and misguidance. They were so reckless and ignorant that some of them accused Imam al-Hasan, the Prophet’s grandson, of unbelief. An example of them is al-Jarrah bin Sinan who attempted to kill him (the imam) and accused him of unbelief, saying: “You have become a polytheist, O Hasan, just like your father had become a polytheist before.”
The people who saw this flagrant aggression against the Prophet’s grandson and did not support him were worthy of being abandoned and left. That is because the advice did not avail them, nor did they follow the truth and guidance. Most likely it was the Kharijites who accused him of unbelief, for this aggression issued from none except from these wicked people.
Imam al-Hasan’s ordeal and tribulation in respect of his Army did not stop at this limit; rather they exceeded more than that. That was when the bribed persons and the Kharijites attempted to kill him. The Imam (a.s) faced three attempts of assassination, but he was safe from them. They are as follows: [^1] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 110, A‘yan al-Shia. Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh. [^2] Bihar al-Anwar. Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha.
While he was performing the prayer, a person threw an arrow at him but the arrow had no effect on him at all.
Al-Jarrah bin Sinan stabbed him in the thigh. Sheikh al-Mufid, may Allah have mercy on him, has narrated that in details. He has said: “Most surely al-Hasan wanted to test his followers and to make their situation clear with regard to obedience to him, so that in that way he might be able to distinguish his friends from his enemies and be in a clear mind (about his position) to meet Mu’awiya and the Syrians. He (a.s) ordered the call to be made: ‘The prayer is to be offered congregationally.’ They gathered and he (a.s) ascended the pulpit and addressed them. He said: ‘Praise belongs to Allah whenever a man praises him. I testify that there is no god but Allah whenever a man testifies to Him. I testify that Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle whom He sent with the truth and whom He entrusted with revelation, may Allah bless him and his family. By Allah, I hope that I shall always be with Allah’s praise and kindness. I am the sincerest of Allah’s creatures in giving advice to them. I have not become one who bears malice to any Muslim, nor one who wishes evil or misfortune for others. Indeed what you dislike in unity is better for you than what you like in division. I see what is better for you than you see for yourselves. Therefore do not oppose my commands and do not reject my judgement. May Allah forgive both me and you and may He guide me and you to that in which there is love and satisfaction.’
“The people began to look at one another and asked each other: ‘What do you think he intends by what he has just said?’ ‘We think that he intends to make peace with Mu’awiya and hand over the authority to him,’ they answered.’ When they heard that, they said: “The man (Imam al-Hasan) has become unbeliever!”
Then they rushed towards his tent. They plundered him to the extent that they even took his payer mat from under him. Then (the sinful one) Abdurrahman bin Abdullah bin Ja‘al al-Azdi set on him and stripped his cloak from his shoulder. The Imam remained sitting, still girding on his sword but without his cloak. He (a.s) called for his horse and he mounted it. Groups of his close associates and his Shia surrounded him and kept those who wanted to attack him away from him. He said: ‘Summon (the tribes of) Rabee‘a and Hamadan to me.’
“They were summoned and they surrounded him and defended him from the people. A mixed group of others went with him as well. When the imam was passing through the narrow pass of Saabaat, a man of Banu Asad called al-Jarrah bin Sinan caught hold of the reins of his mule. He had an axe in his hand. He exclaimed: ‘Allah is great! You have become a polytheist, Hasan, just like your father had become a polytheist before.’ “Then he stabbed him in the thigh. He seized the Imam by the neck and they both fell to the ground. A man from al-Hasan’s Shia called Abdullah bin Hanzal al-Taa’i pulled the axe away from his hand and struck him with it in the stomach. Another man called Zabyan bin ‘Ammarah attacked him, struck him upon the nose and killed him. Then the Imam (a.s) was carried on stretcher to al-Mada’in and was placed in the white tent to be treated.”[^1]
- Someone stabbed him with a dagger during the prayer.[^2]
After these dangerous events, the intentions of those rude people became clear to the Imam, peace be on him. He understood that they would go too far in practicing crimes and wickedness such as handing him over to Mu’awiya as a prisoner of war. So his dignity would be humiliated, or he would be assassinated, and his sacred blood would be lost without that the community would make use of his sacrifice.
The terrible Attitude
The attitude of Imam al-Hasan (a.s) towards those shocks and troubles, which left the clement perplexed, was that of someone resolute and vigilant. An example of his experience, his good management, and his skillful determination during that mutiny with which his Army was afflicted was that he gathered together the leaders and the prominent persons. He explained to them the bitter results and the heavy damages that would result from his making peace with Mu’awiya. He said to them: “Woe unto you! By Allah, Mu’awiya will not be loyal to any of you who have guaranteed killing me. And most surely I think that if I put my hand in his and made peace with him, he would not let me follow the religion of my grandfather or I would not be able to worship Allah, the Great and Almighty. But it is as if I see that your children standing at the doors of their children asking them for water and food of that Allah has apportioned to them. However they will neither water nor feed them. So away with that which their hands earn! And they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back.”
All the endeavors the Imam made to set them right were useless. The attitude became more critical, his tribulation became greater, the troubles and
[^1] Al-Irshad, p. 170. [^2] Yanabee‘ al-Mawadda, p. 292.
misfortunes became worse. The military commanders made use of that the Imam was busy treating his wound. So they flagrantly communicated with Mu’awiya and flattered him with all means possible. As for Imam al-Hasan (a.s) he came to know about their deserting him and their communicating with the enemy.
Indeed the Imam was perplexed and astonished at his attitude. He carefully considered Mu’awiya and concluded that the battle against him was necessary, for the religion had required it and the Islamic law had made it a must. Then he carefully considered the mutiny with which his Army was afflicted and the flagrant plots made to assassinate him. So he concluded that he had to turn away from them, for he was hopeless of setting them right. Nevertheless, he (a.s) wanted to test them to understand their attitude toward the war if it broke out. So he (a.s) ordered a companion of his to call: “The prayer is to be congregational.” The people crowded, and he rose to address them. He lauded and praised Allah, and then he said: “By Allah, neither doubt nor regret turns us away from the people of Sham; rather we used to fight against the people of Sham with safety and patience. However safety has been mixed with enmity and patience with impatience. When you marched towards Siffin, your religion was before your world, while today your world is before your religion. Indeed you have become between two killed ones. One was killed at (the battle of) Siffin, and you have wept for him. The other was killed at (the Battle of) al-Nahrawan, and you have demanded his blood. As for the rest, they are deserters and rebels.”
In this eloquent speech Imam al-Hasan (a.s) has expressed some important reasons for their division and their weakness. After this, he presented before them the summons to peacemaking, saying: “Most surely Mu’awiya has invited us to an affair in which there is neither glory nor justice. If you wanted death, we would refuse it and judge him with the blades of the swords, and if you wanted life, we would accept it and be satisfied with it.”
After he (a.s) had ended his speech, they shouted at the top of their voices and from all directions: “The rest! The rest!”[^1]
After this attitude the Imam (a.s) concluded that if he had fought against Mu’awiya, he would have fought against him with an empty hand, for he had neither a supporter nor a helper, and there was no strong support to which he had to resort. He realized the clear plans the military commanders had taken to hand him over to Mu’awiya as a prisoner of war or to assassinate him. [^1] Human al-Islam, vol. 1, p. 123. Ibn Druid, al-Mujjtama, p. 36.
After all of this he concluded that the attitude required quick peacemaking. Yazid bin Wahab al-Juhani has given an outline of the Imam’s displeasure with the rogues and mobs from Kufa and of his grumbling of them. He has said: “I came in to him (al-Hasan) when he was stabbed and said to him: ‘O son of Allah’s Apostle, most surely the people are perplexed.’” The Imam sadly said: “By Allah, I think that Mu’awiya is better for me (than they). They claim that they are my Shia, while they wanted to kill me, plundered my luggage and took my property. By Allah if I took from Mu’awiya a covenant through which I spared my blood and made secure my family and my Shia, it would be better for me than that they would kill me and my family would be lost. If I fought against Mu’awiya, they would seize me by the neck and peacefully hand me over to him. By Allah, if I made peace with him while I was powerful, it would be better for me than that he would kill me and I was a captive, or he would be kind to me, and it would be shame on the Hashimites forever. Mu’awiya and his children would remind the living and the dead from among us of that.”
In his speech the Imam has expressed the treacherous aggression against his life and his dignity. He has shown that he met such an aggression from the hypocrites of his followers. He has shown that they would be so mean that they would kill him or hand him over to Mu’awiya as a captive. And he (Mu’awiya) would kill him or be kind to him, so through that he would record a weak point against the Imam, which would be a disgrace on the Hashimites forever.
After these dangerous events, Imam al-Hasan (a.s) carefully considered the battle against Mu’awiya. He thought of a future full of troubles and disorders which would decide the fearful fate and the inevitable end of both his life and his state, and the life of Islam as well. That is because the few believing members of his army were between the progeny of the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and the deliverers of the Islamic sacred religion. They were the rest of the companions (of the Prophet) and were of the followers of Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. If the battle had destroyed them, the morale, entity, and pillars of Islam would have been destroyed, because it was they who spread its abilities. Besides Islam would make no use of their sacrifices, for Mu’awiya, though his cunning, would regard them as enemies, disobedient to him, and against the general security. Accordingly, he would say that it was necessary for him to put an end to them to save the Muslims’ lives from the riot and disorders.
Indeed perplexity and astonishment appeared during that terrible attitude. To get rid of that deadlock, it was in need of a keen mind and more sacrifices. The Imam thought that the perfect interest required making peace with Mu’awiya, and then he had to destroy the thrones of his state, to explain to the people his (Mu’awiya’a) shortcomings, offences, sins, wickedness, and tyranny. He (a.s) made peace (with Mu’awiya). The peacemaking was necessary. Reason, the Sacred Islamic Law, and the critical attitude required it.
Anyway the extreme pain and misfortunes, from which Imam al-Hasan suffered and made his heart bleed, were that the members of his Army changed up their minds. They changed their opinion and thought and deviated from the truth. They waited for an opportunity (to attack him), wanted to bring about misfortunes to him, plotted against him by night and in broad daylight. They had close relationships with Mu’awiya. They received from him gifts and money. They worked for him as hirelings and spies. They informed him of the secrets, movements, and weak points of the Army. Moreover they spread terrorism and panic, that they might deaden awareness and paralyze the resistance. This wicked phenomenon did not appear at Maskan and in al-Mada’in; rather it appeared after (the Battle) of Siffin. From that day the Army suffered from division and defeat. Al-Baladhiri has said: “When Mu’awiya heard that (Imam) Ali battled against the people (at the Battle of) al-Nahrawan, he wrote letters to the prominent persons with him such as al-Ash‘ath bin Qays and the like. He promised them and made them desire. He spent money on them to the extent that they inclined to him and were slow to go with (Imam) Ali. He (Imam Ali) said, but they paid no attention to his saying. He summoned them, but they did not listen to his summons. Mu’awiya said: ‘I fought Ali after (the Battle of) Siffin without an army and equipment.’”[^1] The treason, perfidy, and breaking of covenant befell the Imam’s Army after the Battle of Siffin. It was this battle that made the people desert Imam al-Hasan (a.s) and forced him to make peace with Mu’awiya.
As an addition to these terrible events from which Imam al-Hasan suffered, we will give other reasons for explaining the attitude, raising the influence of the doubt, and refuting the criticisms of the critics.
[^1] Ansab al-Ashraf, Q 11/200.