The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Xix : Imam Al-husayn’s Attitude
The attitude of Imam al-Husayn, the master of martyrs (a.s) toward the affair of the peacemaking was like that of his brother Imam al-°asan (a.s). Imam al-Husayn was perplexed and astonished at his brother’s attitude. However after he had studied the attitude, he came to know that the conclusion of a truce was necessary and making peace (with Mu’awiya) was a must. (He also came to know that) it was not an act of wisdom nor was it an act of logic to open a door to war against Mu’awiya, for such a war would bring about bad complications to Islam, misfortunes and disasters to the Muslims, because the army that went with them became divided. In the previous chapters we have referred to the flagrant treason of most military commanders and leaders, their joining Mu’awiya’s camp, their readiness to assassinate Imam al-Hasan or hand him over as a captive. So how was it possible for Imam al-Hasan to battle against Mu’awiya through these treacherous forces who had harbored grudges against him and waited for an opportunity to kill him?
Imam al-Husayn (a.s) thought that his brother had to respond to the peacemaking and not to fight against Mu’awiya because of the bitter factors that surrounded him, to the extent that it made it impossible to overcome Mu’awiya and to win a victory over him. So the peace Imam al-Hasan made was obligatory, and there was no way other than it, as we have explained in the reasons of the peacemaking. So how was it possible for Imam al-Husayn to oppose his brother in respect of that and not to agree with him on that?
Some historian claimed that al-Husayn disliked what his brother did, and that he said to him: “I adjure you before Allah that you should not believe Mu’awiya’s speech and deny your father’s speech!”
Imam al-Hasan answered him: “I am more knowledgeable of the matter than you are.”[^1] They have also narrated that al-Hasan said to his cousin Abdullah bin Ja‘far: “I have an opinion, and I want you to follow me in respect of it.” Abdullah bin Ja‘far asked him: “What is it?”
“I think that I have to go to Medina and reside in it,” said al-Hasan, “I will leave this affair to Mu’awiya. For the trouble has lasted. Blood has been shed because of it. kinship have been cut off, and the fortified borderline cities have been closed.”
[^1] Usd al-Ghaba, and the like.
Abdullah bin Ja‘far confirmed his viewpoint saying: “May Allah reward you with good on behalf of the community of Muhammad; and I am with you.” Then he sent for al-Husayn. When he was before him, he said to him: “I have an idea and I want you to follow me in respect of it.” “What is it?” asked al-Husayn. He mentioned to him his viewpoint in respect of that.
Al-Husayn opposed him angrily and said to him: “I seek refuge for you with Allah from that you deny Ali in his grave and believe Mu’awiya!” So al-Hasan was displeased with his speech and said to him: “By Allah, when I want an affair, you oppose me (and suggest) other than it! By Allah, I have intended to throw you into a house and imprison you in it, that I may carry out my affair!” When al-Husayn came to know that his brother was angry and serious in the affair, he withdrew from his idea and abdicated his opinion. Then he said to him with a faint voice: “You are the oldest of Ali’s children. You are my caliph. Our command follows your command. Therefore, do whatever seems to you!”[^1]
Without doubt all of that was fabricated. It was completely false, because Imam al-Husayn was knowledgeable of the factors and the reasons that forced his brother to make peace with Mu’awiya. Definitely his opinion about the peacemaking agreed with that of his brother. He did not oppose it nor did he differ with his brother on it. When Imam al-Hasan concluded the peacemaking, a group of the leaders and the great figures came to al-Husayn. They asked him to violate what his brother had concluded with Mu’awiya and to fight against him. However he refused that and refrained (from responding to them). If his opinion had been different from that of his brother, he would have responded to them in respect of that. When Imam al-Hasan passed away, a group of the leading persons in Iraq sent al-Husayn many letters and asked him to declare the revolt against the Umayyads. But he refused to respond to them and said to them: “As long as Mu’awiya is living, I will not move through all things. When he dies, I will consider the matter.”[^2]
Surely his refraining from undertaking the affair as long as Mu’awiya was alive frankly indicates that he thought that concluding a truce and timely peacemaking was necessary, because the revolt would not succeed and the
[^1] Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, vol. 4, p. 21. [^2] Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p. 206. Others than him have mentioned that.
sacrifice would achieve nothing as long as Mu’awiya was alive, for he would clothe it in a garment that would bring it out of the frame of the reform, as we have already explained. Yes, without doubt the peacemaking left in al-Husayn’s soul bitter sorrow and exhausting sadness. In the meantime it left in al-Hasan’s soul agony and sadness. But what would they both, peace be on them, do as long as the circumstances were not appropriate for them to fight against Mu’awiya?
These stories were fabricated and incorrect that it has been mentioned in the second narration that Imam al-Hasan said to his brother al-Husayn: “When I want (to do) an affair, you oppose me in respect of it!”
Surely this severe speech is a proof of the fabrication, for the ideals prevented Imam al-Husayn (a.s) from opposing and disobeying his brother. They both were brought up under the care of the great legislator (the Prophet), and he supplied them with his ideals, education, and guidance, to the extent that they were a true copy of him. Therefore, how was it possible for him to oppose his brother’s orders and not to obey him in respect of the affair that brought about a general interest to the Muslims in general?
Surely Imam al-Husayn magnified and respected his brother. He did not oppose him in anything. His grandson Imam al-Baqir (a.s) narrated about al-Husayn’s great reverence and respect toward his brother, saying: “Al-Husayn did not speak in the presence of al-Hasan as a sign of respect toward him.”[^1] After this respect and magnification, was it right for al-Hasan to say to his brother: “When I want (to do) an affair, you oppose me in respect of the affair?”
Dr. Taha Husayn has depended on this fabricated narration, saying: “He (al-Husayn) disliked the peace his brother made and intended to oppose (him). So his brother warned him through shackling him with the iron until the peacemaking was concluded.” And he said: “And al-Husayn criticized the peacemaking, for it was a denial to his father’s line of conduct.”
And he also said: “He (al-Husayn) saw the loyalty to his brother as a right, so he was loyal to him and obeyed him as he had obeyed his father before. I have no doubt that, during these years he spent in Medina after the peace his brother made, he felt burning desire for the opportunity that would enable him [^1] Ibn Shahrashub, al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 143.
to resume the jihad (in the place) where his father had left.”[^1]
As for Dr. Taha Husayn’s saying “He (al-Husayn) disliked the peace his brother made and intended to oppose (him). So his brother warned him through shackling him with the iron…. He criticized the peacemaking. For it was a denial to his father’s line of conduct.” This speech is refuted by that if he had disliked that, then he would have responded to the Kufans when they intended to fight against Mu’awiya after the peacemaking had been concluded, and that he would have declared the revolt against him after his brother’s death. Besides if the peacemaking had been contrary to the line conduct of Imam Ali,
the Commander of the faithful (a.s) al-Husayn would not have kept silent, for keeping silence from saying the truth is cowardliness and sin. If (the peacemaking) had been contrary to the conduct of Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, which was extension to that of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, al-Hasan (a.s) would not have concluded the peacemaking. Yes, al-Husayn hankered after jihad as the thirsty hankered after water. His heart harbored exhausting sorrow and sadness. Also his brother shared him all his ordeals and sorrows. They both waited for an appropriate opportunity to revolt against the Umayyad government. However the opportunity through which the victory and the conquest were hoped was not available as long as Mu’awiya was alive, because opening a door to war against him would bring about a grievous damage to Islam and the Muslims.
A thing has remained. We have not mentioned the thing in the reasons for the peacemaking. It is that why did Imam al-Hasan not open a door to the war against Mu’awiya even if he had neither supporters nor helpers and to die a martyr just as his brother, the master of the martyrs (a.s) had done? Those who criticized the peacemaking maintained this vague error. Let one of the Imams of the Muslims, who is late Aayat Allah Sayyid Abdul Husayn Sharafuddeen, answer the question. He has removed the cover from it in an article entitled Thawrat al-Husayn Sadaa li Sulh al-Hasan (Al-Husayn’s revolt is the echo of al-Hasan’s peacemaking”. The article was published in most of the local newspapers. We will mention the whole article, for it has an additional benefit. He, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “Since the past it has been in myself that I (have to) take care of researching this problem in a research that rebels from Abu Muhammad (al-Hasan) this vague error in the souls of those unable to understand history with a correct understanding. Many of these people do not resort to a science source as to weigh this group
[^1] Al-Fitnatu al-Kubra, vol. 2, p. 213. Professor Mahmud al-‘Aqqad has depended on these fabricated narrations in his researches on the father of martyrs (Imam al-Husayn).
from among Ahl al-Bayt and to subjugate their movements in the two states of their ebb and flow to the Highest Principle (Allah), for He rendered them obedient to serving Him and annihilate their selfness in His selfness. So they contracted when He desired the contraction to them, and they also expanded when He desired the expansion to them.
“It has been in my soul that I (have to) refute this vague error from Abu Muhammad (al-Hasan) through establishing this scientific balance that makes clear this act and remove its veil. But the incoming, heavy, endless businesses have turned me away from that which is in myself in respect of that. Now, I will summarize the hint to this vague error and refute it. It may be that this seed becomes a plant. I will take care of that which makes it grow when the opportunity comes; otherwise, one of these shiny pens dipped in the hearts of the free and the minds of the religious scholars from among the servants of facts…will make it grow. As for the vague error, it is as old as the feeble sight in those who apparently take things. As for those who are familiar with the history of al-Hasan (a.s) they know that some of his companions had criticized him for his refraining from fighting against Mu’awiya. So he was then about to be the victim of that trouble, and to the extent that one of his special associates rudely greeted him, saying: ‘Assalamu ‘alayka O you who have abased the faithful!’”
“Perhaps they had an excuse because of their enthusiasm…
“That might be. But, now, we do not want to apologize to them; rather, we want to prove the part of this vague error from the first to see that it comes successively from him. It appears from time to time, some times on the tongue of his friends and some times on the tongue of his opponents; and it, here and there, does not appear but to indicate the ignorance of these and those.
“So when we weigh his peacemaking (a.s) and his war, the scale of the peacemaking outweighs. That is when the observed criterion is taken into consideration. And be, if you wished, material or spiritual to exceed through your faith and understanding the rage of the sensible and the visible. “In the first place, be material and discuss the war of al-Hasan. The army felt defeat before entering war. Mu’awiya invaded it. The army had resisted (Imam) Ali before, while Ali had a military morale; the earth shook out of fear of it. In addition to his other morale the like of which Imam al-Hasan did not enjoy in the souls of his contemporaries by virtue of his following his father.
“Yes, you have the right to say that it was incumbent on al-Hasan to be martyred and to die dear. However, reconsider the history of this period that you may see that martyrdom gives one of the meanings of going out (in revolt). So at that time there was no national, stable fact, nor was there a firm tentative spirit that martyrdom might be according to the decided rules; and there is nothing, in this condition, more insignificant than death that helps against its doer and cause him to die another time.
“Really the Islamic life was relapsing and changing into a hereditary monarchy. The ambitions were drafted in the king’s stirrup, escaping from the borders of the caliphate. However it was still keeping the means of Islam and its apparent principle through the opportunism Mu’awiya formed through his cunning. This is by itself can be an excuse for al-Hasan through two sides:
“1. It was his excuse in respect of the peacemaking, for the world supported Mu’awiya through stripping him of his (al-Hasan’s) cousin and commander of his army.
“2. Then it was his excuse in respect of refraining from martyrdom, for that itself was not the circumstance of martyrdom, for he was able to transform it. “Then which material benefit would have been through death if al-Hasan had chosen it as these people want, except that he would help Mu’awiya against himself alive and dead?
“Surely I can see nothing more indicative of al-Hasan’s greatness than this material policy that limited his attitude in this manner during the most dangerous period during which Islam passed. So it was the nucleus of overthrowing and exposing the Umayyad government; likewise, it was the material of that great (gun) powder that exploded through the martyrdom of al-Husayn, peace be on him. That was the explosion. Had it not been for this attitude of al-Hasan, Mu’awiya would have undertaken a supreme authority whose results the people would not know; and al-Husayn would not have been able (to achieve) the immortal sacrifice for the immortal creed.
“You were material, now try to be spiritual and discuss the war of al-Hasan that all the considerations may come together for you to show you the superiority of the scale of the peacemaking.
“Al-Hasan was not among those who sought authority for authority; rather, he was among those who wanted the caliphate to be a means for reform, establishing justice and peace among the people. I do not think that this spiritual thought lacks its material proof, for his father and his grandfather proved in Islam that it was so; and he had, before Islam, inheritance rises as a proof for that he belonged to a reformative origin that did not seek influence if it was in no need of doing good.
“From here it was easy for him to abdicate the caliphate, for he lived during a period of time that was unable to show good during that suppressed generation yearning for the pleasures from which it took more than its sufficiency at Mu’awiya’s dining tables. Rather it was incumbent on him to abdicate (the caliphate), for he had no ability to overcome the obstacle of subjugating the rushing Umayyads. That is because his abdicating (the caliphate) came according to the plan his principles had made.
“Those who criticized him for his abdicating (the caliphate) were not greater than him in feeling the pain of the abdication; it was he who was injured. However it was the huge sacrifice that urged him to stand the pain of the refraining that his high ideals and good principles had written against him.
“It was a sacrifice that was not less, if it was not more, than that of al-Husayn, peace be on him. Now, be whatever you wish to be. Be material or be spiritual, for, at last, you will reach a wonderful result; it is that al-Hasan’s peacemaking was among the great sources of al-Husayn’s liberating revolt, and that the essence of the sacrifice was one with the two Imams even if their appearances were different. “The truth is that the Day of al-Taff (the Battle of Karbala’) was an echo to the Day of al-Mada’in. May Allah bless the two masters of the youths of the Garden and make the Muslims make use of their memories, the renewer, the new, make the Arabs and the Muslims follow their guidance in this difficult stage of theirs.”[^1]
The opinion of his Eminence Sayyid Sharaf al-Deen is trustworthy, confirmed by proofs, and supported by scientific speech in all its sides. The truth is that if Imam al-Hasan had sacrificed his life, then his sacrifice would have been useless, would not have established the truth nor would have it changed falsehood. That is because through his cunning and deception, Mu’awiya would regard al-Hasan as responsible and regard himself as innocent of committing the crime. He would say to the people: “Surely I summoned al-Hasan to make peace (with me), but he refused (all things) except war. I wanted him to live, but he wanted me to be killed. I wanted to spare blood, but he wanted to destroy the people between me and him….” Mu’awiya had such abilities through which he would show himself as just and fair. In this manner al-Hasan’s sacrifice would be useless.
[^1] Al-Saa‘a Newspaper, no. 908 (concerning Imam al-Husayn, the master of martyrs, peace be on him), the third year. The article was also published in al-Ghari Magazine, no. 11 (regarding Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him), the ninth year.
As for al-Husayn, his immortal sacrifice was suitable to its appropriate circumstance and was in harmony with the requirements of the time. That is because the sinful one, Yazid, had none with him to manage his affairs and to deter him from his recklessness and vainglory. That is because that group of people on whom Mu’awiya depended to run his affairs such as Amr bin al-‘Aas, al-Mughira, and the like from among the crafty Arabs perished. None of them remained with him; for this reason Imam al-Husayn (a.s) declared his successful revolt that brought about an inevitable end to the Umayyad state.
Generally speaking, al-Hasan’s peacemaking and al-Husayn’s martyrdom were based on a deep thought taken from the inspiration of their grandfather, the Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Had it not been for al-Hasan’s peacemaking and the martyrdom of his brother, Islam would have gone forever. This has been declared by Imam Kashif al-Ghita’ in his introduction to the book. He, may Allah have mercy on him, has said: “It was incumbent on Imam al-Husayn and his companions to revolt against the tyrannical one of his time (Yazid bin Mu’awiya) during those circumstances. They all were killed, and the rest of Imam al-Husayn’s family, who were the family of Allah’s Apostle, were taken as prisoners of war. This was incumbent on him according to the technique of policy, the laws of victory and prudence regardless of the divine commands and the eternal will. It was also incumbent on al-Hasan (a.s) during his conditions to make peace with the tyrannical one of his time (Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufyan). Had it not been for the peace treaty of al-Hasan and the martyrdom of al-Husayn, Islam would have had neither a name nor a trace, and the efforts of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, the good, the blessing, the guidance, and the mercy he had brought for people would have been lost.”
Yes, had it not been for al-Hasan’s peacemaking and al-Husayn’s martyrdom, Islam would have been destroyed and its standard would have been folded, because through his peacemaking, al-Hasan (a.s) exposed Mu’awiya and showed his fragrant enmity toward Islam and the Muslims. Likewise, through his sacrifice and martyrdom, al-Husayn (a.s) destroyed the Umayyad state. He put an end to it and to all the oppressive dictators. He gave creative lessons to all the reformers who want to revolt against oppression, tyranny, and selfishness.