The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Xxi : the Critics of the Peacemaking
Imam al-Hasan’s immortal ordeal and tribulation was not limited to what he met from among the hard trial and the severe ordeal resulted from his making peace with Mu’awiya and his meeting with him. His tribulation exceeded to that which was greatest in influence on him. That is the speech of the critics from among his opponents and his companions. That was when they criticized him for his making peace with Mu’awiya. They faced him with statements whose effect on him was stronger than that of a sharp sword. He met from them a coarse speech, rude talks, and strong alienation. So he (a.s) was displeased with his followers (Shia) more than he was with his enemies, for they (his followers) knew well the black circumstances and the bitter factors that forced him to make peace with Mu’awiya and to conclude a truce with him. The following are the statements of the critics along with the Imam answers to them.
Hijr Bin Adiy
The hero of thought, the example of faith, and the pride of Islam (Hijr bin ‘Adi) went to Imam al-Hasan. He shook with fear, and sadness prevailed him. He said to the imam: “Would that you and we died on that day and did not see this day. We unwillingly returned with that which we had disliked, and they happily returned with that which they had liked.”
I (the author) do not know how Hijr said such a rude speech while he was the most knowledgeable of people of the Imam’s position and reality. He was the most knowledgeable of them in the difficult circumstances and severe hardships that surrounded the Imam (a.s) and forced him to make peace with Mu’awiya. However he is excused because the agony of the misfortune and the astonishment of the soul make man deviate from the balance of moderation and straightness. Anyway Imam al-Hasan (a.s) rose, took Hijr by the hand and was alone with him in a corner of the house. He explained to him the reason why he made peace with Mu’awiya. He said to him: “O Hijr, I heard your speech in Mu’awiya’s meeting. Not all the people like what you like, nor their opinion is like yours. Surely I did nothing except keeping you. And Allah, the Most High, is in a state (of glory) every moment.”[^1] [^1] Ibn Shahrashub, al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 169.
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) explained that he had no loyal people in the Iraqi army, that if he had had people similar to Hijr in creed, faith, opinion, and sincerity, he would not have made peace with Mu’awiya. He (a.s) explained that he made peace with his opponent to keep safe Hijr and the like of Hijr from among the faithful.
Adiy Bin Hatim
Adiy bin Hatim was unique and ideal. He set a record in thought, faith, and sacrifice in the way of Allah. According to his psychological, violent excitement, this great companion (of the Prophet) hurried to criticize Imam al-Hasan for making peace with Mu’awiya. His speech was modern; the speech of someone completely polite. His soul melted out of sadness and sorrow. So he said: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, would that I died before what I had seen. You have brought out of justice into tyranny. So we have left the truth we had followed and entered the falsehood from which we had escaped. We have been given vice because of us; and we have accepted the low that is not suitable to us.”
‘Adi’s speech left in the Imam’s soul strong sorrow and sadness. So the Imam (a.s) explained to him the reason why he made peace (with Mu’awiya), saying: “O ‘Adi, surely I have come to know that most people desired for making peace and hated war. I did not want to force them to do what they disliked. I have thought that I have to postpone this war to someday, for surely Allah is in a state (of glory) every moment.”
In his answer, Imam al-Hasan has explained that his army was tired of war, inclined to well-being, and preferred peace to war, and that he was determined to battle against Mu’awiya during a suitable time that would guarantee success and victory. However ‘Adi was not satisfied with the Imam’s speech. Rather he walked to Imam al-Husayn (a.s) with heavy steps. His heart was boiling with anger and enthusiasm. Ubaydillah bin ‘Umar was with him. When he reached Imam al-Husayn, he said to him with tones dripping enthusiasm and determination for starting war: “O Abu Abdullah, you have bought abasement for glory. You have accepted the little and left the much. Obey us today and disobey us throughout the time! Leave al-Hasan and what he has thought of this peacemaking. Gather your followers from among the people of Kufa and the like. Appoint my companion and me over this vanguard. So Hind’s son (Mu’awiya) will not feel but we fight against him with the sword.”
Imam al-Husayn (a.s) said to him: “Surely, we have pledged allegiance (to Mu’awiya) and promised (him) and there is no way to break our allegiance (to him).”[^1]
Al-Musayyab Bin Nujba
Al-Musayyab Bin Nujba[^2] was among the great, good, righteous believers who were known for their love and loyalty to Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. He was displeased with the peacemaking. He felt pain in the full sense of the word. He walked to Imam al-Hasan while he was sad and distressed. He said to him: “My astonishment at you does not come to an end. You have pledged allegiance to Mu’awiya while you have forty thousand (fighters). You have not taken a document and a manifest covenant. He gave you an affair between you and him. Then he said what you have heard. He meant none other than you.”
Imam al-Hasan asked him: “What do you think?” “I think that you have to return to that which had been before. That is because he (Mu’awiya) has broken what is between you and him.” The Imam denied him. He explained to him that the interest required peacemaking, saying: “O Musayyab, if I wanted, through what I did, (the life in) the world, then Mu’awiya would not be more patient than I would in meeting (in war), nor would he be more steadfast than I would in war. However, I sought your righteousness and wanted to prevent you from fighting against each other.”[^3]
In his speech, Imam al-Hasan (a.s) has expressed that if he had been among those who sought the life in this world, loved domain and authority, Mu’awiya would not have been more patient than he was, nor was he more steadfast than he was. However victory in Mu’awiya’s viewpoint depended on
[^1] Al-Daynwari, p. 203. [^2] Al-Musayyab Bin Nujba was a Kufan. He narrated traditions on the authority of Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and Hudhayfa. A group of traditionists narrated on his authority. He and Sulayman bin Surad went out (in revolt) to avenge the blood of al-Husayn. He was killed in the year 65 A. H. Ibn Sa‘d has said: “Al-Musayyab bin Nujba bin Riyah belonged to the first class from among the people of Kufa. He witnessed (the Battle of) al-Qadisiya and the battles led by Imam Ali. He was killed at the Battle of ‘Ayn al-Warda.” Al-‘Askari has said: “Al-Musayyab (bin Nujba) narrated incompletely transmitted (traditions) on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. He had no companionship (with the Prophet).” This has been mentioned in (the book) Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 10, p. 154. [^3] Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, vol. 225.
the ways the religion did not accept such as equivocation, flattering, deception, and the like. As for Imam al-Hasan, he refused to employ such ways. He followed his father’s plan aiming at clinging to the truth and justice.
Malik Bin Dhamra
Malik bin Dhamra[^1] came in to Imam al-Hasan. He said to him some rude words. Imam al-Hasan said to him: “Surely I feared that the Muslims would be uprooted from the face of the earth. I wanted someone to spread the religion.”[^2] In his speech Imam al-Hasan has expressed that he took care of sparing the Muslims’ blood, and that if he had opened a door to war against Mu’awiya, there would not have been a Muslim on the face of the earth. As a result he made peace to spare the Muslims’ blood and to keep them safe.
Sufyan Bin Abi Layla
Sufyan bin Abi Layla was among those who embraced the Kharijites’ thought. He came in to Imam al-Hasan and said to him some words indicating his alienation and ignorance. He said to him: “Assalamu ‘alayka, O you who have abased the faithful!” The Imam was displeased with him, so he hurried to say: “Woe unto you, O Kharijite! Do not rebuke me! The thing that made me in need of what I did was your killing my father, your stabbing me, and your plundering my possessions. When you walked to Siffin, your religion was before your life in this world, while today your present life is before your religion. Woe unto you, O Kharijite! Surely I have come to know that none has confidence in the people of Kufa. None feels strength through them but one abased. Their opinions are different. My father met from them difficult affairs and bitter
[^1] Malik bin Damra al-Damri was famous for abundant knowledge and excellence. He associated Abu Dharr, the great companion of (the Prophet). He lived during the lifetime of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. When he was about to die, he ordered his weapon to be given to the mujahideen from among the Banu Damra. He stipulated that they should not fight against Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, with it. His brother said to him: “At death you are saying that?” “It is so,” he replied. When Imam al-Husayn, the master of martyrs came to Iraq, and the people of Kufa went out to fight against him, one of Ibn Ziyad’s helpers came to Musa bin Malik to borrow his father’s spear to fight against the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle (Imam al-Husayn). He gave him the spear. When he (the helper) went out, a woman from among Malik’s women folks asked him (Malik): “O Musa, did you not remember your father’s will?” When he heard of that, he looked for him. He took the spear from him and broke it. This has been mentioned in (the book) al-Isaba, vol. 3, p. 460. [^2] Bihar al-Anwar.
hardships. Kufa is the quickest of the cities to be destroyed. Its inhabitants are those who divided their religion and became parties.”
Bashir al-Hamadani came in to Imam al-Hasan and said: “Assalamu ‘alayka, O you who have abased the faithful!” “‘Alayka Assalamu, sit down,” said Imam al-Hasan. When Bashir had sat down, the Imam (a.s) said to him: “Through my making peace (with Mu’awiya) I wanted nothing but driving killing away from you. That was when I came to know that my companions lagged and recoiled.”
Sulayman Bin Surad
Sulayman bin Surad was among the sincere companions of Imam al-Hasan in his faith, creed, and obedience to Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. He was not present in al-Mada’in when the peacemaking occurred. When he heard of the painful news, he headed for the Imam, who was in Yathrib (Medina). When he reached him, he said to him: “Assalamu ‘alayka, O you who have abased the faithful!” “‘Alayka Assalamu, sit down,” said Imam al-Hasan.
After he had sat down, he rushed to say: “Surely our astonishment at your pledging allegiance to Mu’awiya does not come to an end! You have a hundred thousand fighters from among the people of Iraq. All of them take the pay. In addition to them there is (a number) equal to them from among their followers with the exception of your followers from among the people of Basra and al-Hijaz. Then you did not take certainty in respect of the covenant nor did you take luck of the affair. You did what you did and he gave you what he gave you between you and him from among the covenant and agreement. If you wrote a document against him about that, and made witnesses from among the people of the east and the west bear witness against him that the authority would come to you after him, the affair would be easier to us. But he gave you this and you were satisfied with it according to his speech. Then he said and claimed openly what you have heard: ‘Surely I made some conditions to some people. I promised them with some promises, for I wanted to extinguish the fire of the war and to comply with the discord, for Allah has gathered for us our word and our unity. However all that which was there is under these feet of mine.’ By Allah, he meant nothing except violating that which was between you and him. Therefore prepare a trick for the war. Allow me to go to Kufa, to remove its governor from it, and to declare his deposition. Then throw back to them on terms of equality. Surely Allah does not guide the device of the unfaithful.”
Sulayman’s speech indicates that he was obedient and loyal to Imam al-Hasan, peace be on him. He urged him to revolt against Mu’awiya’s government and to break the pledge of allegiance (to him). He did not fulfill the covenant and did not conform to the stipulations of the peacemaking, just as he declared that in the presence of the people. Sulayman’s speech was suitable to the desires of those who attended the Imam’s meeting, so they confirmed his speech, saying: “Send Sulayman and send us with him. Then follow us when you come to know that we have dismissed Mu’awiya’s governor and announced his deposition.”
As the Muslims’ general interest did not help deposing Mu’awiya and breaking the truce, Imam al-Hasan (a.s) ordered them to keep silent and he calmed their excitement. That was impossible because the atmosphere was covered with discords and disorders, the supporters were few, those who loved the Imam deserted him, and the enemies were many and powerful. Imam al-Hasan praised Allah and lauded him, and then he said to them: “You are our followers, the men of affection on us, and among those whom we know for loyalty, companionship, and straightness toward us. I have understood what you mentioned.
If I was determined in respect of the affair of the life in this world, worked and toiled for the present life, Mu’awiya would be not braver than I am and not greater than me in the sense of honor. However my opinion is other than yours. I bear witness before you that I did not want anything through what you thought except sparing your blood and correcting discord. Therefore, fear Allah, hand over the affair to Allah, keep to your houses, and hold back your hands that the pious may get rest or you get rid of the dissolute. My father told me that Mu’awiya would undertake the authority. By Allah, if we walked to him with the mountains and the tress, I had no doubt that he would win a victory. Surely there is no repeller of Allah’s judgment, and none repels His decree.
As for your statement, ‘O you who have abased the faithful,’ by Allah if you were abased and had wellbeing, then that would be more beloved to me than to be powerful but to be killed. If Allah returned to us our right in wellbeing, we would accept that and ask Allah for help in respect of His affair. If He turned it away from us, we would be satisfied and would ask Allah to bless turning it away from us. Therefore all of you should keep to your houses as long as Mu’awiya is alive. If he died, you and we were alive, we would ask Allah for a determination for guiding us and help with our affair and not to entrust us to ourselves. Surely Allah is with those who guard (against evil) and those who do good (to others).”[^1] [^1] Al-Bayqahi, al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi’, vol. 1, pp. 60-65.
Imam al-Hasan ordered his followers to incline to patience and calmness as long as Mu’awiya was alive. He justified his making peace as we have previously explained in detail.
Abdullah Bin al-Zubayr
Abdullah bin al-Zubayr was wicked. He was famous for detest and enmity toward the Ahlul Bayt (a.s). He criticized Imam al-Hasan for making peace with Mu’awiya. The Imam (a.s) answered him, saying: “And do you claim that I have handed the authority over to Mu’awiya? How is that? Fatima, the mistress of women, gave birth to me. Woe unto you! I did not do that out of cowardliness and weakness. But those like you had pledged allegiance to me. He (Mu’awiya) demanded revenge. He flattered me through the affection. I have no confidence in his helping me.”
Abdullah bin al-Zubayr accused Imam al-Hasan of cowardliness, while he was far from that. From where did cowardliness come to him? Did it come to him from his father, who was the lion of Allah and of His Apostle? Or from his two grandfathers, the Prophet (a.s), and Abdul Muttalib? Or from his two uncles Hamza and Ja‘far, the great masters of martyrs? Or from his brother (al-Husayn), the father of martyrs? Or from his famous attitudes in the various fields, such as the Day (battle) of al-Daar, the Day of Basra, and at Muzlim Sabat? He was the lion who (when he walked, death walked wherever he walked), according to his enemy’s expression.
Abu Sa‘eed went to Imam al-Hasan. He admonished him for his making peace with Mu’awiya. He rebuked him saying: -O son of Allah’s Apostle, why have you concluded a truce with Mu’awiya and made peace with him, while you have come to know that the right belongs to you, and not to him, and that Mu’awiya is devious and rebellious? -O Abu Sa‘eed, am I not the proof of Allah over his creatures and an Imam over them after my father?
-Yes. -O Abu Sa‘eed, the reason for my making peace is the reason why Allah’s Apostle made peace with the Banu Damra, Banu Ashja‘, and the people of Mecca. That was when he went away from al-Hudaybiya. Those were infields according to the Revelation. As for Mu’awiya and his companions are infields according to the interpretation.
O Abu Sa‘eed, if I was an Imam appointed by Allah, the Most High, then my opinion should not be stultified in respect of what I did from among concluding a truce or fighting, though the meaning of what I did was vague. Did you not know that when al-Khidr tore the ship, killed the boy, and demolished the wall, Musa became displeased with his deed, for the reason was vague to him? When he told him, he became pleased. And so am I. You have become displeased with me because you are ignorant of the reason (for that). Had it not been for what I did, our followers on the face of the earth would have been killed.
Surely the Imam’s position is similar to that of the Prophet. He did nothing except that which had a general interest. However the interest is sometimes vague to the people; they do not understand it but after a time. Imam al-Hasan likened his peacemaking to al-Khidr’s when he tore the ship, demolished the wall, and killed the boy. As his companion (Musa) did not understand the interest in that, he became displeased with him, strongly opposed, and criticized him. When Musa came to know that, he yielded to al-Khidr and obeyed him. Such was Imam al-Hasan in his making peace, because the reasons were vague to many of his followers. They hurried to express their displeasure with him and criticized him for making peace.
One of Imam al-Hasan’s companions came in to him. The companion was very excited, sad and sorrowful. He said to the Imam: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, you have abased us through your handing over the authority to this tyrant (Mu’awiya).” The Imam answered him: “By Allah, I handed over the authority to him because I did not find supporters. If I had found supporters, I would have fought him day and night until Allah would judge between him and me. However I came to know the people of Kufa and I tested them. I could not set right the corrupt from among them. They fulfilled neither their speech nor their deed. They were different and they said to us: “Our hearts are with you, and our swords are against you.”
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) explained that he had neither supporters nor helpers to fight Mu’awiya. He had none except the Kufans who fulfilled neither their speech nor their act. So how was it possible for him to fight Mu’awiya by them? The Imam (a.s) refuted the vague errors of the critics. He explained to them the reasons for his making peace. He answered their admonition with a skillful proof, a wonderful presentation, and an original opinion.