The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Xxiii : To Damascus Part 2
Mu’awiya sent his son Yazid to them. When they were present, Mu’awiya said to them: “Surely I magnify you and deem your position as far above the night conversation, especially as it concerns you, O Abu Muhammad (al-Hasan). For surely you are the (grand) son of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and master of the youths of the Garden.”
Imam al-Hasan and Ibn Abbas thanked Mu’awiya for his speech. Then Amr bin al-‘Aas hurried to say: “O Hasan, we negotiated and said that the Umayyads were more patient in meeting (in war), stronger in war, greater in fulfilling covenant, nobler in nature, and more protective to their followers than the Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib.” Then he kept silent. After him, Marwan bin al-Hakam said: “How will that not be so? We came to blows with you and overcame you. We fought against you and controlled you. So if we willed, we would pardon (you), and if we willed, we would destroy (you).”
Marwan kept silent, so Ziyad said: “They should not deny the favor of the people and the good of the authority. We are the men of the campaign during wars. We have the excellence over all the people in the past and present.”
[^1] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p.101.
Imam al-Hasan faced them like a lion. He destroyed their entity and pride, saying: “It is not an act of feebleness that man keeps silent when a proof is mentioned. However it is an act of falsehood that man says obscenity and describes the untrue as true.” Then he (a.s) addressed Amr bin al-‘Aas, saying: “O Amr, you have prided yourself (on me) and showed boldness (toward me) through telling lies. I still know your defects. Sometimes I show them, and some times I refrain from (showing) them. However you have refused (all things) except absorption in misguidance. Do you remember the lamps of darkness, the eminent men of guidance, the knights of the pursuit, the death of the companions, the children of the stabbing, the spring of the guests, the essence of Prophethood, and the place of the descent of knowledge? You have claimed that you are more protective to your followers. That appeared at the Battle of Badr when the heroes turned back, the companions rushed upon each other, the lions attacked one another, death intensified, the war broke out and smiled, and the sparks of the war flew. So we killed your men. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was kind to your children. By my life, on that day you were not protective to your followers from among the Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib.”
Then he (a.s) turned to Marwan bin al-Hakam and said to him: “As for you, O Marwan, there is no relationship between you and the increase through Quraysh. You were an emancipated (captive), and your father was driven away moving from a disgrace to an atrocity. You were brought to (Imam Ali) the Commander of the faithful. When you saw that the lion’s claws were covered with blood and his canine teeth became interlaced, you were as the sayer said:
‘A lion, if the lions hear his roaring, they wag the tails, and then they throw the camels.’
When he did you a favor through the pardoning, loosened your throat after it was tight to you, and you choked on your saliva, you were not grateful to us. But you regarded yourself as equal and similar to us. As for us, shame does not befall us nor does disgrace follow us.” Then he (a.s) addressed Ziyad, saying to him: “O Ziyad, there is no relationship between you and Quraysh. I know that you have among them neither a right lineage nor a growing branch nor constant oldness nor a noble origin. Rather your mother was a prostitute the men from Quraysh and the dissolute from among the Arabs alternated. When you were born, the Arabs did not know who your father was. So this (Mu’awiya) claimed you after the death of his father. You do not have pride. Sumayya suffices you. We are sufficed by Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, my father Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s) the master of the faithful, who did not turn back upon his heels, my uncle Hamza, the master of martyrs, and by Ja‘far al-Tayyar. I and my brother are the two masters of the youths of the Garden.”
After he had silenced his opponents with the arguments, he turned to Ibn Abbas and said to him: “O cousin, they are mere small birds upon whom a hawk has fallen!” Ibn Abbas wanted to speak. However Mu’awiya was afraid of his speech. He adjured him before Allah to keep silent, and he kept silent. Then Imam al-Hasan and Ibn Abbas went out. So Mu’awiya turned to his retinue and mocked at them, saying: “Amr spoke well, but his proof was refuted. Marwan spoke but he recoiled.” Then he turned to Ziyad and criticized him for this interference, saying: “What made you debate with him (al-Hasan). You were (nothing) but like a partridge in the claws of a falcon.”
Amr bin al-‘Aas turned to Mu’awiya and said to him: “Oh, why did you not shoot those behind us?” “Therefore, I would be your partner in ignorance,” replied Mu’awiya, “Do I vie in glory with a man whose grandfather was Allah’s Apostle. He is the master of those who passed away and those who have remained (alive), and whose mother was Fatima al-Zahra’, the mistress of the women of the world?” Then Mu’awiya turned to Amr bin al-‘Aas and said to him: “By Allah, if the people of Sham heard of that, it would be a deadly shortcoming.” So Amr bin al-‘Aas said: “He kept you. However he destroyed Marwan and Ziyad.”
Ziyad hurried to confirm the statement of Amr bin al-‘Aas about that Imam al-Hasan had defeated them, saying: “By Allah, he did. However, Mu’awiya refused (all things) except exciting (enmity) between them and us. Without doubt, by Allah, if I witnessed an assembly in which they were, I would be with them against him who vied in glory with them.” Ibn Abbas was alone with Imam al-Hasan. He kissed him between his two eyes. He admired his speech and his answer to these rogues, saying: “May I be you ransom, O cousin! Your sea was still full, and you assaulted until you satisfied me (for revenge on) the children of the prostitutes.”
- Imam al-Hasan was absent from Damascus for some days. Then he came back to it and came in to Mu’awiya. In Mu’awiya’s assembly there was Abdullah bin al-Zubayr. When Mu’awiya saw Imam al-Hasan, he rose and received him. After he had sat down, he turned to the Imam and said to him: “O Abu Muhammad, I think that you are tired, so go home and take a rest.”
Imam al-Hasan left Mu’awiya. Mu’awiya turned to Abdullah bin al-Zubayr and urged him, saying: “Why do you not pride yourself on al-Hasan? You are the son of the disciple of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) and his cousin. Your father had done well for Islam.” Ibn al-Zubayr was deceived by Mu’awiya’s speech. He showed him his readiness for debating with Imam al-Hasan and priding himself on him. He said to him: “I will challenge him!”
Ibn al-Zubayr went away. He spent the night sleeplessly thinking about something with which he would disgrace the Imam. When he entered upon morning, he quickly came to Mu’awiya’s assembly, that he might debate with the Imam and to aggress against him to satisfy Mu’awiya’s feelings. Imam al-Hasan (a.s) came. Mu’awiya rose and welcomed him. After the Imam had sat down, Ibn al-Zubayr hurried to say: “Were it not for that you were weak and not bold during battles, you would not hand over the authority to Mu’awiya. You are in no need of penetrating the remote lands and covering the deserts. You seek his knowledge and stand at his door. You have not to do that, for you are the son of Ali (who was famous for) bravery and help. I do not know what made you do that. Is it weakness in (your) opinion or feebleness (in your) nature? I think you have no outlet from these two qualities. By Allah, if I had what you have, you would come to know that I was Ibn al-Zubayr, and that I would not recoil from the heroes. Of course I am so, for my grandmother is Safiyya, daughter of ‘Abd al-Muttalib. My father is al-Zubayr. He was among the disciples of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. He was the greatest of the people in bravery, the noblest of them in lineage in the pre-Islamic period, and the most obedient of them to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family?”
Imam al-Hasan hurried to refute his false accusations and slanders, saying: “By Allah, were it not for that the Umayyads ascribe me to incapability of speaking, I would refrain from you as a sign of neglecting (you). However I will explain that to you, that you may come to know I am not incapable of speech and not weak in tongue. Do you revile me and pride yourself on me? Your grandfather had neither a house nor a noble deed in the pre-Islamic period. His wife was my grandmother Safiyya, daughter of ‘Abd al-Muttalib.
So he prided himself on all the Arabs because of her and became noble through her position. So how do you vie in glory with one who is the head and master of the noble? We are the noblest of the inhabitants of the earth in origin. To us belong the clear honor and the prevailing generosity. Then you have claimed that I handed over the authority to Mu’awiya! Woe unto you! How is that so? I am the bravest of all the Arabs. I was born by Fatima, the mistress and the best of the women of the world, peace be on her. I did that, woe unto you, not because of cowardliness and weakness. However those who are like you had paid homage to me. They want to take revenge on me and flatter me (through showing) affection. I have no confidence in their support.
That is because you are the members of a treacherous house. How is (that) not as what I say? Your father pledged allegiance to (Imam Ali) the Commander of the faithful, and then he broke his allegiance and turned back upon his heels. He used as a trick one of the cushions of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, to mislead the people. When he advanced towards the reins and saw the shine of the spearheads, he was killed in vain. None supported him. You were brought as a captive. The armed men and the horses walked on you. Al-Ashtar raised (his sword over) you. So you choked with your saliva and sat upon your heels like a dog surrounded by lions.
We, woe unto you, are the light of the nation and its properties. The community prides itself on us. The keys of important matters are entrusted to us. Do you attack while you deceive the women? Then you pride yourself on the children of the prophets. Our statements are still accepted. Your and your father’s (statements) are refused. The people willingly and unwillingly followed the religion of my grandfather. Then they paid homage to (Imam Ali), the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. He went to your father and Talha when they broke the allegiance. They (Talha and al-Zubayr) deceived the wife of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.[^1] Your father (al-Zubayr) and Talha were killed. You were brought as a captive. So you waged your tail and appealed to him through the kinship not to kill you. He pardoned you. Therefore, my father emancipated you. I am your and your father’s master. Then taste the evil result of your conduct.”
Ibn al-Zubayr was ashamed and repented of what he neglected as to his affair. So he softly and gently talked with Imam al-Hasan. He asked him for pardon. He made clear that it was Mu’awiya who had urged him to do that, saying: “Excuse me, O Abu Muhammad! This (Mu’awiya) urged me to debate with you. Why did you not refrain from me when I failed to know (you)? That is [^1] By that he, peace be on him, meant ‘Aa’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.
because you are the members of the House whose nature is clemency and pardon.” Imam al-Hasan turned to Mu’awiya and said to him: “Look! Do I fall short of debating with anyone? Woe unto you! Do you know to which tree I belong? Stop before I impress you with an impression about which the travelers will talk in the cities and countries!” Ibn al-Zubayr said: “He is worthy of that!” Mu’awiya turned to Ibn al-Zubayr and said to him: “Surely he has satisfied the anxieties of my heart! He has shown your defects. You have become like a partridge in the claws of a falcon that plays with it however it wants. After this (debate) I do not think that you will pride yourself on anyone!”[^1]
- Among his valuable debates with his opponents through which he (a.s) destroyed their entity was that once, he went to Mu’awiya. When Mu’awiya’s chamberlain saw Imam al-Hasan, he told Mu’awiya about the Imam’s coming. So Mu’awiya turned to his retinue and said to them: “If he came in to us, he would spoil that in which we were.”
Marwan said to him: “Permit him in. I will ask him about that to which he has no answer.” Mu’awiya rebuked him and said: “Do not do. They are the people who were inspired with speech.” Mu’awiya permitted Imam al-Hasan. When the Imam came in, Mu’awiya rose and welcomed him. Marwan turned to the Imam and said with mockery: “O Hasan, the white hair has hurried to your mustache. It is said that it is of clumsiness.” The Imam answered him, saying: “It is not as it has come to your ears. However we, the Hashimites, have good breaths, so our wives come to us with their breaths. As for you, O Umayyads, have bad breaths. So your wives turn their mouths and their breaths away from you to your temples. The head of the virgin becomes white because of that.”
Mu’awiya became angry and shouted at Marwan, saying: “I had told you, but you refused until you heard that which made your house dark to you and spoiled your assembly.”
Imam al-Hasan went away and made their souls full of sorrow. He said: [^1] Al-Bayqahi, al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi’, vol. 1, pp. 58-61. Al-Jahiz, al-Mahasin wa al-Azdad, pp. 92-94.
This time I practiced fifty-five proofs. I delayed a sayer after a sayer. Death has hurried to me. I am sure that I am a hostage to a quick death.[^1] 7. In Mu’awiya’s assembly Imam al-Hasan (a.s) talked about his great excellence and his noble lineage, saying: “All Quraysh have come to know that I belong to them through their glorious origin. I am not disposed by nature for weakness and humiliation. I am known through my match and that I belong to my father.” That displeased Amr bin al-‘Aas, who said: “Quraysh have come to know that you are the least of them in reason, the greatest of them in ignorance, and that you have qualities that if you had none of them but one, its disgrace would include you as the whiteness included the deep blackness. By Allah, you should refrain from what I see you do; otherwise I will press for you an edge like the she-camel’s skin. Through it I will throw at you something hotter in effect than that of the stones on which the cooking-pots are placed. I will rub through it your skin as I rub the commodity. You often ride something difficult in slope and stop at the sides of the rugged to search for a division and to wait for a discord, and Allah will increase you nothing but an atrocity.”
Imam al-Hasan refuted his claims, saying: “By Allah, if you became high through your ancestry and worked according to your opinion, you would not follow a purpose nor would you halt at a hill of glory. By Allah, if Mu’awiya obeyed me, he would regard you as a malicious enemy. You often keep this secret and hide it in your heart. The hope has made you desirous of the utmost degree for which your branch does not leaf nor does your pasture become green. By Allah, you are about to fall into the jaws of (someone) from Quraysh (who is like) a lion, strong, impregnable, ravenous, and with mane. He will press you as the quern presses grains. Dodging will not safe you from him when the two rings of the belt come together.”[^2] On every occasion Amr bin al-‘Aas tried to disparage the Prophet’s Household. He openly showed enmity and hatred toward them. The reason for that is that he was wicked and impure. He saw Imam al-Hasan circumambulating the Kaaba. He quickly went to him. When he reached him, he raised his voice, saying: “O Hasan, do you claim that the religion does not become manifest except through you and your father? You have seen that Allah, the Great and Almighty, has made it manifest through Mu’awiya. Is Allah pleased with ‘Uthman’s murder? Or is it an act of truth that you go [^1] Wafayat al-A‘yan, vol. 4, p. 121. [^2] Al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi’, vol. 1, p. 65.
around the House as a camel carrying flour goes around? You are wearing clothes as white as the white of eggs. You killed ‘Uthman. By Allah, it is greater (for the community) to reunite and easier (for it to get rid of) the difficult…that Mu’awiya has to lead you to the ponds of your father.”
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) directed to him some arrows of his speech, saying: “The inhabitants of the Hell have signs through which they are known. They disbelieve in Allah’s friends and follow the enemies of Allah. By Allah, you have come to know that Ali (a.s) did not suspect the affair nor did he doubt Allah even for a twinkle of an eye. By Allah, you, O Amr, should stop or otherwise I will knock your forehead with a speech whose reputation will last against you as long as you live. Be careful of surpassing me. For you have come to know that I am not weak in reason nor am I crisp in determination nor am I docile. I am from Quraysh like the middle of the necklace. My lineage is known, and I belong to my father. Some men from Quraysh sued one another as to you. You were overcome by the meanest of them in lineage and the most manifest of them in cursing. Therefore, go away from me. For you are dirty. As for us, we are the House of purity. Allah has driven away uncleanness from us and thoroughly purified us.”[^1]
- Among that which happened to Imam al-Hasan when he was in Damascus was that once, he came in to Mu’awiya. When Mu’awiya saw him, he rose and welcomed him. That displeased Marwan. He burst with rage and said: “O Hasan, were it not for the clemency of the Commander of the faithful (Mu’awiya), the glory and highness his noble grandfathers had built, he would not seat you in this seat. He would kill you, and you deserve that because of your leading the people. When you felt us and came to know that you had no ability (to face) the knights from among the people of Sham and the valiant Umayyads, you yielded through obedience, sought protection in the pledge of allegiance, and sent (a letter) asking for security. Truly, by Allah, were it not for that, your blood would be shed, you would come to know that we gave the swords their right at battle. Therefore, praise Allah when He tried you with Mu’awiya. So he pardoned you out of his clemency, and then he did to you what you see.”
Imam al-Hasan answered him, saying: “Woe unto you, O Marwan! You took charge of the keys of shame during the battles when you witnessed them, and you became weak when you mixed with them. Strong proofs belong to us, may your mother lose you! To us belong, if you were grateful, the ample [^1] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p.10. Al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi’.
favors against you. We summon you to salvation, and you summon us to the fire. There is a great difference between the two positions. You pride yourself (on us) through the Umayyads. You claim that they are more patient than us in war and (that they are like) lions at meeting. May your mother lose you! The Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib are the masters having all good, masters, protectors, defenders, generous men, and leaders. Truly you have seen them and all those who belong to this House. Terrors do not terrify them.
They do not swerve from the heroes. They are (like) predatory, brave, angry lions. At that time you turned back and escaped. You were taken as a captive. So you conferred shame upon your people because you were cowardly during the battles. Do you claim that my blood is shed? Why did you not shed the blood of those who attacked ‘Uthman in the house and slaughtered him as a camel was slaughtered? You were bleating as if you were a ewe! You were calling with woe and destruction as if you were a mean bondmaid! Why did you not defend him with a hand or stand for him with an arrow? You shook with fear! There was a covering over your eyes. So you asked me for help as a slave asking his lord. I saved you from killing and protected you from it.
Then you have urged Mu’awiya to kill me. If he wanted to do that to you, he would slay you just as he slew (‘Uthman) bin ‘Affan. You, in comparison with him, are shorter in hand, narrower in power, and more cowardly in heart than to have the audacity to do that. Then you have claimed that I have been tried with Mu’awiya’s clemency. Truly, by Allah, he is more knowledgeable of his affair and more grateful (to us) for the authority over which we have appointed him. When it seemed to him, let him not lower his hand toward you. So, by Allah, I will follow the people of Sham with an army to which their space will be narrow and that will uproot their knights. Then, at that time, escape and dodging will not avail you nor will your spreading the speech repel from you the demand. We are well known. Our forefathers are old and great. Our branches are good masters. Set out if you are truthful!”
Accordingly, Amr bin al-‘Aas mocked at Marwan, saying: “He utters with obscene language, and you utter with truthfulness!” Then he said: “The wild ass may break wind when the hot iron takes him. The wild ass does not break wind when the hot iron is in the fire!” He added, saying: “Then taste the evil result of your conduct, O Marwan!” Mu’awiya shouted at Marwan, saying: “I had prohibited you form (debating with) this man (al-Hasan). However you refused (all things) except absorption in that which did not concern you. Stop! Your father is not like his father nor are you like him. You are the son of the one who was driven away and were homeless. He is the (grand) son of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, the generous. However many a man searches for his death (and many a man) digs for his knife!”
Marwan became angry, so he hurried to say to Mu’awiya: “…and undertake the proof of your clan!” Then he turned to Amr bin al-‘Aas and said to him: “His (al-Hasan’s) father stabbed you. You protected yourself with (showing) your testicles. For this reason you are cautious of him!”
Then he rose while his entity was destroyed. He was abased and degraded. Mu’awiya said to him: “Do not keep pace with the seas lest they should cover you nor (do you keep pace with) the mountains lest they should dazzle you!”[^1] 9. Imam al-Hasan (a.s) came in to Mu’awiya. There was no place, so he sat at Mu’awiya’s legs. Mu’awiya talked about what he wanted, and then he said: “I wander at ‘A’isha! She claims that I am in that of which I am not worthy, and that in which I am is not my right. There is no relationship between her and this. May Allah forgive her! The father of this one who is sitting-he indicated with his hand to al-Hasan- had disputed with me. Allah took hold of him (took him unto Him).”
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) asked:
-Is that wonderful, O Mu’awiya? -Yes, by Allah. -Shall I tell you about something more wonderful than it? -What is it? -Your sitting in front of the assembly, while I (am sitting) at your legs!
Mu’awiya smiled and dodged as usual, and then he said:
-My nephew, I have heard that there is a debt against you. How much is it? -A hundred thousands. -I have ordered three hundred (dirhams) to be given to you. A hundred of them is for (paying) your debt. Divide a hundred among the members of your house, and take a hundred for yourself. Rise and you are honored and take your gift.’ Imam al-Hasan left Mu’awiya. Yazid was present in his father’s assembly. [^1] Al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi’, vol. 1, pp. 63-65.
When those who attended the meeting left, Yazid said: “By Allah, I have never seen a man like you. He (al-Hasan) received you in what he received you. Then you ordered three hundred (dirhams) to be given to him!” Mu’awiya replied: “O my son, surely the right belongs to them. Whoever from among them come to you, give too little to him!” Mu’awiya acknowledged that the Islamic caliphate belonged to Ahl al-Bayt, and that he usurped it from them. These are some of the Imam’s debates with his opponents. Al-Bayqahi and al-Jahiz have narrated most of them. Historians other than them have also mentioned them. Through these debates Imam al-Hasan exposed Mu’awiya and his followers, showed their defects, displayed to the people of Sham Mu’awiya’s disgraceful acts, and the shortcomings of Abu Sufyan’s family. Indeed the debates were a revolt against Mu’awiya’s government. For they destroyed his entity, brought him down from his throne to his grave.
Some religious scholars have doubted some of the debates. They have thought that some of them were fabricated, for they included that Imam al-Hasan reviled his opponents through a style that was impossible to come out of him. They indicated that no obscene word issued from the Imam except his speech to Marwan: “You have nothing with me except that which in spite of you.” Nevertheless, how did that issue from him? This is an imaginary possibility. That is because his mean opponents had the audacity to him and faced him with rude, obscene words. As for him, he refuted their aggression against him. However he did not use lying nor did he use obscenity a means as they used it.
Anyway Mu’awiya was cautious of Imam al-Hasan and feared him in spite of the abasement and humiliation the Imam inflicted on him. That is because the Imam had a remarkable position with the Muslims who preferred him to those other than him. The Muslims said that openly in the presence of Mu’awiya. The traditionists mentioned that Mu’awiya talked at his assembly and said: “Tell me about the best of the people in father, mother, paternal uncle, maternal aunt, maternal uncle, maternal aunt, grandfather, and grandmother.”
He said that to know the Muslims’ impression about Imam al-Hasan. Malik bin ‘Ajlan rose and said to him: “This-he indicated with his hand to al-Hasan- is the best of the people. His father is Ali bin Abi Talib. His mother is Fatima, daughter of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. His paternal uncle is Ja‘far, the one who flies in the Garden. His paternal aunt is Umm Hani, daughter of Abi Talib. His maternal uncle is al-Kasim, son of Allah’s Apostle. His maternal aunt is Zaynab, daughter of Allah’s Apostle. His grandfather is Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. And his grandmother is Khadija, daughter of Khuwaylid.”
So Mu’awiya kept silent and was unable to answer. When Imam al-Hasan went away, Amr bin al-‘Aas hurried to Malik. He criticized him for that, saying: “Did the love for the Hashimites urge you to say false things?” Malik answered him, saying: “I said nothing but the truth. None of the people seek the good pleasure of a creature through an act of disobedience to the Creator except those who have not obtained their wish in the life in this world and those whose end will be unhappy in the next world. The Hashimites are the noblest and most generous of them.”
Then he turned to Mu’awiya and asked him: “Are they not so?” Mu’awiya could not but believe his speech.[^1] Surely Mu’awiya was afraid of Imam al-Hasan and was cautious of his revolt against him. He remembered the memories at the Battle of Siffin and was afraid of them. He feared that they would return to him. For this reason he took care of the Imam’s feelings. The historians have mentioned that Amr bin ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan and Usama, the retainer of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, sued one another before Mu’awiya regarding a land. Amr said to Usama: “It seems that you deny me!” Usama denied his speech. They disputed with each other very much. So Usama threatened him with the Hashimites. Then he rose and sat beside al-Hasan, peace be on him. The Hashimites rose and sat beside him. When the Umayyads saw that, they joined Amr bin ‘Uthman. As for Mu’awiya, he feared that a trouble would happen. So he hurried to put an end to the dispute, saying: “Do not hurry! I was present when Allah’s Apostle granted it (the land) to Usama.”
Through that he decided for Usama and preferred him to Amr. When Imam al-Hasan went away, the Umayyads blamed Mu’awiya for that, saying to him: “Why did you not make peace between us?”
Mu’awiya answered them with a statement indicating his fear, saying: “Leave me! By Allah, when I remember their eyes I saw through the holes in the helmets in Siffin, I become upset. The beginning of a war is a secret conversation, its middle is a complaint, and its end is an affliction.” Then he quoted as an example the poetry of Umru’ al-Qays, saying:
When a war begins, it is (like) a young woman (who) along with her ornaments [^1] Al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi’, vol. 1, p. 62. ornaments approach all those ignorant. When it becomes hot and its flame shoots up, it becomes (like) an old woman without a husband, gray-haired, (who) cuts her hair, disguise unpleasantly for smelling and kissing.
Then he said: “What is in hearts stirs up wars. A great affair is moved by a small one.” Then he quoted as an example the poet’s saying: The small may be added to the great, but the stallion is of the young camel. Date palms are destroyed by palm shoots. With this we will end our talk about Imam al-Hasan’s travel to Damascus and his debates in it.