The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Iii : Cleverness and Genius
Without doubt, righteous education plays an important role in forming the child and in developing his or her mental faculties. Likewise, the parents’ conduct has a great effect on developing their children’s cleverness and general behavior. All these vital elements were available to al-Hasan (a.s) during his childhood. The Prophet (a.s) took great care of educating his grandson and gave him his noble qualities. Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful (a.s) supplied him with his wise maxims and ideals. Fatima, the principal of all women, planted in her son virtue and perfection. Accordingly, al-Hasan’s childhood was high and a model of human perfection, a title of highness and education, a symbol of cleverness and genius.
Some psychologists believe that the child greatly imitates others in habits, mental and moral qualities, the general attitude he or she takes toward others, the general viewpoint through which he or she ponders on life or work. Sometimes imitation is conscious and deliberate; however, in most cases, it is unconscious. So when the child imitates educated people, he or she will follow their ethics and sentiments. In the first place this effect is an imitation, but it quickly becomes a habit; the habit is a second nature. The imitation is one of the two ways through which individual qualities are acquired and the personal manners are formed.[^1]
According to this viewpoint, Imam al-Hasan (a.s) was the first person in his mental and moral qualities, for he grew up in the House of the Revelation and was brought up in the School of the monotheism. Moreover, he saw his grandfather, who was the most perfect person in the world, always build an edifice for justice, virtue, and perfection. He encompassed people with his noble moral traits, gathered them around the word of Oneness (of Allah). That impressed al-Hasan, the Prophet’s grandson, and he followed the deeds of his grandfather in advising and guiding the people. During their childhood, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (a.s) passed by an old man. The old man could not perform the ritual ablution well. So their high soul and their kindness did not let them leave the old man ignorant of performing the ritual ablution well. They made an informal dispute and they said to each other: “You do not perform the ritual ablution well!” Then they calmly turned to the old man and appointed him as an arbitrator between them. They said to him: “O Sheikh
[^1] Mandir, Psychology in Life.
(i.e., an old man), each of us will perform the ritual ablution before you, and you decide which of the two ablutions is better.” They performed the ablution before him, and he carefully considered it. Accordingly, the old man paid attention to his mistake without any disdain, and then he said to them: “My masters, you both perform the ritual ablution well. However, I am an ignorant old man. I do not perform the ablution well. I have learned it from you and repented at your hands!”[^1]
This deed clearly shows us that the Prophet (a.s) guided the people through sound ways and noble moral traits. This way impressed al-Hasan (a.s) during his childhood, to the extent that it became among his qualities and natures.
Some psychologists believe that individual manner is inherited, that it has an important effect on forming man’s ethics, and that it is not less in importance than imitation. Heksil says: “All effects and qualities of the organic being belong to heredity or to environment. Hereditary formation determines the bounds of that which is possible. And the environment decides that this possibility will be achieved. Therefore, the hereditary formation is mere the ability to react with any environment through a special way.”
Jinjiz has confirmed this theory, saying: “Everyone has hidden hereditary forces, but the appearance of each of them depends on the circumstances surrounding these forces during their growth.”
The rule of heredity decides that Imam al-Hasan (a.s) was on top of those who got this phenomenon. He inherited the spiritual forces and the great, reformative wealth of his grandfather (a.s). Besides, the righteous environment his family and the good, righteous Muslims created had an influence on him.
Due to his heredity, Imam al-Hasan (a.s) got cleverness and high reflection that none had got. The narrators have reported traditions on his early genius, saying: “Al-Hasan memorized all things he read. He attended the meetings of his grandfather (a.s) and memorized the Revelation. Then he went to his mother and told her about it. She told Imam Ali (a.s) and he admired that and asked her:
“From where have you brought this (revelation)?” “From your son, al-Hasan!’”
Imam Ali (a.s) hid himself in a corner of the house, that he might listen to his son. As usual al-Hasan came and told his mother about the verses of the [^1] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 89.
revelation he had memorized. He was unable to speak, so his mother asked him: “O my little son, why are you unable to speak?” “Mother, do not be astonished at what has befallen me,” replied al-Hasan, “for the Most High (Allah) looks after me.”[^1] This attitude is a proof of al-Hasan’s great cleverness through which he saw the distant and unknown things.
His Memorizing of Traditions
Though al-Hasan (a.s) was four years old, he memorized many traditions he heard from his grandfather (a.s). We will mention some traditions he narrated from his grandfather:
- He (a.s) has said: “Allah’s Apostle (a.s) taught me some words to say during the (prayer of al-Witr): ‘O Allah, guide me through him whom You guided! Make me well through him You made well! Look after me through him after whom You looked! Bless that which You have given to me! Protect me from the evil of that which You have decreed! You decree, and none decrees against You. (The one) whom You support is not abased, Blessed and Most High You are, O Lord!”[^2]
2.Umar bin Ma’mun narrated, saying: “I have heard al-Hasan, son of Ali (a.s) say: ‘Whoever offers the morning prayer and sits in his place of praying until the sun rises shall have a veil from the Fire.” Or he said: “A curtain from the Fire.”[^3]
A companion of his asked him: “What do you remember of Allah’s Apostle (a.s)?” He (a.s) replied: “I took one of the dates given as alms. I put it into my mouth. He (the Prophet) took it out (of my mouth). So I asked him: ‘What is the matter with this date?’ ‘It is not lawful for us, Muhammad’s family, to take something given as alms.”[^4]
He (a.s) was asked about what he heard from Allah’s Apostle (a.s) and he replied: “I heard him saying to some man: “Leave that which fills you with doubt for that which does not fill you with doubt. That is because evil is
[^1] Ibn Shahrashub, al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 148. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 93. [^2] Al-Turmidhi, Saheeh, vol. 1, p. 93. Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 20. Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 172. [^3] Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 2, p. 11. [^4] Ibid. It is forbidden for Aal al-Bayt to take the obligatory alms such as Zakat and Zakat al-Fitra, and not the permissible alms.
suspicion, and good is tranquility.”[^1]
He (a.s) related to his companions about the ethics and behavior of his grandfather, the Prophet (a.s). He said to them: “When someone asked Allah’s Apostle (a.s) to grant his need, he responded to him with nothing except through granting it or through some soft words.”
He (a.s) has said: “I heard Allah’s Apostle (a.s) saying, “Call out the master of the Arabs (Imam Ali).” So A’isha asked him: “Are you not the master of the Arabs?” “I am the master of Adam’s children,” he replied, “and Ali is the master of the Arabs.” Imam Ali was summoned. When he was before him, he sent for the Ansar. When they stood before him, he said to them: “O people of Ansar, shall I show you a thing, if you keep to it, you will never go astray?” “Yes, O Allah’s Apostle (a.s)” they replied. So he said: “This is Ali; therefore, love him for the sake of the love for me, and honor him for the sake of honoring me. It is Gabriel that has told me from Allah, the great and Almighty, about what I told you.”[^2]
[^1] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 20. In his book al-Musnad, vol. 1, p. 200, Ahmed has mentioned: “He (al-Hasan), peace be on him, said: ‘I heard Allah’s Apostle (a.s.) say: ‘Leave that which fills you with doubt for that which does not fill you with doubt. That is because truthfulness is tranquility; and lying is suspicion.’”
[^2] Sheikh Muhammed Habeebullah al-Shanqeeti, Hayat Ali Bin Abi Talib, p. 83. In his book al-Tasawuf al-Islami, vol. 1, p. 274, Dr. Zaki Mubarak has explained the criticisms for the faith of the Sufis in the master of the prophets, Muhammed (a.s.). He has said: “It is an act of good to say that the Sufis, in respect of this excess, have depended on the tradition: ‘I am the master of the prophets.’ The scholars have doubted the tradition. In his book entitled Kashf al-Khafa’ wa al-Iltibas ‘amma ishtehra mina al-Ahadith ‘alaa Alsunat al-Naas, al-‘Ajjluni has mentioned that al-Hasan bin Ali narrated on the authority of the Prophet (a.s.) who said:
‘Call out the master of the Arabs.’ He meant Ali. So Aa’isha asked him: ‘Are you not the master of the Arabs.’ And he replied: ‘I am the master of Adam’s children, and Ali is the master of the Arabs.’ Then al-‘Ajjluni has related to us that al-Dhahabi inclines to say that this tradition is fabricated.’” I (the author) say that what Dr. Zaki Mubarak has stated in respect of the faith of the Sufis does not manifest itself clearly. I (the author) will explain the statement as follows: “The Sufis are distinguished from the rest of the Islamic sects by their cleaving to two sides.
The first side is that there is a primary specification, which is the junction of the specifications; and which is called the first reason and the first issued, according to the terms of the ancient philosophers. In respect of that they have depended on the philosophical proofs of which are is that nothing issues from the One except the one. The second side is that they have applied the first reason and the first issued on the Ahmedi, sacred reality. Through this application they have turned away from the philosophers. Their proofs of that are some traditions such as I am the master of people. Were it not for me, the worlds were not created. I am a prophet; and Adam is between the water and the clay. There are other traditions indicating their purpose in the manner of a rational proof. The Sufis were Sufis due to their cleaving to the first viewpoint in which the The jurists and the traditionists have narrated many traditions al-Hasan (a.s) heard from Allah’s Apostle (a.s) in respect of the precepts of the Islamic law. All these traditions are proofs of al-Hasan’s cleverness, genius, and knowledge. If someone carefully considers al-Hasan’s childhood, he will admire and sanctify it. That is because it was full of the signs of perfection, virtue, cleverness, and high education that none had, as we think.
philosophers believed. So Dr. Zaki Mubarak had not to say that the Sufis had taken their faith from the traditions. It was incumbent on him to explain that they had depended on the traditions to apply the first reason and the first issued to the Ahmedi reality. It was appropriate for him to deal with the Sufis in respect of the first side and to explain why the (religious) scholars doubted the tradition (I am the master of people). He had to say that the tradition was weak due to the weakness of the narrator or due to the fact that the Sufis depended on it.