Lives of the Twelve Imams From the Alhe Bait (AS)
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The Second Imam: Hasan ibne Ali (AS)
Ali ibne Abi Talib (as)
Mother Fatima binte Muhammad,
the Prophet of Islam (pbuh)
Date of Birth:
Ramadhan 15, 3 AH (March 1, 625 AD)
Place of Birth:
From Umm Bashir binte Abu Masud al-Khazraji:
One son: Zaid
Two daughters: Umm al-Hasan, Umm al-Husain
Khawla binte Fazari:
One son: Hasan al-Muthanna
Is-haq binte Talha bin UbaidAllah al-Taimi
Two sons: al-Husain, Talha
One daughter: Fatima
many other children from other wives
He lived to an age of 45 years
Place of Death:
Place of Burial:
Holy Prophet was very happy when he heard the news of the birth of his grandson.
He came to the house of Ali and his beloved daughter Fatima and named the
child Hasan. He had the good
fortune to be loved and nurtured personally by the Messenger of Islam for seven
years before his death. He often carried his grand child on his shoulders.
As a youth, he witnessed the conflict between kufr
(paganism, polytheism) and Islam. He
saw his father, Imam Ali being victorious and playing the key role in many
important battles with the non-believers. This
was also the glorious time of Islam with the inception of the Muslim community
in Madinah under the Holy Prophet himself, and the rapid expansion of the
message of Islam throughout the Arabian peninsula.
Hasan was one of the five members of the Ahle Bait.
It was in 9 AH when the Prophet of Islam took him along as one of the
five who went out to face the challenge of the grand cardinals of Najran on the
occasion of Mubahala, and witnessed the triumph of the Truth over
LIFE OF HASAN DURING THE TIMES OF IMAM ALI
As a growing youth, Hasan saw
the active role of his father, Imam Ali, in the battlefield defending
Islam, as a preacher to a vast congregation of believers on the occasion of Haj,
and as a missionary of Islam to Yemen. After
the death of his grandfather, the Prophet, he saw his father having retreated to
a passive role in the matters of the state during the period of the first three
caliphs. However, whenever he saw
it necessary, Imam Ali never refrained from giving his opinion to the caliph of
the time on matters of the practice of faith.
He had also seen that the caliphs, in turn, respected Imam Ali for his
overall knowledge, and consulted him on many occasions as the need arose.
When the third caliph was murdered by a mob of agitated
demonstrators in his palace in Mad'mah, and Imam Ali was elected to lead the
Muslim nation, Imam Hasan took active part in assisting his father in many ways.
He went to Kufa and successfully raised the first army of believers
against the dissenting Muslims. He
participated actively in the battlefields of Basra, Siffeen and Nahrawan
alongside his father, and demonstrated his skills as a soldier and as a leader.
Before he died, Imam Ali appointed Hasan to lead the
nation of believers and to be their Imam after him.
The people also chose him to be their Caliph.
Imam Hasan assumed the responsibility of the Caliphate after the martyrdom of
his father, and the people of Kufa gave him the pledge of fealty.
He addressed a large congregation of believers in the mosque and
reminded them of the stand his father had taken in upholding the Truth, and that
he would not change his course of conduct in any other way.
He also reminded them of the deceitful way in which they were deprived of
their victory over Muawiyah, the defiant governor of Syria.
He strongly urged them to search their hearts if they wished to achieve a
stable and pious way of life under his rule.
Muawiyah continued his unrelenting
efforts to weaken the position of Imam Hasan from the seat of Caliphate.
The hnam wrote him a letter inviting him for peace, and to join him in
furthering the cause of a unified Islamic State.
This called for Muawiyah to accept Imam Hasan as the legitimate successor
of the Caliphate. Muawiyah had
previously declined this in a similar communication from Imam Ali, and had
carried arms against him.
Imam Hasan called up his forces
from his pledged supporters. However,
the army he could gather consisted of people with disparate motives.
Although there were some true believers in the army, many others had
joined in for the sake of war spoils and with divided loyalties.
Thus, even some Kharjites had joined the army, not for the love of the
Imam but, in the event of victory, for their own design of eliminating Muawiyah
from the Caliphate. There were
others who had come, not because they believed in fighting for the cause of the
Truth but because their tribal leaders had urged them to do so.
However, just before the
impending war, Muawiyah was able to break the strength of the Imams army by
paying off some and diverting others away from h4n, and spread the manors that
the Imam had agreed to stop the war to save bloodshed of Muslims on either side.
These rumors had their desired effect.
The Kharjis saw a failure of their own goal through the forces of
the Imam, so they turned against him. He
received a bad slash on his thigh, and was quickly taken away by his supporters
for care and tending. His army
dispersed to escape a general massacre by Muawiyah's forces.
The leaders of several
tribes wrote to Muawiyah for his clemency towards them in exchange for
surrendering Imam Hasan to him. Muawiyah
sent all these letter to the Imam and offered him safe passage to Madinah under
all the conditions he chose for himself. To
this end, he sent Imam Hasan a blank page with his stamps in the bottom of the
page. Then Muawiyah wrote, "In
this page, whose bottom I have stamped, stipulate whatever you want, for that
will be for you."
The Imam, in
his desire to avoid bloodshed and to uphold the unity of the Muslim Ummah, saw
the advantage in accepting Muawiyah's offer. He was well aware of the ploy of Muawiyah during the days of
his father, and he had seen his tactics during the Battle of Siffeen.
He had seen Muawiyah's devious means during his confrontation with him,
and had seen the rift and loss of life of the Muslims on both sides. The apparent truce was a safe way out from the bitter
confrontation. The Imam accepted
peace in order to preserve the integrity of Islam.
He wrote on the page provided by Muawiyah all the conditions that suited
him, his family and towards his role as the Imam of believers.
It is unfortunate that this page is not valuable to us.
However, the conditions laid down by the Imam have been mentioned in
several authoritative works of history and biography.
THE PEACE TREATY
"The people should be safe wherever they are in the earth of Allah;
in Sham (Syria), Iraq, Hijaz, Yemen, etc. He
should give security to the black and the red alike.
He (Muawiyah) should bear their slips, should not follow some of them for
the bygone, nor should he punish the Iraqis foe hostility."
"The companions of
Ali should be given security wherever they are; that he (Muawiyah) should not
expose them to any evil; that they should be given security over their lives,
their properties and women and children; and that he should give them their
should not seek a calamity secretly or openly for alHasan or his brother al-Husain,
nor for anyone from the progeny of Ahle Bait of the'Apostle of Allah, nor should
he frighten them in any country or territories."
Many historians have related that the text of this Peace Treaty was conveyed to
Muawiyah who read this in his court, and made a covenant with Allah to fulfil
the conditions stipulated by Imam Hasan. It
was not long after this event that Muawiyah went back from his part of the
covenant with Allah and put the Peace Treaty aside.
He took pleasure in demeaning the Imam just as he had been doing to his
father. The Imam decided to leave
Kufa and return to Madinah.
Marwan bin al-Hakam, who was the personal secretary to the third caliph, and had
fought against Imam Ali during the Battle of Camel, was now the governor of
Madinah under Muawiyah. He took
personal pleasure in discharging Muawiyah's wishes to slur the reputation of the
Imam and his father. Needless to
say that the Imam's life in Madinah after the treaty of peace was not peaceful
at all. In addition to the
relentless taunts and abuse slung at him by Muawiyah, the Imam had to endure the
anger of his supporters for having relinquished the Caliphate to the life long
enemy of himself and that of his father before him.
They had failed to appreciate that Imam Hasan had given up his right in
the larger interests of Islam, and to avoid further bloodshed of the Muslims.
The Imam continued to deal with the abuse with patience and forbearance,
and continued to uphold the Truth.
MARTYRDOM OF IMAM HASAN
Muawiyah was successful in deceitfully gaining the
absolute power he had aspired for. He
was not interested in the functions of preaching piety or theology.
He was interested in expanding his sphere of influence in the territories
already conquered by the Muslims, and was actively engaged in further conquests
to the north and north west of Syria. In
utter violation of the terms of the Treaty with the Imam, Muawiyah decided to
name his son Yazid to succeed him after his death.
He knew that Yazid lacked all qualifications to be a caliph for the
Muslims and to represent the Holy Prophet of Islam. He also knew that the Imam, being a true representative of
the Prophet, would oppose the nomination of his son. Consequently, he decided to eliminate the opposition.
Muawiyah solicited the services of Marwa'n bin Hakam, a
son-in-law of the third Caliph, who was the governor of Madinah at that time.
With a promise for a reward, Marwan approached one of the wives of the
Imam, Ju'da binte al-Ash'ath bin Qais to poison the Imam.
He was successful, and the Imam died as a result of this plot.
Before he died Imam Hasan, in accordance with the Will
of Allah, named his brother, Husain to be the next Imam.
He expressed his wish to his brother to bury his body near to the grave
of his grandfather, the Prophet of Islam. This
caused an armed opposition by the governor of Madinah.
Under a shower of arrows, the jenazh (funeral procession) of Imam
Hasan had to withdraw and be diverted to Jannatul-Baqi', the general graveyard
of Madinah, where he was buried.
Imam Hasan lived a life of
piety mirroring the teachings of the Quran and the Sunna of the Prophet.
The ten years he spent in Madinah under the oppressive rule of Muawiyah
and his appointed governors, only revealed his tolerance and forbearance towards
the abuse. Some followers felt that
the Imam should have retaliated against Muawiyah when he ignored the terms and
conditions of the Treaty, oppressed them slung verbal abuses at them.
But the Imam only pointed to the conduct of his father before him, who
had endured similar circumstances without armed retaliation.
He told his followers that he did not retaliate against the oppressor
because the abuses that were being thrown at him were against his person and not
From the time of the
assassination of the third caliph and the events surrounding Imam Ali's rule,
the Ahle Bait had again come into focus. Many
dignitaries and new Muslims from far off places sought audience with the Imam in
Madinah. They came to learn
interpretations of the Quran, the teachings of Islam, and expounded the seera
(the conduct of personal life) of the Prophet of Islam.