Hasan ibn Ali Commander of the Faithfuls
Hasan ibn Ali is the last and the fifth rightly guided caliph of Islam. He was the eldest son of Queen of the Paradise, Fatimah bint Mohammad and door of Ali ibn Abi Talib and the grandson of the Holy Prophet . The virtues of Hasan ibn Ali are so many that it is hard to confine them in a description.
Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, whom Prophet Mohammad called the two flowers of his garden, were by no means less than one another in their proximity with the Holy Prophet. The Hadiths of the Holy Prophet express his equal love for them both. He named them both and fed them both his saliva at the time of their birth. The Holy Prophet himself performed their (an Islamic tradition of the sacrifice of an animal on the occasion of a child’s birth) and expressed equal joy on both of their births. They both remained the riders of Prophet Mohammad’s shoulders. He took them both in his lap and concentrated equally in their brought up. He expressed about them both:
Hasan and Husayn are from me.
The Holy Prophet also said:
O Allah I love them, so You also love them.
The Holy Prophet called them both the leaders of youth of the Paradise.
Hasan and Husayn’s resemblance to Holy Prophet
In physical appearance they both bore resemblance to the Holy Prophet. According to the traditions of the Companions of Holy Prophet, Hasan ibn Ali resembled the upper portion of the sacred body of Holy Prophet i.e. his face and Husayn ibn Ali resembled the remaining half portion of Prophet Mohammad’s body. After the passing of the Holy Prophet, when Companions used to become restless for his vision, they beheld Hasan and Husayn by putting them side by side. In their vision, they gained the vision of Prophet Mohammad. If Companions are the witness of their physical resemblance, then this Hadith of the Holy Prophet testifies their inward and spiritual resemblance:
Hasan and Husayn are from me.
That is, they both are physical and spiritual heirs of the Holy Prophet. Husayn was bestowed equally from the heritage of Faqr as Hasan was, because Holy Prophet called them both from himself. Just as he called Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatima bint Mohammad from himself. There is not a single incident or sentence found in the sacred life of Holy Prophet where he gave preference to one prince over the other. Therefore, if umma does an act which our prophet didn’t, then it will be against Sunna and the will of the Holy Prophet.
According to a tradition once Hasan and Husayn wrote on a wooden board and came to Ali ibn Abi Talib . They asked him to decide who wrote better. The gate of knowledge who settled big decisions was perplexed that admiring the writing of one will discourage the other. Therefore, he said that he will not be able to decide, and it would be better if they took it to their mother. They then went to Fatima bint Mohammad so she could decide whose writing was better. She also became answerless and said their grandfather could make a better decision. Now both princes came to their grandfather and requested to make the decision.
The master of the universe despite keeping the knowledge of the universe was bewildered at the question. How could he call the writing of one prince better and discourage the other? He said he will consult Angel Gabriel in this case. Angel Gabriel came and while sending salutations he said: O master making this decision is beyond my ability. However, Allah can make a better decision. He has sent this apple from heaven. I will drop it from the top. Whoever’s wooden board it drops at shall have nicer writing. Angel Gabriel dropped the apple and on Allah’s will it fell in two pieces. One piece dropped on Hasan ibn Ali’s wooden board and the other on Husayn’s writing.
This is to say even in Allah’s court the status of both princes is equal and even He does not prefer one over the other.
The grandson of Holy Prophet, the flower of the garden of door of Ali ibn Abi Talib and the beloved of Fatimah bint Mohammad, Hasan ibn Ali was born on the night of first Ramadan in Madina. It was the third year of Hijra. Allama Yousuf bin Ismail Nibhani writes his date of birth as 15 Ramadan 3AH.
The sacred name
His name is Hasan, teknonym is Abu Mohammad and titles are (the Chosen One), (Pious), (the Pure One), (Master), (resemble of Prophet Mohammad). Hasan ibn Ali also performed the responsibilities of caliphate for five months that is why he is also known as fifth caliph. Caliphate came to end at him that is why he is also known as the terminator of caliphate.
After his birth, the Holy Prophet asked Ali ibn Abi Talib what he named his son. Ali responded that he named him Harab. At this Prophet Mohammad said no he is Hasan. According to some traditions, Prophet Mohammad remained silent hitherto Angel Gabriel came and said: salutations of Allah and a message from Him to name him Hasan. Thus, Holy Prophet named him Hasan.
Feeding saliva and performing aqiqah
On the birth of his grandson, the Holy Prophet went to his daughter Fatimah’s house and said: O Asma bint Umais! bring my son to me. Asma bint Umais presented the newborn wrapped in a pale cloth. The Holy Prophet called out prayer in his right ear and recited (an Arabic phrase meaning Allah is the greatest) in his left ear. He then performed a ritual of first-ever dose to newborn by putting his sliva in Hasan’s mouth.
On the seventh day the Holy Prophet himself performed his , got the hair of his head shaved and ordered to donate silver equal to the weight of his hair. It is related by Ja’far al-Sadiq that while performing the Holy Prophet prayed:
O Allah! accept (the slaughtered animal’s) bones in lieu of infant’s bones, its meat for infant’s flesh, its blood for infant’s blood, and its hair for infant’s hair. O Allah! make this sacrifice of a protectant of Mohammad and his family.
Resemblance with the Holy Prophet
The traditions mention abundantly that the beauty and grandeur of Hasan ibn Ali resembled his dear grandfather Prophet Mohammad. Uqba bin al-Harith narrates in :
Once Abu Bakr Sidddiq came out after offering prayer with Ali ibn Abi Talib accompanying him. He saw that Hasan was playing with other kids. Abu Bakr lifted him up on his shoulders and said:
May my parents be sacrificed on this kid; the boy resembles my master Prophet Mohammad so much and not his father. Hearing this Ali smiled at this.
In , a tradition is related with Ali ibn Abi Talib:
Whoever desires to see a person resembling the Holy Prophet from neck till head must see my Hasan.
Anas ibn Malik states that no body resembled the Messenger of Allah more than Hasan ibn Ali.
Hasan ibn Ali spent six years and four months in the benevolence of his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah and lived under the shadow of training of a sacred mother Fatimah bint Mohammad for seven years. His saintly father Ali ibn Abi Talib graced him with the bounties and favors for thirty-seven years. It is obvious that getting nurtured in the shadow of these sacred personalities brought same effects in Hasan ibn Ali as these personalities themselves had.
Holy Prophet’s love for Hasan ibn Ali
Traditions provide evidences of Holy Prophet’s ultimate love and affection for Hasan ibn Ali. Abu Bakr Siddiq narrates:
I behold Hasan ibn Ali as my beloved since the time my eyes saw the Holy Prophet putting his fingers in Hasan’s hair and his tongue in Hasan’s mouth and he was saying:
O Allah I keep him beloved; You also make him Your beloved.
In another tradition the Holy Prophet said;
O Allah I love Hasan, You also love him. And love the one who loves him.
It is related in that Abdullah ibn Zubayr narrates that:
When Holy Prophet prostrated in prayers, Hasan used to climb his back. The Holy Pophet remained in that state until Hasan climbed down by himself. And I saw when the Holy Prophet performed (bowing down in prayer while placing hands on knees) Hasan would enter between his feet. The Holy Prophet would not go to prostration until he came out of the other side.
It is related in and that ibn Abbas narated:
I saw the Holy Prophet was carrying his grandson Hasan on his shoulders when someone said to Hasan: Young man, the one you are riding is great! The Holy Prophet replied: the rider is great too.
For this reason, Hasan is known as rider of the shoulder of Prophethood. This is his famous title because he often used to stroll around the streets of Madina by riding the sacred shoulders of his grandfather.
وہ حسنؓ مجتبیٰ سیّد الاسخیا
راکب ِ دوشِ عزتؐ پہ لاکھوں سلام
A hundred thousand salutations upon Hasan ibn Ali, the Chosen One, the benevolent Sayyid and the rider of the shoulders of the Holy Prophet.
The beneficence of Holy Prophet on Hasan ibn Ali
Along with this love and affection the Holy Prophet kept training him physically and spiritually. The already sanctified inward of Hasan ibn Ali extracted Mohammadan light from his Divine face and gained the beneficence of knowledge and gnosis of Allah through his splendor.
It is related in and that the Holy Prophet said:
I have granted (clemency) to my son Hasan.
is one of the highest attributes from the characters of Holy Prophet which include all the high attributes of patience, perseverance, endurance, forbearance, wisdom, and contentment.
The attributes of piousness, piety, ardent Divine love, and the liked attributes of Allah came to him due to his closeness and love of the Holy Prophet.
Fear of Allah
The upbrought of Holy Prophet’s court, Hasan ibn Ali, when used to prepare for prayer in Allah’s court, then every organ of his body started to tremble during salutation and his color turned pale. When someone asked him about this condition he said:
Whoever stands in Allah court, it is incumbent upon him that his color turns pale and his every joint tremble (due to Allah’s magnificence).
Ja’far al-Sadiq narrates that:
When Hasan ibn Ali used to offer prayer his body trembled, and his color turned pale.
According to that during the recitation of Quran when he came to read:
یا ایھا الذین امنوا
He would say: O my Allah I am here, I am here.
His condition was that he read every verse with extreme concentration and deliberation. He used to weep bitterly while reading the accounts after death.
Hasan’s journey on feet to perform pilgrimage
Traditions are a witness that Hasan used to go for performing Hajj from Madina to Makkah on foot. The camels were along but he would not ride them. It was to the point that his feet would swell due to walking. He used to say:
I feel humbled in front of my Lord to go meet him by riding on a ride.
The caravans who accompanied him would come down from their rides out of his respect, but he would tell them:
You don’t come down as many among you are week. When they hesitated, Hasan changed their routes by convincing them so that they would not hesitate to ride on the rides by seeing Hasan on his feet.
Hasan ibn Ali, the face of forbearance
Allama al-Hifaz Syoti says:
Marwan was a big opponent of Hasan ibn Ali and used to torture him by different means. He even used insolent words against him, but Hasan always adopted silence in his response. After the passing of Hasan ibn Ali, Marwan started to weep bitterly. Husayn ibn Ali asked him:
You used to cause him pain with your tyranny and oppression and today you cry. He replied:
I oppressed the one whose forbearance was high like a mountain.
Once Hasan ibn Ali was eating a meal with few of his companions that a slave brought a bowl of curry. The bowl dropped from his hand and curry fell on Hasan. Seeing this the slave got nervous and recited the verse:
The ones who sublimate their anger
Hasan ibn Ali said at this:
I controlled my anger. He then recited the next part of the verse:
وَالْعَافِیْنَ عَنِ النَّاسِ
And tolerate (the faults of the) people.
Hasan ibn Ali said: I forgave you. Then he recited the third part of the verse:
وَاللّٰہُ یُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِیْنَ
And Allah loves those who are benevolent.
At this Hasan ibn Ali said:
Go I gave you freedom.
Hasan’s status in
In Faqr the status of Hasan ibn Ali is:
اِذَا تَمَّ الْفَقْرُ فَھُوَ اللّٰہُ
When is accomplished, there is Allah.
As Sultan Bahoo says about Hasan and Husayn:
Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali who are the beloved of the Holy Prophet and Fatimah bint Mohammad, achieved excellence in
Hasan ibn Ali played complete part in describing the perfect spiritual attention (of perfect spiritual guide) in and basics of Sufism In his will, he stated:
علیکم بحفظ الاسرار فان اللّٰہ مطلع علی الضمائر
Protect the secrets of inward as Allah knows the secrets of inwards.
Letter of Shaikh Hasan of Basra to Hasan ibn Ali
Hasan ibn Ali had acquired such a high level of gnosis and mysticism that even a high ranked Mystic annihilated in Allah Shaikh Hasan of Basra used to consult him on delicate concerns.
Shaikh Hasan of Basra once asked him in a letter:
O the son of Messenger of Allah! what is your opinion against our view on our curiosity and authority over fate? So that we become aware of your view as you are the children of Saints generation after generation. You have been taught from the knowledge of Allah and you are witness from Allah on people.
Hasan’s response to the letter
Hasan ibn Ali wrote in response to this letter:
My view about this matter is that a person who does not believe that destiny of everything good or bad is from Allah is deceived. One cannot obey Allah forcibly neither one can disobey him out of compulsion. He does not allow opportunity to his men in His realm either. However, He is a Lord of all those things to which He gave His men the freedom of. He keeps an authority on all those things He has given authority to his men. Thus, if they intend to obey Him, He does not prevent or stop them from His obedience. But if they commit His disobedience and He wills to bestow His favor, He intervenes between them and the disobedience. However, if He does not intervene, then He has neither compelled them to disobey nor made disobedience forcibly incumbent upon them.
He has, in fact, drawn conclusion to an argument by telling them that He bestowed the authority to them for doing or not doing something. He has created an ease to adopt a path to which He has invited them and to abandon the path which He has forbidden. And only Allah’s reason is dominant.
Hasan ibn Ali’s intelligence and wisdom
Once in the era of Ali ibn Abi Talib’s caliphate, a case came in his court where two people were confessing a single homicide. People caught one assassin and the other presented himself. When Ali asked the first accused the reason of confession he said:
They arrested me in such circumstances where I had no choice but to confess the murder as no one had believed if I had refused. Upon asking about the incident he said:
I am a butcher and I slaughtered a goat near the site of incident. As I was cutting the meat, I had to go a little far for bathroom. Just as I finished, I saw a dead body nearby. Meanwhile people gathered at the site of incident. By seeing my blood-stained hands and my knife they assumed that I was the murderer since there was no one around besides me. No one had believed if I refused therefore I had to confess.
When Ali ibn Abi Talib asked from the second person he said: I am an Arab and also poor. I killed this man in hunger of money. I still had to take out the money when I heard people coming so I hid. Then I saw that people were arresting this innocent man for the crime that I had committed. I was extremely afflicted, so I presented myself.
Ali ibn Abi Talib asked for Hasan’s view
Hearing the whole incident Ali ibn Abi Talib asked Hasan for his view. He replied:
O Commander of the Faithful! If he had killed one person, he also had saved the life of the other.
And Allah says:
وَمَنْ اَحْیَاھَا فَکَانَّمَآ اَحْیَا النَّاسَ جَمِیْعًا
And whoever (saved him from unjust murder and) made him survive, it would be as if he saved the lives of all the people (of society).
Ali ibn Abi Talib was so pleased at the intelligence and wisdom of Hasan ibn Ali. He forgave this Arab on the suggestion of Hasan and commanded to pay the blood-money of the killed from public treasury.
Generosity of Hasan ibn Ali
Traditions are the witness that Hasan ibn Ali never returned anyone empty handed from his court and the door of his generosity always remained opened. Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali ibn Usman al-Hajveri writes in :
Once an Arab came to his door and began to curse. The countenance of forbearance, Hasan ibn Ali while enduring said to him: O Arab! Are you hungry or thirsty or are you suffering from some other misery? Tell me so I can help you! He commanded his slave to bring a bag of coins and give them to this Arab. Then he said to him: Forgive me as this was the only thing at house. If I had any other thing, I would not have hesitated to give it to you. Hearing this the Arab said instantly! I testify that you are the son of Prophet of Allah. I just came to test your patience and forbearance.
Such is the attribute of Saints who are the knowers of reality that in their sight the appreciation and criticism of people is equal.
Al-Ghazali writes in :
Once a person came in Hasan’s court and complained about his poverty. Hasan ibn Ali gave him fifty thousand dirhams (a unit of currency in Arab states). He could not pick up these dirhams, so he called a laborer. Hasan ibn Ali even paid the fee to the laborer.
Hasan ibn Ali called himself beggar in Allah’s court
Someone questioned Hasan that he never returns a beggar empty handed even when he is starving. He said: I myself am a beggar in Allah’s court. I feel ashamed to return a needy empty-handed while being a beggar myself.
Bravery of Hasan ibn Ali
Hasan Ibn Ali performed many heroic deeds in Ali ibn Abi Talib’s era of caliphate. The victory in the battle of Camel (Jamel) is indebted to his swordsmanship. His sword also showed skills in the battle of Siffin. Hasan was one among the people who guarded the house of Usman ibn Affan for many days to protect him from rioters. He used to bring food and water in Usman’s house by carrying it on his back.
When Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abi Talib was wounded by ibn Muljam’s poison-coated sword, people asked him if they should take oath from Hasan ibn Ali after his death. Ali ibn Abi Talib replied: I do not order you to take his oath neither I stop you. You people understand it better.
Following the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah, Ali ibn Abi Talib did not nominate his most distinguished son for caliphate after him. He left the decision of nominating caliph on common Muslims following the tradition of the Holy Prophet. Who could be better and dear to common people more than the grandson of the Holy Prophet? Besides being the family of Prophet, his other qualities and attributes also made him suitable for rank of caliphate. Therefore, everyone took oath on the sacred hands of Hasan ibn Ali.
Sermon of Hasan ibn Ali
Immediately after ascending to the throne of caliphate Hasan ibn Ali delivered a sermon:
O people! yesterday a man passed away who was better than those who preceded him and those who will follow him. The Holy Prophet sent him in battles as a banner of benevolence. He never returned unsuccessful from a battle. Angel Michael and Angel Gabriel accompanied him from left and right.
Allegiance of Syrian People to Muawiyah
At the same time Syrian people swore allegiance on the hands of Muawiyah by considering him their caliph. When the situation of clash arose between the two groups, Muawiyah sent a message to Hasan ibn Ali:
Peace is better than war therefore it is better that you accept me as caliph and swear allegiance on my hands.
Hasan ibn Ali was not desirous of caliphate. The position of caliphate was not a source of respect for him. In fact, he himself was a source of respect for caliphate. Therefore, five month and ten days after ascending the throne of caliphate he withdrew himself from it in 41AH. This way the two predictions of the Holy Prophet came true. First was:
Caliphate will remain after me for thirty years.
That is from 11AH to 14AH. If we do not count the caliphate time of Hasan ibn Ali, then this time period comes out to be twenty-nine and half years. Thus, according to the prediction of the Holy Prophet, Hasan ibn Ali was the righteous caliph of Muslims. The second prediction of the Holy Prophet which came true was:
Abu Bakr Siddiq narrates that while showing affection to Hasan ibn Ali, the Holy Prophet said:
My son is Sayyid. Because of him the difference between two Muslim groups will come to an end.
Terms on which Hasan ibn Ali separated himself from caliphate
On the following conditions Hasan ibn Ali separated himself from caliphate:
1. No resident of Iraq shall be arrested based on earlier enmity. Safety shall be provided to everyone without exception.
2. There must not be a reproach on Ali ibn Abi Talib.
Why Hasan ibn Ali withdrew from caliphate
The first reason of Hasan ibn Ali withdrawing from caliphate was that he did not want a conflict between Muslims. Secondly, had he not left caliphate it would have become a practice of inheritance in caliphate through the family of Prophet Mohammad.
After making peace with Muawiyah, Hasan ibn Ali addressed the people before Muawiyah came to Kufa. He said:
O people we are your nobles and guests. We are the People of the Cloak of your Prophet on whom Allah has removed impurity and has made them pure.
Hasan ibn Ali repeated these words to the point that everyone began to cry.
Sermon of Hasan ibn Ali on the arrival of Muawiyah
When Muawiyah came to Kufa he requested Hasan ibn Ali to inform people of what settled between them. At this Hasan ibn Ali delivered a sermon on spot. After the praise of Allah, he said:
O people! Allah guided you to the right path through our first and forgave your bloodshed through our last. Wise is the one who fears Allah in his inward. Evil doer is helpless. This issue in which I and Muawiyah had a difference, either he is more deserving than me or I am more deserving. I withdraw from my right for Allah’s will and to reform the umma of Prophet Mohammad and to protect your bloods. Then he turned towards Muawiyah and said:
I am not aware maybe it is a trial for you and a benefit for a certain time.
When Hasan ibn Ali separated himself from physical caliphate for Allah’s will, Allah blessed him and his family the spiritual caliphate. This way physical caliphate (governance) and spiritual caliphate separated from each other and never became one till today.
Hasan ibn Ali’s arrival in Madina
After withdrawing from the affairs of caliphate, Hasan ibn Ali came to Madina and involved himself in the activities of religion’s revival. According to a tradition Muawiyah set Hasan’s annual stipend as one lac dirhams. He spent majority of it in the way of Allah and himself remained happy in a life of contentment and indigence.
The death of Hasan ibn Ali
Hasan ibn Ali had so much regard for the words of the Holy Prophet (my son will end the conflict between two Muslim groups) that when he was poisoned through which his death occurred, he never revealed the name of the assassin to avoid starting a conflict again between Muslims as a result of his (retaliation in kind). When Husayn ibn Ali asked him the name of the assassin, Hasan asked:
What would you do after knowing the name? Husayn replied:
I shall take .
Hasan ibn Ali said:
if my suspicion is correct Allah will take revenge Himself and if it is incorrect then I do not find it suitable to arrest anyone for a sin he didn’t commit. Hence, he did not reveal the name of his assassin. People speculated. They blamed Hasan’s wife Jaʿda bint al-Ashʿat and other times suspected that it happened on the will of Muawiyah. Allah knows the truth! When Hasan ibn Ali himself avoided to mention the name of the assassin, there must be a reason behind it. Hence umma must also avoid speculating it.
Year of Hasan ibn Ali’s death
Hasan ibn Ali died in the 49 year of hijra. There are differences found in the month of his death. Some books mention while others as as the month of death. However, most historians agree on . According to on the sorrowful death of Hasan ibn Ali there was a bewail in Madina. The streets were silent. Abu Hurairah was grieving in an-Nabawi mosque and was saying:
O people! cry your eyes out today as the beloved of Prophet Mohammad left the world.
He was buried in .
Children of Hasan ibn Ali
Hasan ibn Ali is related to have five daughters and twelve sons, out of which four sons, Abu Bakr ibn Hasan, Omar ibn Hasan, Abdullah ibn Hasan and Qasim ibn Hasan were martyred in the incident of Karbala.
Hasan ibn Ali is associated very erroneously to have numerous wives. Ill-natured enemies of People of the Cloak have associated seventy and sometimes hundred wives with him. Although this is completely impossible. Firstly, in the presence of that many wives it is impossible to have only seventeen children. Secondly to have that many wives it is necessary to repeat a revolting act of divorce since having more than four wives at a time is not lawful. Even the thought of associating such acts with the family of Prophet Mohammad is appalling. He is that sacred personality whom Prophet Mohammad called the flower of his garden and leader of the youth of Paradise. If we are unable to perform deeds like them then at least we should not involve our inwards in nourishing evil presumptions about them.
Only the love and veneration of the beloveds of Prophet Mohammad provide strength to the inwards and is a source of success in the world and hereafter.
دل میں ہے مجھ بے عمل کے داغِ عشقِ اہل ِ بیتؓ
ڈھونڈتا پھرتا ہے ظلِ دامنِ حیدرؓ مجھے
The deedless me carries the stain of ardent love for the People of the Cloak in inward. The shadow of robe of Haider (title of Ali ibn Abi Talib) is searching for me.