Since today is the day of Imam al-Hasan’s (A) martyrdom, I would say something about his character. It is narrated that twice1 during his lifetime. Imam al-Hasan (A) divided his entire wealth into two parts. He kept one with himself and distributed the other among poor and spent it in other charitable ways.
Imam al-Hasan (A) went from Medina to Mecca for Hajj a number of times on foot.2 Even if he had a mount, he did not use it. He used to consider it a penance and a worship act for himself to go on foot. The rank of the Imam is so great that there is no need to mention these virtues. However, there is no doubt that the reward of performing Hajj with all facilities is not as great as performing Hajj on foot even for a common man.
Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (A) used to worship a lot but his enemies accused him excessively be they Bani Umayyah or Bani Al-Abbas, who were worse. During the tyrannical rule of Bani Al-Abbas, Sayyids of Imam al-Hasan (A) launched a number of movements against Bani Al-Abbas.
Eventually, the Bani Al-Abbas rulers and other ministers started propaganda in order to crush the Sayyids of Imam al-Hasan’s family by falsely accusing their holy ancestor (Imam al-Hasan (A)). They alleged that he had married a number of times and was extravagant similarly he was falsely accused by Bani Al-Abbas of being responsible for other such mischief. However, Imam al-Hasan (A) was the greatest worshipper of his time.
Whenever Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (A) prayed, tears flowed from his eyes. When he recited the Holy Qur’an and came across a verse describing divine chastisement, he used to fall down unconscious.3 Indeed; he was a true copy of the character of his father. Imam Ali (A) al-Murtadha.
O mourners of Imam al-Hasan (A)!
Whatever you have heard about the Commander of the Faithful, the same is true for Imam al-Hasan (A) as well, without any exaggeration.
The tale of atrocities inflicted on Imam al-Hasan (A) during his lifetime and the propaganda against him after his martyrdom is a lengthy and a remorseful one.
Imam al-Hasan (A) remained in this world for about ten years after the passing away of his honourable father. The Commander of the Faithful was martyred in the year 40 A.H. and Imam al-Hasan (A) was martyred in 49 A.H.
These nine or ten years were the darkest days of the inauspicious rule of Mu’awiyah. Imam al-Hasan (A) was greatly oppressed during this time. Mu’awiyah did not waste even a single minute without spreading false propaganda to demean Imam al-Hasan (A).
During the initial period of the caliphate of Bani Umayyah, the true colors of Mu’awiyah and Bani Umayyah were not fully apparent to the public. However, the veil was taken off the face of Bani Umayyah during the last days of Mu’awiyah and start of Yazid’s rule and their real color became known to all. In the beginning, people thought that Mu’awiyah was a ‘sensible person’.
Mu’awiyah wanted his son to succeed him in caliphate. Therefore he started removing all the barriers one by one in his own lifetime. This matter was not limited to Imam al-Hasan (A). According to Mu’awiyah, there were some other people also who could have contested for caliphate. They could have been elected as caliph.
Hence he continued to remove them from the way. Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas, the father of Umar Ibn Saad was poisoned and killed by Mu’awiyah because Saad was one of those six persons whom Umar had selected for the Shura committee. Therefore, it was natural to have been famous among people that Saad is eligible for caliphate.4
Similarly, Abdur Rahman, son of Khalid Ibn Walid, was also killed by Mu’awiyah through poisoning because his father was a famous chief and could have proclaimed his leadership. Mu’awiyah had also removed some people of Bani Umayyah from his way whom he feared as being desirous of caliphate.
These people were eliminated so that they cannot become candidates for caliphate. However, his intentions were different in the case of Imam al-Hasan (A). He wanted that the love and faith of Imam al-Hasan (A) should be removed from the hearts of people.
Even though he knew that people have faith on Ahl al-Bayt, he wanted to torture Imam al-Hasan (A) mentally while he was alive. Therefore, he wrote to the governor of Medina and asked him to curse his father, Imam Ali (A) in his presence, every Friday in the Prophet’s mosque.5
We recite the verse in Friday prayer that when it is the time of Friday prayer, it is obligatory for all to join it. (Thus, Mu’awiyah and his followers used to force people to attend the Prayer by quoting the compulsory order of this verse).
Anyone who opposed the Friday prayer on the pretext that those people were not worthy of leading Friday prayer, was accused of being an infidel. Whenever the group of extremists found such a person, they used to kill him.
Hence, Imam al-Hasan (A) was forced to attend the Prayer in such a state. I have already discussed the obligation of the Imam of the congregation standing on the pulpit near the grave of the Holy Prophet (S) in the sermon of Friday prayer in my lecture on ‘sermon and pulpit’.6
This obligation was changed with curses on Imam Ali (A).7 At last Mu’awiyah decided to eliminate the son of the Holy Prophet (S), Imam al-Hasan (A) and because of this decision, he poisoned the Imam.
Imam was not administered poison only once but it was done twice or thrice.8
وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنْقَلَبٍ يَنْقَلِبُونَ
“And they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back”(26:227).
- 1. He gave away all his wealth in charity twice and gave away half of his wealth in charity thrice. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 43, Pg. 339 and 349.
- 2. It is mentioned in History that Imam al-Hasan Mujtaba (A) performed Hajj twenty times on foot. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 43, Pg. 339 and 349.
- 3. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 422; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 43, Pg. 331.
- 4. Mojam Rijal ul-Hadith, Vol. 8, Pg. 53; Tanqih ul-Maqal, Vol. 2, Pg. 12.
- 5. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibn Abil Hadid, Vol. 4, Pg. 56.
- 6. Both speeches are present in Ustad Mutahhari’s Sukhan published by Jame Taalimaat al-Islami
- 7. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 450; Al-Ghadeer, Vol. 10, Pg. 257.
- 8. After this, the some part of the lecture was not recorded; Ashnai ba Qur’an, Vol. 7, Pg. 118, 120.