Divine Wisdom of Imam Hasan (A.S.)
Imam Hasan (a.s) was also a blooming and fragrant flower of this garden of virtue and perfection, which was irrigated by the Almighty with the water of knowledge and wisdom. And which used to bloom in the illuminated atmosphere of mercy and bounty. Which was guarded by infallibility and cared by prophethood. This prince of the two worlds had sucked the tongue of prophethood and was bred in the lap of Imamate. Like that of his father the breast of Imam Hasan (a.s) was also illuminated by the radiance of divine wisdom. His step also did not deviate from the straight path. He never paid any attention to the wisdom of extremism or conservatism. He continued to propagate divine religion all his life.
He had the natural gift of deriving correct conclusions by arranging the basic facts. That is why he was safe from the error of judgment or practical mistakes in all aspects of life. Ali (a.s) usually entrusted to Imam Hasan (a.s) the legal problems that were sent to him by the ruling caliphs. Not once is Imam Hasan (a.s) said to have given a wrong judgment. Let us read some incidents in this regard.
1. Imam Reza (a.s) has narrated that once a man holding a bloodstained knife was brought to Umar. Those who had arrested him reported that a severed head was found in such and such desolate spot, and that they found this man standing near it. Umar asked the accused if he had committed the murder of the victim. He confessed to it. Umar ordered his execution. In a short while another person appeared and said, “Release him, because I am the actual murderer.” Umar was confused and could not decide what to do, so he sent the matter to Amir’ul-Mu’minin (a.s). Ali (a.s) asked the first accused, “Did you kill that man?” He replied, “O Amir’ul-Mu’minin! The fact is that I am a butcher and I was slaughtering a goat at a place when I had the urge urinate. Holding the blood-smeared knife I went to answer nature’s call in that ruin where I saw that murdered man. I was staring at the corpse when these people came and arrested me. When I was brought to the caliph I confessed to the murder because all the circumstantial evidence was against me and my denial would not have made any impact. But the truth is that I have not murdered anyone.” Now Ali (a.s) turned to the second man and asked if he was the murderer. He said, “Yes, I wanted to run away where no one would learn about it but when I saw that an innocent man was falsely accused, my conscience could not bear it that I should be saved and an innocent is executed instead. So I came here myself and confessed to the murder. Ali (a.s) asked Imam Hasan (a.s) what judgment he would give in this case. He replied at once, “Both the men should be released and the blood money of the victim should be paid from the public treasury.” When Ali (a.s) asked him to justify his decision he said, “One of them is innocent and the other one deserves release because he has saved the life of an innocent person. Almighty Allah says: One who saved the life of one person, it is as if he has saved humanity.”
The above incident proves that judgment in material matters should not be based on conjecture; it should rely on hard facts. Also each of the judgment was supported by Quranic verses. If Quran had not been treasured in their hearts they would also have given judgments like those ignorant about Quran. Another important point is that how many lives were saved by their judgments and how many innocent people were saved from wrongful punishments.
If divine wisdom had been related to other people, they would never have expressed their inability and helplessness in giving legal decisions and solving intellectual problems. Because it is a matter of great shame that the ruler could not properly judge the affairs of his subjects. That is why the Creator of the universe has never entrusted rulership to the ignorant. When Bani Israel objected to the rulership of Talut, saying that he didn’t have enough wealth, their prophet said that Allah has selected him because he was the most knowledgeable and strong among them all. This shows that a ruler can only be one who has knowledge and virtues so that he can rule his subjects according to divine will. Cunning, intrigue and deception cannot be called wisdom or knowledge.
2. A Syrian instigated by Muawiyah asked Imam Hasan (a.s) amidst a crowd, “What is the difference between faith and certainty.” Actually he wanted to pose a difficult question that required lengthy explanation going into complex debatable points which the Imam would take time to explain and hence people would think the Imam is deficient in knowledge, while the Syrian would get an opportunity to extol the virtues of Muawiyah. Imam Hasan (a.s) replied, “There is a distance of four fingers between faith and certainty.” “How is it so?” asked the Syrian. Imam (a.s) explained, “What you hear (by your ears) is faith and what you see (by your eyes) is certainty. Then the Syrian asked, “What is the distance between the sky and the earth?” Imam (a.s) said, “The length of ones eyesight.” He asked, “What is the distance between east and west?” Imam (a.s) said, “The distance the sun travels in a day.”
Now consider the depth of these replies. The questioner is a deadly enemy of Ahl ul-Bayt. He did not aim to gain any knowledge from Imam (a.s). It was rather to dishonor him. Think deeply on the replies of Imam (a.s). All the replies were short and to the point without any scope of further questions. This is the way a wise man speaks. Another thing worth attention is that these questions were posed to Imam (a.s) suddenly. Anyone else in place of Imam (a.s) would have become confused and offered incorrect explanations. However, even the most difficult questions are easy for those whose hearts contain the treasures of divine sciences and who are brought up in the lap of one who challenged: “Ask me”, from the pulpit. In such difficult circumstances he gave such replies that the opponent had no chance to move. This was the intellectual perfection of the Household of the Prophet.
3. Once Muawiyah came to Medina, met Imam Hasan (a.s) and asked, “You Bani Hashim claim that every dry and wet thing is mentioned in the Quran and you have the knowledge of all of them.” “Indeed,” said the Imam. Muawiyah said, “If it is so, tell me where is the mention of our beards in the Quran?” Now Imam Hasan (a.s) had a luxurious and thick facial growth while the beard of Muawiyah was scanty. “Why not!” said Imam (a.s), “Have you not read the verse of Quran: And as for the good land, its vegetation springs forth (abundantly) by the permission of its Lord, and (as for) that which is inferior (its herbage) comes forth but scantily… (Surah Araaf 7:58).
There are subtle points in this and only those with a literary taste can appreciate them. It is sufficient if we can just realize how great was the Quranic knowledge of Imam Hasan (a.s).
4. The King of Rome sent two queries to Muawiyah. (1) Which house is in the middle of the heavens? (2) What is that place where the sun shines only once? Now how could Muawiyah reply these queries? He in turn asked Imam Hasan (a.s) who said, “The house in the middle of the heavens is the back of the Holy Ka’ba and the place where the sun shines only once is the spot in the Nile river where Prophet Moses (a.s) hit the staff and it opened (to make a path).
5. A bedouin asked Abu Bakr, “During the Hajj, I roasted and ate 70 eggs in the condition of Ehram (ritual dress), what penalty (Kaffarah) do I have to pay?” Abu Bakr said, “O Arab! You have posed a very difficult question. Go to Umar and seek the reply.” So the man went to Umar who instructed him to approach Abdul Rahman Ibne Auf. When he too could not reply he directed him to Amir’ul-Mu’minin (a.s), who told Imam Hasan (a.s) to answer the question. Imam Hasan (a.s) said, “O Bedouin, get as many female camels and have them impregnated, then after the calves are born, give them as offering to the House of Allah.” Amir’ul-Mu’minin (a.s) asked, “But, son Hasan, sometimes the she-camels have miscarriages?” Hasan replied, “Father, eggs too go bad sometimes.”
Once in a gathering of Muawiyah, Amr Aas asked Imam Hasan (a.s) by way of testing him, “What is the difference between kindness, support and chivalry?” He replied, “The true meaning of kindness is to give something without expecting any recompense before the needy one asks for it; support means to dispel ones enemy by ones good behavior and chivalry denotes the condition whereby man should keep an eye on his religion and protect his self from dirt and sins and should fulfill the rights of Allah and the creatures.
Once a person asked Imam Hasan (a.s), what was the distinguishing feature of a eunuch. He said, “Regarding whom it is not known whether it is a man or a woman, but he is having both the sex organs. Then one should wait till his maturity. If he has ejaculation of semen, he is a man and if has menses and the breasts become prominent, it is a woman. And if this also does not establish the sex, then while urinating if the urine spouts in a straight line it is a man and if it drops like urine of she-camels it is a woman.”
This man further asked, “What are those ten things, that are harder than each other?” Imam (a.s) said, “Allah has made stone hard and made iron harder than it; because it breaks the stone and fire is stronger than iron because it melts the iron and water is more powerful than fire because it extinguishes the fire and the cloud is more powerful because it has control over water; and wind is more powerful than the cloud because it moves the cloud and more powerful than wind is the angel who controls it and more powerful than this angel is the angel of death who would capture his soul. And death is more powerful than the angel of death that he himself would be subjected to death. More powerful than death is the command of God Almighty, as by this death arrives and is warded off.”
Once Muawiyah heard about the generosity and kindness of Imam (a.s) and wrote to him, “There is no goodness in overspending.” The Imam wrote in reply, “There is no over-spending in goodness.”
Worship Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
Imam Hasan (a.s) used to perform excessive worship and devotions. He used to spend a better part of the night in the worship of Allah. He used to pray and supplicate with such a devotion and pleading that people used to think he was weeping due to the passing away of a close relative.
Like his respected father, Imam Hasan (a.s) also kept many fasts. He performed twenty-five Hajj pilgrimages on foot. He used to say: I am ashamed to meet my Lord in a condition that I fail to reach His House on foot. Once he was traveling for Hajj and his mount was being led alongside. When after walking a long distance swelling appeared on his legs someone suggested, “O Son of Allah’s Messenger (S)! When your mount is present why do you not travel upon it?” He replied, “I have not kept the mount with me to ride upon it myself. It is there in case I find a traveler too tired to walk and I may give him a lift.”
Valour Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
Imam Hasan (a.s) was the son of the Lion of Allah, Ali al-Murtada (a.s). Why shouldn’t the quality of valour be not found in him in the best way? The first opportunity that he got to exhibit the gems of his valour was in the Battle of Jamal. Amir’ul-Mu’minin (a.s) gave his standard to Imam Hasan (a.s) and said, “Son, go and confront the enemy with your feet firmly fixed to the ground.” Thus he proceeded to the battlefield and fought with such bravery that the opponents were left astounded. When after slaying hundreds of enemies he returned, Ali (a.s) embraced his son and showered him with praises. After this he participated in the Battle of Siffin. For many days he continued to confront the Syrian forces with a battalion. At last the enemy fled in defeat.
After the Battle of Siffin, again he exhibited a valiant disposition in the Battle of Naharwan. He fought with such bravery that the Kharijis of Naharwan could be seen running here and there.
If Muawiyah had not spread the net of his intrigue everywhere, there would not have appeared signs of revolt in the army of Imam Hasan (a.s). And like the Battle of Siffin, he would again have subdued Muawiyah. However, when each soldier of his army fell a prey to Muawiyah’s intrigue and became the Imam’s fatal enemy, what could the Imam do in such in circumstances?
Piety Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
Thrice, Imam Hasan (a.s) gave up all his wealth in charity and twice he gave away half his wealth. Like his father, he also spent his life with the bare necessities. But his food spread was very wide. He used to have different kinds of dishes prepared for the guests, but himself ate only barley bread with vinegar or salt. His cloak was patched in many places. The narrator says, “One day I came to Imam Hasan (a.s) during his rule and found him sitting on a tattered sack. Seeing me, he had a sheet spread over it. I saw that it was patched at many places and it was of a very coarse material. I said, ‘O Amir’ul-Mu’minin, you are sitting on a sack. How is it possible for me to step on this blessed sheet?’ He said, ‘O Abu Salih, take a seat.’ I sat down following the command of Imam (a.s) then said, ‘O Son of the Messenger of Allah, you are the ruler, is there not even as much share in the kingdom that you can purchase a sheet for personal use?’ Hearing this, the Imam became angry and said, ‘Abu Salih, we Ahl ul-Bayt were not created for a comfortable life. We are created to provide comfort to others and to safeguard their rights. This sheet fulfills all my needs that an expensive one would do. Then what is the need for me to purchase a new sheet? O Abu Salih, would it not be better if I spend the same money on the poor and deprived people?’ Hearing this I said, ‘Amir’ul-Mu’minin, you are right. The fact is that, except for the Ahl ul-Bayt no one deserves this position.'”
Generosity Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
Once a person requested the Imam (a.s) for an amount of 50,000 dirhams. The Imam told him to bring a porter to carry away the money. When the porter was brought Imam (a.s) gave him his cloak and said, “The labor should also be paid by us.”
This anecdote was reported by someone to Muawiyah who wrote to Imam Hasan (a.s), “I have heard that you are giving away 50,000 to each applicant. Is it not wastefulness?” The Imam replied, “There is no wastefulness in charity (or good deeds). I am ashamed that I should reject the plea of a petitioner. The Almighty has given me a kingdom and released His bounties on me. Thus I only convey His bounties to His creatures. If I stop this I am afraid He would also restrain His bounties from me.”
Patience Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
The patience exhibited by Imam Hasan (a.s) is such that it has no equal. The treatment people meted out to his respected mother and holy father after passing away of Allah’s Messenger (S), is sufficient to make the sentiments of any mortal uncontrollable. However, the Imam remained patient at every, juncture. The intrigues that Muawiyah engineered against him or the cursing of Ali (a.s) from the pulpits for years. The slayings of innumerable followers of Ahl ul-Bayt. Instigating a mutiny in the Imam’s army. Not following the terms of treaty for a single day. The amount that was agreed to be paid to the Imam every year according to the terms of the treaty was not even paid once. Poisoning of the Imam through his wife Judah binte Ashath. Such kinds of calamities befell him but the Imam bore all this in patience. He never became the initiator of any kind of mischief or turmoil. He could have also retaliated more severely but he did not allow the emotion of revenge to control his reason, and did not allow the blemish of bloodshed to taint his infallibility. Some battles fought against Muawiyah were all initiated by Muawiyah and defense became obligatory on the Imam.
Humility Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
One day Imam Hasan (a.s) was passing by a group of boys partaking pieces of bread. They invited the Imam to join them. The Imam dismounted from his steed and joined them. Then he brought them to his house, gave new clothes and a dirham to each of them. Then he said, “I have still not repaid their kindness because what they offered me was all that they possessed. And I have more than what I gave them.”
Forbearance Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
Umair Ibne Ishaq says: Marwan was the governor upon us in Medina and every Friday he maligned Amir’ul-Mu’minin (a.s) from the pulpit. Though Imam Hasan (a.s) heard about it, he did not react. Once he conveyed some things to him through a messenger. The Imam told the messenger, “Go and tell Marwan that we have not forgotten anything from whatever he has said. Allah will decide between him and me. If he is telling the truth Allah would reward him and if he is lying the chastisement of God is very terrible.”
The same narrator has reported that once there was a property dispute between the Imam and Amr bin Uthman. The Imam made him an offer but Amr did not accept it. The Imam said, “We have nothing but to put dust on our nose.” Thus this was the stern-most statement uttered by this forbearing Imam. Though he didn’t even say this much to anybody else.
When a Syrian saw him mounted on a horse, he began to abuse him. The Imam observed forbearance and did not react to his abusive language. When the fellow finished ranting to his heart’s content the Imam said to him, “O gentleman! If you are in need, we can help you. If you have lost your way we can guide you. If you need a riding animal we can provide you with it. If you are hungry we can serve you food. If you require clothes we can offer them to you. If you are poor we can make you self-sufficient. If you are a visitor we can host you.”
Hearing these statements the Syrian began to weep and said, “Today I confess that you are the rightful caliph of God. I used to harbor great avarice against you and your respected father, now no one is dearer to me than you.”
Forgiveness Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
When Muawiyah came out for the conquest of Iraq with 60,000 troops and Imam came out to confront him with 40,000 troops, there were signs of revolt in his army and a group of Kharijis attacked him. Finding an opportunity a Khairjite, named Jarrah bin Aswad attacked the Imam with a sword, which left the Imam injured. People arrested him and brought him before the Imam. The Imam said, “If this man gives up treason and repents for this act, leave him.” This wretched man did not value this forgiveness and he did not agree to be loyal. At last he was executed.
One day the food spread of Imam Hasan (a.s) was laid out and some guests were dining upon it. The Imam was also seated with them. A slave inadvertently dropped a bowl of soup on the Imam’s dress, then began to tremble with fear, and said: …and those who restrain (their) anger… (Surah Aale Imran 3:134)
The Imam said, “Go, I have forgiven you.” Then the slave said: …and pardon men; (Ibid.)
To this the Imam (a.s) replied, “I free you for the sake of Allah.” Then at last he said: …and Allah loves the doers of good (to others). (Ibid.)
The Imam handed him money wrapped up in a handkerchief and bid him adieu.
Affection Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
During the tenure of his caliphate it was the ritual of Imam Hasan (a.s) that till the time people did not assure him that all of the deprived, orphans and widows in the neighborhood had their meals, the Imam did not eat himself. Often it so happened that he began to eat and a beggar appeared at his door. He used to remove the food placed in front of him and remain hungry.
One day Imam Hasan (a.s) learnt that the son of a widow in the neighborhood was ill. He went to visit the child. The widow lamented that there no one who could help her in the illness of her child. The Imam said, “Do not worry, I am there to render all help.” Thus he visited them in the morning and the evening and fulfilled all their needs. He used to sit near the sick boy, massage him and speak to him words of comfort and assurance. The Imam also provided him with whatever he desired to eat.
Hospitality Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
Imam Hasan (a.s) was the most hospitable person. His dinner cloth was very vast. The poor, the deprived, travelers and orphans dined on his food spread. He had the best possible food cooked for the guests, but he never partook anything from it. His diet consisted of that same barley bread and salt. One day he had a visitor. He ordered the servant to lay the food. When the person sat to eat the Imam saw him eating one morsel and keeping one morsel aside. The Imam said, “It seems that you have some children. But eat comfortably. By the Grace of Allah there is sufficient food here. You will be given to take away as much you want.” The man said, “I am a traveler and wife and children do not accompany me but I have seen a Dervish in the mosque eating chaff-mixed barley flour. I am keeping these morsels for him.” Imam Hasan (a.s) began to weep and said, “Do not consider him a Dervish. He is our respected father, Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s). He has divorced the world.”
Imam Hasan’s (a.s) Kindness To Relatives
Imam Hasan (a.s) used to be kind to relatives since childhood. He had done such favors on all the people of Bani Hashim clan that they were devotees of his excellent manners. It was his practice to inquire about his relatives everyday. He used to consider his half-siblings as full-blood brothers and sisters, and he used to behave with them with the best of affection and regard. Whenever a relative asked him for something, he provided it immediately and shared their sorrow. He used to exhaust all the means for their welfare and success.
Imam Hasan’s (a.s) Kind Behavior To The Slaves
Imam Hasan (a.s) used to be very affectionate to the slaves. He freed many slaves for rendering ordinary services.
One day the Imam was sleeping. A slave began to fan him. The Imam awoke and freed him.
A slave dropped a bowl of curry and it spilled on the garment of Imam (a.s). He was so terrified that he began to tremble and recite the verse: …and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good (to others). (Surah Aale Imran 3:134)
The Imam forgave his mistake and told him, “I free you for the sake of Allah.”
Imam Husain’s (a.s) had a slave who was very obedient. One day the Imam was pleased of his good services and he freed him. The slave began to weep bitterly. The Imam asked the reason. He said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger, I do not want to leave you. This slavery of mine is a thousand times better than freedom.” The Imam said, “I have freed you. Now you can live with me happily like a relative.”
One day Imam Husain (a.s) saw a slave feeding a dog from his food. When the Imam asked him the reason he said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger. I am a trouble-stricken person, by making this dog happy I expect happiness from Allah in return.” The Imam asked him what his problem was. He said, “I am a slave of a Jew and I want freedom from him.” The Imam was moved at this slave’s yearning. He immediately came to the Jew, purchased the slave for 200 gold coins and freed him.
Contentment Of Imam Hasan (a.s)
One day a person requested Imam Hasan (a.s) for a thousand dirhams. He asked his servant how much they had. He said it was not more than a thousand dirhams. The Imam told him to give them to the petitioner. The servant reminded the Imam that they had nothing beyond that; not even anything to eat and drink at home. He suggested that something be retained from this amount for household needs. “Why should I retain something?” asked the Imam, “Would my Creator and Master not be there tomorrow?” And the dates that had arrived from the orchards were distributed but a handful that no one liked to take were left over. The Imam said that they were sufficient for removing hunger, “Fulfillment of the needs of those who ask for it is top priority for Ahl ul-Bayt.”