SHAFAQNA- Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
The 28th of Safar, the anniversary of the passing away of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), also happens to be the anniversary of the martyrdom of his elder grandson and 2nd Infallible Heir, Imam Hasan Mujtaba (AS), exactly 39 years after him. Imam Hasan (AS) was the eldest son of Imam Ali and Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon them). When the Prophet received the happy news of the birth of his grandson, he came to the house of his beloved daughter, took the newly born child in his arms, recited azaan and iqamah in his right and left ears respectively, and on God’s command named him Hasan, which means The Excellent. He was seven years, when his grandfather, the Prophet, passed away, plunging the Ahl al-Bayt in grief, as many of the people turned away from the blessed household, and deprived Imam Ali of his political right of leadership of the ummah.
Within a few months, Imam Hasan (AS) witnessed the tragic martyrdom of his noble mother, when a group of unruly companions of the Prophet, battered down the door of her house upon their own Prophet’s daughter, as part of their plot to force Imam Ali (AS) to give pledge of allegiance to the new regime. Imam Hasan (AS) grew up along with his father, and though later in life, he had the worldly possessions at his disposal and could have well enjoyed a luxurious life, he utilized all of it in the betterment of the condition of the poor. He was so courteous and humble that he never hesitated to sit along with the beggars in the lanes and on the thoroughfares of Medina to reply to some of their religious queries. Through his cordial attitude and hospitality he never let the poor and the humble feel inferior to him when they visited his abode.
The passing away of the Prophet was followed by an era of territorial expansion by the new regime that oppressed the Ahl al-Bayt in Medina while carrying out expansionism and conquest of neighbouring lands. But even under such a phase, Imam Hasan kept devoting himself to the sacred mission of peacefully propagating Islam and the genuine teachings of his grandfather, the Prophet. When his father, Imam Ali (AS), reluctantly took over the reins of caliphate or the political rule of the Islamic world, in order to save the ummah from sedition and chaos, Imam Hasan (AS), was bravely at his side during the four-and-a-half year rule of the government of social justice, which the world has since then never seen. At the age of 33 years, he was witness to the martyrdom of Imam All (AS) on the 21st of the fasting month of Ramadhan in the year 40 AH. He laid his father to rest, and found himself as the head of the state, The majority of Muslims pledged their allegiance to him and finalized the formality of bay’ah or oath of allegiance.
No sooner did he take the reins of leadership into his hands than he had to meet the challenge of Mu’awiyah, the rebellious Governor of Syria, who started armed hostilities against him, and at the same time bribed weak-of-faith commanders of the army of the Imam, and deceived the general public through empty promises.
Imam Hasan (AS) sense the gravity of the situation, and realized that civil war among Muslims at this juncture, when the Byzantine Christian Empire was all poised to strike at Syria and Palestine, would endanger the ummah, and so in compliance with the Will of Allah and with a view to refrain from causing the massacre of Muslims, he entered into a peace treaty with the rebel Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan on certain clear terms, which Mu’awiyah violated.
Through this excellent strategy Imam Hasan (AS) not only saved Islam and stopped unnecessary bloodshed amongst Muslims, he also unmasked the hypocrisy of Mu’awiaya, in addition to averting the dangers of the Byzantine attack on Muslim lands. Thus the peace treaty was never meant as a surrender of the permanent leadership to Mu’awiyah. It was meant only as an interim transfer of the administration of the Islamic realm, subject to the condition that the administration would be given back to Imam Hasan (AS) on the death of Mu’awiya, and in case the elder grandson of the Prophet was not alive, it would be given to the Prophet’s younger grandson, Imam Husain (AS). Having relieved himself of the administrative responsibilities, Imam Hasan kept the religious leadership with himself and devoted his life to the propagation of Islam and the teachings of the Prophet in Medina.
Alas, the malice of Mu’awiyah against Imam Hasan (AS) led one of his wives, named Ja’dah the daughter of Ash’ath, to fall into the trap of the Omayyads and give poison to the Prophet’s grandson on the assumption she would be rewarded amply by the ruler. The poison which was given in water, affected his liver, and after vomiting blood along with pieces of his liver, Imam Hasan (AS) achieved martyrdom at the age of 47 years in the year 50 AH, on the 28th of Safar, which was the 39th anniversary of the Prophet’s departure from the mortal world.
His funeral also was not allowed to be peaceful by the enemies of Islam and humanity. While Imam Husain (AS) was escorting his brother’s coffin towards the Prophet’s shrine for blessings before burial in the sacred Baqie Cemetery, one of the mischievous wives of the Prophet again showed her malice. She urged Marwan ibn al-Hakam the Omayyad governor, to shoot volleys of arrows at the coffin of the Leader of the Youths of Paradise. The enemies desecrated the funeral ceremony of the Prophet’s grandson, and as many as 70 arrows pierced the coffin, some of them even finding their way to the blessed body of Imam Hasan (AS). Even the tomb of the Prophet’s elder grandson was not spared.
Centuries later on 8th Shawwal, 1344 AH, corresponding to 21st April 1926, the heretical Wahhabi rulers of the British-created state called Saudi Arabia, demolished his tomb, along with the tombs of three other Infallible Heirs of the Prophet, that is, Imam Zain al-Abedin, Imam Mohammad Baqer and Imam Ja’far Sadeq (peace upon them).
Mu’awiyah rejoiced at the death of Imam Hasan (AS), but he earned only a short-lived reprieve, even though he thought that he could perpetuate rule of the Islamic state in his family by naming the libertine Yazid as his successor. It is now clear that the plot to hijack the leadership of the ummah proved disastrous and doomed the fate of Yazid, resulting in a fatal blow to the entire Omayyad clan. The Prophet’s younger grandson, Imam Husain (AS) emerged as the insurmountable mountain of truth and determination. By perpetrating the gruesome tragedy of Karbala through sheer force of numbers and by isolating Imam Husain’s small group, and stopping them from even getting water to drink for three days, Yazid succeeded in annihilating the seventy-two steadfast persons including members of the Prophet blessed family. This dastardly act of Yazid was, however, short-lived. The Muslims turned against him on learning of the heinous crime he had committed and this resulted in the downfall of Yazid and a few decades later in the extinction of the Godless Omayyad dynasty from the face of the earth. The enmity of Mu’awiya to the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt is known to all. He was a bitter enemy of Imam Ali (AS) and had for years fought a war with the ambition of capturing the caliphate, first on the pretext of avenging the death of the third caliph and finally with an open claim to the caliphate, marched his army to Iraq, the seat of the political rule of Imam Hasan (AS). War ensued during which Mu’awiya gradually subverted the generals and commanders of Imam’s army with large sums of money and deceitful promises until the army rebelled against Imam Hasan (AS).
In this way Mu’awiyah captured the Islamic caliphate and entered Iraq. In a public speech he officially made null and void all the peace conditions and in every way possible placed the severest pressure upon the members of the Household of the Prophet and their loyal follower, the Shi’ah. During all the ten years of his Imamate, Imam Hasan (AS) lived in conditions of extreme hardship and under persecution, with no security even in his own house. In moral perfection Imam Hasan (AS) was reminiscent of his father and a perfect example of his noble grandfather, the Prophet. In fact, as long as the Prophet was alive, he and his brother were always in the company of the Prophet who even sometimes would carry them on his shoulders. Both Sunni and Shl’ite sources have transmitted this saying of the Prophet concerning Hasan and Husain (peace upon them): “These two children of mine are Imams (leaders) whether they stand up or sit down” (reference to whether they boldly confront the enemy in open combat or make peace). Here we present you a few sayings of Imam Hasan Mujtaba (AS): “If you fail to obtain something of worldly benefit, take it as if the thought of it had never crossed your mind at all.”
“Never did a nation resort to mutual counsel except that they were guided by it towards maturity.”
“It is love which brings closer those who are remote by ancestry, and it is (the absence of) love which causes dissociation between those who are related by ancestry.”
“Opportunity is something which is quick to vanish and late to return.”
SHAFAQNA- Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz