The 2nd Imam after Imam Ali(a.s.) was his son Imam Hasan(a.s.), the son of the mistress of the women of the worlds, Bibi Fatima(s.a.), daughter of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh&hf). Imam Hasan(a.s.)’s kunya was Abu Muhammad. He was born in Medina, on the night of the 15th day of Ramadan, three years after the hijra (624 AD).
When Imam Hasan(a.s.) was born, the Prophet(pbuh&hf) took him and said the adhan (call to prayer) in his right ear, and said the iqama (words similar to the adhan) in his left ear. Then he sacrificed a ram for him (in the ceremony of aqiqa). Then he shaved his hair. He (i.e., the Prophet(pbuh&hf)) gave silver equal to his hair. So the weight of Imam Hasan(a.s.)’s hair was a dirham and some of silver. Then he ordered his hair to perfumed. So the aqiqa and giving alms as equal as the weight of hair have become Sunna (an act of the Prophet(pbuh&hf)).Bibi Fatima(s.a.) brought her two sons, Imam Hasan(a.s.) and Imam Hussain(a.s.) to the Apostle of God(pbuh&hf) at the time when he was suffering from the sickness from which he died. “Apostle of God,” she said, “these are your two (grand) sons. Give them something as an inheritance”. “As for Hasan,” he replied, “he has my form and my nobility. As for Hussain, he has my generosity and my bravery.”
His other Names
al-Sibt, al-Sayyid, al-Zaki, al-Mujtaba, al-Taqi.
Imam Hasan(a.s.) married Umm Ishaq bint (the daughter of) Talha b. `Ubayd Allah, Hafsa bint (the daughter of) ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abu Bakr, Hind bint (the daughter of) Suhayl b. `Amru, and Ju’da bint (the daughter of ) al-Ash’ath b. Qays, whom Mu’awiya tempted to kill Imam Hasan(a.s.). So she killed him with poison.
Imam Hasan(a.s.) had fifteen children, both male and female: Zayd, Imam Hasan(a.s.), `Amru, al-Qasim, `Abd Allah, `Abd al-Rahman, Imam Hasan(a.s.) al-Athram, and Talha, Umm Imam Hasan(a.s.), Umm al-Husayn, Fatima, Umm Salama, Ruqayya, Umm `Abd Allah, and Fatima.
No one was more like the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, than Imam Hasan(a.s.) in form, manner, and nobility.
Imam Hasan(a.s.) has been describe as : “He had a white, reddish face. He had black eyes, smooth cheeks, thick beard, and curly, plentiful hair. His neck was as white as a jug of silver. His body was good. He had large shoulders, and big fleshy bones. He was of medium height; neither long nor short. He was handsome; the best of all people in face”.
Imam Hasan(a.s.) performed the hajj on foot twenty-five times. When he mentioned death, he wept. When he mentioned the grave, he wept. When he mentioned the resurrection, he wept. When he mentioned crossing the sirat (a kind of bridge which only the righteous can cross on the road to Paradise), he wept. When he mentioned the standing before Allah(swt), he fainted. When he mentioned Paradise and Fire, he shock as the sick person did. So he asked Allah(swt) to make him enter Paradise and to protect him from Fire.
When Imam Hasan(a.s.) performed an ablution for prayers, he shock all over and his face became pale. He gave people from his property twice in the way of Allah(swt). He mentioned Allah(swt) in all conditions whether pleasant or otherwise.
They (the historians) said: “He (Imam Hasan(a.s.)) was the best of all people in worshipping Allah(swt) and refraining from the life in this world.”
Imam Hasan(a.s.)’s ethics were excellent examples for people. So everyone respected him. Everyone loved him when he associated with him. When his friend or his enemy heard him talking or delivering a speech, he was sorry that he (Imam Hasan(a.s.)) would end his talking or his speech.
Muhammad b. Ishaq said: “After Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, no one had a high social position as Imam Hasan(a.s.) had. (Mats) were spread out at the door of his house. When he came out and sat, the street was over crowded. So no one of Allah’s creatures could pass to show respect for him. When he knew that, he stood up and entered his house. So the people could pass.”
Although Imam Hasan(a.s.) had a high social rank, he was kind to people. One day he passed by poor persons. The poor persons were sitting on the ground. There were pieces of bread before them. They were picking up the pieces of bread and eating them. When they saw Imam Hasan(a.s.) they said to him: “Son of the Apostle of Allah, come to lunch!” So he dismounted his camel and said: “Indeed, Allah does not love the proud.” He began eating with them. Then he invited them and gave them food and clothes.
The following are some examples of Imam Hasan(a.s.)’s generosity: A man came to him and asked him for a need. He (Imam Hasan(a.s.)) said to the man: “Write your need on a piece of paper and submit it to me.” The man submitted his need to him. He (Imam Hasan(a.s.)) doubled the man’s need. So some of those who were sitting with Imam Hasan(a.s.) said to him: “Son of the Apostle of Allah, the blessing of the piece of paper was great for the man.” So Imam Hasan(a.s.) said: “Its blessing for us is greater, for Allah has made us appropriate for doing good. Do you not know that doing good should be optional, namely without request. As for him whom you give after the request, you give him after he has lost face. He may spend his night restless and sleepless. He rocks between despair and hope. He does not know whether he will face a sad answer or a glad success. He comes to you while he shakes all over and his heart is afraid (of you). Then if you met his need through losing face, that (losing face) would be greater than what he has obtained from your favor.”
Imam Hasan(a.s.), gave a poet some money. So one of those who were sitting with him said to him: “Glory be to Allah! Do you give the poet who disobeys the Merciful (Allah) and tells lies?” Imam Hasan(a.s.), peace be on him, said: “Servant of Allah, the best of your money is what you spend to protect your dignity. It is an act of kindness to avoid the evil.”
A Bedouin came to Imam Hasan(a.s.) and asked him for a need. So Imam Hasan(a.s.) said: “Give him all the money in the safe.” There were twenty thousand dirhams in the safe. All the money was given to the Bedouin, so he said: “My master, do you not let me tell you about my need and praise you?” Imam Hasan(a.s.) began saying: Our gifts are many, The hopeful enjoy them, Our selves give generously before the request, For fear of losing face.
One day Imam Hasan(a.s.) saw a black boy. The black boy was eating a piece of bread and giving a piece of bread to his dog. So Imam Hasan(a.s.) said to him: “What has made you do this?” “I feel shame of my dog when I eat and do not feed him,” answered the black boy. Then Imam Hasan(a.s.) said to him: “Do not leave your place till I come to you.” At that moment Imam Hasan(a.s.) went to the black boy’s master. He bought the black boy and the wall (the garden) where he lived. He freed the black boy and made him possess the wall.
His Outstanding Merits
Imam Hasan(a.s.) is the Lord of the youth of Heaven. He was one of the two persons in whom the progeny of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, was limited. He was one of the four persons through whom the Prophet(pbuh&hf) made the contest of prayer with the Christians of Najran. He was one of the five persons whom the Prophet(pbuh&hf) covered with his cloak. He was one of the twelve Imams whose obedience Allah(swt) made incumbent on people. He was among those who were purified from sins as the Qur’an says. He was among those whose love Allah(swt) made reward for the message. He was among those whom the Apostle of Allah(pbuh&hf) made one of the two valuable things (thaqalayn). Thus whoever cleaves to them does not go astray. He was the plant of the sweet basil of the Apostle of Allah(pbuh&hf). The Prophet(pbuh&hf) loved him and asked Allah(swt) to love those who love him.
Imam Hasan(a.s.)’s Succession to the Caliphate and his Abdication
Imam Hasan(a.s.) was the testamentary trustee (wasi) of Imam Ali(a.s.) over his family, his children and his followers. He bequeathed him to look after his position and (the position of) his taxes (sadaqat) and he wrote him a covenant (of succession) which is well-known. His testamentary trusteeship is obvious in terms of the outlines of religion, the essential characteristic of wisdom and good-breeding. A great number of scholars have reported this trusteeship and many of the men of understanding have realised the truth of this through his (attitude to) the world.
When Imam Ali(a.s.) died, Imam Hasan(a.s.) addressed the people. He reminded them of his right (to authority). The followers of his father pledged allegiance to him in terms of fighting those he fought and making peace with those with whom he made peace. He assumed the succession in the best manner though the time of his succession was short. Also he made a Peace Treaty with Mu’awiya on the 15th of Jamadi al-Awwal in the year 41 A.H., according to the most correct reports. So he was able to protect the religion and to spare the blood of the believers. In the Peace Treaty, he followed the teachings, which he reported on the authority of his father on the authority of his grandfather, may Allah bless him and his family. Apparently, his succession was seven months and twenty days.
After the Peace Treaty had been concluded, Imam Hasan(a.s.) came back to Medina to stay there. So his house became as a second haram (a sacred sanctuary) for people to visit. Through these two sacred places (Imam Hasan(a.s.)’s house and Medina), Imam Hasan(a.s.), became the rise of guidance. He was the stronghold of knowledge and shelter of Muslims. Meanwhile there were many knowledgeable people all around him. Anyhow such knowledgeable people were the students of Imam Hussain(a.s.). So they learned knowledge from him and reported it on his authority. Allah(swt) granted Imam Hasan(a.s.) plentiful knowledge and a high social position in the hearts of Muslims. Thus he (Imam Hasan(a.s.)) was able to guide the community, to lead Muslims spiritually, to correct the Islamic beliefs, and to unify the people of monotheism.
Imam Hasan(a.s.) was given poison several times. When Imam Hasan(a.s.) felt the danger in the last attempt, he said to his brother Imam Hussain(a.s.): “My brother, I am leaving you and meeting my Lord. I have been given poison to drink, and have spewed my liver into the basin. I am aware of the person who poisoned me and from where I have been made a subject to this deceitful action. I will oppose him before Allah, the Great and Almighty.” Then he said: “Bury me with my grand father, the Apostle of Allah(pbuh&hf). For I am worthier of him and his family’ (than others). If they prevent you from doing so, then I make you swear by the relation which Allah(swt) has made close to you and by the blood relation to the Apostle of Allah(pbuh&hf) not to shed even your blood into the cupping-glass in (carrying out) my command, till we meet the Apostle of Allah(pbuh&hf) to oppose the people before him and to tell him about what we have suffered from them.”
Then Imam Hasan(a.s.) made his testamentary bequests to his family and his children. He gave Imam Hussain(a.s.) his heirlooms and the things which the Commander of the faithful (Imam Ali(a.s.)) had bequeathed to him when he had made him his successor, had declared him worthy to occupy his position, and had indicated to his Shi’a (his followers) that he (Imam Hasan(a.s.)) was his successor. Then Imam Hasan(a.s.) died on the 28th of Safar in the year 50 A.H.
Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani said: “Mu’awiya wanted the people to pledge allegiance to his son Yazid. However, the existence of Imam Hasan(a.s.) b. ‘Ali and of Sa’d b. Abu Waqqas troubled him very much. So he gave them poison to drink, and they died of it.”
The abominable disasters of this kind shook the conscience of the Muslim countries. So there were various revolutions throughout history. In this connection Allah(swt), the Exalted, says: “And they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back.”
Sibt b. al-Jawzi reported on the authority of b. Sa’d on the authority of al-Waqidi, who said: “When Imam Hasan(a.s.) was about to die, he said: `Bury me beside my father.’ He meant the Apostle of Allah(pbuh&hf). However, banu (the sons of ) Umayya and Marwan b. al-Hakam and Said b. al-As, who was the governor over Medina, prevented him.” Ibn Sa’d said: “Among them was `A’isha, who said: `No one is buried beside the Apostle of Allah.'”
Abu al-Faraj al-Amawi al-Isfahani reported on the authority of Yahya b. Imam Hasan(a.s.), who said: “I heard Ali b. Tahir b. Zayd say: `When they wanted to bury Imam Hasan(a.s.), she (`A’isha) mounted a mule and asked the help of banu (the sons of) Umayya, Marwan, those who were there from them (banu Umayya) and from their servants. So someone said: `One day (she was) on a mule, and one day (she was) on a camel.'”
Al-Mas’udi has mentioned that `A’isha mounted a gray mule and led the Umayyads to declare a second battle against the members of the House (Ahl al-Bayt(a.s.)). He (al-Mas’udi) said: “So al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abu Bakr came to her (`A’isha) and said: `Aunt, we, have not washed our heads since the Battle of the Camel. Do you want people to call this day the Battle of the Gray Mule?’ So she came back.”
Many people gathered together with Imam Hussain(a.s.) and said to him: “Leave us with the children of Marwan. By Allah(swt), they are, with us, nothing but an itching of the head.” Imam Hussain(a.s.) said: `By Allah(swt), if there had been no injunction to me from Imam Hasan(a.s.) to prevent bloodshed and that I should not even pour blood into a cupping-glass in (carrying out) his command, you would have known how the swords of Allah(swt) would have taken their toll from you. You have broken the agreement which was made between you and us. You have ignored the conditions which we made with you for ourselves.” Here Imam Hussain(a.s.) reminded them of the conditions of the Peace Treaty.
Then they went on with (the body of) Imam Hasan(a.s.) and they buried him in (the cemetery of) al-Baqi beside his grandmother, Fatima bint-e-Asad(a.s.) bin Hashim bin Abd Manaf.
In his book `al-Isaba’, Ahmad Shahab al-Din al-`Asqalani said: Dawud b. Sinan informed us: Tha’laba b. Abu Malik told us: “I (Tha’laba b. Abu Malik) saw Imam Hasan(a.s.) on the day when he died and was buried in (the cemetery of) al-Baqi`. I saw that if a needle had been thrown away in (the cemetery of) al-Baqi`, it (the needle) would have not fallen but on the head of a person.”