Imam Al-Hassan (a.s.)’s wisdom and role in defending Islam

SHAFAQNA – Allah says in His Glorious Book: “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying.” One of those members of the House and one of their Imams is the purified Imam Al-Hassan bin Ali bin AbiTalib, who lived his childhood with the Messenger, and acquired his spiritually, morals and learned all his sayings and teachings. The Messenger(p.) used to love him along with his brother Imam Al-Hussein and he used to ask God to love them and love those who love them. He also lived with his purified infallible mother whom, although young in age, was quite acquainted with everything her father has called for, that she became a teacher to the women around her, teaching Islam and calling for the Right in an uncompromising manner.

The Imam(a.s.) lived his youth with his father, Imam Ali (a.s.), who taught him, in addition to Islam, how to be firm and strong in defending the right, and how to be patient and tolerant. Thus, his personality represented that of his father’s, just as he looked like his grandfather, the Messenger, both in his appearance and his manners.

The Imam(a.s.) lived all the troubles his father faced, and learned how he scarified everything he had for the sake of Islam, and how he endured what cannot be endured for the sake of the Muslim nation. Thus, he acted when he faced some troubles during his caliphate, much like his father.

He was not weak in his confrontation of Muawiyah. On the contrary; when we study his letters to Muawiyah, we find that he used the same method his father did in dealing with him: that of power, proof and defiance. It is unfortunate that those who talk about Imam Hassan do not talk about his letters that revealed his staunch stand in defending the rights. They rather portray him a weak pacifist, and not as an Imam who shoulders his responsibility of enjoining good, forbidding evil and challenging falsehood.

Thus, Imam Al-Hassan, lived the pains his father lived before him, facing a lot of ingratitude, as if the people, including some of the Messenger’s companions, did not hear the Prophet(p.) say: “Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein are the leaders of the youth of Heaven”, or that they are Imams whether they rise or not. Yet the Imam, resorted to the patience of his father, mother and grandfather. He faced the situation in a rational way, which means that his patience was one of wisdom, not weakness. He was thinking rationally just like his father before him to safeguard the Muslims’ peace and stability and to unite their word even at the expense of his own concerns.

We know that Imam Ali (a.s.) was appointed by Allah who asked the Messenger to convey this fact to the believers. Yet the Imam chose to freeze any demand of his right without conceding it. He chose to put the Muslim’s wellbeing first. This is also what Imam Al-Hassan did: when he saw that the Muslims’ interests demanded a truce and not a peace agreement with Muawiyah he did that.

The Imam(a.s.) did not have the right to concede his Imamate, but he could hold a truce regarding war and not one that has to do with the Imamate, just as his father did before him.

As a token of their compliant, some of the companions of Imam Hassan used to greet him in a way that was nevertheless compassionate, by saying: “AssalamuAlaikum. O, humiliater of Muslims.” But he used to say I have glorified the Muslims, because I have preserved the line of the right that stood with Ali’s right. Thus, the Imam was paving the way for the movement of his brother, Imam Hussein.

The best way to learn about Imam Al-Hassan, is to read what his nephew Imam Zein Al-Abidin said about him. Hassan Bin Ali (a.s.) was the most and greatest worshiper in his times, the most ascetic person (Although he had a lot of money whom he used to give to the poor) who fears Allah and the best of men. When he went to Hajj (pilgrimage), he went on foot, and mostly barefooted, and if he recalled death, resurrection, and path on the right way, he would cry. If he mentioned or recalled Allah, he would cry until he fell unconscious. When he used to pray, he would quiver. And if heaven and hell were mentioned he shuddered as if he were bitten by a snake or a scorpion and asked Allah for heaven and not hell.”

He was of supreme morals so tolerant and patient was he that it is said that once a man from Damascus whom Mua’wiyah had brainwashed saying that imam Ali does not pray, saw him and began to curse Al-Hassan (a.s.) and his father. The Imam continued to look at him kindly, and when he finished, the Imam (a.s.) said: O old man! I think you are a stranger here. Maybe you mistook me for someone else? If you propitiate us, we will satisfy you. If you ask us, we will give you what you need. If you ask our advice, we will guide you. If you ask us to give you a ride, we will take you with us. If you are hungry, we will satisfy you. If you are naked, we will clothe you. If you are in need, we will make you rich. If you are a refugee, we will give you lodgings. If you have a request, we will grant it. If you join your luggage to ours, and be our guest until the time of your travel, it will be more useful to you, because we have a spacious place, a good social position, and a vast amount of money.” They took him to the Imam’s house, where he saw how hospitable and kind the Imams were and how they practiced the morals and values of Islam. He began to review his motions about them and said: “Allah knows best whom He entrusts His message with”.

It is also said that he and his brother, Imam al-Hussein once saw an old man performing Wudu’ (ablutions) in a wrong way, they wanted to teach him, and since he was an old man they thought of way to tell him how to perform Wudu’ without offending or hurting him, so they said to him: “We want to perform Wudu’ in front of you, so as to tell us which one of us performs it correctly. When they performed their Wudu’ in exactly the same way, yet different than the way he performed it, he understood that they aimed at teaching him the right way, and thanked them for their good deed. We learn from this incident how to tell someone that he is wrong in the way that is best and that does not hurt his morale and these are the morals of Ahl-el –Beit.

When we believe in the Imams of Ahl el-Beit, we do not do this because we are fanatic, but because we see in them the embodiment of Islam and the image of the Messenger(p.) , and we follow them so as to follow the Messenger(p.) who said: “The example of the members of my Household among you is like the example of Noah’s ark. Whoever boards it will attain salvation and whoever does not board it will drown.”

It is reported that Imam Al-Hassan was on his deathbed, when a companion came to him asking for advice. The Imam did not tell him to go away because he was tired for he believed that this was his responsibility to the last day of his life.

He said: get ready for your journey (towards Resurrection Day) and get your provisions before your death arrival. And know that you seek the world (material sources) and death is seeking you. Do not load the worry of the Day which had not yet come, upon your present day. And beware that you do not achieve and attain a wealth above your enemy but you are a trustee of it (wealth) for another person. And do know that there is an account in its lawful and permitted, and in its prohibited lies punishment and retribution, and in its paradox and doubtful there is reproof.

“So, suppose the world as if it is a dead corpse (dirt). Take out of it which is sufficient for you. So if it is halal (lawful and legal) you have adopted piety and asceticism. And if it (sustenance) is (from) prohibited there would be no load (upon you) since you took out of it just as you took out of a dead corpse. And if there is a reproof that reproof is easy (soft one). And work for your world as if you would live here forever and work for your resurrection day and here after as if you have to die tomorrow. And if you intend to achieve honor without a tribe and availing presence and majesty without a governing, then move out of the abjectness and disgrace of committing sin forbidden by Allah, towards the honor of the obedience of Allah.

I would like to end by this saying of the Imam Al-Hussein. Let us learn from his actions and saying, to be reborn again on the basis of his Islam in the occasion of his birth: O’ Son of Adam, abstain from the unlawful and you will be a worshipper, and be content with what Allah has predestined for you, you will be sufficient, be benevolent to those who take up proximity in your neighborhood, you will be a Muslim.

O’ Son of Adam! Since the day you left your mother’s womb your life has been on the decrease. Therefore, avail yourself of that between your hands for the hereafter, because the believer takes provisions (from this world) and the disbeliever only takes his leisure (from this world).

Peace be on him the day he was born, the day he died and the day he will be brought back to life.

By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

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