Name: Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)
Mother: Fatimah az-Zahra (a.s.), the daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
Kunniyat (Patronymic): Abu Muhammad
Laqab (Title): Al-Sibt al-Kabir (the elder grandson), Al-Mujtaba.
Birth: He was born in Madina in the middle of the month of Ramadhan in 3 A.H.
Martyrdom: He died on the 28th of Safar in the year 50 A.H. He was buried in the graveyard of Baqi in Madina.
A Brief History of Imam Hassan’s Life
The Son of the Prophet
Imam Hassan Mujtaba (as) was the second Imam. He and his brother Imam Hussein were the two sons of Amir al-mu”minin Ali and Hadhrat Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet. Many times the Prophet had said,”Hassan and Hussein are my children”. Because of these same words Ali would say to his other children, “You are my children and Hasan and Hussein are the children of the Prophet.”Alhassanain(p) Network for Heritage and Islamic Thought
Imam Hassan was born in the year 3 A.H. in Medina and shared in the life of the Prophet for somewhat over seven years, growing up during that time under his loving care.
After the death of the Prophet which was no more than three,or according to some, six months earlier than the death of Hadhrat Fatimah,Hassan was placed directly under the care of his noble father.
The beginning of Imam Hasan’s (A) Imamat
The Holy Imam (A) helped his father throughout his life until Imam Ali (A) died when the Holy Imam (A) was 37 years old. At this age he inherited his father and became the guardian of the Ahlul Bayt and the Shia. In his well-known will Imam Ali (A) appointed him as the next Imam.
The martyrdom of Imam Ali (A) on the 21st of Mahe Ramadhan, 40 A.H. marked the beginning of Imam Hasan’s (A) Imamat. The Muslims pledged their allegiance to him and finalised the formality of Bay’at (Oath of Allegiance). No sooner had he taken the reins of leadership in his hands than he had to meet the challenge of Muawiya bin Abu Sufyan, the governor of Syria, who began trying to undermine his authority. The Holy Imam (A) decided that Muawiya would have to be ousted by force and he prepared for war. He appointed a representative in Kufa and proceeded to Nukhayla where he had asked the army to gather. After 10 days, only 4,000 men had assembled, so he went back to Kufa and made another call for people to come to arms, sending out Hujr bin Adi to do the same.
Slowly the people answered the call for Jihad. A mixed band of people formed the army. Some were sincere Shia, others were Kharjites who wished to fight Muawiya by any means possible, some were men who loved fighting and desired war booty, some were unsure about the right of the Holy Imam (A) to the Caliphate, while others blindly followed their tribal leaders with no thought for religion.
The Holy Imam (A) gave an address to the army in which he first praised Allah and the Holy Prophet (S). He then told the people that he was their sincere advisor and urged them to unite rather than be divided in factions. This message was misunderstood by some, who thought that he planned to hand over authority to Muawiya. There was a riot amongst the people and a group of them attacked the Holy Imam (A) while he was in his tent. The Shia gathered around him and protected him.
Later, during the march towards Syria, a man from the Bani Asad attacked the Holy Imam (A) and struck him on the thigh with an axe. Due to the injury, the Holy Imam (A) was forced to stop at Mada’in, from where he sent Ubaidullah bin Abbas with 12,000 men to stop Muawiya, who had advanced into Iraq.
Muawiya managed to bribe and threaten many of the Holy Imam’s (A) followers into abandoning him, including Ubaidullah, who was paid one million dirhams to betray the Holy Imam (A).
The Holy Imam (A) realised that he could not trust the intentions of most of his men and the only people he could rely on were his Shia, who were too few to resist the Syrian soldiers. Meanwhile, Muawiya wrote to him suggesting a truce and Peace Treaty on the Holy Imam’s (A) terms.
Muawiya was still not satisfied with affairs. He knew that the treaty was never meant as a surrender of authority by the Holy Imam (A), because he was Divinely Appointed as the Imam.
It was merely an interim transfer of the administration of the Islamic State, subject to the condition that it would be returned to the Holy Imam (A) after Muawiya’s death and then it would be in turn inherited by Imam Husain (A). However, Muawiya had plans to declare Yazid, his son, as his successor, and he decided to get rid of the Holy Imam (A) first.
Imam Hassan’s Character
In human perfection Imam Hassan was reminiscent of his father and a perfect example of his noble grandfather. 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 Shiite sources have transmitted this saying of the Holy Prophet concerning Hassan and Hussein:”These two children of mine are Imams whether they stand up or sit down” (allusion to whether they occupy the external function of caliphate or not).
The researcher who examines the life of the Holy Prophet’s grandson, Imam Hassan and his brother, Imam Hussein (as),can’t help drawing the conclusion that they enjoyed a high level of education and spiritual and ideological upbringing, which no other person had won next to their grandfather (pbuh),mother and father (as).
The imprints of the revelation and Divine care marked their characters, in all its aspects, ingredients and angles.
They were highly refined and brought up in line with Islam’s teachings by their grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), their father, Imam Ali (a.s.), and their mother Fatima (a.s.) , through excellent examples and direct daily guidance. Although they lost both their grandfather and mother at an early age, their upbringing suffered no interruption. Their father, Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib (a.s.), the disciple of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), and the graduate from the school of Divine revelation, who was the beacon for the people, was alive, throwing his shade over them. There is no doubt that Imams Hassan and Hussein (a.s.) wound up in the stage of Divine preparation.
They were prepared to shoulder the responsibility of the Divine message, in form and content. The ultimate result was that both Imams Hasan and Hussein (a.s.) became Islam personified walking on the earth.
As the ingredients of the characters of the two Imams were the same, they were singular in their behavior, march, steps and goals, which were Islamic in their entirety.The nature of our discussion dictates that we present lively examples from Imam Hassan’s (a.s.) spiritual, scientific, and ethical activities.
1. Spiritual Side:
The excellent preparation which was provided for the grandson of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), helped his spiritual entity to sublimate. His closeness to Allah, and his attachment to Him was a source of awe and respect.
Following are a few narratives which shed light on this side of his character:
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“Hassan bin Ali (a.s.) was certainly the most true worshipper, ascetic and merited man among the people of his time.”
Ali ibn Jadh’an, and Abu-Na”im report in Helyat al-Awaliya” (Ornament of the Saints) and Tabaqat ibn Sa”d that Imam Hasan had given all his money to the needy twice, seeking Allah”s pleasure, and had given half his money to the needy three times. He would even give a single shoe and retain the other, and give a single sandal and retain the other. When he approached the door of the mosque, he would say. “O Lord! Your guest is at Your gate. O Generous! The transgressor has come to You. Forgive me my ugly deeds with Your Generosity. O Generous!”
2. Scientific Side:
All of the rightly guided Imams either received their education directly from the Messenger (s.a.w.) or indirectly from the preceding Imam.
As for the new questions and developments of life, the sublime, inner entity of the Imam himself, and his boundless spirituality, qualified him for self-acquired knowledge. That is why the Muslim orators dubbed the knowledge of the Imams, from the perspective of the “present knowledge”. An Imam wouldn’t need to be tutored or taught by others in this respect. He acquired knowledge by means of direct inspiration.