Title: al-Mujtaba (The Chosen One)
Kuniyat: Abu Muhammad
Father: Imam Ali (A)
Mother: Bibi Fatima Zahra (A)
Birthdate: 15th Mahe Ramadhan 3 A.H. in Madina
Imamat: From 40 A.H. to 50 A.H.
Martyrdom: 28th Safar 50 A.H.
Buried: Madina, Saudi Arabia.
The Holy Imam (A) was the eldest child of Imam Ali (A) and Bibi Fatima Zahra (A). When the Holy Prophet (S) received the happy news of the birth of his grandson, he came at once to his beloved daughter’s house. He took the newly born baby in his arms and recited the Adhaan in its right ear and the Iqamah in its left ear. Then, in accordance with the command of Allah, he named the child Hasan.
The Holy Imam (A) spent the first seven years of his life under the care and guidance of his grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S). This early training made the Holy Imam (A) outstanding in his knowledge, piety, tolerance, intelligence and courage.
The Holy Imam (A) and his brother Imam Husain (A) were very dear to the Holy Prophet (S). He used to carry them on his shoulders and once told the people, “Hasan and Husain are the leaders of the youth of Paradise.”
Bibi Fatima (A) once brought her two sons to her father and said, “O Apostle of Allah, these are your two grandsons. Give them something as an inheritance.” The Holy Prophet (S) replied, “Hasan shall have my form and my nobility and Husain shall have my generosity and bravery.”
As a child, the Holy Imam (A) used to listen attentively to the verses of the Holy Qur’an as they were revealed. To the surprise of the Holy Prophet (S), his daughter Bibi Fatima (A) would often recite the exact text of a newly revealed verse before he personally told her about it. When he asked her how she knew, she informed him that the Holy Imam (A) had already taught her the verse when he heard the Holy Prophet (S) recite it in the mosque in front of the people.
He was quite wealthy and could have lived in luxury if he desired, but he preferred to spend his money to help the poor and needy. Twice in his life he gave away his entire wealth in charity and began all over again.
Once a stranger arrived in Kufa and asked a man working in a garden for directions. The man showed him the way and then invited him to share his meal. The stranger was touched by this offer and accepted. But when he was handed some flat bread to eat, he found that it was so hard that he could not even break it on his knee, let alone with his teeth. He tried dipping it into some water but that did not help. The gardener saw the stranger’s discomfort and pointed him towards a guest house where free meals were given to all.
The guest house belonged to Imam Hasan (A), who himself welcomed the stranger and arranged a hot meal for him. After a while, the Holy Imam (A) saw that the stranger was eating one morsel and putting one morsel in a bag on his side. The Holy Imam (A) told him to eat peacefully, and if he needed extra food for his family, it would be provided before he left. The stranger said that he had no family but was putting some food aside for the kind gardener down the road who had only hard bread to eat. When he heard this, the Holy Imam (A) smiled and informed him, “That is my father Ali, the Caliph of the Muslims. He lives on simple food so that no needy subject may be embarrassed in front of him.”
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.
In compliance with the Will of Allah and with the view to avoid the massacre of the few sincere Muslims, the Holy Imam (A) entered into a peace treaty with Muawiya on terms which were meant to save Islam and stop a civil war. The terms of the peace treaty were as follows:
1. Muawiya would deal with the people according to the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (S).
2. He would not appoint anyone as his successor.
3. The family of Imam Ali (A) and their Shia would be protected.
4. He would pay 50,000 dirhams annually out of the national revenues to the Holy Imam (A).
5. Abusive language would not be used with reference to Imam Ali (A) and his followers after Friday prayers.
Muawiya accepted all the terms except the last one, but agreed not to abuse Imam Ali (A) in the presence of the Holy Imam (A). With the passage of time, Muawiya broke all the conditions of the treaty.
The Holy Imam (A) used this opportunity to strengthen the belief of the Muslims and increase their awareness of Islam. He moved back to Madina, where he catered for the religious requirements of the people and devoted his life to the propagation of Islam.
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.
One of the Holy Imam’s (A) wives was Ju’da binte Ash’ath bin Qays. Muawiya conspired with Ju’da to give the Holy Imam (A) some poison. In return she would get 100,000 dirhams and he would marry her to Yazid. This evil woman put poison in the Holy Imam’s (A) drinking water and he immediately fell gravely ill as a result. After great suffering, the Holy Imam (A) departed from this world. Just before he died, he entrusted the affairs of Imamat to his brother Imam Husain (A) and made him the guardian of his own family.
The Holy Imam (A) had stated that before he was buried in Jannatul Baqee, his body should be taken to the grave of the Holy Prophet (S) for a final visit. When the Bani Hashim attempted to carry out the last wishes of the Holy Imam (A), they were stopped by Ayesha and members of the Bani Umayyah, who thought that they wished to bury him next to his grandfather. Imam Husain (A) did not want bloodshed so he directed that the body be taken straight to Jannatul Baqee, where Imam Hasan (A) was buried next to his grandmother Fatima binte Asad. He was 48 years old when he was martyred.
When Ju’da came to Muawiya to claim her reward, he gave her the money, but refused to marry her to Yazid, declaring that a woman who could poison one husband would certainly not hesitate to poison another.