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Special Edition: Birthday of Imam Hassan Mujtaba

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The grandson of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Imam Hassan Mujtaba, peace be upon him, the second Imam of the Shi’a and the eldest son of Imam Ali (AS) and Lady Fatimah (SA), was born in Medina on the fifteenth of Ramadan in the third year after the Hijra, according to popular accounts. Following divine command, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) named him Hassan, sacrificed a sheep in his honor, shaved his head, and gave silver in charity equivalent to the weight of his hair. Imam Hassan ascended to the Imamate and caliphate at the age of 37 and, in 41 AH, was compelled to make peace with Muawiyah. His rule lasted six months and three days. After the peace agreement, Imam Hassan returned to Medina, where he lived for another ten years until his martyrdom.

The Biography of Imam Hassan Mujtaba

There is a slight variation in the dates recorded for the auspicious birth of Imam Mujtaba, peace be upon him. According to the most popular account, he was born on the 15th of the holy month of Ramadan in the third year after the Hijra, in the illuminated city of Medina. Seven years of his noble life coincided with the fruitful existence of the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (PBUH), his esteemed father being Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) and his distinguished mother, Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (SA), the daughter of the Prophet of God.

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the parents of the blessed child did not hasten to name him themselves but waited for God Almighty to select a name. Finally, divine revelation was bestowed, informing His messenger, “Name this child Hassan.” Subsequently, the Prophet (PBUH) sacrificed a sheep, shaved the newborn’s head, and gave away silver in charity equivalent to the weight of the hair. With his blessed hands, he applied a type of perfume called “Khaluq” to the child’s head, then cut his umbilical cord, and…

The sole honorific title of Imam Mujtaba (AS) is “Abu Muhammad.” However, he is known by various epithets. His most famous titles include Al-Taqi (the Pious), Al-Zaki (the Pure), Sayyid (Master), Sibt (Grandson [of Muhammad]), and Wali (Guardian). There is also variation in the inscription on his ring’s gem. Historians have recorded the following phrases as inscriptions on his gem: “Al-‘Izzatu Lillah Wahdah” (Honor belongs to God alone), “Al-‘Izzatu Lillah” (The might is God’s), “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest), “Bihi Nasta’in” (By Him we seek assistance), and “Hasbiyallah” (God is sufficient for me).


The Physical Appearance of Imam Hassan

Imam Hassan Mujtaba, peace be upon him, bore a striking resemblance to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Perhaps it was during the early days of his blessed life that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), observing his beauty and perfection, declared, “In creation and character (form and spirit), you are like me.” Ibn Sabbagh Maliki, in his book “Al-Fusool al-Muhimma,” describes the majestic appearance of Imam Mujtaba (AS) as follows:

“Imam Abu Muhammad Al-Hassan ibn Ali had a light complexion with a hint of red. His eyes were large and black, his cheeks smooth, the hair on the middle of his chest was fine, his beard was thick, the hair behind his ears was full, his nose was straight and shining like a silver sword, his joints were large, and his shoulders were broad apart. He was of medium stature and pleasant appearance. He had the most beautiful face. He used black dye for his hair, which was full of waves and short, and he had a slender figure.”

The Spouses and Children of Imam Hassan

Imam Hassan Mujtaba, peace be upon him, left behind fifteen children, whose names, categorized by their mothers, are as follows:

  • Zaid, Umm al-Hassan, and Umm al-Husayn; from a mother named “Bashir” bint Abi Mas’ud.
  • Hassan, known as Hassan Muthanna; from a mother named “Khawlah” bint Mansur.
  • Qasim, Abdullah, and Omar; from a maid mother.
  • Abdul Rahman; from a maid mother.
  • Hussein, Fatimah, and Talha; from a mother named “Umm Ishaq” bint Talhah ibn Abdullah.
  • Fatimah, Ruqayyah, and Umm Salama; each from different mothers.

According to historians, only Hassan and Zaid had offspring, and no descendants remain from the other children of Imam Hassan, peace be upon him.

The Life of Imam Hassan Mujtaba

Imam Hassan, peace be upon him, was born in Medina in the third year after the Hijra. He had the privilege of spending seven years in the presence of his grandfather and was nurtured in the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) compassionate embrace. After the Prophet’s passing, which occurred only three to six months after the death of Lady Fatimah, Imam Hassan was raised under the guidance of his noble father.

Following the martyrdom of his father, by divine command and according to his will, Imam Hassan ascended to the position of Imamate and caliphate. He managed the affairs of the Muslim community for nearly six months. During this period, Muawiyah, a staunch enemy of Imam Ali and his family who had long coveted the caliphate, marched his army into Iraq, the seat of Imam Hassan’s caliphate, and initiated warfare. On the other hand, he gradually seduced the commanders of Imam Hassan’s army with substantial sums of money and deceptive promises, inciting them against the Imam. Eventually, Imam Hassan was forced into a peace agreement, ceding the apparent leadership to Muawiyah with conditions (that after Muawiyah’s death, the caliphate would return to Imam Hassan and that his family and Shia would be protected from aggression). Thus, Muawiyah seized the Islamic caliphate, entered Iraq, and in an official public address, nullified the peace agreement’s conditions, using every means to oppress and torture the Ahlul Bayt and their followers. Throughout his ten-year Imamate, Imam Hassan lived under severe distress and confinement, without any security, even within his own home. Ultimately, in the year 50 AH, he was martyred by poison, instigated by Muawiyah through the Imam’s wife. (Adapted from “Shi’a in Islam” by Allamah Tabatabai (RA)).

Before the Imamate

Imam Hassan spent seven years of his life during the era of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Besides being in the presence of the Prophet, Imam Hassan was also present during many events of the Hijra era, such as the event of Mubahala. He was included in the Hadith al-Kisa and the Verse of Purification (Ayah al-Tathir), which are among the significant evidences of his infallibility. In addition, he was present along with his brother Hussain at the Pledge of Ridwan. Imam Hassan, alongside his brother, Imam Hussain, was present at the Prophet’s side during his demise. When Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, the governor of Kufa, failed to cooperate with the envoys of Imam Ali (AS) in dealing with the internal rebellion (the instigators of the Battle of the Camel), Imam Ali sent his son Imam Hassan, along with Ammar Yasir, with a letter to Kufa. With his speech in the Kufa Mosque, he managed to mobilize about ten thousand people to fight against the dissenters.

Before the Battle of the Camel, Imam Hassan delivered a speech, and the Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) sent him to the right flank (Maymana) of the army during this battle. It is said that in this battle, Imam Ali (AS) told Muhammad Hanafiya: “Take this spear and follow the camel [referring to Aisha’s camel, around which many were killed].” Muhammad Hanafiya went and returned due to the intensity of the archery. After him, Hassan took the spear and pursued the camel.

Imamate and Caliphate

Imam Hassan (AS) assumed the responsibilities of the caliphate amidst turbulent and unrestful conditions, a complex and conflicted situation that had flared up towards the end of his noble father, Imam Ali’s (AS), life. Imam Hassan (AS) began his governance among people who did not have a clear and complete faith in the doctrinal essence of the struggle and its goals. Their alignment with the religious and Islamic demands of the struggle was lacking, and at that time, they were divided into four factions:

A – The Umayyad Party: This group consisted of tribal factions that were highly influential and had numerous followers. They operated within the Shia community of Imam Hassan, working for Muawiyah’s victory, and acted as spies and secret agents, monitoring the Imam’s movements.

B – The Kharijites: Most inhabitants of Kufa insisted on fighting to the extent that when they wanted to pledge allegiance to Imam Hassan (AS), they stipulated that he must fight against these misguided aggressors, which the Imam did not accept. They then went to pledge allegiance to Imam Hussain (AS), who said, “God forbid that I should pledge allegiance to you while Hassan is alive.” They found no choice but to pledge allegiance to Imam Hassan. They collaborated with the Umayyad faction in dangerous conspiracies and fought against Imam Hassan’s (AS) plans and strategies.

C – The Skeptics: These were individuals influenced by the Kharijites’ call, without actually being among them. They were opportunistic and indecisive, with a tendency to flee.

D – The Red Ones (Hamra). They were the guards of “Ziyad” and wanted to be the soldiers of the victorious and the swords of the dominant. They went so far as to claim Kufa for themselves, saying, “Kufa is Red.” However, the followers of Imam Hassan (AS) were those who rushed to pledge allegiance to him after the martyrdom of his noble father, Ali (AS). Their numbers in Kufa were significant. Yet, the schemes and sedition of others continually thwarted and neutralized any movement originating from them.

The Peace Agreement of Imam Hassan Mujtaba

One of the beneficial actions for Islam and Muslims was the peace agreement of Imam Hassan (AS) with Muawiyah. This useful deed is doubtful to those lacking historical and Islamic knowledge, questioning why Imam Hassan made peace with Muawiyah and why he did not rise as Imam Husayn did.

Before anything else, it’s essential to note that the uprising of Imam Hussain (AS) occurred twenty years after Imam Hassan’s peace agreement. Imam Hussain was with Imam Hassan for ten years and was obliged to follow Imam Hassan. He was the Imam for ten years after Imam Hassan and had complete authority in leadership but did not rise; his uprising occurred ten years into his Imamate. If there were any criticism – which there certainly is not – it would apply to both. This fact itself proves that an uprising requires a certain context and prerequisites, which were not present in those twenty years.

Imam Hassan Mujtaba, After the Peace Agreement

A few days after signing the peace treaty with Muawiyah and amidst the continuous visits from both friends and foes, Imam Hassan Mujtaba, peace be upon him, deemed it prudent to migrate from Kufa to Medina, the city of his grandfather, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), along with some of his companions.

The Prophet’s eldest grandson, this patient navigator, decided to save the ship of Islam from certain doom under Muawiyah’s rule by swallowing his anger and enduring with patience. He aimed to prevent the Umayyad rulers from altering the real face of Islam through fabricated hadiths and unwarranted attributions to the great Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his father, the Commander of the Faithful (AS), and his esteemed companions. He did not allow them to impose their devilish goals on the Muslim community in the name of Islam after the Prophet, nor let them revive the traditions and customs of ignorance just like their ancestors.

His Holiness resided in Medina for ten years, during which, like his father and noble grandfather, he served as a compassionate healer and teacher, a safe refuge for the people of Medina and the oppressed worldwide. He shone like the sun on all the dark corners of the Muslim world, leading the Muslims with Ali-like eloquence, Muhammad-like forbearance, and the modesty and piety reminiscent of Fatimah. He stood tall against the front of disbelief and all their devilish thoughts in the fight against falsehood, adding another dimension to the divine light.

The Virtues and Merits of Imam Hassan Mujtaba

Among the most prominent virtues of Imam Mujtaba, peace be upon him, is that he is part of the Ahl al-Kisa and Ahl al-Abba, and from the Household of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), for whom numerous verses have been revealed. The Verse of Purification is among these verses. Umm Salamah’s son, Umar ibn Abi Salamah (the stepson of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH), recounts that the Prophet was in Umm Salamah’s house when this verse was revealed: “Indeed, Allah wishes to remove all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification.” At that moment, the Prophet called his daughter Fatimah, and his sons Hassan and Hussain draped a cloak over them, and while Ali stood behind him, he prayed, “O Allah, these are the members of my Household. Remove all impurity from them and purify them thoroughly.” Umm Salamah asked if she was also included among them, to which the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) replied, “You are in your own rightful place, and it is a good place.”

Imam Mujtaba’s presence in the event of Mubahala also signifies the esteem and significance the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) held for Imam Mujtaba. Additionally, his participation in the Pledge of Ridwan and the Prophet’s pledging allegiance to him highlights the lofty status of this noble Imam.

The Ethical Conduct of Imam Hassan Mujtaba

The demeanor, manner, behavior, and actions of Imam Mujtaba, peace be upon him, were exemplary for all times. In a general overview, historians have recorded the most prominent ethical highlights of his character as “the most forgiving, magnanimous, generous, forbearing, ascetic, truthful, chaste, devout, esteemed, patient, and the one with the broadest chest among people.”

Imam Mujtaba, peace be upon him, was a humble servant of God. During worship, he would transcend the narrow confines of this world and soar to the realms of the divine. The taste of worship sweetened his palate and seized the essence of his being. He always looked forward to the times of prayer and moments of worship. As the time for obligatory prayers approached, his soul would undergo a transformation, and his complexion would pale.

Despite having mounts at his disposal, he chose to traverse the 450-kilometer distance from Medina to the esteemed Mecca on foot, under the scorching sun of Hijaz and over the hot pebbles of the desert. In this manner, he undertook the pilgrimage to the Kaaba on foot 25 times, seeking to earn the greater pleasure of his Lord.

The Generosity and Magnanimity of the Imam

Imam Hassan Mujtaba, peace be upon him, shines among the luminous stars. He is renowned as the “Generous of the Ahl al-Bayt.” His magnanimous conduct ripples through history, bewildering those entranced by worldly wealth. A bedouin was honored by visiting Imam Mujtaba, peace be upon him. Before the bedouin could express his needs, the Imam ordered everything in the treasury to be given to him. When they checked the treasury, they found 20,000 dirhams, all of which were given to the needy petitioner. Astonished by the Imam’s generous behavior, the man asked, “My master! Why didn’t you allow me the chance to state my need and to praise you?” The Imam replied:

“We are a group whose gifts are fresh and immediate.”

Imam Mujtaba, peace be upon him, surpassed all in generosity and magnanimity, to the extent that he willingly gave away his possessions in God-pleasing charity. This indeed reflected his disregard for the deceptive allurements of the world. It is written that “During his lifetime, Imam Mujtaba, peace be upon him, spent all his wealth in the way of God twice and divided his wealth into two, giving away half for the sake of God, three times.” Imam Mujtaba, peace be upon him, also had a compassionate heart and kind disposition towards the culturally impoverished and those deceived by ignorance. Even when they insulted and disrespected the Imam under the influence of enemies, he never reacted angrily to their vain words. Instead, he treated them with kindness and generosity, addressing their needs. Witnessing the Imam’s humble interactions, they would quickly regret their words, expressing remorse. A prime example of the Imam’s humility towards the culturally and spiritually impoverished is his encounter with a man from Sham (Syria), as recounted in historical texts.

Glimpses of the Illuminating Words of the Imam

It was asked of Imam Hassan, peace be upon him, “What is forbearance?” He replied, “Forbearance is swallowing anger and possessing oneself.”

He was asked, “What is nobility?” The Imam, peace be upon him, responded, “Doing good to relatives and bearing their burdens.”

When asked about manliness, Imam Hassan, peace be upon him, defined it as “Protecting religion, honoring oneself, being gentle in behavior, reflecting on one’s actions, fulfilling obligations, and being affectionate towards people.”

Concerning generosity, Imam Hassan, peace be upon him, was questioned, “What is generosity?” He elucidated, “Initiating giving before being asked, and feeding others during times of scarcity.”

Imam Hassan Mujtaba, Through the Eyes of Others

The expressions of love by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) towards Hassan and Hussain and his profound affection for them are indescribable. In a narration, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) said: “Hassan is from me, and I am from Hassan; God loves those who love him…”

He also stated: “The most beloved of my family to me are Hassan and Husayn…” Zaid bin Arqam narrates: “I was sitting in the mosque with the Messenger of God (PBUH). At that moment, Fatimah came out of her house with Hassan and Hussain, heading towards her noble father, and Ali (AS) also arrived shortly after. Then, the Prophet (PBUH) turned towards me and said: “Whoever loves these few, loves me, and whoever is their enemy, is my enemy.”

He also declared: “And they (Hassan and Husayn) are the best of Earth’s inhabitants.” “And they are the masters of the youth of Paradise.” “If intelligence were a man, it would surely be Hassan.”Top of Form

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