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The Birth of Imam Hassan (AS): The Naming Ceremony

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Previously, in the history of the noble Prophet of Islam during the events of the third year after Hijra, it was mentioned that the eldest grandson of the Prophet, Imam Hassan (AS), was born in the third year, famously on the night of mid-Ramadan, the best of months according to Allah.[1]

The Birth Story and Naming Ceremony

As narrated by Sheikh Saduq (RH) in Al-Amali, Al-Illal, and Uyun Akhbar Al-Ridha (AS), as well as other narratives from Shiite and Sunni scholars, and narrated from Imam Sajjad (AS), the story goes as follows:

“When Fatimah (SA) gave birth to her son Hassan, she asked her husband Ali (AS) to name him. Ali (AS) responded that he would not precede the Prophet of Allah in naming the child. At that moment, the Prophet (PBUH) arrived, and the child, wrapped in a yellow cloth, was brought to him. The Prophet (PBUH) questioned why the child was wrapped in yellow, discarding the cloth for a white one before asking Ali (AS) if he had named the boy.

Ali (AS) replied that he had not, out of respect for the Prophet’s precedence.

The Prophet (PBUH) stated that he, too, would not precede Allah in this matter.

At that moment, Allah inspired Gabriel to descend and congratulate Muhammad on the birth, instructing him to name the child after Aaron’s son, as Ali is to Muhammad as Aaron was to Moses. Gabriel descended, conveyed Allah ‘s congratulations, and instructed the naming after Aaron’s son, “Shubber” in Hebrew, which the Prophet (PBUH), given the Arabic context, translated to “Hassan,” thus naming him Hassan (AS)…”[2]

Against this backdrop, there are other accounts in Shiite and Sunni texts suggesting Ali (AS) initially named him “Harb,” but upon the Prophet’s (PBUH) advice, the name was changed to “Hassan”…[3]

Or that Ali (AS) named this newborn “Hamzah” and, upon the birth of Hussein, named him “Ja’far,” until the Prophet (PBUH) commanded Ali (AS) to name them “Hassan” and “Hussein,” following which Ali (AS) complied with the Prophet’s directive…[4]

However, as stated by the author of “Kashf al-Ghummah,” these accounts seem far-fetched, contrary to popular belief, and weak. The more renowned narrative is the one mentioned earlier, and Baqir Shareef in “Hayat al-Hassan” has classified such stories as fabrications, providing evidence for this claim, and recommending further reading for more information.[5]

Moreover, narratives from Sunni traditions state that the noble names “Hassan” and “Hussein” were unprecedented in the era of ignorance and are considered heavenly names. One such account by Tabari in “Dhakhair al-Uqbi” quotes Imran bin Sulaiman saying, “Hassan and Hussein are names from among the people of Paradise, not named so in the era of ignorance.”[6]

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flashcards

Performing Religious Ceremonies and Traditional Practices

Among the Islamic traditions for newborns are reciting the Adhan (call to prayer) in the right ear and the Iqama (call to stand for prayer) in the left ear, a practice the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) performed for this blessed infant. After he was handed to the Prophet, Adhan was recited in his right ear and Iqama in his left [7].

The Prophet also performed ‘Aqiqah for the newborn, which involves sacrificing a sheep (8) and giving one of its legs to the midwife. Some narrations suggest this ritual was performed on the seventh day (9).

In a narration by Kulayni (RH) in al-Kafi, it is mentioned that after the ‘Aqiqah, the following prayer was recited:

“…In the name of Allah, this ‘Aqiqah is on behalf of Hasasn…” [10]

Followed by another prayer:

“O Allah, equate its bone with his bone, its flesh with his flesh, its blood with his blood, its hair with his hair. O Allah, make it a protection for Muhammad and his family.” [10]

Additionally, the Prophet (PBUH) instructed that the infant’s head be shaved on the seventh day and to give in charity silver equivalent to the weight of the hair. Then, the infant’s head was anointed with ‘Khaluq,’ a mixed fragrance. Disapproving of the pre-Islamic practice of rubbing blood on the newborn’s head, he said to Asma, who narrated the hadith, “O Asma, rubbing blood is an act of the Age of Ignorance!” [11]

Some Sunni traditions narrate that circumcision was also performed on the seventh day [11], but Shiite narrations suggest that the Imams of the religion (AS) were born circumcised, though, as a recommended tradition [12], a symbolic act was performed… [13]

Among the traditions for newborns in Islam is protecting them through prayers, meaning to safeguard their well-being and protect them from the evil eye and demons of jinn and mankind by reciting or writing prayers and entrusting them to Allah.

According to numerous narrations in Shiite and Sunni books, the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) protected his two sons, Hasan and Husayn (AS), with this prayer:

“I protect you with the perfect words of Allah from every devil, venomous creature, and every evil eye.” [14]

In another narration, he would say:

“I protect you from the evil eye that envies and the soul that harms.” [15]

Nicknames and Titles

Among the birth traditions and customs after naming is assigning a ‘Kunya’ (a nickname, typically referring to one’s eldest child) which, according to a hadith by Imam Baqir (AS), is done out of concern to avoid derogatory titles in adulthood.

The prevalent Kunya for Hassan (AS) was “Abu Muhammad,” and he had no other Kunya.

His titles include: Sibt, Zaki, Mujtaba, Sayyid, Taqi, Tayyib, Wali…

Arbili, in his book Kashf al-Ghummah, after listing the Kunya and titles from Sunni books, states that the most famous of these titles is “Taqi,” and the most commendable and fitting, as named by the Prophet of Allah (PBUH), is “Sayyid.” [17]

Arbili’s opinion seemingly refers to a narration by Sunni scholars and others from Abu Bakr, who reported hearing the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) while he was on the pulpit with Imam Hassan (AS) seated beside him, alternating his gaze between the people and his grandson Hassan (AS), then proclaiming:

“This son of mine is a Sayyid (chief), and it is hoped that Allah will reconcile two great factions through him.” [18]

Interestingly, Ibn Athir Al-Jazari, after mentioning this hadith, remarks, “What greater honor is there than being named ‘Sayyid’ by the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)?” [19]

Footnotes:

  1. Al-Mustadrak by Hakim, Vol. 3, p. 169; Asad al-Ghaba, Vol. 2, p. 9; Ikmal al-Rijal by Khatib Tabrizi, p. 627; The Life of Imam Hasan, Vol. 1, p. 59.
  2. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, p. 238. Similar narrations are mentioned in many Sunni books, most of which are cited in the appendices of Ihqaq al-Haq, Vol. 10, p. 492 onwards.
  3. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, p. 251; The Life of Hasan by Baqir Sharif, Vol. 1, p. 63; Appendices of Ihqaq al-Haq, Vol. 10, pp. 492-501.
  4. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, p. 255; Appendices of Ihqaq al-Haq, Vol. 10, p. 498.
  5. The Life of Imam Hasan bin Ali, Vol. 1, p. 63.
  6. Appendices of Ihqaq al-Haq, Vol. 10, p. 488 and The Life of Imam Hasan bin Ali, Vol. 1, p. 63. Also, in Manaqib Ibn Shahrashub, it’s narrated from Imran bin Sulaiman and Amro bin Thabit, “Indeed, Hasan and Husayn are names from the names of the people of Paradise, and they were not known in this world.”
  7. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, p. 239; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 6, p. 391; Sahih Tirmidhi, Vol. 1, p. 286; Sahih Abu Dawood, Vol. 33, p. 214; Ihqaq al-Haq, Vol. 11, pp. 6-8.
  8. In some narrations from both Shiite and Sunni traditions, it’s mentioned that two sheep were sacrificed for Hasan (AS) and two for Husayn (AS), but the narration of sacrificing one sheep is more famous and considered stronger in terms of its chain of narrators, as specified in The Life of Imam Hasan.

9 & 10. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, pp. 239, 250, 257; The Life of Imam, Vol. 1, p. 64; Appendices of Ihqaq al-Haq, Vol. 10, pp. 17-511.

  1. Noor al-Absar, p. 108; Appendices of Ihqaq al-Haq, Vol. 10, p. 519, citing Miftah al-Naja by Badakhshi.
  2. According to narrations, a symbolic act referred to as “passing of the knife” was performed.
  3. Safinat al-Bihar, Vol. 1, p. 379.
  4. Safina, Vol. 2, p. 287; Appendices of Ihqaq al-Haq, Vol. 10, pp. 520, 524, 527.
  5. Appendices of Ihqaq al-Haq, Vol. 10, p. 527.
  6. The Life of Imam Hasan (AS), Vol. 1, p. 65.
  7. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, p. 255.
  8. Al-Isabah, Vol. 1, p. 329; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 5, p. 44; Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, pp. 305, 299.
  9. Asad al-Ghaba, Vol. 2, p. 13.
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