Hasan ibn Ali

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Al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib
ٱلْحَسَن ٱبْن عَلِي ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب
Amir al-Mu'minin
الحسن ابن علي.svg
Calligraphic representation of Hasan's name in Rashidun form
5th Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate
Reign661 – 661
PredecessorAli ibn Abi Talib
SuccessorMuawiyah I (as First Umayyad caliph)
Shia Imamate
Imamate661 – 670
PredecessorAli ibn Abi Talib
SuccessorHusayn ibn Ali
Born1 December 624 CE
(15 Ramadhan AH 3 in the Islamic calendar)[2][3]
Medina, Hejaz, Arabia
Died1 April 670(670-04-01) (aged 45)
(28 Safar AH 50)[4][5]
Medina, Umayyad Caliphate
(present-day Saudi Arabia)
Al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAlīy ibn Abī Ṭālib
Arabic: ٱلْحَسَن ٱبْن عَلِيّ ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب
FatherAli ibn Abi Talib
MotherFatimah bint Muhammad

Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: ٱلْحَسَن ٱبْن عَلِيّ ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب‎, romanizedAl-Ḥasan ibn Alīy ibn Abī Ṭālib; 1 December 624 – 1 April 670 CE), also spelled Hasan or Hassan, was the older son of Ali and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah, and was the older brother of Husain, as well as the fifth[a] of Rashidun, or "Rightly Guided Caliphs".[7] Muslims respect him as a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Among Shia Muslims, Hasan is revered as the second Imam. Hasan was elected for the caliphate after his father's death, but abdicated after six or seven months to Muawiyah I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty[7][8] to end the First Fitna.[9] After Hasan's abdication, the caliphate turned into kingship.[10][11] Al-Hasan was known for donating to the poor, his kindness to the poor and bondsmen, and for his knowledge, tolerance and bravery.[12] For the rest of his life, Hasan lived in Medina, until he died at the age of 45 and was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi cemetery in Medina. His wife, Ja'da bint al-Ash'at, is commonly accused of having poisoned him.[7][8][13][14][15][16] He is also the common agnatic ancestor of both the House of Hashim, the House of Alawi, and the current House of Bolkiah.

Names and titles[edit]

His name is "Hasan", an adjective meaning "goodness and kindness". According to some Sunni narrations, Ali wanted to name him "Hamza", "Jafar",[17] or "Harb", but Muhammad named him "Hasan".[18][19] According to Ibn Babawayh, Ali said he would not precede the Prophet in naming his child, but declared that he liked the name "Harb". The Prophet named him Hassan. In some hadiths, Hassan's appellation is attributed to divine inspiration and it is also said that the names "Hassan" and "Husseyn" are two heavenly names that did not exist among the Arabs before Islam.[20] Some of the names attributed to Hasan by the Prophet have a common derivative with the name of Husayn, such as the fact that the name "Hasan" is synonymous with the name "Shabbar" or in some narrations "Juhr" - the equivalent of "Shubayr" - the son of Aaron;[21] for, according to another Hadith, Ali is in the same position with respect to Muhammad as Aaron (Harun) was to Moses(Musa), except that there is no prophet after Muhammad.[22]

Hasan's Kunya was Abu Muhammad, which was also given to him by the prophet Muhammad. His other names were al-Taqiy (the pious), al-Sibt (the grandson), al-Zakiy (the pure) and al-Sayyid (the master).[23] Sayyid is originated from the Hadith: ...Sayyids of the young in Paradise.[21] (See Hasan ibn Ali#In Hadiths) Al-Mujtaba (the chosen),[24] is another name chosen by Muhammad, and is so famous that in some sources such as Misbah al-mutahajjid by Shaykh Tusi, Ali is refered to as Abu al-Hasan al-Mujtaba, meaning the father of al-Hasan al-Mujtaba.[21] Ibn Talha Shafi'i considers Taqiy as the most famous title of Hassan and Sayyid as the most honorable of them. "Karim of Ahl al-Bayt" is very famous among Shias. Hassan is sometimes referred to as the "poisoned Imam", which refers to his being killed by poison.[25]

Birth and lineage[edit]

Hasan was born on the 15th of Ramadan, equal to March 3/2, 625 AD.[26]

He is the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of the Prophet of Islam, and Fatemeh, the daughter of the Prophet of Islam, both from the Banu Hashim clan and from the Quraysh tribe.[27] Shortly after the migration to Medina, the Prophet of Islam told Ali ibn Abi Talib that God had commanded him to give his daughter, Fatima, in marriage to him(Ali).[28] According to Wilferd Madelung, the family formed from this marriage was praised many times by the Prophet of Islam. In events such as the Mubahala and the hadith of Ahl al-Kisa, the prophet referred to this family as the Ahl al-Bayt. In the Qur'an, in many cases, such as the Verse of Purification, the Ahl al-Bayt has been praised.[29] (See:Hasan ibn Ali#In Quran)

During the life of Muhammad[edit]

When Al-Hasan was born and brought up in the household of Prophet Muhammad, until the age of seven when Muhammad died. On the occasion of his birth, Muhammad slaughtered a ram for the poor, and chose the name "Al-Hasan" for him, as he chose the name of his younger brother, al-Husayn, too. Fatimah shaved his head and gave the weight of his hair in silver as alms.[30] There are numerous narrations showing Muhammad's love for Hasan and Husayn, such as carrying them on his shoulders, or putting them on his chest and kissing them on the belly. According to Madelung some of these reports may imply a little preference of Muhammad for Hasan over Husayn, or pointing out that Hasan was more similar to his grandfather.[31] Later on, Hasan could remember the prayers Muhammad had taught him, or remembered the occasion when Muhammad prevented him from eating a date which he had already put in his mouth, as it was given as Sadaqah (charity) and "partaking of alms was not licit for any member of his family." [32][33] To prove the Prophet's interest in his grandchildren, the Shias cite a hadith in which the Prophet called Hassan and Hussein the masters of the youth of Paradise. Most important of all, was the time when the Prophet, took Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussein under his cloak and called them Ahl al-Bayt and stated that they are free from any sin and pollution.[34]

Event of Mubahalah[edit]

In the year AH 10 (631/32 CE) a Christian envoy from Najran (now in northern Yemen) came to Muhammad to argue which of the two parties erred in its doctrine concerning Isa (Jesus). After likening Jesus' miraculous birth to Adam's creation,[b]—who was born to neither a mother nor a father—and when the Christians did not accept the Islamic doctrine about Jesus, Muhammad was instructed by Quran to call them to Mubahalah where each party should ask God to destroy the false party and their families.[35][36][37] "If anyone dispute with you in this matter (concerning Jesus) after the knowledge which has come to you, say: Come let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then let us swear an oath and place the curse of God on those who lie."[c][38][39][37] Except for al-Tabari, who did not name the participants, Sunni historians mention Muhammad, Fatimah, Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn as having participated in the Mubahalah, and some agree with the Shia tradition that Ali was among them. Accordingly, in the Shia perspective, in the verse of Mubahalah, the phrase "our sons" would refer to Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, "our women" refers to Fatimah, and "ourselves" refers to ‘Ali.[39][40][37]

It is said that one day, the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid questioned the seventh Twelver Shia Imam, Musa al-Kadhim, asking why he had permitted people to call him "Son of the Apostle of Allah", while he and his forefathers were Muhammad's daughter's children, and that "the progeny belongs to the male (‘Ali) and not to the female (Fatimah)".[41] In response al-Kadhim recited the verses Quran, 6:84 and Quran, 6:85 and then asked "Who is Jesus' father, O Commander of the faithful?". "Jesus had no father", replied Harun. Al-Kadhim argued that God, in these verses, had ascribed Jesus to descendants of the Prophets, through Mary, saying "similarly, we have been ascribed to the descendants of the Prophet through our mother Fatimah".[41] It is related that Harun asked Musa al-Kadhim to give him more evidence. Al-Kadhim thus recited the verse of Mubahalah, and argued "None claims that the Prophet made someone enter under the cloak when he challenged the Christians to a contest of prayer to God (the Mubahalah), except ‘Ali, Fatimah, Al-Hasan, and Al-Husayn. So in the verse, 'Our sons' refers to Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn."[41]

Life during Caliphs[edit]

Manuscripts of a Shia talisman or amulet related to the Qajar period in Iran, which depicts Ali ibn Abi Talib with his two children Hasan and Husayn. This copy is now owned by the Library of Congress.

During Caliphate of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman[edit]

There are not many narrations about this period of Hassan's life, however, some narrations concerning the story of Fadak, Fatemeh Zahra presented Hasan and Husayn as witnesses to testify to the correctness of her statements against Abu Bakr. Hasan was also one of the witnesses in the six-member council to appoint the caliph after Umar; at the request of Umar.[42]

According to Laura Veccia Vaglieri, after Muhammad's death, Hasan and his brother took no part in important events of the Caliphate of the first three Caliphs, except for following their father in opposing some deeds of the third Caliph, Uthman.[43] Ibn Isfandiyar narrates that during the caliphate of Umar, Hassan, along with Abdullah ibn Umar and an army of Kufis, was present in the campaign towards Amol in Tabaristan. Wilferd Madelung believes that Ali probably wanted to expose Hassan early to war and add to his experiences.[44] Some Shia scholars like Ja'far Murtaza Al-Ameli have questioned this story and given reasons for their inaccuracy.[20] It is said that during the Caliphate of Uthman, Hasan refused his father suggestion to apply legal punishment of forty lashes on Caliph's half brother, Al-Walid ibn Uqba, who was accused of drinking alcohol. Ali blamed Hassan and left it to his nephew, Abdullah ibn Ja'far.[45] Al-Hasan was one of the guards defending ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan during his assassination.[46] According to several narrations, Ali asked Hasan and Husayn to defend the Caliph and carry water to him. According to Veccia Vaglieri, when Hasan entered Uthman's house, Uthman was already assassinated.[47] According to Al-Baladhuri, Hasan was wounded a little while defending Uthman. Another account says that he criticized his father for not defending Uthman, more forcefully.[48]

The Battle of Siffin, in which followers of Caliph ‘Ali, including Al-Hasan, fought the party of Mu‘awiyah.

During Caliphate of Ali[edit]

During the reign of Ali, he was a participant in the Battles of Siffin, Nahrawan and Camel. According to Madelung, Hasan was against his father's policy on fighting with his opponents as he believed that these wars would cause division in the Muslim community. When Ali left Medina for Basra - and before the Battle of the Camel - Ali stopped somewhere and met the Meccan Qurayshite rebels in Basra. Al-Baladhuri writes that Hassan begged his father, Ali, to give up the war so that the Islamic community could agree on his caliphate. But Ali did not heed his advice.[49] Before the Battle of Camel, Hasan was sent to Kufa along with Ammar ibn Yasir to collect force for Ali's army.[50] According to Wilferd Madelung, he was able to provide an army of six or seven thousand men and bring them to Dhi Qar and join Ali.[51]

On the 10th of Jamadi al-Awal, 39 AH / November 2, 658 AD, Ali put Hassan in charge of his land endowments. Husayn would succeed the position, if Hasan died.[52]


According to Donaldson, there was not a significant difference between the idea of Imamate, or divine right, exemplified by each Imam designating his successor, and other ideas of succession at first.[53] According to an accepted Shia tradition recorded by Kulayni, before Ali died, he gave Hasan the (secret) books and his armor, in presence of his family (the people of the household) and the shia leaders, and said: "O my son, the Apostle has commanded me to give you the designation, and to bequeath to you the secret books and the armour, in the same way that he gave them to me. And when you die you are to give them to your brother Husain," then Ali turned to Husayn and said: "The Apostle has commanded you to give these (secret) books and the armour to this son of yours." (i.e. Ali ibn Husayn) Then Ali took the hand of the little boy in his hand and said: "The Apostle of God commanded me to tell you to give these (secret) books and this armour to your son, and to convey unto him, from me, the salutation of the Apostle."[54] According to Momen, Ali had apparently failed to nominate a successor before he died; however, on several occasions, he reportedly expressed his idea that "only the Prophet's Bayt were entitled to rule the Community", and Hasan, whom he had appointed his inheritor, must have been the obvious choice, as he would eventually be chosen by people to be the next caliph.[55][56] It is narrated that Ali called Hasan Waliu'l amr, in the sense that Ali gave him the authority to command; also called him Waliu'l dam; for, it was left to Hasan's judgment, as to whether he should avenge ALi's blood.[57]

Sunnis, on the other hand, reject Imamate on the basis of their interpretation of verse 33:40 of the Qur'an[d] which says that Muhammad, as the Seal of the Prophets, "is not the father of any of your men"; and that is why God let Muhammad's sons die in infancy.[e] This is why Muhammad did not nominate a successor, as he wanted to leave the succession to be resolved "by the Muslim Community on the basis of the Qur’anic principle of consultation (Shura)".[58][59] The question Madelung proposes here is why the family members of Muhammad should not inherit aspects of Muhammad's character, apart from prophethood, such as Hukm (Arabic: حُـكـم‎, Rule), Hikmah (Arabic: حِـكـمـة‎, Wisdom), and Imamah (Arabic: إمـامـة‎, Leadership). Since the Sunni concept of the "true caliphate" itself defines it as a "succession of the Prophet in every respect except his prophethood", Madelung further asks, "If God really wanted to indicate that he should not be succeeded by any of his family, why did He not let his grandsons and other kin die like his sons?"[58]


Allegiance of the Kufis[edit]

A picture of the story of carrying the coffin of Ali on a camel and Hasan and Husayn accompanying them for a secret burial

After Ali was assassinated, Ubayd Allah b. al-Abbas invited people to give allegiance to al-Hasan.[60] According to Jafri, al-Hasan became the caliph of the Ummah, in a manner which followed the custom established by Abu Bakr. He made an speech at Mosque of Kufa in which he praised the merits of his family, quoting verses of the Qur'an on the matter: "I am of the family of the Prophet from whom Allah has removed filth and whom He has purified, whose love He has made obligatory in His Book when He said: "Whosoever performs a good act, We shall increase the good in it."[f] Performing a good act is love for us, the family of the Prophet."[8][61] Qays ibn Sa'd was the first to give allegiance to him. Qays then stipulated the condition that the Pledge of Allegiance, should be based on the Quran, the Sunnah (Deeds, Sayings, etc.) of Muhammad, and on the pursuit of a Struggle against those who declared Lawful that which was Unlawful. Hasan, however, tried to avoid the last condition by saying that it was implicitly included in the first two,[8][62] as if he knew, as Jafri put it, from the very beginning of the Iraqis' lack of resolution in time of trials, and thus Hasan wanted to "avoid commitment to an extreme stand which might lead to complete disaster."[8] According to Al-Baladhuri, the oath taken by al-Hasan stipulated that people "should make war on those who were at war with al-Hasan, and should live in peace with those who were at peace with him." this condition, according to Vagliery, made people astonished, asking themselves: if al-Hasan is talking about peace, is it because he want to make peace with Muawiya?[63] According to Moojan Momen, when Ali was assassinated in Kufa, most of the surviving companions of the prophet, (Muhajirun and Ansar), were in the army of Ali, so they must have been in Kufa at the time and they must have been pledged their allegiance to him. Since there is no report of opposition.[64]

Coin minted during the caliphate of Hassan ibn Ali.
Coin minted in modern day Iran, in the year 30 YE=661/662 AH, during the caliphate of Hassan ibn Ali. The Arabic phrase, 'Lillah' or 'for Allah' appears in the margin.

Facing Muawiyah[edit]

Arguments on the rights of caliphate[edit]

As soon as the news of Hasan's selection reached Muawiyah, who had been fighting ‘Ali for the caliphate, he condemned the selection, and declared his decision not to recognise him. Letters exchanged between Al-Hasan and Mu‘awiyah before their troops faced each other were to no avail.[65][66] However, these letters, which are recorded in Madelung and Jafri's books,[8][67] provided useful arguments concerning the rights of caliphate which would lead to the origin of the Shia Islam. In one of his long letters to Muawiyah in which he summoned him to pledge allegiance to him, Hasan made use of the argument of his father, Ali, which the latter had advanced against Abu Bakr after the death of Muhammad. Ali had said: "If Quraysh could claim the leadership over the Ansar on the grounds that the Prophet belonged to Quraysh, then the members of his family, who were the nearest to him in every respect, were better qualified for the leadership of the community."[8]

Muawiyah's response to this argument is also interesting. For, Muawiyah, while recognising the excellence of Muhammad's family, further asserted that he would willingly follow Al-Hasan's request were it not for his own superior experience in governing: "…You are asking me to settle the matter peacefully and surrender, but the situation concerning you and me today is like the one between you [your family] and Abu Bakr after the death of the Prophet … I have a longer period of reign [probably referring to his governorship], and I am more experienced, better in policies, and older in age than you … If you enter into obedience to me now, you will accede to the caliphate after me."[8][68]

In his book, The Origins and Early Development of Shi‘a Islam, Jafri comes to the conclusion that the majority of the Muslims, who became known as Sunnis afterwards, "placed the religious leadership in the totality of the community (Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jamaah), represented by the Ulama, as the custodian of religion and the exponent of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Muhammad, while accepting state authority as binding […] A minority of the Muslims, on the other hand, could not find satisfaction for their religious aspirations except in the charismatic leadership from among the people of the house of the Prophet, the Ahl al-Bayt, as the sole exponents of the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah, although this minority too had to accept the state's authority. This group was called the Shi‘ah."[8]

Preparing the corps[edit]

There was more correspondence with no result, so, as negotiations had stalled, Mu‘awiyah summoned all the commanders of his forces in Ash-Sham, the region that stretches from Syria and southern Anatolia in the north, to Palestine and Transjordan in the south,[69] and began preparations for war. Soon, he marched his army of sixty thousand men through Mesopotamia to Maskin, on the Tigris boundary of Mosul, towards the Sawad. Meanwhile, he attempted to negotiate with Al-Hasan, sending the young heir letters asking him to give up his claim.[70][71] According to Jafri, Muawiyah hoped to either force Hasan to come to terms; or attack the Iraqi forces before they had time to strengthen their location. However, Jafri says, Muawiyah believed that, even if Hasan was defeated and killed, he was still a threat, for, another member of the clan of Hashim could simply claim to be his successor. Should he abdicate in favor of Mu‘awiyah, however, such claims would have no weight and Mu‘awiya's position would be guaranteed. According to Jafri, he was correct, for, ten years later, after the death of Al-Hasan, when the Iraqis turned to his younger brother, Al-Husayn, to support an uprising, Al-Husayn instructed them to wait as long as Mu‘awiyah was alive due to Al-Hasan's peace treaty with him.[8]

As the news of Muawiyah's army reached Hasan, he ordered his local governors to mobilize, then addressed the people of Kufah: "God had prescribed the Jihad for his creation and called it a loathsome duty."[g] There was no response at first, as some tribal chiefs, paid by Muawiyah, were reluctant to move. Hasan's companions scolded them, asking whether they wouldn't answer to the son of the Prophet's daughter. Turning to Hasan, they assured him of their obedience, and immediately left for the war camp. Al-Hasan admired them and later joined them at An-Nukhayla, where people were coming together in large groups.[72]

Hasan appointed ‘Ubayd Allah ibn al-Abbas as the commander of his vanguard of twelve thousand men to move to Maskin. There he was told to hold Mu'awiyah until Al-Hasan arrived with the main army. He was advised not to fight unless attacked, and that he should consult with Qays ibn Sa'd, who was appointed as second in command.(in case Ubayd Allah were killed).[8][73][74][75] According to Madelung, the election of Ubayd Allah ibn al-Abbas, who previously surrendered the province under his rule, Yemen, to the enemy without a war; and Ali reprimanded him, indicates that Hassan wanted to reach a peaceful conclusion.[76]

Hasan's sermon and its aftermath[edit]

While Al-Hasan's vanguard was waiting for his arrival at Maskin, Hasan himself was facing a serious problem at Sabat near Al-Mada'in, where he gave a sermon after morning prayer in which he declared that he prayed to God to be the most sincere of His creation to His creation; that he bore no resentment nor hatred against any Muslim, nor did he want evil and harm to anyone; and that "whatever they hated in community was better than what they loved in schism."[77][73] He was, he continued, looking after their best interest, better than they themselves; and instructed them not to disobey "whatever orders he gave them."[8]

Some of the troops, taking this as a sign that Al-Hasan was preparing to give up battle and make peace with Muawiya,[78] rebelled against him, and looted his tent, seizing even the prayer rug from underneath him. Hasan shouted for his horse and rode off surrounded by his partisans who kept back those who were trying to reach him. While they were passing by Sabat, however, al-Jarrah ibn Sinan, a Kharijite, managed to ambush Hasan and wounded him in the thigh with a dagger, while he was shouting: "God is the Greatest! You have become a Infidel like your father before you." Abd Allah ibn al-Hisl jumped upon him, and as others joined in, al-Jarrah was overpowered, and he died. Hasan was taken to Al-Mada'in where he was cared for by his governor, Sa'd ibn Mas'ud al-Thaqafi[77][72][79] The news of this attack, having been spread by Mu‘awiyah, further demoralised the already discouraged army of Al-Hasan, and led to extensive desertion from his troops.[8][80]

Hasan's vanguard at Al-Maskin[edit]

When Ubayd Allah and the Kufan vanguard arrived at al-Maskin, they found that Muawiyah had already arrived. Muawiyah sent an envoy to tell them that he had received letters from Hasan asking for an armistice and asked the Kufans not to attack until the negotiations were complete. Muawiyyah's claim was probably untrue, but he had good reason to think that he could make Hasan give in.[8][81] The Kufans, however, insulted Muawiyah's envoy. Then, Muawiya sent the envoy to visit Ubayd Allah in private, and to swear to him that Hasan had requested a truce from Muawiyah, and offered Ubayd Allah 1,000,000 dirhams, half to be paid at once, the other half in Kufa, provided he switched sides. Ubayd Allah accepted and deserted at night to Muawiyah's camp. Muawiyah was extremely pleased and fulfilled his promise to him.[15][81]

The next morning, the Kufans waited for Ubayd Allah to emerge and lead the morning prayer. Then Qays ibn Sa'd took charge and, in his sermon, severely denounced Ubayd Allah, his father and his brother. The people shouted: "Praise be to God that He has removed him from us; stand up with us against our enemy."[82] Believing that the desertion of ‘Ubayd Allah had broken the spirit of his enemy, Mu‘awiyah sent Busr with an armed force to force their surrender. Qays, however, attacked and drove him back. The next day Busr attacked with a larger force but was repulsed again. Muawiyah then sent a letter to Qays offering bribes but Qays replied that he "would never meet him except with a lance between them."[8] As the news of the riot against Hasan and of his having been wounded arrived, however, both sides abstained from fighting to wait for further news.[83] According to Vaglieri Iraqis had no wish to fight and each day a group of them joined Mu'awiya. It seems that 8000 men out of 12000, followed the example of their general, Ubayd Allah, and joined Muawiyah.[84]

Calligraphic representation of Ḥasan ibn Ali in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Treaty with Muawiyah[edit]

Muawiyah, who had already started negotiations with Al-Hasan, now sent high-level envoys, while committing himself in a witnessed letter to appoint Hasan his successor and give him whatever he wished. Hasan accepted the offer in principle and sent ‘Amr ibn Salima al-Hamdani al-Arhabl and his own brother-in-law Muhammad ibn al-Ash'ath al-Kindi back to Mu'awiyah as his negotiators, along with Muawiyah's envoys. Mu'awiyah then wrote a letter saying that he was making peace with Hasan, who would become caliph after him. He swore that he would not seek to harm him, and that he would give him 1,000,000 dirhams from the treasury (Bayt al-mal) annually, along with the land tax of Fasa and Darabjird, which Hasan was to send his own tax agents to collect. The letter was witnessed by the four envoys and dated in August 661.[85][86]

When Hasan read the letter, he commented: "He is trying to appeal to my greed for a matter which, if I desired it, I would not surrender to him."[30] Then he sent Abd Allah ibn al-Harith, whose mother, Hind, was Muawiyah's sister, to Muawiyah, instructing him: "Go to your uncle and tell him: If you grant safety to the people I shall pledge allegiance to you." Afterward, Muawiyah gave him a blank paper with his seal at the bottom, inviting Hasan to write on it whatever he desired.[8][85]

According to Jafri, historians like Ya'qubi and Al-Masudi do not mention the terms of the peace treaty at all. Other historians, such as Dinawari, Ibn Abd al-Barr and Ibn al-Athir record different accounts of the conditions, and the timing of the black sheet sent by Mu'awiyah to Hasan was confusing in Tabari's account.[8] The most comprehensive account, which explains the different ambiguous accounts of other sources, according to Jafri, is given by Ahmad ibn A'tham, which must have taken it from al-Mada'ini.[8] Madelung's view is close to that of Jafri when he stipulates that Hasan surrendered the reign over the Muslims to Mu'awiyah on the basis that "he act according to the Book of God, the Sunnah of His Prophet and the conduct of the righteous caliphs. Mu'awiyah should not be entitled to appoint his successor but that there should be an electoral council (Shura); the people would be safe, wherever they were, with respect to their person, their property and their offspring; Mu'awiyah would not seek any wrong against Hasan secretly or openly, and would not intimidate any of his companions. "The letter was testified by Abd Allah ibn al-Harith, and Amr ibn Salima and transmitted by them to Mu'awiyah for him to take recognition of its contents and to confirm his acceptance. Hasan thus surrendered his control of Iraq in Rabi II 41/August 661 after a reign of seven months.[30][87][75]

After the peace treaty[edit]

After the peace treaty with Al-Hasan, Mu'awiyah set out with his troops to Kufa where in public surrender ceremony, he asked Hasan to rise and apologize. After first refuting, Hasan rose and reminded the people that he and Al-Husayn were the only grandsons of Muhammad, and that he had surrendered the reign to Mu'awiyah in the best interest of the community:[88] "O people, surely it was God who led you by the first of us and Who has spared you bloodshed by the last of us. I have made peace with Mu‘awiyah, and I know not whether haply this be not for your trial, and that ye may enjoy yourselves for a time,"[h][89] declared Hasan.[8]

In his own speech Muawiyah "disowned all his previous stipulations and promises to Ḥasan and others, which were made merely in order to extinguish the fire of rebellion".[90] According to another account, Muawiyah told them that the reason why he had fought them was not to make them pray, fast, perform the pilgrimage, and give alms, considering that they had been already doing those, but to be their Amir (Commander or Leader), and God had bestowed that upon him against their will.[i][91][92] According to some sources, he also said "The agreement I made with Hasan is null and void. It lies trampled under my feet."[j][91] Then he shouted: "God's protection is dissolved from anyone who does not come forth and pledge allegiance. Surely, I have sought revenge for the blood of Uthman, may God kill his murderers, and have returned the reign to those to whom it belongs in spite of the rancour of some people. We grant respite of three nights. Whoever has not pledged allegiance by then will have no protection and no pardon."[81] The people rushed from every direction to vow allegiance.[8]

Abdication and retirement in Medina[edit]

While still camping outside Kufah, Muawiyah faced a Kharijite revolt.[93] He sent a cavalry troop against them, but they were beaten back. Mu'awiyah then sent after Hasan, who had already left for Medina, and commanded him to return and fight against the Kharijites. Hasan, who had reached al-Qadisiyyah, wrote back: "I have abandoned the fight against you, even though it was my legal right, for the sake of peace and reconciliation of the Community. Do you think I shall fight together with you?"[8][94]

In the nine-year period between Hasan's abdication in AH 41 (661 CE) and his death in AH 50 (670 CE), Al-Hasan retired in Al-Medinah,[95] trying to keep aloof from political involvement for or against Muawiyah. In spite of that, however, he was considered the chief of Muhammad's household, by the Banu Hashim themselves and the partisans of Ali, who pinned their hopes on his final succession to Mu‘awiyah.[96][8] Occasionally, Shias, mostly from Kufah, went to Hasan in small groups, and asked him to be their leader, a request to which he declined to respond, as he had signed a peace treaty with Muawiyah.[97] Hasan has been quoted as commenting "If Muawiyah was the rightful successor to the Caliphate, he has received it. And if I had that right, I, too, have passed it on to him; so the matter ends there."[71]

Madelung has quoted Al-Baladhuri,[k] as saying that Hasan, on the basis of his peace terms with Mu‘awiyah, sent his tax collectors to Fasa and Darabjird. The caliph had, however, instructed Abdullah ibn Aamir, now again governor of Al-Basrah, to incite the Basrans to protest that this money belonged to them by right of their conquest, and they chased Hasan's tax collectors out of the two provinces. According to Madelung, however, that Hasan would send tax collectors from Al-Medinah to Iran, after just having made plain that he would not join Mu‘awiyah in fighting the Kharijites, is entirely incredible.[8][98] In any case as Mu‘awiyah came to know that Hasan would not help his government, relations between them became worse. Hasan rarely, if ever, visited Mu‘awiyah in Damascus, Al-Sham, though he is said to have accepted gifts from him.[30]

The historical tomb of Al-Baqi, which stood over the qabr (Arabic: قَبْر‎, grave) of Al-Hasan, and was destroyed in 1925

Death and burial[edit]


The early sources which were dominantly influenced by shia sources are nearly in agreement that Hasan was poisoned by his wife,[99] Ja'da bint al-Ash'at, at the instigation of Muawiyah and died in the year 670 CE.[l][m][101][102] It is said that Mu'awiyah tempted her to do so by promising her a large sum of money and promising to marry Yazid.[103] Madelung and Donaldson further relate other versions of this story, suggesting that Al-Hasan may have been poisoned by another wife, the daughter of Suhayl ibn ‘Amr, or perhaps by one of his servants, citing early historians such as Al-Waqidi and Al-Mada'ini. Madelung believes that the famous early Islamic historian al-Tabari suppressed this tale out of concern for the faith of the common people.[104][102]

Husayn at the Bedside of the Dying Hasan", Folio from a Hadiqat al-Su'ada of Fuzuli (Garden of the Blessed)

Al-Hasan is said to have refused to name his suspect to Al-Husayn, for fear that the wrong person would be killed in revenge.[105] He was 38 years old when he abdicated the reign to Mu‘awiyah, who was 58 years old at the time. This difference in age indicates a serious obstacle for Mu‘awiyah, who wanted to nominate his son Yazid as his heir-apparent. This was unlikely due to the terms on which Al-Hasan had abdicated to Mu‘awiyah; and considering the big difference in age, Mu‘awiyah would not have hoped that Al-Hasan would naturally die before him.[8] Hence, Mu‘awiyah would naturally be suspected of having a hand in a killing that removed an obstacle to the succession of his son Yazid.[106][100]

Contemporary forensic evidence for the mystery of al-Hasan’s death[edit]

In 2016, Burke et al, published an original research article based on the medieval documents and through using mineralogical, medical, and chemical facts suggesting that mineral calomel (mercury(I) chloride, Hg2Cl2), originated from the Byzantine Empire was the substance primarily responsible for the murder of al-Hasan.[107] This substantiating evidence shows that Muawiyah (son of Abisufyan) was involved in plotting the murder of al-Hasan.


The qubur (Arabic: قُبُوْر‎, graves) of Al-Hasan (background, left), his nephew and son-in-law Ali Zaynal-Abidin, grandson Muhammad al-Baqir, and great-grandson Ja'far al-Sadiq, at Al-Baqi in Al-Medinah, besides others

The burial of Hasan's body near that of his grandfather, Muhammad, was another problem which could have led to bloodshed. Hasan had instructed his brothers to bury him near his grandfather, but that if they feared evil, then they were to bury him in the Cemetery of Al-Baqi. The Umayyad governor, Saʿid ibn al-ʿĀṣ, did not interfere, but Marwan swore that he would not permit Al-Hasan to be buried near Muhammad with Abu Bakr and Umar, while Uthman was buried in the Cemetery of Al-Baqi. Banu Hashim and Banu Umayyah were on the verge of a fight, with their supporters brandishing their weapons. At this point, Abu Hurairah, who was on the side of Banu Hashim, despite having previously served Mu‘awiyah on a mission to ask for the surrender of the killers of Uthman,[108] tried to reason with Marwan, telling him how Muhammad had highly regarded Hasan and Husayn.[109] Nevertheless, Marwan, who was a cousin of Uthman, was unconvinced, and Aisha, while sitting on a mule surrounded by her supporters, seeing the parties and their weapons, decided not to permit Hasan to be buried near his grandfather, fearing evil would occur. She said: "The apartment is mine; I shall not permit anyone to be buried in it."[110][111] Ibn Abbas, who was also present at the burial, condemned A'ishah by comparing her sitting on the mule at the funeral to her sitting on a camel in a war against Al-Hasan's father at the Battle of Jamal. Her refusal to allow Hasan to be buried next to his grandfather, despite allowing her father, Abu Bakr, and Umar to be buried there, offended the supporters of Ali.[112][113][114][115] Then Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah reminded Husayn that Hasan made the matter conditional by saying "unless you fear evil." Ibn al-Hanafiyyah further asked "What evil could be greater than what you see?"[104] And so the body was carried to the Cemetery of Al-Baqi.[116] Marwan joined the carriers, and, when questioned about it, said that he gave his respect to a man "whose ḥilm (Arabic: حِلْم‎, forbearance) weighed mountains."[117] Husayn led the funeral prayer.[118] Hasan's tomb became a pilgrimage cite later and a dome was built over it. Later on, however, it was destroyed by the Wahhabis twice; once in 1806 and the other time in 1927.[119] "In the eyes of Wahabis, historical sites and shrines encourage "shirk" – the sin of idolatry or polytheism – and should be destroyed."[120]

Family life[edit]


It is related that Hasan spent most of his youth in "making and unmaking marriages", so that "these easy morals gained him the title miṭlāq (Arabic: مِطلاق‎, "the divorcer") which involved Ali in serious enmities."[121] According to his grandson, Abdullah ibn Ḥasan, he usually had four free wives, the limit allowed by the law.[n] According to Madelung "stories and anecdotes expanded on this theme and have led to absurd suggestions that he had 70 or 90 wives in his lifetime", [o] along with a harem of 300 concubines.[122] According to Madelung, most of narrations of this type are narrated by Al-Mada'ini which are "for the most part vague, lacking in names, concrete specifics and verifiable detail; they appear to be spun out of the reputation of al-Hasan as a mitlaq, now interpreted as a habitual and prodigious divorcer, some clearly with a defamatory intent."[123] The number ninety, first spread by Muhammad al-Kalbi and was picked up by Al-Mada'ini, however, according to Madelung, Al-Mada'ini was not able to name a single name more than the eleven he mentioned, five of which "must be considered as uncertain or highly doubtful."[124] Madelung considers Ebn Saa'd's narration to be the most reliable in this regard, according which Hassan had 15 sons and 9 daughters from his six wives and three concubines, most of whom died in infancy.[125] According to Madelung, "reports that ʿAli publicly warned the Kufans not to give their women in marriage to Ḥasan, and that he expressed fear that the numerous marriages and divorces of his son would provoke enmity among the Arab tribes, deserve no credit".[126] Vagliri also writes that these marriages does not seems to have aroused much censure.[127] Living in his father's household, "Ḥasan was in no position to enter into any marriages not arranged or approved by him".[128] According to Madelung, most of Hasan's marriages had a political intent in his father's interest, for, he gave a part of his Nickname, "Abu Muhammad", to the first son from his first freely chosen wife after Ali's death, Ḵawla bint Manẓur, daughter of a Fazāra chief and former wife of Muhammad ibn Talhah. He evidently wanted to make this son his primary heir. However, after Muhammad died, Al-Ḥasan chose his second son from Ḵawla, called Ḥasan, as his heir.[129] According to Madelung, in his dealings with his wives, as with others, he tried to behave like a noble and forbearing (Halim) Arab sayyid.[130]

Wives and children[edit]

The number of Hassan's wives and children are mentioned differently: According to Ebn Saa'd, whose account, according to Madelung, is the most reliable, Hasan had 15 sons and 9 daughters from six wives and three named concubines;[131] Medelung describes the historical order of Hassan's marriages as follows, according which Hassan's marriage to six women is provable: Ja'da bint al-Ash'at, Umm Bashir, Khawla, Hafsa, Umm Ishaq and Hind.[132]

In Kufa[edit]

His first marriage was to Ja'da bint al-Ash'at, which happened soon after Ali's arrival to Kufa. Ja'da was the daughter of the Kindah chief, al-Ash'ath b. Qays. According to Madelung, by this marriage, Ali wanted to establish ties with the powerful Yemeni tribal coalition in Kufa. Hasan had no child from this wife. Ja'da is commonly accused of poisoning Hasan.[133] Umm Bashir was Hasan's second wife. She was the daughter of Abu Mas'ud 'Uqba b. Amr, who was among those who apposed Kufan's revolt against Uthman. According to Madelung, Ali was hoping to draw him to his side by this marriage. Afterwards Ali appointed him as the governor of Kufa, during the time when himself was involved in the Battle of Siffin. Hasan had two or three children from Umm Bashir. His eldest son, Zayd, his daughter Umm al-Husayn, and probably another daughter named Umm al-Hasan.[134]

In Medina[edit]

After Hasan abdicated and settled in Medina, he married Khawla, daughter of the Fazara chief Manzur ibn Zabban. Previously she had been married to Muhammad ibn Talha, who was killed in the Battle of Camel, and had two sons and a daughter from him. According to Madelung she either have been given in marriage to Hasan by Abdullah ibn Zubayr, who was married to her sister, or Khawla herself have been given the choice to Hasan to Marry her. Upon hearing this, her father, said "he was not someone to be ignored with respect to his daughter". He came to Medina and protested, so Hasan surrendered her to him, and he took him away to Quba. Khawla reproached her father, reminding him of the Muhammad saying: Al-Hasan b. Ali will be the lord of the youth among the inmates of paradise. He told her: Wait here, if the man is in need of you, he will join us here. Then Hasan joined them along with some of his relatives and took her back and married her, this time with her father's consent. She bore Hasan, his son Hasan.[135] Hafsa, the daughter of 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abu Bakr, was another wife of al-Hasan, who married her in Medina. Al-Mundhir was in love with her and spread false rumors about her, which made Hasan divorce her. Thus, Hasan in this context is described as Mitlaq, meaning the one who is "ready to divorce on insubstantial grounds." After that, Asim, the son of Umar, married her. Al-Mundhir this time accused her before Asim, who also divorced her. Then Al-Mundhir proposed marriage to her, but Hafsa did not accept. Later on she was persuaded to marry him, since it was the only way to prove that the rumors were false and were originated from Al-Mundhir's love for her.[136] Umm Ishaq, the daughter of Talhah, was also among Hasan's wives. She was described as extremely beautiful but of bad character. Mu'wiyah proposed her marriage to his son, Yazid, when he met her brother, Ishaq ibn Talha, in Damascus, however Ishaq, returning to Madina, gave her to al-Hasan, which made Mu'wiyah to give her up. Hasan had a son from her, namely Talha, who died childless. In spite of her alleged bad character Hasan was satisfied with her and asked his younger brother Husayn, to marry her after his death. Husayn did so and had a daughter, named Fatimah, from her.[137] Hind, the daughter of Suhayl ibn Amr was another wife of Hasan. She had been married to al-Rahman ibn Attab, who was killed in the Battle of Camel, then married to Abd Allah ibn Amir, who divorced her. Thus Hasan was her third husband. Later on, Hind commented on her three husband as saying: The lord (sayyid) of all of them was al-Hasan; the most generous of them was Ibn 'Amir; and the one dearest to me was 'Abd al-Rahman b.'Attab. Hasan had no child with Hind.[138]


Hasan's other children, according to Madelung, are probably from concubines: Amr ibn Hasan(married and had three children); al-Qasim and Abu Bakr (both childless and killed in the Battle of Karbala); Abd al-Rahman (childless); al-Husayn; and Abd Allah who might be the same as Abu Bakr. Late sources add three other names: Isma'il, Hamza and Ya'qub, none of whom have had children. Hasan's daughters from slave women were: Umm 'Abd Allah who married Zayn al-Abidin and Muhammad al-Baqir was born from her; Fatima (not known to have married); Umm Salama (childless); and Ruqayya (not known to have married).[139]

Appearance and morality[edit]

The first three Shiite Imams- Ali with his sons Hasan and Husayn, illustration from a Qajar manuscript, Iran, 1837-38 (gouache on paper)

Hasan is described as a personage who most closely resembled his grandfather, Muhammad. He is sometimes described as good orator, although, according to Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani, he had a defect in his speech, inherited from one of his uncles. He is also described as being Halim (never lost his temper), generous and pious (made many pilgrimages on foot).[140] Hasan named two of his sons, Muhammad, after his grandfather, which, according to Madelung, shows that he patterned his self-image after Muhammad, rather Ali.[141] According to Vaglieri, "love of peace, distaste for politics and its dissensions, the desire to avoid widespread bloodshed", could be accepted as motivations for Hasan's abdication, however he has been criticized by some of his followers who believed Hasan have humiliated Muslims by giving in to Muawiya. According to Vaglieri, the Hadith: "This my son is a lord by means of whom God will one day reunite two great factions of Muslims", which is narrated from Muhammad, accordingly could be purported to justify Hasan's lack of resistance as a merit.[142]

According to Momen, among Shia Imams, no one has been criticized by western historians as vigorously as Hasan. He has been accused of being "uxorious, unintelligent, incapable and lover of luxury"; also for giving in to Mu'awiay without fight.[143] According to Madelung, Hasan's readiness to divorce, which brought about the title Mitlaq (the divorcer) for him, cannot be viewed as an "inordinate appetite for sexual diversion". Madelung makes some examples to show that Hasan "comes across as endowed with both a concern for dignified propriety and a spirit of forbearing conciliatoriness, an important aspect of the hilm of the true sayyid."[144] For instant, Hasan divorced Hafsa, the grand daughter of Abu Bakr, when she was accused by al-Mundhir (see Hasan ibn Ali#In Medina) out of a sense of "propriety", although he still loved her. But when al-Mundhir married her and it became revealed that the accusations were false, Hasan visited the couple, but quickly forgave al-Mundhir, as he recognized that his rival had lied out of his love for Hafsa. Hasan showed his continuous affection for Hafsa by visiting her in a proper company of her nephew.[145]

Having returning Khawla to her father (see Hasan ibn Ali#In Medina), while her father had no right over her (since she had other marriages previously); his readiness to divorce Hind when he saw signs of a renewed love in her previous husband; advising his younger brother, Husayn, to marry Umm Ishaq after he died; are also considered as the signs Hasan's affection for others regardless of their mistreatment.[146] When he was poisoned, he refused to reveal the suspect to his brother, Husayn.[147]


In sources such as Al-Isabah by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, who reported the narrations of Hassan along with Muhammad, Hasan is mentioned as the companion of the Prophet. The main part of these hadiths has been left in the form of the Prophet's biography, which was mostly questions and answers by Hassan and his companions about the Prophet's actions. Sometimes Hassan, without asking anyone, gave instructions based on the Prophet's manners, which are mentioned in the sources. In addition, his narrations of the Prophet have been mentioned in Sunni and Shia sources, which have been used in Islamic jurisprudence, and Sunni jurists such as Al-Shafi'i have used his narrations in different Fields of jurisprudence.[148]

From the rijali-historical point of view, Hasan is in the position of the companions of the Prophet and Ali ibn Abi Talib. Sunni sources have considered him as a narrator and in the traditional classification of masters and students, they have mentioned Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatemeh Zahra among the masters of Hassan; as Ibn Asakir did in his History of Damascus. Hassan's teachings from his ancestor and father have been widely reflected in various topics, especially in Shia sources, and the series of narrations from Hussein's students. Also the transmission of the knowledge of Imamate in the form of the concept of guardianship and Imamate from Adam to Khatam and then to Mahdi has been discussed.[149]

On the other hand, in the sources of Biographical evaluation and the like, there is a list of people who narrate from him, which includes various groups, especially the young companions of Muhammad and the first generation of Tabi'un. In Sunni sources, Hassan Muthanna, Sajjad, Muhammad al-Baqir, Abdullah son of Sajjad, Aisha, Ikrima, Ibn Sirin, Jubayr ibn Nafir, Hibra ibn Yarim, Sufyan ibn Layl and Abu al-Hawra Rabia ibn Shayban Saadi are mentioned as his narrators. Among them, in addition to Hassan Muthanna, Abu al-Hawra has narrated the most narrations. Another group of Hassan's companions were those who were among his contemporaries, and who were only present with him or were a form of communication between them. Some of these people are: Jabir ibn Abd Allah, Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Abbas, Harith Hamedani, Sharih Qazi, Hudhayfah bin Asid, Habib ibn Madhahir and Sulayman ibn Surad, some of whom were companions and some of whom were Tabi'un.[150]


There are narrations, sermons and letters from Hasan ibn Ali, that are found in Sunni and Shia sources. His scattered narrations include the traditional biographies of Muhammad, Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatemeh Zahra, the position of the Ahl al-Bayt and the Shia Imams. His narrations have been collected in collections entitled "Musnad al-Hasan" (Arabic: مُسنَدُ الْحَسَن‎) or "Hadith al-Hasan" (Arabic: حَدیثُ الْحَسَن‎) among the collection of hadith books. An example of that is the narrations of Abu al-Hawra in the Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Al-Mu'jam al-Kabir. In the present era, Azizullah Atardi has compiled the Musnad al-Imām al-Mujtabā abi Muhammad al-Hassan ibn Ali (Arabic: مُسنَدُ الإمامِ الْمُجْتَبیٰ أبی مُحَمَّدِ الْحَسَنِ بنِ علی‎).[151]

Among the sermons of Hassan ibn Ali are his sermons on the events after the assassination of Ali ibn Abi Talib. The other part includes his speeches in the presence of Mu'awiyah and the elders of the people, which are especially political issues, issues concerning caliphate and issues leading to peace. Most of the surviving works of Hassan ibn Ali belong to his sermons. The context of sermons is responding to the companions' request to describe and explain a subject of belief, preaching and guidance, encouraging people to fight and describing the Ahl al-Bayt and expressing their position. His will to his brother Husayn, especially at the time of his death, is mentioned in sources in which he also tried to explain the position of the Ahl al-Bayt. Hassan Ibn Ali's letters to politicians, scholars, governors of Islamic lands and others are some of his other works. Hassan's letters to Mu'awiyah after the assassination of Ali and letters about peace events are examples of his doctrinal and political positions. There are also letters addressed to Amr ibn al-As and Ziyad ibn Abihi advising them to return to the path of justice. Apart from these, there are some short sentences about topics such as intellect and knowledge, communication with scholars, friendship of Ahl al-Bayt, moral and human attributes such as forgiveness and mercy, which are mentioned in sources, especially in Tuhaf al-Uqul by Ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani.[152]

In Quran and Hadiths[edit]

In Quran[edit]

The calligraphy of the names of Ahl al-Kisa and two Hadiths of the Prophet of Islam on the cloth, probably belonging to Iran or Central Asia

The verse of Mubahalah was revealed before the event of Mubahalah, according which Quran instructed Muhammad to engage in Mubahalah (mutual cursing) with the Christians who did not accepted Islamic doctorin (concerning Jesus)[153] "referring the matter to God and calling down God's curse on whomever was the liar." The contest was set for the next day, when people were witness Muhammad came out with only Ali, Faitmah, Hasan and Husayn, who stood under his cloak, after which Muhammad, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn became famous as the Family of the Cloak.[154] Thus the designation, the Family of the Cloak, is also sometimes connected to the Event of Mubahala.[p].[155]

The Christians asked him why he had not brought the leader of his religion; so he replied he was instructed by God to do so.[156] The Quranic verse "God wishes only to remove taint from you, people of the Household, and to make you utterly pure." is also attributed to this event. [q] The context in which this verse is revealed is related in general to the wives of the Prophet, however, Shia commentators are in agreement that The verse of purification, includes only to Ali, fatimah and their descendants, who are also referred to as the People of the Household.[r][157]

In Hadiths[edit]

There are many narrations showing the respect of Muhammad toward his grandsons, including the statements that his two grandsons "will be the Sayyids (chiefs)[158] of the young in Paradise" [s][159][160] and that they were Imams, "whether they stand up or sit down",[t][91][30][161] and "He who has loved Hasan and Husayn, has loved me and he who has hated them has hated me."[162] Muhammad also reportedly predicted that Hasan would make peace between two factions of Muslims.[6] He also declared that Hasan along with his Brother, (Husayn), and his parents (Ali and Fatemeh), were the People of the House, free from all impurity. Both Sunnis and Shias also testify that Muhammad showed his affection towards Hasan in word and action, such as when he descended from the pulpit to pick up Hasan who had stumbled and fallen down.[163][164] It is narrated from Muahammad that while taking Hasan and Husay's hands, commented "whoever who loves me and loves these two and loves their mother and father, will be with me in my station on the Day of Resurrection.[u][165] Muhammad would let Hasan and Husayn to climb on his back while he was prostrating in his prayer.[166]

Views of Islamic religions[edit]

The Prophet, Ali, Husayn and Hasan in Paradise; Uthman, Umar and Abu Bakr are in the foreground. Miniature from a 17th century manuscript of Khavarnama, a poem on the deeds of 'Ali; Punjab (BL)

Both Shia and Sunni Muslims consider Al-Hasan to belong to the Ahl al-Bayt of Muhammad as one of the Ahl al-Kisa ("People of the Cloak") and participants of the Event of Mubahalah.[167]


Hassan's abdication caused debates on the possibility and conditions of ousting the Imam from the Imamate among the sects that considered the Imamate to be the will and allegiance of the people. The results of these discussions are related to the issue of the legitimacy of Mu'awiyah's caliphate. The Muʿtazila theologians, who, according to the foundations of their beliefs, did not recognize Mu'awiyah as the Imam, reasoned that Hasan ibn Ali remained Imam after the peace treaty with Muawiyah. Contrary to this approach, Sunni theologians, who recognized Mu'awiyah's caliphate, considered the peace treaty as Hassan's resignation from the position of Imamate.[168]

According to Muʿtazila, whenever the Imam performs a wrong deed after attaining the position of Imamate and the people's allegiance to him, so that he loses the qualification of Imamate and does not express remorse and repentance from his deed, he can not be considered an Imam; Otherwise, the Imam has no right to resign from his position or pledge allegiance to another person. According to Al-Qadi Abd al-Jabbar, Hasan, based on his Ijtihad, concluded that if he started the war with Mu'awiyah, his companions would abandon him and would not help him; Therefore, in Hassan's peace with Mu'awiyah, no wrongdoing took place and he was forced to make peace with Mu'awiyah due to compulsion and fear.[169]

According to Al-Jubba'i, the allegiance of Hasan to Mu'awiyah was carried out because the fear of the victory of the Levant Army and the killing caused Hasan to have no choice but to pledge allegiance. Al-Jubba'i believes that in case of "reluctance", meaning, paying allegiance due to pressure and coercion, allegiance and non-allegiance are equal and have no validity; Just as a person will not become a disbeliever if he utters disbelief in order to save his life, the Imam can also utter allegiance but disbelieve in it in his heart. Jubba'i adds; People like Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, Sa'id bin Zayd and Abdullah ibn Umar also pledged allegiance to Mu'awiyah in the same way; Also, due to the fact that the situation did not change until the death of Hassan, he was not able to regain political power. Ibn Mulahmi, one of the disciples of Abu al-Husayn al-Basri, confirms the reluctance of Hasan's allegiance to Mu'awiyah and says: How can it be imagined that Hasan, who wanted to fight Mu'awiyah to take allegiance from him, agreed to take allegiance without reluctance.[169] On the other hand, the Sunnis confirm his peace treaty with Mu'awiya, by quoting a hadith from the Prophet about the establishment of peace between two great factions by Hasan. By legitimizing the caliphate of Mu'awiyah, they consider the peace treaty to be a voluntary abdication and resignation from the caliphate and Imamate; for, they considered his action to be pleasing to God; as they named the history of the peace treaty, the "ʿĀm al-JamĀ'ah" (Arabic: عام الجماعة‎, congregational year). According to the Sunnis, people are not allowed to oust an Imam, and the Imam himself will not have the right to do so if he is aware of the divisiveness and weakness of Muslim affairs due to his resignation from the Imamate. The Sunnis believe that if the Imam knows that resigning from the Imamate and the Caliphate is in the interest of the Muslims and prevents their killing, he can resign from his position. This theory means that Hassan did not make peace because of the lack of help from the people, but voluntarily preferred peace to war.[169]

A group of Sunnis cite a narration from the Prophet of Islam, who predicted the caliphate after him, to be thirty years; according which, the few months of the caliphate of Hassan ibn Ali completed the thirty years of the caliphate. Accordingly, Hassan ibn Ali has been considered one of the Rashidun caliphs by a group of Sunni scholars.[v][116]


Illustration of Ali with Hasan and Husayn. Next to them, one of the poles of Sufism, Noor Ali Shah Nematullah.

Al-Hasan is regarded by all Shias as the second infallible Imam, who was designated by his father, Ali, to succeed him the position.[170] According to Shia, theirs was the only house that archangel Gabriel allowed to have a door to the courtyard of al-Masjid an-Nabawi.[6] According to the Shias, the Imamate of Hassan is based on Nass of the Prophet and Ali. While confirming Hasan's peace, the Shias do not consider his resignation from the political position to be detrimental to his position of Imamate, and that he is the Imam until the end of his life and the transfer of Imamate to Husayn, and his obedience is obligatory. Shias believe that Hasan's Imamate was not at the disposal of the people, and in principle, the Imamate is not transmitted to another person through allegiance to another person or the voluntary resignation of the Imam; as Al-Qadi al-Nu'man, an Ismaili theologian, believed.[171]

Shia theologians, in order to explain the cause of Hassan's peace, examine and narrate the events leading to peace. They cite the disintegration of Hasan's corps, abandonment of Hassan by his allies, as well as the looting of his property, and the assassination attempt on his life, as reasons for peace. In addition, the attribute of infallibility for the Imam is another reason given by the Shias for Hassan's righteousness. According to Sharif al-Murtaza, Hassan ibn Ali reluctantly agreed to peace. The factor of reluctance caused Shias to interpret Hassan's action as Taqiya. Also, the allegiance of Hassan was considered as his consent to the end of the war. Hence, Shia theologians have interpreted the peace of Hassan with words such as "mohādena" and "mo'āhede" (Arabic: مهادَنة و معاهَدَة‎, the acceptance of the ceasefire). Muhammad ibn Bahr al-Shaybani, says, according to sources, Mu'awiyah did not comply with any of the articles of the "treaties", indicating that this compromise was a treaty and not an allegiance. Therefore, this peace did not cause Mu'awiyah to reach a higher position than the Imam, so obedience to him was not necessary for Hassan ibn Ali. The conditions set by Hassan ibn Ali are proof of this statement. Sheibani continues: The fact that one of the conditions of peace was that Mu'awiyah do not call himself "Amir al-Mu'minin" is the reason why he did not consider Mu'awiyah worthy of the caliphate; also, when Mu'awiyah invited Hassan to join him in the war with the Kharijites, Hassan did not accept it, which indicates that Hassan ibn Ali did not recognize Mu'awiyah's caliphate.[172]

According to Vaglieri, Hasan's abdication, being criticized by his followers, did not affects his position as Imam, for, it was springing from his personal merits, his detachment from worldly matters, and his miracles.[173] It is narrated that "as a member of the sacred group consisting of Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, himself and al-Husayn, al-Hasan shared their prerogatives: creation as images of light thousands of years before the creation of the world, the sending of light into Adam's loins and thereafter into the loins and the wombs of the forebears of the Five."[174]


According to Donaldson, compared to other Shia Imams, an smaller number of miracles are attributed to Hasan, which Vaglieri disagree. Some of these mentioned miracles go as follow: At the time of his birth, Hasan recited Quran and praised God; he made an old tree to produce ripe palm; he asked God to send food to 70 passengers, and the food did not diminish; and he made a dead man alive.[175][176]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hasan remained caliph for six months, and it is mentioned in the History of the Caliphs by Al-Suyuti that Muhammad had predicted that "The caliphate after me will be for thirty years." Thus, according to al-Bukhari, since Muhammad died in the year 11 A.H., and Hasan abdicated in the year 40 A.H., Hasan was Muhammad's rightly successor.[6]
  2. ^ Quran, 3: 59.
  3. ^ Quran, 3: 61.
  4. ^ Quran, 33:40
  5. ^ See Goldziher, Muhammedanische Studien, II, 105-6; Y. Friedmann, 'Finality of Prophethood in Sunni Islam', JSAI, 7 (1986), 177-215, at 187-9.[58]
  6. ^ Quran, 42:23
  7. ^ Quran, 2:216
  8. ^ Quran, 21:111
  9. ^ See also Ibn Abi l-Hadld, Shark, XVI, 15; Abu al-Faraj, Maqdtil, 70.[91][92]
  10. ^ See Ya'qubi; vol.ll, p.192; Abu'l-Fida, vol.l, p.183.[91]
  11. ^ Al-Baladhuri, Ansab, III, 47.
  12. ^ See Mas'oodi, Vol 2: Page 47, Tāreekh - Abul Fidā Vol 1 : Page 182, Iqdul Fareed - Ibn Abd Rabbāh Vol 2, Page 11, Rawzatul Manazir - Ibne Shahnah Vol 2, Page 133, Tāreekhul Khamees, Husayn Dayarbakri Vol 2, Page 238, Akbarut Tiwal - Dinawari Pg 400, Mawātilat Talibeyeen - Abul Faraj Isfahāni, Isti'ab - Ibne Abdul Birr.
  13. ^ These reports are also accepted by the major Sunnite historians Al-Waqidi, Al-Mada'ini, ‘Umar ibn Shabba, Al-Baladhuri and al-Haytham ibn ‘Adi.[100]
  14. ^ See also Ebn Saa'd, p. 68.
  15. ^ See al-Madāʾeni, in Ebn Abi'l-Ḥadid, XVI, pp. 21-22.
  16. ^ see L. Massignon, La Mubahala de Médine et l’hyperdulie de Fatima, Paris, 1935; idem, “Mubāhala,” EI1, supplement, p. 150
  17. ^ see, for example, ṢaḥīḥMoslem, English tr. by A. H. Siddiqui, Lahore, 1975, IV, pp. 1293-94
  18. ^ see S. M. Ḥ. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qorʾān, Beirut, 1393/1973, XVI, p. 311)
  19. ^ Although its authenticity was disputed by Marwan ibn Hakam
  20. ^ Allusion to whether they occupy the external function of caliphate or not. See also Irshad, p. 181; Ithbat al-hudat, vol. V, pp. 129 and 134.
  21. ^ See also:Tirmidhi, Sunan, Vol.2, p.301
  22. ^ See Al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Kulifa, P. 191; al-Bukhari, 53/9; Al-Tirmidhi, 46/30; in which narrated from Muhammad who took little Hasan with him into the pulpit and said people: Verily this son of mine is a prince, and perchance the Lord will unite through his means the two contending parties of the Muslims.[116]



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External links[edit]

Hasan ibn Ali
of the Ahl al-Bayt
Clan of the Banu Quraish
Born: 15 Ramadhān AH 3 1 December 624 CE Died: 5 Rabi' al-awwal AH 50 1 April 670 CE
Shia Islam titles
Preceded by
Ali ibn Abu Talib
1st Imam of Isma'ili Shi'a
2nd Imam of Sevener, Twelver, and Zaydi Shi'a
Succeeded by
Husayn ibn Ali
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Ali ibn Abu Talib
Caliph of Islam
5th Rashidun

Succeeded by
Muawiyah I