Martyrdom Anniversary of Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS)
Today the 28th of the month of Safar, which is the passing away anniversary of the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), also happens to be the day on which his elder grandson and 2nd Infallible Heir, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS) was martyred 39 years later in 50 AH.
The Prophet, who had foretold the tragedy of Karbala and how his younger grandson Imam Husain (AS), would rise against an openly Godless tyrant in order to save Islam by giving his lifeblood, had also said that his elder grandson, Imam Hasan (AS), would unmask the hypocrisy of an ungodly charlatan, by giving away political rule of a vast realm, in order to save the Ummah from unwarranted bloodshed and discord.
Today the 28th of Safar the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hasan (AS), makes us recall his “Great Sacrifice” he offered in relinquishing the reins of the caliphate for the acquisition of which his archenemy Mu’awiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan had resorted to every lie and deceit, including shedding of Muslim blood and spreading of sins in society.
Imam Hasan (AS), whose spiritual authority was God-given and far above any election, selection, nomination and defection of masses, thus showed the worthlessness of the dubious institution of the caliphate for which in the coming generations every vicious power-hungry ruler would stake claim, plunging Muslims into wars, bloodshed, and misery.
This masterstroke of peace by Imam Hasan (AS) not only saved Islam and its ethereal teachings from any defilement, but ensured till the end of the world the prime position of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt as the barometers of faith.
Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS) was a picture of piety, worship, humbleness, bravery, and magnanimity. His most prominent characteristic was generosity. It is said that he never rejected a requester. When asked why he did not excuse himself from giving to others, Imam Hasan (AS) answered: I myself am a beseecher in the Divine Court, so how can I turn down the request of those who approach me.
The renowned Sunni Muslim scholar and exegete of the holy Qur’an, Zamakhshari, in his book “Rabi-al Abrar” has narrated from the Prophet’s servant Anas Ibn Malek, who says: I was in the service of Hasan Ibn Ali (AS) when a slave came and gifted a flower to him, and got the reply: You are free in the path of God. Anas says I asked him the reason for such generosity, and he replied by reciting ayah 86 of Surah Nisa’ where God Almighty has said:
"When you are greeted with a salute, greet with a better one than it, or return it; indeed Allah takes account of all things"
Imam Hasan (AS) then told Anas that granting freedom was better than the mere greeting of the slave, and that is the reason I emancipated him. In Munificence and forgiveness, Imam Hassan (AS) was the master of his time and the hope of the desperate. Like the Prophet and Imam Ali (AS), he was a model of simplicity, sincerity, piety, generosity, knowledge, compassion, bravery and truth. His virtues are beyond description. His table was always spread out for the poor sections of the society and on more than two occasions, he distributed his possessions among the needy.
In 40 AH, following the martyrdom of his father, Imam Ali (AS) while engrossed in prayer in the mosque of Kufa in this blessed month of Ramadhan, Imam Hasan (AS) became caliph of a realm that extended from Central Asia to North Africa and which now includes over twenty countries. It was a critical period in Islamic history, as Mu’awiyah the rebellious governor of Syria was deceiving the people of Iraq with bribes. Imam Hasan (AS) aware of the flimsy faith of the Kufans, who could not be counted to rally to his defence if the need for military confrontation arose, decided to unmask hypocrisy by relinquishing the caliphate. He did not want unnecessary bloodshed and loss of life. On taking this decision, he entered the Mosque of Kufa and said:
“O people! Surely the pious is the cleverest of the clever, while the sinful is the most foolish of the foolish. By Allah, if you search for a man whose grandfather is Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, between the east and the west, you would not find him other than me and other than my brother Husain. You have come to know that Allah has guided you through my grandfather (Prophet) Mohammad, may Allah bless him and his family. So He has saved you from misguidance through him, raised you from ignorance through him, strengthened you after the abasement through him… Mu’awiya has disputed with me about a right that belongs to me, with the exclusion of him. So I have considered that which sets right the community and puts an end to the discord. You had pledged allegiance to me provided that you should make peace with whom I make peace with and fight him whom I fight. So I think I have to make peace with Mu’awiya and to put an end to the war between him and me… I think that sparing blood is better than shedding it. Through that I do not want anything except setting you right and your survival. I know that that may be a trial for you and a provision for a time.”
This is how Imam Hasan (AS) addressed the Kufans in a speech that has been preserved till this day as a testament of his right and truthful nature, while exposing at the same time the falsehood of Mu’awiya and all those imposters who styled themselves as caliphs in history.
No doubt, Islam will forever remain indebted to the Infallible Progeny of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), whom God describes as Repositories of Divine Knowledge in the holy Qur’an, and whose mission was to safeguard Islam and humanitarian values, as per needs of the times, whether through foregoing their rights, or foregoing their life as well – as Imam Husain (AS) did at Karbala. Moreover, Imam Hasan (AS), as the divinely decreed heir of the Prophet and Imam Ali (AS), was aware that civil war would provide the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire, with a chance to attack Palestine and occupy Bayt al-Moqaddas. In view of these undeniable facts, Imam Hasan (AS) indeed made a uniquely wise move to save Islam and Muslims.
But the crafty Mua’awiya was not content to rest until he had Imam Hasan (AS) removed completely from the scene. He was afraid of doing openly bodily harm to the Prophet’s grandson, and in 50 AH provided a fatal dose of poison to a treacherous woman who contaminated the water placed in a jug for the Imam.
Imam Hasan (AS) writhed in pain and began to vomit blood, along with pieces of his liver which the deadly dose of poison splintered. His body, as per his will, was taken to the sacred Jannat al-Baqi Cemetery for burial, but on the way the Omayyads targeted his coffin with arrows with some piercing his lifeless body.