The Second Imam; Hassan ibn `Ali

The Second Imam; Hassan ibn `Ali

Birth and Martyrdom

Imam Hassan (`a) was born on fifteenth of Ramadan in the third year after Hijrah in Medina. His father was Ali Ibn Abi Talib (`a) and his mother was Fatimah (s), Prophet Muhammad’s (s) daughter. His nickname was Abu Muhammad and his most famous titles were Taqi, Tayyib, Zaki, Sayyid, Sibt, and Wali.

At the time of Imam Hassan’s (`a) birth, the Messenger of Allah (s) told ‘Asma’ Binti Umays and Ummi Salamah, “When the child of Fatimah (s) was born, recite ‘adhan in his right ear and ‘iqamah in his left ear and stay there until I come.”

When Prophet Muhammad (s) went to Fatimah’s (s) house, he cut the infant’s navel cord and poured his saliva into the infant’s mouth. Then he said, ‘Allahumma ‘inni ‘a’udhu bika minash Shaytanir rajim, “O Lord! I take refuge in You from the ousted Satan.” Then Prophet Muhammad (s) stated, “Name him Hassan!” He then ordered to sacrifice a sheep for him as ‘aqiqah and divide the meat among the poor.

This auspicious birth gladdened not only Prophet Muhammad (s), Imam Ali (`a), and Hadrat Fatimah (s), but also the prophet’s household. Imam Hassan (`a) lived for seven years with his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (s). He was appointed to Imamate after his father, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (`a), at the age thirty seven. His caliphate –after Imam Ali’s (`a) martyrdom until his peace with Mu’awiyah– lasted six months and three days.

In the year forty one after Hijrah, Imam Hassan (`a) inevitably signed a peace contract with Mu’awiyah. Then he returned from Kufah to Medina. On twenty eighth of Safar in the year fifty A.H., he was martyred and his gravesite is in Baqi’ cemetery in Medina.

It is recorded that Mu’awiyah sent one hundred thousand dirhams for Ju’dah, Imam Hassan’s (`a) wife, to poison Imam (`a). Mu’awiyah had promised Ju’dah to marry her with his son, Yazid, and she poisoned Imam Hassan (`a).[224]

Texts Proving His Imamate

In many traditions, the honorable Messenger of Allah (s) has stipulated the Imamate of Hassan (`a) and Hussayn (`a). Ali Ibn Abi Talib (`a), too, chose his son, Hassan (`a) as the Imam and successor after himself, before his martyrdom.

The Messenger of Allah (s) stated about Hassan (`a) and Hussayn (`a), “My two sons will be Imams, whether they rise for occupying Imamate position or not.”[225]

Imam Sadiq (`a) stated, “Prophet Muhammad (s) willed to Imam Ali (`a), and Imam Ali (`a) willed to Hassan (`a) and Hussayn (`a). Therefore, Imam Hassan (`a) had guardianship over Imam Hussayn (`a), too.”[226]

Salim Ibn Qiys says, “I witnessed the will of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (`a) about succession of Imam Hassan (`a). Imam Ali (`a) took as witness Hussayn (`a), Prophet Muhammad (s), his entire Household, and the Shi’ah chiefs. Then he gave Imam Hassan (`a) his books and weapon and said, ‘O my son! The Messenger of Allah (s) ordered me to appoint you as my successor and give you the books and weapon, just as he appointed me as his successor and gave me his books and weapon.’”[227]

Shahr Ibn Huwshab says, “When Ali Ibn Abi Talib (`a) wanted to go toward Kufah, he gave his books and weapon to Ummi Salamah. When Imam Hassan (`a) returned from Kufah to Medina, Ummi Salamah gave them to him.”[228]

Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyah told Ali Ibn Hussayn (`a), “I know that Prophet Muhammad (s) appointed Ali Ibn Abi Talib (`a) as his successor and caliph and then Imam Hassan (`a) and then Imam Hussayn (`a).”[229]

Tariq Ibn Shahab says, “Amiral Mu’minin (`a) told Hassan (`a) and Hussayn (`a), ‘You will be the Imams after me and the masters of youth of Paradise. You are infallible. May Allah guard you! May Allah curse your enemies!’”[230]

Fazl Ibn Hassan Tabarsi has written in his book ‘A’lamul Wura, “The Shi’ah have frequently narrated that Imam Ali (`a) had emphasized the Imamate of his son, Hassan (`a), among the Shi’ah, introducing him as the successor to himself.”[231]

In the morning of his martyrdom day, Imam Hassan (`a) performed a sermon. Then Abdullah Ibn Abbas stood up and said, “O people! This is the son of your prophet (s) and will be your successor and Imam. Take oath of allegiance with him.” The people hurried to take allegiance with him.[232]

Abu ‘Abdullah Jadali said, “I was present when Amiral Mu’minin (`a) willed to his son Hassan (`a).” Then he quoted Imam Ali’s (`a) will.[233]

When Amiral Mu’minin (`a) was hit by the sword of Ibn Muljam and the people had gathered around his bed, he told them, “Go out, because I want to will.” So everyone went out except some of the close Shi’ahs. Then Imam Ali (`a) praised the Exalted Allah and said, “I set Hassan and Hussayn (`a) as my successors. Obey them, because Prophet Muhammad (s) has stressed their Imamate.”[234]

‘Asbagh Ibn Nabatah says, “When Amiral Mu’minin (`a) was hit by Ibn Muljam, he called Hassan and Hussayn (`a) and said, ‘I pass away tonight. Listen to me! O Hassan! You are my successor and the Imam after me. O Hussayn! You will be my successor too. Obey Hassan until he is alive. You will be the teller of truth and establisher of government after your brother.’”[235]


It is narrated from Kamalid Din Talhah, “Worshipping is of three kinds; physical, financial, and a combination of the two. Physical worship includes prayer, fasting, reciting the Quran, and various zikrs. Financial worship includes alms-giving, charity giving, and other forms of granting. Physical-financial worship includes hajj, jihad, and ‘umurah.”

Imam Hassan’s worship was perfect in all the three forms. His endeavor in prayer, fasting, and the like is famous.

Regarding his alms-giving, it is narrated in Hilyatul ‘Awliya’ that Imam Hassan (`a) granted his whole wealth twice in his lifetime in Allah’s path. He also divided his property with the poor three times, granting half his wealth to the poor altogether, including his own shoes.

Regarding the physical-financial worship, the author of Hilyatul ‘Awliya’ has narrated from Imam Hassan (`a), “I am ashamed of the Almighty Allah that I ride a horse in hajj pilgrimage, rather than walking toward Mecca.” Therefore, he traveled from Medina to Mecca for hajj on foot twenty times, while he had quadruped.[236]

It is written, “Hassan Ibn Ali (`a) was the most similar one to the Messenger of Allah (s) regarding ethics, conduct, and nobility.”[237]

Imam Sadiq (`a) has quoted from his father from Imam Sajjad (`a), “Hassan Ibn Ali (`a) was the best most pious of the people in his own age. In hajj pilgrimage, he traveled on foot and sometimes barefooted. He cried when he remembered death. When he remembered the grave, the Resurrection, the Hereafter, or passing sirat (the path to Paradise), he wept. When he remembered statement of human deeds before the Almighty Allah, he cried and fainted. When he stood for prayer, his body shook from Allah’s fear. When he remembered the Hell and the Paradise he agonized like a snake-bitten. He requested the Paradise from the Exalted Allah and took refuge in Him from the Hell.” [238]

When he reached the verse ‘O You who believe!’, he said, “Here I am! O Allah! Here I am!” He always remembered Allah. He was the most righteous and the most eloquent of the people.[239]

Imam Riza (`a) has narrated from his father and grandfathers (`a) that Imam Hassan (`a) cried before his demise. He was asked, “O son of Messenger of Allah! Do you cry out of Allah’s fear while you had a lofty position before the Messenger of Allah (s), went to hajj barefooted twenty times, and divided your wealth with the poor three times?!” Imam Hassan (`a) stated, “My crying is for two things; for fear of the Resurrection and for distance of the friends.”[240]

When Imam Hassan (`a) reached the mosque door, he raised his head and stated, “’Ilahi! Zayfuka bi babik! Ya Muhsin! Qad ‘atakal musi’, fatajawaz ‘an qabihi ma ’indi bi jamili ma ‘indaka, ya Karim!” (O Allah! Your guest has come to Your door! O Beneficent! Surely Your sinner servant has come to You, so forgive me my wrongdoing because of Your Righteousness, O generous!)[241]

When Imam Hassan (`a) ended his Morning Prayer, he did not talk to anyone until dawn.[242]


Imam Sadiq (`a) stated, “A man came to ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan in the mosque and had a request. ‘Uthman gave him five dirhams. That man said, ‘Introduce me to the people who can help me more.’ ‘Uthman showed him a corner of the mosque in which Hassan (`a), Hussayn (`a), and Abdullah Ibn Ja’far had sat. The man went there, said hello, and asked for help.”

Imam Hassan (`a) stated, ‘Asking request from the people is unlawful, except in case of blood money of a murdered person, a debt that is due to be paid, and extreme poorness. What is your request?’ That man answered, ‘It is one of these three cases.’ Imam Hassan (`a) gave him fifty dirhams, Imam Hussayn (`a) gave him forty nine dirhams, and Abdulla"h Ibn Ja’far gave him forty eight dirhams."

‘Uthman said, ‘Who can be as generous as these youth? They have learned knowledge from their father and received wisdom and generosity.’”[243]

Sa’id Ibn Abdul ‘Aziz says, “Hassan Ibn Ali (`a) saw a man who prayed and asked ten thousand dirhams from the Almighty Allah. So he went home and sent the praying man ten thousand dirhams.” [244]

A man came to Imam Hassan (`a) and said, “By Allah, Who has granted you so many blessings without a mediator, save me from this oppressor enemy who does not respect the elderly nor does he have mercy on the children!” Imam Hassan (`a), who had leaned, sat up and asked, “Who is your enemy?” That man answered, “Poorness!”

Imam Hassan (`a) told his servant, “Bring me whatever money we have at home!” The servant brought five thousand dirhams. Imam Hassan (`a) said, “Give all the money to this man!” Then he added, “By Allah that whenever this enemy forced you, come to me for help!”

Ibn ‘ªyishah has narrated that a Shami[245] man saw Imam Hassan (`a) riding a horse. He began insulting, but Imam Hassan (`a) did not talk until the man stopped swearing. Imam Hassan (`a) said hello to him and said, “O old gentleman! I think you are a stranger and have made a mistake about me. If you seek my forgiveness, I forgive you. If you ask something, I will give it to you. If you want to be guided, I will guide you. If you do not have an animal to ride, I will give you one. If you are hungry, I will give you food. If you do not have clothes, I will give you. If you are poor I will make you needless. If you are ousted, I will shelter you. If you bring your luggage to my house, I will be very glad to host you; my house is large and equipped.”

The Shami man heard Imam’s (`a) speech, and then he cried and said, “I testify that you are Allah’s caliph on the earth. ‘God knoweth best where (and how) to carry out His mission.’[246] You and your father were the most hated people for me before. But now you are my most beloved ones.”

Then that man took his luggage to Imam Hassan’s (`a) house, stayed there, and became one of Imam’s (`a) fans and companions.[247]

[224] ‘A’lamul Wura, Vol 1, p. 402-403; Manaqib ‘ªli Abi Talib, Vol 4, p. 33; Kashful Ghumma, Vol 2, pp. 140-144.
[225] ‘Ithbatul Hudat, Vol 5, p. 134.
[226] Ibid, p. 126.
[227] Ibid, p. 126.
[228] ‘Ithbatul Hudat, Vol 5, p. 122.
[229] ‘Ithbatul Hudat, Vol 5, p. 123.
[230] Ibid, p. 133.
[231] Tadhkiratul Khawas, Vol 5, p. 133.
[232] ‘Ithbatul Hudat, Vol 5, p. 134.
[233] Ibid, p. 137.
[234] Ibid, p. 138.
[235] ‘Ithbatul Hudat, Vol 5, p. 140.
[236] Kashful Ghummah, Vol 2, p. 181.
[237] Ibid, p. 142.
[238] Biharul Anwar, Vol 43, p. 331.
[239] Ibid.
[240] Ibid, p. 332.
[241] Ibid, p. 339.
[242] Ibid.
[243] Biharul Anwar, Vol 43, p. 332.
[244] Ibid, p. 341.
[245] From Sham (now Syria).
[246] Surah Al-‘An’am (6)124: .
[247] Biharul Anwar, Vol 43, p. 344.