In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate - - - Earlier today on the doleful day of Safar 28, you listened to a special feature on the Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). Since today also happens to be the martyrdom anniversary of his elder grandson, here we present an exclusive feature on Imam Hasan Mojtaba (PuH).
It was Divine Providence that in 50 AH, on the 39th anniversary of the Prophet’s passing away, his elder grandson had to leave the world, a martyr, on being fatally poisoned on the orders of Mu’awiyyah ibn Abu Sufyan – who, not content with the mere seizure of the caliphate, was intent upon violating the letter and spirit of the holy Qur’an by reviling the Ahl al-Bayt and forging hadith. Imam Hasan (PuH) needs no introduction. As heir to the political legacy of his father, Imam Ali (PuH), and as the Prophet’s 2nd Infallible Successor, he succeeded in unmasking hypocrisy. At a time when the beliefs of Muslims were confounded, as a result of their negligence of the memorable event of Ghadeer and their ignoring of the famous Hadith of Thaqalayn, he decided against war, since the Iraqis who formed the core of his supporters had succumbed to the threats and bribes of the rebellious governor of Syria. He thus resorted to the masterstroke of diplomacy by handing over the political rule of the vast realm to his opponent on clear terms and conditions, as specified by the Treaty, fully aware that all its clauses would be violated by the Charlatan Mu’awiyyah, who contrary to the expectations of the deceived Muslim masses, would unleash a reign of terror.
The 28th of Safar, if it saddens our hearts, it also draws our attention to the vital issue of continuation of divine guidance for human societies after the passing away of the Last and Greatest Prophet – especially when past history and present events are a pathetic tale of how terrorists, mass murderers, and Godless elements have masqueraded as caliphs and forced Muslims to pay allegiance to their caliphate. The Prophet of Islam was not a king to tighten dynastic tentacles on temporal power, but neither was Abraham, yet God entrusted the mission for guidance of human societies after him to his two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, and ensured that prophet-hood continued among his offspring in answer to his prayer, as mentioned by the holy Qur’an in ayah 124 of Surah al-Baqarah:
“And when his Lord tested Abraham with certain words, and he fulfilled them, He said, ‘I am making you the Imam of mankind.’ Said he, ‘And from among my descendants?’ He said, ‘My pledge does not extend to the unjust.’”
As is crystal clear, in Qur’anic terminology, the “Imam” is an infallibly just Leader of mankind, who is both the spiritual and temporal guide. He is designated by God, and not elected, selected, or nominated by fallible persons. Now we understand why the Qur’an speaks of Solomon inheriting David, and John the Baptist being the heir of Zacharias. The Prophet of Islam, regarding whom the opening ayahs of Surah Najm say that he neither errs nor speaks by himself but whatever he says is revelation revealed by God, did not mince words, either when he proclaimed Imam Ali (PuH) his vicegerent at Ghadeer-Khom to a huge gathering of over a hundred thousand pilgrims, or when he told his companions about the God-given virtues of his two grandsons, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (peace upon them):
“These (grand)sons of mine are Imams (Leaders – Just, Infallible and Divinely-designated ), whether they rise or (decide to) sit.”
Sadly, no sooner did the Prophet leave the mortal world, Imam Ali (PuH) the divinely-designated heir, was cast aside, as a group of neo Muslims assembled at Saqifa Bani Sa’dah in Medina to seize the political power of the Islamic state in violation of the ayahs of the holy Qur’an, to style themselves caliph. In response to the grossly unjust act of persons who had spent the greater part of their life in sin and idolatry, the Prophet’s Daughter Hazrat Fatama Zahra (peace upon her) told them in her famous sermon of Fadak:
"Now hang firmly to this cheap dromedary of caliphate of yours and release it not. But beware! The hump of this camel is injured while there are blisters and holes in its feet. It carries the scars of ignominy and the sign of the wrath of Allah. Eternal shame is attached to it."
In 36 AH, Imam Ali (AS), on the pleas of the leaderless masses, reluctantly took the reins of political power and in the next four-and-a-half years presented to the world the model government of social justice, although he regarded the caliphate as more unworthy than the sneezing of a goat. On his martyrdom in 40 AH, it was left to his elder son, Imam Hasan (PuH), the next Imam of mankind, to further expose the ignominious nature of the caliphate in order to unmask hypocrisy, after repeated admonitions such as the following statement that had no effect, either on the rebel or those duped by him through threats and bribes.
“O Mu’awiyyah! Desist from falsehood and further revolt and pay allegiance to me like the masses have done, as you are well aware that I am entitled to caliphate much more than you in the eyes of Almighty God, his angels and those having a rational mind. So, you should fear God and abandon revolt. Do not shed the blood of Muslims.”
Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), who had foretold the tragedy of Karbala and how his younger grandson Imam Husain (PuH), 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 (PuH), would unmask the hypocrisy of a Godless charlatan, by giving away political rule of a vast realm, in order to save the Ummah from unwarranted bloodshed and discord. He thereby retired to Medina, away from the polluted atmosphere of the dirty politics of Kufa and Damascus. The Treaty of Imam Hasan (PuH) that Mu’awiyya blatantly violated was thus a masterstroke of peace to save the Muslim World at a time when Byzantine or the Eastern Roman Empire was looking for an opportunity to seize Bayt al-Moqaddas and Palestine, in case of civil war among Muslims. In Medina, the Imam engaged himself in the enlightening of the people with the genuine teachings of Islam, and in the next decade groomed a large number of scholars. This was also anathema to Mu’awiyyah, whose tyranny and ungodly rule was now fully exposed to the Muslims. The self-styled caliph now decided to remove the Imam from the scene. He conspired with a group of renegades, and with the help of the unfaithful Ja’da bint Ash’as, who was a consort of Imam Hasan (PuH), he instructed that the pitcher of water from which the Prophet’s grandson drank, should be poisoned.
This dastardly act had the desired effect on Imam Hasan (PuH), who writhed in pain and vomited blood along with fragments of his liver which the deadly poison had splintered. He wished that he be buried in the Jannat al-Baqie Cemetery. But alas when the coffin approached the shrine of the Prophet for its last salutations, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, the Omayyad governor of Medina, at the instigation of a seditious woman, ordered that arrows be shot at it. Thus, when arrows riddled the coffin and corpse of the Prophet’s elder grandson, it became clear to Muslims that the holy Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt are indeed inseparable, as specified by the Prophet in the famous Hadith Thaqalayn. In other words, it is their enemies who are against the letter and spirit of the Book of God, whose interpretation they have distorted, while claiming to be its reciters and memorizers – just as the Israelites have done with the Torah and the Evangel.
This further proved that only divinely-decreed Imamate can save Islam and Muslims and not the scandalous institution of then caliphate. Today, the Wahhabi heretics may have destroyed the grand mausoleum housing the blessed grave of Imam Hasan (PuH), but they have not been able to prevent the faithful all over the globe to tread the path so brilliantly blazed by the Prophet’s elder grandson. Please stay for a tribute in verse to Imam Hasan (PuH) by Iran’s English language poet, Dr. Hasan Najafi:
On God’s support he reclined
No insults, no tortures could hurt his mind.
He stood fast and let the enemies see
That fortitude is victory.
Your name the softest soother of the breast
Your love is the peace of mind, a lovely guest.
Your love takes us to the skies
In your love diminishes earth to our eyes.
Neither you are understood nor obeyed
In fact to you justice is long delayed.
The treaty with Mu’awiyya you concluded,
You victorious in relinquishing the caliphate, while he the defeated.
When he never abided by any term, any clause
Dawned on the people what faithless traitor Mu’awiyya was.
Do your enemies think to what ills they incline?
They only incur the wrath of the Divine.
Good Heaven! What sorrows gloomed that parting day
A malicious wife poisoned your tumbler of water – an evil way,
By rapid descending envious wave
Denied to you near the Prophet a grave,
Arrows showered at your coffin,
At the ranting of a hag of seditious origin,
In Baqie you were laid to rest eternal,
Alas, it was destroyed by the Wahhabi infernal,
O Blest Soul! Regardful of fate’s womb
Aerial hands shall rebuild your tomb.
You the theme of the Heavenly Scripture’s pages
Like the Qur’an you are alive in all ages.
Faith, truth, piety, sincerity, magnanimity assembled in you,
None could take away the virtues God gifted to you.
Under kinder sky where gentler manners reign
I turn, wherever I see your bright domain.
Would the world prize your wondrous power!
In pious trance, forgetful of the noontide hour,
A wanting pilgrim could want a larger pile
Exults and contended on your smile.
Force a churlish soil for parsley bread
To no avail unless towards “Generous of the House” tread,
Even today you do as the Prophet age-to-age charms
Redresses the clime and all its rage disarms.
We to you like a child when scaring noises molest
Clings closer to the mother’s breast!