Hasan ibn Ali

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".[8][9] 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[10][11] to end the First Fitna.[12] After Hasan's abdication, the caliphate turned into kingship.[13][14] Al-Hasan was known for donating to the poor, his kindness to the poor and bondsmen, and for his knowledge, tolerance and bravery.[15] 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.[10][11][16][17][18][19] He is also the common agnatic ancestor of both the House of Hashim, the House of Alawi, and the current House of Bolkiah.

Al-Hasan 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
(Sunni View)
PredecessorAli ibn Abi Talib
SuccessorMuawiyah I (as Umayyad caliph)
2nd Imam of Shia Islam
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)
    • Umm Kulthum bint al-Fadl bin al-Abbas
    • Khawla bint Manzoor
    • Umm Bashir bint Abi Mas'ud al-Ansari
    • Ja'da bint al-Ash'at
    • Umm Ishaq bint Talha bin Ubaydullah
    • Umm Farwa
Al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAlīy ibn Abī Ṭālib
Arabic: ٱلْحَسَن ٱبْن عَلِيّ ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب
TribeBanu Hashim (House of Ali)
FatherAli ibn Abi Talib
MotherFatimah bint Muhammad

Birth and early lifeEdit

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

When Al-Hasan was born in the year 624 CE, Muhammad slaughtered a ram for the poor on the occasion of his birth, and chose the name "Al-Hasan" for him. Fatimah shaved his head and gave the weight of his hair in silver as alms.[10][20] According to Shi'ite belief, theirs was the only house that archangel Gabriel allowed to have a door to the courtyard of al-Masjid an-Nabawi.[10] 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.[19]

There are many narrations showing the respect of Muhammad toward his grandsons, including the statements that his two grandsons would be "sayyedā šabāb (leaders of the youth) of Paradise", and that they were Imams "whether they stand up or sit down".[b][21][20][19][21] He also reportedly predicted that Hasan would make peace between two factions of Muslims.[10]

Event of MubahalahEdit

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,[c]—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 to call them to Mubahalah where each party should ask God to destroy the false party and their families.[19][22][23] "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."[d][19][24][23] 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 Shi'ite tradition that ‘Ali was among them. Accordingly, in the Shi'ite 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.[19][24][23]

It is said that one day, the ‘Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid questioned the seventh Twelver Shi‘ite 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)".[25] 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", said 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".[25] It is related that Harun asked Musa 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."[25]

Life under the first four CaliphsEdit

Al-Hasan was one of the guards defending ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan during his assassination.[26] During the reign of ‘Ali, he was a participant in the Battles of Siffin, Nahrawan and Jamal.[10]

Ali's justification for the succession of HasanEdit

According to Donaldson[10] 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.[10] ‘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.[19][27]

Sunnis, on the other hand, reject Imamate on the basis of their interpretation of verse 33:40 of the Qur'an[e] which says that Muhammad, as the Khatam an-Nabiyyin (Arabic: خـاتـم الـنّـبـيّـيـن‎, "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.[f] 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)".[28][29] 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?"[28]


After ‘Ali was assassinated, Al-Hasan became the caliph of the Ummah, in a manner which followed the custom established by Abu Bakr. He made a speech at al-Masjid al-Mu‘azzam bil-Kufah (Arabic: الـمـسـجـد الـمـعـظّـم بِـالـكـوفـة‎, "the Great Mosque in Al-Kufah") 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."[g] Performing a good act is love for us, the family of the Prophet."[11][30] Qays ibn Sa'd was the first to give allegiance to him. Qays then stipulated the condition that the Bay'ah (Arabic: بَـيْـعَـة‎, Pledge of Allegiance) should be based on the Qur’an, the Sunnah (Arabic: سُـنَّـة‎, Deeds, Sayings, etc.) of Muhammad, and on the pursuit of a Jihad (Arabic: جِـهَـاد‎, Struggle) against those who declared Halal (Arabic: حَـلَال‎, Lawful) that which was Haram (Arabic: حَـرَام‎, Unlawful). Hasan, however, tried to avoid the last condition by saying that it was implicitly included in the first two, 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."[11]

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.

Hasan and MuawiyahEdit

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.[27][31] However, these letters, which are recorded in Madelung and Jafri's books,[11][32] provided useful arguments concerning the rights of caliphate which would lead to the origin of the Shi‘ah (Arabic: شـيـعـة‎, Party of ‘Ali and the Household of Muhammad). 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."[11][19]

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."[11][19]

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

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."[11]

Facing the troopsEdit

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,[33] 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.[34][35] 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.[11]

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."[h] 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.[10][36]

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 if he were killed.[clarification needed][11][37][27][38]

Hasan's sermon and its aftermathEdit

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."[10][37] He was, he continued, looking after their best interest, better than they themselves; and instructed them not to disobey "whatever orders he gave them."[11]

Some of the troops, taking this as a sign that Al-Hasan was preparing to give up battle, 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 Kafir (Arabic: كـافـر‎, 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[10][36] 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.[11]

Hasan's vanguard at Al-MaskinEdit

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.[11][39] 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.[18][19][39]

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."[10] 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."[11] 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.[10]

Treaty with MuawiyahEdit

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.[19][40]

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."[20] 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.[11][40]

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.[11] 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.[11] 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."[19][38] 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.[20][10]

Abdication and retirementEdit

After the peace treaty with Al-Hasan, Mu‘awiyah set out with his troops to Kufa, where at a public surrender ceremony 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: "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 happily this be not for your trial, and that ye may enjoy yourselves for a time,"[i][10] declared Hasan.[11]

In his own speech 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.[j][21][41] According to some sources, he also said "The agreement I made with Hasan is null and void. It lies trampled under my feet."[k][21] 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."[39] The people rushed from every direction to vow allegiance.[11]

While still camping outside Kufah, Muawiyah faced a Kharijite revolt.[27] He sent a cavalry troop against them, but they were beaten back. Mu'awiyah then sent after Hasan, who had already left for Medinah, 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?"[11][42]

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,[43] 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.[27][11] Occasionally, Shi'ites, mostly from Kufah, went to Hasan and Husayn in small groups, and asked them to be their leaders, a request to which they declined to respond.[19] 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."[35]

Madelung has quoted Al-Baladhuri,[l] 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.[11][44] 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.[20]

Family lifeEdit

Hasan's closeness to Muhammad was such that, for example, when Muhammad wanted to curse the deceitful, Hasan was with him.[Quran 3:61] Muhammad also said: "who worries him, has worried me,"[45] or "Hasan is from me, and I am from him."[46] and "Hassan and Hussein[PBUH]are the two masters of the youth in Paradise.[47]

It is related that Hasan spent most of his youth in "making and unmaking marriages", so that "these easy morals gained him the title mitlaq, the divorcer, which involved ‘Ali in serious enmities."[10] According to his grandson, Abdullah ibn Ḥasan, he usually had four free wives, the limit allowed by the law.[m] Stories spread out on this subject and have led to the suggestions that he had 70 or 90 wives in his lifetime,[n] along with a harem of 300 concubines. According to Madelung, however, these reports and descriptions 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." Living in his father's household, "Ḥasan was in no position to enter into any marriages not arranged or approved by him," says Madelung.[48] According to Ebn Saa'd (pp. 27–28), Hasan had 15 sons and 9 daughters from six wives and three named concubines. Many of these children died in their early years. It is said that most of these marriages had a political intent in his father's interest, for he gave a part of his Kunya (Arabic: كُـنـيـة‎, Nickname), "Abu Muhammad" (Arabic: أبـو مـحـمّـد‎, "Father of 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.[4][49]

Death and aftermathEdit

The historical tomb of Al-Baqi, which stood over the qabr (Arabic: قَبْر‎, grave) of Al-Hasan, and was destroyed in 1925
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 early sources which were dominantly influenced by shia sources are nearly in agreement that Hasan was poisoned by his wife,[50] Ja'da bint al-Ash'at, at the instigation of Muawiyah and died in the year 670 CE.[o][p][10][19] 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.[10] Madelung believes that the famous early Islamic historian al-Tabari suppressed this tale out of concern for the faith of the common people.[52] 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. 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.[11] 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.[19][51] However there are no such mentions in later sources, or strong historical evidence to suggest he was poisoned. It is most likely that he died of natural causes.

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,[53] tried to reason with Marwan, telling him how Muhammad had highly regarded Hasan and Husayn.[54] 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."[55][56] 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.[54][57][58][59] 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?" And so the body was carried to the Cemetery of Al-Baqi.[10][52] 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."[60] Husayn led the funeral prayer.[61]

The shrine containing Hasan's tomb was destroyed once[clarification needed] in 1925 during the conquest of Medina as part of a general destruction of memorials in cemeteries for religious reasons. "In the eyes of Wahabis, historical sites and shrines encourage "shirk" – the sin of idolatry or polytheism – and should be destroyed."[62]

Contemporary forensic evidence for the mystery of al-Hasan’s deathEdit

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.[63] This substantiating evidence shows that Muawiyah (son of Abisufyan )was involved in plotting the murder of al-Hasan.


Hasan and Husain, were cited by Muhammad to be his own sons, honoured numerous times in his lifetime and titled "the leaders of the youth of Jannah (Heaven)."[64]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hasan remained caliph for six months and Muhammad predicted that "the caliphate after me in my ummah will last for thirty years. Then there will be kingship after that."[6] And those six months of Hasan ibn Ali is included in caliphate.[7]
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Quran, 3: 59.
  4. ^ Quran, 3: 61.
  5. ^ Quran, 33:40
  6. ^ See Goldziher, Muhammedanische Studien, II, 105-6; Y. Friedmann, 'Finality of Prophethood in Sunni Islam', JSAI, 7 (1986), 177-215, at 187-9.[28]
  7. ^ Quran, 42:23
  8. ^ Quran, 2:216
  9. ^ Quran, 21:111
  10. ^ See also Ibn Abi l-Hadld, Shark, XVI, 15; Abu al-Faraj, Maqdtil, 70.[21][41]
  11. ^ See Ya'qubi; vol.ll, p.192; Abu'l-Fida, vol.l, p.183.[21]
  12. ^ Al-Baladhuri, Ansab, III, 47.
  13. ^ See also Ebn Saa'd, p. 68.
  14. ^ See al-Madāʾeni, in Ebn Abi'l-Ḥadid, XVI, pp. 21-22.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.[51]



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External linksEdit

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