By Qadi Bohlool Bahjat Âfandi
Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a s)
Imam Hasan Mujtaba was born to Fatima Zahra (s.a) in the second year of the Hijri. His Kunniyat (agnomen) is Abu Muhammad. Amirul Momineen Ali (a s) said that in his natural disposition, Hasan is very much like his noble grandfather, the Prophet of God (saw). The holy Prophet (saw) has repeatedly said, “These two sons of mine (viz. Hasan and Husain) are the leaders of the youths of paradise.” But here we will not mention the holy verses or traditions showing the grace and honour of Imam Hasan. How can we do so when nearly one-fourth of the holy Quran shows the excellence and nobility of the holy family of the Prophet (saw)?
As has been stated repeatedly, our aim has not been the enumeration of such virtues. Our only intention is to examine the rights of the holy family of the great Prophet (saw) who were the pillars of Prophethood. So, brevity is the need of the hour. Yes, when Amirul Momineen (a s) was martyred, as per his will, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a s) buried him (a s) secretly in a particular place.
Thereafter the Muslims paid allegiance to Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a s) and accepted him as a caliph. Here we feel it is necessary to mention the difference between Imamat and Caliphate, which is indeed great. Imamat is different from the apparent caliphate. Likewise the apparent caliphate is other than the divine Imamate.
The apparent caliphate was available to thousands of persons but Imamat is a distinction confined only for the twelve infallible persons, viz. Ali and his eleven holy descendants (a s). Yes, the Muslims did pay allegiance to the Holy Book of God and to tradition and way of the holy Prophet (saw) with a vow to fight against the enemies of Islam from the side of Imam Hasan (a s).
But the Imam was aware of the consequences. He also knew the non-resoluteness and instability of the Muslims in his time and their retreating from the battlefront in difficult situations. An army of forty thousand had gathered for censuring Mu’awiyah, who was the enemy of truth and was out to disobey Imam (a s). They advanced to reach “Madaaen”, but then the army became is organised and the Imam (a s) was injured at the hands of an evil opponent.
The miserable conditions and the pitiable situation that prevailed compelled the Imam (a s) to give up the apparent caliphate. For, he knew that if they fight with the enemy with such a disorganized unit, possessing no morality whatsoever, there was a danger of the destruction of all the members of the holy family and their supporters. So he left the apparent caliphate to the enemy. Mu’awiyah did not comply with even one of the terms of the treaty that he had signed with Imam Hasan (a s).
The most important condition of the said treaty was that after Mu’awiyah, the caliphate should return to its original place. That Mu’awiyah would not abide by this condition was obvious. Hence, on Amr Aas’s instigation, he invited Imam Hasan (a s) to the Masjid and requested him to sit on the pulpit. The intent behind the deed was to show Imam Hasan’s (a s) concurrence to the caliphate of Mu’awiyah. But, as expected, the Imam (a s) of the time would not speak such incorrect things.
Therefore, Imam Mujtaba (a s) accepted the de facto caliphate of Mu’awiyah on the pulpit. He also declared that the caliphate and its inheritance belongs to the holy family and also explained his helplessness, which led to the treaty with Mu’awiyah. He said that if he fights with Mu’awiyah, all the members of the holy family would be totally wiped out and that all of his supporters would also die.
He declared that Mu’awiyah is not worthy of caliphate. He is a usurper. Hearing these words, Mu’awiyah and his supporters were enraged. They pulled the Imam (a s) from the pulpit and felled him. His head collided with a pillar and was injured. Ever since that day, Mu’awiyah decided to finish this dear son of the holy Prophet (saw). Ibne Aasaal Nasraani was the private physician of Mu’awiyah.
He prepared poison from diamond. Mu’awiyah sent him to Marwan Hakam and ordered him to poison Imam Hasan (a s). Marwan beguiled the evil Jo’dah, the wife of Imam Hasan (a s), gave her the gold and poison sent by Mu’awiyah and assured her that she would be married with Yazid, as promised by Mu’awiyah.
The depraved Jo’dah took that oppressive poison and gave it to the Imam through his food. Consequently the Imam remained painfully ill for forty days and ultimately passed away from this world. This is the respect paid by the Ummah to the memorial of God’s Prophet (saw). Imam was poisoned on a number of occasions but when it did not work, the oppressors prevented him even to remain in his house. He was forced to migrate from Madinah.
He had to go to Mosul and Syria repeatedly but Mu’awiyah and his helpers who were rebellious and mischief-makers sent insurgents after him and finally poisoned him. Consequently, the poison ripped apart the holy heart of the dear son of the holy Prophet (saw).
The curse of Allah is on the unjust. (Surah A’raaf 7:44)
What is truly shocking is that some of the earlier Sunni scholars support a tyrant like Mu’awiyah and fabricate pretexts for his evil and ugly deeds. They also, through such infidelity, praise Yazid and absolve Mu’awiyah. They failed to comprehend that they would not get any benefit through such deeds either in this world or in the Hereafter.
We have mentioned, in our book Irshaad-e-Hamzavi our arguments and conclusions regarding the nature of Mu’awiyah, his qualities, his misdeeds, his movements, his innovations and inventions in religion, etc. 10
At the time of his demise Imam Hasan was 46. He expired in the 49th year of the hijrah era. The children of Imam Hasan Mujtaba were as follows: Hasan Muthanna, Qasim, Zaid, Al Husain and Umar. In his posterity were the only sons of Hasan Muthanna Abdullah, Ibrahim and Hasan Muthallath. Their mother was Fatima binte Imam Husain (a s). Apart from them, from Umme Valad, he bore Ja’far and Dawood. Those who had children are Zaid. Amr had no issues. Husain had a daughter whose name is Fatima and the mother of Ismail, the son of the late Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a s).
Imam Husain (a s)
It is enough to say that the world has never seen a father like Ali bin Abi Talib (a s), a mother like Fatima and a graceful son like Husain bin Ali (a s). We are unable to mention even a thousandth of the noble and graceful features and high virtues of the great Imam in this book. How can we enter this field of calamities and sorrows about which thousands of writers have written volumes?
History has offered a hundred thousand volumes describing the events of this great guide for the benefit of all. Not only among Muslims, but there is not a single non- Muslim who has not heard the name of Imam Husain (a s).This sweet name has become the most beloved and popular name in every corner of the world in every language of the masses. This name is also considered most graceful.
The entire world gives respect to the name of Imam Husain (a s). Judaism and Christianity also value and appreciate this name. Many famous writers have narrated the brave and self sacrificing events of this son of the holy Prophet (saw) in many books in Asia, Africa and also America. Yes, with the passing of time, the blessed name of Husain (a s) gains more and more fame.
This name acquires renown not by the era but by the year in the Islamic world. There are four hundred million people in the world of Islam. Every religion, every tribe and every group observes mourning on the tenth day of the month of Muharram, the day of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a s). The learned, the common people, the citizen, the villager all cry “O HUSAIN” on this day and consider it their religious duty and obligation. Half a century ago, the Sunnis used to be indifferent in the matter of the mourning of Husain (a s).
But with the passage of time, Islamic fervour has replaced ignorant prejudice and has made them cooperate with their religious Shia brothers in the performance of this duty. The circle of this agreement is enlarging continuously and will keep doing so in the future. In our view, participation in the mourning of this great martyr of Islam is a must and an obligatory duty of all Muslims.
We give below the commanded and the logical arguments in support of this claim. Firstly, for 23 years the holy Prophet (saw) endured terrible and mind-boggling calamities for the welfare of the Muslim Ummah, and thereafter he had to fight a number of holy wars in defence of the noble religion of Islam. He made all relevant verses of the holy Quran and his traditions the basis of the Islamic constitution.
He made it an obligatory duty of all Muslims to protect the foundations of Islam and then he departed from this world. Then, all of a sudden, the Hashimi radiance was confronted by the Umayyad darkness and the Yazidian ignorance rose to fight with the Muhammadi knowledge, thus crushing the roots of religion and defying the orders of the holy Prophet (saw). It was in the abyss of this state that the greatest fighter and self-sacrificing warrior of Islam rose up and, confronting forty thousand armed soldiers of oppression, sacrificed the lives and everything of all his near and dear ones all of whom totalled only 72.
All this was only for the spread of the light of Faith and the spirit of Quran. Not only the Islamic world but all the human beings are by the logic of mind and experience, duty-bound to honour such a true fighter in the path of God. Yes this self-sacrificing gentleman hero is he whose noble grandfather had stood up not only against the Arabs and the Quraish, but also against the entire world just for establishing truth and justice and who never cared for his solitude and helplessness.
This great warrior for truth and justice is the one whose honourable father never feared to fight with Amr bin Abdawod, who used to frighten thousands of companions.
It is here that the Prophetic zeal and the awe of Ali (a s) was manifested in the personality of Husain (a s) so as to release the roots of Islam from the control of the Yazidi figure and he gave such extraordinary sacrifices for this noble purpose. Yes, since such a sacrifice was a necessity for the entire Ummah of Islam, mourning for Imam Husain (a s), which is a consequence of this sacrifice, also becomes a duty of all Muslims. It is also essential that the day of birth of this great devotee should be a day of rejoicing and the day of his martyrdom a day of mourning for all as a tradition.
Just have a look at this civilized world of today. Do the people celebrate not the birthday of a national hero, a scientific or industrial inventor or a conqueror with pomp and grandeur? Yes, because it is quite logical and rational.
Secondly, we are convinced that the origin of discord and disunity now prevalent among the Muslims is the disrespect shown to the holy family of the holy Prophet (saw) and not recognition of the value and rank of the holy family (a s). Therefore it is essential that the disunity should again be changed into unity around the holy center and the first sign of this holy intention is unison around the mourning of Husain (a s). For, as till today, it was a sign of difference it must now be a sign of coming together and of agreement. There are innumerable narrations describing the extraordinary calamities faced by the dearest son of Zahra (s.a.), which makes mourning obligatory and unavoidable.
For example, Ibrahim Nakhaee, a great Taabe’ (the one who saw the companion of the Prophet) and a teacher of Abu Hanifa narrates that, “One day I was with Amirul Momineen when Imam Husain came. Ali (a s) said, “O my son! You will be killed after me and both the earth and the sky will mourn for you.” The truth of this matter is quite obvious. Yes, The leader of the martyrs (a s) had, in order to relieve Islam from the apostasy of Yazid, responded to the call of the people of Kufa. He had sent, first, his cousin Muslim bin Aqueel to Kufa and then he also along with the members of his holy family and his relatives and close sympathizers proceeded to Kufa.
When Muslim arrived in Kufa, all the residents of Kufa paid their allegiance to the Imam. In the mean time, Ubaidullah bin Ziyad, who was appointed as the governor of Kufa by Yazid, arrived and the treacherous and unstable Kufans, at the mere arrival of Ubaidullah, broke their oath of allegiance! As a consequence of this disloyalty, Muslim bin Aqueel was martyred along with his two young sons and his holy body was hanged in public to frighten others (from rebelling against Yazid and supporting Imam Husain (a s))!
During this period, Imam (a s) came near the bank of river Euphrates near Kufa and halted in front of the vanguard of the army of Ibne Ziyad. At that time all those who were with the Imam were only eighteen of his close blood relatives and also forty-four followers. Then began the devastating battle. In the morning, forty-four lovers of the holy family got martyred one by one – Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return.
In the mean time they prevented water of river Euphrates for the Imam! The progeny of the Prophet had not tasted water for three days. Then eighteen men of the holy family sacrificed their lives in the battlefield before the eyes of Imam Husain (a s). At last, after the martyrdom of all his companions, remained the only person alive in the Harem with the womenfolk and the children.
The great hero of the field of Karbala, the standard bearer of the Chief of the martyrs, Abul Fazl Abbas bin Amirul Momineen and Quasim bin Hasan who was Imam’s nephew, and Ali Akbar who was the elder son of the Imam and other devotees, Ibrahim son of Ja’far Tayaar, all got martyred.
During this time, the young son of the Imam, who had become restless due to thirst, asked his father for water. But the one who is to give the water of paradise in the Hereafter from the stream of Kausar could not give even a few drops of water from the nearby river to his six-month-old son Ali Asghar. So he took his six-month-old child to the bank of the river and uttering a few words (which the pen is unable to write and the tongue unable to quote) asked for only a handful of water! But, alas! The Ummah did not give even a drop of water to the little child of the Imam. Rather they martyred the infant by shooting him with a poisoned arrow!
Now the Imam who was the only person alive, after concluding his arguments ‘proceeded to the field of martyrdom. The group of infidels killed the Imam, cut off his holy head and sent it to Yazid as a gift! Then they put the tents of the holy harem to fire, devastated the honour of the house of the holy Prophet (saw).
They lifted the head of the holy Imam on top of a lance and made the members of the family ride on the bare backs of camels and took them all to Yazid in Syria? Yes, this is the honour that the Muslims gave to the light of the eyes of their Prophet (saw).
And they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back. (Surah Shuara 26:227).
In the caravan that had come from the field of Karbala, the only male member was Imam Zain ul Abedeen (a s), who was ill at that time. The others were the Imam’s sister Zainab and Umme Kulsum and her daughters Sakina and Fatima and the remaining relatives. Imam Husain (a s) had six sons: Ali Akbar, whose mother was Laila. His is the greatest sacrifice in Karbala.
Other was Ali Asghar who became a child martyr with a thirsty throat in the arms of his father by an arrow shot by the heartless enemy! The third Zain ul Abedeen who remained unhappy in Karbala (for being deprived of martyrdom along with his near and dear ones) and he was to be the father of all the remaining Imams (a s).
The holy grave of Imam (a s) is in Karbala-e-Moalla, which is the second biggest place of pilgrimage for the world of Islam. Every year, millions of devotees and lovers visit this holy shrine (May God multiply its grace).
Here we feel it essential to point out an important matter: How much importance does the Ahle Sunnah give to visits to the holy graves of saints (sheikhs) and how much reward do they expect from doing so? It is well known that many Sunnis go to the tomb of Bahauddin Naqshbandi in Bukhara or visit the grave of Shaikh Akbar in Egypt or to the mausoleum of Jalaluddin Rumi in Quniyah.
It is also seen very often that our groups go to even Anatolia in big numbers to visit the graves of many Saalehs and Shaikhs! Now, my question is, when we visit the graves of sheikhs to earn divine reward, why do we not visit the tombs of the holy Imams (a s)? Whatever radiance and grace is there at the tombs of the sheikhs is the same radiance and grace derived from Muhammad (saw) and of Ali (a s) because there is no light except the light of Muhammad (saw) and no grace except that of Ali (a s).
All sheikhs have accepted this point. Why are visits to the places of grace and fountainheads of radiance being put discouraged? In my humble opinion, the trouble is not related to the people. It pertains to the so-called Ulema and jurists (Fuquaha), who are the heads of the religion and soul of the people. Since these Ulema do not encourage people to take such noble steps, it results in sinister prejudice, which is a deadly illness, hell bent on breaking Islamic unity. I hope that unity between Muslims will increase gradually and our roots will become strong and lasting. Thereafter, the common people will begin to give respect to their holy Imams (a s) and will help each other in the pilgrimages to the tombs of these noble personalities. We are also fully convinced that this act will also save us all from the harms of our earlier blunders.
Translation from Persian: Syed Athar Husain Rizvi