Generosity of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.)
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) also had maximum fondness for the worship of Allah. In the prison where he was meted out every type of discomfort, where fresh air was not available and for two years at a stretch he was given nothing but cold water and two loaves of bread to eat. In such a place the condition was such that he used to spend the whole night in the worship of Allah. He fasted on most of the days. The servants of Motamid used to be perplexed on seeing his worship and they used to say to each other: If only we could freely be allowed to serve this noble personality. Thus Muhammad bin Ismail Alawi says that some persons from Bani Abbas went to Salih bin Wasf, under whom Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) was imprisoned and said, "Be very harsh with him and do not have the slightest mercy." He said, "I had appointed two men over him. Both were the harshest and most vicious persons but after sometime seeing the excessive prayers of this prisoner, his worship of Allah and his spiritual strength they became his obedient servants ready to kiss his feet. They accompany him in prayers during the night." After this Salih called those two servants from the prison and said, "What is this condition of yours?" They said, "Whose condition should we describe? Ours or that of the one who fasts during the days and prays the whole night? He does nothing other than pray. When people see his illuminated face, such a demeanor is radiated from it that we cannot show any ill manners. He is such a worshipper that he has converted evil-doer like us into worshippers."
Valour Of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
Mustainbillah, the Abbaside ruler was having a very uncontrollable horse, and anyone who mounted it was thrown off the back and trampled. Someone told Mustainbillah that Shias often chant the praises of the miracles of their Imams (a.s). "Make him ride this horse. If he tramples him, a great risk would be eliminated for the caliph. On the other hand if the horse is brought under control, we would be able to have it tamed." Mustain summoned the Holy Imam and said, "I desire that you mount this horse today." The Imam (a.s) had already heard about the wild nature of this horse, but not a slightest fear had a way with him. Without any hesitation the Imam moved towards it and mounted it fearlessly. Mustain was very much surprised and said, "How were you able to gain control on a horse that even the most daring people could not mount?" The Imam replied, "We are the Ahl ul-Bayt of the Messenger, our perfections cannot be compared to others."
Piety Of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
Like his forefathers and ancestors, Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) also lived a simplistic and abstemious existence. By way of testing, one day, the ruler caliph sent him lots of delicious foods and luxurious clothes. He gave away all of it in charity. Someone instigated the caliph that the Imam had not accorded any respect to the royal gifts and that he has squandered them all away.
The caliph became infuriated and summoned the Imam at once and said, "You have belittled the gifts I sent you and you gave them to the beggars thus insulting me." The Imam said, "It is not so. We Ahl ul-Bayt of the Prophet, have forsaken the pleasures of the world. We are used to betake very simple food and wear patched clothes. Thus I gave it all to those who were deserving of it." The caliph had no reply to this.
Generosity Of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
It is narrated from Ali Ibne Ibrahim Ibne Ja'far (a.s) that once he was facing much poverty. "My father said: Let us go to Imam Hasan Askari (a.s). He is very generous and he would definitely help us. Thus we set out to meet the Imam. On the way my father said that he expected 500 dirhams from the Imam. And that if we got that much amount we would spend 200 dirhams for making clothes and the rest would be utilized for rations etc. Upon reaching the Imam's house we conveyed through the sentry, news of our arrival. After some time a slave appeared and informed us that the Imam was waiting for us. Both of us stepped inside. The Imam said, 'Why did you not inform me about you condition before this?' My father said it was due to embarrassment mostly and secondly he felt ashamed to meet the Imam in such shabby clothes. Hearing this, the Imam fell silent and after sometime bid us farewell with the same servant. When we reached the door the servant gave my father a bag containing 500 dirhams and said: Spend 200 dirhams on clothes and 300 on other requirements. The he took out another bag and said: It contains 300 dirhams, 100 for clothes, 100 for household needs and 100 for purchasing a mount. He then said that the Imam has also advised them against traveling to the mountains and instead suggested a particular area where very soon Allah would remove our poverty."
Ismail bin Muhammad says: One day I squatted on the way so that when Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) passes by I may mention my needs. Thus when the Imam happened to pass by I uttered the legal oath and said that I was very severely in need at that time. I don't have a penny. The Imam said, "Why do you utter a false oath? Have you not buried 200 gold coins in the ground?" When I heard this I hung down my head in shame. The Imam said, "I mention it not because I didn't want to give you anything." Then he told his slave to give me all he had. The slave gave one hundred gold coins. When I walked away with the money, the Imam said, "Remember! The money you have buried and not spent on lawful needs would be of no use to you." Ismail says, "The prophecy of the Imam proved true. When I dug the ground I found the money gone."
A point needs to be clarified regarding the generosity of the Holy Imams (a.s). A question arises that from where the Imams (a.s) got so much wealth that they distributed hundreds of dirhams and dinars without any qualms? They had no connection with rulership. The rulers were always antagonistic to them to have helped them. The Imams (a.s) themselves did not practice any profession that could have generated so much wealth. When they were themselves leading such a life of financial hardship, from where did they get all the money for charity?
The explanation is first of all the Holy Imams (a.s) were the trustees of all the endowments of the Sadat (Syeds). Secondly the followers of Ahl ul-Bayt paid their Zakat and Khums money to the Imam of the time. This was sometimes sent secretly and sometimes openly. This was the reason that the temporal rulers were always suspicious that the Imams (a.s) were gathering forces to revolt against them. Although after investigations their suspicion always proved wrong. All the monies that Imams (a.s) received in this way were swiftly distributed among the deserving people. They hardly used anything from it themselves. For their own upkeep they either spent from the money they received from orchards etc. or by the labor of their own hands. Or when the above was not possible they only took as much from the Khums money as was necessary to avoid death.
Patience Of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
Motamid the Abbaside ruler did not leave any atrocity undone on Imam (a.s). The limit was that during the time the Imam was in captivity no one was allowed to meet him. He was given to drink cold water for two years continuously. No more than two loaves of bread were rationed for him every day. He bore all these hardships with patience and self-control. Even after his release, he was not allowed to live a free life. Such a strict vigilance was maintained on him that nothing could be more severe. But he continued to be patient in every hardship. Who can be patient like Ahl ul-Bayt?
Though we have mentioned in brief one or two incidents connected with each of the Imams (a.s), it is a fact that the Holy Imams (a.s) underwent untold hardships and calamities all their life at the hands of the rulers and hardly a day passed in peace and comfort. But in spite of lifelong hardships those patient servants of the Almighty continued to thank Him.
Humility Of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) was of exceeding humble nature. He used to meet the high and low, all with utmost humility and simple demeanor. This was the reason that every class of people of Samarrah used to chant his praise. When the Imam passed on the way, people used to stand up as a mark of respect. The effect of this was that the crowd that attended his funeral was so multitudinous that it was not seen thus even in the funeral of the ruler.
Forbearance Of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
In the year 255 A.H. Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) was released from the prison of Motamid and allowed to go home. At home, the Imam assumed seclusion but Motamid did not even like this. He had commissioned some anti-social elements, who used to come to the Imam (a.s) and utter nonsensical things and bad-mouth him. The Imam bore this patiently for sometime. At last one day the Imam told them, "So far I have overlooked your audacity, but remember if in the future you did the same I would invoke curse on you and you would be sick with leprosy." They did not heed the Imam and at last one day they awoke in the morning to find their bodies covered with white patches.
The fact is that forbearance is the best human quality. Many difficult matters are solved by it. Opposition is transformed into friendship. It is mentioned in traditions that beware of the anger of the magnanimous. Because they are not easily angry but when they are angry, their anger is terrible.
Forgiveness means that if someone commits a mistake and expresses regret or his weakness is a cause of his insult, you being a good-natured person ignore his shortcomings and forgive his sins. In the world you would not even find one person in a hundred thousand who has this quality. Most of the people are such that when their emotion of revenge is awakened they do not rest without getting revenge. But the Holy Imams (a.s) always overlooked the mistakes of others and never did the urge to take revenge appeared in their hearts.
Forgiveness Of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
When Motazbillah succeeded Mustain to the throne, this stonehearted fellow tried all the methods to make the life of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) difficult. Rather he became the bloodthirsty enemy of the Holy Imam. The Imam was given in captivity to Ali bin Yarmash. This man was very harsh and a staunch enemy of Ahl ul-Bayt (Nasibi). Seeing the Sadat (Syeds), this fellow became red-eyed with fury. He used to trouble the Imam in every possible way. One day his only son was seriously ill and there was no hope of his survival. Someone suggested that if Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) who was under his charge prays for this boy it is possible that he may survive. Because the Imam is a chosen one of the Lord, a descendant of the Prophet his prayer would not be rejected. The fellow at once came to the Imam and begged for forgiveness. The Imam forgave him and without his saying anything the Imam added, "Go, your son would be cured." The man returned home happily and saw that the child showed signs of recovery. Now he became the sincere devotee and an ardent supporter of the Imam and all the time remained in the service of the Imam.
Affection Of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
A major part of the life of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) either passed in prison or under house arrest. The spies of the caliph Motamid always kept the Imam under strict surveillance. One day some Shia person sent him a gift of some pomegranates. The fruits were kept before the Imam and the caliph's guard was eyeing them in a greedy manner. The Imam gave him one pomegranate. The fellow took it but did not eat it. When the Imam asked him the reason he said that he was the father of five children and he never ate anything without giving it to them also. And that he was thinking how to distribute one pomegranate between them all. The Imam gave him all the pomegranates. He said, "Son of Allah's Messenger! I don't need all of them. Keep some for yourself." The Imam said, "It is better for the children to eat them, than me." Witnessing such affection of the Holy Imam the royal guard became such an ardent devotee of his that he always used to remain in the Imam's service. When Motamid heard about it, he summoned the guard and punished him severely. He said, "Even if you put me to death, his love cannot leave my heart." This reply infuriated Motamid further and he sentenced the man to life imprisonment.
Hospitality Of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)
Ali Ibne Ibrahim relates: I went to meet Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) and found him in a disturbed state. When I asked the reason he said, "I am having some guests today but I have nothing to serve them." I said, "Son of Allah's Messenger, just mention it, I will get all that is needed." The Imam said, "We Ahl ul-Bayt do not serve our guests at the expense of others." "All right! Then tell me what I can do?" I said. He told me, "Go and sell this Yemeni sheet of mine." I said, "Son of Allah's Messenger, it is so cold now-a-days and you do not have any other quilt or sheet. Do not sell it." The Imam said, "The God Who gave this would give another." I did as the Imam had ordered and sold the sheet for ten dirhams and brought the money to him. Immediately he began to make arrangement for a dinner. I was much aggrieved at the Imam's condition. The Imam said, "Why are you looking at me with pity? I would not have been as much happy by covering myself with the sheet, as I am in entertaining these guests."
Imam Hasan Askari’s (a.s) Kindness To Relatives
Like his venerable ancestors, Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) also cared greatly for according kindness to relatives. Often he had to undergo many hardships due to his kinsmen. However he bore them happily. He used to say that whatever they may do to him he would continue to be kind towards his relatives.
Imam Hasan Askari’s (a.s) Kind Behavior To Slaves
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) used to be very affectionate to the slaves. One day a slave, who was a Shia of Ali (a.s) came to the Imam and said, "My owner troubles me a lot. I want to be freed from him somehow." The Imam said, "If he agrees to sell you, I can pay the price." The slave spoke to his master and persuaded him to sell him for 200 dirhams. The Imam paid the money and purchased him. Then he freed him the same day for the sake of Allah. In the same way the Imam purchased many slaves from other people and released them. The Imam's slave, Mohlib used to say, "I have never seen a master as kind as Imam Hasan Askari (a.s)." The Imam used to be affectionate towards his male and female slaves like a father is to his children.
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