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Imam al-Hasan (a.s.); Jihad and Leadership - Part 1

The caller of Kufa called: "The prayer is a general one (which all should attained) (al-salat jami'a)." The people gathered. Al-Hasan, peace be on him, went out. He went up on the pupit. He praised Allah, lauded Him, and said: "Now then, indeed, Allah has enjoined jihad on you, and has called it dislike. Then He said to the mujahidin (holy fighter): Be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient. People, you do not obtain what you like but through enduring what you dislike. I have heard that Mu'awiya has advanced against us. Therefore, may Allah have mercy on you, go out to your camp at al-Nukhayla1 so that we may look and you look, we may see and you see."

The historians of the events said: "The people kept silent. They did not speak to him nor did they answer him with a letter".

'Adi b. Hatam was the chief of (the tribe of) Tay. He was a notable leader for his glorious deeds. He was companion of both the Prophet and Ali, the trustee of authority (wasi), may Allah bless them. When he saw that (attitude), he was full of anger. His voice boomed and shook the gathering people. So they turned to him to understand his words and to take care of his affair. Many people knew that history of b. Hatam al-Ta'i. They knew his righteousness, and his resistance for the truth. The leader (ie, 'Adi b. Hatam) used effective words and intense scolting. He condemned the silence of the people, and denounced their abominable weakness.

Then 'Adi said: "I am 'Adi b. Hatam. How ugly this attitude is! Why do you not answer your Imam, the son of the daughter of your Prophet? Where are the orators of the city? Where are their tongues that are like the penetrating swords durng peace? Who do they trick like the fox during seriousness? Do you not fear Allah's disguet? Do you not feel shame for the defect and the disgrace of it (the attitude)?"

Then 'Adi b. Hatam turned his face to Al-Hasan and said: "May Allah achieve right guidance through you, guard you against misfortunes, and grant you success to do laudable acts. We have heard your words. We have obeyed your order. We have listened to you. We have obeyed you in what you have said and seen. Now, I am he'Ading for our camp."

Then he said: "So whoever wants to come, let him come." Then he went out of the mosque. His riding animal was at the door (of the mosque). So he mounted it and headed for al-Nkhayla. He ordered hs servant to follow him to supply him with his neccessityes. For this reson he was first to go to the camp2 to set a good example to the other obedients mujahid (fighters). In (the tribe of Tay), there were a thousand fighters who obeyed 'Adi in everything.3

After 'Adi b. Hatam, other orators became active. They addressed Al-Hasan in the same manner 'Adi used. So Al-Hasan, pace be on him said to them: "may Allah have mercy on you. I am still know your sincere intentions, your faithfulness, and your love. So may Allah reward you with good."

Al-Hasan, appointed his cousin, al-Mugira b. Noufal b. al-Harith b. ''Abd al-Muttalib, as his successor over Kufa and ordered him to urge the people to join him at al-Nukhayla.

Al-Hasan went out with those who were with him. His going out was the first day of the declaration of jihad. In the meantime it was the strongest proof Al-Hasan used to urge the people to take part in jihad.

The battalions of al-Nukhayla included the best companions from the followers (Shi'a) of Al-Hasan and from the companions of his father, and the like.

Al-Mughira b. Noufal active in urging the people to take part in jihad. The people held active festivals during the pledge of allegiance to the new Successor. It was expected for the new Succession to urge the people in Kufa to answer the summons of the Imam Al-Hasan with enthusiasm. However, nothing of that occurred. Noteworthy, there were ready companies. They had forty thousand fighters. The Commander of the faithful (Imam Ali) formed them to resist the attacks of the Syrians before his death. However, these ready companies divided and most of them mutinied against Al-Hasan. Also most of the armed men in Kufa participated them in disobeying Al-Hasan's orders.

Some hesitating Kufan chiefs became very active during the critical moment when the attitude became serious.

The historians have mentioned the following words in the authority of al-Harith al-Hamadani, who said: Those who wanted to go out rode with him (Al-Hasan). Many people refused to go with him. They did not fulfil what they had said and promised. They deceived him as they had deceived the Commander of the faithful before him. Al-Hasan camped at al-Nukhayla for ten days. No one joined him except four thousand fighters. So he came back to Kufa to urge people. There he delivered a sermon in which he said: "you have deceived me as you had deceived those who wee before me.
I (the author) say: We do not know exactly the number of those who joined al-Hasa. However, we know that he "left Kufa with a great army" as b. Abu al-Haddid said in his book Sharh Nahj al-Balagha.

In chapter, the Numver of the Army we kill discuss the ideas of the historians to choose the accurate number of the soldiers of Al-Hasan, peace be on him.

Al-Hasan left al-Nukhayla and reached Dir- 'Abd al-Rahaman. He stayed there for three days. At that place other mujahidin (fighters) joined him, but we do not know their number.

Dir of 'Abd al-Rahman was situated between the two camps of Imam Al-Hasan in al-Mada'in4 and Maskan.5

As for al-Mada'in, it was at the bridge head towards Persia and the neighbouring area. Because of its geographical situation, al-Mada'in was the only area that protected the three lines that connected Kufa, Basra, and Persia with each other. Because of its military importance, it drove back the events which the conditions of war caused. Over Persia was the place from which the revolts against the State started. Over Perisa was Zyyad b. 'Ubayd who was appointed by the Imam, and who went on his previous nature that changed every thing in him.

As for Maskan, it was the sensitive point in the history of jihad of Al-Hasan, peace e on him. That is because it was the field which al0 Hasan supposed to meet the enemy face to face. At that time it was on the far notthern borders of Hashimite Iraq, or the areas dominated by the Kufan authority from this direction. At Maskan, thee were agricultural lands inhabited lands, and many famous villages such as Awana, Ukjbara, and al-Alth that was the last village on the northern borders of Maskan.6 Facing al-Alth was a village called al-Junuboya towarfd which Mu'awiya and his army advanced when they left the bridge of Manbij where the two armies met.

It is known today that the situation of Maskan is at thsese wide plains that are situated between the village of Sumayka and the village of Balad, with the exception of Samara.

Maskan had nature rich in resources, near rivers, and wide plains. Bacause of these natural features, Maskan was the best place for war. It was, for the first time in its history, the battle field towards which Al-Hasan and Mu'awiya advanced. Then many battle between Iraq and Sham occured there.
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, thought that is was better for him to use al-Mada'in, because of its military importance, as a headquaters for his high common to recieve military supplies from the three neighboring cities and to be at the back of his field where he met Mu'awiya and the Syrians, namely at Maskan. There were not more fifteen leagues between the two Hashimite camps, namely al-Mada'in and Maskan.

That was the excellent plan of which there was no alternative for that war situation. In this way, namely through drawing his war plans. Al-Hasan has shoewed us that he was the inspired leader who had command of war tacties as the peole of his time called. Moreover, Al-Hasan used gradual steps to resist his enemy. Namely, he tested the indicated that he had outst'Ading military talents that were equal to the talents he had in policy, loyalty, and sacrifice.

Al-Hasan, peace be on him, looked left and right. Then he considered carefully the prominent figure who were with him. They were from the leaders of his lollowers (Shi'a) and of his family. He wanted to choose a leader from the for his advance guards whom he determined to send to Maskan. Among the gentle ones of the tribe and the loyal Ansar (supporters), he found no one more eager and sincerer for th attitude of his cousin 'Ubayd Allah1 b. Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, Qays b. Sa'd b. Abbada al-Ansari, and Sa'id b. Qays al-Hamadani, the head of the Yemenis in Kufa. So Al-Hasan confined successively the leadership ot these three leaders.

'Ubayd Allah b. Abbas among those who were eager for war, and was indifferent to life. Religious zeal moved him, and the tribal enthusiasum stirred him up. So he was meted in his fanaticism for the Hashimite throne as the methoted steel. He was among the leaders of the Hahimites. As they say: "The bereaved woman of a child is unlike the hired one." As for his outstanding bachgroulds, he was the Emir of the Hajj in the year 36 A.H. (according to the narration in the book al-Isaba') or in the year 39 A.H (according to the report of al-Tabari) or he was the Emir of the hajj in both years. He was the ruler of Bahrain and the Yemen8 and their subsequent parts during the lifetime of the Commander of the faithful (ie. Imam Ali). The pilgrims in Mecca bore withness that he was genrous. then he was the first to pledge allegiance to Al-Hasan when the people pledged allegiance to him.
According to these excellent backgrounds, Imam Al-Hasan, peace be on him, had great confidence in 'Ubayd Allah.9 Then Al-Hasan summaned him and gave him commandments which have not fully been reported to us. Rather some books have briefly mentioned them.


1. Little date palm, a place near Kufa, towards Sham (Syria). I (the author) say: Today, there is, towards Karbala, a building called Khan al-Nukhayla. There are twelve miles between it and Kufa.

2. Ibn Abu al-Haddid Sharh, Nahj al-Balagha, vol, 4. p. 14.

3. al-Ya'qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2. p. 171.

4. It was the Sasanid capital. It lasted for one thousand years. It was the inheritor of Babil (Babylon) in greatness. Today, none of its ruins has remained but Taq Kasra, and the Shrine of the great Companion (Salman al-farisi), may Allah have mercy on him. There were seven facing cities, namely they faced each other on the banks of Tigirs. The Muslims conquered it in the year 15, A.H, At that time it was the capital of all the Persian East. So in the Western side were Saluqiya, Darzjan, Bahrsir, and Jindisabur (Kauka) in the district of Mazlam Sabat which was related to Nahri al-Malik ( the River of the king). And in the Eastern side were Asfanbar, Romya, and Tishfon which had Taq Kasra.

More than one hundred years had passed before the exinctions of al-Mada'in because of the foundations of Baghdad in the year 150 A.H. During that period of time, al-Mada'in supplied Kufa with industries, resources, and crops. That was through sedding Persian friends to it, who became Muslims.

Al-Mada'in followed the example of the family of Mohammed, may Alalh bless him and his family, from the day when Salman became a governor over it. Also in the seventh century A.H., al-Mada'in was a village which no one inhabited but the eager Shi'a.
Al-Mas'oudi mentioned al-Mada'in when he mentioned Iraq. He said: "And the cities of Iraq were al-Mada'in and the surrounding cities. The people of al-Mada'in had the most moderate colours, the purest perfumes, the best tempers, and the most obedient natures. In them were inclusive virtures, and peeless sound deeds.

5. The name of al-Tasuj from which Awana was. It was situated on the bank of the river Dujayl. There were many gardens of date palms and trees in it. Abu alo Faraj al-Saw'Adi (from the poets of thw sixth century A.H) meant it when he said:

And they regarded it as virgin grew in Awana
Hidden from her fiancees with vessels.

There were ten leagues between Maskan and Baghdad. At Maskan, a battel took place between 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan and Mas'ab b. al-Zubayr in the year 72 A.H. Mas'ab and Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar wer killed at that bettle. They were buried where they were killed. Their graves are still visible. There is a humble dome the Grave of Shaykh Ibrahim (Qabr Shaykh Ibrahim). There are about sixty kilometres between this done and Baghdad, and ten kilometers between it and Tigris. So Maskan was the area that surrounded this grave, including the river Dujayl Also Awana was there.

6. In al-Ahkam al-Sultaniya, al-Mawardi has mentioned the following on the authority of al-Hamawi, who said: "al-Alth is situated between Ukbara and Samarra. Ukbara is among the villages of Dujayl, near Awanin.

7. al-Mufid, al-Irsha, p. 170. Ibn Abu al-Haddid, Sharh al-Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p.14. al-Ya'qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 191.

Another historinas has mentioned that is was his brother 'Abd Allah b. Abbas. That is incorrect, for 'Abd Allah was not in Kufa during the days of the Succession of Al-Hasan. Rather, he was in Mecca, and wrote to Al-Hasan a letter in which he hinted at war. you find details about him in 'Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol 4. pp. 8-9. If 'Abd Allah was in Kufa at that time, his name would not be hidden during those events. In his book al-Tarikh, vol. 6. p. 81, al-Tabari said: "In the opinion of all historians, 'Abd Allah b. Abbas went out of Basra and rached Mecca. Some historians have denied that and claimed that the Commander of the faithul, peace be on him, appointed him a governor over Basra. He governed it till he ( the commander of the faithful) was killed. (He was still a governor over Basra) after the killing of Ali till Al-Hasan made peace (with Mu'awiya). Then he left (Basra) at that time for Mecca." I (the author) say: 'Abd Allah b. Abbas wa not in Basra. If he had been there, the army would not have delayed. For Al-Hasan was in a pressing need of it in al-Mada'in. Ibn al-Athir (vol. 3, p. 166) has underlined that 'Abd Allah b. Abbas left Ali during his life time.

We think that it is the similar between the two brotheres in father and name has made such an error in attributing the leadership to 'Abd, Allah. Another historian made a mistake so that he has sttributed the leadership ot the vanguard to Qays b. Sa'd who was the leader of the fighters who were in front of the vanguard as Ibn al-Athir has mentioned. That may be the reason for this imagination. Then think.

8. Some historians tried to doubt the historical backgrouds of 'Ubayd Allah thrugh the event that forced him to go out of the Yemen. It is an act of truthfulness of admit that the garrison of the Yemen was too weak to resist the attack of Bisr b. Artat at that time. Moreover, some of the Yemenis deserted the Hashimites authority. They wrote letters to Mu'awiya. They dismissed their Emir Sa'id b. Nimram from the army. And they disbeyed their ruler 'Ubayd Allah. All thses factors and others indicate that 'Ubayd Allah was innocent of the doubt. If 'Ubayd Allah had tried to resist Bisr, the latter would have been able to defeat him with the help of the Uthmanis in the Yemen. 'Ubayd Allah did not do more than what his peers did in Mecca and Medina when they escaped from Bisr. The governor of Mu'awiya over the three capitals attacked the people where in. So he killed about thrity thousand innocent people. We have known that 'Ubayd Allah intended to go to kufa when he left the Yemen. And if he had been suspicious, he would have not headed for Kufa. Besides we have known that Sa'id b. Nimran apoligized to the Commander of the faithul, peace be on him, when he said to the latter: I summoned the people (the people of the Yemen) to fighting. Agroup of them asnwered me So I fought weakly. Then the people left me, and I went away. I (the author) say: Will the exprience of b. Nimran not correct the apology of 'Ubayd Allah b. Abbas? That is because the baackgrounds of this man had no defect. Therefore, no wonder when Al-Hasan ws satisfied with him because of his reliable backgrounds.

9. Ibn Abu al-Haddid, vol 4. p. 14. al-Mufid, al-Irshad, pp. 168-169. al-Ya'qubi, Tarikh, vol 2. p. 191.

Only al-Ya'qubi did not mentions the third leader from the leaders of the vanguard, then he said: Al-Hasan ordered 'Ubayd Allah to obey the order and idea of Qays, b. Sa'id, So 'Ubayd Allah advanced towards the Island (Mesopotamia). When Mu'awiya heard of the killing of Ali, peace be on him, he headed for Mousil eighteen days after killing of Ali. I (the author) say: Mousil was among the villages of Maskan. Our master Mohammed b. Imam Ali, al-H'Adi was buried near Mousil as al-Hamawi has mentioned in his book al-Mu'jam. It is other than the present city of Mousil (in Iraq). There is no difference between what al-Ya'qubi and what the others reported about limited the situation where the army of Mu'awiya stopped during his war against Al-Hasan, That is because Mousil, al-Haywada, al-Jimubiya wer all among the villages of Maskan at that time. Maybe, the army occupied all these villages, so their names have been mentioned in various reports. Also some reports have been confined to some names as you see. As for us, we have only chosen al-Jinubiya depending on the letter Qays b. Sa'd wrote to Al-Hasan we will mention in the following chapters.

Adopted from the book: "Sulh al-Hasan (a.s.)" by: "Sheykh Radi al-Yasin"

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