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Imam al-Hasan (a.s.); Jihad and Leadership - Part 2

In these commandments, Al-Hasan peace be on him, said: "Cousin, I am going to send with you twelve thousand from the horsemen of the Arabs and the readers of the Koran in the city. the man from them is more than a battalion. So lead them and treat them kindly.

That is because they are the rest of the reliable companions of the Commander of the faithful. Lead them to the Euphrates. Then go on (your advancing) till you make them meet Mu'awiya face to face. If you find him (Mu'awiya), then withhold him till I come to you, for I am about to follow you. Let your news come to me every day. Ask the advise of these two (person) (i,e, Qays b. Sa'd, and Sa'id b. Qays). If you meet Mu'awiya, then do not start fighting against him till he starts fighting against you. If he does, then fight him. If you were struck (i.e ,killed or wounded), then Qays b. Sa'd would be (the leader) over the people. If he was struck, then Sa'id b. Qays would be (the leader) over the people.

As you see that Imam Al-Hasan peace be on him, did not mean 'Ubayd Allah through his cmmandements. Rather he meant his Companions. So he (Al-Hasan) praised them, lauded their bravery, and added them to his father, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. With all this praise and laud, Al-Hasan wanted to raise the morals, to stir up their enthusiasm, and to move their feelings. Then Al-Hasan ordered 'Ubayd Allah to treat them kindly. Al-Hasan gave these commandments to 'Ubayd Allah to create exchangeable confidence between the commander and the army. This confidence, in the war that suffered from the paucity of the modern military regulations, was the the worthiest of importance of all the elements hoped for the black (bad) days. They (the commandments) are in four joined sentences. They underline each other. Then they have only one meaning. I (the author) wonder: Is it possible for us to make used of this intentional repetition of these sentences? They, through their emphasizing, tried to up- root a certain manner in 'Ubayd Allah (the new commander). that is because there were figures with him in new army. They had glorious badkgrounds and reputaion. Thus they were unable to bear his proud manner, nor were they able to hear his rudeness. For he would enjoin and prevent them. In other words they were unable to bear these qualities in that Hashimite young man who was not the best of them in merits, jihad, piety, and age.1

After that are these words of Al-Hasan: "Ask the advice of these two person." These words are another evidence for that Al-Hasan intended to reform the rude behaviour of 'Ubayd Allah. The Imam knew that his cousin had such a kinf of behaviour that would hinder his victory at the battle.

I ( the author) sya: That rude manner, if the doubt is true, would not revent 'Ubayd Allah from being worthy of the leaderhip. In other words many other conditions forced him to used that rude manners, for there is a close relation between rudeness and military life in the past and present time.

In this connection, we may raise a question: Why did al - Hasan, peace be him appoint 'Ubayd Allah over the vanguard of his army? Didn't his army have geat figures such as Qays b. Sa'd b. Abbad al-Ansari? Wasn't the latter known for is military merit, his loyalty of the family of the Prohet, may Allah bless him his family, and his honesty?

We may answere these questions as follows:

1. When Al-Hasan appointed 'Ubayd Allah over the vanguard, he ordered him to ask the advice of both Qays b. Sa'd and Sa'idb. Qays. That is his clear commandments indicate. Through this measure, Al-Hasan was able to avoid preferring 'Ubayd Allah to the others. For he would be blamed for this preference. In the meatime this preference wold affect that attitude. In this way the leadership became consultation among the three person who were the most appropriate ones of Al-Hasan's men. Among these prominent figures, who were known for their leaderhip at the battle fields loyalty, jihad, and back grounds, were Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Hijr b 'Adi b. Aid al-Kindi, 'Adi b. Hatam al-Ta'i and the like. We have already mentioned them.

Generally speaking, Al-Hasan gave priority of 'Ubayd Allah, who was Al-Hasan's and the Prophet's cousin, may Allah bless him and his family, over the two other leaders. He appointed him as a leader only in name. He ordered him to ask the advise of Qays and his companion, as we have mentioned above. These steps put an end to any disagreement on the leadership or any competition for it.

2. Among the excellent precautionary measuers for the general situations at that time was that no one wold be a leader with al-Hasan but a Hashimite one.

To explain that, we may say that the intense weakness that accompanied the matter of Al-Hasan in Kufa was still very ominous in his considearation. So Al-Hasan had to take possible measures to avoid in his present and future times, the censure of the people their accusing him of an error, and their criticism. It is easy for people to asccuse someone of an error or to criticize him when they find weakness, failure, and deperivation in him. If the matter of Al-Hasan in Maskan had failed. the people would have blamed him fro that failure. They would say that if the leader had been from the family of Al-Hasan, he would have been the most appropriate person for enduring the great adversitites, and the matter would have not come to this result.

So Al-Hasan was right when he got ready for the disasters of that time through appointing a Hashimite leader. This measure was very important.

3. 'Ubayd Allah was more angry with Mu'awiya than any other man. He was more angry with him than Qays and the son of Qays. That is because 'Ubayd Allah's two sons were killed when Bisr b. Artat attacked the Yemen. (This events is among the famous events on history).

Thus it was very approriate for Al-Hasan to choose such a leader who was full of anger, and was to fight against the killer of his two sons.

The majority of the army of the vanguard headed by 'Ubayd Allah was from the army which the Commander of the faithful prepared in Kufa to fight against the Syrians. Worth mentioning, Qays b. Sa'd b. Abbada was the commander of this army during the lifetime of the Commander of the faithful (Imam Ali), peace be on him.2

These backgrounds were of great importance in strenthening the liks between the cmmander and his soldiers. It was easy for the commander who had great in fluence on his soldiers to incline, whenever he wanted, to free conduct. This kind of freedom indicate that there was no positive relation between the commander and the Supreme Authority. So Al-Hasan had to be careful of such a position for it was the most import thing during that attitude.

Although we respect our master Qays very much, we do not deny his personal abilities that would make him incline to such a kind of free conduct.

We do not forget that Qays, on the day when he headed this army, stood among his soldiers and ordered them to choose either following the Imam's Peace Treaty ro going on fighting aaint Mu'awiya without an Imam.

Accordingly, Imam Al-Hasan carried out the best two ideas. In other words, he appointed a person as a commander for his army. In the meantime he made 'Ubayd Allah b. Abbas a military adviser to make use of his abilites and cleveness.

I ( the author) say: Appointing Qays as a successor after 'Ubayd Allah did not harm this policy (Al-Hasan's policy). That is because Qays would, after the killing of his predeccessor in the battle fields of Maskan according to the items of the convention, follow the plan which his predecessor had followed. For the conditions of the battle between the two parties (ie. Al-Hasan and Mu'awiya) did not permit him to change the plan. Moreover, he (Qays) would be under the direct leadership of the Imam (who was) the high leader. From what we have already mentioned, we have known that the Imam promised the vanguard of his army that he was about to follow them.

After this (explanation), there was no danger in appointing Qays as a successor after 'Ubayd Allah as long as the former was ordered to follow a certain plan, and was under the direct supervision of the Imam.

1. 'Ubayd Allah b. Abbas was 39 years old on the day when he led this army.

2. Ibn Kuthayr, Tarikh, vol. 8, p. 14

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

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