Imam al-Hasan's (a.s.) and al-Hamra'
- :Sheykh Radi al-Yasin
They belonged to the armed men in Kufa. Their number was twenty- thousand men, as al-Tabari said in his book Tarikh,. When Kufa had been divided into one sevenths, they lived in the one seventh which was allotted to their allies who belonged to the Banu (sons of) Abd al-Qays. The (the Hamra) did not belong to the Banu of Abd al-Qays . nor did they belong to the Arabs. Rather they were a mixed band from the friends and the slaves. May be, most of them were from the sons of the persion women who were taken prisoners at the Battle of Ayn al-Tamr and Jalawla in the years 12-17 A.H., and in the crisis of al-Husayn in the year 61 A.H.
The Hamra were the police men of Zyyad who killed the Shi'a in the year 51 A.H. They were from those who carried out their duties well when the evil tempted them. More likely, they were the soldiers of the victoriuos tyrants.
The Hamra, became poweful because they helped Zyyad suppress the events and the disturbances took place in Kufa during the first century, A,H. Moreover, they became more poweful in Kufa when they ascribed it to themselves. So Kufa was called the Kufa of the Hamra (Kufat al-Hamra).
Basrah, like Kufa, had mixed groups of the people (Hamra). Zyyad, who was the governor of Basra then, was afraid of their power there, so he tried to destroy them. However, al-Ahanaf b. Qays prevented Him form doing that.
Some modern writers have attributed the Hamra to the Shi'a, while they were far away from them. For they spared no effort to destroy the Shi'a and their Imams. We do not deny that there might be some of them who adopted the beliefs of the Shi'a. However, the Shi'a are not judged by the few persons. The followers of Al-Hasan peace be on Him, lived in Kufa beside these hostile people. The followers of al Hasan were greater in number than the Hamra in the capital of Imam Ali, peace be on hi,. Among Al-Hasan's followere was a number of the Emigrants (muhajrin) and the supporters (ansar). They follwed Ali to Kufa, They had a high social rank. The people respected them because they were the Companions of the Apostle, may Allah bless Him and his family.
The great figures of the Shi'a in Kufa proved their loyalty to the members of the house (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Thus he (Al-Hasan) summoned them to jihad (holy war) after his succession during the critical situations. If those Shi'a had been safe from the plots of the other citizens, they would have defended Kufa against te dangers of the Syrians. No one can deny the ability and the activity of that blessed group of people. By the activity we mean the abilities that helped that Shi'ite group to bear and understand the hardship. Also they help them find solutions to these hardships.
Among that blessed Shi'ite group were: Qays b. Sa'd b. Abbada al-Ansari, Hijr b. Abu al-Kindi, Amru, al-Hamq al-Khiza'i, Sa'd b. Qays al-Hamadani, Habib b. Murzahir, al-Asadi, Adi b. Hatam, al-Ta'i, al-Musayyab b. Nujayya, Zyyad b. Sa'sa'a, and the like.
As for the reckless, opposing foreigners, and the mercenaries, they did their best to overcome those abilities and to change that power.
Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, was aware of that atmosphere full of various inclination, disturbances, and opinions. It was neccessary for Him, at the beginning of his succession, to tell the people frankly about his plan and his attitude which he had concluded from his real conditions both in Kufa and abroad.
It was Mu'awiya who was the enemy abroad. Thus he disturbed Kufa through his various plots. Also he had taken the reins of authority. Moreover, his own country Sham (Syria) was stable. It was not permitted for Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, to overlook Mu'awiya. That is because the latter ws not an easy enemy. Meanwhile Al-Hasan would have not been safe from his plots if he had overlooked Him. Indeed Al-Hasan had been the most ready person to destroy Mu'awiya if he had found available means to achieve that during his conditions.
As for Kufa, it had a dangerous opposition. The opposition was near to Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, in place. However, it war away from Him in spirit, meaning, and aims. So this kind of opposition engaged the Imam and help his attention.
It was sorrowful Al-Hasan, peace be on Him to see such a kind of people in his capital (i.e.Kufa). for their desires and ambitions had controlled them, and their opinions divided them. Besides, they did not kow the meaning of loyalty, the sageguard of the religion, and the rights of the neighbor. They abandoned their moral, so they became an exploited tool for opposition, treason, and corruption. They followed every crower and rambled in every valley. So they were not appropriate for a political field, nor were they appropriate for a war field. It is enough for you to know that they were the reason for creating disturbances, riots, and fear.
In this way, since the ancient times, the Iraqis have the ability to understand opinions and violent revolts on various occasions.
Through his tested attitude, Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, showed his talents that were always the good news of a bright victory. However, he suffered from awful adversities came down on his attitude as the decree came down from the sky.
Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, had predicted many eventss before they occurred. However the precaustionary procedures prevented Him from saying those events openly. So he made hints for them. For this reason he said the following vague words which he quoted from the Koran."I see what you do not see."
I (the author) wonder: at that time Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, saw those active festival which the Muslim community made to express their loyalty to their new Successor. However, why did the new Succeesor see what they did not see?
It was the insight that was among the qualities of al Hasan, peace be on Him. He used such an insight in war and peace, and in all his steps towards his enemies and hs friends.
Unfortunately, the historical encyclopedias have not paid attention to many examples. That is because they are neccessary for us to indicate the historical policy of Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, especially during the first period of his short time. Nemely the period that preceded the declaration of holy war (jihad) in Kufa. So we have collected some extracts from here and there to show his skillful policy that is far above doubts. So he led that shaky community wisely.
The following are some examples about al Hasan's wise leadership:
1. Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, made a certain form for those who wanted to pledge allegiance to Him, and he refained from accepting the conditions which the others made to pledge allegiance to Him. He was ready to accept that pledge of allegiance from the people provided that they should listen and obey Him, fight those whom he fought against, and make peace with those whom he made peace with. Thus the people admired his ability to run war and peace at the same time.
In this way he was able to please the two parties in Kufa, namely those who wanted war and those who wanted peace. That is because the general situatins of Kufa forced Him to take such wise precautions for a certain time.
2. Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, raised the salaries of the fighters to 100%. That was the first step he took when he became a successor. Then the successors after Him followed his example1.
This step Al-Hasan peace be on Him, adopted to promote the salaries refreshed the morale of his army and made a large number of people ready to render their sevices for jihad (holy war).
Also this step means that Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, was ready to declare war. However it does not show us clearly that he was resolute to wage war as long as it was a step of refreshement at that new time. Besides this step was among his wise acts that led the Muslims to unity, not to discord. In the meantime it was wise readiness for the future that would force Him to wage an exptected war.
3. Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, ordered the two men to be killed, for they spied for his enemies. Also he threatened those who mercy on Him, said: "When Mu'awiya b. Abu Sufyan learned of the death of the Commender of the faitful (Amir Mu'minin), peace be on Him, and people's pledge of allegaince to his son, Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, he sent a man from Himyar secretly to Kufa and a man from Banu al-Qayn to Basra. They were to write reports to Him to undermine affairs for Al-Hasan, peace be on Him. Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, learned of that. He ordered the Himyari to be brought out and excuted. (Al-Hasan) wrote to Basra, ordering the Qayni to be brought from the Banu Salaym. He was brought out and excuted."2
Abu al-Faraj al-Asfahani has mentioned a report similar to what al-Mufid has mentioned: "you sent men to use deception and to carry out assassinations and you sent out spies as if you want to meet (in battle). That is somthing that will soon happen, so wait for it, if Allah wills. I have learned that you have come haughty in a way that no wise man would become haughty. In that you are just as al-Awwal described:Say to Him who desires the contrary of the one who has died:
Prepare for another like Him, ad if (from the same) root.
I and the one among us how has died are like the one who
goes in the evening so that (the other) may come in he morning.
Many people urged Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, to wage war against Mu'awiya from the day when he took the reins of authority in Kufa, However, he considered their viewpoints carefully.
In Chapter 5, which you will read soon, we will analize the political attitude at that time. you will know that this deliberation was the only measures at that time of Al-Hasan, peace be on Him.
5. Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, made Mu'awiya forget his shaky, baseless attitude through exchaging letters. Through Mu'awiya's answers full if insults to Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, the people were able to know the former's character which unknown for them. Besides the letters paved the way to Al-Hasan to show the reasons for his war against Mu'awiya. Suddenly, Mu'awiya became the defeated party according to te logical viewpoint of the wise though he was victorious, after that, according to the logical viewpoint of those who depend on force.
One of these skifull measures which Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, used to carry out his political plan during his short time, between the death of his father (peace be on Him) and his determination to wage war, is enough to explain Al-Hasan's wise policy.
1. Ibn Abu al-Haddid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vo. 4, p. 12.
2. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p. 168. al-Anwar. Kashf al-Gumma.
Adopted from the book: "Sulh al-Hasan (a.s.)" by: "Sheykh Radi al-Yasin"
Share this article