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Imam Hasan ibn Ali (A.S.), the Leader of the Youth of Paradise

Imam Hasan ibn Ali (A.S.), the Leader of the Youth of Paradise
By: Kaniz Fatima Alikhan

Among the many blessings associated with the month of Ramazan, is the auspicious date of the 15th which marks the birth anniversary of our Holy 2nd Imam, Imam Hasan Ibne Ali AS. This scion of noble birth, the first born child of Ali AS and Lady Fatima SA was the pride and joyu of both, the noble parents as well as his revered Grandfather, the Prophet SA alike! He was brought up in the lap of his holy Grandfather, and was always referred to as: a "Son of The Prophet SA"- 'Sibte Rasool' or 'Yabna Rasool Allah'. Imam Ali AS himself always made a distinction between Hasnain As and the rest of his children from his other marriages, in that he referred to Imam Hasan AS and Imam Husain AS as 'Bani Fatima" or 'Sibtain-e-Rasool' as opposed to the 'children of Ali AS'.

Hadrat Fatima SA referred to her two noble sons as the "coolness of her eyes, and the fruit of her heart". The holy Prophet SA said that the Almighty Allah SWT Himself desired to name both the sons of Fatima SA, advising the Prophet SA through the arch angel Gibrael AS to call the first new born 'Shabbar' and eventually the second son as 'Shabbir' in the tradition of the two sons of Prophet Musa AS, and Arabically these names translated into Hasan and Husain!

On countless occasions the Prophet SA emphasized to his companions that "Hasan and Husain are the names of the inhabitants of Paradise," and again: "Hasan and Husain are the Leaders of the Youth of Paradise [Sayyadai-Shabaab-e-Ehley Jannah]"; and then again: "Hasan and Husain are from me, and I am from them."

In the birth of Imams Hasan AS and Husain AS a prophecy of the Quran was fulfilled, wherein Allah SWT had consoled the Prophet SA when his enemies used to taunt him regarding his being without a [male] issue, by revealing the Chapter 108 of 'Al Kauser' (The Abundance of Good) – "Lo! We have bestowed upon you an abundant progeny. So pray to you Lord and offer sacrifice (to Him). Verily! He who taunts you shall be childless!" The manifestations of extreme affection by the Prophet SA towards Imam Hasan AS and Imam Husain AS are too well known to be repeated here. History bears witness to the fact that the Prophet SA often carried his two grandsons in his arms to the mosque, often ascended the pulpit holding them, and addressed the gathering, extolling the virtues of his two [grand]sons and saying that: "Those who loved them would go to Paradise, and those who hated them would be punished with Fire!" Indeed, the holy Quran itself extols the virtues of Hasan AS and Husain AS (along with Imam Ali AS and Lady Fatima SA) in the verse of Purification [Ayah Tatheer 33:33] and verse of 'Imprecation or Maledictory Conflict' with the Christians of Najran, [Mubahila, 3:60], when the Prophet SA chose the members of the household of Ali and Fatima AS to accompany him to invoke the curse of Allah SWT on the 'Liars' {Kazibeen}.

Then again, the entire Chapter 76 of 'Ad Dahr' was revealed in the praise of Ali AS, Lady Fatima SA, Hasan AS and Husain AS, [and also included in this was the slave girl or maid of this holy household, Hadrat Fizza RA], when these noble personalities fasted for three consecutive days in fulfillment of a vow, and broke their fasts with water alone, giving away their prepared ration [of loaves] on each of the three nights to the needy, the orphan and the captive wayfarer respectively! [76:5- 14].

The noble and distinctive qualities of Imam Hasan AS still shine to this day like a beacon of an in-extinguishable light, which the Ummayyads who controlled the scribes and their inscriptions by dint of their treasures and threat of their swords, unsuccessfully tried to put out due to their intense malice and hatred of the Ahlul Bait AS! Imam Hasan AS's piety and fear of Allah SWT was such that his complexion would turn pale and his body trembled while he performed the ablution [Wudu] before preparing for the ritual prayers. His humility in the service of Allah was so great that he often used to walk barefoot over the rough terrain while proceeding for 'Haj' or other 'ibadat' of Allah SWT. Clemency and forgiveness were the hallmark of this noble personality, which have been immortalized by several poets and historians. Justice had become synonymous with his name, when he was entrusted with the Judicial powers and also held charge of the Public Treasurery [Baitul-Maal] during the years of caliphate of Imam Ali AS.

The depth of his knowledge on matters of Jurisprudence, ['Fiqh'] or indeed on any other subject was limitless. He was famous for passing decisions full of wisdom and sagacity even during his childhood. Very often when people came to Imam Ali AS seeking his advice, Ali AS whom the Prophet SA had referred to as "The Gateway to the City of Knowledge" [Baab-ul-Ilm], would often refer them to Imam Hasan AS for a decision! His eloquence of speech was in the true tradition of his noble father and holy Grandfather, and can be gauged from his various sermons and speeches on record. His generosity and charity are a legend. His intense bravery on the battlefield, and excellent swordsmanship can be witnessed in historical accounts of the battles of 'The Camel' (Jamal), Siffeen and Nahrwaan.

But more than any of the above, his patience, fortitude and forbearance in the face of severe trials and tribulations stand out as the prominent traits of his character, and can never be eulogized or appreciated fully by mere mortals like us. The approximate ten years of his Imamate which are 'glossed over' as the period of 'Suloh-e-Hasan' [The Treaty of Hasan AS] are in fact some of the most important years in Islamic history. It was the outward 'respite' offered due to this 'Treaty' that our noble and oppressed Imam AS used as an opportunity and took it upon himself for the task of paving the way for the success of the supreme sacrifice of Imam Husain AS at Kerbala some ten years later, which once and for all etched a distinct line between Truth and Falsehood {Haqh and Baatil}with the blood of the holy martyrs, drawing a line in the sands of time, which still stands out like the Guiding Light for the seekers of Truth over the centuries! It is recorded that the holy Imam Hasan AS would continuously send out letters and epistles to the inhabitants of Shaam and Kufa, making them aware of the exalted position of the Prophet SA and his noble household, and inculcate the respect and love for this noble household, with a view to the time when the members of this very noble household would be paraded in the streets as prisoners and rebels!!

The reasons for Imam Hasan AS's treaty are many and have been dealt with at length by many historians. But to summarise them in our Imam AS's own words, when he saw that he could not even get more than a handful of faithful companions to support him, and taking on the mighty force of opposition would lead to sure bloodshed, he stated: "I would rather have unity and solidarity among the Muslims than disunity and strife ... Verily the Almighty Allah has guided you through our Grandfather, Mohammad SA who salvaged you from darkness and ignorance! Verily Muawiyah disputed with me in the matter of the special position assigned to me, and I found no supporters ... Now I have deemed it expedient in your interest and for your well being to make peace with Muawiyah, and I have preferred the prevention of slaughter and carnage to the prospect of bloody war; and in doing so my object was to save your interest, ... therefore, in order to restore peace and prevent bloodshed ... I abdicated my power...."

The great poet and philosopher of the East, Allama [Dr. Sir] Mohammad Iqbal has summarized the above in one of his famous Persian couplets which roughly translates: "In order to bring peace and extinguish the fire of war and jealousy Hasan AS kicked the Crown and The Throne of this worthless world ...!"

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