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Intellectual Accomplishments Of Imam Hasan (a.s)

Imam Hasan (a.s) was also a blooming and fragrant flower of this garden of virtue and perfection, which was irrigated by the Almighty with the water of knowledge and wisdom. And which used to bloom in the illuminated atmosphere of mercy and bounty. Which was guarded by infallibility and cared by prophethood. This prince of the two worlds had sucked the tongue of prophethood and was bred in the lap of Imamate. Like that of his father the breast of Imam Hasan (a.s) was also illuminated by the radiance of divine wisdom. His step also did not deviate from the straight path. He never paid any attention to the wisdom of extremism or conservatism. He continued to propagate divine religion all his life.

He had the natural gift of deriving correct conclusions by arranging the basic facts. That is why he was safe from the error of judgment or practical mistakes in all aspects of life. Ali (a.s) usually entrusted to Imam Hasan (a.s) the legal problems that were sent to him by the ruling caliphs. Not once is Imam Hasan (a.s) said to have given a wrong judgment. Let us read some incidents in this regard.

1. Imam Reza (a.s) has narrated that once a man holding a bloodstained knife was brought to Umar. Those who had arrested him reported that a severed head was found in such and such desolate spot, and that they found this man standing near it. Umar asked the accused if he had committed the murder of the victim. He confessed to it. Umar ordered his execution. In a short while another person appeared and said, “Release him, because I am the actual murderer.” Umar was confused and could not decide what to do, so he sent the matter to Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s). Ali (a.s) asked the first accused, “Did you kill that man?” He replied, “O Amir'ul-Mu'minin! The fact is that I am a butcher and I was slaughtering a goat at a place when I had the urge urinate. Holding the blood-smeared knife I went to answer nature's call in that ruin where I saw that murdered man. I was staring at the corpse when these people came and arrested me. When I was brought to the caliph I confessed to the murder because all the circumstantial evidence was against me and my denial would not have made any impact. But the truth is that I have not murdered anyone.” Now Ali (a.s) turned to the second man and asked if he was the murderer. He said, “Yes, I wanted to run away where no one would learn about it but when I saw that an innocent man was falsely accused, my conscience could not bear it that I should be saved and an innocent is executed instead. So I came here myself and confessed to the murder. Ali (a.s) asked Imam Hasan (a.s) what judgment he would give in this case. He replied at once, “Both the men should be released and the blood money of the victim should be paid from the public treasury.” When Ali (a.s) asked him to justify his decision he said, “One of them is innocent and the other one deserves release because he has saved the life of an innocent person. Almighty Allah says: One who saved the life of one person, it is as if he has saved humanity.”

The above incident proves that judgment in material matters should not be based on conjecture; it should rely on hard facts. Also each of the judgment was supported by Quranic verses. If Quran had not been treasured in their hearts they would also have given judgments like those ignorant about Quran. Another important point is that how many lives were saved by their judgments and how many innocent people were saved from wrongful punishments.

If divine wisdom had been related to other people, they would never have expressed their inability and helplessness in giving legal decisions and solving intellectual problems. Because it is a matter of great shame that the ruler could not properly judge the affairs of his subjects. That is why the Creator of the universe has never entrusted rulership to the ignorant. When Bani Israel objected to the rulership of Talut, saying that he didn't have enough wealth, their prophet said that Allah has selected him because he was the most knowledgeable and strong among them all. This shows that a ruler can only be one who has knowledge and virtues so that he can rule his subjects according to divine will. Cunning, intrigue and deception cannot be called wisdom or knowledge.

2. A Syrian instigated by Muawiyah asked Imam Hasan (a.s) amidst a crowd, “What is the difference between faith and certainty.” Actually he wanted to pose a difficult question that required lengthy explanation going into complex debatable points which the Imam would take time to explain and hence people would think the Imam is deficient in knowledge, while the Syrian would get an opportunity to extol the virtues of Muawiyah. Imam Hasan (a.s) replied, “There is a distance of four fingers between faith and certainty.” “How is it so?” asked the Syrian. Imam (a.s) explained, “What you hear (by your ears) is faith and what you see (by your eyes) is certainty. Then the Syrian asked, “What is the distance between the sky and the earth?” Imam (a.s) said, “The length of ones eyesight.” He asked, “What is the distance between east and west?” Imam (a.s) said, “The distance the sun travels in a day.”

Now consider the depth of these replies. The questioner is a deadly enemy of Ahl ul-Bayt. He did not aim to gain any knowledge from Imam (a.s). It was rather to dishonor him. Think deeply on the replies of Imam (a.s). All the replies were short and to the point without any scope of further questions. This is the way a wise man speaks. Another thing worth attention is that these questions were posed to Imam (a.s) suddenly. Anyone else in place of Imam (a.s) would have become confused and offered incorrect explanations. However, even the most difficult questions are easy for those whose hearts contain the treasures of divine sciences and who are brought up in the lap of one who challenged: “Ask me”, from the pulpit. In such difficult circumstances he gave such replies that the opponent had no chance to move. This was the intellectual perfection of the Household of the Prophet.

3. Once Muawiyah came to Medina, met Imam Hasan (a.s) and asked, “You Bani Hashim claim that every dry and wet thing is mentioned in the Quran and you have the knowledge of all of them.” “Indeed,” said the Imam. Muawiyah said, “If it is so, tell me where is the mention of our beards in the Quran?” Now Imam Hasan (a.s) had a luxurious and thick facial growth while the beard of Muawiyah was scanty. “Why not!” said Imam (a.s), “Have you not read the verse of Quran:

And as for the good land, its vegetation springs forth (abundantly) by the permission of its Lord, and (as for) that which is inferior (its herbage) comes forth but scantily… (Surah Araaf 7:58).

There are subtle points in this and only those with a literary taste can appreciate them. It is sufficient if we can just realize how great was the Quranic knowledge of Imam Hasan (a.s).

4. The King of Rome sent two queries to Muawiyah. (1) Which house is in the middle of the heavens? (2) What is that place where the sun shines only once? Now how could Muawiyah reply these queries? He in turn asked Imam Hasan (a.s) who said, “The house in the middle of the heavens is the back of the Holy Ka'ba and the place where the sun shines only once is the spot in the Nile river where Prophet Moses (a.s) hit the staff and it opened (to make a path).

5. A bedouin asked Abu Bakr, “During the Hajj, I roasted and ate 70 eggs in the condition of Ehram (ritual dress), what penalty (Kaffarah) do I have to pay?” Abu Bakr said, “O Arab! You have posed a very difficult question. Go to Umar and seek the reply.” So the man went to Umar who instructed him to approach Abdul Rahman Ibne Auf. When he too could not reply he directed him to Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s), who told Imam Hasan (a.s) to answer the question. Imam Hasan (a.s) said, “O Bedouin, get as many female camels and have them impregnated, then after the calves are born, give them as offering to the House of Allah.” Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) asked, “But, son Hasan, sometimes the she-camels have miscarriages?” Hasan replied, “Father, eggs too go bad sometimes.”

Once in a gathering of Muawiyah, Amr Aas asked Imam Hasan (a.s) by way of testing him, “What is the difference between kindness, support and chivalry?” He replied, “The true meaning of kindness is to give something without expecting any recompense before the needy one asks for it; support means to dispel ones enemy by ones good behavior and chivalry denotes the condition whereby man should keep an eye on his religion and protect his self from dirt and sins and should fulfill the rights of Allah and the creatures.

Once a person asked Imam Hasan (a.s), what was the distinguishing feature of a eunuch. He said, “Regarding whom it is not known whether it is a man or a woman, but he is having both the sex organs. Then one should wait till his maturity. If he has ejaculation of semen, he is a man and if has menses and the breasts become prominent, it is a woman. And if this also does not establish the sex, then while urinating if the urine spouts in a straight line it is a man and if it drops like urine of she-camels it is a woman.”

This man further asked, “What are those ten things, that are harder than each other?” Imam (a.s) said, “Allah has made stone hard and made iron harder than it; because it breaks the stone and fire is stronger than iron because it melts the iron and water is more powerful than fire because it extinguishes the fire and the cloud is more powerful because it has control over water; and wind is more powerful than the cloud because it moves the cloud and more powerful than wind is the angel who controls it and more powerful than this angel is the angel of death who would capture his soul. And death is more powerful than the angel of death that he himself would be subjected to death. More powerful than death is the command of God Almighty, as by this death arrives and is warded off.”

Once Muawiyah heard about the generosity and kindness of Imam (a.s) and wrote to him, “There is no goodness in overspending.” The Imam wrote in reply, “There is no over-spending in goodness.”

Adopted from the book: "Akhlaqe A'imma, Morals and Manners of the Holy Imams" by: "Maulana Sayyid Zafar Hasan Amrohi"

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