Secret of Suhl al-Hasan (a.s.)
- :Sheykh Radi al-Yasin
Up till now, we have brought nothing to quench thirst or to serve as a proof for understanding the reason why Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, turned away from martyrdom and accepted making peace practically. The most important point in the matter of Al-Hasan arose from the day when he made pace with Mu'awiya. for people have criticized Him since then. The subject which we have mentioned within this study is the worthiest of all subjects in taking care, discussing, and probing. That is because it is of great importance and because it is the secret of the attitude which no one has unveiled for more than thirteen centuries.
To be more accurate in understanding the reasons for the purpose which we want to conclude through this study, we will first of all start with mentioning the declarations of the most famous historians on the subject, and then we will consider carefully the condition when Al-Hasan made peace (with Mu'awiya) and the conclusions of this study.
1. In this book Tarikh', al-Ya'qubi, said: Mu'awiya sent (some men) to the army of Al-Hasan to rumor that Qays b. Sa'd had made peace with Mu'awiya and joined Him. Also he (ie, Mu'awiya )sent (some men) to the army of Qays, after the desertion of 'Ubayd Allah b. Abbas and those who were with Him, to rumor that Al-Hasan had made peace with Mu'awiya and answered Him. Then Mu'awiya sent to Al-Hasan al-Mughira b. Shu'ba, Abd Allah b. Kurayz, and Abd al-Rahman b. Umm al-Hakam. They came to Al-Hasan, who stopped at his great tent. in al-Mada'in. Then they left Him speaking loudly to make the people hear: Indeed Allah has prevented bloodshed through the (grand) son of the Apostle of Allah. For Al-Hasan had calmed the discord and accepted making peace (with Mu'awiya).' So they (the people) attacked Al-Hasan, and plundered his great tent. So Al-Hasan mounted his own horse and went to Mazlam Sabat. Al Jarrah b. Sinan al-Asadi had ambushed Him, stabbed Him in the thigh, seized his beard and twisted it, and took Him by the neck. Al-Hasan was carried (on a strecher) to al-Mada'in. He bled very much, and his illness became intense. So the people deserted Him. Then Mu'awiya came to Iraq and controlled the authority. Al-Hasan had no strength, and his companions had deserted Him and had not stood alonside Him. He knew of that, so made peace with Mu'awiya."
2. Al-Tabari said: "The people pledged allegiance to Al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be in Him. The he went out with people till he stopped at al-Mada'in. He sent Qays b. Sa'd to lead his vanguard (so and so) that was composed of twelve thousand fighters. (In the meantime) Mu'awiya and the Syrians moved till they stopped at Maskan. While Al-Hasan had been at al-Mada'in, a caller called in the army: Qays b. Sa'd had been killed, so desert (Al-Hasan). So they deserted Him, and plundered his tent to the extent that they plundered even his prayer mat from under Him. Then Al-Hasan went out till he stopped at the white compartment at Maskan. The uncle of al-Mukhtar b. Abu 'Ubayd was governor over al-Mada'in. His name was Sa'd b. Mas'ud. So al-Mukhtar, who was a young man, said to Him: Have you anything of riches and honor? He (ie Sa'd b. Mas'ud) said: 'What is that? he (ie al-Mukhtar) said: Bind Al-Hasan's legs together and ask Mu'awiya for safety through this act.' So Sa'd said to Him: May Allah's curse be on you. Do you want me to attack the son of the daughter of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless Him and his family, and to bind his legs together? How a bad man you are! So when Al-Hasan knew that the people deserted Him, he sent (a man) to Mu'awiya and asked Him to make peace with Him. Thus Mu'awiya sent to Him Abd Allah b. Amir, and Abd al-Rahman b. Samra b. Habib b. Abd Shams So they came to Al-Hasan at al-Mada'in, then they gave Him what he wanted and made peace with Him."
3. In his book al-Kamil, b. al-Athir said: "When Al-Hasan stopped at al-Mada'in, a caller called in the army: Qays b. Sad has been killed, so desert. Then they attacked Al-Hasan's tent and plundered his provisions."
Also b. al-Athir has mentioned the previous text of al-Tabari, then he said: "It was said that Al-Hasan handed over the authority. That is because Mu'awiya exchanged letters with Him to hand over the authority. Then Al-Hasan addressed the people. He praised Allah, lauded Him, and said: By Allah, neither doubt nor regret prevent us from the Syrians. Rather we fought against them with safety and patience. However, safety was mixed with enmity and patience with impatience. your religion was before your life in this world during your advancing against (them at the Battle of )siffin. However, today your life in this world has become before your religion. Indeed you have become between two killed (persons) one was killed at (the Battle) of Siffin and you weep over Him, and the other was killed at (the Battle) of al-Nahrwan and you avenge his blood. As for the rest, they are betrayers, and as for the weeper is a rebel. Indeed Mu'awiya has summoned us to a matter in which their is neither dignity nor justice. So if you want death, we will answer in kind and judge Him for Allah with our swords. If you want life, we will accept Him and take contentment for you. So the people called Al-Hasan from all directions: The rest! The rest! Make peace!"
4. In his book 'Sharh Nahj al-Balagha,' b. Abu al-Haddid said: "On the authority of al-Mada'in, who said; Then Al-Hasan sent Abd Allah b. Abbas Qays b. Sa'd b. Abbada to head a vanguard of twelve thousand (fighters) to advance against Sham (Syria). Then he went out to head for al-Mada'in. However, he was stabbed at Sabat and his previsions were plundered. Then he entered al-Mada'in. Mu'awiya heard of that news, so he propagated it. The companions whom Al-Hasan sent with Abd Allah began joining Mu'awiya's camp. They were from the prominent figures and the members of the houses. So Abd Allah b. al-Abbas wrote to Al-Hasan concerning that. For this reason Al-Hasan addressed the people and scolded them and said: "you had disobeyed my father, so he accepted the arbitration while he was reluctant (to do that). Then he summoned you to fight against the Syrians after the arbitration, but you refused that till he passed away. Then you pledged allegiance to me to make peace with Him who makes peace with me and to fight Him who fights against me. I have heard that the people of honor went to Mu'awiya and pledged allegiance to Him. It is enough for me when do not desert me and my religion. Al-Hasan sent to Mu'awiya Abd Allah (b. al-Harith b. Noufal b. al-Harith b. Abd al-Muttalib. His mother was Hind bint (the daughter) of Abu Sufyan b. Harb) to ask Him to make peace. Al-Hasan stipulated that Mu'awiya should act according to Book of Allah and the Sunna (practices) of HIs Apostle, and that he should not pledged allegiance to anyone after Him.
5. In his book al-Irshad, al-Mufid said: "A group of the tribal leaders wrote secretly to Mu'awiya offering to accept his authority (ie, to listen and obey). They urged Him to come to them and they guaranteed to hand over Al-Hasan when they got to his camp, or to kill Him treacherously.
"Al-Hasan learned of that when a letter came to Him from Qays b. Sa'd. He had sent Qays with 'Ubayd Allah b. Abbas (to go on ahead) when he had set out from Kufa to meet Mu'awiya and to drive Him out of Iraq, and make Himself a commander of a unified people (jama'a). He had said to 'Ubayd Allah: If you are truck down, then the commander will be Qays b. Sa'd.
"Qays b. Sa'd's letter arrived informing Al-Hasan that they had stopped Mu'awiya at a village called al-Jinubiya opposite Maskan. Then Mu'awiya had sent to 'Ubayd Allah b. Abbas, urging Him to come to Him and offering Him a million dirham, half of which he would give Him immediately, and the other half on his entry into Kufa. 'Ubayd Allah had slipped away in the night with his close associates to (join) Mu'awiya's camp. In the morning the people found their leaders missing. Qays b. Sa'd said the prayer with them and took charge of their affairs.
"Al-Hasan's awareness of the people's desertion of him increased, (as did his awareness) of the corrupt intention of the Muhakkima (the Kharijites) against Him, which they made obvious by cursing Him, accusing Him of disbelief, and declaring that it was lawful to shed his blood and plunder his proper. There remained no one to protect Him from his unfortunate predicament except the close associates from his father's Shi'a and his own Shi'a, and they were a group that could not resist the Syrians soldiers.
"Mu'awiya wrote to Al-Hasan about a truce and peace treaty. He also sent Him letters of his followers in which they had guaranteed to kill Him treacherously or to hand Him over. He offered Him as many conditions as he wanted, to answer his (call) for peace and he gave his (sworn) covenant by whose fulfillment everybody's interests would be served. Al-Hasan did not trust Him. He was aware of his deception and his attempts at assassination. However, he could find no escape from assenting to his demands to abadndon the war and bring about a truce because of the weakness of his followers' understanding of his right, their corrupt attitude towards Him and their opposition to Him. (In addition, he was aware) of the view of many of them in declaring it lawful to shed his blood and to hand Him over to his rival. (He also knew) of his cousin's desertion (of Him) and his joining his enemy, as well as the inclination of the people towards the immediate present and their reluctance (to show concern) for the future.
I (the author) say: In most historical encyclopedias, you do not find a study written in detail on the matter of Al-Hasan, peace be on Him. In this respect, all writers do not resemble each others and sometimes they oppose each other in presenting the historical facts. Besides their studies are incomplete and their expressions are brief.
As you have seen (in the above mentioned texts) that one of the historian thinks that Al-Hasan asked Mu'awiya for making peace, while the other thinks that it was Mu'awiya who asked Al-Hasan for making peace. Some historians think that Al-Hasan asked Mu'awiya for making peace because of the discords that happened at both the camps, namely at Maskan and al-Mada'in. The they differ over the kind of the discord. Some of them think that Al-Hasan agreed on making peace with Mu'awiya because the people deserted Him when he was atabbed and became ill. Some of them think that Al-Hasan made peace with Mu'awiya because the people were tired of fighting alongside Him. That was Al-Hasan's oration when the people said: "the rest the rest" and when they said openly: "Make peace (with Mu'awiya)" Some of them think that Al-Hasan made peace with Mu'awiya became the commander (ie 'Ubayd Allah b. Abbas) deserted Him had his companions betrayed Him and some of his companions declared that it was lawful to shed his blood and the rest of his cmpanions were not enough to wage war against Mu'awiya.
Moreover, the historians are still differ over the commander's name, Some of them have called Him. Abd Allah b. Abbas some of them called Him Qays b. Sa'd b. Ubbada: some of them called im 'Ubayd Allah b. al-Abbas, and so on.
How painful this historical matter is! Indeed it is harmful, especially when the historians study it at random.
The other historians have studied this matter as they studied the marginal matters in history, paying no attention to that short period of time that was full of great events. namely the period of time when Al-Hasan's general Islamic succession to authority occured,the separations between the spiritual authority and the temporal authority happened, the caliphate turned into kingdom, and the tribal enmities in Islam started.
The historians who wrote briefly or in detail about the matter of Al-Hasan discussed only the critical conditions that forced Him to make peace with Mu'awiya. In other words they adopted different attitudes towards such a sensitive matter: some of them yielded to government, kept silent and showed no idea; some of them regarded Al-Hasan's matter as right, justified it, increased proofs for it, and numbered the excuse; others criticized Him in an ignorant way, were unaware of the secret of the attitude so that they began disclosing their own psychological traits such as impudent fanaticism, bad discrimination, and the like.
If the friends and the enemies consider carefully the critical historians situations from which Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, suffered, they will refrain from censuring Him for turning away from martyrdom that was, without doubt, the best and most appropriate end for the immortal Imam.
At this they will be able to know the reason why the Imam prefered making peace with Mu'awiya to martyrdom. In the meantime they will be in no need to any effort to count the disasters or to study the critical situations. However, these people insist that it was inappropriate for Al-Hasan to make peace with Mu'awiya. for the condition was appropriate for Al-Hasan to die martyr as his brother al-Husayn did. In other words the hardships from which Al-Hasan suffered were similar to those which al-Husayn suffered. However, al-Husayn passed them through martyrsdom. So such a kind of martyrdom is a proof for his immortality in the history of the people who revolt against oppression.
Therefore, why did Al-Hasan not follow the way of al-Husayn?
Was he cowardly? I (the author) ask Allah's forgiveness, for al-Husayn's heart was not braver then Al-Hasan's nor was his sword sharpter then his, nor was he more liable to persecutions than Him. Al-Hasan and al-Husayn were two brothers in all their great qualities: in good manners religion, sacrificing for the religion, bravery in battle fields, moreover they were the two sons of the bravest of all Arabs. So I (ie the author) wonder: where is the place of cowardice in Al-Hasan?
Was Al-Hasan desirous of the life in this world? Far be it from the spiritual Imam who has perfumed history. It was impossible for Him to prefer the life in this world to what Allah has bestowed on Him such as signity and great position I the gardens. He had great spirits, for jihad and sacrifices grew on Him. Thus he was ready to abddicate the throne and to renounce all worldly pleasures.
Was he satisfied with Mu'awiya to be the leader of Islam when he made peace with Him and yielded to Him? Certainly not! Al-Hasan was not satisfied with Mu'awiya. Many historians have reported his words concerning Mu'awiya. He regarded Him as an aggressor. He had no doubt about his aggression. He described Him as unbeliever. Thus he said to the Muslims that it was incumbent on them to fight against Him.
These are some of Al-Hasan's words to Mu'awiya: "Leave aggression and prevent the blood of the Muslim from shedding. By Allah, you have shed a lot of their Blood. Fear Allah, for you will meet Him.1
One of his companions blamed his for making peace with Mu'awiya, so he said: By Allah, if I had supporters, I would fight against Mu'awiya day and fight.2
In his historical speech at al-Mada'in, Al-Hasan said: By Allah, neither doubt regret prevent us from (fighting against)the Syrians."
As we have previously mentioned, Al-Hasan said to Abu Sa'id: The reason that made me make peace with Mu'awiya was the same reason that made the Apostle of Allah made peace with the banu(sons of) Damra, the banu of Ashija, and the Meccians when he left al-Hudaybiya. Those were unbelievers according to the Holy Koran. while Mu'awiya and his companions are unbeliever according to the interpretation."
Therefore Al-Hasan made peace with Mu'awiya, but he was not satisfied with Him, he did not fight against Him, but he was not afraid of Him. Moreover, he turned away from martyrdom, but he was not desirous of the life in this world. Rather he made peace with Mu'awiya because there was no choice other than making peace during his time. In this way Al-Hasan is distinguished from al-Husayn. That is because al-Husayn had two choices during his time: either making peace or martyrdom. So the best of all the people (ie, al-Husayn) hurried to choose the best of the two ways. As for al-Hassn, he was prevented from obtaining martyrdom so that he had only one possible way which he had to follow.
I (ie the author) say that and I am sure of what I say.
Maybe it seems strange when I say Al-Hasan was prevented from obtaining martyrdom. That is because someone may ask "Wasn't Al-Hasan the believer who abdicated his right to authority? Didn't the leave for Allah what was in the world for the world? Didn't he sell his life for Allah's reward? So why did he avoid facing the swords and the spear to be a martyr? Isn't this the Immortal martyr?
Moerover, why was such a mujahid (holy fighter) prevented from martyrdom while he had a long history in jihad (holy war)? So why didn't he hurry to martyrdom? Why haven't we heard that he tried to obtain martyrdom throught fighting against the enemy on the day when he had no escape from that? If he had done that, wouldn't all his loyal shi'a dified death for Him? Were they not waiting for his final word to wage war against his enemies?"
Yes, this was the beginning of the Problem that distinguished Al-Hasan from the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. From here this historical problem has become a matter of doubt. Much nonsense had been said about it. Such a kind of nonesense has complicated the matter very much and made the people unable to understand it.
Then it is natural for those who depend on nonesense in their life to misunderstand the series of the vents. Thus they improvise rules. Through these rules they study the policy of Al-Hasan to show weak points in it and to criticized it paying no intention to the historical facts.
Now, which idea is correct the idea of Al-Hasan or that of the critices?
Al-Hasan was a great leader, No one can doubt his leadership. Besides no one can criticize Him easily.
Now, we will solve the Problem. However, it is better for us to mention three facts before we solve it. These facts are as follows:
The first fact is about the meaning of martyrdom.
The second fact is about Al-Hasan's critical stituation at al-Mada'in.
The third fact is about Mu'awiya's plan towards the aims Al-Hasan, peace be on Him.
1. Ibn Abu al-Haddid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 12.
2. al-Tubrisi, al-Ihtijaj, p.151.
Adopted from the book: "Sulh al-Hasan (a.s.)" by: "Sheykh Radi al-Yasin"
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