5 Things to Learn From Imam Hasan

Imam Hasan was known to embody the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa’ alihi wasallam) in every way. So, even though his entire life is an example for us, let’s examine five of Imam Hasan’s best qualities to become better human beings ourselves.

1) Empathy

Imam Hasan was famously known as the ‘Kareem of Ahlulbayt’ (the Generous of the Ahlulbayt). One reason for this title is the Imam’s excessive generosity towards the poor and those in need.

However, the Imam’s generosity and compassion weren’t limited to humans; they extended to other creations of Allah. For example, once, a companion of Imam Hasan saw him feeding morsels of his food to a dog with his hands.

The companion, thinking that the Imam wouldn’t like an impure animal near him, said,

“O son of the Messenger of Allah, shall I not stone this dog away from your food?”

The Imam replied:

دعه إني لأستحيي من الله عز وجل أن يكون ذو روح ينظر في وجهي وأنا آكل ثم لا أطعمه

“Leave him, for I am ashamed before Allah Almighty that a living creature looks at me (while I eat), and I do not feed him.”

Bihar al-Anwar Vol. 43 Pg 352

2) Fearlessness

Because of his peace treaty with Muawiyya, many present Imam Hasan as someone who did not prefer to stand up against the oppression and injustices in society. However, upon careful examination of history, one observes that he was as courageous and fearless as his father.

One such incident of his fearlessness, which is a widely quoted hadith in several history books, is of the time when, after the Prophet’s demise, Abu Bakr usurped the caliphate. Even though Imam Hasan was only seven years old, when he saw Abu Bakr sitting on the Prophet’s pulpit, he said:

“Step down from the Minbar of my father.”

Surprised by this statement from the Prophet’s grandson, Abu Bakr sheepishly replied,

“Indeed, by Allah, this is your father’s pulpit, not my father’s pulpit.”
[Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 2 Pg. 17]

3) Humbleness

Even though Imam Hasan was the grandson of the head of the Islamic state and, at one time, the Caliph of Islam, he never displayed pride but remained humble and kind to the people around him.

In one incident, quoted in volume 43 of Bihar al-Anwar, a group of poor people were eating pieces of bread whilst sitting on the ground. When they saw Imam Hasan is passing nearby, they invited him to join them. The Imam dismounted from his horse and sat with them, saying,

“Allah does not like the arrogant.”
[Quran 16:23]

The Imam ate with them, and due to his blessed presence, the food did not run out until they were all full. Later, the Imam invited them all to his home, where he served them food and gave them gifts.

4) Patience

When Imam Hasan abdicated the Caliphate, the capital moved to Damascus and Marwan ibn Hakam was appointed the governor of Madina. He was a staunch enemy of the Ahlulbayt, and he spared no effort to humiliate, anger, and ridicule the Imam. But the Imam remained steadfast and patient in front of all this adversity. Even after he was martyred, Marwan did not spare him, as he hindered the Imam from getting buried next to the Prophet.

However, Marwan not only attended Imam Hasan’s funeral, but he was seen crying. Imam Husayn asked him,

“Do you really weep for him now, after all the pain you caused him?”

To this, Marwan pointed towards a mountain and said:

“Even with all I did to him, I found his forbearance to be greater than this (the mountain).”

[Tareekh al-Khulafa, Vol. 1, Pg. 146]

5) Fear of God

The Fear of Allah was so profound in the heart and mind of Imam Hasan that it is reported that when he used to perform ablution, the Imam would tremble, and his complexion would turn pale. When asked about it, he said:

حق على كل من وقف بين يدي رب العرش أن يصفر لونه، وترتعد مفاصله
“It is the right of anyone who stands before the Lord of the Throne to have his complexion turn pale and his joints tremble.”

Then, when the Imam would enter the mosque after ablution, he used to stand by its door and repeat these words:

إلهي ضيفك ببابك يا محسن قد أتاك المسيئ، فتجاوز عن قبيح ما عندي بجميل ما عندك، يا كريم

“O my Lord, your guest is at your doorstep. O the Gracious One, a wrongdoer has come to You. Forgive my ugly sins with Your beautiful forgiveness, O the Generous One!”

[Bihar al-Anwar Vol. 43 pg. 339]

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