After the reconciliation with Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned from Iraq and took up residence in Madinah Munawwarah. In the previous pages we had mentioned briefly some aspects relating to his life in Madinah Munawwarah; his ‘ibadah and services to Islam. Now we will briefly discuss his demise.
Al Isma’i relates―from Sallam ibn Miskin―from ‘Imran ibn ‘Abdullah:
راى الحسن بن علي في منامه انه مكتوب بين عينيه قل هو الله احد ففرح بذلك فبلغ ذلك سعيد بن المسيب فقال ان كان راى هذه الرؤيا فقل ما بقي من اجله قال فلم يلبث الحسن بن علي بعد ذلك الا اياما حتى مات
Hassan ibn ‘Ali saw in a dream that qul huwa Allah ahad was inscribed on his forehead. He was elated at this. News of this dream reached Sa’id ibn Musayyab who commented, “If he saw this dream, then he has very little time left.” After a few days, Hassan ibn ‘Ali passed away.
Thus, Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was informed of the approach of his demise by means of a dream. There are various external causes for a person’s demise. In the following pages we will mention the causes which led to the demise of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
The historians have recorded different narrations concerning Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu falling ill and passing away.
ابن علية عن ابن عون عن عمير بن اسحاق قال دخلنا على الحسن بن علي نعوده فقال لصاحبي يا فلان سلني ثم قام من عندنا فدخل كنيفا ثم خرج فقال اني والله قد لفظت طائفة من كبدي قلبتها بعود و اني قد سقيت السم مرارا فلم اسق مثل هذا فلما كان من الغد اتيته و هو يسوق فجاء الحسين فقال ا ي اخي انبئني من سقاك قال لم لتقتله ؟ قال نعم قال ما انا محدثك شيئا ان يكن صاحبي الذي اظن فالله اشد نقمة و الا فو الله لا يقتل بي بري
Ibn ‘Ulayyah―from Ibn ‘Awn―from ‘Umair ibn Ishaq who says:
We went to visit Hassan ibn ‘Ali after he fell ill. He said to my companion, “O so-and-so, he poisoned me.”
He then stood up and went to the bathroom. He then exited and commented, “By Allah, I expelled a piece of my liver. I turned it with a piece of wood. I have been poisoned on many occasions but never like this.”
The next day, I visited him while he was quite distressed. After a while, Hussain arrived. He asked, “O my brother, tell me who poisoned you.”
“Why,” he asked, “Do you want to kill him?”
“Yes,” he answered.
He remarked, “I will not tell you a thing. If it is the one whom I suspect, then Allah’s revenge is more severe. Otherwise, by Allah, no innocent man should be killed on my account.” 
Shortly thereafter Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away on 5 Rabi’ al Awwal 49/50 A.H., coinciding with February 669.
There are other narrations also mentioned in the books of history which are have been criticised by the muhaddithin.
From this narration we come to know that Sayyidina Hassan’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu demise was due to being poisoned, and also that he did not reveal the name of the person who poisoned him. He exercised extreme forbearance, patience, and caution on this occasion. Also, his temperament demanded that no person be harmed. These are the salient qualities of the pious slaves of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, which were found to perfection in Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Hafiz al Dhahabi has narrated from Abu Hilal from Qatadah:
قال معاوية وا عجبا للحسن ا شرب شربة من عسل بماء رومة فقضى نحبه ثم قال لابن عباس لا يسئوك الله و لا يحزنك في الحسن ..
(‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma was in Sham when the news of the demise of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu reached Sayyidina Muawiyah.)
Muawiyah surprisingly commented: “Surprising indeed is Hassan! He drank the water of the well of Rumah mixed with honey, and this caused his death.”
He then offered his condolences Ibn ‘Abbas, “May Allah not keep you sad and may you not grieve over Hassan.”
Sayyidina Muawiyah presented a substantial amount of money to him, requesting him to distribute it amongst his family.
The crux of all this is that there are various narrations recorded by the historians regarding the demise of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This narration is sort of a different version.
Note: Ibn Taymiyyah al Harrani writes regarding the demise of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
It is said that he died after being poisoned. He has attained the rank of a martyr and this is a matter of honour for him. However, he did not die it combat.
Some people add that Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was poisoned by his wife on the request of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The detailed answer to this allegation may be studied in our book Sirat Hadrat Amir Muawiyah . We have quoted the clarification of senior ‘Ulama’, the likes of Hafiz Ibn Kathir, Ibn Khaldun, and others, that this allegation and incident is totally baseless. The narrations mentioning Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu are from the Shia, and for such allegations and accusations to come from them is not farfetched.
Apart from the examination of the narration, even from a factual point of view this is incorrect, due to the following reasons:
How is it possible that senior members of the family of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu allowed those involved in poisoning him to lead the Salat al Janazah, to join them in battle, to accept gifts from them, etc. This goes against the honour and self-respect of these noble personalities. After keeping all these aspects in mind, it is quite clear that Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu had no part and was in no way linked to the poisoning of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Hafiz Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah penned his research in the following manner:
و عندي ان هذا ليس بصحيح و عدم صحته عن ابيه معاوية بطريق الاولى و الاحرى
According to me, to attribute the poisoning to Yazid is incorrect, and to attribute it to his father, Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, is even more incorrect.
Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed the days of his illness with a lot of patience and eventually passed away on 5 Rabi’ al Awwal 49/50 A.H. Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu told the governor of Madinah Munawwarah, Sa’id ibn ‘As al Umawi to lead the Salat al Janazah. Coupled with this, he explained a shar’i principle
لولا انها سنة ما قدمت
Had it not been a Sunnah practice, I would not have put anyone forward. 
Which means that in Islam, the Sunnah is that the Amir of the time has a greater right to lead the Salat al Janazah, and if it wasn’t for this, he would not have let him lead the Salat al Janazah.
From this we come to know that even after Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not break away from Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, but remained on the sulh which was reached previously. He accepted the Amir which was appointed by Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the Amir of Madinah Munawwarah and he referred to this as the Sunnah of Islam.
If, according to him, the Caliphate of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not an Islamic Caliphate, he would not have mentioned the above statement.
We have discussed this issue in detail in our book Ruhama’ Baynahum, the Siddiqi Section.
Ibn Hajar Makki has added the following:
و صلى عليه سعيد بن العاص لانه كان واليا على المدينة من قبل معاوية و دفن عند جدته بنت اسد بقبة المشهورة و عمره سبع و اربعون سنة كان منها مع رسول الله صلى اله عليه وسلم سبع سنين ثم مع ابيه ثلاثون سنة ثم خليفة ستة اشهر ثم تسع سنين و نصف سنة بالمدينة
Sa’id ibn al ‘As, the governor of Madinah appointed by Muawiyah, performed his Salat al Janazah. He was buried (in Jannat al Baqi’) next to (his grandmother, Fatimah) bint Asad at the famous dome.
He was 47 years old. 7 years with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, 30 years with his father, 6 months as khalifah, and nine and a half years in Madinah.
Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has appointed a specific time for the death of every person. Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu also had to taste of death. It was his desire to be buried next to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He requested permission from Umm al Mu’minin Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha for this honour and she happily approved.
However, according to some historians, the Banu Umayyah tried to prevent this from happening and there was fear of dissention. Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar and Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma approached Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and apprised of the bequest of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, wherein he mentioned that if there is fear of any dissention because of him being buried alongside Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then he should be buried in Jannat al Baqi’ next to his grandmother, or mother according to others.
The narration reads:
عن ابن عمر قال حضرت موت الحسن فقلت للحسين اتق الله و لا تثر فتنة و لا تسفك الدماء ادفن اخاك الى جنب امه فانه قد عهد بذلك اليك
Ibn ‘Umar says:
I was present when Hassan passed away. I said to Hussain, “Fear Allah and do not cause dissension nor spill blood. Bury your brother alongside his mother for this was his bequest to you.
Accordingly, he was buried in Jannat al Baqi’.
A massive crowd of people gathered the day Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away.
قال ثعلبة بن ابي مالك شهدنا حسن بن علي يوم مات و دفناه بالبقيبع فلقد رايت البقيع و لو طرحت ابرة ما وقعت الا على الانسان
Tha’labah ibn Abi Malik reported:
I was present at the janazah of Hassan ibn ‘Ali and we buried him in al Baqi’. I saw Baqi’ (with such a huge gathering of people) that if a needle was thrown, it would land on a person (instead of falling on the ground).
قال مساور مولى سعد بن بكر رايت ابا هريرة قائما على باب مسجد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم مات الحسن بن علي و يبكي و ينادي باعلى صوته يا ايها الناس مات اليوم حب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فابكوا
Musawir, the freed slave of Sa’d ibn Bakr, recalls:
I saw Abu Hurairah standing by the door of the Masjid of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the day Hassan ibn ‘Ali passed away. He was crying and announced at the top of his voice: ‘O people, today the beloved of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away, so weep.’”
NB: This expression of grief by Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was done within three days. On initially experiencing a difficulty a person sometimes cannot control himself, and therefore this action of Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu cannot be used as a proof to establish the validity of the present day customary mourning ceremonies.
Regarding the wives and children of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu we have come across various names recorded by several historians and genealogists. Here we will mention those recorded by a few famous authors.
As for Sayyidina Hassan’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu wives, the historians mention that he had plenty wives. He used to marry a lot and divorce a lot as well. What is important to note is that at one time Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not have more than four wives. To have four wives in ones nikah at one time cannot be objected to in Islam. Furthermore, the narrations mentioning him marrying and divorcing a lot are not free of exaggeration. This is borne out by the fact that the reliable ‘Ulama’ have mentioned a maximum of twelve sons and five daughters. If for argument’s sake we accept the narrations mentioning him marrying a lot, then Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu would have had a lot of children as well. Having only this small amount of children indicates that these narrations of him marrying a lot are questionable and unreliable.
As far as his children are concerned, we will reproduce from the various narrations some of their names:
Mus’ab al Zubairi enumerates the following children and wives in Nasab Quraysh:
Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu named two of his sons Abu Bakr and ‘Umar respectively. He was following the example of his noble father, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who named three of his children Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman respectively. ‘Uthman ibn ‘Ali was the first to be martyred at Karbala’.
Abu Jafar al Baghdadi (d. 245 A.H.) mentioned the daughters and wives of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu in Ahl al Muhabbar as follows:
The famous genealogist, Ibn Hazm al Undulusi (d. 456 A.H.) has mentioned the following in Jamharat al Ansab.
Three of Sayyidina Hassan’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu sons viz., ‘Abdullah, Qasim, and Abu Bakr were martyred with their uncle Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu in Karbala’.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/42; Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/38.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/183; Hilyat al Awliya’, 2/38; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/42.
 Minhaj al Sunnah, 2/121.
 Sirat Hadrat Amir Muawiyah, 2/201-207.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/43.
 Kitab al Ma’rifah wa al Tarikh, 1/216; Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/45; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/185; Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, 4/35; Maqatil al Talibiyyin 1/51.
 Ruhama’ Baynahum, 1/199.
 Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah, pg. 141.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/184; Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/41.
 Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/47; al Isabah, 1/230.
 Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/46.
 Nasab Quraysh, pg. 46 – 49.
 We have taken this from Nasab Quraysh of Mus’ab al Zubairi. The fourth wife we have taken from Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, 6/375.
 Ahl al Muhabbar, pg. 66, 326, 447.