Chapter Three: The Era of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu
Here, in chapter three, we are going to mention those incidents which took place during the era of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
In this period, Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma were always by the side of their father and they carried on their lives as per his instructions.
Here again it will be quite an arduous task to gather and mention each and every incident which took place. However, as per our limited research we will present a few.
It is a known and accepted fact that after the Khalifah Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was martyred, the people wanted to pledge allegiance to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, but he initially refused. Afterwards, however, he accepted. The details of this is mentioned in books dealing with the topic.
Due to the martyrdom of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the situation was quite tense, and different people now held different viewpoints. Some felt that the murderers of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu must be brought to justice first, thereafter the pledge of allegiance will be taken. Although most people pledged their allegiance to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, they were also demanding the qisas, i.e. that the murderers be brought to justice. The situation was so volatile that after pledging allegiance some people left Madinah Munawwarah for Sham, while other senior personalities (like Sayyidina Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma) left for Makkah Mukarramah.
Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu also felt it necessary, under these circumstances, for him to move to Kufah. The reason was that there was great hope of those people assisting and supporting him in this delicate situation.
و استخلف عليهم قثم بن عباس و هو عازم أن يقاتل بمن أطاعه من عصاه و خرج عن أمره و لم يبايعه من الناس
He appointed Qutham ibn ‘Abbas as governor over the Muslims of (Madinah Munawwarah). He resolved to fight with those who obeyed him against those who disobeyed him, were not prepared to obey and submit to him, and did not pledge allegiance to him.
The opinion and counsel of Hassan
و جاء إليه ابنه الحسن بن علي فقال يا ابتي دع هذا فإن فيه سفك دماء المسلمين و وقوع الاختلاف بينهم فلم يقبل منه ذلك بل صمم على القتال و رتب الجيش فدفع اللواء إلى محمد ابن الحنفية
His son, Hassan ibn ‘Ali approached him and presented the following proposition: “O my father! Do not fight, at the moment, since there is a great fear of Muslim blood being shed and great disorder coming about in the ranks of the Muslims. ‘Ali did not accept this proposition and instead firmly resolved to fight. He prepared an army and gave over the flag to Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah.
NB: According to one narration Sayyidina Qutham ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed as governor over Madinah Munawwarah, however another narration has it that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed Tammam ibn ‘Abbas as governor of Madinah Munawwarah and Qutham as governor of Makkah Mukarramah. There are other versions also.
The opinion and counsel of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Salam
The historians have also recorded the advice tendered by the famous Sahabi, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Salam radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
He presented himself before Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and counselled him not to leave Madinah saying:
فوالله لئن خرجت منها اي المدينة لا يعود اليها سلطان المسلمين ابدا فسبه بعض الناس فقال علي دعوه فنعم الرجل من اصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم
“By Allah, once you leave it i.e. Madinah, no leader of the Muslims will ever return to it.”
On hearing this some people began speaking ill of ‘Abdullah ibn Salam. ‘Ali forbade them saying: “He is an excellent Sahabi of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. (In other words, he has said this out of goodwill and wishing well for us.)
The opinion of Hassan
After speaking to ‘Abdullah ibn Salam radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu departed towards Basrah with his companions.
The historians write that on this occasion again, Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu approached his father and put forward his opinion. He said:
I had prevented you from going ahead before this. It should not happen such that some harm or calamity befalls you, due to the people not supporting and standing by your side.
Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu responded: Your opinion is very weak.
Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not accept the advice of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and proceeded until they reached a place called Dhu Qar, on the way to Kufah. From there, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Kufah to inform the people of the reason of their coming and to prepare them to join Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Sayyidina Abu Musa Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the governor of Kufah at the time. He was not in favour of fighting taking place between the Muslims and accordingly was preventing the people from getting involved.
ثم قام عمار و الحسن بن علي في الناس على المنبر يدعوان الناس الى النفير الى امير المؤمنين فانه انما يريد الاصلاح بين الناس
‘Ammar and Hassan ibn ‘Ali stood up to address the people and invited them to join Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali in his cause, saying, “His only objective is islah (reconciliation) between the people.”
Upon their encouragement, many people of Kufah got ready and proceeded to Dhu Qar, where they joined the army of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Here again Sayyidina Hassan spoke to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. From this we can gauge the foresight and farsightedness of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
After addressing the people of Kufah, when Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned to Dhu Qar, Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu met Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and spoke to him. The historians have recorded this conversation with slight variations in wording. We will however present the gist of what was said.
Sayyidina Hassan told Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma:
When the rebels had laid siege to Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, I advised you to leave Madinah Munawwarah, so that if Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu happens to be martyred, you would not be present in Madinah Munawwarah, but you did not accept my suggestion.
Then when Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was martyred and the people wanted to pledge allegiance to you, I advised you to postpone taking the bay’ah until the Muslims of all the various territories are pleased and willing to pledge allegiance to you.
Then when Sayyidina Talhah, Zubair and Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhum proceeded with their companions to Basrah, I advised you to return to Madinah Munawwarah and remain there (until everything settles), but you did not accept my advice.
Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu responded:
It was impossible for me to leave Madinah Munawwarah when the rebels laid siege to Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, since I was also sort of held up. The rebels were closely monitoring my movements and I was not free to move about.
With regards to the bay’ah, it was not necessary to wait for the entire Muslim world to agree and unanimously accept it. The right of appointing someone was up to the Muhajirin and Ansar present in the Haramayn. It becomes binding on the rest of the Muslim world to accept whoever they pledge allegiance to and take as their leader and to submit to him.
As for your opinion about returning to Madinah Munawwarah now and remaining within the confines of my house, this will be tantamount to being treacherous and disloyal to the Muslim Ummah, and it will be a cause of more dissention amongst the Muslims.
Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu then told Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
Do not get involved in these matters, since I am more aware and understand these issues better than you.
About The Battle of Jamal
We have already written about The Battle of Jamal in our book Sirat Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada. Here we will mention those aspects which are related to Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
The Battle of Jamal took place in 36 A.H. It was a severe battle considering the circumstances under which it took place and many people were killed. Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was one of the commanders of the right wing of the army. Under his supervision and instructions military operations were carried out.
Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was very worried and concerned at that time. He told Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
“If only your father had passed away twenty years ago.”
Hassan responded: “I had prevented you from going ahead.”
‘Ali replied: “I did not realize that matters will become so severe and it would reach this stage.”
Intercession on behalf of Marwan
When The Battle of Jamal was over, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu made an announcement:
من اغلق عليه باب داره فهو آمن و من طرح السلاح فهو آمن
Whoever closes his door will be granted safety and whoever lays down his weapons will be granted safety.
قال مروان و قد كنت دخلت دار فلان ثم ارسلت الى حسنين ابني علي و عبد الله بن عباس و عبيد الله بن عباس و عبد الله بن جعفر كلموه قال هو آمن …
Marwan says: “I was in a certain person’s house. I sent Hassan, Hussain, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Ubaidullah ibn ‘Abbas, and ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar to speak to ‘Ali on my behalf regarding safety for me. Accordingly, ‘Ali granted me safety.
The Shia historians have also recorded this incident.
We have also mentioned this in our book Mas’alah Aqriba’ Nawazi under the heading: relationship with Marwan ibn Hakam. Whoever wishes may refer to it for more details.
Arrangements for Aisha journey back to Hijaz
After The Battle of Jamal was over, Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha intended to return to Hijaz. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself went to see her off. The narration reads:
سار علي معها مودعا و مشيعا أميالا و سرح بنيه معها بقية ذلك اليوم و كان يوم السبت مستهل رجب سنة ست وثلاثين
‘Ali walked for a few miles with her to see her off and bid her farewell. He then sent his children to accompany her for the rest of the day. It was Saturday, 1st of Rajab 36 A.H. 
Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, as per the instruction of their father, bid her farewell with due respect and reverence. They walked alongside her conveyance for many miles.
In the foregoing pages we mentioned a few incidents relating to Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. We can see that Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was alongside his father throughout the various stages of The Battle of Jamal, and also voiced his opinion at various junctures, based upon the deep insight and foresightedness Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had blessed him with.
‘Ali expresses deep regret over the fighting which took place at Siffin
During the Battle of Siffin, fighting took place a few times, and the situation went totally out of control. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was greatly saddened and worried at what was transpiring.
At one point he addressed his son, Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu as follows:
يا ليت امي لم تلدني و ليت اني مت قبل اليوم
If only my mother had never given birth to me! If only I had died before this day!
In short, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was greatly perturbed and worried and such words were heard from him which were narrated by his children.
[If these statements are regarded to have been uttered under these compelling circumstances, there remains no need for any explanation or scrutiny from any other angle.]
The oratory skills of Hassan
The senior ‘Ulama’ have written:
و كان علي يكرم الحسن اكراما زائدا و يعظمه و يبجله و قد قال له يوما يا بني الا تخطب حتى اسمعك؟ فقال اني استحيي ان اخطب و انا اراك فذهب علي فجلس حيث لا يراه الحسن ثم قام الحسن في الناس خطيبا و علي يسمع فادى خطبته بليغة فصيحة فلما انصرف جعل علي يقول ذرية بعضها من بعض و الله سميع عليم
‘Ali greatly respected and honoured Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Once he said to him, “O my beloved son, why do you not deliver a lecture, as I wish to listen to you.”
Hassan replied, “I feel shy to deliver a lecture while looking at your countenance.”
So ‘Ali went away and sat at a place where Hassan could not see him. Hassan then delivered an extremely eloquent lecture, which ‘Ali heard from a distance. ‘Ali then commented: “Descendants, some of them from others. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”
Hassan’s distribution of wealth amongst the needy
Once Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu delivered a lecture in Kufah. He mentioned, inter alia, that your brother Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu has gathered some wealth which he wants to distribute amongst the people. The people thought it was a general announcement, so they all gathered. Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu addressed them and said: “Actually I had intended to distribute this wealth amongst the poor and needy.” About half of the gathering went forward to collect the money from him. The first to stand was up was Ash’ath ibn Qais.
From this incident we can gauge how generous was Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and how much he cared for the poor and needy.
The reward of ‘ibadah
The Muhaddithin have recorded an incident relating to the illness of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
عن عبد الله بن نافع قال عاد ابو موسى الاشعري الحسن بن علي فقال له علي اعائدا جئت ام زائرا فقال ابو موسى بل جئت عائدا فقال علي سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول من عاد مريضا بكرا شيعه سبعون الف ملك كلهم يستغفرون له حتى يمسي و كان له خريف في الجنة و إن عاد مساء شيعه سبعون الف ملك كلهم يستغفرون له حتى يصبح و كان له خريف في الجنة
‘Abdullah ibn Nafi’ reports:
Abu Musa Ash’ari came to visit Hassan when he was ill. ‘Ali asked Abu Musa whether he came to visit him (i.e. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu) or to visit Hassan. Abu Musa Ash’ari replied, “In fact, I came to visit Hassan, since he was ill.”
Upon hearing this reply, ‘Ali said that he heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, “Whoever goes in the morning to visit a sick person, 70 000 angels accompany him seeking forgiveness on his behalf till the evening, and he will have a garden in Jannat. And if he visits in the evening, 70 000 angels accompany him seeking forgiveness on his behalf till the morning, and he will have a garden in Jannat.
Advice regarding abstinence from the world
Aban ibn al Tufayl says that once Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave the following advice to his son Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
كن في الدنيا ببدنك و في الآخرة بقلبك
Your body should be in the world, but your heart should be attached to Akhirah.
This advice is very concise, yet very profound. It teaches us that we have to give preference to the Akhirah over this world. This is how the special servants of Allah advise people; that the concern for the next life should be dominant in the heart of a Muslim.
Guidelines for appointing a Khalifah
Towards his end, when Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was attacked and there was no hope of recovery, Jundub ibn ‘Abdullah asked Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
يا امير المؤمنين ان مت نبايع الحسن فقال لا آمركم و لا انهاكم انتم ابصر
O Amir al Mu’minin! If you pass away, should we pledge allegiance to Hassan?
‘Ali replied: I do not instruct you to take the bay’ah on his hands, neither do I prevent you from doing so. You should do as you feel most appropriate.
Just before his demise, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave some special parting advises to Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Some of it is as follows:
و قد اوصى ولديه الحسن والحسين بتقوى الله والصلاة و الزكوة و كظم الغيظ و صلة الرحم و الحلم عن الجاهل و التفقه في الدين و التثبت في الامر و التعاهد للقرآن و حسن الجوار و الأمر بالمعروف و النهي عن المنكر و اجتناب الفواحش و وصاهما باخيهما محمد ابن الحنفية و وصاه بما وصاهما به و ان يعظمهما و لا يقطع امرا دونهما و كتب ذلك كله فيكتب وصيته رضي الله عنه و ارضاه
He instructed his sons Hassan and Hussain to fear Allah, establish salah, discharge Zakat, control their anger, be good to their relatives, exercise patience and be tolerant towards the ignorant, be well grounded in understanding the laws of din, be steadfast in their matters, safeguard the Qur’an, be good to their neighbours, command what is good, and prevent what is evil.
‘Ali then advised them to treat their brother Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah well, and he also advised Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah to be good to Hassan and Hussain, to honour them and not to make any major decision without consulting them. He wrote this down, hence his bequest is recorded. May Allah be pleased with him and please him.
Ghusl, kafan, janazah and burial
On the 17th of Ramadan 40 A.H., ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Muljim Muradi Khariji attacked and stabbed Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He succumbed to his wounds after three days.
و غسله الحسن والحسين و عبد الله بن جعفر و كفن في ثلاثة اثواب ليس فيها قميص
Hassan, Hussain, and ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar gave him ghusl (ritual bath) and enshrouded him in a kafan. The kafan comprised of three pieces of cloth, excluding a qamis (shirt).
They then made preparations for the Salat al Janazah which was led by his eldest son:
ان الحسن بن علي صلى على علي بن ابي طالب فكبر عليه اربع تكبيرات ….
Hassan led the Salat al Janazah upon ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, which consisted of four takbirs.
With regards to his place of burial, Ibn Kathir writes:
و دفن كما ذكرنا بدار الامارة على الصحيح من اقوال الناس
‘Ali was buried, as we mentioned, in the capital (i.e. Kufah) according to the most authentic view.
There are other views, but this is the most correct one.
Hassan refutes a baseless ideology
After Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was martyred, some of his followers came up with the corrupt ideology that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu will return to the world before Qiyamah. He has merely disappeared from their sight and did not pass away. This ideology is totally incorrect and goes against the Qur’an, hadith, and established principles of Shari’ah.
We will mention the decisive declaration of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu on this issue:
عن عمرو بن الاصم قال دخلت على الحسن بن علي و هو في داره عمرو بن حريث فقلت له ان ناسا يزعمون ان عليايرجع قبل يوم القيامة فضحك و قال سبحان الله لو علمنا ذلك ما زوجنا نساءه و لا ساهمنا ميراثه
‘Amr ibn Asam reports that once he went to visit Hassan ibn ‘Ali when he was in the home of ‘Amr ibn Hurayth. He told him, “Some people believe that ‘Ali will return to the world before Qiyamah.”
Hassan laughed and said: “Subhan Allah! If we were aware of this fact, we would not have allowed his wives to marry other men, neither would we have distributed his estate.”
NB: This belief is termed as Raj’ah by the Shia. Many people hold this warped belief up to this day, although it had been refuted at that time already by the Imams themselves.
Pledging of allegiance to the Khalifah
After the burial of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the next important issue which was attended to was pledging allegiance to Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
ثم انصرف الحسن بن علي من دفنه فدعا الناس إلى بيعته فبايعوه
After returning from his (father’s) burial, Hassan ibn ‘Ali invited the people to pledge allegiance to him. Subsequently, they took the bay’ah at his hands.
There was peace and calm for the next few months after the bay’ah.
An Important Testimony of Hassan
In the foregoing pages we mentioned incidents regarding Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu which took place during the Caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The character, noble qualities, and services rendered to Islam by Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu were also mentioned briefly. More details will follow in the ensuing pages when we discuss his Caliphate.
Here, as we conclude the era of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, we would like to reproduce the testimony given by Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu about Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Ibn Samman quotes the saying of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his book al Muwafaqah Bayn Ahlul Bayt wa al Sahabah:
عن الحسن بن علي قال لا اعلم عليا خالف عمر و لا غير شيئا مما صنع حين قدم الكوفة
Hassan ibn ‘Ali declared, “Since ‘Ali came to Kufah, he did not oppose ‘Umar in any matter, neither did he change anything which was done during the time of ‘Umar.”
It is as if to say, the matters of Caliphate during the time of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu were one and the same.
This is an important and weighty testimony of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu that there was no opposition and enmity between these two great personalities, Sayyidina ‘Umar and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
After this testimony of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, there is no scope left for anyone to paint a picture of differences, dispute, and opposition between these luminaries.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/229.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/229.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/233.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/233.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/236.
 Al Akhbar al Tiwal of Abu Hanifah Ahmed ibn Dawood al Dinawari (d. 282 A.H.), pg. 145, 146; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/223, 234.
 Tahdhib Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 4/325.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/240.
 Al Sunan of Sa’id ibn Mansur, pg. 366 Hadith: 2947.
 Nahj al Balaghah, pg. 123; Muruj al Dhahab, 2/378.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/245; Tarikh al Tabari, 5/183; Muruj al Dhahab, 2/377; Sirat Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada, pg. 269.
 Al Tarikh al Kabir, 3/384; Kitab al Sunnah, pg. 192; Sirat Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada, pg. 336.
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 34.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/37.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, 11/14; Tahdhib Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 4/214.
 Musnad Ahmed, 1/121.
 Hilyat al Awliya’, 2/37.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/327.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/327.
 Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, 3/25; Sirat Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada, pg. 525.
 Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, 3/25; Sirat Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada, pg. 525 – 526, 503 – 504; al Mustadrak, 3/143; Fada’il al Sahabah, 2/558.
 Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, 3/26; Musnad Ahmed, 1/147; al Mustadrak, 3/145; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/175; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/41; Fada’il al Sahabah, 2/662.
 Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, 3/25; Sirat Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada, pg. 527.
 Al Riyad al Nadirah fi Manaqib al ‘Asharah, 2/85; Izalat al Khafa’ ‘an Khilafat al Khulafa’, 1/107; Ruhama’ Baynahum, Faruqi section, pg. 320.