بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
By ‘Allamah Khalid Mahmood (Manchester, United Kingdom)
الحمد لله وسلام على عباده الذين اصطفى اما بعد
All praise belongs to Allah and peace upon His servants whom He has selected.
There are six names which are very common in the Muslim world. In the Indo-Pak subcontinent where people have double names, we will find one of these six being commonly used. The Arabs usually add the names of their fathers to their own, thus making it a double name. These six names are: Allah, Muhammad, Ahmed, ‘Ali, Hassan, and Hussain. Now let us take a look at how these names are used.
Besides these six names, there are very few names which are used in double names. Among the Arabs, besides attaching the name Allah, generally the names are single, e.g. Muhammad, Ahmed, ‘Ali, Hassan, and Hussain. From this we can gauge the natural affiliation and attachment the ummah has for these names.
It could be said about the first two, i.e. Allah and Muhammad, that we are recognised by these names, and without knowing and believing in them no person can be a Muslim. However the bond and attachment the ummah has for ‘Ali, Hassan, and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum is also very strong. The truth of the matter is that in all Muslim societies these names have been revered and regarded as a means of honour, without any difference of opinion. This love and attachment is not only found in a certain Muslim country or amongst a few tribes. Rather, the entire Muslim ummah regards it as a matter of pride and honour to have either the name of Allah, or the name of Muhammad, or Ahmed, attached to their names, and thereafter the blessed names of ‘Ali, Hassan, and Hussain are revered and honoured by the entire ummah.
There has never been any difference regarding the personalities of Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma amongst the ummah, and this is the historical truth. Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was prepared to relinquish the right to the Caliphate, but was not prepared to see the ummah divided into various factions. Although Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu was alone in Karbala’ and the events that transpired took place suddenly, the truth is that the hearts of the entire ummah were with him. This is also an established fact that perhaps there is no book of hadith of the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah which does not contain a chapter on the virtues and merits of the Ahlul Bayt, Sayyidina Hassan, and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
After the son of Sayyidina Hussain, Zayn al ‘Abidin ‘Ali ibn al Hussain, took up residence in Madinah Munawwarah―after the tragic events of Karbala’―the ‘ulama’ and muhaddithin of the ummah would attend his lessons and benefit from his vast knowledge and spirituality. This is a well-known fact amongst the ‘ulama’.
If a person’s iman cannot be complete without loving Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then a person’s iman cannot be complete without loving those whom Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam loved. Since Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam loved Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he also wished that others should love him. In fact, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam supplicated to this effect:
اللهم إني أحبه فأحبه
O Allah, I love him, so You also love him.
These are noble personalities, the love of whom we have inherited from Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and we hope that every person who believes in Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will also love them.
What transpired at Karbala’ was a rash reckless reaction to Sayyidina Hussain’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu journeying to Kufah, and a result of the treachery of the people of Iraq. The entire ummah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam grieved at the occurrences of Karbala’.
Wherever, in the Muslim world, mention is made of Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, the hearts of the Muslims radiate with love for him, and are moved upon hearing of the cruelties committed against him. The people of Sham (the Levant) themselves cursed Ibn Marjana (‘Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad). Until this point in time there was no split in the ummah with regards to beliefs.
We can clearly understand from this that the stance taken by Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not result in him becoming estranged from the the Ummah or despised by them. He regarded his presence at the borders of the Muslim state as a great service to Islam, for which he had volunteered and presented himself. He did not desire any type of fragmentation or disorder to arise in the Muslim world.
When Zayn al ‘Abidin, who was the son of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum, arrived in Madinah Munawwarah, he studied under Sayyidina Jabir (d. 74 A.H), Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (d. 68 A.H), and Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (d. 74 A.H) radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He also had a close relationship with Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who in turn loved him deeply. Imam al Zuhri said, “I never saw a greater faqih (jurist) than Zayn al ‘Abidin.”
His lessons held in Masjid al Nabawi were attended by all and sundry, just like the gatherings and lessons of other great ‘ulama’ of the time. No difference of opinion with regards to beliefs existed between Zayn al ‘Abidin and the other ‘ulama’ of the time. Thereafter, Imam Muhammad al Baqir and Imam Jafar al Sadiq became leading personalities in Hijaz, following in the footsteps of their forefathers.
However, there were those elements who were attempting to create a rift within the belief structure of the ummah, soon after the martyrdom of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had a number of such deviants burnt alive. Towards the end of the third century, their sinister plots began yielding its fruits and now a picture of the Ahlul Bayt being totally estranged from the rest of the Ummah had been painted in the minds of many. Some historians and narrators tried to take this picture and establish its occurrence earlier on. It then became the duty of the scholars of the truth to educate the ummah regarding the Ahlul Bayt in that era, so that they do not look upon them with scepticism and judge them with some obscure yardstick. Instead they should regard them in the same manner they regard and revere the other great personalities of the ummah.
Stage 1: In the company of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
In this phase there is no issue regarding which there can be any difference of opinion.
Stage 2: During the Caliphate of the first three Khulafa’.
Stage 3: During the Caliphate of his father, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Stage 4: His period of Caliphate while in Kufah.
Stage 5: During the Caliphate of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu after the sulh (reconciliation).
During this period, Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu took up residence in Madinah Munawwarah. Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood by the side of his brother and spent these five stages of his life together with Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Stage 6: This is the stage of their lives after the demise of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It was during this time that the journey to Karbala’ took place.
Many books have been authored about Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, and many of them expound upon their lofty status, while others concentrate only upon the grief and difficulty they endured, (exaggerating at times and relying upon unfounded narrations).
Therefore the need was felt for a work, which will not only deal with their martyrdom and oppression, but will discuss their biography in light of authentic narrations and historical facts.
Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu enjoyed a lofty rank with regards to knowledge of the Noble Qur’an, and possessed deep insight in political matters, which was scarcely found among the people of his era. The priceless recommendations which he forwarded to his father, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, concerning various political issues are worthy of being written in gold. Merely claiming to love and revere such great personalities is no true achievement; rather one should study their lives in light of the established facts, while adopting the path of moderation, and thereby gain true insight into the loftiness and greatness of these noble personalities.
Molana Muhammad Nafi’ (may Allah benefit us from his knowledge) has to be commended for taking up this momentous task and discussing the various phases and stages of Sayyidina Hassan’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu life. The manner and style he adopted clearly shows that he was not at all biased when penning these incidents. His pen just flowed, capturing all the historical facts and incidents, without showing any concern for the sceptics and critics.
The author, in explaining these incidents has covered certain aspects in such a wondrous manner that all the doubts which could arise are dispelled while reading, without even the reader noticing it.
I am at the moment in Pakistan. A few days ago I received an unexpected phone call informing me that Molana Muhammad Nafi’ was on his way to Lahore to meet me. Molana arrived and for two full days we discussed the topic at hand. It is my sincere opinion that the book before you has done justice to the topic. Molana has strung scattered pearls together, and without touching on the usual differences between the Ahlus Sunnah and Shia, he has invited both groups to ponder over the insight of Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the knowledge and belief of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu. We will not find such research, penned in this style, in the past centuries.
I advise the students of history to study these historical events without any pre-conceived notions and ideas. The truth demands from us that we accept it as the truth. And the senior personalities of this ummah should not just be revered for the sake of it; rather we should take them as our leaders and guides in our thinking and practical life as well.
نقتدي بمن قبلنا و يقتدي بنا من بعدنا
We follow those before us, and those after us will follow us.
Khalid Mahmood (May Allah forgive him)
Presently in Pakistan
 Sahih al Bukhari.