When asked what generosity is, Imam Hassan (A) replied, "donation before request and feeding people during drought."
When asked what dignity is, Imam Hassan (A) replied, "agreeing with friends and maintaining good neighbourly relations."
Imam Hassan's (A) Caliphate
On the 21st night of the Ramadan of 40th Hijra his father Hazrat Ali ibn-e-Abi Talib (A) passed away making all the people sorrowful and grieved. Imam Hassan (A) who was 27 years of age came along with the people to the mosque and climbed the tribune and said, "Last night, a man, who was unique in knowledge piety, conduct and character among the previous ages people as well those to come in future, has gone out of you. He participated the battles along with the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and strived hard to guard Islam. A person who was the thorn of the eyes of the enemies and the fruit of the heart of friends. And he did not spare and accumulate anything from the wealth of the world for himself, except for seven hundred Dirhams by which he wanted to provide a servant for his family."
At this moment, the Imam (A) wept bitterly and the people too wept. Then he spoke about himself. So that the people may know that the Imamate has been handed over to him and that people might not go astray and did not get misled. He said, "I am the son of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), Ali (A) and Fatima (A). I am the flame of the lighted lamp of Prophet hood. The families from which God has driven the dirt, contamination and pollution away.
Then Abdullah Ibn-e-Abbas stood up and said "Oh people this is the son of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and your Imam, beware, that he is the right heir and successor of Hazrat Ali (a.s.). So take the oath of allegiance and loyalty for him".
People moved in shape of groups towards Imam Hassan (A) and took the oath of allegiance for him. Imam Hassan (A) made it a condition that they would fight anyone against whom he fought and whenever he deemed it fit to make peace, they would also accept it. All of them accepted it, and willingly agreed and submitted to his Imamate.
The Conspiracies of Muawiyah
Muawiyah had established a government and dominion in Syria and for years he had played tricks with cunning ways and means against Hazrat Ali (A). He killed the friends of Hazrat Ali (A) and brought into existence the perverted group and sect of Khwaraj Now, when he heard that people, after the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali (A), took oath of allegiance to elect Imam Hassan (A) for the caliphate post as the successor of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). This thing was very hard for him to tolerate. He sent spies to Kufa and Basra to find out and get him informed about what was going on. And thereafter, they may plot and hatch conspiracies against Imam (A) if they deem fit and suitable they might start subversion and sabotage and create chaos, and disorder.
Imam Hassan (A) gave the order that the spies should be arrested and killed. Then he wrote a letter to Muawiyah: "Oh Muawiyah! You send spies and set your hands upon subversion? I presume that you intend to fight a war and you like war. If it is so, then I am also ready for it and the war is at hand. Do wait "Insha Allah".
Muawiyah! I am surprised over you that you are the candidate for a job, which you don't deserve and are not worthy for it. Neither you have any superiority in the religion nor you have left any good effect, mark or impression from yourself as a monument and memorial. Muslims have taken oath of allegiance for me (caliphate). It would be to the interest and benefit of Islam that you too accept this act (caliphate) like the rest of the Muslims. Oh Muawiyah! Do not move the untrue and illusive (Batil) ahead, and you also take the oath and allegiance of faithfulness to me like the others, and do consider the blood of the Muslims respect worthy. If you do not accept my advice and wish to create disorder and chaos and spill the blood of Muslim I will quickly attack you along with the other Muslims, and will put you on trial.
Muawiyah in reply to the Imam Hassan (A) wrote:
In the same way as Abu Bakr, due to his experience and expertise took the caliphate from Hazrat Ali (A), I am more deserving than you and have more experience and it is better that you be my follower so that you get the caliphate after myself, and I will give you, whatever is the income of Iraq.
Muawiyah not only denied and turned his face from taking the oath of allegiance, he also sent spies to kufa to martyr the Imam Hassan (A). Thus the Imam Hassan (a.s.) was forced to wear armored Jacket under his clothes and then stand for offering the prayers. Once when one of the agents of Muawiyah threw an arrow towards him the arrow got ineffective due to the armored Jacket and so the Imam Hassan (A) remained safe.
It did not take long that Muawiyah, on the pretext of bringing into effect Islamic unity, gathered a huge army and mobilized it to fight the Imam in Iraq. When the news of the movement of Muawiyah's army reached the Imam Hassan (A), he invited the people to the mosque. He climbed the tribune and after the praise of God and the salutation to the holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "Muawiyah has moved towards Iraq along with his army. It is your turn to get ready for the war and defend your honor and religion." But those despicable, vanquished and comfort loving people did not give a response to Imam (A). Adi Ibn-e-Hatim stood up from among the people and very sadly addressed them saying, "What kind of people are you. What does this dead silence mean? Why do you not reply to the Imam Hassan (A) and the son of your Prophet Muhammad (saw)? Are you not afraid of subject and suffering? Be afraid of God's anger and torment and chastise and obey the order of your Imam Hassan (A). Get up and manly press your weapon in your hands and defend your honor, respect and religion. So that the God and Imam (A) are pleased with you.
These words alerted a group so they announced their readiness to take part in the battle. Adi Ibn-e-Hatim told the Imam (A), "We are ready and waiting for your order." Imam Hassan (A) said, "I am proceeding towards the Nakheela Camp and whosoever is prepared and willing may go to that place, although I know that you will not practice upon your promise and Muawiyah will deceive you.
Disobeying the Imam Hassan (A)
When Imam Hassan (A) reached most of those who were shouting the slogans of "war", "war" were not present there and had gone back and turned their back upon the promise they had made with him. Because those who had participated were comprised of:
1. Khawarij who had come to fight against Muawiyah and not for the sake of obeying the command of Imam Hassan (A).
2. Those materialist and world adorers and greedy ones who were after the war booty.
3. Those who had participated for the sake of accompanying and following their tribal chiefs and not due to any religious inspiration.
This is the reason Imam Hassan (A) addressed them saying, "You betrayed me, like you had betrayed my father, who was your Imam before me. I don't know whether you will fight siding with Imam or someone who absolutely does not believe in God and His Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Then he selected a man named Hakam as the army commander and put four thousand men under his command so that he moves to the city of Ambaar and stays there and applies restraint to the forces of Muawiyah till getting further orders. But Muawiyah deceived him by giving him money and making false promises. And he joined his army along with his two hundred men.
Imam (A) selected another man from the tribe of Bani Murad as his successor and said, "Although I do not have trust upon you. But this is a trial, you may also proceed."
When Muawiyah came to know about his arrival, he sent his delegates with five thousand Dirhams for him and promised to give him a governorship. He was too deceived by Muawiyah and joined him.
Imam Hassan's (A) Grief
When the news of the joining of tribal chiefs with Muawiyah reached the Imam Hassan (A). He was much affected and shocked and said, "Did I not say several times that you do not have any faithfulness and trustworthiness, and your conduct with me is that of artifice, and cunningness? He then decided to gather an army himself and move. By the efforts of his friends nearly four thousand men gathered. Imam (A) along with "Sabaat" went to Madayan and sent twelve thousand men under the command of Obaidullah bin Abbas and his helper Qais bin Saad, as a file leader and fore runner to meet and resist Muawiyah, so as to test their spirit and strength of devotedness. Muawiyah sent his agents along with one million Dirhams among the forces of Imam Hassan (A) to get Qais deceived but Qais did not yield to his desire and answered them, "tell Muawiyah you cannot take my faith from me and I will not desert and leave Imam by any of your artifices and frauds."
The agents who got disappointed by Qais and went towards the real Commander Obaidullah bin Abbas and lured and deceived him and he along with a group of his followers joined Muawiyah at the nighttime. When the army men of Imam Hassan (A) became commander less, Qais took over the Command and lead the Jamaat prayers. Qais was fighting fiercely and ferociously and had made Muawiyah harassed and fearful. As a result, he sent a few spies among the army men of Qais, so that they may make this propaganda that Imam Hassan (a.s.) has entered into peace treaty with Muawiyah and you are fighting for no reason. By this way Muawiyah succeeded in separating and detaching the group of Khawarij from the Imam's forces and in deceiving them to attack the Imam Hassan (A) and what he desired did materialize.
The Rioter Khawarij
This stupid and silly group did believe in what spies of Muawiyah told them and disobeyed the orders of Imam Hassan (A) and they raised a hew and cry that Imam Hassan (A) had also become an infidel like his father (Maaz-Allah) and had joined hand with Muawiyah. Suddenly, a platoon attacked the tent of Imam Hassan (A) and looted whatever they found, to the extent that they even pulled out the carpet of Imam Hassan (A) from beneath him.
Imam Hassan (A) was forced to leave that place and he rode upon horse and a group of his friends were all around him. One of them (the attackers) rushed out of his hiding place and injured the Imam Hassan (A). Imam Hassan (A) was carried to one of his friend's house and provided medical care and treatment. It came to that, most of his governors, secretly and confidentially, wrote letters to Muawiyah saying we are at your command and disposal as soon as possible come to Iraq, we will arrest the Imam Hassan (A) and hand him over to you. Muawiyah sent all those letters to Imam Hassan (A) along with a covering letter saying, "These people did not remain faithful to your father and they will not remain on your side either. I am ready to sign a pact with you and overlook the war.
Why Imam Hassan (A) accepted the Truce?
The adventurer Khawarij and the dishonest friends of Imam Hassan (A) made it inevitable for the Imam Hassan (A) to accept truce with Muawiyah. But truce did not mean that Imam Hassan (A) colluded and put up with Muawiyah and agreed to his cruel and brutal activities. But it meant to make a no war pact with Muawiyah for a certain period. Because, if Muawiyah became victorious he would had smashed and destroyed all the hopes of Islam and would have destroyed the foundation of Islam and killed all the true Muslims. Besides, the Roman Empire was seeking a chance to attack the Islamic lands, and this mutual difference of Muslims was the best opportunity for it. Thus Imam Hassan (A) who was smoldering with pain spoke to his untrue and unfaithful friends, "I know that you would practice craftiness and artifice, a group who do not have neither shame nor religion have unconditionally handed themselves over to Muawiyah, woe to you, By God, Muawiyah will not fulfill his commitments. I wanted to establish for you the religion of the right but you did not help me. You started moving on the path of opposition and confrontation and committed dishonesty with me, which forced and obliged me to sign the treaty. By God, if I had friends and helpers I would not have surrendered the work to Muawiyah because, I consider the caliphate to be prohibited for Bani Ommayide. You will soon taste the bitterness of the conduct of Muawiyah, day and night. After the Imam Hassan (A) was forced to make truce with Muawiyah, he wrote a letter to him saying, "I wanted to revive the right and put an end to rescinded and vanity and establish the ruler ship of God and the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) but people did not agree and accompany me. Now, I am making a truce with you upon the conditions, which I know that you will not fulfill and comply with. But soon you would repent, but that will be a time when it will not be of benefit to you.
Then, he sent his cousin Abdullah Bin Harris to see Muawiyah so that he should get him committed upon the conditions, which he had presented after a negotiation with him, and write down the agreement, and treaty of truce.
A part of the truce treaty is as under: -
1. The blood of the Shias must remain respect worthy and their rights must not be confiscated and crushed.
2. Filthy language must not be used against Hazrat Ali (A) and his Shias.
3. Muawiyah should practice upon the Book of God (The Quran) and the Sunnah of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).
4. The friends and companions of Imam Hassan (A) must remain safe and secure from his mischief's and brutalities wherever they live and no one has the right to resist them.
5. Imam Hassan (A) does not call Muawiyah, Ameerul Momineen and will not take his name in the Khutbas (sermons).
6. Muawiyah must not hand over the caliphate to anybody after himself.
The Breaking of the Pact
After the peace pact was conducted, Muawiyah focused his attention upon Kufa and held the Juma prayer congregation at Nakheela. He evidently and clearly said in his Jumma speach "Oh people I did not fight against you so that you should offer your prayers and keep fast, instead, it was for the reason that I rule over you although you do not like it. I will crush all the conditions of truce pact conducted with Hassan bin Ali (A) under my feet. But the conduct of Muawiyah in certain matters showed that he was strongly embarrassed and harassed due to the influence of Imam Hassan (A) so that sometimes he was obliged to put into practice few of the points of the peace pact.
So that once when Ibn-e-Ziad the governor of Kufa followed and chased (to punish) one of the friends of Imam (A), Imam Hassan (A) wrote about the incident to Muawiyah, who at once reprimanded Ibn-e-Ziad about this event.
Finally Muawiyah Decided to make Yazeed his successor:
But the pact, which he had signed with Imam Hassan (A), stopped him from this act. He decided to poison the Imam Hassan (A) so that the way to the succession of his son Yazeed should become open and clear. And then make the people forcibly take oath of allegiance (for Yazeed's). Therefore, he contacted "Jodah bint Asash" the wife of Imam Hassan (A) and deceived by luring her and sent a poison for her, with the message that if you make your husband take this poison you will get a prize of one hundred thousand Dirhams from me. Besides, I will select you as the wife of Yazeed and you will become the wife of the caliph of Muslims.
The dishonest hand poisoned the Imam's Utensil (food)
Imam Hassan (A), the womanly scruples regarding the money and fame blinded the eyes of the wife of Imam Hassan (A) and made her accept the suggestion of the cunning fox and commit such a dishonesty which history will never forget. Although Imam Hassan (A) had said several times that I will get martyred by my wife. And people had requested him that if it is so then divorce her and turn her out of your house. But Imam Hassan (A) replied, "She has not yet committed any crime and if I turn her out of the house, I would not have done a right thing. Because, she will make this step an excuse and will say, Imam has turned me out of his house without any fault. So that by this means she may cover her crime up and show her work as correct. Beware; Muawiyah will not let me go. If I leave my wife, even then she will not abandon her dishonesty except this that she will carry her program forward under the cover of her being oppressed."
Finally on the 7th day of Safar, 50th Hijrah when the weather was extremely hot and the Imam Hassan (A) was fasting, Jodah bint Asash, poisoned his milk pot and presented to him for breaking the fast.
Imam Hassan (A) drank a portion of the poisonous milk and then addressed her, "Oh the enemy of God and Prophet Muhammad (saw) you have killed me. God kill you. By God, you and Muawiyah both will become abject, despised and helpless." And the same happened as he had foretold, and predicted. Jodah bint Asash was turned out of Muawiyah's court with humility and not very long had passed that she died. And Muawiyah too died of a terrible life taking pain."
Imam Hassan (A) passed away having faced pain and discomfort. And was buried in the graveyard of Baqi in Medina. God and Prophet's blessings be upon his pure soul.
An introduction to fourth infallible Hazrat Imam Hassan (AS), http://www.ezsoftech.com/stories