If your right were taken away unfairly, what would be your reaction? Of course, you would stand up for your right and try to take it back or maybe fight for it. What if this reaction would make everything worse? What if you realize that your compromise, leads into the greater good of yourself or even the society? Fighting against injustice, sometimes, includes sacrifices, which goes beyond egotistic and individual desires. Depending on the situation, one might be made to compromise and sacrifice his/her right for the sake of his/her higher purpose, while having the power to take his/her right back. And this can only be done by a spiritually and mentally powerful person, such as Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (AS), the first grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP).
In what follows, we will review the life of this exceptional figure in the history of Islam.
Hasan ibn Ali (AS), known as Hasan al-Mujtaba (AS), was born on 15th of Ramadan, 1st of March, 625 A.D. in Medina. He was the first son of Imam Ali (AS) and Lady Fatima (AS), and the first grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). His name, "Hasan," which means good or beautiful, and was chosen by his grandfather, the Prophet (PBUH&HP), for him, having no precedent in this name in the pre-Islamic history.
Imam Hasan (AS) was only seven years old when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) passed away. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) dearly loved him, and as it is narrated, he used to put Imam Hasan (AS) on his shoulders and said, "O' Allah! I love him, therefore, You love him, too."  In some instances, while Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was performing the congregational prayer in the mosque, Imam Hasan (AS), then a little boy, would go on Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) back while he was prostrating. In response, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) would kindly and patiently prolong his prostration, so that he would come down himself. Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) manner of treating his grandsons was, in fact, a model to his followers to treat their children respectfully and compassionately.
His love and respect toward Imam Hasan (AS) are evident through the many narrations left by him about his grandson: "Surely, Hasan and Hussain are my two fragrant flowers from this world; he who loves me, should love them, too" , "Hasan is my son and dear to my heart, whoever hurt him, is like he's hurting me" , "Hasan and Hussain are the masters of the youth in paradise" . It has also been narrated that Imam Hasan (AS) very much looked like Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in both appearance and personality . Despite his young age, Imam Hasan (AS) was present in many significant incidents in Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) time.
After Imam Ali's (AS) tragic martyrdom in 661 A.D, many people in Iraq and the neighboring lands pledged allegiance to Imam Hasan (AS), as the most suitable person to be their Caliph succeeded by Imam Ali (AS). Nevertheless, soon after this pledge of allegiance, Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan [i] refused to respect people's choice and offended Imam Hasan's (AS) caliphate. He tried to incite people of Iraq by sending two spies who were captured and punished by Imam Hasan (AS) . Finally, Mu'awiya provoked a rebellion in Syria against Imam Hasan (AS) and built an army to go into war with Imam (AS) in Iraq. It is reported that 60,000 soldiers or more accompanied Mu'awiya .
In this situation, Imam Hasan (AS) gathered an army of Kufa people to fight against them and defend the people. Some minor battles occurred between the two troops. Later, Imam Hasan (AS) joined the army of Kufa and gave a sermon to them, inviting them to unity and reconciliation rather than hatred and enmity. After this speech, people thought that Imam (AS) was after making peace with Mu'awiya and accused him of disbelief, attacked his tent, and left his side. Also, some of the heads of Imam Hasan's (AS) army, including "Ubayd Allah b. 'Abbas", the commander in chief of Imam Hasan's (AS) army, joined Mu'awiya's army with two-third of his army. Before that, Mu'awiya had sent them letters and promised them high positions in his government and a considerable amount of money. This was followed by the letters of the chiefs of Iraqi tribes to Mu'awiya, expressing him their support.
All these incidents resulted in the significant physical weakening of Imam Hasan's (AS) army and losing their spirit, despite Imam Hasan's (AS) efforts to give them heart through his influential and alarming speeches. Yet the covert activities of Mu'awiya in Kufa, sending his forces undercover among people and spreading false accusations concerning Imam Hasan (AS), gradually broken Imam Hasan's (AS) army. Some even assassinated Imam Hasan (AS) and wounded him severely.
Finally, pressing hard under the conspiracies of Mu'awiya and the weakness of people in fighting against injustice, which had disturbed the military balance between the two armies, Imam Hasan (AS) was made to accept a peace treaty and leave the caliphate to Mu'awiya . Thus, the period of Imam Hasan's (AS) caliphate lasted between six to eight months.
According to historical accounts, "Mu'awiya sent a blank contract with his seal at the bottom for Imam al-Hasan (a) to write anything that he wished and thus he wrote, "In this peace treaty, al-Hasan b. 'Ali (a) establishes peace with Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan and leaves the government of the Muslims to him with the following conditions:
1. He observes the Book of God, the conduct of the Prophet (s), and the conduct of the righteous caliphs.
2. He appoints no one as the Caliph after himself; and after him, the Caliph should be elected by a council of Muslims.
3. Lives, property, and children of people should be safe everywhere.
4. Mu'awiya should not implicitly or explicitly plot against al-Hasan b. 'Ali or threaten any of his companions." 
Under these conditions, Imam Hasan (AS) signed the peace treaty in 661 A.D. However, all of these conditions were later denied by Mu'awiya in his sermons and manners. "After the peace treaty, Imam (AS) gave a sermon and pointed to this issue that Mu'awiya challenged him over his rights and explained the reasons for his peace, which was to protect the lives of people and avoid bloodshed. After the treaty, Mu'awiya, too, gave a sermon at his first presence in Kufa. He broke his promises, saying that Imam (AS) had asked for peace and cursed Imam Ali (AS). Then, Imam Hasan (AS) explained about the peace treaty in a sermon and the proposal of Mu'awiya for it and answered to Mu'awiya's disrespect to his father." 
After this incident, Imam Hasan (AS) went back to Medina. While he was not a caliph anymore, he felt the responsibility to guide people in religion, science, and social and political issues. The signing of the peace treaty had made the situation very difficult for him. Some people criticized him, some of his old companions left his side, and severe political measures were taken against him.
Imam Hasan's (AS) patience in the face of hardship becomes evident by having a glance at his life, which was full of challenges. Losing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) when he was only a child, losing his mother, lady Fatima (AS), bearing the difficulties at the time of his father's caliphate, following by his martyrdom most brutally, electing as a caliph by the people and then being abandoned by the same ones provoked by Mu'awiya, being forced to accept a peace treaty and giving up caliphate unfairly, was only some of these hardships. No doubt, without a strong personality resulted from a deep belief in Allah, Imam Hasan (AS) would not be able to bear these sufferings and challenges.
Moreover, he presented forbearance even when he was directly insulted and never responded with anger. In an instance, "a Syrian man saw Imam Hasan (AS) and started cursing him. When he finished his insults, the Imam (AS) smiled, greeted him, and said, "It looks like you are a stranger in this city … If you need anything, we will fulfill your needs." The man was deeply impressed by the Imam's (AS) noble reaction; he started crying and recited the following verse: "God knows best with whom to place His message" (Quran 6:124), indicating that the Imam (AS) deserved to be a descendant of the Prophet (PBUH&HP)" .
Imam Hasan's (AS) life was full of instances, which revealed his immense generosity and selflessness. It is narrated that he had given away all his properties and wealth as a charity twice in his lifetime . According to an account, a man in need came to Imam Hasan (AS). Imam (AS) asked him to write what he needed and give him the note. When Imam (AS) read his letter, he gave him twice more than what he had asked. One of the people who were present there said, "What a bounteous letter he wrote, O' son of the Prophet (PBUH&HP)!" Imam (AS) replied, "The letter had more bounty and blessing for us than him since it had made us among the generous ones. Don't you know that "generosity" is to give something to someone without being asked for, and what is given away after being asked, is paltry in return to that person's honor. Perhaps the one who asked for something had spent a night full of stress and fear, not knowing if you reject him or make him happy with accepting to fulfill his request. Now he has come to you, his heart beating fearfully. If you, then, give him no more than what he had asked, you don't give away anything worthier than his honor, which he had broken for this request." 
Imam Hasan's (AS) generosity was not limited to human beings, but all of Allah's creatures. In one account, a man saw Imam Hasan (AS) eating, giving a morsel of his food to a dog, and eating a morsel himself. The man who was surprised by this scene went closer to Imam Hasan (AS) and said, "Would you permit me to hit this dog with a stone and take him away from your food?" Imam (AS) replied, "Leave it alone! Since I feel ashamed of Allah al-Mighty if an alive animal looks into my face while I'm eating and I won't give it part of my food." 
Imam Hasan (AS) found generosity and doing charity, not as a mere religious burden; instead, he gave away willingly and saw it as a chance bestowed to him by Allah to please Him.
The grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), following the footsteps of his grandfather, was highly observant of his manner toward the ones in need, being careful not to break their hearts or belittling them while helping them. It is reported in an account, "One day, he passed by a group of poor people who were eating pieces of bread. When they saw him, they invited him to eat with them. The Imam (AS) accepted their invitation and sat and ate with them and then invited all of them to his house and offered them food and clothes." 
Imam Hasan (AS) never felt superior to other people and treated everyone, regardless of their age or position, with the same respect and modesty.
All the above characteristics of Imam Hasan (AS) and many more is a reflection of his deep devotion and love toward Allah, the One and Only Creator. Imam Hasan (AS) was the perfect example of a true believer both in manner and words. He was famous for his sincere worship, long prayers, and his enthusiasm to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca on foot. He would say, "I would be embarrassed to meet my Lord without having walked toward His house." 
His abiding faith had made him a strong and exemplary personality from whom any human being with a free soul can learn the lesson of humanity and love.
According to some historical sources, After disregarding the conditions in the peace treaty, Mu'awiya conspired the assassination of Imam Hasan (AS) to secure the position of his son, Yazid, as his successor. To further his plan, he sent for Imam Hasan's (AS) wife and enticed her to poison her husband in return for money and marrying Yazid. Finally, she accepted his offer and fatally poisoned Imam Hasan (AS) . He was martyred in the 15th of Ramadan of 50 (670 A.D.) and was buried in al-Baqi' cemetery in Medina.
[i] The first Umayyad caliph who ruled in Damascus after the Peace Treaty of Imam Hasan (AS).
- Ali ibn Abd-al-Malik al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, Vol.16, p.262.
- Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Vol.5, p.615.
- Qadi Nur Allah Shushtari, Ihqaq al-haqq, Vol.11, p.63.
- Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Shahrashub, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, Vol.3, p. 394.
- Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol.43, p.338.
- Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, Translated by I.K.A Howard, Published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an. p.350.
- Al-Sharif al-Qarashi, Baqir, The life of Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a), translated by Jasim al-Rasheed, Qom, Ansariyan Publications. p.334-335.
- Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, History of the Prophets and Kings, Vol.5, p.324.
- Al-Baladhuri, Ahmad ibn Yahya. Ansab al-Ashraf, vol. 3, p. 41-42.
- Imam Hasan Mujtaba
- Baha' al-Din 'Ali b. 'Isa al-Irbili, Kashf al-ghumma fi ma'rifat al-a'imma, Vol.1, p.561.
- Ahmad b. Abi Ya'qub, Tarikh al-Ya'qubi, Vol.2, p.226.
- Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi, Al-Mahasin, p.55.
- Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol.43, p.352.
- ibid, p.319.
- Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Shahrashub, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, Vol.4, p. 7.
- Abū al-Qāsim Maḥmūd ibn Umar al-Zamakhsharī, Rabi al-Abrar wa nusus al-Akhbar, Vol.5, p.155-156.
The aim of my revolution is to reform the society and revive the true teachings of Islam
(Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.243)
If you don’t believe in any religion, at least be free-spirited and honest in your actions
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 45, P. 51)
I never revolted in vain, as a rebel or as a tyrant; rather, I rose seeking reformation for the nation of Islam
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 44, P. 329)
On the Day of Ashura, he addressed his companions:
“Be patient, you noble ones. Death is only a bridge which takes you from misery and loss to the vast Paradise and the eternal graces”.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 44, P. 297)
O’ people! Listen to my words and don’t hasten to start a war, so that I clarify the reason behind my revolution
(al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p.253)
On the night of Ashura, he gathered his followers in his tent, put out the light and said:
“Beware that I give you permission to leave this place; there is no obligation on you anymore, and you can all leave.”
However, not even one of them left his side….
(al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p. 250)
joBe steadfast and firm in the way toward what is right, even if your journey is full of pain and challenges.
(Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 28)
Death with dignity is better than a life of abasement.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 44, P. 192)
By God, I will never surrender to my enemies like a humiliated person and never pledge allegiance to them like slaves
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 45, P. 7)
To me, death for the sake of what is right, is nothing but happiness, and living under tyrants nothing but living in a hell
(Tuhaf-al- Uqoul, P. 245)
The most incapable person is the one who can’t pray.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.81, p.257)
The most generous person is the one who gives to those who do not expect his help.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.30)
Try to compete with one another in good deeds and hurry to seize the opportunities, and forget the good deeds that you haven’t hastened to do.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.57, p.121)
People are slaves of this world. Religion is just what they say. They use it as long as it provides them with their living. When they are tested, there remain only a few true religious ones.
(Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.245)
If you worship Allah the way He deserves to be worshipped, He will fulfill all your wishes, and bless you much more than what you deserve.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p.184)
God will help the person who cares about other people’s needs, both in this world and the hereafter.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.75, p.121)
17. Having Faith in Allah
O’ Allah! What has gained the one who has not found You, and what has lost the one who has found You?
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.95, p.226)
Avoid oppressing the one who does not have any supporter against you, other than the Almighty God.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 118)
When Allah chooses to favor someone, makes him/her the source of satisfying other people's needs.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.74, p.205.)
Beware! Do not be among those who are concerned about the sins of others while neglectful of their own sins.
(al-Kafi, vol.8, p.49, Hadith #9)
One who reveals your faults to you like a mirror is your true friend, and one who flatters you and covers up your faults is your enemy.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 128)
Whoever seeks the satisfaction of people through disobedience of Allah; Then Allah subjects him to people.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 126)
Wisdom will not be gained, unless through following the right path.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 127)
Say what you like to be said about you, in the absence of your fellow believer.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 127)
Avoid doing things that would make you apologize; since a believer won’t commit a wrong action that would make him/her sorry.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 120)
If you lead your actions through committing sins and disobeying Allah, your intentions won’t be fulfilled and will be caught in what you fear most.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 120)
Kindness elevates human beings, and faithfulness is the sign of decency.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 122)
Extremism is like going down in a swamp, and keeping company with abject and corrupt ones will bring evil and misery for you.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.30)
Seeking knowledge will lead you toward wisdom and elevation.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 128)
Visiting relatives and keeping in touch with them will bring you a longer and more substantial life.
(Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Oyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.44)
The most generous person is the one who forgives while in power.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.29)
The best way of maintaining family ties is through visiting the ones who have cut ties with you and haven’t visited you for a while.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.29)
Whoever helps his/her fellow in religion for the sake of Allah, He will compensate for him/her and eliminate the hardships from his/her life. Also, whoever relieves a believer’s grief, Allah will free him/her of his/her pains and sufferings in this world and the other world.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 121)
Only trust those who believe in Allah and are afraid of His questioning on the Day of Judgement.
(Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Jameh al- Akhbar, p.97)
While on his way to Karbala, Imam Hussain (AS) said: “I cannot have whoever owes a debt in my company. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) used to say: ‘whoever dies while owing to other people, his/her good deeds will be void in the hereafter.’”
(Kalimat al-Imam al-Hussain (AS) (Words of Imam Hussain), p.417)
Gain people’s praise with your efforts and successes, and do not expose yourself to people’s blames through laziness and lethargy.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.29)
Long and numerous experiences strengthens your mind.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 128)
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 119)
Do not say something which would undermine your self-worth.
(Muhammad Baqer al-Majlisi, Jala’a al-Oyoun, vol.2, p.205)
Observe your physical health in your lifetime.
(Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.239)
The Holy Quran is said to be "the highest miracle of Islam". But why would a book turn out to be the proof of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) prophethood? What does it reveal about Islam's attitude toward the issue of learning or seeking knowledge? How does a true Muslim seek knowledge?
There are many verses in the Quran about acquiring knowledge. The very first verse of the Quran that was sent to our Prophet starts with an imperative form of the verb "read" (Ighra) . Literacy and having knowledge is so important in Islam that Quran equals illiteracy to being in darkness [i]. Accordingly, it is the duty of any Muslim to try to learn. Besides, many Islamic scholars advise Muslims to strive for achieving knowledge. One of them is a quotation (hadith) from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “Seek knowledge, even if it is in China”. Considering the distance between the Arabian Peninsula (where the Prophet lived) and China as well as the lack of transportation 14 centuries ago, one can imagine how arduous it was to travel there. In addition to many life-threatening dangers, it is no exaggeration to say that it took several months to arrive there. This shows the emphasis on the importance of learning.
When the prophetic mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) started, most people in his land were illiterate, so, he asked the literate ones to teach Muslims; even prisoners of war were granted freedom provided that they taught literacy to at least ten Muslims. It has been said that once, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) entered a mosque and saw two groups of people; one group was praying and the other was sharing knowledge. He stated that both of them were doing a good job, and then continued his speech by saying that he was sent to people by God “to teach” them. So he went and sat in the second group . When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was alive, there were places like schools where both women and men had the freedom to take part in classes. And, different fields of knowledge were learned including religion, literature, poetry, rhetoric, medicine, astronomy, etc .
A human being is curious by nature. We have been created with an inquiring mind. It has been said that all human beings are bestowed a gift, that is the brain as well as the desire for learning. The desire to learn is in our nature . In Islamic instructions, there is a huge emphasis on the value of seeking knowledge. It has been quoted from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”. It is a must for every Muslim regardless of their age, race, or gender . All people must have the ability and liberty to learn, teach, exchange, and share information. It does not matter from whom you are learning. As long as they have the knowledge, it would be perfect. There is an Islamic hadith from the fifth Imam of Muslims, Imam Muhammed Al-Bagher (AS), quoted from Jesus Christ (AS) saying that: “Learn knowledge from someone who has it and does not look at their deeds.” There is no kind of prejudice whatsoever in choosing the teacher. The only important thing is the learning itself. Besides, ignorance has been known as the root of many miseries; and knowledge is like a vast amount of treasure that never runs out.
- Ahamiyate Danesh-Andoozi az Nazare Eslam Akhlagh va Irfan
- Morteza Motahari, "Talim va Tarbiyat Dar Eslam [Education in Islam]", Sadra, p. 22, 2008.
- Soheyla Jalali, Derakhsheshe Zanane Mosalman Dar Arseye Elm va Farhang Dar Sadre Eslam Pajooheshgahe Oloom va Farhange Islami
- Morteza Motahari, "Moghadame'I bar Jahanbiniye Eslami. [An Introduction to Islamic Ideology]", Sadra, p. 274, 2004.
- Faeze Azimzade Ardebili, Hghe Amoozeshe Zanan Dar Eslam va Gharb [The Right of Learning for Women from Islamic and Western Viewpoint