The fragrance of paradise could be felt in the air of Holy Medina this day in the year 3rd AH. It was a day of rejoicing. The Almighty’s Last Messenger to mankind had become grandfather for the first time with the birth of a radiant boy to his daughter Hazrat Fatema az-Zahra (peace upon her). It was an occasion to celebrate and the Prophet, joining the auspicious atmosphere in his daughter’s house, asked his cousin and son-in-law Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) to hand him the newborn. In the right ear of the baby he recited the azaan or the call to prayer and in the lef ear he recited the Eqaama. He named him Hasan, which means the Most Excellent. Imam Hasan grew into one of the most excellent persons of all ages. His merits and God-given knowledge were evident from childhood. One day the Prophet was sitting with his companions when his elder grandson who was still a small boy came. The Prophet looked at him and said: Hasan is the gift of God and will be among my successors. He will make people know my status and enlighten them with my knowledge. May God bless whoever recognizes his position and respects his rights.

At this moment, an Arab nomad entered and enquired in an angry and rude tone: Which one of you is Mohammad? The Prophet rose up and introduced himself. The nomad said in an angrier tone: I was your enemy and now my enmity has increased. What is the proof of your prophethood? The Prophet smiled and pointing towards his grandson said in a calm and composed voice: If you want, my little boy Hasan will show my signs to you.

The nomad thinking that he was being ridiculed shouted at the top of his voice that since you cannot answer me you are trying to prop up the child as a ruse.

To the bewilderment of the Arab nomad, Imam Hasan Mojtaba got up and with the Prophet’s consent and said in an eloquent manner: You are not asking an ignorant boy, but you are facing an aware and conscious person. Now that you are so ignorant, the answer to your question and the remedy of your pain is with me. Ask whatever you wish, since I am the inheritor of the infinite sea of knowledge.

Then to the further amazement of the nomad, Imam Hasan told him of his hidden secrets. The wise statements of the boy had a profound impression on the Arab nomad said: You know my secrets which nobody knows as if you were with me. Then he asked the Prophet in a gentle voice to teach him the tenets of Islam and became a Muslim. A few days later, he brought his family and kinsmen to the young Imam Hasan (AS) and all of them embraced Islam.

Thus it was not without purpose that the Prophet used to introduce his two grandsons, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (peace upon them) as Leaders of the Youths of Paradise. This is the reason that these two were called Rayhanat-ar-Rasoul or the Basils of the Prophet. In other words the Prophet’s habit of seating his two grandsons on his shoulders and even interrupting the sermon in the mosque to take them into his lap was not the doting of a grandfather but a divine commandment so that the believers till the Day of Judgement become cognizant of the fact that without respect for these two blessed ones, faith will remain incomplete.

Imam Hasan (AS) like his grandfather the Prophet and his father Imam Ali (AS), was a model of simplicity, sincerity, piety, generosity, knowledge, compassion, bravery and truth, to the extent he considered it his duty to counter falsehood and expose hypocrisy. His virtues are beyond description. His table was spread out for the poor sections of the society and on more than two occasions, he distributed his possessions among the needy. These qualities of Imam Hasan (AS) made him the besought of those seeking God through generosity and philanthropic acts. In honour of his birth anniversary, Islamic Iran has initiated the Philanthropy Week starting on the eve of Ramadhan 15th and lasting till the 21st. As per this wonderful initiative, benevolent people assume the financial and moral support of one or more orphans for a year and more. During this week people in Iran often arrange Iftaar for fasting persons at mosques, hussainiyahs and homes, by extending their warm arms to the needy.

One day Imam Hasan (AS) passed by a group of poor people. They were eating breadcrumbs. On seeing Imam Hasan (AS) they got up respectfully and greeted him. The Imam humbly sat beside them and partook of their simple food with the words that God does not like the proud and the arrogant. Imam Hasan (AS) then invited the group of poor persons to his house for a full square meal. When they arrived, the Imam welcomed them graciously, placed good food before them and also provided them new clothes to wear. The poor people were surprised at the generosity and kindness of the Prophet’s grandson. The Imam told them that everything belongs to God Almighty and to Him all return to be judged for whatever acts they did in the transient life of the material world.

For the information of our listeners, Imam Hasan (AS) was almost seven years old when the Prophet departed from the mortal world. The next thirty years of his life he played a key role under his father. With patience and endurance, he was at the side of his father during the almost five-year model government of justice that was established by Imam Ali (AS). He played a heroic role in the battles that were forced on his father by the seditionists, rebels and renegades.

After Imam Ali (AS) was martyred on 21st Ramadhan, 40 AH, Imam Hasan (AS) found himself the head of a realm extending from North Africa in the west to Central Asia in the east, but beset with rebellion because of the sedition fanned by the renegade Muawiyah, the Omayyud governor of Syria. As the second divinely ordained Imam of mankind, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), guided the faithful through the stormy waters. For almost ten months he was at the helm of political affairs but when the treachery of the Iraqis increased all limits and they began to desert his cause and to plot against his life by taking bribes from Muawiyah, the Imam decided it was time to unmask hypocrisy. In the year 41 AH, Imam Hasan (AS) relinquished political power and retired to his hometown Medina after signing a truce with Muawiyah. In this way he saved Islam from a great catastrophe, since among other dangers, the rulers of Byzantine or the Eastern Roman Empire, were looking for an opportunity to attack Islamic territories and seize Bayt ol-Moqaddas in case of a civil war among Muslims. For the next ten years, Imam Hasan (AS) continued the reformative mission of his grandfather the Prophet until his martyrdom because of a fatal dose of poison given on the orders of Muawiyah who broke all clauses of the truce signed with the Imam. Hypocrisy was thus exposed with a masterstroke of peace. We conclude our programme with a saying of Imam Hasan (AS), which reads:

“I wonder at those who think of food for their body but do not ponder on the food of the soul. They are not concerned of filling up their stomach with harmful food through which evil thoughts enter their minds.”



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