After the martyrdom of Imam Ali (AS) in the mosque of Kufa in 41 Hijri and the election of Imam Hasan (AS) (the proof of Allaah and the rightful successor of wilayat-e-Ali A.S) as the next caliph by aamm atul muslimeen, was a thorn in the heart of Muawiyah. Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, who had a long-running dispute with Maula Ali (A.S), summoned the commanders of his forces in Syria, Palestine, and Transjordan to join him in preparation for battle.
His propaganda machine against the House of Imam Ali (AS), in fact against Islam, began its work in earnest. Large sums of money and fraudulent promises of vast properties and governorships of provinces were given to many commanders of Maula Hasan`s (AS) army who then left Imam Hasan(AS) without much power. Muawya first attempted to negotiate with Maula Imam Hasan (a.s), sending him letters asking him to give up his caliphate, believing he could thus avoid killing fellow Muslims and avoid lingering questions regarding his legitimacy should he martyr Imam Hasan outright.
Most historians say that large sums of money and promises of vast properties and governorships of provinces were offered to commanders of Imam Hassan`s army who left him, one of which was Ubaydallah ibn Al abbas, the commander of Maula Imam Hasan army and that Muawiyah was not interested in the functions of preaching piety or theology but in expanding his sphere of influence in the territories already conquered by the Muslims and in further conquests to the north and north west of Syria.
Negotiations failed and Muawiyah decided to march against Imam Hasan`s army of forty thousand with his own army, claimed to have numbered sixty thousand fighters. The two armies faced each other near Sabat. Imam Hasan is said to have given a sermon in which he proclaimed his hatred of schism and appealed to his men to follow his orders even if they did not agree with them. The people began to look at one another and asked each other, "What do you think he intends by what he has just said?"
"We think that he intends to make peace with Muawiya and hand over the authority to him" they answered.
"By God the man has become an unbeliever they declared and they rushed towards his tent. They plundered him to the extent that they even took his prayer mat from under him. Then abd al rehman set on him and stripped his silk cloak from his shoulder.
He remained sitting, still girt with his sword but without his cloak. He called for his horse and mounted it. Groups of his close associates and his Shia surrounded him and kept those who wanted (to attack) him away from him.
Imam Hasan was distressed, understanding that the engagement of Muslims in a battle against each other would mean a loss of many: Muawiyah sent two men from the Banu Quraish to negotiate a settlement. Maula Imam Hasan had to swallow a bitter pill of truce, in the absence of a strong support from own people. The Treaty agreed upon between Muawiya and Imam Hasan (AS) tells us the following salient points:
- That Muawiya should rule strictly according to the Holy Quran and the Sunna of the Prophet.
- That Muawiya should not appoint or nominate anyone to the Khilafat after him but that the choice should be left to the Muslims.
- That the people should be left in peace, wherever they are in the land of God.
- That the persecution of the companions of Imam Ali(AS) should immediately be stopped; their lives and properties and families guaranteed safe conduct and peace.
- That the cursing of Imam Ali (AS) from the pulpit should stop immediately.
- That no harm should be done secretly or openly against Imam Hasan and his brother Imam Hussain or any of the Ahlubayt.(AS)
This agreement concluded, Imam Hasan (AS) went to Kufa, shortly followed by Moawiya who came their to take the allegiance of the people.
In a speech delivered in front of Moawaiya, Imam Hasan (AS) explained the situation clearly.:
"O`People, Allah has guided you through our elders (Muhammad and Ali) and spared you from bloodshed through those who followed (referring to himself). Indeed this (the Khilafat) is nothing but a passing phase, these wordly possessions keep shifting and changing hands."
For inasmuch as Moawiya desired the sovereignty in this world, so Imam Hasan`s concern was not with worldly leadership for its own sake, but as a tool whereby he might guide the people towards God and His true commandments. After his abdication he resided in Madinah where he spent the remaining ten years of his life teaching the Qora`an and knowledge of true Deen to all seekers of truth that came to him.Imam Hasan (AS) had never relinquished the position of an Imam and guide as appointed by God.
History tells us that from day one Moawiya did not comply with any one of the terms of the treaty agreed upon between him and Imam Hasan (AS) He trampled the treaty under his feet saying to the people of Kufa,"do you think I have taken power to teach you about Islam. No, I have taken power for the sake of it and if any one of you tries to disagree with me shall pay a costly price of losing his head.(Tarikul Kholafa, Jalaluddin Soyuti)"
Moawiya carried out his ambition of keeping the power in his family by nominating his son Yazid after him as the ruler of the Kingdom. This demanded that Imam Hasan(AS) should predecease him, an unlikely event considering their discrepancy in their ages. Hence Moawiya bribed Ju`da bint Ash`ath, to poison him in 50 Hijri. Imam embraced Shahadat with the effect of poisoning on 28th of the month of Safar. He was 47 years old.
The greatest lesson from Imam Hasan`s history is how the treachery of ummat can cause a righteous Imam and Proof of Allaah to be compelled to sign a truce, in absence of strong support from own people.
Shaheed Foundation Pakistan extends its heartfelt condolences to Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s), Ahlul Bayt (a.s), Rahber-e-Moazzam Ayatollah Syed Ali Khamenei, Maraj`een-e-Ezam, Ulema-e-Karam and millat on the shahadat anniversary of Maula Imam Hasan AS.