Imam Hasan (a.s.) was born on the 15th of Ramzan al-Mubarak in the 3rd Hijrah. His name was suggested by Allah (swt) through a Vahi (revelation) to the Prophet Mohammad (saw) which suggested that since Imam Ali (a.s.) is to the Prophet Mohammad (saw) as Hazrat Haroon (a.s.) was to Hazrat Moosa (a.s.), the name of his child should be on the name of the son of Hazrat Haroon (a.s.) which was Shabbar - meaning Hasan in Arabic. This was the first time that a child was named Hasan.
Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Knowledge
Imam Hasan (a.s.), like all other Imams was granted divine knowledge by Allah (swt) and he demonstrated it right from his childhood.
Once Imam Hasan (a.s.) was asked "What are the 10 strong things that are stronger than one another?" Imam Hasan (a.s.) replied:
Among the strong things is Stone; Even stronger is the Iron which is used to break Stone; Even stronger is the Fire which melts Iron; Even stronger is the Water which extinguishes Fire; Even stronger are Clouds that carry Water with them; Even stronger is the Air which floats the Clouds with it; Even stronger is the Angel who moves the Air; Even stronger is the Angel who will give Death to the Angel who moves the Air; Even stronger is the Death which will come upon the Angel of Death; and Even stronger is the order of Allah (swt) which governs the Death.
Once the ruler of Rome asked Imam Hasan (a.s.): "Which are the creations which were born without a mother and father or Male and Female?" and Imam Hasan (a.s.) replied:
These are 7 creations: Hazrat Adam (a.s.), Hazrat Hawwa (a.s.), the lamb which was sent in place of Hazrat Ismaeel (a.s.), the camel of Hazrat Saleh (a.s.), the serpent of Hazrat Moosa (a.s.), Iblees and the crow that taught the method of burial to Qabeel son of Hazrat Adam (a.s.).
Two Ahadith in praise of Imam Hasan (a.s.)
1. Ahmad ibn-e-Hambal, Tirmizi, Nisai and ibn-e-Habban quoted on authority of Hazrat Huzaifa (r.a.) and Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudri (r.a.) that Prophet Mohammad (saw) said - Hasan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.) are the leaders of the youth of paradise and Fatimah (s.a.) is the leader of the women of paradise.
2. Tirmizi and Ibn-e-Habban quoted from Hazrat Usama bin Zaid (r.a.) that Prophet Mohammad (saw) said - Hasan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.) are my and my daughter's sons. O Allah I love them so you love them too and you love anyone who would love them.
Problems during and after Imam Hasan (a.s.) life
As with the other Imam (a.s.), Imam Hasan's life was also filled with difficulties. From the very childhood he saw the faces and activities of the so called companions of the Prophet Mohammad (saw) who left him alone in several battlefields, who objected to the Prophet Mohammad's (saw) decisions up to the stage that some of them expressed their doubts that he was Allah's Prophet.
Then upon the demise of Prophet Mohammad (saw), he saw that only a handful of his faithful companions were there to bury him and the rest had left him to share political power among themselves. He saw the atrocities of Bani Ummayad in the way they treated the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and hurled accusations against Imam Ali (a.s.) after the killing of Hazrat Usman third Caliph. He lived through the battles of Siffin, Jamal and finally saw the martyrdom of his father Imam Ali (a.s.).
As if all of this was not enough, even after his death the agents of Bani Ummaya continued their work against the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and grafted stories of hundreds of marriages of Imam Hasan (a.s.). Some mentioned that he married 70 times and other said that he married more than 300 times but none could count names of more than 10 wives. Such was the strength of their hatred that upon his death, he was not allowed to be buried alongside his grand father, the Prophet Mohammad (saw).
Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Amr Bil Maroof (Enjoining good)
Perhaps we all have experienced the situation where we meant to convey a correct criticism with good intentions to a friend, but it has unintentionally leaded to displeasure and annoyance. Have we ever thought about the best way to increase the effectiveness of criticism?
In general, when a person makes a moral criticism, two targets could be sought: (1) the action which the criticizer finds incorrect, (2) the person who has performed the incorrect action. What is painful and burdensome about criticism, and can lead to anger, grudge, and animosity is the damage that hurts one's pride. Although that person might argue about his action and bring proofs for its correctness, in reality, he is defending "himself", and is attempting to save his esteem and personality.
Therefore, to assure that a criticism does not hurt one's pride or make him react, the criticizer has to set the incorrect action as the main target of his criticism rather than its performer. If so, the criticism would be constructive, and desirable consequences would follow. The traditions of Imam Hassan (as) bear a good example of such criticism:
An old man sat to do his Wudhu / Wuzu (Ablution). But his Wudhu was not correct. Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussain (a.s.) the grandsons of the Prophet Mohammad (saw), then two young boys, watched him. They immediately realized that the old man was not doing his Wudhu correctly, but hesitated to tell him directly. Perhaps the old man would feel humiliated by two young boys, or he might even lose interest in the act of worship.
Sitting next to him, they started to do the Wudhu and during the Wudhu, Imam Hasan (a.s.) said: "Oh Hussain my Wudhu is correct and more perfect than yours."
In reply, Imam Hussain (a.s.) insisted that his own Wudhu was better than Imam Hasan's.
Finally they said: "Let us refer to this gentleman. He is older than us and should be able to decide."
The old man was listening patiently. The boys performed their Wudhu under his supervision, one after the other. And when they had finished, he realized the Wudhu done by the boys was methodical and correct. It was his own Wudhu which was incorrect. Turning to Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussain (a.s.), he gently said: "The Wudhu done by you is correct. I am grateful that you chose to guide me in such a beautiful manner."
Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Hussain (as) neither criticized the old man, nor reproached him for his ignorance of the ruling of Islam. Moreover, they did not refer to his way of performing Wudu, nor did they call his action void. Rather, they performed Wudu themselves and taught the old man its correct way indirectly. The result of this polite and wise criticism was that the old man confessed to his mistake explicitly, learned how to perform Wudu correctly, and thanked them with kindness and pleasure.
Indeed, having good morals is the best way of criticism and education. It is so important that according to Imam Hassan (as), "The best of the best is having good morals".
How cautious are we towards the details the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) have taught us in criticizing our brothers in faith? Are we helping others progress and get educated through good morals and leniency?
Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Anger Management
Mubarad and Ibn Aisha narrated that a man from Syria saw Imam Hasan (a.s.) riding a horse and started insulting him. Imam Hasan (a.s.) did not reply to the man. When the Syrian stopped, Imam Hasan (a.s.) proceeded towards him and after cheerfully greeting him said:
"Old man, I believe you are a stranger. Maybe you have confused me with another person. If you ask forgiveness, it is granted to you. If you ask for a means of transportation, we shall provide it for you. If you are hungry, we shall feed you. If you are in need of clothes, we shall cloth you. If you are deprived, we shall grant you. If you are being sought, we shall give you refuge. If you have any need, we shall fulfill it for you. And if you wish to proceed with your caravan be our guest until you leave, it would be more useful to you, for we hold a good position, great dignity and vast belongings."
When the man heard the words of Imam Hasan (a.s.) he cried and said:
"I testify that you are Allah's heir on His earth. Allah surely knows to whom He assigns His Message. You and your Father were the most resented of Allah's creatures to me, but now you are the most beloved of Allah's creatures to me."
The man then directed his caravan and became their guest of the town until he departed while believing in their love.
Imam Hasan (a.s.) Maid Servant and Anger Management
Once a maid of our 2nd Imam, Imam Hasan (a.s.) dropped a hot bowl of soup on Imam Hasan (a.s.).
She was very scared because she thought the Imam Hasan (a.s.) would be angry and punish her.
She immediately recited the Ayah: "...Those who control (their) anger..."
Imam Hasan (a.s.) smiled and said he was not angry.
Then she recited the next part of the Ayah: "...And are forgiving towards people..."
Imam Hasan (a.s.) said he had forgiven her.
She then finished the Ayah: "...Allah loves those who do good..."
Imam Hasan (a.s.) told her she was free.
The above Ayah is from the Holy Quran: Surah Aal-e-Imraan (3), verse 134.
Moral: The Holy Qur'an is not just there to read but to learn from and act upon. It is the word of Allah and teaches us everything we need to know if only we understood it.