What Can We Learn From Imam Hassan (AS) In This Difficult Time?
The Prophet (SAW) in his last sermon had exhorted to hold fast to the Holy Book and to his Household, for these would never allow his followers to be led astray after him. At another occasion, the Prophet called his progeny the ark of Noah, for only those would attain salvation that take their way.
For a believer it is but incumbent to learn and obey the virtues and commands declared in the Scripture and taught by the holy imams. Ramazan the 15th marks the birth date of one of those significant five faces from the Ahl-al-Bayt.
Imam Hasan (AS) was first of the beloved grandsons, second of the imams and fifth of the rightly guided caliphs to succeed the Prophet (PBUH), whom he was widely known to resemble, both in appearance and character.
Of all the noble traits, he was most popular for generosity and humility, which, if brought to practice in the present day, would bring about a social revolution that the world longs for.
The Imam would prefer simplicity over luxury and scarcity over privilege. He would often say, “Fulfilling the need of my brother is dearer to me than spending a month secluded in the mosque.” He gave off all his riches twice in charity. He would apologize if anyone would come to him asking for aid because he considered it his job to find the needy instead of anyone turning to his door seeking help. Help, which he never denied. If he would hear someone invoke the Almighty for providing sustenance, he would run to fulfill his need. He would even willingly help those who would mistreat him and would readily forgive.
Once an old man was performing ablution incorrectly while the adolescent Hasan (AS) and Hussain (AS) were nearby. To make the elderly man learn, they adopted a very respectful manner, which was to perform ablution in front of him and ask him of whether they were doing it correctly. Seeing this, the elderly man understood his mistake and praised their wisdom.
25 times, the Imam walked bare-foot from Madinah to Makkah to perform Hajj, while he owned a steed. The reason, as he would say, it is to go before the Almighty and to His house, hence one must present themselves in all humbleness.
Being leader of the men of Paradise, he would yet be often seen weeping before the Lord: seeking forgiveness from God and safety from hell fire.
It is not common that the world experiences a pandemic such as the currently ongoing Covid-19. Apart from the health fears that a pandemic brings, it also poses a serious threat to food security and is a source of massive economic turmoil for all sectors and industries. Above all, it is most disastrous for the daily-wage earners and the working classes more generally.
A daily-wage earner, if they fall prey to the disease, already lacks the necessary funds required for getting the basic medical attention. If they decide to observe the strict lockdown, they lack means of provision for basic nutrition for their families.
Economists are of the view that the situation in times ahead would continue being a challenge, since unemployment and a lack of trade would be globally experienced. Some concepts of fraternity and social welfare are deep embedded in modern day societies, becoming the basis for progress. These principles are also the foundation stones of Pakistan because they have to be the necessary tenets of the society that Islam preaches.
Alms-giving is one of the prime teachings of our faith as Quran says, “You cannot reach to near piety unless you spend from what’s most beloved” (3:92). Similar has been extensively demonstrated by almost all leading spiritualists. Worthy to mention Imam Hasan bin Ali (AS) who is of paramount importance in the subject.
The privileged, following the attributes of the imam, should especially pay heed to charity. One must set out in search of the needy and provide aid regardless of caste, creed and faith.
Not only charitable, Imam Hasan (AS) is a luminary for religious propagation and tolerance also. His famous reconciliation with his opponents serves as an important lesson that peace is to be held foremost and that principles come above self-praise while any act of violence is to be highly discouraged.
The truce between Imam Hassan (AS) and Emir Muawiya over the caliphate is yet another reflection of the Imam’s insight – which we must learn from in today’s Coronavirus pandemic. The Imam prioritized peace and held blood dear enough to not be shed, sacrificing his office instead, while making sure in the covenant that there would be no legislation repugnant to the shariah.
He made sure that soft speech, a humble persona and irrefutable logic were the attractive features in a call to faith – instead of rigidity and coercion. He made the pen his symbol instead of a sword.
Religious fanaticism has wrongly represented our peaceful belief system. The famous 125th verse of Surah Nahl depicts the people who call others to the path of God: they are to be polite in speech, using reasoned logic and a meaningful argument. They are to shun forceful implementation and compulsion, for it kills the very essence of any deed. Pleasing God should be the sole intention behind every act, presented with immense servitude before the Almighty.
Being selfless is one of the prime virtues amongst the lives of the saintly figures of Islamic tradition. Not compromising on principles and displaying a rock-like determination is another crucial aspect of their example.
Similar to the concepts of values and goals given by the modern world, God set such examples of His blessed persons so their footprints serve as guidance in the pits of darkness. Following their path shall be the practical demonstration of the supplication taught us in the opening chapter of the Quran, which is to be frequently repeated.
The Covid-19 pandemic brings home all the more urgently the need that we emphasize a transformation of societies. We need a society capable of nurturing better beings, creating a favorable environment for virtue to breed. That is the true road to faith, as laid out for us by the commands of the Almighty and preached by His vicegerents.
Dr. Syed Areebuddin holds a specialization masters in dentistry and is the descendant of Allama Makhdoom Muhammad Hashim Thattvi. Write to him at [email protected]