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Saving Shiite Lives; the Main Reason for Accepting the Peace Treaty by Imam Hassan

When Imam Hassan (A.S) saw that entering into a battle under such circumstances would bear nothing but bloodshed, especially when taken into account that the enemy has bribed the heads of the clans and that the bags of gold coins have caught the eyes’ of some of his commanders and made them turn a blind eye to the enemy’s crimes and deceived them to the extent that they wrote a letter Muawiyah and declared their readiness to hand the Imam over to him close-hands, he found no other choice but to accept the peace deal.

Ijtihadnetwork: To strengthen the Islamic government of his time, Imam Hassan (A.S) was on his great father’s side (Imam Ali (A.S)) and fought against the government’s foes; therefore, to uncover the secrets behind his decision to sign a peace treaty with Muawiyah (a contender to the caliphate), the full historical context of his time and all its relevant circumstances and dimensions should thoroughly be taken into account.

It goes without saying that in Shiite view, the infallible Imams are designated and appointed by Allah through the Prophet Muhammad; thus, Imamah guardianship, i.e. the fact that human beings’ conducts and practices should be patterned after the Imams, and the leadership authority, i.e. the Imams’ right for social and political leadership, are considered as the characteristics of Unconditional Guradianship (wilayat-e takvini).

In Shiite Doctrine, there is always a Perfect Human being in every era called “The Hujjah” who has been granted a divine influence on the universe and all humans whose hearts and souls are being witnessed by him. These are in fact the Infallible Imams who have been assigned with the material and spiritual leadership of the Islamic community in all spheres of human life by Allah.

Establishing an Islamic government based on the principle of the compatibility of Religion with Politics

It is clear that Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was assigned with the high position of Imamate and established the most important and influential divine government. The Infallible Imams known also as the Ahlul Bayt (P.B.U.T) have also the same elevated position. For instance, after enduring 25 years of bitter silence, Imam Ali (A.S) formed an Islamic government and exercised divine rules, fought against all corruptions and deviations, supported the poor and the needy and addressed their needs, stood up for the rights of the oppressed, and attempted to equivocally distribute the revenues of the Treasury among the people.

Imam Hassan (A.S) also ruled over the Islamic government for a short period of time. However, after a short while the opposing oppressors attempted to deviate the caliphate from the righteous path and thus the Imam was forced to abdicate the caliphate. From that time on, the adversaries didn’t allow other Imams (A.S) to take power as the caliphate to administer and exercise the divine rules. By the way, when Imam Mahdi (A.S), the disappeared Imam who is present in hearts, reappears, he will take the leadership of the Ummah in full terms and everything will be realized in his government.

The conduct (Sira) of the AhlulBayt (A.S) who have been referred to in some Pilgrimage notes as the “Wise politicians yet servants of Allah”(ساسة العباد), therefore, clearly shows that they never considered religion as separate from the politics, as Imam Hassan (A.S) considered establishing an Islamic government as a divine duty they have been assigned with (إن الله تعالى ندبنا لسیاسه الامه).

The members of any society would, thus, act as they rulers do. So, not only the Hadith which says that “The people of a society live according to the conduct of their rulers and follow their footsteps”((الناس على دین ملوکهم proves to be true, but also most of the public behaviors are modelled after the principles which their government follows through. As it would be impossible to propagate religious values and conducts without making a reform in the government, it is absolutely wrong to think that Politics is something separate from religion.

De-infiltration; Political and fighting approach of Imam Hassan (A.S)

There is no doubt that fighting against the infiltration of the enemies should be carried out by taking the current status quo into account, setting relevant rules and regulations, and in a way that would preserve the Islamic intents. Thus the biography of Imam Hassan (A.S) has it that when Imam Ali (A.S) was martyred and the people pledged allegiance to him, Muawiyah dispatched two spies to Basra and Kufa in turn to topple, with the help of the Hypocrites, the caliphate led by the Imam. However, the intelligence system of the Imam Hassan (A.S) discovered this conspiracy and arrested the two spies as ordered by the Imam (A.S); the one who was arrested in Kufa was executed and the one who was arrested in Basra was punished accordingly. Following that incident, Imam Hassan (A.S) wrote a letter to Muawiyah saying that you dispatch spies to different cities and instigate seditions and thus it seems that you want to start a war; if that is the case, I’m well prepared to fight against you.

By the way, the infiltration of the Muawiyah agents into Imam Hassan’s army was so intense that according to some historians, the Imam (A.S) was once assassinated by one of his insiders through stabbing when he was saying prayers, and in another case some of his troops rolled out his prayer mat from under his feet when he was saying prayers. Even it is alleged that some of the high ranking commanders of his army wrote a letter to Muawiyah and declared that they were ready to arrest the Imam and hand his Excellency over to him closed-hands or to kill him.

Such mischievous movements and the like which were organized and implemented by Muawiyah agents as part of his plots undermined the morale of the Imam’s troops and made them divided and finally led to a peace treaty imposed on the Imam by Muawiyah.

What was mentioned above clearly indicates that in Prophet Muhammad’s era and those of the infallible Imams, especially in Imam Hassan’s government, the intelligence services were actively trying to discover the enemies’ plots, counter the spying activities, scrutinize the acts of governmental agents, and uncover the conspiracies of the domestic hypocrites.

Materialism; the dead sleep of the Kufis

It is worth mentioning that while Imam Hassan (A.S) was recruiting vast troops to get prepared for battling against Muawiyah, some his unfaithful companions were explicitly talking of leaving the war.

In his book “Asad Al-ghaba” (اسد الغابه), Ibn Athir, a well-known Sunni historian, writes that Imam Hassan (A.S) invited the people of his time to Jihad and the battle against Muawiyah, saying that if you are prepared for Jihad and Shahadah (martyrdom), wield your swords, but if you like this worldly life and want to remain alive, declare it frankly!

Many of the people thus replied that they liked the worldly life and wanted to remain alive!

In response, Imam Hassan (A.S) elaborated on the difference between the people’s morale when they engaged in Battle of Siffin and their moral in his own era and said: “in that day when you set off to the Battle of Siffin your religion was leading your world; but today your world is leading your religion (you are acting based on self-interests and don’t have any religious motivation)”.

He also addressed the people of Kufa in a sermon and said: “oh, the people of Kufa! Wake up from your dead sleep and avoid the darkness of ignorance. I swear Allah that if even a group of you rise up with pure hearts and intentions (and join me) I would, with my sword, enter into Jihad, putting them under pressure, blunting the bayonets with their bodies, and continue fighting until the horses’ hoofs are eroded; so, talk to me, may Allah bless you! (And don’t be afraid of the enemy)”.

These remarks were expressed by the Imam in a situation when the Kufis were overwhelmed by the dead sleep and although they were repeatedly invited by the Imam to Jihad against the Levantine plunderers and the Muawiyah army, they rejected the invitation.

In his will to his son, Imam Hassan, Imam Ali (A.S) warned him of this moral vice of the Kufi people: “Oh my son! How would you be when you are trapped by a people who are clung to this transient world … and desperately yearn for the worldly materials? The People of that time would be far from the fear and close to the hope (They would be negligent of the punishments in the hereafter, and would be extremely interested in worldly assets).

Imposing a peace treaty on Imam Hassan (A.S)

Feeling lonely and not receiving any help from his people but a few of his special companions and the Household of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), Imam Hassan (A.S) was forced to sign a peace treaty with Muawiyah.

In his Book “Al-Irshad”, Sheikh Mofid comments on the treaty: Imam Hassan has no other choice but to sign the peace treaty, because his companions were not sufficiently aware of his position as Imam and would probably not fulfill their promises and might ruin his policies; even some of his forces considered killing him as halal and were ready to hand him over to his enemies. To sum it all up, many of them were willingly interested in this transient worldly life and were reluctant to the hereafter and its rewards (و میل الجمهور منهم إلى العاجله، و زهدهم فی الآجله).

In this situation, Imam Hassan (A.S) had only two choices to adopt: either to begin a battle to whose success there were no hopes at all and would only led to the killing of his family and his special faithful companions and would thus bear no fruit for Islam, because Muawiyah would cunningly make the Imam responsible for the battle and the people would be influenced by such deceiving tricks; or to sign a peace treaty to preserve Islam’s interests and to remove the cloaks of deception from the Muawiyah face, reveal the true nature of Umayyad governance for the public and to prove their non-compliance with religious commitments and the Prophet’s tradition.

Following seven months of ruling over the caliphate, Imam Hassan (A.S), due to the plots designed by Muawiyah and the weakness and infidelity of his companions, was forced to abdicate the leadership to Muawiyah according to the peace treaty in order to get the second goal (as mentioned above) realized.

Saving Shiite lives; the main reason for accepting the peace treaty by Imam Hassan

When Imam Hassan (A.S) saw that entering into a battle under such circumstances would bear nothing but bloodshed, especially when taken into account that the enemy has bribed the heads of the clans and that the bags of gold coins have caught the eyes’ of some of his commanders and made them turn a blind eye to the enemy’s crimes and deceived them to the extent that they wrote a letter Muawiyah and declared their readiness to hand the Imam over to him close-hands, he found no other choice but to accept the peace deal.

The late Allama Majlisi states the reason behind accepting the peace treaty by quoting from Imam Hassan (A.S) as follows: “My signing a peace treaty with Muawiyah was merely intended to save the blood of the Muslims”.

As the war always brings about many destructions whose side effects continue for years, Islam would undoubtedly accept engaging in a war only if it is carried out as a defense against the enemies. Muslims, therefore, should be totally cognizant of all aspects when they accept a peace deal offered by their foes, because sometimes they cunningly make use of a peace treaty as a tool to dominate over the Muslim community.

Having said that, it becomes clear that remaining silent against the Muawiyah regime that observed Islamic norms on the surface and had not debased itself into extreme, especially when noticing the fact that it was done to save the blood of the innocent Muslims could not be regarded as a disdain for Imam Hassan (A.S) and Imam Hossain (A.S) in his last ten years of Imamate.

In support of such an argument it could be said that after establishing his power and poisoning Imam Hassan (A.S) to death, Muawiyah, contrary to the terms of the treaty and all humanitarian and religious principles, killed a vast number of Shiites in order to pave the way for his despotic actions by removing his potential opponents. That is why Ibn Abi Al-hadid writes that “when Imam Hassan (A.S) was martyred, the Shiites increasingly endured many atrocities to the extent that any Shiite believer was constantly fearful of being killed, exiled or dislocated”.

Referring to the dark and dreadful atmosphere of the Muawiyah era, Imam Baqir (A.S) said: “during the reign of Muawiyah, the strongest and most tremendous pressures on Shiites were exerted after the martyrdom of the Imam Hassan (A.S). In that time, our Shiites were killed in any city they lived in and their hands and feet were amputated at the slightest pretext and/or conjecture. The restrictions and strict conditions were so intense and harsh that if an individual would expressed his friendship with and devotion to us, he/she would be jailed, his/her possessions would be confiscated, or his/her house would be demolished”.

Imam Hassan’s civil disobedience against the despotic regime of his time

 When it is impossible to have the hypocrites killed in order to purify the environment of the Islamic community from their presence accordingly, civil obedience would certainly be effective in discrediting, isolating them in and excluding them from the Islamic community.

Spreading the Love of Imam Ali (A.S); Imam Hassan’s Civil Disobedience against the Umayyad Regime’s Propagandas

There are numerous evidences and examples for elaborating on this matter, including his lenient and affectionate treatment with that Levantine man who terribly insulted and cursed the Imam, but he said hello to him in response, smiling at him and said: “Oh respected man! It seems that you are an stranger and know no one in this city; I believe that you have misunderstood the fact, so if you ever ask me to forgive you, I would do so in no moment and if you ask me for something, I would bestow it upon you… when that man heard such affectionate and sympathetic remarks in response to all his insulting words, he burst into tears (and was completely transformed) and believed in his Imamate and turned to one of his devotees.

It worth mentioning that those governors who have received Divine Authorities should speak from the position of power and leadership; they should not entreat people or appeal them to do something. Enjoining what is right (الأمر بالمَعْرُوف) should also be performed out of power. However, it should be noted that doing something from the position of power is not in conflict with tolerance and gentle treatment, as clearly shown in the above mentioned well-narrated story of the Imam Hassan’s treatment with the Levantine irreverent man.

Thus, those wrongdoers whose irreverent and inappropriate behavior is derived from propagandas should be guided gently, as that Levantine man who had been misled by the propagandas of the Ahlul Bayt’s foes, was guided to the right path by the Imam’s favorable treatment.

Revival of Imam Ali’s name and memory; a kind of civil disobedience implemented to explicate the Shiite Doctrine

The fact is that when Muawiyah came into power after the martyrdom of Imam Ali (A.S) and the short period of Imam Hassan’s rule, he insisted on eliminating all the Alawid signs and evidences from the face of the Muslim world because he regarded the intellectual and spiritual influence of Imam Ali (A.S) in the Muslims’ public opinion as a threat to his throne. In fact, Muawiyah was so evil and villainous that, although Imam Ali (A.S) was respected by all Muslims at least as the fourth caliph, he propagate cursing him in such a way that if someone would eschew from doing so, he would be seriously admonished.He argued that cursing Imam Ali (A.S) should be so widespread that the children be brought up with such a slogan and the youths get old with it and that nobody preach any virtue from him.Therefore, in order to counter the propagandas spread by the Umayyad regime, Imam Hassan (A.S) asked several challenging questions from Muawiyah and his entourage in a summit hold by him, including the following one: “Don’t you know that Ali (A.S) was the first man to believe in Prophet Muhammad? I ask you to swear to Allah if you don’t!”Moreover, after signing an imposed peace treaty with Muawiyah, Imam Hassan (A.S) had him give the following pledges: “Not to curse Imam Ali (A.S) in prayers; not to make troubles for the Shiite believers; Guarantee the safety and security of the Shiites; and to secure the rights of anyone who is right”.

Final Words

Finally, it should be said that Imam Hassan (A.S) helped his great father (Imam Ali (A.S))strengthen the Islamic government of his time and fought against the government’s foes; therefore, to uncover the secrets behind his decision to sign a peace treaty with Muawiyah, the full historical context of his time and all its relevant circumstances and dimensions should thoroughly be taken into account.

Imam Hassan (A.S) must therefore be called the “Peace Hero”, because when he signed the peace treaty he knew that the people of Kufa had left him alone. However, this conscious peace provided the ground for the Ashura uprising and other revolutions of the Muslims which ensued the Karbala Event.

To elaborate on this matter we can argue that after the martyrdom of his father, the Leader of the Believers, Imam Hossain (A.S) took sides with his brother Imam Hassan (A.S) and consulted him on the offer of peace treaty (when asked by the Imam) which he had received from the Muawiyah. Actually, as a scholar once said, If Imam Hassan (A.S) had lived in Yazid era, he would have revolted against him, and if Imam Hossain (A.S) were the Imam at Muawiyah age, he would have made peace with him. A clear evidence for this claim is that after the martyrdom of his brother, i.e. Imam Hassan (A.S), Imam Hossain eschewed from any battle against the caliphate for nearly ten years, but when Yazid succeeded to the throne, he launched the battle and sacrificed the last drops of his pure blood for the honor and dignity of the Islam and for cutting the criminal and evil hands of the Umayyad off the power.

About Ali Teymoori

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