Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) in the Ahle Tasannun

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Muslims accuse Shias of exaggerating the position of the infallible Imams (a.s.) of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). Their foremost charge is that the Imams (a.s.) were not as virtuous as the Shias claim. In the face of evidence to the contrary, they claim that even if they were righteous there is no evidence that they were Imams; it is only the Shias who have elevated them to the position and they never claimed such a position for themselves.


We will prove how baseless these claims are by briefly reviewing what noted scholars of the Ahle Tasannun (erroneously referred to as ‘Sunnis’) have to say about the eleventh Imam, Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.).

This is particularly relevant and even amazing given that Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) was held in captivity for virtually his entire life and interaction with Muslims was minimum at best. Even with the limited interaction, Imam (a.s.) displayed ample evidence of his divinely gifted abilities to impress even the scholars of a school that does not acknowledge the Imamat of the Ahle Bait (a.s.).

Please note: In this brief article, we are NOT discussing the real divine position of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) in the light of traditions of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). Rather, we are only citing the scholars of the opponents who have entioned his excellences and merits, although they have not even got a whiff of his real position due to their being far from the threshold of the Ahle Bait (a.s.).

His Imamat

Scholars have testified to Imam Hasan Askari’s (a.s.) Imamat disproving the claim of the skeptics who deny Imamat for the infallible Imams (a.s.).

Ibn Sabbaagh al-Maaliki records – ‘…there can be no doubt or hesitation regarding his (Imam Hasan Askari a.s.) Imamat…he was an exemplar of his time and was without parallel…he was the Sayyid of his era and the Imam of his time…’

  • Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah fi Marifah al-Aimmah p. 279

His excellence

Imam Hasan al-Askari’s (a.s.) untold virtues have been acknowledged by the following:

    1. Abu Usman Amr Ibn Bahr Jaahiz (exp. 250 A.H.)

While describing ten Imams (a.s.) – including Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.):

‘Every one of them was knowledgeable, abstemious, devout, brave, generous and pure; and this is not found in any other family, be it Arab or non-Arab.’

      • Rasaail al-Jaahiz p. 106
    1. Muhammad Ibn Talhah Shaafe’ee (exp. 652 A.H.)

‘Know that Allah has distinguished him (Imam Hasan Askari a.s.) with lofty virtues and status, and made him an exemplar for others and bestowed him with permanent traits that did not diminish with passage of time and made his tongue constant with recitation of Quran. The Mahdi – M H M D – is from his progeny and the son attributed to him is a piece of his flesh.’

      • Mataalib al-S’ol fi Manaaqib al-Rasool (s.a.w.a.) vol. 2 p. 148
    1. Sibt Ibn Jawzi (exp. 654 A.H.)

‘He is Hasan Ibn Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Moosa Ibn Jafar Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Husain Ibn Ali (a.s.)…he was knowledgeable, reliable…’

      • Tazkerah al-Khawaas p. 324
    1. Ibn Sabbaagh al-Maaliki

‘…his sayings were decisive and his actions were commendable. The accomplished individuals of his time have penned verses in his praise. He was poised on the heights of knowledge that none could reach and he explained the ambiguous that none could unravel. He unveiled the realities with his sharp acumen and disclosed the subtleties with his piercing vision. He was the narrator of divine secrets regarding the esoteric matters. He was the noble original, precious and delightful. May Allah cover him in His Mercy and settle him in His vast garden along with Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) – Aameen.’

      • Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah fi Marifah al-Aimmah p. 279
    1. Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Aamir Shabraawi al-Shaafe’ee (exp. 1171 A.H.)

‘…it is sufficient for his (Imam Hasan Askari a.s.) greatness that the Imam al-Mahdi al-Muntazar is from his progeny. May Allah grant goodness to this great household and lineage! And this lineage is sufficient for your greatness. How hard the nation has attempted to lower the minarets of the house but Allah has raised it! May Allah enliven us on their love and cause us to die on it. And make us worthy of their intercession!’

      • Al-Athaaf be hubb al-ashraaf pp. 178-179
    1. Shaikh Mo’min Shablanji (exp. post 1308 A.H.)

‘His virtues are excessive…’

    • Noor al-Absaar, p. 183-185
  1. Bastaani

‘Hasan was the immaculate son of Ali al-Hadi (a.s.). Many of his virtues have been narrated, which is specific to this household. He displayed deep cognition and wisdom in infancy…and many of his miracles have been reported.’

  • Daairat al-Ma’aarif vol. 7 p. 25

His miracles

Many of Imam’s (a.s.) miracles, including knowledge of the unseen, have been recorded. For the sake of brevity we have omitted details and have merely listed down references for the benefit of interested readers.

  1. Informing Abu Hashim Dawood Ibn Qasim that he would inherit 100,000 dinaar from his cousin.
    • Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah fi Marifah al-Aimmah p. 279
  2. Sibt Ibn Jawzi records about Imam (a.s.) informing Hasan Nasibi about a private matter.
    • Miraat al-Zamaan vol. 2 p. 192
  3. The famous incident of Imam (a.s.) challenging the Christian monk who invoked rain at will with the help of a putrid bone from a Prophet’s corpse. Had it not been for Imam’s (a.s.) intervention, Muslims were in the danger of converting to Christianity or in the least question the truthfulness of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the Holy Quran.
    • Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah fi Marifah al-Aimmah p. 269
    • Noor al-Absaar p. 225
    • Al-Sawaaiq al-Muhriqah p. 124

His worship

Shaikh Mo’min Shablanji

Abu Hashim Dawood Ibn Qasim narrates: ‘…Hasan (a.s.) used to fast in the prison and at the time of fast-breaking we partook food with him.’

  • Noor al-Absaar p. 195

Shablanji further records on the authority of Bohlool that Imam Hasan (a.s.) used to be engrossed in worship from a very early age.

  • Noor al-Absaar p. 183
  • Al-Sawaaiq al-Muhriqah p. 207

His martyrdom

  1. Ibn Sabbaagh al-Maaliki records – ‘….when news of his demise (martyrdom) spread, shops in the market shut down. The Bani Hashim, scribes, jurists and all men joined the funeral procession. It was as if the Day of Resurrection had dawned on Saamarra…’
    • Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah fi Marifah al-Aimmah p. 279
  2. Many other historians have recorded his demise (martyrdom) on 8th Rabi al-Awwal 260 AH and that he left a son called M H M D. For details refer:
  • Taarikh-o-Baghdaad p. 366
  • Al-Kaamil of Ibne Atheer, vol. 2 p. 274
  • Mir’aat al-Jenaan vol. 2 p. 172

Lessons for Muslims

The list of the references – which is only an extract of a much longer list – tells Muslims something about the status and majesty of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) and his superior claim to caliphate and Imamat.

The scholars of the Sunni schools, their historians, narrators and jurists have said very plainly that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) was an extraordinary individual far superior to his peers.

Muslims are duty bound based to accept Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) as their Imam both for his limitless virtues and the authentic reports of Ghadeer on the appointment of twelve Imams / caliphs for the Muslim nation.

Even if they don’t wish to accept Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) as their Imam, in the very least they should not criticize the Shias for taking him as a proof and guide.

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