The Myth of Imam Hasan Divorces


Imam Hasan has been the victim of a most malicious propaganda for the last 1,443 years. 
Before looking at individual reports, it is important to find out when this allegation was put forward, by
whom and why.
After a thorough study of these reports, I have found that the first man known to accuse Imam Hasan of
“marrying and divorcing” was the 2nd Abbasid Khalifa, Mansur, who because of his dynastic policies
was bent upon belittling Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali and his descendants.
It will help the readers to know how Abbasids came to power.
By the beginning of the 2nd century of Hijra, “Persia, Irak and Hijaz, which had suffered most from the
atrocities of the Bani-Omeyya, were honeycombed by secret organisations for the over-throw of the
hated family. The Bani-Abbas were the most active in the movement to subvert the Omeyyad rule, at
first,.perhaps, from a sincere desire to restore to the Fatimids their just rights, but afterwards in their
own interests.” (Ibid, p.307.)
When Bani Hashim were planning to overthrow the Umayyad dynasty, they first secretly called a
meeting of all members of the clan. They decided that, if they succeeded, they would make
Muhammad, Nafs al-Zikiyya (Pure Soul) Khalifa. Muhammad was son of Abdallah son of Hasan
Muthanna son of Imam Hasan. Among those who made the bia’a were Abu’l-Abbas (Saffah) and
Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq remained aloof from all these activities and told Abdallah (father of Nafs al Zakiyya) that his son would not succeed; that Mansur would sit on the throne instead. 
Anyhow the slogan of Rida aal-Muhammad (to please the Descendants of the Prophet) proved a
success and people gathered behind the agents of Bani Hashim, thinking that they wanted to remove
Bani Umayya and install a descendant of the Prophet as Khalifa. Bani Umayya were overthrown in 132
But when the time came to install a Khalifa from Aal-Muhammad, the Abbasids forgot all their pledges
and their bay’a to Muhammad Nafs al-Zakiyya. They put Abu’l-Abbas Saffah on the throne.
Abu’l-‘Abbas died after four years, and his brother Mansur came to power. Muhammad Nafs al-Zakiyya
did not forget that Mansur was under obligation to accept him as Khalifa; neither could Mansur forget
it. The solution, according to Muhammad Nafs al-Zakiyya, was to rise against Mansur. The solution,
according to Mansur, was to annihilate all the descendants of Imam Hasan.
“The same fierce jealousy with which the Bani-Omeyya had pursued or persecuted the Bani-Fatima,
characterised the conduct of Bani-Abbas towards the descendants of Muhammad. They had no claim to
the Caliphate themselves; they made the affection of the people for the children of Fatima the means
for their own elevation, and when they had attained the desired end they rewarded the Fatimids with
bitter persecution.” 
Mansur came to Medina in 144 A.H. and in one sweeping operation arrested all the family of Imam
Hasan and took them to Baghdad. It is not the place to enumerate the torture – physical and mental -meted out to the descendants of Imam Hasan.
Now Mansur wanted to absolve himself from the legal,and moral obligations of that oath of allegiance.
It was not only the question of his own conscience; he had to assure the public also that he was the
constitutional and rightful Khalifa.
For this purpose, he gave a public address after that mass arrest, in which he shamelessly said:
“By God, we left the descendants of Abu Talib and the Khilafat; we did not interfere at all.
`Ali ibn Abi Talib became Khalifa. After him Hasan ibn `Ali became Khalifa. By God, he
did not deserve it. He was offered money, which he accepted; Mu’awiya sent him a message
that he would make him his successor. So, Hasan abdicated the Khilafat and left the
government and power. He left everything to Mu’awiya, and turned his attention, to women,
marrying one woman today, divorcing another one tomorrow. He remained like this till he
died in his bed.”
(AI-Mas’udi; in Muruj al-Dhahab, Vol.3, p.226)
The main theme of this address was that Muhammad Nafs al-Zakiyya had no claim of Khilafat
But in this conflict, Imam Hasan whose sacred name was made the object
of the false propaganda that he married a woman today and divorced another tomorrow.
Bani Umayya had established a full-fledged department to fabricate “ahadith” to smear the names of
AhI al-bayt. But they were not as successful in their endeavours as Mansur was.
His rule of inheritance by agnates is still followed by the Sunni schools of Law; and his propaganda
against Imam Hasan has even found its way into some Shi’a books.

Let us now look at these reports:

The first report of 70 wives is given by Abu’l-Hasan `Ali ibn Abdullah Al-Basri Al￾Mada’ini, who died in 225 A.H. This man was a partisan of Bani Umayya – he was a freed
slave of Sumra ibn Habib, an Umayyad.
Ubn Adi has said of him: He is not strong in Hadith. (Mizan al-I ‘tidal, Vol.2, p.232, Lisan
al-Mizan, Vol.4, p.253)
This Madaini does not say from where he got this number of 70.
The second report of 90 wives appears in Nur al-Absar of Shablanji who died in 1298 AH.
Reports of 250 and 300 wives are found in Quwwat al-Qulub (Vol. 2, p.246) of Abu Talib Makki who
died in 380 A.H.

“Imam Hasan had likeness of the Prophet in facial features as well as in manners and
character. The Holy Prophet told him, ‘O Hasan, you are like me in features and character
and manners.’ Also he said, ‘Hasan is from me and Husain is from `Ali.’

“Hasan, often married 4 wives in one sitting and then divorced 4 wives in one sitting.”
Now this man Abu Talib had become mad at the time of writing this book Quwwat al-Qulub. He went
to Baghdad and people came to see him. When they heard his senseless talk, all went away, and
avoided him. One of his savings of that time is that “None is more harmful for the people than their
Creator.” The scolars have frankly said that he has written many things in that book which have no
foundation at all.
These were the original reporters. All those who came after them have blindly copied from their books.
The fact is that it was impossible for Imam Hasan to marry so many wives even if he wanted to. All the
narrations imply that he started this alleged pursuit of pleasure during the Khilafat of his father in Kufa.

`Ali came to Kufa in 37 Hijra. Imam Hasan had at least three wives in Kufa.
1. Khawal Fazariya, who was the mother of Hasan Muthanna (the grandfather of Muhammad Nafs
al-Zakiyya). She survived Imam Hasan. This marriage had taken place in Medina.
2. Umm Ishaq bint Talha. She was the mother of Husain Athram, Talha and Fatima. This marriage
also had taken place in Medina. She survived Imam Hasan; and was later married to Imam
3. Ju’da bint Ash-ath. This marriage took place in Kufa and she also survived Imam Hasan. (She
poisoned him on instigation of Mu’aviya.)
Islam allows a man to marry up to four women at any given time. As Imam Hasan already had three
wives, who were with him up to the last day of his life, he could marry only one more woman at any
Bearing in mind this limitation, one can only regard the statement of Quwwat al-Qulub with
amusement: “Often he (Imam Hasan) married 4 wives in one sitting and then divorced them in one
sitting.” How could he marry 4 wives in one sitting when he already had 3 wives?
Now suppose that he married a fourth wife, and then divorced her. As long as that divorced wife was in
‘idda (period of probation, normally 3 months) she was counted legally his wife, and Imam Hasan
could not marry another wife before expiry of her ‘idda.
Let us, now, suppose that he married a woman. As divorce cannot be given in a month in which cohabitation has taken place, the earliest that that wife could be divorced was in next month; her ‘idda
continued for 3 months. Thus, four months passed before Imam Hasan could be free to marry another
wife. One wife in four months gives us a maximum of 3 wives in a year. Supposing that Imam Hasan
had no other work except marrying and divorcing, as Mansur said, and if we count from 37 A.H. up to
his martyrdom at the beginning of 51 A.H. to get a period of 14 years, this will give us a maximum
number of 42 possible marriages.
And the minimum alleged by these scholars is 70 wives!
After this clarification, there is no need for further comment upon these reports. 

Then al-Kafi (compiled in 326 A.H.) gives two `Ahadith’ that Imam Hasan divorced very much.
Then comes Abu Talib Makki (380 A.H.) who thought that 70 was not consistent with ‘marrying a
woman one day and divorcing another tomorrow’; so he increased the number to 250; still his
mathematics was not satisfied, so he quoted an unknown source and finally said ‘300’.
Lastly comes the French historian, H. Lammens, who writes in ‘Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam’:

It is these people who take upon
themselves the task of producing ‘authentic’ history of Islam for the receptive minds of Westerners!

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