Al-Hasan ibn Abi’l Hasan al-Basri was born in Medina in 21 (642). His father was a freed slave of Zaid ibn Thabit , a famous companion of Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Hasan Basri was himself brought up in the house of Ummul Mu’meneen Ummi-Salmah . He met many Companions of the Prophet ﷺ including, it is said, seventy of those who fought at the Battle of Badr. He grew up to become one of the most prominent figures of his generation, being famous for his uncompromising piety and outspoken condemnation of worldliness in high places. He died in Basra in 110 (728). He was a brilliant orator. Many of his speeches and sayings are quoted by Arab authors and some of his letters are still preserved.
His name was Hassan and patronymic was Abu Mohammad, Abu Saeed, Abu Nasar and Abu Ali. His father’s name was Yasar who was a freed slave of Hazrat Zaid Bin Sabit Razi Allah Anhu. His mother’s name was Khaira and she was the maid of Umm-ul Momenin Hazrat Umm-e-Salma Razi Allah Anha. Hazrat Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu was brought up by Hazrat Umm-e-Salma Razi Allah Anha and she also fed him her milk, thus she was his foster mother.
Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu was born in the caliphate of Hazrat Umar Razi Allah Anhu in 21 Hijri in Madina. Since birth he had an enlightened beauty, when he was brought to Hazrat Umer Razi Allah Anhu he said meaning: “name him Hassan as he is very beautiful”. Hazrat Umar Razi Allah Anhu also prayed for him that “Oh Allah bless him with the perfect knowledge of Islam and make him beloved among people”. This pray was granted and Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu accomplished highest status in Faqr and the religious knowledge.Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu was brought up and educated among the sacred companions of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. He also gained the apparent as well as actual intrinsic knowledge of Islam from these companions specially from Hazrat Ali, Hazrat Umar Farooq, Hazrat Usman Ghani, Hazrat Ans bin Malik Razi Allah Anhum and also from Hazrat Hassan Mujtaba and Hazrat Imam Hanfia Razi Allah Anhum. He used to say that “I have had the privilege of seeing and meeting 130 sacred companions of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, among them 70 were those who had fought the battle of Bader”. So his status is the highest amongst the Tabe’een.
Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu took oath of allegiance at the hands of Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem and also got cloak of Khilafat from him. Hazrat Ali granted him the special cloak and turban which was granted to him by the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and blessed him with the complete knowledge of Divine secrets. He also passed him the Trust of Faqr and taught him the real method of invocation of Kalma Tayyaba through negation of one’s ownself (Nafi) and verification (by heart) of presence of the Divine Self (Asbat) as Hazrat Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam had taught him, then through him this method was introduced in the whole world (of Islam). (Sair-ul-Awliya, Sair-ul-Aqtab)
After getting the Trust of Faqr and reaching the status of a Perfect Man (Insaan-e-Kamil). Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu established a grand system of orders and ways of Tasavvuf and Tareeqat which was introduced and spread in the whole world for gaining the Gnosis (Marifat), Recognition (Pehchan) and nearness of Allah. This system still exists and is still followed to reach Allah. All the orders and ways, whether it be Qadria or Soharwardia, Chishtia or Nizamia, Rifaaiya or Shazlia, Al-Maghribia or Kalabia, trace back their spiritual lineage to Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu and through him every order reaches Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem, except the Naqshbandi way which reaches Hazrat Abu Bakr Sidiqque Razi Allah Anhu through Hazrat Salman Farsi Razi Allah Anhu.Although it is a unanimously accepted fact that all the orders and ways reach Hazrat Ali through Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri and there isn’t any controversy or contradiction about it, still the scholars of Hadithes and Traditions disagree upon the fact that Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu has ever met Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem or heard any Hadith from him. The Reason for this disagreement is that these scholars could not find any Hadith which Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu has narrated after listening it from Hazrat Ali and had never quoted name of Hazrat Ali while narrating a Hadith. From this they conclude that Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu has never met Hazrat Ali. If this conclusion of these scholars is accepted then the whole system of orders and ways of Tasavvuf and Tareeqat collapse down because if Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu had never met Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem, neither took oath of allegiance on his hands nor got cloak of Khilafat and Trust of Faqr from him than how do all the orders reach Hazrat Ali and from him to Hazrat Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam? Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu is the main link which connects every order to Hazrat Ali Razi Allah Anhu and Hazrat Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. If this link is removed, it becomes impossible to pass the knowledge of Gnosis and Divine Secrets to the Ummah.
The circumstances and evidences also proof that it is not possible that Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri had never met Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem. Hazrat Hassan Basri was born in 21 Hijri in the Caliphate of Hazrat Umar Razi Allah Anhu in Madina and remained in Madina till the Caliphate of Hazrat Ali Razi Allah Anhu. He left Madina and shifted to Basra in 37 Hijri when Hazrat Ali Razi Allah Anhu shifted to Koofa after completing two years of his Caliphate. So both of them remained together in Madina for about sixteen years. Hazrat Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu was brought up amongst these sacred companions, lived with them, offered prayer with them five times in Masjid-e-Nabwi and during the Caliphate of Hazrat Ali he remained in Madina for at least two years so he must have offered prayers behind him and listened to his sermons, then how is it possible that he had never met Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem or had never heard any Hadith from him.
In Tehzeeb-ul-Kamal Hafiz Miz’zi states “when Hazrat Usman Razi Allah Anhu was martyred, Hazrat Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu was present there, he was about 14 years of age at that time. Although scholars of Hadith accept these evidences but still they question that if Hazrat Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu had met Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem and listened Hadith from him then why he hadn’t ever narrated any Hadith with his name. To answer this question Imam Nisai, Imam Jallal-ud-Din Saiu’uti, Imam Miz’zi and many other great Imams, after much research, not only found some Hadithes which Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri had stated with the name of Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem, but also found that statement of Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri in which he had explained the reason that why he did not ever take the name of Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem and had narrated Hadith directly from Hazrat Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam although he was born after his death and never had the privilege to see him or listen Hadith directly from him. In “Tehzeeb-ul-Kamal” Imam Miz’zi states:
“Younas Bin Obaid said that once I asked Imam Hassan Basri “Oh Abu Saeed while narrating a Hadith why do you say that “Prophet Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam said” although you have not found his sacred company and haven’t met and listened Hadith directly from him?” Answering me he said “Oh nephew you have asked me a question which nobody has ever asked me before. If you weren’t special to me, I would not have answered this question of yours. The matter of fact is that every Hadith before narrating which I say that “Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam said” I have actually heard from Hazrat Ali Razi Allah Anhu but the age in which we are living is such that I cannot openly take the name of Hazrat Ali Karam Allahu Wajhul Kareem” (Tehzeeb-ul-Kamal-book 4, page 124).
It was the age of Hajaj Bin Yousaf and Banu Ummaiyyah who were against Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem and whoever took his name praisingly was punished badly and was banned to give sermons or lectures. Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem had to face great opposition and enmity from Banu Ummaiyyah and the Kharijites since the beginning of his Caliphate. He could see through his perspicacity that in the future all his companions, friends, and disciples would either be killed or banned to take his name. Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri was a chosen one by destiny to spread and promote the real and true knowledge of Islam i.e knowledge of Gnosis and Recognition of Allah. Had he been killed or banned to give sermons, it had become impossible to spread and promote this knowledge, so he must have been ordered and instructed by Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem to stop taking his name while narrating a Hadith, just to be careful and to avoid any enmity so that he could do his duty secrectly and easily without any chaos. His silence about Hazrat Ali will give the impression to the enemies that he had no relation with him.
Capabilities of Hasan Basri (R)
Hasan Basri (R.A) had been gifted with noble virtues and brilliant capabilities essential to make his exhortation for revival of Islãm. He was distinguished for his usual temperament, friendly and considerate, winning and enchanting, on one hand. As also for his scholarship and profound learning strengthened with good judgment and wisdom on the other. In his knowledge of the Qur’ãn and Hadith he excelled all the learned men of his times. He had the opportunity of being an associate of the Sahãbah (R.A) he was fully aware of the deficiencies in practises that had crept in among the different sections of the society, and the measures necessary to eradicate them. Whenever he lectured on the hereafter or described the by gone days of the Sahãbah (R.A) everyone was seen brimming with tears.
Hajjãj ibn Yusuf is rightly renowned for his eloquence but Hasan Basri (R) was considered to be an equally good elocutionist (to have an art of speaking). On Hasan Basri (R) is encyclopaedic knowledge. Rabi ibn Anas (R.A) says that he had the privilege of being closely associated with Hasan Basri (R) for ten years and almost everyday he found something new not heard of earlier in the lectures of Hasan Basri (R). Describing the scholarly achievement of Hasan Basri, (R) Abu Hayyãn at-Thauhidi (R) quotes Thãbit ibn Qurrah saying, “In his-learning and piety, forbearance and restrain, frankness and large-heartedness, insight and good judgment he resembled a bright star. He was always surrounded by students seeking instruction in different branches of knowledge. He would be teaching Tafseer to one, Hadith to another, Fiqh to a third, explaining a Fatwã (Legal opinion) to someone else and imparting instruction in the principles of Fiqh yet to another while continuing his advises in the meantime for those who came to him for the purpose. His knowledge covered a wide area as vast as an ocean, or he was like a dazzling radiance of light illuminating every soul around him. What is more? His heroic efforts to enjoin the good and to forbid the wrong, his support of the righteous path before rulers and administrators could never be forgotten.” The reason why Hasan Basri’s (R) words carried weight with his audience was that he was not simply a preacher but he also possessed a noble and supreme soul, whatever he said was heart-stirring because it came from the depth of his heart, his speeches had a magnetism which no other scholar or mentor of Kufã and Basra could attempt to surpass. Thãbit ibn Qurrah, a non Muslim- philosopher of the third century (A.H), was of the opinion that the few eminent persons produced by Islãm who could rightly by envied by the followers of other faiths, one was Hasan Basri (R.A). He adds that Makkah had always been a centre of Islãmic piety and learning where accomplished scholars in every branch of knowledge met all of parts of the world but even Makkans were dumb founded by his scholarly achievements as they had never seen a man of his calibre.
Sermons of Hasan Basri (R.A)
The sermons delivered by Hasan Basri (R.A) are stipulating memories of the simplicity and moral courage of the Sahãbah (R.A). comparing the moral condition of his own times with that of the Sahãbah (R.A), he observes: “Dignified in the company of their friends, praising Allah when they were left alone, content with the lawful gains, grateful when ease of means, resigned when in distress, remembering Almighty Allah among the idle and craving the grace of Allah. When among the pious, such were the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) their associates and their friends. No matter what position they occupied in life, they were held in high esteem by their companions and when they passed away, their spirit took flight to the blessed companionship on high as the most celebrated souls. O Muslims, those were your righteous ancestors, but when you deviated from the right path, Almighty Allah too withheld his blessings from you.”
The Conversion of Hasan of Basra
The beginning of Hasan of Basra’s conversion was as follows. He was a jewel merchant and was called Hasan of the Pearls. He traded with Byzantium, and dealt with the generals and ministers of Caesar. On one occasion, going to Byzantium he called on the prime minister and conversed with him a while. “We will go to a certain place,” the minister told him, “if you are agreeable.” “It is for you to say,” Hasan replied. “I agree.” So the minister commanded a horse to be brought for Hasan. He mounted with the minister and they set out. When they reached the desert Hasan perceived a tent of Byzantine brocade, fastened with ropes of silk and golden pegs, set firm in the ground. He stood to one side. Then a mighty army, all accoutred in the panoply of war, came out they circled the tent, said a few words, and departed. Philosophers and scholars to the number of near four hundred arrived on the scene, they circled the tent, said a few words, and departed. After that three hundred illumined elders with white beards approached the tent, circled it, said a few words, and departed. Thereafter more than two hundred maidens, each bearing a plate of gold and silver and precious stones, circled the tent, said a few words, and departed. Hasan relates that, astonished and filled with wonder, he asked himself what this might be.
“When we alighted,” he went on, “I asked the minister. He said that the Caesar had a son of unsurpassable beauty, perfect in all the branches of learning and unrivalled in the arena of manly prowess. His father loved him with all his heart.” Suddenly he fell ill ” so Hasan related on the authority of the minister. All the skilled physicians proved powerless to cure him. Finally he died, and was buried in that tent. Once every year people come out to visit him. First an immense army circles the tent, and they say: “O prince, if this circumstance that has befallen thee had come about in war, we would have all sacrificed our lives for thee, to ransom thee back. But the circumstance that has befallen thee is at the hand of one against whom we cannot fight, whom we cannot challenge.” This they say, and then return.
The philosophers and the scholars come forward, and say: “This circumstance has been brought about by one against whom we cannot do anything by means of learning and philosophy, science and sophistry. For all the philosophers of the world are powerless before him, and all the learned are ignorant beside his knowledge. Otherwise we would have contrived devices and spoken words which all in creation could not have withstood.” This they say, and then return.
Next the venerable elders advance, and say: “O prince, if this circumstance that has befallen thee could have been set right by the intercession of elders, we would all have interceded with humble petitions, would not have abandoned thee there. But this circumstance has been brought upon thee by one against whom no mortal man’s intercession profits anything.” This they say, and depart.
Now the moon-fair maidens with their plates of gold and precious stones advance, circle the tent, and say: “Son of Caesar, if this circumstance that has befallen thee could have been set right by wealth and beauty, we would have sacrificed ourselves and given great moneys, and would not have abandoned thee. But this circumstance has been brought upon thee by one on whom wealth and beauty have no effect.” This they say, and return.
Then Caesar himself with his chief minister enters the tent, and says: “O eye and lamp of thy father, O fruit of the heart of thy father, O dearest beloved of thy father, what is in thy father’s hand to perform? Thy father brought a mighty army, he brought philosophers and scholars, intercessors and advisers, beautiful maidens, wealth and all manner of luxuries, and he came himself. If all this could have been of avail, thy father would have done all that lay in his power. But this circumstance has been brought about by one before whom thy father, with all this apparatus, this army and retinue, this luxury and wealth and treasure, is power-less. Peace be upon you, till next year!” This he says, and returns.
These words of the minister so affected Hasan that he was beside himself. At once he made arrangements to return. Coming to Basra, he took an oath never to laugh again in this world, till his ultimate destiny became clear to him. He flung himself into all manner of devotions and austerities, such that no man in his time could exceed that discipline.
Hasan of Basra and Abu Amr
It is related that Abu Amr, the leading authority on the reading of the Koran, was teaching the Koran one daywhen suddenly a handsome boy arrived to join hisclass. Abu Amr gazed at the child improperly, and immediately he forgot the whole Koran, from the p of “Praise” to the n of “jinn and men”. A fire possessed him, and he lost all self-control. In this state he called on Hasan of Basra and described to him his predicament. “Master,” he wept bitterly, “such is the situation. I have forgotten the whole Koran.” Hasan was most distressed to hear of his situation. “Now is the season of the pilgrimage,” he said. “Go and perform the pilgrimage. When you have done that, repair to the mosque of Khaif. There you will see an old man seated in the prayer-niche. Do not spoil his time, but let him be until he is disengaged. Then ask him to say a prayer for you.”
Abu Amr acted accordingly. Seated in a corner of the mosque, he observed a venerable elder and about him a circle of people seated. Some time passed, then a man entered, clad in spotless white robes. The people made way before him, greeted him, and conversed together. When the hour of prayer arrived, the man departed and the people departed with him, so that the elder remained alone. Abu Amr then approached and saluted him. “In Allah’s name, help me,” he cried. And he described his predicament. The elder, much concerned, raised his eyes to heaven.“He had not yet lowered his head,” Abu Amr recounted, “when the Koran came back to me. I felldown before him for joy.”
“Who recommended me to you?” the elder asked.“Hasan of Basra,” Abu Amr replied.“Anyone who has an imam like Hasan,” the old man commented, “what need has he of another? Well,Hasan has exposed me. Now I will expose him. He rent my veil, and I will rend his as well. That man,” he went on, “in the white robes who entered after the afternoon prayer and left before the rest, and the others did him reverence that man was Hasan. Every day he prays the afternoon prayer in Basra and then comes here, converses with me, and returns to Basra for the evening prayer. Anyone who has an imam like Hasan, why should he ask me for a prayer?”
Hasan of Basra and the Fire-Worshipper
Hasan had a neighbour named Simeon who was a fire-worshipper. Simeon fell ill and was at death’s door. Friends begged Hasan to visit him; he called, to find him in bed, blackened with fire and smoke. “Fear God,” Hasan counselled him. “You have passed all your life amid fire and smoke. Accept Islam, that God may have mercy on you.” “Three things hold me back from becoming a Muslim,” the fire-worshipper replied. “The first is, that you speak ill of the world, yet night and day you pur-sue worldly things. Secondly, you say that death is a fact to be faced, yet you make no preparation for death. In the third place, you say that God’s face shall be seen, yet today you do everything contrary to His good pleasure.”
“This is the token of those who know truly” Hasan commented. “Now if believers act as you describe, what have you to say? They acknowledge the unity of God, whereas you have spent your life in the worship of fire. You who have worshipped fire for seventy years, and I who have never worshipped fire we are both carried off to Hell. Hell will consume you and me. God will pay no regard to you, but if God so wills, the fire will not dare so much as to burn one hair of my body. For fire is a thing created by God and the creature is subject to the Creator’s command. Come now, you who have worshipped fire for seventy years; let us both put our hands into the fire, then you will see with your own eyes the impotence of fire and the omnipotence of God.”
So saying, Hasan thrust his hand into the fire and held it there. Not a particle of his body was affected or burnt. When Simeon saw this he was amazed. The dawn of true knowledge began to break. “For seventy years I have worshipped fire,” he groaned. “Now only a breath or two remains to me. What am I to do?” “Become a Muslim,” was Hasan’s reply.
“If you give it me in writing that God will not punish me,” said Simeon, “then I will believe. But until I have it in writing, I will not believe.” Hasan wrote it down. “Now order just witnesses of Basra to append their testimony.” The witnesses endorsed the document. Then Simeon wept many tears and proclaimed the faith. He spoke his last testament to Hasan. “When I die, bid them wash me, then commit me to the earth with your own hands, and place this document in my hand. This document will be my proof.”
Having charged Hasan thus, he spoke the attestation of faith and died. They washed his body, said the prayer over him, and buried him with the document in his hand. That night Hasan went to sleep pondering what he had done. “How could I help a drowning man, seeing that I am drowning myself? Since I have no control over my own fate, why did I venture to prescribe how God should act?”
With this thought he fell asleep. He saw Simeon in a dream glowing like a candle, on his head a crown, robed in fine raiment, he was walking with a smile in the garden of Paradise. “How are you, Simeon?” Hasan enquired. “Why do you ask? You can see for yourself,” Simeon answered. “God Almighty of His bounty brought me nigh His presence and graciously showed me His face.The favours He showered upon me surpass all descrip-tion. You have honoured your guarantee, so take your document. I have no further need of it.”
When Hasan awoke, he saw that parchment in his hand.“Lord God,” he cried, “I know well that what Thou doest is without cause, save of Thy bounty. Who shall suffer loss at Thy door? Thou grantest a fire-worshipper of seventy years to come into Thy near presence because of a single utterance. How then wilt Thou exclude a believer of seventy years?”
Fearlessness of Hasan Basri (R)
Hasan Basri (R.A) was as much distinguished for his moral courage and un-flattered pursuit of justice as he was in the field of scholarship and delivering public speeches. He opposed the then caliph, Yazid ibn Abdul Mãlik, in his presence when once someone asked Hasan Basri (R) to express his opinion about the two rebellions, Yazid ibn al-Muhallab and Ibn al-Ash’ath. Hasan Basri (R) replied, “Don’t be a party to either group”. A Syrian, springing upon his feet, repeated the question. “And not even to the Amir-ul-Mu’meneen?” Hasan Basri (R) replied angrily “Yes, not even to the Amir-ul-Mu’meneen .”
In his childhood Hazrat Hasan was fortunate enough to drink the water that was left in the cup by the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.W). When the Prophet knew of it he remarked, “This child will receive from the Lord an amount of knowledge equivalent to the water drunk.” When they brought Hazrat Hasan, as a newly born child before Hazrat Umer (R.A.U), he said, “Call him by the name of Hasan, as he is beautiful. He was initiated by Hazrat Ali (R.A.U).
A very interesting incident records the conversion of Hazrat Hasan. Before turning a Sufi, he was a jeweler. One day he proceeded to Rum (in Asia Minor) on business, and put up with the minister of the Sultan. The minister told him, “You well have to wait for some days as we are present accompanying the Sultan on an important private errand. If you so desire, you may accompany us.” Hazrat Hasan went in company of the Sultan, the minister, and others. They entered a vast wideness. In the middle of it, they saw a magnificent tent fixed up, which was guarded by army officers. The officers entered the tent and then came out. Then they circumambulated it and went away. Some very old respectable citizens who, like the officers, entered the tent, uttered some words, came out, circumambulated the tent and then went away followed them. Then came some medical experts who did likewise. Then came two hundred extremely beautiful young maidens, who entered the tent and acted as the previous ones had done. Lastly came the Sultan accompanied by his ministers, he too entered the tent, uttered some words, then circumambulated the tent and went away. Surprised at the incident Hazrat Hasan inquired of the minister what all that meant. The minister replied, “A very beautiful and brave son of Sultan died and his corpse is interred in a tomb on which stands that tent. Every year all of us visit it, and perform the ceremonies like the ones you saw today. First, the members of the army approach the tomb and addressing the Price say, “If by our arms, we could save thee from the God of Death, we would have sacrificed our life for the fulfillment of that aim, but we are helpless.” Then come the learned citizens who say, “If our knowledge and experience could save thee we should have surely averted thy death, but before Death we are helpless.” Then come the medical men, who say, “If our medicines could save thee, we would have left no stone unturned to save thee from the clutches of Death, but we were powerless before it.” Then come the beautiful maidens who say, “If our beauty and accomplishments could save you, we would have sacrificed our all to save you but we were powerless before Death.” Then enters the Sultan is turn accompanied by the ministers and says, “My son! We tried our best with our army, doctors, and other means to save thee, but no charge was possible in Divine dispensation. We bid you good-buy now and shall visit you nest year at this time.” This incident made such and indelible mark on the mind of Hazrat Hasan that he decided to pass the rest of his life in prayers and worship to face that inevitable end. He returned to Basra, gave up his business, took to solitude, and vowed never to smile in his whole life. Moreover, for seventy years he passed every moment in prayers. The cause that made Hazrat Hasan most famous was that in his life he felt only one necessity—God. In his anxiety to meet God, he took concern of nothing besides Him.
When Hazrat Ra’bia Basri would not come to attend the sermons of Hazrat Hasan, he would deliver no discourse that day. People in the audience asked him why he did that. He replied, “The syrup that is held by the vessels mean for the elephants cannot be contained in the vessels meant for the ants.”
He was asked, “What is Islam, and who is a Muslim?” He replied, “Islam is in the books and Muslim is in the tomb.”
Hazrat Hasan said that four incidents gave him the greatest lessons of life:
- Once I pulled off the garments of and eunuch in mere fun. He said, “Kindly return them to me, for nobody knows my real state.” Immediately the thought crossed my mind: What shall be our condition when on the Day of Judgment, we shall be made naked and all our sins lay bare?
- A drunkard was struggling in mire. I told him to beware lest he should sink in it. He replied, “Hasan, if I fall I alone shall suffer. However, you take care of yourself. For if you fall, all your congregation will stand condemned.”
- A child was one day carrying a lighted lamp. I asked him wherefrom he had brought the light. The child extinguished the light and said, “Tell me, where is the light gone?”
- A beautiful young woman was running one day along the street with her head uncovered, and was complaining about her husband in harsh terms. I told her to cover her head and face. She said, “The love of my husband has made me lose my senses so much that I am not conscious of my body and of my surroundings. If you had not told me that my head and face were uncovered, I would have never known it. I would have walked like that in the street. However, it is a matter of surprise, O Hasan, that you pretend to be a lover of God, and yet are conscious of everything that crosses your way and retain your senses. What is this love of God like in you?”
Sayings of Hazrat Hassan Basri:
- Depart not from your religious practice out of fear of the antagonists who condemn you. They condemned even the Lord.
- The end of the world and the beginning of the life to come is in the tomb.
- Evil company degenerates the seeker.
- Accumulating wealth is worse than drinking wine that is prohibited by the scriptures.
- He who takes to solitude finds safety in it. Moreover, he who disowns allegiance to his carnal soul is set free.
- He is wise who digs out the foundation of the world and builds instead the castle of otherworldliness (eternity) on it.
- He, who gives up his spiritual practices to play the philanthropy in the world, trying to mould its evil ways, is ruined.
- The Lord humiliates whosoever loves silver and gold and he who considers himself the leader of the c9mmunity is misled and belittled.
- The Lord in the Qur’an says, “I shall forgive thee all thy transgressions if ye shall cast thy glances on none besides Me.”
- It was asked, “How are you?” Hazrat Hasan replied, “I am like a person in the midst of the sea whose boat is shattered and he is floating in the waters.”
Qadri Hazrat Khwaja IMAM Hassan Al-Basri (R.A)
Imam Al-Hassan ubn Yasar Abu Saed al-Basri, the great faqih of Basra, leader of the ascetics and scholars of his time. He became known for his strict and encompassing embodiment of the Sunnah; famous for his immense knowledge, asceticism, fearless remonstration of the authorities and his power of attraction both in discourse and appearance. One of the early formal Sufis in both the general and the literal sense, he wore all his life a cloak of wool (Suf).
Both his parents were freed slaves, yet his lineage and childhood could not possibly have been more exalted. He was raised in the household of Zayd ibn Thabit r.a, who was not only one of the seven sahaba fuqaha (jurists), but also the one to whom the compilation of the Quran was entrusted. He was nursed by Umm Salamah r.a, the wisdom filled wife of Rasulullah (swm), who played a crucial role in his upbringing and moral instruction. At his birth, Sayyidna Umar r.a blessed him, saying “Oh Allah! Make him wise in religion and beloved to the people”. Furthermore, he became the murid of Sayyidina Ali r.a at the age of fourteen. A childhood surrounded by such titanic figures unsurprisingly left an indelible impression upon the great Imam. He once remarked, “By Allah! I have met seventy veterans of Badar. Most of their garments were wool. Had you seen them you would have said they were insane. Had they seen the best among you they would have said, these people will have no part in the Hereafter;’ and had they seen the worst among you they would have said, ‘these people do not believe in the Day of Reckoning.’”
In his uncompromising search for Allah, he became one of the greatest saints of his era and was named ‘Bab al Wilayah’ (the gateway of sainthood). He was a hadith narrator of the highest grading, and over 1400 hadith in the nine books have chains running through him. He was also one of the authorized fuqaha among the taabain, having learnt in the household of Zayd bin Thabit, as well as others. His links to Sayyidna Ali r.a , are evident in all his fields of mastery; hadith, fiqh and tasawwuf. Some hadith masters assert that he related hadith directly from Hazrat Ali r.a ; according to Abd ar-Razzaq r.a , the great Khalifah once accepted his recommendation in a judicial case. Finally, of course, it is the consensus judgment of the great Imams of the Way that Sayyidna Ali r.a transmitted the knowledge of tasawwuf to him with a single look.
He lived most of his life in Basra (Southern Iraq), which was at that time the cultural and intellectual center of the Islamic world. It was also here that many theological and metaphysical controversies raged. It was al-Hassan r.a , a staunch defender of Orthodox Islam, who first mounted a systematic and comprehensive rebuttal of Persian and Greek beliefs. This defense was later continued by such men as the Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Hanbal r,.a, and al-Ashari r.a. In fact, his interpretation of Allah attributes from key components of the aqidah (doctrinal belief) of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jamaah.
He developed a wide circle of disciples and students and became renowned as a brilliant orator. Arab scholars have preserved many of his speeches, letters and aphorisms. He made, during his time, the acquaintance of many Sufi saints. To some he was a guide, to others a fellow traveler, and to very few, a pupil. Perhaps the most revered of these was the legendary Hazrat Bibi Rabia of Basra, a female saint whose sanctity and love for God reached mythical dimension.
He was famed and respected not only for his knowledge and wisdom, but also for his tremendous humility and piety. It is reported that for forty years he did not laugh, so completely was he consumed by fear of Allah. Once a man mockingly asked him whether he (al-Hassan) was better or worse than a dog. He replied, “If I am saved from Allah’s punishment, then I am better than the dog; but if His punishment overtakes me, then the dog is thousand times better.” When he saw a dog, he used to supplicate,” Oh Allah! Forgive me through the wasilah of this dog.”
- We laugh, and yet, who knows? Perhaps Allah has looked at some of our works and said, “I will not accept anything from you. Woe to you, son of Adam! Can you fight Allah? Whoever disobeys Allah is fighting Him”.
- Two thoughts roam over the soul, one from Allah and one from the enemy. Allah shows mercy on a servant who settles at the thought that comes from Him.
- Whoever knows his Lord loves Him, and whoever knows the world does without it.
- Humility is to consider everyone nobler than you.
- The world is a vehicle for you. If you drive it, it will deliver you to your destination. If it drives you, it will lead you to destruction.
Once the great Imam visited his dying neighbor, a Magian Fire worshipper named Simeon. Al-Hassan r.a approached his deathbed and advised him to become Muslim, but the man replied that there were three things stopping him.
“Firstly,” he said, “Muslims speak ill of the world, but day and night pursue worldly things. Secondly, you say death is inevitable, but yet make no preparations for it. Thirdly, you say that God’s face shall be seen, but you do everything contrary to his good pleasure.”
Al-Hassan r.a conceded the fact, but replied that at least Muslims worship God, and not fire. “Fire is but a servant of Allah,” said the saint.” and if Allah wishes it will not burn one particle of my body.” So saying, he thrust his hand directly into the burning flame. There it remained, unaffected by the heat, and true knowledge dawned upon Simeon. He converted to Islam, and later died. Al-Hassan r.a saw him in dream walking through the gardens of Paradise wearing a cloak of light. “Lord God!” he cried, “Such is your mercy! If you can forgive an unbeliever of seventy years because of one utterance, how will you exclude a believer?”
Death of Hasan Basri (R.A): The immaculate sincerity, outstanding piety and moral and spiritual excellence of Hasan Basri (R) had earned the affection of everyone in Basra. When he passed away in 110 (AH), on 5th Rajjab on a Friday at the age of 89, the entire population of Basra attended his funeral which took place on Friday, so that for the first time in the history of Basra the Juma Masjid of the city remained empty at the hour of the Asr