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Published on 25th November, 2002

Al-Hassanís Succession to the Caliphate 

An excerpt from Kitab al-Irshad.

Martyrdom of Imam Ali (a.s.) in Masjid Kufa. Photo credit - A.G.Karim

When the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, died, al-Hassan addressed the people. He reminded them of his right to authority. The followers of his father pledged allegiance to him in terms of fighting those he fought and making peace with those with whom he made peace (peace be on them both).

[Abu Mikhnaf Lut b. Yahya al-Azdi reported: Ash'ath b. Suwar told me on the authority of Abu Ishaq al-Sabi'i and others, who said:]

Al-Hassan b. 'Ali, peace be on them, addressed the people towards dawn on the night in which the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, died. He praised and glorified God and blessed the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family. Then he said:

"There has died tonight a man who was the first among the early (Muslims) in (good ) actions. Nor did any later (Muslims) attain his level in (good) actions. He used to fight alongside the Apostle of God, may Allah bless him and his family, and protect him with his own life.  The Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, used to send him forward with his standard while Gabriel supported him on his right and Michael supported him on his left. He would not return until God brought victory through his hands. He, peace be on him, has died on this the night on which Jesus, son on Mary, was taken up (to Heaven), on which Joshua, son of Nun, the testamentary trustee (wasi) of Moses, peace be on him, died. He has left behind him no gold and silver except seven hundred dirhams of his stipend ('ata), with which he was intending to buy a servant for his family."  

Then tears overcame him and he wept and the people wept with him.

Then he continued:  

"I am the grandson of the one who brought the good news. I am the grandson of the Warner. I am the grandson of the man who, with God's permission, summoned (the people) to God. I am the grand son of the light which shone out (to the world). I am of the House, from whom God has sent away abomination and whom God has purified thoroughly. I am of the House for whom God has required love in his Book, when God, the Most High, said:

"Say, I do not ask you for any reward except love for (my) kin. 
Whoever earns good, will increase good for himself." 

The good is love for us, the House."  

Then he sat down.

'Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas, may God have mercy on him, arose in front of him and said:

"People, this is the son of your Prophet, the testamentary trustee (wasi) of your Imam. So pledge allegiance to him"

The people answered him saying: 

"No one is more loved by us nor has anyone more right to succession (khilafa)."

They rushed forward to pledge allegiance to him as successor. That was on Friday on the *21st Ramadhan in the year 40 A.H. (660). Then he assigned the posts of the tax collectors and he gave instructions to the governors of the provinces. He sent 'Abd Allah b. al-Abbas to Basra. He took charge of all matters.


Shaykh al-Mufid (1981) Kitab al-Irshad - The Book of Guidance into the Lives of the Twelve Imams, The Muhammadi Trust, London, U.K, p 280-281.

*In the book Kitab al-Irshad, there is what appears to be a misprint where the 21st Ramadhan reads as the 11th Ramadhan, and Allah knows best.

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