Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Hasan Basri (رضی اللہ)

Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Al-Hasan Ibn Yasir Abu Saeed al-Basri (رضی اللہ), the great faqih of Basra. Leader of the wellknown 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 Hazrat Zayd Ibn Sabit (رضی اللہ), 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 Bibi Umm-E-Salamah (رضی اللہ), the wisdom filled wife of Huzoor Nabi Kareem (ﷺ), who played a crucial role in his upbringing and moral instruction. At his birth, Hazrat Syedina Umar (رضی اللہ) blessed him, saying “Oh Allah (جل جلاله)! Make him wise in religion and beloved to the people”. Furthermore, he became the murid of Hazrat Syedina Hazrat Imam Ali (عليه السلام) 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 (جل جلاله)! 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 (جل جلاله), he became one of the greatest saints of his era and was named “Bab Ul 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 Hazrat Zayd Bin Sabit (رضی اللہ) as well as others. His links to Hazrat Syedina Imam Ali (عليه السلام) are evident in all his fields of mastery, hadith, fiqh and tasawwuf. Some hadith masters assert that he related hadith directly from Hazrat Syedina Imam Ali (عليه السلام) according to Hazrat Abdul Razzaq (رضی اللہ), 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 Hazrat Syedina Imam Ali (عليه السلام) transmitted the knowledge of tasawwuf to him with a single look.

Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Hasan Basri (رضی اللہ) 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 Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Hasan Basri (رضی اللہ) 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 Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ), Hazrat Imam Ahmed Hanbal (رضی اللہ), and Hazrat al-Ashari (رضی اللہ). In fact, his interpretation of Allah (جل جلاله) attributes from key components of the aqidah (doctrinal belief) of the Ehl al-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 Bibi Rabia (رضی اللہ) of Basra, a female saint whose sanctity and love for Allah (جل جلاله) reached mythical dimension.

Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Hasan Basri (رضی اللہ) 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 (جل جلاله), once a man mockingly asked him whether he (al-Hasan) 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.”

1. Two thoughts roam over the soul, one from Allah (جل جلاله) and one from the enemy. Allah shows mercy on a servant who settles at the thought that comes from Him.

2. Whoever knows his Lord loves Him, and whoever knows the world does without it.

3. Humility is to consider everyone nobler than you.

4. 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 (رضی اللہ) visited his dying neighbor, a Magian Fire worshipper named Simeon. Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Hasan Basri (رضی اللہ) 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." Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Hasan Basri (رضی اللہ) conceded the fact, but replied that at least Muslims worship God, and not fire.

"Fire is but a servant of Allah (جل جلاله)," said the saint." and if Allah (جل جلاله) 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. Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Hasan Basri (رضی اللہ) 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?"

Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Hasan Basri (رضی اللہ) attained unity with the Beloved in Basra in 110 AH, leaving five Khalifa, one of whom was Hazrat Khuwaja Abdul Wahid Ibn Zayd (رضی اللہ).