By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 10 June 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town


While we are discussing this beautiful Dua of Makarimul Akhlaq, the highest traits of morality, we celebrate the birthday of an esteemed Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), the manifestation of perfect moral character, the first grandson of Rasulullah (SAWAS). On 15 Ramadaan in the third year after Hijra, Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) was born.

We see quite often that grandchildren seem to be more beloved than children. This was the case with Rasulullah (SAWAS). History has recorded that when our mother, and the mother of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Lady Fatima (s.a) gave birth to this baby, and informed the father, Ali ibn abi Talib (a.s), that Almighty Allah (SWT) has rewarded them with a baby boy, Imam Ali (a.s) took hold of this baby. Lady Fatima (s.a) asked Imam Ali (a.s) to name this baby, as he is the father.

Imam Ali (a.s) rather took this baby to Rasulullah (SAWAS), who looked at this baby and said that this baby (being the first grandson) is the gift of his Lord (SWT) to him. Imam Ali (a.s) then asked Rasulullah (SAWAS) to name this baby, but Rasulullah (SAWAS) said that it is not appropriate for him to name this baby, as Almighty Allah (SWT) has already decided the name. This baby’s name is decided in the Heavens, not the earth!

This is when Angel Jibril (Gabriel) descended with the Divinely chosen name of Hassan, saying this baby is the son of Ali (a.s), and relationship of Ali (a.s) to Rasulullah (SAWAS) is similar to that of Nabi Harun (a.s) to Nabi Musa (a.s).

The first son of Harun (a.s) had the name of Shubbar, and so Angel Gibril said that this baby should also be named Shubbar. But Rasulullah (SAWAS) said that this is a Hebrew name, and asked Angel Gibril what will be the Arabic equivalent, which he replied is Hassan! This is how the first grandson of Rasulullah (SAWAS) earned this name of Hassan (a.s).


Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) loved this baby dearly, and indeed together with his other brother, Imam Husayn (a.s). He displayed great affection to them, and he carried each of them on his two shoulders, and proudly walked like this through the streets of Madina.

Somebody approached Rasulullah (SAWAS) in this state and said what a beautiful ride these children have! Rasulullah (SAWAS) replied by saying the contrary, i.e. “What great riders I have!

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) would prolong his Sajdah (prostration) while leading the prayers in congregation in the mosque (with many Sahabah in the prayer congregation), when this baby Imam Hassan (a.s) would jump on his back while in this state of Sajdah. But instead of shaking him off irritably because of supposed disturbance to Salaah, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) prolongs the Sajdah!

Many people loosely understand this prolonging of Sajdah of Rasulullah (SAWAS) to mean that it is due to his excessive love of children, and out of this level of love for children he decides to prolong the Sajdah. This is a completely inaccurate understanding, because Sajdah is only and ONLY for Almighty Allah (SWT). So how is it possible that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) is prolonging his Sajdah for Hassan (a.s)?

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) did not prolong his Sajdah out of his love for children and in this case his grandson. NO! It was the Divine command from Almighty Allah (SWT) to Rasulullah (SAWAS) that if Hassan (a.s) comes on your back during Sajdah, then you should prolong your Sajdah for the pleasure Almighty Allah (SWT).

This is the status of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) and Sayed as-Shuhada Imam Husayn (a.s) for whom our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) said that they are the leaders of the youth of Paradise!


Coming back to the introductory point, the manifestation of perfect Akhlaq is indeed Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s). Let us refer to an incident in history to illustrate this point. There was a poor, needy person who came to Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s), but this poor person was also not any ordinary beggar. He was smart and had inner wisdom! He came in front of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) and instead of asking Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) directly, he decided to say some poetry.

His poetry was as follows:

“Nothing is left in my hands for which I can sell to get even one Dirham to fill my stomach. For you Imam Hassan (a.s), it is sufficient to look at my face to know how poor and how needy I am. Accept this dignity, which is all I have. I have not sold this dignity of mine so far, except for now that I have met you, I see a buyer. So please buy my dignity Imam Hassan (a.s).”

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) rewarded this beggar with whatever was in his house that night! According to some narrations, Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) gave him 15,000 Dirhams. And thereafter, in the same trend, Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) also said some poetry.

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) poetry was as follows:

“You were too quick! You did not give us chance to do what we were supposed to do to you. You only got a taste from the ocean of generosity of us Ahlul Bait (a.s). A little dampness from the rain of mercy of us Ahlul Bait (a.s)! You received something small from us because you did not give us enough time, and therefore only saw a glimpse of our generosity. Take this in the manner that you did not sell your dignity, and we did not buy it!”

This is Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s)!


Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) has a female slave, and one day she brought some flowers to him. Imam Hassan (a.s) accepted these flowers and told her that she is now free. The people who were nearby Imam Hassan (a.s) were amazed, asking him that for one bouquet of flowers he has automatically freed a slave?

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) referred to the Quranic command to do better to a person, when that person does good to you! However, the Akhlaq of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) was on such a sublime level even to those people who were not kind to him.

We need to reflect on the complete picture of who Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) really was.

There was a little pet at the house of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) to which he displayed such great love. One day Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) saw that pet laying to the side and crying in pain.

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) then asked from his servants what the reason for this crying is. One of the servants replied by saying that he broke the leg of the pet, for no reason other than to hurt the pet.

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) responded by freeing this servant because he was hurt at this incident. This is the character of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s)!


Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) had a Jewish family as neighbors. There was a leak in one of their walls, caused by dampness from the sewers, to which Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) did not complain even though his house was impacted by this. Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) only addressed the matter one day when this Jewish neighbor visited him.

This Jewish neighbor got very upset that Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) did not highlight the problem earlier and felt deeply regretful for the inconvenience he had caused.

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) responded by saying that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) commanded us to be kind to neighbors. This Jewish neighbor then rushed back home to bring his wife and children before Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) and he said that if your grandfather Muhammad (SAWAS) had taught you to show this level of respect to neighbors then all of us proclaim the Shahada, and testify that there is no God but Almighty Allah (SWT) and Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS) is His most beloved and seal of the Prophethood.


Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) went through the most difficult times when his own supporters and companions deserted him. One day Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) was in the battlefield against Mu’awiya and his soldiers were running away instead of resisting and standing steadfast.

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) pulled them aside and reminded them about Akhirah (the after-life) as they were selling their souls for Dunya (worldly pursuits). Unfortunately, these so-called supporters of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) confirmed their lust for Dunya.

Imagine the feeling of loneliness that Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) felt. Imagine the oppression inflicted on Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s). However, despite these tribulations Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) did not become a bitter person filled with enmity. This is the unique quality of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s), that his Akhlaq, perseverance, respect, generosity did not falter due to these difficulties.

Who can be more of an enemy to Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) than Mu’awiya? One day Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) was compelled to enter the court of Mu’awiya. Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) entered a packed courtroom and he was compelled to sit in a very awkward place, right under the pulpit of Mu’awiya.

Mu’awiya started speaking and abused firstly Ummul Mu’mineen Aisha by saying that he cannot understand why she does not believe he is capable and deserving of the Khilafah. Mu’awiya then pointed to Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) and said his father Imam Ali (a.s) always fought with him and left this world having never accepted him.

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) responded by making his point to Mu’awiya that the reason why Ummul Mu’mineen Aisha does not endorse Mu’awiya as the legitimate ruler is because he, Imam Hassan (a.s) is sitting under the pulpit!


Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) was humility personified, as discussed in the prior lecture. One day he was walking the streets and found real poor street dwellers eating a few scraps of bread. They saw Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) and asked him to join. Now, where is Imam Hassan (a.s) and where are these street dwellers?

However, Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) joined them, saying that Almighty Allah (SWT) does not like arrogant people! And so he sat on the floor along with them and started eating with them! He wanted to feel it with them, and also give them the feeling of dignity, that they are no different. Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) then invited all of these poor people to his house, as he noticed the food was insufficient for them!

Let us ponder on this approach of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s)! He did not throw them a food parcel and tell them to go back to the township!! If you want to understand charity exemplified by Ahlul Bait (a.s) you will see that it is very different to the way charity is practiced today!!


This annual tradition that we maintain was established 25 years ago in the spirit of the Akhlaq of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s), coming together and sharing together. Not sending a food parcel to the township and keeping away, and thinking that one has gained rewards of charity! The spirit of charity in Ahlul Bait (a.s) is to share, and not simply give and keep away!

Now that our mosque construction is almost complete, Insha’Allah we will re-stablish the grand scale of this event of sharing the blessings of Ramadaan in the spirit of Ahlul Bait (a.s) on the birth of Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s).

This Iftar is in the spirit of being in the service of people and destroying our prejudices of skin colour and social status. This Iftar brings everyone together at one table, and a rich person will be next to a poor person, breaking their fast together and realizing that they are all at the table of Kareem of Ahlul Bait (a.s), namely Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s)!


This is his title – Kareem of Ahlul Bait (a.s), which means generous and honorable ie. someone who truly upholds the spirit of the Divine honor of us all being honored children of Nabi Adam (a.s).

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) is in I’tikaaf (spiritual retreat) in the Haram of Makkah in the month of Ramadaan, and in the status of completing Tawaaf (circumambulate around the Holy Ka’bah). In this state, Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) is stopped by a desperate man in need of help, who has debt for which the lender is demanding urgent repayment.

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) says to this needy man that he is seriously unable to help at that point. This needy man replies by saying that since you are the grandson of Rasulullah (SAWAS) you have a great deal of dignity and respect in society, so can you please help me by asking the lender to not be so demanding on me for repayment, and to withdraw his threats.

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) broke his Tawaaf and Niyyah of I’tikaaf, and left Masjidul Haram of Makkah. People were completely perplexed at what on earth is Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) doing by abandoning his I’tikaaf!

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) responded that the Prophetic command of his grandfather Rasulullah (SAWAS) is that attending to a person in need is priority over I’tikaaf and other ritual forms of spirituality. Humility and Akhlaq to this degree! This is why Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) is Kareem of Ahlul Bait (a.s)!

O Ahlul Bait of Rasulullah (SAWAS), your nature is generosity! Your nature is humility! Let this greatest of moral character that manifested in our Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (a.s) reflect at least in a small form in our character, attitude, behavior, interaction with the people, and manner of treating fellow human beings and understanding the value of humanity!