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  • 2/23/2008

The Peace Treaty between Imam Hassan (as) and Mu’awiyah

Imam Hassan

Imam Hassan assumed the responsibility of the Imamate after the martyrdom of his father, and the people of Kufa gave him the pledge of fealty.  He addressed a large congregation of believers in the mosque and reminded them of the stand his father had taken in upholding the Truth, and that he would not change his course of conduct in any other way.  He also reminded them of the deceitful way in which they were deprived of their victory over Mu’awiyah, the defiant governor of Syria.  He strongly urged them to search their hearts if they wished to achieve a stable and pious way of life under his rule.

Mu’awiyah continued his unrelenting efforts to weaken the position of Imam Hassan from the seat of Imamate.  The Mu’awiyah wrote him a letter inviting him for peace, and to join him in furthering the cause of a unified Islamic State.

  This called for Mu’awiyah to accept Imam Hassan as the legitimate successor of the imamate. Mu’awiyah had previously declined this in a similar communication from Imam Ali, and had carried arms against him.

 Imam Hassan called up his forces from his pledged supporters.  However, the army he could gather consisted of people with disparate motives.  Although there were some true believers in the army, many others had joined in for the sake of war spoils and with divided loyalties.  Thus, even some Kharjites had joined the army, not for the love of the Imam but, in the event of victory, for their own design of eliminating Mu’awiyah from the Caliphate.  There were others who had come, not because they believed in fighting for the cause of the Truth but because their tribal leaders had urged them to do so.

Imam Hassan

However, just before the impending war, Mu’awiyah was able to break the strength of the Imams army by paying off some and diverting others away from Imam, and spread the manors that the Imam had agreed to stop the war to save bloodshed of Muslims on either side.  These rumors had their desired effect.  The Kharjis saw a failure of their own goal through the forces of the Imam, so they turned against him.  He received a bad slash on his thigh, and was quickly taken away by his supporters for care and tending.  His army dispersed to escape a general massacre by Mu’awiyah forces.

The leaders of several tribes wrote to Mu’awiyah for his clemency towards them in exchange for surrendering Imam Hassan to him.  Mu’awiyah sent all these letter to the Imam and offered him safe passage to Madinah under all the conditions he chose for himself.  To this end, he sent Imam Hassan a blank page with his stamps in the bottom of the page.  Then Mu’awiyah wrote, "In this page, whose bottom I have stamped, stipulate whatever you want, for that will be for you."

The Imam, in his desire to avoid bloodshed and to uphold the unity of the Muslim Ummah, saw the advantage in accepting Mu’awiyah offer.

  He was well aware of the ploy of Mu’awiyah during the days of his father, and he had seen his tactics during the Battle of Siffeen.  He had seen Mu’awiyah’s devious means during his confrontation with him, and had seen the rift and loss of life of the Muslims on both sides.  The apparent truce was a safe way out from the bitter confrontation.  The Imam accepted peace in order to preserve the integrity of Islam.  He wrote on the page provided by Mu’awiyah all the conditions that suited him, his family and towards his role as the Imam of believers.  It is unfortunate that this page is not valuable to us.  However, the conditions laid down by the Imam have been mentioned in several authoritative works of history and biography.



1. "Handing over authority to Mu’awiyah provided that he should act according to the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Apostle, and the Sira (the conduct of life) of the righteous Caliphs."

2. "The authority should be for al-Hassan after him (Mu’awiyah).If an accident happened to him (al-Hassan), the authority should be for his brother al-Hussein.  Mu’awiyah has no right to entrust anybody (else) to it."

3. "He (Mu’awiyah) should abandon cursing the Commander of the faithful (Ali) as well as the practice of using personal prayer (Qunut) against him (al-Hassan) in Salat (the prescribed ritual prayers), and that he should not mention the name of All except in good manner."

4.  "He (Mu’awiyah) should keep excluded what is 'in the treasury of Kufa, that is five million (dirhwns).  So, handing over the authority does not include it (the sum of this money).  Mu’awiyah should send al-Hassan one million dirham per year, he should prefer banu Hashirn in giving and gifts to banu Abd ash-Shams, and should divide one million (dirham) among the sons of those who were killed helping the Commander of the faithful (Ali) in the Battle of the Camel and the Battle of Siffeen and should spend that from the taxes of Dar Abjard."

5. "The people should be safe wherever they are in the earth of Allah; in Sham (Syria), Iraq, Hijaz, Yemen, etc.  He should give security to the black and the red alike.  He (Mu’awiyah) should bear their slips, should not follow some of them for the bygone, nor should he punish the Iraqis foe hostility."

"The companions of Ali should be given security wherever they are; that he (Mu’awiyah) should not expose them to any evil; that they should be given security over their lives, their properties and women and children; and that he should give them their rights.

"He (Mu’awiyah) should not seek a calamity secretly or openly for al-¬Hassan or his brother al-Hussein, nor for anyone from the progeny of Ahle Bait of the Apostle of Allah, nor should he frighten them in any country or territories." 

  Many historians have related that the text of this Peace Treaty was conveyed to Mu’awiyah who read this in his court, and made a covenant with Allah to fulfil the conditions stipulated by Imam Hassan.  It was not long after this event that Mu’awiyah went back from his part of the covenant with Allah and put the Peace Treaty aside.  He took pleasure in demeaning the Imam just as he had been doing to his father.  The Imam decided to leave Kufa and return to Madinah.

Marwan bin al-Hakam, who was the personal secretary to the third caliph, and had fought against Imam Ali during the Battle of Camel, was now the governor of Madinah under Mu’awiyah.  He took personal pleasure in discharging Mu’awiyah’s wishes to slur the reputation of the Imam and his father.  Needless to say that the Imam's life in Madinah after the treaty of peace was not peaceful at all.  In addition to the relentless taunts and abuse slung at him by Mu’awiyah, the Imam had to endure the anger of his supporters for having relinquished the Caliphate to the life long enemy of himself and that of his father before him.  They had failed to appreciate that Imam Hassan had given up his right in the larger interests of Islam, and to avoid further bloodshed of the Muslims.  The Imam continued to deal with the abuse with patience and forbearance, and continued to uphold the Truth.

Imam Hassan

other links:

Allamah Tabatabai writes about Imam Hassan (as)

Brief History of Imam Hasan's Life


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