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  • Print publication year: 1996
  • Online publication date: October 2009



Restoration of the Community and despotic kingship

The death of ‘Alī, in the midst of preparations for a fresh campaign to Syria, left the course of the civil war in suspense. The succession of his eldest son, al-Ḥasan, Muḥammad's grandson, went ahead without dispute. Presumably following the precedent of the Prophet, ‘Alī had declined to nominate a successor before his death. He had, however, on many occasions expressed his conviction that only the Prophet‘s ahl al-bayt were entitled to rule the Community; and al-Ḥasan, whom he had appointed his legatee, must have seemed the obvious choice. A speech defect which slowed his tongue evidently did not disqualify him. In fact, he was generally considered an effective orator.

In the congregational mosque of Kūfa al-Ḥasan announced the death of his father whom he described as a man whose acts were unrivalled and would forever remain so, who had fought together with the Messenger of God, protecting him with his own life. Muḥammad had sent him forward bearing his flag with Jibrā'īl on his right side and Mikā'īl on his left, and he had not turned back until God gave him victory. He had died this night, the same night in which Jesus, son of Mary, had been raised to heaven and in which Joshua, son of Nūn, the legatee of Moses, had passed away.

Then al-Ḥasan was choked by tears, and the people wept with him. He resumed: ‘O people, whoever knows me, knows me, and whoever does not know me, I am al-Ḥasan, the son of Muḥammad.

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The Succession to Muhammad
  • Online ISBN: 9780511582042
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