The Holy Prophet and our Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them all) underwent numerous hardship in their service of the religion of Islam. As we enter the month of Safar, we remember the oppression done against the fourth Infallible, Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (peace be upon him). His sufferings started at a young age, seeing his mother Lady Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her) attacked, injured, and martyred. He also witnessed the usurpation of the rights of Imam Ali (peace be upon him). His sufferings continued as he witnessed his father martyred in the Mosque of Kufa. It was then that Imam Hasan became the Imam of the time, but his sufferings and the oppression done to him only increased, leading to his martyrdom 10 years later. And from the day he was killed until today, Imam Hasan is still the victim of oppressive historians, governments, and cultures.
False Media and Outrageous Accusations
The Imam suffered mostly from the false media that was under the control the Umayyads. At the time, rumors were spread about how the Imam forfeited the leadership to Muawiya and how after deciding to fight the Umayyads, he then retreated and tried to find a way out through an agreement with Muawiya. This media control practiced by Muawiya led to even more serious accusations attacking the personality of the Imam.
Books of history, influenced by the Umayyad's media, portray Imam Hasan, the grandson of the Prophet and the Leader of the Youth of Heaven, as a man who used to marry and divorce excessively. They portrayed the Imam as the person who preferred a luxurious and extravagant life, and some historians even accused the Imam of selling his Imamah and leadership to Muawiya for this reason!
All these are nothing but outrageous and false accusations that aim to shake the Imam's image in the eyes of the public. During the Imam's time, it worked to the extent that someone referred to the Imam as the one who disgraced the believers. Sadly, these accusations are lingering even today, continuing the oppression against the Imam almost 14 centuries later.
The Hidden Enemy
The Imam also suffered from oppression in the form of a hidden enemy. This hidden enemy was once the media. At other times, this enemy was gold and silver. At other times, it was the weak companions.
The spirits of the followers of the Imam were already shaken, and the hardships were taking their toll on them. The army was already questioning the war. Muawiya used that, along with gold and silver, to tempt those who had paid allegiance to Imam Hasan to abandon the Imam. Many people did just that, sadly including many of his top commanders.
Seeing his so-called companions and followers falling apart, the Imam slowly felt like a strangers in his own land. The Imam was not fighting a clear enemy. And to see this enemy manifest in between his army and followers was even a greater suffering to handle.
A Story with Poison
The sufferings went beyond trying to distort the Imam's image; the oppressive regime attempted to murder the Imam many times. Today, a single failed assassination attempt is enough to shake countries. However, Imam Hasan himself said that he was served poison several times. The Imam was also physically attacked and wounded. One assassination attempt after another, the Imam was finally given the very poison that tore apart his liver and caused him to regurgitate parts of it, resulting in his martyrdom.
His Closest Partner
It was one thing to see his followers leaving and joining the enemy, but it was even harder on the Imam when the person who was involved in poisoning him was his own wife. Ju'da bint al-Ash'ath was the one who served the poison to the Imam after being promised money and prestige by Muawiya. Allah says in the Qur'an, "Is the reward for good [anything] but good?" (55:60), but the good that Imam Hasan did to the people, and to his wife in particular (all for the sake of Allah), was repaid with poison!
Keeping Him from His Grandfather
In some narrations, Imam Hasan willed that he be buried next to his grandfather, the Holy Prophet. In other narrations, he asked that his body be taken to the Prophet's grave to pay respect to him. Either way, the Umayyads denied Imam Hasan even that simple act.
The Arrow-Filled Funeral
The Umayyads did not leave the Imam alone even after his death. Instead of letting the Hashimites lead the funeral and bury the Imam, they attacked the body and shot arrows at the coffin. Narrations say that the body was struck by over 70 arrows! This is how the so-called 'Muslims' treated the person whom the Prophet loved and declared as the "sweetness of my eyes".
The Grave in Disrepair
Even after burial, the tragedy continues. The oppression and suffering continued to follow the Imam, and in around 1221 AH, the Wahabis destroyed the shrines in Jannat al-Baqi, including Imam Hasan's shrine.
After the shrines were restored, in 1335 AH the Wahabis yet again attacked and destroyed them. Till this today, the grave of Imam Hasan is in a state of disrepair. And as if that was not enough, even visiting the shrines and paying our respect to our oppressed Imam is also prohibited!
O Abu Muhammad, O Hasan son of Ali,
O elected one,
O descendant of the Messenger of God,
O decisive argument of God over mankind,
O our chief, O our master,
We turn towards you, seek your intercession and advocacy before God, and we put before you our open need.
O intimate of God, stand by us when God sits in judgment over us.