I would like to ask regarding differing with Mawlana Shaykh (qs) on non-usooli (non-essential) issues. The issue in question is regarding the supposed many marriages and divorces of Sayyidina Imam Hasan (as). I’ve been fascinated by this topic for a while as I found it extremely strange that some scholars accept such weak traditions that are not suitable regarding an honoured member of Ahlul Bayt (as). Some time back a well respected Sayyid Ahlus Sunnah scholar from mid-east visited my country for a Mawlid program and I had the opportunity to ask him regarding this especially since he is known for his love of Ahlul Bayt (as) and his efforts to revive their history among Ahlus Sunnah. He said to me that he challenges anyone to find a single authentic tradition that Imam Hasan (as) divorced many women. Rather these weak traditions were invented with a sinister political motive during the Ummayad and Abbasid period to slander Imam Hasan (as) and make it appear that he was hungry for dunya (Astaghfirulla).
What troubled me is that I came across in Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (qs) book “Mercy Oceans” book 2 page 30 that Mawlana Shaykh (qs) mentions a tradition about Imam Hasan (as) supposed many divorces and a reported saying of Imam Ali (as). Now while in tariqa I know that obedience to the Shaykh (qs) in every matter is essential to progress on the path to Allah (SWT) my heart just cannot seem to accept such traditions regarding Imam Hasan (as) especially given that they are weak and given that Imam Hasan (as) would never do anything that Holy Prophet (SAW) disliked (i.e. divorcing many women). I understand some accept these reports and say that the wisdom was to increase Family of Rasoolullah but history books don’t record more than 20 children of Imam Hasan (as) and the possibilty of marrying so many women is illogical from perspective of Iddah period etc.
On the other hand I know Mawlana Shaykh (qs) would never say anything to disrespect Ahlul Bayt (as) and he is receiving from the Blessed Heart of Holy Prophet Muhammed (SAW) so how do I understand it?
We belong to Allah and to Him is our return. We know from the early narrators of Ahl al-Bayt and the hadith masters of the Salaf exactly what Mawlana Shaykh Nazim said and thousands of scholars before him without any impropriety. Any impropriety or ‘unsuitability’ is in the eye of the beholder, and any claim that the chains are weak is rejected for at least two reasons:
(i) the narrators are extremely trustworthy and found in al-Bukhari, Muslim, or both: – Bakr b. Isma`il – from Ja`far al-Sadiq, – from his father Muhammad b. `Ali, (- from his father `Ali b. al-Husayn,) – from his grandfather `Ali b. Abi Talib: “Al-Hasan kept marrying and divorcing until I feared it might cause us hostility from the tribes, so I said: People of Iraq, people of Kufa, do not give your daughters in marriage to Hasan for he is a man who divorces a lot.” A man from Hamdan said: “By Allah we shall give them in marriage to him, and whomever he likes he can keep and whomever he dislikes he can divorce.” In Ibn Abi Shayba, Ibn Sa`d and others. (I wonder at what point of the above chain an Umayyad or Abbasid forger supposedly slipped in, unbeknowst to such imams!)
The early masters such as Ibn Mahdi, Ibn al-Mubarak, and the Four Imams did not consider a gap between such as Muhammad b. `Ali or `Ali b. al-Husayn and his grandfather `Ali b. Abi Talib as warranting a downgrading of the chain but rather they considered it mursal sahih;
(ii) the authenticity of the report is not challenged by the scholars who habitually challenge whatever they deem weak in their books such as al-Dhahabi in Tarikh al-Islam and Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, nor by others such as Ibn `Asakir, al-Mizzi in Tahdhib al-Kamal, Ibn Kathir in his Bidaya, Ibn Hajar in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, and al-Suyuti in Tarikh al-Khulafa, all of whom cite it.
For the scholars this is well-known and not disputed, some saying that our liegelord al-Hasan (Allah be well-pleased with him) married seventy women, some ninety as found in Tarikh al-Mada’ini. He always travelled with four wives accompanying him. He was minkaah (oft-marrying), mitlaaq (oft-divorcing), and misdaaq (extremely generous in his dowry payments). Al-Dhahabi cites from Ibn Sirin the report that one time al-Hasan gifted to a woman one hundred servant-girls, each carrying 1,000 dirhams. Ibn Kathir in the Bidaya relates that one day he divorced two women of different tribes at the same time and he sent to each one 10,000 dirhams and a gourd of honey. Jarir b. Hazim said the people of Kufa loved him more than they had loved his father, Allah be well-pleased with both of them. It is known that he exhausted his entire fortune twice and Ibn `Abbas said al-Hasan went to Hajj on foot 25 times.
The sources time and again show he was not interested in dunya; anyone who claims that these same sources project a dunya-oriented personality for al-Hasan has just not read them properly. Any claim that there were sinister Umayyad or Abbasid plots in the creation of such reports is pre-empted by the forgery experts who did not include them in their collections and by the above-mentioned Sunni authorities who cited those reports with pure hearts without seeing anything sinister or unsuitable in them.
Perhaps we find it difficult to accept that al-Hasan (Allah be well-pleased with him) married and divorced a lot because we may be comparing ourselves or the rest of the Ummah with him, without allowing that maybe there was a special case or a wisdom in that particular aspect of his life. Such wisdom is gleaned from the status of the Two Grandsons as described in the many Prophetic narrations concerning them, and Allah knows best; may He keep us in His care and forgive any inappropriate judgment on our part; and also any delusion that we might be greater defenders of the honor of His Prophet than His own Awliya, or in a position to question those we claim are our masters over their own adab with him and his family.
Hajj Gibril Haddad