Did Imam Ḥusayn (‘a) Oppose the Peace Treaty of Imam Ḥasan (‘a)?

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Did Imam Ḥusayn (‘a) Oppose the Peace Treaty of Imam Ḥasan (‘a)?

Question: Did Imam Ḥusayn (‘a) oppose the peace treaty of Imam Ḥasan (‘a) with Mu‘āwīyah?
Concise answer:
Detailed answer: In some of the sources of the Ahl al-Sunnah, it has been mentioned that Imam Ḥusayn opposed his brother in the peace treaty that he signed with Mu‘āwīyah. In the following article, we will research this issue and critique it from the perspective of authenticity and historical accuracy. From looking at the historical sources, it appears that Ṭabarī was the first to narrate this from ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān. He has written: ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān has narrated that Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī wrote to Mu‘āwīyah in regards to a peace treaty and asked for safety. Ḥasan said to Ḥusayn and ‘Abdullah ibn Ja‘far (his cousin) that: I have written Mu‘āwīyah in regards to a peace treaty. Ḥusayn responded: I ask you by God not to confirm Mu‘āwīyah’s story and not to deny ‘Alī’s story. Ḥasan said to him: Be silent, for I know what to do better than you.[1] The following other historians have also mentioned this report: Ibn ‘Asākir[2] in his book Tārīkh Damishq[3], Ibn Athīr[4] in his book Kāmil Fī Tārīkh[5], Ibn Khaldūn[6] in his book Tārīkh al-‘Ibr[7] and Ḥamdullah Mastūfī[8] in his summarized history text.[9]

In response to this report, the following things need to be said: Firstly, the aforementioned report was initially mentioned by Ṭabarī in his history text and he had narrated this from one individual by the name of ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān. Ṭabarī is well known to have simply narrated the reports that he found without any analysis of their authenticity or reliability. He himself has written in this regard that: The reader of my book should know that what I have said is based on the reports of the narrators and not based on intellectual proof or reasoning. Therefore, if the reader should find certain material which he believes to be incorrect or surprising, then he should know that this is not from me; rather, I have simply taken these reports from the narrators and have mentioned them (in my text).[10] Since Ṭabarī has narrated this report from a single individual by the name of ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān and he has furthermore not mentioned who ‘Uthmān narrated it from, we can consider the report to be weak and unreliable.

The second point is that Ibn Athīr[11], Ibn Khaldūn[12], and other such historians narrated this report in their own books from Ṭabarī.[13] Since Ṭabarī’s report is so weak and unreliable, then all of these reports are of the same quality and should be considered as unreliable. The third point is that this report is at odds with Shia theology. In addition to all these, we have historical reports mentioning that after the peace treaty, Imam Ḥusayn (‘a) came to Medina[14] with Imam Ḥasan (‘a) and they both lived alongside one another for a period of ten years. If there was such a disagreement, the effects of this opposition would have manifested itself during this long period of time and yet history shows that no such incidents took place.[15]
Makārim Shīrāzī

[1] Tārīkh al-ṭabarī, translation, vol. 7, p. 2715.

[2] Abū al-Qāsim, ÝAlī ibn Ḥasan ibn HibahÞ Allah ShāfiÝī (famously known as Ibn ÝAsākir) was a historian and narrator of tradition from Damascus. He was born in the year 499 Hijrī and he passed away in the year 808…

[3] Tārīkh Ibn ÝAsākir (Tārīkh damishq, vol. 4, p. 21, narrated from Zendegānī Ḥasan ibn ÝAlī, Bāqir Sharīf al-Qarshī, vol. 2, p. 302-303).

[4] His full name is Abū al-Ḥasan ÝAlī ibn Abī al-Karam Muḥammad and he is famously known as Ibn Athīr. He is one of the historians of the Ahl al-Sunnah who was born in Jamādī al-Awwal in the year 555 Hijrī…

[5] Tārīkh Kāmil, vol. 5, p. 2020.

[6] Abū Zayd ÝAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad ibn Khaldūn Ḥaḍramī is famously known as Ibn Khaldūn. He was born in the year 733 Hijrī in Tunisia and he died in the year 808.

[7] Tārīkh Ibn Khaldūn, vol. 1, p. 641-642.

[8] Ḥamdūllah ibn Tāj al-Dīn Abī Bakr ibn Ḥamd ibn Naṣr Mastūfī Qazwīnī is a famous historian, poet, writer, and geographer of the Muslim world. He was born in the year 680 Hijrī in Qazwīn….

[9] Tārīkh Guzīdeh, p. 198, ÝAbd al-Ḥusayn NawāÞī, Intishārāt Amīr Kabīr, Tehrān, 1362 Hijrī Shamsī.

[10] Tārīkh ṭabarī, vol. 1, p. 6.

[11] Ibn Athīr has written in the introduction to this book Al-Kāmil: I have started my book with the use of the great history text of Abū JaÝfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr Ṭabarī…

[12] Ibn Khaldūn has written: I have summarized the events that took place during the early Islamic period, as well as the caliphate and the wars from the text of Muḥammad ibn Jarīr Ṭabarī…

[13] Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-tārīkh, vol. 1, p. 3-4; Tārīkh ibn khaldūn, vol. 1, p. 642.

[14] Ṭārīkh al-ṭabarī, vol. 5, p. 166; Al-Muntaẓam, Ibn Jawzī, researched by Muḥammad ÝAbd al-Qādir AṭāÞ, Beirut, Dār al-Kutub al-ÞIlmīyah, First Edition, vol. 5, p. 184; Al-Bidāyah wa al-nihāyah, Ibn Kathīr, Beirut…

[15] Researched by: Wāḥid Pāsukh Be Shubhāt Paygāh Iṭilāh Risānī Ayatullah
Published on: « 1393/04/11 »
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