1. Hadhrat Hasan Basri's mother was a servant of Rasulullah's ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) noble wife, Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah (radhiyallahu anha). Sometimes during infancy when his mother was engaged in some service, he would cry. To pacify the infant, Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah (radhiyallahu anha) would place her blessed breast in his mouth. The baby would suck and miraculously milk would emerge. It is said that the innumerable blessings acquired by Hadhrat Hasan Basri were the product of this milk of the holy household of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) . Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah (radhiyallahu anha)undertook the responsibility of caring for Hasan. She would always make dua: "O Allah! Make him the leader (i.e. spiritual leader) of men."
2. Once during childhood Hadhrat Hasan drank water from a mug in which water was left for Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) in the home of Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah (radhiyallahu anha). When Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) enquired about the person who had drunk [drank or drunk?] from his mug, he was told that it was Hasan. Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) commented: "My knowledge will be diffused into him in proportion to the water he drank from the mug."
Once Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah (رضئ الله عنه )placed Hasan on Rasulullah's ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) lap. Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) made much dua for him. Thus, the greatness of Hadhrat Hasan Basri is attributable to all the spiritual blessings he gained from the holy household of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) .
3. When Hadhrat Hasan was born he was brought to Hadhrat Umar (رضئ الله عنه )who said: "Name him Hasan because his face is so beautiful." (He was extremely handsome.)
4. Hadhrat Hasan Basri was a Taabi-ee who had the good fortune of meeting 120 Sahaabah among whom 70 were participants of the Battle of Badr. He was the mureed of Hadhrat Hasan, the son of Hadhrat Ali (رضئ الله عنه ). According to another version recorded in Tuhfah, it is said that he was the mureed of Hadhrat Ali (رضئ الله عنه )who had conferred on him the mantle of spiritual mentorship (i.e. made him his Khalifah in the spiritual realm).
5. The fear of Maut was so overwhelming in him that from the time of his youth when he pledged himself to prepare for the Aakhirah, he never laughed until death overtook him at the age of 70.
6. For his entire life, until the age of 70, he always remained with wudhu.
7. Once a Wali said: "Hasan has surpassed us all because the whole creation is in need of his knowledge while he needs none besides Allah Ta'ala. He is therefore our chief."
8. Hadhrat Hasan was asked: "What is the meaning of Islam and who is a Muslim?" He replied: "Islam is in the books and Muslims are in the grave."
9. When asked: "What is pure Deen?", he said; "Piety". People asked: "What destroys piety?" He said: "Greed and desire."
10. Hadhrat Hasan said that an ill physician (i.e. spiritual mentor) should first treat himself before treating others (i.e. he should first reform himself morally and spiritually).
11. People complained: "Our hearts are asleep, hence your advices do not benefit us." Hadhrat Hasan said: "Your hearts are dead. A sleeping person can be woken up, but a dead man cannot be aroused."
12. Someone said to Hadhrat Hasan: "Some people overwhelm our heart with fear with their talks." (He was referring to the advices of Hadhrat Hasan.) He replied: "It is better today to be in the company of those who instil fear in you so that tomorrow on the Day of Qiyaamah you will have hope in the mercy of Allah."
13. A man said to him: "Some people find fault with your statements and criticize you." Hadhrat Hasan replied: "I find myself full of fault. While I am searching for Divine Proximity, I cherish the desire for Jannat. But both these attitudes are contradictory. Furthermore, I do not hope to be immune from the criticism of people. Even Allah Ta'ala, The Absolute One, has not been spared by their tongues."
(Although the wish or desire for both Jannat and nearness to Allah Ta'ala are in reality not negatory or contradictory, the exceptionally lofty spiritual status and proximity of the Auliyaa preclude them from all motives except the Goal of Divine Proximity. Their worship of Allah is neither for fear of Jahannum nor for the hope of Jannat. Their gaze is focussed on only Allah's Pleasure.)
14. It was said: "Some say that preaching (giving naseehat) to people should be embarked on only after one has become morally purified." Hadhrat Hasan commented: "Shaitaan desires that the door of Amr Bil Ma'roof Nahyi anil munkar (commanding righteousness and prohibiting evil) be closed."
15. Once while Hadhrat Hasan was lecturing, the tyrant Hajjaaj with his unsheathed sword and army arrived. A pious man present in the gathering said to himself: "Today is a test for Hasan. Will Hasan proclaim his naseehat in the presence of Hajjaaj or will he resort to flattery?" Hajjaaj sat down in the gathering. However, Hadhrat Hasan did not pay the slightest attention and continued his talk. Hajjaaj's presence did not exercise the slightest influence on him. He did not even look at Hajjaaj. The pious man said: "Indeed, Hasan is hasan (i.e. beautiful)."
On the termination of the lecture, Hajjaaj went forward. Kissing the hand of Hadhrat Hasan, he said: "If you wish to see a man, look at Hasan."
16. Once Hadhrat Ali (رضئ الله عنه )spent three days in Basrah. He had issued an order prohibiting lectures in the Musaajid. When he attended a gathering of Hadhrat Hasan he found him giving a lecture. Hadhrat Ali (رضئ الله عنه )interrogated him:
"Are you an Aalim or a student?"
Hadhrat Hasan replied: "I am neither an Aalim nor a student. However, I deliver the words of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) which have reached me." On hearing this reply Hadhrat Ali (رضئ الله عنه )left without preventing Hadhrat Hasan from lecturing. When he was told that his interrogator was Hadhrat Ali (رضئ الله عنه ), he descended from the mimbar and went in search of Hadhrat Ali (رضئ الله عنه ). When he linked up with Hadhrat Ali (رضئ الله عنه ), he (Hadhrat Hasan) said:
"For Allah's sake teach me how to make wudhu."
A container of water was brought and Hadhrat Ali (رضئ الله عنه )demonstrated the method of making wudhu. Since that time that spot is known as Baabut Tasht (Portal of the Basin).
17. Once during a severe drought in Basrah, two hundred thousand people gathered on the outskirts for Salatul Istisqa (to pray for rain). A mimbar was set up and Hadhrat Hasan was requested to mount it and supplicate for rain. He said: "If you wish for rain, expel me from Basrah."
(His humility constrained him to believe that he was the cause of the drought. Droughts are generally the consequences of the sins of people.)
18. One day Hadhrat Hasan heard the Hadith which says that the very last man of this Ummah to emerge from Jahannum after 80 years will be a person named Hannaad. Hadhrat Hasan lamented:"I wish Hasan was that man." (The degree of his humility and overwhelming fear created in him the perception that he (i.e. Hadhrat Hasan) may never emerge from Jahannum. Therefore, if he was Hannaad, his salvation was ensured.)
19. Once when he spent the entire night weeping, he was asked: "Hadhrat, why do you weep so much inspite of being such an Aabid (worshipper) and Muttaqi (pious)?" Hadhrat Hasan said:"I fear that I may have committed such a deed which negates my ibaadat. As a result of it Allah Ta'ala may say: 'Hasan! You have no position by Us. None of your acts of worship is acceptable."
20. Once he accompanied a janaazah. After the burial he cried profusely and said:"O people! Know that the end of this world and the beginning of the Hereafter are this grave. The Hadith says that the qabr is a station among the stations of the Aakhirah. Why do you love a world whose end is the grave? Why do you not fear the world of the Aakhirah the beginning of which is the grave? This is your ending and your beginning."
21. During his childhood he had committed a sin. Whenever he had a new kurtah sewn, he would write a reminder (of the sin) on it. This reminder constantly reduced him to tears.
22. Once the Khalifah, Hadhrat Umar Bin Abdul Aziz (rahmatullah alayh) wrote a letter requesting some naseehat. Hadhrat Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) responded: "If Allah is not your hepler, have no hope in anyone." On another occasion he wrote: "Know that the day after which there will no longer be this world (the Aakhirah) is near."
23. When Hadhrat Bishr Haafi (rahmatullah alayh) learnt that Hadhrat Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) was proceeding for Hajj, he wrote requesting permission to accompany him (Hadhrat Hasan). In response, Hadhrat Hasan wrote: "Forgive me (i.e. he declined permission). I wish to remain in Allah's veil of concealment. If we are together, we shall become aware of our mutual defects and think ill of one another."
(Although these illustrious Souls never despised anyone on account of sins and defects, Hadhrat Hasan presented this pretext for his desire of solitude. Travelling with a contemporary would be an encumbrance which would disturb the solace of his solitude.)
24. Counselling Hadhrat Saeed Bin Jubair (rahmatullah alayh), Hadhrat Hasan said: "Never enter into companionship with kings. Never reveal your secrets to anyone. Never listen to music. The end result is always calamitous."
25. Hadhrat Maalik Bin Dinaar (rahmatullah alayh) asked: "In what lies the corruption of the people?"
Hadhrat Hasan: "In the death of the heart."
Maalik Bin Dinaar: "What is the death of the heart."
Hadhrat Hasan: "The love of the world."
26. Once Hadhrat Abdullah (rahmatullah alayh) went to the home of Hadhrat Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) for Fajr Salaat. When he arrived at the door he heard Hadhrat Hasan making dua and a group responding 'Aameen, Aameen'. He waited outside until it was Fajr time. When he entered he found Hadhrat Hasan alone. After Salaat, Hadhrat Abdullah enquired about the mystery. He first took a pledge of secrecy from him, then informed Hadhrat Abdullah that every Friday night a group of jinn attended for lessons. After lessons when dua is made they responded with 'Aameen'.
27. Qaari Abu Amr was a famous teacher of the Qur'aan. Once he cast a gaze of lust on a handsome lad who had come to learn the Qur'aan. In consequence of this evil glance Abu Amr forgot the entire Qur'aan. From the Alif of to the Seen of , the entire Qur'aan departed from his heart. His shock and grief were unbearable. He explained this calamity to Hadhrat Hasan who said: "It is now the time of Hajj. Perform Hajj. After Hajj proceed to Musjid-e-Khaif where you will find an old man sitting in the mihraab in worship. After he completes his ibaadat ask him to make dua for you.
After Hajj when Abu Amr entered Musjid-e-Khaif he saw a group of people inside. Shortly afterwards a saintly person entered. Everyone regarded him with honour and reverence. After counselling the group, the saintly person and all others except the old man departed. Abu Amr stepped forward and narrated the calamity which had befallen him. The buzrug raised his eyes towards heaven in supplication. To his wonder and joy Abu Amr discovered that the Qur'aan Shareef had returned to his heart. In sheer joy and ecstasy he fell at the feet of the buzrug who asked: "Who directed you to me?"
Abu Amr: "Hasan Basri."
The Buzrug: "Hasan has disgraced me. Now I too shall disgrace him. He has revealed my secret. I too shall reveal his secret. The buzrug whom you had seen at the time of Zuhr (the one who had lectured to the group) was Hasan Basri. He comes daily to us. Discusses with us and by Asr he is back in Basrah. What need did he have to direct you to me?"
(In other words, Hadhrat Hasan being such a great saint could have made dua for Abu Amr instead of directing him to the buzrug in Musjid-e-Khaif thereby exposing him.)
28. A man in need once brought his horse to Hadhrat Hasan and offered it for sale. Hadhrat Hasan bought the horse. That night the former owner of the horse saw the horse together with a few hundred horses grazing in Jannat. On making enquiries, the Angels informed him: "These horses had belonged to you. Now they are the property of Hasan."
In the morning the man hastened to Hadhrat Hasan and implored him to cancel the sale. He offered to refund the money. Hadhrat Hasan refusing, said: "I have also seen the dream you had seen." The man departed with a heavy heart. During the night Hadhrat Hasan saw in a dream beautiful palaces in Jannat. He asked: "To whom do these palaces belong?" The Angels said: "To the person who gladly cancels a sale." He sent for the man, cancelled the sale and returned the horse.
29. Hadhrat Hasan's neighbour, Sham'oon was a fire-worshipper. Sham'oon was in his death-throes. Hadhrat Hasan visited him. He observed that Sham'oon's face had darkened as a result of his years of fire-worshipping.
Hadhrat Hasan: "Abandon fire-worship and become a Muslim. Perhaps Allah will have mercy on you." Sham'oon: "Three things have turned me away from Islam. One: The world according to you (Muslims) is evil, but you remain in its pursuit. Two: You believe that death is true, but you do not make preparations for it. Three: You claim the wonder of Allah's Vision, but on earth you act in conflict with His wishes."
Hadhrat Hasan: "This is a sign of those who recognize the truth. The true Mu'min acts accordingly. But tell me, what have you gained by destroying your life in fire-worship? Even if a Mu'min does no good, at least he testifies to the Unity of Allah. You have worshipped the fire for seventy years. If you and I fall into the fire, it will burn us both without caring for your worship. However, my Allah has the power of preventing the fire from burning me."
So saying, Hadhrat Hasan took Allah's Name and plunged his hand into the fire. He held his hand for a long time in the fire which had no effect on him. Seeing this, Sham'oon's heart opened up. The light of guidance had penetrated his heart. He said: "I have worshipped the fire for 70 years. What can I achieve in the few moments there remain of life?"
Hadhrat Hasan: "Become a Muslim!"
Sham'oon: "Write a document stating that if I embrace Islam, Allah will forgive me."
Hadhrat Hasan wrote the document and presented it to Sham'oon who said: "Let the pious elders of Basrah endorse it with their signatures." This request was complied with. Sham'oon said:"O Hasan, when I die, give me ghusl and bury me. Place the document in my hand so that I have proof of my Islam."
Sham'oon recited the Kalimah and died. His wasiyyat was fulfilled by Hadhrat Hasan.
Hadhrat Hasan returned home overwhelmed by worry. He thought: "When I myself am immersed in sin, how could I have furnished a guarantee of forgiveness to another man?" In this distressful state he fell asleep. In a dream he saw Sham'oon donned in beautiful garments with a crown on his head strolling in Jannat. Hadhrat Hasan: "How did it fare with you?"
Sham'oon: "Allah forgave me by His mercy. I am unable to explain the bounties He has bestowed to me. There now no longer remain on you any responsibility. Here take your document. I no longer have need of it."
When Hadhrat Hasan's eyes opened he discovered the document in his hand. He profusely thanked Allah and said:"O Allah! You act without cause. Everything is dependent on Your act. When you have forgiven a man merely on one statement (the Kalimah) after he had worshipped the fire for seventy years, why will You not forgive a man who had worshipped you for seventy years?" (The boundless rahmat of Allah Ta'ala could be understood from the episode.)
30. Tawaadhu' (humility) was an outstanding attribute of Hadhrat Hasan. He considered himself inferior to everyone else. One day while walking along the bank of the river Dajlah he saw a Habshi (Abyssinian) with a woman and a wine-bottle. A thought crossed his mind: 'This man cannot be better than me because he is with a woman and consuming wine.' As the thought crossed his mind a boat with seven occupants appeared on the river. Suddenly the boat began sinking. Seeing the plight of the boat-people the Habshi dived into the water and safely brought out one person. He returned and brought out a second man. He continued his rescue until he had saved six people. Turning to Hadhrat Hasan, the Habshi said: "If you are better than me, then save the seventh one. O Imaam of the Muslims! This woman is my mother. The bottle contains water. I am here to test you. I have seen that you have failed the test."
Hadhrat Hasan now realised that the Habshi was a close servant of Allah appointed to test him (Hasan). He fell at the Habshi's feet imploring: "Just as you have saved the six persons from drowning in the sea, save me from the sea of egotism and deception."
The Habshi: "May Allah brighten your eyes (i.e. spiritual eyes)." Never again did Hadhrat Hasan regard himself better than any person. His state of humility reached such a pinnacle that once seeing a dog he supplicated:"O Allah! Accept me by virtue of this dog."
31. Once on seeing an intoxicated man swaying from side to side while walking in a muddy path, Hadhrat Hasan counselled: "Walk carefully otherwise you will slip." The man responded:"O Imaam of the Muslims! You walk carefully. If I slip, I alone fall. If you slip, the whole Ummah falls (i.e. strays from the Path of Truth)." This response made an indelible impression on the heart of Hasan Basri.
32. A lad was walking with a flame in his hand. Hadhrat Hasan Basri said to him: "From where did you get the flame?" The lad extinguished the flame and said: "Where has the flame gone?"
33. Once Hadhrat Hasan Basri said to his disciples:"If you should see the Sahaabah you would say that they are mad men and if they should see you, they would not consider you to be Muslims. They were horsemen flying like birds as swift as the wind while we are like those seated on the wounded backs of asses."
34. A Bedouin asked the meaning of sabr (patience). Hadhrat Hasan said: "Sabr is of two kinds. One: Sabr when calamity and misfortune strike. Two: Sabr regarding the prohibitions of Allah Ta'ala (i.e. restrain oneself from indulgence in the things prohibited by Allah Ta'ala)."
35. "A man should strive to acquire beneficial knowledge and excellent deeds accompanied by sincerity, contentment and beautiful patience. I cannot explain the lofty status which a man of this acquisition will gain on the day of Qiyaamah."
36. "A sheep is more alert than man. On hearing the call of the shepherd it stops grazing while man ignores the call of Allah for the sake of his desires."
37. "Ma'rifat (i.e. a high perception of divine recognition) is abandonment of lowly desires."
38. "Jannat cannot be attained merely by good deeds. Good intentions are essential."
39. "Fikr (contemplation) is a mirror in which good and bad are visible."
40. "Futile talk is evil. Silence devoid of fikr is futility and disgraceful."
41. "It is mentioned in the Tauraah that a man who adopts qanaa-at (contentment) becomes independent of all people; whoever adopts solitude, finds safety; whoever shuns lowly desires is emancipated; whoever abandons hasad (jealousy) has discovered friendship; whoever spends his life in sabr has found [page 31]." Re: p73 bk2
42. "Wara' (piety) has three stages: To speak the truth even in anger; abstention from the prohibitions of Allah Ta'ala; constancy in the execution of Allah's commands."
43. "A little piety is better than a thousand years of (Nafl) Saum and Salaat."
44. "Contemplation (fikr) and wara' (piety) are the noblest deeds."
45. "Nifaaq (hypocrisy) is the contradiction between the baatin (the heart / intentions) and the zaahir (verbal proclamation)."
46. "All true Mu'mins who have passed away had the fear of having nifaaq in them."
47. "The compensation for gheebat (speaking ill of people in their absence) is istighfaar (i.e. to seek forgiveness from Allah Ta'ala)."
(If the person is aware of the gheebat, it will also be necessary to seek forgiveness from him.)
48. "Man will have to give a reckoning for the halaal and haraam of this world in which he had participated."
49. "Every person (i.e. with love of the world in his heart) will depart from this world with three regrets: (1) His desire for accumulation of wealth will be unfulfilled. (2) Unrealized goals. (3) Having made no preparations for the journey of the Hereafter."
50. Someone reported to Hasan Basri that a certain man was in his death throes. He commented:
"He was in his death throes since his appearance on earth. He will now be released."
51. "He who has no love of the world will be saved. The one entrapped in the world is ruined. Those who are not proud of the bounties of the world will be forgiven."
52. "An intelligent man abandons the world and develops the Aakhirah."
53. "In this world there is no animal more rebellious than the nafs."
54. "Allah disgraces a man who honours (loves) gold and silver."
55. "A man who regards himself as a leader of the community is astray."
56. "A man who narrates the defects of others to you, will most assuredly narrate your defects to others."
57. Once when Hasan Basri saw a man eating in the qabrustaan (cemetery), he said: "This man is a munaafiq (hypocrite). A man whose desires agitate in the presence of the dead has no belief in Maut and the Aakhirah. Whoever does not believe in Maut and the Aakhirah is a munaafiq."
58. On the night that Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) died, a buzrug saw in a dream the portals of the heaven opening and a voice proclaimed: "Hasan Basri has reached Allah Ta'ala."