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Al-Hasan b. Zayd b. al-Hasan

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Al-Hasan b. Zayd b. al-Hasan
Kunya Abu Muhammad
Lineage Banu Hashim
Birth 83/702
Place of Birth Medina
Place of Residence Medina
Death/Martyrdom 168/784
Burial Place Hajar, 5 miles away from Medina
Era al-Mansur al-'Abbasi
Notable roles Governor of Medina
Activities Setting fire to the house of Imam al-Sadiq (a), having good connections with Abbasids, and helping them

Al-Ḥasan b. Zayd b. al-Ḥasan b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (Arabic:الحسن بن زید بن الحسن بن علي بن أبي طالب) (d. 168/784-85) was the grandson of Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a) and one of the prominent Hashimi features in the second/eighth century. His kunya was Abu Muhammad.

Setting fire to the house of Imam al-Sadiq (a), having good connections with Abbasids, and helping them to find and lay hands on the grandchildren of his uncle, al-Hasan al-Muthanna, are of the dark sides to his life according to Shi'a viewpoint. From 150/767 to 155/772, he was the governor of Medina through al-Mansur al-'Abbasi.


His father Zayd, the son of Imam al-Hasan (a), was a trustee of the Prophet's (s) charities. His mother Zujaja, was an Umm Walad (a slave woman who bear a child from her owner).

Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
Lady Fatima
Imam Ali
Umm al-Banin
Imam al-Husayn
Imam al-Hasan
Lady Zaynab
Umm Kulthum
Abd Allah
Umm Kulthum
'Abd Allah
'Abd Allah
Imam al-Sajjad
'Ali al-Akbar
'Ali al-Asghar
Imam al-Baqir
Imam al-Sadiq
'Abd Allah
'Ubayd Allah
Imam al-Kazim
Umm Farwa
'Abd Allah
Imam al-Rida
Imam al-Jawad
Imam al-Hadi
Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari
Imam al-Mahdi


Sayyida Nafisa, whose tomb is in Egypt, is perceived by Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani to be the daughter of al-Hasan b. Zayd. Al-Tabari names nine sons for him, but according to Ibn 'Inaba, he was survived by seven sons. He also had a daughter who got married to Abu l-'Abbas al-Saffah, the first caliph of Abbasid dynasty. The offspring of Zayd b. al-Hasan are all descended from his son al-Hasan.

Kunya and epithet

"Al-Madani" and "al-Hashimi" were his epithets, and his kunya was Abu Muhammad.

Transmitting Hadith

He has been a hadith transmitter and has narrated from his father, his cousin 'Abd Allah al-Mahd, and others. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi has regarded him as a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a), by which he merely meant their contemporaneous.

Sunni rijal sources consider him a reliable narrator. Some of those who have narrated from him are as:

  • Muhammad b. Ishaq b. Yasar,
  • Malik b. Anas,
  • Ibn Abi Dhi'b,
  • Ibn Abi Zinad,
  • Waki',
  • and his own son, Isma'il b. al-Hasan.

Religious and Political Orientation

He leaned towards Abbasids, he did not believe in the Imamate of Shi'a Imams (a), but, moreover, neither did he believe in the first three caliphs. During the victory and the establishment of Abbasid caliphate, al-Hasan b. Zayd was always an adherent to them. He was the first 'Alawi who adopted 'Abbasid's motto and wore a black garment. He supported Abbasids against the children and grandchildren of his uncle, al-Hasan al-Muthanna, who was imprisoned by Abbasids. For instance, he informed al-Mansur al-'Abbasi of the news on al-Nafs al-Zakiyya and his uprising. Therefore Musa b. 'Abd Allah b. al-Hasan, the brother of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, would always say; "O God! Claim our blood from al-Hasan b. Zayd and seek our revenge against him".

After the uprising of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, 'Isa b. Musa al-'Abbasi, the chief commander of al-Mnasur al-'Abbasi, sent al-Mansur the heads of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya and other martyrs by al-Qasim, the son of al-Hasan b. Zayd, as glad tidings of triumph. Al-Hasan b. Zayd was in al-Mansur's presence when the head was brought before him. Al-Hasan was grieved, but did not utter a word in his fear. Then he said; "I wish he agreed to submit to you, so that he would not be killed".

Likewise, when the uprising of Ibrahim b. 'Abd Allah b. al-Hasan, the brother of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, was defeated, his head was sent to al-Mansur, and people would come before him and curse Ibrahim and his family. When al-Hasan b. Zayd came in and saw the head, he turned pale and said to al-Mansur; "O Amir al-Mu'mini! By God you killed him while he fasted a lot and was a vigilant at nights. I did not want you to undertake the guilt of shedding his blood".

Governing Medina

In 150/767, al-Mansur assigned al-Hasan b. Zayd the government of Medina. Then in 155/772, al-Mansur became suspicious of, and angry with him, and dismissing him from government, imprisoned him in Baghdad and confiscated his property. Al-Mahdi al-'Abbasi, the crown prince of al-Mansur, sent a secret letter to 'Abd al-Samad b. 'Ali, the new governor of Medina, asking him to treat al-Hasan b. Zayd well. When al-Mahdi came to power, released al-Hasan from the prison, and repaid his property, and made him his favored. According to some historical narrations, after al-Mansur's death in 158/774-75, al-Hasan b. Zayd attended the room where his body was laid, and swore allegiance to Musa, who was there on behalf of his father, al-Mahdi. It is likely then, that al-Hasan b. Zayd had been released from the prison for some time before the death of al-Mansur.

Setting Fire to the House of Imam al-Sadiq (a)

Al-Kulayni has narrated that; when he was the governor of al-Haramayn (Mecca and Medina), taking orders from al-Mansur al-'Abbasi, al-Hasan b. Zayd set fire to the house of Imam al-Sadiq (a), and the door and entry of the house was burnt, while Imam al-Sadiq (a) walking through the fire, exited the house and said: "I am the son of Aʿrāq al-Tharā (the epithet of Prophet Isma'il (a)), I am son of Ibrahim (a)".


In company with al-Mahdi al-'Abbasi, al-Hasan b. Zayd went on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 168/784 at the age of 85. However, he died on his way and was buried in a place called Hajar, 5 miles away from Medina.

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