Hassan b. Thabit
|Full Name||Hassan b. Thabit|
|Teknonym||Abu l-Walid, Abu l-Husam, Abu 'Abd al-Rahman, Abu l-Mudarrab|
|Lineage||Khazraj tribe, the Banu Najjar clan|
|Other Activities||Refusing to give allegiance to Imam 'Ali(a)|
Ḥassān b. Thābit (Arabic: حَسّان بن ثابِت) is one of the greatest Arab poets from before and through to the early ages of Islam. He has been considered as one of the Prophet's (s) companions, and has written poems in favor to the Prophet (s) and in satire of his enemies, although he has not taken part in any of the ghazwas of the early Islam.
According to history records, when Imam 'Ali (a) became caliph, Hassan b. Thabit refused to pledge allegiance to him.
Hassan has great poems and is famous as the greatest urbanite Arab poet. His many poems mention historical events, defends the Prophet (s), and uses new figures of speech, which are some of the features that make his poems important.
His nicknames were Abu l-Walid, Abu l-Husam, Abu 'Abd al-Rahman and Abu l-Mudarrab. He was also called Husam.
Hassan was originally from Yemen. He was born a couple of years before the birth of the Noble Prophet (s) ('Am al-Fil) and was raised there. Hassan was from the Khazraj tribe, the Banu Najjaar clan, and a relative to the Noble Prophet (s). His father, Thabit, and his grandfather, Mondhir, were of the nobles of the Khazraj tribe. His mother, Quray'a, was from the same tribe, and converted to Islam after the Noble Prophet's (s) migration to Medina. Hassan has also been addressed as ibn Quray'a.
Hassan used to frequently visit the Ghassanids court (the rulers of Levant) and the kings of Al- Hira (in Iraq) to collect money by praising them. He kept this habit all the way to his death. He became blind at the end of his life.
Prophet's (s) Era
Hassan was Jewish but converted to Islam when the Prophet (s) migrated to Medina. He is thought to have been sixty years old when he became a Muslim, but Brockelmann believes he was younger.
Absence in the Holy Battles
Hassan was scared of war and as a result, never took part in any of the Holy Battles of Islam. Nevertheless, he used to decorate himself to look like a lion and composed poems in praise of his own bravery, which would bring a smile to the Prophet's (s) face.
Poems in Defense of Islam and Satire of its Enemies
Hassan had a sharp tongue. He would satirise the polytheists and defend the Prophet (s), making him a source of peace for the Prophet (s), and respected by him. It is written that the Prophet (s) used to approve him and say that Hassan is blessed by the Angel of Revelation.
On the command of the Noble Prophet (s), he learned the fathers and ancestors of the polytheists from Abu Bakr, and mocked them in a way that wouldn't insult the Prophet (s) or his ancestors, astonishing the polytheists, and winning the Prophet's (s) appraise.
When Banu Tamim stood against the Prophet (s) and felt proud and glorified of what they had done, Hassan defended the Prophet (s) in such a way that all of them converted to Islam.
The Story of Ifk
Hassan was questioned in the event of Ifk as well. As an apology to the Prophet (s) and Aisha, he composed a praising poem for Aisha and recalled his background in Islam with the Prophet (s).
The Prophet's (s) prayer for Hassan
The Prophet (s) prayed for Hassan, اللهم ایده بروح القدس "O Lord! Make him approved by the Holy Spirit." It seems that the prayer was preconditioned since many scholars believe the Prophet (s) told him, "O Hassan, you will be blessed with the approval of the Holy Spirit, as long as you defend us." The prayer has been quoted in various ways. In one narration, the prayer says, "O Lord, support Hassan through the Holy Spirit, because of his support of Islam." Another narration states, إن اللّه یؤید حسّان بروح القدس ما نافح عن رسول اللّه "May God support Hassan through the Holy Spirit, so long as he supports God's Messenger (s)".
Hassan and the 'Uthmanis
In the events of 'Uthman b. 'Affaan's Avengers, Hassan joined the Othmanis, yet the poems which have been attributed to Hassan on supporting 'Uthman and condemning his murderers, are not very authentic. Shawqi Dayf believes these poems were created by the 'Umayyad to compensate for the humiliation caused by Hassan's poems against the Quraysh.
Refusing Allegiance to Imam Ali (a)
Some people refused to give Imam Ali (a) their allegiance when he was positioned as Caliph, Hassan b. Thabit was one of them. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid writes, "Some people refused from giving allegiance to Ali (a), such as, 'Abd Allah the son of 'Umar b. al-Khattab, Sa'd Waqqas, Muhammad b. Salama, Hassan b. Thabit and Usaama b. Zayd. After they refused, Imam Ali (a) delivered a speech where he said, "… Sa'd, Muslima, 'Usama, Abd Allah and Hassan have done something which I am not happy with, may God judge on us".
With over a hundred years in age, Hassan became the longest living Mukhadram (people who lived in the Jahiliyya era and Islam), with approximately half of his life being spent after the Prophet's (s) migration to Medina. The year he died has been narrated to be somewhere between 40-54/660-674.
Hassan's Poetic Position
Hassan is known to be the best urbanite poet of the Arabs. His poems created happiness and joy and he kept this ability all through his life; before the rise of Islam and after it. It should be noted that, Asma'i believed that after the rise of Islam, Hassan's poems started to weaken.
Hassan has many great poems, but one of his best pieces is in the praise of the Ghassanid princes in the Jahiliyya era. Although he was one of the Mudhahhabat (poets whose poems where written in gold), but the verses he read in the 'Ukaadh Bazaar, in front of A'sha and Khansa to Nabegha Dhebyani were ignored, and Hutay'a believed his poems did not have the right structure.
Many narrators, such as Ibn Habib (died 238/852), have narrated and gathered Hassan's poems but, the quantity of poems which have been claimed to be composed by him is unprecedented; it seems that many of them may have been composed by the Quraysh in his name. Also, poems belonging to his son, 'Abd al-Rahman, and other poets, specifically Ka'b b. Malik and 'Abd Allah b. Rawaha, may have been mistaken for Hassan's poems.
Importance of Hassan's Poems
Hassan's poems mention historical events, traditions of the Prophet (s), and the Holy Battles, making it an authentic source for Early Islamic history. His poem on Ghadir Khumm is the first Ghadiriyya (poems composed regarding the event of Ghadir Khumm) in Islamic history.
Defending the Prophet
In addition, Hassan's defense of the Noble Prophet (s) has made him the forerunner of political poets. In his praises of the Prophet (s), he used a new method to facilitate words and expressions, which was novel to Jahili literacy. Therefore, he is considered the founder of a new poetic structure.
Use of New Figures of Speech
Other than praises, pride, and satire, his poems consist of lamentation as well. Farrokh believes that since Hassan has used new figures of speech in praising the Prophet, he can be considered as the first figure of speech Poet (Badi'iyah Sara) in history.
- The material for writing this article is mainly taken from حسان بن ثابت in Fasri WikiShia.