THE KHILĀFA OF IMAM AL-HASAN AND HIS ABDICATION TO MUAWIYA BIN ABI SUFYAN
6th March 2021
The year 41AH/661CE saw Hasan bin Ali, the Khalīfa of the Muslims raise an army against the army of Muawiya bin Abi Sufyan, the governor of Syria, who refused to recognise Hasan as the legitimate Khalīfa. Besought with betrayal and an unwillingness to fight within his own ranks, Hasan was forced to sign a peace treaty with Muawiya which led to a conditional transfer of power from Hasan to Muawiya. The Centre for Intra-Muslim studies (CIMS) discussed accounts of this incident in history and their implications from Shia and Sunni perspectives. The Shia perspective was presented by Dr Seyfeddin Kara, and the Sunni by Shaykh Atabek Shukurov.
The discussion ended with Dr Bhojani making concluding remarks after acknowledging the internal diversity amongst Shia and Sunni views:
- The position of al-Hasan is outstanding amongst both Sunni’s & Shia.
- Al-Hasan was considered a legitimate caliph and some Sunni consider his caliphate to be one that falls within the rightful caliphs (khalīfa rāshida)
- Muawiya’s rebellion against Hasan was illegitimate, however despite the means being illegitimate, the Sunni would consider his caliphate as a legitimate one.
- Muawiya’s rebellion against Hasan was illegitimate, however despite the means being illegitimate, the Sunni would consider his subsequent rule, all be it a form of kingship, as legitimate.