HAZRAT KHWAJA HASAN BASRI. was the spiritual descendant of Hazrat Ali (ra) in the Chishti silsila. He comes after Ali (ra) and before Hazrat Kwaja ‘Abd al-Wahid Bin Zayd who was his student in Basra.
In his childhood Hazrat Hasan was fortunate enough to drink the water that was left in the cup by the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (saw). When the Prophet knew of it he remarked, “This child will receive from the Lord an amount of knowledge equivalent to the water drunk.” When they brought Hazrat Hasan, as a newly born child before Hazrat Umer (ra), he said, “Call him by the name of Hasan, as he is beautiful. He was initiated by Hazrat Ali (ra).
A very interesting incident records the conversion of Hazrat Hasan. Before turning a Sufi, he was a jeweler. One day he proceeded to Rum (in Asia Minor) on business, and put up with the minister of the Sultan. The minister told him, “You will have to wait for some days as we are present accompanying the Sultan on an important private errand. If you so desire, you may accompany us.” Hazrat Hasan went in company of the Sultan, the minister, and others. They entered a vast wideness. In the middle of it, they saw a magnificent tent fixed up, which was guarded by army officers. The officers entered the tent and then came out. Then they circumambulated it and went away. Some very old respectable citizens who, like the officers, entered the tent, uttered some words, came out, circumambulated the tent and then went away followed them. Then came some medical experts who did likewise. Then came two hundred young maidens, who entered the tent and acted as the previous ones had done. Lastly came the Sultan accompanied by his ministers, he too entered the tent, uttered some words, then circumambulated the tent and went away. Surprised at the incident Hazrat Hasan inquired of the minister what all that meant. The minister replied, “A very beautiful and brave son of Sultan died and his corpse is interred in a tomb on which stands that tent. Every year all of us visit it, and perform the ceremonies like the ones you saw today. First, the members of the army approach the tomb and addressing the Prince say, “If by our arms, we could save thee from the God of Death, we would have sacrificed our life for the fulfillment of that aim, but we are helpless.” Then come the learned citizens who say, “If our knowledge and experience could save thee we should have surely averted thy death, but before Death we are helpless.” Then come the medical men, who say, “If our medicines could save thee, we would have left no stone unturned to save thee from the clutches of Death, but we were powerless before it.” Then come the maidens who say, “If our accomplishments could save you, we would have sacrificed our all to save you but we were powerless before Death.” Then enters the Sultan is turn accompanied by the ministers and says, “My son! We tried our best with our army, doctors, and other means to save thee, but no charge was possible in Divine dispensation. We bid you good-buy now and shall visit you nest year at this time.” This incident made such an indelible mark on the mind of Hazrat Hasan that he decided to pass the rest of his life in prayers and worship to face that inevitable end. He returned to Basra, gave up his business, took to solitude, and vowed never to smile in his whole life. Moreover, for seventy years he passed every moment in prayers. The cause that made Hazrat Hasan most famous was that in his life he felt only one necessity—God. In his anxiety to meet God, he took concern of nothing besides Him.
When Hazrat Ra’bia Basri would not come to attend the sermons of Hazrat Hasan, he would deliver no discourse that day. People in the audience asked him why he did that. He replied, “The syrup that is held by the vessels mean for the elephants cannot be contained in the vessels meant for the ants.”
He was asked, “What is Islam, and who is a Muslim?” He replied, “Islam is in the books and Muslim is in the tomb.”
Hazrat Hasan said that four incidents gave him the greatest lessons of life:
One: – Once I pulled off the garments of a eunuch in mere fun. He said, “Kindly return them to me, for nobody knows my real state.” Immediately the thought crossed my mind: What shall be our condition when on the Day of Judgment, we shall be made naked and all our sins lay bare?
Two: – A drunkard was struggling in mire. I told him to beware lest he should sink in it. He replied, “Hasan, if I fall I alone shall suffer. However, you take care of yourself. For if you fall, all your congregation will stand condemned.”
Three: – A child was one day carrying a lighted lamp. I asked him where from he had brought the light. The child extinguished the light and said, “Tell me, where has the light gone?”
Four: – A beautiful young woman was running one day along the street with her head uncovered, and was complaining about her husband in harsh terms. I told her to cover her head and face. She said, “The love of my husband has made me lose my senses so much that I am not conscious of my body and of my surroundings. If you had not told me that my head and face were uncovered, I would have never known it. I would have walked like that in the street. However, it is a matter of surprise, O Hasan, that you pretend to be a lover of God, and yet are conscious of everything that crosses your way and retain your senses. What is this love of God like in you?”
Sayings of Hazrat Hassan Basri:
- The end of the world and the beginning of the life to come is in the tomb
- Evil company degenerates the seeker
- Accumulating wealth is worse then drinking wine that is prohibited by the scriptures
- He who takes to solitude finds safety in it. Moreover, he who disowns allegiance to his carnal soul is set free
- He is wise who digs out the foundation of the world and builds instead the castle of other-worldliness (eternity) on it
- He who gives up his spiritual practices to play the philanthropy in the world, trying to mold its evil ways, is ruined
- The Lord humiliates whosoever loves silver and gold and he who considers himself the leader of the community is misled and belittled
- The Lord in the Qur’an says, “I shall forgive thee all thy transgressions if ye shall cast thy glances on none besides Me.”
- It was ased, “How are you?”, Hazrat Hassan replied, “I am like a person in the midst of the sea whose boat is shattered and he is floating in the waters.”