His blessed name was Hasan and his nickname Abu Saeed. Another two nicknames are also attributed to him – Abu Muhammad and Abu Nasr. His father’s name was Yasar who was the maulaa (emancipated slave) of Hadhrat Zaid Bin Thabit (radhiyallahu anhu). His mother’s name was Khairah who was the Baandi (slave girl) of Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah (radhiyallahu anha), the noble wife of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). His father had embraced Islam in 12 Hijri at the hands of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu).

Hazrat  Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) was born in Madinah Munawwarah.“His Name  Hasan because his face is hasan (beautiful).”

Hazrat Umm-e-Salmah (radhiyallahu anha) played a prominent role in his upbringing and moral training. According to Hazrat  Abu Zar’ah, at the age of 14 years Hazrat  Hasan became the mureed of Hadhrat Ali (A.S). There after Hazrat  Hasan migrated to Kufa and Basrah.

Hazrat  Hasan had three sons – Ali, Muhammad and Saeed.

Hazrat Hasan was an embodiment of all the lofty attributes necessary for a Wali-e-Kaamil (a perfect saint). A very large segment of the Ummah has always glowingly praised him. Among his contemporaries he was incomparable. Hajjaaj Bin Irtat says that when he asked Ata Bin Abi Rabaah concerning Hazrat Hasan, he said:

“Cling to him strongly. He is a great Imaam who is followed (by the Ummah).”

Hammad Bin Salmah said:

“We have seen many Fuqaha. But we have not seen anyone with such a high moral culture as Hasan Basri.”

Hazrat A’mash said:

“Hasan Basri always accumulated hikmat (wisdom), then disseminated it.”

Hazrat Baqir would say:

“Hazrat  Hasan Basri’s speech resembled the speech of the Ambiya.”

He remained perpetually in the state of wudhu. One night his sleep was disturbed more than 70 times. Each time he awoke, he performed wudhu and two raka’ts Namaaz. In taqwa he was unique. In this regard he would frequently say: “Taqwa is the basis of Deen. Desire and greed destroy this basis.”

His relationship with the Sunnah of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) was one of burning love and devotion. He went to extremes in following the Sunnah and instructing others to also follow the Sunnah.

Khauf (Divine Fear) was excessive in him. Frequently this fear would reduce him to tears because he feared that Allah Ta’ala may rebuff him on account of sin which he had committed and reject his ibaadat. Once he accompanied a janaazah to the qabrustaan. After the burial, he stood at the graveside shedding tears in abundance. Then he said:

“People, beware! The end of the world and the beginning of the Aakhirah is this grave. The Hadith says that the grave is the first of the stations of the Aakhirah. Why love such a world, the end of which is the grave. Why do you not fear Qiyaamah, the inception of which is this grave?”

The moving eloquence of his naseehat reduced the gathering to tears.

He said that when a person dies and the inmates of the house begin to cry, then Malakul Maut, standing in the doorway, says:

“I did not consume his provisions (rizq). He has completed his provisions. I have not decreased his age. Remember, I have to repeatedly visit this house.”

Hazrat  Hasan then said:

“I swear by Allah! If the house folk could see the Angel at this time and hear him, they would forget about the dead person and worry about themselves.”

Humility was overwhelming in him. He always regarded himself to be the most contemptible person. Once when someone asked him:

“Hasan, are you or the dog better?”, he responded:

“If I am saved from Allah’s punishment, I am better than the dog. But if I am apprehended by Allah’s punishment, the dog is a thousand times better.”

At times when seeing a dog, he would supplicate:

“O Allah! Accept me through the medium of this dog.”

According to Hazrat  Hasan, the omission of Tahajjud Salaat is because of a sin committed. He therefore advised observance of muhaasabah before going to bed and repentance for any sin committed during the day to ensure the acquisition of Tahajjud Salaat.

(Muhaasabah means to take stock of oneself. This exercise entails thinking about the day’s acts and utterances. For every good act recalled, be grateful to Allah Ta’ala and for every sinful or futile deed committed, regret and repent. When a man who regularly performs Tahajjud Salaat misses this Salaat, the omission, after deep reflection, can be traceable to some sinful deed. In relation to the Sulahaa (Pious) even futility and idle talk are tantamount to sins which produce spiritual darkness – Translator.)

Tahajjud is difficult for a person who indulges in transgressions.

Allah Ta’ala had bestowed to him a wonderful ability in lecturing. His lectures were most eloquent. He would deliver a wa’z (lecture) once every week. A very large number of people–laymen and even Auliya–attended his discourses. However, if Hazrat  Rabiyah (rahmatullah alayha) was not present, he would not deliver his discourse. When asked to explain the reason for this, he said:

“The drink which fills the water-trough of elephants cannot be poured for ants.”

Once when Hazrat  Ali (A.S) visited Basrah, he attended one of Hazrat  Hasan’s discourses. Hazrat Ali asked:

“Hasan, are you an Aalim or a Searcher of Knowledge?”

Hazrat  Hasan responded: “I am neither. However, I deliver (to others whatever has reached me from you & Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم).”

Hazrat Ali then said:

“This young man is qualified to deliver discourses.”

So saying, Hazrat  Ali departed and banned all other incompetent lecturers from lecturing.

Once it was reported to Hazrat  Hasan Basri that in the city was a man who loved to live in solitude. One day Hazrat  Hasan visited him and enquired:
“You appear to love solitude. Why do you not meet people?”
He replied: ‘The duty in which I am occupied does not permit me to meet people.’
Hazrat Hasan: “In this place resides Hasan Basri. You should frequent him.” (The man was unaware that it was Hasan speaking to him).
The man: ‘The duty which keeps me away from others, also restrains me from visiting Hasan Basri.’
Hazrat  Hasan: “What is this duty?”
The man: ‘When I contemplate, I see Allah’s bounties and my sins. I am thus occupied in rendering shukr for the bounties and repenting for my sins.’
Hazrat Hasan: “You are more intelligent than Hasan Basri. It suffices that you remain occupied in your duty.”

Once when Hazrat  Hasan Basri saw a youth indulging in laughter, he said: “Have you already crossed the Siraat?” (The Bridge over Jahannum.)
Youth: ‘No!’
Hazrat  Hasan: ‘Do you know whether you are going to enter Jannat or Jahannum?’
Youth: ‘No!’
Hazrat  Hasan: ‘Why then this laughter?’

The narrator says that the youth was never again seen laughing. (Such was the electrifying effect of Hadhrat Basri’s naseehat – Translator).

Some sayings of Hazrat  Hasan Basri:

 A man will be released after a thousand years in Jahannum. How wonderful, if I could be that person. (At least this man’s salvation is assured, hence Hazrat  Hasan’s yearning – Translator)
 When Allah intends to do good to a bandah (Allah’s devotee), He prevents him from engrossment in his family. (It should be understood that fulfilment of the huqooq of the family and engrossment with the family are two different issues. While the former, i.e. Huqooq, is obligatory, the latter is spiritually detrimental.)
 The requisite for tawaadhu (humility) is to believe everyone else to be nobler than oneself.
 A true repentance produces proximity to Allah Ta’ala.
 When a man complained of the hardness of his heart, Hadhrat Hasan said:
“Attend gatherings of Thikr.”
 I have met such Auliya whose dislike for even halaal things exceed your dislike for haraam things.
 Tama’ (Worldly desire) blemishes the Aalim.
 I swear by Allah! Allah disgraces a person who loves money.
 The world is a vehicle for you. If you drive it, it will deliver you to your destination. If it drives you, you will be destroyed.
 Abstain from being an enemy of Allah’s obedient servant. Allah will never assign him to your control. If he is a sinner, refrain from being his enemy because he will see the consequences of his misdeeds.
 A man who claims Allah’s Love but does not dislike sins, is false in his claim of love.

Once he heard a man reciting the hadith: “A man will be together with the one whom he loves.”

Hazrat Hasan Basri, commented:

“Do not be deceived. This companionship will be acquired only if one practises such deeds as the person (whose companionship is desired).”

When anyone would make gheebat about him, Hazrat  Hasan would send him a gift of dates with the message:

“Your gift (i.e. the gheebat) is vastly superior to my insignificant gift.”

His Demise
According to conflicting narrations, Hazrat  Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) passed away during the reign of Hisham Bin Abdul Malik either on the 4th Muharram, or 1st Rajab in the year 110 Hijri at the age of 90 years. He was buried in Basrah. On the occasion of his demise, a wonderful episode was enacted.

During his final moments he laughingly exclaimed: ‘Which sin?’ ‘Which sin?’ Thereafter he died. In a dream a buzrug asked Hazrat  Hasan the reason for his laughter and the meaning of the statement. He replied:

“At the time of death I heard a voice saying: ‘O Malakul Maut! Be harsh with him. There yet remains a sin on him.’

I was pleased to hear this and laughingly enquired about the sin.

The author of Siyarul Aqtab has enumerated five of Hazrat  Hasan’s Mureed-E-Khaas. Among them, Shaikh Abdul Wahid Bin Zaid (rahmatullah alayh) belongs to our Silsilah (Chishtiyyah).