In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Hasan

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Muhammad’s Affection for Hasan
  • Hasan and the Ahl al-Bayt
  • The Mubahala Episode
  • Hasan at the Time of the First Three Caliphs
  • Hasan during the Caliphate of ʿAli
  • Hasan and His Marriages
  • Hasan’s Death
  • Descendants of Hasan Called Sharif or Sayyid

Islamic Studies Hasan
Diana Steigerwald
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 May 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 May 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0109


Hasan ibn ʿAli ibn Abi Talib, the son of ʿAli (the cousin of Muhammad) and Fatima (the daughter of Muhammad), was born on 15 Ramadan 3/2 March 625. As the grandson of Muhammad, he was particularly dear to the Prophet. Just like Muhammad, Hasan was gentle, good, and pious. Hasan, a pacific man, always preferred to avoid war in order to preserve the unity of the Muslim community. When addressing an audience, he was an excellent speaker. This entry mainly covers his life during the time of Muhammad, his role during the first four caliphs, the tribulations he had to face during his caliphate, his marriages, and how the Shiʿites view him.

General Overviews

Madelung 1996, Madelung 2004, and Jafri 1979 are the most updated and important articles and books that give a general overview on Hasan’s life.

  • Jafri, S. Husain M. Origins and Early Development of Shiʿa Islam. London and New York: Longman, 1979.

    Jafri dedicates one chapter of his book to the abdication of Hasan; he presents, in a critical manner, different versions from various primary sources relating the caliphate of Hasan while also focusing on the Shiʿi perspective on Hasan. Reprint by Ansariyan Publications available online.

  • Madelung, Wilferd. The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511582042

    In his conclusion, Madelung devoted a considerable amount of space to the caliphate of Hasan. His book also contains a section on the marriages and children of Hasan.

  • Madelung, Wilferd. Ḥasan b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭaleb. In Encyclopaedia Iranica. Edited by Ehsan Yarshater, 2004.

    Madelung covers the life of Hasan based on primary sources.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.