Imamate, which means leadership, is a principle of Islam that is probably one of the most debated and, at the same time, most misunderstood of all its principles. Even the word "Imam" has been taken on as a general term of leader, where, in Islam it has a very precise designation.
The Imams of the Ahlul Bayt [a] were not leaders chosen by the people, although many times in order to take their rightful position among the ummah they were "selected" by the people. The true Imams, those descending from the first Imam, Ali bin Abi-Talib [a] and Fatimah al-Zahra [a] were chosen by Allah, Most High and number, including Imam Ali, twelve.
These twelve, Fatimah [a] and the Messenger of Allah [s] make up the Ahlul-Bayt [a]. They were pure, sinless and possessed Divine knowledge of the seen and unseen. They are those who were "deemed weak in the land" and upon whom the "favour of Imamate" was bestowed. May they intercede for us on the Day of Judgement.
In these series of books about the Ahlul Bayt [a], Al-Balagh Foundation hopes to clear up many of the distorted "historical facts" about this most blessed group of human beings, may Allah, Most Gracious, count us among their lovers and followers.
The purpose of Imamate, through the kindness and love of Allah for His creatures, was to provide a guide for us after the death of the last Prophet, Muhammad bin Abdullah [s]. These guides would keep us on the straight path and lead us to victory in this life and the next. The first of them was Imam Ali [a] and the last of them is Imam al-Mahdi, the Awaited One [a].
Eleven of these blessed Imams came to power and proceeded with their Divinely assigned task. All of them met with the same fate -assassination.
The last of them, Imam Mahdi, through Allah's most high grace, has been given a long life to manage the affairs of the ummah in occultation until Allah calls him forward to achieve the task for which he was created - to bring justice to a world filled with injustice and to bring mankind to its final stage.
This book is about the second Imam, Imam Hasan [a]. He was the son of the first Imam who received his commission upon the death of his father, may Allah allow us to be called his Shi'ah. Many erroneous accounts have been given about Imam Hasan [a], the most treacherous of them being about the number of wives he had and attributing worldly passions to him, God forbid! The most misunderstood and underestimated act of this great Imam was the signing of a peace treaty with the usurper Mu'awiyah.
A large portion of this book has been dedicated to clarifying this treaty. Why it was made, why Imam Hasan [a] was forced to sign it. What it contained and how it was broken.
We pray that Allah is pleased with our efforts and that the true glory of this Imam shines forth for all to see.