1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ḥasan and Ḥosain

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21810161911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 13 — Ḥasan and Ḥosain

ḤASAN and ḤOSAIN (or Ḥusein), sons of the fourth Mahommedan caliph Ali by his wife Fatima, daughter of Mahomet. On Ali’s death Ḥasan was proclaimed caliph, but the strength of Moawiya who had rebelled against Ali was such that he resigned his claim on condition that he should have the disposal of the treasure stored at Kufa, with the revenues of Darabjird. This secret negotiation came to the ears of Ḥasan’s supporters, a mutiny broke out and Ḥasan was wounded. He retired to Medina where he died about 669. The story that he was poisoned at Moawiya’s instigation is generally discredited (see Caliphate, sect. B, § 1). Subsequently his brother Ḥosain was invited by partisans in Kufa to revolt against Moawiya’s successor Yazid. He was, however, defeated and killed at Kerbela on the 10th of October (Muharram) 680 (see Caliphate, sect. B, § 2 ad init.). Ḥosain is the hero of the Passion Play which is performed annually (e.g. at Kerbela) on the anniversary of his death by the Shi’ites of Persia and India, to whom from the earliest times the family of Ali are the only true descendants of Mahomet. The play lasts for several days and concludes with the carrying out of the coffins (tabūt) of the martyrs to an open place in the neighbourhood.

See Sir Wm. Muir, The Caliphate (1883); Sir Lewis Pelly, The Miracle Play of Hasan and Hosein (1879).