Birth: In Madinah during the reign of Sayyidinah Umar (R.A). Born in 21 AH, his father was a freed slave of Zaid ibn Thãbit (R.A), a famous companion of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Hasan Basri (R) was himself brought up in the house of Ummul Mu’meneen Ummi-Salmah (R.A).
Capabilities of Hasan Basri (R): Hasan Basri (R) had been gifted with noble virtues and brilliant capabilities essential to make his exhortation for revival of Islãm. He was distinguished for his usual temperament, friendly and considerate, winning and enchanting, on one hand. As also for his scholarship and profound learning strengthened with good judgment and wisdom on the other. In his knowledge of the Qur’ãn and Hadith he excelled all the learned men of his times. He had the opportunity of being an associate of the Sahãbah (R.A) he was fully aware of the deficiencies in practises that had crept in among the different sections of the society, and the measures necessary to eradicate them. Whenever he lectured on the hereafter or described the by gone days of the Sahãbah (R.A) everyone was seen brimming with tears.
Hajjãj ibn Yusuf is rightly renowned for his eloquence but Hasan Basri (R) was considered to be an equally good elocutionist (to have an art of speaking). On Hasan Basri (R) is encyclopaedic knowledge. Rabi ibn Anas (R.A) says that he had the privilege of being closely associated with Hasan Basri (R) for ten years and almost everyday he found something new not heard of earlier in the lectures of Hasan Basri (R). Describing the scholarly achievement of Hasan Basri, (R) Abu Hayyãn at-Thauhidi (R) quotes Thãbit ibn Qurrah saying, “In his-learning and piety, forbearance and restrain, frankness and large-heartedness, insight and good judgment he resembled a bright star. He was always surrounded by students seeking instruction in different branches of knowledge. He would be teaching Tafseer to one, Hadith to another, Fiqh to a third, explaining a Fatwã (Legal opinion) to someone else and imparting instruction in the principles of Fiqh yet to another while continuing his advises in the meantime for those who came to him for the purpose. His knowledge covered a wide area as vast as an ocean, or he was like a dazzling radiance of light illuminating every soul around him. What is more? His heroic efforts to enjoin the good and to forbid the wrong, his support of the righteous path before rulers and administrators could never be forgotten.” The reason why Hasan Basri’s (R) words carried weight with his audience was that he was not simply a preacher but he also possessed a noble and supreme soul, whatever he said was heart-stirring because it came from the depth of his heart, his speeches had a magnetism which no other scholar or mentor of Kufã and Basra could attempt to surpass. Thãbit ibn Qurrah, a non Muslim- philosopher of the third century (A.H), was of the opinion that the few eminent persons produced by Islãm who could rightly by envied by the followers of other faiths, one was Hasan Basri (R). He adds that Makkah had always been a centre of Islãmic piety and learning where accomplished scholars in every branch of knowledge met all of parts of the world but even Makkans were dumb founded by his scholarly achievements as they had never seen a man of his calibre.
Sermons of Hasan Basri (R): The sermons delivered by Hasan Basri (R) are stipulating memories of the simplicity and moral courage of the Sahãbah (R.A). comparing the moral condition of his own times with that of the Sahãbah (R.A), he observes: “Dignified in the company of their friends, praising Allah when they were left alone, content with the lawful gains, grateful when ease of means, resigned when in distress, remembering Almighty Allah among the idle and craving the grace of Allah. When among the pious, such were the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) their associates and their friends. No matter what position they occupied in life, they were held in high esteem by their companions and when they passed away, their spirit took flight to the blessed companionship on high as the most celebrated souls. O Muslims, those were your righteous ancestors, but when you deviated from the right path, Almighty Allah too withheld his blessings from you.”
Fearlessness of Hasan Basri (R): Hasan Basri (R) was as much distinguished for his moral courage and un-flattered pursuit of justice as he was in the field of scholarship and delivering public speeches. He opposed the then caliph, Yazid ibn Abdul Mãlik, in his presence when once someone asked Hasan Basri (R) to express his opinion about the two rebellions, Yazid ibn al-Muhallab and Ibn al-Ash’ath. Hasan Basri (R) replied, “Don’t be a party to either group”. A Syrian, springing upon his feet, repeated the question. “And not even to the Amir-ul-Mu’meneen?” Hasan Basri (R) replied angrily “Yes, not even to the Amir-ul-Mu’meneen .”
Death of Hasan Basri (R): The immaculate sincerity, outstanding piety and moral and spiritual excellence of Hasan Basri (R) had earned the affection of everyone in Basra. When he passed away in 110 (AH), on 5th Rajjab on a Friday at the age of 89, the entire population of Basra attended his funeral which took place on Friday, so that for the first time in the history of Basra the Juma Masjid of the city remained empty at the hour of the Asr prayer.