When Al-Hasan saw the signed and stamped paper brought by 'Abdullah Ibn 'Aamir from Mu'awiyah he objected to the condition that the caliphate would be restored to him after the demise of Mu'aawiyah. He said, "I strongly dislike the condition of my being chosen Caliph after Mu'aawiyah; if I had a longing for the caliphate, why should I quit it now." Following this he sent for the scribe and asked him to write the peace document in the following words:
"This peace document is being written between Al-Hasan Ibn 'Ali Ibn Abu Talib and Mu'aawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan . Both of them agree on the following:
The office of the caliphate is handed over to Mu'awiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan. The Muslims will be at liberty to elect a Caliph of their own choice after Mu'awiyah. The Muslims as a whole will remain safe from the hands and tongue of Mu'awiyah and he will treat all with grace. He will not stand in the way of Ali's relatives, and the supporter's of 'Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn Ibn 'Ali will not suffer at his hands. Both these brothers and their relatives will be free to go anywhere and settle at any place. Mu'awiyah and his governors will not have the right to force them to carry out their orders by treating them as their subjects. Mu'awiyah is bound to keep sending the tribute from Ahwaz to Al-Hasan Ibn 'Ali, and the entire existing possessions of the public treasury of Koofah will be within the rights of Al-Hasan Ibn Ali and he will be free to spend it at will. Mu'awiyah should prefer Banu Hashim in giving gifts and rewards."
Some important people signed the document like 'Abdullah Ibn Al-Harith Ibn Nawfal and 'Amr Ibn Abu Salamah and others as witness and surety. When the document was placed before Mu'awiyah, he expressed his utmost joy over it. In the wake of this peace treaty, Mu'awiyah raised his siege and left Qays Ibn Sa'd free. Mu'awiyah then reached the Grand Mosque of Koofah and took Bay'ah from Al-Hasan and the people of Koofah. But Sa'd Ibn Qais remained absent from the mosque. Mu'awiyah also sent him a piece of signed and stamped paper asking him to put down his own conditions for conducting Bay'ah, which would be totally accepted. He demanded security of his life and those of his supporters without asking for anything else. Mu'awiyah conceded to it at once. Thereupon he and his comrades came and gave Bay'ah.
Al-Husayn refused to give Bay'ah. When Mu'awiyah pressed for it, Al-Hasan told him not to insist, for his pride was dearer to him than giving Bay'ah. Mu'awiyah kept silent. But Al-Husayn gave Bay'ah later. 'Amr Ibn Al-'Aas was present on that occasion. He advised Mu'awiyah to request Al-Hasan to deliver his address before the audience. Mu'awiyah liked the advice and in response to his request Al-Hasan said addressing the people: "O Muslims! To me mischief is highly detestable. I made peace with Mu'awiyah to save the Ummah of my grandfather from tribulations and disorder and accepted him as commander and Caliph. Had the command and caliphate been his right, he has got it; if it was mine, I bestowed it on him."
Prophecy of the Prophet
Following the process of establishing this peace treaty through all the stages, one can marvel at the accuracy of the prophecy of the Prophet about Al-Hasan: "This son of mine is a chief and Allah the Almighty will reconcile between two groups of the Muslims through him." When Al-Hasan descended from the pulpit, Mu'awiyah got up and said "Abu Muhammad! You have shown such a boldness and bravery the like of which nobody has seen so far."
This peace treaty was signed in 41 AH, only six months after the martyrdom of 'Ali . After the finalization of peace, Mu'awiyah left Koofah for Damascus. He showed high regard for Al-Hasan while he remained alive and kept sending him the amount agreed upon.
Mu'awiyah had now risen as the unchallenged leader and Caliph of Islam. Even Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas who had relieved himself of all the affairs of life and was passing his days grazing his camels and goats and worshiping Allah in a state of seclusion, had also given Bay'ah at the hand of Mu'awiyah. In short, none was there to hold himself back from giving Bai'ah sooner or later. A few days after the peace treaty was signed, Al-Hasan left Koofah and proceeded to Al-Madeenah along with his relatives. The people of Koofah escorted him for some distance. He settled in Al-Madeenah.
Concocted Story of poisoning
Al-Hasan died in 50 or 51 AH. It is said that his wife Ju'dah Bint Al-Ash'ath poisoned him. However, Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn could not detect the culprit, so how can she be blamed for this event? On the eve of his death, Al-Hasan called Al-Husayn and said, "The caliphate reached 'Ali after the Prophet and swords were drawn but the issue remained unsettled. I have now come to know it very well that Prophethood and caliphate cannot remain combined in our family. I am afraid the ignorant of Koofah will try to take you out of this city but you should foil their attempt. I had once requested 'Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, to allow me to be buried near the Prophet . She had then agreed. Maybe, she will refuse permission now. However, approach her for this purpose but without insistence." Following this advice Al-Husayn contacted 'Aa'ishah immediately after the demise of Al-Hasan and sought permission for his brother's burial and she gave her consent. Al-Hasan was then laid to rest beside his mother, Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her. Nine sons and six daughters survived him.
A Glance at Al-Hasan's Caliphate
Some historians are reluctant to accept the six-month caliphate of Al-Hasan as a part of the Rightly-Guided Caliphate on the plea of its being short-lived and incomplete. However, this viewpoint appears to be untenable. Should this argument be considered as acceptable, 'Ali's caliphate will also have to be erased from the hierarchy of the Righteous Caliphs, which is not justified. The shortness of his tenure is also not a valid reason. If the caliphate of Al-Hasan is carefully taken into consideration, it is an important part of the Rightly-Guided Caliphate. Even though the caliphate of Al-Hasan is devoid of victories and cries of battles, it performed such a remarkable and magnificent service to the world of Islam and its unity that a caliphate spreading over scores of years and with a hundred victories could not have been accomplished. In respect of the marvelous role played by him in bringing unity to the two warring groups of the Muslim Ummah, his caliphate is unforgettable.
He put an end to the enmity of a decade in a stroke. He destroyed the conspiracies and mischief of the hypocrites and Jews in the garb of Muslims that developed through a decade and had grown strong and formidable. In this way he paved the way for future victories and the swords of the Muslim Ummah turned once again towards the enemies of Islam. He certainly surpassed the bravery of a great warrior with many victories when giving Bay'ah at the hand of Mu'awiyah, he said: "Had the command and caliphate been his right, he has got it; if it was mine, I bestowed it on him."
This remarkable event will serve to the Last Day as a guiding light for the Muslim Ummah to keep to the right path. This glittering example stands to this day as a lighthouse in the wild and fathomless dark ocean. Al-Hasan had under his command forty thousand fighters. They might have been unsteady, ignorant and impertinent, but all of them had taken the oath of fighting against Mu'awiyah to the last drop of their blood. In such a situation it was a must for a young man of 37, an experienced general and the son of a brave father to fight against his father's rival. Al-Hasan knew it well that he, being the darling of the Prophet would be able in a short period, to turn the tide of the Companions and the world of Islam in his favor.