Hadhrat Hasan Basri was a Taabi-ee who had the good fortune of meeting 120 Sahaabah among whom 70 were participants of the Battle of Badr. He was the mureed of Hadhrat Hasan, the son of Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu). According to another version recorded in Tuhfah, it is said that he was the mureed of Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) who had conferred on him the mantle of spiritual mentorship (i.e. made him his Khalifah in the spiritual realm).
The fear of Maut was so overwhelming in him that from the time of his youth when he pledged himself to prepare for the Aakhirah, he never laughed until death overtook him at the age of 70.
For his entire life, until the age of 70, he always remained with wudhu.
Once a Wali said: “Hasan has surpassed us all because the whole creation is in need of his knowledge while he needs none besides Allah Ta’ala. He is therefore our chief.”
Hadhrat Hasan was asked: “What is the meaning of Islam and who is a Muslim?” He replied: “Islam is in the books and Muslims are in the grave.”
When asked: “What is pure Deen?”, he said; “Piety”. People asked: “What destroys piety?” He said: “Greed and desire.”
Hadhrat Hasan said that an ill physician (i.e. spiritual mentor) should first treat himself before treating others (i.e. he should first reform himself morally and spiritually).
People complained: “Our hearts are asleep, hence your advices do not benefit us.” Hadhrat Hasan said: “Your hearts are dead. A sleeping person can be woken up, but a dead man cannot be aroused.”
Someone said to Hadhrat Hasan: “Some people overwhelm our heart with fear with their talks.” (He was referring to the advices of Hadhrat Hasan.) He replied: “It is better today to be in the company of those who instil fear in you so that tomorrow on the Day of Qiyaamah you will have hope in the mercy of Allah.”
- A man said to him: “Some people find fault with your statements and criticize you.” Hadhrat Hasan replied: “I find myself full of fault. While I am searching for Divine Proximity, I cherish the desire for Jannat. But both these attitudes are contradictory. Furthermore, I do not hope to be spared from the criticism of people. Even Allah Ta’ala, The Absolute One, has not been spared by their tongues.”