Al-Hasan al-Basrī (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Al-Hasan was the most famous of Muslim teachers and preachers of the generation that followed the age of the Prophet Muhammad and his Companions. His views on religion and politics in the early stages of the Islamic Empire, as well as his code of conduct, made him the model of the pious Muslim in the formative age of Islam.
Abū Saʿīd ibn Abī al-Hasan Yasār al-Basrī was born in Medina in 642, ten years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. His father, Yasar, of non-Arab origin, had been taken prisoner when the Muslims conquered Maysan in Iraq. He was brought to Medina, where he was manumitted by his owner, and married Hasan’s mother, Khayra, also a slave. Some medieval Arab historians assert that al-Hasan’s parents were manumitted only after his birth.
Al-Hasan’s childhood is surrounded by the mist of legend. The tradition that was formed around him after his death placed his childhood in the sacred circle of the Prophet Muhammad himself. It is said that as an infant he was at times suckled by one of the wives of the Prophet, Umm Salama, who owned his mother. One source has it that by drinking from a pitcher that had been used by the Prophet, the boy imbibed divine wisdom.
He grew up in Wadi al-Qura, near Medina, where he was exposed to the pure Arabic tongue of the Bedouins. The child accompanied his mother while she served in the house of Umm Salama....
(The entire section is 1864 words.)
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