Born on 18 April 1844, Mir Hassan belonged to a religious family of Eastern physicians but did not opt for that profession, and he also refused to take up a career as a traditional prayer leader because he did not want to live on charity. Much to the horror of his family he ended up teaching at a vernacular school run by Christian missionaries. At the age of nineteen he also visited Delhi to meet the famous poet Mirza Ghalib.
He was a great admirer of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, of whom he became a staunch supporter. He had regular correspondence with him, and had the opportunity to meet him in person on numerous occasions. He was a regular visitor of All India Muhammadan Educational Conference. When Sir Syed Ahmed Khan visited Punjab, Syed Mir Hassan was the first to receive him. He used all his influence to spread Aligarh movement in his area.
He had a great influence on Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Syed Mir Hasan was "an accomplished scholar with a knowledge of several Islamic languages. Mir Hassan gave Sir Muhammad Iqbal a thorough training in the rich Islamic literary tradition and influence him deeply. It is said that once Iqbal picked up Maulvi Mir Hasan’s shoes as a mark of respect.
In 1922, when the British governor of the Punjab proposed to the British Crown that Iqbal be knighted in recognition of his literary achievements, Iqbal asked that Mir Hasan should be awarded a title. When the governor remarked that Mir Hassan had not written any books, Iqbal replied that he, Iqbal, was the book Mir Hasan had produced. Mir Hasan received the title of Shams al-’Ulama’ (“Sun of Scholars”).