After Abdullah bin Abbas, the new Governor of Basra, assumed the reins of office and acquired control over the state of affairs and the life of the people became normal, peace prevailed throughout the vast Islamic territories except in Syria.
However, the conditions in Syria was not important in itself because the rebel in that area was Mu'awiya, and if, according to the values prevalent in the world of Islam in those days, some people had regard for Talha, Zubayr and the Mother of the Faithful A’isha. Mu'awiya, on the contrary, did not enjoy any value in the eyes of the Islamic world and was known as a freedman son of a freedman.
All knew that he was the son of that very person who assumed the leadership of the clans (Ahzab) and instigated the Jews to annihilate Islam. For this reason the circumstances of Syria or the mischief of Mu'awiya in Damascus had no real importance, but its importance was connected with the historical environments and the factors of the time. In fact these very factors were the cause of campaign against ‘Ali and not that the fraud and deceit practised by Mu'awiya in his Machiavellian politics strengthened his position.
In any case the reasons advanced by Mu'awiya for rebellion against ‘Ali had no basis except vain sophistry, and he was automatically considered annihilated even before he was subjected to the blow of truth.
Mu'awiya accused ‘Ali of the murder of ‘Uthman, but there was not even one person throughout the world of Islam of that day who might confirm this charge.
Those who considered ‘Ali innocent of this accusation had no doubt that Mu'awiya himself was an accomplice in the murder of ‘Uthman, because, notwithstanding the fact that he could save ‘Uthman he refrained from doing so. Moreover, ‘Uthman had sons who were his heirs and the guardians of his blood. Mu'awiya stole a march on them and assumed this title himself. And even if he had taken a step in this behalf in the capacity of an agent it may be said that he would have made a mistake, because the proper way for solving such problems is to approach the law court and not to resort to rebellion and revolt.
Besides this Mu'awiya claimed that he had not taken an oath of allegiance to ‘Ali, as had been done by Talha and Zubayr and it was not, therefore, incumbent upon him to obey the new Caliph.
It may be said in this connection that Mu'awiya’s ignorance of the problem was more baseless then his original claim, because he wanted to provide for a rule on the subject on the basis of exceptions and to make it prevail over the general orders and forge a sanctity for himself so that by this action he might show the Islamic society to be false and depraved. And relying on this he claimed that the vote of the people of Syria and not of those of the Hijaz was worthy of obedience.
Anyhow I do not know, if this claim of Mu'awiya was not domineering and coercion, what else domineering and coercion are!
All the reasoning and arguments of Mu'awiya were feeble and baseless like the vegetables which grow on the surface of water and he himself knew that they were even feebler than that. He relied on this pretext only for the reason that he knew that the power of understanding and assessment of the people was weaker and more baseless than even the strength of such vegetables.
Apart from this the decision taken by Mu'awiya in those days was not something new.
It was a deep and comprehensive decision which had traversed many stages with care and solidity. This fact has already been referred to in this book and the readers have not perhaps forgotten Abu Sufyan's having been turned away by ‘Ali after the meeting at Saqifa.
Anyhow these stages were the outcome of some historical factors which proved to be more beneficial for the Umayyad party-spirit as compared with the Hashimite justice. Furthermore, the historical events which manifested themselves during the period of the third Caliph were the most effective factors which according to the exigencies of the time proved harmful to ‘Ali. ‘Ali had all these matters in view and none knew better than he that during this interval, as demanded by the circumstances, the only way of over coming the difficulties and the last means to arrive at a final solution was soothing covetousness and returning to the revival of party spirit and purchase of consciences! But Imam ‘Ali was a man who said: "I am not going to seek help from the deviated seducers or to make them the means of success.” He made this position clearly known to Mughira who contacted him and suggested that Mu'awiya might be allowed to retain Damascus.
Imam ‘Ali gave the same reply to Mu'awiya when he asked him to entrust the government of Damascus and Cairo to him so that he (Mu'awiya) might take oath of allegiance to him. ‘Ali rejected his request. He adopted this attitude because he considered himself under obligation to enforce Islamic principles and at the same time the path of solving the political problems in the manner in which his contemporary politicians and those of later ages reflected upon was closed before him and he was not neglectful of it.
However, he was on his guard against treachery, deceit and bargaining and as his conduct was peculiar to himself he did not pay attention to the political behaviour and policies of others. For this reason and taking into account the rule and principle which he had in view he did not agree to allow Mu'awiya to retain Syria and as a matter of principle his action with regard to Mu'awiya was based on the same rule and principle according to which he had rejected Mu'awiya's request previously and had said: "I am not going to seek help from the seducers.”
He also knew very well that the observance of this rule and principle was not compatible with the spirit of his time and following this policy would create the greatest difficulties for him. Nevertheless the only factor and cause which made him persevere and consider the exigencies of time to be insignificant was that, he wished that there should be ‘Ali and not Mu'awiya.
Imam ‘Ali was struggling to safeguard and enforce this principle and rule and not to attain to ruler ship and kingdom. He did not desire a transient victory but wished to achieve a permanent and eternal victory.
The clearest proof of the correctness of this claim and of his careful attention towards these things is that he said to some of his companions who were showing much humiliation before him: "I know with which factor and means I should make you obey me. However I tell you that I am not the man who would spoil and corrupt his faith so that your material desires may be fulfilled.”
Yes, the crux of the matter is that ‘Ali was campaigning against immorality, mischief, indecency and corruption and in this struggle which he had undertaken against moral vices and to uproot indecency and uncleanness from the souls of the people, he did not exempt even those of his friends and kinsmen in whose nature this ailment had penetrated. In short in this campaign friends and enemies were equal in his eyes and in the circumstances it is evident that for Mu'awiya, who was drowned in intellectual and practical evils, there was no place in this organization and he was a man who could not succeed by any other way except evil.
However the object of dwelling at length on this subject is that the genius and intelligence which has been attributed to Mu'awiya, and his extraordinary efficiency and competence about which much has been said, is all exaggeration and idle talk. In fact the entire success of this man was indebted to those very fictitious qualities mixed with mischief and evil and such successes and victories as are the consequences of such vicious practices.
Another important point in this connection is that the apparent successes of Mu'awiya certainly sprang from the perseverance and steadfastness of ‘Ali in protecting the principles and elements of truth. It is evident that persons who were after worldly gains and pleasures and could not achieve their ends by associating with ‘Ali naturally turned to Mu'awiya to secure their goals.
Incidentally this aspect of the matter should also be made clear that the atmosphere preceding the ruler ship of ‘Ali had distracted the people from true Islamic principles and matters had taken such a turn, that it was said: "Only that person who is dominant and powerful has a right to live, and predominance and victory can only be gained under the shadow of accumulation of wealth, hoarding, seizing an opportunity, enlargement of influence and acquisition of the objects of desire.”
It is apparent that if, in these circumstances, ‘Ali had resorted to diplomacy, he could have very easily eliminated the gains made by his opponents. And it is also evident that it was easier for ‘Ali to overcome Mu'awiya with the same weapon of politics then to subdue those who had broken the covenant.
The revolt of Mu'awiya during those days was not very important in the light of the true Islamic criteria. The real danger arose from the causes and effects of the prevailing atmosphere and the danger of resistance and perseverance in seeking absolute truth was the greatest of all.
However, in spite of all these conditions and circumstances it must be admitted that, the most important factors were perseverance, resistance and steadfastness in protecting and supporting absolute truth and ignoring the suggestions of those who asked Imam ‘Ali to resort to compromises and flattery.
Anyhow during the days when ‘Ali was staying in Kufa the condition of Mu'awiya and his activities which seemed languid and weak to every reflective and sensible person appeared all the more worthless and unimportant to ‘Ali. Notwithstanding this, however, ‘Ali did not ignore the elements which had been created by the circumstances and events to the benefit of Mu'awiya which had prepared favourable environments for strengthening his position. The matters had taken such a turn that Mu'awiya had begun coveting the office of the Caliphate and nurtured this fancy in his mind that he might be nominated for it.
However, ‘Ali, while being fully cognizant of this state of affairs, remained steadfast and well composed. At the same time he could not only read clearly in the horizon of the coming events the evil results of the preliminaries of future campaigns, but he also afforded liberty of action to the enemy with perfect calmness, so that he might have a clear and well-founded ground for jihad against Mu'awiya, and the responsibility for the war which the agitators were going to start should be on the oppressive deviated persons, just as the responsibility for the previous war fell on the covetous breakers of the covenant and that for the future war was to fall on the Khawarij .
During the time when ‘Ali was in Kufa letters were exchanged between him and Mu'awiya, ‘Ali consulted his companions about current affairs and apprised them of the developments. His companions suggested that they might spend that year in Kufa and wait, but ‘Ammar, Ashtar, Adyy bin Hatim (famous for his generosity) and Shurayh bin Hani opposed this view.
‘Ammar said: "O Commander of the faithful! We have taken oath of allegiance to you and find none, who may rise against you. Previously there were persons who rose to fight against you but the Almighty Allah routed them and helped you in accordance with the verse: Whoever retaliates in the same manner as he was made to suffer and then is oppressed again, Allah will certainly help him. (Surah al-Hajj, 22:60) And as clearly stated by Him in another verse: Whoever breaks the covenant breaks it to his own detriment, (Surah al-Fath, 48: 10), those who broke the covenant received punishment for their conduct.
Another point is that during those days Kufa supported us and Basra was opposed to us. One group from amongst us was rewarded and the other was excused.
At present, however, we are involved in an irremediable trouble in Syria and a person, who has revolted, will not submit unless he is killed or defeated. In the circumstances we should forestall him. I would, therefore, request you to issue orders for mobilization".
Ashtar and others who were of the same opinion supported ‘Ammar's view. Soon afterwards ‘Ali received news of the mobilization of Mu'awiya's forces and it became certain that Mu'awiya was on the war path and was preparing to attack.
The Commander of the Faithful, therefore, equipped an army consisting of 190,000 warriors and proceeded to Siffin at the head of this army. In this army as well the Commander of the cavalry was ‘Ammar.
The result of the first encounter of the two parties was that Mu'awiya obtained control of the water-way and did not allow ‘Ali and his forces to use it.
Before the brave and distinguished warriors of Badr and the Muhajirs and the Ansar and the soldiers of Muzar and Rabi 'a and the chiefs of Yemen and Iraq could commence fighting and achieve any result from it, Ashtar, in order to achieve victory, put forward suggestions which obliged Mu'awiya and his minister to resort to cold war by discussion, debate, oration, lecturing and sending letters. These were the prerequisites for such a war. It is evident that the superiority of the supporters of ‘Ali in this cold war was as much established in the minds of the enemies as their superiority in the matter of swordsmanship.
If there were Mu'awiya, 'Amr As and his son Abdullah in that party, there were on this side, besides Imam ‘Ali, great orators like Abdullah bin Abbas, ‘Ammar Yasir, Malik Ashtar, Ash'ath bin Qays (although a hypocrite), Ahnaf bin Qays, ‘Uthman bin Hunayf, Sa'sa'a bin Sohan, Adyy bin Hatim and hundreds of others from amongst the Muhajirs and the Ansar of Badr, all of whom possessed intelligence, insight, sagacity and experience and were very eloquent, whereas the persons in the opposite row did not possess these qualities.
Mu'awiya and his minister ‘Amr As were persons who were extreme opportunists. They had gained experiences regarding the conduct of ‘Ali in the Battle of Basra so as to utilize them at the opportune time. They had now acquired an opportunity and wanted to profit from those experiences. Hence, in order to strengthen the morale of the Syrian soldiers and to dodge military action they resorted to stratagems. To achieve this end they decided to defame the outstanding leaders and distinguished personalities of Iraq and to make them appear despised and degraded in the eyes of the Syrians.
Amr As who had previously carried on correspondence with some Iraqi hypocrites like Ash'ath now began to lecture to the Syrians and endeavoured to delude and seduce them.
As soon as the sound of the speech of ‘Amr reached the ears of ‘Ammar he got up to put an end to this cold war. In spite of his old age and feebleness, he raised his thunderous voice which was sustained by resolution and determination and said: "O slaves of Allah! Rise and hurry up towards these people who want to avenge the murder of a tyrant. Some benevolent and righteous persons who were opponents of cruelty and oppression and supporters of justice and goodness rose and killed that man. Now these people have risen and want to avenge the murder of such a person upon us. These persons who claim to be the avengers of his murder are of a type that if their worldly ambitions are achieved and Islam is destroyed they will not mind it. Such persons asked us: "Why did you kill him?" We replied. "On account of the unlawful things he did.” They said: "He didn't do anything unlawful.”
Do you know why they said all this? It was because he ensured their worldly gains. These are the people who plundered his existence and will not worry even if the mountains are demolished. I swear by Allah that they don't want to avenge the murder (of ‘Uthman}. They relish and have become fond of worldly gains. They think that if the righteous person assumes the reins of government he will restrain their unlawful profits and unlimited greed. These people have no previous record in Islam so that they should be worthy of ruler ship, but they have deceived their followers and told them: "Our chief and leader was killed unjustly". They said this in order to acquire the ruler ship and power. As you see and know this claim is nothing except deceit and fraud. And if they had not practised this fraud none would have taken oath of allegiance to them.
O Lord! If You help us it will not be Your first help because You have granted us victories earlier, and if Your Will is that they should assume ruler ship then put in store for them the result of their illegal acts whereby they have subjected the people to tyranny and torture".
When ‘Ammar concluded his speech and enlightened the minds of the hearers in all respects he ordered his standard bearer, Hashim Marqal, to advance, and said: "May my parents be your ransom! Advance and attack these Syrians and break up their rows.”
‘Ammar himself also went forward and reached in the centre of the opposing army near 'Amr As. Addressing 'Amr he said: "O 'Amr! You have sold your faith for the sake of Egypt. Woe be to you! What mischief and evils have you roused against Islam!”
Then ‘Ammar began praying to Allah in the presence of the Syrians and said: “O Lord! You know that if I realize that Your Will is that I should throw myself in this river I shall do so. O Lord! If I realize that You desire that I should thrust the point of my sword into my belly and bend myself, so that the sword may come out of my back, I shall do so.
O Lord! You know that I have acquired what You have taught me and I know it very well that today no pious act is better than that I should perform jihad against these people who have violated human rights, and if I come to know that in the present circumstances there is an act which is liked by You more, I shall perform it.”
As soon as 'Amr As heard these words of ‘Ammar he left the battlefield and hid himself.
The Syrian army also trembled more on hearing ‘Ammar speak than they trembled for the fear of his sword, though all of them knew well that a rebellious group would kill ‘Ammar. The importance and the danger of the presence of ‘Ammar was not unknown to Mu'awiya, and he was afraid of what was going to happen, he expressed his anxiety every now and then in various ways.
‘Ammar attacked valiantly and his standard bearer Hashim Marqil and his companions fell upon the Umayyad army like a furious storm and pushed it back.
At this moment ‘Ammar remembered Abdullah bin 'Amr As (who in the beginning appeared to be a devout person and hesitated to support Mu'awiya but later joined his army saying that he was a follower of his father and not of Mu'awiya) and called out from the battlefield with a loud voice: "O Abdullah! Have you sold your faith for the world?”
Abdullah replied: "It is not so. The fact is that I have risen to avenge the murder of ‘Uthman.”
‘Ammar said: "It is not at all so. I bear witness to the fact that you do not do anything for the sake of Allah. You should know that if you are not killed today you will be killed tomorrow. Ponder carefully. When Allah gives recompense according to the intentions of the people, let me know what your intention is?"
‘Ammar uttered these words and commenced his attack. This attack by ‘Ammar was the commencement of an extensive battle during which the most severe and the most intense scenes of war were witnessed continuously for three days and nights. The third night of this battle is known as 'Lailatul Harir’.
In the afternoon of the day of the battle ‘Ammar called back his soldiers from the front for rest. When his soldiers were resting the people were saying to one another: "The enemy will be immune this night from the blows of the swords of ‘Ammar's soldiers.”
‘Ammar was hearing these words and sharpening his sword and stimulating and equipping with arms his standard bearer and brave officer Marqil. Soon afterwards he ordered Marqil to attack and himself got ahead of the army. Then he said aloud: "Who wants to proceed to Paradise? Paradise is under the shadow of the swords and the arrows. Today I shall meet my friends. Today I shall meet the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) and his party.”
‘Ammar was moving ahead and other warriors were moving behind him, and all were advancing. The sun was about to set and the only light which could be seen in the extensive horizon was the lustre of the sword and the sparks of the blows. Once again ‘Ammar decided to take rest and it was the moment when the last rays of the sun were shining on the stream of blood and its crimson rays were being reflected on all sides. At that moment, before ‘Ammar could take rest, his eyes fell on 'Amr As who was carrying Mu'awiya's standard on his shoulder. ‘Ammar was reminded of something and shook his sword. Then he struck his hand on the back of his standard bearer and said: "O Marqil! I swear by Him under whose control my life is that even if these people are in a position to annihilate us by dealing successive blows no weakness will take place in my faith, because we are right and they are following the wrong path. O Marqil! The standard which' Amr As is carrying on his shoulder is the same against which I have fought in the company of the Holy Prophet (S) and it is the fourth time that I am campaigning against it".
Then he made an attack and said to Hashim 'Utba (Marqil): "O son! Advance! Advance! May my parents be your ransom!"
During this terrible fighting ‘Ammar did not rest even for a moment. He fought on and persuaded his soldiers to do the same and ordered them to attack. He continued attacking the enemy like deadly lightening till the third day of the battle arrived on that day the fighting reached its climax and continued unabated. For the self-sacrificing warriors who accompanied ‘Ammar it was immaterial whether they killed or were killed. ‘Ammar, the old man, who was ninety four years of age, was fasting and in spite of this he made deadly attacks on the enemy and pushed his standard bearer Hashim forward.
Hashim insisted upon him to hand over the command and responsibility for attack to him and to take rest for sometime to get rid of the fatigue caused by fasting but ‘Ammar shouted at him and said: "O son! May my parents be your ransom! Advance!"
Anyhow, as a result of the severe and continuous attacks by ‘Ammar, the cavalry of the Syrian forces fled. In this combat Zul Kala' Humyari, who was the commander of the Syrian army wavered and lost the power of resistance in the row which was the target of ‘Ammar's attack. When the news of Zul Kala's hesitation and fear reached Mu'awiya he summoned him and deceived him with the assistance of his minister 'Amr As, and two persons took oath that what Zul Kala had heard about ‘Ammar and had reported was true (i.e. the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (S) that a rebellious group will kill ‘Ammar) but ‘Ammar would at last leave his own army and would join the army of Mu'awiya and 'Amr As. Hence, Zul Kala' had no alternative and must partake in fighting. They also assured him that eventually, when the dust of the war had settled, he would see that ‘Ammar had arrived in his (Zul Kala's) row. Incidentally they also told him that if the prediction made by them did not come out to be true he would be entitled to continue to remain hesitant in the future wars, and that he would have ample time for this.
On the third day the battle came to an end and ‘Ammar, as steadfast as ever, remained busy in fighting like a champion. When the sun was about to set and the night called Lailatul Harir arrived ‘Ammar asked for water to break his fast.
A vessel containing milk was brought for him. Before drinking milk he smiled and it might be said that his soul shone with that smile.
In an ecstatic and happy condition he said: "My friend, the Prophet of Allah told me: "Your last food in the world will be a gulp of milk mixed with water.”
‘Ammar drank the milk and then made an attack along with his military column and hastened towards Paradise which was embodied and perceptible in his eyes. There he saw the Holy Prophet (S) receiving him as he used to receive him previously in this world.
There is a great probability that Mu'awiya had fixed a big prize for the 'head of ‘Ammar' so that he might be relieved of the embarrassment caused by the grinding argument which existed in the minds of the army personnel, just as he had ordered that all should guard the head of Zul Kala, lest he should receive any injury, and he had also promised awards for the safety of Zul Kala'.
Anyhow if Zul Kala' had remained alive after ‘Ammar he would have created a great difficulty for Mu'awiya, and he could not satisfy him by any means. And the most important thing was that the tribe of Zul Kala' and the number of its members exceeded that of all other tribes.
In any case ‘Ammar, while he had no guardsman to protect him drove forward dauntlessly like a lion and on having reached the battlefield said with a loud voice: “Is there any combatant here?"
At that moment a mounted soldier belonging to the tribe of 'Sakasak' came to fight against ‘Ammar and was killed at his hands. Another horseman from amongst the Humyaris came in the field and he, too, was killed by ‘Ammar. And all others who came thereafter met with the same fate.
Abul Ghadiya Juhani, who had been on the track of ‘Ammar since the days of ‘Uthman, came near him. At this moment the cuirass of ‘Ammar had fallen aside from his thigh. This man availed of the opportunity and gave a blow on the thigh of ‘Ammar .Two other mounted men attacked ‘Ammar simultaneously and put an end to his life.
Anyhow one of the particular pieces of good luck of Bani Umayya was the coincidence that at the moment when ‘Ammar was killed Zul Kala' was also killed.
‘Ammar's martyrdom was a sorrowful event for the members of both the armies. One of the effects of this tragedy was that the defensive movement of Mu'awiya's army came to a standstill and the sound of the epic verses recited by the army of ‘Ali reached the sky. Before ‘Ammar was killed there were, in both the armies, persons who entertained doubts in their minds, but after he was martyred truth became evident to them.
As a result of this tragedy anxiety and agitation prevailed in the minds which ended in the retreat of the Syrian army. Mu'awiya and 'Amr As were then compelled to deceive their own army by means of misinterpretation and, in order to remain immune, delude and deceive their opponents in another manner.
However, if during these critical moments fate had not predominated, history would have adopted a course other than that which it did owing to the hypocrisy and discord of Ash'ath bin Qays.
When Abul Ghadiya killed ‘Ammar, voices rose from both the camps saying: "O Abul Ghadiya! Woe be to you! It was you who killed Abul Yaqzan (the pious man)! May Allah kill you!"
Muhammad bin Muntashir said to Abul Ghadiya: "O Abul Ghadiya! On the Day of Judgement your enemy will be a mighty enemy with a strong hand.” The only reaction of Abul Ghadiya was that he laughed and went his way.
Hana, a slave of Caliph ‘Umar bin Khattab says thus about himself: "In the beginning I was with Mu'awiya and his companions used to say: "Allah forbid! In no circumstances shall we kill ‘Ammar, because if we kill ‘Ammar then, as it is said, we too shall be regarded as a rebellious group. On the day the Battle of Siffin ended I was walking about amongst those who had been killed. Suddenly I saw that ‘Ammar Yasir had been killed. I went to 'Amr As and saw him resting on his throne. I asked him: "What have you heard about ‘Ammar Yasir?"
'Amr As said: "I heard the Holy Prophet (S) saying: A rebellious group will kill ‘Ammar.”
I said: "I swear by Allah that ‘Ammar has been killed. What do you say now?"
'Amr said: "It is a false claim.”
I said: "I have seen with my own eyes that ‘Ammar has been killed.”
Amr said: "Let's go and see. Show me his dead body.”
I took 'Amr As up to the dead body of ‘Ammar, and on seeing the corpse of ‘Ammar the colour of the face of 'Amr As changed. Then he turned his face and began walking and said: "‘Ammar has been killed by the person who brought him in the battlefield!"
Khuzayma bin Thabit was a witness to the Battles of Camel and Siffin. He did not draw his sword in either of these battles and remained neutral. However, after ‘Ammar was killed he said: "I have now become convinced of the rebellion and deviation of the Syrians.”
Then Khuzayma partook in the battle and fought till he was killed.
Each of the two horsemen who had assisted Abul Ghadiya in killing ‘Ammar were trying to take from Mu'awiya the prize which had been fixed for the head of ‘Ammar. 'Amr As said to both of them: "You two are fighting for the Fire of Hell and nothing else! I have heard the Prophet (S) saying: "One who kills ‘Ammar and one who takes his clothes off his body will both go to Hell!" Mu'awiya interrupted Amr As and said in a reproachful tone:
“What you are saying is a dangerous jest. These two persons are fighting on our side and you are telling them that both of them will go to Hell!"
Amr said: “I swear by Allah that this is a fact and you also know it. I wish that I had died twenty years earlier than today.”
When Abdullah bin 'Amr As was returning from Siffin along with his father and Mu'awiya, he turned to his father and said: "Father! I heard the Holy Prophet (S) saying to ‘Ammar: “A rebellious group will kill you.”
After hearing these words 'Amr As turned to Mu'awiya with a peculiar malice and said: "Do you hear what this boy is saying?"
Mu'awiya said; "Have we killed him? This is not at all the position. I hope people, who brought him into the battlefield have killed him.”
Then the two sly persons laughed.
One day 'Amr As said to his companions who had gathered round him: "I wish that when the Holy Prophet (S) breathed his last he might not have hated anyone, so that Allah might not send any person to Hell!"
His companions said: "What we felt was that the Prophet (S) loved you and appointed you to governorship.”
'Amr said: "Allah knows better whether he loved me or was kind to me just by way of affability. However, I observed that he loved a particular man.”
'Amr was asked: "Who was that man?" He replied: “He was ‘Ammar ibn Yasir.”
Then he was asked: "Was he the same man whom you killed in the Battle of Siffin?”
'Amr replied: “Yes, by Allah! We killed him.” Anyhow, after ‘Ammar was killed the Syrians were leaving their own standard and were scattering, and as they did not wish to be styled the rebellious group they were mixing with the people of Iraq. It was at this juncture that 'Amr As endeavoured to test the intelligence and insight of his 'king' in respect of this difficulty and in the meantime to strengthen what he had injected in the minds of the Syrians regarding ‘Ammar and to confirm the constancy of their power of insight. Mu'awiya turned his face from his minister and went to his army, stood at the head of the row and said to them: "I am going to speak to you about the most sensitive matter of the day. This is the most important of all the topics and it concerns the Hadith regarding the rebellious group which is being passed on from one mouth to another.”
It should be known that the Hadith relating to the rebellious group is to our advantage and not detrimental to us. All of you should come to your senses and ponder carefully over the Hadith of the Holy Prophet. No doubt the 'rebel' stings us and we have become subjected to reproof. Well, let it be so! But it should be asked: "Are we not the same rebellious group who have risen to avenge the murder of ‘Uthman and have been touched on account of that man having been oppressed? Yes, we are a rebellious group in this sense.”
The hearers heard this bombastic logic of Mu'awiya and were convinced. The Syrians then departed with a light heart and a tranquil conscience.
'Amr As laughed and appreciated Mu'awiya's skill.
‘Ammar's martyrdom created a tumult in the Iraqi camp and the echo of this tumult draws a most vivid picture of the condition and position of Imam ‘Ali. It is not necessary for us to discuss this point.
As soon as the news of ‘Ammar's martyrdom reached ‘Ali he began weeping. Then he looked at those present round him and said: "How long did you wish ‘Ammar to live?"
It might be said that the Commander of the Faithful wanted to ask: "How long did you wish Islam to live?"
Then he stood up and went towards the corpses of those who had been killed and reached by the side of the dead body of ‘Ammar. At that moment he expressed grief over the martyrdom of ‘Ammar in these splendid words: "Any Muslim, who doesn't consider the event of ‘Ammar's being killed to be great, and doesn't treat it to be a painful tragedy, won't be recognized to be adult and mature. May Allah bless ‘Ammar on the day on which he embraced Islam, the day on which he was killed and the day on which he will rise from earth once again! I saw ‘Ammar at such a position that if the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) were reckoned to be four he was the fourth and if they were five he was the fifth and none of the companions of the Prophet (S) doubted this. Paradise has become essential for ‘Ammar and his entitlement to Paradise did not depend on one or two instances.”
It has been said: "‘Ammar is righteous and truth is with him. To whichever side ‘Ammar turns truth turns along with him. One who kills ‘Ammar will go to Hell.”
Anyhow, ‘Ali ordered that the funerals of ‘Ammar and his standard bearer and aide-de-camp Hashim Marqil might be placed side by side. He then offered prayers for both of them without, bathing their bodies and thereafter they were buried in Siffin in 37 A.H.
For all those acquainted with the mysteries of realities, and all the reflective and clear sighted persons among whom ‘Ammar occupied the position of a leader, nothing was more surprising than that there should be persons who should be knowing the personality of ‘Ammar and the way of his thinking, and consider it the criterion of truth, but may not apply the same argument in the case of ‘Ali. Yet all knew that there was a world of difference between the status of Imam ‘Ali and ‘Ammar.
Again how surprising it is that these people neglected and did not take into account the indisputable remarks of the Holy Prophet (S) based on authentic evidence, regarding the position and rank of ‘Ali, which reached the ears of the people time and again, and his explicit statement that "Truth is with ‘Ali just as ‘Ali is with truth, and ‘Ali always travels in the orbit and path of truth!" These remarks which are exclusively used for Imam ‘Ali should not be used in respect of the conduct and merits of ‘Ammar.
In any case Mu'awiya and his minister endeavoured to find fault with the pious conduct of ‘Ammar and to remove this obstacle from their path. At times they tried to diminish his position and at other times acted to counteract his arguments. However, their efforts did not materialize at any stage and they did not achieve any success. During the plots woven by them they once sent two men of Zul Kala' Humyari, about whom they knew that his faith in ‘Ammar was dangerous for both ‘Amr As and Mu'awiya, to his cousin Abu Nuh Humyari, who was one of the supporters of ‘Ali, so as to dissuade him from his faith and degrade ‘Ammar in his eyes. In this interview the discussions between these two persons centred round the topic of the eminence of the person of ‘Ammar.
Abu Nuh wondered that these persons had so much faith in ‘Ammar, who himself was a staunch follower of ‘Ali, but called ‘Ali a heretic!
The arguments which Abu Nuh put forward against these persons on the subject were very eloquent and expressive. Later in a meeting these two persons held discussions with 'Amr As about ‘Ammar.
‘Ammar was also invited personally to attend the meeting so that he might wonder all the more about the weakness of their views about him as they considered him to be the criterion of truth but did not admit ‘Ali to be the criterion of truth, and might consequently quarrel with them and censure them with his authoritative speech, as harsh words are more penetrating than arrows.1
Incidentally it should be remembered that Allama Ibn Abil Hadid Mu'tazali2 has solved this problem very clearly and thoroughly analysed it. After explaining the characteristics of ‘Ammar and the son of Tayhin and Khuzayma bin Thabit, all of whom were martyred in this battle, the said Allama considers their self-sacrifice and martyrdom a proof of the invalidity of Mu'awiya 's claim and says: "One of the most shameful and indecent incidents which have arisen and arise from the indecent and abominable party-spirit is the fact that Abu Hayyan Tawhidi has written in his book entitled al-Basa'ir that Khuzayma bin Thabit who was killed in Siffin and was a supporter of ‘Ali was someone else and not the well-known Khuzayma bin Thabit, whereas all the books on genealogy and Hadith have stated explicitly that amongst all the companions, whether they were the Ansar or non Ansar, there was only one Khuzayma bir Thabit Zush Shahadatayn. However, the trouble is that caprice is an irremediable ailment.
Another point is that the notable historian Tabari has preceded Abu Hayyan in making this suggestion and the latter has quoted it from him, but all the books which have mentioned the names of the companions give evidence against the Abu Hayyan.
Besides this why should the supporters of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, take trouble to prepare a long list of persons like Khuzayma, Abul Maysam ‘Ammar etc?
In short the matter is absolutely clear that if all the people had reflected about Imam ‘Ali and seen him with the eyes of justice they would have certainly realized that even if he had stood alone on one side and all the people had risen to campaign against him he would have beer true and all others would have been false.