Part 8: Glimpses of Muawiyah’s Character

After describing the life of Imam ‘Ali (a), there is no necessity to talk about his opponents because things can be judged by their opposites. Yet, I would like to have a glance at the character of the severest enemy of Imam ‘Ali (a), Muawiyah because the bright light of a day cannot be valued without the presence of a dark night. If a person has not experienced burning hot sun it would be difficult for him to understand the value of cool shade.

Similarly, if a person is not aware of the filth of Abu Jahl he cannot value the actual compassion of Muhammad. Therefore, unless Muawiyah’s character is put forward, it will be difficult to value of justice of Imam ‘Ali (a).

Comparing Muawiyah with Imam ‘Ali (a) is like comparing two opposite things. The difference between the character of Imam ‘Ali (a) and Muawiyah is like the difference between heaven and earth. In short, Muawiyah’s life was full of injustice as much as the life of Imam ‘Ali (a) was full of justice. Imam ‘Ali (a) was the true successor of the Prophet. Similarly, Muawiyah was the perfect inheritor of his father’s character.

Imam ‘Ali (a) possessed the excellences of Lady Fatima bint Asad and Lady Khadija. Muawiyah was the inheritor of the horrible activities of his mother, who chewed human liver.

Muawiyah fulfilled his ambitions through deceit and Islamic Ummah is still suffering from its evil effects.

Muawiyah revived the enmity between tribes. He enflamed evil thinking whose heat is still experienced by Islamic Ummah. I have presented a small picture of Muawiyah’s character so that justice-loving minds can distinguish between the politics of Imam ‘Ali (a) and Muawiyah.

Plight of Hujr ibn Adi

Historian Ibn Athir writes in Tarikh Kamil: Hujr ibn Adi and his companions were martyred in 51 A.H. because Muawiyah had made Mughaira ibn Shoba the governor of Kufa in 41 A.H. and had advised him: “I want to give you many advices but I would not give you so many advices because of your good understanding. However keep one thing in mind. Do not keep away from troubling ‘Ali and do not avoid praying for Uthman’s salvation. You should oppress the friends of ‘Ali and befriend the friends of Uthman and grant them lots of gifts.”

Mughaira obeyed Muawiyah’s order. He always troubled Imam ‘Ali (a). Hujr ibn Adi used to criticize him saying: “You and your Amir are accursed ones. The one you are troubling is full of excellences.” Mughaira stopped grants to Hujr ibn Adi and his friends. Hujr used to say: “O servant of God! You have stopped our grants without any cause. You do not have any right to do so. You should start paying us our grants.”

When Mughaira died, Ziyad ibn Uqbah became the governor of Kufa. Ziyad followed the footsteps of Muawiyah and Mughaira. He used to trouble Amirul Momineen (a). Hujr ibn Adi always defended the right. Ziyad imprisoned Hujr ibn Adi and twelve of his companions. He convicted them of certain crime and brought in four witnesses to sign the testimony. Those who testified against Hujr ibn Adi included Talha ibn Ubaidullah’s two sons – Ishaq and Moosa, Zubair’s son Manzar and Imad ibn Uqbah ibn Abi Muit. Ziyad handed the prisoners to Wail ibn Hujr al-Hadhrami and Kathir ibn Shahab and sent them to Syria.

Both the trusted agents of Ziyad took the prisoners and set out for Syria. They reached a place called Gharrain. Ziyad had given a letter to Wail addressed to Muawiyah. The caravan reached a place called Marj Uzra in the outskirts of Syria and halted there. Wail and Kathir went to Muawiyah and handed Ziyad’s letter to him. Ziyad had written that Hujr ibn Adi and his companions were the severest enemies of Muawiyah and they loved Abu Turab very much. They did not obey any orders of the government. They were making the land of Kufa bitter for Muawiyah. Hence it was upto him to punish them so that others could learn a lesson from them.

After that, Wail gave the letter of Shurai ibn Hani to Muawiyah. It was written therein: I have come to know that Ziyad has also mentioned my testimony in his statement of case. My opinion regarding Hujr is that he is a person who offers prayers, pays charity, performs Hajj and Umrah. He enjoins good and stops others from evil. It is prohibited for you to take his life or wealth.

The followers of Imam ‘Ali (a) arrested by Ziyad were:

• Hujr ibn Adi Kindi

• Arqam ibn Abdullah Kindi

• Shareek ibn Shadad Hadhrami

• Saifi ibn Faseel Shaibani

• Qabisa ibn Sanee Abasi

• Karim ibn Afif Khathami

• Aasim ibn Auf Bajali

• Waraqa ibn Sami Bajali

• Kadam ibn Hassan Unzi

• Abdur Rahman ibn Hassan ibn Hassan Unzi

• Muhrir ibn Shahab Tamimi

• Abdullah ibn Hauya Saadi

The above mentioned twelve persons were arrested first and then two more persons viz. Utbah ibn Akhmis ibn Saad ibn Bakr and Saad ibn Namran Hamadani were also arrested and sent to Syria. In this way the number of oppressed prisoners was fourteen.

The incident of Hujr ibn Adi is described by Tabari as follows:

Qais ibn Ibad Shaibani came to Ziyad and said: “A person from Bani Hashim named Saifi ibn Faseel is the leader of the group of Hujr. He is your severest enemy.” Ziyad summoned him and said: “O enemy of God! Are you related to Abu Turab?”

He said that he did not know any person by that name.

Ziyad said: “Don’t you know ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib also?”

Saifi said: “Yes, I know him.”

Ziyad: “He is father of dust (Abu Turab).”

Saifi: “It is not possible because he is the father of Hasan and Husain.”

A police officer told him: “The Chief calls him Abu Turab, how dare you call him father of Hasan and Husain?”

Saifi: “I should also lie if the chief does so?”

Ziyad: “You are committing one crime after another, bring my stick.”

When the stick was brought to him, Ziyad asked: “What is your belief about Abu Turab?:

Saifi: “I would say that he is the most virtuous servant of Allah.”

Hearing this, Ziyad hit him madly and oppressed him very much. When he was tired of inflicting atrocities, he asked Saifi: “What is your opinion about Imam ‘Ali (a) now?”

He said: “Even if my body is broken into pieces, I would say the same about him.”

Ziyad: “Don’t do it or I will kill you.”

Saifi: “If you do so, I will attain martyrdom and this misfortune will be included in your scroll of deeds forever.”

Ziyad ordered him to be arrested and he was shackled in chains and took to the prison. After that, Ziyad prepared a charge-sheet against Hujr ibn Adi and friends. The bitterest enemies of Imam ‘Ali (a) signed the testimony against these innocent persons.

Abu Moosa’s son Abu Burda writes in this testimony: “I testify by the Lord of the worlds that Hujr ibn Adi and friends isolated themselves from the community. They disobeyed the Chief and invited people to break their allegiance to Amir Muawiyah. They invited people to the love of Abu Turab.”

Ziyad said: “I want others also to write similar testimonies as I am trying to end the life of this dishonest and foolish person.”

Inaq ibn Sharjil ibn Abi Daham al-Tamimi came forward to give his testimony but Ziyad said: “No, I would start taking testimonies from the tribe of Quraish only and will take the testimonies of only those honorable persons who are known to Muawiyah.” Hearing this, Ishaq ibn Talha ibn Ubaidullah, Moosa ibn Talha, Ismail ibn Talha, Manzar ibn Zubair and Imarah ibn Uqbah ibn Abi Muit, Abdur Rahman ibn Hunad, Amr ibn Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, Amir ibn Saud ibn Umayyah, Muriz ibn Rabia ibn Abdul Aza Ibn Abdush Shams, Ubaidullah ibn Muslim Hadhrami, Unaq ibn Sharjil, Wail ibn Hujr Hadhrami, Kathir ibn Shahab Harthi, Qatan ibn Abdullah and Sari ibn Waqqas Harthi signed the testimony.

In addition to this, Ziyad included the testimony of Shurai Qazi and Shurai ibn Hani Harthi. Qazi Shurai says that Ziyad asked him about Hujr. He told Ziyad that Hujr stood up for prayer at night and fasted during day.

When Shurai ibn Hani Harthi came to know that his testimony is also present in the charge-sheet, he came to Ziyad and disapproved his action. He said: “Why did you mention my testimony without my permission and knowledge? I have nothing to do with it in this world and the hereafter.” Then he came to the prisoners and handed a letter to Wail ibn Hujr and said: “This is my letter and it should reach Muawiyah without fail.” He had written: “I have come to know that Ziyad has written down my testimony against Hujr ibn Adi. You should know that I testify that Hujr ibn Adi offers prayers, gives alms, performs Hajj and Umrah, he enjoins good and forbids evil. His life and property is worth respect.”

The Prisoners were halted at a place called Marj Uzra near Damascus; six of them were killed on the order of Muawiyah viz.

1. Hujr ibn Adi (r.a.)

2. Sharik ibn Shaddad Hadhrami

3. Saifi ibn Faseel Shaibani

4. Qabisa ibn Zaibia Abasi

5. Muhraz ibn Shahab al-Saadi

6. Kudam ibn Hayyan al-Ghazi

Abdullah ibn Hassan Unzi was sent back to Ziyad and Muawiyah ordered Ziyad that he should be killed in the worst manner. Ziyad buried him alive.1

God’s mercy be upon these pure lovers.

Hind bint Zaid recited following elegy at the death of Hujr and companions:

“O bright moon! Look Adi is going. Hujr is going to Muawiyah ibn Harb. Amir Ziyad says that Muawiyah will kill him. O Hujr ibn Adi! May you remain safe and happy. Muawiyah considers it his birth-right to kill innocent people. His vizier is the worst person in this Ummah.”

Dr. Taha Husayn writes: A Muslim ruler considered it legal to kill those whose protection was desired by Allah. The ruler ordered them to be killed without meeting them or giving them a chance to defend themselves or say something.

This grievous story has moved Muslims far and wide. When Ayesha came to know that this group was being sent to Syria, she sent Abdur Rahman ibn Harith Ibn Hisham to Muawiyah to talk to him about them. However, when Abdur Rahman reached Syria, the group was already martyred.

When Abdur Rahman ibn Umar came to know about this remorseful incident, he took off his turban and asked the people to turn away from him; then he began to weep audibly.

Hujr’s martyrdom is a tragic incident. None of the seniors of that time doubt the fact that it was a big crack in the wall of Islam. Even Muawiyah could not forget Hujr till the time of his death. He used to remember Hujr the most on his death-bed. Historians are of the opinion that Muawiyah used to murmur on his death bed: “O Hujr! You have spoilt my hereafter. My account with Ibn Adi is very long.”2

Other Examples of Muawiyah’s Deceit

Muawiyah did not feel anything wrong in crushing human beings in order to achieve his ambition.

He came to know that Imam ‘Ali (a) has made Malik Ashtar the governor of Egypt in the place of Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, so he conspired with a landlord and promised him that if he killed Malik before he reaches Egypt, he would be exempt from paying taxes on his land.

When Malik passed by that region, the landlord invited him for lunch and gave him poison mixed in honey, because of which Malik got martyred.

After this incident, Muawiyah and Amr ibn al-Aas used to boast: “Honey is also an army of Allah.” Muawiyah openly flouted the terms of the treaty signed with Imam Hasan (a). He conspired with the Imam’s wife, Judah bint Ashath to poison the Imam and said that if she poisoned him he would grant her a huge amount of wealth and marry her to his son Yazid.

Imam Hasan’s wife poisoned him on Muawiyah’s instigation and the Imam was martyred.

Masoodi writes that Ibn Abbas went to Syria for some work and he was sitting in the mosque when he heard a loud ‘Allaahu Akbar’ (God is the greatest) from Muawiyah’s Green Palace. Muawiyah’s wife, Fakhta bint Qarza asked Muawiyah the reason of his happiness. Muawiyah said: “I have just got the news of Hasan’s death.”3

Taking Ziyad ibn Abih as his Brother

Ziyad was a very cunning person. He was only a servant during the Imam’s Caliphate, but Muawiyah wanted to involve him in his mischievous activities. He wrote to Ziyad: “Leave ‘Ali and come to me because you were born of my father, Abu Sufyan.”

Ziyad’s father was unknown. Therefore people used to call him Ziyad ibn Abih i.e. the son of his father. When Imam ‘Ali (a) got the news of this wickedness of Muawiyah, he wrote to Ziyad:

“I am given to understand that Muawiyah has been corresponding with you. Beware, he wants to make a fool of you, to blunt your intelligence and to harm your self-respect. Remember that it is Satan which will attack an imprudent and incautious Muslim from behind and from right and left so that finding him unwary it may overpower him and enslave his reasoning.”4

The fact is that during the Caliphate of Umar, Abu Sufyan unwisely gave utterances to something which was unjustifiable and unreasonable. It was one of those evil suggestions of Satan which are not only an insult to a self-respecting man but which cannot help in proving the descent (according to the laws of Islam) or in legalizing heritage. The condition of a man claiming such a lineage is that of a gate crasher in a party from which he may be thrown out with humiliation.

Masoodi narrates: “Muawiyah made Ziyad his brother in 40 A.H. Ziyad ibn Asma, Malik ibn Rabia and Munzir ibn Awwam testified that they had heard Abu Sufyan saying that Ziyad was born out through him. After that, Abu Maryam Sulooli testified that: Ziyad’s mother was the slave-girl of Harth ibn Kaldah. She was married to a person named Ubaid. She led a disgraceful life in the Haratul Baghaya area of Taif. People with ill character used to visit that area. Once Abu Sufyan visited that area and stayed there. I used to be a bartender in a wine house. Abu Sufyan asked me to arrange a woman for him.

I searched a lot but did not find anyone except the slave-girl of Harith i.e. Sumayya. I informed Abu Sufyan that there is no woman except a dark complexioned slave-girl. Abu Sufyan asked me to bring that woman.

Then I took Sumayya to Abu Sufyan that night and Ziyad was born of the union. Therefore I bear witness that he is Muawiyah’s brother.” Hearing this, the brother of Sumayya’s mistress Safiya, Yunus ibn Ubaid stood up and said:

“Muawiyah! It is the decision of Allah and His Messenger that a child belongs to a person at whose house he is born and a fornicator must be stoned to death. You are associating a child with a fornicator, which is clearly against the Book of Allah.” Abdur Rahman ibn Ummul Hakam quoted following lines regarding this incident:

Give the message of a Yemeni to Muawiyah ibn Harb. Are you angry with the fact that your father should be called chaste? Do you like the fact that he is called a fornicator? I bear witness that your relation with Ziyad is same as the relation of an elephant with a donkey.

Ibn Abil Hadid has narrated the words of his teacher, Abu Uthman in the following incident:

Ziyad was Muawiyah’s governor in Basra and he had just become the son of Abu Sufyan. He passed by a gathering where a blind person called Abul Uryan al-Adadi was sitting. Abul Uryan asked about the passers by.

People told him that he was Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan passing along with his companions. The blind person said: “By Allah, Abu Sufyan had given birth to Yazid, Muawiyah, Utbah, Ambasa, Hanzala and Muhammad. Where did this Ziyad come from?”

When Ziyad came to know about his words, he became angry. One of the companions asked him to silent him by giving him wealth instead of punishing him.

Ziyad sent two hundred dinars to him. Next day, Ziyad passed by and saluted the gathering.

The blind, Abu al-Uryan started crying on hearing the voice of salutation. People asked the reason of his weeping. He said: “Ziyad’s voice is very similar to Abu Sufyan’s.”5

Hasan Basri used to say that Muawiyah did four such things; each of which is enough for destruction:

1. He acquired power by tying up with people who loved this world in spite of the fact that Companions with knowledge and virtues were present.

2. He made his drunkard son, Yazid his heir apparent who used to wear silk and play a tambourine.

3. He made Ziyad his brother. While Allah has said that the child belongs to a person on whose bed he is born and a fornicator should be stoned to death.

4. He unlawfully eliminated Hujr ibn Adi and companions.6

Sayings of Muawiyah

Muawiyah called Yazid at his death-bed and willed: “O my dear son! I have fastened the load of pain and have warded off rebellion from you, and have straightened up matters. I have tamed the enemies, have brought the reins of the Arabs in your hands, and have accumulated for you that which no father can do for his son. I don’t fear anyone opposing or fighting you on the question of Caliphate except four persons.

These being Husain ibn ‘Ali, Abdullah ibn Umar, Abdullah ibn Zubair and Abdul Rahman ibn Abu Bakr. As regards Abdullah ibn Umar, (excessive) worship has broken him, if no one remains to assist him, he shall succumb to you. As regards Husain ibn ‘Ali, he is a light-minded person, and the people of Iraq will betray him until they force him to rebel and you will have to fight with him.

As regards the son of Abu Bakr, he follows what his companions like, and his aspires only for women and fun. While the one who like a lion lies in ambush, and the fox who is playing a game with you and is in track of an opportunity to pounce upon you, is the son of Zubair. And if he revolts and you gain vic­tory over him, separate every joint of his.7

2. Tabari has narrated the words of Abu Masadah Farazi as follows:

Muawiyah told me: “O Ibn Masadah! May Allah’s mercy be on Abu Bakr. He did not seek this world nor did the world seek him. Ibn Hantama was sought by the world but he did not seek the world. Uthman sought this world and the world sought him. As far as I am concerned, I have already enjoyed this world.”

3. When Malik Ashtar was martyred through Muawiyah’s conspiracy, he said: ‘Ali had two arms Ammar ibn Yasir, which was cut in the Battle of Siffeen and his other one is cut today.

4. Muawiyah was cursed by the Prophet that Allah will not fill his stomach. This curse came into effect later on when Muawiyah used to eat seven times a day and say: “By God, I get tired of eating, but my stomach does not fill up!”

Ali’s discourse regarding Bani Hashim and Bani Umayyah

I would like to conclude this book with the discussion about mutual differences between Bani Hashim and Bani Umayyah. Thus, I have selected a letter of Imam ‘Ali (a) to Muawiyah from Nahjul Balagha for this purpose, regarding which the compiler of Nahjul Balagha, Sayyid Razi says, “This lesson is one of the best lessons of Amirul Momineen (a):

After glorifying Allah and praising the Prophet (S) let it be known to you that I am in receipt of your letter wherein you write to me that Almighty Allah selected Muhammad (S), the Prophet as the Messenger of His revelations and He helped those Companions of the Prophet (S) who sincerely exerted themselves to assist him. Is it not an irony of fate that circumstances have favored you to such a position that you dare remind us of the favors which Allah bestowed upon us and the Blessings conferred by Him upon His chosen Prophet (S) who was one of us. You have nothing to do with them and you have no share in these Blessings and Favors.

Your condition is like that of a man who carries dates to “Hujr”8 or that of a man who tries to teach archery to the master from whom he has learnt the art. You believe that the best of the people amongst the Muslims are so and so and you have started discussing a subject (superiority of Emigrants over Helpers) which if it is proved correct will not be of any use to you, will not enhance your status and if it is repudiated, this repudiation will not harm you because you are neither an Emigrant nor a Helpers.

What have you to do with their respective status and prestige? What is that for you if one is considered superior to the other? How are you considered in their affairs? You are a freed and liberated slave, and slaves and their sons, though freed and liberated, cannot aspire to the status of Emigrants and Helpers and they have no right to introduce unholy classification amongst the Emigrants and Helpers. Do you realize your limitations? You do not belong to either group, you are a liberated slave and son of liberated parents and you want to introduce an unhealthy division between these two groups.

The false status you have tried to grasp is not going to enhance your prestige (before Allah or the people). Can you not think of remaining at the place where your old hostility towards Islam and the Prophet (S) has kept you? How is the lower status or defeat of one class or a person of that class, to whom you do not belong going to harm you and how is the success or higher status of the other going to do you good? You have gone astray from the straight path and from the real teachings of Islam. Listen! I want to give you a short description of the Blessings of Allah upon us.

A party of Emigrants met martyrdom. They were killed in the cause of Islam and Allah. Every one of them was blessed by Allah with a status and rank. Out of them those who belonged to my family and tribe, Bani Hashim, were granted an excellent status by Allah. Hamza (the uncle of the Prophet and ‘Ali) received the title of Chief of Martyrs (Sayyidush Shuhada).9

The Prophet (S) himself called him by this name after his martyrdom and at his funeral ceremony. The Prophet (S) recited ‘Allaahu Akbar’ (God is the greatest) seventy times as a mark of distinction for him, which is not for any other Muslim. Some Emigrants lost their hands in the battlefield but when one of us (Ja’far, cousin of the Prophet (S) and brother of Imam ‘Ali (a)) lost both of his hands and died in the battlefield, Allah granted him angelic wings and the Prophet (S) informed us that this martyr has received the title of Tayyar (one who glides in Paradise).10

If Allah had not disapproved man’s habit of eulogizing and praising himself, I would have given several such instances which speak of the enhancement of my prestige and status before Allah, instances which are accepted and can be testified by faithful Muslims about which the hearers will have no reason to doubt. Do not be like a man whom the Devil has laid astray. Accept the obvious truth when it faces you.

Listen O’ Muawiyah! We (Ahlul Bayt, the progeny of the Prophet) are unique examples of the creation of Allah. For such a status, we are not under obligation to any person or tribe but the Almighty Allah Who granted us these blessings. Human beings have received and will receive perfection through us. The perpetual supremacy and inherent superiority do not prevent us from making contact with human beings or with your clan, we have married amongst you and have established family connections with your (as well as with others) clan, though you do not belong to our class. How can you be our equal when the Prophet (S) belongs to us and Abu Jahl, the worst enemy of Islam was from amongst you.11

Asadullah (lit. “The Lion of Allah” - a title of ‘Ali) is from amongst us, while Asadul Ahlaaf (lion of the opposing groups, who had sworn to fight against Islam and the Prophet) was from you.12

The two foremost leaders of the youth of Paradise (Hasan and Imam Husain) are from us and the children of Hell are from you.13 The best woman in the world (title bestowed by Allah upon Fatima, the beloved daughter of the Prophet (S) is from us, and the slanderer and the wood-carrying woman who tried to spend every hour of her life in causing harm to the Prophet of Islam (S), was your aunt.14

There are so many other things similar to the few mentioned, which praise us and speak ill of your clan and which show how far and superior we are to you.

We were faithful followers of the commandments of Allah and you and your clan always opposed Islam and accepted it out of sheer expediency simply to save yourselves from humiliation and disgrace.

Our sincerity in Islam and our services to its cause are the facts of history and history cannot deny your enmity against Islam and the Prophet (S).

The credit which you want to take away from us and the honor which you want to deprive us of is the one which the Holy Quran is carefully guarding for us. It says:

“Some relatives are superior and have excellence over others, according to the Book of Allah” [Quran, 33:6]

And in another place in the very same Book, Allah informs mankind that:

“The nearest people to Abraham, are those who follow him and those who follow the Prophet (S) and the true believers. Allah is the guardian of the true believers” [Quran, 2:68].

Therefore we hold two excellences: That of close relationship to the Prophet (S) and that of loyally accepting his teachings. Do you know on the day of Saqifah, Emigrants told Helpers that they were superior to them because they in one way or the other, were related to the Prophet (S) and therefore they deserved the Caliphate and with the aid of this argument, the Emigrants carried the day.

If success can be achieved with the help of this argument and if it has got a grain of truth in it then according to it, we and not you, deserve the Caliphate. If not, then the Helpers still hold their claim over the Caliphate.

You want to impress the world with the idea that I envied all the previous caliphs and that I was jealous of them. Even if I grant this, I want to know what right and authority have you to ask for an explanation from me? You have no place in religion to talk of such things. You also want to taunt me by saying that when I refused to accept the Caliphate of the First Caliph I was dragged like a camel with a rope round my neck and every kind of cruelty and humiliation was leveled against me. I swear by my life that by talking like that you want to bring disgrace to me but you are actually doing the greatest service to me and are disgracing yourself as well as the cause that you pretend to support.

There is no disgrace for a Muslim, if he is subjected to tyranny and suppression so long as he is firm in his faith and belief in Allah and religion. This is exactly what I say that every cruelty and tyranny was leveled against me to deprive me of the right which Allah and the Prophet (S) have given me and this is exactly what you do not want to acknowledge and accept. Your taunts against me go a long way to prove that in reality there was no election, it was a coup d’etat followed by brutal force which decided the fate of Caliphate by making it neither hereditary nor elective but possessive. I have no desire to go into these details but you brought in the subject and I was forced to explain a few points about it.

Then you have referred to Uthman’s murder, and declaring yourself to be his relative, you claim vengeance and blood (and want me to arrange for it as if I was responsible for the murder). I want to say something about the insinuation and false propaganda carried on by you in this respect.

My reply to you is that first of all, you should try and find out who was the arch-enemy of Uthman. Can the arch-enemy be he who offered his help and services to Uthman and Uthman refused to have anything to do with him and told him plainly to go and sit at home as his help was not required and his services were not needed or the worst enemy of Uthman is he whom Uthman asked to come to his succor and who purposely and intentionally delayed the help and allowed the events to take their course till what was to happen, happened? No, these two persons cannot be considered in the same category. I swear by the Omniscient Allah that He very well knows everything as He says in the Holy Book:

“Allah certainly knows the people who put obstacles in the path of those who wanted to go to war and also to those who did not stay to face a battle.” [Quran, 33:18].

I do not want to offer any excuse for having objected to his introducing innovations in religion. If my objections to the introduction of innovation and my advice to him to give it up was considered by him a sin committed by me, then I do not attach any importance to his opinion, because well-wishers are often blamed, and their good advice is misconstrued but they do their duty to man and religion. Allah in the Holy Book repeats the saying of a prophet which appropriately represents my position. He says,

“I only intend to reform you as much as I can. My success lies with Allah. I have faith in Him and trust in His help.” [Quran, 11:88].

Then you have tried to frighten me by saying that there is nothing with you for me and my Companions but your sword. Well, Muawiyah! You made the people laugh at your words, they were feeling very sad and depressed at the standard of mental depravity exhibited by you.

When did you find the sons of Abdul Muttalib (grandfather of the Prophet and ‘Ali) timid in facing their enemies or getting afraid of brandishing swords?

Just wait a little; you will, in the near future have to face the attack of a brave soldier. He will shortly invite you for the encounter you desire for. The thing which you apparently wish for is not as far away as you imagine it to be. I am coming to you with an army of Emigrants, Helpers and those Companions who have sincere faith in me. Theirs is a powerful congregation. Their movements will raise huge clouds of dust (indicating the strength of the army). They are prepared to die or to kill. They believe that the best that could happen to them is to receive the Blessings of the Lord by their good deeds. Sons of those warriors who routed your clan in the Battle of Badr are with them.

The swords of Bani Hashim are with them. And you have already realized the sharpness of these swords when your brother, your maternal uncle, your grandfather and kinsmen were killed (those people were killed by Imam ‘Ali (a) in the battles of Badr and Uhud). These swords are now nearing the despots who have tyrannized the Muslim world.”15

  • 1. Tarikh Tabari, Vol. 6, Pg. 155
  • 2. Al-Fitnah al-Kubra ‘‘Ali wa Banuh, Pg. 243
  • 3. Murujuz Zahab, Vol. 2, Pg. 307
  • 4. Nahjul Balagha, Letter no. 44
  • 5. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 4, Pg. 68
  • 6. Al-Fitnah al-Kubra ‘‘Ali wa Banuh, Pg. 248
  • 7. Al-Kamil fit Tarikh, Vol. 3, Pg. 259-260
  • 8. ‘Hujr’ is a place, which has abundant dates
  • 9. Holy Prophet had given the title of ‘Chief of martyrs’ to Hamza (r.a.)
  • 10. ‘‘Ali’s elder brother, Ja’far lost his both arms in the battle of Muta. Holy Prophet said: I have seen Ja’far flying along with angels in Paradise. Allah has granted him two emerald wings to fly by.
  • 11. Abu Sufyan, the father of Muawiyah was on the forefront among those who denied.
  • 12. The Holy Prophet had given the title of ‘Lion of Allah’ to Hamza. Utbah bin Rabia, Muawiyah’s grandfather was proud of being called ‘lion of those who take oath’.
  • 13. A famous tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) about Hasan and Husain is: Hasan and Husain are the chiefs of the youth of Paradise. He had pointed out the sons of Utbah bin Abi Muit calling them with youth of hell. Holy Prophet told Utbah: You and your sons will go to hell.
  • 14. A famous saying of the Holy Prophet (S) regarding Lady Fatima is: Fatima is the chief of the women of the worlds. ‘Hammalat al-hatab’ (carrier of firewood) implies Umme Jameel bint Harb, the paternal aunt of Muawiyah and wife of Abu Lahab. She used to collect thorns and spread them on the way of Holy Prophet. Holy Quran has cursed her along with Abu Lahab in the following verse: He shall soon burn in those flames. And his wife, the bearer of firewood.
  • 15. Nahjul Balagha, Letter 28