Period of Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a)
The revolution against Uthman established a great victory for the Muslims. Because it ended the profiteering and playing with the destinies of the people and it destroyed social deceit and oppression and it demolished the throne of the despotic regime. It created for the community an important thing, which was awaited for the establishment of justice, prosperity and security.
That uprising kept in view the matters for shaping the future of the nation. Of them the most important was the selection of His Eminence, Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) for the post of rulership. Historians say that the revolutionaries and other armed forces gathered around the Imam and raised slogans for his long life and they pleaded, “Except you, there is no Imam for us.”
People of various classes realized that this was the Imam who would fulfill their aims and aspirations and restore their honor and only in the shade of his rule would they achieve freedom, equality and justice. Therefore they insisted on his selection and to hand over the reins of power to His Eminence.
The Imam, with disapproval and silence and dissatisfaction for caliphate faced the revolutionaries because he was aware of the terrible circumstances he would have to face in event of his acceptance of caliphate. From the aspect that the covetous groups that Uthman’s regime had created, they made misappropriation as their morsel and had made greed and selfishness as their dress. They would stand up against His Eminence and in confronting him become an obstacle in carrying out his political program for the establishment of justice and eradication of oppression.
Imam (‘a) announced in a loud voice to those who had gathered around him that he was absolutely not inclined to accept the caliphate. He said,
“I have no need of your offer. You may select whomsoever you like and I shall accept him’”
The Imam had no need of their caliphate because he had no concern to obtain anything for himself or his relatives. Rather he wanted to fulfill the aims of nation and rejuvenation of Islam to its natural path.
The milling crowd insisted that His Eminence accept their selection and they said,
“We shall not accept anyone other than you’”
Imam paid no heed to them and remained firm on his disinclination and rejection. However the revolutionaries could not see anyone, except the Imam, suitable for administering the affairs of the community, as all the qualities of leadership were present in him. He was such that he had steadfastness on the path of truth and had the capability to bear the responsibility. On the basis of this view of theirs they were clamoring for the nomination of His Eminence for caliphate.
Before the Imam rejected their proposal, the armed forces held a special meeting to study the dangerous events that would befall due to the lack of an Imam in the community and they took the decision to summon the people of Medina and decided that if they do not select an Imam for the Muslims they must be threatened by violence. When they presented themselves they told them:
“You are the people of consensus committee and you appoint Imams and your choice is binding on the people. Thus find a person whom you can select and we shall follow you. We give you respite for today, that by Allah, if you don’t do it we shall kill Ali, Talha and Zubair as many people shall be sacrificed for this matter’”1
Medinites became anxious, a terror filled their hearts and they became aggravated. So they rushed to the Holy Imam (‘a) while they were pleading, “Allegiance! Allegiance!’ Don’t you see what has befallen Islam and what calamity has come on us at the hands of rustic elements?
Imam emphatically reiterated his refusal and said, “Leave me alone and find someone else’”
And he informed them of the terrible circumstances that would develop in event of his acceptance of caliphate and he said, “O people, I am facing some matters, which have some causes and conditions, that neither can the heart remain firm on it nor the intellects shall be steadfast on it’”2
However the great multitude did not pay any heed to His Eminence and they surrounded him from all sides and cried, “O Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a)! Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a)!”3
People’s insistence on His Eminence and their pressure on him increased and he clearly explained the reality of the matter so that they may become perfectly aware of it. Then he said, “If I accept your proposal I shall lead you the way I want but if you leave me alone I am like one of you. Indeed, I shall be most heedful and obedient of one you select for yourself’”
More and more people crowded around the Imam and collected from all sides and implored him to accept the caliphate. His Eminence has described their petitioning and requests in these words: “I saw that people swamped me from all sides like the hair on shoulders,4 such that Hasan and Husayn were crushed and my sides were injured and they gathered around me like a herd of sheep’”
Imam had no option but to accept the caliphate from the risk that the evil of
Umayyads may beset the community. Regarding this he says, “By Allah, I did not step towards it [caliphate] but for the fear that a goat of Bani Umayyah may jump on the nation and make the Book of Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime, a plaything’”5
Necessity and concern for Islam called His Eminence to the acceptance of caliphate. A caliphate, which was not aimed at anything but the establishment of truth and destruction of falsehood because the son of Abu Talib was that standard bearer of justice in Islam, not an aspirant for rulership and power and neither from those who wanted to secure personal gains from rulership. He was the child of revelation who in all the stages of his life preferred piety to material things and maintained distance from every worldly need.
People congregated in the great Masjid waiting impatiently that may be the Imam would accept their demand.
The Imam came forward surrounded by the surviving pure companions of the Prophet and faced the waves of slogans in his support, which showed their heartfelt longing that he accepts the leadership of Muslims. Imam (‘a) ascended the pulpit and addressed the huge gathering as follows:
“O people, this matter of yours, no one has any right in it but that you may have given him authority. And when yesterday we separated from you in the condition that we had no desire for your caliphate but you did not accept except that I should be the ruler on you. However, I have no right that I should take even a single dirham against you. Thus if you like I shall accept your responsibility otherwise I shall not question anyone about it.”
Imam clarified his economic policy before the people because he used to be extremely careful regarding public wealth. He did not reserve anything for his own self and he never took single dirham for his personal needs or his special expenses. And His Eminence indicated to those who had dived in the Central Treasury when the previous government was overthrown they plundered and appropriated it for themselves that they should know that if the Imam takes over the caliphate those people shall be deprived of that wealth and they shall be considered equal to all other people of the community and wealth shall be returned to the people as Allah wills and not as per the wish and will of the rulers.
Slogans arose around the Masjid that announced their complete insistence on the selection of His Eminence and they said in a united voice, “We are just as we were when we separated from you yesterday’”
At that time waves of crowds fell towards the Imam to pay the oath of fealty and Talha - who very soon broke the pledge of God ñ came forward and gave oath with his crippled hand. The Imam had a feeling of dissatisfaction in his heart and he said, “Very soon he would break his pledge.”6
People were paying allegiance to the Imam in this manner and they were actually paying allegiance to Allah and His Messenger. The armed forces from Egypt and Iraq also paid allegiance to His Eminence and Arabs from provinces, Badr veterans, Emigrants and Helpers, all of them paid the oath of allegiance to His Eminence. None of the caliphs had ever received such a universal allegiance and happiness and gaiety had surrounded the people. The Imam has described their joy and celebrations in the following words:
“The joy of the people for their allegiance was to such an extent that even their children were overjoyed and their elders rushed to it and their ailing ones bore discomfort to reach it and women stepped out of their homes for it.”
Muslims were overjoyed due to this allegiance because their aims were to be fulfilled and they shall regain their honor and status that they anticipated. The oath of allegiance was given to His Eminence on Saturday the 11th night of Zilhajj in 35 A.H.7
Senior companions appeared before the great gathering of the people and expressed their full support to the Imam’s government and we have described in detail in our book, Life of Imam Hasan (‘a). And also in that book we have explained the arrival of delegations from different provinces to participate in the celebrations of Muslims and their pledge of support to the allegiance of Imam.
The first step that the Imam initiated immediately after taking over the caliphate was to dismiss the governors of Uthman who were utilizing the government machinery for their selfish gains and who had through embezzlement of public treasuries amassed a lot of wealth. His Eminence dismissed Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan. Historians say that some of the sincere advisors of the Imam suggested to him to allow Muawiyah to continue for some time till the Imam’s government becomes established and then depose him later on. However the Imam refused to do so and he announced that it was a fraud in religion. It was such a thing that the conscience of the Imam was not prepared to accept. That he should follow a path that is remote from truth. And if he had left him on his post even for a moment it would have denoted that he had expressed his acknowledgement of Muawiyah’s justice and ability.
During his period of rulership the Imam resorted to extreme care and precaution and on the basis of this he kept away from every kind of political diplomacy that was based on deceit and fraud.
The standard bearer of Islamic justice in order to establish the rule of God in all corners of the Islamic kingdom and to hoist the flag of truth issued an absolute command to base it on the nationalization of the embezzled wealth that the former regime had plundered. Applying this law the Imam confiscated all the property that Uthman had appropriated for himself or given to his relatives, even if it were a sword or a coat of mail, it was restored to the Public Treasury and in this way the game governors and officials played with the destiny of the nation was destroyed.
Bani Umayyah were terribly worried and they began to criticize the Imam. Walid bin Uqbah denounced the Bani Hashim saying,
“O Bani Hashim retract the weapons of the son of your sister and do not plunder it as its plunder would not be lawful.
O Bani Hashim! How can peace be there among us when our horses and our clothes are with Ali?
O Bani Hashim, how can we befriend you when the clothes and armor of Uthman are with you?
O Bani Hashim! You do not return it; the killers and plunderers shall be same in our view.
O Bani Hashim! We are in front of what you have done like the crack in the stone, as the crack does not get the one who has made the crack.
You killed our brother so that you may occupy his position. Like border soldiers of Kisra had one day committed fraud on him.”
The above couplets well describe the animosity and hatred of the Umayyads against the Imam because they believed that it was the Holy Imam (‘a) himself who had instigated the uprising against Uthman that resulted in Uthman’s dethroning. The Bani Umayyah demanded the Hashemites to return Uthman’s sword, armor and his other belongings that the Imam’s government had confiscated and these couplets became popular and they were recited in gatherings and assemblies and memorized. Abdullah Abu Sufyan bin Harith has replied to this also in form of couplets, some of which are as follows:
“Do not demand your sword from us as your sword is destroyed and its owner had thrown it away in fear.
You have compared him to Kisra, well he was really Kisra in his behavior as well as his opulence.”8
This poet has criticized the personality of Uthman and shown him to be indolent because in the moment of fear when the revolutionaries attacked him, he did not defend himself by it and he did not take any step for his defense and support. Rather he surrendered himself to the swords of the revolutionaries and only then was he cut up into pieces.
The Quraish tribes went into panic and they began to worry because they were sure that the Imam would definitely confiscate all the wealth that Uthman has wrongly bestowed on them. Amr bin Aas wrote a letter to Muawiyah saying, “Do what you like, while the son of Abu Talib would deprive you of everything you have, like a stick is shaved (peeled off)’”9
The Quraish feared the loss of their wealth and they were fearful of losing their power and position. Because they well knew the Holy Imam (‘a) and his program, which was aimed to establish truth and justice and the eradication of unlawful inequalities that they shall be dealt with like common people. Therefore they became deeply hateful and inimical to the government of His Eminence. Ibn Abil Hadid has described the level of their panic and aggravation in the following way:
“They were in such a condition that if on the day of the passing away of his cousin the caliphate had come to his hand and whatever was in his heart was expressed the contemporaries of Quraish, the youths and elders who had not seen his actions and had not witnessed his effect on their predecessors and not seen him perform such feats; if their predecessors had tried, they would have remained deficient in such things.”10
Jealousy was consuming the hearts of Quraish and hatred was shattering their intellects and they hastened forward in announcing disobedience and rebellion against the kingdom of the Holy Imam (‘a). We shall discuss this in detail in the coming chapters.
Imam (‘a) bore hardships at the hands of the Quraishite clans and he had to face different types of troubles and problems in all stages of his life. His Eminence says, “Quraish frightened me in my childhood and bore enmity to me in my maturity till the Almighty Allah recalled His Prophet. At that time the great tragedy occurred. And the Almighty Allah, on the basis of what you say, is the giver of succor.”11
Imam (‘a) in his letter to his brother Aqil writes about their confronting him in battle after battle like they had confronted the Messenger of Allah (S). His Eminence says, “Leave the Quraish in misguidance and may they remain in destruction and continue to wander, because before this they had gathered to confront the Messenger of Allah (S) in battle. Those who reward may reward the Quraish in my place and they have cut off mercy from me and wrongfully taken away the power of my brother’”12
Imam (‘a) did not worry about them. He continued to advance his just politics so that the aspirations of the community could be realized in establishment of social justice. His Eminence decided to confront them like they were confronting him. And if they disobeyed and did injustice he would deal with them with an iron hand and they shall be put to death. His Eminence says, “What do I have to do with Quraish. I killed them when they were infidels and if they continue to remain with falsehood I would kill them yet again. By Allah, I would split the falsehood so that truth becomes apparent besides it. So tell the Quraishites that they may begin to scream.”13
Quraish tried to put out the light of God and to destroy Islamic principles with all their powers to battle the Imam and to bring down his government just as previously they had endeavored to confront the Messenger of Allah (S) and to annihilate the message of Islam.
I don’t know of any political ruler or social reformer who had made justice with all its depth and meanings as the basis of his mission in the way that Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) had acted. Because His Eminence based his government on pure truth and absolute justice. He paid utmost regard for the restoration of the rights of the deprived classes inspite of the opposition he had to face from different communities and their trustworthiness. O Bani Hashim, before what you have done we are like the crack of a rock, that the crack does not get the one who has made it. And he put himself into hardships in order to spread different kinds of justices and equalities. Because His Eminence used to keep an eye on every department of his government and used to be concerned for all the affairs of the people and regarding the deprived and the weak classes in all the provinces of the kingdom spread he was very much caring and due to this he used to be with them with his coarse dress and difficult life. And therefore he fasted the days and even remained hungry at night that maybe in Hijaz or Yamamah there was someone who had nothing to eat and no hope of satiation. And it was due to this that he bore hardships and denied himself all the pleasures of life and made himself used to hardships and discomforts and he used his brilliant thoughts and a living consciousness for the welfare of people and spreading of prosperity’it is an indication that helps in understanding the policy of His Eminence.
The economic policy followed by the Holy Imam (‘a) was a continuation of the policy of the Holy Prophet (S). It was aimed at imparting a comfortable economical life and progress in life of the common people in all the provinces of the kingdom and thus he accorded great importance to it. So that not a single destitute or needful person remains and this work took the shape of equitable distribution of wealth of the country among all the classes of people. The salient features of that economic policy were as follows:
1. Equality in distribution of allowances in which no one had any sort of precedence and preference. All were considered equal. The Muhajir had no precedence over the Ansar and neither any preference was accorded to the family of the Prophet and his wives over others. Nor was there any superiority for an Arab oven a non-Arab. According to the unanimity of historians the Imam (‘a) fulfilled these things with absolute care and precaution and he established equality in distributing shares to the Muslims and he did not give preference to one community over other. So much so that a Quraishite lady came from Hijaz to demand her allowance. Before she could reach His Eminence she saw an old Iranian lady who resided in Kufa and she asked her the quantum of her allowance and found that her share was equal to her own share. So she brought her along to His Eminence and complained, “Is it justice that I and this Persian maid are considered equal?”
Imam glanced at her and then picked a handful of dust and turning it in his hand looked at her saying, “No part of this dust is superior to another.” Then he recited the words of the Almighty: “Surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty)’”14
This equitable distribution angered the wealthy people of Quraish and others and they expressed their fury to the Imam and some of the companions of His Eminence came to him and asked him to change his policy. However His Eminence replied to them:
“Do you want me to achieve success by oppressing the weak? By Allah, till the time those who remain awake at night narrating stories and till the stars shine on the sky, I would not do this. Even if that were my own wealth I would have acted with equity. Then how could it be while it belongs to Allah? Indeed, wrongful distribution of wealth is excess and squandering which gives its owner a respectable position in the world but degrades him in the Hereafter. He becomes honorable in the view of the people but makes one humiliated before God’”15
Imam’s aim in his economic policy was the creation of a society in which amassing of wealth does not cause rebellion and there are no economic disasters in it. And that the society does not have to face any type of deprivation or hardship in earning its livelihood.
This luminous policy which was rooted in reality and teachings of Islam caused the rival powers to take a stand against Islam so that they may spread chaos and discord in the town and in this way they tried to bring down the Imam’s government’
Madayni believes that the most important cause of reluctance of Arabs in supporting the Imam was that His Eminence was acting upon actual equitability and in giving allegiance he did not give any preference to any noble and did not give any precedence to any Arab or a non-Arab.16
The nose of those tyrants had become swollen due to the Imam’s policy, a policy that had removed the obstacles, destroyed the class system and imposed equality among all the children of Islam not only in the matter of allowance but in all rights and duties.
2. Spending for progress in economic life; starting of agricultural projects and steps to increase the output of farms that were pillars of general economy of the poor people of that time the Imam in his letter to Malik Ashtar emphasizes the development of land before he should collect taxes from them. Such that His Eminence says, “And your view in developing the land is more than taxing the land because it cannot be achieved without spending and whoever taxes without spending upon it destroys the lands and farms and this would not go on much longer.”17
The most important thing that the Imam considered in his economic policy was increasing personal income and spreading prosperity and comfort in such a way that it included all the provinces of the world of Islam. The letters of the Imam to his governors pointed out this part because His Eminence has stressed on the necessity of spending in the path of development of general economy so that no sign of poverty and deprivation remains in the country.
3. He did not reserve anything from the wealth of the nation for himself. The Imam was absolutely careful in this regard and exercised extreme precaution and Islamic sources have recorded numerous examples that prove this precaution of Imam. Of them is the incident when his brother, Aqil approached him asking for money to make his life comfortable.
Imam (‘a) told him, “Whatever is in the Public Treasury belongs to the Muslims. No one has a right to take more or less from it. If he gives a thing more from it he has breached the trust.” However Aqil did not understand this matter and he continued to beseech the Imam and tried his best to get his demands fulfilled. So Imam (‘a) heated a piece of iron and brought it near Aqil. It was so near that it nearly scorched him and he screamed out aloud. When he regained his senses he decided to join Muawiyah so that he may gain from the wealth he had accumulated by embezzling the Muslims.
Historians are unanimous that Imam himself bore many difficulties and hardships but neither he himself nor the people of his family profited from the public wealth and he did not reserve anything for himself till the greedy people began to desert him and encouraged one another among themselves.
Khalid bin Moammar Awasi told Alba bin Haitham a companion of Ali (‘a): “O Alba! Fear Allah with regard to your family and think about yourself and your demonstrated in the following:
1. Equality in rights and duties
2. Equality in shares from Public Treasury
3. Equality before the law
Imam (‘a) announced to his governors and officials the necessity of applying the rules of equality among the people without any bias based on differences in class or religion. His Eminence in one of his letters that he wrote to his officers says:
“Be humble to the people and smiling face to them and act with them with softness (kindness) and to see them or salute and honor be equitable in this so that elders may not be greedy to deviate from you and weak people may not despair of your equitability.”18
In no religion or social doctrine such an illuminated equality is established that sought to restore the respect and merits of man and create love between intelligence and spirits and it brought the people in the sphere of love and brotherhood.
In the view of the Holy Imam (‘a) freedom is a personal right of every man and it should be provided to one and all with a condition that it should not be used to encroach upon or injure others. The most important types of freedoms are as follows:
Our aim in this is that the people should have complete freedom so that every political agenda should be such that any ruling system does not impose an opposing view on them. And the Imam presented the people with the most widespread meanings and in that he did not even care for his enemies and opponents. Those who had refrained from paying allegiance to him like Saad bin Abi Waqqas, Abdullah bin Umar, Hissan bin Thabit, Kaab bin Malik, Musialama bin Mukhlad and Abi Saeed Khudri and others like them who had supported the previous regime as Uthman had given them exceeding wealth and gifts and the Imam did not compel them and in no way did he take any absolute step against them like Abu Bakr had done against the Holy Imam (‘a) when he refused to pay the oath of allegiance.
Imam believed that people are free and it is necessary for the government to provide them freedom so that they do not harm the security and may not rebel or rise up against the present government.
His Eminence accorded freedom to the Kharijis and he did not deprive them their shares from the Public Treasury inspite of knowing that they were forming the most powerful force against the government. However when they began to cause destruction in the land and a terror and worry gripped the people, for protecting general system and protecting the life and property of the people, he hastened to fight against them. This policy branches out into the following:
From the signs of widespread freedom that the Imam had bestowed to the people was the “freedom of expression”, even though it may be opposed to government interests but if one creates mischief he would be held liable for it. Historians have related that Abu Khalifa Tai met some of his brothers (fellowmen). Abul Izaar Tai was among them and he was from the Khawarij. So he said to Adi bin Hatim, “O Abu Tareef! Have you taken the booty and are safe and sound or an oppressor and sinner?”
Adi bin Hatim: Rather I have taken booty and I am safe and sound. Abu Khalifa Tai: This decision is upon you.
Aswad bin Zaid and Aswad bin Qais became fearful about him and they arrested him and brought him under arrest to the Imam and told him about his mischievous statements.
His Eminence asked them, “What should I do?” “Kill him.”
“Shall I kill one who has not risen against me?” “Imprison him.”
“He has not committed any crime. Release him.”
Such a freedom has never been accorded to the citizens by any of the social doctrines.
On the basis of this the Holy Imam (‘a) never punished the people due to what they had uttered. Rather they were accorded freedom to remain in any condition they liked and he did not keep any special surveillance so that there be separation between them and their freedom.
From the expression of political freedom that the Imam provided to the people was freedom to criticize the government and thus those who were critical of the government were never targets of reprimand or harassment.
Historians say: His Eminence was busy in reciting the Surahs in Prayers and some of his companions were behind him. Then one of them, in opposition of the Imam’s recital recited as follows: “the judgment is only Allah's; He relates the truth and He is the best of deciders.”19
The Imam replied: “Therefore be patient; surely the promise of Allah is true and let not those who have no certainty hold you in light estimation.”20
And he did not initiate any step against that man. Rather he forgave him and released him because His Eminence believed in according widespread freedom to the people and he did not impose anything on anyone and he never forced anyone to obey him. He didn’t compel them for anything they didn’t like.
These were some of the signs of freedom that the Holy Imam (‘a) had provided to the people during the period of his caliphate and he had established social and political justice among the people.
“Universal Justice” was the slogan that the Imam called out in a widespread manner and he made it the foundation in all the periods of his rule because His Eminence made many efforts to establish and to elevate its luminous status and according to the historians he was the first ruler in Islam who established a house of justice so that oppressed ones and those who have received injustice or excess has been committed against them may appeal there and the Imam personally looked into their appeals. And he obtained their rights for them and removed the oppression or excess from them.21
Imam paid special attention for spreading of justice and propagating it among the people and according to the unanimity of historians, he used all his government machineries for destroying injustice and uprooting and erasing its effects. His Eminence has said: “The lowly is honorable in my eyes till I obtain his right for him and the strong one is weak in my view till I take the right from him.”
His Eminence dismissed one of his governors when Sawdeh binte Ammarah informed His Eminence that he had committed oppression in his rule. The Imam began to weep and said with extreme grief, “O Allah, You are a witness over me and over them that I have not commanded them to oppress any of the people and neither for leaving off Your right’”
After that he dismissed him immediately.22 Historians have narrated numerous examples of the justice of His Eminence among the people that anything like that is not seen in any of the periods of history.
The Holy Imam (‘a) bore many hardships and untold difficulties so that he may provide unity to all the classes of the community. And that love and kindness is spread among the children of community (people). He considered Islamic attachment as one of the greatest bounties of God on this nation and he has said: “Certainly, it is a great blessing of Allah, the Glorified that He has engendered among them unity through the cord of affection in whose shade they walk and take shelter. This is a blessing whose value no one in the whole world realizes, because it is more valuable than any price and higher than any wealth.”23
The Imam opposed anyone who invited towards disunity and discord and according to his statement he issued orders that the sword should be pulled before them. In the same way His Eminence resisted and opposed nepotism and prejudice to ones own tribe etc. as it was one of the factors that created enmity and disunity among the people. However for perfection of morals he used to even encourage people to be prejudiced!
So much so that His Eminence says:
In case you cannot avoid vanity, your vanity should be for good qualities, praiseworthy acts, and admirable matters with which the dignified and noble chiefs of the Arab families distinguished themselves, as attractive manners, high thinking, respectable position and good performances. You too should show vanity in praiseworthy habits like the protection of the neighbor, the fulfillment of agreements, obedience to the virtuous, opposition to the haughty, extending generosity to others, abstention from rebellion, keeping aloof from blood-shed, doing justice to people, suppressing anger and avoiding trouble on the earth.24
Imam (‘a) accorded importance to national unity and he kept in view all the factors that promoted integration and consensus and in all the periods of his life he protected this unity because he even let go of his right and for protecting the community from divisions and discord he maintained peace with the caliphs.
It is not narrated regarding any caliph that he gave as much importance to training and education as given by Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a). Rather they focused all their attention and energies to military affairs, martial activities, spreading their jurisdiction on Islamic Kingdom and imposing their power on the world. While the fields of religious training had become very weak and it was this problem that led to the spread of religious problems and lack of knowledge about Islam. Its consequences were the appearance of apostasy and they were the beginning of the ruins Umayyads and Abbasids. And also of its consequences is the spread of lack of observing the Islamic modest dress (Hijab) and shamelessness in many of the areas. And the palaces of the caliphs and ministers themselves were centers of vice and sensuality.
Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) was a believer in the importance of education and made the Kufa Masjid as the center of training, where he delivered addresses consisting of religious information and his own explanations. And most of the time he spoke only in inviting towards Almighty Allah and spoke on the philosophy of Monotheism and spreading manners and Islamic morals and his aim was to make religious knowledge common and available to all so that a generation may be produced that has a belief in Allah by reasoning and not a belief by blindly following their ancestors. The sermons of His Eminence shook the depths of the souls and caused them to humble before the Almighty. In the school of His Eminence a group of good and righteous Muslims were trained like Hujr bin Adi, Mitham Tammar, Kumail Ibn Ziyad and other pious and righteous people in Islam.
The bequests of His Eminence for his two sons, Hasan and Husayn (‘a) and his other teachings were from the most important principles of training Islam that specified the foundations of training and based its methods on personal experience so that it may be the most valuable wealth of the Muslims in this field.
But in the field of education the Imam (‘a) himself was the teacher and he was having spirit of knowledge and it were he that opened doors of knowledge in Islam like philosophy, scholastic theology, exegesis, jurisprudence, grammar and other sciences etc. that number more than thirty and the appearing of new branches of scientific movement in the period of the ascendancy of Islam, according to the view of historians are all connected to His Eminence.
Imam was the greatest founder of sciences and divine recognition in the Islamic world and he concentrated all his efforts for dispensing knowledge and promoting good morals and culture among Muslims and he repeated this statement of his among his companions that: “Ask me before you miss me, because certainly I am acquainted with the passages of the sky more than the passages of the earth’”
It is indeed a matter of great regret and remorse that those people did not take benefit from this lofty personality. And they did not ask him about the reality of space and the planets floating in it and other secrets of Nature as His Eminence has received their recognition and knowledge from the Holy Prophet (S). They did not ask him any of these things. Rather they tried to make fun of him and a joker among them asked, “How many strands of hair do I have on my head?”
The Imam was helpless among these ignorant people. So ignorant that they did not understand his value and aims of His Eminence. They did not even try to achieve the reality of his value and they did not realize his personal greatness and the gifts of His Eminence.
In any case the Imam established his government for spreading wide the intellectual and scientific life and the dispersal of knowledge and ethics in all areas of the kingdom.
Imam (‘a) exercised utmost precaution and care in selection of governors and officials and he did not appoint anyone in any of the Islamic provinces and did not entrust anyone with a post of responsibility before ascertaining his honesty, capability and ability to fulfill his responsibilities. He did not appoint anyone due to friendship or preferring him for a government post. Rather he employed the righteous and good people from the Muslims like Malik Ashtar, Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, Sahal bin Hunaif, monk of the community, Abdullah Ibn Abbas and others like them who were having complete knowledge of affairs of administration and organizational expertise and he gave them an important documents (letter) in which he presented matters of governance and policies of the government and also fixed their rights and duties.
The most important of these political sources are instructions of His Eminence to Malik Ashtar which includes important rules for improvement of political, economic and military life and it is the most progressive political document whose aim is social development and protection of interests of the society. If it had not been beyond the scope of this book we would have presented a detailed analysis of its statements.
Supervision on Governors
According to the unanimous opinion of historians, the Imam verified the dealings of his governors and officials and he used to send a person secretly to keep an eye on their actions and affairs. Whenever he saw an instance of breach of trust or a shortcoming in fulfillment of their duty he dismissed them and accorded them the toughest punishment.
Information reached His Eminence that Ibn Hirma had committed embezzlement in the market of Ahwaz. So he wrote to his governor:
“When you read my letter, remove Ibn Hirma from his shady dealings in the market. And for the well being of the people keep him restrained. And keep him under arrest and announce regarding him and write a letter to your agents and inform them about our view about him. Under no circumstances should you be careless or lacking in this matter because you shall be destroyed near Allah and I shall dismiss you in the worst manner and I am warning you of this. Thus when it is Friday you must bring him out of the prison and lash him 35 times and take him around the market and if anyone comes to testify for him you put him under oath and repay his outstanding from the income he received from his business and issue the command so that he is taken back to the prison in utmost humiliation and degradation.”25
This is the intensity of justice that destroys embezzlement and eradicates bribes and no one could dare to commit any cheating. And the Imam kept an eye on all the actions and dealings of his governors. He received information that his governor in Basra had attended a dinner hosted by one of the affluent residents of that city. Imam (‘a) wrote a letter to him and reprimanded him for that. He wrote as follows:
“Ibn Hunayf! I have received information that a person of Basra invited you to a dinner and you immediately accepted the invitation. I have also heard that very sumptuous meals were served there! Finest varieties of viands were placed before you in large plates and you enjoyed them. I am sorry to hear the news. I never expected that you would accept the invitation of a person who invites big officers and rich people and from whose doors poor persons and hungry paupers are turned away rudely.
Look carefully into the things which you eat. If there is even a shade of their being obtained unlawfully then throw them away, only eat those things about which you are perfectly certain that they are obtained by honest means.”26
No matter how much experience and progress humanity may attain, no matter how many innovations they may bring in the administration and operating of a government it is not capable of creating such a system which invites its operators to such courage and steadfastness and demands them that they must not accept all invitations so that it may not be that one may trespass some right and may reply favorably to those who are accused of embezzlement and pride.
Imam (‘a) did not allow near him anyone who was an opportunist, who had no regard for truth and who were only greedy and remained concerned with their personal gains and who did not recognize the benefits of the general public, because they were supporters of ruling powers in falsehood and not in justice. The society of Kufa had a big group of these people in it. Like Ashath bin Qays, Amr bin Hareeth, Shabt bin Rabi and others like them, whose interests were harmed during the tenure of the Holy Imam (‘a). So they began to be connected with the regime in Damascus and took over the activities of that regime and began to devise plots so that they may destroy the army and people of the Imam. And their aim was to destroy the Imam’s government.
According to historians, these very people became army commanders who committed the most terrible carnage, which was the carnage of Karbala, because they were sure that if the Imam is able to obtain victory their personal interests shall be finished because the Imam’s policy would be a continuation of the policy of his father. A policy in which there was no place for cheaters and criminals.
Imam (‘a) considered the government as a means for social reformation which should be given only to those who were careful and those who would fulfill the oaths (responsibilities) and those who were not inclined to their selfish desires and personal gains. And the power of government should be used to provide the well being of the people. And it is not permissible that it should be given for the sake of friendship and undue prejudice. His Eminence in his letter to his judge, Rufa bin Shaddad wrote:
“O Rufa! Know that this leadership is a trust and whoever commits breach of trust in it, shall be accursed till the Day of Judgment. And one who appoints an embezzler to a post of government in the world in the Hereafter, His Eminence, Muhammad shall be disgusted with him.”27
Whenever Imam found anyone inclined to selfish desires he never appointed him on any office because he would make his appointment as a means to obtain his personal gains. When Talha and Zubair expressed their ardent desires to be appointed as governors, the Imam refused to fulfill their demands. And he summoned Abdullah Ibn Abbas and asked, “Have you heard what these two (Talha and Zubair) say?”
He replied, “Yes, I see that they would like to become governors. So appoint Zubair as the governor of Basra and Talha as the governor of Kufa.”
Imam (‘a) objected to his view and said, “Woe be unto you. There are people and property in Iraq (in Basra and Kufa) and if they are made governors of these provinces they would deviate the foolish by greed, oppress the weak and dominate the powerful by the power given to them. And if I appoint one of them as governor, on the basis of their merits or benefits, I might as well have appointed Muawiyah as the governor of Syria. If their greed with regard to rulership had not been clear to me, I had something else in mind for them.”28
It was due to these sensitive matters that His Eminence did not appoint the two of them over the two Iraqi provinces’because in the belief of the Imam it is not allowed to entrust governance and other government posts to anyone except those honest people who always endeavor for the benefits of the community and do not consider rulership as a means of obtaining wealth and other personal benefits.
The most obvious matter in the policy of Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) was the necessity of openness and rightfulness in all the affairs of his policy and His Eminence under no circumstance resorted to hypocrisy, deceit and fraud. Rather he followed an open policy, which had no ambiguity. And he moved on the method of his cousin, His Eminence, the Messenger of Allah (S) and selected his mannerism and guidance of His Eminence. He trod in his footsteps and all his steps were in accordance with those of the Holy Prophet (S). And if His Eminence had acted upon the accepted principles of politics that permits resorting to hypocrisy and deceit for obtaining power the caliphate would never have reached Uthman. Because Abdur Rahman bin Auf insisted upon him that he shall pay oath to him with the condition that he would continue the practice of Abu Bakr and Umar. His Eminence refused to accept this condition and told him frankly that he would govern the affairs of the community in accordance with the Book of Allah, the practice of the Messenger of Allah (S) and his own judgment. And he would not act on any other source in the field of jurisprudence and Islamic politics. His Eminence says, “If deceit and fraud had not been in the fire (deadly sins) I would have been the most crafty person.”
Enlightened intellect, full of piety and obedience of Almighty does not accept resorting to deceit and fraud to obtain power since the most pious people have been associated with the former qualities. His Eminence lamented due to the pains caused to him at the hands of the enemies and said, “Woe be to them that they commit deceit with us. And know that I am aware of their deceit and I am more knowledgeable of the different types of frauds than they are. However I know that deceit and fraud are deadly sins. Thus I remain patient on their deceit and I shall never do what they are doing...”29
His Eminence refuted one who had said about him that he was not aware of political affairs and that Muawiyah was more informed than him saying, “By Allah, Muawiyah is not cleverer than me. Rather he resorts to deceit and commits transgression. And if deceit hadn’t been an undesirable quality I would have been the most clever on of all.”30
His Eminence had spoke of some factors that are undesirable but some people rely on them in order to achieve their aims, actions like deceit and other things like it, like fraud and hypocrisy and whoever considers them as good manners is criticized by the Imam that, “One who knows what its consequences are, does not resort to deceit. But we live in such a time that most people consider deceit as something good and the ignorant people of this time consider it as good manners. What shall be there for them? The Almighty Allah shall kill them. The man who is aware sees the form of deceit and in front of it he sees the obstacle of divine do’s and don’ts. Thus he leaves it in a knowing manner while he were having the power to have committed it. However those who do not observe precaution in religion they consider this opportunity best’”
Imam (‘a) based his policies on these ethics, policies which in the world of Islam were illuminated and caused immortality of His Eminence and the pride of humanity for His Eminence in all generations and time periods.
Here we conclude our discussion regarding the lofty examples of Imam’s policies. Policies that without any doubt had original aims in view that Islam has made them its slogan however those generations did not recognize him because they had got used to bias and profiteering and therefore they did not get the Tawfeeq to obtain that diplomacy.
Sentiments of Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) merged with the emotions of his son, Husayn and his spirit became like his spirit. So much so that he became an incomparable image of His Eminence that tells us of the reality and guidance of His Eminence.
Imam bequeathed all his personal traits to his son, Husayn(‘a) and bestowed him with his love and sincerity and embellished him with the loftiest wisdom and manners.
The great love of his with relation to him was such that he was not allowing him to take an active part in the battle of Siffeen. In the same way he was also not permitting his brother Hasan, as he feared that the Progeny of the Prophet may become extinct.
The lofty values of Imam and his other ways of thinking had created an imprint in the soul of Husayn and His Eminence like his father used to rise up in confronting injustice and falsehood and against oppression and force. And he used to sacrifice all he could in establishment of truth and justice and in all the paths of reformation and goodness.
His Eminence, in bravery, steadfastness, respect of the self, lofty values and courage was like his father and his enemies on the Day of Taff confessed to this because when they proposed him to surrender to the son of Marjana and to humble before his demands, one of them said: “He would never accept your proposal because the spirit of his father has entered into him.”
Yes, the spirit of his father, the brave stalwart of this community and the standard- bearer and high status towards honor and merits with all the signs had found a place in the being of Imam Husayn (‘a). So much so that it is said that there was no difference between the father and the son. Both of them were such illuminated personages that humanity has prided upon them in all generations.
Imam (‘a) had informed the people about the martyrdom of his son, Imam Husayn (‘a) like the Messenger of Allah (S) had also prophesied about this matter. The Imam on numerous occasions has mentioned this subject and some of the instances are presented below:
1. Abdullah bin Yahya31 has narrated from his father that he traveled with Ali to Siffeen and he was appointed as the attendant of His Eminence. When they reached besides Nainawa, the Imam became overcome with sadness and he raised up his voice and said, “Be patient, O Aba Abdillah! Be patient, O Aba Abdillah! On the banks of the Euphrates.”
Yahya was stunned and he asked, “Who is this Aba Abdillah?”
The Imam with a heavy heart and sorrowful mood told him, “I came to the Messenger of Allah (S) and saw that the eyes of His Eminence were full of tears. I asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah (S), has someone made you distraught? Why are there tears in your eyes?’ He replied: ‘Jibraeel stood near me and said: Husayn(‘a) shall be slain at the banks of Euphrates. And he asked: Shall I get you the soil of his place of martyrdom for you to smell? I replied: Yes. Then he brought a handful of dust and gave it to me. I was not able to control my eyes from weeping.’”32
2. Harsima bin Sulaym has narrated: I was with Ali in the battle of Siffeen. When we reached near Karbala he recited prayers with us and after the conclusion of prayers took up some of the soil of that place and smelt it and then he said, “Know that, O dust! A community shall go from you to the Gathering that shall enter Paradise without accounting.”
Harisma was bewildered and the statements of Imam were remained in his mind but he did not accept them. Thus when he returned to his wife, Jarda binte Sumair who was a Shia of Ali he told her what he had heard from the Imam. His wife said, “O man! What have we got to do with you? Because Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) does not say anything other than the truth.”
Days passed and the time arrived when Ibn Ziyad sent his forces to fight the beloved son of the Messenger of Allah (S) and Harisma was among them. When he reached Karbala and saw Husayn and his companions, he recalled the statement of Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) and he became disgusted with fighting and he went to the side of Imam Husayn (‘a). And told His Eminence what he had heard from his father.
Imam told him, “Are you with us or against us?”
He replied, “Neither with you nor against you. Being away from my wife and children I am fearful of Ibn Ziyad.”
The Imam advised him, “Go away from here so that you may not witness our slaying, because by the One in Whose hands is the life of Muhammad, whoever sees my slaying and does not come to help us, the Almighty Allah shall make him enter Hell fire.”
Harisma went away from Karbala and he did not witness the massacre of Imam Husayn (‘a).33
3. Abu Johfa has narrated that Urwah Bariqi came to Saeed bin Wahab when I heard him that he asked, “You told me of the statement of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a)?” He replied, “Yes, Makhnaf bin Sulaym sent me to Ali and I went to him in Karbala. Then I saw him that he was gesturing and saying: “It is here. It is here.”
A man hastened to His Eminence and asked, “What is that, O Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a)?”
His Eminence replied, “A family from the clan of Muhammad shall arrive here. Then woe be on those from you! And woe be on you from them!”
That man did not understand what the Imam said. So he asked, “O Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a), what does it mean?”
Imam replied, “Woe be on them from you as you would slay them. And woe be on you from them that Almighty Allah shall send you to Hell for slaying them.”34
4. Hasan bin Kathir has narrated from his father that Ali (‘a) came to Karbala and stood there. Then it was asked to His Eminence, “O Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a), is this Karbala?”
Imam (‘a) replied while he was overcome with grief, “It is having grief and hardships.” Then he gestured to a place and said, “This is the place where they shall take abode.” Then he pointed to another place and said, “This is the place where their blood shall be shed.”35
5. Abu Hareema has narrated: I was with Ali at the river of Karbala. Then we passed by a tree underneath which lay deer droppings and His Eminence took a handful of dust and said, “From this place seventy thousand shall go to the Gathering and they shall enter Paradise without accounting.”36
6. Abu Hayyana has narrated: I was with Ali when he reached Kufa. Then he ascended the pulpit and praised and extolled Almighty Allah. Then he said, “How shall you be if the Progeny of Prophet comes to you?”
They replied, “In that case we shall behave with them in the best way.”
Imam told them, “By the one in Whose hands is my life! They shall come to you and you shall go out to them and you shall slay them.”
Then he further said,
“They invited them on a false pretext and implored him to fulfill their demands till the time no salvation and excuse remained.”37
7. Tibrani has narrated with his chains from His Eminence, Ali that he said, “Husayn shall be slain and I am acquainted with a land between two streams where he shall be slain.”38
8. Thabit has narrated from Suwaid bin Ghaflah that one day His Eminence, Ali (‘a) delivered a sermon when a man stood up from below the pulpit and said, “O Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a), I passed by the valley of Qura and saw that Khalid Ibn Arafta was dead. So I sought divine forgiveness for him.”
His Eminence said, “By Allah, he is not dead and he shall not die till he does not become the commander of a deviant armed force whose standard bearer shall be Habib bin Himar.”
At that time a man stood up before His Eminence and cried, “O Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a), I am Habib bin Himar a Shia and partisan of yours.”
Imam asked, “Are you Habib bin Himar?” “Yes,” he replied.
Imam (‘a) repeated his statement, “Are you Habib?” and he replied, “Yes.”
After that Imam (‘a) said, “Yes, by Allah, you shall carry the standard, you shall carry it and you shall enter from this gate.” Saying this he pointed to the Baab-e- Feel (Elephant Gate) in the Kufa Mosque.
Thabit said, “By Allah, I didn’t die till I saw Ibn Ziyad send Umar Ibn Saad to fight against Husayn bin Ali and appoint Khalid bin Arafta in the forefront of the battalion and made Habib bin Himar his standard bearer. And he entered with him from the Baab-e-Feel.”39
9. Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) delivered a sermon and inter alia said, “Ask me before you miss me, because, by Allah, Who has my life in His hands, if you ask me anything between now and the Day of Judgment or about the group who would guide a hundred people and also misguide a hundred people I would tell you who is announcing its march, who is driving it in the front and who is driving it at the rear, the stages where its riding animals would stop for rest and the final place of stay, and who among them would be killed and who would die a natural death.”
At this time Tamim bin Saama Tamimi, that filthy and dirty man glanced at His Eminence and asked, “How many strands of hair do I have on my head’?”
Imam (‘a) glared at him and told him, “By Allah, I know about that but what is the proof if I tell you about it? And I inform you about your rising and your saying and I have been told that for each strand of hair on your head there is an angel who curses you and there is a Satan who instigates you and its sign is that in your house is a degraded one who would slay the son of the Messenger of Allah (S) and encourage others on his slaying’”
Ibn Abil Hadid says, “The matter was just as His Eminence had informed, because his son Haseen at that time was an infant. He remained alive and became the police commissioner of Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad and Ubaidullah sent him to Ibn Saad to command him to fight against Imam Husayn (‘a) and he warned him that he should not delay the matter. Thus His Eminence was martyred the next day to the night Haseen had brought the letter to Saad.”40
10 ñ His Eminence told Bara bin Aazib, “O Bara, would Husayn be slain while you are alive and you don’t help him?”
Bara replied, “O Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a)! It won’t be like this.”
When His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) was martyred, Bara became regretful and he recalled the statement of Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) and said, “What a great remorse that I was not with him so that I would have been martyred before him.”41
10. Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) said, “As if I am seeing the palaces that are raised around the grave of Husayn. I am seeing the bazaars that have come up around his grave. There is no passing of day and night there but that people arrive there from different areas. It shall be after the extinction of Bani Marwan.”42
What the Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) prophesied came out to be true because His Eminence was the gate of the city of knowledge of the Prophet and he was the carrier of the secrets and wisdom of His Eminence. The Umayyads kingdom had not become extinct when the tomb of the beloved one of the Messenger of Allah (S) was constructed in splendor and it became the sanctuary of the Almighty Allah that the hearts of all Muslims are attracted to it. Millions of Muslims aspire to perform the visitation (pilgrimage) of that shrine. They arrive from far off areas and the luckiest of the luckiest is one who gets the honor of being blessed by the visitation and kissing the shrine that houses the Imam’s grave.
The great tomb of His Eminence, in the view of Muslims and non-Muslims is symbol of human greatness and a lighted torch for every sacrifice which is offered for establishment of truth and justice and is an incomparable sign for the most holy thing that this living being among all the living ones and in all ages and periods gets an honor by it.
Here we reach to the end of the first volume of our book and we shall in the second volume go to the welcome of Imam Husayn (‘a) till the terrible events that the Imam had to face during the caliphate of His Eminence, Imam Ali (‘a). We shall make them a subject of our study; events that subjected the Muslims to a severe test. Events that caused neglect of helping and supporting the Imam and Imam Hasan (‘a) was compelled to abdicate the caliphate and a dirty group of Umayyads was imposed on the necks of the people and that they may make them helpless and force them to what they did not want, and to destroy those lofty values that religion had brought so that it may become supreme in all corners of the earth.
The tribes of Quraish were frightened due to the severity of the Imam’s government and they became sure that all the political and economic policies of His Eminence that were same as the intellectual and social view of the Holy Prophet (S) were going to crush their pride and arrogance. It would bring to an end their economic life, which was based on usury, hoarding and profiteering. Of all the steps of His Eminence was the dismissal of governors appointed by Uthman from all provinces and confiscation of the wealth they had plundered from the Central Treasury. They in the same way became worried and this matter distressed them due to the announcement of equality and justice among all the communities of Islam and the policy that all Muslims were equal in rights, duties and in everything because they believed themselves to be superior to other communities and special over other people.
The Quraishites and other powers that had deviated from the path of truth became angry at the Imam’s government and all of them together decided to announce an armed attack and they kindled the flames of war in different provinces. So that they may be able to topple the Imam’s government which considered power as a means for social reform and progress in human life.
The first battle forced on the Imam was that of Jamal and after that the battle of Siffeen and then Nahrawan. These battles were obstacles to the government of the Imam whose aim was to raise the level of human values and destruction of all factors of backwardness in the country.
Narrators say that the Holy Prophet (S) had informed His Eminence about the rebellion of some groups against him during the period of his caliphate and he told His Eminence that he must fight them and he named them as Nakiseen, Qasiteen and Mariqeen.43 We are compelled to discuss in brief about these battles which would show us in true light the political and intellectual life of that period. A period in which the mentality of most of the people was full of seeking power and power worship. And it also shall describe for us the malice that the Quraish harbored against the Imam. And it is established that all these factors and events had a significant role in the tragedy of Karbala. Because they had spread the social problems and brought into existence a generation which was always in search of comfort and which except for personal gains had nothing else in view. Here we present these matters:
Nakiseen are those who have broken their pledge, considered valueless their oath to Allah for sacrifice and obedience of the Imam and they have gone out in the field of disobedience. They became sunk in sins. Thus all the Islamic jurisprudents are unanimous on their sinfulness because they had no excuse for attacking the lawful government. A government, which took steps for the benefit of the people, acted only for sincere truth and pure justice among the Muslims and to root out factors of backwardness in the country.
The most important Nakiseen were Talha, Zubair, Ayesha binte Abu Bakr, Marwan bin Hakam, Umayyads and other people who were disgusted with justice and equitability of the Holy Imam (‘a).
It is established that the Nakiseen had no social aim; rather they had only their personal gains in view in breaking the pledge they had given to the Imam. For example Talha and Zubair, after His Eminence had accepted the caliphate, rushed to him and expressed their desire that the governorships of Basra and Kufa be given to them. After they failed in these efforts they became unhappy and they went towards Mecca to create an uprising against the Imam and announce the breaking up of the Muslim’s unity. Regarding this is the statement of Zubair in which he has described his aim at the time when a man approached him and asked, “You were with the Holy Prophet (S) during his time and you are having precedence. Thus you inform me about your movement and struggle. Is there something that the Messenger of Allah (S) had ordered you for?”
Talha became silent but Zubair replied, “We were told that white and yellow (that is silver dirhams and gold dinars) are present here. We have come so that we may take something from it’!”44
Thus those two old men rebelled against the Imam’s government for obtaining material benefits.
As for Ayesha, she desired that she may return the caliphate to her own family. She was the first who had instigated the uprising against Uthman saying: “Kill the Nathal,45 as he has become an infidel.”
She tried to have Talha nominated as the caliph and she used to praise him at every occasion. However on the basis of her special feelings of kindness for her nephew, Abdullah Ibn Zubair she gave a positive reply and made him lead the prayer; nominated him and gave him precedence over Talha.
However with regard to Bani Umayyah, they wanted that the Imam should allow them to keep the wealth they had amassed during Uthman’s regime but the Imam did not agree that they could keep the community wealth they had usurped. Therefore enmity with regard to His Eminence became apparent and they busied in creating mischief and discord.
Anyway, they had no aim of reform or inviting towards the path of truth and their motive was only selfish desires, greed and malice towards the Imam as His Eminence was the very self of the Messenger of Allah (S) and the gate of the city of his knowledge.
Muawiyah became satisfied with the aims of Talha and Zubair, therefore he from his own side used deceit and conspiracy with them so that he may make them a step stone to reach his own aims and targets. On the basis of this he wrote a letter to Zubair as follows: To the servant of God, Zubair, the chief of the believers. From Muawiyah the son of Abu Sufyan. Peace be upon you. So to say: Know that I have taken the oath of fealty from the people of Syria for you and they have agreed to it and become organized like clouds pile upon one another. Thus keep Kufa and Basra in your hands. It should not be that the son of Abu Talib takes them before you, because apart from these two provinces, there is nothing. And after you, I have taken the oath of allegiance for Talha Ibn Ubaidullah. Thus announce the taking of revenge for Uthman’s blood and call the people to it and it is necessary for you to put in more efforts.
May the Almighty Allah make you victorious and may He abandon all those who oppose you.”
When this letter reached Zubair, he became elated and he rushed to Talha and informed him of it. They did not for a moment doubt the veracity of Muawiyah’s statements or his sincerity but they dared to announce their revolt against the Imam, and made the revenge-seeking of Uthman’s blood as their slogan.46
The rebels rushed to Mecca and made it a center of their illegal activities against the Imam’s government and in that sanctified city mobilized many Quraish tribes and instigated them against the Imam and urged them to join their ranks. Because in the depths of their souls they harbored malice and jealousy against the Imam as the Imam had slain the relatives of the majority of these people in the way of Islam.
Anyway, in this conference the leaders of mischief voted upon and finalized their main issue, the city they must attack and other matters that would ensure the success of their revolt.
The members of the conference in a broad unanimity took the following decisions:
1. They would take up revenge-seeking for the blood of Uthman as a slogan for their uprising because he was killed ‘unjustly’ and the revolutionaries had considered it lawful to shed his blood even though he had repented for his mistakes.
The rebels and Quraishite hoarders of wealth who had risen up in revolt in different areas made Uthman’s shirt the symbol of their uprising.
2. The responsibility of Uthman’s murder should be thrown on His Eminence, Imam Ali (‘a) because he had given refuge to the killers of Uthman and not extracted retaliation from them.
3. To march towards Basra and take it under their control so that it may be a center for their revolt because there were many supporters there. They did not move to Medina because the lawful caliph having armed forces was present there and they were not capable of confronting him. In the same way they refrained from going to Syria because the Umayyads would not have allowed them to take over. They didn’t want to become hopeless and return empty-handed and they also feared that they may be attacked.
Ya’la bin Umayyah equipped Ayesha’s forces with items he had plundered from the Public Treasury when he was a governor in Yemen during Uthman’s caliphate. Historians say: He gave 600 heads of camels and 600000 dirhams to the army.47
Abdullah bin Aamir, Uthman’s governor in Basra, also presented a lot of wealth to the rebel forces, which he had robbed from the Public Treasury.48 None of the members of this army refused using any of these things obtained through unlawful means.
Ayesha delivered many political speeches in Mecca and in them she put the responsibility of Uthman’s murder to rogues and lowly people who had shed forbidden blood in a sacred month, because they killed him even though he had repented of his mistakes and thus they had no excuse for shedding his blood.49
According to historians the sermon was full of political sophistry because those who had shed his blood were not vagrants and rogues. Rather those who killed him were those who raised a standard of revolt against him and the foremost of them were senior companions like Ammar bin Yasir, Abu Zar,50 Abdullah Ibn Masud, Talha and Zubair. Ayesha herself was his most severe critic. She acted with great fervor to oppose Uthman and gave a verdict for his killing and infidelity saying: “Kill the Nathal as he has become an apostate.” So what is the connection between Uthman’s murder and the rogues and lowly elements of society?
As for Uthman’s repentance, he had gone back on his words more than once because even though he wanted to give up, the Bani Umayyah dragged him to their own political goals and he returned to his previous policy and he did not give it up till he was killed.
Anyway, her sermon was the first step in announcement of armed rebellion against the Imam’s government. And it would have been better for Ayesha if she had in accordance with her status and position called the people to unite in supporting the Imam’s government which was to realize the aims of the Prophet and the well being of the community in honor and respect. She should have given it full support.
It is really astonishing that Ayesha went to Umme Salma and asked her to confront the Imam inspite of knowing to what extent Umme Salma loved and respected the Imam. And this proves that Ayesha was not aware of the way of thinking of the wives of the Prophet. When Ayesha met Umme Salma she told her kindly and softly, “O daughter of Abu Umayyah! You are of the first women of Muhajireen among the Prophet’s wives and the senior-most mother of the believers. And the Prophet used to distribute to us from your house and Jibraeel used to be present mostly in your house’”
Umme Salma glanced at Ayesha and asked her with doubt and hesitation, “Why are you saying all this?”
Ayesha replied in a deceptive way, “People asked Uthman to repent and when he repented and while he was fasting they killed him in the sacred month. So I have decided that I should go out to Basra while Zubair and Talha are with me. Why don’t you also come with me? Perhaps the Almighty Allah would reform this matter through us’!”
Umme Salma advised her and reminded her of her stance and opposition against Uthman and also restrained her from rebelling against the cousin of the Prophet. She said, “O daughter of Abu Bakr! Have you stood up to revenge Uthman’s blood? By Allah! You were his most severe opponent and you did not call him except by the epithet of Nathal. What do you have to do with the blood of Uthman? Uthman was a man from Bani Abde Manaf and you are a woman from Bani Teem bin Marrah. Woe be on you, O Ayesha! Are you rising up in rebellion against Ali, the Prophet’s cousin while the Muhajireen and Ansar have paid oath of allegiance to him’?”
Umme Salma reminded Ayesha of the merits and excellences of Ali and the proximity of his status with relation to the Messenger of Allah (S) while Abdullah Ibn Zubair was listening. This angered him and he feared that Umme Salma might succeed in dissuading Ayesha from her intentions. Therefore he cried, “O daughter of Abu Umayyah! We know of your enmity to the family of Zubair.”
Umme Salma chastised him and shouted, “By Allah, you and your father make her enter but do not take her out! Do you expect the Muhajireen and Ansar to accept your father Zubair and his friend Talha while Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) is alive and he is the master of all believing men and women?”
Ibn Zubair told her, “I have never heard this from the Messenger of Allah (S).”
Umme Salma said, “If you have not heard it, your aunt, Ayesha has heard it. She is also here. Ask her. She has heard the Prophet saying: Ali is my caliph on you in my life and after my death. One who disobeys him, has disobeyed me. O Ayesha! Do you testify having heard this..?”
Ayesha was not able to deny it. She said, “Yes, by Allah.”
Umme Salma continued to advise Ayesha and she said, “O Ayesha! Have fear of Allah in your conscience, and beware of what the Messenger of Allah (S) had warned you about. Do not be with the dogs of Hawwab. Zubair and Talha should not deceive you as they could not get you any benefit in the presence of the Lord’”51
Ayesha heard Umme Salma’s advice but in obeying her emotions decided to continue her opposition to the Holy Imam (‘a).
Umme Salma wrote to His Eminence about the events occurring in Mecca and warned him of the mischief that was brewing against him.52
Ayesha’s soldiers started for Basra beating drums of war and the rebels raised the voice of Jihad and the greedy and jealous ones towards the Imam hastened to join Ayesha’s forces and the army marched forward to destroy the unity of Muslims and to drown the cities in mourning, calamities and sorrows.
Ayesha’s caravan moved quickly in the heart of the desert. On the way a man named al-Urna who owned a camel, Askar met them. A person from Ayesha’s caravan went to him and asked, “O camel owner, would you sell your camel?”
“One thousand dirhams.”
“Woe be unto you! Are you mad? Would you sell this for a thousand dirhams?” “Yes, this is my camel. None can escape my clutches if I chase him on this camel and none can catch me if I flee on it.”
“If you knew for whom I want it, you would have happily sold it to me.” “For whom do you want it?”
“For your mother.”
“I left my mother sitting at home and she had no intention of going out.” “I want it for Ayesha, the mother of the believers.”
“It is for you. Take it free.”
“Come with us to the caravan. We shall give you a she- camel in exchange and also give you some dirhams in addition to it.”
He went with them and they gave him a she-camel and also 400 or 600 dirhams.
Askar was presented to Ayesha and she sat upon it.53 That camel became like the calf of Bani Israel because around her hands were cut, people died and blood was shed.
Ayesha’s caravan moved forward and passed a place called Hawwab. The barking dogs of that place moved forward to welcome the caravan. Ayesha became worried and asked Muhammad Ibn Talha, “What place is this?”
“Mother of believers, this is Hawwab.” Ayesha was shocked and cried in distress: “I should return!”
“Why, O mother of believers?”
I heard the Messenger of Allah (S) say to his wives: “As if I could see one of you, that the dogs of Hawwab are barking on her. O Humairah!54 It shouldn’t be you!”
“Come on! May the Almighty Allah have mercy on you. Forget those things.”
However she did not move from her place and grief and sorrow began to surround her and she became sure that the way she was going was indeed deviated.
Military officers became worried by the stopping of Ayesha as they had made her the Qibla through which they could defraud the foolish people. They came to her and said, “O mother!”
But she interrupted them and said in a remorseful voice, “By Allah, I am the one for whom the dogs of Hawwab bark’take me back, take me back.”
Her nephew, Abdullah bin Zubair, rushed to argue with her but Ayesha told him about the voice of her conscience. And if Abdullah had not been there she would have returned to Mecca. However he brought some witnesses he had bribed and they swore that it was not Hawwab. This is said to be the first instance of false testimony in Islam.55 She turned away from her view and she took up the leadership of the army to confront in battle the successor of the Messenger of Allah (S) and the gate of the city of knowledge of His Eminence.
Ayesha’s soldiers came to the people of Basra and made them distressed, fearful and worried because military forces had camped around their city and they were going to surround them and create a center for opposing the lawful caliph there.
Basra’s governor, Uthman bin Hunayf, who was a responsible and religious person at once acted in this regard and sent Abul Aswad Duali to Ayesha to ask her the reason for coming to their land.
When he came to Ayesha he asked her, “Mother of believers, what has brought you here?”
“To seek revenge of Uthman’s blood.” “No killer of Uthman is there in Basra.”
“You are right, however they are with Ali Ibn Abi Talib in Medina and I have come to persuade Basrans to take up arms. Shall we only be angry at the lashes of Uthman and not be infuriated at your swords that you pulled out for Uthman?”
Abul Aswad replied, “What have you got to do with whips and swords? The Messenger of Allah (S) stopped you and commanded you that you stay in your house and recite the Book of Allah as ladies are not supposed to fight battles. Seeking revenge for him shall not be advisable for you and the fact is that Ali is better than you and with regard to relationship more proximate to him as they are descendants of Abde Manaf.”
She did not agree to what he said and she maintained her stance saying, “I shall not leave till I do not achieve what I want. O Abul Aswad, do you think anyone would come to fight us?”
She was under the impression that due to her marital relationship to the Prophet she would be safe and no one would rise up to fight her. She did not understand that she had already destroyed this sanctity and had accorded no importance to it. Thus Abul Aswad reminded her of the reality and told her, “By Allah, such a battle shall be raged against you that its easiest would be the most difficult.”
At that moment Abul Aswad turned to Zubair and reminded him about his old friendship and proximity to the Imam and said, “O Abu Abdillah! People know about you that on the day of Abu Bakr’s allegiance you had wielded your sword and were saying: No one is more qualified for this matter than the son of Abu Talib. Such stance you had but what is your position now?”
In reply, Zubair said something in which he had no faith himself, “I have risen up to revenge Uthman’s blood.”
“Afterwards you and your companion (Talha) became his partisans.”
Zubair softened and accepted Abul Aswad’s advice but he decided to meet Talha and inform him about this matter.
Abul Aswad hurried to Talha and presented him his advice but he did not accept it and remained stubborn.56 Abul Aswad returned unsuccessful from his mission and informed Ibn Hunayf of the situation. He summoned his companions and delivered a sermon to them and said, “O people, you have paid allegiance to God. The Hand of God is above them and whomsoever breaks the pledge has broken the pledge himself and whoever fulfils his pledge with God, Allah shall give him a great recompense. By Allah, if Ali knows that someone was more deserving he would not have the caliphate for himself. And if people had done allegiance for someone else he would have also given him allegiance and obeyed him. Of all the companions of the Messenger of Allah (S) he is not needful of anyone and none is needless of him. He is a partner in their good deeds but they do not share his good deeds. And these two men have given allegiance but they do not care for the Almighty Allah. On the basis of this they want milk before the milk is ready, to nurse before the child and want to deliver the child before its conception and they want divine rewards at the hands of the people. They claim that allegiance had been forcibly taken from them. Thus if they had been ordinary people of Quraish they should have claimed this but even under those circumstances they wouldn’t have had any right to issue orders to others. However, guidance is only that which is followed by the general public and the general public has given allegiance to Ali. Thus, O people, what is your opinion?”
At this moment, the prominent personality, Hakim bin Jabla arose and spoke by the logic of faith and truth and insisted that an armed confrontation should be initiated.57
After that a debate ensued between two groups which did not conclude in a positive note. At that time Talha and Zubair delivered speeches and demanded revenge for Uthman’s blood in opposition to a group of people of Basra whom Talha had incited for the killing of Uthman. They refuted the statements of Talha and put the responsibility of Uthman’s murder on Talha.
Ayesha also delivered a sermon and repeated the same points that had been time and again mentioned and it was seeking the revenge of Uthman because he had repented for his mistakes and announced his repentance.
Ayesha’s discourse had not concluded when a furor started in the crowd: one group supported her claims and another falsified her testimony. The two groups began to argue and fight among themselves and highly inimical parties came into being. So much so that a battle started between them and they agreed to halt hostilities till Ali (‘a) reaches them. They wrote a document jointly that Ibn Hunayf also signed. On that document they agreed to leave the government, the armory and the treasury in the control of Ibn Hunayf but they had to allow permission for Ayesha and her followers to live anywhere they liked in Basra. This document was signed by both the parties.
Ibn Hunayf continued to lead the people in prayers and distribute allowances and took steps to spread peace and return of its comfort to the province. But those people did not respect their pledge and oaths and decided to remove Ibn Hunayf.
Historians say: Ayesha’s army took the opportunity of a dark stormy night and while Ibn Hunayf was leading the night prayer (Isha) they attacked and arrested him. Then they headed for the Public Treasury, killed forty men guarding it and seized the treasury.
They threw Ibn Hunayf in the prison after they had plucked the hair of his beard and mustaches and tortured him terribly.58
A group of Basrans became infuriated that those people had flamed the fire of discord, oppressed their governor and seized the Public Treasury. They began to protest against all this and they came out to fight. This was the group from Rabia under the leadership of the great stalwart, Hakim bin Jabla. They came out of the city with 300 persons from the clan of Abdul Qais.59 Ayesha’s supporters also came out and made her sit on a camel. And that day became known as Jamal-e-Asghar (Lesser battle of Jamal).60
The two groups became involved in a furious battle. Ibn Jabla was searching for an opening in the ranks. Historians say: A companion of Talha delivered a strike to him cutting his leg. Hakim came down to the ground and picked up his severed leg and attacked his assailant with it finally killing him and he continued fighting like this till he was martyred.61
That group of rebels became liable for the crime of breaking their pledge to the Imam, for fanning the flames of rebellion against Ibn Hunayf, shedding of innocent blood, plundering Public Treasury and torturing Ibn Hunayf.
Historians say: They decided to kill him but he threatened them that if they caused any hurt to him, his brother Sahal bin Hunayf who was Ali’s governor in Medina would slay their families and they became fearful of this and released him. He moved from there and joined the forces of His Eminence, Ali(‘s) on the way to Basra. When he came to the Imam, he remarked humorously to the Imam, “You sent me to Basra as on old man and I return to you as a youth.”
These terrible incidents were very painful to the people and a discord developed among the people of Basra who divided into different groups, one of whom came out and joined the Ayesha’s army. A third group kept itself away from the discord and avoided joining any party.
It was not surprising that Talha and Zubair should vie with each other for leading the prayers because they had broken the pledge to the Imam due to their greed for rulership and material benefits.
Historians say: Whenever one of them tried to move ahead to lead the prayer the other one stopped him and this continued till the time of prayers passed away.
Ayesha feared that the situation may go out of hand. Therefore she issued orders that one day Muhammad Ibn Talha should lead the prayer and one day Abdullah Ibn Zubair.62 So Abdullah Ibn Zubair came out to lead the prayer but Muhammad pulled him back and went forward to lead the prayer, but Abdullah prevented him from it.
In order to end this controversy, people found the best way and drew lots. Muhammad bin Talha’s name was drawn. He stepped forward and prayed and in his prayer recited the verse of: “One demanding, demanded the chastisement which must befall’”63
This became an occasion of ridicule and people taunted him and criticized him. Regarding this incident, the poet says:
“Those two youths competed to lead the prayer and the old men vied for rulership.
What do I have to do with Talha and Zubair. The leader in Zill Jaza is a devotee of Talha and Ibn Zubair.
Today their mothers deceived them and Ya’la bin Muniya has bestowed them mastership.”64
This movement indicates to what extent they were sacrificing themselves for rulership and power while they were just at the starting point and if they had reached unanimity to topple the Imam’s government, they would have confronted him in the battle and taken over the control of the affairs.
The Holy Imam (‘a) dispatched messengers to Kufa and sought the help of Kufians to rise up in his support so that they may stand up with him to extinguish the flames the rebels had fanned.
Imam’s messengers reached Kufa and found that their governor, Abu Musa Ashari was instigating the people to refrain from helping the Imam. He was inciting them to disobey the orders of Ali and encouraging them to a life of comfort and luxury.
Abu Musa had no justification for his stance except that he bore malice to the Holy Imam (‘a) and as per the unanimity of historians he was inclined towards Uthman.
Imam’s messengers came to Abu Musa, objected to him and denounced him but he did not pay any attention. After that they wrote a letter to the Imam and informed him of Abu Musa’s rebellion who refused to harken to the call of truth.
Imam (‘a) sent one of his best companions, Hashim Mirqal to Abu Musa with a letter summoning him to the Imam.
When he reached Abu Musa, he delivered the Imam’s letter but Abu Musa refused to obey and continued to remain obstinate and disobedient.
Hashim wrote a letter to the Imam (‘a) and informed him about the position of Abu Musa and his rebellion. Then Imam (‘a) sent his son, His Eminence, Hasan (‘a) and Ammar Yasir with a proclamation of Abu Musa’s dismissal and appointment of Qardha bin Kaab Ansari in his place.
When Imam Hasan (‘a) reached Kufa, people gathered in groups around him and announced their support and obedience. His Eminence informed them about the dismissal of the renegade governor and appointment of Qardha in his place. However Abu Musa continued to remain disobedient and went on weakening people’s determination. He incited them not to give their support and encouraged them to disregard the command and he himself gave a negative reply to Imam Hasan (‘a).
Malik Ashtar, the great personality understood that there was no way of expelling Abu Musa except with humiliation. So he gathered some strong persons of his community and attacked his palace. People plundered his wealth and he was frightened and compelled to withdraw. He decided to spend that night in Kufa and flee to Mecca the next day and join the rebels.
Imam Hasan (‘a) mobilized the people to support his father and thousands harkened to his call. Some of them boarded boats and some rode quadrupeds and they all set out for the Imam’s help.
Soldiers came out in the desert under the command of Imam Hasan (‘a) till they arrived at a place called Zeeqar.
Imam (‘a) was pleased at the success of his son and he acknowledged his efforts and labors.
Kufian soldiers, numbering 4000 joined the army of the Holy Imam (‘a) and 400 of them were those who had participated in the Allegiance of Rizwan with His Eminence, the Messenger of Allah (S).
The Imam (‘a) entrusted the right wing of his forces to His Eminence, Hasan (‘a) and put the left wing under the command of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a)65 while the Imam’s soldiers were equipped with the best of weapons. Historians say: His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) was astride his grandfather’s horse called Murtajiz.66
Imam’s forces set out from Zeeqar while they were convinced of their own rightfulness. Neither had they any hesitation nor doubt that they were moving on the path of truth.
They reached an area called Zawiyah near Basra and the Imam halted over there. He stood up for prayer and after the prayer began to weep such that his tears flowed on his blessed face. He implored the Almighty to protect the Muslims from bloodshed and keep them away from the difficulties of war make the unity of Muslims to follow guidance and truth.
Imam (‘a) dispatched messengers of conciliation to meet Ayesha and they included Zaid bin Sauhan and Ubaidullah Ibn Abbas. When they met her they reminded her that the Almighty Allah has commanded her to remain in her house and not to shed the blood of Muslims. They advised and counseled her much. If she had accepted their advice it would have been in the interest of the people and they would have been saved from untold hardships and mischiefs but she ignored their suggestions completely and told them, “I will not reply to the son of Abu Talib in words, because I cannot overcome him in logic.”67
Imam (‘a) tried his utmost to bring reconciliation and prevent bloodshed but some persons accorded no importance to this proposal. They instead continued to fan the flames of war and began to defeat the procedure of armistice.
When all efforts of the Imam to avoid bloodshed were defeated he called his companions and asked which of them would raise the Book of Allah and invite those people to follow its commands and he informed that whosoever will perform this function would be martyred. No one responded to the Imam’s offer except a Kufian who said, “O chief of believers! I shall do it.”
Imam (‘a) turned away from him and in the same way glanced at his companions and called them to this important mission. But none, except that youth, agreed to volunteer. The Imam handed over a copy of Quran to the lad and he set out happily without an iota of fear or terror. He came to Ayesha’s army displaying the Quran in his hand and raised his voice inviting them to act upon it. However those people whose egotism had prepared them to kill him, cut off his right hand and he transferred the Quran to his left. Again he called them to act upon it. They fell upon him and cut off his left hand also. He held the Quran with his teeth while he had lost a lot of blood. And he continued to invite them to reconciliation and to refrain from bloodshed saying, “For the sake of Allah, desist from shedding our blood and your blood.”
They showered him with their small spears and arrows till he fell down on the earth with his lifeless body and his mother rushed to him weeping and with her melted body she sat down to weep.
“O Allah, Muslim came to them reciting the Book of God and he was not fearful. They dyed their beards with his blood while his mother stood and watched all this.”
After this completion of argument, the Imam had no option but to initiate the battle. So he told his companions, “Now it has become lawful to fight them and battle has become lawful for you.”68
At that time he summoned Hazeen Ibn Mundhir, a youth and told him, “O Hazeen, take this standard, that by Allah, neither in the past nor in the future any flag has fluttered that was nearer to guidance than it, except the flag that waved over the Prophet’s head.”
Regarding this, the poet says:
“When Hazeen was told to take that black flag forward he took it.
He took it forward for death so that it may take to the pools of death and from it rained death and blood.”69
When the Imam became sure that there was no possibility of a truce he readied his army in an elaborate way. Ayesha’s supporters similarly followed, making her sit astride her camel, Askar. She was made to sit on a Howdah covered by iron coat of mail and they came out to the battlefield in this way.
A severe battle ensued between the two armies. Some historians say that Imam Husayn (‘a) was leading a battalion and was in the left wing. He participated in the battle with firmness and determination70 while Ayesha’s camel, according to those who were present there was the standard of the Basran army and people used to take refuge in it like people take refuge under a standard.
The Imam attacked them holding the flag in his left hand and wielding the Zulfiqar in his right. It was the sword used extensively during the period of the Prophet in defense of faith and to fight the polytheists.
Both armies continued to fight a furious battle and Ayesha’s supporters wanted to obtain victory and help their mother while Ali’s followers desired to support their Imam and lay down their lives in defense of His Eminence.
Zubair was kind-hearted and held a position of esteem with the Holy Prophet (S) but lust for power had deceived him and made him come out in opposition to the Imam. In addition to this, it was his son, Abdullah Ibn Zubair who had forced him into this calamity and created a split between him and his faith.
The Imam was aware of Zubair’s soft-heartedness, therefore he went out to the battlefield and called out aloud, “Where is Zubair?” At that time Zubair was fully armed and he came out. When Imam (‘a) saw him he hastened to him and the Imam embraced him and said to him in a kind manner, “O Abu Abdillah, what has brought you here?”
“I have come to seek revenge of Uthman’s murder.”
Imam glanced at him and asked, “Do you want revenge for Uthman’s murder?” “Yes.”
“May Allah kill the murderers of Uthman. I swear to you by God, do you remember, one day you passed by me while you were with the Prophet and he was leaning on your hand. Then the Messenger of Allah (S) saluted me and smiled to me. After that he glanced at you and said: “O Zubair, you would fight Ali while you would be in the wrong with relation to him’”
Zubair recalled that event while pain and remorse was killing him and due to that condition of his he was very much ashamed. He glanced at the Imam, confirming the Imam’s statement.
“Yes, by Allah.”
“Then why are you fighting me?”
“By Allah, I had forgotten it. If I had remembered it, I would not have come out against you and fought you.”71
“How can I go back when battle is raging on both the sides? And by Allah it is a shame that cannot be washed off.”
“Go back, before degradation and Hellfire get you.”
He pulled the reins of his horse while confusion and worry had afflicted him. He was going reciting the following couplets:
“I preferred humiliation to the flame of Hell as anything made of clay is not able to bear it.
Ali told me something I was not aware of. By your life, humiliation shall be in the world and religion.
I said: O Abal Hasan, do not flay me more as this much is sufficient for me.”72
Imam (‘a) returned to his men and they said to him, “You went unarmed to Zubair while he was fully armed. Do you know his valor?”
Imam said, “He is not my killer; my killer shall be a person of unknown parentage, of not much status in a place other than a battlefield and not in the arena of warriors. Woe be on him! He is the most wretched human and he shall desire that his mother had not given birth to him. Know that! He and the red-faced people of Thamud shall be together’”73
Zubair harkened to the Imam’s call and he went to Ayesha and told her:
“Mother of believers, I am certainly not standing in a place but that I recognize the place where I have placed my feet. Except for this condition that I don’t know whether I am fortunate or unfortunate.”
Ayesha understood his changed mood that he has decided to leave the battlefield. So in order to arouse his sentiments she said in a taunting way, “O Abu Abdillah, are you scared of the sword of Abdul Muttalib’s family?”
This ridicule almost killed him. Then his son Abdullah criticized him through fear and trepidation and said, “You came out with full realization but when you saw the standard of the son of Abu Talib you knew that you shall be killed under it and therefore you became fearful?”
Although he had not come out with full understanding and neither was he aware of his condition. He had come out only for power and rulership.
Zubair was very much disturbed by his son’s diatribe and he said, “Woe be on you, I have sworn that I would not fight him.”
“Release yourself from the oath by the penalty of emancipating your slave, Sarjus.”
So he freed his slave74 and stepped in the battlefield with fervor and began his attack in order to display his valor to his son and show him that he had fled due to his religion and not because of fear. Then he went far away from his venue and went on in this way till he reached the valley of Sabaa where Ahnaf bin Qais and his people were camping. Ibn Jurmuz pursued Zubair and attacked and killed him and conveyed the news of his killing to the Imam. His Eminence was very much aggrieved at this. Narrators say that His Eminence picked up the sword of Zubair and said, “This is the sword which removed many worries of the Prophet.”
Anyway, Zubair’s end was indeed regretful and sad because he had rebelled against truth and declared war against the successor of Allah’s Messenger and the gate of the city of knowledge of the Holy Prophet (S).
Talha came out in the battlefield encouraging the fighters to battle. Marwan bin Hakam saw him and shot an arrow at him as revenge for Uthman’s blood and Talha fell down bleeding.
Marwan told a son of Uthman, “I have taken revenge for the blood of your father from Talha on your behalf.”
Talha ordered his slave to take him to a safe place where he could rest. He took him to a dilapidated house in Basra but he died there after sometime.75
After the death of Zubair and Talha, Ayesha took over the command of the army.
People of Banu Zubah and Banu Najiya laid down their lives in her defense. Historians say that they had become so much obsessed in her devotion that they used to pick up the droppings of her camel, smell them and say: “The dung of our mother’s camel smells of musk.”
They were surrounding her camel and did not have any other aim except defending her and no care for any victory or help. Their singers of war poems were chanting:
“O group of Azadis! Defend your mother as she is your Prayer and Fasting.
And keep your efforts and farsightedness prepared for the great honor that has surrounded you.
It shouldn’t be that the poison of your enemy is victorious over yours. Because if the enemy defeats you, he shall put you to death.
He would subject each one of you to cruelty. May your people be sacrificed for you, do not humiliate yourself.”76
Ayesha was inspiring those who were at her right, at her left and in front of her and said, “Noble men are patient!”
The Imam’s men tried to persuade Ayesha’s soldiers to stop fighting and their war- poem singers said:
“O our mother, you are the worst kind of mother that we know because a mother feeds her children and is kind to them.
Don’t you see how many valiant ones are getting mourned and are losing their hands and arms?”77
Ayesha’s supporters cried in response:
“We are the Bani Zabaa and the folks of the camel and we fight with ferocity if they come before us.
Getting killed is sweeter for us than honey and we are fighting for the sons of Uthman with our swords.
They should send back to us our leader and also Bajal.”78
Battle continued to rage furiously and thousands were wounded and the battlefield strewn with dead bodies.
Imam (‘a) concluded that till the time Ayesha’s camel remained, the battle would not come to an end. So His Eminence called out to the men to floor the camel because its remaining would cause the destruction of Arabs. His Eminence, Hasan (‘a) went towards it and cut off its right foreleg and His Eminence, Husayn attacked it and cut off its left foreleg.79 The camel let out such an ear-splitting squeal that something like it had never been heard and it fell on its side and the defenders of the camel fled to the wilderness because their idol, for which they were sacrificing themselves, had shattered.
The Imam (‘a) ordered that the camel be burnt to ashes and its ashes dispersed and nothing should remain of it to deviate the foolish people. After this was done, he said, “Curse of God be on it. How similar it was to the calf of Bani Israel?”
When its ashes were being dispersed in the atmosphere he glanced at it and recited the following words of the Almighty:
“‘and look at your god to whose worship you kept (so long); we will certainly burn it, then we will certainly scatter it a (wide) scattering in the sea.”80
In this manner the battle came to an end and victory fell to the share of the Imam and his followers and the embezzling powers were humiliated and routed.
Imam (‘a) sent Hasan, Husayn and Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr to meet Ayesha.81
They went to her and Muhammad put his hand in the litter. Ayesha was shocked and she asked, “Who is it?”
“Your unhappiest relative.”
“Are you the son of that Khathami lady?” “Yes, I am your righteous brother.”
“Very unkind to the relatives.” “Have you received any harm?” “An arrow has harmed me.”
He removed the arrow from her and picked up the broken litter and in the last part of the night took her to the house of Abdullah bin Khalaf Khuzai to Safiya, the daughter of Harith and she stayed there for some days.
His Eminence, Ali (‘a) dealt with the people of Basra in the same way as the Messenger of Allah (S) had with the folks of Mecca. According to Yaqubi, His Eminence said:82 “Thus the black and the red have become safe,” and he caused no harm to his enemy but sat down to meet the people. The healthy and the wounded ones among them pledged allegiance to him. At that time he went to the Public Treasury and took whatever was there in it and distributed it equally among the people. After that His Eminence went to Ayesha who was lodged at the house of Abdullah bin Khalaf Khuzai.
Safiya, the daughter of Harith came out and addressed Ali (‘a) in the worst manner: “O Ali, O killer of the beloved ones, may God orphan your children like you orphaned the children of Abdullah.”
Abdullah’s sons were killed in the battle on Ayesha’s side.
Imam did not reply to her till he came to Ayesha and commanded her to leave Basra and go to her house and stay there as the Almighty has commanded.
When the Imam was leaving, Safiya repeated the things she had earlier said. Now His Eminence told her, “If I were the killer of relatives I would have killed those hiding in this house.” And he pointed towards the locked rooms where many of their wounded people and other rebels were hiding and Ayesha had given refuge to them. Those who were with the Imam wanted to attack them but the Imam restrained them and in this way he awarded amnesty to his enemies and opponents.
Imam (‘a) sent away Ayesha in a suitable manner and also sent some women with her dressed as men so that she may stay in her house as the Almighty had commanded.
Ayesha departed from Basra leaving many houses and families in mourning. Umair bin Ahlab Zabi’, who was a partisan of Ayesha says:
“Our mother had left in heritage the scroll of death for us. And she did not move from her place but that we became like a rope.
We followed the clan of Teem due to our wretchedness, though Teem is nothing but a family of slaves and bondsmen.”83
The mother of believers put her children in the field of death because 10000 Muslims were killed in that battle according to some historians. Half were the partisans of Ayesha and the other half supporters of Ali.84 More than anyone else, the Imam was aggrieved of this because he knew what evil consequences and calamities this battle was to cause.
The battle of Jamal was followed by the most terrible losses and greater disasters in which Muslims were involved. Some of them were as follows:85
1. This battle opened up the way for Muawiyah to rise up in opposition to the Imam and to step out to engage the Imam in battles. Because he chose for himself the slogan of the people of Jamal, that was seeking the revenge for Uthman’s blood. And if the battle of Jamal hadn’t occurred, Muawiyah would not have dared to announce his disobedience and rebellion against the government of the Holy Imam (‘a).
2. The battle of Jamal spread conflict and discord among the Muslims because before that the spirit of love and affection was dominant and after that enmity developed among the Arab families in such a way that people of Rabi and Yaman tribes of Basra became deeply inimical to their brothers from the Rabi and Yaman tribes of Kufa and they cried out for the revenge of the blood of their children. So much so that discord remained among the members of one and the same family if some of them were the Shias of Ali and others, partisans of Ayesha.
Historians say: Years later Basrans continued to nurture their loyalty to Uthman and that is why Imam Husayn (‘a) did not move to Basra as it was well known for its affections for the third caliph.
3. The battle destroyed the awe of the government and people became emboldened to rebel against the law because it created groups that were only seeking benefits who had no other aim except to get rulership and to obtain control over the wealth of the country. So much so that battles took place with all its specialties of that time.
4. The battle of Jamal opened the door of infighting among Muslims while before that they were extremely cautious of shedding each other’s blood.
5. The battle became a cause for decline and backwardness of Islamic society and it hindered the progress that was originally intended. Because after the battle of Jamal, the Imam initiated fighting against the rebellion and disobedience of Muawiyah and other greedy characters that had began their activities against the government resulting in the most terrible losses to Islam.
Wells, the philosopher says, “It was very likely that Islam would have conquered the world if it had continued its original movement and if in the beginning itself internal fights had not occurred among them, which was the aim of Ayesha more than anything else, that was to defeat Ali.”86
6. The battle trespassed the sanctity of the Holy Progeny whom the Holy Prophet (S) had equated with the Book of Allah and compared them to the Ark of Salvation and safety for the people. And from the same day swords were pulled out against the Progeny of the Prophet and the pledge-breakers began to consider shedding their blood and captivating their children lawful. Hence the Bani Umayyads did not take into consideration any sort of sanctity and honor of those people in the event of Karbala.
These were some of the most terrible consequences of the battle of Jamal, which created the greatest harms for the Muslims in all periods of history.
The Holy Imam (‘a) had hardly become free from the battle against the Nakiseen (Pledge-breakers) as the Holy Prophet (S) had named them, when he had to prepare for the battle against the Qasiteen, as the Holy Prophet (S) has also labeled them.
Imam decided to move from Basra to Kufa to prepare for the battle against the greatest enemy, Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan, who had fought against the Messenger of Allah (S) and had made great efforts in this regard. Muawiyah was not in any way less than his father in his enmity towards Islam and Muslims. The early Muslims used to view with suspicion and doubt their acceptance of Islam and he was able to by deceit and fraud control the second caliph and had obtained a lofty position near him, till he made him the governor of Syria; and tried much to support and strengthen him. After his death, Uthman let him continue in his post and expanded his power and Muawiyah remained in Syria like a person who is desirous of power and rulership. On the basis of this he saw for himself a golden opportunity and he bought the loyalties of people and utilized the economy of the province for strengthening his position.
After the deeds that Uthman had committed it was obvious to Muawiyah that he would be killed. When Uthman was besieged and requested Muawiyah’s help, Muawiyah delayed sending assistance and was waiting for the time when Uthman would be killed. After that Muawiyah took the shirt and blood of Uthman as his medium to obtain power. The battle of Jamal also showed him how the matter of seeking revenge for Uthman’s blood could be utilized for obtaining rulership and kingdom.
Historians say: He made the killing of Uthman a big issue and considered it to be a very serious matter. And took it as a pretext for strengthening his power.
Imam (‘a) was observing extreme precaution in his religion, therefore neither he planned against anyone nor he expressed his support for any party. Rather he acted in the most open manner. Hence he refused to allow Muawiyah to continue as the governor of Syria because to allow him to continue at his post would be a support for oppression and strengthening of injustice.
Anyway, the Imam came out with his armed forces from the battle of Jamal in Basra and moved to Kufa in order to make it his capital and residence. As soon as he reached Kufa he began to prepare for confronting a powerful enemy and one who was popular and supported by all his people (Syrians).
After the Imam’s victory in Jamal, Sharii in the following couplets, encouraged him to go out against the Syrians:
“Tell this Imam that battle has ended and the bounty is completed for him.
We are free from fighting the pledge-breakers while a horrible serpent is present in Syria.
Which is spewing venom and whomsoever it strikes has no cure. So shoot it down before it could strike.”87
Before the Imam could take up the matter of crushing the rebel in Syria, he sent Jurair bin Abdullah Bajali to him to call him to obedience and to enter into that allegiance with which the Muslims had entered to the Imam. He also sent a letter to him.88 In which he called him in the briefest but clear statements that he should come to the right path. And he said: Wisdom guides those who seek guidance and those whose inner conscience the Almighty Allah has illuminated.
Jurair came to Muawiyah and delivered the Imam’s letter. He also advised him extensively and warned him. Muawiyah heard him but didn’t say anything in reply. He refrained from it for a long time, because he did not have any other option but to decline peace and postpone the matter.
Muawiyah realized that he would not be able to dominate the events without joining Amr Aas, who was the most cunning of the Arabs. So he wanted his help for political victory through his plots and machinations. Therefore he wrote to him inviting him to Damascus.
Ibn Aas according to historians, was displeased with Uthman due to his suspension at the latter’s hand and he was instigating people against Uthman. He encouraged them to rise up in revolt against the third caliph. Amr Aas was of those who had prepared the ground for revolution against Uthman. When he became assured that the uprising against Uthman was certain he returned to his land that he owned in Palestine and began to reside there and closely followed the news concerning Uthman.
When Muawiyah’s letter arrived, Amr Aas continued to remain busy in his work and sought advice from his two sons Abdullah and Muhammad.
Abdullah who was a man of righteous inclinations suggested that he should remain aloof and not to reply anything to Muawiyah till Muslims are united once more and then they could join the Muslims.
His son Muhammad who was greedy for that which the youth of Quraish had been covetous liked progress and fame and therefore he suggested to his father to join Muawiyah so that they should get some share from his worldly possessions.
Amr told his son, Abdullah: “You have advised us that which is good for our religion,” and he told his son, Muhammad, “You have suggested that which is beneficial for our worldly life.” Thus that night he remained sleepless debating whether he should join Ali and be like other Muslims so that whatever shall be for them would also be there for him. And to take up that which they had taken upon themselves except that he should achieve from this world but would decide his fate in the Hereafter. Or that he should join hands with Muawiyah and obtain material wealth that he anticipated while he had not forgotten the governorship of Egypt and he continuously used to lament at its loss. His couplets are recorded from him that night that describe his mental struggle.
The dawn had not broken but that he gave precedence to his world before his Hereafter and decided to join hands with Muawiyah. So he set out for Damascus accompanied by his two sons. When they reached he began to lament among the Syrians like a woman, “Alas, for Uthman! I am grieving for shame and religion!”89
We ask: O Ibn Aas! May God Kill you! Are you lamenting for Uthman? While you had instigated people against him? And encouraged enmity towards him? Even when you came across quadrupeds you used to incite them against Uthman so that they may shed his blood.
At that time he had gambled his life for power with so much ferocity that he made people forgetful of their religion and they committed all the things that the Almighty Allah had prohibited.
When he met Muawiyah he began to speak about the battle against Imam. Ibn Aas said, “As for Ali, by Allah! Arabs do not consider you and him equal in any matter and in the battle he has an advantage that no one of the Quraish has except that you be oppressive to him.
Muawiyah expressed his view regarding the battle against the Imam and said: “You are right, but we shall fight for that which is in our hand and we shall put the responsibility of Uthman’s blood on him.”
Ibn Aas ridiculed him saying, “Woe be to me, you are the one who deserves to say the least about Uthman.”
“Woe be to you, why?”
“But you abandoned him while the Syrians were with you. So much so that Yazid bin Asad Bajali asked for help and he went towards him. And as far as I am concerned I openly deserted him and ran away to Palestine’”90
Muawiyah knew that Ibn Aas would not be sincere with him and he saw wisdom in making him his confidant and that he may reward him for his religion. So he clarified further and said, “O Amr, do you love me?”
“What for?” For the Hereafter? By Allah the Hereafter is not with you. Or for the world? By Allah, it shall not be so till I remain your partner in it.”
“Are you my partner in it?”
“Write Egypt and its surrounding areas for me.” “You will get what you want.”
Thus he wrote the governorship of Egypt for him and also fixed remuneration for him91so that he may confront the successor of the Messenger of Allah (S). And in this way he won over the heart of the most cunning Arab and a senior member of Quraish. He was the person aware of the condition of the people and he knew that how he could dominate the events.
When Muawiyah’s job was over and his position became established, he sent back Jurair and along with him sent a letter addressed to the Holy Imam (‘a). Therein he put the responsibility of Uthman’s blood on Imam (‘a) and he announced the unanimity of Syrians to fight His Eminence if he does not hand over to them the killers of Uthman and entrusts the caliphate to the consensus of Muslims.
Jurair departed for Kufa and informed him about the refusal of Muawiyah and told him about the topic the Syrians were according importance with reference to the Imam.
Imam decided to once again complete the argument for him and therefore he sent another messenger so that he may invite him to obedience and to enter that which the Muslims had entered. But this did not produce any result because Muawiyah became assured that he was capable of confronting and opposing the Imam and he became determined on his deviation and apostasy.
Muawiyah with deceit and intrigue incited the simple- minded people of Syria in the grief of Uthman because he used to display Uthman’s bloodstained shirt from the pulpit and this made them lament more. He also instructed his preachers to magnify this matter and instigate the people to seek revenge for Uthman’s blood. And whenever their grief abated to some extent, Ibn Aas said in a taunting manner, “Chase the young one of the she-camel and make her disconcerted.”92
Muawiyah also took out Uthman’s shirt for them and they again became aggrieved for him. They swore that except for nocturnal emission they would not put bath water on their body for ritual bath. And they swore that they would not go near their women and not sleep on their beds till they kill the murderers of Uthman.93
Their hearts burst to rise up in battle to seek the revenge for Uthman’s blood. Muawiyah convinced them that Ali was responsible for Uthman’s murder and he was shielding his killers. They reached to such a condition that they were more eager for the battle than Muawiyah himself.
Muawiyah understood that except for battle there was no other option because Imam in his own religion did not either openly showed off nor was there any intrigue in his plans. He did not let him continue as the governor of Syria and did not entrust him with any post in the government. Rather he had removed him from all government machinery. Because he had become aware of his defects in his faith and his evil intentions regarding Islam and Muslims.
Muawiyah set out with a huge army of Syrians and sent out scouts (advance guards) before him while he made his companions camp at the best place nearest to the Euphrates and he took control of the Euphrates and considered it his first victory and thus he deprived his enemy from water and posted his soldiers there as a preparation for beginning the battle and arranged his forces for the main confrontation.
Imam (‘a) became ready for the battle and sent out preachers in Kufa to mobilize people to rise up for Jihad and confront Muawiyah after they had obtained the great victory of Jamal.
Imam Husayn (‘a) delivered great awakening sermons. After praise and glorification of Allah he said as follows:
“O people! You are the chosen and selected companions to finish off that which has been created among you and to make efforts to ease what has been made difficult for you. But you should know that battle is an open mischief and a bitter thing. Thus whoever is ready for it should prepare the necessary provision. And he must not fear for their wound before they are inflicted on him.
Know that! He shall be their friend and whoever moves towards it before its time and before its appointing of the manner and pursuit, then he shall be the nearest that the people shall not gain anything from him and he would have thrown away himself to perdition. We implore the Almighty that He may give you power by His help.”94
This sermon was full of encouragement to hasten for the battle and complete preparation for it. And to make them careful in understanding the requirements of success and means of obtaining victory on the enemies. And that carelessness and sloth shall result in defeat and humiliation. This sermon also proves the wide knowledge of the Imam regarding military affairs and problems connected with war.
After the speech of the Prophet’s grandson, people presented themselves for battle and began to arrange their forces and when their provision and preparations were ready Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) departed with them to fight the son of Abu Sufyan. He dispatched the vanguard before him and instructed it not to initiate the battle against the Syrians till His Eminence reaches to them.
The Iraqi army came out like a flood and they were convinced that they were going to battle disobedient powers that were against Islam and who were enemies of their aim.
Along the Imam’s journey numerous events occurred but prolonging our discussion by narrating them in detail here is uncalled for. We would mention them in a passing manner.
Imam’s men could not find a way to reach Euphrates because Muawiyah’s forces had surrounded the river and they strictly forbade the Imam’s forces to draw water from there.
When Imam (‘a) saw this situation he dispatched a messenger to Muawiyah to ask him to accord permission to use the river water. However the dialogue did not produce any result but rather they persisted in their prohibition and they wanted to keep them deprived like Uthman was deprived of water when he was under siege.
The Imam’s soldiers were afflicted with severe thirst and Ashath bin Qais came out to His Eminence and asked permission to begin the battle and to compel the enemy forces to give up their control over the Euphrates. Imam (‘a) had no option but to accord the permission.
Furious battle ensued between the two armies and the Imam’s forces emerged victorious and they took the Euphrates under their control. They wanted to pay back in their own coin and to deprive them of the water from Euphrates in the same way as the soldiers of Muawiyah had acted with them. However the Imam did not permit this and they acted as gentlemen and righteous people and allowed them use of river water.
Decadence and degradation were of the basic elements of the Umayyads and a part of their personal trait because in the plains of Karbala also they repeated the same act they had performed in Siffeen and they cut off the water supply from the Euphrates for Imam Husayn (‘a) and his entourage and the ladies and children of the Prophet’s household were not given a drop from the river so that thirst may defeat them and lack of water may burst their hearts and the Umayyads did not pay heed to any voice of conscience and their hearts did not soften that they should have given a little water and proved their kind heartedness.
Imam (‘a) very carefully refrained from shedding the blood of Muslims and in order to make peace and ceasefire he made many efforts. He dispatched Adi bin Hatim, Shabth bin Rabi, Yazid bin Qais and Ziyad bin Hafasa to Muawiyah in order to invite him to save the blood of Muslims, remind him of the Hereafter and warn him that if he desists they would to face the same fate as the folks of Jamal. But the son of Hind did not respond to these demands and continued to remain on his misguidance and deviation and hoisted the responsibility of Uthman’s murder on the Imam. Because his military power, unity in his forces and his obstinacy on seeking revenge for Uthman’s blood incited him to disobedience.
Agents for making peace returned unsuccessful and they became convinced that Muawiyah intended to fight and he was not at all inclined to peace. They informed the Holy Imam (‘a) about this matter. His Eminence became prepared for the battle and called the people for war.
Imam (‘a) prepared his men with their flags for the battle and he commanded his soldiers that they must not begin hostilities as he had ordered in the battle of Jamal. And also not to pursue anyone who flees from the battle. They must not attack the wounded or trample the dead. They should not attack the women. These and other instructions issued by the Imam displayed the code of war in Islam.
Battalions from the army of the Imam came out against battalions from the army of Muawiyah and the two groups fought the whole day or a part of the day. Then they used to halt the fighting without an all out war taking place between them. From these circumstances the Imam hoped that Muawiyah may become inclined to making peace and refraining from bloodshed.
These conditions continued for some days of the month of Zilhajj, till the month of Mohurrum arrived. And these were the months in which, in Islam and in pre- Islamic age hostilities were prohibited. The two armies refrained from fighting the whole month and they got the opportunity to meet each other in peace because they gave assurance of ceasefire to each other and no fighting took place among them. Envoys of peace also tried to bring peace between the two opponents but they did not achieve any result while the dispute among the two parties had intensified. People of Iraq were calling the Syrians for unity and asked them to join in the allegiance to the Imam. On the other hand the Syrians were determined to seek revenge of Uthman’s blood and they refused to pay allegiance to the Holy Imam (‘a). They wanted caliphate to be handed over to the Shura Committee of Muslims.
When the month of Mohurrum concluded they began to fight again but the battle did not take up the form of an all out war. It remained as sporadic fighting. A battalion fought a battalion and a regiment fought a regiment.
Both the groups finally tired of this sporadic fighting and they were goading for an all out battle. Therefore the Imam (‘a) prepared the soldiers fully and Muawiyah also did the same. The two armies entered into furious battle and terrible fighting followed. And the right wing of the Imam’s army was placed at the back and the Imam accompanied by Hasan and Husayn participated in the battle95 But as for the left side his soldiers, that is Rabia continuously fought valiantly. Writers say: “After today no excuse shall remain with Arabs if you receive any harm while the Imam is amidst you.”
Rabia took oath for death and remained steadfast in the battle. And on the right the soldiers continued their efforts under the command of their general, Malik Ashtar.
And the battle continued to rage on with ferocity. Weakness and signs of defeat became apparent in Muawiyah’s army and he decided to flee the battlefield but he recalled the couplets of Ibnul Itanabe that were as follows:
“I do not like courage, effort and moving forward against the magnanimous warrior.
And that I give my property unwillingly or to earn praise with profit.
And my words, when my life is in distress and anxiety; in your place would you praise him or you will sit quietly?”
Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) restrained the two grandsons of the Messenger of Allah (S) from taking an active part in the battle. His Eminence said, “Protect these two youths (i.e. Hasan and Husayn), in my place. So that as a result of their killing the Progeny of the Messenger of Allah (S) should not be cut off.”96
Imam (‘a) was making great efforts to keep the two beloved ones of the Messenger of Allah (S) safe because they were the means of continuation and survival of the generations of His Eminence.
Ammar bin Yasir was the most prominent face in the group of Imam (‘a). He was the one who made the greatest efforts and he was the most patient of them in the path of Islam. Since the passing away of the Prophet he had followed Ali (‘a) and always accompanied him because he was certain that His Eminence was with the truth and truth was with him as the Messenger of Allah (S) had informed.
At the time of the battle of Siffeen, Ammar was an aged man of ninety but his heart and perception were safe from ageing because in that battle he seemed to be a young man and he fought the battalion of Ibn Aas. He pointed to their standard and said, “By Allah, thrice have I fought this regiment and this one is not the best of them.” When he saw his men sitting back in the battlefield he told them, “By Allah, even if they chase us till Nakhala Hajr I shall still believe that we are on the right and they are on falsehood.”
Narrators say: One morning during the days of Siffeen he took up his position early in such a way that he was eager to see the Messenger of Allah (S) and to meet his parents. So he hastened to the Holy Imam (‘a) and sought his permission to enter the battlefield so that maybe he is blessed with martyrdom, but the Imam did not accord permission to him. However he persisted in his pleading and at last the Imam relented to his entreaties. Yet the Imam wept bitterly to see Ammar departing.
Ammar departed for the battlefield while his powers were at maximum and he achieved his desires that he had been allowed to proceed towards his martyrdom.
He was elated and joyous at this and he called out aloud, “This day I shall meet my favorite ones, Muhammad and his companions’”
The battalion in which Ammar was fighting its standard bearer was Hashim bin Utbah Mirqal. He was a Muslim cavalier and a righteous person, one of the best friends of the Imam and the most sincere of them. He had only one healthy eye.
Ammar went towards him and sometimes he spurred him severely to the battlefield and said: “Move forward, O One-eyed man!” At other times he addressed him in a kind manner and said: “May my parents be sacrificed on you! Attack!” Hashim said: “May God have mercy on you. O Abul Yaqzan! You are a man who considers a battle as light and in the same way shall crawl ahead; maybe we can achieve what we desire.” At last Hashim was fed up and launched an attack reciting the following Rajaz (War poem):
“They have denounced me severely and not said anything less. I have gambled my life and I shall not return.
I am that one-eyed man who finds his own place. Either I shall defeat or be defeated.
I made great efforts in life and now I am fed up with it. I shall stop them with my spear.”
This Rajaz shows his determination and his disgust with the life of this world. When he jumped into the battle with ferocity and zeal Ammar was fighting alongside him, reciting the following Rajaz:
“We fought you for the revelation of Quran and today we fight you for its interpretation.
A fight that separates the head from the body and separates two friends. It is that the right is restored to its position.”
Ammar, with a sincere faith, fought the polytheists on the side of the Messenger of Allah (S) and in defense of monotheism he participated in severe confrontations. And with the brother of the Messenger of Allah (S) he fought for the defense of the interpretation of Quran and in defense of the Imam of the Muslims. Thus what gifts and favors Ammar bestowed on Islam!
Ammar entered into a furious battle with the powers of embezzlement and the fighting intensified. Finally the filthiest one of humanity, a person named Abul Ghadiya attacked him and hit him with his sword injuring him fatally. Ammar, the one with a lofty belief and faith fell down while he was with intense thirst and lay writhing in his own pure blood. A lady brought a bowl of milk for him and when he saw her he smiled and became certain that his end was near and in a satisfied tone said, “The Messenger of Allah (S) told me: Your last drink of the world would be a bowl of milk and an unjust group shall kill you.”
Not much time passed when he breathed his last and with his death, closed the most illuminated and prominent page of belief and Jihad. And that brave warrior who had illuminated his life and thoughts with sincerity and struggle departed up to the Almighty.
While Ammar was gone to the battle, Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) was continuously restless and he used to say, “Get me some news of the son of Sumaiyyah.”
A group of soldiers went out in search of Ammar and found him martyred soaked in blood. They rushed back to the Imam and informed him about Ammar’s martyrdom.
The Imam was devastated by the shock and his strength sapped. A wave of pain passed over his countenance, because he had just lost a brother and a friend.
The Imam moved towards the place of Ammar’s martyrdom with his heart filled with grief and his eyes filled with tears. Commanders of the army aggrieved at the loss of a great warrior also accompanied him.
When the Holy Imam (‘a) reached that place of Ammar’s martyrdom, he threw himself upon him and kissed him. Then he wept bitterly and expressed his grief in fiery words and said: “One who does not accord any importance to son of Yasir of those killed among the Muslims and is not afflicted with a great sorrow is not a righteous person. May Allah have mercy on Ammar on the day he became a Muslim. May Allah have mercy on Ammar on the day he is martyred. May Allah have mercy on Ammar on the day he shall be raised. I saw Ammar that whenever the Messenger of Allah (S) named four companions, Ammar was fourth of them and whenever he names five companions, Ammar was fifth of them and none of the senior companions of the Prophet had any doubt that on more than one occasion the Paradise had been made incumbent for Ammar and no two persons (had doubt in it). Thus congratulations to Ammar for gaining Paradise.”
Imam (‘a) took the head of Ammar in his lap while tears were flowing on his cheeks.
Imam Hasan (‘a) and others also came forward and lamented for the great martyr in sorrow and grief. After that Imam (‘a) arose and buried Ammar.
Historians say: When the news of Ammar’s martyrdom spread, consternation arose among the soldiers of Muawiyah because they had heard that the Holy Prophet (S) had said: “An unjust group shall kill him (Ammar)” And it became clear to them they themselves were these same people about whom the Messenger of Allah (S) had stated as above. However, Ibn Aas was able to remove the discord by saying that whosoever has brought Ammar to the battle is the one responsible for his death. The gullible Syrians believed what Ibn Aas told them.
After the martyrdom of Ammar the battle intensified further while the forces ofMuawiyah had fled and weakness had become obvious in his fighters.
The most horrible trick ever played in all of history of all the nations was the one enacted by Ibn Aas. It was hoisting the pages of Quran on points of spears. R. Miller has described it as the worst type of joke ever played in the history of humanity.97He says: I believe that this was not an extempore trick and a sudden matter because it was probably as a result of a secret pact between Ibn Aas and Ashath bin Qais, an Iraqi commander. The two of them had been in secret contact throughout the battle. Dr. Taha Husayn also holds this belief and he says: “It is not unlikely that Ashath bin Qais, the most cunning of the Iraqi people in secret contact with Ibn Aas the most cunning one of the Syrians, hatched a plot so that people may fight among themselves. Then if the Syrians were to emerge victorious, what could be better than that but if they feared defeat or were about to be routed, they would raise Quran aloft the spears and in this way create discord among the men of Ali (‘a) and fan the flames of conflict among them.”98
Anyway when the defeat of Syrians became obvious and their forces began to disperse, Muawiyah rushed to Amr Aas in shock and sought his view. Amr advised him to raise the Quran.
Muawiyah at once ordered that approximately 500 copies of Quran should be raised on spears and clamor of Syrians rose up in unison. All of them spoke in one voice, “This Book of Allah, from its opening till the end, is between you and us. Who would defend the borders of Syria after the people of Syria are destroyed? Who would defend the borders of Iraq after the Iraqis are destroyed? Who would go for Jihad to Rome? Who would defend against the Turks? Who would confront the infidels?”
This call fell like a bolt of lightning on the Iraqi army which transformed them completely and like waves they rushed to the Imam and cried, “Muawiyah has come to you with sincerity, he has called you to the Book of Allah. You must accept his offer.”
The Imam was greatly affected by the fraudulent proposal and he knew that it was a result of their military defeat. They had no aim except to deceive the people and they had raised Quran not because they had faith in it. It was only to fool their opponents. It was a matter of great regret that they did not take into consideration the moments of their future-making of history and they did not keep in view the future of the Ummah while not more than a few moments remained for the annihilation of oppression and destruction of the foundations of injustice.
How terrible and regretful it was that they remained obstinate on their rebellion and enmity. Twelve thousand person from among them having marks of prostration on their foreheads, they came out and addressed the Imam by his name, “O Ali, you must reply positively to these people who have called you in the name of this book. Otherwise we shall kill you like we killed the son of Affan. By Allah if you do not relent we shall make good our threat’”
The Holy Imam (‘a) spoke to them in a sorrowful and kind manner so that he may root out the spirit of rebellion from them. However the Imam’s words remained ineffective and they continued in their deviation and they were stubborn on forcing the Imam to accept the truce. Ashath bin Qais was instigating them for this and in a loud voice he demanded that the offer of Syrians be accepted.
Imam (‘a) had no option but to accept the offer and therefore he ordered that hostilities be stopped while his heart was shattered by grief and sorrow. Because he had become certain that falsehood had won over truth and all the efforts and sacrifices of his army had been in vain.
The traitors insisted upon the Imam that he should call back Malik Ashtar from the battlefield while he was just inches from victory.
Imam (‘a) sent a message to him to come back but he paid no heed to this and he told the messenger, “Tell my master that this is not the time that you should prefer to keep me away from this opportunity. I am sure that the Almighty Allah shall bestow victory for us. Thus do not put me to haste’”
The messenger returned and conveyed Malik’s response to the Imam. Those uncivilized people began to scream in denouncing the Holy Imam (‘a). They said, “We don’t see except that you had ordered him to fight on.”
Imam (‘a) was in a great difficulty in front of them. So he told them, “Did you see me speak in a secret manner with my messengers? Did I not speak to them in presence of you all?”
However they remained adamant on their waywardness and said, “Tell him to come back immediately or by Allah we shall depose you’”
They were determined to create mischief and it was very likely they would have harmed Imam (‘a). Therefore His Eminence issued an emphatic order that Malik should leave the battlefield.
Malik obeyed the instructions while the Syrian army was routed and as he returned to the Imam he asked Yazid, the Imam’s messenger, “Has this mischief appeared due to the raising of copies of Quran?”
Ashtar understood the deceit of Ibn Aas and he said, “By Allah, when the Qurans were raised I understood that discord and conflict would indeed develop and this was a plot of the son of that unchaste woman. Do you not see victory? Don’t you see what conditions they had created? Don’t you see what Allah is doing for us? Is it right to leave them and turn away?”
Yazid told him about the terrible circumstances and dangerous atmosphere in which the Imam was caught and he said, “Would you prefer that you become victorious while Amirul Momineen (‘a) has to bear calamities at the hands of his enemies?”
Ashtar said what befits a believer, “Glory be to Allah! No by Allah, I would not like that!”
“It is only they who told the Imam, ‘Tell Malik to come back or we shall kill you with our swords like we slew the son of Affan, or we shall hand you over to your enemy?’”
Immersed in grief and deserted by sorrow, Ashtar returned while all his hopes were shattered.
He went towards the people and scolded them severely asking them to leave him to attack the enemies because victory and success was very close.
Those transmogrified people paid no heed to Malik’s statements and being firm on the way to degradation and humiliation said: “No! No!”
“Give me only respite equal to the jump of a horse because I am sure of victory’” “In that case we shall become your partners in sin’”
Ashtar argued with them with logic and reasoning and he criticized their belief. He said, “Tell me, when the stalwarts have been martyred and the lowly ones among you remain in their places ñ when were you on the right? Whether it was of that time when you were killing the Syrians or now when you have stopped fighting and are on falsehood. Or now that you have refrained from fighting are you on the right? In that case those of you were killed, whose greatness you do not deny, and who were better than you, are all in the fire of hell’”
These brilliant arguments did not succeed to change their stance. They said. “O Ashtar! Leave us! We fought them for the sake of Allah. We shall not obey you. Go away from us!”
When Ashtar became certain that they cannot be reformed he gave them a severe reply and he frightened them of the consequences of this mischief and that after this they would never get any respect.
In fact they never received any honor after that because the rightful rulership slipped from their hands and their power went into Muawiyah’s hands and he subjected them to terrible difficulties.
Malik petitioned the Imam to fight them but the Imam refused because definitely the majority of the representatives in the Imams army were opposing the Imam and starting battles against them would have worst consequences because the Ummah shall become an easy morsel for the Umayyads.
Imam (a.s) bowed his head while waves of pain and sorrow surrounded him. For a long time he thought of the bitter results that these disobedient people had created.
Historians say: They thought that the Imam’s silence implied his consent. They cried, “Ali, Amirul Momineen has accepted arbitration and has agreed to follow the command of Quran.”
Imam (a.s) was immersed in sorrow. The control of the affairs had gone out of his hand and his soldiers had rebelled against him. The Imam could not do anything about it. He describes what befell him in the following words, “Yesterday I was the chief and today I am ordered! Yesterday I was refusing it and today I am refused’”
The Imam’s difficulties and hardships at the hands of his rebellion army were not limited to this. A far greater problem appeared because the disobedient people under the leadership of Ashath bin Qais insisted on the selection of Abu Musa Ashari who was more severe and mischievous enemy of the Imam. This was so because they knew that Abu Musa would definitely depose the Imam from caliphate and appoint in his place a candidate of their choice. They all besieged the Imam from all sides and raised the slogan: “We want Abu Musa!”
Imam (a.s) prevented them and he refused to allow the selection of Abu Musa. He said, “In the beginning you turned away from me. Now do not disobey me. I have decided not to appoint Abu Musa.”
They remained adamant on their misguidance and disobedience and they said, “We shall not accept anyone else because we would befall into that which he had warned us of.”
The Holy Imam (a.s) told them about the real condition of Abu Musa and his opposition to His Eminence and said, “He is not reliable, he has separated from me and he instigated people against me and then he ran away from me till finally I gave him amnesty. We shall appoint Ibn Abbas (for arbitration).”
They refused the appointment of the Ibn Abbas. Imam (a.s) then proposed the appointment of Malik Ashtar but they remained adamant on selection of Abu Musa Ashari. The Imam had no option but to relent and accord his consent.
The two sides decided to appoint Ibn Aas from the Syrian and Abu Musa Ashari from the Iraqi side as arbitrators. And that they should compose a document and they decided that they would act according to their judgment. They wrote in the document a text that Tabari has narrated as follows:
In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. This is the agreement between Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan. This decision of Ali will be effective on the people of Iraq and those who are in his community or ordinary believers with them. And this treaty of Muawiyah will be applicable to the people of Syria and those who are with Muawiyah. We accept the command of Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime and Book of Allah and except for the Book of Allah no decision would be applicable to us and we shall act upon whatever is present from the beginning to the end in the Book of Allah and that we shall make popular what this Book orders to enliven and we shall stop whatever it commands to be stopped. All the arbitrators, that is Abu Musa Ashari, Abdullah bin Qais and Amr bin al-Aas al-Qarshi will follow whatever decision they find in the Book of Allah. They shall act on the practice that is based on justice and equity and that upon which all shall be in agreement and no one shall be opposed to it. Both the arbitrators shall take oaths and pledges from Ali and Muawiyah and their soldiers and other reliable people also that the lives and properties of both of them will be protected and whatever these two decide in that the whole community will co-operate with them and this pledge will be incumbent on the Muslims of both parties that whatever is written in this treaty is accepted by us and I have made the decision of both the arbitrators compulsory on all Muslims. All these people shall remove their weapons and all would observe peace. They can go wherever they like. Their lives, properties, women and children shall be secure. All shall observe peace whether present or absent and the oath and pledge of the Almighty shall be on Abdullah bin Qais and Amr bin Aas that they decide the matter of the community and that they do not once more make them involved in war and discord. It is another thing that someone may not accept their decision and the duration of this judgment shall be till the month of Ramadan and if these two arbitrators like to increase this duration they can do so with mutual agreement and if one of the two arbitrators dies the Amir of the followers shall appoint another judge in his place and that person shall be selected from just and equitable persons. And the place of the judgment of these two shall be a place that is between the people of Kufa and Syria. These judges may take the testimony of whosoever they like on the verdict and they shall write down their testimony and this verdict and those witnesses shall support them in their verdict. And they shall oppose those who intend to nullify it. O Allah! We seek Your help against the one who rejects this verdict.99
A group from each party signed the document and brought it into force. This agreement fulfilled the aspirations of Muawiyah and he survived the danger to his life and the lives of his followers.
The most remarkable point about this document is that it mentions nothing about the revenge of Uthman’s blood. Not a slightest objection is mentioned about it. Rather it speaks of peace and amity between the two groups. I believe that this document was written without the Imam having any say in it because His Eminence had left his army men to do as they like.
Imam left Siffeen for Kufa; we don’t think that any writer is able to describe in reality the calamity that befell the Holy Imam (a.s). Because His Eminence returned in great shock as he was aware that the falsehood of Muawiyah had become stable and strong and his position had become established. He saw that his own soldiers had become rebels because when he called them they did not harken to his call. This was a result of their involvement in mischief and hardships. Historians say that they used to abuse and kill each other. They also used to oppress each other. The most dangerous thing that arose was the problem of the Khawarij about which we shall discuss soon. It was a disease that was destroying the ranks of Iraqis and the biggest danger that came to them and had broken the unity of the Imam’s army and which spread fear and terror in their ranks.
Imam (a.s) reached Kufa and saw that people were afflicted due to the loss of the lives of their dear ones in the Battle of Siffeen because those who were killed in Siffeen were many times more than those who died in Jamal.
Narrators say: the Messenger of Allah (S) had named the people of Nahrawan as Mariqeen and he commanded Amirul Momineen (‘a) Ali (a.s) to fight them just as he ordered fighting against the Nakiseen and Qasiteen.
The obvious fact is the method of thinking of Khawarij, deviation in the movement and obstinacy on ignorance and disobedience because they based their philosophy on bigotry and lack of contemplation and perception. Their slogan for which they sacrificed themselves was: There is no command except of Allah. However not much time passed but they began to accept that sword was necessary for rulership and they spread terror and mischief in the land, which we shall explain below.
Anyway, when Imam returned from Siffeen to Kufa they did not enter Kufa. They went to Hurura and became to be called Hururis. On the basis of what historians state, they numbered 1200. They selected Shabth Ibn Rabi as their commander and Abdullah Kuwa Yashkari to lead them in prayers. They vacated the Imam from caliphate and entrusted the caliphate to a Shura committee of Muslims.
The Imam was infuriated at their rebellion and he dispatched Abdullah Ibn Abbas to meet them emphasizing that he must not speak or deal harshly with them till the Imam reaches them. But Ibn Abbas was compelled to debate with them and he was talking to them when Imam arrived. He prohibited Ibn Abbas from arguing with them. He said, “By Allah, this is the occasion that whoever succeeds in this shall be successful in the Hereafter. And one who talks unrightfully in it shall be blind and deviated in the Hereafter.”
Then he asked them, “Who is your leader?” “Ibn Kuwa.”
“What has forced you to disobey us?” “Your arbitration in Siffeen?”
“I put you under oath of Allah. When they raised the Quran and you were telling me to accept the truce did I not tell you that I knew them better than you? They are not religious and people of Quran. I have lived with them. When they were children and when they grew up. They were the worst children and the most mischievous adults. Move forward with the truth and rightfulness because those people have raised Quran as a ruse. But you refused to accept my view and told me to accept the truce. Recall what I told you and how you opposed me. And when you did not accept anything except Quran we imposed the condition on the arbitrators that they should only follow the commands of Quran. Then if they had acted according to the command of Quran I would not have opposed it. If they had refused we would also have refused to accept their decision.”
This brilliant argument refuted all their doubts because they were themselves responsible for every mischief and corruption that had taken place and in this regard the Imam has not committed anything wrong.
They asked His Eminence, “Do you think it was an act of justice to appoint some people as arbitrators over loss of human lives?”
“We did not appoint people as arbitrators, rather we appointed the Quran as arbitrators. This is the Quran which is a writing between two covers, that people speak by it.”
“Tell us why you fixed a period of respite between you and them.”
“So that the ignorant may know and the knowledgeable may investigate and perhaps the Almighty Allah may set right the affairs of this community.”
The Imam refuted all their objections and compelled them to accept as right what all he had said. Then he said to them in a kind manner, “Enter your city, may Allah have mercy on you.”
They agreed to do so and all of them entered Kufa with Imam (a.s) however they retained their beliefs and spread their view among the gullible people so that they may also start expressing these distorted beliefs. Their awe became powerful and they began to spread their fear among the people and misguided the people to depose the Imam and called them to entrust the caliphate to a consultative committee.100
Muawiyah regained his forces and stabilized his position after the collapse that had befallen him. He sent his messengers to Imam Ali. He asked him to fulfill the arbitration and to allow the arbitrators to hold a meeting. He hurried to do that because he knew that discords and misfortunes had befallen the Iraqi troops and they had divided into tribes and parties, and he knew that Abu Musa al-Ashari was deviated from the Imam as well. Accordingly, he intended to add another victory to his victory. The Imam (‘a) responded to him. He sent four hundred men under the leadership of Shurayh bin Hani al-Harithi. Among them there were Abdullah bin Abbas to lead them in prayer and undertake their affairs, and Abu Musa al- Ashari, who was chosen for the arbitration. And so did Muawiyah. He sent Amr bin al-Aas with four hundred men. He supplied him with sufficient information about the dull one, Abu Musa, saying: “You will face a man with a long tongue and a little reason! Therefore, do not employ your entire mind against him!”
The misguided judges101 arrived in Adhruh or Doumat al-Jandal. Meetings and arbitrations were held there. The cunning one, Amr bin al-Aas, met the weak- minded and dull Abu Musa. He gave him three days’ time. He chose a special place for him. He gave him delicious food and drinks. He did not discuss the affair with him until he completely understood him and after bribing him. When he knew that he had dominated him, he talked with him with gentleness and leniency. He showed towards him admiration, reverence, and magnification. He said to him: “O Abu Musa, you are the chief of the companions of Muhammad (‘a)! You have an excellence and precedence over them. You see that this community has fallen into blind sedition with which there is no safety. Therefore, is it possible for you to be the blessed one of this community, that Allah may spare their blood through you? Allah says about one soul: (and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind). What about saving of the lives of these people?”
When was Abu Musa the chief of the Prophet’s companions? When did he have merits and precedence in Islam? These words played with his soul, and he asked how he could decide the conflict.
“You depose Ali bin Abi Talib,” replied Amr, “and I depose Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan. We choose for this community one who has no part in the discord nor has he plunged his hands into it.”
Abu Musa asked him about the person who would be nominated for the caliphate. Amr understood Abu Musa’s desires and inclinations towards Abdullah bin Umar, so he said: “He is Abdullah bin Umar!”
Abu Musa al-Ashari was very delighted at that. He asked him for covenants to fulfill what he had said:
-How can I be sure of that?
-O Abu Musa, now surely by the remembrance of Allah are the hearts set at rest! Take promises and covenants until you are satisfied!
Then he gave him promises, covenants, and strong oaths, to the extent that he swore by all the sacred things to fulfill what he had said. The Sheikh who was old in age but small in mind (Abu Musa) was astonished at the cleverness that Amr bin al-Aas had. As a result he expressed his satisfaction and acceptance.
Their agreement on the time when they would meet was announced to the people. Then came the terrible hour when the course of history changed. People gathered to receive the decisive result of this arbitration for which they were waiting impatiently. The cunning person, Amr bin al-Aas, and the deceived one, Abu Musa, came to the pulpit to announce the decision they had reached. Amr bin al- Aas turned to Abu Musa and said to him:
-Rise and address the people, O Abu Musa.
-You rise and address them!
-Glory belongs to Allah! Shall I precede you while you are the Sheikh of the companions of Allah’s Apostle? By Allah, I will never do that!102
-Is there anything in your soul?
Amr took a strong oath before Abu Musa to conform to the promise he had given to him. As for Abdullah bin Abbas, he knew about Amr bin al-Aas’s trick. The plot that this cunning person made manifested itself. Abdullah turned to Abu Musa and said to him: “What a pity! I think he has deceived you! If you have agreed on an affair, then advance him and made him speak before you! Amr is a treacherous man. I do not think that he has given you consent about that which is between you and him! He will oppose you when you rise among the people!”
However, the low person (Abu Musa) paid no attention to Abdullah bin Abbas’ speech. He went quickly towards the pulpit. When he ascended, he praised and lauded Allah. He called down blessings upon Muhammad, and then he said: “O people, we reflected on our affair and knew that the closest thing to security, righteousness, sparing blood, and bringing together the friends is our deposing Ali and Muawiyah. I depose Ali as I take off my turban (and he took off his turban). We have appointed as a caliph a man who was a companion of Allah’s Apostle (‘a), and his father was also a companion of the Prophet (‘a). He became prominent through his precedence in Islam. He is Abdullah bin Umar!”103
He lauded him with a good laudation and gave to him good qualities and noble descriptions. Abu Musa turned away from Imam Ali (‘a) who was the Prophet’s self and the gate of the city of his knowledge. He nominated Abdullah bin Umar, who did not know how to divorce his wife properly as his father said about him. What a bad time it was that such a low person should control the Muslims and impose his opinion on them. Anyway, Amr bin al-Aas lauded and praised Allah. He called down blessings upon the Prophet (‘a) and then he said: “O people, Abu Musa Abdullah bin Qais has deposed Ali and removed him from this matter, and he is the most aware of him. Now, I depose Ali as he has done, and I appoint Muawiyah (as a caliph over you and me. Abu Musa has written in the document that Uthman was killed as an oppressed martyr,104 and that his heir has the right to avenge his blood in any case. Muawiyah was a companion of Allah’s Apostle himself, and his father was a companion of the Prophet. So he is the caliph over us. We have to obey him and pledge allegiance to him to avenge Uthman.”
The dull, deceived person (Abu Musa al-Ashari) said to Amr bin al-Aas: “What’s wrong with you! May Allah curse you! You are like a panting dog!”105
Amr bin al-Aas rebuked him after he had used him as a bridge to cross over. He said to him: “You are like a donkey carrying books!”
Yes they were like a dog and a donkey. They really described each other. Abu Musa set off towards Mecca carrying with him shame and disgrace after making this blind sedition and the rip which could be not mended. He left behind him the true Imam moaning due to his (Abu Musa’s) silly arbitration. Through his arbitration, he recorded for the Iraqis shame and disgrace that history would not ever forget.
The Iraqis were drowned in trials and tribulations and had become certain of the misguidance in which they had fallen. Ashari fled to Mecca, taking disgrace and humility for himself and his sons106 because he had openly breached the trust of Muslims.
Poets of that time composed many satirical verses disparaging Abu Musa Ashari. Aiman bin Kharim Asadi says:
“If these people had wanted freedom from misguidance they would have sent Ibn Abbas to you.
May Allah honor his father, what a great man he is that there is none like him who could solve the difficulties of the people.
But they sent an old man from Yemen to you, who does not know the fraction one-fifth in one-sixth.
If Amr were alone before him he would have put him in such a ditch as if the goat star was among the billy goats.
Tell Ali, instead of complaining to him, the statements of a person who does not refrain from saying the truth.
O Abul Hasan, Ashari is not reliable that you deal with him in trust, because the weeds may again re-form.
Thus discuss your proximate companion as son of your uncle, Abbas is aggrieved.”107
Muawiyah achieved victory because the Syrians returned to him and saluted him with the title of “Amirul Momineen”. But the Imam’s army returned in such a way that his soldiers were drowned in discord and conflicts. Some were disgusted with others and they understood the mischief that their own hands had wrought.
Imam Hasan (a.s) delivered a long sermon and invited them to affection and love. Abdullah Ibn Abbas and Abdullah Ibn Ja’far also spoke and their speeches condemned the arbitration. They motivated the people towards obedience and to give up controversies.108 Some people accepted them and some rebelled and remained on their disobedience.
When the news of arbitration reached Imam (a.s) he was highly aggrieved and he gathered the people and addressed them with an effective speech about his pain and sorrow as a result of their disobeying his commands against cessation of hostilities and letting victory to go out of their hands. He said:
“Praise be to Allah. However severe hardships and disasters may occur I still testify that there is no God except Allah, the One. And that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. So to say: Opposition to a well-wisher creates regret and humiliation and I had commanded you regarding these two men and this arbitration and told you of my sincere views. That if you had obeyed, it would have proved beneficial for you. But you left everything except what you wanted. I was with you like the poet of Hawazin says:
“I commanded them on a sensitive moment but they did pay attention to it even the next afternoon.”
Indeed the two persons you had accepted for arbitration have disregarded the command of Quran and delivered a verdict on their conjecture because on the basis of this they have considered unlawful what was lawful and considered lawful whatever was unlawful. At that time they breached our trust in their decision. Thus no one of them neither dispensed guidance nor spoke the right word. Allah, His Messenger and the righteous believers are disgusted of their deeds. Thus get ready for Jihad and to move forward. Report to the cantonment Monday morning, if Allah wills.”109
Armed forces of the Imam (a.s) got ready for journey at the place the Imam had appointed. His Eminence wrote a letter to the people of Basra and sought their help. Some battalions of Basra joined his forces.
Imam (a.s) moved towards Syria with his troops but not much time passed when he received news of rebellion and mischief of the Kharijis and their reverting to their views.
Historians say: A group of them came out of Kufa and some people of Basra holding similar views joined them. They went to Nahrawan and camped over there. They then initiated corruption and destruction and considered lawful the shedding of Muslim blood and considered them as infidels.
A companion of the Prophet, named Abdullah bin Khabbab Ibn Arat passed by them. They rushed to him and asked his name and then inquired about his beliefs about the Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a). He praised the Holy Quran and they became infuriated and they tied his arms and took him along with his pregnant wife under a palm tree. A fresh date fell down. One of them hurried to it and put it in his mouth. They objected to it and he spat it out. Another one of them drew his sword, struck with it a pig belonging to a Zimmi non-Muslim and killed it. One of them then shouted at him, “This is mischief in the land.”
The man hurried to the owner of the pig and satisfied him. When Abdullah bin Khabbab saw that, he said to them: “If you are truthful in what I see, then I feel no fear of you. By Allah, I have made no mistake in Islam. I am a believer, and you have given me security. You have said: ‘There is no harm on you!”
However, they paid no attention to his speech. They brought him along with his wife. They made him lie down at the bank of the river. They put him on that pig which they had killed. Then they killed him. Then they walked towards his wife, who was shaking with fear. She knew that the ghost of death was upon her. She was looking at her dead husband. She asked them for mercy and begged them, saying: “I am merely a woman! Do you not fear Allah!”
However, they paid no attention to her asking for mercy and beseeching. They hurried towards her as dogs. They killed her and split her belly open. Then they went to three women and killed them. Among them there was Umm Sinan al- Saydawiya, a companion of the Prophet (‘a). The evil of the Kharijites did not stop at this. They persecuted the people, spread terror among them, and wrought corruption in the land.110
They began to spread terror and destruction in all the areas. Imam (a.s) send Harth bin Musa Abadi to them to ask them the reason for their terrifying the innocent people and that they should accept the sanctity of the blood that Allah has prohibited.
The messenger was killed before he could convey his message.
The Imam’s companions did not consider it advisable to move towards Syria leaving behind them the Kharijis to wrought havoc with their families and properties. This was so because the Kharijis had absolutely no reservation against looting and plunders and they considered all Muslims as apostates and thought that it was permissible to shed their blood. So the companions suggested to the Imam that they first attack and finish off the Kharijis and only after that proceed against Muawiyah. Imam accepted their suggestion and marched with them till they came to Nahrawan. When they reached in the neighborhood to Kharijis they sent a message to them to hand over to them the killers of Khabbab and his wife. In the same way they asked first for the surrender of the murderers of Harth bin Musa and then ordered them to join the battle against Muawiyah. Only after that would their problems be solved.
They replied to the Imam: “There is no option between us except to fight it out; except that you confess you infidelity and do repentance like us.”
Imam was highly affected by this and he said, “Shall I bear witness against myself that I am an infidel after my faith in Allah, and after Jihad with Allah’s Messenger? If I do, then I have gone astray and I am not among the rightly guided’”111
Sometimes Imam gave them advice and sometimes he conveyed information till many of them came out and returned to Kufa and many joined the Imam’s forces. The third group separated for battle under the leadership of the Khariji chief, Abdullah bin Wahab Rasibi who had the mark of prostration on his forehead. They comprised in all three thousand soldiers.
When the Imam was hopeless of guiding them or taking them back to the way of the truth, he mobilized his troops and commanded them not to start fighting until they begin. When the Kharijites saw that readiness, they got ready too. As their souls and hearts were full of yearning for fighting as the thirsty yearned for water, they called each other: “Is there anyone who wants to go to Paradise?”
They all responded to that and strongly attacked Imam Ali’s troops, saying: “No judgment except Allah’s!” The Imam’s horsemen formed two parties. One party went to the right wing and the other to the left. As for the Kharijites, they were rushing between the two parties. The Imam’s companions received them with arrows. It was only an hour and they all were killed. None escaped death except nine persons.112
When the battle came to an end, the Imam asked his companions to look for Dhu al-Thadya113 among the killed. They carefully looked for him but they did not find him. They returned to Imam Ali (‘a) and told him that they had not found the man. He asked them to look for him, saying: “I have never lied nor have I been accused of lying. May Allah have mercy on you! Look for the man! He is among the killed!”
They went and looked for him. One of the Imam’s companions found him, and he hurried to the Imam and told him about it. The Imam said: “Allah is great! I have not fabricated a lie against Muhammad! He (Dhu al-Thadya) has a defective hand that has no bone. At the end of it there is a nipple like that of a woman’s breast and there are five or seven strands of hair on it whose ends are crooked.”
The Imam ordered the corpse of Dhu al-Thidiya to be brought. It was brought before him. He looked at his arm and found it pointed like a breast of a woman and there were black strands of hair on it. When the Imam saw that, he prostrated himself before Allah. Then he divided among his companions the Kharijites’ weapons and animals. He returned the equipment and the servants to their owners.
...in the same way as he had done with the people of Jamal.
The battle of Nahrawan which was the result of the battle of Siffeen ended in this way. It left behind powerful effects in foundation that became apparent in the world of Islam. Like the army of Hururiya that specialized in rebellion against the government and spreading terror and corruption in the lands. This caused untold disasters in the country and mired the people in dissensions and bloodshed.
The most remarkable trait of the Khariji religious denomination was ascribing infidelity to every Muslim who did not ascribe to their dogma. They considered it lawful to shed their blood and plunder their properties.
And in my view most of the terrible cruelties that occurred in the battle of Karbala are connected to these transmogrified people as all human qualities had gone away from them because most of the people of that army were influenced by these qualities and created the most horrible circumstances.
These battles left behind the most terrible and severe consequences and hardships. Not only the Imam was involved in it but the whole of Islamic community was surrounded by them. Because they brought an everlasting mischief to the world of Islam and created difficulties that were to endure forever. Some of them were as follows:
It accorded opportunity to Muawiyah, the governor of Syria to become the first of the governors to proclaim himself as the caliph. He has described his victory over the Imam in the following words: “After Siffeen I fought Ali without an army and without much difficulty and planning.”114
As for the Imam, he was sidelined from political and military power for even though he tried to mobilize forces people refused to pay heed.
These battles dragged the Islamic caliphate towards tyrannical rulership because not the slightest resemblance to Islamic politics or logic of Quran was seen in it. Because the job of rulership had reached to Muawiyah who considered the wealth of Allah as his personal property and made servants of Allah (people) as his slaves. And he compelled Muslims to that which they did not like.
All the military powers in the army of the Imam scattered. Discord and dissension spread among them especially after the battle of Nahrawan because the spirit of fighting had died in them.
Balazari says: “Muawiyah sent Ammarah bin Uqbah to Kufa to spy on the position of the Imam’s army. He wrote to Muawiyah that companions of the Imam and their pious ones were displeased with Ali. They have abandoned him to his fate. On the basis of this commanders and people of the country are destroyed for him. Enmity has developed among them and they are badly divided.”
Muawiyah smiled and said to Walid bin Uqbah, “Do you consent to your brother becoming our spy?” Walid said to his brother Ammarah:
“If you think correctly O son of my mother! Ammarah will not rise up to revenge for the blood.
He resides in an area surrounded by the revenge seeking sons of Affan and he walks between the hare and the bridge.
You walk in contentment and power as if you have not any knowledge of the commander of Ibn Amr.”115
Imam’s forces were involved in mischief and corruption and the Imam inspite of his oratorical powers was unable to bring them to senses and destroy rebellion and disobedience that had become a part of their nature.
Among the factors that gave rise to rebellion among the Imam’s troops was that Muawiyah wrote to a group of prominent Iraqi commanders like Ashath bin Qais and he promised them wealth and money and also promised that he would provide them with huge wealth and posts if they could perform destructive activities in the Imam’s troops. They accepted his offer and by themselves they spread false rumors and misguided the public opinion and disseminated the spirit of dissension and controversies among the people116 in such a way that their propaganda had a profound effect on the troops and they became rebellious and disobedient to the Imam.
The absolute majority in the cantonment of the Imam was aspiring to obtain huge wealth and properties through their leadership (the caliph) and aimed to get as much benefit as possible while the Syrians were exactly opposed to this.
Hajjaj bin Khazine says to Muawiyah, “You have become strong with something other than with which Ali was strengthened. Because with us is a group that if you speak they shall remain silent. And if you command them they shall not question you while with Ali are such people that if he speaks they also start talking and if he is silent, they begin to question him.”117
Hardships and troubles of the Imam did not end at an appointed time, rather problem continued to occur without any respite and that also in the most severe manner. His Eminence had yet not become free from the battle against the Mariqeen when he became involved in the internal problems of the country. Because Muawiyah seized control of some provinces and on the other provinces he launched attacks and spread awe and terror among the people. Because he had became certain of the weakness and laxity of Imam’s troops and their involvement in discords and dissensions. Therefore he decided to take over Egypt which was the heartland of Arabian lands. Muawiyah made it a morsel for his vizier and the maker of his kingdom, Amr Aas, so that he may utilize its income and wealth for himself.
Imam (a.s) had selected the great leader, Qais bin Saad Ansari, for the governorship of Egypt. He was a prominent personality of Islam and followed good policies, had a deep contemplation and farsightedness and in the days of hardship he administered Egypt with truth and justice and he solved the internal problems and spread friendship and kindness among them. Imam dismissed him and in his stead appointed the purified man, Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr.
The condition of Egypt became serious and Uthmani claimants appeared in the land. The Imam dismissed Muhammad and appointed in his place Malik Ashtar Nakhai who was the most sober person with regard to the Imam and most serious of them. However he had just reached Qulzum when he passed away.
Historians are unanimous that Muawiyah deceived the tax collector of Qulzum. He fed poisoned honey to Malik and killed him as Muawiyah and his companion Amr Aas after that have remarked and said, “Allah has soldiers of honey.”
Muawiyah prepared an army for taking over Egypt and gave it under the command of Ibn Aas. When Imam (a.s) understood this matter he retained Muhammad on the governorship of Egypt and promised to send him more troops and monetary help and he called the people of Kufa to go to Egypt for helping their brothers. But they did not accept the Imam’s advice. Imam (a.s) insisted upon them and sought their help but except for some soldiers no one accepted his call, as if he were sending them to death.
Imam (a.s) sent them towards Egypt but not much time passed when His Eminence received the news that Amr Aas has taken over Egypt and the Imam’s representative, that is Muhammad, had been killed by him and his corpse was burnt to ashes.
Imam (a.s) recalled the troops and delivered a sensational sermon to the people of Kufa denouncing them for their sloth and laziness in obeying his commands.
Anyway the takeover of Egypt increased the power of Muawiyah and it motivated him to wage an attack on the Iraqis in their own land.
Muawiyah was not satisfied with his conquest of Egypt, rather be began to spread awe and terror in the cities that were under Imam’s control so that people in those areas may know that Ali (a.s) had lost all power and he was no more able to defend them and prevent harm from them.
Muawiyah began to form battalions and appointed them to move forward in the interiors of provinces and spread mischief and bloodshed. Along with this he also sent out some people well-known for their malicious nature and bereft of every human quality as commanders of those battalions against partisans of Ali (‘a). They conducted swift raids and attacks on some special provinces which we shall describe as follows:
Muawiyah sent four military units to attack Iraq and the neighboring provinces and areas. So that the hearts of Iraqis are filled with fear and terror and thus whenever the Imam calls them for Jihad they should not accept. Some Iraqi provinces that were attacked are as follows:
1. Ainut Tamr: Muawiyah dispatched Noman bin Bashir Ansari at the head of 1000 strong battalion to Ainut Tamr where Malik Kaab was the governor. He also had an army of 1000 but he had no information about the attack of Syrian. He had permitted his soldiers family leave and they had all gone to Kufa except for a hundred soldiers who remained with him. When Muawiyah’s army attacked he displayed valor in defending himself and fifty men rushed to his assistance. When Noman saw them he was shocked and fled from there because he thought that other people would follow.
When the news of this attack reached the Imam he stood up among his soldiers and delivered a sermon to them and called them to help him. Then he said:
“O people of Kufa! Whenever a group approaches you or some riders come to you, each of you lock up your house and like cockroaches enter your holes to rest. Like birds take shelter in their nests. By Allah, degraded is the one that you helped. Everyone who is pleased with you with a broken bow without an arrow he attacks with it and you remain satisfied with him. Thus evil and helplessness may be upon you that you were called and spoken to but neither you met with clear conscience nor were helpers in battle. I have become deaf to you that I cannot hear, and dumb such that I don’t think and blind such that I do not see.”118
2. Haiyyat.- Muawiyah sent Sufyan Ibn Auf with 600 troops to attack Haiyyat and told him that after he has attacked Haiyyat he should proceed to Anbar and Madayan and inflict plunder and torture on the people there. Sufyan departed with his troops to Haiyyat but he did not find anyone there. Then he proceeded to Anbar and there he found a military cantonment of the Imam consisting of 200 persons. He attacked and fought them and killed Ashras bin Hisaan Bakri along with his 30 companions. Then they plundered the city of Anbar and returned happily with the loot to Muawiyah.
News of Anbar reached to His Eminence, Ali (a.s) who was highly affected and very much shocked by this tragedy. Since he was indisposed he did not deliver any speech therefore he wrote a letter that may be read out to the public of that area. In the condition that His Eminence was there near to that place so that he may listen to its reading. The text of the letter is as follows:
“So to say: Know that! Jihad is a door from the doors of Paradise and one who leaves it carelessly shall be dressed in the garments of disgrace and calamities shall surround him and he shall become humiliated. He shall fall from his position and he shall be far from justice and equity. I have called you for day and night, openly and secretly for jihad against the people so that you go after them before they attack you, because no people were attacked in their homes but that they were humiliated. You pointed fingers at each other and showed laziness and my suggestion was very difficult for you. And you disobeyed my commands and disregarded my suggestions. So much so that attacks came on you from all sides. It is a pity that their riders entered Anbar and killed Ibn Hisaan Bakri, confiscated armory and killed righteous people. I have received information that a Syrian entered a house of a Muslim or a protected non-Muslim and snatched away her anklet, bracelets and necklace. Alas, the heart is dying and it is sorrowful and grief flames up that there people are putting such efforts in their falsehood while you all are so much lazy even though you are on the right. Then how bad and humiliating is the condition in which you are involved. And you are the target of every archer. They attacked you by the night and you do not launch any attack. Disobedience of Allah continues and you agree to it. If I tell you to attack your enemies in summer you say who would fight in such hot climate, give us respite till the end of summer. And if I tell you to fight them in winter you say’summer, winter all there are your lame excuses. From summer and winter? When by Allah, you are afraid of fighting. O men look-alikes! O those who think like children and those who ponder like women in bridal chamber! Alas, if I only had never seen you. If only Allah had taken me away from you. As you have filled my breast with anger and you forced me to drink goblets of false accusations. By your disobedience you have destroyed my opinion. So much so that Quraish say: the son of Abu Talib is valiant but has no military knowledge. May Allah forgive their ancestors. Is there anyone among them more firm in fighting than me?119 I started fighting since the age of twenty and now I have passed sixty. As for the one who is not obeyed, he has no venue.”120
These statements indicate the deep anger and severe despair from his companions that their hearts were full of fear of Syrians and degradation and they had accepted humility and they sat inside their homes in terror till the Imam had to spend the rest of his days in extreme difficulties.
3. Waqsa: Muawiyah sent Zahhak bin Qais Fahri to Waqsa to attack the Shias of Imam in that area and he gave 3000 men under his command.
Zahhak set out and plundered the wealth of people and whosoever he suspected of being obedient to the Imam he used to kill him. He continued his movement till he reached Qutqutana taking with himself fear and death. Then he moved and ended his mission at Samawa. Then he returned to Syria.
When these reports reached to the Imam (a.s) he stood among his troops and delivered a sermon and he called them to confront this oppression, however no one responded to his call. Then His Eminence said: “By Allah, I would prefer to have one Syrian instead of ten of you and to have used you like a goldsmith (with careful deliberation). I would like to face them with perception. May Almighty Allah give us patience to bear hardships and to behave nicely with you.”
After that the Imam moved to Ghariyyin alone so that he may confront that oppression. Abdullah Ibn Ja’far joined him with a horse. His Eminence climbed upon it.
When people saw this condition some of them hurried to His Eminence. His Eminence (a.s) sent Hujr bin Adi with 400 men to fight Zahhak so that he may proceed to find him but could not get them and they returned.121
Attacks of Muawiyah continued on Iraq in this way without having to face any kind opposition. Muawiyah had become confident of victory as a result of the sloth of the Imam’s companions.
Muawiyah dispatched Busr bin Artat with 3000 men to Hijaz and Yemen. They moved towards Yathrib but did not meet any resistance from the people. Busr went upto the pulpit and in a loud voice lamented the murder of Uthman and put awe and fear in the hearts of the people.
He took the allegiance from the people of Yathrib for Muawiyah. Then he moved to Yemen where Ubaidullah Ibn Abbas was the governor appointed by the Imam. Ubaidullah fled from there and came to Kufa.
Imam (a.s) appointed in his place, Ubaidullah Harithi but Busr killed him and also put his son to the sword and he went to two children of Ubaidullah and slew them. When the news of their death reached their mother, she was devastated in their sorrow recited some well-known couplets.122
Muawiyah’s rule was established on the foundation of killing of innocent people and beheading of children and spreading of terror and fear in the towns.
When this terrible news reached to the Imam, his strength gave way, his heart burst with grief and he stood among the troops and delivered a sermon. He spoke to them about the hardships and calamities that had befallen him through their hands.
“I have received information that Busr has taken over Yemen. By Allah, I think it is due to their union in falsehood and due to your disunity in your rightfulness and your disobedience of your Imam in rightfulness and their obedience and their trusts with their leaders and your breach of trust and their peacefulness in their lands and your mischief that these people shall obtain the kingdom. Because if I keep up with you as trust, I fear that their group shall take it away. O Allah, I am disgusted of them and they are disgusted of me. I am tired of them and they are tired of me. Thus give me someone better than them and give them someone worse than me. O Allah, Destroy their hearts like salt dissolves in water. O Allah, I prefer to have one thousand cavalries from the family of bin Ghanam.”123
“They are such that whenever you call them they come to you like rain after a long summer.”
After that he descended the pulpit124 while he was in sorrow and grief and became helpless of his companions. And they were such that their organs were slothful and their feelings empty of sensation and perception was also lost to them.
These were some of the attacks that Muawiyah wrought on Iraq and other areas of Islamic lands that were under the control of the Imam. They aimed at weakening and shaking the faith of the people in those areas from the capability of the Imam from their support in confronting oppression and it was to display the military power of Muawiyah and to strengthen the morale of the soldiers and his army that was spread in the lands.
Anyway, these attacks exposed a great part of weakness and rebellion in the Imam’s troops till Muawiyah began to consider a general attack on Iraq to conquer it and destroy Imam’s rule. And it was clear that if he had done so he would have found it easy. And he would not have had to face any sort of difficulty or resistance because those people had become used to a comfortable life and were fed up of fighting.
Terrible hardships descended on the Holy Imam one after the other because attacks on Muawiyah created havoc in Iraq and other areas and fear and terror filled the hearts of citizens. The Imam was not able to defend the security and save the people from oppression as his troops refused to obey him and they had announced their disobedience and rebellion. His Eminence was in no way able to exercise his will upon them.
Among those hardships was the mischief of Khawarij because His Eminence had not completely destroyed them at Nahrawan. Rather he had only annihilated a group of them, however the majority of them remained and they lived along with His Eminence and were awaiting for an opportunity to attack him. They also incited the people to shun His Eminence as they considered themselves safe from his power and were sure that he would not be able to punish them.
They were greedy for his justice and his soft heartedness had deceived them. On the basis of this they used to criticize His Eminence and object to him. One of them interrupted the sermon of the His Eminence and recited the verse of Quran:
“Surely if you associate (with Allah), your work would certainly come to naught and you would certainly be of the losers.”125
Imam (‘a) replied with another verse of Quran:
“Therefore be patient; surely the promise of Allah is true and let not those who have no certainty hold you in light estimation.”126
Kharit bin Rashid Saami came to the Imam (‘a) with 30 persons and said, “O Ali, by Allah, I shall not obey you, I shall not pray in your leadership and tomorrow I shall go away from you.”
Imam (‘a) dealt with him in a kind manner and spoke to him with logic and reasoning and left him on his condition. He did not cast him in prison, rather he left the way open for him and that man went to his tribe (Bani Naajiya) and he informed them of what had occurred between him and the Imam. After that in the night he came out to fight the Imam. Numerous disasters in the attack of Kharit and his rebellion came into being and historians have recorded them in detail.
Anyway a great responsibility in most of the terrible events that occurred in the Islamic world was on the Khawarij because they had dragged the future of the community to destruction in the most important of its historic periods. While the victory of Imam (‘a) had become certain and the defeat and death of Muawiyah was imminent and just a few moments away when Malik Ashtar and troops of Imam (‘a) were about to storm his tent, those Khawarij in the Imam’s army forced the Imam (‘a) to accept arbitration, thus destroying a victory that was very near.
Imam (‘a) was surrounded by terrible waves and frightful events because he saw that the falsehood of Muawiyah had become strong and his position has reached its end. And he saw himself in Kufa in such a way that Arab wolves who disliked his justice and were displeased of his equity had surrounded him from all sides and they were trying to prevent the fulfillment of his aspirations from the roots, some people were seeking power and some rebelled.
The important problem that made the Imam sleepless was the disintegration of his troops and their mutual aloofness had afflicted each of them. His Eminence was helpless even though he was having authority over them. He was aware what their future shall be and in what they shall be involved after him; therefore he told them,
“Indeed! After me you shall fall into humiliation and sharp swords and class competition that oppressors shall consider as a practice for you. They shall disperse your unity and make you weep and fill your houses with poverty. Very soon you shall wish you had seen me and helped. You will know that what I am telling you is truth. The Almighty Allah shall not leave unpunished those who have wrought injustice or committed criminal acts’”127
Advice and good counsel of His Eminence did not have any effect on those people because they had gone much ahead in misguidance and their beliefs of ignorance age came back to them.
Imam became disgusted with them and he wished that he is distanced from their life and in his numerous sermons he used to say: When would the most evil of Ummah be sent? He continued to supplicate and with a sincere heart he became attached to the realm of the Lord as he got comfort from Him.
Balazari has narrated from Abu Salih that he said, “I saw Ali holding the Quran on his head, so much so, that I could hear the rustling of its pages while he was saying:128
“O Allah, I ask them for the sake of whatever is in the Quran but they prevented it from me. O Allah, I have become disgusted with them and they are fed up with me. They have resorted to such behavior with regard to me that had not been seen. Thus give me that which is better than them and give them someone who is worse than me and destroy their hearts like salt dissolves’”
The Almighty Allah accepted the supplications of His great devotee and after a brief period transferred him to the sanctified abode in the company of prophets and truthful ones and gave him salvation from a society that did not prefer justice and was disgusted of equity while He imposed the worst characters on them. They tried to oppress and humiliate them and they considered the innocent as guilty and unjustly penalized those who were not guilty of any sin. They used to kill them only on the basis of false allegations. It was the time when the people woke up and realized what wrong they had committed with regard to the Imam and they saw their shortcomings, disobedience and lack of support and assistance to His Eminence and they regretted their past deeds and stance.
These were some of the after effects of those battles as a result of which the Imam was involved in so many hardships and bore terrible calamities that not His Eminence alone but the world of Islam was completely involved in them because great difficulties and problems befell the Muslims and they were drowned in a great mischief.
Imam Husayn (‘a) was present in all these terrible disasters that befell his eminent father and he knew the facts behind them and it had become clear to His Eminence how much they were averse to his father because he was sincere in his religion and he wanted to invite the people to the path of truth and justice and lead them on such a way so that no oppressed or deprived person remains in any of the Islamic provinces.
In any case, these battles actively affected the creation of the tragedy of Karbala. That tragedy did not occur except that after it the morals shattered and religious and social views were destroyed and opportunism and social disintegration became common because the wealth gathering of Quraish began to control the affairs of society and in all places created corruption and it destroyed the foundations of morals that Islam had established and it was worse of their steps and also their spreading of enmity and malice towards Ahlul Bayt (‘a), who were the source of view and understanding of this community. Till finally they openly cut into pieces their bodies in the desert of Karbala and together slew them in such a terrible manner as has no equal in the history of humanity.
Neither in the history of western lands nor in any other place was seen a ruler like Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) in justice and purity and one who preferred the truth because His Eminence according to unanimity of historians was never inclined to his sentiments and never obeyed any selfish desires. Rather in a clear way and a perfect manner he followed in the practice of the Messenger of Allah (S). And therefore he always acted with absolute seriousness and perfect sincerity towards the Muslims. During his rule he tried his best to elevate the standard of Islam and establish the principles that served to remove every type of discrimination and injustice from among the Muslims.
The most important problem that he addressed was to establish the government funds for spending only on those ways sanctioned by religion and he did not utilize even a single penny in any other way. He never compelled them and if he had bribed the consciousness of people like how Muawiyah did, profit seekers in the army of His Eminence, like Ashath bin Qais and other military chiefs who were embezzlers and mercenaries would not have objected to him.
His Eminence exercised extreme precaution with regard to public funds. He made great efforts in this regard and bore many hardships on this way so that economic justice may be established among the people.
Abdullah bin Razeem says: I came to His Eminence on the Eid of sacrifice. His Eminence brought Harira dish for us.129 I asked him, “May Allah have mercy on you, why have you not brought something for us from these delicacies? Because Allah has created so many good things.” His Eminence replied, “O son of Razeem, I heard the Messenger of Allah (S) say: Nothing is allowed from the wealth of Allah for any caliph except two vessels; one for himself and his family another for presenting to other people.”130
All those who had surrendered to selfish desires and sensualities criticized the policies of His Eminence and made every kind of effort to bring down his government and set up a regime that shall be beneficial to their political and economic interests.
It is established that Imam (‘a) knew how to attract the obedience of people and how to spread his influence and power on those who criticized him. But such a thing would have been possible only when he had divided his religion into parts and had followed the way of deceit and fraud and had become like other power hungry and greedy rulers. It is natural that deviation from the truth and betrayal of the interests of the community was not acceptable to His Eminence, Ali (‘a) and his high values rejected it because neither power deceived him nor the crowding of people around him increased his honor or their dispersing away from him, as he has himself said, increased his loneliness.
Imam (‘a) had true faith in religion and considered it necessary that faith should dominate the hearts of the people and their thinking and it should not be that any effect of selfish interests and inadvisable hopes should exist in them. Such a kind of sincere faith was created for some of the persons who were his closest confidants like Hujr bin Adi, Malik Ashtar, Adi bin Hatim and Mitham Tammar and others like them. Those who had gained from his guidance. Those who recited the Quran and considered it indisputable and who performed the obligatory duties with care, who enlivened the Sunnah and eliminated innovations just as His Eminence has himself described that most elders of his army and community were not able to understand his aims and aspirations and did not recognize his high values in his brilliant policies that guaranteed the rights of the oppressed and recipients of injustice.
Imam (‘a) observed extreme precaution in his policies and on the model of the policies of the Messenger of Allah (S) he formed his religious and moral values. Therefore he spread truth with all its meanings and in no way allowed dominance of opportunity. He did not allow any power to the wealth collectors of Quraish who considered all people rebels.
Powers deviated from the path of truth came to confront the Imam and flamed the fire of war and stopped the movement of the Imam in establishment of justice and they created hurdles and obstacles in this path. The Imam became sad and sorrow remained in his place while some opportunist wolves attacked him. Among those terrible disasters that befell the Imam the most important was internal sorrow and the Khawarij were inciting it. They lived with him and displayed open enmity towards him and spread mischief and dissension and were waiting for an opportunity to attack him.
Some Khawarij groups went to Mecca and held a meeting there to investigate the deaths of their partisans in Nahrawan. They discussed the terrible events current in the Muslim community and the dissension and discord that had spread in Muslim society. In their view all this was related to three persons: Imam Ali (‘a), Muawiyah and Amr Aas. After exchange of views they decided to assassinate them and in order to put this plan into effect they summoned the following people:
Abdur Rahman bin Muljim was appointed to assassinate Imam Ali (‘a). Hajjaj bin Abdullah Sareemi took up the job of killing Muawiyah.
Amr bin Tamimi accepted the duty of eliminating Amr Aas.
They unanimously decided that the assassinations shall be carried out on the 18th night of the month of Ramadan at the time when those three persons come out for the Morning Prayer. They stayed in Mecca for the month and performed Umrah in the month of Rajab. After that they set out to accomplish their respective tasks.
Among the useless views that have come into some books is the opinion of Dr. Badi Shareef that blames the assassination of His Eminence, Ali (‘a) on the Iranians!131
Was the Doctor aware of the lineage of Ibn Muljim that he was an Iranian? He was but a member of Murad tribe of Arabs that resided at Kufa.
Dr. Noori Jafari has remarked as follows about his views, “Who knows it might be the inclination of Iranians towards His Eminence, Ali (‘a) that these writers became inimical to them and heaped unjustified allegations on them.”132
Historians have mentioned this important event observing great precaution and they have not fully exposed the reality and what we believe to be the fact and reality is that it was not the conspiracy of the Khawarij alone. Rather the Umayyad Party had a significant role in it. The following points support our views:
1. Abul Aswad Duali in a part of his poetical composition lamenting for Imamn(‘a) has put the responsibility of the Imam (‘a) on Bani Umayyah:
“Tell Muawiyah bin Harb that may the eyes of those who rejoice at the misfortune of others not be pleased.
Did you not make us sorrowful by eliminating the best of people in the month of fasting?
You have killed the one who was the best of those who rode on quadrupeds and sailed on boats.”133
These couplets mean that it was Muawiyah himself who had aggrieved the Muslims by the martyrdom of Imam, who was the best of the people and he Muawiyah was responsible for the Imam’s murder. It is natural that Abu Aswad did not relate this crime to Muawiyah without having become certain of this matter because he was very careful in whatever he said.
2. Qadi Noman Misri who is an ancient historian has mentioned that Muawiyah himself sent Ibn Muljim for assassinating the Imam. He says: It is said that he (Muawiyah) secretly appointed him (Ibn Muljim) for this purpose (to eliminate the Imam) and he promised him a special reward’”134
3. Among those factors that show the participation of the Umayyad party in this conspiracy is that Ashath bin Qais was backing Ibn Muljim and he was with him at the time of attack and told him, “Save yourself as the morning shall expose you.” When Hujr bin Adi heard this he cried to him, “O one-eyed man! You killed him!” Ashath was the most powerful element of the supporters of Umayyads and it is this same person who forced the Imam (‘a) to accept arbitration and just a few days before the Imam’s martyrdom he had threatened to kill the Imam. Also he was a spy of Muawiyah in Kufa.
The conspiracy, according to historians, was carried out in extremely secret and concealed manner. Then what was the reason that Ashath should know about it and he should support him and what if there wasn’t an external support for Ibn Muljim?
4. The conference of the Khawarij was held in Mecca during the Hajj season. Mecca was without any doubt, full of agents of the Umayyad party who had shifted to Mecca in order to create enmity and opposition to the Imam’s government. Most probably they introduced (pointed out) the Khawarij who were the most inimical people with regard to the Holy Imam (‘a) and they gave complete support to them especially that they take steps to eliminate the Imam. That which supports this view is that the Khawarij stayed in Mecca after the conclusion of the Hajj season till the month of Rajab and after performing Umrah started on their plot and probably during this period they continued to be in contact with the Umayyad party and other groups opposed to the Imam’s government.
5. That which gives certainty to that the Umayyad party had a special role in this, was that Ibn Muljim was a teacher of Quran135 and he received stipend from the Public Treasury and he had no personal wealth. Then how could he purchase a sword for a thousand units of currency and the poison for another thousand with which he attacked the Imam? In addition to the money he gave to Quttam as dower which consisted of three thousand units of currency, a slave and a slave girl?
All these things indicate that Ibn Muljim had received monetary help from the Umayyads for assassinating the Imam.
6. Another point that lends more support to the theory that Ibn Muljim was on the payroll of Umayyads is that he had an obvious connection with Amr Aas and for a long time had been his supporter because when Amr Aas conquered Egypt, Ibn Muljim was with him and had a place of respect near him. So much so that he ordered him to stay near him.136 It is also likely that he informed Amr Aas of his agreement with two helpers in the plot of killing him (Amr Aas), the Imam and Muawiyah. Therefore Amr Aas did not come out for the prayer himself. He sent a substitute and was saved. It was not accidental; it was as a result of the plot which had the backing of Amr Aas.
These were some factors on the basis of which it seems that the Umayyad party had a definite role in planning the Imam’s assassination and its execution.
The month of Ramadan, that is the month of the revelation of Quran arrived for the Muslims and Imam (‘a) was certain that he shall be transferred to the eternal abode during this great month. That is why he used to break his fasts with barley bread and a piece of salt. On the basis of what historians say he never had more that three morsels. His Eminence used to spend the nights of this month in worship. When the 18th night arrived, the Imam perceived the shattering calamity that was to befall him and he looked sorrowful and aggrieved. The stars were seen to be trembling and their shivering light fell on the earth; as if they were throwing a forlorn light on the face of the earth. At that time he said, “Neither have I lied nor been lied to. This is the night that I have been promised.”
The Imam (‘a) remained awake the whole night reminiscing about his Jihad and his great efforts in the path of Islam and his attachment and longing to meet his cousin, the Messenger of Allah (S) increased so much that he complained to His Eminence about the hardships he had suffered at the hands of the Ummah.
Imam (‘a) concentrated all his thoughts and feelings for the Almighty Allah. Dawn had not yet broken upon the dark night when the Imam arose, performed a fresh ablution and prepared to leave the house. The pet geese in the courtyard came out before him and cackled loudly as they had the premonition of the impending tragedy that was to strike the lands of Arabs and Muslims.
The Holy Imam (‘a) understood from their unrest that a calamity was about to befall: “There is no might and strength except by Allah. These are the petitioners that reciters of dirges shall be following them.”137
The Imam set out for the house of God (mosque) and as per his habit awoke people for worship of the Lord. After that he stood up to pray. When he bent to prostrate for the Almighty and recite words of divine praise that filthy sinner, Abdur Rahman Ibn Muljim, attacked him shouting the slogan of Khawarij: “The rule is for God and not for you.” And he hit the Imam’s forehead with the sword. The blessed forehead which excessively prostrated on the earth for the Lord, split. The strike sliced the Imam’s head till his holy brain. The brain which except for the well being of the people and gathering justice for them had not been occupied with anything else.
When the Imam (‘a) felt the sword, a smile appeared on his lips and his voice echoed in the vicinity of the mosque: “By the Lord of the Kaaba, I have succeeded.”
O Amiral Momineen (‘a)! You were the first successful one and the greatest one to gain benefit from the pleasure of the Almighty Allah. You remained with the truth from your youth and in your religion you had no hypocrisy and you did not give preference to the pleasure of anyone to that of the Almighty Allah’s. You performed Jihad and fought to exalt the word of God in the earth. With his soul and being, he put his life at stake for the Messenger of Allah (S) and supported him.
You became successful and principles of your belief succeeded and you alone established the illuminated custom and you bestowed illumination to the sky of the world and fed the generations with the essence of truth and justice.
When the news of attack on the Imam spread, people rushed to the Masjid and found His Eminence lying in the Mihrab uttering the remembrance of Allah and he had lost a lot of blood. They carried him to his residence while they were all weeping bitterly and in extreme grief. They were lamenting:
The Imam of truth and justice is martyred. The father of the weak and poor is martyred.
Ladies of the house of His Eminence rushed forward to receive him lamenting; His Eminence told them to be patient.
Imam Hasan (‘a) was deep in weeping. The Imam glanced at him and said: “My son, do not weep, for you shall be martyred by poison and your brother would be martyred by the sword.”
Imam’s prophecy proved true and not many years passed when Muawiyah had Imam Hasan (‘a) assassinated through poison, splitting up his liver. And swords and spears cut up into pieces the body of His Eminence, Imam Husayn (‘a) and his parts of his holy body were strewn in the desert of Karbala.
Historians say: Imam Husayn (‘a) was not present in Kufa at the time of the attack on Imam (‘a). He was at the cantonment of Nakhila commanding a battalion from the army that was being prepared to fight against Muawiyah. Imam Hasan (‘a) sent a messenger to him and informed him what had happened to their father. His Eminence returned to Kufa while he was deep in sorrow and he found his father on the verge of death. Then he threw himself upon him while tears flowed on his countenance and he kissed his blessed father.
The great Imam made a bequest to his sons to follow lofty morals and human values and told them not to kill anyone except his murderer and not to make his assassination an excuse to create mischief and bloodshed among the Muslims like the Umayyads had done on the killing of their leader, Uthman.
Imam (‘a) while reciting the verses of Quran was involved in the throes of death. The last words that passed his lips was the saying of Almighty:
“For the like of this then let the workers work.”138
At that moment his purified soul flew out and the angels of the Beneficent Lord took it’The foundation of justice on the earth weakened and the signs of religion became concealed from the eyes. That refuge for the oppressed and the deprived, and the one who bore all hardships to establish truth and justice in all the lands of his dominions passed away.
The two grandsons of the Messenger of Allah (S) stood up to perform the last rites of their beloved father. Gave bath to his holy corpse, put on the shroud cloth and in the last hours of the night buried him at Najaf al-Ashraf, his eternal abode.
Along with him was buried social justice and human values.
Historians say: When the news of Imam’s martyrdom reached Muawiyah, he was overjoyed and announced the day of the Imam’s martyrdom as a feast in Damascus. Because his aspirations had been fulfilled and now the possibility had developed for him that he could make his kingdom a means for killing the Muslims and to take them to slavery and force them to that which they did not like.
The Imam’s government left many influences on the Islamic society. Probably the most important of them are as follows:
1. He manifested Islamic reality with all its powers in the world of politics and rulership, because in his government the Imam wanted to remove social inequalities that had appeared among the people and promote unity among them in spite of the communal and religious differences. So that all the groups are dealt with justice and equity. And no group should be accorded any preference. This policy of His Eminence made him very popular among the people. His Eminence, Ali (‘a) on the basis of establishment of justice and equality, remained in that same way in the hearts of the masses. People of noble inclinations became his supporters and they looked upon him as the greatest social reformer on the earth and considered him as the most prominent well known person of his time. Ayman bin Khareem Asadi addresses the Bani Hashim and especially says about the Imam:
“Shall we consider others equal to you, while between you and them is selfish desire.
They are ground for your feet and you are the sky for their heads and eyes.”139
2. Principles and illuminated views of the Imam continued behind the Umayyads and were also present in their own palaces and they looked at these principles with trepidation which used to challenge their power in such a way that Muawiyah ordered that the Imam should be abused from the pulpits so that his respect is reduced and that they may incite the people to disregard and forget his lofty status and position.
3. The great social justice which the Imam’s government had taken up as its slogan was the main factor that caused hardships and calamities for his descendants. They were subjected to all sorts of atrocities, tortures and killings at the hands of the tyrant rulers as the Prophet had prophesied about it. Abu Ja’far Iskafi has narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) came to Her Eminence, Fatima and found Ali sleeping. Her Eminence, Fatima wanted to wake him up but the Holy Prophet (S) said, “Leave him as he shall remain too sleepless after me and my Ahlul Bayt would suffer untold hardships due to him.”140
Fatima (‘a) began to weep. His Eminence told her, “Do not weep, as he shall be with me in the lofty position near me.”
Umayyad and Abbasid regimes endeavored too much to oppress the Imam’s descendants because they were attentive to the rights of the oppressed and the afflicted and they had taken as their slogan the lofty principles that Amirul Momineen (‘a) had taken as his slogan and struggled to establish it during his lifetime. The Imam’s son, who was the most prominent and hardest effort maker in this regard was His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) who set out for Jihad ready for martyrdom and despaired of life so that he may help the principles of his grandfather and father and to exalt the standard of Islam and defend its honor and bring down the flags of polytheism and apostasy and to untie the knots of slavery and servitude.
Imam (‘a) during his short tenure of rulership had an original view to confront with injustice and oppression because his great companions like Hujr bin Adi, Amr bin Hamaq Khuzai, Abdullah bin Afif Azadi and others like them who were brought up in the school of thought of the Imam stood up against the Umayyad regime and by one uprising after another destroyed their arrogance and oppression and they made them worried.
The Imam’s government was the school of confrontation and revolution and a school for creating a religious view and social understanding.
Here we conclude our discussion about the important after effects of the Imam’s government.
- 1. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/192
- 2. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/181
- 3. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 5/7
- 4. YaalKiftaar’ = Thick hair that grow on the neck, used as idiom
- 5. Ansaab al-Ashraaf Vol. 1, Pg. 157
- 6. Hayatul Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/376 (Third Edition)
- 7. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 5/22
- 8. Hayatul Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/385 (Second Edition)
- 9. Al-Ghadeer 8/288
- 10. Sharh Nahjul Balagha
- 11. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/108
- 12. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 16/148
- 13. Hayatul Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/382
- 14. Surah Hujurat 49:13
- 15. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 4/76
- 16. Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/180
- 17. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/96
- 18. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/76
- 19. Surah Anam 6:57
- 20. Surah Rum 30:60, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/73
- 21. Subhul Aashi
- 22. Al-Iqdul Farid 1/211
- 23. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/154
- 24. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/150
- 25. Bihar 16/26
- 26. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/70
- 27. Nahjus Sa-a’-dah Dar Mustadrak Nahjul Balagha 5/33
- 28. Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/51
- 29. Jame as-Sa’daat 1/239
- 30. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/180
- 31. And in Tibrani Abdullah bin Naji has narrated it.
- 32. Ibne Asakir, Biography of Imam Husayn, Pg. 236. Tibrani in Mojam al-Kabir has explained it in this way in the account of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
- 33. Waqa’tus Siffeen, Pg. 141
- 34. 24 Th e Lif e of Ima m H us a in (‘a )
- 35. Ibid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/171
- 36. Majma az-Zawaid 3/117/Hadith no. 2825
- 37. Majma az-Zawaid 9/191, Tibrani, Mojam al-Kabir 3/117/H no. 2823
- 38. Ibid. Tibrani, Mojam al-Kabir 3/117/H no. 2824
- 39. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/286
- 40. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 10/14
- 41. Ibid. Pg. 15
- 42. Musnad Imam Zaid, Pg. 47
- 43. Hakim, Mustadrak 3/139. Tarikh Baghdad 8/340. Usud al-Ghaba 4/33. Kanzul Ummal 13/112, H. no. 36367. Majma az-Zawaid 5/186
- 44. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/63 (Printed Daarul Fikr, Year 1417)
- 45. Na’thal: an old foolish man
- 46. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/231
- 47. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/207
- 48. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/207
- 49. The text of this sermon is present in Tarikh Tabari 4/450
- 50. Abu Zar was martyred during Uthman’s regime and he was not alive at the time of Uthman’s murder. But the writer wanted to name the opponents of Uthman.
- 51. Al-Futuh 2/282-283 (printed Daarun Nadwah. New Edition)
- 52. Ibne Abil Hadeed, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 6/217-218 (Ismailian Edition)
- 53. Ibne Abbas has narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) that one day the Holy Prophet was with all of his wives when he said: Which of you would be the rider of that camel on which the dogs of Hawwab would bark and on the right and left of which innumerable people shall be killed’Sharh Nahjul Balagha 9/311, Ibne Kathir 6/212, Suyuti, Al-Khasais 2/232, Al-Istiab 4/1885 where it is mentioned: This tradition is one of the signs of the prophethood of His Eminence
- 54. Ibne Athir 3/210, Tabari, Tarikh 4/456-458. Tadkiratul Khawaas Pg. 65-66
- 55. Muruj az-Zahab 2/357, Tarikh 2/157
- 56. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/226 (Ismailiyan Edition)
- 57. Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/60-61
- 58. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 9/319-321 (Ismailiyan Edition)
- 59. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 9/321 (Ismailiyan Edition)
- 60. Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/430
- 61. Usud al-Ghaba 2/40
- 62. Yaqubi, Tarikh, 2/157
- 63. Surah Ma’arij 70:1
- 64. Al-Aghani 12/337
- 65. Shamsuddin Abul Barakaat, Jawahirul Matalib dar Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) 2/12
- 66. Muhammad bin Zakaria bin Dinar, Waqiyah Jamal, Pg. 35
- 67. Al-Futuh 2/306
- 68. Muruj az-Zahab 2/361
- 69. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/269
- 70. Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/288
- 71. Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/68
- 72. Muruj az-Zahab 2/363
- 73. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/234-235
- 74. Tabari, Tarikh, 4/509
- 75. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/243-244
- 76. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/255-256 (Ismailiyan Edition)
- 77. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibne Abil Hadid 1/264
- 78. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibne Abil Hadid 1/254, Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 150
- 79. Muhammad bin Zakaria bin Dinar, Waqiyah Jamal, Pg. 44
- 80. Surah Taha 20:97
- 81. Waqiyah Jamal, Pg. 45
- 82. Yaqubi, 2/159, Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/64
- 83. Muruj az-Zahab 2/370
- 84. Tabari, Tarikh, 4/539. In Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/59 the number of people who died is mentioned as 20000
- 85. Tabari, Tarikh, 5/244
- 86. Shaykh al-Madheerah, Abu Hurairah, Pg. 173
- 87. Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 117
- 88. Ar-Risalah fi Waqiyatus Siffeen, Pg. 27-30
- 89. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/274
- 90. Yaqubi, Tarikh, 2/162
- 91. Iqdul Farid 4/345
- 92. This is a proverb which means: Remind them of some sorrows so that they become distressed (Tr.)
- 93. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/277
- 94. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/186 (Ismailiyan Edition)
- 95. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/305 & 3/86
- 96. Nahjul Balagha 11/200 (Ismailiyan Edition)
- 97. Aqida wa Shariyat dar Islam, Pg. 190
- 98. Al-Fitnatul Kubra 2/89
- 99. Tabari, Tarikh, 5/53-54
- 100. Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/469-472
- 101. Suwaid bin Ghafla has narrated: I came with Abu Musa Ashari at the bank of river Euphrates during the caliphate of Uthman. Thus he narrated a tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) saying: I heard His Eminence say: Bani Israel developed discord till two misguided judges were sent to them, who were deviated and they deviated others who followed them. My community would also be like that till two judges are sent who are themselves deviated and they would deviate all those who follow them.
I told him, “O Abu Musa! Beware that you may not be one of them.”
He (the narrator) says: He removed his cloak away from himself and said, “I seek Allah’s refuge from it like I have removed this cloak of mine.” (Nahjul Balagha 13/315)
- 102. Iqdul Farid 4/347
- 103. Tabari, Tarikh, 5/70-71
- 104. This is other than the document written after the cessation of hostilities
- 105. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/124-125, Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/118
- 106. People ridiculed the sons of Abu Musa Ashari and made fun of them. For example Farazdaq heard Abu Burdah, Abu Musa’s son saying: Why shouldn’t I be proud when I am a son of one of the arbitrators?
Farazdaq retorted: Know that one of the two was a fool and the other one a transgressor. So you may become the son of whichever of them you like. (Sharh Nahjul Balagha 19/353)
A man looked at one of the sons of Abu Musa walking in vanity, so he said to him: Look at the way he is walking; as if his father had deceived Amr Aas!
- 107. The life of Imam Hasan (A.S) 1/259
- 108. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/129 & 134
- 109. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/140-141
- 110. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/141-142, Tabari, Tarikh, 5/81-82
- 111. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/143-144
- 112. Al-Milal wan Nihal 1/107
- 113. Like a breast nipple (Tr.)
- 114. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/156
- 115. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/157
- 116. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/157
- 117. Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 155
- 118. In Tarikh Tabari Pg. 133-134: “And neither a reliable brother.”
- 119. According to a narration he was not even twenty years old at that time
- 120. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/201-202
- 121. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/197-198
- 122. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/383-385
- 123. An Arab tribe famous for its valor and dynamism
- 124. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/63-66
- 125. Surah Zumar 39:65
- 126. Surah Rum 30:60
- 127. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/155
- 128. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/156
- 129. Flour mixed with milk or oil
- 130. Shamsuddin Abul Barakaat, Jawahirul Matalib dar Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) 1/283, facsimile copy at Amirul Momineen Library
- 131. As Saraa Bainal Mawali wal Arab
- 132. As Saraa Bainal Mawali and Mabadi al-Arab
- 133. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/395
- 134. Al-Manaqib wal Mathalib, Qadi Noman Misri, facsimile copy at Imam Hakim Library
- 135. Lisanul Mizan: 3/440
- 136. Lisanul Mizan: 3/440
- 137. Muruj az-Zahab Pg. 413
- 138. Surah Saffat 37:61
- 139. Al-Aghani 1/21
- 140. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 4/107