No wonder Mu'awiya was the first to ask al-Hasan for making peace.1 So he accepted al-Hasan's conditions to take one thing from him, that was government.
Mu'awiya made this plan of his when the two parties were getting ready to wage war against each other. He paid attention to carry out this plan. more than he paid attention to organizing his armies and managing war affairs. He thought that it was better for him to be the first to ask al-Hasan for making peace with him. If al-Hasan accepted his request, it would be okay; other wise he would force him to do that without meeting him at a battle.
First of all, to pave the way for his purpose, Mu'awiya did his best to create an appropriate atmosphere through drawing the attention of his opponents to recall peace making.
From here Mu'awiya sent his men to pass false rumors through the camps of al-Hasan, peace be on him. He bribed some military commanders. For example, he bribed one of them with one million dirhams, as we have already mentioned when we talked about `Ubayd Allah b. `Abbas. Moreover, he tempted some leaders through making promises such as supreme command, authority over a certain country,and arranging marriages between them and the Umayyad princesses.
Mu'awiya used all his abilities, all his talents, and all his experiences to fulfill this idea. Many of those who sold their consciences, and who showed apparent friendship towards al-Hasan responded to him. So they became Mu'awiya's secret spies, his working fingers, and his hirelings who spared no effort to carry out his aims.
Besides, Mu'awiya used other ways to urge al-Hasan to make peace with him such as sending armies and weapons to the camps, logistic movements, and the like. However, he did not want to be the first to attack Iraq with these armies and weapons. In other words he did not want to meet al-Hasan, peace be on him, at a battle except when all his ways went in vain. Worth mentioning, Mu'awiya's ways were quite different from that of the people and the religion.
It is an act of truthfulness to say: Indeed, in this field, Mu'awiya's ways were well- woven. He was very successful in preparing special atmospheres to make his enemy accept reconciliation.
The commander of the Iraqi front and his close associates sold their consciences to Mu'awiya for false promises.
The two camps in al-Mada'in and Maskan were full of false rumors that filled the soldiers with fear.
Al-Hasan himself was unable to impose his orders on his army because of the false rumors -that passed through them.
He was unable to appear before many of his soldiers because they would kill him. Accordingly, was there a way other than reconciliation?
It was difficult to reform the condition because the people were corrupt during it. So no one is able to blame al-Hasan when the people became corrupt during that time. That is because they were deviated from the truth by nature. Thus even Islam was unable to reform them.
Al-Hasan lost his first battle because of the treason of his soldiers or because of the skillful discords his enemy used. So he had to face his second battle which the treason of the soldiers did not affect, the deviation of their natures did not harm, and the tricks of the enemy and his skillful discords did not increase but steadfastness, influence, and victory in the course of days.
This was the way which al-Hasan used in an excellent manner to exploit Mu'awiya though the latter was very careful of the former.
Al-Hasan responded to Mu'awiya's request for making peace. However, he made him bind himself by conditions which he would break one by one. So if Mu'awiya did that, the people would declare their wrath and protest against him. Thus peacemaking was the beginning of the wrath that has lasted for generations. Also this wrath was the beginning of the revolutions that happened successively to remove that usurping regime from history.
This was the political plan through which al-Hasan accepted making peace with Mu'awiya. Also this was the way through which he exploited Mu'awiya. Accordingly, this plan and this way were among the meanings of the oppressed genius of the oppressed Imam.
Therefore, no one is able to blame al-Hasan, peace be on him, for making peace with Mu'awiya. That is because al-Hasan made peace with him according to a drawn plan.
The critical situation at the camps and the expected results encouraged al-Hasan to make peace with Mu'awiya. For example, this act would reform the community, prevent bloodshed, preserve the holy places, achieve the Islamic viewpoint, and so on.
Those months were not as equal as the ten forgers, but they were full of disasters and hardships as many as the stars. They were a period of time that filled the heart with love and admiration. The manners of the Prophet and the qualities of the truthful Imams appeared during them. They (the months) showed many facts about the people in both sides. During them the best reformatory acts were concluded. On their virtuous end, the interest of the world was connected with the interest of the sky.
Suddenly, al-Hasan b. 'Ali became a great reformer. He embodied the good news his grandfather the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, gave in the tradition which we have mentioned before: "Indeed this (grand) son of mine is a lord, and Allah will make peace between two great groups from the Muslims through him."
Allah, the Exalted, has preserved the high honor of the members of this House in all fields: victory, holy martyrdom in the way of Allah and history, and peacemaking.
Enough for honor is peacemaking. Enough for victory is immortal honor. Immortal honor guarantees the lasting fame. The fame is a continuous motive that develops life and sovereignty.
Now, it is easy for us to understand the motives that urged al-Hasan, peace be on him, to make peace with Mu'awiya.
As for the motives that urged Mu'awiya to ask al-Hasan to make peace with him, they were quite different from those of al-Hasan. They do not indicate that Mu'awiya was unable to fight against al Hasan, nor do they indicate that he had a religious viewpoint concerning reconciliation and preventing bloodshed. So neither peace nor preventing bloodshed were the motives of Mu'awiya. He vas indifferent to them. He wanted to achieve his ambitions through conquering the Muslim countries. The proofs for that are his attacks against Medina, Mecca, and the Yemen. Besides he adopted impudent attitudes at the Battle of Siffin. Therefore the pure opportunist ambitions urged him to make his fable- like history through making peace with al-Hasan.
Al-Hasan abdicated his right to authority before the public opinion. Thus Mu'awiya thought that he would abdicate his right to the succession. According to this idea he thought that he would be the legal successor over the Muslims!2
Government was the sweet dream for which Mu'awiya sacrificed every dear thing. He did not know that Islam refused unlawful ways and did not hand over government to the freed prisoners and their children.
Moreover, we think that Mu'awiya had other motives. Thus he stretched out his hand for reconciliation. Then he took an oath, and underlined the covenants. However, when we consider carefully his other motives, we will understand that the sweet dream (i.e., supreme authority) is the greatest of them all.
The following occasions indicate some of the motives that urged Mu'awiya to make peace with al-Hasan, peace be on him:
1. Mu'awiya thought that al-Hasan, peace be on him, had the right to assume power. So the former had no way to take the reins of government but through making al-Hasan keep silent even if apparently, and he had no way to make him keep silent but through reconciliation.
As for Mu'awiya's idea concerning al-Hasan's right to authority, it is clear in the letter which the former sent to the latter before their movement to fight each other at Maskan. In his letter, he said: "You are worthier of authority than me." Also it is clear in what Mu'awiya said to his son Yazid when he mentioned the members of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them: "My son, indeed authority is their right."3 Also it is clear in what Mu'awiya wrote to Ziyad b. Abih when he mentioned al-Hasan, peace be on him: "As for that al-Hasan has gained power over you, he has the right to do that."4
Also we have seen that Mu'awiya asked the religious opinion of al Hasan when he faced difficulties. It is as if that he recognized his Imamate.5
Also Mu'awiya recognized that al-Hasan was "the Lord of Muslims."6 Wouldn't the Lord of Muslims be their Imam?
2. Mu'awiya, in spite of his many obedient men, was very afraid of the results of his fighting against al-Hasan. This can be clearly understood from the words which he said concerning his Iraqi opponents: "By Allah, when I remember their eyes under the armors (al-maghafir) at the Battle of Siffin, my reason become confused."7 Also concerning them, he said: "May Allah make them angry with evil. Their hearts are like the heart of one man."8 So he thought that making peace with al-Hasan would be better than fighting those whose eyes were under the armors (al-maghafir).
3. Mu'awiya was afraid of the social position of al-Hasan, the (grand) son of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family. Also he was afraid of his unique spiritual position in the Islamic faith so that he wanted to avoid these two positions through making peace with him.
Mu'awiya thought that it was possible for Allah to send someone to the Syrian Camp to draw the attention of the people to the true authority of al-Hasan and to their ugly attitude towards him so that they would revolt against him (i.e., Mu'awiya).
While Mu'awiya was advancing against al-Hasan, he remembered the words which al-Nu'man b. Jibllah al-Tanwakhi said to him at the Battle of Siffin. It's worth mentioning that al-Nu'man was among the commanders of the fighting soldiers of Mu'awiya. The former talked openly to the latter in the manner which no Syrian had done before or after him, and mocked at him to the extent that no subject mocked at him. For this reason Mu'awiya thought that the people would someday have the same feelings which the helpless al-Tanwakhi had.
Among the words al-Tanwakhi said to Mu'awiya at the Battle of Siffin are: "By Allah, I was sincere to you. I preferred your authority to my religion. I left right guidance for your desire, while I knew that. I deviated from the truth, while I understood that. I have not been granted success since I fought against the cousin of the Apostle of Allah (i.e., Imam 'Ali), may Allah bless him and his family, who was the first to believe in him, and then emigrated (to Mecca to join) him (there). If we had given him what we have given you, he would have been more kinder (than you) to the people and given (them) more than (you do). However, we have given you the authority, and it is necessary to complete it whether it is right or wrong. Far be it to be right! We will fight for the fig of al-Ghouta and its olives if we are deprived of the fruit of the garden and its rivers."'9
Among the political acts of Mu'awiya was that he prevented the Syrians from knowing the Muslim great figures outside Sham (Syria) lest they should refuse him or mutiny against him. For this reason we do not know how this Syrian man (i.e., al-Nu'man b. Jibllah al Tanwakhi) was able to have knowledge of the cousin of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, his priority to believe in him, his kindness to the people, his generosity in giving, and his right to authority.
Mu`awiya went on making the Syrians ignorant of the great Muslim figures till the end of his lifetime. This policy of his was the means which he used to gather large groups of people and dispatch them to fight against Imam 'Ali at Siffin, and then to fight against al Hasan at Maskan.
You can easily understand the policy of ignorance when you read the following words which Mu'awiya said, though they indicate his weak character, to `Amr b. al-`As: "By Allah, you want nothing but to disgrace me, for the Syrians thought that there was no one like me till they heard from al-Hasan what they have heard."'10
4. Among the political acts which Mu'awiya used to achieve his selfish ambitions was that he summoned al-Hasan, peace be on him, to make peace with him. In the meantime he summoned many people from Iraq and Sham (Syria) and other Muslim countries to bear witness for that. From this summons he wanted nothing but to pave the way to achieve his future objectives through the war between him and al-Hasan.
There were two possible facets: either Sham (Syria) would be ruled by Kufa or the war would destroy al-Hasan, al Husayn, their family, and their Shi'a (followers). Then Mu'awiya would place the responsibility on al-Hasan himself and said to the people: "Indeed I had summoned al-Hasan to peacemaking. However, al-Hasan refused (everything) except the war. I wanted life for him. However, he wanted death for me. I wanted to prevent blood from shedding. However, he wanted to destroy the people between me and him."
Through this excellent act, Mu'awiya would fulfill his aims. In other words he would destroy the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family. Meanwhile, he would pretend justice. Moreover, the people whom he summoned to attend peacemaking would confirm his justice.
As for al-Hasan, peace be on him, he was aware of this political plan. Thus he was cleverer and more skillful than his enemy in making use of the conditions and seizing the opportunities to please Allah and to achieve the interests of the Muslims. Accordingly, the critical situations and the evil intentions of Mu'awiya forced him, peace be on him, to accept the idea of making peace with the former.
Al-Hasan intended to destroy Mu'awiya's plans and to prevent him from putting them into effect. Rather he made a wise plan to destroy his opponents in the name of reconciliation. In the chapters that follow, we will mention some explanations appropriate for this subject.
In history there are many stories that indicate that the Syrians had no knowledge of the great figures of Islam. Some of them are: A Syrian asked one of this leaders: "Who is Abu Turab (i.e., Imam 'Ali) whom the Imam (i.e., Mu'awiya) curse on the pulpit?" "I think he is among the thieves of the discords," replied the leader" Also a Syrian asked a friend of his when he heard him mentioning Muhammad: "What do you think of this Muhammad? Is he our Lord?"
When `Abd Allah b. 'Ali conquered Sham (Syria), he sent some Syrian old men from the rich leading people to Abu al-`Abbas al-Saffah. The old men swore by Allah before al-Saff-ah to denote that they did not know that the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, had relatives nor members of a House to inherit him except the banu (sons) of Umayya till you have taken the reins of government." See al-Mas'udi, Muruj al-Dhahab, pp. 107-9.
I (i.e., the author) say: This indicates that all the Umayyad kings followed this policy to make the people ignorant of their great figures, especially the members of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and to prevent their names from entering Sham. Also this indicates that the Syrians took care of their Islam very much. We think that Sham (Syria) during the Umayyad dynasty was still full of the non- Muslim majority that belonged to Rome and Armenia.
- 1. This is the right idea which al-Hasan's speech indicates when he asked the advice of his companions in al-Mada'in: "Indeed Mu'awiya has summoned us to an affair in which there is neither dignity nor justice." Other references indicate that, too.
- 2. In this connection, al-Hasan al-Basri said good words. You will read them in chapter 17, `Mu'awiya and the Succession’. Ahmad (in his book called 'al-Musnad'), Abu Ya`la, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Hayyan, Abu Dauwwd, and al-Hakim have narrated the following tradition on the authority of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: "The succession (Khilafa) after me will last for thirty (years), then a king (will come) after that."
Abu Nu'aym (in his book called `al-Fitan'), and al-Bayhaqi (in his book called 'al-Dala'il) have narrated this tradition in this way: "Then a biting king (will come) after that." The Sunni traditionists have regarded the tradition authentic according to their condition. One of them commented on the tradition: "The thirty years after the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, ended when al-Hasan b. 'Ali, peace be on them, became a successor."
Abu Said reported on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman b. Abzi on the authority of `Umar, who said: "This matter is concerning the people (who took part at the Battle of) Badr. No one of them has remained (alive). Then it concerns the people (who took part at the Battle of) Uhud. No one of them has remained (alive). Then it concerns so and so. It (the tradition) does not concern the freed prisoner, nor the son of the freed prisoner, nor those who became Muslim after the Conquest (of Mecca)."
I (i.e., the author) say: As for the pledge of allegiance which Mu'awiya imposed on the people with his known ways, it made the unlawful lawful.
- 3. Ibn Abu al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, pp., 4 and 5 and 13 and 74.
- 4. Ibid.
- 5. Al-Ya'qubi, Ta'rikh, vol. 2, pp. 201- 2. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al Nahaya, vol. 8, p. 40. Al-Majlisi, Biharal-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 98.
- 6. Ibn Qutayba al-Dinawari, al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, pp. 159- 60.
- 7. Al-Mas'udi, Hamish b. al-Athir, vol. 6, p. 67.
- 8. Al-Tabari, Ta'rikh, vol. 6, p. 3.
- 9. Al-Mas'udi, Hashim b. al-Athir, vol. 5, p. 216.
- 10. Al-Bayhaqi, al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi', vol. 1, p. 64.