Determination To Wage War
The studies throughout the various historical periods have maintained that the victory of religion in a certain society is of great importance for spreading ethics. That is because nations follow the example of their leaders and adopt the aims of their laws. If religion had nothing but to enjoin people to do good deeds, prevent them from doing evil deeds, and purifying the self from clinging to worldly desires, then it would be enough.
This group (i.e., the Umayyads) was from the remains of the pre-Islamic paganism. They propagated classicism. They used to cling to the habits of their fathers and grandfathers, ancient regulations, and unjust attitudes. They were the mortal enemies of the religion. After they had followed the religion, they regarded it as means for achieving their worldly ambitions.
The aims of the religion have become lost because of these ambitions. Besides society has lost its necessary righteousness. So the people have clung to their worldly ambitions. Moreover, the religion has become as Imam Husayn, peace be on him, said: "licking on the tongues of the people. They encompass it as long as their livelihood stream. However, when they are tested with the tribulation, the followers of the religion become few."
The family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, had their own message. They did not retreat from it. For they wanted to save people (from oppression) not to achieve their own interest. They wanted to spread the teachings of the religion not to establish their own thorns. They wanted to preserve morals not to preserve their own selves.
However, Mu'awiya opposed these objectives. He waged war against those who wanted to propagate them (the objectives). He insisted on his oppression and enmity. He sought the fame of authority. He looked after his feelings and ideas. Therefore it was incumbent on al-Hasan, peace be on him, to lead the Muslims to fight against him, and to punish him according to the Laws of Allah, the Great and Almighty.
Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani said: "The first thing which al-Hasan, peace be on him, did was that he raised the salaries of the fighter to 100%.’Ali, peace be on him, did that on the day (Battle) of the Camel. Then al-Hasan did it as soon as he became a successor. So the successors did that after him."
He (i.e., Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani) said: "Al-Hasan, peace be on him, wrote to Mu'awiya and Harb b. `Abd Allah al-Azdi: From al Hasan b. 'Ali, the Commander of the faithful, to Mu'awiya b. Abu Sufyan. Salamun `alayka (peace be on you). Indeed, I thank Allah, Who there is no god but He, instead of you. Now then, verily, Allah, the Great and Almighty, appointed Muhammad as mercy for worlds, and as favor for the believers and all people. (He appointed him) to warn those who are still living, and to enforce the words on the unbelievers. So he (Muhammad) propagated the messages of his Lord. He carried out the order of Allah. He did not fall behind or neglect anything. Then Allah caused him to die after He had shown the truth and destroyed polytheism through him.
He (Allah) singled out Quraysh through him (Muhammad). So He (Allah) said to him: `And it (the Qur'an) is a reminder for you and for your people.' When he (Muhammad) died, the Arabs differed over his authority. So Quraysh said: `We are his tribe, his family, and his friends. You have no right to dispute with us over the authority of Muhammad and his right.' Thus the Arabs believed the words of Quraysh and their proof for that (succession) against him who disputed with them over the authority of Muhammad.
So you bestowed upon them and yielded to them. Then we argued with Quraysh as the Arabs did. However, Quraysh did not treat us with justice as the Arabs treated them. They (Quraysh), with exclusion of the Arabs, took this matter through (asking) equity and protest. When we, the members of the House of Muhammad and his friends, began disputing with them (Quraysh) and asked them to treat us with justice, they turned away from us, seized (power), and gathered together to oppress and force us. So we suffered from their persecutions towards us.
"We became astonished at those who took unjustly our right and the authority of our family. If they (Quraysh) had an outstanding merit and priority in Islam, we would refrain from disputing with them for fear that the hypocrites and the allies (ahzab) might find a gap to corrupt the religion.
"So today, Mu'awiya, the person is astonished at you. For you have usurped the authority. However, you are not appropriate for it. You have no known merit in the religion. You have no laudable act in Islam. Your are the son of an ally (hizb) of the allies (ahzab). You are the son of the most evil one of all Quraysh towards the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, and His Book. Allah alone is sufficient for you. You shall return to Him. You shall know to whom the final result of the abode shall be. By Allah, you shall meet your Lord soon. Then He shall punish you because of what your hands have done. Allah is not unjust for the servants.
"Indeed, when 'Ali passed away (the mercy of Allah be on him on the day when he died, on the day when Allah bestowed Islam on him, and on the day when he will be raised from the dead) the Muslims made me a successor. So I ask Allah not to give us in this transit world a thing with which He decreases our dignity which He has. The thing that made me write to you is an excuse between Allah, the Great and Almighty, and me concerning your affair. If you do that, you will have great luck, and the Muslims will have righteousness.
"Therefore avoid going too far in falsehood, and pledge allegiance to me as the people have done. You know that I am worthier of this authority than you with Allah and with every loyal repentant, and a repenting heart. Fear Allah, abandon oppression, and spare the blood of the Muslims. Enter peace and obedience. Do not dispute with the people of authority over their authority, and with those who are worthier of it than you. With that Allah will put out this disturbance, unify (the Muslims), and settle the enmity.
"If you insist on your error, I will advance against you with the Muslims and punish you till Allah judge between you and me, and He is the best of all judges."1
In its last words, the letter of al-Hasan, peace be on him, shows you that al-Hasan clearly threatened Mu'awiya with war. It was necessary for al-Hasan to follow this method. For it was appropriate for Mu'awiya. He asked him "to avoid going on falsehood and to pledge allegiance to him as the people did." This was the wise political method which al-Hasan used to undermine the resistance of the enemy through undermining his determination. Then al-Hasan, peace be on him, said these words to Mu'awiya after telling him about the previous argument of the Prophet's family with Quraysh.
So al-Hasan, peace be on him, summoned Mu'awiya to stop going on falsehood and to pledge allegiance to him. Thus he gave him pieces of advice, then he threatened him, and then he clearly warned him with war.
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, followed the plan of his father towards Mu'awiya. Indeed, al-Hasan did as his father did. He treated the conditions and the enemies as his father did. It is as if that al-Hasan and his father, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, lived during the same time in Kufa. War was an inevitable necessity during the time of the late father (i.e., Imam 'Ali), peace be on him. Thus it was also an inevitable necessity during the time of the son (i.e., al Hasan) who assumed the succession.
It was necessary for al-Hasan to adorn the new succession. Thus it was incumbent on him to make it brilliant during its new time through having a powerful authority. Also it was necessary for the new Successor to punish the wrongdoers to spread respect in the selves, and to find his way to take the reins of authority. Therefore, there is no wonder, when the letter of al-Hasan, peace be on him, was clear in threatening, severe in preaching, strong in presenting the words that ordered Mu'awiya and prevented him: "Fear Allah, abandon oppression, and spare the blood of the Muslims. Be peaceful and obedient. Do not dispute with the people of authority and those who are worthier of it than you. Enter peace and obedience."
However, the Umayyads in Sham (Syria) went on showing their enmity towards the Hashimite Succession in Kufa. They refused to pledge allegiance to al-Hasan, peace be on him, as they had refused to pledge allegiance to his father before. The sincere, advising letters of al-Hasan did not avail Mu'awiya, nor did their wise styles and their plain proofs keep back his disobedience.
If we run over the letters of al-Hasan, peace be on him, to Mu'awiya, we find them full of proofs for his right in authority. In the meantime they indicate the right of his family because of their love which Allah has imposed on people. The Qur'an denotes that they were free from sins, and it hints to their authority over people. The authentic traditions of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, concerning the Imamate and the Imam affirm their right in authority, too. Nevertheless al-Hasan, peace be on him, asked Mu'awiya to obey him, to spare the blood of the Muslims, to put out the disturbance, and to settle the enmity.
Also Mu'awiya sent letters to al-Hasan, peace be on him. From these letters we have understood that they often took care of the non-essential things of the matter while they ignored the essential ones. Besides their words moved spites and stirred up discord among the Muslim brothers.
It is an act of truthfulness to mention that Mu'awiya was the first in the history of Islam to move the tribal feelings through renewing spites and fanatical instincts. So he was the first to scatter the Muslim unity on which the religion of monotheism was based. He did his best to destroy this unity that is, indeed, the essence of the righteousness of the religion and the secret of its success among the religions.
Mu'awiya was unable to convince even the ignorant ones through two ways. Namely, he was unable to convince them to believe in him and his father Abu Sufyan b. Harb. For the Muslims knew the backgrounds of these two ways through numbers and dates. So Mu'awiya began writing letters to al-Hasan making use of the name of Abu Bakr, `Umar, and Abu `Ubayda. In his letters, he hinted to the disagreement of the members of the House (Ahl al-Bayt) peace be on them, on the pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr.
All the letters of Mu'awiya were in need of producing evidence in support of his legal right in the holy throne. Even the baseless pretext (i.e., avenging the blood of `Uthman) which Mu'awiya used to wage long-term battles against 'Ali, peace be on him, was forgotten when the first Imam (i.e., 'Ali) died. However, Mu'awiya renewed this pretext against the second Imam (i.e., al-Hasan). He forgot that al Hasan sat at the door of the House of `Uthman on the day when he was killed. Al-Hasan guarded `Uthman against the people. So he was wounded and colored with his own blood. All historians have reported this event. For example, in his book `Ta'rikh', al-Taqtaqi said: "Indeed, al-Hasan fought bravely for `Uthman. He stood side by side with him while he was fighting for him. He (al-Hasan) was ready to sacrifice his life for him (`Uthman)." 2
Nevertheless, in the critical attitude, the others provoked the people against `Uthman and his close relatives betrayed him.3
Yes, the only proof of Mu'awiya in his letters to al-Hasan was this claim of his: "I am prior to you in authority, more experienced than you in authority, and older than you in age." 4
If Mu'awiya had possessed an acceptable proof other than these repeated sentences, he would have mentioned it. Moreover, he would have left inclination towards renewing spites and stirring up fanatical instincts.
I (the author) wish I knew which experiences did you mean, Abu Yazid (i.e., Mu'awiya)?
Were your experiences on the day when the Syrians brought suit against you to `Umar? So he summoned you, and you were more afraid of him than his servant Yarfa'. Were your experiences on the day when `Umar hit you with the whip on the head when you came to him wearing your green clothes?
Were your experiences on the day when you issued orders without permission from `Uthman and said: "This is the order of `Uthman." So you told lies to him and were among the reasons of his disaster.
Or were your experiences on the day when you and your army waged war against the Imam of your time (i.e., Imam 'Ali) drawing your swords out of oppression, and paying no attention to committing sins?
Have you an old experience which we may regard as evidence for your worthiness of authority? Therefore, I (the author) wonder: "What is your worthiness of the succession (Khilafa)?"
Your authority was based on telling lies, fabrications, and bloodshed. So does it indicate that you were worthy of that high religious position?
Your sentences are repeated. They have only one meaning that is looking for a proof through "the long period of time!"
The man (i.e., Mu'awiya) maybe the most knowledgeable one of all people in buying the consciences of men or in stirring up discord among men. However, this does not mean that such a man is worthy of the succession of the Prophethood in Islam.
The man maybe the most righteous one of all men in controlling his nerves and suppressing his desires. Perhaps the people regard him as one of the great, clement figures. However, this is not evidence for the religious Imamate over people. For the hypocrite leaders may have clemency as great as the Imam has.
The man maybe the most experienced one of all people in arranging the believers and directing the people to adopt his own ideas. He did not mind whether his ideas belonged to Allah or they belonged to his own desires. However, this indicates that such a man originated heresies in the religion. Moreover, this indicates that he was inappropriate for the succession over Muslims. That is because the Successor has to have no opinion but the opinion of the Qur'an, no support but the hadith (tradition), and no authority but Allah, the Great and Almighty.
Therefore, there was no appropriate person for the Muslim succession (Khilafa) after the Prophet but a creature from the rare creatures. Allah selected him from His servants, and chose him from His creatures. For such a creature had qualities and outstanding merits of which no one of the people had. Allah, the Glorified, created people. So He is the most knowledgeable one in selecting and choosing the righteous servant who has such qualities and outstanding merits. Also Allah inspired His Apostle about the name of the Imam. So He (Allah) selected the Imam from the people. Accordingly, no one had the right to elect him.
Now, the backgrounds of Mu'awiya, and of his father, the method through which he became Muslim, the method through which his father became Muslim, and his attitudes towards `Umar, `Uthman, and 'Ali (peace be on him) were unable to make him worthy of the greatest position in Islam. However, al-Hasan was the grandson of the Apostle of Allah may Allah bless him and his family. Thus the Muslims all over the Muslim lands pledged allegiance to him. For this reason, Mu'awiya said to him: "I am prior to you in authority, more experienced than you in authority, and older than you in age.
Do you find, in the world of proofs, a proof more eloquent than this one in declaring feebleness in proving the matter?
Mu'awiya wrote to al-Hasan again. However„ at this time, he tried to threaten him with assassination and to tempt him with words. It is as if that Mu`awiya did not know al-Hasan as he was. So he resorted to this trite style that was inappropriate for al-Hasan. Mu'awiya said: "Now then, indeed, Allah does for his servants what He wills. There is no reviewer for His judgment, and He is quick in reckoning. So be careful not let the rabble from the people cause your death, and you are the most hopeless one in finding defects in us. Then the succession (Khilafa) is for you after me, for you are the most appropriate person for it, greetings." 5
Al-Hasan sent two men to Mu'awiya. They were Jundub b. `Abd Allah al-Azdi, and al-Harth b. Suwayd al-Tamimi. However, Mu'awiya said to them: "Go back. There is nothing between me and you but the sword."6
In this way, Mu'awiya showed enmity towards al-Hasan. He intentionally disobeyed the Successor (i.e., al-Hasan) whose obedience was obligatory. Al-Hasan was the legal successor. Thus all Muslims pledged allegiance to him except Mu'awiya and his followers. Mu'awiya's followers did not pledge allegiance to al-Hasan because Mu'awiya educated and brought them up according to his ideas.
Besides he prevented them from associating with the people so that they obeyed no one but him. Mu'awiya asked Sa'sa'a b. Sawhan to describe his followers. So he (Sa'sa'a) said: "They are the most obedient ones of all people to a creature, and the most disobedient ones of them to the Creator. They are disobedient to the Almighty (Allah), and obedient to the evil ones." 7
The sincere Shi'ite Kufans heard of Mu'awiya's threat and of the news of his advance against Iraq. So they got ready to meet him and his army.
In this way, the attitude became serious. Thus the trustee of authority (i.e., al-Hasan) was forced to respond to the sudden condition and to accept the accomplished fact.
It was obligatory for al-Hasan, peace be on him, to fight against the aggressors. He concluded this obligation from his faith and his religious principles. He felt that the succession was in danger. So he tried to put an end to that division which Mu'awiya imposed on the Muslims through his armed revolts for three successive years. Noteworthy, the Muslims were in need of stability and readiness.
The Syrians started the worst battles in the history of Islam. Through those battles, they shed blood, lost rights, distorted facts, supported the reckless persons, and encouraged the worldly, cheap desires.
The humanitarian, noble principles of Islam prevent all Muslims from starting war. However, they permit them to start war to support Allah, to do good for people, and to protect Muslim lands. In other words the high principles of Islam prevent all Muslims from attacking the borders, terrifying the innocent, waging war against the nations who believe in Allah and His Apostle. However, Mu'awiya adopted such deeds, so he divided the Muslims and imposed enmity on them.
Some foolish persons supported Mu'awiya in those battles. Shibth b. Rib'i described such persons as foolish when he faced Mu'awiya in the events of the year 36 A.H. So he (i.e., Mu'awiya) took advantage of their bad manners, traded with their corrupt tastes, and threw them into the places of death. Still they were all satisfied with him and obedient to him.
The Hashimites never started fighting anyone. The commandments of al-Hasan to `Ubayd Allah b. `Abbas, the commander of the Army of al-Hasan, clearly affirm these outstanding manners of the Hashimites. Al-Hasan, in particular, had inherited commandments and rules. He learned them from his father, the Commander of the faithful and Master of the Arabs. As history tells us, the Commander of the faithful took care of his son al-Hasan very much: "He (i.e., the Commander of the faithful) honored him very much, glorified him, and revered him."8
These commandments of Imam 'Ali, peace be on him, are ideals. Falsehood does not approach them. They do not deviate from righteousness though they concern various matters such as the life in this world, religion, education, ethics, and the like. Among the commandments of 'Ali to al-Hasan are: "Do not summon anyone to fight. If you are summoned to it, then answer. For the person who summons to it (fight) is an aggressor, and the aggressor is overcome.
For this reason, we have known that the Companions of al-Hasan pledged allegiance to him and urged him strongly to wage war against Mu'awiya. However, he did not accept the idea of war, nor did he act for it seriously, for he regarded war as an abominable necessity. He thought that he would resort to such a necessity when he had no other means to avoid it. Besides, he tried to organize forces to win war. However, the critical circumstances prevented him from achieving what he wanted.
In the previous chapter, we have mentioned the enthusiastic parties in Kufa. These parties were the Umayyads, the Kharijites (muhakima), the doubters, and the Hamra.' Also we have mentioned that these parties were ready to resist the new Successor (i.e., al-Hasan) through various methods.
All the above-mentioned factors made al-Hasan, peace be on him, slow in war. Thus some groups of his sincere companions blamed him for that slowness. For they relied on that timely, limited activity that occurred in Kufa during the pledge of allegiance to al-Hasan. In other words they thought that everything was available to the new Successor. However, they did not take the aims of those persons into consideration.
As for al-Hasan, he thought about his critical conditions through his careful insight more than his companions did. Moreover, he knew their problems with his watchful mind more than they did.
Al-Hasan understood that critical attitude very well, for he knew those bad manners that prevailed a great part of those who were with him in his army, and of those who were around him in Kufa. He was aware that such corrupt people who sold their religion for the life of this world would have had bad effects on war if he had started one without a necessity.
Al-Hasan thought that he had to bear the little corruption of the above- mentioned people to achieve much righteousness for his policy during his special condition.
Al-Hasan tried to treat that situation according to different viewpoint. So he treated the people kindly. He did not turn away from anyone of his subjects, nor did he show them anything. Rather, he depended on his self-control. That is because he did not want to create a wide gap and a general disturbance. Besides he thought that it would be better for him to postpone the elimination of the corrupt people to an appropriate time. For he wanted to depend on both generosity and the sword.
Here the researcher may face a question. So he should know the answer to the question. The question is: When the head of a state faces a critical situation like that of al-Hasan, should he not rely on a decision to put an end to that critical situation? In other words does he use violence or kind treatment instead?
There are three answers to this question. You will read them at the end of chapter eight. Here, we say: The policy of violence is among the clearest methods which are applied to such conditions. If al-Hasan had resorted to this policy, he would have intentionally made the disturbance hasty. Moreover, he would have opened his field for internal revolts that would be as dangerous as the battles headed by the Syrians. In the meantime, Mu'awiya was his enemy who went on provoking the people to revolt against him in Kufa through all his wealth and his cunning.
For this reason, what al-Hasan had chosen was the best thing for his critical situation.
Some of al-Hasan's companions recommended him to make war at haste. They asked him: "to surprise Mu'awiya through advancing against him to fight against him in his lands, his country, and his work."9 In this connection we say: There were many people who were opposed to al-Hasan in Kufa. They were the leaders of the parties, the learned readers of the Qur'an, and the like.
So if al-Hasan had been the first to fight against Mu'awiya, such opposing groups would have taken advantage of his act to justify their disobedience against him. In other words, they would tell the majority of people that al-Hasan was an aggressor. So the people would have an excuse to mutiny against him, and to break openly their pledge of allegiance to him. This means that the community in Kufa would be liable to an internal division with dangerous results.
For this reason, al-Hasan preferred slowness in war to waging it.
Then al-Hasan improvised the order of the armed fighting (jihad).
Al-Hasan ordered the people to wage holy war (jihad) against Mu'awiya because of the accidental condition. Al-Hasan could not bear that condition. So he ordered the people to wage holy war (jihad). That was when Mu'awiya was the first to wage war against al-Hasan to achieve his ambitions through dominating the Muslim countries. So al-Hasan headed for the bridge of Manbij, 10 namely he advanced against Iraq. That was after the death of the Commander of the faithful in a short time. Al-Ya'qubi11 decreased this time very much. He decreased it to eighteen days.
When Mu'awiya reached the high parts of the Euphrates, he howled loudly to make roaring and rattling to scare the safe, calm fortified borderline cities and to excite those who were like lions in Kufa to invite them to fight against him.
Mu'awiya regarded the killing of 'Ali, peace be on him, as the best opportunity to carry out the decisive measures between Kufa and Sham (Syria). That was the last decision on which Mu'awiya and his advisers agreed. Mu'awiya's advisers came to him day and night. They helped him organize a movement to oppose the Hashimite Succession. Among them were al-Mughira b. Shu'ba, `Amr b. al`As, Marwan b. al-Hakam, al-Walid b. `Utba, Yazid b. al-Hur al`Abbasi, Muslim b. 'Aqaba, al-Dahhak b. Qays al-Fihri, and the like.
Also Mu'awiya succeeded in creating an annoying riot in the Kufa of al-Hasan. He did that through much care he used to buy the cheep consciences, and through the spies who spread various lies during their going to Kufa and brought news from it about al-Hasan's plans and forces. This weapon of Mu'awiya was more powerful than his other weapons.
Mu'awiya called upon his tribes and his armies. He wrote letters to his governors. In his letters he said: `When these letters of mine come to you' come towards me with your seriousness, your effort, and your good equipment."12
As for al-Hasan, peace be on him, he went on his decision to get ready to answer that aggression. So he summoned the people to wage holy war (jihad). The loyal ones from those who knew the Qur'an by heart, the leaders of battles and the pious in Islam supported him. Among them were: Hujr b. `Adi al-Kindi, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, `Amr b. Qarda al-Ansari, Yazid b. Qays al-Arhabi, `Adi b. Hatam al-Ta'i, Habib b. Muzahir al-Asadi, Darar b. al-Khattab, Ma'qal b. Sanan al-Ashja'i, Wail b. Hajr al-Hadrami, Hani' b. `Urwa al Muradi, Rushayd al-Hajri, Maytham al-Tammar, Burayr b. Khudayr al-Hamadani, Habbab al-`Arani, Hudhayfa b. `Usayd, Sahl b. Sa'd, al-Asbagh b. Nabata, Sa'sa'a b. Sawhan,
Abu Hujja `Amr b. Muhsin, Hani b. Aus, Qays b. Sa'd b. `Abbada, Said b. Qays, `Abis b. Shabib, `Abd Allah b. Yahya al-Hadrami, Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar al-Nakha'i, Muslim b. `Ausaja, `Amr b. al-Hamq al-Khuza'i, Bashir al-Hamadani, al-Musayyab b. Nujayya, `Amir b. Wathila al-Kinani, Juwayriya b. Mushir, `Abd Allah b. Musmi` al-Hamadani, Qays b. Mushir al-Saydawi, `Abd al-Rahman b. `Abd Allah b. Shaddad al-Arhabi, `Ammara b. `Abd Allah al-Saluli, Hani' b. Hani' al-Subay'i, Said b. `Abd Allah al-Hanafi, Kathir b. Shahab,
`Abd al-Rahman b. Jundub al-Azdi, `Abd Allah b. `Aziz al-Zindi, Abu Thumama al-Sa'idi, `Abbas b. Ju'da al-Jadali, `Abd al-Rahman b. Shurayh al-Shaybani, al-Qa'qa` b. `Amr, Qays b. Warqa', Jundub b. `Abd Allah al-Azdi, al-Harth b. Suwayd al-Tamimi, Ziyad b. Sa'sa'a al-Tamimi, `Abd Allah b. Wal, and Ma'qal b. Qays al-Riyahi.
These figures were the strong wing in the front of al-Hasan. They were masters. Al-Hasan described each one of them more than a battalion. He described them in such a way when he appointed `Ubayd Allah b. `Abbas as a commander for his army. During the Battle of Siffin, Mu'awiya described their hearts as the heart of one man. Concerning them he (Mu'awiya) said: "They were not killed till they killed a similar number to them." It was they whom he meant at that time when he said: "When I remember their eyes under the armors (alMaghafir) in Siffin, my mind becomes confused." The testimony of the enemy is the most truthful one of all testimonies.
The summons to the armed fighting (jihad) excited the Kufans very much. Violent optimism prevailed the people because of their opponents. Suddenly, the people competed with each other to fight against their enemies. Among them were persons who were not known for their activities in good attitudes, righteous acts, and pure efforts for Allah, the Great and Almighty.
Apart from the loyal supporters, the Camp of al-Hasan included unknown groups of people, and a group from the families of the hypocrites. It included a community of the ill-intentioned persons who did not agree with al-Hasan on his idea. Rather they spied on him and his companions. It (al-Hasan's Camp) included weak, cowardly persons. If they had been forced to fight, they would have escaped. Besides they had no hope but booty: "They do not agree with each other on an idea or a desire. They are in disagreement. They have no intention in good or in evil."13 Moreover, the Camp included party quarrels that played a dangerous role in hindering the necessities of the battle.
From the first day, al-Hasan was afraid of these mixed groups of people who were among the members of his army. He was sure of their desertion which some books have clearly mentioned.14
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, looked at those groups of people who gathered together for the battle. He had no confidence in their resistance with him, nor had he belief in their loyalty to his objectives.
Al-Hasan considered these mixed groups of people. He knew that some of them were double-faced figures. For Islam was unable to reform them. Among them were al-Ash'ath b. Qays, `Amr b. Hurayth, Mu'awiya b. Khadij, Abu Burda al-Ash'ari, al-Mutldhir b. al-Zubayr, Ishaq b. Talha, Hajr b. `Amru, Yazid b. al-Harith b. Ruwaym, Shibth b. Rib'i, `Ammara b. al-Walid, Habib b. Muslima, `Amr b. Said, Zayd b. `Umayr, Hajjar b. Abjar, .`Urwa b. Qays, Muhammad b. `Umayr, `Abd Allah b. Muslim b. Sa'id, Asma' b. Kharija, al-Qa'qa` b. al-Shur al-Dhahli, and Shimr b. Dhi- al Jawshan al-Dababi.
Al-Hasan knew that such types of people would some day carry out a mutiny against him.
They were the rebellious Kufans who legislated manners for their own selves and for the people similar to them. Still they claimed that they were Muslims. Islam reformed ethics and made people lead good lives. However, the material desires of such kinds of corrupt people defeated it. So there was no relationship between them and Islam. They became unable to follow the Islamic teachings. Although they (the rebellious Kufans) pledged allegiance to al-Hasan to listen and obey, they became agents for his enemies. So they began creating riot and disobedience. They waited for appropriate events and conditions to occur.
They seized the opportunities, and cooperated with each other to commit abominable acts. They paid no attention to the results of their deeds. Moreover, they were indifferent to disgrace in this life and the fire of the hereafter. These people joined al-Hasan's army. Thus their danger was greater than that of his enemies. For his enemies showed enmity towards him frankly and face to face.
Therefore, it was natural for the new Successor of Kufa (i.e., al Hasan) to be afraid of the desertion of such kinds of people. Also it was natural for him to be slow in waging war. That is because-the vague results had their own rules. These rules that imposed slowness on al-Hasan and reminded him of patience to avoid the loss.
Al-Hasan was summoned to fighting. Thus it was better for him to resort to the valuable inheritance to make use of the talents of his great father. For "it is necessary for the (lion) cub to come to the nature of the lion."
So it was incumbent on al-Hasan to resort to the recommendations of his father to him. Among his father's recommendations to him was: "Do not summon (anyone) to fighting. However, if you are summoned to, then answer. That is because the person who summons to it is an aggressor."
Also it was incumbent on al-Hasan to resort to his religious obligation that was his authority over the Muslims. For he was the Imam to whom the people pledged allegiance. Thus he had no right to overlook openly, evil deeds and aggression against Islam whatever they may be.
That is because Allah, the Most High, says: "And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them, but if one of them transgresses, then fight that which transgresses until it returns to Allah's command." The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, says: "Whoever summons (people) for himself or for anybody, and there is an Imam over the people, then the curse of Allah is on him, so kill him."
Al-Hasan had to forbid evil deeds by force. For he had military forces all over Kufa and the fortified borderline cities which he governed. This makes us certain that there were enough forces to wage war in spite of the unusual conditions to which the traitorous persons in Kufa inclined.
In the middle years of the first century A.H., the Muslim State had a great army. However, it was necessary for al-Hasan to conform to the rules of defense. Namely he had to guard the Muslim distant borders with a great number of soldiers. Besides he had to suppress those mutinies that took place near the capital. Noteworthy, the logistic operations were difficult.
They (the members of the two armies) received salaries from the treasury of the Muslim State.
In the military cities (i.e., Kufa and Basrah), there was a similar number to these (two armies). It was from the followers of the members of the two armies, their friends, and the volunteers who came to take part in the armed fighting (jihad).
So the total number of al-Hasan's army was about three hundred and fifty thousand Iraqi soldiers. Apart from this, al-Hasan had armies from Persia (Iran), the Yemen, Hijaz (Saudi Arabia), and other countries.
The Shi'a were eager to start the battle which al-Hasan headed. The Kharijites insisted on fighting against those who went astray from the people of Sham (Syria). For the Kharijites thought that the Syrians had gone astray. The people came in groups on the day when the summons to jihad in Kufa became successful. All these factors are enough for us to think that al-Hasan had enough forces. Thus he
would have won the battle if these groups of people had been truthful in what they promised Allah on the day when the parties met and the battle became hot.
- 1. Ibn Abu al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 12.
- 2. Al-Fakhri, p. 74.
- 3. Maybe, it is good for those who want more details about this brief idea to read what `Abd Allah al-`Alayali has mentioned concerning the conditions of the society during the time of `Uthman. Please, see his book Ayyam al Hasan, pp. 112- 128. We should summarize what he has mentioned as follows: "They (the Umayyads) were not satisfied when they imposed themselves and their imaginary existence of life and effort (on the people). Rather, they exceeded this when they divided the society into classes. Suddenly, fabulous wealth gathered together in the hands of the Umayyads and their supporters. Suddenly, Marwan alone possessed the high fates according to his desires. Suddenly, most regions became feudal estates between so and so. So Ya'li b. Umayya had about one hundred thousand dinars, apart from his many real estates. `Abd al-Rahman b. `Auf had about five hundred thousand dinars. Zayd b. Thabit had gold and silver which were broken with axes. Therefore, no wonder when the majority expressed their dissatisfaction with the plan of this new one (i.e., Mu'awiya). No wonder when they (the majority) confronted his supporters and accused them of renouncing their religion. And no wonder when they (the majority) began conflicting against them (Mu'awiya and his supporters). The conflict began secretly, and then it spread openly.
"The general condition may be summarized in two words: The government plotted against the people, and the people plotted against the government. However, the people always have the high, final word. It is an act of justice and good to mention that the people, in spite of that, were not lightheaded during their revolt. Rather, they communicated with the possessors of the affairs and authority, and they declared their demands several times through their representatives. However, every time their demands failed. It was a quick, continuous failure, and it was of the exciting kind.
"In the meantime, `Amr b. al-`As provoked the people against `Uthman, abolished his policy openly, spied on him, disclosed the talks that happened in his house, and made the hearts of those whom he met hate him. When `Uthman addressed a group of noisy rebels, he (`Umru b. al-`As) said to him: "Commander of the faithful, you have committed sins and we committed them with you. So repent, and we repent.' When `Uthman was addressing (the people), `A'isha spread the Prophet's shirt, dared and said: `This is the shirt of the Prophet. It has not worn out yet, while you have worn out his Sunna (practice)'. Talha and al-Zubayr helped the revolutionaries with money. Although 'Ali suffered from many hardships, he was the first to send his two sons. For they had important considerations. Also he sent his followers to put an end to those violent events.
"When he (Imam 'Ali) heard that the people besieged him (`Uthman) and prevented him from drinking water, he sent him three water skins and said to al-Hasan and al-Husayn: `Go with your swords, stop at his door, and do not allow anybody to hurt him. So al-Hasan was colored with blood, and Qanbar, his (`Ali's) servant, was wounded.
"This is what history has mentioned about 'Ali and his sons towards the event, while, on the other hand, it (history) has mentioned that when `Uthman was besieged, he wrote to Mu'awiya, who was in Sham (Syria): 'Indeed, the people of Medina have disbelieved (in Allah). They have disobeyed (me). And they have broken their pledge of allegiance (to me). So send me fighters from Sham on every obedient and disobedient camels' However, when Mu'awiya received his (`Uthman's) letter, he betrayed him. He hated, as he claimed, to disagree with the Companions of the Apostle. For he knew that they agreed on that. Among the ironies of fate were that `Umru b. al-`As provoked (the people) to kill `Uthman, A'isha blamed him openly, Mu'awiya refused to help him and helped both Talha and al-Zubayr against him. Then they (i.e., Mu'awiya, `A'isha, Talha, and al-Zubayr) went here and there accusing 'Ali of killing `Uthman, while 'Ali b. Abu Talib gave him a sincere piece of advice and warned him against that fate."
- 4. Ibn abu al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al Balagha, vol 4, p.13.
- 5. Ibn Abu al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, pp. 13- 14
- 6. Ibid.
- 7. Al-Mas'udi, Hamish b. al-Athir, vol. 6, p. 119.
- 8. Ibn Kathir, vol. 8, pp. 36- 37.
- 9. Ibn Abu al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 13.
- 10. Manbij was a big, ancient city. There were three leagues between it and its bridge over the Euphrates. There were ten leagues between Manbij and Elepoe. In al-Mu`jam: "Two days were between them." "From Manbij to Maltiya four days, and to the Euphrates one day. A group of people went out of it. Among them were al-Bukhari, Abu Firas al-Hamadani, and the like."
- 11. Al-Ya'qubi, Ta'rikh, vol. 2, p. 191
- 12. Ibn Abu al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 13.
- 13. The words of al-Hasan himself. They were among the words with which he described the Kufans. See Ibn al-Athir, vol. 3, p. 62.
- 14. Ibn Abu al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 14.
- 15. Al-Ya'qubi, al-Ta'rikh, vol. 2, p. 94. Ibn Qutayba al-Dinawari, al Imama wa al-Siyasa, p. 151.
- 16. Jamil Madwar, Hidarat al-Islam fi dar al-Salam.