Period of Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) Part 1

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.

Disinclination and Silence of Imam (‘a)

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.

Conference of the Armed Forces

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 Husain were crushed and my sides were injured and they gathered around me like a herd of sheep…”


[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

Imam’s Acceptance

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…”[1]

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.

Allegiance

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…”  


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf Vol. 1, Pg. 157

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 – 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.”[1]

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.[2]

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.

Sanitizing of Government Machinery

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.  


[1] Hayatul Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/376 (Third Edition)
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 5/22

Nationalization of Embezzled wealth

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.”[1]

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.  


[1] Hayatul Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/385 (Second Edition)

Quraishites Panic

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)…”[1]

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.”[2]

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.

Afflictions of the Holy Imam (‘a)

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.”[3]

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…”[4]

Imam (‘a) did not worry about them. He continued to advance his just politics so  


[1] Al-Ghadeer 8/288
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha
[3] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/108
[4] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 16/148

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.”[1]

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.

Policies of the Holy Imam (‘a)

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.

Economic Policy of Imam Ali (‘a)

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] Hayatul Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/382

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)…”[1]****

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…”[2]

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


[1] Surah Hujurat 49:13
[2] Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 4/76

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.[1]

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.”[2]

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.  


[1] Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/180
[2] Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/96

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 family. Whom have you reposed faith in? In the person you asked to increase few dirhams in the allowance of Hasan and Husain and he refused to do it and became angry at it…?”[1]

No matter how much justice the world practices it cannot create a system as equitable as the one Imam (‘a) had established. This was so because he was aware of the reality of life and he did not separate from practices. And more than anything else he followed equitability in distribution, spreading prosperity for all and in eradicating needfulness and deprivation.

Yes! The economic policy that the Imam brought into force was very detestable to the powers that had deviated from Islam and they became aloof from the Imam and Ahle Bayt (‘a) and they joined the forces of Umayyads so that they may arrange for them the plunder, looting, cheating people and playing with the economy of the nation…this was the reason that the military officers rushed to fight against the beloved one of the Messenger of Allah (s) from among the affluent personages by Amr bin Hareeth, Shabt bin Rabia and Hijar bin Abjar and others because the Umayyad regimes had given them exceeding wealth and they hastened to fight the Imam in order to protect their interests and to save their property that they had acquired through unlawful means. Because they knew that if Imam Husain (‘a) succeeds in defeating the Umayyads and comes to power he would not deviate from the policy of his revered father and they would lose all the bestowals and gifts given to them by the Umayyad regimes. We shall discuss this in more detail in the coming pages.

Here comes to conclusion the discussion on the economic policy of Imam Ali (‘a).

Internal Policy of Imam Ali (‘a)

The Holy Imam (‘a) endeavored greatly to establish social and economical justice among the people. And he established them on a right and clear path without any crookedness and ambiguity and he acted upon the policy of the Messenger of Allah (s), which keeps in view all the far and near ones in applying justice and in the spread of truth in such a way that the entreaty of an oppressed one or deprived one is not heard and the shadows of poverty and indigence does not remain just as the Almighty Allah wants in the earth.

Imam (‘a) focused on eradicating factors of backwardness and decadence and to create conditions favorable for a respectable life so that man may obtain all the needs of his life from comfort, security, facilities and stability. In the coming paragraphs we shall discuss some of these policies.  


[1] Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 10/250

Equality

Equality among the people was from the principles of personal policy of Imam (‘a) and he applied them in all the areas of his government and raised its slogan till he became famous as the standard bearer of justice and equality on the earth. This was 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.”[1]

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.

Freedom

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:

Political Freedom

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.


[1] Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/76

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:

1 – Freedom of Expression

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.

2 – Freedom of Criticism

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.”[1]****  


[1] Surah Anam 6:57

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.”[1]

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

“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.[2]

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.[3] 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.

National Integration

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  


[1] Surah Rum 30:60, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/73
[2] Subhul Aashi
[3] Al-Iqdul Farid 1/211

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.”[1]

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.[2]

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.

Training and Education

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  


[1] Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/154
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/150

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 Husain (‘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.

Governors and Officers of Imam Ali (‘a)

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.”[1]

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  


[1] Bihar 16/26

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.”[1]

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.

Keeping away the Opportunists

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 Kerbala, 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.

Keeping away the Greedy Elements

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  


[1] Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/70

embezzler to a post of government in the world in the Hereafter, His Eminence, Muhammad shall be disgusted with him.”[1]

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.”[2]

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.

Frankness and Truthfulness

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.”  


[1] Nahjus Sa-a’-dah Dar Mustadrak Nahjul Balagha 5/33
[2] Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/51

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...”[1]

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.”[2]

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.

With Imam Husain (‘a)

Sentiments of Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) merged with the emotions of his son, Husain 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, Husain and bestowed him with his love and sincerity and embellished him with the loftiest wisdom and manners.  


[1] Jame as-Sa’daat 1/239
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/180

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 Husain 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 Husain (‘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 Ali’s Prophecies on the Martyrdom of Imam Husain (‘a)

Imam (‘a) had informed the people about the martyrdom of his son, Imam Husain (‘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 Yahya[1] 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: Husain 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.’”[2]  


[1] And in Tibrani Abdullah bin Naji has narrated it.
[2] Ibne Asakir, Biography of Imam Husain, Pg. 236. Tibrani in Mojam al-Kabir has explained it in this way in the account of Imam Husain (a.s.).

2 – Harsima bin Sulaym has narrated: I was with Ali in the battle of Siffeen. When we reached near Kerbala 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 Kerbala and saw Husain 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 Husain (‘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 Kerbala and he did not witness the massacre of Imam Husain (‘a).[1]

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 Kerbala. 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.”[2]  


[1] Waqa’tus Siffeen, Pg. 140-141, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/170
[2] Waqa’tus Siffeen, Pg. 141

4 – Hasan bin Kathir has narrated from his father that Ali (‘a) came to Kerbala and stood there. Then it was asked to His Eminence, “O Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a), is this Kerbala?”

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.”[1]

5 – Abu Hareema has narrated: I was with Ali at the river of Kerbala. 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.”[2]

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.”[3]

7 – Tibrani has narrated with his chains from His Eminence, Ali that he said, “Husain shall be slain and I am acquainted with a land between two streams where he shall be slain.”[4]

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.”  


[1] Ibid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/171
[2] Majma az-Zawaid 3/117/Hadith no. 2825
[3] Majma az-Zawaid 9/191, Tibrani, Mojam al-Kabir 3/117/H no. 2823
[4] Ibid. Tibrani, Mojam al-Kabir 3/117/H no. 2824

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 Husain 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.”[1]

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 Husain (‘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.”[2]

10 – His Eminence told Bara bin Aazib, “O Bara, would Husain 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, Husain (‘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.”[3]

11 – Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) said, “As if I am seeing the palaces that are raised around the grave of Husain. 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  


[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/286
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 10/14
[3] Ibid. Pg. 15

different areas. It shall be after the extinction of Bani Marwan.”[1]

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 Husain (‘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.

With the Nakiseen and Qasiteen

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  


[1] Musnad Imam Zaid, Pg. 47

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.[1] 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 Kerbala. 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

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).

Motive for Rebellion

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  


[1] 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

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…!”[1]

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,[2] 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 and Defrauding of Zubair

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.”  


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/63 (Printed Daarul Fikr, Year 1417)
[2] Na’thal: an old foolish man

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.[1]

Conference of Mecca

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.

Resolutions of the conference

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.

Equipping the Army with Plundered Items

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.[2]

Abdullah bin Aamir, Uthman’s governor in Basra, also presented a lot of wealth to  


[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/231
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/207

the rebel forces, which he had robbed from the Public Treasury.[1] None of the members of this army refused using any of these things obtained through unlawful means.

Political Discourse of Ayesha

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.[2]

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,[3] 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.

 

Ayesha and Umme Salma

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?”


[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/207
[2] The text of this sermon is present in Tarikh Tabari 4/450
[3] 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.

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…”[1]

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.[2]  


[1] Al-Futuh 2/282-283 (printed Daarun Nadwah. New Edition)
[2] Ibne Abil Hadeed, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 6/217-218 (Ismailian Edition)

Ayesha moves to Basra

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.

Askar

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?”

“Yes.”

“How much?”

“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.[1] That camel became like the calf of Bani Israel because around her hands were cut, people died and blood was shed.

Hawwab

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.”  


[1] 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.

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![1] 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.[2] 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.

In Basra

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  


[1] Ibne Athir 3/210, Tabari, Tarikh 4/456-458. Tadkiratul Khawaas Pg. 65-66
[2] Muruj az-Zahab 2/357, Tarikh 2/157

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.[1] 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  


[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/226 (Ismailiyan Edition)

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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3] Ayesha’s supporters also came  


[1] Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/60-61
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 9/319-321 (Ismailiyan Edition)
[3] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 9/321 (Ismailiyan Edition)

out and made her sit on a camel. And that day became known as Jamal-e-Asghar (Lesser battle of Jamal).[1]

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.[2]

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 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.

Conflict over Leading Prayers

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.[3] 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…”[4]****

This became an occasion of ridicule and people taunted him and criticized him.  


[1] Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/430
[2] Usud al-Ghaba 2/40
[3] Yaqubi, Tarikh, 2/157
[4] Surah Ma’arij 70:1

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.”[1]

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.

Imam’s Messengers to Kufa

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).  


[1] Al-Aghani 12/337

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, Husain (‘a)[1] while the Imam’s soldiers were equipped with the best of weapons. Historians say: His Eminence, Husain (‘a) was astride his grandfather’s horse called Murtajiz.[2]

The Two Armies Come face to Face

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.

Messengers of Conciliation

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.”[3]  


[1] Shamsuddin Abul Barakaat, Jawahirul Matalib dar Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) 2/12
[2] Muhammad bin Zakaria bin Dinar, Waqiyah Jamal, Pg. 35
[3] Al-Futuh 2/306

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.

Calling by the Quran

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.”[1]

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.”[2]****  


[1] Muruj az-Zahab 2/361
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/269