Period of Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) Part 2

General Battle

When the Imam became sure that there was no possibility of a truce he readied his army in an elaborate way. Ayesha’s supporters similarly followed, making her sit astride her camel, Askar. She was made to sit on a Howdah covered by iron coat of mail and they came out to the battlefield in this way.

A severe battle ensued between the two armies. Some historians say that Imam Husain (‘a) was leading a battalion and was in the left wing. He participated in the battle with firmness and determination[1] while Ayesha’s camel, according to those who were present there was the standard of the Basran army and people used to take refuge in it like people take refuge under a standard.

The Imam attacked them holding the flag in his left hand and wielding the Zulfiqar in his right. It was the sword used extensively during the period of the Prophet in defense of faith and to fight the polytheists.

Both armies continued to fight a furious battle and Ayesha’s supporters wanted to obtain victory and help their mother while Ali’s followers desired to support their Imam and lay down their lives in defense of His Eminence.

Zubair is Killed

Zubair was kind-hearted and held a position of esteem with the Holy Prophet (s) but lust for power had deceived him and made him come out in opposition to the Imam. In addition to this, it was his son, Abdullah Ibn Zubair who had forced him into this calamity and created a split between him and his faith.

The Imam was aware of Zubair’s soft-heartedness, therefore he went out to the battlefield and called out aloud, “Where is Zubair?” At that time Zubair was fully armed and he came out. When Imam (‘a) saw him he hastened to him and the Imam embraced him and said to him in a kind manner, “O Abu Abdillah, what has brought you here?”

“I have come to seek revenge of Uthman’s murder.”

Imam glanced at him and asked, “Do you want revenge for Uthman’s murder?”

“Yes.”

“May Allah kill the murderers of Uthman. I swear to you by God, do you remember, one day you passed by me while you were with the Prophet and he was leaning on your hand. Then the Messenger of Allah (s) saluted me and smiled to me. After that he glanced at you and said: “O Zubair, you would fight Ali while you would be in the wrong with relation to him…”

Zubair recalled that event while pain and remorse was killing him and due to that condition of his he was very much ashamed. He glanced at the Imam, confirming the Imam’s statement.

“Yes, by Allah.”  


[1] Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/288

“Then why are you fighting me?”

“By Allah, I had forgotten it. If I had remembered it, I would not have come out against you and fought you.”[1]

“Go back.”

“How can I go back when battle is raging on both the sides? And by Allah it is a shame that cannot be washed off.”

“Go back, before degradation and Hellfire get you.”

He pulled the reins of his horse while confusion and worry had afflicted him.

He was going reciting the following couplets:

“I preferred humiliation to the flame of Hell as anything made of clay is not able to bear it.

Ali told me something I was not aware of. By your life, humiliation shall be in the world and religion.

I said: O Abal Hasan, do not flay me more as this much is sufficient for me.”[2]

Imam (‘a) returned to his men and they said to him, “You went unarmed to Zubair while he was fully armed. Do you know his valor?”

Imam said, “He is not my killer; my killer shall be a person of unknown parentage, of not much status in a place other than a battlefield and not in the arena of warriors. Woe be on him! He is the most wretched human and he shall desire that his mother had not given birth to him. Know that! He and the red-faced people of Thamud shall be together…”[3]

Zubair harkened to the Imam’s call and he went to Ayesha and told her:

“Mother of believers, I am certainly not standing in a place but that I recognize the place where I have placed my feet. Except for this condition that I don’t know whether I am fortunate or unfortunate.”

Ayesha understood his changed mood that he has decided to leave the battlefield. So in order to arouse his sentiments she said in a taunting way, “O Abu Abdillah, are you scared of the sword of Abdul Muttalib’s family?”

This ridicule almost killed him. Then his son Abdullah criticized him through fear and trepidation and said, “You came out with full realization but when you saw the standard of the son of Abu Talib you knew that you shall be killed under it and therefore you became fearful?”

Although he had not come out with full understanding and neither was he aware of his condition. He had come out only for power and rulership.

Zubair was very much disturbed by his son’s diatribe and he said, “Woe be on you,  


[1] Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/68
[2] Muruj az-Zahab 2/363
[3] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/234-235

I have sworn that I would not fight him.”

“Release yourself from the oath by the penalty of emancipating your slave, Sarjus.”

So he freed his slave[1] and stepped in the battlefield with fervor and began his attack in order to display his valor to his son and show him that he had fled due to his religion and not because of fear. Then he went far away from his venue and went on in this way till he reached the valley of Sabaa where Ahnaf bin Qais and his people were camping. Ibn Jurmuz pursued Zubair and attacked and killed him and conveyed the news of his killing to the Imam. His Eminence was very much aggrieved at this. Narrators say that His Eminence picked up the sword of Zubair and said, “This is the sword which removed many worries of the Prophet.”

Anyway, Zubair’s end was indeed regretful and sad because he had rebelled against truth and declared war against the successor of Allah’s Messenger and the gate of the city of knowledge of the Holy Prophet (s).

Killing of Talha

Talha came out in the battlefield encouraging the fighters to battle. Marwan bin Hakam saw him and shot an arrow at him as revenge for Uthman’s blood and Talha fell down bleeding.

Marwan told a son of Uthman, “I have taken revenge for the blood of your father from Talha on your behalf.”

Talha ordered his slave to take him to a safe place where he could rest. He took him to a dilapidated house in Basra but he died there after sometime.[2]

Ayesha Leads the Army

After the death of Zubair and Talha, Ayesha took over the command of the army. People of Banu Zubah and Banu Najiya laid down their lives in her defense. Historians say that they had become so much obsessed in her devotion that they used to pick up the droppings of her camel, smell them and say: “The dung of our mother’s camel smells of musk.”

They were surrounding her camel and did not have any other aim except defending her and no care for any victory or help. Their singers of war poems were chanting:

“O group of Azadis! Defend your mother as she is your Prayer and Fasting.

And keep your efforts and farsightedness prepared for the great honor that has surrounded you.

It shouldn’t be that the poison of your enemy is victorious over yours. Because if the enemy defeats you, he shall put you to death.

He would subject each one of you to cruelty. May your people be sacrificed for  


[1] Tabari, Tarikh, 4/509
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/243-244

you, do not humiliate yourself.”[1]

Ayesha was inspiring those who were at her right, at her left and in front of her and said, “Noble men are patient!”

The Imam’s men tried to persuade Ayesha’s soldiers to stop fighting and their war-poem singers said:

“O our mother, you are the worst kind of mother that we know because a mother feeds her children and is kind to them.

Don’t you see how many valiant ones are getting mourned and are losing their hands and arms?”[2]

Ayesha’s supporters cried in response:

“We are the Bani Zabaa and the folks of the camel and we fight with ferocity if they come before us.

Getting killed is sweeter for us than honey and we are fighting for the sons of Uthman with our swords.

They should send back to us our leader and also Bajal.”[3]

Battle continued to rage furiously and thousands were wounded and the battlefield strewn with dead bodies.

Cutting off the camel’s legs

Imam (‘a) concluded that till the time Ayesha’s camel remained, the battle would not come to an end. So His Eminence called out to the men to floor the camel because its remaining would cause the destruction of Arabs. His Eminence, Hasan (‘a) went towards it and cut off its right foreleg and His Eminence, Husain attacked it and cut off its left foreleg.[4] The camel let out such an ear-splitting squeal that something like it had never been heard and it fell on its side and the defenders of the camel fled to the wilderness because their idol, for which they were sacrificing themselves, had shattered.

The Imam (‘a) ordered that the camel be burnt to ashes and its ashes dispersed and nothing should remain of it to deviate the foolish people. After this was done, he said, “Curse of God be on it. How similar it was to the calf of Bani Israel?”

When its ashes were being dispersed in the atmosphere he glanced at it and recited the following words of the Almighty:

“…and look at your god to whose worship you kept (so long); we will certainly burn it, then we will certainly scatter it a (wide) scattering in the sea.”[5]****  


[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/255-256 (Ismailiyan Edition)
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibne Abil Hadid 1/264
[3] Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibne Abil Hadid 1/254, Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 150
[4] Muhammad bin Zakaria bin Dinar, Waqiyah Jamal, Pg. 44
[5] Surah Taha 20:97

In this manner the battle came to an end and victory fell to the share of the Imam and his followers and the embezzling powers were humiliated and routed.

Imam (‘a) sent Hasan, Husain and Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr to meet Ayesha.[1] They went to her and Muhammad put his hand in the litter. Ayesha was shocked and she asked, “Who is it?”

“Your unhappiest relative.”

“Are you the son of that Khathami lady?”

“Yes, I am your righteous brother.”

“Very unkind to the relatives.”

“Have you received any harm?”

“An arrow has harmed me.”

He removed the arrow from her and picked up the broken litter and in the last part of the night took her to the house of Abdullah bin Khalaf Khuzai to Safiya, the daughter of Harith and she stayed there for some days.

General Amnesty

His Eminence, Ali (‘a) dealt with the people of Basra in the same way as the Messenger of Allah (s) had with the folks of Mecca. According to Yaqubi, His Eminence said:[2] “Thus the black and the red have become safe,” and he caused no harm to his enemy but sat down to meet the people. The healthy and the wounded ones among them pledged allegiance to him. At that time he went to the Public Treasury and took whatever was there in it and distributed it equally among the people. After that His Eminence went to Ayesha who was lodged at the house of Abdullah bin Khalaf Khuzai.

Safiya, the daughter of Harith came out and addressed Ali (‘a) in the worst manner: “O Ali, O killer of the beloved ones, may God orphan your children like you orphaned the children of Abdullah.”

Abdullah’s sons were killed in the battle on Ayesha’s side.

Imam did not reply to her till he came to Ayesha and commanded her to leave Basra and go to her house and stay there as the Almighty has commanded.

When the Imam was leaving, Safiya repeated the things she had earlier said. Now His Eminence told her, “If I were the killer of relatives I would have killed those hiding in this house.” And he pointed towards the locked rooms where many of their wounded people and other rebels were hiding and Ayesha had given refuge to them. Those who were with the Imam wanted to attack them but the Imam restrained them and in this way he awarded amnesty to his enemies and opponents.

Imam (‘a) sent away Ayesha in a suitable manner and also sent some women with  


[1] Waqiyah Jamal, Pg. 45
[2] Yaqubi, 2/159, Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/64

her dressed as men so that she may stay in her house as the Almighty had commanded.

Ayesha departed from Basra leaving many houses and families in mourning.

Umair bin Ahlab Zabi’, who was a partisan of Ayesha says:

“Our mother had left in heritage the scroll of death for us. And she did not move from her place but that we became like a rope.

We followed the clan of Teem due to our wretchedness, though Teem is nothing but a family of slaves and bondsmen.”[1]

The mother of believers put her children in the field of death because 10000 Muslims were killed in that battle according to some historians. Half were the partisans of Ayesha and the other half supporters of Ali.[2] More than anyone else, the Imam was aggrieved of this because he knew what evil consequences and calamities this battle was to cause.

Consequences of the Battle

The battle of Jamal was followed by the most terrible losses and greater disasters in which Muslims were involved. Some of them were as follows:[3]

1 – This battle opened up the way for Muawiyah to rise up in opposition to the Imam and to step out to engage the Imam in battles. Because he chose for himself the slogan of the people of Jamal, that was seeking the revenge for Uthman’s blood. And if the battle of Jamal hadn’t occurred, Muawiyah would not have dared to announce his disobedience and rebellion against the government of the Holy Imam (‘a).

2 – The battle of Jamal spread conflict and discord among the Muslims because before that the spirit of love and affection was dominant and after that enmity developed among the Arab families in such a way that people of Rabi and Yaman tribes of Basra became deeply inimical to their brothers from the Rabi and Yaman tribes of Kufa and they cried out for the revenge of the blood of their children. So much so that discord remained among the members of one and the same family if some of them were the Shias of Ali and others, partisans of Ayesha.

Historians say: Years later Basrans continued to nurture their loyalty to Uthman and that is why Imam Husain (‘a) did not move to Basra as it was well known for its affections for the third caliph.

3 – The battle destroyed the awe of the government and people became emboldened to rebel against the law because it created groups that were only seeking benefits who had no other aim except to get rulership and to obtain control over the wealth of the country. So much so that battles took place with all its specialties of that time.  


[1] Muruj az-Zahab 2/370
[2] Tabari, Tarikh, 4/539. In Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/59 the number of people who died is mentioned as 20000
[3] Tabari, Tarikh, 5/244

4 – The battle of Jamal opened the door of infighting among Muslims while before that they were extremely cautious of shedding each other’s blood.

5 – The battle became a cause for decline and backwardness of Islamic society and it hindered the progress that was originally intended. Because after the battle of Jamal, the Imam initiated fighting against the rebellion and disobedience of Muawiyah and other greedy characters that had began their activities against the government resulting in the most terrible losses to Islam.

Wells, the philosopher says, “It was very likely that Islam would have conquered the world if it had continued its original movement and if in the beginning itself internal fights had not occurred among them, which was the aim of Ayesha more than anything else, that was to defeat Ali.”[1]

6 – The battle trespassed the sanctity of the Holy Progeny whom the Holy Prophet (s) had equated with the Book of Allah and compared them to the Ark of Salvation and safety for the people. And from the same day swords were pulled out against the Progeny of the Prophet and the pledge-breakers began to consider shedding their blood and captivating their children lawful. Hence the Bani Umayyads did not take into consideration any sort of sanctity and honor of those people in the event of Kerbala.

These were some of the most terrible consequences of the battle of Jamal, which created the greatest harms for the Muslims in all periods of history.

 

Qasiteen (Rebels)

The Holy Imam (‘a) had hardly become free from the battle against the Nakiseen (Pledge-breakers) as the Holy Prophet (s) had named them, when he had to prepare for the battle against the Qasiteen, as the Holy Prophet (s) has also labeled them.

Imam decided to move from Basra to Kufa to prepare for the battle against the greatest enemy, Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan, who had fought against the Messenger of Allah (s) and had made great efforts in this regard. Muawiyah was not in any way less than his father in his enmity towards Islam and Muslims. The early Muslims used to view with suspicion and doubt their acceptance of Islam and he was able to by deceit and fraud control the second caliph and had obtained a lofty position near him, till he made him the governor of Syria; and tried much to support and strengthen him. After his death, Uthman let him continue in his post and expanded his power and Muawiyah remained in Syria like a person who is desirous of power and rulership. On the basis of this he saw for himself a golden opportunity and he bought the loyalties of people and utilized the economy of the province for strengthening his position.

After the deeds that Uthman had committed it was obvious to Muawiyah that he would be killed. When Uthman was besieged and requested Muawiyah’s help, Muawiyah delayed sending assistance and was waiting for the time when Uthman  


[1] Shaykh al-Madheerah, Abu Hurairah, Pg. 173

would be killed. After that Muawiyah took the shirt and blood of Uthman as his medium to obtain power. The battle of Jamal also showed him how the matter of seeking revenge for Uthman’s blood could be utilized for obtaining rulership and kingdom.

Historians say: He made the killing of Uthman a big issue and considered it to be a very serious matter. And took it as a pretext for strengthening his power.

Imam (‘a) was observing extreme precaution in his religion, therefore neither he planned against anyone nor he expressed his support for any party. Rather he acted in the most open manner. Hence he refused to allow Muawiyah to continue as the governor of Syria because to allow him to continue at his post would be a support for oppression and strengthening of injustice.

Anyway, the Imam came out with his armed forces from the battle of Jamal in Basra and moved to Kufa in order to make it his capital and residence. As soon as he reached Kufa he began to prepare for confronting a powerful enemy and one who was popular and supported by all his people (Syrians).

After the Imam’s victory in Jamal, Sharii in the following couplets, encouraged him to go out against the Syrians:

“Tell this Imam that battle has ended and the bounty is completed for him.

We are free from fighting the pledge-breakers while a horrible serpent is present in Syria.

Which is spewing venom and whomsoever it strikes has no cure. So shoot it down before it could strike.”[1]

Sending of Jurair

Before the Imam could take up the matter of crushing the rebel in Syria, he sent Jurair bin Abdullah Bajali to him to call him to obedience and to enter into that allegiance with which the Muslims had entered to the Imam. He also sent a letter to him.[2] In which he called him in the briefest but clear statements that he should come to the right path. And he said: Wisdom guides those who seek guidance and those whose inner conscience the Almighty Allah has illuminated.

Jurair came to Muawiyah and delivered the Imam’s letter. He also advised him extensively and warned him. Muawiyah heard him but didn’t say anything in reply. He refrained from it for a long time, because he did not have any other option but to decline peace and postpone the matter.

Muawiyah and Amr Ibn Aas

Muawiyah realized that he would not be able to dominate the events without joining Amr Aas, who was the most cunning of the Arabs. So he wanted his help for political victory through his plots and machinations. Therefore he wrote to him  


[1] Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 117
[2] Ar-Risalah fi Waqiyatus Siffeen, Pg. 27-30

inviting him to Damascus.

Ibn Aas according to historians, was displeased with Uthman due to his suspension at the latter’s hand and he was instigating people against Uthman. He encouraged them to rise up in revolt against the third caliph. Amr Aas was of those who had prepared the ground for revolution against Uthman. When he became assured that the uprising against Uthman was certain he returned to his land that he owned in Palestine and began to reside there and closely followed the news concerning Uthman.

When Muawiyah’s letter arrived, Amr Aas continued to remain busy in his work and sought advice from his two sons Abdullah and Muhammad.

Abdullah who was a man of righteous inclinations suggested that he should remain aloof and not to reply anything to Muawiyah till Muslims are united once more and then they could join the Muslims.

His son Muhammad who was greedy for that which the youth of Quraish had been covetous liked progress and fame and therefore he suggested to his father to join Muawiyah so that they should get some share from his worldly possessions.

Amr told his son, Abdullah: “You have advised us that which is good for our religion,” and he told his son, Muhammad, “You have suggested that which is beneficial for our worldly life.” Thus that night he remained sleepless debating whether he should join Ali and be like other Muslims so that whatever shall be for them would also be there for him. And to take up that which they had taken upon themselves except that he should achieve from this world but would decide his fate in the Hereafter. Or that he should join hands with Muawiyah and obtain material wealth that he anticipated while he had not forgotten the governorship of Egypt and he continuously used to lament at its loss. His couplets are recorded from him that night that describe his mental struggle.

The dawn had not broken but that he gave precedence to his world before his Hereafter and decided to join hands with Muawiyah. So he set out for Damascus accompanied by his two sons. When they reached he began to lament among the Syrians like a woman, “Alas, for Uthman! I am grieving for shame and religion!”[1]

We ask: O Ibn Aas! May God Kill you! Are you lamenting for Uthman? While you had instigated people against him? And encouraged enmity towards him? Even when you came across quadrupeds you used to incite them against Uthman so that they may shed his blood.

At that time he had gambled his life for power with so much ferocity that he made people forgetful of their religion and they committed all the things that the Almighty Allah had prohibited.

When he met Muawiyah he began to speak about the battle against Imam. Ibn Aas said, “As for Ali, by Allah! Arabs do not consider you and him equal in any matter  


[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/274

and in the battle he has an advantage that no one of the Quraish has except that you be oppressive to him.

Muawiyah expressed his view regarding the battle against the Imam and said: “You are right, but we shall fight for that which is in our hand and we shall put the responsibility of Uthman’s blood on him.”

Ibn Aas ridiculed him saying, “Woe be to me, you are the one who deserves to say the least about Uthman.”

“Woe be to you, why?”

“But you abandoned him while the Syrians were with you. So much so that Yazid bin Asad Bajali asked for help and he went towards him. And as far as I am concerned I openly deserted him and ran away to Palestine…”[1]

Muawiyah knew that Ibn Aas would not be sincere with him and he saw wisdom in making him his confidant and that he may reward him for his religion. So he clarified further and said, “O Amr, do you love me?”

“What for?” For the Hereafter? By Allah the Hereafter is not with you. Or for the world? By Allah, it shall not be so till I remain your partner in it.”

“Are you my partner in it?”

“Write Egypt and its surrounding areas for me.”

“You will get what you want.”

Thus he wrote the governorship of Egypt for him and also fixed remuneration for him[2] so that he may confront the successor of the Messenger of Allah (s). And in this way he won over the heart of the most cunning Arab and a senior member of Quraish. He was the person aware of the condition of the people and he knew that how he could dominate the events.

Sending back of Jurair

When Muawiyah’s job was over and his position became established, he sent back Jurair and along with him sent a letter addressed to the Holy Imam (‘a). Therein he put the responsibility of Uthman’s blood on Imam (‘a) and he announced the unanimity of Syrians to fight His Eminence if he does not hand over to them the killers of Uthman and entrusts the caliphate to the consensus of Muslims.

Jurair departed for Kufa and informed him about the refusal of Muawiyah and told him about the topic the Syrians were according importance with reference to the Imam.

Imam decided to once again complete the argument for him and therefore he sent another messenger so that he may invite him to obedience and to enter that which the Muslims had entered. But this did not produce any result because Muawiyah became assured that he was capable of confronting and opposing the Imam and he became determined on his deviation and apostasy.  


[1] Yaqubi, Tarikh, 2/162
[2] Iqdul Farid 4/345

Uthman’s Shirt

Muawiyah with deceit and intrigue incited the simple- minded people of Syria in the grief of Uthman because he used to display Uthman’s bloodstained shirt from the pulpit and this made them lament more. He also instructed his preachers to magnify this matter and instigate the people to seek revenge for Uthman’s blood. And whenever their grief abated to some extent, Ibn Aas said in a taunting manner, “Chase the young one of the she-camel and make her disconcerted.”[1]

Muawiyah also took out Uthman’s shirt for them and they again became aggrieved for him. They swore that except for nocturnal emission they would not put bath water on their body for ritual bath. And they swore that they would not go near their women and not sleep on their beds till they kill the murderers of Uthman.[2]

Their hearts burst to rise up in battle to seek the revenge for Uthman’s blood. Muawiyah convinced them that Ali was responsible for Uthman’s murder and he was shielding his killers. They reached to such a condition that they were more eager for the battle than Muawiyah himself.

Muawiyah’s Mobilization of Army towards Siffeen

Muawiyah understood that except for battle there was no other option because Imam in his own religion did not either openly showed off nor was there any intrigue in his plans. He did not let him continue as the governor of Syria and did not entrust him with any post in the government. Rather he had removed him from all government machinery. Because he had become aware of his defects in his faith and his evil intentions regarding Islam and Muslims.

Muawiyah set out with a huge army of Syrians and sent out scouts (advance guards) before him while he made his companions camp at the best place nearest to the Euphrates and he took control of the Euphrates and considered it his first victory and thus he deprived his enemy from water and posted his soldiers there as a preparation for beginning the battle and arranged his forces for the main confrontation.

Imam comes out for the battle

Imam (‘a) became ready for the battle and sent out preachers in Kufa to mobilize people to rise up for Jihad and confront Muawiyah after they had obtained the great victory of Jamal.

Imam Husain (‘a) delivered great awakening sermons. After praise and glorification of Allah he said as follows:

“O people! You are the chosen and selected companions to finish off that which has been created among you and to make efforts to ease what has been made difficult for you. But you should know that battle is an open mischief and a bitter  


[1] This is a proverb which means: Remind them of some sorrows so that they become distressed (Tr.)
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/277

thing. Thus whoever is ready for it should prepare the necessary provision. And he must not fear for their wound before they are inflicted on him.

Know that! He shall be their friend and whoever moves towards it before its time and before its appointing of the manner and pursuit, then he shall be the nearest that the people shall not gain anything from him and he would have thrown away himself to perdition. We implore the Almighty that He may give you power by His help.”[1]

This sermon was full of encouragement to hasten for the battle and complete preparation for it. And to make them careful in understanding the requirements of success and means of obtaining victory on the enemies. And that carelessness and sloth shall result in defeat and humiliation. This sermon also proves the wide knowledge of the Imam regarding military affairs and problems connected with war.

After the speech of the Prophet’s grandson, people presented themselves for battle and began to arrange their forces and when their provision and preparations were ready Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) departed with them to fight the son of Abu Sufyan. He dispatched the vanguard before him and instructed it not to initiate the battle against the Syrians till His Eminence reaches to them.

The Iraqi army came out like a flood and they were convinced that they were going to battle disobedient powers that were against Islam and who were enemies of their aim.

Along the Imam’s journey numerous events occurred but prolonging our discussion by narrating them in detail here is uncalled for. We would mention them in a passing manner.

Obtaining control over the Euphrates

Imam’s men could not find a way to reach Euphrates because Muawiyah’s forces had surrounded the river and they strictly forbade the Imam’s forces to draw water from there.

When Imam (‘a) saw this situation he dispatched a messenger to Muawiyah to ask him to accord permission to use the river water. However the dialogue did not produce any result but rather they persisted in their prohibition and they wanted to keep them deprived like Uthman was deprived of water when he was under siege.

The Imam’s soldiers were afflicted with severe thirst and Ashath bin Qais came out to His Eminence and asked permission to begin the battle and to compel the enemy forces to give up their control over the Euphrates. Imam (‘a) had no option but to accord the permission.

Furious battle ensued between the two armies and the Imam’s forces emerged victorious and they took the Euphrates under their control. They wanted to pay back in their own coin and to deprive them of the water from Euphrates in the  


[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/186 (Ismailiyan Edition)

same way as the soldiers of Muawiyah had acted with them. However the Imam did not permit this and they acted as gentlemen and righteous people and allowed them use of river water.

Decadence and degradation were of the basic elements of the Umayyads and a part of their personal trait because in the plains of Kerbala also they repeated the same act they had performed in Siffeen and they cut off the water supply from the Euphrates for Imam Husain (‘a) and his entourage and the ladies and children of the Prophet’s household were not given a drop from the river so that thirst may defeat them and lack of water may burst their hearts and the Umayyads did not pay heed to any voice of conscience and their hearts did not soften that they should have given a little water and proved their kind heartedness.

Messengers of Armistice

Imam (‘a) very carefully refrained from shedding the blood of Muslims and in order to make peace and ceasefire he made many efforts. He dispatched Adi bin Hatim, Shabth bin Rabi, Yazid bin Qais and Ziyad bin Hafasa to Muawiyah in order to invite him to save the blood of Muslims, remind him of the Hereafter and warn him that if he desists they would to face the same fate as the folks of Jamal. But the son of Hind did not respond to these demands and continued to remain on his misguidance and deviation and hoisted the responsibility of Uthman’s murder on the Imam. Because his military power, unity in his forces and his obstinacy on seeking revenge for Uthman’s blood incited him to disobedience.

Agents for making peace returned unsuccessful and they became convinced that Muawiyah intended to fight and he was not at all inclined to peace. They informed the Holy Imam (‘a) about this matter. His Eminence became prepared for the battle and called the people for war.

The Battle

Imam (‘a) prepared his men with their flags for the battle and he commanded his soldiers that they must not begin hostilities as he had ordered in the battle of Jamal. And also not to pursue anyone who flees from the battle. They must not attack the wounded or trample the dead. They should not attack the women. These and other instructions issued by the Imam displayed the code of war in Islam.

Battalions from the army of the Imam came out against battalions from the army of Muawiyah and the two groups fought the whole day or a part of the day. Then they used to halt the fighting without an all out war taking place between them. From these circumstances the Imam hoped that Muawiyah may become inclined to making peace and refraining from bloodshed.

These conditions continued for some days of the month of Zilhajj, till the month of Mohurrum arrived. And these were the months in which, in Islam and in pre-Islamic age hostilities were prohibited. The two armies refrained from fighting the whole month and they got the opportunity to meet each other in peace because they gave assurance of ceasefire to each other and no fighting took place among them.

Envoys of peace also tried to bring peace between the two opponents but they did not achieve any result while the dispute among the two parties had intensified. People of Iraq were calling the Syrians for unity and asked them to join in the allegiance to the Imam. On the other hand the Syrians were determined to seek revenge of Uthman’s blood and they refused to pay allegiance to the Holy Imam (‘a). They wanted caliphate to be handed over to the Shura Committee of Muslims.

When the month of Mohurrum concluded they began to fight again but the battle did not take up the form of an all out war. It remained as sporadic fighting. A battalion fought a battalion and a regiment fought a regiment.

Both the groups finally tired of this sporadic fighting and they were goading for an all out battle. Therefore the Imam (‘a) prepared the soldiers fully and Muawiyah also did the same. The two armies entered into furious battle and terrible fighting followed. And the right wing of the Imam’s army was placed at the back and the Imam accompanied by Hasan and Husain participated in the battle[1] But as for the left side his soldiers, that is Rabia continuously fought valiantly. Writers say: “After today no excuse shall remain with Arabs if you receive any harm while the Imam is amidst you.”

Rabia took oath for death and remained steadfast in the battle. And on the right the soldiers continued their efforts under the command of their general, Malik Ashtar. And the battle continued to rage on with ferocity. Weakness and signs of defeat became apparent in Muawiyah’s army and he decided to flee the battlefield but he recalled the couplets of Ibnul Itanabe that were as follows:

“I do not like courage, effort and moving forward against the magnanimous warrior.

And that I give my property unwillingly or to earn praise with profit.

And my words, when my life is in distress and anxiety; in your place would you praise him or you will sit quietly?”

Restraining Hasan and Husain (‘a) from the Battle

Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) restrained the two grandsons of the Messenger of Allah (s) from taking an active part in the battle. His Eminence said, “Protect these two youths (i.e. Hasan and Husain), in my place. So that as a result of their killing the Progeny of the Messenger of Allah (s) should not be cut off.”[2]

Imam (‘a) was making great efforts to keep the two beloved ones of the Messenger of Allah (s) safe because they were the means of continuation and survival of the generations of His Eminence.  


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/305 & 3/86
[2] Nahjul Balagha 11/200 (Ismailiyan Edition)

Ammar’s Martyrdom

Ammar bin Yasir was the most prominent face in the group of Imam (‘a). He was the one who made the greatest efforts and he was the most patient of them in the path of Islam. Since the passing away of the Prophet he had followed Ali (‘a) and always accompanied him because he was certain that His Eminence was with the truth and truth was with him as the Messenger of Allah (s) had informed.

At the time of the battle of Siffeen, Ammar was an aged man of ninety but his heart and perception were safe from ageing because in that battle he seemed to be a young man and he fought the battalion of Ibn Aas. He pointed to their standard and said, “By Allah, thrice have I fought this regiment and this one is not the best of them.” When he saw his men sitting back in the battlefield he told them, “By Allah, even if they chase us till Nakhala Hajr I shall still believe that we are on the right and they are on falsehood.”

Narrators say: One morning during the days of Siffeen he took up his position early in such a way that he was eager to see the Messenger of Allah (s) and to meet his parents. So he hastened to the Holy Imam (‘a) and sought his permission to enter the battlefield so that maybe he is blessed with martyrdom, but the Imam did not accord permission to him. However he persisted in his pleading and at last the Imam relented to his entreaties. Yet the Imam wept bitterly to see Ammar departing.

Ammar departed for the battlefield while his powers were at maximum and he achieved his desires that he had been allowed to proceed towards his martyrdom. He was elated and joyous at this and he called out aloud, “This day I shall meet my favorite ones, Muhammad and his companions…”

The battalion in which Ammar was fighting its standard bearer was Hashim bin Utbah Mirqal. He was a Muslim cavalier and a righteous person, one of the best friends of the Imam and the most sincere of them. He had only one healthy eye.

Ammar went towards him and sometimes he spurred him severely to the battlefield and said: “Move forward, O One-eyed man!” At other times he addressed him in a kind manner and said: “May my parents be sacrificed on you! Attack!” Hashim said: “May God have mercy on you. O Abul Yaqzan! You are a man who considers a battle as light and in the same way shall crawl ahead; maybe we can achieve what we desire.” At last Hashim was fed up and launched an attack reciting the following Rajaz (War poem):

“They have denounced me severely and not said anything less. I have gambled my life and I shall not return.

I am that one-eyed man who finds his own place. Either I shall defeat or be defeated.

I made great efforts in life and now I am fed up with it. I shall stop them with my spear.”

This Rajaz shows his determination and his disgust with the life of this world. When he jumped into the battle with ferocity and zeal Ammar was fighting alongside him, reciting the following Rajaz:

“We fought you for the revelation of Quran and today we fight you for its interpretation.

A fight that separates the head from the body and separates two friends.

It is that the right is restored to its position.”

Ammar, with a sincere faith, fought the polytheists on the side of the Messenger of Allah (s) and in defense of monotheism he participated in severe confrontations. And with the brother of the Messenger of Allah (s) he fought for the defense of the interpretation of Quran and in defense of the Imam of the Muslims. Thus what gifts and favors Ammar bestowed on Islam!

Ammar entered into a furious battle with the powers of embezzlement and the fighting intensified. Finally the filthiest one of humanity, a person named Abul Ghadiya attacked him and hit him with his sword injuring him fatally. Ammar, the one with a lofty belief and faith fell down while he was with intense thirst and lay writhing in his own pure blood. A lady brought a bowl of milk for him and when he saw her he smiled and became certain that his end was near and in a satisfied tone said, “The Messenger of Allah (s) told me: Your last drink of the world would be a bowl of milk and an unjust group shall kill you.”

Not much time passed when he breathed his last and with his death, closed the most illuminated and prominent page of belief and Jihad. And that brave warrior who had illuminated his life and thoughts with sincerity and struggle departed up to the Almighty.

While Ammar was gone to the battle, Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) was continuously restless and he used to say, “Get me some news of the son of Sumaiyyah.”

A group of soldiers went out in search of Ammar and found him martyred soaked in blood. They rushed back to the Imam and informed him about Ammar’s martyrdom.

The Imam was devastated by the shock and his strength sapped. A wave of pain passed over his countenance, because he had just lost a brother and a friend.

The Imam moved towards the place of Ammar’s martyrdom with his heart filled with grief and his eyes filled with tears. Commanders of the army aggrieved at the loss of a great warrior also accompanied him.

When the Holy Imam (‘a) reached that place of Ammar’s martyrdom, he threw himself upon him and kissed him. Then he wept bitterly and expressed his grief in fiery words and said: “One who does not accord any importance to son of Yasir of those killed among the Muslims and is not afflicted with a great sorrow is not a righteous person. May Allah have mercy on Ammar on the day he became a

Muslim. May Allah have mercy on Ammar on the day he is martyred. May Allah have mercy on Ammar on the day he shall be raised. I saw Ammar that whenever the Messenger of Allah (s) named four companions, Ammar was fourth of them and whenever he names five companions, Ammar was fifth of them and none of the senior companions of the Prophet had any doubt that on more than one occasion the Paradise had been made incumbent for Ammar and no two persons (had doubt in it). Thus congratulations to Ammar for gaining Paradise.”

Imam (‘a) took the head of Ammar in his lap while tears were flowing on his cheeks.

Imam Hasan (‘a) and others also came forward and lamented for the great martyr in sorrow and grief. After that Imam (‘a) arose and buried Ammar.

Historians say: When the news of Ammar’s martyrdom spread, consternation arose among the soldiers of Muawiyah because they had heard that the Holy Prophet (s) had said: “An unjust group shall kill him (Ammar)” And it became clear to them they themselves were these same people about whom the Messenger of Allah (s) had stated as above. However, Ibn Aas was able to remove the discord by saying that whosoever has brought Ammar to the battle is the one responsible for his death. The gullible Syrians believed what Ibn Aas told them.

After the martyrdom of Ammar the battle intensified further while the forces of Muawiyah had fled and weakness had become obvious in his fighters.

Ibn Aas’ Ruse

The most horrible trick ever played in all of history of all the nations was the one enacted by Ibn Aas. It was hoisting the pages of Quran on points of spears. R. Miller has described it as the worst type of joke ever played in the history of humanity.[1]He says: I believe that this was not an extempore trick and a sudden matter because it was probably as a result of a secret pact between Ibn Aas and Ashath bin Qais, an Iraqi commander. The two of them had been in secret contact throughout the battle. Dr. Taha Husayn also holds this belief and he says: “It is not unlikely that Ashath bin Qais, the most cunning of the Iraqi people in secret contact with Ibn Aas the most cunning one of the Syrians, hatched a plot so that people may fight among themselves. Then if the Syrians were to emerge victorious, what could be better than that but if they feared defeat or were about to be routed, they would raise Quran aloft the spears and in this way create discord among the men of Ali (‘a) and fan the flames of conflict among them.”[2]

Anyway when the defeat of Syrians became obvious and their forces began to disperse, Muawiyah rushed to Amr Aas in shock and sought his view. Amr advised him to raise the Quran.

Muawiyah at once ordered that approximately 500 copies of Quran should be  


[1] Aqida wa Shariyat dar Islam, Pg. 190
[2] Al-Fitnatul Kubra 2/89

raised on spears and clamor of Syrians rose up in unison. All of them spoke in one voice, “This Book of Allah, from its opening till the end, is between you and us. Who would defend the borders of Syria after the people of Syria are destroyed? Who would defend the borders of Iraq after the Iraqis are destroyed? Who would go for Jihad to Rome? Who would defend against the Turks? Who would confront the infidels?”

This call fell like a bolt of lightning on the Iraqi army which transformed them completely and like waves they rushed to the Imam and cried, “Muawiyah has come to you with sincerity, he has called you to the Book of Allah. You must accept his offer.”

The Imam was greatly affected by the fraudulent proposal and he knew that it was a result of their military defeat. They had no aim except to deceive the people and they had raised Quran not because they had faith in it. It was only to fool their opponents. It was a matter of great regret that they did not take into consideration the moments of their future-making of history and they did not keep in view the future of the Ummah while not more than a few moments remained for the annihilation of oppression and destruction of the foundations of injustice.

How terrible and regretful it was that they remained obstinate on their rebellion and enmity. Twelve thousand person from among them having marks of prostration on their foreheads, they came out and addressed the Imam by his name, “O Ali, you must reply positively to these people who have called you in the name of this book. Otherwise we shall kill you like we killed the son of Affan. By Allah if you do not relent we shall make good our threat…”

The Holy Imam (‘a) spoke to them in a sorrowful and kind manner so that he may root out the spirit of rebellion from them. However the Imam’s words remained ineffective and they continued in their deviation and they were stubborn on forcing the Imam to accept the truce. Ashath bin Qais was instigating them for this and in a loud voice he demanded that the offer of Syrians be accepted.

Imam (‘a) had no option but to accept the offer and therefore he ordered that hostilities be stopped while his heart was shattered by grief and sorrow. Because he had become certain that falsehood had won over truth and all the efforts and sacrifices of his army had been in vain.

The traitors insisted upon the Imam that he should call back Malik Ashtar from the battlefield while he was just inches from victory.

Imam (‘a) sent a message to him to come back but he paid no heed to this and he told the messenger, “Tell my master that this is not the time that you should prefer to keep me away from this opportunity. I am sure that the Almighty Allah shall bestow victory for us. Thus do not put me to haste…”

The messenger returned and conveyed Malik’s response to the Imam. Those uncivilized people began to scream in denouncing the Holy Imam (‘a). They said, “We don’t see except that you had ordered him to fight on.”

Imam (‘a) was in a great difficulty in front of them. So he told them, “Did you see me speak in a secret manner with my messengers? Did I not speak to them in presence of you all?”

However they remained adamant on their waywardness and said, “Tell him to come back immediately or by Allah we shall depose you…”

They were determined to create mischief and it was very likely they would have harmed Imam (‘a). Therefore His Eminence issued an emphatic order that Malik should leave the battlefield.

Malik obeyed the instructions while the Syrian army was routed and as he returned to the Imam he asked Yazid, the Imam’s messenger, “Has this mischief appeared due to the raising of copies of Quran?”

“Yes”

Ashtar understood the deceit of Ibn Aas and he said, “By Allah, when the Qurans were raised I understood that discord and conflict would indeed develop and this was a plot of the son of that unchaste woman. Do you not see victory? Don’t you see what conditions they had created? Don’t you see what Allah is doing for us? Is it right to leave them and turn away?”

Yazid told him about the terrible circumstances and dangerous atmosphere in which the Imam was caught and he said, “Would you prefer that you become victorious while Amirul Momineen (‘a) has to bear calamities at the hands of his enemies?”

Ashtar said what befits a believer, “Glory be to Allah! No by Allah, I would not like that!”

“It is only they who told the Imam, ‘Tell Malik to come back or we shall kill you with our swords like we slew the son of Affan, or we shall hand you over to your enemy?’”

Immersed in grief and deserted by sorrow, Ashtar returned while all his hopes were shattered.

He went towards the people and scolded them severely asking them to leave him to attack the enemies because victory and success was very close.

Those transmogrified people paid no heed to Malik’s statements and being firm on the way to degradation and humiliation said: “No! No!”

“Give me only respite equal to the jump of a horse because I am sure of victory…”

“In that case we shall become your partners in sin…”

Ashtar argued with them with logic and reasoning and he criticized their belief. He said, “Tell me, when the stalwarts have been martyred and the lowly ones among you remain in their places – when were you on the right? Whether it was of that time when you were killing the Syrians or now when you have stopped fighting and are on falsehood. Or now that you have refrained from fighting are you on the

right? In that case those of you were killed, whose greatness you do not deny, and who were better than you, are all in the fire of hell…”

These brilliant arguments did not succeed to change their stance. They said. “O Ashtar! Leave us! We fought them for the sake of Allah. We shall not obey you. Go away from us!”

When Ashtar became certain that they cannot be reformed he gave them a severe reply and he frightened them of the consequences of this mischief and that after this they would never get any respect.

In fact they never received any honor after that because the rightful rulership slipped from their hands and their power went into Muawiyah’s hands and he subjected them to terrible difficulties.

Malik petitioned the Imam to fight them but the Imam refused because definitely the majority of the representatives in the Imams army were opposing the Imam and starting battles against them would have worst consequences because the Ummah shall become an easy morsel for the Umayyads.

Imam (a.s) bowed his head while waves of pain and sorrow surrounded him. For a long time he thought of the bitter results that these disobedient people had created.

Historians say: They thought that the Imam’s silence implied his consent. They cried, “Ali, Amirul Momineen has accepted arbitration and has agreed to follow the command of Quran.”

Imam (a.s) was immersed in sorrow. The control of the affairs had gone out of his hand and his soldiers had rebelled against him. The Imam could not do anything about it. He describes what befell him in the following words, “Yesterday I was the chief and today I am ordered! Yesterday I was refusing it and today I am refused…”

Arbitration

The Imam’s difficulties and hardships at the hands of his rebellion army were not limited to this. A far greater problem appeared because the disobedient people under the leadership of Ashath bin Qais insisted on the selection of Abu Musa Ashari who was more severe and mischievous enemy of the Imam. This was so because they knew that Abu Musa would definitely depose the Imam from caliphate and appoint in his place a candidate of their choice. They all besieged the Imam from all sides and raised the slogan: “We want Abu Musa!”

Imam (a.s) prevented them and he refused to allow the selection of Abu Musa. He said, “In the beginning you turned away from me. Now do not disobey me. I have decided not to appoint Abu Musa.”

They remained adamant on their misguidance and disobedience and they said, “We shall not accept anyone else because we would befall into that which he had warned us of.”

The Holy Imam (a.s) told them about the real condition of Abu Musa and his opposition to His Eminence and said, “He is not reliable, he has separated from me and he instigated people against me and then he ran away from me till finally I gave him amnesty. We shall appoint Ibn Abbas (for arbitration).”

They refused the appointment of the Ibn Abbas. Imam (a.s) then proposed the appointment of Malik Ashtar but they remained adamant on selection of Abu Musa Ashari. The Imam had no option but to relent and accord his consent.

Arbitration Document

The two sides decided to appoint Ibn Aas from the Syrian and Abu Musa Ashari from the Iraqi side as arbitrators. And that they should compose a document and they decided that they would act according to their judgment. They wrote in the document a text that Tabari has narrated as follows:

In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. This is the agreement between Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan. This decision of Ali will be effective on the people of Iraq and those who are in his community or ordinary believers with them. And this treaty of Muawiyah will be applicable to the people of Syria and those who are with Muawiyah. We accept the command of Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime and Book of Allah and except for the Book of Allah no decision would be applicable to us and we shall act upon whatever is present from the beginning to the end in the Book of Allah and that we shall make popular what this Book orders to enliven and we shall stop whatever it commands to be stopped. All the arbitrators, that is Abu Musa Ashari, Abdullah bin Qais and Amr bin al-Aas al-Qarshi will follow whatever decision they find in the Book of Allah. They shall act on the practice that is based on justice and equity and that upon which all shall be in agreement and no one shall be opposed to it. Both the arbitrators shall take oaths and pledges from Ali and Muawiyah and their soldiers and other reliable people also that the lives and properties of both of them will be protected and whatever these two decide in that the whole community will co-operate with them and this pledge will be incumbent on the Muslims of both parties that whatever is written in this treaty is accepted by us and I have made the decision of both the arbitrators compulsory on all Muslims. All these people shall remove their weapons and all would observe peace. They can go wherever they like. Their lives, properties, women and children shall be secure. All shall observe peace whether present or absent and the oath and pledge of the Almighty shall be on Abdullah bin Qais and Amr bin Aas that they decide the matter of the community and that they do not once more make them involved in war and discord. It is another thing that someone may not accept their decision and the duration of this judgment shall be till the month of Ramadan and if these two arbitrators like to increase this duration they can do so with mutual agreement and if one of the two arbitrators dies the Amir of the followers shall appoint another judge in his place and that person shall be selected from just and equitable persons. And the place of the judgment of these two shall be a place that is between the people of Kufa and Syria. These judges

may take the testimony of whosoever they like on the verdict and they shall write down their testimony and this verdict and those witnesses shall support them in their verdict. And they shall oppose those who intend to nullify it. O Allah! We seek Your help against the one who rejects this verdict.[1]

A group from each party signed the document and brought it into force. This agreement fulfilled the aspirations of Muawiyah and he survived the danger to his life and the lives of his followers.

The most remarkable point about this document is that it mentions nothing about the revenge of Uthman’s blood. Not a slightest objection is mentioned about it. Rather it speaks of peace and amity between the two groups. I believe that this document was written without the Imam having any say in it because His Eminence had left his army men to do as they like.

The Imam’s Return to Kufa

Imam left Siffeen for Kufa; we don’t think that any writer is able to describe in reality the calamity that befell the Holy Imam (a.s). Because His Eminence returned in great shock as he was aware that the falsehood of Muawiyah had become stable and strong and his position had become established. He saw that his own soldiers had become rebels because when he called them they did not harken to his call. This was a result of their involvement in mischief and hardships. Historians say that they used to abuse and kill each other. They also used to oppress each other. The most dangerous thing that arose was the problem of the Khawarij about which we shall discuss soon. It was a disease that was destroying the ranks of Iraqis and the biggest danger that came to them and had broken the unity of the Imam’s army and which spread fear and terror in their ranks.

Imam (a.s) reached Kufa and saw that people were afflicted due to the loss of the lives of their dear ones in the Battle of Siffeen because those who were killed in Siffeen were many times more than those who died in Jamal.

With the Mariqeen

Narrators say: the Messenger of Allah (s) had named the people of Nahrawan as Mariqeen and he commanded Amirul Momineen (‘a) Ali (a.s) to fight them just as he ordered fighting against the Nakiseen and Qasiteen.

The obvious fact is the method of thinking of Khawarij, deviation in the movement and obstinacy on ignorance and disobedience because they based their philosophy on bigotry and lack of contemplation and perception. Their slogan for which they sacrificed themselves was: There is no command except of Allah. However not much time passed but they began to accept that sword was necessary for rulership and they spread terror and mischief in the land, which we shall explain below.

Anyway, when Imam returned from Siffeen to Kufa they did not enter Kufa. They went to Hurura and became to be called Hururis. On the basis of what historians  


[1] Tabari, Tarikh, 5/53-54

state, they numbered 1200. They selected Shabth Ibn Rabi as their commander and Abdullah Kuwa Yashkari to lead them in prayers. They vacated the Imam from caliphate and entrusted the caliphate to a Shura committee of Muslims.

The Imam was infuriated at their rebellion and he dispatched Abdullah Ibn Abbas to meet them emphasizing that he must not speak or deal harshly with them till the Imam reaches them. But Ibn Abbas was compelled to debate with them and he was talking to them when Imam arrived. He prohibited Ibn Abbas from arguing with them. He said, “By Allah, this is the occasion that whoever succeeds in this shall be successful in the Hereafter. And one who talks unrightfully in it shall be blind and deviated in the Hereafter.”

Then he asked them, “Who is your leader?”

“Ibn Kuwa.”

“What has forced you to disobey us?”

“Your arbitration in Siffeen?”

“I put you under oath of Allah. When they raised the Quran and you were telling me to accept the truce did I not tell you that I knew them better than you? They are not religious and people of Quran. I have lived with them. When they were children and when they grew up. They were the worst children and the most mischievous adults. Move forward with the truth and rightfulness because those people have raised Quran as a ruse. But you refused to accept my view and told me to accept the truce. Recall what I told you and how you opposed me. And when you did not accept anything except Quran we imposed the condition on the arbitrators that they should only follow the commands of Quran. Then if they had acted according to the command of Quran I would not have opposed it. If they had refused we would also have refused to accept their decision.”

This brilliant argument refuted all their doubts because they were themselves responsible for every mischief and corruption that had taken place and in this regard the Imam has not committed anything wrong.

They asked His Eminence, “Do you think it was an act of justice to appoint some people as arbitrators over loss of human lives?”

“We did not appoint people as arbitrators, rather we appointed the Quran as arbitrators. This is the Quran which is a writing between two covers, that people speak by it.”

“Tell us why you fixed a period of respite between you and them.”

“So that the ignorant may know and the knowledgeable may investigate and perhaps the Almighty Allah may set right the affairs of this community.”

The Imam refuted all their objections and compelled them to accept as right what all he had said. Then he said to them in a kind manner, “Enter your city, may Allah have mercy on you.”

They agreed to do so and all of them entered Kufa with Imam (a.s) however they retained their beliefs and spread their view among the gullible people so that they may also start expressing these distorted beliefs. Their awe became powerful and they began to spread their fear among the people and misguided the people to depose the Imam and called them to entrust the caliphate to a consultative committee.[1]

The Two Arbitrators hold a Meeting

Muawiyah regained his forces and stabilized his position after the collapse that had befallen him. He sent his messengers to Imam Ali. He asked him to fulfill the arbitration and to allow the arbitrators to hold a meeting. He hurried to do that because he knew that discords and misfortunes had befallen the Iraqi troops and they had divided into tribes and parties, and he knew that Abu Musa al-Ashari was deviated from the Imam as well. Accordingly, he intended to add another victory to his victory. The Imam (‘a) responded to him. He sent four hundred men under the leadership of Shurayh bin Hani al-Harithi. Among them there were Abdullah bin Abbas to lead them in prayer and undertake their affairs, and Abu Musa al-Ashari, who was chosen for the arbitration. And so did Muawiyah. He sent Amr bin al-Aas with four hundred men. He supplied him with sufficient information about the dull one, Abu Musa, saying: “You will face a man with a long tongue and a little reason! Therefore, do not employ your entire mind against him!”

The misguided judges[2] arrived in Adhruh or Doumat al-Jandal. Meetings and arbitrations were held there. The cunning one, Amr bin al-Aas, met the weak-minded and dull Abu Musa. He gave him three days’ time. He chose a special place for him. He gave him delicious food and drinks. He did not discuss the affair with him until he completely understood him and after bribing him. When he knew that he had dominated him, he talked with him with gentleness and leniency. He showed towards him admiration, reverence, and magnification. He said to him: “O Abu Musa, you are the chief of the companions of Muhammad (‘a)! You have an excellence and precedence over them. You see that this community has fallen into blind sedition with which there is no safety. Therefore, is it possible for you to be the blessed one of this community, that Allah may spare their blood through you? Allah says about one soul: (and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind). What about saving of the lives of these people?”  


[1] Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/469-472
[2] Suwaid bin Ghafla has narrated: I came with Abu Musa Ashari at the bank of river Euphrates during the caliphate of Uthman. Thus he narrated a tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) saying: I heard His Eminence say: Bani Israel developed discord till two misguided judges were sent to them, who were deviated and they deviated others who followed them. My community would also be like that till two judges are sent who are themselves deviated and they would deviate all those who follow them.I told him, “O Abu Musa! Beware that you may not be one of them.”He (the narrator) says: He removed his cloak away from himself and said, “I seek Allah’s refuge from it like I have removed this cloak of mine.” (Nahjul Balagha 13/315)

When was Abu Musa the chief of the Prophet’s companions? When did he have merits and precedence in Islam? These words played with his soul, and he asked how he could decide the conflict.

“You depose Ali bin Abi Talib,” replied Amr, “and I depose Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan. We choose for this community one who has no part in the discord nor has he plunged his hands into it.”

Abu Musa asked him about the person who would be nominated for the caliphate.

Amr understood Abu Musa’s desires and inclinations towards Abdullah bin Umar, so he said: “He is Abdullah bin Umar!”

Abu Musa al-Ashari was very delighted at that. He asked him for covenants to fulfill what he had said:

-How can I be sure of that?

-O Abu Musa, now surely by the remembrance of Allah are the hearts set at rest! Take promises and covenants until you are satisfied!

Then he gave him promises, covenants, and strong oaths, to the extent that he swore by all the sacred things to fulfill what he had said. The Sheikh who was old in age but small in mind (Abu Musa) was astonished at the cleverness that Amr bin al-Aas had. As a result he expressed his satisfaction and acceptance.

Their agreement on the time when they would meet was announced to the people.

Then came the terrible hour when the course of history changed. People gathered to receive the decisive result of this arbitration for which they were waiting impatiently. The cunning person, Amr bin al-Aas, and the deceived one, Abu Musa, came to the pulpit to announce the decision they had reached. Amr bin al-Aas turned to Abu Musa and said to him:

-Rise and address the people, O Abu Musa.

-You rise and address them!

-Glory belongs to Allah! Shall I precede you while you are the Sheikh of the companions of Allah’s Apostle? By Allah, I will never do that![1]

-Is there anything in your soul?

Amr took a strong oath before Abu Musa to conform to the promise he had given to him. As for Abdullah bin Abbas, he knew about Amr bin al-Aas’s trick. The plot that this cunning person made manifested itself. Abdullah turned to Abu Musa and said to him: “What a pity! I think he has deceived you! If you have agreed on an affair, then advance him and made him speak before you! Amr is a treacherous man. I do not think that he has given you consent about that which is between you and him! He will oppose you when you rise among the people!”  


[1] Iqdul Farid 4/347

However, the low person (Abu Musa) paid no attention to Abdullah bin Abbas’ speech. He went quickly towards the pulpit. When he ascended, he praised and lauded Allah. He called down blessings upon Muhammad, and then he said: “O people, we reflected on our affair and knew that the closest thing to security, righteousness, sparing blood, and bringing together the friends is our deposing Ali and Muawiyah. I depose Ali as I take off my turban (and he took off his turban). We have appointed as a caliph a man who was a companion of Allah’s Apostle (‘a), and his father was also a companion of the Prophet (‘a). He became prominent through his precedence in Islam. He is Abdullah bin Umar!”[1]

He lauded him with a good laudation and gave to him good qualities and noble descriptions. Abu Musa turned away from Imam Ali (‘a) who was the Prophet’s self and the gate of the city of his knowledge. He nominated Abdullah bin Umar, who did not know how to divorce his wife properly as his father said about him. What a bad time it was that such a low person should control the Muslims and impose his opinion on them. Anyway, Amr bin al-Aas lauded and praised Allah. He called down blessings upon the Prophet (‘a) and then he said: “O people, Abu Musa Abdullah bin Qais has deposed Ali and removed him from this matter, and he is the most aware of him. Now, I depose Ali as he has done, and I appoint Muawiyah (as a caliph over you and me. Abu Musa has written in the document that Uthman was killed as an oppressed martyr,[2] and that his heir has the right to avenge his blood in any case. Muawiyah was a companion of Allah’s Apostle himself, and his father was a companion of the Prophet. So he is the caliph over us. We have to obey him and pledge allegiance to him to avenge Uthman.”

The dull, deceived person (Abu Musa al-Ashari) said to Amr bin al-Aas: “What’s wrong with you! May Allah curse you! You are like a panting dog!”[3]

Amr bin al-Aas rebuked him after he had used him as a bridge to cross over. He said to him: “You are like a donkey carrying books!”

Yes they were like a dog and a donkey. They really described each other. Abu Musa set off towards Mecca carrying with him shame and disgrace after making this blind sedition and the rip which could be not mended. He left behind him the true Imam moaning due to his (Abu Musa’s) silly arbitration. Through his arbitration, he recorded for the Iraqis shame and disgrace that history would not ever forget.

The Iraqis were drowned in trials and tribulations and had become certain of the misguidance in which they had fallen. Ashari fled to Mecca, taking disgrace and humility for himself and his sons[4] because he had openly breached the trust of Muslims.  


[1] Tabari, Tarikh, 5/70-71
[2] This is other than the document written after the cessation of hostilities.
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/124-125, Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/118
[4] People ridiculed the sons of Abu Musa Ashari and made fun of them. For example Farazdaq heard Abu Burdah, Abu Musa’s son saying: Why shouldn’t I be proud when I am a son of one of the arbitrators? Farazdaq retorted: Know that one of the two was a fool and the other one a transgressor. So you may become the son of whichever of them you like. (Sharh Nahjul Balagha 19/353) A man looked at one of the sons of Abu Musa walking in vanity, so he said to him: Look at the way he is walking; as if his father had deceived Amr Aas!

Poets of that time composed many satirical verses disparaging Abu Musa Ashari. Aiman bin Kharim Asadi says:

“If these people had wanted freedom from misguidance they would have sent Ibn Abbas to you.

May Allah honor his father, what a great man he is that there is none like him who could solve the difficulties of the people.

But they sent an old man from Yemen to you, who does not know the fraction one-fifth in one-sixth.

If Amr were alone before him he would have put him in such a ditch as if the goat star was among the billy goats.

Tell Ali, instead of complaining to him, the statements of a person who does not refrain from saying the truth.

O Abul Hasan, Ashari is not reliable that you deal with him in trust, because the weeds may again re-form.

Thus discuss your proximate companion as son of your uncle, Abbas is aggrieved.”[1]

Muawiyah achieved victory because the Syrians returned to him and saluted him with the title of “Amirul Momineen”. But the Imam’s army returned in such a way that his soldiers were drowned in discord and conflicts. Some were disgusted with others and they understood the mischief that their own hands had wrought.

Imam Hasan (a.s) delivered a long sermon and invited them to affection and love. Abdullah Ibn Abbas and Abdullah Ibn Ja’far also spoke and their speeches condemned the arbitration. They motivated the people towards obedience and to give up controversies.[2] Some people accepted them and some rebelled and remained on their disobedience.

When the news of arbitration reached Imam (a.s) he was highly aggrieved and he gathered the people and addressed them with an effective speech about his pain and sorrow as a result of their disobeying his commands against cessation of hostilities and letting victory to go out of their hands. He said:

“Praise be to Allah. However severe hardships and disasters may occur I still testify that there is no God except Allah, the One. And that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. So to say: Opposition to a well-wisher creates regret and humiliation and I had commanded you regarding these two men and this arbitration and told you of my sincere views. That if you had obeyed, it would have proved beneficial for you. But you left everything except what you wanted. I was with you like the poet of Hawazin says:

“I commanded them on a sensitive moment but they did pay attention to it even the next afternoon.”  


[1] Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/529
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/129 & 134

Indeed the two persons you had accepted for arbitration, have disregarded the command of Quran and delivered a verdict on their conjecture because on the basis of this they have considered unlawful what was lawful and considered lawful whatever was unlawful. At that time they breached our trust in their decision. Thus no one of them either dispensed guidance nor spoke the right word. Allah, His Messenger and the righteous believers are disgusted of their deeds. Thus get ready for Jihad and to move forward. Report to the cantonment Monday morning, if Allah wills.”[1]

Armed forces of the Imam (a.s) got ready for journey at the place the Imam had appointed. His Eminence wrote a letter to the people of Basra and sought their help. Some battalions of Basra joined his forces.

Mutiny of the Mariqeen

Imam (a.s) moved towards Syria with his troops but not much time passed when he received news of rebellion and mischief of the Kharijis and their reverting to their views.

Historians say: A group of them came out of Kufa and some people of Basra holding similar views joined them. They went to Nahrawan and camped over there. They then initiated corruption and destruction and considered lawful the shedding of Muslim blood and considered them as infidels.

A companion of the Prophet, named Abdullah bin Khabbab Ibn Arat passed by them. They rushed to him and asked his name and then inquired about his beliefs about the Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a). He praised the Holy Quran and they became infuriated and they tied his arms and took him along with his pregnant wife under a palm tree. A fresh date fell down. One of them hurried to it and put it in his mouth. They objected to it and he spat it out. Another one of them drew his sword, struck with it a pig belonging to a Zimmi non-Muslim and killed it. One of them then shouted at him, “This is mischief in the land.”

The man hurried to the owner of the pig and satisfied him. When Abdullah bin Khabbab saw that, he said to them: “If you are truthful in what I see, then I feel no fear of you. By Allah, I have made no mistake in Islam. I am a believer, and you have given me security. You have said: ‘There is no harm on you!”

However, they paid no attention to his speech. They brought him along with his wife. They made him lie down at the bank of the river. They put him on that pig which they had killed. Then they killed him. Then they walked towards his wife, who was shaking with fear. She knew that the ghost of death was upon her. She was looking at her dead husband. She asked them for mercy and begged them, saying: “I am merely a woman! Do you not fear Allah!”

However, they paid no attention to her asking for mercy and beseeching. They hurried towards her as dogs. They killed her and split her belly open. Then they  


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/140-141

went to three women and killed them. Among them there was Umm Sinan al-Saydawiya, a companion of the Prophet (‘a). The evil of the Kharijites did not stop at this. They persecuted the people, spread terror among them, and wrought corruption in the land.[1]

They began to spread terror and destruction in all the areas. Imam (a.s) send Harth bin Musa Abadi to them to ask them the reason for their terrifying the innocent people and that they should accept the sanctity of the blood that Allah has prohibited.

The messenger was killed before he could convey his message.

Battle against Mariqeen

The Imam’s companions did not consider it advisable to move towards Syria leaving behind them the Kharijis to wrought havoc with their families and properties. This was so because the Kharijis had absolutely no reservation against looting and plunders and they considered all Muslims as apostates and thought that it was permissible to shed their blood. So the companions suggested to the Imam that they first attack and finish off the Kharijis and only after that proceed against Muawiyah. Imam accepted their suggestion and marched with them till they came to Nahrawan. When they reached in the neighborhood to Kharijis they sent a message to them to hand over to them the killers of Khabbab and his wife. In the same way they asked first for the surrender of the murderers of Harth bin Musa and then ordered them to join the battle against Muawiyah. Only after that would their problems be solved.

They replied to the Imam: “There is no option between us except to fight it out; except that you confess you infidelity and do repentance like us.”

Imam was highly affected by this and he said, “Shall I bear witness against myself that I am an infidel after my faith in Allah, and after Jihad with Allah’s Messenger? If I do, then I have gone astray and I am not among the rightly guided…”[2]

Sometimes Imam gave them advice and sometimes he conveyed information till many of them came out and returned to Kufa and many joined the Imam’s forces. The third group separated for battle under the leadership of the Khariji chief, Abdullah bin Wahab Rasibi who had the mark of prostration on his forehead. They comprised in all three thousand soldiers.

When the Imam was hopeless of guiding them or taking them back to the way of the truth, he mobilized his troops and commanded them not to start fighting until they begin. When the Kharijites saw that readiness, they got ready too. As their souls and hearts were full of yearning for fighting as the thirsty yearned for water, they called each other: “Is there anyone who wants to go to Paradise?”  


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/141-142, Tabari, Tarikh, 5/81-82
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/143-144

They all responded to that and strongly attacked Imam Ali’s troops, saying: “No judgment except Allah’s!” The Imam’s horsemen formed two parties. One party went to the right wing and the other to the left. As for the Kharijites, they were rushing between the two parties. The Imam’s companions received them with arrows. It was only an hour and they all were killed. None escaped death except nine persons.[1]

When the battle came to an end, the Imam asked his companions to look for Dhu al-Thadya[2] among the killed. They carefully looked for him but they did not find him. They returned to Imam Ali (‘a) and told him that they had not found the man. He asked them to look for him, saying: “I have never lied nor have I been accused of lying. May Allah have mercy on you! Look for the man! He is among the killed!”

They went and looked for him. One of the Imam’s companions found him, and he hurried to the Imam and told him about it. The Imam said: “Allah is great! I have not fabricated a lie against Muhammad! He (Dhu al-Thadya) has a defective hand that has no bone. At the end of it there is a nipple like that of a woman’s breast and there are five or seven strands of hair on it whose ends are crooked.”

The Imam ordered the corpse of Dhu al-Thidiya to be brought. It was brought before him. He looked at his arm and found it pointed like a breast of a woman and there were black strands of hair on it. When the Imam saw that, he prostrated himself before Allah. Then he divided among his companions the Kharijites’ weapons and animals. He returned the equipment and the servants to their owners.

...in the same way as he had done with the people of Jamal.

The battle of Nahrawan which was the result of the battle of Siffeen ended in this way. It left behind powerful effects in foundation that became apparent in the world of Islam. Like the army of Hururiya that specialized in rebellion against the government and spreading terror and corruption in the lands. This caused untold disasters in the country and mired the people in dissensions and bloodshed.

The most remarkable trait of the Khariji religious denomination was ascribing infidelity to every Muslim who did not ascribe to their dogma. They considered it lawful to shed their blood and plunder their properties.

And in my view most of the terrible cruelties that occurred in the battle of Kerbala are connected to these transmogrified people as all human qualities had gone away from them because most of the people of that army were influenced by these qualities and created the most horrible circumstances.

After effects of the Battle

These battles left behind the most terrible and severe consequences and hardships. Not only the Imam was involved in it but the whole of Islamic community was surrounded by them. Because they brought an everlasting mischief to the world of Islam and created difficulties that were to endure forever. Some of them were as follows:  


[1] Al-Milal wan Nihal 1/107
[2] Like a breast nipple (Tr.)

Muawiyah’s victory

It accorded opportunity to Muawiyah, the governor of Syria to become the first of the governors to proclaim himself as the caliph. He has described his victory over the Imam in the following words: “After Siffeen I fought Ali without an army and without much difficulty and planning.”[1]

As for the Imam, he was sidelined from political and military power for even though he tried to mobilize forces people refused to pay heed.

These battles dragged the Islamic caliphate towards tyrannical rulership because not the slightest resemblance to Islamic politics or logic of Quran was seen in it. Because the job of rulership had reached to Muawiyah who considered the wealth of Allah as his personal property and made servants of Allah (people) as his slaves. And he compelled Muslims to that which they did not like.

Dissipation of Imam’s army

All the military powers in the army of the Imam scattered. Discord and dissension spread among them especially after the battle of Nahrawan because the spirit of fighting had died in them.

Balazari says: “Muawiyah sent Ammarah bin Uqbah to Kufa to spy on the position of the Imam’s army. He wrote to Muawiyah that companions of the Imam and their pious ones were displeased with Ali. They have abandoned him to his fate. On the basis of this commanders and people of the country are destroyed for him. Enmity has developed among them and they are badly divided.”

Muawiyah smiled and said to Walid bin Uqbah, “Do you consent to your brother becoming our spy?” Walid said to his brother Ammarah:

“If you think correctly O son of my mother! Ammarah will not rise up to revenge for the blood.

He resides in an area surrounded by the revenge seeking sons of Affan and he walks between the hare and the bridge.

You walk in contentment and power as if you have not any knowledge of the commander of Ibn Amr.”[2]

Imam’s forces were involved in mischief and corruption and the Imam inspite of his oratorical powers was unable to bring them to senses and destroy rebellion and disobedience that had become a part of their nature.

Among the factors that gave rise to rebellion among the Imam’s troops was that Muawiyah wrote to a group of prominent Iraqi commanders like Ashath bin Qais and he promised them wealth and money and also promised that he would provide them with huge wealth and posts if they could perform destructive activities in the Imam’s troops. They accepted his offer and by themselves they spread false  


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/156
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/157

rumors and misguided the public opinion and disseminated the spirit of dissension and controversies among the people[1] in such a way that their propaganda had a profound effect on the troops and they became rebellious and disobedient to the Imam.

The absolute majority in the cantonment of the Imam was aspiring to obtain huge wealth and properties through their leadership (the caliph) and aimed to get as much benefit as possible while the Syrians were exactly opposed to this.

Hajjaj bin Khazine says to Muawiyah, “You have become strong with something other than with which Ali was strengthened. Because with us is a group that if you speak they shall remain silent. And if you command them they shall not question you while with Ali are such people that if he speaks they also start talking and if he is silent, they begin to question him.”[2]

Conquest of Egypt

Hardships and troubles of the Imam did not end at an appointed time, rather problem continued to occur without any respite and that also in the most severe manner. His Eminence had yet not become free from the battle against the Mariqeen when he became involved in the internal problems of the country. Because Muawiyah seized control of some provinces and on the other provinces he launched attacks and spread awe and terror among the people. Because he had became certain of the weakness and laxity of Imam’s troops and their involvement in discords and dissensions. Therefore he decided to take over Egypt which was the heartland of Arabian lands. Muawiyah made it a morsel for his vizier and the maker of his kingdom, Amr Aas, so that he may utilize its income and wealth for himself.

Imam (a.s) had selected the great leader, Qais bin Saad Ansari, for the governorship of Egypt. He was a prominent personality of Islam and followed good policies, had a deep contemplation and farsightedness and in the days of hardship he administered Egypt with truth and justice and he solved the internal problems and spread friendship and kindness among them. Imam dismissed him and in his stead appointed the purified man, Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr.

The condition of Egypt became serious and Uthmani claimants appeared in the land. The Imam dismissed Muhammad and appointed in his place Malik Ashtar Nakhai who was the most sober person with regard to the Imam and most serious of them. However he had just reached Qulzum when he passed away.

Historians are unanimous that Muawiyah deceived the tax collector of Qulzum. He fed poisoned honey to Malik and killed him as Muawiyah and his companion Amr Aas after that have remarked and said, “Allah has soldiers of honey.”

Muawiyah prepared an army for taking over Egypt and gave it under the command  


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/157
[2] Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 155

of Ibn Aas. When Imam (a.s) understood this matter he retained Muhammad on the governorship of Egypt and promised to send him more troops and monetary help and he called the people of Kufa to go to Egypt for helping their brothers. But they did not accept the Imam’s advice. Imam (a.s) insisted upon them and sought their help but except for some soldiers no one accepted his call, as if he were sending them to death.

Imam (a.s) sent them towards Egypt but not much time passed when His Eminence received the news that Amr Aas has taken over Egypt and the Imam’s representative, that is Muhammad, had been killed by him and his corpse was burnt to ashes.

Imam (a.s) recalled the troops and delivered a sensational sermon to the people of Kufa denouncing them for their sloth and laziness in obeying his commands.

Anyway the takeover of Egypt increased the power of Muawiyah and it motivated him to wage an attack on the Iraqis in their own land.

Attacks

Muawiyah was not satisfied with his conquest of Egypt, rather be began to spread awe and terror in the cities that were under Imam’s control so that people in those areas may know that Ali (a.s) had lost all power and he was no more able to defend them and prevent harm from them.

Muawiyah began to form battalions and appointed them to move forward in the interiors of provinces and spread mischief and bloodshed. Along with this he also sent out some people well-known for their malicious nature and bereft of every human quality as commanders of those battalions against partisans of Ali (‘a). They conducted swift raids and attacks on some special provinces which we shall describe as follows:

Attack on Iraq

Muawiyah sent four military units to attack Iraq and the neighboring provinces and areas. So that the hearts of Iraqis are filled with fear and terror and thus whenever the Imam calls them for Jihad they should not accept. Some Iraqi provinces that were attacked are as follows:

1-Ainut Tamr: Muawiyah dispatched Noman bin Bashir Ansari at the head of 1000 strong battalion to Ainut Tamr where Malik Kaab was the governor. He also had an army of 1000 but he had no information about the attack of Syrian. He had permitted his soldiers family leave and they had all gone to Kufa except for a hundred soldiers who remained with him. When Muawiyah’s army attacked he displayed valor in defending himself and fifty men rushed to his assistance. When Noman saw them he was shocked and fled from there because he thought that other people would follow.

When the news of this attack reached the Imam he stood up among his soldiers and delivered a sermon to them and called them to help him. Then he said:

“O people of Kufa! Whenever a group approaches you or some riders come to you, each of you lock up your house and like cockroaches enter your holes to rest. Like birds take shelter in their nests. By Allah, degraded is the one that you helped. Everyone who is pleased with you with a broken bow without an arrow he attacks with it and you remain satisfied with him. Thus evil and helplessness may be upon you that you were called and spoken to but neither you met with clear conscience nor were helpers in battle. I have become deaf to you that I cannot hear, and dumb such that I don’t think and blind such that I do not see.”[1]

2- Haiyyat – Muawiyah sent Sufyan Ibn Auf with 600 troops to attack Haiyyat and told him that after he has attacked Haiyyat he should proceed to Anbar and Madayan and inflict plunder and torture on the people there. Sufyan departed with his troops to Haiyyat but he did not find anyone there. Then he proceeded to Anbar and there he found a military cantonment of the Imam consisting of 200 persons. He attacked and fought them and killed Ashras bin Hisaan Bakri along with his 30 companions. Then they plundered the city of Anbar and returned happily with the loot to Muawiyah.

News of Anbar reached to His Eminence, Ali (a.s) who was highly affected and very much shocked by this tragedy. Since he was indisposed he did not deliver any speech therefore he wrote a letter that may be read out to the public of that area. In the condition that His Eminence was there near to that place so that he may listen to its reading. The text of the letter is as follows:

“So to say: Know that! Jihad is a door from the doors of Paradise and one who leaves it carelessly shall be dressed in the garments of disgrace and calamities shall surround him and he shall become humiliated. He shall fall from his position and he shall be far from justice and equity. I have called you for day and night, openly and secretly for jihad against the people so that you go after them before they attack you, because no people were attacked in their homes but that they were humiliated. You pointed fingers at each other and showed laziness and my suggestion was very difficult for you. And you disobeyed my commands and disregarded my suggestions. So much so that attacks came on you from all sides. It is a pity that their riders entered Anbar and killed Ibn Hisaan Bakri, confiscated armory and killed righteous people. I have received information that a Syrian entered a house of a Muslim or a protected non-Muslim and snatched away her anklet, bracelets and necklace. Alas, the heart is dying and it is sorrowful and grief flames up that there people are putting such efforts in their falsehood while you all are so much lazy even though you are on the right. Then how bad and humiliating is the condition in which you are involved. And you are the target of every archer. They attacked you by the night and you do not launch any attack. Disobedience of Allah continues and you agree to it. If I tell you to attack your enemies in summer you say who would fight in such hot climate, give us respite till the end of summer. And if I tell you to fight them in winter you say…summer, winter all  


[1] In Tarikh Tabari Pg. 133-134: “And neither a reliable brother.”

there are your lame excuses. From summer and winter? When by Allah, you are afraid of fighting. O men look-alikes! O those who think like children and those who ponder like women in bridal chamber! Alas, if I only had never seen you. If only Allah had taken me away from you. As you have filled my breast with anger and you forced me to drink goblets of false accusations. By your disobedience you have destroyed my opinion. So much so that Quraish say: the son of Abu Talib is valiant but has no military knowledge. May Allah forgive their ancestors. Is there anyone among them more firm in fighting than me?[1] I started fighting since the age of twenty and now I have passed sixty. As for the one who is not obeyed, he has no venue.”[2]

These statements indicate the deep anger and severe despair from his companions that their hearts were full of fear of Syrians and degradation and they had accepted humility and they sat inside their homes in terror till the Imam had to spend the rest of his days in extreme difficulties.

3- Waqsa: Muawiyah sent Zahhak bin Qais Fahri to Waqsa to attack the Shias of Imam in that area and he gave 3000 men under his command.

Zahhak set out and plundered the wealth of people and whosoever he suspected of being obedient to the Imam he used to kill him. He continued his movement till he reached Qutqutana taking with himself fear and death. Then he moved and ended his mission at Samawa. Then he returned to Syria.

When these reports reached to the Imam (a.s) he stood among his troops and delivered a sermon and he called them to confront this oppression, however no one responded to his call. Then His Eminence said: “By Allah, I would prefer to have one Syrian instead of ten of you and to have used you like a goldsmith (with careful deliberation). I would like to face them with perception. May Almighty Allah give us patience to bear hardships and to behave nicely with you.”

After that the Imam moved to Ghariyyin alone so that he may confront that oppression. Abdullah Ibn Ja’far joined him with a horse. His Eminence climbed upon it.

When people saw this condition some of them hurried to His Eminence. His Eminence (a.s) sent Hujr bin Adi with 400 men to fight Zahhak so that he may proceed to find him but could not get them and they returned.[3]

Attacks of Muawiyah continued on Iraq in this way without having to face any kind opposition. Muawiyah had become confident of victory as a result of the sloth of the Imam’s companions.

Attack on Hijaz and Yemen

Muawiyah dispatched Busr bin Artat with 3000 men to Hijaz and Yemen. They moved towards Yathrib but did not meet any resistance from the people. Busr went upto the pulpit and in a loud voice lamented the murder of Uthman and put awe  


[1] According to a narration he was not even twenty years old at that time.
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/201-202
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/197-198

and fear in the hearts of the people.

He took the allegiance from the people of Yathrib for Muawiyah. Then he moved to Yemen where Ubaidullah Ibn Abbas was the governor appointed by the Imam. Ubaidullah fled from there and came to Kufa.

Imam (a.s) appointed in his place, Ubaidullah Harithi but Busr killed him and also put his son to the sword and he went to two children of Ubaidullah and slew them. When the news of their death reached their mother, she was devastated in their sorrow recited some well-known couplets.[1]

Muawiyah’s rule was established on the foundation of killing of innocent people and beheading of children and spreading of terror and fear in the towns.

When this terrible news reached to the Imam, his strength gave way, his heart burst with grief and he stood among the troops and delivered a sermon. He spoke to them about the hardships and calamities that had befallen him through their hands.

“I have received information that Busr has taken over Yemen. By Allah, I think it is due to their union in falsehood and due to your disunity in your rightfulness and your disobedience of your Imam in rightfulness and their obedience and their trusts with their leaders and your breach of trust and their peacefulness in their lands and your mischief that these people shall obtain the kingdom. Because if I keep up with you as trust, I fear that their group shall take it away. O Allah, I am disgusted of them and they are disgusted of me. I am tired of them and they are tired of me. Thus give me someone better than them and give them someone worse than me. O Allah, Destroy their hearts like salt dissolves in water. O Allah, I prefer to have one thousand cavalries from the family of bin Ghanam.”[2]

“They are such that whenever you call them they come to you like rain after a long summer.”

After that he descended the pulpit[3] while he was in sorrow and grief and became helpless of his companions. And they were such that their organs were slothful and their feelings empty of sensation and perception was also lost to them.

These were some of the attacks that Muawiyah wrought on Iraq and other areas of Islamic lands that were under the control of the Imam. They aimed at weakening and shaking the faith of the people in those areas from the capability of the Imam from their support in confronting oppression and it was to display the military power of Muawiyah and to strengthen the morale of the soldiers and his army that was spread in the lands.

Anyway, these attacks exposed a great part of weakness and rebellion in the Imam’s troops till Muawiyah began to consider a general attack on Iraq to conquer it and destroy Imam’s rule. And it was clear that if he had done so he would have  


[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/383-385
[2] An Arab tribe famous for its valor and dynamism.
[3] Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/63-66

found it easy. And he would not have had to face any sort of difficulty or resistance because those people had become used to a comfortable life and were fed up of fighting.

Chaos and Disorder of Khawarij

Terrible hardships descended on the Holy Imam one after the other because attacks on Muawiyah created havoc in Iraq and other areas and fear and terror filled the hearts of citizens. The Imam was not able to defend the security and save the people from oppression as his troops refused to obey him and they had announced their disobedience and rebellion. His Eminence was in no way able to exercise his will upon them.

Among those hardships was the mischief of Khawarij because His Eminence had not completely destroyed them at Nahrawan. Rather he had only annihilated a group of them, however the majority of them remained and they lived along with His Eminence and were awaiting for an opportunity to attack him. They also incited the people to shun His Eminence as they considered themselves safe from his power and were sure that he would not be able to punish them.

They were greedy for his justice and his soft heartedness had deceived them. On the basis of this they used to criticize His Eminence and object to him. One of them interrupted the sermon of the His Eminence and recited the verse of Quran:

“Surely if you associate (with Allah), your work would certainly come to naught and you would certainly be of the losers.”[1]

Imam (‘a) replied with another verse of Quran:

“Therefore be patient; surely the promise of Allah is true and let not those who have no certainty hold you in light estimation.”[2]

Kharit bin Rashid Saami came to the Imam (‘a) with 30 persons and said, “O Ali, by Allah, I shall not obey you, I shall not pray in your leadership and tomorrow I shall go away from you.”

Imam (‘a) dealt with him in a kind manner and spoke to him with logic and reasoning and left him on his condition. He did not cast him in prison, rather he left the way open for him and that man went to his tribe (Bani Naajiya) and he informed them of what had occurred between him and the Imam. After that in the night he came out to fight the Imam. Numerous disasters in the attack of Kharit and his rebellion came into being and historians have recorded them in detail.

Anyway a great responsibility in most of the terrible events that occurred in the Islamic world was on the Khawarij because they had dragged the future of the community to destruction in the most important of its historic periods. While the victory of Imam (‘a) had become certain and the defeat and death of Muawiyah was imminent and just a few moments away when Malik Ashtar and troops of  


[1] Surah Zumar 39:65
[2] Surah Rum 30:60

Imam (‘a) were about to storm his tent, those Khawarij in the Imam’s army forced the Imam (‘a) to accept arbitration, thus destroying a victory that was very near.

Supplication of the Imam (‘a) for himself

Imam (‘a) was surrounded by terrible waves and frightful events because he saw that the falsehood of Muawiyah had become strong and his position has reached its end. And he saw himself in Kufa in such a way that Arab wolves who disliked his justice and were displeased of his equity had surrounded him from all sides and they were trying to prevent the fulfillment of his aspirations from the roots, some people were seeking power and some rebelled.

The important problem that made the Imam sleepless was the disintegration of his troops and their mutual aloofness had afflicted each of them. His Eminence was helpless even though he was having authority over them. He was aware what their future shall be and in what they shall be involved after him; therefore he told them,

“Indeed! After me you shall fall into humiliation and sharp swords and class competition that oppressors shall consider as a practice for you. They shall disperse your unity and make you weep and fill your houses with poverty. Very soon you shall wish you had seen me and helped. You will know that what I am telling you is truth. The Almighty Allah shall not leave unpunished those who have wrought injustice or committed criminal acts…”[1]

Advice and good counsel of His Eminence did not have any effect on those people because they had gone much ahead in misguidance and their beliefs of ignorance age came back to them.

Imam became disgusted with them and he wished that he is distanced from their life and in his numerous sermons he used to say: When would the most evil of Ummah be sent? He continued to supplicate and with a sincere heart he became attached to the realm of the Lord as he got comfort from Him.

Balazari has narrated from Abu Salih that he said, “I saw Ali holding the Quran on his head, so much so, that I could hear the rustling of its pages while he was saying:[2]

“O Allah, I ask them for the sake of whatever is in the Quran but they prevented it from me. O Allah, I have become disgusted with them and they are fed up with me. They have resorted to such behavior with regard to me that had not been seen. Thus give me that which is better than them and give them someone who is worse than me and destroy their hearts like salt dissolves…”

The Almighty Allah accepted the supplications of His great devotee and after a brief period transferred him to the sanctified abode in the company of prophets and truthful ones and gave him salvation from a society that did not prefer justice and was disgusted of equity while He imposed the worst characters on them. They tried  


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/155
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/156

to oppress and humiliate them and they considered the innocent as guilty and unjustly penalized those who were not guilty of any sin. They used to kill them only on the basis of false allegations. It was the time when the people woke up and realized what wrong they had committed with regard to the Imam and they saw their shortcomings, disobedience and lack of support and assistance to His Eminence and they regretted their past deeds and stance.

These were some of the after effects of those battles as a result of which the Imam was involved in so many hardships and bore terrible calamities that not His Eminence alone but the world of Islam was completely involved in them because great difficulties and problems befell the Muslims and they were drowned in a great mischief.

Imam Husain (‘a) was present in all these terrible disasters that befell his eminent father and he knew the facts behind them and it had become clear to His Eminence how much they were averse to his father because he was sincere in his religion and he wanted to invite the people to the path of truth and justice and lead them on such a way so that no oppressed or deprived person remains in any of the Islamic provinces.

In any case, these battles actively affected the creation of the tragedy of Kerbala. That tragedy did not occur except that after it the morals shattered and religious and social views were destroyed and opportunism and social disintegration became common because the wealth gathering of Quraish began to control the affairs of society and in all places created corruption and it destroyed the foundations of morals that Islam had established and it was worse of their steps and also their spreading of enmity and malice towards Ahle Bayt (‘a), who were the source of view and understanding of this community. Till finally they openly cut into pieces their bodies in the desert of Kerbala and together slew them in such a terrible manner as has no equal in the history of humanity.

Demise of the Rightful Government

Neither in the history of western lands nor in any other place was seen a ruler like Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) in justice and purity and one who preferred the truth because His Eminence according to unanimity of historians was never inclined to his sentiments and never obeyed any selfish desires. Rather in a clear way and a perfect manner he followed in the practice of the Messenger of Allah (s). And therefore he always acted with absolute seriousness and perfect sincerity towards the Muslims. During his rule he tried his best to elevate the standard of Islam and establish the principles that served to remove every type of discrimination and injustice from among the Muslims.

The most important problem that he addressed was to establish the government funds for spending only on those ways sanctioned by religion and he did not utilize even a single penny in any other way. He never compelled them and if he had bribed the consciousness of people like how Muawiyah did, profit seekers in the

army of His Eminence, like Ashath bin Qais and other military chiefs who were embezzlers and mercenaries would not have objected to him.

His Eminence exercised extreme precaution with regard to public funds. He made great efforts in this regard and bore many hardships on this way so that economic justice may be established among the people.

Abdullah bin Razeem says: I came to His Eminence on the Eid of sacrifice. His Eminence brought Harira dish for us.[1] I asked him, “May Allah have mercy on you, why have you not brought something for us from these delicacies? Because Allah has created so many good things.” His Eminence replied, “O son of Razeem, I heard the Messenger of Allah (s) say: Nothing is allowed from the wealth of Allah for any caliph except two vessels; one for himself and his family another for presenting to other people.”[2]

All those who had surrendered to selfish desires and sensualities criticized the policies of His Eminence and made every kind of effort to bring down his government and set up a regime that shall be beneficial to their political and economic interests.

It is established that Imam (‘a) knew how to attract the obedience of people and how to spread his influence and power on those who criticized him. But such a thing would have been possible only when he had divided his religion into parts and had followed the way of deceit and fraud and had become like other power hungry and greedy rulers. It is natural that deviation from the truth and betrayal of the interests of the community was not acceptable to His Eminence, Ali (‘a) and his high values rejected it because neither power deceived him nor the crowding of people around him increased his honor or their dispersing away from him, as he has himself said, increased his loneliness.

Imam (‘a) had true faith in religion and considered it necessary that faith should dominate the hearts of the people and their thinking and it should not be that any effect of selfish interests and inadvisable hopes should exist in them. Such a kind of sincere faith was created for some of the persons who were his closest confidants like Hujr bin Adi, Malik Ashtar, Adi bin Hatim and Mitham Tammar and others like them. Those who had gained from his guidance. Those who recited the Quran and considered it indisputable and who performed the obligatory duties with care, who enlivened the Sunnah and eliminated innovations just as His Eminence has himself described that most elders of his army and community were not able to understand his aims and aspirations and did not recognize his high values in his brilliant policies that guaranteed the rights of the oppressed and recipients of injustice.  


[1] Flour mixed with milk or oil
[2] Shamsuddin Abul Barakaat, Jawahirul Matalib dar Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) 1/283, facsimile copy at Amirul Momineen Library

Imam (‘a) observed extreme precaution in his policies and on the model of the policies of the Messenger of Allah (s) he formed his religious and moral values. Therefore he spread truth with all its meanings and in no way allowed dominance of opportunity. He did not allow any power to the wealth collectors of Quraish who considered all people rebels.

Powers deviated from the path of truth came to confront the Imam and flamed the fire of war and stopped the movement of the Imam in establishment of justice and they created hurdles and obstacles in this path. The Imam became sad and sorrow remained in his place while some opportunist wolves attacked him. Among those terrible disasters that befell the Imam the most important was internal sorrow and the Khawarij were inciting it. They lived with him and displayed open enmity towards him and spread mischief and dissension and were waiting for an opportunity to attack him.

Conference of Mecca

Some Khawarij groups went to Mecca and held a meeting there to investigate the deaths of their partisans in Nahrawan. They discussed the terrible events current in the Muslim community and the dissension and discord that had spread in Muslim society. In their view all this was related to three persons: Imam Ali (‘a), Muawiyah and Amr Aas. After exchange of views they decided to assassinate them and in order to put this plan into effect they summoned the following people:

Abdur Rahman bin Muljim was appointed to assassinate Imam Ali (‘a).

Hajjaj bin Abdullah Sareemi took up the job of killing Muawiyah.

Amr bin Tamimi accepted the duty of eliminating Amr Aas.

They unanimously decided that the assassinations shall be carried out on the 18th night of the month of Ramadan at the time when those three persons come out for the Morning Prayer. They stayed in Mecca for the month and performed Umrah in the month of Rajab. After that they set out to accomplish their respective tasks.

Valueless Opinion

Among the useless views that have come into some books is the opinion of Dr. Badi Shareef that blames the assassination of His Eminence, Ali (‘a) on the Iranians![1]

Was the Doctor aware of the lineage of Ibn Muljim that he was an Iranian? He was but a member of Murad tribe of Arabs that resided at Kufa.

Dr. Noori Jafari has remarked as follows about his views, “Who knows it might be the inclination of Iranians towards His Eminence, Ali (‘a) that these writers became inimical to them and heaped unjustified allegations on them.”[2]  


[1] As Saraa Bainal Mawali wal Arab
[2] As Saraa Bainal Mawali and Mabadi al-Arab

The Umayyad Plot

Historians have mentioned this important event observing great precaution and they have not fully exposed the reality and what we believe to be the fact and reality is that it was not the conspiracy of the Khawarij alone. Rather the Umayyad Party had a significant role in it. The following points support our views:

1 – Abul Aswad Duali in a part of his poetical composition lamenting for Imam (‘a) has put the responsibility of the Imam (‘a) on Bani Umayyah:

“Tell Muawiyah bin Harb that may the eyes of those who rejoice at the misfortune of others not be pleased.

Did you not make us sorrowful by eliminating the best of people in the month of fasting?

You have killed the one who was the best of those who rode on quadrupeds and sailed on boats.”[1]

These couplets mean that it was Muawiyah himself who had aggrieved the Muslims by the martyrdom of Imam, who was the best of the people and he Muawiyah was responsible for the Imam’s murder. It is natural that Abu Aswad did not relate this crime to Muawiyah without having become certain of this matter because he was very careful in whatever he said.

2 – Qadi Noman Misri who is an ancient historian has mentioned that Muawiyah himself sent Ibn Muljim for assassinating the Imam. He says: It is said that he (Muawiyah) secretly appointed him (Ibn Muljim) for this purpose (to eliminate the Imam) and he promised him a special reward…”[2]

3 – Among those factors that show the participation of the Umayyad party in this conspiracy is that Ashath bin Qais was backing Ibn Muljim and he was with him at the time of attack and told him, “Save yourself as the morning shall expose you.” When Hujr bin Adi heard this he cried to him, “O one-eyed man! You killed him!” Ashath was the most powerful element of the supporters of Umayyads and it is this same person who forced the Imam (‘a) to accept arbitration and just a few days before the Imam’s martyrdom he had threatened to kill the Imam. Also he was a spy of Muawiyah in Kufa.

The conspiracy, according to historians, was carried out in extremely secret and concealed manner. Then what was the reason that Ashath should know about it and he should support him and what if there wasn’t an external support for Ibn Muljim?

4 – The conference of the Khawarij was held in Mecca during the Hajj season. Mecca was without any doubt, full of agents of the Umayyad party who had shifted to Mecca in order to create enmity and opposition to the Imam’s government. Most  


[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/395
[2] Al-Manaqib wal Mathalib, Qadi Noman Misri, facsimile copy at Imam Hakim Library

probably they introduced (pointed out) the Khawarij who were the most inimical people with regard to the Holy Imam (‘a) and they gave complete support to them especially that they take steps to eliminate the Imam. That which supports this view is that the Khawarij stayed in Mecca after the conclusion of the Hajj season till the month of Rajab and after performing Umrah started on their plot and probably during this period they continued to be in contact with the Umayyad party and other groups opposed to the Imam’s government.

5 – That which gives certainty to that the Umayyad party had a special role in this, was that Ibn Muljim was a teacher of Quran[1] and he received stipend from the Public Treasury and he had no personal wealth. Then how could he purchase a sword for a thousand units of currency and the poison for another thousand with which he attacked the Imam? In addition to the money he gave to Quttam as dower which consisted of three thousand units of currency, a slave and a slave girl?

All these things indicate that Ibn Muljim had received monetary help from the Umayyads for assassinating the Imam.

6 – Another point that lends more support to the theory that Ibn Muljim was on the payroll of Umayyads is that he had an obvious connection with Amr Aas and for a long time had been his supporter because when Amr Aas conquered Egypt, Ibn Muljim was with him and had a place of respect near him. So much so that he ordered him to stay near him.[2] It is also likely that he informed Amr Aas of his agreement with two helpers in the plot of killing him (Amr Aas), the Imam and Muawiyah. Therefore Amr Aas did not come out for the prayer himself. He sent a substitute and was saved. It was not accidental; it was as a result of the plot which had the backing of Amr Aas.

These were some factors on the basis of which it seems that the Umayyad party had a definite role in planning the Imam’s assassination and its execution.

Imam’s Assassination

The month of Ramadan, that is the month of the revelation of Quran arrived for the Muslims and Imam (‘a) was certain that he shall be transferred to the eternal abode during this great month. That is why he used to break his fasts with barley bread and a piece of salt. On the basis of what historians say he never had more that three morsels. His Eminence used to spend the nights of this month in worship. When the 18th night arrived, the Imam perceived the shattering calamity that was to befall him and he looked sorrowful and aggrieved. The stars were seen to be trembling and their shivering light fell on the earth; as if they were throwing a forlorn light on the face of the earth. At that time he said, “Neither have I lied nor been lied to. This is the night that I have been promised.”

The Imam (‘a) remained awake the whole night reminiscing about his Jihad and his great efforts in the path of Islam and his attachment and longing to meet his  


[1] Lisanul Mizan: 3/440
[2] Lisanul Mizan: 3/440

cousin, the Messenger of Allah (s) increased so much that he complained to His Eminence about the hardships he had suffered at the hands of the Ummah.

Imam (‘a) concentrated all his thoughts and feelings for the Almighty Allah. Dawn had not yet broken upon the dark night when the Imam arose, performed a fresh ablution and prepared to leave the house. The pet geese in the courtyard came out before him and cackled loudly as they had the premonition of the impending tragedy that was to strike the lands of Arabs and Muslims.

The Holy Imam (‘a) understood from their unrest that a calamity was about to befall: “There is no might and strength except by Allah. These are the petitioners that reciters of dirges shall be following them.”[1]

The Imam set out for the house of God (mosque) and as per his habit awoke people for worship of the Lord. After that he stood up to pray. When he bent to prostrate for the Almighty and recite words of divine praise that filthy sinner, Abdur Rahman Ibn Muljim, attacked him shouting the slogan of Khawarij: “The rule is for God and not for you.” And he hit the Imam’s forehead with the sword. The blessed forehead which excessively prostrated on the earth for the Lord, split. The strike sliced the Imam’s head till his holy brain. The brain which except for the well being of the people and gathering justice for them had not been occupied with anything else.

When the Imam (‘a) felt the sword, a smile appeared on his lips and his voice echoed in the vicinity of the mosque: “By the Lord of the Kaaba, I have succeeded.”

O Amiral Momineen (‘a)! You were the first successful one and the greatest one to gain benefit from the pleasure of the Almighty Allah. You remained with the truth from your youth and in your religion you had no hypocrisy and you did not give preference to the pleasure of anyone to that of the Almighty Allah’s. You performed Jihad and fought to exalt the word of God in the earth. With his soul and being, he put his life at stake for the Messenger of Allah (s) and supported him.

You became successful and principles of your belief succeeded and you alone established the illuminated custom and you bestowed illumination to the sky of the world and fed the generations with the essence of truth and justice.

When the news of attack on the Imam spread, people rushed to the Masjid and found His Eminence lying in the Mihrab uttering the remembrance of Allah and he had lost a lot of blood. They carried him to his residence while they were all weeping bitterly and in extreme grief. They were lamenting:

The Imam of truth and justice is martyred.

The father of the weak and poor is martyred.  


[1] Muruj az-Zahab Pg. 413

Ladies of the house of His Eminence rushed forward to receive him lamenting; His Eminence told them to be patient.

Imam Hasan (‘a) was deep in weeping. The Imam glanced at him and said: “My son, do not weep, for you shall be martyred by poison and your brother would be martyred by the sword.”

Imam’s prophecy proved true and not many years passed when Muawiyah had Imam Hasan (‘a) assassinated through poison, splitting up his liver. And swords and spears cut up into pieces the body of His Eminence, Imam Husain (‘a) and his parts of his holy body were strewn in the desert of Kerbala.

Historians say: Imam Husain (‘a) was not present in Kufa at the time of the attack on Imam (‘a). He was at the cantonment of Nakhila commanding a battalion from the army that was being prepared to fight against Muawiyah. Imam Hasan (‘a) sent a messenger to him and informed him what had happened to their father. His Eminence returned to Kufa while he was deep in sorrow and he found his father on the verge of death. Then he threw himself upon him while tears flowed on his countenance and he kissed his blessed father.

The great Imam made a bequest to his sons to follow lofty morals and human values and told them not to kill anyone except his murderer and not to make his assassination an excuse to create mischief and bloodshed among the Muslims like the Umayyads had done on the killing of their leader, Uthman.

Towards the Eternal Abode

Imam (‘a) while reciting the verses of Quran was involved in the throes of death. The last words that passed his lips was the saying of Almighty:

“For the like of this then let the workers work.”[1]

At that moment his purified soul flew out and the angels of the Beneficent Lord took it…The foundation of justice on the earth weakened and the signs of religion became concealed from the eyes. That refuge for the oppressed and the deprived, and the one who bore all hardships to establish truth and justice in all the lands of his dominions passed away.

The two grandsons of the Messenger of Allah (s) stood up to perform the last rites of their beloved father. Gave bath to his holy corpse, put on the shroud cloth and in the last hours of the night buried him at Najaf al-Ashraf, his eternal abode.

Along with him was buried social justice and human values.

Historians say: When the news of Imam’s martyrdom reached Muawiyah, he was overjoyed and announced the day of the Imam’s martyrdom as a feast in Damascus. Because his aspirations had been fulfilled and now the possibility had developed for him that he could make his kingdom a means for killing the Muslims and to take them to slavery and force them to that which they did not like.  


[1] Surah Saffat 37:61

Effects of the Imam’s Government

The Imam’s government left many influences on the Islamic society. Probably the most important of them are as follows:

1 – He manifested Islamic reality with all its powers in the world of politics and rulership, because in his government the Imam wanted to remove social inequalities that had appeared among the people and promote unity among them in spite of the communal and religious differences. So that all the groups are dealt with justice and equity. And no group should be accorded any preference. This policy of His Eminence made him very popular among the people. His Eminence, Ali (‘a) on the basis of establishment of justice and equality, remained in that same way in the hearts of the masses. People of noble inclinations became his supporters and they looked upon him as the greatest social reformer on the earth and considered him as the most prominent well known person of his time. Ayman bin Khareem Asadi addresses the Bani Hashim and especially says about the Imam:

“Shall we consider others equal to you, while between you and them is selfish desire.

They are ground for your feet and you are the sky for their heads and eyes.”[1]

2 – Principles and illuminated views of the Imam continued behind the Umayyads and were also present in their own palaces and they looked at these principles with trepidation which used to challenge their power in such a way that Muawiyah ordered that the Imam should be abused from the pulpits so that his respect is reduced and that they may incite the people to disregard and forget his lofty status and position.

3 – The great social justice which the Imam’s government had taken up as its slogan was the main factor that caused hardships and calamities for his descendants. They were subjected to all sorts of atrocities, tortures and killings at the hands of the tyrant rulers as the Prophet had prophesied about it. Abu Ja’far Iskafi has narrated that the Holy Prophet (s) came to Her Eminence, Fatima and found Ali sleeping. Her Eminence, Fatima wanted to wake him up but the Holy Prophet (s) said, “Leave him as he shall remain too sleepless after me and my Ahle Bayt would suffer untold hardships due to him.”[2]

Fatima (‘a) began to weep. His Eminence told her, “Do not weep, as he shall be with me in the lofty position near me.”

Umayyad and Abbasid regimes endeavored too much to oppress the Imam’s descendants because they were attentive to the rights of the oppressed and the afflicted and they had taken as their slogan the lofty principles that Amirul Momineen (‘a) had taken as his slogan and struggled to establish it during his lifetime. The Imam’s son, who was the most prominent and hardest effort maker in this regard was His Eminence, Husain (‘a) who set out for Jihad ready for  


[1] Al-Aghani 1/21
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 4/107

martyrdom and despaired of life so that he may help the principles of his grandfather and father and to exalt the standard of Islam and defend its honor and bring down the flags of polytheism and apostasy and to untie the knots of slavery and servitude.

Imam (‘a) during his short tenure of rulership had an original view to confront with injustice and oppression because his great companions like Hujr bin Adi, Amr bin Hamaq Khuzai, Abdullah bin Afif Azadi and others like them who were brought up in the school of thought of the Imam stood up against the Umayyad regime and by one uprising after another destroyed their arrogance and oppression and they made them worried.

The Imam’s government was the school of confrontation and revolution and a school for creating a religious view and social understanding.

Here we conclude our discussion about the important after effects of the Imam’s government.