Muawiyah’s Rule

After the peace pact the Muslims welcomed Muawiyah’s rulership with terror and fear because they were aware of the reality of his affair and were cognizant of his way of thinking and his beliefs and faith. On the basis of this they feared him for their religion, life and property and that which they had dreaded happened. Thus no sooner did he gain power over the provinces that he began to spread injustice, oppression and mischief in all lands.

Historians say: He adopted such a policy for Muslims that before this they had not known it because the sign of his policy was death and destruction. As if it were an axe of destruction for all human and moral values while in his time the idol worship was revived though all the people were hateful of it.

Sayyid Amir Ali says: “With the rise of Muawiyah the oligarchic rule of the heathen times displaced the democratic rule of Islam. Paganism, with all its attendant depravity, revived, and vice and immorality followed everywhere in the wake of Umayyad governors and the Syrian soldiery. Hijaz and Iraq groaned under the usurper’s rule; but his hold on the throat of Islam was too strong to be shaken off with impunity. The wealth which he pitilessly extracted from his subjects, he lavished on his mercenaries, who in return helped him to repress all murmurings…”[1]

What is confirmed and proved is that the people did not willingly support Muawiyah in his policies. Their support was obtained forcibly from them on the point of sword. Muawiyah has himself confessed to this matter and in his statement to multitudes of crowds he has said: “By Allah! I have not achieved rulership for the sake of love you have for me, or that you are happy for my rule. Rather I have fought you with the sword. If you have seen that I have not strengthened all of your congregation, then accept less from us…”

After the treaty when the community came to him like a morsel he delivered an acerbic speech at Nakhila and spoke of his tyranny and force on the people and lack of any regard for the rights of people. He clearly declared, “By Allah, I did not fight you to make you pray, fast and perform the hajj or pay Zakat. You already perform these duties. But I fought you so that I may rule over you and the Almighty Allah has given this to me while you were not desirous of it.”[2]

This speech indicates the mischievous aspects of Muawiyah because he on the basis of rulership and power indulged in bloodshed of Muslims and spread sorrow and grief in their houses.

We are compelled to investigate the political progress of Muawiyah’s regime and the great disasters which were contemporary to his period because according to our belief these were the factors that led to the rising of His Eminence, Imam Husain  

[1] Ruhul Islam, Pg. 296
[2] Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) 2/262, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 16/46

(‘a) from that aspect that His Eminence witnessed the deprivation and problems of the Muslims in which they were involved and deviation and helplessness from social defects of Umayyad regime; therefore His Eminence (‘a) began his great revolution after the death of Muawiyah. It was a revolution aimed at social awakening and as a result uprooted the Umayyad rule and destroyed all its signs indications. Some of Muawiyah’s political stances were as follows:

Muawiyah’s Fiscal Policy

Muawiyah in no way observed any policy that could be termed as a policy to solve economic or monetary problems. It was solely aimed at acquiring wealth for himself and hoarding it under his control and spending it according to his desires and inclinations in such a way that he gave his great wealth to those who were his partisans while he deprived his opponents from even the ordinary share to which they were legally entitled. He used to seize properties and impose unjustified taxes.

Muawiyah’s regime had absolutely no sign of Islamic economics policy which was aimed at solving economic problems in the best way because Islamic fiscal policy was encouraged for increasing personal income and fighting unemployment and poverty and it considered the government wealth as the property of people which should be utilized for development and progress of the society. While Muawiyah spread poverty and needfulness among the majority of the people and confined the hoarding of wealth for a minority who were connected to the regime. Some of the special features of his fiscal policy were as follows:

Economic Deprivation

Muawiyah imposed an oppressive economic policy in provinces that were opposed to his regime. He spread helplessness and needfulness in those provinces so that the people there may not be able to rise up in his opposition. Some of the provinces that were subjected to oppressive fiscal policies were as follows:

1) Yathrib

Muawiyah initiated the weakening of Yathrib and he did not spend anything on the people of this province because it was an area inhabited with persons opposed to his regime and many of the personalities who were critics of the Umayyads or who were aspirants for power and rulership resided therein.

Historians say: He compelled them to sell off their properties and he purchased them at a meager price. He sent his tax collectors to tax their profits but they refused and came to their governor, Uthman bin Muhammad and said: “All this money belongs to us. Muawiyah in their profits has acted with discrimination. He did not give us a single dirham or more than that till we fell to hard times and hunger has befallen us. At that time he bought over our properties at one-hundredth the value.” The governor of Medina replied in an acerbic and a nasty tone.

The respected companion, Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari went to Muawiyah but he in order to humiliate him did not accord permission to meet him. Jabir returned from there. At that time Muawiyah sent 600 dirhams for Jabir but Jabir returned them

and he wrote to him:

“I select contentment over wealth when the two of them come together. Just as I select the cool drinking water. Whenever I become needless I shall consider myself the ruler while there are many who are ruled but themselves are never rulers.

I shall wear the dress of modesty while I see the position of wealth and would not dishonor my respect for it.”

And he told Muawiyah’s messenger: “Tell him that by Allah, O son of Hind, the liver-eater, you shall not find any good thing in your scroll of deeds as I shall be the cause of it.”

Poverty spread into the homes of Ansar and they were involved in such bad circumstances that none of them were able to even purchase a camel to utilize it for their needs. When Muawiyah was going to Hajj some of the Ansar went to meet him while most of them were on foot. He said: “What has prevented you from welcoming me in the usual way of welcome.”

Saeed bin Ubadah said, “Lack of mounts, poverty, hard times and your favoritism to others have prevented us.”

Muawiyah said in a mocking way, “Why do you not use the camels of Medina?”

Saeed replied in such a sharp logic that it pierced like an arrow, “We slaughtered them on the day of Badr, the day we killed (your brother) Hanzalah bin Abu Sufyan.”[1]

Muawiyah’s policy was aimed that hunger should spread in Medina and people should be deprived from gifts and endowments. Abdullah bin Zubair wrote to Yazid in his letter: “By my life what you hold in your hand from our rights, you do not give a small part of it and you deny a great part of it…”

Muawiyah ordered the central government authority in Medina to increase the price of essential commodities so that hunger and deprivation increases. Yazid has mentioned this in his letter to the people of Medina and promised them good behavior if they submitted to his rulership. In that letter he says: “They have my covenant that I shall fix the price of wheat same as the wheat in our possession and the allowances that they claim were stopped during Muawiyah’s time shall be restored to them.”[2]

Muawiyah appointed as governors of Hijaz sometimes Marwan bin Hakam and sometimes Saeed bin Aas. He dismissed one and appointed the other. Both of them went all the way to subject the populace of Medina to poverty and humiliation.  

[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Vol. 1, Part 2/73
[2] Al Imamah was Siyasah 1/177

2. Iraq

Muawiyah subjected Iraq to the worst of punishment because it was the original center of opposition and it was the only province discontented with his regime. Mughairah bin Shobah, the governor of Kufa, cancelled the allowances of Kufians from the public treasury. Umayyad ruler who succeeded Muawiyah also continued this policy of injustice and oppression of Iraq and depriving the people. So much so that even the most just of them, Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz did not observe equity with regard to parity between the allowance of Syrians and Iraqis. He gave a raise of 10 dinars for the former but no raise was allowed for Iraqis.[1]

During the Umayyad rule different kinds of tribulations befell the Iraqis, such that the Iraqis began to organize continuous armed uprisings against the Umayyads regime.

3. Egypt

Egypt was involved in more economic suppression because Muawiyah wrote to his agent there: “Give a raise of one Qeeraat to each of the Copts.” But his representative objected to this and said: “How can I give them any raise while it was decided that they would not be given any raise?”[2]

Economic hardships also spread to other Islamic lands so that people may remain involved in their own problems and thus may not be able to put up any sort of opposition to the despotic regimes.

Prosperity in Syria

While the Islamic lands were involved in hardship and deprivation, we see that Syria was living in perfect comfort and the prices of essential commodities there were the lowest because they were loyal to the Umayyad clan and were always trying for stability for their regime, therefore luxury was made widespread there. That which supports this assertion is the letter of Yazid from which we had quoted previously.

The Syrians also were given preference over other people. Thus Malik bin Hubaira in his conversation with Haseen bin Numaira has indicated this and he says: “Hurry up so that we may give allegiance to this young man (Khalid bin Yazid) because we have brought his father to power and he is our cousin. You know our position with his father that how he had given us a position among the Arab multitudes.”[3]

Muawiyah Employed wealth for strengthening his rule

Muawiyah used the central treasury for lending stability to his rulership and power and employed it as a weapon to make himself capable of leadership of community and the chieftainship of the kingdom.  

[1] Iqdul Farid 6/220
[2] Life of Imam Musa bin Ja’far (a.s.) 1/302
[3] Tabari, Tarikh, 5/535-536

Sayyid Amir Ali says: “The wealth which he pitilessly extracted from his subjects, he lavished on his mercenaries, who in return helped him to repress all murmurings.”[1]

This policy was a new thing for the Muslims that none of the caliphs before that had even considered. The Umayyad caliphs after that also continued the same policy of using wealth as a means of strengthening their power.

Dr. Muhammad Mustafa says, “Of the elements of the Umayyad policy was the use of wealth as a weapon for intimidation as well as for winning loyalties because a group of people was deprived and he lavished too much on other groups so that it may be a price for their conscience and should be a guarantee for their silence.”[2]

Shokri Faisal considers wealth as one of the two basic factors before which the Islamic society humbled in a strange manner. It was among all the factors of political mischief and the dominance of the ruling class from Quraish and also one of the factors for creating dissensions between the Arabs and non-Arabs and even among the Arabs themselves.[3]

Muawiyah’s great bestowals to his clansmen

Muawiyah made huge bestowals of wealth to his clansmen and put them in charge of exceeding wealth[4] so that it may strengthen their position and spread their dominance in the Islamic world while he spread needfulness and deprivation in most other groups of the community.

Amr Aas sanctioned the Tax of Egypt

Muawiyah sanctioned all the tax collected from Egypt to Amr Aas and made it a morsel (luxury) for him as long as he (Amr) lived. This was recompense to Amr Aas for helping Muawiyah against Amirul Momineen (‘a) the standard bearer of truth and justice on the earth. We have already mentioned the details of those events in the forgone pages.

Largesse upon the supporters

Muawiyah made huge bestowals to his own supporters and those who were inimical to Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) and in this he resorted to unjustified expenditure. Narrators say: “Yazid bin Munabba came to Muawiyah from Basra and complained about his indebtedness. Muawiyah ordered that 30000 be issued to him from the Public Treasury. When he took the amount and was leaving, Muawiyah said: Give him another 30000 for his role in the Battle of Jamal.[5]

Muawiyah gifted this large amount to him for his and his brothers’ role in the battle of Jamal in helping the rebels who were plundering the Public Treasury. In  

[1] Ruhul Islam, Pg. 296
[2] Ittijahaatul Shi’r Al-Arabi, Pg. 27
[3] Shukri Faisal, Al-Mujtima-aatul Islamiya fi Qarnil Awwal, Pg. 50
[4] Al-Fakhri, Pg. 104-105
[5] Al-Iqdul Farid 2/68

this way Muawiyah helped and rewarded the opponents of the Imam. History has recorded numerous examples of this kind.

Purchase of Faith

Muawiyah had opened a new chapter in his economic policy and it was the buying up of people’s faith, trust and consciences because delegations of Arab nobles came to him and he gave each of them a hundred thousand but gave 70000 to Hinat, the uncle of Farazdaq. When Hinat realized this he became infuriated. He came back to Muawiyah and said, “You have humiliated me in the eyes of Bani Tamim. My origin and genealogy is correct. Am I not of old age? Am I not being obeyed among my people?”

“You are.”

“Then why you gave me less than my people? And gave more to those who opposed you than those who supported you?”

Muawiyah sat in a shameless manner, “I have purchased their faiths and left you on your religion.”

“Purchase my religion also.”

Muawiyah ordered that the remaining cost may be paid to him.[1]

This harmful matter clearly shows the way those people had transmogrified and how they had sold their consciences for worldly wealth.

Deficiency of Central Treasury

As a result of these wasteful expenditures in endowing largesse for purchasing people’s consciences and religion a serious shortage developed in the Central Treasury and the government was not able to even pay the rightful shares of the workers. Muawiyah was compelled to write to Amr Aas and ask for his help from tax of Egypt that he had given to him. Muawiyah’s letter said, “So to say: Petitioners from Hijaz and visitors from Iraq have increased and I have nothing in excess after paying the military. So help me from the collections of Egypt…”

Amr Aas did not accept his request and he raised objection to him and reminded him of his favors on Muawiyah. He wrote the following couplets to him:

“O Muawiyah if you have become such a miser you should know that I have not received Egypt in inheritance.

I have not obtained it free. It was a condition that I demanded and I had to fight a severe battle for it.

If my collusion with Ashari hadn’t been there you would have had to bear very hard times like the bleating of a hungry camel.”

When Muawiyah read these couplets he was very much affected and after that he never told anything to Amr Aas regarding the taxes of Egypt.[2]  

[1] Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) 2/159-160, Al-Kamil, Ibne Athir 3/468
[2] Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 222

Confiscating the properties of citizens

After his wasteful expenditure and excess Muawiyah was compelled to confiscate unrightfully the properties of people to compensate shortages in his royal treasury. He confiscated the inheritance left by Hinat, Farazdaq’s uncle. Farazdaq objected to this action of Muawiyah and denounced him in the following lines of poetry:

“Your father and my uncle, O Muawiyah, left inheritance and inheritance is given to a person’s surviving relatives.

Then why did you take over the property of Hinat while the inheritance of Abu Sufyan is indeed your right.

If this had happened in the age of ignorance it would have been with regard to those whose inheritors are few.

If in religion there is something else, you have usurped our share or left only a little of it (like water that is left in the throat of the person who drinks it).

Am I not the most respectful of the people in my class and family with regard to the afflicted neighbors?

No one is born after the Prophet and his progeny like Hisaan who is most proximate to them among the people.

My family is besides the Pleiades and the moon and the stars are less in brilliance to it.

I am the son of a high mountain as the number of sand particles and the root of the earth is my root. So who could be equal to it?

My ancestors are numerous, O Muawiyah! They are illuminated and the wind guards around their raiments.

They were from the generations of kings and your family from Abde Shams cannot be equal to them.”[1]

The above couplets mean that the inheritance left by Sakhr, grandfather of Muawiyah was transferred to his inheritors while the inheritance of Farazdaq’s uncle was confiscated by Muawiyah. And if this had occurred during the pre-Islamic age Muawiyah would not have been able to take it because the family of Farazdaq was of the most prominent clans of Arabs.

Agricultural Income

Muawiyah deprived the people from annual agricultural income to cover his expenditure and in this matter he resorted to severe oppression and force on the people. According to historians he extracted upto 10 million Dirhams and it became[2] such an obstacle that Muslims were completely alien to it. But the succeeding caliphs also followed the same practice after Muawiyah and they forced Muslims to pay such heavy taxes.  

[1] Ibne Athir 3/468, Diwan-i-Farazdaq, 1/502-503
[2] Tarikh Tamaddun Islami 1, Part 2/276

Plunder carried out by governors and Agents

Rulership in the period of Muawiyah became a source of plundering and usurpation of wealth and a means for gathering wealth and misappropriating property.

Anas bin Abi Unaas said to Haritha Ghadani, a supporter of Ziyad Ibn Abih, when he became the governor of Surraq a province of Ahwaz:

“O Haritha bin Badr, you have become associated with rulership. So remain therein like a field mouse and indulge in breach of trust and theft.

Enjoy with the Tamim in wealth as wealth is a tongue that man speaks to it in awe.

O Haritha, a thing that you have obtained, do not consider it valueless as your share in the two Iraqs is Surraq.”[1]

Also Uqbah bin Hubaira Asadi has described the oppression of government agents and their usurping of wealth in the following manner:

“O Muawiyah, we are humans, deal with us as men, we are not mountains and iron.

You have usurped our land and destroyed it. Does a tree or a trunk remain intact in it?

I find myself in a community that is destroyed and Yazid and his father rule over it.

Can we covet caliphate while we are already destroyed? Neither you nor me shall remain alive.

From arrogance of caliphate and rulership free the oppressed and slaves and come to the right path.

Observe equity among us before the troops abandon soldiery and pounce upon you.”[2]

Muslims bore different types of atrocities from the agents and tax collectors because they were experts in plunder and thus they did not find anything with anyone but that they used to somehow seize and appropriate it.

Tax collection

Tax collection depended upon the whims and fancies of the collectors. The agent Khana asked Amr Aas about the tax that was payable to him. Amr Aas scolded him and said, “Even if you had paid me from the earth to the sky I would not have told you the limit of your tax liability. You are our treasurers. When our expenses increase we shall increase it on you and when they reduce we shall reduce them on you…”[3]

These oppressive steps destroyed all the rules of justice and equality that Islam had brought.  

[1] Ash-Shi’r wal Shu’ara, Pg. 494-495
[2] Khazaanatul Adab, 2/260
[3] Tarikh Tamaddun Islami 2, Part 4/359

Hoarding of Gold and Silver

Muawiyah ordered Ziyad bin Abih to collect all the gold and silver for him. Ziyad and his agents began to forcibly seize any quantity of gold and silver that people had in their possession and dispatched it all to Damascus.[1] This matter made life difficult for the people and deprivation began to kill them.

Economic Progress Paralyzed

Economic progress became paralyzed in all the areas and agriculture and trades declined and the public economy became involved in decadence as a result of wasteful expenditure and excess of Muawiyah. In such a way that Abdullah bin Hamam Saluli has announced this matter and he wrote some couplets on this topic on a piece of paper threw it in the Mosque complaining about the terrible oppression and horrible injustice that Muawiyah and his agents were committing upon the people:

“Tell Muawiyah the son of Sakhar, that the province of Sawad is destroyed and no longer any Sawad remains.

I see our agents stone-hearted for ourselves because for the sake of their personal benefits they have oppressed people.

Can you do something immediately and remove corruption from your subjects?

And that you may dismiss those who are always following their selfish desires and those who are destroying the cities due to their foolishness.

As much you tell them to refrain from greed and covetousness as much they shall persist in deviation.”[2]

Through these couplets Saluli described the economic conditions and domination of the rulers in oppressing the subjects. He has demanded the government to dismiss such officials and change their behavior because they indulged in destroying the provinces, sucking of people’s blood and following their selfish desires.

Muawiyah’s Justification

Muawiyah believed that the funds of Muslim community and central treasury were his personal properties and that he could utilize them in any way he liked; so much so that he says: “The earth is for the Lord and I am His representative. So whatever is taken from the wealth of God is my property and whatever I leave, it is allowed for me.”[3]

Such a logic was absolutely opposed to the spirit of Islam and its viewpoint because Islam based the principles of economy on the foundation that government funds belonged to the Muslim Community and the government is duty bound to take care of the funds and endeavor to increase them and the ruler or others had no  

[1] Life of Imam Musa bin Ja’far (a.s.) 1/301. At-Tamaddun al-Islami 2, Part 4/359
[2] Al-Islam wal Hizaaratul Arabiyya 2/149-150
[3] Life of Imam Musa bin Ja’far (a.s.) 1/301

right to play with the economy of the nation and spend from public wealth according to their whims and desires because such an action would spread poverty and unemployment and subject the country to economic difficulties.

Islam considered poverty a social evil and an epidemic and it is necessary to confront and remove such things in every way possible. The head of the regime is not allowed to restrict anything from public wealth. The viewpoint of Islam is thus. But Muawiyah (in an inarguable manner) did not pay attention to this and he spent the wealth of Muslims according to his personal whims and desires.

These were some examples of the fiscal policies of Muawiyah which were bereft of the spirit of balance and which caused widespread poverty and deprivation in the country.

Policy of disintegration and favoritism

Muawiyah based his policy on creating disunity among the Muslims and their disintegration and made the spirit of disunity and enmity predominant among them because he believed that the regime cannot gain stability except through destroying the unity of the people and there should be widespread mutual animosity among the members of the community.

Aqqad says: Muawiyah had an excuse (intrigue) that he repeated and used it fully and became dominant in it and before his enemies in his kingdom, whether Muslims or non-Muslims he used it for them and it was based on sowing dissension and creating conflicts in the ranks of enemies and encouraging mutual enmity among them by putting doubts in their mind regarding each other. Some of them were members of his own clan and family…he could not bear to see two important persons united on something and he used to sow enmity between them so that he could overpower them.”[1]

Muawiyah disintegrated the Muslims and broke the relationship of Islamic brotherhood that the Holy Prophet (s) had established and based his society on. 

Oppression of Non-Arabs

Muawiyah tried his utmost to oppress and humiliate people of non-Arab origin. So much so that he wished to eliminate all of them completely. Historians say: He summoned Asnaf bin Qais and Samrah bin Jundab and told them: I see that the population of redskins has increased and that could be a problem for us in the future and may precede us. As if I can see them dictating to the Arabs on administration, therefore I have decided to eliminate half of them and keep their other half under surveillance. So that they may help in industry and keep the roads etc in perfect condition.”

Asnaf and Samrah did not like this draconian step and they spoke very kindly to him and dissuaded him from this plan.[2]  

[1] Muawiyah fil Mizaan, Pg. 64
[2] Al-Iqdul Farid 3/413

Muawiyah established the practice of cruelty on slaves and the regimes that succeeded him spread cruelty and deprivation inspite of the fact that they used to participate in military affairs and other government matters. The poet says regarding the oppressions done on these non-Arabs as follows:

“Whenever you see the Umayyads, Ibn Zubair or those Arab rulers, convey the message to them.

That non-Arabs are writhing in hunger and battle and they complain to the caliph.”

A Khorasani person addressed Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz and requested him to deal with them with justice. He says, “O Amiral Momineen, one thousand non-Arab people are going to war without getting any allowance or livelihood and like them the Zimmis (non-Muslims) who have become Muslims and also pay tax.[1] This was at the time when Shobi, the judge of Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz had become disgusted with the Mosque as he abhorred the rubbish of his house because people of non-Arab origins used to pray therein.[2] So much so that the non-Arabs were compelled to make a separate Masjid for themselves and called it Masjid-e-Mawali.[3] They used to pray in this mosque.[4] Khuda Bakhsh is of the view that the factor that compelled them to recite prayers in that mosque was that they saw the bigotry of the Arabs against them and they did not permit them that to pray with them in the same Masjid while Mawali (non-Arabs) behaved very kindly with Arabs and used to invite them to the path of guidance and say: “We do not deny the differences of the people and their precedence over others and we don’t consider master and slave and the nobles and lower class people as equal. Rather we say that the superiority of man is not on the basis of their parentage or genealogy, it is due to their nobility, deeds and morals and their valor. Thus anyone who does not have courage and valor is not superior even if he may be from Bani Hashim because the honorable is one whose deeds have given him honor and superior is one whose bravery has bestowed them superiority.”[5]

Umayyads and those people having same views did not understand this logic which is taken from the reality of Islam and its guidance. That Islam had ordered the spreading of equality and justice among all people without any discrimination between them on the basis of race.

Anyway, this policy of racial discrimination spread dissensions and enmity among the Muslims and created discord in them. And also the non-Arab Muslims become ready for every uprising against the Umayyad regime in such a way that at last they were the active power that destroyed the Umayyad rule and eliminated all their signs.  

[1] Tabari, Tarikh, 6/559. Al-Kamil 5/51
[2] Ibne Sa’ad, Tabaqat 6/251
[3] Tabari, Tarikh, Events of year 254
[4] Al-Hizaaratul Islamiyya 1/43
[5] Al-Iqdul Farid 3/410

Tribal Prejudice

Along with the policy of groupism and creating dissensions that the Umayyads resorted to, they also revived tribal prejudice. Among the terrible examples of this painful confrontation was that the Umayyads incited communal discord among the people and ensured their non-interference in political matters. This has become known from Arabian poetry so that people may keep away from the cruelty and oppression that Muawiyah heaped on them.

Historians say: Muawiyah took new steps to revive the ancient tribal enmity between Aws and Khazraj. In this way he wanted to devalue them and that their respect in the Islamic and Arab world may be lost. Also he created bigotry among the Yemenites towards the Egyptians so that he may incite the fire of mischief among them and there should be no unity between among them to speak up or to cause harm to his regime.

Muawiyah’s officials acted upon the destructive policies of Muawiyah. For example Ziyad bin Abih used to make tribes fight each other and enflame the fire of mischief among them so that they may remain involved in it and may continue under his power. Falhauzen says: Ziyad knew how to make tribes fight against each other and keep them under his power and he incited them to work for him and he encouraged them in this way…”[1]

Historical sources contain many examples of different types of tribal battles that Muawiyah and his agents created and which spread enmity and malice among Muslims and Islam. People were involved in great problems due to them and all fruitful activities were made to serve Muawiyah’s aims. He opposed the call of the Prophet (s) that had invited people to brotherhood and mutual affection.

Policy of intimidation and violence

Muawiyah ruled the people with policy of intimidation and violence and considered their destiny and value to be worthless. After the treaty he announced that he had fought Muslims only to obtain rulership and power and shed their blood and he completely disregarded all conditions he had accepted from Imam Hasan (‘a) and declared that he would not fulfill any of them. He openly expressed his arrogance and cruelty when he said, “We are such an age that if we give respite to someone he would become elevated and if we suppress anyone he shall fall into oblivion…”[2]

His agents and governors also acted upon this deceitful manner. Utbah bin Abu Sufyan delivered a sermon in Egypt and said: “O you most humiliated people! I have kept my nails for you so that the evil doers among you may be reformed. And I wanted that you all should be reformed if your corruption still remains on you. Then except for criticism of government and denouncing it, you did not intend anything else. By Allah, we shall break whips upon your backs. Thus if you could cure your pain, what could be better than it? And if it is not so, the sword would be  

[1] ad-Daulatul Arabiyyah, Pg. 207
[2] Nihayatul Arab 6/7

after you. What wisdoms we had but your hearts did not understand them and the advises that we gave were met with your closed ears. If you continue in your disobedience, I am not miserly in punishing…”[1]

In another sermon to Egyptians he says, “O people of Egypt! You must not be like a sharpened sword with which the Almighty Allah has slaughtered one that was Uthman. Thus creating mischief and trampling the prophetic practices and putting yourself in the terror of falsehood after having attached yourself with truth. That by Allah I shall trample you in such a way that after that no life shall remain in you till you forget even what you know.”[2]

The sentences of his sermons indicate the level of his animosity to the community and his complete disregard to all its values and aims.

In the same way one of those governors who had become deniers of truth and justice was Khalid Qasri who gave a speech in Mecca and threatened the society with destruction and annihilation and he said, “O people, it is necessary for you to obey and move with the congregation and beware of doubts, by Allah if anyone is brought to me who criticizes his leader, I shall crucify him in the sanctuary (Ka’ba)…”[3]

This condition was found in all agents and governors of the Umayyad regime.

Walid bin Yazid says:

“Forget the memory of Sa’ad as we are more in number and wealth.

We are such that we became rulers of people by force and consider punishing and humiliating them as lawful.

We take them towards degradation and humiliation and except for misfortune have nothing else for them.”[4]

These couplets show to what extent he considered the community as lowly. Therefore he, along with rulers of his family, ruled people by force, humiliated them and led them to the pit of destruction.

And also there is the statement of Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan who delivered a sermon in Yathrib before the children of Emigrants and Helpers and he said: “Know that, I solve the problems of this community only with the sword so that you come to the path. You have remembered the first of the Emigrants but you have not acted like them. You order us to observe fear of Allah but you neglect your own selves. By Allah, if after this anyone commands me piety, I shall kill him…”[5]

[1] Mubarrad, Tahzeebul Kamil 1/17
[2] Al-Iqdul Farid 4/137
[3] Tabari, Tarikh, 6/464
[4] Life of Imam Musa bin Ja’far (a.s.) 1/307, Ibne Athir 5/282
[5] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 45/391-392

This address indicates the transgression of that criminal because he had no option remaining for solving the problems of the community except bloodshed and spreading injustice and intimidation. However spreading of justice, comfort and prosperity among the people was something that neither he thought about nor other Umayyad rulers had in their imagination.

Considering the poor people as despised

The Umayyad regime in all its periods, based its rule on wreaking injustice on the poor and considering the weakened section of people to be despised. Historians say: Bani Umayyads permitted poor people to enter government offices only after all the people had been dealt with. Ziyad bin Abih asked Ajlan, the sentry of his court: “How do you behave with the people?”

“First I accord preference by family status secondly by their elegance and thirdly by their manners.”

“Whom do you admit last?”

“Those whom even God does not accord importance.”

“Who are those people?”

“Those who wear summer clothes in winter and warm clothes in summer.”[1]

This policy destroyed the principles of justice and equality that Islam had brought because is not supportive of any discrimination between Muslims and it considers them equal like the teeth of a comb.

Policy of Deceit and Intrigue

Muawiyah based his rulership on the foundations of deceit and intrigue and in none of his political activities there was any shade of rightfulness because a sleeping and stagnant conscience does not understand truth and does not perceive reality. History has recorded many examples of his intrigues and some of them are as follows:

  1. When Muawiyah had the great leader, Malik Ashtar poisoned, he glanced at the people of Syria and said, “Ali had sent Ashtar to Egypt, then pray God to protect you from him.”

People of Syria imprecated Malik in every ritual prayer[2] and when Muawiyah received the news of his passing away he informed the Syrians that his death was due to their prayers because they belonged to the party of God. After that he whispered to Amr Aas, “God has an army of honey.”[3]

  1. From the intrigue and frauds of Muawiyah was that when the Imam (‘a) sent Jubair Bajali to him and called him to pay allegiance, Muawiyah summoned Sharehbil Kandi who was the most prominent personality of Syria and instructed a  

[1] Nihayatul Arab 6/86
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 6/76
[3] Biharul Anwar 3/591, with a little difference

group of confidants that each of them should separately meet Sharehbil and remind him that Ali had killed Uthman. When Sharehbil arrived, Muawiyah informed him about the arrival of Jubair and that he was asking to pay allegiance to Ali but he had not paid him allegiance in order to first know the view of Sharehbil because the Imam had killed Uthman.

Sharehbil asked for some time to consider the matter. When he came out every person of that group met him separately and informed that Imam was responsible for Uthman’s murder. Sharehbil did not doubt their truthfulness and he hurried back to Muawiyah and said, “O Muawiyah, where are the people? Indeed Ali has killed Uthman. By God, if you give him allegiance, we shall throw you out of Syria and kill you.”[1]

Muawiyah told him in a deceitful manner, “I shall not oppose you. I am nothing but a citizen of Syria…”

Through such frauds he established the foundations of his power and based his kingdom on them.

  1. Another kind of his fraud with the people of Syria was that he wrote a letter to Qais bin Sa’ad, a leader of his time, and promised him governorship of Iraq and governorship of Hijaz to any person from his family who liked it if Qais supported him. Qais replied him negatively in harsh words but Muawiyah told the people of Syria that Qais had given him allegiance and told them to pray for Qais and forged a letter and saying that Qais had sent it to him. After that he read it out for the people of Syria as follows:

“So to say: Indeed the murder of Uthman was a terrible disaster in Islam. And I have pondered on myself and my religion and saw that it is not possible for us to back that community which has killed the sanctified, righteous and pious Imam of Muslims. We seek Allah’s forgiveness for our sins and that we have entered into a peace pact with you and I would like to battle those who have killed the oppressed guiding Imam. Thus let me know how much money and how many men you require so that I may send them to you immediately…”[2]

In this undesirable manner Muawiyah deceived the people of Syria and sent them to fight the successor of Muhammad and the gate of his knowledge.

  1. Deceit and fraud was one of the elements of Muawiyah’s nature and character, and principles that shaped his policy in such a way that his son, Yazid was surprised when people paid allegiance to him and praised him and he told his father, “O chief of believers, we don’t know whether we are deceiving the people or the people are deceiving us?”

Muawiyah replied, “You may deceive whomsoever you want. Show yourself to be deceived by him till you obtain what you want. At that time you would have  

[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/71-73
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 6/60-62

deceived them.”[1]

Muawiyah breathed with cunning and fed it to the people of his kingdom till a generation came into being and these qualities became a part of their nature.

Spread of opportunism

Muawiyah’s regime took steps to spread opportunism and benefit-seeking among the people while Islam has taught the importance of truth and selflessness. While in the view of most people it was not having any value. Among their qualities was their waywardness and unrestrained character. Historians have narrated that: Yazid bin Shajrah Rahawi came to Muawiyah and when he was listening to Muawiyah’s address, a stone hit and injured him but he did not pay any attention to it and showed no reaction. Muawiyah asked him, “What has happened to you?”

“What, O Amirul Momineen (‘a)?”

“Why are you bleeding in your face?”

“I was so engrossed in the address of chief of believer that I did not notice anything else till the chief called my attention to it.”

Muawiyah was astounded and he said, “He has done injustice that has made you of those having an allowance of one thousand and taken you out of the row of the people of Siffeen.”

At that time he ordered that 500,000 Dirhams should be paid to him and he increased his allowance by a thousand.[2]

This phenomenon was predominant in all the periods of Umayyad power. Just as historians have stated that Ismail bin Yasar was a supporter of Ibn Zubair but when the Merwanids emerged victorious over the clan of Zubair, Ismail switched his loyalties and joined the party of Marwan.

One day he had gone to meet Walid and he made him wait for hours. When he was given permission he entered weeping. Walid asked the reason for his lamentation. He said, “You kept us waiting while I and mother have joined the Merwanids.”

Walid excused himself but he continued to cry in that same way. Walid comforted him. At that time Walid ordered that he be given a nice present. When he came out a person who knew him followed him and asked about his claim of loyalty to the Merwanids that since when had he become a partisan of Merwanids?

He replied, “Our enmity to Merwanids is same as the enmity of our father Yasar at the time of his death till he cursed Marwan bin Hakam to obtain the proximity. And it is the same thing that encouraged his mother also that in order to obtain Allah’s proximity, instead of reciting the rosary (praising God) she used to curse the progeny of Marwan.”[3]  

[1] Mubarrad, Kamil 1/305
[2] At-Taaj fi Akhlaaqil Mulook, Pg. 111-112
[3] Al-Aghani 4/410

Historians have recorded numerous examples of such frauds that were common in that time and without any doubt it was the consequence of Umayyad policies that they were raising their generations on selfishness and deviation from the truth.

Insult and Unrestrained Behavior

Muawiyah was famous for his insulting manners and unrestrained behavior. Ibn Abil Hadid says: “During the time of Uthman, Muawiyah was well-known for unrestrained nature and he committed every kind of infamy. He had been careful to some degree during the time of Umar due to his fear but he still used to wear silk and brocade and used gold and silver utensils and he used to ride on saddles decorated with gold while he used to don silk and brocade garments. At that time he was a young man having the arrogance of youth and its effects and was intoxicated with power and rulership. Books of biography say that he used to imbibe wine in Syria during the period of Uthman…

In the same way he used to listen to songs and rock and swing and gave rewards to singers and musicians. It was nothing wrong in his view. And his son, Yazid also was affected by this and he was always intoxicated with wine and he was absolutely unrestrained. All subsequent caliphs of Bani Umayyah followed these manners.

Jahiz says: Yazid, that is Muawiyah’s son, never passed an evening without intoxication and never started a day without a drink. Abdul Malik bin Marwan drank (wine) once a month and he did not perceive whether he was in the sky or in water… Walid bin Abdul Malik drank alternate days and Sulaiman bin Abdul Malik drank once in three days. Hisham drank every Friday eve. Yazid bin Walid and Walid bin Yazid were always listening to songs and music and drinking wine. However Yazid bin Walid was always in one of the two conditions. He was either ecstatic in songs and music or intoxicated with alcohol. Marwan bin Muhammad drank every Monday and Friday night.[1]

In the year 119 A.H. Hisham bin Abdul Malik appointed Walid as the Amir of Hajj (leader). He carried dogs with him hidden in caskets. One of the boxes containing a dog fell down…In the same way he carried domes in order to renovate the Ka’ba and fixed them on the Ka’ba. He also brought with him quantities of wine. He wanted to fix the dome on top of the Ka’ba and to sit inside it. However his companions warned him and said, “We shall not be able to save you and ourselves from the people.” So he decided not to perform that antic.[2]

During the caliphate of Walid bin Yazid when Ali bin Abbas came to him while he had brought Ibn Shuray from Kufa. And he told Walid without any preface that, “By Allah, we have not been sent but to ask you about the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet…”  

[1] At-Taaj fi Akhlaaqil Mulook, Pg. 258-259
[2] Tabari, Tarikh, 7/209-210

Ibn Shuray smiled and said, “If you asked me about them you would find me ignorant.”

“I have been sent to you to ask you about Qahwa (wine). Tell me about wine.”

“O Chief of believer, ask me whatever you like.”

“What do you say about water?”

“I don’t know. I am ignorant about it.”

In the same way he continued to ask him about different drinks till he reached to wine: “What do you say about wine?”

“Ah! It is my life!”

“You, by Allah, are my life!”[1]

Walid sent message to his deputy in Kufa and instructed him to send all shameless poets to him so that they may entertain him. This was at such a time when people were taunting him for waywardness in all parts of his kingdom. He wrote to his governor in Khorasan and asked him to send him musical instruments. A poet contemporary to him ridiculed him as follows in his composition.

“O trustful one of God! Good news to you! Good news to you! Good news to you! Those camels on which were loaded goods and commodities in excess. Those asses of theirs on which wine is loaded and on which a drum is affixed.

In this world it is all for you and in Paradise also you shall have all comfort.”[2]

Pleasure seeking and vain past times became dominant in the society and the people surrendered themselves to transgression and sinful deeds became their habit such that it is narrated that an old man was brought to Hisham bin Abdul Malik while singing girls, wine and harp were in his company. Hisham said, “Hit the drum on his head.” That old man began to cry. A person from the audience said, “Be patient.” The old man said, “Do you think I am crying because of the beating? I am weeping because he has considered the harp so lowly that he is calling it ‘drum’”.[3]

The manners and customs of the Umayyads followed the manners and customs of Muawiyah. Singing and music and every type of unrestrained behavior had spread in all areas so that the foundation of the community may be destroyed and their religious and social views may become distorted.

Spread of Unrestrained behavior in Mecca and Medina

Muawiyah intentionally spread profanity and unrestrained behavior in the two holy places so that their sanctity may be destroyed and their honorable position in society and in the hearts of the people may be eliminated.  

[1] Nihayatul Arab 4/93, Iqdul Farid 4/456-457
[2] Tabari, Tarikh, 7/224-225
[3] Tabari, Tarikh, 7/203-204

Alaili says: “Umayyads used to encourage the view that unrestrained behavior was lawful in the holy places of Mecca and Medina because a group of poets and eunuchs among whom was Umar bin Abi Rabia were hired so that the two centers of Mecca and Medina may be introduced in an inappropriate way so that they may not seem capable of religious leadership.”

Asmai has said, “I entered Medina but except for eunuchs I did not see anyone else and people were narrating stories and relating jokes.”[1]

Gatherings of music and songs became common in Medina and the governor also attended these programs and participated in them actively. In this way the spirit of morals was completely disintegrated and people became aloof from those lofty values that Islam had brought.

Considering religious values unimportant

Muawiyah considered all religious values unimportant and he ignored all the laws that Islam had brought. On the basis of this he used vessels of gold and silver and considered usury lawful. He used perfume in the condition of Ihram and trespassed laws.[2]

Most of the Islamic laws in the major period of Umayyad rule were rendered useless. Thus Kumayt, the poet of Islam says regarding this:

“The laws were not applied because we are in such a community which is having a contrary belief.

Are you and we followers of a book so that we may act according to it?

As if these were foolish ones who commanded and prohibited according to the Book of God.

We see rulers of evil character that how long they have ruled and the pain and problems of the people also prolonged.

We have not seen worse examples of injustice than the oppression of our rulers.”[3]

Muawiyah considered light the commandments of Islam and looked upon them with disdain.

Narrators say: When he became victorious it was said to him: “Why do you not reside in Medina as it is the town of (Prophet’s) Migration and the tomb of the Prophet is situated there? “He replied, “In that case I shall become deviated and not be of the rightful ones.”[4]

All the Bani Umayyah caliphs followed this stance of Muawiyah. For example,  

[1] Sammawal Maani fi Samma waz Zaat, Pg. 30
[2] The sources of this event are mentioned in the second part of Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.)
[3] Al-Hashimiyaat, Pg. 111
[4] Qadhi Noman Misri, Al-Manaqib wal Mathalib, Pg. 70

Yahya bin Hakam asked Abdullah bin Ja’far: “Why did you leave the dirty town (city of Prophet)?”

The son of Ja’far objected to this and he cried, “Muhammad (s) had called it “Tayyabah” (Purified) and you call it “dirty”? You have separated in the world and therefore you shall also be separated in the Hereafter.”

Yahya said, “By Allah, if I die and am buried in the sacred land of Syria it is more preferable to me than being buried in Medina.”

The son of Ja’far said, “You have preferred the neighborhood of Jews and Christians to the neighborhood of Muhammad (s) and the Emigrants.”[1]

Joining Ziyad with his lineage

An example of Muawiyah’s disregard for Islamic values is relating Ziyad bin Ubaid Rumi to his lineage without a legal proof merely on the basis of the sole testimony of Abu Maryam the wine-seller, a thing that does not prove lawful relationship and by this act he had gone against the statement of Holy Prophet (s) when he said, “The child is related to the father and stoning is decreed for the fornicator.”

Muawiyah adopted this tactic for political aims and to strengthen his rulership and power…a curious matter with regard to this is that Nasr bin Hajjaj in the presence of Muawiyah spoke angrily to Abdur Rahman bin Khalid bin Walid about Abdullah, slave of Khalid bin Walid. Muawiyah ordered his sentry to remove the two as long as the court was in session.

When the session concluded Muawiyah ordered to get him a stone and placed the lapel of his cloak on it. Then he allowed the two persons to enter. They presented their quarrel to him regarding Abdullah. Then Nasr told Abdur Rahman, “My brother and father have made a bequest to me that he (Abdullah) is born through him.”

Abdur Rahman replied, “He is my slave and the son of slave and maidservant of my father was born on his bed.”

Muawiyah issued his judgment in the matter and said, “Take this stone and give it to Nasr bin Hajjaj because Muhammad (s) has said: The son belongs to the father and the stone is for the fornicator.”

Nasr glanced at him and said, “Why did you not issue this judgment in the case of Ziyad?”

Muawiyah said, “That was the order of Muawiyah and this is the command of Muhammad (s).”[2]  

[1] Ansabul Ashraf, Vol. 1, Part 1
[2] Tabari, Tarikh, 8/131. Al-Iqdul Farid 6/133-134