The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Xi : At Siffin Part 2
He expressed his near end and his incapability of resisting Imam Ali’s army. Anyway, Amr bin al-Aas said to him: “I think that your men are not like his men, and you are not like him. He is fighting against you for a matter, and you are fighting against him for another matter. His people are afraid of you when you win a victory over them, and the people of Sham are not afraid of Ali when he wins a victory over them.”
Amr bin al-Aas specified the conflict standing between Imam Ali and Mu’awiya. The Imam fought against him for the sake of Islam and defending its ideals, whereas Mu’awiya fought against him for the sake of power and authority. They battled against each other for different objectives. Amr bin al-Aas explained to Mu’awiya the reason for the courage of the Imam’s troops and the weakness of his ones. As for the Imam’s troops, they defended their dignity and life, for they knew Mu’awiya’s beliefs and inclinations. They knew that if he won a victory over them, he would severely punish them and afflict them with painful torture. For these reasons, they were earnest in fighting against him. As for Mu’awiya’s troops, they knew the Imam’s inclinations, and that if he won a victory over them, he would be kind to them. They had heard of his pardoning and kindness. That was when he won a victory over his opponents at the Battle of al-Jamal. Therefore, there was no escape from that the Imam’s troops would win a victory. Amr bin al-Aas suggested an idea that made Mu’awiya overcome the events and it was the reason for destroying the Imam’s troops. He said to him: “Offer to them something. If they accept it, they will disagree (with each other), and if they refuse it, they will disagree. Summon them to Allah’s Book as an arbitrator between you and them. You will get your objective from the people. I have delayed this matter because you are in need of it.”
Mu’awiya knew that Amr bin al-Aas’s idea was correct. So he hurried to believe and respond to him. In the meantime, he ordered copies of the Qur’an to be raised. Accordingly, about five hundred copies of the Qur’an were raised on the heads of the spears. The people of Sham loudly said: “This is Allah’s Book between us and you from its beginning to its end. Who protects the fortified borderline cities of the people of Sham after the people of Sham? Who protects the fortified borderline cities of the people of Iraq after the people of Iraq? Who struggles against the Romans? Who struggles against the Turks? And who struggles against the infidels?”
They raised copies of the Qur’an as a trick and cunning. They used them as a pretext to spare their blood, for they did not believe in them nor did they show sorrow at the fate of Islam and the Muslims nor did they respect Allah. Nothing concerned them except government and authority. If there had been a ray of the light of Islam in their souls, they would not have opened a door to the battle against Imam Ali, the testamentary trustee of Allah’s Apostle, and to shed the Muslims’ blood without any right.
The Great Sedition
Among the ugliest and worst farces in man’s history was the trick of raising copies of the Qur’an, for the Iraqi troops were deceived by that, and they changed up their minds. Suddenly, they broke their obedience to Imam Ali, and declared rebellion and mutiny against him without any thinking and considering, while they were about to win a victory over their enemy who had shed their bloods.
What a misfortune! What a pity! Falsehood became higher than the truth through the name of the truth! That was when Amr’s trick performed its horrible role in the center of the government of justice and equality. That was when regiments of the Iraqis rushed like a flood towards the Imam and surrounded him and forced him to yield and submit to Mu’awiya’s summons. They said with one tongue: “He (Mu’awiya) has given you the truth! He has summoned you to Allah’s Book! Accept that from him!”
On the top of those who accepted the summons to arbitration was al-Ash‘ath bin Qays, who was like a woodworm boring in the camp of the Iraqis and means for riot and mutiny. The reason behind that was that he was the leader of the tribes of Kinda and Rabee’a, but the Imam had deposed him and appointed Hassan bin Makhduj instead. Some people talked with the Imam in order not to depose him, but he refused that.[^1] This aroused the hidden malice in his soul against the Imam and made him wait for an appropriate opportunity to take vengeance on him. He could find such an opportunity during that terrible period of time. It is not correct to say that he was deceived by Mu’awiya’s summons, for he was not among the simple-mined that the affair might be unclear to him. Any way, he angrily went to the Imam and said to him: “I see that the people are pleased and delighted to respond to the people (of Sham) to what they have summoned them from among the legal decisions of the Qur’an! It would be better if you go and ask Mu’awiya what he wants, and reflect on what he requests!”
Then he insisted on the Imam to delegate him to Mu’awiya, but he refrained from responding to him. However he strongly insisted on him, and the Imam (a.s) found no escape from responding. He went carrying the signs of evil and unhappiness. He asked Mu’awiya: “Why have you raised copies of the Qur’an?” [^1] Waqi‘at Siffin, p. 153.
Mu’awiya answered him with tricks and lies, saying: “That we and you may return to the Command of Allah, the Great and Almighty, in His Book. Send a man from among you with whom you are pleased. And we send a man from among us. Then we ask them to act according to what is in Allah’s Book and do not exceed it. Then we follow that on which they will agree.”
Al-Ash‘ath bin Qays believed Mu’awiya, saying: “This is the truth!”
Most likely, Mu’awiya had made al-Ash’ath desire and bribed him, for he had come to know about his deviation from Imam Ali. Al-Ash‘ath responded to Mu’awiya and came back to the Imam. He demanded arbitration. Imam Ali (a.s) said to him and to the like of him from among the stubborn who found no pleasure except in obstinacy and mutiny: “O Servants of Allah, I am the best of those who have responded to Allah’s Book. However, Mu’awiya, Amr bin al-Aas, Ibn Abi Ma’eet, Habeeb bin Muslima, and Ibn Abi Sarh are not men of religion and Qur’an. I am more aware of them than you. I accompanied them when they were children, and I accompanied them when they were men. They were the wickedest children and men. It is word of truth that falsehood has been intended through it! They have known it but they do not act according to it. They have raised it to you just as a trick and plot. Lend me your arms and your skulls for one hour for the truth has reached its (last) part, and nothing has remained except that the root of the oppressive is to be cut off.”
In his speech, the Imam (a.s) has expressed what Mu’awiya claimed such as yielding to Allah’s book. He explained to them their error and mutiny against the religion, for he was more aware of them than others. However, that simple-minded society did not yield to the Imam’s speech and lent his speech deaf ears. About twelve thousand men, who pretended sacredness and religiousness, though they understood nothing of them, addressed him by his personal name. They warned and threatened him if he would not yield to what they wanted, saying: “O Ali, respond to the people according to Allah’s Book when you are summoned to it; otherwise, we will kill you as we had killed (Uthman) bin Affan! By Allah we would do it if you did not respond to them.”
The Imam (a.s) said to them: “Woe unto you! I was the first to summon (people to follow) Allah’s Book and the first to respond to it. It is not lawful for me nor can I, concerning my religion, that I am summoned to Allah’s Book and do not accept it. I have fought against them that they may follow the precept of the Qur’an, for they have disobeyed Allah in respect of what He has commanded them. They have broken His covenant and left His Book.
However, I have informed you that they have schemed against you, and that they do not want to act according to the Qur’an!”
Imam Ali tried to convince and make his fellows understand through various ways that it was a trick after Mu’awiya’s failure and incapability of resisting. However, they insisted on that he had to command his military commander, Malik al-Ashtar, to withdraw from the battlefield. The Imam saw that there was evil on their faces and that they had unanimously agreed on fighting against him. They surrounded, threatened, and warned him. So he (a.s) found no escape other than responding to them. He immediately sent Yazid bin Hani’ to Malik al-Ashtar to ask him to withdraw from the battlefield. When the messenger reached and told him about the Imam’s message, he said to him: “Say to my master: ‘This is not the hour when you should remove me from my attitude. I have hoped Allah to make me conquer; therefore, do not hurry me!”
The messenger came back to the Imam and told him about the saying of the resolute, watchful Malik. The signs of conquest and victory had appeared through his hands, and the affair was about to end. The voices from the regiments of his troops raised announcing the clear conquest. When those rebellious heard of that, they surrounded the Imam and said to him: “By Allah we see that you have ordered him to continue fighting!”
“Have you seen that I had secretly sent a messenger to him? Did I not talk to him openly before you and you heard me?” asked the Imam. However they said with one tongue: “Send for him and make him come to you! Otherwise, we will isolate ourselves from you!” They terrified the Imam and were about to attack him. So he said: “What a pity, O Yazid! Say to him: ‘Come! The sedition has happened!’” Yazid quickly set off towards Malik and said to him: “Go to Ameerul Mo’minin, for the sedition has happened!” Malik al-Ashtar became astonished. He asked Yazid about the reason for that discord and mutiny that happened among the troops: -Because of raising these copies of the Qur’an? -Yes.
Malik believed his own prediction and intuition in respect of the occurrence of this mutiny, saying: “By Allah, I thought that there would be disagreement and division due to the raising of the copies of the Qur’an! It is the advice of the prostitute’s son (Amr bin al-Aas)!” While pain was hurting him, he turned to the messenger and said to him: “Do you not see the conquest? Do you not see their faint? Do you not see what Allah has done for us? Should we leave this and go away from it?”
Anyway, Yazid told him about the critical situation and the dangers that surrounded the Imam, saying: -Do you like that you have won a victory here while Ameerul Mo’minin is in his place where he is to be handed over to his enemy? -Glory be to Allah! No, by Allah, I do not like that! -They have said: ‘You should send for Malik al-Ashtar, and he should come to you; otherwise, we will kill you with our own swords as we had killed Uthman bin Affan or we will hand you over to your enemy!”
Accordingly, Malik al-Ashtar returned to the Imam. Sadness controlled him, for his desired aim had got lost, he had won the conquest, and the blood of his fighters had been shed to obtain such an end. However, suddenly, all those efforts went in vain due to Amr bin al-Aas’s cunning. He strongly and violently addressed those ignoble people. He condemned them, saying: “O men of abasement and feebleness! At the time when you were higher than the people, they thought that you would defeat them, and so they raised the copies of the Qur’an and summoned you to what in them! By Allah, they have abandoned what Allah has commanded in them (the copies of the Qur'an) and in the Sunna of the one to whom they had been revealed! Do not respond to them! Respite me for a while, for I have felt the conquest!”
However, those rebellious showed him nothing except error and stubbornness. They said with one tongue:
-No! No! -Respite me for a horse’s running! -Therefore, we will be with you in your sin!
Malik debated with them and gave them proofs on their wrong opinion and their deviation from the truth, saying: “Tell me about you: the best ones of you have been killed, and the worst ones of you have remained alive! When were you right? At the time when you killed the people of Sham? Now you are wrong when you have refrained from fighting them. Or are you now right through your refraining from fighting? Therefore, your killed ones, whose excellence you cannot deny and who were better than you, are in the fire!”
This speech did profit them nothing. They said to him: “Leave us, O Ashtar! We fought against them for the sake of Allah and we are going to leave fighting against them for Allah! We will not obey you. Avoid us!”
Malik al-Ashtar said to them: “By Allah, you have been deceived. You have been summoned to put an end to the battle, and you have responded! O men of black foreheads, we thought that your prayer was out of renouncing the world and yearning for meeting Allah. I see that your escape from death is just for this world. Shame be on you! O you who look like old she-camels! You will never see glory after it! Now surely perdition overtakes you as it had perished the oppressive people!”
When Malik al-Aster ended his speech, they abused him. He returned in kind, and then he turned to Imam Ali and said to him: “O Ameerul Mo’minin, move the rank against the rank, and the people will be thrown down!” The Imam did not respond to him. He bowed his head for a while to think about the bitter result that those rebellious brought about to the community. They regarded his silence as a sign of consent with the affair. So they said: “Ali, Ameerul Mo’minin, has become satisfied with the arbitration and the judgement of the Qur’an!”
The Imam could do nothing but satisfaction, and, Malik al-Ashtar could do nothing except yielding and acceptance. He said: “If Ameerul Mo’minin accepts and is satisfied with the judgement of the Qur’an, I am satisfied with that which Ameerul Mo’minin is satisfied with!” Accordingly, they all shouted: “Ameerul Mo’minin is satisfied! Ameerul Mo’minin is satisfied!” Imam Ali (a.s) kept silent and did not answer them to anything. Worries and sorrows controlled him, for he had come to know that Amr bin al-Aas’s trick destroyed his troops, and that he could not set them right or to return them to the way of the truth and correctness for he had neither influence nor authority over them. He (a.s) has expressed that, saying: “Yesterday, I was a commander, but today I have become a commanded one! And yesterday I was a prohibiter, but today I have become a prohibited one!”[^1]
Al-Ash‘ari is chosen
Imam Ali’s dilemma and tribulation were not confined to the mutiny of his army; rather, they spared no effort to overthrow his government. They insisted that he had to nominate his wicked enemy Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari and [^1] Muhammad ‘Abda, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 212.
to chose him for the arbitration. They were not satisfied with anyone other than him from among those whom the Imam nominated such as Ibn Abbas, Malik al-Ashtar, and other men of awareness and wisdom. They knew about al-Ash‘ari’s deviation from Imam Ali. If he undertook the task of the arbitration, he would choose for the caliphate someone other than the Imam.
Dr. Taha Husayn believes that their insistence did not come by chance. It resulted from a plot and an arrangement between the seekers of the world from among Ali’s companions and Mu’awiya’s.[^1] Anyway, they surrounded the Imam and began shouting: “We are pleased with Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari!” The Imam rebuked and prohibited them from choosing Abu Musa, saying: “You disobeyed me at the beginning; therefore, do not disobey me now! I do not see that I have to appoint Abu Musa (as an arbitrator)!”
The Imam’s advice was useless. Rather they insisted on him, saying: “We are pleased with none other than him! We have fallen into that which he had warned us from!”
The Imam explained to them why he refused him, saying to them: “He is not trustworthy to me. He parted from me and made the people desert me. Then he escaped from me till I gave him security some month later. However, this is Ibn Abbas. I want to appoint him for that….” Yet, they were not satisfied and they went on their error and ignorance, saying: “It does not matter whether it you or Ibn Abbas. We do not want except a man who is the same to you and to Mu’awiya!”
The Imam guided them to Malik al-Ashtar, for he had no kinship with him. Yet, they refused him, saying: “And is it anyone other than al-Ashtar who burnt the land?”
After this discussion, the Imam found no way to convince them. Therefore, he released them and left them with their own ignorance. As a result, the affairs were in the hands of these rebellious and mutinous.
The Document of the Arbitration
People competed with each other to write down what they wanted in the document of the arbitration. This is its text as al-Tabari has mentioned: “In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. This is for which Ali bin Abi Talib and Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufyan have sued one another. The arbitrator of Ali is over the people of Kufa along with their followers (Shi‘a) [^1] Muhammad ‘Abda, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 212.
from among the believers and the Muslims. And the arbitrator of Mu’awiya is over the people of Sham and their followers from among the believers and the Muslims. We yield to the judgment of Allah, the Great and Almighty, and His Book, and no one other than Him can bring us together. Allah’s Book from its beginning to its end is between us. We enliven what it enlivens and deaden what it deadens. Therefore, the two arbitrators- who are Abu Musa al-As‘ari (Abdullah bin Qays), and Amr bin al-Aas al-Qurashi- should act according to what they find in the Book of Allah, the Great and Almighty.
If they find nothing in the Book of Allah, the Great and Almighty, then there is the just Sunna that unites and does not separate. The two arbitrators have taken promises and covenants from Ali, Mu’awiya, the two armies and the trustworthy from among the people. They stipulated that they have security over their own souls and their own families, that (the members of) the community are their helpers concerning that for which they have sued one another, and that Allah’s promise and covenant is against the believers and the Muslims from among both parties. We act according to that which in this document even if their (Imam Ali and Mu’awiya) affair is obligatory on the believers.
Therefore, security, righteousness, and laying down of weapons between them wherever they go are imposed on them, their families, their properties, their present ones, and their absent ones. Allah’s promise and covenant is against Abdullah bin Qays and Amr bin al-Aas that they should judge between this community and that they should not bring it to a battle or a division till they disobey. The judgment is delayed to Ramadan. If they like to delay that, they may delay it according to agreement between them. If one of the two arbitrators died, then the commander of the followers chooses someone to replace him from among the men of justice and fairness. The place where they should decide their case is a place of justice between the people of Kufa and the people of Sham. If they want and like that no one would be present with them except whomever they want, they can do. The two arbitrators take whomever they want of witnesses, and then they write down their witness according to this document. They are supporters against whoever leaves what is in this document or wants atheism or oppression in respect of it. O Allah, we ask You for help against whoever leaves what there is in this document!”[^1]
A group of Iraqi and Syrian leaders recorded their witnesses in this document. The text of the document indicates that Mu’awiya and his party have paid no attention to Uthman’s blood. If they had had a need of that, they would clearly or implicitly have mentioned it. They said many things for the sake of [^1] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 6, p. 30.
Uthman. They spread out his garments on the pulpit in Damascus. They wept for his misfortune and aroused these battles for avenging him. Therefore, why did they not mention him in the document of the arbitration?
Anyway, this document achieved many of al-Ash‘ath’s desires and of the rest of those ambitious from among his people. They obtained what they wanted such as dividing the Iraqi troops, their mutiny, and the victory of the rebellious forces over the forces of the truth and Islam.
The thought of the Harawriyya
The origination of this revolutionary, destructive thought came after the comedy of raising copies of the Qur’an. It was the viewpoint of the Kharijites. There was no reason for forming it except seeking worldly interests, craving after influence and authority, and achieving personal ambitions. The Kharijites adopted “the judgment belongs to Allah” as a slogan for them. However, they quickly made the judgment belong to the sword. That was through their shedding the blood of the innocent, and the spreading of terror and fear among the Muslims. The signs by which they were distinguished were declaring rebellion and mutiny, regarding as unbelievers those who did not embrace their beliefs, and regarding the Muslims’ blood as worthless. Many traditions have been narrated from the Prophet (a.s) in respect of the Kharijites’ unbelief and apostasy from Islam. He (a.s) has said: “There will be after me a people from among my community who will recite the Qur’an, but it will not exceed their throats. They will renege the religion just as the arrow passes through the target. Then they will not return to it. They are the wickedest of the creation.” [^1]
Abu Sa’eed al-Khidri narrated that one day a property came to Allah’s Apostle (a.s) and he began giving to this and to that. Among people there was a man with short garments. There were signs between his eyes because of prostration in prayer. Allah’s Apostle continued giving until the property finished. When the property finished, the man went away saying: “By Allah, you are not just since today!” He (Abu Sa’eed al-Khidri) said: “Allah’s Apostle (a.s) began turning his hand and saying: “If I am not just, then who will be just after me? Some rebels will rebel. They will renege the religion as the arrow passes through the target. Then they will not return to it at all. They recite the Qur’an, but it does not exceed their throats. They say good words but they perform bad deeds. So whoever meets them should fight against them. Whoever kills them shall have the best reward, and whomever they kill [^1] Muslim, Saheeh, vol. 1, p. 398.
shall have the best martyrdom. Allah has disowned them. The worthier of the truth from the two parties will kill them.”[^1]
Narrations similar to these have been narrated from the Prophet (a.s) by both the Shia and the Sunni in respect of their apostasy from the religion and their rebellion against Islam. The traditions are regarded as among his miracles and among the communications of his prophethood, for they have some news of the unseen that took place after him. Anyway, these rebels formed a bloc and sided with other side. They maintained their thought and announced their mutiny. When Imam Ali left Siffin for Kufa, the Kharijites did not go with him. They went to Harawra’[^2] , and they have been ascribed to it. Their number was twelve thousand people. Their caller called that their commander in fighting was Shibth bin Rib‘i al-Tamimi, their leader in prayer was Abdullah bin al-Kawwa’ al-Yashkuri, the authority was to be consultation after the conquest, the pledge of allegiance was to Allah, the Great and Almighty, enjoining the good, and forbidding the evil.
Protest and Debates
Imam Ali was restless because of these renegades from the religion, so he sent to them Abdullah bin Abbas and ordered him not to debate with them until he came to him. When Abdullah bin Abbas met with them, he could find no escape from debating with them. He asked them: -Why have you harbored malice against the two arbitrators? Allah, the Great and Almighty, has said: “If they both desire agreement, Allah will effect harmony between them.”[^3] So how about the community of Muhammad (a.s)? The Kharijites answered him:
-What Allah has left for people to decide on is up to them, and what He has already determined, people has no right to change.He has determined that a fornicator is to be whipped a hundred whips, a thief’s is to be cut off; therefore, people have no right to change it. Abdullah bin Abbas said:
- Allah, the Great and Almighty, says: “As two just persons among you shall judge.”[^4]
[^1] Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, vol. 2, p. 154. [^2] It was said that Harawra’ was a village near Kufa. And it was said that it was two miles far from it. Mu‘jam al-Buldan, vol. 3, p. 256 [^3] Qur’an, 4, 35. [^4] Ibid., 95.
-Do you regard the ruling of game and the intercourse between a wife and her husband like the ruling of the Muslims’ bloods? This verse is between you and us. Is (Amr) bin al-Aas near you a just one, while he yesterday killed us and shed our blood? If he was just, then we were not just where we fought against him. You made the men judge before the command of Allah, while Allah, the Great and Almighty, had decreed His command in respect of Mu’awiya and his party that they should be killed or they should return to the truth. Before that, we had summoned them to the Book of Allah, the Great and Almighty, but they refused. Then you wrote a letter between you and him, and made peace and cordiality between you and him, while Allah has prevented peace and cordiality between Muslims and those who fight them since the Sura of Bara’a was revealed except those who acknowledge the tribute.
Abdullah bin Abbas went on debating with them, and so did they. The definite proofs he gave to refute their wrong viewpoints were useless. Imam Ali along with a group of his companions went to these renegades to debate with them. He (a.s) went to the tent Yazid bin Qays. He performed the ritual ablution and offered two ruk’as. Then he walked towards the people. He saw Abdullah bin Abbas debating with them. He blamed him, saying: “Refrain from debating with them! Have I not prohibited you? May Allah have mercy on you!” Then he turned to the people and said: “O Allah, this is the place where whoever succeeds is more appropriate for success on the Day of Resurrection, and whoever says and makes mischief shall be blind in the hereafter; and more erring from the way.” Then he asked them:
-Who is your leader? -(Abdullah) bin al-Kawwa’. The Imam (a.s) addressed him asking:
-What has made you mutiny against us? -Your decision at the Battle of Siffin! -I adjure you before Allah. Did you know when they raised copies of the Qur’an, you said: “We respond to them for Allah’s Book!” and I said to you: “I am more aware of the people than you. They are not men of religion and Qur’an. I accompanied them and knew them when children and grown-ups. They were the wickedest when children and grown-ups! Go on your right and truthfulness! The people have raised these copies of the Qur’an as a trick, flattery, and a plot. However, you refused my opinion and said ‘no’. Rather we accept from them. So I said to you: ‘Remember my speech to you and your disobedience to me.’ When you refused except the Book, I made a condition on the two arbitrators that they should enliven what the Qur’an has enlivened and deaden what the Qur’an has deadened. If they acted according to the precept of the Qur’an, then we would have no right to oppose what the arbitrators decided according to that which was in the Qur’an, and if they refused, then we would disown their decision!”
This brilliant argument refuted all that which they had clung to in order to establish their weak thought, and they inclined to the Imam with gentleness, saying to him:
-Do you think that it was an act of justice to appoint some men as arbitrators over bloods (killed people)? -We did not appoint the men as arbitrators; rather we appointed the Qur’an as a judge. This is the Qur’an, which is written between two covers. It does not utter; rather the men say it.
-Tell us about the fixed time. Why did you appoint it between you and them? -That the ignorant may know, the knowledgeable may be firm, and that Allah, the Great and Almighty, may set right this community during this truce. Imam Ali (a.s) knew that they had yield to his speech, so he said to them: “Enter your city, may Allah have mercy on you!” They responded to him and they all went with him to Kufa. However, they retained their own beliefs and spread them among the people of Kufa. They made troubles and summoned the people to rebel against the Imam. Their affair became famous and they became strong. Some of them hurried to interrupt the Imam while he was delivering a sermon, reciting this Qur’anic Verse: “If you ascribe a partner to Allah, your work would certainly come to naught and you would certainly be of the losers.”[^1] The Imam answered him with another verse: “Therefore be patient; surely the promise of Allah is true, and let not those who have no certainty hold you in light estimation.”[^2]
The situation between Imam Ali and these rebels became worse, for they attacked the innocent people, and spread fear and terror in the land that the security in the country became disordered, and fear spread among the citizens.
[^1] Qur'an, 39, 65. [^2] Qur’an., 30, 60.
The two Arbitrators hold a Meeting
Mu’awiya regained his forces and made firm his affair 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 divided into tribes and parties, and he knew that Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari deviated from the Imam as well. Accordingly, he intended to add another victory to his victory. The Imam (a.s) responded to him. He sent four hundred men under the leadership of Shurayh bin Hani al-Harithi[^1] . Among them there were Abdullah bin Abbas to lead them in prayer and undertake their affairs, and Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, who was chosen for the arbitration. And so did Mu’awiya. He sent Amr be 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!”[^2]
The two parties went and arrived in Adhruh[^3] or Doumat al-Jandal[^4] . The
[^1] Shurayh bin Hani bin Yazid bin al-Harth was among those who lived before Islam. Then he became Muslim. He was given the Kunya of Abu al-Miqdam. His father Hani was a companion of the Prophet (a.s.). Shurayh was among the greatest companions of Imam Ali. Al-Isti‘ab. [^2] Al-Iqd al-Fareed, vol. 3, p. 115. [^3] Adhruh was a name of a place in Sham. It was near the land of al-Hijaz. The arbitration between Amr bin al-‘Aas and Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari took place there. It is correct because the speech of Dhul Rimma, who has praised Bilal, the grandson of Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, saying:
Your (grand)father set right the religion and the people after they had badly treated each other, and the house of the religion was demolished. He strengthened the links of the religion during the days at Adhruh and refused the battles were given as an injection to a barren.
Mu‘jam al-Buldan, vol. 1, p. 161. [^4] Doumat al-Jandal was the name of a place covered through seven stages from Damascus and from the City of the Prophet. Abu Ubayd al-Sukuni has said: “Doumat al-Jandal was a stronghold and villages between Sham and Medina, near the Mountain of Tay. The Banu Kinan from Kalb lived there. It was said that the arbitration happened at Doumat al-Jandal. Abdullah bin Isa, the grandson of Abu Layla, has narrated: ‘Abu Musa and I passed through Doumat al-Jandal. Abu Musa said: ‘Allah’s Apostle related to me that two arbitrators judged between the children of Israel with oppression at this place, and that two arbitrators will judge between my community with oppression at this place.’” He said: “When the days passed, he (Abu Musa) and Amr bin al-Aas decided what they decided.” The poets composed many poems on mentioning the meeting at Adhruh except al-A’war al-Shani, a poet, who has mentioned Doumat al-Jandal in his poetry.
The meter would be correct if Adhruh replaced Doumat. This has been mentioned in meeting and the arbitration were held there. The cunning person, Amr bin al-Aas, met with the weak-minded and dull person, Abu Musa. He gave him time for three days. 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 toward him admiration, reverence, and magnification. He said to him: “O Abu Musa, you are the chief of the companions of Muhammad (a.s)! 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). Just imagine how about the saving of the lives of these people!”
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 about how he could decide the conflict, saying: “How is that?”
“You depose Ali bin Abi Talib,” replied Amr, “and I depose Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufyan. We choose for this community the man who has attended nothing of 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 toward Abdullah bin Umar, so he said to him: “He is Abdullah bin Umar!” Abu Musa al-As‘ari 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.
the book Mu‘jam al-Buldan, vol. 4, p. 106. In his book “Ali wa Banuh” (Ali and his Sons), p. 107, Dr. Taha Husayn thinks that the meeting was first hold at Doumat al-Jandal and then at Adhruh.
Their agreement on the time when they would meet was announced for people. There came the terrible hour when the course of history changed. People gathered to receive the decisive result of this arbitration for which they were impatiently waiting. The cunning person, Amr bin al-Aas, and the deceived one, Abu Musa, came to the pulpit to announce before people the decisions on which they had agreed. 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! -Is there anything in your soul?
Amr took a strong oath before Abu Musa to conform to the promise he had given to him.[^1] 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 make 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!”[^2]
However, the low person (Abu Musa) paid no attention to Abdullah bin Abbas’s 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 Mu’awiya. 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.s), and his father was also a companion of the Prophet (a.s). He became prominent through his precedence in Islam. He is Abdullah bin Umar!”
He lauded him with a good laudation and gave to him good qualities and noble descriptions. Abu Musa turned away from Imam Ali (a.s) 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 well as his [^1] Al-Iqd al-Farid, vol. 3, p. 115. [^2] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 6, p. 39.
father said about him. How bad time it was that let such a low person 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.s) and then he said: “O people, Abu Musa Abdullah bin Qays has deposed Ali and removed him from this matter that he seeks, and he is the most aware of him. Now, I depose Ali as he has done, and I appoint Mu’awiya (as a caliph) over you and me. Abu Musa has written in the document that Uthman was killed as an oppressed martyr,[^1] and that his heir has the right to avenge his blood in any case. Mu’awiya 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-Ash‘ari) said to Amr bin al-Aas: “What wrong with you! May Allah curse you! You are like a panting dog!” 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) silly arbitration. Through his arbitration, he recorded for the Iraqis shame and disgrace that history would not forget forever.
The Iraqis recorded shameful pages in their history through their choosing of Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, who had dull mind and weak reason. So how did they choose him to decide their fate and the fate of the following generations?