The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Xv : Declaration of War
When Mu’awiya’s fallacies and political plans failed, he thought that the best means to overcome the events was that he had to hurry to declare war lest the attitude should be clear and the chance should escape him. Most likely he hurried to declare war for the following reasons:
He firmly communicated with the Iraqi leaders, the military commanders, and the chiefs of the tribes. He bought their cheap consciences for money and made them wish for offices, and they secretly responded to him to betray Imam al-Hasan and to carry out his objectives. The proof of that is the note he sent to his leaders and governors asking them to help and join him. In this note, he expressed his firm communication with the commanders of the Iraqi army and their response to him.
He came to know that the Iraqi Army was divided, defeated, and did not obey Imam al-Hasan. That resulted from the affairs we will mention in detail when we talk about the reasons for the peacemaking.
He came to know the local danger with which Iraq was afflicted and from which Sham (Syria) was safe. That was the Kharijites’ thought whose principles spread among the Iraqi circles. Among their principles was the declaration of mutiny and rebellion against the then government and the spread of chaos in the country, that they might overthrow the government and undertake the leadership over the community.
The murder of Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful (a.s) made the Iraqis lose a leader, guide, and orator who directed them to the truth. After missing him, the Iraqis walked in utter darkness and were at random. They lost the pioneer and guide.
As far as we know that these are the affairs that urged Mu’awiya to declare war (against Imam al-Hasan). If Iraq had not been afflicted with such disasters and troubles, Mu’awiya would not have found a way to declare war, would have spared no effort to delay war and to conclude a timely truce, just as he did with the Romans, that the affair might become clear to him. We cannot forget his words showing his fear of the Iraqis when they were one rank and were not afflicted with discord and weakness. He said: “When I remember their eyes under the armors (at the Battle) of Siffin, I lose my mind!” He described their unity, saying: “Their hearts were like one man’s heart!” Had it not been for their disagreement and dispersion, Mu’awiya would not have hurried to declare war (against them).
Mu’awiya’s Note to his Governors
Mu’awiya sent to his governors and leaders a note with one meaning. In the note he urged them to set out to battle against Imam al-Hasan and commanded them to join him in the best way and most complete readiness. This is the text of the note: “From the servant of Allah, Mu’awiya, the Commander of the faithful, To so-and-so, son of so-and-so, and the Muslims. Salamun ‘alaykum, I thank on your behalf Allah Whom there is no god other than. Praise belongs to Allah, Who sufficed you the burden of your enemy and his killing your caliph. Most surely Allah through His mercy enabled a man from among His servants to kill Ali bin Abi Talib. He killed him and left his companions in division and disagreement. The letters of their noble men and their leaders have come to us asking for security for themselves and their tribes. Therefore, when this letter of mine reaches you, come to me along with your efforts, fighters, and good equipment. Certainly, through thanking Allah, you have hit the vengeance and reached the hope; and Allah has destroyed the men of error and aggression; and peace, Allah’s mercy and blessings be on you.”[^1]
When this letter reached his leaders and his governors, they provoked the people and urged them to set out and to get ready to battle against Imam al-Hasan, the Prophet’s darling and grandson. Shortly after that Mu’awiya was joined by huge, organized troops supplied with weapons and equipment.
When Mu’awiya had huge troops from among the fighters and those ambitious who yield to nothing except wealth and pleasures, he took them and set off towards Iraq. He himself was the commander-in-chief. He appointed al-Dahhak bin Qays al-Fihri as a governor over his capital. The troops with him were about sixty thousand men, and it was said more. Anyway, the troops obeyed Mu’awiya, and carried out his commands and wishes. They submitted to him. They did not oppose him nor did they disobey him. Mu’awiya and his army covered the desert. When they arrived at the Bridge of Manbaj,[^2] they stayed there. There he made his affair firm, that he might overcome the events.
[^1] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 13. [^2] The Bridge of Manbaj was an old town. There was a two days’ distance between it and Halabin. Khousrow (the Persian king) was the first to build it. Some poets lived there like al-Buhtary. This has been mentioned (in the book) Mu‘jam al-Buldan, vol. 8, p. 169.
The Iraqis are terrified
When the news of that Mu’awiya and his troops headed for Iraq to fight against the Iraqis spread, terror and fear prevailed them. As for Imam al-Hasan, he ordered a companion of his to call in the capital: “The prayer is to be congregational.” The call was made. Shortly after that the people crowded in the mosque. So Imam al-Hasan (a.s) went out and went up on the pulpit. He praised and lauded Allah, and then he said: “Allah has determined jihad on His creation and named it hatred. Then He said to the men of jihad: ‘Be patient! Most surely Allah is with the patient.’ O people, you will not obtain what you like except through patience with what you dislike.
I have been informed that Mu’awiya has been informed that we have decided to advance towards him. So he has reacted owing to that. Set out to your camp at al-Nukhaylah,[^1] may Allah have mercy on you, that we may think, and you think; and we see, and you see.”[^2] When he ended his speech, those present kept silent, their tongues became dumb, and their faces turned yellow as if they were driven to death. None of them answered Imam al-Hasan. They were afraid of the people of Sham. They liked peace, and preferred comfort. This weakness at the beginning of the summons to jihad warned of the danger, indicated pessimism and despair of setting them right. When ‘Adiy bin Hatam[^3] , a great, determined, and watchful companion of the Prophet, came to
[^1] Al-Nukhaylah was a place near Kufa in the direction of al-Sham (Syria). At it Mu‘awiya killed the Kharijites when he came to Kufa. This has been mentioned (in the book) Mu‘jam al-Buldan, vol. 8, p. 276. [^2] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 13. [^3] His full name is ‘Adi bin Hatam al-Taa’i. His father Hatam was cited as an example of generosity and munificence. ‘Adi was given the Kunya of Abu Tareef. He came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, in the year 9 A. H. He was a Christian, and then he became a Muslim. There is a long, original speech on his becoming Muslim. It has been mentioned by Ibn al-Athir in his (book) Asad al-Ghaba. He (‘Adi) narrated many traditions from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. He was generous and noble among his people. He was great with them and other than them. He was ready to answer. He was among the men of religion and piety.
It was he who said: “When the time of prayer came to me, I was yearning for it.” One day he came into ‘Umar bin al-Khattabin He came to know that he showed pride toward him and made little of his right. So he turned to him, saying: “Do you recognize me?” “Yes, by Allah, I know you,” replied ‘Umar, “Allah has ennobled you with the best knowledge. I know you, by Allah. You became a Muslim when they were unbelievers. You knew when they denied. You were loyal when they betrayed. And you advanced when they escaped.” So ‘Adi said: “Enough! Enough!” He witnessed the conquest of Iraq, the Battle of al-Qadisiya, the Battle of al-Nahrawan, and the Day of the Bridge along with Abu ‘Ubayda, and the like of that. An example of his generosity and nobility is that al-Ash‘ath bin Qays sent a man to him to borrow from him Hatam’s cooking pots. ‘Adi filled them with food and know that the people kept silent and did not respond to Imam al-Hasan, he became angry with them. He rebuked them for their silence and flagrant weakness. He said to them with enthusiasm and determination: “I am ‘Adiy bin Hatam. Glory belongs to Allah! How ugly this attitude is! Why do you not respond to your Imam and son of your Prophet’s daughter? Where are the orators of the city whose tongues are eloquent during ease, and who dodge like a fox at the time of seriousness? Do you not fear Allah’s detest with its defect and disgrace?”
Then he turned to Imam al-Hasan showing obedience and yielding, saying: “May Allah achieve through you wise attitudes, keep you away from the detested things, and give you success to laudable results! We have heard your speech, come to your command, listened to you, and showed obedience to what you said and saw!”
Then he immediately showed the people that he was determined to set out to fight against Mu’awiya, saying: “I am heading for our camp! Whoever likes to come, then let him come!”
Then he went out of the mosque. His mount was at the door. He rode it and went out alone. He commanded his servant to supply him with that which set him right. He arrived in al-Nukhaylah and camped at it alone.[^1] When Qays bin Sa‘d bin Ubada, Ma‘qal bin Qays al-Riyahi,[^2] and Ziyad bin Sa‘sa‘a saw the carried them to him. So al-Ash‘ath told him that he wanted them empty. But ‘Adi answered him: “We do not lend them empty!” ‘Adi used to crumble bread to the ants and said: “They are my neighbors and have right against me!” He was among those who turned away from ‘Uthman (bin ‘Affan). He witnessed with Imam Ali the Battle of al-Jamal. So his eye was knocked out at it. He had two sons. One of them was killed with Imam Ali; and the other was killed with the Kharijites. He also witnessed the Battle of Siffin and had famous attitudes at it. He died in the year 67 A. H., and other than that was said. He was then 120 years old. It was said that he died in Kufa, and it was said that he died in Qirqisya. The former is more correct. This has been mentioned in (the book) Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 3, p. 392. Narrations similar to it has been mentioned in (the books) al-Isaba, al-Isti‘ab, and Tahdhib al-Tahdhibin
[^1] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 14. [^2] Ma‘qal bin Qays al-Riyahi lived during the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Ibn ‘Asakir has said: “‘Ammar (bin Yasir) sent Ma‘qal to ‘Umar to tell him about the conquest of Tastar. He also sent him to the Banu Najiya when they became apostates. He (Ma‘qal bin Qays al-Riyahi) was among Imam Ali’s commanders at the Battle of al-Jamal and was the director of his policemen. Khalifa bin al-Khayyat has mentioned: “ Al-Mustawrad bin ‘Alqama al-Yarbu‘i al-Khariji dueled with him after (the murder of Imam) Ali; and they killed each other.” That was in the year 42 A. H. during the reign of Mu‘awiya, and it was said in the year 39 A. H. during the caliphate of Ali. This has been mentioned in (the book) al-Isaba, vol. 3, p. 475.
people keeping silent and not responding to Imam al-Hasan, they became angry. They blamed and rebuked the people for their weakness. They urged them to fight against their enemy. Then they turned to Imam al-Hasan and said to him as ‘Adi had said to him. They showed obedience to him and yielding to his commands. Imam al-Hasan thanked them for their noble attitudes. He lauded their good feelings, saying: “I still know you through the true intention, loyalty, and advice. So may Allah reward you with good!”
Then Imam al-Hasan (a.s) immediately went out to encounter the Umayyad aggression. He appointed al-Mughira bin Nawfal bin al-Harth[^1] as a governor over his capital. He ordered him to urge the people to struggle (against Mu’awiya) and to send them to him at al-Nukhaylah. Then he and his weak, huge Army covered the desert. He arrived in al-Nukhaylah and stayed there to organize his troops.[^2] Then he left it and walked until he reached Deir Abdurrahman.
He stayed there for three days, that those from among his troops who remained behind might join him. He thought that he had to send the vanguard of his Army to explore the conditions of the enemy and to prevent him from advancing towards another place. He chose for his vanguard the sincerest ones from among his brave, skillful companions whose number was twelve thousands. He gave the general leadership to his cousin Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas. Before this part of the Army moved, Imam al-Hasan had summoned Ubaydillah, the commander-in-chief of his armed force. He supplied him with this valuable advice which is as follows: “O cousin, I am going to send with you twelve thousand Arab horsemen and reciters (of the
[^1] Al-Mughira bin Nawfal bin al-Harth bin ‘Abd al-Muttalib was born in Mecca at the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. That was before the Hijri calendar. It was said that he did not live during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, except for six years. He was given the kunya of Abu Yahya. He married Imama, daughter of al-‘Aas bin al-Rabee‘. Imama was Imam Ali’s wife. When the Imam was murdered, he advised al-Mughira to marry her. When the Imam, peace be on him, died, al-Mughira married her. Al-Mughira witnessed the Battle of Siffin with Imam Ali. He was a judge during the reign of ‘Uthman. He narrated one tradition from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. The tradition is the words of him, may Allah bless him and his family: “Whoever does not praise justice and does not dispraise injustice fights against Allah.” This has been mentioned in (the book) Asad al-Ghaba, vol. 4, p. 407.
[^2] In the book al-Kharaiij wa al-Jaraiih, p. 228 it has been mentioned: “Those who wanted to go out went with Imam al-Hasan. Many people tarried. They did not fulfill what they had said and promised. They deceived him just as they had deceived Imam Ali, peace be on him, before. Imam al-Hasan camped at al-Nukhaylah for ten days. None was present with him except four thousand people. So he returned to Kufa to urge the people. He made a speech in which he said: ‘You have deceived me as you had deceived those before me.’”
Qur’an) of the city. A man of them is more than a regiment. Therefore, take them and go away. Be lenient and cheerful to them. Lower your wing in gentleness for them. Let them approach your sitting-place, for they are the remainder of those trusted by (Imam Ali), the Commander of the faithful. Make them walk by the Euphrates. Then go ahead till you place them face to face with Mu’awiya. If you meet him, then prevent him until I come to you, for I am about to follow you. Inform me (of the events) day by day. Consult these two (persons)-Qays bin Sa‘d, and Sa‘eed bin Qays. If you meet Mu’awiya, do not fight him until he fights you. If he does, then battle against him. If you are struck, then Qays bin Sa‘d would be over the people. If he is struck, then Sa‘eed bin Qays would be over the people.” This advice contains the following points:
It indicates the imam’s abundant knowledge of managing the affairs of the state. That is because of his commandment in respect of the Army in such a manner including pity, affection, and praise. For example, he said that the Army was the remainder of the ones trusted by Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, and that the commander-in-chief should be kind to it. This procedure made the Army loyal and faithful to the state. Of course, when the Army is loyal to the government and believes in its policies, it makes firm its bases, and it wins a strong fence that protects it from external aggressions, local discords, and brings about to it increasingly tranquility and stability.
As for his command that Ubaydillah had not to aggress against Mu’awiya and not to fight against him until he would start fighting, it does not mean that the holy verse orders (Muslims) not to aggress. Allah, the Exalted, has said: “And fight against those who fight against you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.”[^1] The holy verse does not concern Mu’awiya, who followed all possible means to aggress against the Muslims. For example he refused to pay homage to Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. This means that he mutinied against the Muslims’ will and unity. He fought against Imam Ali in the Battle of Siffin; and this means that he aggressed against the Muslim community. Besides he made mischief in the land. That was when he and his governors unjustly went too far in shedding the Muslims’ blood. Throughout the periods of his reign he aggressed against Islam and revolted against the community’s will. Anyway al-Hasan (a.s) commanded Ubaydillah not to start fighting to prevent him from dodging through saying that he did not come for the purpose of war, and that he came to negotiate with them about setting right the Muslims’ affairs.
[^1] Qur’an, 1, 190.
- In his advice, Imam al-Hasan made it incumbent on Ubaydillah to consult Qays bin Sa‘d and Sa‘eed bin Qays. He nominated them for the leadership after him. He wanted to draw the attention of the members of the Army to that they had to obey their commander’s orders if he consulted the two men. Also he wanted to tell them that they were trustworthy. Indeed none in the Imam’s Army was equal to them in their good tendencies, their obedience to the Prophet’s Household, peace be on them. For this reason Imam al-Hasan had confidence in them and took great care of them.
Before we end the talk about this topic, we have to deal with some affairs concerning it as follows:
Choosing of Ubaydillah
Many people ask about the reason why Imam al-Hasan nominated Ubaydillah for leading the vanguard of his Army. They say that there were in the Army persons firmer than him in faith, stronger than him in thought, and more loyal such as Qays bin Sa‘d, Sa‘eed bin Qays, and the like of them from among the trustworthy believers. The answer to that is as follows:
A. Through that Imam al-Hasan (a.s) wanted to encourage him and to make him sincere through entrusting the general leadership to him. Ubaydillah had a qualification, ability, and determination which made him worthy of this high office. That is because he was brought up in the school of Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. Imam Ali (a.s) had installed him as a governor over Yemen because of his qualifications and abilities.
C. He was worthy of being loyal and of sparing no effort in fighting against Mu’awiya. That is because Bisr bin Arta’a had killed his two sons.
D. Most surely Imam al-Hasan (a.s) did not place the general leadership in his hand; rather he had placed it between him and two persons who were, Qays bin Sa‘d, and Sa‘eed bin Qays. His Eminence late Aal Yaseen has explained this subject matter in detail.[^1]
The Number of the Army
The historians’ words have differed over the number of the Army that went with Imam al-Hasan to Saabaat. Ibn Abi al-Haddeed has mentioned that a huge Army went with Imam al-Hasan, but he has not mentioned its number. He has mentioned the number of the vanguard under the leadership of [^1] Sulh al-Hasan, p. 96.
Ubaydillah. He has said: “The number of the vanguard was twelve thousand men from among the Arab knights and the reciters (of the Qur’an) in the city (of Kufa).”[^1] Al-Tabari and others have mentioned that the number of the Army was forty thousand men.[^2] From the talks that took place between Imam al-Hasan and some of his companions about peacemaking, we understand that the number of the army was a hundred thousand people. For example, Sulayman bin Surad criticized Imam al-Hasan (a.s) for his accepting peacemaking, saying: “Our astonishment at your paying homage to Mu’awiya does not come to an end. That is because you have a hundred thousand fighters from among the people of Iraq!”[^3] Ziyad’s answer to Mu’awiya indicates that the number of the Army was ninety thousand men.[^4] It was said that the number of the Army was seventy thousand men.[^5] I (the author) think that the number of the Army was more than forty thousand (people). The proof of that is the speech of Nawf al-Bakali[^6] , who said: “When Imam (Ali) decided to return to war against Mu’awiya a week before his death, he entrusted al-Hasan with ten thousand (fighters), Abu Ayyub al-Ansari with ten thousand (fighters), Qays bin Sa‘d with ten thousand (fighters). He also entrusted other than them with other numbers. He intended to return to Siffin. When Friday came to him, Abdurrahman bin Muljim struck him with the sword.”[^7]
[^1] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 14. [^2] Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 6, p. 94. [^3] Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, vol. 1, p. 151. [^4] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 194. Ziyad has said: “Most surely the son of the woman who ate the liver (of Hamza at the Battle of Uhd), cave of hypocrisy, and remainder of the allies (Mu‘awiya) has written (a letter in which he has) threatened me while there are between me and him two grandsons of the Prophet along with ninety thousand (people). [^5] Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 8, p. 42. It has been mentioned in it: “A man came in to al-Hasan bin Ali in whose hand there was a letter. The man asked him: ‘What is this?’ ‘Mu‘awiya has threatened me in it,’ replied the Imam. ‘You treated him with justice,’ retorted the man. The Imam answered: ‘Most surely I fear that on the Day of Resurrection seventy or eighty thousand (people) or more or less will come and their jugular veins will exude (blood), and that all of them will ask Allah for help against those who shed their blood.’” A narration similar to this has been mentioned by Ibn Abi al-Hadeed in his book Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 7.
[^6] Nawf al-Bakali was among the companions of Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. It has been reported on the authority of Taghlub that he (Nawf al-Bakali) was ascribed to Bakal, a tribe from Hamadan (a city in Iran). It was said that (the name of the tribe was) Bukayl. Ibn Abi al-Hadeed has said: “(The name is) Bikal, a tribe from Himyar to whom belongs this person, who is Nawf bin Fudala, the companion of Imam Ali, peace be on him.” This has been mentioned in (the book) al-Ta‘leeqat, p. 354.
[^7] Muhammed ‘Abda, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 132.
This speech narrates to us that a huge, armed troops were ready to war against Mu’awiya. It has mentioned the name of some of their commanders whose authority was over thirty thousand armed fighters. It has not mentioned to us the names of the other commanders whom Imam Ali had appointed over the regiments of his Army nor has it mentioned the number of the Army that was with them. Without doubt their number was over ten thousand fighters. All of them pledged allegiance to al-Hasan and went with him to battle against his enemy. The proof to that is what Abu al-Fida’ has narrated: “Most surely al-Hasan got ready to fight against Mu’awiya with the Army that had pledged allegiance to his father.”[^1] This is confirmed by Ibn al-Athir who has said: “Forty thousand fighters had pledged allegiance to the Commander of the faithful, Ali, for death. That was when what he told them about the people of Sham appeared. While he (a.s) was getting ready to go, he was killed; and when Allah pleases a thing, none repels it. When he was killed and the people paid homage to his son al-Hasan, he heard of the advance of Mu’awiya along with the people of Sham. So he and the Army that had paid homage to Ali left Kufa to meet Mu’awiya (at a battlefield).”[^2]
Al-Musayb bin Nujba confirms this in his speech with Imam al-Hasan in respect of the peacemaking. He said to him: “My astonishment with you does not expire. You made peace with Mu’awiya while you had forty thousand (men).”[^3]
According to these numerous narrations the number of the Army was forty thousand fighters. I (the author) believe that. His Eminence, Hujjat al-Islam, late Aal Yaseen discussed the previous narrations and concluded that the number of the Army was twenty thousand or a little bit more.[^4] Anyway the difference over the number of the Army is not important. That is because if the members of the Army have different trends and tendencies, they become weak and win neither a conquest nor a victory though they are many. Victory is always obtained through loyalty, faith, thought, and the unity of word, and not through a huge number. If few people co-operate with each other and unify, they win a victory, make a clear conquest, and defeat their enemies regardless of their number, readiness, and forces. As for the men of Iraqi Army, regardless of their number, they suffered from disagreement, division, and weakness; therefore, how would they win a victory? What would the huge number benefit them?
[^1] Abu al-Fida’, Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 193. [^2] Al-Kamil, vol. 3, p. 61. [^3] Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 6. [^4] Sulh al-Hasan, p. 106.
A Description of the Army
Without doubt the Army is the pillar on which the throne of a state stands and its entity is built. The members of an army are the fence that protects the government and the people from any aggression. The protection of the regulation and security depends on them. It is so when they are loyal in their defense and they believe in their government. But if they are traitors, if they harbor malice against their state, seize the opportunity to take vengeance on it, and enable the enemy against it, definitely their state does not succeed in any field of the internal and external conflict. Definitely the nation does not win any victory when its political atmosphere is disordered and when it is liable to fatal dangers. The Iraqi Army that went with Imam al-Hasan to battle against Mu’awiya had suffered from discords and confusion. Hence, the danger of the army against the state was greater than that of Mu’awiya. Sheikh al-Mufid, may Allah have mercy on him, has described them, saying: “Al-Hasan called the people for war. They were slow to respond to him and then they came forward. Al-Hasan had a mixed band of men; some of them were from his and his father’s Shia (followers).
Some of them were from the Kharijites who were influenced by (the desire of) fighting Mu’awiya with every possible means. Some of them were men who loved discords and were anxious for booty, some of them were doubters, and others were tribal supporters who followed the leaders of their tribes without reference to religion.”[^1] In his speech, Sheikh al-Mufid, may Allah rest him in peace, has expressed: Firstly, the Army disliked the war, preferred rest, and wished for peace. Secondly, the Army had members who had different thoughts and trends. He has divided them as follows:
- The Shia
It seems that they were few in number in the Iraqi Army. If they had been many in number in the Army, Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful (a.s) would not have been forced to accept the arbitration (at the Battle of) Siffin, and al-Hasan would not have made peace with Mu’awiya. They were different from the members of the Army in thought, feelings, and faith. They had maintained that the Prophet’s Household were worthy of the caliphate, the guardians of the Prophet, supporters and protectors of Islam, and that the obedience to them was obligatory on all the Muslims.
[^1] Al-Irshad, p. 169. This has been mentioned by Ali bin Muhammed, better known as Ibn al-Sabbagh, in (his book) al-Fusool al-Muhimma, p. 143. Al-Arbali, Kashf al-Ghumma, p. 161. Al-Majjlsi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 110.
They were the Kharijites whom Imam Ali’s Army included. They intended to battle against Mu’awiya with all means possible. They had no faith in al-Hasan’s affair and Mu’awiya’s falsehood; rather they thought that al-Hasan and Mu’awiya were on the same level, and that they were not worthy of the caliphate. They hurried to fight against Mu’awiya because they had come to know that he had forces stronger than those of al-Hasan. So they thought that they had to join al-Hasan’s Army timely to put an end to Mu’awiya’s affair. If they had ended it, then al-Hasan’s affair would have been easy to them. That is because they would easily assassinate him just as they had assassinated his father before.
- The Ambitious
Imam Ali’s Army contained some fighters, who did not believe in the spiritual values, nor did they sanctify justice, nor did they understand the truth; rather they sought their interests and ambitions. They closely watched the two parties to know which of them would be successful and victorious, that they might join it.
- The doubters
More likely the doubters were those who were influenced by the Kharijites’ summons and the Umayyad propaganda, to the extent that they doubted the beliefs of the Prophet’s Household, peace be on them. If the war had broken out, they would not have helped Imam al-Hasan with anything, for they had no faith in supporting the Prophet’s Household.
- The Followers of Leaders
They were the greatest in number and in danger. They blindly followed the leaders of their tribes. They had neither will, nor thinking nor feeling in the (religious) duty. They were the so-called mobs. The majority of the then Iraqis belonged to a tribe just as they do in the present time. The majority of the Iraqi leaders wrote letters to Mu’awiya to obey and submit to him. Examples of them are Qays bin al-Ash‘ath, ‘Amr bin al-Hajjaj, Hajjar bin Abjar. Besides there were leaders like them from among the Kharijites and the hypocrites who took part in the most dangerous tragedy that history has recorded, which is the murder of Imam al-Husayn, the master of the youths of the Garden, peace be on him. The Iraqi Army was composed of these elements. Rather all the Iraqis, whether they joined Imam al-Hasan or not, were under these titles mentioned by Sheikh al-Mufid, may Allah have mercy on him, in his valuable speech. Imam al-Hasan was not safe from the wickedness of the majority of them in peace and war.
**Historical Mistakes ** Some historians and writers have made mistakes in respect of this research. It is important to mention them. They are as follows:
Al-Hakim al-Nisaburi has mentioned that al-Hasan entrusted his vanguard to his cousin Abdullah bin Ja‘far and added to him ten thousand fighters.[^1] Only al-Hakim has mentioned this narration, which is contrary to that on which the narrators have unanimously agreed, and which is that the leadership over the vanguard was entrusted to Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas in co-operation with Qays bin Sa‘d and Sa‘eed bin Qays. Likewise, the number of the vanguard was twelve thousands, and not ten thousands, as historians have mentioned.
Al-Ya‘qubi, a famous historian, has mentioned: “Most surely, Imam al-Hasan got ready to fight against Mu’awiya eighteen days after his father’s death.”[^2] This is a mistake, for the Imam got ready to fight against his opponent after he had sent him the letters we have already mentioned. Apparently, the period of the correspondence was more than two months; likewise the Imam not get ready for the battle after all the means he used to make peace and friendliness had failed, and he had come to know that Mu’awiya and his troops advanced against him. So at that time he got ready for war, and not before it just as the historians have unanimously agreed on it. If we want to correct what al-Ya‘qubi has mentioned, then the period he has mentioned was the beginning of the correspondence that took place between them.
Ibn Katheer has said: “Al-Hasan did not intend to fight against anyone, but they overcame his opinion. They held a great meeting the like of which was not heard. So al-Hasan bin Ali appointed Qays bin Sa‘d bin Ubada as a commander over the vanguard with twelve thousand (fighters) before him…”[^3] This speech is not trustworthy because if Imam al-Hasan had not intended to fight against Mu’awiya, he would not have sent him the letters in which he threatened him with declaring war if he had not enter the obedience to him. If he had not intended to war (against him), he would not have gone up on the pulpit and urged the people to struggle (against him) and summoned them to
[^1] Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 174. [^2] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 191. [^3] Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 8, p. 14.
war (against him); we have mentioned that in detail. As for his speech: “They held a great meeting the like of which was not heard,” it is contradicted by that they tarried, did not respond to him, and kept silent when he (a.s) summoned them to jihad in his previous speech.
Dr. Taha Husayn
Dr. Taha Husayn has said: “After the pledge of allegiance (to him), al-Hasan remained for about two months without mentioning war and showing readiness for it. (He continued so) until Qays bin Sa‘d, and Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas insisted on him, and Abdullah bin al-Abbas wrote to him from Mecca, urged him to war (against Mu’awiya), and insisted on him to rise for which his father had risen.”[^1] The mistakes in his speech are as follows:
- As for his speech: “After the pledge of allegiance (to him), al-Hasan remained for about two months without mentioning war and showing readiness for it,” it is far from the reality and is close to what Ibn Katheer has mentioned in his previous speech. Perhaps Dr. Taha Husayn has depended on it. Imam al-Hasan’s previous letters refute it. They are clear in showing his determination for warring (against Mu’awiya). We will mention some paragraphs of them as examples of that. Imam al-Hasan (a.s) says: “If you refused (all things) except going too far in your error, I and the Muslims shall march towards you and judge you until Allah judges between us; and He is the best of the judges!” This paragraph is clear in respect of what we have mentioned. Perhaps Dr. Taha did not see this part of the Imam’s letters, so he gave a decision full of mixture and mistakes. Besides it was incumbent on Imam al-Hasan to battle against Mu’awiya, for Allah made it obligatory to fight against the rebellious who revolt against the Imam of Muslims. He, the Most High, has said: “…but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah’s command.”
Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, has said: “Whoever summons (the people) to himself or to someone else while there is an Imam over the people, Allah’s cures be on him, then fight against him.” As for Mu’awiya, he revolted and rebelled against Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, drowned the country into blood, spread among the Muslims sadness, bereaving children, and mourning. Therefore, fighting against him was the most important of the religious duties. So how was it possible for Imam al-Hasan to refrain from it while he was the Prophet’s darling grandson? [^1] Ali wa Banuh, p. 195.
- As for his statement: “Qays bin Sa‘d and Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas insisted on him to rise for war,” it is an imagination and mixture. That is because we have mentioned, at the beginning of the research, the historical texts indicating that Imam al-Hasan hurried to war against Mu’awiya when he came to know that he advanced against him. None insisted on him in respect of that; rather it was the critical situation and the urgent necessity that urged him to set out. If he had not hurried to fight against Mu’awiya and to stop his attack, Mu’awiya would have occupied Kufa and taken Imam al-Hasan as a prisoner of war. Therefore, it was obligatory on him to go out for defense and jihad; and there was none to insist on him in respect of that.
Most surely Dr. Taha Husayn’s researches in this respect are full of mistakes and mixture, void of the scrutiny required by the scientific research that does not yield to sentiment and desires. That is because history, as they say, is full of mixed topics. It is difficult for a true historian to conclude even the simplest affairs; therefore, he is not able to understand such vague subject matters because the narrators deliberately wrote some narrations to support the Umayyads and to belittle the Prophet’s Household, peace be on them. Therefore, it is obligatory to make sure of the narrations only they have mentioned and to take into consideration the sayings of the historians, who are famous for their honesty, have not deviated from the truth, and refrained from fabricating. It is not an act of rightness that Dr. Taha Husayn depends on the narrations of Ibn Katheer and the like of him from among those fanatics and who deviated from the truth and approached that which was contrary to the reality and far from the truth.
Certainly, the source of the mistakes in the researches of the later resulted from their dependence on such sources and their refraining from checking the narrations only they mentioned to support the then government. There is nothing more important to the historian who wants to be honest to the truth than examining the narrations, for it is among the things the free research requires and we are in need of.