The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba

Chapter Xvii : the Reasons of the Peacemaking Part 1

There are many doubts and sayings about the peace Imam al-Hasan made with Mu’awiya. From them we can conclude two different decisions; indeed one of them is wrong and far from correctness, just like two different decisions.

The first decision is about justifying Imam al-Hasan’s attitude in respect of his making peace (with Mu’awiya) and his great success in it. The justifications for it are different. Some religious scholars and researchers have justified it with that al-Hasan is an Imam, the Imam is infallible; therefore, he makes no mistake. The Imam does nothing except good things that include all the community. At the end of the chapter we will mention those who maintain this viewpoint. Yet there is another justification for indicating the meaning of the first viewpoint and explaining its originality and its goodness. The justification depends on some material reasons that forced Imam al-Hasan to make peace such as the desertion of his Army, the corruption of his society, the treason of the leaders and the prominent persons from among his Shia, and the like from among the factors.

The second justification briefly indicates that Imam al-Hasan had a weak will, had no knowledge of the general political affairs, was feeble of managing the state, and did not set right the attitude through depending on some political methods even if they are religiously forbidden. If he had won a victory, it would have been good and well; otherwise he had to die a martyr for glory that was the Hashimites’ slogan and reformers’ objective. This viewpoint is based on some unreal justifications. That is because it has not been based on studying the conditions that surrounded Imam al-Hasan and understanding the inclinations of his people who suffered from bad manners and thoughts. Therefore, this viewpoint is surface and void of an inquiry and far from reality. As for those who have maintained this viewpoint, they are as follows:


Commenting on this poetry line of (the poem) Lamiyyat al-‘Ajam, al-Safadi has said:

The love for safety turns the determination of its owner away from high positions and incites one (to cling to) laziness. Some chiefs and leading persons who were advanced in knowledge and office parted their positions and abdicated the thrones. Then he has mentioned some of those who were satisfied with laziness and abdicated the caliphate, saying: “And this is al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Talib (peace be on him) said to Mu’awiya: ‘Most surely there is a debt against me. Pay my debt, and I will abdicate the caliphate. They paid his debt, and he abdicated the caliphate.’”[^1]

Dr. Philip Hatty

Professor Philip Hatty has said: “Another movement arose at the beginning of Mu’awiya’s reign. The movement was of great importance among the following generations. I mean (when) the people of Iraq declared al-Hasan bin Ali as a legal caliph. Perhaps this foundation is logical, for al-Hasan was the eldest son of Ali and Fatima, the Prophet’s only daughter who survived after his death. However al-Hasan- who inclined to luxury and lavishness, and not to government and management-was not the man of the attitude. So he abdicated the caliphate and was satisfied with a yearly gift he (Mu’awiya) gave to him.”[^2]


Professor al-Alaa’ili has said: “But he (al-Hasan) was able to repeat the disbanded groups through consultation and enthusiasm. He spread (among them) the spirit of determination and will. He was like the iron leaders such as Napoleon, who undertook a people whom the long revolution exhausted just as it exhausted the Arabs, and whom he increased in exhaustion through the continuous, successive wars through which he took Europe. However the leader was covered by the wave of boredom that covered the people.”[^3]

R. M. Ronalds

R. M. Ronalds, an orientalist, has said: “Most surely the reports indicate that al-Hasan lacked morale strength and a mental ability that he might successfully lead his people.”[^4]

[^1] Sharh Lamiyat al-‘Ajam, vol. 2, p. 27. Al-Safadi has said something at random. When did Imam al-Hasan sell the caliphate to his opponent for repaying his debt? We seek refuge with Allah from this accusation! [^2] Al-‘Arab, p. 78. [^3] Hayat al-Hasan, vol. 2, p. 283. [^4] ‘Aqidat al-Shia translated by A. M. S. This orientalist has filled his book with lying, criticizing Islam and degrading the value of its brilliant, great figures. In al-Bayan bright Magazine, no. 35-39 (assigned to Imam al-Hasan, the master of martyrs), the second year, professor al-Sayyid ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Mukhtar has falsified his researches and displayed his lies.


This English person, who harbored malice against Islam, did not understand its values and reality, has said: “The pledge of allegiance was given to al-Hasan after the murder of Ali. So his supporters tried to persuade him to return to fight against the people of Sham. This persistence from their side changed the anger of al-Hasan with the crippled determination. So he no longer thought (of anything) except reaching an agreement with Mu’awiya; likewise he led to a division between him and the people of Iraq. They reached a stage where they weakened their Imam, by word not by deed, by wounding him. So from that time al-Hasan was controlled by one thought, which was reaching an agreement with the Umayyads. Mu’awiya let him appoint what he requested as a reward for his abdicating the caliphate. Al-Hasan was not satisfied with the two million dirhams he requested as a livelihood for his brother al-Husayn; rather he asked for himself other five million dirhams and entered into a district of Persia throughout his lifetime. After that he opposed the people of Iraq in carrying out the last item of this agreement. But he was responded to with all that which he asked to the extent that the grandson of the Prophet dared to repent openly that he did not double his demand. And he left Iraq filled with the people’s displeasure with him, that he might keep to Medina.”[^1]

[^1] Daa’irat al-Ma’arif al-Islamiya, vol. 7, p. 400. This Daa’irat (encyclopedia) is nothing but an encyclopedia of lying and fabrications. It is full of defaming Islam and cursing its great figures, especially as it concerns Laamans’s researches on the Shia and their Imams. They are full of slanders and buffoonery against them. The reason for that is that the Christian missionary committees urged the like of these mercenary pens to distort Islam and to scheme against it. Besides the researches of the orientalists depended on a surface studying void of examination and inquiry. It is worth mentioning that an orientalist visited Tehran (Iran’s capital) after he had learned the Persian language in the Eastern Language Schools. He tried to write a history on Iran’s social and moral conditions as he saw them.

He saw some porters carrying vessels and excellent necessities on their heads. There were tambourines and flutes in front of them. He asked about that, and it was said to him: “It was a bride’s trousseau!” Then he asked about the name of the bridegroom. One of the attendants said to him: “Madha yahumaka (i.e. What does concern you?)” In the evening this orientalist saw a man hitting a women in the street. He asked one of the attendants about the story, and he answered him: “The hitter is her husband, and she has unjustly abandoned him.” Then he asked him about the name of the husband, and he answered him: “Madha yahumaka?” As a result the orientalist thought that the name of the husband was Madha yahumaka, and that he was the bridegroom whose trousseau he saw in the morning. Accordingly, this orientalist wrote in his book the History of Iran that he saw in its capital a man marrying his bride in the morning and hitting her in the street in the evening and that his name was Madha yahumaka! This is the condition of the orientalists in respect of axiomatic, manifest affairs, just These people who have criticized al-Hasan for his making peace with Mu’awiya have harbored malice and enmity against Islam. Some of them have not yielded to the freedom of opinion. All of them have deviated from the reality and gone far from the truth in respect of what they have written from among the researches on Imam al-Hasan. They have not fully understood the severe factors that surrounded Imam al-Hasan to the extent that they forced him to make peace with his opponent Mu’awiya. It is incumbent on the writer who wants to give his opinion about this important subject matter to fully understand it from all sides that his opinion may be close to correctness and far from mistake.

As for us, we have understood some reasons and factors that forced Imam al-Hasan to make peace with his enemy. These reasons and factors are brief. We have concluded some of them from the previous researches. We have concluded the others from our studying Mu’awiya’s psyche, observing his governors, understanding the Imam’s high character, and acquiring knowledge of the policy of the Prophet’s Household, peace be on them, used for reaching government. It is worth mentioning that the Prophet’s household did not use the means that Islam has condemned. Before we deal with the reasons of the peacemaking, we would like to explain that we may repeat some examples of the previous subjects. We are forced to do that as proofs for what we maintain. That is because the repetition is necessary and required by the research. Indeed talking in detail about this subject matter and understanding it is more important than others, as we think. We will draw the attention of readers to these reasons which are as follows:

The Army is divided

Most surely the most dangerous disaster a state faces in all its fields most likely results from the wickedness of the Army, its intense opposition, and its mutiny against its commanders-in-chief. The then Iraq Army was afflicted with mutiny and weakness where as Mu’awiya’s Army was not afflicted with that; it kept its obedience to its government; it was not stricken by such shocks and relapses.

As for the reasons that led to the division of the Iraqi Army, they are as follows:

imagine how much more their condition in respect of difficult, obscure affairs is! This is if they do not depend on distortion, just imagine how much more it is if they depend on it! Unfortunately our young people have taken care of studying their books and depended on them in respect of their theses though they have no share of correctness and reality.

The Party Opposition

If some parties in an army oppose each other -because they harbor malice against their standing government or because they have a relationship with a foreign state that inspires them with work and give them instructions to overthrow their government-then their government will face its inevitable end sooner or later. As for the then Iraqi Army, it was afflicted with two parties that showed no friendship to the Hashimite government, nor did they keep it; rather they spared no effort to put an end to it. The two parties are:

The Umayyad Party

The children of the prominent family and possessor of the aristocratic houses belonged to this party. They paid attention to nothing except the authority in this world and obtaining property. Some of them are ‘Umar bin Sa‘d, Qays bin al-Ash‘th, Amr bin Hurayth, Hajjar bin Abjar, Amr bin al-Hajjaj, and the like from among those void of virtue and dignity. They were the most dangerous elements among the Army. They promised to hand over Imam al-Hasan to Mu’awiya as a captive or to assassinate him. In the meantime they did things of great importance of which are:

A. They recorded all the aspects and movements of the army and sent them to Mu’awiya to have knowledge of them. B. They were a link between Mu’awiya and the rest of the prominent persons. C. They spread rumors and terrorism among the members of the Army through displaying Mu’awiya’s strength and al-Hasan’s weakness.

Theses destructive acts led to the collapse of the Army, shaking its entity, and the weakness of their morale in all the fields.

The Harawri Party

This party undertook the revolt against the then government and fighting against it in all means possible. Its principles were terribly spread among the Iraqi Army. That is because those who spread their beliefs were good at invading the hearts and the opinions and (they were) good at the means of propaganda. Ziyad bin Abeeh has described their ability in this respect, saying: “Most surely the speech of these people is quicker in reaching the hearts than the fire in reaching the reeds!” Al-Mughira bin Shu‘ba has described their intense influence on the people, saying: “When they resided in a country, they spoiled all those who associated with them.”[^1] They controlled the simple-minded from among the (Iraqi) Army through their slogan: “The [^1] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 6, p. 109.

government belongs to Allah!” With this they meant nothing except the government through the sword, as Flotin says.[^1] The crooked plans of the Harawriyya (Kharijites) made it incumbent on their followers to revolt against the ruler of the Muslims when he did not belong to them. This was religious jihad with them, and they had to sacrifice their lives for it. The Kharijites strongly revolted against the rulers to the extent that they were unable to resist them. They carried in their souls strong malice against the Hashimite government, for its members had killed their prominent persons and put an end to many of them at the Battle of al-Nahrawan. They killed Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, and left him thrown down in his mihrab as a sign of their taking a vengeance on him due to what he had done to them. They also tried to assassinate Imam al-Hasan (a.s) when they stabbed him in the thigh. Besides they accused him of unbelief. This group of people was numerous. Some books have mentioned that the majority of the Army were from them.[^2]

These two parties dominated Iraq and spared no effort to spoil the Army, to sow disagreement and division among all its units to the extent that they suffered from troubles and disorders. Besides, a large group of them took a negative attitude towards the affair of Imam al-Hasan, peace be on him. That is because they did not understand the original objectives the Imam sought. Because of their narrow thinking they maintained that the Imam was every one who ascended the throne of government through any means possible; therefore al-Hasan and Mu’awiya were the same (for them), though al-Hasan fought against Mu’awiya for the religion, and Mu’awiya fought against al-Hasan for the world.

After that, none was ready to support the Hashimite government or to side with it except the Shia who maintained that the Alawids were worthy of the caliphate. Such Shiites were the leader Qays bin Sa‘d, Sa‘eed bin Qays, ‘Adi bin Hatam al-Taa’i, Hijr bin ‘Adi, Rashid al-Hajjri, Habeeb bin Muzahir, and the like from among the followers of Imam Ali (a.s). However, they were few in number just as Allah, the Exalted, has said: “And they are few.” Accordingly, they were unable to save the Army from the dangers that surrounded it. If they had been many in the Army, Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, would not have been forced to accept the arbitration, and al-Hasan would not have resorted to the peacemaking.

[^1] Al-Siyada al-‘Arabiya, p. 69. [^2] A’yan al-Shia, vol. 4, p. 42.

Boredom of War

The Kufans were tired of war, “and the tired has no opinion.” In addition to this psychological phenomenon for which they were famous, there are two reasons that brought about and doubled the boredom. They are as follows:

The Successive Battles

Among the reasons that brought about tiredness and boredom to the souls of the Iraqi army are the successive battles. That is because the state used to send the Army to make conquest and to defend it. The Battles of Siffin and al-Nahrawan increased the weakness of the nerves of its members and the collapse of their strength. During these two battles many people were killed to the extent that they hated battle and preferred tranquility and peace.

The Despair of Booties

The Iraqi Army won nothing of the weapon and property during the Battles of al-Jamal (the Camel), Siffin, and al-Nahrawan. That is because Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, did not regard the people who fought against him at these battles as unbelievers and did not divide their belongings among the Muslims. Rather he ordered them to be returned to their owners after the end of Basra Battle (the Battle of the Camel).[^1] The Army came to know that Imam al-Hasan would not change his father’s conduct and program. So they had no confidence in the property and the booty if they fought against Mu’awiya. Accordingly, they declared rebellion, showed mutiny and boredom of war.

Most surely that the Iraqi Army hated war and preferred peace to it, and this did not result from Maskan events; rather it resulted from raising copies of the Qur’an (at the Battle of Siffin) and from the Battle of al-Nahrawan. All the units of the Army inclined to peace. In the first part of the book we have mentioned some examples of the treacherous aggressions which Mu’awiya’s troops made through the Iraqi borders. We have also mentioned some examples of their invading the Iraqi cities, their terrifying and killing the innocent people, while they (the Iraqis) were too weak and laggard to resist them. The religious sentiments did not move them nor did human feelings shake them to repel the oppression and abasement. Imam Ali (a.s) commanded them to perform jihad, but they did not obey him. He invited them to support him, but they did not respond to him. This attitude left in his soul bitter sorrow and permanent sadness. Accordingly, in many of his speeches, the Imam has disparaged and dispraised them. He (a.s) has said: “I am tired of admonishing you. Are you satisfied with this worldly life in place [^1] Dr. Taha Husayn, Ali wa Banuh, p. 55.

of the next life? Or disgrace in place of dignity? When I summon you to fight against your enemy, your eyes revolve as though you are in the clutches of death and in the senselessness of the last moments….”

Imam Ali goes on rebuking and admonishing them. He shows his displeasure with their weakness and their turning away from war, saying: “Neither you are a support for me to lean upon…. By Allah, most surely, I think that if battle rages and death hovers around you, you will cut away from the son of Abi Talib like the severing of head from the trunk….”

In another speech he (a.s) describes their turning away from the jihad in the way of Allah, his terrible ordeal and tribulation in respect of them, saying: “I called them secretly as well as openly, again and again. Some of them unwillingly came; some of them affected illness; and some of them tarried and deserted. And I ask Allah to give me a quick relief from them! By Allah, were it not for my ambition for martyrdom during meeting my enemy (in battle), I would like that I would not remain with these people for one day and never meet with them!”[^1]

In another speech he (a.s) says: “By Allah, deceived is one whom you have deceived while, by Allah, he who is successful with you receives only useless arrows. You are like broken arrows thrown over the enemy. By Allah, I am now in the position that I neither confirm your views nor hope for your support, nor challenge the enemy through you. What is the matter with you? What is your ailment? What is your cure?”[^2]

Nahj al-Balagha contains a large group of Imam Ali’s speeches in which he has expressed his displeasure with his Army and their turning away from supporting him. He has said that they filled his heart with pus, loaded his bosom with rage, and caused him griefs one after the other. They remained tired of war and hated jihad throughout the days of Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful. When Imam al-Hasan (a.s) became a caliph, they showed that in the worst manner. When he asked them about Mu’awiya’s summons to peacemaking, they said at the top of their voices: “The remainder! The remainder!”

This indicates that they were tired of war, they hated jihad, and would never been with Imam al-Hasan if he had opened a door to battle against Mu’awiya. [^1] Muhammed ‘Abda, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 3, p. 67. [^2] Ibid., vol. 1, p. 70.

Missing the aware Figures

Among the reasons for dividing the Iraqi Army is that it lost the aware forces from among the Muslim great figures who believed in the right of the Prophet’s Household, peace be on them, and regarded their excellence. All the military units respect them, for they were good Muslims, show extreme courage (at battles), played an important role in organizing the military movements, and guided the army to serve the Islamic objectives. Examples of them are ‘Ammar bin Yasir, a great companion (of the Prophet), Hashim al-Mirqal, an inspired leader, Thabit bin Qays, the one of two testimonies, and the like from among those who had precedence in Islam and faith. Most of them were killed at the Battle of Siffin. Historians have counted the number of those who had taken part in the Battle of Badr, and it was sixty-three men (from among those who fought with Imam Ali in). There is another group of the pious, good companions who died martyrs at the battles made by those ambitious and devious from Islam against Imam Ali. Missing them left a large gap in the Iraqi Army, that lost the leading personalities and was afflicted with the hypocrites and the Kharijites who were like a woodworm boring in its entity. If Imam al-Hasan’s Army had had the like of those pious, the Imam would not make peace with his opponent.

The Summons to Peacemaking

Another reason for undermining the determinations and putting out the fire of the revolt in the souls of the Army is Mu’awiya’s summons to peacemaking and sparing blood. For this summons was very agreeable. That is because the simple-minded regarded it as good. However the overwhelming majority had not come to know Mu’awiya’s intentions and the evil he had schemed against them. So his summons to peacemaking deceived them just as the raising of copies of the Qur’an had deceived them. Besides, their leaders betrayed Imam al-Hasan and joined Mu’awiya’s camp.

Anyway the majority of the Army hailed the summons to peacemaking and preferred peace to war. As for Imam al-Hasan, he was unable to force them to fight against Mu’awiya and to resist him.

Ubaydillah’s Treason

The desertion of Ubaydillah bin al-Abbas is regarded as among the factors that divided and undermined the Army. Through his treason he deadly stabbed the Iraqi army, opened a door to treason and perfidy, and paved the way for people to join Mu’awiya. The men of he weak souls found a wide room to desert their Imam. They used Ubaydillah’s treason as means for that, for he was the Imam’s cousin and the closet of the people to him in kinship. In the past it was said:

If the closer (in kinship) to whose party you belong deserts you, then there is no wonder when those far desert you! Ubaydillah’s treason created in the Imam’s soul strong sadness and a bitter sorrow. That is because he paid no attention to the religion, the revenge, the tribal links, the close relationships with Allah’s Apostle, and with his commander-in-chief. Nor did he pay attention to the pledge of allegiance he had made before Allah, for he was the first to summon the people to pledge allegiance to al-Hasan in Kufa Mosque. Nor did he pay attention to the fear of the people’s speech and the vengeance of history.

The Treason of Rabee’a

Among the reasons for the collapse of the Army, the division of their bases, and their feebleness in resistance was the treason of (the tribe of) Rabee‘a, who were like a strong armor to the Imam. That was when Khalid bin Mu‘ammar, a brilliant leader among Rabee‘a, joined Mu’awiya and said to him: “I will pledge allegiance to you on behalf of Rabee‘a.” He paid homage to him on their behalf. The poet said in respect of him when he addressed Mu’awiya, saying:

O Mu’awiya, honor Khalid bin Mu‘ammar, for, most surely, were it not for Khalid, you would not be appointed as a commander! When al-Hasan heard of that, his became very angry. He headed for the Iraqis and addressed them, saying: “O People of Iraq, it was you who forced my father to fight (against Mu’awiya) and (to accept) the arbitration. Then you disobeyed him. I have heard that the men of honor from among you have come to Mu’awiya and paid homage to him. Therefore sufficient unto me is that which (has issued) from you! Do not deceive me in respect of my religion and my soul!”

Uthman bin Shurhabeel, the chief of the the tribe of Tamim, secretly pledged allegiance to Mu’awiya. Accordingly, the treason spread over the military units.[^1]

Mu’awiya’s Bribes

For money the protections of men are bought, homelands are sold, and thoughts are suppressed. A mouth waters for money! Indeed Mu’awiya deliberately spent money on the prominent persons, the noble, and the leaders. That is because he had come to know that he had no means to overcome the event except through spending money. Accordingly, the people [^1] Ansab al-Ashraf, Q1/vol.1, p. 223.

betrayed Imam al-Hasan and slipped away in the night and in the daylight to join Mu’awiya’s camp. They paid no attention to shame, disgrace, and Allah’s punishment. Their treason led to the disorders of the army, division, and the declaration of rebellion and mutiny. Most surely, the overwhelming majority of the Army had no noble objective; rather they wished for their profits and ambitions. One of them stated that at one of the battles, saying: “Whoever gives us a dirham, we will fight on his behalf!” A poet dispraised a person who was killed at those battles. The poet said to his children:

Your father met his death not for the sake of Allah but for the sake of the dirhams.[^1] If the members of an army fight for material motives, they are not loyal to their defense, their mutiny is very possible, and their danger against their government is more than an external danger.

The then Iraqis were corrupt and greedy to get money from Mu’awiya. For example, after Imam al-Hasan had received a wound, he went to al-Mada’in for cure. There he stopped at the house of Sa‘d bin Mas‘ud al-Thaqafi[^2] , who was appointed as a governor over al-Mada’in by Imam Ali (a.s) and by Imam al-Hasan (a.s). Then his (Sa‘d) young nephew called al-Mukhtar came to him and said:

-O uncle, do you have (an objective) in riches and honor? -What is that? -Shackle al-Hasan and seek security from Mu’awiya through him. -Allah’s curse be on you! Do I shackle the son of the daughter of the messenger of Allah? How a bad man you are![^3] [^1] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 19.

[^2] Al-Bukhari has mentioned Sa‘d bin Mas‘ud al-Thaqafi (and regarded him as) among the companions (of the Prophet). Al-Tabarani has said: “He (Sa‘d bin Mas‘ud al-Thaqafi) had companionship (with the Prophet). (Imam Ali), the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, appointed him as a governor over one of his works. He took him with him to (the Battle of) Siffin. He (Sa‘d bin Mas‘ud al-Thaqafi) narrated the following tradition on the authority of the Imam, who said: “When Noah wore a garment, he thanked Allah. When he ate or drank, he thanked Allah. So he was called a grateful servant.” Al-Isaba, vol. 2, p. 34.

[^3] Al-Tabari, Tarikh. Al-Isaba. Some researchers have negated the correctness of the narration and regarded it as among the fabricated ones. That is possible, for al-Mukhtar was the best of the men in his conduct, his piety, and all his tendencies. The treason included al-Mukhtar, if this narration was true, and the majority of the army who were with Imam al-Hasan, and they competed with each other for the worldly ambitions. That was not only during the time of Imam al-Hasan, peace be on him. It was also during the time of Imam Ali (a.s). Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (a.s) has said: “Mu’awiya fought Ali through his gold!”[^1] Most surely Mu’awiya came to know the point of weakness in Imam al-Hasan’s army, so he showered it with bribes to the extent that it responded to him and abandoned the Prophet’s family and his trust among his community.

The false Rumors

Among the reasons for the division of the army are the false rumors which Mu’awiya’s hirelings spread in al-Mada’in. They rumored that Qays bin Sa‘d was killed. They also rumored that he made peace with Mu’awiya. The members of the Army believed these rumors, so they suffered from troubles and discords. The most dangerous of these rumors in tribulation and greatest of them in destruction was that which was spread by the delegation sent by Mu’awiya to Imam al-Hasan. When the members of the delegation left Imam al-Hasan, they rumored that he responded to peacemaking. When the members of the Army heard of that, they rushed like waves. They plundered Imam al-Hasan’s property and aggressed against him. If the leaders and the prominent figures had had a little bit of humanity and dignity, they would have protected the Imam and driven the mobs away from him till the affair would be clear to them. However they remained in their camps. They neither protected nor helped him.

With this topic we will end our speech about the factors that led to the division and destruction of the Army. Of course, military forces are the core of a state and the source of its protection. If such shocks and dangers strike them, can the commander-in-chief achieve his objectives or open a door to war against the enemy forces?

The Enemy’s Forces

The second factor that urged Imam al-Hasan to make peace (with Mu’awiya) was that his opponent had military forces and the like against whom the Imam was unable to fight, nor was he able to resist. With these forces Mu’awiya had fought against Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, before and forced Imam al-Hasan to make peace with him. We will give a brief outline on some of them as follows: [^1] Al-Maqreezi, Khutat, vol. 2, p. 439.

The Obedience of the Army

Mu’awiya planted the love for him in the hearts of his Army. He dominated their feelings and sentiments. It was because he knew their inclinations and trends. So he complied with them to the extent that they loved him, and he loved them. They obeyed him and their opinion of him was fully developed because of his propaganda and his cheating through that he was the proof after the Caliphs, and that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, had no lawful inheritor other than the Umayyads. The historians have narrated: “When Abu al-Abbas al-Saffah[^1] conquered Sham, a group of leaders and prominent persons came to him. They swore by Allah that they had come to know that the Prophet had neither kinship nor household to inherit him except the Umayyads. They knew that when the Abbasids undertook the caliphate.” Concerning that, Ibrahim bin al-Muhajir al-Bajali[^2] says:

O people, listen to me so that I tell you something wonderful (and) has exceeded all wonderful things. I wonder at ‘Abd Shams; they have opened to the people doors to lying. They have inherited Ahmed (Muhammad) in what they have claimed excluding Abbas bin ‘Abd al-Muttalib. They have told lies. By Allah, as far as we know that none obtains the inheritance except those near.[^3]

The reason behind that were the narrations that the mercenary narrators fabricated and rumored among the people of Damascus. They told the people there that Mu’awiya was the inheritor of the Prophet and the nearest of the people to him. They ascribed to him and to the cursed tree of his family good qualities and noble descriptions, to the extent that they placed him in the first class from among the good reformers to whom obedience was one of the religious duties. The people of Sham believed in other things as to Mu’awiya and the Umayyads. Professor Fan Floten says: “The great majority thought that the Umayyad party was that of the religion and the regime.” He added:

[^1] Abu al-‘Abbas was the first ‘Abbasid caliph. He was at al-Hamiya, a district of al-Balqa’, in the year 108 A. H. He grew up at it. He was given the pledge of allegiance as a caliph in 3rd Rabee‘ al-Awwal, in the year 132. He hurried to shed blood. His governors in the east and west followed his examples. He died in the year 136. Al-Sayuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa’, p. 100.

[^2] Ibrahim bin al-Muhajir al-Bajali is Abu Ishaq al-Kufi. He narrated traditions on the authority of a group of the trustworthy, and others reported on his authority. (The traditionists) have differed over his narration. So it was said that he was trustworthy, and it was said that he was weak. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 167.

[^3] Al-Mas‘udi Murujj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 167.

“In the viewpoint of the Umayyad party Mu’awiya was the vicegerent of Allah just as his son Yazid was the Imam of the Muslims, ‘Abd al-Malik was the Imam of Islam and one entrusted by Allah.”[^1] The people of Sham loved and obeyed Mu’awiya to the extent that he made them walk on all the ways far and contrary to the religion, while they did not know that. Through them he could achieve all what he wanted. Because of their increasingly obedience to Mu’awiya, Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, had wished that Mu’awiya would have given him one of his companions and taken ten of the Iraqis who were famous for riot and mutiny.

Simplicity and Naiveté

The bad time helped Mu’awiya dominate the Army that was a model of simplicity and naiveté, for the great majority of it did not know which anecdote was the longest. History has mentioned many examples of their stupidity indicating their inactivity and lacking insight. The historians have mentioned that a man from Kufa came to Damascus on the back of a camel. That was when they went away from Siffin. A man from Damascus clung to him and said to him: “This is my she-camel! You took it from me at Siffin!” A quarrel took place between them. So they brought their case before Mu’awiya. The man from Damascus brought fifty men to bear witness that the she-camel belonged to him. Accordingly, Mu’awiya decided against the Kufan and commanded him to hand over the camel to the Syrian man immediately. So the Iraqi man turned to Mu’awiya and showed his astonishment at this judgement, saying: “May Allah set you right! It is a he-camel, and not a she-camel!”

“The decision is over!” exclaimed Mu’awiya.

When the people went away, Mu’awiya ordered the Iraqi to be brought before him. When he was before him, he asked him about the value of the he-camel. The Iraqi told Mu’awiya about its value, and Mu’awiya gave a double of its price to him. He was kind to him and said: “Say to Ali that I will meet him (in battle) with one thousand men who do not distinguish the she-camel from the he-camel!”[^2]

Most surely the overwhelming majority did not distinguish between a she-camel and a he-camel. Without doubt they did not distinguish truth from falsehood. They did not carefully consider the differences among the sensible things. They were mobs and rabbles. The clearest proof of their inattentiveness

[^1] Al-Siyada al-‘Arabiya, p. 70. [^2] Al-Mas‘udi Murujj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 332.

was the story of ‘Ammar bin Yasir, the great companion of the Prophet. When he obtained martyrdom, the Syrians differed over him because of the tradition of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family: “Most surely the oppressive group will kill Ibn Sumayya (i.e. ‘Ammar bin Yasir).” When Amr bin al-‘Aas saw that they differed, he said to them: “Most surely, he who brought him (Ammar) out has killed him!” So they believed his speech and returned to the obedience to Mu’awiya. Of course when a state has such an inattentive, obedient army, it will reach its purposes and achieve its objectives.

Mu’awiya made the people of Sham inattentive, ignorant, and wretched. He made them sink under the yoke of the Umayyad enslavement. He placed between them and the people an iron curtain. He did not allow the others to communicate with them nor did he allow them to communicate with the others lest they should come to know the truth and know Mu’awiya’s falsehood and his usurping the caliphate from its actual people. The politicians after Mu’awiya followed this policy. They deliberately made them lead a life of ignorance. They did not allow awareness to be spread among them. The historians have narrated that Ayas disputed with an old man from among the people of Sham, and their case was brought before the judge. The judge said to him: “Do you not feel shame of that you disputed with an old man, while you are a young man?” “The truth is greater than him,” replied Ayas. So the judge rebuked him and commanded him to keep silent. As a result Ayas said to him: “Who will utter my proof?” So the Judge went to ‘Abd al-Malik and told him about Ayas’s case. ‘Abd al-Malik said to the judge: “Grant his need and bring him out of Sham lest he should spoil the people against us!”[^1]

The historians have mentioned many examples of such cases showing the Umayyad policy aiming at deadening awareness and spreading ignorance.