Important Historical Events
IV `Umar`s Caliphate
When Abū Bakr became sick, he called `Uthmān ibn `Affān to his presence and said to him, “Write the following: In the Name of Allāh, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. This is a covenant from Abū Bakr son of Abū Quhāfah tot he Muslims.” It was then that he became unconscious. `Uthmān, therefore, went on to write the following: “I leave as my successor over you `Umar ibn al-Khattāb, and I do not hide from you anything good.” Then Abū Bakr regained his consciousness, so `Uthmān said to him, “I see that you feared lest the Muslims would dispute if I passed away during my unconsciousness; is that so?” Abū Bakr answered in the affirmative, whereupon `Uthmān said, “May Allāh reward you with goodness on behalf of Islam and Muslims.” The writing was kept where it had been.
It is also narrated that `Umar was holding in his hand the sheet on which Abū Bakr named him as his successor on the day of the Saqīfa when he scared people and thus took from them the oath of allegiance for Abū Bakr through his coercion as has already been proven above, taking advantage of the split in the ranks of the Ansār and in the presence of those who held in their hands the legitimate right to be the caliphs and who were busy preparing for the funeral of the Messenger of Allāh . Abū Bakr also played the same role by installing `Umar as the caliph after him. It cost him nothing but a little ink. Despite the extreme pain of Abū Bakr`s ailment during the writing of that will, even during his unconsciousness at the time, nobody at all said that Abū Bakr was hallucinating regarding what was written. Contrariwise, caliph `Umar and those who supported him did not hesitate to accuse the Prophet with such a painful word [“yahjur, hallucinating”] when the Prophet asked them to get him some writing material so that a statement would be written for them after the writing of which they would never stray.
Abū Bakr claimed that the reason why he named `Umar as the caliph after him was his fear lest dissension should take place after his death. Thus did the Sunnis accept his excuse after he had violated the principle of shūra which they claim should be the principle according to which the Muslims should elect their caliph. You will see later how they also accepted the caliphate of Mu`āwiyah and his son Yazīd after his death although these ascended to power through intimidation and the force of the sword, killing many Muslims in the process, especially the descendants of the pure `itra of Ahl al-Bayt (`a).
But the question which we wished to put forth here is this: “Why did the Sunnis refuse the notion that the Prophet did, indeed, name the caliph who was to succeed him as they did accept it from Abū Bakr especially since the dispute about the caliphate at the time of the death of the Prophet was much greater than those when Abū Bakr died, in addition to the clear texts about the importance of referring to Ahl al-Bayt (`a) whenever the Muslims disputed with each other after the departure of the Chosen One ? And the caliphate of Ali (`a)?!”
V `Uthmān`s Caliphate
When caliph `Umar was stabbed, he was told that his successor had already been named, so he said, “Had Abū `Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrāh been alive, I would have named him as my successor. And had Sālim, slave of Abū Hudhayfah, been alive, I would have named him as my successor.” Then he said to them, “Some men say that the swearing of fealty to Abū Bakr was a slip from the evil of which Allāh protected us, and that the fealty to `Umar lacked consultation, and the issue after me is to be resolved through shūra.” Said he, “I have determined your issue to be resolved by a number of early Muhājirūn” whom he named saying, “Call to me Ali (`a), `Uthmān, Talhah, al-Zubayr, Abd al-Rahmān ibn `Awf and Sa`d ibn Abū Waqqās. If four persons agree [to choose the same person], the remaining two must follow the view of the [first] four. And if the views are split between three and three, you should follow the view of Abd al-Rahmān ibn `Awf; therefore, listen [to him] and obey...”
From the above narrative it becomes obvious that caliph `Umar arranged for the candidate to be named by Abd al-Rahmān ibn `Awf. This is a third portrait of the type of shūra which they [Sunnis] advocate... Caliph `Umar ordered Abd al-Rahmān ibn `Awf to require a condition in the candidate for whom fealty would be sworn. This condition is that he should act upon the line of both senior sahābis (Abū Bakr and `Umar) in addition to acting upon the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Prophet . As was expected, the six persons split into two parties: three persons and two candidates. The first three were: Ali (`a), Talhah and al-Zubayr, and their candidate was Ali (`a). As for the three in the other party, they were: Sa`d, `Uthmān and Talhah, and their candidate was `Uthmān. Imām Ali (`a) rejected the condition of acting upon the line of both senior sahābis saying, “I shall follow the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Prophet and my own ijtihād,” whereas `Uthmān accepted the condition, becoming a caliph accordingly.
Al-Bukhāri records a portion of this incident in his own Sahīh. He cites al-Hasūr ibn Makhramah saying, “Abd al-Rahmān [ibn `Awf] knocked at my door after a good portion of the night had already lapsed till I woke up. He said, `I see that you are asleep. By Allāh, my eyes have not tasted much sleep. Come, call al-Zubayr and Sa`d to my presence.` I told them to meet him, so he consulted with them. Then he called upon me and said, `Call Ali (`a) to my presence.` I invited him [Ali (`a)] to meet with him. He talked privately with him till the night`s color started to fade. Then Ali (`a) left him optimistically. Then he said to me, `Call `Uthmān to my presence.` I did. He talked privately with him till the call of the mu`athin to the fajr prayers separated them from each other. Having led the people for the morning prayers, and once the same individuals assembled near the pulpit [of the Prophet ], he called to his presence those of the Muhājirūn and the Ansār who were present and also sent messages for the commanders of the troops to meet there, and these were all loyal to `Umar. Once they all gathered together, Abd al-Rahmān recited both testimonies [that “There is God except Allāh and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh], Abd al-Rahmān said, `O Ali! I have looked into the affairs of the people and found no peer among them for `Uthmān; so, do not put your own safety to jeopardy.` To `Uthmān he said, `I swear allegiance to you according to the Sunnah of Allāh and His Messenger and [the line] of both caliphs [Abū Bakr and `Umar] after him.` Thus did Abd al-Rahmān swear the oath of allegiance to him [to `Uthmān], and so did the people.”
Thus it becomes obvious that when caliph `Umar preconditioned for the one to whom people must swear the oath of allegiance to act upon the way of both senior sahābis, in addition to acting upon the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Prophet , he had already determined the caliphate for `Uthmān right then because he knew the attitude of Imām Ali (`a) vis-a-vis this condition in addition to his knowledge that Talhah and al-Zubayr would both side with Ali (`a) because he had already noticed their stand, which was supportive of Ali (`a), on the day of the Saqīfa. Add to all the above the fact that `Umar had already granted the right to make a preference in favor of Abd al-Rahmān ibn `Awf, thus it becomes quite clear to you what sort of shūra they claim...
Murder of Caliph `Uthmān
A great deal was said about how `Uthmān was assassinated. Many statements and narratives clashed with each other in this regard especially with reference to the group which used to urge others to kill him, the reasons which prompted them to do so and such events reaching their climax with his murder. The most rational explanations are embedded in the practices on the government level, the appointment of provincial rulers who were relatives of `Uthmān and the money these used to be given from the State`s treasury. All this prompted critics and rebels to turn against `Uthmān. The famous writer, Khālid Muhammad Khālid, says, “We do not doubt that `Uthmān, too, used to realize that most of those who welcomed his appointment for the caliphate, rather than Ali, Allāh glorifies his countenance, wanted to be freed from life`s strictness and stringency from which people suffered for a long period of time and which could have added to their burdens had Ali (`a) received the matters in his own hands. Through his strict system, exact justice, asceticism and piety, he (`a) represented an extension of the strictness, justice, stringency and piety of `Umar...”
The hands of the relatives of caliph `Uthmān from among Banū Umayyah played havoc with the State treasury to the extent that some people think that the Umayyad government started ruling since choosing `Uthmān as the caliph and swearing the oath of allegiance to him. Here is Abū Sufyān supports this view when he says the following to caliph `Uthmān after the latter had received the oath of allegiance: “O Banū Umayyah! Receive it as a ball is received, for by the One by Whom Abū Sufyān swears, I remain optimistic that you (too) will receive it, and it shall be received by your children by way of inheritance.” According to another narrative of the same statement, he said, “Receive it as a ball is received, for there is neither Paradise nor Hell...”
Among those who opposed caliph `Uthmān were some of the best sahābah. The most famous of these are: Abū Dharr, may Allāh be pleased with him, Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd and `Ammār ibn Yāsir. The said caliph took a very fanatical stand against them, punishing them severely. As for Abū Dharr, he met his death in the [desert of] al-Rabatha as his punishment for opposing [the appointment of] Mu`āwiyah as the provincial governor [then self-declared absolute ruler] of Syria. Abū Dharr resented how Mu`āwiyah was hoarding gold and squandering money at the expense of the Muslims` wealth. Zayd ibn Wahbah has said, “I passed by al-Rabathah and saw Abū Dharr, may Allāh be pleased with him, so I said to him, `What brought you [to such a pathetic condition of banishment] here?` He said, `I was in Syria and had a dispute with Mu`āwiyah regarding the verse saying, And there are those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend in the way of Allāh (Qur`ān, 9:34). Mu`āwiyah said that it was revealed about the People of the Book. I said that it was revealed about us and about them; therefore, this was the source of disagreement between him and myself. He wrote `Uthmān, may Allāh be pleased with him, complaining about me. `Uthmān wrote me ordering me to go to Medīna. I went there. Many people came to see me as if they never saw me before, so I mentioned this to `Uthmān. He [`Uthmān] said to me, `If you wish, you may stay away nearby.` This caused my present condition. Had they assigned an Ethiopian as an amīr, I would have listened to him and obeyed.`”
As regarding Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd, the man in charge of Kūfa`s bayt al-māl, his ribs were broken as a result of being beaten by `Uthmān`s slave as his punishment because of his objection to the conduct of al-Walīd ibn Mu`eet, caliph `Uthmān`s brother by his mother and his wāli over Kūfa following the deposition of Sa`d ibn Abū Waqqās. This son of Abū Mu`eet took money from the Muslims` bayt al-māl and never returned it.
As for `Ammār ibn Yāsir, he became sick with hernia as a result of being severely beaten by `Uthmān`s slave as his punishment for having performed the funeral prayers for Ibn Mas`ūd without informing the caliph of it. Actually, `Ammār did so in honor of the will of Ibn Mas`ūd so that the caliph might not perform the said prayers service for him instead.
Others are many among those who objected to the extravagance of the caliph`s relatives from among Banū Umayyah of the common wealth of the State. Marwān ibn al-Hakam, for example, took a fifth of the khirāj tax of Africa. Refer to more stories about caliph `Uthmān in the book titled Khilāfah wa Milookiyyah (caliphate and monarchy) by `allāma Mawdoodi.
A profound effect resulted from the anger of the Mother of the Faithful `Ā`isha and her objection to caliph `Uthmān, even to her instigation that he should be killed such as when she said, “Kill Naathal for he has committed apostasy.” She did so after accusing him of altering the Sunnah of the Prophet . This aggravated the revolution against him. Many citizens of Medīna, as well as people who came from Egypt, Syria and Kūfa, gathered and collectively killed him.
Caliphate of Imām Ali (`a)
After `Uthmān had been killed, people went in drones to Imām Ali (`a) seeking to swear the oath of allegiance to him (as the caliph). They said to him, “This man [`Uthmān] has been killed, and people have to have an Imām. Nowadays, we find none worthy of such an undertaking besides you.” The swearing of allegiance was completed.
Imām Ali (`a) wanted to implement justice among the people, establishing equity between those who were weak and those who were mighty. He wanted to establish the rulings which Allāh revealed in His Book. Some of them objected. They enticed dissension and gathered troops, publically announcing their rebellion and mutiny against him. This let to many battles the most significant of which were those of the Camel and of Siffīn.
VI Battle of al-Jamal; Mother of the Believers Goes Out to Fight Ali (`a)
When Mother of the Believers `Ā`isha came to know that `Uthmān had been killed and that people swore the oath of allegiance to Ali (`a), she said to `Ubaydullāh ibn Kilāb, who informed her of it, “By Allāh! I wish this [heavens] had crashed with this [earth] if, indeed, the matter has been concluded to the advantage of your friend. Woe unto you! Look into what you are saying!” `Ubaydullāh said to her, “It is just as I have told you, O Mother of the Faithful!” She pronounced statements expressing her frustration, whereupon he said to her, “Why should it concern you [so much], O Mother of the Faithful?! By Allāh, I know nobody more worthy of it [caliphate] than him [than Ali (`a)]; so, why do you hate for him to be the caliph?” The Mother of the Faithful cried out, “Take me back! Take me back!” She returned to Medīna saying, “`Uthmān, by Allāh, was killed unjustly. By Allāh! I shall seek revenge for the shedding of his blood!” `Ubaydullāh said to her, “Why?! By Allāh, the first person to legitimize the shedding of his blood is your own self! You used to say, `Kill Naathal for he has committed apostasy`.” She said, “They got him to regret, then they killed him. I have said what I said, and so have they, and my last statement is better than my first.” She went to Mecca and alighted at the Mosque`s door where many people gathered around her. She said to them, “O people! `Uthmān has been unjustly killed. By Allāh! I shall seek revenge for his murder.”
The anger of Mother of the Faithful `Ā`isha agreed with the anger of Talhah and al-Zubayr after Imām Ali (`a) had deposed them from their posts as the wālis of Yemen and Bahrain respectively; therefore, they both reneged from their oath of allegiance to Imām Ali (`a) and went to Mecca to urge the same Mother of the Faithful to fight Ali (`a). They went out accompanied by a huge army under the military command of the Mother of the Faithful in the direction of Basra where a crushing war, known as the Battle of the Camel (harb al-jamal), took place. Victory was on the side of the army led by Imām Ali (`a), and in it both Talhah and al-Zubayr were killed as well as thirteen thousand Muslims. All these were the victims of the call ushered by the Mother of the Faithful to avenge the killing of `Uthmān. She claimed that the killers had found their way to the Imām`s army. No matter what, was she not supposed to let such issues be decided by wali al-amr especially since Allāh Almighty had ordered her to “... stay in your houses” (Qur`ān, 33:33)?
And why should she have anything to do with that since `Uthmān is a man from Banū Umayyah while she is from [the tribe of] Taym except when there is another reason for her thus marching out?! Although the reality of this incident answers this question clearly, add to it the prophecy of the Messenger of Allāh about this dissension and his making a reference to those behind it. For example, Abdullāh [ibn Abbās] has said, “The Prophet stood up to deliver a sermon. He pointed in the direction of the residence of `Ā`isha and said, `Dissension is right there,` repeating his statement three times. He went on to say, `It is from there that Satan`s horn shall come out.`” `Ammār ibn Yāsir considered obedience to `Ā`isha in such a deed as being at the expense of obedience to Allāh, the most Great, the most Exalted One. Ibn Ziyād al-Asadi has said, “... so I heard `Ammār saying, ``Ā`isha marched out to Basra. By Allāh! She is the wife of your Prophet in the life of this world and in the Hereafter, but Allāh, the most Praised, the most Exalted One, has tested you in order to see whether you obey Him or you obey her.`”
Long before this incident, `Ā`isha was very well known of being extremely spiteful of Ali (`a). She could not even bear hearing his name mentioned. Abdullāh ibn `Utbah is quoted as having said, “`Ā`isha said, `When heaviness covered the Prophet and his pain intensified, he sought permission of his wives to be treated at my chamber, and they granted him permission. The Prophet went out assisted by two men, dragging his feet on the ground. He was between Abbās and another man.`” `Ubaydullāh went on to say, “I related this to [Abdullāh] ibn Abbās who asked me, `Do you know who the other man was?` I said, `No.` He said, `That was Ali.`” Perhaps what `Ā`isha had heard was what Ali (`a) said to the Messenger of Allāh in her regard in the incident wherein she was charged. This was the reason for such spite and hatred. `Ubaydullāh ibn Mas`ūd has said, “... As for Ali ibn Abū Tālib (`a), he said, `O Messenger of Allāh! Allāh has not placed any pressure on you, and women besides her are numerous, indeed.`”
The “prince of poets,” Ahmad Shawqi, has described `Ā`isha`s spite [towards Ali (`a)] in poetic verses wherein he addresses Imām Ali (`a) as follows: “O mountain! The weight that you carry is rejected by other mountains; what load did the Owner of the Camel [`Ā`isha] throw on you? Was it the effect of `Uthmān causing her to grieve? Or was it choking the grief which was never extracted? Such was a rift none ever expected. Women`s schemes weaken mountains, and the Mother of the Faithful was only a woman. What got that pure and exonerated woman out of her chamber and Sunnah was the same spite that remains all the time.”
The Myth of Abdullāh ibn Saba`
The summary of this myth is: “A man named Abdullāh ibn Saba`, a Jew from Yemen, pretended to be a follower of Islam during the reign of `Uthmān in order to cause mischief to the Muslims. He moved about the main Islamic metropolises in Egypt, Syria, Basra and Kūfa, spreading the “glad tiding” that the Prophet would return to life, that Ali (`a) was his wasi, and that `Uthmān was the usurper of the right of this wasi. Groups from among senior sahābah and tābi`īn such as `Ammār ibn Yāsir, Abū Dharr, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah and others. He was able to raise armies to kill caliph `Uthmān at his own house.”
Thus does the series of events of this fabricated myth continue till it ends with the Battle of the Camel when Abdullāh ibn Saba` orders his followers to sneak into the army of Ali (`a) and of `Ā`isha without their knowledge in order to stir a war, and “thus did the Battle of the Camel take place.” Sayyid Murtadha al-`Askari, who stood to expose the fallacy of this imagined myth, states that “The person who fabricated this personality [Abdullāh ibn Saba`] is Sayf ibn `Amr al-Tamīmi al-Barjami al-Kūfi, who died in A.H. 170 (A.D. 786), and from him all other historians quoted it. Then this fabricated incident gained fame and spread in history books acrossx the centuries and till our time, so much so that it has become one of the famous incidents the authenticity of which nobody doubts. The vast majority of writers and historians in the East as well as Orientalists have been blinded to the fact that this incident was the brainchild of one single narrator, a lone individual who acted on his own, and that this narrator, namely Sayf ibn `Amr, is very well known by ancient scholars of hadīth as a fabricator and is even accused of being an unbeliever. Ibn Dāwūd says the following about him: “He is nothing; he is a liar.” Ibn Abd al-Birr says, “Sayf is rejected. We have cited his tradition only to inform you of it.” Al-Nisā`i says this about him: “His traditions are weak. He is not trusted, and nobody has any faith in him.”Yet this same lying narrator is quoted by al-Tabari, Ibn `Asākir, Ibn Abū Bakr, etc., and al-Tabari has been and is being quoted by all other writers and historians till our time.
It is well known that incidents narrated by one single person do not satisfy the scientific thinking, nor can they be used as evidence. How is it, then, when this same narrator is not trusted and was famous for being a liar and an unbeliever? Can his narrative be accepted? How can one accept to pass a judgment against a large segment of the Muslims by simply relying on incidents related by lone individuals who have been proven to be liars while there are ahadīth that are consecutively reported [mutawātir] from the Messenger of Allāh which prove the opposite?
One of the greatest historical farces is to attribute Shī`ism to a mythical man, namely Abdullāh ibn Saba`, claiming he was the one who disseminated the concept of “Ali (`a) the wasi” despite the existence of a huge number of authentic texts proving that Shī`ism has always been to follow Muhammad and nobody else. Refer to the Imāmate texts on the previous pages to see where this Abdullāh ibn Saba` fits. Is Abdullāh ibn Saba` the one who said, “I am leaving among you that which, if you uphold them, you shall never stray: the Book of Allāh and my `itrat, my Ahl al-Bayt”? Or is he the one who said, “Anyone who has accepted me as his master, Ali is his master”? Or is he the one who said that the Imāms are twelve in number? What a ridiculous tale it is that says that a Jew has come from Yemen to hypocritically declare his acceptance of Islam then carries out all these extra-ordinary deeds which reach the limit of getting Muslim armies to battle each other without anyone discovering his true identity?! Is it reasonable to accept that Imām Ali (`a), about whom the Messenger of Allāh said, “I am the city of wisdom and Ali is its gate,” fall a victim to the trickery of this Jew? Surely one who says so has strayed far, far away from the right track.
VII The Battle of Siffīn and the Rebellion of Mu`āwiyah
Having achieved victory in the Battle of the Camel, the Imām (`a) concentrated the effort of his army to eliminate the opposition led by Mu`āwiyah ibn Abū Sufyān in Syria. Both armies stood face to face near the Euphrates. The Imām (`a) tried to correct the situation through peaceful means, but the answer given by Mu`āwiyah to the deputation sent to him by the Imam (`a) was this: “Get away from me, for I have nothing for you except the sword.” Thus, both armies were engaged in battle. When signs of victory for the army led by the Imām (`a) became clear, Mu`āwiyah staged the “trick of the copies of the Qur`ān”. Mu`āwiyah ordered his soldiers to raise the copies of the Qur`ān on the tips of their lances and swords. Although the Imām (`a) stood to expose this plot which was intended to put hurdles in the path of the victory which dawned quite near the army of Imām Ali (`a), those fighters in his army who were demanding a cease-fire did not respond to his repeated calls, forcing him to accept arbitration. And the Imām (`a) strongly protested the choice of Abū Mūsa al-Ash`ari as the representative of his army during the arbitration process due to this man`s weakness and the feebleness of his views. Imām Ali (`a) had said, “I do not see that you should grant Abū Mūsa such an official task, for he is too weak to confront the trickery of `Amr [ibn al-`Ās].” Ali (`a) had already deposed Abū Mūsa al-Ash`ari from his post as the wāli of Kūfa.
There was a prior plan to raise the copies of the Qur`ān and to coordinate it with a movement supportive of Mu`āwiyah that had sneaked into the Imām`s army and which demanded the acceptance of the arbitration and the choice of Abū Mūsa al-Ash`ari [as the negotiator during the arbitration process]. The results of the arbitration, as the Imām (`a) had expected, came in favor of Mu`āwiyah. For the latter, the situation started to gradually stabilize in his own interest following this major rebellion and when the caliph of the Muslims was thus disobeyed, hoping he would earn a worldly pleasure of which he always dreamed.
In the past, I used to wonder about this incident in which more than ninety-thousand Muslims from both sides were killed. Whenever I asked [the Sunnis about it], the answer came as a cliche as follows: “It was merely a dissension between two great sahābis. Each of them followed his own ijtihād. The one whose ijtihād was right earned two rewards, while the one whose ijtihād proved wrong earned one. Nobody ought to think about it. That was a nation that passed by; for it are the rewards of the good deeds which it earned, and for you are your own rewards.” They have other such answers whereby they close any door that may uncover the causes of this “dissension”, as they call it.
Thus does this issue remain according to Ahl al-Sunnah suspended like a mysterious riddle without a solution. This opened the door wide for Orientalist scholars to state their own views about our religion, so much so that some of them claimed that there is contradiction in Islam, pointing out to the tradition of the Messenger of Allāh wherein he said, “If two Muslims face each other with their swords in hand, both the killer and the killed shall be lodged in hell.” This tradition contradicts the claim of the Sunnis that both parties during the Battle of Siffīn were Muslim, and their commanders were great sahābis! So, why such insistence on refusing to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong? Why should the truth not be said? Is it really that ambiguous?
Anyhow, anyone who is confused about the truth regarding Mu`āwiyah must carefully discern the following proofs, and let the reader issue his own judgment after that:
In his Sahīh, Muslim cites the following statement of Ali (`a): “I swear by the One Who created the seed and initiated the breeze that the Ummi Prophet pledged that nobody except a believer loves me, and nobody except a hypocrite hates me.” So, what would you say about one who raises armies to fight him (`a)?! And what is the judgment of Ahl al-Sunnah regarding one who disobeys the Imām of the Muslims obedience to whom is obligatory?
In al-Bukhāri`s Sahīh, there are references pointing to the oppression committed by Mu`āwiyah. Abū Sa`eed al-Khudri is quoted as having said, “We were once carrying the Mosque`s blocks one by one while `Ammār was carrying them two at a time. The Prophet passed by him, rubbed the dust from his head and said, `What a pity for `Ammār! He shall be killed by the oppressive party; `Ammār invites them to Allāh while they invite him to the Fire.” This prediction of the Messenger of Allāh proved true when `Ammār was martyred as he was fighting under the flag of Imām Ali (`a) during the Battle of Siffīn.
In Al-Mustadrak `Alal Sahīhayn, relying on the authority of Khālid al-`Arabi, the author quotes the latter as having said, “I and Abū Sa`īd al-Khudri met Hudhayfah [al-Yamāni] and said, `O Abū Abdullāh! Relate to us what you have heard the Messenger of Allāh say about the dissension.` Hudhayfah said, `The Messenger of Allāh said, `Stick to the Book [of Allāh, i.e. the Holy Qur`ān] wherever it goes.` We said, `If people differ with each other, with whom should we be?` He said, `Look up to the group wherein the son of Sumayya [i.e. `Ammār ibn Yāsir] is and hold on to it, for he goes where the Book of Allāh goes.` I heard the Messenger of Allāh say to `Ammār, `O son of al-Yaqdhān! You shall not die till the oppressive group that lies in ambush kills you.`”
The oppression and rebellion of Mu`āwiyah were all expected. Since he became the wāli of Syria during the reign of `Umar, wealth, authority and mansions which he had built for him followed, and he expanded such affluence during the reign of caliph `Uthmān. It was not easy for a man like him to give all of this up. He knew for sure that if Imām Ali (`a) did not remove him from office, he would at least strip him off all what he had acquired at the expense of the Muslims` bayt al-māl and that he would treat him on equal footing as he would any other Muslim. What went on between him and the highly revered sahābi, Abū Dharr al-Ghifāri, during the caliphate of `Uthmān also proves what we have stated, that is, he was running after the wares of the life in this world and his squandering of the State`s public funds. The objection of Abū Dharr to Mu`āwiyah`s conduct resulted in caliph `Uthmān banishing him to al-Rabathah after having him brought to him in Medīna. Zayd ibn Wahab is quoted as having said, “I passed by Abū Dharr in al-Rabathah and asked him, `What brought you to this [desolate] land?` He said, `We were in Syria. The verse saying `And there are those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend in God`s way: Announce a most grievous penalty to them` (Qur`ān, 9:34) was revealed. Mu`āwiyah said that it was not revealed about the Muslims but rather about the People of the Book. I said that it was about us and about them as well.`”
Thus was Abū Dharr punished with banishment despite the testimony of the Messenger of Allāh for him that he was truthful. The Prophet said, “No tree has shaded nor the desert has seen a man more truthful than Abū Dharr” This incident makes it clear how Mu`āwiyah tampered with the meaning of the Qur`ān in order to cover his squandering of the nation`s funds, the funds with which he had no right to deal according to his own personal desires. The problem is that al-Bukhāri has stated in his Sahīh what “qualifies” Mu`āwiyah to be a faqīh! Abū Maleeka has said, “Mu`āwiyah prayed one single rek`a for the witr prayers after the evening prayers, and a slave of Ibn Abbās was in his company. Ibn Abbās came and said [to his slave], `Leave him, for he was a companion of the Messenger of Allah`!” In another version in the narration of this same incident, he [Ibn Abbās] said that Mu`āwiyah was a “faqih”! If you come to know that Mu`āwiyah spent twenty years as “caliph” of the Muslims, and before that he was wāli [provincial governor] over Syria, the reader may imagine the extent to which Mu`āwiyah exercised his own influence on the fabrication and transmission of ahādīth attributed to the Prophet in order to justify his actions. Despite all the efforts which he exerted to cover them up, they have become quite clear in the books of hadīth and history in a way which leaves no room for confusion in getting to know the truth about this “caliph” whom they [Sunnis] also regard as the “commander of the faithful”! The conduct of Mu`āwiyah with regard to his government and authority has its own roots in his Sufyāni family. His father [Abū Sufyān] said to `Uthmān after the latter had received the oath of allegiance, “Receive it as a ball is received, for by the One by Whom Abū Sufyān swears, I remain optimistic that you [Umayyads], too, will receive it, and it shall be received by your children by way of inheritance.” According to another narrative of the same statement, he said, “Receive it as a ball is received, for there is neither Paradise nor Hell,” thus pointing out to the true reason why this family pretended to have accepted Islam following the conquest of Mecca and when all Meccans embraced Islam. Look into the following incident to realize what sort of Islam they quite reluctantly embraced:
Abdullāh ibn Abbās has said, “Abū Sufyān said, `By Allāh! I remained in humiliation, feeling sure that his [Prophet`s] call would gain the upper hand till Allāh caused Islam to enter my heart against my wish.” If Abū Sufyān`s tongue thus admits, imagine what his heart would say had it been enabled to speak about what it contains!
What the Prophet Said about Mu`āwiyah
The following is stated by Muslim in his Sahīh: “The Prophet one day sent him [Mu`āwiyah] Ibn Abbās inviting him to come to write something for him. Ibn Abbās found him eating. The Prophet sent him [Ibn Abbās] again to Mu`āwiyah, and Ibn Abbās again found him eating. This took place a third time. The Prophet said, `May Allāh never cause his [Mu`āwiyah`s] stomach to feel satisfied.`” Also in Muslim`s Sahīh is the following text: “The Messenger of Allāh said, `... As for Mu`āwiyah, he is a penniless and spiritless person.” In Ahmad`s Musnad, the Messenger of Allāh is quoted as having said the following about Mu`āwiyah and `Amr ibn al-Ās: “O Lord! Hurl them into dissension headlong, and lodge them into hell,” in addition to many other narratives exposing the truth about “commander of the faithful” Mu`āwiyah, son of the liver-eater, who sealed his deeds in the life of this world by installing his son, the drunkard and the debauchee Yazīd, as “caliph” over the Muslims after him. Yazīd was then no more than twenty years old. Thus, Mu`āwiyah violated the reconciliation treaty which he had signed with Imām al-Hasan (`a), actually going against the Commandments of Allāh and of His Messenger as well as violating the “sunnah” of both Shaykhs [Abū Bakr and `Umar] and all other traditions discussed by the “Ahl al-Sunnah”.
VIII Martyrdom of Imām Ali (`a)
The last battle waged by Imām Ali (`a) was that of al-Nahrawan. He fought in it the group which forced him to accept the arbitration in Siffīn but then regretted it a few days later, reneging from its covenant and violating the oath of allegiance to the Imām. Later on, these were called the “Khawāraj” [or Khārijites] or the “Māriqīn”. He (`a) scored a victory over them and was getting ready to fight the rebels in Syria following the failure of the arbitration talks, but the Imām (`a) was martyred at the hands of a member of the Khawārijis named Abd al-Rahmān ibn Muljim who stabbed the Imām (`a) as he was prostrating during his Fajr prayers at the Grand Kūfa Mosque in the morning of the 19th of the month of Ramadan, 40 A.H. (January 26, 661 A.D.), five years after having taken charge. The Imām (`a) remained suffering from the attack for three days during which he handed over the Imāmate to his son al-Hasan (`a), older grandson of the Prophet , so that he might carry out after his own demise the duties in leading the nation.
This assignment of the caliphate was not based on the mere fact that al-Hasan (`a) was a son of Ali (`a) or on his being the most fit for it, in his own personal view, to be the caliph. Rather, it was done in obedience to the Command of Allāh Almighty Who chose the twelve successors of His Messenger , as we have already stated, with Imām al-Hasan (`a) being the second on the list.
IX The Reconciliation Treaty, Martyrdom of Imām al-Hasan (`a)
After the martyrdom of Imām Ali (`a), Imām al-Hasan (`a) ascended the pulpit and the people of Kūfa swore the oath of allegiance to him as the successor of the Prophet and the Imām of the nation. But this did not last for more than six months.
When the news reached Syria that Imām Ali (`a) had been martyred, Mu`āwiyah led a large army towards Kūfa in order to personally take charge of the leadership of the Muslims and to force Imām al-Hasan (`a) son of Imām Ali (`a) to surrender to him. Imām al-Hasan (`a) found no alternative to reconciling and signing a treaty with Mu`āwiyah.
As regarding the reasons which forced him to sign such a reconciliation agreement, these were: the disintegration of his army, the internal and unstable domestic situation in Iraq, and the Roman Empire which was looking for an opportunity to attack Islam, having stood ready with a huge army to fight the Muslims. Had a war been waged between Mu`āwiyah and Imām al-Hasan (`a) under such circumstances, the winner would have been the Roman Empire, neither Imām al-Hasan (`a) nor Mu`āwiyah. Thus, Imām al-Hasan (`a), having opted for peace, removed a very serious danger against Islam. As for the terms of the Reconciliation Treaty, these were:
1. Al-Hasan (`a) was to hand over the government and the management of affairs to Mu`āwiyah provided the latter should adhere to the Qur`ān and to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh .
2. Caliphate after the death of Mu`āwiyah should be a right specifically belonging to Imām al-Hasan (`a). If something happened to him, caliphate would then go to his brother, Imām al-Husayn (`a).
3. All condemnations and insults against Imām Ali (`a) should be prohibited, be they launched from the pulpit or from anywhere else.
4. Five million dirhams, which were then present at bayt al-māl in Kūfa, would be put under the supervision of Imām al-Hasan (`a) and Mu`āwiyah was to send one million dirhams a year from the khirāj tax to Imām al-Hasan (`a) for distribution to the families of those who were martyred in the battles of the Camel and of Siffīn on the side of Imām Ali (`a).
5. Mu`āwiyah was to pledge that he would leave all people, regardless of their race or ethnic origin, and not chase or harm them, and he should also pledge to carry out the terms of this Agreement with precision and make the public his witnesses.
But Imām al-Hasan (`a) was martyred in 50 A.H. (670 A.D.) as a result of his wife, Ju`da daughter of al-Ash`ath ibn Qays, having laced something which she had given him with poison. This wife belonged to a family which followed a course of living and believing contrary to that of the descendants of Imām Ali (`a). Mu`āwiyah had instigated her to commit this terrible crime by sending her one hundred thousand dirhams and by promising her to marry her off to his son, Yazīd, if she poisoned her husband, Imām al-Hasan (`a). Mu`āwiyah was elated when he heard about the martyrdom of Imām al-Hasan (`a). He saw in it the removal of the greatest hurdle in his way to achieve his objectives, thus firming the foundations of the Umayyad dynasty`s rule. Thus, Mu`āwiyah achieved all of that thereafter and was able to install his pornographic teenage son, Yazīd, over the nation by force. So, where does this fit in the Sunnis` belief that caliphate must take place through consultation? Did they not reject the texts which mandate the caliphate of the Imāms from among Ahl al-Bayt (`a) in the pretext that such Imāmate must be through consultation? Does this not prove that caliphate, according to their view, is not legitimate if not done through consultation? But why did they consider the “caliphate” of Yazīd as legitimate?! And how did they agree to call him “commander of the faithful”?!
Consider the following so you may view some black pages of our Islamic history. Consider a narrative of glittering glimpses of the life of “commander of the faithful Yazīd son of Abū Sufyān”!
X The Karbalā` Revolution and the Martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (`a)
After the demise of Imām al-Hasan (`a) in 50 A.H.(670 A.D.), the Shī`ahs of Iraq started writing al-Husayn (`a) to request him to remove Mu`āwiyah from his self-installed post of ruling over the Muslims. But al-Husayn (`a) stated in his answer to them that he had with Mu`āwiyah a treaty, an agreement, and that he could not violate it. As for Mu`āwiyah, for the period of twenty years of his rule, he used to prepare to firm the foundations of the rule of his debauchee son, Yazīd, in order to make him a “commander of the faithful”, thus violating his treaty with Imām al-Hasan (`a) to which he had agreed and, moreover, rejecting and violating what the Sunis had agreed upon, that is, their belief that the selection of a caliph is done through consultation with the condition that he must be righteous and pious. If you consider all of this, you will see the extent of the crime committed by Mu`āwiyah against Islam and Muslims. His line of action was followed by the rest of Umayyad, Abbāside and Ottoman caliphs most of whom could not be distinguished from the Muslims` debauchee and corrupt rulers of our time.
After the death of Mu`āwiyah in 60 A.H. (680 A.D.), Yazīd seated himself as the ruler. His palace was a nucleus of corruption and sin. He, according to the admission of all Islamic groups, used to publicly drink wine during his crowded night parties. Among his well recorded statements are shallow poetic verses from which we would like to quote the following:
Musical tones distracted me from the sound of the adhān,
Instead of the hūris, I took to myself an old hag in the chambers.
This does not surprise us. Yazīd was brought up by a Christian governess. He, as described by historians, was a reckless youth, a licentious, extravagant, immoral, short-sighted, off-guard young man who surrounded himself with luxury. He is always reported as having led the Friday congregational prayer service on a Wednesday [rather than Friday] and led the fajr prayers in four rek`ats [instead of two] because he was quite drunk. Other such incidents are reported about him the narration of which does not serve our purpose. We have mentioned his violations in order to shed a light on the circumstances during which Imām al-Husayn (`a) saw that an uprising and a revolution were necessary to resurrect Islam and the religious sunan after they had become threatened with distortion and extinction. The objective of Imām al-Husayn (`a) behind his revolution was not to take control of the caliphate or run after authority, for he knew that the Umayyads were more prepared to secure it for themselves especially after the people of Iraq had reneged, fearing the Umayyads.
In one of his sermons near Karbalā`, Imām al-Husayn (`a) states the reason behind his uprising as follows: “O people! Whoever sees an oppressive imām permitting what Allāh prohibits, violating Allāh`s covenant after confirming it, behaving contrarily to the Sunnah of His Prophet , ruling among the servants of Allāh with sin and oppression, Allāh will hurl him together with the same person into the Fire.” In another statement, he said, “O people! They [Umayyads] obeyed Satan, disobeyed the most Merciful One, caused corruption in the land, suspended the implementation of the sunan, took to themselves what belonged to the Muslims, permitted what Allāh prohibits, forbade what Allāh permits, and I, more than anyone else, am more worthy of opposing them.”
When Imām al-Husayn (`a) came to know about the reneging and violation of the covenant with him which took place in Kūfa, he gathered his companions and family members, who were in his company, and frankly said the following to them: “Our Shī`ahs have betrayed us. Anyone who likes to go away may do so; he is not obligated to us.” They dispersed from him right and left, so much so that only those who had come with him from Mecca and Medīna stayed. But Imām al-Husayn (`a) kept upholding his decision and in the same determination whereby he set out from Mecca the Venerable. As described by a poet, his condition was: “If the religion of Muhammad cannot stay straight except if I am killed, then take me, O swords!” He met with `Umar ibn Sa`d, commander of the army sent to fight him by the provincial governor of Kūfa,`Ubaydullāh ibn Ziyād, who was appointed by the Umayyad “caliph”, Yazīd, which was made up of thirty-two thousand strong, according to some narratives.
It was only natural for the force of the army of Yazīd son of Mu`āwiyah to be able to kill such a small numbered band. On that day, the tragedy of Ahl al-Bayt (`a) was personified, how they were wronged, in the most clear way. Yazīd son of Mu`āwiyah, in this massacre, was paying the “reward” which the Messenger of Allāh had required him: “Say: `I ask no reward of you for this [Islamic creed] except love for my near in kin`” (Qur`ān, 42:23)... History narrates tragic scenes too difficult for anyone to describe as they were in reality. One of them is the tragedy of the infant son of Imām Husayn (`a), namely Abdullāh, whom the Imām carried to the battlefield asking for a drink of water for him after a blockade was enforced on Imām Husayn (`a)`s camp, depriving him of any access to the Euphrates. Thirst, hence, took its heavy toll on them. The Imām carried Abdullāh asking for some water for him and to stir their conscience and human feeling. But they shot the infant with an arrow, killing him instantly. Martyrs from among the followers of Imām Husayn (`a) and from his Ahl al-Bayt (`a) fell one after the other.
Al-Husayn (`a) was the last to be martyred in that decisive battle. Yet they were not satisfied with killing the Master of the Youths of Paradise but severed his head from his body then carried it together with the heads of his companions as gifts to the killers, raising them on their spears on their way to Yazīd son of Mu`āwiyah in Syria. Some Muslims keep insisting on calling him “commander of the faithful”...; so, there is no will nor might except in Allāh...!
Having narrated these events, which clearly show the lofty objectives for which al-Husayn (`a) started his revolution, a revolution which was described by a great Islamist, namely Dr. `Amr Abd al-Rahmān, thus, “The martyrdom of al-Husayn (`a) is a thousand times greater than his staying alive.” But there are those who minimize the value of this great revolution because of their falling victim to the misleading Umayyad propaganda. Such a propaganda has tried very hard to distort history. And they fell victim to contemptible sectarian fanaticism. They, thus, are forced to adopt such a shameful distortion of the facts such as the statement of so-called “shaikh al-Islam” Ibn Taymiyyah in this sense: “Imām al-Husayn (`a), in his revolution, caused a dissension in the Islamic nation when he disobeyed the one who was in charge of the affairs of the Muslims”...!!! If we ask this so-called “shaikh al-Islam” about Mu`āwiyah who disobeyed Imām Ali (`a) (who was then in charge of the affairs of the Muslims), he will not see in it any dissension, nor will he see any sin in it for them. The same applies to `Ā`isha who disobeyed Imām Ali (`a)... This is nothing but a norm of attempts to openly falsify our Islamic history; otherwise, how can we explain how most Sunnis ignore this historic tragedy in which the descendants of the Messenger of Allāh were killed in the most horrible and painful way? All the descendants of Mu`āwiyah and his son, Yazīd, followed in the footsteps of the Umayyads and of the Abbasides. They crushed any opposition to their authority, especially when it came from the Members of the Household of the Prophet who were always pursued with discrimination, banishment, killing and torture.
Such oppression was not confined to the Members of the Household of the Prophet alone. Among the victims of the Umayyad oppression from among those who did not belong to Ahl al-Bayt (`a) was, for example, Abdullāh ibn al-Zubayr. History has recorded the tragic scene inside the precinct of Mecca where Abdullāh ibn al-Zubayr was slaughtered and skinned. The sanctity of that place which even people during the jāhiliyya period held as sacred and holy and did not permit the slaughter of animals, let alone of humans, inside it. And the Venerable Ka`ba could not help him against the Umayyad rulers when he clung to its curtains. This same Ka`ba was bombarded with catapults during the time of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwān who gave a free hand to his tyrant, al-Hajjāj, to kill people without a just cause. About both men, al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Had Abd al-Malik committed only the sin of [giving a free hand to] al-Hajjāj, it would have sufficed him [i.e. was sufficient for his condemnation].” And `Umar ibn Abd al-Azīz said, “Had each nation brought forth its oppressor, and had we [Umayyads] brought forth al-Hajjāj, we would have out-weighed them [in the measure of oppressiveness].”
So, do these deeds qualify their doer to be a Muslim, let alone to being the caliph of the Muslims or the “commander of the faithful”??! Undoubtedly, we nowadays need to take a second look at our history and to discern many of its events then ask to speak to us due to their strong ties to sketching the outlines of the Islamic sects to which the Muslims nowadays adhere. They have in them what helps truly get to know this sect or that away from oppression and injustice. Because of those incidents, the Muslims slipped away from the original Islamic line of Muhammad , becoming diverse sects and groups each one of which claims it is the one that will receive salvation. None of us needs to wait for Divine Wahi to tell him the name of this sect. Allāh, the most Great and the most Exalted One, has granted us the mind whereby we can distinguish what is foul from what is good, making it an argument against His servants, prohibiting us from blindly imitating others, saying, “What! Even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance?!” (Qur`ān, 2:170). He has also said, “We have sent them admonishment, but most of them hate admonishment” (Qur`ān, 23:71). He has required us to investigate and research before believing each and every one, saying, “O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you should harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done” (Qur`ān, 49:6).
Al-Tabari, Tārīkh. Ibn `Asākir, Tārīkh Dimashq.
Khālid Muhammad Khālid, Khulafā` Rasool Allāh, p. 272, 8th edition.
Al-Bukhāri, Sahīh, Vol. 9, p. 239, in the book of ahkām in a chapter about how an imām receives the oath of fealty from the people.
Khālid Muhammad Khālid, Khulafā` Rasool Allāh, p. 276, 8th edition.
Al-Tabari, Tārīkh. Al-Mas`ūdi. Ibn al-Athīr, Al-Istī`āb.
Ibn al-Athīr. Al-Mas`ūdi. Al-Tabari, Tārīkh.
Al-Bukhāri, Sahīh, Vol. 2, p. 278, in the Book of Zakāt.
Al-Balādhuri, Ansāb al-Ashrāf. Al-Wāqidi. Al-Ya`qūbi, Tārīkh.
Ibn Abul-Hadīd, Sharh Nahjul-Balāghah.
Al-Tabari, Tārīkh, Vol. 4, p. 277 (Cairo edition of 1357 A.H.). Ibn al-Athīr, Al-Nihāyah.
Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 172. Ibn al-Athīr. Ibn Sa`d.
Al-Bukhāri, Sahīh, Vol. 4, p. 217, in the Book of Khums in a chapter about what went on in the houses of the Prophet`s wives.
Ibid., Vol. 9, p. 171, in the Book of Dissensions in a chapter about a dissension that would move like high sea waves.
Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 133, in the Book of Ablution in a chapter about the Prophet pouring water on someone who lost his consciousness.
Ibid., Vol. 6, p. 252 in the Book of Tafsīr in a chapter about “... had you only heard him say it.”
`Allāma al-`Askari, Ahādīth Umm al-Mu`mineen, p. 272.
Besides him, a number of scholarly researchers, such as Taha Husayn in Vol. 1 of his book titled Al-Fitna al-Kubra (the great dissension) and Dr. Kāmil al-Shaybi in his book titled Al-Sila Bayna al-Tashayyu` wal Tasawwuf (the relationship between Shi`ism and Sufism), have all rejected the notion that such an individual ever existed in reality.
Excerpted and edited from the book titled Abdullāh ibn Saba` by `allāma Sayyid Murtadha al-`Askari.
Ibn al-Sabbāgh al-Māliki, Al-Fusūl al-Muhimma, p. 83 (the Dār al-Adhwaa` edition).
Al-Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, Tathkirat al-Khawāss, p. 79.
Muslim, Sahīh, in the Book of Imān in a chapter about love for Ali, may Allāh glorify his countenance, as a sign of imān, Vol. 1, p. 262 (Dār al-Sha`ab edition).
Al-Bukhāri, Sahīh, Vol. 4, p. 52 in the Book of Jihād in a chapter about removing one`s dust seeking the Pleasure of Allah.
Al-Mustadrak `Alal Sahīhayn, Vol. 2, p. 148 (Dār al-Kitāb al-`Arabi edition).
Al-Bukhāri, Sahīh, Vol. 6, p. 146 in the Book of Tafsīr in a chapter about this verse.
Al-Tirmidhi, Sahīh, Vol. 13, p. 210 in a chapter about the merits of Abū Dharr ).(
Al-Bukhāri, Sahīh, Vol. 5, p. 73 in a book about the merits of the sahābah in a chapter about Mu`āwiyah.
Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 74 in a book about the merits of the sahābah in a chapter about Mu`āwiyah.
Al-Bukhāri, Sahīh, Vol. 4, p. 122 in the Book of Jihād.
Muslim, Sahīh, Vol. 5, p. 462 in the Book of Kindness, Charity and Etiquette in a chapter about one cursed by the Prophet (Dār al-Sha`ab edition) as cited in al-Nawawi`s Sharh.
Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 693 in the Book of Divorce in a chapter about a woman whose divorce is irrevocable not having the right for any financial support after the divorce (Dār al-Sha`ab edition).
Take a look at the picture attacked to the cover of the book titled Haqaaiq an Ameer al-Momineen Yazīd [facts about the commander of the faithful Yazīd] so you may see to what extent some people have gone in their falsification of the Islamic history...!
Truth About Shi'ah Ithna 'Ashari Faith
By: Asad Wahid al-Qasim
Translated from the Arabic by Yasin al-Jibouri