Who was Mu'awiya?
Mu'a`wiya b. Abi Sufya`n was the first king with whom Ima`m Zayn al-'Abidin, peace be on him, coincided. He practiced a black policy against the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them, and their followers.
He intended to uproot the pure family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Household, and to kill their followers and those who believed in their political rights as well as he spread fear and terror all over the Islamic world in order to force the Muslims to submit to abasement and bondage. The Ima`m was in the bloom of youth when he witnessed this policy of Mu'a`wiya. We will briefly mention some of Mu'a`wiya's affairs.
Before we speak about Mu'a`wiya's affairs, we want to talk quickly about his parents, that it may be clear for us that he inherited malice against Islam from his parents whose souls were full of ignorance and enmity toward all human values.
As for his father Abu` Sufya`n, he was the most mortal enemy of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Because he detested him, he employed all his possessions to suppress the Islamic Message and to destroy it in the cradle. He waged war against him and led the armies at the Battle of Badr.
However Allah, the Exalted, supported His Prophet and exalted His religion. He wrote disappointment and loss against Abu` Sufya`n, who took to flight when his troops were defeated.
As for his mother Hind, her evil heart was filled with malice and hatred against the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. After the crushing defeat that afflicted the Army of Abu` Sufya`n at the Battle of Badr, she became very sad for the members of her family whom she lost at the battle. Hence she provoked the young and the old, male and female, to demand vengeance for their dead and to get ready for another battle. Accordingly, the Battle of Uhud occurred.
At it Hamza, the Prophet's uncle, and seventy Muslim heroes were martyred. Had it not for Allah's gentleness and bounty, the Message of Islam would have been destroyed. The hero of Islam( Ima`m 'Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him(defended the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and protected him with his own soul. Hind, Mu'a`wiya's mother, maimed the corpse of the great martyr, Hamza. With this she took her vengeance. She refreshed her heart, rested her eye, and quenched her spites. Abu` Sufya`n won victory and returned to Mecca.
The Conquer of Mecca
After the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Household, returned to Medina (Yathrib). There he gathered his troops and prepared them to conquer Mecca, which was the only center of his enemies. With Allah's help and support he was able to conquer it without shedding blood, and then he pardoned his enemies in general. With this he was able to show the mercy of Islam, its kindness and dignity. He, may Allah bless him and his family, did not follow the international practices which permit destroying the aggressors. He included all the aggressors in his mercy. Among those whom his pardon included was Abu` Sufya`n and the members of his family, who stayed at the corners of abasement and laziness, and upon whom the Muslims looked down, for they were the defeated enemies and opponents of Islam.
Mu'a`wiya was one of those prisoners who were released on the Day of the Conquer of Mecca. He was a pauper and walked bare-footed beside the saddlebags of 'Alqama b. Wa`'il al-Hadrami.(Al-Bayqahi, al-Maha`sin wa al-Masa`wi', vol. 1, p. 29).
A woman counseled with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, in order to marry Mu'a`wiya, and he scolded her, saying: "Mu'a`wiya is a pauper."
As Islam abased the Umayyads and destroyed their glory, they harbored malice against it, showed enmity toward it, and planed by day and night to destroy it. In this connection the Holy Hadith says: "If there would be only one toothless old woman from the Umayyads, she would spare no effort to ruin Allah's religion."
As for Mu'a`wiya's qualities, they are as follows:
Mu'a`wiya's heart was void of kindness and mercy. It was cruel, polluted, and filled with crimes. It was Mu'a`wiya who empowered Bisr b. Abi Arta`t and commanded him to kill all those who followed the creed of Ima`m 'Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, which is Allah's creed. Hence Bisr b. Arta`t, who was an ignoble aggressor, killed them and their wives and their children. For example, he killed two of 'Ubayd b. al-'Abba`s's children.
Accordingly, a lady said to him: "The ruler who kills women and children is wicked."
Treason was among Mu'a`wiya's prominent qualities. Mu'a`wiya, who had pre-Islamic opinions, did not believe in keeping promise and other humane values. For example, he offered conditions to the pure Ima`m al-Hasan b. 'Ali, peace be on them, and then he broke them all in a shameful manner. He addressed the people, saying: "Indeed I have been requested by al-Hasan (to give him) things and I have given things to him. All of them are now under my foot. And from now on I will not fulfill anything."
Mu'a`wiya was an evil liar. He was not accustomed to truthfulness. He lied to the Syrians and seduced them when he told them that he was the nearest of all the people to the great Prophet and his inheritor. He lied to them when he told them that Ima`m 'Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, killed 'Uthma`n b. 'Affa`n, that he demanded his blood. He told them a lie when he told them that Ima`m 'Ali killed 'Amma`r b. Ya`sir, the great companion (of the Prophet), at the Battle of Siffin.
He was very fond of lying to the extent that he formed committees from among the pseudo clergy men to create traditions and to ascribe them to Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household. He ordered them to praise the companions (of the Prophet) and to degrade the importance of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. Moreover, he adopted lying and took it as a method for his life and constitution for his state.
Deception was among Mu'a`wiya's qualities. He deceived a grouped of the Muslims at whose head was Ima`m al-Hasan, peace be on him, the plant of sweet basil of Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and his grandson. He appointed him as his successor, but he broke his promise. He sent deadly poison to his governor Marwa`n b. al-Hakam and ordered him to give it to al-Hasan. Hence Marwa`n seduced al-Hasan's wife, Ju'da, daughter of al-Ash'ath, and she gave her husband poison to drink. Shortly after this the Messenger's grandson joined the Highest Comrade.
These are some of Mu'a`wiya's qualities. It is certain that he had no noble moral trait or inclination.
Some mercenaries and pseudo clergy men described Mu'a`wiya with false qualities such as cleverness, clemency, and good policy. Among them was Na`fi' b. Jubayr, who said: "Clemency makes Mu'a`wiya keep silent, and knowledge makes him speak." When Ima`m Zayn al-'Abidin, peace be on him, heard these words, he refuted them saying: "He (Na`fi' b. Jubayr) has told a lie. The incapability of speaking makes him keep silent, and ingratitude makes him speak.(A'ya`n al-Shï'a, vol. 5, p. 26).
If Mu'a`wiya had had an atom of clemency, he would not have killed Hijr b. 'Adi, the great companion (of the Prophet), and his companions, who sacrificed their souls for Islam. If he had had clemency, he would not have killed 'Amr b. al-Hamq al-Khaz`'i, the great companion (of the Prophet). If he had had a bit of clemency, good policy and management, he would not have imposed his son Yazid, the drunkard one, as a caliph on the Muslims, and he thrown them into continuous afflictions.
The mercenaries and pseudo clergy men said that Mu'a`wiya was a writer of the Revelation. How did the Messenger entrusted the Revelation of the Lord of the worlds to Mu'a`wiya, who had pre-Islamic beliefs, and turned away from the Guidance and Truth? Whoever carefully studies his behavior finds that he was a professional terrorist, had no relationship with noble ideals and good qualities.
Mu'a`wiya was imposed as Governor over Damascus
The painful thing is that Mu'a`wiya was imposed as a governor over the Muslims in Damascus. He was ordered to lead them in prayer, to rule among them according to What Allah had sent down, and to undertake collecting their zaka`t and land taxes, while he was not appropriate for such an office. It is worth mentioning that Islam took precautions against appointing governors; rather all officials.
It made it incumbent (on the caliph) to study their life and to consider carefully their behavior, their tendencies, and their inclinations. It ordered him to appoint those who were pious, pure, and noble in their souls and among their people, and had knowledge of the affairs of management and government. Moreover it urged him to refrain from appointing those who had no religion, had bad behavior, and were ignoble in soul and lineage.
As for appointing Mu'a`wiya as a governor over Damascus, which was then among the sensitive centers in the Islamic world, it did not result from studying his life and considering his works. Rather it resulted from some political inclinations. Any how, it has no relationship with the interests of the community. Unfortunately, the Second Caliph ('Umar b. al-Khatta`b) brought him near and went too far in supporting him.
Although he heard that Mu'a`wiya wore silk garments and used plates made of silver and gold, and turned away from the Islamic teachings, he apologized on behalf of him saying: "Mu'a`wiya is the Kasra` of the Arabs." How wonderful! Is there Kasra`sim or Caesarism in Islam? All Muslims know that Islam has played an important role in abolishing all kinds of racism, treated its followers equally, and distinguished between them according to Allah-fearingness and good deeds of which is serving and developing the Islamic society.
The Days of his Government
The Umayyads employed a policy full of deception in order to reach authority and loot the wealth of the community. They were supported by the Arab and Qurayshi capitalists, who did their best to keep their personal interests, which they lost during the days of the government of Ima`m 'Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and pioneer of social justice on the earth.
Hence Mu'a`wiya was able to hold the reins of government. Nichalson said: "The Muslims regarded the victory of the Umayyads headed by Mu'a`wiya as victory of the pagan aristocracy which showed enmity toward the Messenger, against which the Messenger struggled and destroyed; the Muslims were patient along with him until Allah granted them a victory, hence they ruined it, and established on its debris the pillars of Islam, the tolerant religion which made people equal in prosperity and adversity.
Mu'a`wiya trod on the Moslems' necks. He drowned the country into black afflictions and dangerous events. He openly challenged the Moslems' will. He spared no effort to abase them, deprived them of their freedom, and withheld them from all the rights confessed by the international and human customs. The following is some of the unjust ways he practiced against the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them, and their followers, who were the source of awareness and thought in Islam:
His Sending the Muslims away from ahl al-Bayt
Mu'a`wiya employed all mean ways to extinguish the light of the family of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, to prevent them from communicating with the community, and to deprive the community of their noble moral traits. Hence he created an atmosphere of atrocious terrorism against those who mentioned their virtues and laudable deeds. Besides he officially declared abusing Ima`m 'Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, who was the greatest thinker in Islam.
Accordingly, the mercenaries and pseudo clergy men competed with each other for abusing him on their pulpits and during Friday prayers. Yet the behavior of Ima`m 'Ali, peace be on him, chased Mu'a`wiya and followed him in his palaces, for it led to mutiny against oppression and tyranny, and opened noble horizons to political and religious awareness.
His Eliminating the Shi'ites
Mu'a`wiya politically decided to eliminate and uproot the followers and friends of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. Hence he wrote to all his governors to pursue and kill all those who loved the family of Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. Besides he commanded them to stop their salaries, confiscate their properties, and to imprison them in dark prisons.
Accordingly, his terrorist governors spared no effort to carry out his commands. The Shi'ites of the ahl al-Bayt lived in a state of fear and terror. Some men preferred calling them unbelievers to calling them the lovers of the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and to showing friendship toward them. This is because they wanted to save them selves from murdering and punishing. Mu'a`wiya ordered a group of great Muslim figures to be executed. Examples of them were Hijr b. 'Adi, Rashid al-Hijri, 'Amr b. al-Hamq al-Khaza`'i, and others. They had no guilt except that they showed friendship toward the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them.
Mu'a`wiya appointed over the Islamic countries a band of traitors and criminals such as Ziya`d b. Abih, al-Mughira b. Shu'ba, and Bisr b. Abi Arta`t. These persons deviated from (Islam), understood nothing except murdering, destruction, and aggression against men. Ziya`d b. Abih declared his black policy toward Iraq saying: "I will punish the innocent because of the guilty, and the comers because of those who turned away (from me). I will punish (you) even for suspicion and accusation." He turned the life in Iraq, in his time, into inferno to the extent that he made the people say to each other: "Sa'd, save yourself, for Sa'id has been perished!"
His Imposing Yazid as Ruler
Mu'a`wiya ended his life through the worst crime when he appointed his corrupt son, Yazid, as a ruler over the Muslims. Being corrupt, Yazid spared no effort to deviate the Muslims from their religion and life in this world. He ruled among them according to the pre-Islamic beliefs. He turned the life in the Islamic world into unbearable inferno, and committed atrocities to the extent that he has blackened the Arab and Islamic history.
Impressions about Mu'a`wiya
Some Muslims expressed their unfavorable impressions of Mu'a`wiya in his time. They are as follows:
1. Ibn 'Abba`s:
'Abd Allah b. 'Abba`s, a great Muslim thinker, expressed his opinion of Mu'a`wiya saying: "Mu'a`wiya has no quality to bring him near to the Caliphate.(Al-Mas'u`di, Ha`mish b. al-Athïr, vol. 6, p. 7).
2. Sa'sa'a bin Soha`n
Sa'sa'a bin Soha`n al-'Abdi, a great Muja`hid, met Mu'a`wiya in the days of his government, and he asked him: "Which Caliph you have seen me?"
Sa'sa'a answered him courageously, saying: "He who rules the people by force, governs over them with pride, and sizes (power) with the means of falsehood, lying, and trickery, is not a caliph! By Allah, at the Battle of Badr, you had neither a sword nor an arrow! You and your father were among those who fought against Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family! You are a freedman, and son of a freedman. Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, released you. Therefore, how is the caliphate appropriate for a freedman?(Al-Mas'u`di, Ha`mish b. al-Athïr, vol. 6, p. 7).
3. Al-Mughira bin Shu'ba
Al-Mughira bin Shu'ba, Mu'a`wiya's friend and partner in sins, came to Mu'a`wiya and heard him saying a tradition thereby he slandered the great Prophet. Hence he was dissatisfied with him, left him, went to his son Yazid, and said to him: "I have come from the most malicious of all the people!" Then he related the tradition to him.(Al-Mas'u`di, Muru`jj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 342).
4. Samra bin Jundub
Samra bin Jundub, who was a hypocrite and liar, was among those who were indignant with Mu'a`wiya. That was when he removed him from the office of Basrah. Hence he said: "May Allah curse Mu'a`wiya! By Allah, if I had obeyed Allah as I obeyed Mu'a`wiya, He would never had chastised me!
(Al-Tabari, Ta`rikh (first edition), vol. 6, p. 157).
With this we will end our speech about Mu'a`wiya. He who carefully considers Mu'a`wiya's policy finds it full of acts of disobedience to Allah and His Messenger such as murdering the free, chasing the reformers, violating women, and spreading crimes and offenses.