Rafed English

Imam Hasan (a.s.) and the Doubters

These people did not belong to any particular group or party. They did not have the ability to differentiate between the truth and falsehood and thereby to feel their responsibility to be on the right path. Moreover the extensive propaganda by the Khawarij and the Umayyad group had put them in doubt about the true path followed by the Ahle Bait (as) and about the prophethood. In the normal conditions, they were with the army, but in an uncertain situation they could abandon the Imam (as), as they had an infirm faith.

Imam Mujtaba (as)'s army was composed of these groups with varying tendencies. A majority of these people could become a source of danger for the Imam (as). Due to their wavering and depressed attitude, the revered Imam (as) had not decided to attack Moawiya. During his caliphate he was busy in reform in these disturbed conditions, but Moawiya, by starting the imposed war, had not given the opportunity for the same to the Imam (as). He had to face Moawiya in war, who would have otherwise entered Iraq as victorious, would have at least imprisoned the Imam (as), and the fate of Muslims would have been at his mercy. The war was not only to protect the Islamic caliphate and rule but the survival of Iraq as an independent country was also at stake. Therefore, he decided to fight a defensive war taking all the different groups in his army. Criticism has been levied on Imam Mujtaba (as) regarding the composition of the army and the selection of the soldiers as well. But those indulging in criticism ignore the prevailing atmosphere, the society and the political conditions at the time. So, the objections are wrong. There is no doubt that Imam Mujtaba (as) was passing through a very trying period of Islamic history and not much reliance could be put on the army. However, like a capable general, who had proved his capabilities in war during the period of his illustrious father, he took the decision to fight Moawiya with whatever army he had.

He formed a vanguard brigade of twelve thousand soldiers to stop Moawiya's advance. It was composed of very capable persons who included those devoted to him as well as the 'Shurta al Khamees' (the Thursday Soldiers' group) who had defeated Moawiya in the Siffin war. He had very carefully selected the leadership of the vanguard brigade and was with them, with a limited number of soldiers, till the march to Madain. There he stayed back, waiting for reinforcements from Koofa, Basra and Persia.

The success of Imam Mujtaba (as) depended on the performance of the vanguard brigade. It cannot be denied that in the vanguard brigade also there were paid agents of the enemy, but if its leadership had acted very tactfully according to his commands, it had the force and capability to inflict heavy physical and material loss to the Syrian army, thus blocking the advance by Moawiya, which would have forced him to change his policy. Later, with reinforcements, the Imam (as) would reach Maskin and take control of the army himself, and the chances of his success would have been enhanced. Thus, at least Moawiya could have been confined to Syria. In such a situation, even enemies would have become friends. But if the leadership of the vanguard brigade could not utilize the select army to the best of its ability and face crisis, then the enemy could penetrate and consequently the whole brigade would lose. Due to its defeat, the whole plan would be upset, the agents of Moawiya and the spies would get the chance that they were awaiting, the majority of the army would lose heart and leave the Imam (as) or cause a crisis for the central leadership. In such a situation, the malicious enemy like the Khawarij could get a chance to play some dirty trick.

Adapted from the book: "Imam Hasan and Caliphate" by: "Qurrat-ul-Ain Abidiy"

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