Rafed English

Moawiya's preliminary activities and defiance of Ali

It has already been stated that during his sojourn at Medina on the occasion of his visit to Caliph Osman, Moawiya happened one day to ask Kab-al-Ahbar how the prevailing disturbances against Osman would end. Kab predicted that Osman would be murdered and that in the long run the Grey Mule (meaning Moawiya) would succeed in rising to power. Relying on this prophecy, Moawiya looked forward to chances of his rise to the sovereign authority and lost no opportunity of taking measures to promote the object in view.

It was due to this that he was slack in sending succour 1 demanded by Osman when he was besieged; that, when Osman was murdered he was busy in stirring up the Syrians to avenge his blood by exhibiting from the pulpit the gory shirt of the murdered Caliph; that, to let the spirit of revolt ripen among the Syrians he long detained the envoy from Ali and evaded a definite answer to the invitation of the Caliph demanding homage from him; that, he gathered around him several discontented men of note, such as 2 Obeidallah (the son of Caliph Omar, the murderer who had escaped for fear of being summoned to the tribunal before Ali), Abdallah b. Abi Sarh (the ex-governor of Egypt who was displaced when Ali came to power), Marwan (the secretary and the evil genius of Caliph Osman ) and almost all the immediate adherents of that Caliph, and the Umyyads who had fled to him when Ayesha was defeated at Busra; that, he secured the alliance of Amr b. Aas, the conqueror of Egypt and the ex-governor of that country, now residing in Palestine as a landlord but as a discontented man; (With the 3 stipulation of this restoration to the same government as the teward for his successful co-operation in deposing Ali. he took the oath of allegiance to Moawiya acknowledging him the lawful Caliph, in the presence of all the army, who also took the oath of fealty. Thty were follwed by the Syrian public who joined in the acclamations at this grand ceremony); that, he sought 4 allegiance of several distinguished Companions of the Prophet, such as Saad b. Ali Waqqas, Abdallah b. Omar, Osama b Zaid, Mohammed b. Maslama, who were noted for not having done fealty to Ali on his inauguration as Caliph, and who chose to remain aloof from either patty and wrote reproachful answers to Moawiya. At this period Abu Horeira, Abu-al-Darda, Abu Osama Bahili and Noman b. Bashir Ansari were the only Companions in attendance at the court of Moawiya; that, being for over twenty years governor of the rich province of Syria and pursuing a far-sighted policy from the very beginning he had amassed an immense treasure and had a powerful army at his command. Now he had in his favour the prejudices of the Syrians in general and of his armies in particular, who had been artfully taught to implicate Ali in the murder of Caliph Osman. The blood-stained shirt of Osman was still hung over the pulpit in the great mosque of Damascus, and the people, inflamed by its sight, sobbed aloud and cried for vengeance on the murderers and those who sheltered them. Such was the formidable adversary with whom Ali had to deal after he had done with Ayesha, Talha and Zubiet.
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1 Rawdzat-al-Safa.

2 Rawdzat-al-Safa.

3 Mas'udi.

4 Habib-al-Siyar.

Adapted from: "Ali, the Magnificent" by: "Yousuf N. Lalljee"

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