It was for this reason that, in his peace agreement with Mu‘awiyah, Imam al-Hasan (as) stressed that Imam ‘Ali’s followers (as) must be guaranteed truce and safety. Mu‘awiyah agreed to this demand, but he had other plans in mind. In a clear act of treachery, he announced that he was not committed to the agreement and would not follow it.
He said, “The agreement I made with al-Hasan is null and void. It lies trampled under my feet.” What aggravates the repugnancy of his actions is that Mu‘awiyah committed himself to breaching the peace settlement on the very same day of signing it, in spite of having earlier promised to be faithful to the pact.
Ibn Abi al-Hadid quotes from Abi al-Hasan Mada’ini, “In a letter to his governors general, Mu‘awiyah ibn Abu Sufiyan wrote, ‘I have discharged myself from obligation to anyone who recounts hadith in praise of the virtues of Abu Turab [Imam ‘Ali] and his Ahl al-Bayt.’ After this command, his governors gave orders to all the public speakers employed by the government to start reviling Imam ‘Ali (as) and making derogatory and defamatory comments about his Ahl al-Bayt (as) from the pulpits.
The people of Kufah were the most seriously affected by this calamity because at that time Kufah was inhabited by a large number of the Shi‘ahs. Mu‘awiyah ibn Abu Sufiyan appointed Ziyad to be the governor general of Kufah and Basrah.
Ziyad knew the Shi‘ahs very well. Acting on orders from Mu‘awiyah, he either killed or terrorized them wherever he could find them. After cutting off their hands and legs and removing their eyes from their sockets, he would hang their bodies from a scaffold. He also forcefully exiled a large number of them from Iraq.”37
Ibn A‘tham writes, “Ziyad was constantly searching for the Shi‘ahs. He put most of them under state surveillance. He would kill them wherever he could find them, to such an extent that he killed a large number of them. He also cut their legs off and made them blind. Of course, Mu‘awiyah himself killed a lot of the Shi‘ahs with his own hands, too.”38
Mu‘awiyah himself gave direct orders for the hanging of a large number of the Shi‘ahs of Imam ‘Ali (as). Another of Ziyad’s contemptible tactics was to gather the Shi‘ahs in mosques and force them to show hatred and disrespect towards Imam ‘Ali (as).39
In Basrah, also, Ibn Ziyad was constantly searching for ‘Ali’s (as) followers with the intention of killing them. A large number of the Holy Prophet’s (S) renowned companions and tabi‘in were martyred by the direct command of Mu‘awiyah because they loved ‘Ali (as) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as).40
In the year 53 AH, Hujr ibn ‘Uday and his companions were killed on direct orders from Mu‘awiyah. Hujr ibn ‘Uday and his companions were the first people in the history of Islam that were killed by means of ‘patience towards death’.41
‘Amru ibn Humaq Khuza‘i, named “the Master of Martyrs” by Imam al-Husayn (as), was killed by Mu‘awiyah ibn Abu Sufiyan. Mu‘awiyah deceived him by promising to provide him with safety and then turned against him and, in a clear act of betrayal, killed him.42
Mu‘awiyah is also guilty of killing Malik ibn Ashtar, one of the Arab nobles and a great and revered man in Islamic history. Malik ibn Ashtar was one of Imam ‘Ali’s (as) bravest commanders. Mu‘awiyah killed him with poison that was given to him by one of his traitorous slaves while on his way to Egypt.43
Ziyad once requested one of Imam ‘Ali’s (as) special students named Rashid al-Hijri to curse and disown Imam ‘Ali (as). Rashid al-Hijri flatly refused to do it. As a result, Ziyad cut both his hands, both legs, and his tongue, and then hung his body from a scaffold.44
Juwayriyyah ibn Mashar al-‘Abdi was arrested for the crime of accepting the wilayah (spiritual and temporal guardianship) of Imam ‘Ali (as). His body was hung from a date tree after his hands and legs were cut off.
37. Ibn Abi al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 11, p. 44.
38. Al-Futuh, vol. 4, p. 203.
39. Al-Mahbar, p. 479.
40. Mukhtasar Tarikh Damishq, vol. 9, p. 88.
41. Muruj al-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 3; Siyr A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 3, p. 642.
42. Siyr A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 34.
43. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 91.
44. Ibn Abi al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 2, p. 294.