Rafed English

Mu‘awiyah’s heinous crimes against the Shi‘ahs

Adapted from: "The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts" by: "‘Ali Asghar Ridwani"

Starting from the thirty ninth year of the Islamic calendar, Mu‘awiyah ibn Abu Sufiyan started to carry out widespread terrorist attacks on the Shi‘ahs of Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali (as). He dispatched cruel and irreligious people to attack the Shi‘ahs. He intended to subdue Imam ‘Ali’s followers by sending gangs of faithless people to invade and attack anyone under the protection of Imam ‘Ali’s (as) government.

1. He sent Nu‘man ibn Bashir with a thousand people to crush and terrorize the people of ‘Ayn al-Tamar.

2. He sent Sufiyan ibn ‘Awf with six thousand men to suppress the people of Hit. After that, he sent them to Anbar and Mada’in for more acts of terror and plunder.

3. Mu‘awiyah sent a sworn enemy of Imam ‘Ali (as) by the name of ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘adah ibn Hikmah Fazari with one thousand seven hundred men to attack the people of Tayma’.

4. He sent Dahhak ibn Qays with three thousand armed men to Upper Mesopotamia to plunder and loot the possessions of anyone known to be a follower and Shi‘ah of Imam ‘Ali (as). To counter this cowardly act of Mu‘awiyah, Imam ‘Ali (as) sent Hujr ibn ‘Uday with four thousand men to resist and confront this army.

5. Mu‘awiyah sent ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Qubath ibn Ushaym with a group of men to the land of the Arabian Peninsula. Imam ‘Ali (as) sent Kumayl to counter and resist their forces.

6. He sent Harath ibn Namr Tanukhi to the Arabian Peninsula to suppress anyone known to be a follower and Shi‘ah of Imam ‘Ali (as). Many people were killed in this confrontation.31

7. In the fortieth year of the Islamic calendar, Mu‘awiyah sent Busr ibn Artat with an army to Mecca, Medina and Yemen. When Busr ibn Artat reached Medina, Imam ‘Ali’s (as) agent and governor in Medina ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Abbas was forced to flee to Kufah to join and be under the protection of Imam ‘Ali (as). However, Busr martyred two of ‘Ubayd Allah’s children who had remained behind in Medina.32

Another place that was plundered by Busr was an area inhabited by a tribe from Hamadan that were Shi‘ahs of Imam ‘Ali (as). Busr made a surprise attack on them. He killed many of their men, and took a large number of their women and children into captivity. This was the first time in the history of Islam up to that time that Muslim women and children had been taken into captivity.33

Mas‘udi says, “Busr ibn Artat killed a large number of people who came from Khuza‘ah, Hamadan and an area called “al-Anba’” who were people of Iranian origin living in Yemen. He killed anyone he suspected of being inclined to ‘Ali (as).”34

Ibn Abi al-Hadid says, “Busr descended upon the people of Hasban. They were all Shi‘ahs of Imam ‘Ali (as). He entered into a vicious conflict with them and killed them savagely. After leaving that place, he went towards San‘a, where he killed a hundred elderly men originating from Persia. The only crime they were guilty of committing was that two children of ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Abbas had hidden in a home belonging to a woman of their clan.

In his wild and brutal attacks on the Shi‘ahs, Busr killed about thirty thousand people in all. He even burnt a number of them alive.”35

Ibn Abi al-Hadid further writes, “In a letter addressed to all his government workers, Mu‘awiyah wrote, ‘Do not give permission to anyone of ‘Ali’s followers or descendants to testify their faith. On the other hand, respect and protect the followers of ‘Uthman.’ In another letter addressed to his subordinates, he wrote: ‘Erase the names of those who are proven to love ‘Ali and his Ahl al-Bayt from the register, and stop giving them their share of stipends from the Islamic treasury.’

In a postscript to this letter, the son of Abu Sufiyan wrote, ‘Anyone who is accused of loving the Ahl al-Bayt must be arrested and his house destroyed.’ The people who suffered most as a result of these orders were people of Iraq, especially the people of Kufah…”36


31. Al-Aghani, vol. 15, p. 44; Ibn ‘Asakir, Mukhtasar Tarikh Damishq, vol. 10, p. 152; Al-Isti‘ab vol. 1, p. 65; Tarikh Tabari, vol. 5, p. 134; Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 425.

32. Tarikh Tabari, vol. 5, p. 139; Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 425; Mukhtasar Tarikh Damishq, vol. 10, p. 152; Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 7, p. 356.

33. Al-‘Aqd al-Farid, vol. 5, p. 11.

34. Muruj al-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 22.

35. Ibn Abi al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, pp. 116-121.

36. Ibid., vol. 11, pp. 44-45.


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