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The Battle of Siffeen



We do not intend to relate all the activities of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and other circumstances of Siffeen. Our aim is to expose the level at which the perpetrator of this rebellion stooped. He was nobody but the son of Abu Sufyan. And the obstacles and the difficulties they created for the rightful Ali (a.s.) shall be judged from this. Let us elaborate.

In Ihyaul Uloom, Ghazzali says, "There is no controversy regarding the Imamat of Mu'awiyah and whatever he had done was on the basis of Ijtehad (jurisprudence); and a Mujtahid (jurist) is correct in all events." What a tragedy! Something that is obvious to a layman was beyond the understanding of the great scholar like Ghazzali. Possibly, he feigned ignorance deliberately. Did not Mu'awiyah covet for Imamat and Caliphate? If not, what else was it that he desired? Though he had, prior to this, desired the blood of Uthman! But he could not achieve it because Uthman did not die heirless. It was necessary that they would turn to the caliph of that time - Ali (a.s.) to enforce their claim of Uthman's revenge. Not only this, Mu'awiyah and Amr Aas had deceived the Ummah, revolted against the Muslim Caliph and slaughtered thousands of Muslims and started many innovations.

Ghazzali says: All the actions of Mu'awiyah were based on Ijtehad. I say that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: "O Ammar! You shall be killed by a rebellious group." Mu'awiyah was aware of this tradition. He gave a bag of gold each to two evil Syrians and ordered them to slay Ammar and get his head and was finally pleased with it!

Does Ghazzali consider this act a result of Ijtehad? What a travesty of truth! Secondly, Ghazzali also knew very well that Mu'awiyah utilized ill-gotten wealth to instigate and persuade the people to curse Ali (a.s.). So much so, that he came to Madinah ascended the pulpit of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and cursed Ali (a.s.) and his progeny! This fact has been recorded by all historians. Was this also Ijtehad? Ghazzali says: Criticism of the deeds of Sahaba (companions) is 'Rafd'! We say: Was Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) not a companion that Mu'awiyah cursed and imprecated him? Why does Ghazzali not label Mu'awiyah as Raafedi instead of conferring the title of Mujtahid on him! Ghazzali has contravened his own principle!

Thirdly: Before coming to Siffeen in order to just test the Syrians and to find if they were obedient to Quran or himself, he performed an extremely despicable act. He led the Friday prayers on a Wednesday! No one objected to any of his acts. Therefore he trusted the people of Syria to obey him unconditionally and found himself powerful enough to confront the Imam of the age! Was this based on Ijtehad?

Fourthly: He signed a peace treaty with Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.). The first condition of the peace treaty was to make him the heir apparent. But with utmost barbarity, he had Imam Hasan (a.s.) poisoned through the Imam's wife Juda binte Ashath bin Qays. The liver of the beloved son of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was shred into pieces and he attained martyrdom. Juda claimed her reward from Mu'awiyah but Yazid refused to take her as his wife. When the crime is such that it makes one a disbeliever, how is it possible to forgive this act or to justify it by saying that it was based on Ijtehad? We say: If at all Ghazzali has accepted the Caliphate and Imamate of Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.), he must agree that Mu'awiyah was obliged to pay allegiance to Ali (a.s.) unconditionally. If not, Ghazzali should admit that Mu'awiyah was a renegade and a rebel! Undoubtedly, to believe in the Caliphate of Ali (a.s.) and to accept the evil deeds of Mu'awiyah at one and the same time, is like gathering white and black at one place. It is impossible! Such conjecture does not befit a person of Ghazzali's stature.

Now let us come to our conclusion:

Mu'awiyah, with the cooperation of Amr Aas's cunning, gathered the people of Syria and arrived at a desert-spot named Siffeen to confront Hazrat Amirul Momineen (a.s.). Ali (a.s.) tried his best to placate the people and prevent the tragedy and to ward off the circumstances that had divided the Muslims but to no avail.

The mischief of Mu'awiyah did not desire to dispel the corruption from the Muslims. The battle of Siffeen continued for a hundred days. It is well-known that the great companions of Ali (a.s.) like Owais Qarni and Ammar Yasir attained martyrdom in this battle. Its evil effects were also evident in the fact that gradually the chiefs of the army of Ali (a.s.) like Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr and Malik al-Ashtar also laid their lives. In spite of this, Mu'awiyah was on the verge of defeat when with the help of the deceit of Amr Aas, he raised the bogey of arbitration. Ali (a.s.) had to accept this against his wishes because he was aware of the results. On one hand he had to face the deception of Amr Aas and on the other, bear the weakness of his own men. This put him in a nigh impossible situation. The sloth of his companions was worst than the attack of the enemies.

Yes! The result of the arbitration was dreadful and Ali (a.s.) began to prepare for another confrontation. Some people of Ali's (a.s.) side had strayed away from truth and Shariat. The details of these are given in my book "Yuzgoon"

Battle of Siffeen


The chief of the Kharijis was Harqoos bin Zuhair and they had gathered at Naharwan. Despite fighting so many battles prior to this one, Ali (a.s.) managed to mobilize his forces and routed the Kharijis. It's a real pity that the refuge of Imamat and the strong pillar of the world of Islam found obstacles at every step. And these steps would have surely led to the prosperity of the Muslims in this world as well as the hereafter. Unfortunately, it could not produce the results it should have. This is the reason that its bitter effects remain till date. A tragedy indeed!

Martyrdom and Destruction


Efforts to destroy this rebellious group became the cause of Imam's martyrdom and a tragedy and destruction for the Muslim Ummah. A woman named Qatama, who lived in Kufa helped a Kharjiite, Abdur Rahman bin Muljim, who attacked Ali (a.s.) with a poisoned sword while he was praying at the Kufa mosque. Ali (a.s.) succumbed to his injury after two days and the Muslim nation was immersed in untold calamities. Although we have already proved the superiority and caliphate of Ali (a.s.), here we shall only mention two points:

After the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ali (a.s.) was the greatest leader of the Muslims. At the time of his martyrdom he was 63 years old. During the lifetime of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.), he did not have another wife. Hasan, Husain, Mohsin (stillborn), Zainab and Umme Kulsoom were born from her. After the demise of Hazrat Fatima (s.a.) Ali (a.s.) married a few women. The first of them was Yamama, daughter of Zainab bint Jahsh, daughter of Prophet (s.a.). Ali (a.s.) married her according to the bequest of Fatima Zahra (s.a.). The second wife of Ali (a.s.) was Asma binte Umais and third, Ummul Baneen the mother of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.). The fourth one was a lady of Bani Hanifa who became the mother of Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyya. Apart from the children of Fatima Zahra (s.a.), Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyya became famous. Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) was the father of Ummah because the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) had said:

"O Ali I and you are the fathers of this Ummah."

Yes! Just as Ali (a.s.) is the father of the Ummah in the same way he was the master of all rational and traditional sciences. Thus Ibne Abil Hadeed says that if we see all the sciences and knowledge that are extant in this blessed Ummah, we will realize that they have been shaped and developed by Ali (a.s.). For example: The science of exegesis, jurisprudence, principles of Islamic law, grammar, syntax, etymology, poetry, algebra, geometry, etc. were available in the personality of Ali (a.s.). Nahjul Balaghah is a prime witness to the eloquence of Ali (a.s.) and the collection of his poetry indicates his excellence in literature.

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) possessed such knowledge that was not found in anyone else - Ilme Jafr that was the sole prerogative of Ali (a.s.) and his respected descendants (Imams). The books Durrul Maknoon by the doyen of Sufis Shaykh Muhyuddin Arabi and Durrul Munazzam by Shaykh Kamaluddin Shafei have mentioned that knowledge was specially reserved for the Aale Muhammad and the heirs of Imamat till Hazrat Qaem (a.s.). It is not our aim to discuss it over here. To obtain the treasure of sciences, it is sufficient to say that Ali (a.s.) said:

"If I want, I can load 70 camels with the exegesis of Surah Fateha." And also said: "Ask me! Before you lose me. " It is clear that if after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) if the political conditions had favoured Ali (a.s.) and if there hadn't been such terrible obstacles, the Muslim Ummah would have scaled heights of righteousness and accomplishment.

Ali, the great, who had single-handedly slain half the enemies at Badr, who alone did not flee in Uhud, on the day of ditch (Khandaq) who alone released the Muslims from fear and dread of Amr ibne Abdawod, whose each stroke was more valuable than the combined worship acts of men and jinn, who uprooted the gate of the fort when there was a general feeling of despair among Muslims at Khaiber, etc. The achievements of this noble personality are so many that they cannot be enumerated. He bestowed Islam with splendor and firmness. Is it proper that such a versatile personality should be forced to sit in gloom and inactivity for a long period of twenty-five years? How true was Ali's (a.s.) refrain,

"Every grudge that the Quraysh harboured against the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was avenged from me and after me it will continue against my progeny. What did I have against the Quraysh except that I killed them on the command of Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.)? Is it the reward of obeying Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.)?"

How nice it would be if people begin to think on these lines! Brief Biographies of Janab Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and Her Eleven Descendants (a.s.)

Adapted from: Analysis of the History of Aale Muhammad (pbuh)" by: "Qadi Bohlool Afandi"

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