The dispute between Mu'awiya and Maula 'Ali (as)
"Was the dispute between Ali and Mu''awiyah religious in nature?
Absolutely not. The conflict started after the murder of the 3rd Khalif, Hazrat Uthman ibn ''Affan (Radhi Allahu Anh), and the existence of the murderers in the camp of Sayyidina Ali (Radhi Allahu Anh). However, to answer this question, we''ll explore Nahjul Balaghah to see what Sayyidina Ali (Radhi Allahu Anh) himself had to say about it, contrary to what the Shi''ah wish to present:
"The thing began in this way: We and the Syrians were facing each other while we had common faith in one Allah, in the same Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) and on the same principles and canons of religion. So far as faith in Allah and the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) was concerned we never wanted them (the Syrians) to believe in anything over and above or other than what they were believing in and they did not want us to change our faith. Both of us were united on these principles. The point of contention between us was the question of the murder of Uthman. It had created the split. They wanted to lay the murder at my door while I am actually innocent of it."
Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 58, p. 474
If anything Imam Ali (as) is expressing, is his concern at the mentality of the people of the time, both believed in the principles of Deen and yet they sought fit to rebel against the Ul''il Umr whilst such an act contradicts the Qur''an. Whilst the spilt was over Uthman''s killers, there is no edict in Islam for an individual to rebel against the rightful Khalifa in order to get his own way.
Adapted from the book: "Historic Background of Shiism"
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