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The Number of the Army

The number of the army, that was in Kufa in the middle years of the first century, A.H was forty thousand fighters. Every year ten thousand fighters of it made a campaign (against the enemies of Islam). (This is what the reliable books have mentioned).

We have known that the Commender of the faithful (Imam Ali), peace be on Him, prepared forty thousand or fifty thousand fighters according to two different reports to attack the Syrians. However, he had died before he made an attack with them. We think that Al-Hasan's army was a group of the army which the Commander of the faithful prepated to fight against Mu'awiya.

Then we know nothing about the attitude of these armies towards Al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on them, when he summoned them to jihad (armed struggle). Besides we have known, from the more than one reference book, that the vanguard which Al-Hasan sent to meet Mu'awiya at Maskan was estimated at twelve thousand fighters. The accepatable idear is that this vanguard was from the groups of the enemy which the commander of the faithful formed before he died. So some of these groups supported Al-Hasan while the rest refused that.

Then, from another reference, we have known that the Kufans became excited on the day of Al-Hasan, so they called up other four thousand fighter.1

Thus these are sixteen thousand fighters whom the unquesionable text have showed.

Also there are other figures concerning the number of the army.

The historians have mentioned them, and hte important declarations have included them. However, their corretness is liable to test and discussion.

The following are some of texts about these different figures. First we will mention these figures as they are. Then we will check them properly.

1. In his book (Bihar al-Anwar, vol 10,p 110), he (ie Mohammed Bakr al-Majilisi) said: "Then he ( ie., Al-Hasan) dispached to Him (i.e, Mu'awiya) a leader with four thousand (fighter). He (the leader) was from Kinda. He (Al-Hasan) ordered Him (the leader) to camp in Anbar2 and not to do anything till his (Al-Hasan's order came to Him. When he (the leader)headed for Anbar and stopped at it, Mu'awiya nlew of that, Thus he sent massengers to Him, and wrote: Indeed, if you came to me, I would appoint you as a ruler over some districts os Sham (Syria) and of the Islamd (al-jazirah), and the like, he (Mu'awiya) wnet Him (the leader) five hundren thousand dirhams. So al-Kindi took the money. He deserted Al-Hasan. He went to Mu'awiya with two hundred men from his notables and the memver of his family. Al-Hasan heard of that. So he rose and delivered a sermon: al-Kindi went to Mu'awiya. He deserted me and you. I told you a time after a time (that) you have no faithfulness. you are the slaves of this world. I am going to send anther man to replace Him. I know that he (the man) will do towards me and you as your friend (ie al-Kindi) did. He will never fear Allah concerning me and you. So he (Al-Hasan) sent Him (Mu'awiya) a man from (the tribe of) Murad with four thousnad (fighters). He (Al-Hasan) came forward Him (the man) before the very eyes of the people, confirmed Him, and told Him that he (the man) would desert as al-Kindi did. So he (the man) took a solemn oath before Him (Al-Hasan) that he (the man ) would not do that. So Al-Hasan said: He will desert. When he (the man) headed for Anbar, Mu'awiya sent Him messengers. He wrote to Him as he (Mu'awiya) wrote to his (the man's companion. He sent Him five thousand (maybe he, the reporter, meant five hundred thousand) dirhams. He made Him desire for any district he liked from the districts of Sham and of the Island. So he (the man) deserted Al-Hasan, went to Mu'awiya, and did not keep his word."

After this text, al-Majilisi mentioned that Al-Hasan took al-Nukhayla as a camp for him, and that Al-Hasan went there.

2. In his book (Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol.4, p.14), b. Abu al-Haddid said: The people went out. They became active for going out. Then Al-Hasan went out to the camp. He had appointed al-Mughira b. Noufal b. al-Harth b. Abd al-Muttalib. as a successor over Kufa. He ordered Him to urge and dispatch people to Him. So he (ie al-Mughira) began urging and dispatching them to the extent that he camp was full (of people). Then Al-Hasan went with a great army and good equipmnt till he stopped at Dir Abd al-Rahman. He stayed at it for three (day) till the people gathered. Then he summoned 'Ubayd Allah b. al-Abbas b. Abd al-Mughira, and said to Him: Cousin, I am going to send with you twleve thousand (men) from the horsemen of the Arabs and (the Koran) readers of the city."

3. al-Tabari, (vol. 6,p. 94) reported on the authority of al-Zuhri, who said: "When Mu'awiya got rid of 'Ubayd Allah b. Abbas and Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, he came to plot against a man who was the most important the people in plotting against Him (Mu'awiya). There were forty thousand (fighters) with Him. Mu'awiya, Amru, and the Syrians met them.

4. In his book (Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol.4. p. 6), b. Abu al-Haddid has mentioned the following on the authority of al-Mada'ini3 on the authority of al-Musayyab b. Nujayya, who said to Al-Hasan when he learned Him for his Peace Treaty with Mu'awiya My astonishment at you does not end. you have made peace with Mu'awiya, (while) you have forty thousand (fighters). Or he (al-Musayyab) said: you pledge allegiance to (Mu'awiya), due to different reporters."

5. In his book (al-Kamil if al-Tarikh, vol.3, pl 61), al-Athir said: "Forty thousand fighters pledged allegiance to the Commander of the faithful Ali). They were ready to die for Him when he told them about something concerning Sham (syria) and appeared. While he was getting ready to advance towards (syria), he was killed. If Allah wills a thing no one is able to repulse it (the thing). When he was killed, the people pledged allegiance to his son, Al-Hasan. He (Al-Hasan) heard of the advance of Mu'awiya and the Syrians towards Him. So he (Al-Hasan) and the army that had pledged allegiance to Ali got ready and left the Kufa to meet Mu'awiya, who had stopped at Maskan. So Al-Hasan arrived in al-Madain. There he appointed Qays b. Abbada, al-Ansari over his vanguard with twelve thousand (fighters). It was said that Al-Hasan appointed Abd Allah4 b. Abbas over his (Al-Hasan's) vanguard. So he (Al-Hasan) appointed Abd Allah b. Abbas over his vanguard in the advance guards of Qays b, Sa'd b. Abbada."

I (the author) say: Ibn Kuthayr followed such a tradition. Apparently he has taken it letter by letter from the book 'al-Kamil.

6. al-Mada'ini5 has reported the words of Al-Hasan, peace be on Him, in response to the man who said to Him: "Were you right in what you have done? So Al-Hasan said: Yes, but I am afraid that twenty thousand of eight thousand (fighter) will come on the Day of Resurrection. Their jugular veins will bleed. So they will ask Allah why their blood had been shed.

7. In his book (al-Imam wa Siyasa, p. 151), b. Qutayba al-Daynwari has reported: "They mentioned that the people pledged allegiance to Mu'awiya. Then he (Mu'awiya) came back to Sham (Syria). Afterwards Sulayman b. Sirt al-Khazai, who was absent from the kufa and was the master and chief if the Iraqis, came to Al-Hasan and said to Him: 'you who have humiliated the believers, al-salamu alayka! Al-Hasan said: wa alayka al-salam, sit down, may Allah have mercy on your father. He (b. Qutayba) said: Sulayman sat down and said: 'Now then, our astonishment at you does not end bacause of your pledge of allegiance to Mu'awiya. you have one hundred Iraqi fighters who receives salaries. you have a similar number to them from their sons and friends. Moreover, you have followers (Shia) in Basra and Hijaz.

I (the author) say: In his book (Tansiz al-Anbiya) al-Murtada, in his book (al-Manaqib) b. Sharashub, and in his book (al-Bihar) al-Majilisi have reported he complete text of what happened between Sulayman b. Sirt and his companions and Al-Hasan, peace be on Him. No one fo the (the authors) have narrated on the authority of Sulayman and his companions that the number of army was more than forty thousand (fighters).

So only b. Qutayba has reported on the authority of Sulayman that the number of the army was one hundred (fighters). Also only he used the words pledge of allegiance (al-bay'a) in stead of the word Peace (sulh).

8. Zyyad b. Abih, who was the governor of Al-Hasan over Persia, said the following in response to Mu'awiya's threat: "Indeed, the son of she who ate the livers (ie.Hind), of the shelter of hypocrisy, and of the rest of the allies (ahzab) has written to me to threaten me. Between me and him are the two grandsons of the Apostle of Allah. They have ninety thousand (fighters) {according to a report seventy thousands (fighters)} who have put the hilts of their swords under their chins. No one of them turns till he dies. Indeed, by Allah, if he (ie, Mu'awiya) came to me, he would find me stronger (than Him) in hitting with the sword."6

1. al-Rawandi, al-Kharaij wa al-Jaraih, p. 228.

2. A city was on the bank of the Eupharates (west of Baghdad). Anbar wa ten leagues far from Baghdad, It was called so, for the stores (anabir) of wheat and barley were gathered together in it during the days of the Persians. Abu al-Abbas al-Saffah al-Abbasi resided in it till he died. He rebuilt palaces and house in it, but they have become extinct.

3. He was Abu Al-Hasan b. Mohammed b. Abu Sayf al-Basri. He lived in al-Mada'in, then moved to Baghdad, and died ther in the year 215 A. H. Ibn Abu al-Haddid reported many tradition on his authority. He, may Allah have mercy on Him, has about two hundren books on various matters.

4. He was 'Ubayd Allah, inheriter Abd Allah nor Qays. We have already mentioned the rasons for the error in mentioning each of them.

5. Ibn Abu al-Haddid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol 4, p. 7. Ibn Kuthayr, al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh vol. 8, p.42.

6. al-Yaqubi, Tarikh, vol 2, p. 194. Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fo al-Tarikh. vol, 3, p. 166.
The former has narrated that the number of the army was ninety thousand fighters, while the latter has mentioned that it was seventy thousand fighters.

Adopted from the book: "Sulh al-Hasan (a.s.)" by: "Sheykh Radi al-Yasin"

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