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What happened in Madain?

It has been made clear in the earlier chapters that the success of the army of Imam Hasan (as) and its morale directly depended on the performance of the vanguard brigade. So, when the reserve forces in Madain learnt about the betrayal by Ubai dullah and others, it was a big shock for them, and losing hope for victory in war like some of the officers of the vanguard brigade, they also started thinking in terms of contacting Moawiya. Therefore, the spies of Moawiya had no difficulty in spreading rumours or in making cunning moves as directed by him.

During that time Moawiya sent a three man delegation, consisting of Moghira b. Sh'aba, Abdullah b. Aamir b. Karez, and Abdel Rahman b. Samra, ostensibly to negotiate peace with Imam Hasan (as). Before reaching the camp of the Imam (as), Abdullah b. Aamir, loudly addressing the Iraqi army, said:

"O people of Iraq! I am from the vanguard unit of Moawiya. I do not consider war to be justified. Moawiya has reached Maskin with his army. You give my regards to Abu Mohammad (Imam) Hasan (as) and tell him that for God sake he should have mercy on his own life as well as those of his men."

After the utterance of these words by Abdullah b. Aamir, people lost heart and started disliking war. This shows that they believed that Abdullah b. Aamir had spoken the truth. It is a proof of their stupidity that they believed that Moawiya did not want war! On entering the camp of Imam Hasan (as), the delegation of Moawiya told him:

"For the sake of the transitory life of this world and forgiveness, the bloodshed of the followers of the Holy Prophet (saww) should be avoided by you. We do not deny that Moawiya is stuburn on the issue, but for God sake you should not do so, otherwise so many lives will be lost due to conflict between you two. Moawiya has also expressed his intention to hand over the office to you after his death. Moreover, in return for your retiring he will offer you much more."

We are sorry to acknowledge that, like other occasions, history does not reflect the stand taken by Imam Hasan (as) on this occasion and it is not clear what the Imam (as) said in reply!

Anyway, while coming out of the camp, these persons tried to give a false impression to the army of the Imam (as), which was perhaps the main purpose of their mission. They said: "For sure, the Gracious God has saved the lives of the people through the grand son of the Holy Prophet (saww); disorder and trouble has been avoided and he has agreed to peace." 11

Historians have written that after this, the people did not doubt their statement. People were in the midst of uncertainty when an uproar was heard that: "Qais b. S'ad has been assassinated. So, run" 12

After Ubaidullah b. Abbas, if the Iraqis had reassurance from any one, it was Qais the son of S'ad b. Abadah. He was considered a perfect symbol of faith, bravery and steadfastness and an ideal person. The Iraqis knew that after defeating the vanguard brigade, Moawiya would attack Madain. But they felt that it was not easy to defeat a commander like Qais. Thus they did not face an immediate danger from Moawiya. However, as soon as they heard the rumour of the assassination of Qais, they almost lost all hope. So, giving up everything, they started to run. Very soon, the whole army panicked, confusion and disorder prevailed and the Khawarij got an opportunity for revenge. Taking advantage of the situation, they attacked the camp of Imam (as). They robbed all that was in the camp of the noble grand son of the Holy Prophet (saww); they even pulled the carpet from under his feet and the robe from his shoulder.

Imam Hasan (as), saying "verily there is no power and strength but by Allah", immediately got up, drew his sword and trying to save himself from the unexpected attack, rode on the horse. He called his supporters from "Rabi'a and Hamadan" tribes for help and marched with them towards the governor house of Madain via "Muzlim Sabat" area. Though these tribes performed the duty of protecting the Imam (as), yet in the prevailing confusion and disorder, it had become very difficult for them to distingu ish betwen friend and foe. While the Imam (as) was passing through Muzlim Sabat, a Khawarij, Jarah b. Sanan Asadi, who was lying in ambush, attacked the Imam (as) with a dagger as soon as he passed by him. The injury was so severe that the dagger had reached the thigh bone. Imam (as) caught him by his beard, twisted him and threw him on the ground with such force that his neck was broken. Immediately, Abdullah b. Zabian and Abdullah b. Khatal attacked and killed him. Due to heavy loss of blood, the Imam (as) had become seriously bruised. After that, his devoted Shi'a, taking him under heavy protection, took him to the governor's house at Madain where S'ad b. Mas'ood Saqafi was his governor.

In this respect, the services of Ameer Mukhtar (RA) were appreciable. From what has been recorded in history that he talked to his uncle S'ad b. Mas'ood, saying that the Imam (as) may be handed over to Moawiya, was in fact his wish to find out his uncle's intention and plans about the Imam (as). S'ad b. Mas'ood called the best physicians for his treatment which continued for many days. 13

Though Imam Mujtaba (as) had faced very severe incidents in his noble life, yet this was a unique first and last incident of its type. At least in Islamic history, no incident of this nature had occurred earlier. In reliable historical records there is much difference of opinion about the cause of the incident. We will discuss it in greater detail in subsequent chapters.

The Imam (as) had neither become helpless against the conspiracies and propaganda of Moawiya nor did he abandon the efforts to face him, yet history does not record the details of the same. The fact is that Imam Mujtaba (as) was passing through a very difficult and complicated Islamic period. Many factors are likely to have caused the outward defeat of his army, yet the main cause of it was that the Iraqi army was not completely obedient to him. So it had not been able to carry out his commands effectively. The leader of the faithful Hazrat Ali (as) had also mentioned about their disobedience and rebellious activities, and had mentioned a basic principle: "Whoever is not obeyed, has no opinion." 14

Hazrat Ali (as) wanted to make it clear to the army at Koofa that the main cause of their defeat was their disobedience. According to the leader of the faithful, the armies that lack discipline never succeed even if they have a great commander like Hazrat Ali b. Abee Talib himself!

In the earlier chapters we have tried to analyse the political and social conditions prevailing at Koofa so that the rebellious and antagonistic attitude of Iraqis could be explained. However, it cannot be denied that it needs a separate and thorough study. The fact remains that at that particular period the Iraqis were in no position to face the Syrian army. They had lost their senses, enthusiasm, spirit and the zeal to fight. During the internal wars starting with Basrah, they had lost all spirit. In his sermons Imam Mujtaba (as) had warned them to beware of rumours and propaganda by Moawiya, but history has provided proof that as soon as any rumour was spread, they would fall prey to it. In this regard the following words of the Imam (as), as reproduced by the historian Mas'oodi, are very significant: "I warn you from listening to Satan. Verily he is your enemy. If you would listen to him you would be among those of his friends to whom he had said: " for sure ... 15 This way you would be in the range of the enemy's swords and arrows and would be badly injured and defeated. In such a situation, the faith of no one would benefit him unless he had either been faithful earlier or had earned virtue." 16

In such a situation a question arises whether such an army that would try to assassinate its own leader and may not have the ability to protect its own Imam and commander-in-chief, could be trusted to fight a bloody war with the Syrian army?

The crisis beginning with the breach of trust by Ubaidullah had swept the Iraqi army like a flood and had reached the peaceful areas of Syria, but the conspiracies had not yet become exposed. From the time of the murdurous attack on the Imam (as), his shifting to the governor house at Madain, till his recovery, hardly any Iraqi officer was left who had not made a deal with Moawiya. The prominent Iraqi leaders had either joined the army of Moawiya, or had agreed to support him while still remaining in the army of Imam Hasan (as). They had also advised Moawiya to advance towards Madain and had assured him that if he would march towards Madain, they would either hand over Imam Hasan (as) to him or would themselves assassinate the Imam (as). These intentions of theirs were not unknown to the Imam (as). 17

The incident at Madain had a very adverse effect on the vanguard unit which was involved in skirmishes with the Syrian army in a determined manner and was performing its duty appreciably. Against all cunning and trickery of Moawiya, Qais b. S'ad and his fellow soldiers had proved to be a strong wall of defence and had not allowed the army of Moawiya to advance even an inch. However, as soon as they heard about the sad incident, it became difficult for them to continue the war. It was the respected personality of Imam Mujtaba (as) which was the main motivating force for the soldiers of the vanguard unit who were determined to sacrifice their all for him. When the very life of the Imam (as) was endangered and he was murderously attacked, then what was left for them to fight for? For that very reason Qais b. S'ad was forced to stop the war and he got busy in investigating the incident.

11. Yaqubi - 'Tareekh-e-Yaqubi', Beirut, Dare Sadir, 1960, vol.2, p.215; Balazari - 'Ansaab al Ashraaf', vol. 3, p.40; Abul Faraj - 'Maqatil al Talibeen', vol.1, p.43; Ibne A'sam - 'Al Futooh, Hyderabad: Daira al Maa'rif al Usmania, 1971, vol. 4, p.159; Hakim Naishapuri - 'Al Mustadrak al Saheehain', Beirut, Darul M'arifa, the book M'arifatus Sahaba, vol. 3, p.174; Ibne Kaseer, 'Albidayah val Nihaya', Beirut, Maktaba al Ma'rif. 1974, vol.8, pp.17; Bukhari - 'Saheehe Bukhari', Beirut, Dar ul M'arifa, vol. 2, the book on 'Sulh' p.114.

12. Husain Dayar Bakari - 'Tareekh al-Khamees', Beirut, Moassasah Shabaan, vol. 2 p.389; Ibne Kaseer - 'Albidayah val Nihaya', vol. 8, p.14; Abdul Qadir Badran, 'Tahzeebe Tareekhe Damishq'le Ibne Asakir, Beirut, Darul Ahya al Turas, 1987, vol 4, p.223; Tabari - 'Tareekh-e-Tabari' (Al Rusul val Mulook) vol. 3, p.165; Hafiz Zahbi - 'Al'abar', Beirut, Darul Kutub al Ilmiah, vol. 1, p.35; Ibne Aseer - 'Al Kamil fittareekh', vol.2, p.445; Ibne Khaldoon, 'Tareekhe Ibne Khaldoon', Beirut, Moassasah A'la mi, 1971, vol. 2, p. 186; Ibne 'Asakir - 'Tareekh-e-Madinae Damishq', Tarjumatul Imam al Hasan, al Mahmoodi's research, Beirut, Moassasah Mahmoodi. 1980, p.172; Abu Maskooya - 'Tajarib al Umam', Tehran, Dar Sarosh, 1987, vol.1, p.386; Ibne Hajar Asqalani - 'Al Asabah fee Tamayyaz al Sahaba; Suyuti, Tareekh al Khulafa, Qum,Intisharaat al Raza, 1411 A.H., p. 191; Hafiz Zahbi, 'Al Islam, Beirut, Darul Kutub al Arabi, 1987, 'Ahde Khulfae Rashideen, p.6; Ibne Hajar - 'Al Usaba fe Tamayyaz al Sahaba, Egypt, Matba Musta fa Mohammad, 1939, vol. 1, p.329.

13. Ibid, and Sheikh Mufeed - 'Kitab al Irshad', Teheran, Intisharat-e-Ilmiah, vol. 2 p.8; Ibne 'Asam - 'Al Futooh, vol. 4, pp.154-156; Hakim aishapuri - 'Al Mustadrak', Beirut, Dar ul M'arifa, vol. 3, p.174; Ibne Khaldoon - 'Tareekh-e-Ibne Khaldoon', vol. 2, p.186; Dinavari - 'Al Akhbar al Tawaal', Cairo, Dar Ahya al Kutub, 1960, p.217; Balazari - 'Ansaab al Ashraaf' vol. 3, pp.35-36; Ibnul Sabbagh al Maliki - 'Al Fusol al Muhimmah', Najaf, Maktaba Darul Kutub, p.144; Abul Faraj - 'Maqatil al Yalibeen', Najaf, Maktaba al Haidariya, 1965, vol. 1, p.42; Ibne Abee al Hadeed - 'Sharhe Nahjul Balagha' vol. 16, p.22; Mas'oodi - ' Murawwij al Zahab', Beirut, Darul Fikr, 1989, vol. 3, p. ...

14. Syed Razi - 'Nahjul Balagha', Subhi Salehi and Faizul Islam's compilation, sermon No. 27.

16. Mas'oodi - 'Murawwij az Zahab, 1989, vol. 3, p.10.

17. Ibnul Sabbagh - 'Al Fusool al Muhimmah', p.144; Balazari - 'Ansaab al Ashraaf', vol. 3, p.39; Sheikh Mufeed - 'Kitab al Irshad' , vol. 2, pp.9-10; Ibne A'sam - 'Al Futooh, vol. 4, p.157; Tabrasi - 'Al Ehtijaj', Manshoorat al N'oman, 1966, vol. 2, pp.10-12; Baqar Qarshi - 'Hayat al Imam al Hasan bin Ali', vol. 2, pp.99-112.

Adpted from the book: "Imam Hasan and Caliphate" by: "Qurrat-ul-Ain Abidiy"

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