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The speech by Ziyad b. Abeeh

During the caliphate of Imam Hasan (as), Ziyad b. Abeeh was his governor in Persia. When Moawiya wrote threatening letters to him, he made the following speech in reply: "The son of the liver-eater, the centre of malice, and the leader of opposition groups is threatening me through letters when there is the respect of two grandsons of the Holy Prophet (saww) between me and him. There are seventy thousand (or according to one version, ninety thousand) soldiers with him (the Imam (as)), who are fully ready for battle. By God if he makes the mistake of attacking me, he will find me a very tough and brave fighter." 12

The learned scholar Sheikh Razi Ale Yasin, giving a convincing reply to the false figure quoted in the above two accounts, writes: "The important point to note is that both these leaders were not present in Koofa during the period of the caliphate of Imam Hasan (as), i.e. beginning with the allegiance to the Imam (as) till the peace. They had departed from Koofa two years earlier. Therefore, their statements lose much value due to the fact that they were not present on the spot to study the conditions prevailing in Koofa. It is possible that they may have guessed the figure of the army on the basis of earlier conditions prevailing in Koofa.

"Any way, the statements by the two are more emotional than based on reality. Ziyad b. Abeeh (Ubaid) was trying to frighten Moawiya by exaggerating the number of soldiers in the army while Sulaiman b. Sarad was unhappy about the peace by Imam Hasan (as).

"We are also aware that Sulaiman b. Sarad had very close association with Musayyab b. Najih. Therefore, it is not possible that the two had such widely varying views about matters relating to the Ahle Bait (as), i.e. one mentions the figure of forty thousand while the other says it was one hundred thousand. The main reason for their different assessment is that one of them relied on Ibne Qutaiba who had recorded so many accounts which could not be validated on the basis of research and critical analysis.

"Almighty God willed that these two leaders may get a practical answer to their objection to the Imam (as) and the negative view about the peace he made. In the movement of taking revenge for the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as), in 65 A.H., eighteen thousand residents of Koofa had paid allegiance to them, but at the critical time of the actual fight only three thousand one hundred persons were left with them. After facing the defeatist tendency of the people by themselves, they might have truly realized the difficult situation that the Ahle Bait (as) had faced. While leading the 'Tavvaboon' struggle, they were both martyred." 13

After analysing all the versions and their weaknesses, regarding the strength of the army of Imam Hasan (as), we can conclude that history does not record the actual number of soldiers in the army of the Imam (as). Moreover, whatever historical records have been quoted, are unreliable. Therefore, we cannot clearly state what the strength of the army might have been. However, through circumstantial evidence, the researchers estimate that it was not more than twenty thousand - as the vanguard brigade had twelve thousand soldiers, while four thousand soldiers were with the Imam (as) himself, and another four thousand joined him in Madain. Thus, the total strength of the army comes to twenty thousand. 14
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12. Y'aqoobi - 'Tareekh-e-Y'aqoobi, vol.2, p.218; Ibne Aseer - 'Al Kamil fee al Tareekh, 1989, vol. 2, p.453.

13. Raazi Aale Yasin - 'Sulh-ul Hasan', pp.119-120;

14. Ibid.

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