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Imam Ali (a.s.) and the battle of Siffeen

The sixth stage was the battle against Mo'awiyya, the son of Hind who was called "the eater of livers", and finally to accept unwillingly the vote of the arbitrators. It was a battle with the one who was the enemy of Allah and His Prophet from the time of the Prophetic Mission until our victory in Mecca.

On that day of our triumph in Mecca against the polytheists, the Prophet (a.s.) told me that Mo'awiyya and his father Abu Sofian had pledged allegiance to him three times.

In addition, the father of Mo'awiyya, Abu Sofian, at the beginning of the reign of Abu Bakr was the first one who saluted me with the epithet of "the Commander of the Believers", and he used to tell me that I should go and ask for my usurped right. He also used to say he was always at my command.

So it was very strange to Mo'awiyya, when he saw that Allah had finally restored to me my usurped right. He was so very angry that he was not going to be the fourth caliph! He went to Amr ibn Aas and told him that he would make him the governor of Egypt if he supported him. By the way, even one dirham more than his own measure was unlawful, and it was illegal for the one who had the responsibility of the Treasury of Muslims to give him more than his share.

Anyway, Mo'awiyya, with his followers, went to different cities and killed all the people who were against him and freed the others, who accepted his rule. So Mo'awiyya, with his broken oath, was trying to set off rebellions in different places in our region. One day, the one-eyed man of Thaqif (Moghira ibn Sho'bah) came to me and said that we should appoint Mo'awiyya as the governor of the cities that Mo'awiyya had under his authority.

If I could have found a right excuse about that idea before our God, it would have been an interesting idea for my government and earthly wishes. But when I talked about that proposal with my closest companions and true followers, they also had the same opinion as mine, and they believed that I should not give him any authority whatsoever.

I truly hoped that a day would not come that Allah would see me in cooperation with the heretics and polytheists! Therefore, I sent a man from the tribe of Bajalah and at another time, another man from the tribe of Asha'irah to Mo'awiyya to complete my warnings to him. However, those two men preferred the earthly comfort that Mo'awiyya had offered to them and began serving him most humbly.

When I saw that Mo'awiyya had not respected the rights and commands of Allah, I went and consulted with those who had participated in the battle of Badr and in the Redhwan Homage whom Allah has been pleased with their deeds. I also consulted with true Muslims and all of them believed that we should fight Mo'awiyya and cut his hand from the authority of the Islamic State.

As you know my brother, after our final decision that was to war against Mo'awiyya, I once again sent some letters with many amhassadors to him. I thought that he might accept to walk in the right path and accept my Caliphate. However, on the other hand, he sent me many insulting letters, where he asked me to accept his insolent, offensive conditions that were against the commands of Allah, the Prophet (a.s.), and the welfare of the Muslims nation (Umma).

One of his ridiculous conditions was that I should send him many of the closest companions of the Prophet (a.s.), like Ammar ibn Yasir! I ask you: where can we find a man better than Ammar?! I swear by Allah the Almighty, that Ammar had always been close to the Messenger of Allah (a.s.) and had always been beside Him.

Yes, Mo'awiyya in his foolish condition, wanted me to send many true companions of the Prophet (a.s.) to him as a revengeful ransom for the blood of Uthman. And I swear by Allah, that none of these godly, faithful men had killed Uthman! Mo'awiyya and his tribe (the Bani Omayya) that Allah, in the holy Quran, has called them as "the cursed tree", had in fact committed that crime ...

So when he finally understood that I would never accept his conditions, he gathered many cruel, people around him; brutal companions and bad company, and gave them a lot of money and precious gifts so as to obey his commands with closed eyes.

in contrast with that, we invited them all to Islam and asked them to obey the directions of the Holy Quran! We talked about the severe punishment of Allah, but all that did not affect them whatsoever. So we fought against them and prayed Allah to grant us the final victory.

During that battle, we had the banner of the Prophet (a.s.) with which Allah had always demolished the oppressive forces with it, whereas Mo'awiyya had the banner which had belonged to his father and which, in all wars, had been raised against the Messenger of Allah (a.s.) and Islam.

Yes! Death was so near to Mo'awiyya, and he really did not know what to do to save his life. He just sat on his horse so as to run away from the battle, but at the last moment, his wicked friend, Amr ibn Aas, proposed to their soldiers that each one should raise a copy of the Holy Qur'an on their spears and claimed falsely that it should be done as the Qur'an had commanded!

Amr told Mo'awiyya that the son of Abu Taleb and his followers were very wise and strong. He said, "Before the war, they wanted you to do according to the Holy Quran, but they did not receive any response from you. But if you do it now, they will accept your offer." When Mo'awiyya saw that he had no any way out, either in the war or for any escape, he ordered his army to raise the copies of the Qur'an on their spears, and he thought that the best thing was to claim that all should do exactly as the Holy Quran had said!

On that day, which was full of various incidents, all my soldiers accepted alas, the false invitation of Mo'awiyya and were deceived by his trick, except a small group of my true followers, who remained with me.

In fact, I insisted and told them repeatedly that it was only a trick by Mo'awiyya and Amr ibn Aas, and that they should not listen to their tricky claims. However, it was very odd that my own soldiers insisted on accepting their deception!

I myself heard that some of them said, "If Ali does not accept Mo'awiyya's offer, we shall have a bad end, just like Uthman. So we are forced to make Ali submit to Allah be my Witness that I tried my best to persuade them to listen to my orders and let me do what was the best, but they continually rejected my orders. They did not even give me a short break to think ...

I swear by Allah that I did not fear anything, but I was afraid for the lives of my two sons Hassan and Hussein. I was afraid that no one from the Prophet's progeny would remain alive, for they were the real treasures of his blood!

I was also afraid for the lives of Abdullah ibn Ja'far and Mohammad ibn Hanafiyya, for both of them were there because of me and they wanted to be always beside me.

Once again, I used my patience before their wrong choice. However, after we had put aside our arms, all of them began blaming me. They put aside the Holy Qur'an and suggested to choose either Mo'awiyya or me.

I myself never believed that such a thing would happen, and I did not want people to be against the Will of Allah. It was a very wicked action, but what did I have to do then ? From among my foolish men and Mo'awiyya, neither of them accepted anything else.

When I wanted to choose one of my relatives such as (Abdullah) ibn Abbas or a man who had enough knowledge of Allah, the religion, the Prophet (a.s.), and me to negotiate, someone that I could trust in, someone like Malik Ashtar, the son of Hind (Mo'awiyya) did not accept it ... alas!

Mo'awiyya was full of arrogance, so he did not accept my words. The reason behind his pride was the help that my foolish soldiers had given him unknowingly. Anyway, when I saw that it was an awful judgment against me and against Islam, I prayed to Allah and let them go away with their wrongdoings.

They chose Abu Musa Ash'ari, who had been lured with many gifts by Amr himself, and when every one heard about it, the man did not know how to hide his disgraceful actions. Is it not true?"

Every one said, "Yes, it is true, 0 Commander of the Believers!"

The moaning of the Jewish man made the people around look at him strangely. He had read in the Holy Books of Moses (a.s.) about the Martyrdom of the last successor of the last Prophet, so he knew that according to the prophesies, that day was near ...

Adapted from: "The Sufferings of Amirol Mo'minin Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S.); Life and Martyrdom" by: "Majid Massoudi"