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With the Nakiseen and Qasiteen

 

What the Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) prophesied came out to be true because His Eminence was the gate of the city of knowledge of the Prophet and he was the carrier of the secrets and wisdom of His Eminence. The Umayyads kingdom had not become extinct when the tomb of the beloved one of the Messenger of Allah (s) was constructed in splendor and it became the sanctuary of the Almighty Allah that the hearts of all Muslims are attracted to it. Millions of Muslims aspire to perform the visitation (pilgrimage) of that shrine. They arrive from far off areas and the luckiest of the luckiest is one who gets the honor of being blessed by the visitation and kissing the shrine that houses the Imam’s grave.

The great tomb of His Eminence, in the view of Muslims and non-Muslims is symbol of human greatness and a lighted torch for every sacrifice which is offered for establishment of truth and justice and is an incomparable sign for the most holy thing that this living being among all the living ones and in all ages and periods gets an honor by it.

Here we reach to the end of the first volume of our book and we shall in the second volume go to the welcome of Imam Husain (‘a) till the terrible events that the Imam had to face during the caliphate of His Eminence, Imam Ali (‘a). We shall make them a subject of our study; events that subjected the Muslims to a severe test. Events that caused neglect of helping and supporting the Imam and Imam Hasan (‘a) was compelled to abdicate the caliphate and a dirty group of Umayyads was imposed on the necks of the people and that they may make them helpless and force them to what they did not want, and to destroy those lofty values that religion had brought so that it may become supreme in all corners of the earth.

With the Nakiseen and Qasiteen

The tribes of Quraish were frightened due to the severity of the Imam’s government and they became sure that all the political and economic policies of His Eminence that were same as the intellectual and social view of the Holy Prophet (s) were going to crush their pride and arrogance. It would bring to an end their economic life, which was based on usury, hoarding and profiteering. Of all the steps of His Eminence was the dismissal of governors appointed by Uthman from all provinces and confiscation of the wealth they had plundered from the Central Treasury. They in the same way became worried and this matter distressed them due to the announcement of equality and justice among all the communities of Islam and the policy that all Muslims were equal in rights, duties and in everything because they believed themselves to be superior to other communities and special over other people.

The Quraishites and other powers that had deviated from the path of truth became angry at the Imam’s government and all of them together decided to announce an armed attack and they kindled the flames of war in different provinces. So that 

[1] Musnad Imam Zaid, Pg. 47

 

(327)

they may be able to topple the Imam’s government which considered power as a means for social reform and progress in human life.

The first battle forced on the Imam was that of Jamal and after that the battle of Siffeen and then Nahrawan. These battles were obstacles to the government of the Imam whose aim was to raise the level of human values and destruction of all factors of backwardness in the country.

Narrators say that the Holy Prophet (s) had informed His Eminence about the rebellion of some groups against him during the period of his caliphate and he told His Eminence that he must fight them and he named them as Nakiseen, Qasiteen and Mariqeen.[1] We are compelled to discuss in brief about these battles which would show us in true light the political and intellectual life of that period. A period in which the mentality of most of the people was full of seeking power and power worship. And it also shall describe for us the malice that the Quraish harbored against the Imam. And it is established that all these factors and events had a significant role in the tragedy of Kerbala. Because they had spread the social problems and brought into existence a generation which was always in search of comfort and which except for personal gains had nothing else in view. Here we present these matters:

Nakiseen

Nakiseen are those who have broken their pledge, considered valueless their oath to Allah for sacrifice and obedience of the Imam and they have gone out in the field of disobedience. They became sunk in sins. Thus all the Islamic jurisprudents are unanimous on their sinfulness because they had no excuse for attacking the lawful government. A government, which took steps for the benefit of the people, acted only for sincere truth and pure justice among the Muslims and to root out factors of backwardness in the country.

The most important Nakiseen were Talha, Zubair, Ayesha binte Abu Bakr, Marwan bin Hakam, Umayyads and other people who were disgusted with justice and equitability of the Holy Imam (‘a).

Motive for Rebellion

It is established that the Nakiseen had no social aim; rather they had only their personal gains in view in breaking the pledge they had given to the Imam. For example Talha and Zubair, after His Eminence had accepted the caliphate, rushed to him and expressed their desire that the governorships of Basra and Kufa be given to them. After they failed in these efforts they became unhappy and they went towards Mecca to create an uprising against the Imam and announce the breaking up of the Muslim’s unity. Regarding this is the statement of Zubair in which he has described his aim at the time when a man approached him and asked, “You were with the Holy Prophet (s) during his time and you are having 

[1] Hakim, Mustadrak 3/139. Tarikh Baghdad 8/340. Usud al-Ghaba 4/33. Kanzul Ummal 13/112, H. no. 36367. Majma az-Zawaid 5/186

precedence. Thus you inform me about your movement and struggle. Is there something that the Messenger of Allah (s) had ordered you for?”

Talha became silent but Zubair replied, “We were told that white and yellow (that is silver dirhams and gold dinars) are present here. We have come so that we may take something from it…!”[1]

Thus those two old men rebelled against the Imam’s government for obtaining material benefits.

As for Ayesha, she desired that she may return the caliphate to her own family. She was the first who had instigated the uprising against Uthman saying: “Kill the Nathal,[2] as he has become an infidel.”

She tried to have Talha nominated as the caliph and she used to praise him at every occasion. However on the basis of her special feelings of kindness for her nephew, Abdullah Ibn Zubair she gave a positive reply and made him lead the prayer; nominated him and gave him precedence over Talha.

However with regard to Bani Umayyah, they wanted that the Imam should allow them to keep the wealth they had amassed during Uthman’s regime but the Imam did not agree that they could keep the community wealth they had usurped. Therefore enmity with regard to His Eminence became apparent and they busied in creating mischief and discord.

Anyway, they had no aim of reform or inviting towards the path of truth and their motive was only selfish desires, greed and malice towards the Imam as His Eminence was the very self of the Messenger of Allah (s) and the gate of the city of his knowledge.

 

Muawiyah and Defrauding of Zubair

Muawiyah became satisfied with the aims of Talha and Zubair, therefore he from his own side used deceit and conspiracy with them so that he may make them a step stone to reach his own aims and targets. On the basis of this he wrote a letter to Zubair as follows: To the servant of God, Zubair, the chief of the believers. From Muawiyah the son of Abu Sufyan. Peace be upon you. So to say: Know that I have taken the oath of fealty from the people of Syria for you and they have agreed to it and become organized like clouds pile upon one another. Thus keep Kufa and Basra in your hands. It should not be that the son of Abu Talib takes them before you, because apart from these two provinces, there is nothing. And after you, I have taken the oath of allegiance for Talha Ibn Ubaidullah. Thus announce the taking of revenge for Uthman’s blood and call the people to it and it is necessary for you to put in more efforts.

May the Almighty Allah make you victorious and may He abandon all those who oppose you.” 

[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/63 (Printed Daarul Fikr, Year 1417)

[2] Na’thal: an old foolish man

When this letter reached Zubair, he became elated and he rushed to Talha and informed him of it. They did not for a moment doubt the veracity of Muawiyah’s statements or his sincerity but they dared to announce their revolt against the Imam, and made the revenge-seeking of Uthman’s blood as their slogan.[1]

Conference of Mecca

The rebels rushed to Mecca and made it a center of their illegal activities against the Imam’s government and in that sanctified city mobilized many Quraish tribes and instigated them against the Imam and urged them to join their ranks. Because in the depths of their souls they harbored malice and jealousy against the Imam as the Imam had slain the relatives of the majority of these people in the way of Islam.

Anyway, in this conference the leaders of mischief voted upon and finalized their main issue, the city they must attack and other matters that would ensure the success of their revolt.

Resolutions of the conference

The members of the conference in a broad unanimity took the following decisions:

1 – They would take up revenge-seeking for the blood of Uthman as a slogan for their uprising because he was killed ‘unjustly’ and the revolutionaries had considered it lawful to shed his blood even though he had repented for his mistakes.

The rebels and Quraishite hoarders of wealth who had risen up in revolt in different areas made Uthman’s shirt the symbol of their uprising.

2 – The responsibility of Uthman’s murder should be thrown on His Eminence, Imam Ali (‘a) because he had given refuge to the killers of Uthman and not extracted retaliation from them.

3 – To march towards Basra and take it under their control so that it may be a center for their revolt because there were many supporters there. They did not move to Medina because the lawful caliph having armed forces was present there and they were not capable of confronting him. In the same way they refrained from going to Syria because the Umayyads would not have allowed them to take over. They didn’t want to become hopeless and return empty-handed and they also feared that they may be attacked.

Equipping the Army with Plundered Items

Ya’la bin Umayyah equipped Ayesha’s forces with items he had plundered from the Public Treasury when he was a governor in Yemen during Uthman’s caliphate. Historians say: He gave 600 heads of camels and 600000 dirhams to the army.[2]

Abdullah bin Aamir, Uthman’s governor in Basra, also presented a lot of wealth to 

[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/231

[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/207

the rebel forces, which he had robbed from the Public Treasury.[1] None of the members of this army refused using any of these things obtained through unlawful means.

Political Discourse of Ayesha

Ayesha delivered many political speeches in Mecca and in them she put the responsibility of Uthman’s murder to rogues and lowly people who had shed forbidden blood in a sacred month, because they killed him even though he had repented of his mistakes and thus they had no excuse for shedding his blood.[2]

According to historians the sermon was full of political sophistry because those who had shed his blood were not vagrants and rogues. Rather those who killed him were those who raised a standard of revolt against him and the foremost of them were senior companions like Ammar bin Yasir, Abu Zar,[3] Abdullah Ibn Masud, Talha and Zubair. Ayesha herself was his most severe critic. She acted with great fervor to oppose Uthman and gave a verdict for his killing and infidelity saying: “Kill the Nathal as he has become an apostate.” So what is the connection between Uthman’s murder and the rogues and lowly elements of society?

As for Uthman’s repentance, he had gone back on his words more than once because even though he wanted to give up, the Bani Umayyah dragged him to their own political goals and he returned to his previous policy and he did not give it up till he was killed.

Anyway, her sermon was the first step in announcement of armed rebellion against the Imam’s government. And it would have been better for Ayesha if she had in accordance with her status and position called the people to unite in supporting the Imam’s government which was to realize the aims of the Prophet and the well being of the community in honor and respect. She should have given it full support.

 

Ayesha and Umme Salma

It is really astonishing that Ayesha went to Umme Salma and asked her to confront the Imam inspite of knowing to what extent Umme Salma loved and respected the Imam. And this proves that Ayesha was not aware of the way of thinking of the wives of the Prophet. When Ayesha met Umme Salma she told her kindly and softly, “O daughter of Abu Umayyah! You are of the first women of Muhajireen among the Prophet’s wives and the senior-most mother of the believers. And the Prophet used to distribute to us from your house and Jibraeel used to be present mostly in your house…”

Umme Salma glanced at Ayesha and asked her with doubt and hesitation, “Why are you saying all this?”

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/207

[2] The text of this sermon is present in Tarikh Tabari 4/450

[3] Abu Zar was martyred during Uthman’s regime and he was not alive at the time of Uthman’s murder. But the writer wanted to name the opponents of Uthman.

Ayesha replied in a deceptive way, “People asked Uthman to repent and when he repented and while he was fasting they killed him in the sacred month. So I have decided that I should go out to Basra while Zubair and Talha are with me. Why don’t you also come with me? Perhaps the Almighty Allah would reform this matter through us…!”

Umme Salma advised her and reminded her of her stance and opposition against Uthman and also restrained her from rebelling against the cousin of the Prophet. She said, “O daughter of Abu Bakr! Have you stood up to revenge Uthman’s blood? By Allah! You were his most severe opponent and you did not call him except by the epithet of Nathal. What do you have to do with the blood of Uthman? Uthman was a man from Bani Abde Manaf and you are a woman from Bani Teem bin Marrah. Woe be on you, O Ayesha! Are you rising up in rebellion against Ali, the Prophet’s cousin while the Muhajireen and Ansar have paid oath of allegiance to him…?”

Umme Salma reminded Ayesha of the merits and excellences of Ali and the proximity of his status with relation to the Messenger of Allah (s) while Abdullah Ibn Zubair was listening. This angered him and he feared that Umme Salma might succeed in dissuading Ayesha from her intentions. Therefore he cried, “O daughter of Abu Umayyah! We know of your enmity to the family of Zubair.”

Umme Salma chastised him and shouted, “By Allah, you and your father make her enter but do not take her out! Do you expect the Muhajireen and Ansar to accept your father Zubair and his friend Talha while Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) is alive and he is the master of all believing men and women?”

Ibn Zubair told her, “I have never heard this from the Messenger of Allah (s).”

Umme Salma said, “If you have not heard it, your aunt, Ayesha has heard it. She is also here. Ask her. She has heard the Prophet saying: Ali is my caliph on you in my life and after my death. One who disobeys him, has disobeyed me. O Ayesha! Do you testify having heard this..?”

Ayesha was not able to deny it. She said, “Yes, by Allah.”

Umme Salma continued to advise Ayesha and she said, “O Ayesha! Have fear of Allah in your conscience, and beware of what the Messenger of Allah (s) had warned you about. Do not be with the dogs of Hawwab. Zubair and Talha should not deceive you as they could not get you any benefit in the presence of the Lord…”[1]

Ayesha heard Umme Salma’s advice but in obeying her emotions decided to continue her opposition to the Holy Imam (‘a).

Umme Salma wrote to His Eminence about the events occurring in Mecca and warned him of the mischief that was brewing against him.[2] 

[1] Al-Futuh 2/282-283 (printed Daarun Nadwah. New Edition)

[2] Ibne Abil Hadeed, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 6/217-218 (Ismailian Edition)

Ayesha moves to Basra

Ayesha’s soldiers started for Basra beating drums of war and the rebels raised the voice of Jihad and the greedy and jealous ones towards the Imam hastened to join Ayesha’s forces and the army marched forward to destroy the unity of Muslims and to drown the cities in mourning, calamities and sorrows.

Askar

Ayesha’s caravan moved quickly in the heart of the desert. On the way a man named al-Urna who owned a camel, Askar met them. A person from Ayesha’s caravan went to him and asked, “O camel owner, would you sell your camel?”

“Yes.”

“How much?”

“One thousand dirhams.”

“Woe be unto you! Are you mad? Would you sell this for a thousand dirhams?”

“Yes, this is my camel. None can escape my clutches if I chase him on this camel and none can catch me if I flee on it.”

“If you knew for whom I want it, you would have happily sold it to me.”

“For whom do you want it?”

“For your mother.”

“I left my mother sitting at home and she had no intention of going out.”

“I want it for Ayesha, the mother of the believers.”

“It is for you. Take it free.”

“Come with us to the caravan. We shall give you a she- camel in exchange and also give you some dirhams in addition to it.”

He went with them and they gave him a she-camel and also 400 or 600 dirhams. Askar was presented to Ayesha and she sat upon it.[1] That camel became like the calf of Bani Israel because around her hands were cut, people died and blood was shed.

Hawwab

Ayesha’s caravan moved forward and passed a place called Hawwab. The barking dogs of that place moved forward to welcome the caravan. Ayesha became worried and asked Muhammad Ibn Talha, “What place is this?”

“Mother of believers, this is Hawwab.” 

[1] Ibne Abbas has narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) that one day the Holy Prophet was with all of his wives when he said: Which of you would be the rider of that camel on which the dogs of Hawwab would bark and on the right and left of which innumerable people shall be killed…Sharh Nahjul Balagha 9/311, Ibne Kathir 6/212, Suyuti, Al-Khasais 2/232, Al-Istiab 4/1885 where it is mentioned: This tradition is one of the signs of the prophethood of His Eminence.

Ayesha was shocked and cried in distress:

“I should return!”

“Why, O mother of believers?”

I heard the Messenger of Allah (s) say to his wives: “As if I could see one of you, that the dogs of Hawwab are barking on her. O Humairah![1] It shouldn’t be you!”

“Come on! May the Almighty Allah have mercy on you. Forget those things.”

However she did not move from her place and grief and sorrow began to surround her and she became sure that the way she was going was indeed deviated.

Military officers became worried by the stopping of Ayesha as they had made her the Qibla through which they could defraud the foolish people. They came to her and said, “O mother!”

But she interrupted them and said in a remorseful voice, “By Allah, I am the one for whom the dogs of Hawwab bark…take me back, take me back.”

Her nephew, Abdullah bin Zubair, rushed to argue with her but Ayesha told him about the voice of her conscience. And if Abdullah had not been there she would have returned to Mecca. However he brought some witnesses he had bribed and they swore that it was not Hawwab. This is said to be the first instance of false testimony in Islam.[2] She turned away from her view and she took up the leadership of the army to confront in battle the successor of the Messenger of Allah (s) and the gate of the city of knowledge of His Eminence.

In Basra

Ayesha’s soldiers came to the people of Basra and made them distressed, fearful and worried because military forces had camped around their city and they were going to surround them and create a center for opposing the lawful caliph there.

Basra’s governor, Uthman bin Hunayf, who was a responsible and religious person at once acted in this regard and sent Abul Aswad Duali to Ayesha to ask her the reason for coming to their land.

When he came to Ayesha he asked her, “Mother of believers, what has brought you here?”

“To seek revenge of Uthman’s blood.”

“No killer of Uthman is there in Basra.”

“You are right, however they are with Ali Ibn Abi Talib in Medina and I have come to persuade Basrans to take up arms. Shall we only be angry at the lashes of Uthman and not be infuriated at your swords that you pulled out for Uthman?”

Abul Aswad replied, “What have you got to do with whips and swords? The Messenger of Allah (s) stopped you and commanded you that you stay in your 

[1] Ibne Athir 3/210, Tabari, Tarikh 4/456-458. Tadkiratul Khawaas Pg. 65-66

[2] Muruj az-Zahab 2/357, Tarikh 2/157

house and recite the Book of Allah as ladies are not supposed to fight battles. Seeking revenge for him shall not be advisable for you and the fact is that Ali is better than you and with regard to relationship more proximate to him as they are descendants of Abde Manaf.”

She did not agree to what he said and she maintained her stance saying, “I shall not leave till I do not achieve what I want. O Abul Aswad, do you think anyone would come to fight us?”

She was under the impression that due to her marital relationship to the Prophet she would be safe and no one would rise up to fight her. She did not understand that she had already destroyed this sanctity and had accorded no importance to it. Thus Abul Aswad reminded her of the reality and told her, “By Allah, such a battle shall be raged against you that its easiest would be the most difficult.”

At that moment Abul Aswad turned to Zubair and reminded him about his old friendship and proximity to the Imam and said, “O Abu Abdillah! People know about you that on the day of Abu Bakr’s allegiance you had wielded your sword and were saying: No one is more qualified for this matter than the son of Abu Talib. Such stance you had but what is your position now?”

In reply, Zubair said something in which he had no faith himself, “I have risen up to revenge Uthman’s blood.”

“Afterwards you and your companion (Talha) became his partisans.”

Zubair softened and accepted Abul Aswad’s advice but he decided to meet Talha and inform him about this matter.

Abul Aswad hurried to Talha and presented him his advice but he did not accept it and remained stubborn.[1] Abul Aswad returned unsuccessful from his mission and informed Ibn Hunayf of the situation. He summoned his companions and delivered a sermon to them and said, “O people, you have paid allegiance to God. The Hand of God is above them and whomsoever breaks the pledge has broken the pledge himself and whoever fulfils his pledge with God, Allah shall give him a great recompense. By Allah, if Ali knows that someone was more deserving he would not have the caliphate for himself. And if people had done allegiance for someone else he would have also given him allegiance and obeyed him. Of all the companions of the Messenger of Allah (s) he is not needful of anyone and none is needless of him. He is a partner in their good deeds but they do not share his good deeds. And these two men have given allegiance but they do not care for the Almighty Allah. On the basis of this they want milk before the milk is ready, to nurse before the child and want to deliver the child before its conception and they want divine rewards at the hands of the people. They claim that allegiance had been forcibly taken from them. Thus if they had been ordinary people of Quraish they should have claimed this but even under those circumstances they wouldn’t 

[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/226 (Ismailiyan Edition)

have had any right to issue orders to others. However, guidance is only that which is followed by the general public and the general public has given allegiance to Ali. Thus, O people, what is your opinion?”

At this moment, the prominent personality, Hakim bin Jabla arose and spoke by the logic of faith and truth and insisted that an armed confrontation should be initiated.[1]

After that a debate ensued between two groups which did not conclude in a positive note. At that time Talha and Zubair delivered speeches and demanded revenge for Uthman’s blood in opposition to a group of people of Basra whom Talha had incited for the killing of Uthman. They refuted the statements of Talha and put the responsibility of Uthman’s murder on Talha.

Ayesha also delivered a sermon and repeated the same points that had been time and again mentioned and it was seeking the revenge of Uthman because he had repented for his mistakes and announced his repentance.

Ayesha’s discourse had not concluded when a furor started in the crowd: one group supported her claims and another falsified her testimony. The two groups began to argue and fight among themselves and highly inimical parties came into being. So much so that a battle started between them and they agreed to halt hostilities till Ali (‘a) reaches them. They wrote a document jointly that Ibn Hunayf also signed. On that document they agreed to leave the government, the armory and the treasury in the control of Ibn Hunayf but they had to allow permission for Ayesha and her followers to live anywhere they liked in Basra. This document was signed by both the parties.

Ibn Hunayf continued to lead the people in prayers and distribute allowances and took steps to spread peace and return of its comfort to the province. But those people did not respect their pledge and oaths and decided to remove Ibn Hunayf.

Historians say: Ayesha’s army took the opportunity of a dark stormy night and while Ibn Hunayf was leading the night prayer (Isha) they attacked and arrested him. Then they headed for the Public Treasury, killed forty men guarding it and seized the treasury.

They threw Ibn Hunayf in the prison after they had plucked the hair of his beard and mustaches and tortured him terribly.[2]

A group of Basrans became infuriated that those people had flamed the fire of discord, oppressed their governor and seized the Public Treasury. They began to protest against all this and they came out to fight. This was the group from Rabia under the leadership of the great stalwart, Hakim bin Jabla. They came out of the city with 300 persons from the clan of Abdul Qais.[3] Ayesha’s supporters also came 

[1] Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/60-61

[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 9/319-321 (Ismailiyan Edition)

[3] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 9/321 (Ismailiyan Edition)

out and made her sit on a camel. And that day became known as Jamal-e-Asghar (Lesser battle of Jamal).[1]

The two groups became involved in a furious battle. Ibn Jabla was searching for an opening in the ranks. Historians say: A companion of Talha delivered a strike to him cutting his leg. Hakim came down to the ground and picked up his severed leg and attacked his assailant with it finally killing him and he continued fighting like this till he was martyred.[2]

That group of rebels became liable for the crime of breaking their pledge to the Imam, for fanning the flames of rebellion against Ibn Hunayf, shedding of innocent blood, plundering Public Treasury and torturing Ibn Hunayf.

Historians say: They decided to kill him but he threatened them that if they caused any hurt to him, his brother Sahal bin Hunayf who was Ali’s governor in Medina would slay their families and they became fearful of this and released him. He moved from there and joined the forces of His Eminence, Ali on the way to Basra. When he came to the Imam, he remarked humorously to the Imam, “You sent me to Basra as on old man and I return to you as a youth.”

These terrible incidents were very painful to the people and a discord developed among the people of Basra who divided into different groups, one of whom came out and joined the Ayesha’s army. A third group kept itself away from the discord and avoided joining any party.

Conflict over Leading Prayers

It was not surprising that Talha and Zubair should vie with each other for leading the prayers because they had broken the pledge to the Imam due to their greed for rulership and material benefits.

Historians say: Whenever one of them tried to move ahead to lead the prayer the other one stopped him and this continued till the time of prayers passed away. Ayesha feared that the situation may go out of hand. Therefore she issued orders that one day Muhammad Ibn Talha should lead the prayer and one day Abdullah Ibn Zubair.[3] So Abdullah Ibn Zubair came out to lead the prayer but Muhammad pulled him back and went forward to lead the prayer, but Abdullah prevented him from it.

In order to end this controversy, people found the best way and drew lots. Muhammad bin Talha’s name was drawn. He stepped forward and prayed and in his prayer recited the verse of: “One demanding, demanded the chastisement which must befall…”[4]

This became an occasion of ridicule and people taunted him and criticized him. 

[1] Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/430

[2] Usud al-Ghaba 2/40

[3] Yaqubi, Tarikh, 2/157

[4] Surah Ma’arij 70:1

Regarding this incident, the poet says:

“Those two youths competed to lead the prayer and the old men vied for rulership.

What do I have to do with Talha and Zubair. The leader in Zill Jaza is a devotee of Talha and Ibn Zubair.

Today their mothers deceived them and Ya’la bin Muniya has bestowed them mastership.”[1]

This movement indicates to what extent they were sacrificing themselves for rulership and power while they were just at the starting point and if they had reached unanimity to topple the Imam’s government, they would have confronted him in the battle and taken over the control of the affairs.

Imam’s Messengers to Kufa

The Holy Imam (‘a) dispatched messengers to Kufa and sought the help of Kufians to rise up in his support so that they may stand up with him to extinguish the flames the rebels had fanned.

Imam’s messengers reached Kufa and found that their governor, Abu Musa Ashari was instigating the people to refrain from helping the Imam. He was inciting them to disobey the orders of Ali and encouraging them to a life of comfort and luxury.

Abu Musa had no justification for his stance except that he bore malice to the Holy Imam (‘a) and as per the unanimity of historians he was inclined towards Uthman.

Imam’s messengers came to Abu Musa, objected to him and denounced him but he did not pay any attention. After that they wrote a letter to the Imam and informed him of Abu Musa’s rebellion who refused to harken to the call of truth.

Imam (‘a) sent one of his best companions, Hashim Mirqal to Abu Musa with a letter summoning him to the Imam.

When he reached Abu Musa, he delivered the Imam’s letter but Abu Musa refused to obey and continued to remain obstinate and disobedient.

Hashim wrote a letter to the Imam (‘a) and informed him about the position of Abu Musa and his rebellion. Then Imam (‘a) sent his son, His Eminence, Hasan (‘a) and Ammar Yasir with a proclamation of Abu Musa’s dismissal and appointment of Qardha bin Kaab Ansari in his place.

When Imam Hasan (‘a) reached Kufa, people gathered in groups around him and announced their support and obedience. His Eminence informed them about the dismissal of the renegade governor and appointment of Qardha in his place. However Abu Musa continued to remain disobedient and went on weakening people’s determination. He incited them not to give their support and encouraged them to disregard the command and he himself gave a negative reply to Imam Hasan (‘a). 

[1] Al-Aghani 12/337

Malik Ashtar, the great personality understood that there was no way of expelling Abu Musa except with humiliation. So he gathered some strong persons of his community and attacked his palace. People plundered his wealth and he was frightened and compelled to withdraw. He decided to spend that night in Kufa and flee to Mecca the next day and join the rebels.

Imam Hasan (‘a) mobilized the people to support his father and thousands harkened to his call. Some of them boarded boats and some rode quadrupeds and they all set out for the Imam’s help.

Soldiers came out in the desert under the command of Imam Hasan (‘a) till they arrived at a place called Zeeqar.

Imam (‘a) was pleased at the success of his son and he acknowledged his efforts and labors.

Kufian soldiers, numbering 4000 joined the army of the Holy Imam (‘a) and 400 of them were those who had participated in the Allegiance of Rizwan with His Eminence, the Messenger of Allah (s).

The Imam (‘a) entrusted the right wing of his forces to His Eminence, Hasan (‘a) and put the left wing under the command of His Eminence, Husain (‘a)[1] while the Imam’s soldiers were equipped with the best of weapons. Historians say: His Eminence, Husain (‘a) was astride his grandfather’s horse called Murtajiz.[2]

The Two Armies Come face to Face

Imam’s forces set out from Zeeqar while they were convinced of their own rightfulness. Neither had they any hesitation nor doubt that they were moving on the path of truth.

They reached an area called Zawiyah near Basra and the Imam halted over there. He stood up for prayer and after the prayer began to weep such that his tears flowed on his blessed face. He implored the Almighty to protect the Muslims from bloodshed and keep them away from the difficulties of war make the unity of Muslims to follow guidance and truth.

Messengers of Conciliation

Imam (‘a) dispatched messengers of conciliation to meet Ayesha and they included Zaid bin Sauhan and Ubaidullah Ibn Abbas. When they met her they reminded her that the Almighty Allah has commanded her to remain in her house and not to shed the blood of Muslims. They advised and counseled her much. If she had accepted their advice it would have been in the interest of the people and they would have been saved from untold hardships and mischiefs but she ignored their suggestions completely and told them, “I will not reply to the son of Abu Talib in words, because I cannot overcome him in logic.”[3] 

[1] Shamsuddin Abul Barakaat, Jawahirul Matalib dar Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) 2/12

[2] Muhammad bin Zakaria bin Dinar, Waqiyah Jamal, Pg. 35

[3] Al-Futuh 2/306

Imam (‘a) tried his utmost to bring reconciliation and prevent bloodshed but some persons accorded no importance to this proposal. They instead continued to fan the flames of war and began to defeat the procedure of armistice.

Calling by the Quran

When all efforts of the Imam to avoid bloodshed were defeated he called his companions and asked which of them would raise the Book of Allah and invite those people to follow its commands and he informed that whosoever will perform this function would be martyred. No one responded to the Imam’s offer except a Kufian who said, “O chief of believers! I shall do it.”

Imam (‘a) turned away from him and in the same way glanced at his companions and called them to this important mission. But none, except that youth, agreed to volunteer. The Imam handed over a copy of Quran to the lad and he set out happily without an iota of fear or terror. He came to Ayesha’s army displaying the Quran in his hand and raised his voice inviting them to act upon it. However those people whose egotism had prepared them to kill him, cut off his right hand and he transferred the Quran to his left. Again he called them to act upon it. They fell upon him and cut off his left hand also. He held the Quran with his teeth while he had lost a lot of blood. And he continued to invite them to reconciliation and to refrain from bloodshed saying, “For the sake of Allah, desist from shedding our blood and your blood.”

They showered him with their small spears and arrows till he fell down on the earth with his lifeless body and his mother rushed to him weeping and with her melted body she sat down to weep.

“O Allah, Muslim came to them reciting the Book of God and he was not fearful.

They dyed their beards with his blood while his mother stood and watched all this.”

After this completion of argument, the Imam had no option but to initiate the battle. So he told his companions, “Now it has become lawful to fight them and battle has become lawful for you.”[1]

At that time he summoned Hazeen Ibn Mundhir, a youth and told him, “O Hazeen, take this standard, that by Allah, neither in the past nor in the future any flag has fluttered that was nearer to guidance than it, except the flag that waved over the Prophet’s head.”

Regarding this, the poet says:

“When Hazeen was told to take that black flag forward he took it.

He took it forward for death so that it may take to the pools of death and from it rained death and blood.”[2] 

[1] Muruj az-Zahab 2/361

[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/269

 


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