Download Ali and Mu`awiya

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Islamic Golden Age wikipedia , lookup

History of Islam wikipedia , lookup

Caliphate wikipedia , lookup

Medina wikipedia , lookup

Hilya wikipedia , lookup

Satanic Verses wikipedia , lookup

Fatimah wikipedia , lookup

Criticism of Twelver Shia Islam wikipedia , lookup

Imamah (Shia) wikipedia , lookup

Islamic schools and branches wikipedia , lookup

Ali wikipedia , lookup

Husayn ibn Ali wikipedia , lookup

Usul Fiqh in Ja'fari school wikipedia , lookup

Zanj Rebellion wikipedia , lookup

Fiqh wikipedia , lookup

Succession to Muhammad wikipedia , lookup

Schools of Islamic theology wikipedia , lookup

Shia view of Ali wikipedia , lookup

Origin of Shia Islam wikipedia , lookup

Islamic History: the First 150 Years
Ali & Mu`awiya
Session Plan
The Accession of Ali
The Battle of the Camel
Ali & Mu`awiya
The Battle of Siffin
The Emergence of the Khawarij & the
Death of Ali
Section I: The Accession of Ali
Ali’s Background
Full name: Ali ibn Abi Talib ibn `Abd al-Muttalib
Member of the Bani Hashim (Muhammad’s own clan)
A cousin of Muhammad and his son-in-law
Married to Muhammad’s daughter Fatima
Father of Muhammad’s only surviving progeny, al-Hasan
and al-Husayn
After Fatima’s death, Ali married Khawla bint Ja’far of the
Bani Hanifa tribe
They had a son later known as Muhammad ibn alHanafiyya (or ‘the son of the Hanafi woman’)
After the death of Muhammad and his uncle al-`Abbas, Ali
became the head of the Bani Hashim clan
He was thus the head of the Ahl al-Bayt (or ‘People of the
Muhammad’s family were seen as important (and still are)
in that they were believed to carry a special kind of
Perceptions of Ali
• Ali was one of the most famous members of the early Muslim
• Indeed, he was something of a heroic figure
• A very early convert to Islam
• Some sources say he was the first male to convert (at approximately
10 years of age), others that he converted after Abu Bakr
• Such statements are probably also part of the wider Sunni-Shii
debate on the relative rankings of these two men
• Ali was an active warrior, taking part in all of the early battles, where
he distinguished himself for his bravery
• Widely held to be a very wise and knowledgeable man
• Muhammad is reported to have said:
‘I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its door’
• As with Umar, Ali had a strong reputation for justice
• Shia tradition depicts Ali as the first Imam after Muhammad, with a
strong emphasis on his esoteric knowledge
• Many later Islamic movements (Sunni or Shia) see Ali as a particular
role model
• Many sufi orders (tariqat) see him as one of their founding fathers
The Accession of Ali
• As we saw in the last session, Ali became caliph amidst the
turmoil following the assassination of Uthman
• Ali’s accession was thus somewhat anomalous
• However, he seems to have been the only realistic
candidate at the time and thus received the open support of
virtually all of the Medinan elite
• However, Tabari cites a number of reports which throw
some doubt on the pledges of Talha and al-Zubayr
• Some state they gave their allegiances willingly, others say
they did so under duress (Tabari I.3066-3069)
• All of the provincial governors, except Mu`aiwya, seem to
have accepted Ali’s accession and thus pledged their
• Many members of the Umayyad clan fled to Mu`awiya in
• News of Uthman’s murder and Ali’s accession probably
reached the provinces simultaneously
Section II: The Battle of the Camel
The Battle of the Camel
• Arguing that their oath of allegiance was made under duress,
Talha and al-Zubayr ask leave of Ali to make the pilgrimage to
• This is accepted and once there they begin to rally support
against Ali
• They join up with Aisha (Muhammad’s widow), and then begin
to amass an army
• Their campaign is based upon a call for vengeance for Uthman
• However, as we saw previously, some of our sources record
that Aisha and others had helped foment the revolt against
• They then moved from Mecca to Basra (where Talha had large
support) and from there formed an army
• Ali, meanwhile, had moved to Kufa
• The two sides met in battle shortly after, the first time Muslim
had fought Muslim
The Battle of the Camel
• In many ways, it was also the first act in a
much larger civil war
• It was called the ‘Battle of the Camel’
because the fighting centred around Aisha’s
armoured camel
• The result was a resounding victory for Ali
• Talha and al-Zubayr were killed and Aisha
was sent back to Medina
• During this time, Mu`awiya refuses to pledge
allegiance to Ali
A Brief Pause
• Turn to the person next to you and spend
a couple of minutes summarising the
lecture thus far.
• Questions?
Section III: Ali & Mu`awiya
Mu`awiya’s Background
• Full name: Mu`awiya ibn Abi Sufyan ibn Harb ibn Umayya
• Mu`awiya was thus a prominent member of the wealthy
Umayyad clan
• His father, Abu Sufyan, had led the opposition to
• Mu`awiya was a late convert to Islam himself
• Some reports record that he acted as Muhammad’s
• Appointed governor of Syria by Umar
• After Ali’s election, the Umayyad clan flee to him
• He is thus joined by Marwan ibn al-Hakam and Amr ibn al`As (the conqueror of Egypt)
• The sources generally depict these two as being prime
movers against Ali
• Ali and Mu`awiya debate the issue by letter
• Mu`awiya refuses to recognise Ali as caliph
• Based mainly on his claim that Ali was
involved in Uthman’s murder
• He argued that he was thus Uthman’s
nearest and most able kinsman who sought
the retaliation sanctioned by the Quran
• This theme runs through virtually all of
Mu`awiya’s correspondence with Ali
• The impact of poetry
• Let’s look at some examples
‘By my life, if the people were pledging allegiance to you and you
were innocent of the blood of Uthman you would be like Abu Bakr,
Umar and Uthman, may God be pleased with them all. But you
incited the Muhajirun against Uthman and induced the Ansar to
desert him, so the ignorant obeyed you and the feeble became
strong through you. The people of Syria [ahl al-Sham] accept
nothing but to fight you until you surrender to them the killers of
Uthman. If you do, there will be a shura among the Muslims. The
people of Hijaz used to the judges over the people holding the right
in their hands, but since they abandoned it, the right is now in the
hands of the people of Syria.
By my life, your argument against me is not like your argument
against Talha and al-Zubayr since they pledged allegiance to you
and I have not pledged allegiance to you. Nor is your argument
against the Syrians like you argument against the Basrans, since the
Basrans [at first] obeyed you, and the Syrians did not. As for your
nobility in Islam and your close kinship with the Messenger of God
and your place among Quraysh, I do not deny them’
(Pseudo-Ibn Qutayba, Imama I.166-7, quoted in Madelung, 1999, 205)
• Ali counters each of these points in his
response, arguing that he did not kill
Uthman, though he was unhappy with his
• He also argued that there was no one in
Syria with enough seniority (in Islamic terms)
to be caliph and that this was widely known
• He ordered his own poet to respond to Ka’b
ibn Ju`ayl
‘As for your statement: hand over the killers of Uthman,
what are you in relation to Uthman? You are merely a man
of Banu Umayya, and the sons of Uthman are more entitled
to that than you. But if you claim that you are more powerful
than they to seek retaliation for the blood of Uthman, enter
under my obedience and then bring the people before me
for judgement, and I shall put you and them on the road to
justice. As for your distinction between Syria and Basra and
between [you] and Talha and al-Zubayr, by my life, the
matter there is in every way the same because it was a
general pledge of allegiance in which neither a second view
may be taken nor an option renewed’
(al-Minqari, Waq`at Siffin 57-9, quoted in Madelung, 206)
• Al-Najashi (Ali’s poet):
‘You have made Ali and his followers the equal of Ibn Hind,
are you not ashamed?’
• Mu’awiya: first 3 caliphs were righteous but Ali opposed
them all…
• ‘Yet each one you envied, and against each one you
revolted. We knew from your looking askance, your
offensive speech, your heavy sighing, and your holding
back from the caliphs. To each one of them you had to be
led as the male camel is led by the wood stick through its
nose in order to give your pledge of allegiance while you
were loath. Then you were consumed by envy towards your
cousin Uthman, who was most entitled among them to your
refraining from that because of his kinship and marriage ties
with you. Yet against him in secret and openly…arms were
borne against him in the sanctuary of the Messenger of
God, and he was killed while you were with him in the same
place, hearing the frightful screams…
`…Yet you do not even try to deflect suspicion and
accusation in his respect from yourself by word or
act…Another matter is your giving shelter to his
murderers. They are your backbone, your helpers,
your hand, and your entourage. It has been
mentioned to me that you disavow blood guilt for
him. If you are truthful, give us power over his
murderers that we may kill them for him, and we
shall be the quickest people to join you. If not,
there is nothing for you and your companions but
the sword. By the One beside whom there is no
God, we shall seek the murderers of Uthman on
the mountains and in the deserts, on land and on
sea, until God kills them, or our spirits join God’
(al-Minqari, Waq`at Siffin 86-7, quoted in Madelung, 211-212)
• Ali’s next response is important (and somewhat lengthy)
and is recorded, with some variations, by al-Minqari & alBaladhuri…
‘You have mentioned that God chose for him helpers among
the Muslims through whom He backed him and they were in
their ranking with Him according to their merits in Islam. The
most excellent, you asserted…were the khalifa and then the
khalifa of the khalifa. By my life, their station in Islam is
indeed great and the loss of them a grievous wound in it,
may God have mercy on them and reward them with the
best reward. You mentioned further that Uthman was third
in excellence. If Uthman was indeed doing good, God will
recompense him for it, and if he was doing evil, he will meet
a Lord most merciful for whom no sin is too great to be
• Ali then refers to the Qurayshi persecution of Muhammad and
the earliest Muslims
• He then refers to the ahl al-bayt and their services to Islam…
‘Whenever matters got tough and the battle cry was sounded,
he used to put the people of his house up in the front rank and
protected his Companions from the heat of the lances and the
sword. Thus Ubayda [ibn al-Harith ibn al-Muttalin] was killed on
the day of Badr, Hamza on the day of Uhud, Ja`far and Zayd
[ibn Haritha] on the day of Mu’ta. The one whose name I would
mention, if I so wished, more than once sought for the sake of
God the same martyrdom they sought, yet their terms were
expedited, while his death was delayed…For I have not seen
anyone among the people, who was more sincere to God in his
obedience to His Messenger, or more submissive to His
Messenger in obedience to his Lord…than these few whom I
named to you, even though there was much good among the
Emigrants which we recognise, may God reward them for their
best of works’
• Ali then refers to his relationship with Abu Bakr and
‘You mentioned my envy of the caliphs, my holding back
from them, and my rebellion against them. As regards
rebellion, God forbid that there was. As for my holding
back from them, and my being loath of their affair, I do
not apologise for that to the people, because when God
took away His Prophet, Quraysh said, ‘From us an
amir’, and the Ansar said, ‘From us an amir’. Then
Quraysh said: ‘From us is Muhammad, so we are
entitled to ‘this matter’. The Ansar recognised that and
surrendered to them the reign and the authority. Yet if
they deserved it through Muhammad to the exclusion of
the Ansar, then the people closest to Muhammad are
more entitled to it than they. If not, the Ansar surely have
the greatest portion among the Arabs…’
• Finally, Ali reminded Mu`awiya of his father’s
support for him…
‘Your father came to when the people put up Abu
Bakr as their ruler and said: ‘You are more entitled
to ‘this matter’ after Muhammad; I back you in this
against whoever opposes you. Stretch out your
hand that I pledge allegiance to you’. But I did not
do it. You know that your father said this and desired
it, and I feared division among the people of Islam.
Thus your father was more ready to recognise my
right than you. If you recognise my right, you will
come to your good senses. But if you will not, God
will let us dispense with you’
(al-Minqari Waq`at Siffin 88-91; al-Baladhuri Ansab al-Ashraf II, 279-283)
Towards Siffin
• As we can see from these passages, the
attempts at negotiation failed
• As such, after some minor skirmishing, Ali
gathered his forces and moved towards
• Mu`awiya, likewise, began mobilising his
own forces
• The two armies met each other at Siffin, in
what is now northern Iraq
Section IV: The Battle of Siffin
The Battle of Siffin
• The subsequent battle at Siffin was one of the most important
events in Islamic history
• In some ways, it marked the decisive fracture of the old order
• It also saw the first real emergence of two key groups, the
Shia and the Khawarij
• Although the Battle of the Camel had been the first Muslim vs.
Muslim conflict, Siffin was a far more serious affair
• Although the sources almost universally refer to it as the Battle
of Siffin it was in fact a series of small skirmishes, and a major
• Due to the diffuse nature of Arab tribes, sections from most of
the large confederacies fought on both sides
• Thus, again, Siffin proved to be very divisive
• Mu`awiya’s forces reached Siffin first and attempted to block
access to water
• This caused some dissent within his own ranks and prompted
a concerted attack from Ali
The Battle of Siffin
• This attack was led by Malik al-Ashtar and al-Ash`ath ibn
Qays, two of Ali’s most committed supporters
• This was followed by more sporadic fighting, and attempts at
further negotiation
• All out battle began on 8th Safar 38 AH (26th July 657)
• Ubaydullah ibn Umar (who had joined Mu`awiya) led the initial
charge and after heavy fighting was himself slain
• The sources report that the main battle itself was fought over
three days and the outcome seems to have long been in doubt
• Towards the end of the battle, Ali’s forces mounted a forceful
attack and almost succeeded in reaching Mu`awiya himself
• The traditional account states that at this point the Syrian
troops began raising copies of the Quran on their lances
• This was interpreted as a sign for arbitration
• The sources state that this was Amr ibn al-As’ idea, aimed at
avoiding immanent defeat
• Whatever the reason, the gesture was accepted and the two
sides called an armistice
Section V: The Death of Ali
After Siffin
• Ali & Mu`awiya agreed to arbitration, though the sources
depict Ali as very unhappy with the situation
• It seems as though dissent within Ali’s ranks forced him to
accept the arbitration
• Mu`awiya by contrast seems to have been keen on the
• At any rate, the two sides agreed to select two arbitrators
who would then spend one year negotiating with each other
• They would then have power to settle the matter between
• Mu`awiya chose Amr ibn al-As, a wily politician
• Ali chose Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, a former governor of Kufa
and seemingly a lukewarm supporter of his
• The choice seems a strange one, modern authors (such as
Madelung) argue that the choice of Abu Musa was forced
on Ali by Kufan elements unhappy at the prospect of
prolonged war
After Siffin
• Abu Musa and Amr met on at least 2 occasions
• Tradition holds that the wily Amr outwitted Abu Musa
• According to their agreement, both men would disavow their
respective patrons and then initiate a shura to choose the
most suitable candidate
• However, at the final public meeting, Amr refused to follow
Abu Musa’s lead and publicly declared Mu`awiya to be the
rightful caliph
• Thus not only had Mu`awiya been declared legitimate, but
Ali had had his own authority questioned
• Although it is hard to see why Ali did not disown the
arbitration, it certainly did weaken his authority
• The meeting thus broke up in hostility and mutual
• Fighting soon broke out again
• During late 39AH – early 40AH, Mu`awiya sent a strong
force under one Busr ibn Abi Artah to raid Arabia
After Siffin
The sources report that Busr’s raid was both
effective and cruel, in that many were killed
and enslaved
Ali’s governors put up some token resistance
but were unable to defend their provinces
This raid was also a deep challenge to Ali’s
authority and was combined with an attack
on Egypt, which was given to Amr ibn al-As
Despite these losses, the cruelty of Busr’s
raid solidified support for Ali in Iraq and
After Siffin: the Emergence of the Khawarij
• Ali agreeing to arbitration caused a further split in his ranks
• A large group of religiously minded tribesmen seceded from
his camp declaring ‘la hukm illa lillah’
• Or, in English, ‘No judgement but God’s’
• In other words, this group felt that Ali should not have
submitted to arbitration but should have continued to fight
Mu`awiya to the end
• After calling on Ali to repent, a large group left Kufa and went
to Nahrawan
• The group are known by a number of names, the most
common of which is al-Khawarij
• This means, literally, ‘those who go out’, or ‘those who secede’
• Despite this act of apparent sedition, Ali at first left them alone,
preferring diplomacy
• However, the group in Nahrawan began to attack other
settlements, declaring them apostate
• Ali thus surrounded them, and after a failed attempt at
diplomacy, destroyed them in battle
The Khawarij & Ali’s Death
• Survivors of the massacre at Nahrawan dispersed into the
• A group of some 400 men moved towards Kufa (from the direction of
al-Mada’in) and attacked a force of 700 sent by Ali, under the
command of Shurayh ibn Hani
• Ali himself led an army against them and eventually defeated them
• Ali’s main attention was, however, focused on Mu`awiya’s recent
attacks on Arabia
• At any rate, shortly after, on Friday 17th Ramadan 40AH (26th
January 661CE), Ali was assassinated in the mosque in Kufa
• His assassin was one Ibn Muljam, a khariji and a survivor of
• Upon attacking Ali, Ibn Muljam is said to declared ‘The judgement
belongs to God, Ali, not to you’ (al-Baladhuri Ansab al-Ashraf II 487496)
• Ibn Muljam was apprehended before he could flee and Ali, who was
still alive, ordered him to be executed if he died
• Ali’s death came at a time when his fortunes seemed to be changing
• Despite the loss of Arabia and Egypt, Iraq had swung firmly behind
• Ali’s death created a power vacuum in Medina
• Ali’s eldest son, al-Hasan, was elected caliph in Kufa
• Hasan seems to have been a very mild man and perhaps realising
that he could not match Mu`awiya, he made peace
• The terms of this peace meant that Hasan abdicated, thus making
Mu`awiya caliph
• He received a pension and some sources report that he was
appointed Mu`awiya’s successor
• Having secured his authority, Mu`awiya marched into Kufa, thereby
becoming the sole caliph
• Although we will look more closely at Mu`awiya next time, it is worth
noting a few points now
• Firstly, in many ways, his accession marked the end of the power of
the Medinan Islamic elite
• Later Sunni tradition acknowledges this change when it refers to the
first four caliphs as Khulafa’ al-Rashidun (‘Rightly Guided Caliphs’)
• Moreover, virtually all of our sources understand Mu`awiya’s
caliphate as marking a transition to ‘hereditary kingship’ (mulk in
• But, this is the subject of next week