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Ali (a.s.)
His Khilaafah
A.S. Hashim, MD
Ali,His Khilaafah
Sources of Reference
ibn Jarir al-Tabari,
Ibn Qutaybah,
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. "Ali".
Encyclopaedia of the Holy Prophet and Companions
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward
Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid
Nahj Al-Balagha, Sermon 3
Holt, P.M.; Lambton, Ann K.S.; Lewis, Bernard. Cambridge History of
Watt, William Montgomery. Muhammad at Mecca. Oxford University Press.
In this Slide Show
Ali’s Policies
The Immediate Reforms
The Charismatic Character
First Fitna ‫( الفتنه‬Sedition)
Jamal Battle
A’isha is Returned Home
Siffin ‫صفين‬
Siffin and the Arbitration
Kharijis ‫الخوارج‬
Mu'awiya's Plunders
Ali’s Assassination
Madelung writes:
Ali: Reign as Khalifa
Since the conflicts in which Ali was involved were
perpetuated in polemical sectarian
historiography, biographical material is often
But the sources agree that Ali was a profoundly
religious man,
devoted to the cause of Islam,
and the rule of justice,
in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah;
Ali engaged in war against erring Muslims as a
matter of religious duty.
The Sources Abound in Notices
The sources abound in notices on
Ali’s austerity,
rigorous observance of religious duties, and
detachment from worldly goods.
Thus some authors, however, have pointed out that Ali
shunned political maneuvering and flexibility.
Ali inherited the Rashidoon Khilaafah —which
extended from Egypt in the west to the Iranian highlands in the
east— while:
the situation in the Hijaz and the other provinces
on the eve of his election was unsettled.
Empire: By Ali’s Election
Islamic empire when Ali was elected.
Ali’s Policies
Soon after Ali became Khalifa he:
dismissed the governors of the provinces who had been appointed by
replacing them with trusted aides.
He acted against the counsel of Mughira ibn Shu'ba and Ibn Abbas,
who had advised him to proceed his governing cautiously.
Madelung says Ali was deeply convinced of his right and his religious
unwilling to compromise his principles for the sake of political gains or
and ready to fight against overwhelming odds.
Mu'awiya, the kinsman of Uthman and governor of Syria
refused to submit to Ali's orders; he was the only governor to do so.
Ali’s Policies
When Ali was elected as Khalifa, he stated to the citizens
of Medina:
that Muslim polity had come to be plagued by dissension and
he desired to purge Islam of any evil.
He advised the populace to behave as true Muslims,
warning that he would tolerate no sedition and
those who were found guilty of subversive activities would be dealt
with harshly.
Ali recovered the land granted by Uthman and
swore to recover anything that some elites (prominent persons)
had acquired before his election.
The Immediate Reforms
Unlike the 3 Khalifas before him, Ali opposed the
centralization of capital control over provincial revenues,
favoring an equal distribution of taxes and booty amongst the
Muslim citizens;
He distributed the entire revenue of the treasury among them.
Ali refrained from nepotism, including with his brother Aqeel ibn
Abi Talib.
This was an indication to Muslims of his policy of offering
equality to Muslims who served Islam in its early years
and to the Muslims who played a role in the later
The Charismatic Character
Ali succeeded in forming a broad coalition
especially after the Battle of Basra. His policy of
equal distribution of taxes and booty gained:
1. the support of Muhammad's Companions especially the
Ansaar (who were subordinated by the Quraish leadership after
2. And the traditional tribal leaders,
3. And the Qurra ‫( القرآء‬Quran reciters) that sought pious
Islamic leadership.
The successful formation of this diverse coalition
seems to be due to Ali's charismatic character.
The Diverse Coalition
This diverse coalition became known as Shi'a Ali,
meaning "party" or "faction of Ali".
However according to Shi'a, as well as non-Shi'a
the majority of those who supported Ali after his
election as Khalifa,
were Shi'a politically, not religiously.
Although at this time there were many who counted as
political Shi'a, few of them believed Ali's religious
First Fitna ‫( الفتنه‬Sedition)
A'isha, Talha, Al-Zubair and Benu Umayya especially
Wanted to take revenge for Uthman's death.
Both Talha and Zubair were brother-in-laws of A’isha.
They wanted to punish the rioters who had killed Uthman.
They attacked Ali for not punishing the rebels and murderers of
However some historians believe that they used this
issue to seek their political ambitions
because they found Ali's Khilaafah against their own benefit.
First Fitna ‫( الفتنه‬Sedition)
On the other hand, the rebels maintained that Uthman had
been justly killed,
Because of not governing according to Quran and Sunnah,
hence no vengeance was to be invoked.
Historians disagree on Ali's position.
Some say the Khilaafah was a bequest of the rebels,
and Ali did not have enough force to control or punish the rebels,
while others say Ali accepted rebels argument or at least didn't
consider Uthman just ruler.
Under such circumstances, a schism took place which led to
the first civil war in Muslim history.
First Fitna ‫( الفتنه‬Sedition)
Some Muslims, (Mu’awiya among them), known as Uthmanis,
Uthman a rightful and just Imam (Islamic leader) till the end,
who had been unlawfully killed.
Thus his position was in abeyance until he had been avenged and a
new Khalifa elected.
In their view Ali was the Imam in error.
Some others, known as party of Ali, believed that:
Uthman had fallen into error,
he had refused to mend his way or step down,
thus Ali was the just and true Imam and his opponents are infidels.
First Fitna ‫( الفتنه‬Sedition)
The First Fitna, 656–661, followed:
1. the assassination of Uthman,
2. continued during the Khilaafah of Ali,
3. and was ended by Mu'awiya's assumption of the Khilaafah.
This civil war (often called the Fitna) is regretted as the
end of the early unity of the Islamic Ummah.
Ali was first opposed by a faction led by Talha, Al-Zubair
and their sister-in-law A'isha daughter of Abu Bakr.
This group, known as "disloyal, or renouncers" (Nakithin ‫)الناكثون‬
gathered in Mecca then moved to Basra
with the expectation of finding the necessary forces and
resources to mobilize people of Iraq.
In Sermon 156,
The Prophet about: Discord
“O' Ali, people will be tested through their
َ ‫«يَا‬
َ ‫ ِإ َّن القَو َم‬،‫ي‬
ُّ ‫ع ِل‬
wealth, as if favoring Allah by their faith and
َ ‫ َويَ ُمنُّونَ ِبدِي ِن ِهم‬،‫ِبأَم َوا ِلهم‬
expecting His mercy. Thus they feel safe
َ‫ َويَأ َمنُون‬،ُ‫ َويَت َ َمنَّونَ َرح َمتَه‬،‫َر ِب ِهم‬
from His wrath, regard His unlawful as lawful
ُ‫ َويَست َ ِحلُّونَ َح َرا َمه‬،ُ‫سط َوتَه‬
by raising false doubts and foolish desires.
ُّ ‫ِبال‬
ِ ‫شبُ َها‬
They will hold lawful the use of wine by calling
ِ ‫ َواال ََه َو‬،‫ت ال َكا ِذبَ ِة‬
it barley water, a bribe by calling it a gift, and
‫ فَيَست َ ِحلُّونَ الخَم َر‬،‫سا ِهيَ ِة‬
َّ ‫ال‬
taking of usurious interest by calling it sale.”
َ ‫سح‬
ُّ ‫ َوال‬،ِ‫ِبالنَّ ِبيذ‬
ِ ‫ َو‬،‫ت ِبال َه ِديَّ ِة‬
I said, "O' Prophet of Allah, how should I
.»‫ِبالبَي ِع‬
deal with them at the time, whether to hold
ِ ‫سو َل‬
ُ ‫ يَا َر‬: ُ‫قُلت‬
ِ ‫ فَ ِبأَي‬،‫للا‬
them to have gone back in heresy or just in
‫َاز ِل أُن ِزلُ ُهم ِعندَ ذ ِل َك؟ أَ ِب َمن ِزلَ ِة‬
ِ ‫ال َمن‬
He said, "in sedition."
‫ أَم ِب َمن ِزلَ ِة ِفتنَة؟‬،‫ِردَّة‬
.»‫ «بِ َمن ِزلَ ِة فِتنَة‬:‫فَقَا َل‬
Ali Faces Overwhelming Odds:
The Camel Battle ‫الجمل‬
The Khariji ‫النهروان‬
Siffin Battle ‫صفين‬
At Basra
The rebels occupied Basra, killing many people.
They refused Ali's offer of obedience and pledge of
The two sides met at the Battle of Basra (Battle of the
Camel) in 656, where Ali emerged victorious.
Ali appointed Ibn Abbas governor of Basra and
moved his capital to Kufa, the Muslim garrison city
in Iraq.
Kufa was in the middle of Islamic land and had
strategic position.
Jamal Battle
Benu Umayya, forming large part of the
Were set free by Ali after the Battle
Talha: was Killed by Marwan ibn Hakam
Zubair: Did not participate
The casualties: Fairly high
The aftermath: Benu Umayya now join
Mu’awiya to fight Ali in Siffin
Jamal Sequence
Negotiations to stop fight, fail
Zubair quits his camp
Fight with many casualties
A’isha on camel urging to fight
A’isha’s camel is incapacitated
Battle ends abruptly
A’isha is Returned Home
Ali lets A’isha be at home in Basra to rest
40 Guards in company of A’isha on her way to
Brother of A’isha in charge of the escorting
guards (Muhammad son of Abu Bakr)
Al-Hasan and Al-Husain escort A’isha to the
boundary of Basra
The 40 guards selected by Ali to protect A’isha,
turn out to be women dressed as men
Ali Confronts Mu'awiya
Ali was challenged by Uthman’s cousin Mu'awiya, the governor of Syria
who refused Ali's demands for allegiance and called for revenge for
Ali opened negotiations hoping to regain his allegiance,
but Mu'awiya insisted on Syrian autonomy under his rule.
Mu'awiya replied by mobilizing his Syrian supporters and
refusing to pay homage to Ali
on the pretext that his contingent had not participated in his
The two armies encamped themselves at Siffin for many weeks, most of
the time being spent in negotiations.
Though Ali had exchanged several letters with Mu'awiya, he was unable
to dismiss Mu’awiya, nor persuade him to pledge allegiance.
Siffin ‫صفين‬
Skirmishes between the parties led to the Battle of Siffin
in 657.
After a week of fighting a violent battle known as laylat alharir (the night of clamor), took place.
Mu'awiya's army was on the point of defeat, being routed
When Amr ibn al-Aas advised Mu'awiya to have:
his soldiers hoist Mus'haf (either parchments inscribed with verses
of the Quran, or complete copies of it)
on their spearheads in order to cause disagreement and confusion
in Ali's army.
Ali saw through the stratagem, but only a minority of his soldiers
wanted to pursue the fight.
Siffin ‫صفين‬
The two armies finally agreed to settle the matter of who
should be Khalifa by arbitration.
The refusal of the largest bloc in Ali's army to fight was
the decisive factor in his acceptance of the arbitration.
The question as to whether the arbiter would represent
Ali or the Kufans caused a further split in Ali's army.
Ash'ath ibn Qays (Mu’awiya surrogate) and some others
rejected Ali's nominees, Abdullah ibn Abbas and Malik al-Ashtar,
and insisted on Abu Musa Ash'ari, who was opposed by Ali,
since Ash'ari had earlier prevented people from supporting Ali.
Siffin and the Arbitration
Finally, Ali was more or less forced to accept Abu
Musa Ashari.
Some of Ali's supporters, later known as Kharijis ‫الخوارج‬
opposed arbitration and rebelled, and Ali had to fight
with them in the Battle of Nahrawan ‫ النهروان‬.
The arbitration resulted in the dissolution of Ali's
and some have opined that this was Mu'awiya's
Siffin Sequence
Negotiations to prevent fighting: fail
Nine days fighting severe
Ammar charges Siffin ‫صفين‬
Numerous casualties
Ali almost winning
Arbitrations to take place
After Siffin: Control of Territories
Region under control of Mu’awiya
Region under control of Ali
Region under control of Amr Ibn Aas
Kharijis ‫الخوارج‬
Khariji revolt against Ali
Ali argues with Khariji, many decide not to
fight against Ali
3000 Khariji insist of fighting Ali in
Nahrawan, in Iraq
Ali Defeats Khariji in Nahrawan ‫النهروان‬
Looks for the crippled man the Prophet
foretold: They find him after 3 day search
Mu'awiya's Plunders
In the following years Mu'awiya's forces invaded and
plundered cities of Iraq,
which Ali's governors could not prevent and people did
not support him to fight with them.
Mu'awiya overpowered Egypt, Hijaz, Yemen and other
In the last year of Ali's Khilaafah, the mood in Kufa and
Basra changed in his favor as Mu'awiya's vicious conduct
of the war revealed the nature of his reign.
However the people's attitude toward Ali was deeply
The majority supported him due to their distrust and
opposition to Mu'awiya.
What shows Ali's policies and ideas of governing
is his instruction to Malik al-Ashtar,
when appointed by him as governor of Egypt.
This instruction, is considered by many Muslims and
even non-Muslims, as the ideal constitution for Islamic
involved detailed description of:
duties and rights of the ruler
and various functionaries of the state
and the main classes of society at that time.
Policies as Written to al-Ashtar
Ali wrote in his instruction to Malik al-Ashtar:
Infuse your heart with mercy, love and kindness for your subjects.
Be not in face of them a voracious animal, counting them as easy
for they are of two kinds:
either they are your brothers in religion
or your equals in creation.
Error catches them unaware, deficiencies overcome them, (evil deeds)
are committed by them intentionally and by mistake.
So grant them your pardon and your forgiveness to the same extent
that you hope God will grant you His pardon and His forgiveness.
For you are above them, and he who appointed you is above you, and
God is above him who appointed you.
God has sought from you the fulfillment of their requirements and He is
trying you with them.
Agriculture Versus Tax Collection
Since the majority of Ali's subjects were nomads
and peasants, he was concerned with
Ali instructed to Malik to give more attention to
development of the land
than to the collection of the tax,
because tax can only be obtained by the development
of the land
and whoever demands tax without developing the land
ruins the country and destroys the people.
In Sermon 93,
Ali: about of mischief of Benu Umayya
By Allah, you will find Benu Umayya (after
‫َواي ُم للاِ لَت َ ِجد َُّن بَنِي أ ُ َميَّةَ لَ ُكم‬
me) the worst people to deal with, just like
ُ ‫اب‬
ِ ‫ َكالنَّا‬،‫سوء َبعدِي‬
َ ‫أَر َب‬
ُ ِ‫ َوتَخب‬،‫ تَع ِذ ُم بِ ِفي َها‬:‫وس‬
an unruly camel biting, beating with its fore‫ط‬
َّ ‫ال‬
ِ ‫ض ُر‬
legs, kicking with its hind legs, and refusing
‫ َوتَمنَ ُع‬،‫ وتَز ِب ُن ِب ِرج ِل َها‬،‫ِبيَ ِدهَا‬
to be milked.
،‫دَ َّرهَا‬
Benu Umayya will persist till they leave only
‫الَ يَزَ الُونَ بِ ُكم َحتَّى الَ يَت ُر ُكوا‬
those who benefit them or of no harm to
َ ‫ أَو غَي َر‬،‫َمن ُكم ِإالَّ نَافِعا ً لَ ُهم‬
them. Their adversity would continue till your
َ‫ َوالَ َيزَ ا ُل َبلَ ُؤ ُهم َحتَّى ال‬،‫ِب ِهم‬
asking help from them becomes like a slave
‫ار أ َ َح ِد ُكم ِمن ُهم ِإالَّ مثل‬
ِ‫يَ ُكونَ انت‬
ُ ‫ص‬
seeking help from his master, or the laborer
ِ ‫ص‬
َّ ‫ َوال‬،‫ار ال َعب ِد ِمن َر ِب ِه‬
ِ ‫اح‬
َ ِ‫انت‬
ِ ‫ص‬
from his superior.
،‫ِمن ُمستَص ِح ِب ِه‬
Benu Umayya’s mischief would come like a
‫ت َ ِردُ َعلَي ُكم فِتنَت ُ ُهم شَو َها َء‬
feared evil or Jahiliyah practice, wherein
َ ِ‫ َوق‬،ً‫شيَّة‬
‫س فِي َها‬
َ ‫َمخ‬
َ ‫ لَي‬،ً‫طعا ً َجا ِه ِليَّة‬
there is no beacon of guidance nor a
‫ َوالَ َعلَم يُ َرى‬،‫ى‬
ُ ‫َمن‬
ً ‫َار ُهد‬
perception to be seen.
Prediction of the Prophet
About Ali’s end
30 years earlier, the
Muhammad said to Ali:
The most evil of
evildoers is the one
who will wet this
(beard) with the blood
from this (forehead)
‫إن أشقى األشـقـيين َمن‬
‫ب هذه بهذه‬
ُ ‫خض‬
ِ ُ‫ي‬
‫وأشار إلى لحيته ثم رأسه‬
Ibn Muljim, the Khariji
Ibn Muljim, one of the deviators (Khariji),
Along with 2 others planned to kill
Ibn Aas
These Khariji were involved in Nahrawan
They planned to avenge
Mu’awiya and Ibn Aas escaped being killed
But Ali was the only one killed
Ali Assassinated
Ibn Muljim with a poisoned sword, was in
hiding to kill Ali
Ali in Kufa Masjid had come to lead
morning prayer, it was dark with poor
It was the 19th of Ramadhan, Yr 40 Hijri
While Ali was in Sujood absorbed in prayer
Ibn Muljim jumped and hit Ali at the head
with his poisoned sword, it was a fatal blow.
Ali’s Assassination I
Upon being so wounded Ali said:
‫فزت ورب الكعبه‬
I have won by the Lord of the Ka’ba
A lot of commotion ensued
Taken home, Ali gave final advice to his
son Al-Hasan, and other children
Two days later he died on Leilatul Qadr 21st
of Ramadhan
Ali’s Assassination II
Ali’s last words were:
ُ‫فَ َمن يَع َمل ِمثقَا َل ذَ َّر ٍة خَي ًرا يَ َره‬
ُ‫َو َمن يَع َمل ِمثقَا َل ذَ َّر ٍة ش ًَّرا يَ َره‬
He with the slightest act of goodness will so
be rewarded
And he with the slightest act of evil deeds
will so be rewarded
Ali, while Wounded:
Though severely wounded:
Ali ordered his sons not to attack the Kharijis,
even though a single member of these Kharijis tried to kill him.
Ali said to his son, (Imam Hasan) that if he lives on he will
forgive ibn Muljim and free him,
however, in the event of his death, ibn Muljim should get one equal
hit and not more,
regardless if this man dies from that hit or not, just as Ali himself
received one hit from him (ibn Muljim).
Thus, Imam Hasan fulfilled Qisas ‫ قصاص‬and gave equal hurt to ibn
Muljim as he gave it to Ali.
Ali Wounded: Mosque of Kufa
Ali wounded in this mosque
Ali Wounded: Mosque of Kufa
Renovated Masjid and it's Qibla
According to Al-Sheikh Al-Mufid, Ali did not want his
grave to be desecrated by his enemies
and consequently asked his friends and family to bury him
This secret gravesite was revealed later during the Abbasi
Khilaafah by Imam Ja'far al-Saadiq, his descendant and the sixth
Shi'a Imam.
Most Shi'as accept that Ali is buried at the Tomb of Imam Ali in the
Imam Ali Mosque at what is now the city of Najaf,
which grew around the mosque and shrine called Masjid Ali.
The Final Burial Place of Ali.
After Ali's Death
After Ali's death, Kufa Muslims:
pledged allegiance to his eldest son Hasan without dispute,
as Ali on many occasions had declared that just Ahlul Bayt of
Muhammad were entitled to rule the Muslim community.
At this time, Mu'awiya held both Syria and Egypt
and, as commander by then of the largest force in the Muslim
he declared himself Khalifa
And he marched his army into Iraq, the seat of Al-Hasan's
Mu’awiya Subverts
Confrontation ensued during which Mu'awiya:
gradually subverted the generals and commanders of Al-Hasan's
with large sums of money and deceiving promises until a large
part of Al-Hasan’s army defected.
Finally, with the odds so high against him, Al-Hasan agreed to
make peace and yield the Khilaafah to Mu'awiya.
In this way Mu'awiya captured the Islamic Khilaafah and in every
way possible placed the severest pressure upon Ali's family and
his Shi'a.
Regular public cursing of Imam Ali in the congregational prayers
remained a vital institution which was not abolished for 90 years
(except during for the 2 year Khilaafah of Omar ibn Abdul Aziz).
Mu'awiya also established the Umayya Khilaafah, essentially a
centralized monarchy.
Madelung writes:
Umayya highhandedness, misrule, and repression were gradually to
turn the minority of Ali's admirers into a majority.
In the memory of later generations Ali became the ideal Commander
of the Faithful.
In face of the fake Umayya claim
to legitimate sovereignty in Islam as God's Vice-regents on earth,
and in view of Umayya treachery, arbitrary and divisive
government, and vindictive retribution,
they came to appreciate Ali's honesty, his unbending devotion to
the reign of Islam
his deep personal loyalties, his equal treatment of all his
and his generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies.
A birds-eye view
• The
phenomenon, the circumstance, the mode
of choice and selection of the Khalifas are to be
taken as they are
•This view is taken by the Sunni
A birds-eye view
The phenomenon would have been remarkably
different had the wishes of Prophet Muhammad
been observed.
This view is taken by the Shi’a
In Conclusion
Ali and his Khilaafah
Ali’s Policies and the Immediate Reforms
The Charismatic Character
First Fitna ‫( الفتنه‬Sedition)
Jamal Battle
Siffin ‫صفين‬
Kharijis ‫الخوارج‬
Mu'awiya's Plunders
Ali’s Assassination
Madelung writes:
Finally we quote the Quran:
By the Token of Time
Verily Man is in loss,
Except those who
believe and do good
works, and exhort one
another to Truth and
exhort one another to
ِ ‫ِبس ِم‬
‫الر ِح ِيم‬
َّ ‫من‬
َّ ‫للا‬
ِ ‫الرح‬
‫َوالعَص ِر‬
‫ان لَ ِفي ُخس ٍر‬
َ ‫س‬
َ ‫ِإ َّن اِالن‬
‫ع ِملُوا‬
َ ‫ِإال الَّ ِذ‬
َ ‫ين آ َمنُوا َو‬
ِ ‫صا ِل َحا‬
َّ ‫ال‬
َ ‫ت َوت َ َوا‬
ِ ‫صوا ِبال َح‬
‫صب ِر‬
َّ ‫صوا ِبال‬
َ ‫َوت َ َوا‬
Be in God’s Care
Dr. A.S. Hashim