If one were to scan through the annals of history, one would find the life stories of many great personalities. Men who influenced the lives of those around them, creating a new way of thinking and in all formed new ideologies. However, most of their lives have been tainted with stories of their greed, lust and hunger for power. As one continues to search through the books of our past, one would come to realise that the most influential people to have lived, were none other than the beloved companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Motivated by none other than Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself, their lives tell a tale of honesty, trustworthiness and the ultimate in self-sacrifice. Thus, their noble qualities and outstanding character effectively earned them the title of being the greatest group of people to have ever walked upon the face of the earth, after the ambiya’ ‘alayhimus salam. This is the biography of one such companion, Sayyidina Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Both sides agreed to refer to arbitration after the end of the Battle of Siffin. Each side was to appoint a man as an arbitrator to represent it, and then the two arbitrators were to reach an agreement that was in the best interests of the Muslims.
Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and a document was written concerning that. The place where the two arbitrators were to meet was Dowmat al Jandal, in the month of Ramadan 37 A.H.
Some of ‘Ali’s army thought that this action was a sin that implied disbelief and that he should repent to Allah, they rebelled against him and became known as the Khawarij. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu to debate with them, then ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself debated with them. A group of them re-joined him, but others refused, and there were battles between them and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which weakened and exhausted his forces. They kept causing trouble until they assassinated him; we will discuss this in detail below.
The issue of arbitration is regarded as one of the most serious issues in the history of the Rightly Guided Khulafa’. Many writers lost their way when discussing it and wrote about it in a confused manner in their books. They relied on weak and fabricated reports that distorted the image of the noble Sahabah, especially Abu Musa al Ash’ari. He was described as a feebleminded and weak character who was easily deceived with words, and as a man who was so heedless that he was tricked by ‘Amr ibn al ‘As with regard to the matter of arbitration.
They described ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu as a crafty and deceitful man. These writers, who had ulterior motives; and a grudge against Islam, tried to ascribe to these two great men many blameworthy characteristics, even though these were the two men whom the Muslims chose to make a decision regarding a serious dispute that had led to the killing of many Muslims. Many historians, writers and researchers treated these reports, which were fabricated by the opponents of the Sahabah, as if they were historical facts.
People accepted them without examining them, as if they were sound and as if there was no doubt concerning them. It may be because of the exciting, narrative style in which they were written, or because the claims of trickery and deceit made people interested in it and made the historians keen to write it down. We are speaking about the details of what happened, not the issue of arbitration itself; because there is no doubt that it took place.
I decided to begin this discussion with a look at the biography of the two great Sahabah, Abu Musa al Ash’ari and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
Biography of Abu Musa al Ash‘ari
His full name was ‘Abdullah ibn Qays ibn Haddar ibn Harb. He was the great leader and Sahabi of the Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Abu Musa al Ash’ari al Tamimi, the prominent scholar and reciter of Qur’an.
Abu Musa became Muslim during the early days in Makkah. Ibn Sa’d said:
He came to Makkah and formed an alliance with Sa’id ibn al ‘As. He became Muslim early on and migrated to Abyssinia.
Some reports say that he went back to his people to call them to Allah. Ibn Hajar reconciled the reports about his becoming Muslim, saying:
There is some confusion about the reports that said that Abu Musa migrated to Abyssinia, because what is mentioned in the sound report is that Abu Musa left his land with a group of people, heading towards Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in Khaybar. It is possible to reconcile these reports by noting that Abu Musa migrated first to Makkah, where he became Muslim, and Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent him with those whom he sent to Abyssinia. Abu Musa went to his people’s land, which was opposite Abyssinia on the eastern side. When he realised that Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Sahabah had settled in Madinah, he headed for Madinah, along with those of his people who had become Muslim, but the ship that was carrying them ended up in Abyssinia because the wind blew it off course. That is possible and thus the reports may be reconciled and should be adopted.
The badge of honour that the Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam pinned to the chest of Abu MusaBack to top
a. “You migrated twice: your migration to Abyssinia and your migration to me.”
It was narrated that Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
We set out from Yemen with more than fifty of my people. We were three brothers: I, Abu Ruhm and Abu ‘Amir. But our ship took us to Abyssinia, where Jafar and his companions were, and we came when Khaybar was conquered. The Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “You migrated twice: your migration to Abyssinia and your migration to me.”
It was also narrated that Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
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The Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Tomorrow people will come to you whose hearts are more receptive to Islam than yours.” The Ash’aris came, and when they drew close they began to recite poetry: “Tomorrow we will meet all our loved ones, Muhammad and his party.” When they arrived, they shook hands; they were the first ones to start the tradition of shaking hands.”
b. “They are your people, O Abu Musa.”
It was narrated that ‘Iyad al Ash’ari said:
فَسَوْفَ یَاْتِی اللّٰهُ بِقَوْمٍ یُّحِبُّهُمْ وَیُحِبُّوْنَه
When the verse, (Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him). was revealed, the Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “They are your people, O Abu Musa.” and he pointed to him.Back to top
c. “O Allah forgive ‘Abdullah ibn Qays for his sins, and admit him to a gate of great honour on the Day of Resurrection.”
It was narrated that Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
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When Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had finished with Hunayn, he sent Abu ‘Amir al Ash’ari at the head of an army to Awtas, where he met Durayd ibn al Sammah. Durayd was killed, and Allah caused his Sahabah to be defeated. Abu ‘Amir was struck in the knee with an arrow, and it was stuck in his knee. I came to him and said: “O uncle, who struck you?” Abu ‘Amir pointed him out, and I went and caught up with him, but he ran away when he saw me. I started saying: “Do you not feel ashamed? Are you not an Arab? Will you not you stand firm?” So he stopped, and we met and traded blows; then I killed him. I went back to Abu ‘Amir and said: “Allah has killed your opponent.” He said: “Pull this arrow out.” I pulled it out, and water came out of the wound. He said: “O son of my brother, go to the Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and convey greetings of salam to him from me, and say to him: ‘Abu ‘Amir says to you: Pray for forgiveness for me.’” Abu ‘Amir appointed me in charge of the people, and it was not long before he died. When we returned, I told Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam what had happened. He made wudu’, then he raised his hands until I could see the whiteness of his armpits, and he said: “O Allah, forgive Abu ‘Amir. Then he said: “O Allah, on the Day of Resurrection make him above many of Your creation.” I said: “And me, O Rasul of Allah?” He said: “0 Allah, forgive ‘Abdullah ibn Qays (Abu Musa) for his sins, and admit him to a gate of great honour on the Day of Resurrection.”
d. “This one has rejected glad tidings; you two should accept it.”
It was narrated that Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
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I was with the Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in al Ji’ranah when a Bedouin came and said: “Will you fulfil your promise to me, O Muhammad?” The Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to him: “Be of good cheer.” The Bedouin said to him: “How often you say to me, ‘Be of good cheer.’” The Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam turned to Bilal and me, saying: “This one has rejected glad tidings; you two should accept it.” We said: “We accept it, O Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” The Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called for a vessel of water. He washed his hands and face in it and rinsed his mouth, then he said: “Drink from it and pour some on your heads and chests.” We did that, and Umm Salamah called out to us from behind the curtain: “Leave some of that which is in your vessel for your mother.” So we left some of it for her.
e. “He has been given a beautiful voice like that of Dawood.”
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn Buraydah that his father said:
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I came out of the mosque one night and saw Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam standing at the door of the mosque, and a man was praying. He said to me: “O Buraydah, do you think he is showing off?” I said: “Allah and His Rasul know best.” He said: ‘Rather he is a devoted believer. He has been given a beautiful voice like that of Dawood.” I went to him and saw that he was Abu Musa al Ash’ari, and I told him.
f. “O ‘Abdullah ibn Qays, shall I not tell you of one of the treasures of paradise?”
It was narrated that Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
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We were with Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on a journey, and the people were climbing a hill. Every time a man reached the top of a hill, he would say: “There is none worthy of worship other than Allah and Allah is the Greatest.” -and I think he said it at the top of his voice. The Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was on his mule, climbing up the mountain. He said: “O people, you are not calling upon One Who is deaf or absent.” Then he said: “O ‘Abdullah ibn Qays – or O Abu Musa – shall I not tell you of one of the treasures of paradise?” I said: “Yes, O Rasul of Allah.” He said: “Say: “There is no might and no power except with Allah.”
g. “Be easy going, and do not be harsh. Give glad tidings, and do not put people off.”
The Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed Abu Musa in charge of Zubaid and ‘Adn. It was narrated from Abu Musa that when Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent him to Yemen with Muaz radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he advised them:
Be easy going, and do not be harsh. Give glad tidings, and do not put people off.
Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to him:
In our land, there is a drink called al tabagh that is made from honey, and there is another drink called al mizr that is made from barley.
Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
Every intoxicant is haram.
Then both of them went on their way and later Muaz radiya Llahu ‘anhu asked Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
How do you recite the Qur’an?
Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied:
I recite it in my prayer and when riding my mount, standing and sitting, a little at a time.
Muaz radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
I sleep then I get up, so I hope for reward from Allah when I sleep as I seek reward from Him for my night prayer.
The status of Abu Musa in the view of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab
He was also one of the founders of the Basri school at the time of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu; he went to Basrah and taught there.
He was regarded as one of the most knowledgeable of the Sahabah. He was influenced by ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and there was correspondence between them; this is mentioned in the discussion of the institutions of governors and judges.
Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu was famous for his knowledge, worship, piety, modesty, dignity, lack of interest in worldly gains and steadfastness in adhering to Islam. He is regarded as one of the senior scholars, jurists and muftis among the Sahabah. He was mentioned by al Dhahabi in Tadhkirat al Huffaz as being at the highest level of the Sahabah. He was knowledgeable and acted upon his knowledge. He was a righteous man who constantly recited the Book of Allah, and he had the most beautiful voice when reciting Qur’an. He was the most knowledgeable of the people of Basrah in Qur’an and in deep understanding of Islam, and he conveyed that excellent and blessed knowledge.
He spent a great deal of time with Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he learned from senior Sahabah such as ‘Umar, ‘Ali, Ubay ibn Ka’b and ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Abu Musa was influenced in particular by ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, who gave him a great deal of advice and sent letters to him during his lengthy governorship of Basrah.
Abu Musa used to refer to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu concerning all cases that came to him, to the extent that al Sha’bi regarded him as one of the leading and most famous judges of the ummah. He said:
The judges of the ummah are ‘Umar, ‘Ali, Zaid ibn Thabit and Abu Musa.
When Abu Musa came to Madinah, he was keen to attend ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu gatherings and sometimes spent a long time with him. It was narrated from Abu Bakr ibn ‘Umar that Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu after the evening prayer, and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to him: What brings you here?
He replied: I have come to talk to you.
‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said: At this hour?
He said: It is to discuss a matter of knowledge.
So ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu sat down, and they talked for a long time, then Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu said: The prayer, O Amir al Mu’minin.
‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said: We are in a state of prayer.
Just as Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu was keen to seek knowledge, he was also enthusiastic about spreading that knowledge and teaching people. In his sermons, he would teach the people and encourage them to learn. It was narrated that Abu al Muhallab said:
I heard Abu Musa on his mimbar saying: “Whoever is granted knowledge by Allah let him teach it, but he should not speak of that of which he has no knowledge, lest he become one of those who make things up and thus go beyond the pale of Islam.
Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu made the masjid of Basrah a centre for his academic activity, and he allocated a large portion of his time to academic gatherings. He did not stop there, though; he did not let any opportunity pass without making the most of it to teach and educate the people. After he said the salam at the end of the prayer, he would turn to face the people, teaching them and checking on their recitation of the noble Qur’an.
Ibn Shawdhab said:
When Abu Musa had prayed the dawn prayer, he would turn to face the rows of people and ask them to recite, one by one.
Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu was well known among the Sahabah for his beautiful voice and recitation. The people would gather around him when they heard him reading. When Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu sat with him, ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu would ask him to recite for him whatever he could of Qur’an.
Allah enabled him to teach the Muslims, and he did all he could to teach Qur’an and spread it among the people in every land he stayed in. The people would gather around him to hear his beautiful voice and recitation. Seekers of knowledge crowded around him in the masjid of Basrah, and he divided them into groups arranged in circles. He would go around reciting to them, listening to them and correcting their recitation.
The noble Qur’an was his main preoccupation; he devoted most of his time to it, whether or not he was not travelling. It was narrated that Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
Al Ash’ari sent me to ‘Umar, and ‘Umar said: “How was al Ash’ari when you left him?” I said: “I left him teaching people the Qur’an.” He said: ‘He is wise and smart, but do not tell him (that I said that).”
Even when he went out for jihad, he would teach and educate others. It was narrated that Hattab ibn ‘Abdullah al Riqashi said:
We were with Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu in an army on the banks of the Tigris when the time of prayer came, so his caller gave the call for the zuhr salah. The people went to perform wudu’, and he made wudu’. He led them in salah, and then they sat in a circle. When the time came for the ‘Asr salah, his caller gave the call for that prayer, and the people got up to do wudu’ again. His caller said: “No wudu’ is required except for the one who broke his wudu.”
His academic efforts bore fruit, and he had the joy of seeing large numbers of people around him who had memorised the noble Qur’an and had become scholars. In Basrah alone, their number was more than three hundred. When ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu asked his employees to send him the names of those who had memorised the Qur’an, so that he could honour them and increase their stipends, Abu Musa wrote to him, telling him that the number of people with him who had learned the Qur’an by heart were three hundred plus.
Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu also paid attention to teaching and narrating the Sunnah. A number of Sahabah and senior Tabi’in narrated from him. Al Dhahabi rahimahu Llah said:
Buraydah ibn al Husayb, Abu Umamah al Bahili, Abu Sa’id al Khudri, Anas ibn Malik, Tariq ibn Shihab, Sa’id ibn al Musayyab, Aswad ibn Yazid, Abu Wa’il Shaqiq ibn Salamah, Abu ‘Uthman al Nahdi and others narrated from him.
He (Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu) adhered strongly to the Sunnah of Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam this is indicated by his conduct during his life and by what he instructed his children to do after he died. Despite his great enthusiasm for the Sunnah, he did not narrate a large number of ahadith, and this was true of the senior Sahabah; they were very cautious in narrating from Rasul ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
One of the people who were close to Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu in Basrah was Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who is regarded as one of his inner circle. It was narrated from Thabit that Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
We were with Abu Musa on a journey, and the people were talking and mentioning worldly matters. Abu Musa said: “O Anas, these people are talking too much. Come; let us remember our Rabb for a while.” Then he said: “What slowed the people down (in pursuing matters of the hereafter)?” I said: “Worldly matters, Satan and whims and desires.” He said: “No, it is the fact that this world is close, and they can see it, while the hereafter is hidden from them. By Allah, if they could see it with their own eyes, they would not drift or turn away from it.”
Since Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu trusted Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he appointed him to be his envoy to Amir al Mu’minin ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
Abu Musa al Ash’ari sent me from Basrah to ‘Umar, who asked me about the people’s situation.
After the battle of Tastar, Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent him to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu with the prisoners and booty, and he took its Persian commander Hurmuzan to ‘Umar.
Governorship of Abu Musa at the time of ‘Umar and ‘Uthman
Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu is rightfully regarded as the most famous of the governors of Basrah during the time of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu. During the time of Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu, many places in Persia were conquered; he used to go out for jihad himself, and he would send the commanders in different directions from Basrah. The period of his governorship was filled with jihad, and the people of Basrah managed to conquer a number of important places, including al Ahwaz and its environs. Abu Musa cooperated with neighbouring governors in many wars and conquests. He put a great deal of effort into organising the conquered regions, appointing governors over them, securing them and organising their affairs.
There was a great deal of correspondence between Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu and ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu concerning different issues, and ‘Umar gave him valuable advice about how he should deal with the people when he received them in his councils, and about fearing Allah and trying to help the people. ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
The most blessed of people is the one whose subjects are blessed because of him, and the most wretched of people is the one whose subjects are wretched because of him. Beware of indulging in the people’s wealth, lest the people working for you also indulge; then your example would be like that of the animal that looks at the green land and starts grazing in order to grow fat, but its death will be caused by its fatness.
There are a number of letters between ‘Umar and Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhuma relating to various administrative and executive issues that Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu was taking care of with the help of instructions from ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Most of this correspondence has been compiled by Muhammad Hamid Allah in his valuable book on political documents.
The period of Abu Musa’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu governorship in Basrah is regarded as one of its best periods, to the extent that one of the descendants of the people of Basrah, namely Hassan al Basri rahimahu Llah said:
No rider ever came and brought more blessing to its people than Abu Musa.
That was because Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu, in addition to being a governor, was the best teacher of its people, as he taught them the Qur’an and various matters of religion.
A number of cities in Persia were conquered during the khilafah of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They were put under the administration of Basrah and run by its governor, who appointed workers to be in charge of them; these employees were under his authority and reported to him directly. Thus Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu is regarded as one of the greatest governors of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and the correspondence between ‘Umar and Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhuma is regarded as one of the most important sources for shedding light on Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu conduct with his governors and explaining the way he dealt with them.
‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, in his instructions to the khulafa’ who would come after him, recommended that no governor whom he had appointed should be left in his post for more than a year except for Abu Musa al Ash’ari, whom he said should be left in his post for four years.
Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu was also appointed as the judge during the time of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote him a letter about judiciary matters. The guidance in this letter may benefit any judge, or indeed any administrator, in any time or place.
Ibn al Qayyim said concerning it:
This is an important letter, which the scholars welcomed and used as a basis for rulings on passing judgment and giving testimony. Muftis are in urgent need of studying it and learning what is in it.
Abu Musa was also appointed as a governor at the time of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who asked him to be the judge in Basrah. When ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was killed, Abu Musa was the governor of Kufah, and when ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed as khalifah, Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted the oath of allegiance for him from the people of Kufah, because he had been its governor for ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
When ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was in Dhu Qar and urged the people of Kufah to lend him their support, Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu saw the beginning of fitnah and division among the Muslims. He advised the people of Kufah to stay in their houses and keep away from this issue, because it was fitnah in which one who was sitting would be better than one who was standing, and one who was standing would be better than one who were walking. Because of his difference of opinion with the khalifah, he was dismissed from his position as governor of Kufah.
From the time he became a Muslim, Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu spent his life spreading Islam and teaching knowledge to the people, especially the Qur’an, as he was famous for his recitation; taking part in jihad for the sake of Allah and encouraging others to do so; judging disputes between people; spreading justice; and running the affairs of the province by means of the judiciary and administration.
There is no doubt that these tasks are difficult and require unique skills and characteristics of knowledge, understanding, quick wit, cleverness, piety and asceticism. Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu had an abundant share of these characteristics. The Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and then the four Rightly Guided Khulafa’ after him relied on Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Can it be imagined that the Rasul of Allah ‘salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then the khulafa’, who succeeded him, relied on a man who could be tricked in such a way as is narrated in the story of arbitration?
The fact that Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu was chosen by ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions to be an arbitrator on behalf of the people of Iraq is in complete harmony with the sequence of events, because the next stage was to be the stage of reconciliation and uniting the Muslims. Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu was one of those who had called for reconciliation and peace; at the same time, he was loved and trusted by the tribes of Iraq. The earlier sources state that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is the one who chose Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Khalifah says in his Tarikh:
In that year (37 A.H) the two arbitrators met: Abu Musa al Ash’ari on behalf of ‘Ali and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As on behalf of Muawiyah.
Ibn Sa’d said:
The people got fed up with war and were calling for peace. They appointed two arbitrators. ‘Ali appointed Abu Musa al Ash’ari, and Muawiyah appointed ‘Amr ibn al ‘As.
Hence we can say that the reports about the role attributed to the pious, devoted worshippers at Siffin – of being responsible for stopping the fighting and resorting to arbitration, and imposing Abu Musa as an arbitrator – are no more than historical lies that were fabricated by the Shia storytellers, who never stopped fabricating and distorting the history of Islam by means of false reports.
It annoyed them that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu seemed to be someone who showed compassion to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the people of Syria and wanted to reconcile with their traditional enemies. On the other hand, these Shia considered their enemies the Khawarij to be responsible, but they made the Khawarij’s actions contradict themselves; the Khawarij are the ones who allegedly forced ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to accept the arbitration, and they are also the ones who rebelled against him because of his accepting the arbitration.
This brief look at the character of Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu is strongly connected to our topic, the life and times of Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu was one of the people who had a profound impact on his era, but his character has been subjected to distortion. In most cases, whenever anyone discussed Siffin and the arbitration, the characters of Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu were subjected to distortion, lies and fabrications because of weak and fabricated reports. Hence it is necessary to talk about the biographies of these two great men and this is one of the aims of writing this book.
 Marwiyat Abu Mikhnaf fi Tarikh al Tabari, p. 378; Tanzih Khal al Mu’minin Muawiyah; p. 38
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 2/381
 Al Tabaqat, 4/107
 Fath; al Bari, 7/189
 Muslim, no. 2502
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 2/384. Its chain of narration is sound.
 Surah, al Maidah: 54
 al Mustadrak, 2/313 – classed as sound by al Hakim and adh-Dhahabi agreed with him; Siyar A ‘lam an-Nubala’, 4/238
 See an-Nisa’ 4:31
 Muslim, no. 2498
 al Ji’ranah: between Makkah and at-Ta’if, closer to Makkah.
 Muslim, no. 2497
 Muslim, no 793; Majma’ az-Zawa’id, 9/358
 Muslim, no. 2704
 Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat, p. 97; Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah, 2/226
 Muslim, no. 1733; al Bukhari, 4344
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/114
 Op. cit., 7/88
 Tafsir at-Tabi’in, 1143
 Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, 2/389
 Muhammad Tahmaz: Abu Musa al Ash’ari al Sahabi al ‘Alim al Mujahid,p. 121
 Al Tabaqat, 4/107
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 2/298
 Abu Musa al Ash’ari al Sahabi al ‘Alim, p. 125, 126; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 2/391
 Abu Musa al Ash’ari al Sahabi al ‘Alim, p. 127; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 2/389
 Al Tabaqat, 4/108. Its men are trustworthy.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 2/390
 Abu Musa al Ash’ari, p. 129
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 2/381
 ‘Abdul Hamid Tamhaz: Anas ibn Malik al Khadim al Amin, p. 135
 Tarikh al Tabari, 5/66
 Ibn al Jawzi: Manaqib ‘Umar, p. 130
 Al Watha’iq al Siyasiyyah li l-’Ahd al Nabawi wa l-Khilafah al Rashidah
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 2/389
 Al Wilayah ‘ala al Buldan, 11120
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 2/391
 ‘Abdul Hamid: Khilafah ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, p. 262
 A’lam al Muwaqqi’in, 11186
 Fath al Bari, 13/53; Al Tarikh al Saghir, 11/109
 ‘Abdul Hamid: Khilafah ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, p. 262
 Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi l-Fitnah, 2/227
 Tarikh Khalifah, p. 191, 192
 Al Tabaqat, 3/32
 Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah, 2/215Back to top