Chapter Four – Evolving of Initial Shi’ism and the First Shia & the Era of the Saba’iyyah after the Martyrdom of Sayyidina ‘Uthman and during the Time of Sayyidina ‘Ali

Chapter Three – The Shia and their Reviling of the Possessor of Two Lights radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and the Corruption the Saba’iyyah spread during his time
December 15, 2022
Chapter Five – The Sects of the Shia, their History and Beliefs
March 28, 2023

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Chapter Four

Evolving of Initial Shi’ism and the First Shia & the Era of the Saba’iyyah after the Martyrdom of Sayyidina ‘Uthman and during the Time of Sayyidina ‘Ali



Our object for writing this book is not to relate historical events. Rather, our object is to relate the history of the Saba’iyyah and the horrible ideologies they formulated, the crimes and felonies they perpetrated, and the disgraceful and shocking offences they committed. However, since we are obligated to relate the history of this rebellious group who formulated certain corrupt ideologies in Islam and formed particular sects, we are forced to present some historical events in which the Saba’iyyah played a major role. In fact, those events would not have taken place if not for their plots and conspiracies. With the ability given by Allah, His design, and His facilitation, this will produce a separate book on these events and incidents, free from fairy tales and children stories, bereft of fictitious tales of the past, and untainted with lies and falsehood—the falsehood which the enemies of Islam and the enemies of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have been capitalising on for too long to attack the pious predecessors and elders of the Ummah. And this is effortless for Allah. Our discussion will be restricted to the incidents connected to our topic. We will refrain from other events not directly related to our topic, intending conciseness, not wordiness and prolixity.


The Unstable Situation in Madinah after ‘Uthman’s Murder and the Search for a Khalifah

After the oppressed Khalifah and Imam, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was murdered, Madinah remained five days without an Amir—or the Amir was one of the killers of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu or al Ghafiqi ibn Harb who was surrounded by the Saba’iyyah and the murderers of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Their ideas were diverse on whom to appoint the khalifah after Amir al Mu’minin ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu; except the Saba’iyyah who were only calling the name of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They hid behind him, whereas he had nothing to do with them.

It has passed that ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, the cunning Jew behind all these conspiracies, was among the Egyptians. The opinions of the ignoble, riffraff, rebellious tyrants[1] differed. Some desired Talhah, others desired Zubair, while others desired ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Each of them [Talhah, Zubair, and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhum] refused and rejected the offer due to the rebels’ wickedness, tyranny, and involvement in the evil conspiracy to destroy the structure of Islam, the Islamic State, and its vast expanse; the land which never expanded except during the golden era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu; an era unmatched in the history of Islam considering extensive wars and conquests. They thus became despondent of these three men. Thereafter, they approached Sayyidina Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu—Conqueror of Iran—as well as the son of the Khalifah al Faruq al A’zam, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Their answer was the same as the answer of the three of the ten promised Jannat. Read what the earliest Historian al Tabari writes, which Ibn Kathir, Ibn al Athir, Ibn Khaldun, and others corroborate:


حدثنا محمد بن عبد الله وطلحة بن الأعلم وأبو حارثة وأبو عثمان قالوا بقيت المدينة بعد قتل عثمان رضي الله عنه خمسة أيام وأميرها الغافقي بن حرب يلتمسون من يجيبهم إلى القيام بالأمر فلا يجدونه يأتي المصريون عليًّا فيختبئ منهم ويلوذ بحيطان المدينة فإذا لقوه باعدهم وتبرأ منهم ومن مقالتهم مرة بعد مرة ويطلب الكوفيون الزبير فلا يجدونه فأرسلوا إليه حيث هو رسلاً فتبرأ من مقالتهم ويطلب البصريون طلحة فإذا لقيهم باعدهم وتبرأ من مقالتهم مرة بعد مرة وكانوا مجتمعين على قتل عثمان مختلفين فيمن يهوون فلما لم يجدوا ممالئًا ولا مجيبًا جمعهم الشر على أول من أجابهم وقالوا لا نولي أحدًا من هؤلاء الثلاثة فبعثوا إلى سعد بن أبي وقاص وقالوا إنك من أهل الشورى فرأينا فيك مجتمع فأقدم نبايعك فبعث إليهم أني وابن عمر خرجنا منها فلا حاجة لي فيها على حال وتمثل لا تخلطن خبيثات بطيبة … واخلع ثيابك منها وانج عريانا ثم إنهم أتوا ابن عمر عبد الله فقالوا أنت ابن عمر فقم بهذا الأمر فقال إن لهذا الأمر انتقامًا والله لا أتعرض له فالتمسوا غيري فبقوا حيارى لا يدرون ما يصنعون والأمر أمرهم

Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah, Talhah ibn al A’lam, Abu Harithah, and Abu ‘Uthman narrated to us:

Madinah remained for five days after the murder of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu with the leader being al Ghafiqi ibn Harb. They [the rebels] searched for who will assume responsibility of the Ummah, with no luck. The Egyptians approached ‘Ali who hid away from them and took refuge in one of the orchards of Madinah. When they would meet him, he would dissociate from them and declare his innocence from them and their fighting, over and over. The Kufans searched for Zubair but did not find him. They sent messengers to him where he was, and he distanced himself from their fight. The Basrans searched for Talhah who would distance himself and dissociate from their killing over and over when they met him. They [the rebels] were unanimous in assassinating ‘Uthman but differed regarding whom they desired.

When they did not find any inclination or answer, evil gathered them upon the first to respond positively to them. They said, “We will not appoint any of these three as khalifah.” They sent a message to Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas saying, “You are from the members of the council. We are unanimous upon you. Come, allow us to pledge allegiance to you.”

He sent a message to them, “Ibn ‘Umar and I have rejected it. I do not have any need for it in any condition. He then recited: Evil will not join with the pure. Remove your clothes from it and be saved while naked.”

They then approached ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar and said, “You are the son of ‘Umar. Take responsibility of this matter.”

He said, “There is certainly vengeance for this matter. By Allah, I will not undertake it, so look for someone else.”

They remained dismayed and perplexed, not knowing what to do. The affair was still in their hands.[2]


Their confusion was due to their knowledge that if someone assumed responsibility of the affair without their consultation and their opinion, he would command their execution and take retribution from them for the oppressed Imam, the Khalifah of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the husband of his two daughters, his paternal cousin, one who established the truth, the benevolent and modest, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Ibn Kathir writes this clearly in the narration he documents. When the rebels became desponded of all and were perplexed in the matter, they sighed:


إن نحن رجعنا إلى أمصارنا بعد قتل عثمان بغير إمرة اختلف الناس في إمرتهم ولم نسلم

If we return to our cities after ‘Uthman’s murder without appointing a leader, people will differ in the matter and we will not accept [whom they appoint].[3]


They came to the residents of Madinah and gathered them:


فوجدوا سعدًا والزبير خارجين ووجدوا طلحة في حائطه ووجدوا بني أمية قد هربوا إلا من لم يطق الهرب وهرب الوليد وسعيد إلى مكة في أول من خرج وتبعهم مروان وتتابع على ذلك من تتابع فلما اجتمع لهم أهل المدينة قال لهم أهل مصر أنتم أهل الشورى وأنتم تعقدون الإمامة وأمركم عابر على الأمة فانظروا رجلاً تنصبونه ونحن لكم تبع … فقد أجلناكم يومين فوالله لئن لم تفرغوا لنقتلن غدًا عليًّا وطلحة والزبير وأناسًا كثيرًا فغشي الناس عليًّا فقالوا نبايعك فقد ترى ما نزل بالإسلام وما ابتلينا به من ذي القربى

They realised that Sa’d and Zubair departed and found Talhah in his orchard. They understood that the Banu Umayyah fled, except those who could not flee. Walid and Sa’id fled to Makkah among the first to flee. Marwan followed them with others.

When the residents of Madinah gathered before them, the Egyptians said to them, “You are men of council. You determine Imamah, and your decision is binding upon the Ummah. Find a person you wish to appoint and we will follow you. We give you two days respite. By Allah, if you do not settle the matter, we will most certainly kill ‘Ali, Talhah, Zubair, and many other men tomorrow.”

People chose ‘Ali and said, “We pledge allegiance to you. You have witnessed what has happened to Islam and what we have been afflicted with from the relatives.”[4]


Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu responded to them saying—and this has been transmitted in the purest Shia book according to them i.e., Nahj al Balaghah:


دعوني والتمسوا غيري فإنا مستقبلون أمرًا له وجوه وألوان لا تقوم له القلوب ولا تثبت عليه العقول وإن الآفاق قد أغامت والمحجة قد تنكرت واعلموا أني إن أجبتكم ركبت بكم ما أعلم ولم أصغ إلى قول القائل وعتب العاتب وإن تركتموني فأنا كأحدكم ولعلي أسمعكم وأطوعكم لمن ولّيتموه أمركم وأنا لكم وزيرًا خير لكم مني أميراً

Spare me and seek someone else. You are facing a matter which has many angles and forms. Hearts are not game for it and minds are not settled for it. The horizons have become cloudy and the plain is estranged. Know that if I respond positively to you, I will burden you with what I know and I will not pay attention to random statements or random criticisms. If you leave me, then I am an ordinary person like you. Probably, I will be the best listener and the most obedient of you to whom you hand over authority. I am better off as your minister than as your ruler.[5][6]


Al Tabari, from the Historians of the Ahlus Sunnah, documents this in his Tarikh[7] and so does Ibn al Athir in al Kamil[8].


‘Ali is sworn in as Khalifah

However, people pressured ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to assume the position.


وأخذ الأشتر بيده فبايعه وبايعه الناس من بايعه

Al Ashtar grabbed his hand and pledged allegiance to him and the people followed suit.[9]


Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu mentioned this in his letter sent to the Egyptians or in the lecture he delivered, transmitted by the Shia:


حتى إذا نقمتم على عثمان أتيتموه فقتلتموه ثم جئتموني لتبايعوني فأبيت عليكم وأمسكت يدي فنازعتموني ودافعتموني وبسطتم يدي فكففتها ومددتموها فقبضتها وازدحمتم عليّ حتى ظننت أن بعضكم قاتل بعضكم أو أنكم قاتليّ فقلتم بايعنا لا نجد غيرك ولا نرضى إلا بك بايعنا لا نفترق ولا تختلف كلمتنا فبايعتكم ودعوت الناس إلى بيعتي فمن بايع طوعًا قبلته ومن أبى لم أكرهه وتركته

When you detested ‘Uthman, you advanced towards him and killed him. You then approached me to pledge allegiance to me and I refused and withheld my hand. You forced and coerced me and outstretched my hand, yet I withheld it and you opened it, yet I closed it. You crowded over me to the extent that I thought you would kill one another or take my life. You stated, “Accept our allegiance; we do not find anyone besides you and are not pleased with anyone except you. Accept our allegiance; we will never disunite and our call will remain united.” I accepted your allegiance and called people to it. Whoever pledged allegiance willfully, I accepted it and I did not force the one who refused and let him be.[10]


Al Sharif al Radi quotes a similar text in Nahj al Balaghah in the chapter of the issue of Bay’ah.[11]


Some Sahabah do not Pledge Allegiance

Those who pledged allegiance did just that while others who did not find the suitable environment and time did not. Some of the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who did not pledge allegiance are listed by the Historians:


ثم بايعه الناس وجاءوا بسعد فقال لعليّ حتى يبايعك الناس فقال أخلوه وجاءوا بابن عمر فقال كذلك فقال ائتني بكفيل قال لا أجده فقال الأشتر دعني أقتله فقال دعني أنا كفيله وبايعت الأنصار وتأخر منهم حسان بن ثابت وكعب بن مالك ومسلمة بن خالد وأبو سعيد الخدري ومحمد بن مسلمة والنعمان بن بشير وزيد بن ثابت ورافع بن خديج وفضالة بن عبيد وكعب بن عجرة وسلمة بن سلامة بن وقش وتأخر من المهاجرين عبد الله بن سلام وصهيب بن سنان وأسامة بن زيد وقدامة بن مظعون والمغيرة بن شعبة وأما النعمان بن بشير فأخذ أصابع نائلة امرأة عثمان وقميصه الذي قتل فيه ولحق بالشام صريخًا

People then pledged allegiance to him. They brought Sa’d who said to ‘Ali, “Not until all the people pledge allegiance to you.”

Ali commanded, “Leave him.”

They brought Ibn ‘Umar who said the same thing. ‘Ali said, “Bring me a guarantee.”

“I do not find one,” he replied.

Al Ashtar said, “Let me kill him.”

‘Ali said, “Leave him. I stand guarantee for him.”

The Ansar pledged allegiance while Hassan ibn Thabit, Ka’b ibn Malik, Maslamah ibn Khalid, Abu Sa’id al Khudri, Muhammad ibn Maslamah, No’man ibn Bashir, Zaid ibn Thabit, Rafi’ ibn Khadij, Fudalah ibn ‘Ubaid, Ka’b ibn ‘Ujrah, and Salamah ibn Salamah ibn Waqsh did not. From the Muhajirin, ‘Abdullah ibn Salam, Suhayb ibn Sinan, Usamah ibn Zaid, Qudamah ibn Maz’un, and Mughirah ibn Shu’bah did not pledge allegiance. As for No’man ibn Bashir, he took the fingers of Na’ilah—’Uthman’s wife—as well as his shirt in which he was martyred and reached Syria crying.[12]


وأما طلحة فقال بايعت والسيف فوق رأسي

Talhah said, “I pledged allegiance with the sword over my head.”[13]


Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:


جاءني لص من لصوص عبد القيس فبايعت واللجة في عنقي

One of the thieves of ‘Abdul Qais came to me so I pledged allegiance while the dagger was on my neck.[14]


Another narration states:


جاء القوم بطلحة فقالوا بايع فقال إني أبايع كرهًا … ثم جيء بالزبير فقال مثل ذلك

The people brought Talhah and commanded him to pledge allegiance. He said, “I pledge allegiance under duress.” Zubair was then brought and he made a similar statement.[15]


A group said:


إنما بايعنا على شرط إقامة الحدود في قتلة عثمان

We only pledged allegiance on condition that legal action be taken against the murderers of ‘Uthman.[16]


It was said: Talhah pledged allegiance, while Zubair, Salamah ibn Salamah, and Usamah ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhum did not.[17]

Al Mada’ini cites from al Zuhri:


هرب قوم من المدينة إلى الشام ولم يبايعوا عليًّا

A group of people from Madinah fled to Sham and did not pledge allegiance to ‘Ali.[18]


The Murderers of ‘Uthman hide behind those who Pledged Allegiance to ‘Ali

This is how the pledge to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was finalised. The Saba’iyyah and deceitful among them, the murderers of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, hid behind those who pledged allegiance to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They differed behind his partisans and enveloped him from every side. Al Tabari records that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, after delivering his first speech after his pledge, when he intended going home, the Saba’iyyah said:


خذها إليك واحذرًا أبا الحسن … إنما نمرُّ الأمر إمرار الرسن

صَوْلَةَ أقوامٍ كأسداد السُّفُن … بِمَشْرَفيّاتٍ كغُدرانِ اللبن

ونَطعُنُ المُلكَ بِلَينٍ كالشَّطَن … حتى يُمَرَّنَ على غيرِ عَنن

Take that, O Abu al Hassan, and duly take heed.

We control authority as if with a bridle on the nose.

With the might of men as strong as an endless row of ships,

And with swords as shiny as rivulets of milk.

We softly stab at the kingdom, as if with a rope,

Causing it to stumble forth without any sense of direction.


Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied, mentioning how they had left the camp, insistent on fulfilling a promise they had made when people criticised them, and when they returned, they were not able to desist:


إني عجزتُ عجزةً لا أعتذر … سوف أكيسُ بعدها وأستمر

أرفَعُ من ذَيليَ ما كنتُ أجُر … وأجمَعُ الأمرَ الشّتيتَ المنتشر

إن لم يُشاغبني العَجولُ المُنتَصِر … أو يترُكوني والسلاحُ يُبْتَدَر

I have become incapacitated with an inability after which I will not ask to be excused.

I will intelligently act after it and continue on my mission.

I will lift of my lower garment what aforetime I would drag.

And I will gather the matter which is disrupted and scattered.

That is if the hasty desirer of revenge does not interrupt me,

or they desert me when the weapon is striking in advance.


Sahabah gather by ‘Ali to Demand Qisas


واجتمع إلى علي بعدما دخل بيته طلحة والزبير في عدة من الصحابة فقالوا يا علي إنا قد اشترطنا الحدود وإن هؤلاء القوم قد اشتركوا في دم هذا الرجل وأحلوا بأنفسهم فقال علي يا إخوتاه إني لست أجهل ما تعلمون ولكن كيف أصنع بقوم يملكوننا ولا نملكهم ها هم هؤلاء قد ثارت معهم عبدانكم وثابت إليهم أعرابكم وهم خلالكم يسومونكم ما شاؤوا فهل ترون موضعا لقدرة على شيء مما تريدون قالوا لا قال فلا والله لا أرى إلا رأيا ترونه إن شاء الله إن هذا الأمر أمر جاهلية وإن لهؤلاء القوم مادة وذلك إن الشيطان لم يشرع شريعة قط فيبرح الأرض من أخذ بها أبدا إن الناس من هذا الأمر إن حرك على أمور فرقة ترى ما ترون وفرقة ترى ما لا ترون وفرقة لا ترى هذا ولا هذا حتى يهدأ الناس وتقع القلوب مواقعها وتؤخذ الحقوق فاهدأوا عني ماذا يأتيكم ثم عودوا واشتد على قريش وحال بينهم وبين الخروج على حالها وإنما هيجه على ذلك هرب بني أمية وتفرق القوم وبعضهم يقول والله لئن ازداد الأمر لا قدرنا على انتصار من هؤلاء الأشرار لتركوا هذا إلى ما قال عليّ أمثل وبعضهم يقول نقضي الذي علينا ولا نؤخره ووالله أن عليًّا لمستغن برأيه وأمره عنا

After ‘Ali entered his house, Talhah and Zubair entered upon him with a group of the Sahabah. They said, “O ‘Ali! We have placed the execution of the capital punishments as a requisite, and these people have all taken part in the blood of this man and have violated themselves by doing so.”

‘Ali said, “O my brethren! I am not unaware of what you know, but how do I deal with a people who have full control over us and we have no control over them? Here they are, your slaves have revolted with them and your villagers have joined their ranks. They are amidst you and are able to impose upon you whatever they want to. So, do you envision any ability to do what you want?”

They replied, “No.”

He further said, “Never, by Allah, I will not adopt any opinion except the opinion that you will choose. This matter is a matter of the pre-Islamic era; this is because never does Shaitan initiate any practice but that there will always be people who will hold on to it. If this matter is stirred, the people will end up in three groups: a group will aver what you aver, a group will aver other than what you aver, and a group will neither aver this nor that. [Wait] until the people calm down and the hearts revert to their normal states and the rights are claimed. Hence, remain calm and anticipate what comes your way and thereafter return.”

He was stern against the Quraysh and prevented them from leaving immediately. The escape of the Banu Umayyah spurred him on to do this.

The people left [his presence]. Some of them said, “By Allah, if the matter prolongs, we will not have the ability to take revenge from these evil people. They will leave this until what ‘Ali says is more ideal.”

Others said, “We will fulfil our responsibility and not delay it. By Allah, ‘Ali is satisfied with his opinion and we do not agree with his stance.”[19]


Ibn ‘Abbas and Hassan advise ‘Ali

Owing to this, his cousin ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma prevented him from accepting the Bay’ah just as his son Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu had aforetime prevented him from staying in Madinah when the Saba’iyyah were perpetrating their evil:


فقال ابن عباس أطعني وادخل دارك والحق بمالك بينبع وأغلق بابك عليك فإن العرب تجول جولة وتضطرب ولا تجد غيرك فإنك والله لأن نهضت مع هؤلاء اليوم ليحملنك الناس دم عثمان غدًا فأبى عليّ

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Obey me. Enter your house, cling to your land at Yanbu’, and lock your door. Verily, the Arabs are roaming around and are disorganised and find none but you. By Allah, if you stand with these people today, people will blame you for killing ‘Uthman tomorrow.”

However, ‘Ali refused.[20]


Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu prevented him from staying in Madinah the day the Saba’iyyah did a coup. The Historians have mentioned this as well.[21]


‘Ali Commands the Slaves and Bedouins to leave Madinah

The Saba’iyyah began gaining support and gathering the slaves and Bedouins around them until their party increased in might. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu intended to weaken their power and break their control by coming between the Saba’iyyah and the slaves and Bedouins and disuniting them. He called out to the people:


برئت الذمة من عبد لم يرجع إلى مواليه فتذامرت السبائية والأعراب وقالوا لنا غدًا مثلها

“There is no amnesty for a slave who does not return to his master.”

The Saba’iyyah and bedouins grumbled and complained, “We will have another opportunity like it tomorrow.”[22]


On the third day of accepting the Bay’ah, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu went out to the people and announced:


يا أيها الناس أخرجوا عنكم الأعراب وقال يا معشر الأعراب الحقوا بمياهكم فأبت السبئية وأتاهم الأعراب

“O people, remove the Bedouins from the city.”

He said, “O Bedouins, go back to your watering wells.”

The Saba’iyyah refused and the Bedouins joined them.[23]


Sahabah demand Qisas and ‘Ali Excuses Himself

When the people, at the head of whom were the senior and leading Sahabah, saw that the Saba’iyyah were increasing daily in their hooliganism and rebellion—whereas their hands were stained with the blood of the oppressed Khalifah—they desired to gather around them the worst of people, the transgressors and sinful, and they began spreading alien ideologies among the people, the people insisted upon ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to take retribution from the culprits for the sake of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu by commanding their execution. However, Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu feared their authority and dreaded their dominance. He thus tarried the Sahabah and sought time from them due to the increase of the Saba’iyyah’s dominance and authority. The Historians have recorded many statements of his, excusing himself for his incapability of taking vengeance and establishing the punishment. Hafiz Ibn Kathir quotes his words in his book:


ولما استقر أمر بيعة علي دخل عليه طلحة والزبير ورؤوس الصحابة رضي الله عنهم وطلبوا منه إقامة الحد والأخذ بدم عثمان فاعتذر إليهم بأن هؤلاء لهم مدد وأعوان وأنه لا يمكنه ذلك يومه هذا فطلب منه الزبير أن يواليه على إمرة الكوفة ليأتي له بالجنود وطلب منه طلحة أن يواليه إمرة البصرة ليأتي له منه بالجنود ليقضي على شوكة هؤلاء الخوارج وجهلة الأعراب الذين كانوا معهم في قتل عثمان رضي الله عنه فقال لهما مهلاً عليَّ حتى أنظر في هذا الأمر

When the Bay’ah of ‘Ali was concluded, Talhah, Zubair, and the leaders of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum entered his presence and pleaded with him to establish the punishment and take retaliation for ‘Uthman’s murder. He excused himself before them as the rebels had supporters and assistants and he was unable to carry it out immediately. Zubair requested him to appoint him governor over Kufah so that he may bring the armies while Talhah requested that he appoint him governor over Basrah to bring armies from there to trample the power of these Khawarij and ignorant Arabs who assisted in the murder of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. ‘Ali said to them, “Give me respite so I may think well over this matter.”[24]


The text of al Tabari reads:


يا عليّ إنا قد شرطنا إقامة الحدود وإن هؤلاء القوم قد اشتركوا في دم هذا الرجل وأحلوا بأنفسهم فقال لهم يا إخوتاه إني لست أجهل ما تعلمون ولكني كيف أصنع بقوم يملكوننا ولا نملكهم هاهم هؤلاء قد ثارت معهم عبدانكم وثابت إليهم أعرابكم وهم خلالكم يسومونكم ما شاءوا فهل ترون موضعًا لقدرة على شيء مما تريدون

“O ‘Ali, we stipulated the meting out of punishment. These rebels share in the murder of this man [‘Uthman] yet absolve themselves.”

He said to them, “O brothers, I am not ignorant of what you know. However, how do I deal with a people who have authority over us while we do not have authority over them? Here they are, your slaves have joined them as well as your Bedouins. They are among you, treating you as they please. Do you see any chance to execute what you want?”[25]


Ibn al Athir quotes his words:


كيف أصنع بقوم يملكوننا ولا نملكهم

How do I deal with a people who have authority over us while we do not have authority over them?[26]


Ibn Khaldun quotes his answer to them:


لا قدرة لي على شيء مما تريدون حتى يهدأ الناس وننظر الأمور فتؤخذ الحقوق

I have no power to execute what you desire until the people settle down and we analyse the situation before taking rights.


فافترقوا عنه وأكثر بعضهم المقالة في قتلة عثمان

They dispersed. Some of them passed many negative remarks about the killers of ‘Uthman.[27]


Zubair and Talhah leave Madinah and Muawiyah is Dismissed

This is what caused Zubair and Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma to lose hope of vengeance been taken for the oppressed Imam, ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and thus left Madinah. They met up with Umm al Mu’minin Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. From the other side, correspondence began between ‘Ali and Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma after ‘Ali dismissed Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma from Sham and appointed ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma commented:


ما هذا برأي معاوية رجل من بني أمية وهو ابن عم عثمان وهو عامل الشام ولست آمن أن يضرب عنقي لعثمان

This is not a bright decision. Muawiyah is an individual of the Banu Umayyah and the cousin of ‘Uthman. He is also the governor of Sham. I am not safe from him executing me for ‘Uthman.[28]


He thus excused himself and was relieved. While this was happening, the Saba’iyyah kept on stirring fitnah and unrest and causing havoc. They incited malice and rancour and kindled the ashes, attempting to ignite war between the Muslims. They incited ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu partisans against all those who sought ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu vengeance and retribution; especially Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu who refused to submit to ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu Caliphate and accept his rulership by claiming that Bay’ah to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not concluded as it did not obtain the Shura (Council) and the ahl al hall wa al ‘aqd[29] did not pledge allegiance to him; only a few men of the Muhajirin and Ansar living in Madinah selected him. Added to this, the killers of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the Saba’iyyah took refuge in his army and took solace in his shadow.

I alluded to all these aspects in Chapter One citing the texts of the Historians. While they were engaged in correspondence and answering each other, Muawiyah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu messenger came and the following conversation took place:


فقال آمن أنا قال علي رضي الله عنه نعم إن الرسول لا يقتل فقال إني تركت قوما لا يرضون إلا بالقود ثم بلغ الرسالة فاستأذن بالخروج فقال له علي اخرج قال وأني آمن قال وأنت آمن

The messenger submitted, “Am I safe?”

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “Yes. The messenger is not killed.”

“I left people behind who will not be pleased except with retribution,” he explained. He then conveyed the message before seeking permission to leave.

‘Ali told him, “You may leave.”

“Am I safe?”

“You are safe.”[30]


The Saba’iyyah incite Tension and Conflict

The Saba’iyyah incited further tension and conflict. They strove to move away from verbal arguments to a full blown out war with swords. Have a look at what the Historians write:


وصاحت السبئية هذا الكلب رسول الكلاب اقتلوه فنادى يا لمضر يا لقيس الخيل والنبل إني أحلف بالله جل اسمه ليردنها عليكم أربعة آلاف خصيّ فانظروا كم الفحولة والركاب وتعاووا عليه ومنعته مضر وجعلوا يقولون له اسكت فيقول لا والله لا يفلح هؤلاء أبدًا فلقد أتاهم ما يوعدون فيقولون له اسكت فيقول لقد حل بهم ما يحذرون انتهت والله أعمالهم وذهبت ريحهم فوالله ما أمسوا حتى عرف الذل فيهم

The Saba’iyyah screamed, “This dog is the messenger of the dogs. Kill him.”

He shouted, “O Mudar! O Qais! Horses and spears. I swear by Allah, Whose name is sanctified, they will come upon you with four thousand castrated [animals]. See how many horses and camels.”

They howled over him but Mudar defended him. They began telling him, “Keep quiet.”

He said, “No, by Allah. These people will never attain success. What they were promised came to them.”

They told him, “Keep quiet.”

He said, “What they feared afflicted them. Their actions have ceased, by Allah, and their might dissipated. By Allah, by evening, disgrace will be apparent upon them.”[31]


This text and these words of the Saba’iyyah denote and evidently unveil their true endeavour. They began spreading false rumours and disseminating lies so that the swords of the Muslims be unsheathed against one another and they clash and a war breaks out. The Muslims will occupy themselves in killing one another and turn away from them [the rebels] and their evil crime. They incited further dissension and disagreement, so that people remain disunited and continue fighting. This is the gist of what they intended and planned.

When they heard of Talhah and Zubair’s radiya Llahu ‘anhuma meeting with Umm al Mu’minin Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha in Makkah, they began inciting the partisans of ‘Ali and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself to fight the people of Sham before things spiral out of control and become disastrous. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu commanded the people to travel to Sham. This became burdensome for the people of Madinah.


Hassan prevents ‘Ali from Fighting the People of Sham

His son, Hassan—the grandson of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallamradiya Llahu ‘anhu, prevented him from this saying:


يا أبتي دع هذا فإن فيه سفك دماء المسلمين ووقوع الاختلاف بينهم فلم يقبل منه ذلك بل صمم على القتال ورتب الجيش فدفع اللواء إلى محمد بن الحنفية

“O my father! Do not fight since there is a great fear of Muslim blood being shed and great disorder coming about in the ranks of the Muslims.”

‘Ali did not accept this proposition and instead firmly resolved to fight. He prepared an army, handing the banner to Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah.[32]


Ziyad ibn Hanzalah al Tamimi prevented him. He was devoted to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He sat by him for a while before ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to him:

يا زياد تيسر فقال لأي شيء فقال لغزو الشام فقال زياد الأناة والرفق أمثل وقال ومن لم يصانع في أمور كثيرة يضرس بأنياب ويوطأ بمنسم فخرج زياد والناس ينتظرونه فقالوا ما وراءك فقال السيف يا قوم فعرفوا ما هو فاعل

“O Ziyad, prepare.”

“For what?” he enquired.

“To fight Sham.”

Ziyad said, “Deliberateness and compassion are best.”

He said: “Whoever does nothing in major matters will be bitten with canines and trampled upon with hooves.”

Ziyad left his presence while the people waited for him. They enquired from him, “What is behind you?”

“The sword, O people,” he explained.

They realised what ‘Ali’s intention was.”[33]


He did not leave for Sham until news reached him of the departure of Umm al Mu’minin, Talhah, and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhum to Basrah, seeking vengeance for ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu murder. He hastened towards them with men from Madinah, to prevent them from entering Basrah.


List of senior Sahabah who join ‘Ali in his March

Majority of the people of Madinah were burdened by him while few answered his call. Al Sha’bi says:


ما نهض معه في هذا الأمر غير ستة نفر من البدريين ليس لهم سابع وقال غيره أربعة وذكر ابن جرير وغيره قال كان ممن استجاب له من كبار الصحابة أبو الهيثم بن التيهان وأبو قتادة الأنصاري وزياد بن حنظلة وخزيمة بن ثابت قالوا ليس بذي الشهادتين ذاك مات في زمن عثمان رضي الله عنه وسار علي من المدينة نحو البصرة على تعبئته المتقدم ذكرها غير أنه استخلف على المدينة تمام بن عباس وعلى مكة قثم بن عباس وذلك في آخر شهر ربيع الآخر سنة ست وثلاثين وخرج علي من المدينة في نحو من تسعمائة مقاتل

Only six Badri individuals stood with him in this undertaking, without a seventh. Others suggest four. Ibn Jarir and others mentioned: The senior Sahabah who joined him were Abu al Haytham ibn al Tayyihan, Abu Qatadah al Ansari, Ziyad ibn Hanzalah, and Khuzaymah ibn Thabit. They clarified that this Khuzaymah is not Dhu al Shahadatayn (whose testimony equals two). That Khuzaymah passed away during ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu era.

‘Ali journeyed from Madinah towards Basrah with his mobilisation mentioned previously. He appointed Tamam ibn ‘Abbas over Madinah and Quthum ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu over Makkah. This took place towards the end of Rabi’ al Akhir, 36 AH. ‘Ali left Madinah with around 900 warriors.


‘Abdullah ibn Salam and Hassan advise ‘Ali


وقد لقي عبد الله بن سلام رضي الله عنه عليًّا وهو بالربدة فأخذ بعنان فرسه وقال يا أمير المؤمنين لا تخرج منها فوالله لئن خرجت منها لا يعود إليها سلطان المسلمين أبدًا فسبَّه بعض الناس فقال علي دعوه فنعم الرجل من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وجاء الحسن بن علي إلى أبيه في الطريق فقال لقد نهيتك فعصيتني تقتل غدًا بمضيعة لا ناصر لك فقال له علي إنك لا تزال تحن علي حنين الجارية ما الذي نهيتني عنه فعصيتك فقال ألم آمرك قبل مقتل عثمان أن تخرج منها لئلا يقتل وأنت بها فيقول قائل أو يتحدث متحدث ألم آمرك أن لا تبايع الناس بعد قتل عثمان حتى يبعث إليك أهل كل مصر ببيعتهم وأمرتك حين خرجت هذه المرأة وهذان الرجلان أن تجلس في بيتك حتى يصطلحوا فعصيتني في ذلك كله فقال له علي أما قولك أن أخرج قبل مقتل عثمان فلقد أحيط بنا كما أحيط به وأما مبايعتي قبل مجيء بيعة الأمصار فكرهت أن يضيع هذا الأمر وأما أن أجلس وقد ذهب هؤلاء إلى ما ذهبوا إليه فتريد مني أن أكون كالضبع التي يحاط بها ويقال ليست هاهنا حتى يشق عرقوبها فتخرج فإذا لم أنظر فيما يلزمني في هذا الأمر ويعنيني فمن ينظر فيه فكف عني يا بني

‘Abdullah ibn Salam radiya Llahu ‘anhu met ‘Ali while the latter was at Rabadhah. He caught the reigns of his horse and said, “O Amir al Mu’minin, do not leave it [Madinah]. By Allah, if you leave it, no leader of the Muslims will ever return to it.” Some people reviled him.

‘Ali said, “Leave him as he is a wonderful individual from the Companions of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”

Hassan ibn ‘Ali came to his father enroute and submitted, “I had prevented you from going ahead but you rejected me. It should not happen such that some harm or calamity befalls you, due to the people not supporting and standing by your side.”

‘Ali told him, “You keep on crying before me like a small girl. What did you prevent me from, which I failed to obey?”

Hassan explained, “Did I not advise you before ‘Uthman’s murder to leave Madinah so that you are not in the city when he is killed, lest people make negative comments and accuse you? Did I not advise you not to accept the Bay’ah from the people after ‘Uthman’s murder until the inhabitants of all the cities send to you their Bay’ah? I commanded you to sit at home when this woman and these two men left, until they reconcile, but you disobeyed me in all these.”

Ali said to him, “With regards to me leaving prior to ‘Uthman’s murder, I was surrounded and held up just as he was surrounded. My accepting the Bay’ah before the arrival of the Bay’ah of the cities is because I disliked this matter being wasted. With regards to me sitting [at home] whereas they have gone to their destination, do you desire that I be a bounded hyena about whom it is said that it is not present here until its hamstring is severed, and then it leaves. If I do not handle matters under my jurisdiction, who will handle them? Leave me, O my son.”


‘Ali Mobilises the Kufans


ولما انتهى إليه خبر ما صنع القوم بالبصرة من الأمر الذي قدمنا كتب إلى أهل الكوفة مع محمد بن أبي بكر ومحمد بن جعفر إني قد اخترتكم على أهل الأمصار فرغبت إليكم وفرغت لما حدث فكونوا لدين الله أعوانًا وأنصارًا وانهضوا إلينا فالإصلاح نريد لتعود هذه الأمة إخوانا فمضيا وأرسل إلى المدينة فأخذ ما أراد من سلاح ودواب

When news of what the people did in Basrah reached him, which we mentioned before, he wrote to the residents of Kufah with Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr and Muhammad ibn Jafar, “I have chosen you from all the residents of various cities. I have preferred you and dedicated myself to what happened. Become helpers and supporters of the Din of Allah and stand up with us. We only desire reconciliation so that this Ummah return as brothers.” Both left. He sent word to Madinah and took the weaponry and animals he desired.[34]


People gathered around the two groups from Madinah and Makkah, Kufah and Basrah, while majority of the living Companions of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam kept away from both parties. Umm al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anha and those with her settled in Basrah while ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu settled at Dhu Qar. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu summoned al Qa’qa’ ibn ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and sent him as a messenger to Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma in Basrah to invite them to mutual love and unity, and notify them of the seriousness of disunity and dissension.


Al Qa’qa’ Strives to Unite the Ummah

Al Qa’qa’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu set out to Basrah and began with Umm al Mu’minin Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.


أي أماه ما أقدمك هذا البلد فقالت أي بنيَّ الإصلاح بين الناس فسألها أن تبعث إلى طلحة والزبير ليحضرا عندها فحضروا فقال القعقاع إني سألت أم المؤمنين ما أقدمها فقالت إنما جئت للإصلاح بين الناس فقالا ونحن كذلك قال فأخبراني ما وجه هذا الإصلاح وعلى أي شيء يكون فوالله لئن عرفناه لنصطلحن ولئن أنكرناه لا نصطلحن قالا قتلة عثمان فإن هذا إن ترك كان تركًا للقرآن فقال قتلتما قتلته من أهل البصرة وأنتما قبل قتلهم أقرب منكم إلى الاستقامة منكم اليوم قتلتم ستمائة رجل فغضب لهم ستة آلاف فاعتزلوكم وخرجوا من بين أظهركم وطلبتم حرقوص بن زهير فمنعه ستة آلاف فإن تركتموهم وقعتم فيما تقولون وإن قاتلتموهم فأديلوا عليكم كان الذي حذرتم وفرقتم من هذا الأمر أعظم مما أراكم تدفعون وتجمعون منه يعني أن الذي تريدونه من قتل قتلة عثمان مصلحة ولكنه يترتب عليه مفسدة هي أربى منها وكما أنكم عجزتم عن الأخذ بثأر عثمان من حرقوص بن زهير لقيام ستة آلاف في منعه ممن يريد قتله فعلي أعذر في تركه الآن قتل قتلة عثمان وإنما أخّر قتل قتلة عثمان إلى أن يتمكن منهم فإن الكلمة في جميع الأمصار مختلفة ثم أعلمهم أن خلقًا من ربيعة ومضر قد اجتمعوا لحربهم بسبب هذا الأمر الذي وقع فقالت له عائشة أم المؤمنين فماذا تقول أنت قال أقول إن هذا الأمر الذي وقع دواؤه التسكين فإذا سكن اختلجوا فإن أنتم بايعتمونا فعلامة خير وتباشير رحمة وإدراك الثأر وإن أبيتم إلا مكابرة هذا الأمر وائتنافه كانت علامة شر وذهاب هذا الملك فآثروا العافية ترزقوها وكونوا مفاتيح خير كما كنتم أولاً ولا تعرضونا للبلاء فتتعرضوا له فيصرعنا الله وإياكم وأيم الله إني لأقول قولي هذا وأدعوكم إليه وإني لخائف أن لا يتم حتى يأخذ الله حاجته من هذه الأمة التي قل متاعها ونزل بها ما نزل فإن هذا الأمر الذي قد حدث أمر عظيم وليس كقتل الرجل الرجل ولا النفر الرجل ولا القبيلة القبيلة فقالوا قد أصبت وأحسنت فارجع فإن قدم علي وهو على مثل رأيك صلح الأمر قال فرجع إلى علي فأخبره فأعجبه ذلك وأشرف القوم على الصلح كره ذلك من كرهه ورضيه من رضيه وأرسلت عائشة إلى علي تعلمه أنها إنما جاءت للصلح ففرح هؤلاء وهؤلاء وقام علي في الناس خطيبًا فذكر الجاهلية وشقاءها وأعمالها وذكر الإسلام وسعادة أهله بالألفة والجماعة وأن الله جمعهم بعد نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم على الخليفة أبي بكر الصديق ثم بعده على عمر بن الخطاب ثم على عثمان ثم حدث هذا الحدث الذي جرى على الأمة أقوام طلبوا الدنيا وحسدوا من أنعم الله عليه بها وعلى الفضيلة التي منّ الله بها وأرادوا ردّ الإسلام على أدبارها والله بالغ أمره

Al Qa’qa’ said to her: “What brings you to Basrah, O my mother?”

She said to him: “O my son, (we have come) for the purpose of setting things straight among the people.”

Al Qa’qa’ asked her to send word to Talhah and Zubair asking them to come, so he may speak to them in her presence. They arrived. Al Qa’qa’ said to them: “I asked Umm al Mu’minin what brought her here and she said she came to set things straight between the people.”

They said, “Our intention is the same.”

He said, “Tell me, in what way are you going to set things straight? For by Allah, if we agree with you, we will join you in your efforts; and if we disagree with you, we will not join you.”

They explained, “The murderers of ‘Uthman must be executed; if they are left alone and are not punished in accordance with the Qur’an, this will be forsaking the Qur’an.”

Al Qa’qa’ explained, “You killed the murderers from Basrah yet you were closer to soundness before killing them than you are today. You killed six hundred men which angered six thousand men who separated from you and deserted you. You sought Hurqus ibn Zuhayr but the six thousand refused (to hand him over). If you leave them alone, you will be falling into the predicament you speak of. Alternatively, if you fight them, and they overwhelm and defeat you, then you will have come to the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. [I.e., you desire stability by killing the murderers of ‘Uthman. But this will lead to further strife, worse than what is current.] Just as you are incapable of taking vengeance for ‘Uthman from Hurqus ibn Zuhayr due to six thousand men standing in the way of those seeking to kill him, ‘Ali is all the more excused in not executing the murderers of ‘Uthman. He only delayed their execution until he has power over them. The word and situation in all the cities are different.”

Al Qa’qa’ informed them that a group of Rabi’ah and Mudar have gathered to fight them due to what has happened.

Aisha Umm al Mu’minin asked him, “What is your opinion?”

Al Qa’qa’ spoke, “I say that the solution to this problem is to calm things down. When it settles, they (the perpetrators) will tremble. If you give your allegiance to us, this will be a good sign and a blessing, and ‘Ali will be able to avenge ‘Uthman. But if you refuse and continue to be stubborn and insist on fighting, this will be a bad sign and will lead to the diminishing of Muslim power. Give preference to safety, and you will be rewarded with it. Be the means of good as you have always been. Do not expose us to ruin, because that will affect you too, and Allah may bring about our doom and yours. By Allah, I say this and call you to it. I am worried lest we do not reach any agreement before Allah brings destruction upon this Ummah, who has lost a great deal and been stricken by calamity. What has befallen it is very serious; it is not like one man killing another or a group killing a man, or even a tribe killing a tribe.”

They said, “You have spoken correctly and wisely, now return. If ‘Ali comes and has the same view, the matter will be settled.”

Al Qa’qa’ returned to ‘Ali and informed him of what transpired which pleased him. The people were about to reconcile. Some detested it while others approved of it.

Aisha sent word to ‘Ali informing him that she only came to resolve matters. Both parties were elated. ‘Ali stood to address the people and spoke about Ignorance, its wickedness, and actions. He spoke about Islam—the fortune of its adherents with mutual love and unity. He mentioned that Allah united them after their Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the caliphate of Abu Bakr al Siddiq, and then upon ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, and then upon ‘Uthman. The Ummah was thereafter afflicted with this calamity [civil strife] by people who sought worldly pleasures and were jealous of those Allah blessed and the superiority Allah favoured them with. They intended to overturn and upset Islam. And Allah will accomplish His purpose.[35]


Thirty thousand men gathered around Umm al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anha while twenty thousand gathered with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[36]

While this was taking place, the Saba’iyyah—led by ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and the killers of ‘Uthman—were scrutinising every minor and major move, to the minutest detail, of the efforts of both parties to reconcile and reach unity. They conspired on how to weaken them and incite fitnah and chaos and civil war between the Muslims so that matters spiral out of control to a level beyond their imaginations. Especially after Amir al Mu’minin Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu addressed his army declaring:


ألا إني مرتحل غدا فارتحلوا ولا يرتحلن أحد معي أعان على قتل عثمان بشيء من أمر الناس

I will leave tomorrow, so leave and go back (meaning to Basrah). No one who contributed to the murder of ‘Uthman in any way whatsoever should come with us tomorrow.[37]


The Saba’iyyah Conspire

As soon as the Saba’iyyah heard this declaration, they realised their abode. Let us revert to the history books and the words of Ibn Kathir:


فلما قال هذا اجتمع من رؤوسهم أي قتلة عثمان جماعة كالأشتر النخعي وشريح بن أوفى وعبد الله بن سبأ المعروف بابن السوداء وسالم بن ثعلبة وغلاب بن الهيثم وغيرهم في ألفين وخمسمائة وليس فيهم صحابي ولله الحمد فقالوا ما هذا الرأي وعلي والله أعلم بكتاب الله ممن يطلب قتلة عثمان وأقرب العمل بذلك وقد قال ما سمعتم غدًا يجمع عليكم الناس وإنما يريد القوم كلهم أنتم فكيف بكم وعددكم قليل في كثرتهم فقال الأشتر قد عرفنا رأي طلحة والزبير فينا وأما رأي علي فلم نعرفه إلى اليوم فإن كان قد اصطلح معهم فإنما اصطلحوا على دمائنا فإن كان الأمر هكذا أحلقنا عليًّا بعثمان فرضي القوم منا بالسكوت فقال ابن السوداء بئس ما رأيت لو قتلناه قتلنا فإنا يا معشر قتلة عثمان في ألفين وخمسمائة وطلحة والزبير وأصحابهما في خمسة آلاف لا طاقة لكم بهم وهم إنما يريدونكم فقال غلاب بن الهيثم دعوهم وارجعوا بنا حتى نتعلق ببعض البلاد فنمتنع بها فقال ابن السوداء بئس ما قلت إذًا والله يتخطفكم الناس ثم قال ابن السوداء قبحه الله يا قوم إن عيركم في خلطة الناس فإذا التقى الناس فانشبوا الحرب والقتال بين الناس ولا تدعوهم يجتمعون فمن أنتم معه لا يجد بدًّا من أن يمتنع ويشغل الله طلحة والزبير ومن معهما عما يحبون ويأتيهم ما يكرهون فأبصروا الرأي وتفرقوا عليه وأصبح علي مرتحلاً ومر بعبد القيس فسار ومن معه حتى نزلوا بالزاوية وسار منها يريد البصرة وسار طلحة والزبير ومن معهما للقائه فاجتمعوا عند قصر عبيد الله بن زياد ونزل الناس كل في ناحية وقد سبق علي جيشه وهم يتلاحقون به فمكثوا ثلاثة أيام والرسل بينهم فكان ذلك للنصف من جمادى الآخرة سنة ست وثلاثين فأشار بعض الناس على طلحة والزبير بانتهاز الفرصة من قتلة عثمان فقالا إن عليًّا أشار بتسكين هذا الأمر وقد بعثنا إليه بالمصالحة على ذلك وقام علي في الناس خطيبًا فقام إليه الأعور بن نيار المنقري فسأله عن إقدامه على أهل البصرة فقال الإصلاح وإطفاء الثائرة ليجتمع الناس على الخير ويلتئم شمل هذه الأمة قال فإن لم يجيبونا قال تركناهم ما تركونا قال فإن لم يتركونا قال دفعناهم عن أنفسنا قال فهل لهم في هذا الأمر مثل الذي لنا قال نعم وقام إليه أبو سلام الدالاني فقال هل لهؤلاء القوم حجة فيما طلبوا من هذا الدم إن كانوا أرادوا الله في ذلك قال نعم قال فهل لك من حجة فيما طلبوا من هذا الدم إن كانوا أرادوا الله في ذلك قال نعم قال فهل لك من حجة في تأخيرك ذلك قال نعم قال فما حالنا وحالهم إن ابتلينا غدًا قال إني لأرجو أن لا يقتل منا ومنهم أحد نقي قلبه لله إلا أدخله الجنة

After he announced this, a group of their leaders—i.e., ‘Uthman’s killers—gathered including al Ashtar al Nakha’i, Shurayh ibn Awfa, ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ known as Ibn al Sawda’, Salim ibn Tha’labah, Ghallab ibn al Haytham, and others numbering 2 500. There was not a single Sahabi among them, and to Allah belongs all praise.

They said, “What is this, whereas ‘Ali, by Allah, is more knowledgeable of the Book of Allah than those seeking ‘Uthman’s killers and closer in action to this. Yet, he stated what you heard. Tomorrow, people will gather against you. All of them only target you. What will you do, when you are a handful among their large numbers?”

Al Ashtar said, “We know Talhah’s and Zubair’s stance with regards to us. We were unaware of ‘Ali’s view until today. If he has reconciled with them, they reconciled upon our blood. If this is the matter, we will join ‘Ali with ‘Uthman. [I.e. we will kill him.]” People will be pleased with us, if we remain silent [thereafter].”

Ibn al Sawda’ said, “Your view is flawed. If we kill him, we will be killed. O gathering of ‘Uthman’s killers, we are only 2 500 whereas Talhah, Zubair, and their supporters are 5 000 in number. We do not have the power to combat them. They only intend you.”

Ghallab ibn al Haytham said, “Leave them and return with us. We will settle in a city and secure ourselves in it.”

Ibn al Sawda’ said, “Your view is erroneous. Then, by Allah, people will pick you out.”

Ibn al Sawda’—may Allah disfigure him—then suggested, “O people, your honour lies in mingling with the people. When they meet, start the war and fighting between the people and do not allow them to unite. Those with you will find no alternative but to resist. Allah will keep Talhah, Zubair, and those with them busy from what they desire and they will be afflicted with what they dislike.”

They agreed with the suggestion and dispersed.

Next morning, ‘Ali began his journey and passed ‘Abdul Qais. They travelled and settled in Zawiyah. He travelled intending Basrah. Talhah, Zubair, and those with them travelled to meet him. They gathered at the palace of ‘Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad and people alighted at various sides. ‘Ali went ahead of his army and they were catching up to him. They remained for three days with messengers going back and forth. This was in the middle of Jumada al Akhirah 36 AH.

Some people indicated to Talhah and Zubair to exploit the opportunity of apprehending the killers of ‘Uthman. They explained that ‘Ali commanded to calm matters and they sent him their agreement to reconcile upon this.

‘Ali stood up to address the people. A’war ibn Nayyar al Munqiri stood up and asked him the reason of his arrival in Basrah. He answered, “Reconciliation and extinguishing the rage so that people might unite upon goodness and the fragments of the Ummah may join.”

He asked, “What if they do not respond positively?”

Ali explained, “We will spare them as long as they spare us.”

“If they do not leave us,” he asked.

“We will defend ourselves,” answered ‘Ali.

He asked, “Will they receive in this matter what we receive?”

“Yes,” he replied.

Abu Salam al Dalani stood up and asked, “Do these people have evidence for the vengeance they seek, if they seek Allah’s pleasure in it?”

‘Ali replied, “Yes.”

He asked, “Do you have evidence for the vengeance they seek, if they seek Allah’s pleasure in this?”

‘Ali replied, “Yes.”

“Do you have proof for delaying this?”


He asked, “What will our and their condition be if we are afflicted tomorrow?”

‘Ali replied, “I have definite hope that those from us or them who are killed, with a pure heart for Allah, Allah will enter them into Jannat.”[38]


This is what transpired. Both parties advanced to reach a settlement with great haste. Meanwhile, ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and his supporters began conspiring and plotting and the sincere believers from ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu partisans and ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu partisans were totally unaware of what was happening behind the scenes. The conspirators were fully conscious and mindful of what was happening in front of them, in the open. Both parties settled down and sent messages back and forth.


Reconciliation between the Two Armies

Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent word to Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma saying:


إن كنتم على ما فارقتم عليه القعقاع بن عمرو فكفوا حتى ننزل فننظر في هذا الأمر فأرسلا إليه في جواب رسالته إنا على ما فارقنا القعقاع بن عمرو من الصلح بين الناس فاطمأنت النفوس وسكنت واجتمع كل فريق بأصحاب من الجيش

As long as you still hold the view from the time al Qa’qa’ ibn ‘Amr departed from you, then withhold your arms until we alight and discuss this matter.

They sent an answer to him, “We still adhere to the view of uniting the people, upon which we separated from al Qa’qa’ ibn ‘Amr.”

The souls were satisfied and peaceful. Each group met with his companions of the army.[39]


They did not find anything more suitable than reconciliation. There was a ceasefire once they saw matters dissolving.[40] They spent the night with reconciliation on their minds.

Al Tabari writes:


فباتوا على الصلح وباتوا بليلة لم يبيتوا بمثلها للعافية من الذي أشرفوا عليه والنزوع عما اشتهى الذين اشتهوا وركبوا ما ركبوا وبات الذين أثاروا أمر عثمان بشر ليلة باتوها قط قد أشرفوا على الهلكة وجعلوا يتشاورون ليلتهم كلها

They spent the night anticipating unity. They spent the best night, like never before, due to feeling safety from what they dreaded and being saved from the evil of the wicked. Those who instigated ‘Uthman’s killing spent the worst night ever. They dreaded destruction and conspired the entire night.[41]


Ibn Kathir said:


وبات الناس بخير ليلة وبات قتلة عثمان بشر ليلة

People spent the best night while ‘Uthman’s killers spent the worst night.[42]


This night was decisive. The eyes of the malicious Jews and their jealous sons for Islam and the Islamic movement, as well as the eyes of the conspirators, did not sleep, not even for a second. Read the words documented in history books.


The Saba’iyyah Deviously Initiate the Battle of Jamal


وبات الناس بخير ليلة وبات قتلة عثمان بشر ليلة وباتوا يتشاورون وأجمعوا على أن يثيروا الحرب من الغلس فنهضوا من قبل طلوع الفجر وهم قريب من ألفي رجل فانصرف كل فريق إلى قراباتهم فهجموا عليهم بالسيوف فثار كل طائفة إلى قومهم ليمنعوهم وقام الناس من منامهم إلى السلاح فقالوا ما هذا قالوا طرقنا أهل الكوفة ليلا وبيتونا وغدروا بنا وظنوا أن هذا عن ملأ من أصحاب علي فبلغ الأمر عليا فقال ما للناس فقالوا بيتنا أهل البصرة فثار كل فريق إلى سلاحهم ولبسوا اللأمة وركبوا الخيول ولا يشعر أحد منهم بما وقع الأمر عليه في نفس الأمر وكان أمر الله قدرا مقدورا فنشبت الحرب وتواقف الفريقان وقد اجتمع مع علي عشرون ألفا والتف على عائشة ومن معها نحو من ثالثين ألفا وقامت الحرب على ساق وتبارز الفرسان و جالت الشجعان فإنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون والسبئية أصحاب ابن السوداء قبحه الله لا يفترون عن القتل ومنادي علي ينادي ألا كفوا ألا كفوا فلا يسمع أحد وجاء كعب بن سور قاضي البصرة فقال يا أم المؤمنين أدركي الناس لعل الله أن يصلح بك بين الناس فجلست في هودجها فوق بعيرها و ستروا الهودج بالدروع وجاءت فوقفت بحيث تنظر إلى الناس في معركتهم فتصاولوا وتجاولوا وقد كان من سنتهم في هذا اليوم أنه لا يذفف على جريح ولا يتبع مدبر وقد قتل مع هذا خلق كثير جدا

The Muslims experienced their best night while the murderers of ‘Uthman experienced their worst night. The latter spent the night discussing and finally decided to commence the war before dawn. They rose just before dawn and were approximately 2 000 in number. Each group went to their relatives and assaulted them with swords which led to everyone jumping up to defend his people. People woke up from their sleep and took their weapons and franticly asked, “What is happening?”

“The people of Kufah attacked us at night,” they replied. “They launched a night attack on us and deceived us.” They thought that this was from a group of ‘Ali’s army.

The news reached ‘Ali who said surprisingly, “What is the matter with the people?”

They said, “The people of Basrah attacked us at night.”

Thus, every group took their weapons, wore their armour, and mounted their horses. No one was aware of what actually happened. And the decree of Allah came to pass. Thus, the war started and the two armies met in battle. The army of ‘Ali consisted of 20 000 while the supporters of Aisha numbered 30 000. The flames of war raged fiercely. The knights contested and the brave men advanced. To Allah do we belong and to Him is our return.

The Saba’iyyah – the supporters of Ibn al Sawda’ (may Allah disfigure him) – did not stop fighting despite ‘Ali’s announcer announcing, “Harken, stop! Harken, stop!” However, no one listened.

The judge of Basrah, Ka’b ibn Sur, approached and said, “O Mother of the Believers! Save the people. Probably Allah will unite them at your hands.”

She thus sat in her carriage on top of her camel. They veiled the carriage with coats of mail. She then advanced and stopped where she could view the battle. People attacked one another. Their practice on that day was not to kill the injured or pursue those who fled. Despite this, a large number of people were killed.[43]


Al Tabari and Ibn al Athir add:


وقد وضع السبئية رجلا قريبا من علي يخبره بما يريد فقال علي ما هذا قال ذلك الرجل ما فجئنا إلا وقوم منهم بيتونا فرددناهم فركبونا وثار الناس

The Saba’iyyah planted a man close to ‘Ali to inform him of what he wants to hear. ‘Ali asked, “What is going on?”

The man said, “We were suddenly attacked by a group of them at night. We repulsed them but they assaulted us and people sprang up.”[44]


The calamity occurred in this manner. A calamity which claimed the lives of scores of men. It was so disastrous that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu lamented to his son Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu:


يا بنيّ ليت أباك مات قبل هذا اليوم بعشرين عامًا فقال له يا أبت قد كنت أنهاك عن هذا

“O my son, if only your father had passed away twenty years ago.”

Hassan responded, “O my father, I had prevented you from going ahead.”


Sa’id ibn Abi ‘Ujrah reports – from Qatadah – from Hassan – from Qais ibn ‘Ubadah that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu mourned on the Day of Jamal:


يا حسن ليت أباك مات منذ عشرين سنة فقال له يا أبت قد كنت أنهاك عن هذا قال يا بنيّ إني لم أر أن الأمر يبلغ هذا

“O Hassan, if only your father had passed away twenty years back.”

Hassan responded, “O my father, I had prevented you from this.”

‘Ali replied, “I did not realise that matters would reach this ebb.”[45]


The Battle Ends

The war ended when the camel, which carried the carriage of Umm al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anhu, fell to the ground, after seventy of those who held the halter were martyred. We will reproduce the final scene of this from al Kamil of Ibn al Athir:


لما سقط الجمل أقبل محمد بن أبي بكر إليه ومعه عمار فاحتملا الهودج فنحياه فأدخل محمد يده فيه فقالت من هذا فقال أخوك البر قالت عقق قال يا أخية هل أصابك شيء قالت ما أنت وذاك قال فمن إذا الضلال قالت بل الهداة وقال لها عمار كيف رأيت ضرب بنيك اليوم يا أمه قالت لست لك بأم قال بلى وإن كرهت قالت فخرتم أن ظفرتم وأتيتم مثل الذي نقمتم هيهات والله لن يظفر من كان هذا دأبه فأبرزوا هودجها فوضعوها ليس قربها أحد وأتاها علي فقال كيف أنت يا أمه قالت بخير قال يغفر الله لك قالت ولك وجاء أعين بن ضبيعة بن أعين المجاشعي حتى اطلع في الهودج فقالت إليك لعنك الله فقال والله ما أرى إلا حميراء فقالت له هتك الله سترك وقطع يدك وأبدى عورتك فقتل بالبصرة وسلب وقطعت يده ورمي عريانًا في خربة من خرابات الأزد ثم أتى وجوه الناس عائشة وفيهم القعقاع بن عمرو فسلم عليها فقالت إني رأيت بالأمس رجلين اجتلدا وارتجزا بكذا فهل تعرف كوفيك قال نعم ذاك الذي قال أعقُ أمٍ نعلم وكذب إنك لأبر أم نعلم ولكن لم تطاعي قالت والله لوددت أني مت قبل هذا اليوم بعشرين سنة

When the camel fell, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr approached together with ‘Ammar. They lifted the palanquin and moved it to the side. Muhammad inserted his hand in the palanquin. Aisha asked, “Who is this?”

“Your dutiful brother,” he replied.

She said, “Undutiful.”

He said, “O beloved sister, are you injured?”

“Why should that bother you,” she retorted.

“Then who?” he asked, “the deviant?”

“Rather, the guided,” she responded.

‘Ammar said to her, “How have you found fighting your sons today, O mother?”

She said, “I am not your mother.”

He said, “Definitely you are, even if you dislike it.”

She said, “You boast if you are victorious whereas you have committed a similar crime to what you detest. Very far indeed. By Allah, the one with such behaviour will never be victorious.”

They moved her palanquin and placed it away from all.

Ali approached and submitted, “How are you, O beloved mother?”

She said, “Well.”

He said, “May Allah forgive you.”

“And you too,” she replied.

A’yan ibn Dabi’ah ibn A’yan al Mujashi’i came and peeped into the carriage. “Get away, may Allah curse you,” she shouted.

He said, “By Allah, I only see Humaira’.”

She said to him, “May Allah disgrace you, cut your hand, and unveil your private area.” Consequently, he was killed in Basrah and his clothes were looted. His hand was severed and he was thrown naked in one of the ruins (dump yards) of the Azd.

Thereafter, the influential men came to meet Aisha, among whom were al Qa’qa’ ibn ‘Amr. He greeted her with salam. She said, “I saw yesterday two men who were whipped and who sang such and such. Do you recognise your Kufans?”

“Yes,” he replied. “That is the man who sang: ‘the most disobedient mother, we know.’ He lied. Indeed, you are the most virtuous mother we know. However, you were not obeyed.”

She said, “By Allah, I wish I had died twenty years before this fateful day.”


‘Ali Praises and Prays for the Martyrs


فأقام علي بظاهر البصرة ثلاثًا وأذن للناس في دفن موتاهم فخرجوا إليهم فدفنوهم وطاف علي في القتلى فلما أتى علي كعب بن سور قال أزعمتم أنه خرج معهم السفهاء وهذا الحبر قد ترون وأتى على عبد الرحمن بن عتاب فقال هذا يعسوب القوم يعني أنهم كانوا يطيفون به واجتمعوا على الرصافة لصلاتهم ومرّ على طلحة بن عبيد الله وهو صريع فقال لهفي عليك يا أبا محمد إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون والله لقد كنت أكره أن أرى قريشًا صرعى أنت والله كما قال الشاعر فتى كان يدنيه الغنى من صديقه إذا ما هو استغنى ويبعده الفقر وجعل كلما مرّ برجل فيه خير قال زعم من زعم أنه لم يخرج إلينا إلا الغوغاء وهذا العابد المجتهد فيهم وصلى عليٌّ على القتلى من أهل البصرة والكوفة وصلى على قريش من هؤلاء وهؤلاء وأمر فدفنت الأطراف في قبر عظيم وجمع ما كان في العسكر شيء وبعث به إلى مسجد البصرة

‘Ali stayed at the outskirts of Basrah for three days and allowed the people to bury their deceased. They went out and buried them. ‘Ali moved about the dead. When he came across Ka’b ibn Sur, he said, “Do you think [only] the foolish left with them. Here you see the erudite scholar.” ‘Ali came across ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Attab and said, “This is the drone of the people i.e., they would surround him.”

They gathered at Rusafah to perform the Salat al Janazah. He passed by Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullah who lay fallen. ‘Ali commented, “Oh, how sorry I feel for you, O Abu Muhammad. To Allah do we belong and unto Him shall we return. By Allah, I dislike seeing the Quraysh fallen. You, by Allah, are as the poet said: A youth, his affluence brought him close to his friend when he was independent, and poverty kept him away.”

Whenever he passed any righteous man, he commented, “They thought that only the thugs rebelled against us. This is a diligent worshipper among them.” ‘Ali prayed upon the fallen from the Basrans, Kufans, and the Quraysh of both parties. He commanded that they be buried in a large grave. Whatever was gathered of the army was sent to the Masjid of Basrah.[46]


‘Ali arranges for Aisha’s Departure


ثم جهز علي عائشة بكل شيء ينبغي لها من مركب أو زاد أو متاع وأخرج معها كل من نجا ممن خرج معها إلا من أحب المقام واختار لها أربعين امرأة من نساء أهل البصرة المعروفات وقال تجهز يا محمد فبلغها فلما كان اليوم الذي ترتحل فيه جاءها حتى وقف لها وحضر الناس فخرجت على الناس وودّعوها وودّعتهم وقالت يا بني تعتب بعضنا على بعض استبطاء واستزادة فلا يعتدن أحد منكم على أحد بشيء بلغه من ذلك إنه والله ما كان بيني وبين عليّ في القديم إلا ما يكون بين المرأة وأحمائها وإنه عندي على معتبتي من الأخيار وقال عليّ يا أيها الناس صدقت والله وبرّت ما كان بيني وبينها إلا ذلك وإنها لزوجة نبيكم صلى الله عليه وسلم في الدنيا والآخرة وخرجت يوم السبت لغرة رجب سنة 36 وشيعها عليّ أميالاً وسرح بنيه معها يومًا

‘Ali prepared for Aisha everything needed [for her return journey] including a conveyance, provisions, and baggage. He allowed those of her army who were spared to return, except those who wished to stay. He selected forty influential women of Basrah to accompany her and commanded Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr to escort her. On the day of her departure, ‘Ali came and halted at the door. People gathered with him. She left from the house. The people bid her farewell and she bid them farewell.

She explained, “O my sons, reproving one another is only seeking retardation and transgression. None of you should transgress against another with anything he heard of this. By Allah, what happened between me and ‘Ali in the past is nothing more than what happens between a woman and her bosom friends. Certainly, according to my analysis, he is among the elite.”

‘Ali confirmed, “O people, she has spoken the truth, by Allah, and she is devoted! What occurred between myself and her was nothing more than this. And indeed, she is the wife of your Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the world and the Hereafter.”

She left on Saturday, the 1st of Rajab, 36 AH. ‘Ali proceeded with her for a few miles to see her off and sent his sons to travel with her for a day.[47]


This is the last of what we wished to mention of the plots and conspiracies of the Saba’iyyah. Due to this, the accursed Jew entered Islam concealing disbelief, yet portraying love for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his household. He and his party perpetrated these heinous crimes which reached the low ebb that Umm al Mu’minin, the beloved of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha as well as Amir al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the one nurtured by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, desire death before the occurrence of these catastrophes.


‘Ali did not Consider his Opponents as Disbelievers

Before we bring the discussion of war to a close, we wish to highlight that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not consider those who fought against him disbelievers, which is proven by the texts of all the Historians we just cited. The Shia themselves acknowledge this by documenting the very narration the Ahlus Sunnah document in their books:


عن جعفر عن أبيه أن عليًّا عليه السلام كان يقول لأهل حربه إنا لم نقاتلهم على التكفير لهم ولم يقاتلونا على التكفير لنا ولكنا رأينا أنّا على حق ورأوا أنهم على حق

Jafar reports from his father that ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam would say about those he fought, “We did not fight them over excommunicating them and they did not fight us after excommunicating us. We felt that we are upon the truth while they felt that they are upon the truth.”[48]


Al Himyari al Shia reports another narration from Jafar from his father Muhammad al Baqir:


إن عليًا عليه السلام لم يكن ينسب أحدًا من أهل حربه إلى الشرك ولا إلى النفاق ولكن يقول هم إخواننا بغوا علينا

Certainly, ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam would not attribute polytheism or hypocrisy to any of those who fought against him. He would instead say, “They are our brothers who transgressed against us.”[49]


This is the very narration documented and reported by Ibn Taymiyyah, al Dhahabi, Ibn ‘Asakir, and others from Jafar ibn Muhammad from his father al Baqir who reports:


سمع عليّ يوم الجمل ويوم صفين رجلاً يغلو في القول فقال لا تقولوا إلا خيرًا إنما هم قوم زعموا أنا بغينا عليهم وزعمنا أنهم بغوا علينا فقاتلناهم

‘Ali, on the Day of Jamal and the Day of Siffin, heard a man uttering fanatical statements. He told him, “Do not speak except good. They are a people who thought that we oppressed them whereas we thought they oppressed us, hence we fought them.”[50]


The Wickedness of the Saba’iyyah

Finally, after ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was done with the Battle of Jamal, the Saba’iyyah did not stop expressing and publicising their evil, wickedness, and what their hearts conceal. Ibn Kathir reports, after mentioning many incidents of the fighting of the Day of Jamal:


وقد سأل بعض أصحاب عليّ عليًّا أن يقسم فيهم أموال أصحاب طلحة والزبير فأبى عليهم فطعن فيه السبئية وقالوا كيف يحل لنا دماؤهم ولا تحل لنا أموالهم فبلغ ذلك عليًّا فقال أيكم يحب أن تصير أم المؤمنين في سهمه فسكت القوم ولهذا لما دخل البصرة فض في أصحابه أموال بيت المال فنال كل رجل منهم خمسمائة وقال لكم مثلها من الشام فتكلم فيه السبئية أيضًا ونالوا منه وراء وراء

Some of ‘Ali’s companions asked ‘Ali to distribute the wealth of the companions of Talhah and Zubair but he refused. The Saba’iyyah criticised him saying, “How is it that their blood is permissible for us but not their wealth?”

This reached ‘Ali who said, “Which of you desires that Umm al Mu’minin falls to his share?” The people remained silent.

Due to this, after entering Basrah, he distributed the wealth of the treasury among his fighters. Each man received 500. He promised them, “You will get a similar portion from Sham.” The Saba’iyyah criticised him again and insulted him behind his back.[51]


As regards the Battle of Siffin, the efforts of the Saba’iyyah to stir fitnah, chaos, and clashes were not less than in the Battle of Jamal. This remained their behaviour throughout the era of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They harmed him with their odd views, obscure ideologies, and alien beliefs. They assembled the criminals and incited them to cause dissension between the Muslims. They did not hold back from causing friction between ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his partisans and chasing the sincere away. Their purpose behind publicising loyalty to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and dissociating from the Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was not love for ‘Ali and his offspring. Rather, they used this love and loyalty as a cover to conceal their wicked intentions and their actual aspirations to attack Islam and the Muslims. They came between ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the sincerest of his partisans, like the leader of his armies and his greatest advisor and cousin, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, by accusing him of usurping wealth and utilising it without right[52], Ziyad—the governor of Persia, and many others.

These were the shenanigans and blameworthy efforts of the Saba’iyyah during ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu era. Prior to this, we mentioned their efforts to cause fitnah and chaos in the time of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, to shake the pillars of Islam and the Islamic state. We mentioned this briefly from the books of history, relying on the most authentic reports and the stance of the Shia themselves.


The Primary Partisans of ‘Ali were different to the Saba’iyyah

We wish to point out that majority of the partisans of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu were different to these Saba’iyyah as can be seen from the narrations we reproduced to relate these occurrences. Accordingly, they always strove for peace, unity, and avoiding fights and disagreements, as far as they could. Although, few of them were affected by the ideologies of the wicked Saba’iyyah, influenced by their lies and deceptions, and fell prey to their traps.

The primary partisans of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not criticise, revile, and curse the Companions of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam even if they contested with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu during his Caliphate or battled against him in seeking retribution for the oppressed Khalifah, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In fact, they gave preference to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma over ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This has been documented by Ibn Taymiyyah:


كانت الشيعة المتقدمون الذين صحبوا عليًّا أو كانوا في ذلك الزمان لم يتنازعوا في تفضيل أبي بكر وعمر وإنما كان نزاعهم في تفضيل علي وعثمان وهذا مما يعترف به علماء الشيعة الأكابر من الأوائل والأواخر

The early Shia who accompanied ‘Ali or lived in that era did not contend the superiority of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Their contention was upon the superiority of ‘Ali over ‘Uthman. This is acknowledged by the senior scholars of the Shia of the past and recent eras.[53]


He reports from one of the primary Shia, Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah, that someone asked him:


أيهما أفضل أبو بكر أم علي فقال له أبو بكر فقال له السائل تقول هذا وأنت شيعي فقال له نعم من لم يقل هذا فليس شيعيًّا والله لقد رقي هذه الأعواد عليّ فقال ألا خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها أبو بكر ثم عمر فكيف نردّ قوله وكيف نكذبه والله ما كان كذابًا

“Which of the two is superior, Abu Bakr or ‘Ali?”

Sharik answered, “Abu Bakr.”

The person remarked in surprise, “You assert this whereas you are a Shi’i?”

“Yes,” he answered. “Whoever does not assert this is not a Shi’i. By Allah, ‘Ali ascended these planks [i.e., the pulpit] and declared, ‘Harken! The best of this Ummah after their Nabi is Abu Bakr and then ‘Umar.’ How can we reject his declaration and bely him? By Allah, he was not a liar.”[54]


He then affirms:


وكيف لا تقدم الشيعة الأولى أبا بكر وعمر وقد تواتر عن أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه أنه قال خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها أبو بكر ثم عمر وقد روي هذا عنه من طرق كثيرة قيل إنها تبلغ ثمانين طريقًا

Why would the primary Shia not prefer Abu Bakr and ‘Umar whereas it is established through mutawatir reports from Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he affirmed, “The best of this Ummah after their Nabi is Abu Bakr followed by ‘Umar.” This is reported from him through multiple chains. Some suggest 80 chains.[55]


The offspring and household of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu held a similar belief. This is their stance towards the Companions of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the three Rightly Guided Khalifas radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Moreover, they did not deem the fighting of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his army as departing from Islam, transgression, oppression, and aggression. Consequently, the eldest son of ‘Ali and the grandson of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam—the infallible Imam according to the Shia—pledged allegiance to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. His other sons, Hussain and Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah, and others like ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and others concurred. This will be proven shortly. They married in his family and supported him in noble and righteous affairs. They accepted gifts and presents from him as we will soon mention. Except those who were influenced by the Saba’iyyah or entered into that sect, cursed on the tongue of ‘Ali and his sons radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

In addition, the general Shia at the time would not curse, criticise, and despise the Sahabah of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam or the Rightly Guided Khalifas. Ibn Khallikan has written in the biography of Yahya ibn Ma’mar:


كان شيعيًّا من القائلين بتفضيل أهل البيت من غير تنقيص لغيرهم

He was a Shia from those who opine the superiority of the Ahlul Bayt without despising others.[56]


A contemporary Shia has attested to this declaring:


إني خلال مراجعتي كتب التاريخ لم أر في الفترة التي تمتد من بعد وفاة النبي حتى نهاية خلافة الخلفاء من عمد إلى الشتم من أصحاب الإمام وإنما هناك من قيّم الخلفاء وقيّم الإمام وحتى في أشد جمحات عاطفة الولاء لم نجد من يشتم أحدًا ممن تقدم الإمام بالخلافة … يضاف لذلك أنه حتى في الفترة الثانية أي في عهود الأمويين كان معظم الشيعة يتورعون عن شتم أحد من الصحابة أو التابعين

During my study of the books of history, I did not see in the lengthy period from the demise of the Nabi to the end of the caliphate of the Khalifas anyone from the partisans of the Imam [‘Ali] who intentionally reviled. There are only those who affirmed the Khalifas and affirmed the Imam. Even in the most crucial times demanding loyalty, we do not find anyone reviling any of those who preceded the Imam in caliphate. Furthermore, even in the second period i.e., the era of the Umayyads, majority of the Shia abstained from reviling any of the Sahabah and Tabi’in.[57]


NEXT⇒ Chapter 5 – The Sects of the Shia, their History and Beliefs

[1] Ibn al ‘Arabi, Ibn Taymiyyah, and others labelled them with these names.

[2] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/155; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/226; Ibn al Athir: al Kamil, 3/99; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/151.

[3] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/226.

[4] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/156; al Kamil, 3/99; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/151.

[5] This text contains the greatest proof, despite the humiliation of those who opine differently, that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not consider himself the appointed and determined Imam from the side of Allah—the Mighty and Majestic. Had this been so, he had no choice to refuse Imamah and Caliphate when it came hastening towards him, owing to Allah’s—the Mighty and Majestic—statement:


وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللهُ وَرَسُوْلُهُ أَمْرًا أَنْ يَكُوْنَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِيْنًا

It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. (Surah al Ahzab: 36.)


This declaration from the mouth of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu recorded in their purest book is decisive and conclusive and is a clear proof between us and those who view the opposite. Ibn Abi al Hadid, the Shia Mu’tazili, confessed—despite his Shia inclinations—that this declaration indicates.


أنه عليه السلام لم يكن منصوصًا عليه بالإمامة من جهة الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم وإن كان أولى الناس بها وأحقهم بمنزلتها لأنه لو كان منصوصًا عليه بالإمامة من جهة الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم لما جاز له أن يقول دعوني والتمسوا غيري ولا أن يقول وأنا لكم وزيرًا خير لكم مني أميرًا ولا أن يقول ولعلي أسمعكم وأطوعكم لمن وليتموه أمركم

He ‘alayh al Salam was not textually appointed as Imam from the side of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, although he was the most deserving and suitable for the position. Had he been appointed as Imam by the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, it was not permissible for him to say: Spare me and seek someone else nor for him to say: I am better off as your minister than as your ruler nor for him to say: probably, I will be the best listener and the most obedient of you to whom you hand over your affair. (Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, 7/33-34.)


His mere refusal to accept Caliphate is decisive proof against them. There are many texts with similar meaning, some of which will appear shortly. Will any just person exercise justice? Will any unprejudiced person be fair? Indeed, there is a reminder in this for the intelligent.

[6] Nahj al Balaghah, pg. 136, Beirut.

[7] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/156.

[8] Al Kamil, 3/99.

[9] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/226.

[10] Al Thaqafi al Kufi al Shi’i: al Gharat, 1/310-311, Tehran; Ibn Abi al Hadid: Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, 6/96-97; Bihar al Anwar, pg. 51-52.

[11] Nahj al Balaghah, pg. 195, Beirut.

[12] Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/151; al Kamil, 3/98; al Bidayah, 7/226.

[13] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/154.

[14] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/154; al Kamil, 3/99.

[15] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/157; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/151.

[16] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/158.

[17] Al Kamil, 3/98.

[18] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/226.

[19] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/158.

[20] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/160; al Kamil, 3/101; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/151.

[21] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/158.

[22] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/158; al Kamil, 3/100,

[23] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/159; al Kamil, 3/101, Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/151.

[24] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/227,228.

[25] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/158.

[26] Al Kamil, 3/100.

[27] Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/151.

[28] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/160.

[29] Scholars most qualified to select one most fit for the position of caliphate.

[30] Al Kamil, 3/104.

[31] Al Kamil, 3/104; Tarikh al Tabari, 5/163.

[32] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 5/163; al Kamil, 3/104.

[33] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/163; al Kamil, 3/104.

[34] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/333,334; al Kamil, 3/113,114; Tarikh al Tabari, 5/169; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/157.

[35] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/237,238; Tarikh al Tabari, 5/191,192; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/162.

[36] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/202.

[37] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/238; Tarikh al Tabari, 5/194; al Kamil, 3/120.

[38] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/238; Tarikh al Tabari, 5/195; al Kamil, 3/130; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/160,161.

[39] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/241.

[40] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/203.

[41] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/202; al Kamil, 3/123.

[42] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/239; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/162.

[43] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/239,240; Tarikh al Tabari, 5/202,203; al Kamil, 3/123,124.

[44] Al Kamil, 3/124; Tarikh al Tabari, 5/203.

[45] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/240.

[46] Al Kamil, 3/130,131.

[47] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/225, ‘Ali preparing Aisha from Basrah.

[48] Al Himyari: Qurb al Isnad, pg. 45, Iran.

[49] Qurb al Isnad, pg. 45, Iran.

[50] Minhaj al Sunnah, 3/61; al Muntaqa, pg. 135; Ibn ‘Asakir: al Tahdhib, 1/73; al Sunan al Kubra, 8/173.

[51] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/244; Tarikh al Tabari, 5/223.

[52] Study Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, 2/183,184 and other history books.

[53] Minhaj al Sunnah, 1/3,4.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Wafayat al A’yan, 2/269.

[57] Ahmed al Wa’ili: Hawiyyat al Tashayyu’, pg. 41.