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Back You are here: Home Library Companions Ammar Yasir (ra) Chapter 14-The Standard of Imam Ali

Chapter 14-The Standard of Imam Ali

 Chapter 14 

The Standard of Imam Ali

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The period of Ali was the period of Ammar and, in fact, of everyone, because it was undoubtedly the period of justice, freedom, equality and the domination of Islam. In the circumstances it should not be expected that in such a period Ammar should have remained obscure, idle and quiet. And again, keeping in view the fact that in the eyes of the Muslims, Ammar was recognized to be the symbol of guidance, it is evident that in such an atmosphere and situation his activity, zeal, virtuous part and good reputation should have been utilized. Hence, in this historical period of theirs which was replete with various campaigns and battles all the Muslims had fixed their eyes on Ammar for the solution of their problems. That is, in whatever row they saw Ammar, they were satisfied that, that row was on the side of truth.

In short the people distinguished goodness from evil and truth from falsehood through Ammar. 

 

The people were entitled to hold the view which they did about Ammar and did not exaggerate or went beyond the bounds, because Ammar was like a crescent which had risen from the horizon of Islam and had been striving for the last forty five years as a mujahid (warrior). He had witnessed the greatest perils and troubles which Islam had to face. He saw around him anxiety and agitation of mind as well as avarice and greed. He remained steadfast with perfectly solid faith, firm views and constant thinking, when most of his companions had become shaky and had become apostates. In the circumstances it is not surprising that out of all those different people such a weak and at the same time an active person should attain such honour, greatness, dignity and importance.

 

Imam Sadiq said to one of his companions: "Some people imgaine: that until Ali drew his sword he was not an Imam. If that be so it must be admitted that Ammar (notwithstanding the fact that he had always been a sincere companion and follower of Ali) was a loser".

 

The point is that if Ammar and his steadfastness in following Ali did nor accord with the established rule, the logic of Imam Sadiq would not have introduced him as the proof and sign of the Imamate of Ali before his (Ali's) drawing the sword, and would not have treated his oath of allegiance a proof of the correctness of Shi 'a faith during the difficult situation for Imamate when Ali was confined in his house.

 

From another point of view if amongst the Muslim sects this verdict had been peculiar to the Shi'a, only this logic would not have been firm, because so long as an argument is not supported by friends as well as foes it is not convincing. The fact is that this statement of Imam Sadiq, which was made more than a hundred years after the martyrdom of Ammar, by way of proof, was a reflection of the views of all the Muslims about Ammar during his own age, and during that time different sects, and ways of discussion and debate, which had appeared during the period of Imam Sadiq did not exist.

 

We shall however, discuss the depth of this view and the impression made by it on the enemies of Ammar. In any case if we want to know about the piety of Ammar this very testimony of Imam Sadiq which is the result of his reasoning should suffice.

 

The point which deserves attention in this discussion is that now we have before us the personality of Ammar, the same personality which was recognized as the criterion of human values and example of virtuous concepts.

 

When we keep in view the fact that his right behaviour and conduct in the path of humanity elevated him to the summit of dignity and excellence, for which the flesh, blood, lineage and relationship are not needed so that he might have become honourable and dignified by these means. The fact is that those people, who had much nobler flesh and blood and much better origin as compared with him, praised his spiritual merits, dignity and rank.

 

For this very reason it may be said that it was necessary that as opposed to the period of Uthman, which was the period of his weakness and limitation, this valuable element (Aminar) should have become active as soon as he found an opportunity and should have made his voice reach everywhere and eventually manifested his character.

 

During the rule of Uthman the contention was initiated by Ammar. He rose and revolted and declined to take oath of allegiance to that man. And Uthman also during his rule took the initiative to forsake common practices and violate Islamic regulations which is proved by the fact that he supported Ubaydullah bin Umar, who had killed Hurmuzin without any fault of his, and did not enforce the Islamic penal law against him.

 

From that day onwards Ammar commenced his campaign and contention and approached Ali and said: "O proclaimer of Islam! Get up and make a call! Virtue is dead and vice is alive. Pollution and indecency have taken the place of goodness and honesty!”

 

He also used to say: "I swear by Allah that if I had supporters I would have risen to oppose these people and I again swear by Allah that if one man steps forward to combat I shall be the second one".

 

Anyhow the jihad, steadfastness and self-sacrifice of Ammar did not produce any result other than that he was recognized as one of the pivots of the Alavid period and this was a reality which was basically expected of him. Furthermore, during these days Ammar was not the man who should have sat in a corner observing a long silence and become secluded like the ascetics, who sign and say "May Allah save us from the mischief!" Now Ammar had become a perfectly different man. He had become vociferous and began his activities with comprehensive lectures and detailed discussions and debates. He went on speaking ceaselessly with great zeal and enthusiasm and made his voice reach everywhere.

 

The source of change and transition on this occasion is quite clear and if any person wishes to analyse the matters in this connection and to make a thorough study of the conditions of those days it will be quite easy for him to assess the position because the crescent of the Alavi State appeared in a disturbed, convulsive and foggy horizon and at the time of the appearance of this crescent troubles arose and divided the people into factions and groups and made the parties covetous, and darkened the thoughts in their entirety.

 

The effects and results of these convulsions, agitation and encounters affected Ammar more than anyone else, for he was more worthy of being impressed by them.

 

As a result of this Ammar was obliged to manifest his personality from the viewpoint of his obligation to invite and propagate Islam. And it is evident that while encountering such uproar a personality like him needs means and implements other than silence and muteness. Further more, this was not the first occasion when he had broken his silence and burst out, because he had been vociferous from the very early days of the rule of Uthman and even if his tune and accent had changed due to the positive and negative aspects of the matter it must be admitted that the essence of his personality had been one and the same and he always sought help from this inherent essence for his missionary work.

 

In the light of the praise which the Holy Prophet (s) bestowed on Ammar and as a result of the perseverance and stead-fastness which he showed on all occasions he had reached the summit of dignity, and had found his place at the pinnacle of confidence, reliance and honour. However, Ammar calculated that staying at this status and continuance at this high summit of dignity, honour and greatness was not possible without sincerity, propagation of Islam, inviting people to it, and self-sacrifice for the sake of Ali. He also felt that spending a long period replete with pain and hardships for the acquisition of all this dignity, honour and virtue had been a preamble to that he should play his role in this real period, the period of Alavirule.

 

The Prophet (s) had told Ammar things about his future as well as that of others and had also fixed his and others duties.

 

All that the Prophet (s) had predicted about Ammar had happened except his martyrdom at the hands of a rebellious group. Now Ammar was awaiting this very prophecy of the Prophet. Of course, after having passed ninety years of his age what else could he think of and what other thing could he desire to have?

 

Now dreadful disturbances had taken place and Ammar had been recognized by the people as the sign of truth and the mark of guidance and now truth in the eyes of Ammar meant Ali.

 

"From today onwards there is no occasion for silence; dissimulation and caution" He said these words to himself and later these very concepts flowed on his tongue in the shape of words like a torrent with sweet and agreeable statements uttered in a vehement tone. He now got up to pursue his campaign with his hands and tongue, and took the initiative in action.

 

After the assassination of Uthman his opponents who belonged to the tribe of Quraysh once again became his supporters and advocates And possibly the condition and position of the Mother of the Faithful Ayesha in this tragedy was the manifestation of the most complete and perfect self-contradiction and strange distortion which the covetous Quraysh openly told about the murderers of Uthman in these words: "Ayesha has been the cause of the assassination of Uthman by her strong incitement and continuous and extensive efforts and was anxious that in future the reins of government should go to the tribe of Taym through her cousin Talha.

 

Talha, Zubayr and Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas killed Uthman by means of the money spent by them and their under hand plots.

 

Mu'awiya and the Umayyad party were treated to be the murderers of Uthman, because they left him alone and did not come to his help.

 

Marwan and the descendants of Hakam and their friends, belonging to the tribe of Abi Mu'it killed Uthman as a result of their selfish motives.

 

In spite of all this, however, when Ali was elected as Caliph with the consensus of the Muslims these very groups changed their attitude and suddenly the same Uthman who was an oppressor and an unbeliever yesterday became an oppressed martyr today!

 

The sad and doleful thing which one observes among these events is that a group of capricious, cowardly and impudent persons who were not ashamed of anything, and the covetous and greedy people who indulged in flattery and baseness, drove them to every direction, and joined hands and formed a group. This association and alliance and preparation of a mischievous programme created intricacies and difficulties not only in the city of Madina but in the capitals of all Islamic territories.

 

Talha, Zubayr and Sa'd broke their allegiance to the Caliph of the time, and a small group of people in Madina followed them. Then revolt broke out in all the Islamic territories. Mu'awiya refused to pay allegiance to the Caliph of the time.

 

Abu Musa Ash'ari left himself and others without any responsibility, with a strange obstinacy and stagnation.

 

In short the spirit of fear, anxiety, caution, circumspection and irresponsibility penetrated everywhere and most of the people awaited the appearance of a bright horizon so that their responsibility might be determined.

 

As against these conditions, as we are aware, the followers of Ali displayed a sort of noble activity coupled with magnanimity and greatness and looked at this dark horizon with a firm resolution and an unprecedented stead fastness. However, among all of them Ammar was more free from care, more active, more zealous and more self sacrificing and none could match him in oratory .

 

Ammar was informed that Ayesha had left Makkah for Madina to avenge Uthman's murder, but when the news of Ali having assumed the Caliphate reached her, she abandoned her former decision.

 

On receiving this information Ammar sent someone to Ayesha. He reminded her of Allah and His Prophet (s) and also made a mention of her good fame and said: "It is not worthy of the Mother of the Faithful that she should forget what her attitude towards Uthman was yesterday. She should remember that she used to say: "Kill Na'thal". [1] It is also not worthy of the status of the Mother of the Faithful that she should forget the opinion already formed by her abaut Ali. It is not also worthy of her to involve herself in such controversial affairs and in the field of politic, become a tool in the hands of those who have nefarious objects and evil intentions, and are opportunists and adventurous". Unfortunately, however, the Mother of the Faithful, to whom his message was communicated, did not pay any heed to it. She remained with Talha and Zubayr till the day of the Battle of the Camel.

 

Ammar also observed that Mughira bin Sho'ba came to the Commander of the Faithful and made suggestions to him, and had some hopes and wishes while paying these visits. Ammar understood his Satanic politics and was also well aware of his deceitful life and hypocritical relations. He, therefore, watched carefully every step taken by this licentious person and in view of the fact that the position of a missionary of truth demanded that he should work for the mobilization of truth he did not refrain from inviting to his side even this obstinate person, so that he might also possibly join the camp of Ali.

 

However, as Mughira had developed hostility against Ali, he evaded agreeing to do so and preferred joining the camp of the Mother of the Faithful Ayesha so that he might get the reward for the hostility against Ali from her. Moreover, Mughira's being a member of the Umayyad party also did not allow him to become a follower of Ali.

 

Above all Mughira was not, intrinsically a person who might have taken a decision and undertaken a task in such an agitated and convulsive atmosphere unless his material benefit was ensured. Hence, keeping all these matters in view, he said to Ammar wth a glib and soft tongue: "I need time till this dark horizon becomes bright and the moon appears. At that time I will take my step clearsightedly in the light".

 

Although this was the most explicit reply which was compatible with the condition and position of Mughira in all respects and represented his way of thinking. However as a missionary of truth always pursues his object with insistence Ammar said to Mughira emphatically: "O Mughira! I seek refuge in Allah! Do you want to remain blind and sit in a corner like the blind when your inner eye has already been opened? Just reflect about your condition and see what you are seeing and what you are doing. I tell you that I am one who will not take a step except in the foremost row.

 

When Ammar said 'I' he did not utter this word in the capacity of the speaker but in the capacity of a sign of guidance and a symbol of exhortation.

 

Ammar drove Mughira into a corner, putting forward arguments continuously and making him dumbfounded. Mughira was looking this way and that way like a prey which wants to slip away from the hand of the hunter.

 

Ali was hearing the conversation of Ammar and Mughira and fully realized that the discussion was futile and useless. He, therefore, said to Ammar: "Leave Mughira alone. He wants only that much from the religion which guarantees his world (i.e. wordly gains). He purposely makes things dubious for himself and his idea is that these doubts should cover his lapses and serve as an excuse for his deviations".

 

Ammar was not surprised at the deviation and aloof ness of Abdullah bin Umar. He, therefore, obtained permission from the Commander of the Faithful to go and discuss the matters with him as well and to invite him to support the truth.

 

After having obtained the requisite permission in the name of Islam Ammar went to Abdullah so as to remove the doubts which had become the cause of his deviation and aloofness, and to guide him with logical argument.

 

Immediately after his arrival at the residence of Abdullah, Ammar initiated discussions with him and said: "O Abu Abdur Rahman! As you are aware the Muhajirs and the Ansar have taken the oath of allegiance to Ali. If we prefer Ali to you, you should not be annoyed, and if we prefer you to Ali, you should not be pleased. Indeed, as regards your acknowledging that a sword should be drawn against one who offers prayers, it is an established fact.

 

I also held this belief before the rulership of Ali and still hold the same view and you know that a murderer should be killed and an adulterer should be stoned to death. And then you know that Ali has not killed any person who offered prayers".

 

Abdullah understood what Ammar wanted to say and also realized that Ammar's reasoning was binding and according to Abdullah's past record he had taken oath of allegiance to one who had killed those who offered prayers and had also taken oath of allegiance to one who had forgiven an adulterer. However, as Abdullah was a person who was involved in deviation and crookedness like the Khawarij and had a special sense of love for renown coupled with the weakness of an ascetic, he contented himself with giving only the following reply to Ammar: "I believe in the rightfulness of Ali and can say at least this much with confidence that on the day of Shura (meeting of the consultative council) injustice was done to him as he was deprived of his right at the point of the sword".

 

Incidentally he criticized his father (Umar) and hinting at the fact that his father was inimical towards Ali secretly and openly, exonerated himself and said nothing else.

 

Ammar also contented himself with invitation and preaching to this extent only. Beyond that he had nothing to do. He then left Abdullah's house and treated him as excused.

 

Ammar was also told that the son of Abi Waqqas was making excuses and going back on his promises. He, therefore, went to him but realized that Sa'd was a lowspirited man with a disturbed and confused intellect. Hence, he abandoned him to his illness and suffering and did not have any discussion with him.

 

Ammar learned that like other pleasure-seeking and voluptuous persons who falter in the path of truth and hold themselves aloof from godliness, Muhammad bin Muslima Ansari was entangled in a mental problem and was in a state of doubt and uncertainty .He, therefore, hurried up to Muhammad to relieve him of his perplexity. Muhammad said: "O pious Abul Yaqzan, you are welcome. I regret I have not seen you for so long a time! I swear by Allah that if the report which I happen to have with me had not emanated from the Holy Prophet. I would have taken oath of allegiance to Ali even if all the people had been opposed to him”. While saying this Muhammad kept looking intently upon Ammar's face to find out the impression made by his words on him. Then he added: "What can I do in the matter when the Holy Prophet (s) has already expressed his views on the subject?"

 

Ammar said: "O Muhammad! Speak clearly and explicitly. If what you say is correct I shall be with you and I swear by Allah that I shall not go against truth in any circumstances and if I realize that you are right I shall surrender".

 

Muhammad said: "The Holy Prophet (s) has ordered us that when we see that the Muslims have begun killing those who offer prayers, we should remain aloof and neutral".

 

Ammar said: "Did you hear these words from the Holy Prophet?"

 

Muhammad replied: "Yes. I heard these words from him with my own ears”.

 

Ammar said: "I don't accuse you. However, if it is proved that the Prophet (s) said this, it needs correct interpretation. "You have said that the Prophet (s) was pleased to remark that whenever you see the Muslims killing one another… ...I must tell you that it is not at all possible that two Muslims may draw swords to kill each other. And if you see at any time that two Muslims are drawing swords against each other you should know for certain that one of them is not a Muslim. In that case it is your duty to side with the Muslim who is right. And if the Holy Prophet (s) mentioned those who offer prayers you will be one of the two witnesses. Do you mean to say that the Holy Prophet (s) said anything on the subject after the sermon of the farewell Haj? Did he say anything besides this: "Your blood and your property are unlawful for one another except when someone may create an accident.. O Muhammad! In that case do you want to say that we should not fight against those who create mischiefs?"

 

The son of Muslima surrendered before this logical argument and elaborates jurisprudence, especially because this very strong logic made him understand the difference between a true Muslim and a hypocritical worshipper, and he was obliged to give a judgement that it was necessary to kill those who created mischiefs and had risen against the sacred Islamic principles.

 

Eventually Muhammad contented himself with discussion and debate to this extent only and said: "O godly man! Put an end to the matter now".

 

The son of Muslima was afraid that after removing his doubt Ammar would also solve his mental problem. And this problem which could not be solved had arisen from the fact that Ali had killed one of Muhammad's brothers in the Battle of Khayber.

 

Among the supporters of Ali, Ammar was the person, whose outward movement was slower than that of others, but in fact its enthusiasm and activity were much greater than those of others.

 

At the same time he was the person who endeavoured more than others for the advancement of truth on all occasions and kept an eye on all the developments which took place in those days. And on the whole he excelled all others so far as capability, merit, intellectual power, correctness of views and knowledge were concerned.

 

During the four months since the oath of allegiance was taken to Ali (i.e. before Ali's departure to Basra to meet those who had been guilty of breach of promise) Ammar was occupied in Madina, in inviting one, strengthening another to remain constant, and putting still another in his proper place.

 

Anyhow, when Ali became aware of the proceeding of Ayesha, Talha and Zubayr to Basra he decided to stop them so that mischief could be avoided. He left for Basra with this purpose, and nine hundred companions consisting of the Muhajirs and the Ansar also proceeded with him.

 

Ammar was the chief of this army and a large number of Muslims had also proceeded with him. When the army reached Rabaza it became known that Ayesha, Talha and Zubayr had already proceeded towards Basra and no time was left to overtake them. Ali, therefore, sent his nephew Muhammad bin Ja'far and Muhammad bin Abu Bakr to Kufa along with a letter addressed to Abu Musa, the governor of that city, wherein he directed that Abu Musa should equip the people and send them to Basra to meet him (Ali) there.

 

However, when the said two persons arrived in Kufa they realized that the agent of the Commander of the Faithful in Kufa, or, in more appropriate words, the agent of Ashtar [2] was an enemy whose hostility ought to have been avoided. It was so, because Abu Musa was asking the people to refrain from rising or taking any action and was fabricating traditions and inviting the people by this means to neutrality, fear and seclusion. This state of affairs became the cause of the two Muhammads quarelling seriously with Abu Musa, and harsh words were exchanged between them. The Commander of the Faithful then sent Abdullah bin Abbas and Muhammad bin Abu Bakr to Abu Musa along with a strongly worded letter by means of which he dismissed him and ordered him to hand over the government of Kufa to these two persons. And when some days passed and no news was received from Kufa the Commander of the faithful became anxious lest some disturbance should have taken place there ! Ali then proceeded from Rabaza to Zi Qar and reached near Kufa. He once again confirmed the orders regarding dismissal of Abu Musa through Hasan (his son) and Ammar (his minister) and also sent along with them some competent and distiguished persons like Qays bin Sa'd and Zayd bin Sohan so that if possibly Abu Musa declined to carry out the orders Ibn Abbas and Muhammad bin Abu Bakr might persuade him to comply with the same.

 

In these circumstances, however, Abu Musa's resistance increased with the arrival in Kufa of the last delegates of the Commander of the Faithful and he showed obstinacy to Ibn Abbas and his companions. And when the new delegates of the Commander of the Faithful communicated the orders to the people Abu Musa mounted the pulpit, reproached the people and invited them to deliberate and reflect! He fabricated traditions attributing them to the Holy Prophet (s) and asked the two parties to refrain from fighting!

 

Ali had friends as well as some enemies in Kufa. However, Kufa has a strange characteristic in regard to friendship and hostility, because friendship and hostility of its people is without any base or foundation. In other words the standard of social relations in this city is certainly the special likings, and the people are subordinate to the atmosphere of the events.

 

During those days the atmosphere of Kufa required that the people should tread the path of procrastination, hesitation, and selfishness, and did not demand seriousnes of action, and Ibn Abbas too had not been ordered to take any severe action. He was not, therefore, harsh with Abu Musa and did not also prevent him from mounting the pulpit. In the circumstances it was natural that so long as the government house and the pulpit were under the control of Abu Musa these characteristics of procrastination, hesitation, and selfishness and egotism were quite in keeping with the taste of the people of Kufa.

 

At this juncture Hasan bin Ali arrived in Kufa accom panied by Ammar. And as you are aware Ammar was the Governor of Kufa of yesterday and a friend of the people of this city. He had ruled there for quite a long time during the reign of Caliph Umar and acquired successes which resulted in his removal from office!

 

The nature of the people of Kufa is like that of naughty and wicked students who welcome their teacher in the beginning and show him regard till they understand his personality. As soon as they realize that the teacher is a gentle, simple-hearted and good mannered, they begin teasing and annoying him. However, if they find that he is a stout-hearted and severe man, they try to win his heart and to take precedence of one another in obeying him.

 

The relations of the people of Kufa with their rulers were similar to this and they knew the features of Ammar.

 

Before this time Ammar too had tested the people very well. However, Hasan bin Ali who had arrived there for the first time was not acquainted with the people. Only the people knew that he was the son of the Imam, the grandson of their Holy Prophet (s) and the chief of the young men of Paradise. In the circumstances the people looked at him with curiosity and appointed spies and reporters on him.

 

The attractive personality, dignity, and fascinating speech of Hasan drew the attention of the people towards him and when he addressed a public gathering for the first time all were stunned by his superiority .Before he began speaking, the people felt that he was a unique person and as soon as he commenced his speech and spoke a few sentences the people said: “Allah knows better where He places His Message". (Surah al An'am, 6:124)

 

When Hasan son of the Commander of the Faithful sat down after delivering his speech, Ammar walked up with his hand on the belt of his sword and began speaking. In his address he explained to the audience the principles of the religion, the elements of Islam and the value of its campaigns. During the course of his speech he also explained all the qualities and distinctions and the status of Ali in accordance with Islamic standards and said: "At present the people are faced with two difficulties viz. opposition to the religion or respect for the Mother of the Faithful, and now they are to be tested". He then solved this difficulty in the shape of an explicit legal problem and based his judgement on giving priority to more important over important i.e. preferring religion to the respect for the Mother of the Faithful and emphasized that in any case safety of the religion enjoyed priority over the respect for the Mother of the Faithful.

 

Notwithstanding the fact that Talha and Zubayr were the companions of the Holy Prophet, Ammar did not attach much importance to them, because they had broken the oath of allegiance and had risen to the detriment of Islam and the security of the State. He then invited the people to receive and meet Ali and said: "If you are not prepared to assist him you should at least discuss the matter with him so that the reality may become known to you. If, as a result of this, some people agree with him they will assist him and if they are opposed to him they will reproach him”.

 

Democracy and steadfastness in proving the truth based on absolute freedom are quite evident from the speech of Ammar, and similiarly the power of conviction based on reasoning, before the rule of the sword, is also clearly perceptible and clear from it .

 

The fact is that the reflection of these realities is the manifestation of the spirit of Ali. This shows the method of contention and the policy of his government and which also displays itself in his followers in this manner.

 

Of course Ali was a man who opened as extensive a field for discussion before the people as possible, and gave them so much opportunity and liberty of action in this behalf, that even during the present times none of the most modern democratic societies can match it. There are people who find fault with him on this account and consider this policy to be a weak one, although this very thing is the peak of his politics.

 

Abu Musa who was aware of the broadmindedness and extensive noble sense of indulgence and leniency of Ali refrained from sending his representatives to him. Hence, in that very assembly he stood up after Ammar had spoken and expressed his views before the people, and advised them to remain secluded and neutral and spend their time quietly. He also put forward before the people arguments like display of Islamic brotherhood, respect for the blood of the Muslims and refraining from mischief, and said to them: "It is obligatory for the people to throw their arms on the ground”.

 

With his monotonous logic Abu Musa was firm in his opposition to Ali. He prohibited the people incessantly from supporting Ali and impressed upon them the respect due to the Mother of the Faithful and said: "All the people should remain neutral so that the person, who has kindled the fire of war, should himself be devoured by it".

 

Abu Musa mostly supported his words with the verses of the Holy Qur'an, Hadith and general principles of Islamic Jurisprudence and the most important report which he relied upon was this that he said, I have heard the Prophet, who mentioned this trouble saying: “When this trouble arises it will be better for you to be asleep than be sitting; and if you are sitting it is better than that you should be standing. And if you are standing it is better than that you should be walking”.

 

Ammar stood up before Abu Musa sat down. He began arguing on the basis of the principles of jurisprudence and immediately attracted the attention of the people. He turned to Abu Musa and said: "Did you hear the Holy Prophet (s) saying this?" Abu Musa said: "Yes. I put this hand of mine in pledge".

 

Ammar said: "If you have spoken the truth you alone are responsible and according to this argument you should confine yourself to your house and should not witness the trouble. However, what I heard from the Holy Prophet (s) was that he ordered Ali to fight with Nakithin (those who broke the covenant) and he also told me the names of those persons. Furthermore, he ordered Ali to fight against Qasitin (the deviated ones). If you desire I can produce witnesses who may testify that the Prophet (s) prohibited you and you only".

 

At that moment, while he was standing firmly, he said to Abu Musa in a decisive and determined tone: "Give me that hand which you pledged falsely".

 

Abu Musa extended his hand. After having expressed his views Ammar held Abu Musa by the hand, pulled him down from the pulpit, and threw him among the people.

 

Then he turned to the people and said: "Abu Musa has asked you to remain neutral with regard to the two armies which have been mobilized and what he has said is not correct" He further added: "If people act upon the advice of Abu Musa, Allah will not be pleased with them, because He has said: If two groups of the believers begin fighting with each other, you should reconcile them. However, if one group commits aggression it is incumbent upon you to fight against that rebellious group till it submit to the Command of Allah and then reconcile them in accordance with justice.(Surah alHujurat, 49:9)

 

The Almighty Allah has also said: Fight against them till mischief is put down and the Divine Religion (Islam) becomes firm and secure.(Surah alBaqara, 2: 19)

 

O people! Ponder carefully and say as to which of these Divine verses conforms to the false and deceitful suggestions of Abu Musa. Allah will not be pleased with you unless you stand up and enquire about the rebellious group and fight against the rebels till right returns to the appropriate authority, unity of purpose is established and trouble is eliminated.

 

O people! Ask Abu Musa as to who has created this trouble. Did the public not take oath of allegiance to Ali and is this oath not binding upon all the Muslims? Did not Talha and Zubayr, who have deluded the Mother of the Faithful and are dissuading the people by her means from payig attention to truth and are, defrauding them, take oath of allegiance to Ali? Are not these two persons committing breach of covenant? Has Ali created trouble and started a quarrel that he should deserve to be removed from office? Is Ali a man who should be put on trial on account of sin?

 

Ask Abu Musa these questions and also demand proof from him so that his fraud and deceit may be revealed to you. Then rise according to the Command of Allah to administer justice and to support your Imam and leader. May Allah bless you!

 

O people of Kufa! If previously news about us reached you from a far now you can see our condition from near. What I mean to say is that the murderers of Uthman don't regret before the people what they have done and don't apologize. They don't also deny their act. Although I didn't participate in this act personally but I must say that I didn't hate this occurrence. Those who have killed Uthman have made the Book of Allah the judge and arbiter between themselves and those who have raised a hue and cry in connection with the murder of Uthman and have resorted to discussions and disputes. The Book of Allah contains orders regarding the life of those who are alive and the death of those who are dead, which should be acted upon: In this way those who are pursuing the path of dispute should desist from rebellion. A court should then be set up for the solution of the problem.

 

Now as regards Talha and Zubayr, they have broken their allegiance to their Imam and leader without his having created any mischief.

 

This is Hasan, son of the Prophet's daughter. All of you know him. He seeks your help and Ali, the Commander of the Faithful Ali will also be arriving soon accompanied by a number of the Muhajirs and the Ansar who fought in the Battle of Badr. Rise and make haste to assist him so that Allah may make you victorious".

 

Ammar did not become quiet till he acquired mastery over the intellects and sentiments of the people and held the reins of their thinking and will in his own hands. In spite of this Abu Musa did not despair and began

 

speaking again hoping to defeat Arnmar by means of conversa tion and discussion. However, as soon as he started his speech, Zayd bin Sohan broke the calmness of the assembly and said: "O Abdullah bin Qays! (Abu Musa's first name) Do you want to turn back the waves of the river Euphrates? Refrain from discussing a matter with which you are not conversant".

 

At this time Shith bin Rabi'i and some members of Taym tribe who were the supporters of Abu Musa were cross. Then Qays bin Sa'd and the judge Sharih spoke one after the other.

 

Thereafter voices were raised in support of Ammar from all sides and a smaller number of persons supported Abu Musa. Consequently Abu Musa was obliged to leave the assembly and proceed to his official residence.

 

Abu Musa, who had abandoned speaking any more in the public gathering, went to his house and having placed a pulpit there continued his invitation in favour of the Mother of the Faithful Ayesha and preventing the people from supporting and assisting Ammar. 

 

The persons present in the masjid encircled Hasan, Ammar and their companions, In the meantime the news was received that Abu Musa had placed a pulpit in his palace and was busy addressing the people. Thereupon Hasan, Ammar and their companions went to the palace.

 

During this conflict when the people had crowded and a new hue and cry had arisen someone said loudly: "Here comes Ashtar!" Ashtar came. On hearing the voice and becoming informed of his arrival the guardsmen of the palace went to Abu Musa and told him that Ashtar had arrived.

 

The person who had seen Ashtar said: "On hearing this news the colour of poor Abu Musa's face changed on account of acute anxiety, and the saliva in his mouth became dry, so much so that he gave himself up completely. At that moment he dismounted the pulpit in great fear, and his head fell down in such a way that the onlookers thought that he was crawling on the ground”.

 

Ali had sent Ashtar in order to suppress the disturbances, because he was receiving news regularly.

 

The moment Ashtar arrived and Abu Musa was dismounting the pulpit on account of his fear, Ashtar said to him loudly: "O donkey! Have you still not given up braying? When the Commander of the Faithful has issued orders regarding your dismissal what are you doing here? Get out. You have no longer any right to stay here even for a moment".

 

Poor Abu Musa requested Ashtar for time to stay on in Kufa for one more night so that he might settle his affairs and then go away.

 

The vulgar and roguish people thought of availing themselves of the opportunity afforded by the dismissal of Abu Musa and planned to attack and plunder his property. However, Ashtar stopped them and said: "It is sufficient that you are driving him away from here".

 

With the going away of Abu Musa the conditions in Kufa calmed down and order was restored.

 

Volunteers joined one another in the shape of military columns and a well-equipped army was formed whose rows marched in an organized manner under the standard of guidance and order.

 

Ammar was qne of the standard-bearers of the Battle of the Camel. The day of the Battle of the Camel was interesting in one respect, and frightening and dreadful in another. In this battle Ali selected Ammar as the commander of the cavalry. Ammar proceeded to organize a part of the army in accordance with the programme of the Alavi military technique and led the cavalry like a formidable thunderbolt with a special pride of faith which acquired strength from the Battle of Badr.

 

In this troop there could be found no man, who should be ready to fight with as much joy and mirth as Ammar.

 

Breaches or weak point could often be seen in some parts of the military troop of Ali but the front of Ammar was more lofty and elevated than surging of the sea.

 

With the strength of constancy and steadfastness peculiar to him, Ammar strengthened all sides of the organization related to his army and then gave orders for an attack. As a result of careful arrangement and the discipline maintained by him the army under his command gained complete victory over the opponents.

 

The army of the Mother of the Faithful possessed the strength of party spirit only and had not other support, whereas in the Army of Ali a greater power was available in the shape of spirituality and godliness and Ammar was one of the manifestations of these established realities. For was Ammar not the same martyr who was to be killed at the hands of a rebellious group?

 

One of the wonderful points which deserve notice in connection with this battle is the following incident: At one of the critical moments of the battle, Ali was occupying the seat of command and was issuing orders when sleep overtook him. And at that very moment both the wings of his army were attacked and the enemy made breaches in them.

 

Hayyan bin Jahin came to inform Ali of the impending danger and wondered to see that at that critical moment the Supreme Commander was feeling sleepy.

 

 

While relaxing the Supreme Commander was soliloquizing and calling Allah to witness regarding his innocence with regard to that mischief (Battle of the Camel) and the one relating to Uthman.

 

After uttering these words he girded his loins, entered the battlefield, attacked the enemy forces and strengthened the two wings of his army which had sustained injuries and then returned to his camp.

 

As he was feeling thirsty at the time of his return he asked for water. The sentinel posted at the seat of command did not give him water keeping in view his fatigue and thirst, and need to safeguard his health, but instead of it supplied him with some honey to suck.

 

While sucking the honey Ali asked: "Nephew! Is this honey of yours from Ta 'if?”.

 

The man who presented the honey says: "I wondered at the sensitiveness of the taste, presence of sense and concentration of the thoughts of the Cammander who could distinguish between the honey of Ta 'if and other places when he had just then returned from the battlefield and was tired and thirsty!"

 

In reply to his expression of wonder tne Commander of the Faithful said: "Son! Don't wonder. I swear by Allah that it has not happened so far that something should occupy the thoughts of your uncle or that he should be frightened of something"

 

Then he began fighting again and within a short time the army of 'the camel' retreated and the camel on whose saddle the standard had been hoisted fell down on the ground and the standard also fell down along with it. At that moment the adherents and sentinels of the camel also scattered and some relatives (of Uthman) including Marwan bin Hakam and Amr bin Uthman were taken prisoners.

 

The first person who reached by the side of the fallen camel was Ali and after him Ammar, Malik Ashtar, Muhammad bin Abi Bakr and some other brave men reached there.

 

At this moment the proclaimer of the Commander of the Faithful announced the end of the battle of Islam and said: "None is entitled to pursue a fugitive or to attack a wounded person or to tear a curtain".

 

These announcements were not mere moral directions but were legal orders. They provided a correct view of the logic and conduct of Ali and were a part of his plan in the matter of executive powers and organization of the State and protection of the higher interests of Islam and were expressed and acted upon with perfect gentleness and leniency and without subjecting the people to hardship or duress.

 

Unfortunately this intelligent viewpoint made the actual matter dubious for the people, because in spite of the expression of this view they did not understand the real limits of the matter. According to custom it was rumoured that: "The blood, property and women of the combatants are recognized to be lawful" and the people did not know the solution of this problem.

 

The ambiguous irrational and tingling voice of the people reached the ears of Ammar and there was a strong probability that he knew the solution of the problem. And as we have heard and seen in connection with Ammar's debate and discussion with Muhammad bin Muslima Ansari as to what extent he was conversant with the elements and principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, he could not also be accused of lack of knowledge in the present case. However, he wished that Ali should solve this problem. He, therefore, approached Ali and said: "O Commander of the Faithful! Accord permission that the persons who have been taken prisoners in the Battle of the Camel may be killed".

 

The Commander of the Faithful replied: "I am not going to kill the people of the Qibla”.

 

As you are aware Arnmar knew the difference between a Muslim who had understood the elements of Islam and one who offered prayers but was faced with anxiety and agitation in connection with these elements, and possibly he did not show any kind sentiments and love for such worshippers till that moment. However, the point at issue was that he considered that law, about the correctness of which he had not doubt, to be sufficient for himself but in order that the position might become clear to others he considered it necessary that the requisite declaration should be made by the competent authority. However, there were persons whose knowledge of legal matters was lesser than that of Ammar and who did not content themselves with the judgement.

 

It was for this reason that Ali explained the philosophy of this order to them, but it was difficult for them to comprehend it and they could not analyse the mattter. Ali , therefore, acted leniently with them so that he might find a perceptible reality to serve as a means of giving them a convincing reply. Hence he said to them: "Draw lots and every one of you should take his share of the booty accordingly".

 

When they got ready to divide the booty the Commander of the Faithful said to them: "Your mother Ayesha has now become a prisoner. Who from amongst you is agreeable that she should fall to his share?"

 

All of them said: "We ask Allah to forgive us".

 

Ali said: "I also seek His forgiveness".

 

It was then that all of them realized the position.

 

ONE MURDERED BY THE REBELLIOUS GROUP

 

After Abdullah bin Abbas, the new Governor of Basra, assumed the reins of office and acquired control over the state of affairs and the life of the people became normal, peace prevailed throughout the vast Islamic territories except in Syria.

 

However, the conditions in Syria was not important in itself because the rebel in that area was Mu'awiya, and if, according to the values prevalent in the world of Islam in those days, some people had regard for Talha, Zubayr and the Mother of the Faithful Ayesha. Mu'awiya, on the contrary, did not enjoy any value in the eyes of the Islamic world and was known as a freedman son of a freedman.

 

All knew that he was the son of that very person who assumed the leadership of the clans (Ahzab) and instigated the Jews to annihilate Islam. For this reason the circumstances of Syria or the mischief of Mu 'awiya in Damascus had no real importance, but its importance was connected with the historical environments and the factors of the time. In fact these very factors were the cause of campaign against Ali and not that the fraud and deceit practised by Mu'awiya in his Machiavellian politics strengthened his position.

 

In any case the reasons advanced by Mu 'awiya for rebellion against Ali had no basis except vain sophistry, and he was automatically considered annihilated even before he was subjected to the blow of truth.

 

Mu'awiya accused Ali of the murder of Uthman, but there was not even one person throughout the world of Islam of that day who might confirm this charge.

 

Those who considered Ali innocent of this accusation had no doubt that Mu'awiya himself was an accomplice in the murder of Uthman, because, notwithstanding the fact that he could save Uthman he refrained from doing so. Moreover, Uthman had sons who were his heirs and the guardians of his blood. Mu'awiya stole a march on them and assumed this title himself. And even if he had taken a step in this behalf in the capacity of an agent it may be said that he would have made a mistake, because the proper way for solving such problems is to approach the law court and not to resort to rebellion and revolt.

 

Besides this Mu 'awiya claimed that he had not taken an oath of allegiance to Ali, as had been done by Talha and Zubayr and it was not, therefore, incumbent upon him to obey the new Caliph.

 

It may be said in this connection that Mu'awiya’s ignorance of the problem was more baseless then his original claim, because he wanted to provide for a rule on the subject on the basis of exceptions and to make it prevail over the general orders and forge a sanctity for himself so that by this action he might show the Islamic society to be false and depraved. And relying on this he claimed that the vote of the people of Syria and not of those of the Hijaz was worthy of obedience.

 

Anyhow I do not know, if this claim of Mu 'awiya was not domineering and coercion, what else domineering and coercion are!

 

All the reasoning and arguments of Mu 'awiya were feeble and baseless like the vegetables which grow on the surface of water and he himself knew that they were even feebler than that. He relied on this pretext only for the reason that he knew that the power of understanding and assessment of the people was weaker and more baseless than even the strength of such vegetables.

 

Apart from this the decision taken by Mu'awiya in those days was not something new.

 

It was a deep and comprehensive decision which had traversed many stages with care and solidity. This fact has already been referred to in this book and the readers have not perhaps forgotten Abu Sufyan's having been turned away by Ali after the meeting at Saqifa.

 

Anyhow these stages were the outcome of some historical factors which proved to be more beneficial for the Umayyad party-spirit as compared with the Hashimite justice. Furthermore, the historical events which manifested themselves during the period of the third Caliph were the most effective factors which according to the exigencies of the time proved harmful to Ali. Ali had all these matters in view and none knew better than he that during this interval, as demanded by the circumstances, the only way of over coming the difficulties and the last means to arrive at a final solution was soothing covetousness and returning to the revival of party spirit and purchase of consciences! But Imam Ali was a man who said: "I am not going to seek help from the deviated seducers or to make them the means of success". He made this position clearly known to Mughira who contacted him and suggested that Mu'awiya might be allowed to retain Damascus.

 

Imam Ali gave the same reply to Mu'awiya when he asked him to entrust the government of Damascus and Cairo to him so that he (Mu 'awiya) might take oath of allegiance to him. Ali rejected his request. He adopted this attitude because he considered himself under obligation to enforce Islamic principles and at the same time the path of solving the political problems in the manner in which his contemporary politicians and those of later ages reflected upon was closed before him and he was not neglectful of it.

 

However, he was on his guard against treachery, deceit and bargaining and as his conduct was peculiar to himself he did not pay attention to the political behaviour and policies of others. For this reason and taking into account the rule and principle which he had in view he did not agree to allow Mu 'awiya to retain Syria and as a matter of principle his action with regard to Mu 'awiya was based on the same rule and principle according to which he had rejected Mu'awiya's request previously and had said: "I am not going to seek help from the seducers".

 

He also knew very well that the observance of this rule and principle was not compatible with the spirit of his time and following this policy would create the greatest difficulties for him. Nevertheless the only factor and cause which made him persevere and consider the exigencies of time to be insignificant was that, he wished that there should be Ali and not Mu 'awiya.

 

Imam Ali was struggling to safeguard and enforce this principle and rule and not to attain to rulership and kingdom. He did not desire a transient victory but wished to achieve a permanent and enternal victory.

 

The clearest proof of the correctness of this claim and of his careful attention towards these things is that he said to some of his companions who were showing much humiliation before him: "I know with which factor and means I should make you obey me. However I tell you that I am not the man who would spoil and corrupt his faith so that your material desires may be fulfilled".

 

Yes, the crux of the matter is that Ali was campaigning against immorality, mischief, indecency and corruption and in this struggle which he had undertaken against moral vices and to uproot indecency and uncleanness from the souls of the people, he did not exempt even those of his friends and kinsmen in whose nature this ailment had penetrated. In short in this campaign friends and enemies were equal in his eyes and in the circumstances it is evident that for Mu 'awiya, who was drowned in intellectual and practical evils, there was no place in this organization and he was a man who could not succeed by any other way except evil.

 

However the object of dwelling at length on this subject is that the genius and intelligence which has been attributed to Mu 'awiya, and his extraordinary efficiency and competence about which much has been said, is all exaggeration and idle talk. In fact the entire success of this man was indebted to those very fictitious qualities mixed with mischief and evil and such successes and victories as are the consequences of such vicious practices.

 

Another important point in this connection is that the apparent successes of Mu'awiya certainly sprang from the perseverance and steadfastness of Ali in protecting the principles and elements of truth. It is evident that persons who were after wordly gains and pleasures and could not achieve their ends by associating with Ali naturally turned to Mu'awiya to secure their goals.

 

Incidentally this aspect of the matter should also be made clear that the atmosphere preceding the rulership of Ali had distracted the people from true Islamic principles and matters had taken such a turn, that it was said: "Only that person who is dominant and powerful has a right to live, and predominance and victory can only be gained under the shadow of accumulation of wealth, hoarding, seizing an opportunity, enlargement of influence and acquisition of the objects of desire".

 

It is apparent that if, in these circumstances, Ali had resorted to diplomacy, he could have very easily eliminated the gains made by his opponents. And it is also evident that it was easier for Ali to overcome Mu 'awiya with the same weapon of politics then to subdue those who had broken the covenant.

 

The revolt of Mu'awiya during those days was not very important in the light of the true Islamic criteria. The real danger arose from the causes and effects of the prevailing atmosphere and the danger of resistance and perseverance in seeking absolute truth was the greatest of all.

 

However, in spite of all these conditions and circumstances it must be admitted that, the most important factors were perseverance, resistance and steadfastness in protecting and supporting absolute truth and ignoring the suggestions of those who asked Imam Ali to resort to compromises and flattery.

 

Anyhow during the days when Ali was staying in Kufa the condition of Mu'awiya and his activities which seemed languid and weak to every reflective and sensible person appeared all the more worthless and unimportant to Ali. Notwithstanding this, however, Ali did not ignore the elements which had been created by the circumstances and events to the benefit of Mu 'awiya which had prepared favourable environments for strenghtening his position. The matters had taken such a turn that Mu 'awiya had begun coveting the office of the Caliphate and nurtured this fancy in his mind that he might be nominated for it. However, Ali, while being fully cognizant of this state of affairs, remained steadfast and well composed. At the same time he could not only read clearly in the horizon of the coming events the evil results of the preliminaries of future campaigns, but he also afforded liberty of action to the enemy with perfect calmness, so that he might have a clear and

 

well-founded ground for jihad against Mu'awiya, and the responsibility for the war which the agitators were going to start should be on the oppressive deviated persons, just as the responsibility for the previous war fell on the covetous breakers of the covenant and that for the future war was to fall on the Khawarij .

 

During the time when Ali was in Kufa letters were exchanged between him and Mu'awiya, Ali consulted his companions about current affairs and apprised them of the developments. His companions suggested that they might spend that year in Kufa and wait, but Ammar, Ashtar, Adyy bin Hatim (famous for his generosity) and Shurayh bin Hani opposed this view.

 

Ammar said: "O Commander of the faithful! We have taken oath of allegiance to you and find none, who may rise against you. Previously there were persons who rose to fight against you but the Almighty Allah routed them and helped you in accordance with the verse: Whoever retaliates in the same manner as he was made to suffer and then is oppressed again, Allah will certainly help him.(Surah al-Haj, 22:60) And as clearly stated by Him in another verse: Whoever breaks the covenant breaks it to his own detriment,(Surah al-Fath, 48: 10), those who broke the covenant received punishment for their conduct.

 

Another point is that during those days Kufa supported us and Basra was opposed to us. One group from amongst us was rewarded and the other was excused.

 

At present, however, we are involved in an irremediable trouble in Syria and a person, who has revolted, will not submit unless he is killed or defeated. In the circumstances we should forestall him. I would, therefore, request you to issue orders for mobilization".

 

Ashtar and others who were of the same opinion supported Ammar's view. Soon afterwards Ali received news of the mobilization of Mu'awiya's forces and it became certain that Mu 'awiya was on the war path and was preparing to attack.

 

The Commander of the Faithful, therefore, equipped an army consisting of 190,000 warriors and proceeded to Siffin at the head of this army. In this army as well the Commander of the cavalry was Ammar.

 

The result of the first encounter of the two parties was that Mu 'awiya obtained control of the water-way and did not allow Ali and his forces to use it.

 

Before the brave and distinguished warriors of Badr and the Muhajirs and the Ansar and the soldiers of Muzar and Rabi 'a and the chiefs of Yemen and Iraq could commence fighting and achieve any result from it, Ashtar, in order to achieve victory, put forward suggestions which obliged Mu'awiya and his minister to resort to cold war by discussion, debate, oration, lecturing and sending letters. These were the prerequisites for such a war. It is evident that the superiority of the supporters of Ali in this cold war was as much established in the minds of the enemies as their superiority in the matter of swordsmanship.

 

If there were Mu'awiya, 'Amr As and his son Abdullah in that party, there were on this side, besides Imam Ali, great orators like Abdullah bin Abbas, Ammar Yasir, Malik Ashtar, Ash'ath bin Qays (although a hypocrite), Ahnaf bin Qays, Uthman bin Hunayf, Sa'sa'a bin Sohan, Adyy bin Hatim and hundreds of others from amongst the Muhajirs and the Ansar of Badr, all of whom possessed intelligence, insight, sagacity and experience and were very eloquent, whereas the persons in the opposite row did not possess these qualities.

 

Mu 'awiya and his minister ‘Amr As were persons who were extreme opportunists. They had gained experiences regarding the conduct of Ali in the Battle of Basra so as to utilize them at the opportune time. They had now acquired an opportunity and wanted to profit from those experiences. Hence, in order to strengthen the morale of the Syrian soldiers and to dodge military action they resorted to stratagems. To achieve this end they decided to defame the outstanding leaders and distinguished personalities of Iraq and to make them appear despised and degraded in the eyes of the Syrians.

 

Amr As who had previously carried on correspondence with some Iraqi hypocrites like Ash'ath now began to lecture to the Syrians and endeavoured to delude and seduce them.

 

As soon as the sound of the speech of ‘Amr reached the ears of Ammar he got up to put an end to this cold war. In spite of his old age and feebleness, he raised his thunderous voice which was sustained by resolution and determination and said: "O slaves of Allah! Rise and hurry up towards these people who want to avenge the murder of a tyrant. Some benevolent and righteous persons who were opponents of cruelty and oppression and supporters of justice and goodness rose and killed that man. Now these people have risen and want to avenge the murder of such a person upon us. These persons who claim to be the avengers of his murder are of a type that if their worldly ambitions are achieved and Islam is destroyed they will not mind it. Such persons asked us: "Why did you kill him?" We replied. "On account of the unlawful things he did". They said: "He didn't do anything unlawful".

 

Do you know why they said all this? It was because he ensured their worldly gains. These are the people who plundered his existence and will not worry even if the mountains are demolished. I swear by Allah that they don't want to avenge the murder (of Uthman}. They relish and have become fond of worldly gains. They think that if the righteous person assumes the reins of government he will restrain their unlawful profits and unlimited greed. These people have no previous record in Islam so that they should be worthy of rulership, but they have deceived their followers and told them: "Our chief and leader was killed unjustly". They said this in order to acquire the rulership and power. As you see and know this claim is nothing except deceit and fraud. And if they had not practised this fraud none would have taken oath of allegiance to them.

 

O Lord! If You help us it will not be Your first hel.p because You have granted us victories earlier. And if Your Will is that they should assume rulership then put in store for them the result of their illegal acts whereby they have subjected the people to tyranny and torture".

 

When Ammar concluded his speech and enlightened the minds of the hearers in all respects he ordered his standard bearer, Hashim Marqal, to advance, and said: "May my parents be your ransom! Advance and attack these Syrians and break up their rows".

 

Ammar himself also went forward and reached in the centre of the opposing army near 'Amr As. Addressing 'Amr he said: "O 'Amr! You have sold your faith for the sake of Egypt. Woe be to you! What mischiefs and evils have you roused against Islam!”

 

Then Ammar began praying to Allah in the presence of the Syrians and said: “O Lord! You know that if I realize that Your Will is that I should throw myself in this river I shall do so. O Lord! If I realize that You desire that I should thrust the point of my sword into my belly and bend myself, so that the sword may come out of my back, I shall do so.

 

O Lord! You know that I have acquired what You have taught me and I know it very well that today no pious act is better than that I should perform jihad against these people who have violated human rights, and if I come to know that in the present circumstances there is an act which is liked by You more, I shall perform it".

 

As soon as 'Amr As heard these words of Arnmar he left the battlefield and hid himself.

 

The Syrian army also trembled more on hearing Arnmar speak than they trembled for the fear of his sword, though all of them knew well that a rebellious group would kill Ammar. The importance and the danger of the presence of Ammar was not unknown to Mu 'awiya, and he was afraid of what was going to happen, he expressed his anxiety every now and then in various ways.

 

Ammar attacked valiantly and his standard bearer Hashim Marqil and his companions fell upon the Umayyad army like a furious storm and pushed it back.

 

At this moment Ammar remembered Abdullah bin 'Amr As (who in the beginning appeared to be a devout person and hesitated to support Mu 'awiya but later joined his army saying that he was a follower of his father and not of Mu 'awiya) and called out from the battlefield with a loud voice: "O Abdullah! Have you sold your faith for the world”?

 

Abdullah replied: "It is not so. The fact is that I have risen to avenge the murder of Uthman".

 

Ammar said: "It is not at all so. I bear witness to the fact that you do not do anything for the sake of Allah. You should know that if you are not killed today you will be killed tomorrow. Ponder carefully. When Allah gives recompense according to the intentions of the people, let me know what your intention is?"

 

Ammar uttered these words and commenced his attack. This attack by Ammar was the commencement of an extensive battle during which the most severe and the most intense scenes of war were witnessed continuously for three days and nights. The third night of this battle is known as 'Lailatul Harir'.

 

In the afternoon of the day of the battle Ammar called back his soldiers from the front for rest. When his soldiers were resting the people were saying to one another: "The enemy will be immune this night from the blows of the swords of Ammar's soldiers".

 

Ammar was hearing these words and sharpening his sword and stimulating and equipping with arms his standard bearer and brave officer Marqil. Soon afterwards he ordered Marqil to attack and himself got ahead of the army. Then he said aloud: "Who wants to proceed to Paradise? Paradise is under the shadow of the swords and the arrows. Today I shall meet my friends. Today I shall meet the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) and his party".

 

Ammar was moving ahead and other warriors were moving behind him, and all were advancing. The sun was about to set and the only light which could be seen in the extensive horizon was the lustre of the sword and the sparks of the blows. Once again Ammar decided to take rest and it was the moment when the last rays of the sun were shining on the stream of blood and its crimson rays were being reflected on all sides. At that moment, before Ammar could take rest, his eyes fell on 'Amr As who was carrying Mu 'awiya's standard on his shoulder. Ammar was reminded of something and shook his sword. Then he struck his hand on the back of his standard bearer and said: "O Marqil! I swear by Him under whose control my life is that even if these people are in a position to annihilate us by dealing successive blows no weakness will take place in my faith, because we are right and they are following the wrong path. O Marqil! The standard which' Amr As is carrying on his shoulder is the same against which I have fought in the company of the Holy Prophet (s) and it is the fourth time that I am campaigning against it".

 

Then he made an attack and said to Hashim 'Utba (Marqil): "O son! Advance! Advance! May my parents be your ransom!"

 

During this terrible fighting Ammar did not rest even for a moment. He fought on and persuaded his soldiers to do the same and ordered them to attack. He continued attacking the enemy like deadly lightening till the third day of the battle arrived on that day the fighting reached its climax and continued unabated. For the self-sacrificing warriors who accompanied Ammar it was immaterial whether they killed or were killed. Ammar, the old man, who was ninety four years of age, was fasting and in spite of this he made deadly attacks on the enemy and pushed his standard bearer Hashim forward.

 

Hashim insisted upon him to hand over the command and responsibility for attack to him and to take rest for sometime to get rid of the fatigue caused by fasting but Ammar shouted at him and said: "O son! May my parents be your ransom! Advance!"

 

Anyhow, as a result of the severe and continuous attacks by Ammar, the cavalry of the Syrian forces fled. In this combat Zul Kala' Humyari, who was the commander of the Syrian army wavered and lost the power of resistance in the row which was the target of Ammar's attack. When the news of Zul Kala's hesitation and fear reached Mu 'awiya he summoned him and deceived him with the assistance of his minister 'Amr As, and two persons took oath that what Zul Kala had heard about Ammar and had reported was true (i.e. the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (s) that a rebellious group will kill Ammar) but Ammar would at last leave his own army and would join the army of Mu'awiya and 'Amr As. Hence, Zul Kala' had no alternative and must partake in fighting. They also assured him that eventually, when the dust of the war had settled, he would see that Ammar had arrived in his (Zul Kala's) row. Incidentally they also told him that if the prediction made by them did not come out to be true he would be entitled to continue to remain hesitant in the future wars, and that he would have ample time for this.

 

On the third day the battle came to an end and Ammar, as steadfast as ever, remained busy in fighting like a champion. When the sun was about to set and the night called Lailatul Harir arrived Ammar asked for water to break his fast.

 

A vessel containing milk was brought for him. Before drinking milk he smiled and it might be said that his soul shone with that smile.

 

In an ecstatic and happy condition he said: "My friend, the Prophet of Allah told me: "Your last food in the world will be a gulp of milk mixed with water".

 

Ammar drank the milk and then made an attack along with his military column and hastened towards Paradise which was embodied and perceptible in his eyes. There he saw the Holy Prophet (s) receiving him as he used to receive him previously in this world.

 

There is a great probability that Mu 'awiya had fixed a big prize for the 'head of Ammar' so that he might be relieved of the embarrassment caused by the grinding argument which existed in the minds of the army personnel, just as he had ordered that all should guard the head of Zul Kala, lest he should receive any injury, and he had also promised awards for the safety of Zul Kala'.

 

Anyhow if Zul Kala' had remained alive after Ammar he would have created a great difficulty for Mu'awiya, and he could not satisfy him by any means. And the most important thing was that the tribe of Zul Kala' and the number of its members exceeded that of all other tribes.

 

In any case Ammar, while he had no guardsman to protect him drove forward dauntlessly like a lion and on having reached the battlefield said with a loud voice: “Is there any combatant here?"

 

At that moment a mounted soldier belonging to the tribe of 'Sakasak' came to fight against Ammar and was killed at his hands. Another horseman from amongst the Humyaris came in the field and he, too, was killed by Ammar. And all others who came thereafter met with the same fate.

 

Abul Ghadiya Juhani who had been on the track of Ammar since the days of Uthman, came near him. At this moment the cuirass of Ammar had fallen aside from his thigh. This man availed of the opportunity and gave a blow on the thigh of Ammar .Two other mounted men attacked Ammar simultaneously and put an end to his life.

 

Anyhow one of the particular pieces of good luck of Bani Umayya was the coincidence that at the moment when Ammar was killed Zul Kala' was also killed.

 

Ammar's being martyred was a sorrowful event for the members of both the armies. One of the effects of this tragedy was that the defensive movement of Mu 'awiya's army came to a standstill and the sound of the epic verses recited by the army of Ali reached the sky. Before Ammar was killed there were, in both the armies, persons who entertained doubts in their minds, but after he was martyred truth became evident to them.

 

As a result of this tragedy anxiety and agitation prevailed in the minds which ended in the retreat of the Syrian army. Mu'awiya and 'Amr As were then compelled to deceive their own army by means of misinterpretation and, in order to remain immune, delude and deceive their opponents in another manner .

 

However, if during these critical moments fate had not predominated, history would have adopted a course other than that which it did owing to the hypocrisy and discord of Ash'ath bin Qays.

 

When Abul Ghadiya killed Ammar, voices rose from both the camps saying: "O Abul Ghadiya! Woe be to you! It was you who killed Abul Yaqzan (the pious man)! May Allah kill you!"

 

Muhammad bin Muntashir said to Abul Ghadiya: "O Abul Ghadiya! On the Day of Judgement your enemy will be a mighty enemy with a strong hand". The only reaction of Abul Ghadiya was that he laughed and went his way.

 

Hana, a slave of Caliph Umar bin Khattab says thus about himself: "In the beginning I was with Mu'awiya and his companions used to say: "Allah forbid! In no circumstances shall we kill Ammar, because if we kill Ammar then, as it is said, we too shall be regarded as a rebellious group. On the day the Battle of Siffin ended I was walking about amongst those who had been killed. Suddenly I saw that Ammar Yasir had been killed. I went to 'Amr As and saw him resting on his throne. I asked him: "What have you heard about Ammar Yasir?" 

 

'Amr As said: "I heard the Holy Prophet (s) saying: A rebellious group will kill Ammar".

 

I said: "I swear by Allah that Ammar has been killed. What do you say now?"

 

'Amr said: "It is a false claim ".

 

I said: "I have seen with my own eyes that Ammar has been killed".

 

Amr said: "Let's go and see. Show me his dead body".

 

I took 'Amr As up to the dead body of Ammar. On seeing the corpse of Ammar the colour of the face of 'Amr As changed. Then he turned his face and began walking and said: "Ammar has been killed by the person who brought him in the battlefield!"

 

Khuzayma bin Thabit was a witness to the Battles of Camel and Siffin. He did not draw his sword in either of these battles and remained neutral. However, after Ammar was killed he said: "I have now become convinced of the rebellion and deviation of the Syrians".

 

Then Khuzayma partook in the battle and fought till he was killed.

 

Each of the two horsemen who had assisted Abul Ghadiya in killing Ammar were trying to take from Mu'awiya the prize which had been fixed for the head of Ammar. 'Amr As said to both of them: "You two are fighting for the Fire of Hell and nothing else! I have heard the Prophet (s) saying: "One who kills Ammar and one who takes his clothes off his body will both go to Hell!" Mu 'awiya interrupted Amr As and said in a reproachful tone:

 

“What you are saying is a dangerous jest. These two persons are fighting on our side and you are telling them that both of them will go to Hell!"

 

Amr said: “I swear by Allah that this is a fact and you also know it. I wish that I had died twenty years earlier than today".

 

When Abdullah bin 'Amr As was returning from Siffin along with his father and Mu'awiya, he turned to his father and said: "Father! I heard the Holy Prophet (s) saying to Ammar: “A rebellious group will kill you”.

 

After hearing these words 'Amr As turned to Mu'awiya with a peculiar malice and said: "Do you hear what this boy is saying?"

 

Mu'awiya said; "Have we killed him? This is not at all the position. I hope people, who brought him into the battlefield have killed him".

 

Then the two sly persons laughed.

 

One day 'Amr As said to his companions who had gathered round him: "I wish that when the Holy Prophet (s) breathed his last he might not have hated anyone, so that Allah might not send any person to Hell!"

 

His companions said: "What we felt was that the Prophet (s) loved you and appointed you to governorship".

 

'Amr said: "Allah knows better whether he loved me or was kind to me just by way of affability. However, I observed that he loved a particular man”.

 

'Amr was asked: "Who was that man?" He replied: “He was AmmarYasir".

 

Then he was asked: "Was he the same man whom you killed in the Battle of Siffin?”

 

'Amr replied: Yes, by Allah! We killed him". Anyhow, after Ammar was killed the Syrians were leaving their own standard and were scattering, and as they did not wish to be styled the rebellious group they were mixing with the people of Iraq. It was at this juncture that 'Amr As endeavoured to test the intelligence and insight of his 'king' in respect of this difficulty and in the meantime to strengthen what he had injected in the minds of the

 

Syrians regarding Ammar and to confirm the constancy of their power of insight. .Mu'awiya turned his face from his minister and went to his army, stood at the head of the row and said to them: "I am going to speak to you about the most sensitive matter of the day. This is the most important of all the topics and it concerns the Hadith regarding the rebellious group which is being passed on from one mouth to another.

 

It should be known that the Hadith relating to the rebellious group is to our advantage and not detrimental to us. All of you should come to your senses and ponder carefully over the Hadith of the Holy Prophet. No doubt the 'rebel' stings us and we have become subjected to reproof. Well, let it be so! But it should be asked: "Are we not the same rebellious group who have risen to avenge the murder of Uthman and have been touched on account of that man having been oppressed? Yes, we are a rebellious group in this sense”.

 

The hearers heard this bombastic logic of Mu'awiya and were convinced. The Syrians then departed with a light heart and a tranquil conscience.

 

'Amr As laughed and appreciated Mu'awiya's skill.

 

Ammar's being martyred created a tumult in the Iraqi camp and the echo of this tumult draws a most vivid picture of the condition and position of Imam Ali. It is not necessary for us to discuss this point.

 

As soon as the news of Ammar's martyrdom reached Ali he began weeping. Then he looked at those present round him and said: "How long did you wish Ammar to live?"

 

It might be said that the Commander of the Faithful wanted to ask: "How long did you wish Islam to live?"

 

Then he stood up and went towards the corpses of those who had been killed and reached by the side of the dead body of Ammar. At that moment he expressed grief over the martyrdom of Ammar in these splendid words: "Any Muslim who doesn't consider the event of Ammar's being killed to be great, and doesn't treat it to be a painful tragedy, won't be recognized to be adult and mature. May Allah bless Ammar on the day on which he embraced Islam, the day on which he was killed and the day on which he will rise from earth once again! I saw Ammar at such a position that if the companions of the Holy Prophet (s) were reckoned to be four he was the fourth and if they were five he was the fifth and none of the companions of the Prophet (s) doubted this. Paradise has become essential for Ammar and his entitlement to Paradise did not depend on one or two instances".

 

It has been said: "Ammar is righteous and truth is with him. To whichever side Ammar turns truth turns along with him. One who kills Ammar will go to Hell".

 

Anyhow, Ali ordered that the funerals of Ammar and his standard bearer and aide-de-camp Hashim Marqil might be placed side by side. He then offered prayers for both of them without, bathing their bodies and thereafter they were buried in Siffin in 37 A.H.

 

For all those acquainted with the mysteries of realities, and all the reflective and clear sighted persons among whom Ammar occupied the position of a leader, nothing was more suprising than that there should be persons who should be knowing the personality of Ammar and the way of his thinking, and consider it the criterion of truth, but may not apply the same argument in the case of Ali. Yet all knew that there was a world of difference between the status of Imam Ali and Ammar.

 

Again how surprising it is that these people neglected and did not take into account the indisputable remarks of the Holy Prophet (s) based on authentic evidence, regarding the position and rank of Ali, which reached the ears of the people time and again, and his explicit statement that "Truth is with Ali just as Ali is with truth, and Ali always travels in the orbit and path of truth!" These remarks which are exclusively used for Imam Ali should not be used in respect of the conduct and merits of Ammar.

 

In any case Mu'awiya and his minister endeavoured to find fault with the pious conduct of Ammar and to remove this obstacle from their path. At times they tried to diminish his position and at other times acted to counteract his arguments. However, their efforts did not materialize at any stage and they did not achieve any success. During the plots woven by them they once sent two men of Zul Kala' Humyari, about whom they knew that his faith in Ammar was dangerous for both ‘Amr As and Mu 'awiya, to his cousin Abu Nuh Humyari, who was one of the supporters of Ali, so as to dissuade him from his faith and degrade Ammar in his eyes. In this interview the discussions between these two persons centred round the topic of the eminence of the person of Ammar.

 

Abu Nuh wondered that these persons had so much faith in Ammar, who himself was a staunch follower of Ali, but called Ali a heretic!

 

The arguments which Abu Nuh put forward against these persons on the subject were very eloquent and expressive. Later in a meeting these two persons held discussions with 'Amr As about Ammar.

 

Ammar was also invited personally to attend the meeting so that he might wonder all the more about the weakness of their views about him as they considered him to be the criterion of truth but did not admit Ali to be the criterion of truth, and might consequently quarrel with them and censure them with his authoritative speech, as harsh words are more penetrating than arrows. [3]

 

Incidentally it should be remembered that Allama Ibn Abil Hadid Mu'tazali [4] has solved this problem very clearly and thoroughly analysed it. After explaining the characteristics of Ammar and the son of Tayhin and Khuzayma bin Thabit, all of whom were martyred in this battle, the said Allama considers their self-sacrifice and martyrdom a proof of the invalidity of Mu'awiya 's claim and says: "One of the most shameful and indecent incidents which have arisen and arise from the indecent and abominable party-spirit is the fact that Abu Hayyan Tawhidi has written in his book entitled al-Basa'ir that Khuzayma bin Thabit who was killed in Siffin and was a supporter of Ali was someone else and not the well-known Khuzayma bin Thabit, whereas all the books on geneology and Hadith have stated explicitly that amongst all the companions, whether they were the Ansar or non Ansar, there was only one Khuzayma bir Thabit Zush Shahadatayn. However, the trouble is that caprice is an irremediable ailment.

 

Another point is that the notable historian Tabari has preceded Abu Hayyan in making this suggestion and the latter has quoted it from him, but all the books which have mentioned the names of the companions give evidence against the Abu Hayyan.

 

Besides all this why should the supporters of Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, take trouble to prepare a long list of persons like Khuzayma, Abul Maysam Ammar etc?

 

In short the matter is absolutely clear that if all the people had reflected about Imam Ali and seen him with the eyes of justice they would have certainly realized that even if he had stood alone on one side and all the people had risen to campaign against him he would have beer true and all others would have been false. 

 

 


Notes:

[1] Na'thal was an old Jew whose countenance and beard resembled those of Uthman. For this reason the Mother of the Faithful Ayesha used to liken Uthman to him. During the days when the conditions were disturbed owing to the people being unhappy with Uthman's administration and Uthman did not comply with the wishes of the Mother of the Faithful, she said to the people: "Kill Na'thal".

 

[2] Abu Musa, the Governor of Kufa, is known as agent of Ashtar because Ashtar settled in Kufa and gave Abu Musa the governorship of Kufa and Uthman supported him.

 

[3] In this connection refer to Nahjul Balagha, vol. II, p. 27.

 

[4] Sharh-e- Nahjul Balagha, vol. II, p. 539.

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