History of the Caliphs

By: Rasūl Ja’farīan

Translation by: Ali Ebrahimi

p. 270-276
Exactly when Ash‘ath Ibn Qays read the arbitration convention for various groups of the army, a group of the army cried out in front of him, لا حكم الا لله “The only judgment is that of Allāh’s.”[1]

According to Nasr Ibn Muzāhim, some people from Banū Murād, Banū Rāsib, and Banū Tamīm chanting aloud, and expressing their disgust concerning the arbitration of men said, “Just Allāh merits arbitration.”

Among the dissenters, ‘Amr Ibn Udayya (and in another narration ‘Urwa Ibn Djudayr)[2] attacked Ash‘ath. His sword was quietly dropped on Ash‘ath’s horse. Shortly after the coming of Ash‘ath to Imām and his declaring that all but few of the people were satisfied, the shouts of “the only judgment is that of Allāh” grew louder. Their question was, “What about our murdered persons?” Allāh has settled Mu‘āwiya’s work, and Allāh’s order is nothing but suppressing Damascus army. It is obvious that in front of some people like Ash‘ath, many people of Iraqi army were not ready to submit themselves to Damascus people whatever reason there might be when one group won’t do so? They asked Imām to forsake the issue of arbitration, and in principle, to report of his former opinion which has led to polytheism. Imām by referring to the verse, اوفوا بالعقود “Fulfill the obligations,” said that now the agreement has been reached and we have no remedy but patience up to the end of the duration of this convention.[3]

Imām said to them, “As you see, most of this crowd are not in line with war, and if you wage war these people will be together than Damascus people towards you.”[4]

In their way back to Siffīn, the people were divided into two groups, a group protesting against the arbitration, and another group accusing them of being separated from the company.[5] Near to Kūfa, a group was little by little separated from the army and went to Harūrā’ area half a league away from Kūfa.[6] That’s why later on these people were referred to as Harūriyya.

The most outstanding persons of Khāridjites were as follows, Hurqūs Ibn Zuhayr Tamīmī, Shurayh Ibn Awfī al-’Absī, Farwa Ibn Nawfal Ashdja‘ī, ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Wahb Rāsibī. These people came to Imām, after his entering Kūfa, and asked him not to dispatch Abū Mūsā for the arbitration.

Imām said, “We have admitted something that we cannot violate.”[7] As it seems from the names of these persons, no one amongst them was from the renowned people of Iraq. In contrast, they belonged typically to a nomadic tribes such as Bakr Ibn Wā’il and Banū Tamīm.[8] The Khāridjites, for the most part, were from nomads who, in principal, had no idea concerning Imamate and politics as being matters beyond tribal issue. They demonstrated this tendency of theirs within a framework out of a deviated interpretation from the slogan “the only judgment is that of Allāh”. Amongst the Khāridjites was ‘Itrīs Ibn ‘Arqūb Shaybānī who was from the companions of ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Mas‘ūd.[9]

Khāridjites put forward some crucial issues. Their first question was that how Imām consented to the arbitration of “men” in the act of “religion”. Their second question was that why Imām was contented to have his title of caliphate, to wit Amīr al-Mu’minīn, omitted. Their problem, as Ya‘qūbī puts it, was that Imām spoilt his executorship through this measure.[10]

Their another question was that why Imām didn’t give the permission of distributing booties after their triumph over the infidels. How is it that their killing was permissible, but taking their possessions was not lawful?[11]

With respect to the omission of the title “Amīr al-Mu‘minīn”, Imām invoked the omission of the title “Rasūl Allāh”, Allāh’s Messenger, in the Hudaybiyya peace pact.

Besides, he said regarding arbitration, “I disagreed with this arbitration from the outset, later, as well, when I yielded to it on account of the people’s compulsion, I stipulated that I will abide by their judgment provided that they judge on the basis of Allāh’s book, inasmuch as we have originally admitted the arbitration of Qur’ān rather than that of men.” Moreover, Imām announced his decision concerning the continuation of war against Damascus, after the collection of tribute. Thus hereby, many of those joining the Khāridjites, joined Imām’s adherents’ group.[12] Yet, there were a lot still sticking to their own beliefs. They disagreed with the arbitration by referring to the only judgment is that of Allāh. Sticking to appearances, and drawing hardline deductions through ضرب القرآن بعضه ببعض “He put Qur’ān aside,” were considered among Khāridjites’ peculiarities. Imām said in front of those chanting this slogan and protesting against him in the mosque, كلمة حق يراد بها الباطل “This is a truthful statement aimed at drawing an untruthful interpretation from it.”

Imām encountering his foreign dissenters said that if they remained reticent, we would leave them on their own. If they propagated and spoke in return, we would speak with them and if they revolted against us, we would wage war against them. At this moment, one of the Khāridjites stood up and said, “O Allāh! We seek refuge with you from submitting to abjectness in your religion, this is a frailty and shall lead to Allāh’s wrath.”[13]

According to another narration, it’s been pointed out that the continuation of Khāridjites protest lasting for six months after Imām’s return from Siffīn resulted in Imām’s dispatch of ‘Abd Allāh Ibn ‘Abbās and Sa‘sa‘a Ibn Sūhān to them for the purpose of discussion. They didn’t submit to these two persons’ request concerning their return to the group. Imām asked them to select 12 persons and he himself separated this number and held talks with them.

Initially, Imām spoke with them about the Qur’ān evidence with regard to arbitration and said, “I, ‘Alī, despite disagreeing with their request, was fearful that they might invoke those verses concerning the admissibility of arbitration.”[14]

Khāridjites’ orator stood up and said, “We fought side with you so far as you were confident of your action at Djamal and Siffīn battle; however, at present you are dubious. You must repent and attest to the fact that you’ve been misled. In that case, we will be with you.”

Imām said, “From the moment when I embraced Islam, I was not a bit doubtful about it. Allāh has basically guided you and rescued you from infidelity, through us. I had said that two judges ought to judge on the basis of Allāh’s book. If they didn’t do so, to me, their judgment will be of no value.”[15] Their leader, Ibn al-Kawwā’ detached himself from them along with 500 persons. Some have noted that he was with the Khāridjites in Nahrawān, and therein was involved in a wrangle with Imām.[16] Khāridjites’ problem was that they regarded the acceptance of arbitration as infidelity, and therefore they asked Imām to witness his infidelity and repent of it,[17] not that he has merely committed a sin. Hence, Imām said in a poem,

آمنت بالله ولي احمد

يا شاهد الله عليّ فاشهد

من شك في الله فاني مهتد

“O thou, Allāh’s witness!
To me, thou be a witness!
I believed in Allāh, the Master of Ahmad
Whoever doubts Allāh
I have been guided”[18]

Anyhow, the repeated remarks of Imām and his companions failed to bring a number of Khāridjites back from the path they’ve chosen. On Shawwāl, 31 A.H. the Khāridjites gathered at Zayd Ibn Husayn’s house and selecting ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Wahb Rāsibī as their leader,[19] they resettled their political and military situation. This decision was made after Ramadān month in which Abū Mūsā was dispatched for arbitration. Following the arbitration, they didn’t allow staying in Kūfa and decided to go to Madā’in. There from, they wrote to their Basrī co-thinkers inviting them to come round to them. Some of them didn’t deem it advisable to go to Madā’in on account of the presence of Imām ‘Alī’s (a) Shi‘ite Muslims and chose Nahrawān. After the announcement of arbitration result, Imām ‘Alī (a) declaring his opposition to the arbitration result, asked the people to congregate to the division camp for fighting the infidels.[20]

Imām sent for the Khāridjites and told them, “These two judges acted in opposition to the Qur’ān, and I’m leaving for Damascus. You accompany me as well.”[21]

They said, “we are not allowed to appoint you as Imām.” After the congregation of people in Nukhayla, Iraq moved to Anbār city and left there for Shāhī village, and therefore they went to Dabāhā and to Dimimmā.[22]The Khāridjites gathering at Nahrawān by now, encountered ‘Abd Allāh the son of Khabbāb Ibn Arat on their way. They asked ‘Abd Allāh’s opinion concerning Imām ‘Alī (a).

He said, “Amīr al-Mu’minīn and Imām of the Muslims.” They killed ‘Abd Allāh along with his pregnant wife. It’s been said that the Khāridjites, on their way, asked everybody encountered by them, about his opinion regarding arbitration. They killed him in case of not being in line with them.[23] This movement led Imām to decide to confront them.[24] The reason behind this matter was that Imām was not able to leave Kūfa alone with such criminals, while therein there were just the women and children. Imām went over to Madā’in and there from headed for Nahrawān. Imām, in a letter to Khāridjites invited them to return to the group. ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Wahb, in the answer of Imām’s letter, pointing to what has so far taken place, notified of the same former remarks concerning Imām’s doubt in religion and the necessity of his repentance. Qays Ibn Sa‘d and Abū Ayyūb Ansārī were against them and asked them to join them for fighting Mu‘āwiya. Khāridjites said that they don’t admit the Imamate of the Imām. They will be ready to accompany them, only if their leadership will be in the hands of some like ‘Umar.[25] As soon as Imām realized that these people are not submissive, he put his troops being 14000 in number, into array against Khāridjites. At this moment, Farwa Ibn Nawfal along with 500 persons of Khāridjites were separated from the Khāridjites and resided in Bandanīdjayn and Daskara.[26] Another number of them left gradually, to the extent that just 1800 cavalry men and 1500 infantry men remained alongside ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Wahb.[27] At this time, Imām also asked his companions not to initiate the war.[28] Khāridjites started the war. They were overthrown, and their leader was very swiftly killed.[29] Apart from the fugitives, four hundreds of those having been fallen in the battlefield were delivered to their families. This clash took place on Safar 9, 38 A.H.[30]

When the war was terminated, Imām asked the people to head for Damascus to fight the infidels. The people, however, showed signs of fatigue, and the remarks of Ash‘ath Ibn Qays led Imām to return to Nukhayla, the people went to Kūfa, and just 300 persons remained with the Imām.[31] Consequently, Imām returned to Kūfa. From that time on, Imām invited the people for Djihād, holy was, against the Damascus people once in a while, but no one gave a favorable answer. It was here where Imām in his long sermons, reproached Kūfa people and spoke repeatedly of their disloyalty up to the end.

Here another movement ought to be taken into account as well, a movement somewhat resembling that of Khāridjites. Khirrīt Ibn Rashīd, taking part in Siffīn battle, in his way back to Kūfa, objected to Imām and said that he won’t pray along with him anymore. His objection was similar to Khāridjites’ remarks. He considered arbitration a mistake. At night, he left Kūfa together with his companions for Kaskar. Qaradha Ibn Ka‘b, the governor of Sawād areas, wrote a letter to Imām reporting that an army from Kūfa has arrived this area and when encountering a person from the peasants of Euphrates areas namely Zādhān Farrukh, have asked him about his religion. He said that he is a Muslim. They asked his opinion concerning Amīr al-Mu’minīn (a). He replied he is the commander of the faithful and the successor of Allāh’s Messenger(s). Hence, they cut him into pieces by their swords.[32] This measure of theirs was exactly the same as Khāridjites’ when encountering ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Khabbāb. Imām wrote to Ziyād Ibn Khasafa commissioning him to suppress Banū Nādjiya under the leadership of Khirrīt Ibn Rashīd. Subsequent to the sever clash during which five companions of Khirrīt were killed and two persons of Imām’s army were martyred,[33] the rebels headed towards Ahwāz. Therein some natives as well as some Kurds joined them. Imām was compelled to dispatch a separate force to suppress them. Ma‘qil Ibn Qays Riyāhī was selected for this commission, and he headed towards them along with some armies. When the rebels were moving towards Rāmhurmuz, Ma‘qil, on his way reaches them and fought them. During this conflict, 70 persons from Banū Nādjiya and 300 of Kurds and the other natives accompanying him were killed. Khirrīt headed hurriedly towards the coast, and therein he was able to deceive a number of people from Banū ‘Abd al-Qays.

Imām wrote a letter to the residents of that area calling them for “obedience”. They scattered from around Khirrīt too. Once again, Ma‘qil clashed with him, and this time Khirrīt and most of those along with him were killed.

According to Balādhurī, Khirrīt acted in such a way that the Khāridjites assumed that he is of their opinion.[34]

[1] Akhbār al-tiwāl, p.196
[2] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.339
[3] Waq‘at Siffīn, pp.413-414; Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.351
[4] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, pp.331-338
[5] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.342
[6] Tārīkh al-ya‘qūbī, vol.II, p.191
[7] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.359
[8] Ibid, vol.II, p.350
[9] Ibid, vol.II, p.363
[10] Tārīkh al-ya‘qūbī, vol.II, p.192
[11] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.360
[12] Ibid, vol.II, p.349
[13] Ibid, vol.II, p.352
[14] The verses, Āl Imrān / 23; al-Mā’ida / 95; al-nisā’ / 35
[15] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.354
[16] Akhbār al-tiwāl, p.209
[17] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.361
[18] Ibid, vol.II, pp.356-369
[19] Ibid, vol. II, p. 364.
[20] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.366, and in its footnote from, al-Imāma wa l-siyāsa, vol.I, p.143
[21] Akhbār al-tiwāl, p.206
[22] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.367
[23] Akhbār al-tiwāl, p.206
[24] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, pp.362-368
[25] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.370; Akhbār al-tiwāl, p.207
[26] Akhbār al-tiwāl, p.210
[27] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.371
[28] Akhbār al-tiwāl, p.210
[29] One of them is Yazīd Ibn Nuwayra Ansāri whose being a heavenly man was witnessed twice by The Prophet(s) (al-Isāba, vol.II, p.348) The list of the martyrs of this war has been noted by Ibn A‘tham (vol.IV, p.121) and Ibn Abi l-Hadīd (vol.II, p.29). See their narrations with martyrs’ names at Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.314, (footnote)
[30] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, pp.374-375. It’s been noted in Futūh (vol.III, p.277) that when Imām ended his war with Khāridjites and went to Kūfa, 17 days were remained from Ramadān.
[31] Ibid, vol.I, p.319
[32] al-Ghārāt, vol.I, p.346
[33] al-Ghārāt, vol.I, p.346
[34] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, pp.413-418
Source: maaref-foundation.com

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