Shortly after ascending to the caliphate, Ali commenced consolidating his hold over the empire. Among those who opposed him was the governor of Syria, Muawiyah I. A kinsman of the slain Uthman, Muawiyah refused to acknowledge Ali as caliph due his inability to bring the murders to justice. In an attempt to avoid bloodshed, Ali sent an envoy, Jarir, to Syria to seek a peaceful solution. Jarir reported that Muawiyah would submit when the murderers were caught. After first planning to invade Syria from the north Ali instead elected to move directly across the Mesopotamian desert.
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In the perception of all his enemies, peace could only compound the already complex problems of the Dar-ul-Islam. They saw only one remedy for those problems, and that was war. In fact, he was so subtle that in comparison, Talha and Zubayr were little more than political backwoodsmen. In Basra, the rebel group was a coalition of disparate interests, and its members were held together only by their common hatred of Ali.
It lacked singleness of purpose. Ayesha was fighting to elevate her nephew, Abdullah bin Zubayr, to the throne of khilafat. But Talha and Zubayr were not going to defer to her in this matter; they themselves were the candidates for that prize. Thus their coalition was far from being the one-for-all and all-for-one triumvirate that their supporters might have liked it to be.
The triumvirate of Basra was dogged and hobbled by their divided counsels but Muwaiya was not. He sought the advice of Amr bin Aas and others but he himself made all the decisions. Ali was still in quest of unity. The unity of the umma of Muhammad was threatened by growing stresses and strains, and he was struggling to protect it and preserve it. But unfortunately, his enemies did not share this anxiety with him.
Their only interest was to rip apart the unity of the umma, and they succeeded in ripping it apart. In the spring of , Muawiya left Damascus with his army to carry war into Iraq.
He crossed the boundary and halted at a village called Siffin — on the bank of the river Euphrates. His first act was to occupy the water-front. Muawiya, of course, refused to do so whereupon Ali ordered his troops to seize the water-front by force.
His troops routed the Syrians, and captured the water-front. Now there was consternation and panic in the camp of Muawiya. He conjured up the specter of death in the desert by thirst.
But Amr bin Aas assured him that Ali would never deny water to anyone. The Syrians had no way to reach the water. There was nothing easier for them than to let the whole Syrian army perish with thirst. There is no embargo on water for anyone, and whoever wishes, may take it.
Zilhajj is the last month of the Islamic calendar and continued sporadically for the next few weeks. With the arrival of Moharram the first month of the Islamic year , fighting was suspended for one month. Ali should have been made cynical by duplicity, tragedy and bitter experience — yet he was ready to believe, despite all precedent, in a prospect for peace, and was ready to work for it.
When the last day of Moharram passed, and the month of Safar began, Ali sent Merthid ibn Harith to deliver a message to the Syrians. Ali, the Chief of the Believers, informs you that he gave you every chance to verify the facts and to satisfy yourselves. He invited you to follow the Book of God but you have paid no attention. Now there is nothing more that he can tell you. Without a doubt, God does not befriend those who betray Truth.
IV, p. If anyone of the enemy wishes to escape from the battle and to save his life, let him do so. If God gives you victory, do not plunder the camp of the enemy; do not mutilate the bodies of the dead nor rob them of their armor and weapons, and do not molest their women. Above all things, remember God at all times. He gave command of the right wing to Abdullah ibn Abbas, and of the left wing to Malik ibn Ashter, while he himself commanded the center. With him were the companions and the friends of Muhammad, the Apostle of God, among them Ammar ibn Yasir.
Presently, the Syrians attacked, and Ali signaled his forces to repel them. The battle of Siffin had begun. Ammar ibn Yasir was past 70 at this time but the flame of faith in God, and the love of His Messenger, Muhammad, burned fiercely inside his breast, and he fought like young men.
To add the dramatic touch to the battle, he carried the same weapons with which he had fought, many years earlier, in the company of Muhammad Mustafa, against the polytheists of Makkah in Badr. The enemy Ammar met in Siffin, was disguised as a Muslim but he could not hoodwink him Ammar. He must have been intensely amused to meet the old enemy, after a lapse of many years, in a new encounter.
For him the battle of Siffin was redolent of the battle of Badr. Once again he was fighting, on the side of Muhammad and his vicegerent, Ali, against their enemies. There is no time to linger and to hesitate. The doors of Heaven are wide open today but to get admission to it, you have to dare the swords and the spears of these enemies of God and His Messenger. Charge at them. Break their swords, their spears, and their skulls, and you will enter the gates of bliss and eternal felicity, and there, you will be in the company of Muhammad, the Beloved of Allah Himself.
In the midst of action, he felt thirsty, and was oppressed by heat. He returned to his lines to slake his thirst, and asked his aides to bring water for him. It so happened that just at that moment, they were unable to find water anywhere, but one of them found milk, and he presented a cup to him. When Ammar saw the cup of milk before him, he felt a tremor of excitement run through him. The Messenger of God could speak only the truth.
Now I know that the time for me to meet him has come. I had awaited this moment so long, so eagerly. Glory to Allah. He drank the milk, mounted his horse, and then plunged into the ranks of the Syrians. Have you forgotten the prediction of the Messenger of God when he said that a group of evil men would kill me? Take heed and look again. But he kept quiet, knowing that to open his mouth would be to confess his guilt, and no matter what he said, he would only give himself away.
Ammar was taking his last ride on this earth. Soon he was going to enter Heaven where his friend and beloved, Muhammad, was awaiting him, ready to greet him, and to shake the dust of Siffin from his curly hair and radiant face just as many years earlier, he had shaken the dust of the Trench of Medina off his curly hair and radiant face.
Striking right and left, Ammar advanced, utterly oblivious of all danger to himself. His head and face were caked in blood and dust so that he could not be recognized. At that moment, a Syrian soldier, taking deadly aim, hurled a javelin at him which caught him in his heart, and he was unhorsed. In the act of falling from the horse, he exchanged his life for the Crown of Martyrdom and put it on his head.
Wearing this glorious and luminous crown, Ammar ibn Yasir entered the company of the Immortals in Heaven, headed by his friend, Muhammad Mustafa, the Beloved of Allah. Two Syrian knights came to see Muawiya. Sir John Glubb When the first Muslims in Medina were threatened by Quraish, whom they repelled by digging a ditch, Ammar ibn Yasir had been staggering along with a great load of earth.
The Prophet himself had noticed him and came to his assistance, relieved him of his load and dusted his head and clothes. A cruel and unjust people will certainly be the death of you.
But the phrase was remembered as a prophecy. For the implication of the prophecy was that the men who killed Ammar would be fighting in an unjust cause.
The Great Arab Conquests, London, p. There was no occasion for a joke. He was deadly serious when he told Ammar that a cruel and unjust people would kill him. The Iraqis now fought with new zeal being convinced that they were fighting for Truth.
At the same time, the Syrians were racked with doubt. Many of them stopped fighting, among them Amr bin Aas himself. They had been friends since the days when Ammar and his parents were tortured by the Quraysh for accepting Islam, and their friend, Muhammad, comforted them. But Muhammad himself had, long since, parted company with them. Now Ammar also left this world, leaving Ali alone.
Just like his two friends, Muhammad and Ali, Ammar had also fought the Quraysh all his life. Earlier, the Quraysh had killed his parents, and now they killed him. The latter often said that Ammar was one of the two arms of Ali the other arm being Malik ibn Ashter , and he boasted that he had severed that arm. At the resumption of fighting, the two sons of Hudhaifa ibn al-Yaman, Saeed and Safwan, were killed in action by the Syrian troops.
Many days passed in desultory warfare. It was in these skirmishes that Ali sustained two other heavy losses in the death of two companions of the Prophet. One of them was Khuzaima ibn Thabit Ansari he whose one witness was equal to two witnesses of others ; and Oways Qarni. The latter, as noted before, had arrived from Yemen, and had met Ali for the first time on the eve of the battle of Basra. The lifelong desire of Khuzaima and Oways Qarni was to win the status of martyrs in Islam.
They won it in the battle of Siffin. The death of Khuzaima and Oways Qarni so exasperated Ali that he sent word to Muawiya to come out and fight in person, and thereby save the lives of thousands of Muslims who were dying on both sides. Muawiya, of course, did not accept the invitation. It was plain to see that political sophistication and valor did not necessarily grow on the same tree. Men were dying in large numbers but without any tangible results to show.
Schlacht von Siffin
God does not guide the unjust people. Those who believe, emigrate and strive in the way of God with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of God. And they are the successful. Their Lord announces to them the good news of mercy from Him, and acceptance, and gardens wherein they will have lasting bliss. They will abide in it forever.
A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims
Learn how and when to remove this template message The two armies encamped themselves at Siffin for more than one hundred days, most of the time being spent in negotiations. Neither side wanted to fight. The following morning, the combat was renewed with great vigour. Ali posed himself in the centre with the flower of his troops from Medina, and the wings were formed, one of the warriors from Basra, the other of those from Kufa. Muawiya had a pavilion pitched on the field; and there, surrounded by five lines of his sworn body-guards, watched the day. Amr with a great weight of horse, bore down upon the Kufa wing which gave away; and Ali was exposed to imminent peril, both from thick showers of arrows and from close encounter