Mu’awiya the baghi (rebel)

 

Ali (as) was the Imam and rightful caliph of the time

This fact is confirmed by the leading Ahl’ul Sunnah Ulema. We have cited a number of sources for those wishing to delve in to the matter.

  1. Sharah Maqasid, page 24
  2. Al Sawaiq al Muhriqa, page 139
  3. Al Ma’arif, page 90
  4. Riyadh al Nadhira, Vol 3 page 293
  5. Usud ul Ghaba, Vol 4 page 113
  6. al-Isti’ab, Volume 3 page 55
  7. al-Isaba, Vol 2 page 503
  8. al-Bidaya, Vol 7 page 226
  9. Tahdheeb ul Tahdheeb page 338 Volume 7
  10. Nisai al Kaafiya page
  11. al Imama wal Siyasa oage 44 Vol 1
  12. Tarikh ul Khulafa page 174
  13. Al-Akhbar al Tawal page 140
  14. Sharah Aqaid al-Nasfi, page 105

We read in Sharah Maqasid:

والذي اتفق عليه أهل الحق أن المصيب في جميع ذلك علي رضي الله تعالى عنه لما ثبت من إمامته ببيعة أهل الحل والعقد وظهر من تفاوت ما بينه وبين المخالفين سيما معاوية وأحزابه وتكاثر من الأخبار في كون الحق معه وما وقع عليه الاتفاق حتى من الأعداء إلى أنه أفضل زمانه وأنه لا أحق بالإمامة منه والمخالفون بغاة لخروجهم على الإمام الحق

The righteous people agreed that Ali (ra) was right in all those events as his Imamate was correct which was proved through baya and also it’s obvious the difference (in ethics) between him and his opponents particularly Mu’awyia and his party, also there are many traditions which indicate that the truth is with Ali, and also the agreement including the enemies that he was the best person of his time and no body was worthier to be the Imam other than him, his opponents were Baghi for opposing the true Imam.

We read in Al-Bidayah:

وخرج علي إلى المسجد فصعد المنبر وعليه إزار وعمامة خز ونعلاه في يده، توكأ على قوسه، فبايعه عامة الناس،

“At the time of Bayya, Ali approached the mosque, got on the Minbar and the general public gave him bayya”

This refutes Nasibi claims that he didn’t get ijma hence Mu’awiya opposition to Imam e Haqq made him a baghi who could not place conditions

Abu Hainfa Dinwari records in Al-Akhbar al-Tawal:

“After Uthman’s death people were without an Imam for three days. They gave Ali bayya after careful thought and he said whoever opposes me has opposed Islam as this decision was not taken in haste”.

Sharah Aqaid al-Nasfi:

“The grand Muhajireen and Ansar had an ijma in the khilafah of Ali happily. They accepted his khilafat and gave him bayya”

Muawiya faught Ali (as), the Imam and rightful caliph of the time

The books of Ahl’ul Sunnah are replete with references which prove that Mu’awiya’s opposition was an act of rebellion.

  1. Al-Isaba, Volume 1 page 444
  2. Usud al Ghaba, Volume 5 page 211
  3. Al-Isti’ab, Volume 3 page 376
  4. Al-Bidaya, Volume 8 page 23
  5. Tareekh Khamis, Volume 2 page 386
  6. Tarikhul Khulafa, page 173
  7. Nayl al Awtar, Volume 7 page 179
  8. Al-Nisai al-kaafiya, page 16

We read in Al-Istiab and Tareekh Khamis:

فحارب معاوية علياً خمس سنين.

“Mu’awiya fought Ali for five years”

Usud ul Ghaba:

ولم يبايع عليا وأظهر الطلب بدم عثمان فكان وقعة صفين بينه وبين علي

He didn’t give bayya to Ali, then he advanced the demand of avenging Uthman ['s murder], thus the battle of Sifeen took a place between him and Ali”

Tarikhul Khulafa:

خرج معاوية على علي كما تقدم و تسمى بالخلافة ثم خرج على الحسن

“Mu’awyia rebelled against Ali and appointed himself as Caliph, then he rebelled against al-Hassan”

We read in Al-Bidayah::

فلما امتنع معاوية من البيعة لعلي حتى يسلمه القتلة، كان من صفين ما قدمنا ذكره

“When Mu’awyia refused to give bayya to Ali until he (Ali) submited him the killer, Sifeen battle took a place due to it.”

It was incumbent to fight alongside Imam Ali (as)

Ansar.org states:

“authentic traditions from the prophet peace be upon him says that to leave the fight was better for both parties. The fight was neither mandatory nor preferable”.

This proves how low Abu Sulaiman will go in his efforts to cover up the truth. As he has done consistently throughout his defence he fails to cite even one hadith in which Rasulullah (s) said to leave the fight was better. He undoubtedly knows that this is baseless the reality is that it was indeed mandatory for Rasulullah (s) said:

“O Ali! Soon a rebellious group will fight against you, you will be on the truth. Whoever does not support you on that day will not be from us”


Kanz al Ummal, by Ali Muttaqi al Hind quoting Ibn Asakir, hadith number 32970

 

Abu Sulaiman praises those Sahaba who stayed away from either side at Sifeen:

“Sa’ad bin Abu Waqqas, Muhammad bin Muslimah, Abdullah bin Umar, Osamah bin Zayd, and many other of the first believers from the muhajireen and Al-Ansar who isolated themselves from the affliction and did not partake in the fight”.

Their decisions not to participate do NOT in any way mean that they were right. Or is Abu Sulaiman now suggesting that they were right and Imam Ali (as) was wrong? If so this demonstrates the contradictory nature of Abu Sulaiman’s statements. Sometimes he describes Ali as closer to the truth, Mu’awiya as searching for the truth and now he is stating that the correct position was to keep aloof in times of fitnah! The decision to isolate themselves from both sides and hence refuse to side with the right (as Abu Sulaiman is likewise doing) was in no way supported by Rasulullah (s). The duty in Islam is to side with truth, no matter how much Abu Sulaiman seeks to water down facts, Imam Ali (as) was on the path of truth, Rasulullah (s) said that haqq would always accompany him and this was in ALL circumstances. The duty was to attach themselves to Ali (as) NOT to separate from him, in this regard we have the explicit words of Rasulullah (s):

“After me people shall experience fitna, you will split into groups, he then pointed at ‘Ali and said Ali and his companions shall be on the right path” [Kanz ul Ummal hadith number 33016].

Abdullah bin Umar’s regret he didn’t fight the baghi Mu’awiya

Of interest is the fact whilst citing Ibn Umar’s non-participation stance he fails to cite the same Ibn Umar’s remorse on his deathbed. He made an admission that he was wrong and should have fought with Ali (as) against Mu’awiya.

Ibn Abd al-Barr in al-’Istiab and Badruddin Al-Aini in Umdatul Qari Sharh Sahih Bukhari, Volume 11 page 349 narrated that Umm Habeeb ibne Abi Sabith (ra) heard Abdullah ibn Umar say:

“I regret that I did not join Ali and fight the rebellious group”. Abi Baakar bin Abi Jaham (ra) narrates that he heard Abdullah ibne`Umar say “I never regretted anything in my life other than the fact that I did not fight the rebels”


Al Isti’ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, Vol. 3, Page 83

 

We will inshallah expand on the slaughter of Hujr bin Adi later but in his conclusion of the tragic episode the comments of Mufti Ghulam Rasul al-Hanafi in his ‘Subeh al Sadiq’ page 94 are indeed of interest since he states that the killing of Hujr of his followers left a lesson to the people, namely that….

“Hujr bin Adi and his and his companions proved that Ali’s love is Iman. If someone wishes to maintain his Iman and remain on the Deen, he must believe and love Ali and in all situations he must stand with Ali. That is why those who did not stand with Ali regretted that they failed to do so for example Abullah Ibn Umar bin al-Khattab in the final stages of his life said: ‘I don’t regret anything as much as the fact that I did not support Ali’. (Tabaqat Ibn Saad, Volume 4 page 187 )”

The early Sahaba fought alongside Imam Ali (as)

In his attempt to play down the actions of Imam Ali (as), Abu Sulaiman had made this baseless claim:

Moreover, authentic traditions from the prophet peace be upon him says that to leave the fight was better for both parties. The fight was neither mandatory nor preferable. Although Ali was more deserving and closer to right than Mu’awiyah was, if Ali left the fight, a great goodness would happen and the shedding of the blood would be spared. Hence, Omran bin Haseen, may Allah be pleased at him, banned the selling of weapons at the time of afflictions. He says: “Weapons are not supposed to be sold in the affliction.” The same saying was shared by Sa’ad bin Abu Waqqas, Muhammad bin Muslimah, Abdullah bin Omar, Osamah bin Zayd, and many other of the first believers from the muhajireen and Al-Ansar who isolated themselves from the affliction and did not partake in the fight.

With regards to Abu Sulaiman’s claim that “many other of the first believers from the muhajireen and Al-Ansar who isolated themselves from the affliction and did not partake in the fight” – he has no evidence to support this claims and fails to cite even a single source. The fact is that the early converts the Muhajireen and Ansar WERE those that fought with Imam Ali (as) at Sifeen. This has even been admitted by the Sunni scholar Al Muhaddith Shah ‘Abd al-’Aziz Dehlavi who in his book written against the Shi’a states:

“The title Shi’a was first given to those Muhajireen and Ansar who gave allegiance (bay’ah) to Ali (may Allah enlighten his face). They were his steadfast faithful followers during his (Ali’s) caliphate. They remained close to him, they always fought his enemies, and kept on following Ali’s commands and prohibitions. The true Shi’a are these who came in 37 Hijri”
Tauhfa Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, (Gift to the Twelvers) (Farsi edition p 18, publishers Sohail Academy, Lahore, Pakistan).

(NB 37 Hijri -the year Imam Ali (as) fought Mu’awiya at Sifeen).

The Muhajireen and Ansar (Sahaba) were the Shi’a of Ali (as). One wonders how Abu Sulaiman claims that MANY Muhajireen and Ansar did not participate. Amongst those killed fighting alongside Imam ‘Ali (as) were prominent companions including Khuzema bin Thabit (al Isti’ab Volume 1 page 437; Usud ul Ghaba, Volume 2 page 133 – Chapter Dhikr Khuzema), devotee of Rasulullah (s) Uways Qarni (Usud ul Ghaba Volume 1 page 180; al Isti’ab Volume 1 page 123). One prominent Sahabi killed fighting under Maula Ali’s banner was Hashim ibne Utbah. We learn in Usud ul Ghaba, Volume 5 page 277 that when Hashim ibne Utbah was killed, Abu Tufail Amar ibne Waseela said:

“you are a martyr because you fought an enemy of the Sunnah”.


Usud ul Ghaba, Volume 5 page 277

 

We read in al Istiab, Volume 3 page 229 that:

“Abdur Rahman Ibn Abdi narrates that eight hundred Sahaba who pledged allegiance at Ridwan fought alongside ‘Ali at Sifeen”.
Al Isti’ab, by Ibn `Abd al-Barr, Vol. 3, Page 229

This is a significat figure, particularly when one takes into account that the number of Sahaba who pledged allegiance at Ridhwan totalled 1400. With the passage of thirty yeas there is no doubt that many would have died whether via natural deaths or in the battlefield. Despite this fact, we learn that a significant number stood shoulder to shoulder with Imam ‘Ali (as) at Sifeen.

It is indeed sad to see that the early Muslims knew where the truth lay and fought with ‘Ali (as) whilst we have a defender of Mu’awiya writing some 1400 years later raising question marks on Imam Ali (as)’s position and defending and showering praise on his enemies.

Abu Sulaiman’s refusal to describe Mu’awiya as a baghi

We then witness Abu Sulaiman’s deviant interpretation of the Qur’an so as to protect Mu’awiya and apportion transgression to Imam Ali (as):3

“Even if we supposed that the people who fought Ali were insurgents and not depending on personal interpretation of texts, then it would not be considered as a slander in their belief and their deservance in entering heaven. Almighty Allah says: “If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the Command of Allah; but if it complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just), The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: so make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy.” [Surat Al-Hujarat, verses 9 and 10] Allah described the two parties by faith and made them brothers despite the fact they fought each other and transgressed on each other. Then what about if one of them transgressed on the other thinking he is right? Does it prevent him from being an interpreter, wrong or right? “

One can see how desperate Nasibis get to protect their beloved Imam. He claims that:

“Allah described the two parties by faith and made them brothers despite the fact they fought each other and transgressed on each other”

The Qur’an says no such thing, it refers to one party transgressing:

“but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds”

This is being done intentionally he is seeking to describe Imam Ali (as) as a baghi too, i.e. the battle was between two groups of baghis! Abu Sulaiman’s refusal to acknowledge which party had transgressed is quite intentional, the moment his rebellion is proven then his actions can be condemned, which would be too much for him. The fact is Mu’awiya and his party had refused to give bay`a to Imam Ali (as) and were defiantly opposing him. Is this not evidence of transgression, opposing the Khalifa of the time? Whilst his Nasibi leanings make it impossible to speak the truth we shall delve in to the matter to determine the Ahl’ul Sunnah definitions of a baghi.

Defining baghi (rebell)

Durr al-Mukhtar, Volume 4 page 448:

البغي لغة الطلب ومنه {ذلك ما كنا نبغي} وعرفا طلب ما لا يحل من جور وظلم ، وشرعا هم الخارجون عن الامام الحق بغير حق

Baghi commonly means “to demand”, it is commonly used to refer to one that “demands unlawfully” such as in terms of injustice and tyranny, from a legal perspective it refers to “one that rebels against the legitimate Imam without having any legal justification for doing so”.

al-Nasa’ih al-Kaafiyah page 16:

“Baghi is one who refuses to obey Imam al-Haqq and opposes him”.

The late scholar Sayyid Abu’l A`la Maudoodi in his ‘Tafhim ul Qur’an’ Volume 5 page 80 collates the opinions of the Ahl’ul Sunnah `ulama about a ‘baghi’. He writes:

“Ibn Humam in Hidaya’s commentary Fatah ul Qadir states that the scholars have declared that a baghi is he who disobeys the rightful Imam. Imam Shafi`i in Kitab ul-Umm states ‘Baghi’ is he who fights the `Adil Imam. Imam Malik declared that it is a duty to fight those who oppose the ‘Adil Imam [al Mudawanna]“.

The Sunni scholars deemed Muawiyah as a baghi, Khariji and tyrant

Lagendry Muhadith of Ahle Sunnah Shah Abul Aziz Dehalvi records in his anti-Shia book ‘Tauhfa Ithna Ashariyyah’ page 181 Chapter 7:

“Should know that there is ijmah of Ahlul Sunah Qutb, that Muawiya bin Abu Sufyan from the beginning of the Imamat of Hazrat Amir till the sulh of Imam Hasan remained a baghi and did not obey the Imam of the time….”
Tauhfa Ithna Ashariyyah, page 181

At another place we also read:

“The original pure Sect was the Ahl’ul Sunnah wa al-Jammah of the Sahaba and Tabieen, these are the Muhajireen and Ansar who were the servants of Ali, they were helpers of the khilafah. Their religion was that Murtaza was the Imam of truth, following the martyrdom of Uthman, and that all mankind was duty bound to obey him. Ali during his times was the most superior, whoever disputed with him on the issue of Khilafah, or opposed his reign is a sinner and a baghi. Whoever deemed him unworthy of khilafah was a sinner mislead on falsehood..”
Tauhfa Ithna Ashariyyah, page 11

Imam of Ahle Sunnah Sa’duddin Taftazani records in his esteemed work ‘Sharh al Maqasid’ page 306:

“The aqeedah in Ahl’ul Sunnah is that the first baghi in Islam was Mu’awiya”
Sharh al Maqasid, Volume 2 page 306

Now let us quote some of the esteemed curriculum Hanafi works wherein Muawiyah has been clearly equated with unjust and rebel ruler. We read ‘al Hidayah’ Volume 3 page 133, Kitab al Adab and the reference has obviously also been quoted in the commentaries of Hidayah such as in ‘Fathul Qadeer Sharah Hidayah’ Volume 16 page 333 and ‘Anayah Sharah Hidayah’ Volume 10 page 217:

“It is permissible to be appointed as a Judge from an unjust ruler, in the same way as it is the case of a just ruler. This is because the Sahaba were appointed Judges under Mu’awiya, even though the truth was with Ali (ra). The Tabieen were appointed as Judges by Hajjaj, even though he was unjust”.

We also read in Fathul Qadeer:

هذا تصريح بجور معاوية

‘This is a declaration of Muawiya’s oppresssion’
Fathul Qadeer Sharah Hidayah. Volume 16 page 333

Imam Alauddin Abi al-Hasan Ali bin Khalil al-Tarabelsi al-Hanafi (d. 844 H) records in ‘Maeen al-Hukam fima yatradad bain al-khasmain min al-ahkam’ as follows:

ويجوز تقلد القضاء من السلطان العادل والجائر ، وأما العادل فلأن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بعث معاذا إلى اليمن قاضياً وولى عثمان بن أسد على مكة أميرا ، وأما الجائر فلأن الصحابة رضي الله عنهم تقلدوا الأعمال من معاوية بعد أن أظهر الخلاف مع علي رضي الله عنه وكان الحق مع علي.

“It is permissible to accept the position of a judge from a just or unjust ruler, the just ruler (is permssible) because the prophet (pbuh) sent Mu’ath to Yemen as a judge and appointed Uthman bin Asad as a governor of Makka, from the unjust ruler (it is permissible) because the companions may Allah be pleased with them assumed the duties from Mu’awiya after he (Mu’awiya) showed disagreement with Ali”
Maeen al-Hukam, page 3

We read in ‘Tubyeen ul Haqaiq Sharah Kanz ul Daqaiq’ Volume 4 page 177:

(ويجوز تقلد القضاء من السلطان العادل والجائر ومن أهل البغي ) لأن الصحابة رضي الله تعالى عنهم تقلدوه من معاوية في نوبة علي ، وكان الحق بيد علي يومئذ ، وقد قال علي رضي الله تعالى عنه أخواننا بغوا علينا

(It is permissible to be appointed as a judge by a just or unjust ruler or by rebels) because the companions )may Allah be pleased with them( accepted it from Mu’awiya, during Ali’s reign, and the truth was with Ali at that time, Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: ‘Our brothers are commiting rebellion against us.’
Tubyeen ul Haqaiq Sharah Kanz ul Daqaiq, Volume 4 page 177

We read in ‘Bahar al Raiq’ Volume 6 page 274:

(قوله ويجوز تقلد القضاء من السلطان العادل والجائر وأهل البغي) لأن الصحابة رضي الله تعالى عنهم تقلدوه من معاوية والحق كان بيد علي رضي الله تعالى عنه

“(It is permissible to be appointed as a judge by a just or unjust ruler or by rebels) because the companions may Allah be pleased with them accepted it from Mu’awiya while the truth was with Ali (ra)”
Bahar al Raiq, Volume 6 page 274

Let us now present the views of Imam Muhammad bin Hasan al-Shaybani (d. 189 H) about Muawiyah. Allamah Abdul Qadir Qurshee al-Hanafi Misree while recoding the biography of a Hanafi scholar recorded the statement of Imam Muhammad bin Hasan al-Shaybani as follows:

Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Musa bin Dawoud al-Razi al-Berzali, al-Faqih al-Qazi al-Khazen. He heard (hadith) from his uncle Ali bin Musa and Muhammad bin Ayoub al-Razi. He was appointed as a judge of Samarqand. He heard (hadith) from (Samarqand’s) people. He died in year 361. al-Sam’ani said: ‘He was thiqah and pious’. al-Hakim said: ‘He was jurist of Abu Hanifa’s companions’. He said I heard my uncle Abu Sulaiman al-Jawzjani, who heard Muhammad bin al-Hasan saying: ‘Had Muawiya not fought against Ali and he (Mu’awiya) was an oprressor, aggressor and a rebel, we would not have been able to fight the oppressors.’
Jawahir al Muziyah Tabaqat al Hanafiyah by Allamah Abdul Qadir Qurshee al-Hanafi Misree, Volume 2 page 26

The notion of Imam Muhammad bin Hasan al-Shaybani that they would not have the honor of fighting the rebels if Mu’awiya the commander of rebels had not started the war, shall suffcie to shout the mouths of present day Nawasib like Abu Sulaiman. Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Musa bin Dawoud al-Razi not reacting at the statement proves that he also echoed the sentiments of Imam Shaybani.

As for Salafies, their legendry scholar Rasheed Raza in his book Mujalat al-Manar, volume 29 page 671 attested to the fact that:

ولكن السواد الأعظم من أهل السنة سلفهم وخلفهم يعتقدون أن معاوية كان باغيًا على الإمام الحق أمير المؤمنين علي كرم الله وجهه

 The vast majority of the Ahlul sunnah whether the former or the modern (scholars) believe that Mu’awyia rebelled against the true Imam, the Commander of the Faithful Ali (Karam Allah Wajhu).

The same scholar wrote elsewhere in Mujalat al-Manar, volume 33 page 441:

فإن متبع الحق مستقل الفكر فيه بلا هوى ولا تعصب لمذهب يجزم بأن معاوية نفسه كان باغيًا خارجًا على الإمام الحق كالخوارج ، وأنه طالب ملك ، ويؤيد ذلك إكراه الناس على جعل هذا الملك لولده يزيد المشتهر بالفسق

 Anyone delving into the truth with a free mind unclouded by emotion or sectarian affiliation, shall confirm that Mu’awyia was rebel (Baghi) and one that departed (Kharij) against the true Imam, he sought the throne and forced the people to transfer the throne to his son Yazeed who was known for his lechery (Fisq).

Also Imam Showkani records in his authority work Nayl al Autar, Volume 7 page 348:

قوله: أولاهما بالحق فيه دليل على أن عليا ومن معه هم المحقون ، ومعاوية ومن معه هم المبطلون ، وهذا أمر لا يمتري فيه منصف ، ولا يأباه إلا مكابر متعسف

“The hadith about ‘more deserving of rightness’ contain an evidence that Ali and those who were with him are on the truth, and Mu’awiya and those who were with him are on falsehood, and any fair person would not doubt about that and only the stubborn person would deny it.”

Allamah Abdul Kareem Shahrastani in his famed book ‘Al Milal wa al Nihal’ Volume 1 page 103 expressed a clear opinion:

ولا نقول في حق معاوية وعمرو بن العاص الا أنهما بغيا على الامام الحق فقاتلهم مقاتلة أهل البغي وأما أهل النهروان فهم الشراة المارقون عن الدين بخبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ولقد كان رضي الله عنه على الحق في جميع أحواله يدور الحق معه حيث دار

“We don’t say about Mu’awiya and Amro bin al-Aas except that they fought against the rightful Imam, so he (Ali) fought them deeming them as rebels. And the people of Nahrawan, they were evil and apostate as the Prophet (s) had informed, and he (Ali) (ra) was on right path in all of his situations, the truth was turning with him whereever he turned.”

Allamah Muhammad bin Aqeel states in al-Nasa’ih al-Kaafiyah, page 22:

“Mu’awiya and his companions are baghis without a doubt and they are Qasitoon, Allah says Qasithoon are in deepest part of Hell”.

Mu’awiya’s rebellion was in violation of the Qur’an

 

Allah (swt) says in his Glorious Book:

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and his Apostle and those in authority among you”. (Al-Quran, Surah Nisa, Verse 59)

It is interesting that ‘Abu Sulaiman has failed to comment on this verse in his lengthy article. This is a clear verse that proves beyond a doubt that Mu’awiya’s opposition was one that contravened the Book of Allah (swt). This verse provides no room for manoeuvre. Obedience to those in authority is on par with obedience to Allah (swt) and the Prophet (s). This means that disobeying the Leader amounts to disobeying Allah (swt) and his Prophet (s). The verse is absolutely clear. How can anyone interpret this verse as entitling someone to rebel against a leader. Anyone who does so is a rebel.

Now we ask:

  • Does Imam Ali (as) not come within this verse?
  • Was he not ‘those in authority’?
  • Is he not the fourth rightly guided khalifa?
  • Did Mu’awiya obey him?

In accordance with this verse and the definitions of Ahl’ul Sunnah, Mu’awiya’s disobedience of Imam Ali (as) had made him a rebel. His entire rebellion was baseless since the Qur’an would not support it. He had no text to justify his actions he was on the path of falsehood and had led his supporters down that same slippery road of deviance.

Mu’awiya’s rebellion was in violation to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (s)

 

If this verse of the Qur’an is not a sufficient indictment against Mu’awiya, then we also have this hadith in Sahih Muslim “Kitab al Imara” Book 020, Number 4557:

It has been narrated (through a different chain of transmitters) on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Who defected from obedience (to the Amir) and separated from the main body of the Muslims – then he died in that state-would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahilliyya. And he who is killed under the banner of a man who is blind (to the cause for which he is fighting), who gets flared up with family pride and fights for his tribe-is not from my Umma, and whoso from my followers attacks my followers (indiscriminately) killing the righteous and the wicked of them, sparing not (even) those staunch in faith and fulfilling not his obligation towards them who have been given a pledge (of security), is not from me (i.e. is not my follower).

Mu’awiya openly violated this tradition. He refused to obey Imam ‘Ali (as), he separated from the main body misleading others in the process. The seriousness of this tradition is clear one who separates and died “would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahilliyya” i.e. he would die a kaafir. Rasulullah (s) did not provide any defense for such individuals. He did not say that they would be rewarded having exercised ijtihad, he said that the perpetrators were not his followers.

This is in relation to those that rebel against any Leader, with regards to those that rebel against Imam ‘Ali (as) we read in al-Nasa’ih al-Kaafiyah page 36 that Rasulullah (s) said:

“If anyone fights Ali’s Khilafah, kill him”. Rasulullah offered no excuses for the opponents of Imam ‘Ali (as), all who come against Imam ‘Ali (as) should be killed; clearly Mu’awiya comes within this hadith.

Mu’awiya was from amongst Qasateen (those refrained from giving bayya to Imam e Haqq)

 

We read in Usud ul Ghaba, Volume 1 page 801:

Abu Saeed narrated: ‘Allah’s messenger (s) ordered us to fight Nakitheen, Qasateen and Maraqeen, we asked: ‘Oh Allah’s messenger ! You ordered us to fight them but along with who?’ He said with Ali Ibn abi Talib and Ammar bin Yasir will be killed’’.

At another place we read:

Mukhnaf bin Salim said: ‘We went to Abu Ayub and asked: ‘You by your sword fought with Allah’s messenger (s) against the polytheists, then you kill Muslims’? He replied: ‘Rasulullah (s) ordered that I kill Nakitheen, Qasateen and Maraqeen’’.

Matalib al Sa’ul, page 68:

“Ali started by fighting the oath breakers (Nakitheen) who were the people of battle of Jamal and then he fought the Qaseteen who were the companions of Mu’awiya”.

Sharh al Maqasid, Volume 2 page 304:

“Rasulullah (s) said to Ali ‘Nakitheen, Qasateen and Maraqeen will fight you’. Mu’awiya and his companions were Qasateen they left the truth, which was to follow Ali and give him bayya”.

Of relevance here is the admission of the darling of the Nasibis, Ibn Taymeeya, who writes in Minhaj al Sunnah page 210 Volume 3 “Dhikr Mu’awiya”:

“During Ali’s reign the most entitled person to be the Khalifa of Rasulullah (s) was ‘Ali. He was a rightly guided khalifa and to obey him was mandatory”

So from this Nasibis own pen we have an admission that ‘Ali was the rightful Imam and that it was mandatory to obey him. From the hadith mentioned before it is clear that those who refuse to submit to the Rightful Imam and oppose him, are deemed as Qasatheen. The duty was to obey Imam Ali (as) and yet Mu’awiyah and his supporters refused to recognise his authority and give him bayya, hence they were the Qasatheen.

Mu’awiya was amongst the Fajireen (perpetrators of debauchery)

  1. Fara’id us Simtayn, page 157
  2. Kifaya al Talib, page 221 Ch 58
  3. Mawaddatul al Qurba, page 45
  4. Manaqib al Khawarazmi, page 11
  5. Nuzul ul Abrar, Dhikr Fadail Ali, page 24
  6. Kunuz al Haqaiq, Volume 2 page 16
  7. Jami’ al Sagheer, Volume 2 page 65
  8. Qurrat al ‘Aynayn, page 141
  9. Maula wa Mu’awiya, page 141
  10. al Mustadrak al Hakim, Volume 3 page 129

All the above books record traditions in which Rasulullah (s) referred to Imam ‘Ali (as) as the killer of the Fajireen:

For example in Nuzul ul Abrar Chapter “Dhikr Fadail Ali” p24 we read that The Prophet (s) said:

“O ‘Ali you are the Imam of the pious and the slayer of those that are fasiq and fajireen”

In al Mustadrak al Hakim Volume 3 page 129, we read a more lengthy tradition:

“‘Ali is Imam of the pious and killer of the fajireen. Aided will be those that aid him, abandoned shall be those that abandon him”.
al Mustadrak al Hakim, Vol. 3, Page 129

In addition to this we have the comments of Imam ‘Ali (as) taken from Tareekh Tabari Volume 4 page 77:

“The Fajir son of a fajir is Mu’awiya and the fajir son of a kafir is Amr bin Aas”

Abu Sulaiman’s plea that both parties were believers

Ansar.org states:

[Surat Al-Hujarat, verses 9 and 10] “Allah described the two parties by faith and made them brothers despite the fact they fought each other and transgressed on each other”.

We are not suggesting that Imam Ali (as) was fighting the Kuffar, he was fighting believers. Since the duty is to fight until the transgressors accept the truth, the verse makes it clear that believers can be wrong and when they transgress one is permitted to fight them. Perhaps Abu Sulaiman could elaborate ‘What if this group of believer’s don’t accept the truth and are killed while they were still transgressors? Will they still be equal to those who were on the path of truth? This clearly cannot be the case and Allah (swt) says “Are a Momin and Fasiq equal? certainly not”. The Ulema of Ahl’ul Sunnah have been uncompromising in the criticisms of a baghi….

To rebel against the Imam is tantamount to Zina in a Mosque

Nayl al-Awtar, Volume 7 page 198:

واعلم أن قتال البغاة جائز إجماعا كما حكي ذلك في البحر ولا يبعد أن يكون واجبا لقوله تعالى { فقاتلوا التي تبغي } وقد حكي في البحر أيضا عن العترة جميعا أن جهادهم أفضل من جهاد الكفار إلى ديارهم إذ فعلهم في دار الإسلام كفعل الفاحشة في المسجد

“You have to know that the there is Ijma regarding the lawfulness of fighting the rebel as it is written in al-Bahr (book), and likely it is obligatory for His almighty statement ‘{ then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses}’, and it is also written in al-Bahr (book) that all of the progeny said fighting them is superior to fighting the disbelievers in their homeland because their act of rebellion on Muslims’ homeland is like performing adultery inside a mosque.”

If a Baghi dies in war don’t perform his funeral prayers

Imam Nawawi records in Al-Minhaj, Volume 7 page 47:

وقال أبو حنيفة لا يصلى على محارب ولا على قتيل الفئة الباغية وقال قتادة لا يصلى على ولد الزنى

“Imam Abu Hanifa said that if one dies from baghi group or a robber, one should not read their Funeral Prayer, Qatada says a bastard’s Janaza should not be read either”

Al-Dur al-Mukhtar, Volume 2 page 282:

(وهي فرض على كل مسلم مات، خلا) أربعة: (بغاة، وقطاع طريق) فلا يغسلوا، ولا يصلى عليهم

“It is obligatory over every dead Muslim except four, the Baghi and the pirates, they should neither be washed nor their funeral prayers be performed”

One who rebels is from the Party of Satan

We read in al-Nasa’ih al-Kaafiyah page 23 and in Kanz al ‘Ummal page 89 Volume 6:

Ali (as) said: “Our Jamaat is Allah’s and one who opposes us is Satans Party. One who regards them as equal is not from us”.

One who fights Imam Ali is Zaalim and Faasiq

Sharh Mawafiq page 745 Mir Seyyed Shareef states:

“in eyes of Ahl ul Sunnah there is agreement that those who fought him were sinners and Qadi Ibn al Arabi states that this sin is not fisq, view of the Shia and majority Sunni is that those who fought ‘Ali became fasiq and fajir”
Sharh Mawafiq page 745

Sharh al Maqasid Vol 2 page 307 Allamah Sa’duddeen comments:

“Amongst Sahaba the differences makes it clear that some Sahaba left the path of truth and got to a point of Dhulm and Fasiq based on enmity, jealousy and a desire for power”

Testimony of the Sahabi Amar Yasir (ra) that Mu’awiya and his cohorts were misguided ones

 

“Imam Ahmed states that Muhammad Bin Jaffar narrated that Sh’eba narrated from Umer bin Marat that he had heard Abdullah bin Salmah saying: On the day of Sifeen I saw Ammar like a man of tall height and he was having a standard in his hand and his hand was shivering . He said: In the name of One who possesses my life, I have fought thrice carrying the same standard under the supervision of Holy Prophet (s), this is the fourth time and by the One who posses my life, even if they attack us and make us reach at the “Dates of Hijr”, I still know that our group is on right path while they are on the path of misguidance”


Al Badayah wal Nihayah (Urdu), Vol 7 page 523 – Events of 37 H, [Nafees Academy Karachi].

 

By fighting Maula ‘Ali, Mu’awiya fought against the truth, the Qur’an and Rasulullah (s)

 

In his flawed attempt to protect Mu’awiya’s killing of Hujr, Abu Sulaiman sought to compare Mu’awiya’s actions to Imam ‘Ali (as)’s stance at Sifeen:

“Ali fought the rebels against his caliphate at the battle of The Camel and Saffeen, which caused the death of the best Companions and in addition, the death of thousands of Muslims, although the reason was one i.e. rebelling against the ruling of the caliph!”.

Now we get a clear understanding of the Nasibi beliefs of Abu Sulaiman. Mu’awiya had no basis to kill Hujr bin Adi, as we have already discussed earlier. His only ‘sin’ was his opposition to the cursing of Ali (as) – pure and simple. The Qur’an and Sunnah cannot support slaying Hujr in this manner.

As for Imam Ali (as)’s stance, not a shred of condemnation can be placed on him, as Abu Sulaiman is clearly seeking to do. Imam Ali (as)’s actions were supported by the Qur’an and Sunnah. He WAS the Ul’il ‘Amr and Rasulullah (s) said the following about Ali (as)

Rasulullah (s) said:

“Ali is with the Qur’an and the Qur’an is with Ali, the two shall not separate until the meet me at the Fountain of Kauthar”
Kanz ul Ummal hadith number 32912

“Ali is with the Truth and the Truth is with Ali”
Kanz ul Ummal hadith number 33018

“Oh Allah, turn the truth in whichever direction Ali turns”
al Mustadrak, Vol. 3, Page 124

These three ahadith make it clear that every decision that Imam Ali (as) takes is Haqq and is supported by the Holy Qur’an. In other words, if he declares war on rebels to his leadership, it is the truth supported by the Qur’an.

If these hadith are not prove within themselves then perhaps Abu Sulaiman could offer his views on this hadith:

“Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said regarding ‘Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn (Allah be pleased with them all): I am at peace with those with whom you make peace and I am at war with those with whom you make war”
1. Sunan Ibn Majah, English translation by Muhammad Tufail Ansari, Volume 1 page 81
2. Fada’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p767, Tradition #1350;

al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, Vol.3, P149

Rasulullah (s) is clearly endorsing every position that Ali (as) takes, to the point that one he is also at war with those that Ali (as) is at wart with, i.e. Rasulullah (s) considers such individuals not just Imam Ali’s opponents but his own opponents. Despite this Abu Sulaiman’s Nasibi leanings lead make it impossible for him to attribute the truth to Imam Ali (as) ‘s position:

“Although Ali was more deserving and closer to right than Mu’awiyah was”

If anything, this demonstrates how much Nasibis seeks to play down Ali (as)’s position in the eyes of Rasulullah (s). Just contemplate the Nasibis clever play on words Ali was “closer to right” this when Rasulullah (s) stated that Ali is always with the haqq and Abu Sulaiman is suggesting that this was not entirely the case at Sifeen! Who should we follow the comments of Abu Sulaiman or those of Rasulullah (s)?

With such clear evidence one wonders how Nasibis like Abu Sulaiman have the audacity to equate Mu’awiya’s baseless killing of Hujr to Imam Ali (as) war against his opponents.

Muawiya’s opposition was motivated by his hatred of Imam ‘Ali (as)

 

Riyad ul Nadira V 3 page 234:

“Rasulullah (s) told ‘Ali that people have enmity to you, and it will open up after me”

In Yanabi al Muwaddah p 135 we learn that Prophet (s) said:

“Protect yourself from your enemies who have a hatred in their hearts. Those who hate you Allah’s has cursed such individuals”

This certainly rings clear with regards to Mu’awiya. His enmity opened to Imam ‘Ali(as) and came to the front. The moment Imam ‘Ali (as) came to power he refused to submit to the authority of Imam ‘Ali (as) and if this was not bad enough he then proved his hatred by introducing the bidah of cursing Imam ‘Ali during the Friday Sermons throughout his dominion (as shall be discussed later).

Answering Abu Sulaiman’s criticism that Imam ‘Ali (as) should have left Mu’awiya alone

Ansar.org states:

“if Ali left the fight, a great goodness would happen and the shedding of the blood would be spared”.

This indicates further evidence of Abu Sulaiman’s pro Nasibi leanings. It is indeed curious that he does not seek to ask the same questions to his client Mu’awiya. Why did he not surrender before the battle? Would this not have saved lives? He prefers to attack ‘Ali (as) blaming him for the war and failing to place even a shred of criticism against Mu’awiya. Had Imam Ali abandoned the fight, then the situation would have remained unresolved. Mu’awiya would have continued his propaganda campaign, refused to pledge bay`a and would continue to keep Syria and its people under his helm. How could Ali (as) allow Mu’awiya to continue to act in this way? ‘Ali (as) had provided Mu’awiya with ample opportunity to step in line and Mu’awiya refused. Hence he acted properly in declaring war on Mu’awiya.

Answering Abu Sulaiman’s criticism that Imam ‘Ali (as) started the battle, contradicting the Qur’an (astaghfirullah)

 

In his discussion of Surah Hujurat verse 8 Abu Sulaiman vents his anger against Imam ‘Ali (as) commenting:

“Allah did not put it a condition to fight the transgressor party except when the transgressor party starts to fight. But Ali was the one who started the fight”

This further exposes Abu Sulaiman’s direct attempt to place blame at the door of Imam Ali (as) in his efforts even reads a verse incorrectly so as to attack him. He claims that you can only fight when the transgressors fight first, but this is NOT what the verse states:

“if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses”

The right to fight is not based on defensive Jihad, this can be exercised when the transgressor party has exceeded its limit and acted beyond its bounds, the word fight is not used. What right does Abu Sulaiman have to interpret the verses in this way? Mu’awiya had refused to accept Imam Ali (as) demands, during that time he had incited the Syrians into such a frenzy that they were also opposing Imam Ali (as). An entire region of the Arab peninsula had transgressed and was opposing the rightful khalifa, hence Imam Ali (as) was perfectly within his right to quash their opposition.

If one is to apply Nasibi logic and blame Imam Ali (as) for fighting the transgressors, why do these same Nasibis shower praise on Abu Bakr’s jihad against those who refused to pay zakaat to him?

No matter how much Abu Sulaiman would like us to believe otherwise, rebellion is an act of transgression and Abu Sulaiman’s defence is baseless when we know that Rasulullah (s) had referred to the transgressors as the “baghi group” that would fight Ali (as). Rather than speak the truth, he then suggests that perhaps Mu’awiya deemed ‘Ali to be the transgressor. It is interesting to note that Mu’awiya NEVER used this verse to justify his opposition and declare Imam Ali (as) as the transgressor. If we are indeed to accept Abu Sulaiman’s logic then this makes a mockery of Islam, entitling Muslims to interpret the Qur’an in any way they like to get whatever result they like. If Mu’awiya had indeed sought to misinterpret this verse to fight ‘Ali (as) then this does not afford him any protection in the eyes of Allah (swt).

Imam ‘Ali (as) fought for interpretation of the Qur’an in the same way Rasulullah (s) fought for the revelation of the Qur’an

 

This tradition can be located in the following books:

  1. Riyad al Nadira, V 3 p 200
  2. Khasais al Nasai, p 87
  3. Manaqib al Khawarzmi, p 44
  4. Usud al Ghaba, V 4 p 114
  5. Matalib al Sa’ul, p 64
  6. Nuzul al Abrar, p 24
  7. Fara’id al Simtayn, p 160 Ch 33
  8. Yanabi al Mawaddah, page 59 Ch 11
  9. Hilayat al Awliya, V 1 page 67
  10. Sharh Fiqh al Akbar, page 67
  11. al Bidaya, V 7 p 362
  12. Tauhfa Ithna Ashariyya, page 219
  13. Kanz ul Ummal, hadith number 32967
  14. History of the Khalifas who took the right way (Part English translation of Suyuti’s Tarikh’ul Khulafa” page 180)
  15. al Mustadrak al Hakim, Vol. 3, Page 123

Rasulullah said:

“Verily among you will be one who will fight for the meaning of the Qur’an in the same way that I fought for its revelation. People asked will that be Abu Bakr or`Umar? Rasulullah (s) replied ‘No, but he who is mending my shoes, that person was ‘Ali”
Kanz ul Ummal, Hadith number 32967

This hadith is absolutely explicit every Jihad of ‘Ali (as) will be in defence of the Qur’an, to protect it from misinterpretation. This means that even if Abu Sulaiman is seeking to defend his client Mu’awiya on the basis of alleged Qur’an interpretation, his position is one against Imam Ali (as) and is hence groundless.

Abdullah ibne Umar declared Mu’awiya a baghi in his commentary of Surah Hujuraat verse 8

 

Despite Abu Sulaiman’s attempts to defend Mu’awiya this verse IS an indictment against him and proves that he was a transgressor. Whilst he might reject our comments, let us see how Abdullah Ibn`Umar interprets this very verse. Al Hakim in his al Mustadrak narrates from Hamza as follows:

“While he (Hamza) was sitting with Abdullah ibn`Umar a man from Iraq came to Ibn`Umar. He said Abu Abdul Rahman, By Allah I have seriously been trying to follow you and adopt and attitude like yours towards the division of the nation and be neutral as far as I could. Yet I have read a verse from the Qur’an that has occupied my mind and I would like you to comment on it. “If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the Command of Allah; but if it complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just), Please inform me how to comply with this verse. Abdullah said, “You have nothing to do with this, now go away. The man left, when he disappeared Abdullah said “I never found in my heart something that I felt about this verse, that I did not fight the aggressor part as Allah commanded me to do”
Al Mustadrak by al Hakim, Vol. 3, Page 115

Underneath the tradition al-Hakim states:

“This is an important narration recorded by many outstanding tabieen. I have used the channel of Shuaib Ibn Abu Hamza to Al-Zuhri because the two Sheikhs (al Bukhari and Muslim) used the channel indicating its authenticity”

Ibn `Umar had already (as mentioned earlier) expressed his regret that he had failed to fight the baghi group i.e. Mu’awiya. Here he went further basing his regret on this very verse (that Abu Sulaiman used to defend Mu’awiya). Since Abu Sulaiman has consistently used Ibn`Umar as an authority throughout the article, one suggests that he ponders over the comments of Ibn`Umar here…or is Abu Sulaiman now going to suggest that he is more learned than Ibn`Umar on the commentary of this verse?

The martyrdom of Ammar bin Yasir was comprehensive proof that Mu’awiya was a baghi

 

We read in Sahih Muslim hadith number 6970 that Umm e Salmah narrated that:

“Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) said: A band of rebels would kill Ammar”.

This is a famous tradition in which Rasulullah (s) had made it clear that the murderers of Ammar WERE baghi’s – Ammar’s martyrdom at the hands of Mu’awiya’s forces at Sifeen is clear unequivocal proof that Mu’awiya was a baghi. This would of course be the conclusion reached by one with a rational mind that is searching for the truth, not one that is seeking to defend Mu’awiya turning his deviancy in to a matter of appreciation, Abu Sulaiman is the perfect specimen of this school, he states:

About the Hadeeth: “Ammar would be killed by the transgressor party.” This hadeeth is one of the greatest evidences that the truth lies with Ali but Mu’awiyah interpreted the meaning of the hadeeth differently when Ammar’s death shocked Omro Bin Al-A’as and his son. Omro and his son got astound. Ahmed narrated in his Musnad from Abu Bakr bin Muhammad bin Omro bin Hazm from his father who says: (When Ammar bin Yaser was killed, Omro bin Hazm entered upon Omro bin Al-A’as and said: “Ammar was killed and the Prophet peace be upon him said that Ammar would be killed by the transgressor party.” Omro bin Al-A’as stood fearing and vomiting until he entered upon Mu’awiyah. Mu’awiyah asked him: “What is the matter?” Omro answered: “Ammar was killed.” Mu’awiyah asked again: “So what if Ammar was killed?” Omro answered: “I heard the messenger of Allah saying that Ammar would be killed by the transgressor party.” Mu’awiyah told him: “… were we the ones who killed him? Ali and his comrades killed him. They brought him (to the war) and threw him into our lances (or swords).”) [Musnad the people of Syria from Musnad Al-Imam Ahmed, vol.2, Musnad Omro bin Al-A'as, #957, p.163. The Examiner of the book said the narrators of the story are trustworthy].

According to the Qur’an, Sunnah (this very hadith) and definitions of the Ahl’ul Sunnah `ulama Mu’awiya was a baghi. His attempts to reject this and accuse Imam Ali (as) of killing `Ammar “The one who killed Ammar is the one who brought him” is irrelevant and further exposes his deviancy. In fact his treachery is clear from the fact that not only did he twist the hadith he also became abusive.

We read in History of al-Tabari, Translation volume xvii, The First Civil war, page 69

“`Abdallah [son of `Amr bin al-`Aas] said to his father, “Father, have you killed this man in your fighting today, even though the Messenger of God has said what he said about him?” `Amr asked what that was, and his son said: “Were you not with us while we were building the mosque and everyone was moving stone by stone and brick by brick while `Ammar brought two stones and two bricks at a time? The effort caused him to faint, and the Messenger of God came to him and began wiping dust from his face, saying, ‘Alas for you, Ibn Sumayyah! The people transport stone by stone and brick by brick while you move two stones and two bricks at a time, desiring (divine) reward. In spite of that the usurping party will kill you. Alas for you’” `Amr pushed `Abdallah’s horse away and pulled Mu’awiya toward him. He said, “Mu’awiya, do you not hear what `Abdallah is saying?” Mu’awiya asked what it was, and `Amr reported the story. Mu’awiya said: “You are a stupid old man. You keep on telling stories while you slither about in your piss. Was it we who killed `Ammar? It was only those who brought him here.” And the men came out from their tents and bivouacs, saying, “It was only those who brought `Ammar who killed him.”
History of al-Tabari, Volume 17, The First Civil war, page 69

Mu’awiya’s redefinition is in fact further evidence of how low he was willing to stoop to slander Imam Ali (as) to the point of intentionally misinterpreting a hadith to fit his rebellion. Mu’awiya may well have sought to convince his supporters but Ammar’s death stands testament to where the truth lay.

In his discussion of Sifeen, Maudoodi writes as follows:

“There were some companions who were reluctant to participate in Jihad as they were unsure which party was that of truth and which party was that of falsehood. After Ammar ibn Yasir’s death the matter became clear. It is on this basis that Abu Bakr al Jassas writes in Ahkam ul Qur’an, Volume 3 page 492: ‘Ali ibne Abi Talib (ra) fought a rebellious group. Accompanying him were recognised Sahaba who had participated in Badr, they were in the right. The Prophet told Amar that a ‘baghi group will kill you’ this hadith is Mutawatir and Sahih, so much so that when Abdullah bin Umar bin Aas said this to Mu’awiya he did not refute it”. Allamah Ibn ‘Abdul Barr in al Isti’ab Volume 2 page 424 records the hadith ‘a baghi group will kill Ammar, this is a Mutawatir / Sahih tradition. Allamah Hafid Ibn Hajar in al Isaba writes on Volume 2 page 502 ‘After Ammar’s murder it became clear that the truth was with ‘Ali and on this the Ahl’ul Sunnah became united when previously there were differing opinions”
Al Khilfat wa Mulukiyyat – by Sayyid Abu’l Ala Maudoodi, pages 137

Interestingly despite his fondness for Muawiyah, Ibn Kathir still states in Al-Bidayah wal Nihayah, incidents of 13-40 H: 

وهذا مقتل عمار بن ياسر رضي الله عنه مع أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب قتله أهل الشام وبان وظهر بذلك سر ما أخبره به الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم من أنه تقتله الفئة الباغية وبان بذلك أن عليا محق وأن معاوية باغ وما في ذلك من دلائل النبوة

“Amar bin Yasir was also killed along with Ameer al Momineen Ali (ra). He (Ammar) was killed by Syrians. By his killing, the prediction of Prophet (s) came true because He (s) had predicted that Ammar would be killed by a rebellious group, moreover it further proved that Ali was on right path whereas Muawiya was a rebel and there were several prophetic predictions in this regard”

Mullah Ali Qari in his commentary of Mishkaat al-Masabih records:

“Ammar was killed by Mu’awiya whose party were oppressors and baghis”
Mirqaat Sharah Mishkaat, Volume10 page 171

Allamah Abu Bakar al-Jasas in his authority wok ‘Ahkam al Quran’ states:

“Ali bin Abi Talib (ra) fought the baghi party”

We also read:

“The prophet (pbuh) said to Ammar: ‘a baghi group will kill you’. This tradition is acceptable and Mutawatir, even Mu’awiya couldn’t deny it.”
Ahkam al Quran al Jasas, Volume 3 page 400

This hadith is so explicit only one of the calibre of Mu’awiya could redefine it so suit his own needs. Perhaps we should ask ourselves, what about the proponent of this hadith `Ammar bin Yasir? Did he not know where right and wrong lay? If he did then why was he fighting Mu’awiya? Clearly Ammar knew where the truth was in that there is no doubt, and in that connection we have his testimony…

Ammar deemed those that fought Imam ‘Ali (as) to be the same munafiqs that tried to assassinate Rasulullah (s)

 

We read in Sahih Muslim Book 038, Number 6688:

“Qais reported: I said to ‘Ammar: What is your opinion about that which you have done in case (of your siding with Hadrat ‘Ali)? Is it your personal opinion or something you got from Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him)? ‘Ammar said: We have got nothing from Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) which people at large did not get, but Hudhaifa told me that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) had especially told him amongst his Companion, that there would be twelve hypocrites out of whom eight would not get into Paradise, until a camel would be able to pass through the needle hole. The ulcer would be itself sufficient (to kill) eight. So far as four are concerned, I do not remember what Shu’ba said about them”.

It is clear from this tradition that Ammar is referred to his opponents (and those of Imam ‘Ali) in battle as munafiqs. Even more interesting is that he associated this group with the list of 12 or 14 hypocrites from the Aqaba incident who had tried to assassinate the Prophet (s) and about whom only Hudhayfa was told their names, for which he was called ‘saahib al-sirr’ (man with the secret).

Abu Sulaiman’s defence of ijtihad

 

Of interest is Abu Sulaiman’s own admission that Mu’awiya was wrong, he says:

But the truth that should be said is that these thinkings are definitely false and that the truth is with Ali. But Mu’awiyah’s party are excused in their interpretation because they wanted the truth but did not get it.

So he is admitting:

  • The truth was with Ali
  • Mu’awiya’s assertion was false, but is ‘excused’ because he was looking for the truth

Subhanallah! What sort of search for the truth is this? One that entitles an individual to rebel against the rightful khalifa, incite people to join in his opposition and then fight the khalifa! And who has excused Mu’awiya for his transgression? Does Abu Sulaiman have any evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah to prove this point? Rasulullah (s) said`Ammar would be killed by baghi’s. Did he state that this baghi group will be excused because they will be searching for the truth? Is there any verse of the Qur’an stating that one who is a transgressor is excused? According to Abu Sulaiman all this is permissible in Islam and it was based on interpretation i.e. ijtihad. If the truth was with Ali (as), a fact that Rasulullah had vouched for, as we have mentioned, how did Mu’awiya feel that he was on the path of truth by fighting Ali (as)? Abu Sulaiman can defend Mu’awiya all he likes, the fact is he was a baghi and one who is a baghi can NOT use ijtihad to justify his opposition. A Mujtahid can ONLY exercise Ijtihaad when no solution is available in the Qur’an and Sunnah. When the Qur’an states clearly the obedience to the Ul’il Umr is unconditional and we have Ahl’ul Sunnah traditions in which Rasulullah (s) condemned splitting from the Jamaah then it is evident that the excuses provided by Abu Sulaiman are as weak as the claim that Imam Ali and his party were baghi’s having brought `Ammar to the battlefield.

Abu Sulaiman, that for every Shi’a accusation:

“…against Mu’awiyah, there would be a similar argument from other parties. Ahl Al-Sunnah are pleased by the two parties, and do not consider them impious”.

Only a Nasibi could claim such a lie. Abu Sulaiman by citing this example is in effect suggesting that any sin has been cancelled out since both parties were as culpable as each other. This type of answer can only come from those bearing a hidden grudge towards Imam ‘Ali (as). If we take this type of excuse to its logical conclusion then Mu’awiya’s alleged father ‘Abu Sufyan fought Rasulullah (s) and Rasulullah (s) fought him, so no blame should be apportioned to either since both were responsible for deaths. In Badr, Uhud, Khayber, Khunduq and Hunain Muslims fought kuffar, they were both equal in the blame. By the same token we should distinguish between a goat and a cow since both eat grass, or one’s sister from one’s wife since both are women. This is the typical Nasibi thinking, a concerted effort not to distinguish truth from falsehood in their attempts to lower the exalted rank of Maula ‘Ali (as).

In response to this Nasibi defence what better reply to Abu Sulaiman can there be than Imam ‘Ali (as)’s own assessment of the situation. This sermon of Imam ‘Ali was said at Sifeen and can be located in the following texts of Ahl’ul Sunnah – Waq’at Sifeen page 314, Jamharat Ansab al-Arab,  Volume 1 page 353, Sharh of Nahajul Balagha by Ibn Abi al Hadeed Volume 5 page 245:

“I made a promise with Rasulullah (s) that I shall never forego. Your enemies are approaching, you should know that their leader is a hypocrite son of a hypocrite. He is inviting his supporters to Hell Fire while you have the cousin of Rasulullah (s) in your midst, as you know, no one else performed Salat with Rasulullah (s) before me. I am from amongst the participants of Badr while Mu’awiya is the freed captive, son of a freed captive. By Allah! We are on the path of truth whilst Mu’awiya is on the path of falsehood”.

We deem it appropriate to mention that some Nawasib have tried to prove us lairs for using ‘Waqt Sifeen’ as a Sunni text and it has been stated that the author Ibn Mazahim has been callled a Shia and as such, they have tried to portray Ibn Mazahim as a weak source.  We would like to respond that other Sunni scholars such as Hakim, the author of Al-Mutadrak has likewise been called Shia but that did not mean an outright rejection of the author. We should also point out that Ibn Mazahim has been included in the books of Thiqah narrators by Imam Ibn Habban (al-Thuqat, v9, p215). Moreover several leading Sunni scholars have relied upon Ibn Mazahim in their respective authority works such as Ibn Abi al-Dunya in his book al-Ikhwan, Ibn Abi Shyba in his book al-Arsh, Tabarani in his books al-Mujam al-Kabir and al-Mujam al-Saghir, Darqutni in his al-Sunnan, Umar bin Shaheen in his book Fadhael Saydat al-Nisa, Abu Nu’aim al-Asbahani in his book Musnad Abu Hanifa, Ibn Abdulbar in al-Istiab, Samani in Adab al-Emla, Ibn Abi Hatim who in his Tafsir of Holy Quran declared he had relied upon authentic chains only has also narrated from Ibn Mazahim, Ibn Jarir Tabari in his Tafsir  as well as in his Tarikh while Ibn Tamiyah has stated  that Tabari in his Tafsir didn’t record from narrators who were lairs, Ibn Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq, Ibn al-Athir in Usud al-Ghaba and Khawarezmi in his book al-Manaqib. 

One needs to remind our readers that first and foremost Imam Ali (as) was the rightful khalifa and Mu’awiya was a baghi – so right from the start this premise that both parties are just as guilty falls flat. Imam Ali (as)’s actions were supported by the Qur’an and hadith, Rasulullah (s) said he is at war with anyone that ‘Ali (as) fights, proving his actions will always be correct. If we were to take ‘Abu Sulaiman’s allegation as true then this would suggest that Rasulullah (s) was also culpable! Mu’awiya had no texts to support his rebellion. Abu Sulaiman may feel happy living the dream blindly quoting the defence:

Ansar.org states: “Ahl Al-Sunnah are pleased by the two parties, and do not consider them impious” – but we give greater credence to the words of Imam Ali and in Sharh Ibn Al Hadeed Volume 6 page 71, we read the letter of Imam ‘Ali (as) to Muhammad bin Abi Bakr, that destroys this baseless notion:

“Protect yourself from Hind’s lying son and his invitation, stop and think, the Imam of guidance and the Imam of destruction, Rasulullah’s wasi (executor) and Rasulullah’s enemies can never be seen as equals”.

Through his opposition and propaganda campaign against the Imam he was responsible for inciting fitnah and causing the death of thousands of people. What is interesting is the fact that ‘defences’ and ‘explanation’ are ONLY provided by the Ahl’ul Sunnah for those who rebelled against Imam Ali (as). Why are counter arguments and explanation never provided by Abu Sulaiman and his company for those that rebelled against Abu Bakr, refusing to hand over zakat to him? These individuals are not deemed impious, worse they are deemed murtad! Sayyid Abul A’la Maudoodi, in his book “Murtad ki Saza” (Punishment of the apostate) states that those who did not pay Zakat became apostates because they rebelled against the Khalifa of the time (Murtad ki Saza, page 24 – 25 Karachi edition 1954) Curiously when the companions rebel against Ali (as) and wage war against him the same thinking is not applied, rather as Abu Sulaiman claims they searched for the truth, could not find it but will be forgiven and will be rewarded for it, as Abu Sulaiman comments:

“…the party of Ali was right, and Mu’awiyah was not a despotic, nor a caller to falsehood, but he searched for the truth and did not find it. Therefore, Mu’awiyah is rewarded for his religious interpretation. None of the two was an oppressor or impious”.

Reply One

Rasulullah (s) clearly referred to the party that killed Ammar as baghi, he did not say that they would be rewarded having exercised ijtihad. He condemned the killers of Amar so hence we can condemn them and call them pious. How was Mu’awiya searching for the truth by opposing Imam ‘Ali (as) who Rasulullah said is with the truth and the truth was with him? To suggest that all acts will be forgiven and rewarded on account of religious interpretation (ijtihad) is such perverse concept it in fact attacks the core of Shari’a – justice. We have dedicated a separate article exposing the fallacy of the ijtihad of the companions, but for the moment the cynical comments from Ahl’ul Sunnah’s authority work “Nasbaan Muluk Adoud” page 224 will suffice:

“Ijtihaad is a very unusual concept, which in effect suggests that you can do whatever you like and can simply present ijtihaad as an excuse, by the same token kaafirs could likewise rely in ijtihaad Shaykh ul Hadith Abu Jahil, Shaykh ul Islam Abu Sufyan and the Great Imam Ibne Ziyad all performed deeds in the name of ijtihaad! Mu’awiya contradicted the Qur’an and Sunnah in his exercise of ijtihaad, and there is no basis to make ijtihaad when there is clear text available”.

Reply Two – A Mujtahid has to be a pious / just man

 

Both Sects are in agreement that a Mujtahid must be a pious, praiseworthy and just man. Mu’awiya was devoid of all these requirements, through political trickery Mu’awiya allowed Uthman to be killed and then used his death to propel his political ambitions, by rebelling against Maula Ali that led to the Battle of Siffeen, and his army slaughted many prominent Sahaba. After the martyrdom of Maula Ali (as), Mu’awiya killed his Shi’a to strengthen his reign, and then assasinated Maula Ali (as), Ayesha and prominent Sahaba who he deemed his critics.

Nawasib say that anyone that curses the Sahaba is a transgressor and a kaafir, Maula ‘Ali was a rank higher in that he was from the Ahl’ul bayt (as) and one of the Ahl’ul Sunnah’s rightly guided khalifas. Muawiya opposed him, rebelled against him and cursed him (as we shall evidence in the next chapter). Muawiya was neither pious nor just which thus makes his ijtihad of no value. Mu’awiya did not just kill ordinary Sahaba, he killed the participants of Bayt al Ridhwan, and Sahaba such as Amar bin Yasir (ra), Khudhayma bin Thabit an Malib bin Ashthar. The Qur’an says killing one momin leads one to Hell and Muawiya was responsible for killing thousands, which negates any suggestion that he was Adil (just).

Reply Three – Mu’awiya was not a mujtahid

 

We will rely on the following Sunni works:

  1. Al Ahkam fi Usul al Ahkam, Volume 4 page 218
  2. al Bahar al Raiq Volume 1 page 3 by Muhammad bin Naeem
  3. Tauzhee al Talweeh, page 30

We read in Bahar al Raiq:

“Ijtihad involves having knowledge and evidence for the principles of Shari’ah, Fiqh and Ijtihad…”

One who has form grasp of the Shariah is a mujtahid and according to Sunni jurisprudence a Mujtahid is one with a command of the following principles:
1. The Qur’an
2. Sunnah of the Prophet (s)
3. Ijma of the Ulema
4. Qiyas

Mu’awiya was ignorant of these principles. He was brought up in that household which would place their fingers in their ears when they heard the Qur’an being recited. He lived in that house that was used as a brothel, wherein the inhabitants were idolaters and lead opponents of the Prophet (s). He only embraced Islam through surrender approximately ten years prior to the death of the Prophet (s). Mu’awiya had very little opportunity to sit in the midst of the Prophet. It should also be made clear that the Qur’an and Sunnah is not simple to understand, it took Umar twelve years to recite Surah Baqarah, and at the time of the death he claimed that the Prophet (s) could not die, and did not shift from this stance until Abu Bakr recited the Qur’anic verse ‘And there had been (other) prophets before him’. ‘ If this was the state of such an esteemed figure, then what can we say of Mu’awiya with his limited exposure to the Prophet (s)? Mu’awiya was neither a mujtahid in practice (in his daily life) nor in theory.

Reply Four – Imam Ali (as)’s verdict that Mu’awiya should be killed as he has no grounds to oppose him

 

In al-Nasa’ih al-Kaafiyah page 24 this tradition is taken from Ibn Asheer who quotes this sermon of Imam ‘Ali (as):

“Mu’awiya and his army should be killed as they are Qasateen neither are they from amongst those that understand the Qur’an, nor are they experts on the principles of deen, nor are they counted as scholars who can issue verdicts”.

These words discredit the false notion that Mu’awiya had exercised ijtihad Imam Ali (as) made it clear that he had no basis to oppose and had no defense in Shari’a to support his rebellion.

Reply Five – Maula Ali’s expose on Mu’awiya’s character destroys the defence of ijtihad

 

In Tarikh Kamil Volume 3 page 140, the words of Imam ‘Ali (as) are recorded:

“Mu’awiya and his supporters such as Amr bin Aas were dishonest, they had no knowledge of the Qur’an, I know them from their childhood through to their adolescence, they were the worst of all people”.

This testimony of Imam ‘Ali (as) in effect destroys the defence of ijtihad. Ijtihad is exercised by an scholar who is honest and posses a command of the Qur’an and Sunnah. In the eyes of Imam Ali (as) Mu’awiya was dishonest and ignorant of the Qur’an hence he was in no position to rely on the Qur’an to justify his opposition.

Reply Six – Abdullah bin Umro’s regret that he fought alongside Mu’awiya at Sifeen

 

Al Isti’ab, Volume 1 page 292 under the biography of Abdullah bin Umro bin al-Aas:

“Ibn Abi Malika narrated that Abdullah bin Umro bin al-Aas said: ‘Why I participated in Sifeen! Why I fought the Muslims! By Allah I wish I was died ten years before this incident’. Than he said: ‘By Allah I didn’t strike by sword, nor did I strike by spear, nor shot an arrow, and I wish I never attended this incident, I repent to Allah almighty to seek repentance’. It has been narrated that he held the flag during that incident, therefore he extended regret for fighting beside Mu’awyia, thus he continuously sought forgiveness from Allah”.

Now if both parties were indeed right as is ‘Abu Sulaiman’s claim then why was bin Umro asking for forgiveness having fought with Mu’awiya at Sifeen? According to Abu Sulaiman’s logic there would be nothing to be shameful about since both will be rewarded – but the regret, embarrassment and tauba of this participant destroys the fallacy of ijtihad since Abdullah bin `Amr al Aas clearly viewed his support of Mu’awiya to be a great sin for which he sought the forgiveness of Allah (swt).

Rasulullah’s condemnation of Mu’awiya and Amr bin Aas refutes the defence of ijtihaad

 

We read in Waq’at Sifeen page 218 that Zaid bin Arkam narrated that he heard Rasulullah (s) say:

“If you ever see Mu’awiya and Amr bin Aas sitting together then split them up because they will never unite on anything good”

We read in al-Nasa’ih al-Kaafiyah page 94 and Tatheer al Jinan page 120 that Rasulullah (s) said the following:

“If you ever see Mu’awiya and Amr bin Aas sitting together then split them up because verily they will only unite on deception”.

This tradition and the former destroys Abu Sulaiman’s defense of ijtihad in the case of Mu’awiya, because Rasulullah (s) said anything they do will be deception i.e. would contradict the dictates of the Deen. Ijtihad is based on sincere interpretation in the absence of nass (text). Rasulullah (s) said the union of these two individuals would ALWAYS be based on deception and never for a good cause NOT on matters pertaining to Deen. Mu’awiya and Amr bin Aas united at Sifeen against the Imam of the time. Their claims to avenge the death of Uthman was deception as testified by the words of Rasulullah (s).

Abu Sulaiman’s verdict that both parties were on truth and cannot be criticised

Ansar.org states:

Authentic traditions prove that both parties have the same claim and seek the truth they believe. These authentic traditions also declare that the two parties are innocent from looking for caprice and following falsehood. Al-Bukhari narrated in his Saheeh from Abu Hurayrah who says: (The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said: “Judgement Day will not come until two parties fight with similar claims.”) [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Book of "Virtues," Chapter of "Signs of Prophecy in Islam," #3413] This hadeeth, as you see, proves that the two parties have the same demand and the same religion.

We reiterate that we are not saying Imam Ali (as) was fighting Kuffar, the battle was with baghi’s / transgressors. Both parties might indeed have the same demand but the question Abu Sulaiman intentionally avoids is to cast light on which party is on the right path which party was correct in its demand, Ali demanding obedience or Mu’awiya refusing obedience and opposing him. We know from the hadith cited earlier that Rasulullah (s) said that Imam Ali was on Haqq, supported by the Qur’an and would fight the Baghi Party. So these hadith make it clear that the demands of Imam Ali (as) that Mu’awiya submit to his authority was the correct demand, supported by the Qur’an and hadith. Mu’awiya’s opposition was and cannot in retrospect (despite Abu Sulaiman’s loyal efforts) be supported by the Shari’a. He WAS following falsehood. Now let us analyse the second hadith:

Muslim narrated in his Saheeh from Abu Saeed Al-khudaro who says: (The messenger of Allah peace be upon him said: “Renegades will pass through a group of Muslims. They would be killed by the more deserving party of truth.”) [Muslim with Explanation, Book of "Zakkat," Chapter of "The Kharijites and their characteristics," #150] This hadeeth clears that both parties ask for the truth and fight for it. Meaning that the two parties were intending the truth and requesting it. This hadeeth also shows that the truth lies with Ali because he was the one who fought these renegades i.e. the Kharijites at Al-Nahrawan.

Interesting is the fact that in this hadith Rasulullah (s) did not say that the other party was also on the truth! It clearly indicates that Imam Ali (as)’s Party IS the party of truth, has Rasulullah (s) showered praise on the other group?

Abu Sulaiman had stated, “These authentic traditions also declare that the two parties are innocent from looking for caprice and following falsehood”. We wonder how it is that Abu Sulaiman has arrived at this conclusion. Did Rasulullah (s) state in either of these traditions “the two parties are innocent from looking for caprice and following falsehood”? He (s) clearly did not identify which party was correct and this can be further proven from the other hadith cited so we should remind our readers of the repercussions for one who attributes a lie to Rasulullah (s).

Abu Sulaiman then cites the words of Al-Nawawi:

“It is a declaration that both parties are believers and fighting each other does not cancel their faith and they should be not called impious.” [Sahih Muslim vol.7, p.235]

Nawawi asserts that it does not cancel their faith, but the Qur’an and Sunnah tell us perpetrators of such crimes have committed kufr:

“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense shall be hell, he shall abide therein and God’s wrath (Ghazibullaho) shall be on him and his curse (lanato), and is prepared for him a great torment” (Surah Nisa, v 93)

Further, Abdullah Ibn`Umar narrates he heard Rasulullah (s) say:

“Do not revert to disbelief after me by striking (cutting) the necks of one another”. Sahih al Bukhari Arabic-English Volume 9 hadith number 198

The Holy Prophet said, “Your blood, property, honour and skin (ie body) are sacred to one another” Sahih al Bukhari Arabic-English Volume 9 hadith number 199

It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud that

The Prophet, said, “Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief).” [Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 197]

So these ahadith and verse make it clear:

  • To kill a Muslim is an act of kufr (so one is at risk of losing one’s faith)
  • The intentional killing of a mu’min places the perpetrator in hell

Now with these facts in mind we should ask ‘how many believers were intentionally killed at Sifeen?’

The ONLY way that these actions can be defended is if there is a clear provision in Islam that entitles an individual to fight and kill his Muslim brother. If no such provision exists then in light of the Qur’an and hadith ALL those who fought against Imam Ali (as), committed kufr, they are murderers and are therefore in hell.

There had to be clear text to support the stance of the parties. The fighting was between two groups of believers. One group was led by the rightful Khalifa of the time who was supported in his actions by the Qur’an and words of Rasulullah, and on the opposing side we had Abu Sulaiman’s client Mu’awiya who had no basis under the Shari’a to transgress in the manner that he did. It is indeed sad that Abu Sulaiman does not even possesses the courage to admit which party was correct in light of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Rather than do so, he continues to defend Mu’awiya’s transgression.

Try as he may these defences are of no avail. We have the guarantee of Rasulullah (s) in this hadith from Sahih Bukhari Chapter, Fighting for the Cause of Allah (Jihaad) Volume 4 hadith number 67 that Ikrima narrated:

“Ibn ‘Abbas told him and ‘Ali bin ‘Abdullah to go to Abu Said and listen to some of his narrations; so they both went (and saw) Abu Said and his brother irrigating a garden belonging to them. When he saw them, he came up to them and sat down with his legs drawn up and wrapped in his garment and said, “(During the construction of the mosque of the Prophet) we carried the adobe of the mosque, one brick at a time while ‘Ammar used to carry two at a time. The Prophet passed by ‘Ammar and removed the dust off his head and said, “May Allah be merciful to ‘Ammar. He will be killed by a rebellious aggressive group. ‘Ammar will invite them to (obey) Allah and they will invite him to the (Hell) fire.”

So from this hadith we learn

  1. A rebellious group will kill Ammar
  2. Ammar will invite this rebellious group to submit to the will of Allah
  3. This rebellious group shall be inviting him to Hell Fire

 

Imam Taymeeya al Nasibi’s Fatwa that killers of Amar lead people to Hell

In this connection we have this fatwa of Ibn Taymeeya:

“And it has been narrated in Muslim, ‘O Ammar you will be killed by a group of transgressors’, and this is proof on the correctness of the Imamah of Ali and that it is obligatory to follow him, and those that were calling to his obedience were calling to Jannah and that those who fought him were calling towards hellfire, even though they did ta’wil..”
Majmu’ Fatawa Vol 4 Page 437

Rasulullah (s) deemed the opponents and killers of Ammar a rebellious group that was inviting him to Hell Fire i.e. Destruction. This is clear proof that this group was deviant and was so far from the truth that it was in effect recruiting people to destruction in the next world. This being the case how can individuals who in Rasulullah’s own words were inviting Ammar to the Hell Fire be deemed (as Abu Sulaiman would like us to believe) to be pious, innocent individuals searching for the truth?

For Nawawi to comment that neither side should be called impious is symptomatic of those who refuse to separate truth from falsehood. How can we not declare impious those that are deemed impious according to the Qur’an and Sunnah? Allah (swt) deems such individual transgressors and Rasulullah (s) had described those that would fight Imam ‘Ali (as) as Baghi (rebels). If Allah and his Rasul (s) have condemned this seditious element then why should we be condemned for doing likewise?