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Sunday, September 30, 2012

ISLAM’S ROYAL FAMILY


ISLAM’S ROYAL FAMILY

by Silas

The Quran - 8:63, Al Anfal (The Spoils)
He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers. And He has united their (i.e. believers') hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them. Certainly He is All-Mighty, All-Wise.   [2]


PART ONE:  MUHAMMAD’S WEALTH

FATIMA, ALI, AND IBN ABBAS


INTRODUCTION


            Muhammad was not alone in his endeavor to spread his religion.  By the time Muhammad had attacked and conquered Mecca he had with him a devoted family and thousands of devoted friends (Companions).  And make no mistake about it; his followers loved him and would gladly kill for or die for him.  They hung on his every word, and rigidly followed his commands, and hundreds of them memorized as much of his Quranic words as they could.

            Like all popular leaders, Muhammad had around him special friends and family members.  Muhammad loved his wife, Aisha, best (Muhammad married her when she was nine; she was 18 when he died).  After her, he loved her father Abu Bakr best, then his strong friend Umar.  Beyond them there were other special friends and family who were closer than most “Companions”.  Many of these special friends became important leaders of one type or another in the Islamic community.

            This special group of people I am referring to I am calling the “Royal Family.”  No, they were not considered royalty as the Queen of England is considered royalty.  But these people knew Muhammad intimately and hold a very special place in both Islamic politics, history, and theology.  Hence the name is somewhat fitting.  These people knew Muhammad best, and he knew them best.  They loved him and he loved them.  They knew and memorized his teachings and they strove to imitate him in all manner of life.  Through their intimate contact with Muhammad they were able to teach and lead the Islamic community.

            In a similar way, Jesus’ followers knew Jesus, and following His death, they strove hard to obey His teachings and teach others what they knew through their personal contact with Him.


            I am presenting a series of articles on “Islam’s Royal Family”.  Let us examine their actions following Muhammad’s death.  I believe it to be a fair assessment of real Islam.  Arguably these Muslims were the best Muslims.  They are foundational to Islam because they constitute a large percentage of Sahih Hadith narrators and some even ruled the Islamic empire.  One of them even compiled his own version of the Quran.  If there were anyone who knew Muhammad and his commands - it was them.

            Jesus said “you shall know a tree by its fruit.”  Certainly it is no stretch for us to judge the genuineness of Islam by these, the best of Muslims’, fruits.  After all, wouldn’t Muhammad’s and the Islam’s biggest impact be on those that were with him almost 24 hours a day?

            Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another.  And we know that they loved each other; after His death, these men became the leaders of the church, they lived together, shared in each other’s fate, cared for each other and so on. Because of their faith in Him, their intimate knowledge of Him, and their commitment to Him, they obeyed – even to the point of death.

            Muhammad also commanded his followers to love one another.  His followers were keen to follow Muhammad in how he dressed, how he ate, how he prayed, and so on.  How did Muhammad’s followers hold to their faith and obedience following his death?  I’m not focusing on mere outward appearances and form.  I’m focusing on matters of the mind, spirit, and heart, i.e. the inward. 

            If Islam was real, shouldn’t we expect to see them carry on in obedience to Muhammad’s commands as Jesus’ disciples did?  Should we expect anything less from these – the closest of Muhammad’s family and friends?  If Islam were real, shouldn’t these, the best of Muslims, have acted in a spiritual manner when it was crunch time?  Let’s see.


Notes

1)  I will not type out the entire chain of narrators (isnaads).
2)  I will not quote entire traditions (Hadith) because much of the provided text and detail (matn) is not relevant to the subject.
3)  I will endeavor to present quoted material in blue font.
4)  All Biblical quotes will be from the New International Version, unless otherwise noted.
5)  All Quranic quotes will be from “The Noble Quran.”

Let’s begin.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT


1 Tim 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Hadith of Sahih Bukhari, 2.428:   [3]

Narrated 'Uqba bin 'Amir:
"... By Allah! I am not afraid that you will worship others along with Allah after my death, but I am afraid that you will fight with one another for the worldly things."


KEY PEOPLE


ABU BAKR - The first Caliph (supreme ruler) of the Islamic empire, and the first of the so-called four “rightly guided” Caliphs.  He became Caliph following Muhammad’s death.  He was Muhammad’s closest male friend.  He ruled for two years then died.  He was the father of Aisha, Muhammad’s nine year old bride ( http://answering-islam.org/Silas/childbrides.htm [4]).   Through war Abu Bakr established the beginning of the Islamic Empire.

UMAR – The second caliph.  He was Muhammad’s second closest male friend.  His reign lasted some 12 or so years.  Through attacks upon non-Islamic countries, he greatly expanded the Islamic empire.

ALI – Muhammad’s son in law, married to Muhammad’s daughter Fatima.  Ali was a brave and strong Muslim warrior who accomplished some important exploits in battle.  Ali was the fourth of the “rightly guided Caliphs.”  Ali had two sons: Hassan and Hussain (Hussain bears importance later on).

FATIMA – One of Muhammad’s daughters, later married to Ali.  She died some 6 months after Muhammad died.

IBN ABBAS – Muhammad’s cousin.  He became one of the greatest early Islamic scholars.  The “Reliance of the Traveler” [5] states that he narrated 1660 hadith, contributed a great amount of Koranic exegesis, and the Caliph Umar used him for help reaching legal conclusions.


THE SETTING


            Through threats, intimidation, and extortion of neighboring tribes, Muhammad was able to amass a personal fortune.  But make no error:  Muhammad did not live a indulgent, opulent, lifestyle.  He lived frugally.  He was very disciplined and controlled his wealth using it for the benefit of his poorer followers and to make war upon non-Muslims.  Prior to his death Muhammad issued a declaration regarding his wealth:  he would follow in the footsteps of previous prophets and NOT leave an inheritance to his family.  His wealth was NOT to be divided among family members, rather it was to continue to be distributed in the same manner as before.  However he did make provisions for his wives’ and slave’s maintenance.  Other than that Muhammad only detailed a few minor items to be given out.

            Muhammad had just died and the Caliphate was offered to Abu Bakr.   On the day after Muhammad’s death, intriguing events begin to transpire…….


(Below are several biographical anecdotes of the  “Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, (Book of the Major Classes), Volume 2, by Ibn Sa’d, pages 391 – 394:  [6])


ACCOUNT OF THE LEGACY (INHERITANCE) OF THE APOSTLE OF ALLAH, AND WHAT PROPERTY HE LEFT BEHIND

            The apostle of Allah said, “The dinars and dirhams (money) should not be distributed among my heirs, what I leave should go into charity after the maintenance expenses of my wives and the provisions of my servant. (pages 391, 392).

            I heard Umar saying, “The day when the Apostle of Allah died bayah was offered to Abu Bakr.  On the following day Fatimah came to Abu Bakr and there was Ali with her. (page 393).

            Fatimah came to Abu Bakr and demanded her share in the inheritance.  Al-Abbas came to him and demanded his share in the inheritance.  Ali came with them.  Thereupon Abu Bakr said, “The Apostle of Allah said, “We leave no inheritance, what we leave behind us is sadaqah.”  I shall make provisions for those for whom the Prophet had made.”  On this Ali said, “Sulayman (Solomon) inherited Dawud (David), and Zakariya said, ‘He may be my heir and the heir of the children of Yaqab (Zachariah and John the Baptist)’”.  Abu Bakr said, “This is as this is.  By Allah!  You know it as I know.”  Thereupon Ali said, “This is the Book of Allah that speaks.”  Then they became quiet and retired.  (page 393).

            Fatimah asked Abu Bakr, “When you die who will inherit you?”  He replied, “My children and relatives.” She said, “What is the justification of your becoming inheritor of the Prophet keeping us away?”  He replied, “O daughter of the Apostle of Allah!  I did not inherit your father’s land, gold, silver, slave, or property.  She said, “The share of Allah (Khums i.e. one-fifth) which He has allotted to us and which is only our share, is in your hands.”  Thereupon he replied, “I heard the Apostle of Allah saying, “It is the food that Allah makes me eat.  When I die it will be distributed among the Muslims”  (page 392).

            Abu Bakr said, “Verily, the Apostle of Allah said, “We do not leave inheritance, what we leave goes into sadaqah.  Verily, the members of Muhammad’s family will get provision from this money.  By Allah!  I shall not change the distribution of the sadaqah of the Apostle of Allah from what it was in the time of Apostle of Allah.  I shall continue to spend them under the same heads as the Apostle of Allah was spending.  So Abu Bakr refused to give any thing to Fatimah. Consequently Fatimah became angry with Abu Bakr and left him.  She did not talk with him till she died.  She lived six months after the Apostle of Allah. (page 392)



The Hadith of Sahih Muslim, [7], adds the following details…

Sahih Muslim
Book 019, Number 4355:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah  said: My heirs cannot share even a dinar (from my legacy); what I leave behind after paving maintenance allowance to my wives and remuneration to my manager is (to go in) charity.

Sahih Muslim
Book 019, Number 4351:
It is narrated on the authority of 'Aisha who said: When the Messenger of Allah  passed away, his wives made up their minds to send 'Uthman b. 'Affan (as their spokesman) to Abu Bakr to demand from him their share from the legacy of the Holy Prophet . (At this), Aisha said to them: Hasn't the Messenger of Allah said: "We (Prophets) do not have any heirs; what we leave behind is (to be given in) charity"?



            Abu Bakr died 2 years after assuming the Caliphate and Umar became Caliph.  But, Ali and Ibn Abbas had never allowed the dispute to die out – they still wanted the money.  Sahih Muslim details the ongoing conflict…



Sahih Muslim
Book 019, Number 4349:
            …At this moment (his man-servant) Yarfa' came in and said: Commander of the Faithful, what do you say about Uthman, Abd al-Rabman b. 'Auf, Zubair and Sa'd (who have come to seek an audience with you)? He said: Yes, and permitted them. so they entered. Then he (Yarfa') came again and said: What do you say about 'Ali and Abbas (who are present at the door)? He said: Yes, and permitted them to enter. Abbas said: Commander of the Faithful, decide (the dispute) between me and this sinful, treacherous, dishonest liar. The people (who were present) also said: Yes. Commander of the Faithful, do decide (the dispute) and have mercy on them. Malik b. Aus said: I could well imagine that they had sent them in advance for this purpose (by 'Ali and Abbas). 'Umar said: Wait and be patient. I adjure you by Allah by Whose order the heavens and the earth are sustained, don't you know that the Messenger of Allah  said:" We (prophets) do not have any heirs; what we leave behind is (to be given in) charity"? They said: Yes. Then he turned to Abbas and 'Ali and said: I adjure you both by Allah by Whose order the heavens and earth are sustained, don't you know that the Messenger of Allah  said:" We do not have any heirs; what we leave behind is (to be given in) charity"? They (too) said: Yes. (Then) Umar said: Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, had done to His Messenger  a special favor that He has not done to anyone else except him. He quoted the Qur'anic verse:" What Allah has bestowed upon His Apostle from (the properties) of the people of township is for Allah and His Messenger". The narrator said: I do not know whether he also recited the previous verse or not. Umar continued: The Messenger of Allah  distributed among you the properties abandoned by Banu Nadir. By Allah, he never preferred himself over you and never appropriated anything to your exclusion. (After a fair distribution in this way) this property was left over.
            The Messenger of Allah  would meet from its income his annual expenditure, and what remained would be deposited in the Bait-ul-Mal. (Continuing further) he said: I adjure you by Allah by Whose order the heavens and the earth are sustained. Do you know this? They said: Yes. Then he adjured Abbas and 'All as he had adjured the other persons and asked: Do you both know this? They said: Yes. He said: When the Messenger of Allah  passed away, Abu Bakr said:" I am the successor of the Messenger of Allah ." Both of you came to demand your shares from the property (left behind by the Messenger of Allah). (Referring to Hadrat 'Abbas), he said: You demanded your share from the property of your nephew, and he (referring to 'Ali) demanded a share on behalf of his wife from the property of her father. Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah  had said:" We do not have any heirs; what we leave behind is (to be given in) charity." So both of you thought him to be a liar, sinful, treacherous and dishonest. And Allah knows that he was true, virtuous, well-guided and a follower of truth. When Abu Bakr passed away and (I have become) the successor of the Messenger of Allah  and Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him), you thought me to be a liar, sinful, treacherous and dishonest. And Allah knows that I am true, virtuous, well-guided and a follower of truth. I became the guardian of this property. Then you as well as he came to me. Both of you have come and your purpose is identical. You said: Entrust the property to us. I said: If you wish that I should entrust it to you, it will be on the condition that both of you will undertake to abide by a pledge made with Allah that you will use it in the same way as the Messenger of Allah  used it. So both of you got it. He said: Wasn't it like this? They said: Yes. He said: Then you have (again) come to me with the request that I should adjudge between you. No, by Allah. I will not give any other judgment except this until the arrival of the Doomsday. If you are unable to hold the property on this condition, return it to me.


Sahih Muslim
Book 019, Number 4354:
…The Messenger of Allah said:" We do not have any heirs; what we leave behind is Sadaqa (charity)." The narrator said: She (Fatima) lived six months after the death of the Messenger of Allah  and she used to demand from Abu Bakr her share from the legacy of the Messenger of Allah from Khaibar, Fadak and his charitable endowments at Medina. Abu Bakr refused to give her this, and said: I am not going to give up doing anything which the Messenger of Allah  used to do. I am afraid that it I go against his instructions in any matter I shall deviate from the right course. So far as the charitable endowments at Medina were concerned, 'Umar handed them over to 'Ali and Abbas, but 'Ali got the better of him (and kept the property under his exclusive possession). And as far as Khaibar and Fadak were concerned 'Umar kept them with him, and said: These are the endowments of the Messenger of Allah  (to the Umma). Their income was spent on the discharge of the responsibilities that devolved upon him on the emergencies he had to meet. And their management was to be in the hands of one who managed the affairs (of the Islamic State). The narrator said: They have been managed as such up to this day.


The Sunan of Abu Dawud, [8], adds the following details…

Sunan of Abu Dawud
Book 19, Number 2961:
Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:
Malik ibn Aws al-Hadthan said: One of the arguments put forward by Umar was that he said that the Apostle of Allah  received three things exclusively to himself: Banu an-Nadir, Khaybar and Fadak. The Banu an-Nadir property was kept wholly for his emergent needs, Fadak for travelers, and Khaybar was divided by the Apostle of Allah  into three sections: two for Muslims, and one as a contribution for his family. If anything remained after making the contribution of his family, he divided it among the poor Emigrants.



            And “The History of Tabari” [9] also provides an account of the conflict…

            Fatimah and al-Abbas came to Abu Bakr demanding their share of inheritance of the Messenger of God.  They were demanding the Messenger of God’s land in Fadak and his share of Khaybar’s tribute.  Abu Bakr replied, “I have heard the Messenger of God say, “Our, i.e. the prophets’ property cannot be inherited and whatever we leave behind is alms to be given in charity.  The family of Muhammad will eat from it.  (1)    By God, I will not abandon a course which I saw the Messenger of god practicing, but will continue it accordingly.  Fatimah shunned him and did not speak to him about it until she died.  Ali buried her at night and did not permit Abu Bakr to attend her burial.  While Fatimah was alive, Ali held respect among the people.  After she died their attention turned away form him.  A man asked al-Zuhri, “Did Ali not give his oath of allegiance for six months?”  “No, nor anyone of the Banu Hashim until Ali rendered his,” he replied.  (pages 196, 197).
           
Note 1 states:  “It was the first and most important step taken by both Abu Bakr and Umar in their attempts to displace the Banu Hashim and especially Ali from their prerogatives in the leadership of the Muslim polity.  Acceptance of this claim of inheritance based on family ties would have opened the door widely to Ali’s right to the succession.  Moreover, the income from both these sources was considerable, and it would have given some leverage to Ali.



SUMMARY


1)  Before he died Muhammad proclaimed that he would not be leaving inheritance to his family members.
2)  On the day following Muhammad’s death his daughter Fatima, her husband Ali, and Ibn Abbas visited Abu Bakr and demanded that he give them their fair share of Muhammad’s wealth.  Abu Bakr refused on the grounds that Muhammad followed in the footsteps of other prophets and would not allow his family members to receive any inheritance.  However, Ali correctly pointed out that Muhammad was mistaken because the Quran records example of prophets leaving an inheritance to their sons (David to Solomon, Zechariah to John the Baptist).  The end result of this confrontation was that till her dying day, Fatima hated Abu Bakr and refused to speak to him.  Ali also continued in hating Abu Bakr, burying his wife in secret, to avoid Bakr’s presence.  Ali reconciled with Abu Bakr, not because it was the right thing to do, but because he fell out of people’s favor, and it was the only way to get their favor back.
3)  Muhammad’s wives, other than Aisha, also set out to demand their share, but they were stopped by Aisha’s repeating of Muhammad’s words regarding “no inheritance”.
4)  After Abu Bakr died Ali and Abbas again pressed their claim upon Umar.  Ali and Ibn Abbas were at odds over who might get the money.  Abbas calls Ali a “sinful, treacherous, dishonest, liar!”  Umar reproves them both and states that at one time they both thought Abu Bakr to be a liar, sinful, treacherous, and dishonest!  Then Umar tells them to their face that they think him to be a liar, sinful, treacherous, and dishonest!  Then, because of their pressure, anger, and general discord, Umar is not able to bear up and continue to fulfill Muhammad’s commands, and he capitulates, giving them both some of Muhammad’s inheritance wealth (ostensibly that they would continue to maintain it the same way he did)! 

DISCUSSION


            Just a day after Muhammad’s death the dark family squabbles begin.  There certainly was no real period of mourning, spiritual reflection, or drawing close together of Muhammad’s family was there?  Instead, people were moving on the money right away!  Take a look, we have a number of dark and powerful emotions at work here. 

1)  GREED
            Note the greed displayed by Muhammad’s closest family members.  The body is barely cold and here they were demanding their share of the inheritance.  Due to their lusting after this wealth, they bicker spitefully among themselves. Greed continues to live in their hearts for 2 years.  After Abu Bakr dies they return to Umar and make the same monetary demands.

2)  HATRED
            When spurned in their attempt to obtain the wealth, they hated Abu Bakr.  Fatima and Ali hated him to her dying day.  And out of spite, Ali refused to let Abu Bakr know she had died, burying her in secret.  Ibn Abbas, Fatima, and Ali all considered Abu Bakr to be a “sinful, treacherous, dishonest, liar”.  And when Umar becomes Caliph, they hate him and consider him to be “liar, sinful, treacherous and dishonest”

And interesting note that must not be overlooked….

            Ali, when confronted by Abu Bakr with the reason for rejection, states that Muhammad was ignorant of his own Quran it, a book Muhammad supposedly had memorized, states that prophets left inheritance for their sons.  Ref. Sura 27:16, and 19:6.   Ali points that out to the group assembled there and leaves them silent, unable to respond, because they were shocked that he proved Muhammad to be in the wrong.  After all, this was Muhammad’s own Quran, and he got it wrong!  All Abu Bakr could do in response, knowing Ali was correct, was say, “well, that’s the way it’s going to be.”



COMMENT AND QUESTIONS


            The Bible’s statement is true – “the love of money is a root to all sorts of evil.”  These Muslims, - Muhammad’s devoted family, lusted after worldly gain.  That lust caused them to hate each other.  Now what about Sura 8:63?  Would you consider that these people’s hearts were knit together?  Perhaps they were at one time, under stressful circumstances.  But here, Allah was unable to knit or hold them together.  Allah’s sewing job was rather poor wouldn’t you say? Wouldn’t you expect these, some of the greatest Muslims, to have been able to hold it together a bit longer?  Wouldn’t you expect them to have some semblance of love, trust and fidelity towards each other, especially just after Muhammad’s death?  Wouldn’t you expect there to be some level of true spirituality?  What happened to all that Islamic devotion?  Why did it evaporate so quickly?  Just how real was Islam for the “Royal Family” to discard it, (the deeper commands), so quickly.


REFERENCES


1)      The Bible, New International Version, pub. by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
2)      The Nobel Quran,  translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, published by Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, PO Box 21441, Riyadh 11475, Saudi Arabia, 1994
3)      Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan
5)      al-Misri, Ahmad, “Reliance of the Traveler”, (A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law), translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, published by Amana publications, Beltsville, Maryland, USA  1991
6)      Ibn Sa'd, (d. 852 A.D.), "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", (Book of the Major Classes), Volume 2, translated by S. Moinul Haq, Pakistan Historical Society.
7)      Muslim, A., "Sahih Muslim", translated by A. Sidiqqi, International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, KSA.
8)      Abu Dawud, Suliman, “Sunan”, al-Madina, New Delhi, 1985, translated by A. Hasan
9)      al-Tabari, "The History of al-Tabari", (Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk), Volume 9, State University of New York Press, 1993. Translated by Ismail K. Poonawala
 ----------------------------------------------

PART TWO:  THE NEW KING

ABU BAKR, ALI, AND ABU SUFYAN

INTRODUCTION

            After Muhammad somewhat unexpectedly died from being poisoned (1), there was confusion within the Islamic community as to who would lead them.   Previously I’ve stated that Abu Bakr became Caliph immediately after Muhammad died.  However, this transition it did not flow smoothly, or without conflict.  Not everyone thought that Abu Bakr should be Caliph. 

(Note 1: see http://answering-islam.org/Silas/mo-death.htm[3], for details regarding Muhammad’s death).

            There are many various accounts of how it came to pass, but in the end Abu Bakr became Caliph.  This did not please everyone.  There were some people from various groups who did not approve of this.  But Abu Bakr had enough support from the other leaders within the Islamic community that his selection held firm.

            Initially, Ali’s refused to swear fealty to Abu Bakr, because he himself wanted the Caliph’s position.  Here are Ali’s words recorded by Tabari, volume 16, page 51 [4]:

            The Prophet died and I saw no one more fit for the command than I, but the people gave allegiance to Abu Bakr, so I followed suit.  Then Abu Bakr passed away, and I saw no one more fit for the command than I.  But the people gave allegiance to Umar, so I followed suit.  Then Umar passed away and I saw no one more fit for the command than I.  Bu they made me just one of six votes, and the people gave allegiance to Uthman, Again I followed suit.


            There was another person, not quite a leader in the Islamic community, but prominent none-the-less, who opposed Abu Bakr for another reason.

            We need to examine this event, and the attitude and words of one notable Muslim who disagreed with Abu Bakr’s ascension to the Islamic throne.  This is a but a small anecdote, but it’s historical implications shadow the entire Islamic civilization to this very day.  Remember, we are still talking about people who were among the best of Muslims of all time.  These people were Islam’s greatest fruit.  Let’s taste the fruit and see…….

 

KEY PEOPLE


ABU BAKR – The first Caliph (supreme ruler) of the Islamic empire, and the first of the so-called four “rightly guided” Caliphs.  He became Caliph following Muhammad’s death.  He was Muhammad’s closest male friend.  He ruled for two years then died.

ALI – Muhammad’s son in law, married to Muhammad’s daughter Fatima.  Ali was a brave and strong Muslim warrior who accomplished some important exploits in battle.  Ali had two sons:  Hassan and Hussain.  Ali was destined to become the forth and final of the “rightly guided Caliphs”.

ABU SUFYAN – Abu Sufyan was one of Muhammad’s biggest enemies.  He was a leader of the Meccans, coming from a prominent Meccan tribe.  He was the leader of the Meccan troops when they defeated the Muslims at Uhud. Muhammad was severely wounded and scared in that battle.  He rejoiced in killing so many Muslims and mocked Muhammad about his victory.  At one point in time Muhammad had sent out men to assassinate Abu Sufyan but they failed. After Muhammad became powerful and moved against Mecca, Abu Sufyan went out to meet with Muhammad. There Abu Sufyan was forced to convert to Islam, or be murdered on the spot (he was initially given a promise of protection, but, the Muslim changed his mind and threatened Abu Sufyan with his life during his meeting with Muhammad).  Abu Sufyan then had a sudden realization that Muhammad was indeed a prophet!  Later, after Muhammad secured Mecca, he gave Abu Sufyan some valuable gifts that angered some of the other Muslims.  Sufyan was also appointed by Muhammad as agent over the Christian city of Najran.  Abu Sufyan had been used to having political power, and he liked it.  He understood power, and he was determined that he, or his sons, would obtain it within the Islamic community.
            Abu Sufyan should not be considered as part of the Royal family or one of the best Muslims.  However, he became prominent, even during Muhammad’s lifetime.  Muhammad gave him financial rewards for accepting Islam and appointed him as a governor over a city.

AL-ZUBAYR – An esteemed Muslim and one of Muhammad’s close friends and dedicated disciple.  In addition to this incident, he plays a critical role with Ali in another critical time.



THE SETTING


            Muhammad had just died.  The leaders of the Islamic community are not meeting here and there, with their close friends and tribesmen, and with other acquaintances.  They are wanting to determine who will take over as supreme ruler (Caliph) of their Islamic community.  Initially, there was no unanimous agreement.


From “The History of Tabari”, volume 9,

            He Messenger of God died at noon on Monday, the second of Rabi I.  The oath of allegiance was given to Abu Bakr on Monday, the very day on which the Prophet died.  (page 184).

            Umar stood up saying, “Who among you would be agreeable to leave Abu Bakr whom the Prophet gave precedence?”  and he gave him the oath of allegiance.  The people followed [Umar].  The Ansar said, or some of them said, “We will not give the oath of allegiance to anyone [except] Ali.”  (page 186).

            Umar stretched Abu Bakr’s hand saying, “My power is for you with your power,” and the people gave their oath of allegiance.  They demanded confirmation of the oath, but Ali and al-Zubayr stayed away.  Al-Zubayr drew his sword [from the scabbard], saying, “I will not put it back until the oath of allegiance is rendered to Ali.”  [When] this news reached Abu Bakr and Umar, the latter said, “Hit him with a stone and seize the sword.” (1)  It is stated that Umar rushed [to the scene], brought them forcibly [while telling them that they must give their oath of allegiance willingly, or unwillingly.  So they rendered their oath of allegiance.  (pages 188, 189).

Note 1 says, Zubayr was in Fatimah’s house.  (Fatimah was Ali’s wife, daughter of Muhammad).


            After Abu Bakr had finished his speech, a man from the Ansar stood up saying, … “Let us have a ruler from us and another from you, O men of Quraysh.”  [Umar] said, “Voices rose and clamorous speech waxed hotter.  I feared [total] disagreement so I said to Abu Bakr, “Stretch out your hand [so that] I may give you the oath of allegiance.”  He did so and I gave [him] the oath of allegiance; the Mahajirun followed and then the Ansar.  [In doing so] we jumped on Sa’d b. Ubadah so someone said that we had killed him.  I said, “[May] God kill him!”  By God, nothing was mightier than the rendering of the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr.  We feared that if [we] left [without rendering the oath of allegiance] no agreement would be hammered out later.  It was either to follow the Ansar in what we did not like, or else to oppose them, which would have led to disorder [fasad].”  (page 194)


THE TWO ABUs:  THE TROUBLE BREWS


            Now, Tabari turns his attention towards Abu Sufyan’s attitude towards Abu Bakr and his appointment as Caliph.


            Abu Sufyan said to Ali, “What is the matter, that this authority had been vested in a least-known clan of Quraysh?  By God, If you wish, I will fill [the whole space] with men and horses.”  Ali replied, “O Abu Sufyan, for a long time you have been at war with Islam and the Muslims, but you have been unable to do any harm.  We find Abu Bakr worthy of this authority.” (page 198).

            When Abu Bakr succeeded [the Prophet], Abu Sufyan said, “What has Abu Fasil to do with us?  Indeed, the authority belongs to the Banu Abd Manaf.”    [When his son Yazid became the governor] it was said to him, “Your son has been entrusted with the authority,” and he replied, “He made close his ties of kinship by behaving with kindness.”  (1)   (page 199)

Note 1 says, “Abu Sufyan is said to have made the same remark when Umar appointed Muawiyah as the governor of Syria after the death of Yazid.”


            When people gathered to give their oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, Abu Sufyan came while at the same time saying, “By God, I see a cloud of smoke,” which nothing but blood will clear.  O family of Abd Manaf, where is Abu Bakr that he should be the master of your affairs!  Where are Ali and al-Abbas, the two weak and lowly ones?  He [then] said to Ali, “O Abu Hasan, stretch out your hand so that I may give you the oath of allegiance,” but Ali declined, so he began to cite appositely the proverbial verses of al-Mutalammis:

            “No one remains in a state of ignominy that is intended
                        For him, except the two despicable things:  a domestic ass
                        And a wooden peg {of a tent}
            The former is turned back to his state of ignominy by a
                        Piece of worn-out rope, while the latter’s head is broken
                        and no one mourns.”


            Ali rebuked him, saying, “By God, you do not intend anything but [to stir up] dissension.  For long you have desired evil for Islam.  We do not need your advice.”  (Page 199).


            When the oath of allegiance was rendered to Abu Bakr, Abu Sufyan said to Ali and al-Abbas, “You are two despicable ones,”  and began reciting the [following] proverbial verses:

            “A domestic ass knows the disgrace,
                        but a free man and a well-built camel, soft in the
                        joints, detest it.
            No one bears an unjust state that is intended for him,
                        except the two despicable things:  a domestic ass and a
                        wooden peg.
            The former is turned back to his state of ignominy by a
                        piece of worn-out rope, while the latter’s head is broken
                        and no one mourns.”


SUMMARY


            Muhammad had died.  There was strong disagreement about who should become the next ruler.  Some of the Ansar had already begun to move towards picking their own leader when Umar and Abu Bakr moved to stop them.  Umar took the initiative and suggested Abu Bakr as Caliph.  Disagreements got intense and bloodshed was not far away when Umar took bold action and publicly gave his oath of allegiance.  Other Muslims soon followed suit.  Ali and Zubayr were forced to give some token oath of allegiance.  Abu Sufyan told Ali that he could muster enough Muslim troops to defeat Abu Bakr’s succession, but Ali refused.  Zubayr was willing to kill for Ali.  Ali deeply wanted the Caliphate, but was unwilling to shed blood at this point.  Abu Sufyan deeply disliked that a person from such a lowly clan of Mecca would now have the rule over him and his clan.  Sufyan foresaw future bloodshed would be required to rid this perceived wrong.

DISCUSSION


            Again review Sura 8:63.  Surely we do not have united hearts here.  Perhaps that verse was limited in scope, or, perhaps it was abrogated, but one thing we know for certain:  at the time of Muhammad’s death, the Muslim community was not unified, rather, they were nearly at each other throats!

            Let’s take a look at some of the emotions at work here.

1)  PRIDE AND ARROGANCE

            In his heart, Sufyan rejected Abu Bakr as Caliph only because he came from a lowly clan.  Sufyan looked down upon Abu Bakr; Abu Bakr was inferior to him, but Sufyan would have to take orders from this lowly nobody.

            In his heart, Sufyan knew that one day, the selection of Abu Bakr to Caliph would be the cause of bloodshed.  Sufyan had his eye on power, he was a shrewd politician.  He knew how to work his way towards the top, and how to position his sons in political positions to insure his family’s strength and success.


2)  REBELLION

            Ali was compelled to give a token pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr.  In his heart he rejected Abu Bakr – Muhammad’s most trusted and closest male friend, as Caliph, but at this time he went along with it.

            Additionally, the Islamic community was fractured.  It took some quick thinking and action on Umar’s part to prevent tribal warfare from breaking out among the Muslims - those whose hearts Allah had “knit together”.  Perhaps Islam’s Allah needs to take some sewing lessons.


COMMENT AND QUESTIONS


            From the very beginning we’re seeing the unfolding of a dark Shakespearian tragedy.  Hatred, jealousy, and bitterness, are rooted in the hearts of the leaders of the Islamic community.  Some foresee civil war down the road.  This lusting after wealth and power was going to have bad consequences for the Islamic community.

            Note, in and of itself this malicious dissention within the leadership of the Muslim community was quite sinister.  However, this foreshadowed some truly horrible events to take place in the not to distant future.  I am showing how the seeds of evil ran deep within the hearts and minds of these, the best Muslims, from the beginning.

            Shouldn’t there have been some kind of brotherly love between all of these leading Muslims?  Why was Zubayr willing to kill any other Muslim just to have Ali made Caliph?  Why was Ali so pig-headed when it came to recognizing someone who was so beloved by Muhammad?  Couldn’t Ali have better dealt with his emotions?  Worldwide, in many cases groups of men who choose political leaders are more cordial and civil.  Why should Islam compare so miserably to secular or non-Islamic systems if it were truly a spiritual religion? 


REFERENCES


1)      The Bible, New International Version, pub. by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
2)      The Nobel Quran,  translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, published by Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, PO Box 21441, Riyadh 11475, Saudi Arabia, 1994
4)      al-Tabari, "The History of al-Tabari", (Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk), State University of New York Press  1993
 --------------------------------------------------------
PART THREE — BLOOD ON THE QURAN!
UTHMAN AND THE ROYAL FAMILY

Sahih Bukhari  1.622
Narrated Salim:
I heard Um Ad-Darda' saying, "Abu Ad-Darda' entered the house in an angry mood.  I said to him. 'What makes you angry?' He replied, 'By Allah! I do not find the followers of Muhammad doing those good things (which they used to do before) except the offering of congregational prayer." (This happened in the last days of Abu Ad-Darda' during the rule of 'Uthman).  [1]


Sahih Bukhari  5.47
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
During the lifetime of the Prophet we considered Abu Bakr as peerless and then 'Umar and then 'Uthman (coming next to him in superiority) and then we used not to differentiate between the companions of the Prophet.


Sahih Bukhari  5.50
Narrated 'Amr bin Maimun:
... I saw 'Umar bin Al-Khattab a few days before he was stabbed in Medina. ... But only four days had elapsed when he was stabbed (to death ). The day he was stabbed, I was standing and there was nobody between me and him (i.e. Umar) except Abdullah bin 'Abbas.
... The people said (to 'Umar), "O chief of the believers! Appoint a successor." Umar said, "I do not find anyone more suitable for the job than the following persons or group whom Allah's Apostle had been pleased with before he died." Then 'Umar mentioned 'Ali, 'Uthman, Az Zubair, Talha, Sad and 'Abdur-Rahman (bin Auf) and said, "Abdullah bin 'Umar will be a witness to you, but he will have no share in the rule.
... When he was buried, the group (recommended by 'Umar) held a meeting. Then 'Abdur-Rahman said, " Reduce the candidates for rulership to three of you." Az-Zubair said, "I give up my right to Ali." Talha said, "I give up my right to 'Uthman," Sad, 'I give up my right to 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Auf." 'Abdur-Rahman then said (to 'Uthman and 'Ali), "Now which of you is willing to give up his right of candidacy to that he may choose the better of the (remaining) two, bearing in mind that Allah and Islam will be his witnesses." So both the sheiks (i.e. 'Uthman and 'Ali) kept silent. 'Abdur-Rahman said, "Will you both leave this matter to me, and I take Allah as my Witness that I will not choose but the better of you?" They said, "Yes." So 'Abdur-Rahman took the hand of one of them (i.e. 'Ali) and said, "You are related to Allah's Apostle and one of the earliest Muslims as you know well. So I ask you by Allah to promise that if I select you as a ruler you will do justice, and if I select 'Uthman as a ruler you will listen to him and obey him." Then he took the other (i.e. 'Uthman) aside and said the same to him. When 'Abdur-Rahman secured (their agreement to) this covenant, he said, "O 'Uthman! Raise your hand." So he (i.e. 'Abdur-Rahman) gave him (i.e. 'Uthman) the solemn pledge, and then 'Ali gave him the pledge of allegiance and then all the (Medina) people gave him the pledge of allegiance.


Sahih Bukhari  5.358
Narrated Jubair bin Mut'im:
... Narrated Said bin Al-Musaiyab: When the first civil strife (in Islam) took place because of the murder of 'Uthman, it left none of the Badr warriors alive. When the second civil strife, that is the battle of Al-Harra, took place, it left none of the Hudaibiya treaty companions alive. Then the third civil strife took place and it did not subside till it had exhausted all the strength of the people.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Matthew 5:21, 22  "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.  [2]


Sura 5:32   Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. ... [3]


Sahih Bukhari, 6.114
Narrated Said bin Jubair:
The people of Kufa disagreed (disputed) about the above Verse. So I went to Ibn Abbas and asked him about it. He said, "This Verse:-- "And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell." was revealed last of all (concerning premeditated murder) and nothing abrogated it." Quran 4:93


KEY PEOPLE


UTHMAN — Uthman was the fourth convert to Islam. He was a close friend of Muhammad’s and was from the distinguished Umayyad clan. He was very successful and prominent in Meccan circles. He lived the life of an aristocrat. He married Muhammad’s daughter Ruqaya. Following her death, he married another of Muhammad’s daughters — Um Kulthum. Uthman eventually became the third so called “rightly-guided” Caliph.

ALI — See part 2.

ZUBAYR — See part 2.

TALHA — Another prominent Muslim, a close friend of Muhammad’s, and a leader in the Islamic community. Some Hadith record him as being one of the top 10 prominent Muslims.

MUAWIYAH — Son of Abu Sufyan, (who at one time was Muhammad’s chief enemy), currently he was the powerful governor of Syria.


THE SETTING


            As Umar lay dying on his death bed, (having been stabbed by a slave who claimed to have been cheated by Umar), he met with the various leaders of the Islamic community to chose a new Caliph. There are various accounts of how and why Uthman was chosen Caliph, and this council was not harmonious or of one mind. But in the end Uthman was chosen. As time went on, life became difficult for many Muslims and Uthman’s leadership was called into account. Charges of clan nepotism, financial mismanagement, corruption, elitism, and so forth, grew within the Islamic community against Uthman. Uthman became very unpopular. Finally people rose up in arms against him and three large bodies of men, from Egypt, Kufa, and Basra, moved against Uthman and marched on Medina. Even Uthman’s own adopted son rose against him. There are a significant amount of slightly differing accounts related to the events that were to transpire and they make fascinating reading, but we only have time for the general details here. The dark attitudes that existed in the Muslim's hearts and minds have had time to grow, spread roots, and now more blooms of Islam’s real fruit were blossoming ...


From the “History of Al-Tabari”, volume 15, “The Crisis of the Early Caliphate” ... [4]

            In this year (654), those who were alienated from Uthman b. Affan wrote to one another planning to gather together in order to confront him with those matters concerning which they were angry at him.  (page 131).

            A body of Muslims gathered together to review the deeds and conduct of Uthman.  They concurred in a decision to dispatch a man to speak to him and inform him of his blameworthy innovations.  (pages 135, 136).

(Ali, speaking to Uthman)
            Ali said, “I will tell you that everyone appointed by Umar was kept under close scrutiny by him. If Umar heard a single word concerning him he would flog him, then punish him with the utmost severity. But you do not do that. You have been weak and easygoing with your relatives.” “They are your relatives as well,” answered Uthman. Ali said, “By my life, they are closely related to me indeed, but merit is found in others.” Uthman said, “Do you know that Umar kept Muawiyah in office throughout his entire caliphate, and I have only done the same,” Ali answered, “I adjure you by God, do you know that Muawiyah was more afraid of Umar than was Umar’s own slave Yarfa?” “Yes,” said Uthman. Ali went on, “In fact Muawiyah makes decisions on issues without consulting you, and you know it. Thus, he says to the people, ‘This is Uthman's command.’ You hear of this, but do not censure him.” Then Ali left him and Uthman went out on his heels.  (pages 142, 143).

            As for the Egyptians, they yearned for Ali as Caliph, while the Basrans desired Talhah, and the Kufans al-Zubayr. They all set out simultaneously. The people had disparate aims, and every faction was certain that it would obtain complete success to the exclusion of the other two.   (page 160)

            When the dissidents reached their encampments, they wheeled around to attack the Medinese. They took the Medinese by surprise, and all at once the cry “God is most great!” was heard throughout the city. The dissidents occupied the sites of the encampments previously established by Ali, Talhah, and al-Zubayr and surrounded Uthman. “Whoever restrains his hand and does not resist us,” they announced, “will be secure.”  (page 162).

            Then the dissidents all rose up together and threw stones at the people until they had driven them from the mosque. They threw stones at Uthman until he fell unconscious from the pulpit. He was carried off and brought into his house. Now the Egyptians expected support from only three men among the Medinese, for these had been in correspondence with them: Muhammad b. Abi Bakr (Abu Bakr’s son), Muhammad b. Abi Hudhayfah, and Ammar b. Yasir. A certain group among the people prepared themselves to face death; among these were Sa’d Malik, Abu Hurayrah, Zayd b. Thabit, and al-Hasan b. Ali (Ali’s son). Uthman firmly instructed them to leave his house and they did so. Ali came back and entered Uthman’s presence after he had fallen form the pulpit, as did Talhah and al-Zubayr, and all three expressed their sorrow. Then they returned to their own homes.  (pages 165, 166).

            So they (the dissidents) came to him (Uthman) and said, “Send for the Quran,” and he did so. Then they said, “Open to the ninth chapter.” ... Then Uthman recited it until he came to this verse: “Say: Have you considered the provision God has sent down for you, and you have made some of it unlawful, and some lawful? Say: Has God given you leave, or do you forge against God?” They told Uthman to stop and then said to him, “Have you considered the pasture rights that you set aside? Has God given you leave, or do you forge against God?” He replied, “Enough! This verse was revealed in connection with such and such a matter.” ... Then they began berating him with the verse and he would say, “Enough! It was revealed in connection with such and such a matter.”  (page 167).

            Then the Egyptian delegation went back satisfied, and while they were on the road back to Egypt, suddenly they noticed a rider coming up beside them and then leaving them behind. Then he came back toward them and again left them behind, scrutinizing them carefully. They said to him, “What are you doing?” Certainly you are engaged on some matter ... So they searched him, and there was a letter framed in Uthman’s words, with his seal upon it, to his governor in Egypt. It stated that he should crucify them or slaughter them or have their hands and feet alternately cut off. Then the Egyptians set out and came to Medina.  (page 168, 169).

            The Egyptians returned to Uthman after having departed from him because a slave of his, riding one of his camels, overtook them carrying a letter to the governor of Egypt with orders to kill some of them and crucify others. When they came back to Uthman they said, “This is your slave.” He said, “My slave went without my knowledge.” They said, “It is your camel.” He responded, “He took it from the house without my orders.” They said, “This is your seal.” “It was forged,” he said.  (page 185).

            When Uthman saw what had happened to him and how many of the people had been sent against him, he wrote Muawiyah b. Abi Sufyan in Syria: ... ”The Medinese have become unbelievers; they have abandoned obedience and renounced their oath of allegiance. Therefore send to me the Syrian soldiers who are at your disposal, on every camel you have, whether docile or stubborn.” When Muawiyah got the letter, he delayed action on it, for he did not wish to differ openly with the Companions of the Messenger of God, since he knew that they concurred on this matter.  (page 185).

            Then six hundred Egyptians marched on Uthman. The overall command was in the hands of Amr b. Budayl b. Warqa al-Khuzai, one of the Companions of the Prophet ... Their letter to Uthman contained the following statements: ... Know by God, that we have been angered for God’s sake, and that we find satisfaction in God. Know that we will not remove our swords form our shoulders until you come to us either with frank and unambiguous repentance or with outright falsehood. This is our statement to you, and this is our case against you. God will excuse us for our actions against you. Peace.”  (pages 186, 187).

            When Uthman feared he would be killed, he consulted his advisers and the members of his family and said, “You see what the dissidents have done. What is the way out?” They counseled him to send for Ali….”
            Uthman sent for Ali, and when Ali arrived he said to him, “Abu Hasan, you see what the people have done and you know what I have done. I fear they may kill me. Send them away from me, and I swear to God that I shall requite them for everything they detest, and I will grant them justice against me or anyone else, even if my own blood be shed thereby. ... So Ali went out to the people and said, “O people you have demanded justice and now it is granted to you ... The people answered, “We accept it.”   (pages 187, 188)

 ... Uthman said, “Arrange a delay between them and me so that I will have time to act, for I cannot do away with the things they detest in one day.”  Ali responded, There can be no delay concerning matters here in Medina.  As to matters elsewhere, you may delay as long as it takes your orders to get there.”  Uthman said, “All right, but give me a delay of three days for affairs in Medina.”  Ali agreed.  Then he went to the people and informed them of this.  He wrote out a document between the people and Uthman that gave him a three day grace period to do away with every injustice and remove every governor they disliked.   (page 188).

            But Uthman began preparing for war and gathering arms.  He had already formed a strong army from among the slaves acquired as part of the Caliph’s one fifth share.  When the three days had passes and he had done nothing to alter anything which was hateful to the people or to remove any governor, they revolted against him.  (page 189).


SUMMARY UP TO THIS POINT


            Muslims throughout the Islamic empire were unhappy with Uthman’s rule. Several groups united and marched on Uthman from different parts within the Islamic realm.  Uthman called for help from his various governors, but essentially none came.  The rebels confronted Uthman forcefully and demanded he repent of his unfavorable actions.  Uthman said he would, and that sufficed them.  They all began to return home.  While they were returning, they caught a rider with a message to the governor of each region.  The note instructed the governor to kill or punish the rebels.  The rebels returned to Uthman, this time in greater anger.  Uthman sought Ali’s counsel, and obtained a grace period to begin to rectify things.  However, instead of keeping his word, he began to prepare for battle with the rebels, hoping that his men, and others would form a group strong enough to defeat them.  But time ran out and the rebels moved against Uthman ...


THE FINAL MINUTES


            Muhammad b. Abi Bakr (Abu Bakr’s son), came with thirteen men and went up to Uthman.  He seized his beard and shook it until I heard his teeth chattering.  Muhammad b. Abi Bakr said, “Muawiyah was no help to you, nor was Ibn Amir, nor your letters.”  Uthman said, “Let go of my beard, son of my brother!  Let go of my beard!”  Then I saw Ibn Abi Bakr signaling with his eye to one of the rebels.  He came over to him with a broad iron headed arrow and stabbed him in the head with it…. They gathered round him and killed him.”  (pages 190, 191).

            Muhammad b. Abi Bakr went up to him and seized his beard, saying, “You have behaved toward us in a manner which Abu Bakr would not have done.”  Then he went out and left him.  Another man, named the Black Death, entered Uthman’s presence and throttled him and slapped him.  Then he went out and said, “By God, I have never seen anything softer than his throat.  By God, I throttled him until I saw his soul shaking in his body like the soul of a jinn.”  Then he went out.  (page 205).

            A certain man went in to Uthman, in front of whom lay the Quran, and he said, “The Book of God is between you and me.”  The intruder went for him with his sword; Uthman protected himself with his hand and it was cut.  I do not know whether he sliced the hand clear off or cut it without severing it.  Then he said, “Yea, by God, this is the first palm which has crossed the Quran.”  (page 205).

            As to Amr b. al-Hamiq, he jumped on Uthman and sat on his chest – he was still barely alive – and stabbed him nine times.  Amr said, “I stabbed him three times for God’s sake, and six times because of the anger in my breast against him.”  (page 220).

            Within the house they (the rebels) cried out, “Seize the public treasury!  No one must get there ahead of you!”  The guards of the Public Treasury – in which there were but two sacks – heard their voices and said, “Run!  These people are only after worldly goods”  They fled, while the rebels came to the Treasury and pillaged it.  (page 216).


EPILOGUE TO UTHMAN’S REIGN

            When Uthman ruled, he did not treat the notables of Quraysh as Umar had, and thus they traveled throughout the conquered territories.  As they observed these lands and the things of this world, and as the people in turn saw them, those who were obscure and without power or privilege in Islam attached themselves to the notables of Quraysh, forming into factions around them.  The Qurashis aroused their hopes, and in this manner they acquired precedence.  Then they said, ‘The Quraysh are powerful, and we will become known to them and acquire precedence by gaining access to them and attaching ourselves exclusively to them.  That was the first flaw to enter Islam, and the first discord to appear among the common people was none other than this.” (page 224).

            Uthman was the first to put a stop to divining the future by observing pigeons in flight and by shooting pellets.  When these practices appeared in Medina, he put a certain man in charge of them and he prohibited the people from performing them.  (page 226).

            Drunkenness began to occur among the people.  Uthman dispatched a patrol armed with staffs to make the rounds among them, and thus he prevented such behavior among them.  Afterwards drunkenness intensified and Uthman publicly proclaimed the divinely prescribed punishments and protested to the people about their behavior.  They agreed that they should be flogged in cases of wine drinking and a certain number of them were arrested and flogged.  (page 226).


SUMMARY

            By the time Umar had died, the common people began to tire of Islam’s heavy, burdensome yoke.  Additionally, after Uthman became Caliph, leading Muslims began to venture out into the world and set their eyes on its pleasures.  The little people wanted to be in positions of power and respect, and they found that by attaching themselves to the leading Muslims (who encouraged it).  Forbidden magic and alcohol drinking began to be practiced in Medina, and despite some initial repression, it flourished.  Uthman, the aristocratic Caliph, was lenient towards his people.  They were unable to control themselves or their lusts.  They wanted more.  Uthman showed favoritism towards his friends and clansmen, and appointed them in key positions of power.  Even some of these men proved to be treacherous and they lusted after more power.  These appointees were unfair and corrupt.  Finally, people’s anger and sinful desires caused them to move against Uthman.  They had had enough of what they perceived to be Uthman’s sinful and irresponsible behavior and moved against him.  Even when Uthman negotiated a pause with them, to undo the perceived wrongs, he lied and prepared for battle. Those tribesmen of Uthman, Ali, Talha, Zubayr, Muwawiyah, and so on, did little or nothing to defend their Caliph.  They knew that if he fell, they could possibly become the Caliph.


DISCUSSION AND QUESTIONS


            At each progressive step in the history of Islam the picture becomes darker and darker.  Here easily within a generation of Muhammad’s death we see the true fruit of Islam ripen.  Now the most precious Islamic blood is being spilt, and that at the hand of the best Muslims!  Islam’s worst enemies were the Muslims!  Look at what has happened to the Islamic domain.  Muhammad’s closest friends were now murdering each other!  Men that fought side by side in the most difficult early days of Islam now turned their swords upon each other.  The Islamic empire was now beset with moral, political, and financial corruption from Medina to it’s outskirts.  Muhammad’s best friend’s son has just murdered the forth person to believe in and follow Muhammad – Uthman the Caliph!  The Supreme Ruler of the Islamic empire has just been butchered in his own home, and the Islamic community was no where to be found.  They had turned a blind eye, or turned their backs on their ruler, indulgent as he was.

            Put this in perspective ... How would you feel about Christianity if John conspired and had Peter murdered? Could you conceive of such a thing?!

            What would you say about Sura 8:63 now?  Doesn't it appear that instead of uniting these people God had cursed them by bringing them division and hatred instead of unity and love?


            Let’s take a look at the emotions, and actions at work here now.

1)  HATRED AND MURDER

            The Islamic community’s heart had become so full of sin that their emotions were now giving way to brutal actions. The top Muslim was just cut down. And this was not a one man affair. Several of Muhammad’s Companions moved against their former friend and murdered him.

2)  AMBIVALENCE

            The Muslims who should have been defending Uthman walked away from him and left him to his fate.

3)  MORAL CORRUPTION

            In less than 15 years the Islamic community began to become corrupt. Muslims that had stood with Muhammad through thick and thin, that had fought side by side with him, that had lived through poverty with him, now gave themselves to everything that Muhammad taught against. They desired power, they desired wealth, they desired vainglory, they hated each other, they betrayed each other, they murdered each other. We see a tainted, poor old man, being mocked, slapped, and choked by his assailants, finally cut down while he read the Quran - his wife wounded while trying to help him.


COMMENT


            In less than one generation the Islamic community had become a pack of dogs set on devouring each other. Spiritual corruption had established itself from the Caliphate on down and now this spiritual death bore its fruits in the physical realm. What happened? What does this tell you about the true spirit of Islam?

Notes

The Ency. of Islam [5] comments that the bloody end of Uthman and period of civil wars was not lost upon Muslim historians. They are embarrassed by what transpired within the Islamic community. Dealing with the hypocrisy of the Islamic community is no easy task.


REFERENCES


1)      Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan
2)      The Bible, New International Version, pub. by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
3)      The Nobel Quran,  translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, published by Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, PO Box 21441, Riyadh 11475, Saudi Arabia, 1994
4)      al-Tabari, "The History of al-Tabari", (Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk), State University of New York Press  1993
5)      Encyclopedia of Islam, published by Brill, Leiden, Netherlands
 ---------------------------------------------------------------

PART 4 — FEUDS WITHIN THE ROYAL FAMILY


AISHA AND ALI

         Up to this point we’ve seen the evil seeds of greed, hatred, envy, and discord grow from deep within the hearts of several prominent Muslims.  And that certainly was enough for any Satanic work to build upon.  Up to this point its darkest fruit was the brutal murder of Uthman.  But wait there’s more.  This was only the first fruits of the real spirit of Islam.  More fruit continued to ripen.  The Satanic thirst for blood has just gotten wet; now it demanded to be sated.  Those Satanic seeds of Islam that have been planted in the hearts and minds of so many a Muslim had still yet to reach full bloom and yield ripe fruit, but that time was now approaching fast…..

FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Galatians 5:19-21

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Sahih Bukhari 7.458:
Narrated Abu Bakra:
….."Your blood, properties and honor are as sacred to one another as this day of yours in this town of yours in this month of yours. You will meet your Lord, and He will ask you about your deeds. Beware! Do not go astray after me by cutting the necks of each other. It is incumbent upon those who are present to convey this message to those who are absent, for some of those to whom it is conveyed may comprehend it better than some of those who have heard it directly." [3]…..

KEY PEOPLE


ALI — Muhammad’s son in law, married to Muhammad’s daughter Fatima. Ali was a brave and strong Muslim warrior who accomplished some important exploits in battle. Ali had two sons: Hassan and Hussain. Ali was destined to become the forth and final of the “rightly guided Caliphs”.
         During Muhammad’s time, Ali had been one of Aisha’s accusers of adultery. Although she was found innocent she bore a grudge against him ever since.

AISHA — Muhammad’s bride of 9 years old.  She was 18 when he died.   She was Muhammad’s most desired and favored wife — he preferred her company, and her in bed, over all the others.  As a result of Muhammad’s favor, she became his most prominent wife.   Because she was one of Muhammad’s wives, she was known as “the Mother of Believers.”   After Muhammad’s death, she was often sought out for advice and counsel on a variety of Islamic topics.  She is recorded as having narrated thousands of Hadith.  She died when she was around 68.

AL-ZUBAYR —An esteemed Muslim and one of Muhammad’s close friends, and a leader in the Islamic community.

TALHA — Another prominent Muslim, a close friend of Muhammad’s, and a leader in the Islamic community.


THE SETTING


         Three separate groups of Muslims (Egyptians, Basrans, Kufans), had marched on Uthman in Medina, with the end result of  Uthman being murdered.  Interestingly, each group supported a different “Companion” who they wanted to be the Caliph.  The Egyptians wanted Ali, the Basrans wanted Talha, and the Kufans wanted Zubayr.   Obviously they were not in agreement with each other.
Following Uthman’s murder, confusion began to spread in the Islamic community, and the search was on for a new leader.  Eventually, in Medina, Ali was recognized as the Caliph.
         Consequently, the previous antagonisms, insults, and discord, amongst the leading Muslims, (Muhammad’s family members and “Companions”), blended with their emotions of hate, bitterness, and vain-glory, to produce a wide array of moves, counter moves, and deceit, that proved ultimately to be more poisonous to the Islamic community than the murder of Uthman.

Note:  there is a great deal of information recorded about this event.  Indeed the Tabari’s History, Volume 16, is dedicated to primarily this event alone.  The quantity of data is such that I cannot reproduce all of the details, differing accounts, and variations of the event here.


THE BATTLE OF THE CAMEL


         In Medina, Uthman had been murdered and after a very short period of time, Ali was made Caliph.  As such, the various groups of Muslims began to pledge allegiance to Ali.  But, as they were bringing various Muslims to pledge, suddenly things did not go so smoothly…..

         From the History of Tabari, Volume 16, [4]

         Then they brought Sa’d, and Ali said, “Give allegiance,”  But he replied, “I won’t do so until the people have, but believe me, you’ve nothing to fear from me.”  Ali said, “Let him go.”  Then they brought Ibn Umar, and Ali said, “Give allegiance.”  And he replied, I won’t do so until the people have.”  “Bring me a guarantor,” Ali said to him.  “I don’t see why I should,” replied Ibn Umar.  “Let me cut his head off,” said al-Ashtar, to which Ali replied, “No leave him alone!  I’ll be his guarantor.  I knew it; you are as rude as a man as you were as a child.”  (page 4).


Note:  Ibn Umar was the second Caliph’s - Umar’s son.

         The people gave allegiance to Ali, so he sent for al-Zubayr and Talhah.  He then invited them to give allegiance, but Talhah delayed.  Unsheathing his sword Malik al-Ashtar then said, “By Allah!  You had better give allegiance, or else I will strike you through the forehead.”   “There is no way out of this,” said Talhah and he gave allegiance, followed by al-Zubayr and everyone else…… A little later they explained, “We only did it out of fear for our lives, since we knew that he would never give us allegiance.”  Four months after Uthman’s murder they went down to Mecca.  (page 5).

         Talhah said, “I gave allegiance with a sword over my head.”  …. The people gave allegiance to Ali in Medina, but seven men were cautious and did not give it.  They were Sad Waqqas, Ibn Umar, Suhayb, Zayd Thabit, Muhammad Maslamah, Salamah Waqsh, and Usamah Zayd.  (page 9).


         The point of the quotations above is to show that within the hearts and minds of some of the oldest, most esteemed Muslims, there was doubt about Ali.  Some refrained from giving him allegiance because they disliked him, others because they distrusted him, others gave him allegiance because they were compelled.  Ali’s track record with them caused them to be suspicious and doubt him for various reasons.

         Although Ali had become Caliph, it did not mean that he was home free.  There were systemic problems to deal with.  The marauding bands of Muslims that had worked together to unseat Uthman was still the force in Medina.  They too were like sheep without a shepherd, and they too wanted the unrest to cease, but on their own terms...

         The Egyptians then said, “It’s up to you, people of Medina.  We’ve given you two days and by Allah! if you don’t sort it out, tomorrow we’ll kill Ali, and Talhah, and al-Zubayr and many other beside.”  The people then came to Ali and said, “We give you allegiance, for you see what has happened to Islam and how much we have suffered at the hands of relatives.”  ["relatives" is a reference to Uthman’s nepotism].  (page 13).


         So, Ali became Caliph, and the various Companions and citizens wanted justice done against Uthman’s murderers.  However, those murderers were in power...

         Then when Ali had gone inside his house, Talhah and al-Zubayr along with a number of Companions, came to him in a group and said: “Ali!  We stipulated that Allah’s punishments should be applied.  These people participated in the death of this man have thereby forfeited their lives.”  “My friends,” he replied, “I am not unaware of what you know, but how can I deal with people who rule us, not we them?  Your own slaves have rebelled with them, and your Bedouin have joined them.  They live with you imposing on you what they want.  So can you see a way of achieving any of what you want?”  “No,” they said, “No indeed,” replied Ali.  ... until the people calm down and return to their senses and claims can be settled.  So stop complaining to me and see what will happen to you.  Then return to me.”  (page 18).

         However, not all the Companions agreed with Ali’s approach, and they were divided among themselves.  Those that disagreed with Ali’s plan felt that he was slack in punishing the murderers.  Whatever the situation, Ali was not in any rush to dispose justice for Uthman’s murder.

         As time went on, Ibn Abbas, (the same one who vilified Ali when demanding Muhammad’s inheritance), visited Ali.  Previously, Abbas had foreseen what this would lead to and had counseled Ali to leave town before Uthman was murdered.  Ali had rejected his advice...

         Ibn Abbas said: “What you should have done was to have left when the man was killed or even before that and gone to Mecca, entered your house, and locked the door behind you. Then, if the Arabs should have amassed and become stirred up after your withdrawal, they would only have had you to turn to.  But today there are among the Umayyads [Uthman’s clan], some who approve the search for revenge for Uthman, saying that you had a share in the affair.  They will mislead the people and make demands similar to what the Medinese have made.  …  (page 21).

         Another player in this play was Muawiyah.  He was fairly aloof through the early stages of this entire event.  His support would have weighed heavily one way or another, but he kept his cards close to his vest, until he felt confident he could make a play and obtain power for himself.  Ibn Abbas makes some foretelling comments to Ali about him as well...

         “Because you know that Muawiyah and his allies are men of the world,” replied Ibn Abbas, “and should you confirm their posts they wouldn’t care who had the overall command.  ... But Ali ignored his advice and said to Ibn Abbas, “Go to Syria!  I’ve appointed you its governor.”  “This isn’t the right decision,” replied Ibn Abbas. “Muawiyah is a man of the Banu Umayyah. He is the son of Uthman’s father’s brother and the governor of Syria. I won’t be safe from his breaking my neck for Uthman. Or else the least he will do is throw me in jail and pass sentence on me.” “Why?” Ali asked him. “Because you and I are related,” he said, “and because everything imputed to you is imputed to me also.” ...(page 22).

         Ali started to panic, realizing that many of the Companions, who disliked him, would hold him directly responsible for Uthman’s murder.  Now he sought to lay blame on others to take the focus off himself.

         “Ali then said, “I’m sure they’ll never refrain from coming out and saying, “We seek repayment for Uthman’s blood.”  By Allah!  We know that they [Talha and al-Zubayr] are the ones who killed Uthman.”  (page 23).

         And Ali instinctively knew that Muawiyah would rebel against him, so, with regards for him, Ali said to Ibn Abbas,

         “By Allah!  no.  I will give him [Muawiyah] nothing but the sword.”  (page 24).

         The stage was slowly being set, all of the key players have been introduced ... save one.  Intrigue continued amongst Ali’s supporters.  Some gave allegiance, some withdrew it.  There were factions within factions.  Meanwhile, the people’s demand for justice grew louder.  Someone had to pay for the terrible crime perpetrated upon Islam’s Caliph.  While he ruled, Uthman was very unpopular, but in death, people screamed for his justice.  These early Muslims were ever so fickle.

         Ali sought to establish his support base knowing that soon he would be fighting a war with Muawiyah.  But many of the people who he needed most rose against him, ostensibly because they wanted justice for Uthman’s murder.  They saw Ali as one who either had a hand in the murder, or, as one who refused to punish the murderers.  Either way, many were now turning against Ali.  Though he still maintained a strong support base it began to weaken because other prominent Muslims spoke against Ali.

         The chess pieces continued to be positioned.  Talha and al-Zubayr were allowed to leave Medina and went their own way.  Instead of maintaining any semblance of loyalty towards Ali, they  gathered their followers and turned against him.  Additionally, Muawiyah sent word to Ali that he was rebelling against his rule.

         At this time however, Ali only knew of Muawiyah’s open rebellion against him, and thus began to gather his forces to attack and dispose of Muawiyah.  Suddenly, bad news was again on his doorstep!...

         As they were thus engaged, news suddenly arrived that the Meccans were going in a completely different direction.  So Ali stood up among them to address them on the subject and said... “Talhah and al-Zubayr and the Mother of the Faithful [Aisha] have certainly joined together in discontent with my rule and have called on the people to set things right… (page 34).

         Things had gone from bad to worse for Ali, and more bad news followed!  Ibn Umar, (Umar’s son), a very popular and respected Muslim had also gone to join Muawiyah!

         But, the topping on the cake was that Aisha, the most beloved and respected female in Islam, had now moved against Ali.  Previously she had left Medina, ostensibly to perform the pilgrimage, but in reality she knew bad things were going to occur in Medina and she did not want to be around when the blood was shed.  Now, out of harms way for bearing any blame, she spoke out against those that perpetrated the murder.  She gave a passionate speech in Mecca, heating the desert blood within the Muslim’s hearts.  She cried for justice and vengeance.  Implicitly, she implicated Ali in Uthman’s murder, and the people knew that fighting for justice would be fighting against Ali.

         Aisha had been no real lover of Uthman.  During Uthman’s reign, she also spoke against him, in fact she was in favor of killing him...

         Umm Kilab said to her [Aisha], ‘How is that?  By Allah!  You were the first to incline the blade against Uthman and were saying “Kill Na’thal, for he had become a disbeliever.” (pages 52, 53). [Na’thal was an insulting nickname for Uthman, it means “hyena”].

         So Aisha, a calculating opportunist, used this opportunity to move against Ali.  She had always carried a grudge against Ali for his allegations of adultery against her early in her marriage with Muhammad.  As a result of Aisha’s provocations, the strong tribal clan of the Umayyads of Mecca rose in her support against Ali.  Talha, Zubayr, and additional clans followed suit.  They realized that they would need more military support if they were to succeed in defeating Ali...

         “Mother of the Faithful, leave Medina alone.  Those with us aren’t sufficient for that mob there [in Medina].  Accompany us to Basrah.  We will arrive at a city now lost to us.  They will produce their allegiance to Ali as an argument against us, but you will mobilize them, just as you did with the Meccans... (page 41).

         “Let’s go to Ali and fight him,” they said.  “We don’t have the strength to fight the people of Medina,” one of them replied.  “Let us rather go and enter Basrah and Kufah.  Talha has a following and popularity in Kufah and Zubayr ahs popularity and support in Basrah.” (page 43).

         Finally, the stage was set, the players took their places on the chessboard of Islamic history.  Ali marched towards Basrah and Aisha and her followers gathered their strength to meet him.  Their armies now numbered in the thousands.


THE BATTLE


         There are various accounts of how the actual battle came about.  Some detail that Ali, Talha, and Zubayr met and decided to make peace, instead of fighting, but subversive or disobedient elements within the armies started to fight anyway. Other accounts have them meeting and accusing each other of murdering Uthman and so on.

         In any event, the battle started, and it was fierce.  Neither side yielded much ground. Aisha went through her troops rallying them onward.  Ali’s men fought like lions.  The men on both sides were fierce, brave warriors.  They did not fear death that day.  Eventually, the battle focused on Aisha.  She was mounted in her howdah on her camel, encouraging her troops during the fight.  Ali’s men moved against her, and her men defended her.  Slowly Ali’s men gained ground and killed their opponents.  Eventually, Aisha’s howdah was riddled with arrows, had one penetrated, it could have killed “The Mother of the Faithful.”  Finally, they hamstrung Aisha’s camel; her followers were defeated.  During the course of the battle both Zubayr and Talha were killed.

         The various accounts of the casualty count were very high…

         Those killed at the Battle of the Camel around the camel numbered 10,000, half from Ali’s followers, and half from Aisha’s.  ….  It was said that in the first battle 5000 Basrans were killed and a further 5000 in the second battle [there was a pause during the battle], totaling 10,000 Basran fatalities and 5,000 Kufans.  (page 164).

         Broken and defeated, Aisha yielded to Ali.  He treated her with respect and sent her back to Medina, essentially under house arrest, and made provision for her needs.  Men that mocked her were punished.  Ali forgave her.

         One interesting anecdote came out of this affair.  Ali made Muhammad b. Abi Bakr his governor of Egypt  (ref. pages 184, 187).  Muhammad b. Abi Bakr was one of Uthman’s murderers.  It seems that not all those that committed the murder were punished properly.  Some suspect Ali truly did have a hand in the matter.  Obviously, Uthman’s murder was a pretext for carnal aggression of one Muslim against another.


EPILOGUE


         Now that the Battle of the Camel was over, more bloodshed lay in store for Ali.  The worst was yet to come...

         Jarir Abdallah then came to Ali and told him what Muawiyah was doing and how the Syrians had agreed with him to fight Ali.  He told him how they were weeping over Uthman and saying that Ali had killed him and was sheltering Uthman’s killers, and how they would not stop until he had killed them or they had killed him.  (page 197).


SUMMARY

Sahih Bukhari 5.709
Narrated Abu Bakra:
During the days (of the battle) of Al-Jamal, Allah benefited me with a word I had heard from Allah's Apostle after I had been about to join the Companions of Al-Jamal (i.e. the camel) and fight along with them. When Allah's Apostle was informed that the Persians had crowned the daughter of Khosrau as their ruler, he said, "Such people as ruled by a lady will never be successful."


         Uthman was murdered and various prominent Muslims used that as a pretext for power grabs or personal revenge.  These prominent Muslims, i.e. Islam’s Royal Family, lied to and about each other, denigrated each other, betrayed each other, and finally killed each other.  Ali’s forces proved to be the stronger and Ali was left as the ruler in that region of the Islamic empire.  Two prominent Muslims died, Talha and Zubayr, these were some of the oldest, and most beloved of Muhammad’s Companions.  Like Uthman, they died by the hands of other Muslims.  At least 10,000 and maybe up to 20,000 Muslims died that day, following their vain leaders in supposedly doing Allah’s will.


DISCUSSION

         It was a small thing for the Muslim leaders to offer these human sacrifices to their lust of power and revenge.  The whole thing was never about Uthman’s murder.  All of these players wanted power, all of them carried grudges for one reason or another.  They made and broke alliances based upon their personal desires and situational ethics, not upon a code of justice or righteousness. 

         Look at the fruit of Islam at this point in time.  Blood was flowing like a river through a dry desert.  The leaders of the Islamic community, Muhammad’s closest friends and family, were the perpetrators of this horror.  Instead of leading, guiding, and strengthening the flock of Muslims under their care, they offered them as human sacrifices on the altars of their egos.  The “Mother of Believers” was killing her children.
         This “Royal Family” broke Muhammad’s commands and murdered each other!  They knew the Quran, they knew Muhammad.  Yet, the lusts deep within their soul, the destructive seeds of real Islam, bore fruit, and thousands died.  The shepherds of the flock were now killing their sheep.

         Don’t you think that somewhere, somehow, these leading Muslims would have realized what they were doing and actually stopped, long before it got out of hand?  If Islam is truly from God, if it has any true spiritual value, shouldn’t these Muslims who knew Muhammad and his Quran best, have done what Muhammad actually taught and obeyed Allah and His Apostle?  Instead, within one generation of Muhammad’s death, his teachings were cast off, his limits broken, and thousands died.  The Satanic appetite for blood, tasting the lives of the many people Muhammad murdered, having a second course on the thousands of non-Muslims killed by the later Islamic jihads, tasted a sweeter blood — that of Uthman. Now it craved more Islamic blood as well, and it dined heartily at the Battle of the Camel.  It was not finished yet, no not by a long shot.  Islam’s seeds were planted deep within many a heart, and, a greater Satanic feast was soon to follow.

REFERENCES


1)       The Bible, New International Version, pub. by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
2)       The Nobel Quran,  translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, published by Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, PO Box 21441, Riyadh 11475, Saudi Arabia, 1994
3)       Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan
4)       al-Tabari, "The History of al-Tabari", (Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk), State University of New York Press  1993
 --------------------------------------------------------------------
PART 5: ALI AND MU'AWIYAH
THE FAMILY FEUD CONTINUES

The Bible, John 13:34, 35
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The Quran — 8:63  Al Anfal (The Spoils)
He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers. And He has united their (i.e. believers') hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them. Certainly He is All-Mighty, All-Wise.


INTRODUCTION


            Puddles of blood soak into the desert sands near Basra as the bodies of some 12,000 Muslims bleed into the earth.  Tens of thousands more are maimed, and over the battlefield men suffer in biting agony.  Ali surveys this grim scene and takes little pleasure in his first victory.  He has just defeated three of Muhammad’s best loved Companions:  Aisha (Muhammad’s child bride), Talha, and az-Zubayr.  The two men were especially notable for Muhammad had guaranteed them entrance to Paradise and they were once contenders for the Caliphate.  Yet for all their prominence their blood also colors the desert floor.  These great Muslims were also cut down by fellow Muslims.  Many other lesser “companions” had fallen.  Despite the brutal victory Ali focuses upon a greater peril.  He sees the ominous storm clouds on time’s horizon; and knows that the streams of blood now at his feet will be dwarfed by the rivers of blood yet to flow.

            Chapter one of the official period of Islamic “fitnah”, or rebellion, just ended, and chapter two begins.  The long underlying conflict between Muhammad and Abu Sufyan re-appeared and the grudge revived.  In this chapter of the conflict, Ali - Muhammad’s son-in-law, and Mu'awiyah - Abu Sufyan’s son, play the opposing roles.

            “You know a tree by its fruit”.  This series of articles evaluates Islam based upon its fruit.  I assert that Islam should be judged by its fruits and that some of the most accurate fruit to judge would be the words and deeds of Muhammad’s closest Companions.  After all, they knew him best, they lived with him through thick and thin, they put their lives on the line over and over again for him.  They memorized the Quran, knew his lifestyle (Sunnah) traditions (Hadith).  If anyone knew real Islam, it was them.  Therefore, judge them to determine Islam’s true quality.

            We will continue to review Tabari’s Historical works.  Tabari collected the historical writings of many earlier Muslims.  He often presents individual accounts as a whole, so, often one account covers a period of time, and then a following account, covering the same period.  Hence the accounts will overlap, and important anecdotal facets are presented in story form, and his anecdotes are not sequenced in chronological order.  In this part of the series, we will primarily use Tabari’s History, volume 17


THE SETTING


            Uthman had died and Ali became the Caliph.    Ali had begun to rule around 35 AH.  (722 A.D.).  Other prominent Muslims opposed Ali instantly.   Ali’s first major battle was against a group of Muslims near Basra, and they fought what is known as “The Battle of the Camel,” named after the intensity of conflict around Aisha’s camel.  Another significant challenge to his Caliphate came from Mu'awiyah.  He was the powerful governor of Syria.  Mu'awiyah was the son of Muhammad’s chief enemy, Abu Sufyan.  This irony was not lost upon Ali.

            Mu'awiyah was no novice to the religious — political game.  His father was a shrewd politician and he taught his sons well.  Forced to convert to Islam by point of the sword, Abu Sufyan played the old adage:  “If you can’t beat em, join em.”, and became a Muslim.  Sufyan secured special favors from Muhammad and worked to insure his progeny obtained political power.  They did.  When Abu Bakr was elected Caliph, Sufyan said that the shedding of blood would be required to cleanse that mistake. 

            Mu'awiyah had obtained the services of capable men.  His leading general, Amr al-As, had recently finished a conquest of Egypt and was Islam’s first appointed governor of a region.  Amr himself was a prominent Companion of Muhammad.  He was a skilled leader and general.  He did not fear Ali. 


            The night’s sleep brought no true rest for Ali.  Immediately after Muhammad’s death, Ali’s life had become one of troubles.  As one problem was resolved, another rose to take its place.  After Muhammad’s death, Ali demanded Muhammad’s inheritance from Abu Bakr and was rejected stoutly. Ali hated Abu Bakr.  The same motive turned Ali bitter towards the next Caliph - Umar.  Eventually Umar caved into Ali’s demands and went against Muhammad’s command to not distribute the wealth to family members.  Ali thought himself more capable than the other so-called “rightly guided” Caliphs, but alas, Ali had not been elected or selected until after Uthman’s murder.  Now, instead of being a grand event, Ali’s selection to the Caliphate was contested with controversy, death threats, and betrayal.  There was no time for peace in Ali’s life.  The upcoming Battle of Siffin was on the horizon.


THE CONFLICT BEGINS


            We read in Tabari, volume 17, page 2, [1], that Ali appointed Abdallah b. Abbas, Muhammad’s cousin, as his deputy over Basra.  (Ibn Abbas was the one who had earlier denigrated Ali in front of Umar — see part 2 — or Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4349).  Ali then proceeded to Kufa, (a garrison town which became his “home base”).  There he asked for input from his counselors, and got conflicting input.  Likewise, Mu'awiyah, hearing of Ali’s plans, summoned Amr and asked his advice....

            Amr said, “Since you have heard that Ali is on his way, set out yourself and be sure to confront him with your views and your strategies.”  Mu'awiyah replied, “In that case, Oh Abu Abdallah, prepare the men!”
            Amr proceeded to work them up and to disparage the strength of Ali and his followers, saying, “The men of Iraq have split among themselves, sapped their own strength, and blunted their cutting edge.  Moreover, the Basrans are opposed to Ali who had done them harm and dealt death to them.  Their leaders and those of the Kufans wiped each other out at the Battle of the Camel, and Ali has set out with only a band few in number, among whom are those who killed your caliph.  Fear God, lest you forfeit your right to claim vengeance and allow the blood of Uthman to go un-avenged.”  (page 2).


            As preparations were being made for the future conflict, Mu'awiyah shrewdly enlisted the support of many of Ali’s critics....

            “He wrote to everybody he thought was afraid of Ali or had spoken evil of him and to everybody who considered the shedding of Uthman’s blood to have been a grave matter, and he asked for their help against him.”   (page 3)

            As Ali’s men moved towards Siffin, various towns refused to support them.  Threats of death were made to force the townspeople to assist the march.

            The initial series of battles occurred quickly.  Ali’s vanguard encountered a force of Syrians.  Ali dispatched one of his leading right hand men, Al-Ashtar, (one of the men associated with the murder of Uthman), to reinforce his vanguard.  Then the initial battles began and Ali’s men were victorious.

            The most significant of these initial skirmishes is called, “The Battle by the Water.”  Tabari describes the setting in one of Ali’s men’s words:

            When we came upon Mu'awiyah we found that he had set up camp in a flat and broad space, which he had chosen before we arrived, alongside a watering place in the Euphrates.  In that area there was no other place to obtain water, and Mu'awiyah had put it under his control and sent Abu al-A’war to deny access to it and to guard it.  We went farther up the Euphrates in the hope of finding some other drinking place that would do for us, but we did not and so went back to Ali. We told him about the thirst the men were suffering and that we had found no other place in which to get water but that of the enemy, and he said, “Fight them for it.”  (Tabari, volume 17, page 11).

            Here we are given a picture of Ali’s strong leadership and determination.  His men defeated Mu'awiyah’s and gained access to the water.  Ali had drawn first blood, and he and his men, (primarily Kufans and Basrans (Iraqis)), proved their mettle. 


            Following that there were series of dialogs and maneuvers, but nothing of note occurred.  Ali appealed to Mu'awiyah to obey Him and stand unified with all other Muslims.  Mu'awiyah replied that if Ali were to punish Uthman’s murderers, some of whom had joined Ali’s effort, that he would then submit to Ali.  Neither side yielded so the skirmishing and war of words continued.


            A key dialog took place between Ali’s messengers and Mu'awiyah.  This dialog depicts what the players knew to be intrinsic to the conflict.  From page 17 we read...

            “Mu'awiyah, I understood your reply to Ibn Mihasn, and, by God, we are not unaware of what you intend and seek.  The only way you could find to misguide the people, pervert their desires, and get from them their obedience was by saying “Your Iman was killed unjustly, and we seek revenge for his blood!”  Some stupid riffraff responded to it, but we know that you delayed in giving Uthman help and that you desired his killing so that you might obtain this position that you now seek.  ...”


            The fighting continued on a small scale because Ali did not want a repeat of the slaughter at the Battle of the Camel (see part 4 for more details).  Some days fighting was heavier than others, but by in large, no grand battles at this time were fought.  Ali was hoping that Mu'awiyah would have a change of heart.

            There came a special month and a truce was called.  The dialogs continued but with no change.  One such dialog between Mu'awiyah and Adi presents Mu'awiyah’s point of view...

            Mu'awiyah replied:  “It is as if you have come merely to threaten not to reach a settlement.  You could not be more wrong.  Adi, I am the son of Harb, (Harb means war — his grandfather’s name), by God, you are one of those who raised a clamor against Uthman, one of those who killed him, and I hope that you will be one of those whom God will kill for it.  How wrong you are, Adi Hatim — you have resorted to force when you could not succeed by persuasion.”  (page 22).


            The dialogs continued but with no success.  However, on pages 25 and 26, Ali makes a statement that reveals his true heart in the choosing of Caliphs other than himself, and the killing of Uthman...

            “The people appointed Abu Bakr as caliph, and Abu Bakr appointed Umar after him, and those two conducted themselves well and led the community with justice.  We resented their ruling over us, the family of the Messenger of God, but we excused them for that.  Then Uthman ruled and did things that the people found reprehensible, so that they came to him and killed him.  Afterwards they came to me who was keeping out of their concerns, and they asked me to accept the oath of allegiance....But then I was surprised to find the dissension of two of those (Talha and az-Zubayr) who had given me the oath of allegiance, (under compulsion, see part 4), and the opposition of Mu'awiyah to whom God had given neither precedence in accepting the religion nor forebears of good character in Islam.  He is one of those who were set free by the Prophet, and the son of one of them, a member of those parties that persisted in enmity to God, His Prophet, and the Muslims, both he and his father until they reluctantly entered Islam.”


            One sees Ali’s hurt pride in not being selected as the Caliph, and his ambivalent attitude towards Uthman’s murder.  The charges against Ali for slowness or refusal to move against Uthman’s killers were true.  Even at this point, with the killers at his fingertips, Ali took no action against them.  Further, Ali misrepresented Talha and az-Zubayr actions by saying they had given him the oath of allegiance while he knew it was coerced.  Finally, Mu'awiyah’s historical identity was not lost upon Ali.  He knew clearly who he was dealing with, and what he was up against.  The feud between Abu Sufyan and Muhammad was now living and breathing between Ali and Mu'awiyah.


THE TRUCE ENDS

            The month of truce ended, and Ali decided that it was time to settle the conflict with battle.  He announced to the enemy troops that the truce was over.  The leaders on each side rallied their men and battle was joined.  The battle of Siffin was actually a series of day by day battles.  Each day a few battalions of troops fought, but no whole scale battle yet occurred.  Usually, each side held its ground, giving a good account of itself.  However, the size of the battles was growing steadily.

            A notable exhortation was given by Ammar, one of Ali’s generals, concerning Mu'awiyah...

            “Men of Iraq, do you wish to look on one who showed enmity to God and His Messenger and struggled against them, one who oppressed the Muslims and gave support to polytheists?  But when he saw that God would make mighty His religion and grant victory to His Messenger, he went to the Prophet and accepted Islam, it seems to us, out of fear and not from desire.  Then God took to Himself His Messenger and, by God, this man continued to be known for enmity to the Muslims and forbearance to the evildoer.  So hold firm against him and fight him, for he will extinguish God’s light and give help to His enemies.”  (pages 31 and 32).

            Ammar’s speech contained half truths.  Abu Sufyan did accept only out of fear:  he was threatened with his life by Ibn Abbas, in front of Muhammad!  It was either join Islam or lose your head!  Sufyan made the politically smart choice, as many others forced to convert to Islam had done before and since.  Note however, that this forced conversion was allowed by Muhammad, and known throughout the community, and still accepted.  Even during his life, Muhammad allowed his faith to become polluted, for political, not spiritual gain.  Muhammad’s impure motives now threatened his own family!

            The battles continued day by day.  At times, Ali’s men held the edge, but the day’s end prohibited any decisive conclusion.

            Another notable person Ubaydallah bin Umar bin al-Khattab — the son of the second “rightly guided” Caliph — Umar is detailed.  After Uthman was murdered, he joined up with Mu'awiyah.  Now, he was leading one of Mu'awiyah’ wings and encouraged them with the following statement....

            Then the Syrians turned away, but it was not long before they attacked again, and Ubaydallah b. Umar was saying:  “Men of Syria!  This clan of the men of Iraq are the killers of Uthman b. Affan and the supports of Ali Abi Talib.  If you defeat this tribe, you will attain your revenge for Uthman, and Ali b. Abi Talib and the men of Iraq will be destroyed...”   (page 61).

However, things did not go well for Umar’s son.  In the words of one of Ali’s soldiers....

            We mounted our horses and then went forward and contested the fight.  It was not long before Dhu al-Kala was struck down and Ubaydallah b. Umar killed...  (page 62).

            One Muslim composed some prose about Ubaydallah’s death....

            “The eyes weep only for a horseman, whose fellows fled at Siffin while he stood firm, exchanging Asma (his wife) for the swords of Wail.  He was a warrior; if only the fields of death had spared him.  They left Ubaydallah on the battleground, his flowing veins spitting out blood from the wound.” (page 63).

            How ironic that Abu Bakr’s son was one of Uthman’s murderers, and Umar’s son fought against him.  Even the sons of the so-called, “Rightly Guided” Caliphs of Islam were striving to kill each other!

            Another important dialog took place between a young warrior and Hashim b. Utbah (one of Ali’s men) that illustrates Ali and his follower’s position on the murder of Uthman....

            Hashim said to him:  “What have you got to do with Ibn Affan? (Uthman).  It was the companions of Muhammad and the sons of his companions and the qurra of the people who killed him when he introduced innovations and opposed the authority of the Book.  They were people of religion and more worthy of handling the affairs of the people than are you and your companions.  I do not think that the affairs of this community and of this religion have been neglected even for an instant. (page 71).

            It is becoming obvious that Ali had no intention of ever punishing Uthman’s murderers...  he employed them!  Ali implicitly justified the murder.

THE CONCLUSION OF THE BATTLE OF SIFFIN AND THE TRUCE

            The daily battles continued and Ali’s men usually had the upper hand.  Ali’s men continued to gain strength and press their advantage.  The situation was becoming critical for Mu'awiyah.  Mu'awiyah’s General, Amr, realized that the tide had turned against him and presented Mu'awiyah with a new strategy......

            When Amr b. al-As saw that the position of the Iraqis had strengthened and was afraid that it would lead to destruction, he said to Mu'awiyah, “What if I put something to you that can only increase our unity and their division?”  “All right,” said Mu'awiyah.  Amr said, “We will raise the masahif (pages of the Quran) and say, “their contents are to be authoritative in our dispute.”  Even if some of them refuse to accept it, you will find some of them will say, “Indeed, yes, we must accept,” and there will be a division between them.  If, on the other hand, they say, “Yes, indeed, we accept what is in it,” then we will have disburdened ourselves of this fighting and this warfare until an appointed time or a later occasion.”  So they raised the masahif on lances and said:  “This is the Book of God between us and you.  Who will protect the frontiers districts of the Syrians if they all perish, and who those of the Iraqis if they all perish?”  When (Ali’s) men saw tat the masahif had been raised, they said, “We respond to the Book of God, and we turn in repentance to it.”   (page 78).

            Amr’s ruse worked!  Ali’s men became divided, and demanded that Ali negotiate.  This displeased Ali....

            Ali said, “Servants of God, carry on fighting your enemies, for you have truth and right on your side.  Mu'awiyah, Amr, Abi Muayt, Habib Maslamah, Ibn Abi Sarh (the man who made up verses of the Quran with Muhammad’s permission), and al-Dahhak are men without religion and with Quran.  I know them better than you, for I was with them both as children and as men, and they were the worst of children and the worst of men.  They have not exalted them (the masahif) and they do not exalt them and do not know that it is that they contain. They have raised them up to you only to deceive you, to outwit you, and to trick you.  They answered him, “If we are called to the Book of God, we are bound to respond.”  Ali said to them, “The only reason I have fought against them was so that they should adhere to the authority of this Book, for they have disobeyed God in what He has commanded and they have forgotten His covenant and rejected His Book.”  (page 79).

            The dialog ended with Ali’s men insisting that he negotiate or they would turn against him and give him over to Mu'awiyah.  Ali told them to remember this mistake because it was a terrible one, one that they would soon regret. Even al-Ashtar’s (Ali’s brave general) words of exhortation and rebuke to the rebellious men did not change their minds.  They also turned against al-Ashtar.

            Ali, was on the verge of a decisive victory that day, only to be outwitted by Amr and Mu'awiyah, and this near victory turned into the instrument of his troubled future and eventual death.

            As the conflict in Ali’s camp became violent, he realized he had to move fast to salvage any chance of victory.  Hence he compromised and agreed to the negotiations, hoping for a favorable outcome.....

            “We have agreed to make the Quran an authority between us and them.”  (page 81).

            But things continued to get worse for Ali....

            Our men said, “We are pleased and accept.”  The Syrians said, “We have chosen Amr b. al-As,” and al-Ashath and those who became Khawarij afterward said, “We are content with Abu Musa al-Ashari.”  Ali said:  “You disobey me in the start of this business; do not disobey me now.  I do not think I should grant power to Abu Musa.”  But al-Ashath, Zayd b. Husayn al-Tai, and Misar b. Fadaki insisted, “We do not find anyone else acceptable:  What he warned us against we have fallen into.”  Ali said, “I do not consider him trustworthy.  He separated from me and caused the people to abandon me.  Then he fled from me until I granted him security after some months.  But here is Ibn Abbas; we will give him power in that matter.  They replied, “It would not make any difference for us whether it was you or Ibn Abbas....Ali said, “Do you refuse to accept anyone but Abu Musa?”  and the men replied, “Yes.”  Ali said, “Then do what you want.”  (pages 82 & 83).

            You can taste the heartbroken grief and bitterness in Ali’s words.  His kingdom was collapsing before him.  Falling into Amr’s ruse his trusted army turned away from him.  Adding to his pain, they now demanded he appoint a dolt, Amr Musa, to be his negotiator.  Ali sees the future disaster - the failure and collapse of his precious Caliphate, and he was powerless to stop it.

            And still it was not over.  Even as the negotiating document was being drawn up, Ali’s title, “Commander of the Faithful” was challenged.  Mu'awiyah’s negotiator, Amr was sharp, and just as Muhammad was humiliated by the Quraysh at Hudaybiyya, so too Ali was humiliated...

            They wrote:  In the name of God, the Merciful and compassionate.  This is what Ali the Commander of the Faithful had determined.”  But Amr said, “Just write his name and that of his father, for he is your commander but not ours.”  Al-Ahnaf said to Ali, “Do not efface the title of Commander of the Faithful, for I fear that if you erase it, the office will never revert to you... (But....) ....So it was erased.”  (page 84).

            Ali’s problems continued to spread.  He left the battlefield, and wanted to await the outcome of the negotiations.  However, the people who insisted that he appoint a negotiator had a change of heart.  These people became known as the Khawarij.  Now, they felt that Ali erred in appointing a negotiator, and insisted that he return and fight Mu'awiyah.  They began to oppose Ali.  (page 90).

THE TIME OF THE NEGOTIATIONS

            The negotiations started badly.  Each negotiator insulted and vilified each other by quoting Quranic passages and hurling them against each other (7:175 vs. 62:5).  (page 92).

            As Ali journeyed back to Kufa to await the outcome of the negotiations he encountered various people and he asked their opinions on the situation.  There was serious division within his community.  One of his people related the populace’s comments...

            “They say:  “Ali had a mighty body of support and he split it, he had a firm fortress and he razed it.  How long will it take him to rebuild what he destroyed and to reunite what he sundered?””... (page 95).


Other comments and observations from his people...

            “By God, Ali had done nothing.  He went away and then came back without anything.”... They left for Siffin with Ali full of brotherly love and affection, and they came back with mutual hatred and enmity.  (page 98).


            Eventually, the Khawarij rebelled against Ali for negotiating.  Ali told them that they had forced him to negotiate, and now that he had given his word, he would let the negotiations take their course.  This did not satisfy them, and they stated that Ali now competed with the Syrians in unbelief.  Again, Ali pointed out that they pressured him to appoint a negotiator, they said,

            “You have spoken truly and it was just as you have said, but that was unbelief on our part and we have turned to God in repentance from it.  Repent as we have, and we shall give you the oath of allegiance; otherwise we will oppose you.”  (page 103).


            Time moved forward, and the negotiations broke down completely.  Amr outwitted Abu Musa and backed him into a foolish move.  Musa, realizing his error, exclaimed,

            “What are you doing, may God foil you?  You have acted treacherously and unrighteously.  You are like the dog which, if you attack it, it lolls out its tongue, or if you leave it alone, it still lolls out its tongue.”  Amr responded, “And you are like the monkey which carries writings.”  (pages 109, 110).


            Following this the Syrians officially recognized Mu'awiyah as their Caliph.  Ali prayed curses down upon Mu'awiyah and his followers.  When found out, Mu'awiyah reciprocated....

            Ali would stand in supplication and say, “Oh God, put a curse on Mu'awiyah, Amr, Abu al-Awar al-Sulami, Habib b. Maslamah, Abd al-Rahman, b. Khalid, al-Dahhak b. Qays, and al-Walid b. Uqbah.  Mu'awiyah heard about that and when he himself made supplication, he cursed Ali, Ibn Abbas, al-Ashtar, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn (Ali’s sons).  (page 110).


            The pious Muslim Caliphs were calling down curses upon the other, their friends, and their family.  Just as Muhammad prayed down curses upon entire villages of people, so to, these despots followed suit.


            However, over time, Mu'awiyah grew stronger and Ali grew weaker.  Initially, Ali had difficulty raising an army, but he persisted in raising a sufficient army and prepared to fight Mu'awiyah.  His followers were loosing confidence in him and they tired of fighting wars to no gain.  However, Ali had to turn from facing Mu'awiyah and deal with the rebellion of the Khawarij.

            The Khawarij had earlier realized that their situation was difficult and ventured to a place where they could set up an Islamic domain as they saw fit.  They plundered, tortured, and murdered other Muslims as they journeyed.  Ali had to turn from attacking Mu'awiyah and instead sent a force against the Khawarijs.  He destroyed them.  This battle was known as “The Battle of the Canal.”  This took place in 37 AH.


            With the Khawarij defeated, Ali thought at long last the distractions were over.  Finally, Ali was now to turn his full attention against the reprobate Mu'awiyah.  Finally, Ali was going to fix that malevolent usurper once and for all. Finally, Ali was once again determined, confident, and prepared to finish the business he knew should have been finished long ago.  Finally, he gave the command to march upon his last great enemy, defeat him, and give Ali the sweetness of power and dominance that he had craved for so many years...

            When Ali had finished with the people of Nahrawan (the Khawarijs), he praised God and extolled Him and then said to his own men, “God has favored you and reinforced your victory, so direct yourselves immediately against your enemy.”  They answered, “Commander of the Faithful, our arrows are exhausted, our swords have become blunt, the tips of our spears have fallen off, and most of them have been broken in pieces.  Go back to our garrison town and let us make the best possible preparation.  Perhaps the Commander of the Faithful will add to our equipment that of those of us who have died, for that will make us better fitted to confront the enemy.” .... But they neither went to do what he said nor prepared themselves.  (page 135, 136).

            The poor Ali!  Once again, the possibility of becoming the sole ruling Caliph slipped through his fingers like water:  the harder he squeezed, the less he held.  Ali upbraided them as weak, undependable, cowards.  Many of these were men who had fought next to him for years and suffered wounds for him.  They were tired and they had no confidence in a man who somehow never seemed to get it done right and without dissension.  They were tired of killing and dying all for Ali’s vainglory.

            That was essentially the end of Ali’s aggressive moves against Mu'awiyah.  Momentum had turned.  But, there were other dangerous events going to take place in Ali’s life that would pursue him.

ABU BAKR’S SON:  UTHMAN’S MURDERER

            Although Ali was stymied yet again, Mu'awiyah was not finished with Ali.  Instead of directly confronting Ali, Mu'awiyah went after Ali’s fingers.  He turned his attention to the wealthy land of Egypt.  Here, Ali had appointed Muhammad b. Abi Bakr as governor of Egypt.  He was Abu Bakr’s son, the first so-called “rightly guided” Caliph, and Muhammad’s best friend.  Muhammad b. Abi Bakr had been accused of leading the band of murderers against Uthman. Opportunity presented itself to Mu'awiyah and he sent a force against Muhammad b. Abi Bakr.

            Remember, the significant charge many Muslims held against Ali was that he refused to punish the murderers of Uthman.  In fact, they claimed that he sponsored those very murderers and gave them refuge.  Muhammad b. Abi Bakr was one of those charged.  Earlier accounts place him at Uthman’s house the night of the murder, abusing the old Caliph.  But other accounts don’t mention him, and to this day, the Islamic community is divided over his hand in the murder.

            But now, how the tables were turned!  Mu'awiyah’s troops fought against Muhammad bin Abi Bakr’s and defeated him.  Muhammad’s troops then abandoned him.  Mu'awiyah’s men pursued Muhammad and captured him.  The final scene of confrontation takes place between Mu'awiyah and Muhammad...

            Mu'awiyah said to him, “I am only slaying you in retaliation for Uthman.”  Muhammad asked him, What have you got to do with Uthman?  He acted unjustly and rejected the authority of the Quran, and God has said, “They who do not judge with what God has revealed, they are the iniquitous.”  We held that against him and killed him, but you give him merit for it, you and those who are like you.  God has absolved us — God willing — form his sin, but you share in his offense and the enormity of his sin, and the one who uses you is just the same.
            Mu'awiyah became angry, had him brought forward, and killed him.  Then he cast him into the corpse of a donkey and set fire to it.  (page 158).

            Ultimately, Muhammad bin Abu Bakr has admitted to the murder of Uthman.

            Remember how Abu Sufyan predicted that the shedding of blood would be necessary to correct the erroneous selection of Abu Bakr as Caliph?  Abu Sufyan’s son just brutally killed Abu Bakr’s son.

            Upon hearing of the fall of Egypt to Mu'awiyah, Ali became despondent.  Once again he had sent his help too late.  During the few years of his Caliphate he watched it crumble.  The tide of misfortune was incoming.  His people turned against him, or were indifferent to him, his strongest right hand men were killed or murdered, Mu'awiyah outsmarted him and beat him to the punch consistently.  In despair, Ali wrote to Ibn Abbas....

            “Now Egypt has been conquered and Muhammad b. Abi Bakr has been martyred.  ... At the very start I stood among the people and commanded them to help him before the calamity should occur.  I summoned them in secret and in public, over and over again.  Some of them came unwillingly, some made lying excuses, and some stayed where they were.  I ask God that He give me a way out and an escape from them and that He deliver me from them before long.  By God, if I were not so desirous of dying in God’s cause then I would not want to remain with these people for one day....”  (page 164).


MURDER OF THE CHRISTIANS

            Just as Muhammad allowed the murder of Christians, so later, Ali did the same.  Below are several accounts of how Ali and his men abused and murdered Christians.

            Among them were many Christians who had accepted Islam, but when dissension had developed in Islam had said, “By God, our religion from which we have departed is better and more correct than that which these people follow. Their religion does not stop them from shedding blood, terrifying the roads, and seizing properties.”  And they returned to their former religion.  Al-Khirrit met them and said to them, “Woe unto you!  Do you know the precept of Ali regarding any Christian who accepts Islam and then reverts to Christianity?  By God he will not hear anything they say, he will not consider any excuse, he will not accept any repentance, and he will not summon them to it.  His precept regarding them is immediate cutting off of the head when he gets hold of them.”   (page 187, 188).

            “I was in the army that Ali Abi Talib sent against the Banu Najiyah.... Our commander said to one of these groups, “What are you?”  and they replied, “We are a Christian people who do not consider any religion to be better than ours, and we hold fast to it.”  Our commander said to them, “Be off with you.”  He said to another band, “What are you?”  And they said, “We were Christians, but we accepted Islam, and we hold fast to our Islam.”  He said to them, “Be off with you!”   Then he said to the third group, “What are you?”  and they said, “We are a people who were Christians.  We accepted Islam but we do not think, that any religion is better than our previous one.”  He said to them, “Accept Islam!” but they refused.  He said to his men, “When I rub my head three times attack them and kill the fighting men and make captive the dependants.”  (page 188).

            But there was an old man among them, a Christian called al-Rumahis b. Mansur, who said, By God, the only error I have made since attaining reason was abandoning my religion, the religion of truth for yours, the religion of wickedness.  No by God, I will not leave my religion and I will not accept yours so long as I live.”  Maqil brought him forward and cut off his head.”  (page 191).

            “As for the Christians, we made them captive and led them off so that they might be a warning for those of the protected peoples who come after them not to refuse the jizyah (extortion tax), and not to make bold against our religion and community, for the protected people are of little account and lowly in status.  (page 192)

            Masqalah sent one of the Christians of the Banu Taghlib, whose name was Hulwan, to Nuaym from Syria with a letter.... Ali who took his letter and read it.  He then cut off the hand of the Christian, who died.  (page 195).

            Despite all his self-righteousness rhetoric, at heart, Ali could be very cruel.  He was infected deeply with the cancerous spirit of Islam, and it hardened his heart and caused him to lust after power.  Ali was a cold blooded murderer.  He could murder people without any mercy simply because he was blinded and hardened by his power.  Ali could drive thousands of Muslims to their deaths fighting other Muslims, and then kick them when they tired of fighting for his cause.  Ali could murder innocents simply because they were an affront to his imposition of Islam on the populace.


THE DEATH OF ALI

            Things continued to deteriorate for Ali.  Mu'awiyah grew stronger and more confident.  He began to send large raiding parties into Ali’s territory and score victories.  Ali’s people began to shrink back from the fighting, and Ali continued to burn with anger against them.  The more Ali called, the more they shrank away.  Even his commanders avoided heavy battle.  Ali, in his rage said to them from his preaching pulpit...

            “Oh people of al-Kufah, every time you hear about a troop of Syrian horsemen coming against you, each man of you hides in his house and locks the door, like a lizard in his hole and a hyena in his lair.  Whoever trusts in you is duped and whoever draws you draws a useless lot.  You are not real men when the summons to appear in arms is made nor trustworthy brothers with secrets.... How I have been tested through you!  You are blind ones who do not see, dumb ones who do not speak, and deaf ones who do not hear.”  (page 199).

            Mu'awiyah was testing Ali’s strength and had realized that it was deteriorating over time.  He became bolder sending a large raiding force to the Hijaz itself!  This place was Islam’s birthplace and Muhammad’s home.  The people in Medina were now a broken people.  They did not resist the Syrian force.  They were tired and without strength.  These same people, a generation before had plundered and pillaged so many an Arab tribe were now humiliated, plundered, and pillaged.

            Mu'awiyah’s general, Busr, took over Medina, (the first city to have an Islamic community and Muhammad’s resting place).  Busr destroyed people’s homes and he told the people of Medina,  “People of Medina!  By God, if it were not for my charge from Mu'awiyah, I would not leave any mature man alive among you, (page 207).  Busr continued to Yemen and did similar things, additionally killing Ali’s governor of the country — Ubaydallah bin Abbas, and his small sons. Islam’s evil lived in all Muslims, Ali’s or Mu'awiyah’s alike.  Ali’s kingdom was falling apart, and it was obvious to all.

IBN ABBAS’ BETRAYAL OF ALI

            The final turn of events.  Remember how Ibn Abbas and Ali cursed each other in front of the Caliph Umar in competition for Muhammad’s wealth?  Now Ibn Abbas realized that Ali’s time was up.  Mu'awiyah was too strong.  True to form, he figured he better take the money and run....

From Tabari, volume 17, pages 209, 210:

The Circumstances of Ibn Abbas Going to Mecca and Leaving Iraq.

            Abdallah b. Abbas encountered Abu al-Aswad al Duali, who said (to Abbas), “If you were an animal, you would be a camel; if you were a herdsman, you would not be able to control (your flock at) pasture and would not know how to manage them wisely on the move.
            Abu al-Aswad consequently wrote to Ali:  “God has made you a ruler trusted by his subjects and a pastor who takes responsibility for his flock.  We have tried you and found you full of integrity and a sincere adviser to your flock.  You give them booty in abundance, you abstain from seizing their worldly goods, you do not devour their wealth, and you do not take bribes in their government.  Your cousin, however, has devoured what is under his authority without your knowledge, and I cannot allow that to be kept from you.  So look into what is going on here, may God have mercy on you, and write to me telling me your views about what you want me to do for you.  Salutations.”

            Ali was no fool.  He remember how Abbas lusted after Muhammad’s wealth just as he did.  He also knew how Uthman fell into disrepute because of the abusive actions of his governors.  Ali took action.

            Ali then wrote about that to Ibn Abbas, who replied, “What you have heard is false.  What I have under my authority I control in an orderly and careful way.  Do not believe these suspicions.  Salutations”  Ali wrote back, “Tell me what jizyah (extortion tax taken from non-Muslims) you have taken, whence you have taken it, and where you have deposited it.”  Ibn Abbas answered, “I understand your concern at the seizures that you have heard I have made of the wealth of men this territory so send anyone whom you wish to your province and I will make way for him.  Salutations.”
            Ibn Abbas then summoned his maternal uncles of the Banu Hilal b. Amir and al-Dahak b. Abdallah al-Hilali and Abdallah b. Razin b. Abi Amr al-Hilali came to him.  Then all of Quay joined with him, and he carried away a considerable amount of property.  ... These were monies and provisions that had been collected for the maintenance of the fighting men, and Ibn Abbas took away with him as much as he had collected.   (pages 210, 211).

            Some other Muslims challenged Ibn Abbas’ theft and some fighting occurred.  But Ibn Abbas had a large group of men with him assisting him in the theft and those that opposed him were killed or driven off.  Ibn Abbas, the future Muslim scholar of religion, was no better than a thief.

            Ali’s hand picked governors, his own relatives, robbed him.  The house of cards that comprised Ali’s Caliphate had hit the ground.  Ali’s last sunrise was not far off.

            The details of Ali’s murder are interesting, but do not need to be noted.  Essentially, a man, embittered at Ali’s actions, duplicity, and failures, decided that Ali needed to die, even if it cost him his own life.  He set out to kill Ali.  He even gathered two accomplices.  The three men waited for Ali to leave the mosque....

            When he (Ali) appeared, Shabib struck at him with his sword but it hit the door post or the arch; Ibn Muljam struck him on the top of his head with his sword.  (page 216).

            Ali died not long thereafter.  At the time of his death he was fat, balding, and short.  He had ruled as Caliph for around five years.  The perpetrators were caught and killed.  Ali’s son, Hasan took over as temporary ruler, until an official decision would be made as to who would be the next Caliph.

            When Aisha, Muhammad’s child bride at age 9, heard about Ali’s death, she rejoiced.  She had deeply hated Ali for many years.  Aisha said, “And she threw down her staff and settled upon her place of abode, like the traveler happy to return home.”  (page 224).  Aisha lived long enough to have the last laugh against the man she ostensibly hated most.  Hatred in Muhammad’s own family ran deep.


EPILOGUE


            Hasan’s eulogy:

            “Tonight you have killed a man on a night in which the Quran came down, a night in which Jesus the son of Mary was taken up, and a night in which Joshua the son of Nun, the champion of Moses, was killed.  By God, none of those who were before him are ahead of him and none of those who will come after him will overtake him.  By God, if the Prophet sent him on a raid, Gabriel was at his right hand and Michael at his left.”

            Gabriel and Michael deserted Ali, just as so many of his early supporters had done.  In the end, no one seemed to notice Ali’s stature.  When his turn finally came to be Caliph, the sweetness of power he yearned for turned foul in his mouth.  Ali did not go out like a proud Muslim warrior, instead, he went out like an old, worn, abandoned lion, slowly succumbing to a pack of hyenas.


SUMMARY


            After Muhammad died everything changed.  The real Ali, the true Ali, surfaced; the real Muslims, the true Muslims surfaced.  Without the restraining influence of Muhammad’s rule, their real hearts were manifest.  Ali was a human who had both good and bad traits.  Tragically, Islam’s poison strengthened his wicked side.  Ali knew how to keep the external requirements of Islam, but inwardly, he was as carnal as any despot.  Ali’s Caliphate reads like a magnificent Shakespearian tragedy.  From the murder of Uthman, Ali endured one calamity and misfortune after another.  Ali was stained with Uthman’s murder, turned on by his friends contesting him for power, moved against by Muhammad’s most beloved wife Aisha, challenged by the son of his families enemy — Mu'awiyah.  Ali shed the blood of tens of thousands of Muslims to secure what he thought should have been handed to him on a silver platter, but his own soldiers cast aside certain victory because they were simpletons and easily duped, in turn they threatened him with betrayal and certain death.  Rebellions, the deaths of his closest supporters continued month in and month out.  Ali had no pillow of peace upon which to rest his head.  Finally, he was cut down, more ignominiously than Uthman had been before him.



DISCUSSION — TASTE THE FRUIT


            We’re supposed to be reviewing Islam’s spiritual fruit, right?  Yet all we are seeing coming out of these prominent Muslims is war, lying, murdering, accusations, betrayal, theft, hatred, and bitterness.  We see very little of “spirituality” in Ali, Mu'awiyah, Ibn Abbas, or Aisha.  Instead we see a corrupt “mafia” like family.  Oh yes, they obeyed the outward forms of the Islamic rituals, but, inwardly, they were as spiritually bankrupt and destitute as any criminal.  These Muslims are precisely the types of people Jesus had in mind when He said to the Pharisee’s, “you look good on the outside, but inwardly you are dead.”  (my paraphrase).  What an empty, spiritually impoverished group of people was this Islamic Royal Family.


            Let’s summarize some of the fruit we’ve seen.

ALI
            Ali was Muhammad’s son-in-law.  Ali’s selfish ambition drove him to almost any action to obtain this power.  Instead of punishing Uthman’s murderers, he joined forces with the criminals.  After pretending to not want the Caliphate, once the title was given, he clung to it with all his life’s force.  He drove thousands to their deaths and injury in pursuit of that goal.  Their lives were sacrificed on his alter of pride and vainglory.  In the end, Ali denigrated the very troops who had fought for him for years.  He showed no appreciation or thankfulness for the sacrifices that so many a Muslim had made.  When he met Christians, many of whom had left Islam, because they realized it was a bankrupt religion, he murdered them.


IBN ABBAS
            Ibn Abbas was Muhammad’s cousin.  When Ali questioned him about the management of his province, ibn Abbas lied.  When ibn Abbas realized that Ali was investigating him he stole money from the people, he stole a great amount of money from the treasury, and made off with it.  When challenged by some Muslims during the theft, Ibn Abbas fought and killed them.  This man was to become recognized later as a great Islamic religious scholar, yet when the chips were down, he showed he had no true inward spirituality.  Instead he was a liar, thief, and murderer.


AISHA
            She was Muhammad’s favorite wife.  Later in life she narrated thousands of the traditions of Muhammad, which were to be used to establish Islamic doctrine.  Yet when it came to her relative Ali, she hated him so deeply that she rejoiced at his death!  There was no forgiveness, no reconciliation in their hearts.  Where is the good in her heart?  How does such hatred exist between the best Muslims?


IBN ABU BAKR AND IBN UMAR
            Here are the sons of the first two Caliphs.  Ibn Abu Bakr participated in the murder of Uthman — he was one of the leaders.  Ibn Umar fled to Syria as things began to heat up in the Hijaz.  As time when on, these men fought against each other.  How ironic.  What is going on in Islam when the children of the “rightly guided” Caliphs are trying to kill each other?  These children are the fruit of real Islam.  And we see in them as much carnality as we see in any group of carnal people.


BIBLIOGRAPHY


1)         al-Tabari, "The History of al-Tabari", (Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk), State University of New York Press, 1993

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PART SIX:  HUSAYN AND YAZID

ABU SUFYAN DEFEATS MUHAMMAD!


INTRODUCTION

            This is part 6 of the examination of the fruit of Islam’s “Royal Family.”   These will be the final people we examine since their fruit makes the final statement.  Additionally, I’ll also note two later events – events that most Muslims are not even aware.  Of course the Royal Family’s lineage continued to sink in sin and corruption, but upon this last review, the case is made.

            In part 5 of this series we examined the conflict between Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law, and Mu’awiyah, son of Muhammad’s chief enemy Abu Sufyan (prior to a coerced conversion).  We saw the feud between Abu Sufyan bloom again in the lives of Ali and Mu’awiyah.  There was war, thousands killed, and in the end, Ali’s grip on power crumbled.  Ali was murdered by fellow Muslims, and Ali’s enemies, including Muhammad’s beloved child-wife Aisha, gloated.  But the feud was not over.  Ali was survived by a number of family members, including Hasan and Husayn.

            We are judging Islam by its fruits and we need to see the extent of moral failure and spiritual sickness that existed in the hearts and minds of these early Muslims to see Islam's true failed spirituality.  The assumed spirituality of the early Muslims evaporated quickly after Muhammad died.  We’ve seen that in less than one generation, the leaders of Islam had become despots, murderers, liars, and thieves.  They were proud, envious, deceptive, duplicitous, hatful, and vengeful.  They used "Islam" as a weapon to attack other Muslims who did not see things their way.  These "Companions" of Muhammad were as corrupt as any organized-crime or criminal gang ever in existence.  The only difference was that they obeyed outward forms of religion, i.e. ritualistic prayers and observances.  Inwardly they were ravenous wolves.

            We close with 3 significant events in Islam's life:  Husayn and Yazid, the burning of the Kaba, and the stealing of the black stone from the Kaba.

            Again, I will use Tabari’s History, [3], volume 19 as my primary reference.  Tabari was one of the most prominent Muslim historians and scholars.  I will quote from other sources as noted. 


1)  Tabari composed his writings based upon various narratives or stories.  Thus one narrative will cover great details over a long time span, taking up many pages.  The following narrative will cover the same time period and usually repeats related details.  You will see that my selection of quotations will come from non-sequential page numbers, but they will relate to the same event chronologically.

2)  There are different English spellings for the same Arabic name, depending upon the source quoted.  Do not be confused by this. 

3)  I’ve endeavored to put all quotations in blue font.

4)  I’ve not quoted entire passages in full because some of the long narratives contain irrelevant details.  I’ve tried to denote this by the standard three dots  …


KEY PEOPLE

HUSAYN – Husayn was Muhammad’s grandson.  His father, Ali, had claimed the Caliphate following Uthman’s death and essentially lost his struggle with Mu'awiyah.  Following Ali’s death Husayn’s older brother, Hasan, claimed the Caliphate but later recognized Mu'awiyah as Caliph. 

YAZID – Yazid was Mu'awiyah’s son.  Before Mu'awiyah died, he moved to instill his son Yazid as Caliph.  Earlier, Mu'awiyah promised that upon his death, there would be a council to determine the next Caliph.  But he lied and installed Yazid as Caliph. 

ABDALLAH IBN AL-ZUBAYR – Ibn Zubayr was the son of Az-Zubayr, one of Muhammad’s most prominent Companions.  Following Husayn’s death Ibn Zubayr also claimed the Caliphate.  He died during another later civil war, in 692.

HASAN – Hasan attempted to lay hold of the Caliphate but things went wrong from the get-go.  His men deserted him, an assassination attempt severely wounded him, and finally, Mu'awiyah bribed him to accept him as Caliph, and promised there would be a council to determine the next Caliph.  Hasan received a fortune, and spent the remaining years of his life engaged in the pursuit of women.  He was nick-named something equivalent to “the divorcer” because he had from 60 to 90 wives, and 300 to 400 concubines.  He either died of a sickness or poisoning by one of his wives.  He died prior to Mu'awiyah so he never had another opportunity to claim the Caliphate.


THE SETTING


            After Mu'awiyah died his son Yazid claimed the Caliphate.  Ali’s son Husayn opposed Yazid and likewise claimed the Caliphate.  This led to war.  At this point Yazid was very powerful.  Ibn Zubayr refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid, and thus was also seen as a rebel. 


HUSAYN AND YAZID


            Mu'awiyah had died, but prior to his death he began to make arrangements for his son to assume the power of the Caliphate.  Mu'awiyah’s father Abu Sufyan had been a clever politician and worked to insure that his sons obtained positions of office.  Mu'awiyah was ever his father’s son, gained power for himself, and now that he was dying, moved to insure that his son – Yazid, gained the power.

Volume 19 of “The History of Tabari” focuses exclusively upon the succession of Yazid to the Caliphate, the opposition he faced, and how he dealt with that opposition.  The translator of volume 19, I.K.A. Howard provides several key details about the transition.  He notes,

            “According to both Baladhuri and Ibn A’tham, Muawiyah had agreed, in the treaty he made with al-Hasan b. Ali on the latter’s abdication, that there should be a consultative council (shura) to decide the succession after him.” …Therefore al-Husayn (Ali’s son), Ibn al-Zubayr (Zubayr’s son), and Ibn Umar (Umar’s son), could naturally have expected to have been among the group who decided on the next Caliph, and almost certainly that group would not have chosen Yazid.  What Yazid was doing – and his father seems to have tried to do the same toward the end of his life – was trying to preempt the shura by obtaining these men’s oaths of allegiance   (Pages xi, xii). 


            Tabari starts off by setting the stage…

            Yazid’s only concern, when he assumed power, was to receive the oath of allegiance form the individuals who had refused to agree with Muwayiya’s demand for this oath of allegiance to Yazid.  Muawiyah had summoned the people to give an oath of allegiance to him that Yazid would be his heir.  Yazid’s concern was to bring their attitude to an end.  Therefore he wrote to al-Walid (the governor of Medina, where those that opposed Yazid lived), “Seize Husayn, Abdallah b. Umar, and Abdallah b. al-Zubayr to give the oath of allegiance.  Act so fiercely that they have no chance to do anything before giving the oath of allegiance.”  (Pages 2, 3)


            No doubt Yazid was aware of all the trouble Ali and his family had caused his father and he was not going to put up with that.  Yazid moved forcefully to put an end to that conflict.  Yazid’s governor in Medina, al-Walid, also knew of the trouble his master faced and wanted to deal with it accordingly.  Al-Walid sent for a prominent advisor named Marwan (Marwan had been the Caliph Uthman’s advisor, and later Marwan was to become a Caliph).  Marwan gave his counsel to al-Walid…

            “I consider that you should send immediately to this group (the three that refused to give the oath of allegiance), and summon them to give the oath of allegiance and enter in to obedience.  If they do so, you should accept that from them and leave them alone.  If they refuse, you should take hold of them and execute them before they lean of the death of Muawiyah.  Indeed, if they learn of that, each one of them would rise up from a different direction, proclaim opposition and secession, and summon men to himself.  …  (page 3).


            After Zubayr and Husayn received their summons they conferred about it.   Husayn suspected what was up and said,

            “I have been wondering.  In my view their despot has perished, and he has sent for us to get the oath of allegiance from us before news spreads among the people.”  (page 4).

            Husayn went and met with Yazid’s governor al-Walid and Marwan and verbal conflict ensued.  Husayn left without giving the oath of allegiance.  al-Walid refused to kill Husayn and his followers.  Husayn and Zubayr, with various family members fled from Yazid and headed to Mecca.  On the way they met Abdallah Ibn Umar and Ibn Abbas and told them the situation.  Abdallah and Abbas decided to give allegiance to Yazid.


            However, even within the hearts of these two men, Husayn and Abdallah Zubayr, the lusts of the flesh for power over others lived…..

            “Yet Husayn was the most unwelcome of God’s creatures in the eyes of Ibn al-Zubayr because he realized that the people of the Hijaz would not give the oath of allegiance to him and follow him as long as Husayn was in the town.  In their eyes and hearts, al-Husayn was greater and more capable of commanding the people’s obedience than he.”  (page 23).


            Yazid was disappointed in al-Walid and dismissed him as Medina’s governor.  He appointed Amr Sa’id Ashdaq to be the governor.  Amr Sa’id appointed Amr b. al-Zubayr, brother to Abdallah b. Zubayr, to be in charge of the police and to confront Abdallah b. Zubayr.  Not surprisingly, these brothers were in conflict.  Then Amr seized a group of people who favored Husayn and Abdallah Zubayr, including Abdallah’s son, and had them flogged. 

            Amr Sa’id then sent Amr Zubayr to Mecca to confront his brother.  Marwan told Amr Sa’id to not fight his brother in Mecca, but Amr Zubayr interrupted and said,

            “By God!  Let us fight against him, and let us attack him in the heart of Kaba and let those who hate it, hate it.”  (page 12).


            Previously Muhammad forbid fighting in Mecca.  But Muhammad’s teachings mattered little when it came time for power, hatred, and killing.

            Amr Zubayr fought his brother near Mecca and was decisively defeated.  Amr was captured and Abdallah had him severely beaten and imprisoned.  Amr died. 


            Meanwhile the Kufans contacted Husayn and told him that they would give him, instead of Yazid or any other, the oath of allegiance.  Husayn investigated this and found…

            “they streamed to him (Husayn’s representative) to give he oath of allegiance.  Twelve thousand of them gave the oath of allegiance to him.”  (page 17).

            The Kufans wrote to Husayn and said,

“…Praise be to God Who has broken your enemy, the obstinate tyrant who had leapt upon his community, stripped it of its authority, plundered it booty, and seized control of it without its consent.  Then he killed the choice members of it and preserved the wicked members of this place.  He made God’s wealth something that circulates only among the community’s tyrants and the wealthy.  He was destroyed as Thamud was destroyed.  Here is no imam over us.  Therefore come, so God may unite us in the truth through you…  If we hear that you will agree to come to us, we will drive him away until we pursue him to Syria, if God wills…”


AQIL AND HANI


            Yazid realized that losing Kufa could lead to a greater conflict.  He asked the advice of his father’s Christian counselor, Sarjun, on how to deal with the problem.  The result was that Yazid authorized Ubaydallah b. Ziyad, (his ill-favored governor of Basra), to have authority over Kufa.  He also instructed Ubaydallah to murder a man named Muslim b. Aqil, (because Aqil was receiving the oath of allegiance in Kufa on Husayn’s behalf). 

            Husayn also contacted the people of Basra.  He sent a messenger with letters to the nobles there and solicited their support.  All of the nobles guarded that secret except one, al-Jarud.  Al-Jarud took the messenger and letter to Ubaydallah.  Ubaydallah read the letter and had the messenger beheaded.  He then spoke to the people of Basra and warned them of a violent end by killing them and their families and fellow tribesmen if they were to turn against him.

            Ubaydallah was shrewd, he went to Kufa, confused many people regarding his identity, bribed some, threatened others, and began to carry out his primary objective of undermining and eliminating the support for Husayn.  He ordered the people to write reports about troublemakers and strangers.  Those that refused to do so would be killed….

            “But those of you who do not write anyone will have no guarantee that there is no opponent in his irafah who will oppose us and no wrongdoer who will try to wrong us.  Anyone who does not do so will be denied protection, and his blood and his property will be permitted to us.”  (page 35)

            Muslim Aqil got wind as to what was happening and hid out with a friend named Hani.  However, Hani was betrayed and Ubaydallah found out where Aqil was staying.  Ubaydallah, with his men, went to Hani’s house and demanded he bring Muslim Aqil.    Hani refused, and Ubaydallah reacted….

            “Ubaydallah ordered that Hani be brought closer.  He was brought nearer, and Ubaydallah struck him on the forehead and cut it open.  …. Ubaydallah declared that God had made it permissible to take his blood and ordered him to be imprisoned in a part of the palace.  (page 19).


            An interesting dialog occurred between some of Ubaydallah’s men…

            Amr b. al-Hajjaj al-Zubaydi retorted, “A zebra that you lamed would be a stupid one.”  Umarah said, “Shall I tell you of something stupider than all this?  A man whose father was an unbeliever was brought to the Apostle of God.  He ordered him to be executed.  The man pleaded, “Muhammad, who will there be for the children?”  He answered, “Hell-fire.”  You are one of the children and you will be in Hell-fire.”  Ibn Ziyad laughed.  (page 20).

            How ironic that the son of a man murdered by Muhammad would play an important role in killing Muhammad’s grandchildren.  Al-Zubaydi later led troops that attacked Husayn.


            Ubaydallah was worried about revolt from the Iraqis.  He addressed the people with more threats…..

            “O people, hold fast to obedience to God and to your imams.  Do not cause division and discord, for you will be destroyed, humiliated, killed, harshly treated or deprived.”  (page 47).


            Muslim Aqil came with a large force of men to help Hani, but Ubaydallah out-smarted Aqil, through threatening and bribing the people, and slowly Aqil’s support evaporated.  Later Muslim Aqil was captured.  Aqil and Ubaydallah had a debase dialog, each cursing and accusing the other of every sin in the book.  In the end, Aqil died…

            (Ubaydallah) ordered that he (Muslim Aqil) should be taken to the top of the palace and executed.  Then his body was thrown down to the people.  He then ordered Hani to be dragged to al-Kunasah, and there he was crucified.  (page 21).


            Following these deaths, Ubaydallah had other men who refused to give allegiance to Yazid beheaded.

            Ubaydallah had the heads of Aqil and Hani sent to Yazid.  Yazid commended Ubaydallah, and instructed him to look for Husayn in Iraq.  (ref. page 64).


FRUIT OF ISLAM:  Murders carried out before actual crimes have been committed, family member and former friends now attack each other, Companions of Muhammad now kill each other.  Islam’s fruit had ripened. There was no discussion concerning who should be in power, there was no vote or voice of the people, there was no unity.  Rather, there was only the continual Islamic carnal lust for power.  It always overrode other Islamic precepts.  Just as in his quest for power, Muhammad had made up and broken the rules before, so now his followers murdered each other in the same quest.  All the while they cloaked their fleshly actions with religious garb.


THE DEATH OF HUSAYN

            Early on Husayn had received letters of Iraqi (Kufa) support and went there, thinking that the support continued.  He did not know that Ubaydallah had eliminated that support.  As he set out on his journey he encountered people who told him that the Kufans loved him, but their swords were for Yazid.  But being fatalistic, Husayn continued to Kufa.  (ref. page 73).

            About 19 miles outside of Kufa Husayn encountered a man who warned him to leave because Muslim Aqil had been killed and Kufa now supported Yazid.  Husayn still journeyed forward, his bitter end was not distant.

            Husayn encountered Ubaydallah’s cavalry shortly thereafter.  Husayn positioned his men near Karbala, a town on the south bank of the Euphrates river, just north of Kufa.  He had with him about 45 horsemen and 100 foot soldiers.

            Ubaydallah had put Umar Abi Waqqas and ordered him to move on Husayn.  Umar confronted Husayn and they dialoged.  Husayn presented three options to Umar:

            “Choose one of three possibilities:  Let me go back to where I came from; let me go to Yazid; or let me go and join one of the frontier posts.”  Umar accepted that, but Ubaydallah wrote to him:  “No, there will be no kindness until he has submitted to me personally.”  Al-Husayn said, “No, by God!  That will never be.”
            Then Umar fought against him.  All al-Husayn’s followers were killed, among whom were more than ten young men from his family.  An arrow came and struck his baby son while he had him in his lap.  He began to wipe the blood from him, saying, “O God!  Judge between us and a  people who asked us to come so that they might help us and then killed us.”  He called for a striped cloak, tore it and then put it on. He took out his sword and fought until he was killed.  A man of the tribe of Madhhij killed him and cut off his head.  He took it to Ubaydallah …
            (Ubaydallah) sent him to Yazid b. Mu’awiyah and with him he sent the head.  He put his head in front of him.  With him was Abu Barzah al-Azlami.  Yazid began to poke the mouth with a cane, as he recited:

            “Swords split the skulls of men who are dear
                        to us, but they were more disobedient and oppressive.”

            Abu Barzah cried out to him.  “Take your cane away.  By God!  How often have I seen the Apostle of God kiss that mouth!”  (pages 75, 76).


            During the course of the battle a number of interesting dialogs took place.  They are recorded in various narratives.  I cannot list them all but I can list some that portray Islam’s degradation up to this point.

            “I am al-Jamali.  I believe in the religion of Ali.”  A man called Muzahim b. Hurayth came against him, crying, “I follow the religion of Uthman.”  Nafi replied, “Rather you follow the religion of Satan.”  Then he attacked and killed him.  (pages 136, 137).

            From the quote above we see how the Muslims had divided their faith into sects that followed one leader or another.

            Even Husayn’s womenfolk were not impervious to the violence….

            The wife of Abdallah b. Umayr al-Kalbi went out to her husband.  She sat by his head rubbing it with earth, saying, “May you enjoy heaven.”  Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawsha said to a servant called Rustam, “Beat her head with a tent pole.”  He struck her head and smashed it.  She died where she was.  (page 141).


            The details of Husayn’s actual death are fairly gruesome.

            Al Husayn remained there for a long time during that day.  Whenever one of the people came against him, he would turn aside from him and was unwilling to be responsible for his death and such a dreadful sin. A man from the Banu Badda of Kindah called Malik b. al-Nusayr came against him and struck him on the head with his sword.  Al-Husayn was wearing a hooded cloak.  He sword cut through the hood of the cloak and wounded his head.  The cloak became covered with blood.  (page 153).

            When al-Husayn sat down, he was brought his young child.  He sat the babe on his knee. … “Al-Husayn was brought his young child; he was on his knee.  Then one of you, Banu Asad, shot an arrow that slaughtered the child.  Al-Husayn caught the blood in his hand.  When the palm of his hand was full, he poured the blood onto the ground and said, “O Lord, if it be that You have kept the help of heaven from us, then let it be because Your purpose is better than immediate help.  Take vengeance for us on these oppressors.”  (page 154).

            When Husayn’s camp was overrun, he rode toward the dam, trying to reach the Euphrates.  One of the Banu Aban b. Darim shouted, “Woe upon you!  Prevent him from getting to the water.  Don’t let his Shiah get to him.”  He whipped his horse, and the people followed him so that they prevented al-Husayn from getting to the Euphrates.  Then al-Husayn cried out, “O God!  Make him thirsty!”  The Albani took out and arrow and lodged it in al-Husayn’s throat.  Al-Husayn pulled out the arrow and held out the palms of his hands.  Both were filled with blood.  Then al-Husayn said, “O God!  I complain to you about what is being done to the son of the daughter of your Prophet.”  (page 157).

            There was a long delay through the day.  If the people had wanted to kill him, they could have done so but each of them was averting the action; each hoped the other would kill al-Husayn.  Each of them preferred that the others should do the deed.  Then Shamir shouted among the people, “Shame on you!  Why are you waiting for the man?  Kill him, may your mothers be deprived of you!:”  So an attack was launched against him on every side.  A blow was struck against his left hand by Zur’ah b. Sharik al-Tamimi.  It hit him on his shoulder.  They withdrew while he was falling and stumbling.  As he was in the plight, Sinan b. Anas b. Amr al-Nakha’I attacked him and stabbed him with his spear.  He fell.  Sinan told Khawali b. Yazid al-Asbahi to cut off his head.  The latter wanted to do so but he was weak; he trembled.  Sinan b. Anas said to him, “May God crush your arms and take away your hands.”  He bent down, killed him and cut his head off.  It was, then, handed to Khawali b. Yazid.

            Before that al-Husayn had been struck by many swords….

            When al-Husayn was killed, there were thirty three stab wounds and thirty four blows.  …

            The body of al-Husayn was plundered as it was.  Bahr b. Ka’b took his trousers.  Qays b. al-Ashath took his cloak.  It was silken, and he was afterward called Qays of the cloak.  One of the Banu Awd called al-Aswad took his sandals, and one of the Banu Nahshal b. Darim took his sword.  Later it came into the possession of the family of Habib b. Budayl.
            The people turned to the turmeric [that Husayn had earlier stolen from a passing caravan], the garments and the camels; they plundered them.  The people turned to the womenfolk of al-Husayn, his baggage, and equipment.  The women had their clothes ripped off their backs, they were forcibly deprived of them and they were taken away from them.  (pages 160, 161).


            The series of following events also depict how depraved and brutal the Muslims were, even toward Muhammad’s progeny. 

            Then Umar b. Sa’d called out among his followers, “Who will volunteer to go to al-Husayn and make his horse trample on al-Husayn’s body?  Ten volunteered.  … They trampled on the body of al-Husayn with their horses until they had crushed his back and his chest.  (page 163).

            Among the things that I will never forget:  I will never forget the words of Zaynab, the daughter of Fatimah, as she passed the prostrate body of her brother, al-Husayn.  She was saying, “O Muhammad!  O Muhammad!  May the angels of heaven bless you.  Here is Husayn in the open, stained with blood and with limbs torn off.  O Muhammad!  Your daughters are prisoners, your progeny are killed, and the east wind blows dust over them.”  By God!  She made every enemy and friend weep.  (page 164).

            … There was the head of al-Husayn placed in front of him (Ubaydallah).  There he was, poking between its teeth with a cane.  When Zayd b. Arqam saw that he continued to poke the head with his cane, he said, “Raise that cane from those teeth, for by God other than Whom there is no god, I have seen the lips of the Apostle of God kill those lips.”  Then the old man began to weep.  Ibn Ziyad (Ubaydallah) said, “May God make your eyes weep, for by God, if it were not for the fact that you are an old man, who has become silly and your mind has left you, I would cut off your head.    (page 165).

            Ubaydallah said to her (Zaynab – Muhammad’s granddaughter), “Praise be to God, Who has disgraced you, killed you and revealed the false nature of your claims.”  Zaynab replied, “Praise be to God, Who has favored us with Muhammad and has purified us completely from sin.  It is not as you say, for He only disgraces the great sinner and reveals the false nature of the profligate.”  He asked, “How do you consider God has treated your family?”  She replied, “God decreed death for them, and they went forward to their resting places.    (pages 165, 166).

            When Ubaydallah had entered the palace, and the people had entered, the call “the prayer is general” was made and the people gathered in the great mosque.  Ibn Ziyad ascended the pulpit.  He said, “Praise be to God, Who has revealed the truth and the followers of truth.  He has given victory to the Commander of the faithful, Yazid b. Mu’awiyah, and his party.  He has killed the liar who is the son of a liar, al-Husayn b. Ali, and his Shiah.”  (page 167).


            Later, Ubaydallah sent Husayn’s head to Yazid.  More important anecdotes need to be mentioned.

            In Yazid’s hand there was a cane and he was poking it into al-Husayn’s mouth. … Then he said, “

            “Swords split the skulls of men who are dear
                        to us, but they were more disobedient and oppressive.”

            One of the Companions of the Apostle of God called Abu Barzah al-Aslami, cried out, “Are you poking the mouth of al-Husayn with your cane?  Take your cane away from his mouth.  How often have I seen the Apostle of God kiss it!  As for you, Yazid, you will com forward on he Day of Resurrection, and Ibn Ziyad will be your advocate.  But this man will come forward on the Day of Resurrection, and Muhammad will be his advocate.”  (page 176).

Abdallah Ibn al-Zubayr


            Ibn Zubayr also wanted to be Caliph.  However, he knew he was behind Husayn in terms of prestige.  He was glad to see Husayn go to Kufah, and he probably was happy to see him killed.  That opened the door for him to claim the Caliphate, opposing Yazid.  After word got out that Husayn was killed, Ibn Zubayr made his move. He gave a public speech in Mecca, denouncing Husayn’s killing and Yazid.  Zubayr’s friends and supporters urged him to claim the Caliphate.

            Ibn al-Zubayr’s companions rose to him and declared, “Man, make public your acceptance of the oath of allegiance to you, for no one remains now that Husayn is dead who can dispute this affair with you.”  The people had been giving the oath of allegiance to him secretly, while he was saying publicly that he was seeking refuge at the Sacred Mosque.  He told them not to be too hasty….. Ibn al-Zubayr became more powerful in Meccan and the people of Medina wrote to him.  The people said that since al-Husayn had been destroyed, there was no one who could dispute with ibn al-Zubayr.  (pages 190, 191).


            Over time, Zubayr’s position became stronger, and his smoldering rebellion grew in strength.  Finally the rebellion brought forth flames.  Yazid realized that he had another rebellion on his hands, and moved to crush it….

            “Yazid wrote to Ibn Marjanah, “Attack Ibn al-Zubayr.”  (page 204).

            Yazid sent his army against Zubayr.  The old veteran general Muslim b. Uqbah was in command, with Husayn b. Numayr al-Sakuni as his second in command.  Yazid ordered them to give the rebels in Medina 3 days do agree with the demands.  After that they are to fight them.  Husayn’s son, Ali, was to be left alone and unharmed. 

            Uqbah arrived at Medina and announced to the people those stipulations…..

            When the three days had passed, he said, “What are you going to do?  Are you going to make peace or are you going to fight?”  “No, we will fight.”  He pleaded with them, “Don’t do this.  Rather enter into obedience, and we will use our vehemence and our weapons against this man (Zubayr, in Mecca), who deviates from the truth, to whom heretics and libertines have gathered from every side.  (page 208).

            The Medinans fought with Uqbah’s troops.  This was called “The Battle of al-Harrah.”  They put up a good fight but eventually were defeated.  Uqbah allowed Medina to be sacked for 3 days.  Some reports detail that many Medinans were massacred.  How ironic that the city that Muhammad used as his base to plunder, rape, terrorize, and destroy other peoples was now being plundered, its women raped, and town destroyed by his followers!  Muhammad’s mosque was turned into a stable, public buildings, including schools, were destroyed.  There were still a few of Muhammad’s Companions living at that time, and they were filled with fear and some fled.  Just as they had terrorized and murdered others, now they were terrorized and murdered!  The “The History of Islam”, by R. Payne, [4], notes that after this sacking, Medina, which had been the capital of the Islamic empire, became little more than a wilderness, (page 127).

            Uqbah had some of the rebels beheaded.  Even Uthman’s (the third righteous-guided Caliph) son, Amr was tortured by Uqbah, but not killed.


            After the 3 days of pillaging Medina, Uqbah led Yazid’s troops against Mecca.  Remember, Muhammad ordered strictly that no fighting was to take place in Mecca.  Only Muhammad was allowed by God to fight in Mecca for a few hours so that he could have killed some slave women who had previously mocked him, a man who realized the Quran was a sham, and a few others who rejected Islam.  But just a few years after Muhammad’s order prohibiting fighting, the Supreme Ruler of the Muslims was about to break that command, and fight in Mecca.

            Just as they arrived outside of Mecca, Uqbah died.  He had been sick for some time, and was in great pain during the battle of Harrah.  Now death introduced itself to him.  Before he died, he al-Sakuni to him and gave him command of the troops.  Some of his final words, in a prayer to Allah were,

            “O God!  After testifying that there is no god by God and that Muhammad is His servant and Apostle, I have never done anything that I like better than my killing of the people of Medina or anything that I hope to be of such advantage to me in the Hereafter.”  (page 222).


            Yazid’s troops fought with Zubayr’s and defeated them.  However, Zubayr withdrew and the Syrians did not pursue.  Instead of another frontal confrontation, the Syrians laid siege to Mecca.  They used catapults against the city…

            … they hurled stones and wood at the Sacred House (the Kaba), with ballistae and they set it on fire.  (page 223).

            They were causing fires to be lit around the Kabah.  There was a spark, which the wind blew; it set fire to the veil of the Kabah and burned the wood of the Sacred House….  (page 224).

            Payne notes,

            During the bombardment the Kaaba was burned to the ground, and the Black Stone split into three pieces.  The Kaaba resembled “the torn bosoms of mourning women,” says Tabari, meaning perhaps that the ruins were thick with the blood of the Meccans who had pitched their tents around it in the hope of being able to defend it.  Abdallah wrapped the three pieces of the Black Stone in brocade and kept it in his house.  (page 127).

            There are conflicting stories as to how the Kabah caught on fire.  The point is that it was due to the fighting in Mecca that Allah’s house was burned and the revered Black Stone, reputed to have been sent by Allah to earth as a white stone, but turned black by the sins of men, had been broken. 

            And, during this time another significant event occurred…

            He (Sakuni) besieged Ibn al-Zubayr for sixty days until news of the death of Yazid b. Mu’awiyah reached him at the beginning of Rabi al-Akhir (the end of November).  In this year (64/683) the Kabah was set on fire. …. He was 38 (or 39) years of age.  (pages 224 and 225).


            What an odd turn of events.  Muslim leaders were busy fighting and killing each other and then the victors began to die as well!  Zubayr had escaped death for the time being.

            Also, I find it strange that supposedly Allah who prohibited other people from sacking his house (The Battle of the Elephants), now allowed it to be burned and damaged.  And, this was to happen again.


            Ibn Zubayr had gained respite.  Yazid’s son succeeded his father, but the son died of the plague two months later.  The people of Damascus turned to another branch of the Umayad family for a new Caliph. Those chose Marwan ibn-Hakam, who was Uthman’s right hand man.  However, he died 9 months later.  Payne notes:

            In a single year three Caliphs had died, and all of them brought ruin on their empire.  (page 127).

            Marwan’s son, Abd al-Malik succeeded his father.  Malik was a despot’s despot.  His reputation for harsh brutality rivaled any 20th century dictator.  Malik moved against his many enemies and crushed them.  This included Ibn Zubayr.  Ibn Zubayr was killed by the Syrian army while defending Mecca in 73 AH.


THE STEALING OF THE BLACK STONE


            This event does not qualify as fruit of Islam’s Royal Family.  However, because of its outrageousness, I believe that all people, interested in Islam, need to know this.  I put this material here to likewise show Islam’s further depravity. 

            Around 930 AD, the Islamic empire was vast but it was beset by many internal problems.  Serious problems such as revolts.  One successful revolt was led by a man named Hamdan Qarmat.  He was an Iraqi peasant.  He led an uprising that gained incredible momentum and power.  Eventually they defeated the other Muslims that opposed them and they moved on Mecca.

            Payne notes,

            On January 12, 930, they occupied Mecca itself, after a rapid march across the uplands of Najd.  The swords of the Qarmatians struck mercilessly at the unresisting crowds of Meccans who thronged the narrow streets, and the slaughter did not cease until 30,000 corpses were littered over the sacred city.  The holy well of Zamzam was choked with the bodies of the dead.  They removed the “kiswa”, the cloth covering the Kaaba, and smashed the Black Stone, removing the pieces to their capital at al-Ahsa.  The terrified Abbasids (the other ruling Muslims), were powerless to prevent the Qarmatians from destroying whatever they desired to destroy.  (page 187).


            The black stone was later returned to the Kaaba.

            The point to all of this is that Islam is a depraved religion.  History records that its followers used it to gain power.  Here Muslims themselves damaged and destroyed objects that are highly venerated.  Here Muslims broke Muhammad’s commands that no fighting be allowed in Mecca.  Rather they murdered 30,000 Meccan Muslims in one day! 


SUMMARY


            These last examined members of Islam’s Royal Family exhibit all the sinfulness and carnality of their forefathers.  Mu'awiyah lying to Hasan, and others, about the transition of power after his death, Hasan giving up his quest for power via a bribe and living the rest of his life in debauchery, Husayn sacrificing his life, his family member’s lives, and follower’s lives, all for the pursuit of power, and Ibn Zubayr, biding his time, hoping for Husayn’s death, and then attempting the same power grab.  These sins are all found in the Bible’s description:  “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”
            There were many brutal events that I did not detail.  And, as time goes on, Islam become darker.  Wherever Islam went, rivers of blood followed.


DISCUSSION


            What amazed me at reading this was that how effortlessly Muslims killed Muhammad’s family, destroyed Medina, and killed Muhammad’s companions.  They lied, stole, deceived each other, and killed each other.  There was no real spiritual aim to all of this.  All of these men only cared about power.  Yes, they obeyed the external forms of Islam, but Jesus addressed similar people:


MT 23:27 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

            These corrupt Muslims may have looked good on the outside, but inwardly they were spiritually dead.

            These Muslims were so embittered, so calloused, so filled with hate, that they even moved to destroy the “House of God”, i.e. the Kaba in Mecca.  No longer did Muhammad’s teachings matter.  What mattered was that Muslims were going to kill other Muslims who challenged their claim to power.  To this day, that, not the Quran, not Muhammad, but that surge of violence against any challenge to their power, is Islam’s true legacy.


QUESTION - CHALLENGE TO THE MUSLIM


            Doesn’t it trouble you that these early Muslims, many of whom knew Muhammad to one degree or another, spilt each other’s blood so easily?  Doesn’t it challenge your faith to know that Muslims damaged / destroyed the Kaba – even broke then later stole the Black Stone, in early Islamic history?  Can’t you see that there is something seriously wrong with Islam when the earliest of followers so quickly became murderers and despots?  Where were the teachings of the Quran?  Where were Muhammad’s injunctions?  Why were they so easily cast aside?


BIBLIOGRAPHY

1)         al-Tabari, "The History of al-Tabari", (Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk), State University of New York Press  1993
2)         Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan
3)         The Bible, New International Version, pub. by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
4)         Payne, Robert, “The History of Islam”, Dorset Press, New York, 1990




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PART SEVEN

CONCLUSION:  THE FRUIT OF ISLAM JUDGED


 The Quran, 8:63  The Spoils
He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers.  And He has united their (i.e. believers') hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them.  Certainly He is All-Mighty, All-Wise.   [2]


INTRODUCTION


         This is the last part in a series that examines the fruit of Islam’s Royal Family.  There is no “Royal Family” in Islam as exists in England.  However, in early Islam, Muhammad’s family and “Companions” held a special, recognized status.  Unique distinction, respect, and authority were given to this group of people that I’ve chosen to identify as Islam’s “Royal Family”.  I’m examining the lives of his immediate family and some of the prominent leaders of the early Islamic community in order to evaluate Islam.

         In Matthew 7:15 – 20, Jesus taught:
         "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.   By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.   A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

         I assert that if anyone were to live as a true Muslim it should have been these, and that by these people’s actions, i.e. those closest to Muhammad, we will be able to judge Islam’s fruit.

         Further, I have specifically focused upon how they related to each other.  For the most part, I have not described the brutalities they’ve inflicted upon non-Muslims.  Only once or twice have I detailed their cruelty towards non-Muslims.  Accordingly, I’ve examined in detail the accounts of their lives as told by the great Islamic scholar and historian Tabari.  Additionally I’ve used work from other sources as needed. 


FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Hadith of Sahih Bukhari, 2.428:   [3]
Narrated 'Uqba bin 'Amir:
…By Allah! I am not afraid that you will worship others along with Allah after my death, but I am afraid that you will fight with one another for the worldly things."


Sahih Bukhari 7.458:
Narrated Abu Bakra:
…"Your blood, properties and honor are as sacred to one another as this day of yours in this town of yours in this month of yours. You will meet your Lord, and He will ask you about your deeds. Beware! Do not go astray after me by cutting the necks of each other. It is incumbent upon those who are present to convey this message to those who are absent, for some of those to whom it is conveyed may comprehend it better than some of those who have heard it directly."   


KEY PEOPLE


         I’m going to present a short summarization of the lives and questionable deeds of these early Muslims.  They have been examined previously at more length in this series.  Note - as I reviewed the actions of these early Muslims I was struck again by how cold-hearted and brutally they treated each other.   For length’s sake I will omit specific brutalities carried out by lesser “Companions”.  I will try to present the most important cruelties. 

THE SETTING


         Muhammad died and the lives of his followers changed drastically.  Now they were free to be who they were without Muhammad’s commanding presence and authority.  They now had greater liberty to choose for themselves and do as they saw fit.  It is no great feat for the servant to obey in his master’s presence, but how does the servant act when the master is long gone?


SUMMARY


         Below is the review of the “Royal Family”.  I’ll not repeat all the details given in previous sections. 


ALI’S FRUIT

         Ali was Muhammad’s son in law, he was married to Muhammad’s daughter Fatima.  Ali was raised by Muhammad starting at the age of five.  At the battle of Khaibar Muhammad attested to Ali’s love of Allah, and Allah’s love of Ali.  Ali was the fourth of the “rightly guided Caliphs.”  Ali had two sons:  Hasan and Husayn (both are important later on).  Eventually Ali became a co-Caliph.  A few years later he was murdered by a fellow Muslim.
         The day after Muhammad’s death, Ali’s greed surfaced and he demanded that Abu Bakr give him a share of Muhammad’s ample wealth.  His greed motivated him to move against Muhammad’s commands regarding his inheritance.  Abu Bakr refused and Ali was enraged.  He even stated that Muhammad himself did not know the Quran (in this Ali was correct) because the Quran details prophets leaving an inheritance to their sons (as does the Old Testament).  As a result, Ali hated Abu Bakr deeply.  He thought Abu Bakr to be “sinful, treacherous, dishonest, and a liar.”  Remember, Abu Bakr was Islam’s 1st “Rightly Guided” Caliph. Obviously Ali did not think he was so “rightly guided!”  When Muhammad’s daughter Fatima died, Ali was so embittered towards Abu Bakr that he did not bother to tell him, rather he buried Fatima in secret.  Ali was censored by the people for his hatred towards Abu Bakr, therefore he went through the false motions of reconciliation with Abu Bakr to regain favor with the Muslim community.
         Following Abu Bakr’s death, Ali made the same financial demands upon Umar.  Umar told Ali to his face that he knew he hated him and that he knew Ali thought him to be a “sinful treacherous dishonest liar”. However, under Ali’s pressure, Umar relented, compromised Muhammad’s commands, made some trite stipulations, and gave a share of the wealth to Ali. 

         Following Uthman’s murder Ali did not attempt to punish the murderers.  Instead he acted lamely, claiming he did not have sufficient force to deal with the murderers.  Later when he had ample troops, instead of punishing Uthman’s murderers, he incorporated them into his service.

         After he became Caliph he used compulsion and forced az-Zubayr and Talha to give him allegiance.  When it became apparent that not all thought he should be Caliph, instead of working to keep unity within the Islamic community, he demanded allegiance.  His lust for power caused him to go to war to force all Muslims to obey him.  This caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Muslims through various battles.  Later, Ali murdered Muslims who had converted to Islam, realized it was a big mistake, and reverted back to Christ.


FATIMA’S FRUIT

         One of Muhammad’s daughters, later married to Ali.  The day after her father died, she went against her father’s wishes and demanded a share of his wealth.  She hated Abu Bakr for refusing her demand.  She thought him to be a “sinful, treacherous, dishonest, liar.” She died some 6 months after Muhammad died.


IBN ABBAS’ FRUIT

         Like Ali and Fatima, Ibn Abbas was greedy and made a demand upon Abu Bakr, and later Umar, for the inheritance.  Ibn Abbas thought them to be “sinful, treacherous, dishonest, liars.”  He did not care to respect Muhammad’s wishes.  In his lust for the money, he even cursed Ali in front of Umar.  Later in life he betrayed Ali, stole from the public treasury, lied about his actions, and murdered those that opposed him.


ABU SUFYAN’S FRUIT

         Abu Sufyan should not be considered as part of the Royal family or one of the best Muslims.  However, he became prominent even during Muhammad’s lifetime.  I’ve noted him here because of the position his sons were to occupy later.  After forcing Abu Sufyan to convert to Islam, Muhammad gave him financial rewards for accepting Islam and foolishly appointed him as a governor over a city.  Muhammad’s corrupt folly here proved to be fatal to his own family not many years later.

         Islam’s Royal family knew of Sufyan’s intentions, for they heard him say, By God, I see a cloud of smoke,” which nothing but blood will clear”,  but they did nothing to check this.  And, Sufyan’s prophecy proved true.  Sufyan held malice against Abu Bakr and denigrated the choice of Bakr as Caliph.  He considered himself and his clan to be superior to Abu Bakr.  Later, his family destroyed Muhammad’s family, and took the Caliphate for themselves.


AL-ZUBAYR’S FRUIT


         He was a very  prominent Muslim, a close friend of Muhammad’s, and a leader in the Islamic community.  After Muhammad died, he was willing to murder those that opposed Ali as Caliph.  However, he desired the Caliphate and when he thought the time was right he rebelled against Ali.  His leadership also caused the deaths of thousands of Muslims in the Battle of the Camel.


UTHMAN’S FRUIT

         Uthman was the 3rd “Rightly Guided Caliph”.  His caliphate marked the inward deterioration of the Islamic community.  By this time, Muhammad’s empty legalistic rule had run its course and the Muslim community began to live in the flesh to the fullest.  Uthman was a weak, corrupt leader and allowed the corruption to flourish throughout the Islamic empire.  Uthman was murdered by Muslims, Abu Bakr’s son was one of the ringleaders of the murder.  When his final crisis occurred, he lied to Ali and the people by saying he wanted time to set good things in order.  Instead he prepared for war.


TALHA’S FRUIT

         Another prominent Muslim, a close friend of Muhammad’s, and a leader in the Islamic community.   He his desire for the Caliphate he rebelled against Ali.  His leadership also caused the deaths of thousands of Muslims in the Battle of the Camel.


MUAWIYAH’S FRUIT


         Muawiyah was Abu Sufyan’s son and was appointed to the governorship of Syria by Umar.  He went to war with Ali.  He later became the 5th Caliph of Islam.  He treated Uthman with duplicity by not sending help when he needed it most.  In his deceit and lust for power he rebelled against Ali.  He led thousands of Muslims to their deaths in his war with Ali.  He lied about seeking peace while all the while he moved against Ali. Later he lied to Hasan in promising Hasan that he would have a council held to determine the next Caliph.  Instead, prior to his death, he installed his son Yazid as Caliph.


AISHA’S FRUIT


         She was Muhammad’s 9 year old child bride.  She hated Ali for most of her life.  She was one of the leaders in Islam’s first civil war.  She had previously despised Uthman, but she used his murder as a pretense to move against Ali.  Her hatred and rebellion toward Ali led to the deaths of some 15,000 Muslims.  In her bitterness towards Ali, she rejoiced when Ali was murdered. 


HASAN’S FRUIT


         Hasan was Ali’s older son and initially claimed the Caliphate for himself following his father’s murder.  However, just as things went wrong for Ali, so things deteriorated for Hasan very quickly.  He sold out his “birthright” for a large sum of money.  Thereafter he spent his wealth on debauchery with women.


YAZID’S FRUIT


         Yazid was Muawiyah’s son.  By using threat of death Yazid tried to force many Muslims to accept his Caliphate.  Those that refused were tortured and killed.  Entire towns of people were persecuted and oppressed.  Yazid was a drunkard.  It was Yazid’s forces that killed Husayn.  Yazid, the Caliph of Islam desecrated the head of Muhammad’s grandson – Husayn.  He was rebuked by another Muslim who told him that he had seem Muhammad kiss the lips of that severed head!


ABDALLAH IBN AL-ZUBAYR’s FRUIT

         Ibn Zubayr was the son of Az-Zubayr, one of Muhammad’s most prominent Companions.  Following Husayn’s death Ibn Zubayr also claimed the Caliphate.  He died during another later civil war in 692.  Ibn Zubayr was the son of one of the most prominent Companions.  When he was persecuted by Yazid he fled as Husayn but even in this dire time, jealousy of Husayn and selfish ambition ruled in his heart.  Deep down he coveted the prize of ruling the Muslims as Caliph. 


THE ISLAMIC COMMUNITY’S FRUIT


         We must not forget how the Islamic community behaved after Muhammad’s death.  The day after Muhammad died they nearly came to war trying to choose the next Caliph.  The Muslims were already ready to fight and kill each other.  As things deteriorated under Uthman’s reign, from all over the Islamic empire they rebelled against him and journeyed to Medina to fight him.  In the end many of Uthman’s closest friends deserted him.  The son of the 2nd Rightly guided Caliph – Abu Bakr, was one of the ringleaders in Uthman’s murder.  Following that, these renegade Muslims threatened Medina with annihilation if they did not quickly choose another Caliph.  Throughout the times sons of Caliphs fought against sons of other Caliphs.  Even the sons of a prominent Companion (Az-Zubayr) hated and fought against each other. During Ali’s through Yazid’s reign the Muslims fought war after war, carried out assassinations, rebelled against and betrayed each other.  As time wore on they made war in Mecca and destroyed their own Kaba.  Thousands of Basrans died, thousands of Kufans died, thousands of Syrians died, thousands of Meccans died, thousands of Medinans died, thousands of Yemenis died, and thousands of Egyptians died.  The early Muslims were no more dependable and virtuous than a nest of poisonous snakes.



DISCUSSION


         We should have seen some type of brotherhood and fellowship among this “Royal Family.”  Instead we’ve only seen war, hatred, envy, lies and deceit, bitterness, and massive bloodshed in the lust for power.  I am not objecting to strong disagreement.  I am objecting to the wholesale slaughter, the cruel brutalities, the bitter oppression of these early Companion visited upon other Muslims.  There is little spiritual fruit worth noting. Instead of spiritually building these people up, Islam poisoned them.  Little by little the Islamic poison worked in the spiritual bloodstream of these Muslims and corrupted them.  Many would have been better off in the paganism of their forefathers.


THE FRUIT OF ISLAM TODAY


         Stop for a minute and examine the Islamic world today.   What do you see?  Just like the early Muslims, the more Islamic a nation is, the more oppression, violence, and brutality is levied by one Muslim against another, and against non-Muslims.  Let’s do a review.  I am writing most of these details as general summaries.  The reader is encouraged to dig deeper and see just how brutally these Muslims treat each other and how they interact with non-Muslims.


AMERICA

         In 1993, Muslims bombed the NY towers, damaging them and killing a handful of people.  In 2001 a gang of Muslims flew planes into the towers and Pentagon killing some 3000 people.   Later, a Muslim in LA murdered people in an airport, and a Muslim sniper murdered 10 people in the DC area.   Many Muslims have been investigated and found to be connected to terrorist organizations.  Some of these Muslims are home grown American citizens.

RUSSIA

         Chechen Muslims blew up apartment buildings in Moscow prompting the Russian authorities to take action against them in the homeland of Chechnya.  Recently a group of Chechen Muslims took hostage several hundred people in a theater.

EUROPE

         During the 1980 and 90s, in England, Germany, and France, Muslims carried out bombings, killing dozens.

IRAN

         After the Ayatollah came to power, tens of thousands of Bahais were murdered, and hundreds of Christians were killed.  Moderate Muslims were killed by the hundreds.  Not content with that the Islamic regime sent its killers into Europe to murder Muslim Iranian dissidents.

EGYPT

         The “Muslim Brotherhood” has murdered hundreds of moderate Muslims and Christians.  They attacked and destroyed many churches.  Additionally they’ve machine-gunned down some 45 European tourists in Karnac.

ALGERIA

         The Algerians have been fighting a civil war for the last 10 years or so.  The death count is near 120,000.  The fundamentalist Muslims have wiped out villages of farmers, slitting the throats of children and throwing them down wells.  Non-Muslims and moderate Muslims have been murdered throughout the civil war.  In one case, these Muslims have murdered 4 nuns and Korean businessmen.  The violence there continues to this day.

 AFGHANISTAN

         Following the retreat of the Russians, the Afghanis continued fighting amongst themselves.  Their civil war has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of fellow Muslims.  While in power the Taliban massacred thousands of Shiite Muslims, including women and children.

TURKEY

         The Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah is strong within the Kurdish community in Turkey.  They’ve murdered hundreds of moderate and liberal Kurds who have refused to support them.  Various Islamic groups have assassinated moderate and liberal Muslims who oppose them.

YEMEN

         Yeminis have carried out bombing attacks on ships killing both American and French personnel.  Additionally Islamic groups there have carried out bombings of shopping centers and the murder of tourists.

SUDAN

         Muslims in Sudan have made war upon Christians and animists for the last 20 years or so.  Some 2 million people have died as a result.  Slavery is thriving in Sudan. 

SOMALIA

         Clan warfare dominates this country.  One Muslim ruler runs roughshod over another Muslim group.  Women and children are routinely killed.  Young boys are forced to join in with the clan warfare.  And while the Somalis were starving to death, the Saudis, not many miles distant, did next to nothing to help their starving Muslim brethren.

SAUDI ARABIA

         Sunni Muslims have attacked and killed dozens of Shiite Muslims who differ with the offical Sunni doctrines.  Additionally Ismaili Muslims are also persecuted by the Sunni authorities.

PHILIPPINES

         Muslims there have bombed and murdered Philippinos in Manilla and other towns.  Tourists and missionaries have been kidnapped and murdered.  Hand grenades have been thrown into town and church services.

EAST TIMOR

         Indonesia attacked and conquered East Timor and carried out murders and massacres for many years thereafter.  Only recently did the East Timoreese win their freedom from the brutal Muslim regime.  They endured a long and costly civil war to win their precious freedom.

PALESTINE

         Muslims there routinely murder other Muslims, Christians, and Jews.  Hundreds have died at the hands of the Muslim terrorist – suicide bombers.


         I could go on and on and on.  Search it out for yourself.  Pick any Muslim nation or nation that has devout Muslims living within.  You’ll find murder, oppression, terrorism and so on.  The sickness is from Islam.  It corrupts and destroys people.



COMMENT AND QUESTIONS


1)      Back to the main topic – the fruit of the early “Royal Family.”   What would you expect to see from the closest followers of a “prophet” of a new religion?  If they believed Islam was true, and that it was God’s path for mankind, I would expect to see some type of inner spirituality, and bonds of brotherhood form.  We’ve seen that actually the opposite occurred.

         Why didn’t the early Muslims obey Muhammad’s commands to treat each other properly?

         Why did Allah fail to knit their hearts together?  The statement in the Quran:

And He has united their (i.e. believers') hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them.  Certainly He is All-Mighty, All-Wise. (8:63)

         certainly has not borne out.  If anything it is a false statement.  Pretty shoddy job done by “allah” if you ask me.  I’d expect that Islam’s supreme being could have done a better job at fulfilling his word that what history records.  Allah must have been quite weak if he was unable to do what was implicitly promised.  If anything, God cursed Islam and made them exquisite biters and devourers of each other.

2)      Muslims repeat over and over that Islam is a religion of peace.  I ask, “Where and when?”  Even during the heyday of Islamic civilization, they were engaged in civil wars and conquests of non-Muslims.  Peace was a rare commodity in the Islamic world.  Islam is not now, nor has it ever been, a religion of peace.  When Muslims were not fighting non-Muslims, be they Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, animist, or pagan, the Muslims were fighting each other.

3)      What’s it going to take for people, including Muslims to wake up and realize just how deeply Islam has polluted their souls?

CONCLUSION


         Jesus taught that external forms of religion were of little value.  Muhammad never truly knew this.  Muhammad taught an austere form of religion, but the inward aspects of his teachings seem to have been mere rhetoric.  In Islam, outward obedience is primary, inward purity is not emphasized heavily.  Hence a butcher like Ali would lead his people in prayer, but later murder and kill Muslims that did not accept his leadership. Aisha, Muhammad’s child bride, would live in bitterness towards Ali, to his dying day.  Uthman, fostered corruption in Islam because he wanted privilege for his clan.  Hasan sold his assumed birthright for wealth, and squandered it upon hundreds of wives and concubines.  The tale of the Royal Family is not a joyous tale.  No Muslim could be proud of these examples.  The Royal Family’s story reads like a Shakespearian tragedy.

         Satan’s blood lust lives through Islam.  Satan or one of his servants met with Muhammad in the cave.  Later, Satan even played Muhammad and spoke his words through Muhammad!  Where real Islam reigns it kills and oppresses those not in conformity with its doctrines.  Even fellow Muslims are butchered by their brethren.

EPILOGUE


         Let us read something that educated Muslims themselves have written regarding their sad state of affairs.  The report below was prepared by 50 Arab scholars.


U.N.: Lack of freedoms stunts Arab nations
Tue Jul 2, 1:22 PM ET
Barbara Slavin USA TODAY

A new United Nations (news - web sites) report on human development in Arab countries describes economic, political and cultural problems and urges changes to keep the world's 280 million Arabs from falling farther behind.

The report, to be unveiled today at Arab League headquarters in Cairo, says the league's 22 members fall short in three key areas:

* Freedom. Arab countries are the least free in terms of political participation, civil liberties and independent media.

* Women. More than half of Arab women are illiterate, and many suffer from legal and social discrimination. They also have the lowest levels of political participation; women have 3.5% of seats in Arab legislative bodies, compared with 11% in sub-Saharan Africa.

* Knowledge. Despite substantial investment in education, Arab schools are producing graduates ill-suited to the global economy. Only 0.6% of Arabs use the Internet, compared with 54% of Americans.

The growing number of young people with limited prospects is a major cause for concern in both Arab and Western nations. ''One of the reasons for terrorist attacks is the frustration of the younger generation,'' says Salama al-Ahmed Salama, a columnist for the influential Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram.

The report was prepared by about 50 Arab scholars under the auspices of the U.N. Development Program. It is being released just a week after President Bush (news - web sites) made democratic and economic reforms a precondition for U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state.

The report points to some progress, such as increases in life expectancy. But economic growth lags despite the region's oil wealth. In 1999, the entire Arab world had a gross domestic product lower than Spain: $531 billion compared with $595 billion.

''We see a very strong link between lack of freedoms and lack of development,'' says Rima Khalaf, regional director of the U.N. Development Program. ''It results in low productivity and creativity.''

Analysts blame a number of factors, including the half century-old Arab-Israeli conflict. Arab governments have diverted resources to military uses and justified restrictions on civil liberties by saying they needed to repress opposition to their pro-U.S. policies.

The 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and its aftermath also held the region back.

''All affected countries have emerged with compounded socio-political problems that have retarded progressive moves toward liberalization and democratization,'' the report says.

END OF REPORT


         It isn’t the “goodness or badness” of the Arab people that has caused them to be in such a quagmire, rather it is the poison of Islam.  The entire culture has been infected and stifled.  Judge for yourself ---  the more “Islamic” a Muslim becomes, the more backward and oppressive it grows to be.  Only their oil wealth has helped to keep them abreast with the rest of the world.  Satan was a murderer, liar, and thief, and if you examine the fruit of Muhammad and these early Muslims, you find the same deeds.


REFERENCES

  1. The Bible, New International Version, pub. by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  2. The Noble Quran,  translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, published by Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, PO Box 21441, Riyadh 11475, Saudi Arabia, 1994
  3. Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan
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