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First Imam Hazrat Ali a.s. (Hz. Ali ibn. Abi Talib a.s.) ---As a Caliph

On becoming the Caliph of the Islamic State, Ali had a stonny five years long career.  The rising against the new Caliph had a catchy slogan:'to avenge the murder of Uthman'. In this rising Talha and Zubayr enlisted the support of Aycsha, who by her own admission in later years, was 'gravely misled by the mischief mongcrs'. Muawiyah who had been a governor of the provinces of Palestine and Syria for nearly twenty five years, had enjoyed virtual autonomy during the rule of the preceding three caliphs. Taking advantage of the situation, he refused to accept Ali as the Caliph. In fact, he wanted to have the seat of Caliphate for himself Muawiyah fuelled the revolt by the three leaders in Madinah, and they marched on to the province of Basrah and took it after a bloody massacre.


    Ali invited the instigators of the revolt to avert the civil war, avoid the inevitable killing of more Muslims on either side, and to resolve the dispute through negotiation.  As the three leaders had gained victory at one front, they were confident of continued success at other fronts as well.  Ali had to draw his sword when his ambassador with an invitation for peace was killed by the order from one of the revolting three leaders.  This started the disgraceful Battle of the Camel.  This was the first time that Muslims drew their swords against each other in battle.  There were companions of the Prophet on both sides.  People had forgotten the Prophet's famous saying, "Ali is with the Truth, and the Truth is with Ali."

    However, at the open confrontation, Imam Ali was victorious.  Although Zubayr had withdrawn from the battle, he was assassinated on his way back to Madinah.  Talha bled to death from an arrow shot at him by the Uma@ad Marwan, who was a soldier in their army.  At the end of the battle, Ayesha was escorted back to Madinah with great respect.


    After dealing with the revolt headed by Ayesha, Ali invited Muawiyah to come under the direct rule of the Caliph.  Having enjoyed virtual autonomy and power for over two decades, Muawiyah declined to abide by the Caliph's advice.  He gathered his army of regular soldiers and declared war against the Caliph.  This important event took place at Siffeen.

    The army of the Caliph consisted of believers whojoined forces with him as volunteers.  They fought with vigor and faith but the confrontation turned out to be a long drawn out one.  When Muawiyah saw that his defeat was inevitable, he resorted to a clever trick.  He ordered his army to hoist copies of the Qur'an atop their spears and cry out aloud to stop the war in the name of Allah and turn to the Qur'an to resolve their differences.

    The soldiers of the Caliph fell to the clever ploy by Muawiyah and asked Ali to resolve this matter through arbitration.  Whereas Muawiyah got the arbitrar of his choice, the Caliph had to accede to the choice by the majority of his soldiers.  By a deceitful maneuver during arbitration, the representative of Muawiyah gained advantage over the Caliph's camp.  This sent a wave of dissent in his an-ny and caused a large portion of them to abandon allegiance to him.  In fact, they took up the position of open confrontation and took up arms against him.  This group of deserters is known as the Khawarij (the Khadites).


    With an eloquent lecture to the dissenting soldiers, Ali was able to convince a large section of them to abandon their hostility and open confrontation against him.  A remaining force of about four thousand soldiers persisted in their resolve to fight him.  A bloody battle ensued at Nahrawan, and all but a handful of them perished.  At a later date they regrouped and had a second attempt against the Caliph, but lost with massive bloodshed.  Despite such grave losses, the Kh@ite movement persisted and could not be totally wiped out.  The survivors retreated to the mountains to brew further mischief.



    After the battle of Nahrawan, Ali invited his army to head for Syria to subdue the rebel governor Muawiyah for his deceit.  The soldiers asked Ali to return to Kufa briefly so that they could visit their families and refurbish their supplies.  Having returned to Kufa, the army of volunteers simply disappeared.  Thus, the righteous Caliph was unable to regroup a substantial force to bring the revolting governor of Syria under the rule of the Caliphate.

    Muawiyah took this opportunity and started a systematic scheme to weaken the hold of the Caliph over the provinces.  He invaded and took the western province of Egypt.  Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, the governor of the province was captured on his way between Madinah and Egypt and was killed.

    Muawiyah sent his army on a wild rampage in Hijaz, and all the way down to the province of Yemen, leaving in their wake indiscriminate looting and burning of property.  He sent down swarms of his army contingents to the province of Basra and weakened their allegiance to the Caliph.  As part of his demeaning propaganda against Ali, he introduced an ignoble practice of cursing Ali on the pulpit in the Friday congregational prayers, held throughout the territory controlled by him.

    The Caliph addressed his subjects during the congregational prayers and at other occasions and appraised them of the deeds of the rebel governor.  He tried to awaken their conscience and induce in them the spirit of individual dignity and self-respect.  He advised them that if they remained placid, they would be the next on the rampage of Muawiyah.  The untiring efforts of the Righteous Caliph in his eloquent sermons again roused his followers to regroup, and a respectable army gathered for the defense of the province of Iraq.