Friday, 10 March 2017

Caliphate of Imam Ali Murtada

Topic 44: 

Main topic: Karbala, brief overview

Ali Murtada was the closest male blood relative of Prophet Mohammed, he was son of Abu Talib, who was the guardian uncle to the orphan Prophet Mohammed. Abu Talib, considered his orphan nephew Prophet Mohammed dearer than his own children. Prophet Mohammed was about 30 years old when Ali Murtada was born to Abu Talib. Ali Murtada is the only person who was born inside Holy Ka’ba. Ali Murtada didn’t open his eyes, until Prophet Mohammed came to see the baby; there in the arms of Prophet Mohammed, Ali opened his eyes for the first time. Likewise, he didn’t also suckle his mother, but when Prophet Mohammed put his saliva in mouth of baby Ali, he took it as first food for himself.

Ali Murtada was like adopted son of Prophet Mohammed and his wife Lady Khadija. Ali Murtada grew under the holy care and love of Prophet Mohammed. This Holy family had always stayed away from idolatry, polytheism and paganism. Ali Murtada was 10 years old when Prophet Mohammed announced his mission. Ali Murtada became the first male to testify for Prophet Mohammed. Initially, God asked Prophet Mohammed to propagate Islam within close clan (Hashmites), Prophet Mohammed arranged a banquet for his clan (Hashmites) and invited them, there he announced his mission. Ali Murtada, a 10 years old boy was first to raise slogan of confirmation for Prophet Mohammed. There exactly Prophet Mohammed had declared that: Ali was his vice-regent. This event is remembered as the event of Dhul-Ashira.

Ali Murtada, always stood by Prophet Mohammed. He underwent hardship of social boycott which the Makkan pagans had imposed upon them. After, death of Abu Talib, when Prophet Mohammed’s life was in open danger, and he was divinely commanded to migrate to Madina, it was Ali Murtada who slept on bed of Prophet Mohammed to disguise Makkan pagans who wanted to kill Prophet Mohamed that night. After migration Imam Ali joined Prophet Mohammed in Madina. He proved himself as champion and hero of Islam in battles of Badr, Uhad, Trench, Khaibar, Hunain etc. When so called great companions ran away from battle-fields, it was Ali Murtada who always stood by Prophet Mohammed. Victory at Khaibar was possible only because of Ali. At event of Tabuk, when Ali was left behind at Madina, Prophet Mohammed had declared to him that: Oh Ali! You are to me as Aaron (Haarun) was to Moses (Musa).

In all these events, the hypocrite companions always envied Ali Murtada. They tried every possible means to degrade Ali, but where themselves degraded all the time. When Prophet Mohammed married away his only biological daughter Fatima Zahra with Ali Murtada, the jealousy in hearts of hypocrite companions reached unimaginable limits. Finally, when Prophet Mohammed announced Ali Murtada’s authority upon people after him, and made Ali Murtada the chief of Muslims at the event of Ghadeer, and took everyone’s allegiance in favour of Ali, the truthful companion’s joy knew no bounds while hypocrite companion’s hearts went underwent burning.

Prophet Mohammed knew he was about to leave this world and had arranged properly for smooth transition of authority to Ali after him by sending Abu Bakr and Umar away from Madina on war campaign that too under leadership of 19 year old general Osama s/o Zaid, so that they adapt to live under leader younger than them. Before they left, Prophet Mohammed on his death bed had asked to let him dictate his will too, it was Umar who knew that the will would go in favour of Ali and convinced people to let Prophet Mohammed rest and make no will, since Holy Qur’an was enough for them after him. Instead of marching forward on campaign they actually halted just outside Madina and refused to advance. They too knew it very well, what they desired. When Prophet Mohammed passed away Umar was first to return, he prohibited people to declare that Prophet Mohammed was no more, since, he knew Abu Bakr was on his way. By the time Abu Bakr came to Madina, Ansaars (Natives of Madina) had started chaos for leadership. In all these, faithful companions remained true to Ali Murtada.

Ali Murtada, on preventive advises from Prophet Mohammed regarding future adopted silence. Fatima Zahra, daughter of Prophet Mohammed was brutally attacked in course of which she too died at young age of around 20, her personal properties too were snatched away by Abu Bakr on pretext that those were state properties. Caliphate kept changing from Abu Bakr to Umar; and from Umar to Uthman. Armies were sent out for political expansion under the pretext of propagation of Islam. Ali Murtada who was the gladiator of Islam in all the battles till then, didn’t take part in any of the battles fought during the era of three Caliphs.

When Uthman was murdered, people came to Ali Murtada and offered him Caliphate. This time Ali Murtada reminded them their previous conditions which they had put in front of him, and how he had rejected those terms and thus chose not to become caliph, earlier. People still wanted Ali Murtada to become Caliph, so Ali Murtada put forth his conditions in front of them. That, he will follow Holy Qur’an, he will follow conventions of Prophet Mohammed but would neither follow conventions of previous caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman, nor would work as per advises of people, but would use his personal intellect. People agreed and started to pay allegiance! This is how Caliphate of Ali Murtada started. Ali Murtada had always been the first spiritual leader (Imam) after Prophet Mohammed for Shia, with his caliphate he also became the fourth Caliph of Sunni.

There were other people like Zubair s/o Awwam and Talha s/o Obaidullah who too aspired to become caliph, Uthman’s murder opened the doors of opportunities for such people. Along with Uthman and Ali Murtada, both Zubair and Talha were also mentioned in Umar’s will from among whom next Caliph after Umar was to be chosen. Ali Murtada had rejected absurd conditions which Uthman had accepted and was made Caliph, now, after Uthman’s murder both Zubair and Talha considered themselves appropriate for caliphate, they even agreed to abide by policies of Abu Bakr and Uthman, which Ali Murtada never agreed to. Zubair was even son in law of 1st caliph Abu Bakr.

Both Zubair and Talha counseled and conspired against Ali Murtada. Zubair had earlier been supporter of Ali Murtada, but when Umar had named him too in his will, he changed his stand since then. They knew it well that they alone would make no difference. Aisha, the widow of Prophet Mohammed and daughter of 1st caliph Abu Bakr, was totally against the nepotism of Uthman during his caliphate and had been his top critic. When Uthman was murdered, Aisha was on pilgrimage to Makka and received the news on her way back. Zubair met Aisha on her way back to Madina. Zubair was Aisha’s brother in law, thus Aisha wanted Zubair to become next caliph. Aisha, needed strong reasons to stand against Ali Murtada.

Mauwiya, the Uthman’s cousin and his governor to Syria, whom Uthman had granted total autonomy from central caliphate, ruled Syria as king. Mauwiya was the son of Abu Sufyan, the Pagan Makkan leader and staunchest enemy of Prophet Mohammed, they both father and son adopted Islam outwardly at the event of conquest of Makka, now, Mauwiya once the staunch enemy of Islam, was appointed as trustee of Islam. Since, he had autonomy of power; he too aspired to become Caliph, not just of Syria but of all Islamic territory.

Marwan, the son in law of Uthman, the person who was exterminated by none other but Prophet Mohammed himself, he too wanted to succeed his father in law as caliph. They all came together formed a pact to rise against Ali Murtada. They wanted to use the pretext of murder of Uthman as sound reason for their actions. They started to blame Ali Murtada directly for murder of Uthman, if not directly, claimed he was passive towards the murderers who they claimed were in Ali Murtada’s men.

Ali Murtada, clearly proved that he was neither behind the murder of Uthman, nor in favour of Uthmans selfish and corrupt rule. Ali Murtada also reminded Aisha that she had no legal right to seek revenge, since Uthman was not from her clan, and asked her to stay away from matter, but Aisha’s real agenda was to see Zubair as Caliph, thus they remained adamant.

Mauwiya, tried to get another companion of Prophet Mohammed by name of Sa’ad s/o Abi Waqas on their side, he always had had rough relations with Ali Murtada, he was also one of option for caliph in Umar’s will. It is worth noting, that though Sa’ad had rough relations with Ali Murtada, he declined to oppose Ali so as to help Mauwiya. He also rejected to be part of their gang, and kept himself away from this tumoil.

Ali Murtada, agreed to do justice for the murder of Uthman, and punish his murderer, but that could be possible only when the complainants accept him as caliph, pay him their allegiance and then seek justice from him. Prior to their allegiance, Ali Murtada was not obliged to deal with their matter. Mauwiya, Zubair, Talha, Marwan and Aisha’s real motives were not justice for Uthman, so they never gave their allegiance as for proper procedure for justice. Instead, they increased their propaganda against Ali Murtada, they even blamed 750 staunch supporters of Ali Murtada as murderers of Uthman, Ali Murtada rejected this proposal that 750 men can directly murder a single person and later could be punished for murder, that too with death sentence.

Ali Murtada never wanted bloodshed & civil war inside the city of Madina, thus, Ali Murtada shifted his capital from Madina to Kufa in Iraq, to consolidate Caliphate. Ali Murtada as Caliph deposed Mauwiya from the post of governor of Syria because of his illegal activities. Mauwiya and others gathered an army and sent it towards Iraq to finish of Ali Murtada.

Aisha, the widow of Prophet Mohammed took the command of army, she symbolically sat on camel. Zubair, Talha and Marwan joint Aisha for the attack, while Mauwiya had sent an army to join them too against Ali Murtada, who was none other than a valid caliph of their time. It was clearly reported to wives of Prophet Mohammed by none other than Prophet Mohammed himself about a certain future, where one of his wife will wage war on Ali Murtada, she would be on guilty side, and dogs of Hawab will bark upon her. This prophecy came true when on the journey dogs surrounded the camel on which Aisha was sitting and started to bark, at once Aisha remembered the prophecy, and asked people to take her back. Marwan and Talha, convinced her that the place was not Hawab, when actually it was Hawab, they bought false witnesses to testify too. Yet Aisha forgot about other points of prophecy, that one will wage war on Ali Murtada, and she will be guilty!

Eventually, their army camped nearby present day Basra, Iraq. When Ali Murtada with his men came to confront them, Ali Murtada sent envoys to Aisha, reminded her that it was neither her legal right to seek revenge for Uthman, specifically when they don’t recognize Ali Murtada as Caliph. Ali Murtada also reminded her of prophecy of Prophet Mohammed, she paid no heeds, Ali Murtada also, informed her about the protocols of Prophet Mohammed’s wives as mentioned in Holy Qur’an, and how it was a trespass of those protocols on part of Aisha.

This famous battle came to be known as battle of Camel in Islamic history. It is a propaganda that some culprits incited the wars after midnight, they all had deliberately came from Madina up to Basra for the very reason to avenge blood of Uthman from Ali Murtada. Aisha, sat on Camel and took active part and lead role in the battle. When it became tense, Ali Murtada asked his son Hasan Mujtaba to cut the seat belt of Aisha’s camel, so as to break the morale of their men. Ali Murtada, had adopted Mohammed s/o Abu Bakr after his father’s death, this Mohammed was treated like a son and was very loyal to Ali Murtada, though he was step brother of Aisha. When the seat fell, Mohammed held Aisha while she fell and prevented her from getting hurt, when people raised chaos that Ali Murtada insulted so called mother, this Mohammed confronted them and informed that since he was brother of Aisha, he can touch and hold Aisha, there was no issue of insult (protocol).

This, falling of Aisha, turned the tables of the battle. When Zubair confronted Ali Murtada on the battle field, Ali Murtada reminded him about how Zubair had supported him after death of Prophet Mohammed. He also reminded him how Prophet Mohammed had prophesied to Zubair, that one day he would wage war on Ali Murtada, this melted the heart of Zubair. Zubair felt remorse and declared that he withdrew from the battle, this could have become a great loss, and thus, Talha instantly killed Zubair when he began to retreat, citing he back-stabbed them. Talha was also a contender for post of Caliph, Marwan wanted to remove this obstacle too, there exactly Marwan killed his own this ally Talha. Now, Aisha was captured, Zubair, Talha were dead, it created chaos and Ali Murtada won decisive victory. Ali Murtada however, sent Aisha back to Madina, with all due respect and protocols. Ali Murtada also ordered his men not to collect any spoils of war from losers. Aisha, thereafter never took part in this activities.

Amr s/o A’as who had been staunch enemy of Islam was now a name sake Muslim, he had been the governor of Egypt and was removed from the post by Uthman, now took asylum with Mauwiya in Syria. He too had desired to rule Egypt as independent Caliph. Mauwiya’s motives were not fulfilled; once again he collected his men for another battle. He himself, Marwan and Amr A’as, all three joined hands against Ali Murtada, they marched against Ali Murtada. This time both forces met at present day Mosul in Iraq, the area was called Siffin and the battle which happened here came to be known by Battle of Siffin.

After a lot of convincing, Ali Murtada became sure of their adamant intentions, fierce battles were fought at Siffin. Mauwiya sensed his eminent loss and offered A’as independent governorate of Egypt, if he somehow sows discord among Ali’s men. When Battle was on final phases, Amr A’as came under direct attack of Ali Murtada during the battle and was about to be killed, when he took out all his cloth and stood naked, as he was sure Ali Murtada would never attack a naked men though in battle field. Amr A’as tried another trick, he asked his men to raise copies of Holy Qur’an on spears and shout that: we will decide by Holy Book.

His trick proved successful, Ali Murtada’s army got divided into two factions. One faction wanted to fight and bring end to this problem since talks were already over, but other faction which were not loyal to Ali Murtada but had joined him only to oppose Mauwiya, now wanted to halt the battle when it was about to turn into a victory, Ali Murtada tried to convince them that to continue fighting was best option, yet they were adamant. With broken heart Ali Murtada asked to halt the battle, Mauwiya and Amr breathed a sigh of relief. Both sides now decided to set up arbitration and head to send two men one from each side to decide the terms and settlement.

When Ali Murtada agreed, the faction of his own army which forced Ali Murtada to stop the battle, now accused Ali Murtada of going against Holy Qur’an, they believed arbitration by two men was against Holy Qur’an, Ali Murtada tried to convince them that it was not against Holy Qur’an, and they were the same men who wanted to stop the battle. These men had their own motives, when they found they could not use Ali Murtada to their own advantages, they raised the slogan: Only God can judge, and left the camp with vow to fight both factions soon, they came to be known as Kharjites (those who leave away).

Mauwiya sent Amr A’as as his arbitrator, since he has seen latter’s trickeries in the battles. Ali Murtada selected Maalik Ashtar his loyal companion. Shia men from Ali Murtada’s camp had no issue with Maalik but Non-Shia men in Ali Murtada’s army who didn’t considered Ali to be spiritual leader objected. Ali Murtada as option asked Abdulah s/o Abbas his cousin; he too was rejected by Non-Shia members of Ali’s men. Finally, Ali Murtda asked them to select a member but he should be bold enough. They selected Abu Musa Ashari, a critic of Ali, Ali Murtada objected him but seeing people adamant gave terms which he was to abide by during arbitration.

Now, both Abu Musa Ashari and Amr A’as met. The meeting was held privately without any third person. Amr convinced Abu Musa that both Ali and Mauwiya were troubles and thus both should be removed, and general people should be allowed to choose any other person apart from these two for post of caliph. Abu Musa had been the governor of Kufa during Uthman era too aspired to become caliph. Abu Musa felt that once the caliphate became vacant, he could convince people to make him caliph. Actually, Abu Musa had fallen into the trap of Amr A’as.

When the date for declaration came, people gathered in the mosque. Amr A’as announced that both have found the solution and would declare one by one, Amr A’as asked Abu Musa to announce his decision first as arbitrator from Ali’s side then he would do. Abu Musa Ashari, went up the pulpit and declared that as an arbitrator he removes Ali Murtada from post of caliph just as he removes ring from finger, he symbolically removed a ring, he disposed Mauwiya as well, but he was never Mauwiya’s arbitrator. Amr soon climbed the pulpit and declared his say. He told people since Abu Musa had disposed Ali Murtada, he as arbitrator from Mauwiya’s side would impose Mauwiya to the caliphate. Abu Musa had heated argument with Amr but their judgements had been given.

Ali Murtada had send Abu Musa with term which he was asked not to breach during arbitration, but Abu Musa had broken the terms themselves thus his arbitration stood void. Ali Murtada rejected to accept either the stupidity of Abu Musa or treachery of A’as. Amr A’as was rewarded by Mauwiya with the governorate of Egypt for the chaos he created among Ali Murtada’s men. There were de facto three caliphs now, Mauwiya ruled Syria, Amr ruled Egypt, other part were under Ali Murtada’s control.

Meanwhile, the third forum of Kharjites by then had formed themselves into an army, and declared war on Ali Murtada. These Kharjites claimed to oppose both Ali and Mauwiya but waged war only on Ali Murtada, this itself proves that they too were mere pawns of Mauwiya. They sent army against Ali Murtada at Nehrawan, Iraq. Ali Murtada met them at Nehrawan, fought against them too and amazingly almost all were killed accept five or six who ran away. Ali Murtada’s army lost just few men in this battle. Kharjites now became a sect with their own beliefs, one among those were that people who don’t follow their sect were sinner and must be killed, they started another terrorist front apart from Ummayyad, they killed many people in cold blood.

Ali Murtada as a young man had fought all battle during the time of Prophet Mohammed, after Prophet Mohammed during the era of caliphate of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthaman this brave soldier never took part in any battles (conquest of Iran, Syria, Egypt), which shows such conquests were never for sake of propagation of Islam but were merely political expansions. After thirty years when Ali Murtada was an old man, he once again unsheathed his sword at battles of camel, Siffin and Nehrawan, this shows, Ali only fought in those battles which he considered to be for sake of protection of pure Islam. Ali Murtada after all these battle successfully separated true Islam from terrorist brand of Islam.

Ali Murtada couldn’t get enough time to run caliphate smoothly because of all the bloody battles he had to fight, though whatever little time he got, he set up the best administration, law and order of his time. His policies were highlighted even at United Nations, for the solution of Arab world in modern times.

Ali Murtada, lost many of his loyal friends, he lost Ammaar Yaasir, a very trustworthy companion of Prophet Mohammed at battle of Siffin. He lost his adopted son Mohammed s/o Abu Bakr in Egypt, whom Mauwiya had ordered to be killed, chopped and burnt openly. He lost Maalik Ashtar his loyal friend who was poisoned by Mauwiya and A’as at Egypt.

Now, Ali Murtada, seeing people not ready to fight anymore and kept on leaving his army settled at Kufa, Iraq. Kharjites, were adamant to kill Ali Murtada and knew that it was impossible to confront Ali in battle. So, they sent an assassin in disguise, he was asked to hit Ali Murtada with poisoned dripped sword while he was in prostration. It is propaganda that two Kharjites who were sent people to kill Mauwiya and A’as, but they missed killing them, actually they were mere pawns and were bribed by Mauwiya to create a story.

Finally, the Kharjite by name Abdur Rehman Muljim came to Kufa, and on 19th Ramadan of 40 AH (661 AD) stabbed Ali Murtada on back of neck while he was in prayer, in prostration. Ali Murtada, now fatally wounded declared his will. He considered his assassin too in his will, people should not instantly kill him for murder, if he (Ali Murtada) recovered he will do what he deems fit, but if he succumbs then only one stab should be blown upon Muljim, since he too had given Ali a single stab. If after single stab he continues to live he should be allowed to live. Ali also asked people not to tie Muljim in rope nor keep him in hungry in custody.

Ali Murtada passed on the mantle of Imaamat (Divinely appointed leadership) upon his elder son Hasan. Hasan became the second Imam for Shia. Ali Murtada passed away with words: I swear by the Lord of Ka’ba that I triumphed. He became a martyr on 21st Ramadan two days later. Ali Murtada, was well aware of Ummayyads despised activities of digging grave of their opponents and then show disgrace to corpses and therefore like Lady Fatima Zahra, his wife and daughter of Prophet Mohammed, Ali Murtada too willed that he should be buried secretly. Only his two eldest sons Hasan and Husain carried the coffin from Kufa to present day Najaf.

Ali Murtada’s grave remained secret, and only Shia Imams (Aimmaah) knew the specific location of his grave. Times changed Ummayads vanished away, later Abbasids ruled, and during an incident the Sixth Shia Imam Jaa’far Saadiq informed the ruling Abbasid Caliph Haarun Rashid about the grave, who made the first tomb there. Abbasids, were never followers of Ahlul Bait (Family of Prophet Mohammed), but used their names for their own advantages.

When Hasan Mujtaba became the second Imam for Shia as well as fifth Sunni Caliph, Mauwiya continued his evil.

Oh Allah! Peace and Salutations be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.

Return to main topic: Karbala, brief overview 


  1. This write-up is highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand how Muslims had came to be segregated. May Allah reward you abundantly for increasing my knowledge bro. Jzk khair

  2. Really good except i recall that Imam Ali AS was 13 at Dawah Dhul Asheera, not 10