The Ibadi narrative on what really happened at the battle of Siffin

 

“Now those people have passed away; unto them shall be accounted what they have earned, and unto you, what you have earned; and you will not be, judged on the strength of what they did.” (Qur’an 2:134)

“You worship not besides Him except mere names you have named them, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The legislation is not but for Allah. He has commanded that you worship not except Him. That is the correct religion, but most people do not know.” ( Qur’an 12:40)

“And it is not for a believing man and it is not for a believing woman when Allah has decided and His Messenger a matter that (there) should be for them (any) choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger certainly, he (has) strayed (into) error clear.” (Qur’an 33:36)

And if you judge, judge between them with justice. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Qur’an 5:42)

 

 

Dear respected readers, I will assume that most of you are familiar with the differences of opinion that those of our brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah” and those of our brothers from the ‘Shi’a‘ have in regard to the issue of leadership and the Khilafa.

The Sunni narrative is that all of the companions are all ‘adala‘-just and could possibly do no wrong.

The Shi’a narrative is that many of the companions actually did injustice, (however Ali (r.a) was impeccable and did no wrong.)

Yet both the Sunni and the Shi’a are in agreement that Ali (r.a) was correct in his decisions at the battle of Siffin.   That his actions were in accord with the teachings of the Qur’an.

 

Both the Sunni and the Shi’a are in agreement on a few points.

  1. Ali is impeccable in character, word, and deed.
  2. Ali followed the Qur’an in everything he did.
  3. Ali was right in making arbitration with Mu’awiya.

 

The narrative that both the Sunni and the Shi’a tell us is that Ali (r.a) was pressed by some of his companions (which would actually be sahabah no two ways about it) -to make peace with Mu’awiya.

Latter these same companions (who are actually sahabah no two ways about it)- broke camp with Ali (r.a)and betrayed him.

These same companions (who are actually sahabah no two ways about it) created strife through the land earned the appellation of ‘Khawārij

Latter these same ‘Khawarij‘ killed Ali(r.a) for political motivations.  What they don’t tell you is that this person was avenging his family who was butchered at Narhawan.

 

 

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT. 

By the grace and will of Allah (swt)  we will demonstrate two points.

  1. That Ali Ibnu Abu Talib (r.a) was mistaken in seeking arbitration with Mu’awiya.
  2.  That Ali Ibn Abu Talib (r.a) was mistaken in his slaughter of the people of Narhawan.

 

The Shi’a (and all denominations of them) of course will defend the decisions of Ali (r.a) because of their presuppositions, and their idea that they cannot attribute wrongful decisions and/or injustice to Ali (r.a).

The Sunni later adopted the idea that the companions were all adala (just) and none of them were in error. This was done to primarily safeguard their own sectarian narrative from the claims of the Shi’a;  as well as not to disparage the narrators in the transmission of ahadith.

 

What both sides ‘Ahl As-Sunnah‘ and the ‘12er Shi’a‘ do not tell the masses of the Muslims is that a majority of the companions actually did not partake in these very personal battles, Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) as we will see later, agreed with the people of Nahrawan and that there has always been a middle ground and a third narrative.

 

ARE ALL THE COMPANIONS JUST AND CAN THEY DO NO WRONG?

 

 

And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah. And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Qur’an 49:9)

Comment:

The above verse makes it very clear that it is possible for believers to have such a difference among them as to lead to open conflict. It also makes it abundantly clear that it is possible for one to oppress the other. This means that not both sides are correct.

 

Also, how do you reconcile the above verse of the Qur’an with the following narrations?  

Bakrah Ath-Thaqafi reported – The Blessed Messenger (saw) is reported to have said:If two Muslims meet each other with their swords, then both the killer and the killed will be in the Hell-fire.” I said, “O Allah’s Messenger, that is the case for the killer but why should that be the case for the killed?” He answered, “Because he wanted to kill his companion.

Source: (Sunan an-Nasa’i 4118 Book 37, Hadith 153 Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4123)

 

Narrated Ibn `Umar –

I heard the Prophet (saw) “Do not revert to disbelief after me by striking (cutting) the necks of one another.” Source: (Al -Bukhari 707 Book 92, Hadith 28 Vol. 9, Book 88 Hadith 198)

 

Comments: The verse in the Qur’an above makes it clear that believers may have to fight another group of believers who oppressors. Obviously, this would include armed conflict. So how can the two ahadith be true in regards to this?

In an oral tradition it is attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw) he is reported to have said:


The Prophet (saw) said, “While I was sleeping, a group (of my followers were brought close to me), and when I recognized them, a man (an angel) came out from among (us) me and them, he said (to them), ‘Come along.’ I asked, ‘Where?’ He said, ‘To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah’ I asked, ‘what is wrong with them’ He said, ‘They turned apostate as renegades after you left.’ Then behold! (Another) group (of my followers) were brought close to me, and when I recognized them, a man (an angel) came out from (me and them) he said (to them); Come along.’ I asked, “Where?’ He said, ‘To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah.’ I asked, What is wrong with them?’ He said, ‘They turned apostate as renegades after you left. So I did not see anyone of them.

 

Source: (Sahih al-Bukhari 6587 Book 81, Hadith 175 Vol. 8, Book 76, Hadith 587)

 

 

Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, he shall abide therein forever. The wrath and the curse of Allāh shall be upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him” ( Qur’an 4:93)

 

 

That the collective impunity of the Companions was a later construct of the Sunni worldview is evident when one finds occasional minor Companions listed in early books of weak hadith transmitters.” Source: ( Hadith: Muhammed’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World’ by Dr. Jonathan Brown page 88)

We can see the emotionalism attached to the defense of the character of the companions by statements from Ibn Main.

The shaykh of Imam Bukhari, Ibn Ma’in where he said about someone who critiqued a companion, calling the man ‘a sucker of his mother’s clitoris’. ” Source: ( Hadith: Muhammed’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World’ by Dr. Jonathan Brown page 87)

 

There are even reports from the early historian al-Mada’ini that Mu’awiya encouraged systematic forging and circulation of hadiths affirming the virtues of the caliphs and companions at Ali’s expense.”(cited from Al-Mada’ini’s Kitab al-ahdath; Ahmad b Sa’d al-Din al-Miswari, Al Risala al-munqidha min al-ghiwaya fi turuq al riwaya, pp. 51-55)” This citation is found in Dr. Jonathan Browns book: “Hadith Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World page 70

 

So somehow with all this information in mind, all of the companions get a free pass!

 

 

FIGHTING EACH OTHER IS SIMPLY A MATTER OF IJTIHAD?

 

Think about this:

Talha and Zubair fought against Ali (r.a)

Muawiya and Amr Ibn Al-As  fought against Ali (r.a)

All sides killed many Muslims at the battle of Jamal and Siffin

All of them are just? Killing each other is simply a matter of ‘ijtihad‘?

Ijtihad-to the point that if they were in error they would still get rewarded?!?

And thus should we be surprised when we find the following:

Amr ibn al-‘As reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, If a judge makes a ruling, striving to apply his reasoning (ijtihad) and he is correct, then he will have two rewards. If a judge makes a ruling, striving to apply his reasoning and he is mistaken, then he will have one reward.”

Source: (Al Bukhari 6919, Muslim 1716)

Look who is one who reported such a hadith none other than Amr ibn al-‘As himself!  Interesting.

 

However, It very important that the hadith mentioned above has to be understood in the context of this hadith:

Al-Harith ibn ‘Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, sent Mu’adh to Yemen and he said, How will you judge?” Mu’adh said, “I will judge according to the Book of Allah.” The Prophet said, “What if it is not in the Book of Allah?”  Mu’adh said, “Then, with the Sunnah of the messenger of Allah.” The Prophet said, “What if it is not in the Sunnah of the messenger of Allah?” Mu’adh said, “Then, I will strive to form an opinion.” The Prophet said, “All praise is due to Allah, who has made suitable the messenger of the messenger of Allah.” 

Source: (Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1327)

So even if one wants to accept the hadith of Amb ibn al-‘As it cannot conflict with the hadith as given above.

The Qur’an is to be sought first.

After this the Sunnah.

After these two are exhausted than an Ijtihad. However, all Ijtihad is to be Qur’an and Sunnah based.

 

The illogical and inconsistent methodology that results from such a view.

We in the Ibadi Muslim community do not agree that every ‘ijtihad‘ is correct or rewarded.

A Judge for example when hearing a dispute between two parties will not rule that both parties are right and should be compensated for their role in the dispute. An even more absurd conclusion would be if the Judge after ruling that one party was right in its claim and awarding it; then turned to the other side pardoned them and then awarded them for their wrongdoing. Is this a rational concept? If a Judge would never behave in such an unjust way, do you honestly believe that the greatest Judge of all, Allah (swt) would order us to act in this way? If we take this to its logical conclusion then no one is entitled to criticize or resolve any disputes.

 

 

However; when it comes to matters of being inconsistent there are probably none more inconsistent in this matter than the Shi’a of Ali (r.a)

Why?

Because, they will allow for wanton and unbranded criticism of all of the companions, with the exception of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (r.a)

In other words, all companions are opened to scrutiny and criticism with the exception of Ali (r.a).   Do you think such a position is fair and consistent?

 

So when the  Shi’a say that the behavior of the companions warrants a closer look and investigation we can agree with them.  However; we also contend that the behavior of Ali ibn Abi Talib (r.a) merits a closer look and investigation as well.

 

However, before we proceed it is highly important for us to look at a term that is often used as a derogatory for those who differed with Ali (r.a) over the arbitration at Siffin.

 

Answering once and for all: Who or what are the Khawarij? 

 

Let us first say that the people of Nahrawan are not Khawarij. This is simply a flat lie. It is a derogatory term perpetuated by both the Shiites and the Ummayad rulers, as well as their intellectual descendants until this very day.

Even among the people today who perceive themselves as intellectuals and well-read they persist with these statements without a shred of evidence to support them.

It is used to “other” one’s opponents and to demonize them.

 

Why are the people of Nahrwan not Khawarij

Well for the Sunni Muslims reading this we need to make sure we have fair and consistent methodology before applying labels to people.

 

#1 Ask your people (those whom you the reader trust) to define the term Khawarij.

What is the Arabic etymological root of the word and what does it mean in the Arabic language.   Once this is done please proceed to point 2.

#2 Now with that definition in mind ask on what consistent basis is this not applied to Talha and Zubair?

Why are Talha and Zubair not called Khawarij for opposing Ali (r.a)?

Ali Ibn Abu Talib (r.a) was the rightful Amir of Muslims at that time was he not?

 

#3 Now with that definition in mind ask on what consistent basis is this not applied to Mu’awiya or Amr ibn Al-As ?

Why is not Mu’awiya and Amr ibn al as not called a Khawarij for opposing Ali (r.a)?

Ali Ibn Abu Talib (r.a) was the rightful Amir of the Muslims at that time was he not?

 

This in and of itself shows the supreme bias and inconsistency when the narrative is being told by certain historical narratives.

 

HADITH FORGERIES: THE VICTORS RE-WRITE HISTORY.  THE CREATION OF FALSE NARRATIVES. 

 

As we saw above:

“There are even reports from the early historian al-Mada’ini that Mu’awiya encouraged systematic forging and circulation of hadiths affirming the virtues of the caliphs and Companions at Ali’s expense.”(cited from Al-Mada’ini’s Kitab al-ahdath; Ahmad b Sa’d al-Din al-Miswari, Al Risala al-munqidha min al-ghiwaya fi turuq al riwaya, pp. 51-55)” This citation is found in Dr. Jonathan Browns book: Hadith Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World page 70

 

 

Dr. Musa Al-Musawi  (The grandson of Ayatollah Abul Hassan Al Isfahani) says the following:

Although we believe that most of the forged narratives from the Imams, were forged after al-ghiba al-kubra (the disappearance of Al-Mahdi Al Muntadhar)…..but any impartial researcher will necessarily conclude that even during the time of the Shiite Imams, many narratives were fabricated and ascribed to the Imams, in the like manner as they were fabricated and attributed to the Prophet.”

Source: (al-Shi’a wa-l-tashih: al-Sira’ bayn al-shi’a wa-l-tashayyu'(the struggle between Shia and Shiism p. 135)

“Certainly, the researcher into accounts that the Shiites collected in their books which they authored between the fourth and fifth centuries A.H., will reach the extremely saddening results. For the efforts that were made by some of the Shiite narrators to undermine Islam were equal to the heavens and the Earth in gravity. And I suppose that those Shiite narrators did not merely intend to implant the Shiite beliefs in the hearts (of their followers), but they did also intend to destroy Islam and everything connected to it.”

Source: (al-Shi’a wa-l-tashih: al-Sira’ bayn al-shi’a wa-l-tashayyu'(the struggle between Shia and Shiism p. 15)

That seems quite damning.

Some of their more incredulous hadith are:

  1. “Abu Bakr said, “I did three things that I now regret, they are: That I failed to show respect towards the house of Taima….”
  2.  “I am the city of Knowledge and Ali is its gate, whoever aspires to attain knowledge let him approach through the gate.”
  3.  “Looking at Ali is an act of worship.”

 

Now, remember how bad and how awful the so-called “Khawarij” are? Yet the majority denomination the “Ahl Sunnah” have said this about their hadith narrations.

 

‘Among all people who follow their desire, there have been no men whose traditions are authentic as the Khawarij”

Source: (Al-Dhahabi Mizanu Al-Itidal Vol. 4 p. 156 in the biography of Imran bin Hittan)

Ibn Hajar is in agreement with this.

Source: (Ibn Hajar Hadyu Al-Sari: Muqaddimatu Alaa Fat-hi Albari p.611.)

Imam Al Sayuti also has a similar stance.  Source: (Al-Suyuti: Tadribu Al-Rawi p.285)

Now when we consider what these giants among Sunni Muslims have said is it not bizarre that the so-called “Khawarij” are people on the one hand who follow their desire and yet strictly only narrate authentic traditions disregarding fabricated ahadith, unlike the Shi’a and Sunni?

Ponder that for a moment…..

Again we have:

Dr. Mustafa Al-Siba’i founder of the Syrian branch of the Muslim brotherhood states:

I have never discovered any narrative that has been fabricated by the Khawarij; I have made extensive research in books specially authored on fabricated traditions and narratives, I have never found any man among the Khawarij who has been regarded to be among the liars and fabricators of false traditions.………….. And I have searched for evidence which could have supported the allegation of ascribing to the Khawarij the act of forging traditions, but I have found that the evidence is contrary to that. 

Source: (Dr. Al-Siba’i Al-Sunna Wa Makanatuha Fii Al-Tashrii Al-Islami p.99.)

Dr. Muhammad Ajjaj Al Khatib, says:

We have not detected, from the references that are close to us, anything indicating that the Khawarij have ever forged traditions, or even that they have depended upon them (upon forged traditions) in supporting their position and proving their claim. 

Source: (Dr. Muhammad Ajaj Al-Khatib Al-Sunna Qabla Al-Tadwin p.204 – 205. )

 

Keep in mind that the historical accounts of what happened are told through historians who are in no way, shape, or form impartial to the events that have happened.

Some times when telling the narrative of the opposition you make their position and counter-arguments seem ludicrous or not well thought out.  It is what we call a clear misrepresentation.

 

For the Shi’a reading this. Think about this for a moment. Ali (r.a)-whom according to you is divinely appointed Imam was duped and manipulated by his own followers.  Think about that for a moment. Take all the time you need.

So basically the blame is supposedly upon the people of Narhawan (the Proto Ibadis) for the following:

  1. Seceding from Ali
  2. Condemned for suggesting the idea of arbitration (Pro Arbitration)
  3. Forcing Ali into accepting it.
  4.  Condemned for not agreeing to the idea of arbitration (Anti Arbitration)

 

So to be clear the historical sources condemn the people of Nahrawan -aka- “Khawarij” (which included companions such as Owais Al-Qurni,  Hurqus ibn Zuhair Al-Sa’di, Abdullah ibn Wahb Al-Rasibi Al-Azdi) for hatching the idea of arbitration and were so persuasive in their arguments that they forced Ali (r.a) into accepting it.

 

It should puzzle the reader of this entry that on the one hand, some historical sources blame the people of Nahrawan for engineering arbitration to settle the dispute with Mu’awiya while on the other hand Ibn Abbas (r.a)  is said to have acknowledged that the people of Nahrawan strongly rejected the idea of arbitration!

So it is obvious that Ibn Abbas (r.a) was the one who was in favour of arbitration. This is why historical sources have him quote from the  Qur’an to  try and prove his case!  So on what consistent basis can the people of Narahawan be accused of being evil for putting forward the idea of arbitration (if that was indeed the case) when Ibn Abbas (r.a) is praised for working in favour of arbitration?

Something is obviously not adding up here.

Now according to historians (if you are Sunni or Shi’a) feel free to consult your OWN sources.   Look at the sources carefully and may Allah (swt) cause your eyes to be wide open!

 

THE BATTLE OF SIFFIN: THE IBADI HISTORICAL NARRATIVE 

 

So now let us come to the people of Nahrawan, who we will come to see were the people on the right path, the people who were guided, and we will see the inconsistency that is dealt to them by the scholars and historians: (both Sunni and  Shia)

 

And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie or denies His verses? Indeed, the wrongdoers will not succeed.” (Qur’an 6:21)

  1. A) There is none more unjust than those who invent likes about Allah (swt).
  2. B) There is none more unjust than those who deny one of the verses of Allah (swt).

Accordingly:

Ali’s letter to Mu’awiya, went something like this: (feel free to consult whatever sources you trust).

(In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful). From the servant of Allah, Ali, leader of the Muslims, to Mu’awiya bin Sakhr! Oh Mu’awiya! You know very well that the Shura (to hold a consultative council on who should be a leader) is the privilege of the Muhajirin and the Ansaar alone. If they agree on a person and appoint him to be an Imam (leader), Allah is content with that. If anyone goes outside their agreement by criticizing or by heretical innovations, they will have to take him back to the (Right Path from which) he has gone out. If he refuses, they will have to kill him because of his act to follow the way different from that of the Muslims.

Source: ( Ibn A’atham Al-Futuh Vol. 2, p. 374. Ibn Abdi Rabih AL-Iqdu Al-Farid Vol. 4, p, 309. Al-Musawi in his Al-Tashihu p. 20, has also quoted it from Nahju Al Balagha Vol. 3, p.7)

Also in some of the Shiite books, there is an account narrated from Imam Ali that he said to his followers:

“If anyone wants to disunite you and one wants to take this matter (of Islamic leadership) without Shura (holding a consultative council on who should be a leader), kill him. Verily, Allah The Most Exalted has ordered so” .

Source: (Ahmad Al Katib, Tatawuru Al Fikri Al Siyasi Al Shi’i p. 444, quoting it from Al Sadduuq’s Uyunu Al Akhbari, Vol. 2, p. 62)

So when Ali says “Kill him. Verily, Allah the Most Exalted has ordered so.” Where did he get this from?

Well, he got it from the following:

And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah. And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Qur’an 49:9)

 

This verse is what gave Ali (r.a) the right to wage a war against Mu’awiya and his Syrian troops. Allah delegated no one to rule and decide on this issue.

So remember Ali (r.a) is now the commander of the faithful and according to a certain faction of Muslims ( infallible in his decision making). He was swift to bring the sword against Talha and Zubair just as he was against Mu’awiya.

 

No one is disputing Ali’s (r.a) actions up until this point.    However, it was Ali’s (r.a) actions at the battle of Siffin that the ‘Muhakkimah‘ who later become known as the ‘Ibadi‘  or the ‘Ahl Istiqamah‘  that they differed with.

 

The commander of the faithful was going to route Mu’awiya and his forces until he fell for a ruse. The historians say that what Mu’awiya did was a military strategy. This vindicates and proves if anything the persistent refusal of the people of Narahwan (the –so-called Khawarij) to arbitration came from their penetrating insights and profound knowledge of the Qur’an!

 

After all,  in the end, did it not culminate in the deposing of Ali (r.a) from his office while Mu’awiya tyrannical rule grew stronger and stronger? So it is on this point that Ali (r.a) was in error and lacked insight. In fact and Allah knows best how much more united would the Muslims be today if Ali (r.a) did not fall for this ruse? So as a corollary of this action Ali (r.a) is responsible for the rise of the Ummayyad dynasty. Let that sink in for a moment.

 

So what we do know is that there were people who were insightful and very learned about the Qur’an did agree with arbitration.  These people were wondering why Ali (r.a) the commander of the faithful was willing to settle for arbitration in clear violation of the teachings of Allah (swt) in the Quran on this matter.

 

Thus, this revolt paused in this indecision — putting Ali’s (r.a) right to the caliphate on the same level as that of Mu‘awiyah, and putting the aggressors who rebelled against the right way on the same footing as the army from among the community that had fought for a Caliph that had been legitimately instituted through consultation and effected through oaths of allegiance.

Those companions of Ali (r.a) who had seen through the trickery intended by the truce came together to warn him against accepting it. They informed him that to accept such a truce was to doubt his own caliphate and renounce it. They insisted that a legitimate caliphate was something that could not be doubted, nor retracted, nor put up for bargaining.

When it came to Ali (r.a) to accept the appeal of those among his army, and of those plotters from among his enemies, that would lead him to defeat; when he doubted his own self and the truth of that which he held in his hand; when he renounced the honour that had been accorded to him by the Muslims and put himself on an equal footing with one of his agents in a matter with regard to which the community had given him a solemn pact, and in return for which he made with them a covenant — when he did this, he yielded to the arbitration of mere men a matter on which Allah (swt) had sent down His judgment.

A huge segment of the Muslim community felt not only betrayed by Ali’s (r.a) decision; but that this went against the clear commands of Allah (swt) in the Qur’an on such a matter.

 

So these people who are the people of fairness and justice latter get disparaged by history. The phrase Inil Hukmu illah lillah” is turned into something disparaging.

When in the general understanding of Islam is not Allah (swt) the best judge? Why is the idea that Allah (swt) is the best judge turned into a point of mockery?

For example, as we saw some people from among our brothers in ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ who wanted to misrepresent the Ibadi perspective turned that phrase into  “There is no ruler-ship except Allah’s“.  What a complete and shameful misrepresentation of one’s opponents.

“You worship not besides Him except [mere] names you have named them, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The legislation is not but for Allah. He has commanded that you worship not except Him. That is the correct religion, but most of people do not know.” (Qur’an 12:40)

“And it is not for a believing man and it is not for a believing woman when Allah has decided and His Messenger a matter that (there) should be for them (any) choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger certainly, he (has) strayed (into) error clear.” (Qur’an 33:36)

 

Notice that it is very clear that it is not for the believers (including companions, descendants of Prophets, or anyone) to go against the commands of Allah (swt).

So with Ali (r.a) appointing his arbiter as Abu Musa Al Ashari and with him and Amr ibn Al-As both deposing Ali (r.a) and Mu’awiya – the people having the right to now decide a new Caliph many of the companions agreed upon Abdullah Ibn Wahb Al-Rasibi (r.a).

So for us, the Caliphs are:

  1. Abu Bakr As Siddiq
  2. Umar ibn Al Khattab
  3. Uthman Ibn Affan
  4. Ali ibn Abu Talib
  5. Abdullah Ibn Wahb Al-Rasibi. (May Allah be pleased with them all).

After this, the Muhakkimah left Ali’s camp and went to Narhawan.

 

After this event Ali (r.a) was clearly devastated.  He himself went against the judgment of his appointee Abu Musa Al Ashari and instead of prosecuting the war against  Mu’awiya he saw the Muhakkimah party as a bigger threat.   The reason being is because they told the truth about what happened.  Ali (r.a) was simply not the Caliph anymore and the very made he appointed as his arbiter agreed to him stepping down.

Now this is obviously very difficult for Shia (of all sorts) to accept.  It is difficult for them to accept that Ali’s decision was not infallible and obviously weakened him greatly. It puts a nail in the coffin and closes the lid on any concept of Ali (r.a) being infallible in his ijtihad.

SO BEFORE USING MILITARY FORCE ALI SENT IBN ABBAS TO DEBATE WITH THE PEOPLE OF NAHRAWAN. 

 

So what is interesting is that we know that Ibn Abbas (r.a)  was sent by Ali (r.a) to the people of Narahwan. Contrary to what you are told by historians Ibn Abbas (r.a) who is regarded as an exegete of the Qur’an found the arguments of the people of Narahwan to be cogent and absolutely airtight!

 

Ibn Abbas (r.a) was on the front lines with Ali (r.a) fighting Talha and Zubair at Basra. He was with Ali (r.a) fighting against Mu’awiya and Amru bin Al-As at Siffin. HOWEVER, he WAS NOT with Ali (r.a) in his campaign against the people of Nahrawan!

Let us repeat this: Ibn Abbas (r.a) was not with Ali (r.a) in his campaign against the people of Nahrawan.

This because he knew that Ali (r.a) was in error.

It is not the first time that Ibn Abbas (r.a) found an error in the ijtihad of Ali (r.a)

For example https://primaquran.com/2018/05/21/ali-ibn-abi-talib-his-ijtihad-and-burning-people-alive/

Narrated `Ikrima:

Some Zanadiqa were brought to `Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event reached Ibn Abbas  who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”

Source (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57)

 

After having heard the air-tight proofs from the Nahrawanees, Ibn Abbas (r.a)  unhesitatingly decided to change his position as he realized where the truth was.

Books written on history and narratives state that, after his debate with the Nahrawanees, Ibn Abbas said: “The People of Nahrawan have been on the Right Path”

Source: (Al-Shammakhi, Al-Siyar Vol. 1, p. 72, or as the English put it: “they have hit the nail on the head”)

Another account  says that Ibn Abbas: “Could not crush their proofs

Source: ( Abu Qahtaan, Al-Siyar j, uk . 107.)

Yet another account bears witness that: “The Nahrawanees established their proofs to him”.

Source: (Al-Ya’aqubi, Al-Taarikh Vol. 2, p. 191.)

 

However; when you read many of the Shi’a and Sunni historical narratives you will be left with the impression that Ibn Abbas (r.a) absolutely crushed their objections and established his proofs.  Take for example this video lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8AuaMJ9URc

 

MAKING SENSE OF CONTRADICTORY SHIA /SUNNI HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF NAHRAWAN.

 

So we are told that Ali (r.a)was not wrong in making arbitration with Mu’awiya and that the people of Nahrwan were blamed for the idea of arbitration and the latter blamed Ali for entering arbitration with Mu’awiya.

So they were blamed for not only ceding from central command, but also for suggesting the idea of arbitration and forcing Ali (r.a) into it.

So it is amazing from historical sources that on the one hand, the people of Nahrawan engineered arbitration to settle the dispute and yet Ibn Abbas(r.a) is said to have acknowledged that they strongly rejected the idea proposed by the Syrians!

 

So it is beyond absurd for any rational person to put forward the idea that the people of Nahrawan were bad and evil for putting forward the idea of arbitration when they are the same people who strongly rejected it!

While supposedly Ibn Abbas(r.a) was praised for suggesting it when he went to speak to the people of Nahrawan!

How do you make sense of such contradictory historical narratives?

 

ARGUMENTS USED BY IBN ABBAS (R.A) AND THEIR REFUTATION BY THE PEOPLE OF NAHRAWAN. 

So let us look at the evidences that were brought forward by Ibn Abbas(r.a) to convince the people of Nahrawan about arbitration.

 

The following are proof text put forward by Ibn Abbas (r.a)to justify Ali’s (r.a) arbitration with Mu’awiya (which by the way is extremely odd when you consider that supposedly they are the ones who duped Ali (r.a) into accepting it!)

O you who believe! Kill not game while in the sacred precincts or in pilgrim garb. If any of you does so intentionally, the compensation is an offering, brought to the Ka’ba, of a domestic animal equivalent to the one he killed, AS ADJUDGED BY TWO JUST MEN AMONG YOU; or by way of atonement, the feeding of the indigent; or its equivalent in fasts: that he may taste of the penalty of his deed. Allah forgives what is past: for repetition, Allah will exact from him the penalty. For Allah is Exalted, and Lord of Retribution.” (Qur’an 5:95)

 

As adjudged by two just men among you’.  Keep this in mind as well. This is a key part of the text.

 

The people of Nahrawaan replied to Ibn Abbas (r.a) :

“Are you comparing the law relating to the killing of game animal on the sacred land or the law that is intended to resolve the misunderstandings that occur between a man and his wife, with the law that is intended to govern the matters of greater magnitude such as the act of shedding of Muslims’ blood?

Source: (Al-Tabari, Al-Taarikh Vol. 6, p. 13.)

 

So through qiyas (analogy), it is logical to reason that in the above verse during the pilgrimage that someone kills a game animal they are ordered to compensate the following judgement by two just men than it stands to reason the shedding of Muslims blood has a better claim to be dealt with diplomatically.

 

In response to what Ibn Abbas (r.a)  had presented, the people of Nahrawaan argued that there is a significant difference between the verses Ibn Abbas (r.a) refereed to and the verse which is used to justify Ali’s (r.a) war against Mu’awiya . In the verses Ibn Abbas (r.a) referred to, Allah did not mention any ruling nor did He make any decision between contending parties, instead, He assigned the task of making the decision to men. On that point, there is no issue with Ibn Abbas (r.a) and his thought process here.

 

However, in the verse which gave Ali (r.a)the right to fight the war against Mu’awiya, Allah (swt) Himself has mentioned step by step the measures that should be taken and decided on. What should be done at each step? Thus, Allah (swt) lays down the ruling in this case. The verse states:

 

And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah. And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Qur’an 49:9)

 

Also, another point concerning the text that Ibn Abbas (r.a) brought forth.

Naturally, the people would ask “Are you saying Amru bin Al-As is a man of justice when it was he who spilled our blood yesterday? If you believe that he is just then we (including you -Ibn Abbas and Ali) are not just because we all fought the war against Mu’awiya and Amru bin Al-As!

So the unfilled questions were.

  1. A)Were there two arbitrators or one?
  2. B) Were they just or unjust?

 

Now it is possible that a person may think they are just and sincere in what they are doing.

That is why it is important to differentiate between ilmu al-dhahir (the knowledge of the seen) and ilmu al-ghaib (the knowledge of the unseen).

 

The former is where we, the human beings, are required to base our judgment on, whereas the latter is exclusively attributed to Allah. On this basis, if a man committed any wrong but his intention was good, then we – the people, having merely the knowledge which never goes beyond the limits of the visible world, are ordered to judge based upon the apparent.

 

In fact in a sublime oral tradition attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw) we read:

 Allah’s Messenger (saw) said, “I have not been ordered by Allah to search the hearts of the people or cut open their bellies.”

Source: (Sahih al-Bukhari 4351 Book 64, Hadith 378 Vol. 5, Book 59, Hadith 638)

 

Ibn Abbas (r.a)  was quoted by Ahmad Ibn A’tham as saying:

O men! Amru bin Al’As was not an arbiter, why then oppose us because of him? He was but an arbiter representing Mu’awiya.” source: (Ibn A’tham, Al Futuh Vol. 4, p. 94.)

 

Is it imaginable that Ibn Abbas (r.a)  wanted to substantiate his position with a verse which strongly opposed him?

Naturally, our brothers from among the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ or the ‘Shi’a‘ are either not informed about this side of the story or simply the learned withhold information. Allah (swt) sees and knows all.

 

Let us look at the other verse that is said that Ibn Abbas (r.a) brought as a proof.

 

“If you fear a breach between couples, send an arbiter from his people and an arbiter from her people. If the couple desire to put things right, Allah will bring about a reconciliation between them. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware..” (Qur’an 4:35)

 

This verse basically orders us to reconcile between man and his wife in case of misunderstanding or breach. But the steps that ought to be taken when resolving such domestic disputes have not been mentioned. The arbiters are generally required to do their best, in being fair and just, to reach a peaceful, acceptable resolution for the concerned parties.

 

When you compare and contrast the two mentioned verses you will notice that they are intended for different purposes. In the verse which gave Ali (r.a)the right to wage war against Mu’awiya, Allah (swt) delegated no one to rule and decide on the issue. But He rather ordered the believers to abide by what He had ruled.

 

On the other hand, what Ibn Abbas (r.a) armed himself with, was the verse that Allah (swt) granted deciding role to two fair and just arbiters. That is a clear and grave difference of the two verses. So we can say with confidence that Ibn Abbas’s (r.a) analogy of linking this verse with the conflict of war between Ali (r.a) and Mu’awiya is debatable.  It does not seem suitable for a person of his stature and understanding.

 

Now as mentioned above Ibn Abbas (r.a)  after hearing all of this knew very well that the arguments produced by the people of Nahrawan were airtight.

 

IBN ABBAS(R.A) CLASHES WITH ALI (R.A) OVER THE PEOPLE OF NAHRAWAN. 

After he verbally clashed with Ali (r.a), Ibn Abbas (r.a) said:

I swear by Allah, it is better for me that I meet Allah with all that is beneath the Earth, starting with its gold and silver, and all that its surface is full with than meeting Him with my hands having spilled the blood of this umma (Islamic Nation) so that I may attain a kingship or leadership.”

Source: (Al Baladhuri, Al Ansab Vol. 2, p. 398. Ibn Abd Rabbi, Al ‘Iqdu Al-Farid Vol. 4, p. 326. &  Al-Futuh by Ibn A’tham Vol. 4, p. 75.)

 

If my act of taking money was wrong, that could be easier for me than taking part in shedding the blood of a believer.”

Source:  (Al Qalhati, Al Kashf Vol. 2, p. 251. Ibn Abdi Rabih, Al ’Iqdu Al-Farid Vol. 4, p. 331. Both narratives of Ibn Abbas have been quoted from Al-Sabi’i’s, “Al Khawarij Wa Al Haqiqatul Ghaiba”.  Only one of the original sources -Al Kashf by Al-Qalhati is said not to be found -how convenient!!)

May Allah (swt) bless Ibn Abbas (r.a) how just and right He is!

 

Now if we think that Ibn Abbas (r.a) is going to differ and disagree with Ali (r.a) over the issue of bayt al mal than how much more serious is Ibn Abbas(r.a) opposing Ali (r.a)over the issue of shedding the blood of the people of Nahrawan?!?

That is something to ponder.

 

“And they who do not judge in accordance with what Allah has revealed – they, they are the evildoers!” (Qur’an 5:45)

 

These are the words of Allah (swt) These are not the words of companions or various denominations of Muslims. They are the words of Allah (swt). No commentator has ever said that there is an exception made to these words of Allah (swt). It applies fairly and equally to all of us.

===========================================================================

 

So now we will look at some of the historical narratives as brought forward:

 

Al Tabari in his Al-Taarikh, followed by Ibn Al Athir in his Al Kamil, for example, states that: “All (the Nahrawanees) returned (to rejoin Ali).

Source (Al Tabari, Al Taarikh Vol. 6, p. 13. Ibn Al-Athir ,Al-Kamil Vol. 2, p. 679)

 

But according to Ibn A’tham in his Al Futuh,  “He exempted eight thousand of them, and four thousand persisted in fighting the war against him”.

Source (Ibn A’atham, Al Futuh Vol. 2, p. 125.)

So they either:

  1.  All returned back to Ali (r.a) which would mean the battle of Narhawan never took place.
  2.  They never returned back to Ali (r.a) which means accounts that show that they did are fabricated.
  3. Some of them returned back to Ali (r.a) and many of them did find his testimony valid.

 

So let us consider carefully the accounts of the historians.  Remember there is a difference between history and his-story. Now,, these are the accounts from historical sources of the majority sect. You read them carefully and think through the arguments and logic that each side is presenting.

 

What we know according to historical records is that at the battle of Siffin there was an accord between Ali (r.a) and Mu’awyiya and that there was discord among Ali’s (r.a) soldiers on the way back to Kufa.

 

“O the enemies of Allah! You have deceived in the matter of Allah.”

Source: (Ibn Al Athir, Al Kamil Vol. 2, p. 673)

 

“You have deceived in the matter of Allah; you have had men adjudge the case which has already been decided by Allah Himself in his book, and disagreed with our group.”

Source: (Al Baladhuri, Al Ansab Vol. 3, p. 114)

 

To which those who remained loyal to Ali (r.a) said in response:

“‘You have abandoned our Imam and divided us.”  Source: (Ibn Al Athir, Al Kamil Vol. 2, p. 673.)

 

Now it can remain clear as day that it was those who remained loyal to Ali (r.a) who were the ones who yielded to the arbitration; otherwise, the people of Narhawan would have not made the above comments.

You have deceived in the matter of Allah; you have had men adjudge the case which has already been decided by Allah Himself in his book, and disagreed with our group.”

So let us look at what is said to have transpired between the Ali (r.a) and the people of Narhawan

 

Why detach yourselves from me? They replied: ‘because of your acceptance of reconciliation on the day of the Siffin battle’. (Ali) said to them: ‘By Allah! I ask you: ‘do you remember when they raised the copies of the Qur-an (as a sign of wishing peace), you said: ‘let us respond with the Book of Allah’. I told you: ‘I know these men better, they are neither religious nor are they the men who follow the guidance of the Quran…..but you opposed my idea!” Source: (Al Tabari, Al Taarikh Vol. 6, p. 13. Ibn Al Athir, Al Kamil Vol. 2, p. 679-680)

 

Amazing! In this narrative, the people of Narhawan are being accused of wanting to settle for arbitration. While we have seen in the above accounts between those who REMAINED loyal to Ali (r.a) and those who broke with him AFTER he disobeyed the order of Allah (swt) in the Qur’an.

 

So in the historical account in the dialogue between Ali (r.a) and the people of Narhawan saying to Ali (r.a) about his acceptance of the truce and later the arbitration: “That was a sin of which you have to repent”. Ali – according to this account – replied: “That was not a sin at all”.

Source: (Al Tabari, Al Taarikh Vol. 6, p. 18.)

 

Question: 

Now arises a question here: if that was not a sin worthy of repentance, then why blame them (the people of Narhawan) on insisting on the arbitration in case it was they who responded positively to it?

 

All efforts have been made by Ali’s (r.a) supporters since the battle of Siffin until the present day will be meaningless. This is because those who have been defending Ali (r.a) that he was not wrong for accepting the idea of the arbitration, justify their position by the verses such as: “And the settlement is best”, meaning reconciliation and peace-making are regarded to be good things to do in Islam. Ali (r.a) – according to this account – believes that settlement is best but he – says that it was not he who wanted to settle the dispute which broke out between him and Mu’awiya!

Who or what is to be believed with such conflicting narratives?

 

Inversely, it was the people of Nahrawan who wanted the settlement. This means that the people of Nahrawan wanted a good thing; and Ali (r.a)did not!

 

The questions that Ali (r.a) could not escape from were:

What Quran based decision did you stipulate to the two arbiters to follow? While by your act of accepting the arbitration you had already left the Quran based guidance aside? Allah (swt) says:

 

And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah. And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Qur’an 49:9)

 

The people of Nahrawan also pointed out to Ali (r.a) that the logic of the above verse is like the logic of the following verses:

 

“Now as for the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off the hand of either of them in requital for what they have wrought, as a deterrent ordained by Allah: for Allah is Almighty, Wise.” (Qur’an 5:38)

 

“As for the adulteress and the adulterer flog each of them with a hundred stripes, and let not compassion with them keep you from [carrying out] this law of Allah if you [truly] believe in Allah and the Last Day, and let a group of the believers witness their chastisement.” (Qur’an 24:2)

 

“Is it permissible to make decisions to a thief, a fornicator, and adulterer other than the one stated in these verses?”

Source: (Al Tabari, Al Taarikh Vol. 6, p. 12-13. Al Baladhuri, Al Ansab Vol. 3, p. 122)

 

 

According to the guidance of the Qur’an renegades against lawful leaders (as Ali r.a was) until he decided to go against the commands of Allah must return to the legitimate leadership by any means, diplomatically or forcibly until their rebellion is put to an end; even if that will lead to exterminating all of them.

 

Nothing impressive or Qur’an based on Ali’s(r.a)decision.  Of course, our brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ will not lay blame on Ali (r.a) because it is their doctrine not to say anything about the companions. They believe that Ali (r.a) or Mu’awiya all acted based upon ijtihad.

 

So than that begs the question. Didn’t the people of Nahrawan use ijtihad? On what consistent basis do our brothers from ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ excuse most of the companions for war upon each other and not make the same excuse for all the companions?

 

 

As for the Shi’a brothers, allow us to be quite straight forward. For the Shi’a to admit such a flawed decision on behalf of Ali (r.a) would be to effectively put an end to the Shi’a as we know it.   Do you really believe Sunnism would be so dominant today if it were not for Ali’s arbitration? That is the million-dollar question that has to keep our Shi’a brothers and sisters up at night.

No matter how you look at it, Ali (r.a) was duped.

So the Shi’a will do one of two things at this moment. Those who have an emotional attachment to Ali (r.a) will feel quite enraged. Those who have an attachment to the truth will see the truth as it is.

 

Then of course the sectarian historical lies that Ali (r.a) had won the debate and that all the people of Nahrawan rejoined him!  If that was the case he would have no one to fight at Nahrawan!

A battle that Ibn Abbas (r.a) wanted no part of (mind you).

 

PRETEXT FOR WAR WITH NAHRAWAN:  THE  MURDER OF ABDULLAH BIN KHABAB.

So with Ibn Abbas having been convinced of the proofs of the people of Narhawan and more and more people being convinced of their proofs the situation with Ali (r.a) grew desperate.

Another thing to point out all is that in all narratives Ali (r.a) went to the people of Nahrawan to hand over those who killed Abdullah bin Khabab.

Surprisingly, according to the same accounts, Ali (r.a)did not even mention the issue of Abdullahi bin Khabab; instead, he asked them to rejoin him!   Surely this is something to ponder.

Not surprisingly all the various reports surrounding the killing of Abdullah bin Khabab are also all contradictory!

You also (as a Shia or Sunni) probably never read about how the people of Nahrawan did not agree on killing Abdullah bin Khabbab but he was killed by one of those who joined them later, Mas’ar bin Fadki Al-Tamimi, and Al-Nahrawan people exiled him.

Instead, you are stuck with all the various contradictory accounts about this man (Abdullah bin Khabbab) some of them mention a woman and some of them do not. Some of them mention this woman is his wife and some of them do not. Some of them mentioned she was pregnant and some of them do not.

All of it to make the other side look like complete savages in order to justify one’s pretext for war.

The Tabarian account is not acceptable because one of its transmitters is a man named  Abu Mikhnaf, Lut bin Yahya. This is is not a reliable narrator – he was either a liar and fabricator of false accounts, or he used to narrate them from liars. [1] In this sense, the account narrated by Al-Tabari, followed by Ibn Al-Athir in their books on history, about Ali’s discussion with the Nahrawanees is not acceptable on all bases and criteria – its texts contradict themselves and its sanad (chain of narrators or of transmitters) is shared by an unreliable narrator.

[1]- Ibn Hajar in his Lisanu Al-Mizan, Al-Dhahabi in his Mizan Al-I’itidaal, Ibn Abi Hatim in his Al-Jarhu Wa Al-Tta’adiland others, have vigorously renounced his narratives.

‘Read, for example, what both Ibn Hajar and Al-Dhahabi write about Abu Mikhnaf. They say:He is an evil and unreliable reporter. He has been abandoned by Abu Hatim and his counterparts. Al-Daraqutni says: ‘He is weak.’[1]  Yahya bin Ma’in says: ‘He is not reliable.’  Al-’Uqaili has mentioned him in his Al-Dhu’afaa (a book on weak narrators of traditions). Al-Dhahabi added: ‘He is a professional Shi’a narrator who narrates their accounts (on their creeds)’.Refer to Ibn Hajar Lisanu  Al-Mizan Vol.  4, p. 492, biography no. 1568.  More details about him can be found in Mizan Al-I’itidaal by Al-Dhahabi, Vol.  4, p. 340, biography no. 6992. Also refer to Al-Jarh Wa Al-Tta’adil by Ibn Abi Hatim Vol.  7, p. 182, biography no. 1030.

 

The explanation by Al Shahrastani. 

In his attempt to defend the position of Ali (r.a) on the issue of authorizing men to make arbitration on his dispute with Mu’awiya, Al-Shahrastani has these words to tell us: “Secondly, to make men arbiters is permissible because it is men who make a decision on these issues”. [1] But this explanation is categorically refutable because the Nahrawanees basically did not blame Ali (r.a) for making men arbiters, but they blamed him for making men arbiters in a matter which Allah Himself had already decided. And they gave him the examples of a thief and a fornicator or an adulterer whose decisions have been mentioned by Allah (swt) Himself that no one could make arbitration on their cases.

Source: ([1] – Al-Shahrastani, Al-Milalu Wa Al-Nihal Vol. 1, p. 132.)

For example, you will hear such things as the following:

Like Ali (r.a) engaged with the people of Narhawan and Ali (r.a)asked for someone to bring a Mushaf (Qur’an) and they brought it.  Then Ali (r.a) is reported to have said to the Mushaf

Judge between us!”  “Speak!” “Decide!

So the people of Narhawan are reported to have said in response to him, “The Qur’an does not speak.

To which Ali (r.a) is reported to have responded, “If you know the Mushaf is scrolls and ink you know men are needed to interpret it.”

Which again is a historical gross misrepresentation of one’s opponents that people who are in pursuit of truth could not possibly be happy with.

The historical records always misrepresent the other side.   Of course, the people of Narhawan are fully aware that the Qur’an needs people to interpret it.  That was not the point. The point was that Ali (r.a) made men arbiters in a matter which Allah (swt) himself had already decided upon!

 

While reading the historical reports you hear quite a number of conflicting claims.

That the people of Narhawan had about 12,000 people.  Supposedly Ali (r.a) had 4000 soldiers.

Now ask yourself some logical questions here people.

What is meant by 12,000? 12,000 soldiers? Or 12,000 people (soldiers, women, children)?

Do you really think these people were not married, didn’t have women or children?

What happened to their women and children, since they were all  “vanquished“?

Would that make Ali (r.a) brave in your eyes? Ali (r.a) and his forces vanquishing women and children?

Then other reports are that Ali’s (r.a) army was 50,000 and the people of Narhawan had about 4000 people.

You hear conflicting reports on only 10 of the people of Narhawan remained.  Other reports we are told that 400 were left to go back to their families. Other reports that two or three dozen had escaped.

Whatever happened one thing is clear the historical documents declare that the next day when Ali (r.a) went back to Kufa that a great portion of his army forsook him and fled.

Didn’t these people believe he was a divinely appointed Imam?   Is it possible that these people also realized that Ali (r.a) was wrong in his slaughter of the people of Narhawan and it weighed on their consciousness?

CONCLUSIONS: 

  • Arbitration is a good thing to do but only where Allah has not mentioned any decision on a respective case.
  • Where He has mentioned His decision, the arbitration is disregarded – null and void.
  • The verses on which the supporters of Al (r.a) have been depending to show that Ali (r.a) was right and the Nahrawanees were wrong are not worthy as evidence on the subject because:
  1. No particular decision has ever been mentioned therein. All that is found therein, is that Allah has assigned the responsibility of making the decision to men to choose whatever they think may bring about peace and harmony.
  2. In the verse advanced by the Nahrawanees as their proof against Ali (r.a), Allah has clearly stated what decision to be made.
  3. Unfortunately, Ali (r.a) did not comply with Allah’s decision which is in the verse. Instead, he allowed men to make another decision on the issue that Allah Himself had already decided in His book.
  4. And so the truth seekers decided to separate themselves from Ali (r.a) because they found that he went contrary to the Qur’an. The Qur’an says: “….Then (all of you) fight against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah…”. The question that you ought to ask yourself if you are frank and honest, is that: did Ali (r.a)do so?
  5. If Ali (r.a) was infallible why did his followers not know this and forsake him in droves?

 

I have taken a large part of this entry from the works of Shaykh Juma Muhammad Al-Mazrui.  May Allah (swt) continue to bless him for his tremendous services in the cause of truth.

For you dear readers, the case has been made before you.   We would urge you to follow facts and not emotions.   We would urge you to sift through these conflicting narratives and ask Allah (swt) for guidance so that you will indeed be on the side of history and not HIS-STORY.

Know that we were the supporters of Ali (r.a) and when we saw that he went against clear Qur’an based principles we were free to leave him. All of us were never enemies of Ali (r.a) we were his staunchest supporters.

 

This is the truth from your Lord, so do not be among the doubters.” (Qur’an 3:60)

 

9 Comments

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9 responses to “The Ibadi narrative on what really happened at the battle of Siffin

  1. 'abdullah

    Salaam.

    >Notice that it is very clear that it is not for the believers (including companions, descendants of Prophets, or anyone).

    But wasn’t Ali’s(ra) becoming caliph due to agreements by the companions etc. in in the first place? So if it that was the case then why can’t Ali(ra) then choose to arbitrate with the companions? If he was the legitimate ruler then how can his decision be wrong?

    >According to the guidance of the Holy Qur’an renegades against lawful leaders (as Ali was until he decided to go against the commands of Allah) must return to the legitimate leadership by any means, diplomatically or forcibly until their rebellion is put to an end; even if that will lead to exterminating all of them.

    Is that really what the ayat says though? I don’t see any mention of leadership or extermination…

    If you believe that per the Quran the Imam is obligated to exterminate anyone who rebels then why are you against the death penalty for apostates?

    • salam,

      I think going forward it would be of interest to me and the readers to understand more about those who comment here.

      For example my positions on Prima-Qur’an are open and not hidden.

      So Abdullah, could I first ask is this the only name upon which you comment at Prima-Qur’an?

      Second when you state:
      “If he was the legitimate ruler then how can his decision be wrong?”

      Do you believe it is possible for Ali to make mistakes and errors in judgement and for that matter for any Caliph and/or do you believe them to be free from mistakes and errors in judgement?

      If your answer to that is yes, what are your proofs please.

      What is YOUR understanding of Holy Qur’an 49:9?

      Was Ali correct in fighting against Zubayr and Talha or was he in egregious error in doing so?

      If Ali was in egregious error than let that stand on the record.
      If Ali was in the right , than on basis from the Qur’an did Ali act in putting down rebellions?

      “If you believe that per the Quran the Imam is obligated to exterminate anyone who rebels then why are you against the death penalty for apostates?”

      Imam is an interesting choice in words. Are you yourself shi’a brother?

      Because I know that 12er Shi’a certainly believe in death for apostasy and Prima-Qur’an challenging that position is a threat to them.

      So let me put forward the following questions:

      1)How do you define the word apostate according to the Qur’an and Sunnah?

      2) Do you believe an apostate is a rebel against faith?

      3) Do you believe an apostate is a rebel against the state?

      4) Do you believe an apostate is a rebel against both the state and faith?

      By your willingness to answer these questions it further helps to ensure a mutual exchange which allows me to learn more about who you are and your positions.

      As mentioned Prima-Qur’an material is out there. However, I am absolutely unsure what perspective on Islam you have.

      Kind regards.

      • 'abdullah

        I have only commented under the name “‘abdullah” on your blog.

        >Do you believe it is possible for Ali to make mistakes and errors in judgement and for that matter for any Caliph

        Yes I don’t believe they’re infallible. But what I meant was, how can Ali’s own choice regarding rulership be incorrect? Couldn’t he technically just hand it over to anyone he wants?

        >What is YOUR understanding of Holy Qur’an 49:9?

        I think the verse itself is clear but I’m just wonder how it’s applied in this context. My question is really just, why can’t the arbitration be seen as “making settlement” or peace as in 49:10?

        >Imam is an interesting choice in words. Are you yourself shi’a brother?

        No I’m sunni. I just used Imam meaning leader.

        >4) Do you believe an apostate is a rebel against both the state and faith?

        Yes I think that’s probably the case, since the state itself is based on Islam. And you also seem to agree that the state absolutely has to be ruled according to God’s law. So if someone rebels against the religion then doesn’t he have to rebel against the state as well?

        Because if you’re a Muslim and have pledged allegiance to the leader then you’ve agreed to perform certain duties. If you leave Islam then you’re betraying that agreement, no? Because now you won’t eg pay zakat, fight jihad, and so forth. I think in this way you could interpret any case of apostasy to be treason in some form if you didn’t believe in a “haddul-riddah”.

        I only answered 4) because I think it encompassed all other questions as well.

        Regarding the article:
        https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/burning-people-alive-would-we-have-to-reject-hadith-from-ali-ibn-abi-talib/

        Then I honestly don’t see that much of a difference between the two replies. I understand shaykh bin Bayyah as saying that if the incident did took place, then it was wrong, and it was not what Islam actually commands, rather it was Ali’s(ra) personal ijtihaad which didn’t turn out to be correct. Neither of the replies said that if the incident is true then we must reject Ali(ra) as a trustworthy narrator of hadith. I don’t get what your conclusion that sunnis think companions can do NO wrong comes from when the shaykh just said that it was wrong(if it happened).

        You mentioned “isis” in the article and I assume you referred to the event where isis burned a fighter pilot alive. However afaik they tried to justify this saying that this was qisas, since the fighter pilot is bombing people killing them with fire, then they can kill him with fire. If you can consider the assassination of Ali(ra) to be qisas then why not this?? I don’t see how bin Bayyah’s statement can be of any use to extremists like isis. All they need is to make takfir of Muslims by claiming that they do not rule according to what Allah has revealed as in the argument the khawarij used…

      • I asked: “Imam is an interesting choice in words. Are you yourself shi’a brother?”

        You replied: “No I’m sunni. I just used Imam meaning leader.”

        Thank you for clarifying. The reason being is I have seen some commentators who constantly switch out user names and they are quick to comment on any post in regards to Ali. I could post about Abu Bakar As Saddiq (ra) and Umar ibn Al Khattab (ra) and there would be crickets.

        I’m also of the understanding that my blog has many elements critical of Sunni positions and I’ve become aware that the Shi’a may make use of it against Sunni’s while thinking their views and positions will go without scrutiny.

        Hence, why lately there have been post and there will be post (Allah-willing) critical of their positions.

        So you can imagine I am thankful when you said:

        “Yes I don’t believe they’re infallible. But what I meant was, how can Ali’s own choice regarding rulership be incorrect? Couldn’t he technically just hand it over to anyone he wants?”

        Let me ask you as someone who is a Sunni. Is this what happened with Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali ?

        Do Sunni Muslims believe in dynastic rule?

        While we are on the subject what proof do Sunni Muslims have that the Caliph can only come from the tribe of Quresh?

        Let me ask you this: If he did exactly that and there is no legitimate calph
        than Muslims would be allowed to accept whomever they wish to be caliph isn’t it?

        You stated:
        “I think the verse itself is clear but I’m just wonder how it’s applied in this context. My question is really just, why can’t the arbitration be seen as “making settlement” or peace as in 49:10?”

        Do you know that Ali actually sent out ambassadors to ask Muaviyah and Amr ibn Al As and the entirety of their camp to give allegiance?

        Are you aware that Ali’s overtures were turned down time and again.

        Are you aware according to Sunni historians that Muaviyah’s response to Ali was “only the sword will decide between us.”

        Are you aware that according to Sunni historians when they came face to face their was a long stand off (with negotiations)

        Now if you would like for the sake of benefit of those readers who will be reading our exchange here to give some links to what YOU think is the accurate account of the events of Siffin you are more than welcome.

        I think you know I don’t censure anyone, unlike those who censure me.

        What do you think of reports where Ali challenges Muaviyah to single combat and the victor becomes the Caliph? Can you imagine the precedent that would set?

        Also, I’m sure you aware if you set up arbiters in every case the Holy Qur’an mentions arbiters they have to be JUST men.

        Now I’m glad that I am speaking to a Sunni Muslim in regards to this because we can be straight with one another. Not much hangs in the balance for your side if we are indeed correct in our position.

        However, if I was talking to a Shi’a Muslim this point of Ali shirking from his duties is so absolutely devastating to their doctrine that I would be wrangling with them forever over this.

        You have stated:

        “4) Do you believe an apostate is a rebel against both the state and faith?
        Yes I think that’s probably the case, since the state itself is based on Islam. And you also seem to agree that the state absolutely has to be ruled according to God’s law. So if someone rebels against the religion then doesn’t he have to rebel against the state as well?”

        Yes the state has to be in accords with God’s law and the example of his Blessed Messenger (saw). That is not killing people who have a change in consciousness, a change of heart. Even if they turn from Islam they still have to pay taxes. However, if people are involved in treason, espionage, spying upon, economic sabotage , or fasadin al-ardi (spreading corruption in the Earth) the state can execute such individuals if found guilty.

        There is no vigilante justice in Islam. We are a people of order and procedures.

        You said:
        “Neither of the replies said that if the incident is true then we must reject Ali(ra) as a trustworthy narrator of hadith”

        My response: -which is a non argument. It is not an argument I am making based off of either of their replies to the situation.

        You said:

        “I don’t get what your conclusion that sunnis think companions can do NO wrong comes from when the shaykh just said that it was wrong(if it happened).”

        My response: I am curious where you get that the Shaykh said it was wrong if it happened? Could you quote for me and explain how you came to this conclusion?

        I think it is possible that you mistook Bassam Zawadi’s response for Shaykh Bin Bayyah’s.

        Bassam Zawadi is the one who states: “After all, ` This, obviously, would amount to a criticism on `Ali’s decision – not a criticism on Islam. Ali (ra) was but a human being, he may have erred in his decision.”

        Bassam Zawadi actually gave saving grace to Islam. Shaykh Bin Bayyah with all due respect to the teacher, made it a case of Ali’s ijtihad.

        If you could show me where he (Shaykh Bin Bayyah) attributed error to Ali I would appreciate it.

        From what I gather is that Shaykh Bin Bayyah is saying that Ali still gets rewards for burning the “apostates”, even though this contravenes a clear command of the Prophet (saw).

        Isn’t the understanding if you do Ijtihad and your mistaken you still get a reward?

        As far as ISIS and the incident of burning the Turkish pilots, by Him in who’s hand is in my life that particular incident never came to mind.

        What I am saying is that Bassam Zawadi by saying that Ali could have just been wrong and that says something about him and not Islam give us room to maneuver when dealing with Islamaphobes, where as Shaykh Bin Bayyah seemingly shrugged response of ‘well he still gets a reward’ for burning down a house filled with people doesn’t give us much room to maneuver at all.

        You said:

        “However afaik they tried to justify this saying that this was qisas, since the fighter pilot is bombing people killing them with fire, then they can kill him with fire. If you can consider the assassination of Ali(ra) to be qisas then why not this??”

        My response: Qisas can only be done where it does not cause us to violate one of our principles and beliefs as Muslims.

        For example if a man rapes a man to death can he in turn be raped to death?

        If people rape our children to death can we rape their children to death?

        What kind of teaching is this? You would have to wonder who is a literalist in understanding the text and who understands the text in context at this point.

        Isis did what Ali did -which was unjust and which Ibn Abbas rebuked him for.

        If someone burns you can you turn around and burn him? No.

        Because of the explicit command that has been attributed to the Prophet (saw).

        As you mentioned the word “khawarij” It made me curious so I am just seeking clarification please:

        A) what is the lexical meaning of the word khawarij?
        B) Do you see Khawarij as political succession or religious?
        C) Which works of the “Khawarij” have you read that explains their position?

        I also want to say that this is a discussion. I do appreciate the tone of this discussion. If turns into a debate I will have to withdraw from it until after Ramadan because I am fasting.

        May Allah (swt) accept all good works from you and yours in this month brother.

      • 'abdullah

        >Do Sunni Muslims believe in dynastic rule?

        It’s not something that affects legitimacy in of itself. So it can be valid yes.

        >While we are on the subject what proof do Sunni Muslims have that the Caliph can only come from the tribe of Quresh?

        A hadith I think…although in practice the sunni position is pretty much that the leader should be obeyed regardless of whether or not the leader is from Quraysh.

        >what YOU think is the accurate account of the events of Siffin you are more than welcome.

        I don’t know. I wasn’t really trying to present an alternative view and then debate you over it. In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have made any comment to begin with since it was pointless. Sorry for wasting your time.

        >I am curious where you get that the Shaykh said it was wrong if it happened? Could you quote for me and explain how you came to this conclusion?

        It was what I understood from:

        “this would be a kind of ijtihad from a companion that disagrees with the text.”

        So if it happened, then the burning was an incorrect ijtihaad since it goes against “the text” ie what Islam actually prescribes.

        But I was perhaps too focused on the error part whereas your point was on the reward from ijtihaad. I’m just saying that the shaykh’s answer could mean it was an error even if it was ijtihaad.

      • Thank you for your straight forward and honest answers brother Abdullah.

        May Allah (swt) accept your fasting, and all your good deeds in this month.

        May I be guided and may you be guided, may we be guided to what is beloved to Allah (swt).

    • Also, Abdullah I am not sure if you read the following article: https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/burning-people-alive-would-we-have-to-reject-hadith-from-ali-ibn-abi-talib/

      Many Shi’a are troubled by this hadith and simply say that is a fabrication.

      What are your thoughts on it? Notice that imminent scholar and vastly learned Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah says that Ali burning people alive was simply his ijtihad (meaning he could have made an error in judgement) and this hadith has Ibn Abbas rebuking Ali for going against the judgement of the Blessed Messenger (saw).

      Where as Bassam Zawadi was in agreement that it is a type of ijtihad and that if Ali was wrong it counts as an error from him and not a judgement against Islam.

      Thanks again.

      • Harith

        My Brother Assalam o alaikum dear brother please can u guide me and tell me what is Ibadi view on succession after the Holy Prophet(saw) passing away and secondly do all prophets appointed their successors before their death or not?

      • Walakum Salam wrwb Ibadi view is that Abu Bakr r.a is the first caliph followed by Umar r.a Uthman r.a than Ali r.a than Ali relinquished his caliphate and was in error in his arbitration with Muaviyah.

        Hope this helps.

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