The Transfer of the caliphate to muawiyah and its Transformation into a hereditary monarchy

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After the death of Ali, his son, Hasan ibn Ali, who is recognized by the shiah as their second Imam, became caliph. This designation occurred in accordance with Alis last will and testament and also by the allegiance of the community to Hasan. But Mu’awiyah did not remain quiet before event. He marched with his army toward Iraq, which was then the capital of the caliphate, and began to wage war against Hasan.

separation of politics from Religions
Through different intrigues and the payment of great sums of money, Mu’awiyah was able gradually to corrupt the aides and generals of has an. Finally he was able to force has an to hand the caliphate over to him so as to avoid bloodshed and to make Peace y a’ q u bi, VOI, II, p, 191, and other histories Has a n handed that the caliphate to Mu’awiyah on the condition that the caliphate would be returned to him after the death Mu’awiyah and that no harm would come to his partisans (ya’ qubi, VOI, II, p, 192, Abu’I-Fida’, VOI .p ,183).

In the year 40/661 Mu’awiyah finally gained control of the ca lip hate. He then set then out immediately for Iraq and in speech to the people of that land said: I did not fight against you for the sake of the prayers or of fasting. These acts you can perform yourself. What I wanted to accomplish was to rule over and this end I have achieved. He also said the agreement I made with has an is null and void. It lies trampled under my feet (Al-Nasa’h, al.kafityah of Muhmmad al-‘Alawi, Baghdad, 1368, VOI, II, p. 161 and other). With this declaration Mu’awiyah made known to the people the real character of his government and revealed the nature of the program he had in mind.

He indicated in his declaration that he would separate religion from politics and would not give any guarantees concerning religious duties and regulations. He would spend all his force to preserve and to keep alive his own power, whatever might be the cost. Obviously a government of such a nature is more of sultanate and a monarchy than a caliphate and vicegerency of the prophet of God in its traditional IsIamic sense. That is why some who were admitted to his court addressed him as king (ya’qibi, VOI, II, p. 193). He himself in some private gatherings interpreted his government as a monarchy (ya’qibi, VOI, II, p. 207), While in public he always introduced himself as the caliph.

Naturally any monarchy that is based on force carries with it inherently the principle of inheritance. Mu’ awiyah, too, finally realized this fact, and chose his son, Yazid who was a heedless young man without the least religious personality (Yazid was a lecherous and self- indulgent person. He was always drunk and wore silk and unbecoming dress. His nightly parties were combined with music and wine. He had a dog and a monkey was named Abu Qays. He would were always with him as companions with which he amused himself. His monkey was named Abu Qays. He would dress him in beautiful attire and make him be present ya’gubi ,VOI, II, p. 196, Murujal-dhahab, VOI,III,p, 77), as the "crown prince" and his successor. This act was to be the cause of many regrettable events in the future. Mu’awiyah had previously indicated that he would refuse to permit has an ibn Ali to succeed him as caliph and that he had other thoughts in mind. Therefore he had caused has a to be killed by poisoning (Muruj al- dhahab, VOI, III, p, 5, Abu’I-Fida, VOI, p, 183), thus preparing the way for his son, Yazid.

In breaking his agreement with has an n, Mu’awiyah made it clear that he would never permit the shi’ah of the Household of the prophet to live in peaceful and secure environment and continue their activity as before, and he carried into action very intention. It has been said that he went so far as to declare that whoever would transmit a habith in praise of the virtues of the Household of the prophet would have no immunity or protection concerning his life, merchandise and propherty (al-Nasa’ih al-kafiyah.72, recounted from kitad al- ahadith).

Forging of hadiths
At the same time he ordered that whoever could recite a hadith in praise of the other companions or caliphs would be given sufficient reward. As a result a noticeable number of hadith were recorded at this time praising the companions, some of which are of doubtful authenticity (Ya’qdbi, VOI, II. PP, 199 and 210 Abu’ I- fida, VOI, I, p, 186, Muruj al- dhahab, VOI, III. P, 33 and 35). He ordered pejorative comments to be made about Ali from the pulpits of mosques throughout the land of Islam, while he him self sought to revile Ali. This command continued to be more or less in effect until the caliphate of Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, when it was discontinued (Al- Nasa’ih, al. kafiyah, pp, 72-73). With the help of agents and lieutenants, Mu’awiyah caused elite and the most outstanding among the partisans of Ali to be put to death and the heads of some of them to be carried on lances throughout different cities (Al- Nasa’ih, al. kafiyah, pp, 58, 64, 77-78). The majority of Shi’ites were forced to disown and even curse Ali and to express their disdain for him. If they refused, they were put to death.

the bleakest days of shi’ism in Mu’ awiyahyah’s caliphatet
In the rule of muawiyah the most difficult period for shi’ism was the twenty – year rule of Mu’awiyah, during which the shi’ites had no protection and most of them were considered as marked characters, under suspicion and hunted down by the state, Two of the leaders of shi’ism who lived at this time, Imams Has an and Hossein, did not possess any mean whatsoever to change the negative and oppressive circumstances in which they lived Hossein, the third Imam of shi’ism, had no possibility of freeing the shi’ites from persecution in the ten year he was Imam during Mu’awiyah’s caliphate, and when he rebelled during the caliphate of Yazid he was massacred along with all his aides and children.

Certain people in the sunni world explain as pardonable the arbitrary, unjust and irresponsible actions carried out at this time by Mu’ awiyah and his aides and lieutenants, some of whom were like Mu’ awiyah himself, among the companions. This group reasons that according to certain hadiths of the Holy prophet all the companions could practice ijtinad, that they were excused by God for sins they committed, and that God was satisfied with them and forgave them whatever wrong they might have performed.

The shi'ism reasons for disagreeing with the actions of Mu'awiyah and his son
The Shi’ites, however, does not accept this argument for two reasons:
1. It is not conceivable that a leader of human society like the prophet should rise in order to revivify truth, justice and freedom and to persuade a group of people to accept his beliefs – a group all of whose members had sacrificed their very existence in order to accomplish this sacred end- and then as soon as this end is accomplished give his aides and companions complete freedom to do with these sacred laws as they will. It is not possible to believe that the Holy Prophet would have forgiven the companions for whatever wrong action they might have performed by them would have only destroyed the structure which the Holy Prophet had built with the same means that he had used to construct it.

2. Those saying which depict the companions as inviolable and pardoned in advance for every act they might perform, even one unlawful or inadmissible, are most likely apocryphal, the authenticity of many of them has not been fully established by traditional methods, Moreover, it is known historically that the companions did not deal with one another as if they were inviolable and pardoned for all their sins and wrong doings. Therefore, even judging by the way the companions acted and dealt with each other, it can be concluded that such saying cannot be literally true in the way some have understood them. IF they do contain an aspect of the is in indicating the legal inviolability of the companions and the sanctification which they enjoyed generally as a group because of their proximity to the Holy Prophet. The expression of God’s satisfaction with the companions in the Holy Quran, because of the services they had renderd in obeying his Command (see Quran ,IX,I ), refers to their past actions, to God ‘s satisfaction with them in the past, not to whatever action each one of them might perform in the future.

the establishment of Umayyad Rule
In the year 60/680 Mu’awiyah died and his son Yazid became caliph, as the result of the allegiance which his father had obtained for him from the powerfull political and military leaders of community. from the testimony of historical documents it can be seen clearly that Yazid had no religious character at all and that even during the life time of his father he was oblivious to the principles and regulations of IsIam. at that time his only interest was debauchery and frivolity. During his three years of caliphate he was the cause of calamities that had no precedent in the history of IsIam, despite all the strife that had occurred before him.

During the first year of Yazid’s rule Imam Hossein, the grandson of the holy prophet, was massacred in the most atrocious manner along with his children, relatives and children of the Household of the prophet killed and their head displayed in different cities (Ya’qubi, VOI, II, 216,Abu’I – Fida’ VOI,I, P, 190).

During the second year of his rule, he ordered a general massacre of Medina and for three days gave his soldiers free dom to kill, loot and take the women of the city (Ya’quadbi, VOI,II, P, 223, Abu, Fida, VOI, I, P, 192, Muruj al – ahahab, VOI,III, P, 78).
During the third year he had the sacred Ka’bah destroyed and burned (Ya’quadbi, VOI,II, P,224, Abu, Fida, VOI, I, P192).

Following Yazid the family of Marwan gained possession of the caliphate, according to details that are recorded in the history books, the rule of this eleven- member group, which lasted for nearly seventy years, was successful politically but from the point of view of purely religious values it fell short of IsIamic ideals. And practices IsIamic society was dominated by the Arab element alone and non- Arab were subordinated to the Arabs In fact a strong Arab empire was created which gave itself name of an IsIamic caliphate. During this period some of the caliph were indifferent to religious sentiments to the extent that one them- who was the” vicegerent of the holy prophet “ and was regarded as the protector of religion. decided without showing any respect for IsIamic practices and the feeling of Muslims to construct a room above the Ka’bah so that he could have place to enjoy and amuse himself during the annual pilgrimage (Walid ibn Yazid, mentioned in Ya’qubi ,VOI,III,P, 73). It is even recounted of one of these caliphs that he made the holy Quran a target for his arrow and in a poem composed to the Quran said: "on the Day of Judgment when you appear before God tell Him the caliph tore me" (Walid ibn Yazid ,mentioned in muruj al- dhahab, VOI, III, P, 228).

Resistance and devotion of shi'ism in the bleak days of umayyah
Naturally the Shi’ite. Whose basic differences with the Sunni were in the two questions of the IsIamic caliphate and and religious authority were passing through bitter and difficult days in this dark period. Yet in spite of the unjust and irresponsible ways of the governments of time the asceticism and purity of the leaders of the House hold of the prophet made the shi’ites day ever more determined to hold on to their beliefs. Oo particular importance was the tragic death of Hossein, the third Imam, which played a major role in the spread of shi’ism, especially in regions away from the center of the caliphate, such as Iraq, the Yemen, and Persia, This can be seen through the fact that during the period of the fifth Imam, before the end of the first IsIamic century, and less than forty year after the death of Hossien, the Shiites took advantage of the internal differences and weaknesses in Umayyad government and began to organize themselves, flocking to the side of the fifth Imam. People came from all IsIamic countries like a flood to his door to collect hadith and to learn the IsIamic sciences. The first century had not yet ended when a few of the leaders who were influential in the government established the city of Qum in Persia and mad it a shi’ite settlement. But even then shi’ah continued to live for the most part in hiding and followed their religious life secretly without external manifestations.

Several times the descendants of the prophet (who are called in Persian sadat – I’alawi) rebelled against the injustice of the gove rnment, but each time they were defeated and usually lost their Lives. The severa and unscrupulous government of the time did not over look any means of crushing them. The body of Zayd, the leader of Zayd shi’ism, was dug out of the grave and hanged ,then after remaining on the gallows for three years it was brought down and burned, its ashes being thrown to the wind (Muruj al- dhahab,VOI,III,PP,217-219,Ya’VOI,II, p,66). The shi’ites believes that the fourth and fifth Imams were poisoned by the Umayyads as the second and third Imams poisoned by the Umayyads as the second third Imams had been killed by them before (Bihar-al- anwar ,VOI,XII,and other shi’ite scources).

The calamities brought about by the Umayyads were so open and unveiled that the majority of the sunnis, although they believed generally that it was their duty to obey the caliphs, felt the pangs of their religious conscience and were forced to divide the caliphs into two groups, they came to distinguish between the “rightly guided caliphs”(khulafa rashidun) who are the first four caliphs after the death of the holy Prophet (Abu Aakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali) and the others who began with Mu’ awiyah and who did not possess by any means the religious virtues of the rightly guided caliphs.

Falling and begging of umayyad rule
The Umayyads caused so much public hatred as a result of their injustice and heedlessness during their rule that after the definitive defeat and death of the last Umayyad caliph his two sons and a number of their family encountered great difficulties in escaping from the capital .No matter where they turned no one would give they shelter. F finally after much wandering the deserts of Nubia, Abyssinia, and Bajawah (between Nubia Abyssinia) during which many of them died from hunger and thirst, they came to Bab al- Mandab of the Yemen, There they acquires travel expenses from the people through begging and set out for Mecca dressed as porters. In Mecca they finally succeeded in disa ppearing among the mess of the people(Ya’qudi,VOI,III,84 ).


shiah - pages: 90 to 100


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