- ʻAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib Caliph approximately [WorldCat Identities]
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- Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam: The Teachings of Ali IBN ABI Talib
ʻAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib Caliph approximately [WorldCat Identities]
The order of this mus'haf differed from that which was gathered later during the Uthmanic era. This book was rejected by several people when he showed it to them. Despite this, Ali made no resistance against the standardised mus'haf. While Ali was preparing Muhammad's body for burial and performing his funeral rites, a small group of approximately fourteen Muslims  met at Saqifah. There, Umar ibn al-Khattab pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, who subsequently assumed political power.
The gathering at Saqifah was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who held that Ali had been designated his successor by Muhammad himself. Relations between Abu Bakr and Ali may have become strained after this. Other sources add that Ali later willingly offered Abu Bakr his oath of allegiance and gave a praise-filled oration during his funeral.
Nevertheless, the issue of succession to Muhammad caused the Muslims to split into two groups, Sunni and Shia. Sunnis assert that even though Muhammad never appointed a successor, Abu Bakr was elected first caliph by the Muslim community. The Sunnis recognize the first four caliphs as Muhammad's rightful successors. Shias believe that Muhammad explicitly named Ali as his successor at Ghadir Khumm and Muslim leadership belonged to him by dint of divine order.
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According to Wilferd Madelung , Ali himself was firmly convinced of his legitimacy for the caliphate based on his close kinship with Muhammad, his knowledge of Islam, and his merits in serving its cause. He told Abu Bakr that his delay in pledging allegiance bay'ah to him was based on his belief in his own claim to the caliphate. Ali did not change his mind when he finally pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr and then to Umar and to Uthman but had done so for the sake of the unity of Islam, at a time when it was clear that the Muslims had turned away from him.
At the beginning of Abu Bakr's caliphate, there was a controversy about Muhammad's endowment to his daughter, especially the oasis of Fadak , between Fatimah and Ali on one side and Abu Bakr on the other side. Fatimah asked Abu Bakr to turn over their property, the lands of Fadak and Khaybar , but Abu Bakr refused and told her that prophets did not have any legacy and that Fadak belonged to the Muslim community.
Abu Bakr said to her, "Allah's Apostle said, we do not have heirs, whatever we leave is Sadaqa. Fatimah became angry and stopped speaking to Abu Bakr, and continued assuming that attitude until she died. He pledged allegiance to the second caliph, ' Umar ibn Khattab , and helped him as a trusted advisor. He also advised Umar to set Hijra as the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
Although 'Ali was one of the two major candidates, the council was inclined against him. In addition, Umar gave the deciding vote to Abdur Rahman, who offered the caliphate to Ali on the condition that he should rule in accordance with the Quran, the example set by Muhammad , and the precedents established by the first two caliphs. Ali rejected the third condition while Uthman accepted it.
According to Ibn Abi al-Hadid's Comments on the Peak of Eloquence Ali insisted on his prominence there, but most of the electors supported Uthman and Ali was reluctantly urged to accept him. Overt resistance arose in — throughout most of the empire. At this time, 'Ali had acted as a restraining influence on Uthman without directly opposing him. On several occasions Ali disagreed with Uthman in the application of the Hudud ; he had publicly shown sympathy for Abu Dharr al-Ghifari and had spoken strongly in the defence of Ammar ibn Yasir.
He conveyed to Uthman the criticisms of other Companions and acted on Uthman's behalf as negotiator with the provincial opposition who had come to Medina; because of this some mistrust between Ali and Uthman's family seems to have arisen. Finally, he tried to mitigate the severity of the siege by his insistence that Uthman should be allowed water. There is controversy among historians about the relationship between Ali and Uthman. Although pledging allegiance to Uthman, Ali disagreed with some of his policies. In particular, he clashed with Uthman on the question of religious law. He insisted that religious punishment had to be meted out in several cases, such as those of Ubayd Allah ibn Umar and Walid ibn Uqba.
In , during the pilgrimage , he reproached Uthman for his change of the prayer ritual. When Uthman declared that he would take whatever he needed from the fey', Ali exclaimed that in that case the caliph would be prevented by force. Ali endeavoured to protect companions such as Ibn Mas'ud from maltreatment by the caliph. But Wilferd Madelung rejects their judgment due to the fact that Ali did not have the Quraysh's support to be elected as a caliph. According to him, there is not even evidence that Ali had close relations with rebels who supported his caliphate, much less directed their actions.
Ali was caliph between and during the First Fitna, one of the most turbulent periods in Muslim history. Since the conflicts in which Ali was involved were perpetuated in polemical sectarian historiography, biographical material is often biased. However, the sources agree that he was a profoundly religious man, devoted to the cause of Islam and the rule of justice in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah.
The sources abound in notices on his austerity, rigorous observance of religious duties, and detachment from worldly goods. Authors have noted that Ali stood firmly by his principles and would not compromise them for political self-gain. Uthman's assassination meant that rebels had to select a new caliph. This met with difficulties since the rebels were divided into several groups: the Muhajirun , Ansar , Egyptians , Kufans and Basrites. There were three candidates: Ali, Talhah and Al-Zubayr. First the rebels approached Ali and offered him the caliphate.
Some of Muhammad's companions tried to persuade Ali to accept the office,    but he turned down the offer, requesting he be made a counsellor instead of a chief. Therefore, the rebels warned the inhabitants of Medina to select a caliph within one day, or they would take drastic action. In order to resolve the deadlock, the Muslims gathered in the Prophet's Mosque on 18 June , to appoint the caliph. Initially, 'Ali refused to accept the office, simply because his most vigorous supporters were rebels.
However, when some notable companions of Muhammad, in addition to the residents of Medina, urged him to accept the offer, he finally agreed.
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According to Abu Mekhnaf 's narration, Talhah was the first prominent companion who gave his pledge to 'Ali, but other accounts claimed otherwise, stating they were forced to give their pledge. Also, Talhah and Al-Zubayr later claimed they supported him only reluctantly. Regardless, Ali refuted these claims, insisting they recognised him as caliph voluntarily. Wilferd Madelung believes that coercion was not a factor and that they pledged publicly in the mosque.
The Umayyads, kinsmen of Uthman, fled to the Levant , or remained in their houses, later refusing 'Ali's legitimacy.
Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas was absent and 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar abstained from offering his allegiance, but both of them assured 'Ali that they would not act against him. Uthman had appointed his family members as governors and in other positions of power, and public dissatisfaction with this nepotism was one of the factors that had caused a rebellion against him. Soon after Ali became caliph, he dismissed Uthman's governors immediately, against the counsel of his advisers that it would not be politically wise to do so, as he refused to be complicit in their injustice and corruption.
When he was appointed caliph, Ali stated to the citizens of Medina that Muslim polity had come to be plagued by dissension and discord; he desired to purge Islam of any evil. He advised the populace to behave as true Muslims, warning that he would tolerate no sedition and those who were found guilty of subversive activities would be dealt with harshly.
The talks lasted for many days and the subsequent heated exchange and protests during the parley turned from words to blows, leading to loss of life on both sides. In the confusion the Battle of the Camel started in , where Ali emerged victorious. The rebels maintained that Uthman had been justly killed, for not governing according to the Quran and Sunnah; hence, no vengeance was to be invoked. Some say the caliphate was a gift of the rebels and Ali did not have enough force to control or punish them,  while others say Ali accepted the rebels' argument or at least did not consider Uthman a just ruler.
The Umayyads knowledge of me did not restrain them from accusing me, nor did my precedence in accepting Islam keep these ignorant people from blaming me. Allah's admonitions are more eloquent than my tongue. I am the contester against those who break away from Faith and the opposer of those who entertain doubts. Uncertainties should be placed before Qur'an, the Book of Allah for clarification.
Certainly, people will be recompensed according to what they have in their hearts. Under such circumstances, a schism took place which led to the first civil war in Muslim history.
Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam: The Teachings of Ali IBN ABI Talib
Some Muslims, known as Uthmanis, considered Uthman a rightful and just caliph till the end, who had been unlawfully killed. Some others, known as the party of Ali, believed Uthman had fallen into error, had forfeited the caliphate, and been lawfully executed for his refusal to mend his ways or step down; thus, Ali was the just and true Imam and his opponents were infidels.
This was not the position of Ali himself. This civil war created permanent divisions within the Muslim community regarding who had the legitimate right to occupy the caliphate. The First Fitna, —, followed the assassination of Uthman , continued during the caliphate of Ali, and was ended by Muawiyah's assumption of the caliphate. This civil war is regretted as the end of the early unity of the Islamic ummah nation.
Ali appointed 'Abd Allah ibn al'-Abbas  governor of Basra. There were deep-seated differences, stretching back to the Roman-Persian Wars and the Byzantine—Sasanian wars , between Iraq, formerly Persian, and Syria , formerly Byzantine. The Iraqis wanted the capital of the newly-established Islamic State to be in Kufa , the Muslim garrison city in Iraq, in order to bring revenue and oppose Syria.
Later, Muawiyah I, governor of the Levant and cousin of Uthman , refused Ali's demands for allegiance.
Ali opened negotiations, but Muawiyah insisted on Levantine autonomy under his rule. Muawiyah mobilised an army and refused to pay homage to Ali on the pretext that his contingent had not participated in the election. Ali then moved his armies north and the two sides encamped at Siffin for more than one hundred days, most of the time being spent in negotiations. Although Ali exchanged several letters with Muawiyah, he was unable to dismiss the latter, nor persuade him to pledge allegiance.
Skirmishes between the parties led to the Battle of Siffin in A week of combat was followed by a violent battle known as laylat al-harir the night of clamour.
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Muawiyah's army was on the point of being routed when Amr ibn al-As advised Muawiyah to have his soldiers hoist mus'haf either parchments inscribed with verses of the Quran, or complete copies of it on their spearheads in order to cause disagreement and confusion in Ali's army. The refusal of the largest bloc in Ali's army to fight was the decisive factor in his acceptance of the arbitration. The question as to whether the arbiter would represent Ali or the Kufans caused a further split in Ali's army.
Finally, Ali was urged to accept Abu Musa. Amr ibn al-As was appointed by Muawiyah as an arbitrator. Seven months after the battle, in February , the two arbitrators met at Adhruh about 10 miles northwest of Maan in Jordan. Ali and his supporters were stunned by the decision, which had lowered the caliph to the status of the rebellious Muawiyah.
Ali was therefore outwitted by Muawiyah and Amr ibn al-As. When the time arrived for making a decision about the caliphate , Amr bin al-As convinced Abu Musa al-Ashari that they should deprive both Ali and Muawiya of the caliphate, and give the Muslims the right to elect the caliph.