Battle of Siffin


  • Introduction

Many people believe that the Battle of Siffin–in which Ali (رضّى الله عنه) faced off with Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه)–was the point at which the Sunni-Shia split solidified. At this point, many people will take the simplistic point of view that Ali represented the Shia side, and Muawiyyah the Sunni side. However, this is not true. Both Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه) were adherents of the same faith, of the mainstream Islam. There was, however, a third group which would form in the Battle of Siffin–the Khawaarij–who, via their relationship with the Saba’ites, were the ancestors of the modern day Shia movement. In fact, the Battle of Siffin was an important event in Islamic history to understand for this very reason as it raises many questions that the Shia cannot explain.

  • Reasons For Civil War

Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه) demanded that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) find and prosecute Uthman’s killers, because it was well known that the killers were from amongst the Shia’t Ali. Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه) was a blood-relative of Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) and he was very upset that the murderers were not apprehended. Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه), then the governor of Syria, refused to recognize Ali (رضّى الله عنه), and he demanded the right to avenge Uthman’s death (رضّى الله عنه). In what was perhaps the most important battle fought between Muslims, Ali’s forces (رضّى الله عنه) met Muawiyyah’s (رضّى الله عنه) in the Battle of Siffin.

The Shia say that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) fought Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه) for denying the Shia concept of the Imamah, and that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was the first Infallible Imam. And yet the Shia’s own books say that this was not what the Battle of Siffin had to do with, but rather it was purely political as opposed to religious. Ali (رضّى الله عنه) clearly said in Nahjul Balagha:

“In the beginning of our matter, the people of Syria [Muawiyyah’s forces] and us met. It is obvious that our God is one, our Prophet is one, and our call in Islam is one. We do not see ourselves more in faith in Allah or more in believing His messenger than them, nor they do. Our matter is one, except for our disagreement in Uthman’s blood, and we are innocent from his murder.” [Nahjul Balagha, vol.3, p.648]

  • The Battle of Siffin

So it was that the Shia’t Ali met the Shia’t Muawiyyah. Caliph Ali’s forces were decimating the forces of Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه). It would have been a decisive victory for Caliph Ali (رضّى الله عنه), but the Shia’t Muawiyyah used a rouse to fool the Shia’t Ali. Muawiyyah’s Syrians adorned the tips of their swords with pages from the Quran. This confused the Shia’t Ali, who did not want to bring harm to the Quran.

The Shia’t Ali stopped fighting due to this trick, and the Shia’t Muawiyyah asked for a cease-fire and to resolve the issue through arbitration. Caliph Ali (رضّى الله عنه), being the noble man that he was, agreed to vote (use Shurah) for who would be Caliph. This greatly upset a contingent of his ardent followers, the Saba’ites, who did not agree that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) should use arbitration. The Saba’ites had been convinced by Abdullah Ibn Saba that Allah had appointed Ali (رضّى الله عنه) as Caliph. So they accused Ali (رضّى الله عنه) of going against the Will of Allah by resorting to negotiation on the matter. How could there be negotiation on a matter that is decreed by Allah Almighty?

A portion of the Saba’ites defected and turned against Caliph Ali (رضّى الله عنه). They declared vociferously: “No rule but to Allah!” These defectors came to be known as the Khawaarij, which literally translates to “those who go out” or “those who secede.” For so long, these people had been the most ardent supporters of Ali (رضّى الله عنه), calling themselves the Shia’t Ali and the Lovers of Ahlel Bayt, but look now where their doctrinal innovation had taken them. They defected against the very man they had claimed to follow!

This event in Islamic history is one that the Shia of today cannot explain away. They try to hide it under a rug, since it shows the falsity of their beliefs. The Khawaarij, former Saba’ites, were of the same belief of the Ithna Ashari Shia today, namely that Allah had appointed Ali (رضّى الله عنه) to be Caliph. And yet, Ali (رضّى الله عنه) agreed to arbitration with Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه). The million-dollar question, asked of course by the Khawaarij: how could Ali (رضّى الله عنه) agree to arbitration if it was a matter decreed by Allah?

How could Ali (رضّى الله عنه) agree to negotiation on this matter if Allah Himself had chosen Ali (رضّى الله عنه) to be this supposed “Infallible Imam”? Would Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) agree to arbitration and negotiation on the matter of his Prophethood? So why would Ali (رضّى الله عنه) arbitrate and negotiate on the matter of his Imamah? In matters decreed by Allah, there can be no negotiation! For example, we cannot negotiate on the matter of eating pork or Salat, since these matters are already decreed by Allah.

This event proves without a shadow of doubt that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was not divinely appointed by Allah nor by His Messenger, since he agreed to arbitration and agreed to Shurah (consultation) to decide who would be the Caliph. This proves that what the Ahlus Sunnah believes is correct: namely that Shurah is the way to elect a leader, much like how Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was selected.

The Shia belief system is diammetrically opposed to the very Ali (رضّى الله عنه) they claim to follow, and soon will they also be faced against Ali (رضّى الله عنه), much like the Khawaarij [former Saba’ites] would turn against and face Ali (رضّى الله عنه); Ali (رضّى الله عنه) is he who denied all claims of divine appointment and of Infallible Imamah. Ali (رضّى الله عنه) denied this to the Saba’ites, the Khawaarij, and he will also deny this to the Shia of today, whose faces will be turned black on the Day of Judgement for their exaggeration and lies, where they will be grouped together with the people who defected against Ali (رضّى الله عنه), namely the Khawaarij. There is no plausible explanation that the Shia can give to the million-dollar question: why did Ali (رضّى الله عنه) agree to Shurah? It is indeed a slap to the face of the Shia faith.

  • Ali (رضّى الله عنه) Murdered by Saba’ites

In any case, the Khawaarij turned against Caliph Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and killed him. So it was that Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه) became the fifth Caliph. The irony should not be lost that the Shia are the ones who killed Ali (رضّى الله عنه) allowing Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه) to be the Caliph, and now look at the Shia today lamenting about Muawiyyah (رضّى الله عنه) stealing the Caliphate! There can be no denying that the Saba’ites and the Khawaarij are the fore-fathers of Shi’ism, since the Shia today hold the same opinion that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was divinely appointed and thus arbitration (i.e. with Abu Bakr or Muawiyyah) cannot be accepted.

Article Written By: Ibn al-Hashimi, | Email : ahlelbayt[a] | English Version