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  • 10/6/2012

Examples of Imam Ali’s (A.S) Moral Virtues

An Extraordinary Example of Altruism

part 3


The Battle of Siffin

Siffin was a region by the river Euphrates. When the army of Ali reached it, he was told to block the army of Mu`awiyah from having access to the river, but Ali did not accept the idea. Mu`awiyah took advantage of this situation, seized all the ways leading to the river and blocked the army of Ali from having access to the river. By his command, the army opened ways to the river. To retaliate, Imam Ali’s companions decided to block Mu`awiyah’s army from access to river, but again Ali did not permit. The Battle of Siffin lasted for eighteen months. The offensive by Ali’s army was started hoping that the Syrians would give up and less blood would be shed!


The Battle Of Nahrawan

The best definition we can use in describing the Kharijites is that they were people afflicted with the disease of enmity with Ali and they did not stop this enmity until they killed him. If we use the word disease, it is because enmity with anyone needs a reason. A person bears enmity to someone for personal reasons, for being jealous of that person’s position, for having been hurt or harmed by that person, for having experienced a tyranny, a family feud or religious differences. None of those reasons existed for those who were hostile to Ali. They simply could not see Ali alive and victorious.

These people were in the army of Ali in the Battle of Siffin but when he overcame the enemy, they drew their swords against him and deprived him of victory. They did not accept the intelligent arbiter Imam Ali had chosen and selected the arbiter who was Ali’s enemy! They were the enemies of Mu`awiyah too but unknowingly assisted him and compelled Ali to accept the mediation of the arbiters.

When the treachery of mediation became clear, they started to disagree with Ali so much so that they disrespected him in his presence and absence. Ali too had left them to themselves showing no reaction to what they said and did.

Ali’s friends who could not tolerate hearing their sarcastic and insulting remarks would often ask Ali to suppress and imprison them or check their activities. However, Ali would not agree, saying, “As long as they do not do anything against us, we will not harm them nor will we cut their stipend from the public fund. We will allow them to come to the mosque but if they kill anyone, we will retaliate.”‌

The inner disease of Kharijites was being intensified. Hence, they could not stay in Kufa, for they saw Ali there. So, they left it for Nahrawan. Still Ali let them act freely and had nothing to do with them. When he set out to suppress Mu`awiyah, he wrote a letter as such, “We are going to suppress your enemies, a common enemy; come long with us.”‌ The Kharijites did not accept the offer and declared war against him! Still Ali did not go to them and set off for Syria. Ali was asked to put an end to the enmity of Kharijites first and then set out for Syria. It was not accepted and the order to move to Syria was issued.

Ali’s army was or the way to Syria when news reached that the Kharijites have become active, forcing people to curse Ali and anyone who does not comply with it, is killed. Ali headed for Nahrawan, the Kharijites base. He still refused to enter battle against them. So, he started to admonish and guide them. He managed to dissuade many of them from fighting though they refused to assist Ali in suppressing Mu`awiyah. Those Kharijites who were dissuaded to fight Ali returned to Kufah but remained Ali’s enemies.

The seeds of Kharijites in the history of Islam were sown by same people and the rest did not accept any option but fighting and preferred death to living with Ali. So they attacked Ali’s army with the motto of ‘we are going to Paradise’. Still no order of counterattack was issued until one of Ali’s soldiers was killed. It was then that Imam Ali said, “It is now the right time to fight them.”‌ Ali’s army started its attack which put the Kharijites to flight.



Author: Allama Hussein Ansariyan

Translator: Dr. Ali Akbar Aghili Ashtiani

P. 168-189

Other Links:

Tolerance of Opponents by Imam Ali (A.S)

Freedom in Precept of Imam Ali (A.S)

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