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Emergence of the Ummayads and the destruction of Islamic values | Karbala


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« on: March 25, 2011, 05:37:04 am »

Origin of Ummayads - who were they?

The Ummayad dynasty which came to power in 661 AD is the root of Sunni Islam.  Unfortunately, it's a stark symbol of contradiction to the principles of genuine Islam based on the Glorious Quran.  The Ummayads are also commonly referred to as the "Arab kingdom," reflecting traditional Muslim disapproval of the secular nature of the Umayyad state.  They did not place any major emphasis on Islam and its great principles.  They concentrated on developing their empire economically and politically.
 
The Ummayad dynasty was the first hereditary system of governance established in the Muslim world after Prophet Muhammad (S) and his four immediate successors, Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali.  Needless to say, kingships and rule of the "royals" are completely contrary to Quranic principles. 
 
Going back into history, it's interesting to check the basic practices introduced by the Ummayads which are vivid examples of internal strifes, feuds, murders, concept of "family nobility" etc. with Faith and ethics being the lowest of their priorities.  This was the infrastructure that existed in pre-Islamic Arabia.  It was abolished by our beloved Prophet (S) based on the commandments and principles of the Glorious Quran, but was unfortunately and gradually re-introduced by the leaders of Banu Ummaya after the passing away of the Prophet (S).  It was the beginning of the end of the Muslim Ummah.

Banu Ummaya was the name of a clan of Qureysh which was always at loggerheads with Banu Hashim, another clan of Qureysh to which the Prophet (S) belonged.

Banu Umayyah means, sons of Umayyah.  The name "Ummayad" dynasty is derived from  Ummaya bin Abd-Shams (a pagan name meaning, "slave of the sun").  This man was the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph, Muawiyah bin Abu Sufian.  Though the Ummayad dynasty took pride on their family name of Ummaya bin Abd-Shams, this person was not the biological son of his father but an adopted son.  The Ummayads were also known by their pagan family title, "Banu abd-Shams."

Abu Sufian

Abu Sufian was the father of the first Ummayad ruler, Muawiyah.  Here's the simple lineage.
 
Abu Sufian --> his son Muawiyah, (a shrewd and unethical politician and 1st ruler of the Ummayad dynasty) --> his son Yazid bin Muawiyah, (2nd ruler of Ummayad dynasty who ordered the murder of Hussein). Not to forget, it was Abu Sufian's wife, Hind, who planned and executed the killing of the Prophet's uncle, Hamza, by brutally mutilating his body on the battlefield of Uhad.

Abu Sufian of the Ummayad clan came from a merchant family and was the governor of Makkah when the Prophet (S) immigrated to Medinah.  Most of the invasions against the Prophet (S) carried out by the idolaters of Makkah were done under the leadership of Abu Sufian.  When Abu Sufian eventually converted to Islam after the peaceful conquest of Makkah, he did so not on the basis of any grand principles but for materialistic reasons and a prosperous political future for his family.  Abu Sufian's enemity and crimes against the Muslims were so many that soon after the conquest of Makkah he was overly scared and fled the city.  He returned some weeks later after being told that the Prophet (S) had granted amnesty to everyone in Makkah.  The conquest of Makkah is also known as the Prophet's (S) victory over the Ummayads.
 
During the entire lifetime of the Prophet (S), Abu Sufian remained a bitter enemy of Islam and the Prophet (S).  He viewed the Prophet as a threat to his power and as a "blasphemer of Qureysh gods."  The enemity between the two clans of Banu Hashim and Banu Ummaya deepened after the Battle of Badr in which the Ummayads of Makkah were badly defeated with Abu Sufian as their chief.

Muawiyah bin Abu Sufian, his shrewd lust for power and establishment of the Ummayad dynasty

Soon after the conquest of Makkah, the power-hungry and ambitious Ummayads remained silent for a while.  But after the passing away of the Prophet (S), they re-ignited their old conflicts with those loyal to the Prophet (S) as a symbol of their rejection of Banu Hashim.  Their belligerence reached its height after the assasination of the third righteous Caliph, Osman bin Affan.  The very manipulative mind of Muawiyah bin Abu Sufian used the assasination of Caliph Osman to sow discord by blaming Imam Ali (Osman's successor) for not doing enough to nab and punish Osman's murderers.   

Though Caliph Osman belonged to the Ummayad clan, throughout the lifetime of the Prophet (S) Osman was his very loyal and close friend and also the Prophet's son-in-law.   After Osman became the Caliph, there were rumors hinting at political nepotism based on clanish feelings that Caliph Osman inadvertently helped to consolidate Muawiyah's power by making him the governor of Syria with control of areas in this region.  The truth of such details are best known to God Almighty, thus I won't elaborate any more.  However, keeping in line with the Prophet's (S) method of administration and that of his immediate predecessors, Caliph Osman also did not name his successor which was a clear indication that Osman did not support the hereditary system of governance either. 
 
After the death of Osman bin Affan, Ali bin Abi Talib was chosen as the fourth righteous Caliph by the Shura.  At this time, Muawiyah, the son of Abu Sufian, was the governor of Syria.  He wanted to grab power from Ali whom he saw as his arch political rival.  Ali faced a long and difficult time with civil wars and differences among various factions because of Muawiyah's very scheming and combative intentions. The first civil war or "fitna" was fought between Ali and a man called Talha in which Ali was victorious.   After Ali's victory at the Battle of the Camel, another civil war in late 656 AD, most of the Arab garrisons shifted to his side in opposition to the Umayyads, whose supporters were concentrated in the province of Syria and Makkah.  Muawiyah carried out plenty of intrigues and political gimmicks. Just as Ali was on the verge of routing the Umayyad forces at the battle of Siffin in 657 AD, he was won over by a plea for mediation of the dispute. His decision to accept arbitration was fatal to his cause. Some of his most fervent adherents rejected his leadership and rebelled.  This gave the opportunity to the Ummayads to re-group themselves and takeover Egypt.  In 660 AD, Muawiya, now the leader of the Umayyads, was proclaimed caliph in Jerusalem, thereby directly challenging Ali's position.  A year later, Ali was tragically assassinated.  The people of Kufa (which was the capital of Ali's caliphate) pledged allegiance to his eldest son Hasan.  But, by this time Muawiyah commanded large areas of the Arabian peninsula, the region of Palestine and Egypt.  He declared himself caliph and marched his army into Iraq, the seat of Hasan's caliphate. Hasan was pressured by the Umayyads into renouncing his claims to the caliphate.

Quoting an excerpt from Wikipedia - Muawiyah's hostilities toward Ali :

"Muawiyah's army invaded and plundered cities of Iraq, which Ali's governors could not prevent and people did not support him to fight with them. Muawiyah overpowered Egypt, Hejaz, Yemen and other areas.   .... Muawiyah's vicious conduct of the war revealed the nature of his reign. As for the people, except for a small minority, the majority supported Ali.  They distrusted and opposed Muawiyah."

Subversive schemes of Muawiyah to topple Hasan - quote from Wikipedia:

"War ensued during which Muawiyah gradually subverted the generals and commanders of Hasan's army with large sums of money and deceiving promises until the army rebelled against him. Finally, Hasan was forced to make peace and to yield the caliphate to Muawiyah. In this way Muawiyah captured the Islamic caliphate and in every way possible placed the severest pressure upon Ali's family.  Regular public cursing of Imam Ali in the congregational prayers remained a vital institution which was not abolished until 60 years later by Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz. Muawiyah also established the Umayyad caliphate which was a centralized monarchy."

German historian, Wilferd Madelung,  writes:

"Umayyad highhandedness, misrule and repression were gradually to turn the minority of Ali's admirers into a majority. In the memory of later generations Ali became the ideal Commander of the Faithful. In face of the fake Umayyad claim to legitimate sovereignty in Islam as God's Vice-regents on earth, and in view of Umayyad treachery, arbitrary and divisive government, and vindictive retribution, they came to appreciate his [Ali's] honesty, his unbending devotion to the reign of Islam, his deep personal loyalties, his equal treatment of all his supporters, and his generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies."

Conclusion

The only two decent caliphs quite different from the rest were Umer bin Abdul Aziz and Hisham bin Abdel Malik, the 8th and 10th caliphs, respectively, of the Ummayad dynasty consisting of a total of 14 caliphs.  Umar was  pious and disdainful of worldly luxuries. He preferred simplicity to the extravagance that had become a hallmark of the Umayyad lifestyle.  But his big blunder was to make the institution of Sunni Hadith (which began fervently during the very early Ummayad rule) officially a part of Islam, a move which was responsible for damaging Islam permanently by taking it far away from the norms of the Glorious Quran.  Although Umer bin Abdul Aziz might have done this with sincere intent, it was an unforgivable mistake.
 
Umer bin Abdul Aziz and Hisham were preceded and succeeded by a chain of incompetetant and debauched caliphs.  The last of these, Marwan II, was overthrown in 750 AD following an uprising led by Abu al-Abbas, who went on to establish the Abbasid Dynasty, another monarchy with absolute power.  Hence, the Ummayad rule in Damascus ended after 90 disastrous years, setting numerous negative precedents that are being followed by large segments of the Ummah uptil the present.




To know about Hussein bin Ali and the Battle of Karbala:

Click at "Who is Hussain?"  A read for wise readers.



Related posts:

Battle of Karbala in month of Muharram - Art Gallery

Hussein bin Ali - his true status
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2011, 11:39:30 pm »

MashAllah, wonderfully analysed, written and arranged.  I was myself intending to pen something around this topic since long.  Thanks sis.  I read it this morning but was in a hurry so didn't have the time to comment.  I would like to put this up in the blog, if you don't mind.  
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 04:26:01 pm »

Superbly interesting and authentic piece.  People must, must know the facts.  That's absolutely essential.

The Ummayads and all successive "royal" dynasties abolished the Shura, right?  For sure, there's no such thing as "shura" in the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco.  Or even if there is, their task is taking orders from the king and handling regular government responsibilities.  It surely doesn't elect the king or any senior official. 

Btw, I'm a little unclear between Kufa and Damascus.  Ali's capital was at Kufa (in Iraq).  Muawiyah was governor of Damascus during Ali's Caliphate.  So, when Muawiyah established his Ummayad dynasty, did he shift the capital to Kufa?  This question comes to my mind thinking about the battle of Karbala, which was close to Kufa and where Yazid sent his troops. Did that debauch, Yazid, have is "royal court" in Kufa?
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2011, 04:29:53 pm »

Also, would anyone have a list of the Ummayad caliphs aka kings in chronological order?  This dynasty surely wrecked the grand infrastructure of Islam as founded by the beloved Prophet (SAW) directly on Quranic principles with efforts to continue it by admirable personalities like Ali and his sons.  Thus, it's important to know of the Ummayads in order to warn Muslims of the truth and the truth about the roots of man-made Sunni laws through the Hadith promoted by the Ummayads and continued by the Abbasids.
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2011, 07:41:54 pm »

The Ummayads and all successive "royal" dynasties abolished the Shura, right?  For sure, there's no such thing as "shura" in the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco.  Or even if there is, their task is taking orders from the king and handling regular government responsibilities.  It surely doesn't elect the king or any senior official. 


Well yes, the system of electing a Caliph or any senior representative by the shura or the counsel existed during the time of the Prophet (S) and his 4 immediate successors, from Abu Bakr to Ali.  After that, began the monarchies and the shura was gone.  After the assasination of Imam Ali, successive and contemporary caliphates were held by various dynasties, which were, Ummayads in Damascus, Ummayads in Spain, Abbasids in Baghdad who drove away the Ummayads in Damascus, the Fatamids with their seat in Cairo and finally the Ottomans in Turkey.

Btw, I'm a little unclear between Kufa and Damascus.  Ali's capital was at Kufa (in Iraq).  Muawiyah was governor of Damascus during Ali's Caliphate.  So, when Muawiyah established his Ummayad dynasty, did he shift the capital to Kufa?  This question comes to my mind thinking about the battle of Karbala, which was close to Kufa and where Yazid sent his troops. Did that debauch, Yazid, have is "royal court" in Kufa?

Kufa in Iraq was the capital of Imam Ali's government, where Hasan was also seated for a while until Muawiyah usurped it from him.  Damascus remained the capital of the Ummayads as Muawiyah was already the governor of Syria prior to establishing the Ummayad rule.
 
Kufa is approximately 46 miles south-east of Karbala on the banks of the Euphrates river. Here's a map showing Kufa and Karbala.  It also indicates the route which Imam Hussein took from Makkah to Karbala, preceding the Battle of Karbala.

 
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2011, 07:49:47 pm »

Also, would anyone have a list of the Ummayad caliphs aka kings in chronological order? 

I wouldn't know the exact duration served by each of them.  However, they ruled from 661 AD to 750 AD which was approxiately 90 years, and there were 14 Ummayad caliphs in Damascus in total.  Here's the list in order of succession.

Muawiya I
Yazid I
Muawiya II
Marwan I
Abd al-Malik
Al-Walid I
Sulayman
Umar II
Yazid II
Hisham
Al-Walid II
Yazid III
Ibrahim
Marwan II

When the Abbaside and Ummayads clashed and Ummayads in Damascus were defeated, a grandson of the Ummayad Caliph, Hisham, managed to flee to Cordoba (Spain), maintaining the Umayyad lineage there until 1031 AD. The Ummayads of Spain were not as rowdy and manipulative as the main Ummayad dynasty set up by Muawiyah in 661 AD at Damascus.  Nonetheless it was a monarchy and not at all the same as the Prophet's (S) rule at Medinah nor the same as that of the 4 righteous Caliphs.
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2011, 02:00:00 am »

Yes, fantastic article and thread, sisters.  It's of utmost importance for people to know this truth.  Forced rule based on autocracy and usurption of the Ommayad dynasty was the departing point of the Ummah when majority of them began leaving the Noble Quran in preference of man-written Hadith.  The Ommayad rule was the threshhold of infiltration of interpolations in Islam.  661 AD, the start of the Ommayad monarchy, was indeed a saddest and most disastrous day in Islamic history after the passing away of the our very beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 02:16:53 am »

Thank u so much for appreciating this dear sisters and brother.  It would be a pleasure if u put this up on the blog sister Zeynab and please make the necessary corrections, if you so wish. 

Btw, can anyone give me some details about the Battle of the Camel?  I suppose Aisha was one of the participants in this battle (probably the commander-in-chief), against Imam Ali.   This sounds sad, I don't know why she took such a step to avenge Osman's assasins.  Perhaps, with no one to give her proper advise, I suppose she may have been brainwashed by anti-Ali elements or I don't know what.  But I think finally seeing the forgiving nature of Imam Ali who treated her with great respect even though she was the defeated side in this battle, she realized her mistake and appreciated Ali's nobility.
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2011, 04:29:42 am »

Battle of the Camel is an interesting event.  It's also known as Battle of Jamal or Bassorah.  It took place in Basra, in the year 656 as you noted.  Yes, it was fought between Ali bin Abi Talib and Aisha.  Aisha's purpose was to seek justice for the assasins of the previous Caliph, Osman. Indeed it was unfortunate why she considered it necessary to take such a step.  But only Allah knows best.

Osman bin Affan, his assasination and Ali becoming the 4th righteous Caliph:
Osman bin Affan became the 3rd righteous Caliph in 644 AD.  Because of the constant power struggle within Osman's own clan (the Ommayads), his reign was fraught with unrest.  By 650 AD, he had lost much control of the caliphate within and outside Arabia.  It's reported that the rebels of Egypt began the siege of Uthman Ibn Affan.  They refused to provide Uthman with food or water, and kept him imprisoned, hoping to force his abdication.

Ali intervened when informed that the rebels were preventing the delivery of water to the besieged caliph. He tried to mitigate the severity of the siege by insisting that Uthman should be allowed water. Ali went to the extent of even sending his own sons to protect Osman's house when he was in danger of being attacked. Rebels protested against it and committed excess.
I don't know how far this report is correct, but it's said that during the siege of Osman, Aisha was asked to stay in Medina, yet she left the city.  It's also reported that she was not happy with Osman as she felt he was neglecting Islamic traditions and encouraged people to eliminate him which may have resulted in Osman's assasination in 655 AD.  But personally I don't trust this information because it contradicts Aisha's purpose of the Battle of the Camel which was to avenge the death of Osman.  If she disliked him so much, why would she bother to avenge his death to the extent of fighting a battle over it .. unless she wanted an excuse to attack Ali based on personal dislike as well?  But this story seems far-fetched.  I don't think Aisha had any problems with Osman's rule and she was obviously rattled by the news of his murder.  Thus, when she felt that Ali was not doing enough to find his murderers, she decided to fight a battle over it .. which was of course a wrong decision on her part. 

After the assasination of Osman, Ali was offered the caliphate by a large number of Muslims in Medinah, but he is reported to have refused. He finally accepted at their constant insistence. 

Battle of the Camel (656 AD):
It's said that Ali's pre-occupations with other issues displeased Aisha and some others who weren't too fond of him and his family. They felt that Ali wasn't doing enough to find Osman's murderers. They challenged Ali's caliphate under the claim that he had been unsuccessful in finding Osman's murderers.  Aisha formed a rebel army including Talha and Zubair and went to the city of Basra to seek vengeance for Uthman's blood with an army of 3,000 soldiers.  On learning of the advance of the rebels, Ali set out to meet them. But he had with him only 700 men. He camped at a desert well in Nejd and sent his elder son Hasan, to request assistance from Kufa.  Their request was accepted. With several thousand men from Kufa reinforcing his army, Ali was now ready for battle and left for Basra.

Led by Zubair and Talha, the rebels (Aisha's army) marched out to meet Ali's army. Not all Basra was with Aisha. Some tribes joined Ali's army and some remained neutral.  It's interesting to note that one of Aisha's brothers, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, was one of Ali's commanders.

The rebel army reached Basra, and encamped.   It's reported that on reaching Basra, Aisha ordered the execution of a few hundred Muslims who were on Ali's side.  Again, only Allah knows how far this is true.  In the war, Aisha accompanied the rebel army in her camel-litter. She is said to have directed her forces from a howdah on the back of a camel. Therefore it's called the Battle of the Camel.  Professor Leila Ahmed claims that it was during this engagement that Muslims fought Muslims for the first time.  Aisha's forces were defeated. The attitude of the leaders of Aisha's army was reported to be unenthusiastic. Zubair, half-hearted since his interview with Ali, left the battlefield according to his promise, and was killed in an adjoining valley by some unkown person who followed him.  Talha was shot in the leg by one of his armymen.  He died in Basra later from his wound.

Ali was victorious and he treated Aisha's defeated army with much respect and generosity. Ali also met Aisha with the intent of reconciliation. He sent her back to Medinah under military escort headed by her brother and Ali's commander. She subsequently retired in Medina with no more interference with the affairs of state.

According to William Muir, the combat lasted for 110 days and about 10,000 people lost their lives in this battle with each party bearing equal loss. In the three days after the battle, Ali performed a funeral service for all the dead from both parties.
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2011, 07:54:16 pm »

Thanks a lot for this info on battle of the camel, brother.  I am shortly going to attend a lecture cum conference on early Islamic history and therefore I needed some of these details fast.  Thanks again.  Allah bless all of u. ameen.
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2011, 03:13:06 am »

Thanks for the info sister Zeynab. 

Hey sis Rose, what conference?  sounds good ..

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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2011, 03:24:00 am »

Thanks brother pt.  Good re-cap of this event.  It was useful for me too.



I don't know how far this report is correct, but it's said that during the siege of Osman, Aisha was asked to stay in Medina, yet she left the city.  It's also reported that she was not happy with Osman as she felt he was neglecting Islamic traditions and encouraged people to eliminate him which may have resulted in Osman's assasination in 655 AD.  But personally I don't trust this information because it contradicts Aisha's purpose of the Battle of the Camel which was to avenge the death of Osman.  If she disliked him so much, why would she bother to avenge his death to the extent of fighting a battle over it .. unless she wanted an excuse to attack Ali based on personal dislike as well?  But this story seems far-fetched.  I don't think Aisha had any problems with Osman's rule and she was obviously rattled by the news of his murder.  Thus, when she felt that Ali was not doing enough to find his murderers, she decided to fight a battle over it .. which was of course a wrong decision on her part. 

You are right brother.  This info is very contradictory, makes no sense whatsoever.  If Aisha didn't like Usman bin Affan's rule and instigated his assasination, why on earth would she fight a war to avenge his killing?  To presume that she used it only as an excuse to attack Ali (whom she also didn't like according to rumors) sounds too impractical.  I'm sure she wasn't that irrational.  These conflicting gossips almost always arise from the Hadith literature where different hadith narrators & writers had different ideas of putting up their gossips.  Even on sites like Wikipedia, info writers often get confused and they end up writing both contradictory information.
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2011, 05:21:06 am »

salams sister Heba.  Yes, it was a good conference.  It was arranged by a cousin of mine.  A get-together conference to highlight the importance of "united we rise and divided we fall."  It was mainly to discourage sectarianism (the sunni shiia divide) by scanning our history, citing examples of success during unity and downfall during internal strifes.   
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2011, 05:25:57 am »

According to William Muir, the combat lasted for 110 days and about 10,000 people lost their lives in this battle with each party bearing equal loss. In the three days after the battle, Ali performed a funeral service for all the dead from both parties.

Br. pt, just wanted to point out this small bit.  I guess the figure for casualties is discrepant.  If Aisha came with an army of 3,000 and Ali had only 700 and was joined by more later .... the total would almost certainly be less than 10,000.  So how could the casualty numbers be 10,000?
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2011, 05:37:50 am »

That's a good point sister Rose.  But there could be many ways to explain it.  First of all, what br. pt mentioned and what u pointed out is Muir's reading.  The description of historians vary greatly of historical events, particularly battles.  Secondly, Aisha came with forces amounting to 3,000 but her army was joined by more in Basra.  Not all people and communities joined her but many did.  Thirdly, Ali came with only 700 and he knew he needed more. That's why he sent his son, Hasan, for help from Kufa and fortunately he received very satisfactory help .. meaning most Kufans agreed to join him.   It's not clear how large his army was in total, but must have been a big one.  It's hard to determine the exact total number of soldiers in Aisha and Ali's armies after being joined by more from Basra and Kufa, respectively.  But it could have been far above 10,000.  At the same time, historian Muir's estimate of 10,000 in total killed on both sides is apparently on the higher side and doesn't seem too accurate.
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