Did ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah curse or order the cursing of ʻAlī

By Shaykh Mumtāz al-Ḥaqq Mālik
Edited byʻAbd Allāh al-Afrīqī 

Shīʻahs [and many amongst the Sunnī’s] are led to believe that ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) started the despicable innovation of cursing and ordering the cursing of ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) – Allāh forbid!

There is absolutely no authentic proof found in Sunnī sources to support this idea. This is purely a Shīʻah accusation against a noble Companion of Rasūl Allāh (ṣalla Allāhu ʻalay-hi wa-sallam), a scribe of revelation (way), the uncle of believers, ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu).

The only Ṣāḥīḥ narration in Sunnī literature is that by Saʻd ibn ʼAbī Waqqaṣ (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu), one of the ʻAsharah Mubasharah, as reported in aī Muslim. Shīʻahs often misquote this ḥadīth to prove their point. The actual ḥadīth is,

حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبَّادٍ، – وَتَقَارَبَا فِي اللَّفْظِ – قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا حَاتِمٌ، – وَهُوَ ابْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ – عَنْ بُكَيْرِ بْنِ مِسْمَارٍ، عَنْ عَامِرِ بْنِ سَعْدِ بْنِ أَبِي وَقَّاصٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ أَمَرَ مُعَاوِيَةُ بْنُ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ سَعْدًا فَقَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَنْ تَسُبَّ أَبَا التُّرَابِ فَقَالَ أَمَّا مَا ذَكَرْتُ ثَلاَثًا قَالَهُنَّ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَلَنْ أَسُبَّهُ لأَنْ تَكُونَ لِي وَاحِدَةٌ مِنْهُنَّ أَحَبُّ إِلَىَّ مِنْ حُمْرِ النَّعَمِ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ لَهُ خَلَّفَهُ فِي بَعْضِ مَغَازِيهِ فَقَالَ لَهُ عَلِيٌّ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ خَلَّفْتَنِي مَعَ النِّسَاءِ وَالصِّبْيَانِ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ أَمَا تَرْضَى أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِ هَارُونَ مِنْ مُوسَى إِلاَّ أَنَّهُ لاَ نُبُوَّةَ بَعْدِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَسَمِعْتُهُ يَقُولُ يَوْمَ خَيْبَرَ ‏”‏ لأُعْطِيَنَّ الرَّايَةَ رَجُلاً يُحِبُّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيُحِبُّهُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَتَطَاوَلْنَا لَهَا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ ادْعُوا لِي عَلِيًّا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَأُتِيَ بِهِ أَرْمَدَ فَبَصَقَ فِي عَيْنِهِ وَدَفَعَ الرَّايَةَ إِلَيْهِ فَفَتَحَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَمَّا نَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ الآيَة{‏ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ‏}‏ دَعَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلِيًّا وَفَاطِمَةَ وَحَسَنًا وَحُسَيْنًا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ اللَّهُمَّ هَؤُلاَءِ أَهْلِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Saʻd ibn ʼAbī Waqqaṣ (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) said, “Muʻāwiyah ibn ʼAbī Sufyān said (to him) , “What prevents you from making sabb of ʼAbū Turāb (ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu))?” So He (Saʻd) said, “Because I remember three things Rasūl Allāh (ṣalla Allāhu ʻalay-hi wa-sallam) said about him. So I will never make sabb of him. Even one of those things would have been more dear to me than red camels…” to the end. (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)

The above narration is about a meeting between ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) and Saʻd ibn ʼAbī Waqqaṣ (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu), which occurred at Ḥājj after ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) had been martyred and ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) had been appointed Khalīfah. ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu)’s killers were amongst the supporters of ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu).

Muḥammad ibn ʼAbī Bakr had come with them and brought them to assassinate ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu). This was due to a grudge he had with ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu). When Muḥammad ibn ʼAbī Bakr grabbed ʻUthmān’s beard to push and throw him down, ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) said to him, “If your father saw this, he would not have been happy.”

These words of ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) shook Muḥammad ibn ʼAbī Bakr and he left ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) and stepped back. The others who had come with him jumped on ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) and martyred him. ʻUthmān’s wife tried to intervene and was also hurt in this struggle. She later testified to the whole event and the role of Muḥammad ibn ʼAbī Bakr that he had brought the killers with him but then did not take part in the eventual killing.

Muḥammad ibn ʼAbī Bakr’s mother ʼAsmāʼ bint ʻUmais (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhā), after the death of ʼAbū Bakr (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu), married ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu). So Muḥammad ibn ʼAbī Bakr was his step son.

When ʻUthmān’s wife identified Muḥammad ibn ʼAbī Bakr as a culprit and the killers were known to him as he came with them, so when ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) and the other Ṣaḥābah demanded prompt justice for the killing of ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) and ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) felt unable to deliver that justice promptly, ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) blamed ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) for this apparent inability to deliver justice for ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu). Especially as well because the killers were among the supporters of ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) and known to his step son, Muḥammad ibn ʼAbī Bakr.

ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) then lobbied some of the senior Ṣaḥābah for this. Saʻd ibn ʼAbī Waqqaṣ (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) was amongst the few most senior Ṣaḥābah alive as he was from amongst the ʻAsharah Mubasharah and one of the six members of the committee appointed by ʻUmar (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) to choose the Khalīfah after him and he was also amongst those who had initially appointed ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) and then ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) to be Khalīfah as well. Hence, Saʻd ibn ʼAbī Waqqaṣ (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) was a powerful figure and a very senior Ṣaḥābī.

When ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) met him at Hajj , he questioned him, مامنعكانتسباباتراب “What prevents you from making sabb of ʼAbū Turāb? “

Sabb in Arabic does not mean curse. Although it generally means to swear but it also means to blame someone. If ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) had wanted Saʻd (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) to curse ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) then he would have said, مامنعكانتلعناباتراب “What prevents you from cursing ʼAbū Turāb?” But he does not say that. ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) only questioned Saʻd (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu), that, “What prevents you from making sabb of ʼAbū Turāb?” He did not force him to do so. When Saʻd (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) replied that he can’t and won’t, and gave his reasons, ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) stopped, did not pressure him and left him. From this it is clear that there is no compulsion of cursing ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) from ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu).

The entire issue has been exaggerated and misunderstood. The reality is as explained above. ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) only wanted Saʻd (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) to blame ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) for not being able to deliver justice for ʻUthmān (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu).

In any case , if ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) was ever cursed by ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu), then why did Ḥasanand Ḥusayn (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhum) give him allegiance, visit him and stay with him, and accept his gifts? Would anybody behave that way towards someone who cursed their father and especially if that father was ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) and the children were the likes of Ḥasan and Ḥusayn (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhum). Secondly, from the many sons and grandsons of ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu), did none of them have the courage and respect to stand up in honour of their father and grandfather, if and when ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) was being cursed?

If the Shīʻah version of ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) being cursed had any truth, then it leaves the entire ʼAhl al-Bayt and descendents of ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) as being unable and unwilling to stand up in defence of the honour of their noble father and grandfather, which cannot be defined as a virtuous character trait.

If ʼAmīr Muʻāwiyah (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) used to curse and ordered the cursing of ʻAlī (raḍiya -llāhu ʻanhu) and this evil practice supposedly continued for many years, then we ask:

  • Where were the Shīʻahs of ʻAlī during all of this period?
  • Did they simply not exist?
  • Were they not faithful and loyal to ʻAlī at all?

And AllāhMost High – knows best!

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