Battle of Siffin

The Battle of Siffin (Arabic: وقعة صفين‎; May–July 657 occurred during the First Fitna, or first Muslim civil war, with the main engagement taking place from July 26 to July 28. It was fought between Ali ibn Abi Talib who ruled as the Fourth Caliph and Muawiyah I, on the banks of the Euphrates river, in what is now Raqqa, Syria.

Battle of Siffin
وقعة صفين
Part of First Fitna
Balami - Tarikhnama - Battle of Siffin (cropped)
DateJuly 26 to July 28, 657 AD (8 Safar 37 AH to 10 Safar 37 AH)
Result Victory of the Rashidun Caliphate
Rashidun Caliphate Bani Umayya
Commanders and leaders

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib
Hasan ibn Ali
Hussain ibn Ali
Abbas ibn Ali

Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah
Malik al-Ashtar
Qays ibn Sa'd
Abd-Allah ibn Abbas
Ammar ibn Yasir 
Khuzaima ibn Thabit 
Hashim ibn Utbah 
Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr
Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan
Amr ibn al-As
Marwan ibn al-Hakam
Walid ibn Uqba
Habib ibn Maslama al-Fihri
80,000 men[1] 120,000 men[1]
Casualties and losses
25,000[2] 40,000[2]


The Rashidun caliphate expanded very quickly under Muhammad and the first three caliphs. Local populations of Jews and indigenous Christians, marginalized as religious minorities and taxed heavily to finance the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars, often aided Muslims to take over their lands from the Byzantines and Persians, resulting in exceptionally speedy conquests.[3][4]

As new areas joined the Islamic polity, they also benefited from free trade while trading with other areas under Islamic rule; so as to encourage commerce, Muslims taxed wealth instead of trade.[5] The Muslims paid Zakat on their wealth to the poor. Since the Constitution of Medina was drafted by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, local Jews and Christians continued to use their own laws under Islamic rule and had their own judges.[6][7][8] Therefore, they only paid for policing for the protection of their property. To assist in the quick expansion of the state, the Byzantine and the Persian tax collection systems were maintained and the people paid a poll tax lower than the one imposed under the Byzantines and the Persians. Before Muhammad united the Arabs, the Arabs had been divided and the Byzantines and the Sassanid had their own client tribes that they used to pay to fight on their behalf.

In 639, Muawiyah I was appointed the Governor of Syria by Umar after his elder brother Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan (Governor of Syria) died in a plague. To stop the Byzantine harassment from the sea during the Arab-Byzantine Wars, Muawiyah set up a navy in 649, manned by Monophysite Christians, Copts and Jacobite Syrian Christians sailors, and Muslim troops. This resulted in the defeat of the Byzantine navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655, opening up the Mediterranean.[9][10][11][12][13] 500 Byzantine ships were destroyed in the battle, and Emperor Constans II was almost killed. Under the instructions of the caliph Uthman ibn al-Affan, Muawiyah then prepared for the siege of Constantinople.

Mohammad adil rais-Caliph Ali's empire 661
The Rashidun Caliphate during the Battle of Siffin.

The rapid Muslim conquest of Syria and Egypt and the consequent Byzantine losses in manpower and territory meant that the Eastern Roman Empire found itself struggling for survival. The Sassanid Dynasty in Persia had already collapsed.

Following the Roman–Persian Wars and the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars, there were deep-rooted differences between Iraq, formerly under the Persian Sassanid Empire, and Syria, formerly under the Byzantine Empire. Each wanted the capital of the newly established Islamic state to be in their territory.[14]

Start of hostilities

After the Battle of the Camel, Ali returned from Basra to Kufa in January 657. The Iraqis wanted the capital of the newly established Islamic State to be in Kufa so as to bring revenues into their area and oppose Syria.[15]

In Syria, incitement to commotion continued unabated. Uthman's shirt, besmeared with his blood and the chopped-off fingers of his wife, Naila, were exhibited from the pulpit. Ultimately, both parties converged on Siffin where the armies pitched their camps in 37/657.

Even at this stage, Ali sent three men, viz. Bashir bin Amr bin Mahz Ansari, Saeed bin Qais Hamdani, and Shis bin Rabiee Tamini to Muawiya to induce him to settle for union, accord and coming together. According to Tabari, Muawiya replied, "Go away from here, only the sword will decide between us."[16]

Ali's inability to punish the murderers of Uthman and Muawiyah’s refusal to pledge allegiance eventually led Ali to move his army north to confront Muawiyah. Ali gathered his forces, and, after at first planning to invade Syria from the north, he attacked directly, marching through the Mesopotamian desert. Arriving at Riqqa, on the banks of the Euphrates, the Syrian vanguard was sighted, but it withdrew without engagement. The people of Riqqa were hostile to Ali, and his army had great difficulty crossing the river. Eventually, Malik al-Ashtar threatened the townspeople with death, which forced their co-operation. Finally, the army managed to cross the river, by means of a bridge of boats. Ali's army then marched along the right bank of the Euphrates, until they came across the Syrian outpost of Sur al-Rum, where there was a brief skirmish, but Ali's advance was not slowed. In Dhu al-Hijjah 36 (May 657), the army of Ali ibn Abi Talib came into sight of Muawiyah's main forces, which were encamped on the river plain at Siffin.

The main engagement

The two armies encamped themselves at Siffin for more than one hundred days, most of the time being spent in negotiations. Neither side wanted to fight. Then on 11th Safar 37 AH, the Iraqis under Ashtar's command, the Qurrā', in Ali's army, who had their own camp started the fighting in earnest which lasted three days.[17]

Historian Yaqubi wrote that Ali had 80,000 men, including 70 Companions who participated in the Battle of Badr, 70 Companions who took oath at Hudaibia, and 400 prominent Ansars and Muhajirun; while Muawiya had 120,000 Syrians.[18]

William Muir wrote:

Both armies drawn out in entire array, fought till the shades of evening fell, neither having got the better. The following morning, the combat was renewed with great vigour. Ali posed himself in the centre with the flower of his troops from Medina, and the wings were formed, one of the warriors from Basra, the other of those from Kufa. Muawiya had a pavilion pitched on the field; and there, surrounded by five lines of his sworn body-guards, watched the day. Amr with a great weight of horse, bore down upon the Kufa wing which gave away; and Ali was exposed to imminent peril, both from thick showers of arrows and from close encounter ... Ali's general Ashtar, at the head of 300 Hafiz-e-Qur'an(those who had memorized the Koran) led forward the other wing, which fell with fury on Muawiya's body-guards. Four of its five ranks were cut to pieces, and Muawiya, bethinking himself of flight, had already called for his horse, when a martial couplet flashed in his mind, and he held his ground.[19]

English historian Edward Gibbon wrote:

The Caliph Ali displayed a superior character of valor and humanity. His troops were strictly enjoined to wait the first onset of the enemy, to spare their fleeing brethren, and to respect the bodies of the dead, and the chastity of the female captives. The ranks of the Syrians were broken by the charge of the hero, who was mounted on a piebald horse, and wielded with irresistible force his ponderous and two edged sword.

Of the estimated casualties, Ali's forces lost 25,000, while Muawiyah's forces lost 45,000. Appalled by the carnage, Ali sent a message to Muawiya and challenged him to single combat, saying that whoever won should be the Caliph. In Gibbon's words, "Ali generously proposed to save the blood of the Muslims by a single combat; but his trembling rival declined the challenge as a sentence of inevitable death."[20][21][22]

The earliest account of the battle is found in Ibn Hisham's book (833) where he quotes Ibn Muzahim died 212 AH and Abu Mikhnaf died 170 AH.[23] It says that after three days of fighting the loss of life was terrible. Suddenly one of the Syrians, Ibn Lahiya, reportedly out of dread of the fitna and unable to bear the spectacle rode forward with a copy of the Quran on the ears of his horse to call for judgement by the book of Allah, and the other Syrians followed suit. Allegedly, those on both sides took up the cry, eager to avoid killing their fellow Muslims except for the conspirators. The majority of Ali's followers supported arbitration. Nasr b Muzahim, in one of the earliest source states that al-Ash ath ibn Qays, one of Ali's key supporters and a Kufan, then stood up and said

O company of Muslims! You have seen what happened in the day which has passed. In it some of the Arabs have been annihilated. By Allah, I have reached the age which Allah willed that I reach. but I have never ever seen a day like this. Let the present convey to the absent! If we fight tomorrow, it will be the annihilation of the Arabs and the loss of what is sacred. I do not make this statement out of fear of death, but I am an aged man who fears for the women and children tomorrow if we are annihilated. O Allah, I have looked to my people and the people of my deen and not empowered anyone. There is no success except by Allah. On Him I rely and to Him I return. Opinion can be both right and wrong. When Allah decides a matter, He carries it out whether His servants like it or not. I say this and I ask Allah's forgiveness for me and you.

Then, Nasr b Muzahim says people looked at Muawiya who said

He is right, by the Lord. If we meet tomorrow the Byzantines will attack our women and children and the people of Persia will attack the women and children of Iraq. Those with forebearance and intelligence see this. Tie the copies of the Quran to the ends of the spears. So the fighting stopped.[23]


It was decided that the Syrians and the residents of Kufa, in Iraq, should nominate an arbitrator, each to decide between Ali and Muawiya.

The Syrians choice fell on 'Amr ibn al-'As who was the rational soul and spokesman of Muawiya. 'Amr ibn al-'As was one of the generals involved in expelling the Romans from Syria and also expelled the Romans from Egypt.[24] A few years earlier according to Islamic tradition, 'Amr ibn al-'As with 9,000 men in Palestine had found himself confronting Heraclius' army of 100,000 men until Khalid ibn al-Walid crossed the Syrian desert from Iraq to assist him.[24] He was a highly skilled negotiator and had previously been used in negotiations with Heraclius the Roman Emperor.[25]

Ali wanted Malik Ashtar or Abdullah bin Abbas to be appointed as an arbitrator for the people of Kufa, Iraq, but the Qurrā' strongly demurred, alleging that men like these two were, indeed, responsible for the war and, therefore, ineligible for that office of trust. They nominated Abu Musa al-Ashari as their arbitrator. (During the time of Uthman, they had appointed Abu Musa al-Ashari as the Governor of Kufa and removed Uthman's governor before they started fighting Uthman) Ali found it expedient to agree to this choice in order to ward off bloody dissensions in his army. According to "Asadul Ghaba", Ali had, therefore, taken care to personally explain to the arbitrators, "You are arbiters on condition that you decide according to the Book of God, and if you are not so inclined you should not deem yourselves to be arbiters."[26]

The Iraqis under Ali and the Syrians under Muawiyah were not split over their faith[27] but over when to bring the people who killed Uthman to justice. Ali also wanted to bring them to justice but the dispute was over the timing.

According to early Shia sources Ali later wrote:[27]

The thing began in this way: We and the Syrians were facing each other while we had common faith in one Allah, in the same Prophet (s) and on the same principles and canons of religion. So far as faith in Allah and the Holy Prophet (s) was concerned we never wanted them (the Syrians) to believe in anything over and above or other than what they were believing in and they did not want us to change our faith. Both of us were united on these principles. The point of contention between us was the question of the murder of Uthman. It had created the split. They wanted to lay the murder at my door while I am actually innocent of it.

I advised them that this problem cannot be solved by excitement. Let the excitement subside, let us cool down; let us do away with sedition and revolt; let the country settle down into a peaceful atmosphere and when once a stable regime is formed and the right authority is accepted, then let this question be dealt with on the principles of equity and justice because only then the authority will have power enough to find the criminals and to bring them to justice. They refused to accept my advice and said that they wanted to decide the issue on the point of the sword.

When they thus rejected my proposal of peace and kept on sabre rattling threats, then naturally the battle, which was furious and bloody, started. When they saw defeat facing them across the battlefield, when many of them were killed, and many more wounded, then they went down on their knees and proposed the same thing, which I had proposed before the bloodshed had begun.

I accepted their proposal so that their desire might be fulfilled, my intentions of accepting the principles of truth and justice and acting according to these principles might become clear and they might have no cause to complain against me.

Now whoever adheres firmly to the promises made will be the one whose salvation will be saved by Allah and one who will try to go back upon the promises made, will fall deeper and deeper into heresy, error and loss. His eyes will be closed to realities and truth in this world and he will be punished in the next world.[28]

Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 to 1328) said:

Muawiyah did not call himself to be a khaleefah and was not given the oath of allegiance to it when he fought Ali. He fought not because he considered himself to be the khaleef or deserving of the khilaafah. This they all agreed upon and he himself would affirm this to whomever asked him. He and his companions did not consider it permissible that they initiate the fight against Ali and his companions. But Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and his companions believed that Muawiyah and his companions must pledge allegiance and show obedience to Ali, due to his authority such that there be only one khaleefah for the Muslims. Considering them defecting from this obligation he decided that Muawiyah and his companions should be fought until they fulfilled it. All this so that obedience and unity occur. Muawiyah and his companions did not see that it was obligatory upon them and if they were fought against they would consider themselves oppressed because Uthman was killed oppressively as was agreed by all the Muslims at the time and his killers were in Ali's camp, he having authority over them.[29]

Encyclopedia of Islam says "According to the non Muslim view the Syrians were winning"[30] Either way, neither the Syrians nor the Iraqis wanted to fight and the battle was stopped.

When the arbitrators assembled at Daumet-ul-Jandal, which lay midway between Kufa and Syria and had for that reason been selected as the place for the announcement of the decision, a series of daily meetings were arranged for them to discuss the matters in hand. When the time arrived for taking a decision about the caliphate, Amr bin al-A'as convinced Abu Musa al-Ashari into entertaining the opinion that they should deprive both Ali and Muawiya of the caliphate, and give to the Muslims the right to elect the caliph. Abu Musa al-Ashari also decided to act accordingly. As the time for announcing the verdict approached, the people belonging to both parties assembled. Amr bin al-A'as requested Abu Musa to take the lead in announcing the decision he favoured. Abu Musa al-Ashari agreed to open the proceedings, and said,

We have devised a solution after a good deal of thought and it may put an end to all contention and separatist tendencies. It is this. Both of us remove Ali as well as Muawiya from the caliphate. The Muslims are given the right to elect a caliph as they think best.[31]

Ali refused to accept the verdict of him stepping down and for an election to be held and found himself technically in breach of his pledge to abide by the arbitration.[32][33][34] This put Ali in a weak position even amongst his own supporters.[32] The most vociferous opponents of Ali in his camp were the very same people who had forced Ali to appoint their arbitrator, the Qurrā' ("Quran readers"), called so for their literalist reading of the Quran and their zealous commitment and militant devotion to it.[31] Feeling that Ali could no longer look after their interests[35] and fearing that if there was peace, they could be arrested for the murder of Uthman, they broke away from Ali's force, rallying under the slogan "arbitration belongs to God alone."[31] After the battle of Siffin, the Qurrā' formed their own party called the Kharijites ("the Outsiders") which later developed into an anarchist movement[36] that plagued successive governments as late as that of Harun al-Rashid who died fighting them.[37]

In his book, In the Shadow of the Sword, Tom Holland writes that the Kharijites argued that a true believer "would have trusted his fate, not to diplomacy, but to ongoing warfare and the will of God."[38] This is in spite of the fact that they themselves had put forward their representative out of hope that the negotiations could go in their favor and to satisfy their own political and economic interests. Tom Holland says that they then condemned Ali

as the unbeliever, as the man who had strayed from the Straight Path. The fact that he was Muhammad's cousin only confirmed them in the militancy of their egalitarianism: that the true aristocracy was one of piety, and not of blood. Even a Companion of the Prophet, if he did not pray until he developed marks on his forehead 'comparable to the callouses of a camel', if he did not look pale and haggard from regular fasting, if he did not live like a lion by day and a monk by night, ranked, in the opinion of the Kharijites, as no better than an apostate.[39]

They considered anyone who was not part of their group as an unbeliever.[40] Tom Holland writes,

Other Kharijites, so it was reported, might 'go out with their swords into the markets while people would stand around not realising what was happening; they would shout "no judgement except God!" and plunge their blades into whomever they could reach, and go on killing until they themselves were killed.'[39]

In 659 AD, Ali's forces finally moved against the Kharijites and they finally met in the Battle of Nahrawan. Although Ali won the battle, the constant conflict had begun to affect his standing.[41] Tom Holland writes that Ali

won a victory over them as crushing as it was to prove pyrrhic: for all he had done, in effect, was to fertilize the soil of Iraq with the blood of their martyrs. Three years later, and there came the inevitable blowback: a Kharijite assassin struck him down while he was praying in Kufa. The Prophet's dream of brotherhood, of a shared community of believers, seemed dealt a fatal blow too.[39]

The Kharijites caused so much trouble, that it is recorded in both the early Sunni and the early Shia books that Ali said:

Certainly you are the most evil of all persons and are those whom Satan has put on his lines and thrown out into his wayless land. With regard to me, two categories of people will be ruined, namely he who loves me too much and the love takes him away from rightfulness, and he who hates me too much and the hatred takes him away from rightfulness. The best man with regard to me is he who is on the middle course. So be with him and be with the great majority of Muslims because Allah’s hand of protection is on keeping unity. You should beware of division because the one isolated from the group is a prey to Satan just as the one isolated from the flock of sheep is a prey to the wolf. Beware! Whoever calls to this course [of sectarianism], kill him, even though he may be under this headband of mine.(Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 126)

Muawiyah's army moved into other areas, which Ali's governors could not prevent and people did not support him to fight against them. Muawiyah overpowered Egypt, Yemen and other areas.[42]

Later, in 661, Ali was stabbed on the 19th of Ramadan, while Praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa. The Kharijite, Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam, attacked him during the Fajr prayer, inflicting him a deadly wound with a poisoned sword.[43]


  1. ^ a b Ibn Yaqubi, Ahmad (872). Tarikh Al Yaqubi. Armenia: Ahmad Ibn Yaqubi. p. 188. ISBN 9786136166070.
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  3. ^ Esposito (2010, p. 38)
  4. ^ Hofmann (2007), p.86
  5. ^ Islam: An Illustrated History By Greville Stewart Parker Freeman-Grenville, Stuart Christopher Munro-Hay Page 40
  6. ^ R. B. Serjeant, "Sunnah Jami'ah, pacts with the Yathrib Jews, and the Tahrim of Yathrib: analysis and translation of the documents comprised in the so-called 'Constitution of Medina'", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (1978), 41: 1–42, Cambridge University Press.
  7. ^ Watt. Muhammad at Medina and R. B. Serjeant "The Constitution of Medina." Islamic Quarterly 8 (1964) p. 4.
  8. ^ "Madinah Peace Treaty". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  9. ^ Lewis, Archibald Ross (1985). European Naval and Maritime History, 300–1500. Indiana University Press. p. 24. ISBN 9780253320827. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
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  12. ^ Weston, Mark (2008-07-28). Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present. John Wiley & Sons. p. 61. ISBN 9780470182574. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  13. ^ Bradbury, Jim (1992). The Medieval Siege. Boydell & Brewer. p. 11. ISBN 9780851153575. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  14. ^ Karim M. S. Al-Zubaidi, Iraq, a Complicated State: Iraq's Freedom War, p. 32
  15. ^ Karim M. S. Al-Zubaidi, p. 32
  16. ^ Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tabari volume 5, p. 243
  17. ^ Bewley, p. 22 from Ibn Hisham from Ibn Muzahim died 212 AH from Abu Mikhnaf died 170 AH
  18. ^ Yaqubi, vol 2, p. 188. Tarikh Al-Yaqubi (Tarikh Ibn Wadih).
  19. ^ William Muir, The Caliphate, its Rise and Fall (London, 1924) page 261
  20. ^ Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Ch. L, Pgs. 98-99. New York: Fred de Fau and Co. Publishers (1906).
  21. ^ Edward Gibbon, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (London, 1848) volume 3, p.522
  22. ^ Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Ch. L, Page 98. New York: Fred de Fau and Co. Publishers (1906).
  23. ^ a b Bewley, p. 22 from Ibn Hisham from Ibn Muzahim died 212 AH from Abu Mikhnaf died 170 AH
  24. ^ a b Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Page 31 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2013-09-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2013-09-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "Asadul Ghaba" vol 3, p. 246. Name of book needed
  27. ^ a b "Nahjul Balagha Part 1, The Sermons". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  28. ^ Nahjul Balaagha - Letter 58
  29. ^ Book: Mu'aawiyah Ibn Abee Sufyaan By Abdul-Muhsin Ibn Hamad Al-Abbaad Publisher Dar as-Sahaba Publications Page 48
  30. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam Volume VII, page 265 By Bosworth
  31. ^ a b c Rahman, p. 59
  32. ^ a b Rahman, p. 60
  33. ^ Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011-07-22). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia [2 volumes]: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 836. ISBN 9781598843378. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  34. ^ Sandler, Stanley (2002-01-01). Ground Warfare: An International Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 602. ISBN 9781576073445. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  35. ^ Modern Intellectual Readings of the Kharijites By Hussam S. Timani Page 61–65 about the writings of M. A. Shahban, In his Islamic History A.D. 600–750 (A.H. 132): A new Interpretation (1971) [1]
  36. ^ Timani, p. 58
  37. ^ Sowell, Kirk H. (2004). The Arab World: An Illustrated History. Hippocrene Books. p. 41. ISBN 9780781809900. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  38. ^ In the Shadow of the Sword, The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World By Tom Holland, ISBN 9780349122359 Abacus Page 362
  39. ^ a b c In the Shadow of the Sword, The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World By Tom Holland, ISBN 9780349122359 Abacus Page 363
  40. ^ Modern Intellectual Readings of the Kharijites By Hussam S. Timani Page 46 [2]
  41. ^ A Chronology of Islamic History 570-1000 CE By H U Rahman Page 59
  42. ^ See: Nahj Al-Balagha Sermons 25, 27, 29, 39 Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
    • Al-gharat (Plunders) which has written by Abi Mikhnaf is a detailed report about these raids.
  43. ^ Tabatabae (1979), page 192 Archived 2008-03-29 at the Wayback Machine

Coordinates: 35°57′00″N 39°01′00″E / 35.9500°N 39.0167°E

'Abd Allah ibn Wahb al-Rasibi

ʿAbd Allāh (or ʿAbdullāh) ibn Wahb al-Rāsibī (died 17 July 658 AD) was an early leader of the Khārijites. Of the Bajīla tribe, he was a tābiʿī, one who learned the teachings of Islam directly from a ṣaḥāba (companion) of Muḥammad. He prostrated himself in prayer so frequently that he developed calluses on his forehead, leading to the nickname, dhu ʾl-thafināt, "the man with the calluses".ʿAbd Allāh fought under Ṣaʿd ibn Abī Waḳḳāṣ in the conquest of Iraq. In the first Muslim civil war, he took the side of the Caliph ʿAlī and fought for him at the Battle of Ṣiffīn (657). He opposed ʿAlī's decision to accept arbitration to end the civil war and joined the dissidents, soon to be known as Khārijites, gathering at Ḥarūrāʾ in Iraq. They later moved to Kūfa, where they elected ʿAbd Allāh as their amīr (commander) and not, as is sometimes claimed, the true caliph (successor of Muḥammad). They marched out in March 658 and were routed by ʿAlī in the Battle of Nahrawān on 17 July (9 Ṣafar 38 AH). ʿAbd Allāh was killed in battle.

'Amr ibn al-'As

'Amr ibn al-'As (Arabic: عمرو بن العاص‎; c. 585 – 6 January 664) was an Arab military commander who led the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640. He was a contemporary of Muhammad and one of the Sahaba ("Companions") who rose quickly through the Muslim hierarchy following his conversion to Islam in the year 8 AH (629). He founded the Egyptian capital of Fustat and built the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As at its center.

Abbas ibn Ali

Al-Abbas ibn Ali (Arabic: العباس بن علي‎, Persian: عباس فرزند علی‬‎), also known as Qamar Banī Hāshim (the moon of Banu Hashim) (born 4th Sha‘bān 26 AH – 10 Muharram 61 AH; approximately May 15, 647 – October 10, 680), was a son of Imam Ali, the first Imam of Shia Muslims and the fourth Caliph of Sunni Muslims, and Fatima bint Hizam, commonly known as Mother of the Sons (Arabic: 'أم البنين'‎).

Abbas, also known as Abbas Alamdar, is highly revered by Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims for his loyalty to his half-brother Husain, his respect for the Household of Muhammad, and his role in the Battle of Karbala. Abbas is buried in the Shrine of Abbas in Karbala, Karbala Governorate, Iraq, where he was martyred during the Battle of Karbala on the day of Ashura. He was praised for his "handsome looks" and was also well known in the Arab community for his courage, bravery, strength and ferocity as a warrior. Ibn Manzur narrates in his al-Ayn that Al-Abbas was the "lion that other lions feared" as a testament to his accolades as a warrior. Sheikh at-Turaihi describes Abbas's appearance as resembling an unshakable mountain, with his heart firmly rooted, due to his qualities as a "unique horseman" and a fearless "hero".

Abd Allah ibn Abbas

Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Arabic: عبد الله ابن عباس‎) or ′Abd Allah ibn al-′Abbas otherwise called (Ibn Abbas; Al-Habr; Al-Bahr; The Doctor; The Sea) was born c. 619 CE. He was the son of Al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, an uncle of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and a nephew of the Maymunah bint al-Harith, who later became Muhammad's wife. He was one of Muhammad's cousins and one of the early Qur'an scholars.During the early struggles for the caliphate he supported Ali, and was made governor of Basra. He withdrew to Mecca shortly afterwards. During the reign of Muawiyah I he lived in Hejaz and travelled to Damascus often. After Muawiyah I died and fled to at-Ta'if, where he died in around 687 CE.'Abd Allah ibn Abbas was known for his knowledge of traditions and his critical interpretation of the Qur'an. From early on, he gathered information from other companions of Muhammad and gave classes and wrote commentaries.


Abūʾl-Aʿwar ʿAmr ibn Sufyān ibn ʿAbd Shams al-Sulamī (Arabic: أبو الأعور عمرو بن سُفيان بن عبد شمس السلمي‎), identified with the Abulathar or Aboubacharos (Greek: Ἀβουλαθάρ, Ἀβουβάχαρος) of the Byzantine sources (fl. 629–669), was an Arab admiral and general, serving in the armies of the Rashidun caliphs Abu Bakr (r. 632–634), Umar (r. 634–644) and Uthman (r. 644–656) and the Muslim governor of Syria and later Umayyad caliph, Mu'awiyah I (r. 661–680).

He was one of the last prominent members of the Banu Sulaym tribe to convert to Islam, and fought against Muhammad at the Battle of Hunayn in 629. After becoming a Muslim, he took part in the conquest of Syria in the 630s and fought at Yarmouk. Later, he commanded the Muslim Arab navy during the campaigns against the Byzantines in the eastern Mediterranean, including the decisive Muslim victory at the Battle of the Masts in 655. His army was also responsible for the destruction of the colossus of Rhodes. From the First Muslim Civil War until his disappearance from the historical record in the 660s, Abu'l-A'war served Mu'awiyah in a number of capacities, including as a commander and negotiator at the Battle of Siffin, an operative under 'Amr ibn al-'As in Egypt, a tax administrator in Palestine and the governor of Jordan; he had held the latter post since the reign of Uthman.

Adi ibn Hatim

Adiyy ibn Hatim ( عدي ابن حاتم الطائي ) was a leader of the Arab tribe of Tayy, and one of the companions of Muhammad. He is the son of the poet Hatim al-Tai who was widely known for his chivalry and generosity among Arabs. Adi remained antagonistic to Islam for about twenty years until he converted to Islam from Christianity in 630 (9th year of Hijra).Adiyy inherited the domain of his father and was confirmed in the position by the Tayy people. A great part of his strength lay in the fact that a quarter of any amount they gained as booty from raiding expeditions had to be given to him.

Adi joined the Islamic army at the time of caliph Abu Bakr. He fought wars of revolt against the apostates and also was a commander of the Islamic army sent to invade Iraq under the command of Khalid ibn al-Walid. He also fought on the side of Ali ibn Abi Talib, at the Battle of Camel and Battle of Siffin.

Al-Ash'ath ibn Qays

Abū Muḥammad Maʿdīkarib ibn Qays ibn Maʿdīkarib, better known as al-Ash'ath (died ca. 661) was the chieftain of the Kindah tribe of Hadramawt. He earned his nickname “al-Ash'ath“ because he was known to have dishevelled hair. His daughter, Ja'da bint al Ash'ath, is accredited for poisoning and murdering her husband, Hasan ibn Ali, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad. His son, Muhammad ibn al-Ash'ath, had a role in the murdering of Hussain ibn Ali, the prophet Muhammad's other grandson.Prior to his embrace of Islam in the late 631, al-Ash'ath launched an expedition against the tribe of Murad, whose members had killed his father. However, his assault was defeated and he was taken captive. In return for his release, he paid the Murad 3,000 camels as a ransom. Later, he became the leader of Kindah in Kufa and appointed by Caliph Uthman (r. 644–656) as the governor of Adharbayjan and his daughter was married to Uthman's eldest son. He was the commander of the right wing in the army of Caliph Ali (r. 656–661) at the Battle of Siffin.

Ammar ibn Yasir

ʻAmmār ibn Yāsir ibn ʿĀmir ibn Mālik Abū al-Yaqzān (Arabic: عمار بن یاسر‎) was one of the Muhajirun in the history of Islam and, for his dedicated devotion to Islam's cause, is considered to be one of the most loyal and beloved companions of Muhammad and ‘Ali; thus, he occupies a position of the highest prominence in Islam. Historically, Ammar ibn Yasir is the first Muslim to build a mosque. He is also referred to by Shia Muslims as one of the Four Companions. Some Shia consider Ammar's ultimate fate to be unique among the fates of Muhammad's companions, for they perceive his death at the battle of Siffin as the decisive distinguisher between the righteous group and the sinful one in the First Fitna.

Assassination of Ali

Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth (last) Rashidun caliph and first Shi'ite Imam, was assassinated by a Kharijite called Ibn Muljam on 26 January 661, at the Great Mosque of Kufah in present-day Iraq. Ali, who was then 62 or 63 years of age, died due to his injuries two days after Ibn Muljam struck him on his head by a poison-coated sword, on the 21 (or 19) Ramadan 40 AH (28 January 661 CE). He was the third successive caliph, after Umar and Uthman, to be assassinated.

Ali became the caliph after the assassination of Uthman in 656. However he faced opposition from some factions including the Levant governor, Muawiyah I. A civil war, called the First Fitna, took place within the early Islamic state which resulted in the overthrow of the Rashidun caliphs and the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty. It began when the caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated in 656 and continued through the four-year reign of Ali.

After Ali agreed to arbitration with Muawiyah I following the Battle of Siffin (657), a revolt happened against him by some members of his army, later known as Kharijites ("those who leave"). They killed some of Ali's supporters, but they were crushed by Ali's forces at the Battle of Nahrawan in July 658.Ibn Muljam met up with two other Kharijites namely al-Burak ibn Abd Allah and Amr ibn Bakr al-Tamimi at Mecca, and concluded that the situation of the Muslims at the time was due to the errors of Ali, Muawiah and Amr ibn As, governor of Egypt. They decided to kill the three in order to resolve the "deplorable situation" of their time and also avenge their companions killed at Nahrawan. Aiming to kill Ali, Ibn Muljam headed toward Kufa where he fell in love with a woman whose brother and father had died at Nahrawan. She agreed to marry him if only he could kill Ali. Consequently, Ali was stabbed by Ibn Muljam at the Great Mosque of Kufa. After Ali's death, Ibn Muljam was executed in retaliation by Hasan ibn Ali.

First Fitna

The First Fitna (Arabic: فتنة مقتل عثمان‎ fitnat maqtal ʿUthmān "strife/sedition of the killing of Uthman") was a civil war within the Rashidun Caliphate which resulted in the overthrowing of the Rashidun caliphs and the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty. It began when the caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated by Egyptian rebels in 656 and continued through the four-year reign of Uthman's successor Ali ibn Abi Talib. It ended in 661 when Ali's heir Hasan ibn Ali concluded a treaty acknowledging the rule of Muawiyah, the first Umayyad caliph.

Hasan–Muawiya treaty

In 661 CE, after Ali's murder, Hasan ibn Ali attained to the caliphate. There was a military conflict between Ahl al-Bayt and Muawiya ibn Abu Sufyan (see Battle of Siffin); and to avoid the agonies of a further civil war, Hasan signed the Hasan–Muawiya treaty with Muawiyah. According to the treaty, Hasan ceded the caliphate to Muawiyah but the latter could name no successor during his reign; instead, he was to let the Islamic world choose its successor afterward.


Madh'hij (Arabic: مذحج‎) also spelled Math'hij is a famous large Qahtanite Arab tribal confederation. It is located in south and central Arabia. This confederation participated in the Arabic Islamic conquest and was a major factor in the conquest of Persian empire and Iberian Peninsula. It is also found in Mosel and in Levant and Iberian Peninsula.The Islamic prophet, Muhammad said that most people in Paradise will be from Madhhij. They were described as being the noblest in nature amongst the Arabs, holding up the virtues Islam holds dear. Those of honour, bravery, valour, courage, justice, wisdom, chivalry, reasoning and humility.

al-Hamdani cited Madhhij 30 times in his book "Sifat Jazirat al Arab: Description of the Arabian Peninsula" as a Genuine Arabic dynasty with branches like Nukha, Zubaid, Ruha and Hada (best archers among the Arabs) that has famous Historical personalities such as the Arabian knight king of Yemen Amru bin Ma'adi Yakrib al-Zubaidi al-Madhhiji who became a Muslim and Malik Ashtar al-Nakh'ei a close friend of the Prophet Muhammad and a military leader with Ali ibn Abi Talib in the battle of Siffin, and Madhhij later fought the Qarmatians under leadership of Abul Ashira in Yemen and Malik ibn Marara a-Rahawi, and the commentaries on al-Hamdani's book shows that they still live in the same towns and places as Hamadani described them in his book dated 900 AD, 1100 hyears ago.Madhhij is mentioned in Namara inscription, a memorial of the Nasrid king of al-Hira Imru ’al-Qays bin ‘Amr (died in 328), “king of all the Arabs”, boasted of having launched a raid against Madhhij, reaching “Najran" city of Shammar (the Himyarite king Shammar Yahri'sh)

. The same story is mentioned in detail in Wahb ibn Munabbih in his book of Pre-Islamic saga and lore "The Book of The Crowns of Himyar Kings"Before Islam, Madhhij had its own Idol that they used to bring in the yearly pilgrimage to Kaaba before Islam (Pagan Arabs before Islam) and they used to make Talbiya specific to Madhhij for that Idol in which they encircle Kaaba several times and plead their Madhhij' Talbiya to Allah to let that Idol be put around the Kaaba. The Arabs are said to inherited Kaaba from Ibrahim who named it Beit Allah, (aka the house of God) but in much later ages they started worshipping idols and then they brought the idols to Kaaba to bless their Idols by God.Madhhij name was found in the Namara inscription dated 330 AD.The men of Madh'hij were described as being hardened and experienced warriors in praising their positive aspect. They were also known for their skills in horseriding and were famed for being the best archers when on a horse.

Military career of Ali

Ali bin Abi Talib took part in all the battles of Prophet Muhammad's time, except the Battle of Tabuk, as standard bearer. He also led parties of warriors on raids into enemy lands, and was an ambassador. Ali's fame grew with every battle that he was in, due to his courage, valour, and chivalry, as well as the fact that he single-handedly, destroyed many of Arabia's most famous and feared warriors. Muhammad acknowledged him as the greatest warrior of all time.


Muhakkima (Arabic: محكمة‎) and al-Haruriyya (Arabic: الحرورية‎) refer to the Muslims who rejected arbitration between Ali ibn Abi Talib and Mu'awiya at the Battle of Siffin in 657 CE. The name Muḥakkima derives from their slogan la hukma illa li-llah, meaning "judgment (hukm) belongs to God alone". The name al-Haruriyya refers to their withdrawal from Ali's army to the village of Harura' near Kufa. This episode marked the start of the Kharijite movement, and the term muḥakkima is often also applied by extension to later Kharijites.

In recent times, some adherents of Ibadism, which is commonly identified as a moderate offshoot of the Kharijite movement, have argued that the precursors of both Ibadism and extremist Kharijite sects should be properly called Muḥakkima and al-Haruriyya rather than Kharijites.

Muslim ibn Uqba

Muslim ibn ʿUqba al-Murrī (pre-622–683) was a general of the Umayyad Caliphate during the reigns of caliphs Mu'awiya I (r. 661–680) and his son and successor Yazid I (680–683). The latter assigned Muslim, a staunch loyalist who had distinguished himself at the Battle of Siffin, to be the commander of an expedition against the people of Medina for refusing to give Yazid the oath of allegiance. The victory of Muslim at the Battle of al-Harrah in 683 and the subsequent pillaging of Medina by his army was considered among the major injustices carried out by the Umayyads. Muslim died shortly after.

Nahj al-Balagha

The Nahj al-Balagha (Arabic: نهج البلاغة‎ Nahj-ul Balāgha(h), Arabic pronunciation: [ˈnahdʒul baˈlaːɣa]; "The pinnacle of Eloquence ") is the most famous collection of sermons, letters, tafsirs and narrations attributed to Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. It was collected by Sharif Razi,

a Shia scholar in the Tenth century (fourth century A.H.) Known for its eloquent content, it is considered a masterpiece of literature in Shia Islam.

Sharik Ibn-e-Judair

Sharik Ibn Judair was a Sahabi of Ali and fought for him in Battle of Siffin. He was also very close to the Malik al-Ashtar. According to some traditions, he was killed by Hussain Ibn Numayer in a fight with Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad with Mukhtar-e-Thaqafi.

Umm al-Khair

Umm al-Khayr al-Bariqiyya,(Arabic: ام الخير بنت الحريش البارقي‎) daughter of al-Huraysh b.Suraqah b. Mirdas al-Bariqi, She was among the eloquent, skillful ladies and was famous for her allegiance and loyalty to Imam Ali. At the Battle of Siffin she urged the people to battle against Muawiyah. She also urged them to defend and support Imam Ali. Mu’awiya felt pain because of her attitudes. He harbored malice and enmity against her.

Uwais al-Qarani

Uwais ibn ʻAmir ibn Harb al-Qarni (Arabic: أويس ابن أنيس القرني‎), was a Muslim from Yemen who lived during the lifetime of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. His burial place is in al-Raqqah, Syria. It was destroyed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2013.One of the most comprehensive books on Uwais Al Qarni is undoubtedly the book by the name of “The Life and Times of Uwais Al Qarni” which was written by a South African scholar by the name of Moulana Uwais Al Qarni Ahmed.

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