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The Battle of Bayt al-Muqaddas (Jerusalem)

May 11, 2012, 1:43 PM

In the battle of Bayt al-Muqaddas, the caliph also took counsel with the companions including Imam ‘Ali (a). He was made glad by the words and advice of ‘Ali (a) and told the companions, “I shall not act against the counsel of ‘Ali. I praise him in advice and see his brow to be white.”


The War for  Khurasan

Regarding the war for Khurasan, ’Ali (a) enumerated the features and strong points of each of the cities of the Khurasan provinces and encouraged the second caliph to conquer it.


The Role of ‘Ali’s (a) Followers in battles

The companions and followers of ‘Ali (a) had key roles in the campaigns during the second caliph’s tenure. The victories of Islam in conquering surrounding territories are indebted to the unceasing struggles of the heroic commanders that were companions of the Imam. Of course, the direct participation of the companions of ‘Ali (a) in conquests was not without their leader’s approval. For instance, when the caliph tried to appoint Salman Farsi governor of Ctesiphon [mada’in], he did not accept until ‘Ali (a) gave him permission.

Malik Ashtar took part in the Qadisyah battle. He conquered Amid and Nasibin. Hudhayfah ibn Yaman was a commander in the battle of Nahawand. According to Dinwari, he took command of the army of Islam after Na’man ibn Muqrin. In the conquest of Egypt, Ammar Yasir commanded the cavalry. He was also present in the conquest Diyarbakir (previously known as Amida) beside Miqdad ibn Aswad. Hashim ibn ‘Utbah Mirqal, the nephew of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas and an exceptionally brave and selfless companion of ‘Ali (a) was appointed commander of a five thousand strong army in the time of the second caliph. He took part in the conquest of Bayt al-Muqaddas and in the conquest of Azerbaijan and led a group of soldiers. Jarir ibn ‘Abdullah Bajli was a commander in the battle of Qadisiyyah (a city in southern Iraq) and was also present in the battle of Jalula. In the attack on Iraq and Hirah, he commanded the army.

Obviously, the participation of ‘Ali’s (a) companions in the battle during the tenures of the caliphs did not indicate their endorsement of the caliphate. It was rather due to their interest in expanding and developing Islam beyond the Islamic borders.


The Companions of ‘Ali (a) and  Governance

With his permission, some of the companions of ‘Ali (a) actively participated in the political and governance arenas with the aim of preserving unity. For instance, after Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas captured Ctesiphon, the caliph appointed Salman Farsi as the governor of the city. In addition, the caliph appointed ‘Ammar yasir governor of Kufa.


The Presence of ‘Ali (a) in Governance   

Imam ‘Ali (a) regarded his right to have been usurped. Even so, the solidarity of the Islamic Ummah was of vital importance to him. This is why when the second caliph was planning to leave Madinah to attend to the affairs of Muslims and appointed ‘Ali (a) as his regent and obliged the people to follow him, ‘Ali (a) did not neglect his duty to the unity and fate of the Islamic Ummah in the least. For this reason, during the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn Khttab, ‘Ali (a) was chosen as his regent in Madinah three times.

One of the instances where the caliph officially appointed ‘Ali (a) as his regent in Madinah was when he wanted to leave for Damascus. Before he left, he made an oration for the army of Madinah. After praising the Lord he said:

O people! I leave for Damascus and if there were no danger to Muslims. I would never leave Madinah. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a)-may God be pleased with him- is in Madinah. Look to him. I entrust your affairs to him. He is the governor among you. Listen to his words and follow him. Do you understand that which I have said to you?

The people answered, “Yes, We have heard and we shall obey”.

Another similar incident occurred when the caliph decided to leave Madinah after taking counsel with ‘Ali (a) about dispatching soldiers to reinforce the Islamic army for the battles of Qadisiyyah and Jisr. At that time also, he made ‘Ali (a) his regent in Madinah.

Yet another instance was when the caliph determined to go to Bayt al-Muqaddas after a meeting with ‘Ali (a). The reason for the trip was to carry out the conditions for peace with the people of that city, which could not take place without the presence of the caliph. Before he left for Palestine, he made ‘Ali (a) his regent in Madinah.

The aforementioned case of ‘Ali’s (a) temporary presence in the government is according to authentic Sunnin sources. Some Shia historians such as Sharif Radi also indicate the temporary involvement of ‘Ali (a) in governance.

When the caliph went to Damascus, ‘Abbas was with him. The caliph said to him, “Maybe you think you are more deserving of this title than I am?” Abbas answered, “More deserving than you or I am the person who your regent in Madinah-the man who struck us with his sword until we converted to Islam, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.


B. Political Advice


The second caliph was also in need of the guidance of ‘Ali (a) in political matters. The benevolence and profundity of his thought in various areas including political counsel continuously served to consolidate the Islamic nation.

It has been cited by some scholars that Iranians from various cities including Hamadan, Rey, Isfahan, and Nahavand sent dispatches to other cities announcing that the Prophet (s) has passed away, that  after him, Abu Bakr, who was their ruler had also died, and that ‘Umar, who would live long, would make transgressions against their cities. These letters asked that people to drive the armies of ‘Umar out of their cities and wage war against them.

After hearing this news, ‘Umar apprehensively went to the Mosque of the Prophet (s) and took counsel with several Muhajireen and Ansar. Each said something that did not satisfy the caliph. Finally, ‘Ali (a) declared, “I counsel that you not move the people of Damascus, Yemen, Makkah, or Madinah but that you write to the men of Basra to divide into three parts: One to defend their women and children in Basra; one to preside over the Ahl al-Dhimmah to keep them from breaking oath; and the third to hasten to the aid of their brothers.” Umar answered, “Indeed, this is the correct opinion. I want to follow this opinion“. Afterwards, he kept on repeating the statements of ‘Ali (a) with astonishment.

In addition, after the conquest of Ctesiphon in the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal of the 16th year of the Hijra, the caliph decided to record history. He finally accepted the idea of Imam ‘Ali (a) to specify history from the data of the Hijra of the Prophet (s).


C. Economic Advice 

Without a doubt, the insight of ‘Ali (a) was more profound than that of all the companions of the Prophet (s). Thus, whenever the caliphs met with complications in any area they would refer to the Imam and ask him for a final solution. One such area was the area of economic issues regarding public and private wealth.


Stipends from the Bayt al-Mal (Public Wealth)


A person that is charged with the leadership of a society must be given an amount of money for their livelihood. In his tenure as the caliph ‘Umar conferred with various companions including Imam ‘Ali (a) regarding this issue. He finally accepted the view of Imam that, “Take only as much from theBayt al-Mal as you need for you and your family’s livelihood”......