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Why Mu’awiya refused to accept Ali as Caliph


Why Mu’awiya refused to accept Ali as Caliph

A question always rises related to the Islamic history that why Mu’awiya (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) refused to accept Ali  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ)  as fourth caliph of Islam. Ali  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ)  had been elected in unusual circumstances and in an unusual way, mainly on the insistence and efforts of the rebels and conspirators against Uthman bin Affan  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ), the 3rd Rightly Guided Caliph.

When the news of the assassination of Uthman  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ)  reached Mu'awiya  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ), he, like all other companions, was shocked. He thought that Ali  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ)  should show haste in taking action against Uthman's  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ)  killers. Ali  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ), on the other hand, wanted to restore normalcy and peace in his own way.

For Ali  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ), it was more important to change the governors appointed by Uthman  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ). So, he issued orders of dismissal of those governors. Mu'awiya's  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ)  name was also included in this list of governors, though he had been appointed by Umar bin Khattab (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ), the 2nd Rightly Guided Caliph, and not by Uthman bin Affan (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ). This aggravated the situation and widened the gap between the two companions.

Amid these circumstances, the anti-Islamic elements, in the guise of Muslims, got an opportunity to fan the fire of mutual differences among Muslims.

Mu'awiya's (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) intimate kinship with Uthman (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) was highlighted and propaganda was spread that Ali (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) was hesitant in taking action against the killers of Mu'awiya's  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) uncle. Mu'awiya's  (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) frustration, therefore, further grew.

Finally, when Ali (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) raised an army against Mu'awiya in order to counter his defiance regarding the Bai'yat of 'Ali (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ), the matters took an ugly turn, unfortunately, for a long time. A true Believer will never take sides in this complex issue because it was, by no means, a religious matter but a matter concerning the difference of opinion between two major companions about the administrative affairs of the whole Muslim state.

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