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The battle of Siffin and some of its main events

The battle of Siffin history

In May 657 AD, the armies of Ali (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) (70,000 to 90,000 troops) and Muawiya (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) (slightly smaller) met at Siffin in Syria. Negotiations began and went on for many months, as the companions of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ (PBUH) were reluctant to fight amongst themselves and sought a peaceful solution.

In July, the negotiations failed and fierce fighting erupted. Ali's (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) army being superior in strength, began to gain ground, and Muawiya's (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) began to retreat.

Muawiya's (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) soldiers brought the combat to a halt by tying pages of the Quran to their spearheads. Now a court of arbitration was set up, which was scheduled to meet in February 658. Ali (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) appointed Abu Musa Asharir and Muawiya (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) nominated Amr bin al-Asr respectively, as their arbitrators. At this point, several thousand soldiers of Ali's (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) army broke away and formed a rebel army, which became known as 'Kharijites'. They were opposed to the idea of the court of arbitration.

The negotiations failed, and the causes have by now been shrouded in the mysteries of time. There are conflicting reports as to who was to blame, but the hidden hand of conspirators cannot be ruled out. As Muslims, it is improper for us to take sides, as doing so would result in criticism of either one of the two noted companions of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Therefore, we move on to the next phase in history.

The rivalry between the two continued until a short-lived truce was called in January 660, but fighting at different fronts resumed soon after. Ali (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) Amr bin Asr (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ), and Muawiya (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) were attacked in an assassination attempt by Kharijites on the same night in a synchronized effort to wipe out the leadership of that time. Muawiya (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) escaped, Amr (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) was injured, but Ali (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) was fatally wounded. On 19th Ramadan 40AH, Jan 661, Ali bin Abi Talib (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ), the last of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, succumbed to the wounds.

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