The Decision of the Arbitrators

Amr bin al’As, the representative of Moavia was highly dependable and had no match for his crafty manners. Abu Musa Ashari, the spokesman of Hazrat Ali (AS) was neutral and was not favourably inclined towards the Caliph. However, both the arbitrators met at Dumat al andal between Syria and Iraq. Each of them was accompanied by four hundred followers. Many notable personalities including Abdullah ibn Abbas, Abdullah bn Umar, Sa’d bn Abi Waqqas, Abdullah bin Zubair and Mughira (RA) also assembled there. With keen interest they watched the proceedings of the meeting which was to solve the burning question and decide the future of Islam. The umpires took an oath to judge righteously in the light of the teachings of the Holy Quran. After a good deal of deliberation they held a private conference. Amr read the mind of Abu Musa and came to the conclusion that the latter was inclined to depose Hazrat Ali (AS) from the Caliphate. During the conversation it was decided that Hazrat Ali (AS) and Moavia both should be excluded and another man should be elected as Caliph. The issue of the Governorship of Syria was not touched at all. Amr bin al’As asked Abu Musa Ashari to pronounce the judgement first. Accordingly, he stood up and declared: “O People! We have considered the matter well. At present peace and order is the crying need of humanity. In order to establish tranquility and concord, we see no other course but to depose Hazrat Ali (AS) and Moavia as candidates for the Caliphate. After that you shall elect a suitable man in their stead”.



After this announcement, he stepped aside and Amr bin al’As appeared on the scene. He played false and declared: “O People! You must have listened to the judgement of my worthy colleague. He has deposed Hazrat Ali (AS) but I confirm Moavia as Caliph to succeed. He is the heir of Usman (RA). He will take revenge of his blood with iron hands”.



The audience were thunder-struck. None had ever dreamt of such an unfair decision. The Syrians achieved a brilliant triumph. They congratulated Moavia on his success. The Iraqis expressed a deep sense of regret at the treachery of Amr bn al’As. A tumult rose among both the rival factions. In the heat of indignation Amr was handled roughly but he got out of the crowd due to the interference of some chiefs. Abu Musa escaped to the sanctuary of Mecca. This award could neither normalize the situation nor bridge the gulf of differences. When Hazrat Ali (AS) was informed of this decision, he was greatly shocked. He said: “The arbitrators had not kept their promise and had decided the case wrongly and unjustly. We, therefore, are justified in disregarding the decision of the arbitration”.



The award of arbitrators provided no solution for the knotty problem. The Empire remained in suspense. This resulted into the disintegration of the Caliphate. Moavia created an independent State based on Syria and Egypt. Whereas Hazrat Ali (AS) was involved in the clutches of traitors and mutinous soldiers. This decision embittered his relation with his own supporters.


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