Death of Mu’āwiyah bin Abu Sufyān

Extracted from: Nafasul Mahmoom


Mas’oodi and other historians narrate, that in the former days of his ill¬ness (because of which he died) one day Mu’āwiyah went to the bath-house. When he looked at his weak and feeble body, he started weeping, for he realised that his end was near and he recited the following couplet: “I see that time has hastened to break me, and has taken some of my part from me and left some, the deflection of my length and breadth has made him sit down, after having stood for a lenghty period of time.”

And when his death and the days of separation of the world drew near and his illness increased, while the chances of his recovery seemed less, he recited some couplets in remorse: “I wish I had not been a sovereign for an instant, nor would I have been blinded while being absorbed in worldly pleasures, (I wish) I would have been similar to the poor, who suffices upon the necessities until he joins the people of the grave.”

Ibne Aseer Jazari says that during his illness Mu’āwiyah said, “I am like that livestock whose time of harvesting has neared. My kingship and ruler¬ship over you has been for a long time, because of which I am sick of you and you are sick of me. I desire to be separated from you and you wish the same, but I am better than the one who will rule over you after me, as those who were before me were better than me. It is it a means of prosperity for me.” After some time the signs of death became apparent upon him and when he realised his certain death, he called his son Yazid and said:

Mu’āwiyah’s will to his son Yazid

“O my dear son! I have fastened the load of pain and have warded off rebellion from you, and have straightened up matters. I have tamed the enemies, have brought the reins of the Arabs in your hands, and have accumulated that for you which no one has ever done. Thus consider the people of Hijaz, who are your foundation and your roots. Give respect to those among the people of Hijaz who come to you, and keep inquiring about those who are not present among them. Besides, consider the people of Irāq, and if they desire that you depose a Governor every day, do not refuse, for it is easy to change a Governor than to face ten thousand swords drawn forth facing you. Favour the people of Syriā for they are your near-ones and your reservoirs, and if you fear an enemy, ask for their help. And when you have accomplished your goal (of defeating the enemy) return them back to the cities (of Syriā), for if they remain elsewhere their manners will change. I do not fear anyone opposing or fighting with you on the question of Caliphate except four persons. Those being Husain bin Ali, Abdullāh bin Umar, Abdullāh bin Zubayr and Abdul Rahmān bin Abu Bakr said that whoever likes to meet the Almighty, In this nation the name of Abdul Rahmān bin Abu Bakr Almighty too likes to meet him. O Allāh! I like to meet You and I request You to like my meeting too and make is quoted which is an error, for he had already died before Mu’āwiyah.

As regards Abdullāh bin Umar, (excessive) worship has broken him, if no one remains to assist him, he shall succumb to you. As regards Husain bin Ali, he is light- minded person, and the people of Irāq will betray him until they force him to rebel. If he revolts and you gain victory over him, excuse him, for he is linked to us through relation and he keeps greater right while having relation and nearness of the Holy Prophet. As regards the son of Abu Bakr, he follows that what his companions like, and his aspiration are only women and play. While the one who like a Lion lies in ambush, and the Fox who is playing a game with you and is in track of an opportunity to pounce upon you is the son of Zubayr. And if he revolts and you gain vic¬tory over him, separate every joint of his. Try and keep safe the blood of our own people.”

It is said that during the days of the illness and death of his father Mu’āwiyah, Yazid was not present in Syriā. Hence Mu’āwiyah called for Zahhāk bin Qays and Muslim bin Uqba Murri and instructed them to hand over his will to Yazid, while this seems quite acceptable.

Ibne Aseer further says that in his illness Mu’āwiyah had become delirous and would sometimes say, “What is the distance between ourselves and Gootah (the name of a fertile oasis on the south side of Syriā)” Hearing this his daughter started wailing aloud, “O Sorrow!” Mu’āwiyah regained conscious¬ness and said, “If you are incongruous (you have the right to do so), for you have seen the incongruous one.”

When Mu’āwiyah died, Zahhāk bin Qays came outside his house and ascended the pulpit when the shroud of Mu’āwiyah was in his hands. He praised and glorified the Almighty and said, “Verily Mu’āwiyah was a support, brave and a fortunate Arab by whose hands Allāh turned away conspiracies and mis¬chief. And Allāh bestowed him the sovereignty upon His slaves, and the cities and towns were under his control. But now he has died and this is his shroud. And we will cover him with this shroud and enter him in his grave, and we shall leave him in the intermediate period (barzakh) until the day of Judgment. Then whoever desires to pray the Prayer over him should gather at the time of Zuhr to do so.” Zahhāk himself lead the Pray over his dead body.

It is said that when Mu’āwiyah became severely ill, his son Yazid was at Hawareen (a town in Halab, Syriā). A letter was sent to him to hasten to meet his father. When the letter reached Yazid, he recited the following couplet: “The messenger arrived with a closed letter by which the heart became tense, we said, woe be to you, what do you have in the document, he replied that the caliph is motionless, in pain.”

When Yazid reached Syriā, Mu’āwiyah had already buried, hence he recited the Prayer over his grave.

1     Some of the crimes committed by Mu’āwiyah depicting his villainous character (1) The gravest sin being his poisoning Imām Hasan (a.s.), the grandson of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), by alluring his wife Ja’dah binte Ash’as (Murujuz Zahab and Isbātul Wasiyyah

  • Mas’oodi Vol 2: Page 47, Tāreekh – Abul Fidā Vol 1: Page 182, Iqdul Fareed – Ibne Abd Rabbāh Vol 2: Page 11, Rawzatul Manazir – Ibne Shahnah Vol 2: Page 133, Tāreekhul Khamees – Husayn Dayarbakri Vol 2:  Page 238, Akbarut Tiwal – Dinawari Page 400, Maqātilat Talibeyeen – Abul Faraj Isfahāni, Isti’ab – Ibne Abdul Birr (2) Instigating the murder of Imām Ali (a.s.) (con¬firmed by the murderor Ibne Muljim as quoted by Hākim Sanai in Manāqibe Murtazawi Page 277) (3) Murdering Mohammad bin Abi Bakr, companion of Imām Ali (a.s.) and son of Caliph Abu Bakr (Tāreekh – Tabari Vol 4: Page 592), (4) Murdering Mālik bin Hāris Ashtar, companion of Imām Ali (a.s.) and a Tabe’e (Tāreekh – Tabari Vol 4: Page 521), (5) Assasinating Hujr bin Adi, the companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his companions (Tāreekh – Ibne Asakir, Isti’ab – Ibne Abdul Birr, Tāreekhe Kāmil – Ibne Aseer Jazari, Dalailun Nubuwwah – Bayhaqi, Tāreekh – Yā’qoob bin Sufyān, (6) Harrasing Abu Zarr al-Ghifāri, the distinguished companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) (Murujuz Zahab – Mas’oodi, Tāreekh – Ibne Wadih Ya’qoobi), (7) Laying the foundation stone of cursing Imām Ali (a.s.) the cousin and son in law of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his progeny on the streets, Mosques, pulpits and in daily Prayers (Tāreekh Kāmil – Ibne Aseer, Iqdul Fareed – Ibne Abd Rabbāh, Tāreekh – Abul Fidā, Rawzatul Manazir.
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  • Ibne Shahnah, Sharhe Maqāsid – Taftazani, Khilafat wa Mulukiyyat – Abul A’ala Mawdudi Page 100), (8) Shamelessly disregarding the terms of the peace treaty entered into (and accepted by him) with Imām Hasan (a.s.) (Tāreekhe Kāmil – Ibne Aseer, Tāreekh – Abul Fidā, Rawzatul Manazir – Ibne Shahnah), (9) Causing whole scale terror and bloodshed of muslims while despatching his bloodthristy commanders (Tāreekh Kāmil – Ibne Aseer, Tāreekh – Abul Fidā, Tāreekhul Mādina – Samhudi, Maqātilat Talibiyeen – Abul Faraj Isfahāni, Tāreekh – Ibne Khalliqan, Tāreekh – Ibne Asakir, Tāreekh – Tabari, Sharhe Nahjul Balāghā – Ibne Abil Hadeed Mu’tazili), (10) Nurturing false traditionists like Abu Hurayra and provoking them to forge traditions against Ahlulbayt (a.s.), (11) Including Ziyād (the illegitimate son of a prostitute Sumayyah) among the Bani Umayyāh by declaring him to be his brother (Tāreekh – Abul Fidā, Khilafat wa Mulukiyyat – Abul A’ala Mawdudi Page 162/3), (12) Unlawfully appointing Yazid, his evil and immoral son, as his successor, Caliph of the muslims and Vicegerent of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), (13) Instigating the battle of Siffeen against the Commander of the faithful Imām Ali (a.s.) thus shedding the blood of devout muslims and Prophet’s companions like Ammār bin Yasir, Khuzaymāh bin Sabit etc therein, (14) A self styled monarch, a reveller worse than the Caesers and Chosroes (as witnessed by Umar bin Khattab in Isti’ab – Ibne Abdul Birr Vol 1: Page 253 and Tāreekhe Kāmil – Ibne Aseer Vol  3:  Page  216,  al-Bidaya  wan  Nihaya-Shahrestani Vol 8: Page 125), (15) Disregard for lawful or unlawful (Muhaziratul Adibba’ – Raghib Isfahāni Page 370), (16) A wine bibber as confirmed by Abdullāh bin Buraydah in Musnad – Imām Ahmed Ibne Hanbal Vol 5: Page  347),  (16)  Himself  an  illegitimate  child  (Rabi’ul Abrar – Zamakhshari, Sarguzashte Mu’āwiyah – Mawlawi Abdul Wahid Khan Page 25, Masalib Bani Umayyāh – Ismā’il bin Ali Hanafi), apart from being an adulterer, gambler, gluttonous and evil personified (Ref. Sarguzashte Mu’āwiyah – Abdul Waheed Khan).

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed Ammar bin Yasir – Soon there will be confusion after me in my nation till swords are drawn out and some are killed by others and a group does tabarra from another group. When you witness this, then it is mandatory for you to hold on to this bald one on my right i.e. Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.). If all the people venture into a valley and Ali (a.s.) ventures into another valley, then you must head for the valley of Ali (a.s.) and abandon the people. O Ammar, Ali (a.s.) will never turn you away from guidance and will never guide you towards destruction. O Ammar, obedience to Ali (a.s.) is obedience to me and obedience to me is obedience to Allah, the Almighty.

(Kashf al-Yaqeen Fi Fazaael Ameeril Momineen (a.s.), p. 161; Bashaarah al-Mustafa Le Shiah al-Murtaza, vol. 2, 146; Al-Umdah, p. 451; Tarf min al-Amba wa al-Manaqib, p. 460)