Muawiya's Claim To Caliphate Was Due To His Lust For Power, Status And Personal Gain. Discuss.

2023 words - 8 pages

The conflict throughout Ali's reign between himself and Muawiya was supposedly due to his reluctance and decision not to find and punish Uthman's killers, and hence regarded as an indirect accomplice in the murder. This seemed to be sufficient reason for Muawiya not to pay allegiance to him, as it was his duty as an Arab chieftain to avenge Uthman's death . However, historians such as Kennedy, tend to agree with the Shia view, "treating this claim as a feeble pretext for his actions." The Shia especially tends to disgrace and humiliate Muawiya, vilifying him for his opposition to Ali out of sheer lust for power and status . However Shia and Sunni historians tend to be biased on their views of Muawiya, thus diminishes their reliability and proper judgement on his character and rule. Sources and historical knowledge on his life and career are very scarce and of his inner motives and purposes we know even less.General consensus among historians, although a simplistic one, states that the main reason behind Muawiya's rebellion against Ali was vengeance for Uthman. While it may be perceived as just that, only a few have managed to delve deeper into the underlying reasons behind Muawiya's actions. Some traditionists such as al-Jurjani, Baladhuri and Awana have a totally different outlook, eliminating Muawiya and holding that Amr b. al-As was the one who initiated and organized the agitation and combats against Ali in Syria. Amr was a cunning political genius, who was also behind the arbitration that deposed Ali, and thus possible that he was the brains behind Muawiya. Other views re-examine the revolt against Uthman. Several reports accused Muawiya of sensing the imminent catastrophe and exploiting it for his own selfish ends and "began scheming and desired Uthman's killing so as to succeed him as caliph" while others showed him in a favourable light - claiming he came to Uthman's appeals as soon as he realised how serious the situation was but was just too late. According to Madelung, "Uthman had meant little to him; he had done nothing to aid him and felt no personal obligation to seek revenge." From this evidence and Muawiya's deliberate delay for Uthman's appeals for help, it is thus conflicting with his reason for opposing Ali - blood vengeance; this was in fact a great 'political utility' for his own secular ambitions and just a way to satisfy his Umayyad kinsmen who look to him for leadership and to avoid alienation.This claim is further supported since his launch for vengeance in Syria was only after the battle of the Camel, six months or more after Uthman's murder. Coincidentally after the first civil war, which further stained Ali's image as caliph, Muawiya demanded that a Shura be set up for the purpose of nominating an untarnished caliph. If he was so keen to seek revenge, why did he wait that long? Instead, the difficult position he was in had spurred him into action. Ali had dismissed most of the provincial governors appointed by his...

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