It is problematic to claim Muawiya ordered Ali to be insulted from the pulpits as there is no clear evidence supporting such a claim. Muawiya's biography and manners that have been narrated contradict this claim. Some historians however do cite such stories in their works however they have little value as they are neither authentic nor verified.
A'amir bin Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas narrated from his father who says: "Muawiya bin Abi Sufyan ordered Sa'ad and asked him, "What prevented you from insulting Abu Turab (Ali)?" Sa'ad answered. "The prophet (pbuh) said three things to him, so I would not insult him because to have one of these three things is more beloved to me than the best camels. I heard the Prophet (saw) saying to appoint Ali as a leader when the prophet used to go to Jihad. Ali then would say to him, "Oh Messenger of Allah, you left me with the women and children?" The Prophet (saw) answered him, "Would not you be pleased if you were for me as Haroon was for Musa? Except there is no prophet after me." And I heard the Prophet (saw) saying at the day of Khaybar, "I would give this banner to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger and who Allah and His Messenger love him too." He said, "Then we were looking for this honor." Then the Prophet said, "Call Ali." Ali was brought and he had sore eyes. So the Prophet (saw) spitted in his eyes and gave him the banner. Then Allah granted victory to the Muslims by the hands of Ali. And when this verse revealed: "Come, let us gather together, our sons and your sons," the Prophet (saw) called Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussain and said: "O' Allah, they are my family."" (Muslim)
This hadeeth does not mean Muawiya ordered Sa'ad to insult Ali but wanted to know what prevented Sa'ad from insulting him. Sa'ad explained his reason and it is unclear whether Muawiya was angry with him or not. If Muawiya was despotic. forcing people to insult Ali, then Muawiya would not have been quiet and would have forced Sa'ad to insult him, but that did not happen.
It is then not unreasonable to say it is unknown whether Muawiya ordered Ali to be insulted or if he was pleased by it.
The Shafi'i jurist Imam Nawawi says, "Muawiya's saying does not state he ordered Sa'ad to insult Ali, but asked him for his reason as to why he did not do so. It is as if Muawiya was saying to him, "Have you refrained from insulting Ali as a result of piety, fear or anything like that? If it was as a result of piety and veneration to refrain from insulting, then you are rightful and if it were other than that, then there would be another answer." Or it may be Sa'ad was part of a group who insulted Ali refrained unable to prevent them so Muawiya asked this question. They said: "And it may have another explanation, that what prevented you from making Ali wrong in his thought and opinion and to show to people our good opinion and thought and that Ali was wrong?"
And Allau alam
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