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There is a general agreement amongst Sunni scholars of that it is not allowed to speak regarding fitnah between Ali and Muawiyah. Imam Ibn Battah reflects this when he said:

Do not look in the book of Siffin, Jamal, the incident at the home of Uthmān, and all the other disputes that occurred among them (Sahaba).
Do not write it for yourself or for anyone else. Do not narrate it from anyone and do not narrate it to anyone, nor should you hear it from someone who narrates it from someone else. Upon this the noble scholars of this ummah are unanimous - the prohibition of doing what we described earlier – and among those who expressed this are Ḥammād ibn Zayd, Yūnus ibn Ubayd, Sufyān al-Thawrī , Sufyān ibn Uyaynah, Abdullāh ibn Idrīs, Mālik ibn Anas, Ibn Abi Dhīb, Ibn al-Munkadir, Ibn al-Mubārak, Shu'ayb ibn Ḥarb, Abū Isḥāq al -Fazārī, Yusuf ibn Asbāṭ, Ahmad ibn Ḥanbal,Bishr ibn al-Ḥārith, AbdulWahhab al-Warrāq. All of them held the opinion of prohibition of looking into, reading, narrating or listening to what transpired between them (Sahaba) and they cautioned their students from making effort to collect these reports. And those among them who had done this have narrated of them [ the teachers ] many things, with various expressions, all of which prohibit and caution against those who narrate such reports or listen to them. [Ash-Sharḥ wal Ibānah pp.295-296]

There are many narrations pointing to good Muawiyah's deeds and the Prophet's (saw) praise for him.

‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi ‘Umairah al Azdi reported that Nabi (saw) mentioned Muawiyah (ra) and said:
‎اللهم اجعله هاديا مهديا واهد به
O Allah, make him a beacon of guidance, guide him, and guide through him.[1]

This chain of narration is authentic. Imam al Tirmidhi has recorded it and declared it sound. Imam al Bukhari has recorded it in al Tarikh with the following words:
‎اللهم علمه الكتاب والحساب وقه العذاب
O Allah, teach him the Book and counting, and save him from the punishment.[2]

Similar narrations have been reported from ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Hurairah, and ‘Umair ibn Sa’d (ra)m. These narrations have been declared as authentic by a number of scholars. Amongst them, al Ajurri, al Baghawi, al Jawraqani, Ibn ‘Asakir, al Dhahabi.

1. The virtue of Muawiyah (ra) through the following:

a. The Messenger's (saw) dua for him.
b. This narration is a sign of the true prophethood of the Messenger (saw). Through Muawiyah (ra) entire nations accepted Islam.
c. the Messenger (saw) made the best of prayers for him; to be guided and to guide others
d. the Messenger (saw) emphasised guidance through him by repeating it, ‘Make him a beacon of guidance’ and ‘Guide through him’.

2. Question: Why did the Messenger (saw) repeat the Du’a of guidance through him?

Answer: This was due to him first ascending the position of governorship and thereafter taking the reins of the khilafah, and Allah knows best. ‘Umar and ‘Uthman (ra)ma had appointed him over Sham in the presence of many of the Sahabah (ra)m. He subsequently rose to the seat of khilafah when Hassan ibn ‘Ali (ra) handed it to him. He conquered many lands during his reign as recorded in the books of history. Jihad in his time was prevalent and the word of Allah i.e. Islam, supreme. Wealth poured in from all corners of the globe.

3. These authentic and sublime virtues recorded do away with those weak and baseless narrations that seek to discredit him. An example of this is the following (false) narration:
‎إذا رأيتم معاوية على منبري فاقتلوه
If you see Muawiyah on my pulpit, then kill him.

This narration is, without a doubt, false. If there was any truth to it the Companions (ra)m would have hastened to act upon it. They did not fear anyone in carrying out the commands of Allah. If this narration held any sort of weight, Hassan (ra) would not have handed the khilafah over to him. He would have left no stone unturned in killing him, fulfilling the desire of his Grandfather (saw). If for arguments sake this narration proved to be true, then either Hassan (ra) had no knowledge of it – which goes against the belief held that he was infallible- or he had knowledge of it but was scared and not brave enough to kill him – which goes against the belief held that he had supernatural powers and was the bravest of men.

4. The blessings of the supplication of the Messenger (saw) for him had far reaching effects. He sat at the head of the Islamic Empire for twenty years without anybody laying any claim against him. Nor did anyone challenge his khilafah or oppose his rule. This peace lasted till he remained. The monarchs that came after him faced much opposition which resulted in defectors raising their own empires.

5. Another blessing received through this supplication, is the perfection of both qualities imbued in him; generosity and forbearance. Some scholars have written books solely on the incidents that came about due to these two salient qualities of his. Through this he found a place in the hearts of his subordinates who were pleased to serve him.

6. The supplication of the Messenger (saw) translated into him being the most guided of the monarchs in the history of Islam. It is said:
‎لم يكن من ملوك المسلمين ملك خير من معاوية ولا كان الناس في زمان ملك من الملوك خيرا منهم في زمن معاوية إذا نسبت أيامه إلى أيام من بعده

There was not a single king of the Muslims better than Muawiyah (ra) nor were there ever any subjects of a king who were better than the subjects of Muawiyah (ra). This is when you compare his rule to the rule of those after him.

The virtues of Muawiyah in the light of justice and his inner faith and showing it in both deed and action are innumerable.

A man came to Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) and said:
‎هل لك في أمير المؤمنين معاوية إنه أوتر بركعة قال أصاب إنه فقيه

Do you have any reservations regarding Muawiyah? He has read a single unit in the witr prayer. Ibn ‘Abbas replied, “He is correct in his action, he is a jurist in his own right.”

Abu al Darda’ (ra) says:
‎وعن أبي الدرداء قال ما رأيت أحدا أشبه صلاة بصلاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم من إمامكم هذا يعني معاوية
I have not seen anyone performing a salah that resembles the salah of the Messenger (saw) more than your Imam, i.e. Muawiyah.

This is the veneration of two giants amongst the galaxy of the Sahabah in favour of the deep faith and knowledge of Muawiyah (ra). Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) gives testimony to his knowledge and Abu al Darda’ to the perfection of his salah. There are many other narrations that echo similar sentiments.[3]

7. Another blessing he had secured by virtue of the supplication of the Messenger (saw) is him being given glad tidings of Jannat. Umm Haram bint Milhan says she heard the Prophet (saw) saying:
‎أول جيش من أمتي يغزون البحر قد أوجبوا
Paradise is granted to the first batch of my followers who will undertake a naval expedition.[4]

The scholars state; the first person to head a naval expedition was Muawiyah (ra).
Anas ibn Malik (ra) says whilst mentioning the incident of Umm Haram bint Milhan:
‎أول ما ركب المسلمون البحر مع معاوية
Muawiyah was the first from the Muslims to take to the seas.[5]

8. Holding firm to the company of the scholars and serving them can attract innumerable blessings.

9. The desirability of taking prayers from the pious.

10. Question: If Muawiyah (ra) was rightly guided why did he fight against ‘Ali (ra)?

Answer: Firstly, no one is of the opinion that guidance equals infallibility. Secondly, Muawiyah (ra) was an authority in Islamic law. He chose to exercise this authority of his which concluded in the battles that took place between the Muslims. The Qur’an and the Ahadith are clear that one exercising his authority in legal matters will not be held accountable if he falters, provided that person is an authority. Ponder over the following narration of Hassan ibn ‘Ali (ra):
‎ان ابني هذا سيد ولعل الله أن يصلح به بين فئتين من المسلمين
This son of mine is a Sayed and perhaps Allah will reconcile two groups of Muslims through him.[6]

This narration proves that both groups that fought were most definitely Muslims. Neither does being guided nor being entered into Paradise require one to not have committed a mistake.

11. Question: Does this contradict the following supplication made against him as recorded in Sahih Muslim:
‎لاأشبع الله بطنه
May Allah never fill his belly.[7]

Answer: There is no contradiction between the two. The supplication of the Messenger (saw), for or against a Muslim results only in mercy. The following narration of Sahih Muslim attests to this:

Anas ibn Malik (ra) says:
There was an orphan girl with Umm Sulaim (who was the mother of Anas).
Allah’s Messenger (saw) saw that orphan girl and said, “O, it is you; you have grown young. May you not advance in years!”
That slave-girl returned to Umm Sulaim weeping.
Umm Sulaim said, “O daughter, what is the matter with you?”
She said, “Allah’s Apostle (saw) has invoked a curse upon me that I should not grow in age and thus I would never grow in age,” or she said, in my (length) of life.
Umm Sulaim went out wrapping her head-dress hurriedly until she met Allah’s Messenger (saw).
He said to her, “Umm Sulaim, what is the matter with you?”
She said, “Allah’s Apostle, you invoked a curse upon my orphan girl.”
He said, “Umm Sulaim, what is that?”
She said, “She (the orphan girl) states you have cursed her saying that she might not grow in age or grow in life.”
Allah’s Messenger (saw) smiled and then said, “Umm Sulaim, don’t you know that I have made the following pact with my Lord: I am a human being and I am pleased just as a human being is pleased and I become displeased just as a human being becomes displeased, so for any person from amongst my Ummah whom I curse and he in no way deserves it, let that, O Lord, be made a source of purification and purity and nearness to (Allah) on the Day of Resurrection.”[8]

Imam Muslim has cited the narration of Muawiyah (ra) right after the above narration for the same reason.

[1] Musnad Imam Ahmed, Hadith: 17438.
[2] See also, Tarikh Dimashq, 63679. This narration has been declared as authentic by many.
[3] Ibid
[4] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 2766.
[5] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 2646.
[6] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 3536.
[7] Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2604.
[8] Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2603.

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