The Caliphate of Muawiya

Peace, one and all…


Here are the next set of slides on early Islamic history.  Specifically, this set of slides offer an overview of the caliphate of Muawiya.

Enjoy and may the Beloved make them useful.

Ma’as salama,
Abdur Rahman


7 thoughts on “The Caliphate of Muawiya

  1. ASalamu’alikum

    First, may Allah reward you for this great work regarding Muslim history. Allow me to point out something which I am not comfortable with in reference to your presentation of Muawiya’s powerbase in page 13. You stated that “Muawiya was renowned for his “Hilm” and you also gave several possible meanings to the arabic word “Hilm” such as “forbearence; tact; skill’ now my reservation here is regarding the use of the word “Hilm” in favor of Muawiya because “Hilm” or “Hulm” is one of the attribute of Allah for Allah is Alhaleem. So “Hulm” or “Hilm” has a positive connotation to it. And it is a positive attribute which is reflected from the knowledge of the Truth and sublime values within one’s self. When Imam Ali was asked about Mu’awiya’s political skills his reply was “had it not been for the fearing of Allah “ta’qwa Allah” I would have been the most skillful-adha- of the Arabs” here Imam Ali had used the Arabic term “adha” which is derived from daha’ which means cleverness and the person has clever skills would be called “dahiya” this follows that to be “dahiya” or skillful, artful, devious or clever in acts is reflected from the lower side of man’s self. It is reflected from the absence of “ta’qwa Allah” or God fearing as Imam Ali’s statement implied. So to be forbearing is as a result of faith and belief in the universal values of man. But Mu’wiya’s skills and cleverness were only to serve his personal political ambitions and not to please God as was the case with Imam Ali’s. So to say Mu’awiya was skillful, clever, devious politician is more less appropriate. But to say that he has “hilm” is truly far fetched and it would indirectly render Imam Ali as someone without “hilm” or forbearance for Imam Ali was the legitimate elected Muslim leader and Muawiya was a rebllious one. Having said this I truly apologize for expressing this opinion and I hope it would not be seen as a hostile disagreement with your sincere efforts to summarise Muslim history to us.
    May Allah Bless

  2. Salaams Katib,

    Thank you for your comments. Allah bless you always.

    One of the reasons I am so deeply fascinated by Islam is because it is both a religion, and for me, a field of study.

    My aim here is merely to represent Mu`awiya’s image, as it was perceived by others at the time (though not, as you rightly say, all others). Hilm, as a quality, does seem to have been attributed to Mu`awiya by some, and thus I felt it was important to put this across (however badly) to my students.

    This does not, however, mean that I am necessarily making informed religious claims, at this point. My task here, as I saw it, was simply information. I leave my students to draw their own conclusions, based on their reading, experience and thought.

    Overall though, I do realise that this is a difficult issue in the ongoing discussion between Sunni and Shi`i Muslims. Indeed, this is what makes it so interesting.

    Ma’as salama,

    Abdur Rahman

  3. Wa’alaikumAssalam Professor Abdur Rahman

    Thank you for your true intellectual response to my concern.

    – “I do realize that this is a difficult issue in the ongoing discussion between Sunni and Shi`i Muslims.”

    This is so true among Muslims today but unfortunately Ali’s philosophy and vision has been Shi’atized or hijaked by Sh’ia Muslims where Ali is belong to all Muslims. And it is unfair to include Mu’awiya in the Suni faith and to include Ali in the Shi’a faith.

    – “Hilm, as a quality, does seem to have been attributed to Mu`awiya by some, and thus I felt it was important to put this across (however badly) to my students.”

    This is a true academic spirit. And frankly speaking, I did not think that you were expressing your own belief of this notion about Mu’awiya, based on your free spirited writings in your blog. But I wanted to raise it with you for the same academic reasons. And I truly believe that those who allow them selves to sanction such good attribute-Hilm, to Mu’awiya are indeed subconsciously contributing to the current miserable Muslim situation in the world.

    May God bless you in your academic efforts to present the best of our Muslim knowledge.

    Wa Minnassaalm


  4. Salaams Katib

    Thank you for your compliment. I’m not a professor, though maybe if you check back in 15 or 20 years, then who knows? Allah knows best. 🙂

    I agree with your central point. The meanings of ‘sunni’ and ‘shi`a’ in the contemporary world are very different from their meaning at this very early period.

    Furthermore, these labels tend to obscure the diversity of opinions contained within them. Shi’a and Sunni are not, as this idea might suggest, self-contained spheres – rather, they are part of a broader spectrum.

    One thing that does interest me though is the phrase within some Sufi/Sunni groups to use the phrase ‘may Allah ennoble his countenance’ when referring to Ali, rather than the more commonly employed ‘may God be pleased with him’. This difference in epithet could suggest many things.

    Ma’as salama,
    Abdur Rahman

  5. Salaams,

    Is it really possible that “Hazrat Muhammad left no unequivocal instructions regarding leadership of the Muslim community after his death” ?
    Could a personality of the stature & calibre of the Holy Prophet, appointed by Allah as the last of the prophets, make such an obivious blunder?
    As per Islam, it is highly recommended that a person should make & clarify his will – and the Prophet left no unequivocal instructions on the leadership to follow him??
    Am i missing something here?

    Mohd Reza Writer

  6. Salams Mohoammed Reza

    Welcome to my online home. Thank you for your comments and may Allah bless you always. I think the point I was trying to make in the lecture itself (which may not come across very well here) is that this is how it is understood by some Muslims. The slides refer to earlier material, and although I taught this course almmost 4 years ago now, the central point I aimed to get across was the diversity of opinion.

    Ma’as salama

    Abdur Rahman

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