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The Rise of Shi’i

The History is So Important

Abu Bakr, a supposed supporter of the Prophet, remained caliph from 632 to 634, at which point Umar took the reins. Again, it is critical to note here that Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ was not consulted regarding this appointment. Umar then died in 644, but not before he had convened a council to decide on his successor. At this point, Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and Uthman were members of the council, and due to lack of support for Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ among the others, Uthman was selected. In 656, Uthman was charged with nepotism and corruption and eventually he was attacked and killed. People from the various clans then appealed to Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ to accept the post of caliph, which he did, and Kufa was where he held court.

Interestingly enough, the actual term “Shia” first appeared in reference to the support of Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ during the wars he subsequently fought as caliph against the supporters of the murdered Uthman. Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ immediately faced opposition from Uthman’s Umayyad clan, who sought revenge for his murder. Uthman’s cousin Muawiya, the governor of Syria, refused to pledge his allegiance to Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. Back in Mecca, the Prophet’s ﷺ wife Aisha also spoke out against Ali. She and several others traveled to Iraq to incite Basra and Kufa against him.

After numerous battles, meetings, and negotiations with Muawiya and others, this became the forthcoming of Ali’s عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ assassination in 661 CE. He died two (2) days later.

Muawiya was then recognized as caliph, commencing the period of the Umayyad Dynasty (661-750). He immediately advanced towards Kufa, and any support for Ali’s عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ son Imam al-Hasan عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ quickly faded, and many supporters of Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ defected to the Umayyads, while others withdrew completely.

Imam al-Hasan عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ , the son of Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, never pressed his claim for the caliphate, and withdrew to Medina, where he eventually died in 669.