apply pure justice as in the time of the Caliphs Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and he set up the Islamic Caliphate on that basis. Those who opposed him and objected to him said that it was impossible because of the great difficulties, and judged according to the Law that they should proceed with relative justice. The other historical reasons are not true reasons, they are pretexts.
I f y o u a s k : What was the reason for Imam ‘Ali’s lack of success in regard to the Islamic Caliphate relatively to his predecessors, despite his extraordinary capabilities, unusual intelligence, and great deservedness?
T h e A n s w e r : That blessed person was deserving of weighty duties other than politics and rule. If he had been completely successful in politics and government, he would have been unable to acquire fully the meaningful title of King of Sainthood. Whereas he won a spiritual rule far surpassing the external, political Caliphate, and became a Universal Master; in fact, his spiritual rule will continue even until the end of the world.
As for his war with Mu‘awiya at Siffin, it was a war over the Caliphate and rule. That is to say, Imam ‘Ali gave priority to the injunctions of religion, the truths of Islam, and the hereafter, and sacrificed some of the laws of government and pitiless demands of politics. Whereas Mu‘awiya and his supporters, in order to strengthen Islamic society with their governmental policies, left aside resoluteness and favoured permissiveness; they supposed they were obliged to in the political realm; choosing permissiveness, they fell into error.
As for Hasan and Husain’s struggle against the Umayyads, it was a war between religion and nationalism. That is, the Umayyads founded the Islamic state on Arab nationalism and put the bonds of nationalism before those of Islam, causing harm in two respects:
The First Respect: They offended the other nations and frightened them off.
The Other: The principles of racialism and nationalism are not based on justice and right, so are unjust and wrongful. They do not proceed on justice. For a ruler of racialist leanings gives preference to people of the same race and cannot act justly. According to the clear decree of, “Islam abrogated the tribalism of Ignorance. There is no difference between an Abyssinian slave and a leader of the Quraish, once they have accepted Islam,”1 the bonds of nationalism may not be set up in place of the bonds of religion. If they are, there will be no justice; right will disappear.
See, Bukhari, Ahkam, 4; ‘Imara, 36, 37; Abu Da’ud, Sunna, 5; Tirmidhi, Jihad, 28; ‘Ilm, 16; Nasa’i, Bay’a, 26; Ibn Maja, Jihad, 39; Musnad, iv, 69, 70, 199, 204, 205; v, 381; vi, 402, 403.