« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
« that Ali has just been deposed in the name of “ the Arabians; I depose him likewise in the « name of the Syrians; and since the califate is « vacant, I appoint Moavia to it, and I invest him “ with the soveșeign power, as I put this ring “ on my finger.” The Arabians, deceived, protested loudly against this wile, and the two parties separated more enemies than ever.
Whilft Ali's cause was betraying at Saffein, this caliph was employed in calming a fedition near Cufa. The same foldiers, who had refufed to fight against the Alcoran, considered as a crime their master's having left to the judgment of men, what ought, they said, to be decided by God alone. Thirteen thousand of these soldiers took possession of a town in Arabia called Naar-: van, declaring that they would no longer acknowledge Ali for their caliph, unless he dilclaimed the arbitrators that he had left at Saffein. As Ali had given his word, he thought he ought not to retract it; instead of replying to these rebels, he marched against them. On his arrival near Naarvan, he placed the Alcoran on the end of a pike in sight of the town, publishing, that he would pardon all the soldiers who should repair to this enrgn; but that those who should
persist in the rebellion would be put to the sword. · In those times of trouble and fervor, the Alcoran,
as has already been observed, was more respected than the caliphs. Nine thousand of the male
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contents returned to what they considered as the ensign of their faith. Ali having easily entered the town, which was badly fortified, ordered all the remaining rebels to be put to death, without sparing one of them.
It was after this victory, or rather carnage, that Ali learned what had passed at Saffein; he was informed likewise that Egypt had surrendered to Moavia through the negligence and bad administration of its governors, and that Amru, the arbitrator who had attempted to strip him of the califate in order to invest his master in it, had entered peaceably into Egypt, pretending to govern it in the name of Moavia. Arabia was, not more quiet than the other parts of the Mahomețan empire. Moavia sent to ravage several cantons of the Yemen, which forms a part of it. The Mahometans, who always thought themselves fighting for their law, were yet more cruel against their strayed brethren, than against those whom they called Infidels. The shedding of so much blood raised up assassins, who thought to deliver their country by exterminating its oppressors. * Three men, accomplices with several others, took, the one the road to Cufa to assassinate Ali, the second that of Damascus to perform the fame on Moavia, and the third that of Grand Cairo with the like intention on Amru. Moavia received only a wound which was not mortal ; Amru being sick the day on which the assassin
proposed to kill him, another iman,* who said prayers in his stead, received the fatal stroke.
Ali perished by the fatal hand that was armed .. against him; he was assassinated in the mosque.
At first the wound did not appear mortal; but it was soon found that the instrumenť was poisoned. The caliph ordered them to kill his murderer with a single stroke, after he should be dead.
Ali was assassinated in the seventy-third year of his age, and the fortieth of the hegira, having reigned four years and ten months. This caliph had more knowledge, more elevation of mind, and more genius, than any of his predecessors; but he was more unfortunate than all of them. Some person asking himn why the reigns of Abubeker and Omar had been so peaceable, and Othman's and his, on the contrary, so tempestuous : " That is,” said he, “ because Abuç beker and Omar were served by Othman and " me, and we only by such as you.” There is a Centiloquium by Ali: it contains a hundred maxims, full of force and reason, which have been translated from the Arabic into several other oriental languages. This is one of them : He, , who would be rich without posesions, powerful without subjects, and subject without master, has but to serve God, and he shall find these three things. The Persians, and several other Mussulman na
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* Iman, a Mahometan priest.
tions, who still follow the sect of Ali; consider
« succeffor, nor shall I mine." He was no sooner ..dead, than they all turned their eyes on his son
This prince was unanimously proclaimed in Alfaz.), Cufa; but he had neither the force nor ambition necessary to secure the throne which Moavia had shaken. The rebels made new efforts immediately on his beginning his reign, and it became necessary to send troops against them on the confines of Arabia. The peaceable Affan regretted already the blood that was about to be spilt; and whilft he was preaching submission and concord in the mosque at Cuba, Moavia, at the head of a powerful army, was promising the delights of Paradise to those who should vanquish the pretended assassins of Oihman, or should die in arms against them. The warlike Arabians conceived contempt for a prince so sparing of human blood.
Affan foon perceived that they were growing tired of his lenity and efforts for peace. He no fooner learned that a battle had been fought on the frontiers of Arabia, in which neither party had gotten the advantage, and that the hope of an accommodation was more diftant than ever, than he thought only of stripping himself of a dignity so foreign to his nature. Against the consent of all the partisans of the house of Ali, hé sent to defire of Moavia an annuity during his life, and went to pass his days in obfcurity at Medina, practising becoming virtues, and distributing to the wretched all the riches which Moavia had left him in exchange for the califate.
'The implacable Moavia, fole poffeffor of the throne, was still willing to fear the man who had resigned it to him without defending it. The agreement between Affan and him was, that, after Moavia's death, the dignity of caliph should return to the family of Ali. The usurper, as ambitious for his posterity as himself, ardently desired to secure them the califate. The death of Aslan, who as yet had no children, was determined on. His favorite wife engaged to poison him, on the promise of being married to Moavia's son. But he, who had concerted his death, and reaped the advantage of it, despised so much the perpetrator, that he refused to fulfil his engagement,