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Shi'a view of Muawiyah I

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The Shi'a vilify Muāwiyya. His supposed conversion to Islam before the conquest of Mecca is dismissed as a fable, or mere hypocrisy. He is said to have opposed Alī, the rightful Caliph, out of sheer greed for power and wealth. According to Shi'a Muslim belief, his reign opened the door to unparalleled disaster, marked by persecution of Alī and his followers, resulting in Yazid I coming into power, shortly followed by the Battle of Karbala.


Shi'a believe there exists no sahih narration in where Muhammad praises Muˤāwiyya as a sign of Muˤāwiyyas lack of good qualities, and in fact, Shi'a quote Sunni hadith where Muhammad is supposed to have cursed Muawiyah and prophesied Muawiya not being resurrected with Muhammad on the resurrection day:

  • According to the Shi'a, Muawiya's mother, Hind bint Utbah, was promiscuous; he was not the son of his supposed father, Abu Sufyan [5]. Hind was an inveterate enemy of Muhammad and the Muslims; she is said to have eaten the liver of Muhammad's uncle Hamza after the Battle of Uhud [1].
  • Muawiya converted to Islam only when it was politically convenient, say the Shi'a, and his "conversion" was superficial only [1].
  • He is said to have opposed Ali, the rightful Caliph, out of sheer greed for power and wealth [1]. His reign was worldly and irreligious. He not only opposed Ali, but persecuted his followers. During his reign, Muslims attending prayers in the mosque were required to curse Ali as part of the service [2].
  • Muawiya is said to have promised Ali's son, Hasan ibn Ali, the caliphate after he, Muawiya, died; Hasan ibn Ali is said to have merely asked that a shura be held. Muawiya, the Shi'a say, reneged on any promises or treaties he made with Hasan by making his son, Yazid I, his heir [2].. Yazid is also hated for his actions towards the house of Ali, in particular sending forced against Ali's other son, Husayn ibn Ali, at the Battle of Karbala.
  • Muawiya is said to have killed many of Muhammad's companions (Sahaba), either in battle or by poison, due to his lust for power [3]. Hasan ibn Ali himself was said to have been poisoned [4].


Shi'a claim several Sunni sources state that Muˤāwiyya was conceived in a form of polyandry called Nikah Ijtimah [5].

The sources list four people thought of being his father:

  1. Abu-ibn-Umar ibn Musaafir (or Musaafir Abu Umar)
  2. Umar ibn Walid
  3. Abu Sufyan.
  4. Sabah the Ethiopian or an unknown fourth.

Some list Abu Sufyan as one of the four, other do not. In any case, he accepted him as his father. For this reason, Shi'a name him "Muˤāwiyya ibn Hind", after his mother whom they regard as the prostitute that killed her black children, became married to Muhammads arch enemy and chewed Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalibs liver.[6]


Shi'a scholars write:

In his Al-Fawa'id al-­Majmu'a Fil­ Ahadith al-Mawdu'a, Ashawkani, who proves falsity and unauthenticity of the entire (hadiths) regarding praising or mentioning Muawiya's credits, says:
"Having reckoned hadiths appertained to Muawiya's virtues with the forged ones, Ibn al-Jawzi excused that Isaaq ibn ­Rahawayih, al-­Bukhari's most authentic narrator, confessed of the fact that none of the hadiths respecting Muawiya's virtues had been authentic at all."
al-Nasa'i had that famous story pertaining Muawiya's virtues. al-­Darqutni relates:
al-­Nisa']'s companions asked him about Muawiya's preference. He answered: “How come is it not sufficient for him to be equated with any, that he seeks preference?” For this reason, he was pushed out of the mosque. (Mahmud Abu-Raya's Sheikhul-Madhira, pages 183.) [7]

Transcriber of Qur'an

Shi'a also reject that he had the role of transcribing Qur'anic texts during Muhammads era, and quote Sunnis scholars they say discredit this claim [8], and further quote Sunni sources where, they argue, Muhamamd cursed Muawiyas stomach and relatives [5].


Shi'a point out that Muˤāwiyya was the only Sahaba Caliph that was not regarded as "righteously guided" by the Sunnis. They also quote the Sunni scholar Maududi who wrote while citin Al Bidayah wa-Nihayah by Ibn Kathir:

Kingship's foundation began with this change. Muˤāwiyya (ra) was not appointed with the consensus of the Muslims at large as was the case with his predecessors, if the Muslims were not happy with them they would have not taken the positions, despite this Muˤāwiyya wanted to be the Khalīfa, he fought for this position, the Muslims were not pleased with his appointment. The people did not appoint him, he became by force and when he became Khalīfa, people had no other choice but to give him bayˤa. If the people did not give him bayˤa, they would not only lose their positions / ranks but also would have also lost their lives and would have been catastrophic for the system, people would rather give bayˤa than confront this consequence. That is why after Imam Hasan (ra) stepped down the other Sahaba joined him so as to avoid the risk of civil War amongst Muslims. Muˤāwiyya was well aware of this strategy. [9]

Killed Sahabas

Among the people the Shi'a list as being killed or assassinated by Muˤāwiyya are:



He is also accused of killing the children of Ubaidullah.

[...] Then he [i.e. Mu'awiyah] was informed that Ubaidullah had two infant sons. So he set out to reach them, and when he found them - they had two (tender) forelocks like pearls - [and] he ordered to kill them.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Restatement of History of Islam and Muslims
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chapter 20: Fulfilling The Stipulations
  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. 5.0 5.1 :: Mu'awiya
  6. Sources quoted:
  7. [4][dead link]
  8. :: Mu'awiya
  9. (citing Al Bidayah wa-Nihayah by Ibn Kathir, vol 8, page 132]) Khilafat wa Mulukiyyat, chapter 5, pages 158-159
  10. 21:6 Secrets of Mu'awiyah from Al-Amali: The Dictations of Sheikh al-Mufid

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