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missed to her proper station at the tomb of Mahomet, with the respect and tenderness that was still due to the widow of the apostle.* After this victory, which was styled the Dav of the Camel, Ali marched against a more formidable adversary; against Moawiyah, the son of Abu Sophian, who had assumed the title of caliph, and whose claim was supported t>y the forces of Syria and the interest of the house of Ommiyah. From th<; passage of Thapsacus, the plain of Siffin"* extends along the western bank of the Euphrates. On this spacious and level theatre, the two competitors waged a desultory war of one hundred and ten days. In the course of ninety actions or skirmishes, the loss of Ali was estimated at twenty-five, that of Moawiyah at forty-five, thousand soldiers; and the list of the slain was dignified with the names of fiveand-twenty veterans who had fought at Beder under the standard of Mahomet. In this sanguinary contest the lawful caliph displayed a superior character of valor and humanity.f Mis troops were strictly enjoined to await the first onset of the enemy, to spare their flying brethren, and to respect the bodies of the dead, and the chastity of the female captives. He generously proposed to save the blood of the Moslems by a single combat; but his trembling rival declined the challenge as a sentence of inevitable death. The ranks of the Syrians were broken by the charge of a hero who was mounted on a piebald horse, and wielded with irresistible force his ponderous and two-edged sword. As often as he smote a
174 The plain of Siffin is determined by D'Anville (l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 29) to be the Campus Barbaricus of Procopius.
* She was escorted by a guard of females disguised as soldiers. Whe ■ae discovered this, Ayesha was as much gratified by the delicacy of the ar rangement, as she had been offended by the familiar approach of so man} iren. Price, p. 229.—M.
t The Shiite authors have preserved a noble instance of Ali s magna nimity. The superior generalship of Moawiyah had cut off" the army of Ali from the Euphrates; his soldiers were perishing from want of water. Ali sent a message to his rival to request free access to the river, declaring ilia! under the same circumstances he would not allow any of the faithful, '.hough his adversaries, to perish from thirst. After some debate, Moawi yah determined to avail himself of the advantage of his situation, and to reject the demand of Ali. The soldiers of Ali became desperate; forced their way through that part of the hostile army which commanded the river , and in their turn entirely cut off the troops of Moawiyah from the •vater. Moawiyah was reduced to make the same supplication to Ali. The ^enerius caliph instantly complied and both armies, with their cattle en iived free and unmolested access to the river. Price, vol. i. p. 268. 871 -14.
rebel, lie shouted the Allah Acbar, " God is victorious!" and in the tumult of a nocturnal battle, he was heard to repeal four hundred times that tremendous exclamation. Ihe prince of Damascus already meditated his flight; but the certain victory was snatched from the grasp of Ali by the disobedience and enthusiasm of his troops. Their conscience was wed by the solemn appeal to the books of the Koran whicn Moawiyah exposed on the foremost lances; and Ali was compelled to yield to a disgraceful truce and an insidious compromise. He retreated with sorrow and indignation to Cufa; hta party was discouraged; the distant provinces of Persia, of YenobS, and of Egypt, were subdued or seduced by his crafty rival; and the stroke of fanaticism, which was aimed against the three chiefs of the nation, was fatal only to the cousin of Mahomet. In the temple of Mecca, three Charegites or enthusiasts discoursed of the disorders of the church and state: they soon agreed, that the deaths of Ali, of Moawiyah, and of his friend Amrou, the viceroy of Egypt, would restore the peace and unity of religion. Each of the assassins chose his victim, poisoned his dagger, devoted his life, and secretly repaired to the scene of action. Their resolution was equally desperate: but the first mistook the person of Amrou, and stabbed the deputy who occupied his seat; the prince of Damascus was dangerously hurt by the second; the lawful caliph, in the mosch of Cufa, received a mortal wound from the hand of the third. He expired in the sixty-third year of his age, and mercifully recommended to his children, that they would despatch the murderer by a single stroke.* The sepulchre of Ali1'6 was concealed from the tyrants of the house of Ommiyah ; "* but in the fourth age of the Hegira, a tomb, a temple,
176 Abulfeda, a moderate Sonnite, relates the different opinions con cerning the burial of Ali, but adopts the sepulchre of Cu fa, hodie fama numeroque religiose frequentantiuracelebratum. This number is reckoned by Niebuhr to amount annually to '2000 of the dead, and 5000 of the living, (torn. ii. p. 208, 209.)
176 All the tyrants of Persia, from Adhad el Dowlat (A. D. 971 D'Herbelot, p. 58, 59, 95) to Nadir Shah, (A. D. 1743, Hist, de Nadir Shah,, torn. ii. p. 155,) have enriched the tomb of Ali with the spoils of the people. The dome is copper, with a bright and massy gilding, which glitters to the sun at the distance of many a mile.
* His son Hassan was recognized as caliph in Arabia and Irak; but vul antarily abdicated the throne, after six or seven months, in favor of Mo* Wijth St. Martin, vo" xi, p 375.—M
a city, arose near the ruins of Cufa.'"" Mat y thousands of the Shiites repose in holy ground at the feet of the vicar of God and the desert is vivified by the numerous and annual visits of the Persians, who esteem their devotion not less meritorious than the pilgrimage of Mecca.
The persecutors of Mahomet usurped the inheritance of his children; and the champions of idolatry became the supreme heads of his religion and empire. The opposition of Abu Sophian had been fierce and obstinate; his conversion was tardy and reluctant; his new faith was fortified by necessity and interest; he served, he fought, perhaps he believed; and the sins of the time of ignorance were expiated by the recent merits of the family of Ommiyah. Moawiyah, the son of Abu Sophian, and of the cruel Henda, was dignified, in his early youth, with the office or title of secretary of the prophet: the judgment of Omar intrusted him with the government of Syria; and he administered that important province above forty years, either in a subordinate or supreme rank. Without renouncing the fame of valor and liberality, he affected the reputation of humanity and moderation: a grateful people was attached to their benefactor; and the victorious Moslems were enriched with the spoils of Cyprus and Rhodes. The sacred duty of pursuing the assassins of Othman was the engine and pretence of his ambition. The bloody shirt of the martyr was exposed in the mosch of Damascus: the emir deplored the fate of his injured kinsman; and sixty thousand Syrians were engaged in his service by an oath of fidelity and revenge. Amrou, the conqueror of Egypt, himself an army, was the first who saluted the new monarch, and divulged the dangerous secret, that the Arabian caliphs might be created elsewhere than in the city of th« prophet."" The policy of Moawiyah eluded the valor of his rival; and. after the death of Ali, he negotiated the abdi cation of his son Hassan, whose mind was either above 01 below the government of the world, and who retired without a sigh from the palace of Cufa to an humble cell near the
'" The city of Meshed Ali, five or six miles from the rains of Cufa. And one hundred at d twenty to the south of Bagdad, is of the size and form of the modem Jerusalem. Meshed Hosein, larger and more populous, is at the distance of thirty miles.
,T8 I borrow, on this occasion, the strong sense and expression ot Tacitu?, (Hist. i. 4 :) Evulgato imperii arcano posse imperatorem »La OUam Romze fieri.
tomli of his grandfather. The aspiring wishes of the caliph were finally crowned by the important change of an elective to an hereditary kingdom. Some murmurs of freedom or fanaticism attested the reluctance of the Arabs, and four citizens of Medina refused the oath of fidelity; but the design? of Moawiyah were conducted with vigor and address; and his son Yezid, a feeble and dissolute youth, was proclaimed aa the commander of the faithful and the successor 01 the apostle of God.
A familiar story is related of the benevolence of one of the Bons of Ali. In serving at table, a slave had inadvertently dropped a dish of scalding broth on his master: the heedless wretch fell prostrate, to deprecate his punishment, and repeated a verse of the Koran: "Paradise is for those who command their anger:"—"I am not angry:"—"and for those who pardon offences :"—" I pardon your offence:"— "and for those who return good for evil:"—"I give you your liberty and four hundred pieces of silver." With an equal measure of piety, Hosein, the younger brother of Haslan, inherited a remnant of his father's spirit, and served with honor against the Christians in the siege of Constantinople. The primogeniture of the line of Hashem, and the holy character of grandsou of the apostle, had centred in his person, and he was at liberty to prosecute his claim against Yezid, the tyrant of Damascus, whose vices he despised, and whose title he had never deigned to acknowledge. A list was secretly transmitted from Cufa to Medina, of one hundred and forty thousand Moslems, who professed their attachment to his cause, and who were eager to draw their swords so soon as he should appear on the banks of the Euphrates. Against the advice of his wisest friends, he resolved to trust his person and family in the hands of a perfidious people. He traversed the desert of Arabia with a timorous retinue of women and children; but as he approached the confines of Irak he was alarmed by the solitary or hostile face of the country, and suspected either the defection or ruin of his party. His fears were just: Obeidollah, the governor of Cufa, had extinguished the first sparks of an insurrection; and Hosein, in the plain of Kerbela, was encompassed by a boly of five thousand horse, who intercepted his communication with the city and the river. He might still have escaped to a fortress in the desert, that had defied the power of Caesar md Chosroe*, and confided in the fidelity of the tribe of Tai, which would have, armed ten thousand warriors in his uofence. In a conference with the chief of the enemy, he pro posed the option of three honorable conditions: that he should be allowed to return to Medina, or be stationed in a frontier garrison against the Turks, or safely conducted to the presence of Yezid. But the commands of the caliph, or his lieutenant, were stern and absolute; and Hosein was informed that he must either submit as a captive and a criminal to the commander of the faithful, or expect the consequences of his rebellion. "Do you think," replied he, "to terrify me with death f And, during the short respite of a night,* he prepared with calm and solemn resignation to encounter his fate. He checked the lamentations of his sister Fatima, who deplored the impending ruin of his house. "Our trust," said Hosein, "is in God alone. All things, both in heaven and earth, must perish and return to their Creator. My brother, my father, my mother, were better than me. and every Mussulman has an example in the prophet." He pressed his friends to consult their safety by a timely flight: they unanimously refused to desert or survive their beloved master: and their courage was fortified by a fervent prayer and the assurance of paradise. On the morning of the fatal day, he mounted on horseback, with his sword in one hand and the Koran in the other: his generous band of martyrs consisted Dnly of thirty-two horse and forty foot; but their flanks and rear were secured by the tent-ropes, and by a deep trench which they had filled with lighted fagots, according to the practice of the Arabs. The enemy advanced with reluctance, and one of their chiefs deserted, with thirty followers, to claim the partnership of inevitable death. In every close onset, or single combat, the despair of the Fatimites was invincible; but the surrounding multitudes galled them from a distance with a cloud of arrows, and the horses and men were successively slain; a truce was allowed on both sides for the hour of prayer; and the battle at length expired by (he death of the last companions of Hosein. Alone, weary, and wounded, he seated himself at the door of his tent. As he tasted a drop of water, he was pierced in the mouth with a dart; and his son and nephew, two beautiful youths, were killed in his arms. He lifted his hands to heaven; they were