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Arbitration (Battle of Siffin)

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Al-Taḥkim (Arabic: التَحکیم) or The Arbitration is a historical event concerning the Battle of Siffin. In this event, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari was elected as the representative of the army of Kufa [army of Imam Ali (a)] and Amr b. al-As as that of the army of Syria [army of Mu'awiya], and they decided to judge according to the Qur'an. The arbitration was proposed as a solution for disputes between the two parties after the cunning of Amr b. al-As and Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan to prevent the imminent defeat of the army of Syria. Imam Ali (a) resisted the suggestion of arbitration from the beginning. Amr b. al-As, the arbitrator of Syria, managed to deceive Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, the arbitrator of Kufa, by announcing Mu'awiyya as the caliph although they had agreed on a different verdict, the arbitration failed to solve the dispute, and it only managed to save the army of Syria from its imminent defeat.



In 37/657, the Battle of Siffin broke out between the army of Kufa under the commandership of Imam Ali (a) and that of Syria under the commandership of Mu'awiya. After successive days of heavy fight, the army of Kufa was about to defeat that of Syria. At the suggestion of Amr b. al-As and Mu'awiya's proposal,[1] people of Syria put copies of the Qur'an on spears and chanted the slogan: "O people of Iraq! Let the Book of God be our arbiter!" Also, the army of Syria yelled: "O Arabs! Think about your wives and daughters! If you get killed, who is going to fight the Romans, the Turks, and the Persians in the future?!"[2]

Riot in Imam Ali's (a) Army

There was a division within the army of Imam 'Ali (a). Some of them said that the enemy has accepted the arbitration of the Qur'an and so we have no right to fight them. The Imam (a) opposed their views and told them that this was just a deception. However, under the pressures