What are the historical pieces of evidence that we can rely upon to confirm that Mu’awiya killed A’isha, her brother, Abu Bakr, and Saad Ibn Abi-Waqqas?
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
The relationship between A’isha and Mu’awiya (may Allah’s curses be upon them) turned sour before A’isha’s death. The relationship between Mu’awiya and A’isha’s brother, Abdul-Rahman, was similarly strained. The cause being Mu’awiya’s desire to appoint his son, Yazeed (may Allah curse him), as his successor. A decision A’isha and Abdul-Rahman disapproved of, and they mounted opposition against it. This strengthens the possibility that Mu’awiya ordered the execution of them so that he may pass the leadership onto his son without opposition.
Among those who stated that Mu’awiya killed A’isha and others was Al-A’mash (i.e., Sulayman Ibn Mahran), a reliable and trustworthy person according to us and the ‘Sunnis’ alike. Al-Nabati reports the following of him:
When he (Mu’awiya) entered Kufa, he said: ‘I did not kill you to make you perform prayer and fasting because I know you were performing them. Rather, I killed you so that I may rule over you.’ Hearing that, Al-A’mash said: ‘Have you seen a man with less humility than him? He has killed seventy thousand people, including Ammar, Khuzayma, Hijr, Amru Ibn Al-Hamaq, Muhammad Ibn Abi-Bakr, Aws Ibn Sawhan, Ibn Al-Tayyehan, A’isha, and Ibn Hassan, and then he says this?’
Al-Sirat al-Mustaqeem, by Al-Nibati al-Amili, vol. 3, p. 48.
Some might refute the reliability of this narration because Al-A’mash was born the same year in which Abi-Abdillah al-Hussain (peace be upon him) was martyred, meaning that he was not alive during the reign of Mu’awiya’s. However, this objection is baseless because the narrator’s purpose was not to testify as a witness to the incidents but to mention historical facts. In other words, the narrator’s objective was to inform others of Mu’awiya’s acts. As for the question concerning how Mu’awiya carried out the killing:
Al-Nabati narrates that the author of Al-Masalit said of Mu’awiya:
He was sitting on the pulpit and commanding people to pay allegiance to Yazeed. A’isha said: ‘Did the two Sheikhs (Abu Bakr and Umar) call for the pledge of allegiance for their sons?’ He said: ‘No.’ She said: ‘Then who do you follow (as your example)?’ Then he became embarrassed, so he prepared a hole for her in which she fell and died.
According to the narration of Ibn Abu’l-‘Aass, he said:
Which spot do you wish to be buried in?’ She said: ‘I had decided to be buried next to the Messenger of Allah; however, I innovated things after him, so bury me in Al-Baqee.’ “ It is also reported that Mu’awiya used to threaten people to pledge their allegiance to Yazeed. This news reached A’isha, so she went to see him after her two uncles while riding a donkey, which urinated and laid its faeces on his carpet. Then he said: ‘I can not stand the words of this obscene woman!’ Then he arranged for her end. Abdullah Ibn Zubayr used to mock him with the following words: ‘The donkey went with the mother of Amru. She did not return, nor did the donkey.
Ibid, vol. 3, page 45
Her death came in the 58th year of the noble Hijrah. Sheikh Al-Nemazi says:
In year 58, Mu’awiya toppled A’isha into the well.
Mustadrak Safinat Al-Bihar, vol. 5, p. 214.
As for her brother, Abdul-Rahman, his death was due to unknown circumstances in a place called ‘Al-Habashi’. His death took place after he left Medina for Makkah in response to Marwan Ibn Al-Hakam, who called him to pledge allegiance to Yazeed. Mu’awiya likely sent someone to kill him and bury him alive. The first one who doubted that he died a natural death was his sister A’isha. Al-Hakem and Ibn Asakir both narrated that she saw a woman go into prostration and then die. She said:
In this woman, I see an example of Abdul-Rahman Ibn Abi-Bakr; he rested in one of his resting places, and when they went to wake him up, they found him dead.’ Then A’isha suspected that it was done out of spite, and that it was done quickly (to finish him off), and that he was buried alive. She saw that he was a lesson for her. Then, whatever suspicions she had gone away.
Mustadrak al-Hakem, vol. 3, p. 476, and Tareekh Dimashq, by Ibn Asakir, vol. 35, p. 37.
However, even though A’isha was no longer doubtful – according to the narration – we still have reasons for doubt because history has shown what Mu’awiya is capable of for the sake of achieving his goals. He was a devious tyrant who excelled at illuminating his opponents.
As for Saad Ibn Abi-Waqqas, the ‘Sunni’ sources state that Mu’awiya poisoned him like he did Imam Hassan (peace be upon him). Among these narrations is the following, narrated by Al-Maqdisi on the authority of Shu’ba, who said:
Saad and Hassan Ibn Ali, died on one (and the same) day.’ He said: ‘It is reported that Mu’awiya poisoned them.
Al-Bid’ wal-Tareekh, by Al-Maqdasi, p. 153.
Abul-Faraj Al-Esfahani narrates the following:
Mu’awiya poisoned him (i.e., Imam Hassan) when he wanted Yazeed to be the successor after him, and he poisoned Saad Ibn Abi-Waqqas as well. They both died on days close to each other.
Maqatil-ul-Talibyeen, vol. 5, p. 31.
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