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Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - Deposition of Provincial Governors

Abdullah b Abbas

Abdullah b Abbas, a cousin of Ali came to see him from Makkah. Ibn Abbas was very emphatic in his counsel that Ali should not take the hasty steps of deposing the Governors. He said that with the assassination of Othman the prestige of the central government had fallen low, and it was necessary that its prestige should be re-established before any attempt was made to remove the Governors. Ibn Abbas observed that in principle Ali was right that he should have Governors who enjoyed his confidence, but in view of the unsettled conditions when the people in the provinces, particularly Syria, had yet to take the oath of allegiance to him. The proper course was that the orders for the deposition of the Governors should be held up till the people in all the provinces had taken the oath of allegiance to him. He said that Muawiyah was strongly entrenched in power in Syria, and it any orders for his deposition were passed he would defy them. Ali said that he wanted him Ibn Abbas to be appointed as the Governor of Syria. Ibn Abbas said that he could not accept the appointment, for Muawiyah would not allow him to take charge. The difficulty in this respect, was that, while Muawiyah had a force at his disposal, the central government had no force at its disposal at that stage to take the field if any provincial governor chose to defy the orders of the Caliph. Ali observed that Mughira had originally offered advice against the deposition of the Governors but on reconsideration he had favored the proposal for the deposition of the governors. Ibn Abbas said that the advice that he had offered in the first instance was based on sincerity, and he withdrew his advice because of some ulterior motives.

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