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Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - Arbitration Agreement

Significance of the display of the leaves of the Holy Quran

Ali because of the treachery of his own men was no longer the master of his own will, and he had to act in accordance with the dictates of the rebels. These rebels forced Ali to depute the rebel General Ashas b Qais to inquire from Muawiyah as to what was the significance of the display of the leaves of the Holy Quran on their lances. Muawiyah said, "The significance of this display of the leaves of the Holy Quran on our lances is that we appeal from the decision of arms to the decision of the law of God. Let both sides retire from the battlefield, and refer the case to the arbitration of two umpires, one umpire to be nominated by each side. The two umpires should decide according to the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet as to whom the sovereignty should go. The decision of the umpires should be binding on all". To this proposal Ashas gave his consent without consulting Ali. Ali was wroth at the acceptance of the proposal on his behalf. Ali maintained that the issue of sovereignty was not in dispute. He was the duly elected Caliph, and his right to the caliphate could not be adjudicated upon by the arbitrators. The rebels did not accept the contention of Ali. Ali in a state of utter helplessness said, "If you are not going to listen to me, then do whatever you like."

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