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Published on 23rd June, 2002.

Bani Umayyah's Righteous Caliph

By Hj S. Abidin

Ya Ali Madad. Photo provided by Ali Jan Syed, Credit to

Umar bin Abdul Aziz and Bani Umayyah

Umar bin Abdul Aziz was from the tribe of Bani Umayyah. He lived during the same period as our Holy Imam Mohammad al-Baqir ('a) and at the age of 39 years, he left this world on the 25th Rajab, 101AH.

Bani Umayyah despotically ruled through the usurped caliphate for 90 years from the time of Mu'awiya ibn Abu Sufyan, son of Hind the liver eater and father of Yazid murderer of Imam Hussayn ('a), until the time when Bani Abbas fought for the rulership to become even more crueller than their predecessors, marking the Abbasid period.

Bani Umayyah were very renowned for their cursing of Imam Ali ('a) from the pulpits and the cruel annihilation of the descendants of Imam Ali ('a). Each of the successive evil caliphs tried to be even more sadistic and more cruel than their predecessors. 


The Cursing of Imam Ali ('a) Stopped

Umar bin Abdul Aziz was the only righteous religious man from Bani Umayyah to achieve the Caliphate. He succeeded Sulayman bin Abdul Malik in the year 99AH with his caliphate lasting 2 years and 5 months. He is well known for the cessation of the cursing of Imam Ali ('a) from the pulpits and returning Fadak to the descendants of Lady Fatimah ('a).

The story of why bin Abdul Aziz stopped the cursing of Imam Ali ('a) was because he took lessons in the Holy Qur'an from Ubaydullah bin Abd bin Mas'ud who once heard him and the other children cursing Imam Ali ('a) in the playground. His teacher became displeased with him and inside the masjid his teacher is quoted as having said:

"From where have you come to know that Ali is disfavoured by Allah? Are those who fought the Battle of Badr and took the oath of Rizwan disfavoured by Allah? The glory of Badr was for none except Ali."

Umar bin Abdul Aziz replied:

"I shall not curse Ali in the future." [Mughniyyah, 1985, p129]

His father, after having been questioned by his son as to why he stammered during his Friday speech when he came to curse Imam Ali ('a) stated that "if the Syrians and others come to know about the virtues of Ali they will not obey us and will walk over towards the descendants of Ali." [Mughniyyah, 1985, p129]

After this time, bin Abdul Aziz made a promise to Almighty Allah that in the case that he would attain the caliphate that he would stop the cursing of Imam Ali ('a). He kept his promise and prohibited the people from cursing Imam Ali ('a.).


Fadak Returned to Imam Mohammad al-Baqir ('a)

During his period of caliphate, bin Abdul Aziz returned the garden of Fadak to Imam Mohammad al-Baqir ('a). After some criticism of his decision by the Quraish and some Syrians, bin Abdul Aziz stated that:

"The claim of Lady Fatimah ('a) was reasonable and the garden was in her possession. Being the chief of the women of Paradise she could not impute anything false to the Holy Prophet Mohammad regarding the gift bestowed by him. By this act I seek proximity to Allah and His Prophet and hope for intercession by Lady Fatimah, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussayn. If I had been in the place of Abu Bakr I would have accepted the word of Lady Fatimah and would not have ascribed falsehood to her" (Safinatul Bihar, vol. II, p.272 cited in Mughniyyah, 1985, p131).


Superiority of Imam Ali ('a) Amongst All Muslims

There was an occasion when a dispute arose amongst the people regarding the issue of the superiority of Imam Ali ('a) amongst all Muslims, where a woman, her husband and her father approached the caliph for his judgement.

The woman's father stated that the husband of his daughter had vowed that if Imam Ali ('a.) be not the most superior among the Muslims and the nearest kinsmen of the Holy Prophet ('s) his wife stands divorced. The father said that as Imam Ali is not the most superior among the Muslims his daughter has been divorced and her husband had no right to approach her. [Mughniyyah, 1985, p133].

The woman's husband said, however, that as his claim of Imam Ali's ('a)  superiority was correct, although his father-in-law did not agree, his wife was still his spouse and was therefore not divorced. The people heard the dispute and gathered to hear the judgment on the matter.


A Descendant of Aqil bin Abu Talib

Umar bin Abdul Aziz called together Bani Hashim, Bani Umayyah and other Quraysh. After both the husband and father repeated their statements, he turned to the people and said:

"What do you say about this vow?" 

All those present kept silent. He once again stated:

"It is strange. Say something!" 

One from amongst the Bani Umayyah stated that as it was an issue upon which they had nothing to say. Ibn Abdul Aziz then turned to a descendant of Aqil bin Abu Talib and said:

"What do you have to say in the matter?" 

He was replied:

"I would like to speak if my word is accepted and acted upon. If, however no value is attached to what I say it will be better to keep silent and this will be more effective for maintaining friendship."

Ibn Abdul Aziz said:

"Your word will be accepted and your judgment will be enforced."

Bani Umayyah then became angry as the word and decision was entrusted to one who did not belong to Bani Umaayah. The Caliph then retorted:

"You should not speak, because you must keep quiet either on account of reproach or on account of inability. Just now I asked you as to who was prepared to give a judgement and you kept quiet. So you know whom you resemble?" 

They replied in the negative. He went on:

"This descendant of Aqil knows it. Whom do they resemble?".

The descendant of Aqil then replied that a verse of a poet applies to them.

"You were invited to speak on a matter. When you were vanquished another person who was not vanquished intervened. When you saw this you manifested your remorse, but fear provides no refuge." [Mughniyyah, 1985, p135]


Lady Fatimah ('a)

Ibn Abdul Aziz then said:

"You have said something true. Now give reply to my question."

The descendant of Aqil then replied:

"The woman has not been divorced." 

He then went on to say that "the holy Prophet went to see Lady Fatimah and enquired about her health. She replied that she was unwell. The Holy Prophet asked her whether she desired to eat something. She replied: 

"I would like to eat grapes but I know this is not the season for grapes." 

The Holy Prophet said:

"Allah has power to send it for us." 

He then prayed to Allah:

"O Lord! Send grapes for us along with the best man of my followers." 

Immediately Imam Ali ('a) knocked at the door and entered the house with a basket (of grapes) under his cloak. The Holy Prophet ('s) said to Imam Ali:

"What have you got with you?"

Imam Ali ('a) replied:

"These are grapes which I have brought for Lady Fatimah." 

The Holy Prophet ('s) said:

"Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! O lord! Just as you have specially granted my prayer for Ali, grant health to my daughter by means of those grapes." 

Then he turned to Lady Fatimah ('a) and said:

"Eat the grapes in the Name of Allah." 

She ate the grapes and recovered from her illness before the Holy Prophet ('s) left her house."


The Judgement

Ibn Abdul Aziz then said to the descendent of Aqil:

"Your decision regarding the divorce being ineffective is correct. I have heard your judgement and shall enforce it." 

Then he turned to the woman's husband and said to him:

"Hold the hand of your wife and go. If her father prevents you from taking her away strike his nose against the ground and break it." [Mughniyyah, 1985, p136]

Ibn Abdul Aziz then turned to the people and said:

"I swear by Allah that we are not unaware of what others know and are not blind to our religious matters. However, the following verses of a poet apply to us:
'The world hunts men by means of it's snare, so they do not perceive goodness and go after evil. Love for wealth makes the people deaf and dumb and they do not get anything except loss and sin.'"

Umar bin Abdul Aziz tried to enjoin the good and forbid the evil during his rule as caliph and was martyred by means of poison for this same reason soon after this event. Bani Umayyah wished to hide the virtues of the Shiah and continued to persecute, subjugate and oppress the descendents of Imam Ali ('a.).


  • Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Mughniyyah [Lebanon] (1985) Ash Shi'ah Wal Hakimun (The Despotic Rulers) Islamic Seminary Publications, Pakistan.


Author: Hj S.Abidin
Illustration: Ya Ali Madad illustration by unknown artist. Provided by Ali Jan Syed. Credit to
Chief Editor: Hj Nurzaynab El-Fatah
Production: Hj S. Abidin
Published Date: 23rd June, 2002
Modification Date: 11th January 2009/14th Muharram 1430

Publication ID: 02rightCaliph Bani Umayyah's Righteous Caliph
Copyright: Victory News Magazine, 2009


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