Mu'awiya's Plans: After the battle of Siffin and the order of judgement, Mu'awiya began to behave as if he was the absolute ruler. He began to collect the properties gained by poor-rates (zakat) and taxes and sent armies to different regions in order to terrify people and dominate these areas.
Therefore, he chose some criminals as leaders of his armies. These people had no previous convictions to Islam, but, were among those who bore hatred and enmity for Islam. He provided them with some terrorist instructions which were completely opposite to what the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) used to recommend to his army.
In the year 40 A.H., Mu'awiya sent an army, led by Bosr bin Abi Arta'a, which consisted of three thousand fighters, and ordered him to take the route of Hijjaz, Madinah and Makkah until he reached Yemen. He (Mu'awiya) told him the following: "Do not camp at an area where the people are obeying Ali, but that you control them with your tongues by threats, until they see that they have no rescue and you are surrounding them. Then, have full control over them, and call them to give their pledge of allegiance. Whoever refuses, then, kill him and kill the followers of Ali where they are."
Consequently, Bosr carried out the orders of his master, Mu'awiya. He began to pursue the close companions of Ali and whoever delayed giving the pledge of allegiance (to Mu'awiya), he burnt their houses, destroyed them and robbed them of their properties.
He killed about thirty thousand on his way going and coming back and burnt a community to such an extent that a poet, regarding him, said: "Wherever Bosir goes with his army, he kills whatever he can and burns it".
When he (Bosir) moved to the city of Hadhramaut, he said: "I want to kill one fourth of Hadhramaut."
Mu'awiya ordered Sufyan bin Awf Ghamidi to enter Iraq and advised him to attack, rob, burn, and kill, saying: "Destroy whatever you pass of villages, kill whoever you meet who does not agree with your opinion, and take the properties because they are similar to killing and it is the most painful one for the hearts."
Sufyan not only executed Mu'awiya's orders, but, also, did more. He attacked free non-Muslims enjoying Muslims' protection (the people of the Book), killing and robbing them. These are the people in regard to whom the Prophet, Muhammad (S.A.W.) advised concerning them and said that he is an enemy of those who harm them.
These are some examples regarding Mu'awiya and his followers. Mu'awiya underlined his aims and the goals of his battles, in his address to the people of Kufa, after the peace-treaty with Imam Hasan (A.S.). He said: "By Allah, I did not fight you in order to make you pray, nor to fast, nor to make pilgrimage, nor to pay poor-rates (zakat). Indeed, you do that (already). I fought you in order to dominate you."
This was the way of Mu'awiya, and which, Imam Ali (A.S.) in contrast was advising his commanders whom he (A.S.) sent to prevent the attacks of Mu'awiya, saying: "Fear Allah towards Whom you will return. Do not despise a Muslim, nor a covenanter. Do not seize unlawfully, wealth, nor children nor offspring. Even if you are barefooted and dismounted, keep up your prayers at their due times."
Thus, he recommends for the sanctity of people; whether Muslims or non-Muslims.
Therefore, the conflict of Imam Ali (A.S.) with Mu'awiya represented the conflict between two opposite ways: The way of truth, principles, values and character and, on the other side, the way of falsehood, misguidance, oppression and betrayal. These two ways never meet each other.
In the Kingdom of Allah: Imam Ali (A.S.) turned to resuming the fight against the Qaisitin in Sham - Mu'awiya and his followers-once again.
He (A.S.) proclaimed mobilization for his army, and declared war against the opposition led by Mu'awiya. Then, he (A.S.) started distributing banners to his leaders, Husain, Abu Ayyub Ansari and Qais bin sa'id.
Yet, as he was engaged in mobilizing his forces in order to put an end to the opposition movement led by Mu'awiya, there was another mean conspiracy being covertly planned, this time to assassinate him. A group of his enemies held a meeting in Makkah to deliberate evil intentions, which were to end with the most horrific consequences. The gravest decision was to murder the commander of the faithful (Amir Mu'minin), and the task was assigned to the willful criminal Abdul-Rahman bin Muljam Muradi. It was a most critical period in the history of Islam and the Muslims.
While the nation was looking forward to a decisive victory over the destructive elements of disunity led by Mu'awiya bin Abi Sufyan, the sinful hand of Muradi was extended to Ali bin Abi-Talib (A.S.). He swept down with a sword on his head while the Imam was prostrating dawn prayers at the honourable Mosque of Kufa on the 19th of the month of Ramadan in the year 40 A.H.
They assassinated Imam Ali (A.S.) at his finest time -the hour of standing before Allah, the Exalted, during the prayer of submission, while fasting during the month of Ramadan; during the most glorious Islamic duties, while preparing to wage holy striving (Jihad), and in the highest and most pure divine places, the Mosque of Kufa.
The crime of assassinating Imam Ali (A.S.) remains one of the most cruel, brutal and hideous, because it was not committed against one man, but against the whole rational Islamic leadership. By assassinating Imam Ali (A.S.), they actually aimed at assassinating the message, the history, the culture and the nation of Muslims embodied in the person of Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib (A.S.), the successor of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), the bearer of his banner and the follower of his path and deed.
Thus, the Islamic nation lost its guide of progress, and at the most wondrous opportunity in its life after the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.).
Imam Ali (A.S.) suffered from his wound for three days, during which he entrusted his son, Imam Hasan (A.S.) with the Imamate of guiding the nation ideologically and socially.
During those three days, as during all his life, he never ceased remembering Allah, praising Him, and accepting Him and His ordinance.
Likewise, he continued giving pieces of advice and directions leading to good, pointing to the right, defining the way to guidance, explaining the course for deliverance, calling for the observance of Allah's ordinances, and warning against following one's ill desires and set-backs from not carrying out the divine message.
The following is one piece of advice offered to his sons, Imams Hasan and Hussein (A.S.), as well as to his people, the nation and coming generation: "I advise you (both) to fear Allah and that you should not hanker after the (pleasure of this) world even though it may run after you. Do not be sorry for anything of this world that you have been denied. Speak the truth and act (in expectation) for (Allah's) reward. Be an enemy of the oppressor and a helper of the oppressed."
"I advise you (both) and all my children and members of my family and everyone whom my writing reaches, to fear Allah, to keep your affairs in order, and to maintain good relations among yourselves for I have heard your grandfather (the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)) saying: 'Improvement of mutual differences is better than general prayers and fasting.'"
"(Fear) Allah (and) keep Allah in view in the matter of orphans. So do not allow them to starve, nor allow them to be lost in your presence."
"(Fear) Allah (and) keep Allah in view in the matter of your neighbours, because they were the subject of the Prophet's advice. He went on advising in their favour till we thought he would allow them a share in inheritance."
"(Fear) Allah (and) keep Allah in view in the matter of the Qur'an. No one should excel you in acting upon it."
"(Fear) Allah (and) keep Allah in view in the matter of prayer, because it is the pillar of your religion."
"(Fear) Allah (and) keep Allah in view in the matter of your Lord's House (the Ka'aba). Do not forsake it so long as you live, because if it is abandoned you will not be spared."
"(Fear) Allah (and) keep Allah in view in the matter of Jihad with the help of your property, lives and tongues in the way of Allah."
"You should keep to a respect for kinship and spending for others. Avoid turning away from one another and severing mutual relations. Do not give up bidding for good and forbidding from evil least the mischievous gain positions over you, and then in such a case, your invocations will not be responded to (by Allah)."
Such was the heroic end of this great man! His loss was the gravest one to the Mission and the nation after the loss of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.).
By the martyrdom of Imam Ali (A.S.), the nation lost: A heroism that had become the song of the time; A courageous history that has never dreamt of its like; Wisdom no one can fathom, save Allah; A purity, the like of which was only in the prophets.
An abstinence from the pleasures of life that could be attained only by the nearest to Allah; An eloquence such as to be the echo of the Book; And a jurisprudence, and a thorough knowledge of the laws of religion.
It is he about whom the Messenger of Allah said: "Ali is with the truth and the truth is with Ali" and "I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is its gateway, so whoever wants to enter the city, let him enter it through its gateway."
Peace be upon him the day he was born, the day he was martyred on his alter, and the day he shall be raised alive.