Reports which have come down of the Motive for Mola Ali’s (a.s) Murder and how the Event occurred
[What is reported by a group of historians (ahl al-siyar),including Abu Mikhnaf, Isma’il b. Rashid, Abu Hashim al-Rifa’i, Abu ‘Amr al-Thaqafi and others who relate:]
A group of the Kharijites gathered at Mecca and they mentioned the leaders (of the people) and blamed them and their actions. They mentioned the people of al-Nahrawan and they asked God’s mercy for them. Then they said to each other: “If (only) we devoted ourselves to God, and went to the leaders (Imams) of error (dalal) and sought a moment when they were inattentive and then rid the country and men of them for the sake of God, and also avenged our brothers, the martyrs of al-Nahrawan.”
They made a compact to do that after performing the pilgrimage. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Muljam, may God curse him, said: “I’ll take care of (killing) ‘Ali for you.”
Al-Burak b. ‘Abd Allah al-Tamimi said: “I will take care of (killing) Mu’awiya for you.”
‘Amr b. Bakr al-Tamimi said: “I will take care of (killing) ‘Amr b. al-‘As for you.”
They made a compact to do that and bound themselves to its fulfilment. They agreed (to carry it out) on the night of the nineteenth of the month of Ramadan. On that they separated.
Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, set out – he was numbered among Kinda – until he came to Kufa. There he met his colleagues. But he kept his task secret from them out of fear that something of it might get spread around. The situation was like this when one day he visited one of his colleagues from Taym al-Rabab. At this man’s house he met by chance Qatam, daughter of al-Akhdar of Taym. The Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, had killed her father and brother at al-Nahrawan. She was (also) one of the most beautiful of the women of her time. When Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, saw her, he fell in love with her and his admiration of her became very intense. He asked to marry her and became engaged to her. Then she said to him: “What dowry do you suggest for me?”
“Make your decision on that,” he answered.
“I have decided,” she said, “that you should (give me three thousand dirhams, a young serving boy, a servant and the murder of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib.”
“You can have all you asked for,” he replied. “But as for the murder of ‘Alf b. Abi Talib, how can I do that?”
“You should look (for a time) when he is careless,” she said. “If you kill him, I will cure myself (of my obsession against him) and life with me will be a pleasure for you. If you are killed, God has nothing in this world which is better for you (than such a death).”
“The only thing which has brought me to this town (misr), “he said, “when I was a fugitive from it and could find no protection with its inhabitants, was to kill ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, which you have asked me for. So you will have what you have asked for.”
“I have been looking for someone to help you and strengthen you in that (undertaking),” she said. Then she went to Wardan b. Mujalid (another) from Taym al-Rabab. She gave him the information and asked help for Ibn Muljam, may God curse him. He undertook to share responsibility for that for her.
Then Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, went out and came to a man from Ashja’ called Shabib b. Bajura and said to him: “Shabib, would you like nobility (sharaf) in this world and the next life?”
“What is that?” he asked.
“Will you help me to kill ‘Ali b. Abi Talib?”
Shabib was one who held the view of the Kharijites, so he said toIbn Muljam: “May a wailing woman wail for you (at your death), Ibn Muljam. For you have come to something which is horrific. How will you be able to do it?”
“We will lie in wait for him in the great mosque,” Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, replied. “Then when he comes to the dawn prayer, we will attack him. If we kill him, we will satisfy ourselves and attain our vengeance.”
He insisted until he agreed and went with him into the great mosque to Qatam, while she was performing the rite of i’tikaf there and put up a tent. They both said to her: “We have reached agreement on killing this man.”
“When you want (to do) that,” she said, “come to me in this place.”
Then they left her and waited for several days. They came to her finally on the night of Wednesday, the nineteenth of the month of Ramadan in the year 40 A.H. She ordered some silk which she tied around their chests. They put on their swords, and went out and sat opposite at the door from which the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, would come out to the prayer. However before that, they had told al-Ash’ath b. Qays of the resolution in their spirits to kill the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. Al-Ash’ath b. Qays, may God curse him, agreed with them in what they had agreed upon.
Hujr b. ‘Adi, may God have mercy on him, was (also) spending that night in the mosque. He overheard al-Ash’ath saying to Ibn Muljam:
“Hurry, hurry to your task, for dawn is beginning to appear.”
Hujr perceived the intention of al-Ash’ath and said to him: “You are going to kill him, you one-eyed man.”
He left directly to go to the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and tell him the news to warn him about the group. However, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, missed him on the way and went into the mosque. Ibn Muljam came to him first and struck him. Hujr approached as the people were crying: “The Commander of the faithful has been killed!”
[‘Abd Allah b. Muhammad al-Azdi has reported:]
On that night I was praying in the great mosque with men who were inhabitants of the town. During that month they used to pray from the beginning of the night to the end of it. I looked towards the men who were praying near the door and ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him, came out for the dawn prayer. He began to call out: “The prayer, the prayer.”
I was hardly aware of the call before I saw the flashing of swords and I heard someone saying: “Judgement belongs to God, ‘Ali, not to you and your companions.”
Then I heard ‘Ali, peace be on him, saying: “Don’t let the man escape from you.”
Then ‘Ali, peace be on him, was struck and Shabib b. Bajura came to strike him but he missed him, and his blow fell on air. The group fled towards the gates of the mosque and the people rushed to seize them.
A man caught Shabib b. Bajura, knocked him down and sat on his chest and took his sword to kill him with it. When he saw the people rushing towards him, he was afraid that they would act precipitately against him without listening to him. Therefore he jumped off him and let him go and threw the sword from his hand. Shabib made his escape to his house-Then his paternal cousin came to him. He saw him untying the silk cloth from his breast and said: “What is that? Perhaps (it was) you (who) killed the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him.” (Shabib) meant to say ‘no’ but he said “yes”. His cousin went away and put on his sword. Then he went to (Shabib) (again) and struck him with it until he killed him.
One of the men from Hamdan followed Ibn Muljam, may God curse him. He flung his cloak over what was in Ibn Muljam’s hand and took his sword from him. Then he took him to the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. In the meantime the third had escaped and dodged among the people.
When Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, was brought before the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, the latter looked at him and said: “A life for a life. If I die, kill him as he killed me. If I live, I will consider my judgement on him.”
“By God”, said Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, “I have bought his life for a thousand lives. I have plotted against him for a thousand lives. If he has betrayed me, then may God destroy him.”
“Enemy of God,” cried out Umm Kulthum, “you have killed the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him.”
“I have killed only your father,” he retorted.
“Enemy of God,” she cried, “I hope that there is no danger for him.”
“I think you are only crying for ‘Ali,” he replied. “Indeed, by God, I struck him. If I had been divided among the people of the land, I should have destroyed them.”
Then he was taken from his presence, peace be on him, while the people (wanted) to tear his flesh with their teeth as if they were wild beasts. They were crying out: “O enemy of God, what have you done? You have destroyed the community of Muhammad, may God bless him and his family. You have killed the best of people.”
He was silent and did not speak. He was taken to the prison. Then the people went to the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and said: “Commander of the faithful, give us your order about the enemy of God. For he has destroyed the community, and corrupted the faith.”
“If I live,” answered the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, “then I will consider my judgement on him. But if I die then do to him what the Prophet did with a murderer. Kill him and after that burn him in a fire.”
When the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, died (the people) wept for him. (After) his family had finished his burial, al-Hasan, peace be on him, sat in council and ordered Ibn Muljam to be brought to him. He was brought to him and when he stood before him (al-Hasan) said: “O enemy of God, you have killed the Commander of the faithful and you have increased corruption in religion.”
Then he ordered him to be beheaded. Umm al-Haytham, daughter of al-Aswad of al-Nakha’a asked to be given his corpse so that she could be in charge of burning it. He gave it to her and he made her burn it in a fire.
The poet said about the affair of Qatam and the killing of the Commander of the faithful peace be upon him:
I have never seen a dowry, given by a generous man, like the dowry of Qatam (whether the man was) rich or needy.
(It was) three thousand (dirhams), a slave and a young servant, and the striking of ‘Ali with a sharp piercing sword.
(There has been) no dowry more precious – and no violence except that it was less than the violence of Ibn Muljam.
As for the two men who were in agreement with Ibn Muljam to kill Mu’awiya and ‘Amr b. al.’As, the one struck Mu’awiya while he was bending (in prayer). However his blow was delivered weakly and he was saved from its consequences. The man was seized and killed immediately. As for the other he went (to carry out) his mission that night. However ‘Amr had felt sick and had put a man in his place to pray with the people; the man was called Kharija b. Abi Habiba al-‘Amiri. He struck with his sword when he thought that it was ‘Amr. He was seized and taken to ‘Amr who has him killed. kharija died on the second day!
– Kitab Al-Irshad (The book of Guidance)
– By Shaykh al-Mufid
Syeda Quratulain Bukhari”