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Mu'aawiyah. This position is often taken as evidence of the immoderation in Abu Muusaa's good nature

or his extraordinary naivete, which made tricking him quite easy. However, the situation, as we shall see,

in spite of what hastiness or error there might have been, reveals the greatness of his soul, the greatness

of his faith in the truth and in people.

Indeed, the view of Abu Muusaa in the case of arbitration can be summarized by the fact that he

saw the Muslims killing one another and each party fanatically clinging to imam (ruler). As he saw it, the

situation between the combatants had reached a critical state that was impossible of resolve and placed

the destiny of the Muslim nation on the edge of an abyss. In his opinion, the situation had reached a stage

of deterioration. It was exemplified in the change of the whole situation, which thus required starting

over again.

The civil war, at that point, revolved around two parties of the Muslims disputing over the person of

the ruler. Some desired Imam `Aliy to relinquish the caliphate temporarily and Mu'aawiyah to renounce

it, so that the entire matter could be referred again to the Muslims. Then, they could choose, by way of

consultation, the caliph they wanted. This was how Abu Muusaa argued the case and this was the way he

saw its resolution.

It is correct that Imam `Aliy was soundly sworn in as caliph and correct that every illegal rebellion

should not be allowed to achieve its aim of overturning the legal right. However, the issues in the dispute

between the Imam and Mu'aawiyah and between the peoples of Iraq and Syria had, in the view of Abu

Muusaa, reached a state which imposed a new kind of thinking and resolution. For the insurgency of

Mu`aawiyah was not considered just a revolt alone, and the rebellion of the people of Syria was not

considered just an insurrection alone, and the entire difference was not considered just a difference in

opinion nor a matter of choice. All these things developed into a harmful civil war in which thousands

were killed on both sides and continued to threaten Islam and Muslims with the worst ramifications and

consequences. So removal of the causes of the dispute and war and stepping aside of both parties was in

the thinking of Abu Muusaa, the starting point on the road to salvation. The view of Imam `Aliy, when

he accepted the principle of arbitration, was that `Abd Allah lbn Abbaas or someone from among his

companions would represent his front in arbitration, but a large party of those with power in his group

and army imposed on him Abu Muusaa Al-Ash'ariy. The reason for their choice of Abu Muusaa was that

he had never participated in the dispute between `Aliy and Mu'aawiyah since the dispute began, but had

separated himself from both parties after giving up all hope of encouraging the two of them to a common

understanding and peace. So he withdrew from the fight between them. He had, from this respect, the

most right of all the people to arbitrate.

There was nothing in the religion of Abu Muusaa nor in his sincerity and truthfulness that made the

Imam suspicious. Nevertheless, he did realize the intentions of the other side and the degree of their

dependency on maneuvers, deception, and trickery, and that Abu Muusaa, in spite of his understanding

and knowledge, hated deception and maneuvers and loved to deal with people on the basis of truth and

not his wits. Therefore, Imam `Aliy was afraid Abu Muusaa would be deceived by the others and that the

arbitration would be turned into maneuvers by one side, which would make matters worst.

The arbitration between the two parties began, with Abu Muusaa Al-Ash'ariy representing the party

of Imam `Aliy and `Amr Ibn Al-'Aas representing the party of Mu'aawiyah. It is true that `Amr Ibn Al-

'Aas depended on his sharp wits and his broad cunning in carrying the banner for Mu'aawiyah.

The meeting between the two men, Al-Ash'ariy and `Amr, began with a proposal presented by Abu

Muusaa. It was for the two arbitrators to agree on the nomination of `Abd Allah Ibn `Umar, declaring

him the Caliph of the Muslims because he enjoyed a broad consensus in respect to his love, admiration,

and distinction. `Amr Ibn Al-'Aas saw in this orientation and direction of Abu Muusaa a great

opportunity, so he took advantage of it.

The content of the proposal by Abu Muusaa did not consider a conditional link with the party which

he represented, which was the party of Imam `Aliy. That meant, also, that Abu Muusaa was ready to give