Umayyad tradition of cursing Ali

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The Umayyad tradition of cursing Ali was performed in state-controlled mosques throughout the Umayyad empire for a period of approximately 65 years from c.657 to c.720 CE.

The practice[edit]

The practice started on the order of Muawiyah I.[1] Ali, and his progeny[2], was cursed by official Umayyad decree as part of Friday congregational prayers from all the mosques of Umayyad caliphate except the town of Sistan. The companion Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas refused to comply with the order of cursing Ali, giving three reasons:[3]

  1. according to Quran 33:33, Ali was one of the Ahl al-Bayt, whom God has purified of all defilements;
  2. according to the Prophet, Ali's rank in relation to him was the same as that of Aaron in relation to Moses;
  3. it was to Ali that the Prophet gave the banner at the battle of Khaybar.

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz replaced the cursing of Ali and his progeny[2], on the minbar during Friday prayers[1][2] with verse 15 from Sura 59 (al-Hashr) and verse 19 of Sura 90 (al-Nahl) from the Qur'an.[3] Al-Tabari mentions that the cursing of Ali definitely came to an end only with the fall of the Umayyad dynasty.[4]


  1. ^ a b De Lacy O'Leary (2012). Arabic Thought and Its Place in History. Courier Corporation. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  2. ^ a b c Tarek Fatah (2008). Chasing a Mirage. J. Wiley & Sons Canada. p. 171. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  3. ^ a b Reza Shah-Kazemi (2007). Justice and Remembrance: Introducing the Spirituality of Imam Ali. I.B.Tauris. pp. 62, 63. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  4. ^ Ṭabarī, Khalid Yahya Blankinship (translator) (1993). The Challenge to the Empires. SUNY Press. pp. xix. Retrieved 2013-07-08.