First Fitna


The First Fitna (656-661 CE) was the first civil war of the Islamic Empire fought between the fourth Rashidun Caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661 CE), and the governor of Syria, Muawiya (later Muawiya I; r. 661-680 CE). Deep fissures divided the empire after the murder of the third caliph Uthman (r. 644-656 CE) in 656 CE. Uthman's cousin Muawiya, and several other prominent Muslims, demanded vengeance, and when Ali failed to comply owing to internal political ordeals, fighting broke out and hostilities lasted until Ali was murdered by a renegade group called the Kharijites ('those who leave').

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