Covenant of Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 661) to the Christians of Armenia

Dec 2015
3,421
USA
#1
I have came across a document which is said to be that of a speech from Ali, the fourth Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate. In the speech Ali discusses how Christians are to be treated,

Covenant of Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 661) to the Christians of Armenia

In the Name of God, the Beneficent and Merciful from Whom we solicit help.

Whereas certain of the Armenian nation, men of distinction, famous for their erudition and honored for their dignity, namely, Jacob Sayid ‘Abdul-Shuyúkh and the son of Sahan, and Abraham the Priest, Bishop Isaiah, and several others, forty in number, having communicated with me, and being present in the enactment of this Covenant, solicited me to do this, and have rendered every assistance in their power to our agent whom we had sent our forts and frontiers, (which was the occasion of our conference and the enactment of this Covenant)–Therefore I have made this Covenant with them on my behalf, as well as on behalf of all tribes of Islam shall prevail, and the doctrine of Christianity shall continue. It shall be the duty of all potentates and of all princes, and of all men to carry out our Covenant by the help of God, so long as the sea shall be capable of wetting will, tufts from the earth, and stars shall give light, and the moon shall rise upon aliens and strangers. No man shave dare to violate or alter this Covenant, nor increase and decrease or change the same; because he that increases it, incenses his punishment, and decreases our patience.

And those who violate this Covenant, shall be considered intriguing infringes of that which I have bestowed on them (the Armenians), and in league with those who do not profess loyalty to me. They also become transgressors against the divine ordinance, and thus incur the just indignation of the only God.

Moreover, the testimony of the Sayyid (Arch)Bishop and of the others, whose names have written before, is a binding and sufficient authority. Because the principal followers of Christmas requested me to establish a Covenant and a treaty among all the Christians, placed under the shadow of the rule of the Muslims, now, by virtue of this Covenant, there shall be perpetual peace and tranquility between Christians and Muslims. The contents of this Covenant are indubitable and true, and I have given to them (the Armenians) of my own accord and with a cheerful countenance. I shall abide by this Covenant and act accordingly, so long as the Armenians shall be faithful to me and continue in their loyalty to my government, and take no part in opposing the religion of my people. If they remain steadfast in the observance of this Covenant, they shall resemble the Muslims and the Believers.

....

And the scale of taxation fixed by me for those nobles should be strictly adhered to. No demand should be made from the beyond what was already written down and sanctioned. They should not be molested or oppressed. Their country should not be taken from them. They should not be alienated from their country. The priests should not be converted from Christianity. The monks and hermits should not be disturbed in their solitudes, nor removed from their monasteries. Their preachers should not be prohibited to preach. Their habitations and their hereditary lands should not be devastated. Nobody should remove or to pull down the bells from the steeples of their Churches. This is the law which I have made for them. But, those who shall infringe my Covenant, by disobeying my behests, shall be transgressors of the ordinance of God, and shall suffer severe punishments and eternal penalties.

Let no crowned head or man of authority of the Muslims or believers compel the Christians to profess the religion of Muslims. Nor let them hold any controversies with them on matters of religion, but let them treat them with kindness and tenderness ; and, under the shadow of their mercy and clemency, protect them from all sorts of oppression and tribulations, wherever they may be found or wherever they may reside. And the Christian people be in want of money or in need of pecuniary help for the building of Churches and monasteries, for their national and social assemblies, and for their civil and domestic purposes, the Muslims ought to assist them and supply them with the necessary means, by granting them a position of their superabundant and disowned property. And this should also aid them by good advice and suggestions in their transactions, because doing so is pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God and his apostle. But, if any one should infringe the contents of this my Covenant, he is an unbeliever and an apostate from the divine prophet, and he will assuredly be deprived of his merits, and the prophet shall look upon him with anger and displeasure. If the stubborn and refractory shall prove themselves unfaithful and disobedient to the Covenant which I have established, they cannot remain faithful and obedient to the son of Abū Ṭālib, the exalted. For, whatever he may command and ordain, it is the duty of Muslims to carry out his orders, by succoring and commiserating them (the Armenians) at all times, so long as this world shall last. Glory to the Creator of the Universe!
more,

https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2...abi-talib-d-661-to-the-christians-of-armenia/
 
Dec 2015
3,421
USA
#2
The following includes what a few prominent non Muslims have had to say about Ali ibn Abi Talib,


Gerald de Gaury
(1897 - 1984) A distinguished soldier and diplomat.

“He had been wise in counsel and brave in battle, true to his friends and
magnanimous to his foes. He was to be for ever the paragon of Muslim
nobility and chivalry.”

Rulers of Mecca
, London, 1951, p. 49]
Simon Ockley
(1678-1720) Professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge.

“One thing particularly deserving to be noticed is that his mother was
delivered of him at Mecca, in the very temple itself; which never happened
to any one else.”

History of the Saracens
, London, 1894, p. 331]
Washington Irving
(1783-1859) Well-known as the “first American man of letters”.

"He was of the noblest branch of the noble race of Koreish. He possessed
the three qualities most prized by Arabs: courage, eloquence, and
munificence. His intrepid spirit had gained him from the prophet the
appellation of The Lion of God, specimens of his eloquence remain in some
verses and sayings preserved among the Arabs; and his munificence was
manifested in sharing among others, every Friday, what remained in the
treasury. Of his magnanimity, we have given repeated instances; his noble
scorn of everything false and mean, and the absence in his conduct of
everything like selfish intrigue."
[
Lives of the Successors of Mahomet
, London, 1850, p. 165]
‰
"He was one of the last and worthiest of the primitive Moslems, who imbibed his religious enthusiasm from companionship with the Prophet himself, and followed to the last the simplicity of his example. He is honourably spoken of as the first Caliph who accorded some protection to Belles-Lettres. He indulged in the poetic vein himself, and many of his maxims and proverbs are preserved, and have been translated in various languages. His signet bore this inscription: 'The kingdom belongs to God'. One of his sayings shows the little value he set upon the transitory glories of this world, 'Life is but the shadow of a cloud - the dream of a sleeper'."
Lives of the Successors of Mahomet
, London, 1850, pp. 187-8]
Quote:
Robert Durey Osborn
(1835-1889) Major of the Bengal Staff Corps.

“With him perished the truest hearted and best Moslem of whom
Mohammadan history had preserved the remembrance.”

Islam Under the Arabs
, 1876, p. 120]
more,

http://www.al-islam.org/nutshell/files/aliviews.pdf
 
Mar 2013
445
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
#3
Even the reputed Covenant of Ali falls far short of the exhortation in the Quran that devoted Christians are the Faithful, the True Believers.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#4
It is extremely disingenuous to portray Armenians Christians through the lens of Arabo-Islamo sources just like that. When dealing with such sort one has to see the sources of the counterpart also. The Armenians were not happy with that and they view that as a sort of oppression. The Armenians’ freedom in constructing churches was restricted and thus they escaped/migrated.

When Islam was founded by Muhammad its expansion under him was brutal which entailed massacres, forced conversions and enslavements of non-Muslim women as sexslaves to his men and to himself as well.

Later when the Byzantines and Persians had fought for 26 years and weakened themselves so heavily the Muslims easily conquered the Middle East and came to rule over a lots of Christians. First the Muslim rulers were more focusing on securing their diwan rather than converting. Later when they possessed the full control, the socio-economic discriminatory Islamic law was fully incorporated and the islamization started where the Christians of Middles East that once counted for about 90% is dwindled to about 10% today after centuries of Islamic rule with socio-economic discriminatory laws upon them.

And while the early Muslims tolerated the Armenians as underclass citizens the things were fairy different in the 1900’s when the Turks launched a brutal jihad and mass-killed the Armenians and caused the Armenian Genocide.
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,583
USA
#6
I am not sure about this OP document. For one thing Armenia was conquered by Arabs, before Ali became Caliph: The Arab conquest of Armenia was a part of the Muslim conquests after the death of Muhammad in 632 CE. Persian Armenia had fallen to the Arab Rashidun Caliphate by 645 CE. Byzantine Armenia was already conquered in 638–639. - as per wiki.

What business does this Ali has in stating how to treat Armenians? Armenians should be treated how Armenians like to be treated. If Ali was as good as he was described in the OP, his Muslims should not have been allowed to conquer, plunder and rape other peoples, like Armenians. This Ali was no different from the rest of the three Caliphs. All those four Caliphs were bad, just as bad as the killer Mohammed.

Good thing is that Ali was murdered, just like the two other Caiphs. Good riddance!
 
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Mar 2014
121
San Mateo County, California, USA.
#7
The Islamic 7th and 8th Century invasion of Armenia was brutal and destructive. Things changed somewhat in the 9th Century, when Arabic and Persian Muslims officially recognized Armenia (884-1045 AD), as a sovereign kingdom.

Armenia during 7th-8th Century Armenia under the rule of Arab Caliphate

Bagratid Armenia lasted from 884 to 1045 AD - 100 Years, 100 Facts about Armenia to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide100 Years, 100 Facts about Armenia to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide
 
May 2016
17
Zecret
#9
What business does this Ali has in stating how to treat Armenians? Armenians should be treated how Armenians like to be treated.
well if Armenia was under his rule then it is his bussiness. This world is wild and you are not living alone. Armenia Could not stand alone and defend itself: it had to join a larger kingdom to seek protection.

If Ali was as good as he was described in the OP, his Muslims should not have been allowed to conquer, plunder and rape other peoples,
but you just said at beginning of your post that it was conquered before his rule started. He couldnt be held responsible for that. Even the previous caliphs could have had their reasons to conquer it but thats another story. so he MAY be different

The Islamic 7th and 8th Century invasion of Armenia was brutal and destructive. Things changed somewhat in the 9th Century, when Arabic and Persian Muslims officially recognized Armenia (884-1045 AD), as a sovereign kingdom.

Armenia during 7th-8th Century Armenia under the rule of Arab Caliphate

Bagratid Armenia lasted from 884 to 1045 AD - 100 Years, 100 Facts about Armenia to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide100 Years, 100 Facts about Armenia to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide
Holy **** your sobeos source says Muslims killed 12k people


anyway continuing to reading your source, I stopped at this

Khalifa Othman, in retaliation, ordered the massacre of 1,775 Armenian hostages then in his hands, and was about to march against the Armenian rebels when he was assassinated by his own soldiers in 656.

His second successor, Moawiyah, Khalifa of Baghdad (661‑680), resumed Othman's projects, devastated Armenia and retook it from the Emperor, who called upon the unfortunate Armenian people to yield him obedience again.
so seemingly some things halted During the Period of Ali. Apparently there were not as many massacres.


interestingly enough, same sabeos source says Bezantines treated armenians just as cruel...kind of makes me give up on humanity :'(



Anyway, I find little discrepancy on your source. Baghdad was not actually built until like 90 years later: there is something wrong and misinfo in your source
 
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Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#10
Ali and the three Caliphs were not incarnations of evil and their motives or means were no more different from when Shi Huangdi, Julius Caesar, Justinian, Chingiz Khan or Napoleon decided to expand.

The Christians of Middle East, when conquered by the Muslims, were (normally) not forced converted but they were neither equal citizens as their status in the various caliphates and sultanates onward were determined whether they decided to convert into Islam or not. Otherwise they were subjugated as underclass citizens with socio economic discriminatory laws. Initially very soft under the Rashidun Caliphate as they came as nomads and thus were very dependent of the expertise of Christians in order to consolidate in first place but later when their Diwan(residence base) were secured the taxes and laws became stricter eventually, particularly after the Crusades and Mongol invasions. The Christian states/kingdoms treated the Muslims pretty much in the same way when they ruled over them such as testified in the Crusaders states and as well Christian Spain apart from about 1300 or so. All normative and prescriptive sources clearly state that the Christians as dhimmis were tolerated to live as underclass citizens, NOT equal citizens.

However there are many losers with Muslim background from Middle East that have noticed how backward Middle East is today and how prone to terrorism their religion is connected, and thus they cannot resist to perpetuate some myths like they were over-tolerance or that they invented toleration for first time in the human history. A certain user has been banned many times just to return back with new alises pretending of being a Christian to promote his Islamic agenda. But not only is it historical inaccurate, it is also dangerous because it has implications on the political atmosphere of Middle East and is preventing the effort of securing religious rights for minorities when some Muslims in Middle East are wrongly assuming that the concept of dhimmi and Jizya mean protection of non-Muslims when it clearly are some sort of Jim-Crowe laws, and definitely not something that should be imposed in the 21th century.
 
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