4. Tijani’s enlightenment and his attitude towards Abu Bakr

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4. Tijani’s enlightenment and his attitude towards Abu Bakr

 

In these passages Tijani opens up to the readers his religious persuasions and confesses the reasons for his conversion to the Twelver Shia faith. He says:

 

The reasons behind my enlightenment are many, but I shall only mention a few of them here:

The text regarding the succession to the Caliphate

I have committed myself, before embarking on this study, to never depending on any reference unless it is considered authentic by the two parties, and to discarding those references that are solely referred to by only one of the parties.

Thus, I shall investigate the idea regarding the preference between Abu Bakr and Ali ibn Abi Talib, and that the succession of the caliphate was by written text [Dictate] for Ali, as the Shiites claim, and not by election and Shura [consultation] as the Sunnis claim.

Any researcher in this subject, if he considers nothing but the truth, will find that the text in support of Ali is very clear, like the following saying by the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: Whoever considers me his master, then Ali is his master. He said it at the end of the Farewell Pilgrimage, when it was confirmed that Ali would succeed, and many people congratulated him on that, including Abu Bakr and Umar who were among the well-wishers, and who were quoted as having said to the Imam, “Well done, Ibn Abi Talib, overnight you have become a master of all the believers.”

This text has been agreed on by both Shiites and Sunnis, and in fact I have only referred in this study to some Sunni references and not to all of them, for they are so many.

If the reader wants more information, he may read “al Ghadir” by al Amini (thirteen Volumes) in which the writer classifies the sayings of the Prophet according to the Sunnis.[1]

 

Responding to Tijani’s enlightenment and his attitude towards Abu Bakr

We would have noticed Tijani’s endless reminders of his objectivity and impartiality; almost as if he anticipated that the reader would approach his book with a healthy dose of scepticism. All we have done is examine his objectivity and impartiality in the way he approached every claim that he made. Sadly, despite his repeated claims, we have found him wanting on many accounts when it came to objectivity throughout his book; and these we have pointed out along the way. We are confident that the discerning reader will see beyond Tijani’s sales pitch and evaluate the facts for what they are, based on accepted academic criteria.

Tijani asserts that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was unambiguously nominated by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as his successor. This assertion is based on the doctrine that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam successor was expressly appointed through divine text (Nass). In supporting his assertion Tijani has alluded to the incident at Ghadir Khum, when the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stopped to rest with those of his Companions who were returning to Madinah with him after Hajj.

 

Nomination of Khalifah

Tijani’s generalized assertion that the Sunnis only consider the Caliphate established through elections or shura is not entirely accurate. There is a minority view which holds that the candidacy of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu for Caliphate was established through implicit texts. The preponderant view holds that the Caliphate of Abu Bakr was established on the basis of agreement between the people of al Hill wa l-Aqd (executive authority). The textual evidence which is the basis of the minority is understood to be suggestions from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for his preferred candidate for Caliphate.

These are some of the ahadith which are understood as implicit directives by some or Prophetic suggestions by the majority:

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha narrates:

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Indeed, I was on the verge of calling Abu Bakr and his son, and entrust leadership to him for fear that people might speak or aspire to things. But Allah and the Believers refuse to have anyone but Abu Bakr.[2]

 

In Sahih Muslim, ‘Urwah narrates from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha:

The Messenger said to me, “Call Abu Bakr and your brother for me so that I may write a letter. Indeed I fear that some aspiring person might say I am more deserving, but Allah and the Believers refuse to have anyone but Abu Bakr.”[3]

 

Al Bukhari and Muslim narrate from Jubayr ibn Mut’im radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

A woman came to the Messenger and he instructed her to return to him later.

She said, “What should I do if I return and I do not find you?” It was as if she was implying death.

He replied, “If you do not find me then go to Abu Bakr.”[4]

 

Al Bukhari and Muslim narrate also from Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he heard the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say:

 

While I was sleeping I saw myself standing over a well with a bucket on it. I drew from it as much as Allah decreed. Then the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) took it and drew a bucket or two. His drawing was somewhat weak but Allah overlooked it. Then it turned into a big bucket and (‘Umar) Ibn al Khattab took it. I never saw a giant, draw water like he did, until people were fully satiated.[5]

 

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also instructed Abu Bakr to lead the people in salah and this continued till his demise. Al Bukhari narrates from Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

The Messenger was ill and when his illness intensified, He said, “Order Abu Bakr to lead the people in salah!”

Aisha then said, “Indeed, he is a soft-hearted man. When he stands in your place he will be unable to lead the people in salah.”

She then repeated herself and he said, “Order Abu Bakr to lead the salah! Indeed you are like of the women of Yusuf.”

 

Anas ibn Malik relates:

 

Abu Bakr used to lead them in salah during the illness in which the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away. On Monday while they were standing in their rows, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam opened the curtain of the room and stood there gazing at us. As if his face was a page of the Qur’an. He smiled and we were tempted to break our prayer out of happiness at the sight of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Abu Bakr stepped backwards to reach the row behind him thinking that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had come out to the prayer. The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, however, motioned to him to complete the prayer. He then lowered the screen and passed away later that day.[6]

 

If we were to assume that the office of Caliphate requires textual nomination, as Tijani claims, the minority view of the Ahlus Sunnah provides for this situation as well. The issue now is where does one find the textual directive for the candidacy of the nominee? If we were to extend this assumption a bit further we would come to realize that there were others who felt that other Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, or members of his family, were deserving of the office.

The Rawandiyyah claim the Imamah of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al Muttalib. They argue that there is significant textual evidence to support their claim; very similar to the way in which the Rafidah claim that there is textual evidence nominating ‘Ali. Qadi Abu Ya’la says:

 

The Rawandiyyah differ (amongst themselves), a group amongst them hold that the Prophet specified ‘Abbas by name and announced that explicitly, and state that the Ummah rejected this clear textual evidence and consequently turned apostate and opposed the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instruction out of stubbornness. There are some amongst them who say that the textual evidence declares the right of ‘Abbas and his sons after him (to the Caliphate) until the Day of Judgement.[7]

 

Thus we find that the doctrine of the appointment of a specific candidate problematic. How do we reconcile the fact that numerous groupings claim the exclusive right to Caliphate for different individuals? While it is plausible to infer that the evidence supporting those claims is spurious, the evidence in favour of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is not only tenable based on the fact that he led the prayers until the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise without objection, but it is highly credible in terms of the narrations. As for the textual evidence provided by Tijani ‘whoever considers me his Mawla[8], then ‘Ali is also his Mawla,’; this statement of the Prophet is not only ambivalent, but subject to context.

 

The Hadith of Ghadir

 

Tijani says:

 

Any researcher in this subject, if he considers nothing but the truth, will find that the text in support of Ali is very clear, like the following saying by the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: Whoever considers me his master, then Ali is his master. He said it at the end of the Farewell Pilgrimage, when it was confirmed that Ali would succeed, and many people congratulated him on that, including Abu Bakr and Umar who were among the well-wishers, and who were quoted as having said to the Imam, “Well done, Ibn Abi Talib, overnight you have become a master of all the believers.”[9]

 

Response to the Hadith of Ghadir

We, the Ahlus Sunnah, acknowledge the reliability of the hadith, “Whoever considers me his Mawla, then ‘Ali is also his Mawla.” We do not merely reject ahadith or dismiss them for childish reasons as some ‘objective researchers’ do. The discussions surrounding this hadith are focused on the context of the narration and its true meaning.

There are three core issues at hand:

  • How was it understood by ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the rest of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum?
  • What is the meaning of Mawla?
  • In what context did the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say this?

Let us begin with the context.

 

Context of the Hadith

There is consensus that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made this statement at a place called Ghadir Khum, which is midway between Makkah and Madinah. It served as a rest stop for travellers providing water and shade. On his return to Madinah, after the Farewell Hajj, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stopped here to rest and pray. This is accepted as fact by both the Shia and Ahlus Sunnah.

This also means that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was only accompanied by the Sahabah who resided in Madinah since those from the other parts of the Arabian Peninsula had taken off on their own paths, some to Ta’if, others to Yemen, others to Najd etc. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam could have made any announcement during the period of Hajj which was attended by over one-hundred thousand pilgrims, but he chose to make a particular statement at Ghadir Khum where he was only accompanied by the Companions who resided in Madinah.

This indicates to us that whatever the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had to say was something that pertained to the people of Madinah, and was not of absolute concern to the entire Muslim community. Why else did he wait until he was alone with the residents of Madinah to announce what he had to say? We learn from this that this was a domestic issue and not one that affected the entire Muslim Ummah.

 

Why did the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say this?

Prior to Hajj the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Yemen to distribute the spoils after Khalid ibn al Walid’s military campaign in Yemen. There were some people who were displeased with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and complained to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam about him. These people felt that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not entirely fair in his distribution and had treated them harshly. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam realised that there had been a misunderstanding and that there was some bitterness towards ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu from those who had complained about him. Having realised this, and finding a suitable opportunity to address the matter, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam addressed the entire gathering and said, “Whoever considers me his Mawla, then ‘Ali is also his Mawla.”

 

The Meaning of Mawla

The reader would have realised that we have not translated the word ‘Mawla’. The reason for this is that this word lends itself to multiple meanings and applying any one meaning without any contextual consideration would be misleading.

Let us look at how the word ‘Mawla’ is understood lexically, as well as its usage in the Qur’an and other ahadith. Once we have a comprehensive understanding of the term, it will then be appropriate to translate it.

Al Razi says in Muhktar al Sihah:

 

Mawla means mutiq (the one who sets free a slave), and mutaq (the freed slave), and Ibn al Amm (cousin), and nasir (helper), and jar (neighbour), and Halif (ally)… Muwalat (friendship) is the opposite of muadat (enmity)… Wilayah (guardianship) with a kasrah means sultan (power/authority) and wilayah or walayah with a kasrah or a fathah means nusrah (assistance).[10]

 

Al Fayruzabadi says:

 

Wali means qurb (closeness). Wali (guardian) is the noun derived from it and it means muhibb (the one who loves), sadiq (friend), nasir (helper). (It is used in the following ways) waliya al shay means he took responsibility for the thing. alayh al wilayah or walayah (It is his responsibility). With the kasrah it means khittah (a plan), imarah (leadership), sultan (authority). (The word Mawla) means malik (owner), and abd (slave), and mutiq, and mutaq, and sahib (companion), and ibn (son), and amm (uncle), and nazil (guest), sharik (partner), and ibn al ukht (sister’s son), and wali, and Lord (owner), and nasir (helper), and munim (generous), and munamalayh (favoured), muhibb, and tabii (follower), and sihr (in-law).[11]

 

We learn that the word Mawla contains a spectrum of meaning which include ‘helper’, among others. To project its meaning to sultan (authority) liberally is to ignore the ambiguity which is inherent in the term. There has to be additional evidence to identify a particular meaning beyond the term itself. Furthermore, it requires stretching the term Mawla for it to mean wali (governor).

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

 

There is nothing in the statement which clearly indicates that it’s (the word Mawla) intended meaning is the Caliphate. That is because the word Mawla is similar to the word wali. Allah says:

إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللّٰهُ وَرَسُوْلُهُ وَالَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوْا

Your [Wali] ally is none but Allah, and also His Messenger and those who have believed. [12]

وَإِنْ تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللّٰهَ هُوَ مَوْلَاهُ وَجِبْرِيْلُ وَصَالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذٰلِكَ ظَهِيْرٌ

But if you support one another against him – then indeed Allah is his [Mawla] protector, as well as Jibril and all righteous believers, and the angels, moreover, are [his] assistants. [13]

 

Allah explains that the Messenger is the wali (friend) of the believers and that they are his friends as well. In the same manner Allah is the friend of the believers and they are His friends, and likewise the believers are friends of one another, since friendship is the opposite of enmity and it is established from two sides.

If one of the two friends is greater than the other in status then his friendship is a form of goodwill and the friendship of the other is a form of obedience and worship. This is similar to the way Allah loves the believers and they love Him. Friendship is therefore the opposite of enmity, warring, and deception. The disbelievers do not love Allah and (instead) oppose Him and His Messenger and take Him as an enemy.

Allah says:

لَا تَتَّخِذُوْا عَدُوِّيْ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ

Do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies.[14]

 

In similar manner Allah says:

فَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوْا فَأْذَنُوْا بِحَرْبٍ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرَسُوْلِهٖ

If you do not, then be informed of a war (against you) from Allah and His Messenger.[15]

 

Allah is the friend of the believers and their Mawla, removing them from the darkness to the light. If that is the case then the meaning of Allah being the friend of the believers and their Mawla, and the Messenger being their friend and their Mawla, and ‘Ali (also) being their Mawla, refers to friendship, good relationship and support.

The believers have pledged to Allah and His Messenger such allegiance that excludes the possibility of enmity. This ruling, however, applies to all believers. ‘Ali is included among the believers, whose description is that they take other believers as their friends and allies and they take him as their friend and ally.

This hadith therefore establishes ‘Ali’s allegiance inwardly and affirms that he is deserving of friendship inwardly and outwardly. This dispels whatever has been said against him by his enemies from the Khawarij and the Nawasib.

There is nothing in the hadith to prove that the believers have no other Mawla besides ‘Ali. How can that be inferred when the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had many Mawlas, namely, the pious believers—which includes ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu by way of priority—who took him as their friend? The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that the tribes of Aslam, Ghifar, Muzaynah, Juhaynah, Quraysh, and the Ansar, had no Mawla besides Allah and his Messenger[16]. Allah made them the Mawlas of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam just as He made the pious believers His Mawlas, and Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam their Mawla.

In summary, there is a slight difference between Wali and Mawla, and a significant difference between these terms and Wali (governor). The meaning of Wilayah (the opposite of enmity) is at one end of the spectrum, and the term wilayah referring to leadership is at the other. The wilayah spoken of in the hadith refers to the former and not the latter. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not say, “Whoever I am his wali (governor) ‘Ali is his wali.” The word used (in the hadith) is “Whoever’s Mawla I am, ‘Ali is his Mawla.”

The word Mawla cannot refer to wali (governor) since friendship is established mutually. Indeed, the believers are the friends of Allah and He is their Mawla (guardian).

As for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam being more worthy of them (the believers) than themselves, this is only established for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as it is a unique feature of his nubuwwah. If we assume that he instated a khalifah to be the leader after him that would not mean he is more worthy of every believer than himself in the same manner that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives will not be his wives. If this meaning was intended then he would have said, “Whoever I am more worthy of him than himself, ‘Ali is more worthy of him than himself,” but no one has said this and no one has transmitted this, and its meaning is definitely false. The Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam being more worthy of every believer than himself is an established matter in his life and death.

The Caliphate of ‘Ali, on the assumption of its existence, only came into being after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam death. It did not exist during the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam life. Therefore, it is not possible for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to have been the khalifah during the era of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he could not therefore be more worthy of every believer than himself, rather, he could not have been the Mawla of any believer if what is intended is the Caliphate. This is amongst the factors which prove that Caliphate was not intended. The fact that he is a friend of every believer is established during the era of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whose implementation was not postponed until the Prophet’s demise as opposed to the Caliphate which could only come into effect after the demise of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Therefore, it is known that this (what is mentioned in the hadith) is not that which the Rafidah intend.

‘Ali being the Mawla of every believer is true during the life of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his death, and even after the death of ‘Ali. Even today ‘Ali remains the “Mawla” of every believer even though he is not the governor over the people. In a similar manner all the believers are friends of one another living and deceased.[17]

We have learnt that the term ‘Mawla’ has many meanings. Allah has described the believers as Mawlas for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The term Mawla is not used exclusively for the meaning of leadership in the Qur’an and hadith. The meaning of Mawla is different from Wali. If the term Mawla meant Khalifah, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not a Mawla during the Prophet’s life; however if it meant friend and ally it applies to him during the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam life and remains applicable until the Day of Judgement.

 

How was it understood?

Tijani projects the hadith as an explicit nomination of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu for the office of Caliphate by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. We have thus far shown that the context of the hadith as well as the meaning of the term Mawla suggests otherwise. An often overlooked element is whether ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, or any of the other Companions, considered this as appointment by Prophetic directive.

Al Bukhari narrates with his chain to al Zuhri

 

عن الزهري قال أخبرني عبد الله بن كعب بن مالك الأنصاري وكان كعب بن مالك أحد الثلاثة الذين تيب عليهم أن عبد الله بن عباس أخبره أن علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه خرج من عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في وجعه الذي توفي فيه فقال الناس يا أبا حسن كيف أصبح رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال أصبح بحمد الله بارئا فأخذ بيده عباس بن عبد المطلب فقال له أنت والله بعد ثلاث عبد العصا وإني والله لأرى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم سوف يتوفى من وجعه هذا إني لأعرف وجوه بني عبد المطلب عند الموت اذهب بنا إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فلنسأله فيمن هذا الأمر إن كان فينا علمنا ذلك وإن كان في غيرنا علمناه فأوصى بنا فقال علي إنا والله لئن سألناها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فمنعناها لا يعطيناها الناس بعده وإني والله لا أسألها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

Al Zuhri related from ‘Abdullah ibn Ka’b ibn Malik, and Ka’b ibn Malik was one of the three whom Allah pardoned,[18] that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas[19] informed him that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib emerged from the [home of the] Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam during his final illness and the people said, “O Abu al Hassan; How is the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam this morning?” He said, “All praise be to Allah, he is well this morning.”

‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al Muttalib took him by the hand and said to him, “I swear by Allah, in three days’ time you will be a subject. By Allah, I think that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will die of this illness. I recognize the look of death in the faces of the Banu ‘Abd al Muttalib when they are dying. Let us go to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and ask him who will take charge over this matter (Caliphate). If it is for us, then we will know that, and if it is for someone other than us, we will know and he can advise him to look after us.”

‘Ali replied, “By Allah, if we ask him for it and he refuses us, then the people would never give it to us afterwards. By Allah, I will not ask it from the Messenger of Allah.”

 

If ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was nominated by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam explicitly at Ghadir Khum, why would ‘Abbas even bother to ask the Prophet about Caliphate since it ought to be known that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was given the directive for succession? Furthermore, why did ‘Ali not correct ‘Abbas and acknowledge that he was appointed? Why did ‘Ali fear the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam not granting him the Caliphate if he was already appointed? The reaction of ‘Ali clearly indicates that he never considered himself appointed by any explicit directive.

Tijani lambasted ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu for his audacity in the presence of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the Thursday prior to his demise. We have demonstrated earlier in this book that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu is innocent of all the false allegations cast against him by Tijani and others[20]. There is, however, another significant element to bear in mind. If the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam nominated ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu at Ghadir, why accuse ‘Umar of intervening in a matter already decided on. On the other hand, if whatever the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was going to write was so significant, and the guidance of mankind depended on it, does that not call into question the unmistakable directive for succession at Ghadir Khum? The implication of either argument cannot be reconciled with the other.

The argument against the Sahabah on the Thursday calamity is a self-inflicting injury to the argument of nomination based on the hadith of Ghadir. Any argument in favour of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu based on the hadith of Ghadir Khum exonerates the Sahabah on the issue of the Thursday calamity. The two are mutually exclusive, based on Shia reasoning. It takes a special kind of logic to reconcile these two conflicting arguments. Tijani’s arguments bring to light unexplored dimensions of truth and objectivity!

On the other hand, the explanation and interpretation given by the Ahlus Sunnah not only appears to be based on more persuasive evidence, but is free of ambiguity, accounts for all factors and possible objections, is in harmony with sound reasoning and aligns with the mutually accepted historical facts.

 

The alleged congratulatory procession

Tijani claims that a procession was laid out for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and at the forefront of those who congratulated him at this ‘magnificent’ event were Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. He references this dubious narration to a number of sources.

If we refer to Musnad Ahmed we will find him mentioning the hadith and in it:

 

فلقيه عمر بعد ذلك فقال هنيئا يا بن أبي طالب أصبحت وأمسيت مولى كل مؤمن ومؤمنة

Then ‘Umar met him after that and said, “Congratulations to you, O son of Abu Talib! You have become the Mawla of every believer, male and female.”[21]

 

The narrator does not mention Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu at all.

A similar is reported in the book Tadhkirat al Khawas, however there is no mention whatsoever of a procession nor of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu congratulating him; let alone Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Al Suyuti in his al Hawi li al Fatawa[22] records the narration which mentions ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu congratulating ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, but here too there is no mention of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

This narration appears a number of times in Kanz al ‘Ummal under the virtues of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu but you will not find any mention of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, let alone mention of a procession to congratulate him.[23]

Ibn Kathir records it in al Bidayah wa al Nihayah with multiple and varying narrations and in it there is no mention of a procession of congratulations nor any mention of Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[24]

Tijani’s deceptive habits would have become apparent to the reader by now and here too he cannot resist distorting the narration to suit his preconceived version of events. The only reason he included the name of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was to fool the unwary reader—who is unable to research these multiple sources—into thinking that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu usurped the Caliphate from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu despite acknowledging and even “congratulating” him upon his appointment. However the truth has been separated from falsehood and Tijani’s lies have once again been exposed.

As for the narration which contains the additional comment of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “Congratulations to you O ‘Ali! You have become the Mawla of every believing male and female,” this portion of the hadith is not authentic since it only appears in the narration of ‘Ali ibn Zaid ibn Jud’an who has been graded weak by the scholars.[25]

 

Tijani sets out to deconstruct the doctrine of Shura notwithstanding his paltry arguments in favour of Nass. He says:

 

As for the alleged popular election of Abu Bakr on “The Day of al Saqifah” and his subsequent acclamation in the mosque; it seems that it was just an allegation without foundation. How could it be by popular agreement when so many people were absent during the acclamation? People like: Ali, al Abbas, most of the house of Bani Hashim, Usama ibn Zaid, al Zubair, Salman al Farisi, Abu Dharr al Ghifari, al Miqdad ibn al Aswad, Ammar ibn Yasir, Hudhayfa ibn al Yaman, Khuzayma ibn Thabit, Abu Burayd al Aslami, al Bura ibn Azib, Abu Ka’b, Sahl ibn Hanif, Saad ibn Ubada, Qays ibn Saad, Abu Ayub al Ansari, Jabir ibn Saad, Khalid ibn Saad, and many others.

So where was, that alleged popular agreement? The absence of Ali alone from the acclamation is sufficient to criticize that meeting because he was the only candidate for the caliphate, nominated by the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, on the assumption that there was no direct text regarding such a nomination.[26]

 

Our comment:

The keystone concept that we alluded to at the beginning of this discussion is the concept of explicit nomination (Nass) by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This concept is foundationally flawed since no evidence exists to support it. The hadith of Ghadir Khum is untenable because it is ambiguous and the only plausible interpretation of it enhances the Sunni position on this issue as we have demonstrated earlier. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not even understand the hadith of Ghadir Khum to be Nass.

Tijani’s objection to the nomination of a Khalifah by Shura rests on the absence of the said Sahabah. To prove their absence he has referred us to the following sources, al Tabari, Tarikh ibn al Athir, Tarikh al Khulafa’, Tarikh al Khamis, al Istiab, without indicating to the volume or page numbers of any of the aforementioned sources.

 

Integrity of Tijani’s Quotes

It doesn’t come as a surprise when the facts mentioned by Tijani are inaccurate and the references quoted provide a different perspective. After consulting the references provided by Tijani we have come to realise that his strategy in this section is deceit.

Under the heading, Hadith al Saqifah, al Tabari presents a number of narrations, some of them authentic and some of them weak. He mentions also the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas when people suggested they would nominate such-and-such a person as a leader after ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu demise. ‘Umar gathered everyone in the Masjid and during the talk he mentioned the story of the Saqifah. It reads:

 

وإنه قد كان من خبرنا حين توفى الله نبيه صلى الله عليه و سلم أن الأنصار خالفونا واجتمعوا بأسرهم في سقيفة بني ساعدة وخالف عنا علي والزبير ومن معهما تخلفوا عنا في بيت فاطمة واجتمع المهاجرون إلى أبي بكر فقلت لأبي بكر يا أبا بكر انطلق بنا إلى إخواننا هؤلاء من الأنصار فانطلقنا نريدهم فلما دنونا منهم لقينا منهم رجلان صالحان فذكرا ما تمالأ عليه القوم فقالا أين تريدون يا معشر المهاجرين ؟ فقلنا نريد إخواننا هؤلاء من الأنصار فقالا لا عليكم أن لا تقربوهم اقضوا أمركم فقلت والله لنأتينهم فانطلقنا حتى أتيناهم في سقيفة بني ساعدة فإذا رجل مزمل بين ظهرانيهم فقلت من هذا ؟ فقالوا هذا سعد بن عبادة فقلت ما له ؟ قالوا يوعك فلما جلسنا قليلا تشهد خطيبهم فأثنى على الله بما هو أهله ثم قال أما بعد فنحن أنصار الله وكتيبة الإسلام وأنتم معشر المهاجرين رهط وقد دفت دافة من قومكم فإذا هم يريدون أن يختزلونا من أصلنا وأن يحضنونا من الأمر . فلما سكت أردت أن أتكلم وكنت قد زورت مقالة أعجبتني أردت أن أقدمها بين يدي أبي بكر وكنت أداري منه بعض الحد فلما أردت أن أتكلم قال أبو بكر على رسلك فكرهت أن أغضبه فتكلم أبو بكر فكان هو أحلم مني وأوقر والله ما ترك من كلمة أعجبتني في تزويري إلا قال في بديهته مثلها أو أفضل منها حتى سكت فقال ما ذكرتم فيكم من خير فأنتم له أهل ولن يعرف هذا الأمر إلا لهذا الحي من قريش هم أوسط العرب نسبا ودارا وقد رضيت لكم أحد هذين الرجلين فبايعوا أيهما شئتم فأخذ بيدي وبيد أبي عبيدة بن الجراح وهو جالس بيننا فلم أكره مما قال غيرها كان والله أن أقدم فتضرب عنقي لا يقربني ذلك من إثم أحب إلي من أن أتأمر على قوم فيهم أبو بكر اللهم إلا أن تسول لي نفسي عند الموت شيئا لا أجده الآن . فقال قائل من الأنصار أنا جذيلها المحكك وعذيقها المرجب منا أمير ومنكم أمير يا معشر قريش . فكثر اللغط وارتفعت الأصوات حتى فرقت من الاختلاف فقلت ابسط يدك يا أبا بكر فبسط يده فبايعته وبايعه المهاجرون ثم بايعته الأنصار

 

What happened when Allah took his Messenger is that the Ansar had assembled under the canopy of Banu Sa’idah, whilst ‘Ali and Zubair and those with them were absent from us in the house of Fatimah. The Muhajirin gathered around Abu Bakr and I said, “Let us go to our brothers from the Ansar.”

So we set of heading towards them. On the way two pious men who witnessed Badr met us and said, “Where are you heading, O Muhajirin?”

We said, “We intend meeting our brothers from the Ansar.”

They said, “Return and discuss your matter amongst yourselves (Muhajirin).”

We replied, “By Allah! We will go and see them.”

(He said) We went to them and they were gathered at the meeting place of Banu Sa’idah and amongst them there was a man covered with his shawl.

I said, “Who is this?” and they replied, “Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah.”

I asked, “What is the matter with him?” They replied, “He is sick.”

Then a man amongst them stood up praised Allah and said, “Indeed we are the Ansar and the legion of Islam and you are the Quraysh, the kinsmen of our Prophet, and a group of you has come to us …”

‘Umar says, “When I realised they intended to leave us without a say and exclude us from the matter… I had prepared an impressive speech in my mind which I intended to present before Abu Bakr in such a manner that it would pacify his anger somewhat (if I spoke out of turn). When I intended to speak he bade me to keep silent and I did not want to disobey him.

Then he stood up and praised Allah, and he was more composed and tolerant than me. He did not omit a single thing I had formulated in my mind that I intended to say if I had to speak except that he expressed it more eloquently.

He said, “O Ansar! You have not mentioned a single virtue about yourselves except that you are worthy of it. (That being said) the Arabs do not recognise leadership except in this tribe of the Quraysh. They are the greatest of Arabs in terms of residence and lineage. I am pleased with either of these two men. Pledge your allegiance to either of the two you prefer”, and he grabbed hold of my hand and the hand of Abu ‘Ubaydah.

‘Umar said, “By Allah, I approved of everything he said besides this statement. For me to be brought forward and have my neck chopped off was easier for me than to be selected as the leader of a community which included Abu Bakr.

When Abu Bakr completed his speech a man amongst them stood up and said, “I am the one with the solution and most deserving of consultation; a leader from amongst you and a leader from amongst us, O Quraysh!”

Then the voices started to rise and the noise started to increase. I said to Abu Bakr, “Extend your hand so that I can give you the pledge!” and he extended his hand and I gave him my pledge, and the Muhajirin gave him their pledge, and the Ansar gave him their pledge…”[27]

 

Then Tabari narrates by way of Walid ibn Jumay’ al Zuhri, who said, ‘Amr ibn Harith said to Sa’id ibn Zaid:

 

“Did you witness the death of the Messenger?”

He said, “Yes.”

He asked, “When was Abu Bakr given the pledge?”

He said, “The day the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away, they disliked remaining even a single day not as a congregation.”

He asked, “Did anyone oppose them?”

He said, “No, except for an apostate or someone on the verge of apostasy, Allah saved the Ansar (from that fate) and united them under him (Abu Bakr).”

He asked, “Did anyone from amongst the Muhajirin refrain?” He said, “No, the Muhajirin gave their pledge in succession without forsaking him.”[28]

 

Then al Tabari brings the narration of Habib ibn Abi Thabit[29], wherein he says:

 

‘Ali was in his home when someone came to him and said, “Abu Bakr has sat down for the pledge.” He left the house in a shirt (a top) without an izar (lower garment) and without a rida (overthrow) out of haste,to avoid lagging behind, and to give his pledge. Then he sat down and sent for his cloak, and went to him, honoured him and remained in his company.[30]

 

Then al Tabari forwards the hadith[31] narrated by al Bukhari regarding Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha seeking her inheritance and this narration includes the pledge given by ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu[32]. And finally he forwards the narration of Anas ibn Malik regarding the general pledge to Abu Bakr after the pledge at Saqifah. Al Tabari mentions nothing besides these narrations.

As for the book Tarikh Ibn al Athir[33] there is no mention of those Tijani claims were absent from giving the pledge to Abu Bakr. Under the chapter, “The hadith of Saqifah and the Caliphate of Abu Bakr’, he narrates the hadith of the Saqifah and the narration relating ‘Ali giving his pledge to Abu Bakr at the beginning of the Caliphate when he heard about the pledge. Ibn Athir says:

The correct view is that Amir al Mu’minin (‘Ali ibn Abi Talib) gave his pledge after six months.

 

Then he mentions the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas during the Caliphate of ‘Umar and his ascending the mimbar and mentioning the pledge which was previously mentioned. Then he mentions the narration of Abu ‘Umrah al Ansari concerning the assembly in the Saqifah which resulted in all the people giving their pledge to Abu Bakr. He also affirms that ‘Ali’ and others from Banu Hashim pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr after the passing of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. We have already discussed the interrupted chain in this narration, and that it contradicts the authentic narration on the subject. This is what Ibn al Athir mentioned in his Tarikh, and he does not mention anything to give credibility to Tijani claim.

As for the book Tarikh al Khulafa’ which is ascribed to Ibn Qutaybah it is acceptable for us not to refer to it on account of the doubt, at the very least, in its authorship. This is the first reason. Secondly because of the reliable books we transmitted from, and thirdly he did not specify the page number to refer to. Any further discussion on this text by Ibn Qutaybah will only be a tedious repetition of what was mentioned earlier in the book.[34]

As for Tarikh al Khamis, sadly, I could not find this book. I won’t be surprised if this is a book of the Rafidah.

Lastly, the book al Istiab fi Marifat al Ashab by Ibn ‘Abd al Barr, is one where the author collects the greatest number of narrations proving the Caliphate of Abu Bakr; more than any other book. He relates the narration of Nazzal ibn Sabrah (and what follows thereafter), from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها أبو بكر ثم عمر.(وروى محمد بن الحنفية وعبد خير وأبو جحيفة، عن علي مثله )

The best of this Ummah after its Prophet is Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar.

Ibn ‘Abd al Barr says: “Muhammad ibn Hanafiyyah and ‘Abd Khayr and Abu Juhayfah narrate something similar from ‘Ali.”

 

وكان علي رضي الله عنه يقول:سبق رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وثنى أبو بكر وثلث عمر ثم حفتنا فتنة يعفو الله فيها عمن يشاء

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu used to say, “The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam preceded, Abu Bakr was second, ‘Umar was third, and then sedition (fitnah) enveloped us and Allah pardons whomsoever he wills.”

 

وقال عبد خير: سمعت عليا يقول: رحم الله أبا بكر كان أول من جمع بين اللوحين

May Allah be merciful to Abu Bakr, he was the first to gather (the Qur’an) between the two covers.

 

وروينا عن عبد الله بن جعفر بن أبي طالب من وجوه أنه قال: ولينا أبو بكر فخير خليفة أرحمه بنا وأحناه علينا وقال مسروق: حب أبي بكر وعمر ومعرفة فضلهما من السنة

And we narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar ibn Abi Talib from many chains that he said, “Abu Bakr reigned over us and he was a good khalifah. Allah made him merciful and compassionate towards us.”

Masruq says, “Loving Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and acknowledging their merit is part of the Sunnah.”

 

He also records the hadith in which the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam requested Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu to lead the congregational prayer. He mentions the hadith of Hudhayfah who narrates that the Messenger said:

 

اقتدوا بالذين من بعدي: أبي بكر وعمر، واهتدوا بهدي عمار، وتمسكوا بعهد اِبن أم عبد

Follow the two who come after me, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and be guided with the guidance of ‘Ammar, and hold onto the covenant of Ibn Umm ‘Abd (i.e. Ibn Mas’ud).

 

Then Ibn ‘Abd al Barr comments:

 

He was given the pledge the day the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed on at Saqifah of Bani Sa’idah. Then he was given the general pledge the Tuesday after that day. Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah, and a group of the Khazraj, and a group of the Quraysh, were absent from that pledge. Then they, at a later stage, gave their pledge with the exception of Sa’d. There is an opinion which states that no one amongst the Quraysh was absent from the pledge of that day. There is another opinion which suggests that from amongst the Quraysh ‘Ali, Zubair, Talhah, Khalid ibn Sa’id ibn al ‘As, were absent (for the general pledge) but gave their pledge afterwards. There is also the opinion that ‘Ali only gave his pledge after the death of Fatimah and then remained obedient to him and praising him and honouring him.

 

He also quotes ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud:

 

The Ansar withdrew (from their position) the day of the Saqifah on account of what ‘Umar said, “I remind you of Allah! Do you know that the Messenger commanded Abu Bakr to lead the salah for the people?”

They said, “Yes!”

He said, “So who amongst you is pleased with removing him from a position the Prophet placed him in?”

They said, “None of us is pleased with that, we seek Allah’s forgiveness.”

 

Hassan al Basri narrates from Qays ibn ‘Ubadah, who said:

 

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said to me, “The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was sick for some days and nights when the call for the salah was proclaimed. He said, ‘Instruct Abu Bakr to lead the salah.’ When the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed on I pondered about things and realised that the salah is the distinguishing mark of Islam and the foundation of the din. We were, therefore, pleased for our worldly affairs with the one the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was pleased with for us in our religious affairs, and we gave our pledge to Abu Bakr.”[35]

 

This is what Ibn ‘Abd al Barr has mentioned in his book. Nothing mentioned by Ibn ‘Abd al Barr, or in the previous books, confirms what Tijani alleges. They all confirm the pledge of the Muslims to him at the Saqifah of Banu Sa’idah and the general pledge from all the people.

Does Tijani think nothing of his readers that he would send them on a wild goose chase? Is it possible that he assumed that the once sceptic reader—who has read this far into his book—will be innocent enough to accept his quotes without verification?

 

Requirements for Valid Bay’ah

If we assume—momentarily and for the sake of argument— that the said Sahabah did not give their pledge to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu it still does not compromise the pledge as it does not require the agreement of all the people. Rather, the agreement of the people of authority suffices. This is what the scholars have agreed on. Imam al Nawawi says:

 

As for the pledge, the scholars agree that the pledge of each and every person is not a requirement for it to be valid; nor is the pledge of each and every person of authority required. The only condition is that there should be agreement among those from whom it is possible to reach a consensus; amongst the scholars, leaders, and prominent persons.[36]

 

Al Mazari says:

 

‘Ali’s justification for lagging behind in giving his pledge— notwithstanding the other excuses given by him—is that the pledge to the imam suffices if it originates from the people of authority. It is not necessary that all are included and it is not necessary for each person to be present and to place his hand into his hand. Rather, observing a disposition of obedience to him, following him, not opposing him, and not breaking away from him; is sufficient. This was the situation of ‘Ali. The only issue is that he delayed in coming to Abu Bakr and we mentioned the reason for that.[37]

 

Al Sharif al Radi quotes ‘Ali on this matter in Nahj al Balaghah:

 

By my life! If leadership was not established until the general people were present it would not be possible. Rather, its people decide regardless of those who are absent from it. The one present does not have the right to retract and the one absent cannot choose.[38]

 

We realize that the absence of an individual or a small group does not affect the validity of the pledge. So Tijani’s conclusion, even though he doesn’t accept Shura, is fundamentally challenged.

To summarize; we have shown that Tijani has no evidence to prove that Caliphate is established by direct nomination. In addition to this, the evidence that he uses to argue his point is inconclusive and irreconcilable with other evidence produced by him. The Sunni interpretation of the same evidence does not require juggling between conflicting evidence, and is in harmony with fact and reason.

 

Tijani’s objection to Abu Bakr’s Bay’ah evolves:

 

The acclamation of Abu Bakr was without consultation; in fact it took the people by surprise, especially when the men in charge of the Muslim affairs were busy preparing for the funeral of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The citizens of al Medinah were shocked by the death of their Prophet, and then they forced the acclamation on the people and even threatened to burn the house of Fatima if those who were absent from the acclamation refused to leave it. So how could we say that the acclamation was implemented through consultation and popular agreement?[39]

 

Our comment:

If the pledge of Abu Bakr occurred without consultation and while the people were in a state of bewilderment then how does Tijani reconcile this statement of his with his previous statement when he alleged that there was no consensus since a small group of the Sahabah delayed in giving their pledge? Subhan Allah, Tijani has devolved from misdirection and smokescreens to juggling tricks; all under the cloak of objectivity and impartiality.

He says that the pledge occurred without consultation with the Muslims. How can that be and we have confirmed from Tijani’s sources that it occurred with the consultation of the Muslims and Abu Bakr was given the pledge in the Saqifah and in the general pledge of the Muslims in the Masjid?

He says, “The fate-stricken people of Madinah were taken aback by the death of their Prophet and the people were coerced into offering the pledge,”

 

Subhan Allah! Who coerced the Muslims of Madinah into giving their pledge? Was it Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu? Was it ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu? How did they force them? Did the angels assist them? Were the Muslims so small in number that Abu Bakr could coerce them?

If the Muslims did not pledge allegiance to him, then why did ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, the person nominated as the khalifah through ‘clear explicit textual evidence’, and the rest of the people of authority, and the rest of the people of Madinah, do nothing to stop Abu Bakr and the small band with him? How was Abu Bakr able to gain control of the Caliphate in spite of the opposition of the Ummah?

The reader will have to excuse us for a moment since the level of absurdity in Tijani’s line of reasoning has rendered us speechless.

 

Shia Scholars Refute Tijani’s Allegation

We are going to overlook Tijani’s indiscretion momentarily and focus on the writings of some of the scholars which are trusted by the Twelver Shia. We find even these scholars confirming this reality of Abu Bakr’s pledge. Hassan ibn Musa al Nawbakhti, writes his book Firaq al Shia:

 

The majority of the people sided with Abu Bakr. They remained with him and with ‘Umar supporting them and pleased with them.[40]

 

Ibrahim al Thaqafi, one of the senior Shia scholars, records an excerpt of alleged correspondence wherein ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote to one of his companions:

 

Nothing alarmed me besides the swarming of the people around Abu Bakr and their hastening towards him to offer their pledge to him.[41]

 

The editor of the book explains:

 

(The word) inthiyal (translated as swarming) means their hasty approach from every direction (similar to the manner that dust scatters) towards Abu Bakr. Majlisi says, “Ijfal means to hasten.”[42]

 

As for Ibn Mutahhar, he too was unable to deny this reality and tried to soften the blow. He says:

 

Most people gave their pledge desiring material gain.[43]

 

Senior Shia scholars could not hide from the reality of the pledge to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Therefore, they sort to make light of it by insinuating that this was done only for material gain. Even if he buries his head in the sand, Tijani cannot save himself the embarrassment of this gaffe.

We have dealt with the allegation of burning the house of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha previously. It was proven that this was a fabrication and cannot be established. Reliable narrations indicate that there were healthy relations between the household of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the household of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise. Repeating the evidence here will prove tedious and redundant. Instead we refer the reader to the relevant section in this book.[44]

 

Tijani’s claim that ‘Umar Objected to Abu Bakr’s Appointment

 

Tijani goes on to say:

 

Umar ibn al Khattab himself testified that that acclamation was a mistake – may Allah protect the Muslims from its evil -, and that whoever repeated it should be killed, or he might have said that if someone called for a similar action there would be no acclamation for him or for those who acclaimed him.”[45]

 

Responding to Tijani’s claim that ‘Umar Objected to Abu Bakr’s Appointment

This is not how the narration from ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu goes. It does not appear this way in al Bukhari and any of the other books. It is an excerpt of a lengthier hadith related by Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu which states that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood up one day addressing the people in order to correct a false notion circulated by some people. Included in what he said is the following:

 

It has reached me that someone amongst you has said, “By Allah! Certainly, if ‘Umar dies I will offer my pledge to so and so.” No one should delude himself and say that the pledge given to Abu Bakr occurred unexpectedly and was then concluded (therefore it will occur in this manner in the future). Indeed, it occurred in that manner but Allah protected (the Ummah) from its harm. There is none amongst you beyond reproach like Abu Bakr. So if any person gives the pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a Khalifah) without consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should not be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed.[46]

 

The word ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu used “faltah” means unexpectedly and without preparation. The pledge of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu occurred in that manner, without preparation for it. However, Allah protected the Ummah from potential harm or its fitnah (sedition). ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu statement, “There is none amongst you beyond reproach like Abu Bakr,” means there is none amongst you who has reached the status and virtue of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The proofs indicating his legitimacy as the khalifah are clear and the peoples’ gathering around him is something beyond your capacity.

Al Khattabi says:

 

He meant, the most superior amongst them is unable to match Abu Bakr in rank and virtue. Therefore, no one amongst you should hope to achieve what Abu Bakr achieved in terms of receiving the pledge from a small group then from the Muslims in general as they gathered around him, not disputing his legitimacy. With Abu Bakr they did not require any verification and they did not require any additional consultation. No one is like him in that regard.[47]

 

Of course, the reason for this statement of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that he was aware someone had said, “When ‘Umar dies I will offer my pledge to so and so,” in other words, that person intended to replicate the situation and process by which the pledge was granted to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu considered it difficult, if not unlikely for the people to agree on the leadership of a specific individual as the Sahabah agreed upon the appointment of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Therefore, whoever intended to receive the pledge in such a manner places his life in danger. That is why ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “in delusion and have themselves killed,” in other words, whoever does that deludes himself and his companion, and places their life in danger.[48]

Tijani reproduced this statement of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and stripped it of its context. This was a desperate attempt to condemn the Caliphate. Once we understand the reason behind ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu statement Tijani’s argument appears rather fatuous. ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu statement makes known the virtue and precedence of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the plausibility in the manner he was nominated. It further indicates the unlikely future occurrence of such a pledge.

 

Tijani’s Claim That ‘Ali objected to Abu Bakr’s Appointment

Tijani does not realise what a terrible portrait he paints of our Master ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu when he produces this questionable quote:

By Allah, Ibn Abi Quhafa has got it! And he knows that my position [regarding the caliphate] is like that of the pole in relation to the millstone! The torrent flows from me, and the bird will never reach me![49]

 

Responding to Tijani’s Claim That ‘Ali objected to Abu Bakr’s Appointment

Our respect for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu demands that we apply a prudent approach of verifying something before attributing it to him. This statement is not reliably proven from him, and appears peculiar to his disposition. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not power hungry and displayed the greatest amount of respect for Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This statement is anomalous with what has been reliably transmitted from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and on these grounds disregarded.

‘Ali’s pledge to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, whether immediately or after six months, is undeniably proven. How then can it be said that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said what is attributed to him in what is called al Khutbah al Shaqshaqiyyah? If we say that he indeed gave his pledge and that the speech is a fabrication then this solves all problems. If it is asserted that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave the pledge and then practiced Taqiyyah, this becomes problematic. It does not befit ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to have the clear textual evidence with him and to withdraw from it because of any person and to display conformity with the pledge of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as this is the core of nifaq and cowardice. Allah knows that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was neither a hypocrite nor a coward.

If we refer to the letters of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu we find it contradicting what Tijani transmitted.[50] In one of his letters to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu writes:

 

The people who gave me the pledge are the people who gave Abu Bakr the pledge, and ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman, upon the same conditions they gave their pledge to them. It is not befitting for the one present to choose (the position) and for the one absent to reject as the consultation is the right of the Muhajirin and Ansar. Therefore, when they concur upon a man and call him the Imam that is consent from them. If someone defects from their choice on account of some criticism or bid’ah they returned from where he left. If he refused they fought him on account of his following other than the way of the believers. Allah will give him what he deserves.[51]

 

Is it possible for the same person to have said, “Indeed, the son of Abu Quhafah appropriated it,” and then write a letter emphasizing the legitimacy of his custodianship with these words, “The people who gave me the pledge are the people who gave Abu Bakr the pledge, and ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman”? Likewise the statement, “He knows that my position in relation to it (the Caliphate) is the position of the pivot,” could it be possible to have been said by same person who said, “It is not befitting for the one present to choose and for the one absent to reject… the consultation is the right of the Muhajirin and Ansar. Therefore, when they concur upon a man and call him the Imam that is consent from them. If someone defects from their choice on account of some criticism or bid’ah they returned from where he left. If he refused they fought him on account of his following other than the way of the believers”?

I call upon people blessed with intelligence and reason to reflect; can there be a contradiction more ridiculous than this? Is that not a clear proof that the book Nahj al Balaghah is not entirely transmitted from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu? The truth is that most of it is merely ascribed to him. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu used to advise against contradiction. How then can these blatant contradictions apply to him?

If we take the letter from ‘Ali to Muawiyah, we discover that even the Shia texts prove that Abu Bakr’s pledge was not coerced upon any one, rather, it was through the pledge of the Muhajirin and the Ansar. When one considers this it becomes clear what a big blow this is to Tijani’s argument. How can it be said that ‘Ali’s nomination was a result of Nass? Both Sunni and Shia sources indicate that Caliphate was accomplished by Shura and no Nass exists. In the words of Tijani, if one rids himself of bias and surrenders himself entirely to the truth, one will find that Caliphate was established through Shura, and that the pledge was given to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Tijani’s next objection is that Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah launched an attack on Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and attempted to prevent him from the Caliphate and had it not been that he was ill he would have opposed him and fought him to the end of this affair.

 

Our response:

Even if we assume this narration to be authentic it would be a criticism against Sa’d radiya Llahu ‘anhu and not Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, this fantasy in the narration is too alarming for it to have been the behaviour of a companion the likes of Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

We have repeatedly established that mere transmitting of information from the book Tarikh al Khulafa’ ascribed to Ibn Qutaybah does not make it accurate. This is a report of that kind.

Instead of referring to texts from the Ahlus Sunnah, once again I will respond with the quote from the Shia book Nahj al Balaghah when ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said that the Muhajirin and the Ansar gave their pledge to Abu Bakr, and that consultation was their right, and that anyone defected from their matter because of some criticism or bid’ah they returned him from whence he came.

On the assumption that what Tijani claimed about Sa’d is actually true, then what made him deserving of praise? What proof is there for Sa’d to justify his attack on Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma when the Muhajirin and the Ansar had given him (Abu Bakr) their pledge?

Does this alleged action of Sa’d radiya Llahu ‘anhu undermine the consultation of the Muhajirin and Ansar? If his rebellion against them was on account of a criticism, or intending to fight them, would his action be justified or would it be necessary to deter him and even fight him on account of his following other than the way of the believers?

If Tijani denies this then it is necessary to reject the important books relied upon by the Shia, since denial in this instance is acknowledgement of the fact that these books are nothing but lies forged in the name of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his family.

If Tijani maintains the truthfulness of the statement then this results in one of two outcomes. Either one acknowledges that Sa’d’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu statement and action were in opposition to the truth, and the consultation of the believers, and this would establish not only the validity of the Caliphate, but the error in Sa’d’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu judgement. The alternative conclusion—which is no doubt the actual case—is to acknowledge that what has been transmitted about Sa’d is a lie against him.

If we accept the latter conclusion it certainly proves that the book Tarikh al Khulafa’ and what has been transmitted in it is false and has no basis, whether in its chain or text. The corollary of this conclusion further compels you to acknowledge the forgery in the narrations attributed to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha regarding her inheritance, and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhuma treatment of her.

All that is left to say to Tijani on this discussion is: Which of the two statements do you objectively choose, O objective one?

 

NEXT ⇒ 5. Tijani’s proofs for the superiority of ‘Ali over Abu Bakr


[1]Then I was guided, p. 135

[2]Sahih al Bukhari, The Book of Laws, 6:6791

[3]Sahih Muslim with the commentary, 15:2387

[4]Sahih al Bukhari, The Chapter on the Merits of the Sahabah, 3459; Sahih Muslim with its commentary, The Chapter on the Merits of the Sahabah, 15:2386

[5]  Op. Cit. Hadith no. 4364

[6]Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith no. 648

[7]Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 1, p. 500

[8]  The meaning of this word will be explained shortly.

[9]Then I was guided, p. 135

[10]Mukhtar al Sihah, p. 306-307

[11]al Qamus al Muhit, p. 1732

[12]  Surah al Ma’idah: 55

[13]  Surah al Tahrim: 4

[14]  Surah al Mumtahinah: 1

[15]  Surah al Baqarah: 279

[16]  Refer to al Bukhari, Kitab al Manaqib, Bab dhikr Aslam, wa Ghifar, wa Muzaynah, wa Juhaynah, wa Ashjaʻ, hadith no. 3321

[17] Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 7 pgs. 322-325

[18] This information regarding Ka’b is from al Zuhri. This is another example of al Zuhri’s explanation while narrating a hadith. Refer to Earlier Discussion

[19] ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas is also the narrator of the Hadith regarding the Thursday Calamity.

[20] Refer to Refuting of Tijani on ‘The Companions and the Raziyat Yawm al Khamis (The Calamity of Thursday)’

[21] Musnad Ahmed, Musnad al Bara ibn Malik, vol. 6, Hadith no. 18506.

[22]  Refer to al Hawi li al Fatawa by al Suyuti, Bab (ma warada fi al tahni’ah bi al ‘id wa al ‘amal al salihah), vol. 1, p. 79, Dar al Kutub al ‘Ilmiyyah

[23]Kanz al ‘Ummal fi Sunan al Aqwal, Fada’il ‘Ali, vol. 13, hadith 36340, 36341, 36342, 36343; and in vol. 11, hadith 32904, 32905, 32906, 32916.

[24]Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 7pg. 359-363.

[25]  Refer to Taqrib al Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 693, no. 4750; And Tahdhib al Kamal fi Asma’ al Rijal, vol. 21, p. 434, no. 4070; al Jawzajani says about him in his book al Shajarah fi Ahwal al Rijal, p. 194, “‘Ali ibn Zaid: Wahi al Hadith, da’if, relates uncorroborated reports, his hadith is not proof worthy.” Refer also to al Silsilah al Sahihah, vol. 4, p. 344.

[26]Then I was guided, p. 136

[27]Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 6, Kitab al Muharibin, hadith no. 6442; Refer also to Tabari, vol. 2, p. 234-235

[28]Tabari, vol. 2, p. 236, events of 11 A.H

[29] Appearing in the isnad of this narration and the one before it is a narrator named Sayf ibn ‘Umar who is considered weak in Hadith, and there is a divided opinion regarding his historical narrations. We have not quoted these narrations to prove the Ba’yah as this is established through abundant other narrations. The point being made is that Tijani has made outlandish claims and provided references to sources which offer no support to those claims.

[30]  Ibid

[31]Tabari adds: “A man asked, ‘did he not give his pledge after six months?” He said, “No. He did not give his pledge and not anyone from Banu Hashim.” Ibn Hajar says, “Al Bayhaqi has graded this narration weak on the premise that Zuhri did not provide the full sanad of the narration and that the narration with the complete sanad from Abu Sa’id is more authentic. Some scholars reconciled the two narrations suggesting that he gave his pledge after six months, a second time, to emphasize the first and to remove (any possible ill feelings that might have crept up) on account of what occurred as a result of the inheritance issue. Therefore, the statement of Zuhri that ‘Ali did not give his pledge during those days is interpreted to mean his being close to him and being present with him and the like. This is because a person’s distancing himself from his peer might lead some, who do not know the inner-workings of the situation, to believe that (‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu distancing himself from Abu Bakr) was on account of his displeasure with Abu Bakr’s Caliphate. And the one who narrates the story unrestrictedly narrates it unrestrictedly. It is for this reason that ‘Ali openly gave his pledge to Abu Bakr after the demise of Fatimah, to remove this misconception.” (Fath al Bari, vol. 7, p. 566).

It is also possible to harmonise between the two ahadith by stating that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave his pledge twice, once at the beginning of the Caliphate and once again six months later in front of all the people and there is a narration with all of its transmitters reliable which offers that meaning.

‘Abdullah ibn Ahmed Ibn Hambal in Kitab al Sunnah mentions: “From Abu Nadrah, who said, ‘When the people gathered to give their pledge to Abu Bakr, he said, ‘How is it that I do not see ‘Ali?’ Then some men of the Ansar left and brought him and Abu Bakr said to him, ‘I said to myself, the cousin of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his son-in-law?” ‘Ali said, ‘There is no ill-feelings, O Khalifah of the Messenger . Extend your hand!’ Abu Bakr extended his hand and ‘Ali gave his pledge. Then Abu Bakr said, ‘How is it that I do not see Zubair?’ Then some men of the Ansar left and brought him. Abu Bakr said, ‘O Zubair, I said to myself the cousin of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his disciple,’ Zubair said, ‘There are no ill-feelings, O Khalifah of the Messenger, extend your hand!’ He extended his hand and he gave him his pledge.” (Kitab al Sunnah, vol. 2, Hadith no. 1292, the examiner of the book says: “Its sanad is reliable.”

[32] Refer to earlier quotation

[33]Tarikh Ibn al Athir, 189-195, events of 11 A.H

[34] Refer to earlier discussion on Ibn Qutaybah

[35]  Refer to the previous narrations in the book al Isti’ab fi Ma’rifat al Ashab by Ibn ‘Abd al Barr, vol. 3, p. 970-977, the edition examined by Muhammad al Bajawi

[36]Sahih Muslim with its commentary, vol. 12, p. 112-113

[37]Fath al Bari, vol. 7, p. 565, Kitab al Maghazi

[38]Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 2, p. 368

[39]Then I was guided

[40] Firaq al Shia by al Nowbakhti, p. 4, Dar al Adwa

[41]Al Gharat by al Thaqafi, 305-306, Bab: Risalat ‘Ali ila Ashabih

[42]  Ibid

[43]  Refer to al Minhaj, vol. 2, p. 16

[44]  Please refer to Earlier Section

[45]Then I was guided, p. 136

[46]Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Muharibi, Hadith no. 6442

[47]Fath al Bari, vol. 12, p. 155

[48]  Ibid

[49]Then I was guided, 136

[50]  Such as his words, “Leave me and search for some besides me.” Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 1, p. 216

[51]Nahj al Balaghah, 530