Allegations of not holding any virtue

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Allegations of not Holding any Virtue

The critics of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu make much ado about the statement of Ishaq ibn Rahawayh rahimahu Llah regarding the virtues narrated about Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In light of this, they conclude that nothing ‘sahih’ has been narrated from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam regarding the virtue of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 

Ibn Hajar al ’Asqalani rahimahu Llah, commentator of Sahih al Bukhari, writes:

 

The following has been narrated from Ishaq ibn Rahawayh:

 

لم يصح في فضائل معاوية شيء

There are no sahih narrations proving the virtues of Muawiyah.

 

It has been reported that Imam Nasa’i rahimahu Llah also concurred with this and Hafiz al Suyuti rahimahu Llah as well.[1]

 

Clearing the Misconception

With reference to the virtues of the Ahlul Bayt, and showing love and affection towards them; the Ahlus Sunnah have never held divergent opinions regarding them and always considered loving and honouring them to be a central tenet of our belief. Love for the Ahlul Bayt has always been a sense of pride and considered a means of salvation by the followers of the Ahlus Sunnah. The books of the Ahlus Sunnah are replete with chapters solely dedicated to the virtues of the Ahlul Bayt; ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu. All praise beings to Allah, this view is the aggregate of what is to be contained in both the Qurʼan and Sunnah, as well as what is to be found in the teachings of the Sahaba.

 

The Grand Mufti of Pakistan- Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ rahimahu Llah (d. 1979 CE) said:

 

Loving and respecting Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam more than anyone is part and parcel of iman; rather it is the very foundation thereof. This implies that those who hold any familial ties to him are also deserving of the same respect and love. Therefore, the stronger the relationship one had with him, the stronger our relationship with them shall be. Undoubtedly, biological relations hold the closest social bonds between human beings, thus love and respect for them too will be part of iman. However, this should not negate the fact that the blessed wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and other select Sahaba held a multiple-level relationship with him.

In short, the issue of loving the Ahlul Bayt has never been subject to differences of opinion amongst the Ummah. In fact, there remains Ijma (consensus of opinion) that love and reverence for them is a necessity of iman. Opinions have been at variance when attempts were made to malign other notable people, but the Ahlul Bayt, irrespective of how far their genealogy may be from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; love and veneration towards them is a way of earning eternal salvation and bliss.[2]

 

As for the attempts at proving that Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu holds no virtue by way of the above-mentioned quotes, despite the fact that it may represent the sentiments of a small minority of scholars, in no way is it supported by the majority of scholars, or any authentic traditions of a Sahabi, Tabi’i or Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It is highly possible that the authentic narrations did not reach that minority. A Muhaddith not knowing a certain ahadith does not necessitate its non-existence. Ahmed Yar khan Gujrati remarked:

A Muhaddith not having knowledge of a certain hadith does not necessitate the non-existence of that hadith.[3]

 

The provenance of such claims is not something unprecedented, many people from the early days held dissentious opinions with regards to Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The ‘Anti-Muawiyah’ camp would lay preposterous claims, all in the name of defending and loving Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The claims of these pseudo-followers of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu can never be used to justify their so-called ‘love’ for him; the ‘ulama have answered any such doubts which may have arisen.

 

Does the Lack of Authenticity Give Credibility to Such Claims?

Another factor worthy of mentioning: If a narration is not authentic, does that automatically imply that it is a fabrication? The simple answer is no. Whoever disagrees is simply unacquainted with the classification of the Muhaddithin. The following is a list of quotations from various ‘ulama, reiterating the aforementioned fact.

 

Ibn Hajar al ’Asqalani rahimahu Llah (d. 852 A.H) says:

 

لا يلزم من كون الحديث لم يصح أن يكون موضوعـا

If it is said about a hadith: “It is not sahih”, it does not necessarily imply that it is a fabrication.[4]

 

Allamah ‘Abd al Baqi al Zarqani rahimahu Llah (d. 1122 A.H) says:

 

نفية الصحة لا ينافي انه حسن كما علم

A hadith which is not sahih does not negate the possibility of it being hassan (reliable), as is known (by the scholars).[5]

 

Hafiz Ibn al Humam rahimahu Llah (d. 861 A.H) is reported to have said:

 

و قول من يقول في حديث انه لم يصح ان سلم لم يقدح لان الحجة لا تتوقف على الصحة بل الحسن كاف

If the statement of someone who says: “It is not sahih” is accepted, it does not detract from the normative nature of the hadith. Hassan ahadith are admissible in Shari’ah and do not necessarily have to be sahih.[6]

 

Allamah Nur al Din al Samhudi rahimahu Llah (d. 911 A.H) states in Jawahir al ’Aqdayn fi Fadl al Sharafayn:

 

قد يكون غير صحيحو هو صالح للاحتجاج به اذ الحسن رتبته بين الصحيح و الضعيف

Sometimes a narration which is not sahih may be admissible for formulating law because it has the potential to be hassan, which is a level of authenticity between sahih and dha’if (weak).[7]

 

Ibn Hajar al Makki rahimahu Llah (d. 964 A.H), while commenting on Imam Ahmed’s statement, said:

 

قول أحمد إنه لا يصح أى لذاته فلا ينفي كونه حسنا لغيره و الحسن لغيره يحتج به كما بـين في علم الحديث

The statement of Imam Ahmed: “This is not sahih”, does not negate the possibility of the hadith being hassan li ghayrihi (reliable due to other reasons). As it is known amongst the hadith scholars, such ahadith are admissible in Shari’ah.[8]

 

Allamah ‘Abd al Hayy al Lucknowi rahimahu Llah (d. 1304 A.H) writes:

 

كثيرا ما يقولون : لا يصح و لا يثبت هذا الحديث و يظن منه من لا علم له أنه موضوع أو ضعيف و هو مبني على جهله بمصطلحاتهم و عدم و قوفه على مصرحاتهم

Many a time you will find them (hadith scholars) saying: “This hadith is not sahih” or “This hadith has not been established”, and a person who has no knowledge of the classification and sciences of hadith will assume the hadith to be dha’if or even mowdhu’ (fabricated).[9]

 

Ahmed Rada Khan (d. 1341 A.H) writes:

 

If a scholar of hadith says: “This hadith is not sahih”, it does not mean that it is completely invalid and baseless. Rather the term sahih, according to the Muhaddithin, refers to a high-level of authenticity, the conditions of which are many and rigorous at the same time. To find all of those conditions together is somewhat rare, and even if they are to be found then to establish such conditions requires stringent testing. Explaining such a process will require quite a bit of detail, suffice it to say that whenever the Muhaddithin find a hadith lacking a certain condition, they will not classify it as sahih. In other words, the narration has not reached such a high level of authenticity whereby we can classify it as sahih. However, it will fall under another category— slightly below— called hassan, which by its very name indicates towards something positive and not negative. A hassan narration simply possesses the same qualities of a sahih narration but at a slightly lesser degree. There are hundreds of these narrations to be found in the six authentic books of hadith, including Sahih al Muslim and Sahih al Bukhari. Such narrations are deemed admissible for formulating law (Ihtijaj) and as such, ‘ulama who may not necessarily classify them as authentic still use them in rulings related to halal and haram.[10]

 

A few pages later, Ahmed Rada Khan speaks about Pir Nasir and others of the same thought, where he says:

Some ignoramuses say that there are no authentic narrations to prove the virtue of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This is purely a result of their intellectual immaturity. The hadith scholars speak using specific terminology! Allah alone knows where and how these ignoramuses misconstrue their words. Assuming the narrations are not sahih then they are at least hassan. In fact, dha’if ahadith are also admissible in this regard (for the purposes of fadhaʼil al A’mal).[11]

 

In another place, he also writes:

لا يصح) لا ينفي وجود الحسن

The term: “This narration is not sahih”, does not negate the possibility of it being hassan.[12]

 

Proving that a hassan hadith is admissible in Islamic legislation, Ibn Hajar al ’Asqalani rahimahu Llah writes:

 

هذا القسم من الحسن مشارك لا صحيح في الاحتجاج به و ان كان دونه

This type of hassan hadith, although lower in strength when compared to a sahih hadith, is equal in strength when formulating law.[13]

 

Ahmed Yar Khan Gujrati (d. 1391 A.H) writes:

 

A narration which is not authentic does not imply that the narration is automatically deemed dha’if. This is because a narration can be hassan, a category between sahih and dha’if. As long as a narration is at least hassan in strength, it is sufficient.[14]

 

All of the above-mentioned quotations prove that even though some people in the past may have laid such claims against Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu (because of statements regarding the narrations not being sahih), this does not necessarily take them out of the domain of hassan narrations. This needs to be understood in light of how the scholars of hadith have explained the meaning of Ishaq ibn Rahawayh’s rahimahu Llah statement.

 

Therefore both Ibn al ’Asakir rahimahu Llah (d. 571 A.H) and Ibn al Kathir rahimahu Llah (d. 774 A.H) explained as follows:

 

كتب الى ابو نصر القشيري انا ابو بكر البيـهقي انا ابو عبد الله الحافظ قال سمعت ابا العباس الاصم قال سمعت ابـي يقول سمعت اسحاق بن ابراهيم الحنظلي يقول لا يصح عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم في فضل معاوية بن ابـي سفيان شيء و أصح ما روى في فضل معاوية حديث ابـي حمزة عن ابن عباس “ أنه كان كاتب النبي” فقد اخرجه مسلم في صحيحه و بعده حديث العرباض : “ اللهم علمه الكتاب” و بعده حديث ابن ابـي عميرة : اللهم اجعله هاديا مهديا

Ishaq ibn Rahawayh rahimahu Llah says: “There are no sahih reports from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam indicating towards any merits of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The most authentic narration that reveals the virtues of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is the narration of Abu Hamzah from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu that Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu used to be the scribe of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Imam Muslim rahimahu Llah narrates this hadith in his Sahih. The next (most authentic) narration is the narration of al ’Irbad radiya Llahu ‘anhu that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “O Allah! Teach him (Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) the Book (Qur’an).” The final narration is from Ibn Abi ‘Umairah that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “O Allah! Grant him (Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) guidance and let him be a guidance for others.”[15]

 

Jalal al Din al Suyuti rahimahu Llah (d. 911 A.H) has a similar statement:

 

و قال السيوطي الشافعي أصح ما ورد في فضل معاوية حديث ابن عباس “أنه كاتب النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم” فقد اخرجه مسلم في صحيحه و بعده حديث العرباض رضي الله عنه :”اللهم علمه الكتاب” و بعده حديث ابن ابـي عميرة : “ اللهم اجعله هاديا مهديا “

The most authentic narrations that reveal the virtues of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is the narration of Abu Hamzah from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu: “Muawiyah used to be the scribe of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” Imam Muslim rahimahu Llah narrates this hadith in his Sahih. The next (most authentic) narration is the narration of Al ’Irbad radiya Llahu ‘anhu that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “O Allah! Teach him (Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) the Book (Qur’an).” The final narration is from Ibn Abi ‘Umairah that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “O Allah! Grant him (Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) guidance and let him be a guidance for others.”[16]

 

Ibn Hajar al Makki rahimahu Llah (d. 974 A.H) says:

 

قيل عبر البخارى بقوله باب ذكر معاوية و لم يقبل فضائله و لا مناقبه لأنه لم يصح في فضائله شيء كما قاله ابن راهويه و ذلك أن تقول : ان كان المراد من هذه العبارة أنه لم يصح منها شيء على وفق شرط البخارى فأكثر الصحابة كذلك اذا لم يصح شيء عنها ، و ان لم يعتبر ذلك القيد فلا يضره ذلك لما يأتي ان من فضائله ما حديثه حسن حتى عند الترمذي كما صرح به جامعه و ستعلمه مما يأتى . و الحديث الحسن لذاته كما هنا حجة إجماعا بل الضعيف في المناقب حجة أيضا ، و حينئذ فما ذكره ابن راهويه بقدير صحته لا يخدش في فضائل معاوية

It has been said that when Imam Bukhari rahimahu Llah began mentioning the details of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he did so under the heading: “The Chapter Concerning Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu”, instead of saying: “The Chapter Concerning the Virtues of Muawiyah” because Ishaq ibn Rahawayh rahimahu Llah said there are no sahih narrations substantiating his virtue. If what is meant by the statement: “There are no sahih narrations concerning the virtues of Muawiyah”, implies that there are no sahih narrations according to the conditions of Imam Bukhari rahimahu Llah concerning the virtues of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu then most of the Sahaba would be in a similar situation as Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. And if the conditions of Imam Bukhari are not implied then the statement would be superfluous because there are indeed narrations, which are hassan according to Imam Tirmidhi rahimahu Llah (as can be found in his Jami’) proving the virtues of Muawiyah rahimahu Llah. And as you will come to know, a narration which is innately hassan can be used as proof (in order to formulate laws of Shari’ah). In fact dha’if narrations are also considered a valid form of proof for fada’il (virtues). For that reason, whatever was stated by Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, assuming it to be true, will not have a negative impact on the virtues of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[17]

 

In light of what has been mentioned, it is clear that Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu did in fact have the honour and virtue of being a scribe of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as is reported by Imam Muslim rahimahu Llah in his Sahih. In fact, this narration is the most authentic narration in his favour. Therefore, the allegation of no virtue being established for Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, on account of no sahih narration being reported, is invalid. The remaining narrations (in his favour), according to the scholars of hadith, meet the criteria of hassan. The level of hassan ahadith, as mentioned previously, is that it is admissible for the purpose of formulating Shar’i law.

 

Allamah al Farharawi rahimahu Llah (d. 1239 A.H) writes:

 

فان اريد بعدم الصحة عدم الثبوت فهو مردود لما مر بين المحدثين فلا ضير فان فسحتها ضيقة و عامة الاحكام و الفضائل انما تـثبت بالاحاديث الحسان لعزة الصحاح و لا ينحط ما في المسند و السنن عن درجة الحسن و قد تقرر في فن الحديث جواز العمل بالحديث الضعيف في الفضائل فضلا عن الحسن و قد رأيت في بعض الكتب المعتبرة من كلام الامام مجد الدين بن الاثير صاحب ميزان الجامع حديث مسند احمد في فضيلة معاوية صحيح الا اني لا استحضر الكتاب في الوقت و لم ينصف الشيخ عبد الحق الدهلوى رحمه الله في شرح سفر السعادة فانه اقر الكلام المصنف و لم يتعقبه كتعقبه على سائر تعصباته

If what is meant by “There is nothing sahih to establish the virtues of Muawiyah” is that his virtues are not proven, then this is incorrect. However, if the statement is to be understood in a more technical way— as understood by the scholars of hadith— then it has no real negative connotation. The reason being that the number of sahih narrations are so few in number that most rulings and virtues are established by hassan ahadith. In fact, many ahadith found in the Sunan collections and the Musnad of Imam Ahmed are narrations lower (in authenticity) than hassan. It is a known fact amongst the scholars of hadith that even dha’if narrations are admissible for establishing virtues, let alone hassan narrations. I have even seen the likes of Mujaddid Ibn al Athir rahimahu Llah mentioning that there are sahih narrations to be found showing the virtues of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to remember at this moment which book he mentions this in. ‘Abd al Haqq al Delhwi did not do justice in his commentary on Safar al Sa’adah. He did not criticise the author on this point, as was his habit in other parts of the book.[18]

 

A Few Ahadith on the Virtues of Sayyidina Muawiyah

The following is a list of a few ahadith, recorded by the Muhaddithin, enumerating the virtues of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

It has been narrated from Sayyidina ‘Abd al Rahman ibn Abi ‘Umairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

اللهم علمه الكتاب و الحساب و قه العذاب

O Allah! Teach him (Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) the Book (Qur’an) and inheritance and protect him from the punishment (of the hereafter).[19]

 

Sayyidina al ’Irbad radiya Llahu ‘anhu said that he heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying:

 

اللهم علم معاوية الكتاب و الحساب و قه العذاب

O Allah! Teach Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu the Book (Qur’an) and inheritance and protect him from the punishment (of the hereafter).[20]

 

Sayyidina ‘Abd al Rahman ibn Abi ‘Umairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu said that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made the following supplication for Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

اللهم اجعله هاديا مهديا و اهد به . قال الترمذى حسن غريب

O Allah! Make him (Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) a guide, grant him guidance and grant others guidance through him. Imam Tirmidhi rahimahu Llah says: “This narration is hassan gharib.”[21]

 

Sayyidina ‘Umair ibn Sa’d radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

Do not mention anything but good about Muawiyah, as I have heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying:

اللهم اهده

O Allah! Guide him (Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu).[22]

 

Commentary from Ibn Kathir Regarding the Above Narrations

All four narrations mentioned above have been reported by Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah in his book, Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah (references given). After quoting these narrations, Ibn al Kathir rahimahu Llah comments:

 

و اكتفينا بما أوردناه من الاحاديث الصحاح و الحسان و المستجدات عما سواها من الموضوعات و المنكرات

We have sufficed in choosing only the sahih, hassan and jayyid (good) narrations. We have refrained (from mentioning) the mowdhu’ and munkar (rejected) narrations.[23]

 

Additional Corroboration

We will now mention a few more authentic narrations pertaining to the virtues of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. We advise the critics to reflect upon it with an open-mind.

In Sahih al Bukhari, under the chapter: “What has been reported regarding war with the Romans”, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has been reported to have said:

 

اوّل جيش من امّتي يغزون البحر قد اوجبوا

The first army from my community to use the ocean (engage in naval warfare) will have made Jannat compulsory for themselves.[24]

 

There is consensus in the Ummah that the “first army” refers to the army of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Does this authentic narration not count in favour of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu? Is it not a great virtue to be guaranteed Jannat? Ibn Hajar al ’Asqalani rahimahu Llah (d. 852 A.H) and Hafiz Badr al Din al ’Ayni rahimahu Llah (d. 855 A.H) said:

 

قال المهلب في هذا الحديث منقبة لمعاوية لأنه أول من غزا البحر

Al Muhlib says regarding this narration: “This narration is in reference to Muawiyah, for indeed he was the first person to fight in the ocean.”[25]

 

This is a great bounty bestowed upon Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu that in this world he earned the glad tidings of Jannat. Therefore, the allegation against him of holding no virtue is baseless.

 

Sayyidina ‘Abd al Malik ibn ‘Umair radiya Llahu ‘anhu reports that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

يا معاوية ! ان ملكت فأحسن

O Muawiyah! If you are given authority over people, be good with them.[26]

 

Ibn Hajar al Makki rahimahu Llah comments about this narration:

 

و الحديث حسن كما علمت ، فهو مما يحتج به على فضل معاوية رضي الله عنه

As you are aware, this is a hassan narration. It is amongst those from which the virtue of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is substantiated.[27]

 

Further Corroboration

To be a scribe in the honorable court of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is itself a great virtue. In the books of biographical accounts, wherever the names of the scribes are mentioned, the name of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is also found.[28]

To serve Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the most honorable act, more valuable than the entire world. Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was repeatedly granted the noble task of serving Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 

Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu one day mentioned:

 

عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنه عن معاوية قال قصرت عن رأس رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بمشقص

Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu said: “I (had the opportunity) to cut a portion of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam blessed hair.”[29]

 

Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu had in his possession, for seeking blessings, strands of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam blessed hair and some of the clippings of his blessed nails. He requested that he be buried with these blessed remnants and his request was fulfilled.[30]

Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu participated in many battles: Hunayn, Ta’if, and Tabuk, wherein Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam offered his special attention to the respective participants. This was such an honour for him, that the critics of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu will find themselves in a quagmire trying to deny this amazing reality. He was also present with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on Hajjat al Wadaʼ (the Farewell Hajj). It is mentioned:

After the Zuhr salah, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam mounted his camel and prepared for his return to Madina. He seated Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu directly behind him and began his Tawaf al Ifadah, also known as the Tawaf al Sadr and Tawaf al Ziyarah.[31]

 

Aside from being a Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu also enjoyed the station of being a faqih (jurist) and a Mujtahid. The status of being a Sahabi alone is the highest position a Muslim can attain and all the relevant verses and ahadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in praise of the Sahaba will apply to him as well. Ibn Qayyim (d. 751 A.H) said:

 

و مراده و مراد من قال ذلك من اهل الحديث : انه لم يصح حديث في مناقبه بخصوصه

When the Ahlus Sunnah say: “There is nothing sahih reported regarding the virtues of Muawiyah”, they imply thereby that his respective virtues fall under the broader spectrum of virtues as mentioned in the Qurʼan and Sunnah.

 

The comment of Hafiz Jalal al Din al Suyuti

The comments of Hafiz al Suyuti rahimahu Llah (d. 911 A.H) in his famous book Tarikh al Khulafaʼ have been misconstrued and made to seem as if it corroborates the claims of the critics. The alleged comment of Hafiz al Suyuti rahimahu Llah is said to appear on page 139 of Tarikh al Khulafaʼ but after an extensive search, this comment of Hafiz al Suyuti rahimahu Llah is nowhere to be found; neither on page 139 or anywhere else. However, regarding Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu he does mention:

 

For quite some time during the era of nubuwwah, Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu had the honorable task of recording wahi (revelation). As an official scribe, he is also responsible for narrating one hundred and sixty three ahadith. Sahaba and Tabi’in such as Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn Zubair, Abu al Darda, Jarir al Bajali, No’man ibn Bashir, Ibn Musayyib, Humaid ibn ‘Abd al Rahman radiya Llahu ‘anhum; all narrated ahadith from him. He was extremely tolerant and insightful. There are many narrations showing his virtue, including a narration recorded by Imam Tirmidhi rahimahu Llah in which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made the following supplication for Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu: “O Allah! Grant him (Muawiyah) guidance and make him a guidance for others.” Imam Ahmed rahimahu Llah also narrates a hadith on the authority of Al ’Irbad ibn Sariyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu who said that he heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying: “O Allah! Teach him (Muawiyah) the Book (Qur’an) and inheritance and protect him from the punishment (of the hereafter).” Both Ibn Abi Shaybah rahimahu Llah and Al Tabrani rahimahu Llah narrate from ‘Abd al Malik ibn ‘Umair radiya Llahu ‘anhu that Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu said (when he heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying: “O Muawiyah! When you are given authority over people, be good to them”): “At that time I realized that I will become a khalifah.”[32]

 

Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Delhwi rahimahu Llah says:

 

You should know well that Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a senior and esteemed Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Never should you have any ill-feelings towards him, neither should you suffer from the sickness of engaging in any negative dialogues towards him; for if you do, you have committed a grave sin.[33]

 

Another angle

Let us for a moment leave aside all these proofs and consider this statement to be true; will it strip Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu of all his privileges and credentials?

Even if Fath al Bari quotes Imam Ahmed rahimahu Llah (that the narrations in favour of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu have no origin), this does not imply that there are absolutely no authentic narrations regarding the virtues of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Imam Ahmed rahimahu Llah himself in his Musnad[34] has reported many narrations proving the virtues of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If to deny all the fabricated narrations means to completely invalidate all narrations (even if it be authentic), then Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu would not be the only one with nothing positive attributed to him. In fact, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu would also have nothing positive attributed to him, simply because the most number of fabrications have been attributed to him. Hafiz al Dhahabi rahimahu Llah (d. 748 A.H) has quoted ‘Amir al Sha’bi rahimahu Llah saying:

 

ما كذب على احد من هذه الامة ما كذب على علي رضي الله عنه

In this Ummah, no one has had more lies attributed to him then ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[35]

 

Ibn al Qayyim al Jowzi rahimahu Llah (d. 751 A.H) says:

 

قال الحافظ ابو يعلى الخليلي في كتاب الارشاد : وضعت الرافضة في علي رضي الله عنه و اهل البيت نحو ثلاث مائة الف حديث

Hafiz Abu Ya’ala al Khalili mentions in his Kitab al Irshad: “The Rawafid fabricated three hundred thousand ahadith in favour of the Ahlul Bayt.”[36]

 

In corroboration with this statement, Ibn al Qayyim rahimahu Llah says:

 

و لا تستبعد هذا فانك لو تتبعت ما عندهم من ذلك لوجدت الامر كما قال

This is not something unlikely, for if you were to inspect whatever they have gathered, it would be just as he stated.[37]

 

After clarification from such eminent scholars, if any foolish person decides to reject all the narrations (including the authentic ones) regarding the virtues of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the Ahlul Bayt, in the same manner as the critics of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu have done, then the only avenue of hope left for such a person is sincere supplication for guidance.

As for the claim that there are many narrations showing the virtue of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu but not a single one is authentic, a few points are worthy of consideration in this regard:

a) Is this statement being applied to all false narrations? If so, then this does not contradict our position because we also refute all fabricated narrations, whether in favour of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu or Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Ahmed Rada Khan (d. 1341 A.H) says:

 

In all fairness, some narrations containing the virtues of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and ‘Amr ibn al ’As radiya Llahu ‘anhu have only been narrated by the Nawasib. Just as the Shia concocted approximately three hundred thousand ahadith about ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the Ahlul Bayt, as mentioned by Hafiz Abu Ya’la and Hafiz al Khalili in Al Irshad, so too the Nawasib fabricated certain ahadith about Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as mentioned by Imam Ahmed rahimahu Llah.[38]

 

b) If this statement implies rejecting all the narrations containing the virtues of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu then this is contrary to both reality and the actual status of narration. The Muhaddithin unanimously classify the narrations containing the virtues of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu as either sahih or hassan, based on their credibility.

c) As for dha’if narrations, scholars such as Mulla ‘Ali Qari rahimahu Llah in Al Mawdhu’at al Kabir[39], Ibn Hajar al Makki rahimahu Llah in Tathir al Jinan[40], Allamah al Sakhawi rahimahu Llah in Al Maqasid al Hassanah[41] and Allamah ‘Ali al Kanni rahimahu Llah in Tanzih al Shari’ah[42] all state that such narrations are admissible for establishing virtues. If dha’if narrations are not be accepted then even the virtues attributed to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu would be discarded and rejected.

 

The reference of Ibn Taymiyyah

The critics attempt to prove that Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah also agreed to this view (that Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not enjoy any virtue). They support their claim by quoting the words of Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah from his book Minhaj al Sunnah. He says:

 

There were a large number of the Banu Marwan and others, who fought alongside him during his lifetime or following his death. They would claim that he was correct in his war against ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his judgement also correct. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions on the other hand were oppressive and their judgement as well as interpretation incorrect. Books such as Kitab al Marwaniyyah by Jahidh have been written in support of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In fact, a group of Muawiyah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu supporters even concocted narrations about him, but all of them are based on falsehood, even though they might claim to be substantiated by strong and irrefutable arguments. Even this group, according to the Ahlus Sunnah is incorrect. Although the opposite position adopted by the Rawafid, by comparison, is more incorrect.[43]

 

When one reads the manner in which the words of Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah are misconstrued and taken out of context then the words of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which he directed towards the Khawarij, come to mind:

 

هذه كلمة حق يراد بها الباطل

Words of truth uttered with the intent of falsehood.[44]

 

Making such claims from the above quoted passage of Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah is far-fetched to say the least. Firstly, Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah was attempting to refute and contest the perception of those who believed that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was oppressive and incorrect in his decision to go to war with Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

In no way did Ibn Taymiyyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu intend thereby that Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was on falsehood or committing an open and grave sin. Despite the fact that he acknowledges the noble status of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and believes him to be more deserving of the caliphate than Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he still considers their differences to fall within the realm of ijtihad or ‘strategic’ differences in interpretation (as stated previously with the reference of Ibn Hajar rahimahu Llah). However, Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah does offer some advice, worthy of reflection. He says:

 

و لهذا كان من مذهب اهل السنة الامساك عما شجر بين الصحابة فانه قد ثبتت فضائلهم و وجبت موالاتهم و محبتهم و ما وقع منه ما يكون لهم فيه عذر يخفى على الانسان و منه ما تاب صاحبه منه و منه ما يكون مغفورا فالخوض فيما شجر يوقع في نفوس كثير من الناس بغضا و ذما و يكون في ذلك هو مخطئا بل عاصيا فيضر نفسه و من خاض معه في ذلك كما جرى لأكثر في ذلك فانهم تكلموا بكلام لا يحبه الله و لا رسوله اما من ذم من لا يستحق الذم و اما من مدح امور لا يستحق المدح و لهذا كان الامساك طريقة افاضل السلف

And therefore, the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah is to refrain from delving into the disputes of the noble Sahaba of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. All of their superiority and all of their virtues are clearly proven and therefore it is incumbent upon us to love and respect them. There are reasons why certain things occurred between them, reasons which may be out of sight to the ordinary observer. For instance, it may be that they repented or for that matter have been forgiven. Therefore, anyone who involves himself in such disputes will bring about internal hatred and enmity towards them and as such will be guilty of perpetrating a sin; ultimately bringing harm upon no one but himself. Anyone who joins such people in these futile discussions (as is the case of most people) is joining a conversation which is displeasing to Allah and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Condemning someone who does not deserve to be condemned, or praising someone who does not deserve to be praised are both superfluous and therefore restraint and silence (in such matters) remained the way of our pious predecessors.[45]

 

Secondly, Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah writes: “One group has fabricated ahadith and ascribed them to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in favour of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.” How is it possible for one to presume that all narrations ascribed to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in favour of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu are fabricated and baseless, when the reality is that Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah was only referring to such narrations that were concocted by a specific group. This by no stretch of the imagination implies that all the narrations in his favour are false. In Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah, he has praised Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself, saying:

 

و معاوية قد استكتبه رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و قال : اللهم علمه الكتاب و الحساب و قه العذاب

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam chose him (Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) as a scribe and made the following supplication for him: “O Allah! Teach him (Muawiyah) the Qur’an and inheritance and save him from your punishment.”

 

Did Ibn Taymiyyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu deliberately quote this narration despite knowing that it is fabricated? Will he not then fall prey to the warning of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

 

من كذب علي متعمدا فليتبوأ مقعده من النار

Whoever intentionally attributes falsehood to me, should prepare for his abode in the fire.[46]

 
 

 NEXT⇒ The allegation of bid’ah (innovation)


[1] Nam wa Nasab, pg. 514-515

[2] Ma’arif al Qur’an, vol. 7 pg. 683-686

[3] Amir Muawiyah par I’tirazat wa Jawabat No. 12, vol. 2 pg. 89

[4] Al Qowl al Musaddad pg. 89

[5] Sharh al Zarqani ‘ala al Mawahib vol. 5 pg. 55

[6] Mirqat al Mafatih vol. 3 pg. 88

[7] Al Raf’ wa al Takmil pg. 196

[8] Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah pg. 185

[9] Al Raf’ wa al Takmil pg. 191

[10] Mizan al ’Ayn pg. 21

[11]  Ibid pg. 53

[12]  Fatawa Ridwiyyah, vol. 1 pg. 26

[13]  Nuzhat al Nadhar fi Towdhih Nukhbat al Fiqr pg. 33

[14] Ja’a al Haqq pg. 350

[15] Tarikh Madina wa Dimashq vol. 21 pg. 193, Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 8 pg. 122

[16] Tanzih al Shari’ah vol. 2 pg. 8

[17] Tathir al Jinan wal Lisan vol. 109

[18] Al Nihayah pg. 39

[19] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 8 pg. 121, Tarikh al Islam of Hafiz al Dhahabi vol. 2 pg. 309, A’alam al Nubalaʼ vol. 4 pg. 288, Al Isabah vol. 2 pg. 164, Musnad Ahmed vol. 1 pg. 466, Majma’ al Zawaʼid vol. 9 pg. 594. Hafiz al Dhahabi says:

All of the narrators of this narration are reliable. But there is a difference of opinion as to whether or not ‘Abd al Rahman is a companion. The predominant view is that he is in fact a companion.” (Tarikh al Islam vol. 2 pg. 309)

Mujaddid Alf-e Thani also says:

The narrators of this narration are all reliable. (Maktubat letter: 251)

[20] Musnad Ahmed vol. 4 pg. 57, Sahih Ibn Hibban vol. 6 pg. 371, Tarikh al Islam vol. 2 pg. 309, Majma’ al Zawaʼid vol. 9 pg. 594, Al Isti‘ab vol. 3 pg. 474, A’alam al Nubalaʼ vol. 4 pg. 288, Tarikh al Kabir vol. 8 pg. 204, Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 8 pg. 120, Mawarid al Daman pg. 566, Kanz al ’Ummal vol. 6 pg. 109. Allamah ‘Abd al ’Aziz al Farharawi says (quoting Ibn al Athir) that his narration is authentic. (Al Nahiyah pg. 39).

[21] Tirmidhi pg. 574, Al Tarikh al Kabir vol. 7 pg. 204, Tarikh al Islam vol. 2 pg. 310, Mishkat al Masabih pg. 579, Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 8 pg. 121, A’alam al Nubalaʼ vol. 4 pg. 288, Mawarid al Daman pg. 566, Hilyah al Auliya vol. 8 pg. 358, Al Mu’jam al Awsat vol. 1 pg. 380

[22] Al Tarikh al Kabir vol. 4 pg. 290, Tirmidhi pg. 547, Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 8 pg. 122

[23] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 8 pg. 132

[24] Bukhari vol. 1 pg. 410, Muslim vol. 2 pg. 141

[25] Fath al Bari vol. 6 pg.102

[26] Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 11 pg. 147, Al Matalib al ’Aliyah vol. 4 pg. 108

[27] Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah pg. 218

[28] For more details please refer to Al Isti’ab vol. 3 pg. 365, Majma’ al Zawaʼid vol. 9 pg. 357, Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 8 pg. 21, Jawami’ al Sirah pg. 20.

[29] Bukhari vol. 1 pg. 233 Muslim vol. 1 pg. 408.

[30] Tarikh al Khulafa pg. 70

[31] Diya al Nabi vol. 4 pg. 768

[32] Tarikh al Khulafa pg. 68

[33] Izalat al Khifa

[34] Musnad Ahmed vol. 4 pg. 127, 216

[35] Tadhkirat al Huffaz vol. 1 pg. 82, Mizan al I’tidal vol. 1 pg. 436

[36] Al Manar al Munif pg. 108

[37] Ibid.

[38] Fatawa Ridwiyyah al Jadid vol. 5 pg. 461

[39] Al Mawdhu’at al Kabir pg. 108

[40] Tathir al Jinan pg. 13

[41] Al Maqasid al Hassanah pg. 431

[42] Tanzih al Shari’ah vol. 2 pg. 157

[43] Minhaj al Sunnah vol. 2 pg. 207

[44] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7:281

[45] Minhaj al Sunnah vol. 2 pg. 219

[46] Bukhari, vol. 1 pg. 21