Refuting Tijani’s Criticisms of Talhah and Zubair

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Chapter Ten

Tijani’s Criticisms of Talhah and Zubair

 

These two noble companions, Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, are among those whom the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam attested to as being of the people of Jannat.[1] Tijani deemed it necessary to criticise them because they demanded retribution for the murder of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Tijani’s weapon of choice in his scathing attacks is that of misrepresentation.

Tijani claims, in the study of “the hadith about their competing for the world,” that they were amongst those who competed with one another for worldly acquisitions and that they hoarded gold and silver, etc. This ludicrous claim has been addressed earlier in this book which and therefore obviates the need of repeating the responses. Instead we refer the reader to the relevant passages which refute Tijani’s claim.[2]

Tijani accused Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma of participating in the siege and rebelling against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The answers to these allegations are the same answers which were provided in our refutation of Tijani’s allegations against Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.[3] If there is anything to be added it would be what follows. Who stood to gain from ‘Uthman’s murder? Who endorsed ‘Uthman’s nomination for the position of Caliphate? Who sought retribution for ‘Uthman’s murder? If we consider the fact that neither Talhah nor Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma stood to benefit from ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu murder. Both of them were not desirous of leadership. In a lengthy narration appearing in Sahih al Bukhari we are told that after ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was stabbed he nominated a panel of six candidates for the position of Khalifah. This is the significant part of the narration:

 

فقالوا أوص يا أمير المؤمنين استخلف‏‏ قال ما أجد أحق بهذا الأمر من هؤلاء النفر أو الرهط الذين توفي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو عنهم راض‏.‏ فسمى عليا وعثمان والزبير وطلحة وسعدا وعبد الرحمن …‏.‏ فلما قبض خرجنا به فانطلقنا نمشي فسلم عبد الله بن عمر قال يستأذن عمر بن الخطاب‏‏ قالت أدخلوه‏ فأدخل فوضع هنالك مع صاحبيه فلما فرغ من دفنه اجتمع هؤلاء الرهط فقال عبد الرحمن اجعلوا أمركم إلى ثلاثة منكم‏.‏ فقال الزبير قد جعلت أمري إلى علي‏.‏ فقال طلحة قد جعلت أمري إلى عثمان‏.‏ وقال سعد قد جعلت أمري إلى عبد الرحمن بن عوف‏

The people said to ‘Umar, “O Amir al Mu’minin! Appoint a successor.”

‘Umar said, “I do not consider anyone more suitable for the task than the following persons, or group, whom the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had been pleased with before he died.”

Then ‘Umar mentioned ‘Ali, ‘Uthman, Zubair, Talhah, Sa’d and ‘Abd al Rahman (ibn ‘Awf)… The narration continues until it mentions:

When ‘Umar breathed his last, we carried him out and began walking. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar greeted (Aisha) and said, “‘Umar ibn al Khattab seeks permission.”

Aisha said, “Bring him in.”

He was brought in and buried beside his two companions. When he was buried, the group (recommended by ‘Umar) held a meeting. Then ‘Abd al Rahman said, “Reduce the candidates for leadership to three of you.” Zubair said, “I give up my candidacy to ‘Ali.”

Talhah said, “I give up my candidacy to ‘Uthman,”

Sa’d, “I give up my candidacy to ‘Abd al Rahman ibn ‘Awf.”[4]

 

We learn from this narration that Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu had given his candidacy to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Why would he conspire to have ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu murdered when it was possible to withhold his nomination from the onset? This narration also brings to light the fact that Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu considered ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu the prime candidate. It cannot be later said that he was an enemy to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In addition to this we know for a fact that the Muhajirin and Ansar, which includes Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, were determined to defend ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu with their lives but it was ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu who did not permit anyone to fight in his defence. Finally if we consider the fact that neither of them was desirous of the Caliphate after ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu murder, it rules out any motive for rebelling against him.

 

Al Ahnaf ibn Qays relates:

 

سمعت الأحنف يقول أتيت المدينة وأنا حاج فبينا نحن في منازلنا نضع رحالنا إذ أتى آت فقال قد اجتمع الناس في المسجد فاطلعت فإذا يعني الناس مجتمعون وإذا بين أظهرهم نفر قعود فإذا هو علي بن أبي طالب والزبير وطلحة وسعد بن أبي وقاص رحمة الله عليهم فلما قمت عليهم قيل هذا عثمان بن عفان قد جاء قال فجاء وعليه ملية صفراء فقلت لصاحبي كما أنت حتى أنظر ما جاء به فقال عثمان أهاهنا علي أهاهنا الزبير أهاهنا طلحة أهاهنا سعد قالوا نعم قال فأنشدكم بالله الذي لا إله إلا هو أتعلمون أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال من يبتاع مربد بني فلان غفر الله له فابتعته فأتيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقلت إني ابتعت مربد بني فلان قال فاجعله في مسجدنا وأجره لك قالوا نعم قال فأنشدكم بالله الذي لا إله إلا هو هل تعلمون أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال من يبتاع بئر رومة غفر الله له فأتيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقلت قد ابتعت بئر رومة قال فاجعلها سقاية للمسلمين وأجرها لك قالوا نعم قال فأنشدكم بالله الذي لا إله إلا هو هل تعلمون أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال من يجهز جيش العسرة غفر الله له فجهزتهم حتى ما يفقدون عقالا ولا خطاما قالوا نعم قال اللهم اشهد اللهم اشهد اللهم اشهد

We arrived in Madinah on the way for Hajj. We were at our lodgings, unloading our luggage, when someone called out, “They have gathered in the Masjid!” We rushed to the Masjid, I looked and found the people gathered, and in the midst of them was a group; there I saw ‘Ali, Zubair, Talhah and Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhum. When I got closer it was said that ‘Uthman entered, he was wearing a yellowish cloak. I said to my companion, “Stay where you are until I find out what is happening.”

‘Uthman said, “Is ‘Ali here? Is Zubair here? Is Talhah here? Is Sa’d here?”

They said, “Yes.”

He said, “I beseech you by Allah, beside Whom there is none worthy of worship, are you aware that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever buys the Mirbad [land for drying dates] of so and so clan, Allah will forgive him,’ and I bought it; then I came to the Messenger of Allah and told him, and he said, ‘Add it to our Masjid and the reward for it will be yours’?”

They said, “Yes.”

He then said, “I beseech you by Allah, beside Whom there is none worthy of worship, are you aware that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever buys the well of Rumah, Allah will forgive him,’ so I came to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘I have bought the well of Rumah.’ He said, ‘Make it public water for the Muslims, and the reward for it will be yours.’?”

They said, “Yes.”

He said, “I beseech you by Allah, beside whom there is none worthy of worship, are you aware that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever equips the army of al ‘Usrah (i.e. Tabuk), Allah will forgive him,’ so I equipped them until they were not lacking even a rope or a bridle?”

They said, “Yes.”

So ‘Uthman said, “O Allah, bear witness, O Allah, bear witness, O Allah, bear witness.”[5]

 

The narration appears in al Tabari with a similar chain but with more details of what transpired afterwards since al Ahnaf described what occurred in the early stages of the rebellion when ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not yet under siege. The narration in al Tabari provides the following details:

 

Later I met Talhah and Zubair and asked them, “Whom do you instruct me with and are pleased with after ‘Uthman as I don’t see an outcome other than ‘Uthman being killed?”

They said, ‘‘Ali.”

I asked them, “Are you pleased with him as a leader, and recommend him after ‘Uthman?”

They replied, “Certainly.”

So I set off for Makkah. While I was there the news of ‘Uthman’s murder reached me. I met Aisha in Makkah and asked her whom she is pleased with to lead the Ummah and whom I ought to pledge allegiance to, and she responded, “‘Ali.”[6]

 

Why would they recommend ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu if they were desirous of leadership? They had absolutely nothing to gain from ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu murder. There is no evidence to suggest they had any part in ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu murder.

 

Tijani claims that Talhah and Zubair gave false testimony

 

Tijani says:

 

Let us move on, for I do not want to discuss the life of Umm al Mumineen Aisha, but I have tried to show how many of the Companions violated the principles of Islam and disobeyed the orders of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and it suffices to mention the following incident which happened to Aisha during the civil war, and on which all historians tend to agree. It has been said that when Aisha passed by the waters of al Hawab and heard the dogs barking, she remembered the warning of her husband, the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and how he prevented her from being the instigator of “al Jamal” war. She cried, then she said, “Take me back. Take me back!” But Talhah and al Zubair brought fifty men and bribed them, then made them testify that these waters were not al Hawab’s waters. Later she continued her journey until she reached Basrah. Many historians believe that those fifty men gave the first falsified testimony in the history of Islam. (al Tabari, and Ibn al Athir, and Mada’ini, and other historians who wrote about the year 40 A.H).

O Muslims! You who have enlightened minds… assist us in solving this problem. Were these truly the honourable Companions, of whom we were always led to believe in their righteousness, and that they were the best people after the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam! How could they give a falsified testimony when the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam considered it to be one of the great sins, whose punishment is Hell.[7]

 

Refuting Tijani’s claims that Talhah and Zubair gave false testimony

Tijani’s accusation against these two noble Companions is that when Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha arrived at the waters of Haw’ab she remembered a hadith where the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam predicts that one of his wives will pass by the waters of Haw’ab and dogs will be barking. When she realised that it was her, she intended to return. The allegation against Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma comes here: they falsely claimed that this was not the water of Haw’ab and bribed fifty people to corroborate their false testimony.

To begin with we know that Tijani’s eyes did not fall on a single page of the books he cited as reference because the incident of Jamal occurred well before 40 A.H. How do historians record the event four years after it occurred? It comes as no surprise that when we opened the books of al Tabari and Ibn al Athir we did not find any trace of this hadith except for this narration:

 

From Zuhri, he said, “It reached me that when Talhah and Zubair reached ‘Ali’s house at Dhi al Qar they diverted to Basrah and took al Munkadir. Then Aisha heard the barking of the dogs and said, ‘What river is this?’ They said, ‘Haw’ab.’ She said, ‘To Allah do we belong, and to Him we return! It is me! Indeed, I heard the Messenger saying while his wives were with him, ‘Which one of you will be barked at by the dogs of Haw’ab!’ Therefore, she intended to return but ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair came to her and, it is claimed, that he said, ‘Whoever says this is Haw’ab is lying and he insisted until she continued (with her journey).’”

 

The narration of al Tabari and Ibn al Athir, as is clear, does not mention Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Rather, it only mentions ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Also, the expression, “It is claimed that he said,” points to the fact that it cannot be proven that he said so. Furthermore, the interrupted narrations of al Zuhri are generally looked at suspiciously, and this is an interrupted narration.

Tijani’s claim that Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma bribed the people is evidently false as it is not supported by any reliable narration. Furthermore, the narration that he references is in conflict with narrations which have been transmitted by sound narrators. Qays ibn Abi Hazim, a reliable narrator, reports:

 

When Aisha reached some of the homes of Banu ‘Amir the dogs barked and Aisha said, “What is this river?”

They said, “Haw’ab.”

She said, “I think I should return.”

Zubair said, “No! Not until you arrived and the people see you and Allah reconciles them.”

She said, “I think I should return. I heard the Messenger saying, ‘What will the condition of one of you be when the dogs of Haw’ab bark at her?’”[8]

 

At the same time let us not forget the high status accorded to Talhah and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

Whoever would like to see a martyr walking on the face of the earth, let him look at Talhah ibn ‘Ubayd Allah[9]

 

It is reported that Jabir said:

 

On the day of Uhud, when the people fled, the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was on his own in some part of the battlefield with twelve men, including Talhah, and the disbelievers caught up with him. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Who will confront these people?”

Talhah said, “I will.”

He told him, “Stay where you are.”

One of the Ansar said, “I will.” and he fought until he was killed.

Then the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam turned and looked at the disbelievers saying, “Who will confront these people?”

Talhah said, “I will.”

He told him, “Stay where you are.”

One of the Ansar said, “I will.” and fought until he was killed.

It continued like that until only Talhah was left with the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

He said, “Who will confront these people?”

Talhah said, “I will.”

Talhah fought like the eleven before him, until his fingers were cut off, then he said, “That is enough for me.”

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “If you had said, ‘In the name of Allah,’ the angels would have taken you up while the people were looking on.”

Then Allah drove back the polytheists.[10]

 

Qays ibn Abi Hazim said:

 

I saw the paralyzed hand of Talhah; he had protected the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the Day of Uhud.[11]

 

On the Day of Uhud, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wore two coats of mail. He tried to get up on a boulder but was not able to, so Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu squatted under him, lifting the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam upon it such that he could sit on the boulder. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

Talhah has made paradise incumbent (upon himself by this action of his).[12]

 

When Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu remembered the Day of Uhud, he would say:

 

That day was all for Talhah.[13]

 

Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cousin, the son of Safiyyah radiya Llahu ‘anha, the cousin of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the husband of Asma’ radiya Llahu ‘anha, the son-in-law of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the father of ‘Abdullah and ‘Urwah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma; the Hawari of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said on the day of the Trench, “Who will bring me news of Banu Qurayzah?” Zubair said, “I will.” So he went on a horse and brought news of them. The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that a second time and Zubair said again, “I will.” This happened a third time, whereupon the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

Every Prophet has a disciple, and my disciple is Zubair.[14]

 

On the day of the Trench, the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to him:

 

May my father and mother be sacrificed for you.[15]

 

Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu was among the first Muslims and endured the difficulties of Makkah. He undertook the Hijrah to Abyssinia and later to Madinah. He participated in all the military campaigns of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and was one of the heroes at Yarmuk. He was instrumental in the conquest of Egypt as well.

At Jamal after ‘Amr ibn Jurmuz murdered Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he cut off his head and brought it to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, assuming he would be praised. He sought permission to enter, and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu refused saying, “Give the killer of (Zubair) Safiyyah’s son the tidings of the Fire!”[16]

Then ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

I heard the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, “Every Prophet had a disciple, and my disciple is Zubair.” [17]

 

After all this Tijani has the audacity to condemn them to Hell; for no reason other than a wretched conclusion from false narrations!

 

NEXT ⇒ Chapter 11 – Refuting Tijani’s criticisms of Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan


[1]  Refer to Tirmidhi, Kitab al Manaqib, Hadith: 3747.

[2]  Refer to earlier section: Refuting Tijani on the Companions competing for worldly motives

[3]  Refer to Chapter 8.

[4] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il Ashab al Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, hadith no. 3700

[5] Sunan al Nasa’i, Kitab al Ahbas, Bab Waqf al Masajid, hadith no. 3606

[6] Tarikh al Tabari vol. 4 pg. 497, ibn Hajar graded this chain as sound in Fath al Bari vol.13 pg. 38

[7]Then I was guided, p. 118-119.

[8]  Al Hakim narrates it in al Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 129; Abu Ya’la in his Musnad, Hadith: 4868, p. 282, the examiner says, “Its sanad is reliable;” Mawarid al Zam’an, Hadith: 1831, Bab fi Waq’ah al Jamal, vol. 6, p. 73; Ibn Kathir says in the Bidayah, “This is a sanad on the level of the Sahihayn but they did not narrate it,” vol. 6, p. 217

[9] Jami al Tirmidhi, Abwab al Manaqib, hadith no. 3739

[10] Sunan al Nasa’i, Kitab al Jihad, hadith no. 3149

[11] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Maghazi, hadith no. 4063

[12] Jami al Tirmidhi, Kitab al Jihad, hadith no. 1692

[13] Fath al Bari vol. 7 pg. 36

[14] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Jihad, hadith no. 2846

[15] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il Ashab al Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, hadith no.3720

[16] Al Tabaqat, vol. 3 pg 105

[17] Fada’il al Sahabah, vol. 2 pg. 920