Letter 19 and 20

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Letter 19

Thul-Hijjah 5, 1329

 

I. No Fair Arbitrator Would Call Followers of Ahlul Bayt Strayers

II. Following Their Sects is Carrying out the Responsibility

III. It Could be Said that They Have the Priority to Lead

IV. Requesting Texts Relevant to the Khilafate

 

1) No; any fair arbitrator would never label those who have upheld the rope of Ahlul Bayt, who follow in their footsteps, as “strayers,” nor are they, by any means, inferior to other Imams.

 

2) Adherence to their sect obligates them and clears their conscience, just like adhering to any of the four sects; there is no doubt about that.

 

3) It may be said that your Twelve Imams are even more worthy of being followed than the four Imams or any others, since all of them follow one sect which they have scrutinized and agreed upon by consensus. Contrariwise, the four Imams’ disagreements among themselves exist in all departments of jurisdiction, leaving its sources exclusive, unchecked. It is well known that if one person verifies something, his effort cannot equate that of twelve Imams. This is clear to any fair minded person, and it leaves no argument for any unjust person. Yes, the Nasibis may dispute referring your sect to the Imams of Ahlul Bayt, and I may, at a later time, ask you to prove their error.

 

4) For the time being, I request you to go ahead and indicate what you claim to be statements nominating Imam ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam as the successor to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Derive your arguments from Sunni references, and peace be with you.

 

Sincerely,

S

 

Letter 20

Thul-Hijjah 9, 1239

 

I. A General Reference to the Texts

II. A Reference to the House on the Day of Warning

III. Sunni Reporters of this Hadith

 

1) Anyone who is acquainted with the biography of the holy Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, especially researching his conduct while laying the foundations of the Islamic State and its legislative system, the establishment of its bases, the issuing of its codes and the organizing of its affairs on behalf of the Almighty Allah…, will find ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam the vizier of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his supporter against his foes, the custodian of his knowledge, the heir of his government, his vicegerent, and the one in charge after him. Whoever studies the statements and actions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, while at home or on a journey, will find his statements, peace and blessings of Allah Almighty be upon him and his progeny, sequential in this regard from the beginning of his Call till his demise.

 

2) Refer to such statements at the dawn of the Call, before Islam was preached in Mecca publicly, when the Almighty revealed unto him the verse

“And warn thy nearest tribe (Qur’an, 26:214).”

 

He invited them to the house of his uncle Abu Talib. They were forty men, more or less. Among them were his uncles Abu Talib, al Hamzah, al ’Abbas, and Abu Lahab. The hadith in this regard is sequentially reported by Sunnis. At the conclusion of his statement to them, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, said:

“O descendants of ‘Abdul-Muttlib! I swear by God that I know no youth among the Arabs who has brought his people something better than what I have brought you. I have brought you the best of this life and the life to come, and God has commanded me to call you towards Him. Therefore, who among you shall support me in this matter and be my brother, the executor of my will, and my successor?”

 

All the listeners, with the exception of ‘Ali, who was the youngest among them, kept silent. ‘Ali responded by saying: “I, O Messenger of Allah, am willing to be your vizier in this matter.” The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then took ‘Ali by the neck and said: “This is my brother, executor of my will and vizier; therefore, listen to him and obey him.” Those present laughed and kept saying to Abu Talib: “Allah has commanded you to listen to your son, and to obey him!”

 

3) Many of those who have learned the prophetic legacy by heart have reported the hadith above verbatim as such. Among them are: Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abu Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, Abu Na’im, al Bayhaqi in his book Al Dala’il, both al Tha’labi and al Tabari in their exegeses of Surat al Shu’ara’ in their book Al Tafsir al Kabir, in Vol. 2 of al Tabari’s Tarikh al Umam wal Muluk.

Ibn al Athir has reported it as an undisputed fact in Vol. 2 of his Al Kamil when he mentioned how the Almighty commanded His Messenger to declare his call to the public, Abul-Fida in Vol. of his Tarikh while discussing who was the first to embrace Islam, Imam Abu Ja’far al Iskafi al Mu’tazili in his book Naqd al Uthmaniyyah declaring its accuracy,1 al Halabi in his chapter on the Prophet’s hideout at the house of Arqam in his well-known Sirah.2

In this same context, with almost identical wording, has this hadith been reported by many masters of hadith and most reliable Sunni authorities such as al Tahawi, Diya’ al Maqdisi in his Mukhtara, and Sa’id ibn Mansur in his Sunan. Refer to what Ibn Hanbal has recorded of ‘Ali’s hadith on pages 111 and 159 of Vol. 1 of his Musnad. He also pointed out at the beginning of page 331 of Vol. 1 of his Musnad, to a very significant hadith from Ibn ‘Abbas] containing ten characteristics in which ‘Ali has distinguished himself from everyone else. That hadith is published in Nisa’i, too, from Ibn ‘Abbas, on page 6 of his Khasa’is al ‘Alawiyyah, and on page 132, Vol. 3, of Hakim’s Mustadrak. Al Thahbi has narrated it in his Talkhis], vouching for its authenticity. Refer to Vol. 6 of Kanz al ’Ummal which contains all the details.3 Refer also to Muntakhabul Kanz which is cited in the footnote of Imam Ahmed’s Musnad; refer to the footnote on pages 41 and 43 of Vol. 5 of the book to find all details. This, we believe, suffices to serve as glorious proof, and peace be with you.

 

Sincerely,

Sh

 

Footnotes

  1. As on page 263, Vol. 3, of Sharh Nahjul Balaghah by Ibn Abul Hadid, Egyptian edition. As regarding his book Naqd al ’Uthmaniyya, it is a unique book worthy of the attention of any seeker of the truth. It is on page 257 and its succeeding pages up to page 281, Vol. 3, of the Sharh, at the end the commentary at the conclusion of the “qasi’a” sermon.
  2. Refer to the fourth page of that chapter, or to page 381 of the first volume of Al Sira al Halabiyya. Ibn Taymiyyah’s wrecklessness is unfair, and his judgment is due to his well-known fanaticism. This hadith is quoted by the Egyptian sociologist Muhammad Hassanayn Haykal; refer to the second column on page five of the supplement to issue 2751 of his newspaper Al Siyasa dated Thul-Qi’da 12, 1350, and you will find it there explained in detail. If you refer to the fourth column on page six of the supplement to issue 2785 of the same newspaper, you will find the author quoting this hadith from Muslim’s , Ahmed’s musnad, ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmed’s Ziyadat al Musnad, Ibn Hajar al Haithami’s Jami’ul Fara’id, Ibn Qutaybah’s ‘Uyun al Akhbar, Ahmed ibn ‘Abd Rabbih’s Al ’Iqd al Farid, ‘Amr ibn Bahr al Jahiz in his dissertation on the descendants of Hashim, and Imam Abu Ishaq al Tha’labi’s Tafsir. This hadith is also quoted by the British author Georges in his well-known book A Treatise on Islam, translated into the Arabic by an atheist from a Protestant descent calling himself Hashim al ’Arabi. You can also find this hadith on page 79 of the treatise’s Arabic version, 6th edition. Due to the fame this hadith enjoys, a few non-Arab writers have included it in their books, especially in French, English and German. In his book Heroes and Hero Worship, Thomas Carlyle quotes it briefly.
  3. Refer to hadith 6008 on page 392, and you will find it quoted from Ibn Jarir, while hadith 1045 on page 396 is quoted from Ahmed’s Musnad and from al Dia al Maqdisi’s Al Mukhtara, and from al Tahawi. Ibn Jarir has verified it. Also refer to hadith 6056 on page 397 and you will find it quoted from Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abu Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, Abu Na’im, al Bayhaqi on the branches of faith, and in the Dala’il, and hadith 6102 on page 401 and you will find it quoted from Ibn Mardawayh, and hadith 6155 on page 408 and you will find it quoted from Ahmed’s Musnad and from Ibn Jarir from Al Diya fil Mukhtara. Whoever researches Kanz al ’Ummal will find this hadith in various places throughout the book. If you look into page 255, Vol. 3, of Sharh Nahjul Balaghah by the Mu’tazilite Imam Ibn Abul-Hadid, or at the end of the explanation of the “qasi’a sermon” in it, you will find this hadith in its entirety.


Discussions

 

The Mazhab of Ahlul Bayt

The assumptions of the previous round of ‘correspondence’ are upheld here as well. The Sheikh al Azhar is made to seem accepting of a distinct Mazhab which is ascribed to the Ahlul Bayt.

The discussions under Letter 4 deal with this phenomenon in sufficient detail. As such, to address it here would not only be superluous, but redundant.

 

General texts

‘Abdul Hussain alleges that a person who studies the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Sirah comprehensively will find that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was his closest aide and adviser. These are meant to be indicators for ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu nomination. The Ahus Sunnah do not deny the virtues of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They have compiled exclusive chapters about the virtues of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in their hadith collections. Similarly, many of the other Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have virtues and merits.

However, he fails to realise that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the first to accept Islam among the children, whereas Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the first to accept among the men. He seems to have forgotten who was nearly killed after being beaten up in al Masjid al Haram defending the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Who was it that accompanied the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the journey of Hijrah? On the eve of the Battle of Badr it was Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu who reassured the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that Allah would not abandon him. It was on Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu counsel that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam spared the lives of the captives at Badr. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed as the leader of Hajj in the year prior to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Hajj. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed to lead the Salah during the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam illness.

Is ‘Abdul Hussain unaware that Allah praised Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu at numerous places in the Qur’an?

 

إِلَّا تَنْصُرُوْهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللّٰهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُوْلُ لِصَاحِبِه لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا فَأَنْزَلَ اللّٰهُ سَكِيْنَتَه عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَه بِجُنُوْدٍ لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلٰى وَكَلِمَةُ اللّٰهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا وَاللّٰهُ عَزِيْزٌ حَكِيْمٌ

If you do not aid him [i.e. the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] — Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he [i.e. Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said to his Companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him and supported him with soldiers [i.e. angels] you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest while the word of Allah — that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

 

‘Urwah ibn al Zubair relates that he asked ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, “Tell me of the worst thing which the mushrikun did to the Prophet?”

 

He said, “While the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was praying in the Hijr of the Ka’bah; ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt came and put his garment around the Prophet’s neck and throttled him violently. Abu Bakr came and caught him by his shoulder and pushed him away from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said, ‘Do you want to kill a man just because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah?’”[1]

 

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha narrates:

 

Some Muslims emigrated to Abyssinia and Abu Bakr also prepared himself for the emigration, but the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said (to him), “Wait, for I hope that Allah will allow me also to emigrate.”

Abu Bakr said, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you. Do you expect to emigrate (soon)?”

The Prophet said, “Yes.”

So Abu Bakr waited to accompany the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and fed two she-camels he had on the leaves of an acacia tree regularly for four months. One day while we were sitting in our house at midday, someone said to Abu Bakr, “Here is the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, coming with his head and a part of his face covered with a cloth at an hour he never used to come to us.”

Abu Bakr said, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, (O Prophet)! An urgent matter must have brought you here at this hour.”

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came and asked permission to enter, and he was allowed.

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entered and said to Abu Bakr, “Let those who are with you excuse themselves.”

Abu Bakr replied, “There is no stranger; they are your family. Let my father be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah!”

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I have been allowed to leave (Makkah).”

Abu Bakr said, “Shall I accompany you, O Messenger of Allah, May my father be sacrificed for you?”

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Yes.”

Abu Bakr said, “O Messenger of Allah! May my father be sacrificed for you. Take one of these two she camels of mine.”

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I will take it only after paying its price.”

So we prepared their baggage and put their journey food in a leather bag; and Asma’ bint Abi Bakr cut a piece of her girdle and tied the mouth of the leather bag with it. That is why she was called Dhat al Nitaqayn. Then the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Abu Bakr went to a cave in a mountain called Thawr and remained there for three nights. ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr, who was a young intelligent man, used to stay with them at night and leave before dawn so that in the morning, he would be with the Quraysh in Makkah as if he had spent the night among them. If he heard of any plot contrived by the Quraysh against the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Abu Bakr, he would understand it and (return to) inform them of it when it became dark. ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah, the freed slave of Abu Bakr used to graze a flock of sheep for them and he used to take those sheep to them a while after the ‘Isha prayer. They would sleep till ‘Amir awakened them when it was still dark. He used to do that in each of those three nights…[2]

 

Jabir radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:

 

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, after his return from the ‘Umrah which commenced at Ji’irranah, sent Abu Bakr to lead the Hajj. We proceeded until we were close to al ‘Arj when the adhan for Fajr was called out and the sound of the Messenger’s camel was heard and sitting on it was ‘Ali.

Abu Bakr said to him, “Have you been sent as a leader or a messenger?”

He said, “Rather, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent me with (Surat) al Bara’ah to recite to the people.”

We arrived in Makkah and one day before the Day of Tarwiyah, Abu Bakr came and addressed the people with regards to their rituals. Upon the completion of his address ‘Ali stood up and recited (Surat) al Bara’ah to the people until he completed it. The Day of al Nahr passed by in the same manner and the Day of al Nafr passed by in the same manner.[3]

 

During this Hajj, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu proclaimed that no mushrik may perform Hajj after that year, and no person may perform tawaf in an unclothed state. He commanded his other Companions to do the same. This is supported by what al Bukhari narrates from Abu Hurairah, who said:

 

بعثني أبو بكر في تلك الحجة في مؤذنين يوم النحر نؤذن بمنى أن لا يحج بعد العام مشرك ولا يطوف بالبيت عريان‏‏ قال حميد بن عبد الرحمن ثم أردف رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عليا فأمره أن يؤذن ببراءة قال أبو هريرة فأذن معنا علي في أهل منى يوم النحر لا يحج بعد العام مشرك ولا يطوف بالبيت عريان.

Abu Bakr sent me during that Hajj amongst the announcers on the Day of Nahr at Mina that no mushrik may perform the Hajj after that year and no person may perform tawaf naked.

Humaid ibn Abdul Rahman says, “Then the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam seated ‘Ali (on his camel) and instructed him to announce (recite Surat) al Bara’ah (to the people).”

Abu Hurairah says, “Then ‘Ali announced with us amongst the people in Mina the Day of al Nahr (Surat) al Bara’ah and that no mushrik may perform the Hajj after that year and that no person may perform tawaf naked.”[4]

 

The reason for sending ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was that since the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was a leader, it was Arab custom that only he, or someone from his household could convey this instruction.

Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates:

 

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam 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 of the women of Yusuf!”

He then came to the Messenger and he led the people in salah during the life of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[5]

 

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.”[6]

 

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.”[7]

 

Jubayr ibn Mut’im radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:

 

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.”[8]

 

To this end the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

No one has done a favour for us except that we have repaid him in full, with the exception of Abu Bakr. Verily his favour upon us is such that Allah will repay him on the Day of Judgement. The wealth of none of you has benefited me as much as the wealth of Abu Bakr. Were I to take a close companion it would have been Abu Bakr; however my Khalil is Allah.[9]

 

The following narration ought to be accepted by ‘Abdul Hussain since its narrators are from his list of one-hundred.

Abu Muawiyah – Al A’mash – Ibrahim al Nakha’i – ‘Alqamah – ‘Umar bin Al Khattab who narrated:

 

The Messenger of Allah would stay up at night with Abu Bakr discussing matters concerning the Muslims while I was with them.[10]

 

One wonders what Sirah ‘Abdul Hussain refers to when it is also reported that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu attested to the fact that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu were always in the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam company.

Ibn Abi Mulaykah reported:

 

I heard Ibn ‘Abbas saying, “When ‘Umar ibn al Khattab was placed on the bier the people gathered around him. They praised him and supplicated for him before the bier was lifted up, and I was one amongst them. Nothing attracted my attention but a person who gripped my shoulder from behind. I turned towards him and found that it was ‘Ali. He invoked Allah’s mercy upon ‘Umar and said, ‘You have left none behind you (whose) deeds (are so desirable) that I love to meet Allah with them. By Allah, I expected that Allah would keep you and your two companions together. I had often heard Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as saying, “I came and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar came along; I entered and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar entered with me; I went out and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were with,” and I expected – or hoped – that Allah will keep you along with them.’”[11]

 

The Hadith of Warning his closest kin

‘Abdul Hussain deserves to be congratulated for his resourcefulness and creative mind. He was careful to ask himself — with the pen of Sheikh Salim al Bishri — to provide references from Sunni sources. He cites a narration and provides references to Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, Abu Nuaim, al Bayhaqi, al Tha’labi, al Tabari in his Tafsir, al Tabari in his work on history, Ibn al Athir, Abul Fida in is book on history, Abu Jafar al Iskafi, and al Halabi in his book on Sirah. This narration is cited as context for the revelation of verse 214 in Surah al Shu’ara.

The average reader might be led to the assumption that the narration cited is beyond question as it is narrated in so many texts. The truth is that it is a single narration which is repeated with the same chain of transmission througout all the books. ‘Abdul Hussain’s deception is evidently clear since Ibn Jarir and al Tabari are one and the same person. His complete name is Muhammad ibn Jarir al Tabari, and his Kunyah is Abu Jafar.

‘Abdul Hussain has present a truncated version of this narration. The narration in its complete form reads:

 

When this verse, “And warn, (O Muhammad), your closest kindred,” was revealed upon Muhammad, he called me and said, “O ‘Ali! Allah has instructed me ‘to warn your close relatives,’ but I find that difficult. I know that when I open this discussion with them I will see from them what I dislike. Therefore prepare a meal for them with a leg of lamb and milk. Then gather the sons of ‘Abdul Muttalib for me so that I may speak to them and convey to them what I have been instructed with.”

Then I did what he instructed me to do and I invited them to come and see him. They were approximately forty on that day and amongst them were his paternal uncles Abu Talib, Hamzah, ‘Abbas, and Abu Lahab. When they were all there he summoned me to bring the food I had prepared for them. Then I brought it and when I placed it down the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam took a chunk of meat and cut into it with his teeth and then spread it out at the corners of the plate.

Then he said, “Take, with the name of Allah!”

The people ate until they were satisfied. I could only see their hands.

Then he said, “Bring the drinks,” and I brought them the milk and they drank until they all were quenched.

When the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam intended to address them Abu Lahab preceded him in speaking and said, “Indeed, your companion has bewitched you,” and the people left and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not speak to them.

Then Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Tomorrow, O ‘Ali! Indeed, this person preceded me to what you heard from him of speech and the people left before I could speak to them. Prepare the food again as you did before. Then gather them by me.”

Then I did that and gathered them and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam summoned me to bring the food. I presented the food they ate to their fill as the previous day. Then he said, “Quench them.” and I brought the milk until all of them were quenched.

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then spoke and said, “O Bani ‘Abdul Muttalib! By Allah! I do not know of a youth amongst the Arabs who has brought to his people what I am bringing you. I bring to you the best of this world and the next. Indeed, Allah has instructed me to call you to him. Who will assist me with this and he will be my brother, and my executor, and my khalifah amongst you?”

(‘Ali says) All of them desisted and I said, and I was the youngest amongst them, and the one with the smallest eyes, and the sternest amongst them, and the most zealous amongst them, “Me, O Messenger of Allah! I will be your assistant upon it!”

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam took me by the shoulder and said, “This is my brother, and my executor, and my khalifah amongst you! Therefore, listen to him, and obey him!” The people stood up laughing and saying to Abu Talib, “Indeed, he instructs you to listen to your son and to obey him!”[12]

 

The purport of the narration is problematic for the following reasons:

1. It portrays the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam reluctant to carry out the command of Allah. In some versions of the narration it says that Jibril descended a second time to warn him salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam of a repercussions if he does not carry out the command of Allah. Such insinuation is unbecoming of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 

2. In the hadith it tells us that the sons of ‘Abdul Muttalib, “Were approximately forty on that day.” However, history tells us that they were not even twenty men in number, let alone forty! Ibn Taymiyyah comments:

 

Scholars agree that only four of the sons of ‘Abdul Muttalib had sons to perpetuate the family name. They were ‘Abbas, Abu Talib, Harith, and Abu Lahab. As for the uncles and the cousins, Abu Talib had four sons: Talib, ‘Aqil, Jafar, and ‘Ali. As for ‘Abbas all of his sons were minors as none of them were adults when in Makkah. But for argument’s sake, let us assume they were all adult men then they were ‘Abdullah, ‘Ubayd Allah, and Fadl. As for Qatham, he was born afterwards. The eldest amongst them was Fadl and it was with that name he was called by in his agnomen. As for Harith ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib and Abu Lahab, their sons were fewer. Harith had two sons: Abu Sufyan and Rabi’ah, both of them accepted Islam later. They were amongst those who accepted Islam upon the Conquest of Makkah. Similarly, the sons of Abu Lahab, they too accepted Islam upon the Conquest of Makkah. He had three sons, two of whom accepted Islam, ‘Utbah and Mughith.[13]

 

3. This narration contradicts another which is authentic and well-established. Al Bukhari and Muslim narrate from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu who said:

 

لما نزلت ‏وأنذر عشيرتك الأقربين‏ صعد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم على الصفا فجعل ينادي ‏يا بني فهر يا بني عدي‏ لبطون قريش حتى اجتمعوا فجعل الرجل إذا لم يستطع أن يخرج أرسل رسولا لينظر ما هو فجاء أبو لهب وقريش فقال أرأيتكم لو أخبرتكم أن خيلا بالوادي تريد أن تغير عليكم أكنتم مصدقي قالوا نعم ما جربنا عليك إلا صدقا‏ قال‏ فإني نذير لكم بين يدى عذاب شديد‏ فقال أبو لهب تبا لك سائر اليوم ألهذا جمعتنا فنزلت ‏تبت يدا أبي لهب وتب ما أغنى عنه ماله وما كسب

When the verse, “And warn, (O Muhammad), your closest kindred,” was revealed, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ascended al Safa and started exclaiming, “O sons of Fihr! O sons of ‘Adi!” to all the clans of the Quraysh until all of them were gathered together. Those unable to attend sent a messenger to find out what the commotion was about. Then Abu Lahab and the Quraysh came.

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “If I should tell you that there is an army in the valley ready to attack you will you believe me?”

They said, “Yes, we have only experienced truthfulness from you.”

He said, “Then certainly I am a warner unto you before a severe punishment.”

Abu Lahab said, “May you be ruined for the rest of the day! Did you gather us here for this?”

Then the following verse was revealed:

تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِيْ لَهَبٍ وَّتَبَّ مَا أَغْنٰى عَنْهُ مَالُه وَمَا كَسَبَ سَيَصْلٰى نَارًا ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ وَّامْرَأَتُه حَمَّالَةَ الْحَطَبِ فِيْ جِيْدِهَا حَبْلٌ مِّنْ مَّسَدٍ

May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined and ruined is he. His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained. He will (enter to) burn in a Fire of (blazing) flame. And his wife (as well)—the carrier of firewood, around her neck is a rope of twisted fibre.[14]

 

4. This narration claims that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, after his people desisted from assisting him, “This is my brother, my executor, and my khalifah amongst you! Therefore, listen to him, and obey him!” The people stood up laughing and saying to Abu Talib, “Indeed, he instructs you to listen to your son and to obey him!” How could the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say to a people who had refused to assist him, rather, they waged war against him, “This is my brother, and my executor, and my khalifah amongst you! Therefore, listen to him, and obey him”? They did not obey the divinely sent Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would they follow a small boy?

The narration as it appears in all these texts is transmited with one of two common chains

  • Muhammad ibn Ishaq — ‘Abdul Ghaffar ibn al Qasim — Minhal ibn ‘Amr — ‘Abdullah ibn al Harith — Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu — ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  • ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Quddus — al A’mash — al Minhal ibn ‘Amr with his chain to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu

We have already presented the problems in the text. Let us now examine the problems in the chains of transmission. Appearing in the chain of this narration is a pair of unreliable narrators, namely; ‘Abdul Ghaffar ibn al Qasim and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Quddus.

 

‘Abdul Ghaffar ibn al Qasim

‘Abdul Ghaffar ibn al Qasim, Abu Maryam, is matruk (suspected of forgery) and is not proof-worthy. Al Dhahabi says about him:

 

He is Abu Maryam al Ansari, a Rafidi. He is not reliable.

‘Ali ibn al Madini said about him, “He fabricates ahadith.”

It is also said about him that he is amongst the leaders of the Shia.

‘Abbas [al Duri] relates from Yahya [ibn Ma’in], “He is nothing!”

Al Bukhari says, “He is not reliable according to them.”

Ahmed ibn Hanbal says, “When Abu ‘Ubaydah used to relate hadith to us from Abu Maryam the people would become noisy and say, ‘We do not want him (his ahadith).’

Ahmed said, “Abu Maryam used to narrate profanities about ‘Uthman.”

Abu Hatim and al Nasa’i among others have said, “Matruk [suspected of forging Hadith][15]

 

Ibn Hibban says:

 

He was amongst those who narrated profanities about’Uthman. He consumed alcohol to the point of intoxication. In addition to that he used to distort information. It is not permissible to cite him as proof. Ahmed ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Ma’in suspected him of forgery.[16]

 

Ibn Kathir says about him:

 

He is matruk, a liar, a Shia. ‘Ali ibn al Madini and others accuse him of fabricating hadith, and the expert scholars grade him weak.[17]

 

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Quddus

As for ‘Abdullah ibn Quddus, al Dhahabi says about him:

 

He was a Kufi, Rafidi. He settled in Ray. He narrates from al A’mash and others.

Ibn ‘Adi says about him, “Most of what he narrates relates to the merits of the Ahlul Bayt.”

Yahya says, “He is no good (as a transmitter). He is a Rafidi, malicious.”

Al Nasa’i and others say, “He is not reliable.”

Al Daraqutni says, “He is a weak narrator.”

Abu Ma’mar says, “‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Quddus, he was a Rafidi.”[18]

Ahmed ibn ‘Ali al Abar says, “I asked Zanij, Razi’s teacher, about ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Quddus and he said, ‘I have abandoned him (suspected of forgery). I did not write anything from him and he was not pleased with it.’”[19]

 

The academic value of references to Kanz al Ummal have already been discussed.[20] Suffice to say that the reference to the abriged version of Kanz al Ummal provided by ‘Abdul Hussain has ‘Ali al Muttaqi on record clearly pointing out that ‘Abdul Ghaffar ibn al Qasim is a narrator suspected of forging Hadith.[21]If ‘Abdul Hussain cited this from a later source then his sloppiness can be understood, but if he cited it directly from Muntakhab Kanz al Ummal his deception was deliberate!

 

The supporting narrations

All that remains under this discussion are the supporting narrations from Musnad Ahmed, Khasa’is Ali by al Nasa’i, and al Mustadrak of al Hakim.

These narrations form the core of the next round of correspondence so we will discuss them there.

 

NEXT⇒ Letter 21 and 22


[1] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al Ansar, hadith no. 3856.

[2] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Libas, Hadith: 5807.

[3]Fath al Bari, vol. 8 p. 171.

[4]Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Tafsir, vol. 4, Hadith: 4378.

[5] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 646.

[6]Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 6791.

[7]Sahih Muslim with the commentary, 15: 2387.

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

[9] Al Tirmidhi, Abwab al Manaqib, Hadith: 3661.

[10] Al Tirmidhi, Abwab al Salah, Hadith 169; Musnad Ahmed, Hadith: 178, 228.

[11] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Fada’il, Hadith: 3677, Sahih Muslim, Fada’l al Sahabah, Hadith: 2389.

[12] Sirah ibn Ishaq, pg 126; Tafsir al Tabari, vol. 17 pg. 662 [2003 edition]; Ibn Abi Hatim, vol.9 pg. 2826; Sharh Ma’ani al Athar, vol. 3 pg. 284-286 & vol. 4 pg 387-388; Abu Nuaim in al Dala’il (331); al Bayhaqi in al Dala’il, vol. 2 pg 178-180.

[13]Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 7, p. 304-305 with minor adaptation.

[14]Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Tafsir, Bab Wa Andhir ‘Ashirataka al ‘Aqrabin, Hadith: 4492.

[15]Mizan al I’tidal by al Dhahabi, vol. 2, p. 640.

[16]Kitab al Majruhin by Ibn Hibban, p. 143.

[17]Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 3, p. 363.

[18]Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 2, p. 458.

[19]Al Du’afa’ by al ‘Uqayli, vol. 2, p. 279.

[20] PREVIOUSLY CITED

[21] Muntakhab al Kanz, vol. 5 pg. 41.