Refuting of Tijani on ‘The Companions and the Raziyat Yawm al Khamis (The Calamity of Thursday)’

BACK⇒ Return to Table of contents

 

The Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Final Days

 

It is amazing how malleable an incident taken out of context can be. The fabric of reality almost shifts and a culprit can be portrayed a victim; a hero projected as a villain. After realizing the serious consequences of Tijani’s truncated version of what happened at Hudaybiyyah and his imaginative reinterpretation of events, I am confident that you, beloved reader, will appreciate some details of the final moments in the life of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This will serve as a background against which you will align the events that transpired. I have no doubt that your informed decision will be guided by context and discernment.

After the conquest of Makkah, Islam spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Deputations of Arab tribes followed one after another in rapid succession to announce their entry into the fold of Islam and to pledge their allegiance to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This surge in the growth of Islam alludes to the inevitable dominance of Islam.

 

اِذَا جَآءَ نَصْرُ اللهِ وَ الْفَتْحُ ۙ﴿1﴾ وَ رَاَیْتَ النَّاسَ یَدْخُلُوْنَ فِیْ دِیْنِ اللهِ اَفْوَاجًا ۙ﴿2﴾ فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَ اسْتَغْفِرْهُ ؕؔ اِنَّهٗ کَانَ تَوَّابًا

When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest. And you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes. Then exalt [Him] with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance.[1]

 

The tenth year after the Hijrah witnessed a series of unique events signalling the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam mission in this world had been fulfilled and that his end was near. These were subtle signs which were picked up on by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and some of his close Companions. ‘Irbad ibn Sariyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates:

 

One day, the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stood up among us and delivered a deeply moving speech that melted our hearts and caused our eyes to flow. It was said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, it is as though you have delivered a speech of farewell, so enjoin something upon us.” He said, “I urge you to fear Allah, and to listen and obey, even if (your leader) is an Abyssinian slave. After I am gone, you will see great conflict. I urge you to adhere to my Sunnah and the path of the Rightly-Guided Khulafa’, and cling to it with your molars. And beware of newly-invented matters, for every innovation is a deviation.”[2]

 

The Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam usual practise during the final days of Ramadan was that he would seclude himself for devotions in I’tikaf for ten days. However, he withdrew into seclusion for a period of twenty days that year.

In addition to this he would complete the recitation of the Qur’an once every Ramadan when he was visited by Jibril ‘alayh al-Salam. That year he completed the recitation twice.[3]

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu as well as Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu understood the above verses to suggest the imminence of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise. Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

‘Umar used to ask me questions in front of the Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. So ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf said to him, “Why do you ask him, while we have children his age?’”

‘Umar said to him, “It is because of what you know (about him).”

So he asked me about this verse, ‘When the victory of Allah has come and the Conquest.’ I said, “It is only regarding the (end of the) life span of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which Allah informed him of.”

I then recited the Surah until its end. So ‘Umar said, “By Allah! I do not understand it except the way you have.”[4]

 

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam frequently recited these words just before he passed away, “Subhanaka Rabbana wa bihamdika Astaghfiruka wa atubu ilaika [Glory be to You, Our Lord and praise be to You; I seek Your forgiveness and turn to You in repentance]”

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha asked him, “O Messenger of Allah! What are these new words which I hear from you repeatedly?”

He replied, “A sign has been appointed for me relating to my people that I should repeat these words at the appearance of that sign.” Then he recited Surah al-Nasr.[5]

He undertook the journey for Hajj that year as well. During his Hajj he encouraged his people to take the rites of Hajj from him as he was not aware if he would perform Hajj in the future.

The verse in Surah al-Ma’idah, “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as your religion…[6] was revealed during the Hajj.

Upon his return to Madinah, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam visited the graves of those slain at Uhud and prayed for them. He also visited the graves of his Companions in al-Baqi’ [the cemetery in Madinah]; almost as if he were bidding them farewell from this realm. ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

One day the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went out and sought Allah’s forgiveness for the martyrs of the battle of Uhud after eight years. It seemed that by so doing, he bid farewell to the living and the dead. He then came back, ascended the pulpit and said, “I shall be one who goes ahead; I am a witness for you (before Allah), and I will be present before you at the Pond (Hawd al-Kawthar). By Allah I can see with my own eyes the Hawd from this place. I am not afraid that you will associate anything with Allah in worship after (my demise), but I fear that you will vie with one another for the life of the world.” It was the last time that I saw the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[7]

 

Two days prior to his illness the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prepared an army under the leadership of Usamah ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The army was to proceed to Greater Syria. Senior companions from the Muhajirin and Ansar were enlisted in this detachment. Among those enlisted was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Concerns were expressed regarding the ability of Usamah to lead a 3000 strong detachment considering his age. The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam addressed them:

 

If you criticize his appointment it is as if you criticize the appointment of his father before him. He is indeed worthy of office as was his father. He (Zaid) was among the most beloved to me and this (Usamah) is the most beloved after him.[8]

 

The army was camped at al-Jurf, 5 kilometers outside Madinah. When the news of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam illness reached Usamah, he delayed his departure. The army was later dispatched during the Khilafah of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu; and it was one of the first duties he fulfilled after assuming leadership.

 

Abu Muwayhibah, the freed-slave of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent for me during the middle of the night, saying, “Abu Muwayhibah, I have been ordered to ask for forgiveness for those in Baqi’; so come with me.”

I left with him and when he stood among them, he said, “Peace be upon you, O people in the graves! You can be content that you do not experience the same as people here. Tests encroach like dark portions of the night, following one another in succession, the last being worse than the first.”

He then came over to me and said, “Abu Muwayhibah, I have been given the keys to the treasures of the world, remaining here a long time, and the (going to) paradise. I have been given the choice between this and meeting my Lord and (going to) paradise (soon).”

I said, “May my parents be ransomed for you, choose the keys of the treasures of this world, a long life here, and then Paradise.”

He replied, “No, Abu Muwayhibah. Rather I chose to meet my Lord and Paradise.”

He then proceeded to pray for forgiveness for those buried in al-Baqi’, and then left. And soon thereafter began the illness in which Allah took him.”[9]

 

The next day he began complaining of a headache. He was at the house of Maymunah radiya Llahu ‘anha while visiting his wives in turn, when his pain persisted and became severe. His family assembled, and it was suggested that he be given medicine through the corner of his mouth. He gestured with his hand, meaning to say, “Do not pour medicine in my mouth.”

It was assumed that he did so in the same way as a patient dislikes medicines. When he improved and felt a little better, he said, “Did I not forbid you to pour medicine in my mouth?”

His family responded, “(We thought it was because of) the dislike, patients have for medicines.”

He said, “Let everyone present in the house be given medicine by pouring it in his mouth while I am looking at him, except ‘Abbas as he was not present.” [10]

Thereafter he began asking, “Where shall I stay tomorrow?”, “Where am I tomorrow?” They understood that he was seeking permission of his wives to be nursed in the home of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhu. So they all agreed for him to be nursed there. He moved to Aisha’s house supported on either side by al-Fadl ibn ‘Abbas and Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. One can imagine the sadness experienced by his family as they saw his head wrapped in a bandage and his feet dragging on the ground as he was being supported; as he was too weak to walk. It was there that he spent the last week of his life.

When he arrived at the home of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha he requested the water of seven water-skins—the mouths of which have not been untied—be poured on him as a remedy, so that he would gain strength to advise his Companions. He sat in a big basin belonging to his wife Hafsah radiya Llahu ‘anha, and his wives then started to pour water on him from these water skins until he experienced relief. Then he went out to the people and led them in prayer and addressed them. He ascended the pulpit, praised Allah as He deserves to be praised and delivered his final sermon which included the following statements:

 

“May Allah’s curse be on the Jews and Christians for they took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.”

“Do not make my grave an idol that is worshipped.”

“I advise you to treat the Ansar well. They are my family and with them I found shelter. They have acquitted themselves credibly of the responsibility that fell upon them and now there remains what is for them. The believers will increase, but the Ansar will diminish to the extent that they would be among men as salt is in food. Whoever among you occupies a position of responsibility and is powerful enough to do harm or good to people should fully acknowledge and appreciate the favour that these benefactors have shown, and overlook their faults.” [11]

 

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri relates:

 

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam delivered a sermon and said, “Allah gave a choice to one of (His) slaves either to choose this world or what is with Him in the Hereafter. He chose the latter.”

Abu Bakr began to weep. I said to myself, “What is this old man weeping for, if Allah gave a choice to one (of His) slaves either to choose this world or what is with Him in the Hereafter and he chose the latter?” (However) that slave was Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; he was referring himself. Abu Bakr was more knowledgeable than us.

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “O Abu Bakr! Do not cry.”

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then added, “Abu Bakr has favoured me much with his property and company. If I were to take a Khalil (close friend) other than Allah, I would certainly have taken Abu Bakr. It is enough that we share the Islamic bond of brotherhood and friendship. No door leading into the Masjid is to be left open besides the door of Abu Bakr.” [12]

 

Sa’id ibn Jubayr narrates

 

I heard Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma saying, “Thursday! And you know not what Thursday is?” and then he wept till the stones on the ground were moist with his tears.

On that I asked, “What is (about) Thursday?”

He said, “When the health of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam deteriorated, he said, ‘Bring me a bone, so that I may write something for you after which you will never go astray.’

The people argued their opinions although it was inappropriate to dispute in front of a prophet, they said, “What is his condition? Is he speaking senselessly? Ask him for clarity.”

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied, “Leave me as I am in a better state than what you are asking me to do.” Then the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advised them with three things saying, “Expel the Mushrikin from the Arabian Peninsula, be hospitable to all foreign delegates as I used to do.” The narrator added, “The third order was something beneficial which either Ibn ‘Abbas did not mention, or he mentioned but I forgot.” [13]

 

The narration above—which has been narrated with variant wording—is one of the issues which will be discussed at length in the refutation below. The focal point of the debate is the document that was proposed to be written.

If the esteemed reader would indulge me and pause for a moment. Let us not speculate the contents of the document since it was never written. The famous Muhaddith and historian, ‘Imad al-Din ibn Kathir has presented a very objective approach to understanding this element of the hadith. He says:

 

Orthodox scholars accept what is fully established and reject what might be viewed as allegorical. This is the methodology of those firmly rooted in knowledge. This area is one of those where the feet of many of the noisome slip. Orthodox scholars do not manipulate events to suit the narrative of their prescribed leaning, rather they pursue the truth alone, moving with it along whatever path it leads.

We do not suggest that we know what was intended; but if we were to apply discernment at what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam potentially might have intended we can apply those ahadith that lend themselves to a clear, unambiguous interpretation.

Imam Ahmad narrates with his chain from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, “When the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was suffering from that illness from which he succumbed to, he said, ‘Summon Abu Bakr and his son, so that no one will desire afterwards or aspire to Abu Bakr’s role.’ He went on, ‘Allah would not allow it to be otherwise, and the believers.’ He said this twice.”

Imam Ahmad also narrates—with another chain— from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, “When the illness of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam worsened, he told ‘Abd al-Rahman, Abu Bakr’s son, ‘Bring me a shoulder bone or a tablet so that I can write a document for Abu Bakr about which no one can dispute.’ When ‘Abd al-Rahman went to do this, he said, ‘Allah and the believers reject there being any disagreement over you, O Abu Bakr!’”

Al-Bukhari narrates with an alternate chain from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha who said, “The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘I felt like sending for Abu Bakr and his son, and appoint him lest some people claim something or some others desire something, but then I said (to myself), ‘Allah would not allow it to be otherwise, and the Muslims would prevent it from being otherwise.’”

There is a hadith which appears both in al-Bukhari and Muslim from Muhammad ibn Jubayr ibn Mut’im radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who quoted his father as saying, “A woman came to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and he told her to return to him again. She asked, ‘Suppose I come and no longer find you?’ She seemed to be implying his death. He replied, ‘If you do not find me, then go to Abu Bakr.”

It seems obvious— though Allah knows best—that she said that to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, during his final illness.

On the Thursday, five days before he passed away, the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had delivered an address in which he had asserted the excellence of Abu Bakr over the other Companions, in addition to his explicit instructions that Abu Bakr lead them in prayer. It may perhaps be that this address should be viewed as a substitution for what he intended to write in the document.

He had washed himself prior to making that noble address. They had sprinkled over him water from seven water-skins, the openings of which had not been untied as mentioned in the Sahih collections.

 

Jundub ibn ‘Abd-Allah al-Bajali radiya Llahu ‘anhu related:

 

I heard from the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam five days before his death that he said, “I stand acquitted before Allah of taking any one of you as a friend; for Allah has taken me as His friend, as he took Ibrahim as His friend. Had I taken any one of my Ummah as a friend, I would have taken Abu Bakr as a friend. Beware of those who preceded you and used to take the graves of their prophets and righteous men as places of worship, but you must not take graves as masjids; I forbid you to do that.” [14]

 

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam departed from this world on a Monday morning. Five days prior to that would be the Thursday.

The Ahlus Sunnah consider the decision of leadership the responsibility of the Muslim community. The mention of Abu Bakr in the previous narrations, in addition to his appointment to lead the Salah, are strong suggestions from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for his preferred candidate.

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not appoint a successor as can be learnt from the narration involving ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu and ‘Abbas ibn al-Muttalib radiya Llahu ‘anhu

 

Al-Bukhari narrated with his complete chain to ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu who said:

 

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib came out of the Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam home during his fatal illness. The people asked, “O Abu al-Hasan, how is the health of Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam this morning?”

‘Ali replied, “He has recovered with the Grace of Allah.”

‘Abbas grabbed him by the hand and said to him, “In three days you will be ruled (by somebody else), and by Allah, I feel that Allah’s Messenger will not survive this ailment. I know the look of death on the faces of the offspring of ‘Abd al-Muttalib. Let us go to the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and ask him who will take over the Khilafah. If it is given to us we will know, and if it is given to somebody else, we will inform him so that he may tell the new ruler to take care of us.”

‘Ali said, “By Allah, if we asked the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for it (the Khilafah) and he denied us it now, the people will never give it to us after that. By Allah, I will not ask Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for it.” [15]

 

The mother of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, Umm al-Fadl radiya Llahu ‘anha said:

 

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came out to us with his head bandaged from his illness. He prayed Maghrib, reciting (Surah) al-Mursalat.” [She said:] “He did not pray it again until he met Allah.” [16]

 

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu forward to lead the people in salah until he passed away. After the Maghrib prayer the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam experienced difficulty and repeatedly lost consciousness. When he instructed that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu lead the prayer Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha suggested that ‘Umar be appointed instead. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam insisted that only Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu lead the prayer. Perhaps the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wanted to leave no room for misunderstanding in his suggested candidate.

 

Imam al-Bukhari narrates from Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

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.[17]

 

‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Abdullah reported that he visited Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha and asked her to tell him about the illness of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. She agreed and said:

 

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was seriously ill and he asked whether the people had prayed. We said, “No, they are waiting for you, Messenger of Allah.”

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Put some water in the tub for me.”

We did accordingly and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam took a bath. When he was about to move with difficulty, he fainted. After regaining consciousness, he again asked, “Have the people prayed?”

We said, “No, they are waiting for you, Messenger of Allah.”

He again said, “Put some water for me in the tub.”

We did accordingly and he took a bath, but when he was about to move with difficulty he fainted After regaining consciousness, he asked whether the people had prayed and again we said, “No, they are waiting for you, Messenger of Allah.”

He said, “Put some water for me in the tub.”

We did accordingly and he took a bath and he was about to move with difficulty when he fainted. When he regained consciousness, he asked, “Have the people prayed?”

We said, “No, they are waiting for you, Messenger of Allah.”

The people were staying in the masjid and waiting for the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to lead the ‘Isha prayer. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent (instructions) to Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer. When the messenger came, he told him (Abu Bakr), “The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has ordered you to lead the people in prayer.”

Abu Bakr who was a man of very tenderly feelings asked Umar to lead the prayer. ‘Umar said, “You are more entitled to that.” Abu Bakr led the prayers during those days. Afterwards the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam felt some relief and he went out supported by two men, one of them was ‘Abbas, to the noon prayer. Abu Bakr was leading the people in prayer. When Abu Bakr saw him, he began to withdraw, but the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam told him not to withdraw. He told his two companions to seat him beside him (Abu Bakr). They seated him by the side of Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr said the prayer standing while following the prayer of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the people prayed (standing) while following the prayer of Abu Bakr. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was seated.

 

‘Ubayd Allah said:

 

I visited ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas, and said, “Should I repeat to you what Aisha had told me about the illness of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?”

He said, “Go ahead.”

I repeated to him what had been transmitted by her. He objected to none of it, only asking whether she had named the man who accompanied ‘Abbas. I said, “No.” He replied, “It was ‘Ali.”[18]

 

On Sunday, a day before his departure from this world, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam set his slaves free, paid as a charity the seven Dinars he owned, and gave his weapons as an endowment to be used by the Muslims. Even his armour was mortgaged as a security with a Jew for thirty sa’ of barley.

 

Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

Abu Bakr used to lead the people in prayer during the fatal illness of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam until it was Monday. When the people aligned (in rows) for the prayer, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lifted the curtain of his house and started looking at us and was standing at that time. His face was (glittering) like a page of the Mushaf, and he smiled cheerfully. We were about to be put to trial for the pleasure of seeing the Prophet. Abu Bakr retreated to join the row as he thought that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would lead the prayer. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam beckoned us to complete the prayer and he let the curtain fall. He passed away on that very day.[19]

 

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha narrates:

 

Once Fatimah came walking and her gait resembled the gait of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Welcome, O my daughter!” Then he made her sit on his right or on his left side, after which he told her a secret and she started weeping.

I asked her, “Why are you weeping?” He again told her a secret and she started laughing. I said, “I never saw happiness so near to sadness as I saw today.”

I asked her what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had told her and she replied, “I would never disclose the secret of Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”

When the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away, I asked her about it. She replied, “The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Every year Jibril used to revise the Qur’an with me once only, but this year he has done so twice. I think this indicates my death, and you will be the first of my family to follow me.’ So I started weeping. Then he said, ‘Do you not like to be the leader of all the women of Paradise or the leader of the believing women?’ So I laughed for that.”[20]

 

When the pangs of death started, Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhu supported him against her. She used to say, “One of Allah’s bounties upon me is that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away in my house, on my day. His soul departed with his head between my chest and neck while he was leaning against me. Allah mixed his saliva with mine at his death.[21]

 

Tijani on the Thursday calamity

Tijani says:

Briefly the story is as follows:

The Companions were meeting in the Messenger’s house, three days before he died. He ordered them to bring him a bone and an ink pot so that he could write a statement for them which would prevent them from straying from the right path, but the Companions differed among themselves and some of them disobeyed the Prophet and accused him of talking nonsense. The Messenger of Allah became very angry and ordered them out of his house without issuing any statement.

This is the story in some details:

Ibn Abbas said: Thursday, and what a Thursday that was! The Messenger’s pain became very severe, and he said, “Come here, I will write you a document which will prevent you from straying from the right path.” But Umar said that the Prophet was under the spell of the pain, and that they had the Qur’an which was sufficient being the Book of Allah. Ahlul Bayt then differed and quarrelled amongst themselves, some of them agreeing with what the Prophet said, while others supported Umar’s view. When the debate became heated and the noise became louder, the Messenger of Allah said to them, “Leave me alone.”

Ibn Abbas said: The disaster was that the disagreement among the Companions prevented the Messenger from writing that document for them.

The incident is correct and there is no doubt about its authenticity, for it was cited by the Shii scholars and their historians in their books, as well as by the Sunni scholars and historians in their books. As I was committed to consider the incident, I found myself bewildered by Umar’s behaviour regarding the order of the Messenger of Allah. And what an order it was! “To prevent the nation from going astray”, for undoubtedly that statement would have had something new in it for the Muslims and would have left them without a shadow of doubt.[22]

He continues and says:

This type of reasoning would not be accepted by simple-minded people, let alone by the scholars. I repeatedly tried to find an excuse for Umar but the circumstances surrounding the incident prevented me from finding an excuse. Even if I changed the words “He is talking nonsense” – God forbid – to “the pain has overcome him”, I could not find any justification for Umar when he said, “You have the Qur’an, and it is sufficient being the Book of Allah.” Did he know the Qur’an better than the Messenger of Allah, for whom it was revealed? Or was the Messenger of Allah – God forbid – unaware of what he was? Or did he seek, through his order, to create division and disagreement among the Companions – God forbid.[23]

 

Refuting Tijani on the Thursday calamity

1. Tijani combined in this hadith more than one narration. He mentioned that the Sahabah accused the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam of senseless speech, but that word does not exist in the hadith which he mentions. In the hadith he also relates the words of Ibn ‘Abbas, “Thursday, and what was Thursday? The pain intensified upon the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam…” This sentence is not in the hadith which he references to Sahih al-Bukhari in the margins of his book.

However, this sentence together with the word “yahjur” appears in a different hadith which Tijani pretends to be unaware of as it clarifies some pertinent points about this incident. It is the narration of Sa’id ibn Jubayr who said:

 

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Thursday, and what was Thursday? The pain intensified upon the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who then said, ‘Come, let me write for you a letter after which you will never stray.’

They then disputed and a dispute is not appropriate in the presence of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They said, ‘What is his condition? Is he speaking senselessly? Ask him for clarity.’

So they went to him and he said, ‘Leave me, for indeed, what I am in is better for me than what you call me towards.’

He then exhorted them with three things. He said, ‘Expel the Mushrikin from the Arabian Peninsula, and give gifts to the delegations as I used to,’ he either did not mention the third or the narrator said, ‘I forgot it.’”[24]

 

2. It is necessary for a Muslim to believe that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was infallible in terms of lying and from changing any Islamic law in good health or illness. His infallibility extends to the duty of explaining what he was commanded to explain and conveying that which Allah commanded him to convey.[25]

When we recognise this, it becomes clear to us that if he was commanded to convey something during health or illness he would convey it without doubt. If he intended to write something indispensable, it is inconceivable that he would have neglected it whether on account of their disagreement or anything else, just as he never previously failed to convey his message despite the opposition he faced. He was always guided by the command of Allah:

بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ

Announce that which has been revealed to you.[26]

This indicates that what the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam intended to write was something optional and not compulsory. Indeed, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lived another four days after that and did not re-issue the instruction for them to write. His statement in the narration which Tijani concealed, “and he exhorted them with three things,” indicates the fact that what the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam intended to write was not a mandatory matter. If it was something which he was commanded to convey he would not have neglected it on account of possible disagreement. Allah would have punished the one who prevented him from fulfilling his duty. Had there been an imperative command the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would have conveyed it verbatim as he did in the case of expelling the Mushrikin.[27]

3. Tijani says:

But can we find a sensible explanation to this hurtful incident which angered the Messenger so much that he ordered them to leave?[28]

I say:

There is no indication of the Messenger displaying any anger towards the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum or his instruction to expel them. None of the seven versions of this Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari seem to convey this notion. Instead, the severity of the pain experienced by the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam resulted in his request for them to stop arguing amongst themselves. This is evident since the narration continues wherein the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advised them with three matters and this transpired after their argument. There is, therefore, absolutely no evidence to suggest that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was angry with them, or that he dismissed them.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that he was angry with them. This is not impossible as they were not infallible and could well do something to incur anger. However, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would sometimes become angry and then later become pleased. Indeed, his anger towards his Sahabah was a source of goodness for them. Imam al-Bukhari narrates a hadith in his Sahih from Abu Hurayrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he heard the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying:

اللّٰهُمَّ فَأَيُّمَا مُؤْمِنٍ سَبَبْتُهُ فَاجْعَلْ ذَلِكَ لهُ قُرْبَةً إِلَيكَ يَوْمَ القِيَامَة

O Allah! If I should ever abuse a believer, please let that be a means of bringing him closer to You on the Day of Judgment.[29]

 

There is also a hadith in Musnad Ahmad and al-Tabarani’s al-Mujam al-Kabir in which the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam states:

 

أَيُّمَا رَجُلٍ مِنْ أُمَّتِيْ سَبَبْتُهُ سبة فِي غَضَبِىْ أَوْ لَعَنْتُهُ لَعْنَةً فَإنَّمَا أَنَا مِنْ وَلَدِ آدَمَ أَغْضَب كَمَا يَغْضَبُوْنَ وإِنَّمَا بَعَثَنِيْ رحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِيْنَ فَاجْعَلْهَا صَلَاةً عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ القِيَامَة

If there is any man from my Ummah whom I cursed in anger, then indeed I am but from the sons of Adam. I become angry like they become angry. Allah sent me as a mercy unto the worlds, therefore let it be a mercy for them on the Day of Judgement.[30]

 

Tijani’s inability to find a reasonable explanation for the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam anger at the Companions is of no consequence. Imam al-Bukhari reports the following hadith:

 

One night the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam knocked on the door of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu and asked, “Are you not praying?”

‘Ali replied, “O Messenger of Allah! Our souls are in the hands of Allah. If He wills, he wakes us up.”

Thereupon the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left and did not say anything in return.

‘Ali says, “As he turned around I heard him hit his hand against his thigh saying:

وَكَانَ الْإِنْسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا

But man has ever been, more than anything, [prone to] dispute.[31]

 

Has Tijani found a reasonable explanation for ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu remonstration with the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and invoking predestination as an argument causing the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to hit his thigh in exasperation saying in opposition, “But man has ever been prone to dispute.”

If he has found a reasonable explanation for ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu remonstration, then the Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam action with regards to the argumentation of the Sahabah is understandable.

4. Ibn ‘Abbas’s radiya Llahu ‘anhuma crying and his naming it “a great calamity” do not constitute an argument against the Ahlus Sunnah. Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma used to cry retrospectively when narrating the incident and not at the time when it occurred. All the narrations concur upon that. It is possible that he remembered the passing of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which increased his grief. In addition the failure to write the letter would certainly be a great loss for one who doubted the succession of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had written the letter then all doubts would have been removed. Also, Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma called that incident the “great calamity” because, although, he himself was amongst those who concurred with the nomination of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu there appeared in his time people whose rejection of Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu Khilafah led them to embroil the Ummah in great strife and bloodshed. Considering that this letter could possibly have averted all this bloodshed, its non-writing could certainly be considered a loss.

5. Tijani says:

The Sunnis say that Umar recognized that the Prophet’s illness was advancing, so he wanted to comfort him and relieve him from any pressure. This type of reasoning would not be accepted by simple-minded people, let alone by the scholars.

I say:

There is no doubt, according to us, that this explanation of the scholars is logically acceptable, especially when we realise that the hadith states that the Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam pain intensified. However, this was not the only reason which caused ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu to say what he said. Rather, a sign became apparent to him which indicated that the instruction of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was not peremptory. Therefore, he applied his discretion. This is the same as ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did when the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called him to prayer and he cited predestination as an argument; the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not say it in a peremptory manner.

Tijani claims that the Ahlus Sunnah make the excuse that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu intended to grant the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam respite out of compassion for him. The picture he presents of the view of the Ahlus Sunnah is hopelessly incomplete. I will therefore cite the views of the scholars explaining the position of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, to illustrate to the reader the strength of the Ahlus Sunnah’s position. It will also demonstrate the difference between the explanation of the coarsely ignorant and the scholar firmly rooted in his knowledge.

 

Al-Mazari says about this incident:

 

It was permissible for the Sahabah to disagree about this letter, despite his clear instruction to them concerning it, because instructions are sometimes accompanied with that which indicates non-compulsion. It was as if an indication became apparent that the instruction was not mandatory in nature but rather optional and therefore their opinions differed. ‘Umar decided to abstain because it became apparent to him that the instruction was not issued with firm intent. The Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instruction could be rooted either in revelation or discretion. If it was on account of revelation, then he left it because of revelation and if it was on account of discretion then he left it because of discretion.[32]

 

Imam al-Bayhaqi says towards the end of his book, Dala’il al-Nubuwwah:

 

‘Umar merely intended to create ease for the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when he saw him overcome by pain. If the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam intended to write something indispensable for them he would not have neglected it on account of their disagreement or anything else because Allah says, “Convey what was revealed to you.” The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam never allowed the opposition of enemies to prevent conveyance of instructions as in the case of the instruction to expel the Jews from the Arabian Peninsula, and other matters mentioned in the hadith.[33]

 

Imam al-Qurtubi says:

 

I’tuni (bring me) is an instruction and it is the duty of the instructed to hasten to the execution of the instruction. However, it was apparent to ‘Umar, as well as to a group of the Sahabah, that the instruction was not mandatory in nature and that it fell under the realm of guidance to that which was most beneficial. Therefore, they disliked burdening him with that which would cause him difficulty, keeping in mind Allah’s words:

مَا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِنْ شَيْء

Nothing have we omitted from the Book.[34]

تِبْيَانًا لِكُلِّ شَيْء

We have sent down to you the Book explaining all things.[35]

It was for this reason that ‘Umar said, “The book of Allah suffices us.” It was, however, apparent to another group of Sahabah that the best course of action was for him to write the letter as it would serve as additional clarification. His commanding them to stand and leave indicates that his initial instruction was optional. That is why the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not repeat the instruction even though he lived for a few days thereafter. If it was mandatory he would not have neglected it on account of their disagreement because he did not neglect conveying on account of any opposition. At times when he was not assertive in his instruction the Sahabah would confer with him. But when he was assertive they would execute without hesitation.[36]

 

Evidence of the understanding and knowledge of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu is found in these ahadith:

 

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha narrates that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Amongst the people before you there were those who were muhaddathun (divinely inspired). If there is anyone from my Ummah, it is ‘Umar.”[37]

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “While I was sleeping, people were presented to me wearing shirts. Some had shirts reaching their chests, and others less than that. Then ‘Umar passed by wearing a shirt which he dragged behind him.” They enquired, “How do you interpret that O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “The Religion.”[38]

Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma narrates that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “While I was sleeping a bowl of milk was brought to me. I drank from it until I quenched my thirst to the point where I saw it exiting my nails. Then I gave my surplus to ‘Umar.” They asked, “How do you interpret it, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Knowledge.”[39]

 

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu praised ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and testified to his integrity and steadfastness. This is mentioned in the authoritative Shi’i book, Nahj al-Balaghah, compiled by their scholar, Sharif al-Radi. In a portion of his sermon, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

A ruler governed them who was just and steadfast, until religion reached the point of ultimate satiation.[40]

 

Ibn Abi al-Hadid, the Shi’i commentator on Nahj al-Balaghah says, “This governor is ‘Umar bin al-Khattab.”[41]

 

Tijani on the accusation of senseless speech

Even if I changed the words “He is talking nonsense” – God forbid – to “the pain has overcome him”, I could not find any justification for Umar when he said, “You have the Qur’an, and it is sufficient being the Book of Allah.”

 

Refuting Tijani on the accusation of senseless speech

Nothing in any of the versions of the hadith indicates that the person who made this statement was ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. What ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said was ghalabahu al-waja (the pain overcame him), to insinuate that he actually said “yahjur” (speaking senselessly) by suggesting replacing one term for the other is nothing less than Tijani’s own prejudicial delusion.

The actual word in the hadith is a hajara? (Is he speaking senselessly?). The hadith clearly mentions that this question was asked by several persons. The purpose of the question was to refute those who said, “do not write!” They were in essence saying, “How can we delay? Do you think he is like anyone else that speaks incoherently when he is sick?” In further refutation of this notion, they said, “Ask him for clarity.”

If we should assume these words came from one of the Sahabah then perhaps the matter was unclear to this particular person. The person who made this statement might also have been a recent Muslim or someone so stricken with emotion at seeing the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in this condition that he harshly rebuked those who thought it best not to write.

 

An alternative perspective

Hajr literally means to speak in a jumbled and incoherent manner. There are two types of it. One is where speech is unclear, the voice is hoarse, and the tongue is dry on account of heat during a high fever. This is something that even the Prophets are susceptible to. There is consensus among the historians that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was afflicted with hoarseness of voice during the illness which led to his demise.

The second type is when speech is incoherent due to fainting spells caused by the fever. Scholars differ about whether this could affect the Prophets. Some of them accept that it could occur to them comparing it to sleep while others deny it.

Perhaps the person who made this statement intended the first category. In other words, he found the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam manner of speech different to his normal way of talking. Therefore, it is possible that he could not understand his words on account of weakness in his voice. Viewed from this perspective there is nothing objectionable.

 

Tijani on the knowledge of ‘Umar

Tijani says:

Did he know the Qur’an better than the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, for whom it was revealed?

 

Tijani’s statement only confirms his ignorance. The statement of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “The book of Allah is sufficient for us,” was in refutation of those who argued with him and not a rebuttal of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Added to that is the fact that it became clear to him that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was not peremptory. He therefore made his statement relying on the words of Allah:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ

This day have I perfected your religion for you.[42]

مَا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِنْ شَيْء

We did not omit anything in the book.[43]

This, as we explained before, was confirmation of ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu deep understanding and knowledge. The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was fully aware of what he himself said and what ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said. The fact that he did not refute ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu indicates that he regarded ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu statement as correct, also realising that this matter would not cause division amongst the Sahabah. This is exactly what happened as the Muslims nominated Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and thereby thwarted any form of disagreement.

 

Tijani on the Prophets salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam treatment of ‘Umar

Even if the Sunni reasoning was right, then the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would have realized the good will of Umar and thanked him for that and perhaps asked him to stay, instead of feeling angry at him and telling them to leave his house.

 

Refuting Tijani on the Prophets salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam treatment of ‘Umar

Had he applied his mind logically he would have concluded that the Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam silence on ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu statement and subsequent abandonment of writing indicate that he agreed with ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Here Tijani commits another sleight of hand. By slyly insinuating that the command Ukhruju anni (leave me) was addressed at ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he violates the rules of Arabic grammar. The form of the word Ukhruju (leave) indicates that it was addressed at a group of people and not one particular individual. All those present were commanded to leave.[44]

Tijani’s words in fact prove that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was silent on ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu statement and did not object to it. It was only when the noise and disagreement became unbearable that he said, “Leave me!” However, nothing here indicates specific dismissal of ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu words, especially if we consider that the hadith goes on to state that he imparted three instructions thereafter.

 

Then Tijani says:

 

May I ask why did they abide by his order when he asked them to leave the room and did not say then that he was “talking nonsense”? Was it because they had succeeded in their plot to prevent the Prophet from writing the document, so that there was no need for them to stay any longer? Thus, we find them creating noise and difference in the presence of the Messenger, and divided into two parties: one agreeing with the Messenger of Allah about writing that document, while the other agreed with Umar “that he was talking nonsense”.[45]

 

Allahu Akbar! Did the Sahabah scheme against the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in order to prevent him from writing? By Allah, this is the belief of one who has no love and respect for the Sahabah of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in his heart. These are the same Sahabah who befriended him and assisted him and followed the light which descended upon him and ransomed their souls and their families and everything they owned, and because of it, Allah opened for them the world and debased for them the Persians and the Romans, all because of their assisting the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Then Tijani comes along and claims that they schemed against the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Is this the pure and intelligent logic which led him to contradict reason and revelation? Subhan Allah! All this interpolation only to make the text serve the outrageous goal of belittling the Sahabah. He then repeats his entirely defeated argument that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam spoke senselessly. The truth is manifestly clear.

 

Tijani continues:

 

The matter is not just concerned with Umar alone, for if it was so, the Messenger of Allah would have persuaded him that he could not be talking nonsense and that the pain could not overcome him in matters of the nation’s guidance and of preventing it from going astray. But the situation became much more serious, and Umar found some supporters who seemingly had a prior agreement on their stand, and so they created the noise and the disagreement among themselves and forgot, or perhaps pretended to forget, the words of Allah – the Most High:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا لَا تَرْفَعُوْا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ وَلَا تَجْهَرُوْا لَه بِالْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ أَنْ تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُوْنَ

O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as you may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and you perceive not.[46]

 

What an astonishing claim! If indeed the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was angry with ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and commanded him and others to leave him was he then not able to silence ‘Umar? And the hadith itself states that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam thereafter still imparted three instructions to them. In light of this, his not silencing ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu is proof that he agreed with him and approved of what he said.

To Tijani’s insinuation that in their excessive clamour they pretended to forget the words of Allah, I respond: The Sahabah did not raise their voice above the voice of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; rather some raised their voices above the voices of others which does not violate the verse. The argument is therefore self-defeating.

 

Now Tijani reveals his malice as follows:

 

In this incident they went beyond raising their voices and talking loud to accusing the Messenger of Allah of talking nonsense – God forbid – then they increased their noise and differences until it became a battle of words in his presence.

I think the majority of the Companions were with Umar, and that is why the Messenger of Allah found it useless to write the document, because he knew that they would not respect him and would not abide by the command of Allah by not raising their voices in his presence, and if they were rebellious against the command of Allah, then they would never obey the order of His Messenger.

Thus, the wisdom of the Messenger ruled that he was not to write the document because it had been attacked during his lifetime, let alone after his death.

The critics would say that he was talking nonsense, and perhaps they would doubt some of the orders he passed whilst on his death-bed, for they were convinced that he was talking nonsense.

I ask Allah for forgiveness, and renounce what has been said in the presence of the holy Messenger, for how could I convince myself and my free conscience that Umar ibn al- Khattab was acting spontaneously, whereas his friends and others who were present at the incident cried until their tears wet the stones, and named the incident “the misfortune of the Muslims”. I therefore decided to reject all the justifications given to explain the incident, and even tried to deny it so that I could relax and forget about the tragedy, but all the books referred to it and accepted its authenticity but could not provide sound justification for it.[47]

 

Here Tijani gives clear evidence of his lack of objectivity. He claims that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam thought it best not to argue about the writing of the letter, and considered it wiser not to pursue it because the Sahabah would neither submit nor execute his instruction, but would criticise him for it? Let us imagine for a moment that this was true: Is it at all conceivable that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam—whose fundamental responsibility is to convey the divine message—would have any hesitation about writing that which he was commanded to covey? What choice did he have in the matter when Allah commands:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَاللّٰهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ

O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. And Allah will protect you from the people.[48]

وَمَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى . إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى

Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed.[49]

It was necessary for the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to convey, whether by writing or speech. As such he issued commands like the one to expel the Mushrikin from the Arabian Peninsula. Tijani’s claim is an indictment on the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. How could he hesitate about conveying because of mere criticism?

Any person who reads the Qur’an knows the extent of Tijani’s ignorance of the reality of Prophethood. All the Prophets were confronted with various forms of physical and psychological abuse, but these abuses did not dissuade them from conveying the message of Allah. Our Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam—the Seal of the Prophets—was also confronted with a variety of temptations, threats and torments in order to dissuade him from conveying his message. The Mushrikin abused and tormented him and his Sahabah, forced them to take refuge in the mountain passes of Makkah, hurled derision and ridicule at him with insults such as “magician” and “insane”—but none of these pressures stood in the way of conveying the religion of Allah completely without any deficiencies. He and his Companions strove in the path of Allah until Allah gave him dominion on earth and raised his religion above all other religions.

Then this Rafidi comes along and claims that the most resolute of all the Prophets salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam refused to convey the order of Allah which would protect the Ummah from misguidance. Why? Because of nothing other than disrespect, disobedience to his instruction, and criticism of it. Nothing can be further from the character of our beloved Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam! It was his duty to convey the message and disclose the truth even if the entire earth waged war against him so that truth may prevail over falsehood. It is for this reason that Allah sent Prophets as givers of glad tidings and warnings to the people. This informs us that what the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam intended to write was not revelation.

Tijani accuses the Sahabah of not respecting the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, of not fulfilling his command, and of criticising him. Sometimes he writes that Ibn ‘Abbas cried to such an extent that his tears moistened the ground, and sometimes he writes that the Sahabah cried until their tears moistened the ground; but at the same time they schemed to prevent the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from writing, most of them siding with the view of ‘Umar.

 

He then rallies to the defence of his partisans and says:

 

I tend to agree with the Shii point of view in explaining the incident because I find it logical and very coherent.

I still remember the answer which al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr gave me when I asked him, “How did our master Umar understand, among all the Companions what the Messenger wanted to write, namely the appointment of Ali as his successor- as you claim – which shows that he was a clever man?”

Al-Sayyid al-Sadr said: Umar was not the only one who anticipated what the Messenger was going to write. In fact most of the people who were present there understood the situation the same way as Umar did, because the Messenger of Allah had previously indicated the issue when he said, “I shall leave you with two weighty things: the Book of Allah and the members of my Family (Ahlul Bayt) and their descendants, if you follow them, you will never go astray after me.” And during his illness he said to them, “Let me write you a document, if you follow its contents, you will never go astray.” Those who were present, including Umar, understood that the Messenger of Allah wanted to reiterate, in writing, what he had already said in Ghadir Khum, and that was to follow the Book of Allah and Ahlul Bayt and that Ali was the head of it. It was as if the holy Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was saying, “Follow the Qur’an and Ali.” He said similar things on many occasions, as has been stated by many historians.

The majority of Quraysh did not like Ali because he was young and because he smashed their arrogance and had killed their heroes; but they did not dare oppose the Messenger of Allah, as they had done at the “Treaty of al-Hudaibiyah”, and when the Messenger prayed for Abdullah ibn Abi al-Munafiq, and on many other incidents recorded by history. This incident was one of them, and you see that the opposition against writing that document during the Prophets illness encouraged some of those who were present to be insolent and make so much noise in his presence.[50]

 

Tijani claims that the explanation of the Shi’ah is logical and has many supporting proofs. May I ask what these proofs are? Is it Baqir al-Sadr’s analysis of the position of the Sahabah? Does Baqir al-Sadr know the unseen or receive revelation? I am amazed, and continue to be amazed, by his statement:

Umar was not the only one who anticipated what the Messenger was going to write. In fact most of the people who were present then understood the situation the same way as Umar did.

Baqir al-Sadr must have opened up the chests of the Sahabah to know what they contained.

Then Tijani says:

Because the Messenger of Allah had previously indicated the issue when he said, “I shall leave you with two weighty things.”

He alludes to the hadith of Ghadir Khum which (allegedly) bears the statement of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Whomsoever, I am his Mawla, then ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is his Mawla.”

I say to Tijani and his guide: Seeing that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam previously said “the like of it”— as you claim —why did he repeat it? According to your interpretation these ahadith and the ones transmitted by the Ahlus Sunnah in their authentic compilations already explicitly state that. Do you not find it odd that he needs to repeat it? Do these ahadith not suffice as a proof against the Ahlus Sunnah?

What is truly strange is that the Shi’ah have constantly been boxing our ears to point out that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stated that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu will be his successor in categorically unambiguous texts. Yet they continue citing ahadith such as, “This is my brother, my advisor, and my successor amongst you, therefore listen to him and obey him,” which can be interpreted in a variety of different manners.

Al-Musawi in his book al-Murajaat[51] claims that there are forty clear ahadith concerning the successorship of ‘Ali, while in the book Haqq al-Yaqin[52] their great scholar, ‘Abd Allah Shubbar, produces thirteen explicit ahadith establishing the successorship of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Why then, after all this, does he cling to straws, reiterating that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam intended to write a letter stating in it the successorship of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu? If you say it is because the Ahlus Sunnah deny it or explain it away, then I say: If the Ahlus Sunnah deny these “unambiguous” texts, along with the events of Ghadir Khum that occurred in the presence of a mass of people, then it is more likely that they would deny a dubious letter where only a small group of people were present.

Tijani goes on to say:

The majority of Quraysh did not like Ali because he was young and because he smashed their arrogance and had killed their heroes.

Who does he intend with the word “Quraysh” here? Is it the Mushrikin of Makkah or the Sahabah of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? If it is the Mushrikin of Makkah, then was ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu the only one who shattered, crushed and killed their heroes? Was he the only one who fought at Badr, Uhud and other expeditions? Did not all the Sahabah share in that, at the forefront Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, Talhah, Zubair, and others? If that is the case—and indeed it is—then there is no distinction for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu above the rest of the Sahabah.

If by “Quraysh” he means the Sahabah—which is most likely intended considering the context, since Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and most of the Muhajirin were from the Quraysh—then here I ask: Did ‘Ali shatter the grandeur of these Sahabah and kill their heroes, or did these Sahabah enter into Islam out of desire or fear? What sense does this make when the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

This matter of leadership will be amongst the Quraysh—no person will oppose them except that Allah will drag him on his face into the Fire—as long as they maintain the religion.[53]

 

Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma narrates another hadith in which the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

This matter will remain amongst the Quraysh as long as two of them remain.[54]

 

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself said in a sermon in Nahj al-Balaghah which is from amongst the most highly revered works of the Shi’ah:

Indeed, the leaders are from the Quraysh.[55]

 

It was for that reason the four khulafaʼ were from the Quraysh, amongst them ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. So what do these Shi’ah ramble about? It should rather be said from the outset that reason and historical fact prove that the remainder of the Persians—whose grandeur ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the Sahabah ruined and whose heroes they killed—embraced Islam and it is they who then conspired against the Sahabah, using the Ahlul Bayt as a pretext.

They pretended to cry for the Ahlul Bayt and assist them, and shed false tears for them. Thereafter, they started destroying the foundations of this religion by criticising those who conveyed and preserved the Qur’an and Sunnah, namely the trustworthy Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with all of them.

If by writing the letter the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam intended to instate or appoint someone as his successor he would have given it to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as that is what the evidence suggests. Qasim ibn Muhammad, the grandfather of Imam al-Baqir,reports from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha:

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.[56]

 

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

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam 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.”[57]

 

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrate that Jubayr ibn Mut’im said:

A woman came to the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam 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.”[58]

 

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrate also from Abu Hurayrah 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.[59]

 

It is reported from Abu Bakrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said one day, “Who amongst you had a dream?”

A man replied, “I saw as if a scale descended from the heavens. Then you (the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and Abu Bakr were weighed, and you outweighed Abu Bakr. Then Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were weighed, and Abu Bakr outweighed ‘Umar. Then ‘Umar and ‘Uthman were weighed, and ‘Umar outweighed ‘Uthman. Then the scale was lifted.”

Abu Bakrah said, “This upset the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he then said, ‘A khilafah of Nubuwwah, then Allah will give the kingdom to whomever he wills thereafter.’”[60]

 

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu forward to lead the people in salah until he passed away. Imam al-Bukhari narrates from Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

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.[61]

 

It has been narrated from Zuhri, who reported from Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

Abu Bakr used to lead them in salah during the illness of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in which he 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.[62]

 

The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sending Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu forward is an indication towards his rightful leadership over the Muslims and this is exactly what happened. The view of Ahlus Sunnah is that if the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam indeed intended to entrust anyone with leadership by writing a letter that person would have been Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They based this contention on evidence that is more powerful and persuasive, possesses greater clarity, and in no way contradicts logic.

This stands in stark contrast with the empty claims of the Shi’ah that are too fragile and weak for any sane mind to accept. I have overlooked the rest of Tijani’s discussion on this matter, as it is a tedious repetition of what was already mentioned. Further, I have refuted all the questions that have been brought up surrounding this hadith. And all praise is due to Allah in the beginning and at the end.

 
 

 NEXT ⇒ Refuting Tijani on ‘The Companions in the Military Detachment under Usamah’


[1] Surah al-Nasr

[2] Abu Dawood (3607), al-Tirmidhi (2676)

[3] Sahih al-Bukhari, (3624)

[4] Sahih al-Bukhari, (4430)

[5] Sahih Muslim, (484)

[6] Surah al-Ma’idah: 3

[7] Sahih al-Bukhari, (4042)

[8] Sahih al-Bukhari, (4467)

[9] Dala’il al-Nubuwwah by al-Bayhaqi (162/7)

[10] Dala’il al-Nubuwwah by al-Bayhaqi (168-9/7); Sahih al-Bukhari, (4458); Musnad Ahmed (6/438)

[11] Sahih al-Bukhari, (3799-3801) Sahih Muslim (2510)

[12] Sahih al-Bukhari, (3654)

[13] Sahih al-Bukhari, (4431) Sahih Muslim (1637)

[14]Sahih Muslim (532)

[15] Sahih al-Bukhari, (4447)

[16] Al-Tirmidhi (308); Sahih al-Bukhari, (4429)

[17]Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Congregation, Hadith no. 646

[18] Sahih al-Bukhari, (687)

[19] Sahih al-Bukhari, (680)

[20] Note that this merit of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha has been narrated by Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha

[21] Sahih al-Bukhari, (4096)

[22] Then I was guided p. 67

[23] Then I was guided p. 68

[24] Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Expeditions, Hadith no. 4178

[25]Sahih Muslim with commentary, Kitab al-Wasiyyah vol. 11. p. 131

[26]Surah al-Maʼidah: 67

[27] Fath al-Bari vol. 7 p. 741

[28] Then I was guided p. 68

[29]Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Supplications vol. 5 no. 6000

[30]Musnad Ahmad vol. 9 no. 23767, Tabarani: al-Mujam al-Kabir vol. 6 no. 6156-6157, Abu Dawood vol. 5 no. 4659 with n authentic chain.

[31] Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Supplications vol. 1 no. 1075

[32]Fath al-Bari, The Book of Expeditions

[33] Sahih Muslim with its explanation, The Book of Bequests

[34] Surah al-Anam: 38

[35]Surah al-Nahl: 89

[36]Fath al-Bari, The Book of Knowledge

[37]Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book Concerning the Virtues of the Sahabah, 3:3486. Sahih Muslim with its commentary, 15:2398, The Book of the Virtues of the Sahabah

[38]Sahih Muslim with its commentary, 15:2390, The Book Concerning the Virtues of the Sahabah

[39]Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book concerning the Virtues of the Sahabah, 3478

[40]Nahj al-Balaghah, 794

[41] Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah of Ibn al-Hadid, 4:519

[42]  Surah al-Maʼidah: 3

[43]  Surah al-An’am: 38

[44] One of the persons present in the room was ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He states in a hadith documented in Musnad Ahmad (vol. 1 p. 90) and al-Sunan al-Kubra (vol. 5 p. 17) of al-Bayhaqi.

We were with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when he commanded me to bring him paper on which to write something after by which his Ummah will not go astray after him. I feared that he would die before I could bring the paper.

[45]Then I was guided p. 68

[46]  Surah al-Hujurat: 2

[47]Then I was guided p. 69

[48]  Surah al-Maʼidah: 67

[49]  Surah al-Najm: 3,4

[50]Then I was guided p. 69-70

[51]Murajaat 48, p. 169-181

[52]Haqq al-Yaqin fi Marifat Usul al-Din, ‘Abdullah Shubbar, 1:174-282

[53]Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Laws, 6720, Sahih Muslim with commentary, 12:1821

[54]  Ibid

[55] Nahj al-Balaghah, 305

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

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

[58]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

[59]  Op. Cit. Hadith no. 4364

[60]Sunan Abu Dawood, The Chapter on the Sunnah, Hadith no. 4635; Sunan al-Tirmidhi, The Chapters of Dreams, Hadith no. 2403.

[61]Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Congregation, Hadith no. 646

[62]Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith no. 648