Tijani’s Claim that the Qur’an Dispraises the Sahabah
Tijani commences this discussion as follows:
First of all, I must say that Allah – praise be to Him the Most High – commended, in many places in His Holy Book, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah who loved, obeyed and followed the Messenger without personal greed and without opposition or arrogance, and only wanted the acceptance of Allah and His Messenger; those Companions have pleased Allah and He pleased them, and that is the way for those who fear Allah.
This group of the Companions are appreciated by the Muslims because of their attitudes towards the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and their works with him, therefore they are liked and respected by all Muslims, and they are appreciated whenever people mention their names.
My study does not concern itself with this group of Companions who are respected by both the Sunnis and the Shia, nor is it concerned, with those who were well known for their hypocrisy, and who are cursed by all Muslims, Shia and Sunnis, whenever their names are mentioned.
However, my study is concerned with the group of Companions about whom the Muslims have expressed different views. There are verses in the Holy Qur’an where they are rebuked and threatened because of their attitudes in certain positions, and the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam warned them on many occasions, and warned other people about them.
The outstanding differences between the Shia and the Sunnis, is concerned with this group of Companions …
This entire passage attempts to portray a common categorization of Sahabah among both Ahlus Sunnah and Shia; the difference only being with a single category among them. Conveniently Tijani forgets, perhaps genuinely, that he previously stated that the Ahlus Sunnah do not, from the outset, divide the Sahabah into groups. Instead they consider all the Sahabah of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as trustworthy; and affirm their moral integrity as an undeniable fundamental of the religion. Therefore, Tijani’s claim that the Ahlus Sunnah merely differ with the Shia in the categorization of the Sahabah is a bitter mistruth. Under no circumstances are the Munafiqin considered from the Sahabah. Despite all claims of fair treatment, impartiality and comprehensive considerations, Tijani insists on using only the Shia tripartite division of the Sahabah. This strategy completely ignores the view of the Ahlus Sunnah concerning the Sahabah; and facilitates the opportunity to manipulate the interpretation of Qur’anic text to submit itself to preconceived ideas about the Companions of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Surah al Tawbah is one of the later Surahs in terms of sequence of revelation. It was revealed in relation to the expedition of Tabuk. One of the distinct themes that runs throughout this Surah is the contrast between the Munafiqin and the Sahabah. Let us look at the Qur’anic division of the people around the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The hypocrites are identified with specific moral indicators; and are grouped with the disbelievers in the next life.
اَلْمُنَـٰفِقُوْن وَالْمُنَـٰفِقَـٰتُ بَعْضُهُم مِّنۢ بَعْضٍ۬ۚ يَأْمُرُوْنَ بِالْمُنكَرِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمَعْرُوْفِ وَيَقْبِضُوْنَ أَيْدِيَهُمْۚ نَسُواْ اللَّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْۡۗ إِنَّاالْمُنَـٰفِقِيْنَ هُمُ الْفَـٰسِقُوْنَ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ لْمُنَـٰفِقِيْنَ وَالْمُنَـٰفِقَـٰتِ وَالْكُفَّارَ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَـٰلِدِيْنَ فِيهَاۚ هِىَ حَسْبُهُمۡۚ وَلَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ۬ مُّقِيْمٌ۬
The hypocrite men and hypocrite women are of one another. They enjoin what is wrong and forbid what is right and close their hands. They have forgotten Allah, so He has forgotten them [accordingly]. Indeed, the hypocrites – it is they who are the defiantly disobedient. Allah has promised the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the disbelievers the fire of Hell, wherein they will abide eternally. It is sufficient for them. And Allah has cursed them, and for them is an enduring punishment.
Thereafter the outstanding characteristics of the Sahabah are listed. Notice that the Qur’anic description does not divide the Sahabah into two groups.
وَالْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَـٰتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءُ بَعْضٍ۬ۚ يَأْمُرُوْنَ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيْمُوْنَ الصَّلَوٰةَ وَيُؤْتُوْنَ الزَّكَوٰةَ وَيُطِيْعُوْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ ۥۤۚ أُوْلـِٰٕٓكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيْزٌ حَكِيْمٌ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ جَنَّـٰتٍ تَجْرِىْ مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِيْنَ فِيْهَا وَمَسَـٰكِنَ طَيِّبَةً فِىْ جَنَّـٰتِ عَدْنٍ۬ۚ وَرِضْوَٲنٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُۚ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. Allah has promised the believing men and believing women gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and pleasant dwellings in gardens of perpetual residence; but approval from Allah is greater. It is that which is the great attainment.
The following verse eliminates any attempt of grouping the Sahabah with the Munafiqin.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا النَّبِىُّ جَـٰهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَـٰفِقِيْنَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْۚ وَمَأْوَٮٰهُمْ جَهَنَّمُۖ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ
O Prophet, fight against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them. And their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the destination
1. Tijani’s first proof for Qur’anic Disparagement of Sahabah
He begins by citing what he calls ayat al inqilab (the verse of turning on the heels), and quotes the verse:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُوْلٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِنْ مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَنْ يَّنْقَلِبْ عَلٰى عَقِبَيْه فَلَنْ يَضُرَّ اللّٰهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللّٰهُ الشَّاكِرِيْنَ
Muhammad is no more than a Messenger: many were the Messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah [on the other hand] will swiftly reward those who [serve Him] with gratitude.
In commenting on this verse he says:
This Qur’anic verse is clear about how the Companions will turn back upon their heels, and only a few will stand their ground, as the above Qur’anic verse indicated in the expression of Allah about them. Those who stand their ground and do not turn back are the grateful, for the grateful are only a small minority, as in the words of Allah- the Most High:
وَقَلِيلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ
But few of my servants are grateful.
Also there are many sayings of the Holy Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which explain the “turning back”, and we will refer to some of them soon…
Interpretation of Qur’an is either undertaken independently by an expert in the field, or is transmitted from one. The science of Tafsir (Exegesis) is governed by hermeneutic standards and interpretative guidelines. The instruments used within this framework include, contextual devices like Asbab al Nuzul (circumstances surrounding revelation) and Naskh (abrogation) as well as semantic devices which include concepts of ‘Am (general) and Khas (specific). This framework is the standard against which all Tafsir is evaluated. Al Zarkashshi says in his al Burhan:
Tafsir refers, technically, to the knowledge of the revelation of the verse, chapter, narrations and subtle indications, then (knowledge of) the sequence of Makki and Madani verses, the elements of the verses whether categorical or allegorical, general or specific, qualified or unqualified, concise or detailed. Some have added to the definition, “the knowledge of its halal and haram, promises and warnings, commands and prohibitions, lessons and parables.”
We have already established that the novice may not undertake the task of interpretation independently. He ought to refer to the experts lest he falls into conjecture. The tragedy is that despite displaying no expertise in the subject, Tijani fails to adhere to either approach in his interpretation of the verses. The hermeneutic framework is ignored since there is absolute disregard of context; and the given interpretation suffers the lack of precedent.
The scholars of Tafsir have agreed that the circumstances surrounding the revelation of this verse was the defeat of the Muslims at Uhud when Shaytan exclaimed, “Indeed, Muhammad has been killed!” and some of the hypocrites said, “Indeed, Muhammad has been killed! So give them your hands for they are only your brothers!” Some of the Sahabah said, “If Muhammad has been killed will you not continue on the path your Prophet tread so that you may meet up with him?” Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala then revealed the verse:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُوْلٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ
Muhammad is no more than a Messenger: many were the Messengers that passed away before him.
Senior scholars of the Twelver Shia acknowledge this as the context in which this verse was revealed. The verse, therefore, is to be understood as Allah’s reprimanding of the Sahabah for their anxiety and apprehension on the Day of Uhud, when news spread that “Muhammad has been killed”. 
Another scholar expresses it in the following manner:
If Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam died or was killed, then his death is no reason to abandon his religion and teachings since every soul shall taste death. Neither was Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, nor they, sent to remain in this world forever. Rather, they are expected to live and eventually die on Islam and tawhid (monotheism); whether the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam died or remained with them since death is inevitable.
A later scholar elaborates on the meaning of this verse as follows:
أَفَإِنْ مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ
If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels?
How can you renegade and leave his religion when he dies or is killed despite knowing that there were Messengers before him whose followers held firm to their religion even when they (the Messengers) went missing on account of death or murder.
He goes on to say:
وَمَنْ يَّنْقَلِبْ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ
If any did turn back on his heels.
Meaning: By turning his back from fighting or turning apostate from Islam.
فَلَنْ يَّضُرَّ اللّٰهَ شَيْئًا
Not the least harm will he do to Allah.
Meaning: No harm will come to Allah; instead such a person only harms himself.
وَسَيَجْزِي اللّٰهُ الشَّاكِرِيْنَ
But Allah [on the other hand] will swiftly reward those who [serve Him] with gratitude.
Meaning: Those who displayed patience, fought, and were martyred; that is how they expressed gratitude to Allah for the favour of Islam upon them.
This verse is clear proof of Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu lofty status, bravery and firmness on truth. It was this verse which he recited the day the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away.
Ibn ‘Atiyyah has alluded to this:
His steadiness in that situation, and afterwards in the way he dealt with the widespread apostasy, is among his many accolades. This is especially significant since the Munafiqin became bold after the news of the Prophet’s demise spread. Their antagonistic behaviour nearly resulted in a confrontation (with the Muslims). The sad news was so difficult on ‘Umar that he insisted the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had not been taken. He stood up in the Masjid and began delivering his famous, heart-rending address about the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (imminent) return. The ambitions of the hypocrites were put to rest with this fervent sermon. Thereafter Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu arrived; observing ‘Umar delivering his fiery speech. After seeing the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned to the Masjid and interrupted ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu saying, “Be silent!” But ‘Umar continued with his speech. Then (while ‘Umar was speaking) Abu Bakr recited the tashahhud (declaration of faith) and the people listened to him and turned their attention away from ‘Umar. He said, “Whoever used to worship Allah, indeed Allah is alive and will not die. And whoever worshipped Muhammad, indeed Muhammad has passed away. Muhammad is but a Messenger. Messengers have passed before him…” completing the verse. The Sahabah began to weep. Everyone started reciting that very verse. It was as though they had never heard it before that day. ‘Aisha says in (a hadith related by) al Bukhari, “Allah benefited the people with the khutbah of ‘Umar. Then He benefited them afterwards with the khutbah of Abu Bakr. This was one of those situations where Abu Bakr’s gratitude was evidently clear; and on his account the gratitude of the people.”
Compare this to Tijani’s anomalous interpretation:
The important thing is that the “turning back” verse refers to the Companions who lived with the Messenger of Allah in al Medinah al Munawwarah, and indicates the immediate “turning back” after the Prophet’s death.
Tijani’s understanding of this verse stands in contrast to fourteen centuries of Qur’anic exegesis. Furthermore, his approach breaches the protocols of interpretation. Given that he veils the meaning of the verse as Allah’s unmistakeable ‘glad tidings’ to the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum, that they were going to ‘turn on their heels’ in the near future; Tijani thus asserts that the Qur’an predicted the imminent transformation of the bulk of Sahabah even though the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was still alive. He goes on to advocate with full certainty that they renegaded immediately after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passing.
Proceeding from his assertion that they ‘turned on their heels’ immediately after the Prophet’s demise, it is imperative for him to clarify who those Sahabah are, i.e. identify the deserters from the resolute. Failure to provide clarification will leave the entire Ummah in disarray. The need for clarification is further compounded if one considers the Shia tripartite categorization. Who are those ‘upon whom the Shia and Ahlus Sunnah differ’?
It ought to be noted at this point that the Qur’anic description of Sahabah and Munafiqin does not leave room for speculation. I do not suppose that Tijani is able to say with confidence that the ‘resolute’ Sahabah—whose resoluteness the Rafidah acknowledge and with whom they are pleased—were only three to seven in number. Any such claim clearly contradicts the established narrations, quoted earlier, which prove that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar did not turn on their heels.
What about the other Sahabah? What can be said of the likes of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas — whose bow was broken (due to his repeated firing) — and Talhah ibn ‘Ubayd Allah, regarding whom the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said in the battle of Uhud, “Talhah has made Jannat compulsory for himself,” and Qatadah ibn Nu’man — whose eye was struck and returned to its socket with the blessed hand of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which resulted in it being better than before? All of this during the Battle of Uhud in which they (allegedly) “turned on their heels”; is it possible that such individuals would renegade immediately after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise? This has also been acknowledged by al Tabarsi in Majma’ al Bayan fi Tafsir al Qur’an.
All of these companions are not from the resolute Sahabah according to Rafidi categorization. So how does one account for their exemplary behaviour within the Shia paradigm?
If considered from another perspective, failure to identify the ‘resolute’ Sahabah from the ‘deserters’ is an indirect charge of incoherence against the Noble Qur’an. It praises the Sahabah, bears testimony to their iman and confirms their inner and outer piety at many places; yet at others is disapproves of them and gives ‘glad tidings’ of their apostasy.
Every Muslim must know that the Sahabah were human beings who may have at times erred, but at the same time were people of religious integrity and honesty. The Qur’an testifies to that at many places:
وَالسَّابِقُوْنَ الْأَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهوَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِيْ تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِيْنَ فِيْهَا أَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيْمُ
The forerunners from the Muhajirin and Ansar and those who follow them in [all] good deeds, well-pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him. He has prepared for them gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever, that is the supreme felicity.
This is glad tidings from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala for the Sahabah. In essence Allah is informing us of three groups of people. The first two groups He is pleased with. As for the third group, they only deserve His divine pleasure if they follow the first two groups in excellence. Allah is not forewarning their apostasy and ‘turning their backs on the religion’. Is it conceivable that Allah would be pleased with people who would later ‘turn their backs on the religion’; further still encourage others to be their followers?
Another proof of the moral integrity of the Sahabah is the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement:
لَا تَسُبُّوْا أَصْحَابِيْ فَلَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ أَنْفَقَ مِثْلَ أُحُدٍ ذَهَبًا مَا بَلَغَ مُدَّ أَحَدِهِمْ وَلا نَصِيْفَهُ
Do not revile my Sahabah! I swear by Him in whose control lies my life, if any of you have to spend gold equal to Mount Uhud, it would not equate even one mudd spent by the Sahabah, and not even half a mudd.
All the Sahabah, therefore; were trustworthy and of moral integrity according to the transmitted text and sound logic.
It is imperative than consideration be given to sequence, structure and coherence between verses of the Qur’an when one attempts to interpret it. Verses of the Qur’an are interconnected and are to be understood in harmony with the verses before and after. The verse which Tijani cites as proof relates to the Battle of Uhud and the mistakes which occurred in it. The chapter (or parts of it) concerns itself with Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala admonishing the believers for their mistakes during this battle. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala refutes the notion that one will be entered into Jannat merely on Iman, without having to undergo jihad, trials, and tests. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:
أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَنْ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيْنَ جَاهَدُوْا مِنْكُمْ وَيَعْلَمَ الصَّابِرِيْنَ وَلَقَدْ كُنْتُمْ تَمَنَّوْنَ الْمَوْتَ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَلْقَوْه فَقَدْ رَأَيْتُمُوْه وَأَنْتُمْ تَنْظُرُوْنَ
Or do you think that you will enter Jannat while Allah has not yet made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast? And you had certainly wished for martyrdom before you encountered it, and you have [now] seen it [before you] while you were looking on.
Immediately after that Allah mentions:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُوْلٌ
Muhammad is no more than a Messenger.
This verse is a continuation of their admonishment because of their mistakes during that battle. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala then reminds them in the verses following it, that in previous nations there were salihun (righteous believers) who fought alongside their Prophets and did not lose heart, weaken in their resolve, or become despondent as some of you had (i.e. the Sahabah).
Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala confirms the iman of the Sahabah in the next verse, and warns them from obeying the unbelievers:
يٰأَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا إِنْ تُطِيْعُوا الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا يَرُدُّوْكُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ فَتَنْقَلِبُوْا خَاسِرِيْنَ
O you who have believed, if you obey those who disbelieve, they will turn you back on your heels, and you will [then] become losers.
And after admonishing them — a few verses later — Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala mentions that He pardoned those who turned away the day of fighting:
إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ تَوَلَّوْا مِنْكُمْ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ إِنَّمَا اسْتَزَلَّهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ بِبَعْضِ مَا كَسَبُوْا وَلَقَدْ عَفَا اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ إِنَّ اللّٰهَ غَفُوْرٌ حَلِيْمٌ
Indeed, those of you who turned back on the day the two armies met, it was Shaytan who caused them to slip because of some [blame] they had earned. But Allah has already forgiven them. Indeed, Allah is All Forgiving and All Forbearing.
Thereafter Allah mentions that the believers responded to the Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam call, after being afflicted with wounds in the Battle of Uhud, to pursue Abu Sufyan at Hamra al Asad. Allah says:
الَّذِيْنَ اسْتَجَابُوْا لِلّٰهِ وَالرَّسُوْلِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا أَصَابَهُمُ الْقَرْحُ لِلَّذِيْنَ أَحْسَنُوْا مِنْهُمْ وَاتَّقَوْا أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ الَّذِيْنَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوْا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيْمَانًا وَقَالُوْا حَسْبُنَا اللّٰهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ فَانْقَلَبُوْا بِنِعْمَةٍ مِنَ اللّٰهِ وَفَضْلٍ لَمْ يَمْسَسْهُمْ سُوءٌ وَاتَّبَعُوْا رِضْوَانَ اللّٰهِ وَاللّٰهُ ذُوْ فَضْلٍ عَظِيْمٍ
Those [believers] who responded to Allah and the Messenger after injury had struck them. For those who did good among them and feared Allah is a great reward. Those to whom hypocrites said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” So they returned with favour from Allah and bounty, no harm having touched them. And they pursued the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.
There is no doubt that the Sahabah are the ones described with these qualities and praise; and it is they who returned with the favour and bounty of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Is it not then ludicrous to assert that the verse quoted by Tijani is a Qur’anic prediction of the apostasy of the Sahabah after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise?
Then Tijani says:
We could not explain the Qur’anic verse with reference to Tulayha, Sujah and al Aswad al Ansi, out of respect for the Companions, because the above-mentioned Companions have turned back and abandoned Islam, and even claimed the prophecy during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah who fought them and finally defeated them.
Subhan Allah! What imaginative speculation! Did the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam fight the apostates and gain victory over them? How and when? Musaylamah and al Aswad al ’Ansi emerged just before the passing of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and it was only al ’Ansi who passed away before the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. As for Tulayhah and Sujah; it is a matter of consensus among historians that their apostasy manifested only after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise. It was Khalid ibn Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu who fought Tulayhah in the Battle of al Bazzakhah and defeated him. Tulayhah subsequently fled to al Sham but shortly returned to the fold of Islam. Then the soothsayer, Sujah bint Harith, appeared and one of her ardent followers was Malik ibn Nuwayrah. A group from Banu Tamim opposed her which resulted in fighting between them. Then, Sujah travelled with her army to Yamamah after defeating Aws ibn Khuzaymah and met Musaylamah. Musaylamah married her and she returned to her homeland, Iraq. As for Musaylamah al Kadhdhab (the liar); Khalid ibn Walid and his companions, ‘Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl, and Shurahbil ibn Hasanah radiya Llahu ‘anhum defeated him in the famous Battle of Yamamah.
The question remains; where is the historic evidence of the Prophet fighting the apostates? Respected reader, fourteen centuries of transmitted history have been disregarded simply to accuse the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Companions of apostasy!
It comes as no surprize that Tijani would defend Malik ibn Nuwayrah and his followers who desisted from giving the Zakat. He justifies this by insinuating that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam nominated ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his successor at Ghadir Khum. Malik ibn Nuwayrah was thus surprised to learn that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the one to whom allegiance was given; therefore, he desisted from handing over the Zakat.
I seek protection in Allah from ‘objectivity’ that leads to defence of apostates and accusations of apostasy against the Companions of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam!
The detailed discussion on Malik ibn Nuwayrah will be covered under the allegations against Khalid ibn Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
2. Tijani’s second proof for Qur’anic Disparagement of Sahabah
Tijani puts forward a second verse from the Qur’an which he alleges condemns the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He refers to this verse from Surah al Tawbah as ‘the verse of Jihad’.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيْلَ لَكُمُ انْفِرُوْا فِيْ سَبِيلِ اللّٰهِ اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ أَرَضِيْتُمْ بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيْلٌ . إِلَّا تَنْفِرُوْا يُعَذِّبْكُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا وَيَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ وَلَا تَضُرُّوْه شَيْئًا وَاللّٰهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
O you who have believed, what is [the matter] with you that, when you are told to go forth in the cause of Allah, you adhere heavily to the earth? Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the hereafter except a [very] little. If you do not go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment and will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Him at all. And Allah is over all things competent.
This Qur’anic verse is clear about the reluctance of the Companions to go and fight in the Holy War [Jihad], and how they chose to be content with the life on earth, in spite of their knowledge of its short duration. Their action warranted a rebuke and a threat from Allah – the Almighty – that a terrible torture was awaiting them, and that He would change them for others who were true believers.
Context in which verses were Revealed
The scholars agree that this verse was revealed as motivation for the Sahabah to participate in the Expedition of Tabuk. This was subsequent to the Conquest of Makkah and the Battles at Ta’if and Hunayn. Their instruction to deploy came in the heart of summer; when the date orchids were laden with fruit which were about to ripen. The military strategy usually adopted by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was to only reveal the destination after the army departed. Due to the difficulty ahead, unforgiving heat, arduous journey, large enemy and many other formidable obstacles, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam disclosed the destination on this occasion prior to departure. When considering all these factors, some of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were initially overwhelmed by the onerous task. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala revealed these verses inciting them towards jihad, and warning them about being sluggish.
In Majma’ al Bayan al Tabarsi concurs with the above as being the context within which the verses were revealed. 
The verse is therefore understood as Allah’s exhorting the believers towards military engagement with the Romans; the Expedition of Tabuk.
No doubt the languid demeanour was not the disposition of all the Sahabah. It is improbable that all of them were sluggish and unenergetic. This form of expression is common and well-known in the Qur’an; addressing all while referring to some.
It is important to note that the demur of some of the companions was not the result of aversion for jihad. Consider that recently they had participated in a series of battles, and after a difficult year their crops were finally beginning to ripen. These verses descended rebuking them in one sense, yet encouraging them towards jihad in another.
Qur’an Teaches and Admonishes Sahabah
Let us also not forget that the Sahabah were human beings, subject to all elements of human nature including procrastination. Therefore; many verses of the Qur’an were revealed to teach the Sahabah, to give them direction, to further motivate them, and nurture them so that they would be exemplars for those after them. Anyone who reflects on the Qur’an would recognize this divine nurturing; especially through the mode of address:
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا
O you who believe!
This manner of addressing the Sahabah appears 89 times throughout the Qur’an. Each time they are being guided, taught, and nurtured. The following verses demonstrate this:
يٰأَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِصَاصُ
O you who believe! The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا ادْخُلُوْا فِيْ السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً
O you who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا أَنْفِقُوْا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ
O you who believe! Spend out of [the bounties] we have provided for you.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا اتَّقُوْا اللّٰهَ وَذَرُوْا مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَا
O you who believe! Fear Allah, and give up what remains of your demand for usury.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا اتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِه
O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا لَا تَتَّخِذُوْا بِطَانَةً
O you who believe! Take not into your intimacy.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا إِنْ تُطِيْعُوْا الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا
O you who believe! If you obey the unbelievers.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا أَوْفُوْا بِالْعُقُوْدِ
O you who believe! Fulfil (all) obligations.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا لَا تَقْرَبُوْا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنْتُمْ سُكَارى
O you who believe! Approach not prayers when you are intoxicated.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا لَا تَتَّبِعُوْا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ
O you who believe! Follow not Satan’s footsteps.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا اسْتَجِيْبُوْا لِلّٰهِ وَلِلرَّسُوْلِ
O you who believe! Give your response to Allah and His Messenger.
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا لَا تَدْخُلُوْا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوْتِكُمْ
O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own.
It is for this reason that Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:
Whenever you hear Allah saying, “O you who believe,” then harken to it as it is either good being commanded, or evil prohibited.
The Qur’anic context therefore dictates that these types of verses appeared for the purpose of teaching the Sahabah good conduct and prohibiting them from evil. Unfortunately, the Rafidah have conjured an aura of infallibility with which they have anointed their Imams. Thereafter they use the same self-conjured infallibility as the yardstick against which the Companions ought to be measured. Any mistake or shortcoming on the part of the Sahabah is then misinterpreted as a cardinal offense.
The following part of the verse is a warning for neglecting Jihad:
إِلَّا تَنْفِرُوْا يُعَذِّبْكُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيْمًا
Unless you go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty.
Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma says:
The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called on a community of Arabs for battle but they were sluggish; so Allah withheld rain from them. That was their punishment.
It is well-known that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum set out with the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for Tabuk and were never afflicted by any form of punishment.
Sahabah’s Contribution to Tabuk Campaign
Before proceeding any further it is necessary to point out that no allegation of procrastination or lethargy can be cast against Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum. We will soon read of their eager contribution and wilful participation.
Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu contributed all his wealth to this expedition; leaving nothing for his family. When he brought his wealth, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked him what he kept behind for his family, “Allah and His Messenger,” was his reply.
Add to this Allah’s affirmation of Abu Bakr’s Companionship with the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In the verse that immediately follows the one we are discussing Allah says:
إِلَّا تَنْصُرُوْهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللّٰهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُوْلُ لِصَاحِبِهلَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا
If you do not aid him [the Messenger 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 said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed, Allah is with us.”
It is for that reason that Hussain ibn al Fadl said, “Anyone who denies that Abu Bakr was the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Companion is a disbeliever because of his denying the clear text of the Qur’an.” Sha’bi said, “In this verse Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala rebukes all people on earth besides Abu Bakr.”
‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu brought half of his wealth to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; while ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu brought one thousand dinars (gold coins) and scattered it in the lap of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Later ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu pledged three hundred camels fully laden with provisions. This was used to prepare the jaysh al ’usrah (the army of scarcity). The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam repaid ‘Uthman’s altruism with a guarantee of paradise. Twice he said to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “No harm can come to ‘Uthman whatever he does after this day.”
As for ‘Abd al Rahman ibn ‘Awf, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prayed behind him during the expedition of Tabuk.
What about those who cried because they were unable to participate due to lack of conveyance? They were called the bakka’un (those who cried). They were seven in number; and it is they whom Allah referred to in the verse:
وَلَا عَلَى الَّذِيْنَ إِذَا مَا أَتَوْكَ لِتَحْمِلَهُمْ قُلْتَ لَا أَجِدُ مَا أَحْمِلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ تَوَلَّوْا وَأَعْيُنُهُمْ تَفِيْضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ حَزَنًا أَلَّا يَجِدُوْا مَا يُنْفِقُوْنَ
Nor [is there blame] upon those who, when they came to you that you might give them mounts, you said, “I can find nothing for you to ride upon.” They turned back while their eyes overflowed with tears out of grief that they could not find something to spend [for the cause of Allah].
Are these examples of people who were sluggish and uneager to strive for the cause of Islam?
Without doubt, a small group of Muslims lagged behind this expedition which include Ka’b ibn Malik, Hilal ibn Umayyah, and Murarah ibn Rabi’ radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They were “The Three” who lagged behind the expedition. Abu Khaythamah and Abu Dhar also lagged behind but then caught up with the army which numbered thirty thousand. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala later forgave “The Three”.
Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:
لَقَدْ تَابَ اللّٰهُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ وَالْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ الَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُ فِيْ سَاعَةِ الْعُسْرَةِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا كَادَ يَزِيْغُ قُلُوْبُ فَرِيْقٍ مِّنْهُمْ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّهبِهِمْ رَءُوْفٌ رَحِيْمٌ
Allah has already forgiven the Prophet and the Muhajirin and the Ansar who followed him in the hour of difficulty after the hearts of a party of them had almost inclined [to doubt], and then He forgave them. Indeed, He was to them Most Kind and Most Merciful.
This is divine praise for the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Muhajirin, the Ansar, and the rest of the Sahabah. The verse bears glad tidings of His forgiveness after they left to Tabuk in a state of anxiety, initially inclining towards comfort and rest. However, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala made their feet firm, strengthened their resolve and forgave them.
Bear in mind the statement of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “Whoever Allah forgives will never be punished.”
Al Jassas comments on this verse in his book Ahkam al Qur’an:
In this verse is praise for the Sahabah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who strove with him. It also informs us of their inner spiritual perfection and purity. Allah does not announce His forgiveness, except those with whom He is pleased and whose actions please Him. It is an unequivocal refutation of their critics and of those who describe them in a manner other than with the inner purity and virtue He ascribes to them. May Allah, be pleased with them.
Let us not forget that the expedition of Tabuk was the last military campaign undertaken by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with his Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Have the Sahabah not proven their bravery during all the other expeditions with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; at Badr, Uhud, and al Khandaq, then the Conquest of Makkah, and the campaigns of Hunayn and Mu’tah? Then, after the demise of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did they not continue with jihad; and through their jihad the religion was fortified from the plague of apostasy? Did Allah not grant victory at their hands in the conquests of territories in Iran, Iraq, the Levant, and Egypt? Would it then be fair to cast unqualified allegations at the Sahabah; that they were sluggish about jihad and chose reliance upon this worldly life? Is this a conclusion based on impartiality and fair-mindedness?
Shia Scholars on this verse
The position of the Twelver Shia on the Sahabah is no mystery. One would expect that if these verses had the potential to condemn the Sahabah, such condemnation would surface in Shia books of Tafsir. After consulting many Shia Tafsir books, on the commentary of this verse in particular, we failed to find a single scholar of theirs who understood it as dispraise for the Sahabah.
Al Tabarsi, a scholar of significant repute among the Shia, commented on the verse in the following manner:
Then Allah admonished the Sahabah with regards to sluggishness about jihad. He said:
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيْلَ
O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that, when you are asked.
In other words, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam of Allah called you and said, “Go forth in the cause of Allah,” that is go out and struggle against the Mushrikin. Here it is reference to the expedition of Tabuk… It is reported from al Hassan and Mujahid about the phrase “you cling heavily to the earth,” it means, you are sluggish and inclined towards the world you are upon.
Al Jubba’i says, “This slow-footedness was peculiar to a group of the believers since all of them were not dither about jihad. It is an example of a general statement intended for a specific group of believers. This is evident from the words, ‘do you prefer the life of this world to the hereafter?’ This is interrogative expression implies reprimand; meaning, “do you prefer this temporal worldly life over the everlasting hereafter and eternal bliss?”
Al Tabarsi did not find anything in the verse to indicate criticism against the Sahabah. Instead his interpretation resembles that of the Ahlus Sunnah. Simply put, it served as both a rebuke for their initial hesitancy, and a motivation for their participation in the expedition of Tabuk. Their hebetude was a result of the unenviable circumstance they found themselves in.
Al Kashani says in his tafsir, al Safi:
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيْلَ لَكُمُ انْفِرُوْا فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ
O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that, when you are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, you cling heavily to the earth.
You delay, tending to your land and residing in your homes. It states in al Jawami’ that it refers to the expedition of Tabuk, in the tenth year, after their return from Ta’if. They were summoned for this expedition during a time of drought and unforgiving heat. In addition to this the unpropitious distance and sizeable enemy were factors that contributed to their hesitancy. Then al Qummi transmits a narration concerning the background to this battle and says, “Then the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed his Companions to prepare for Tabuk, which is near al Bulqa. He sent for the tribes around him, those in Makkah and those who entered Islam from the tribes of Khuza’ah, Muzaynah, and Juhaynah; exhorting them towards jihad. The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also called for his camp-site to be set up, which was done at Thaniyyat al Wada’. He also instructed the people of Juddah to assist those who needed support; and encouraged those who had provisions to share with those who did not; thus strengthening the army. Then he delivered a sermon in which he encouraged them towards jihad. He (al Qummi) says: “The Arab tribes who were summoned arrived; whereas a group among the Munafiqin and others besides them decided not to come…”
Can the readers perceive any form of dispraise of the Sahabah in al Kashani’s account? Is there anything to indicate that they forsook jihad for worldly gain? Instead, the opposite is true. Al Kashani’s commentary of this verse does not differ with that of the Ahlus Sunnah. The attentive reader would also have noticed that al Kashani, a Twelver Shia scholar, inadvertently acknowledges that the Sahabah were a single group; distinct from the Munafiqin. He mentioned that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed his Companions to prepare for jihad using the word “Ashab” in a general manner. In other words, it refers to all of the Sahabah. He also mentioned that a group from the hypocrites decided not to come. Now, if the hypocrites were from the body of Sahabah, as some claim, then al Kashani would have said, “a group from the hypocrite Sahabah, decided not to come for the jihad.” Subhan Allah! This clearly demonstrates that the tripartite categorization is flawed.
Repercussions of Wanton Tafsir
The reader might find the objection to Tijani’s wanton approach to Tafsir a tad harsh. We wish to demonstrate the ramifications of interpreting the Word of Allah with complete disregard for the hermeneutic standards and indifference to the protocols of Tafsir.
Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:
يٰاَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ اتَّقِ اللّٰهَ وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِيْنَ وَالْمُنَافِقِيْنَ إِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ عَلِيْمًا حَكِيْمًا
O Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, fear Allah and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
This could be said to mean that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala threatened his Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and instructed him to fear Him and not to obey the unbelievers and hypocrites. A libertine approach to interpreting the Divine Word allows one to understand this as proof that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was not conscious of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in his da’wah; and that he was amenable to the hypocrites and unbelievers. Disregard for the principles of Tafsir has parlous repercussions.
Another example from Surah al Ma’idah:
يٰاَيُّهَا الرَّسُوْلُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَه وَاللّٰهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ إِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِيْنَ
O Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, 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. Indeed, Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.
An unbridled interpretation allows for the outrageous idea that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala was rebuking the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for his complacency in conveying what was revealed to him. The objections to this type of ludicrous interpretations are identical to the objections against Tijani’s preposterous allegations against the Companions on the basis of unprincipled interpretation. Furthermore, it is degrading to the Qur’an, the source of light and guidance, that it be subject to wanton interpretation. Disregard for the hermeneutical standards, and failure to restrict oneself to one’s limitations, inevitably produces absurd interpretations of the Book of Allah. It is for this very reason that the scholars have restricted the novice; and cautioned him from departure from the transmitted opinions.
It is ironic that Tijani has the following to say:
The Book of Allah is silent and could be interpreted in various ways, and it contains what is vague and what is similar, and to understand it we have to refer to those who are well endowed with knowledge as regards the Qur’an, and to Ahlul Bayt, as regards to the Prophet’s traditions.
Has Tijani referred to those deeply rooted in knowledge, and the Ahlul Bayt? Has he been faithful to the principles he quoted, or has he followed his fancies in his attack on the men of the best generation (the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum), blinding him and resulting in his preposterous allegations
Allah’s Replacing of those who Disobey
Then Tijani says:
The threat to change them came in many Qur’anic verses which indicate clearly that they showed their reluctance to fight in al Jihad- Holy War – more than once, and Allah- the Most High – says:
وَإِنْ تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُوْنُوْا أَمْثَالَكُمْ
And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you.
I say: This is merely a part of the verse which was revealed encouraging them to spend in Allah’s path. The complete verse goes like this:
هَا أَنْتُمْ هٰؤُلَاءِ تُدْعَوْنَ لِتُنْفِقُوْا فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ فَمِنْكُمْ مَنْ يَبْخَلُ وَمَنْ يَّبْخَلْ فَإِنَّمَا يَبْخَلُ عَنْ نَّفْسِه وَاللّٰهُ الْغَنِيُّ وَأَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ وَإِنْ تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُوْنُوْا أَمْثَالَكُمْ
Here you are — those invited to spend in the cause of Allah — but among you are those who withhold [out of greed]. And whoever withholds only withholds [benefit] from himself; and Allah is Free of need, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you.
The scholars of Qur’anic exegesis have explained this verse thus, “You are being called to spend in the way of Allah that which has been prescribed for you; yet among you there are those who are miserly. Whoever is miserly is essentially miserly with his own self and deprives himself of Allah’s reward. Allah is Independent, completely without need of what you spend; while you are entirely in need of Him. If you turn away from His obedience, He will replace you with another people. That is to say He will bring them in your place and they will not be like you; in turning away from His obedience. Rather, they will be obedient to Him.”
Let us focus on these words:
وَإِنْ تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُوْنُوْا أَمْثَالَكُمْ
And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you.
It means: If you turn away from the obedience of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and following his path then soon he will replace you with a people other than you. They will listen, be more obedient than you, and will not be niggardly about spending in the path of Allah. This is the tafsir of all the Ahlus Sunnah. Is there any clue in this verse that leads to Tijani’s bizarre conclusion of the Sahabah being sluggish about jihad on many occasions? The verse has no mention of jihad at all! Has anyone before Tijani come with this interpretation? Is this even the tafsir of the Rafidah?
Abu ‘Ali al Tabarsi says concerning the meaning of this verse:
“Here you are — those invited to spend in the cause of Allah,” (al Tabarsi says) It refers to that which was obligatory from their wealth. In other words, “you have only been instructed to take out that which was mandatory and spend it in the obedience of Allah. “But among you are those who withhold,” what was mandatory; Zakat, “and whoever withholds only withholds [benefit] from himself,” because they deprive themselves of a great reward; and huge punishment is binding on them. Then Allah says, “Allah is Free of need,” of whatever wealth you possess, “while you are the needy,” of Allah’s goodness, bounties and mercy. In other words, He does not command you to spend out of His need, rather, so that you may benefit in the hereafter. “And if you turn away,” in other words, you resist from His obedience and the instruction of his Messenger then, “he will replace you with another people,” more submissive and obedient than you, “then they will not be the likes of you,” rather they will be better than you and more obedient to Allah…
Muhammad Mughniyyah states in his Tafsir:
“Here you are — those invited” is a reference to the wealthy. “Invited to spend in the cause of Allah”, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says “invited”, he did not say we command you. It is as if Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is coaching the wealthy and encouraging them to spend from the goodness of their hearts. Even clearer than this verse concerning encouraging the believers to spend in the path of Allah is the verse of istiqrad Hassan (this is in reference to the verses where Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala seeks a ‘loan’ from the believers with the promise of a great reward for them in the hereafter). “And whoever withholds only withholds [benefit] from himself,” because spending is a protection from the fire and the anger of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. It comes in the hadith, “Fortify your wealth with Zakat.” “Allah is Free of need, while you are the needy,” even if you own the universe with its earth and its heaven you are still in need of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala for its maintenance and its arrangement. “He will replace you with another people,” who will glorify him with his praises and comply with his command.
Again we see that Tijani’s interpretation lacks any precedent. The Shia scholars could not find fault with the Sahabah in these verses; yet the one seeking the path of guidance sees in it what none before him has seen.
Tijani insists that his interpretation has some substance:
It is like the words of Allah:
يٰاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِيْنِه فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِيَ اللّٰهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّوْنَه أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِيْنَ يُجَاهِدُوْنَ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ وَلَا يَخَافُوْنَ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللّٰهِ يُؤْتِيْه مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيْمٌ
O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion – Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favour of Allah; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allah is All Encompassing and All Knowing.,
This verse is among the greatest proofs for the magnificence of the Sahabah; and it is they who are intended by the group “whom Allah loves and they love Him”. A number of early experts including Hasan, al Dahhak and Ibn Jurayj say that it was revealed in connection with Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions. Al Tabari mentions in his Tafsir that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “This verse was revealed concerning Abu Bakr and his companions.” Some have opined that it refers to the Ansar; while others say it refers to the people of Yemen, the people of Abu Musa al Ash’ari. Whatever the case may be, the verse is general concerning all the Sahabah. There is no doubt that the first of them is Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, and the remaining Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
Al Tabarsi concurs in his commentary of the above verse:
There is a difference of opinion concerning who was described with these qualities among them. It has been said that it refers to Abu Bakr and his companions who fought the apostates; this has been narrated from Hasan, Qatadah, and al Dahhak. It has been said that they are the Ansar; this has been narrated from al Suddi. It has been said that it refers to the people of Yemen; this has been narrated from Mujahid. It has been said that it refers to the Persians and it has been said that they are ‘Ali and his companions.
Allah Loves them and they Love him
The proof that the Sahabah were primarily intended in this verse is this expression:
فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِيَ اللّٰهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَه
Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.
There is no doubt that Allah loves the Sahabah of his Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It is they who sheltered him, assisted him, struggled with him, stood by his side in adversity and ease, and therefore deserved the pleasure of Allah.
وَالسَّابِقُوْنَ الْأَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهوَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِيْ تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِيْنَ فِيْهَا أَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيْمُ
The forerunners from the Muhajirin and Ansar and those who follow them in [all] good deeds, well-pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him. He has prepared for them gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever, that is the supreme felicity.
لَقَدْ رَضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمْ فَأَنْزَلَ السَّكِيْنَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثَابَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيْبًا
Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.
There is no doubt that the Muhajirin and the Ansar, and those who took the pledge with him salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam under the tree, the noble Sahabah, are being referred to in the verse. At their helm stand the four khalifas radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Necessity demands that their actions and disposition were motivated by love.
As for the words of Allah, “humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers,” it is a clear sign and unmistakeable trait of the Sahabah.
Consider how they are described by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala:
مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰهِ وَالَّذِيْنَ مَعَه أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves.
It is an undeniable fact that ‘those with him’ were the Sahabah and at the forefront was Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthman, then ‘Ali, then the rest of them according to their status and virtue. It comes in the hadith that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
The most compassionate of my Ummah upon my Ummah is Abu Bakr…
As for his words, “they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic,” it is well-known that the Sahabah were the first of those who struggled in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. The verses of the Qur’an which support this are abundant. This description appearing in the ahadith are more famous than require mention. This is a lasting quality of theirs.
It is deplorable to accuse the Sahabah of apostasy on the premise of the verse under discussion. During Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu Caliphate it was the Sahabah who fought the apostates and were victorious over them. It is therefore inconceivable that the apostates were triumphant over the believers. There is also no doubt that this jihad is also a proof for the validity of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Ali as they fought in the path of Allah during the life of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and fought the apostates after him. Whoever displays these qualities is indeed a friend of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.
The Prophet’s Companions and the Mahdi’s Companions
When Tijani mentioned this verse as proof for the apostasy of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum; he also intended to clarify that the praiseworthy qualities mentioned in it applied to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his partisans. Therefore, we find ‘Ali al Qummi commenting on this verse:
As for Allah’s words, “O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion – Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic,” it is an address towards the Sahabah of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who appropriated from the family of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam their right and turned apostate from the religion of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. “Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him,” descended in relation to the Qa’im and his Sahabah, “they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic.”
If this verse was revealed in relation to the ‘imaginary’ Qa’im and his companions, then let us investigate the jihad of the Imam al Wasi (‘Ali ibn Abi Talib) and his twelve successors as they were the predecessors. Thus we shall get a glimpse of what can be expected from the companions of the ‘Qa’im’ since they are the successors — so that the reader and seeker of the truth may decide whether this verse applies to them or not. It is from the books of the Shia that we reproduce the words of the Imams, lest we be accused of prejudice or bias!
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu is quoted in Nahj al Balaghah, one of the most reliable books to them, describing the jihad of his partisans:
As for what follows: Indeed, jihad is a door from the doors of Jannat which Allah opened for His select friends. It is the garment of taqwa, and Allah’s fortified coat of armour, and His firm shield. Whoever leaves it loathing it, Allah will clothe him with the garment of disgrace and wrap him in trial. He will be kicked with scorn, his heart will be veiled, and the truth will be removed from him on account of neglecting jihad. Debasement will be ordained and justice will be denied.
Behold! Indeed, I called you to fight these people day and night, secretly and openly, and I said to you, “Attack them before they attack you.” By Allah a nation is never attacked in their homeland except that they are disgraced.
Then you pretended to trust (Allah) and deceived one another until the enemy incursions raided you and took possession of the land…
Amazing! Amazing! Allah stifles the heart and brings anxiety on account of the gathering (unity) of these people upon their falsehood while you dispute about truth. How grievous it is for you that you have become the target shot at, you are attacked and do not attack, incursions are made against you and you make no incursions, Allah is disobeyed and you are contented with that. When I instruct you to move towards them during the hot days you say, “This is extreme heat, give us respite until the heat withdraws,” and when I instruct you to move towards them in the winter you say, “This is extreme cold, give us respite until the cold withdraws.” All of this to flee from the heat and the cold. By Allah, it is rather from the sword that you flee.
O those who resemble men but are not really men! Your intelligence is that of children and your wit is that of the occupants of the curtained canopies (women kept in seclusion from the outside world). I hoped I had not seen you and I had not known you. Your acquaintance has brought regret and followed it up with grief. Indeed, you have filled my heart with pus, and filled my chest with anger, and made me swallow gulps of grief, and you have spoiled my opinion through your disobedience and disgrace.
At another place he says:
O people, your bodies are together but your desires are divergent. Your talk softens the hard stones and your action attracts your enemy towards you. You claim in your sittings that you would do this and that, but when fighting approaches, you say to war, “turn thou away…”
By Allah! Deceived is the one whom you have deceived while, by Allah, he who is successful with you receives only useless arrows! You are like broken arrows thrown over the enemy. By Allah! I am now in the position that I neither confirm your views nor hope for your support, nor challenge the enemy through you.
On another occasion he said:
Woe to you. I am tired of rebuking you. Do you accept this worldly life in place of the next life? Or disgrace in place of dignity? When I invite you to fight your enemy your eyes revolve as though you are in the clutches of death, and in the senselessness of your last moments. My pleadings are not understood by you and you remain stunned. It is as though your hearts are affected with madness hence you do not understand. Your example is that of the camels whose protector has disappeared, so that if they are collected from one side they disperse away from the other side.
By Allah, how bad are you for igniting flames of war. You are intruded against but do not intrude (against the enemy). Your boundaries are decreasing but you do not get enraged over it. Those against you do not sleep but you are unmindful.
Then he said on another occasion:
By Allah, whoever is supported by people like you must suffer disgrace; and whoever fires arrows with your support is as if he throws arrows that are broken both at head and tail. By Allah, within the courtyard you are quite numerous but under the banner you are only a few.
May Allah disgrace your faces and destroy you. You do not understand the right as you understand the wrong and do not crush the wrong as you crush the right.
In another place he says:
I called you towards jihad but you did not turn towards it, I made you hear but you did not listen, I called you in private and public but you did not respond, and I advised you but you did not accept… I wish, by Allah, Muawiyah could trade with me like the trading of dinars (gold coins) with dirhams (silver coins) then he could take ten amongst you and I could take one man from amongst them.
Hassan ibn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu once said describing his ‘extraordinary’ disciples after they criticised him:
By Allah, I believe that Muawiyah is better for me than these who claim to be my followers. They desire my death, seize my strength, and take my wealth. By Allah, for me to take a covenant with Muawiyah through which I save my blood and remain safe amongst my family is better for me than for these people to allow my murder, and (as a result) my household and my family are ruined.
And here is Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu directing his speech to the ‘heroes’ of the Shia:
Woe unto you, O congregation. May you be filled with grief and deprivation! When you called us for assistance while you were perplexed and we called you for assistance agitating (you for it). You sharpened a sword against us which was in our hands, and fuelled a fire against us (which we) kindled for your, and our enemy. Then you became a people united in their enmity towards your friends and a hand against your enemies without an exchange. There is no hope for you with them and there was no wrongdoing from us to you. Why then shall there not be for you distress seeing that you disliked us when the sword was vigilant and the heart was at peace…
And here is Muhammad al Baqir, the fifth Imam of the Twelver Shia, describing his disciples:
Had all people been our followers three quarters of them would doubt us and the other quarter would be fools.
As for Imam Musa ibn Jafar, the seventh Imam of the Twelver Shia, revealing to us the true apostates he said:
If my disciples were mixed (with others) I would not find them save having deplorable qualities, and if I were to test them I would not find them save apostate, and if I had to sift them none would remain save what belonged to me. Indeed, whenever they recline on sofas they say, “We are the disciples of ‘Ali.” Verily the disciples of ‘Ali are those whose words are validated by their actions.
If these are the followers of ‘Ali and his sons, then I tremor at the thought of the Qa’im and his followers!
After ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu rebuked his companions with the aforementioned speech, he did not forget to produce for them an example to be followed, and emulated, and to take lesson from. For this he did not find but the Sahabah. He said:
Indeed, I have seen the Sahabah of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and I do not see anyone amongst you who resembles them. They would rise in the morning, unkempt and covered with dust, because they had spent the night in prostration and standing. They would alternate between their foreheads and their cheeks, while it felt as if they were standing on coals, when thinking of their return to the Hereafter. It is as if between their eyes there were marks like knees of goats due to the length of their prostration. When they would remember Allah, their eyes would drip until their bosoms would become wet. They would shake as a tree shakes on a terribly windy day, fearing punishment and hoping for reward.
Then he described his fighting with the Sahabah during the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam era:
We (the Sahabah) were with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam fighting our fathers, sons, brothers, and uncles; that did not increase us save in faith and submission. We passed (many days during this time) upon morsels, and in patience upon the anguish of pain, and in determination in fighting the enemy. A man amongst us and one from our enemy would compete with one another the way two studs competed glancing at one another stealthily which one would quench the other with the cup of death. At times it went our way and other times it went the way of our enemy. Then, when Allah saw our truthfulness he sent upon our enemy subjugation and upon us victory to the extent that Islam was settled, firmly established, and its lands settled. By my life, if we had done what you did there would be no pillars for the religion and there be no revival of faith. By my life, if we had also behaved like you, no pillar of (our) religion could have been raised, nor could the tree of faith have borne leaves. By Allah, certainly you will now milk our blood (instead of milk) and eventually you will face shame.
Those were the companions of ‘Ali and his children radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Compare them to the Sahabah of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. We have seen them both through the eyes of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as preserved in the books of the Shia. Sadly, Tijani and al Qummi have shown us that they are blind to reason, and deaf to the words of the Imams.
Tijani on the Division of Sahabah
Then Tijani continues and says:
If we want to investigate the Qur’anic verses which emphasize this issue and talk about the classification of the Companions, which the Shia advocate, then we would need a special book for it. The Holy Qur’an expressed all that in the most direct and eloquent way when Allah says:
وَلْتَكُنْ مِّنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَّدْعُوْنَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُوْنَ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُولئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُوْنَ وَلَا تَكُوْنُوا كَالَّذِيْنَ تَفَرَّقُوْا وَاخْتَلَفُوْا مِنْۢ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَأُولئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيْمٌ . يَوْمَ تَبْيَضُّ وُجُوْهٌ وَتَسْوَدُّ وُجُوْهٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِيْنَ اسْوَدَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ أَكَفَرْتُمْ بَعْدَ إِيْمَانِكُمْ فَذُوْقُوا الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُوْنَ . وَأَمَّا الَّذِيْنَ ابْيَضَّتْ وُجُوْهُهُمْ فَفِيْ رَحْمَةِ اللّٰهِ هُمْ فِيْهَا خَالِدُوْنَ
And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful. And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them. And those will have a great punishment. On the Day [some] faces will turn white and [some] faces will turn black. As for those whose faces turn black, [to them it will be said]: “Did you disbelieve after your belief? Then taste the punishment for what you used to reject.” But as for those whose faces will turn white, [they will be] within the mercy of Allah. They will abide therein eternally.
These Qur’anic verses, as every intelligent scholar knows, are addressing the Companions, and warning them of the division and disagreement among themselves after they have already been shown the Right Path. They also tell them that a great torture is awaiting them, and divide them in two groups: The first group: when they will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement, every one of them would have a white face, and those are the grateful who deserve the mercy of Allah. The second group: when they will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement, everyone of them would have a black face, and those are the apostates, whom Allah – the Almighty – promised the great torture.
The scholars say concerning this verse:
“And let there be [arising] from you,” O believers, a group calling the people towards good, Islam, and the shari’ah. The word “من” from the word “منكم” (from you) in the verse gives the meaning of ‘some’ i.e. ‘let there be some of you…’ because commanding towards the good and forbidding evil is from the furud kifayat (communal obligations).
Regarding the part, “And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them,” majority say it refers to the Jews and the Christians. Others say they are the mubtadi’ah (innovators) of this Ummah. Abu Umamah says that they are the Haruriyyah (the Khawarij).
As for Allah’s statement, “On the Day [some] faces will turn white and [some] faces will turn black. As for those whose faces turn black,” the scholars of tafsir have differed in identifying them. Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma says, “The faces of the Ahlus Sunnah will be lit and the faces of the people of bid’ah (innovation) will be in gloom.”
Al Hassan al Basri says, “They are the hypocrites. They pronounce their faith with their tongues but rejected it with their hearts and actions.”
Abu Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anhu says, “They are the Khawarij.”
Abu Ghalib says, “Abu Umamah saw mutilated heads positioned at the entrance of Damascus and said, “Dogs of the fire, the worst of the fallen (killed in battle) under the sky, the best of the fallen are those who they killed,” and then he recited the verse, “On the Day [some] faces will turn white and [some] faces will turn black. As for those whose faces turn black.” I said to Abu Umamah, “Did you hear that from the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?” He said, “I heard it not once, but twice, but thrice, but four times (until he came to seven). If I did not hear it I would not have narrated it to you.”
Qatadah says it refers to the apostates and he held another opinion that it applied to the people of bid’ah.
Asma’ bint Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhuma said that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
إني فرطكم على الحوض حتى أنظر من يرد علي منكم و سيؤخذ الناس دوني فأقول يا رب مني و من أمتي.فيقال لي هل شعرت ما عملوا بعدك؟ و الله ما برحوا يرجعون على أعقابهم
Indeed, I will precede you to the hawd (special fountain of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from which the believers will drink) so that I can see who comes to me from amongst you. People will be taken before they reach me and I will say, “O my Lord, they are from me and from my nation,” and then it will be said to me, “Do you know what they did after you?” By Allah, they will continue being returned upon their heels.
Ubay ibn Ka’b radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “It is that iman from the time of Adam, before people disputed in religion. When Allah took a covenant of servitude from them. They were created with the inclination for Islam. A time when they were all one nation, submitters.”
Ibn Jarir al Tabari says, “The most accurate view in this matter is the one we have quoted from Ubay ibn Ka’b; that all of the unbelievers are referred to by it. That the iman which they abandoned, and for which they were rebuked, is the iman which they admitted to the day it was said to them:
أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوْا بَلٰى شَهِدْنَا
In brief, this is what the scholars have said about this verse. Not a single scholar understood it to apply to the Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The mystery is how could anyone arrive at the conclusion that it is Qur’anic disparagement of Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
Let us see what the Shia scholars have said about this verse.
Al Fadl al Tabarsi says in Majma’ al Bayan under the commentary of this verse:
“And do not be like the ones who became divided…” about the religion. They are the Jews and the Christians. “And differed after the clear proofs had come to them,” it has been said that its meaning is tafarraqu (to be divided) also. “On the Day [some] faces will turn white and [some] faces will turn black. As for those whose faces turn black,” only the faces of the believers will be luminous that day as a reward for their belief and obedience; and the faces of the unbelievers will be blackened in gloom as a punishment for their disbelief and sins. The reason for this appears in the words that follow, “did you disbelieve after your belief? Then taste the punishment for what you used to reject.” In other words, it will be said to them, ‘did you disbelieve after believing?’ There is a difference of opinion concerning who is intended by it:
- They are those who disbelieved after displaying belief with hypocrisy … as reported from Hasan.
- They are all unbelievers; because of rejecting of Tawhid when Allah made them witness over themselves when He said “Am I not your Lord [who cherishes and sustains you]?” They said: “Certainly! We do testify!” He will then say to them, “did you disbelieve after your belief on the day of the covenant?” as reported from Ubay.
- That they are the Ahl al Kitab. They belied the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam after their belief in him… as stated by ‘Ikrimah and preferred by al Zajaj and al Jubba’i
- That they are the people of innovation and dissension from this Ummah, as reported from ‘Ali. A Similar view is ascribed to Qatadah with the addition of those who apostatised. It has been related from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said, “… will come to me at the Hawd…” Al Tha’labi mentions in his tafsir that Abu Umamah al Bahili said, “They are the Khawarij and it has been transmitted from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that they will pierce through Islam like an arrow pierces through prey.”
Despite mentioning multiple views on the interpretation for this verse, al Tabarsi did not mention a single view implicating the Sahabah. The discussion on the hadith of the Hawd will follow later. The group which will be kept from the Hawd are the apostates, the people of dissension such as the Khawarij and their likes.
Let us take a look at al Tafsir al Safi by Fayd al Kashani. He mentions under the commentary of this verse:
“And do not be like the ones who became divided…” like the Jews and the Christians. They differed amongst themselves on monotheism, tanzih (declaring Allah to be unlike his creation), and the realities of the hereafter.
“After the clear proofs had come to them,” it refers to the verses and the clear proofs for accepting him as the Messenger of Allah.
“On the Day [some] faces will turn white and [some] faces will turn black. As for those whose faces turn black,” allusions to the apparent delight of joy and the distress of fear in it.
“As for those whose faces turn black, [to them it will be said] ‘did you disbelieve after your belief?” it will be asked of them in condemnation and amazement, “did you disbelieve?” In al Majma’ it is reported from Amir al Mu’minin (‘Ali) that they are the people of innovation, dissension and false views from this Ummah. It is reported from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said, “They will come to me at the Hawd…”
This commentary is like the one before it. There is no explicit declaration that those intended in the verse are the Sahabah.
Tijani is not done ranting:
These Qur’anic verses, as every intelligent scholar knows, are addressing the Companions, warning them of the division…
Perhaps the reader is beginning to notice the departure from principle at so many places that repeating the mantra might prove monotonous. A Qur’anic reference about the Jews and Christians is being stripped of context; cloaked in the garb of wild conjecture and presented as revealed truth about the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
Were the Sahabah Disunited?
Tijani goes on to say:
It is well-known that the Companions were divided after the death of the Messenger of Allah. They disagreed among themselves to such an extent that they fought each other bloody wars which led to the regression and the backwardness of the Muslims and made them easy target for their enemies. The above Qur’anic verse could not be interpreted in any other way except that which is readily accepted by people.
There is no disunity to speak of among the Sahabah during the era of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu nor in the era of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It is an accepted historical fact that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were responsible for keeping the tide of apostasy at bay through the Riddah wars. Were it not for their efforts then who knows what future Islam would have taken. Whose efforts expanded the Islamic territories? At whose hands did Allah grant victory in the East and West? Who was it that brought crushing defeat to the Roman and Persian empires? The fear for the Sahabah in the hearts of their enemies, and the humiliation they experienced, is an inescapable reality. This is a fact attested to by even the enemies of this Ummah,
For the sake of being fair I will present statements from the one considered the Wasi of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by the Shia. Let us witness his description of the state of the Ummah during the eras of the first two khalifas, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. I will restrict myself to some of the most important and reliable books of the Shia, Nahj al Balaghah, of Sharif al Radi and al Gharat of al Thaqafi.
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu recalls the occasion when he gave his pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
At that point I walked to Abu Bakr and gave him the bay’ah and dealt with those matters so that falsehood dissipates and vanishes. The word of Allah was elevated even if the disbelievers disliked it. Abu Bakr then took charge of the affairs. He combined forbearance with firmness, ease with moderation, and I accompanied him as an advisor and obeyed him as long as he obeyed Allah, striving hard.
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had the following to say about the second khalifah, ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
For Allah is the effort of fulan (referring to ‘Umar). He straightened the curve, remedied the sickness, subdued mischief and established the Sunnah. He left with a clean slate and few faults. He attained the good of this world and escaped its evil. He fulfilled his obedience to Allah and feared Him as He deserved. He departed from this world leaving the people in varying paths, wherein the deviant is unable to attain guidance and the guided uncertain of his fate.
What does Tijani have to say about this? This is the Imam and Wasi telling us what he thinks of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and the state of the Ummah during their reign. These are his words found in the books of the Shia. Tijani claims his transition came about after reaching inner conviction by reading a number of Shia books including Asl al Shia wa Usuliha. Let us read what Muhammad ibn Hussain Al Kashif al Ghita mentioned in his book when describing the reason for ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu bay’ah to the two khalifas:
When he saw that the two khalifas, here I mean the first and the second, exerting all their energy in spreading tawhid, preparing armies, expanding the conquered territories; without claiming monopoly or being autocratic he gave his bay’ah and submitted.
It was at the end of ‘Uthman’s Caliphate when the fitnah emerged because of the handiwork of a Jewish conspirator. ‘Abdullah ibn Sabaʼ, a Jew, instituted the belief that the Imamah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was compulsory.He is the source of extremist patronage for the Ahlul Bayt.
After that, the civil wars followed one after the other. The protagonists being the Rafidah at times and the Khawarij at others. As for the Sahabah, they had no hand in igniting the flame of fitnah. In this regard we find a notable Shia scholar, al Saduq ibn Babuwayh, narrating in his book al Khisal — from Hisham ibn Salim — from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq):
The Companions of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were twelve thousand, eight thousand from Madinah, two thousand from Makkah and two thousand from the Tulaqa’ (those who accepted Islam after the Conquest of Makkah). Not a single Qadari, Murji’i, Haruri (Khariji), or Mu’tazili, or person of vain desire, was seen amongst them. They cried during the night and day; and would say, “Take our souls before we eat the leavened bread.”
This is testimony from the books of the Shia!
3. Tijani’s third proof for Qur’anic Disparagement of Sahabah
Tijani cites as a proof what he calls the verse of khushu’ (lit. Humility):
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوْبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللّٰهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُوْنُوْا كَالَّذِيْنَ أُوْتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوْبُهُمْ وَكَثِيْرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُوْنَ
Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed (to them), and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation before, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors.
In al Durr al Manthur by Jalal al Din al Suyuti, the author says: when the Companions of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to al Medinah and started to enjoy a higher standard of living after having lived through many hardships, they seemed to slow down, so they were punished for that, and hence the verse “Has not the time yet come for those who believe” was revealed. Another version of the story, which came from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was that Allah- the Most High- found some reluctance in the Muhajereen seventeen years after the first revelation of the Holy Qur’an, and therefore Allah revealed the verse “Has not the time yet come for those who believe”. If those Companions – who are the best people according to the Sunnis – did not feel humble before the name of Allah or His right revelation of seventeen years, so that Allah found them slowing down, and rebuked and warned them for their hardened hearts which were leading them to corruption, we cannot blame the people of Quraysh who only entered Islam in the seventh Hijri year after the conquest of Makkah.
The first narration mentioned by Tijani from al Durr al Manthur of al Suyuti, is a narration from A’mash and not attributed to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at all. Al Suyuti said:
Ibn Mubarak, ‘Abd al Razzaq, and Ibn al Mundhir quote A’mash as saying, “When the Sahabah of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam arrived in Madinah they found prosperity after enduring gruelling hardships in the past. It was as if they had become too comfortable and were hence rebuked. Then the verse, “has not the time arrived for the Believers…”
The narration is suspended on A’mash, who in addition to be known for tadlis (concealing his source), is uncorroborated in this narration. The entire narration is therefore not the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam words as claimed by Tijani. Let us also not forget Tijani’s distortion of the words in this narration since it is found in al Durr al Manthur with the word ‘rebuked’; but Tijani distorted it by substituting it with the word ‘punished’ so that it aligns with his ‘unbiased’, ‘sincere’ search for guidance.
This is what al Suyuti had to say about the other narration quoted by Tijani:
Ibn Marduwayh narrated this narration from Anas. I am only aware of the Marfu’ version of it where the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Allah considered (the progress of) the hearts of the Muhajirin slow after seventeen years since the revelation of the Qur’an and therefore revealed the verse, “has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah…”
This narration quoted by Ibn Marduwayh from Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu is not found in any of the reliable books of Tafsir. In addition to this it contradicts the sound narration recorded by Muslim in his Sahih from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu wherein he said:
مَا كَانَ بَيْنَ إِسْلاَمِنَا وَبَيْنَ أَنْ عَاتَبَنَا اللّٰهُ بِهَذِهِ الآيَةِ (أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوْبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللّٰهِ) إِلاَّ أَرْبَعُ سِنِينَ
There were only four years between our Islam and Allah reprimanding us with this verse, “has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah…”
Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu was from the earliest in Islam and was more acquainted with the revelation of Qur’an.
The narration of Ibn Marduwayh is therefore weak and anomalous. It has Shudhudh (anomaly) since it contradicts the stronger narration of Ibn Mas’ud; and has Nakarah (incongruity) because of Ibn Marduwayh being the only source to transmit it without any shahid or mutabi’.
I would like to bring to the attention of the respected reader that al Suyuti recorded twenty narrations in total under this verse, including the narration of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Regrettably Tijani only noticed two; and resorted to distortion in one of them in order to give credence to his wanton commentary.
Citing al Suyuti as reference was merely theatrics and window-dressing for his unsuspecting audience. It is known by the ‘ulamaʼ that al Suyuti applied no criteria of reliability in what he included in al Durr al Manthur as he quotes weak and even fabricated narrations. The mere reference to this work does not indicate reliability.
Assuming that the two narrations cited by Tijani were indeed authentic; Allah’s words would simply be understood as an admonishment for the Sahabah, and an encouragement to increase in humility and to remain in constant fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhu were certainly not infallible; and were subject to the elements of human nature like forgetfulness and temporal oversight.
Qur’an Encourages Sahabah
You might remember that earlier I mentioned that the Qur’an was revealed to train the Sahabah for the task of taking leadership, and to encourage them towards good, and forbid them from vice. Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:
Whenever you hear Allah saying, “O you who believe,” then harken to it as it is either good being commanded, or evil prohibited.
The verse we are currently discussing was revealed to rekindle the Sahabah’s spirit; and to encourage them towards humility. Further, it informs them of the Jews and the Christians who were afflicted with hardness of the hearts with the passing of lengthy passages of time. Hardheartedness overcame them due to insufficient remembrance of Allah and resulted in them becoming sinful. This verse came to warn the Sahabah of the laxness of this path so as they might avoid it.
This, without doubt, is considered part of their training. If rebuking them was not permitted they would be considered angels and not human beings.
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was even rebuked, as seen in the story of Ibn Umm Maktum radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The verse, “He [the Prophet] frowned and turned away,” was subsequently revealed. If Allah’s rebuking the Sahabah is considered a disparagement, then what will Tijani say about Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala rebuke of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?
The Qur’an was revealed to teach the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and guide him.
Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:
يٰاَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ اتَّقِ اللّٰهَ وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِيْنَ وَالْمُنَافِقِيْنَ
O Messenger, fear Allah and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
فَإِنْ كُنْتَ فِي شَكٍّ مِمَّا أَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ فَاسْأَلِ الَّذِيْنَ يَقْرَءُوْنَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ
So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you.
What will Tijani say about the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? We have already demonstrated the repercussions of disregarding the principles of Qur’anic interpretation.
In conclusion I reiterate what I previously stated, that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu praised the Sahabah when teaching and rebuking his disciples. He encouraged them to take the Sahabah as an example when he said:
Indeed, I have seen the Sahabah of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and I do not see anyone amongst you who resembles them. They would rise in the morning, unkempt and covered with dust, because they had spent the night in prostration and standing. They would alternate between their foreheads and their cheeks
In addition to the statement of Jafar al Sadiq when he described the Sahabah of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with his words:
They would wake up dishevelled and pass the night in prostration and standing alternating between their foreheads and their cheeks.
If this is how the Imams described the Sahabah; what objectivity has Tijani displayed in his critical analysis of them?
In closing I leave you with the words of Hassan al ’Askari, the eleventh infallible Imam of the Shia. He said about those who hate the Sahabah:
ان رجلا ممن يبغض آل محمد و اصحابه الخيرين و واحدا منهم لعذبه الله عذابا لو قسم على مثل عدد خلق الله تعالى لأهلكهم اجمعين
Surely a man who hates the family of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Sahabah, the best two and even one of them, Allah will inflict upon them such a punishment that if it were to be dispersed amongst the entire creation it would destroy them all.
 Then I was guided, p. 98
 Surah al Tawbah: 67-68
 Surah al Tawbah: 71-72
 Surah al Tawbah: 73
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 144
 Surah Saba’: 13
 Then I was guided, p. 99
 Al Zarkashshi: al Burhan fi ‘Ulum al Qur’an, vol. 2 p. 148; Also refer to Bayn al Shia wa al Sunnah by ‘Ali al Salus p. 11
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 144
 Refer to Majma’ al Bayan of al Tabarsi, vol. 2, p. 215
 Tafsir al Tabari, vol. 3, p. 455
 Badai’ al Tafsir by Ibn Qayyim, vol. 1, p. 515
 Fath al Qadir by al Shawkani, vol. 1, p. 571
 This is in reference to the word used in the verse quoted by al Tijani (al Shakirin).
 Al Muharrar al Wajiz, vol. 3, p. 248-249
 Surah al Tawbah: 100
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 142-143
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 144
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 149
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 155
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 172-174
 Then I was guided, p. 99
 The commentary on the proof-worthiness of the hadith of Ghadir Khumm will be discussed later (p. 224 of this book)
 Surah al Tawbah: 38, 39
 Refer to Majma’, vol. 3: p. 62
 Tafsir al Tabari vol. 6: p. 372
 Fath al Qadir, vol. 2: p. 526. Tabarsi related in his tafsir, Majma’ al Bayan: “Jabba’i says, “this slow-footedness was specific to a group of the believers and not all of them were sluggish in relation to (departing for) jihad.”
 Surah al Baqarah: 178
 Surah al Baqarah: 208
 Surah al Baqarah: 254
 Surah al Baqarah: 278
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 102
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 118
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 149
 Surah al Ma’idah: 1
 Surah al Nisa’: 43
 Surah al Nur: 21
 Surah al Anfal: 24
 Surah al Nur: 27
 Al Itqan fi ‘Ulum al Qur’an by al Suyuti, vol. 2, p. 92-93
 Al Tabari, vol. 6: p. 373; al Baghawi, vol. 4: p. 48; and al Muharrar al Wajiz, vol. 8: p. 183
 Sunan al Tirmidhi, The Chapter of the Virtues, hadith no. 3675; Refer also to Sahih al Tirmidhi, hadith no. 2902
 Surah al Tawbah: 40
 Tafsir al Baghawi, vol. 4: p. 49
 Sunan al Tirmidhi, vol. 5: Chapter on the Virtues of the Sahabah, hadith no. 3701; Refer also to Sahih al Tirmidhi, hadith no. 2920
 Surah al Tawbah: 92
 Referred to in the verse of Surah al Tawbah, “And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.” 118
 Surah al Tawbah: 117
 Tafsir al Baghawi, vol. 4: p. 105
 Ahkam al Qur’an by al Jassas, vol. 3: p. 160
 Surah al Tawbah: 38 and 39
 Majma’ al Bayan, vol, 3: p. 62
 Surah al Tawbah: 38 and 39
 Fayd al Kashani: Tafsir al Safi , vol. 2: p. 342-343
 Surah al Ahzab: 1
 Surah al Ma’idah: 67
 Then I was guided p. 152
 Surah Muhammad: 38
 Majma’ al Bayan, vol. 6: p. 48
 Tafsir al Mubin by Muhammad Mughniyyah, p. 677-678
 Surah al Ma’idah: 54
 Then I was guided, p. 101-102
 Majma’ al Bayan, vol. 2: p. 122-123
 Surah al Tawbah: 100
 Surah al Fath: 18
 Surah al Fath: 29
 Sunan al Tirmidhi, vol. 5: Kitab al Manaqib: hadith no. 3790; Refer (also) to Sahih al Tirmidhi, hadith no. 2981
 Al Jami’ li Ahkam al Qur’an of al Qurtubi, vol. 6: p. 142
 Tafsir al Qummi, vol. 1: p. 177-178
 Where is the honour?
 Nahj al Balaghah, p. 88-91
 Ibid, p. 94-96
 Ibid, p. 104 and 105
 Ibid, p. 143 and 144
 Ibid, 224
 Al Ihtijaj by al Tabarsi, vol. 2 p. 300
 Ibid, p. 224
 Rijal al Kashshi, p. 179
 Al Rowdah min al Kafi, vol. 8 p. 191 under the chapter: the Shia of ‘Ali are those whose words honour their actions
 These are the persons whom al Qummi and al Tijani say are apostate!
 Here he is referring to his disciples.
 Nahj al Balaghah, p. 129 and 130
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 104-107
 Then I was guided pg. 101
 Jamiʻ al Qurtubi, vol. 4 p. 107; Also see al Baghawi, vol. 2 p. 86
 Jami’ al Qurtubi, vol. 4 p. 107 and 108; al Tabari, vol. 3 p. 386 and 387; al Muharrar al Wajiz, vol. 3 p. 190 and 191; al Baghawi, vol. 2 p. 87; Fath al Qadir, vol. 1 p. 88
 Tafsir al Baghawi, vol. 2 p. 88
 Surah al A’raf: 172
 Al Tabari, vol. 3 p. 387
 Majma’ al Bayan, vol. 2 p. 160-162
 Tafsir al Safi, vol. 1 p. 341
 Then I was guided, p. 101
 Al Gharat, by al Thaqafi, vol. 2 p. 305 and 307
 Nahj al Balaghah, p. 509
 Asl al Shia wa Usuliha, p. 132 and 133; Beirut: Dar al Adwa
 This is reference to the civil strife which occurred during the fourth decade of Islam.
 Ahead of those who came before him, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman (ram).
 Al Khisal, by al Qummi
 Surah al Hadid: 16
 Then I was guided, p. 101 and 102
 Al Durr al Manthur fi Tafsir al Ma’thur, vol. 6 p. 254
 Al Durr al Manthur fi Tafsir al Ma’thur, vol. 6 p. 253
 Sahih Muslim ma’a Sharh, vol. 18, The Chapter of Tafsir, Hadith no. 3027
 A term used by hadith scholars for particular types of corroborating reports.
 Al Itqan by al Suyuti, vol. 2 p. 92-93
 Surah ‘Abasa: 1
 Surah al Ahzab: 1
 Surah Yunus: 95
 Tafsir al Hassan al ’Askari, p. 157, under the words of Allah, “And they said, ‘Our hearts are wrapped.’” (Surah al Baqarah: 88)