Refuting Tijani’s claims that the Sahabah Vilified One Another

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Chapter Five

Tijani’s claims that the Sahabah Vilified One Another

 
 

1. The Hadith of Abu Sa’id al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu on Eid prayers

 

Tijani says:

 

Abu Saeed al Khudari said: On the first days of ‘Eid al Fitr [breaking the fast of Ramadan] and ‘Eid al Adha [celebrating the end of the Pilgrimage], the first thing the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to do was to say his prayers in the mosque, then he went to see the people, who sat in rows in front of him, and then he started to deliver advice or orders or even finalize outstanding issues, and after all that he would leave. Abu Saeed added: The situation continued to be like that, until one day, either Fitr or Adha, I went with Marwan, who was the governor of al Medinah. When we arrived at the mosque, which had a new pulpit built by Kathir ibn al Salt, Marwan headed for the pulpit (before praying), so I pulled him by his clothes, but he pushed me and went up on to the pulpit. He addressed the people before he prayed, so I said to him, “By Allah you have changed it.” He replied, “O Abu Saeed, what you know has gone.” I said, “By Allah, what I know is better than what I do not know.” Marwan then said, “People did not sit for us after the prayers, so I put [it] before the prayers.”

I looked for the reasons which led those Companions to change the Sunnah [the tradition] of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam[1]

 

Refuting Tijani’s claim from the Hadith of Abu Sa’id al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu on Eid prayers

Tijani attempts to give credence to his sweeping claim by citing the Hadith of Abu Sa’id al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This narration is meant to prove that it was common for the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum to vilify one another.

The reader will notice that the person whose actions are criticized in this narration is Marwan. Before proceeding any further it is important to establish whether Marwan was a Companion in the technical sense to begin with. It is illogical to make a sweeping statement of the Sahabah vilifying one another if one of the parties in a particular incident is not a Sahabi.

The scholars have debated the status of Marwan; whether he is a Sahabi or not. Shams al Din al Dhahabi—who is considered one of the greatest historians and hadith experts—considers Marwan from the Tabi’in and not from amongst the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.[2] At the time of the Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise he had not yet reached puberty, he was barely 10 years old.

It is highly unethical and greatly misleading to throw allegations at the entire spectrum of the Sahabah if an isolated incident involves a Sahabi and Tabi’i. What a misleading heading, “Their testifying against themselves that they altered the Sunnah.”

Look at the extent of the prejudice and bias in Tijani’s accusation. Can any fair-minded, objective, intelligent person still accept that this ‘journey of guidance’ began from a position of impartiality and neutrality?

If one refers to the original Arabic of Tijani’s book the plural form is used to emphasize the dispute, thus insinuating that all the Companions were at each other’s throats condemning, criticizing and vilifying each other. What a dishonest representation of reality!

Tijani’s unqualified expression in the original Arabic gives rise to another perplexing situation as the allegation does not exempt any of the Sahabah from blame. The allegation thus includes those whom they accept as righteous Sahabah; such as ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Abu Dhar, and ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhum. On what basis can they be excluded from the rest of the Companions?

If the issue of Eid prayer was something contested so greatly that ‘they testified against themselves that they altered the Sunnah’, how do we account for the hadith which appears immediately after the one cited by Tijani? Is there any indication of the Sunnah being altered in this narration?

Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:

 

شهدت العيد مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأبي بكر وعمر وعثمان ـ رضى الله عنهم ـ فكلهم كانوا يصلون قبل الخطبة‏

I offered the Eid prayer with the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman; all of them offered the prayer before delivering the Khutbah.[3]

 

Let us assume for a moment some actions of the Sahabah did not conform exactly with what Tijani considers to be Sunnah, this does not warrant any blame as they were not infallible. It is not impossible that their Ijtihad on a particular matter leads them to a conclusion that does not represent the Sunnah entirely. This would not be considered disregard for the Sunnah since we know from their practise they would retract their opinion if it became clear to them that it was in conflict with the Sunnah.

For the sake of brevity let us limit the examples which demonstrate the haste in which the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and Tabi’in retracted their rulings based on Ijtihad in favour of opinions aligned with the Sunnah when they were made aware of it.

Al Shafi’i says:

 

Someone who I trust related to me—from Ibn Abi Dhi’b—from Makhlad ibn Khafaf—who said, “I bought a slave and earned revenue through him. Later, a defect of his came to my attention and I took the matter to ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al ‘Aziz who decreed that I may return it (to the original owner) but that I return the revenue received. I then went to ‘Urwah (ibn Zubair) and informed him (about ‘Umar’s decree). He then said, “I am going to him this afternoon. I will inform him that Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha related to me from the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he ruled in a matter similar to this (and said):

الخراج بالضمان

Profit belongs to the one who bears responsibility.

I then hastened to ‘Umar and informed him about what ‘Urwah had related to me from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, from the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. ‘Umar then said, “This is easier for me than a decree which I gave. O Allah! Surely you know that I did not intend thereby (my decree) except the truth. Then a Sunnah from the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam reached me so I overruled the decree of ‘Umar and executed the Sunnah of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”‘Urwah then went to him and he decreed that I take revenue from the one who he decreed I should give it to.[5]

 

The details of this incident are not the major concern here. What is majorly significant is the readiness on the part of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al ‘Aziz to retract his verdict in favour of a Sunnah which reached him from the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Zaid ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhu considered it prohibited for a menstruating woman to return home before performing Tawaf al Wada’ (Final Tawaf of Hajj). He and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma debated this matter. Eventually, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to him, “If you do not accept my opinion on the matter then ask so-and-so woman from the Ansar if the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed her with that.” Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu then returned laughing and said, “You have spoken the truth.” A similar narration appears in Sahih al Bukhari.[6]

We have previously established that Ahlus Sunnah do not regard the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum infallible. The reactions of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in situations such as these indicate their enthusiasm and unrelenting zeal for the Sunnah. It is absurd to assert otherwise.

Marwan’s decisions appear to be motivated by Ijtihad. However they were not in conformity with the Sunnah, which resulted in Abu Sa’id’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu stern objection. If anything, it shows the extent to which the Companions were attentive towards the observance of the Sunnah.

There are a few cases where even ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu issued certain fatawa (legal opinions) which were not considered in harmony with the Sunnah.

We present, as an example, his fatwa that the ‘iddah of a pregnant woman will continue until the later of childbirth or prescribed waiting period.

A woman who has been divorced, or whose husband passed away, must undergo a waiting period called ‘iddah. The waiting period differs between divorce and death of husband. A divorced woman must wait for the duration of three menstrual cycles or three periods of cleanliness between her cycles; whereas a woman whose husband has passed away will wait for four months and ten days. If a woman is pregnant before her ‘iddah, the ‘iddah will terminate upon childbirth. The established Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is that the ‘iddah terminates on childbirth.

Similarly, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu issued a fatwa that the dowry [mahr] of a woman assigned the power of divorce [mufawwadah] is void upon death; whereas Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu and others held that she is entitled to the equivalent mahr of her peers. Their ruling is on account of a hadith from the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when he ruled on the matter of Buru’ bint Washiq.

The Ahlus Sunnah love and revere ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The reason for presenting these cases is not to detract from his lofty status. Rather it is to demonstrate that ‘Ali ibn Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu exercised his Ijtihad, but appears to have not coincided with the Sunnah. He will never be accused of changing the Prophet’s Sunnah. The Ahlus Sunnah would look for plausible reasons for his Ijtihad not aligning with the Sunnah; perhaps the hadith on this issue did not reach him.

The approach used by the Ahlus Sunnah is comprehensive, fair, and consistent. Matters are accounted for in a plausible manner that accurately reflects reality.

Compare that with the wanton approach of a college teacher, untrained in the Islamic sciences who objects to the action of a single Tabi’i in an error of Ijtihad; seizing that opportunity to criticise the entire fraternity of Sahabah. In the process, an isolated incident of rectification is inflated into a distorted portrait of reality. Is this anything but the result of an anarchist attitude towards established history?

 

2. Tijani’s claim that the Sahabah Altered the laws of Salah

Tijani says:

 

Anas ibn Malik said: I knew nothing during the lifetime of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam better than the prayer. He said: Have you not lost what you have lost in it?

Al Zuhri said: I went to see Anas ibn Malik in Damascus, and found him crying, I asked him, “What is making you cry?” He answered, “I have known nothing but these prayers and they have been lost.”

I would like to make it clear that it was not the followers who implemented the changes after all the intrigues and civil wars; rather it was the caliph Uthman who first made changes in the Prophet’s tradition regarding the prayers. Also Umm al Mumineen Aishah was involved in these changes. Al Bukhari and Muslim both stated in their books that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam performed two prayers at Mina, and Abu Bakr after him, then Umar; and Uthman who later performed four prayers.

Muslim also stated in his book that al Zuhri asked ‘Urwah, “Why did Aishah complete her prayers during the journey?” He answered, “She improvised in the same way as Uthman did.”[7]

 

Refuting Tijani’s claim that the Sahabah Altered the laws of Salah

 

Tijani’s Refrencing

Tijani combines two ahadith into one. The first hadith is narrated by Mahdi—from Ghaylan—from Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu who said:

 

ما أعرف شيئا مما كان على عهد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم‏.‏قيل الصلاة‏.قال أليس ضيعتم ما ضيعتم فيها‏

“I do not recognize anything as they were at the time of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”

Somebody asked, “The prayer?”

Anas said, “Have you not wasted it as is done now?”[8]

 

The second hadith is from ‘Uthman ibn Abi Rawwad, the brother of ‘Abd al ‘Aziz who said:

 

سمعت الزهري، يقول دخلت على أنس بن مالك بدمشق وهو يبكي فقلت ما يبكيك فقال لا أعرف شيئا مما أدركت إلا هذه الصلاة، وهذه الصلاة قد ضيعت‏

I heard Al Zuhri saying, “I visited Anas ibn Malik in Damascus and found him weeping. I asked him why he was weeping and he (Anas) replied, ‘I do not recognize anything which I witnessed (during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah) except this prayer which is being lost (not offered as it should be).”[9]

 

Background to the hadith of Anas

What is intended by the statement of Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the first hadith, “have you not wasted it as is done now?” is the delay of salah beyond its prescribed time. This occurred during the era of Hajjaj not during the era of the Sahabah as Tijani claims.

To further understand the context of the hadith let us consider the details given by the narrators. The person communicating with Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu in this hadith is Abu Rafi’. Imam Ahmed narrates a similar hadith by way of detail from ‘Uthman ibn Sa’d:

 

فَقَالَ أَبُو رَافِعٍ يَا أَبَا حَمْزَةَ وَلَا الصَّلَاةَ فَقَالَ أَوَلَيْسَ قَدْ عَلِمْتَ مَا صَنَعَ الْحَجَّاجُ فِي الصَّلَاةِ

Abu Rafi’ then said, “O Abu Hamzah, not even the salah?”

He said, “You know what Hajjaj has done regarding prayer.”[10]

 

Under the biography of Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu in al Tabaqat, Ibn Sa’d gives the reason for the statement of Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu in a narration from ‘Abd al Rahman ibn al ‘Uryan, he said, I heard Thabit al Bunani saying:

 

كنا مع أنس بن مالك فأخر الحجاج الصلاة فقام أنس يريد أن يكلمه فنهاه إخوانه شفقة عليه منه فخرج فركب دابته فقال في مسيره ذلك والله ما أعرف شيئا مما كنا عليه على عهد النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم إلا شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله فقال رجل فالصلاة يا أبا حمزة قال قد جعلتم الظهر عند المغرب أفتلك كانت صلاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وأخرجه ابن أبي عمر في مسنده من طريق حماد عن ثابت مختصرا

We were with Anas ibn Malik when Hajjaj delayed the salah. Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood up wanting to say something to him but his brothers prevented him out of compassion for him. He then left and mounted his conveyance. He said during that journey, “By Allah! I do not recognise any of our traditions during the era of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam besides the shahadah (testimony of acceptance of Islam).”

A man said, “(What about) the salah, O Abu Hamzah?”

He said, “You made Zuhr at the time of Maghrib! Was that the salah of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?”

Ibn Hajar says that Ibn Abi ‘Umar narrates this hadith in his Musnad from Hammad, from Thabit, abridged.[11]

 

The second hadith of Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu is narrated by Zuhri. This was also during the period when Hajjaj was the governor in ‘Iraq. Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu had just arrived in Damascus to complain about Hajjaj to the Khalifah, Walid ibn ‘Abd al Malik. Again, his statement, “I do not recognise anything which I witnessed (during the Prophetic era) except this prayer which has been spoiled (not offered as it should be),” refers to the delay in prayer beyond its prescribed time. It is well-known that Hajjaj, Walid, and others from the Banu Umayyah used to delay the salah beyond its prescribed times.

‘Abd al Razzaq narrates from Ibn Jurayj, from ‘Ata’, who said:

 

أخر الوليد الجمعة حتى أمسى فجئت فصليت الظهر قبل أن أجلس ثم صليت العصر وأنا جالس إيماء وهو يخطب

Walid delayed the Jumu’ah until it became dark. I came and performed Zuhr before I sat down then (later) I performed ‘Asr through gestures (Ima’) while sitting during the sermon.[12]

 

This is further corroborated by a narration recorded by Abu Nu’aym in Kitab al Salah, from Abu Bakr ibn ‘Utbah, who said:

 

صليت إلى جنب أبي جحيفة فمسى الحجاج بالصلاة فقام أبو جحيفة فصلى ومن طريق ابن عمر أنه كان يصلي مع الحجاج فلما أخر الصلاة ترك أن يشهدها معه

I performed salah next to Abu Juhayfah when Hajjaj delayed the salah. Abu Juhayfah stood up and performed salah. The narration of Ibn ‘Umar relates that he used to perform salah with Hajjaj but when Hajjaj postponed the salah Ibn ‘Umar stopped (performing) it with him.[13]

 

The hadith of Anas is not to be understood in a general sense that the delaying of prayer was in vogue throughout the Muslim territories. Rather, it should be interpreted in light of what Anas observed in al Sham and Basrah specifically. Upon arriving in Madinah, Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu once remarked:

ما أنكرت شيئا إلا أنكم لا تقيمون الصفوف

والسبب فيه أنه قدم المدينة وعمر بن عبد العزيز أميرها حينئذ

I do not find anything strange except that you do not straighten the rows.

Ibn Hajar, author of Fath al Bari says: “The reason for it is that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al ‘Aziz was the Amir (leader) at that time.”[14]

 

Response to Tijani’s accusation on ‘Uthman and Aisha

Tijani accuses both ‘Uthman and Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhuma of changing the prayer. This callous allegation is general and without any merit as we shall see.

The issue is whether the traveller shortens the prayer or prays it in full? Anyone remotely familiar with the subject of fiqh would be well-aware of the difference of opinion on this issue.

It has reached us that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum differed on this matter. It has been narrated about ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, that they all preferred performing the salah in full while on travel. In fact, this is the view of the majority of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and Tabi’in.

It has been narrated from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would sometimes perform his salah in full and sometimes shorten it when on travel.

A man once asked ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu about shortening prayers on journey and he said:

 

كنت أتم الصلاة في السفر فلم يأمر بالإعادة

I used to perform my salah in full and he did not instruct (me) to repeat it.[15]

 

It has come in the Sunnah that shortening the salah when on travel is a rukhsah (concession). Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَقْصُرُوْا مِنَ الصَّلَاةِ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنَكُمُ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا

And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame upon you for shortening the prayer [especially] if you fear that those who disbelieve may disrupt [or attack] you.[16]

 

Muslim narrates from Ya’la ibn Umayyah, who said:

 

قلت لعمر بن الخطاب ‏{‏ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَقْصُرُوْا، مِنَ الصَّلاَةِ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنَكُمُ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا‏}‏ فقد أمن الناس فقال عجبت مما عجبت منه فسألت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن ذلك فقال صدقة تصدق الله بها عليكم فاقبلوا صدقته

I said to ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu that Allah says, “You may shorten the prayer if you fear that those who are unbelievers may afflict you,” the people are now safe?

He replied, “I wondered about it in the same way as you wonder about it, so I asked the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam about it and he said, ‘It is a charity which Allah given you, so accept His charity.’”[17]

 

If Tijani bases his argument on the statement of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud recorded in both al Bukhari and Muslim:

 

صلى بنا عثمان بمنى أربع ركعات فقيل ذلك لعبد الله بن مسعود فاسترجع ثم قال صليت مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بمنى ركعتين وصليت مع أبي بكر الصديق بمنى ركعتين وصليت مع عمر بن الخطاب بمنى ركعتين فليت حظي من أربع ركعات ركعتان متقبلتان[18]

‘Uthman led us in four raka’at of salah at Mina. It was related to ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and he said, “To Allah do we belong and to Him surely shall we return.”

He then said, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at Mina two raka’at of prayer. I prayed with Abu Bakr al Siddiq two raka’at of prayer at Mina. I prayed with ‘Umar ibn al Khattab two raka’at of prayer at Mina. I wish I had my share of the two raka’at acceptable (to Allah) of the four raka’at.”

 

As for Ibn Mas’ud’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu statement: “I wish I had my share of the two raka’at acceptable (to Allah) of the four raka’at,” the word ‘من’ (translated as ‘of’ in the translation above) denotes substitution, similar to the verse:

 

أَرَضِيتُمْ بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ

Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the hereafter?

 

This proves that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud considered the full prayer valid. Otherwise, if he considered it invalid he would not have asked for acceptance of two raka’at from four.

The reason for Ibn Mas’ud’s response with “To Allah do we belong and to Him surely shall we return.” was on account of the ideal manner of prayer not being maintained. This is further supported by a narration found in Abu Dawood:

 

أن عبد الله صلى أربعا قال فقيل له عبت على عثمان ثم صليت أربعا قال الخلاف شر

‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud once prayed four raka’at (of salah while on a journey). Someone commented, “You criticised ‘Uthman but you pray four?”

He replied, “Dissension is evil.”[19]

 

Ibn Hajar says in Fath al Bari:

A narration in al Bayhaqi relates, “I dislike dissension.” Ahmed also has a hadith from Abu Dhar radiya Llahu ‘anhu similar to the first.

 

Ibn Qudamah says:

The famous position transmitted to us about Ahmed’s position (on the matter) is that the individual had the choice (between the two) even though he believed shortening to be the better. This is the view of the majority of the Sahabah and Tabi’in.[20]

 

Let us consider the interpretations of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.

Some of the scholars have said:

They were of the opinion that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam only shortened the salah out of compassion for the Ummah as it was the easier of the two options. The two of them, however, decided to take the tougher of the two options by themselves.

 

Zuhri said:

‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu performed the full prayer because of the Bedouins. They were substantial in number that year (during the hajj) so he decided to perform the salah in full in order that they know that the salah has four raka’at.

 

Ibn Hajar says in al Fath:

The reason ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu prayed the salah in full is because he believed that shortening was only for the weak traveller. As for the one who settled in Makkah for the duration of his journey, the ruling of the resident applied to him and therefore, he must pray his salah in full.[21]

 

Ibn Hajar then says:

There is nothing preventing, in my opinion, this being the root cause for (‘Uthman’s) praying the salah in full. This does not contradict the view which I have adopted. Rather, it strengthens it from the angle that taking up residency during a journey is closer to general residency than what it is to travelling. This is what the Ijtihad of ‘Uthman led to.[22]

 

As for Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha her reason has been mentioned explicitly. Al Bayhaqi narrated from Hisham ibn ‘Urwah, from his father that she used to pray full while travelling. Once it was said to her, “Why do you not shorten the prayer?”

She replied, “O my nephew, it is not difficult for me.”

The chain of transmission for this report is authentic. This proves that she understood shortening to be a concession and that praying the full prayer better for the one who finds no difficulty in it.[23]

 

To summarize:

Tijani disguises his distortion when he alleges that the Sahabah interfered with the manner in which Salah was performed “in order to dispel the belief that the Tabi’in were the ones who altered,” He converges the issues of one Hadith in the next; attempting to link the objection of Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu to the actions of ‘Uthman and Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.

We have proven from the narrations of Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he was objecting to the delay of prayer during the era of Hajjaj. As for the actions of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, we have demonstrated that it is a matter of Fiqh which is subject to interpretation and none of the Sahabah accused them of changing the prayer.

 

3. Tijani’s claim that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum Testified Against Themselves

Tijani says:

 

Anas ibn Malik said that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to al Ansar: You will notice after me some great selfishness, but be patient until you meet Allah and His Messenger by the pool. Anas said: We were not patient.

Al Ala ibn al Musayyab heard his father saying: I met, al Bara ibn Azib – May Allah honour them both – and said to him, “Bless you, you accompanied the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and you voted for him under the tree.” He said, “My son, you do not know what we have done after him”

This early Companion, who was one of those who voted for the Prophet under the tree, and who received the blessing of Allah, for Allah knew what was in their hearts, testifies against himself and his companions that they did not keep the tradition. This testimony is confirmation of what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam talked about and predicted in that his Companions would break with his tradition and fall back on their heels.

How could any sensible person, after all this evidence, believe in the righteousness of all the Companions, as the Sunnis do?

He, who believes that, is definitely reversing the order of logic and scholarship, and there will be no intellectual criteria for the researcher to use in his quest for the truth. [24]

 

Refuting Tijani’s claim that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum Testified Against Themselves

The narration cited by Tijani could not be found with that wording. Instead we find the narration from Zuhri, who said:

 

أنّ أناسا من الأنصار قالوا، يوم حنين، حين أفاء الله على رسوله من أموال هوازن ما أفاء. فطفق رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم يعطي رجالا من قريش. المائة من الإبل. قالوا: يغفر الله لرسول الله. يعطي قريشا ويتركنا وسيوفنا تقطر من دمائهم!.قال أنس بن مالك فحدّث ذلك رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم، من قولهم. فأرسل إلى الأنصار فجمعهم في قبّة من أدم. فلمّا اجتمعوا جاءهم رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم.فقال ما حديث بلغني عنكم؟ فقال له فقهاء الأنصار أمّا ذوو رأينا يا رسول الله فلم يقولوا شيئا.وأمّا أناس منّا حديثة أسنانهم قالوا يغفر الله لرسوله.يعطي قريشا ويتركنا، وسيوفنا تقطر من دمائهم!، فقال رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم فإنّي أعطي رجالا حديثي عهد بكفر أتألّفهم.أفلا ترضون أن يذهب النّاس بالأموال وترجعون إلى رحالكم برسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم؟ فو الله! لما تنقلبون به خير ممّا ينقلبون به فقالوا بلى يا رسول الله!قد رضينا قال فإنّكم ستجدون أثرة شديدة فاصبروا حتّى تلقوا الله ورسوله.فإنّي على الحوض قالوا سنصبر ‏[25] ‏ قال أنس فلم نصبر

Anas ibn Malik reported to me that on the Day of Hunayn Allah conferred upon His Messenger of salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam the riches of Hawazin. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam set about distributing to some persons of Quraysh one hundred camels and upon this they said, “May Allah grant pardon to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he gave (these camels) to the people of the Quraysh, and he ignored us, whereas our swords are still dripping blood.”

Their statement was conveyed to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he sent someone to the Ansar and gathered them under a tent (made) of leather. When they had assembled, the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to them and said, “What is this news that has reached me from you?”

The wise people of the Ansar said, “O Messenger of Allah, so far as the knowledgeable amongst us are concerned they have said nothing, but we have amongst us persons of immature age; they said, ‘May Allah grant pardon to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he gave to the Quraysh and ignored us (despite the fact) that our swords are besmeared with their blood.”

Upon this the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I give (at times material gifts) to persons who were quite recently in the state of unbelief, so that I may incline them towards the truth. Do you not feel delighted that people should go with riches, and you should go back to your places with the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? By Allah, that with which you return with is better than that with which they return with.”

They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah, we are pleased.”

The Messenger said, “You will encounter marked preference in future, so you should show patience till you meet Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. I will be at the Hawd.”

They said, “We will be patient.”

Anas related, “We were not patient.”

 

This hadith proves the high status and merit of the Ansar. How can this not be true when the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

الأنصار لا يحبهم إلا مؤمن، ولا يبغضهم إلا منافق، فمن أحبهم أحبه الله، ومن أبغضهم أبغضه الله

None loves the Ansar but a believer, and none hates them but a hypocrite. Allah loves the one who loves them, and He detests the one who hates them.[26]

 

آية الإيمان حب الأنصار، وآية النفاق بغض الأنصار

Love for the Ansar is a sign of iman and hatred for the Ansar is a sign of nifaq.[27]

 

In the hadith the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said, “Do you not feel delighted that people should go with riches, and you should go back to your places with the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?”

Would he have said that to anyone but the best of people?

The statement of Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “We were not patient,” is nothing more than his opinion. It is careless to use it to construct an argument against the Sahabah that they testified against themselves. A humble person never considers his accomplishments or acknowledges his status.

It is not permissible, on the basis of a vague statement from a Sahabi, to reject the many clear verses in the Qur’an which praise the Sahabah in general and the Ansar specifically. This is in addition to the fact that the hadith is intended to praise the Ansar.

Perhaps Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu intended by this statement the role in the Ansar played initially when there was disagreement regarding leadership of the Ummah after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise; and their arguing with the Muhajirin at the Saqifah.

This is supported by a hadith narrated by Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu from Usayd ibn Hudayr radiya Llahu ‘anhu that a man from the Ansar came to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said, “Will you not use me (as a governor) as you have used such and such a person?” The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then said:

 

‏إنكم ستلقون بعدي أثرة، فاصبروا حتى تلقوني على الحوض‏

You will encounter much favouritism after me. Be patient until you meet me at the Hawd.[28]

 

This is especially true if we recognise that the preference mentioned in this hadith refers to worldly matters.[29]

Tijani also quoted the words of al Bara’ ibn ‘Azib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “You do not know what we did after him.”

Clearly these words have been taken out of context and given a dose of steroids. Al Bara’ ibn ‘Azib was referring to the battles which were fought between the Muslims. He feared the evil outcome in the Hereafter that might result from that. This is indicative of his virtue and piety.[30]

Also, it is well-known that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu was among those who participated in those battles and therefore, the address, according to Tijani’s interpretation, includes him. The corollary of Tijani’s reasoning implicates ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib as well. Whatever argument is made to exclude ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu applies to the rest of the Sahabah as well.

In reality it is impossible for these two ahadith to refute the collection of proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah which praise the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and express Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and His Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam pleasure with them. The Sahabah falling into error does not negate their virtue or their inner and outer purity.

 

 NEXT ⇒ Chapter Six - Refuting Tijani’s Criticisms against Abu Bakr


[1]Then I was guided, p. 105

[2]Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 3, p. 476

[3]Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1, Kitab al ‘Idayn, hadith no. 920

[5]I’lam al Muqi’in ‘an Rabb al ‘Alamin, Ibn Qayyim al Jawzi, vol. 2, p. 200

[6]  Op. cit. vol. 2, p. 203

[7]Then I was guided, p. 109

[8]Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1, Kitab Mawaqit al Salah, Bab Tadyi’ al Salah ‘an Waqtiha, hadith no. 506

[9]  Op. cit. vol. 1, p. 507

[10]Fath al Bari, vol. 2, p. 507

[11]  Ibid

[12]  Ibid vol. 2, p. 18

[13]  Ibid

[14]  Ibid

[15]Al Mughni of Ibn Qudamah, vol. 3, p. 124, with the research of ‘Abdullah al Turki and ‘Abd al Fattah al Halw

[16]  Surah al Nisa’: 101

[17]Sahih Muslim with Nawawi’s commentary, vol. 5, Kitab Salah al Musafirin, hadith no. 686

[18]Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1, Kitab Taqsir al Salah, hadith no. 1034

[19]  Refer to Abu Dawood, Kitab al Manasik, Bab al Salah bi Mina, hadith no. 1960; Refer also to Sahih Abu Dawood of al Bani, hadith no. 1726

[20]Fath al Bari, vol. 2, p. 657 and 658

[21]  Ibid vol. 2, p. 665

[22]  Ibid vol. 2, p. 665

[23]  Ibid

[24]Then I was guided, p. 110-111

[25]Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab Fard al Khumus, hadith no. 2978, vol. 3

[26]Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al Sahabah, no. 3572, from Bara’ ibn ‘Azib

[27]  Ibid, hadith no. 3573, from Anas Ibn Malik

[28]Sahih Muslim with its commentary, Kitab al Imarah, Bab al Amr bi al Sabr ‘ind Zulm al Wulat wa Isti’tharihim, hadith no. 1845,

[29]Sharh Muslim, vol. 12, p. 331

[30] Al Fath, vol. 7, p. 516