6. Tijani’s position on ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the discussion, “A conversation with a scholar”
After that I opened the “Sahih” of al Bukhari and read: Once Umar ibn al Khattab came to Hafsah and found with her Asma bint Umays. When he saw her, he asked, “Who is she?” Hafsah answered, “Asma bint Umays.” Umar said, “Is she that Ethiopian?” Asma replied, “Yes.” He said, “We emigrated [that is to say from Mecca to Medinah] before you, so we are more entitled to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam than you.” She became very angry, then she said, “No, by Allah, you were with the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who fed your hungry people and advised the ignorant among you; whereas we were in a foreign land, in Abyssinia, for the sake of Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and whenever I ate or drank anything, I remembered the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and we were hurt, and we were frightened. By Allah I will mention this to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam without Iying, adding anything or deviating from the subject.” When the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came, she said, “O Prophet of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Umar said such and such.” He asked, “What did you say to him?” She answered, “Such and such.” He said, “I am not more entitled to him than to you.” He and his companions had one emigration, but you, people of the ship, had two emigrations.” She said, “I found Abu Musa and the people of the ship coming to me in groups and asking me about the Hadith, very much delighted with what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had said to them.”
Then Tijani says:
I said, “If the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the first to doubt Abu Bakr, and did not bear witness against him, because the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not know what would happen after him; and if the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not approve of the preference of Umar over Asma bint Umays, but indeed preferred her to him; then it is within my right to doubt and not to have a preference for anybody until I know the truth. Evidently, these Hadiths contradict and nullify all the known Hadiths in favour of Abu Bakr and Umar, because they are more realistic than these which mention their alleged virtues.”
Refuting Tijani’s position on ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the discussion, “A conversation with a scholar”
Tijani displays his flair of interpolation. I am amazed that he attempts to discredit ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu by this hadith. It is only possible to discredit him by deliberately misinterpreting it. All that the hadith indicates is that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam acknowledged the virtue of the people of the ship, those who migrated to Habashah first and then to Madinah, over those who migrated once from Makkah to Madinah. This virtue was not unqualified. It was a virtue in terms of Hijrah only.
Tijani’s assumption, “If the Prophet did not confirm the superiority of ‘Umar over Asma’ bint ‘Umays, rather, he preferred her over him,” is symptomatic of his vitriolic disposition towards ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. When the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam responded to Asma’ radiya Llahu ‘anha, he said, “He does not have more right to me than you. He and his Companions migrated once while you and the people of the ship migrated twice,” the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not indicate Asma’s virtue over ‘Umar only. He meant that in respect of Hijrah, those who undertook both Hijrahs had an added merit in that respect. Not that they held a higher status in general. If that were the case, Asma’ bint ‘Umays would be considered superior to all the Sahabah who migrated from Makkah to Madinah, including ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu since his Hijrah was to Madinah only. Therefore, the merit mentioned in this hadith applies only in respect to Hijrah.
Lastly, his statement,
It is well-known that these two ahadith contradict all the ahadith concerning the virtues of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.
Why does it have to contradict all the hadith concerning their virtues only? The general purport—if we take Tijani’s reasoning—implies that it contradicts all the ahadith concerning the virtues of ‘Ali and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma as they had only undertaken the Hijrah once, from Makkah to Madinah.
Not only has Tijani discarded the method of academic enquiry in terms of evaluating the reliability of hadith, but he has completely ignored the context of the hadith. In addition to this he displays complete ignorance of the principle of interpretation which dictate that specific matters be understood against the backdrop of more rigorously established general matters.
 Then I was guidedp. 128-129Back to top