‘Ali Gladly Accepted Bonuses, Booty and Gifts From Abu Bakr
The books of hadith and history attest to the fact that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu would grant ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu monetary gifts and monthly stipends which he would very gladly accept irrespective of whether they were derived from the one fifth of Booty, from his (‘Ali’s) share of the wealth of Fay’ or were just given as a gift. Nevertheless, this is categorical proof of the healthy connection that existed between them. In substantiation of this theme, I present before you a few incidents which I hope will win the hearts of the readers.
The coming narration appears in al Sunan al Kubra of al Bayhaqi:
عن عبد الرحمن بن ابي ليلي قال سمعت عليا يقول ولاني رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم خمس الخمس فوضعته مواضعه حياة رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم و حياة ابي بكر رضي الله عنه و عمر رضي الله عنه ………فأتي بمال فدعاني فقال خذه فقلت لا اريده قال خذه فانتم احق به قلت قد استغينا عنه فجعله في بيت المال.
‘Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Layla mentions that he heard ‘Ali saying, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed me as the administrator of the Khums (which was the share of the Ahl al Bayt) from the Khums (one fifth) of the booty. I distributed it to its rightful beneficiaries during the lifetime of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the caliphate of Abu Bakr and that of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu… Once wealth was brought to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he thus called me and instructed me to take my share. I told him that I did not want it anymore. He insisted and said, “Take it for you have most right to it.” I told him that we have become independent of it. He thus placed it in the Bayt al Mal (public treasury).
A similar narration to this appears in Musnad Ahmed. It reads as follows:
فولانيه رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فقسمته في حياته ثم ولانيه ابو بكر فقسمته في حياته ثم ولانيه عمر فقسمته في حياته حتي كانت اخر سنة من سني عمر فإنه اتاه مال كثير.
The translation is same as that of the above narration.
a. Prior to this it had been mentioned in the first part that when the family of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu became affluent they refrained from taking their share. The first and the second khalifah had not fallen short in fulfilling their due right.
This narration also establishes that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, upon the refusal of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, had not taken the wealth for himself nor had he usurped it. Rather he entrusted it to the public treasury.
b. Similarly, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had, during his caliphate, administered the share of Khums and the wealth of Fay’ in exactly the same manner as Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu had in his times. This is proof of the fact that the caliphate of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was legitimate according to him. Ibn ‘Abdul Barr whilst commenting in this in al Isti’ab has written:
وكان علي يسير في الفئ مسيرة ابي بكر الصديق في القسم واذا ورد عليه مال لم يبق منه شيأ الا قسمه ولا تترك في بيت المال منه الا ما يعجز عن قسمته في يومه ذالك.
And ‘Ali would distribute the fay’ just as Abu Bakr would. Whenever any wealth came to him he would at once distribute it and would not spare anything for the public treasury besides that which he was at times unable to distribute that day.
c. It should likewise be remembered that there are many a narrations that suggest that he would receive slave girls as his share of the booty. I present a few narrations of this nature ahead:
The first incident has been reported by Imam al Baqir:
عن ابي جعفر قال اعطي ابو بكر عليا جارية فدخلت ام ايمن علي فاطمة فرأت فيها شيأ فكرهته فقالت ما لك فلم تخبرها فقالت ما لك فوالله ما كان ابوك يكتمني شيأ فقالت جارية اعطيها ابو الحسن فخرجت ام ايمن فتادت علي باب البيت ا لذي فيه علي بأعلي صوتها اما رسول الله فيحفظ في اهله فقال علي وما ذاك فقالت جارية بعث بها اليك ابوبكر فقال علي الجارية لفاطمة.
Abu Bakr gave ‘Ali a slave girl. Umm Ayman at the time came to visit Fatimah. She discerned disconcertion upon her. She inquired, “What is wrong?” Fatimah did not say anything. She asked for a second time, “What is wrong? Your father would not keep anything away from me.” Thereupon she said, “A concubine that has been gifted to Abu al Hassan.” Umm Ayman thus came out and called out by the door of the house wherein ‘Ali was and said, “As for Rasulullah, he would take good care of his family.” ‘Ali a bit bemused at what she said, asked, “What are you talking about?” “The slave girl that Abu Bakr sent to you,” she said. ‘Ali responded, “I gift her to Fatimah.”
The second incident in which Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu gifted a concubine to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu had sent Khalid ibn al Walid to the tribes of Banu Taghlib with an army. After attaining victory, they had amassed booty in which there were concubines as well. One of them was gifted to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This incident has been documented by historians, such as the author of al Ansab and the author of Tabaqat. Many Shia scholars have also conceded that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu received a concubine by the name of al Sahba’ as a gift. But they have interpreted the incident, as is their wont, very incongruously. It should be remembered that ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali and Ruqayyah bint ‘Ali were born to her, who were twins.
This incident will first be presented from our sources and then from the sources of our Shia friends.
1. The following narration appears in Tabaqat ibn Sa’d regarding ‘Umar al Akbar ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib:
عمر الاكبر بن علي بن ابي طالب و امه الصهباء وهي ام حبيب بنت ربيعت……….وكانت سبية اصابها خالد بن وليد حيث اغار علي بني تغلب بناحية عين التمر
‘Umar al Akbar ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib: his mother was al Sahba’; her name was Umm Habib bint Rabi’ah… She was taken as a captive by Khalid ibn al Walid when he attacked and defeated Banu Taghlib at ‘Ayn al Tamr.
2. Abu ‘Abdullah Mus’ab al Zubairi, in his book Nasab Quraysh, has mentioned the following under the discussion regarding the children of ‘Ali ibn Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
عمر بن علي بن ابي طالب و رقية وهما ترأم امهما الصهباء يقال اسمهما ام حبيب بنت ربيعة من بني تغلب من سبي خالد بن وليد و كان عمر بن علي اخر ولد علي بن ابي طالب.
‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and Ruqayyah: they were twins; their mother was al Sahba’. It is said that her name was Umm Habib bint Rabi’ah, of the Banu Taghlib tribe. She was taken as a captive by Khalid ibn al Walid. ‘Umar was the youngest of the children of ‘Ali.
3. Khalifah ibn Khayyat has stated the following in his book Kitab al Tabaqat:
وعمر بن علي بن ابي طالب امه الصهباء بنت عباد من بني تغلب سباها خالد بن وليد في الردة توفي سنة سبع و ستين قتل مع مصعب ايام المختار.
‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib: his mother was al Sahba’ bint ‘Abbad. During the wars against apostasy, Khalid ibn al Walid had imprisoned her. He (‘Umar) passed away in 79 A.H. He was killed with Mus’ab ibn al Zubair during the days of Mukhtar.
4. It is mentioned in Futuh al Buldan:
بلغ خالدا ان جمعا لبني تغلب بن وائل بالمضيح ز الحصيد مرتدين عليهم ربيعة بن بجير فاتاهم فقاتلوه فهزهم و سبي وغنم و بعث بالسبي الي ابي بكر فكانت منهم ام حبيب الصهباء بنت حبيب بن بجير و هي ام عمر بن علي بن ابي طالب.
The news had reached Khalid that a group of the Banu Taghlib which was based in Madih and Husayd had denounced the creed of Islam and had nominated Rabi’ah ibn Bujayr as their leader. Consequently, he waged war against them, defeated them and collected abundant booty. He thereafter sent it to Abu Bakr. Umm Habib al Sahba’ bint Habib ibn Bujayr was part of it.
The conclusion of all these narrations is that al Sahba’, Umm Habib Bint Rabi’ah, was the mother of the children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu namely, ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali and Ruqayyah Bint ‘Ali. She was captured by Khalid ibn al Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu when he conquered the areas of the Banu Taghlib during the caliphate of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. She was then gifted to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu by Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. These two siblings were twins and the youngest of the children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
The Shi’ah have also conceded this incident in their writings and have written the following in this regard:
Ibn Abi al Hadid writes in his Sharh Nahj al Balaghah:
و اما عمر و رقيه فامهما مسبيه من تغلب يقال لها الصهباء سبيت في خلافة ابي بكر و امارة خالد بن وليد بعين التمر.
As for ‘Umar and Ruqayyah, their mother was a captive of Banu Taghlib whose name was al Sahba’. She was taken as a captive during the caliphate of Abu Bakr by Khalid ibn al Walid at ‘Ayn al Tamr.
Ibn ‘Inabah has also acknowledged this in his book ‘Umdat al Talib:
امه الصهباء الثعلبيه وقيل من سبي خالد بن وليد من عين التمر.
His mother was al Sahba’ al Tha’labiyyah. And it is said that she was a captive of Khalid ibn al Walid from a place called ‘Ayn al Tamr.
The third concubine that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu received as a gift from Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was Khowlah bint Jafar ibn Qais. She was captured after the Battle of Yamamah in which the Muslims were victorious. This battle was likewise fought under the command of Khalid ibn al Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu. She was the mother of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah, one of the sons of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
In order to substantiate this I shall first present a few references from our sources and thereafter I shall present corroborative narrations from the Shia scholars.
1. In Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, the following is mentioned under the biography of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah:
امة من سبي اليمامه فصارت الي علي بن ابي طالب/ إن أبا بكر أعطي عليا محمد بن الحنفية.
A slave girl from the captives of Yamamah who fell in the share of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib/Abu Bakr gave ‘Ali the mother of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah.
2. Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah al Dinawari states the following in his book al Ma’arif:
هي خولة بنت ابي جعفر بن قيس يقال بل كانت امة من سبي اليمامة فصارت الي علي بن ابي طالب وانها كانت امة لبني حنفبة ولم تكن من انفسهم و انما صالحهم خالد بن وليد علي الرقيقة و لم يصالحهم علي انفسهم.
Her name is Khowlah bint Jafar ibn Qais. It is said that she was one of the captives of Yamamah. She fell in the share of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. Previously, she was a slave girl of the Banu Hanifah (the people of Yamamah) tribe but did not belong to its kin. Khalid ibn al Walid had only granted amnesty to the slaves and not to the people of Banu Hanifah.
3. Ibn Khallikan was a renowned historian. He writes the following under the biography of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah:
واستولد علي جارية من سبي بني حنيفة فولدت له محمد بن علي الذي يدعي محمد بن الحنفية.
And ‘Ali shared a fathered a child from a concubine from the captives of Banu Hanifah. She thus gave birth to Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, also known as Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah.
4. Hafiz Ibn Kathir has written the following under the chapter pertaining to the wives and children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his magnum opus al Bidayah wa al Nihayah:
واما ابنه محمد الاكبر فهو ابن الحنفبة وهي خولة بنت جعفر بن قيس…..سباها خالد ايام اهل الردة من بني حنيفة فصارت لعلي بن ابي طالب فولدت له محمدا هذا.
And as for his son Muhammad, ‘the eldest’, he was Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah. Al Hanafiyyah’s name was Khowlah bint Jafar ibn Qais… Khalid ibn al Walid had taken her as a captive from the Banu Hanifah clan during the days of apostasy. She fell in the share of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and thus begot to Muhammad.
The summary of the aforementioned narrations is that Khowlah bint Jafar was from Banu Hanifah. She was among those who Khalid ibn al Walid had captured and subsequently enslaved. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu then gifted her to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Amongst the children that she bore for him was Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah who was famous for his merits and knowledge.
Corroborative Narrations from Shia Sources
The following narration is documented by the famous Shia Genealogist Jamal al Din ibn ‘Inabah in his book ‘Umdat al Talib:
وهو المشهور محمد بن الحنفية وامه خولة بنت جعفر بن قيس ………و هي من سبي اهل الردة وبها يعرف ابنها ونسب اليها كذا رواه الشيخ الشرف ابو الحسن محمد بن ابي جعفر العبيد لي عن ابي النصر البخاري….
He is famously known as Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah. His mother was Khowlah bint Jafar ibn Qais… She was one of the captives captured from the renegades. Her son was known by this name as is narrated to me by al Sheikh al Sharaf Abu al Hassan Muhammad ibn Abi Jafar al ‘Ubaid from Abu al Nasr al Bukhari.
Mulla Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi has stated the following in his book Haq al Yaqin:
در روایات شیعہ وارد شدہ است کہ چون اسیرا را بنزد ابوبکر آوردند مادر محمد بن حنفیہ درمیان آنہا بود۔
It appears in many Shia narrations that when the captives were brought to Abu Bakr the mother of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah was amongst them.
The Gift of Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu had given Hussain ibn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, a very costly shawl as a present. This incident has been narrated by Baladhuri in his book Futuh al Buldan:
ووجه (خالد بن وليد)الي ابي بكر بالطيلسان مع مال الحيرة وبالالف درهم فوهب الطيلسان للحسين بن علي رضي الله عنهما.
Khalid ibn al Walid had sent a shawl and a thousand dirhams with the booty of Hirah. Abu Bakr had gifted that shawl to Hussain ibn ‘Ali.
The Conclusion of the Third Theme
- During the caliphate of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was entrusted with the distribution of Khums.
- The aforementioned Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum dealt with the wealth of Fay’ in one and the same manner.
- ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had received a few concubines as gifts from Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
- Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu received a shawl as a present.
The aforementioned aspects are an attestation to the strong bond and the splendid decorum that was prevalent among them. Naturally, they were not antagonistic towards one another.
 Al Sunan al Kubra, 6/343: Share of the Dhu al Qurba.
 Musnad al Imam Ahmed 1/84: the consistent narrations of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
 Al Isti’ab 3/47: chapter regarding the mention of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
 Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq (written copy) 3/138: chapter regarding possessiveness/printed copy, 7/ 303-304; Kanz al ‘Ummal 7/112.
 Tabaqat ibn Sa’d 5/86: chapter regarding ‘Umar.
 Nasab Quraish 2/42: children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
 Kitab al Tabaqat p. 23.
 Futuh al Buldan, p. 117: the embarkation of Khalid ibn al Walid the journey towards Syria and his conquests en route.
 Sharh Nahj al Balaghah p. 718: the details regarding the children of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.
 ‘Umdat al Talib Fi Ansab Al Abi Talib p. 361.
 Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d 5/66: Biography of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah.
 Al Ma’arif p. 91: Chapter regarding the Caliphate of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.
 Tarikh ibn Khallikan 1/449: biography of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7, 331.
 ‘Umdah al Talib, p 352-353.
 Haq al Yaqin: the sixth criticism against Abu Bakr.
 Futuh al Buldan, p 254: chapter regarding the conquest of the rural areas of Iraq during the time of Abu Bakr.Back to top