`Ali Pledging Allegiance to Abu Bakr continued – The Research of Hafiz Ibn Kathir

`Ali’s Performance of Salah Behind Abu Bakr
June 1, 2016
`Ali Pledging Allegiance to Abu Bakr
June 1, 2016

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The Research of Hafiz Ibn Kathir


After presenting the above cited references I find it to be of paramount importance to cite a view of Ibn Kathir with regard to the issue of bay’ah. It is quite clear in this regard. Although I had cited it before but I intend to cite it again at the culmination of this discussion so that it may serve as a reminder for us:


هي مبايعة علي بن ابي طالب إما في أول اليوم أو في اليوم الثاني من الوفاة و هذا حق فان علي بن أبي طالب لم يفارق الصديق في وقت من الاوقات ولم ينقطع في صلوة من الصلوات خلفه كما سنذكره و خرج معه الي ذي القصة لما خرج الصديق شاهرا سيفه يريد قتال اهل الردة.

‘Ali had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr either the first or second day after the demise of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; this is the sheer truth because he had not parted from Abu Bakr at any time, not had he missed any salah behind Abu Bakr as we will mention ahead. Similarly he had accompanied him to Dhu al Qassah when he left with his sword unsheathed in order to combat those who had denounced Islam.[1]


All this is unequivocal evidence of the fact that he had immediately pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He had not delayed whatsoever in doing so.

If, hypothetically, speaking we consider that he had not pledged immediate allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu then why did he accompany him to fight and subdue the renegades?


A Corroborative Narration

In the previous pages the answer to the six months narration was given in light of the views of great Muhaddithin and acclaimed scholars.

Ahead I present before you a narration of the Sahabi Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu wherein he very explicitly states that none of the Sahabah had delayed in giving their bay’ah to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This narration appears in the Tarikh of Ibn Jarir al Tabari. It reads as follows:


قال عمروبن حريث لسعيد بن زيد أشهدت وفات رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم قال نعم !! قال فمتي بويع ابو بكر قال يوم مات رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم كرهوا ان يبقوا بعض يوم و ليسوا في جماعة قال فخالف عليه احد؟ قال لا ! الا مرتد أو من قد كاد ان يرتد لولا ان الله عز و جل ينقذهم من الانصار قال فهل قعد احد من المهاجرين قال لا! فتابع المهاجرون على بيعته من غير ان يدعوهم.

‘Amr ibn Hurayth asked Sa’id ibn Zaid, “Were you present at the demise of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?”

He said, “Yes.”

He inquired, “When was Abu Bakr nominated as the khalifah of the Muslims after the demise of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?”

He said, “The very day he passed on, because they disliked staying even a portion of a day without unity.”

He further asked, “Did anyone oppose him?”

He said, “No one save the renegades or those who were on the verge of becoming renegades from amongst the Ansar had Allah not saved them.”

He lastly asked, “Did any of the Muhajirin refuse to pledge allegiance?”

He replied, “No the Muhajirin had hastened in doing so without him even telling them.”[2]


The Benefits Derived from this Narration

  1. Sa’id ibn Zaid was a Sahabi and was present at the time of the demise of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
  2. The Sahabah had not delayed in giving their bay’ah to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  3. The Sahabah were not ready to spend a day without a leader (let alone delaying for a few months).
  4. Besides those who had turned apostate everyone else had readily accepted the caliphate.
  5. Allah had saved the Ansar from disunity.
  6. All the Muhajirin had pledged their allegiance and none had hesitated in doing so.
  7. This narration supports the narration of Abu Sa’id al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu in which mention is made of the immediate bay’ah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

A Few Narrations That Require Clarification

A few narrations which appear in sources other than the Sihah al Sittah (the six canonical works in hadith) suggest that the Sahabah had burnt the house of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. I shall first present one such narration by way of illustration. Thereafter, I shall expound on a few aspects regarding the narration and its likes. And this will be the culmination of the second chapter. The narration reads as follows:


اتي عمر ابن الخطاب منزل علي وفيه طلحة و الزبير و رجال من المهاجرين فقال والله لأ حرقن عليكم او لتخرجن الي البيعة فخرج عليه الزبير مصلتا السيف فعثر فسقط السيف من يده فوثبوا عليه فأخذوه

‘Umar came to the house of ‘Ali and Talhah, al Zubair and a few Muhajirin were there. He exclaimed, “By the oath of Allah, if you do not give your bay’ah I shall set fire to this house.” Zubair thus advanced towards him with his sword unsheathed after which he slipped and the sword fell from his hand. Hence, they jumped upon him and caught him.


What Molana Haydar ‘Ali has mentioned in Muntaha al Kalam is very apt regarding this narration and its likes. He states:


این ہمہ تہمتہاۓ صنادید یہود و صنعاۓ مجوس ایران است کہ زخمہاۓ نمکین از دست فاروق در جگر داشتند و تخمہا‌‌ۓ ضغاءن دیرینہ در مزرع سینہ می کاشتند وعنقریب بروایات معتمدہ خواہی دانست کہ چوں صدیق خواست کہ براۓ تنبیہ مانعین زکوہ پردازد فاروق بحمایت شاں برخواست وحق کلمہ گوءی آنہا بیاد آورد فما ظنک فی اہل البیت الطاہرین عند نصب افضل الصدیقین

All these accusations are levelled by the Jews of San’a’ and the fire worshipers of Iran for the pain allegedly caused by al Faruq. And they have long been sowing the seeds of animosity in their hearts. Soon you will learn that ‘Umar came to support Abu Bakr when he demanded to discipline those who had withheld their zakat so that they pay it when he realised that what Abu Bakr was demanding was the truth. So what do you think the reaction of the ascetic members of the Ahlul Bayt would be upon the appointment of the most superior of the truthful ones?[3]


Furthermore it should be remembered that:

1. This type of narrations has been found to be Shadh[4] in its content and inconsistent in its chain of transmission. Thus these narrations are to be discarded when opposed by narrations which have consistent chains of transmission, e.g. Zaid ibn Aslam and his father Aslam or Ziyad ibn Kulayb, few of the links in the chain of transmission, were not present at that time. Similarly, Ibn Humaid, the narrator of this narration, was notorious liar.

2. These narrations are against sound narrations and the rule regarding such is the following:


كل خبر واحد دل العقل أو نص الكتاب أو الثابت من الأخبار أو الإجماع أوالأدلة الثابتة المعلومة علي صحته وجد خبر آخر يعارضه فإنه يجب إطراح ذلك المعارض.

Every Khabar Wahid[5] tradition upon the soundness and authenticity of which there is evidence from rational reasoning, Qur’an, confirmed authentic narrations, consensus of the ummah or any other sound evidence, if opposed by another narration, the latter will be discarded and the former will take precedence.[6]


3. Regarding all these narrations what ‘Allamah Fakhr al Din al Razi has mentioned in his al Arba’in should also be remembered. He states:


إن ما ذكرناه من الدلائل علي إمامة أبي بكر دلائل يقينية وما ذكرتموه من المطاعن محتمل والمحتمل لا يعارض اليقين

The evidence that we have presented regarding the rightfulness of the caliphate of Abu Bakr is concrete and the accusations that you have made mention of is a mere possibility. And that which is concrete cannot be opposed by that which is just a possibility.[7]


4. The ‘ulama’ have mentioned a golden principle regarding all such narrations that deal with the disputes of the Sahabah. Mulla ‘Ali al Qari has made mention of this with reference to Ibn Daqiq al ‘Id in his commentary of al Fiqh al Akbar:


قال ابن دقيق العيد في عقيدته وما نقل فيما شجر بينهم و اخبلفوا فيه فمنه ما هو باطل وكذب فلا يلتفت اليه- وما كان صحيحا أولناه تاويلا حسنا لان الثناء عليهم من الله سابق وما نقل من الكلام اللاحق محتمل للتاويل- و المشكوك والموهوم لا يبطل المحقق والمعلوم(هذا)

Ibn Daqiq al ‘Id has mentioned is his Aqidah that the narrations which discuss the disputes amongst the Sahabah; amongst them some are pure lies and hence should not be given any importance. Whatever is authentic should be interpreted with descent interpretations because Allah’s commendation of the Sahabah takes preference. And whatever has been conveyed to us occurred afterwards and is open to interpretation. Therefore, that which is established and is concrete cannot be obliterated because of that which is doubtful and reprehensive.[8]


Narrations that Corroborate the Immediate Bay’ah

In the third section, I intend to present those narrations that support the immediate bay’ah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In these narrations mention is made of the manner in which he conducted himself. After analysing them it will make utterly manifest that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had pledged allegiance within one or two days. He had not delayed much in doing so, just as it will become evident that there existed amongst them piety, godliness and healthy relations.

I will suffice on making mention of the narrations along with their translations. There should be no need for further elaboration.


Narration one:


حفص بن سفيان عن اسماعيل بن امية عن سعيد بن المسيب قال خرج علي بن ابي طالب لبيعة ابي بكر فسمع مقالة الانصار قال علي بن ابي طالب رضي الله عيه يا ايها اناس ايكم يؤخر من قدم رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم، قال سعيد ابن المسيب فجاء علي بكلمة لم يآت بها احد منهم.”

‘Ali left his home to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr. He heard some of the Ansar talking about the bay’ah. He thus remarked, “Who from amongst you is bold enough to push aside the person whom the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had put forward?” Sa’id ibn al Musayyib says, “‘Ali said that which none of them had said.”[9]


Narration two:

Ibn ‘Abdul Barr al Qurtubi has cited a very similar narration in his book al Tamhid. Unfortunately, I was unable to procure a copy of the book. However, I shall suffice on making reference to it from his other work al Isti’ab. He states:


روي الحسن البصري عن قيس بن عبادة قال قال لي علي بن ابي طالب رضي الله تعالي عنه ان رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم مرض ليالي و اياما ينادي بالصلوة فيقول مروا ابا بكر يصلي بالناس-فلما قبض رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم نظرت فاذا الصلوة علم الاسلام وقوام الدين فرضينا لدنيانا من رضي رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم لديننا فبايعنا ابا بكر . و قد ذكرنا هذا الخبر و كثيرا مثله في معناه عند قول رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم (مرو ابا بكر فيصل اناس)و اوضحنا ذالك في تمهيد و الحمد لله

Qais states that ‘Ali said to him, “The Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam remained ill for a several days towards the end of his life. Whenever the adhan would be called out for salah he would say, ‘Instruct Abu Bakr to lead the congregation in prayer!’ When he passed on I thought to myself that salah is a symbol of Islam and a means of the establishment of din. I, thus, was pleased for my worldly matters with the one whom the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was pleased with for my din. Hence, I pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr.”[10]


Narration three:


عن ابي الجحاف قال لما بويع ابو بكر و بايعه الناس قام ينادي ثلاثا ايها الناس قد اقلتكم بيعتكم فقال علي والله لا نقيلك ولا نستقيلك قدمك رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم في الصلوة فمن ذا يؤخرك؟

Abu al Jahhaf narrates that when the people had given their bay’ah to Abu Bakr he stood up amongst them and said, “O people I have relinquished the leadership that you have accorded me.” Thereupon ‘Ali remarked, “We do not accept your abdication and nor will we ever demand that from you! Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam put you forward in salah so who is there who can hinder your leadership.”[11]


Narration four:


عن زيد بن علي عن آبائه قال قام ابو بكر علي منير رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فقال هل من كاره فأقيله ثلاثا يقول ذالك فعند ذالك يقوم علي بن ابي طالب فيقول لا! والله لا نقيلك ولا نستقيلك من ذا الذي يؤخرك و قد قدمك رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم؟

Zaid ibn ‘Ali narrates from his fathers that Abu Bakr one day stood upon the pulpit of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and announced, “Is there anyone who despises my leadership, (he should come forward) so that I my excuse him.” He repeated this thrice. ‘Ali thus remarked, “By the oath of Allah, we will never dismiss you nor will we ever demand that from you. Can anyone possibly push you aside when the Rasul of Allah has put you forward?”[12]


Narration five:

Abu Talib al ‘Ushari has narrated the coming narration with its chain of transmission:


حدثنا ابو عوانة عن خالد الحذاء عن عبد الرحمن بن ابي بكرة قال اتاني علي بن ابي طالب عائدا فقال توفي رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فبايع الناس ابا بكر فبايعت و رضيت-ثم توفي ابو بكر فاستخلف عمر فبايعت و رضيت –ثم توفي عمر فجعلها مثوري فبايعوا عثمان فبايعت ورضيت.

‘Abdur Rahman Ibn Abi Bakrah states that ‘Ali came to visit him when he had taken ill. He said, “The Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away and Abu Bakr was nominated as the khalifah. I pledged allegiance at his hands and was satisfied. Then Abu Bakr passed on and ‘Umar was appointed as the khalifah. I pledged allegiance to him as well and was pleased. Thereafter he passed on and left the issue of caliphate pending upon the decision of the shura after which ‘Uthman was appointed as the khalifah. Hence, I pledged my allegiance to him and was pleased.”[13]


Narration six:


عن قيس بن عباد قال قال علي بن ابي طالب والذي فلق الحبة و برء النسمة لو عهد الي رسول الله عهدا لجاهدت عليه ولم اترك ابن قحافة يرقي درجة واحدة من منبره.

Qais ibn ‘Ubadah states that ‘Ali said, “By the oath of the being who split the seed and created the soul, had the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam promised me succession after his demise I would have fought for it and would not have allowed Abu Bakr to step upon this pulpit of his (the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).”[14]


Narration seven:

After having studied these narrations one should also have a look at the narration narrated from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu at the Battle of Jamal:


عن علي انه قال يوم الجمل ان رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم لم يعهد الينا عهدا نأخذ به في الامارة ولكنه شئ رأيناه من قبل انفسنا فان يك صوابا فمن الله ثم استخلف ابو بكر رحمة الله علي ابي بكر فاقام و استقام ثم استخلف عمر رحمة الله علي عمر فاقام و استقام حتي ضرب الدين بجرانه.

It is narrated from ‘Ali that he said at the occasion of Jamal, “Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had not bequeathed anything regarding leadership for us by means of which we would be most deserving of it. Rather, it was something that we decided by ourselves. If our decision was right then it was from Allah. Hence, Abu Bakr was nominated as the khalifah, may Allah’s mercy descend upon him. He established din and upon it did he practice. Thereafter, ‘Umar was appointed as the khalifah, may Allah’s mercy descend upon him. He likewise established din and practiced upon it himself till it became firmly grounded.”[15]


Narration eight:

حدثني مالك عن الزهري حدثني سعيد بن المسيب حدثني عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله عنهما قال لما ولي علي بن أبي طالب قال له رجل يا أمير المؤمنين كيف تخطاك المهاجرون إلي أبي بكر رضي الله عنه وأنت أكرم منقبة وأقدم سابقة فقال له لولا أمير المؤمنين عائذه الله لقتلك ولئن بقيت لتأتينك روعة خضراء ويحك إن أبابكر سبقني إلي أربع لم آتيهن ولم أعتض منهن إلي مرافقة الغار وألي تقدم الهجرة وإني آمنت صغيرا وأمن كبيرا وإلي إقام الصلوة.

Ibn ‘Umar mentions that when ‘Ali took charge of the reigns of caliphate a person came to him and asked, “How did the Muhajirin evade you and pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr when you hold more merit than him and had surpassed him in many a things in the initial stages of Islam?”

He responded, “Had Allah not saved Amir al Mu’minin (referring to himself) from slaying you he would have slayed you by now. If you are to live you will definitely experience overwhelming fear from my side. May you be doomed to destruction! Abu Bakr surpassed me in four feats which I was unable to do nor was I able to match them with any other accomplishments: in companionship in the cave, early migration, I accepted Islam in my childhood whereas he accepted Islam in his old age and in establishment of salah.” [Fada’il Abi Bakr al Siddiq, p. 4.]


Narration nine:


عن الحسن قال لما قدم علي البصرة في أمر طلحة و أصحابه قام عبد الله بن الكواء وابن عباد فقالا يا أمير المؤمنين أخبرنا عن مسيرك هذا أوصية أوصاك بها رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم أم عهد عهده أم رأي رأيته حين تفرقت الأمة واختلفت كلمتها فقال ما أكون أول كاذب عليه والله ما مات رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم موتا فجأة و لا قتل قتلا ولقد مكث في مرضه كل ذلك يأتيه المؤذن فيؤذن بالصلوة فيقول مروا أبا بكر فليصل بالناس ولقد تركني وهو يري مكاني ولو عهد إلي شيئا لقمت به … فلما قبض رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم نظر المسلمون في أمرهم فإذا رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم قد ولي أبابكر أمر دينهم فولوه أمر دنياهم فبايعه المسلمون وبايعته معهم وكنت أغزو إذا أغزاني وآخذ إذا أعطاني وكنت سوطا بين يديه في إقامة الحدود فلو كانت محاباة عند حضور موته لجعلها في ولده فأشار لعمر ولم يأل فبايعه المسلمون وبايعته معهم وكنت أغزو إذا أغزاني وآخذ إذا أعطاني وكنت سوطا بين وكره أن يتخير من معشر قريش رجلا فيوليه أمر الأمة فلا يديه في إقامة الحدود فلو كانت محاباة عند حضور موته لجعلها في ولده تكون منه إساءة من بعده إلا لحقت عمر في قبره فاختار منا ستة أنا فيهم لنختار للأمة رجلا فلما اجتمعنا وثب عبد الرحمن بن عوف فوهب لنا نصيبه منها علي ان نعطيه مواثيقنا علي أن يختار من الخمسة رجلا فيوليه أمر الأمة فأعطيناه مواثيقنا فأخذ بيد عثمان فبايعه ولقد عرض في نفسي عن ذالك فلما نظرت في أمري فإذا عهدي قد سبق بيعتي فبايعته وسلمت وكنت أغزو إذا أغزاني وآخذ إذا أعطاني وكنت سوطا بين يديه في إقامة الحدود فلما قتل عثمان نظرت في أمري فإذا الموثقة التي كانت في عنقي لأبي بكر وعمر قد انحلت وإذا العهد الذي كان لعثمان قد وفيت به.”

Hasan mentions that when ‘Ali came to Basrah to settle the contention with Talhah and his people, ‘Abdullah ibn al Kawwa’ and Ibn ‘Abbad came to him and inquired, “Inform us regarding this trip of yours. Is this because the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had bequeathed to you (that you are the rightful of khalifah) or had he promised that to you or is it just an opinion that you deem to be appropriate when the ummah has fallen apart and its unity has become shattered?” He responded, “I do not want to be the first person to forge a lie against the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. By the oath of Allah he did not die a sudden death nor was he assassinated. Whilst he was ill whenever the mu’adh-dhin would come and inform him of salah he would say, “Instruct Abu Bakr to lead the people in salah.” He knew my position yet he did not instruct me. Had he promised me leadership I would have protested for it… Thereafter when the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed on, the Muslims deliberated their affairs; they thus saw that the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made Abu Bakr in charge of their religious affairs so they gave him charge over their worldly affairs. Hence, the Muslims pledged allegiance to him and so did I. I would thereafter join military expeditions when he demanded and would accept whatever bonuses he would grant me and I was his lash in carrying out the penal laws of Islam. Had there been any favouritism at the time of his death he would have kept it (leadership) exclusive to his children, but he appointed ‘Umar and he had not compromise (the well-being of the Muslims in his decision). The Muslims pledged allegiance to him and so did I. I would thereafter join military expeditions when he demanded and would accept whatever bonuses he would grant me and I was his lash in carrying out the penal laws of Islam. Had there been any favouritism at the time of his death he would have kept it (leadership) exclusive to his children. He did not appoint a specific person of the Quraysh to take charge of the affairs of the ummah in order not to be taken to task if there would be any injustice after his demise. Therefore, he chose six men from amongst us, I was one among them, so that we may appoint a khalifah. ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf relinquished his share on condition that we would all give him the authority to choose the khalifah from the five that now remained. We agreed. He, thereafter, held the hand of ‘Uthman and pledged allegiance to him. I was a little dismayed by this but when I deliberated, I realised that my agreement took precedence over being given the bay’ah. Therefore, I pledged allegiance to him and submitted. I would thereafter join military expeditions when he demanded and would accept whatever bonuses he would grant me and I was his lash in carrying out the penal laws of Islam. When ‘Uthman was martyred I contemplated again. I came to the conclusion that the loyalty that I owed Abu Bakr and ‘Umar was no more required and that I had lived up to my agreement with ‘Uthman…”[16]


The Summary of all These Narrations

  1. Abu Bakr was put forward by the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to lead the salah. It was with this in mind that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “Who can possibly push you aside when the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has put you forward?”
  2. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “We chose for our worldly affairs the person who the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had chosen for our religious affairs,” i.e. we accept him as our leader.
  3. When Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu had, out of his humility, suggested that he relinquish his position of leadership it was ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu who had not allowed him to do so.
  4. These narrations also suggest that he had willingly pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr ‘Umar and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He had most certainly not been coerced against his choice to pledge. The fact of the matter is that the lions of Allah do not know what Taqiyyah (dissimulation) is.
  5. It is also undeniably evident that he was an assistant and advisor during caliphate of all three khalifas. He, himself, verbally and physically attested to the consolidation and uplifting of din during the reigns of the respected khalifas.

Corroboration from Shia references

In conclusion to this section, I wish to present before you a few references from Shia sources that support the view of the immediate bay’ah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. We the Ahlus Sunnah were always of the opinion. However, now the support of this view from a Shia perspective is presented ahead.

Before we present the narrations, it should be noted that in order to harmonise the narrations with their viewpoint, the Shia have interpreted the immediate bay’ah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, wherever it occurs in their sources, in different ways (despite how farfetched it may be from the truth):

  • He was forced into pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr.
  • He had outwardly pledged allegiance though he despised it, just so that the ummah is safe from dissent and infighting.
  • He had done so seeing it to be the only appropriate strategy in the face of the difficulties that came his way at the time.
  • The immediate bay’ah transpired only in order to live up to the agreement.

Narration 1:

عن الإمام محمد الباقر…. وأبوا أن يبايعوا حتي جاؤوا بأمير المؤمنين عليه السلام مكرها فبايع

They refused to pledge allegiance till the time when Amir al Mu’minin was forcefully brought and he pledged allegiance.[17]


Narration 2:

فلذالك كتم علي عليه السلام أمره وبايع مكرها حيث لم يجد أعوانا

It was on this basis that ‘Ali kept his matter confidential and outwardly pledged allegiance, because he did not have any supporters.[18]


Narration 3:

Al Sayed al Murtada ‘Alam al Huda, a famous Shia Mujtahid, has written a book named: Kitab al Shafi. Abu Ja’far al Tusi, also known as Sheikh al Ta’ifah, has abridged it. In the abridged version Sheikh al Ta’ifah has written the following:


ثم مد يده فبايعه

He then stretched his hand and gave his bay’ah.[19]


Narration 4:

The renowned Shia Mujtahid, Abu Mansur Ahmed ibn ‘Ali al Tabarsi, has cited a narration on the strength of Imam Muhammad al Baqir in his prominent book al Ihtijaj. It reads as follows:


فلما وردت الكتاب علي أسامة انصرف بمن معه حتي دخل المدينة فلما رأي اجتماع الخلق علي أبي بكر انطلق إلي علي بن أبي طالب فقال ما هذا؟ قال له علي هذا ما تري قال أسامة فهل بايعته؟ فقال نعم.

When the letter reached Usamah he returned with all those who were with him till they entered Madinah. When noticing that the people had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr he headed off to ‘Ali and asked, “What is this?” “This is what you see,” was his response. Usamah further inquired, “Did you pledge allegiance to him?” He said, “Yes.”[20]


Narration 5:

Qadi Nur Allah Shustari has made mention of the following in his book Majalis al Mu’minin under Majlis no.3, under the mention of Khalid ibn Sa’id:


حضرت امیر وساير بنی ہاشم از رو‎ۓ اکراہ با ابی بکر بظاہر بیعت کردند دست بر دست او زدند ، خالد وبرادرانش بمتابعت ایشان بیعت کردند۔

Amir al Mu’minin and the Banu Hashim had unwillingly pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr. They had placed their hands in his hand. Khalid and his brothers had also pledged their allegiance in compliance with them.[21]


Narration 6:

The noted Shia Mujtahid, al Sayed al Murtada ‘Alam al Huda, states in his book al Shafi:


فاالظاهر الذي لا اشكال فيه انه عليه السلام بايع مستدفعا للشر و فرارا من الفتنة.

It is obvious that he had pledged allegiance in order to repulse evil and avoid civil strife.[22]


Narration 7:

Mirza Muhammad Taqi (also known as Lisan al Mulk), a famous Shia historian, has transmitted a letter of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu the contents of which are as follows:


فمشيت عند ذالك الي ابي بكر فبايعتته و نهضت في تلك الأحداث حتي زاغ الباطل و زهق وكان كلمة الله هي العليا و لو كره الكافرون فتولي ابو بكر تلك الأمور وسدد و يسر و قارب واقتصد فصحبته مناصحا واطعته فيما اطاع الله فيه جاهدا.

Thereupon I headed toward Abu Bakr and pledged. I resolutely arose to combat the different problems, till falsehood perished and the word of Allah reigned supreme despite the detestation of the disbelievers. Hence, Abu Bakr took charge. He followed the straight path, simplified things for people, was always close to the truth and dealt with moderation. I thus accompanied him as an advisor to him and obeyed him to the best of my ability in all that in which he obeyed Allah.[23]


Narration 8:

The comments of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu cited in Nahj al Balaghah make this issue very clear. The narrations goes as follows:


رضينا من الله قضاءه و سلمنا لله امره اتراني اكذب علي رسول الله صلي الله عليه وآله و الله لأنا اول من صدقه فلا اكون اول من كذب عليه فنظرت في امري فاذا طاعتي سبقت بيعتي واذا الميثاق في عنقي لغيري.

We were pleased with the decree of Allah and submitted before his command. Do you think that I would forge a lie and attribute it to the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. By the oath of Allah, I was the first to embrace his message and hence will not be the first to lie against him. I contemplated over my matter and concluded that, my submission to the caliphate predominated my opportunity of leadership. And the pledge had already become incumbent me upon for someone else (Abu Bakr).[24]


Benefits of the Narration

  • There was satisfaction on the side of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu with regard to the leadership of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • This narration shows that all the narrations that inform us of him being coerced, are baseless.
  • All those narrations that suggest that he had delayed his bay’ah till six months are likewise unfounded. This is understood from “my submission to the caliphate predominated my opportunity of leadership.”
  • In the same vein, he had pledged allegiance based on the covenant (of submission which was taken from the Sahabah) and not due to being compelled.

Narration 9:

I present before you another narration which I came across which leaves us without any doubt that he had willingly pledged allegiance. It is, however, crucial to understand its background.

After the Battle of Jamal the party that was defeated convened and regretted what they had done. They, thereafter, proceeded to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to apologise and wished to say a few things. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu stopped the speaker and said the following:


…قال (علي)فبايعتم ابا بكر و عدلتم عني فبايعت ابا بكر كما بايعتموه و كرهت ان اشق عصا المسلمين وان افرق جماعتهم ثم ان ابا بكر جعلها لعمر من بعده و انتم تعلمون اني اولي الناس برسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم وآله وبالناس من بعده فبايعت عمر كما بايعتموه فوفيت له بيعته حتي لما قتل جعلني سادس ستة فدخلت حيث ادخلني وكرهت ان افرق جماعة المسلمين و اشق عصاهم فبايعتم عثمان فبايعته و انا جالس في بيتي ثم أتيتموني في غير داع لكم ولا مستكره لأحد منكم فبايعتموني كما بايعتم ابا بكر و عمر و عثمان فما جعلكم احق ان تفوا للأبي بكر و عمر عثمان ببيعتهم منكم ببيعتي قالوا يا امير المؤمنين كن كما قال العبد الصالح لا تثريب عليكم اليوم يغفر الله لكم و هو ارحم الراحمين فقال كذالك اقول يغفر الله لكم وهو ارحم الراحمين.

‘Ali said, “You pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr and turned away from me. I, thus, pledged allegiance to him, disliking shattering the unity of the Muslims and severing their unity. Abu Bakr then left it (caliphate) in the hands of ‘Umar. And you very well knew that I was the closest to the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and to the people after him. I, however, pledged allegiance to him just as you had and lived up to my pledge. When he was martyred he appointed me as the sixth of the six. I happily accepted his decision and did what was required of me. Hence, you pledged allegiance to ‘Uthman and I followed in your path. Thereafter, you came to me when I was at my residence. I had not called you nor had I forced anyone to come to me. You pledged at my hands just as you had previously at the hands of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman. What propelled you to live up to your covenants with them and conversely made you rebel against me?”

They said, “Be like the pious servant of Allah who said, ‘There is no censure upon you, may Allah forgive you for he is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.’”

And that is exactly what he said, “May Allah forgive you for He the Most Merciful.” [25]


The Benefits of this Narration

  • “I pledged allegiance just as you had,” clearly establishes the bay’ah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman. This is not the statement of any scholar or Mujtahid. It is rather the statement of the “Lion of Allah” himself.
  • He had given his bay’ah in resemblance to that of the people. It is obvious that the people had not forcibly pledged allegiance to any of the three khalifas. This shows that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had, likewise, not pledged allegiance forcibly. He had pledged allegiance happily.
  • ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu had appointed him as one of the six members of the shura committee. He would not do that unless he trusted ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu completely. Furthermore, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted to be part of this committee, this too proves that there existed mutual love, reverence, and connection among them. People who are at logger heads with one another do not usually give or accept responsibilities from each other.

Narration 10:

There are countless references of this nature in Shia literature. I will, however, suffice on these ten. Ahead is the last reference that I am to present.

Abu Muhammad Hasan ibn Musa al Nawbakhti, an acclaimed Shia scholar of the third century, has authored a well-renowned book, Firaq al Shia (a book discussing the variant sects that took form among the Shia till the third century). Therein he mentions the following details regarding the beliefs of the Batriyyah sect with regard to the issue under discussion. He states:


قالت إن عليا كان أولي الناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وآله والناس لفضله وسابقته وعلمه وهو أفضل الناس كلهم وأسخاهم و أورعهم وأزهدم وأجازوا مع ذلك إمامة أبي بكر وعمر وعدوهما أهلا لذلك المكان والمقام وذكروا أن عليا عليه السلام سلم لهما الأمر ورضي بذلك وبايعهما طائعا غير مكروه وترك حقه لهما فنحن راضون كما رضي الله المسلمين له و لمن بايع لا يحل لنا غير ذلك و لايسع منا أحدا إلا ذلك وإن ولاية أبي بكر صارت رشدا و هدي لتسليم علي ورضاه ولولا رضاه وتسليمه لكان أبوبكر مخطئا ضالا هالكا

They belief that ‘Ali was the most rightful of leadership after the Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam due to his excellence, his advancement in virtue and his knowledge. He was the best of people, the most generous, the most god-fearing and the most disinclined about this world. Despite this, they deem the caliphate of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar as legitimate and consider them to be eligible of it. They also say, “‘Ali had submitted to their rule happily and pledged allegiance to them willingly without any coercion. Hence, we are happy with what Allah was pleased with for the Muslims, for him and for those to whom he pledged allegiance. It is not permissible for any of us to believe anything contrary to this. The caliphate of Abu Bakr was a means of guidance and direction because of the submission of ‘Ali. Had he not submitted and was not pleased, Abu Bakr would have been in utter dismay and misguidance.[26]


It is therefore evident that not all the Shia are of the opinion that the caliphate of Abu Bakr was illegitimate. According to some the bay’ah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu at the hands of Abu Bakr was valid, not forgetting that he was pleased with Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Therefore, we should also be pleased.


Concluding Remarks

Despite my endeavour to keep the discussion brief it somehow got prolonged. However, in conclusion, I would just wish to pre-empt a very important aspect that the Shia might raise. This is so that the Shia do not have to go through the difficulty of answering again.

Since it has been established that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu from numerous sources of both the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia, they, nevertheless, tend to say that he had outwardly pledged allegiance even though he was not pleased with it. I wish to say a few things in this regard:

Firstly, we always knew that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is Omniscient and knows all the secrets of the heart but now we come to learn that the Shia also have knowledge of the unseen, i.e. how did the Shia discover that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had merely pledged allegiance overtly. If we have to categorise all the practices and statements of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in this manner then which action statement of his actually will we deem reliable and which of them will we consider to be transient due to some motives. By treading this path we are, in fact, opening the door to soiling his reputation. We can, therefore, never accept such interpretations. May Allah save the ummah from such baseless assumptions and guide the Shia to understanding the grave repercussions of what they are saying.

Secondly, the answer to this interpretation of the Shia can be given through Nahj al Balaghah. When Zubair intended to violate his allegiance to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:


يزعم أنه قد بايع بيده ولم يبايع بقلبه فقد أقر بالبيعة وادعي الوليجة فليأت عليها بأمر يعرف وإلا فليدخل فيما خرج منه

Zubair claims that he had only pledged allegiance outwardly, not in earnestness. He has indeed confessed to allegiance by means of this statement of his. He should, therefore, furnish discernible evidence or reconsider the pact that he had made.[27]


Fayd al Islam al Sayed ‘Ali al Naqi, a leading Shia scholar of recent times, has elaborated on this narration in Persian. He states:


“چون زبیر نقض عہد کردہ در صدر جنگ بآنحضرت بر آمد آنجناب باد فرمود تو بامن بیعت کردہ واجبست مرا پیروی کنی درپاسخ گفت ہنگام بیعت تو توریہ نمودم یعنی بزبان اقرار ودر دل آنرا قصد کردم حضرت می فرماید۔

زبیر گمان می کند بدست بیعت کردہ ودر دل مخالف بودہ بہ بیعت خود مقراست وادعا دارد کہ در باطن خلاف آنرا پنہان داشتہ بنابرین باید کہ حجت ودلیل ببارد (تاراستی گفتار او معلوم شود) واگر دلیل نداشت بیعت او بحال خود باقی ست باید کہ مطیع وفرمانبردار باشد۔

The translation of this text is very similar to the above.[28]


We have now completed this discussion. Just a little fairness is required to accept the truth. Now we will move on to the next issue. I will try to condense it to the best of my capacity.


NEXT⇒ ‘Ali’s Performance of Salah Behind Abu Bakr

[1]  Al Bidayah, 5/248-249, Discussion regarding Saqifah.

[2]Tarikh Ibn Jarir, 3/ 201, Discussion regarding Saqifah.

[3]Muntaha al Kalam, p 53.

[4]  A narration the narrator of which opposes the narrations of those who are better than him in preservation of ahadith.

[5]  A tradition which is narrated by 1, 2, 3 or a limited group of people.

[6]Al Khatib al Baghdadi, al Kifayah, p 434.

[7]Al Arba’in, p 464.

[8] Sharh al Fiqh al Akbar, 87-88.

[9]  Abu Talib al ‘Ushari, Fada’il Abi Bakr al Siddiq, p. 50; Kanz al ‘Ummal, 3/141: narrations no. 2342.

[10]Al Isti’ab, 2/ 242: mention of Abu Bakr al Siddiq.

[11]Ansab al Ashraf, 1/587; Riyad al Nadirah, 1/226.

[12]Kanz al ‘Ummal, 3/140.

[13]Fada’il Abi Bakr al Siddiq, p. 5.

[14]Fada’il Abi Bakr al Siddiq, p. 5; Kanz al ‘Ummal, 3/141.

[15]Musnad al Imam Ahmed, 1/114: chapter regarding the narrations of ‘Ali; al I’tiqad ‘ala Mazhab al Salaf, p. 184; Kanz al ‘Ummal, 3/141.

[16]Al I’tiqad ‘ala Mazhab al Salaf, p. 193, 194; Kanz al ‘Ummal, 6/82: chapter regarding Fitan.

[17]Furu’ al Kafi, 3/115, Kitab al Rowdah/Kitab al Rowdah of al Kafi, 2/ 85; Rijal al Kashshi, p. 4, p. 12.

[18]Furu’ al Kafi, Kitab al Rowdah, 3/139, 2/179

For the benefit of the scholars I mention the following: To what extent is the claim of the Shia that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had no support and assistance therefore he unwillingly pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, correct? If we pass just a cursory glance through the books of Rijal of the Shia we will find the following people to be shown as the supporters of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu at that time:

From amongst the Banu Hashim there were many:

  1. ‘Aqil ibn Abi Talib
  2. ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib
  3. Fadl Ibn ‘Abbas
  4. Rabi’ah ibn al Harith ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib
  5. Abu Sufyan ibn al Harith
  6. Nowfal ibn al Harith
  7. Sa’id ibn al Harith

There were other people of the Banu Hashim as well. I have presented a few names by way of illustration.


From amongst the supporters of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu besides the Banu Hashim the following names appear:

  1. Abu Dhar al Ghifari
  2. Miqdad ibn al Aswad
  3. ‘Ammar ibn Yasir
  4. Salman al Farisi
  5. Usamah ibn Zaid
  6. Abu al ‘As ibn Rabi’
  7. Khalid ibn Sa’id ibn al ‘As
  8. Buraydah ibn Husayb
  9. Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam
  10. Bara’ ibn ‘Azib
  11. Ubay ibn Ka’b, etc.

As we can see, according to their own sources there was such a large group of supporters who supported ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. How can we then ever accept the statement that he had pledged allegiance because of having no support? For further reference the scholars can refer to Majalis al Mu’minin (third section) and Tarikh Ya’qubi Shia, 2/ 124 (chapter regarding Saqifah).

[19] Kitab Talkhis al Shafi, p 398-399.

[20] Al Ihtijaj (published in Iraq), p50.

[21]Majalis al Mu’minin, Majlis no. 3: Mention of Khalid ibn Sa’id.

[22]Kitab al Shafi, p. 209.

[23]Nasikh al Tawarikh, 3/532; Manar al Huda (book written by ‘Ali al Bahrani), 373: under the sermon of Amir al Mu’minin.

[24]Sharh Nahj al Balaghah (written by Ibn Maytham al Bahrani), 2/93, 10/156; al Durrah al Najafiyah, p. 99.

[25]Amali al Sheikh al Tusi, 2/121.

[26]Firaq al Shia, p. 42.

[27]Nahj al Balaghah, 1/ 42.

[28]Tarjamah wa Tashrih Farsi, 1/ 51.