In the first section of the third chapter, we shed some light on the relationship between Sayyidina ‘Umar and Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Some level nasty accusations in contradiction of this fact which need to be removed. The objection will be mentioned briefly followed by its answer. This discussion is quite academic and will be enjoyed by the scholarly fraternity. We hope that the laymen do not get bored reading it.
Some people narrate an incident from Ibn Qutaybah al Dinawari’s al Imamah wa al Siyasah, Ibn ‘Abd Rabihi’s al ‘Iqd al Farid, and Ibn Jarir al Tabari’s Tarikh al Umam wa al Muluk that when Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was taking bay’ah from the people, he sent Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu to the house of Sayyidah Fatimah and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Sayyidina ‘Umar allegedly threatened to burn the house down with them in it if they do not give bay’ah to Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Pressurised by this threat, Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina Zubair, and others went and pledged allegiance to Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
This is the gist of the tale. People relate this tale with numerous details coupled with all types of exaggerations, with the sole object of establishing and spreading the belief that there existed enmity between Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar on the one hand and Sayyidina ‘Ali and Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhum on the other. Nothing else is desired from this. They have wasted their lives and their predecessors exhausted their efforts to reach this goal.
We have mentioned a few points in the Siddiqi section while discussing the bay’ah to remove this misconception and to answer this objection. However, we will mention other aspects here as well. By Allah’s will, people with sound temperaments and who are supporters of the truth will be pleased with this discussion and will reach the correct conclusion without much effort.
a. Firstly, this incident has been reported mainly from books which contain no chain of narration (sanad). No sanad is attached to these tales, from which the authenticity of the narration can be examined. For example Ibn Qutaybah al Dinawari’s al Imamah wa al Siyasah, Ibn ‘Abd Rabihi’s al ‘iqd al Farid, etc. do not cite a chain of transmission. The existence of tales of such a nature in books of this kind (which have no sanad) is not proof or evidence and cannot be accepted as authentic. All sorts of narrations are found in these books, correct and incorrect, truths and lies. Hence, they cannot be relied upon.
Moreover, it is only Shia narrators and Shia authors who passionately disseminate tales depicting hatred and animosity between the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. From here we learn that the authors of al Imamah wa al Siyasah and al ‘Iqd al Farid have this mind-set. The Ibn Qutaybah who authored Mukhtalaf al Hadith, al Ma’arif, and other famous books is a Sunni and other than the above. The author of al Imamah wa al Siyasah is another Taqiyyah observing phony. Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz has listed a few of the schemes of this Ibn Qutaybah in the schemes of the Shia in Tuhfat Ithna ‘Ashariyyah. Have a look at scheme 19, 23, and 81 for further satisfaction.
Regarding al ‘Iqd al Farid, ‘Ulama have emphatically declared it dubious. For example, Ibn Khalikan said that it contains all sorts of narrations, both authentic and false. Ibn Kathir asserts that its language points to the fact that the author is Shi’i. In addition, in the latest publication of the book, the publishers clarified the positon of the author in the preface by saying:
و هو أميل إلى التشيع
He had Shi’i inclinations.
Therefore, the narrations of these books are unreliable.
b. Secondly, the tale of burning of the house although reported in some books with a chain, all of these chains have been proven majruh (discredited) with narrators suffering from severe weakness. For example, this incident appears in Tarikh al Tabari but contains narrators who are liars and fabricators. Ibn Humaid from whom al Tabari reports is described as ahdhaq bi al kidhb (master of deception) and muqallib al mutun wa al asanid (alters the text and chain). Besides, the narration is maqtu’ (the chain is interrupted) since the narrator Ziyad ibn Kulayb was not present to witness the incident. Someone reported it to him, but it is not known who the person is and what kind of a person he is.
c. Even those narrations that are not severely criticised have the flaw of interruption in the chain of transmission. Inqita’ zamani between the last narrator and the one before him has been determined, in other words the narrator did not witness the incident and was informed by someone else who is not mentioned. The narrations of Ibn Abi Shaibah and Ibn ‘Abdul Barr etc., are of such a nature; i.e. maqtu’. Both Zaid ibn Aslam and his father could never ever have been in Madinah when the supposed incident occurred. Additionally, the ‘Ulama’ have clearly criticised Zaid ibn Aslam of being a mudallis (one who omits the narrator from who he heard the information). He is responsible for narrating all this hearsay. What is more is that sometimes harsh and nasty language is used while at other times, sweet and polite words are quoted. Probably, the narrators concocted and exaggerated the incident they did not witness. The proverb is famous:
شنیدہ کے بود ماںند دیدہ
How can hearsay be equal to the witnessed?
Furthermore, the scholars will be well aware of the fact that Ibn Abi Shaibah is in the third category of muhaddithin. Sahih al Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, and Muwatta’ Malik top the first category. The rest of the Sihah Sittah fall in the second category. The third category lists books like Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah and Musannaf ‘Abdul Razzaq. These authors did not strictly adhere to authenticity and reliability. Due to this, the muhaddithin put them in the third category.
Although, al Isti’ab is a wonderful book containing the biographies of the noble Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, reports of the disputes among the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum are found in it and have flaws in it. Due to these factors, the ‘ulama’ have praised the book but at the same time, they have criticised the incorrect segments in it.
Ibn Salah writes in Muqaddamah Ibn Salah or ‘Ulum al Hadith li Ibn Salah regarding al Isti’ab:
و من أجلها و أكثرها فوائد كتاب الإستيعاب لولا ما شانه من إيراده كثيرا مما شجر بين الصحابة و حكاياته عن الأخباريين لا المحدثين و غالب على الأخباريين الإكثار و التخليط فيما يروونه
One of the finest and most detailed books on biography is al Isti’ab, if not for the aspects that have blemished it, i.e. reporting much of the disputes between the Sahabah and relating from the historians and not the Muhaddithin. The Historians are generally in the habit of exaggerating and concocting their reports. (They have not considered authenticity.)
Hafiz Ibn Kathir expressed similar sentiments in al Ba’ith al Hathith with reference to Ibn Salah in the following words:
و قد شان ابن عبد البر كتابه الإستيعاب بذكر ما شجر بين الصحابة مما تلقاه من كتب الأخباريين غيرهم
Ibn ‘Abdul Barr has spoilt his book al Isti’ab by mentioning the disputes between the Sahabah which he picked up from the books of the historians and others.
d. Fourthly, no matter where the incident appears in whichever level book, in the light of the declarations of the great ‘Ulama’ it is unworthy of acceptance. Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Muhammad al Baqir gave the following advices and issued the upcoming commands.
Hafiz al Dhahabi writes while discussing Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in Tadhkirat al Huffaz:
عن أبي الطفيل عن علي قال حدثوا الناس بما يعرفون و دعوا ما ينكرون أتحبون أن يكذب الله و رسوله قال الذهبي فقد زجر الإمام علي عن رواية المنكر و حث على التحديث بالمشهور و هذا أصل كبير في الكف عن بث الأشياء الواهية و المنكرة من الأحاديث في الفضائل و العقائد و الرقائق
From Abu al Tufayl―from ‘Ali who said:
Relate to people what they are familiar with and avoid what they are unfamiliar with. Do you want Allah and His Messenger to be belied?
Al Dhahabi said, “Imam ‘Ali has warned against strange reports and encouraged reporting well-known issues. This is a core essential in avoiding the spread of weak and munkar reports regarding virtues, beliefs, and heartfelt advices.”
Shia books document that Imam Muhammad al Baqir cited a portion of the prophetic final sermon and said:
فإذا أتاكم الحديث فأعرضوا على كتاب الله عز و جل و سنتي فما وافق كتاب الله و سنتي فخذوا به و ما خالف كتاب الله و سنتي فلا تأخذوا به
When a narration reaches you, then examine it in the light of the Book of Allah―the Mighty and Majestic―and my Sunnah. Take what is in harmony with Allah’s Book and my Sunnah and discard what contradicts them.
Let the readers be reassured that Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala Speech is testimony to the fact that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were merciful and compassionate among themselves. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala placed love and affection in their hearts. Due to their righteous actions, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is already pleased with them. The Sunnah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is witness to the fact that all those who remained in his company were like sugar and honey, friends, and well-wishers of one another. They harboured no hatred nor ill-feelings for one another.
If we accept the burning tale as true, then it has painted a completely different picture of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum after Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise. It depicts them drawing swords and attacking each other, intending to burn the house of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam daughter, and grabbing the collars of Sayyidina ‘Ali and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
In the light of the statements of Sayyidina ‘Ali and Muhammad al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, it is not at all permissible to accept such narrations. The contents of these narrations are in direct disagreement to the Book of Allah and are clashing with Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Sunnah. To accept such munkar reports is to discard the instructions of the infallible Imams.
Most importantly, the emphatic verses of the Glorious Qur’an reject these munkar reports. Allah’s Speech describes the Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the following glowing manner:
يَبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا
Seeking bounty from Allah and [His] approval.
This remained their special attribute and unique characteristic throughout their lives, searching for Allah’s grace and pleasure.
If the reports of mutual rivalry, evil, and corruption are hypothetically taken as true, then the qualities of these noblemen should have been described as:
يَبْتَغُوْنَ شَرًّا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَغَضْبَانًا
Seeking evil from Allah and [His] wrath.
Whereas this is not the case.
e. Fifthly, there are narrations in hadith and history books reporting this incident which contain absolutely no mention of these disputes and clashes. Neither do they contain harsh speech to Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, nor nasty treatment of Sayyidina ‘Ali and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. There is absolutely no sign of quarrelling and fighting. For now, I will present one such narration of al Baladhuri from Ansab al Ashraf, so that different pictures of this incident appear before you and you may see it from another angle.
Ahmed ibn Yahya al Baladhuri (d. 277/279 A.H.) reports:
لما بايع الناس أبا بكر اعتزل علي و الزبير فبعث إليهما عمر بن الخطاب و زيد بن ثابت فأتيا منزل علي فقرعا الباب فنظر الزبير من قترة ثم رجع إلى علي فقال هذان رجلان من أهل الجنة و ليس لنا أن نقاتلهم قال افتح لهما ثم خرجا معهما حتى أتيا أبا بكر فقال أبو بكر يا علي أنت ابن عم رسول الله و صهره فتقول إني أحق بهذا الأمر لاها الله لأنا أحق به منك قال لا تثريب يا خليفة رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ابسط يدك أبايعك فبسط يده فبايعه
When the people gave bay’ah to Abu Bakr, ‘Ali and Zubair stayed away. So Abu Bakr sent ‘Umar ibn al Khattab and Zaid ibn Thabit to them. They came to ‘Ali’s place and knocked on the door. Zubair looked through the peephole and returned to ‘Ali explaining, “These two men are from the dwellers of Jannat and it is not befitting for us to clash with them.”
‘Ali said, “Open for them.”
The two then proceeded with them to the presence of Abu Bakr.
Abu Bakr said, “O ‘Ali, you are Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cousin and son-in-law so you could say that you are most deserving of this post. No, by Allah, I am more deserving than you.”
‘Ali submitted, “There is no reproach upon you, O khalifah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Stretch out your hand so I may pledge allegiance to you.”
Accordingly, he stretched his hand and ‘Ali gave him bay’ah.
This narration has been quoted previously in the Siddiqi section under the discussion of the bay’ah, narration 7, in detail. It has been briefly reproduced here.
The readers will now realise that narrations describing this incident are not of the same type. Some make no mention of any clash while others paint a picture of great drama. The ‘Ulama’ have criticised and critiqued reports of dispute aforetime. These statements will now be quoted.
ایں قصہ سراسر واہی و بہتان و افتراست
This incident is totally false, a fabrication, and an accusation.
و سابعها أن أبا بكر أمر بإحراق بيت علي و فيه فاطمة و حسنان بتأخره عن البيعة قلنا كذب محض
The seventh allegation is that Abu Bakr commanded the burning of ‘Ali’s house while Fatimah, Hassan, and Hussain were inside due to him delaying the bay’ah. We declare: This is a blatant lie.
In conclusion, those narrations which have no mention of any quarrels and fights will be accepted while the rest will be rejected.
The readers should be aware of the fact that not only Sunni ‘Ulama’ have discarded the reports of the burning of Fatimah’s house. Rather, some Shia scholars have declared such narrations unacceptable and unreliable. Ibn Abi al Hadid declares:
و أما ما ذكره من الهجوم على دار فاطمة و جمع الحطب لتحريقها فهو خبر واحد غير موثوق به و لا معمول عليه في حق الصحابة بل و لا في حق أحد من المسلمين ممن ظهرت عدالته
Concerning what he reported of raiding Fatimah’s house and gathering firewood to burn it, it is a khabar wahid (a solitary narration) and is unreliable. It is also not relied upon in respect of the Sahabah nor any of the Muslims whose honesty is manifest.
If for argument’s sake we take it that Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha became angry with Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, then we will like to point out that Shia scholars have recorded in books deemed reliable by them that Sayyidah Fatimah became pleased with Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma afterwards.
Ibn Abi al Hadid Shia in Sharh Nahj al Balaghah with reference to Abu Bakr al Jawhari first mentions Sayyidah Fatimah’s radiya Llahu ‘anha anger and her subsequent happiness in these words:
قال فمشى إليها أبو بكر بعد ذلك و شفع لعمر و طلب إليها فرضيت عنه
Abu Bakr walked to her after this and interceded on behalf of ‘Umar and sought her pleasure. Finally, she became pleased with him.
Mulla al Baqir Majlisi records the same thing in Haqq al Yaqin:
چوں علی و زبیر بیعت کردند و این فتنہ فرونشست ابو بکر آمد و شفاعت کرد از براۓ عمر و فاطمہ ازو راضی شد
After ‘Ali and Zubair gave bay’ah and this fitnah was quelled, Abu Bakr came and interceded for ‘Umar and Fatimah became happy.
When our noble seniors became pleased with each other, then we as followers should follow suite and cease actions that spur violence and aggression and rather spread an atmosphere of harmony and compromise.
 Kashf al Zunun, vol. 2 pg. 1149, under al ‘Iqd al Farid.
 Muqaddamat Kitab al Tamhid, vol. 1 pg. 36, discussion on tadlis, Marrakech print; Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 3 pg. 396, Zaid ibn Aslam.
 Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz: ‘Ujalah Nafi’ah, pg. 7.
 Muqaddamat Ibn Salah, chapter on the 39th type, pg. 145, Mumbai print, pg. 262, new Madinah print.
 Al Ba’ith al Hathith, pg. 179, type 39, Egypt print, edition three.
 Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 1 pg. 12.
 Ihtijaj al Tabarsi, pg. 229, old print.
 Surah al Hashr: 8.
 Ansab al Ashraf, pg. 585, new Egypt print, 1959 A.H. edition.
 Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah, chapter on accusations, Faruqi accusation 2, under the incident of burning the house.
 Nibras Sharh Sharh ‘Aqa’id Nasafi, pg. 529, under the text: it is not a condition for the imam to be infallible, Multan print.
 Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 4 pg. 631, under the text: his statement to ‘Ammar ibn Yasir when he heard him answering back, “leave him O ‘Ammar.” Beirut print.
 Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 1 pg. 157, discussion on the Imam to Bay’ah, Beirut print.
 Haqq al Yaqin, pg. 110, old print, Lucknow, pg. 180, new print, Tehran, discussion on ‘Ali’s bay’ah under duress.