Discussion Three: The Shar’i perspective of nepotism and analysing this issue in the light of historical details.

The Second Discussion: The Stance of the Abbasid Rulers
November 14, 2019
Discussion Four: Financial Gifts for Relatives
November 19, 2019

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Discussion Three

 

The issue in this section will be tackled from two angles. First, the Shar’i perspective of nepotism will be discovered; in which instances is it praiseworthy and correct in the Shari’ah and in which cases is it despised and disliked.

The second angle is to analyse this issue in the light of historical details. The eras leading up to the ‘Uthmani era, viz. the era of Nubuwwah, the Faruqi era and the era succeeding it (the Murtadwi era) should be pondered over. What approach was adopted in awarding posts to relatives in those days? Was tribalism the focus in dividing offices? Were relatives banned from state posts? This issue will be clarified through these channels.

 

First Angle

In the Shari’ah, the command has been sounded to observe kindness towards relatives. Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala command is:

 

وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوْا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبىٰ وَالْيَتَامىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِيْنِ

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, and the needy.[1]

 

 إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيْتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبىٰ وَيَنْهىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُوْنَ

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.[2]

 

It appears in the noble hadith:

عن ابن عمر أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال أبر البر أن يصل الرجل ود أبيه (بعد أن يولى)

Ibn ‘Umar reports that the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stated:

The best form of righteousness is for a man to maintain cordial relations with his father’s friends (after his father’s demise).[3]

 

The command to display kindness to family and the emphasis of dealing amicably with relatives is replete in Shar’i texts.

Therefore, if perchance Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu considered his relatives in the matter of official posts, then this is in line with the Shar’i obligation. It is not in polarity to the same.

The despised and impermissible situation of favouritism is when others rights are snatched away and given to one’s relatives. Similarly, the rights of others are trampled upon, and without their permission, one’s relative is determined rightful of the same. This action is looked down upon with scorn in the Shari’ah. If this practice is not adopted, then there is no ill in instating a relative to an office on condition that he is worthy of the same.

 

Second Angle

Some important posts and offices of the Prophetic era will first be listed before the readers, which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam awarded to his relatives (the Banu Umayyah and Banu Hashim). Thereafter, offices of the Faruqi era followed by the Murtadwi era will be listed which they allocated for their relatives, so that people of discernment and understanding will be able to solve the issue in the light of actual incidents and in order that the ‘Uthmani era may be compared with other eras.

 

Offices for Relatives in the Prophetic Era

Firstly, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instated his son-in-law Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma to few significant posts and offices during his era, for example:

  1. He awarded him the office of writing revelation. Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was included among the scribes of revelation.[4]
  2. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his ambassador to the Quraysh of Makkah on the occasion of the treaty of Hudaybiyyah. This ambassadorship of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is recorded in al Sihah al Sittah and the common Sirah books under the happenings of the Battle or Treaty of Hudaybiyyah.[5]
  3. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his deputy over Madinah on one occasion (perhaps more as well) and Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his deputy on few occasions.

 

استخلف رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم على المدينة في غزوته إلى ذات الرقاع عثمان بن عفان و استخلفه أيضا على المدينة في غزوته إلى غطفان إلخ

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan as his deputy over Madinah in his Dhat al Riqa’ expedition and he also appointed him over Madinah in his campaign towards Ghatafan.[6]

 

If per chance someone has misgivings regarding the above mentioned points on Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, then he should rather observe the following posts awarded to close people of the Banu Umayyah and ponder over the issue.

Secondly, Sayyidina Abu Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu―the father of Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu―is a renowned Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He embraced Islam on the occasion of the Conquest of Makkah. He is among the leaders of the Banu Umayyah. His closest connection to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is that he is the father of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wife, Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Umm Habibah Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anha; making him Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam father-in-law. This is among the widely accepted facts of Islamic history.

He was a friend of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam uncle, Sayyidina ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, from the era of ignorance. He accepted Islam on the Day of the Conquest of Makkah upon the encouragement of Sayyidina ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu and remained his close associate after Islam as well.

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam awarded few posts and offices to Sayyidina Abu Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and gave him few important responsibilities. Only a few of these will be listed below, which are in conformity to the subject under discussion. For example:

  1. Appointment as governor over Najran

و استعمله رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم على نجران

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed him governor over Najran.[7]

 

  1. Mission to break idols

When the Banu Thaqif accepted Islam, they had a high standing idol which they did not want to break down.

 

فأبى رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم إلا أن يبعث أبا سفيان بن حرب و المغيرة بن شعبة فيهدماها

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam refused and sent Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and Mughirah ibn Shu’bah who broke it down into pieces.[8]

 

  1. Settlement of Debt

فأمر رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم أبا سفيان أن يقضي دين عروة و الأسود من مال الطاغية فلما جمع المغيرة مالها قال لأبي سفيان إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قد أمرك أن تقضي عن عروة و الأسود دينهما فقضى عنهما

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed Abu Sufyan to settle the debt of ‘Urwah and Aswad from the wealth of al Taghiyah. After Mughirah gathered its wealth, he said to Abu Sufyan, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has instructed you to settle the debts of ‘Urwah and Aswad.” Accordingly, he settled their debts.[9]

 

  1. Distribution of Wealth

‘Amr ibn Faghwa’ reports:

 

دعاني رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و قد أراد أن يبعثني بمال إلى أبي سفيان يقسمه في قريش بمكة بعد الفتح … فمضينا حتى قدمنا مكة فدفعت المال إلى أبي سفيان إلخ

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam summoned me, and he had intended to send me with wealth to Abu Sufyan which he would distribute among the Quraysh of Makkah after the Conquest. We travelled until we arrived in Makkah. I then gave the wealth to Abu Sufyan (and he distributed it).[10]

 

Note: A number of virtues and merits are found regarding Sayyidina Abu Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the books of hadith and Islamic history. Moreover, his military achievements and religious services are acknowledged. (We have only listed four of these here.) By steering away from prejudice and considering all his religions services and efforts, it becomes clear that all the reports presented against him (whether in al Tabari or al Jazari) are incorrect and contrary to reality. Moreover, in light of hadith grading, those reports are generally flawed, munkar (contradictory reports by weak narrators) or shadh (anomalous), due to them being in conflict with accepted narrations.

Those who quote narrations which depict the actions of Sayyidina Abu Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in an evil light and undermine his religious status, they have neither considered the high rank of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum nor observed reverence for the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. In fact, they did not take the pains of examining those reports on the standards of hadith criticism for their flaws to become apparent. Moreover, they did not examine the subject matter of those reports so as to discover the manner it contradicts what actually transpired. These are the results of tribalism, family feuds, and lineage specialisms; otherwise, there was nothing stopping them from examining these reports.

(May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala grant them the best of guidance and protect them from prejudice.)

 

Thirdly, the son of Sayyidina Abu Sufyan is Sayyidina Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma―the elder brother of Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and a close relative of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He is Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam brother-in-law, brother of his wife Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Umm Habibah bint Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anha. He was a man of many excellent abilities. He accepted Islam on the occasion of the Conquest of Makkah. He participated in the Battle of Hunayn alongside Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam favoured him with an abundance of wealth from the booty of the Battle. The scholars of Islamic history have referred to him with the name Yazid al Khayr (Yazid of goodness).[11]

Due to his worthiness and potential, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam awarded Sayyidina Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma with a number of honours and instated him to a number of posts.

  1. Scribe of revelation

The scholars, while listing the scribes of revelation, have written:

و معاوية بن أبي سفيان و أخوه أي يزيد إلخ

Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan and his brother, i.e. Yazid.[12]

 

  1. Collection of Zakat

Hafiz Ibn Hajar writes:

 

يزيد بن أبي سفيان صخر بن حرب بن أمية بن عبد شمس القرشي الأموى أمير الشام و أخو الخليفة معاوية من فضلاء الصحابة من مسلمة الفتح و استعمله النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم على صدقات بني فراس و كانوا أخواله إلخ

Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan Sakhr ibn Harb ibn Umayyah ibn ‘Abd Shams al Qurashi al Umawi, the Amir of Sham and the brother of Caliphate Muawiyah. He was from the eminent Sahabah, from those who accepted Islam at the Conquest (of Makkah). The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed him to collect the zakat of the Banu Faras who were his maternal uncles.[13]

 

  1. Governor of Tayma

Abu Jafar al Baghdadi has written in Kitab al Muhabbar:

و يزيد بن أبي سفيان (أمره) على تيما إلخ

(Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) appointed Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan as governor over Tayma.[14]

 

Fourthly, Sayyidina Abu Sufyan’s son, Sayyidah Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma is a renowned and well-known Sahabi as well as a close relative of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, i.e. the brother of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam blessed consort Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Umm Habibah bint Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Another aspect is that Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are co-brothers-in-law, i.e. Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Umm Salamah’s sister Qaribat al Sughra was married to Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu as mentioned in detail in the second discussion under family links.[15]

 

  1. Scribe

The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to the office of scribe. He was reckoned among the scribes of revelation as mentioned by the historians. ‘Allamah Ibn Hazm, ‘Ali ibn Burhan al Din al Halabi and others have further clarified that Sayyidina Zaid ibn Thabit al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu (after the Conquest of Makkah) remained at the service of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for writing revelation and other material.

 

و كان زيد بن ثابت من ألزم الناس لذلك ثم تلاه معاوية بعد الفتح فكانا ملازمين للكتابة بين يديه صلى الله عليه و سلم في الوحي و غير ذلك لا عمل لهما غير ذلك

Zaid ibn Thabit remained the most attached from all people to this office, followed by Muawiyah after the Conquest. They were fixed for writing revelation and other material in his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam presence, They had no work besides this.[16]

 

  1. Apportioning Land

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to apportion pieces of lands for certain individuals. Wa’il ibn Hujr was allocated a piece of land through Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This incident has been mentioned in the first discussion, under the heading: Sham.[17]

We have mentioned a few posts and offices occupied by close relatives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from the Banu Umayyah during the Prophetic era. We will now list those offices which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam awarded to his family, the Banu Hashim.

 

The Offices of the Banu Hashim during the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Era

  1. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed his cousin, Sayyidina Jafar al Tayyar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as the army general of the Battle of Mu’tah in the year 8 A.H. Sayyidina Zaid ibn Harithah and Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Rawahah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma were also appointed as generals of this army.
  2. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu as army general during the Campaign of Khaybar towards the ending of year 7 A.H., prior to Khaybar being conquered.
  3. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam despatched Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu towards Yemen in the 10th year after hijrah to assume the post of governor.
  4. On the occasion of the Tabuk Campaign in 9 A.H, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his deputy over Madinah for a limited period of time to take care of social affairs, while Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went on this expedition.

 

Since these facts are widely accepted and common in Islamic history, there was no need to reference them.

It is learnt from the above that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed his relatives from among the Banu Umayyah and Banu Hashim to posts and offices at different times. This practice clarifies the issue at hand. Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu by appointing some relatives to high posts did not start a new practice. Rather his practice is in conformity to the practice of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Furthermore, it is evident that Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not commit any error in this regard, nor was his action, religiously, morally, or politically incorrect.

Rather than labelling the Righteous Successor of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, a wrongdoer and perpetrating evil in this matter, it would be easier to label those who accuse him as wrongdoers and evildoers.

 

Familial Appointments During the Faruqi Era

  1. Governor of Bahrain

إن عمر بن الخطاب استعمل قدامة بن مظعون على البحرين و هو خال حفصة و عبد الله بن عمر

‘Umar ibn al Khattab appointed Qudamah ibn Maz’un as governor of Bahrain. He is the maternal uncle of Hafsah and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (i.e. brother-in-law of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu).[18]

 

  1. Governor of Maysan

و أنه من مهاجرة الحبشة و ولى عمر النعمان هذا ميسان

No’man ibn ‘Adi: He is from the emigrants to Abyssinia. ‘Umar appointed him over Maysan.[19]

No’man ibn ‘Adi was from the Banu ‘Adi tribe. Later on, he was dismissed from this post.

 

Familial Appointments During the Murtadwi Era

Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu awarded high posts to six or more relatives of his, making them governors over various areas.

  1. ‘Ubaidullah ibn al ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib ibn Hashim

 

و استعمله علي بن أبي طالب على اليمن و أمره فحج بالناس سنة 36 و سنة 37 ه و مات عبيد الله بالمدينة

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib appointed him governor over Yemen. He commanded him to lead the people in Hajj in 36 and 37 A.H. ‘Ubaidullah passed away in Madinah.[20]

‘Ubaidullah is the cousin of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 

  1. Qutham ibn al ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib

و ولى قثم بن العباس فلم يزل عليها (مكة) واليا حتى قتل علي

‘Ali appointed Qutham ibn al ‘Abbas over Makkah. He remained governor there until ‘Ali was killed.[21]

 

و كان على مكة و الطائف قثم بن العباس

Qutham ibn al ‘Abbas was governor over Makkah and Ta’if.[22]

 

و حج بالناس في هذا السنة (سنة 38 ه) قثم بن العباس من قبل علي عليه السلام … و كان قثم يومئذ عامل على مكة إلخ

Qutham ibn al ‘Abbas led the people in Hajj in this year (38 A.H.) from the side of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. At the time, Qutham was governor of Makkah.[23]

 

Qutham is the cousin of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 

The scholars have written that Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed his cousin Ma’bad ibn al ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib as governor over Makkah as well.

 

و ذكر الدارقطني في كتاب الإخوة أن عليا ولاه مكة

Al Daraqutni mentioned in Kitab al Ikhwah that ‘Ali appointed him governor of Makkah.[24]

 

This makes it clear that they were successive governors over Makkah from the side of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Both Qutham ibn al ‘Abbas and Ma’bad ibn al ‘Abbas are Hashimites and his cousins.

 

  1. Tamam ibn al ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib

Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu had first appointed Sahl ibn Hunayf as governor over Madinah during his caliphate.

 

ثم عزله (سهل بن حنيف) و ولى تمام بن العباس

He then dismissed him and appointed Tamam ibn al ‘Abbas.[25]

 

Tamam ibn al ‘Abbas is Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu cousin. Some refer to him as Thumamah ibn al ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib.

 

  1. ‘Abdullah ibn al ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib

و ولى عبد الله بن العباس فشخض ابن عباس و استخلفه زيادا

He appointed ‘Abdullah ibn al ‘Abbas as governor (over Basrah). Whenever Ibn ‘Abbas would venture out, he would appoint Ziyad as his deputy.[26]

 

و كان على البصرة عبد الله بن العباس إلخ

‘Abdullah ibn al ‘Abbas was governor over Basrah.[27]

 

  1. Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr

فولى محمد بن أبي بكر فقتل بها

He appointed Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr governor over Egypt and he was killed there.[28]

 

Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr is the stepson of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu. (He is the son of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu born to to Sayyidah Asma’ bint ‘Umays radiya Llahu ‘anha who ‘Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu later married, raising Muhammad as his own.)

 

Confirmation

‘Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah has mentioned the above 5 relatives at once place in volume 3 of Minhaj al Sunnah. He states:

 

 و معلوم أن عليا ولى أقاربه من قبل أبيه و أمه كعبد الله و عبيد الله ابني عباس فولى عبيد الله بن عباس على اليمن و ولى على مكة و الطائف قثم بن العباس و أما المدينة فقيل أنه ولى عليها سهل بن حنيف و قيل ثمامة بن العباس و أما البصرة فولى عليها عبد الله بن العباس و ولى على مصر ربيبه محمد بن أبي بكر الذي رباه في حجره

It is common knowledge that ‘Ali appointed his relatives both paternal and maternal like ‘Abdullah and ‘Ubaidullah, the sons of ‘Abbas. He appointed ‘Ubaidullah ibn al ‘Abbas over Yemen and Qutham ibn al ‘Abbas over Makkah and Ta’if. As regards to Madinah, it is said that he appointed Sahl ibn Hanayf and other say Thumamah ibn al ‘Abbas. He appointed ‘Abdullah ibn al ‘Abbas over Basrah. And he appointed his stepson, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, who he raised, over Egypt.[29]

 

Besides these five personalities, Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed his nephew, Ja’dah ibn Hubayrah ibn Abi Wahb al Qurashi al Makhzumi, over Khorasan:

 

  1. Ja’dah ibn Hubayrah al Makhzumi

بعث علي بعد ما رجع من صفين جعدة بن هبيرة المخزومي و أم جعدة أم هاني بنت أبي طالب إلى خراسان فانتهى إلى أبرشهر

After returning from Siffin, ‘Ali sent Ja’dah ibn Hubayrah al Makhzumi towards Khorasan. And he reached up to Abarshahr. The mother of Ja’dah is Umm Hani bint Abi Talib.[30]

و ولى خراسان لعلي

He assumed the post of governor over Khorasan for ‘Ali.[31]

 

Corroboration (from Shia books)

A brief list of the governors and office bearers during the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu (who were his close relatives) has been presented to the readers, which include the names of 7 individuals, viz. 1′Ubaidullah ibn al ‘Abbas, 2Qutham ibn al ‘Abbas, 3Ma’bad ibn al ‘Abbas, 4Tamam ibn al ‘Abbas, 5’Abdullah ibn al ‘Abbas, 6Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, and 7Ja’dah ibn Hubayrah. A few references from Shia historians will now be presented for corroboration.

The early Shia historian al Yaqubi writes:

 

و عزل علي عمال عثمان عن البلدان خلا أبي موسى الأشعري كلمه فيه الاشتر فأقره و ولى قثم بن العباس مكة و عبيد الله بن العباس اليمن

‘Ali dismissed all the governors of ‘Uthman from the cities with the exception Abu Musa al Ash’ari. Ashtar spoke to him in this regard so he maintained him. He appointed Qutham ibn al ‘Abbas over Makkah and ‘Ubaidullah ibn al ‘Abbas over Yemen.[32]

 

و كتب أبو الأسود الدئلي و كان خليفة عبد الله بن العباس بالبصرة إلى علي

Abu al Aswad al Du’ali―the deputy of ‘Abdullah ibn al ‘Abbas over Basrah―wrote to ‘Ali.

 

The above makes it crystal clear that during the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, his close relatives were appointed over major cities and assumed high positions. If this is called nepotism, which the critics of the ‘Uthmani era are accuse Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu of, then this is found clearly in the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and is an accepted fact.

In our view, the alleged criticism is actually no condemnation of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Rather, the need of the time and the situation demanded it so Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu adopted it. Similarly, we do not accuse Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu of nepotism for appointing his relatives during his caliphate. We attribute it to the demands of the time.

In this manner, the honour of both these luminaries is considered and the correct interpretation for historical events is established.

However, if the object is simply to blow the issue out of proportion and to condemn, then first have a look at the Prophetic era, then the Faruqi era, and then the Murtadwi era. Thereafter, look at the ‘Uthmani era. In all these eras, relatives were given positions of honour. Then why is Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu the only target of criticism?

 

An objection and its Answer

Another lame objection raised by the critics of the ‘Uthmani era is that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was coerced to appoint his relatives as governors. Some capable Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum went into solitude, some passed on, some were not assisting, and others joined the opposing party. Due to these challenging situations, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed his cousins as governors of major cities.

Sufficient to remove this objection is to affirm that this lame excuse is in contrary to reality, since a large number of Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were present in the capital city of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and were not opposed to him. If work was taken from them, they would have been found to be capable of lending support in political affairs. In the presence of such a large number of capable Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, the idea of him being forced to turn to relatives is a hallucination and delusion.

A brief list of the names of the honourable Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who were residing in the capital of the khalifah is presented to the readers:

  1. ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  2. Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  3. Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  4. Hakim ibn Hizam radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  5. Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  6. Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  7. Ma’qal ibn Yasar radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  8. ‘Imran ibn al Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  9. Jubayr ibn Mut’im radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  10. Abu Mahdhurah radiya Llahu ‘anhu (Mu’adhin of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)
  11. ‘Amr ibn Hazm al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  12. Latib ibn ‘Abdul ‘Uzza radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  13. ‘Uthman ibn Abi al ‘As al Thaqafi radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  14. Qais ibn Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  15. Kurz ibn ‘Alqamah radiya Llahu ‘anhu[33]

The object is to prove that a large number of such Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were definitely present who were eligible for government posts. There was no need to turn to relatives.

The reality is that just as Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, owing to the demand of the time, included his relatives in affairs of state, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did the very same. Both these eras are not worthy of blame and censure. To spare the era of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu from criticism and censure the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is nothing but prejudice and bias, which makes tribalism evident and establishes the foundation of hatred and dissension between the nation. There is a strong need to save the ummah from this. This brings the third discussion to a close.

 

NEXT⇒ Discussion Four: Financial Gifts for Relatives


[1] Surah al Nisa’: 36.

[2] Surah al Nahl: 90.

[3] Sahih Muslim, vol. 2 pg. 314, chapter on the virtue of maintaining ties with the friends of the father and mother and their like, Nur Muhammadi print, Delhi; Sunan Abi Dawood, vol. 2 pg. 353, chapter on kindness to parents, Mujtaba’i print, Delhi.

[4] Zad al Ma’ad, vol. 1 pg. 30, section on his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam scribes; al Sirah al Nabawiyyah, vol. 4 pg. 669, the scribes of revelation and other things in his presence; al Sirat al Halabiyyah, vol. 3 pg. 364, mention of his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam famous scribes; Jawami’ al Sirah, pg. 26, his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam scribes.

[5] Mishkat, chapter on the merits of ‘Uthman, section two and three, pg. 561, 562, Nur Muhammadi print, Delhi.

[6] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 3 pg. 39, section one, mention of ‘Uthman’s Islam, first print, Leiden; Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 3 pg. 16.

[7] Nasab Quraysh, pg. 122, the offspring of Harb ibn Umayyah; Kitab al Muhabbar, pg. 126, the governors of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 62, prophetic governors.

[8] Sirat Ibn Hisham, vol. 2 pg. 540 – 541, the situation of the Thaqif delegation; al Bidayah, vol. 5 pg. 30 – 33, the arrival of the Thaqif delegation by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

[9] Sirat Ibn Hisham, vol. 2 pg. 542, the issue of the Thaqif delegation and their Islam.

[10] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 4 pg. 32 – 33, section 2, ‘Amr ibn Faghwa’, Leiden print; al Bayhaqi: al Sunan al Kubra, vol. 10 pg. 129, book on the etiquette of a judge, chapter on caution when reading a letter.

[11] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 7 pg. 127, section 2, biography of Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan al Umawi; al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 95, biography of Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan, under 18 A.H. first edition.

[12] Jawami’ al Sirah, pg. 26, his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam scribes; al Sirat al Halabiyyah, vol. 3 pg. 364, chapter on the list of his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam famous scribes.

[13] Al Isabah with al Isti’ab, vol. 3 pg. 619, Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan; Usd al Ghabah, vol. 5 pg. 112, Yazid.

[14] Kitab al Muhabbar, pg. 126, the governors of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

[15] Nasab Quraysh, pg. 123 – 124, the offspring of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb; Kitab al Muhabbar, pg. 102, Hyderabad Dakkan print.

[16] Jawami’ al Sirah, pg. 27, his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam scribes; al Sirat al Halabiyyah, vol. 3 pg. 364, chapter on the list of his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam famous scribes.

[17] Al Tarikh al Kabir, vol. 4 pg. 175 – 176, section two, biography of Wa’il ibn Hujr; Usd al Ghabah, vol. 5 pg. 81; Wa’il ibn Hujr; al Isabah, vol. 3 pg. 592, Wa’il ibn Hujr.

[18] Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq, vol. 9 pg. 240 – 241, chapter on those companions of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who were given hadd; Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat, pg. 128, list of the governors of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab.

[19] Al Isabah, vol. 3 pg. 533, letter nun (No’man ibn ‘Adi).

[20] Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 184 – 185, list of the governors of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab; Nasab Quraysh, pg. 27, the offspring of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib; al Isabah, vol. 2 pg. 430, biography of ‘Ubaidullah ibn ‘Abbas.

[21] Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 185, list of the governors of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab.

[22] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 6 pg. 53, end of year 37 A.H.

[23] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 6 pg. 77, end of year 38 A.H.

[24] Al Isabah, vol. 3 pg. 457, Ma’bad ibn al ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib, biography: 8330.

[25] Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 185, list of the governors of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab; Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 6 pg. 53, the end of 37 A.H.

[26] Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 186, list of the governors of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab.

[27] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 6 pg. 53, end of 37 A.H.

[28] Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 186, list of the governors of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab; Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 6 pg. 53, end of 37 A.H.

[29] Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 3 pg. 173, answers to the allegations against ‘Uthman.

[30] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 6 pg. 53, end of 37 A.H.

[31] Al Isabah, vol. 1 pg. 238, letter jim, Biography: 1161, Ja’dah ibn Hubayrah; al Isabah, vol. 1 pg. 258, section two, Biography: 1265.

[32] Tarikh Yaqubi, vol. 2 pg. 179, under the caliphate of Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali, new edition, Beirut.

[33] Usd al Ghabah, al Isabah, al Isti’ab.

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