Introduction

Gratitude and Appreciation
February 26, 2021
Preface – Discussion One: The status of the Sahabah in Islam and an overview of the Islamic belief regarding them.
February 26, 2021

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Introduction

 

In the Name of Allah, the Excessively Compassionate, Exceedingly Merciful

Certainly, praise belongs solely to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. We praise Him, seek help from Him, and seek His forgiveness. We seek protection in Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala from the evil of ourselves and our misdeeds. Whoever Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala guides cannot be led astray and whoever He misguides can never attain guidance. I testify that there is no deity besides Allah, He is alone with no partner, and I testify that Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His bondsman and Messenger.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala declares:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوْتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُمْ مُّسْلِمُوْنَ

O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].[1]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala states:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوْا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِيْ خَلَقَكُمْ مِّنْ نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيْرًا وَنِسَاءً وَاتَّقُوْا اللَّهَ الَّذِيْ تَسَاءَلُوْنَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيْبًا

O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed, Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.[2]

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوْا اللَّهَ وَقُوْلُوْا قَوْلًا سَدِيْدًا يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوْبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيْمًا

O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.[3]

 

Din (religion) is one of the five necessities, the protection of which is incumbent upon a Muslim. A man’s fortune in this world and the Hereafter is dependent on his Din. The more he guards his Din, the more honour and respect will be conferred upon him.

Sayyidina Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma reports that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stated:

 

و جعل الذل و الصغار على من خالف أمري

Contempt and ignobility are the lot of those who oppose my command.[4]

 

The honour of the Ummah is preserved on account of its adherence to Din. Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu proclaimed:

 

إنا كنا أذل قوم فأعزنا الله بالإسلام فمهما نطلب العز بغير ما أعزنا الله به أذلنا الله

We were the most debased nation. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala conferred honour upon us by awarding us Islam. No sooner we seek honour in anything besides that with which Allah has honoured us, Allah will dishonour us.[5]

 

For our honour and admiration to be sustained and for us to reach the summit of our reputation and domination as a Muslim nation, it is incumbent upon every Muslim to preserve his Din and uphold its foundation. Preservation of Din is achieved by adopting and applying its injunctions, unshackling it from everything that is not part of it, and challenging everything that violates or denigrates it.

One of the most disastrous ways of attacking Islam is to attack the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum for they are our link to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They are the transmitters of his Din and the carriers of his responsibility. They are trusted, reliable, and dependable in the understanding of Din and comprehension of its ahkam (laws). They hold the greatest superiority over every generation of the Ummah that succeeds them. It comes with no surprise, that appreciation of their struggles is mandatory, by way of loyalty to them and defence of their honour through every avenue and means available.

Authoring books in this field is of critical importance and one of the most momentous channels to preserve the Din, since it is connected to the very foundation of true pristine Islam. I therefore desired that I secure my share in this field and put my shoulder to the wheel, exhausting all my efforts, so that I may accomplish my objective of defending the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, owing to my love for these chosen individuals. Here is my humble treatise which centres around the eminent Sahabi, Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which I have marked Badhl al Ikhlas fi Sirat ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu (Surrendering Loyalty in the Biography of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu).

After the introduction, I have gathered his biography and life story. That is followed by misconceptions spread about him, coupled with their refutation and underlining their corruption in the light of the principles of absolute scholarship, while adhering to the standard analytical inductive method of reasoning.

I hope that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala accepts it solely for His pleasure, makes it a means of obliterating sins and acquiring salvation from His punishment and anger. I desire that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala makes it beneficial for the writer, reader, and one studying it. He is the Patron and All Powerful to accomplish this.

 

Motivations for choosing this Topic

There are many factors that prompted me to research this subject, some of which are listed hereunder:

  1. I have not come across a detailed research on this topic.

 

  1. I have witnessed an abundance of unsound narrations which have blemished the image of this esteemed and celebrated personality. These reports attack his integrity, biography, and prudency; whereas he was one of the trusted men of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who served as a governor and military leader under his command. It is sufficient as a badge of honour for him that he is the recipient of the lofty accolade announced from the prophetic institute (may Allah’s choicest salutations, peace, and greetings be upon him):

أسلم الناس و آمن عمرو بن العاص

People entered the fold of Islam whereas ‘Amr ibn al ‘As believed with sincerity.

 

This declaration will appear later in this treatise. This hadith acted as one of the convincing inspirations to me getting down to thoroughly examine conflicting narrations so that the true image of this illustrious Companion becomes manifest and the flawed notions which have taken root in the minds of some—due to unsound reports—may be removed.

 

  1. This theme is considered a primary block from the fundamentals of Din. It is of considerable importance because the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum are the transmitters of Din to us. Criticising them is akin to criticising Din, in fact, akin to criticising the Being who selected them for His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam―and we declare Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala purity from that. Examining these (unsound) reports and pointing out their corruption is a shield from the attacks on the Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which emanated from those who rely on such flawed reports.

 

  1. Defending the honour of the Muslims is recognised as a great act of worship and obedience, as highlighted in the hadith of Sayyidah Asma’ bint Yazid radiya Llahu ‘anha, which she heard from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

من ذب عن لحم أخيه بالغيبة كان حقا على الله أن يعتقه من النار

The person who protects the flesh of a believer from [being eaten through] backbiting, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala assumes responsibility to free him from Hellfire.[6]

 

What a lofty level will be attained by defending the Companions of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and protecting their honour!

 

Earlier Researches

The early and contemporary scholars of Islam have been extremely solicitous to write about the Beloved Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum by enumerating their virtues, highlighting our duty towards them, and composing their biographies. Some books are exclusively regarding them while others include their mention, coupled with a host of other themes. The books which deal exclusively with the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum are divided into two categories. Books of the first category discuss the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in general like Fada’il al Sahabah of Ahmed ibn Hambal (d. 241 A.H.) and Fada’il al Sahabah of al Nasa’i (d. 303 A.H.). The second category focuses on a particular Sahabi, like Fada’il Abi Bakr al Siddiq of al ‘Ushari (d. 451 A.H) and Manaqib Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib of Ibn al Maghazili (d. 483 A.H).

At present, I am not going to list the books authored about the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in general. Rather, I intend to list the books about the eminent Sahabi, Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and more specifically those books which have examined the reports which taint the image and legacy of this renowned Sahabi. I have come across several books which have collected his biography, pre and post Islam. Some of them are listed hereunder:

 

  1. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by ‘Abbas Mahmud al ‘Aqqad

The author speaks about Sayyidina ‘Amr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu life from the time of his involvement in trade before Islam right up until his second reign over Egypt during the reign of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He analyses the reports about Sayyidina ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu to realise his true nature and psychology. He then connects those incidents and events which match his nature and psychology. The author has analysed these reports thoroughly and is convinced with his conclusions to the extent supporting the truth of a certain event due to its harmony with Sayyidina ‘Amr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu nature, despite the historians declaring it unsound.

 

  1. Tarikh ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by Hassan Ibrahim

This is a treatise was presented to the Faculty of Arts of the Egyptian University in the year 1921 in which many issues were discussed. It also earned a doctorate in arts. The book is inclusive of the biography of Sayyidina ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu from birth to death. The author has embedded firmly in his book the need to examine the personality of Sayyidina ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu saying:

 

وقد امتاز عمرو بين قومه بمزايا عديدة ظهر أثرها في أعماله ظهوراً بيناً، وتجلت صورتها للناس كلما ذكر اسمه ، فكانت ذات أثر كبير في أحوال الأمة الإسلامية: الدينية والسياسية والحربية والاجتماعية. وبتحليل نفس عمرو يعرف المرء الصلة بين مواهبه وبين هذه الأحوال ، تلك النفس التي حللناها فيما مررنا به من استقصاء أخباره وتتبع آثاره وذكر أقواله المأثورة وحكمه التالدة .

‘Amr was distinct among his nation with an abundance of specialities, the effects of which became manifestly apparent in his actions. His distinctions loom large every time his name is mentioned. He has had a huge impact in the development of the Muslim ummah; on a religious, political, military, and social level. By analysing Sayyidina ‘Amr, a person realises the connection between his talents and these occurrences. A personality whom we have understood in the light of the narrations concerning him, by delving into his life, and through quoting his statements and wisdom. [7]

 

His book is distinct in the sense that he judges between the controversial reports of the historians by comparing them and favouring the most reasonable one.

 

  1. Al Qa’id al Muslim wa al Safir al Amin by Major general Mahmud Shit Khattab

The author concentrates on the military domain, which is a significant aspect of his life. Quite fitting too, since he is the Major general.

 

  1. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As al Qa’id wa al Siyasi by Dr ‘Abdur Rahim ‘Ali

The author focuses on the leadership and military expertise of Sayyidina ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was his motivation in writing this book as stated in the introduction. You will find him quoting narrations and analysing them thereby deducing the personality of Sayyidina ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 

  1. Hayat ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by Mahmud Shalbi

The author uses an eloquent narrative pattern. He journeys through his virtues, military expeditions, the conquests he participated in, and the administrative powers at his disposal. He then speaks on him joining the ranks of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu when the conflict between the latter and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu broke out. He ends the book with his death.

 

  1. Mashahir al ‘Arab (‘Amr ibn al ‘As Fatih Misr) of ‘Abdul Salam al ‘Ushari

The author uses the fluent narrative style. He begins the book with the Fudul Confederacy[8] and then discusses him being despatched to Abyssinia by the Quraysh to challenge al Najashi to return those Muslims who emigrated to his land. Further, he discusses his Islam, his appointment by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as commander in chief of the Dhat al Salasil expedition, and his dispatchment to the King of Bahrain to present Islam to him. This is followed by the Conquests of Syria and the Conquest of Egypt during the reigns of Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Towards the end, he talks about him joining the ranks of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu when the conflict arose between him and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He ends with his demise.

 

All the above books are wonderful and useful. As they say: no book is bereft of benefit. However, due to lack of focus on the authenticity of reports in some of the books and the lack of scrutiny in others, these books contain certain narrations which portray the distinguished Sahabi in a negative light or characterise him with things that are in disagreement with the exalted nature of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.[9]

It is appropriate, rather mandatory, for one who intends studying the personality of a Sahabi from historical reports to analyse those narrations and contextualise them in the context of their civilisation, not our civilisation or culture.

 

  1. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As al Amir al Mujahid by Dr Munir Muhammad al Ghadban

The best author I have come across who pays special attention to authentic material when penning the life story of this distinguished Sahabi, coupled with calling out the unsound narrations which have tainted his biography, is Dr Munir Muhammad al Ghadban in his book ‘Amr ibn al ‘As al Amir al Mujahid. However, the focus of the book does not allow the collection of all unsound narrations and their analysis, since the author’s object is to present the correct historical image of this eminent Sahabi radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 

Throughout my preparation of this treatise, I was unable to locate a book which tackled the angle I intended, i.e. to thoroughly examine unsound narrations. Only after completing my treatise did I stumble upon the book Dar’ al Intiqas ‘an ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by Muhammad Kamal.[10] This is a beneficial book. However, my treatise is much broader as I present the misconceptions and then refute them. Before doing this, I set up an introduction wherein I emphasise the lofty status of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and present a quick glance on the fundamentals of a Muslim’s creed. I discuss the fitnah that took place during the era of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and a Muslim’s stance on it. Then, in section one, I give a brief account of the life of Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu so that I may highlight his true personality and nature and so that, together with the introduction, it serves as a basis for the reader to drive away misconceptions on a whole, before entering into section two (where refutation of the common misconceptions about him are taken up in detail).

 

In this treatise, I have adhered to the following methodology:

  1. Presentation of a brief biography of the prominent Sahabi under discussion, relying on sound reliable sources.
  2. Listing of misconceptions spread about the Sahabi Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu, considering their authenticity, and refuting them.
  3. Refutation of these misconceptions in one of the following ways:

a. Scrutinising the sanad (chain) of the narration and classifying it as either authentic or weak, with the support of the statements of the scholars.

b. Close examination of the text of the narration (from the angle of authenticity or inaccuracy) using the ensuing manners of examination.

    • Some words of the text itself indicating to its falseness.
    • Historical investigation.
    • Comparing several reports and exposing the inconsistency between them―if found―which leads to their authenticity falling away.

c. Interpretation of the narration in the best possible manner when the sanad is authentic or hypothetically taken as authentic.

d. Highlighting the stance a Muslim ought to observe towards an error of a Sahabi, if the report is taken as authentic.

 

NEXT⇒ Preface – Discussion One: The status of the Sahabah in Islam and an overview of the Islamic belief regarding them.


[1] Surah Al ‘Imran: 102.

[2] Surah al Nisa’: 1.

[3] Surah al Ahzab: 70, 71.

[4] Musnad Ahmed, vol. 9, Hadith: 5668; Sahih al Bukhari, (chainless), book on Jihad, chapter on arrows, vol. 3 pg. 1066; Sunan Abi Dawood, Hadith: 4031; al Albani: al Irwa’, vol. 5 pg. 109. Al Albani classified it hassan.

[5] Al Mustadrak, vol. 1 pg. 130. Al Hakim declared it sahih on the standard of al Bukhari and Muslim. Al Dhahabi concurs. Al Albani declared it sahih in al Sahihah, vol. 1 pg. 50.

[6] Musnad Ahmed, 45, Hadith: 27536; al Mujam al Kabir, vol. 24 pg. 176. The wording is Ahmed’s. Al Albani declared it sahih in Ghayat al Maram, pg. 246.

[7] Tarikh ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, pg. 284.

[8] A confederacy formed at Makkah for suppressing violence and injustice and protecting the rights of the weak and the poor. This historical confederacy was attended by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as well. [The Sealed Nectar, pg. 77.]

[9] For example, accusing him of stirring up fitnah against Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, that he joined the ranks of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu for worldly gains, he deceived in the arbitration, and that Sayyidina Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhu was duped. The refutation of all these falsities will appear in section two.

[10] I have extracted and referenced from this book at three places of my treatise.

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