Misconception 3 – Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam warned against the coalition of ‘Amr and Muawiyah and that their coalition would bring no good

Misconception 2 – Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prayed against him
December 8, 2021
Misconceptions related to his relationship with the Sahabah: Misconception 1 – Inciting the murder of ‘Uthman
December 8, 2021

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Misconception 3 – Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam warned against the coalition of ‘Amr and Muawiyah and that their coalition would bring no good

 

This is based on the following narration of:

 

عن زيد بن أرقم أنه دخل على معاوية فإذا عمرو ابن العاص جالس معه على السرير فلما رأى ذلك زيد جاء حتى رمی بنفسه بينهما فقال له عمرو بن العاص أما وجدت لك مجلسا إلا أن تقطع بيني وبين أمير المؤمنين فقال زيد إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله غزا غزوة وأنتما معه فرآكما مجتمعين فنظر إليكما نظرا شديدة ثم رآكما اليوم الثاني واليوم الثالث كل ذلك يديم النظر إليكما فقال في اليوم الثالث إذا رأيتم معاوية وعمرو بن العاص مجتمعين ففرقوا بينهما فإنهما لن يجتمعا على خير

Zaid ibn Arqam came to see Muawiyah, and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As was sitting with him on a bed. When Zaid saw this, he squeezed himself between the two of them.

‘Amr ibn al ‘As said to him, “Did you not find any other place that you had to put yourself between the Amir al Mu’minin and I?”

Zaid replied, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went on an expedition with the both of you accompanying him. He noticed the two of you together and looked at the both of you with a steely gaze. He then noticed the two of you together on the second and third day. He would stare at the two of you for a long time. On the third day he said, ‘If you see Muawiyah and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As together, then separate them as a coalition between them will bring no good.’”[1]

 

Answer

This doubt can be answered in three ways:

 

1. Studying the Chains of Transmission

This narration is extremely weak.

Ibn Muzahim has recorded it[2] from — Abu ‘Abdur Rahman — al ‘Ala ibn Yazid al Qurashi — from Jafar ibn Muhammad who said, “Zaid ibn Arqam came to see Muawiyah and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As was sitting with him on a bed…”

This chain of transmission has two defects”

  1. Nasr ibn Muzahim. We have already discussed him.
  2. A break (Inqita’) in the chain. Jafar ibn Muhammad is Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib al Hashimi, Abu ‘Abdullah and famously known as al Sadiq.

Truthful, and Imam and a jurist. He passed away the year 148 A.H.[3] at the age of 58 and he was born in the year 80 A.H.[4] This means he was born at least 30 years after the death of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, since the latter passed away around 40 or as some have opined after 50 A.H.[5]

 

The narration has another chain of transmission as recorded by both al Tabarani[6] and Ibn ‘Asakir[7] who narrated from Yahya ibn ‘Uthman ibn Salih — from Sa’id ibn ‘Ufayr — from Shaddad ibn ‘Abdur Rahman[8] from the offspring of Shaddad ibn Aws — from his father — from Ya’la ibn Shaddad — from his father who said:

 

أنه دخل على معاوية رضي الله عنه وهو جالس وعمرو بن العاص على فراشه فجلس شداد بينهما وقال هل تدریان ما يجلسني بينكما إني سمعت رسول الله و يقول إذا رأيتموهما جميعا ففرقوا بينهما فوالله ما اجتمعا إلا على غدرة فأحببت أن أفرق بينكما

He came to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu whilst he was sitting on a bed with ‘Amr ibn al ‘As. Shaddad sat between the two and said, “Do you know why I have sat between the two of you? I heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say, ‘When you see the two of them together then separate them. By Allah! They will only act treacherously together.’ I thus wished to separate them.”

 

Ibn ‘Asakir said, “Sa’id ibn ‘Abdur Rahman and his father are unknown. Al Hafiz has concurred with him.[9]

Ibn Abi Hatim whilst discussing Muhammad ibn ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Shaddad said, “I asked my father regarding him and he said, ‘Muhammad ibn ‘Abdur Rahman and his father are unknown. Further. His narrations from his father — from his grandfather Shaddad ibn Aws is Munkar.’”[10]

Al Haythami said, “Al Tabarani has narrated it. In its chain is, ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Ya’la ibn Shaddad. I do not know him. The remainder of the narrators are reliable.”

Dear reader, it has become quite evident to you that this narration is extremely weak. It is not permissible to attribute to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. How can it be so whilst Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had praised ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu by saying:

 

ابنا العاص مؤمنان هشام وعمرو

The two sons of al ‘As: Hisham and ‘Amr are believers.

 

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam held him in a position of trust. He was one of the governors and tax collectors for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. As far as Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is concerned, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had enough trust in him to appoint him as his scribe and prayed for his guidance as already explained.

 

2. Treacherous nature

The statement, ‘They will only act treacherously together’ means that both of them had treacherous natures, i.e. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a treacherous person and Muawiyah ibn Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was likewise treacherous, an impossible accusation.

And if ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was by himself a pious and trustworthy individual, then what would be the issue of two trustworthy pious individuals being together? Where would the treachery emerge from? This is like pure water meeting pure water. Where would the dirt come from?

Further, understand the following statements of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the context of leadership:

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said as recorded in Sahih Muslim:

 

ما من أمير يلي أمر المسلمين ثم لا يجهد لهم وينصح إلا لم يدخل معهم الجنة

A ruler who, having obtained control over the affairs of the Muslims, does not strive for their betterment and does not serve them sincerely shall not enter Paradise with them.

 

In another narration he states:

 

ما من عبد يسترعيه الله رعية يموت يوم يموت وهو غاش لرعيته إلا حرم الله عليه الجنة

Any governor in charge of Muslim subjects who dies while acting dishonestly towards them will be excluded by Allah from Paradise.[11]

 

These two narrations demonstrate the qualities of a leader as far as striving for the betterment of the Muslims and being sincere in serving them is concerned. Amongst the greatest demonstrations of sincerity is electing governors who are trustworthy and able.

On the other hand, one of the greatest forms of deceit and dishonesty is electing leaders who are treacherous. Yet we see Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam having elected ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu as leader over the army at the expedition of Dhat al Salasil notwithstanding Abu Bakr and ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu presence in the army. He then dispatched him as leader to ‘Umman where he governed till the passing of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Thus, no person of sound mind and intellect can claim that the advice of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the context of leadership roles is in complete contrast to his actions. He took the matter of leadership seriously, to the extent of prohibiting Abu Dharr radiya Llahu ‘anhu from any positions of leadership citing his meek nature. How could he then appoint someone as governor and military leader; a de-facto leader in worldly and religious matters whose nature was treacherous. Further, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lived under divine rectification in the instance of an error of judgment. Accordingly, had Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam misjudged him, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala would have notified him and rectified the affair just as Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had notified him of the hypocrite individuals. The question must then be asked again; can any person of sound mind and intellect fathom ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be a treacherous person who was appointed to—and remained in—positions of leadership by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?

The matter of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu went beyond just appointing him as governor and tax collector. He was praised by the sacred prophetic words. And the Khalifas after the Prophet you ask? They too kept him in the positions of leadership following the prophetic tradition.

Once this has become clear to you, it ought to be understood that it is impossible and impermissible to harbour ill thoughts of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Khalifas after him by accusations of biased and treacherous appointments. Any person who has his head screwed on correctly and his heart in the right place will attest to this.

In reality, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a man of impeccable character which was the reason for his appointment without doubt or reservation. The attestations to his nobility are his own actions; his jihad and his tireless efforts in spreading Islam lands, near and distant.

Add to this, the attentions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself! Al Tirmidhi and others have reported Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying:

أسلم الناس و آمن عمرو بن العاص

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

 

And:

ابنا العاص مؤمنان هشام وعمرو

The two sons of al ‘As: Hisham and ‘Amr are believers.[12]

 

3. Invalid Narration Content

The narration states ‘They will only act treacherously together’. This is invalid. Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhuma formed a coalition of goodness. They were together at the expedition of Hunayn after the Conquest of Makkah, at Tabuk after that, at Hajjah al Wida’, and at the expeditions to the Levant. No narrations state them to have fallen back from these monumental occasions.

Yaqut al Hamawi states:

وفتحت عكة في حدود سنة 15 على يد عمرو بن العاص ومعاوية بن أبي سفيان

‘Ukka was conquered around the 15th year at the hands of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan.[13]

 

Ibn Kathir writes in al Bidayah wa al Nihayah:

 

فبينما عمر في الجابية إذا بكردوس من الروم بأيديهم سيوف مسللة فسار إليهم المسلمون بالسلاح فقال عمر إن هؤلاء قوم يستأمنون فساروا نحوهم فإذا هم جند من بيت المقدس يطلبون الأمان والصلح من أمير المؤمنين حين سمعوا بقدومه فأجابهم عمر رضي الله عنه إلى ما سألوا وكتب لهم كتاب أمان ومصالحة وضرب عليهم الجزية واشترط عليهم شروطا ذكرها ابن جرير وشهد في الكتاب خالد بن الوليد وعمرو بن العاص وعبد الرحمن بن عوف ومعاوية بن أبي سفيان وهو كاتب الكتاب

When ‘Umar was at al Jabiyah there was an approaching detachment of Roman horsemen with unsheathed swords. ‘Umar said, “These are people looking for an assurance of safety.”

They continued to them and found them to be from Bayt al Maqdis who were seeking to enact a peace treaty with the Amir al Mu’minin since they heard of his arrival. ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu responded to their request and had a peace treaty drawn up for them. He also imposed a tax upon them and stipulated certain other conditions which have been recorded by Ibn Jarir. The witnesses to this document were, Khalid ibn al Walid, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf, and Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan. And he, i.e. Muawiyah, wrote out the peace treaty. This was in the year 15 A.H.[14]

 

NEXT⇒ Misconceptions related to his relationship with the Sahabah: Misconception 1 – Inciting the murder of ‘Uthman


[1] Waq’ah Siffin, pgs. 218-219; al Amini: al Ghadir, al Amini: al Ghadir, vol. 2 pg. 128.

[2] Waq’ah Siffin, pgs. 218-219.

[3] Ibn Hajar: Al Taqrib: 950.

[4] Al Mizzi: Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 5 pg. 97.

[5] Ibn Hajar: Al Taqrib: 5053.

[6] Al Tabarani: al Mujam al Kabir, vol. 7 pg. 289.

[7] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 169.

[8] In Tarikh Dimashq and Lisan al Mizan the name is recorded as ‘Sa’id’ ibn ‘Abdur Rahman. However, the correct name is Shaddad as found in the other books of reference.

[9] Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 3 pg. 36.

[10] Ibn Abi Hatim: Al Jarh wa al Ta’dil, vol. 7 pg. 315.

[11] Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 142.

[12] See, Muhammad Kamal, Durʾ al Intiqas ‘an ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, pgs. 46-48.

[13] Yaqut: Mujam al Buldan, vol. 4 pg. 144.

[14] Muhammad Kamal, Durʾ al Intiqas ‘an ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, pg. 50.

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