Shattering the Mirage: A Response to ‘Abdul Hussain Sharaf al Din’s al Muraja’at: Letter 63 and 64

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Letter 63

Safar 3, 1330

 

I. Shi’a Texts Rejected as Testimonials

II. Why Have Others Refrained from Quoting Them?

III. Asking for More Texts

 

1) As long as these texts are not quoted by non­Shi’as, Sunnis are not bound to accept them as testimonials.

 

2) Had they been verified, why has nobody else quoted them?

 

3) Let us refer only to the hadith narrated by Sunnis in this regard,

 

Wassalam.

Sincerely,

S

 

Letter 64

Safar 4, 1330

 

I. Above Texts were Quoted upon Request

II. Sahihs are Proofs against the Majority

III. Not Quoted Because of Their Existence in Our Own Sahihs

 

1) We have cited those texts in order to acquaint you with them and in response to your own request.

 

2) Our own testimonial against your argument is what we have already quoted from your own sahihs.

 

3) The reason why those texts were not included is due to the prejudice, with which we are familiar, of those who concealed their grudge, and hid their animosity, from the party of Pharaoh during the early epoch of Islam, worshippers of authority and domination who spent everything they possessed of might and means to hide the contributions of Ahlul Bayt and put out their light in every land.

They forced people to deny their feats and attributes through means and methods of both tempting and terrorizing, through their wealth once, and through their positions and political stature another. They bestowed their favours upon those who denied these merits, dismissing, banishing or even murdering those who believed in them.

You know that the texts related to the imamate, and the promises of caliphate, are held with apprehension by those who fear that such texts may jeopardize their thrones or undermine the very foundations of their governments. The safety of these texts against the tampering of such people, of that of their followers and flatterers, and their ability to reach us through many sources and methods, is, indeed, a miracle testifying to their own truth. This is so due to the fact that those who denied the status of Ahlul Bayt, usurped the positions rightly and divinely assigned to them, used to incur the worst punishment upon anyone who showed love for Ahlul Bayt.

They would shave his beard, convey him on the back of a donkey and tour the market­places, humiliating him, beating him and depriving him of even the most simple and basic human right, till he would lose all hope for justice from those rulers and despond of having friends in the community.1

So, if anyone spoke well of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, he would be disowned, and retribution would fall upon him; therefore, his possessions would be confiscated, and he would be executed. How many tongues praising ‘Ali were cut off? How many eyes which looked at him with respect were gouged? How many hands which pointed out to him were amputated? How many feet which walked towards him affectionately were sawed? How many homes of his followers were burnt? And how many of their families were banished…?

Among the narrators of hadith and “protectors of the legacy” were people who worshipped those monarchs and tyrants as well as their rulers other than worshipping Allah, the Exalted, the Sublime, and they sought nearness to them with all their resources of scholarship, thus distorting, testifying for the authenticity of this or against the authenticity of that, just like many whom we see these days of flatterers among sheikhs, hired scholars, bad judges who race to please the rulers by endorsing their policies, be they just or unjust, calling their edicts correct, be they truly correct or corrupt; so, the ruler does not even have to ask them for a verdict in support of his regime or to indict his opponents, for they do so according to his own wish and according to the requirements of his policy, even if this means opposing the Book and the Sunnah, thus violating the nation’s consensus, out of their own eagerness to safeguard their positions, or due to their coveting of a position they aspire to acquire. What a distance separates these from those!

The latter did not value their governments, while the others needed their monarchs so badly, since they would use them to fight Allah and His Messenger. For this reason, they enjoyed with the monarchs and rulers a special lofty status, and their word was heeded; therefore, they commanded authority and prestige, and they were fanatical against the accurate ahadith if the latter pointed out to an attribute of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam or of other members of the household of Prophethood; so, they would reject it strongly, dropping it violently, attributing to its narrators Rafidism – and Rafidism is the worst vice according in their judgment. This is their policy towards the traditions lauding ‘Ali, especially if they are held in high esteem by the Shi’as.

As regarding the flatterers, these have had friends in the specially high class in every land; they would speak highly of them, and they have for followers secular scholars who would publicize their views, from among those who make a show of asceticism and piety, among the leaders and tribal chiefs.

When the latter hear what they say regarding rejecting those authentic ahadith, they would hold their statements as gospel­revealed and would publicize them among the commoners and the ignorant, thus making them well­known in every land and using them as principles upheld in every time. There is another group of people who were custodians of hadith in those days, and who were forced by fear to overlook the ahadith praising ‘Ali and Ahlul Bayt ‘alayh al Salam.

If those poor folks were asked about what those flatterers were saying regarding rejecting the accurate sunan containing ‘Ali’s contributions and those of Ahlul Bayt ‘alayh al Salam, they would fear, if they told the general public of what they knew, that a blind, deaf and dumb dissension might occur.

They were, therefore, forced out of fear to seek shelter by side­tracking the subject for fear of being rebuked by the flatterers and those who publicize for them, and for fear of those who repeat their words like parrots from among the populace and ignorant commoners.

Kings and rulers ordered people to denounce the Commander of the Faithful. They pressured them to do so once by tempting them with money, and once by threatening them with their armies and dreadful promises of retribution, thus forcing them to belittle him and his lineage, so much so that they painted a disgusting picture of him in their books and narrated ahadith whereby ears feel offended, making the cursing of his name from the pulpits a tradition followed by the Muslims during both ‘Iids and on Fridays.

The Light of Allah cannot be put out, and the contributions of His walis cannot be hidden; otherwise, those traditions would not have reached us through the sources of both groups, accurately and explicitly implying his caliphate. No texts are more consecutively reported than the texts in his praise, and I, by Allah, wonder about the favours which He has bestowed upon ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, His servant and the brother of His Messenger, how his light pierced through the clouds, the pitch of darkness, and survived the tumultuous waves, letting its ray shine on the world like midday sun!

 

4) You may refer, in addition to all the irrefutable proofs you have heard, to the text of inheritance, for it by itself is an irrefutable proof, Wassalam.

 

Sincerely,

Sh

 

Footnotes

  1. Refer to page 15, Vol. 3, of Sharh Nahjul Balaghah by Ibn Abul-Hadid, and you will find out what atrocities befell Ahlul Bayt ‘alayh al Salam and their Shi’ahs in those days. Imam al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam has made a statement in this regard to which we refer the researchers.

 

Discussions

The character of the Sheikh al Azhar is depicted obtuse. What would motivate him to ask for the texts from the Shia sources only to later object by stating that these are inadmissible? It doesn’t require much of an imagination to see through the propaganda.

It comes without surprise that ‘Abdul Hussain’s scathing attack on the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum is a mere smokescreen to camouflage the lies and forgeries in his own tradition. The real reason why many of these narrations don’t appear in the Sunni Hadith collections is self-evident.

 

History of Shia distortions

The mendacity of the Shia was known early on. Shortly after the demise of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu some of the judgements which were ascribed to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu were presented to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. When he studied this document he only transcribed a small portion of it and exclaimed “By Allah, these are not the judgements of ‘Ali; or else he went astray.”[1]

He meant, by this statement, that it is not possible for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to have judged in accordance to what was found on that document; someone had forged these verdicts in the name of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Ahlus Sunnah cannot be blamed for this.

Abu Ishaq al Sabi’i informs us that when people innovated after the demise of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, one of his true companions exclaimed, “May Allah destroy them! What knowledge they have corrupted!”[2]

The reality of the Shia playing a pivotal role in the forgery of Hadith is attested to by their own scholars. The Shia scholar, Ibn Abi al Hadid, writes in his commentary of Nahj al Balaghah:

 

The root of fabrications in hadith of virtues originated with the Shia. Indeed, they fabricated abundant Ahadith about their companion (‘Ali) in the early stages; motivated by their enmity towards their adversaries.[3]

 

The Shia authority on Rijal, al Kashshi writes:

 

Yunus said, “I visited Iraq and found a group of the students of Abu Jafar there. I found the students of Abu ‘Abdullah in abundance. I heard (Hadith) from them and took their books (from them) and later presented it to Abu al Hassan al Rida. He denied a large number of their Ahadith; that they could possibly be attributed to Abu ‘Abdullah, and said, “Indeed, Abu al Khattab forged a number of Ahadith against Abu ‘Abdullah. May Allah curse Abu al Khattab! Likewise the students of Abu al Khattab smuggle these narrations into the books of the students of Abu ‘Abdullah until this day.”[4]

 

Outrageous Allegations

‘Abdul Hussain attempts to draw attention away from the lack of any textual evidence which explicitly nominate ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam successor by leveling accusations againts the earliest Muslims. He refers to the earliest Muslims as “The Party of Pharaoh,” accusing them of concealing their animosity towards Ahlul Bayt and using their power, position and wealth to blot out the true status and rank of Ahlul Bayt. He claims that they used their financial influence to bribe people, demanding that they do not relate the narrations that jeopardize their authority; and when this approach failed they banished and murdered those who sought to mention their praise.

Despite the graphic details in describing the actions of those he accuses of bearing hatred, ‘Abdul Hussain was cautious to resort to allusions when it came to identifying them. All of this without any shred of evidence or remote reference.

We know, with absolute certainty, that his version of history could not possibly apply to the period which preceded the Caliphate of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The evidence to the contrary is in such abundance that it would detract from the purpose of our discusions. However, we may point a number of incidents which provide some details that substantiate our statement, incidents which have been well-established in terms of the historical accuracy.

 

The Qur’an’s description of the Sahabah

We know from the Qur’an that the first generation of Muslims, the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, were blessed with divine approval.

The purity of their hearts and the sincerity of their faith is attested to by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala who declared, for eternity, that He is pleased with them.

 

لَّقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمْ فَأَنزَلَ السَّكِيْنَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثَٰبَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيْبًا

Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.[5]

 

Allah attests to the fact that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Companions were believers, identifies the duty of enjoining good and forbiding evil as their hallmark features; moreover He describes them as the best of all nations. Are we to expect such a community to fail in its duty?

 

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُوْنَ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُوْنَ بِاللَّهِ

You, are the best nation ever brought  forth  for [the good of] humankind: You enjoin what is right, and you  forbid what is wrong, and you believe in Allah.[6]

 

It might be said that this verse is general and could apply to the entire Ummah; the response is that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum are included by necessity since the verse would otherwise be meaningless at the time of its revelation. The verse is thus descriptive in terms of its initial audience and conditional for any later audience.

Allah has also identified them as role-models for the coming generations. After announcing His divine pleasure on the earliest Muslims, the Muhajirin and the Ansar, He promises His divine pleasure for those who follow the Muhajirin and Ansar with excellence, before promising all three groups a lofty abode in the next life. Is thise in anyway consistent with the community described by ‘Abdul Hussain?

 

وَالسَّٰبِقُوْنَ الْأَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهَٰجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُمْ بِإِحْسٰنٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّٰتٍ تَجْرِيْ تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهٰرُ خٰلِدِيْنَ فِيْهَآ أَبَدًا ذٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيْمُ

And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajirin and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.[7]

 

Allah acknowledges the struggles and pains of the Muhajirin and Ansar, the first group gave up their homes and wealth, the second group opened up their homes and shared their wealth. Furthermore, Allah testifies to the sincerity of their sacrifices, and that it was to earn Allah’s bounty and pleasure, and to support the cause of Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Allah also praises a third group who have yet to come. This group is praised for its loyalty and goodwill towards those who preceded them in faith. Were they going to endure all those difficulties only to sabotage the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cause after his demise? This verse is a testimony of their commitment to the cause until their departure from this world; it would otherwise be redundant for the coming generations to be praised for praying for their predecessors in faith.

 

لِلْفُقَرَآءِ الْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ الَّذِيْنَ أُخْرِجُوْا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنْصُرُوْنَ اللّٰهَ وَرَسُوْلَهٗ أُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُوْنَ وَالَّذِيْنَ تَبَوَّءُوا الدَّارَ وَالْإِيْمَانَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ يُحِبُّوْنَ مَنْ هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَا يَجِدُوْنَ فِيْ صُدُوْرِهِمْ حَاجَةً مِمَّآ أُوْتُوْا وَيُؤْثِرُوْنَ عَلٰى أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ وَمَنْ يُّوْقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهٖ فَأُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُوْنَ وَالَّذِيْنَ جَآءُوْا مِنْۢ بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُوْلُوْنَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِيْنَ سَبَقُوْنَا بِالْإِيْمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِيْ قُلُوْبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوْفٌ رَحِيْمٌ

For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounty from Allah and [His] approval and supporting Allah and His Messenger, [there is also a share]. Those are the truthful ones. And [also for] those who were settled in al Dar [Madinah] and [adopted] the faith before them [before their emigration]. They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful. And [there is a share for] those who came after them, saying, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.”[8]

 

Allah bears testimony to the mutual support and loyalty among the Muhajirin and Ansar

 

إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ ءَامَنُوْا وَهَاجَرُوْا وَجٰهَدُوْا بِأَمْوٰلِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِيْنَ ءَاوَوْا وَّنَصَرُوْٓا أُوْلَٓئِكَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءُ بَعْضٍ

Indeed, those who have believed and emigrated and fought with their wealth and lives in the cause of Allah and those who gave shelter and aided – they are allies of one another.[9]

 

Immediately thereafter Allah affirms that they are true believers:

 

وَالَّذِيْنَ ءَامَنُوْا وَهَاجَرُوْا وَجٰهَدُوْا فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِيْنَ ءَاوَوْا وَّنَصَرُوْْٓ أُوْلَٓئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ حَقًّا لَّهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيْمٌ

Those who have believed and emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah and those who gave shelter and aided – it is they who are the believers, truly. For them is forgiveness and noble provision.[10]

 

It might be asked: What about those who accepted Islam later on and did not undertake Hijrah? What is their situation? The previous verses refer to the Muhajirin and Ansar. Allah promises this group Paradise as well even though he distinguished between their status and that of the Muhajirin and Ansar.

 

لَا يَسْتَوِيْ مِنْكُمْ مَّنْ أَنفَقَ مِنْ قَبْلِ الْفَتْحِ وَقٰتَلَ أُوْلَٓئِكَ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً مِّنَ الَّذِيْنَ أَنفَقُوْا مِنْۢ بَعْدُ وَقٰتَلُوْا وَكُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنَىٰ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُوْنَ خَبِيْرٌ

Not equal among you are those who spent before the conquest [of Makkah] and fought [and those who did so after it]. Those are greater in degree than they who spent afterwards and fought. But to all Allah has promised the best [reward]. And Allah, with what you do, is Acquainted.[11]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala informs the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that He has provided support to him through the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Are those whom Allah has selected to support His Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam so unworthy in the eyes of ‘Abdul Hussain that he accuses them of chasing position and power? Furthermore, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala attributes the unity of their hearts to Himself. Allah repeatedly refers to Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum as the believers.

 

هُوَ الَّذِيٓ أَيَّدَكَ بِنَصْرِهِۦ وَبِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوْبِهِمْ لَوْ أَنفَقْتَ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيْعًا مَّآ أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوْبِهِمْ وَلٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْ إِنَّهُۥ عَزِيْزٌ حَكِيْمٌ يَٰٓأَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَسْبُكَ اللَّهُ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ

It is He who supported you with His help and with the believers. And brought together their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have brought their hearts together; but Allah brought them together. Indeed, He is Exalted in Might and Wise. O Prophet, sufficient for you is Allah and for whoever follows you of the believers.[12]

 

While ‘Abdul Hussain accuses them of seeking positions through bribery, and using their wealth to conceal the status of the Ahlul Bayt, we find that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala praises them stating that wealth and business would never distract them from being concious of Allah:

 

رِجَالٌ لَّا تُلْهِيْهِمْ تِجٰرَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَوٰةِ وَإِيتَآءِ الزَّكَوٰةِ يَخَافُوْنَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيْهِ الْقُلُوْبُ وَالْأَبْصٰرُ

There are men whom neither commerce nor selling divert from the remembrance of Allah, or from the establishment of the Prayer, or the giving of Zakat; they fear a Day wherein hearts and eyes will turn.[13]

 

The poor amongst the Sahabah were praised for their self-restraint, and the rich amongst them were praised for their spending. Are we to accept that those whose financial affairs were deserving of Divine pleasure would use their wealth at the expense of their Hereafter?

 

لِلْفُقَرَآءِ الَّذِيْنَ أُحْصِرُوْا فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ لَا يَسْتَطِيْعُوْنَ ضَرْبًا فِي الْأَرْضِ يَحْسَبُهُمُ الْجَاهِلُ أَغْنِيَآءَ مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ تَعْرِفُهُمْ بِسِيْمٰهُمْ لَا يَسْ‍َٔلُونَ النَّاسَ إِلْحَافًا وَمَا تُنفِقُوْا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِۦ عَلِيْمٌ الَّذِيْنَ يُنفِقُوْنَ أَموٰلَهُمْ بِالَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُوْنَ

[Charity is] for the poor who have been restricted for the cause of Allah, unable to move about in the land. An ignorant [person] would think them self-sufficient because of their restraint, but you will know them by their [characteristic] sign. They do not ask people persistently [or at all]. And whatever you spend of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. Those who spend their wealth [in Allah ‘s way] by night and by day, secretly and publicly – they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.[14]

 

Are we to imagine that those whose hearts had been united by Allah, and praised for their mutual relations would hold personal grudges and bear animosity in their hearts for one another? Could the community that was nurtured by Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam bear any resembance to the account given by ‘Abdul Hussain? This is a community which saw the culmination of Allah’s Religion and those who were the bearers of the torch of faith which Allah swore would not be extinguished.

 

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِيْنَ مَعَهُۥٓ أَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيْنَهُمْ

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves.

 

تَرَىٰهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَّبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوٰنًا سِيْمَاهُمْ فِيْ وُجُوْهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُوْدِ ذٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِي التَّورٰىةِ

You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah.

 

وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِي الْإِنْجِيْلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْ‍َٔهُۥ فَ‍َٔازَرَهُۥ فَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوىٰ عَلىٰ سُوْقِهِۦ يُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيْظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ

And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers.[15]

 

Notice that they are not only praised in the Qur’an but in previous scriptures as well. What a privelage!

 

History in perspective

If we consider both ‘Abdul Hussain’s version of history and compare it the the one given in the Qur’an, the contrast is unmistakeable. While the Qur’an provides an alternate portrait of the earliest Muslim community in general, what follows are specific incidents that are in harmony with the Qur’anic description.

‘Abdul Hussain accuses that the Sahabah of using power, position and wealth to deal a blow to the Ahlul Bayt, whereas the complete opposite is known to be true.

When Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha confronted Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu about her inheritence; he related to her what he had heard from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in this regard and he assured her that the distribution of income from her father’s properties would continue. Thereafter he pacified her by clearly stating that the rights of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family deserved higher priority than that of his own family.

 

عن عائشة أن فاطمة عليها السلام أرسلت إلى أبي بكر تسأله ميراثها من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فيما أفاء الله على رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم تطلب صدقة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم التي بالمدينة وفدك وما بقي من خمس خيبر فقال أبو بكر إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لا نورث ما تركنا فهو صدقة إنما يأكل آل محمد من هذا المال يعني مال الله ليس لهم أن يزيدوا على المأكل وإني والله لا أغير شيئا من صدقات النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم التي كانت عليها في عهد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ولأعملن فيها بما عمل فيها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فتشهد علي ثم قال إنا قد عرفنا يا أبا بكر فضيلتك وذكر قرابتهم من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وحقهم فتكلم أبو بكر فقال والذي نفسي بيده لقرابة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أحب إلي أن أصل من قرابتي

‘Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha relates that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam daughter, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha sent somebody to Abu Bakr asking him to give her her inheritance from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from what Allah had given to His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the form of Fay.[16] She asked for the Sadaqah (i.e. wealth assigned for charitable purposes) of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in Madinah, and Fadak, and what remained of the Khums of Khaybar

Abu Bakr said, “The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘We (Prophets), are not inherited, and whatever we leave behind is a charity, but the family of Muhammad may eat from this property, i.e. Allah’s property, but they have the right to take whatever the food they need, not more.’ By Allah! I will not bring any change in dealing with the Sadaqah of the Prophet, and I will administer it exactly as the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to.”

Then ‘Ali proclaimed the Shahadah and added, “O Abu Bakr! We acknowledge your virtue.” Then he (‘Ali) mentioned their own relationship to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and their rights.[17] Abu Bakr responded saying, “By He in Whose Hands lies my life. Fulfilling the rights of the family of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is more beloved to me than the rights of my own family!.”[18]

 

Moreover, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is on record saying:

 

عن أبي بكر رضي الله عنه أنه قال ارقبوا محمدًا صلى الله عليه وسلم في أهل بيته

Show reverence to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by honouring his family members.[19]

 

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu maintained excellent relations with all the members of Ahlul Bayt. He was even seen carrying the son of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu mounted the shoulders of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu would amuse him. All of this in the presence of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu who also shared in the laughter.

 

عن عقبة بن الحارث قال صلى أبو بكر ـ رضى الله عنه ـ العصر ثم خرج يمشي فرأى الحسن يلعب مع الصبيان، فحمله على عاتقه وقال بأبي شبيه بالنبي لا شبيه بعلي‏‏ وعلي يضحك‏.‏

‘Uqbah ibn Harith said that he had seen Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu walking outside after having prayed ‘Asr. Whilst walking he saw Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu playing with other children. He lifted him onto his shoulders and said, “By my father he resembles the Prophet; he does not resemble ‘Ali.” All the while ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was laughing.[20]

 

The version of this narration in Musnad Ahmed clarfies that this happened a few days after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passing.[21] It also states that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was walking alongside Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu from the Masjid after ‘Asr prayer, thus confirming that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu prayed with the rest of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He was present and active in the community, not hiding away and biding his time as some allege.

‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the first to institute state registers in Islam. He recorded the names of people according to their tribes and assigned them stipends. Ibn Jarir al Tabari elaborates on how the Diwan was established during the Caliphate of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

هو أول من دون للناس في الإسلام الدواوين، وكتب الناس على قبائلهم، وفرض لهم العطاء.

حدثني الحارث، قال: حدثنا ابن سعد، قال: حدثنا محمد بن عمر، قال: حدثني عائذ بن يحيى، عن أبي الحويرث، عن جبير بن الحويرث بن نقيد، أن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه استشار المسلمين في تدوين الدواوين، فقال له علي بن أبي طالب: تقسم كل سنة ما اجتمع إليك من مال، فلا تمسك منه شيئا وقال عثمان بن عفان: أرى مالا كثيرا يسع الناس، وإن لم يحصوا حتى تعرف من أخذ ممن لم يأخذ، خشيت أن ينتشر الأمر فقال له الوليد بن هشام بن المغيرة: يا أمير المؤمنين قد جئت الشام، فرأيت ملوكها قد دونوا ديوانا، وجندوا جندا، فدون ديوانا، وجند جندا فأخذ بقوله، فدعا عقيل بن أبي طالب ومخرمة بن نوفل وجبير بن مطعم، وكانوا من نساب قريش- فقال: اكتبوا الناس على منازلهم، فكتبوا فبدءوا ببني هاشم، ثم أتبعوهم أبا بكر وقومه، ثم عمر وقومه على الخلافة، فلما نظر فيه عمر قال: لوددت والله أنه هكذا، ولكن ابدءوا بقرابه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلّم، الأقرب فالأقرب، حتى تضعوا عمر حيث وضعه الله

حدثني الحارث، قال: حدثنا ابن سعد، قال: أخبرنا محمد بن عمر، قال: حدثني أسامة بن زيد بن أسلم، عن أبيه، عن جده، قال: رأيت عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه حين عرض عليه الكتاب، وبنو تيم على إثر بني هاشم وبنو عدي على إثر بني تيم، فأسمعه يقول:

ضعوا عمر موضعه، وابدءوا بالأقرب فالأقرب من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلّم، فجاءت بنو عدي إلى عمر، فقالوا: أنت خليفة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، قال: أو خليفة أبي بكر، وأبو بكر خليفة رسول الله، قالوا: وذاك، فلو جعلت نفسك حيث جعلك هؤلاء القوم! قال: بخ بخ بني عدي! أردتم الأكل على ظهري، وأن أذهب حسناتي لكم! لا والله حتى تأتيكم الدعوة، وأن أطبق عليكم الدفتر ولو أن تكتبوا في آخر الناس، إن لي صاحبين سلكا طريقا، فإن خالفتهما خولف بي، والله ما أدركنا الفضل في الدنيا، ولا نرجو ما نرجو من الآخرة من ثواب الله على ما عملنا الا بمحمد صلى الله عليه وسلّم، فهو شرفنا، وقومه أشرف العرب، ثم الأقرب فالأقرب، ان العرب شرفت برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلّم …

He was the first to institute the state registers for the people in Islam. He recorded the [names of] people according to their tribes and assigned them stipends.

Jubayr ibn Huwayrith relates that when ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu sought the advice of the Muslims on the matter of establishing state registers. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu advised him to distribute all the wealth that accrued to him every year, without keeping any.

‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan remarked on the large amount of wealth that was coming to the people in ample quantities. He said, “If they are not subjected to an official census so that you know who has received [wealth] and those who have not, I am afraid things will get out of hand.”

Al Walid ibn Hisham ibn al Mughirah said to him, “O Amir al Mu’minin, I have been to Syria and seen how the rulers there have instituted a state register and conscripted a regular army. Why not do the same?”

‘Umar took his advice and summoned ‘Aqil ibn Abi Talib[22], Makhramah ibn Nawfal, and Jubayr ibn Mut’im – they were most knowedgeable about the genealogy of Quraysh – telling them to register people according to their ranks. So they made the registers, beginning with Banu Hashim, followed by Abu Bakr and his family, then ‘Umar and his family as the first two Khalifas. When ‘Umar looked into (the matter), he said, “I would have hoped for it to be thus, but begin with the relatives of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the closest, then the next, until you register ‘Umar in the appropriate place.”[23]

According to al Harith, who relates from Ibn Sa’d, from Muhammad ibn ‘Umar, from Usamah ibn Zaid ibn Aslam, from his father, from his grandfather who says: I saw ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, when it was being proposed to him that he should register the people, with Banu Taym[24] coming after Banu Hashim,[25] and Banu ‘Adi[26] coming after Banu Taym, and I could hear him say, “Place ‘Umar down in the appropriate sequence! Begin with the closest related to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then the next.”

Then Banu ‘Adi came to ‘Umar and said, “You are the Khalifah of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”

He replied, “Or the Khalifah of Abu Bakr; and Abu Bakr was the Khalifah of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” “This is also correct,” they replied, “What if you placed yourself where these people [who are carrying out the registration] place you?” “Bravo, Bravo, Banu ‘Adi,” he remarked (sarcastically), “You want to eat off my back! You want me to give over my righteous deeds to you![27] No, indeed, [you must wait] until the you are called, even if you come last in the register, even if you are registered after everyone else. I have two companions who have gone down a [particular ] road already. If I am at variance with them, I will be led off in another direction. Indeed, we have achieved excellence only in this world, and we can only hope for Allah’s reward in the Hereafter for what we have done, because of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He is our nobility, his family are the noblest of the Arabs , then the closest related to him, then the next. The Arabs are noble through the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam…”[28]

 

Another interesting point to be gleaned from this passage is that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was consulted on state affairs by ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Would ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu give counsel to the ‘Party of Pharaoh’?

This narration does not only appear in the Tarikh of al Tabari, but it is confirmed by the Shia scholar Ibn Abi al Hadid in commentary of Nahj al Balaghah,[29] and the Shia historian al Ya’qubi in his work on history.[30]

Furthermore, when assigning their stipends ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu fixed the amount for all the sons of the participants at Badr at two-thousand each; except for Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma who were allocated the same amount as their father, five-thousand each. ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu made this exception for them due to their relationship to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Similarly, he fixed the stipend of ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who fought on the side of the Mushrikin at Badr, at five-thousand, because he was the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam uncle.[31]

Marvel at ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu love for the Ahlul Bayt in the manner in which he distributed the treasures of Khosrow after the conquests of Persia. Ibrahim ibn ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf relates:

 

أخبرنا عبد الرزاق، عن معمر، عن الزهري، عن إبراهيم بن عبد الرحمن بن عوف، قال: لما أتي عمر بكنوز كسرى، قال له عبد الله بن الأرقم الزهري ألا تجعلها في بيت المال حتى تقسمها قال لا يظلها سقف حتى أمضيها فأمر بها، فوضعت في صرح المسجد، فباتوا يحرسونها فلما أصبح أمر بها فكشف عنها فرأى فيها من الحمراء والبيضاء ما يكاد يتلألأ منه البصر قال فبكى عمر فقال له عبد الرحمن بن عوف ما يبكيك يا أمير المؤمنين فوالله إن كان هذا ليوم شكر، ويوم سرور، ويوم فرح فقال عمر كلا إن هذا لم يعطه قوم إلا ألقي بينهم العداوة والبغضاء ثم قال أنكيل لهم بالصاع أم نحثو فقال علي بل احثوا لهم ثم دعا حسن بن علي أول الناس فحثا له ثم دعا حسينا ثم أعطى الناس

When the treasures of Khosrow reached ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah ibn Arqam al Zuhri said to him, “Will you not place this in the Bayt al Mal until you distribute it?”

He replied, “No roof ought to shelter it until I distribute it.”

He then ordered for it to be placed inside the Masjid and there were people who stood guard over it during the night. The next morning they removed the cover and they saw the red and white (gold and silver) which would make a person’s eyes sparkle; but ‘Umar began to weep.

‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhu asked him, “What makes you cry O Amir al Mu’minin? Today is a day of thanksgiving, a day of joy and celebration.”

‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu responded, “On the contrary! No nation has been given this (wealth) except that it soon thereafter hatred and animosity is cast upon them.”

He then said, “Shall we measure it with a Sa’ or distribute it by handfuls?”

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “We rather distributed it by hand.”

He (‘Umar) called for Hassan ibn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma first, and gave him his share, then he called for Hussain ibn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and gave him his share, them he began to distribute it among the (rest of the) people.[32]

 

Again, this narration confirms both the fact that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was consulted on state matters, and that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted his suggestions. We can clearly see that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu observed the rights of Ahlul Bayt, especially with the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam grandsons. He insisted that these two flowers from the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam garden received their share before anyone else. How noble are those hands that distributed these spoils and how precious are those hands that were the first to receive!

While the military campaigns in Persia were gaining momentum during the Caliphate of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the Persian elite were busy collaberating among themselves and was in the process of preparing an army in excess of fifty-thousand fighters. The governors of the garrison towns in ‘Iraq began writing to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu informing him of the situation. It occurred to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he ought to be part of the offensive against this huge Persian army. He felt that his mind would be more at ease if he were on the frontlines. However, before making his decision he put his idea before the people of his Shura which included ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullah, Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, and ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

‘Uthman, Talhah, Zubair, and ‘Abdul Rahman radiya Llahu ‘anhum deliberated on the matter among themselves and were the first to announce their view. They felt that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu ought not go personally to the front, rather it would be prefereable if he remained in Madinah and assisted the army with his strategies and prayed for their victory. Al Tabari records the speech made by ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu which endorsed their opinion.

 

قال : فقام علي بن أبي طالب فقال: أصاب القوم يا أمير المؤمنين الرأي، وفهموا ما كتب به إليك، وإن هذا الأمر لم يكن نصره ولا خذلانه لكثرة ولا قلة، هو دينه الذي أظهر، وجنده الذي أعز، وأيده بالملائكة، حتى بلغ ما بلغ، فنحن على موعود من الله، والله منجز وعده، وناصر جنده، ومكانك منهم مكان النظام من الخرز، يجمعه ويمسكه، فإن انحل تفرق ما فيه وذهب، ثم لم يجتمع بحذافيره أبدا والعرب اليوم وإن كانوا قليلا فهي كثير عزيز بالإسلام، فأقم واكتب إلى أهل الكوفة فهم أعلام العرب ورؤساؤهم، ومن لم يحفل بمن هو أجمع وأحد وأجد من هؤلاء فليأتهم الثلثان وليقم الثلث، واكتب إلى أهل البصرة أن يمدوهم ببعض من عندهم] .

فسر عمر بحسن رأيهم، وأعجبه ذلك منهم

‘Ali stood up and said, “The people have arrived at the right decision, O Amir al Mu’minin. Victory will not be determined by superior numbers in one army nor will defeat come about because of inferior numbers in the other army. Rather it is His religion, which He has caused to prevail; and His army, wherein He has granted might and which He has strengthened with His angels, that caused it to reach where it has reached. We ought to rely on the promise of victory from Allah. Allah will fulfill His promise and He will grant victory to His army.

For them [the Persians] you are like the string on which the beads of a necklace are threaded and held together. When the string is broken, all the beads on it will scatter and be lost, and they will never be gathered together again. Although few in number, today the Arabs are numerous and powerful through Islam. So stay [in Madinah] and write to the people of Kufah…”

‘Umar was pleased with their counsel and he expressed his admiration for it.[33]

 

Another version of the incident is worded thus:

 

فعاد عمر، فقال: إن هذا يوم له ما بعده من الأيام، فتكلموا، [فقام علي بن أبي طالب فقال: أما بعد يا أمير المؤمنين، فإنك إن أشخصت أهل الشام من شأمهم سارت الروم إلى ذراريهم، وإن أشخصت أهل اليمن من يمنهم سارت الحبشة إلى ذراريهم، وإنك إن شخصت من هذه الأرض انتقضت عليك الأرض من أطرافها وأقطارها، حتى يكون ما تدع وراءك أهم إليك مما بين يديك من العورات والعيالات، أقرر هؤلاء في أمصارهم، واكتب إلى أهل البصرة فليتفرقوا فيها ثلاث فرق، فلتقم فرقة لهم في حرمهم وذراريهم، ولتقم فرقة في أهل عهدهم، لئلا ينتقضوا عليهم، ولتسر فرقة إلى إخوانهم بالكوفة مددا لهم، إن الأعاجم إن ينظروا إليك غدا قالوا: هذا أمير العرب، وأصل العرب، فكان ذلك أشد لكلبهم، وألبتهم على نفسك وأما ما ذكرت من مسير القوم فإن الله هو أكره لمسيرهم منك، وهو أقدر على تغيير ما يكره، وأما ما ذكرت من عددهم، فإنا لم نكن نقاتل فيما مضى بالكثرة، ولكنا كنا نقاتل بالنصر] .

فقال عمر: أجل والله

‘Umar returned to the pulpit and said, “Today is a day that will be decisive for the Muslims. Speak your minds.”

Then ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib stood up and said, “Listen O Amir al Mu’minin. If you order the people of Syria to leave their country, then their children will be an easy target for the Byzantines, and if you order the people of Yemen to leave theirs, the Ethiopians will pounce on their children. And if you depart from this land [al Madinah], rebellions may break out against your authority from all sides to the point that what you left behind, namely your wives and children, may become more important to you than what lies ahead of you. Let those tribesmen stay in their garrison cities, and write to the people of Basrah ordering them to divide themselves into three groups: one to remain behind to protect the women and children, another to remain behind to keep an eye on the conquered people who have treaties with the Muslims, lest they rebel against them, and the third to march out to their brethren in Kufah as reinforcements for the latter. If the Persians lay eyes on you some day in the near future, they will say, ‘This is the Commander of the Arabs on whom the whole nation of the Arabs depends,’ and that will only increase their desire to defeat you. Thus you will have incited them against you. You also mentioned that the enemy has mobilized; Allah abhors that even more than you do, and He is more powerful to alter a situation He abhorrs. And as for the consideration you mentioned – that the enemy is so large – in the past we never had superior forces, instead we fought relying on divine support.” So, ‘Umar accepted this.[34]

 

The friendly relations between ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and ‘Umar (a) resonates throughout these passages. Not only does ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu call upon ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to discuss matters of state. But ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu appears to endorse the entire mission and deems it successful and worthy of Allah’s divine aid. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu sees the worthiness of Allah’s promises in the cause that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu presides over. Moreover, his concern for ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and understanding of the role of the Khalifah ‘Umar is mutually exclusive with the concept of Wasiyyah which ‘Abdul Hussain is preparing to argue soon. This would have been the perfect opportunity for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to assume control of state had he considered himself passed over.

Prior to this, in previous campaigns, ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu conferred responsibility of Madinah to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his absence.

Al Tabari relates the events of the year 14 A.H:

 

ففي أول يوم من المحرم سنة أربع عشرة- فيما كتب إلي به السري، عن شعيب، عن سيف، عن محمد وطلحة وزياد بإسنادهم- خرج عمر حتى نزل على ماء يدعى صرارا، فعسكر به ولا يدري الناس ما يريد، أيسير أم يقيم وكانوا إذا أرادوا أن يسألوه عن شيء رموه بعثمان أو بعبد الرحمن بن عوف، وكان عثمان يدعى في إمارة عمر رديفا- قالوا: والرديف بلسان العرب الرجل الذي بعد الرجل، والعرب تقول ذلك للرجل الذي يرجونه بعد رئيسهم- وكانوا إذا لم يقدر هذان على علم شيء مما يريدون، ثلثوا بالعباس، فقال عثمان لعمر: ما بلغك؟ ما الذي تريد؟ فنادى: الصلاة جامعة فاجتمع الناس إليه، فأخبرهم الخبر ثم نظر ما يقول الناس، فقال العامة: سر وسر بنا معك، فدخل معهم في رأيهم، وكره أن يدعهم حتى يخرجهم منه في رفق، فقال: استعدوا وأعدوا فإني سائر إلا أن يجيء رأي هو أمثل من ذلك ثم بعث إلى أهل الرأي، فاجتمع إليه وجوه أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وأعلام العرب، فقال: أحضروني الرأي فإني سائر فاجتمعوا جميعا، وأجمع ملؤهم على أن يبعث رجلا من اصحاب رسول الله ص ويقيم، ويرميه بالجنود، فإن كان الذي يشتهي من الفتح، فهو الذي يريد ويريدون، وإلا أعاد رجلا وندب جندا آخر، وفي ذلك ما يغيظ العدو، ويرعوي المسلمون، ويجيء نصر الله بإنجاز موعود الله فنادى عمر: الصلاة جامعة، فاجتمع

الناس إليه، وأرسل إلى علي، وقد استخلفه على المدينة، فأتاه، وإلى طلحة وقد بعثه على المقدمة، فرجع إليه، وجعل على المجنبتين الزبير وعبد الرحمن بن عوف، فقام في الناس فقال: إن الله عز وجل قد جمع على الإسلام أهله، فألف بين القلوب، وجعلهم فيه إخوانا، والمسلمون فيما بينهم كالجسد لا يخلو منه شيء من شيء أصاب غيره، وكذلك يحق على المسلمين ان يكونوا أمرهم شورى بينهم وبين ذوي الرأي منهم، فالناس تبع لمن قام بهذا الأمر، ما اجتمعوا عليه ورضوا به لزم الناس وكانوا فيه تبعا لهم، ومن أقام بهذا الأمر تبع لأولي رأيهم ما رأوا لهم ورضوا به لهم من مكيدة في حرب كانوا فيه تبعا لهم يا ايها الناس، إني إنما كنت كرجل منكم حتى صرفني ذوو الرأي منكم عن الخروج، فقد رأيت أن أقيم وأبعث رجلا، وقد أحضرت هذا الأمر، من قدمت ومن خلفت: وكان على خليفته على المدينة، وطلحة على مقدمته بالأعوص، فأحضرهما ذلك

‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu set out on the first day of the month of Muharram of the year 14 and halted near a spring called Sirar. He established a camp there as the people did not know whether he wanted to go farther or to stay.

When they wanted to ask ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu something, they sent to him ‘Uthman or ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. During ‘Umar’s reign, ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was called a Radif. They have said: In the language of the Bedouins the Radif is a man (who rides) behind another man (on the back of the same mount); and the Arabs use the word for a person whom they want (to rule them) after (the death of) their ruler.

And, if ‘Uthman and ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhuma could not get the information that they required, they directed the question for the third time to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam uncle, ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “What has come to your knowledge? What is it that you want to do?”

‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave the call for a congregational prayer, the people gathered around him, and he passed the information to them. Then he considered what the people had to say. The general troops said, “Set out and take us with you.”

He appeared to share their view and did not want to dissociate himself from them and he said, “Prepare yourself and prepare your provisions and equipment, for I am about to set out unless a better idea better comes up.”

Then he sent for the men of sound judgment [Ahl al Ra’y]. Prominent Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Arab notables gathered around him.

He said, “Let me have your opinion, for I am about to set out.”

All of them assembled and unanimously decided that he should stay, send out a man from the Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and provide him with troops. If the desired victory should be attained, then this is what all of them wanted; if not, he would recall the man and recruit another army. This would enrage the enemy; the Muslims would regain their strength, and Allah’s victory would be achieved through the fulfillment of His promises.

‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu called for congregational prayer, and the people gathered around him. He sent for Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whom he had appointed to be his deputy in Madinah, and Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to him; and he also sent for Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whom he had sent to command the vanguard, and he returned to him [as well]. On the two wings of the army he appointed al Zubair and ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.

‘Umar stood up [to address] the people and said, “Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has united the people of Islam, reconciled their hearts, and made them brethren. In all matters concerning them, the Muslims are like one body; no part of it remains unaffected by something that afflicts another part.

Furthermore, it behoves the Muslims that their matters be decided in consultation among them, or, rather, among the wise men among them (Dhawu al Ra’y). The people are subordinate to those who undertake this command. What the latter agree upon and are satisfied with is incumbent upon the people, and the people are subordinate to them in it. And those who undertake this command are subordinate to the wise men: Whatever the latter deem appropriate and are satisfied with concerning battle strategy, the commanders are subordinate to them.

0 people! I am like one of you, so that the wise men from among you prevented me from setting out, and I saw fit to stay and to send another person (instead of me). I have summoned – for consultation on this matter– the commander of the vanguard, and the person whom I have left as my deputy in Madinah…”

Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu deputy in Madinah, and Talhah commanded the vanguard of the army in al A’was. ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu summoned both of them for consultation.[35]

 

This is not the only occasion where ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his deputy. During the Conquest of Jerusalem ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu went out on the advice of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and appointed him as his deputy and instructed him to lead the people in congregational Salah during his absence.

 

عن عدي بن سهل، قال: لما استمد أهل الشام عمر على أهل فلسطين، استخلف عليا، وخرج ممدا لهم، فقال علي: أين تخرج بنفسك! إنك تريد عدوا كلبا، فقال: إني أبادر بجهاد العدو موت العباس، إنكم لو قد فقدتم العباس لانتقض بكم الشر كما ينتقض أول الحبل

When the Muslims of Syria asked ‘Umar to help them against the people of Palestine, he appointed ‘Ali as his deputy and set out to reinforce them.

‘Ali said: “Where are going by yourself? You are heading toward a rabid enemy!”

‘Umar said, “I hasten to fight the enemy before the death of ‘Abbas. After al Abbas is gone, evil will unwind and affect you like the ends of a rope.”[36]

 

The incidents that support the idea of mutual harmony and cordial relations are too many to mention under a single discussion. The Sunni narrative of history does not see any ill-will or animosity between the Ahlul Bayt and the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum; nor does it portray any competition or rivalry for leadership. On the contrary, they considered each other family and cared for each other in this way. How else do we explain the marriages between the Sahabah, their children and Ahlul Bayt?

 

The earliest Muslims through the eyes of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu

In contrast to the morbid picture that ‘Abdul Hussain paints of the earliest Muslim community we have the testimony of the first Imam of the Shia, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu – whose words and actions are legally binding according to ‘Abdul Hussain – that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Companions were of excellent moral and religious standing. He praises their piety and devotion to Allah, describing their elevated stations of Taqwa and spiritual excellence.

Ibrahim al Thaqafi records the following exchange between ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his own companions in his book, al Gharat:

 

“O Amir al Mu’minin! Inform us about your comrades.”

He asked, “About which comrades of mine?”

They said, “About the Companions of Muhammad.”

He said, “All of the Ashab (Companions) of Muhammad are my comrades.”[37]

 

In Nahj al Balaghah, a source accepted by the Shia, the description of the Sahabah attributed to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is worded most eloquently:

 

لقد رايت اصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم فما ارى احدا يشبههم منكم لقد كانوا يصبحون شعثا غبرا وقد باتوا سجدا وقياما يراوحون بين جباههم وخدودهم ويقفون على مثل الجمر من ذكر معادهم كأن بين اعينهم ركب المعزي من طول سجودهم اذا ذكر الله هملت اعينهم حتى تبل جيوبهم و مادوا كما يميد الشجر يوم الريح العاصف خوفا من العقاب و رجاء للثواب

Indeed, I have seen the Ashab (Companions) of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and I do not see anyone amongst you who resembles them. They would rise in the morning, unkempt and covered with dust, because they had spent the night in prostration and standing. They would alternate between their foreheads and their cheeks, while it appeared as if they were standing on coals, reflecting on their eventual return to the Hereafter. (The space) Between their eyes (on their foreheads) resembled the knees of goats due to their lengthy prostration. When they would remember Allah, their eyes would flow causing their bosoms to become wet. They would shake as a tree shakes on a terribly windy day, fearing punishment and hoping for reward.[38]

 

It is well-documented that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu prayed behind the Khalifas’ who preceded him. This historical fact is acknowledged by both the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia.[39] Since this is well-established, and this could be understood to be approval from the side of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the early Shia scholars had no recourse but to interpret his actions in a way that it would not compromise their own doctrine. They argue that this was done out of Taqiyyah, and that he repeated his prayers at home. The problem with this argument is the lack of evidence to support the theory of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu repeating his prayers. The theory of Taqiyyah in this instance raises more questions than it provides answers. In the period after ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu a group emerged whom we refer to as Nawasib, the detractors of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. These were not Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah, nor were any of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Companions Nasibis either. A Nasibi might ask, if it is plausible that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was pretending to pray behind Abu Bakr , ‘Umar and ‘Uthman, how do we know that he was not pretending to pray behind the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? We seek refuge in Allah from such reproachful questions, just as we seek refuge in Him from preposterous interpretations!

Compare ‘Abdul Hussain’s account with what the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam describes of that era. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates:

 

عن عبد الله قال سئل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أى الناس خير قال ‏ قرني ثم الذين يلونهم ثم الذين يلونهم ثم يجيء قوم تبدر شهادة أحدهم يمينه وتبدر يمينه شهادته

It was asked of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who amongst all people were the best. He replied, “(Those) of my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them, then there would come a people whose testimony would precede their oath; and their oath would precede their testimony.”[40]

 

Similar narrations are related from ‘Ai’shah radiya Llahu ‘anha, and ‘Imran ibn Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu among other Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

If the earliest Muslims tried to blot out the status of Ahlul Bayt how is it that the Sunni collections of Hadith have chapters on the virtues of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib specifically, and the virtues of Ahlul Bayt in general? Why is it that Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal placed the Musnad’s of the Ahlul Bayt immediately after the Musnads of the Asharah Mubashsharah? How is it that the collective narration from Ahlul Bayt in Sunni collections exceeds the number of narrations from Ahlul Bayt in Twelver Shia Hadith collections exponentially?

Is the Shia perspective of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Companions so slanted that they believe that these individuals, who sacrificed their lives and their wealth for the cause of Islam, deliberately distorted the religion and concealed the narrations about the virtues of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu?

Is it beyond reason to consider that an alternative narrative exists? Is it not plausible that they upheld the rights of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, acknowledged his virtues and merits, and maintained good relations with him? If the Shia clergy – ‘Abdul Hussain being a prominent figure in his own time – fail to provide narrations from their own tradition, which satisfy their own criteria of acceptance, for the immediate succession of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu; why place the blame on the Ahlus Sunnah for ‘concealing’ these narrations? Were there no righteous one’s among the Shia who could preserve the legacy of their first Imam?

With Allah’s grace, Ahlus Sunnah have preserved dozens of narrations about the virtues of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu with pristine chains of transmission. They continue to love and revere ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu until this day. Loving him is part of faith; and this is narrated by the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah with a sound chain!

It was known that the companions of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud were the only ones in Kufah who could be trusted when it came to transmitting religious knowledge passed down from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[41]

We will discover who the actual liars and fabricators were in later discussions. That being said, ‘Abdul Hussain has consistently revealed himself to be an epitome of his predecessors!

 

NEXT⇒ LETTER 65 and 66


[1] Muqaddimah Sahih Muslim

[2] Ibid

[3] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah by Ibn Abi al Hadid, vol.  3, p. 17, Dar al Fikr

[4]  Rijal al Kashshi, p. 195

[5] Surah al Fath: 18

[6] Surah Al ‘Imran: 110

[7] Surah al Tawbah: 100

[8] Surah al Hashr:

[9] Surah al Anfal: 72

[10] Surah al Anfal: 74

[11] Surah al Hadid: 10 – 12

[12] Surah al Anfal: 62 – 64

[13] Surah al Nur: 37

[14] Surah al Baqarah: 273 – 274

[15] Surah al Fath: 29

[16] This refers to the spoils when territory is conqured without fighting.

[17] This is consistent with what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stated at Ghadir Khumm.

[18] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il Ashab al Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; Hadith no. 3712

[19] Ibid

[20] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Manaqib, Bab Sifat al Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Hadith no: 3542

[21] Musnad Ahmed, vol. 1 pg. 213, Hadith no: 40

[22] The brother of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[23] ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu effectively refused to allow his position as the Khalifah to promote his own name in the register and is insisting that relationship to the Prophet alone should be the criterion of order of listing.

[24] The tribe of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[25] The Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam tribe: Ahlul Bayt.

[26] The tribe of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[27] Meaning that he would be trading his pious actions for his family’s benefit.

[28] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pgs 209-210

[29] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 3 pg. 176

[30] Tarikh al Ya’qubi, vol. 2 pg. 153

[31] Al Tabaqat, vol. 3 pg. 213

[32] Musannaf ‘Abdul Razzaq vol. 11 pg. 100

[33] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pg. 123

[34] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pg. 125

[35] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 3 pgs. 479 – 481

[36] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 3 pg. 608

[37] Al Gharat vol.  1 p. 177

[38]Nahj al Balaghah with the commentary of Muhammad ‘Abduh, p. 225

[39] Al Ihtijaj, pg 53; al Talkhis al Shafi, pg 254

[40] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Shahadat, Hadith no: 2652; Sahih Muslim, Fada’il al Sahabah, Hadith no: 2533

[41] Ibid.