The attitude of `Ammar ibn Yasir

Praise of Ahl al-Bayt for `Uthman and their innocence of shedding his blood
May 25, 2015
Comments of the Sahabah about the fitnah
May 25, 2015

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The attitude of ‘Ammar ibn Yasir

In the historical reports that may contain sound or fabricated material, it says that there had been a dispute between ‘Ammar and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Some of these reports have isnad and some have no isnad at all. I have not come across anyone who examined and analysed these reports except a few, therefore it is not possible to leave these reports, which undermine the dignity of the Sahabah without examining them.[1]


The alledged beating of ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu

The reports which speak of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu beating ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu are regarded as the most famous and numerous of these reports (which undermine the dignity of the Sahabah). The fabricators of these reports mentioned the different methods supposedly used by ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu in beating ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the different consequences that followed, but in addition to their isnad being corrupt, the texts themselves are weird and incredible.[2]

Al Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al ‘Arabi says in al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, when discussing the lies that are attributed to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu:


With regard to his beating Ibn Mas’ud and withholding his stipend, this is false, and his beating of ‘Ammar is also a fabrication. If he had disembowelled him he would not have lived at all. Some scholars tried to find an acceptable way of interpreting this report, but no attention should have been paid to it in the first place, because it is all false and no truth can be based on falsehood. We should not go along with the ignorant because it is a waste of time.[3]


‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu age, faith, modesty, gentleness, kindness, soft nature, seniority in Islam and status all put him far above sinking to this level in attitude towards a man who was one of the most senior of the Sahabah of Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whose seniority and virtue ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu recognised despite the differences in opinion that arose between them.

Would ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu be able to do that when he was insisting that the people should not fight to defend him and was content to die, patiently seeking reward and to protect Muslim blood from being shed and prevent widespread turmoil? Would he accept to do to ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu – when he was well aware of his seniority and virtue in Islam – what is mentioned in the false reports, namely ordering his slaves to beat him until he lost consciousness, then stepping on his stomach when he was in that state? Would the character and modesty of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu allow him to demonstrate the pagan attitude of insulting ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu by slandering his mother Sumayyah radiya Llahu ‘anha, who was one of the earliest Muslims and a woman of great virtue, when ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu knew of the honour that accrued to ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu by virtue of his being the son of his mother Sumayyah radiya Llahu ‘anha, the first martyr in Islam?

No, this is not true at all; because in the sound reports there is no indication at all that ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu could sink to such a low level in rebuking and disciplining. Moreover, his attitude, nature and character make that very unlikely. There is no doubt that examining these fabricated reports against what is known of the attitude and character of these prominent figures, and taking into account the standards of the era, is the best way to expose the fabrication and the fabricators.[4]


Accusation against ‘Ammar of taking, part in the turmoil and stirring up trouble against ‘Uthman

In attributing these fabrications to ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the historians relied on reports none of which were free of weakness in their isnad or texts. Different accusations were levelled against ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu about his stirring up turmoil, inciting people against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and inciting them to rebel against him. Some of these reports say that ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent word to him in Egypt to find out what was happening with regard to what they had heard about the people rebelling, and that the Saba’iyyah had managed to influence ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The isnad of this report, which was narrated by al Tabari[5], includes Shu’ayb ibn Ibrahim al Tamimi al Kufi, the narrator of the books of Saif, about whom there is some ambiguity.

Al Rawi said concerning him:

He is not known, although he has some ahadith and reports in which there is some weirdness and they contain a lot of bias against the salaf.[6]


It was also narrated by ‘Umar ibn Shabbah in Tarikh al Madinah, where its isnad includes the Sheikh of ‘Umar, ‘Ali ibn ‘Asim, of whom Ibn al Madini said:

‘Ali ibn ‘Asim made a lot of mistakes, and when corrected, he would not retract. He was known for narrating hadith and he narrated rejected ahadith.[7]


Yahya ibn Ma’in said:

He is worthless.[8]

And on one occasion he said:

He is a liar and worthless.[9]


Al Nasa’i said:

His hadith is to be ignored.[10]


Al Bukhari said:

He is not sound according to them, and they criticised him.[11]


And there were some who tried to be tactful about him. Ibn Hajar said concerning him:

He is Saduq but he makes mistakes and insists on them, and he was accused of being a Shia.[12]

A report whose isnad is like this cannot be easily accepted, especially when it is known that ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a pious man whose piety would prevent him from indulging in such things.

We do not know of anyone who would indulge in such dirty work except a hate-filled Saba’iyyah Jew. Allah forbids that a Sahabi, one of the Sahabah of Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, could sink to such a low level. Khalid al Ghayth says:

This report contradicts what has been proven of the dignity of the Sahabah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in addition to the fact that it was not narrated via any sound isnad.[13]


Among the false reports that have been narrated concerning this matter is that which was attributed to Sa’id ibn al Musayyab, in which it says that the Sahabah in general were upset with ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu in addition to others who were also upset, and they got angry with him, especially Abu Dhar; Ibn Mas’ud and ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhum.[14] The problem with this report is that it contains a kind of deception (tadlis) that cannot be approved or overlooked, because the name of a narrator who is accused of fabricating and telling lies was dropped from the isnad, namely Ismail ibn Yahya ibn ‘Ubaidullah.

Hence the scholars of hadith determined that this report is weak and stated that it is a false report, when they discussed the biography of Muhammad ibn ‘Isa ibn Sami’, the one who narrated this report from Ibn Abi Dhi’b. Ahmed al Bukhari said concerning Ibn Sami’:

It was said that he did not hear this hadith from Ibn Abi Dhi’b, meaning this hadith from Zuhri about the murder of ‘Uthman.


Ibn Hibban said:

Ibn Sami’ did not hear this hadith from Ibn Abi Dhi’b, rather he heard it from Ismail ibn Yahya, so he resorted to tadlis (deception) [by dropping the name of Ismail].


Al Hakim said:

Abu Muhammad – meaning Ibn Sami’ – narrated a munkar hadith from Ibn Abi Dhi’b, which is the hadith about the murder of ‘Uthman. It was said in his book: “From Ismail ibn Yahya from Ibn Abi Dhi’b, but he dropped the name of Ismail ibn Yahya, and Ismail is worthless when it comes to hadith.[15]


Dr Yusuf al ‘Ishsh said:

The report that is attributed to Sa’id ibn al Musayyab must be ignored, because upon examination it is obviously fabricated. Al Hakim al Nisapuri stated that one of the men in its isnad dropped the name of another man who was worthless, and it is munkar. The fact of the matter is that this report does not show any of the respect that Sa’id ibn al Musayyab showed to the Sahabah in his other, sound reports.[16]


‘Ammar’s innocence of the murder of ‘Uthman

The report about Masruq and Abu Musa radiya Llahu ‘anhum accusing ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu of that when he came with Hassan to incite the people of Kufah is regarded as weak because of Shu’ayb, who is unknown, and Saif who is very weak. The report in Sahih al Bukhari does not say anything about that, so this extra material cannot be accepted, especially since it casts aspersions upon a Sahabi such as ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whom Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prayed would be protected against the shaitan[17] and who was filled to the brim with faith.[18]

The scholars explained that this accusation, which is not limited only to ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu but also included other Sahabah, is false.

Ibn Kathir said:

As for what was said by some people, that some of the Sahabah let ‘Uthman down and were pleased when he was killed, this is not narrated in any sound report from any of the Sahabah, rather all of them objected to it and cursed the ones who did it.[19]


Al Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al ‘Arabi said:


This is the best that was narrated concerning this issue, thus it becomes clear – and in order to reach the right conclusion we must follow the people of truth – that none of the Sahabah ever incited anyone against ‘Uthman or forsook him. If ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu had sought the help of others, one thousand or four thousand strangers would not have been able to overwhelm twenty thousand or more locals, but he let himself into this calamity.[20]

And he said:

The evildoers and the ignorant started saying that the virtuous Sahabah had caused trouble to him and had incited people against him, and that they were pleased about what had happened to him. These evildoers and ignorant people fabricated in their books letters in which there was some eloquence and which were supposedly written by ‘Uthman, which show him seeking the support of ‘Ali. But this is all a fabrication, aimed at damaging the image of the salaf and the Rightly-Guided Khulafa’ in the minds of the Muslims. The conclusion we may reach is that ‘Uthman was killed unlawfully and was accused with no evidence, and that all of the Sahabah are innocent of shedding his blood, because they did what he wanted them to do and they fulfilled his wish to be left to face his fate.[21]


‘Amr’s innocence of the murder of ‘Uthman

When ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was surrounded, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu left Madinah and headed for Syria. He said: “By Allah O people of Madinah, no one will stay in Madinah until the time when this man is killed, but Allah will humiliate him. Whoever cannot support him, let him flee.” So he left and his two sons ‘Abdullah and Muhammad left with him. Hassan ibn Thabit left after him, and they were followed by others whom Allah willed should go.[22] When the news of ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu murder and the people’s swearing allegiance to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to him, ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

I am Abu ‘Abdullah (i.e., I know what is going on); there will be war and whoever takes part in it will make it worse. May Allah have mercy on ‘Uthman and may Allah be pleased with him and forgive him.


Salamah ibn Zanbagh al Judhami said:

O Arabs, there was a door between you and the Arabs; now set up a new door if the first door is broken.


‘Amr said:

That is what we want, a ruler who deals with the people on the basis of equality.

Then he started weeping and saying:

O ‘Uthman, true modesty and religious commitment have departed with him, until he reached Damascus.[23]


This is the true image of ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which is in harmony with his character, attitudes and closeness to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. As for the distorted image that was presented of him as an ambitious opportunist and seeker of worldly gains, this is a report which is weak and is to be rejected the report of al Waqidi from Musa ibn Ya’qub.[24] A number of writers and historians were influenced by these weak reports, so they presented ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu in a very negative manner, such as that which was written by Mahmud Shith Khattab[25], ‘Abdul Khaliq Sayyid Abu Radiyah[26] ‘Abbas Mahmud al ‘Aqqad who refuses to look at the isnad and thinks little of his readers’ intelligence, and presents an image of Muawiyah and ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhuma as opportunists and seekers of worldly gains.

The fact that all the historical critics agreed that all the reports that he used to reach this conclusion are false means nothing to al ‘Aqqad. After quoting these weak reports on which no conclusion can be based, he said:


Let the historical critics say what they like with regard to how true this debate was and how sound these words are and what is proven and not proven with regard to the isnad and text. What we have no doubt about, even if all the books of history come together to reject it, is that the agreement between the two men was based on an agreement that each of them would have his share and would cooperate to attain the position of rulers and governors, otherwise there would be no deal at all.[27]


The true character of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was that he was a man of principle who left Madinah when he felt unable to defend ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and he wept bitterly for him when he was killed. He was one of the closest of his companions, friends and consultants and he was included in the shura council at the time of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu even though he was not the governor of any province. He went to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to cooperate with him in fighting the murderers of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and avenging the slain khalifah.[28]

The murder of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was sufficient to create anger in the hearts of both men against the criminals who had shed blood and they had no option but to select a place other than Madinah to take revenge on those who had violated the sanctity of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and slain his khalifah in front of the people. What is so strange about ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu being angry for the sake of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu? If anyone has any doubt about this matter, this doubt is based on false reports which depict ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as a man whose main aim was power and authority.[29]


NEXT⇒ Comments of the Sahabah about the fitnah

[1] ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, by Usamah Ahmed Sultan, p. 122

[2] ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, by Usamah Ahmed Sultan, p. 122

[3]Al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, p. 82-84

[4] Al Khalifah al Muftara ‘alayhi ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, p. 1441; ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, p. 137

[5] Tarikh al Tabari, 5/348

[6]Istishhad ‘Uthman wa Waq’ah al Jamal, p. 30

[7]Siyar Alam al Nubda’, 9/253

[8]  op. cit., 9/255

[9]  op. cit., 9/257

[10]  op. cit., 9/255

[11]  op. cit., 9/255

[12] Taqrib al Tahdhib, p. 403

[13] Istishhad ‘Uthman wa Waq’at al Jamal, p. 86

[14]Tarikh Dimashq, 39/415; ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, p. 144

[15]Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah, 2/16-18; al Tarikh al Kabir by Al Bukhari, 1/203; al Tahdhib, 9/391; Tahdhib al Tahdhib, 9/392

[16]Al Dawlah al Umawiyyah, 39

[17]Al Bukhari, no. 3743

[18]‘Ammar ibn Yasir, p. 147

[19]Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/207

[20] al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, p. 129

[21]  op. cit., p. 132

[22]Tarikh al Tabari, quoting from ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by al Ghadban, p. 464

[23] Tarikh al Tabari, quoting from ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by alGhadban, p. 481

[24] ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by Ghadban, p. 481

[25]Sufara’ al Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by Mahmud Shit Khattab, p. 508

[26] ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by ‘Abdul Khaliq Sayyid Abu Rabiyah, p. 316

[27] ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by al ‘Aqqad, p. 231, 232

[28] ‘Amr ibn al ‘As by Ghadban, p. 489, 490

[29]  op. cit., p. 492