As for the narration of Abu Bakrah it has been narrated by Ibn ‘Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (62/217) and al Mizzi in Tahdhib al Kamal (30/7) by way of Howdhah ibn Khalifah — who said — ‘Awf ibn narrated to me — from Abu ‘Uthman al Nahdi — who said:
I was a close friend of Abu Bakrah and he once said, “do people think that that I rebuke them on account of worldly matters whilst they have appointed ‘Ubaidullah (referring to his son, over Faris), and Rawwad (referring to his son, over the public granary) and ‘Abdur Rahman (referring to his son, over the stipends and the public treasury) is it not that all of them have of the world. I swear by Allah that I have condemned them because they have disbelieved without any ambiguity.
Assuming the authenticity of the above statement it can be responded to in a number of ways:
1. It is not explicit that Abu Bakrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu said this regarding Muawiyah. Rather, it was said in reference to Ziyad ibn Abihi.
Ibn ‘Asakir, in Tarikh Dimashq (62/217), narrates by way of Abu Bakr ibn Khaythamah — from Howdhah ibn Khalifah — who said — Hisham ibn Hassan said to us — from Hassan – who said:
Anas ibn Malik passed by me and Ziyad had sent him to Abu Bakrah to admonish him so I went with him and we entered upon the old man and he was unwell, and it was said to him that Ziyad said, “have I not appointed ‘Ubaidullah over Faris, and Rawwad over the granary, and ‘Abdur Rahman over the stipends and the public treasury?” to which Abu Bakrah responded, “has he not gone any further and entered them into the Fire?” So Anas responded, “I do not know him except to have exercised his discretionary judgement.” So Abu Bakrah said, “sit me up, I do not know him except to have exercised his ijtihad? And the people of Harurah, they also used their ijtihad, were they correct or did they err?” So Anas said, “we return having been beaten in argumentation.”
Likewise it is narrated by Salih in Masa’il al Imam Ahmed (2/432).
In this chain is Hisham ibn Hassan al Azdi, Mowla al Qaradis, the group has narrated of his narration, he is reliable himself except that his narrations from Hassan is interrupted by a missing link.
2. Assuming that Abu Bakrah did say that with regards to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, then why did he stay out of the fitnah and not fight him if he believed him to be on kufr?
Al Bukhari narrates (31) by way of Hassan — from al Ahnaf ibn Qais — from Abu Bakrah who said:
I went to assist this man when Abu Bakrah met with me on the way and said, “where do you intend going?” I said, “to assist this man,” and he said, “return for indeed I have heard the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, ‘if two Muslims face each other with their swords, then the killer and killed will be in the Fire.’ So I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, the killer is to be understood, but what about the killed?’ He responded, ‘he was ready to kill his companion.’”
Was Abu Bakrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu unaware of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam praise for Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his prevention of the spilling blood, and his abdication in favour of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu since it is he who narrated the hadith, “Indeed this son of mine is a sayyid…” and still he considers Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu a disbeliever?!
Ibn Taymiyyah, in Majmu’ al Fatawa, (4/466) said:
Since the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam praised the reconciliation and abandoning the fighting; it indicated that the reconciliation between both parties was more beloved to Allah than their fighting. Hence, it indicates that the fighting between these two parties was not that with which Allah commanded. Furthermore, were Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu a disbeliever, then nominating him and abdicating in favour of him would not have been pleasing to Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Instead, this narration proves that Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his party were believers; and that which had been done by Hassan was praiseworthy in the sight of Allah, pleasing to Him and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The senior Sahabah who fought Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu on the Day of Siffin did not even consider him a disbeliever, like ‘Ali and ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Muhammad ibn Nasr al Marwazi narrates in Ta’zim Qadr al Salah (361) by way of Qais ibn Muslim — from Tariq ibn Shihab who said:
I was with ‘Ali when the fighting ended at Nahrawan and it was said to him, “are they polytheists?” to which he replied, “it was polytheism from which they fled.” Then it was said, “hypocrites?” and he responded, “hypocrites do not remember Allah, except a little.” Then it was asked what they were and he replied, “a group of people who rebelled against us and we fought them.”
Ibn Abi Shaibah narrates in his Musannaf (19687) by way of Muhammad ibn al Hakam al Nakha’i, from Riyah ibn al Harith who said:
A person came to ‘Ammar saying, “by Allah, the people of Sham have committed disbelief,” and ‘Ammar responded saying, “do not say that! Our Qiblah is one, our Prophet is one. However, they are a group that has been tested so it is our duty to fight them to bring them back onto the right.”
He narrates further (19689) and Muhammad ibn Nasr al Marwazi in Ta’zim Qadr al Salah (364) by way of Mis’ar — from ‘Abdullah ibn Riyah — who said — that ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
Do not say that the people of al Sham have disbelieved, say they have transgressed, they have exceeded the bounds.
Muhammad ibn Nasr al Marwazi states in Ta’zim Qadr al Salah (426):
The Muslims fought on the Day of Jamal and on Siffin, and the Sahabah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from the Muhajirin and Ansar were present, and they had fought one another. However, none of them considered the opposition to be disbelievers; neither did they consider lawful each other’s property. There were also those who abstained from the infighting from the Sahabah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, they also did not accuse any of the parties of disbelief. Neither did any party consider the prayer and supplication of the other to be void on account of what occurred between them, nor did they consider the wives of their opposition unlawful (on account of disbelief).
As for the Hassan al Basri’s condemnation of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu it is not reliably established from him. Al Tabari (3/232) narrates in his Tarikh by way of Abu Mikhnaf — from al Saq’ab ibn Zuhayr — from Hassan al Basri that he said:
There are four characteristics in Muawiyah, of which even one is sufficient to be a cause for destruction: He took the mantle of leadership without consultation whilst the other senior Sahabah were still alive; he made his drunkard son — who used to wear silk garments and play musical instruments — his successor; he endorsed the lineage of Ziyad whereas the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that the child is attributed to the one in whose bed he is born, and for the fornicator there is stoning; finally his killing of Hujr and the companions of Hujr. Woe unto him regarding Hujr! Woe unto him regarding Hujr! Woe unto him regarding Hujr and the companions of Hujr!
This chain is baseless; in it is Lut ibn Yahya, the confounded narrator of history whose details have been expounded upon earlier. Ibn Kathir mentions it (8/90) in the passive voice indicating its unreliability.
What is correctly transmitted from Hassan al Basri is the opposite of this. Al Ajurri in al Shari’ah (5/2468), Ibn ‘Asakir in his Tarikh (59/206) narrate by way of Qatadah — from Hassan that some people had testified that Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions are in the Fire and he said, “may Allah curse them, what gives them the idea that he is in the Fire?”
Ibn ‘Asakir (59/206) narrates by way of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Malik in Abi al Shawarib — who said — Bishr ibn al Fadl narrated to us — from Ab al Ashhab who said that it was said to Hassan that some people cursed Muawiyah and Ibn Zubair. He responded:
May the curse of Allah be upon those who are swearing and cursing them!
As for the narration attributed to al Aswad ibn Yazid it has been narrated by Ibn ‘Asakir (59/158) by way of Abu Dawood al Tayalisi — from Ayub ibn Jabir — from Abu Ishaq — from al Aswad ibn Yazid, who said:
I said to Aisha, “are you not amazed at some of the Tulaqa (those who accepted Islam after the conquest of Makkah) who compete with the Sahabah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in matters of state?” She asked, “what was strange in that. It is the authority of Allah, He can give it to the righteous and wretched and the Pharaoh ruled over the people of Egypt for four hundred years.”
However, this chain is unreliable. In it is Ayub ibn Jabir, Abu Sulaiman al Yamami, who is weak according to the scholars of hadith. He is considered weak by Ibn Ma’in, Ibn al Madini, al Nasa’i, Abu Zur’ah, Abu Hatim, Yaqub ibn Sufyan and Muawiyah ibn Salih.
There is also the matter of anonymity with regards to ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn Yasir al Jowbari, he died in the year 425. Al Dhahabi has mentioned him in Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ (17/415) without stating whether he was sound or weak.
Ibn Taymiyyah has written in Majmu’ al Fatawa (4/453):
The faith of Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu is established through mass transmitted reports and the consensus of the people of knowledge; as is the faith of his peers from those who embraced the religion after the Conquest of Makkah, like his brother Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan, and the likes of Suhayl ibn ‘Amr, Safwan ibn Umayyah among others. This group of Muslims were referred to as the Tulaqa’. They had been named such since their acceptance was only after the Conquest of Makkah and after they were encouraged by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam through his generosity towards them so that he could win their hearts. It has been narrated that Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted Islam before that and undertook the hijrah as did Khalid ibn al Walid, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and ‘Uthman ibn Talhah. If this is correct that he ought to be considered among the Muhajir Muslims. As for his Islam at the occasion of the Conquest then there is no dispute regarding that among the scholars. The only difference is whether it was before the Conquest or at the Conquest. However, there are some liars who claim that he wished to undermine his father by his Islam, but this is a clear lie by the unanimous agreement of the scholars of hadith. As for those who have been mentioned, they were among the best of those who accepted Islam and among those who have the best character. They were not accused of any evil, and none of the scholars accused them of hypocrisy as others had been accused of. On the contrary, they displayed excellence of Islam and obedience and love for Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as well as striving in the cause of Allah and preserving the sacred boundaries of Islam. All of these are indicators of the excellence of their faith and among them are those whom the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed in positions of authority as he had done with ‘Attab ibn Asid when he made him in charge of Makkah on his behalf and he was among the best of the Muslims. He used to say: “O People of Makkah let it not reach me that any of you abandons his salah otherwise I will strike his neck.” The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed Abu Sufyan over the Najran as a governor on his behalf. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away and Abu Sufyan was governing Najran on his behalf. Muawiyah’s Islam was considered superior to his father’s by consensus; just as his brother, Yazid, was superior to him and his father.
He states further (4/457):
‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu used him as a governor after his brother Yazid, and Muawiyah remained in his governorship throughout the khilafah of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his people were appreciative of him and his good nature and conduct among them. They were loyal to him on account of them observing his forbearance and justice to the extent that none complained about him and none felt wronged by him. As for Yazid ibn Muawiyah, he was not of the Sahabah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he was only born in the time of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He was named Yazid after his uncle, the Sahabi of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Muawiyah, his brother Yazid, Suhayl ibn ‘Amr and al Harith ibn Hisham and others among those who accepted Islam at the time of the Conquest witnessed the Battle of Hunayn with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and they are included among those referred to in the verse of Qur’an: “Then Allah sent down His tranquility upon His Messenger and upon the believers and sent down soldiers angels whom you did not see and punished those who disbelieved. And that is the recompense of the disbelievers.” So he was with the believers upon whom Allah sent down His tranquillity, with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam during the siege of al Ta’if when they assaulted it with catapults.
He states further (4/466):
The Tulaqa were those who accepted Islam at the time of the Conquest like Muawiyah, his brother — Yazid, ‘Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl, Safwan ibn Umayyah, al Harith ibn Hisham and Suhayl ibn ‘Amr. It has been established via mass transmission of the scholars that they remained upon Islam until their deaths. Muawiyah is more prominent in his Islam than others since he was in a position of governorship for over forty years; twenty years during the khilafah of ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and a portion of ‘Ali, thereafter for a further twenty years as the khalifah. He passed away in the year 60 A.H, 50 years after the demise of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Hassan handed over the khilafah to him in the year 40 A.H, which was known as the year of unity.
He states further (35/64):
As for Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan and his peers from the Tulaqa’ of those who accepted Islam after the conquest, like ‘Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl, Safwan ibn Umayyah, al Harith ibn Hisham, Suhayl ibn ‘Amr and Abu Sufyan ibn al Harith, these and others who became good Muslims later on were never accused of hypocrisy after that, Muawiyah was taken as a scribe by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
He states further (35/64):
Were it such that the likes of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and Muawiyah were individuals whom it was feared that they were hypocrites, there would not have been placed in charge of the affairs of the Muslims. Actually, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As is one of those whom the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed to a position of leadership in his lifetime. He appointed his as the leader of the army at the Battle of Dhat al Salasil and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would never appoint a hypocrite to lead the Muslim army. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed Abu Sufyan over Najran as a governor on his behalf. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away and Abu Sufyan was governing Najran on his behalf. Muawiyah’s Islam was considered superior to his father’s by consensus; just as his brother Yazid was superior to him and his father. How is it possible that these individuals be considered hypocrites whilst the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam trusted them with the affairs of the Muslims? It is well-known what occurred with Muawiyah and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As in terms of the fitnah; yet none of those who sided with him, or opposed him, or were not involved at all ever accused him of lying against the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. On the contrary, all the scholars among the Sahabah, and those who came after them were unanimous that they were truthful in what they relay from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, trustworthy in their narrations; and a hypocrite can never be trusted with transmitting from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Instead the hypocrite is one who lies against him, and disbelieves in him. And if they are believers who love Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; then whoever curses them has indeed disobeyed Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib (4/268)
 The chain is authentic.
 The chain is authentic.
 This chain is authentic.
 See al Tahdhib (1/201)
 Al Majruhin (1/167)
 Al Kamil (1/355)
 See also Tadhkirat al Huffaz (3/1076)
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