In response to this allegation I say: al Shashi narrated in his Musnad (1196) and Ibn ‘Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (26/198), by way of Yahya ibn Sulaim — from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Uthman ibn Khuthaym — from Ismail ibn ‘Ubaid ibn Rifa’ah — from his father:
‘Ubadah ibn al Samit used to see containers, during his residence in al Sham, passing by him and he enquired if they contained oil. It was said to him, “Alcohol, it is being sold for so-and-so.” So he took a blade from the marketplace and punctured every leather skin containing the alcohol. Abu Hurairah was present in al Sham during that time; and so-and-so sent for him and said: “why do you not keep our brother, ‘Ubadah ibn al Samit, from us? As for the mornings he goes to the marketplace and spoils the business of the people of Dhimmah (Jews and Christians under Muslim protection), and as for the evenings he sits in the Masjid and has no work except to abuse our integrity and find fault with us. So keep your brother away from us!” So Abu Hurairah went to ‘Ubadah and said to him, “O ‘Ubadah, what is it with you and Muawiyah? Leave him and whatever (burden) he carries for indeed Allah says:
That was a nation that has passed: for it there will be what it has earned, and for you there will be what you have earned.
He responded by saying: “O Abu Hurairah, were you not with us when we pledged our allegiance to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? We pledged to listen and obey in times of activity and calm; and to spend in times of difficulty and ease; and to enjoin good and forbid evil; and not be discouraged in obeying of Allah regardless of whatever censure comes our way; and that we will assist him when he comes to Yathrib; and defend him from which we would defend our own lives and that of our wives and families; and for that we shall get Jannat. Whoever holds true to his pledge; Allah will hold true His promise of Jannat on account of upholding the pledge to the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Whoever goes back on his pledge, then he has only harmed himself.” Abu Hurairah did not respond with anything, so such-and-such a person wrote to ‘Uthman in Madinah that ‘Ubadah is causing disturbance in al Sham and troubling its inhabitants. Either you stop ‘Ubadah from whatever he is doing; or you remove him from al Sham. So, ‘Uthman wrote to so-and-so instructing him to send ‘Ubadah back to his home in Madinah. So-and-so then dispatched him to Madinah and he entered the gathering of ‘Uthman and there were present only a companion from the early companions and some of the Tabi’in. He sat towards the end of the house and ‘Uthman turned to him and said, “what is between you and us, O ‘Ubadah?” So he stood up and replied, “I heard the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, “there will take charge of your affairs after me men who will introduce to you that which you disapprove, and they will disapprove of you that which you are acquainted with; hence there is no obedience to those who disobey Allah, and do not present excuses before your Rabb (for your disobedience in these matters).” ‘Ubadah said, “by Allah, so-and-so is from among them.” ‘Uthman did not rebuke him by even an utterance.
This narration is not authentic and has been dealt with earlier on and it was proven that it had defects and irreconcilable differences within the variant narrations of it.
The narration appears in Musnad Ahmed (37/430) and is narrated by way of Ismail ibn ‘Ayyash — from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Uthman ibn Khuthaym — from Ismail ibn ‘Ubaid ibn Rifa’ah — from ‘Ubadah; he narrated it from ‘Ubadah without mentioning his father.
‘Abdullah ibn al Imam Ahmed narrates it in the Musnad (37/450), and it is in al Awsat of al Tabarani (2894), (without mentioning the incident of trading in alcohol), as well as al Shashi in his Musnad (1196) by way of Yahya ibn Sulaim — from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Uthman ibn Khuthaym — from Ismail ibn ‘Ubaid ibn Rifa’ah — from his father — from ‘Ubadah.
Al Haythami, in al Majma’ (5/408), says:
Ahmed narrates it in its entirety but he did not say — from Ismail — from his father. When ‘Abdullah narrates it he adds — from his father —, and it is like that in al Tabarani, and its narrators are reliable.
In it is the Jahalah (unknown status) of Ismail ibn ‘Ubaid. Some say ibn ‘Ubaidullah ibn Rifa’ah al Zuraqi.
Al Dhahabi has said:
I do not know of anyone narrating from him besides from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Uthman ibn Khuthaym.
In his Taqrib Ibn Hajar has said:
Acceptable, i.e. if he is corroborated, otherwise he is lenient. However, Ismail ibn ‘Ubaid has not been corroborated.
As for the text of the hadith; and supposing the authenticity of the narration, it does not prove that Muawiyah traded in alcohol. All that it amounts to was that he allowed the people of dhimmah to trade as such; and it was not his own transaction since the narration clearly states his comment, “as for the mornings he goes to the marketplace and spoils the business of the people of dhimmah (Jews and Christians under Muslim protection).”
Furthermore, were it correct then it would indict ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu as well that he did not deal with Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu after the complaint of trading in alcohol having reached him. Instead he allowed him to govern the province of al Sham; and called ‘Ubadah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to question him for reprimanding Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Similar to this is what has been quoted by Ibn ‘Arraq al Kinani in Tanzih al Shari’ah (2/9) — the report from Ibn Aisha — from his father that Yazid during his young days was an open consumer of alcohol. Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu realised this and wanted to admonish him for doing it openly and suggested that it be done at night discreetly so he composed some couplets of poetry wherein he made these suggestions. At the end of it Ibn ‘Arraq said:
… and this, in addition to its interrupted chain, is a fabrication which is the handiwork of al Ghulabi. As for the couplets, they are actually the words of Yahya ibn Khalid al Barmaki who had written them for his son, ‘Abdullah, who was madly in love with a singing girl.
 Surah al Baqarah: 134
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