This Ummah is chosen. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala chose it to be the most honourable of nations; to it he sent his Last Messenger after whom the door to all divine revelation was closed for eternity; He also made its Din the final Din besides which no other Din will be accepted till the Final Day. One of the necessities of this finality was that it remain unadulterated, unlike the fate the other divine religions had met of distortion and interpolation, and that it remain free from the mixture of innovations and deviations, due to it being the only path of salvation. Hence Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala himself has guaranteed to preserve it due to him guaranteeing to preserve the Qur’an:
إنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
Indeed it is we who sent down the message, and indeed we will be its guardian.
He thus put mediums in place which would ensure that the Din remains as it was during its embryonic stage. The greatest of these mediums is enjoining good and preventing evil, which stands as a solid fortification against the distortions to emerge till the Final Day in every era and place, and a support which the Ummah relies upon when combatting any attempt to tamper with this Din. It is no doubt then that the virtue of this Ummah and its excellence lies in carrying out this great task, as in the verse:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ
You are the best nation produced for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.
Therefore, the ummah has been ordered that a group of people dedicate themselves to this important facet. Hence Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
And let there be from you a nation inviting to good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.
Once it is understood that enjoining good and forbidding evil is the responsibility of every capable person in case of no one else carrying it out, it should be borne in mind that the responsibility of the scholars is even greater, due to them being tasked with the responsibility of conveying and elucidating. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:
لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكْتُمُونَهُ
You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it.
Likewise, Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has stated the following to be the duty of the scholars:
يحمل هذا العلم من خلف عدوله، ينفون عنه تحريف الغالين، وانتحال المبطلين وتأول الجاهلين
The pious of every generation will bear this knowledge from their predecessors. They will remove from it the distortions of the extremists, the false claims of the wrong doers, and the interpretations of the ignorant.
Ibn Taymiyyah says:
يجب الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر بحسب إظهار السنة والشريعة، والنهي عن البدعة الضلالة بحسب الإمكان كما دل على وجوب ذلك الكتاب والسنة وإجماع الأمة
It is compulsory to enjoin good and forbid evil as per the need to display the Sunnah and the Shari’ah. Likewise it is compulsory to prevent innovations and deviances as per one’s ability. The necessity of this is established in the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the Ummah.
Nonetheless, the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah have contributed tremendously in combatting all types of innovations and have risen against its founders and propagators. Who else would be more rightful of bearing this load and rising to this task other than them, whereas they are the bearers of the message of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the guardians of the Shari’ah; if they remain silent and do not carry out their task, the symbols of Din would become disfigured and its teachings would suffer distortion.
Nonetheless, when Nasb emerged the scholars likewise countered it in various ways, akin to the efforts they had made in countering Shi’ism. However, in the case of Nasb a very sophisticated methodology was devised, which rested upon two basic principles:
The first principle: They would take into consideration the conditions of various times and places, in the sense that in certain places they would deploy a particular way and in others they would completely discard it. Likewise in certain times they would display certain notions whereas at others times they would very zealously conceal those very same notions. This would make some people, who do not possess knowledge of the reality of affairs, characterise their stance as one which is contradictory and not well thought out.
Hence it is narrated regarding Sufyan al Thawri that when he would enter Basrah he would narrate reports regarding the virtues of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and when he would enter Kufah he would narrate reports regarding the virtues of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
He would say:
إذا كنت في الشام فاذكر مناقب علي وإذا كنت بالكوفة فاذكر مناقب أبي بكر وعمر
When you are in Sham, mention the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and when you are in Kufah mention the merits of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
Similarly when he went to Yemen, he asked, “What are these people known for?” He was told that they are known for consuming Nabidh and for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Hence he did not narrate a single hadith regarding any of the two till he departed from Yemen.
It is clear that the rationale for the variant approaches adopted by these two Imams was that they realised that Nasb was prevalent amongst the people of Sham and Basrah and that Shi’ism was prevalent amongst the people of Kufah and Yemen; thus they felt the need to mention the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in Sham and Basrah but not in Yemen and Kufah.
The second principle: They were not unaware of the reality they were living. Rather they knew full well that approbating one party or becoming occupied in countering it would probably create a feasible opportunity for the other party to benefit therefrom in advancing their Bid’ah to the furthest possible extent; this would of course be an outright violation of their purpose. Hence they were circumspect enough to devise a balanced approach in their rebuttal of Nasb on the one hand, and not allowing the Shia the advantage of exploiting on the other hand, thereby barring the way of the Shia who always anticipated such opportunities.
It is a known fact that overemphasising the merits of the Ahlul Bayt and exhorting the people to love them and know their rights can unintentionally become a call to Shi’ism. Hence moderation is what was key, as al Sha’bi said to a person:
أحب أهل بيت نبيك، ولا تكن رافضيا
Love the household of your Nabi, but do not be a Rafidi.
It was due to this consideration that Wuhayb ibn al Ward would say:
إذا أردت أن تذكر فضائل علي بن أبي طالب فابدأ بفضائل أبي بكر وعمر ثم اذكر فضائل علي
When you intend to mention the merits of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, then first start with the merits of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and thereafter mention the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
And Sufyan al Thawri would say:
امتنعنا من الشيعة أن نذكر فضائل علي
He would also say:
تركني الروافض وأنا أبغض أن أذكر فضائل علي
The Rawafid have denounced me. And I dislike mentioning the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
This approach of his was not because he denied the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu or hated him, how would that be possible when he was from Kufah and when giving preference to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu over ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was one of his views? Instead he knew well that the Shia will exploit his narrations in order to proselytise their falsehood amongst the people, especially when they would be citing a prominent Sunni scholar such as Sufyan as their reference.
Al Nasa’i also adopted the same methodology, but with the Nawasib. Hence when he entered Damascus he noticed the ubiquitous presence of the Nawasib, which prompted him to write his acclaimed book Khasa’is ‘Ali. And when a person asked him to narrate to him something of the merits of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu he responded in a suggestively condescending manner.
Akin to his situation was the situation of Ibn Jarir al Tabari. When he learnt that some scholars of Baghdad reject the hadith of the pond of Khum, which is from the very clear narrations regarding the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he began narrating the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the various transmission of the hadith of the pond. Then when the people thronged around him and his gathering started buzzing, he realised that amongst those present were a group of Rawafid as well, and thus he started narrating the merits of Sheikhayn radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
Conversely, when he returned to Tabrastan he was appalled to find that the denigration of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum was on the rise due to spread of Rafd, hence he started dictating the merits of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
Nonetheless, despite the insight of these scholars and their immense wisdom in the approach they had adopted, there still remained a group of the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah who did not condone the specific mention of the virtues of a particular Sahabi, whoever he maybe. This was due to the fear that someone might start exaggerating regarding him or get the impression that those besides him were less them him in stature and thus impugn them.
Hence ‘Ata’ ibn Muslim, would go to the Ahad market whenever he went to Raqqah and would narrate the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu due to many Ibadi Khawarij gathering there, a noble mission indeed. However Jafar ibn Burqan prevented him from doing so and told him:
إذا جلست مجلسا فذكرت رجلا من أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم بفضيلة فأشرك معه غيره
When you sit in a gathering and make mention of the merits any of the Sahabah of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then include others with him as well.
Many scholars adopted this approach and authored their works in accordance with it, irrespective of whether the work related to the Sahabah in general or to a Sahabi in specific.
Hence, they would not suffice on recording the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu alone in their works, but would also record the merits of others besides him. And even when they wrote a book regarding the merits and specialities of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu specifically, they would couple it with writing another book regarding the merits of other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, like Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
What had prompted them to do this was their endeavour to have a balanced approach regarding all the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
Furthermore, the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah did not deem this to be sufficient. They were vigilant at all times and were fully alert of any action which could be exploited to promote an innovation, even if those carrying it out tried their best to quote it with a veneer of the Shari’ah so that it may be more appeasing to the common people. Hence when Sufyan al Thawri was told that Salim ibn Abi Hafsah, a Shia hadith transmitter, always starts his gatherings with the mention of the merits of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and only thereafter does he mention the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he said:
احذروه فأنه يريد ما يريد
Fear him, for he intends what he intends.
He was implying that mentioning the merits of Sheikhayn was not really what Salim intended, due to him being at the forefront of those who denigrate them and despise them.
In summary, their efforts in countering Nasb varied and took many forms, all of which can be summarised in two categories:
Their efforts regarding ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his household, which are also of two types:
The scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah and its people did not fall short of countering the averseness many people felt toward Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in any way. The most effective way and the most successful medium which they deployed was narrating his established virtues, whereby they intended to bring to the fore those of his virtues which might otherwise be unknown to many who have no relation whatsoever with the hadith tradition, i.e. the majority. It is obvious that this type of ignorance plays an integral role in making them vulnerable to the propaganda of the Nawasib, especially when there are other factors as well contributing to the same, like pressure from the Umayyad Empire and the constant proselytization of the Khawarij.
Hence the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah, deployed the hadith tradition as a weapon against this falsehood, due to it holding a very high ranking in the heart of a Muslim and his psyche. For latching on to the Sunnah is salvation, or it is, as succinctly described by Imam Malik:
كسفينة نوح، من ركبها نجا، ومن تخلف عنها غرق
It is like the arch of Nuh ‘alayh al Salam, whoever boards it will attain salvation, and whoever stays behind will drown.
It is for this reason the scholars passionately strove to narrate the merits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and spread them amongst the people. Hence al Thawri would narrate them in Basrah and Sham, Ibn al Madini would narrate them in Basrah, Ibn Abi Dawood would read them to the people in Baghdad and Ismail ibn ‘Ayyash would mention them to the people of Hims, which ultimately lead to them desisting from the denigration of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Furthermore, they did not consider it enough to propagate the virtues of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in their cities, but some of them would purposely mention them even when travelling to places wherein the Nawasib had a strong presence.
This special dedication was only in order to repel the undue criticism and tarnishing of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
As a result, his virtues proliferated amongst the people greatly, so much so that Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal would say:
ما جاء لأحد من أصحاب رسول الله من الفضائل ما جاء لعلي بن أبي طالب
The merits of any of the Companions of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have not reached us as much as the merits of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib have reached us.
He is also reported to have said:
ما بلغنا عن أحد من الصحابة ما بلغنا عن علي بن أبي طالب
The merits of any of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum have not reached us as much as the merits of ‘Ali ibn Talib have reached us.
Several scholars are also reported to have said:
لم يرد في حق أحد من الصحابة بالأسانيد الحسان أكثر مما جاء في علي
The merits of any of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum have not featured with admissible transmissions more than those that have featured regarding ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
It should not be understood from these quotes and others of their kind that the Khalifas who preceded ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not enjoy many merits. Instead, the fact of the matter is that each one of them enjoyed merits and privileges which were unique to him. But because the need of the time was combatting the prevailing aversion towards ‘Ali, those who remained of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum dispensed the merits they knew about him; and the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah channelled their efforts toward documenting them preserving them and propagating them. As opposed to many of the other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhu who were not impugned at all, or very little. Hence it is vital to note that these matters are not from the distinctions of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, but are rather from his merits and virtues which point to his virtuousness; the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah earned acclaim for narrating them in order to repel from him the criticism of the criticises.
Al Bayhaqi says:
وهذا لأن أمير المؤمنين عليا عاش بعد سائر الخلفاء حتى ظهر له مخالفون وخرج عليه خارجون، فاحتاج من بقي من الصحابة إلى رواية ما سمعوه في فضائله ومراتبه ومناقبه محاسنه ليردوا بذلك عنه ما يليق به من القول والفعل
This was because Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu lived after all the Khalifas. Thus there emerged people who opposed him and rebelled against him. Hence those who remained of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were compelled to narrate what they had heard of his virtues, good and merits. This was in order to repel from him that which does not behove him of statements and actions.
And Ibn Hajar mentions:
وكان السبب في ذلك أنه (أي علي) تأخر ووقع الخلاف في زمانه وخروج من خرج عليه، فكان ذلك سببا لانتشار مناقبه من كثرة من كان بينها من الصحابة ردا على من خالفه، فكان الناس طائفتين لكن المبتدعة قليل جدا، ثم كان من أمر علي ما كان فنجمت طائفة أخرى حاربوه، ثم اشتد الخطب فتنقصوه واتخذوا لعنه على المنابر سنة، ووافقهم الخوارج على بغضه، وزادوا حتى كفروه…فصار الناس في حق علي ثلاثة: أهل السنة، والمبتدعة من الخوراج والمحاربين له من بني أمية وأتباعهم. فاحتاج أهل السنة إلى بث فضائله فكثر الناقل لذلك لكثرة من يخالف ذلك. وإلا فالذي في نفس الأمرأن لكل من الأربعة من الفضائل إذا حرر بميزان العدل لا يخرج عن قول أهل السنة والجماعة أصلا
The reason for this was that he (i.e. ‘Ali) came afterwards and the dispute occurred in his time which caused those who rebelled to rebel against him. So the reason for the proliferation of his merits was that many of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum mentioned them in refutation of those who opposed him. Hence people were split into two, but the innovators were very few. Thereafter transpired with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu whatever transpired. As a result, a third group who fought him was born. Then the matter became even graver and they began to denigrate him and deemed cursing him upon the pulpits an official practice. The Khawarij also agreed with them in hating him, and added to that they excommunicated him also. Hence the people were now split into three: the Ahlus Sunnah, the Khawarij and his opponents the Banu Umayyah and their followers. The Ahlus Sunnah, thus, were compelled to propagate his merits. Consequently, people excessively narrated them. Or else the fact of the matter is that if the merits of any of the four Khalifas are documented with fairness, a person will never part with the stance of the Ahlus Sunnah.
This is on the one hand. On the other hand the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah begun expressing their views regarding two very pertinent issues which were heavily disputed:
a. Considering ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be correct in all his battles,
b. And deeming him to be the fourth person deserving of the Caliphate and the fourth most superior amongst the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
Many books consisting of various styles have been written in this regard:
Probably the most important types of this genre are the following two types:
1. The hadith collections of the Ahlus Sunnah. You will hardly find a book of hadith but that its author will have dedicated a chapter to the Ahlul Bayt, this can easily be understood when analysing the Sahihayn for example:
In Sahih al Bukhari we find the following chapters:
And in Sahih Muslim you will find the following chapters:
2. The books of theology and doctrine. In this genre it is very clear that the Ahlus Sunnah have paid a lot of attention to mentioning the rights of the Ahlul Bayt in general and the rights of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in specific. Hence many of them comprise of the mention of his virtues, the elaboration of the validity of his rule, and the mention of the high rank of the Ahlul Bayt and their rights. Consider the following books for example: Kitab al Sunnah of al Khallal, Sharh Mazahib Ahlus Sunnah, al ‘Aqidah al Tahawiyyah, Sharh I’tiqad Ahlus Sunnah, Lum’at al I’tiqad, al ‘Aqidah al Wasitiyyah.
The first innovation to emerge in the Ummah was the innovation of the Khawarij. The incident of arbitration between the people of Iraq and the people of Sham was decisive in determining a change in their approach; for they ignited the flame of excommunication—unprecedented before this—regarding Imam ‘Ali. Subsequently it went on to implicate every person who was pleased with his rule, and thereafter it surpassed them as well and went on to implicate those who refused to excommunicate him as well.
ما أدري أي النعمتين أفضل علي: أن هداني للإسلام أو لم يجعلني حروريا
I do not know which of the two blessings are greater for me: Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala guiding me to Islam or him not making me a Haruri (a Khariji).
Their threat was so impending that a person was compelled, after seeing that his son was inclining toward the opinions of the Khawarij, to detain him and confine him out of the fear that he will join them.
Due to their very early emergence, the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who had lived to see them had a very stern position in countering them, as opposed to the Nawasib who did not excommunicate him and who only openly came to the fore much later; they were tackled by the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who remained to see their time.
Nonetheless, they had countered the Khawarij in various ways, some being:
These ahadith are authentic and plenty, as Imam Ahmed has said:
صح الحديث في الخوارج من عشرة أوجه
The hadith regarding the Khawarij is authentically established in ten different ways.
In fact the narrations about them have reached the extent of Tawatur (incontrovertibleness) according to the scholars of hadith. Ibn Kathir says:
الأخبار بقتال الخوارج متواترة عن رسول الله لأن ذلك من طرق تفيد القطع عند أئمة هذا الشأن
The narrations about fighting the Khawarij are categorically established from Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, for it established through transmissions which give the benefit of certainty according to the scholars of the science.
They likewise persistently warned the people about them and induced them to put an end to them. They would also interpret some verses as referring to them. Hence Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu would deem them Fasiqin (transgressors) drawing that from the verse:
وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ
And he misleads not except the defiantly disobedient. Who break the covenant of Allah after contracting it and sever that which Allah has ordered to be joined and cause corruption on earth. It is those who are the losers.
He would also say regarding them:
هم قوم زاغوا فأزاغ الله قلوبهم
They are a people who deviated, and thus Allah mislead their hearts.
Ibn Taymiyyah has made mention of the efforts of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in this regard:
لما شاغ في الأمة أمر الخوارج تكلمت الصحابة فيهم، ورووا عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم الأحاديث فيهم، وبينوا ما في القرآن من الرد عليهم
When the fitnah of the Khawarij spread in the Ummah, the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum spoke out regarding them. They narrated the ahadith of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam pertaining to them and they mentioned whatever rebuttals there were in Qur’an of them.
These efforts were not going to prove useless of course, much of them produced the desired results and many people who were affected repented.
As an extension to the efforts of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, the books of hadith comprised of chapters specifically discussing the Khawarij and the laws which concern them. So for example, in Sahih al Bukhari we find the chapter: Chapter regarding fighting the Khawarij and the heretics after evidence in established against them; In Sahih Muslim we find the chapters: Chapter regarding the exhortation of killing the Khawarij and Chapter regarding the Khawarij being the worst of creation; In Sunan Abi Dawood we find the following chapters: Chapter regarding killing the Khawarij and Chapter regarding fighting the Khawarij; and Ibn Hibban has established the following chapter in his Sahih: Chapter regarding the Khawarij being the most disliked of the creation of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.
The first people to debate them were Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Thereafter it became a practice followed by others, hence ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz debated them after he became the Khalifah. The rationale behind debating them was to establish evidence against them and thereby acquire legitimacy for fighting them and stand exonerated before Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. They were very eager to falsify their claims and rebut them so that their misconceptions do not easily slip into people who were not aware of their reality and would thus be beguiled by their external state; for they were described as:
إذ فيهم من الاجتهاد في العبادة والورع ما لم يكن في الصحابة
People in who there was more devotion and ‘piety’ than even the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
Exactly what Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had said:
يخرج فيكم قوم تحقرون صلاتكم مع صلاتهم، وصيامكم مع صيامهم، وعملكم مع عملهم
There will emerge amongst you a people, in comparison to whose Salah you will undermine your Salah, in comparison to whose fasting you will undermine your fasting, and in comparison to whose actions you will undermine your actions.
Amazing indeed is the statement of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma which he made when he was told of how devout they were in their worship:
ليسوا بأشد اجتهادا من اليهود والنصارى
They are not more devout than the Jews and the Christians.
The reports of the Khawarij killing men, women, and children are quite popular, so is their excommunication of their opponents and the violation of their lives and wealth due to the slightest of doubts.
That is why the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were unanimous regarding fighting them, especially after having known the following order of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:
فأينما لقيتموهم فاقتلوهم، فإن في قتلهم أجرا لمن قتلهم يوم القيامة
Kill them wherever you meet them, for there will be reward for the one who kills them on the Day of Qiyamah.
In fact, Abu Sa’id al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu would say, in his old age when he hands would shiver out of weakness:
لقتال الخوارج أحب إلي من قتال عدتهم من أهل الشرك
Fighting the Khawarij is more beloved to me than fighting the same amount of polytheists.
As a result of these great efforts many people arose to fight them after their deviance had become clear to them. Thus their defeat in the battle of Nahrawan against Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is very well known. Even thereafter, i.e. after the demise of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu some Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum still held a very stern position against them; hence it is stated in the biography of Samurah ibn Jundub that:
كان شديدا على الخوارج مكثرا للقتل فيهم
He was staunch against the Khawarij and would fight them a lot.
قتل منهم بشرا كثيرا
He killed a lot of people from among them.
Many of the successors followed in the footsteps of the Sahabah. They would encourage the people very passionately to fight them. They would likewise dispel any doubts people would have which would cause them to hesitate in fighting them.
As was the norm, no evil would emerge whilst any of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were alive but that they would be the first people to rise to tackle it and condemn it without any hesitation and fear.
Because the Khawarij emerged before the other types of the Nawasib and because the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum lived during that time, they advanced in fighting them; and just as they fought them with spears they also confronted them verbally, at times by debating with them and at times by openly and directly condemning them.
Hence we see that when a Khariji came to Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and asked him about ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu he said:
إذا أردت أن تسأل عن علي فانظر إلى منزله من منزل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، هذا منزله وهذا منزل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
If you want to ask about ‘Ali, then see what position he enjoys from Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; this is his position and this is the position of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
To which he replied, “Well, I hate him.” Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu thus told him, “Then may Allah hate you.”
Likewise he told another person who asked him about ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
ابن عم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وحبيبه ومن أهل بيته وزوج ابنته
The cousin of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his beloved, a member of his household, and the husband of his daughter.
The questioner thus had no option but to remain silent.
On the other hand, when the other type of the Nawasib, those who did not excommunicate ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu but merely reviled him and denigrated him, emerged, those who remained of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum did not sit without taking any action; rather they confronted them as well and condemned their doings.
Hence in Madinah, Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu condemned a governor of the Umayyads whom he heard reviling ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu saying to him:
أما إنك قد علمت أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان ينهى عن شتم الهلكى، فلم تسب عليا وقد مات
Do you not know that Rasul Allah radiya Llahu ‘anhu has forbade us from reviling the deceased? So why do you then revile ‘Ali when he has passed on.
Likewise in Kufah, Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu condemned a person whom he saw reviling ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He also condemned those who did not condemn the criticiserdespite knowing and having the ability to do so. Riyah ibn al Harith narrates:
كنت قاعدا عند فلان في مسجد الكوفة وعنده أهل الكوفة، فجاء سعيد بن زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل فرحب به، وحياه وأقعده عند رجله على السرير، فجاء رجل من أهل الكوفة يقال له: قيس بن علقمة فاستقبله فسب وسب. فقال سعيد: من يسب هذا الرجل؟ قال: يسب عليا. قال ألا أرى أصحاب رسول الله يسبون عندك ثم لا تنكر ولا تغير؟
I was sitting by so and so in the Masjid of Kufah and around him were the people of Kufah. Sa’id ibn Zaid came and so he welcomed him, greeted him, and made him sit by his feet upon the bed. Then came a person of Kufah who was known as Qais ibn ‘Alqamah whom he welcomed. This person started reviling and reviling. Sa’id thus said, “Who is this person reviling?” He said, “He is reviling ‘Ali.” Upon which Sa’id said, “Do I not see that the Companions of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are being reviled in your presence and you do not condemn or make an effort to bring about a change.”
At another instance, when he heard a person reviling ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu upon the pulpit he stood up and walked out of the Masjid and said to the person who was with him:
ألا تعجب من هذا يسب عليا. أشهد على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنا كنا على حراء أو أحد فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: اثبت حراء أو أحد، فإنما عليك صديق أو شهيد
Are you not appalled at this person who reviles ‘Ali? I testify that we were upon the mountain of Hira’ or Uhud when Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Stay still o Hira’ or Uhud, for upon you is a Siddiq (a very truthful person) and a martyr.”
Thereafter Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went on to mention the ten Sahabah. Hence he mentioned Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Talhah, al Zubair, Sa’d, ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf and he mentioned Sa’id.
Also, in Basrah after the truce between Hassan and Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu reached its culmination and the latter appointed Busr ibn Artah as its governor. He ascended the pulpit and started to revile ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and thereafter said:
أنشد الله رجلا علم أني صادق إلا صدقني أو كاذب إلا كذبني
I ask in the name of Allah, if any person knows me to be truthful then he should affirm, or if he knows me to be a liar then he should belie me.
Abu Bakrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu thus said to him:
لا نعلمك إلا كاذبا
We do not know you but to be a liar.
Subsequently it was ordered that he be strangled until someone came and released him.
Similarly, some of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum would prevent those who came to them from out of Madinah from reviling ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Abu Bakr ibn Khalid ibn ‘Urfutah says:
رأيت سعد بن مالك بالمدينة فقال: ذكر أنكم تسبون عليا قلت نعم قال: لعلك سببته. قلت: معاذ الله. قال: لا تسبه، فإن وضع المنشار على مفرقي على أن أسب عليا ما سببته بعد ما سمعت من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ما سمعت
I saw Sa’d ibn Malik in Madinah. He said to me, “It is said that you people revile ‘Ali.” I replied, “Yes.” “Probably you also reviled him?” he asked. I said, “I seek the refuge of Allah.” Whereafter he said, “Do not revile him, for if the saw were placed upon my head and I were told to revile ‘Ali I would not do so after I heard from Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam whatever I heard.”
Even though most of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum only witnessed the emergence of the Khawarij, those who succeeded them witnessed the emergence of their other type and thus were eager to follow in the same path of refuting them. They, however, expanded their efforts in combatting Nasb after its people came to the fore very openly. Hence their efforts were multiple and were channelled against both categories. It goes without doubt that covering all their efforts in this regard is difficult, but alluding to some of them will suffice.
As with regard to the Khawarij, they combatted them by exposing their deviance to the people, barring their harassment from them, warning people from socialising with them and prohibiting those who interacted with them from attending their gatherings.
Some of these efforts would at times be very open and bold. Hence in the Haram where Muslims of all backgrounds, races, and places convene; the leading scholar of Makkah ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah would announce whilst circummambulating the Ka’bah:
احفظوا عني خمسا… والشهادة على الخوارج بالضلالة
Remember five things from me… and remember my testimony regarding the Khawarij being upon deviance.
Likewise in Basrah a person of the Khawarij stood in the gathering of al Hassan al Basri, the leading scholar of Basrah and its ascetic, and asked him, “What do you say about ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib?” The cheeks of al Hassan became red and he said furiously:
رحم الله عليا. إن عليا كان سهما لله صائبا في أعدائه. وكان في محلة العلم أشرفها وأقربها من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم. وكان رهباني هذه الأمة، لم يكن لمال الله بالسروقة، ولا في أمر الله بالنؤومة. أعطى القرآن عزيمة علمه فكان منه في رياض مونقة وأعلام بينة. ذاك علي بن أبي طالب يا لكع.
May Allah have mercy upon ‘Ali. Indeed ‘Ali was an arrow of Allah who struck the enemy; he was upon the noblest position of knowledge and he was the closest relative of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He was the ascetic of the Ummah, he was not one who stole the wealth of Allah nor was he one who was heedless regarding the orders of Allah. He gave the Qur’an the cream of his knowledge and was thus in a glamorous orchard thereof and upon clear signs. That is who ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib is, O lowly man.
Likewise some scholars would not allow a Haruri to visit them.
The efforts of the successors and those who followed them in this regard were considered to be an extension of the efforts of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum which had already previously weakened the might of the Khawarij to a very large extent.
As with regard to the second type, despite Nasb spreading amongst many of the Umayyads who were known to be leaders of might, but this did not stop the scholars from condemning them whenever they deviated from the straight path regarding ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Al Zuhri had stood firm on his stance at two occasions with two of the Khalifahs of the Banu Umayyah. He says:
كنت عند الوليد بن عبد الملك ليلة من الليالي وهو يقرأ سورة النور مستلقيا فلما بلغ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاءُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ ۚ لَا تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَّكُم ۖ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۚ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُم مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ ۚ وَالَّذِي تَوَلَّىٰ كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ جلس ثم قال: يا أبا بكر من تولى كبره؟ أليس علي بن أبي طالب. قلت في نفسي ماذا أقول؟ لئن قلت: لا، لقد خشيت أن ألقى منه شرا! ولئت قلت نعم، لقد حئت بأمر عظيم! قلت لرجل من أصحاب رسول الله ما لم يقل. ثم قلت في نفسي: لقد عودني الله على الصدق خيرا. لا يا أمير المؤمنين. قال فضرب بقضيبه السرير مرتين أو ثلاثا، ثم قال: فمن؟ حتى ردد ذلك مرارا. قلت: يا أمير المؤمنين، عبد الله بن أبي بن سلول
I was in the gathering of Walid ibn ‘Abdul Malik one night and he was reading Surah al Nur whilst lying down. When he reached the verse, “Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you. For every person among them is what [punishment] he has earned from the sin, and he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof for him is a great punishment [i.e., Hellfire].”
He sat up and said, “O Abu Bakr, who was responsible for its major share? Was it not ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib?”
I said to myself, if I say ‘no’ I fear that I might encounter bad from him; and if I say ‘yes’ I will indeed be doing a very grave matter, for I will be attributing to one of the Sahabah of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam what he did not say. I then said to myself ‘Allah has promised me good upon speaking the truth’ and said, “No, O Amir al Mu’minin.”
He thus hit his bed with his stick two or three times and then said, “Who then?” repeating that several times.
I said, “O Amir al Mu’minin, it was ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salul.”
At another occasion a similar incident took place with another Khalifah. Sulaiman ibn Yasar came to visit Hisham ibn ‘Abdul Malik and the following transpired:
يا سليمان، الذي تولى كبره من هو؟ قال: عبد الله بن أبي. قال: كذبت! هو علي. قال أمير المؤمنين أعلم بما يقول. فذخل الزهري فقال: يا بن شهاب، من الذي تولى كبره؟ قال: ابن أبي. قال: كذبت! هو علي. فقال:أنا أكذب لا أبا لك. والله لو نادى مناد من السماء أن الله أحل الكذب ما كذبت! ثم روى عن عائشة باسانيده أن الذي تولى كبره عبد الله بن أبي. وعندئذ قال هشام: إنا أن نهيج الشيخ يهج الشيخ.
Hisham thus said to him, “O Sulaiman, who is the one who was responsible for its major share?”
He said, “‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy.”
“You are lying! It was ‘Ali,” he retorted.
He thus said, “Amir al Mu’minin knows betters what he is saying.”
Subsequently al Zuhri entered, so he asked him, “Who is the one who was responsible for its major share?”
He replied, “Ibn Ubayy.”
“You are lying,” responded the Khalifah.
To which al Zuhri said, “Would I lie, may you lose your father. By Allah if an announcer has to announce from the heavens that Allah has made lying permissible I would still not lie.”
He then went onto narrate from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha that the one who was responsible for most of the propaganda was ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy.
Subsequently Hisham said, “If we incite the old man he will become furious.”
Likewise Ibn Hajar, after having covered all its various sources, whilst commenting on this story mentions:
كأن بعض من لا خير فيه من الناصبة تقرب ألى بني أمية بهذه الكذبه… لعلمهم بانحرافهم عن علي، فظنوا صحتها حتى بين الزهري للوليد أن الحق خلاف ذلك، فجزاه الله تعالى خيرا
It seems as though some of the Nawasib endeavoured to attain closeness to the Banu Umayyah by way of this lie, due to them knowing of their disdain for ‘Ali. The governors thus thought that it is correct until al Zuhri came about and told al Walid that the truth is otherwise. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala reward him with goodness.
Another very pertinent position is the position taken by Talhah ibn Musarrif when he was threatened to be executed if he did not revile ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Hereunder are the details of what happened:
إن سليمان بن عبد الملك كان جالسا، فمر به رجل عليه ثياب يخيل في مشيته. فقال: هذا ينبغي أن يكون عراقيا، وينبغي أن يكون كوفيا، وينبغي أن يكون من همدان. ثم قال: علي بالرجل، فأتي به فقال: ممن الرجل. فقال: ويلك دعني حتى ترجع إلي نفسي. قال: فتركه هنيهة، ثم سأله ممن الرجل؟ قال: من أهل العراق. قال: من أيهم؟ قال: من أهل الكوفة. قال: أي أهل الكوفة؟ قال: من همدان. فازداد عجبا فقال: ما تقول في أبي بكر؟ قال: والله ما أدركت دهره وأدرك دهري! ولقد قال الناس فيه فأحسنوا، وهو إن شاء الله كذلك. قال: فما تقول في عمر؟ فقال مثل ذلك. قال: فما تقول في عثمان؟ قال: والله ما أدركت دهره ولا أدرك دهري، ولقد قال فيه الناس فأحسنوا، وقال فيه ناس فأساؤوا، وعند الله غلمه. قال: فما تقول في علي؟ قال هو الله مثل ذلك. قال: سب عليا. قال: لا أسبه. قال: والله لتسبنه. قال: والله لا أسبه. قال: والله لتسبنه أو لأضربن عنقك. قال: والله لا أسبه. قال: فأمر بضرب عنقه، فقال رجل في يده سيف فهزه حتى أضاءه في يده كأنه الخوصة، فقال: والله لتسبنه أو لأضربن عنقك. قال: والله لا أسبه. ثم نادى: ويلك يا سليمان! أدنني منك، فدعا به فقال: يا سليمان: أما ترضى مني بما رضي به من هو خير منك ممن هو خير مني فيمن هو شرمن علي؟ قال: وما ذاك؟ قال: الله رضي من عيسى وهو خير مني إذ قال في بني إسرائيل وهم شر من علي: إِن تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ ۖ وَإِن تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ. قال: فنظرت إلى الغضب ينحدر من وحهه حتى صار في طرف أرنبته ثم قال: خليا سبيله، فعاد إلى مشيه.
Sulaiman ibn ‘Abdul Malik was sitting one day when a person passed by him walking proudly. He thus said, “This person should be an Iraqi, and he should be from Kufah, and he should be from Hamadan.
He then said, “Bring the man to me.” And he was thus brought.
So he asked, “From where is the gentleman.”
He replied, “Leave me till my breath returns to me.”
He thus left him for a while and then asked, “From where is the gentleman?”
“From Iraq,” he replied.
“From which of the people of Iraq?” he asked.
“From the people of Kufah,” he replied.
He then asked, “From which of the people of Kufah?”
He said, “From the people of Hamadan.”
This excited him and he thus asked, “What do you say about Abu Bakr?”
He said, “By Allah I did not see his era not did he live to see mine. The people have said good about him and are right in doing so, and he is by the will of Allah as they say.”
He further asked, “What do you say about ‘Umar?” and He gave the same answer.
Then he asked, “What do you say about ‘Uthman?”
He said, “By Allah I did not see his time and nor did he see mine. Some have commented about him and have done good in doing so and others have likewise commented about him and have done wrong in doing so; knowledge of his state lies with Allah.”
He asked, “What do you say about ‘Ali?”
He retorted, “He is no different.”
Sulaiman demanded, “Revile him.”
He said, “I will not revile him.”
He again said, “By Allah you will surely revile him.”
He responded, “By Allah I will not revile him.”
He again demanded, “By Allah you will surely swear him or else I will slay you.”
He replied, “By Allah I will not revile him.”
He thus ordered that he be slayed. A person thus stood up with a sword flashing in his hand as if it was a big pearl.
He once more demanded, “By Allah you will revile him or I will slay you.”
He replied, “By Allah I will not revile him.”
He then called out, “Woe to you, O Sulaiman, allow me to come near you.”
He thus called him and he said, “O Sulaiman, would you not be happy with me if I said that which made the one better than you happy with he who he is better than me regarding those who are worse than ‘Ali?”
He said, “What do you mean?”
He replied, “Allah was happy with ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam, who is better than me, when he said the following regarding the Banu Isra’il who were worse than ‘Ali: If you should punish them, indeed they are your servants; but if you forgive them, indeed it is you who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”
He says “I saw the anger leaving his face till it settled at the tip of his nose.”
Thereafter he said, “Leave him.” and consequently he returned to his proud walk.
What captures ones attention in this awe inspiring story is that Talhah was classed as an ‘Uthmani (a partisan of ‘Uthman) due to him opposing most of the people of Kufah by giving preference to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu over ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. But his consideration for the trust of knowledge was so sublime that that did not allow him to please the Khalifah by reviling ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu even though he would be executed.
Similarly, another interesting incident which occurred is that Hisham ibn ‘Abdul Malik wrote a letter to al A’mash requesting him to document the merits of ‘Uthman and the demerits of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. When al A’mash received it his response was disdainful; he took the letter and fed it to a sheep which was by him and said to the messenger of the Khalifah, “This is your answer. But when the messenger insisted that he write a response and beseeched him by telling him that he did not return with an answer the Khalifah will kill him, al A’mash wrote the following:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم، أما بعد، فلو كان لعثمان مناقب أهل الأرض ما نفعتك، ولو كانت لعلي مساوئ أهل الأرض ما ضرتك، فعليك بخويصة نفسك، والسلام.
In the name of Allah the beneficent the merciful. If ‘Uthman enjoyed the merits of the people of the world they would not benefit you; and if ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was tainted with all the demerits of the people of the world they would not harm you. So worry about yourself. Wa al Salam.
One last incident in this regard is what occurred between ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz and one of his teachers of Madinah. The latter had corrected him after seeing that he was also influenced by much of the Nasb which was prevalent in the Umayyad household. What happened was that he would often visit ‘Ubaidullah ibn ‘Abdullah and would assimilate knowledge from him. One day ‘Ubaidullah came to know that ‘Umar denigrates ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and thus said to him:
متى بلغك أن الله تعالي سخط على أهل بدر بعد أن رضي عنهم؟
When has it reached you that Allah became displeased with the participants of Badr after being pleased with them?
‘Umar immediately picked up his intent and said, “May Allah forgive me and I seek your pardon. I will never do this again.” Thereafter ‘Umar was never heard mentioning ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu but with goodness.
Some scholars of the Sunnah were of the opinion that the Nawasib should not be accepted at all, not even the narrations of those who were meticulous amongst them. This was, however, a personal approach based on their personal reasoning and choices. Hence we see variant approaches come to the fore.
A group of the early scholars opined that it would not be permissible to use their narrations as authority. This group has given two reasons for their position:
1. Their disbelief, in which case this would apply to the Khawarij specifically and not to the other Nawasib. Rejecting the narrations of the former on this basis is completely clear.
2. Their Fisq (sinfulness): this would include all the stripes of the Nawasib.
The basis of this difference is due to a theological contention which pertains to the ruling of innovators whose innovations pertain to dogma and belief, will they be classed as disbelievers or merely as imposters?
Nonetheless, various scholars have forbade accepting the narrations of various Nawasib of both categories, hereunder we enlist some of them:
لا يروى عنه ولا كرامة، ولا يذكر بخير
No, never can one narrate from him, nor can he be mentioned with goodness.
لا ولا كرامة
كيف يكون من قتل الحسين ثقة
How can the person who killed Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu be reliable?
متروك لسوء اعتقاده و خبث مذهبه
He is discarded due to his evil beliefs and his dirty dogma.
He also criticised al Bukhari for recording his narration in his al Sahih.
حريز بن عثمان ليس بشيء في الحديث
Hariz ibn ‘Uthman is not anything in hadith.
He also said about him:
كان داعية إلى مذهبه يتنكب حديثه
He would invite toward his dogma and thus his narrations should be neglected.
من لم يحب الصحابة فليس بثقة ولا كرامة
Whoever does not love the Sahabah is not a reliable narrator, never can he be.
كان يتناول عليا
He would denigrate ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
من سب الصحابة فليس بثقة ولا مأمون
He who reviles the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum is not reliable and trustworthy.
أتيته، فإذا هو يحمل على علي فلم أعد إليه
 Surah al Hijr: 9.
 Surah Ᾱl ‘Imran: 110.
 Surah Ᾱl ‘Imran: 104.
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 187.
 The hadith of Abu Umamah, Abu Hurairah, and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar which appears in: al ‘Uqayli: al Du’afa’ 1/9. The hadith of Abu Hurairah also appears in: al Tabarani: Musnad al Shamiyyin: hadith no. 599. Likewise the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar appears in the Fawa’id of Tammam: hadith no. 899. And al Bayhaqi has reported the Mursal report of Ibrahim ibn ‘Abdur Rahman al ‘Udhri in his Sunan: hadith no. 20700. The scholars have debated its authenticity. Amongst those who have deemed it Sahih are: Imam Ahmed, as appears in al Badr al Munir 1/259; Ibn ‘Abdul Barr, as appears in al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 10/337; al Albani in his work on Mishkat al Masabih: hadith no. 248. On the other hand al ‘Ala’i has deemed it Hassan, as appears in al Ghayah fi Sharh al Hidayah fi ‘Ilm al Riwayah p. 64. For more details see: Majma’ al Zawa’id 1/140; Tadreeb al Rawi 1/302; al Shadha al Fayyah 1/239; al Hittah fi Dhikr al Sihah al Sittah p. 38.
 Al Istiqamah 1/41.
 Hilyah al Auliya’ 7/27; al Jami’ li Akhlaq al Rawi wa ‘Ᾱdab al Sami’ 2/118; Tabyin Kadhib al Muftari p. 389; Tarikh al Islam 10/237.
 Hilyah al Auliya’ 7/27; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 7/260
 Kitab al Sunnah of al Khallal 2/410.
 Tarikh Baghdad 11/463; Tahdhib al Kamal 21/17; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 11/47; Tarikh al Islam 17/278.
 Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 1/364; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 11/47.
 Refer to a very important discussion around this topic in the Majmu’ Fatawa Sheikh al Islam 20/396.
 Tarikh Ibn Ma’in via the narration of al Duri 3/248; al Khallal: al Sunnah 1/79; al Mujalasah wa Jawahir al ‘Ilm p. 414; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 25/372.
 Wuhayb ibn al Ward ibn Abi al Ward al Makhzumi, their client, Abu ‘Uthman al Makki. His name is ‘Abdul Wahhab, as for Wuhayb, it was his title. A reliable narrator of hadith and an ascetic. He was famous for his advices. He passed away in 153 A.H. His narrations feature in Sahih Muslim, and the Sunans of Abu Dawood, al Tirmidhi and al Nasa’i. See: al Thiqat 7/559; Tahdhib al Kamal 31/169; Tarikh al Islam 9/662; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 11/150.
 Tarikh Baghdad 1/260; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 30/399.
 Hilyah al Auliya’ 7/27; Tarikh al Islam 10/228; al Wafi bi al Wafayat 15/175.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 7/253.
 Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah 2/73.
 Bughyah al Talib fi Tarikh Halab 2/786; Tahdhib al Kamal 1/339; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 14/133; Mir’at al Jinan 2/241. It is very far-fetched that Imam al Nasa’i intended to denigrate Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. But he thought it wise, after seeing this state of affairs, to not narrate anything about him so as not to allow the Nawasib the opportunity to draw evidence therefrom for their innovation. The evidence for this is that when he was asked regarding Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu he said, “Islam is like a house with a door, the door of Islam is the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Hence whoever reviles the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum actually targets Islam itself, akin to a person who knocks on the door wanting to enter the house.” He further says, “Whoever targets Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu has indeed targeted the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.” (Tahdhib al Kamal 1/239).
Some scholars, however, do not accept this explanation, they offer an alternate explanation and suggest that the reason for responding in this way was that he was tainted with a light form of Shiasm. Hence al Dhahabi says, “He had a little bit of Tashayyu’ and was thus averse to the opponents of Imam ‘Ali, like Muawiyah and ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala forgive him for that.” (Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 14/133.
 Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn Kathir al Tabari, Abu Jafar. A polymath who was unmatched in his knowledge in his time. He was born in 224 A.H. He was a very devout worshipper, disinclined from this world, pious and a person who stood for the truth. A fitnah ensued between him and the Hanabilah owing to which the latter dubbed him a Rafidi falsely. He passed away in 310 A.H. Some of his works are: Tarikh al Umam wa al Muluk, Jami’ al Bayan and Tahdhib al Ᾱthar. See: Tarikh Baghdad 2/162; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 14/267; al Wafi bi al Wafayat 2/212; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 11/145.
 Tabrastan, the mountainous area which surrounds the southern side of the Caspian Sea. It includes many cities and the mountains that expand around it are known as Jibal al Burz (the Al Borz mountain range). Another name for Tabrastan is also Mazindaran which is now the popular name by which it is known. See: Mujam al Buldan 4/13; Mujam ma Ustu’jim 3/887.
 Mujam al Buldan 5/269.
 ‘Ata’ ibn Muslim al Kaffaf, Abu Makhlad al Kufi al Halabi. A reliable narrator who has been deemed reliable by several scholars. However, out of precaution he buried his books and thereafter started to narrate from his memory but would make a lot of mistakes. He passed away in 190 A.H. His narrations appear in the Shama’il of al Tirmidhi and the Sunan of al Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. See: al Kamil fi Du’afa’ al Rijal 5/367; Tarikh Baghdad 12/294; Tahdhib al Kamal 20/104; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 7/189.
A humorous anecdote: Sufyan al Thawri asked ‘Ata’ ibn Muslim, “How is your love for Abu Bakr today?” He said, “Intense.” He then asked, “How is your love for ‘Umar?” He said, “Intense.” He again asked, “How is you love for ‘Ali?” He replied, “Intense.” (This time emphasising his answer). Sufyan thus said to him, “O ‘Ata’ this intensity deserves a mark on your forehead.” See: Hilyah al Auliya’ 7/31.
 Jafar ibn Burqan al Kilabi, their client, Abu ‘Abdullah al Jazari. An ascetic scholar from the people of Raqqah. It is said that his prayers were readily accepted by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Several scholars have deemed him reliable. However he would err in the narrations of al Zuhri. He passed away in 154 A.H. at the age of forty four. His narrations appear in al Adab al Mufrad of al Bukhari the Sahih of Muslim and the four Sunan. See: al Thiqat 6/136; al Kamil fi Du’afa’ al Rijal 2/140; Mizan al I’tidal 2/129; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 2/73.
 Tahdhib al Kamal 5/16.
 For example: al Arba’in fi Fada’il ‘Uthman and al Arba’in fi Fada’il ‘Ali, both the works of Ismail ibn Yusuf al Qazwini al Hakim. See: Kashf al Zunun 4/287.
 Minhaj al Sunnah 4/287.
 Salim ibn Abi Hafsah, Abu Yunus al Kufi. A leading Shia scholar. The scholars have disputed regarding his reliability after having agreed that he was an extremist Shia. He died in 140 A.H. His narrations appear in al Adab al Mufrad of Imam al Bukhari and the Sunan of Imam al Tirmidhi. See: al Tabaqat al Kubra of Ibn Sa’d 6/336; al Kamil fi Du’afa’ al Rijal 3/343; Mizan al I’tidal 3/162; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 3/374.
 Du’afa’ al ‘Uqayli 2/153; Tahdhib al Kamal 10/135.
 Sunan al Darimi 1/58; Hilyah al Auliya’ 3/369; Tafsir al Sam’ani 3/460; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 5/337.
 Tarikh Baghdad 7/336; Dham al Kalam wa Ahlih of al Harawi 5/81; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 14/9; Miftah al Jannat of al Suyuti p. 76.
 Hilyah al Auliya’ 7/27.
 Tarikh Baghdad 11/463; Tahdhib al Kamal 21/17; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 11/47.
 ‘Abdullah ibn Sulaiman ibn al Ash’ath al Azdi, Abu Bakr al Sijistani. A reliable scholar who was well versed in genealogy, history, the deeper flaws of hadith and the campaigns of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He was born in Sijistan in 230 A.H. and he grew up in Baghdad. Al Dar Qutni has said about him, “He is reliable, however when commenting upon narrations he makes a lot of mistakes.” He passed away in Baghdad in 316 A.H. Some of his books are: al Musnad, Kitab al Masahif and al Tafsir. See: Tabaqat al Muhaddithin bi Asfahan wa al Waridin ‘Alayha 3/533; Tarikh Baghdad 9/464; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 29/77; Lisan al Mizan 3/293.
 Al Kamil fi Du’afa’ al Rijal 4/266; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 13/228; Tadhkirah al Huffaz 2/771.
 Ismail ibn ‘Ayyash ibn Salim al ‘Anasi, their client, Abu ‘Utbah al Himsi. An ascetic hadith scholar and an adherent of the Sunnah. He was born in 108 A.H. Yazid ibn Harun said about him, “I have not seen a Shami or an Iraqi with who knew as many narrations as Ismail ibn ‘Ayyash. His narrations from others besides the people of his town have been criticised. He passed away in 181 A.H. His narrations appear in Sahih al Bukhari and the four Sunan. See: Tarikh Baghdad 6/221; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 9/35; Tahdhib al Kamal 3/163; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 8/312.
 Tarikh Baghdad 13/7; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 50/366; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 8/148; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 8/415.
 Tahdhib al Kamal 5/16.
 Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah 4/371.
 Mustadrak Hakim 3/116, Tafsir al Tha’labi 4/81; al Kamil fi al Tarikh 3/263; Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah 8/421.
 Fath al Bari 7/74.
 Al Isti’ab 3/1115; Fath al Bari 7/71; al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah 2/353; Fayd al Qadir 4/355.
 Minhaj al Sunnah 4/371.
 Ahmed ibn al Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Musa al Khasrujardi, Abu Bakr al Bayhaqi. The leading scholar of Khurasan and a jurist and hadith master. He was born in 384 A.H. He authored many books, all with perfection, which all earned acclaim. He was the first person to compile the views of Imam al Shafi’i and substantiate them with proof-texts from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. He passed away in 458 A.H. Some of his books are: al Sunan al Kubra, Shu’ab al Iman, al Sunan wa al Ᾱthar. See: Tarikh al Islam 30/438; al Wafi bi al Wafayat 6/219; Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah al Kubra 4/8; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 12/94.
 Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 42/418.
 Fath al Bari 7/71; al Isabah fi Tamyiz al Sahabah 4/565.
 Fath al Bari 7/74.
 Mujam al Udaba’ 5/266.
 He is: Sulaiman ibn Ahmed ibn Ayub al Lakhmi and al Shami, Abu al Qasim al Tabarani. From the great retainers of hadith and most reliable of transmitters. He was born in ‘Akka in 260 A.H. He became famous for his multiple voyages and for writing hadith from every hadith scholar he came across. He reached a stage in his life wherein people started flocking toward him from every direction. He passed away in Asfahan in 360 A.H. Some of his books are the three Ma’ajim (hadith collections). See: Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 16/119; Tabaqat al Huffaz 1/372; Mizan al I’tidal 3/278.
 Mujam al Udaba’ 3/121.
 Sahih al Bukhari 3/1357.
 Ibid. 3/1360.
 Ibid. 3/1369.
 Ibid. 3/1374.
 Sahih Muslim 4/1870.
 Ibid. 4/1882.
 Ibid. 4/1883.
 Ibid. 4/1902.
 Majmu’ Fatawa Shaikh al Islam 3/279, 28/476.
 Majmu’ Fatawa Shaikh al Islam 28/518; Minhaj al Sunnah al Nabawiyyah 4/395.
 Rafi’ ibn Mahran al Rayahi, their client, Abu al ‘Aliyah al Basri. A jurist and master in science of Qira’ah. He was from senior successors and an authority amongst them. He lived during the era of ignorance but only accepted Islam two years after the demise of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He saw and met many of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Abu Bakr ibn Abi Dawood says the following about him, “There is no one more learned regarding the Qur’an after the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum than Abu al ‘Aliyah.” He passed away in 90 A.H. His narrations appear in all six collections. See: Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 18/159; Tahdhib al Kamal 9/214; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 4/207; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 3/246.
 Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq 10/153; al Tabaqat al Kubra 7/114; Firyabi: al Qadr 257; Tahdhib al Kamal 9/216.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 6/167; al Isabah fi Tamyiz al Sahabah 5/359.
 See some of these narrations in the book al Khawarij, Dirasah wa Naqd li Mazhabihim p. 28.
 Majmu’ Fatawa Shaikh al Islam 3/279, 28/512; Kitab al Nubuwwat p. 139.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 6/218.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 7/553; Ibn ‘Abdul Barr: al Tamhid 23/335; al Nubuwwat p. 141.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 7/560.
 Surah al Baqarah: 26, 27.
 Majmu’ Fatawa Shaikh al Islam 7/483.
 Sahih Muslim 1/179.
 Sahih al Bukhari 6/2539.
 Sahih Muslim 2/746.
 Ibid. 2/750.
 Sunan Abi Dawood 4/241.
 Ibid. 4/242.
 Sahih Ibn Hibban 15/387.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 7/556; Majmu’ Fatawa Shaikh al Islam 19/89; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 7/282; Tarikh al Khulafa’ p. 174.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 1/258.
 Al Istiqamah 1/258.
 The hadith of Abu Sa’id al Khudri which appears in Sahih al Bukhari: Chapter regarding the virtues of the Qur’an: sub-chapter regarding the evil of a person who shows off with the recitation of the Qur’an, eats off it, or boasts about it: hadith no. 4771; Sahih Muslim: Chapter of Zakat: sub-chapter regarding the Khawarij and their description: hadith no. 1064.
 Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq: Chapter regarding blood money: sub-chapter regarding the Haruriyyah: hadith no. 18581; Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: Chapter regarding the battle of Jamal: sub-chapter regarding the mention of the Khawarij: hadith no. 37901.
 Majmu’ Fatawa Shaikh al Islam 20/394.
 The hadith of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu which appears in Sahih al Bukhari: Chapter regarding demanding repentance from the renegades and opponents and fighting them; sub-chapter regarding fighting the Khawarij after establishing evidence against them: hadith no. 6531; Sahih Muslim: Chapter of Zakat: sub-chapter regarding the encouragement of killing the Khawarij: hadith no. 1066.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: Chapter regarding the battle of Jamal: sub-chapter regarding the Khawarij: hadith no. 37886.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 6/227.
 Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat p. 222.
 Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq 10/120; Ibn ‘Abdul Barr: al Tamhid 23/325.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: Chapter of virtues: Sub-chapter regarding the virtues of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib: hadith no. 32067.
 Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 31/193.
 Hilyah al Auliya’ 7/237.
 Riyah ibn al Harith al Nakha’i, Abu al Muthanna al Kufi. A successor who heard from ‘Ali and Sa’id ibn Zaid. Al ‘Ijli has deemed him reliable and Ibn Hibban has mentioned him in his Thiqat. I did not come across the date of his demise. His narrations appear in the Sunans of Abu Dawood, al Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. See: Ma’rifah al Thiqat 1/365; Tarikh Baghdad 8/419; Tahdhib al Kamal 9/256; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 3/258.
 I did not come across his biography in the books I have at my disposal.
 Ahmed ibn Hanbal: Fada’il al Sahabah: hadith no. 90; Sunan Abi Dawood: Chapter of al Sunnah: sub-chapter regarding the Khalifas: hadith no. 4650; Ibn Abi ‘Asim: al Sunnah: hadith no. 1433; Musnad al Shashi: hadith no. 216. Al Albani has deemed the hadith Sahih in his Sahih Sunan Abi Dawood.
 Musnad Ahmed: hadith no. 1638. Shu’ayb al Arna’ut has said that the hadith is Sahih li Ghayrihi (reliable due to multiple versions).
 Busr ibn ‘Umair ibn ‘Uwaymir ibn ‘Imran al Qurashi, Abu ‘Abdur Rahman al Shami. A partisan of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and a diehard supporter of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. There is difference of opinion regarding him being a Sahabi due to him being very young at the demise of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He became infamous for boldly shedding blood. He passed away in the era of ‘Abdul Malik after having become senile. His narrations appear in the Sunans of Abu Dawood, al Tirmidhi and al Nasa’i. See: al Tabaqat al Kubra 7/409; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 10/144; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 3/409; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 1/381.
 Tarikh al Tabari 3/170; al Muntazam 5/186; al Kamil fi al Tarikh 3/278; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun 3/6.
 Abu Bakr ibn Khalid ibn ‘Urfutah al ‘Udhri, the ally of the Banu Zuhrah. He met a few Sahabah and narrated from them. Imam Ahmed has said, “Narrations can be narrated from him.” and Ibn Hajar has said, “He is acceptable.” I have not come across the date of his demise. His narrations appear in Khasa’is ‘Ali of al Nasa’i. See: al Jarh wa al Ta’dil 9/340; Tahdhib al Kamal 33/90; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 12/28; Taqrib al Tahdhib 622.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: chapter of merits: sub-chapter regarding the merits of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu: hadith no. 32122; Sunan al Nasa’i al Kubra: chapter of specialities: sub-chapter regarding the statement of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Whoever reviles ‘Ali has reviled me.” hadith no. 8488; Musnad Abi Ya’la: hadith no. 777; al Maqdisi: al Ahadith al Mukhtarah: hadith no. 1077. Al Haythami has deemed the transmission of Abu Ya’la Hassan in Majma’ al Zawa’id 9/130., and Ibn Hajar has alluded that it is acceptable in Fath al Bari 7/74
 Sahih Muslim 1/20; al Tabaqat al Kubra 6/181; al ‘Uqayli: al Du’afa’ 2/186.
 ‘Ata’ ibn Aslam al Qurashi al Fihri, their client, Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Rabah al Makki. The jurist of Makkah and its worshipper. He was born during the Caliphate of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and was originally from Africa. He met two hundred of the Companions of Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He was the supreme Mufti of Makkah alongside Mujahid. He was reliable but would often omit the Sahabi between him and Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He passed away in 114 A.H. His narrations appear in the six books. See: Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 40/366; Tahdhib al Kamal 20/69; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 5/78; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 7/179.
 Hilyah al Auliya’ 3/312; Tarikh Asfahan 2/152; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 9/308.
 Al Hassan ibn Abi al Hassan (his name was Yasar) al Ansari, their ally, Abu Sa’id al Basri. The leading scholar of Basrah its ascetic and one of the prominent successors. He was born in Madinah two years before the demise of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He met a fair amount of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Ibn Sa’d said about him, “He was a polymath, a person of high stature, a jurist, an authority, a worshipper, and an eloquent orator.” He passed away in 121 A.H. His narrations appear in the six books. See: Tahdhib al Kamal 6/95; al ‘Ibar fi Khabar man Ghabar 1/490; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 9/268; al Wafi bi al Wafayat 12/190.
 Al Mujalasah wa Jawahir al ‘Ilm p. 220; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 42/490; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 8/5.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra 7/185; Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 7/557; Hilyah al Auliya’ 2/285.
 Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn ‘Ubaidullah ibn Shihab al Zuhri, Abu Bakr al Madani. A successor who settled in Sham. He was a jurist and a great retainer of hadith. His prominence and perfection is unanimously accepted. Ayub al Sakhtiyani said about him, “I have not seen anyone more knowledgeable than al Zuhri.” He passed away in Sham in 124 A.H. His narrations appear in all six books. See: Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 55/294; Tahdhib al Kamal 26/419; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 5/326; Tadhkirah al Huffaz 1/108.
 Walid ibn ‘Abdul Malik ibn Marwan ibn al Hakam al Umawi, Abu al ‘Abbas al Dimashqi. He assumed the Caliphate after his father in the year 86 A.H. Many places were conquered during his time. He had likewise built the Jami’ Masjid of Damascus. He managed the affairs of the Caliphate well even though he was hard and tyrannical. He passed away in 96 A.H. at the age of fifty one. See: Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 63/164; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 4/347; Fawat al Wafayat 2/588; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 9/161.
 Al Mujam al Kabir of al Tabarani: hadith no. 145. For more details see: al Ma’rifah wa al Tarikh 1/201; Tafsir al San’ani 3/52; Hilyah al Auliya’ 3/369; al Durr al Manthur 6/157.
 Sulaiman ibn Yasar al Hilali, their client, Abu Ayub al Madani, the freed slave of Maimunah radiya Llahu ‘anha. He was one of the seven prominent jurist of Madinah. He met more than ten Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Some scholars would hold him in higher esteem than Sa’id ibn al Musayyab. He was reliable in whatever he narrated. He passed away in 107 A.H. His narrations appear in the six books. See: al Tabaqat al Kubra 5/174; Tahdhib al Kamal 12/100; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 4/444; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 4/199.
 Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 55/371; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 5/329; Fath al Bari 7/437.
 Ruh al Ma’ani 18/117.
 Mahmud ibn ‘Abdullah al Hussaini, Abu al Thana’ al Alusi, attributed to the Ᾱlus Island which is situated in the Euphrates River. An exegete of the Qur’an, and hadith scholar, a master in literature and a scholar with immense knowledge. He passed away in 1270 A.H. Some of his books are: Ruh al Ma’ani fi Tafsir al Qur’an al ‘Azim wa al Sab’ al Mathani, Daqa’iq al Tafsir, al Risalah al Lahuriyyah. See: al A’lam 7/176; Mujam al Mu’allifin 12/175.
 Fath al Bari 7/437, with a little condensation.
 Talhah ibn Musarrif ibn ‘Amr al Hamadani, Abu Muhammad al Kufi. One of the reliable scholars. He was known as the Sayed al Qurra’ (the leader of the scholars) due to him being the most learned. ‘Abdul Malik ibn Abjar said about him, “I have not seen him with a people but found him to be more virtuous. He passed away in 112 A.H. His narrations appear in all six books. See: al Tabaqat al Kubra 6/308; Ma’rifah al Thiqat 1/379; Tahdhib al Kamal 13/433; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 5/23.
 Sulaiman ibn ‘Abdul Malik ibn Marwan al Umawi, Abu Ayub al Dimashqi. He was born in Madinah and grew up in Sham. He was eloquent, loved justice and fighting in the path of Allah. He took his cousin ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz his personal advisor through whom lots of good came to being. He sent an army to besiege Constantinople who was successful in entering into agreement with its people and building a Masjid there. He passed away in 99 A.H. See: Wafayat al A’yan 2/420; Fawat al Wafayat 1/453; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 9/177; Ma’athir al Inaqah 1/138.
 Hilyah al Auliya’ 5/16.
 Tahdhib al Kamal 13/437.
 Al Khallal: al Sunnah 2/395; al ‘Ibar fi Khabar man Ghabar 1/139.
 Hilyah al Auliya’ 3/369; Wafayat al A’yan 2/403; Mir’at al Jinan 1/306; Shadharat al Dhahab 1/221.
 ‘Ubaid Allah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Utbah ibn Mas’ud al Hudhali, Abu ‘Abdullah al Madani. One of the seven prominent jurists of Madinah and its worshippers. He was reliable and trustworthy and was an expert in poetry. ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz said the following regarding him, “If ‘Ubaid Allah was alive I would only give up my opinion for his.” He passed away in 98 A.H. His narrations appear in all six books. See: al Tabaqat al Kubra 5/250; Tahdhib al Kamal 19/73; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 4/475; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 5/272.
 Al Ma’rifah wa al Tarikh 1/316; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 45/136; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 5/117; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 9/193.
 The ruling regarding the Khawarij will come in depth on p. 852. (Add page number)
 Al Kifayah fi ‘Ilm al Riwayah 1/120; Lisan al Mizan 1/7; Fath al Mughith 1/327.
 Rabi’ah ibn Yazid al Sulami: Some have stated that he was a Sahabi but most have denied that. Abu Hatim said about him, “Whoever has considered him amongst the Sahabah has not brought anything forth.” Ibn Hibban has documented him in his al Thiqat. I did not come across his date of death. See: al Thiqat 3/129; al Isti’ab 2/493; al Isabah 2/477.
 Al Isti’ab 2/493; al Isabah 2/477.
 Al Isti’ab 2/493; al Isabah 2/477.
 Al Muntazam 5/322; Mizan al I’tidal 7/262.
 Ma’rifah al Thiqat 2/166.
 Yahya ibn Ma’in ibn ‘Awn ibn Ziyad al Ghatafani, their client, Abu Zakariyya al Baghdadi. A reliable and prominent scholar of hadith. One of the most learned regarding transmitter biographies. He was born in 158 A.H. Imam Ahmed described him as one whom Allah created to expose the lies of the liars. He passed away in Madinah in 233 A.H. His body was carried upon the bench of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. His narrations appear in all six books. See: Tarikh Baghdad 14/177; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 65/3; Tahdhib al Kamal 31/543; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 11/246.
 Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 65/3; Tahdhib al Kamal 31/543; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 11/246.
 Yahya ibn Sa’id ibn Farrukh al Qattan al Tamimi, their client, Abu Sa’id al Basri. An expert retainer of hadith and a worshipper. He was an expert in hadith transmitters but was a bit too stringent in his criticsm. He was born in 158 A.H. Imam Ahmed described him by saying, “I have not seen anyone like him.” He passed away in 198 A.H. His narrations appear in the six books. See: Tarikh Baghdad 14/135; Tahdhib al Kamal 31/329; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 11/190; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 9/175.
 Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 45/39; Tahdhib al Kamal 21/357.
 ‘Imran ibn Hittan ibn Ziban al Sadusi, Abu Simak al Basri. A prominent scholar and one of the poets of the Khawarij. He met a group of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and eventually adopted the dogma of the Khawarij. It is alleged that he repented from it. He is deemed a reliable narrator of hadith, as stated by al ‘Ijli and others. He passed away in 84 A.H. His narrations appear in Sahih al Bukhari, and the Sunans of Abu Dawood and al Nasa’i. See: Tahdhib al Kamal 22/322; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 4/214; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 9/52; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 8/113.
 ‘Ali ibn ‘Umar ibn Ahmed ibn Mahdi al Baghdadi, Abu al Hassan al Dar Qutni. One of the great scholars of hadith. He is attributed to Dar al Qutn, a place in Baghdad. He was born in 306 A.H. He was considered the individual at who the memorisation and the knowledge of the inner flaws of hadith ended. He was also an expert in the Qira’at (various modes of reading the Qur’an) and a fair share in other sciences as well. He has been described as having some leanings toward Shi’ism. He passed away in 385 A.H. Some of his books are: al Sunan, al ‘Ilal and a book on the Qira’at. See: Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 43/93; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 16/449; Tadhkirah al Huffaz 3/991; Tabaqat al Huffaz 1/393.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib 8/114; al Isabah fi Tamyiz al Sahabah 5/305.
 Al Isabah 5/305.
 Ismail ibn Sumay’ al Ju’fi, Abu Muhammad al Kufi. He has narrated from Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu and others. Several scholars have deemed him reliable and he has been impugned due to his Khariji leanings. See: Tahdhib al Kamal 3/107; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 1/266.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib 1/266.
 Jarir ibn ‘Abdul Hamid ibn Qurt al Dabbi, Abu ‘Abdullah al Razi. He was born in Asfahan and grew up in Kufah. He settled in Ray and became a judge there. He was a very rough and hard worshipper. It is said that toward the end of his life he would at time err when narrating hadith. He passed away in 188 A.H. at the age of seventy one. His narrations appear in all six books. See: al Jarh wa al Ta’dil 2/505; al Thiqat 6/145; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 9/9; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 2/65.
 Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah ibn Maymun al Hilali, their client, Abu Muhammad al Makki. A very prominent scholar whose prominence is undisputed. He was born in Kufah in 107 A.H. He is deemed to be in the category of Imam Malik in his knowledge and perfection. Imam Ahmed has said about him, “I have not seen anyone more knowledgeable in hadith than him.” He passed away in 198 A.H. His narrations appear in all six books. See: Tahdhib al Kamal 11/177; Tarikh al Islam 13/189; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 8/454; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 4/104.
 Al ‘Uqayli: al Du’afa’ 1/78; al Kamil fi Du’afa’ al Rijal 1/287; Mizan al I’tidal 1/391; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 11/266.
 Yahya ibn Salih al Wahhazi: Abu Zakariyya al Dimashqi (and some say al Himsi). He was a retainer of Hadith and a jurist. Ibn Ma’in and others have deemed him reliable, whilst others have impugned him due to his Jahmi tendencies, not due to his expertise. He passed away in 222 A.H. His narrations appear in the Sahihs of al Bukhari and Muslim and the Sunans of Abu Dawood, al Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. See: Du’afa’ al ‘Uqayli 4/408; al Thiqat 9/260; Tarikh Madinah Dimashq 64/275; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 11/201.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib 2/209.
 Sahih Ibn Hibban 3/325.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib 2/209.
 Ishaq ibn Suwaid ibn Hubayrah al ‘Adawi. A poet who is considered to be from the successors. Several scholars like Ibn Ma’in, Ahmed and al Nasa’i have deemed him reliable. He passed away in a plague in 131 A.H. His narrations appear in the Sahihs of al Bukhari and Muslim and the Sunans of Abu Dawood and al Nasa’i. See: al Thiqat 6/47; al Ta’dil wa al Tarjih of al Baji 1/381; Tahdhib al Kamal 2/432; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 1/206.
 Ma’rifah al Thiqat 1/218; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 1/206.
 Muhammad ibn Ahmed ibn Tamim al Tamimi, Abu al ‘Arab al Maghribi. A Retainer of hadith a historian and a polymath. He was from the posterity of the rulers of the West. He studied the school of Malik from the students of Suhnun. He passed away in Dhi al Qa’dah in 333 A.H. Some of his books are: Tabaqat Ahl Ifriqiyyah, Kitab al Mihan, Kitab al Tarikh. See: al Ikmal 7/66; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 15/394; Tadhkirah al Huffaz 3/889.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib 1/206; Muqaddamah Fath al Bari 1/389.
 Nuaim ibn Abi Hind (his actual name is No’man) ibn Ashyam al Ashja’i. A reliable narrator of Kufah. His father was a Sahabi. He has narrated from Abu Wa’il and others and from Shu’bah has narrated and others. He passed away in 110 A.H. His narrations appear in the Sahih of Muslim and the Sunans of al Tirmidhi, al Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. See: Ma’rifah al Thiqat 2/318; Tahdhib al Kamal 29/497; Mizan al I’tidal 7/45; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 10/417.
 Mizan al I’tidal 7/46; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 10/417.
 Asad ibn Wada’ah al Ta’i al Nabahani, Abu al ‘Ala’ al Shami. One of the saints of Sham and its scholars. He met some Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum like Abu Umamah and the people of Sham have taken narrations from him. He was the judge of the army in Hims. Al Nasa’i has approved of him and Ibn Hibban has mentioned him in his al Thiqat. He was killed in 136 A.H. See: al Ma’rifah wa al Tarikh 1/5; Du’afa’ al ‘Uqayli 1/26; Mizan al I’tidal 1/364; Lisan al Mizan 1/385.
 Al Mughni fi al Du’afa’ 1/76.
 Lisan al Mizan 1/385.
 Hussain ibn Numair al Hamadani, their client, Abu Mihsan al Wasiti al Darir. Originally of Kufah. Shu’bah, Sufyan, Ibn Abi Layla and others have narrated from him. Most scholars have deemed him reliable. I did not come across his date of demise. His narrations appear in the Sahih of al Bukhari and the Sunans of al Nasa’i, Abu Dawood and al Tirmidhi. See: al Jarh wa al Ta’dil 3/197; Tahdhib al Kamal 6/546; Mizan al I’tidal 2/314; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 2/337.
 Taqrib al Tahdhib p. 171.
 Zuhayr ibn Harb ibn Shaddad al Harashi, their client, Abu Khaythamah al Baghdadi. A retainer of hadith and an authority. He was born in 160 A.H. He settled in Baghdad after having travelled extensively for knowledge. He authored books and done so with brilliance. Yahya ibn Ma’in has said regarding him, “Abu Khaythamah will suffice an entire tribe.” He passed away in the Caliphate of al Mutawakkil in 234 A.H. Besides al Tirmidhi all others have narrated his narrations. See: Tarikh Baghdad 8/482, Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ 11/489; Tahdhib al Kamal 9/402; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 3/296.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib 2/337.