Theme Eight: `Ali’s Satisfaction With the Superiority of Abu Bakr in This World and the Hereafter

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Theme Eight: ‘Ali’s Satisfaction With the Superiority of Abu Bakr in This World and the Hereafter

 

A few reports narrated by ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu which elucidate the above mentioned theme are presented ahead. The readers are requested to study them carefully and thereafter are called upon to gauge for themselves the extent of love, closeness, mutual conciliation and reciprocal help that existed within these scrupulous persons. There is no need for additional explanatory notes:

 

عن ابي بكر الهذلي عن الحسن قال قال علي لما قبض النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم نظرنا في امرنا فوجدنا النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم قد قدم ابا بكر في الصلوة فرضينا لدنيا من رضي رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم لديننا فقدمنا ابا بكر.

Hassan reports that ‘Ali said, “When Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away we reflected over our affairs. We realised that he had instructed Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu to lead the congregation in salah. We were thus pleased for our worldly affairs with the person who Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was pleased with for our religious affairs. We, therefore, gave precedence to Abu Bakr.”[1]

 

عن الضحاك عن نزال بن سبرة قال وافقنا من علي بن ابي طالب رضي الله عنه ذات يوم طيب نفس فقلنا يا امير المؤمنين اخبرنا عن ابي بكر بن قحافة قال ذالك امرأ سماه الله الصديق علي لسان جبريل و لسان محمد صلي الله عليه وسلم كان خليفة رسول الله علي الصلوة رضيه لديننا فرضيناه لدنيانا.

Nazzal ibn Saburah reports that one day they encountered ‘Ali and he was in a very jubilant mood, they, therefore, asked him, “O Amir al Mu’minin! Tell us something about Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah.” He replied, “That is a person whom Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had named al Siddiq via Jibril ‘alayh al Salam and Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” He continued, “and was the deputy of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in leading the congregational salah; Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had chosen him for our religious affairs, thus we are pleased that he took charge of our worldly affairs.”[2]

 

عن النزال بن سبرة قال وافقنا من علي رضي الله عنه ذات يوم طيب نفس فقلنا يا امير المؤمنين حدثنا عن أصحابك قال كل أصحاب رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم أصحابي قلنا حدثنا عن أصحاب رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم قال سلوني قلنا حدثنا عن أبي بكر قال ذاك امرأ سماه الله الصديق علي لسان جبريل و لسان محمد صلي الله عليه وسلم كان خليفة رسول الله علي الصلوة رضيه لديننا فرضيناه لدنيانا.

Nazzal ibn Saburah narrates, “one day we found ‘Ali in very elated mood so we said, “Tell us about your companions.” He said, “All the Sahabah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are my companions.” We demanded, “Then tell us about the Sahabah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” “Ask me,” he replied. We said, “Tell us something about Abu Bakr.” He said, “That is a person whom Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had named al Siddiq via Jibril ‘alayh al Salam and Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. And was the deputy of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in leading the congregation in salah; Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had chosen him for our religious affairs, thus we were pleased that he took charge of our worldly affairs as well.”[3]

 

عن نزال بن سبرة قال وافقت من علي……قالوا أخبرنا عن أبي بكر بن أبي قحافة قال ذاك امرأ سماه الله الصديق علي لسان جبريل و لسان محمد صلي الله عليه وسلم كان خليفة رسول الله رضيه لديننا فرضيناه لدنيانا.

Translation similar to that of the above narration.[4]

 

عن الحسن البصري عن علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه قال قدم رسول الله صلي الله عليه أبابكر فصلي بالناس و إتي لشاهد غير غائب وإني صحيح غير مريض ولو شاء أن يقدمني لقدمني فرضينا لدنيانا ما رضيه الله ورسوله لديننا.

Hassan al Basri reports from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent forth Abu Bakr to lead the prayer whereas I was not absent, rather present, and not ill, but in sound health. If he would have wanted to give me preference he would have done so. We are thus happy for our worldly affairs with he, whom Allah is happy with for religious matters.” [5]

 

The Crux of the Narrations

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu led the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in salah during the fatal illness of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, not out of coincidence, rather through the instruction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the balance of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum had perceived his Imamah (leadership), in salah to be sufficient evidence for his eligibility of leadership in the caliphate as well. As if they had understood that his leadership in the five salahs is enough to prove him deserving of the seat of caliphate.

These narrations are also indicative towards the fact that all the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were satisfied with Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu taking charge of affairs. No one was coerced into acknowledging his rule. Similarly it is obvious from these narrations that all the narrations that portray a horrifying picture of how the Ahlul Bayt had been forced into pledging their allegiance are unfounded; the statements of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu cited here are valid enough to discredit them.

It should likewise be remembered that those narrations, if accepted, reflect very badly upon the valour, courageousness and character of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and are thus worthy of being discarded.

 

A Shi’i Narration

I deem it suitable to sight hereunder a narration which appears in a Shia source. The narration tells us that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had conceded that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was worthy of the khalifah, that he was the companion of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the cave, that he was the second of the two, and that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had instructed him to lead the congregational prayer in his last moments. This narration is transmitted through Abu Bakr (Ahmed ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz) al Jowhari and Ibn Abi al Hadid has cited this narration at two places in his commentary of Nahj al Balaghah. The narration is lengthy. It also speaks of ‘Ali and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma conceding the merits of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. An excerpt of it is presented ahead:

 

… وإنا نري أبابكر أحق الناس بها إنه صاحب الغار وثاني اثنين و إنا لنعرف له سنه ولقد أمره رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم بالصلوة وهو حي.

And we see Abu Bakr as the most eligible person for it (caliphate). Verily he is the companion in the cave and the second of the two. We are aware of his seniority; Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had commanded him to lead the congregational prayers whilst he was alive.[6]

 

Note:- Previously I had cited this narration from our sources under the discussion pertaining to the bay’ah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. For reasons of corroboration, the narration has been cited here under this theme from a Shia source.

 

 

NEXT⇒ Theme Nine: ‘Ali’s Grief on Demise of Abu Bakr


[1] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d 3/130.

[2]Kitab Fada’il Abi Bakr al Siddiq, p 4.

[3]Usd al Ghabah 3/216.

[4]Al Riyad al Nadirah 1/68.

[5]  Usd al Ghabah 3/221.

[6] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah 1/ 293: mention of Saqifah.

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