Theme Eleven: The Approbation of Abu Bakr by `Ali From the Mimbar

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Theme Eleven: The Approbation of Abu Bakr by ‘Ali From the Mimbar

 

Under this theme I shall cite the narrations in which ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is reported to have praised Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu in unequivocal terms during his reign, upon the mimbar and in scattered gatherings. He had very clearly commended Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, leaving no room for any person to assume that he had done so merely because of Taqiyyah (dissimulation). These are the phrases ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu used to commend Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu: “The best of this ummah,” “the most virtuous of this ummah,” “the best of people,” “the most virtuous of people,” “the most valorous of people,” etc.

Furthermore, a group of reliable narrators have reported these narrations from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Hence, Shah Wali Allah al Dehlawi has stated the following in his book Izalat al Khafa’:

 

ازوی علی المرتضی بطریق تواتر ثابت شدہ کہ بر منبر کوفہ بر وقت خلافت می فرمود۔

 

He further says:

 

وأما موقوفا فمنه خير هذه الأمة أبو بكر ثم عمر متوترا رواه ثمانون نفسا عن علي رضي الله عنه.

 

The crux of both these texts is: “It is categorically established from ‘Ali (due to mass transmission) that he had commended Abu Bakr on the mimbar of Kufah during his reign.”[1]

 

Al Suyuti has cited the verdict of Imam al Dhahabi in his book Tarikh al Khulafa’. He mentions:

 

هذا متواتر عن علي رضي الله عنه.

The superiority of Abu Bakr is established categorically (due to mass transmission — Tawatur) from ‘Ali.

 

These scholars had reached this conclusion due to them having access to a very vast legacy of hadith literature. We, in our times, have not procured not even a tenth of what they had acquired. Nonetheless, despite that I was able to find more than twenty narrators who have narrated this from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu from the books of hadith that I have at my disposal. I intend to cite all these narrations under this theme and the next. Some of them will be re-cited in the Faruqi section as per need.

From these narrations, I shall begin with the report of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah, the son of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. But before that I wish to shed some light upon his biography.

 

A Brief Account of the Life of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah

After Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah was the most virtuous of the offspring of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He was the son of Khowlah bint Jafar ibn Qais; she was taken as captive during the caliphate of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu after one of the wars of apostasy and was gifted to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He was born two years prior to the termination of the caliphate of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He had spent most of his life in the company of his noble father. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had expressed his intimate love for him and had bequeathed Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma to deal amiably with him.

He passed away in 81/83 A.H. Aban ibn ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, who was the governor of Madinah during the reign of ‘Abdul Malik ibn Marwan, had led his Janazah salah.[2]

 

The narrations are now presented hereunder:

 

1. The narration of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah

 

On one occasion Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah asked his father:

 

قال قلت لأبي اي الناس خير بعد النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم قال ابو بكر قال قلت ثم من ؟قال عمر !و خشيت ان يقول عثمان قلت ثم انت ؟قال ما انا الا رجل من المسلمين.

He says, “I asked my father one day, ‘who is the best of people after Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?’ ‘Abu Bakr’ he said. I asked, ‘then who?’ ‘‘Umar,’ was his response. I feared that now he would say ‘Uthman so I said, ‘and then you?’ upon which he replied, ‘I am but a men from amongst the Muslims.’”[3]

 

2. The Narrations of ‘Abd Khayr

 

There are a few narrations reported from ‘Abd Khayr in this regard each of which is unequivocally clear. They are as follows:

 

عن عبد المالك بن سلع عن عبد خير قال سمعت عليا يقول قبض النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم علي خير ما قبض عليه نبي من الانبياء و اثني عليه صلي الله عليه وسلم قال ثم استخلف ابو بكر فعمل بعمل رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم و سنته ثم قبض ابو بكر علي خير ما قبض عليه احد كان خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها ثم استخلف عمر فعمل بعملهما و سنتهما ثم قبض علي خير ما قبض عليه احد فكان خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها و بعد ابي بكر.

‘Abd Khayr narrates that he heard ‘Ali saying, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was summoned from this world in a manner best befitting a nabi.” He continued praising him and then said, “Subsequently, Abu Bakr was nominated as the khalifah. He upheld the practices of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Sunnah. He was then summoned from this world in a manner best befitting any individual and was the best of this ummah after its Nabi. Thereafter, ‘Umar was elected as the ruler. He upheld their practices and their Sunnah. Consequently, he passed on in the best way suitable for any person and was the best of this ummah after its Nabi and Abu Bakr.”[4]

 

عن المسيب بن عبد خير عن ابيه قال قام علي فقال خير هذه الامة بعد نبيهما ابوبكر و عمر و انا قد احدثنا بعدهم احداثا يقضي الله تعالي فيهما ما شاء.

‘Abd Khayr narrates, “‘Ali arose and said, ‘the best person of this ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Thereafter, we embroiled ourselves in affairs in which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will judge as he wants.’”[5]

 

Note:- In the Musnad of Imam Ahmed under the chapter of the uninterrupted narrations of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu there are four narrations narrated through the transmission of ‘Abd Khayr. However, due to there being very minor variations between them I have sufficed on the citation of two of them. The scholars, if need be, can refer to 1/115-127 of the Musnad.

 

حدثنا شعبة (بن حجاج)عن الحكم عن عبد خير قال قام علي علي المنبر فقال الا اخبركم بخير الناس بعد نبيها ؟قالوا بلي!فال ابو بكر ثم سكت سكتة ثم قال الا اخبركم بخير هذه الامة بعد ابي بكر عمر.

‘Abd Khayr narrates that ‘Ali ascended the pulpit and said, “Should I not inform you of the best of people after their Nabi?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “Abu Bakr,” he then remained silent for a while and again asked, “Should I not inform you of the best of people after Abu Bakr?” He then said, “Umar.”[6]

 

عن نعمان بن عبد السلام عن سفيان عن حبيب قال اتيت عبد خير (الخيواني)فقال سمعت عليا يقول الا اخبركم بخير هذه الامة بعد نبيها قلنا بلي قال ابو بكر ثم عمر الحديث.

This narration has been cited by Abu Nuaim al Isfahani in his book Akhbar Isfahan. The translation is similar to the above narration.[7]

 

حدثنا خالد بن علقمة عن عبد خير قال لما فرغنا من اصحب النهر قام علي خطيبا فحمد الله و اثني عليه ثم قال يا ايها الناس ان خير هذه الامة كان نبيها و كان خيرها بعد نبيها ابو بكر و خيرها بعد ابي بكر عمر ثم احدثنا امورا يقضي الله فيها ما شاء.

‘Abd Khayr mentions, “When we had finished fighting at the Battle of Nahrawan ‘Ali stood up and said, ‘the best of this ummah was its Nabi, then Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar. Therefrom, we got embroiled in such issues wherein Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will decide as he wills.’”[8]

 

قال معاذ سمع عبد خير عن علي قال الا اخبركم بخير الناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم ابو بكر .ثم قال الا اخبركم بخير الناس بعد ابي بكر عمر.

Translation similar to narration four and five.[9]

 

ثنا شعبة عن حبيب بن ابي ثابت قال سمعت حديثا عن عبد خير فلقيته فسألته فحدثني انه سمع عليا يقول خير الناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم ابو بكر ثم عمر.

Translation similar to narration four and five.[10]

 

عن عبد خير قال سمعت علي بن ابي طالب يقول ان خير من ترك نبيكم من بعده ابو بكر ثم عمر و قد عرفت الثالث.

‘Abd Khayr mention, “I heard ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib saying, ‘the best person that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had left after him was Abu Bakr then ‘Umar and I for sure know the third best individual as well.”[11]

 

This narration is recorded by al Khatib al Baghdadi in his book Muwaddih Awham al Jam’ wa al Tafriq.

 

عن المسيب بن عبد خير عن عبد خير قال قال علي خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر و خيرها بعد ابي بكر عمر ولو شئت ان اسمي الثالث لسميت.

‘Abd Khayr narrates that ‘Ali said, “The best individual of this ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr followed by ‘Umar. I can name the third best as well if I so desire.”[12]

 

اخبرنا شريك عن ابي حية الهمد اني قال سمعت عبد خير قال قال علي رضي الله تعالي عنه خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها صلي الله عليه وسلم ابو بكر و عمر رضي الله عنهما و احدثنا احداثا بعدهم يفعل الله ما يشاء.

‘Abd Khayr narrates that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “The best of this ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Thereafter, we got caught up in such things with regard to which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will deal as he desires.”[13]

 

نا علي بن حرب ثنا سفيان عن ابي اسحاق عن عبد خير عن علي قال خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها صلي الله عليه وسلم ابو بكر و عمر.

The best of this ummah after its Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.[14]

 

Al Suyuti has cited a superb assessment made by al Dhahabi regarding these narrations in his book Tarikh al Khulafa’:

 

اخرج احمد و غيره عن علي قال خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر و عمر قال الذي هذا متواتر عن علي.

This is reported from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu with Tawatur (so profusely narrated that it is inconceivable that they all could have agreed upon a lie).[15]

 

Hafiz Ibn Kathir has likewise reached a similar conclusion in his book al Bidayah wa al Nihayah. He states:

 

و قد ثبت عنه بالتواتر انه خطب بالكوفة في ايام خلافته و دار امارته فقال ايها الناس ان خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها أبوبكر ثم عمر ولو شئت ان اسمي الثالث لسميته.

It has been categorically established regarding ‘Ali that he had, during his rule, stated the following in Kufah, the centre of his empire: “O people! Verily the noblest of people in this ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr and then ‘Umar. And I can disclose the third best if I so wish.”[16]

 

3. The Narrations of Abu Juhayfah

 

After citing the narrations of ‘Abd Khayr I shall now present the narrations of Abu Juhayfah:

 

عن الشعبي حدثني ابو جحيفة الذي كان علي يسميه وهب الخير قال قال علي يا ابا جحيفة الا اخبرك بافضل هذه الامة بعد نبيها قال قلت بلي قال و لم اكن اري احد افضل منه قال افضل هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر و بعد ابي بكر عمر رضي الله عنهما و بعد هما آخر ثالث ولم يسمه.

Abu Juhayfah, ‘Ali would call him Wahb Khayr, says, “‘Ali said, ‘O Abu Juhayfah! Should I not inform you of the most virtuous person of this ummah after its Nabi?’ I replied in the positive and personally I did not perceive anyone to be better than him. He said, ‘the most virtuous of this ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr, subsequent to him in virtue is ‘Umar, and after them is a third person,’ without mentioning his name.”[17]

 

عن زر بن حبيش عن أبي جحيفة قال سمعت عليا رضي الله عنه يقول ألا أخبركم بخير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها أبوبكر ثم قال ألا أخبركم بخير هذه الأمة بعد أبي بكر عمر رضي الله عنهما.

Translation same as above.[18]

 

عن عاصم عن زر عن ابي جحيفة قال خطبنا علي رضي الله عنه فقال الا اخبركم بخير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر الصديق ثم قال الا اخبركم بخير هذه الامة بعد نبيها و بعد ابي بكر عمر.

Translation same as above narration.[19]

 

عن حصين بن عبد الرحمن عن ابي جحيفة قال كنت اري ان عليا رضي الله عنه افضل الناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فذكر الحذيث قلت لا والله يا امير المؤمنين اني لم اكن اري احدا من المسلمين بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم افضل منك قال افلا احدثكم بافضل الناس كان بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم قال قلت بلي!فقال ابو بكر رضي الله عنه فقال افلا اخبرك بخير الناس كان بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم و ابي بكر قلت بلي قال عمر رضي الله عنه.

Abu Juhayfah states, “I considered ‘Ali to be the most virtuous of people after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Verifying this, I said to him, ‘never by the oath of Allah! O Amir al Mu’minin I do not consider anyone to be more superior to you after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.’ He said, ‘Should I not inform you of the most virtuous person of this ummah after its Nabi?’ I replied in the positive. He said, ‘the most virtuous of this ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr.’ He then said, ‘should I not inform you of the most virtuous person of this ummah after its Nabi and Abu Bakr?’ I replied in the positive and he said, ‘‘Umar.’”[20]

 

عن ابي اسحاق عن ابي جحيفة قال قال علي رضي الله عنه خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر و بعد ابي بكر عمر و لو شئت اخبرتكم بثالث لفعلت.

Translation same as above.[21]

 

خالد الزيات حدثني عون بن ابي جحيفة قال كان ابي من شرط علي و كان تحت المنبر فحدثني ابي انه صعد المنبر يعني عليا رضي الله عنه فحمد الله و اثني عليه و صلي علي النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم و قال خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر و الثاني عمر وقال يجعل الله الخير حيث احب.

‘Own ibn Abi Juhayfah states, “My father was part of the police force of ‘Ali and his duty would be at the mimbar. He told me that one day ‘Ali ascended the pulpit subsequent to which he glorified Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and sent salutations upon Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He then said, ‘the best of this ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr, following him second in virtue is ‘Umar and Allah places virtue wherever he wishes.’”[22]

 

حدثنا شعبة عن الحكم قال سمعت اباجحيفة يقول سمعت عليا يقول خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر و خيرهم بعد ابي بكر عمر و لو شئت ان اسمي الثالث لسميت.صحيح مشهور من حديث شعبة عن الحكم.

Translation similar to above narrations with the addition, “I can inform you of the third best in virtue if I so desire.”[23]

 

After narrating this narration Abu Nuaim, the author of Hilyah, states: “This is a hadith which is authentically proven from Shu’bah.”

 

و اخرج (الطبراني)في الاوسط ايضا عن ابي جحيفة قال قال علي خير الناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم ابو بكر و عمر لا يجتمع حبي و بغض ابي بكر و عمر في قلب مؤمن.

‘Ali is reported to have said, “The best of people after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Love for me and enmity for them can never unite in one heart.”[24]

 

عن ابي جحيفة قال دخلت علي علي في بيته فقلت يا خير الناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فقال مهلا يا ابا جحيفة الا اخبركم بخير الناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم ابو بكر و عمر.يا اباجحيفة لا يجتمع حبي و بغض ابي بكر و عمر في قلب مؤمن ولا يجتمع بغضي و حب ابي بكر و عمر في قلب مؤمن.

Abu Juhayfah narrates, “one day I went to visit ‘Ali at his home. So I said, ‘O the best of people after Rasulullah!’ he said, ‘stop right there, O Abu Juhayfah! Should I not inform you of the best of people after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. O Abu Juhayfah! Affiliation with me and disassociation with them or vice versa can never unite in the heart of a believer.’”[25]

 

4. Narrations of Scattered Narrators

 

After presenting the narrations of ‘Abd Khayr and Abu Juhayfah the narrations of the following people are presented: Wahb al Sawa’i, ‘Amr ibn Hurayth, Abu Wa’il, Shaqiq ibn Salamah, Muhammad ibn ‘Aqil, Rafi’ Abu Ja’d, Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah, ‘Abdullah ibn Salamah, Nazzal ibn Saburah, Sa’sa’ah ibn Suhan, etc.

 

عن وهب السوائي قال خطبنا علي رضي الله عنه قال من خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها فقلت أنت يا أمير المؤمنين قال لا خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها أبوبكر وعمر و ما نبعد أن السكينة تنطق علي لسان عمر.

Wahb al Sawa’i mentions that ‘Ali addressed us one day and asked, “Who are the best people after Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in this ummah?” I said, “you, O Amir al Mu’minin.” He said, “No! The best in this ummah after Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and we would not consider it farfetched that the truth would descend via the tongue of ‘Umar.”[26]

 

حدثنا اسماعيل بن ابي خالد قال كنت عند عامر فقال أشهد علي وهب السوائي انه حدثني انه سمع عليا يقول خيرالناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم ابو بكر ثم عمر ولو شئت لسميت الثالث.

‘Amir al Sha’bi says that he bears witness that Wahb al Sawa’i had told him that he heard ‘Ali saying, “the most virtuous of this ummah after its Nabi was Abu Bakr then ‘Umar and I can disclose the third in virtue if I want to.”[27]

 

حدثنا هارون بن سلمان الفراء ابو موسي مولي عمرو بن حويث عن علي بن ابي طالب اانه كان قاعدا علي المنبر فذكر ابا بكر و عمر فقال ان خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر ثم عمر.

‘Amr ibn Hurayth narrates that he heard ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib saying, “the best of this ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr then ‘Umar.”[28]

 

حدثنا عبد الله بن داود عن سويد مولي عمرو بن حريث عن عمرو بن حريث قال سمعت عليا يقول علي المنبر خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر ثم عمر ثم عثمان.

‘Amr ibn Hurayth mentions that he heard ‘Ali on the pulpit saying, “the best of this ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar and then ‘Uthman.”[29]

 

عن الشعبي عن ابي وائل قال قيل لعلي بن ابي طالب رضي الله عنه الا تستخلف علينا؟قال ما استخلف رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فاستخلف ولكن ان يرد الله باالناس خيرا فسيجمعهم بعدي علي خيرهم كما جمعهم علي خيرهم.هذا حديث صحيح الاسناد.

Abu Wa’il narrates that it was said to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, “are you not going to appoint anyone as your successor over us?” He said, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had not appointed anyone as his successor such that I should too. However, if Allah desires good for this ummah he will unite them behind the best amongst them just as he united them around the best of them (after the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).”[30]

 

عن الحسن بن عمارة عن واصل عن ابي وائل عن علي قال قيل لعلي الا توص؟قال ما اوصي رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فاوصي ولكن ان يرد الله باالناس خيرا فسيجمعهم علي خيرهم كما جمعهم بعد نبيهم علي خيرهم يعني ابا بكر.

It was said to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, “Are you not going to bequeath (a successor)?” He said, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had made no bequest such that I should make one. However, if Allah desires good for this ummah he will unite them behind the best amongst them just as he united them around the best of them (after the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), in other words Abu Bakr.”[31]

 

عن الشعبي عن شقيق بن سلمة قال قيل لعلي رضي الله عنه الا تستخلف؟ قال ما استخلف رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فاستخلف عليكم و ان يرد الله تعالي بالناس فجمعهم علي خيرهم كما جمع بعد نبيهم علي خيرهم.

Translation similar to above narration.[32]

 

عن الشعبي عن شقيق بن سلمة قال قيل لعلي استخلف علينا فقال ما استخلف رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فاستخلف ان يرد الله بالناس خيرا جمعهم علي خيرهم كما جمعهم بعد نبيهم (صلي الله عليه وسلم)علي خيرهم.

Translation similar to above narration.[33]

 

عن محمد بن عقيل قال خطينا علي بن ابي طالب رضي الله عنه فقال يا ايها الناس اخبروني من اشجع الناس قال انت يا امير المؤمنين قال اني ما بارزت احدا الا انتصفت منه و لكن اخبروني باشجع الناس ؟قالو لا نعلم قال ابو بكر انه لما كان يوم بدر جعلنا لرسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم عريشا فقلنا من يكون مع رسول الله (صلي الله عليه وسلم)لان لا يهوي اليه احد من المشركين فوالله ما دنا منا احدا الا ابو بكر شاهر بالسيف علي رأس رسول الله (صلي الله عليه وسلم)لا يهوي اليه احد الا اهوي اليه فهذا اشجع الناس!… قال فوالله ما دنا منا احدا الا ابو بكر يضرب هذا او يتلتل هذا و هو يقول ويلكم !تقتلون رجلا ان يقول ربي الله ثم رفع علي بردة كانت عليه فبكي حتي اخضلت لحيته ثم قال علي انشدكم الله امؤمن آل فرعون خير ام ابو بكر ؟فسكت القوم فقال الا تجيبوني فوالله لساعة من ابي بكر خير من مثل مؤمن آل فرعون ذاك رجل كتم ايمانه و هذا رجل اعلن ايمانه.

Muhammad ibn ‘Aqil mentions, “‘Ali addressed us one day and enquired, ‘O people! Tell me who is the most courageous of people?’ ‘You Oh Amir al Mu’minin,’ the people replied. He said, ‘I had never challenged anyone but that I defeated him. But tell me who is the bravest of people?’ They said, ‘we do not know.’ Whereupon he said, ‘Abu Bakr,’ then explained, ‘on the Day of Badr we erected a tent for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and then enquired, “who will stand security for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam so that no infidel is able to lay hands on him. Hence, by the oath of Allah! No one besides Abu Bakr volunteered; he rose with his sword unsheathed standing by the side of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. No one would advance towards him but that Abu Bakr would combat him. Therefore, he was the bravest of people… He would either slay or throw down any person who would come close to him and would say, “Woe be to you! Do you desire to kill this person merely because he says, my lord is Allah?’ Subsequently, ‘Ali raised a shawl that he was wearing and begun sobbing till his beard became wet with tears. Thereafter he said, ‘I give you the pledge of Allah! Tell me who is better the believer of the family of Firoun or Abu Bakr?’ The people remained silent. He insisted, ‘Why do you not respond. By Allah! A moment of the life of Abu Bakr is better than the entire life of that believer. Simply because, he had hidden his faith and Abu Bakr had announced it openly.’”[34]

 

فقال له (رافع ابي جعد) بعض القوم يا ابا الجعد بما قام امير المؤمنين يعني عليا قال سمعته الا اخبركم بخير الناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم ابو بمر ثم عمر.

Translation similar to above narrations.[35]

 

سئل سائل شريك بن عبد الله فقال له ايهما افضل ابو بكر او علي؟فقال له ابو بكر!فقال السائل تقول هذا و انت شيعي؟فقال له نعم من لم يقل هذا فليس شيعييا والله لقد رقي هذه الاعواد فقال الا ان خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر ثم عمر فكيف نرد ؟و كيف نكذبه؟والله ما كان كذابا.

A person asked Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah, “who is more virtuous Abu Bakr or ‘Ali?” He said, “Abu Bakr.” The person said, “You are a Shia and you say this?” He replied, “Yes! And whoever is not of this opinion is not a Shia. By Allah! ‘Ali ascended this pulpit and said, ‘verily the best of this ummah after its Nabi was Abu Bakr then ‘Umar.’ How can we then deny that and belie him in what he had said? By Allah! He was not a liar.”[36]

 

حدثنا شعبة قال (عمرو بن مرة)سمعت عبد الله بن سلمة قال سمعت عليا يقول الا اخبركم بخير الناس بعد رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم ابو بكر و بعد ابي بكر عمر.نشهور من حديث شعبة عن عمر بن مرة.

Translation same as above narrations.[37]

 

و من رواية مسعر بن كدام من عبد الملك بن ميسرة عن نزال بن السبرة عن علي قال خير هذه الامة بعد نبيها ابو بكر و عمر.

Translation similar to above narrations.[38]

 

عن صعصعة بن صوحان قال دخلنا علي علي حين ضربه ابن ملجم فقلنا يا امير المؤمنين!استحلف علينا فقال اترككم كما تركنا رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم قلنا يا رسول الله استحلف علينا فقال ان يعلم الله فيكم خيرا يولي عليكم خياركم قال علي فعلم الله فينا خيرا فولي علينا ابا بكر رضي الله عنه.

Sa’sa’ah ibn Suhan narrates, “We visited ‘Ali after he had been stabbed by Ibn Muljim so we said; ‘appoint a ruler over us.’ He said, ‘I am leaving you as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had left us; we said, ‘Appoint someone over us.’ He said, ‘Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows the good that prevails in you and will select the best amongst you.’ He (‘Ali) said, ‘Hence, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala saw the virtuous amongst us and selected Abu Bakr.’”[39]

 

فقال (علي)….ان قال خير هذه الامة ابو بكر بن قحافة و عمر بن خطاب ثم الله اعلم بالخير اين هو؟

‘Ali said, “the best people of this ummah are Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah and ‘Umar ibn al Khattab. After them Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows where goodness lies.”[40]

 

Conclusion of Theme Eleven

In conclusion, it is clear from these various statements of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu that the most virtuous of this ummah after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar, and then ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum. It is also evident that there existed love, unity and mutual friendship amongst these blessed souls. There are numerous narrations that allude to this which are documented in the books of hadith and history.

How unfortunate is it that we have lost our interest to study and research because of which we have become victims of ignorance, from which stems all misconceptions and wrong ideologies.

 

 

NEXT⇒ Theme Twelve: The Attitude of ‘Ali Towards Those who Denigrate Abu Bakr and ‘Umar


[1]Izalah al Khafa’ 1/ 17, 1/316.

[2]  For further reference see: Tarikh ibn Khallikan 1/450; Amali al Sheikh Abi Jafar al Tusi 1/7; ‘Umdat al Talib: chapter regarding the children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu; Majalis al Mu’minin: Majlis no. 4; Tuhfat al Ahbab p. 327.

[3]Al Bukhari 1/518: virtues of Abu Bakr; Sunan Abi Dawood 2/288;Kanz al ‘Ummal 6/322; al I’tiqad ‘ala Mazhab al Salaf p. 191.

[4]Al Musannaf li Ibn Abi Shaibah 4/887; Musnad Ahmed 1/120; Kanz al ‘Ummal 6/329.

[5]Musnad Ahmed 1/115.

[6]Hilyah al Auliya’ 7/199: Mention of Shu’bah ibn Hajjaj.

[7]Akhbar Isfahan 1/182.

[8]  Ibid 1/235.

[9]Hilyat al Auliya’ 7/199

[10]  Ibid 7/199; al Isti’ab 2/456.

[11]Akhbar Isfahan 2/266.

[12]Muwaddih Awham al Jam’ wa al Tafriq 1/439.

[13]  Ibid 2/79.

[14]Tadhkirat al Huffaz of Imam al Dhahabi 3/301.

[15]Tarikh al Khulafa’, p. 35.

[16]Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 8/13.

[17]Musnad Ahmed 1/106.

[18]  Ibid 1/106.

[19]  Ibid 1/110.

[20]  Ibid 1/127-128.

[21]  Ibid 1/102.

[22]  Ibid 1/106.

[23]Hilyat al Awliya’ 7/199.

[24]Tarikh al Khulafa p. 44.

[25]Kanz al ‘Ummal 6/329.

[26]Musnad Ahmed 1/106; Kanz al ‘Ummal, 6: chapter regarding the virtues of the three Khulafa’.

[27]Kitab Isfahan 2/19.

[28]Kitab al Kuna wa al Asma’ 2/123.

[29]Fada’il Abi Bakr al Siddiq p 10.

[30]Mustadrak Hakim 3/79.

[31]Fada’il Abi Bakr al Siddiq, p. 5; Kanz al ‘Ummal 6/319.

[32] Al Musnad al Bazzar: merits of Abu Bakr al Siddiq; al I’tiqad ‘ala Mazhab al Salaf p. 184.

[33] Al Sunan al Kubra 7/149; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 8/13.

[34]Musnad al Bazzar: chapter regarding the merits of the Sahabah; al Riyad al Nadirah 1/121-122; Kanz al ‘Ummal 6/321; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah 3/271-272.

[35]Al Tarikh al Kabir 2/280.

[36]Tathbit Dala’il al Nubuwah of Qadi ‘Abdul Jabbar al Hamdani 1/549; Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyah, p. 310.

[37]Hilyat al Auliya’ 7/200; Sunan Ibn Majah, p. 11.

[38]Al Isti’ab 2/243; Izalat al Khafa’ 1/67.

[39]Mustadrak Hakim 3/45, al Riyad al Nadirah 1/120; Kanz al ‘Ummal 6/411.

[40]Al Musannaf li ‘Abdur Razzaq, 3: 448.

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