According to Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma was the rightful successor of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and held a position just after Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. After the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and al-Siddiq, he occupies the loftiest position of the Ummah in the Ummah. To substantiate this fact, although approximately 50 narrations from 27 individuals, majority backed by strong references, have been included in the Siddiqi section of Ruhama’ Baynahum under section 11 and 12 of chapter 4, we will quote 12 of Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu statements here so that those who did not read the Siddiqi section are not deprived of these priceless testimonials and may fully benefit from them.
Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah once asked his father, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
أي الناس خير بعد النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال أبو بكر قال ثم من قال عمر و خشيت أن يقول عثمان قلت ثم أنت قال ما أنا إلا رجل من المسلمين
“Who is the best person after the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?”
‘Ali replied, “Abu Bakr.”
‘Ali answered, “‘Umar.”
I feared that he would say ‘Uthman so I said, “Then you.”
He submitted, “I am but a man from the Muslims.”
The readers should know that this narration of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah was quoted from the books of the Ahlus Sunnah and it proves that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was from the cream of this Ummah. I will now reproduce a narration from the books of the Shia. In this narration, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu advised his son, Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah, to speak favourably of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and not to speak anything else besides that.
The circumstance surrounding this statement according to the Shia narration is that it was the fourth day of the Battle of Siffin and ‘Ubaid Allah ibn ‘Umar ibn al Khattab came out to face Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah who uttered some nasty words against ‘Ubaid Allah and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Hearing this, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu addressed Muhammad saying:
لا تذكر أباه و لا تقل فيه إلا خيرا رحم الله أباه
Do not mention anything negative about his father and only speak positively of him. May Allah have mercy on his father.
This shows that Sayyidina ‘Ali considered Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma worthy of raise and prayers of mercy and compassion, and not unpleasant comments. He was of the elite of the nation. Words of prayer are befitting for him.
Imam al Bukhari documents the narration of Rafi’ in his al Tarikh al Kabir:
فقال لرافع بعض القوم يا أبا الجعد بما قام أمير المؤمنين يعني عليا قال سمعته ألا أخبركم بخير الناس بعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم أبو بكر ثم عمر
Someone asked Rafi’, “O Abu al Ja’d, what did Amir al Mu’minin, i.e. ‘Ali, declare?”
He said, “I heard him saying, ‘Should I not inform you of the best people after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: Abu Bakr then ‘Umar.’”
عبد الملك بن سلع عن عبد خير قال سمعت عليا يقول قبض النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم على خير ما قبض عليه نبي من الأنبياء و أثنى عليه صلى الله عليه و سلم ثم استخلف أبو بكر فعمل بعمل رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و سنته ثم قبض أبو بكر على خير ما قبض عليه أحد كان خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها ثم استخلف عمر فعمل بعملهما و سنتهما ثم قبض على خير ما قبض عليه أحد فكان خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها و بعد أبي بكر
From ‘Abdul Malik ibn Sila’―from ‘Abd Khair, who reports that he heard ‘Ali stating:
“The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was taken away in the best way any Nabi from the Ambiya’ was taken away.” He then praised Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
“Thereafter, Abu Bakr was appointed khalifah and he acted according to the practice and methodology of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Then Abu Bakr passed away in the choicest way anyone can pass away. He was the most superior of this Ummah after its Nabi. Then ‘Umar became khalifah and he acted in accordance to their practice and methodology, until he was taken away in the finest way anyone could be taken away. He was the choicest of this Ummah after its Nabi and after Abu Bakr.”
It is reported in Musnad Ahmed:
عن المسيب بن عبد خير عن أبيه قال قام علي رضي الله عنه فقال خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها أبو بكر و عمر و إن قد أحدثنا بعدهم أحداثا يقضى الله تعالى فيها ما شاء
Al Musayyab ibn ‘Abd Khair reports from his father:
‘Ali stood up and announced, “The best of this Ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Verily, things appeared after them; Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will judge regarding them as He desires.”
It appears in Musnad Ahmed:
عن الشعبي حدثني أبو جحيفة الذي كان علي يسميه وهب الخير قال قال علي يا أبا جحيفة ألا أخبرك بأفضل هذه الأمة بعد نبيها قال قلت بلى قال و لم أكن أرى أن أحدا أفضل منه قال أفضل هذه الأمة بعد نبيها أبو بكر و بعد أبي بكر عمر و بعدهما ثالث لم يسمه
From al Sha’bi―Abu Juhaifah, who ‘Ali would call Wahb al Khair narrated to me saying that―’Ali said:
“O Abu Juhaifah, should I not tell you of the most superior of this Ummah after its Nabi.”
I submitted, “Definitely.” I never thought that anyone was superior to him.
He said, “The most superior of this Ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr, and after Abu Bakr it is ‘Umar, and after them is a third whom he did not name.”
Abu Nuaim al Asbahani (d. 430 A.H.) mentioned in Hilyat al Auliya’:
ثنا شعبة عن الحكم عن عبد خير قال قام علي على المنبر فقال ألا أخبركم بخير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها قالوا بلى قال أبو بكر ثم سكت سكتة ثم قال ألا أخبركم بخير هذه الأمة بعد أبي بكر عمر
Shu’bah narrated to us―from al Hakam―from ‘Abd Khair who reports:
‘Ali stood on the pulpit and declared, “Should I not inform you of the best of this Ummah after its Nabi?”
They replied in the affirmative.
He said, “Abu Bakr.”
He then remained silent for a short while and said, “Should I not inform you of the best of this Ummah after Abu Bakr? ‘Umar.”
عن حبيب بن أبي ثابت قال سمعت حديثا عن عبد خير فلقيته فسألته فحدثني أنه سمع عليا يقول خير الناس بعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم أبو بكر ثم عمر
Habib ibn Abi Thabit reports:
I heard a hadith indirectly from ‘Abd Khair. When we him, I asked him to narrate it to me directly. Accordingly, he narrated to me that he heard ‘Ali saying, “The best person after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar.”
عن الحكم قال سمعت أبا جحيفة يقول سمعت عليا يقول خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها أبو بكر و خيرهم بعد أبي بكر عمر و لو شئت أن أسمي الثالث لسميت صحيح مشهور من حديث شعبة عن الحكم
Hakam reports that he heard―Abu Juhaifah saying:
I heard ‘Ali declaring, “The best of this Ummah after its Nabi is Abu Bakr, and the best after Abu Bakr is ‘Umar. Had I desired to name the third best, I would have.”
This is a sahih and famous hadith of Shu’bah from al Hakam.
It is reported in Tadhkirat al Huffaz of al Dhahabi:
ثنا سفيان عن أبي إسحاق عن عبد خير عن علي قال خير هذه الأمة بعد نبيها صلى الله عليه و سلم أبو بكر و عمر
Sufyan narrated to us―from Abu Ishaq―from ‘Abd Khair―from ‘Ali:
The cream of this Ummah after its Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.
NB: In the following lines, the stern warning and vehement reproach sounded by Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu for not accepting this belief will be quoted.
Ibn ‘Abdul Barr has reported with a sanad from Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in al Isti’ab:
عن الحكم بن الحجل قال قال علي لا يفضلني أحد على أبي بكر و عمر إلا جلدته حد المفتري
Hakam ibn al Hajal reports that ‘Ali announced:
No one should dare give me superiority over Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, otherwise I will implement the punishment of a slanderer upon him (which is 80 lashes).
The prominent figure of the Hanafi ‘Ulama’ Imam Abu Yusuf reports in his book Kitab al Athar from his teacher Imam Abu Hanifah with a complete chain to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu the following:
قال حدثنا يوسف عن أبيه عن أبي حنيفة أن رجلا أتى عليا رضي الله عنه فقال ما رأيت أحدا خيرا منك فقال له هل رأيت النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال لا قال هل رأيت أبا بكر و عمر قال لا قال لو أخبرتني أنك رأيت النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ضربت عنقك و لو أخبرتني أنك رأيت أبا بكر و عمر لأوجعتك عقوبة
A man approached ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and said, “I have not seen anyone better than you.”
He asked him, “Have you seen the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?”
“No,” he replied.
“Have you seen Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.”
‘Ali then said, “Had you told me that you saw the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, I would have severed your head. And had you told me that you saw Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, I would have severely punished you.”
Hafiz Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani has reported the following narration of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu via a reliable sanad in Lisan al Mizan:
عن زيد بن وثب أن سويد بن غفلة دخل على علي في إمارته فقال إن مررت بنفر يذكرون أبا بكر و عمر يرون أنك تضمر لهما مثل ذلك منهم عبد الله بن سبأ و كان عبد الله أول من أظهر ذلك فقال علي ما لي و لهذا الخبيث الأسود ثم قال معاذ الله أن أضمر لهما إلا الحسن الجميل ثم أرسل إلى عبد الله بن سبأ فسيره إلى المدائن و قال لا يساكنني في بلدة أبدا ثم نهض إلى المنبر حتى اجتمع الناس فذكر القصة في ثنائه عليهما بطوله و في آخره ألا لا يبلغني عن أحد يفضلني عليهما إلا جلدته حد المفتري
Zaid ibn Wahb recalls:
Suwaid ibn Ghafalah entered the presence of ‘Ali during his khilafah and said, “I passed by a group who were speaking negatively about Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. They feel that you harbour similar feelings for Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Among them is ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’.” ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ was the first to voice this ideology.
Hearing this ‘Ali said, “I have no connection with this wretched black man..”
He continued, “I seek Allah’s protection from entertaining anything towards them besides good and beautiful thoughts.”
He then sent for ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ and banished him to Mada’in and declared, “He will never ever reside with me in the same city.”
He then ascended the pulpit and the people gathered. He spoke favourably of both of them for a long time. At the end he warned, “Harken! It should not reach me that anyone is declaring me better than them, otherwise I will mete out the punishment of a slanderer upon him.”
It appears in the above narration that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu banished the Jew ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ from Kufah to Mada’in. This was the beginning stages of the shenanigans of this wicked being. When his corrupt propaganda increased and his erroneous movement began gaining momentum, under the guise of love for the Ahlul Bayt, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu made a severe crackdown on them. At the end, he set him and his ilk on fire, those who portrayed themselves as lovers of the Ahlul Bayt, and he showed no consideration to such extremists.
The forefather and founder of the movement to create dissension between Muslims is ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’, the Jew. His detailed biography is documented in both Sunni and Shia books. Scores of Shia scholars and mujtahidin have written his biography throughout the ages, e.g. Rijal al Kashshi from the fourth century to Tuhfat al Ahbab by Sheikh ‘Abbas Qummi of the fourteenth century. There is no need to dispute this fact. Their research scholars have included him in their books. The scholars may refer to their books for further peace of mind.
Towards the end of this century [20th century], the supporters of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ have started the scheme of denying his existence and claiming that it is all fiction, to save themselves from these accusations. They deny that there existed a Jew by that name, who become Muslim and caused dissension between the Muslims under the garb of love for the Ahlul Bayt, etc. as the proverb goes:
نہ رہے بانس نہ بجے بانسری
When the bamboo does not remain, the flute cannot sound.
Among the famous books on rijal of the Shia is Rijal al Kashshi. The latest publication of this book has just arrived from Tehran. Where ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’ has been mentioned, there are footnotes added criticising his existence. The names of those who made this discovery and dug out this unique research have also been listed. First is Sayed Murtada al ‘Askari, second is Sheikh ‘Abdullah al Sabiti, and third is Doctor Taha Hussain, a senior blind man.
The movement to deny the existence of this man will gain momentum rapidly. The ‘well-wishers’ of the religion and nation will begin disseminating this latest discovery using the most efficient ways.
This issue is similar to the theory they cooked up of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam having only one biological daughter and denying the other three daughters. This theory spread like wild fire among their circles whereas it is in polarity with reality. The fact that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had four biological daughters is accepted and recognised by the Ahlus Sunnah and all the historians, and has no scope for disagreement or doubt. The most accurate, preferred, and accepted view in the books of the Shia is that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had four daughters. Their very own mujtahidin like Mulla Baqir Majlisi etc., have rejected the one daughter theory. This matter has been settled centuries ago. Study the discussion of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam children in volume two of Hayat al Qulub of Mulla Baqir Majlisi.
Now the issue of denying the existence of Ibn Saba’ is been propagated in a like manner. Most probably no one has ever denied this fact prior to this century.
At the end, we would like to make a suggestion which should not be distasteful. Why don’t these ‘well-wishers’ of the religion deny the existence of all those individuals who might be the cause of objection. For example they should deny the existence of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah, the son of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu from a slave girl gifted to him by Sayyidina Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Similarly, ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu because firstly he was named after the second Khilafah and secondly his mother al Sahba’ was gifted to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the reign of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They should also do away with Sayyidina Umm Kulthum bint ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, the daughter of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha since she got married to Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Let them declare that all these individuals are fictitious. Many similar fictitious individuals can be concocted.
If these things are termed research, then the signs of the religion will be obliterated very quickly and the difference between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, guidance and misguidance will be eliminated. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala guide the Muslims and give them the ability to discern between justice and injustice. We end this note on these words of prayer.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1 pg. 518, chapter on the virtues of Abu Bakr, Delhi print; Sunan Abi Dawood, vol. 2 pg. 288, Kitab al Sunnah, chapter on superiority, Delhi print.
 Ibn Abi al Hadid: Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 1 pg. 644, Beirut print on the authority of Nasr ibn Muzahim, under the heading: some of his characteristics and supplications during war.
 Al Tarikh al Kabir, vol. 2 pg. 280, part 2, section 1, under Rafi’ ibn Salamah, Dakkan print; Sunan Ibn Majah, pg. 11, chapter on the virtues of ‘Umar, from ‘Abdullah ibn Salamah, Delhi print.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, vol. 4 pg. 887, chapter regarding the narrations on Abu Bakr’s khilafah, Qilmi Pir Jhanda, Sindh; Musnad Ahmed, vol. 1 pg. 128, musnadat of ‘Ali, with selections of Kanz, Egypt print; Kanz al ‘Ummal, vol. 6 pg. 369, chapter on the virtue of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, with reference to Ibn Abi Shaibah and Ibn ‘Asakir, old print.
 Musnad Ahmed, vol. 1 pg. 128, musnadat of ‘Ali, with selections of Kanz.
 Musnad Ahmed, vol. 1 pg. 106, musnadat of ‘Ali, Egypt print.
 Hilyat al Auliya’, vol. 7 pg. 199, the discussion of Shu’bah ibn Hajjaj, Egypt print.
 Ibid; al Isti’ab, vol. 2 pg. 456, discussion on ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, with Ibn Hajar’s al Isabah, Egypt print.
 Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 3 pg. 301, under the discussion on al Samman al Hafiz al Kabir, Dakkan print, vol. 3 pg. 1123, Beirut print, fourth edition.
 Al Isti’ab, vol. 2 pg. 244, the discussion on al Siddiq al Akbar, with al Isabah; Kanz al ‘Ummal, vol. 6 pg. 371, with reference to Ibn Abi al ‘Asim and Khaythamah in Fada’il al Sahabah, first edition, Dakkan.
 Kitab al Athar, pg. 207, Hadith: 924, Lajnat Ihya’ Ma’arif al Nu’maniyyah print, Hyderabad, Dakkan; Abu Talib al ‘Ushari: Fada’il Abi Bakr al Siddiq, pg. 8, with Sharh Thulathiyyat al Bukhari; Kanz al ‘Ummal, vol. 6 pg. 37, under the virtue of al Sheikhayn Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, with reference to al ‘Ashari, first edition, Dakkan.
 Lisan al Mizan, vol. 3, discussion on ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’.
 Lisan al Mizan, vol. 3, discussion on ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’; Rijal Kashi, discussion on ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’; Sheikh ‘Abbas Qummi: Tuhfat al Ahbab, discussion on ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’.