Walid ibn ‘Uqbah
And the allegations against him
Lineage and Islam
His lineage from his father’s side goes as follows: Walid ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt ibn Abi ‘Amr ibn Umayyah ibn ‘Abd Shams ibn ‘Abd Manaf. His agnomen is Abu Wahb.
His mother’s lineage is as follows:
أمه أروى بنت كريز بن ربيعة وهو أخو عثمان بن عفان لأمه
His mother is Arwa bint Kurayz ibn Rabi’ah. He is ‘Uthman’s uterine brother.
و أم بني عقبة هؤلاء أروى بنت كريز بنت ربيعة و أمها البيضاء أم حكيم بنت عبد المطلب توأمة أبي رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و أخوهم لأمهم عثمان بن عفان
The mother of these children of ‘Uqbah is Arwa bint Kurayz ibn Rabi’ah. Her mother is al Bayda’ Umm Hakim bint ‘Abdul Muttalib, the twin of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam father. Their uterine brother is ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan.
The summary of the above is that from the side of his forefathers, Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu ancestry joins with the lineage of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu at his sixth forefather, ‘Abd Manaf. Their sixth grandfather is the same individual.
By this elucidation, the blood relation between Sayyidina Walid and Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhuma has been learnt. At the same time, his family link to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu has also manifested, i.e. Walid’s mother is the maternal granddaughter (daughter’s daughter) of the Banu Hashim. The maternal grandparents of Walid’s mother are from the Banu Hashim, and Walid ibn ‘Uqbah is the son of ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu cousin (paternal aunt’s daughter).
Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu embraced the faith on the occasion of the Conquest of Makkah. (This is the well-known report.) He is thus among the honourable Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
الوليد بن عقبة بن أبي معيط من مسلمة الفتح
Walid ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt is from the Muslims of the Conquest (of Makkah).
و أسلم الوليد و أخوه عمارة يوم الفتح
Walid and his brother ‘Umarah accepted Islam on the Day of the Conquest (of Makkah).
Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu brought iman on the occasion of the Conquest of Makkah. Owing to his natural potential, he possessed many outstanding qualities. He was one of the renowned men of Quraysh, counted among their nobles, brave and chivalrous. He was a big-hearted and generous man as well as a poet of his time.
The above is contained in the following texts:
و كان الوليد من رجال قريش و شعرائهم و كان له سخاء
Walid was among the notables of Quraysh and their poets, and he was magnanimous.
و كان الوليد شجاعا شاعرا جوادا إلخ
Walid was brave, a poet, and generous.
أسلم يوم الفتح و كان من رجال قريش ظرفا و حلما و شجاعة و أدبا و كان شاعرا شريفا إلخ
He embraced Islam on the Day of the Conquest. He was among the renowned men of Quraysh in his large-heartedness, tolerance, valour, and decorum. He was a poet and dignified.
Appointment as Governor and Officer
The scholars of narrators and biographies have written:
كتب أبو بكر إلى عمرو بن العاص و إلى وليد بن عقبة و كان على النصف من صدقات قضاعة و قد كان أبو بكر شيعها مبعثهما على الصدقة و أوصى كل واحد منهما بوصية اتق الله في السر و العلانية
Abu Bakr wrote to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and Walid ibn ‘Uqbah. The latter was responsible for collecting half the zakat of the Quda’ah. Abu Bakr had escorted them out of Madinah when despatching them to collect the zakat. He favoured them both with the advice: Fear Allah in private and public.
و ولاه عمر على صدقات بني تغلب و ولاه عثمان على الكوفة ثم عزله … و في تسع و عشرين عزل عثمان عن الكوفة الوليد بن عقبة إلخ
‘Umar appointed him to collect the zakat of the Banu Taghlib. ‘Uthman instated him over Kufah and later relieved him of his duty.
In the year 29 A.H., ‘Uthman relieved Walid ibn ‘Uqbah from Kufah.
A few things will be highlighted here.
- Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu had work potential and management expertise. Owing to this, the Rightly Guided Khalifas appointed him to undertake religious tasks. He was thus an officer over the Banu Taghlib tribe and appointed the governor over ‘Arab al Jazirah on behalf of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
و كان (الوليد بن عقبة) على عرب الجزيرة عاملا لعمر بن الخطاب فقدم الوليد في السنة الثانية من إمارة عثمان … فقدم الكوفة و كان أحب الناس في الناس و أرفقهم بهم فكان بذلك خمس سنين و ليس على داره باب
Walid ibn ‘Uqbah was governor over ‘Arab al Jazirah for ‘Umar ibn al Khattab. Walid then came (from there) in the second year of ‘Uthman’s reign. He arrived in Kufah and was the most beloved of people among the people and the most compassionate towards them. He remained in this post for five years. He had no doorkeeper at his house (i.e. the appealer for aid had permission to present his needs at any time.)
و استعمل الوليد بن عقبة و كان عاملا لعمر على عرب الجزيرة فلما قدمها أقبل عليه أهلها فأقام بها خمس سنين و ليس على داره باب وكان فيه رفق برعيته
He (‘Uthman) appointed Walid ibn ‘Uqbah (over Kufah) who was formerly governor for ‘Umar ibn al Khattab over ‘Arab al Jazirah. When he arrived, the inhabitants came forward (to welcome him). He stayed there for five years. He had no doorkeeper at his house and he was very compassionate to his subordinates.
- As regards his accomplishments on the battlefield, the historians write:
إن الوليد بن عقبة سار بجيش الكوفة نحو آذربيجان و آرمينية حين نقضوا العهد فوطي بلادهم و أغار بأراضي تلك الناحية فغنم و سبى و أخذ أموالا جزيلة فلما أيقنوا بالهلكة صالحهم أهلها على ما كانوا صالحوا عليه حذيفة بن اليمان ثمان مائة ألف درهم في كل سنة فقبض منهم جزية سنة ثم رجع سالما غانما إلى الكوفة إلخ
Certainly, Walid ibn ‘Uqbah set out with the army of Kufah towards Azerbaijan and Armenia when their inhabitants broke the pact. He trampled upon their earth and attacked the lands in that direction. He acquired booty and captives, and obtained a handsome amount of wealth. When the enemy were convinced of their annihilation, they reached a settlement with him, the same settlement they had reached with Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman, 800 000 dirhams annually. He took from them the Jizyah of a year and then returned safely with booty to Kufah.
جاشت الروم حتى خاف أهل الشام و بعثوا إلى عثمان يستمدونه فكتب إلى الوليد بن عقبة أن إذا جاءك كتابي هذا فابعث رجلا أمينا كريما شجاعا في ثمانية آلاف … إلى إخوانكم بالشام فقام الوليد بن عقبة في الناس خطيبا حين وصل إليه كتاب عثمان فأخبرهم بما أمره به أمير المؤمنين و ندب الناس و حثهم على الجهاد و معاونة معاوية و أهل الشام و أمر سلمان بن ربيعة على الناس الذين يخرجون إلى الشام … فلما اجتمع الجيشان شنوا الغارات على بلاد الروم فغنموا و سلبوا شيئا كثيرا و فتحوا حصونا كثيرة ولله الحمد
The Romans mobilised an army which left the inhabitants of Sham shaken. They thus sent a message to ‘Uthman requesting reinforcements. ‘Uthman in turn wrote to Walid ibn ‘Uqbah stating, “When this letter of mines reaches you, then despatch a trustworthy, big-hearted, and brave man over 80 000 troops to your brothers in Sham.” Walid ibn ‘Uqbah stood up to address the people when ‘Uthman’s letter reached him. He informed them of the command of Amir al Mu’minin and encouraged and incited them to wage Jihad and assist Muawiyah and the people of Sham. He appointed Salman ibn Rabi’ah as general over the army who left to Sham.
When both Muslim armies converged, they attacked the Roman lands ferociously, obtaining an abundance of spoils of war, and conquering numerous forts. And all praise belongs solely to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.
Allegations against Walid ibn ‘Uqbah and its response
Previously, some aspects about the status of Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu were mentioned. Now, some objections coupled with their responses will be presented.
1. The Qur’an labelled him a Fasiq
They object that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam despatched Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to the Banu al Mustaliq tribe to collect their zakat. When Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu came close to the tribe, some people advanced to welcome him. As he saw them, he retreated and returned with the report to the presence of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that they have apostatised, planned to kill him, and refused to give zakat.
Learning of this, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam became extremely upset and intended to send an army to attack them. At that time, this verse was revealed concerning Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوْا أَنْ تُصِيْبُوْا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوْا عَلىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِيْنَ
O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.
The gist of the above is that Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu spoke a lie, due to which the Qur’an labelled him a fasiq (transgressor). Due to Sayyidina Walid’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu report, a major calamity would have befallen the Muslims. By an unplanned pairing of events, however, they were spared.
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The mufassirin have recorded various reports in the commentary of this verse. Majority of the narrations are attributed to Mujahid, Qatadah, Ibn Abi Laylah, etc. However, they are not marfu’ (the words of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). And these personalities did not live in that era but came later on.
The few marfu’ reports on the strength of Sayyidah Umm Salamah, Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhum, etc., are not authentic and not devoid of criticism to the standards of the isnads of Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. Rather, they have been criticised and disapproved of.
Even if we accept the incident as true in relation to Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu, it does not mean this verse labelled him as a fasiq, the research scholars have stated:
a. ‘Allamah Fakhr al Din al Razi writes in the commentary of this verse in his al Tafsir al Kabir:
بل نقول هو نزل عاما لبيان التثبت و ترك الإعتماد على قول الفاسق و يدل على ضعف قول من يقول إنها نزلت لكذا إن الله تعالى لم يقل إني أنزلتها لكذا و النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم لم ينقل عنه أنه بين أن الآية وردت لبيان ذلك فحسب غاية ما في الباب أنها نزلت في ذلك الوقت و هو مثل التاريخ لنزول الآية و نحن نصدق ذلك و يتأكد ما ذكرنا أن إطلاق لفظ الفاسق على الوليد شيء بعيد لأنه توهم و ظن فأخطأ و المخطئ لا يسمى فاسقا إلخ
Instead we say that it was revealed generally to command investigation and to prohibit reliance on the report of a transgressor. What indicates the weakness of the one who says that it was revealed for this particular instance (i.e. Walid) is that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala did not say, “I revealed it for this instance,” and it is not transmitted from the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he explained that the verse was revealed to explain this instance only. The most that can be said is that it was revealed on that occasion. It is like a historical report for the revelation of the verse. And we believe this. What supports what we have mentioned is that applying the word fasiq (transgressor) to Walid is something far-fetched since he assumed and presumed but erred and one who errs is not labelled a transgressor.
b. This issue has been tackled in a similar manner in Tafsir Khazin. The author writes:
قيل هو عام نزلت لبيان التثبت و ترك الإعتماد على قول الفاسق وهو أولى من حكم الآية على رجل بعينه لأن الفسوق خروج عن الحق و لا يظن بالوليد ذلك إلا أنه ظن و توهم فأخطأ
It is said that the verse was revealed in general to command investigation and prohibit relying on the statement of a transgressor. This is better than applying the verse to a particular individual since transgression is exiting from the truth and this cannot be perceived in the case of Walid. Yes, he assumed and presumed but erred.
c. Tafsir Sawi ‘ala l-Jalalayn 109 – 110 under the verse has the same explanation. The scholars are informed of this.
In the light of the above, it is clear that:
- This rule of thumb is considered in such instances:
العبرة لعموم الألفاظ لا لخصوص الموارد
Consideration is given to the generality of the words, not the speciality of events.
It is further noted that even during the Prophetic era, the Siddiqi era and the Faruqi era as well, Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not referred to by the term transgressor, nor disparaged with this term. To the contrary, Sayyidina Siddiq and Sayyidina Faruq radiya Llahu ‘anhuma had full trust and confidence in him during their respective reigns. As a result, they included him in the management of state and awarded him posts and offices. Hypothetically speaking, had Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu been a transgressor and been deserving of disparagement, then why did Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma treat him with respect and dignity? Were they unaware of the history of Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the verse revealed in his regard?
2. ‘Umar warned ‘Uthman not to appoint Walid
The critics of the ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu mention that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu while parting some advice to Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu told him not to give authority to the family of Abu Mu’ayt (the grandfather of Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) over the people. Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not honour this advice and gave the family of Abu Mu’ayt authority over people. The fear that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu sensed became a reality.
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The narrations from which this objection was deduced do not have authentic chains like that of Sahih al Bukhari. Many of their narrators have been criticised for a variety of reasons.
If for argument’s sake we accept the soundness of these reports, then just as the above advice given to Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is recorded, the report includes the advice of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. After swearing upon oath, he told ‘Ali not to grant authority to the Banu Hashim over people.
Study the entire text. It is recorded in Tarikh al Tabari and Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu stated:
أنشدك الله يا علي إن وليت من أمور الناس شيئا أن تحمل بني هاشم على رقاب الناس أنشدك الله يا عثمان إن وليت من أمور الناس شيئا أن تحمل بني أبي معيط على رقاب الناس إلخ
I implore you in the name of Allah, O ‘Ali! If you are given any responsibility over the affairs of people not to give Banu Hashim authority over the people. I implore you in the name of Allah O ‘Uthman! If you are given any responsibility over the affairs of people not to give the sons of Abu Mu’ayt authority over people.
If due to this narration criticism is to be made then the accusation may be equally levelled against both luminaries, since Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not practice on the advice of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu for he gave key posts and significant offices to his relatives (the Banu Hashim) during his caliphate (the details of which will appear shorty in the third discussion, Allah willing.)
Our stance is that it is inappropriate to criticise and disparage both these luminaries. Both of them kept in mind their respective situations and made the correct choices. However, the critics by means of the above narration and due to their marvellous intelligence disparaged Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and spared Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This is just as the famous proverb goes:
نزلہ بر عضو ضعیف می رنزد
The weak limb is the target of attack.
In their sight, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was weak so they attacked him while Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu was strong so they protected him. (This is an example of prejudice. Let the readers make mental notes of this at every step.)
It should be noted by all readers that Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed only one individual from the family of Abu Mu’ayt (viz. Walid ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt) for a few years as governor over Kufah (as explained in detail in discussion one). No one besides him was appointed governor. The rest of the relatives that were given posts were not from the family of Abu Mu’ayt. The reality of this objection is what has been presented here. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala guide the critics.
All the honourable Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are deserving of honour and worthy of confidence. To divide them by disparaging the Banu Umayyah Sahabah and declaring the Banu Hashim Sahabah innocent is a despicable division indeed. This is in total contrast to the demands of din and the requirements of Islam and in total violation of the divine command:
أَنْ أَقِيْمُوا الدِّيْنَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوْا فِيْهِ
Establish the din and do not create divisions therein.
It should be noted that the above would be a response if the narration were to be assumed authentic. The reality, however, is that this narration as it appears it Tarikh al Tabari is wholly unreliable. It contains the following defect:
Sulaiman ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn Abi Thabit (‘Imran) ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf appears in the chain, who is majhul.[*]
His father, ‘Abdul ‘Aziz, has been severely ciriticsed and suspected of forgery.
‘Uthman ibn Sa’id al Darami quoted Yahya ibn Ma’in saying, “He is not reliable, he was a poet.”
‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn Hibban said, “I found in written in my father’s books, with his handwriting, “Abu Zakariyya said, ‘Ibn Abi Thabit al A’raj al Madini: I saw him here in Baghdad, he would curse people, critising their ancestry; his Hadith are nothing.”
Ahmed ibn Hassan ibn al Fadl al Sakuni said, “I heard Muhammad ibn Yahya al Nisaburi saying, ‘A Badanah (camel paid as a penalty) is due on me if I ever narrate from ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn ‘Imran.’ I saw him declaring him extremely weak.”
Al Bukhari said, “Munkar al Hadith (a weak narrator who narrates reports in contradiction of reliable narrators), his narrations should not be recorded.”
Al Nasa’i said, “Matruk al Hadith (suspected of Hadith forgery).” In another place he said, “His hadith should not be recorded.”[*]
The narration of ‘Umar in al Isti’ab
In order to blemish the system of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the critics related the following narration from al Isti’ab, wherein Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu speaks about his potential successors. It is mentioned therein:
Ibn ‘Abbas relates: Once I was walking with Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu when he took a deep sigh. It appeared as if his rib broke. I submitted, “Has something substantial happened?”
He replied, “Yes. What style should I adopt regarding my successor concerning the ummah? This is perturbing me.”
Ibn ‘Abbas submitted, “You can select a reliable personality.”
‘Umar said, “What is your opinion; does ‘Ali hold more right from the people?”
I replied, “Definitely. He is early in Islam, a scholar, and a relative.”
Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “Okay, however, he has plenty of humour.”
I said, “‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan is suitable.”
He said, “If I appoint him a successor, he will appoint the sons of Abu Mu’ayt (from the Banu Umayyah) over the necks of people. They will disobey Allah which will lead to an uprising against ‘Uthman and finally his assassination.”
I then presented the name of Talhah ibn ‘Ubaid Allah upon which he remarked, “He possesses greatness and pride. Such a khalifah is not correct.”
I suggested Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam to which he said, “He will begin beating the people over the sa’ and mudd (i.e. he will display harshness) which is not needed.”
I told him to appoint Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas so he responded, “He only possesses war expertise (he is a knight of war).”
I then mentioned the name of ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf upon which he commented, “He is a good man. However, he is weak in this matter. A strong man is needed.”
The object behind using this narration is to criticise the methodology of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and to establish the incorrectness of his policy. Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu (who is from the sons of Abu Mu’ayt) will be denigrated by the way.
To make the readers understand, we will present some commentaries concerning the above narration. Peruse over it once, Allah willing, the wrong perception they wish to create regarding the conduct and policy of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu will be dispelled.
Two examinations will take place concerning the above narration, riwayatan (the isnad) and dirayatan (the content). First, its isnad will be discussed briefly. Thereafter, the content of the narration will be analysed.
Scrutiny of the narration
One issue is that the above narration (reported from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma) is non-existent in the Egypt print of al Isti’ab (with which al Isabah of Ibn Hajar is published). The possible areas of this print were inspected (especially the biography of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu) but I could not locate this narration. I then referred to the Hyderabad Dakkan print of al Isti’ab and found it in the biography of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu with its lengthy isnad.
In short, this narration is not found in some of the prints of al Isti’ab and found in others. This creates a doubt; probably the author of the book removed this narration from the original script when proofreading it while some transmitters kept it in their copies. Whatever the case may be, due to the lack of conformity of the prints, it has become doubtful and suspicious. It does not remain convincing.
Secondly, the isnad of this narration is abnormally long. There is neither time nor any need to discuss all the narrators. Learning of the status of only one narrator, Muhammad ibn Ishaq, is sufficient. Due to his presence, the unreliability and inauthenticity of the narration will be manifested.
Examination of Muhammad ibn Ishaq
The scholars of rijal have recorded both tawthiq and tad’if, detailed praise and criticism of Ibn Ishaq. At this stage, to consider the following aspects is of utmost importance to facilitate the reaching of an educated conclusion.
Ibn Ishaq’s Tadlis
Hafiz Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani discusses the tadlis (omission of narrators) of Ibn Ishaq in the following words in Kitab al Mudallisin:
محمد بن إسحاق بن يسار المطلبي المدني صاحب المغازي صدوق مشهور بالتدليس عن الضعفاء و المجهولين و عن شر منهم وصفه بذلك أحمد و الدارقطني و غيرهما
Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Yasar al Muttalibi al Madani, author of battles. He is truthful but infamous for tadlis from weak narrators, unknown narrators, and those worse than them. Ahmed, al Daraqutni, and others have introduced him as such.
A Rule concerning a Mudallis
The scholars have determined a rule for this case. A person who practices tadlis and uses the word ‘an (from) when narrating, his narration no longer remains worthy of proof. This rule is reported from Imam al Nawawi in the footnotes of Nasb al Rayah:
قال النووي في شرح المهذب ج 5 ص 133 إسناده ضعيف فيه محمد بن إسحاق صاحب المغازي و هو مدلس و إذا قال المدلس عن لا يحتج به انتهى كلامه
Al Nawawi stated in Sharh al Muhadhab, vol. 5 pg. 133: “Its isnad is da’if. Muhammad ibn Ishaq, author of al Maghazi is present therein and he is a mudallis. When a mudallis uses the word ‘from’, his narration cannot be used as proof.”
The narration of al Isti’ab under discussion has Muhammad ibn Ishaq as one narrator. He uses the words ‘an (from) to narrate from his teacher al Zuhri. According to his habit, Ibn Ishaq has committed tadlis by deleting Allah knows what type of a narrator and broadcasting the narration.
Ibn Ishaq’s Tafarrud and Shudhudh
a. Hafiz Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani has written in volume 9 of Tahdhib al Tahdhib:
قال أيوب بن إسحاق بن سامري سألت أحمد فقلت له يا أبا عبد الله إذا انفرد ابن إسحاق بحديث تقبله قال لا
Ayub ibn Ishaq ibn Samuri says, “I asked Ahmed saying: ‘O Abu ‘Abdullah! When Ibn Ishaq is the sole narrator of a hadith, will it be accepted.’ He replied in the negative.”
b. ‘Allamah al Dhahabi has discussed Ibn Ishaq in great detail in Mizan al I’tidal. He writes at the end:
ما انفرد به ففيه نكارة
When he is the only narrator, then the narration is critiqued.
c. In a similar way, ‘Allamah Badr al Din al ‘Ayni has quoted in Sharh al Bukhari:
فقال البيهقي الحفاظ يتوقون ما ينفرد به ابن إسحاق
Al Bayhaqi affirms, “The huffaz (of hadith) refrain from accepting the narrations wherein Ibn Ishaq is the sole narrator.”
d. Many odd narrations of Ibn Ishaq are documented in books for example:
i. The narration of 10 sucklings is reported from Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. It appears therein:
و لقد كان في صحيفة تحت سريري فلما مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و تشاغلنا بموته دخل داجن فأكلها
It was documented in a scripture placed under my bed. When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away and we got occupied in his death, a sheep entered and ate the scripture.
The narrator of this is Muhammad ibn Ishaq.
ii. Those who practice mourning over the deceased present the upcoming narration to establish the permissibility of slapping one’s face. It appears therein that Sayyidah Aisha Siddiqah radiya Llahu ‘anha says:
إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قبض و هو في حجري ثم وضعت رأسه على وسادة و قمت ألتدم مع النساء و أضرب وجهي
Certainly, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away while in my lap. I then placed his head on a pillow and stood up to mourn with the women and slap my face.
This narration is also the product of Ibn Ishaq and it is shadh (contrary to authentic reports).
iii. Similar is the narration under discussion from al Isti’ab which the critics quote. It is just one of the reports in which Muhammad ibn Ishaq is the sole narrator and he contradicts authentic reports (termed shadh). We have quoted the ruling of his odd narrations from a few scholars in the previous lines, i.e. they are not worthy of acceptance and are unreliable. Therefore, this narration is unacceptable and discarded.
The first analysis was briefly about the isnad. The second analysis as regards the content will follow.
The books of both Shia and Sunni and unanimous on the fact that Sayyidina ‘Umar al Faruq radiya Llahu ‘anhu during his final illness trusted in these six individuals (viz. Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada, Sayyidina ‘Uthman, Sayyidina Talhah, Sayyidina Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam, Sayyidina Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, and Sayyidina ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf) and handed the issue of caliphate over to them.
Ponder carefully, respected readers! The al Isti’ab narration tells us that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu highlighted the respective natural defects and innate weaknesses of these six individuals (who were his potential successors) without determining any one of them worthy of the caliphate. whereas on the other hand, the incident of his final illness (which is documented in Sahih al Bukhari and other hadith and historical compilations with unanimity) reveals that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu relied on these six personalities and placed the burden of the Islamic caliphate on their shoulders. In other words, he gave the reigns of the entire Muslim ummah to them, so whoever they choose among themselves as khalifah will become the ruler of the entire Muslim populace.
On one hand, highlighting their qualities of unworthiness and on the other hand placing full reliance on the very same individuals is against the insight and mental vision of Sayyidina ‘Umar al Faruq radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
The paradox is only intensified when the very being (Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu) regarding whom the most apprehensions were expressed (according to the report under scrutiny) as a form of prophecy is instated as caliphate by the selected committee, with them being totally oblivious of the impending dangers. Or did they (Allah forbid) commit a grave mistake―to Allah do we belong and to Him is our return.
The summary of the above is that by acceptance of the al Isti’ab report, a number of inconsistencies arise:
- There is total polarity between the words and actions of Sayyidina ‘Umar al Faruq radiya Llahu ‘anhu. To choose and include in the committee the same individual (Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu) regarding whom he expressed the most concern is unacceptable by a sound mind.
- The consultation of these six members (which consist of the six top ranking individuals of Islam) came to the incorrect decision.
- The third flaw is that while undermining the status of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the others, the dignity of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was also blemished by referring to him as one who jests a lot, which undermines his awe and is unbefitting for his greatness.
Whichever the case may be, instead of being faced with these discrepancies, it is easier to reach the decision that it be determined that all the dangers and apprehensions originating from this narration are all hypothetical and none of them are accurate. This narration is utterly baseless, which forms the foundation of criticism.
In other words, it is building a faulty structure on a flawed foundation, which the critics publicised to spread the evil and humiliation of the ‘Uthmani era, with the intention to accrue the rewards of both worlds.
3. Walid ibn ‘Uqbah was an alcoholic
The third indictment is that Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was an alcoholic. Witnesses testified to him consuming alcohol which was established. This resulted in Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu ordering that he be lashed and consequently dismissing him (as mentioned previously in the ‘Uthmani section of Ruhama Baynahum, fourth chapter.)
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This much is correct that people gave witness against Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu of drinking and he was subsequently lashed. Only this much is reported in the narrations and the muhaddithin are generally quiet as regards the background of this incident. The muhaddithin have not said anything about the background of this incident. They did not pay attention to the authenticity or inaccuracy of the incident. They simply reported the witnessing of consuming alcohol and the subsequent lashing.
What kind of people were the witnesses? Who were they? Was this testimony the product of any scam? Was it concocted? Generally, the early muhaddithin appear silent in this regard. On the other hand, some early historians like al Tabari and others have investigated this matter and then the later muhaddithin began critically analysing it, as we will present in the forthcoming lines with references. It is apparent from this that the conspirators concocted a story against Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Their plan was to cast Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu in a bad light and get him removed from his post, that is all!
The issue of Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu consuming liquor is incorrect. The historians have written the background of this incident and removed the veil from the original story. After learning of this, this issue will be resolved and the accusation will be eliminated.
It appears in Tarikh al Tabari:
اجتمع نفر من أهل الكوفة فعملوا في عزل الوليد فانتدب أبو زينب بن عوف (الأزدي) و أبو مورع بن فلان الأسدي للشهادة عليه فغشوا الوليد و أكبوا عليه فبيناهم معه يوما في البيت … فنام الوليد و تفرق القوم عنه و ثبت أبو زينب و أبو مورع فتناول أحدهما خاتمه ثم خرجا … و قد أرادا داهية فطلبهما فلم يقدر عليهما و كان وجههما إلى المدينة فقدما على عثمان و معهما نفر ممن يعرف عثمان ممن قد عزل الوليد عن الأعمال فقالوا له فقال من يشهد فقالوا أبو زينب و أبو مورع … فقال كيف رأيتما قالا كنا من غاشيته فدخلنا عليه و هو يقئ الخمر فقال ما يقئ الخمر إلا شاربها فبعث إليه فلما دخل على عثمان … فحلف له الوليد و أخبره خبرهم فقال نقيم الحدود و يبوء شاهد الزور بالنار فاصبر يا أخي إلخ
A group of the residents of Kufah gathered and plotted to dismiss Walid. Abu Zainab ibn ‘Awf al Azdi and Abu Muwarra’ ibn Fulan al Asadi volunteered to testify against him. They attended his gathering and sat in close proximity to him. While they were with him in the house one day, Walid slept away and the people dispersed. However, Abu Zainab and Abu Muwarra’ remained behind and one of them stole Walid’s ring and then they disappeared. They intended something catastrophic.
Walid searched for them but could not locate them. Meanwhile, they had journeyed to Madinah. They approached ‘Uthman and with them were a group who knew ‘Uthman, who Walid had dismissed from their posts. They told ‘Uthman the story.
‘Uthman asked, “Who will testify?”
They replied, “Abu Zainab and Abu Muwarra’.”
He asked them what they saw. They replied, “We were among those who remained in his close company. We entered his presence while he was vomiting liquor.”
‘Uthman remarked, “Only the one who consumed liquor vomits the same.” And thus summoned Walid.
Walid entered his presence and swore on oath (that he did not consume liquor) and informed him of their plan. ‘Uthman commented, “We mete out legal punishments and the one who gives false testimony will land up in Hell. So bear patiently, my brother.”
This report of al Tabari reveals that:
- The evil-natured conspirators of Kufah administered a well-planned scheme to dismiss Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
- They gave false testimony as part of their sinister plan which resulted in him being flogged whereas in reality, Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was innocent of the crime.
- Outwardly, this testimony was complete according to the shar’i injunction. Therefore, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not reject it but rather acted in accordance to it.
- There is evidence that Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu recognised the deceptiveness of this incident. That is why he commented, “Those who gives false testimony will land up in Hell.”
This is the story of the conspiracy and malice of the people of Kufah. They blemished the image of a noble decent valuable human being.
Statements of Other Scholars
In the approaching lines, we will quote the declarations of few other scholars who have labelled this incident as a prejudiced scheme of some people of Kufah and have termed the testimony as false.
It is reported in al Isabah:
و يقال أن بعض أهل الكوفة تعصبوا عليه فشهدوا عليه بغير الحق
It is said that some residents of Kufah acted with prejudice against him (Walid) and falsely testified against him.
قيل في الوليد بخصوصه أن بعض أهل الكوفة تعصبوا عليه فشهدوا عليه بغير الحق
It is said regarding Walid in particular that some residents of Kufah acted impartially against him (Walid) and gave false witness against him.
It has now become as evident as daylight that all of this was nothing but an evil scheme against Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu which the residents of Kufah plotted to remove him.
The critics are reviving these old tales in an attempt to spread hatred for Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu whereas senior scholars have written with regards to these aspects of Sayyidina Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
و الصواب السكوت
The best is to remain silent.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala guide the critics and grant us the divine ability to practice on the divine injunction:
وَالَّذِيْنَ جَاءُوْا مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُوْنَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِيْنَ سَبَقُوْنَا بِالْإِيْمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوْبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِيْمٌ
And [there is a share for] those who came after them, saying, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.”
 Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 6 pg. 15, biography of Walid ibn ‘Uqbah.
 Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 6 pg. 15, biography of Walid ibn ‘Uqbah.
 Nasab Quraysh, pg. 146, the offspring of ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt.
 Tajrid Asma’ al Sahabah, vol. 2 pg. 139, first edition, Dakkan.
 Al Isabah with al Isti’ab, vol. 3 pg. 601, biography of Walid ibn ‘Uqbah.
 Nasab Quraysh, pg. 138, the offspring of ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt.
 Al Isabah with al Isti’ab, vol. 3 pg. 601, biography of Walid ibn ‘Uqbah.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 11 pg. 142, 143, biography of Walid ibn ‘Uqbah.
 Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pg. 29, the year 13 A.H.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 11 pg. 143, 144, biography of Walid ibn ‘Uqbah.
 Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 48, year 26 A.H., the reason ‘Uthman dismissed Sa’d from Kufah and appointed Walid instead.
 Al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 151, the year 26 A.H., first edition, Egypt.
 Al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 149, 150, the year 24 A.H., mention of the caliphate of Amir al Mu’minin ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, first edition, Egypt.
 Al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 150, mention of the caliphate of Amir al Mu’minin ‘Uthman.
 Surah al Hujurat: 6.
 Al Tafsir al Kabir, vol. 7 pg. 589, under the verse, mas’alah 1.
 Tafsir Khazin with Baghawi, vol. 6 pg. 222, under the verse, second edition, Egypt.
 Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 13, the year 23 A.H., mention of the report about his killing, old edition, Egypt print; Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 3 pg. 249, biography of ‘Umar, Leiden print.
 Surah al Shura: 13.
[*] Anwar al Kashifah, pg. 109-111.
[*] Tahdhib al Kamal, under the biography of Abdul Aziz ibn ‘Imran ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn ‘Umar.
 Al Isti’ab, vol. 2 pg. 467, biography of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hyderabad Dakkan print.
 Kitab al Mudallisin, pg. 19, under the fourth level, Egypt print, old edition.
 Footnotes of Nasb al Rayah, vol. 2 pg. 251, chapter on jana’iz, Majlis al ‘Ilmi print, Dabhel, India.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 9 pg. 43, discussion on Muhammad ibn Ishaq, Hyderabad Dakkan print.
 Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 24, under Muhammad ibn Ishaq, old Egypt print.
 ‘Umdat al Qari Sharh al Bukhari, vol. 6 pg. 178, chapter on Jumu’ah in the villages and cities.
 Sunan Ibn Majah, pg. 141, chapter on suckling a mature person, Nizami print, Delhi.
 Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 3 pg. 197, year 11 A.H., recall of the happenings on that occasion.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1 pg. 524, chapter on the merits of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, the incident of bay’ah and unanimity upon ‘Uthman, Nur Muhammadi print, Delhi; al Amali, vol. 2 pg. 167 – 169, majlis of Friday, 26 Muharram 457 A.H., Najaf Ashraf print, Iraq.
 Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 61, 62, the year 30 A.H.
 Al Isabah, vol. 3 pg. 601, biography of Walid ibn ‘Uqbah.
 Fath al Mughith li al Sakhawi Sharh al Fiyah al Hadith, vol. 3 pg. 104, under recognition of the Sahabah, Madinah Tayyibah print.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 11 pg. 144, under the discussion on Walid, first edition, Dakkan.
 Surah al Hashr: 10.Back to top