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17. Hadith Saluni, Did The Sahabah Ask ‘Ali?

Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H) claims:

أما قول علي سلوني ... وأما الذين كان علي يخاطبهم فهم من جملة عوام الناس التابعين وكان كثير منهم من شرار التابعين

As for the statement of ‘Ali “Ask me” ... those whom ‘Ali was addressing, they were commoners among the Tabi’in, and a lot of them were the evil ones among the Tabi’in.1

He clarifies further:

فقول علي لمن عنده بالكوفة سلوني هو من هذا الباب لم يقل هذا لابن مسعود ومعاذ وأبي بن كعب وأبي الدرداء وسلمان وأمثالهم .... فلم يسأله قط لا معاذ ولا أبي ولا ابن مسعود ولا من هو دونهم من الصحابة

The statement of ‘Ali “Ask me” TO THOSE WITH HIM IN KUFAH was in this regard. He never said this to Ibn Mas’ud, Mu’adh, Ubayy b. Ka’b, Abu Darda, Salman or others like them.... They never asked him (anything) – not Mu’adh, not Ubayy, not Ibn Mas’ud and NOT others from the Sahabah.2

The patent purpose of the above submissions is to downplay the importance of Amir al-Muminin’s, ‘alaihi al-salam, challenge. However, what really mattered was the quality of the challenge, and not its audience. As we have demonstrated, neither Abu Bakr nor ‘Umar was ever capable of issuing the same challenge as Amir al-Muminin did, not even to school kids. Meanwhile, Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah is actually wrong in his claims concerning the people of Kufah, and the Sahabah, with regards to the challenge of ‘Ali.

To get a clearer picture, let us present this narration of Imam Ahmad (d. 241 H) :

حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي ثنا حسين بن محمد وأبو نعيم المعنى قالا ثنا فطر عن أبي الطفيل قال: جمع علي رضي الله تعالى عنه الناس في الرحبة ثم قال لهم أنشد الله كل امرئ مسلم سمع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول يوم غدير خم ما سمع لما قام فقام ثلاثون من الناس وقال أبو نعيم فقام ناس كثير فشهدوا حين أخذه بيده فقال للناس أتعلمون انى أولى بالمؤمنين من أنفسهم قالوا نعم يا رسول الله قال من كنت مولاه فهذا مولاه اللهم وال من والاه وعاد من عاداه قال فخرجت وكأن في نفسي شيئا فلقيت زيد بن أرقم فقلت له انى سمعت عليا رضي الله تعالى عنه يقول كذا وكذا قال فما تنكر قد سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول ذلك له

‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – Husayn b. Muhammad and Abu Na’im al-Ma’ani – Faṭr – Abu al-Tufayl:

‘Ali, may Allah the Most High be pleased with him, gathered people at Rahbah (an area in Kufah), and said to them, “I implore with Allah to testify every single Muslim who heard what the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said while standing on the Day of Ghadir Khumm. So, thirty people stood up - Abu Na’im said: lots of people stood up – and testified that while holding his (i.e. ‘Ali’s) hand, he (the Prophet) said to the people, “Do you know that I am more entitled to the believers than themselves?” They replied, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He (the Prophet) said, “Whosoever I am his mawla, this too is his mawla. O Allah, be the friend of whosoever is his friend, and be the enemy of whosoever is his enemy.”3

Shaykh al-Arnauṭ states:

إسناده صحيح

Its chain is sahih4

All those thirty – or actually, lots of - people who stood up to testify were Sahabah, and they were among the people of Kufah! The challenge of Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali was directed towards them too, along with the other residents of the city. This reality cuts off the first leg of Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah’s apparently fallacious submission.

At this point, it becomes imperative to ask. Did the Sahabah ever consult Amir al-Muminin to gain knowledge in their religion? Our dear Shaykh claims that they never did. But, is that the case? ‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) replies:

أخرجه ابن أبى شيبة فى " المصنف " (11/44/2) من طريق سعيد بن المسيب: " أن رجلا من أهل الشام يقال له (ابن حبرى) وجد مع امرأته رجلا فقتلها , أو قتلهما , فرفع إلى معاوية فأشكل عليه القضاء فى ذلك , فكتب إلى أبى موسى أن سل عليا عن ذلك , فسأل أبو موسى عليا

Ibn Abi Shaybah recorded it in al-Musnaf (2/44/11) from the route of Sa’id b. Jubayr:

A Syrian man called Ibn Habri caught a man with his wife, and therefore killed him or killed both of them. So, his case was brought to Mu’awiyah. However, he had problem on how to do justice in that. As such, he wrote to Abu Musa to ask ‘Ali concerning that. Therefore, Abu Musa asked ‘Ali.5

The ‘Allamah comments:

قلت: ورجاله ثقات , لكن سعيد بن المسيب مختلف فى سماعه من على.

I say: Its narrators are trustworthy. However, there is disagreement over whether Sa’id b. Musayyab heard from ‘Ali or not.6

Of course, the correct opinion is that he heard from ‘Ali, as declared by al-Hafiz:

سعيد بن المسيب بن حزن بن أبي وهب بن عمرو بن عائذ بن عمران ابن مخزوم القرشي المخزومي. روى عن أبي بكر مرسلا وعن عمر وعثمان وعلي وسعد بن أبي وقاص….

Sa’id b. al-Musayyab b. Huzn b. Abi Wahb b. ‘Amr b. ‘Aiz b. ‘Imran b. Makhzum al-Qurshi al-Makhzumi. He narrated from Abu Bakr in a mursal form, and from ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas....7

It was only from Abu Bakr that he did not hear directly. As for ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali and all the other people from whom Sa’id b. al-Musayyab heard, they are grouped together in the same unbroken, long list of names. Moreover, Imam al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 H) records this chain:

حدثنا أحمد بن منيع حدثنا إسماعيل بن إبراهيم حدثنا علي بن زيد عن سعيد بن المسيب عن علي بن أبي طالب

Ahmad b. Muni’ – Isma’il b. Ibrahim – ‘Ali b. Yazid – Sa’id b. al-Musayyab‘Ali b. Abi Talib.8

Al-Tirmidhi notably comments:

حديث علي حسن صحيح

The hadith of ‘Ali is hasan sahih.9

‘Allamah al-Albani backs him:

صحيح

Sahih10

Simply put, the athar from al-Musnaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah has a sahih chain. It is a very interesting narration, indeed. Mu’awiyah – a Sahabi - was the rebel leader who was waging war against Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali, the khalifah. Yet, despite his bloody insurgency, he turned to ‘Ali for solution to his judicial problem. That was an extreme step, which revealed Mu’awiyah’s unconditional acknowledgement that ‘Ali’s knowledge was unmatched and unique. Moreover, Abu Musa, whom Mu’awiyah sent, was another Sahabi who could have offered a solution if he had any! This incident effectively buries the remains of Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah’s claims.

But, there is more! The second rebel leader who also waged a bloody campaign against ‘Ali was Umm al-Muminin ‘Aishah. Imam Ahmad records another interesting narration:

حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي ثنا عبد الرزاق أخبرنا سفيان عن عمرو بن قيس عن الحكم عن القاسم بن مخيمرة عن شريح بن هانئ قال: أتيت عائشة رضي الله عنها أسألها عن الخفين فقالت عليك بابن أبي طالب فاسأله فإنه كان يسافر مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فأتيته فسألته

‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – ‘Abd al-Razzaq – Sufyan – ‘Amr b. Qays – al-Hakam – al-Qasim b. Makhirah – Shurayh b. Hani:

I went to ‘Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, and asked her about the two khuffs. So, she said, “You MUST go to Ibn Abi Talib and ask him, because he used to go on journeys with the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him.” So, I went to him and asked him.11

Al-Arnauṭ says:

إسناده صحيح على شرط مسلم

Its chain is sahih upon the standard of (Imam) Muslim.12

Imam Abu Ya’la (d. 307 H) further documents:

حدثنا أبو خيثمة حدثنا أبو معاوية حدثنا الأعمش عن الحكم عن القاسم بن مخيمرة عن شريح بن هانئ قال: سألت عائشة عن المسح على الخفين فقالت : ائت عليا فسله فإنه كان أعلم بذلك مني فأتيت عليا فسألته عن المسح

Abu Khaythamah – Abu Mu’awiyah – Al-A’mash – al-Hakam – al-Qasim b. Makhirah – Shurayh b. Hani:

I asked ‘Aishah concerning wiping over the two khuffs. So, she said, “Go to ‘Ali and ask him, because he is more knowledgeable of that than me.” So, I went to ‘Ali and asked him about the wiping.13

Shaykh Dr. Asad comments:

إسناده صحيح

Its chain is sahih14

One crucial point here is that Shurayh b. Hani was a Sahabi too. Al-Hafiz (d. 852 H) states:

شريح بن هانئ بن يزيد بن نهيك ويقال شريح بن هانئ بن يزيد بن الحارث بن كعب الحارثي أبو المقدام أدرك النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم

Shurayh b. Hani b. Yazid b. Nuhayk, and he is called Shurayh b. Hani b. Yazid b. al-Harith b. Ka’b al-Harithi, Abu al-Miqdam: He met the Prophet, peace be upon him.15

Do we really have to make any further comments at this point? Perhaps, we should just close things with these words of Imam Ibn al-Athir (d. 630 H):

وروى يزيد بن هارون عن قطر عن أبي الطفيل قال قال بعض أصحاب النبي لقد كان لعلي من السوابق ما لو أن سابقة منها بين الخلائق لوسعتهم خيرا وله في هذا أخبار كثيرة نقتصر على هذا منها ولو ذكرنا ما سأله الصحابة مثل عمر وغيره رضي الله عنهم لأطلنا

Yazid b. Harun narrated from Faṭr from Abu al-Tufayl who said, “Some of the Sahabah of the Prophet said: ‘There are certain unmatched qualities and ranks of ‘Ali that if any of them had been distributed among all creation, it would bring good to all of them’. There are LOTS of reports in this regard in his favour. We are only mentioning a few. If we had mentioned what the Sahabah, such as ‘Umar and others, may Allah be pleased with them, had asked him, we would have cited a lot!16

  • 1. Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Halim b. Taymiyyah al-Harrani, Minhaj al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyyah (Muasassat Qurtubah; 1st edition, 1406 H) [annotator: Dr. Muhammad Rashad Salim], vol. 5, p. 507-508
  • 2. Ibid, vol. 8, p. 57
  • 3. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurtubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnaut], vol. 4, p. 370, # 19321
  • 4. Ibid
  • 5. Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Irwa al-Ghalil fi Takhrij Ahadith Manar al-Sabil (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami; 2nd edition, 1405 H), vol. 8, p. 28, # 2361
    Nur al-Din ‘Ali b. Abi Bakr al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawaid (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr; 1412 H), vol. 7, p. 274, # 2216
  • 6. Ibid
  • 7. Shihab al-Din Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (Dar al-Fikr; 1st edition, 1404 H), vol. 4, p. 74, # 145
  • 8. Abu ‘Īsa Muhammad b. ‘Īsa al-Sulami al-Tirmidhi, al-Jami’ al-Ṣahih Sunan al-Tirmidhi (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani], vol. 3, p. 452, # 1146
  • 9. Ibid
  • 10. Ibid
  • 11. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurtubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnaut], vol. 1, p. 146, # 1244
  • 12. Ibid
  • 13. Abu Ya’la Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Muthanna al-Mawsili al-Tamimi, Musnad (Damascus: Dar al-Mamun li al-Turath; 1st edition, 1404 H) [annotator: Dr. Husayn Salim Asad], vol. 1, p. 229, # 264
  • 14. Ibid
  • 15. Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Hajar al-‘Asqalani, al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Ṣahabah (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1415 H) [annotators: Shaykh ‘Ādil Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Mawjud and Shaykh ‘Ali Muhammad Ma’udh], vol. 3, p. 307 -308, # 3991
  • 16. Ibn al-Athir, Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali b. Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Karim b. ‘Abd al-Wahid al-Shaybani al-Jazari, Usd al-Ghabah (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi; 1st edition, 1417 H) [annotator: ‘Ādil Ahmad al-Rufa’i], vol. 4, p. 110

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