Qazi Fazlullah Bin Ruzbahan, the fanatic, in his Ibtalu'l-Batil;
Ibn Hajar Asqalani in his Tihdhibu'l-Tahdid, printed in Hyderabad
Daccan, page 337; Ibn Hajar in Isaba, Volume II, printed in Egypt,
page 509; Ibn Qutayba Dinawari in Ta'wil-e-Mukhtalafu'l-Hadith,
page 201-202, Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq-e-Muhriqa, page 78; Hajj
Ahmad Afindi in Hidayatu'l-Murtab, page 146 and 152; Ibn Athir
Jazari in Usudu'l-Ghaiba, Volume IV, page 22; Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti
in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa, page 66; Ibn Abdu'l-Birr Qartabi in Isti'ab,
Volume II, page 474; Seyyed Mu'min Shablanji in Nuru'l-Absar,
page 73; Shahabu'd-Din Ahmad bin Abdu'l-Qadir A'jili in Zakhiratu'l-Ma'al;
Muhammad bin Ali As-Saban in Is'afu'r-Raghibin, page 152; Nuru'd-Din
bin Sabbagh Maliki in Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 18; Nuru'd-Din Ali
bin Abdullah Samhudi in Jawahiru'l-Iqdain; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazili
in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, page 6, Allama Qushachi in
Sharh-e-Tarid, page 407, Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib, page 48,
60, Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul sub-Chapter
6, page 29, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Faza'il as well as Musnad;
Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira, page 85, 87, Imam Tha'labi in Tafsir
Kafshu'l-Bayan, Allama Ibn Qayyim Jauzi in Turuqi'l-Hakim, recording
Ali's judgments from page 41 to page 53; Muhammad bin Yusuf Ganji
Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 57; Ibn Maja Qazwini in Sunan,
Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in Manaqib; Ibrahim bin Muhammad Hamwaini
in Fara'id; Muhammad bin Ali bin Hasani'l-Hakim in Sharh-e-Fathi'l-Mubin,
Dailami in Firdaus, Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda,
Chapter 14, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya as well
as in Ma Nazala'l-Qur'an fi Ali, and a host of other great ulema
of your sect, with slight variation in words, have narrated Umar's
saying, "If there were no Ali, Umar would have been ruined."
The great theologian, Ganji Shafi'i, in Chapter 57, of his Kifayatu't-Talib
Fi Manaqib Ali Bin Abu Talib, after narrating some authentic hadith,
reports from Hudhaifa Bin Yaman that "one day Umar met him
and asked him: 'What was your condition when you awoke in the
morning?' Hudhaifa said, 'I rose in the morning hating the Truth,
liking mischief, bearing witness to the thing unseen; learning
by heart the uncreated, reciting salutations without being in
the state of ritual purity, and knowing that, what is for me on
the earth is not for Allah in the Sky.' Umar was infuriated by
these remarks and intended to punish Hudhaifa when Ali came in.
He noticed the signs of rage on Umar's face and asked why he was
so angry. Umar told him, and Ali said: 'There is nothing serious
about this remark: What Hudhaifa said was correct. Truth means
death, which he detests; mischief means wealth and children, which
he likes; and when he says he bears witness to what he has not
seen, this means that he testifies to the oneness of Allah, death,
the Day of Judgement, Paradise, Hell, the bridge over it named
Sira, none of which he has seen. When he says he learns by heart
what is uncreated, this refers to the Holy Qur'an; when he says
that he recites salutations without ablution, this refers to reciting
salutations on the Prophet of Allah, which is permissible without
ablution; when he says he has for himself on earth what is not
for Allah in the sky, this refers to his wife, as He has no wife
or children.' Umar then said, 'Umar would have been lost had Ali
not arrived.'" Ganji Shafi'i says that Umar's statement is
verified according to reports of most of the narrators of hadith.
The author of Manaqib says that Caliph Umar repeatedly said: "O
Abu'l-Hasan! (Ali). I would not be a part of a community without
you." He also said: "Women are unable to give birth
to a child like Ali."
Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in his Matalibu's-Su'ul and Sheikh
Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 14, narrating
from Tirmidhi, record a detailed report from Ibn Abbas at the
end of which he says: "The companions of the Prophet used
to seek religious judgments from Ali, and they accepted his decisions.
Thus, Umar Bin Khattab said on various occasions, 'If it were
not for Ali, Umar would have been ruined."
In religious matters and learned discussions Umar showed no vehemence.
On the contrary, he admitted his own inability and acknowledged
Ali as his refuge. Even Ibn Hajar Makki in Chapter III of Sawa'iq
Muhriqa, reporting from Ibn Sa'd, quotes Umar as saying, "I
seek Allah's help in deciding those difficult problems for which
Abu-l-Hasan (Ali) is not available."
As for Umar's vehemence on the battlefield, history recorded no
instance of it. On the contrary, historians of both sects relate
that whenever Umar encountered a powerful enemy, he took to his
heels. Consequently, other Muslims also fled, and the Muslim army
was often defeated.
Hafiz: You have gradually increased
the unkindness. You have insulted Caliph Umar, who was the pride
of the Muslims and in whose age the Muslims achieved great victories.
Because of Umar, Muslim armies won their battles. You call him
a coward and say that he ran away from the battlefield and that
the defeat of the Muslim army was due to him! Is it proper for
a man of your caliber to defame Caliph Umar?
Well-Wisher: I'm afraid you are mistaken. Though you have been with me for many nights, you have not understood me. Perhaps you think that it is due to enmity that I criticize or praise men. It is not. There is a great liability in religious debates, which has been a source of antagonism among Muslims for centuries. Such debates often excite malicious tendencies, which are not in accord with the injunctions of the Holy Qur'an. The Qur'an clearly says: "O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin." (49:12) You assume that my statements are motivated by malice. The fact is otherwise. I have not uttered a word contrary to what your own ulema have written. You have just said that I have insulted Caliph Umar. But there was not the slightest indication of an insult. What I said corresponds to the records of history. Now I am constrained to give a clearer view of facts in order to quiet this antagonism.
You said that Caliph Umar was responsible for the Muslim conquests.
No one denies that the Muslims achieved great conquests during
the caliphate of Umar. But remember that, according to the evidence
of your prominent ulema, like Qazi Abu Bakr Khatib, in his History
of Baghdad, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in
Sharhe-Nahju'l-Balagha, and many other writers, Caliph Umar sought
guidance from Ali in all administrative and military matters.
And he acted on Ali's advice. In addition, there was a difference
in the Islamic conquests of different periods. The first kind
refers to conquests during the time of the Prophet himself, which
were due primarily to Ali's gallantry. Everyone agrees that Ali
was the bravest of the brave. If he did not fight in a battle,
victory was not achieved. For instance, in the Battle of Khaibar,
he suffered from an eye ailment, and it was impossible for him
to go to battle. The Muslims suffered repeated defeats until,
when he was cured by the Prophet, Ali advanced toward the enemy
and conquered the forts of Khaibar. In the Battle of Uhud, when
the Muslims broke ranks and ran, it was Ali who stood firm. Dauntless,
he protected the Prophet from the enemy until a hidden voice proclaimed,
"There is no sword other than Dhu'l-fiqar, and there is no
brave youth other than Ali."
The second kind of conquest pertains to those battles which were
fought after the Prophet's death. These victories were due to
the bravery of the great Muslim soldiers and their expert planning.
But we are not concerned here with the Islamic conquests during
Umar's caliphate. Our topic is the courage of Caliph Umar himself.
It is not verified by any historical evidence.
Hafiz: It is insulting to claim
that Caliph Umar ran from the battlefield and that this led to
the defeat of the Muslims.
Well-Wisher: If citing historical
facts about men is an insult, then this insult has been recorded
by your own ulema.
Hafiz: Where have our ulema
written that Caliph Umar fled from the battlefield? When did he
cause the defeat of the Muslims?
Well-Wisher: Since Ali was suffering
from an eye ailment on the first day of the battle of Khaibar,
the Prophet gave the Muslim flag to Abu Bakr, who led the Muslim
army against the Jews. Suffering a defeat after a short battle,
he returned. The next day the Muslim flag was given to Umar, but
before he reached the place of battle, he fled in panic.
Hafiz: These statements are
Well-Wisher: The Battle of Khaibar
was an important event of the Prophet's life, recorded in detail
by historians of both sects. Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in his
Hilyatu'l-Auliya, Volume I, page 62, Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i
in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 40, from the Sira of Ibn Hisham, Muhammad
Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 14, and many
others of your ulema have recorded this event. But the most authentic
narrations are those of two great scholars: Muhammad Bin Isma'il
Bukhari, who writes in his Sahih, Volume II, printed in Egypt,
1320 A.H., page 100, and Muslim Bin Hujjaj, who writes in his
Sahih, Volume II, printed in Egypt, 1320 A.H., page 324, that
"Caliph Umar fled from the battlefield on two occasions."
Among the many clear proofs on this point are the unambiguous
verses of Ibn Abi'l-Hadid the Mu'tazilite, known as "Alawiyyat-e-Sab'a,
in praise of Ali. Regarding the "Gate of Khaibar," he
says: "Have you heard the story of the Conquest of Khaibar?
So many mysteries are linked together which bewilder even the
wise mind! These two (Abu Bakr and Umar) had no liking for, or
acquaintance with, bearing a flag (leading an army). They did
not know the secret of maintaining the prestige of a flag, they
covered it with scorn and took to their heels, though they knew
that fleeing from the battlefield is tantamount to infidelity.
They did so because one of the brave Jewish soldiers, a tall youth
with a naked sword in hand, riding on a steed of towering stature,
attacked them, like an excited male ostrich, which had gained
its strength from spring air and vegetation. He was like a huge
bird which had adorned itself with a beautiful color and was going
towards its beloved. The blaze of the fire of death from his sword
and lance shown and frightened the two men." Ibn Abi'l-Hadid
addressing them (Abu Bakr and Umar) says further: "I apologize
for you, for your defeat and fleeing, since everyone dislikes
death and loves life. Like all others, you too did not like death
although there is no immunity from death. But you could not court
My purpose is not to insult anyone. I relate historical facts
to show that the Caliph had no such bravery which would entitle
him to the epithet "vehement against the infidels."
The fact is that he ran from the battlefield. The attribute in
question belonged to Ali alone, who in every battle was vehement
against the infidels. This fact has been attested to by Allah
in the Holy Qur'an. He says: "O you who believe! Whoever
of you turns away from his religion, soon Allah will bring another
people; He loves them and they love Him, lowly before the believers,
mighty against the infidels, striving hard in Allah's way, and
they fear not the censure of any censurer; this is the grace of
Allah. He gives it to whomsoever He desires."
Hafiz: It is astonishing that
you try to ascribe this verse to Ali. It refers to the believers
who possess these qualities and are Allah's loved ones.
Well-Wisher: It would be better
if you asked me what argument I could furnish in support of my
assertion. My reply is that if this verse were revealed in praise
of the believers, they would never have run from the battlefield.
Hafiz: Is it fair to accuse
the believers and the Prophet's Companions of fleeing from danger?
These people fought bravely in battle.
Well-Wisher: It is not I who
have called them "runners." History shows them as such.
Perhaps you have forgotten that in the battles of Uhud and Hunain
both the believers and the companions in general, including the
great companions of the Prophet, sought safety in flight. As reported
by Tabrini and others, they left the Prophet alone among the infidels.
Is it possible that those who turned their backs to the enemy
leaving the Holy Prophet alone to face the enemy were the loved
ones of Allah and His Prophet?
I am not the only one to claim that this verse is in praise of
Ali. Abu Ishaq Imam Ahmad Tha'labi, whom you regard as the chief
of your traditionists, writes in his Kashfu'l-Bayan that this
verse was revealed in praise of Ali because no other person possessed
the attributes mentioned in it. No historian - ours or foreigners
- has written that in any of the 36 battles fought by the Prophet
did Ali ever falter. In the Battle of Uhud, when all the other
companions fled, and the enemy's 5,000 troops attacked the Muslims,
the only person who stayed at his post until victory was achieved
was Ali. Although wounded in several places and bleeding profusely,
he rallied those who had fled and continued fighting until victory
Hafiz: Are you not ashamed to
attribute "fleeing" to the great companions? All the
companions in general and the two Caliphs - Abu Bakr and Umar
- in particular, bravely surrounded the Prophet and protected
Well-Wisher: You have not studied
history very carefully. In general, historians have written that
in the battles of Uhud, Hunain, and Khaibar all the companions
fled. I have told you about Khaibar. As for Hunain, Hamidi in
his Jam'-e-Bainu's-Sahihain and Halabi in his Siratu'l-Halabiyya,
Volume III, page 123, say that all the companions fled, except
four: Ali and Abbas were in front of the Prophet, Abu Sufyan Bin
Harith held the reins of the Prophet's horse, and Abdullah Bin
Mas'ud stood on his left. The fleeing of the Muslims at Uhud has
not been denied by anyone. Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in
his Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 27, with his own sources, quotes
Abdullah Bin Mas'ud as saying that the Prophet said: "Whenever
Ali was sent alone in a battle, I saw Gabriel on his right side,
Michael on his left, and a cloud sheltering him from above until
Allah made him victorious."
Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i narrates hadith 202 in his Khasa'is-e-Alawi
that Imam Hasan, wearing a black turban, came to the people and
narrated the qualities of his father, saying that in the Battle
of Khaibar, when Ali went toward the fort, "Gabriel was fighting
on his right and Michael on his left side. He encountered the
enemy with great valor until he achieved victory and was entitled
to Allah's love."
In this verse Allah says that He loves those who possess these
attributes and that they too love Him. This quality of being loved
by Allah is peculiar to Ali. There is a great deal of evidence
in support of this view. Among the many hadith relating to this
matter is the one reported by Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i
in his Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 7. He narrates, through his own
sources, from Abdullah Bin Abbas, who said that one day he was
sitting with his father, Abbas, before the Holy Prophet, when
Ali came in and saluted him. The Prophet stood up, took him into
his arms, kissed him between his eyes, and made him sit down at
his right side. Abbas then asked the Prophet if he loved Ali.
The Holy Prophet replied, "O my respected uncle! By Allah,
Allah loves him more than I love him."
The strongest proof of Ali's being the loved one of Allah, and
of his bravery on the battlefield, is the hadith-e-Rayat (Hadith
of the Ensign), which is part of your authentic collections of
traditions. None of your prominent ulema has denied it.
Nawab: What is the hadith-e-Rayat? If you don't mind, please quote it with its sources.
Well-Wisher: The prominent ulema
and historians of the two sects have both narrated the hadith-e-Rayat.
For instance, Muhammad Bin Isma'il Bukhari, in his Sahih, Volume
II, Kitabu'l-Jihad Wa's-Siyar, Chapter Du'au'n-Nabi, also Volume
III, Kitabu'l-Maghazi, Chapter Ghazawa-e-Khaibar; Muslim Bin Hajjaj
in his Sahih, Volume 2, page 324; Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in
his Khasa'isu'l-Alawi; Tirmidhi in his Sunan; Ibn Hajar Asqalani
in Isaba, Volume II, p. 508; Muhaddith-e-Sham in his Ta'rikh;
Ahmad bin Hanbal in his Musnad; Ibn Maja Qazwini in Sunan; Sheikh
Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda Chapter 6; Sibt Ibn
Jauzi in Tadhkira; Muhammad bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul,
Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Isfahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya; Abu Qasim Tibrani
in Ausat; and Abu Qasim Husain bin Muhammad (Raghib Isfahani)
in Muhaziratu'l-Udaba, Volume II, page 212. In short, virtually
all of your historians and traditionists have recorded this hadith,
so that Hakim says: "This hadith has reached the stage of
unanimity." Tabrini says: "Ali's victory in Khaibar
is proved by its unanimity."
When the Muslim army laid siege to the Fort of Khaibar, it suffered
defeat three times under the command of Abu Bakr and Umar, and
they fled. The companions were greatly frustrated. In order to
inspire the companions, the Prophet announced that Khaibar would
be conquered. He said: "By Allah, tomorrow I will give the
standard to one who will return successful. He is one who attacks
repeatedly and never leaves the battlefield and never retraces
his steps until he achieves success. He loves Allah and the Prophet
of Allah, and Allah and the Prophet of Allah love him." That
night the companions could not sleep, wondering who would be given
this special favor. At dawn, all put on their military garb and
presented themselves before the Prophet. The Prophet asked, "Where
is my brother and son of my uncle, Ali Bin Abu Talib?" They
told him, "O Prophet of Allah, he is suffering so much with
sore eyes that he cannot move." The Prophet asked Salman
to call Ali. Salman took Ali by the hand and brought him to the
Prophet. He saluted the Prophet, and after returning the salutation,
the Prophet asked, "How are you, O Abu'l-Hasan?" He
replied, "It is all well by the grace of Allah. I am suffering
from headache and so much pain in the eyes that I cannot see anything."
The Prophet bade him come near. When Ali had moved closer, the
Prophet applied the saliva of his own mouth to Ali's eyes and
prayed for him. Soon his eyes were bright, and his ailment vanished
completely. He gave Ali the flag of victory. Ali proceeded to
the forts of Khaibar, fought against the Jews, slew their brave
soldiers, like Harhab, Harith, Hisham, and Alqama, and conquered
the hitherto invincible Forts of Khaibar.
Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 21, has quoted
this report from the six books of tradition, while Muhammad Bin
Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 14, after
narrating the hadith says that the Prophet's chief poet, Hasan
Bin Thabit, was present on this occasion. He composed couplets
in praise of Ali: "Ali was suffering from an eye disorder.
Because there was no physician, the Prophet cured him with his
own saliva. So both the curer and the patient were blessed. The
Holy Prophet said, 'Today I will give the standard to a highly
skilled horseman, valiant and chivalrous, my comrade in battle.
He loves Allah and Allah loves him; so through him He will make
us conquer the Forts.' After this, leaving all others aside, he
selected Ali and made him his successor."
Ibn Sabbagh Maliki narrates from Sahih Muslim that Umar Bin Khattab
said: "I never aspired for bearing the standard, but that
day I had a keen desire for it. I was repeatedly making myself
conspicuous before the Prophet, wishing that perhaps he might
call me, and that I might be blessed with this honor. But it was
Ali who was called by the Prophet and the glory went to him."
Sibt Ibn Jauzi has recorded this report in his Tadhkira, page
15, and Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Ahmad Bin Ali Nisa'i in his Khasa'isu'l-Alawi,
after narrating twelve hadith on the topic of Ali's bearing the
standard at Khaibar, quotes the same report in the eighteenth
hadith about Umar's hope for getting the standard. Also Jalalu'd-Din
Suyuti in his Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa, Ibn Hajar Makki, in his Sawa'iq,
and Ibn Shirwaini in his Firdausu'l-Akhbar, narrate that Umar
Bin Khattab said: "Ali has been endowed with three things,
and if I possessed only one, I would have preferred it to all
the camels in my possession: Ali's marriage with Fatima; his staying
in the mosque in every condition, and this was not permissible
for anyone except Ali, and his bearing the standard in the Conquest
My argument, based on the records of your own traditionists, proves
that the reference in the verse - "He (Allah) loves them
and they also love Him" - is to Ali. Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji
Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 13, relates that the
Prophet said: "If one wishes to look at Adam, Noah, and Abraham,
look at Ali." He says that Ali is the one Allah refers to
in the Holy Qur'an, "And those who are with him are strong
against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves."
(48:29). As for your contention that the phrase in the verse "Compassionate
among themselves" refers to Uthman and indicates his place
as the third Caliph, this is not supported by historical evidence.
In fact, his character was just the opposite. There are many arguments
to prove this, but I will stop here. What could be said might
Hafiz: If you confine yourself to authentic references, there is no reason why we should be displeased.
Well-Wisher: I will mention
some of them.
Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Khallikan, Ibn A'sam Kufi (it is also recorded
in Siha-e-Sitta), Mas'udi in Muruju'dh-Dhahab, Volume I, page
435, Ibn Hadid in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, and others
of your ulema affirm that when Uthman Bin Affan became Caliph,
he acted against the examples set by the Holy Prophet and also
against the ways of Abu Bakr and Umar. Both sects agree that in
the Consultative Council in which he was selected as Caliph Abdu'r-Rahman
Bin Auf offered him allegiance based on the Book of Allah, the
hadith of the Prophet, and the ways of Abu Bakr and Umar. One
condition of his allegiance was that Uthman would not let the
Bani Umayya interfere nor would he give them any authority. But
when his position became secure, he violated these pledges. According
to the Holy Qur'an and reliable hadith, to violate an agreement
is a great sin. Your own ulema say that Caliph Uthman broke his
pledge. Throughout his caliphate he acted in contradiction to
the way of Abu Bakr and Umar. He gave the Bani Umayya full authority
over the people's lives and property.