Moreover, Uthman beat the companions who objected to his oppression.
Among them was Abdullah Bin Mas'ud, who was a Hafiz, Qari (Qur'an
reciter), treasurer of the public treasury, a scribe who recorded
the revealed verses, and one of the chief companions of the Holy
Prophet. He was held in high esteem by Abu Bakr and Umar, both
of whom used to take counsel from him. Ibn Khaldun in his History
commented that Caliph Umar insisted that Abdullah remain with
him because he possessed complete knowledge of the Holy Qur'an
and because the Prophet spoke highly of him. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid and
others have written the same thing. Your ulema agree that when
Uthman intended to compile the Holy Qur'an, he obtained all the
copies from the scribes. He demanded the copy of the Holy Qur'an
from Abdullah Bin Mas'ud also. Abdullah did not give it to him.
Uthman himself went to his house and took the copy of the Holy
Qur'an from him by force. Later, when Abdullah learned that, like
other copies of the Holy Qur'an, his copy had been burnt, he was
much aggrieved. In social and religious gatherings, he narrated
the condemnatory hadith which he knew about Uthman. When this
news reached Uthman, he had Ibn Mas'ud so severely beaten by his
slaves that his teeth were broken, and he was confined to bed.
After three days he succumbed to his injuries. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid
writes in detail about these facts in Volume I, pages 67 and 226
of Sharh Nahju'l-Balagha (printed in Egypt) under "Ta'n VI,"
and goes on to say that Uthman went to see the ailing Abdullah.
They talked together for some time. Uthman said, "O Abdu'r-Rahman!
Pray to Allah for my forgiveness." Abdullah said, "I
pray to Allah to take my right from you" (that is, that justice
be done). When Abu Dharr, a close companion of the Holy Prophet,
was banished to Rabba, Abdullah went to see him off. For this
Abdullah was given forty lashes. So Abdullah insisted to Ammar
Yasir that Uthman not be allowed to offer Abdullah's funeral prayers.
Ammar Yasir agreed, and after Abdullah's death, he offered the
funeral prayers along with a group of the companions. When Uthman
learned of the funeral arrangement, he came to Abdullah's grave
and asked Ammar why he had said the funeral prayers. He replied
that he was constrained to do it because Abdullah had willed it.
Another example of Uthman's cruelty was his beating of Ammar Yasir.
Ulema of both sects relate that when Umayyad oppression increased,
some companions of the Prophet wrote to Uthman, asking him to
relent. They said that if he continued to assist his cruel Umayyad
Governors, he would not only be harming Islam, but he would himself
be subjected to serious consequences. They asked Ammar Yasir to
deliver the petition since Uthman himself had acknowledged Ammar's
virtue. They had often heard Uthman say that the Prophet said
that faith was blended with the flesh and blood of Ammar. So Ammar
took the letter to Uthman. When he arrived, Uthman asked him,
"Do you have business with me?" He replied: "I
have no business of a personal nature. But a group of the Prophet's
Companions has written in this letter some suggestions and advice
for your welfare. They have sent them to you through me."
After reading a few lines, Uthman threw the letter down. Ammar
said: "It was not good of you. A letter from the companions
of the Holy Prophet of Allah deserves respect. Why did you throw
it on the ground? It would be proper for you to have read it and
replied to it?" "You are lying!" Uthman shouted.
Then he ordered his slaves to beat him, and Uthman himself kicked
him in the stomach. He fell, unconscious; his relatives came and
took him to the house of Ummu'l-Mu'minin Umm Salma (one of the
Prophet's wives). From noon until midnight he remained unconscious.
The tribes of Hudhail and Bani Makhzun turned against Uthman because
of his cruelty to Abdullah Bin Mas'ud and Ammar Yasir.
Uthman was also cruel to Jandab Bin Junada, known as Abu Dharr
Ghifari, one of the intimate companions of the Holy Prophet and
a learned man. Great traditionists and historians of both sects
have reported that this ninety-year-old man was unjustly exiled
from place to place with utmost ignominy - from Medina to Syria,
to Medina again, and then from Medina to the desert of Rabza.
He rode on a naked camel accompanied by his only daughter. He
died in Rabza in penury and neglect. Your prominent ulema and
historians, including, Ibn Sa'd, in his Tabaqat, Volume IV, page
168; Bukhari in Sahih, Kitab-e-Zakat; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharhe
Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, page 240 and Volume II, pages 375-87,
Yaqubi in his History, Volume II, page 148; Abu'l-Hasan Ali Bin
Husain Mas'udi, the famous traditionist and historian of the fourth
century in his Muruju'dh-Dhahab, Volume I, page 438, and many
others have recorded Uthman's cruelty. It has been widely reported
how he mistreated the pure-hearted Abu Dharr, the loved one of
the Holy Prophet, and also how Abdullah Bin Mas'ud, the hafiz
and recorder of Wahi, who was given forty lashes because he bid
farewell to Abu Dharr Ghifari. Insulting treatment was likewise
shown to Ali for the same reason.
Hafiz: If torment was inflicted on Abu Dharr, it was because of unworthy officials. Caliph Uthman, who was very kind and soft-hearted, was unaware of these events.
Well-Wisher: Your defense of Caliph Uthman is contrary to facts. The anguish inflicted on Abu Dharr was due to the explicit orders of Uthman himself. To prove this fact, one need only refer to your own ulema. For instance, you may consult Ibn Athir's Nihaya, Volume I, and his Ta'rikh-e-Yaqubi, and particularly page 241 of Volume I of Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha by Ibn Abi'l-Hadid. These scholars have recorded Uthman's letter to Mu'awiya. When Mu'awiya sent a malicious report against Abu Dharr from Syria, Uthman wrote to him, "Send Jundub (Abu Dharr) to me on an unsaddled camel, alone, with a harsh man driving it day and night." When he reached Medina, Abu Dharr's legs were bruised and bleeding. And yet your own ulema have recorded hadith saying that Abu Dharr was specifically mentioned by the Prophet as one whom all mankind must love. Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Isfahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya, Volume I, page 172; Ibn Maja Qazwini in Sunan, Volume I; page 66; Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Shafi'i in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 59, recording the fifth of forty hadith written in Sawa'iq Muhriqa by Ibn Hajar Makki as correct, having been taken from Tirmidhi and Hakim, as
narrated by Buraida, and he from his father; Ibn Hajar Asqalani
in Isaba, Volume III, page 455; Tirmidhi in Sahih, Volume II,
page 213; Ibn Abdi'l-Birr in Isti'ab, Volume II, page 557; Hakim
in Mustadrak, Volume III, page 130; and Suyuti in Jam'u's-Saghir
have recorded that the Holy Prophet said: "Allah has ordered
me to love four people; and He has informed me that He also loves
them." The people said, "O Prophet of Allah! Let us
know their names." The Holy Prophet said, "They are
Ali, Abu Dharr, Miqdad, and Salman." Would justice allow
such loved ones of Allah to be treated so cruelly and call that
Hafiz: Historians have reported
that Abu Dharr was a disturbing figure. He carried on relentless
propaganda in Syria in favor of Ali, drew the attention of the
Syrians to Ali's rank, and said that he had heard the Holy Prophet
saying that Ali was his successor. Because he called the others
usurpers and said that Ali was the rightful caliph appointed by
Allah, Caliph Uthman, to preserve unity and avoid disturbances,
had to call him from Syria. If a man attempts to cause dissension
among the people, it is the duty of the caliph to remove him from
Well-Wisher: If a man speaks
the truth, is it fair to exile him and torture him because he
does so? Does Islam allow us to force old men to ride a thin,
unsaddled camel, driven fiercely by a hot-tempered slave, without
stopping for rest, so that he reaches his destination bruised
and bloody? Does this indicate soft-heartedness? Apart from that,
if Uthman wanted to maintain unity and avoid disturbances, why
didn't he remove the miscreant Umayyads, like Marwan, who was
cursed and banished by the Holy Prophet and the heretic, Walid,
an exposed sinner who offered prayers while drunk and who vomited
under the arch of the mosque? Why didn't he remove the corrupt
politicians from his government, men who oppressed the people,
who finally rebelled and murdered Uthman.
Hafiz: How can you say that
Abu Dharr spoke the truth? How do you know that what he said was
based on correct knowledge and that he did not fabricate hadith
in the name of the Holy Prophet ?
Well-Wisher: We say so because
the Holy Prophet himself testified to Abu Dharr's veracity. Your
own ulema have written that the Prophet said: "Abu Dharr
among my people is like Jesus among the Bani Isra'il in truthfulness,
devotion, and piety." Muhammad Bin Sa'd, one of the high-ranking
ulema and traditionists of your sect, in Tabaqat, Volume IV, pages
167, 168; Ibn Abdu'l-Birr in Isti'ab, Volume I, Chapter of Jundab,
page 84; Tirmidhi in Sahih, Volume II, page 221; Hakim in Mustadrak,
Volume III, page 342; ibn Hajar in Isaba, Volume III, page 622
Muttaqi Hindi in Kanzu'l-Ummal, Volume VI, page 169; Imam Ahmad
bin Hanbal in Musnad, Volume II, page 163 and 175; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid
in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, page 241; from Mahidi; Hafiz
Abu Nu'aim Isfahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya and the author of Lisanu'l-Arab,
on the basis of several authorities have related that the Holy
Prophet said: "The earth has not borne nor has the sky covered,
a man more truthful than Abu Dharr."
If the Holy Prophet confirms the truthfulness of a man, we can
be certain that that man spoke the truth. Nor does Allah call
that person his loved one who is a liar. If there were a single
instance of Abu Dharr telling lies, the early ulema of your sect
would have recorded it, as they have concerning Abu Huraira and
others. The Prophet testified to his righteousness and also predicted
his torture. Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Isfahani, in his Hilyatu'l-Auliya,
Volume I, page 162, narrates from his own sources that Abu Dharr
said that he was standing before the Prophet when the latter said
to him: "'You are a pious man; soon after me you will suffer
a calamity.' I asked: 'In the way of Allah?' He said, 'Yes in
the way of Allah!' I said: 'I welcome Allah's command!'"
Surely the suffering the venerable companion Abu Dharr endured
in the desert by the order of Mu'awiya, Uthman, and their Bani
Umayya was the same calamity predicted by the Holy Prophet.
I really wonder at your self-contradictory statements. On the
one hand you narrate the hadith from the Prophet that "All
my companions are like stars; if you follow any one of them, you
will be rescued." On the other hand, when one of the most
venerable companions of the Holy Prophet is tortured and dies
in misery, you defend the offender! You should either disprove
the statements of your own ulema, or admit that the attributes
mentioned in the verse under consideration do not relate to those
who brutalized the revered companions of the Holy Prophet.
Hafiz: Abu Dharr chose to go
to Rabza of his own free will.
Well-Wisher: Such statements
reflect attempts of your fanatical ulema to conceal the misdeeds
of their elders. Abu Dharr's forced banishment to Rabza is commonly
acknowledged. As an example, I will confine myself to quoting
one narration, which has been recorded by Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal
in Musnad, Volume V page 156, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha,
Volume I, page 241, and Waqidi in his History from Abu'l-Aswad
Abu Dharr was asked about his journey to Rabna. Abu Dharr said
that he was forcibly exiled and sent to the wilderness. He continued:
"The Holy Prophet informed me about this. One day I fell
asleep in the mosque. The Prophet came and asked me why I was
sleeping in the mosque. I said that I fell asleep inadvertently.
He asked me what I would do if I were banished from Medina. I
said I would go to the holy land of Syria. He asked me what I
would do if I were banished from there, too. I said I would come
back to the mosque. He again asked me what I would do if I were
turned out from here also. I said I would draw the sword and fight.
He asked me if he should tell me something which would be to my
benefit. When I said 'Yes,' he said to me: 'Go to whatever place
they take you.' So I listened to what he said, and I obeyed him.
After this Abu Dharr said, 'By Allah, when Uthman will go before
Allah, he will stand a sinner regarding my case.'"
If you consider the facts with an open mind, you will agree that
Ali possessed the attributes of mercy and kindness to the highest
degree. All historians, including, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, report that
when Ali assumed the caliphate, he did away with the abuses and
innovations that had crept in. He removed the ungodly officials
of the Bani Umayya, who had oppressed the provinces during the
period of Uthman's caliphate. Selfish politicians advised him
to postpone his decision about deposing officials until Ali was
more firmly established in authority. The Holy Imam said: "I
swear by Allah that I will not allow such sly deceptions. You
insist that I use conciliatory measures, but you do not understand
that as long as they remain in authority representing me, they
would be perpetrating the same tyranny and outrage for which I
shall be answerable in the divine court of justice. I cannot allow
Ali's deposition of officials led to the hostility of power-hungry
people, like Mu'awiya, and prepared the way for the battles of
Jamal and Siffin. If Talha and Zubair had been appointed as governors,
they would not have fomented disturbances at Basra and let the
Battle of the Camel take place. His kindness and generosity extended
to friends and enemies alike. Uthman had been very unkind to him
(more so than Abu Bakr and Umar had been) but when insurgents
enforced a blockade of Uthman's palace, cutting off water and
food, he appealed to Ali for help. Ali sent his sons, Hasan and
Husain, with water and bread. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid describes this incident
in detail in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha. Caliph Uthman had a reputation
for charity and benevolence, but it was only for his family, like
Abu Sufyan, Hakam Bin Abi'l-As, and Marwan Bin Hakam. He showered
money and gifts on them from the public treasury without religious
But the Commander of the Faithful, Ali never gave more than what
was due, even to near relatives. His elder brother, Aqil, came
to him and requested more money than he was usually given. Ali
paid no heed to his request. Aqil insisted and said that since
Ali was the Caliph and had sole authority over affairs, that his
needs should be fulfilled. As a caution to his brother, Ali secretly
heated a piece of iron and placed it near Aqil's body. He cried
out like a man in intense agony, afraid he would be burned. Ali
said: "Let mourners morn your death, O Aqil! You shrieked
when an iron heated by man was brought near you, and yet you draw
me toward that fire which Allah has created of His wrath. Is it
proper that you should seek shelter from this ordinary pain, and
that I should not protect myself from Hellfire?"
Even after subduing his enemy, Ali was kind. The cursed Marwan,
son of the cursed Hakam, was Ali's fierce enemy. But when Ali
overpowered Marwan in the Battle of Jamal, he pardoned him. Abdullah
Bin Zubair was another bitter enemy. He abused Ali openly, and
in Basra when Abdullah read his address before the people, he
said: "Verily, Ali Bin Abu Talib is debased, mean, and stingy."
(Allah forbid) But when the holy Imam won the Battle of Jamal
and this wicked man was brought as a captive before him, Ali did
not utter a harsh word against him. Ali turned his face from him
and pardoned him.
The best example of Ali's compassion was his behavior towards
A'yesha. The way she came face to face to fight him and railed
at him would have enraged a lesser man. But when Ali defeated
her, he treated her with dignity. He assigned to Muhammad Bin
Abu Bakr, her brother, the duty of looking after her welfare.
On his order, twenty strong women dressed as men escorted A'yesha
to Medina. When she reached Medina, she expressed her gratitude
to the women and the wives of the Prophet. She said that she would
always remain grateful to him. She admitted that, although she
had been harsh with him and had been responsible for such tumult,
he had not uttered a word against her. She said she had only one
complaint against him. She wondered why he had sent her to Medina
escorted by men. The women slaves immediately removed their masculine
garb. It became clear that this scheme was adopted for the purpose
of protecting their property from bandits.
Another instance of Ali's compassion was his treatment of Mu'awiya
in the Battle of Siffin. Mu'awiya's 12,000 soldiers had sealed
off the Euphrates River. When Ali's army found that their expected
supply of water had been intercepted, Ali sent a message to Mu'awiya
saying that Mu'awiya should not seal off access to the water.
Mu'awiya replied that he would deny them use of the water. Ali
sent Malik Ashtar with a unit of cavalry. He pushed back Mu'awiya's
army and secured access to the Euphrates. The companions said,
"O Ali! Let us retaliate and deny them water, so that the
enemy may die of thirst and the battle will be over." Ali
said: "No! By Allah, I will not retaliate by following their
example. Let their troops have access to the Euphrates."
Your own ulema, like Tabari, in his Ta'rikh, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in
Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Sulayman Balkhi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda,
Chapter 51, Mas'udi in Muruju'dh-Dhahaba, and other historians
have written in detail about the magnanimity of Ali. You may examine
these accounts and then decide who is the likely referent of the
verse, "And compassionate among themselves...." In the
verse under consideration, Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah, is
the subject, and what follows is its predicate. All those attributes
are for the same person. To be with the Holy Prophet, to be vehement
against the unbelievers on the battlefield and in learned discourses,
to be compassionate to friends and foes - all these qualities
refer to one who never left the Prophet or even thought of leaving
him. That person is Ali Bin Abu Talib. I have already said earlier
that the great scholar, Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i has written
in his Kifayatu't-Talib that in this verse Allah praised Ali.
Sheikh: There are many replies
to your statements, but you simply misinterpret the verse. The
phrase "and those who are with him" is plural and cannot
refer to one person only. If the attributes mentioned in the verse
referred to one person only, why were the pronouns plural?
Well-Wisher: First, you say
that there are many answers to my statement. If this were true,
then why not mention them? Your silence is proof that there are
not "many replies" to my statements. Second, what you
just said is fallacious. You know that in both Arabic and other
languages the use of the plural for the singular is common as
an indication of respect. There are many examples of this usage
in the Holy Qur'an, such as the verse: "Only Allah is your
Friend and His Apostle and those who believe, those who perform
the prayer and pay the poor-rate while they bow." (5:55)
This verse is unanimously acknowledged to be in praise of Ali.
Commentators and traditionists, such as Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi
in Tafsir Kabir, Volume III, page 431; Imam Abu Ishaq Tha'labi
in his Kashfu'l-Bayan; Jarullah Zamakhshari in Tafsir Kashshaf,
Volume I, page 422; Tabari in his Tafsir, Volume VI, page 186;
Abu'l-Hasan Rammani in his Tafsir; Ibn Hawazin Nishapuri in his
Tafsir; Ibn Sa'dun Qartabi in his Tafsir, Volume VI, page 221;
Nasafi Hafiz in his Tafsir, page 496 (by way of commentary on
Tafsir of Khazin Baghdadi); Fazil Nishapuri in Gharibu'l-Qur'an,
Volume I, page 461; Abu'l-Hasan Wahidi in Asbabu'n-Nuzul, page
148; Hafiz Abu Bakr Jassas in Tafsir Ahkamu'l-Qur'an, page 542;
Hafiz Abu Bakr Shirazi in Fima Nazala Mina'l-Qur'an Fi Amiru'l-Mu'minin;
Abu Yusuf Sheikh Abdu's-Salam Qazwini in his Tafsir Kabir; Qazi
Baidhawi in Anwaru't-Tanzil, Volume I, page 345; Jalalu'd-Din
Suyuti in Durru'l-Mansur, Volume II, page 239; Qazi Shukani San'a'i
in Tafsir Fathu'l-Qadir; Seyyed Muhammad Alusi in his Tafsir,
Volume II, page 329; Hafiz Ibn Abi Shaiba Kufi in his Tafsir;
Abu'l-Baraka in his Tafsir, Volume I, page 496; Hafiz Baghawi
in Ma'alimu't-Tanzil; Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in his Sahih;
Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 31; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid
in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume III, page 375; Khazin Ala'u'd-Din
Baghdadi in his Tafsir, Volume I, page 496; Sulayman Hanafi in
Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, page 212; Hafiz Abu Bakr Baihaqi in Kitab Musannaf;
Razin Abdari in Jam' Bainu's-Siha Sitta; Ibn Asakir Damishqi in
Ta'rikh Sham; Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira, page 9; Qazi Azuda'iji
in Mawaqif, page 276; Seyyed Sharif Jurjani in Sharhe Mawaqif;
Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 123; Hafiz Abu Sa'd
Sam'ani in Faza'ili's-Sahaba; Abu Ja'far Askafi in Nagzi'l-Uthmaniyya;
Tibrani in Ausat; Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i in Manaqib; Muhammad
bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib; Mulla Ali Qushachi
in Sharhe Tajrid; Seyyed Muhammad Mu'min Shablanji in Nuru'l-Absar,
page 77; Muhibu'd-Din Tabari in Riyazu'n-Nuzra, Volume II, page
247 as well as many others of your notable ulema all have narrated
from Sadi, Mujahid Hasan Basri, A'mash, Atba Bin Hakim, Ghalib
Ibn Abdullah, Qais Bin Rabi'a, Abaya Bin Rab'i, Abdullah Ibn Abbas,
Abu Dharr Ghifari, Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari, Ammar, Abu Rafi',
and Abdullah Bin Salam, and others acknowledge that this verse
was revealed in praise of Ali. This verse refers to the time that
Ali gave a ring to a beggar during ruku' (bowing in prayer). Here
also the words are plural out of deference and respect to the
rank of Wilaya (guardianship), and to prove that Ali was the Imam
and successor to the Prophet. The emphasis of the word "innama,"
renders the meaning - the decision of Allah - final and fixed,
i.e., the decision of Allah that the guardian of the believers
should be Allah, His Prophet (Muhammad), and the believers who
give charity while praying, the latter referring specifically
Sheikh: Surely you will admit
that your interpretation is not established since there are different
views about it. Some say that it refers to the Ansar (helpers),
some say that it is in praise of Ibadat Bin Samit, and some say
that it refers to Abdullah Bin Salam.
Well-Wisher: It is indeed astonishing that scholars like you can contradict your own ulema. You take the view of a few ignorant and unreliable people whose reports are rejected. Your great men of learning have claimed unanimity on this point, men like Fazil Taftazani and Mulla Ali Qushachi, who says in Sharhe Tajrid: "According to the unanimous view of the commentators, this verse was revealed in praise of Ali, who, while in ruku' (bowing) in prayer, gave away his ring to a beggar."
Sheikh: In the course of your
talk concerning this verse, you have tried to prove that Ali was
the immediate successor of the Prophet, though the word "Wali"
in this verse means "friend" or "loved one,"
and not "Imam" or "successor." If your view
is accepted, that "Wali" means "successor"
and "Imam," then according to the agreed-upon principle,
it is not confined to one person, but others are included in it,
Ali being one of them. Also in the verse, "Verily, verily
your guardian is Allah, and His Prophet, and those who believe..."
the use of the plural refers to people in general. To say that
the plural form is an indication of respect is not justified without
any valid reasoning, Qur'anic example, or other authority.
Well-Wisher: You have misconstrued
the phrase "...your guardian...." "Wali" is
singular, and "kum" (your) is plural, which refers to
the people and does not imply the singular. Of course, "Wali"
is for one person who is the guardian for the whole community
in every age. Second, in the verse under consideration, where
the plural is used, some of the fanatics have said that it cannot
be interpreted as singular as in the verse "...those who
establish prayer..." I replied to this objection earlier.
I said that eminent writers have often used the plural connoting
the singular. You also claim the plural form in the verse refers
to people in general. We say that according to the emphasis of
the word "verily," the reference is to Ali, but we do
not say that the reference is peculiar to him alone. Others of
the holy family of the Prophet are included in it. According to
authentic hadith, all the Imams of the progeny of the Prophet
are included in this verse. Jarullah Zamakhshari writes in Kashshaf
that this verse was revealed in particular in praise of Ali, but
the plurals used in it mean that others also should follow him.
Sheikh: In this verse "Wali"
definitely means "helper." If it meant guardian, which
includes the rank of successor, then he should have been appointed
to that office during the Prophet's life.
Well-Wisher: The rank of Ali
is permanent. The grammatical construction of the sentence and
the word "Wali" used as an attribute prove the permanent
position of Ali. This fact is further supported by the Prophet
declaring Ali his vicegerent on the journey of Tabuk and never
withdrawing it. Our point of view is further strengthened by the
hadith-e-Manzila (Hadith of Rank), which the Holy Prophet repeatedly
narrated: "Ali is to me as Aaron was to Moses," which
I have explained on previous nights. This in itself is another
proof of Ali being the Wali (guardian) or vicegerent of the Holy
Prophet during the Prophet's life and after his death.
Sheikh: If we were to give due
consideration to the matter, we would admit that this verse does
not refer to Ali. His rank is above that which we want to prove
from this verse. It does not prove any excellence for him, it
rather lowers his position.
Well-Wisher: Neither you nor
I - none of the community - including the great companions of
the Prophet, have any right to interfere with the real interpretation
of the verses. Qur'anic verses are not revealed according to our
wishes. If some people interpret their meaning based on mere opinion
or point out the occasion on which they were revealed, they are
certainly irreligious. For example, followers of Abu Bakr say
that according to the hadith narrated by the notorious forger
Akrama, this verse was revealed about Abu Bakr. Can you tell us
how this verse lowers the position of Ali?
Sheikh: One of the characteristics
of the dignity of the rank of Ali is that while offering prayers
he never diverted his attention to any other object. Ali was once
wounded in battle. Arrows had lodged in his body, and it was not
possible to take them out without inflicting intense pain. But
when he stood in prayer, the arrows were taken out, and because
he was engrossed in his worship of Allah, he felt no pain. If
while praying, he gave away a ring to a beggar, there was a great
flaw in his prayer. How could a man be so engrossed in Allah's
mercy and at the same time remove his attention from Allah in
response to the voice of a beggar?
Moreover, in the performance of every good deed and for payment
of the poor-rate, an intention is obligatory. While performing
the prayer, one's attention must be towards Allah alone. How is
it possible that his intention deviated from the prayer and turned
toward a created being? Since we consider Ali's rank to be very
high, we do not accept your interpretation. And if he did give
anything to a beggar, it was certainly not during the prayer,
since ruku' (bowing down) means humble submission before Allah.
Well-Wisher: You have learned
well how to recite, but you have missed the way to invocation.
This objection is weaker than a spider's web. First, Ali's action
does not in any way lower his rank. In fact, to give attention
to the beggar to give him charity, is a source of excellence.
In this case, he combined his bodily and spiritual prayer with
a material prayer. Both prayers were in the way of Allah. Dear
fellows! The distraction which weakens prayer is one which is
conceived with selfish notions. Attention towards another prayer,
while performing a particular prayer, is a sign of excellence.
For instance, if during the ritual prayer, one weeps for the dearest
of his relations, his prayer will be invalidated. But if he weeps
in his extreme love for Him, or in fear of Him, then it is a sign
You said ruku' (bowing down) means sincere submission to Allah.
This meaning may be appropriate for some occasions. But if you
say that bowing down in prayer, which is definite and compulsory,
carries the same literal sense, learned men would scoff at you.
You also tried to exclude or ignore the verse's clear meaning.
You gave a figurative meaning to it, even though you know that
the term describes a required action of the ritual prayer, which
is bowing down with our palms reaching the two knees. And this
fact has been acknowledged by your prominent ulema, as I have
stated earlier. Fazil Qushachi, in his Sharhe Tajrid, explains
the views of the commentators in general that Ali, while bowing
down in prayer, gave the ring to the beggar. Leaving all things
aside, please tell us whether this verse was revealed in praise
or in condemnation?
Sheikh: Obviously it was in
Well-Wisher: So when the ulema
of both sects have said that this verse was revealed in praise
of Ali, and that it contains the commendation Allah, why would
you make frivolous objections, agreeing with the fanatical Kharijis,
whose views have been thrust into your pure mind from childhood?
Why don't you acknowledge this fact?
Sheikh: Excuse me! Since you
are an eloquent speaker, you often use allusions and references
which may create in uninformed minds ideas that may produce unhappy
results. It would be better if you refrained from such talk.
Well-Wisher: In my talk there
is nothing but reality. Allah be my witness, I never intended
to use allusions or indirect references. There is no need for
that. Whatever I wish to say, I say clearly. Please tell me what
allusion you mean.
Sheikh: A short while ago during
your talk in connection with the verse under consideration, you
said that the attributes mentioned therein are peculiar to Ali
Bin Abu Talib, who, from the beginning to the end of his life,
had never any doubt in his faith. In this way you imply that others
were guilty of apostasy. Had the great caliphs or the companions
any doubt in their faith? Assuredly the companions, like Ali,
never doubted the truth of Islam. Never for a moment did they
deviate from the Prophet's teaching.
Well-Wisher: First, I never
used the words you just used. Second, you know that to prove something
for someone does not disprove the same thing for someone else.
Third, although you are trying to criticize me, I think others
have no such thing in mind. Allah be my witness, I have not made
any indirect reference to anything, nor have I thought of doing
so. And if anything occurred to your mind, you might have asked
me about it privately.
Sheikh: The manner of your talking shows that there is some point on which you are silent. I ask you to let us know what you have in mind and to give authentic references for what you say.
Well-Wisher: It is you who have
created such things in our minds; you insist that the issue be
discussed. Again, I ask you to ignore this matter and not insist
Sheikh: If there was anything
unmannerly, it is finished. Now you have no choice but to reply.
If you will not give a clear reply, either in the affirmative
or in the negative, then I will be obliged to conclude that what
you said was baseless.
Well-Wisher: There is nothing
unmannerly in my remarks, but since you insist, I have no choice
but to reveal the truth. Your great ulema agree that the Prophet's
companions whose faith was not yet perfect often entertained doubts.
Some of them maintained that doubt and apostasy. Some verses of
the Holy Qur'an were revealed in their condemnation. For instance,
there were the munafiqin (hypocrites) in whose condemnation a
full chapter of the Holy Qur'an was revealed. But such questions
should not be discussed openly. I again ask you to refrain from
pursuing this topic.
Sheikh: You mean that the great
caliphs were among those who had doubts.
Well-Wisher: If my reply causes
an unfortunate reaction among uninformed people, you are responsible.
You have just said, "You say this or you say that."
But again, it is your own ulema who have recorded these facts.
Sheikh: On which topic have
they written, and on what occasion did caliphs express their doubt,
and who were the persons who doubted? Please let us know.
Well-Wisher: Many people had
serous doubts but returned to their original faith. Some of them
persisted in their doubt. Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i, in his Manaqib,
and Hafiz Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin Abi Nasr Hamidi in his Jam'
Bainu's-Sahihain-e-Bukhari, and Muslim write: "Umar Bin Khattab
said, 'I never doubted the prophethood of Muhammad as I did on
the day of Hudaibiyya.'" This statement shows that he doubted
Muhammad's prophethood more than once.
Nawab: Excuse me. What was the
occasion in Hudaibiyya which prompted doubt about the Prophet?
Well-Wisher: The Prophet saw
one night in a dream that he went to Mecca with his companions
to perform the Umra. Next morning, when he related the dream to
his companions, they asked him to interpret it. The Prophet said,
"Allah willing, we shall go to Mecca and fulfill this performance."
But he did not specify the time for it. With the intention of
visiting the House of Allah, the Prophet set out with his companions
toward Mecca the same year. When they reached Hudaibiyya (a well
near Mecca), the Quraish came there and prevented them from moving
forward. Since the Prophet had not gone there prepared to fight,
he offered to make peace with them. A treaty was signed and the
Prophet returned to Medina. On this occasion, Umar had doubts.
He went to the Prophet and said: "Are you not the Prophet
of Allah and a truthful man? Did you not tell us that you would
go to Mecca and perform the Umra and have your head shaved and
beard trimmed? Why have you now failed to do this?"
The Holy Prophet asked him whether he had fixed the time for that
or if he had told them that he would go there in the same year.
Umar admitted that the Prophet had not specified a time. The Prophet
said that what he had told them was correct and, Allah willing,
they would go to Mecca in the future and the dream would be realized.
Of course the time for the fulfillment of the interpretation,
be it sooner or later, depends upon Allah's will. Then for confirmation
of the statement of the Holy Prophet, Gabriel appeared and revealed
the following verse of the Qur'an: "Indeed Allah has fulfilled
for His prophet the vision with truth (that) certainly you will
enter the sacred Mosque, if Allah pleases, in security, with shaved
head, (some) with their hair shortened, without fear; for He knew
you knew not and He had ordained besides this a near victory."
S.48, V.27. Victory, here, means the conquest of Khaibar. This
was, in short, the event of Hudaibiyya, which was in fact a test
for the faithful and for the wavering people.
At this stage there followed a discussion of whether to continue
the discussions, in view of the schedule of the Sunni visitors
from Afghanistan as well as Well-Wisher, the outcome of which
was a decision to continue.