Moreover, the Bani Hashim, the Prophet's family, were not present
at the Saqifa. The precious value of their judgement cannot be
denied in view of the hadith narrated on earlier nights, and acknowledged
by both sects. The Holy Prophet said: "I leave with you two
great things: the Book of Allah (The Holy Qur'an) and my Ahle
Bait (members of the holy family: Ali, Fatima, and their issue).
If you cling to these two, never, never shall you go astray after
me." These people did not support the caliphate of Abu Bakr.
In addition, there is another famous hadith known as hadith-e-Safina
(Hadith of the Ark), which I have mentioned on previous nights.
The Prophet said: "My Ahle Bait is like the ark of Noah.
He who boards it is saved, and he who turns away from it drowned."
This hadith indicates that, just as Noah's community was saved
from the great flood by his ark, our Prophet's community will
be saved from disasters by attachment to the members of the Prophet's
holy family. Ibn Hajar in his Sawa'iq-e-Muhriqa, page 50, commenting
on verse IV, quotes two hadith from Ibn Sa'd about the obligation
to follow the holy Ahle Bait of the holy Prophet. In one hadith
the Prophet said: "I and my Ahle Bait are a tree of Paradise
whose branches are in the earth; so one who seeks the path towards
Allah should attach himself to them."
In a second hadith the Prophet said: "Among my umma in every
age there are just people from my Ahle Bait who purge the impurities
brought into religion by the wrong-doers and who wash away the
false claims of the transgressors and the commentaries of ignorant
people. Be it known to you that your Imams are certainly those
who will guide you to Allah; so you should be careful about those
you take to be your guides." The substance of hadith of this
kind is that the Prophet said to his community: "Unless you
follow my Ahle Bait, enemies will lead you astray." The people
who could influence ijma, the allegiance, and the appointment
of the caliphs, were opposed to the procedure you have described.
So what sort of ijma was that? The notable companions, intellectuals,
and the progeny of the Prophet were in Medina at the time of the
Saqifa. So there is no doubt that the matter was not decided by
a majority vote, not to mention ijma. Ibn Abdu'l-Birr Qartabi,
a learned man of your sect, in his Isti'ab, Ibn Hajar in his Isaba,
and other ulema write that Sa'd Bin Ubaida, who was a claimant
to the caliphate, categorically refused to take the oath of allegiance
to Abu Bakr and Umar. He did not want to set off a commotion,
so he set out for Syria. According to a report in Rauzatu's-Safa,
on the instigation of a prominent man he was murdered. According
to historians, the man who committed the crime was Khalid Bin
Walid. After killing Malik Bin Buwaira and marrying his wife,
during the early days of Abu Bakr's caliphate, he was the object
of Umar's wrath. When Umar became Caliph, Khalid, attempting to
earn his favor, killed Sa'd Bin Ubaida.
Hafiz: Since there was danger
of a disturbance, and they could not have access to the whole
umma, they necessarily had to depend on those few people who were
present in the Saqifa where the oath of allegiance was taken.
Later the umma consented to it.
Well-Wisher: If they had no
access to the distinguished companions of the Prophet, and the
intellectuals of the nation who were outside Medina, please tell
us honestly: if there had been no plotting in this case, why didn't
they invite those present in Medina to the meeting at the Saqifa?
Wasn't it necessary for them to take counsel with Abbas, Ali Bin
Abu Talib, and the Bani Hashim? Was the opinion of Umar and Abu
Ubaida Bin Jarra sufficient for the whole Islamic world? Your
argument based on ijma, whether it is general or specific, is
untenable. The intellectuals and the prominent companions did
not participate in it, they opposed it. As I said: "ijma"
means that not a single person disagrees with others. In this
"ijma," you have admitted the intelligentsia in general
did not take part. Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi in his Nihayatu'l-Usul
says that there was no ijma or consensus in the caliphate of Abu
Bakr and Umar until after the murder of Sa'd Bin Ubaida. I fail
to understand how you can call this imaginary ijma a proof for
the rightfulness of the caliphate. Your second claim, that Abu
Bakr was older than Ali and was therefore better qualified for
the caliphate, is weaker than the first argument. If age were
a condition for the caliphate, there were many men older than
Abu Bakr and Umar. Certainly Abu Qahafa, Abu Bakr's father was
older than his son, and was alive at the time. Why wasn't he appointed
Hafiz: Abu Bakr's age, coupled
with his ability, made him the appropriate choice. When there
was an old, experienced loved one of the Prophet present in the
nation, an inexperienced youth could not be entrusted with leadership.
Well-Wisher: If that were true,
then the target of your objection is the Prophet himself. When
he left for his Tabuk expedition, the hypocrites secretly planned
to revolt in Medina in his absence. Therefore, he appointed an
experienced man in his place in order to control the situation
in Medina and to foil the hypocrites' plans. I ask you to tell
us who the Prophet left in his place in Medina as his successor
Hafiz: It is well known that
he made Ali his caliph and successor.
Well-Wisher: Weren't Abu Bakr,
Umar, and other older companions in Medina at that time? Yes.
And yet the Prophet made a young man, Ali, his Caliph and successor.
For the recitation of some of the verses of the Chapter Al-Bara'a
(The Immunity), of the Holy Qur'an to the people of Mecca, one
would perhaps think, an experienced man should have been appropriate.
But the Holy Prophet called the older Abu Bakr back from his half-completed
journey and commanded the younger Ali to perform this important
task. The Prophet said that Allah had told him that the one to
convey the Holy Qur'an should be him, (the Holy Prophet) or someone
who was of him. Similarly, for the guidance of the people of Yemen,
why did the Holy Prophet send the Commander of the Faithful, Ali
instead of the more experienced Abu Bakr, Umar, or others who
were present there? On many other similar occasions the Holy Prophet,
in the presence of Abu Bakr, Umar, and others, selected Ali to
perform momentous tasks. It follows that your insistence on chronological
maturity is baseless. The essential condition for the caliphate
is merit. It has just occurred to me that the strongest proof
for the rejection of the caliphate of these people is the opposition
to the so-called ijma by Ali, who, according to the Prophet, was
the distinguisher between right and wrong. Your notable ulema
have narrated a number of hadith in this regard. Sheikh Sulayman
Balkhi Hanafi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 16 quoting from
Kitabu's-Sabi'in Fi Faza'il-e-Amiru'l-Mu'minin, Imamu'l-Haram
Abu Ja'far Ahmad Bin Abdullah Shafi'i, in hadith XII related from
Firdaus of Dailami of the seventy hadith, Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani
Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda - VI, Hafiz in his Amali,
Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter
44, relate, with slight difference in wording, on the authority
of Ibn Abbas, Abi Laila Ghifari, and Abu Dharr Ghifari that the
Holy Prophet said (the last phrase being the same in every narration):
"Soon after my departure from this world, there will arise
a disturbance. When it happens, you should follow Ali Bin Abi
Talib since he will be the first person to see me and clasp hands
with me on the Day of Judgement. He is exalted in rank and he
is the distinguisher between right and wrong."
When the Prophet died, a great disturbance arose. The Muhajirs
and Ansars wanted to have the caliph from their party. According
to the instruction of the Prophet, the umma should have brought
in Ali so that he might separate truth from falsehood.
Hafiz: This hadith has a single
line of narration and is therefore unreliable.
Well-Wisher: I have already
replied to your objection concerning a single narration. The Sunni
ulema regard such hadith as valid arguments, so you cannot reject
it on that ground. Apart from that, it is not the only hadith
on this point. There are many such reports related by your own
ulema which point to the same meaning, some of which I referred
to on previous nights. In view of our time constraints, I will
confine myself to mentioning here only the names of some of the
authors. One of these reports is narrated by Muhammad Bin Talha
Shafi'i in his Matalibu's-Su'ul, Tabari in his Kabir, Baihaqi
in his Sunan, Nuru'd-Din Maliki in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma, Hakim
in his Mustadrak, Hafiz Abu Na'im in his Hilya, Ibn Asakir in
his Ta'rikh, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Tabrani
in his Ausat, Muhibu'd-Din in his Riyaz, Hamwaini in his Fara'id,
Suyuti in his Durr-e-Mansur, from Ibn Abbas, Salman, Abu Dharr
and Hudhaifa - all report that the holy Prophet, pointing with
his hand to Ali Bin Abu Talib, said: "Verily, this Ali is
the first person who declared his faith in me and the first who
will shake hands with me on the Day of Judgement. He is Siddiq-e-Akbar
(the greatest speaker of truth) and the Faruq of this umma (The
Discernment of this Community). He will distinguish between right
Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji in Chapter 44 of his Kifayatu't-Talib
narrates the same hadith with the addition of these words: "And
he is the ruler over the faithful and he is my gate for the faithful
to pass through; and he is my caliph (successor) after me."
Ganji Shafi'i says that Muhaddith-e-Sham (a traditionist of Syria)
has three hundred hadith in praise of Ali. It has also been recorded
by Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, Khatib Khawarizmi
in Manaqib, Sam'ani in Faza'ilu's-Sahaba, Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in
Fusulu'l-Muhimma, Khatib Baghdadi in Ta'rikh-e-Baghdad, Volume
XIV, page 21, Hafiz Mardawaih in Manaqib, Dailami in Firdaus,
Ibn Qutayba in Imamate wa's-Siyasa, Volume I, page 111, Ganji
Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, Imam Ahmad in Musnad and many other
members of your ulema have narrated that the Holy Prophet said
"Ali is with the truth and the truth is with Ali wherever
he turns." In the same books, there is another hadith also
reported by Sheikh Sulayman Qanduzi Hanafi, in Chapter 20 of Yanabiu'l-Mawadda,
from Hamwaini that the Holy Prophet said: "Ali is with the
truth and the truth is with Ali."
Hafiz Abi Nu'aim Ahmad Ibn Abdullah Ispahani in his Hilyatu'l-Auliya,
Volume I, page 63, narrates that the Prophet said: "O party
of Ansar! Shall I guide you towards a person that if you adhere
to him, you will never go astray?' All of them, said: 'Yes, O
Prophet of Allah,' The Holy Prophet said: 'That person is Ali.
Love him as you love me, and respect him as you respect me; what
I have told you was Allah's command related to me by Gabriel."
The general objective of these hadith is to indicate the Prophet's
preference regarding his successor. The Prophet ordered his umma
to turn to Ali after him and to follow him. In light of such hadith,
tell us what Ali's opposition to Abu Bakr means to you. It is
of course very sad and surprising that so much haste was made
on the Saqifa day. Every sensible person who knows what happened
that day is greatly disappointed. If there was no plotting, why
didn't they wait (at least for a few hours) so that Ali Bin Abu
Talib, the Bani Hashim, and Abbas could express their views on
Hafiz: There was no conspiracy.
Since they feared a disturbance, they were quick to decide the
matter of the caliphate for the safety of Islam.
Well-Wisher: Do you mean that
Abu Ubaida Jarra, a former grave-digger of Mecca, and others had
more concern for the safety of Islam than Abbas, the Prophet's
respected uncle, and Ali Bin Abu Talib? Do you mean that if they
had waited for a short time, or if Abu Bakr and Umar, keeping
the people engaged, had sent Abu Ubaida to inform Abbas and Ali
of the serious situation, that Islam would have perished? Please
be fair. If they had invited the appropriate people to the Saqifa,
their position would have been more secure. There would be no
such differences in Islam as exist today. After 1335 years, we
Muslim brothers would not be confronting each other as we are
tonight but would be united in opposing our common enemy. Much
of the foundation of the flawed edifice of Islam was laid on that
day. It was due to the haste of those three people to accomplish
their secret designs.
Nawab: Respected sir, please
tell us why they rushed ahead. Why didn't they inform even the
people in the mosque or in the house of the Prophet?
Well-Wisher: The reasons are
not far to seek. They rushed forward because they knew that if
they waited for all the Muslims to come, or at least for the notable
people of Usama Bin Zaid's army, the prominent companions of the
Prophet present in Medina, or the Bani Hashim that the name of
Ali, among others, would have been proposed. If the names of Ali
and Abbas had been proposed, Abu Bakr's and Umar's political possibilities
would have been much reduced. So they hurried with their plans
so that, while the Bani Hashim and the prominent companions were
busy conducting the Prophet's funeral rites, they succeeded in
appointing Abu Bakr Caliph based on the votes of two people! They
played that game, and here tonight you good people are giving
it the name of "ijma!" Even your own great ulema, like
Tabari, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, and others have written that Umar said:
"The caliphate of Abu Bakr was abruptly established. May
Allah help us!"
As for your other claim, which you advance on the authority of
Caliph Umar, that prophethood and sovereignty cannot be combined
in one family, it is also rejected according to the Holy Qur'an:
"Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given them
of His grace? But indeed We have given to Abraham's children the
Book and the wisdom, and We have given them a good Kingdom."
This hadith, ascribed to Caliph Umar, is concocted. The Prophet
never said a word in contradiction to the injunctions of the Holy
Qur'an. Moreover, the caliphate cannot be separate from prophethood
because the true caliph is the embodiment of God's law acting
in the world. To consider the caliphate merely a political office
separable from prophethood is precisely the mistake made by Abu
Bakr and Umar. If Moses' brother Aaron could be excluded from
Moses' caliphate, Ali also could be deprived of the Prophet's
caliphate. And since prophethood and caliphate, according to the
Qur'an was combined in Moses and Aaron, it was undoubtedly combined
in Muhammad and Ali. Your "hadith" was fabricated by
the Umayyads. If prophethood and the caliphate could not be combined
in one family, then why in the Majlis-e-Shura (consultative assembly)
did Caliph Umar nominate Ali for the caliphate? After all, you
also accept him as your fourth caliph! It is an interesting contradiction
that, based on Umar's hadith, you reject the combining of prophethood
and the caliphate, but when Umar himself sanctioned this situation
a few years later, you support it! Can you oppose and support
the same proposition? You say that prophethood and sovereignty
are not combined in one family, though the Holy Prophet made it
compulsory for his umma to follow his progeny. He said that to
be hostile to them was to go astray. He said on a number of occasions,
"I leave behind me two weighty things: the Book of Allah
(The Holy Qur'an) and my Ahle Bait. If you are attached to these
two, never, never shall you go astray after me." This authentic
hadith has been acknowledged by both sects. I have mentioned it
on previous nights with its sources.
During the great flood whoever took refuge in Noah's ark was saved.
Whoever turned away from it was drowned, including Noah's son.
The Holy Prophet also identified his progeny with Noah's Ark,
meaning that the people of his umma in the hour of their trial
should attach themselves to his descendants. Therefore, according
to these clear injunctions, the umma, in all its differences,
should have sought the benefit of the Prophet's Ahle Bait. Ali
Bin Abu Talib, according to Prophet, was the most learned and
virtuous person among them. Why didn't they inform him so that
they could consult with him? But no. Politicians grabbed power
and deprived Ali of his permanent right.
Sheikh: On what grounds do you
say that they should have followed Ali and that the opinion and
ijma of the companions should have been ignored?
Well-Wisher: I never said that
the opinion of the companions and their ijma should not be respected.
One difference between you and me is that as soon as you hear
the name of a companion, even though he be a hypocrite, like Abu
Huraira, whom Caliph Umar beat and called a liar, you bow before
him in reverence. I respect only companions who complied with
the conditions of companionship with the Holy Prophet. Moreover,
I have demonstrated that there was no ijma at Saqifa. If you can
refute my argument, now is the time to do so. I will bow down
before the consensus of this gathering. If you can point out from
your own books that in the Saqifa, the whole umma, or the intelligent
people of the nation gathered and agreed that Abu Bakr should
be Caliph, we will readily accept it. And if, with the exception
of two people (Umar and Abu Ubaida) and a few people of the Aus
clan, no other person took the oath of allegiance, you should
admit that we Shias are rightly guided. We leave it to informed
opinion to decide whether three companions were justified in holding
the reins of the whole umma. Two paid allegiance to the third,
and later they threatened others with the sword, fire, and disgrace,
compelling them to accept their will.
Sheikh: We do not know whether
there was negligence on their part because we were not there on
that day. At this distance in time we cannot appreciate the pressures
they were under. Today, with the situation an established fact,
it does not matter if the ijma was completed in gradual steps.
We should not object. We should bow down before those people and
follow the way they have shown us.
Well-Wisher: What a fine argument!
Do you want us to think Islam is groundless? If two or three people
design a plan and gain the support of others, is it the duty of
all Muslims to follow them? Is that the meaning of the religion
of the Prophet of Islam? The Holy Qur'an says: "Therefore
give good news to my servants, those who listen to the word and
follow the best of it." (39:17-18)
Islam is based on facts and reason, not on blind following, certainly
not on following Abu Ubaida, the grave digger. The Prophet showed
us the way. He said that when the umma was divided, we should
follow one who is guided. You ask us why it is obligatory for
us to follow Ali. We reply that the obligation is based upon the
verses of the Holy Qur'an and hadith recorded in your own books.