At this time I recall another thing. You people object to the
Shias because they criticize Caliph Uthman for his faults, faults
which your own ulema have recorded in their books.
Accordingly, you should not look with favor on Ummu'l-Mu'minin
A'yesha either because ulema and historians, like Ibn Abi'l-Hadid
in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. II, p.77; Mas'udi in his
Kitab-e-Akhiru'z-Zaman and Ausat; Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira Khawasu'l-umma,
p.36; Ibn Jarir, Ibn Asakir, and others have written that Ummu'l-Mu'minin
A'yesha always spoke ill of Uthman, so much so that she called
out: "Kill Na'thal (the old dotard)! May Allah kill him,
as he has become an infidel." But as soon as Uthman was killed,
she, because of her opposition to Ali, began to say: "Uthman
has been killed as an oppressed one. By Allah, I will avenge his
death. So rise up and help me."
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes, "Certainly A'yesha was the greatest
enemy of Uthman. So much so that she hung the garment of the Holy
Prophet in her house and used to tell the people who came there:
'This is the garment of the Holy Prophet of Allah. It has not
yet become old, but Uthman has made the Holy Prophet's sunna old
and worn out.'"
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes that, when A'yesha heard in Mecca the news
of Uthman's murder, she said, "May Allah reject him from
His mercy. He committed bad actions. And Allah does not oppress
His subjects." That is, if He chastises anyone, it is because
of his sinful actions.
You hear these remarks from A'yesha about Uthman without any proof
and yet you take no notice of it. But if the same words are used
by Shias, you immediately call them infidels.
We should take an impartial view of things. It is an established
fact that Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha bitterly opposed Imam Amiru'l-Mu'minin.
When she heard that the Muslims had sworn allegiance to the Holy
Imam she said: "The falling of the skies on the earth is
better than the establishment of Ali's caliphate. Uthman has been
slain as an oppressed one."
Certainly these inconsistent statements indicate an unstable mind.
Sheikh: These inconsistencies
of Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha have of course been generally reported,
but two things are accepted and proved. First, that she had been
deceived and that for a brief time she was not mindful of the
vicegerency of Ali. She herself said that she had forgotten it
and only remembered it at Basra. Second, she repented for her
action. Certainly Allah, having forgiven her, will give her a
high place in Paradise.
Well-Wisher: I will not repeat
what I have already said on the question of repentance. The blood
of those Muslims who were killed for no fault, the disgrace and
insults they were subjected to, and the plundering of their property
will not go unquestioned. It is true that at the place of forgiveness,
Allah is most merciful, but at the place of chastisement He is
most strict. Apart from this, she herself admitted until her death
that she was responsible for all those odious events. As your
own ulema have reported, she stipulated in her will that she could
not be buried by the side of the Holy Prophet. She knew that she
had sponsored many of the disturbances after him. Hakim in his
Mustadrak; Ibn Qutayba in his Ma'arif, Muhammad Bin Yusuf Zarandi
in his Kitab-e-A'lam bi siratu'n-Nabi and Ibnu'l-Bayya Nishapuri
and others have reported that A'yesha exhorted Abdullah bin Zubair
in these words: "Bury me beside my sisters in Baqi. I brought
about innovations and novelties after the Holy Prophet of Allah."
You said she recollected the virtues of Ali at Basra and had forgotten
what the Holy Prophet had forbidden her to do. This is not true.
You should consult the authentic books of your own prominent ulema.
For example, refer to Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. II, p.77,
by Ibn Abi'l- Hadid.
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid reports from the Ta'rikh-e-Abi Makhnaf Lut Bin
Yahya Azadi that Umme Salma also was present in Mecca when she
heard that A'yesha intended to take vengeance for the murder of
Uthman and was going to Basra. She was shocked at this and began
proclaiming the merits of Ali in all congregations. A'yesha went
to Umme Salma in order to win her over to her point of view before
leaving for Basra.
Umme Salma said to her, "Until yesterday you were abusing
Uthman and calling him a stupid dotard, and now you have turned
against Ali to avenge Uthman's murder. Are you not aware of Ali's
virtues? If you have forgotten them, I would recall them to you."
"Remember the day, when I came to your room along with the
Holy Prophet of Allah? Then Ali came in and began talking privately
with the Holy Prophet. When the private talk continued for some
time, you got up to scold the Holy Prophet. I dissuaded you from
doing that, but you did not pay any attention to my advice. You
said to Ali in anger, 'Of every nine days, one is for me, and
on that day too you come in and keep him engaged in talking.'
At this the Holy Prophet became so indignant with you that his
face became red and he said, 'Get back! I swear by Allah that
whoever has any hostility towards Ali, whether he belongs to my
house or otherwise, is excluded from Iman (belief).' Then, being
ashamed, you turned back."
A'yesha said, "Yes, I remember it."
Umme Salma said: "You may remember that one day you were
washing the head of the Holy Prophet, and I was preparing 'hais'
(a kind of food). The Holy Prophet raised his head and said: 'Who
among you is that sinner who will mount the camel, and at whom
the dogs of Haw'ab bark, and who will fall headlong from the Bridge
of Sirat?' I then left the 'hais' and said, 'O Holy Prophet of
Allah! I seek refuge of Allah and His Holy Prophet from such an
action. After this the Holy Prophet, striking you in your back
said, 'Eschew this; it is you who will do these deeds.'"
A'yesha said, "Yes, I remember it."
Umme Salma further said, "I remind you that on one of the
journeys you and I were with the Holy Prophet. One day Ali was
mending the shoes of the Holy Prophet, and we two were sitting
in the shade of a tree. It so happened that your father, Abu Bakr,
and Umar came and sought permission. You and I went behind the
screen. They sat down and after talking for a while said, 'O Holy
Prophet of Allah! We do not know the value of your companionship.
So we ask you to let us know who will be your successor and caliph,
so that after you he may be our guide.'
The Holy Prophet said to them: 'I know his place, rank, and position,
but if I introduce him directly, you will reject him as the Bani
Israel rejected Aaron.' They both were silent and soon left. After
they left we came out. I said to the Holy Prophet, 'Who will be
your caliph for them?' The Holy Prophet said, 'He is mending my
shoes.' We saw that there was no one except Ali. Then I said,
'O Holy Prophet of Allah! I did not find anybody except Ali.'
He said, 'The same Ali is my caliph.'"
A'yesha said, "Yes, I remember it."
Umme Salma then said: "Since you know these hadith, where
are you going?" She replied: "I am going to make peace
among the people."
It is clear, therefore, that Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha had not been
merely deceived by others. She herself caused huge problems and,
knowing all these things, she deliberately rose in rebellion even
though Umme Salma reminded her of the hadith of the Holy Prophet.
Even after admitting the rank and position of Amiru'l-Mu'minin,
she left for Basra and created a violent tumult, which resulted
in the killing of many Muslims.
The hadith of mending shoes is the greatest proof for the Imamate
and caliphate of Ali.
The Shias make searching inquiries into the affairs of the past
1400 years. With a knowledge of the verses of the Qur'an and the
authentic books of the ulema of both sects, they draw fair conclusions.
Accordingly, we believe that, although historically Ali was given
the fourth place, this apparently inferior position does not affect
his superiority nor belittle the importance of the hadith that
prove his rightful place as the Prophet's successor.
We also admit that it is a recorded fact of history that Abu Bakr
(through political devices) was nominated caliph in the Saqifa
in the absence of Ali, the Bani Hashim, and other prominent Companions,
in spite of the opposition of the Khazraj clan of the Ansars.
After that it was through personal dictatorship that Umar and
Uthman occupied the seat of the caliphate. But there is a difference.
These men were caliphs of the Community; their associates made
them caliphs. On the other hand Amiru'l-Mu'minin Ali was the caliph
of the Holy Prophet and was ordained by Allah and the Holy Prophet
to be the vicegerent.
Sheikh: This is unkind of you.
There was no difference between them. The very people who unanimously
decided to entrust the caliphate to the three caliphs, Abu Bakr,
Umar, and Uthman also entrusted it to Ali.
Well-Wisher: There were many
clear differences in the manner of the appointments of the caliphs.
First, you referred to the Ijma.' (unanimous decision). It is
unnecessary to repeat my point. I have proved the baselessness
of the issue of Ijma' in the previous nights. There was in fact
no unanimous decision about the caliphate of any one of them.
Second, if you rely on consensus as the basis of the caliphate
and consider it permissible from the side of Allah and the Holy
Prophet then whenever a caliph died, the whole Community should
have gathered together to appoint a caliph. Whoever would have
been unanimously elected would have been the caliph of the people
(of course not of the Holy Prophet of Allah). And this procedure
should have been followed in all ages.
You must, however, acknowledge that such an Ijma or consensus
has never been held. Even the incomplete consensus for which the
Bani Hashim and the Ansar were not present was not held for any
one except Abu Bakr Bin Abi Qahafa. The caliphate of Umar, according
to the opinion of all historians and traditionists of Islam, was
based on the solitary verdict of Abu Bakr Bin Qahafa. If consensus
were a requirement for the appointment of a caliph, why was it
not held for entrusting the caliphate to Umar and why was consensus
of opinion not obtained thereon?
Sheikh: It is obvious that when
Abu Bakr was made the caliph through consensus, the verdict of
the caliph for the appointment of his successor was quite valid.
There was no need for calling another consensus. Rather, the verdict
of every caliph for the appointment of the caliph after him was
basically sound and sufficient. This right is vested in the caliph
that he might appoint a caliph after him so that the people might
not be thrown into confusion and perplexity. Accordingly, when
the acknowledged caliph, Abu Bakr, appointed through general agreement,
nominated Umar as the next caliph, the latter became the rightful
caliph of the Holy Prophet.
Well-Wisher: You believe that
the acknowledged caliph has the right to nominate his successor.
It is his responsibility not to leave the Community confused and
unguided, and his decision is sufficient for the appointment of
the caliph. But if you believe this, why do you deprive the Holy
Prophet of this right? And why do you disregard all those clear
indications which the Holy Prophet explicitly and repeatedly gave
on different occasions, naming Ali as his successor, and which
are all present in your authentic books. You simply sidetrack
the issue and advance irrelevant interpretations just as Ibn Abi'l-Hadid
has rejected the hadith of Umme Salma on ridiculous grounds.
Moreover on what basis can you claim that the first caliph, who
was appointed by means of consensus, had the right to nominate
his successor. Did the Holy Prophet give any such instruction?
No. You also claim that when the first caliph secured his appointment
through consensus, there was no need for the appointment of other
of the caliphs through ijma. The same caliphs had the authority
from the Community to nominate the caliph after them.
If that were so, why was that principle adopted for the caliphate
of Umar alone? For the caliphate of Uthman this principle was
not followed. Instead of nominating a caliph after him, Umar left
the question to be decided by a consultative body of six members.
I do not know what you consider the principle on which the selection
of a caliph is based. You know that if there are basic differences
in the arguments, the real issue becomes void.
If your position is that the basis of the caliphate is consensus
and the entire Community should unanimously make the decision
(not to mention the fact that such a consensus was not held for
the caliphate of Abu Bakr) why then was such a consensus not held
for the caliphate of Umar? If you consider that consensus was
necessary only for the first caliphate, and for the appointment
of the future caliphs the verdict of the elected caliph was sufficient,
then why was this principle not followed in the case of Uthman?
Why did Caliph Umar abandon the principle enunciated by Abu Bakr?
Why did he leave the selection of the caliph to a Majlis-e-Shura
(a consultative committee)? Caliph Umar arbitrarily nominated
the committee though it should have been the representative body
of the community (so that there might be some slight representation
of the views of the majority).
The most surprising thing is that the rights of all other members
of the committee were made subservient to Abdu'r-Rahman Bin Auf.
We do not know what was the basis of Abdu'r-Rahman Bin Auf's selection.
Was it religion, reputation, knowledge, or performance? We can
only note that he was a near relation of Uthman and would not
support any one else except him. It was decided that what Abdu'r-Rahman
said was right, and when he swore allegiance to somebody, all
others must follow him.
When we consider the matter carefully we find that it was a dictatorial
order issued under the guise of Shura (consultation). Even today
we see that the principles of democracy are completely contrary
to it. But the Holy Prophet repeatedly said, "Ali revolves
round the truth and truth revolves around Ali." Also the
Holy Prophet said: "Ali is the 'Faruq' (Discriminator) of
this Community and draws a distinction between right and wrong."
Hakim in his Mustadrak, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim in Hilya; Tabrani in
Ausat; Ibn Asakir in Ta'rikh; Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i
in Kifayatu't-Talib; Muhibu'd-din Tabari in Riyazu'n-Nuzra; Hamwaini
in Fara'id; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha and Suyuti
in Durru'l-Mansur narrate from Ibn Abbas, Salman, Abu Dharr and
Hudhaifa that the Holy Prophet said, "Soon after me a disturbance
will take place. On that occasion it will be necessary for you
to attach yourselves to Ali Bin Abi Talib since he is the first
man who will clasp hands with me on the Day of Judgement. He is
the most truthful one and is the Faruq of his Community; he draws
a distinction between right and wrong, and he is the chief of
According to a hadith from Ammar Yasir (to which I have referred
earlier with full details of its sources) the Holy Prophet said:
"If all the people go one way and Ali goes the other, you
should follow Ali and leave all the others. O Ammar! Ali will
not misguide you and will not lead you to destruction O Ammar!
Obedience to Ali is obedience to me, and obedience to me is obedience
Even then, Caliph Umar, defying the instructions of the Holy Prophet,
makes Ali subordinate to Abdu'r-Rahman in the Shura. Is that authority
justified which repudiates the distinguished Companions? Respected
men! Be fair! Study the historical accounts of this period, such
as Isti'ab, Isaba and Hilyatu'l-Auliya. Then compare Ali with
Abdu'r-Rahman, and see whether he deserved to have the right of
veto or Amiru'l-Mu'minin. You will find that it was through political
manipulation that Ali's right was usurped.
Moreover, if the method of selection adopted by Caliph Umar Bin
Khattab was worth following, that is, if the Majlis-e-Shura was
necessary for the appointment of the caliph, why was it not done
when Amiru'l-Mu'minin was made caliph?
It is strange that for the caliphate of the four caliphs (Abu
Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali) four different methods were adopted.
Now which of those methods was basically right and which one was
void? If you say that all four methods were justified, then you
must admit that you have no fundamental principle for the establishment
of the caliphate.
Sheikh: Perhaps your statements
are correct. You say we should deeply ponder this question. We
find that the caliphate of Ali is also of a dubious nature since
the kind of consensus, which appointed the previous caliphs, Abu
Bakr, Umar and Uthman also elected Ali caliph.
Well-Wisher: What you say might
be considered tenable were it not for the statement of the Holy
Prophet. In fact the caliphate of Ali did not depend upon the
ijma'(consensus) of the Community. It was ordained by Allah.
The Holy Imam assumed the caliphate by way of taking back his
right. If somebody's right has been usurped, he may take it back
whenever he gets the opportunity to do so. Accordingly, when there
were no obstructions and the atmosphere demanded it, the Holy
Imam secured his right.
If you have forgotten the points we have made previously, you
may consult the newspapers, which reported information we presented
regarding this issue. We have proved that Ali's occupying the
caliphate was based on Qur'anic verses and on the hadith of the
You cannot cite a single hadith accepted by both sects in which
the Holy Prophet said that Abu Bakr, Umar, or Uthman were his
successors. Of course, apart from hadith in Shia books, there
are a large number of hadith from the Holy Prophet recorded in
your own authentic books, which show that the Holy Prophet expressly
appointed Ali as his successor.
Sheikh: There are also hadith
which show that the Holy Prophet said that Abu Bakr was his caliph.
Well-Wisher: Apparently you
have forgotten my argument of previous nights which disproves
the acceptability of those hadith. I will, however, reply again
tonight. Sheikh Mujaddidu'din Firuzabadi, the author of Qamusu'l-Lughat
says in his Kitab-e-Safaru's-Sa'adat: "What ever has been
said in praise of Abu Bakr is based on such fictitious stories
that common sense does not admit them as true."
If you properly scrutinize the problem of the caliphate, you will
find that there was actually no consensus for any of the four
major caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali) or for any of the
Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. The whole Community was never assembled
nor were representatives of the entire community gathered together
to cast their vote. But, comparatively speaking, we find that
Ali's caliphate was supported by what was very close to consensus.
Your own historians and ulema write that for the caliphate of
Abu Bakr at first only Umar and Abu Ubaida Jarra, the grave digger,
were present. Later some of the Aus clan swore allegiance to him
only because they were opposed to the Khazraj clan which had nominated
Sa'd Bin Ubaida as a candidate. Later on others through intimidation,
(as I have stated in detail earlier) and another group prompted
by political considerations swore allegiance to Abu Bakr. The
Ansars, who followed Sa'd Bin Ubaida, did not acknowledge the
caliphate till the last moment. Then the caliphate of Umar was
founded only on Abu Bakr's proposal, which had nothing to do with
consensus. Uthman subsequently became caliph through the decision
of the Majlis-e-Shura (consultative committee) which had been
arbitrarily formed by Caliph Umar.
At the time of Ali's caliphate a majority of the representatives
of most of the Islamic countries, who by chance had come to Medina
to seek redress of grievances, insisted on Ali being the caliph.
Nawab: Did the representatives
of the Islamic countries gather in Medina for the purpose of electing
Well-Wisher: No. Caliph Uthman
was still caliph. Representatives of most of the major Muslim
tribes and clans assembled in Medina to complain of the atrocities
of the Umayyad governors, officers, and other notables of the
court, like Marwan. The result of this consensus was that Uthman,
who persisted in his oppressive policies, was murdered.
It was after this affair that the people of Medina approached
Ali and with insistent entreaties brought him to the mosque, where
all the people swore allegiance to him. Such an open consensus
had not been held for any of the caliphate of any of the first
three caliphs. The people of Medina and the leaders of the nations
swore allegiance to a particular person and acknowledged him as
But despite this consensus held for Amiru'l-Mu'minin, we do not
consider it the basis of his caliphate. To validate his caliphate
we rely only on the Holy Qur'an and the ordinances of the Holy
Prophet. It was a practice of the Prophets that they themselves,
in accordance with the command of Allah, appointed their successor
You said that there was no difference between Amiru'l-Mu'minin
and other caliphs. And yet there are many indications that there
was a vast difference between Ali and other caliphs.
The first characteristic of Amiru'l-Mu'minin which made him distinctly
superior to other caliphs was that he was appointed the Prophet's
successor by Allah and His Prophet. All others were appointed
by small groups of people. Obviously the caliph appointed by Allah
and His Holy Prophet must be superior to those who have been appointed
by the people. Of course the most distinguishing characteristic
of Amiru'l-Mu'minin was the superiority of his knowledge, virtue,
and piety. All the ulema of the community (except a few Kharijis,
Nasibis, and followers of Abu Bakr) are unanimous in their view
that, after the Holy Prophet, Ali surpassed all others in knowledge,
virtue, justice, nobility, and piety.
In support of this fact, I have previously quoted a number of
hadith and verses from the Holy Qur'an. Now I have recalled still
another hadith regarding this point.
Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, Abu'l-Mu'ayyid Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad
Khawarizmi in the fourth chapter of the Manaqib; Mir Seyyed Ali
Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Hafiz Abu Bakr Baihaqi
Shafi'i in his Sunan, and many others have narrated from the Holy
Prophet in slightly different words and versions that he said:
"Ali among you is the most learned scholar, the most virtuous
man, and the best judge. He who rejects his statement, action,
or opinion, really rejects me. He who rejects me, rejects Allah,
and he is within the confines of polytheism." Moreover, Ibn
Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali, who is one of your eminent ulema, has written
in many places in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha that the superiority
of Amiru'l-Mu'minin Ali was the belief of many companions and
followers. The Sheikhs (the chiefs) of Baghdad also acknowledged
Would you kindly let me know what you consider to be the virtues
in man which make him superior to others?
Sheikh: In fact there are many
virtues and praiseworthy qualities which can claim superiority
to others, but in my opinion the most meritorious qualities after
believing in Allah and the Holy Prophet are these: (1) pure ancestry
(2) knowledge, and (3) piety.
Well-Wisher: Allah bless you!
I will confine my discussion to these three points.
Of course every companion, whether he was the caliph or not, had
some distinctive quality. But those who possessed all these virtues
were definitely superior to all others. If I prove that in these
three characteristics it was Amiru'l-Mu'minin who excelled all
others, then you must admit this holy man was the worthiest claimant
for the caliphate. And if he was deprived of the caliphate, it
was because of political contrivances.
In the matter of ancestry with the exception of the Holy Prophet,
no man can compare with Ali. Even some of the fanatical ulema
of your sect, like Ala'u'd-din Mulla Ali Bin Muhammad Ushji, Abu
Uthman Amr Bin Bahr Jahiz Nasibi, and Sa'idu'd-din Mas'ud Bin
Umar Taftazani have said: "We are in awe at the words of
Ali who said, 'We are the Ahle Bait of the Holy Prophet. No one
can bear comparison to us."
Also, in the second sermon of Nahju'l-Balagha, the Holy Imam after
accepting the caliphate said, "No person of this Community
can bear comparison with the family of Muhammad. How can those
who have received blessings, knowledge, and kindness from them
equal them? They are the foundation of religion and the pillars
of belief. Those who diverge from the right path turn to them,
and those who lag behind, step forward to attach themselves to
them. They alone have the exclusive right of vicegerency and Imamate.
It was for them alone that the Holy Prophet made his will. They
were his rightful inheritors. Now the right has returned to its
legitimate claimant and has again reached the place from which
it had been removed."
These statements of Amiru'l-Mu'minin about his claim for the caliphate
are the best proof for his right to the caliphate.
But these words were not uttered by Amiru'l-Mu'minin alone. Even
his opponents have acknowledged the same thing. I have pointed
out on a previous night that Mir Seyyed Ali Hamdani reports in
his Mawaddatu'l-Qurba Mawadda 7, from Abi Wa'il, who reports that
Abdullah Bin Umar said: "In pointing out the companions of
the Holy Prophet, we mentioned the names of Abu Bakr, Umar and
Uthman. A man asked where was Ali's name. We said, 'Ali belongs
to the Ahle Bait of the Prophet, and no one can bear comparison
with him; he is with the Holy Prophet of Allah in the same rank.'"
Also he narrates from Ahmad Bin Muhammad Kurgi Baghdadi, who said
that Abdullah Bin Ahmad Hanbal (the Imam of the Hanbalites) about
the Companions who were worthy of praise, he named Abu Bakr, Umar,
and Uthman. He then asked what he thought about Ali Bin Abi Talib.
Ahmad Bin Hanbal said, "He belongs to the Ahle Bait. The
others cannot be compared to him."
As for the ancestry of Ali, it has two aspects: one of light and
one of the body. So in this respect Ali had a unique position
after the Holy Prophet of Allah.