As the second introduction and its appendages has been elaboration of our opinion as regards the prohibition of recording the Hadith, and in order not to avoid reference to some of the appertained wonderments and probabilities, it seems necessary to cite `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s justifications for the prohibition of recording the Hadith. As a matter of fact, he presented two justifications only. First, he anticipated that the Muslims would be influenced by the Ahl al-Kitab and, second, he anticipated that the Muslims would follow the Holy Prophet’s instructions and forsake the Holy Qur'an.
However, Ibn Hazm has regarded as improbable that `Umar’s prohibition of recording the Hadith included the Holy Sunnah; rather the decision, according to Ibn Hazm’s opinion, was aimed at the very tales of the past nations. In this regard, he says,
“The meaning of `Umar’s prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith, had this thing been true, is manifested in the narration that I recorded on the authority of Qaradhah.1 `Umar only prohibited reporting the narratives regarding the past nations and their likes. To prohibit reporting the conducts and norms of the Holy Prophet is absolutely violation. It is impermissible for anyone to believe that an ordinary Muslim individual may prohibit the spread of the Holy Prophet’s heritage.
On this account, it will be extremely unacceptable to think that `Umar would do so. My proof is that `Umar himself reported many things from the Holy Prophet. Had the reporting of the Hadith been discommended, `Umar would have contradicted himself when he reported very much from the Holy Prophet. It is impermissible for any Muslim individual to believe that `Umar had prohibited a matter and than he himself did it.”2
Imitating Ibn Hazm, Muhammad `Ajjaj al-Khatib deemed unacceptable to say the `Umar ibn al-Khattab prohibited the Sahabah from reporting and recording the Hadith or imprisoned `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud and others when they violated this decision because this claim is contrary to sense.3
Nevertheless, a deep investigation in the events of the first age of Islam will unquestionably prove that the arguments of Ibn Hazm and his fans have not been accurate as they are far away from the reality. The uninterruptedness of the narrations that reported `Umar’s having decided to prohibit recording and reporting the Hadith are undeniable and irrefutable.
Other narrations have confirmed that `Umar’s decision generally included any sort of Hadith and any Sahabiy. Moreover, it has been authentically narrated that `Umar treated the reporters and recorders of Hadith with ultimate brutality. This fact cannot be denied save by unreasonable contenders.
On this account, Ibn Hazm and his fans have attempted to invent justifications for `Umar’s deed. Yet, they have had nothing other than regarding as improbable or wonderments that are not based upon any scientific ground.
Regarding `Umar’s ordering Qaradhah and his companions to reduce reporting the Holy Prophet’s narrations, it must be exposed to one of two probabilities; either `Umar accused them all of fabricating lies against the Holy Prophet or he ordered them to conceal the revelations of Almighty Allah that were said to the Holy Prophet in private.
Neither Ibn Hazm nor would anyone of his fans accept any of these two probabilities. Yet, I accept the first probability provided that another matter is added to it. My proof on this is that `Umar used to accuse his officials of bribery and very often he seized half of their fortunes in addition to the fact that he used to be severe with them to the degree that his famous rod played on their bodies over and over again! `Umar’s general behaviors with the Sahabah proves that he distrusted them, railed at them, and exposed their defects to the publics.
Because Ibn Hazm and his fans would never accept the two aforementioned probabilities, they have had to claim that `Umar prohibited reporting and recording the narrations concerning the manners of the past nations only. This voluntary claim cannot withstand in the face of the many evidences inferred from the narrations that recorded the decision of `Umar’s having prohibited recording and reporting the Hadith.
To explain, the narrations intended have carried general sense and `Umar’s conducts as regards his application of the decision of prohibition indicate generality, not specification, and his well-known brutality has been too excessive to include a definite sort of narration. `Umar prevented `Ammar ibn Yasir to report an undoubted incident (concerning the Dry Ablution; Tayammum) that `Umar himself witnessed during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet!
Thus, `Umar’s decision of prohibiting reporting and recording the Hadith is not restricted to the narrations reporting the manners and tales of the past nations although it is probable that he opted for this justification in order to hide the actual purpose beyond his decision, which is related to the psychological backgrounds of `Umar who, during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet and in the beginning of the Divine Mission, was prohibited from tracking and reporting the traditions of the Jews. Hence, his decision could act as negative reaction of the Holy Prophet’s situation against his reporting the Jews’ traditions.
As a result, `Umar bore malice against reporting and recording any tradition, including the Holy Prophet’s, whether these traditions were authentic or not or whether they related to the manners of the past generations or not.
Khalid ibn `Urfutah narrated that `Umar said: Once, I… copied a book belonging to the Ahl al-Kitab and brought him before the Holy Prophet.
“What do you have in your hand, `Umar?” asked the Holy Prophet.
“This is a book that I have copied so as to increase my knowledge,” answered I.
The Holy Prophet became so angry that both of his cheeks turned red. He then called people to gather. Having seen this situation, the Ansar knew that the Holy Prophet was enraged; they therefore armed themselves and surrounded the minbar. The Holy Prophet then said,
“O People: I have been given the comprehensives and seals of good wording (of knowledge), which has been briefed for me. I have hence given them to you as white and pure as they are. You must thus neither be confused nor be deceived by the nonbelievers.”
Soon after that, I (`Umar) stood up and declared, “I have accepted Allah as my Lord, Islam as my religion, and you as the Messenger.”
The Holy Prophet then descended from the minbar.4
According to another narration, `Abdullah ibn Thabit reported that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, once, came to the Holy Prophet and said, “As I have passed by one of my Jew friends, he recorded for me comprehensive paragraphs from the Torah. May I show them to you?” On hearing this, the Holy Prophet’s face changed. I (`Abdullah) reproached `Umar saying, “May Allah spoil your brain! Can you not see what occurred to the Holy Prophet’s face?” `Umar hence shouted, “I have accepted Allah as my Lord, Islam as my religion, and Muhammad as the Messenger.”5
It has been authentically narrated that `Umar associated the Jews and copied some of their books. Having read these books, he liked their materials. He therefore read these books not for investigation and refutation; rather he was admired by their contents as he aimed at educating himself through them. For this reason only, the Holy Prophet became so angry since he had already warned his followers against associating with the Jews. Likewise, the Holy Qur'an, on more than one occasion, has declared the cunning and cheating of the Jews. In this regard, Almighty Allah says,
“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust. (Holy Qur’an: 5/51)”
“Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans. (Holy Qur’an: 5/82)”
This incident had left a deep and negative reaction in `Umar’s mentality due to which he stood so severely against the reporters and recorders of the Hadith some of whom were detained by him and others were beaten by his famous rod. From this cause also, he confirmed the decision of prohibition by saying, ‘This is a false wish just like that of the Christians and the Jews.’
Supporting our discussion, Khalid ibn `Urfutah narrated that he, once, was sitting with `Umar when a man from (the tribe of) `Abd-Qays residing in Sus was brought before him.
“You are so-and-so from A`bd-Qays, are you not?” asked `Umar.
“Yes, I am,” answered the man.
“You are living in Sus, are you not?” asked `Umar.
“Yes, I am,” answered the man.
`Umar then hit the man with a rod he had in his hand. “What have I done, Amir al-Mu’minin?”6 shouted the man.
`Umar then ordered him to sit down. When the man did, `Umar recited, (the holy verses)
“In the Name of Allah, the All-compassionate and the All-merciful. Alif. Lam. Ra. These are verse of the Scripture that maketh plain. Lo! We have revealed it, a Lecture in Arabic, that ye may understand. We narrate unto thee (Muhammad) the best of narratives in that We have inspired in thee this Qur'an, though aforetime thou wast of the heedless.” (Holy Qur’an: 12/1-3)
`Umar repeated these verses thrice and each time he recited, he beat the man with his cane.
“What have I done, Amir al-Mu’minin?” asked the man again.
“It was you who copied the Book of Daniel, was it not?” asked `Umar.
The man answered, “Well, I will carry out anything you will say.”
`Umar thus instructed, “Go and erase it with fire and white wool. After that, you must not recite it ever again and must not show it to anybody at all. Beware! If I am informed that you will have recited it before anybody, I will kill you under punishment.”
`Umar then related to the man his story with that book of the Jews that he had copied during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet… etc.7
If truth be told, the decision of prohibition in this narration would have been acceptably pleasing and accurate had it been dedicated to it. Yet, the purpose of the decision has been trailed by many personal opinions and intrusions that confused its path and contents.
Such a negative reaction occurred to Usamah ibn Zayd, too, when he killed a Muslim individual thinking that the man had only declared being Muslim because he feared of being killed. When Usamah was back, Almighty Allah revealed the holy verse,
“O ye who believe! When ye go abroad in the cause of Allah, investigate carefully, and say not to any one who offers you a salutation: ‘Thou art none of a believer!’ Coveting the perishable goods of this life. (Holy Qur’an: 4/94)”
Thus, Usamah became so fearful and hesitant that he abstained from participating in Imam `Ali’s campaigns against the breachers, the violators, and the apostates, claiming that he would not kill Muslim individuals. Yet, he forgot the many holy verses, Prophetic deeds, Hadiths, and consensus of the Sahabah on the legality of putting to death the Muslim married who commits fornication, the Muslims who deny one of the fundamentals of Islam, the Muslims who violate the souls of other Muslims, and many others. Pretending to have forgotten all these Islamic laws, Usamah rested upon his personal views that to fight against the breachers, violators, and apostates is not permissible although his personal inferences were in violation of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
By the notice of `Umar’s negative reaction against the aforementioned incident that occurred to him in addition to his frequent encroachments against the Sahabah whom are accused of treachery and fabrication, detained and beat—by noticing all these factors, it becomes easy to understand why `Umar prohibited the others from reporting and recording the Hadith while he allowed himself to do it.
Because he was the caliph, he thought that he had full authority to report the Hadith while the others, because they were object to doubt, distrust, and flaw, must not enjoy such an authority.
Moreover, the conduct of `Umar ibn al-Khattab contradicts the justification of Ibn Hazm. It is known that `Umar was fond of the narratives of the Ahl al-Kitab as well as the Jews who converted to Islam and still kept the Torah, especially Ka`b al-Ahbar who brought to `Umar a book, whose edges were torn due to oldness, comprising the Torah and asked for permission to read it;8 hence, `Umar permitted him to read it day and night.9 In other words, `Umar ordered him neither to erase that book, nor to set fire to it, nor did he warn him against such thing.
When he conquered Bayt al-Maqdis (in Jerusalem), Ka`b al-Ahbar said to him, “Your deed was predicted by a Prophet five hundred years ago! Good tidings, Jerusalem! Al-Faruq (i.e. `Umar) will purify you from what you keep!”10
According to another narration, Ka`b al-Ahbar said to `Umar ibn al-Khattab, “In the Torah, it is written that this land, which was inhabited by the children of Israel (i.e. the Israelites), would be conquered at the hands of a virtuous man.” On hearing this, `Umar thanked Almighty Allah.11
Ka`b al-Ahbar also said to `Umar, “In the Torah, we read that ‘Woe to the king of the earth from the King of the Heavens.” `Umar added, “Except those who watch themselves.” Ka`b al-Ahbar commented, “I swear by Him Who grasps my soul; it is written in the Torah in this very form (i.e. with the addition of `Umar).” `Umar thus raised his sound with ‘Allahu Akbar’ and prostrated himself.12
When a man, who had absented himself in a hole in a mountain for four days, claimed that he had entered Paradise, `Umar ibn al-Khattab summoned Ka`b al-Ahbar and asked him, “Can you see in your books that a man belonging to our nation would enter Paradise and then come out of it?”
Ka`b al-Ahbar said, “Yes, I have read such a thing and, further, I can tell which one is that person if he is now among you.”
`Umar said, “Yes, he is among us.”
Ka`b al-Ahbar looked at the attendants and then pointed at the man!13
One day, `Umar ibn al-Khattab summoned Ka`b al-Ahbar and asked, “How am I described (in the Torah)?”
Ka`b al-Ahbar answered, “You are described as an iron age.”
“What comes next?” asked `Umar.
“Then will come a caliph killed by an unjust faction,” answered Ka`b al-Ahbar.
“What comes next?” asked `Umar.
“Then will come ordeals!” answered Ka`b al-Ahbar.14
Furthermore, `Umar ibn al-Khattab sought the advice of Ka`b al-Ahbar in the most serious question of the Islamic nation; he consulted him about the leadership of the ummah, saying, “What is your opinion about the leadership of `Ali? I need your conception in this regard.”
Ka`b al-Ahbar answered, “From the aspect of personal opinions, he is not fit enough. This is because he is very strict in the religious affairs. He never overlooks any flaw, never shows mercy in any mistake, and never acts upon his personal opinions.”15
Ka`b al-Ahbar also came to `Umar ibn al-Khattab to inform him about his eminent death as mentioned in the Torah. He said to him, “You should, Amir al-Mu'minin, prepare your will, for you will die in three days.”
“How do you know?” `Umar asked.
Ka`b al-Ahbar answered, “I read that in the Book of Allah—the Torah!”16
In addition, al-Bukhariy has recorded, in his book of Sahih, narrations that refute Ibn Hazm’s justification. He narrated that it is permissible to report from the Children of Israel. In this connection, he has recorded on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah that the Ahl al-Kitab used to recite the Torah in Hebrew then translate it into Arabic for the Muslims. Commenting on this, the Holy Prophet said, “You should neither believe nor belie the Ahl al-Kitab; rather you should only repeat (the verse that reads):
Say: We believe in Allah and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit. (Holy Qur’an: (2/136))”17
Ibn Kathir says, “When he converted to Islam during the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ka`b al-Ahbar used to discuss, in the presence of the caliph, matters driven from the sciences of the Ahl al-Kitab. `Umar used to listen to him in order to encourage him and also because he was admired by these narratives. Many people thus sought `Umar’s permission to write down these narratives of Ka`b al-Ahbar; therefore, they were permitted to report from the Children of Israel. However, a big amount of mistakes and a great deal of confusion occurred due to such.”18
Although none is responsible for the contradictions between `Umar’s deeds and words, the previous discussion removed the accuracy of all the justifications of Ibn Hazm and his fans in which they have spared no efforts for fabricating excuses for `Umar’s unacceptable deeds.
Other authors have attempted to find other justifications for `Umar’s decision. They have claimed,
“`Umar only wanted to protect the Hadith against fabrication through reducing the reporting and recordation of it; therefore, experts in Hadith and the truthful reporters were excluded from the decision.”19
Such sayings cannot convince any rational! Protection is senseless since it is meaningless to prevent a trustworthy narrator from reporting the Hadith, taking into consideration that some of those whom were directly prohibited from spreading the Hadith were such trustworthy that the Holy Prophet said about them words of praise and respect.
To actually protect the Hadith is to urge such persons to report it so that others will spread the Holy Prophet’s heritage and convey it throughout the Islamic regions and thus people would know the details of their religion saving themselves from ignorance with the religious rulings.
If `Umar’s protection signifies the fear of a reporter’s inaccuracy, oblivion, or the like flaws, this meaning must be first applied to `Umar himself without expecting it from others and hence preventing them for reporting.
It is also so surprising to say that the experts in Hadith and the trustworthy reporters were excluded from `Umar’s decision because it has been authentically narrated that `Umar jailed grand Sahabah, such as Abu-Dharr, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu-Mas`ud al-Ansariy, and Abu’l-Darda’ because of their having breached the decision. He also warned `Ammar ibn Yasir, Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy and other Sahabah against violating it.
It is also very improbable to say that acts like prohibition, putting in jail, and beating were incompatible with `Umar’s psychology for his having been the caliph and one of the grand Sahabah and thus he should be deemed far above committing such things! To refute it, we say that `Umar ibn al-Khattab has been well-known for his brutality and rough treatment since the lifetime of the Holy Prophet.20 This is an irrefutable fact. He also continued such behaviors during the reign of Abu-Bakr.21 When he came to power, his rod did not depart him for a single moment; he used to beat, punish,22 detain,23 exile, and displace peoples24 for matters that could have been treated through other means of discipline and guidance. Finally, in the first days of his reign, he prayed to Almighty Allah to make him lenient!25
Historians have conveyed various pictures of `Umar’s norm as regards treating the subjects. Describing `Umar, the author of Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah says,
“`Umar’s tempers and words were full of violence and patent abuse. He was intensely cruel, unsociable, harsh, and frowning. He regarded these features as virtues and any opposite quality would be defect.”26
As a consequence, it is not strange for `Umar to adopt such a strict situation against anyone who would break his decision of prohibiting recording and reporting the Hadith, especially after he had been reproached by the Holy Prophet for having copied a book of the Jews. To add to the previous facts `Umar’s overflowing tribalism and the danger that the reporting of the Holy Prophet’s heritage would cause to the legality of his position of leadership, the matter becomes easily understandable.
Above all, `Umar detained Abu’l-Darda’ who had disagreed with him on certain jurisprudential issues and detained Abu-Dharr and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud who both disagreed with him as regards the issue of forbidding the temporary marriage. The same thing is applicable to the others whom `Umar disallowed to leave his capital.27
These incidents indicate that `Umar was extremely coarse to those persons because they reported Hadiths whose significances did not appeal to him or violated his personal legislations. On the other hand, he neither detained nor beat nor censured Abu-Hurayrah who reported more than 5374 Hadiths. He only satisfied himself with menacing and banishing him for a period before he permitted him alone to report the Hadith.
The most obvious evidence on `Umar’s having enjoyed this feature is the narration that he, once, saw off a group of the Sahabah that he had delegated to al-Kufah.
“Do you know why I am seeing you off?” asked he.
“Yes, we do,” they answered, “This is for the sake of our being the companions and supporters of the Holy Prophet.”
Replying them, `Umar said, “This is true. But I am seeing you off for another matter that I wanted to tell you in private… you must reduce reporting the Hadith and I am responsible for this decision.”28
Because they were from the Ansar—the group of the pure compliance with the Holy Prophet’s commandments whom are expected to report things that `Umar would not like to be spread among the Muslims lest his flaws would float to the surface—`Umar had to prevent them from reporting the Hadith or had to order them to restrict it so that his lack of experience would not come to view.29
As has been earlier proven, all the invented justifications that have been presented for defending `Umar’s decision of prohibiting the reporting and recording of the Hadith will never withstand the criticism and investigation that is based on logic and knowledge.
For that reason, the foundation on which they have built their opinions of finding suitable justifications for `Umar’s decision has been the big hallo that they sketched around `Umar’s personality in their mentalities as is seen in Ibn Hazm’s statement, “It is impermissible to anyone to believe that an ordinary Muslim may prohibit the spread of the Holy Prophet’s heritage. On this account, it will be extremely unacceptable to think that `Umar would do so.”
Moreover, other reasons, to be mentioned later on, prompted `Umar to prohibit reporting and recording the Hadith and expand the circle of personal inferences and identification of advantages. The proofs on which the adopters of this opinion depended were in fact present in the mentalities of some of the Sahabah, headed by `Umar, since the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. Yet, `Umar worked for establishing this idea.
The discussions of the first introduction can be summarized in the following points:
1) Since the age of the Holy Prophet, the Sahabah followed two different trends; some of them complied thoroughly with the sacred texts and the instructions of the Holy Prophet, while others followed their personal opinions and views.
2) Abu-Bakr and `Umar, the first and second caliphs, followed the second trend of Ijtihad and Opinionism.
3) `Umar ibn al-Khattab made expansive steps in the field of establishing the foundations of his personal opinions that he unveiled during his reign.
4) One of the factors that urged `Umar ibn al-Khattab to prohibit the reporting and recording of the Hadith was the negative reaction that inflicted him due to his having copied the books of the Jews.
5) The justifications of Ibn Hazm as regards `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s prohibiting from spreading the Hadith are actually baseless, because `Umar’s decision was general. The conducts of `Umar with the Ahl al-Kitab in general and Ka`b al-Ahbar in particular, even during his reign, contradicts the claims of Ibn Hazm. Similarly, the two last justifications—that `Umar issued such decision due to his excessive carefulness to the religious affairs or that the decision would not befit his psychological personality—have been proven as inaccurate.