Let us cite some examples on the continuity of the two trends for the purpose of making the matter more obvious:
Ibn Sa`d has recorded that `Abdullah ibn al-`Ala’ asked al-Qasim to dictate to him some of the Hadiths. Al-Qasim said,
During the age of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the records of Hadith increased vastly that `Umar ordered people to bring any record they had kept. When all the records were brought before him, `Umar set them to fire and said, “This is a Mishna just like that of the Christians and the Jews.”1
In view of such incidents, many questions that search for convincing answers jump to the mind of the readers: Why did the records of the Hadith increase in the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, not any other caliph? What is the significance of such an occurrence? Why did `Umar set them to fire, instead of erasing them with water of burying them? Why did `Umar do in hurry without investigation or thorough examination? Why did both Abu-Bakr and `Umar select the same method of annihilating the records of the Hadith, which is setting them to fire?
Although the intellectual trend of the majority of the Sahabah was against wiping out the records of the Hadith, the other trend of Ijtihad, having been the executive authority, insisted on its opinion and hence wiped out these records. What for was such belittlement and indifference to the Sahabah’s opinions that were congruent to the Holy Prophet’s Hadith and conducts as well as the spirit of the Islamic legislation?
The gentle readers will certainly conclude the answers of these questions from the previous as well as the coming narrations. First of all, let us cite the following narration:
Sa`id ibn Jubayr narrated that `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said that the Holy Prophet permitted the temporary marriage. Yet, `Urwah ibn al-Zubayr intruded to say that Abu-Bakr and `Umar prohibited it. Having been very resentful of `Urwah’s answer, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said,
“I see coming that you shall certainly perish! While I say to you that it was the Messenger of Allah who deemed it lawful, you answer me that Abu-Bakr and `Umar prohibited it!”2
According to another narration narrated by `Abd al-Barr and Ibn Hazm, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said,
“I am sure that you will not stop such things until you are chastised by Allah! I am reporting to you from the Prophet and you are reporting to me from Abu-Bakr and `Umar!”3
According to a third narration, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said,
“I am reporting to you from the Prophet and you are bringing to me what was said by Abu-Bakr and `Umar!”
According to a fourth narration, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said,
“I see coming that you shall be inflicted by stones from the heavens!”4
Yet, `Urwah answered, “I swear by Allah that Abu-Bakr and `Umar were more knowledgeable than you are as regards the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.”5
On this statement, al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy commented,
“`Urwah was right. Yet it is unacceptable to follow anybody in violating what has been authentically proven as said by the Messenger of Allah.”6
It has been also narrated that `Abdullah, son of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, learnt people that Almighty Allah has revealed the temporary marriage and the Holy Prophet passed it. Some objected to him that he was disagreeing with his father. His answer was “You should have followed the Holy Prophet’s Sunnah, not `Umar’s!”7
According to another narration, he answered, “Whose commandment should I follow? The Holy Prophet’s or my father’s? Indeed, the Holy Prophet did it.”8
It has been narrated on the authority of `Abd al-A`la that Zayd ibn Arqam, while leading a Deceased Prayer, repeated the Takbir (the statement of Allahu Akbar) five times. Hence, Abu-`Īsa `Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi-Layla, the official jurisprudent of the State, hurried towards Zayd, took him from the hand, and said, “Have you forgotten (the number of the Takbir)?” “No, I have not,” answered Zayd, “I personally followed my dear, the Holy Prophet, in such a prayer when he repeated the Takbir five times only. I therefore shall never leave it.”9
A similar narration has been narrated from `Īsa, the manumitted slave of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, who confirmed that his master reported to him that the Holy Prophet repeated the Takbir five times only while he was offering a Deceased Prayer.10
Wabrah ibn `Abd al-Rahman narrated that a man came to `Abdullah ibn `Umar and asked whether it is valid to circumambulate the Holy Ka`bah while being Muhrim (entering into Ihram: putting the pilgrimage uniform and entering the state of being performing the obligatory rites of the ritual Hajj). “Nothing prevents you from it,” answered `Abdullah ibn `Umar. The man added, “We have been told by so-and-so that it is unlawful to do so before the pilgrims’ return to the Mawqif. Yet, I do not like that man since you seem to be more pious than he is.” Giving details of the question, `Abdullah ibn `Umar answered, “The Messenger of Allah, while being Muhrim, performed a pilgrimage, circumambulated the Holy Ka`bah and roamed between the Safa and Marwa. If you are truthful, you should then follow the practice of Messenger of Allah rather than so-and-so.”11
He is also reported to have said that the Messenger of Allah instructed not to prevent the bondmaids from offering their prayers in mosques. Yet, one of his sons expressed that they were preventing them from such. This statement made `Abdullah ibn `Umar very angry that he said, “I am reporting to you from the Messenger of Allah and you say that you are preventing!”12
According to another narration, `Abdullah ibn `Umar chided him saying, “I have said that the Messenger of Allah instructed and you insist on violating him!”13
It has been narrated that `Umar hit Tamim with his rod because he was offering a two-Rak`ah supererogatory prayer although `Umar had warned them against such. Tamim, as having been in the prayer, pointed to `Umar to sit down and `Umar did. When he finished his prayer, Tamim asked `Umar why he had hit him. “You know that I have prohibited you from offering such a prayer,” answered `Umar. But Tamim said, “I offered such a prayer while I was with the Messenger of Allah who is certainly superior than you are.” `Umar commented, “Well, I have not meant you and your likes; but I anticipate that the coming generations will offer prayers in the period between the `Asr (afternoon) Prayer and the Maghrib (sundown) Prayer passing by the very hour during which the Holy Prophet warned against offering any prayer; hence, they will connect the two obligatory prayers in the same way as they have connected the Dhuhr (noon) and `Asr Prayers.”14
It has been also narrated that Abu-Ayyub al-Ansariy, after the demise of `Umar, returned to offering a supererogatory prayer between the `Asr and Maghrib Prayers after he had stopped during the reign of `Umar. When he was asked about the reason, he answered, “`Umar used to hit with his rod anyone who would offer such a prayer.”15
It has been narrated on the authority of Zayd ibn Thabit that Abu-Bakr, after his campaign against the people of Yamamah, ordered him to allow the alive to inherit their shares from the deads’ legacies and to cancel the shares of the deads. `Umar also ordered Zayd to do the same thing with the individuals of the `Amwas tribe whom were plagued.16
The abovementioned narrations hint at the points of disagreement among the Sahabah. The majority of such disagreements were in the issues of the Islamic jurisprudence and the secondary rulings of the religion. By the application of his new policy, `Umar wanted all the Sahabah to follow his opinions without dispute.
They therefore rejected that because his opinions were contradictory to what they had witnessed from the Holy Prophet, such as in the case of the Takbir of the Deceased Prayer, the supererogatory prayer between the `Asr and Maghrib Prayers, the temporary marriage… etc. Nevertheless, `Umar, after he had not been able to impose his opinions on them, justified that he did not mean them; rather he meant the coming generations!
The obligation of acting upon the personal verdicts of `Umar was one of the fundamentals of the his new policy; as a result, `Ammar ibn Yasir said to him, “If you wish, I will not tell it to anyone else.” Similarly, Ubayy ibn Ka`b loathingly said, “If you want me to confine myself to my house, I will do it and will then never say anything more in this respect.”
All such narrations confirm the existence of pressure and threat, which has been manifestly presented in abovementioned narrations, such as `Umar’s threatening `Ammar and Abu-Musa with whipping as well as his actual hitting Tamim and Abu-Hurayrah. This threat, too, proves that a clash between the two trends actually occurred during that period.
It is now unfeasible for anyone to deny that `Umar ibn al-Khattab did prohibit reporting and recording the Hadith. Similarly, any attempt to arouse doubts around the narrations that reported `Umar’s prohibiting the spread of the Hadith and detaining some of the grand Sahabah is refuted by the clear-cut historical events and reports about `Umar’s practical and conceptual issues.
All such historical texts have supported and confirmed the prohibition of the recordation and reporting of the Hadith and, at the same time, decided as worthless all the justification of Ibn Hazm, al-Dhahbiy, and their likes who claimed that the decision of the prohibition and the detainment of the Sahabah were not compatible to `Umar’s psychology and standing!
For more confirmation, let us cite the following example concerning the distribution of the lands in Iraq and Egypt that were conquered by the Muslim warriors by force during the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab. As has been confirmed by the Holy Qur'an, one-fifth of such spoils of war must be deposited in the public treasury and then expended on the categories defined by the holy verse,
“And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer.” (Holy Qur’an: 8/41)
The other four-fifths must be distributed among the warriors as is declared in the holy verse and was practiced by the Holy Prophet in Khaybar.
As usual, the warriors came to `Umar asking for distributing the one-fifth and giving them their shares. Yet, `Umar said, “What shall we say to the other Muslims who will find these lands distributed, inherited, and seized? This is indeed not accurate!”
`Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf asked, “What is the accurate opinion, then? The lands and the non-Muslims therein are within the spoils of war that Almighty Allah has given exclusively to the warriors.”
“This is true, but I do not think so,” answered `Umar.
The warriors then talked very much with `Umar about the matter showing that it would not be fair to give the lands that they could occupy by their own swords to others who neither participated nor even saw these lands. Whatever they said, `Umar answered with “This is my opinion!”
Finally, they had to succumb and say, “It is up to you.”17
Of course, such a furious clash between the Sahabah, about one of the simplest jurisprudential terms, would have never occurred during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime where there was an authority to whom all the Muslims would refer as regards any issue.
Hence, because the Muslims did not gather around the divinely commissioned authority, their personal opinions and disagreements in the religious affairs increased causing dispute and even fighting. Immediately after the departure of the Holy Prophet, the negative consequences of the Muslims’ negligence of the divinely commissioned authorities appeared although the Holy Prophet had warned them against such in many traditions, such as the famous Hadith of Arikah and the other Hadiths of the warning against personal opinions.
Imam `Ali and the honest Sahabah not only were depressed for the seizure of the political leadership of the Muslims but also they felt greater pains for the occurrence of such disagreements, separation, and violations of the unity and religious authority of the Muslims.
For this very reason, the complaints of Imam `Ali, Anas, `Ammar, and many other Sahabah increased during that period. Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, the keeper of the secret regarding the names of the hypocrites among the companions of the Holy Prophet, warned so sorrowfully against disagreements and contradictions of opinions that occurred after the waste of the actual authority of Islam and the foundation of ungrounded leaderships.
In this respect, it has been narrated on the authority of al-Barra’ ibn `Āzib immediately after the departure of the Holy Prophet, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, in the presence of al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, `Abadah ibn al-Samit, Salman al-Farisiy, Abu-Dharr, and Abu’l-Haytham ibn al-Tayhan, said,
“I swear by Allah that my prediction shall take place. I have not told lies and I will not be belied. Those people are intending to restrict the matter (of the leadership) to the Muhajirun. You can ask Ubayy ibn Ka`b about it. He has also have knowledge of this.”
They therefore went towards Ubayy’s house. As they knocked the door, Ubayy stood behind the door and asked whom it was. Al-Miqdad talked to him, but Ubayy asked him why he had come.
“Open the door! The matter for which I am here is more serious than being discussed through closed doors,” said al-Miqdad.
Yet, Ubayy said, “I will not open my door. Now, I know exactly why you are here. You have come asking about the matter of the Meeting (in Saqifah). Have you not?”
“Yes, we have,” answered they.
“Is Hudhayfah with you?” asked Ubayy.
“Yes, he is,” answered they.
Here, Ubayy said,
“The matter is as exactly as informed by Hudhayfah. I therefore will never open the door of my house until the predicted thing will occur. What will come next will be more catastrophic! I have nothing to do other than complaining about it to Almighty Allah!”18
It has been also narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka`b said,
“The parties of that Meeting (of Saqifah) have destroyed themselves. I swear it by the Lord of the Ka`bah. Yet, I am not lamenting over them; rather I lament over the Muslims who shall perish for such.”19
A third narration reads that Hudhayfah said,
“I will say such a great word about it that I do not care whether you will keep me alive or kill me.”20
Hence, the following names can be added to the list of the Sahabah who disagreed with `Umar as regards jurisprudential issues:
1. Zayd ibn Arqam,
2. Al-Barra ibn `Āzib,
3. `Abdullah ibn `Umar,
4. Salman al-Farisiy,
6. Tamim al-Dariy,
7. Al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad,
8. Abu-Dharr al-Ghifariy, and
9. The warriors to whom Almighty Allah has restored21 among the Sahabah and others.
To be surer about our claim and discussions, more investigation in the situations of the forecited Sahabah is required since it is insufficient to mention a single incident or situation; rather it is necessary to study the general features of those Sahabah’s religious and jurisprudential trends.
As I examined thoroughly the personalities of those Sahabah, I found that most of them had compiled books or, in other words, the majority of the authors of the first age of Islam disagreed with the Opinionists and the adopters of Ijtihad. In fact, the compilations of those Sahabah acted as frank objections against the policies of `Umar. Let us now refer to those Sahabah in brief:
None can ever deny the fact that Imam `Ali used to write down the Divine Revelations and the dictations of the Holy Prophet. Ummu-Salamah, the Holy Prophet’s wife, narrated that Imam `Ali, once, was with the Holy Prophet when the latter asked for a piece of leather (to write on). He then dictated to Imam `Ali who filled the face, back, and even edges of that leather with the Holy Prophet’s dictations.22
As has been confirmed by more than ten of his disciples, Imam `Ali used to keep a paper comprising dictations of the Holy Prophet in the sheath of his sword.23 Previously, many situations of Imam `Ali’s disagreement with the opinions of `Umar have been cited.
Abu’l-`Āliyah narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka`b had compiled a big book about the exegesis of the Holy Qur'an.24 It has been previously proven that Ubayy disagreed with `Umar and declared that he did not enjoy a distinctive knowledgeability of the religious affairs and that he did not agree to his decision of prohibiting reporting and recording the Hadith.
When the Holy Prophet sent Mu`adh to the Yemen, he gave him a book in which he dictated the rulings of the alms as well as many Hadiths.25 Musa ibn Talhah kept that book or a copy of it.26 In addition, Ibn `Ā’idh kept copies of Mu`adh’s books.27
All these reports prove that Mu`adh ibn Jabal recorded many books that could survive in spite of `Umar’s decision of setting all the records to fire after he had prohibited and threatened Mu`adh. Yet, examples on Mu`adh’s situations against `Umar have been previously cited.
Examples on Hudhayfah’s situations with `Umar have been previously cited, especially his words with `Umar ibn al-Khattab in which he said that he hated the right, liked the seductions... etc. Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman used to write down the Holy Prophet’s dictations about the alms of dates,28 the taxes of Hijaz,29 and the taxes on date-palm trees.30
Al-Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam was the Holy Prophet’s clerk of the alms, but when he would be absent, Jahm ibn al-Salt and Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman would replace him31 according to the order of the Holy Prophet himself.32
Juwaybir has narrated on the authority of al-Dahhak that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud said: “During the age of the Messenger of Allah, we used to record nothing of the Hadith except those appertained to the Tashahhud (a major section of the obligatory prayer) and Istikharah (Seeking goodness from Almighty Allah).33 It has been also narrated on the authority of Ma`an that `Abd al-Rahman, son of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, showed him a book and swore that it had been written by his father personally.34
Yet, it has been narrated that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud prohibited the recordation of the Hadith. This is in reality a fabrication and is refuted by the aforesaid reports, as well as many others, and by the fact that he was detained by `Umar for his having violated the decision of prohibiting reporting and recording the Hadith.
Other narrations have affirmed that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud erased the contents of some papers that comprised narrations. On the assumption that these narrations are authentic, it is possible that these papers comprised narrations of the Jews and Christians, as has been previously proven.35
It has been also narrated that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud disagreed with `Umar on many issues or, as is quoted from Ibn al-Qayyim, on one hundred questions.36 This fact proves that he joined the group of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts and proves the falsehood of the narration reporting his having said,
“If all the people enter upon a certain path but `Umar enters upon another, I will surely take the path of `Umar!”37
Later on, we will discuss in details the role that `Abd al-Rahman played in sketching the conducts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar and his standing in the view of `Umar in particular. Yet, nothing has been reported from him concerning the recordation of the Hadith.
This man died before the caliphate of `Umar and did not record any book.
It has been narrated that Zayd was the first to compile a book about the rulings of inheritance. Ja`far ibn Burqan narrated that he had heard al-Zuhriy saying,
“Unless Zayd ibn Thabit compiled a book on the rulings of heritage, they would be unknown by the people.”38
Zayd, however, disagreed with `Umar on the issues of the share of grandmothers (from the heritage), the retaliation of Muslims who kill Dhimmis, and other issues.
It has been reported from Salma that she saw `Abdullah ibn `Abbas carrying tablets that comprised the writings of Ibn Abi-Rafi’ about some of the Holy Prophet’s deeds.39 It has been also narrated that he left numerous books after his demise.40 Many narrations have been reported from him confirming the necessity of recording knowledge.41
Yet, the narration of Tawus that `Abdullah ibn `Abbas disliked recording the knowledge requires thorough investigation because it opposes many other narrations. Previously, we have cited his disagreement with `Umar regarding the issue of the lady that became pregnant only six months after her marriage.
The Holy Prophet wrote a message to al-Dahhak instructing him to give the widow of Ashyam al-Dibabiy her due from the legacy of her husband.42 Al-Dahhak, then, sent a message to `Umar telling him about the contents of that message.43
Al-Muzziy, in Tahdhib al-Kamal 12:604, has written the biography of Shaybah without mentioning that he had compiled a book. Yet, he referred to the aforementioned narration concerning his disagreement with `Umar on the issue of the fortune of the Holy Ka`bah.
It is probable that this woman was Fatimah bint Qays, al-Dahhak’s elder sister, about whom Abu-Salamah reported some narrations. Muhammad ibn `Amr narrated that Abu-Salamah reported that Fatimah bint Qays compiled a book in which she related her story…44 According to one of her narrations, `Umar said to her, “We should not neglect the Book of our Lord and the Sunnah of our Prophet because of a statement said by a woman whom we cannot tell whether she is honest or not!”
`Ammar is one of the excellent and grand Sahabah. Having been one of the adherents to Imam `Ali, he was martyred during the Battle of Siffin. The Holy Prophet predicted his martyrdom at the hands of the despotic party.
Although any compilation of `Ammar cannot be found, he joined the school of reporting the Hadith since he, in the issuance of religious verdicts, thoroughly complied with the sacred texts, he objected to the caliphs’ adoptions of personal views and imitated the jurisprudential course of Imam `Ali.
It has been narrated that Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy, replying to the message of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, wrote that the Holy Prophet used to… etc.45 Abu-Zayd Bakr ibn `Abdullah said, “The Shahid `Ali Library in Turkey keeps a manuscript compiled by Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy.”46
It has been also narrated that he defended the recordation of the Holy Sunnah. Later on, we will discuss in details the jurisprudential course of Abu-Musa to prove whether he backed the Opinionists or the compliers with the sacred texts.
Abu-Sa`id is reported as saying, “Except the Holy Qur'an and Hadiths concerning the Tashahhud, we used not to record anything.”47 Al-A`dhamiy says: “It is probable that Abu-Sa`id wrote down some of the Hadiths for `Abdullah ibn `Abbas.”
Yet, these reports are contradictory to the narration that Abu-Sa`id reported the Holy Prophet’s saying: “Do not record anything of my words and deeds. Now, anyone who has recorded anything other than the Qur'an must erase it.”48
Zayd recorded some of the Hadith and sent them to Anas ibn Malik, such as the Holy Prophet’s praying to Almighty Allah to forgive the Ansar and their descendants.49 He also objected to some of `Umar’s verdicts and narrated too much about the merits of Imam `Ali.
Muhammad `Ajjaj al-Khatib has recorded that al-Barra ibn `Āzib used to report and record the Hadith.50 It has been also narrated from Waki` on the authority of his father that `Abdullah ibn Hanash said that he had seen them (seekers of knowledge) recording al-Barra'’s lectures on the palms of their hands using canes.51 Besides, al-Barra' narrated numerous traditions about the merits of Imam `Ali. Yet, his situation concerning the meeting of Saqifah has been previously cited.
It has been narrated that `Abdullah used to record the Hadith. Ibrahim al-Sa'igh narrated on the authority of Nafi` that `Abdullah ibn `Umar kept many books which he used to read.52 Later on, we will discuss `Abdullah’s situation against his father and arguments about the necessity of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts, although he himself violated this trend on definite occasions.
Ibn Shahrashub has recorded that Imam `Ali followed by Salman al-Farisiy were the first to compile books in Islam.53 About Salman, Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr says, “He recorded the conversation the Roman Catholicos whom were sent by Caesar after the Holy Prophet’s departure.”54 Al-A`dhamiy has also recorded that Salman seemed to write some of the Hadiths for Abu’l-Darda’.55
Ahmad ibn Hanbal, in al-Musnad, has recorded a number of narrations reported by Salman indicating that he followed the trend of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts. As a matter of fact, a deep look in the life account of Salman demonstrates that he was one of the chief adopters of the School of Through Compliance with the Sacred Texts. This is not strange, since he was, in the words of the Holy Prophet, one of the Ahl al-Bayt in honor, not reality.56
Al-Fadl ibn Hasan ibn `Umar ibn Umayyah al-Dumayri has narrated that his father said that Abu-Hurayrah denied a Hadith after he had heard from him. Yet, his father said, “I have heard this Hadith from you personally!” Abu-Hurayrah replied, “If you have heard this Hadith from me, this means that it is written with me.”57
Generally, some of Abu-Hurayrah’s statements indicate that he followed the trend of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts and others indicate that he supported the Opinionists.
Previously, Tamim’s objection to `Umar’s having prohibited him to offer a prayer after the `Asr (obligatory) Prayer has been cited.
Al-Miqdad has not been reported as having compiled or recorded the religious knowledge. Yet, he is well-known for his following Imam `Ali in everything. He must thus have been following the trend of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts.
Ibn Shahrashub has added Abu-Dharr’s name to the list of the foremost compilers in Islam.58 It is also well-known for everybody that Abu-Dharr disagreed with the Opinionists and the ruling authorities in general and `Uthman ibn `Affan in particular. Besides, he was one of the sincere disciples of Imam `Ali.
On the strength of the previous simple inventory, we conclude that the Sahabah who objected to the Opinionists were either the compilers of the Islamic knowledge or the disciples of Imam `Ali who participated in his campaigns.59
As regards the earlier, the compilers of books on the Islamic knowledge are those who thoroughly complied with the sacred texts. They are also not reported to have narrated any item revealing the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith. Rather, the Sahabah who thoroughly complied with the sacred texts encouraged on reporting and recording the Hadith.
They thus disagreed with the other party whose members practiced Ijtihad and prohibited the reporting, writing down, and recording of the Holy Sunnah.
In other words, there is inherence between the recording of the Hadith and the thorough compliance with the sacred texts. Similarly, there is inherence between the prohibition from recording the Hadith and the practice of Ijtihad and Opinionism.
For instance, `Ammar ibn Yasir followed the School of Thorough Compliance with the Sacred Texts, as will be proven in the coming chapters, although he did not write down any book in the field of the religious knowledge. On the other side, `Umar ibn al-Khattab and Zayd ibn Thabit followed the School of Ijtihad and Opinionism although they did write down some books.
However, ponderation over their books proves that these books comprised nothing more than their personal views and opinions and that all the narration mentioned therein supported their trend. As a result, the compilers of books on Islamic knowledge are those who followed the School of Thorough Compliance with the Sacred Texts.
The following points can also be concluded in this respect:
1) The claim that the Holy Prophet had prohibited from recording his traditions is unsubstantiated.
2) The recordation of the items of knowledge started during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime and under his commandment. This trend then extended with the Sahabah who believed in the sacredness of the texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
3) During the reign of `Umar, there were records comprising the Holy Prophet’s Hadith. From this cause, he ordered such records to be brought to him.
4) The prohibition of recording the Hadith was issued during the reigns of Abu-Bakr and `Umar and under their commandment. Thus, the decision did not acquire any legitimacy from the Holy Prophet’s texts.
In this regard, al-Mu`allimiy says:
“Had the Holy Prophet prohibited the recordation of the Hadith, Abu-Bakr would not have recorded some Hadiths and, likewise, `Umar would not have had the intention to record, too.”60
Since the records of the Hadith were available, why did `Umar have an aversion to spread them and why did he declare that the Book of Allah was sufficient? Similarly, why have Ibn Hazm and his likes found it improbable for `Umar to detain some of the Sahabah?
To answer these questions, we say that the reporting and recordation of the Hadith were the basic barriers against the acceptability of the personal opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar. Hence, the first step on their course of the adoption of personal opinions was directing the people to depend upon the Holy Qur'an alone, reduce reporting the Hadith, and stop recording it.
Such directions created a huge gap between ordinary people and their Prophet’s traditions and paved the way for the new substitute, which was the Ijtihad of the Sahabah. The following step was therefore the presentation of the Ijtihad as the substitute of the Hadith.
As a matter of fact, the Holy Prophet anticipated openly the imminent happening of such and declared his displeasure with it as he confirmed that his words are as sacred as Almighty Allah’s Words.
In the conception of `Umar, the prohibition of spreading the Hadith was a social necessity imposed upon him by the surrounding circumstances. It was tantamount to the reaction of his ignorance with the Holy Prophet’s traditions as well as the reminiscence that he had kept in his mind when the Holy Prophet prohibited him from recording the distorted heritage of the Christians and Jews when he had written sections from the distorted Torah.
By the prohibition of recording the Hadith, `Umar only wanted to apply the Holy Prophet’s prohibition from recording the heritage of the Ahl al-Kitab. Yet, the difference between the two is totally clear. Finally, had Abu-Bakr and `Umar recognized the instructions of the Holy Prophet, they would not have violated his orders and invented contradictory courses.
It has been narrated on the authority of Sa`d ibn Ibrahim on the authority of his father that `Umar detained three individuals in the charge of much reporting from the Holy Prophet. These three were `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu’l-Darda' and Abu-Mas`ud al-Ansariy.61
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy, in Sharaf Ashab al-Hadith, has recorded that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, once, summoned `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu’l-Darda' and Abu-Mas`ud and said to them, “Why are you reporting so much from the Messenger of Allah?” He then detained then in al-Madinah.
It has been narrated on the authority of Sa`d ibn Ibrahim on the authority of his father that `Umar reproached `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu’l-Darda', and Abu-Dharr for they have reported too much from the Holy Prophet. He then detained them in al-Madinah until his death.62
`Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf is reported as saying, Before his death, `Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered the companions of the Messenger of Allah, namely `Abdullah (ibn Mas`ud), Hudhayfah, Abu’l-Darda', Abu-Dharr, and `Uqbah ibn `Āmir, to be present before him although they lived in remote countries. He then reproached them for having spread the traditions of the Messenger of Allah in these countries.
“Are you now preventing us from such?” asked they.
“No, I do not,” answered `Umar. “Yet, you will reside here, and you will never depart me so long as I am alive. I am more knowledgeable. I will hear from you and reply.” Hence, they could not leave the capital until the death of `Umar.63
In `Umar’s statements of reproach, he used the words ‘too much reporting’ and ‘spread of the Hadith’. This obviously indicates that the ‘too much’ reporting from the Holy Prophet would create comprehension of the Muslims and embarrassment of `Umar on definite circumstances.
Yet, `Umar did not accuse them of fabrication or forgery; rather they were accused of too much reporting and spreading of the Hadith since spreading of the Hadith was harmonious to the finding faults with `Umar’s decisions and verdicts, especially when the Hadith carries a clear-cut statements of the Holy Prophet. This fact can be much more understood through the following narration:
When `Umar summoned Ubayy ibn Ka`b and ordered him to reduce reporting from the Holy Prophet, Ubayy answered, “Does this mean that you are accusing me of forgery against the Messenger of Allah?”
“No, it does not,” answered `Umar. “Yet, I dislike seeing the reporting from the Messenger of Allah such expansive.”64
On other occasions, `Umar ordered the Sahabah to reduce reporting from the Holy Prophet except in common questions.65
The purpose beyond the prevention in the earlier narration is too clear to require explanation; `Umar disliked seeing the Hadith expansively widespread so that the errors and jurisprudential defects of his government and him would not be known to everybody. In the latter narration, `Umar permitted reporting the Hadiths that discuss common questions that are known to all Muslims.
Alternatively, it is impermissible to report Hadiths unknown for the people and, perhaps, for `Umar himself since such Hadiths would possibly be contrary to his personal opinions and Ijtihad and thus a problem would occur to the ruling system, which is seen as the religious authority of the Islamic community. From this cause, `Umar ordered the Sahabah to reside near him and never depart so long as he would be alive for he was more knowledgeable… etc.
The aforesaid discussions prove that `Umar disliked reporting from the Holy Prophet and the Sahabah disliked such. This is of course opposite to the claims that `Umar prohibited only the recordation of the Hadith!
It is now possible to add other names to the list of those who objected to `Umar. These are Abu’l-Darda', Abu-Mas`ud al-Ansariy, and `Uqbah ibn `Āmir.
Details about the personalities, manners, and courses of those Sahabah will be postponed to other occasions;66 yet the point to be aroused hereby is that the Sahabah who objected to `Umar were not only thirteen, as has been claimed by Ibn Hajar, or only seven, as has been claimed by Musa Jarullah; rather they were more and more. It is thus sufficient to mention that too many were the Sahabah whose jurisprudential opinions were congruous with the Ahl al-Bayt’s jurisprudence.
It has been narrated that a man, once, asked (`Abdullah) Ibn `Abbas about the legal share of a daughter from her father’s legacy when there is also his full sister. Ibn `Abbas answered, “The share of the testator’s sister is nothing. The whole inheritance must be given to the daughter who receives a half of it in the form of her legal share and the other half in the form of the nonexistence of other heirs.”
“But `Umar decided something else,” said the asker.
“Are you more knowledgeable that Allah?” answered Ibn `Abbas with annoyance.
The asker then went to Ibn Tawus al-Yamaniy because he could not understand Ibn `Abbas’s statement. Explaining the question, Ibn Tawus said to the asker, “My father has told me that he had heard Ibn `Abbas saying, Almighty Allah says (in the Holy Qur'an),
“If it is a man that dies leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/176);
while you are deciding that such a sister shall have half the inheritance even if she has children!”67
In the aforesaid question, `Umar distributed equally the inheritance between the testator’s daughter and full sister. In his opinion, daughters are not included when the word ‘son’ is used.68 This is in fact a concept that was used in the pre-Islamic era. Yet, this opinion is obviously opposite to the Holy Qur'an that reads,
“Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children's Inheritance: to the male, a portion equal to that of two females. (Holy Qur’an: 4/11)”
Accordingly, the word ‘children’ in the holy verse indicates both sons and daughters. Hence, the children’s testator prevent the brothers and sisters (i.e. their uncles and aunts) from receiving anything from the inheritance. In this respect, the Holy Qur'an reads,
“If it is a man that dies leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance: If such a deceased was a woman, who left no child, her brother takes her inheritance. If there are two sisters, they shall have two-thirds of the inheritance between them. If there are brothers and sisters, they share the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah make clear to you His law lest ye err; and Allah hath knowledge of all things.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/176)
Ibn `Abbas also objected to another decision of `Umar as regards the shares of inheritances. When he was asked to distribute an inheritance, `Umar did not recognize how the shares should be distributed; he therefore had to confess, saying, “In fact, I do not know which category of you (the heirs) has been preferred according to the law of Allah. The best solution that I can see is that to distribute the inheritance among you in equal shares.”
Objecting to this opinion, Ibn `Abbas said, “I swear by Allah that if you had followed the instructions of Allah in this regard, the shares of the inheritances would never have been imperfect.”69
On a third occasion, `Umar issued two different verdicts for the same question. About the shares of the inheritance of a lady who had a husband, mother, two half (maternal) brothers, and two full brothers, `Umar decided to give the husband half the inheritance, the mother the sixth, and the two half brothers the remainder, which is the one third. Hence, the two full brothers were given nothing because no shares remained.
A similar question was provided before `Umar and he decided to follow the same previous distribution. But one of the full brothers objected to him saying, “We share with the testator in the father while they only share with a mother.
Hence, if you will deprive us of shares because of our father, you should give us a share through our mother in the same way as you have decided a share for these half brothers through their mother. Even if our father was a donkey, we and they lived in the same womb!”
Having been convinced of their pleading, `Umar decided to make them partners in the remainder, which is the one-third of the inheritance.70 When he was reminded that his decision about a similar case had not been this one, `Umar said, “Well, that decision was for that case and this decision is for this!”71
Al-Shafi`iy, in al-Risalah, Abu-Dawud and al-Bayhaqiy have recorded on the authority of Tawus that `Umar, once, asked the attendants whether they had heard anything from the Holy Prophet about the blood money for fetuses. Haml ibn Malik ibn al-Nabighah stood up and said, “One of my bondmaids, once, hit another pregnant one on the abdomen that she aborted her fetus.
In this case, the Holy Prophet decided a coot as the blood money for the fetus.” `Umar thus said, “If I have not heard this story from you, I would decide another thing. In fact, I was about to depend upon my own opinion in this question.”72
`Ubaydah al-Salmaniy is reported as saying, “I have memorized one hundred different rulings that `Umar had decided as regards the share of grandfathers from inheritances!”73
Dr. Muhammad Madkur, commenting on `Umar’s various opinions about the share of grandfathers from inheritances, says,
“`Umar insisted on making grandfathers precede brothers as regards the shares of inheritance. He used to say, ‘If I have the right to decide, I will give the whole inheritance to the grandfather.’ He then changed his mind and said, ‘I am afraid that I will disappoint them. They all may be right.’
He then again changed his mind and decided to distribute it among them provided that the share will not be less than one-sixth. Again, he changed his mind and decided to distribute it among them provided that the share will not be less than one-third.
Such contradiction and instability occurred only because the question was not explained by any sacred text at all; therefore, personal opinions must have been the judge. From the dialogue between Zayd ibn Thabit and `Umar ibn al-Khattab, we can conclude that Zayd used a style of simile making his opinion logic and acceptable.”74
After citing the statement of `Ubaydah al-Salmaniy and the holy verse,
“For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/11)
Dr. Qal`achiy says,
“From this verse, we can conclude that the remainder is the share of the grandfather. In fact, `Umar noticed his instability as regards the share of the grandfather with the existence of brothers of the testator; he therefore consulted the Sahabah more than once. Yet, he could not reach at a decisive resolution.
A little time before his death, `Umar wanted to find a positive solution for the question so that the matter would not be left unsettled. He consequently wrote an epistle in this regard and prayed to Almighty Allah saying: ‘O Allah! If this matter is correct, I please you to bring it to an end.’
When he was stabbed, he erased that epistle so that none would realize what had been written therein. He then declared: ‘I have written a book about the share of the grandfather and the Kalalah and I have prayed to Almighty Allah to guide me in this matter. Yet, I think that I would better leave you in the state in which you were.”75
Al-Suyutiy, in al-Ashbah wa’l-Nadha'ir, commenting on `Umar’s various opinions about the question of the grandfathers’ share of inheritances, says,
“The reason of such variation is that the second Ijtihad was not better than the first. This means that he could not determine anything. This of course would bring about intense hardship since if a decision is canceled, the other will be canceled and so on.”76
The following issue proves unfalteringly that `Umar ibn al-Khattab used to practice Ijtihad in questions the rulings of which have been previously decided by the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah:
The Holy Prophet, once, told him that he would never understand the ruling regarding the share of grandfathers from inheritances. Nevertheless, `Umar exceeded that prediction and acted upon his personal opinions in this issue. In this connection, it has been narrated on the authority of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab that `Umar, once, asked the Holy Prophet, “How are the shares of grandfathers from inheritances counted?”
The Holy Prophet answered, “Why are you asking about this, `Umar? I see coming that you will die before you understand this issue.”
Truly, `Umar departed life before he could understand that question.77
Al-Salihiy al-Dimashqiy, in Subul al-Huda wa’l-Rashad 9:287, has recorded that Ibn Rahawayh and Ibn Mardawayh narrated on the authority of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab that `Umar asked the Holy Prophet about the shares of the Kalalah from inheritances.
“Has Almighty Allah, in the Holy Qur'an, not explained it (saying,
And if a man or a woman leaves property to be inherited by neither parents nor offspring, and he (or she) has a brother or a sister, then each of them two shall have the sixth, but if they are more than that, they shall be sharers in the third after (payment of) any bequest that may have been bequeathed or a debt that does not harm (others); this is an ordinance from Allah: and Allah is Knowing, Forbearing (Holy Qur’an: 4/12))?”
`Umar yet did not understand the verse; therefore, Almighty Allah revealed his Saying,
“They ask you for a decision of the law. Say: Allah gives you a decision concerning the person who has neither parents nor offspring; if a man dies (and) he has no son and he has a sister, she shall have half of what he leaves, and he shall be her heir she has no son; but if there be two (sisters), they shall have two-thirds of what he leaves; and if there are brethren, men and women, then the male shall have the like of the portion of two females; Allah makes clear to you, lest you err; and Allah knows all things. (Holy Qur’an: 4/176)”
Again, `Umar did not yet understand the verse. He thus asked his daughter Hafsah, one of the Holy Prophet wives, to ask the Holy Prophet to explain the question for her when she would find him relaxed and pleased. When she did, the Holy Prophet said, “It was your father who asked you to do such. I see that your father shall never understand this question.”
As a result, `Umar used to say, “I shall never understand this question. It was the Messenger of Allah who said so.”78
In conclusion, it is not improbable to say that Imam `Ali’s famous saying, ‘One who likes throwing oneself in the depths of Hell may issue a verdict about the grandfather’s share of inheritance,’79 arose from the innumerable contradictory verdicts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar, in particular, as regards the matter involved about which they openly violated the Holy Qur'an.
In the light of the preceding discussion, the caliphs had to adopt Ijtihad as a starting point through which the difference between the Sahabah’s religious opinions, or the caliph for one side and the Sahabah for the other, can be justified since it is the shelter to which the Opinionists and their fans can resort for solving any opposition noticed in the Sahabah’s religious opinions.
Yet, the subject must be investigated from its roots with rationality so that it will be proven whether the Holy Prophet used his personal views in the issuance of religious rulings or this claim has been fabricated against him for the sake of giving good reason for the Sahabah’s Ijtihad.
At the outset, it is illogic that the Messenger of Allah whose divine mission is to convey the laws of Almighty Allah to all the peoples on this planet could betake personal views as method of identifying the divine laws.
Had he been allowed to use his personal outlooks, he would not have waited for the Divine Revelation so as to judge in the questions of the li`an (oath of condemnation between spouses),80 the shares of maternal and paternal aunts from inheritance, and others.81
Since the Holy Prophet was able to obtain certainty through waiting for the Divine commandments, it should be illogic for him to depend upon hypothetical decisions that are the natural outcomes of Ijtihad. Furthermore, the Holy Qur'an has confirmed the necessity of the commitment to the Holy Prophet’s words, such as in the holy verses:
“And whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back. (Holy Qur’an: 59/7)”
“But no, by the Lord, they can have no real faith until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. (Holy Qur’an: 4/65)”
It is thus impossible for Almighty Allah to order us to commit to words that are grounded upon conjectures and are mistakable, while He, the Almighty, has taught us that
“conjecture avails nothing against Truth. (Holy Qur’an: 53/28)”
It is now obvious that the insistence on the argument that the Holy Prophet rested upon his personal views in the issuance of religious rulings has been invented in order to find acceptable excuses for the Sahabah’s Ijtihad in general and the personal opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar in particular and to grant such Ijtihad and opinions a legal mark.
A thorough, yet impartial, investigation of history and Hadith proves this fact. Again a thorough investigation of the proofs on the Holy Prophet’s supposed Ijtihad that the Opinionists have provided shows that their one and only purpose has been the meaning that he made mistakes in the field of issuing religious rulings. They therefore attempted to find solution for this complicated problem through the invention of Ijtihad and Opinionism.
Even if we succumb to the idea that the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds were originated from his personal opinions that are, according to the Opinionists’ supposition, allowable, why do most of their statements and intimations suggest that he broke the commandments of Almighty Allah on many occasions, such as the famous narration of offering prayer for a hypocrite, and also failed to meet the humanitarian restraints, such as in the story of the blind when he frowned and turned away, to the degree that al-Zamakhshariy has been so impolite that he claimed that Almighty Allah’s saying “Allah pardon you” stands for the happening of a felony since pardon is always associated with felonies; therefore the interpretation of the verse is that ‘you have made a mistake and very bad was your deed!’82 It is extremely impudent to dare say such a thing about the Holy Prophet.
The Opinionists who prohibited the recording and reporting of the Hadith have dared to say such things about the Holy Prophet while they have confirmed that the Divine Revelation agreed to `Umar in all the questions in which the Holy Prophet was wrong! Then, the Holy Prophet submitted to `Umar!
The gentle reader is now dispensing with further explanation and can easily understand the mystery beyond such contradiction and the secret beyond their ascribing mistakes to the Holy Prophet while `Umar’s situation was always so accurate that even the Divine Revelation testified for him!
Again, even if we yieldingly accept that the Holy Prophet was no more than an ordinary mortal who enjoyed divine talents; most of his worldly affairs and decisions had nothing to do with the Divine Revelation; even in military affairs he used to consult the Sahabah, such as in the truce with the Ghatafan tribe during the Battle of al-Ahzab,83 the decision of fighting during the Battle of Uhud,84 the adoption of Salman al-Farisiy’s opinion about the digging of a trench around the city of al-Madinah during the Battle of al-Ahzab,85 the adoption of Habbab’s opinion about choosing the place of residence just before the Battle of Badr, and the adoption of Sa`d ibn Mu`adh’s opinion concerning the establishment of an arbor86 and many other occasions.
Even if we overlook the fact that all the words and deeds of the Holy Prophet, throughout his holy lifetime, were on the instructions of Almighty Allah and that he consulted his companions only to appease them and teach them experience and management since his final decisions were all received from the Heavens—even if we overlook all theses fact, still the Holy Prophet’s issues were unlike `Umar’s Ijtihad and adoption of personal views all of which were in the field of the religious rulings, not in worldly affairs. Besides, even if we accept to them as regards the personal opinions of the Holy Prophet, he (the Holy Prophet) is still unlike others, for his opinions were based upon sound grounds since he had full acquaintance with the actual advantages, disadvantages, overtures, and results of all subjects. On this account, his supposed Ijtihad is not like the others’ Ijtihad.
Back to the main topic, the Opinionists have just intended, by the invention of the conception of the Holy Prophet’s having rested upon his personal views, to argue that the Sahabah were only imitating the Holy Prophet; hence, they must not be blamed for such.
To rest upon the explicit circumstances of an issue does not denote the Ijtihad as a term. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said,
“My judgments are based upon the explicit circumstances of an issue that is filed before me. While you are making me the judge in your disputes, some of you may err in providing his case or his evidences.”87
This statement denotes that a judge must give a verdict on the light of the presented proofs and claims, not the actuality that may be hidden or unknown unless awareness of the unseen is obtained. Although the Prophets, Messengers, and their Successors can be acquainted with the unseen, they have been ordered to judge according to the explicit claims and proofs except in special cases, such as the story of al-Khidr with Prophet Moses.
It has been also familiar that the Holy Prophet used to judge according to the regulations and laws known to everybody so that the human regulations and legal laws will not be infringed. On account of his connection with the Divine Revelation, the Holy Prophet recognized the actuality of each issue because he has been full acquainted with the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfudh).
In this regard, all Muslims agree unanimously that the Holy Qur'an was revealed twice; the first complete revelation occurred on the Grand Night (Laylat al-Qadr)88 and in the second time, the Qur'an was revealed in sections on definite involved occasions.
It is now not unacceptable to claim that some of the Holy Prophet’s judgments were issued on the grounds of his previous knowledge of the unseen -of course, only when the situation requires such- before the second partial revelation of a verse in this regard.
Another example that supports our discussion is the Holy Prophet’s having wished had the Kiblah89 been turned to the Sacred Masjid. Had he been permitted to rest upon his personal views, he would certainly have decided the Sacred Mosque as the new Kiblah and would not have turned his face towards the holy Mosque of Jerusalem (for prayer) for more than six months. Only when the holy verse,
“We see the turning of thy face for guidance to the heavens: now Shall We turn thee to a Kiblah that shall please thee. Turn then Thy face in the direction of the Sacred Masjid. (Holy Qur’an: 2/144)”
was revealed, he turned his face towards the new Kiblah. This is of course a clear-cut proof that the Holy Prophet waited for and firmly observed the commandments of Almighty Allah, unlike the claim that he might have rested upon personal opinions as regards the religious issues.
Then, the Opinionists have argued that the following holy verse encourages Ijtihad and deems legal for the Holy Prophet to rest upon it:
“We have sent down to thee the Book in truth, that thou mightest judge between men, as guided by Allah: so be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust. (Holy Qur’an: 4/105)”90
The statement ‘as guided by Allah’ comprised by the holy verse has been interpreted into ‘by means of your view and personal efforts in the field of deducing the religious rulings’. This is indeed contrary to the actual meaning of the verse, since in its first part, Almighty Allah tells that ‘Book’ must be the reference in the deduction of rulings.
The fans of the School of Opinionism has intended to validate their personal views even in the field of the religious schools. During the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, they used to prefer the rulings to be derived from the Holy Qur'an and the words of the Holy Prophet who prohibited them to rest upon their opinions since he was the authority that protected against committing mistakes. Yet, as soon as he departed this world, they applied their personal views to all the issues, whether there were sacred texts in this respect or not.
During the reign of `Umar, this trend attained its climax after the Opinionists and the ordinary people had been influenced by this trend.
The Sahabah’s reference to and receipt from the Holy Prophet indicated that their opinions might have been acceptable due to the approval of the Holy Prophet, not the personality of the owner of the opinion.
Incidents prove that resting upon personal opinions in the issuance of religious rulings was definitely rejected during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime: It has been narrated that when Usamah ibn Zayd was the commander of a brigade, he ordered to raid on a group of people among whom was Mirdas who had already converted to Islam.
Having seen the attacking horsemen of Usamah’s brigade, Mirdas drove his sheep towards a corner in the mountain so as to save them. When the horsemen caught him, he received them with statements of Allahu Akbar and the two creeds of Islam; but Usamah ibn Zayd killed him and took his sheep. When the Holy Prophet heard of this incident, he was terribly depressed. He then said to them, “You have killed him only because you wanted to seize his sheep!” He then recited Almighty Allah’s saying,
“And do not say to any one who offers you peace: You are not a believer. Do you seek goods of this world's life! (Holy Qur’an: 4:94)”91
The Holy Prophet then ordered Usamah to undergo the blood money for the man.
Because Usamah rested upon his personal view in the issue, the Holy Prophet reproached him and regarded his decision as invalid. Accordingly, he ordered Usamah to undergo the blood money.92 Similarly, the Holy Prophet said about the crime of Khalid ibn al-Walid, “O Allah! I am releasing myself before You from the deed of Khalid.”93
For shedding more light on the subject, let us re-quote Dr. Madkur as saying:
“We thus can argue that the Holy Prophet did not require Ijtihad in this very sense. After the departure of him and, more precisely, during the age of the Sahabah that ends with the elapse of the first century after the Hijrah, the Sahabah, because of the expansion of the Islamic State and the conquests, had to encounter new questions that they had never known before.
They therefore had to experience the jurisprudential questions, especially after the cessation of the Divine Revelations, so as to find solutions for the first-time issues that occurred to their cursorily incremental state that comprised miscellaneous countries and races.”94
Dr. al-Dawalibiy also says,
“During the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, the Ijtihad did not play any considerable role; rather it was restricted to certain issues.”95
Dr. Nadiah al-`Umariy says,
“Even during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, `Umar used to suggest verdicts that he considered in agreement with virtue, right, and advantage.”96
All the aforecited quotations support our confirmation that Ijtihad, as a current term, was not regarded as valid during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime; rather it became a meaningful term at the hands of Abu-Bakr and `Umar and their fans because they required the issuance of ruling verdicts with which they had not had acquaintance.
Back to the main topic, which is `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s situation with the Sahabah and their opinions about him, we have previously cited his situation with a Sahabiy, namely `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, about him he said to the people of al-Kufah when he decided to send him there along with `Ammar ibn Yasir to teach them religious affairs: “These two are among the most excellent companions of the Holy Prophet and among the warriors of the Battle of Badr. You should thus follow and listen to them. Be it known to you that I have preferred you to myself as I sent to you `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud.”97
Despite such praise and appreciation, `Umar detained and settled an account with `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud because he had spread and reported very much of the Hadith. Because of this very situation, `Uthman, later on, durst prevent `Abdullah from reporting the Hadith and reciting his own copy of the Holy Qur'an although the Holy Prophet has been reported as instructing his people to rest upon `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s copy of the Holy Qur'an, and durst lash him forty whips causing some of his ribs to be broken and forcing him to emigrate and die away from his hometown.
`Umar had to resort to violence as having dealt with the Sahabah because he knew that they had been unsatisfactory with his jurisprudential opinions and had objected to his views that were against the Holy Sunnah. Nevertheless, the Sahabah did not change their situations; they insisted on following what they had received from the Holy Prophet to the degree that one of them directed embarrassing questions to `Umar, in the presence of people, in order to inform that his personal views had been always inaccurate and far away from the Sunnah.
The following citations are sufficient for proving such questionings:
Al-Harith narrated that `Abdullah ibn Aws came to `Umar and asked him about the ruling appertained to a lady who menstruates during circumambulating the Holy Ka`bah.
“Such a lady must postpone the Circumambulation to be the last of her rituals,” answered `Umar.
“This is true,” said al-Harith, “The Holy Prophet also said the same answer.”
As he heard this statement, `Umar said to the man, “Damn you! You have asked me a question that you had put before the Holy Prophet so that I would contradict him.”98
Husham ibn Yahya al-Makhzumiy narrated that a man came to `Umar and asked about the ruling concerning a lady that, during the season of the ritual Hajj, menstruated on the Nahr (Immolation) Day.
`Umar answered, “It is impermissible for such a lady to continue unless she is clean.”
The man objected saying, “The Holy Prophet gave me a ruling other than this.”
`Umar immediately hit the man with the rod he had in his hand and reproached, “Why do you ask me about a matter that the Holy Prophet had already decided?”99
It is worth mentioning that there is a big difference between the decisions of the Holy Prophet as regards religious questions and the verdicts of `Umar. The Holy Prophet’s decisions are unrepealable since their source is the Divine Revelation, while `Umar’s verdicts, like any other verdict, can be generally repealed.100
`Umar thus aimed at canceling any difference that could be cited between the Holy Prophet’s decisions and his verdicts so that he would be able to find a legal feature to his personal views to take them to the level of the Holy Prophet’s words.
Yet, he had to pass by many stages before he could attain such a rank. He therefore claimed that the Holy Prophet rested upon his personal opinions in some religious rulings and thus his words might descend to the rank of the ordinary Opinionists and might be compared to any other verdict and then rejected! This is of course one of the most anomalous opinions!
A thorough investigation in the Sahabah’s objections to `Umar’s opinions proves obviously that the Sahabah doubted the accuracy of `Umar’s views. Yet, presentation of the aforesaid narrations does not authorize testing the capacities of a Muslim since this matter has been largely condemned through many traditions. Imam `Ali is reported as saying,
“When you ask, you must intend for learning something, not for embarrassing the addressee, for an ignorant is similar to a knowledgeable and, thus, an arbitrary scholar is similar to an obstinate ignorant.”101
He has also said,
“People are generally imperfect and self-important. The asker is obstinate and the answerer is conceited.”102
The Sahabah, although they were acquainted with the abomination of putting question for the purpose of test and obstinacy, tended to ask `Umar in order to embarrass him since they thought that such embarrassment would save them from their troubles and would make the others understand that `Umar’s opinions were not always compatible to the religious instructions and the Holy Prophet’s jurisprudential questions most of which were ignored by `Umar.
They also intended to inform the Muslims that `Umar had not possessed a distinctive capacity of inferring the religious rules from the sources (namely, the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah).
In my conception, the Sahabah, by presenting such issues before `Umar in order to embarrass him, did not mean to criticize the personality of `Umar; rather they only intended to defend the Islamic legislation and to prevent the personal views from finding a place in the sacred field of the issuance of religious issues.
Many are the narrations that prove that the Sahabah did not belittle or criticize the personalities of Abu-Bakr and `Umar, even when they disagreed with them, since the two held the leadership of the Islamic nation. The ordinary Sahabah who were not experts in the religious issues, however, adopted the opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar because they used to refer to the supreme leader in these questions.
It is now clear that the Sahabah disagreed with `Umar on various questions and he himself gave different opinions on the same question and such disagreements would affect the religious laws in the coming ages.
On this account, a big number of Muslim jurisprudents, in order to evade confusion between the Holy Prophet’s decisions and the personal opinions that were issued after his noble lifetime, have made great efforts in the field of differentiating between the two since the Holy Prophet’s decisions rested upon the Divine Revelations; therefore the Holy Prophet’s decisions were called ‘Sunnah’ while the personal opinions were called ‘Ijtihad’. In this respect, Dr. Madkur says,
“Naturally, the Ijtihad of the Sahabah created disagreement in viewpoints and contradiction in religious verdicts. Having not stopped at analogy, the Ijtihad of the Sahabah included all the aspects of opinions on bases of intuition, sound nature, and the spirit of Islamic legislation in addition to full awareness of the rational ground on which opinions were founded and its role in issuing religious questions.”103
Some authors have argued that the reason beyond the Sahabah’s having issued disagreeing religious rulings was the difference in their intellects, awareness, and courses. Yet, those authors have absolutely pretended to forget the actual motives that made `Umar and his fans, who rested upon their personal opinions since the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, adopt Opinionism in addition to the requirements of the general situation of the Islamic State.
Everybody knows that the Muslims’ disagreements were not about whether the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah can be accepted as sources of the Islamic legislation or not; rather they disagreed about the point whether the words that were reported from Holy Prophet were actually said by him so that they would be included with the Sunnah or they were only fabricated for personal interests.
It seems that discrepancy in the reports from the Sahabah as regards the religious laws had a conception other than the claim of its having been a natural result of resting upon Ijtihad. This is because such discrepancy signifies disagreement about the intellectual trends that ruled at that time in addition to the fact that not every discrepancy can be justified as being personal Ijtihad.
Let us take the Basmalah (the phrase Bism-illahir-rahmanir-rahim: In the Name of Allah; the All-compassionate, the All-merciful) as an example: reference books of Hadith and biography of the Holy Prophet comprises a variety of opinions regarding this statement even in the opinions of a definite Sahabiy.
In a narration, Anas ibn Malik is narrated as having recited the Basmalah, during the obligatory prayers, in audible voice; and in another narration he is narrated as having instructed not to recite it audibly since Abu-Bakr and `Umar, when he had followed them in congregational prayers, did not recite it audibly; and in a third narration he is narrated as having issued another ruling about this very issue.
Referring to the four discrepant opinions of Anas ibn Malik as regards the Basmalah, al-Fakhr al-Raziy says,
“Three reports from Anas support the opinion of the Hanafiyyah School and three others contradict it: First, it has been narrated from Anas that when Mu`awiyah neglected the Basmalah in a prayer, the Muhajirun and Ansar objected to him.
This narration proves that reciting the Basmalah in the obligatory prayers was such a ordinary thing that all the Sahabah knew and practiced. Second, Abu-Qulabah narrated on the authority of Anas that the Holy Prophet, Abu-Bakr, and `Umar recited the Basmalah during the prayers. Third, when he was asked whether it is obligatory to recite the Basmalah audibly or not, Anas answered that he did not know.
Hence, reports from Anas as regards this question have been immensely confusing and contradictory. It is thus imperative to investigate the other indications. There is also another accusation concerning the same question; it has been narrated that `Ali used to recite the Basmalah in audible voice during the prayers and he also emphasized on it; yet when the Umayyad dynasty came to power, they emphasized on neglecting it so that they would cancel all the traditions of `Ali. Anas might have feared the Umayyad ruling authorities and therefore his verdicts became contradictory and confusing.
In my conception, whatever contradiction occurs between the verdicts of Anas and Ibn al-Mughaffah from one side and `Ali from the other, we will certainly accept `Ali’s verdict, which is more acceptable under all circumstances. This is in fact a decisive solution for the question.”104
The aforesaid discussion of al-Fakhr al-Raziy proves the intrusion of the ruling authorities in the religious laws. `Abdullah ibn `Abbas is also reported as saying,
“Have the people comprehended a verse that was not given to any Prophet other than our Holy Prophet and Prophet Solomon, son of David? This Verse is Bism-illahir-rahmanir-rahim (In the Name of Allah; the All-compassionate, the All-merciful).”105
It has been also narrated that Muhammad ibn Mansur said,
“I have heard Ja`far saying that people have neglected one of the grandest Names (of Almighty Allah). This is Bism-illahir-rahmanir-rahim.”106
Although many religious laws have been exposed to such discrepancy and contradiction, let us cite another example on the ruling regarding extending the arms during the prayers (instead of folding them).
Some narrators have reported that the Holy Prophet used to extend his hands during prayers and accordingly Malik ibn Anas decided this method as the Sunnah (the Holy Prophet’s actual deed)107 while others reported the opposite.
A third group of narrators have reported that he put one hand on the other without specifying the very place and a fourth group reported that he put his hands above the navel and so on. Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad was reported as saying,
“If I neglect the audible reciting in the prayers, some men of authority did neglect it, and if I do it, also some men of authority did do it.”108
This narration proves that the two trends were followed by two groups of grand Sahabah each of which was followed by people.
It is now obvious that the expansive reports of the Sahabah, especially in the questions were the Ahl al-Bayt’s opinions were opposed, establish the existence of two trends as regards the Islamic law:
The first trend included the Ahl al-Bayt and a few of the Sahabah who confirmed the Basmalah being a part of the Surahs and thus it is obligatory to recite it audibly in prayers. The second trend included others who opposed this ruling. The same thing is applicable to the question whether it is obligatory to extend one’s arms in prayers or to put them one on the other.
Hence, discrepancy among the Sahabah was deep-rooted and based upon adopted fundamentals. A group rested upon the authentic traditions of the Holy Prophet while another group depended upon the verdicts of grand Sahabah who decided their personal views, according to definite criteria, even if such would oppose the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds.
In other words, one who decided the impermissibility of adding ‘Amen’ to the Surah of al-Fatihah had depended upon a fundamental of the Muslim jurisprudence while he who decided the Basmalah as being a part of the Surahs had also depended upon a fundamental in which he believed.
The same thing can be said about all the religious laws that were opposite to the words of the Ahl al-Bayt. From this cause, it can be confirmed that the discrepancies of the Sahabah were originated from their personal tendencies and trends that they had decided as fundamental pillars of the code of Islamic law; therefore, not all of them were pure Ijtihad, especially in the questions in which they have agreed with the Ahl al-Bayt that prove that some of the Sahabah observed certain fundamentals despite everything. It is thus quite inaccurate to claim that such narrations are doubtful because they were added by the miscreants to the Muslim jurisprudence as well as other unfounded claims.
As they inferred the religious rulings from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, the Sahabah wanted to attract people’s attention to the existence of some people who issued personal views in the questions about which there were sacred texts just because those people were not full acquainted with all the indications of such sacred texts. Hence, people should follow either those who rested upon their personal opinions or those who committed themselves to the sacred texts.
Let us have another look at the aforementioned narration about the ruling appertained to a lady who menstruates during circumambulating the Holy Ka`bah. According to `Umar’s verdict, such a lady must postpone the Circumambulation until she would be pure and only then she would be permitted to perform the Circumambulation.109
It is yet well-known that Zayd ibn Thabit and `Abdullah ibn `Umar, having been influenced by `Umar’s verdict, also decided the same thing. However, both Zayd110 and `Abdullah111 changed their verdicts later on. It has been also narrated that `Umar himself retreated perhaps after he had been informed about `Ā’ishah’s famous report that when Safiyyah menstruated after she had performed the Ifadah (one of the rituals of the Hajj), the Holy Prophet permitted her to continue.112569
It has been also narrated that `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, answering the message of Zayd ibn Thabit in which he confessed of his inaccuracy in the question involved, said,
“I know better what the Holy Prophet said about (the rulings concerning) women. Yet, I desired to provide the proof on my claim from the Holy Qur'an that reads:
‘Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and (again) circumambulate the Ancient House. (Holy Qur’an: 22/29)’
Such a lady did complete the rites, perform the vows, and circumambulated the House. Nothing thus remained.”113
The previous words of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas demonstrate that the Holy Prophet’s decision was based upon the Holy Qur'an to which `Umar himself invited people by his famous saying, “Sufficient for us is the Book of Allah.” Hence, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, after Zayd ibn Thabit had informed him that `Umar contradicted the Holy Qur'an, wanted to bind `Umar with his own claim.
Imam `Ali and `Abdullah ibn `Abbas presented the Holy Qur'an’s texts, conceptions, and indications as their evidences on the actual rulings of the Islamic law in face of the personal views of the other Sahabah. Such presentations occurred so repeatedly that they undoubtedly indicate the following points:
First, they intended to prove to the Muslims that the majority, if not all, of the religious rulings can be deduced from the Holy Qur'an though the matter requires a little investigation, ponderation, inference, and sound rationality. Hence, it is unnecessary to resort to innovated sources of deduction, such as analogy and its likes, establishment of new fundamentals, and thorough dependence on Ijtihad and personal opinions.
Second, because scandalous discrepancies and contradictions occurred in the reports of the Sahabah, and even in the reports of a single Sahabiy, in addition to the imperfect conveyances from the Holy Prophet that they, in many cases, did not receive directly from him—these matters and others would make it unfeasible to rest upon the Sunnah in the issuance of religious rulings. Besides, not all the reporters have understood the very signification of the Holy Prophet’s words.
If we add to the previous the ruling authorities’ having prohibited the reporting and recording of the Hadith and the Sahabah’s having been afraid of breaking this decision, we conclude that thorough resting upon the Sunnah would be unconvincing except in a few cases when reports support each other in a definite matter. Hence, reference to the Holy Qur'an would be inevitable taking into consideration the fact that an inference from the Holy Qur'an cannot be denied or refuted.
Third, Imam `Ali and `Abdullah ibn `Abbas aimed at binding those who claimed the sufficiency of the Holy Qur'an in solving all the problems with their claim. Such binding would show clearly the inconsistency between those Sahabah’s claim and their theoretical and practical failure in the deduction of rulings from the Holy Qur'an.
On the other hand, the Sahabah who complied with the sacred texts comprehensively and who believed in the necessity of joining the Holy Sunnah to the Holy Qur'an were proven as the most experienced in deducing the religious rulings from these two sources.
To sum it up, the Islamic jurisprudence has unfortunately been influenced by the personal opinions of `Umar and thus the religious rulings have been affected by the discrepant and contradictory opinions of the Sahabah. This is because `Umar exerted all efforts in binding people with his decisions making them as sacred as the Holy Sunnah.
Similarly, some of the Sahabah pursued him in this regard causing discrepancy to the Islamic law. For instance, Abu-Hanifah, his two disciples, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Zufar, and Ibn Abi-Layla—all these master scholars of Sunnite jurisprudence have decided that full brothers must be deprived of the heritage of their sister who had a husband, a mother, and two half (maternal) brothers in addition to these two full brothers as has been decided by `Umar in an earlier issue. Malik and al-Shafi`iy, however, have decided shares to those full brothers as has been decided by `Umar on another occasion.
Yet, the most astonishing matter in this respect is that those master scholars have decided the accuracy of `Umar’s both decisions although the question was the same! Moreover, they have decided that `Umar was not inerrant; that he might have committed mistakes! To support their claims, each has searched for other ‘evidences’.
As a consequence, none should ever blame one who wonders whether Almighty Allah has decided the earlier or the later opinions of `Umar in this very issue! If the earlier decision was the correct, why did `Umar give the two full brothers shares of the heritage on the second occasion despite the fact that he knew that heritage is a financial right; and if such a right is violated, one will be responsible for the shortage in the shares of the others? Correspondingly, if those two full brothers should have enjoyed certain shares from their sister’s legacy, why did `Umar deprive them of their shares in the earlier case?
Because of their intense emphasis on following the manners of Abu-Bakr and `Umar, the Holy Sunnah has been overlooked in such cases and none has recognized it save its real people. Unfortunately, such Ijtihad that violated the sacred texts found a large area in the field of the Muslim jurisprudence and thus became the ruler. Hence, in that age, the fabricated reports that claimed the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith were the prevalent.
In plain words, the manners of Abu-Bakr and `Umar became the dominant over the code of the Islamic law; and the Sahabah’s questions that were directed to the caliphs became a common feature of their relationship with the ruling authorities.
It has been narrated that when Sa`id ibn Sufyan asked him about a religious question, `Uthman ibn `Affan interrogated him whether he had asked anyone else about the same question. When Sa`id answered negatively, `Uthman said: “Well, I will certainly behead him whom you ask about the very question and give you an answer dissimilar to mine!”114 Commentary on this incident is left for the gentle readers.
The fans of `Umar undertook the mission of conveying `Umar’s justifications for his decision of the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith as extensively as they could. Thus, `Umar’s justifications could not be distinguished from the justifications of the other Sahabah who followed him. This manifestly demonstrates an undeniable political fact that was invented by `Umar and his fans.
`Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered people to neglect the Holy Sunnah because he feared that it would be confused with the Holy Qur'an or that people would adhere to the Sunnah and disregard the Qur'an. Abu-Hurayrah also repeated the same justifications on more than one occasion. According to al-Mahkiy, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy, and Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy, too, repeated the same justifications. It has been narrated on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam on the authority of his fathers on the authority of `Ata' ibn Yasar that Abu-Hurayrah reported,
One day, the Messenger of Allah came to us while we were recording the Hadith. He asked, “What are writing down?”
“These are Hadiths that we have heard from you,” answered we.
“Do you want to depend upon a book other than the Book of Allah (the Holy Qur'an)?” reproached the Messenger of Allah. “The nations who came before you were misled only when they recorded books besides the Book of Allah.”
Then I (Abu-Hurayrah) asked him, “O Allah’s Messenger: May we report your words?”
“Yes, you may,” answered the Messenger of Allah. “Anyone who forges lies against me deliberately must find himself a place in Hellfire.”115572
It has been also narrated from Ibrahim al-Tamimiy that when `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud was informed about the existence of a book that they had with them, he came to them and insisted on seeing that book. They finally brought it to him. He then erased it and said,
“The peoples of the Divine Books who existed before you perished only because they attended to their scholars’ books and neglected the Book of Allah.”116
According to another narration, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud said,
“The past nations attended to the books of their scholars and monks and neglected the Torah and Gospel so casually that they and the knowledge therein were lost.”117574
Abu-Nadrah narrated that when Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy was asked to dictate the Hadith, he said,
“We must not dictate for you! You must take it from us in the same way as we took from our Prophet.”118
According to their narrations, Abu-Sa`id said,
“Do you intend to betake such books as Qur'an? When your Prophet was talking to us, we memorized.”119
Abu-Nadrah also narrated that he once said to Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy, “You are reporting to us from the Holy Prophet astounding things and we fear lest we will not memorize them as exactly as they are.”
Abu-Sa`id answered, “So, you want to make it as Qur'an! No, you must receive from us in the same way as we have received from the Messenger of Allah.’120
It has been also narrated that Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy said,
“When they wrote down a book with their own hands, the Israelites followed that book and neglected the Torah.”121
All these texts have a common justification, which is that the Israelites followed their scholars’ books and neglected the Torah. The same justification was presented by `Umar. Moreover, the same justification has been ascribed to Imam `Ali and `Abdullah ibn `Abbas. Again, all these prove that there has been a trend confirming and supporting `Umar’s opinion although we have previously discussed in details the inaccuracy of `Umar’s justifications for his decision.
As a conclusion, such contradiction between the Hadiths that confirmed the Holy Prophet’s permission to write down his traditions and the Hadith that confirmed his warning against so is meaningless unless a comparison will be made between the two.122
Yet, the comparison involved has acted as supporter for my own conception about the issue because the claim that the recordation of the Hadith was permitted only for the acquainted Sahabah while the ordinary people were not permitted to record—this claim is contrary to the deeds of `Umar with the grand Sahabah as regards this issue when he ordered them, without exception, to bring to him all their records of the Hadith and none has ever narrated that he accepted a single record.
Likewise, it has been argued that the prohibition of recording the Hadith was issued in the first Islamic age when the Qur'an was still revealed and thus the purpose behind such prohibition is to evade any confusion that would occur between the Holy Qur'an and the Hadith.
Yet, when the Holy Qur'an was completed and fully recognized by the Sahabah, only then were they permitted to write down the Hadith. This argument proves that the Holy Prophet, in the last of his holy lifetime, permitted the recordation of the Hadith and such permission was thus active.
Again, this proves my discussion that the decision of the prohibition was based upon a personal view of `Umar himself, not a religious ground. Even if we accept the contention that the Holy Prophet ordered not to write down his words and to erase anything that they had recorded as regards his traditions,123 the Sahabah would have certainly known these orders and applied it; and these orders should have been the main justification adopted by Abu-Bakr and `Umar for the issuance of their decision of prohibiting the recordation of the Hadith. The clear-cut conclusion that can be inferred here is that the Holy Prophet never warnws against recording the Hadith.
If we suppose that the Holy Prophet did prohibit recording the Hadith, then why did Abu-Bakr record these five hundred Hadiths and thus break the Holy Prophet’s order? Why did `Umar consult the Sahabah about this issue?
Moreover, why did he pass over their advice of permitting the recordation of the Hadith? Finally, how come that they advised him to permit the recordation of the Hadith while they had heard the Holy Prophet prohibiting it?
In addition, `Umar’s orders of erasing all records of Hadith and bringing to him all such records prove the existence of many records and books that had been written down before his reign.
Besides, their justification cannot support their claim; this is because the past nations went astray after they had tended to the books of their monks and rabbis and neglected the Torah and the Gospel but they did not tend to the records of their Prophets.
The difference between the words of the monks and rabbis from one side and the Holy Prophet’s words from the other is too large to be ever compared. The Muslims recorded the words, deeds, and confirmations of the Holy Prophet and nothing else, while the past nations went astray when they distorted the words of their Prophets and the concepts of the Divine Books.
On the contrary, the scholars of the Muslim nation maintained the religion and explained the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet’s traditions and laws.
Such a justification can be acceptable only when such records comprised personal opinions and inferences. The prohibition of recording such items would be reasonably satisfactory since personal opinions are exposed to errancy and inaccuracy and books of such opinions could be authored by nonbelievers or deviants who might cause confusion in the religious rulings for the coming generation. Conversely, the prohibition from recording the traditions of the Holy Prophet can never be justified through such ill excuses.
Some of those who regarded the prohibition of recording personal opinions of the scholars as same as the prohibition of recording the Holy Sunnah might have accepted `Umar’s decision from this angle after they had not understood the big difference between the scholars’ personal judgments and the Holy Prophet’s traditions. In consequence, such prohibition was accepted by the next generations until it was canceled during the reign of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz, the Umayyad ruler.
In any event, all proofs confirm that the recordation of the Hadith was permitted during the Holy Prophet’s age and the prohibition was invented afterwards under certain circumstances. It has been also confirmed that some of the Sahabah attempted to consolidate `Umar’s prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith in the Muslims’ mentalities for nothing other than `Umar’s disliking it.
Yet, when `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz canceled the prohibition and decided the recordation of the Hadith as commendable matter, those individuals changed their minds and liked the matter. Al-Zuhriy says,
“We disliked the recordation of the knowledge until we were forced by those rulers. We thus decided not to prevent any of the Muslims from it.”124
According to another narration, al-Zuhriy said,
“… until the ruler compelled us to do it.”125
According to a third narration, he said,
“The kings ordered me to write down these items of knowledge; I therefore wrote them down. Then I saw it is shameful to write down for the kings and deprive the people of these items. So, I decided to write them down for the people.”126
Abu-Malih was reported as saying,
“We despaired of writing down any item of knowledge from al-Zuhriy. But when Husham, the Umayyad ruler, compelled him to write down for his sons and al-Zuhriy did, people could record.”127
In my book entitled Wudu’ al-Nabiy (The Ablution of the Prophet) the Introduction, I have set forth in details the influence of the rulers on the recordation of the Holy Sunnah and the secrets behind their showing interest in this respect.
I also established that the scientific shortage from which they suffered pushed them to prohibit the recordation of the Hadith and then for the same reason to make it public since the Sahabah used to object to them through Hadiths; they therefore had to lock this door in order to fill this gap and not to expose their educational weakness in face of a strong trend that refuted the ruling authorities’ decisions through traditions of the Holy Prophet.
The matter then expanded so largely that the trend of Ijtihad invented the law of considering consensus as source of the Islamic legislation so that they will bind the publics with the decisions of the caliph that would naturally take the quality of the ummah’s consensus.
They thus decided that the verdicts of the Private Committee that was founded by `Umar would replace all the Sahabah and would be considered as consensus that nobody is allowed to transgress or breach.
About the age of the Sahabah, al-Wafi al-Mahdiy says,
“In this age, consensus, which is a new source of the Islamic Legislation since it was not present in the first age of Islam, has emerged. When he could not find a solution neither in the Holy Qur'an nor in the Sunnah, Abu-Bakr would refer the matter to a legislative body. `Umar did the same thing, too. Any decision that was made by that legislative body would be regarded as issued by all of them…”128
In practice, `Umar formed a committee for administrating the affairs of the Muslims and meeting their legislative requirements and appointed some individuals whom he had trusted as issuers of verdicts so that he would be able to administrate other affairs. It has been narrated on the authority of `Ali ibn Rabah al-Lakhmiy that `Umar delivered to the people the following address,
“One who has a question about the Qur'an must refer to Ubayy ibn Ka`b. one who has a question about what is lawful and what is not must refer to Mu`adh ibn Jabal. One who has a question about the legal shares of inheritances must refer to Zayd ibn Thabit. One who has a financial question must refer to me, for I am the treasurer.”129
This text corroborates that `Umar needed to establish a foundation for protecting himself from danger and for rooting his personal inventions, such as Ra’y (Opinionism) and Istihsan (Equitable Preference).
It is worth mentioning that it was not `Umar who betook personal opinions as a course for the issuance of religious verdicts; rather Abu-Bakr preceded him in this respect when he neglected carrying out the Holy Prophet’s order to kill that pious man who was offering prayers and also when he declared openly the principle of adoption of personal views and Ijtihad in his first speech to people when he said,
“I have been chosen for your leadership while I am not the best of you. Hence, if I am right, you should then help me; and if I am wrong, you thus lead me to the right.”130
In addition, Abu-Bakr said about Khalid ibn al-Walid who had killed a Muslim individual deliberately and married his widow on the same night,
“As Khalid tried to infer the ruling (i.e. use Ta’wil: interpretation), he missed the right.”131
This very statement was used by Khalid himself when he wanted to find an excuse for his deed.132