Chapter 4: Concerning the General Companions
All the jurisprudential rulings and Islamic beliefs have been transmitted to us by the companions. No one can claim that he worships Allah based upon the Qur'an and the sunna without the companions acting as the intermediaries to reach these two fundamental sources for the Muslims the world over.
Yet the companions disagreed and differed among themselves after the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), reviling and cursing each other, fighting and eventually killing each other. It is not possible for us then, given these circumstances, to accept rulings from them without discussion, critique, examination and opposition.
Likewise, it is not possible to judge for or against them without knowing their status and without reading their biographies concerning what they did during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and after his death. This is [necessary so as] to distinguish the trustworthy from the falsifier, the believer from the corrupt one, the sincere one from the hypocrite, and to know those who turned back upon their heels, from those who remained devoted.
Regrettably, the ahl al-sunna in general do not allow this and vehemently prevent criticism of the companions or finding [any] fault with them. They are pleased with all of them and send blessings upon them, as they send blessings upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, without the exception of any of them.
The question that must be posed to the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a is this: Does criticizing and finding fault with the companions deserve banishment from Islam? Or does this [act] conflict with the Qur'an and the sunna?
To answer this question, it is necessary for me to examine the deeds and sayings of some of the companions during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and after his death, referring to what has been mentioned by the scholars of the ahl al-sunna in their Sahihs, Musnads and their historical works. I shall do this in a concise manner without referring to any Shi'i book, since their views on some of the companions are well known and require no further elucidation.
To remove any confusion, and so as not to leave any proofs for an opponent to use in arguing against me, I must state that when we mention the companions in this chapter, we refer to some, not to all of them. Those [whom we refer to] may be the majority or the minority; we will discover this during the course of our research, if Allah wishes.
[I say this] because many trouble makers accuse us of being against the companions. They say that we revile and curse the companions so as to influence those who listen [to us] and to block the path to research. On the contrary, we refrain from insulting and reviling the companions. We are pleased with the sincere companions whom the Qur'an calls "the thankful ones". We dissociate ourselves from those who turned back upon their heels, those who reverted after the Prophet (S.A.W.) and caused most Muslims to be misguided.
Yet, even these we do not malign nor insult them. We merely expose their deeds, which have been chronicled by the historians and the hadith scholars, so that the truth may become manifest for the researchers. Our brothers from the ahl al-sunna do not like this, they consider it as [an act of] cursing an insulting.
The noble Qur’an and it is Allah's word, [which] does not shy away from the truth, has opened this door for us and has informed us that amongst the companions were hypocrites, corrupts ones, tyrants, liars, polytheists, reverts, and amongst them were those who troubled Allah and His Messenger.
The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), who did not speak from desire and, in Allah's name, cannot be reproached, has opened this door for us and has taught us that among the companions were apostates, heretics, those who broke oaths and dissenters; [amongst them were] those who will enter the fire without their companionship benefitting them. On the contrary, it (companionship) will work against him, causing an increase in punishment on the day when no wealth or progeny can be of any benefit.
Allah, the most wise, in his book, as well as the great sunna of His Prophet bears witness that the situation is so, but, in spite of this, the ahl al-sunna want to prevent the Muslims from speaking or debating about the companions, so that the truth may not be known. [They do this so that] the Muslims may not know the friends of Allah [whom] they can befriend. [They do this also] as the Muslims might know the enemies of Allah and His Prophet and would oppose them.
One day, I was in the capital of Tunisia in one of its largest mosques. Having completed the obligatory prayer, the Imam sat in the middle of a circle of those who had prayed and he began the session disparaging and labeling as infidels, those who speak against the companions of the Prophet (P).
He talked at length saying: "Beware of those who, under the pretext of academic research and a desire to reach the truth, speak against the honor of the companions. The curse of Allah, the angels and all mankind are upon them. They wish to create doubt in people about their religion. The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said: 'If there comes to you a hadith from my companion, accept it, for, by Allah, even if you were to spend to the extent of Uhud in gold, you would not reach the standing of even a one tenth of them.'"
One of the enlightened members who was accompanying me interrupted him and said: "This hadith is false and a lie against the Prophet of Allah.” The Imam and some of the audience became furious and turned to us in disbelief and aversion. Realizing that the situation called for diplomacy with the Imam, I said to him: "O Sir, eminent teacher, what is the sin of the Muslim, who reads in the Qur'an: 'Muhammad is just a Messenger. Other Messengers have gone before him. If he dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels? Whosoever turns back upon his heels will not harm Allah. And Allah will reward those who are thankful' (3:144).
And what is the sin of the Muslim who reads in Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim the saying of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) to his companions: 'On the day of resurrection you will be grabbed from the left, and I will say: 'Where are they [being taken] to?' It will be said: 'To hell, by God.’ I will say: 'My Lord! These are my companions.’ It will be said: 'You do not know what they did after you. From the time you left them they never ceased to apostatize.’ I will say: 'Away with him, away with him, woe to him who changed things after me. And I do not see anyone of them being saved except that he will be like a forlorn sheep.'"
Everyone listened to me in silence, alarmed. Some of them asked me if I was sure the hadith is to be found in al-Bukhari? I responded: "Yes, just as I am sure that Allah is one, He has no companion and that Muhammad is His slave and Prophet.”
When the Imam realized the effect I had on those present, due to my memorizing the hadith which I related, he said calmly: "We learnt from our shaykhs, may Allah have mercy on them, that sedition always lies dormant. May Allah curse one who awakens it.”
I said to him: "O Sir, the discord in its lifetime has not been dormant. But we are sleeping. The one amongst us who wakes up and opens his eyes to know the truth you accuse him of reviving discord. In any case, Muslims claim to follow the book of Allah and the sunna of His Prophet (P), not the sayings of the shaykhs who are pleased with Mu'awiya, Yazid, and 'Amr b. al-'As.”
The Imam interjected saying: "Are you not pleased with our master Mu'awiya (R), the scribe of the revelation?" I said: "This matter will take a long time to explain. If you wish to know my view regarding this [subject], I give you my book "Then I was Guided.” Perhaps it will awaken you from your sleep and open your eyes to some realities.”
The Imam accepted my talk and my gift with some reluctance. After a month, however, he wrote a wonderful letter to me, praising Allah for having guided him to the right path and showing affection and love for the ahl al-bayt, peace be upon them. I sought his permission to print his letter in the third edition [of the book], as it contains sublime affection and sincerity of the soul which, when it recognizes the truth, adheres to it. This reflects the reality of most of the ahl al-sunna, who lean towards the truth as soon as the veils are lifted.
However, he requested me to keep his letter secret and not publish it since it was necessary for him to have adequate time to convince the congregation who prayed behind him. He also wished his conversion to be peaceful, without any commotion or confusion, according to what he said.
Let us return to the subject of the discussion on the companions so that we may reveal the bitter truth which the Qur'an, the wisest book, has recorded and [which] the noble Prophetic sunna has mentioned.
Let us begin with the words of Allah, through which no falsehood comes, neither from the front nor from behind. It is the [final] ruling, the just and it is the criterion (between truth and falsehood). The most exalted says, regarding some of the companions:
"And of the people of Medina are those who are bent on hypocrisy. You know them not, but We know them. Twice will We punish them, and then they will be cast into severe punishment" (9:101).
"They swear in Allah's name that they did not speak [evil]. They have certainly spoken words of disbelief. They disbelieved after submitting. And they contemplated that which they could not attain" (9:74).
"And among them are those who took a covenant with Allah saying: "If He gives us of His bounty, we will surely spend in charity and be among the righteous people". But when He gave them of His bounty, they were miserly with it and turned back aversively. So He filled their hearts with hypocrisy until the day they meet Him due to their breaking the promise with God which they gave, and because they lied" (9:77).
"The desert Arabs are the most disbelieving, hypocritical and most deserving to be ignorant of the ordinances sent down by Allah unto His Messenger. And Allah is the All Knowing, the Wise" (9:97).
"And of the people are those who say: 'We believe in Allah and the last day'. They believe not and seek to deceive Allah and those who believe. Instead they fool only themselves, though they do not perceive this. In their hearts is sickness, and Allah increases their sickness. For them is a painful chastisement due to their lies" (2:10).
"When the hypocrites come to you they say: 'We bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah'. Allah knows that you are His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars. They have made their oaths as a shield and turn [people] away from Allah. Evil indeed is that which they do! That is because they believed and then disbelieved. Their hearts were sealed and they do not understand" (63:3).
"Do you not see those who claim to believe in what was revealed unto you and what was revealed before you? They seek judgment from the evil ones even though they were ordered to disbelieve in them. Satan wishes to lead them astray completely. When it is said to them: 'Come to what Allah has revealed and [come] to the Messenger,’ you see the hypocrites turn away from you in aversion. Yet when misfortune befalls them due to what their own hands have earned, they come to you swearing by Allah, saying: 'We merely wished goodness and success'" (4:62).
"The hypocrites [seek to] deceive Allah, but He deceives them. When they stand to prayer, they do so in a lazy manner, they [seek to] show off to the people, they do not remember Allah but for a little [while]" (4:142).
"If you see them, their appearances will please you, and if they speak, you will listen to them. They are as blocks of wood propped up. They believe that every cry is against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. Allah will destroy them [as] they forge lies" (63:4).
"Allah knows those from among you that hinder people and those who say to their brothers: 'Come to us and you will not have to fight except for a little while'. Covetous they are over you. When fear comes, you will see them looking towards you, their eyes rolling as though death hovers upon them. And when the fear is gone, they assail you with sharp tongues, desiring good. They do not believe and Allah has made their deeds of no avail, that is easy for Allah" (33:19).
"And among them are those who listen to you until, when they leave you, they say to those who have been given knowledge: ‘What did he just say?’ They are those whose hearts Allah has sealed and they follow their own desires" (47:16).
"Do those in whose hearts is sickness think that Allah will not expose their rancor? Had we so wished, we would have shown them to you, you would have recognized them by their signs. Surely you shall know them by the tone of their speech. Allah is aware of your deeds" (47: 30).
"Those who lagged behind from among the desert Arabs will say to you: 'We were busy with our properties and our families. So seek forgiveness for us'. They utter with their tongues what is not in their hearts" (48:11).
These clear verses from Allah's glorious book explain clearly the hypocrisy of some of them who infiltrated the ranks of the sincere companions so much so that, had it not been for Allah's revelation, their realities would have been hidden from the bearer of the message himself.
However, the ahl al-sunna always argue with us concerning this. They say: "What have we to do with the hypocrites? May Allah curse them. The companions are not from them, or these hypocrites were not amongst the companions". If you ask them: "Who are these hypocrites [concerning] whom more than 150 verses were revealed in chapters 9 and 63?" They will respond: "They are 'Abd Allah b. 'Ubayy and 'Abd Allah b. Salul.” Besides these two people, they do not find any other [people].
Glory be to Allah! If the Prophet (S.A.W.) himself did not know most of them, how can the hypocrisy be restricted to Ibn Ubayy and Ibn Abi Salul, those two who were known to the Muslims?
The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) knew a few of them and told their names to Hudhayfa b. al-Yamani, as you say, and ordered him to conceal their matters to the point where 'Umar bin al-Khattab, during the days of his Caliphate, used to ask Hudhayfa about himself: "Was he ('Umar) from among the hypocrites? Had the Prophet (S.A.W.) mentioned his name?" This is [in accordance with] what you report in your books. The Prophet (S.A.W.) had given a clear indicator by which the hypocrites would be known, i.e., hatred towards 'Ali b. Abi Talib, as you report in your Sahihs.
Most of these companions, whom you are pleased with and accord top [positions] to, hated 'Ali, they waged wars against him, they murdered and cursed him when he was alive and dead. [They did this] to him, his family and those who loved him. You consider all of them to be amongst the eminent companions.
The wisdom of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) necessitated that he informs Hudhayfa of their names sometimes, and [inform] the Muslims of their signs at other times. [This was done] so that he fulfills his obligation to the people and no one could [then] claim: "We were not aware of this.”
What the ahl al-sunna say nowadays is of no value, [they say]: "We love Imam 'Ali (R), may Allah brighten his face". We say to them: "There cannot exist in the heart of a believer, love for the friend and enemy of Allah.” Imam 'Ali himself said: "One who equates us with our enemies is not from us.”
Furthermore, when the noble Qur'an speaks of the companions, it speaks of them in numerous descriptions and distinctive signs. If we exempt the sincere, grateful companions, then the rest of them have been described in the wise book as being corrupt, deceivers, forsakers, breakers of oaths or they turn back, they [express] doubt in Allah and His Prophet, flee from battle, oppose the truth, disobey the orders of Allah and His Messenger, prevent others from jihad, hasten to vain things and business, abandoning the prayer, saying what they do not practice, claim to do favors to the Prophet due to their Islam, having hard hearts and not being humble in the remembrance of Allah and the truth that was revealed, raising their voices above the Prophet's, troubling the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), or listening to the hypocrites.
Let us be satisfied with this brief [description], for there are many verses which we have not cited for the sake of brevity. For the benefit of all, however, it is necessary to mention some verses that were revealed to criticize the companions who were described by those attributes but who, due to politics, were all regarded, after the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and after the cessation of revelation, as upright, trustworthy and just. It was not possible for any Muslim to speak against them or criticize or find faults with them.
In order that an obdurate person may not think that the verses on the hypocrites do not pertain to the companions, as the ahl al-sunna claim, we have decided to present some of the verses that refer specifically to the believers.
In the wise book, Allah's says: "O You who believe! What is it with you that when it is said to you to go forth in the cause of Allah you cling heavily to where you are? Do you prefer the life of this world to that of the hereafter? Little is the comfort of this life when compared to that of the hereafter. If you do not go forth, He will inflict a grievous punishment upon you and substitute another people in your place. You cannot harm Him in the least. And Allah has power over all things" (9:34).
"O you who believe! whoever of you reverts after having believed, Allah will bring a people whom He loves and who love him, humble with the believers, powerful over the disbelievers, struggling in the way of Allah, not afraid of the sternest critics. That is the grace of Allah. He bestows it upon whom He wills. Allah's knowledge encompasses [everything]" (5:54).
"O you who believe! Do not be treacherous to Allah and His Prophet. Do not knowingly betray your trust. And know that your property and your children are a test and that with Allah lies great reward." (8:28).
"O You who believe! Respond to Allah and His Prophet when they call you to what enlivens you. And know that Allah comes between a man and his heart and that to Him you shall be gathered. Beware of discord that it should not affect especially those of you who do wrong; know that Allah is severe in punishment" (8:25).
"O You who believe! Remember the bounties of Allah when armies came against you but we sent against them winds and forces that you could not see. Allah saw clearly all that you did. They came to you from above and from below. And behold! The eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats and you imagined various things about Allah. Then the believers were tested and they were shaken tremendously. The hypocrites and those in whose hearts there is sickness say: "Allah and His Messenger have promised us nothing but delusions" (33:12).
"O You who believe, why do you say what you do not practice, grievous is the sin in the eyes of Allah that you say what you do not do" (61:3).
"Has the time not now arrived for those who believe that their hearts should humbly be engaged in the remembrance of Allah and the truth which has been revealed." (57:16)?
"They seek to impress upon you that they accepted Islam as a favor to you: Say: 'Do not count your Islam as a favor to me. Allah has done you a favor by guiding you to the faith, if you are truthful.'" (49:17).
"Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates and your kins or the wealth that you have gained, or the business in which you fear a decline, or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Prophet or struggling in His path then wait until Allah brings about His decision and Allah does not guide those who are corrupt." (9:14).
"The desert Arabs say: 'We believe'. Say: 'You have not believed. Rather, say: 'We have submitted ourselves to Allah' for faith has not yet entered your hearts." (49:14).
"Those who do not believe in Allah and the last day seek to be excused. Their hearts are in doubt and in their doubt they hesitate." (9:45).
"Had they come out with you they would have only added disorder, hurrying to and fro in your midst and sowing sedition among you. And there are some amongst you who would have listened to them. Allah is well aware of the wrongdoers." (9:47).
"Those who stayed behind rejoiced in their inactivity, [doing so] behind the Messenger of Allah. They hated to struggle with their property and their lives in the path of Allah. They said: 'Do not go forth in the heat.’ Say: 'The fire of Hell is more hot', if only they understood." (9:81).
"That was because they followed what brought forth the wrath of Allah. And they hated Allah's pleasure. So He made their deeds of no value. Or do those in whose hearts there is sickness reckon that Allah will not bring their wickedness to light? Had We so wished, We would have shown them to you, you would have recognized them by their marks. Surely, you will know them by the tone of their speech. And Allah knows your deeds." (47:30).
"And a group from the believers disliked it. They dispute with you about the truth after it was made clear, as if they were being driven to death whilst they were watching it." (8:6).
"Here you are invited to spend in the way of Allah! Amongst you are some who are misers. And whoever is miserly is only miserly to his own soul. Allah is free from all wants and you are needy. If you turn back He will substitute another people and they will not be like you." (47:38).
"And among them are those who slander you in [the distribution of] alms. If they are given from it, they are pleased. If they are not, they become angry." (9:58).
"And among them are those who listen to you until, when they leave you, they say to those who have been given knowledge: 'What did he say just now?' They are those upon whose hearts Allah has placed a seal. They follow their desires." (47:16).
"And among them are those who trouble the Prophet and say: 'He is all ears'. Say: 'He listens to what is best for you. He believes in Allah and has faith in the believers. And he is a mercy to those of you who believe'. But those who trouble the Prophet will have a grievous punishment." (9:61).
These clear verses are sufficient to satisfy the researchers that the companions can be divided into two groups:
1. One group believed in Allah and His Prophet (S.A.W.), submitting its affairs and leadership to them. It obeyed Allah and His Prophet, dedicating [itself] whole heartedly to them, sacrificing for their cause. This [group] was the successful one. It represented a minority. The Qur'an called these [people] the 'grateful ones'.
2. Another group outwardly believed in Allah and His Prophet, but had sickness in its heart. It did not submit its affairs except for personal interests and worldly benefits. It opposed the Prophet in his rulings and commands, and preferred itself over Allah and His Prophet. This group was amongst the losers and represented the majority. The Qur'an referred to it succinctly when Allah, the Glorified and Honored, said: "We have come to you with the truth, but most of you hate the truth" (43:78).
The researcher discovers that this "majority", during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.), lived with him, prayed behind him and accompanied him when he travelled. They sought, by any means possible, to get close to him so that their [true] state may not be revealed to the sincere believers. They tried their best to put up a show, making the believers envious due to their excessive worship and piety in the eyes of the people.
If this was their state during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.), what were they like after his death? No doubt they were energetic; they multiplied in numbers, spread and increased, as did their cover-ups and representatives (in the community). There was no Prophet who could recognize them and no revelation to disgrace them.
Especially as, with his death, appeared the early signs of dissension and fragmentation amongst the people of Medina, who were inclined towards hypocrisy. The Arabs in the peninsula apostatized for they were severe in their disbelief and hypocrisy. Among them were those who claimed prophethood such as Musaylima the liar, Tulayha, Sajjah bint al-Harth and their followers. All of them were among the companions.
If we leave aside all of them and concentrate solely on the Medinan companions of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), we can certainly state that the thorns of hypocrisy appeared in them too. Most of the believers amongst them turned back upon their heels for the [sake of the] Caliphate.
In the previous discussion, we learnt that they plotted against the Prophet (P) and his successor; they disobeyed the commands that the Prophet of Allah (P) had issued to them when he was on his deathbed.
This reality is something from which there is no escape for the researchers, seeking the truth, for they are confronted with it when reading the historical texts and the biographical accounts of the Prophet. Allah's most glorified book has recorded it in the most clear expression and the wisest verses when it said: "Muhammad is just a Messenger. Other Messengers have gone before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back upon your heels? And whosoever turns back upon his heels will not hurt Allah in any way. Allah will reward those who are grateful." (3:144).
The grateful ones are a minority amongst the companions, who did not turn back, they were steadfast to the covenant they gave to the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and did not change in any way.
This noble verse, with its clear implications, refutes the claim of the ahl al-sunna, i.e., that the companions have no relation to the hypocrites. Even if we, for argument's sake, accept this, then this noble verse is addressed to the sincere companions who were not hypocrites during the life of the Prophet (P), but instead reverted upon their heels immediately after his death.
The reality of them will become clear when we examine their status during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.), and after his death, and what the Prophet of Allah said regarding them. This is abundantly clear in the hadith, biographical and historical works.
In order that no obstinate person may allege that the Prophetic hadiths, which relate to the companions, have any defect and so judge them as being weak, we have relied solely upon the hadiths [cited] in al-Bukhari, which is the most authentic book for the ahl al-sunna. In keeping with his well known approach, al-Bukhari has concealed many of these hadiths in order to protect the reputation of the companions. Although the other Sahihs of the ahl al-sunna have recorded other numerous traditions and in more explicit terms, we shall be contented with this concise [number of traditions] which al-Bukhari has reported, so that our argument may be complete.
In volume 1, in the chapter entitled: "The Fear of the Believer of His Acts being made Futile without him Realizing It,” in "The Book of Faith,” al-Bukhari reported: "Ibrahim al-Tayyimi said: 'Whenever I compare my words with my deeds, I fear I [may] have lied.’ Ibn Abi Mulayka said: 'I met thirty companions of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and each one of them feared hypocrisy within himself. Not one of them could claim to believe in Gabriel or Michael (volume 1, page 97).’”
If Abu Mulayka met thirty companions of the Prophet (P) and each one felt that he was a hypocrite and could not claim to have proper belief, how can the ahl al-sunna raise them to the level of Prophets, and not accept criticism of any of them?
In volume 4, in "The Chapter on Spies and Spying,” in "The Book of Jihad and Campaigns,” al-Bukhari related: "Hatib b. Abi Balta'a (he was amongst the companions of the Prophet (S.A.W.)) sent [someone] to the polytheists of Mecca informing them of some of the plans of the Prophet of Allah (P). His letter was brought to the Prophet (S.A.W.).
The Prophet of Allah (P) said to him: 'What is this, O Hatib?' He apologised to the Prophet saying that all he wanted was to protect his relatives in Mecca. The Prophet of Allah (P) believed him but 'Umar (R) said: 'O Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) let me chop off the head of this hypocrite.’ The Prophet (S.A.W.) replied: 'He witnessed [the battle of] Badr. How do you know, perhaps Allah looked upon the people of Badr and said: 'Do as you wish, for I have forgiven you (vol. 4, p. 19).’”
If Hatib, who was among the first companions at Badr, could divulge the secrets of the Prophet (P) to his idolatrous enemies of Mecca and could betray Allah and His Prophet (P) with the excuse of protecting his relatives, and if 'Umar himself testifies to his hypocrisy, what can be said of the companions who converted after the conquest of Mecca? Or after Khaybar, or after Hunayn? And what [can be said] of those who were freed after they had surrendered, without accepting Islam?
As to what has been quoted in the last paragraph, i.e., the words attributed to the Prophet (P), that Allah said to the people of Badr: "Do as you wish for Allah has forgiven you." We will leave the remarks to the perceptive reader.
In volume 6, in "The Book on the Merits of the Qur'an, Sura al-Munafiqun,” al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih in "The Chapter on Allah's words: 'It is the same whether you seek forgiveness for them or you do not. Allah will never forgive them, for Allah will not guide the corrupt ones:’” "A man from the Muhajirun hit an Ansari man. The Ansari said: 'O Ansar, help [me].’ And the Muhajir said: 'O emigrants help [me].’
The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) heard this and said: 'What is this argument which is characteristic to the claims of the period of ignorance?' They said: 'O Apostle of Allah! A Muhajir hit an Ansari.’ He said: 'Leave that alone for it is a detestable [act].’ 'Abd Allah b. 'Ubayy heard that and said: 'They have done it? By Allah, if we returned to Medina, those who are powerful will expel the weaker!'
This reached the Prophet (S.A.W.) and 'Umar got up and said: 'O Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) let me cut off the head of this hypocrite.’ The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: 'Leave him alone. Let the people not say that Muhammad kills his companions (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 6, p 65).’”
The hadith clearly shows that hypocrites were among the companions. For the Prophet of Allah accepted 'Umar's words, that the man was a hypocrite, but prevented him from killing him, lest it be said that Muhammad killed his companions. Perhaps the Prophet (S.A.W.) knew that most of the companions were hypocrites and that if every hypocrite was killed, not many of his companions would remain [alive]. Where are the ahl al-sunna with regards to this painful reality which refutes their claims?
In volume 3, al-Bukhari reported in "The Chapter on Traditions of Fabrications,” from "The Book of Testimony:” "The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) said: 'Who will help me against a man who has hurt me by harming my family?' Sa'd b. Mu'adh got up and said: 'O Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.), I will relieve you from him. If he is from the Aws, we will be head him.
And if he is from our brothers, the Khazraj, we will do as you order.’ Sa'd b. 'Ubada got up, and he was the chief of the Khazraj, and before this he was a righteous man but he was filled with zeal (for his tribe) and said: 'By Allah! You have lied. You will not kill him for you are not capable of doing it.’ Usayd b. al-Hudayr rose and said: 'By Allah, you have lied! By Allah, we will certainly kill him for you are a hypocrite and argue on behalf of the hypocrites.’”
The argument between the Aws and the Khazraj became so heated that they were about to fight each other. The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) was on the pulpit, and he kept on placating them until they finally kept quiet, whereupon he also kept quiet (al-Bukhari, vol. 5 p. 156, and vol. 6, p. 8).”
Sa'd b. 'Ubada, the chief of the Ansar, is accused of hypocrisy, having been, as the report testifies, a righteous man, and he is called a hypocrite in the presence of the Prophet (P) who did not defend him.
The Ansar, whom Allah has praised so much in His book, instigated the 'Aws and Khazraj who were prepared to fight [each other] for a hypocrite who had annoyed the Prophet (P) concerning his family and [they were prepared] to defend him and had raised their voices in the presence of the Prophet (S.A.W.). [Knowing all this] how can we be surprised by the hypocrisy of others, those who had dedicated their lives to fighting against the Prophet (P) and his message, or those who intended to burn the house of his daughter after his death, for the sake of the Caliphate?
Al-Bukhari has reported in his Sahih, in volume 8, in "The Book of Unity,” in "The Chapter on Allah's words: 'The angels and the holy spirit ascend to Him...'" "'Ali b. Abi Talib sent some pieces of gold from Yemen to the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.). The Prophet (P) distributed it among some people.
The Quraysh and the Ansar became angry and said: 'He has given to the notables of the Najd and forsaken us.’ The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) said: 'Rather, I was placating them.’ A man came to him and said: 'O Muhammad! Fear Allah!' The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: 'Who will obey Allah if I were to disobey him? He entrusts me to the people of the earth, don't you trust me?'
Khalid b. al-Walid asked him if he could kill him, but the Prophet (P) prevented him from that. When he went away, the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: 'From the offspring of this man will come a people who will recite the Qur'an but it will not go past their throats. They will pierce Islam as an arrow pierces the game. They will kill the Muslims but will spare the idolaters. Were I to meet them, I would kill them as 'Ad was killed (al-Bukhari, vol. 8 p. 178).’”
This is another hypocrite among the companions, accusing the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) of injustice in distribution, and then confronts him in total disrespect with the words: "O Muhammad, fear Allah". Although the Apostle of Allah (P) knew of his hypocrisy, and that from his descendants would emerge a people who would pierce Islam as an arrow pierces the game, killing the Muslims and sparing the idolaters, despite all of this, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) prevented Khalid from killing him.
In this is an answer to the ahl al-sunna, who always argue with me saying: "If the Prophet of Allah knew that there were hypocrites among his companions who would be the cause for leading the Muslims astray, it would have been obligatory upon him to kill them so as to protect his umma and to protect his religion.”
In volume 3, in "The Chapter if the Imam urges for a Treaty" in "The Book of Treaties,” al-Bukhari relates:
"Al-Zubayr reported that he argued against a man from the Ansar who had participated at [the battle of] Badr, and that he presented the matter to the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) about a stream which both used for irrigation. The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said to al-Zubayr: 'Irrigate from it, O Zubayr, and then let [the water] flow to your neighbor.’
The Ansari became angry and said: 'O Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) is it because he is your cousin?' The face of the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) changed (with anger) and he said: 'Irrigate and then hold it (the water) until it reaches the walls (Volume 3 p. 171).’”
This is another group of the hypocritical companions who believed that the Prophet of Allah (P) was influenced by sentiments and would favor his cousin. They said it impudently until the Prophet's face changed color due to intense anger.
Al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih, in volume 4, "The Chapter on What the Prophet used to give to those whose Hearts were to be Placated"; in "The Book of "Jihad and Campaigns;” "From 'Abd Allah (R), who said: 'On the day of the battle of Hunayn, the Prophet (S.A.W.) favoured [some] people in the distribution (of booty). He gave al-Aqra b. Habis one hundred camels, and he gave 'Uyayna the same amount. He also granted some to the eminent Arabs, giving them preference in the distribution that day.
A man said: 'By Allah! There is no justice in this distribution and the pleasure of Allah is not sought in it'. I said: 'By Allah, most certainly I will inform the Prophet (S.A.W.)'. So I came and informed him. He said: 'And who will be just if Allah and His Prophet are not just? May Allah bless Moses. He was troubled more than this, and yet he remained patient (al-Bukhari Volume 4, p. 61).’”
This is another hypocrite amongst the companions of the Prophet of Allah (P) and perhaps he was amongst the prominent Qurayshis. As a result, the narrator refrained from mentioning his name, afraid of the repercussions from the rulers of the time. You observe that the hypocrite is certain in his belief and swears that Muhammad was not just, and that he (the Prophet) did not wish to please Allah in his distribution. May Allah have mercy on Muhammad for he was troubled more than this, yet he was patient.
In volume 4, in "The Chapter on the Signs of Prophethood in Islam,” in "The Book of the Beginning of Creation,” al-Bukhari recorded: "Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (R) said: 'We were with the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and he was distributing portions. Dhu'l-Khuwaysira came to him. He was from the Banu Tamim. He said: 'O Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.).
Be just.’ He said: 'Woe be to you! Who will be just if I am not just? You would be disappointed and at a loss if I were not just.’ 'Umar said: 'O Prophet of Allah give me permission to smite his neck.’ He said: 'Leave him alone. He has companions whose prayers and fasts, when compared with one of yours, makes it appear insignificant. They recite the Qur'an but it does not go past their throats.
They pierce [through] the religion as an arrow pierces through the game (al-Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 179).’”
This is another group of hypocritical companions who outwardly exhibited such an abundance of piety and humility that even the Prophet (P) said to 'Umar: "The prayers and fasts of one of you seems little compared to their prayers and fasts". There is no doubt that they would memorize the Qur'an completely, but it did not go past their throats. The words of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.): "Leave him alone for he has companions" indicates the presence of the hypocrites in huge numbers among the companions.
In volume 7, in "The Chapter on He who does not Face The People with Reprimand,” in "The Book of Ettiquettes,” al-Bukhari reported: "'A'isha said: 'The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) did something and allowed it, but some people kept away from it. This reached the Prophet (S.A.W.). He delivered a sermon, wherein, after praising Allah, he said: 'Why is it that a group of you refrain from doing something that I do? By Allah, I am the most knowledgeable of them concerning Him, and I fear Him most (al-Bukhari, vol. 7, p. 96).’”
This is another type of companions who kept away from the practice of the Prophet (P). No doubt they mocked at his actions and, as a result, we see him (S.A.W.) delivering a sermon and swearing by Allah that he was the most knowledgeable of them regarding Allah, and that he was the most God fearing.
Al-Bukhari in volume 3, in "The Chapter on Sharing Together in Sacrifice and the Sacrificial Animals", in "The Book of Oppression" stated: "'Ibn 'Abbas said that on the fourth morning of Dhu'l-hijja, the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) came, having declared the intention to make the pilgrimage, and not anything else.
When we came forth, he ordered us to make 'umra and then go to our wives (there was a lot of things that the people said against that). 'Ata said: "Jabir said: 'If one of us goes to Mina, the semen would still be dripping from his penis.’ That reached the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and he addressed the people saying: 'It has reached me that some people say so and so. By Allah, I am the most pious and God fearing amongst you (al-Bukhari vol. 3, p. 114).’”
Here is another group of companions who disobeyed the commands of the Prophet in the shari'a rulings. The saying of the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.): "It has reached me that some people say so and so" indicates that a lot of them had refused to free [themselves] from the state of ihram for their wives, on the pretext that they did not wish to go to Mina with semen dripping from their penises.
It did not occur to these ignorant ones that Allah had enjoined a ritual bath and purification upon them after every physical union. How could they proceed to Mina with semen dripping from their penises? Were they more versed than the Prophet of Allah himself in the rulings of Allah? Or were they more virtuous and God fearing than him?
No doubt the mut'a marriage, or temporary union with women, was proscribed after the Prophet (P) by 'Umar, following the [same] pattern [as above]. For if, during the life of the Prophet (P), they rejected his commands concerning the cohabitation with their wives during the days of the pilgrimage, then it is not surprising to find them prohibiting temporary marriage after his death, denying for themselves what the Prophet (S.A.W.) ordered and considering the marriage of mut'a as fornication, as the ahl al-sunna say today.
In volume 4, in "The Chapter What the Prophet used to give to Those whose Hearts were to be won Over,” in "The Book Of Jihad And Campaigns,” al-Bukhari reported from Anas b. Malik that when Allah had given the Prophet some property of Hawazin, he gave it to Qurayshi men. The Ansar said: "May Allah forgive the Apostle of Allah, he gives the Quraysh and neglects us when our swords are still dripping with their blood.”
The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) gathered them in Quba, summoning only them, not leaving any one of them aside and said: "What is this that has reached me about you?" When they repeated their words to him, he said: "I have given it to men who recently converted from disbelief. Aren't you happy that the people go away with wealth, and that you return to your homes with the Prophet of Allah? By Allah, what you return with is better than what they return with.”
They said: "Certainly, O Prophet of Allah we are pleased.” He said: "After me you will see a lot of egoism, so be patient until you meet Allah and His Prophet at the pond.” Anas said: "But we were not patient (Sahih, al-Bukhari vol. 4 p. 60).”
Now we ask ourselves: "Was there amongst all the Ansar [even] one man [who was] guided and convinced by what the Prophet of Allah (P) did? Did he believe that he (the Prophet) did not follow his own desires and inclination? Did he understand Allah's words in this regard: 'Nay! By your Lord, they cannot believe until they appoint you as a judge in their disputes and [until] they do not find in their souls, resistance against your decisions and they totally submit' (4:65).
Was there anyone amongst them defending the Apostle of Allah (P) when they said: 'May Allah forgive the Apostle of Allah?' Certainly not! There was no one who had the level of belief which the noble verse demanded. Their words after that: 'Certainly, O Prophet of Allah, we are pleased' were not out of conviction. The testimony of Anas b. Malik, who was amongst them, was appropriate when he said: 'He advised us to be patient, but we were not patient'".
In volume 5, in "The Chapter on the Battle of al-Hudaybiyya,” in "The Book of Wars,” al-Bukhari reported from Ahmad b. Ishkab, who said: "Muhammad b. Fudayl informed us from 'Ala b. Musayyab, from his father who said: 'I met al-Bara' b. Azib (R) and said: 'You are honored, you accompanied the Prophet (S.A.W.) You [also] paid allegiance to him under the tree'. He said: 'O nephew! You do not know what we innovated after him (al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 66).’”
Al-Bara' b. Azib spoke the truth. Most people do not know what the companions did after the death of their Prophet (S.A.W.), who oppressed his successor, his cousin and distanced him from the Caliphate.
[Nor do they know] who oppressed his daughter al-Zahra and threatened to burn her. Nor do they know of the usurping of her rights to the gifts from her father, her inheritance and the khumus. [Nor do they know of] their opposing the successors of the Prophet (P) and the changing of the shari'a rulings, of the burning of the Prophetic sunna, or placing restrictions upon it. [Nor do they know] of the injury done to him due to the cursing and killing of his family, and their banishment and exile and granting power to hypocrites and corrupt ones, the enemies of Allah and His Prophet.
Yes, all these and more they did after his death. These [things] remain unknown to the masses who do not know the facts except what has been dictated to them by the Caliphs' schools, who specialized in changing the rulings of Allah and His Prophet, doing so by personal judgments which they called good innovations (bida' hasana).
Due to this, we say to the ahl al-sunna: "Do not take pride, O our brothers, in the companionship and the companions. For here is al-Bara' b. 'Azib, and he is amongst the foremost who pledged fealty to the Prophet (P) under the tree, saying to his nephew in the present tense: "Do not take pride in my companionship or my pledge under the tree, for you do not know what I did after him.”
Allah said: "Those who pay allegiance to you in fact pay allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands. And whoever violates that oath has done so against his own [self]" (48:10).
How [great] was the number of companions who violated the pledge, so much so that the Prophet (P) took a pledge from his cousin 'Ali to fight them as has been documented in the historical texts.
In volumes 1 and 3 of his Sahih, in "The Chapter on if People who leave the Imam in the Friday prayer,” in "The Book of the Friday prayer,” al-Bukhari reported from Jabir b. 'Abd Allah (R), who said: "A caravan came from Syria bringing foodstuffs. We were praying the Friday prayer with the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.). All the people left except twelve men. This verse was then revealed: 'And if they see trade or vain [things], they hurry away and leave you standing (al-Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 225: vol. 3, p. 6, 7).’”
This is another group of hypocritical companions who observed no piety or humility. They fled from the Friday prayer to inspect the caravan and trade, leaving the Prophet of Allah standing in front of Allah, fulfilling his obligation in humility and awe.
Was the belief of these Muslims complete? Or were these the hypocrites who scoffed at the prayers and when they stood to observe it, did so in a lackluster manner? None [of them] is exempted from this except those who stood with the Prophet (S.A.W.) to complete the Friday prayer; they were twelve men in all.
Whoever studies their status and investigates their reports will be appalled by their actions. No doubt their flight from the Friday prayer occurred several times and, as a result, the book of Allah, the most Glorified, has recorded it by stating: "Say that which is with Allah is better than vain pleasures and trade.”
So that you may realize, O dear reader, the extent of their respect for the prayer (the contemporary Muslims show more [respect] than they did) I present the following narration to you:
Al-Bukhari reported in volume 3, in "The Chapter on what has been [narrated] Regarding Plants" in "The Book of Deputyship:” "From Sahl b. Sa'id (R) who said: 'We used to rejoice on Fridays for there was an old woman who used to cut some roots of the silq (a kind of vegetable) which we used to plant on the banks of our water streams.
She would cook them in her pot adding some barley on it; I do not know the amount of it except that there was no fat or melted fat on it. When we finished the Friday prayers, we would go to her and she would serve it to us. Due to that, we used to be happy on Fridays. We would neither eat nor take the midday nap until after the prayer (Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 3 p.73).’”
Good for those companions who rejoiced on Fridays, not because they would meet the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) or listen to his sermons and his exhortations or would pray behind him, nor because they would meet each other, or [would rejoice] due to the day's blessings and mercy; they rejoiced on Fridays because of a special dish that an old woman would prepare for them. If a contemporary Muslim were to say that he rejoiced on Fridays for food, he would be regarded as dimwitted and negligent (of the importance of the day).
If we wish to research and investigate more, we would find that the grateful ones, whom the Qur'an praised, were a minority; they did not exceed twelve in number. These were the devoted ones who did not hurry towards vain pleasures and trade, abandoning their prayer. They were steadfast with the Prophet (S.A.W.) in wars on a number of occasions when the rest of the companions turned their backs and fled.
In volume 4, in "The Chapter on what is Detested in Argument and Disagreement in War,” in "The Book of War and Campaigns,” al-Bukhari reported from al-Bara' b. 'Azib who said: "The Prophet (S.A.W.) appointed an infantry of fifty men on the day of Uhud, and appointed 'Abd Allah b. Jubayr as the leader. He said to them: 'Even if you see birds snatching us, do not leave your positions until I send for you.’ They were defeating them.
He said: 'And I saw, by Allah, the women fleeing with their anklets and legs visible as they had raised their dresses. The companions of 'Abd Allah b. Jubayr said: 'The booty! O people, the booty! Your companions have prevailed so what are you waiting for?' 'Abd Allah b. Jubayr said: 'Have you forgotten what the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) said to you?'
They said: 'By Allah! We will go to them and take [something] from the booty.’ When they came to them, their faces were turned away and they started to retreat. At that time, the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) called them from behind. Only twelve men remained with him whilst seventy of us fell (Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 4, p. 26).”
We know from what the historians relate of this battle that the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) left with one thousand companions, each one desiring to fight in Allah's path, allured with the help that had come at Badr. However, they disobeyed the commands of the Prophet (P), causing a loathsome, horrible rout in which seventy people were killed, the chief of whom was Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet (P).
The remainder fled, and only twelve people remained with the Prophet (P) on the battlefield, according to what al-Bukhari says. The other historians reduce this number to only four. These were 'Ali b. Abi Talib, who resisted the polytheists, thereby protecting the front of the Prophet (S.A.W.); Abu Dijana who protected the rear, Talha and Zubayr. It is said that Sahl b. Hanif [was also there].
It is in this context that we [can] understand the saying of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.): "I do not see any one amongst them saved except like abandoned livestock (we will discuss this hadith presently).”
Allah, Glory be to Him, the Most Exalted, threatened them with hellfire if they fled from battle and said: "O you who believe! If you meet those who disbelieve in battle, do not turn back! Whosoever flees from them on that day, except as a strategy or to [regroup] with [his] party, has brought upon himself Allah's wrath and his abode is in Hell, it is an evil path" (8:6).
What, then, is the status of these companions who flee from prayer to pursue vain things and trade, and then flee from battle due to fear of death abandoning the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) alone in the midst of the enemy? In both cases, they all turn their backs and flee; none remain with him except twelve men [according] to the best estimate. Where were the companions, O people of perception?
Perhaps some researchers, when they read of such events and narrations, pay little attention to them and assume that they were occasional happenings which Allah forgave and that the companions did not repeat them afterwards.
Certainly not, the noble Qur'an informs us of startling facts, for Allah, Glory be to Him, has recorded their fleeing on the day of the battle of Uhud in His words: "Allah fulfilled His promise when you, by His Permission, were about to rout your enemy, yet you failed and fell to arguing about the order and disobeyed it after He brought you in sight of what you coveted. Amongst you are those who desire this world and amongst you are some who desire the hereafter.
Then did He divert you from your foes in order to test you. But He forgave you. And Allah is full of grace to the true believers. You were climbing (high ground) without glancing at any one and the Prophet was calling you from behind. Then God gave you one distress after another so that you should not grieve at what [booty] you lost and what has befallen you, and Allah is well aware of what you do" (3:153).
This verse was revealed after the battle of Uhud, wherein the Muslims were routed due to their craving after the worldly goods when they saw the women raising their dresses and showing their legs and their ankles, according to al-Bukhari's report. They disobeyed Allah and His Prophet (P) as is related by the Qur'an. Did the companions pay heed to that event and repent and seek His forgiveness, not repeating such acts afterwards?
Certainly not! They did not repent and perpetrated worse than this at the battle of Hunayn, which occurred in the latter part of the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.). According to the historians, they were 12,000 in number in that battle.
Despite their larger numbers, they took to flight and turned their backs as usual, leaving the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) amidst the enemies of Allah, the polytheists. He had only 9 or 10 persons from Banu Hashim, at the head of whom was Imam 'Ali b. Abi Talib, according to al-Ya'qubi in his history, as well as according to other [sources].
If their flight on the day of Uhud was disgraceful, then, at Hunayn, it was even more despicable and evil, for the steadfast ones who stayed with him at Uhud were four from out of a thousand companions, a ratio of 1:250.
At Hunayn, there were only ten patient and steadfast ones from 12,000 companions, a ratio of 1:1200. If Uhud occurred at the beginning of the emigration and the people were still few [in number], and only recently converted from the [period of] ignorance, what was their excuse at the battle of Hunayn which occurred at the end of 8 A.H., when only two years of the life of the Prophet remained? Despite their superior numbers and preparedness, they ran away head over heels from the battle, not even looking back at the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.).
The noble Qur'an clearly explains their feeble stances and their running away from that battle in the following words: "And on the day of Hunayn when your large numbers elated you but yet availed you naught, the land constrained you despite its width, and you turned in retreat. Allah sent tranquility on the Prophet and on the believers and sent down an army which you did not perceive, and punished those who disbelieved, that is the chastisement for the disbelievers" (9:26).
Allah explains that He strengthened [the position of] His Prophet (P) and those who persevered with him in the fight, by sending tranquility to them, and then assisted them with an army of angels who fought by their side and helped them against the disbelievers. There was no need of the deserters who fled from the enemy because they were afraid to die, disobeying thereby their Lord and their Prophet. Every time Allah tested them, He found them failing.
For further clarification, it is necessary for us to examine the narration reported by al-Bukhari, especially the routing of the companions in Hunayn. He reported in volume 5, in "The Chapter on Allah's Words"; 'On the day of Hunayn when you were elated by your numbers, yet it availed you not...'", in "The Book of Military Campaigns,” from Abu al-Qatada who said: "On the day of Hunayn, I saw a Muslim fighting a polytheist while another polytheist was coming up from the rear to kill him. I hastened to the one who was coming up from the rear.
He raised his hand to strike me, and I struck his hand and dismembered it. He grabbed me and squeezed me heavily until I feared [for my life]. Then he let up; I broke free and struck him, killing him. The Muslims were routed, and I was defeated with them. 'Umar b. al-Khattab was with the people; I said to him: 'What is the matter with the people?' He said: 'It is by Allah's decree... (al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 101).’”
By Allah, how amazing is the conduct of 'Umar b. al-Khattab, who is held by the ahl al-sunna to be among the bravest of the companions, if not the bravest of them all? They relate that Allah strengthened Islam through him and that the Muslims did not openly preach [Islam] until after his conversion. History informs us of the true events and how he turned his back and fled from battle on the day of Uhud.
Just as he turned back on the day of Khaybar, when the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) sent him to the city of Khaybar to conquer it, placing him at the head of an army. He and his companions were routed and they returned accusing him ('Umar) of cowardice, and him accusing them of cowardice. He also retreated and fled on the day of Hunayn with those who fled; perhaps he was the first to flee, and people followed him since he was the bravest of them.
As a result, we see Abu Qatada [who was] among the thousands who fled turning and 'Umar b. al-Khattab, as one surprised: "What is the matter with the people?" 'Umar b. al-Khattab was not satisfied with his running away from the battle and leaving the Prophet of Allah (P) in the middle of the polytheists. He [further] pretended to Abu Qatada that it was the decree of Allah!
Did Allah order 'Umar b. al-Khattab to flee from the battle? Or did He command him to remain firm and to persevere in the wars and not to run away? He said to him and his companions: "O you who believe! If you meet the disbelievers in battle, do not turn upon your heels" (8:1).
Allah took a covenant from him and his companions about that, as has been related in Allah's wise book: "They had promised Allah before not to turn upon their heels and the covenant with Allah must be answered for" (33:15).
How can Abu Hafs ('Umar) turn away from the battle and allege that it is Allah's decree? Where does he stand regarding the injunctions of these clear verses? Or are there seals upon the hearts?
We are not here discussing the personality of 'Umar b. al-Khattab, we shall devote a special chapter to him. The hadith of al-Bukhari is nonetheless striking and leaves us with no alternative [but] to make quick observations. What concerns us at this point is the testimony of al-Bukhari that the companions, in spite of their large numbers, turned back on the day of Hunayn. Whoever reads the historical texts on those wars and military campaigns will encounter the most surprising things.
If the decree of Allah was not obeyed by most companions, as we realized from the preceding discussions, then their disobedience to the commands of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) while he was alive and in their midst is not surprising. As for his commands after his death, may my father and mother be sacrificed for him, these were neglected, changed and altered without any concern.
Let us begin with the commands he issued during his lifetime which were countered by the companions with revolt and disobedience.
For the sake of brevity, we shall discuss only those [reports] documented by al-Bukhari in his Sahih. We will devote special pages to the rest of the Sahihs of the ahl al-sunna, they are replete with far more instances, and with far more explicit and challenging reports.
Al-Bukhari reported in volume 3, in "The Chapter on the Conditions on War and Making Treaties with those who Wage Wars,” in "The Book of Conditions,” after reporting the episode of the treaty of al-Hudaybiyya and 'Umar b. al-Khattab's opposition to what the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) had agreed to, he doubted him, saying to him openly: "Aren't you really the Prophet of Allah?".. to the end of the story... Al-Bukhari said: "When they finished the matter of writing down the terms [of the treaty], the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said to his companions: 'Arise and sacrifice the animals and then shave your heads'. He said: 'By Allah!
Not a man stood up from them, even after he repeated himself three times. Yet no one amongst them rose. He went to Umm Salama and related to her what he had encountered from the people (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, p. 182).’”
Are you not surprised, O reader, at the insolence and disobedience of the companions with regards to the order of the Prophet (S.A.W.)? Although it was repeated three times, none of them responded.
It is necessary here to relate a discussion that took place between some scholars and me in Tunis after the publication of my book "Then I Was Guided". In it, they had read my remarks on the treaty of al-Hudaybiyya, and, in turn, had added their comments to mine, saying: "If the companions had disobeyed the order of the Prophet (S.A.W.) on the sacrifice and shaving, and none of them complied with his order, then 'Ali b. Abi Talib was among them and therefore he [also] did not comply with the order of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.).”
I responded to them with the following:
Firstly: 'Ali was not reckoned to be among the companions. He was the brother and cousin of the Prophet of Allah, the husband of his daughter, and the father of his progeny. 'Ali was with the Prophet of Allah on one side, and the rest of the people on the other. If the narrator in Sahih al-Bukhari said that the Prophet (S.A.W.) ordered his companions to slaughter the animals and to shave their heads, then Abu'l-Hasan (A.S.) was not counted among them.
He was to him (the Prophet) what Aaron was to Moses. Don't you see that the greetings upon the Prophet are not complete unless the greetings upon his family are added to them? Without doubt he ('Ali) is the leader of the progeny of Muhammad. [As for] Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman and other companions, their prayers are not complete unless they mention 'Ali b. Abi Talib along with Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah.
Secondly: The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) always used to share with 'Ali, his brother, his sacrifices, as occurred in the farewell pilgrimage when 'Ali came from Yemen and the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) asked him: "What did you offer [for sacrifice] O 'Ali?" He replied: "What the Prophet of Allah offered.” The Prophet shared his sacrifice with him. All the hadith reporters and historians have recorded this incident.
He must have been his partner at al-Hudaybiyya too. Thirdly: 'Ali b. Abi Talib was the one who wrote the terms of the treaty of al-Hudaybiyya, as dictated by the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), and had never disputed with him in anything throughout his life; not at al-Hudaybiyya, nor at any other occasion.
History has not recorded a single instance at which 'Ali (A.S.) delayed [carrying out an order of] the Prophet (P) or disobeyed him even once, God forbid, or that he ever fled from a battle and left his brother and cousin amongst the enemies. Rather, he constantly offered himself [as a sacrifice]. In short, 'Ali b. Abi Talib was like the Prophet (P) himself. As a result, the Prophet (S.A.W.) used to say: "None is allowed to remain in the mosque while ritually impure (junub) except I and 'Ali.”
Most of the participants [in the discussion] were convinced by what I had presented and admitted that 'Ali b. Abi Talib never in his life opposed any order of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.).
Al-Bukhari reported in volume 8, in "The Chapter on Abhorrence of Differences,” in "The Book on Adherence to the Qur'an and Sunna,” from 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas who said: "When the time of the Prophet's (S.A.W.) death drew near, there were people in the house, among them 'Umar b. al-Khattab.
He said: 'Come so that I may write for you [something] so that you may never go astray.’ 'Umar said: 'Surely the Prophet (S.A.W.) is overcome by pain; you have with you the Qur'an, and the book of Allah is sufficient for us.” The members of the household differed and argued [amongst themselves]. Among them were those who said: 'Come closer, the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) will write for you [something] so you will never go astray afterwards.’ Among them were those who said what 'Umar had said. When the noise and differences intensified in the presence of the Prophet (S.A.W.), he said: 'Go away from me.'"
Ibn 'Abbas used to say: "The calamity of all calamities was the clamour and differences that occurred between the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and his writing the dictate for them (al-Bukhari, vol. 8, p. 161; vol. 1, p. 37, and vol. 5, p. 138).”
This is another command of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) which the companions countered with rejection, disobedience and degradation [of the status of] the Prophet (S.A.W.).
It must be noted that when he (the Prophet) asked for paper and ink to be brought so that he could write for them a letter which would prevent them from going astray, 'Umar b. al-Khattab said in the presence of the Prophet (S.A.W.): "The Prophet of Allah is delirious,” i.e., hallucinating, God forbid.
Al-Bukhari, however, rectified that expression and changed it to "overcome by pain,” because the one who said it was 'Umar b. al-Khattab. You see, he omitted the name of 'Umar in the narration, saying: "and they said the Prophet of Allah is delirious.” This is the honesty of al-Bukhari in transmitting hadith. (We will, God willing, devote a special chapter to this.)
In any case, most hadith scholars and historians relate that 'Umar b. al-Khattab said: "Surely the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) is delirious" and many companions followed him and said what he said in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.).
It is for us to picture the awful event and those raised voices, the intense clamor and dissension in his presence. No matter how the narration expresses it, it can inform us only a little of the actual scene. It is the same if we read a historical book on the life of Moses (P); no matter how vivid the book is, it will not have the effect of a film which we see with our eyes.
In volume 7, in "The Chapter on What is Allowable in Anger and Intensity for Allah's sake,” al-Bukhari reported in "The Book of Morals:” "The Prophet (S.A.W.) made a small room with a mat from palm leaves. He came out (of his house) and went out to pray on it. The people followed him in this. The [next] night they [also] came, but the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) delayed and did not come out to them. So they raised their voices and threw stones at the door.
He came out angrily and said: 'You insisted on it (the prayer), until I thought it would become obligatory upon you. Offer your (optional) prayer in your homes, for surely the best prayer of a man is in his house, except the obligatory prayer (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 7, p. 99; vol. 2, p. 252; vol. 4, p. 168).’”
Most unfortunately, 'Umar contravened the order of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and gathered the people for supererogatory prayer during his Caliphate, saying regarding his action: "This is an innovation, a wonderful one.” Most of the companions followed his innovation, they espoused his views and supported him in everything he did and said.
'Ali b. Abi Talib, and the ahl al-bayt, differed with him for they did not act, except [according to] the orders of their master, the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and did not substitute anything for it. If every innovation leads to error and every error leads to the fire, what about the errors which were invented to oppose the rulings of the Prophet (S.A.W.)?
In volume 5, in "The Chapter on the Battle of Zayd b. Haritha,” in "The Book of Campaigns,” al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Ibn 'Umar (R) who said: "The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) ordered Usama b. Zayd to [lead] a group but they sought to find fault in his leadership. He said: 'If you find fault in his leadership, you [also] sought to find fault in the leadership of his father before him. By Allah, he was created for leadership and was the most beloved of men to me; and now he (Usama) is the most beloved of people to me after him (al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 84).’”
This event has been related in detail by the historians; how they angered the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) until he cursed those who stayed behind the expedition of Usama, as he was a young general who had not reached seventeen years of age. The Prophet (S.A.W.) had put him in charge of an army in which were Abu Bakr, 'Umar, Talha, al-Zubayr, 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf and all the Qurayshi notables; the Prophet (S.A.W.) did not draft 'Ali b. Abi Talib, nor any of the companions who followed him ('Ali) in that army.
Al-Bukhari always summarizes events and edits the hadith to protect the honour of the "pious predecessors" amongst the companions. Despite this, what he reports is sufficient for one who wishes to attain the truth.
In volume 2 of his Sahih, in "The Chapter on Reproach of He who Fasted Continuously,” in "The Book of Fasting,” al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Abu Hurayra who said: "The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) forbade fasting [two days] continuously without breaking it and a Muslim said to him: 'But you fast continuously, O Prophet of Allah!'
He replied: 'And who among you is like me? Verily I stay awake at night and my Lord grants me sustenance and water'. When they refused to stop fasting continuously, he joined them one day's fast with another [day], and then they sighted the crescent. Then He said: 'Had it (the crescent) been delayed, I would have continued [fasting] with you.’ It was as a reproach to them for having failed to desist as he had ordered (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 2, p. 243).”
Well done to these companions who the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) prohibited from doing something but they did not desist from it. He kept on repeating the prohibition, but they would not listen. Did they not read Allah's words: "Whatever the Prophet gives you, accept it, and whatever he forbids you from, keep away from it, and fear Allah! Indeed Allah is severe in punishment" (59:7).
Despite the threat of grave punishment by Allah, Glory be to Him, to those who opposed His Messenger, some companions did not attach any importance to His threats and warnings.
If this was their condition, then there can be no doubt about their hypocrisy, even though they outwardly exhibited an abundance of prayer, fasting and strict [adherence to] religion, to the extent that they even forbade themselves from cohabitation with their wives so that they might not travel with their penises dripping with semen. They refrained from what the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) did, as has been discussed previously.
Al-Bukhari, in his Sahih, volume 5, in "The Chapter on the Prophet's (S.A.W.) sending of Khalid b. al-Walid to Banu Judhayma," in "The Book of Military Campaigns," on the authority of al-Zuhri from Salim from his father, he said: "The Prophet (S.A.W.) sent Khalid b. al-Walid to Banu Judhayma and he invited them to Islam. It did not seem proper to them to say we have submitted ourselves and so they said [instead]: 'We have left idol worship. We have left idol worship.’ Khalid started to kill them and to take captives.
He gave each one amongst us his captive. Then, one day, Khalid ordered each man to kill his captive. I said: 'By Allah! I will not kill my prisoner and none of my companions will kill theirs.’ [This happened till] we came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and we related this to him. The Prophet (S.A.W.) raised his hands and said twice: 'O Allah! I am innocent of what Khalid has done (al-Bukhari vol. 5, p. 107, vol. 8, p. 118).’”
The historians have chronicled this event in some detail and [shown] how Khalid perpetrated this despicable act of disobedience. He, and some of his companions who obeyed him, did not adhere to the commands of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) regarding the prohibition of killing anyone who accepted Islam. Certainly, this was one of the worst sins that caused the flowing of innocent blood, and the Prophet (S.A.W.) had ordered them to invite the people to Islam, not to kill them.
Khaild b. al-Walid was overcome by the urge of the Jahili period, and a satanic force overcame him. [This was because] the Banu Judhayma had killed his uncle al-Fakiha b. al-Mughira, during the time of Ignorance. He came upon them and said: "Lay down your arms for the people have accepted Islam.” He then ordered that their hands be tied and many of them be killed.
When some of the sincere companions learned of Khalid's intentions, they fled from the army and joined the Prophet (P) and related the news to him. The Prophet of Allah (P) then dissociated himself from his acts and sent 'Ali b. Abi Talib who compensated them for the loss of blood and property.
To know this incident in some detail, there is no harm in reading what 'Abbas Mahmud al-'Aqqad has written in his book: "The wonderful [exploits of] Khalid,” wherein al-'Aqqad writes on pages 57 & 58 as follows: "After the conquest of Mecca, his (the Prophet's) concern was directed to the cleansing of the Bedouin tribes surrounding it (Mecca) from idol worship. He sent expeditions to the tribes to invite them and to ascertain their intentions.
Amongst the expeditions was that of Khalid b. al-Walid to Banu Judhayma, numbering about 350 emigrants, Ansars and Banu Sulaym. He sent them as missionaries and did not order them to fight. Banu Judhayma was the fiercest tribe during the period of Ignorance and was known as the "spoonful of blood.”
Among those that they had killed on one occasion were al-Fakiha b. al-Mughira and his brother, the paternal uncles of Khalid b. al-Walid and the father of 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf and Malik b. al-Sharid and his three brothers from Banu Sulaym in one place, as well as several others from various tribes.
When Khalid came to them and they knew that the Banu Sulaym were with him, they donned their weapons and rode forth for battle, refusing to give in. Khalid asked them: 'Are you Muslims?' It is said that some of them answered in the affirmative and some of them said: 'Saba'na! Saba'na!' i.e., we have left idol worship! We have left idol worship! He then asked them: 'Why are the weapons on you?' They replied: 'There is enmity between us and some Arab tribes and we feared that you might be them, so we donned our weapons.’
He said to them: 'Drop your weapons for the people have accepted Islam'. A man among them who was called Juhdam cried out: 'Woe be unto you O Banu Judhayma! This is Khalid. By Allah, captivity will follow your dropping of weapons. After captivity [he will] behead you. By Allah! I will never give up my weapons'. He was still saying this when his weapons were taken away along with those of others. The other [people] dispersed.
Khalid ordered that they be handcuffed and put to the sword. Banu Sulaym and the other Arabs with them accepted his orders of killing them. The Ansars and Muhajirun, however, refused to kill anyone without being commanded by the Prophet (P) to fight [them]. The news reached the Prophet (S.A.W.) who raised his hands towards the sky and said three times: 'O Allah! I dissociate myself of what Khalid has done.’ He then sent 'Ali b. Abi Talib to Banu Judhayma to compensate them for the blood and property that had been destroyed.
The event appalled the prominent companions, those who had accompanied the expedition as well as those who had not. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf was so incensed that he accused Khalid of deliberate slaughter to avenge his two uncles.”
This is the verbatim quote of what al-'Aqqad reported in his book "The wonderful [exploits of] Khalid.” And al-'Aqqad is like the other ahl al-sunna thinkers, for, after relating the entire episode, he seeks a cold, fictitious explanation [to defend] what Khalid had done, [an explanation] which is baseless and which no sound reason can accept. There is no excuse for al-'Aqqad except that he wrote "The wonderful [exploits of] Khalid.” Everything he presented in defense of Khalid is presumptuous, fragile as a spider's web. Whoever reads it realizes the folly and weakness of his defense.
How can there be any excuse when he himself bore testimony in his own words that the Prophet (P) sent them as missionaries and did not order them to fight? And he admitted that the Banu Judhayma had removed their arms after having donned them when Khalid deceived them by telling his companions: "Remove your weapons, for the people have become Muslims.”
He also confessed that Juhdam had refused to lay aside his arms and warned his tribe that Khalid will deceive them by his words: "Woe unto you O Banu Judhayma, he is Khalid! By Allah, there is nothing after the removal of your arms except captivity, and after captivity beheading. By Allah! I will never lay down my arms". Al-'Aqqad said that the Banu Judhayma crowded him until he removed his arms. This shows the submission of the tribe and of their good intentions.
If the Prophet of Allah (P) sent them as preachers of Islam and had not ordered them to fight, as you yourself testified, O 'Aqqad, then what was Khalid's excuse in opposing the orders of the Prophet (P)? I don't think you can legitimize it, O 'Aqqad!
If the tribe had removed their weapons, declared their Islam, and finally won over their companion, who had sworn that he would not lay aside his weapons until they pacified him, as you have yourself admitted, O 'Aqqad, then what is Khalid's excuse for betraying them and killing them when [they were] passive and were bereft of their weapons?
You have said that Khalid issued orders against them, their hands were tied and they were put to the sword. This is another deed that I do not think you can justify, O 'Aqqad! Did Islam order Muslims to kill those who do not fight them, [even] assuming that they did not declare their Islam? Certainly not, this is the argument that the Orientalists, the enemies of Islam, propagate today.
Then, once again, you admit that the Prophet (P) did not order him to fight the people, for you said that the emigrants and the Ansar rebuked Khalid for having killed anyone without being commanded by the Prophet (S.A.W.) to fight. What is your excuse, O 'Aqqad, for seeking excuses for Khalid?
In replying to al-'Aqqad, it is sufficient for us [to note] that he completely refuted and destroyed his own excuses by saying: "The revulsion to the event extended to all the prominent companions, those who were present in the expedition and those who were not.”
If the prominent companions expressed [their] disgust towards Khalid to the extent that they fled from his army and complained to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and if 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf accused Khalid of deliberately killing the people in revenge for his two uncles, as al-'Aqqad has testified, and if the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) had raised his hands to the sky and said three times: "O Allah, I dissociate [myself] from what Khalid b. al-Walid has done,” [and] if the Prophet sent 'Ali with property to compensate the Banu Judhayma for the blood [spilt] and [for the loss] of property so as to appease them, as al-'Aqqad has testified, this [in itself] proves that the community had accepted Islam, but that Khalid had wronged them and committed excesses against them.
Can someone ask al-'Aqqad, who tries his best to defend Khalid, is he (al-'Aqqad) more learned than the Prophet of Allah (P) who dissociated [himself] from his acts three times?
Or is he more learned than the prominent companions who reproached him? Or more than the companions who were present at the event but escaped from the expedition dismayed by his repulsive acts which they had witnessed? Or [is he more learned] than 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf, who was with him in the expedition and, without doubt, knew Khalid better than al-'Aqqad? He accused him of deliberately killing the people so as to exact revenge for his uncles.
May Allah fight blind fanaticism and jahili zeal which changes the truth. Although al-Bukhari summarized the matter in four lines, what he has mentioned is sufficient to convict Khalid, and the other companions who obeyed him in killing innocent Muslims, and whom al-'Aqqad has mentioned by saying: "Banu Sulaym and those Arabs with him obeyed him in killing them.”
However, al-Bukhari [mentions] only two or three who did not comply with his commands; they fled from the army and returned to the Prophet complaining of Khalid.
You cannot convince us, O 'Aqqad, that the emigrants and Ansars who totaled 350, as you have said, did not obey Khalid in killing the people, and that they all fled from the army, no researcher can believe this. This is [merely] an attempt on your part to preserve the nobility of the pious ancestors, the companions, and to hide the realities at any cost. The time has come to remove the veils and to know the truth.
How many despicable massacres of Khalid b. al-Walid has history related to us, especially on the day of al-Battah when Abu Bakr appointed him to be the head of a big army comprising of foremost companions. He deceived Malik b. Nuwayra and his people when they removed their weapons; he ordered that their hands be tied and then beheaded them without a fight. He entered Layla, Umm Tamim, the wife of Malik, on the same night that her husband was killed.
When 'Umar b. al-Khattab came to know [what happened], he castigated him and told him: "You killed a Muslim man then sprang on his wife, by Allah, I will stone you with your stones, O enemy of Allah". Abu Bakr stood beside Khalid and said to 'Umar: "Stop [moving] your tongue against Khalid, he used [his reasoning] and erred.” This is another issue whose discussion is lengthy and mentioning it is repulsive.
The rights of how many unfortunate people have been usurped because a tyrant is strong and powerful? How [frequently] a tyrant is helped in his tyranny and falsehood because he is rich and close to the apparatus of the rulers. When he examines the story of the Banu Judhayma, al-Bukhari cuts the story short and says: "The Prophet sent Khalid to Banu Judhayma, he invited them to Islam. They did not deem it proper to say 'We have submitted', so they said 'We have turned away from idol worship.'"
Were the Banu Judhayma Persians or Turks or Indians or Germans that they did not deem it proper to say "We have submitted,” O Bukhari? Or were they an Arab tribe in whose language the Qur'an was revealed? Blind fanaticism and the major plots which were conspired to protect the nobility of the companions made al-Bukhari utter such statements so as to vindicate the act of Khalid b. al-Walid. Al-'Aqqad also says: "Khalid asked them: 'Are you Muslims?'"
Al-'Aqqad then says: "It is said that some of them replied in the affirmative and some of them replied 'saba'na, saba'na (we have left idolatry).'" The words "it is said" show clearly that the community would accept anything which people conjured up so as to defend Khalid b. al-Walid. [This is] because Khalid b. al-Walid was the raised sword of the ruler and was the defender of the usurping Caliphate.
He was its follower, exemplifying overwhelming strength to whoever resolved to rebel or revolt against what had been decided by the heroes of Saqifa on the day that the Prophet (S.A.W.) passed away. There is no power nor strength except with Allah, the most High, the most Great.