Ask A Question About Islam And Muslims
Our Sunni friends say it was the caliph Umar who liberated Iran from Zoroastrianism and introduced them to Islam. Is it true?
First, in this day and age, it is good for us to be thoughtful about how we phrase things. "Liberating" people from Zoroastrianism is rude. Zoroastrianism, like most world religions, has good things and bad things. In any case, it is good to respect people's faith and heritage, especially since Zoroastrianism continues to be practiced today.
Second, describing the conquest of lands by the Muslim Empire as "liberation" can come across the wrong way.
It is true that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered an invasion of the Sassanian Empire which led to the conquest of what is present-day Iran. So, it is more correct to say that he annexed Iran to the Arab-Muslim Empire, and this was one of the factors that led Iran to become a Muslim region.
That being said, military annexation of a region is not the same thing as converting a people to Islam, or even introducing them to Islam. Actual conversion to Islam in conquered lands happened over a span of time. Conversely, Islam spread in many areas, such as Indonesia, where the initial Muslim Empire had no power. There were good and bad points about the conquests of the early Muslim Empire.
Sometimes - in my experience - some of our Sunni brothers and sisters glorify those conquests, perhaps out of respect for the first 3 caliphs, without taking into consideration that they were in fact military conquests which were not dissimilar to the expansion of other empires. Like other military expansions they brought some good and and some difficulty, some people in these areas were (according to what we can glean from historical records) fine with being under Muslim rule or even welcomed it, and some resisted it. Basically it's good to take a more intermediate position, neither to say "Islam spread by the sword and those Muslims are violent!" nor to say "Muslims liberated all the other regions from their former faiths." (In fact, that comes across as quite violent.)
As for who introduced Iran to Islam, why not begin with Salman al-Farsi? And, second, what about the letter that the Prophet (S) sent to the Persian king, inviting him to Islam?
The Qur'anic verse 3:167 clearly exposes those who turned back on the way to Uhud as hypocrites. Why weren't Abu Bakr, Omar, and Uthman, who all took part in the battle at Uhud, exposed if they were a bigger threat to Islam according to the Shia view?
Simple search in Sunni books of Hadeeth leads to the fact that all the three whom you named ran away from the Jihad.
1. Abu Bakr:
Al-Haakim Al-Nisaboori who is one of the well known Sunni scholars narrated in his famous book Al-Mustadrak Alal Saheehayn, Volume 3, Page 37 that Abu Bakr ran away.
In Saheeh Bukhari and Dalaa'l Al-Sidq , V. 1, P.362 and Noor Al-Absaar by Shiblanji, P. 87, you find that Umar ran away.
Ibn Katheer (student of Ibn Yatmiyyah) mentioned in his books Al-Bidayah Wal Nihayah V.4, P. 28 that Uthman ran away.
Many other Muslims have also run away from the battles due to weakness in the faith. Only the firm and strong in faith stood fast and never ran away.
Exposing the hypocrites was declared in Quran by their deeds but not by their names. Same was done by the Prophet (SAWA) who did not expose their names.
The Prophet (SAWA) has clearly stated that many of his companions will change and turn back from right path after him then will be sent to hellfire. (Saheeh Bukhari, Hadeeth number 4259
and Saheeh Bukhari, Hadeeth number 6098,
and Saheeh Bukhari , Hadeeth number 6099,
and Saheeh Bukhari, Hadeeth number 6026,
and Saheeh Bukhari, Hadeeth number 6528.
Was crossing arms while praying an innovation that was introduced by Umar? If so, did Imam Ali (as) not attempt to correct it when he became the caliph?
The habit of folding ( crossing)
hands during Salaah came from non-Muslims (notably Zoroastrians) and wasn’t part of the Salaah of the Holy Prophet (sawa), nor during the government of Abu Baker. However, during the rule of Umer ibn Khattab, when Persia was concurred by Muslims, several prisoners of war were brought from Persia to Madina. They folded their hands in front of Umer, who asked them why they did so. They responded that it was their habit in front of respected people. Umer liked it and decided to keep it in the prayer. Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s) and many of the Sahaba refused this, because no one has the right to change or add or to omit anything from the Salaah, and the Prophet (sawa) had famously said, “Pray as you saw me praying.
The challenge when trying to answer questions about history is that all we can rely on is evidence that has come to us (such as texts or archaeological evidence) and often it is not 100% clear what happened.
In any case, there are some texts that say that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered that the line "prayer is better than sleep" be added to the Fajr adhan. For instance, in al-Muwatta' (a prominent early Sunni source), it is said that the mu'adhdhin came to Umar ibn al-Khattab at fajr time and found him sleeping, so he told him, "Prayer is better than sleep" (to tell him to get up), and then 'Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered that it be added to the adhan. (See the relevant chapter in the book on salat in the Muwatta')
However, some people, especially Sunnis, hold a different view.
I think it is reasonable to say that all Muslims who do the adhan try to do the adhan in the way they think is correct and the way the Prophet (S) intended it. Shi'i fiqh does not prescribe "prayer is better than sleep" in the adhan because the dominant Shi'i view is that this is was not how the Prophet (S) instructed Muslims to do it. At the end of the day, Allah judges on intentions, and we do our best to follow the Sunnah!