The (first) three Caliphs enter Paradise

Sunni scholars narrate traditions from the Holy Prophet (S) which talk about the virtues and excellences of the caliphs. We will now deal with fourteen traditions, studying them carefully and critically. The first tradition is taken from Sahih Bukhari.

In his Sahih, Bukhari narrates from Abu al-Hasan Muhammad bin Miskin, from Yahya bin Hisan from Sulayman from Sharik bin Abi Namr from Sa'eed bin Musayyib who quotes Abu Musa 'Ash'ari as saying:

One day, I performed ablution in my house and then went out and said, "Today I shall stick to Allah's Apostle and stay with him all this day of mine (in his service)." I went to the mosque and asked about the Prophet (S). They said, "He got out of the mosque and went in this direction." So I followed his way, asking about him till he entered a place called Bir Aris. I sat at its gate that was made of date-palm leaves till the Prophet finished answering the call of nature and performed ablution. Then I went up to him to see him sitting at the well of Aris at the middle of its edge with his legs uncovered, hanging in the well. I greeted him and went back and sat at the gate. I said, "Today I will be the gatekeeper of the Prophet (S)." After a short while, Abu Bakr came and pushed the gate. I asked, "Who is it?" He said, "Abu Bakr." I told him to wait, went in and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Abu Bakr asks for permission to enter." He said, "Admit him and give him the glad tidings that he will be in Paradise." So I went out and said to Abu Bakr, "Come in, and Allah's Apostle gives you the glad tidings that you will be in Paradise"

Abu Bakr entered and sat on the right side of Allah's Apostle on the built edge of the well and hung his legs in the well as the Prophet did and uncovered his legs. I then returned and sat (at the gate). I had left my brother performing ablution and he intended to follow me. So I said (to myself). "If Allah wants good for so-and-so (i.e. my brother) He will bring him here." Suddenly somebody moved the door. I asked, "Who is it?" He said, "'Umar bin Al-Khattab." I asked him to wait, went to Allah's Apostle, greeted him and said, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab asks the permission to enter." He said, "Admit him, and give him the glad tidings that he will be in Paradise." I went to "Umar and said "Come in, and Allah's Apostle, gives you the glad tidings that you will be in Paradise." So he entered and sat beside Allah's Apostle on the built edge of the well on the left side and hung his legs in the well. I returned and sat (at the gate) and said, (to myself), "If Allah wants good for so-and-so, He will bring him here." Somebody came and moved the door. I asked "Who is it?" He replied, "Uthman bin Affan." I asked him to wait and went to the Prophet and informed him.

He said, "Admit him, and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise, I asked him to wait and went to the Prophet and informed him. He said, "Admit him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise after a calamity that will befall him." So I went up to him and said to him, "Come in; Allah's Apostle gives you the glad tidings of entering Paradise after a calamity that will befall you."Uthman then came in and found that the built edge of the well was occupied, so he sat opposite to the Prophet on the other side. Said bin Al-Musaiyab said, "I interpret this (narration) in terms of the location of their graves."1

Muslim Nayshaburi has also narrated this tradition using the same wordings and chain of transmitters.2

Bukhari has also narrated this tradition through another chain from Yusuf bin Musa from Abu Usama from Uthman bin Ghiyath from Abu Uthman Nahdi from Abu Musa.3

Muslim has similarly narrated this tradition using another chain. He narrates from Muhammad bin Muthanna Itri from Ibn Abi Udai from Uthman bin Ghiyath from Abu Uthman Nahdi from Abu Musa 'Ash'ari.4

In addition to Bukhari and Muslim, others have also narrated this tradition.

Transmitters tradition

We will now assess the lives of the narrators of this fabricated tradition.

Sharik bin Abi Namr

One of the narrators in the chain of this tradition is Sharik bin Abi Namr. Though Ibn Mu'aeen has confirmed him, terming his traditions as acceptable other scholars of tradition have rejected him. For example Nisaee (and even Ibn Mu'aeen elsewhere) have said that Sharik is not strong in terms of narrating traditions. Speaking about him, Ibn Udai says that if a reliable narrator narrates from him then he is a reliable narrator. Yahya bin Sa'eed, one of the narrators of this tradition, does not narrate from him. Commenting on him, Saji says that Sharik believes in fatalism (a remark that shows that he was an adherent of a false religion). Ibn Hazm has considered him as weak due to narrating Mi'araj tradition. After narrating this tradition, Zahabi says that this tradition is among the strange traditions narrated by Bukhari.5

Uthaman bin Ghiyath

Uthman bin Ghiyath is one of the narrators of the second chain. Scholars of traditions have considered him as weak. Quoting Ibn Mu'aeen Dawri says that Yahya bin Sa'eed has regarded his commentary traditions as weak. Ali bin Madini quotes Yahya (namely Qattan) as saying that Uthman bin Ghiyath has access to books compiled by 'Akrama, which are not authentic. Ajuri quotes Abu Dawood as having said that he is a member of Basran Murji'a.6 Ahmad says that he is a proponent of Murji'a school of thought.7

Abu Usama

It is worth mentioning that Bukhari has narrated this tradition from Uthman bin Ghiyath who has narrated it from Abu Usama (Hammad bin Usama). This narrator has also been criticized. Quoting Mu'aeeti, Azdi says that he usually resorted to deception, though he abandoned this habit later. Commenting on him, Ibn Sa'eed says that he resorts to deception and his deception is plain. Concerning him, Sufyan Thawri is quoted as having said that he is perplexed as to how Usama's traditions are accepted whereas he is well-known for his excelling others in stealing good traditions. Ajuri narrates from Abu Dawood, from Waki'a who said that Abu Usama had buried his books and that was the reason why he prevented him from borrowing book.8

  • 1. - Sahih Bukhari, vol. 3, pp. 1343 and 1344, Tradition no. 3471. Elsewhere in Sahih Bukhari the same tradition has appeared with a somewhat different wording. See for example the following:

    a) The Prophet entered a garden and ordered me to guard its gate. A man came and asked permission to enter. The Prophet said, "Admit him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise." Behold! It was Abu Bakr. Another man came and asked the permission to enter. The Prophet said, "Admit him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise." Behold! It was 'Umar. Then another man came, asking the permission to enter. The Prophet kept silent for a short while and then said, "Admit him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise with a calamity which will befall him." Behold! It was 'Uthman bin 'Affan. 'Asim, in another narration, said that the Prophet was sitting in a place where there was water, and he was uncovering both his knees or his knee, and when 'Uthman entered, he covered them (or it).

    b) While I was with the Prophet in one of the gardens of Medina, a man came and asked me to open the gate. The Prophet said to me, "Open the gate for him and give him the glad tidings that he will enter Paradise." I opened (the gate) for him, and behold! It was Abu Bakr. I informed him of the glad tidings the Prophet had said, and he praised Allah. Then another man came and asked me to open the gate. The Prophet said to me "Open (the gate) and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise." I opened (the gate) for him, and behold! It was 'Umar. I informed him of what the Prophet had said, and he praised Allah. Then another man came and asked me to open the gate. The Prophet said to me. "Open (the gate) for him and inform him of the glad tidings, of entering Paradise with a calamity which will befall him. "Behold ! It was 'Uthman, I informed him of what Allah's Apostle had said. He praised Allah and said, "I seek Allah's aid."

  • 2. - Sahih Muslim, vol. 5, pp. 20 and 21, tradition no. 2403.
  • 3. - Sahih Bukhari, vol. 3, pp. 1350 and 1351, tradition no. 3490.
  • 4. - Sahih Muslim, vol. 5, pp. 19 and 20, tradition no. 2403. His version of this tradition is not the same either. See for example the following:

    a) Abu Musa Ash'ari reported that he performed ablution in his house and then came out saying: I would remain with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) the whole day long. He came to the mosque, and asked about Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him). They (his Companions) said: He has gone in this direction. He (Abu Musa Ash'ari) said: I followed his steps asking about him until I came to Bi'r Aris (it is a well in the suburb of Medina). I sat by its wooden door until Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had relieved himself and then performed ablution. I went to him and he was sitting with his shanks uncovered up to the knees and his legs dangling in that well.

    I offered him salutations. I then came back and sat at the door as if I had been a chamberlain at the door of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) that day. There came Abu Bakr and knocked the door and I said: Who is it? He said: This is Abu Bakr. I said: Wait, please. I went and said: Allah's Messenger, here is Abu Bakr seeking permission. Thereupon he said: Admit him and give him glad tidings of Paradise. I came and I said to Abu Bakr to get in (and also told him) that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was giving him the glad tidings of Paradise. Abu Bakr got in and sat on the right side of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and dangled his feet in the well as Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had done, and he uncovered his shanks.

    I then returned and sat there and I had left my brother as he had been performing ablution and he was to meet me and I said: If Allah would intend goodness for such and such he would intend goodness for his brother and He would bring him. I was thinking this that a person stirred the door. I said: Who is it. He said: This is Umar b., Khattab. I said: Wait. Then I came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), greeted him and said: Here is 'Umar seeking your permission to get in. Thereupon he said: Let him come in and give him glad tidings of Paradise.

    I came to Umar and said: There is permission for you and glad tidings for you from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) for Paradise. He got in and sat on the left side of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) with his feet dangling in the well. I then returned and sat and said: If Allah would intend goodness for such and such (that is for his brother), He would bring him. And I was contemplating over it that a man stirred the door and I said: Who is it? He said: This is Uthman b. Affan.

    I said: Wait, please. I then came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and informed him. and he said: Admit him and give him glad tidings (and inform) him of the turmoil which he shall have to face. I came and said: Get in, Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) gives you the glad tidings of Paradise along with the trial which you shall have to face. He got in and saw the elevated plan round the well fully occupied. He sat on the other side. Sharik said that Sa'id b. al-Musayyib reported: I drew a conclusion from it that their groves would be (in this very state, the graves of Hadrat Abu Bakr, 'Umar Faruq by the tide of the Holy Prophet [may peace be upon him] and the grave of Hadrat 'Uthman away from their graves).

    Abu Musa. reported: I set out with the intention (of meeting) Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and came to know that he had gone to the gardens (in the suburb of Medina). I followed him and found him in a garden sitting upon an elevated place round the well with his shanks uncovered which had been dangling in the well. The rest of the hadith is the same but with this variation that there is no mention of the words of Sa'id: all drew a conclusion from it pertaining to their graves."(Sahih Muslim, tradition no, 5911).

    b) Abu Musa al-Ash'ari reported that while Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) was in one of the gardens of Medina, reclining against a pillow and fixing a stick in a mud, that a person came asking for the gate to be opened, whereupon he said: Open it for him and give him glad tidings of Paradise and, lo, it was Abu Bakr. I opened (the gate) for him and gave him the glad tidings of Paradise.

    Then another person asked for the door to be opened, whereupon he said: Open it and give him the glad tidings of Piradise. He said: I went away and, lo, it was 'Umar. I opened it for him and gave him the glad tidings of Paradise. Then still another man asked for the door to be opened, and thereupon Allaah's Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: Open it and give him the glad tidings of Paradise after a trial would afflict him. I went and, lo, it was 'Uthman b. 'Affan. 1 opened the door and gave him the glad tidings of Paradise and informed him (what the Prophet had said). Thereupon he said: O Allaah, grant me steadfastness. Allaah is one Whose help is to be sought.(Sahih Muslim tradition, no. 5909).

  • 5. - MIzan al-Itidal, vol. 3, p. 372 and Tahdib al-Tahdib, vol. 4, p. 308.
  • 6. - Murji'a was a group of Muslims who believed that committing a sin is not harmful as long as one is faithful.
  • 7. - Tahdib al-Tahdib, vol. 7, pp. 129-130. Mizan al-Itidal, vol. 5, p. 65.
  • 8. - Mizan al-Itidal, vol. 2, p. 357 and Tahdib al-Tahdib, vol. 3, p. 4.