Chapter 3: State of Affairs in Saqifah after the Death of the Prophet
Shaykh al-Tusi in Talkhis al-Shafi, ‘Allamah al-Tabarsi in al-Ihtijaj and Ibn Abil Hadid in his commentary of Nahjul Balagha relate regarding the events of Saqifah from the book al-Saqifah of Ahmad b. ‘Abdul-Aziz al-Jawhari1 the summary of which follows.
Gathering of the Ansar
When the Prophet of Allah passed away2, the Ansar gathered at the Saqifah (a tent) of (the tribe of) Bani Sa’idah which was a place used for gatherings and had a shade over top of it. Although he was sick, they still brought Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah who was an elder from the clan of al-Khazraj, lying on his bed, from his house to proclaim him as the successor of the Prophet and a guide for the Muslims.
He gave a speech in which he invited the people to hand over the reins of the affairs to him. All of the Ansar accepted his call and said to one another, “If the Muhajirin say that we have migrated alongwith the Prophet (from Makkah to Madinah) while we are the foremost companions of the Prophet and are from his family, why do you dispute with us regarding the caliphate and sovereignty after the death of the Prophet, then what shall we reply to them?”
A group from among them said, “We will reply to their objection by saying, ‘Let there be one commander fom among us and one from among you.’ We will not accept any proposal other than this.”
When Sa’ad heard this conversation he said, “This is the first weakness (manifest in you).”
Disappearence of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and the Discourse of Abu Bakr
When ‘Umar b. al-Khattab was informed about the events (at Saqifah), he called for Abu Bakr to come to him immediately. Abu Bakr sent a message saying that he was busy. Again, ‘Umar sent him a message saying, “An incident has occurred for which your presence is a must, therefore hasten immediately.” Hearing this Abu Bakr rose up and came to ‘Umar who said to him, “Don’t you know that the Ansar have gathered at the Saqifah of Bani Sa’idah and are determined to hand over the reins of the affairs to Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah while a good man from among them suggested that, let there be one commander from among us and one from among you!?”
Hearing this, Abu Bakr was terrified and hastened towards the Saqifah along with ‘Umar, while Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah was also with them. When they entered the Saqifah, they found a large gathering present there.
‘Umar relates the following upon their arrival at the Saqifah, “I thought of standing up and addressing the people when Abu Bakr said, ‘Slow down, let me address them first, thereafter you may say what you wish.’ Then Abu Bakr addressed them, and he spoke exactly as I had intended to speak and stated, ‘Allah, the Almighty, chose Muhammad as a prophet, a messenger and a guide for the people and He made him a witness over the Ummah until they worshipped the One God and abandoned polytheism, while previously people had chosen various deities for themselves and worshipped them. They believed that these deities would intercede for them and give them benefit. However these statues were made of carved stones and wood, and they worshiped other gods besides Allah that which can neither hurt them nor profit them.3
But it was hard for the ‘Arabs to forsake the religion of their forefathers. Allah the Merciful, then granted this distinction upon the Muhajirin to be the first ones to hasten to his call and believe in him. They generously rose up to defend him, and in this way they endured and bore patiently the severities, tortures and belying of the polytheists. The Muhajirin were the foremost to worship Allah upon this earth and they were the first ones to believe in Allah and His Prophet.
The Muhajirin are the friends and relatives of the Prophet and are more liable to hold authority over the masses after his death, while the one who opposes them regarding this matter is an oppressor! O group of Ansar, you are not among those who deny their distinction and superiority in religion and their precedence in (accepting) Islam. Allah chose you to be the companions and friends of the religion and the Messenger, and commanded the Prophet to migrate towards you. Most of his wives and companions were from among you, while none equals you in our eyes after the foremost Muhajirin and thus we are the commanders and you are the ministers. We will not refrain from taking your advice and we will not issue orders without consulting you in the affairs.’”
Discourse of the Friends and Companions
After the address of Abu Bakr, Hubab b. Mandhar b. Jamuh (from amongst the Ansar) stood up and said, “O group of Ansar! Hold fast to your affairs for there are men under your command ready to strike anyone, while no one has the audacity to oppose you regarding it and none has the power to take the reins of affairs in their hands without your order and consent. You are the ones possessed with honour, splendor, manpower, potential and personality. People turn to you for their tasks and for advice so do not dispute among yourselves otherwise the result of your affairs will be ruined! If they (the Muhajirin) do not accept what I said and what you heard, then our opinion is that one man from among us may be chosen as a guide and one man from among them.”
Hearing this ‘Umar b. al-Khattab said, “Far be it! There cannot be two swords in one sheath and the ‘Arabs will never consent to this (two leaders). The Ansar may be their guides for the reason that the Prophet’s clan was different from that of yours, while the ‘Arabs do not differ in the matter that the guide should be from the same clan as that of the Prophet. Then who is it that disputes with us regarding the affairs of the authority that is the right of the Prophet, while we are the friends and relatives of the Prophet.”
Again, Hubab b. Mandhar stood up and said, “O group of Ansar! Take care of your opinion and do not accept the words of this man and his companions as they desire to snatch away the authority from your destiny! If they oppose you, then remove them from your city for you are most worthy of authority! If expelling them from Madinah requires the use of the sword then do so, men are in approval and steadfast with you, while I stand in this way as a solid pillar and an unagreeable flaw (against them). To straighten the affairs, I insist to be similar to the stick that is erected in the sleeping-place of the camels upon which they rub the dirt of their bodies. I am similar to a palm-tree that rests upon a wall or a pillar, and I am like a lion that does not fear anyone. I possess the heart of a lion. By Allah! If you wish I will turn around his (‘Umar’s) limb.” ‘Umar replied, “Then may Allah kill you.” Hubab said, “May He kill you!”
In the commotion, Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah said, “O group of Ansar! You were one of those who were the foremost to help the Prophet in your city! Do not be the first ones to make changes and alterations (in Islam).”
Then Bushr (or Bashir) b. Sa’ad, the father of Nu’man b. Bashir rose up and said, “O group of Ansar! Beware that Muhammad is related to the Quraysh, he was their kinsman and their near one. By Allah! You shall not find me differing with them in regards to the matters of authority.”
The Command of Abu Bakr and Allegiance to Him
Then Abu Bakr stood up and said, “Here are ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaydah, you may pledge allegiance at the hand of the one whom you desire.”
‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaydah said, “By Allah! We will not precede you in taking the affairs of the caliphate in our hands. You are the best of the Emigrants (Muhajirin), while you were the vicegerent of the Prophet in offering the prayers, which is the best command of religion. Now extend your hand so that we may pledge allegiance at your hands.”
Abu Bakr extended his hand so that ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaydah may pledge allegiance to him, but Bashir b. Sa’ad preceded them and pledged allegiance at his hands.4
Seeing this, Hubab b. Mandhar al-Ansari called out, “O Bashir! May dust be upon your head! You have acted stingy in the matter that your cousin (Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah) may become the commander!”
Then, Usayd b. Hudhair, the chief of the clan of ‘Aws, called out to his companions saying, “By Allah! If you do not pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr, the people of the clan of al-Khazraj will always show pride over you (in regards to this).”
The companions of Usayd stood up and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr and Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah was badly defeated since the people of the clan of al-Khazraj did not side with him. At that moment, people came from all sides and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, and Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah, who was sick and sitting on his bed, was almost crushed due to the crowd, at which point he called out, “You will kill me!” ‘Umar said, “Kill Sa’ad, may Allah kill him!”
Stern Words of Sa’ad with ‘Umar and His Refusal to Swear Allegiance
At that moment, the son of Sa’ad (Qays b. Sa’ad) jumped up, and grabbing ‘Umar by the beard said, “By Allah, O son of Sahhak5! You are the one who runs away from battle in fear, but among (ordinary) people and at times of peace you behave like a lion! If you move even a single hair of the head of Sa’ad (my father), then you shall not return back but that I will fill your face with wounds such that the bones thereof will be visible!”
Abu Bakr told ‘Umar, “Remain calm and act cautiously, for caution is better and profitable.”
Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah then told ‘Umar, “O son of Sahhak! By Allah! If I had the strength to stand up and if I had not been sick, indeed you and Abu Bakr would have heard my roaring, similar to a lion, in the streets of Madinah, and you would have fled from Madinah in fear! I would have joined ranks with a group of men through whom you would be degraded and subjugated (not like the present circumstances in which) others will be under your command (and you in charge of the people). O children of Khazraj! Take me away from this place of commotion.”
They lifted Sa’ad up from his bed and took him to his house.6
Thereafter Abu Bakr sent a message to Sa’ad saying, “People have taken the oath of allegiance to me, and you too may do so.” Sa’ad replied, “By Allah! I will not swear the allegiance to you until I exhaust all the arrows in my quiver against you and until I dye the point of my lance with your blood and fight with you until the sword remains in my hands. Remember that my hands have not become shortened to fight against you. My relatives, those under my command and I myself shall fight you. By Allah! Even if all the men and Jinn unite together to make me swear allegiance at the hands of you two evil men, I will never do so until I meet my Lord, and I will place my accountability to Him.”
When the message of Sa’ad was sent to Abu Bakr, ‘Umar said, “There is no way (out for him) except that he must pledge allegiance.”
Bashir b. Sa’ad told ‘Umar, “O ‘Umar! Sa’ad will never pledge allegiance at any cost until he is killed, and if he is killed, the two clans of Aws and Khazraj will also be killed along with him. Leave him alone, for he will not harm you while living in seclusion.”
‘Umar and his associates consented to the suggestion of Bashir and left Sa’ad alone.
After that, Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah neither prayed along with them, nor referred to them in any of the legal matters, and if he had sufficient manpower, he would have fought against them. He remained in this (aloof) state during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and after him, when ‘Umar b. al-Khattab took the reins of caliphate in his hands, his attitude remained the same. Sa’ad went to Syria in fear of confronting ‘Umar (if he remained in Madinah) and he stayed there in the city of Hawran until he died - some time during the caliphate of ‘Umar, and during this entire period, he never swore allegiance to either Abu Bakr or ‘Umar. As for how he died, it has been stated that one night he was shot by an arrow that killed him, and a rumour was spread that a group of the Jinn had killed him.
The Forged Tale of Assassination of Sa’ad by a Group of the Jinn
It is related by the historian al-Balazuri that ‘Umar b. al-Khattab ordered Khalid b. al-Walid and Muhammad b. Maslamah al-Ansari to kill Sa’ad. Both of them shot arrows at him that killed him. They propagated the a group of Jinn had killed him and spread this verse of poetry that the Jinn said, “We killed the chief of Khazraj, Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah, thus we shot two arrows at him that failed to miss his heart.”
Narration of Ibn Abil Hadid Regarding the Saqifah
Ibn Abil Hadid relates through his chain of narrators that, “When the Prophet left for the heavenly abode, the Ansar gathered around Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah. Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaydah went to them and Hubab b. Mandhar said, ‘One chief from among us and one from among you. By Allah! We are neither stingy nor envious with you regarding the caliphate for we fear lest the sovereignty may pass on to those whose fathers, sons and brothers have been killed by them (the Bani Hasihm), and they may become our ruler.’”7
Ibn Abil Hadid further states that, “I read this narration to Abu Ja’far Yahya b. Muhammad al-’Alawi and he said, ‘I agree with the astuteness and intelligence of Hubab b. Mandhar for he predicted exactly (what would transpire) and what he feared actually ended up taking place when the revenge of the polytheists killed in the battle of Badr was taken from the Muslims from amongst the Ansar (at the event of the Saqifah and how they went about choosing their leader - based on past grudges).”8
Abu Ja’far Yahya b. Muhammad al-’Alawi continued, “The Prophet of Allah also feared that the tyranny might come forth and oppress his Ahlul Bayt and his close companions. The blood of the polytheists had been shed and if his daughter (Sayyidah Fatimah) and her sons would come under the rule of the oppressive tyrants, they would be in great danger. Therefore, time and again he declared that his cousin (Imam ‘Ali) would be his successor after him, so that his (Imam ‘Ali’s) life and that of his family (Ahlul Bayt) would remain safe. If the reins of caliphate come into the hands of the progeny of the Prophet, it would gave been beneficial for the life of ‘Ali and his Ahlul Bayt, rather than them being under the command of some other ruler. But destiny (and the greed of malicious men) did not favour him and such adverse incidents came forth that his (grand) sons had to face severity, as you are aware.”
Another Angle and Groundwork of Saqifah: Absence of Imam ‘Ali and the Bani Hashim
The eminent scholar, Shaykh al-Mufid states in his book al-Irshad that, “After the death of the Prophet, Imam ‘Ali was busy in the bathing, shrouding and burial (of the Prophet), while the Bani Hashim remained away from the people due to this great calamity. Thus the people took advantage of this opportunity and in regards to the caliphate and chosing a caliph, established the leadership of Abu Bakr in the absence of Imam ‘Ali and the Bani Hashim.
While there was a dispute among the Ansar regarding this matter, the freed ones (during the victory of Makkah) and those who were permitted by the Prophet to enter Islam to change their hearts, detested any sort of delay in the selection of the caliph and thus, they settled the matter of the caliphate and swore allegiance to Abu Bakr, before the Bani Hashim could find respite. They did so because Abu Bakr was present at the place of their gathering (Saqifah) and the means and requirements of his affairs were ready and acceptable.”
We will not quote the details of this incident in this book, but will leave it for another book.
The Discourse of Imam ‘Ali
It is related that when the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr concluded, a man came to Imam ‘Ali who was carrying a shovel and was busy preparing the grave of the Prophet of Allah. He said to Imam ‘Ali, “People have sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr, while the Ansar have been defeated in this matter of choosing the caliph, for a dispute arose among themselves. The freed ones (those who had been freed by the Prophet during the victory of Makkah) took precedence and swore allegiance to him (Abu Bakr), they did not seek your advice because you were absent.”
Imam ‘Ali laid the shovel upon the ground, while its handle was in his hand and said,
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Alif Lam Mim. What! Do people imagine that they will be left off on (their) saying: ‘We believe’, and they will not be tried? And indeed We did try those before them, and Allah certainly knows those who are truthful, and certainly He knows the liars. Or imagine they who work evil that they will escape Us? Ill is what they judge!”9
Rejection of Abu Sufyan’s Proposal
Abu Sufyan came to the house of the Prophet, while Imam ‘Ali and ‘Abbas b. ‘Abdul Muttalib were present. They looked at him as he recited the following verses of poetry, “O Bani Hashim! Do not let others have greed for it (the caliphate), particularly the people of the clans of Taym b. Murrah (Abu Bakr) and Adi (‘Umar) for the affair is only your right and will return to you, particularly to Abul Hasan ‘Ali, O Abal Hasan! Clench your claws and prepare yourself, for you are more worthy for the affair and that what you desire!”
Then he said, “O Bani Hashim! O children of ‘Abdul Manaf! Do you agree that Abu Fusayl (referring to Abu Bakr), the lowly and son of the lowly, may rule over you? By Allah! If you desire, I can gather such a large army of horsemen and foot soldiers that they will put them (Abu Bakr and his supporters) in a fix!”
Hearing this Imam ‘Ali (who was aware of the evil intentions of Abu Sufyan) replied, “Return back, I swear by Allah that whatever you say is not for the sake of Allah! You are always in a state of deceit and playing tricks against Islam and the Muslims. We are attending the funeral of the Prophet, and everyone will reach the reward of their good deeds, and Allah is the Guardian and Helper of the oppressed.”10
When Abu Sufyan (who had intended evil and desired to spread discord amongs the Muslims) heard this, he became disappointed and left Imam ‘Ali and went towards the Masjid. He saw people from among the Bani Umayyah gathered in the Masjid and tried to incite them to take the affairs of the caliphate into their hands, but they too did not respond to his proposal. Thus, mischief was manifest such that everyone would become entangled in it and there were evil pretexts that had come forth; Satan had gained authority while the mischief-mongers were working hand in hand with one another. Due to this, the believers were afflicted and abjected, and this is the concealed meaning of the words of Allah,
“And guard yourselves against an affliction which may smite not (only) those who committed injuctice among you in particular (but all of you).”11
The Intrigues of Vicious Men
The eminent scholar, Shaykh ‘Ubaydullah b. ‘Abdullah al-Astarabadi in his book al-Muqni’ah fil Imamah, relates the incidents that took place at Saqifah and how the people resolved to take away the right of the ‘One bestowed with Authority (by Allah)’ that was due to him and writes:
“The historians and biographers agree that when the Prophet of Allah passed away, the Commander of the Faithful Imam ‘Ali was busy in his funeral proceedings. The Emigrants (Muhajirin) and helpers (Ansar) were waiting to see the reaction of Imam ‘Ali and the Bani Hashim. Satan assumed the form of Mughirah b. Shu’bah, the squint-eyed man of the Bani Thaqif and came to them saying, “What are you waiting for?” They replied that they were waiting for the Bani Hashim to conclude their tasks. Mughirah (Satan) said, “Go and complete the task for by Allah, if you wait for the Bani Hashim to finish up with the burial proceedings of the Prophet, you will always be under their influence and shall shift the affairs of the caliphate (to them), which is similar to the caesars of Rome and chosroes of Persia.
Some time back, a group of Qurayshite men had consented and written upon a scroll that if the Prophet died or was killed, they would divert the authority from the Bani Hashim so that both the position of prophethood, as well as caliphate would not be combined in them. They kept this as a trust with Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah and then Satan in the form of Mughirah) came to the Ansar and incited them to take the reins of the caliphate into their hands and adviced them similarly. Thus, the Ansar proceeded towards Saqifah Bani Sa’idah.”
An Astonishing Report of Abu Dhuaib al-Hudhali
The above mentioned scholar (‘Ubaydullah al-Astarabadi) continues that, “Abul Hasan b. Zanji, the linguist of Basra, informed me in 433 ah that Abu Dhuaib al-Hudhali said that, ‘We were informed (while they were away from Madinah) that the Prophet of Allah was ill. We were aggrieved by this sudden news and passed the night in great anguish and disturbed. I was very much distressed in my sleep and while I was awake, and in the morning suddenly I heard a caller saying: ‘A great fissure has appeared in Islam at Madinah! Prophet Muhammad has died while our eyes shed tears upon this calamity!’”
Abu Zawib says, ‘I woke up from my sleep in fright and looked up at the sky but saw nothing except a star named Sa’ad Zabeh. I saw the book of fortunes and in it was written that death and bloodshed would take place among the ‘Arabs. I concluded that either the Prophet of Allah had died that night, or that he would not survive from an illness, and thus Irose up and mounted my camel and went towards Madinah. I travelled until morning and I looked around to find something that I may see the book of fortunes upon it. Suddenly I saw a male porcupine that had hunted a small snake and held it in its mouth. The snake was moving but the porcupine bit it until it ate the snake. Thus I concluded that something evil had taken place. The clutching of the snake in the mouth indicated the snatching and opposing the authority from the vicegerent of the Prophet, while the swallowing of the snake indicated that the authority had been usurped.
I started galloping the camel fast so that I could reach Madinah, and saw that the people of Madinah were engrossed in sorrow, and their wailing was similar to the wailing of the pilgrims while wearing the ihram12. I asked someone what had happened and he replied that the Prophet of Allah had passed away. Hearing this, I hastened towards the Masjid and saw that no one was there. I went towards the Prophet’s house and saw that it was closed. It was said to me that the Prophet had died and his body was shrouded, and none except his Ahlul Bayt, were busy in his funeral proceedings. I inquired as to where the other people were to which I was told that, ‘The people have assembled around the Ansar at Saqifah Bani Sa’idah.’
I reached Saqifah and saw Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Mughirah (Ibn Shu’bah), Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah and group of other Quraysh men. Among the Ansar, I found Sa’ad b. Dalham and their ‘Chief of Poets’, Hissan b. Thabit. I talked to the Quraysh and the Ansar regarding the caliphate and did not hear any truth from them, and then they all swore allegiance to Abu Bakr.
After this incident, Abu Zawib returned back to the desert from where he had come and stayed there until he passed away during the rule of ‘Uthman b. al-’Affan.
Verses of Poetry Regarding Saqifah
The previously mentioned scholar (‘Ubaydullah al-Astarabadi) says, “Nabighah Ju’da (Qays b. Ka’ab, a poet) came out of his house and asked the people in regards to the death of the Prophet. ‘Imran b. Hasin told him, “If I had interacted with them (in Saqifah); a sacrifice (of an animal as an atonement) would have been incumbent upon me.”
Qays b. Sarmah said: “The community dawned with an astonishing event, and the authority passed into the hands of the one who prevailed; while I speak the truth and not falsehood, verily tomorrow the notables of ‘Arabs shall perish.”
Hearing this Nabighah asked, “What was Abul Hasan ‘Ali doing at that time?” Two men replied to him saying: “Tell the bald man (referring to Imam ‘Ali) of the (Bani) Hashim that you unfastened the twisted rope (and gave away the caliphate); that which the Quraysh prided upon with others, when you were more worthy of it and were its leader; and yesterday they saluted you as an authority (in Ghadir) upon the believers, but (today) they broke their commitment; the Bani Taym b. Murrah (clan of Abu Bakr) violated their oaths, and became worthy of the fire of hell; they revealed their enmity (against you) on the day of Saqifah; but tomorrow you (‘Ali) will be their enemy (meaning on the Day of Resurrection).”13
On the day of Saqifah, ‘Utbah b. Abi Sufyan b. ‘Abdul Muttalib recited the following verses of poetry, “The one in authority after Ahmad is ‘Ali, who was his companion everywhere; the vicegerent of the Messenger of Allah in reality and his son-in-law, the first one who offered prayers and the one who preceeded in accepting Islam.”
‘Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet recited the following verses of poetry after Saqifah, “I wonder at the community, that they elected a commander not from the (Bani) Hashim, (but rather, they imposed one) upon the (Bani) Hashim who happen to be the clan of Prophet Muhammad; when they (those who took over the caliphate) were not greater than them (the Bani Hashim) in excellence, nor were they close to being comparable (to the Bani Hashim) in deeds and leadership!”
‘Utbah b. Abi Sufyan b. ‘Abdul Muttalib recited the following verses of poetry, “The Abu Taym (tribe of Abu Bakr) snatched away with injustice (the caliphate) from the (Bani) Hashim, and kept aside ‘Ali who was designated in the past (by the Prophet); they disregarded the ‘near ones’ of the Prophet, and in this way they ignored knowledge.”
Zafar b. Harith b. Hudhayfah al-Ansari recited the following verses of poetry, “Surround ‘Ali and assist him, for he is the vicegerent (of the Prophet) and foremost in Islam; but if you desert him and unpleasant circumstances arise, then you will not be able to find anyone else who can ward it off (except for ‘Ali).”
Khuzaymah b. Thabit said, “I cannot explain this authority that transferred from (Bani) Hashim when ‘Ali was among them; was he not the first one who prayed towards the Qiblah, the most learned among men with regards to the Qur’an and customs (Sunnah of the Prophet), the last one who remained with the Prophet, and the one who was assisted by Jibra’il in the washing of the bath and shrouding (of the Prophet); who it is that distanced you away from him, verily your allegiance (to Abu Bakr) is the greatest of frauds.” Some attribute these words to ‘Utbah b. Abi Lahab.
Khuzaymah b. Thabit also said, “O ‘Ayesha! Leave ‘Ali and do not ridicule him, for you are nothing but a mother (of the believers); and he is the vicegerent of the Messenger of Allah among his Ahlul Bayt, while you yourself are a witness to it!”
The Ansar Side with Imam ‘Ali and Verses of Poetry of Hisan
The author of al-Muqni’ah fil Imamah, Shaykh al-Astarabadi says, “When the caliphate of Abu Bakr was established, the people came from Saqifah to the houses near the Masjid. ‘Umru b. al-As14 started maligning the Ansar and calling them mean, wretched and degraded. Through his actions, he revealed the grudge and envy he harboured against Islam from the time of the Prophet, and at this moment in time, he had the chance to bare his animosity.
When Imam ‘Ali was informed about this, he got up and went towards the Masjid. He ascended the mimbar (pulpit) and spoke about the merits of the Ansar and related the Qur’anic verses revealed in their praise in front of the Muslims present. Then he continued, ‘It is necessary upon everyone to recognize the rights of the Ansar and safeguard their honour.’
The people requested Hisan b. Thabit, a renowned poet of the Ansar, to recite verses in praise of ‘Ali due to his seniority in Islam. In this manner, those people from amongst the Ansar who had not sided with Imam ‘Ali in Saqifah, regretted their actions.
At this point, Hisan b. Thabit recited the following verses, ‘May Allah’s best rewards be upon Abul Hasan and the reward lies in His Hands, and who is similar to Abul Hasan; the Quraysh take pride that you are from amongst them, thus your chest is wide and your heart tested; some people from amongst the Quraysh desired to acquire your position, far be it that a feeble one compares himself with a sturdy one; and you aided Islam in evey situation, you were similar to the bucket fastened with a rope (Islam is like a well, full of blessings and you became a medium of reaching the blessings to humanity); you were enraged when ‘Umru (b. al-As), due to his speech killed piety and enlivened tribulations; you are the hope (of people) from among the progeny of Luwayy b. Ghalib15, in all the present affairs and those to come in the future; you safeguarded the Prophet and his progeny for us, and who is more deserving for it (the caliphate) other than you and you alone. Are you not the brother of the Prophet in guidance and his vicegerent, and the most learned among them with regards to The Book (al-Qur’an) and the customs (sunnah of the Prophet); and until the roots remain in Najd and Yemen, you will be (the most) honourable among us.’”
Verses of Poetry of Umme Ayman
The learned scholar (Shaykh al-Astarabadi) the author of al-Muqni’ah fil Imamah continues, “The historians relate from Abul Aswad al-Du’ali that, ‘A man narrated to me that Umme Ayman narrated, ‘On the night after people pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, I heard these verses from someone who was not seen, and his words were, ‘Verily with the passing away of Ahmad, Islam has become weakened, and all the Muslims from amongst your ranks wept; and sorrows piled up with the assistance of the astray ones, against the guide, the approved one, the generous - the vicegerent of the Messenger of Allah, the foremost in Islam, the most learned among the worshippers who gave Zakat in dirhams (referring to Imam ‘Ali); the inferior ones tried to gain authority over the brother of Mustafa, and snatch away the distinction of superiority (from him).’”
If a sober person reflects upon the meaning conveyed in these verses of poetry, one will conclude how people behaved with Imam ‘Ali after the death of the Prophet of Allah. He will also understand the similarity of their treatment with ‘Ali with that of the Tribes of Isra’il in regards to Prophet Harun, the brother of Prophet Musa in his (Musa’s) absence, since the events of the people clashing with ‘Ali were similar to the events of the behavior of the Tribes of Isra’il with Prophet Harun.
In this matter, Muhammad b. Nasr b. Bissam al-Katib eulogises so well, “Verily ‘Ali bore tribulations for the religion, and was deceived; Mustafa declared him to be his own self, a status that was not enjoyed by anyone else; he designated him similar to Harun among his community, immediately for the world and for the hereafter; so refer to (Surah) al-A’raf and you will see how the community dealt with Harun.”
Indeed, one should refer to Suratul A’raf to see how the Tribes of Isra’il treated Harun, and then will one realise how the community treated Imam ‘Ali after the death of the Prophet.
A Letter from Abu Bakr to Usamah and his Reply
Another piece of evidence to verify the claim of the ones who state that the status of Imamat is confined to Imam ‘Ali after the Prophet and that his right was snatched away a letter of Abu Bakr addressed to Usamah b. Zayd after the episode of Saqifah.
It should be remembered that Usamah b. Zayd was appointed the commander of an army by the Prophet and was ordered to proceed towards Syria to crush the aggression of the enemy. The Prophet had declared that anyone who did not pay heed to the command of Usamah was a culprit. Thus, at the time of the death of the Prophet and the proceedings of Saqifah, Usamah was away from Madinah at a place called Jurf (near Madinah), proceeding towards Syria (following the command of the Prophet).
The contents of the letter addressed to him were as follows, “From Abu Bakr, the caliph of the Prophet of Allah to Usamah b. Zayd. Now then! The Muslims have taken refuge in me and have chosen me for the leadership of caliphate and made me their chief after the Prophet of Allah.” (The letter being lengthy, until he reached here), “Thus when my letter reaches you, you may come to me, similar to the other Muslims and swear allegiance to me. Then you may even permit ‘Umar b. al-Khattab to be free from under your leadership and stay with me here for I need him.16 Then you may proceed towards the frontline as directed by the Prophet.”
When the letter reached Usamah, he read it and replied, “From Usamah b. Zayd, the freed slave of the Prophet of Allah, to Abu Bakr b. Abu Qahafah. Now then! Your letter has reached me, but it is completely incompatible from the beginning until the end. First you claim to be the caliph of the Prophet and then say that the Muslims gathered around you and chose you as their leader? If it was such, then they would have pledged allegiance at your hands in the Masjid and not at the Saqifah. Furthermore you request me to excuse ‘Umar b. al-Khattab from the army for the reason that you need him! Know that he has already stayed away on his own without my permission and it is not lawful for me to excuse anyone for the Prophet himself had deputed them for this battle under my command. In this matter there is no difference between you and ‘Umar, that both of you have stayed behind, and violation of the Prophet’s command after his death is similar to disobeying him during his lifetime. You very well know that the Prophet had ordered you and ‘Umar to proceed towards this expedition under my command while the opinion and command of the Prophet regarding you is better and preferable to your own opinions regarding yourselves. Your position was not hidden from the Prophet who made me your commander and not you my commander. Thus opposing the Prophet is hypocricy and deceit…”
The author (Shaykh al-Qummi) says, “We have preserved this detailed letter of Abu Bakr and the successive reply of Usamah in our book ‘‘Uyunul Balaghah fi Unsul Hadhir wa Naqlatul Musafir’, and we suffice with it’s summary in this book.
Scrutiny of the Incident of Saqifah: Absence of a Majority of Muslims in the Burial of the Prophet
The renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah, Ibn ‘Abdul Birr in his book, al-Isti’ab relates that, “On the day the Prophet died, allegiance was sworn to Abu Bakr at Saqifah Bani Sa’idah. But public allegiance took place on Tuesday - one day after the death of the Prophet. Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah, the chief of Bani Khazraj and his fellow companions refused to pay allegiance to Abu Bakr.
Shaykh al-Mufid relates in his book, al-Irshad, that numerous men from among the Muhajirin and Ansar remained away from the proceedings of the burial of the Prophet due to the discord that arose among them regarding the caliphate, while many others among them could not pray over the body of the Prophet.17 Sayyidah Fatimah bewailed in the morning calling out, “Woe evil morning! Today I have lost my father”, while Abu Bakr said, “Verily your day is an evil day.”
The esteemed erudite, Sayyed Ibn al-Tawus addressed his son in his book Kashful Mahajjah with the following words: “One of the astonishing things that I saw in the books of the Ahlus Sunnah which has also been quoted by al-Tabari in his book of history is that the Prophet died on Monday, but was buried on Wednesday. It is related that the corpse of the Prophet lay for three days and then was buried. Ibrahim al-Thaqafi writes in the fourth volume of his book al-Ma’rifah that, ‘Certainly the body of the Prophet lay for three days and then was buried. This happened because the people were busy in establishing the caliphate of Abu Bakr and were struggling for it.’
The revered Imam ‘Ali could not detach himself from the body of the Prophet and did not want to bury him before the people had an opportunity to pray over his body. The Imam did not do so (bury the Prophet immediately) because he feared that the people would kill him or that they would exhume the grave of the Prophet and remove his corpse. He also delayed the burial of the prophet for the reason that people would not accuse him that he buried the Prophet in haste or that he buried him in the wrong place. May Allah keep His Mercy away from that group of people who abandoned the corpse of the Prophet and remained engrossed in choosing the caliph, while ‘the foundation and the origin of guidance’ was the prophethood and apostleship of the Prophet of Allah. They were hasty in doing so because they desired to separate the authority from the Ahlul Bayt and his progeny. O my son! By Allah! I do not understand what humanity, intellect, manliness and conscience these people had and what type of companions (of the Prophet) they were, inspite of the several obligations and mercies showered upon them by the Prophet! How could they show such audacity in the sacred presence of the Prophet!
How rightly Zayd b. ‘Ali (b. Husayn) had said, ‘By Allah! If it was possible for the people to get hold of the sovereignty without clinging to the prophethood, they would have detached themselves from the Prophet’s prophethood even.’
One of the responsibilities upon the Muslims after the death of the Prophet was that on the day of his death, they should have sat upon the earth, perhaps upon the sand, and should have worn the clothing befitting those in distress, like the black colour and should have refrained from food and drink, and each one from among them, whether male or female, should have gathered to lament and wail, for there was no other day similar to that day, nor would a day similar to it ever dawn again.’”
Saqifah in the Eyes of Bura’ b. Azib
Ibn Abil Hadid and Sulaym b. Qays relate from Bura’ b. Azib that, “When the Prophet of Allah passed away, I was with his family. I was frightened and worried that the caliphate would pass to someone else, but at the same time I was immersed in sorrow due to the death of the Prophet. Sometimes I hastened frantically to the house of the Prophet and saw that his Ahlul Bayt were engrossed in his funeral proceedings, and at other times I went to Saqifah and saw those people struggling in electing a caliph. The Ansar wanted to impose themselves upon the Muhajirin, while the Muhajirin wished to dominate the Ansar. A time passed in this turmoil and I returned back.
The elders, along with ‘Umar and Abu Bakr were not seen (at the Prophet’s house). Suddenly I heard a person saying, ‘The people have gathered at Saqifah’, while another said, ‘They have sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr.’ After a while I saw Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaydah along with a group of people wearing good clothes. They tricked whoever they met on the street and forced them to swear allegiance at the hands of Abu Bakr, whether that person agreed or not. Seeing this, my intellect parted ways due to immense sorrow, and I hastened towards the house of the Prophet. I saw that the Bani Hashim had shut the door for the funeral proceedings. I pounded upon the door and said, “People have sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr.” Hearing this, ‘Abbas, the uncle of Prophet said, “May your hands sever until the end of the world.”
Circumstances of the Allegiance by Bani Hashim
The author of al-Ihtijaj, ‘Allamah al-Tabarsi, and in addition, Ibn Qutaybah Daynuri in his book al-Imamah was Siyasah and others relate that when the Commander of the Faithful Imam ‘Ali completed the funeral proceedings of the Prophet, he sat down in the Masjid, and with a sorrowful and shatterd look on his face, he was bereaved by the loss of the Prophet. The Bani Hashim had gathered around him and Zubayr b. Awwam was also alongside him. The Bani Umayyah had gathered around ‘Uthman in another corner of the Masjid, while in another corner, the Bani Zuhra had assembled around ‘Abdul Rahman b. ‘Awf. In this way people were gathered in the Masjid in groups when Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah entered therein.
They said, “Why do we see you people scattered in groups? Rise up and swear allegiance to Abu Bakr just like the Ansar and the others have done.”
‘Uthman, ‘Abdul Rahman b. ‘Awf and their associates stood up and swore allegiance to Abu Bakr, while Imam ‘Ali and the Bani Hashim left the Masjid and gathered in his house along with Zubayr.
‘Umar, accompanied by the people who had sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr, including the likes of Usayd b. Khuzayr and Salmah b. Salamah, stood up and went to the house of Imam ‘Ali and saw that the Bani Hashim had gathered therein. They told them, “People have sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr, and you too may follow them.” Hearing this Zubayr rose up with a sword in his hand, then ‘Umar said, “Charge this dog and save us from his mischief.” Salmah b. Salamah jumped towards him and snatched away the sword from his hand, while ‘Umar took it from Salmah and struck the sword with such force upon the ground that it broke. Then they surrounded the Bani Hashim and forcibly brought them to the Masjid near Abu Bakr. They told them, “People have sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr, you too may do so. By Allah, if you disobey, we will put you to sword in this trial.” When the Bani Hashim found themselves in such straightened circumstance, they came forward one after the other and swore allegiance to Abu Bakr.
Assault at the House of Imam ‘Ali and the speech of Sayyidah Zahra
‘Allamah al-Tabarsi, the author of al-Ihtijaj relates from ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abdul Rahman b. ‘Awf that, “‘Umar b. al-Khattab tightened his shirt to his waist and went around the city of Madinah calling out, ‘People have sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr, thus hasten to do the same!’ The people had no choice but to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. ‘Umar was informed that a group of men had hidden themselves in their homes and thus, accompanied by a group of men, he attacked them and brought them to the Masjid and forced them to swear allegiance at his hand.
Some days passed and ‘Umar came to the house of Imam ‘Ali accompanied by a group of men. He called out to Imam ‘Ali to come out of his house (and swear allegiance). Imam ‘Ali refused to do so. Then ‘Umar called for wood and fire and said, ‘I swear by Him in Whose hands is the life of ‘Umar! If he (referring to Imam ‘Ali) does not step out, I will set the house on fire along with those inside it.’
Some people from amongst those present told ‘Umar, ‘Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet is in the house as well as his sons (Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn) and his symbols.’ The people began to object to ‘Umar (and his threats to burn down the house) and when he realized the gravity of the situation, he said, ‘What do you think? Do you think that I will really do this? I only meant to scare them and not burn them.’
Imam ‘Ali sent a message saying, ‘It is not possible for me to step outside, for I am busy compiling the Qur’an that you have abandoned behind your backs, and attached yourselves with materialism. I have sworn that I will not step out of the house, nor wear my cloak until I finish compiling the Qur’an.’
At this moment, Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet, came out and stood near the door facing the people and said, ‘I have not known a group more ill-mannered than you! You left the corpse of the Prophet in our midst and took the affairs (of electing a caliph) into your own hands! You did not seek our advice and rather, neglected our rights. Perhaps you pretended to not know the event of Ghadir. By Allah! On that day, the Prophet of Allah took the pledge from the people regarding the friendship and authority of ‘Ali.18 The Messenger did that so that you would never desire to take the authority in your own hands, but you scraped the relation with your Prophet (by doing so). Surely Allah is the Judge between us and you in this world and in the hereafter.’”
The Incident of Forcing the Allegiance From Imam ‘Ali in the Words of the Scholars of Ahlus Sunnah
Allegiance in the Eyes of Ibn Qutaybah al-Daynuri
Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah b. Muslim b. Qutaybah al-Daynuri, better known as Ibn Qutaybah al-Daynuri, a renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah who lived during the time of the “lesser occultation” (of Imam al-Mahdi) and died in 322 ah, writes in his book al-Imamah was Siyasah regarding Imam ‘Ali’s refusal to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr that, “Then ‘Ali (may Allah have mercy upon his face) was (forcefully) brought to Abu Bakr while calling out, ‘I am the slave of Allah and the brother of the Prophet of Allah.’
A man told him to swear allegiance at the hands of Abu Bakr, to which he replied, ‘I am more worthy of the caliphate than you, I shall not swear allegiance at your hands when you are more entitled to swear allegiance at my hand, while you have taken the position in your hands! You snatched the caliphate away from the Ansar on the grounds that you are his relatives and thus in reality you usurped the rights from us - the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet! Did you not put forward this claim in front of the Ansar that you were more entitled to succeed Muhammad being his close relatives? Thus the Ansar handed over the authority to you and surrendered. Now I put forward the same claim that you put forth to the Ansar (regarding the relationship with the Prophet). I was nearer to the Prophet in his lifetime and even now after his death. Then deal justly with us if you possess faith, or else (is it that) you intentionally seek refuge in oppression.’
‘Umar replied, ‘We shall not release you until you swear allegiance to Abu Bakr.’
Hearing this, Imam ‘Ali said, ‘Milk thou and keep half for your self, and strive for him (Abu Bakr) today, for tomorrow he shall return it (the caliphate) to you.”19 Then he continued, ‘O ‘Umar! By Allah! I shall not yield to your words and swear allegiance to him.’ Abu Bakr replied, “If you do not swear allegiance, then I will not force you.’
Then, Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah said, ‘O cousin! You are still young while these two are seniors in the community and you do not have the same experience and intelligence which they have. In my opinion Abu Bakr has more potentials than you to take the reins of caliphate in his hand as he possesses more tolerance and is better informed than you.20 Hand over the caliphate to Abu Bakr and if you remain alive and have a long life, you shall be rightfully entitled to the caliphate with regards to excellence, religiosity, knowledge, intelligence, seniority, relationship and kindship that you possess.’
Imam ‘Ali replied, ‘Allah! Allah! O group of Emigrants! Do not bring out the ‘authority of the Prophet’ among the ‘Arabs from the interior of his house into the interior and bottom of your houses! Defend the status of his Ahlul Bayt among the people and their rights! O Emigrants! By Allah! We are the most entitled among all men to take the authority into our hands for we are the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet and are more entitled to the caliphate than any of you.’”
Seeking Aid from the Ansar
Ibn Qutaybah further says, “At night, ‘Ali (May Allah have mercy upon his face) sat Fatimah upon a mount and took her to the Ansar and she told them to support ‘Ali. They replied, ‘O daughter of the Prophet of Allah! We have taken the oath of allegiance to this man (Abu Bakr) and the die has been cast. If your cousin and husband had approached us in the beginning, before we had given the allegiance to Abu Bakr, we would have supported him and listened to him regarding the caliphate.’
‘Ali replied to them, ‘In that case should I have left the corpse of the Prophet in his house unburied and come to you and dispute with men regarding the caliphate?’
Fatimah said, “Abul Hasan (Imam ‘Ali) was bound and more befitting to accomplish the funeral proceedings of the Prophet, while the Muhajirin and Ansar have committed such an act that Allah will reprimand and punish them.’”
Ibn Qutaybah narrates regarding how the allegiance was forced upon Imam ‘Ali as follows: “When Abu Bakr was informed about those who had not pledged allegiance to him and that they were with ‘Ali, he sent ‘Umar to them. ‘Umar went to the house of ‘Ali and called them to come out to take the oath of allegiance, but they refused to come out. ‘Umar said, “I swear by Him in Whose hands is the life of ‘Umar! Certainly you should come out, or else I shall burn down the house with its occupants!”
Some of those present told ‘Umar, “Fatimah is also in the house”, and ‘Umar replied, “So be it.” Thus all of those present in the house were forced to come out and swear allegiance except ‘Ali who had sworn that, “I will neither come out of my house nor wear a cloak upon my shoulders until I complete the compilation of the Qur’an.”
Fatimah stood near the door and addressed the Emigrants saying, “I have not known a group more ill-mannered than you, you left the corpse of the Prophet amongst our midst and took the affairs into your hands yourself, you did not seek our advice and neglected our rights.”
When ‘Umar heard these words, he went to Abu Bakr and said, “Why do you not arrest or reprimand this man since he refuses to swear allegiance?”
Abu Bakr called for Qunfudh, his freed slave, and sent him to ‘Ali with a message that he (‘Ali) was to go to Abu Bakr. Qunfudh went to ‘Ali and he asked him what he wanted. Qunfudh replied, “The caliph of the Prophet of Allah has called you.” ‘Ali replied, “How soon do you attribute a lie to the Prophet (by claiming that Abu Bakr is his caliph)?” Qunfudh returned to Abu Bakr and conveyed ‘Ali’s reply, hearing which Abu Bakr wept bitterly.
‘Umar again repeated to Abu Bakr saying, “Do not give respite to this violator (referring to Imam ‘Ali).” Abu Bakr told Qunfudh, “Go to ‘Ali and tell him that the Commander of the Faithful has invited you to come to him and take the oath of allegiance.” Qunfudh went back to ‘Ali and related the message of Abu Bakr to him. ‘Ali raised his voice and said, “Glory be to Allah! He claims that (status) which is not his!” Qunfudh returned back to Abu Bakr and related to him ‘Ali’s words, hearing which Abu Bakr again wept bitterly.
Suddenly ‘Umar arose and accompanied with a group of men, came to the house of Fatimah and banged at the door. When Fatimah heard their voices, she cried out in a loud voice to her father, “O father! O Prophet of Allah! What oppression has befallen us by the son of al-Khattab and the son of Abu Qahafah after your passing away!”
When those accompanying ‘Umar heard the voice and lamentation of Fatimah, they were deeply grieved and wept so bitterly such that it was as if their hearts were tear apart and thei liver was being punctured (due to their intense grief), however ‘Umar remained at the house of Fatimah and forcefully brought out ‘Ali from inside and took him to Abu Bakr and said, “Swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr!”
‘Ali replied, “I will not do so.” They said, “By Allah! If you do not swear the oath of allegiance, we will strike your head.” ‘Ali said, “In this way you will have killed the slave of Allah and the brother of the Prophet of Allah.” ‘Umar replied, “Slave of Allah - yes, but the brother of the Prophet of Allah - no!”21
Abu Bakr was silent all this time and did not utter a word, when ‘Umar told him, “Do you not order ‘Ali to take the oath of allegiance?” Abu Bakr replied, “I will not force ‘Ali anything, as long as Fatimah is with him.”
‘Ali left and made his way to the grave of the Prophet of Allah, weeping and called out in a sorrowful voice, “O son of my mother! Verily the people did reckon me weak and had tried to kill me.”22
Abu Bakr’s Discourse with Fatimah
‘Umar told Abu Bakr, “Take me to Fatimah as we have angered her.” Both of them came to the house of Fatimah and asked permission to enter. Fatimah did not permit them to enter inside and thus they went to ‘Ali and told him to plead on their behalf for an audience with her. Imam ‘Ali took permission (with Fatimah) and they came to her, but she turned her back towards them and did not reply to their salutations.
Abu Bakr said, “O beloved of the Prophet of Allah! By Allah! The family of the Prophet is dearer to me than my own family, and I hold you dearer to myself than my daughter ‘Ayesha and I had wished that on the day of the death of the Prophet of Allah I would have died in his place and would not have survived him. Do you perceive that inspite of being aware of your excellence, I would keep you away from your rights and inheritance at this moment? I have heard your father the Prophet of Allah say that, ‘We prophets do not leave anything as inheritance, whatever is left behind is charity.’”
Fatimah replied, “Then if I narrate to you from my father, will you act according to it?” They replied in the affirmative and so Fatimah said, “I put you on oath of Allah, haven’t you heard the Prophet of Allah say, ‘The pleasure of Fatimah is my pleasure, and her discontent is my discontent. Then the one who loves Fatimah, my daughter, loves me. The one who pleases Fatimah, pleases me, and the one who angers Fatimah angers me.’”
They replied, “Yes indeed we have heard this from the Prophet.”
Fatimah continued, “I hold Allah and the angels witness, that you have angered me and displeased me and when I meet the Prophet of Allah I will complain to him regarding you!”
Abu Bakr replied, “I seek refuge of Allah from His anger and that of yours O Fatimah!” Then he wept so bitterly that it was as if he would have died. Fatimah said, “I swear by Allah, I will make prayers against you after every prayer.”23
Abu Bakr came out of the house of Fatimah weeping and the people gathered around him. He addressed them saying, “Each one of you men lie in bed with your wives at night and embrace each other and live happily with your relatives, and leave me alone in this conflict. I do not need your allegiance - break the oath of allegiance that you have sworn at my hands.”
The people said, “O vicegerent of the Prophet! The caliphate is incomplete without you! You are more informed than us in the affairs. If you remove yourself from the caliphate, the religion will be destroyed!”
Abu Bakr said, “By Allah! Had I not feared that the rope of religion would be weakened, I would not have slept in a state with the oath of allegiance of even one Muslim upon myself, after having heard the words of Fatimah.”
Ibn Qutaybah further says, “‘Ali did not take the oath of allegiance of Abu Bakr until Fatimah passed away and she (Fatimah) did not survive more than seventy days after the passing away of the Prophet.”
The Discourse of Ibn ‘Abd al-Rabbah al-Andalusi
In the second volume of his book al-Uqdul al-Farid, Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Qurtubi al-Marwani al-Maliki, renowned as Ibn ‘Abd al-Rabbah al-Andalusi (d. 328 ah) who was from among the eminent scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah, states the following in regards to the incident of seeking the pledge of allegiance (to Abu Bakr), the summary of that which follows:
“Among those who had opposed to swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr were ‘Ali, ‘Abbas and Zubayr who had gathered at the house of ‘Ali. Abu Bakr sent ‘Umar b. al-Khattab to them with orders to bring them out of the house of Fatimah and had instructed, ‘If they refuse to come out of the house, then fight them.’
‘Umar brought fire along with him to burn the house alongwith its occupants and when Fatimah confronted him saying, ‘O son of al-Khattab! Do you intend to burn our house?’ ‘Umar replied, ‘Certainly, unless those present therein come out and swear allegiance.’ ‘Ali came out, went to Abu Bakr and pledged allegiance to him.”
A Discourse of al-Mas’udi - the Renowned Historian
In his book, Murujal Dhahab, the renowned historian, ‘Ali b. Husayn renowned as al-Mas’udi relates the following regarding the uprising of ‘Abdullah b. Zubayr, “‘Abdullah b. Zubayr resolved to gather the Bani Hashim including Muhammad b. Hanafiyyah (the son of Imam ‘Ali) at the ‘Valley of Abu Talib’24. He gathered such an amount of fire-wood that if one spark of fire was tossed upon it, the entire clain of Bani Hashim would have been burnt alive and none would have been saved. Then Abu ‘Abdullah Judali came to Makkah with an army of four thousand men under orders from Mukhtar and saved the Bani Hashim from this peril.
Al-Mas’udi further says that al-Nawfali in his book written on the life of one of the relatives of ‘Ayesha, relates from Hammad b. Salamah that, “When ‘Urwah b. Zubayr, the brother of ‘Abdullah b. Zubayr, heard the criticism relating to his brother, he brought this excuse saying, ‘‘Abdullah gathered the firewood only to frighten the Bani Hashim and not to burn them so as to persuade them to swear allegiance to him, and this was similar to ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, who had frightened the Bani Hashim such that he gathered firewood and threatened to burn them because they refused to pledge allegiance (to Abu Bakr).’”
Al-Nawfali futher says that, “We have not included this in detail here but have discussed it in detail in our book Hadaequl Azhan which speaks about the merits of the Ahlul Bayt and their life history.”
Discourse of Some of the Eminent Shi’a Scholars
The eminent Shi’a erudite, Sayyed Murtadha ‘‘Alamul Huda’ (d. 436 ah) in his book, al-Shafi’ refutes the words of Qadhiul Qudhat who refuses to accept that the door of the house of Sayyidah Fatimah was burnt down by ‘Umar. He says that the incident of the burning down of the door of Sayyidah Fatimah has even been quoted by non-Shi’a scholars who are not accused of dishonesty by the Ahlus Sunnah, while refuting these traditions without adequate evidences would not be appropriate.
The renowned historian, al-Balazuri who is considered trustworthy with the Ahlus Sunnah and his authenticity and compilation of traditions is renowned and has not been accused of any favoritism towards the Shi’a, relates from al-Madaeni that, “Abu Bakr sent a man to ‘Ali to force him to take the pledge of allegiance, but he (‘Ali) refused to do so. Brandishing fire, ‘Umar came to the house of ‘Ali and saw Fatimah beside the door. Fatimah said to him, ‘O son of al-Khattab! I see that you have come to burn our house, is that so?’ ‘Umar replied, ‘Yes, and this task is more potent than what your father (the Prophet) had brought (i.e. the message of Islam).’ At that moment ‘Ali came out of the house and took the pledge.’ This tradition is quoted through several chain of authorities by the Shi’a traditionists and also by the traditionists of the Ahlus Sunnah.”
Ibrahim Sa’id al-Thaqafi relates through his chain of authorities from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq that, “By Allah! ‘Ali did not take the pledge of allegiance, until he saw smoke emit from his house.”
In his book Kashful Mahajjah, the eminent scholar Sayyid Ibn Tawus (d. 664 ah) in the context of the life of Abu Bakr and his staying away from the army of Usamah, and his usurpation of the caliphate in Saqifah, addresses his son in the following words, “He (Abu Bakr) did not suffice with this. Rather he sent ‘Umar to the house of your father ‘Ali and mother Fatimah, while ‘Abbas (b. ‘Abdul Muttalib) and a group of men from the Bani Hashim were with them. They were mourning the death of your grandfather Muhammad and were passing the days in lamenting this heart-rending calamity of the (loss of the) Prophet. ‘Umar ordered that if they did not come out of the house to swear the pledge of allegiance that they would be burnt. This has been quoted by the author of ‘Uqdul Farid in the second volume of his book as also by a group of scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah who are not accused of dishonesty.
And the similarity of this act (of burning the house of Fatimah), as far as I know, has not been committed by any ruler known for his tyranny and brutality before ‘Umar or after him with regards to the (treatment of) prophets and their vicegerents. Rather even the non-Muslim kings have not committed such an act that they should dispatch a group to the one who delays swearing allegiance to him so as to burn them, apart from threat, murder and beatings. A prophet or the ‘one in authority’ (by Allah) rescues men from poverty, disgrace and loss, and guides them towards felicity in this world and in the hereafter, and Allah bestows him victory upon the cities that were under the dominance of the tyrants. Then when the prophet or the ‘one in authority’ passes away from this world and leaves behind his only daughter among the people, after announcing to them time and again that she is the mistress of the entire women-kind, and that daughter has two sons less than seven years old, then is it appropriate that the reward for this prophet or the ‘one in authority’ should be such that fire should be sent and burn his two sons and their mother, when that daughter and her sons are the soul and life of that prophet or the ‘one in authority’?”
An Astonishing Event
‘Allamah al-Tabarsi in his book al-Ihtijaj relates from Ahmad b. Hisham that, “During the days of the caliphate of Abu Bakr, I went to ‘Ubadah b. Samit (a companion of the Noble Prophet) and asked him, ‘Did the people consider Abu Bakr superior to others before he assumed the seat of caliphate?’
‘Ubadah replied, ‘We are silent in this regard, thus you too should remain silent and do not spy. By Allah! ‘Ali was more worthy for the caliphate just as the Prophet of Allah was more worthy for the prophethood over Abu Jahl. Apart from this, listen to this report from me: ‘One day we were in the presence of the Prophet of Allah; and ‘Ali, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar came to the door. First Abu Bakr entered, followed by ‘Umar, and then ‘Ali entered. Seeing this, the Prophet’s face turned grey as if ash had been rubbed on it. He told ‘Ali, ‘These two men have preceded you, when Allah has appointed you commander over them!’ Abu Bakr said, ‘O Prophet of Allah! I forgot.’ ‘Umar said, ‘I committed a mistake and was negligent.’
The Prophet told them, ‘Neither did you forget, nor did you commit a mistake! It is as if I see the two of you snatching away the caliphate from him, and falling into dispute and battle (with him) to take the reins into your hands, while the enemies of Allah and His Prophet have aided you in this regard! I also see that you have spread bloodshed among the Muhajirin and the Ansar who are thrusting at each other with their swords for want of this world. As well it is as if I see my Ahlul Bayt being oppressed and dishonoured, while they are scattered around, and this has been written in the ‘Knowledge’ of Allah.’
Then the Prophet wept to such an extent that his tears flowed. He turned towards ‘Ali and said to him, ‘O ‘Ali! Bear patiently! Bear patiently, until the Command of Allah comes forth! Surely there is no Might and no Power except with Allah, the Most High, the Most Great. There is such a reward reserved for you with Allah that the two angels authorized to write the deeds cannot calculate them. After the caliphate comes into your hands, there will come sword after sword, and killing after killing25 until the opponents return back to the word of Allah and the Prophet of Allah, for surely you are upon the truth, just as those alongwith you who have risen against those who are upon falsehood. In the same way, after you, your sons26 will be upon the truth until the Day of Resurrection.’”
The Sermon of Shaqshaqiyya
The Sermon of Shaqshaqiyya27125125
Shaykh as-Saduq relates through his chain of transmitters from Ibn ‘Abbas that, “Once I was in the company of Imam ‘Ali (during the days of his caliphate) when a discussion arose between us regarding the caliphate (after the Prophet). Imam ‘Ali replied in detail [as has been quoted in Nahjul Balaghah):
“By Allah! The son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (the caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill. He knew that the stream of wisdom and perfection that comes forth from the highlands flows through me and the birds of high flight even do not have the strength to reach the peak of my intelligence. Thus I released the mantle of caliphate and kept myself detached from it.
Then I began to think whether I should stand up alone to defend my right or endure calmly the events of censorship and oppression that have taken place, wherein the grown up are made feeble and the young grow old and the true believer acts under strain until he meets Allah (upon his death). I found that patience and endurance thereon was wiser, so I followed the path of patience and endurance, although my state was similar to the one whom there was pricking in the eye and suffocation in the throat. I watched the plundering of my inheritance until the first one passed away but handed over the caliphate to the second one (‘Umar) after himself.
Then, Imam ‘Ali recited the verses of al-A’sha: ‘My days are now passed on the camel’s back in hardship, while there were days (of ease) when I enjoyed the company of Jabir’s brother, al-Hayyan.’28
It is strange that during his (Abu Bakr) lifetime he wished to be released from the caliphate, but then he wed the caliphate to the other one (‘Umar) after his death. No doubt these two shared the caliphate among themselves similar to the two udders of a camel. Thus he put the caliphate in the hands of a man who was very rude, hot-tempered, one stuffed with errors and who always made excuses.
Then the one assumed the leadership who was similar to a rider of an unruly camel, if its reins are pulled and not let loose, the nostrils (of the camel) would tear, but if it be let loose it would fall in the precipice of perdition. Consequently, by Allah, during his (‘Umar’s) days, people got involved in misconceptions, failed to strive for the truth and walked the path of deviation.29
During this period I remained patient until he too passed away. But during his last days, he handed over the caliphate to a group of council and regarded me to be one of them. Verily, we seek refuge in Allah from this council! Was there any doubt about me with regard to the first of them that I was now considered akin to these ones?30 But I remained low when they were low and flew high when they flew high. One of them (Sa’ad b. Abi al-Waqqas) turned against me because of his envy towards me, and the other one (‘Abdul Rahman b. ‘Awf) inclined the other way due to his relationship, while the third one (Uthman b. al-Affan) emerged a winner and took the reins of caliphate into his hands.31
He, similar to a camel that is satiated and with a swollen belly, resolved nothing but to accumulate the public property (for himself) and usurp it, while the adherers of his father (Umayyah) also stood up, similar to the starving camels that rush to eat the foliage of spring and gulp with such greed, to swallow the wealth of Allah.32 Ultimately his rope broke and his unworthy actions destroyed his tasks.”
The Period of the Caliphate of Imam ‘Ali
“After him (‘Uthman), a crowd of people rushed towards me from every side like the mane of a hyena so much so that it was near that the two lights of my eyes and the remembrance of the Prophet of Allah, Hasan and Husayn, would have been crushed and both ends of my clothing would have been ripped.
They collected around me like a herd of sheep that seek refuge from a wolf and when I took up the reins of caliphate, a group (consisting of Talhah and Zubair) broke their allegiance and another group (the Kharijites) turned disobedient and left the religion. Another group (consisting of Mu’awiyah and his adherents) disobeyed with regards to following the right with an intention of acquiring dominion and power33 as if they had not heard the word of Allah saying,
‘That abode in the hereafter, We assign it for those who intend not to exult themselves in the earth, nor (to make) mischief (therein); and the end is (best) for the pious ones.’34
Yes, they had heard it very well and understood it too, however the glitter of the world blinded their eyes and its embellishments seduced them. Behold, by Him who split the grain (to grow) and created living beings! If people had not come to me from all sides and stood up to support me and in this way the argument was established, and if there had not been the pledge of Allah with the learned to the effect that they should not sbumit in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed, I would have cast away the reins of the caliphate, and would have given the last one the same treatment as to the first one. Then you would have seen that in my view this world of yours is no better than the sneezing of a goat.”
When Imam ‘Ali reached this point in his speech, an ‘Iraqi arose and handed him a letter. Imam looked at the letter and read its entire contents then remained silent. Ibn ‘Abbas said, “O Commander of the Faithful! It would be better if you continued where you had left off.” Imam ‘Ali replied, “Alas! O Ibn ‘Abbas! It was like foam of a camel that gushed out and subsided.”
Ibn ‘Abbas says that by Allah, I never grieved over any utterance as I did over this one because Imam could not finish it (his sermon) as he wished to.
Discourse of Jalib, the Tutor of Ibn Abil Hadid
The renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah, Ibn Abil Hadid says, “My tutor, Abul Khayr Musaddiq b. Shabib al-Wasti (d. 603 ah) explained to me the meaning of the words of Ibn ‘Abbas in the above passage. He says that, I read this sermon to my teacher Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah b. Ahmad, renowned as Ibn Khashshab and when I reached the passage of Ibn ‘Abbas, my teacher said, ’If I was present there I would have told Ibn ‘Abbas, was there anything more with ‘Ali that he did not say, that you aggrieve? By Allah! He did not leave anything regarding the first ones nor the last ones (but he said it all).’”
The Heart-Ache of Imam ‘Ali Expressed to Ibn ‘Abbas
‘Allamah Majlisi relates in his book Bihar al-Anwar from Kashf al-Yaqin that Ibn ‘Abbas relates, “Whenever I recall an incident I remember the fury of Imam ‘Ali and his agitation. One day, an adherent of Imam ‘Ali who was staying in Syria wrote a letter to him whose contents were as follows: ‘Umro b. As, Utbah b. Abi Sufyan, al-Walid b. ‘Aqbah and Marwan b. Hakam gathered around Mu’awiyah when a discussion concerning Imam ‘Ali’s sermon arose among them. They criticized him (Imam ‘Ali) extremely and made it known among the people that he (‘Ali) had lessened the quantity of the Prophet’s companions (by waging the battle of al-Jamal and now al-Siffin).
They attributed such faults to him (and implied) which they themselves were more worthy of possessing. This letter reached Imam ‘Ali when he had commanded his troops to proceed to the encampment at al-Nukhaylah and to stay there until he himself joined them (and from there they would proceed for the battle of al-Siffin against Mu’awiyah), however the troops displayed laxity and entered Kufah leaving him alone.
This episode grieved Imam ‘Ali and word spread all around about what had transpired. When I was informed about it, I went to meet Imam ‘Ali at night and met Qambar (his servant) and asked him, ‘What is the news of the Commander of the Faithful?’ Qambar replied, ‘He is sleeping.’ However, the Imam heard the voice of Qambar and asked who was there, to which Qambar replied that I had come to meet him. He permitted me to enter therein and I saw him sitting in a corner of his bed. He had wrapped himself with his shirt and was looking disturbed. I said, ‘Tonight I see you in an extraordinary state, O Commander of the Faithful!’
He replied, ‘O son of ‘Abbas! Woe be to you! The eyes are sleepy but the heart is troubled, while the heart is the king of all your bodily parts. Thus when the heart is aggrieved, sleep parts away from the eyes. You now see me that I am constantly thinking from the start of the night about how the community broke their promises during the beginning (after the death of the Prophet), and they have made this breach of trust their destiny.
During his lifetime, the Noble Prophet had commanded his companions to salute me addressing me as the Commander of the Faithful, and I always strived to be so even after the death of the Prophet. O son of ‘Abbas! I am the best one and the most near among them after the death of the Prophet. But people’s attachment to the world and the sovereignty has brought such animosity, while their hearts have drifted away from me and they do not obey me. O son of ‘Abbas! My situation has reached to such an extent that I am being considered equal to the son of Hind, the chewer of the liver (of Hamzah) (i.e. Mu’awiyah), ‘Umro b. As, ‘Utbah, al-Walid, Marwan and their accomplices.35
Due to this, I am disturbed and I see that the caliphate and the legacy of the Prophet is in the hands of the one who considers himself to be the chief of men, and the men obey himand these chiefs criticize the ‘friends of Allah’ and accuse them unjustly! Thus, they reveal their enmity towards them through lies and ancient malice; while the companions of Muhammad, who are the defenders and guardians of his secrets, very well know that all of my enemies in fact are obeying Satan by opposing me and have made the people heedless of me. They obey the caprice of the self and have thus destroyed their hereafter. Allah is Absolute and Self-Sufficient and it is He Who is the Bestower of Grace in the path of guidance and righteousness.
O son of ‘Abbas! Woe be to the one who oppresses me and usurps my right and snatches away the great position from me. Where were these men when I had prayed alongside the Prophet during my childhood, when prayers were not even incumbent upon me, while they were worshipping their idols and neglecting the commands of Allah and they were the kindlers of the fire of hell? Then they turned away from infidelity and accepted Islam unwillingly, but their hearts were full of infidelity and hypocricy.
In their greed to extinguish the ‘Light of Allah’, they impatiently awaited the death of the Prophet and counted each minute of his prophetic mission to conclude. Their avarice and envy reached such height that they resolved to kill the Prophet in Makkah, and for this gathered at Darul Nadwa to plan his murder. Allah says regarding this, “And they planned and Allah (also) planned, and verily Allah is the best of planners.” (Surat Ale ‘Imran (3): 54)36, and He also says, “They intend to put out the Light of Allah with (the blow of) their mouths, and Allah disdains this save that He prefects His Light37, though the infidels may detest.” (Suratul Bara’at (9): 32).
O son of ‘Abbas! During his lifetime, the Prophet of Allah invited them towards the revelations of Allah and commanded them towards my authority and friendship. Satan led them astray in the same motivation that he had enmity for our grandfather, Prophet Adam. He (Satan) envied Adam and due to this very envy with the friend of Allah, he was expelled from the presence of Allah and became entangled in the wrath of Allah forever. The envy of the Quraysh towards me - Allah willing - shall not put me in any loss.
O son of ‘Abbas! Each of these men desire to be a chief and superior and that the world and her adherents should turn towards them, while the caprice of their self and the pleasure of the affection of the world, as well as the obedience of men, made them usurp my right bestowed upon me by Allah.
If I had not feared that the Ahlul Bayt would be left behind and the tree of knowledge would be severed and that the firm rope of Allah, the fortress of the trustworthy of the Allah and the sons of the Prophet of Allah would be killed - death and the meeting with Allah would be more dear to me than the water which a thirsty man desires and is sweeter than the dream of the dreamer.
However I bore patiently until the extreme sorrow jammed into my heart and the commotion settled in my mind. But (my course is) timely patience, and Allah is He Whose help is to be sought against what you describe.38 In the past too, messengers were oppressed and the friends of Allah were killed; and soon the disbelievers will know for whom is the sequel of the eternal abode.’”39
At that moment, the sound of the call to prayer arose and the caller called our, “the prayers!”
Imam ‘Ali said, “O son of ‘Abbas! Do not forget and seek forgiveness for me and yourself while Allah is Sufficient for us and He is the guardian of the good, and there is no might and no power except with Allah, the Most High, the Most Great.”
Ibn ‘Abbas says that I was very much saddened due to the ending of the night and the concluding of the Commander of the Faithful’s speech.
Decision by Twelve Men to Protest Against Abu Bakr
A group of Shi’a scholars (as well as scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah) relate that when the caliphate of Abu Bakr was established, twelve men openly protested against him. Six men were from the Emigrants (Muhajirin), namely: Khalid b. Sa’id b. al-As from the Bani Umayyah, Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Miqdad b. al-Aswad, ‘Ammar b. Yasir and Buraydah al-Aslami; the six men were from among the helpers (Ansar) were: Abul Haytham b. al-Tihan, Sahl b. Hunayf, ‘Uthman b. Hunayf, Khuzaymah b. Thabit Dhus Shahadatain, ‘Ubayy b. Ka’ab and Abu Ayyub al-Ansari.
When Abu Bakr ascended the pulpit in the Masjid, they opined with one another. Some said, “By Allah! We shall go to Abu Bakr and bring him down from the pulpit of the Prophet of Allah”, while others said, “By Allah! If we do this, we shall doom our ownselves, when Allah says in the Qur’an: ‘And cast not yourselves with your own hands into perdition.’40 It is better that we go to the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali and seek his advice regarding this.”
Seeking an Opinion from Imam ‘Ali and his Reply
The twelve men went to Imam ‘Ali and said, “O Commander of the Faithful! Indeed you are the best and worthiest for the caliphate among the people - for we have heard the Prophet of Allah say that ‘Ali is with the truth and the truth is with ‘Ali, and the truth turns towards wherever ‘Ali goes.41 We have decided to go to Abu Bakr and bring him down from the pulpit of the Prophet of Allah and have come to seek your advice in this regards, and will do whatever you say.”
Imam ‘Ali replied, “If you do (what you are intending to do), then fights will erupt amongst you and you are less in number. The community has gathered and forsaken the words of their Prophet and have attributed falsehood to Allah. I have councelled with my family regarding this and they have decided to remain silent for they are aware of the resent and enmity of the opponents towards Allah and the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet of Allah. The enemies pursue the hostility of the days of ignorance and desire to seek revenge of those days.
Go to Abu Bakr and relate to him whatever you have heard (regarding me) from the Prophet and through this, clear the doubt from his mind as this will prove to be greater evidence for him. Ultimately his punishment will increase on the day when he is brought in front of Allah, for he has disobeyed His Messenger and opposed him.”
The twelve men went to the Masjid, which happened to be a Friday, the fourth day after the death of the Prophet, and surrounded the pulpit. When Abu Bakr ascended, each one of them came to him and began to defend the rights of ‘Ali and related to him the merits of ‘Ali from the words of the Prophet, which we do not quote here in detail for brevity’s sake.
The first one to come forward was Khalid b. Sa’id b. al-As and he was followed by the other Emigrants and then the Ansar came forward. It has been related that when the men ended their speeches, Abu Bakr sat upon the pulpit, disturbed, and did not have any intelligent answer to reply to them except, “You are more worthy of authority and I am not the best one among you, leave me, leave me!”
When ‘Umar heard this he shouted, “Come down from the pulpit, you ignoble! If you do not have the power to reply to the arguments of the Quraysh, why have you taken this position (of caliphate)? By Allah! I resolve to depose you from this position and hand it over to Salim, the freed slave of Hudhayfah.”
Hearing this, Abu Bakr came down from the pulpit, and taking hold of the hand of ‘Umar, took him to his house, and they did not come out for three days, nor did they go to the Masjid of the Prophet (during this time).
Skirmishes of the Fourth Day
On the fourth day as well, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar did not come out of their homes until the time when Khalid b. al-Walid, accompanied by a thousand men, came to the house of Abu Bakr and called out, “Why do you sit in your homes? By Allah! The Bani Hashim have set their eyes upon the caliphate.”
Then from the other side, Salim, the freed slave of Hudayfah, accompanied by a thousand men, came; and from the other side Ma’adh came with a thousand men until four thousand men had gathered there with unsheathed swords. ‘Umar b. al-Khattab was at the forefront and they brought Abu Bakr to the Masjid and waited there.
‘Umar started his speech by saying, “O companions of ‘Ali! By Allah! If anyone among you says what they said yesterday, your heads shall roll off (your bodies).”
Hearing this, Khalid b. Sa’id stood up and said, “O son of Sahhak the Abyssinian! Do you threaten us with your swords and large numbers? By Allah! Our swords are sharper than yours and we are also greater in number! We may seem small in numbers, however we are far more because the ‘evidence of Allah’ is amongst us. By Allah! If we had not held the obedience of our Imam more dear (compared to anything else), we would have unsheathed our swords without considering his (our Imam’s) orders, and fought against you until we take our rights from you thus having fulfilled our responsibilities.” Hearing this, Imam ‘Ali told Khalid b. Sa’id, “Allah has recognized your stand and has reserved a suitable reward for you – but now, sit down”, thus Khalid sat down.
Discourse of Salman and his Intense Involvement
Salman then stood up and said, “Allah is Great! Allah is Great! I have heard with my ears from the Prophet of Allah, and may my ears turn deaf if I speak a lie, where he said, ‘It shall come forth that my brother and the son of my uncle (Imam ‘Ali) will be seated in the masjid with a group of his companions, then a group of the dogs of hell will surround them and resolve to kill them.’ I do not doubt that the ones referred to by the Prophet are you who have come to kill ‘Ali and his companions.”
When ‘Umar heard this, he jumped and attacked Salman. Suddenly Imam ‘Ali arose and grabbed ‘Umar by his clothing, pressed him hard and threw him to the ground saying, “O son of Sahhak the Abyssinian! If the command of Allah had not been written and the promise had not been given to the Prophet regarding this, I would have shown you who among us is weak with regards to companions and less in numbers!”
Imam ‘Ali then turned towards his companions and said, “Arise and leave, may Allah’s blessings be upon you! By Allah! I will never enter the masjid, but like my brothers (prophets) Musa and Harun when the Children of Israel told them: ‘Both of you go with your Lord and fight, indeed we shall stay here sitting.’42 By Allah! I will not enter the masjid except to visit the grave of the Prophet of Allah, or to judge by the orders of Allah for it is not lawful to delay the commandments of Allah that have been brought by the Prophet of Allah and to leave people in a state of perplexity and distress.”
Discourse of Imam ‘Ali
The eminent traditionist, Shaykh al-Kulayni (d. 328 ah) relates from Abu Haytham b. al-Tayhan that he said, “One day, the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali recited the following sermon in Madinah for the people. First he praised and glorified Allah and then he said, ‘Be aware! I swear upon Allah Who split open the seed and created mankind, that if you had obtained the knowledge and excellence from the mine (i.e. the original source), and drank the water when it was pure and agreeable, observed righteousness from it’s original place, paved the way through the illuminated path, and traversed righteousness from it’s own path; the path of salvation would have been manifest upon you, the signs of righteousness would have been apparent and the customs of Islam would have been illuminated for you. Then you would have enjoyed the blessings of Allah abundantly, and not a single family from among you Muslims would have fallen victim to indigence and oppression and even the protected disbelievers would have been in peace.
However you traversed the path of the tyrants while your world turned dark even though it was vast and the doors of knowledge and excellence closed upon your faces, then you spoke in conformity to the whims of your desires. You created discord in your religion and gave verdict in the religion of Allah without knowing anything. Then you obeyed the astray ones who misled you and you betrayed the ‘masters of righteousness’ and they too left you to your own selves!
You dawned under the influences of your whims and then, when you faced a problem, you asked the ‘people of the Dhikr’43. When we give you our verdict regarding it, you say: ‘Knowledge is but here’, but then what is the use of this confession to your state when you do not follow them in practice, rather you oppose them and leave their orders behind your backs! Be quiet! Soon you shall reap what you have sown and shall witness the punishment of your deeds.
I swear by Allah Who split open the seed and created the human being, you very well know that I am your master and guide and I am the one whose obedience has been assigned. I am the erudite among you under whose light the right path can be paved; I am the vicegerent of your Prophet and the chosen one of your Lord; the tongue of your light; the one cognizant of your affairs. Then very soon shall the wrath of Allah descend upon you regarding what you have been promised, just like it descended upon the people before you. Very soon will Allah ask you regarding your Imam and you will arise alongwith your Imam44 and return to your Lord.
I swear by Allah! If I had alongwith me such quantity of men equalling the men of Talut45 or similar to the combatants at Badr, and they in turn would be your enemies, I would have strikeed at you with the sword alongwith them, until I would have returned you towards righteousness and truth, and this striking is better for shutting down the path of infidelity and hypocrisy and would be more effective than leniency and moderateness. O Allah! Judge between us with righteousness for surely You are the best Judge.’”
Abu Haytham says that after ending this sermon Imam ‘Ali came out of the masjid and walked a little distance in the desert where he saw approximately thirty sheep that had taken shelter in the pen. Seeing this he said, “By Allah! If I had alongwith me men who were true supporters of Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, and His Prophet, equaling the number of these sheep, I would certainly have deposed this son of the one who eats flies (Abu Bakr), from his authority.”
Trial of Friends and their Lack of Acceptance
The same narrator (Abu Haytham) says that at the end of that day, three hundred and sixty people swore allegiance at the hands of Imam ‘Ali to defend him until their death. Imam ‘Ali said, “Go now and come back tomorrow to me with shaven heads at the street of Ahjar al-Zait.46
They went away and Imam ‘Ali shaved his head and reached to Ahjar al-Zait the next day and sat awaiting the three hundred and sixty men, however only five men turned up with shaven heads. The first one to come was Abu Dharr, he was followed by al-Miqdad, then Hudhayfah b. al-Yaman, and then ‘Ammar b. Yasir who was followed by Salman.
Imam ‘Ali raised his hands towards the heavens and said, “O Allah! The community has weakened me similar to the Children of Israel who had weakened Harun.47 O Allah! You are well aware of what is hidden in our hearts and what we reveal, while nothing in the heavens or the earth is hidden from You. Let me die the death of a Muslim and unite me with the virtuous ones.” Then he continued, “Be aware! I swear by the Ka’bah and the one who takes to the Ka’bah, [while according to another narration he said, I swear by the Muzdalifah and the rapid camels that take the pilgrims for pelting the stones at Jamarah in Mina]! If there would not have been the promise and testimony of the Prophet, I would have flung the opponents into the canal of perdition and would have sent storms of thunderbolts of death towards them. Then soon would they have understood the meaning of my speech.”
‘Ali’s Request for Aid from the Muhajirin and Ansar and the Scoffing by Mu’awiyah
The renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah, Ibn Abil Hadid narrates that ‘Ali took Fatimah to the houses of the Ansar to invite them to defend ‘Ali (as has been narrated earlier). He then states that (later on) Mu’awiyah, while scoffing at ‘Ali, told him, “I cannot help but remember the days when you seated your wife upon a donkey, clasping the hands of your Hasan and Husayn. On that day, people had sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr. You went in pursuit of the people of Badr and those who were foremost in coming to Islam and invited them towards yourself. You, along with your wife and sons, requested them to assist one another in defending your rights and told the men to come and take allegiance at the hands of the defender of the Prophet of Allah, but none, except four or five, accepted your call. I swear by my life! If you had been upon the truth, they would certainly have accepted your call. But your claim was false and you subconsciously uttered words and aimed at the affair (caliphate) that you had failed to achieve! You have forgotten, while I have not, the words you spoke to Abu Sufyan when he invited you to take the authority in your hands. You said, ‘If forty strong and steadfast men were along with me, I would have fought with these men.’ But the view of the Muslims are not alongwith you.”
Strong Protest of Malik b. Nuwayrah
Some researchers (such as Faidh al-Kashani) in the summary of the book al-Tihabi Niranil Ahzan, has written the following, the summary of which is as follows: “When the people swore allegiance to Abu Bakr, Malik b. Nuwayrah, one of the faithful companions of the Prophet who was staying with his family just outside of Madinah, entered the city enquiring about the succession to the Prophet. It was a Friday when Malik entered the masjid and he saw that Abu Bakr was seated on the pulpit of the Prophet delivering a sermon. Seeing this he asked, “Is this man from the clan of Taym?” The answer came in the affirmative.
Malik said, “Where is the successor of the Prophet regarding whom the Prophet himself ordered us to obey and befriend (he meant Imam ‘Ali)?”
Mughirah b. Shu’bah replied, “You were absent while we were present here, and one incident after another other took place.” Malik said, “By Allah! No incident took place but that you all committed treachery with Allah and His Prophet.”
Then he came near Abu Bakr and said, “O Abu Bakr! Why do you ascend the pulpit of the Prophet of Allah while his successor (Imam ‘Ali) is seated (down)?” Abu Bakr said, “Throw this bedouin who urinates upon the backs of his soles, out of the masjid!”
Hearing this, ‘Umar, Khalid and Qunfudh, the three men, arose and trampled him under their feet and after this insult and beating, forcefully removed him from the masjid.
Malik sat on his mount and left Madinah, and while heading back towards his hometown he was reciting these couplets: “We obeyed the Prophet of Allah while he was amongst us; then O community, what is my business with Abu Bakr; if the young camel (meaning Abu Bakr) dies, the other young camel (‘Umar) shall sit in his place; while this, by the House of Allah, is but an episode that breaks the back; he (‘Umar) defends him (Abu Bakr) and conceals his faults as though he is at war against men or is standing at the end of a grave (in grief); thus if the successor (of the Prophet) takes a stand, we shall remain alongwith him similar to the embers.”
In some books the last part of the couplet is stated as, “Thus if among the Quraysh a group of righteous men take a stand to defend the right, we shall support them.”
Assasination of Malik by Khalid b. al-Walid
When the caliphate of Abu Bakr was firmly implemented and he gained control over the people, he called for Khalid b. Walid and told him, “You are witness to what Malik b. Nuwayrah said that day and how he protested against me in the presence of the people and then how he recited couplets of poetry against me. Be aware that we are not safe from his deceit and trickery and he will pose a threat for the authority. In my opinion you should kill him along with those who side with him and arrest their women-folk (under the pretext) that they have turned apostate and refuse to pay the zakat, and (for this) I will dispatch you to him with an army.”
Thus Khalid, accompanied with an army, went towards Batah, where Malik b. Nuwayrah was living.
When Malik was informed about the army, he put on his armour and fixed the saddle of his horse, preparing to defend himself. Malik was one of the valiant fighters of the ‘Arabs and his strength was comparable to that of one hundred fighters. When Khalid was informed that Malik had prepared himself for the battle, he became frightened and tried to deceive him by promising him that he was under his security. Malik did not trust Khalid’s promises, but thenKhalid took a solemn oath that deceit was not what he intended and he never wished him evil. Thus Malik relied upon the promises of Khalid and made him and his army his guests.
When some hours of the night passed by, Khalid, accompanied by a few of his associates, in a coward-like fashion, entered the house of Malik. He caught him off guard and killed him and on the same night, had sexual intercourse with Malik’s wife, Umme Tamim. He cut off the head of Malik and placed it in a big vessel in which the meat of a camel was cooked for the wedding feast that same night.
It is astonishing that Khalid ordered his army-men to eat the food from the vessel that contained the severed head of Malik! After this, he imprisoned the womenfolk of Malik on the pretext that they had turned apostates and left the religion of Islam.
Elegy of Imam ‘Ali Mourning Malik
When the Commander of the Faithful Imam ‘Ali received the heart-wrenching news of the murder of Malik b. Nuwayrah and the imprisonment of his womenfolk, he was grieved and sorrowed and said, “Verily we are Allah’s and verily unto Him we shall return.” Then he recited the following couplets: “Forebear for a little time as after difficulty comes ease; and everything has a time and destiny (associated with it); and the Guardian (Allah) is aware of our state; and even above our fate lies the plans of Allah.”
The episode of the killing of Malik at the hands of Khalid b. Walid has been recorded by both the Shi’a and the Ahlus Sunnah narrators.
Complaint of Abu Qutadah and the Silence of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar
Abu Qutadah al-Ansari was present in the army of Khalid and when he witnessed this deception and crime, he was deeply grieved. He mounted his horse and galloped hastily towards Madinah and when he arrived, he went to Abu Bakr and related the entire episode of what had transpired to him and swore that in the future he would not accompany any army that had Khalid as its commander. Abu Bakr replied, “Khalid has stolen the wealth of the ‘Arabs by deceit and has opposed my orders.” When ‘Umar b. al-Khattab was informed of this, he discussed it in detail with Abu Bakr and said, “It is incumbent that retribution should be taken against Khalid.”
Khalid returned to Madinah wearing a canvas shirt with a plate of iron armour over it. He had placed two arrows in his turban and in this state (announcing his victory) entered the masjid. When ‘Umar saw him, he snatched the arrows from his turban and broke them into pieces saying, “O enemy of your ownself! You violate a Muslim and kill him, then seek enjoyment with his wife!? By Allah! I shall stone you!”
Khalid was silent and did not say a word and assumed that Abu Bakr thought the same (about him) as ‘Umar, and therefore he went to Abu Bakr and apologized and he (Abu Bakr) accepted his deceitful apology and absolved him from having to face any form of retribution.48
Khalid came out of Abu Bakr’s house and found ‘Umar waiting for him near the masjid. Seeing ‘Umar, Khalid said, “Come near me, O son of Umme Shamlah!” By speaking in such a fashion, ‘Umar concluded that Khalid had come from Abu Bakr pleased, and thus he did not speak to him and returned home.”
‘Allamah al-Majlisi says, “‘Umar’s his rebuke and anger towards Khalid with regards to the killing of Malik b. Nuwayrah was not due to ‘Umar’s apparent act of giving importance to the limits and bounds of the religious penal codes and the commandments of Islam. Rather, his restlessness was because during the days of ignorance, Malik was his comrade but when ‘Umar was informed that Khalid had killed Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah, he forgave him.
Some Shi’a narrators relate from the Imams that during his caliphate, ‘Umar met Khalid outside of Madinah and asked him, “Did you kill Malik b. Nuwayrah?” Khalid replied, “Yes, I killed him due to the enmity that existed between him and I, and I did this in exchange for the murder of Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah (by your orders) for the reason that there was enmity between both of you.” Hearing this, ‘Umar became pleased, embraced Khalid and said, “You are the sword of Allah and (the sword) of His Prophet.”49
Compilation and Arrangement of the Qur’an
Sulaym b. Qays relates the episode of Saqifah from Salman and then says, “When Imam ‘Ali saw the excuses, deceit and disloyalty of the people, he returned home and started compiling and arranging the verses of the Qur’an and did not step out of his house until he had completed this work; because previously the Qur’an was written upon papers, planks, bones of sheep, sheets and cloth.
When Imam ‘Ali completed the arranging of the Qur’an and had written down its tanzil50 and ta’wil51 and marked the abrogated and abrogating verses52, Abu Bakr sent him a message to come out of his house and swear allegiance at his hands. Imam ‘Ali replied, “I am busy arranging the Qur’an and have sworn that I will not wear the cloak upon my shoulders, except for prayers, until I compile and arrange it.” Abu Bakr and his associates gave him respite for some days and when Imam ‘Ali completed the arrangement, he put it (the Qur’an) in a cloth (bag) and affixed his seal upon it.
In another narration it is stated that Imam ‘Ali took the Qur’an (which he had compiled) and came to the grave of the Prophet. He placed the Qur’an down and recited two units of prayers and conferred salutations upon the Prophet of Allah. When the people gathered in the masjid around Abu Bakr, Imam ‘Ali addressed them in a loud voice saying, “O people! From the time that the Prophet of Allah passed away, I have been engrossed in many actions - first in the burial of the Prophet, and thereafter in compiling the Qur’an. I arranged the entire Qur’an which now lies in this bag. I have recorded each and every verse which descended upon the Prophet. There is no verse in the Qur’an, except that the Prophet read it to me, and I in turn wrote it down. He also related its concealed interpretations to me.”
He continued, “This declaration is addressed to those who tomorrow can not say that they were not aware of this (compilation by ‘Ali) and on the Day of Resurrection you should not say that I did not invite you to assist me or remind you about my rights, nor did I invite you towards the book of Allah from the beginning until the end.”
Hearing this ‘Umar said, “The presence of the Qur’an with us does not make us dependant upon the compiled Qur’an of yours towards which you invite us to.” In another narration it is related that he said, “Leave the Qur’an and go to your own task.”
Testimony of the Prophet and its Denial by ‘Umar
Imam ‘Ali then said, “The Prophet of Allah told you that, ‘I leave among you two weighty things, the Book of Allah (the Qur’an) and my progeny (my Ahlul Bayt). These two things shall not part from one another until they meet me at the fountain (of Kawthar in paradise).53 Then if you accept the Qur’an, you should also accept me along with it so that I can judge among you by what Allah has revealed in the Qur’an, for I am more aware than you regarding the entire Qur’an and what it contains with regards to abrogating (nasikh) and abrogated (mansukh) verses, its interpretation (ta’wil), the clear (muhkam) and allegorical (mutashabih) verses54, the lawful and the unlawful.’”
Hearing this ‘Umar replied, “Take away this Qur’an! That which shall not part away from you and you shall not part away from it. We neither need this compiled Qur’an of yours, nor do we need you!”
Imam ‘Ali took the Qur’an and returned home and when there, he sat in his place of worship, opened the Qur’an and kept it on his lap and read verses from it, while tears flowed from his eyes.”
Visiting the Brother
At this moment his brother ‘Aqil b. Abi Talib visited him (Imam ‘Ali) and found him crying and said, “O brother! Why do you weep, may Allah not make your eyes weep!”
Imam ‘Ali replied, “My brother! By Allah! I weep because the Quraysh and their associates have paved the way of misguidance and turned away from the truth and have returned back to their (days of) mischief and ignorance. Thus they have fallen into the valley of discord and hypocrisy and the desert of misguidance. They have united to fight against me, just like they had united to fight against the Prophet. May Allah punish them for they have torn apart the relation between us and snatched away the authority of my cousin the Prophet from us!”
Then he wept loudly and said, “Verily we are Allah’s and verily unto Him shall we return.” Then he recited the following couplets as a comparison of what he was going through: “Then if you ask regarding my state, know that forebearing the skepticism of the world is similar to being crucified, it is hard upon me to see myself grieved, that which pleases the enemy and turns the friends restless.”
Messages of Abu Bakr to Imam ‘Ali and his Reply
Sulaym b. Qays relates that, “Imam ‘Ali returned back to his house at which point ‘Umar told Abu Bakr, ‘Send someone to fetch ‘Ali that he may come and swear allegiance, for the caliphate will not be considered established without the allegiance of ‘Ali. If he does so, we shall give him protection.’”
Abu Bakr dispatched someone to ‘Ali with the message that, “Hasten to the invitation of the caliph of the Prophet of Allah.” The messenger came to Imam ‘Ali and conveyed the message of Abu Bakr to him, to which Imam replied, “Glory be to Allah! How soon they belie the Prophet of Allah, while Abu Bakr and his associates are well aware that Allah and the Prophet of Allah did not appoint anyone as his caliph except me.”
The messenger returned back to Abu Bakr and conveyed the reply of Imam ‘Ali to him. Abu Bakr said, “Then go and tell ‘Ali, Hasten to the call of the Commander of the Faithful.”
The messenger came to Imam ‘Ali and gave the message of Abu Bakr to him to which Imam ‘Ali replied, “Glory be to Allah! Not much time has passed since the Prophet that they have forgotten! I swear by Allah that Abu Bakr is well aware of the fact that this title (Commander of the Faithful) is not suitable for anyone else except for me.
Indeed the Prophet had commanded him to salute me addressing me as the Commander of the Faithful, and he was one among the seven men commanded by the Prophet to do so. He (Abu Bakr) and his companion (‘Umar) asked the Prophet of Allah, among the seven men present, whether this command was from Allah and His Prophet, to which the Prophet answered, ‘Yes, indeed it is from Allah and His Prophet.
He is the Commander of the Faithful and the Master of the Muslims, the bearer of the glowing standard. Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime shall appoint him over the bridge of sirat on the Day of Resurrection and he will despatch his friends to paradise and his enemies to hell.’ The messenger came back and related to Abu Bakr the message of ‘Ali and they desisted from calling him on that day.”
Sulaym b. Qays relates from Salman that as the night advanced, Imam ‘Ali placed Fatimah on a donkey, and taking hold of the hands of his sons Hasan and Husayn, went to the houses of the companions of the Prophet of Allah, and no companion was left except that ‘Ali visited him. They reminded the companions, by the sake of Allah, regarding their rights, and invited the companions to assist them (the Ahlul Bayt). None except for four men hastened to their call, and they were Salman (himself), Abu Dharr, al-Miqdad and al-Zubayr b. al-’Awwam. We shaved our heads (showing willingness to assist ‘Ali) and resolved firmly to assist Imam ‘Ali, while al-Zubayr was the most eager one from amongst us to assist him.”55
Kindling Fire at the Door of the House of Zahra
When Imam ‘Ali saw the disloyalty of the people and perceived that they were seeking excuses in order to not assist him and were gathering around Abu Bakr, he settled into his house and did not come out. ‘Umar said to Abu Bakr, ‘Why do you not send a message to ‘Ali to come and pay allegiance at your hands? Everyone has sworn allegiance except him and four others.’
Abu Bakr was tender-hearted and moderate and was careful in affairs while ‘Umar was stone-hearted and rough, and possessed a sharp tongue and thus ‘Umar said, “I shall send Qunfudh to seek ‘Ali, for Qunfudh is stone-hearted, hot-tempered and unkind, he is a freed slave but from among the progeny of ‘Adi b. Ka’ab.”56
Abu Bakr sent Qunfudh along with some others to ‘Ali and when Qunfudh came to the house of ‘Ali, he first asked permission to enter, but the Imam refused him. The companions of Qunfudh returned back to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar who were seated in the masjid with a group of men and said that ‘Ali did not permit them to enter his house. Hearing this ‘Umar said, ‘Return back to the house of ‘Ali, and if he does not permit you, then enter without permission.’
They came to the door of the house of Imam ‘Ali and asked permission to enter. Sayyidah Fatimah came to the door of the house and said, ‘I forbid you to enter my house without permission.’
Qunfudh remained at the house while the companions of Qunfudh again came to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and informed them about Fatimah’s refusal to grant them permission to enter.
Hearing this ‘Umar was enraged and said, ‘What do we have to do with the tasks of women!’ Saying this, he ordered firewood to be gathered. They gathered firewood and along with ‘Umar, came to the door of the house of Fatimah. They scattered the wood at the door while ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn were inside the house. Then ‘Umar shouted, ‘By Allah! If you do not step out O ‘Ali and swear allegiance at the hands of the caliph of the Prophet of Allah, I shall burn you down.’ His demands were heard by ‘Ali and Fatimah, to which Fatimah replied, ‘Why do you deal with us in this manner?’
‘Umar replied, ‘Open the door or else I will burn you down!’
Fatimah said, ‘Do you not fear Allah still and still persit in wanting to enter my house?’
‘Umar did not move and asked his associates to bring fire at which point he burnt the door of the house of Fatimah, and pushed against the door with force, then stepped inside. Seeing this, Fatimah stood facing him and called out, ‘O father! O Prophet of Allah!’
‘Umar unsheathed his sword and struck Fatimah on her side at which point she called out, ‘O father!’
Then ‘Umar lifted his whip and struck the arm of Fatimah at which point, she let out a cry, ‘O Prophet of Allah! Bear witness to how badly Abu Bakr and ‘Umar have dealt with us!’
At this moment Imam ‘Ali jumped up and caught hold of the collar of ‘Umar and threw him down to the ground with such force that his neck and eye were injured. He was determined to kill him but suddenly recalled the testimony of the Prophet (to forebear) and called out, ‘O son of Sahhak! I swear by Allah Who exalted Muhammad to the rank of prophethood that if the command of Allah would not have been decreed and the promise (to bear patiently) not have been given to me by the Prophet of Allah, you would have realized how difficult it is to enter my house!’
‘Umar then sent a man to Abu Bakr asking him for further assistance and to his appeal, a group of supporters of Abu Bakr came and entered the house of Imam ‘Ali.
Seeing this, Imam ‘Ali arose and unsheathed his sword. Qunfudh ran back to Abu Bakr in fear that ‘Ali would strike at them with his sword, for he was aware of the valour and courage of ‘Ali in the battles.
Abu Bakr told Qunfudh, ‘Return back to the house of ‘Ali. If he comes out of his house bring him to me, or else burn down the house with its inhabitants!’
Qunfudh returned back and entered the house of ‘Ali with his associates without seeking permission and ‘Ali tried to lift his sword, however Qunfudh preceded him and snatched away the sword from him. At that moment, Fatimah came in between to defend Imam ‘Ali and Qunfudh took his whip and struck her (may Allah’s eternal curse be upon him and his associates, and may Allah fling him into the bottomless pit of hell in the next world). When she (Fatimah) died, the mark (of the whip) was visible upon her arm similar to that of a bracelet.’
Imam ‘Ali was then forcefully brought to Abu Bakr, while ‘Umar was standing at his head with his sword unsheathed, and others, namely Khalid b. al-Walid, Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah, Salim the freed slave of Abu Hudhayfah, Ma’adh b. Jabal, al-Mughirah b. Shu’bah, Usayd b. Hudhayr, Bashir b. Sa’ad and others were standing around Abu Bakr fully equipped with weapons.
Cry of Fatimah and her Decision to Pray Against the Attackers
Al-’Ayyashi relates that, “(After Imam ‘Ali was taken to Abu Bakr), Fatimah came out (of her house and went to the Masjid) and turned towards Abu Bakr and said, ‘Do you intend to take my husband away from me, making me a widow? If you do not release him, I swear by Allah, I will dishevel my hair and tear my collar and go to the grave of my father and pray to Allah against you.’
Suddenly, Fatimah took the hands of Hasan and Husayn and proceeded towards the grave of the Prophet. Imam ‘Ali was aware of the consequences (were she to imprecate against these individuals) and told Salman, ‘Go and stop Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad! It is as if I see the two sides of Madinah trembling and swallowed by the earth. By Allah! If Fatimah dishevels her hair and tears the collar of her clothing while going to the grave of the Prophet and imprecates to Allah, the people of Madinah will not get any respite and they will all be swallowed up by the earth!’
Salman hastened to reach Fatimah and said to her, ‘O daugher of Muhammad! Allah has made your father a mercy for the worlds! Please return back to your home and do not imprecate.’
Fatimah replied, ‘O Salman! They desire to kill ‘Ali and my patience has now parted away, let me go to the grave of my father that I may dishevel my hair, tear the collar of my clothing and imprecate to Allah.’
Salman said, ‘I fear that Madinah will tremble (due to your prayers) and the earth will swallow up everyone. ‘Ali himself has sent me to you to return back to your house and to ask you to refrain from imprecating.’
Hearing this Fatimah said, ‘In that case I will return back, forebear, listen and obey him.’
‘Allamah al-Tabarsi relates in his book al-Ihtijaj that Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq said that when Imam ‘Ali was brought out of his house, all of the women of Bani Hashim came out of their houses and decided to go to the grave of the Prophet of Allah. Fatimah called out, ‘Leave my cousin! I swear by Allah Who has chosen Muhammad with the truth! If you do not release him, I will dishevel my hair and place the shirt of the Prophet upon my head and imprecate in the presence of Allah, and the camel of Prophet Salih is not dearer in the sight of Allah than my sons.’57
Salman has been quoted as saying, “I was standing near Fatimah and by Allah, I saw that the walls of the masjid of the Prophet rose up from the earth to such an extent that if anyone wanted to cross from underneath, they could do so easily! I went near her and said, ‘O exalted woman and O my Lady! Allah has sent your father as a mercy for the worlds, do not be a source of loss for the people.’ Hearing this Fatimah returned back home and the walls of the masjid came down with such force that the mud (from beneath it) splashed into our eyes.’”
The eminent traditionist, Shaykh al-Kulayni relates from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq that they said that when the affairs of people reached this point, Fatimah grabbed ‘Umar by his shirt and threw him onto the ground and said, ‘By Allah, O son of al-Khattab! If I had not feared that the innocent ones would be entangled in the curse (of Allah), you would have known that I would have imprecated in the presence of Allah and sought His refuge, and very soon Allah would have fulfilled my desire.’”
It is also related that when Imam ‘Ali was brought out of the house, Fatimah placed the shirt of the Prophet upon her head, and taking the hands of Hasan and Husayn, came to Abu Bakr and said, “O Abu Bakr! What do we have to do with you? You wish to orphan my children and take my husband away from me? By Allah! If it was appropriate, I would have disheveled my hair and imprecated in the presence of Allah.” Hearing this one of the companions of Abu Bakr told him, “What do you intend to do? Do you wish to bring perdition upon everyone?” (Thus they released ‘Ali), then ‘Ali took the hand of Fatimah and returned back to the house.
In another tradition Imam Muhammad al-Baqir says that, “By Allah! If she (Fatimah) had disheveled her hair, everyone would have perished.”
An Account of Ibn Abil Hadid on the Skirmishes to Extract the Pledge of Allegiance from Imam ‘Ali
Ibn Abil Hadid, a renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah relates from the book al-Saqifah of al-Jawhari that al-Sha’bi relates that Abu Bakr asked ‘Umar, “Where is Khalid b. al-Walid?” ‘Umar told him of his whereabouts and when Khalid arrived, Abu Bakr told both of them, “Both of you go to ‘Ali and Zubayr and bring them here to me.”
‘Umar and Khalid both went to the door of the house of Sayyidah Zahra with Khalid standing at the side and ‘Umar entered therein. He looked at Zubayr and told him, “What is this sword that you have in your hands?” Zubayr replied, “I have prepared this sword so that I may pledge allegiance to ‘Ali.”
There were many companions in the house, one of them was al-Miqdad, along with the entire clan of Bani Hashim. ‘Umar snatched the sword from Zubayr’s hand and hit it on a stone that was in the house, shattering the sword. Then he grabbed Zubayr by the hand and holding it up, dragged him out of the house. He came out and told Khalid, “Keep an eye on Zubayr!” Khalid watched over Zubayr while many of the adherents of Abu Bakr gathered to guard ‘Umar and Khalid.
Then ‘Umar entered the house again and told ‘Ali, “Arise and take the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr).” ‘Ali did not rise and refused to pledge allegiance and so ‘Umar grabbed ‘Ali by the hand and said, “Arise!” but he refused to do so. ‘Ali was then forcefully brought out of the house and handed over to Khalid, while a large group of people were in the company of Khalid.
‘Umar, along with his accomplices brought ‘Ali and Zubayr by coercion to the masjid and at this point, large groups of people began to gather and came out to catch a glimpse of what was going on, such that the streets of Madinah were full of people.
When Fatimah saw the treatment being meted out by ‘Umar, she came out weeping and wailing. The women of Bani Hashim and the other women surrounded her from all sides. She stood near the door and said, “O Abu Bakr! How soon have you come to assault the progeny of the Prophet and display such forms of audacity towards them? By Allah! I will never talk to ‘Umar until I meet my Lord.”
The narrator (as quoted by Ibn Abil Hadid, a renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah) says that when ‘Ali and Zubayr swore the allegiance and the nuisance and tumult quieted down, Abu Bakr came to Fatimah and pleaded on behalf of ‘Umar and requested her to forgive him, at it was at this point that Fatimah became pleased with ‘Umar.
Ibn Abil Hadid furthers says that, “In my view what is true is that when Fatimah departed from this world, she was angry with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and had written in her will that they should not even participate in the prayers of her dead body. This act (the disrespect shown to Fatimah) is considered a minor sin in the eyes of our scholars but an act which can be forgiven. However, it would have been better if Abu Bakr and ‘Umar respected Fatimah and considered her eminence (before acting as they did). But they feared discord and controversy and acted upon that which was best in their estimation as they held a prominent position in religion and powerful certitude (in Islam). If a similitude of this episode in found anywhere, it is not a major sin but rather, a minor one and should not be made a criterion for friendship or enmity (towards them).”58
Fatimah Crushed Between the Door and the Wall
‘Allamah al-Majlisi in his work, Bihar al-Anwar quotes from the book of Sulaym b. Qays al-Hilali al-Kufi that Aban b. Abil ‘Ayyash relates from Sulaym (b. Qays) that Salman and ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas narrate that, “When the Prophet of Allah passed away and had not yet even been put to rest, the people broke the pledge (given to the Prophet) and turned apostates and gathered to work against the dictates of the Prophet. ‘Ali remained busy in the funeral proceedings of the Prophet and gave him the funeral bath, shrouded him, applied the hunut59, recited the prayers upon his body and laid him in the grave. Then he returned back to his house and in accordance with the will of the Prophet, remained engrossed in compiling and arranging the verses of the Qur’an, and this kept him away from everything else.”
‘Umar told Abu Bakr, “All the men have pledged allegiance at your hands except this man (‘Ali) and his family - send a man to him inviting him to come here and pledge the oath of allegiance.”
Abu Bakr chose the cousin of ‘Umar named Qunfudh for this task and told him, “Go to ‘Ali and tell him to hasten to the call of the caliph of the Prophet of Allah.”
Qunfudh went to ‘Ali several times and relayed the message of Abu Bakr to him however each and every time, ‘Ali refused to go with him.
‘Umar was enraged and called out to Khalid and Qunfudh and told them to gather fire and wood – which they gladly obeyed. They took wood and fire and went along with ‘Umar to the house of Fatimah. Fatimah was behind the door and was still wearing the clothes of grief (over the Prophet’s death) and had become weak due to the separation from the Prophet, when ‘Umar came to the front of the house, banged at the door calling out, “O son of Abu Talib! Open the door!”
Fatimah answered, “O ‘Umar! What do we have to do with you, why do you not leave us alone, while we are still in grief!” ‘Umar replied, “Open the door or else I will burn it down upon you!” Fatimah said, “O ‘Umar! Do you not fear Allah? You enter my house without seeking permission and want to assault us?” However ‘Umar was not moved at all and called for fire and began to set the house on fire. Then he pushed the half-burnt door and Fatimah came face to face with ‘Umar and called out, “O Father! O Prophet of Allah!”
‘Umar unsheathed his sword and struck at the side of Fatimah and she screamed out. Then ‘Umar lifted his whip and struck the arm of Fatimah and she screamed again, “O Father!”
Hearing this Imam ‘Ali rushed and caught hold of the collar of the shirt of ‘Umar and pulling him, threw him upon the ground such that his nose and neck were injured. He had resolved to kill ‘Umar when suddenly he remembered the promise he had given to the Prophet to forbear (the difficulties) and obey (Allah and His Prophet) patiently and thus said, “O son of Sahhak! By Allah Who cherished Muhammad for prophethood! If there was no will of the Prophet, you would not have had the courage to enter my house without permission!”
‘Umar then cried out and called for help and a group of people ran forward to help him. They entered the house of ‘Ali and dragged him towards the masjid. Fatimah was standing at the door when Qunfudh struck her with his whip, and when she passed away, the sign of the whip marks were visible upon her arm similar to a bracelet. Qunfudh then pushed the door with such severity and threw it towards the side of the body of Fatimah that one of her ribs broke and the child in her womb died - and in this state she lay on her bed until she attained martyrdom.”
Sulaym b. Qays relates that, “One year ‘Umar b. al-Khattab took away half of the rights of his workers as indemnity due to a shortfall in the budget but left the entire stipend of Qunfudh.” Sulaym says that, “I went to the masjid of the Prophet and saw that a group of people were seated in a corner of the masjid and all of them were from among the Bani Hashim except for Salman, Abu Dharr, al-Miqdad, Muhammad b. Abu Bakr, ‘Umar b. Abi Salamah and Qays b. Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah. ‘Abbas (the uncle of Prophet) told Imam ‘Ali, “Why did ‘Umar not take away the property of Qunfudh like he took away the property of others?” Imam ‘Ali looked around, and with tears rolling down his eyes, he replied, “He did this to thank him (Qunfudh) for the whip that he struck Fatimah with and (know that) when she died, the marks (of the attack) were visible on her arm similar to (those which) a bracelet (leave).”
Imam Hasan’s Reply to Mughirah b. Shu’bah
Sulaym b. Qays relates that Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba said the following to Mughirah b. Shu’bah in protest to Mu’awiyah and his accomplices when Mughirah uttered malicious filth against Imam ‘Ali, “And then you O Mughirah b. Shu’bah! You are an enemy of Allah and (you are) the one who opposed the Qur’an and belied the Prophet! You attacked the daughter of the Prophet with the whip and wounded her, an act which led to her losing her child (in the womb). Then, you opposed the Prophet with such audacity and vilification and considered the Prophet’s statement regarding the eminence of Fatimah to be unimportant when he said that, ‘O Fatimah, You are the mistress of the women of Paradise.’ O Mughirah! May Allah throw you into hell, and may He load the burden of the extreme guilt of lies upon your neck.”60
Another Viewpoint on the Circumstances to Extract the Pledge of Allegiance from Imam ‘Ali and the Support of Sayyidah Fatimah
The researcher and philosopher, Faydh al-Kashani in his book ‘Ilmul Yaqin quotes from the book, al-Tihab Niranul Ahzan regarding the circumstances relating to how people assaulted the house of Imam ‘Ali in the following words: “‘Umar gathered a group of emancipated slaves and hypocrites around him and came to the house of ‘Ali. They saw that the house was bolted from inside and called out, ‘O ‘Ali! Come out of the house for the caliph of the Prophet wishes to see you.’
Imam ‘Ali refused to open the door and so they brought firewood and fire in order to burn the door of the house. ‘Umar called out, “By Allah! If you do not open the door, I will burn down the house.”
When Sayyidah Fatimah realized that they wanted to burn down her house, she got up and began to open the door. The group pushed open the door before she could even (completely) veil herself and thus, when Fatimah saw this, she hid behind the door so that the foreign men (men not related to her by blood or marriage – her non-Mahram) would not see her. ‘Umar pushed the door forcibly at which point, Fatimah took refuge between the door and the wall. ‘Umar and his accomplices then laid an assault on the house of Imam ‘Ali who was sitting upon a mat (in another room). They surrounded him, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and dragged him to the Masjid. Seeing this, Fatimah came and stood in between them and ‘Ali and said, “By Allah! I will not let you take my cousin to the Masjid in this oppressive manner. Woe be to you! How soon you have committed treason with Allah and His Prophet and oppressed his family, when the Prophet had advised you towards maintaining our obedience and friendship and had told you to adhere to us in all affairs, and Allah said in the Qur’an,
‘Say (O Prophet), I demand no recompense for it (the toils of prophethood), save the love of (my) relatives. (Suratul Shura: 23).’”61
The narrator says that upon hearing these words of Fatimah, most of the people scattered, however ‘Umar along with his accomplices, remained there. He told his cousin Qunfudh, “Hit Fatimah with your whip.” Qunfudh hit her back and side with his whip and the scars (of this assault) became visible upon her body. He hit her with such force that the child in her womb, whom the Prophet had named Mohsin, died.62
The people then dragged the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali to the Masjid and made him stand in front of Abu Bakr. At that moment, Fatimah came to the Masjid in a distressed state so as to save ‘Ali from their clutches but she could not do so and proceeded to the grave of her father and wept profusely, reciting the following heart-rendingly elegy: “My life is trapped in my chest, and I wish it could flow out; There is no good remaining in life after you (O father) and now I weep profusely so as to not remain alive anymore.”
Then she said, “O Father! Alas upon your separation; and alas upon the bereavement of your beloved Abul Hasan - the Commander of the Faithful, the father of your two grandsons, Hasan and Husayn. ‘Ali, whom you trained in his childhood and when he grew up, you declared him to be your brother, the one who was the most eminent and beloved among your companions in your sight, and is the one who preceded others in accepting (Islam) and the one who migrated towards you. O dear father! O the best of (Allah’s) creations! Now he (‘Ali) is being dragged and arrested similar to how they treat a camel!” Then she cried out while wailing, “O Muhammad! O beloved! O father! O Abul Qasim! O Ahmad! O the minority of helpers! O aide! O remoteness of relatives! O sorrow! O afflictions! O evil day!” Then she let out a cry and fell down unconscious. The people started wailing in a loud voice due to her wailing and the Masjid of the Prophet was engulfed in sorrow.
‘Ali was then made to stand face to face with Abu Bakr and it was said to him, “Extend your hand and pledge allegiance.” Imam ‘Ali replied, “By Allah! I will not pay allegiance, for my allegiance still remains upon your necks (that you all had pledged at Ghadir by the Prophet’s command).”
How the Hand of Abu Bakr was Placed on the Hand of Imam ‘Ali
‘Adi b. Hatim relates the following, “By Allah! My heart did not burn for anyone as much as it did for ‘Ali. He was grabbed by the end of his shirt and collar and dragged towards the Masjid. It was said to him, ‘Pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr.’ He replied, ‘What if I do not then what will happen?’ It was said to him, ‘Your head will be severed.’ Hearing this, Imam ‘Ali lifted his head towards the heavens and said, ‘O Lord! I hold You as a witness that this community has come forth to kill me, while I am the slave of Allah and the brother of the Prophet of Allah.’
They again repeated, ‘Extend your hand to pledge allegiance.’ He refused to do so and this time, they took his hand and tried to extend it forcibly. He closed his fist while those present tried their level best to open his hand, but could not do so. Ultimately, the hand of Abu Bakr was extended and rubbed upon the closed hand of ‘Ali, while ‘Ali turned towards the grave of the Prophet and said, ‘O son of my mother! Verily the people did reckon me weak and had well-nigh slain me.’63
Then Imam ‘Ali turned towards Abu Bakr and recited the following couplets: “Then if you have gained authority due to counsel, then what counsel is this in the absence of the counselors; and if you have attained it (the caliphate) due to nearness (of the Prophet), then there are others who are more rightful than you for the Prophet’s nearness.”
Imam ‘Ali often said, “Interesting! The caliphate can be obtained on the grounds of companionship (of the Prophet), but cannot be obtained on the grounds of both relationship and companionship?”
An Account from ‘Umar on Burning the House of Zahra
‘Umar b. al-Khattab wrote a letter to Mu’awiyah, the contents of which were as follows, ‘I went to the house of ‘Ali, after having decided with others to bring him out of the house. Fidhdhah came out and I told her, ‘Tell ‘Ali to come out and swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr for all Muslims have done so.’ Fidhdhah replied that ‘Ali was busy (in arranging the Qur’an).’ I said, ’Keep this talk aside, tell ‘Ali to come out or else we will forcefully enter the house and bring him out!’
At that moment, Fatimah came and stood with her back towards the door and said, ‘O misled liars! What do you say and what do you want from us?’ I addressed her and she said, ‘What do you want O ‘Umar?’ I replied, ‘Why has your cousin sent you here to reply while he remains seated behind veils?’ Fatimah said, ‘Your rebellion has brought me out O ‘Umar and I have ended my proof upon you, and every misled is erroneous.’ I said, ‘Keep these vain and womanish words aside and tell ‘Ali to come out of the house.’ She replied, ‘You are not worthy of love and generosity. Do you make us fear the ‘Party of the Devil’ O ‘Umar? Verily the Party of the Devil are the losers!’64 Hearing this I said, ‘If ‘Ali does not come out of the house, I will bring fuel and kindle a fire and burn down the house alongwith its dwellers or I will take ‘Ali to the Masjid for (the oath of) allegiance.’ Then I took the whip (of Qunfudh) and struck Fatimah with it and told Khalid b. al-Walid, ‘Bring firewood’, then again I told her, ‘I will burn down the house!’
Fatimah said, ‘O enemy of Allah and enemy of the Prophet of Allah and the enemy of the Commander of the Faithful!’
Two hands came out from behind the door to stop me from entering the house, however I pushed back the hands and then pushed the door with force, while striking at her hands with the whip, so that she would let go of the door. She wailed and wept due to the intense pain of the whip and her weeping was such a heart-rendering scream that it was as if my heart was going to melt and I almost retreated. Suddenly, I recalled the envy and avarice which I had towards ‘Ali because he was the one that had shed the blood of the eminent Quraysh apostates and thus, I kicked at the door, however she had grasped the door such that it would not open. When I kicked at the door, I heard the cry of Fatimah and thought that this cry would topple the entire city of Madinah.
In this state Fatimah called out, ‘O Father! O Prophet of Allah! How do they treat your beloved and your daughter! O Fidhdhah! Hasten to my aid, for by Allah, the child in my womb has been killed.’
I presumed that Fatimah had stood with her back to the wall due to the extreme pain of labour and at this point, I pushed at the door with intense force and the door opened. When I entered therein, Fatimah came and stood in front of me (even though she was in immense pain), but my intense anger had overwhelmed me as if a veil was cast before my eyes. In this state, I slapped her on her face, striking her veil, and she fell down to the ground.’”65
An Account of Fatimah
It is realted in the book Irshad al-Qulub that Sayyidah Fatimah said, “Firewood was brought to our house with the intention of burning it down along with its occupants. I was standing behind the door and was requesting the people to leave us alone and for the people to defend us in the name of Allah and His Prophet. ‘Umar took the whip of the emancipated slave of Abu Bakr named Qunfudh, and hit my arms such that its mark remained upon it like the marks (left) from a bracelet (on one’s wrist). Then he kicked at the door and pushed it towards me. I fell upon the ground face down while I was pregnant. He (‘Umar) took the fire and placed it near my face while hitting me with his hands through which my earrings broke. Due to this attack, I felt the intense pains of labour take hold of me and my child, Muhsin, who was in my womb was innocently martyred.”
The Prophet was Informed Regarding the Oppression on Fatimah on the Night of Ascension (Me’raj)
One of the events which the Prophet was informed about on the night of Me’raj was in regards to his daughter and it was said to him, “As for your daughter, she will be oppressed and deprived of her right that you will bestow upon her. She will be beaten whil being pregnant and they will enter her house without permission. They will leave her in a state of dilemma and sorrow. At that moment there will be none to defend her and her child will be miscarried and killed due to the intense beatings.”
Hearing this, the Prophet said, ‘Verily we are from Allah and verily unto Him we shall return, and I am satisfied and bow my head in front of Your Command, while favour and patience are from You alone.’”
Punishment for Those who Hurt Fatimah
It is related that on the Day of Resurrection, the first person who will be rendered justice and called for judgement will be Muhsin, the (martyred) son of ‘Ali. His murderer along with Qunfudh will be called forth and flogged with whips of fire - and if one whip of that would be struck at all of the seas (of this world), then all of the water from the east to the west would flow out due to its intense simmering; and if one whip was struck at the mountains of the world, they would crumble and turn into ash - the murderer of Muhsin will be struck with this whip!
In explaning the words of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq, Mufadhdhal b. ‘Umar relates that on the Day of Resurrection, Sayyidah Khadijah and Sayyidah Fatimah b. Asad, the mother of Imam ‘Ali, will come forth carrying Muhsin. They will be weeping and wailing while his (Muhsin’s) mother, Fatimah, will be reciting the following verse of the Qur’an,
“This is your Day, which you were promised.66
(Remember) The Day (of Judgement) when every soul shall find present whatever it has wrought of good; and whatever it has wrought of evil, it will wish that the distance between it and himself was wide.”67
Saying this, Imam as-Sadiq wept bitterly such that his sacred beard was soaked with tears and then he said, “May those eyes not be cooled that do not weep upon this suffering.”
The Property of Imam ‘Ali on the Resurrection
Prophet Muhammad told Imam ‘Ali, “You are the one who has a great property in Paradise and you are the one who has its two branches”, and these two branches refer to Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn.
Shaykh as-Saduq relates that, “I have heard from some of my teachers that the property referred to in the above tradition is Muhsin, the son of Imam ‘Ali, who was miscarried when Fatimah was pressed in between the door and the wall. It has been related in traditions that on the Day of Resurrection, the miscarried child will be standing at the side of Paradise in a serious and angry state. It will be said to the child, ‘Enter Paradise’, and he will reply, ‘I will not enter Paradise until my parents enter before me.’”
Discourse of al-Nazzam - a Tutor and Scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah
The eminent sayyed, our master Mir Hamid Husayn al-Hindi, in his book ‘Abaqat al-Anwar, relates from the book al-Wafi bil Wafiyyat authored by Salahuddin al-Safadi (a scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah) in reference to the life of al-Nazzam (Ibrahim b. Sayyar al-Basari) the teacher of Abu ‘Umar and Jahiz, that al-Nazzam says that the Prophet specified that the position of Divinely appointed leadership (Imamate) was for Imam ‘Ali and he designated him for it. All of the companions (of the Prophet) were aware of this fact, however ‘Umar denied it for the sake of Abu Bakr. Al-Nazzam further states that on the day when the allegiance was paid to Abu Bakr, ‘Umar hit Fatimah on her side with a whip due to which her son Muhsin was miscarried (and martyred).
The Prophet’s Order Permitting the Killing of Hubar
The renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah, Ibn Abil Hadid in his commentary of Nahjul Balaghah relates that on the day of the Victory of Makkah which took place in the sixth year of the migration (Hijrah), a man named Hubar b. al-Aswad frightened Zaynab, the daughter of the Prophet68, who was seated in the camel litter, due to which the child in her womb was aborted.
Due to this act, the Prophet declared it lawful to shed the blood of Hubar. Ibn Abil Hadid further says that, “I related this incident to my teacher Abu Ja’far al-Naqib and he replied, ‘If the Prophet considered the shedding of the blood of Hubar b. al-Aswad to be lawful because he frightened Zaynab through which her child was miscarried, then it proves that if he would have been alive, he would have considered lawful shedding the blood of the one who had frightened Fatimah and due to which her child was miscarried.’ I asked him, ‘Then should I relate this through your authority that Fatimah was frightened and that her son, Muhsin was miscarried?’ Abu Ja’far al-Naqib replied, ‘Do not narrate it’s accuracy nor it’s inaccuracy on my authority, while I am neutral regarding it and I refuse to speak out regarding it due to some reports present with me.’”69
As-Sayyid Jazu’i composed the following beautiful couplets, “They made her swallow anger after her father, and how bitter it was, what she swallowed; they enraged her and in a way they enraged Allah the Lord of the Heavens; whose daughter was she and whose mother and whose wife, woe be to the ones who oppressed her and hurt her.”
Sorrow of the Imams Over the Sufferings of Fatimah
Grief of Imam al-Jawad
It is related in the book, Dala’il al-Imamah of al-Tabari from Zakariyyah b. Adam who says that, “One day, I was in the presence of Imam ‘Ali al-Ridha when his son, Imam Muhammad al-Jawad, who was less than four years old, was brought to him. When he was brought in, he struck his palms upon the ground and raised his head towards the heavens and remained engrossed in deep thought for a long time. Seeing this, Imam al-Ridha asked him, ‘May I be your ransom! What are you thinking about?’ Imam al-Jawad replied, ‘I am engrossed in thought regarding the sufferings that befell my mother, Fatimah. By Allah! I will bring out those two men from their graves and burn them and then scatter their ashes into the seas.’
Hearing this, Imam al-Ridha asked his son to be brought closer to him and then he kissed him on his forehead and said, ‘May my parents be your ransom! You are worthy for this affair (Imamat).’”
Sorrow of Imam al-Baqir and Imam as-Sadiq
It is related that whenever Imam Muhammad al-Baqir was afflicted with a fever, he would pour cold water on his body and say, “Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad!” In explanation of this tradition, ‘Allamah al-Majlisi says that Imam al-Baqir desired that through pronouncing the sacred name of Fatimah, he would ward off his fever.
The author says, “I strongly believe that fever could afflict the sacred body of the Imam due to the sufferings of his mother Fatimah which were lying concealed in his sacred heart. He would cleanse the heat of the fever with water through the remembrance of his mother Fatimah and her sufferings, and this is similar to an afflicted person who tries to lessen his sorrow through sighs and deep breaths.”
The sufferings of Sayyidah Zahra were more painful to her sons, the Imams, than the wounds of swords and knives; and her pain was more scorching to them than fire. It was decreed for them (by Allah) to observe dissimulation (taqiyyah) and thus, they could not reveal the sufferings of Sayyidah Zahra. Thus when the name of Fatimah would be taken in their presence, their hearts would turn sorrowful and any one with intellect could observe its effect upon their faces.
It is related that Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq asked al-Sakuni, whom Allah had blessed with a daughter, “What name have you chosen for her?” He replied, “Fatimah.” Hearing this, Imam al-Sadiq said, “Oh! Oh!” Saying this he placed his hand upon his forehead and sat down, full of grief.
As has been quoted earlier, ‘Abbas (the uncle of Prophet) asked Imam ‘Ali, “Why did ‘Umar not take away the property of Qunfudh like he did to others?” Imam ‘Ali looked around and tears rolled down his eyes, and he then replied, “He did this as a show of thanking him for the whip that he struck at Fatimah, and when she died the mark was visible on her arm similar to (the mark left by) a bracelet.”
An Incident with Bashshar al-Makari
Our scholars have related from Bashshar al-Makari that he has said, “I went to meet Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq in Kufah and saw that the dates of Tabarzad were brought for him and he was eating them. He said to me, ‘Come here and eat these dates.’ I replied, ‘No, may I be your ransom! On the way here, I witnessed an incident that has stirred my sorrow. My heart is bleeding and tears have engulfed me.’ Imam said, ‘I say to you by the right that I hold upon you, come near and eat from these.’
I went near and ate some dates, then he asked, ‘Now tell me what your saw.’ I replied, ‘On the way, I saw a guard of the kingdom striking a woman on the head, and dragging her towards the prison. She was yelling, ‘I seek refuge of Allah and His Prophet, and I do not seek refuge from anyone else except Allah and His Prophet.’’
Imam as-Sadiq asked, ‘Why were they hitting the woman and taking her to prison?’ I replied, ‘I heard people saying that the woman was walking on the road and suddenly she tripped and fell. She called out, ‘O Fatimah! May Allah keep away His Mercy from the ones who oppressed you!’ Thus the guards arrested her and began to hit her.’
Hearing this, Imam as-Sadiq stopped eating (the dates) and wept to such an extent that his handkerchief, beard and chest were drenched in tears. Then he said, ‘O Bashshar! Arise and let us go to Masjid al-Sahlah and pray for the release of that woman and request Allah to safeguard her.’”
If Imam al-Sadiq was grief-stricken so much after hearing about the unpleasant incident of a woman from among the Shi’a of Fatimah, then what would be the effect upon him when her sufferings are related to him?!
That tyrant slapped her (Fatimah) to such an extent that her earrings broke due to the severity of the attack!
Comparison with the Event of Karbala
As has been quoted earlier, inspite the extreme persecution, the innocence of Imam ‘Ali and his forebearance came to light. However it can be said that some of the afflictions upon Imam ‘Ali were more severe than those faced by his son, Imam Husayn, whose afflictions are great in comparision. As an example, we quote the following incident from the book Nafasul Mahmum.70
Al-Tabari relates that Shimr b. Dhil Jawshan advanced until he reached a particular tent of Imam Husayn, and stricking at it with his lance said, “Bring me fire so that I may burn it along with it occupants!” Hearing this, the women-folk started shrieking and came out of the tents in panic. Imam Husayn called out in a loud voice saying, “O son of Dhil Jawshan! Do you ask for fire to be brought so as to burn the tent along with my family? May Allah burn you in the fire (of hell)!”
Azdi says that Sulayman b. Abi Rashid relates from Hamid b. Muslim that he said, “I said to Shimr b. Dhil Jawshan, ‘Glory be to Allah! This does not suit you. Do you desire to taste the wrath of Allah by killing the children and ladies? By Allah! The commander will be pleased with you by killing the men only.’ Then Shimr asked me as to who I was and I said, ‘I shall not disclose who I am.’ I said this, for by Allah, I feared that he would complain about me in the presence of the sovereign. Then Shabath b. Rab’i came to Shimr, whose orders he obeyed more (than any other person), and said, ‘I have not heard a more evil speech from you before, nor have I seen a more degraded situation that you have placed yourself into! Have you now started frightening the women?’ Upon hearing this, Shimr became ashamed of himself and retreated back.”
One should reflect on this point that inspite him being a foolish, empty-headed and shameless person, Shimr was stopped by Shabath b. Rab’i, and he yielded to his orders and desisted from burning the tents, however the individual (who was more shameless), came to the house of Imam ‘Ali and threatened to burn him and his family saying, “By Him in whose hands is my life! You should step out of the house to swear allegiance, failing which I will burn the house upon all of you!” Someone told him, “Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet of Allah and his two sons (Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn) are also in the house!” But I (the author) bear witness that he did not desist, nor was he ashamed but did what we have quoted earlier, and the Commander of the Faithful, Imam ‘Ali did not have anyone who could assist him or defend his family.
As has been quoted, when Zubayr b. al-Awwam saw Imam ‘Ali treated in this manner and dragged in that wretched state to the Masjid, he unsheathed his sword and called out, “O tribe of Bani ‘Abdul Muttalib! ‘Ali is being treated in this manner while you are alive?” Then he fumed at ‘Umar and lifted his sword to strike at him however ‘Umar took away the sword, and hit it against a stone and broke it.
Oppression upon Imam ‘Ali
The eminent traditionist and trustworthy authority of Islam, Shaykh al-Kulayni relates from Sudayr that he said, “We were in the presence of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and were discussing the events that took place after the death of the Prophet of Allah and the troubles and estrangement which came upon Imam ‘Ali.
One of the people present asked Imam al-Baqir, ‘May Allah mend your affairs! What happened to the esteem and glory of the Bani Hashim and their large numbers?’
Imam al-Baqir replied, ‘There was no one from amongst the Bani Hashim who were present and (know that) the glory of the Bani Hashim was due to the presence of Ja’far al-Tayyar and Hamzah. After the passing away of these two men, there remained two other individuals who were old, feeble and from the earliest of the Muslims, ‘Abbas (b. ‘Abdul Muttalib) and ‘Aqil (b. Abi Talib). Take note that by Allah! If Hamzah and Ja’far had been alive, they (the oppressers) would not have reached the position that they acquired; and if they (Hamzah and Ja’far) would have been there, those two men (who had taken the rights of Imam ‘Ali) would have fallen into perdition!’
Due to this loneliness and deprivation (of his rights) that it is related that whenever Imam ‘Ali would ascend the pulpit, his last words before stepping down would be, ‘I have always been oppressed from the time Allah took away the soul of His Prophet.’”
Musayyab b. Najiyyah relates that one day Imam ‘Ali was reciting a sermon when a man suddenly called out, “O oppression!” Imam ‘Ali said to him, “Come near”, he came near and Imam said, “I have been oppressed equalling the quantity of the particles of sand in the desert and the hair on the body of animals.”
It is also related that a desert ‘Arab once passed by and called him (Imam ‘Ali), “O Commander of the Oppressed!” Imam told him, “My dear! I am the one who has been oppressed equalling the quantity of the particles of sand (in the desert) and the hair (on the body of a camel).”
Abu Dharr al-Ghiffari would address Imam ‘Ali as, “The oppressed and persecuted master!”
It is related from the eminent traditionist, Shaykh al-Kulayni that Imam ‘Ali al-Hadi said: “Stand at the grave of ‘Ali and salute him in these words:
أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا وَلِيَّ ٱللّٰهِ˛ أَنْتَ أَوَّلَ مَظْلُومٍ وَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ غَصِبَ حَقَّهُ˛ صَبَرْتَ وَ احْتَسَبْتَ حَتّٰى أَتَاكَ الْيَقِينَ. فَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ لَقِيتَ ٱللّٰهَ وَ أَنْتَ شَهِيدٌ. عَذَّبَ ٱللّٰهُ قَاتَلَكَ بِأَنْوَاعِ الْعَذَابَ وَ جَدِّدْ عَلَيْهِ الْعَذَابَ.
‘Peace be upon you O friend of Allah! You are the first one who was oppressed and the first one whose right was usurped; you forebore patiently until the certainty (death) came to you. I bear witness that you went to the presence of Allah while you were a martyr, may Allah engulf your murderer with various types of punishments and renew them upon him.”
The author says: This is one of the sighs of the scorched hearts and one of the many (amongst the numerous) of the heart-rending sorrows (which befell the Ahlul Bayt) which could melt mountains.
An Elegy Expressing Grief Upon Zahra
Below, we quote the gist of an elegy by Shaykh Salih al-Hilli who says:
“When oppression seized the progeny of Muhammad, Muhammad lay without a shroud; Those who said to Fatimah that you hurt us due to your excessive weeping and wailing - they cut the tree of ‘Arak’ so that she could not sit under the shade of its leaves and flowers and weep; They gathered wood at the house of the ones in whose absence, the religion would not have been founded; The one who gathered at the house of Batul and subsequently she miscarried her child; They dragged their Imam forcefully, while chastity (Fatimah) was wailing behind them; Leave my cousin or I shall call upon the Lord with disheveled hair and complain to Him; The camel of (Prophet) Salih and its children are not more dear in the sight of Allah than me; She went to the sacred grave (of the Prophet) with intense grief and a sorrowful heart; When the nails of sorrow engulfed in her heart, she complained regarding the scarcity of defenders to assist her; O father! This Samaritan and its calves are under the mercy of men and they have ambushed Harun (referring to Imam ‘Ali); What shall I complain to you about, should I complain about the striking of the whip upon me and its mark and pain that shall remain upon me until the ned of my life; Should I express grief upon the separation from my father, or the usurpation of the right of ‘Ali, or upon my broken ribs, or the miscarried child; They usurped my inheritance refusing to acknowledge my rights even after well recognizing my status; They aggrieved your Hasan and Husayn, and when I asked them for my rights they refused to give them to me.”
An Account From al-Mas’udi Regarding the Episode of the Allegiance
The renowned historian and scholar, al-Mas’udi in his book Ithbatul Wasiyyah says, “When the Prophet of Allah passed away, the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali was thirty-five years old. He (‘Ali) stood up to take hold of the reins of caliphate by the will of Allah - the believers obeyed him, while the hypocrites refused to side with him and chose someone else for the caliphate, and thus, they opposed the one who was chosen by Allah and His Prophet.”
It is related that when the Prophet passed away, ‘Abbas b. ‘Abdul Muttalib came to Imam ‘Ali and told him, “Stretch forth your hand so that I may pledge allegiance (to you).” The Commander of the Faithful replied, “Other than me, who claims this status and who except me is worthy of it?” At that moment a group of people, including Zubayr and Abu Sufyan came to ‘Ali to swear allegiance, however ‘Ali refused to accept it.
The Muhajirin and Ansar opposed each other and the Ansar said, “There should be one chief from among us and one from among you.” However the Muhajirin replied, “We have heard from the Prophet that the caliphate rests with the Quraysh.”71
Ultimately, the Ansar accepted the claim of the Muhajirin after trampling Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah under their feet. ‘Umar b. al-Khattab pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, placing his hand upon Abu Bakr’s and after him, the bedouins and the neo-Muslims who had just come to Madinah took the pledge of allegiance with others following suit.
This news reached Imam ‘Ali who had just completed the funeral proceedings of Prophet Muhammad. Imam ‘Ali, along with the Bani Hashim and some of the companions (of the Prophet) like Abu Dharr, Salman, Miqdad, ‘Ammar, Hudhayfah, Ubay b. Ka’ab, and a group of other companions comprising of forty men recited the prayers upon the dead body of the Prophet after which Imam ‘Ali arose and spoke to those present. He praised and glorified Allah and then said, “If the caliphate rests with the Quraysh, then I am the most worthy among the Quraysh for it. If it does not rest with the Quraysh, then the Ansar’s claim remains.”
Similitude of the Duties of Imam ‘Ali with Five Prophets
Imam ‘Ali returned home and kept his distance from the people. Then one day he told his followers, “I resemble five prophets in five ways: Prophet Nuh (Noah) - he addressed Allah saying: ‘Verily, I am overcome (by these people), so please help,’72 Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) - he told the polytheists: ‘I withdraw from you (all) and what you call upon other than Allah,’73
Prophet Lut (Lot) - he told his rebellious people: ‘If only I had strength to resist you or if I could take refuge in a mighty support,’74
Prophet Musa (Moses) - he told the people of Fir’aun: ‘So I fled from you when I feared you,’75
Prophet Harun (Aaron) who told (his brother) Prophet Musa: ‘Verily the people did reckon me weak and they were about to kill me.’”76
Imam ‘Ali then became engrossed in compiling and arranging the Qur’an (and after completing it), he put it in a cloth and affixed his seal upon it. He told the people, “This is the book of Allah that I have arranged according to the orders of the Prophet as it was revealed upon him.” Some of those present told him, “Take your Qur’an and go away!” Imam ‘Ali told them, “The Prophet of Allah had told all of you that, ‘I leave behind me two weighty things, the Book of Allah and my progeny, and these two shall not part from one another until they meet me at the (fountain of) Kawthar.’ If you recognise the words of the Prophet, accept me, that I shall judge among you on the basis of the orders of the Qur’an.” They replied, “We do not need you nor your Qur’an, now take your Qur’an and go away!” Hearing this Imam ‘Ali went to his house as did his followers (Shi’a), for the Prophet of Allah had taken this pledge from them (to bear the difficulties that would come with patience).
However, the people did not sit by idle. Rather, they gathered at the house of ‘Ali and (attempted to) burn his house. They forcefully dragged him to the Masjid (to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr), while Fatimah was crushed in between the wall and the door and her child, Muhsin, was miscarried. They told ‘Ali, “Swear allegiance” but he refused saying “I shall not do so.” They replied, “If you do not do so, we will kill you!” ‘Ali replied, “Will you kill me while I am the slave of Allah and the brother of the Prophet of Allah?” They forcibly extended his hand but he closed it and it was not possible for them to open it, thus they rubbed the closed hand of ‘Ali upon Abu Bakr’s hand.
Two Shocking Miracles
Al-Mas’udi continues saying that, “After some days, Imam ‘Ali met one of the two men (Abu Bakr) and advisd him to remember Allah and the Day of Allah (Day of Resurrection) and told him, ‘Do you wish to meet the Prophet now so that he may advice you to forbid (evil) and enjoin (good)?’ He replied in the affirmative and ‘Ali took him to Masjid al-Quba and showed him the Prophet of Allah who was seated therein. The Prophet of Allah said to him, ‘O so and so! Do you pledge with me in this manner that you will give the caliphate (back) to ‘Ali as he (‘Ali) is the Commander of the Faithful?’ Seeing this, he returned back with ‘Ali and resolved to hand the caliphate over to him but his friend (‘Umar) did not permit it (to occur).”
He said, “This is nothing but apparent magic and the renowned sorcery of the Bani Hashim! You forget that one day, we were with Ibn Abi Kabshah (meaning the Noble Prophet). He signaled towards the two trees and they joined together, then he went behind and answered the call of nature. Then he gesntured towards them and they separated from one another.” The first one (Abu Bakr) said, “Now that you have reminded me about this matter, I too recall an incident. The Prophet and I had taken shelter in the cave (of Thawr). He stretched his hand towards my face and motioned with his feet at which time I saw a river. He then showed me Ja’far (al-Tayyar) and his companions who were seated on a boat and sailing.”
However even after all of this, he (Abu Bakr) was influenced by his friend (‘Umar) and changed his mind to hand over the caliphate to ‘Ali.
They resolved to kill ‘Ali and recommended (this act) to one another while promising each other (to ensure that this would be carried out) and for this, they deputed Khalid b. Walid.
Asma’ b. ‘Umays77 became aware about their plans and informed ‘Ali about it. She dispatched her maid to the house of Imam ‘Ali and when the maid reached his house, she took hold of the two sides of the door and recited this verse in a loud voice,
“Verily the chiefs are consulting to slay you, begone, verily unto you I am of the sincere advisers.”78
In order to prepare for the attack, Khalid hid his sword under his garments and it was decided that as soon as the prayer leader (Abu Bakr) recited the salutations to end the prayer, Khalid would arise and attack and kill ‘Ali inside the Masjid. He (Khalid) became so stirred up and excited at the thought of carrying out this act that the people assumed he had committed some error in his prayers. However, before the prayer leader (Abu Bakr) finished reciting the last salutation to end the prayers, he said, “Khalid should not do that which I have commanded him, and peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.”
Usurpation of Fadak
‘Allamah Abu Mansur al-Tabarsi in his book al-Ihtijaj and ‘Ali b. Ibrahim relate from Hammad b. ‘Uthman who relate from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq that when the swearing of allegiance to Abu Bakr concluded and his caliphate was established over the Muhajirin and Ansar, he sent his messenger to Fadak79 and told him to expel the deputy of Fatimah from there.
Protest of Sayyidah Fatimah and the Testimony of Witnesses
When Fatimah was informed about the orders of Abu Bakr, she went to him and said, “Why did you take away the inheritance that my father had left for me and expel my deputy from there when the Prophet of Allah had declared it to be my property by the command of Allah?” Abu Bakr replied, “Bring me a witness for your claim.” Fatimah left and brought Umme Ayman80 as a witness.
Umme Ayman told Abu Bakr, “I shall not bear witness until I make you, O Abu Bakr, confirm my merits in the words of the Prophet of Allah! I ask you in the name of Allah, did the Prophet not say that verily Umme Ayman is from among the women of paradise?”
Abu Bakr replied, “Yes, the Prophet said so.”
Then Umme Ayman continued, “I bear witness that Almighty Allah sent revelation to His Prophet saying: ‘And give to the near of kin their due.’81 When this verse was revealed upon the Prophet, he immediately gifted Fadak to Fatimah.”
Then Imam ‘Ali came to Abu Bakr and bore witness in the same fashion.
Abu Bakr was convinced that Fadak was the property of Fatimah and he wrote a follow-up letter dismissing his claim and handed the letter over to Fatimah. When ‘Umar was informed about this, he rushed to Abu Bakr and asked him, “What is this letter?” Abu Bakr replied, “Fatimah came to me claiming that Fadak was her property and she brought Umme Ayman and ‘Ali as witnesses for her statement. On this basis I wrote a letter handing Fadak back to Fatimah and gave her this letter.”
‘Umar rushed towards Fatimah, snatched away the letter from her, tore it into pieces saying, “Fadak is among the spoils of war and it belongs to all of the Muslims. Malik b. Aws b. al-Hadathan, ‘Ayeshah and Hafsa (daughter of ‘Umar and another wife of the Prophet) all bore witness that the Prophet of Allah said that, ‘We the group of prophets do not leave anything as inheritance, whatever we leave behind is charity.’ As for the witness of ‘Ali, he is the husband of Fatimah and will thus look after his own well-being. As for Umme Ayman, she is a righteous woman and if another person bears witness alongside her, then we will accept this claim.”
Fatimah returned back from Abu Bakr and ‘Umar in a grievous state and said, “Just as you have ripped this letter of mine, may Allah rip your stomach.”82
Logical Reasoning of Imam ‘Ali with Abu Bakr
The next day, surrounded by the Muhajirin and Ansar, Imam ‘Ali approached Abu Bakr in the Masjid. He told him, “Why did you forbid Fatimah from the inheritance that she received from her father, the Prophet of Allah, which he had handed over to Fatimah during his life-time?”
Abu Bakr replied, “Fadak is from the spoils of war and is associated with all of the Muslims. Thus, if Fatimah brings witnesses that the Prophet of Allah had given it to her as her (own personal) property, we will give it to her, otherwise she has no claim over it.”
Imam ‘Ali said, “O Abu Bakr! You have judged against the orders of Allah regarding us among the Muslims.”
Abu Bakr said, “It is not so!”
‘Ali said, “If a property is in the possession of another Muslim and is under his control and I was to claim that it is my property, from whom will you ask for two witnesses?”
Abu Bakr replied, “I shall ask you to produce two witnesses to support your claim (that the property is yours and not that other Muslim’s).”
Then Imam ‘Ali said, “Then why do you ask for two witnesses from Fatimah regarding a property that was already under her possession, and it was very much under her possession during the life-time of the Prophet and even after his death? Why do you not ask the Muslims to produce two witnesses on their claim in the same way that you ask me to produce witnesses when I claim the property under the possession of someone else?”
Hearing this Abu Bakr could not offer any reply and remained silent. ‘Umar then said, “O ‘Ali! Keep aside these talks for we do not have the capability to refute your claims. If you bring just witnesses, then we will accept your claim; if not, Fadak is the property of all the Muslims and you and Fatimah have no claim upon it!”
Then Imam ‘Ali again said to Abu Bakr, “Have you read the Qur’an?” Abu Bakr replied in the positive. Imam ‘Ali continued, “Then tell me in whose praise was this verse of the Qur’an revealed, ‘Verily Allah intends to keep off from you (every kind) of uncleanliness, O Ahlul Bayt, and purify you (with) a thorough purification.’83 Is this verse revealed in our praise or anyone else?”
Abu Bakr replied, “It is revealed in your praise.”
Imam ‘Ali continued, “Presume that some people bear witness that (Allah forbid) Fatimah has committed a crime, what would your orders be in regards to her?”
Abu Bakr replied, “I shall punish her according to the laws of Allah as I would do to any other woman.”
Imam ‘Ali said, “In that case you would be among the disbelievers in the sight of Allah!”
Abu Bakr asked, “Why is that so?”
Imam ‘Ali replied, “For you would have refuted the witness of Allah regarding the chastity of Fatimah and accepted the witness of the people - thus you have rejected the command of Allah and that of the Prophet of Allah! The Prophet of Allah gifted Fadak to Fatimah under the direct command of Allah and it remained under her possession in the life-time of the Prophet. You refute this command of Allah and you accept the witness of a bedoin who urinates upon his heels (‘Aws b. Hadasan)? You snatch Fadak away from Fatimah and claim that it is from among the spoils of war for all Muslims (to own a share of), whereas the Prophet of Allah had said that proof is to be brought by the claimant while an oath is to be taken by the defendant! You refute the words of the Prophet of Allah!”
Hearing this, the people were enraged and a hue and cry arose among them and some of them said, “By Allah! ‘Ali speaks the truth.” However after all of this transpired, Imam ‘Ali returned back to his house.
Fatimah then came to grave of the Prophet, and while circumambulating it, recited the following couplets, “Verily such silent conspiracies arose after you, that if you were present they would not have increased (as much as they currently are).”
A Drafted Conspiracy to Kill ‘Ali
In his book al-Ihtijaj, after quoting the above incidents, ‘Allamah al-Tabrisi again relates from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq that, “After Imam ‘Ali protested in regards to what was going on, Abu Bakr returned to his house from the Masjid and called ‘Umar b. al-Khattab. Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, ‘Did you see how the discourse between ‘Ali and myself concluded? If such clashes take place between us again, certainly our power will tremble and the pillars of our authority will become unstable - what do you think should be done?”
‘Umar replied, ‘In my opinion we should order the assassination of ‘Ali.’
Abu Bakr asked, ‘How should we go about doing this and who can do the job?’ ‘Umar replied, “Khalid b. al-Walid is fit for this job.”
They dispatched a man to find Khalid and had him brought to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. They told him, ‘Would you like us to appoint you to carry out an important task?’
Khalid replied, ‘Load me with whatever you want, even if it may be the task of killing ‘Ali b. Abi Talib.’
They both replied, “That is exactly what we want!”
Khalid asked, “I shall do what you order - but tell me, how should I kill him?’
Abu Bakr replied, ‘Go to the Masjid and sit beside ‘Ali to recite the prayers, and when I recite the last salutations to conclude the prayer, arise and behead him!’
Khalid replied, ‘Good, I shall do that.’
Asma b. Umays, who was the wife of Abu Bakr, was present in the house and heard their plans. She called her maid saying, ‘Go to the house of ‘Ali and Fatimah and give my salutations to them and tell ‘Ali: ‘Verily the chiefs are consulting with one another and are planning to kill you! Begone, verily unto you I am of the sincere advisers.’84 Hearing this Imam ‘Ali told the maid, ‘Tell Asma’ that Allah intervenes between them and what they desire.’
Imam ‘Ali came out of his house to go to the Masjid to recite the prayers and then sat in the rows. Khalid too entered therein with his sword and sat beside ‘Ali. The prayers started and when Abu Bakr sat to recite the tashahhud85, he began to regret his (previous) decision and feared that a commotion would erupt in recognition of the valour and courage of ‘Ali. He was so disturbed that he wondered whether he should recite the last salutation or not such that the people presumed that he had fallen prey to error and doubts during his prayers. Suddenly (in the state of his prayers), he turned towards Khalid and said, ‘Do not do that what I commanded you… (then he continued with the salam of the prayers) and peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and His blessings.’
Hearing this Imam ‘Ali told Khalid, ‘What did he command you to do?’ Khalid replied, ‘He had ordered me to behead you.’
‘Ali said, ‘Then why did you not do so?’
Khalid replied, ‘By Allah! If he had not stopped me before ending the prayers, I would have certainly killed you.’
At that moment, Imam ‘Ali pushed Khalid and he fell down. The people gathered around and requested the Imam to leave Khalid alone.
‘Umar called out, ‘By the Lord of the Ka’bah! He (‘Ali) will surely kill Khalid.’
The people told Imam ‘Ali, ‘We request you in the name of the one buried in this grave (Prophet Muhammad) to release Khalid!’ Hearing this, ‘Ali let him go.”
Abu Dharr al-Ghiffari relates that, “Imam ‘Ali caught hold of the neck of Khalid between two of his fore fingers and squeezed it such that Khalid screamed out. The people became frightened and each one feared for his life! At that moment, Khalid urinated in his clothes and thus, folded his legs over one other and did not utter a word. Seeing this Abu Bakr told ‘Umar, ‘This is the result of your chaotic opinion! I see today’s incident and thank Allah that we are safe.’ Whoever would go near ‘Ali to rescue Khalid from his firm grip returned back in fright looking at his enraged eyes.”
Abu Bakr sent ‘Umar to ‘Abbas b. ‘Abdul Muttalib who came and intervened and said to ‘Ali, ‘I request you in the name of the occupant of this grave and your sons and their mother, to release Khalid.’ Hearing this, Imam ‘Ali released Khalid at which point, ‘Abbas kissed Imam ‘Ali between his two eyes.
In another narration it is related that Imam ‘Ali then caught hold of the shirt of ‘Umar and said, “O son of Sahhak, the Abyssinian! If there would not have been the command of Allah and the oath of the Prophet of Allah (taken by me), you would have known who among us is more feeble and less in number!” Those present intervened and Imam ‘Ali released ‘Umar and at that moment, ‘Abbas b. ‘Abdul Muttalib went to Abu Bakr and said, ‘By Allah! If you had killed ‘Ali, you would not find anyone alive among the children of (the Tribe of) Taim.’
‘Allamah Majlisi in his work, Biharul Anwar relates from the renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah, Ibn Abil Hadid who said, “I said to my teacher, Abu Ja’far al-Naqib that, ‘I am amazed at how ‘Ali was able to remain alive for such a long time after the death of the Prophet of Allah in spite the deception of the enemies and they could not find an opportune moment to kill him, considering all of the enemity that they bore against him!’
Abu Ja’far replied, ‘If ‘Ali had not practiced patience and had not remained isolated, he would have been killed! However, he remained in worship, prayers, recitation of the Qur’an and kept himself away from (the masses). He put away his sword and spent his life like the one in search of respite. He wandered the forests, deserts and the ends of the mountain ranges. He complied with the caliphs86 similar to the others and thus his enemies forgot him. No one could have killed him except by (first) obtaining permission from the caliphs or by obtaining their secret approval. However those in charge did not have the motivation to kill ‘Ali - they had no choice but to keep their hands off of him, otherwise (had the situation permitted) they would have killed him! From another angle, death itself is a firm and steady circle and a solid fort which cannot be (easily) traversed, and thus death cannot come forth and nobody can be killed (except by Allah’s will and command).’
I then asked my teacher regarding the incident of Abu Bakr appointing Khalid to kill ‘Ali to which he replied, ‘A group of people among the ‘Alawites (Shi’a) relate this incident, and they also say that a man came to Zafar b. Hudhayl, the student of Abu Hanifah and asked him, ‘Is it true that Abu Hanifah says that it is permissible for a person to, before he concludes his prayers by reciting the salutations, talk, do something or answer the call of nature?’ Zafar replied, ‘It is permissible, in the same manner as Abu Bakr talked before reciting the salutation in prayers.’ The man asked, ‘What did Abu Bakr say before the salutations?” Zafar replied, ‘It does not suit a man like you to ask a question like this.’ However he repeatedly requested an answer and thus Zafar said to those present, ‘Remove this man from here as I feel that he is one of the adherents of Abul Khattab.’”87
Ibn Abil Hadid says that I asked my teacher Abu Ja’far al-Naqib, “What is your opinion regarding this incident - did Abu Bakr order the murder of ‘Ali?” al-Naqib replied, “I presume it to be far-fetched, however the sect of the Imamiyah quote it.”
A Pounding Letter from Imam ‘Ali to Abu Bakr
It is quoted in al-Ihtijaj of Shaykh al-Tabarsi that when Imam ‘Ali was informed that Abu Bakr had taken away Fadak from Fatimah and that he (Abu Bakr) had thrown out her labourers who were working the land, he wrote a powerful letter to Abu Bakr which read as follows:
“Steer through the waves of mischief by the boats of deliverance; put off the crowns of pride, and turn away from the conceit of egoistic men. You should turn towards the fountainhead of grace and light.
You have taken for yourself the inheritance left by the ‘pure souls’, now, come out of the circle of ignorance, negligence and perplexity. It is as if I see with my eyes that you, similar to a blindfolded camel, are circumambulating around destruction and walking in bewilderment and distress. By Allah! If I had been ordered, I would have blown your heads off similar to the ripping of the ready harvest with a sharp iron sickle and I would have severed the heads of your brave ones with such a ferocity that your eyes would be wounded and each one of you would be frightened and perplexed.
I am the one who has scattered the abundant crowd (of enemies) and had destroyed armies and thus, I could strike at your group and your customs! I was busy in the battlefield fighting (the enemies), while you fled back to your homes!
Just yesterday, I was busy in serving the Prophet and all of you were aware of my deeds and acknowledged my status.
I swear by the life of my father! You never did consent that prophethood and caliphate would both be combined in our family. You still have not forgotten the envy of the battles of Badr and Uhud. By Allah! If we reveal to you what Almighty Allah has decreed regarding you, certainly the bones of your ribs would enter your bodies similar to the points of the compass.
If I speak out, they will call me greedy for power, but if I keep quiet they will say that ‘Ali b. Abi Talib is afraid of death. Alas! Alas! I am more desirous of death than an infant is to the breast of its mother. I am the one who has made the many enemies taste death and have greeted death with open arms in the battlefield. I do not have the slightest fear or terror of death. I am the one who turned away the flags of the enemies in the pitch-black darkness of the night; I am the one who warded off blockade and sorrow for the sake of the Prophet, and I am authorized to tell you what Allah has revealed regarding you and I know it, (and if you were to hear it) then you would tremble like ropes in deep wells and would wander in the desert in bewilderment. But I am forebearing and lead a simple and easy life, so that I may meet the Lord of the Universe with hands empty of the pleasures of this life and a heart vacant of darkness.
Know that the reality of this world of yours is similar to the cloud that hangs in the air and looks wide and thick over the heads of men, then it (suddenly) disappears and scatters away! Very soon will the dust set from in front of your eyes and you shall witness the results of your evil deeds, and at that point, you will reap the bitter seeds of poison and perdition that you have sown. Know that Allah is the Best Judge and His beloved Prophet will be your greatest enemy, while the ground of the Resurrection will be your place of return.
Allah will keep you away from His mercy and He will engulf you in His severe wrath; and peace will be unto him who follows the guidance.”88
Reaction of Abu Bakr upon the Letter of Imam ‘Ali
When Abu Bakr read the letter of Imam ‘Ali, he became restless and fearful and said, “What an astonishment! Indeed ‘Ali has demonstrated such a show of audacity and boldness against me!” Then he said, “O group of Muhajirin and Ansar! Did I not discuss with you regarding the matter of Fadak? Did you not tell me that the prophets do not leave behind anything as inheritance? Did you not declare that it was necessary that (the income of) Fadak should be used to guard and mobilize the frontiers and for the general well-being of the people? Certainly I accepted your advice and approved of what you stated, but now ‘Ali b. Abi Talib opposes this view and threatens me with words similar to the sparks of lightening and the roaring of thunder! Actually he opposes my caliphate. I wish to resign from this, however you do not permit. From the first day of opposition, I did not want to come face to face with ‘Ali and I fled, and I am still escaping from skirmish and disputes with him.”
Strong Protest of ‘Umar Against Abu Bakr
Hearing this, ‘Umar b. al-Khattab was enraged and addressed Abu Bakr in these words, “Can you not say anything else except such things!? You are the son of that father who was never at the forefront of any battle, nor was he generous and beneficient during the days of severity and famine. Glory be to Allah! What a coward and timid man, possessing a weak heart you are!
I handed you clear and pleasant water (the caliphate) but you are not ready to take benefit from it nor quench your thirst with it? I made the stubborn necks bow and submit to you and gathered diplomats and experienced men around you. If it would not have been for my efforts and endeavour, this success would not have come to you and certainly ‘Ali b. Abi Talib would have broken your bones!
Offer thanks to Allah that because of me you have acquired this significant position, when certainly the one who acquires the place of the Prophet of Allah on his pulpit should thank Allah. This ‘Ali, the son of Abu Talib is similar to a solid rock that cannot break so that water may pass through it; and he is similar to a dangerous snake that cannot be tamed except through charm and trick; and he is similar to a bitter tree that even if it is fed honey, it will not bear sweet fruit. He has killed the brave men among the Quraysh and has crushed the stubborn ones. Be calm and do not fear his threats and do not let your heart tremble by his lightening and thunder. I shall finish his task and stop his way before he steps forth to hurt you.”
Three Reasons for our Success
Hearing this, Abu Bakr told ‘Umar, “Keep aside these extravagant talks as by Allah, if ‘Ali wishes he can kill us with his left hand without even having to use his right one. There are three factors in our favour: first, he is alone and has no aide; second, he is under compulsion to act according to the testimony of the Prophet (to forebear) and he will never go against it; and third, seeing as how most of the people of the various tribes envy him and bear animosity towards him because their family (the infidels) had been killed at his hands - they do not want to establish favourable relations with him. If these factors would not have been there, certainly the caliphate would have gone to him and our opposition would be useless. O son of al-Khattab! Pay attention that ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, just like he has written in his letter, is not inclined towards this world and he flees from the life of this world, while we are frightful of death and flee from it, so how will such a man fear death?”
Glance at the Sermon of Fatimah
It is quoted in the book al-Ihtijaj of Shaykh al-Tabarsi from ‘Abdullah b. Hasan who relates from his fore-fathers that when Sayyidah Zahra was informed that Abu Bakr had confiscated Fadak, she put on her veil and cloak, and accompanied by some servants and women of the Bani Hashim, came to the Masjid and facing Abu Bakr and the Muslims who were present, recited a powerful sermon.
Sayyidah Zahra had worn a long dress (and was thus placing her feet upon her dress) and her way of walking was similar to that of the Prophet. When she entered the Masjid, Abu Bakr was seated with a group of the Muhajirin, Ansar and others and a curtain was put up for her and she sat behind it.
Lamentation of those Present
Sayyidah Zahra heaved a sorrowful sigh from her scorched and aggrieved heart such that all of those present were affected by it and began to weep. The gathering was converted into a mourning ceremony and everyone was deeply touched. Sayyidah Zahra then remained silent for a moment until the weeping of those present calmed down, and then she began her speech.
Praise and Eulogy for the Lord and Witness of the Unity of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad
She started her speech89 by saying: “Praise be to Allah for His bounties (upon us) and thanks be to Him for all that He inspired; and commended is His name for all the bounties He created before our own creation, for all the common bounties that He bestowed (upon us) from His Ownself without even (our) asking for it, and abundant and complete bounties90, such plenteous and unlimited bounties whose numbers cannot be computed,91 and thanks cannot be offered for the duration and commencement (of the bounties), and whose perpetuity is beyond comprehension. He invited (His servants) to offer praise, thus resulting in an increase and perpetuity (in their blessings)92, and in lieu of this abundance (of bounties), Allah desired that His creatures praise Him. Again, He invited you (to perform good deeds) resulting in bounties of this world as well as for the hereafter.
I bear witness that there is no other deity (worthy of worship) except Allah - He is Unique and Unparalleled. Certainly interpretation (and result) of this witness (of monotheism) is sincerity, and it’s comprehension has been placed in the hearts, and the mind is illuminated by its (profound) understanding. He (Allah) cannot be seen with the eyes, nor can He be described with the tongues, and His state cannot be perceived. He is the One Who created all things without any past prototype, and originated them without having any past image and equals. Rather He created them with His Might and dispersed them according to His Will, He did not create them for a need, nor did He shape them for a benefit (for Himself), but rather (He did all of this) to establish His Wisdom and to bring their (the creature’s) attention to His obedience, and manifest His Might and (so that) His creatures may venerate Him, and (He created to) strengthen His invitation by dispatching His prophets and friends. Thus He provided recompense for His obedience and granted punishment for His disobedience, (He informed) His slaves from performing such acts that invite His wrath, and thus would gather them in His Paradise.
And I bear witness that my father Muhammad, is His slave and His Messenger, while Allah the Almighty chose him and selected him before bestowing prophethood upon him, and named him before selecting him, and chose him before sending him (for the mission of Islam), when the whole of creation was concealed in the hidden world, and they were in awe, and were in the extinction of nothingness.
Almighty Allah was certainly aware of the consequences of all the tasks, and was acquainted with the occurances of the ages, and conscious of the position of the destined. Allah sent His Prophet so as to complete His commands, to execute His rulings, and to deliver His decisive ordinances. He saw the nation divided into various religions, addicted to their places of worship, worshipping their idols, denying Allah despite their knowledge of Him. Then Allah illuminated their darkness (misguidance) through the medium of my father Muhammad and lifted the veils of obscurity from their hearts, and removed ignorance from their eyes. He (the Prophet) stood up among them for their guidance; delivered them from misguidance, enlightened their eyes from blindness, guided them towards the ‘Straight Path’ and invited them towards ‘the Right Path’.
Then, Allah took away his soul with affection and by his choice, willingness and submission. Thus, Muhammad was relieved of the toils of this world and entered (the world of) comfort. There, he lives in ease among the righteous angels, and in the Paradise of the forgiving Lord, and in the neigbourhood of the Mighty King.
May Allah’s mercy be upon my father, His messenger and the trustworthy one with regards to His revelation, His friend, the best among His creations, His favourite one; and peace upon him and Allah’s Mercy and Blessings.
Focus upon Memorizing the Qur’an, an Exalted Trust of Allah
You are the slaves of Allah and you are the establishers of His commands and prohibitions. You are the possessors of His religion and His revelation, the trustworthy ones with regards to yourselves and you should propagate it (Islam) to other nations, while you deem yourselves worthy of all this?93
A pledge had been taken from you in advance by Allah and there is among you His remembrance and that is the book of Allah (Qur’an), the speaking one. It is a book of complete truthfulness and a bright light, the brilliant light. Its imminence is evident, its secrets are revealed, its apparents are clear, its adherents become reasons for others to envy, it leads its adherents to the status of paradise (or the pleasure of Allah), its listeners are guided towards salvation94 and through it are gained the illuminated evidences of Allah. It determines the ordinances and prohibitions (of Allah), its evidences are illuminated and its proofs are sufficient, it contains the virtues of the recommendable acts (mustahabbat)95, freedom with regards to performing the lawful things (mubah)96 and (informs about the) discouraged (makruh)97 acts, and in it are written down other legal laws (of Islam).
Concentration upon the Philosophy and Aim of Divine Ordinances
Faith has been set so as to cleanse you of polytheism; Salat (prayers) are prescribed to keep you away from pride, Zakat (charity) has been prescribed to purify ones’ self and results in the increase of sustenance98; Sawm (fasting) has been prescribed so that genuineness may be reinforced; Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) has been prescribed to establish the religion; justice is prescribed to establish proper harmony in the hearts; the obligation to obey us (the Ahlul Bayt) has been prescribed to set up order in the community, and our authority (Imamah) has been prescribed to save the people from differences.
Jihad (struggle) is the honour of Islam and a humiliation for the people of polytheism and hypocrisy; patience has been made a medium for recompense to be bestowed99; enjoining good has been prescribed for the general welfare (of the society); righteousness with one’s parents is a safeguard against His (Allah’s) wrath; kindness with one’s relatives is a medium of increasing one’s age and results in an increase of friends and relations; retribution has been prescribed so that people’s lives may be safe-guarded100; fulfillment of vows leads to forgiveness101; consideration of accuracy in measurement in weighing commodities saves one from loss.
Prohibition of intoxicants has been prescribed so that humanity may remain away from filth102; the prohibition of defaming (of adultery) has been prescribed so as to keep oneself away from the curse of Allah103; robbery has been prohibited so that the hands may be pure; and polytheism has been prohibited so that sincerity may be established in Allah’s Divinity.
Thus fear Allah as you should, and (see that) you die not but as Muslims.104
Obey Allah with regards to His orders and prohibitions for surely only those of His servants are conscious of Allah who are endowed with knowledge.105
The Decisiveness of the Prophet in Strengthening the Path of Guidance
O people! Know that I am Fatimah and my father was Muhammad. I say and I will repeat this again and again and I do not utter any falsehood, and whatever I do shall not be wrong.
Indeed an Apostle from among yourselves has come to you, grievous to him is your falling into distress, (he is) solicitous regarding your welfare, towards the faithful (he is) compassionate, (and) merciful.106
If you look and understand, you will find that this Apostle is my father and not the father of any one of your women; he is the brother of my cousin (Imam ‘Ali) and not the brother of any one of your men and how fortunate is the one related to him (the Prophet).
The Prophet proclaimed the message and prevented the people from ignorance and polytheism and worked at opposing the customs of the polytheists. He broke their backs while their breath was entrapped in their chests. He called to the way of his Lord with wisdom and kind exhortation.107 He broke the idols and crushed the heads (of rebellion) of the polytheists until they were eradicated and took to flight. Then, the darkness of the night passed and it dawned and the truth became manifest in its true form. When the leader of the religion (the Prophet) spoke, foam gushed forth from the mouths of the polytheists and they became silent; the degraded group of the hypocrites was annihilated and pledges between disbelief and animosity broke. You all started uttering words of sincerity (Monotheism) and you were among a group consisting of illuminated countenances and fasting ones - those whom Allah intended to keep off from them uncleanliness and purify them with a thorough purification.108 Indeed, you were on the brink of the pit of the hell-fire.109
You were a community that was (considered just) - a medium who would quench the thirst of others and were a tool in the hands of the avaricious. You were similar to the place were hasty men come to take the fire (for their own benefit) and were being trampled under the feet while at that time, your state was such that you would drink water from the wayside gutter and your food was the uncleaned hides (of animals) or leaves. You were the humiliated and degraded ones from among the masses, fearing that people may carry you away by force!110 Thus Allah, the Blessed, the Sublime, delivered you through the medium of my father Muhammad, while you attained this deliverance after he (the Prophet) had to face numerous difficulties and fight with the stubborn polytheists, the beasts among the ‘Arabs and after that with the People of the Book (the Christians and the Jews).
Role of Imam ‘Ali in the Defense of Islam
Whenever the polytheists kindled the fire of wars, Allah would put it out; and when the adherents of Satan would manifest themselves or the beastly ones among the polytheists opened their mouths of envy, he (the Prophet) would dispatch his brother (Imam ‘Ali) towards them. He (Imam ‘Ali) would crush them and extinguish the blaze of their fire with his sword and he (Imam ‘Ali) bore extreme brutality in the way of Allah and strove to obey the commands of Allah. He was the nearest to the Prophet of Allah and the master of the friends of Allah.
He was always ready to serve the creations (of Allah), looking over the welfare of the people, endeavouring and toiling (in this way) and he was not affected with the censure of any censurer111; while you were living a life of pleasure and peace, and were far away from the severity of battle, (you were in) enjoyment and security. Then you waited that we, the Ahlul Bayt, may be engulfed in severity of trails and waited to hear this news and in the heat of the battle, you retreated and fled from the battlefield!
Criticism Against the Treachery of Men
Thus when Allah the Almighty exalted his Prophet from this perishable world towards the abode of His prophets and His chosen ones, the thorns of hypocricy became manifest in you and the mantle of your religion gave, and the astray ones, who were silent until yesterday, suddenly started shrieking; the degraded and mean ones came out of their burrows into the open ground, and the valiant ones of the polytheists of falsehood started roaring.
Now, these very people have taken the reins of authority into their hands and Satan has raised his head from the place of his concealment, inviting you towards evil - thus he found you to be among those accepting his invitation and you held him (in esteem) with the intention of securing position or being deceived. Satan invited you to rebel and found you to be (among the) base and meanest of people and he incited your rage and thus you became enraged.
Then you started to snatch the rights of others and entered the spring that did not belong to you and you did all of this when not much time had passed since the passing of the Prophet and the wound (of his death) was deep and our hearts had not yet healed, and the corpse of the Prophet was not even laid to rest in the grave!
You acted very swiftly dreading the outbreak of an agitation - beware that they themselves have fallen into the pit of agitation. Surely into trial have they already fallen, and verily hell encompasses the infidels.112
Far be it away from you! What has happened to you? Where are you wandering while the book of Allah (The Qur’an) is amongst you; whose orders are apparent and judgements are illuminated; its emblems dazzling and whose enjoinments and prohibitions are straightforward. Did you not leave it behind your backs and then turned your faces away from it in disgust and turned to something else for judgement? Evil for the unjust will be the exchange;113 and whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the next world he will be among the losers.114
You did not even wait that the tempest may calm down! Rather, you hastened to take the reins (of the caliphate) into your hands. After having acquired it (the caliphate), you started to ignite the fire of mutiny and you became engrossed in inciting the fire. You responded to the call of Satan, the seducer, and you intended to put out the light of the glorious religion.115 You started to destroy the practices of the chosen Prophet, then you delighted in suckling the delicacies of the caliphate and opposed the Ahlul Bayt in secret and in the open.
We have no choice but to bear the cuts of your daggers and the piercing of your spears into the body.
Reasoning of Fatimah for Fadak
Now you presume that we do not have any inheritance from the Prophet - do you follow the customs of the (age of) ignorance? Is it the judgement of (the days of) ignorance (the Pagan era) that they desire? Who (else) can be better than Allah to judge for the people of assured faith.116 Indeed, it is as bright as the sun that I am the daughter of the Prophet of Allah.
O Muslims! Is it befitting that I am deprived of my inheritance? O son of Abu Quhafah! Is it contained in the Glorious Qur’an that one should inherit from their father; while in your opinion, I should not inherit from my father? Indeed you have come with an unsual thing117 (attributed) upon Allah and His Prophet. Did you then intentionally forsake the Book of Allah and leave it behind your backs? Allah says: ‘And Sulayman inherited Dawud118’; in regards to the life of Zakariyyah, He says: ‘So grant me from Yourself an heir who shall inherit from me and inherit from the family of Ya’qub119’; ‘Allah also says: ‘And the blood relations are nearer to each other in the Book of Allah120’; Allah says: ‘Allah enjoins upon you about your children - the male shall have the equal of the shares of two females121’; and He also says, ‘If he (the believer) leaves behind any goods that he makes a bequest for parents and (the nearest) kinsmen in goodness (this is) a duty upon the pious ones.122
You assume that I do not have a share and allowance (in the inheritance) and that I should not inherit from my father and that there is no relation between us? Has Allah in His verses (of the Qur’an) not taken into consideration everyone in general and are not all (of the) classes of men included in these verses? Is my father discharged from the applicability of this verse or do you say that two people of the same community do not inherit from one another? Are my father and I not a part and parcel of one community? Then, are you more cognizant of understanding the general and particular verses of the Qur’an than my father and my cousin (Imam ‘Ali)? Then take it (Fadak) until we meet you on the Day of Judgement - where Allah will be the Best Judge, and Muhammad will be the claimant on that day, and our destined time of meeting will be the Resurrection and on that promised day, the fallacious ones will be ungulfed in deep loss and their regret (on that day) will be of no use to them! For every prophesy, there is a (prefixed) time123 and you will soon realize upon whom a torment (of tribulations) will descend which will disgrace him, and on who falls this lasting punishment.”124
Intense Criticism of the Ansar
Then Sayyidah Fatimah turned towards the Ansar and said, “O group of valorous men! The aides of the nation! The helpers of Islam! What is this slackness (that you display) in regards to me while you are witnessing the oppression being metted upon me, but you still lie in a deep sleep! Did my father not say that the rights of a father for his children must be considered? How soon have you changed tracks, even though you possess the strength to stand up for my rights and are capable of supporting me regarding my claim! Do you then say that Muhammad has passed away and there remains no responsibility upon us? His loss is great and the crack that has appeared (in Islam) is severe and the division is immense. Unity has been shattered, the Earth is engulfed in darkness due to his concealment, the sun and the moon are eclipsed, and the stars have scattered away! Hopes have broken, mountains have crumbled, the family of the Prophet has been lost and their sanctity has been dishonoured after his death! This is, by Allah, a great calamity and a grand adversity, while this calamity is incomparable and there is no other greater calamity than the death of the Prophet!
This (the death of the Prophet) had already been conveyed to you in the Book of Allah, may He be glorified.125 You were reading the Qur’an day and night in a loud voice, lamentingly, in a normal tone and in a pleasant voice. As for what happened in the past to Allah’s prophets and apostles - the command is decisive and destiny enjoined: ‘And Muhammad is not but an apostle, (other) apostles have already passed away prior to him, therefore if he dies or is killed, will you turn upon your heels? And he who turns upon his heels will by no means do harm to Allah in the least, and soon shall We reward the grateful ones.’126
Be aware! I have said what I wanted to say, even though I know that you will not assist me as this slackness of yours to assist us has become a part of your heart (your practice). But all of this complaint is the result of the grief of the heart and the internal rage (that I feel) and (I know that) it is of no use, but I have said this to manifest my internal sorrow and to complete my proof upon you.
Thus usurp it (Fadak) and fasten it firmly, for it is weak and feeble, while its shame and disgrace will always remain over you. The sign of the rage of the Supreme Allah has been cast upon it, and it will be an everlasting disgrace upon you and it will lead you to the fire of Allah which will engulf the heart. Thus Allah sees whatever you do, ‘And soon shall those who deal unjustly know what an (evil) turning they will be turned into.’127
I am the daughter of that Prophet who was sent to warn you against the severe wrath of Allah, ‘Act (you) whatever you can, and verily we (too) act, and wait, indeed we too are waiting.’”128
Verses of Poetry of Shaykh Azari
How good has Shaykh Kadhim Azari al-Baghdadi said in this matter, “They dishonoured the promise given to Ahmad with regards to his brother, and made Batul taste sorrow; on the day when ‘Adi and Taym (the tribes of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) came, and due to them her cry arose; she complained in the presence of Allah, and the mountains trembled due to her complaint; I do not know what her state was while she was aggrieved, the nation opposed her husband and her father; she preached to the nation with her sermons, as if it was the voice of Mustafa; this is the book (Qur’an) so ask it and it shall narrate to you regarding the issue of inheritance; and in the meaning of (the verse of Suratul Nisa (4): 11), ‘Allah enjoins you’, and are included in it – O the near ones; she cleansed their hearts and it was near that grudges may be warded off; (She said) O nation! Turn towards Allah through our medium, we are the gracious garden of paradise; know then, that we are the emblems of the religion of Allah, it is upto you to honour and obey us, for in us lies affluence from the treasures of the unseen, from which the guided ones take guidance. O people! Which daughter of the Prophet that has been deprived of the inheritance of her father; how can they take away from me my ancient inheritance by putting forth forged traditions; how could our master (the Prophet) not will regarding us, yet the Taym (the tribe of Abu Bakr) among us may do so; do you think that we are not entitled for guidance, and the Taym are entitled to it; or do you think that he (the Prophet) has left us in the wilderness (of ignorance) after Divine knowledge, and you try to settle scores with him? Deal with us with justice and defend us from these two, those (two individuals – Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) who have not considered the sanctity of the Prophet!”
When the speech of Fatimah reached this point, Abu Bakr replied to her and after praising and glorifying Allah he said, “O daughter of the Prophet of Allah! Your father the Prophet of Allah was affectionate, generous, kind and merciful towards the believers and enraged and severe towards the unbelievers. The Prophet of Allah was your father in (blood) relation and not of any other woman, and he was the brother of your husband and not of anyone else. The Prophet preferred him (‘Ali) for all of the important tasks over everyone else, and he (Imam ‘Ali) was an excellent aide for him (the Prophet). No one befriends you except the felicitous ones and none, except the unfortunate ones bear enmity towards you. Thus, you are the chaste progeny of the Prophet of Allah and you are the virtuous and chosen ones of Allah. You are our guides towards felicity and are our masters towards paradise; and you are the best of women, and the daughter of the best of prophets! You are honest in your speech and eminent with regards to intelligence and your words cannot be refuted - rather they must be accepted!
By Allah! I have not disobeyed the orders of the Prophet of Allah and have not acted except by his permission. Certainly the one who leads does not speak a lie. I hold Allah as witness that I have heard from the Prophet of Allah that, ‘We prophets do not leave any gold or silver, land or property as inheritance - our inheritance is knowledge, wisdom, the Book and prophethood. Whatever we leave behind of the things of this world is under the possession of one who takes the reins of the authority in his hands, and it is upon him to spend it as he may deem fit.’
I have spent from that, regarding which you claim, for preparing avenues and resources for wars, such as weapons and mounts, so that the Muslims may succeed and obtain greatness and that they may attain victory in wars against the polytheists and enemies. I have done this after obtaining general consent from the Muslims, and I do not share this view alone. This (with me) is my personal wealth, you may take it as you please for I do not wish to hoard my wealth after witholding (wealth) from you. You are the mistress of the nation of your father and the chaste mother of your children. We do not refuse your merits and status in regards to your father and children, and although your order upon that which is in my hands is binding, however, how can I disobey the orders of your father, the Prophet of Allah?”
Fatimah’s Reply to Abu Bakr
Hearing this Sayyidah Fatimah replied, “Glory be to Allah! My father the Prophet never turned his face away from the Qur’an nor did he ever oppose it! Rather he was obedient to its injunctions and traversed the path in the light of its verses. Have you gathered together upon treachery and are making excuses with deceit and fraud? These strategies of yours are similar to the strategies of the hypocrites during the lifetime of the Prophet and this is the Qur’an that is a justifiable judge and a decisive orator.
The Qur’an says: ‘So grant me from Yourself an heir who shall inherit from me and inherit from the family of Ya’qub’129 and it also says: ‘And Sulayman inherited Dawud.’130 Surely Allah in His Book has discussed in detail and complete clarity regarding the laws of inheritance and the precepts and classes of heirs, and has explicitly declared the portions of heirs among men and women and there is no reason left for hesitation or suspicion by deceptive people! These verses of the Qur’an have refuted the suspicion and doubts of those to come in the future, however you, your (guilty) selves have beguiled yourselves into something, but (my course is) absolute patience, and Allah is He whose help is to be sought against what you ascribe.’”131
Abu Bakr’s Reply
Abu Bakr replied, “Certainly the words of Allah and His Prophet are true, and while you, O daughter of the Prophet of Allah speak the truth. You are the mine of wisdom, the homeland of guidance and blessings, the pillar of religion and the evidences of truth and I do not dispute your opinion and words, however this group of Muslims who are seated in front of you are the ones who shall judge, and they have concluded similarly and whatever I have done is in accordance to their opinion. And this (the taking of Fadak) is not done by me to display arrogance or to show myself as being great, nor is my personal opinion present in it, nor do I prefer myself upon others and these people all are witnesses upon my words.”132
Fatimah Criticizes the Deceit of the People Present
Then Fatimah turned towards those present and said, “O group of Muslims! How soon have you hastened towards deceptive words and shut your eyes in the wake of ugly and lossful deeds. ‘What! Do they not reflect on the Qur’an, or are their locks set upon their hearts;’133 ‘Nay! Rather there is rust upon their hearts.’134
Your evil deeds have shut your ears and eyes! Indeed the outcome of your deeds is very evil as also what you have indicated (by your actions!). That which you have usurped or taken control (unjustly) is also evil (for you) and by Allah, you shall find it weighty and will not be able to bear its burden. Its eventual outcome will also be very ugly at that time when the curtain will be lifted from in front of you and the adversities behind it will be made manifest (to you) and there will appear unto you from your Lord that which you had not been reckoning135, and those who stood on falsehood will then be the losers.’”136
Poetry of Fatimah Zahra Addressing the Prophet
At the conclusion of her sermon, Sayyidah Fatimah turned towards the grave of the Prophet of Allah and addressed him saying, “Shortly after you such troubles and incidents came up, that if you had been alive they would not have increased; your death upon us is similar to the Earth that is devoid of rain - your nation defaulted (from their promise) after your departure, then you be witness and do not neglect it. The one who occupies proximity and status near Allah, is near his relatives too (and does not forget them). A few men arose whose hearts were full of rancour, when you were no longer amongst us and were hidden under the Earth; a group of men looked at us with resentment and deemed our status to be low, when you went away from our midst and (they) snatched away all of our rights. You were the light and a full moon from whom people benefited, and it is you upon whom the books were revealed from Allah; while Jibra’il who brought the verses was our aide. All goodness left with your parting away; I wish death had taken us before your parting, for we are engulfed in such sorrow after your departure, that no sorrow among the ‘Arabs and non-’Arabs can be compared to that of ours.’”
It is stated in the book, ad-Durrun Nazim that Sayyidah Fatimah added three more verses to the above elegy, “As long as you were alive, I had an aide to support me, and I paved the way with respect and you were similar to my wings; and today I am humbled and fear the wretched one, and defend myself against those who have done injustice to me; and the turtledove cries upon the branch at night, while I weep upon you in the morning.”
Shaykh al-Mufid in his book al-Amali relates from his chain of narrators from Sayyidah Zaynab, the daughter of Imam ‘Ali that when Abu Bakr decided to seize Fadak from Fatimah, she became disappointed with him, threw herself upon the grave of the Prophet of Allah. She complained to him regarding the oppression of the nation and wept such that the earth of the grave of the Prophet of Allah was soaked with her tears.
She then recited the following heart-rending elegy, “Just after you such troubles and incidents came up, that if you had been alive they would not have increased; your death upon us is similar to the earth that is devoid of rain, your nation defaulted (in their beliefs) after your departure, then you be witness and do not neglect it. The one who occupies proximity and status near Allah is near his relatives too (and does not forget them). A few men arose whose hearts were full of rancour, when you were no longer amongst us and were hidden under the earth; a group of men looked at us with resentment and deemed our status to be low, when you went away from our midst, (they) snatched away all of our rights. You were the light and a full moon from whom people benefited, and it is upon you whom the books were revealed from Allah; while Jibra’il who brought the verses was our aide. All of the goodness left with your parting away; and I wish death had taken us before our parting, and we are engulfed in such sorrow after your departure, that no sorrow among the ‘Arabs and non-’Arabs can be compared to that of ours.’”
A Heart-Rendering Discussion Between Fatimah and ‘Ali
It is quoted in the book al-Ihtijaj of Shaykh al-Tabarsi that Imam ‘Ali was waiting at home for Sayyidah Fatimah. She rose up from the grave of the Prophet of Allah after her discourse in which she wept (so bitterly) thenproceeded towards her house in a disturbed state. When she entered the room and saw Imam ‘Ali, she addressed him saying, “O son of Abu Talib! You are sitting in seclusion similar to a child wrapped in his mother’s womb and have taken refuge in a corner of the house similar to the one accused. Are you not the one who has torn the wings of the hawks, but now the empty-handed people are usurping your rights! This is the son of Abu Quhafah who is forcefully snatching away the gift of my father and the sustenance of my sons. He openly opposes me and I have found him to be my worst enemy through his speech!
The Ansar have shown slackness in assisting me and even the Muhajirin have turned a blind eye. Everyone has shut their eyes - no one defended me and no one wants to prevent the oppression (upon me). I left the house in a fit of rage and have returned insulted and humiliated. From the day you have sheathed your sword, you portrayed yourself as meek in front of others. You are the one who has hunted the wolves of ‘Arabs and now you have taken refuge upon the earth? Neither do you silence the speaking ones, nor do you take steps to stop the fallacious ones. I have nothing in my fold and I wish I had died before sitting in seclusion and humiliation.
May Allah forgive me that I have spoken harshly in your presence, but you should defend and assist me. Woe be upon me every sunrise! Woe be upon me every sunset! My refuge (the Prophet) had parted away and my arms have weakened due to his separation, I complain to my father and I complain to Allah. O Allah! Your Power and Might is more than anyone else and your punishment and wrath is also more severe than everything!”137
‘Ali Consoles Zahra
Hearing this Imam ‘Ali told her, “Woe and wailing should not be for you, but it should be for your enemies! Control yourself, O daughter of the chosen one of Allah and the remembrance of prophethood! I have not acted feebly in the acts of religion, nor have I neglected that which is destined for me. But if you worry regarding your sustenance, know that it is already reserved for you and your Surety (Allah) is trustworthy. Whatever has been destined for you in the hereafter is better than that which they have snatched away from you. Leave it in Allah’s accountability.”
Fatimah was calmed by the words of Imam ‘Ali and said, “Verily Allah is Sufficient for me and the Most Excellent Protector is He.”
Audacious Speech of Abu Bakr after the Sermon of Fatimah
The renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah, Ibne Abil Hadid relates from the book al-Saqifah of Ahmad b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Jawhari that the following: “When Abu Bakr heard the sermon of Sayyidah Fatimah in regards to Fadak, her words weighed down upon him. He mounted the pulpit in the midst of the people and said, ‘O people! What situation is this? Why do you lend your ears to every speech and where was this desire of yours during the age of the Prophet of Allah? Be aware! Anyone who has heard anything regarding it (Fadak) from the Prophet of Allah should relate it, and whoever was present should say something. Verily he is a fox who is betrayed by his own tail (referring to Imam ‘Ali), he seduces and is the one who says that we should return to the previous state when he has turned old. He invites the weak ones to assist him and seeks help from the women, similar to the renowned woman Umme Tahhal138 whose most dear of kinsmen was the one who was the most disgraced. Be aware! If I wanted, I could speak and if I speak I could bring to light, but now I have chosen silence.”
He then turned towards the Ansar and said, ‘O group of Ansar! I heard your foolish talks that you are nearer to the Prophet, that you gave refuge to the Prophet and assisted him because he came to you. Be aware! I shall extend my tongue and hands towards the one who thinks that we are not entitled to this (high) position.’”
Saying this, he stepped down from the pulpit and Fatimah returned home.
Ibne Abil Hadid contiues: “I related this (audacious) speech to Naqib Yahya b. Abi Zayd al-Basari and asked him, ‘Who does Abu Bakr refer to in this speech and who does he mean?’
He replied, ‘He (Abu Bakr) made it clear.’
I asked him again, ‘If he had made it clear, then I would not have questioned you.’
Naqib smiled and said, ‘He meant ‘Ali b. Abi Talib.’
I asked, ‘All these words were meant for ‘Ali?’
He replied, ‘Yes, this is the truth, my son.’
I asked, ‘What did the Ansar say in this regard?’
He replied, ‘They accepted (the words of) ‘Ali and because Abu Bakr feared what they would say thus he stopped them from saying anything more.’ I then asked him (Naqib) the meaning of the speech of Abu Bakr which he further explained to me.
Umme Salama Defends Fatimah
It is quoted in ad-Durrun Nazim by Jamaluddin Yusuf b. Hatim, the jurist of Syria, that when Umme Salama was informed about what Abu Bakr said to Fatimah she said, “Is it right that a person similar to Fatimah should be addressed with such words? By Allah! Fatimah is a human hourie, the soul of the Prophet and has been raised in the pious laps! The hands of angels have lifted her up and she has matured in the laps of virtuous ladies. She has been fostered under the rays of virtue and brought up under (complete) chastity.
Do you imagine that the Prophet of Allah would deprive her from her inheritance and would not tell this to her when Allah had informed His Prophet saying, ‘And warn your relatives of nearest kin.’139
Did the Prophet not warn Fatimah against sins and did Fatimah ever disobey her father; and Fatimah is the best of the women of both worlds, the mother of the masters of the youth (of Paradise) and the equal to Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran?
The message of Allah concluded with her father and I swear by Allah that the Prophet of Allah protected Fatimah against heat and cold and would make his right hand her pillow and cover her with his left one. O Muslims! Be aware! You are under the sight of the Prophet of Allah and he is watching you! You shall be brought in the audience of Almighty Allah! Woe be to you! Very soon you shall witness the outcome of your deeds.”
It is said that the same year (in which this event transpired), the monthly pension of Umme Salama was stopped (by the caliph) due to her protest.
Conversation Between Fatimah and Abu Bakr
Ibne Abil Hadid relates from the book al-Saqifah of al-Jawhari that Sayyidah Fatimah told Abu Bakr, “Umme Ayman bears witness that the Prophet of Allah bestowed Fadak upon me.”
Abu Bakr replied, “O daughter of the Prophet of Allah! By Allah! Allah has not created anything that is dearer to me than your father the Prophet of Allah, and I wish that the heavens had fallen down upon the earth on the day of his death. By Allah! It is better in my eyes to see ‘Ayeshah turning indigent rather than you. Do you presume that I give the rights of everyone to them and oppress you in relation to your rights - while you are the daughter of the Prophet of Allah! However this property (Fadak) is not from among the personal properties of the Prophet, rather it was the property of the Muslims. The Prophet spent from it to send people to the war front or in the way of Allah and in general charitable matters, and after the Prophet, the reins of affairs have come into my hands and I am the care-taker of this property.”
Fatimah replied, “By Allah! I shall not speak to you after this.”
Abu Bakr replied, “By Allah! I shall never stay away from you.”
Fatimah said, “By Allah! I shall imprecate upon you.” (It is said that) when Fatimah lay on her deathbed, she willed that Abu Bakr not be allowed to recite the prayers over her body, and thus she was buried at night and ‘Abbas b. ‘Abdul Muttalib recited the prayers over her body and the time-span between her death and that of her father was seventy-two nights.
A Precise Statement of al-Jahiz Regarding the Matters of Inheritance
Abu ‘Uthman al-Jahiz al-Basri, one of the renowned teachers and thinkers of the Ahlus Sunnah quotes the words of Sayyid al-Murtadha ‘Alamul Huda that, “The people (companions) presume that the veracity of the tradition of the Prophet narrated by the two men, meaning Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, that ‘We the prophets do not leave anything as inheritance’, can be established on the basis that when this was attributed to the Prophet, the Muslims did not refute it - rather they accepted it. But I say to those men who think likewise that if the veracity of this tradition is proved because the people did not refuse to accept it, then the people did not even object against the claim and protest of ‘Ali and Fatimah, and this should also be a proof of their (‘Ali and Fatimah’s) truthfulness. No one objected to them, nor said that they were lying, even though the dispute and discussion between Fatimah and Abu Bakr was prolonged. Their enmity reached to such an extent that Fatimah willed that Abu Bakr should not even recite prayers over her body afer she passes away.
When Fatimah came to Abu Bakr to claim her right, she said, “If you die, who will inherit you?” He replied, “My family and my children.” Fatimah replied, “How is it that we should not inherit from the Prophet, but your children may inherit from you?”
When Abu Bakr prevented Fatimah from her father’s inheritance and started making excuses, and when Fatimah witnessed his cruelty and saw her own helplessness and loneliness, she told Abu Bakr, “By Allah! I shall imprecate upon you.” Abu Bakr replied, “By Allah! I shall pray for your well-being.” Fatimah said, “By Allah! I will not speak with you from now on”, and he replied, “By Allah! I will never be away from you.”
Therefore, if the truthfulness of Abu Bakr preventing Fatimah from her father’s inheritance can be established on the grounds that the companions did not protest against him, then it can be said that Fatimah was also truthful in her claim (since no one protested against her either). The least thing that was necessary upon the people was that if Fatimah was unaware (of the rule of Islam), then they should have explained it to her, and if she had forgotten, then they should have reminded her. If she was speaking nonsense [may Allah forgive us for even thinking such a thing] or was going astray or severing relations, then they should have brought her on the right track by protesting.
Thus it can be said that if no one protested against those two men, and no one even protested against Fatimah - then this meaning is at par and opposing with each other and thus no one has the ability to argue regarding this.
In this matter, we should refer to the original rules of inheritance and ordinances of Allah regarding the matters of inheritance, and this is the best mode to follow.
An Exact Question
Al-Jahiz continues by saying, “How can anyone say that Abu Bakr hurt Fatimah when we see that even though Fatimah dealt with him harshly and spoke to him roughly, he still replied to her with extreme politeness!
For example when Fatimah told him that, ‘By Allah! I shall imprecate upon you’, Abu Bakr replied, ‘By Allah! I will pray for your well-being.’ Fatimah said, ‘By Allah! I will not speak with you from now on’, and he replied, ‘By Allah! I will never be away from you.’ In this way, Abu Bakr bore the rudeness of Fatimah with patience while in the court of the caliphate in front of the Quraysh and the awe and pomp of the caliphate did not deter him from gentleness!
The status of caliphate is dependant upon glory and awe and it is likely that it is incumbent upon the caliph to safeguard the great status of caliphate from the decisiveness of limits, and prevent (anyone) from crossing these limits. But Abu Bakr did not even consider these limits so as not to hurt Fatimah but rather, spoke to her with extreme politeness to safeguard her status and respect. When he said to Fatimah, ‘No one is dearer to me than you in the case of want and free of want. However, what should I do when I have heard from the Prophet that, ‘We the group of prophets do not leave anything as inheritance, whatever we leave behind is charity.’”
An Answer to the Above
In reply to the above, al-Jahiz says, “This show of gentleness and kindness (of Abu Bakr) does not prove that he is free from the acts of oppression, injustice and violation (of the law). Indeed it is possible that a tyrant and treacherous person may use deceit and fraud particularly if he is clever and intelligent (in order to confuse the people). He can put forward his true intentions using kind words and gentle dictates and portray himself to be just and equitable, but yet show himself to be saddened by events (taking place around him).”
An Interesting Reply of ‘Uthman to ‘Ayeshah
Two renowned historians, al-Tabari and al-Thaqafi relate that, “During the days of the caliphate of ‘Uthman, ‘Ayeshah came to him and said, ’Grant me the pension bestowed upon me by my father Abu Bakr and after him by ‘Umar.’
‘Uthman replied, ‘Abu Bakr and ‘Umar granted this to you on their own willingness, but I have not found anything in the book (al-Qur’an) and the (prophetic) traditions (supporting it) that I should give you any pension, and thus, I will not do so.’
‘Ayeshah replied, ‘Then give me the inheritance that I received from the Prophet of Allah.”
‘Uthman replied, “But you seem to have forgotten that Fatimah came to your father and claimed her inheritance left by the Prophet of Allah, while you and Malik b. Aws bore witness that the Prophet did not leave anything as inheritance. You refuted the claim of Fatimah’s inheritance (Fadak)140 and now you come to claim that your inheritance? No, I shall not give you anything!’”
Al-Tabari further adds that ‘Uthman was seated with his back resting upon a pillow and when he heard the claim of ‘Ayeshah, he sat upright and said, ‘Were you not the one, who along with the bedoin who would perform the wudhhu with his (own) urine, bore witness near your father that the prophets do not leave anything as inheritance?’”
First False Testimony (given) in Islam
It is related in the book al-Ikhtisas of Shaykh al-Mufid that ‘Abdullah b. Sinan relates from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq that he said, “When the Prophet of Allah passed away and Abu Bakr sat in his place (as the caliph), he sent a message to the representative of Fatimah at Fadak and expelled him. Fatimah came to Abu Bakr and said, ‘O Abu Bakr! You claim to be the successor of my father and sit in his place, and you sent your messenger to expel my representative from Fadak when you know that the Prophet of Allah had gifted it to me and I have witnesses for it.’
Abu Bakr replied, ‘The Prophets do not leave anything as inheritance.’
Fatimah returned to ‘Ali and related to him what Abu Bakr had said. Imam ‘Ali told her, ‘Go to Abu Bakr and tell him that he claims that Prophets do not leave any inheritance from themselves, whereas Sulayman inherited from (his father) Dawud and Yahya inherited from Zakariyyah - then why should you not inherit from your father?”
Fatimah came to Abu Bakr and told him what Imam ‘Ali had told her. Hearing this, ‘Umar replied, ‘You have been trained and have been told to come here and say this.’
Fatimah replied, ‘If I have been trained, then my husband and my cousin has trained me (with truth and there is no fault in it).’
Abu Bakr replied, “‘Ayeshah and ‘Umar bear witness that they heard from the Prophet of Allah that prophets do not leave anything behind them as inheritance.’
Fatimah replied, ‘This is the first false witness that they have borne in Islam.’”
Testimony of Imam ‘Ali and Umme Ayman
Fatimah replied, ‘Fadak is the property that my father gifted to me and I have evidence for it.’
Abu Bakr replied, ‘Then go and bring those witnesses.’ Fatimah brought Umme Ayman and ‘Ali to Abu Bakr as her witnesses. Abu Bakr asked Umme Ayman, ‘Did you hear anything from the Prophet regarding Fatimah?’
Umme Ayman and ‘Ali said, ‘We heard the Prophet say that Fatimah is the mistress of the women of Paradise.’ Then Umme Ayman said, ‘The one who is the mistress of the women of Paradise will not claim anything that is not her property, while I myself am a woman from among the women of Paradise (as related by the Prophet). I do not attribute anything to the Prophet of Allah that I have not heard from him.’
‘Umar said, ‘Leave aside these words! What witness do you bear regarding Fatimah?’
Umme Ayman replied, ‘I was seated in the house of Fatimah while the Prophet of Allah was present there too. At that moment, Jibra’il descended and said, ‘O Muhammad! Rise up and come with me - Allah has commanded me to draw the boundary of Fadak with my wings.’ The Prophet of Allah stood up and went with Jibra’il and returned after an hour and Fatimah asked him, ‘O Father! Where did you go?’ The Prophet replied, ‘Jibra’il marked Fadak for me with his wings and drew its boundaries.’ Fatimah said, ‘O Father! I worry about economic necessities after you! Make Fadak an insurance against these necessities for me.’ The Prophet said, ‘I give this property (to you to be) under your possession’ - and Fatimah spent from it. The Prophet of Allah told me to be a witness and told Imam ‘Ali to also witness this.’
‘Umar said, ‘You are a woman and we do not accept the witness of a woman, and as for the witness of ‘Ali, he is prompted to do this for his own benefit!’141
Hearing this, Fatimah got up in a fit of rage, and turning her focus towards Allah said, ‘O Allah! These two men have oppressed the daughter of your prophet and have usurped her rights - punish them severely’, saying this they turned therir back from Abu Bakr.
Imam ‘Ali then mounted Fatimah on an animal upon which there was spread a frilled cloth. He went along with Fatimah for forty mornings to the doors of the (homes of the) Muhajirin and Ansar and invited them to assist and aid them.
Tearing the Document of Fadak in Disapproval
In continuation of the above report by Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq, Imam ‘Ali told Sayyidah Fatimah, “Go to Abu Bakr when he is alone, for he is of a gentle temperament more than the other (‘Umar). Tell him that you (Abu Bakr) claim to be the successor of my father and that you sit in his place, then presume that if Fadak was your (own personal) property (as the Caliph of the Prophet) and I receive as a gift from you, it would be incumbent upon me to return it back (to you).”
Sayyidah Zahra went to Abu Bakr and said what Imam ‘Ali had told her to which Abu Bakr replied, “You speak the truth”, then he called for a paper and wrote down a document returning Fadak back to Fatimah. Fatimah took the title deed of Fadak and left.
On the way home, ‘Umar met her and asked, “What is that letter?” Fatimah replied, “This document is the certificate returning Fadak (back to me), written by Abu Bakr for me.” ‘Umar said, “Give it to me”, and she refused. ‘Umar was enraged and kicked her on her chest and the child which was in her womb named Muhsin, was miscarried. He then proceeded to slap her with such severity that it was as if I saw her earrings ripped off. He then snatched the paper away from Sayyidah Zahra and tore it into pieces.
It was because of this incident that Fatimah became ill and was martyred seventy-five days later. At the time of her death she willed to Imam ‘Ali saying, “I request you, due to the right of the Prophet of Allah, that when I die, do not let those two men attend my funeral, nor recite the prayers over my body.” Imam ‘Ali replied, “I shall certainly fulfill your desire,” and when she died, Imam ‘Ali buried her in her house at night.
The author (Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi) says: In my opinion, the above tradition is not reliable just like the other ones related in this regard, however because ‘Allamah al-Majlisi has quoted it in his work, Biharul Anwar, we too have added it in this book.
Returning the Ransom Back to Zaynab
It is quoted by the biographers that during the battle of Badr, Abul ‘As b. Rabi’, the nephew of Khadijah and husband of Zaynab, the daughter of the Prophet142, was in the army of the polytheists and was arrested by the Muslims and brought to Madinah after the battle. When the people of Makkah heard about this, they sent some money as ransom to free their relatives who were prisoners. Zaynab, who was in Makkah, also sent something as ransom to Madinah consisting of some goods and a necklace to free her husband and this necklace was an heir-loom of Sayyidah Khadijah that she had given to her daughter on the night of her marriage.
When the Prophet saw the necklace, he was deeply moved and told the Muslims, “If you permit I will release Abul As and return this ransom back.”
The Muslims replied, “May our lives and wealth be your ransom O Prophet! Certainly we permit it.” The Prophet released Abul ‘As without any ransom amount and sent the necklace with him to Zaynab in Makkah.
The renowned scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah, Ibne Abil Hadid says, “I related the above report to my teacher Abu Ja’far Yahya b. Abi Zayd al-Naqib to which he replied, “But ‘Umar and Abu Bakr were not present when this incident took place, nor did they witness this episode from the Prophet so as to learn this lesson of mercy, so that they too could please the heart of Fatimah by bestowing Fadak to her with mercy and favour. Otherwise they would have asked the Muslims to return back Fadak to her. So was the status of Fatimah less in the eyes of the Prophet than her sister Zaynab? Fatimah was the mistress of the women of both worlds! In fact, this grant was to be given when it was not even proven that Fadak was the inheritance received by Fatimah, or that the Prophet had gifted it to her (in his lifetime).”
I asked my teacher Abu Ja’far al-Naqib, “But according to the tradition related by Abu Bakr, Fadak was from among the rights of Muslims, and thus it was not lawful for Abu Bakr to take it from the Muslims and give it to Fatimah.”
Abu Ja’far replied, “But then the ransom of Abul ‘As too had become a right of the Muslims, and at that moment the Prophet took it from them and returned it to Zaynab.”
I said, “The Prophet of Allah was the master of the shari’ah, and there was no other command upon his command while Abu Bakr did not enjoy the same status.”
He replied, “Then could Abu Bakr not have requested the Muslims to return Fadak back to Fatimah as the Prophet desired from the Muslims to return the ransom back to Zaynab the wife of Abul ‘As? If Abu Bakr had told the Muslims that, ‘O Muslims! This is the daughter of your Prophet and has come to claim some palms trees143 (Fadak), then do you accept this and permit (us) to give it to Fatimah do you think that the Muslims would have refused? Certainly not!”
I replied, “The honourable judge, Abul Hasan ‘Abdul Jabbar b. Ahmad had the same opinion.”
Al-Naqib said, “In reality those two men did not deal with Fatimah in a courteous manner and with fair conduct, although according to the religion (and its teachings), they acted fairly.”144
Beautiful Verses by Sayyed Jazu’i
How good has Sayyed Jazu’i said in this regard, “Fatimah came to them to claim her inheritance from Mustafa, but they refused to give it to her; I wish I knew why they opposed the customs of the Qur’an, when the laws (of inheritance) are mentioned therein; so was the verse of inheritance abrogated, or did these two men change it after it’s obligation? Do you not see the verse of mawaddah, in which the love for Zahra and her near kins is mentioned; they told her that your father had said so (that we prophets do not leave anything as inheritance), and they adamantly established this as evidence; they said that the prophets do not leave anything as inheritance from ancient time, and thus they took it away from her. Had not the daughter of the Prophet known, if it was ever said by the guide Prophet; then did the piece (of the flesh) of Muhammad disobey his words, Allah forbid that our mistress may do so; if she had heard it from her father, then did she claim her inheritance with misguidance or ignorance? She could not do so for surely was the most pious in the eyes of Allah, the best of creatures and very virtuous.
To nullify their claim ask the chapter of al-Naml, and the chapter of Maryam that comes before (the chapter of) Taha, in these chapters it is stated regarding the inheritance of Yahya, and of Sulayman if one wishes to verify her words. When they did not listen to her she complained to Allah, and her tears rolled down; then she said that Fadak was gifted to me by my father, but they refused to give (it back to) her; then she brought for them witnesses, but they refused saying that they are your husband and sons; they did not consider the witness of the sons of the Prophet to be sufficient, when they are the guides of the worlds and thus they bore enmity with them.
Were not ‘Ali and Fatimah truthful in their eyes, and their sons too; the progeny (of the Prophet) who do not know the customs of oppression, where they mistaken? Was then the piety of the old man (Abu Bakr) more than them? It is ugly who says so and is absurd; they made her swallow her anger manytimes after her father, and what a swallowing it was; I wish I knew what would they have lost, if they had considered the promise of the Prophet regarding her; for her respect was similar to the respect of the seal of the Messengers, the guide of mankind and the warner. How good (it would have been) if they had given back to her the Fadak, and it was not good to prevent her from it.
Would the Muslims have reprimanded them, if they had given it back to her; was there any other daughter of the Prophet besides her under the heavens who was the truthful, the declarer, the trustworthy. Whose daughter, whose mother, and whose wife (was she), woe be to the one who oppressed her and harmed her.”
- 1. He is Abu Bakr Ahmad b. ‘Abdul-Aziz al-Jawhari, one of the eminent scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah who authored the book “Saqifah wal Fadak.”
- 2. Ibn ‘Abbas reports that when the Noble Prophet’s illness grew serious, he asked for pen and paper in order to leave after him a document that would keep the community from going astray after him. But ‘Umar b. Al-Khattab interrupted saying, “This man is overcome by illness (may Allah protect us from such statements) and the book of Allah is sufficient for us (as a guide).” At this, dissention broke out and the quarelling became intense. At last the Prophet said, “Get away! Quarrelling is not proper in my presence.” As he left the house, Ibn ‘Abbas said, “It’s the worst of all calamities, that the Prophet was prevented from leaving a document after him.” (Refer to Imam al-Bukhari, “Sahih”, Kitabul ‘Ilm, vol. 1, pg. 22 and vol. 2, pg. 14; Imam al-Muslim, “Sahih”, vol. 2, pg. 14; Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, “Musnad”, vol. 1, pg. 325; Ibn Sa’ad, “Tabaqat al-Kubra”, vol. 2, pg. 244; Ibn Abil Hadid, “Sharh Nahjul Balaghah”, vol. 2, pg. 20). ‘Umar himself had heard the Prophet declare several times that, “I leave amongst you two weighty things, the book of Allah (Qur’an) and my progeny - my Ahlul Bayt. If you hold fast unto them, you will never go astray after me; and they will not part from one another until they reach me at the stream of Kawthar.” However he feared that if the authority of the Ahlul Bayt and the Imamat of Imam ‘Ali was written down during the last moments of the Prophet when he was the centre of everyone’s attention, then it would have become an established evidence in history for all times to come, and it never could have been refuted at any time, thus he immediately declared that, “the book of Allah is sufficient for us”, consequently revealing his inner confusion and fear.
- 3. Noble Qur’an, Surah Yunus (10): 18
- 4. One of the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah, al-Mawardi writes in his Ahkamul Sultaniyyah that only five people pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr at Saqifah - ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah, Usayd b. al-Khuzayr, Bashir b. Sa’ad and Salim.
- 5. Sahhak was an Abyssinian slave-girl who was the grandmother of ‘Umar b. al-Khattab.
- 6. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani and al-Balazuri in their Tarikh, Muhammad b. Khawind Shah in Rawdatus Safa, Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr in Isti’ab relate that Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah and some of the people from the tribe of Khazraj and a group of Quraysh did not swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. Moreover, eighteen prominent and distinguished companions of the Prophet did not swear allegiance to him and these included: Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Miqdad b. Aswad al-Kindi, ‘Ammar b. Yasir, Khalid b. Sa’id b. al-As, Buraydah Aslami, ‘Ubaid b. Ka’ab, Khuzaymah b. Thabit Dhu Shahadatayn, Abul Haytham b. Tihan, Sahl b. Hunayf, ‘Uthman b. Hunayf, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Jabir b. ‘Abdullah al-Ansari, Huzayfah b. al-Yaman, Sa’ad b. ‘Ubadah, Qays b. Sa’ad, ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas, and Zayd b. Arqam. Al-Ya’qubi writes in his Tarikh that a group of Muhajirin and Ansar kept themselves aloof from the paying of allegiance to Abu Bakr and they were the followers of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. Among them were ‘Abbas b. ‘Abdul Muttalib, Fadhl b. ‘Abbas, Zubayr b. al-Awwam, Khalid b. Sa’id b. al-As, Miqdad b. ‘Umar (or al-Aswad), Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, ‘Ammar b. Yasir, Bura’ b. Azib, and ‘Ubay b. Ka’ab. As can be noted that the above list contains names of most eminent companions of the Prophet of Allah, each of whom possessed distinguished merits of their own - thus, how can the caliphate of Abu Bakr be justified and established on the grounds of ‘al-Ijma’’ (general consensus), as claimed by his followers??
- 7. Referring to the likes of Bani Umayyah.
- 8. He refers to the episode of Harrah that took place in the year 63 ah when the people of Madinah learned about the sinful acts of Yazid and his murder of Imam Husayn, they broke their allegiance to him, cursed him and expelled his governor ‘Uthman b. Abu Sufyan. When this news reached Yazid, he sent a large army of Syrians under the command of Muslim b. Uqbah against the people of Madinah. The slaughter of the Muslims in Madinah continued for three consecutive days in which time, Yazid’s forces killed seven hundred memorizers of the Qur’an from amongst the Quraysh, Muhajirin, Ansar and ten thousand other people of Madinah. Those who were saved were forced to swear allegiance as slaves of Yazid. After the mass slaughter of the people in Madinah, one thousand unmarried women gave birth to children (they had been raped by Yazid’s army). (Sibt b. Jawzi, “Tadhkirah”; Abul Wardi, “Tarikh”; Abul Fidha, “Tarikh”; Madaeni, “Hirrah”; Ibn Sa’ad, “Tabaqat al-Kubra”; etc.) It is also related in Jazbul Qulub of Muhaddith Dehlawi and Hujajul Karamah of Siddiq Hasan Khan that horses were tied in the Masjid al-Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque and mausoleum) and these horses polluted it.
- 9. Noble Qur’an, Suratul ‘Ankabut (29): 1-4
- 10. On one side Abu Sufyan desired that he should take up arms, while on the other hand he noticed that those ‘Arabs who had accepted Islam dubiously were leaving it, and people such as Musailimah - the liar, and Talhah b. Khuwaylid were misguiding tribe after tribe. In these circumstances, if there was a civil war and the Muslims fought against one another, the forces of heresy and hypocrisy would have joined together and destroyed Islam from the face of the earth. Imam ‘Ali preferred to keep silent with the purpose of maintaining solidarity within Islam and confined himself to protesting peacefully rather than taking up arms. This was because formal power was not so dear to him as the over-all good and prosperity of the community. There was no other course for stopping the plots of the hypocrites and defeating the aims of the mischief-mongers, except that he should not fan the flames of war and thus give up his own claim, and indeed this was a great act which he carried out for the preservation of Islam. Here Imam ‘Ali, in harsh words, revealed the evil intentions of Abu Sufyan in that he was neither a well-wisher of Islam, nor were his intentions just, rather he desired conflict, bloodshed and the extinction of Islam.
- 11. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Anfal (8): 25
- 12. A special two piece seamless attire worn by the pilgrims of hajj or ‘umrah. Also, a state of ritual consecration during which the pilgrim must abstain from certain acts.
- 13. After this, the author quotes several verses composed by various people regarding Saqifah, but I quote only a few ones here and forego the rest.
- 14. ‘Umro (or ‘Amr) b. As b. Wa’il, who is considered to be one of the ‘eminent companions’ of the Prophet of Allah, was one of the staunch enemies of Imam ‘Ali and the Ahlul Bayt, and he was constantly in search of an opportunity to revile and slander them. Several words of Imam ‘Ali are quoted in Nahjul Balaghah in his condemnation. In one of his sermons, the Imam says, “I am surprised at the son of al-Nabighah that he says to the people of Syria about me that I am a jester and engaged in frolics and fun. He said wrong and spoke sinfully. Be aware! The worst speech is what is untrue. He speaks lies. He makes promises then breaks them. He begs and sticks, but when someone begs from him he withholds miserly. He betrays the pledge and ignores kinship. When in a battle, he commands and admonishes, but only until the swords do not come into action and when such a moment arrives, his great trick is to turn naked before his adversary! By Allah, surely the remembrance of death has kept me away from fun and play, while complete disregard of the next world has prevented him from speaking the truth. He has not sworn allegiance to Mu’awiyah without a purpose, and has beforehand got him to agree that he will have to pay its price, and he gave him an award for forsaking religion.” Imam ‘Ali addresses him as the son of al-Nabighah as that was the surname of his mother Layla b. Harmala. The reason for attributing him to his mother is her common reputation in the matter (of having many sexual partners). Once, Arwa b. Harith b. ‘Abdul Muttalib went to Mu’awiyah and during the conversation, when ‘Amr b. As intervened, Arwa said to him: “O son of al-Nabighah! You dare speak, although your mother was known publicly (for her actions) and was a singer of Makkah! That is why five people claimed you (as a son), and when she was asked she admitted that five men had relations with her and that you should be regarded as the son of the one which you resemble the most. You must have resembled As b. Wa’il and therefore you came to be known as his son.” These five persons were (1) As b. Wa’il, (2) Abu Lahab, (3) Umayyah b. Khalaf, (4) Hisham b. Mughirah, and (5) Abu Sufyan b. Harb. (Ibn ‘Abd Rabbah, “al-’Uqdul Farid”, vol. 2, pg. 120; Ibn Hijjah, “Thamarat al-Awraq”, vol. 1, pg. 132; “Jamharat Khutab al-’Arab”, vol. 2, pg. 363; Ibn Abil Hadid, “Shahr Nahjul Balaghah”, vol. 6, pg. 283-285, 291; ‘Ali al-Halabi, “al-Sirah”, vol. 1, pg. 46). It cannot be forgotten that he was the one who took a leading part in the battle of Siffin and suggested to Mu’awiyah to raise the Qur’an on lances to mislead the Muslims and create discord among the army of Imam ‘Ali. He was also the one who killed Muhammad b. Abi Bakr, the governor of Egypt appointed by Imam ‘Ali. It is also related that ‘Ayesha had cursed him (Ma’rifatus Sahabah).
- 15. One of the ancestors of Prophet Muhammad and Imam ‘Ali.
- 16. Before his death, the Prophet of Allah had appointed Usamah b. Zayd as the commander of the army against the enemies at Syria and had specifically said that, “Usamah’s army must leave at once. May Allah curse those men who do not go with him” (al-Shahristani, “al-Milal wal Nihal”). He had placed many elderly companions including Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Abdul Rahman b. ‘Awf, Abu ‘Ubaydah b. Jarrah, Sa’ad b. Abi Waqqas, Talhah b. ‘Ubaydullah, Zubayr b. Awwam, Khalid b. Walid and many others under the command of Usamah, who at that time was only eighteen years old! Usamah went to his camp at Jurf but found most of the companions absent. By doing this, the Prophet of Allah actually wanted to send away all of those who would challenge the caliphate of ‘Ali, whom he had time and again declared as his immediate successor by the command of Allah. But most of these ‘eminent companions’ stayed back and even after assuming the seat of caliphate, Abu Bakr himself did not join the army of Usamah - rather he asked him to excuse ‘Umar for he needed him more with him! One may wonder - was his need of ‘Umar more important than the command of the Prophet (and in essence, the command of Allah)?
- 17. This is the most unfortunate, astonishing and shameful event that has taken place in the annals of history. One of the greatest reformers of the world, the best one amongst Allah’s creations, Prophet Muhammad, the mercy for the worlds, died and there were only a few Muslims to attend his funeral proceedings even thoughhile his son-in-law, Imam ‘Ali postponed his burial for three days; but then when he found the so-called ‘companions’ of the Prophet immensely occupied in choosing the caliph, he finds no alternative, except to bury him (rather than wait for them). One may wonder as to what responsible Muslims they were to have left the corpse of their Prophet unattended and what was the urgency in electing his caliph when his sacred body lay unburied? Muslims of all ages should ponder upon these points. How right was Sayyidah Fatimah when she admonished them saying, “I have not known a group more ill-mannered than you, you left the corpse of the Prophet amongst our midst and took the affairs into your hands yourself!”
- 18. The episode of Ghadir is one of the well-known historical events in Islam. This episode and the hadith in regards to it is discussed by numerous Shi’a and non-Shi’a authors in their works. One hundred and ten companions of the Prophet reported this tradition, eighty-four Tabi’in, three hundred and sixty scholars after the age of the Tabi’in and thousands of other authors. For further readings, refer to the comprehensive work ‘al-Ghadir’ by ‘Allamah Shaykh ‘Abdul Husayn al-Amini in which he has quoted all of this information in detail.
- 19. How true did Imam ‘Ali predict, he most prudently made public the hidden desire of ‘Umar. Why did he strive so ardently to assist Abu Bakr in establishing his caliphate? The reason was that deep inside in his heart lay hidden the desire of gaining the caliphate for himself one day and this came to light when Abu Bakr was on his death bed. At this event, he called for ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan and told him to write an appointment letter saying, “In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is the order of ‘Abdullah (Abu Bakr) b. Abi Quhafah to the Muslims. Whereas…”, saying this he fell unconscious. ‘Uthman added the words, “I appoint ‘Umar b. al-Khattab as my successor among you.” When Abu Bakr regained consciousness, he told ‘Uthman to read the letter to him. ‘Uthman read it and Abu Bakr said, “Indeed God is great (Allahu Akbar)! I think you were afraid that people may disagree amongst themselves if I died in that state.” ‘Uthman replied in the affirmative. (Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, “Tarikh al-Umam wal Muluk”). ‘Uthman was amply sure that Abu Bakr intended mentioning the name of ‘Umar, thus he noted it down himself. It was thus a pre-organized plan between them to pass the caliphate subsequently to one another. As can be noted that later, ‘Umar nominated an electoral committee with such slyness that would result in the appointment of none other than his own candidate ‘Uthman, for the caliphate.
- 20. Such a weird remark by Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah, considered one of the ‘honourable companions’ of the Prophet, is nothing but the outcome of his prejudice and animosity against Imam ‘Ali. Did he not hear numerous traditions of the Prophet regarding the excellences and knowledge of Imam ‘Ali and the testimony of several companions regarding his unparalleled wisdom? Numerous traditions are quoted in the non-Shi’a books that prove this point. The Noble Prophet declared, “I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its gate. Anyone who wants to enter the city can do so only by passing through the gate.” (Imam al-Tirmidhi, “Ja’mi”; Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, “Ja’mi al-Saghir”; Hakim al-Naishaburi, “Mustadrak”, vol. 3; Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr, “Isti’ab”, vol. 2; Khatib al-Tabrizi, “Mishkat al-Masabih”, vol. 8; al-Manawi, “Kunuzul Haqa’iq”; Muttaqi al-Hindi, “Kanzul Ummal”; Muhibuddin al-Tabari, “Riyadhatul Nazarah”, vol. 2). ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas says, “Among the ten parts of knowledge ‘Ali was given nine, and the remaining one is shared by all of you. By Allah! Even in the tenth partm ‘Ali has his share.” (Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr, “Isti’ab” vol. 2; Muhibuddin al-Tabari, “Riyadhatul Nazarah”, vol. 2; Ibn Athir, “‘Usdul Ghabah”, vol. 4; Shah Waliyullah Muhaddith Dehlawi, “Izalatul Khifa”). Ibn Hani narrates that, “I asked ‘Ayesha whether the ‘masah alal khuffayn’ (wiping on the shoes during the time of wudhu) was forbidden or not, to which she replied, “Go to ‘Ali, he is more learned than me.” (Imam al-Muslim, “Sahih” vol. 1; Ibn Majah, “Sunan”; Imam al-Nisa’i, “al-Khasais”; Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, “Musnad”, vol. 1). ‘Umar b. al-Khattab said, “Amongst us, the best judge is ‘Ali.” (Imam al-Bukhari, “Sahih”, ch. 18 and 20; Ibn Majah, “Sunan”; al-Manawi, “Kunuzul Haqa’iq; Ibn Hanbal, “Musnad”, vol. 5; Khatib al-Tabrizi, “Mishkat”, vol. 8; Muttaqi al-Hindi, “Kanzul Ummal”). Abu Sa’id al-Khudri narrates that he heard ‘Umar b. al-Khattab saying when he asked ‘Ali about some problem, “I seek refuge of Allah from living in the midst of people among whom there is no ‘Ali.” (Muhibuddin al-Tabari, “Riyadhun Nazarah”, vol. 2). Also ‘Umar b. al-Khattab said, “If ‘Ali was not there, ‘Umar would have perished.” (Ahmad b. Hanbal, “Fadhilatus Sahabah”, vol. 2, pg. 647; Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr, “al Isti’ab”, vol. 3, pg. 39; al-Khawarizmi, “al-Manaqib”, pg. 48; Ibn Sa’ad, “Tabaqat al-Kubra”, vol. 2, pg. 338; Muhibuddin al-Tabari, “Riyadun Nazarah”, vol. 2, pg. 194; Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, “Tarikhul Khulafa’”, pg. 171; etc.)
- 21. In their lust for the world, people turned a deaf ear to the words of the Prophet of Allah. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib narrates that, “The Prophet of Allah established brotherhood between the Muhajirin and Ansar (in the second year of the migration) however neglected me in this event. I asked: ‘O Prophet of Allah! You have built up brotherhood, linking up each one with the other, but have ignored me, leaving me alone?’ At this, the Prophet replied, ‘I have kept you for myself. I am your brother and you are mine. Now if anyone gets into an argument with you, tell him that you are a slave of Allah and the brother of the Prophet of Allah. If anyone else claims to be so, he is an imposter.’” (Muttaqi al-Hindi, “Kanzul ‘Ummal”) The above tradition is also quoted, with slight variations, in Jami’ al-Saghir of Jalaluddin al-Suyuti; al-Isti’ab of Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr vol. 2; Riyadhun Nazarah of Muhibuddin al-Tabari, vol. 2; al-Isabah of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, vol. 4; Tabaqat al-Kubra of Ibn Sa’ad, vol. 3; ‘Usdul Ghabah of Ibn Athir, vol. 4. Also the Prophet of Allah declared, “O ‘Ali! You are my brother in this world and in the next.” (Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, “Jami’ al-Saghir”; al-Manawi, “Kunuzul Haqa’iq”; Muttaqi al-Hindi, “Kanzul ‘Ummal”). This tradition is also reported by Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, Ibn Magazili in al-Manaqib, Tha’labi in his Tafsir, Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani in his Mawaddatul Qurba, Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in Kitabul Wilayah etc.
- 22. Noble Qur’an, Suratul A’raf (7): 150
- 23. The Noble Prophet time and again declared in the presence of the Muslims that, “Fatimah is a part of me, whoever pleases her pleases me, and whoever hurts her hurts me” and numerous other traditions in her praise. These traditions are quoted by Shi’a and non-Shi’a sources, to name a few: Imam al-Bukhari, Imam al-Muslim, Ibn Majah, Abi Dawud, Imam al-Tirmidhi, Abu ‘Abdul Rahman al-Nisa’i (all authors of the Sihah al-Sittah), Abul Faraj al-Isfahani, Hakim al-Naishapuri, Abu Nu’aym al-Isfahani, Hafiz al-Bayhaqi, Abul Qasim al-Bagawi, Khwarizmi, Ibn ‘Asakir, Ibn Abil Hadid al-Mu’tazili, Ibn Jawzi, Ibn Athir al-Jazari, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Ganjei Shafe’i, Muhibuddin al-Tabari, Jamaluddin al-Zarandi, Mu’izuddin Haythami, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, Qadi Dayar al-Bakri, Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Abul Qasim al-Tabarani, etc. Yet still these voracious men, in their lust of acquiring worldly possessions, turned a blind eye to the Prophet’s words!
- 24. Shi’b Abi Talib (The Valley of Abu Talib) - This valley occupies an important place in Islamic history. A few days before the beginning of the seventh year of Bi’that (official appointment of Prophet Muhammad to his station of prophethood), the leaders of the various clans of the Quraysh met and by consensus, they drafted and signed a document which stipulated that they would isolate and ostracise not only Muhammad, but the entire clan of Bani Hashim - both an economic and social boycott. They pledged themselves not to buy anything from, nor sell anything to the members of the Bani Hashim and prohibited inter-marriage with them. The covenant was then suspended on the wall of the Ka’bah. The atmostphere in Makkah had become so explosive that the Bani Hashim found themselves in great peril. Abu Talib realized that it would not be prudent to live in the city where at any moment, the enemy could set fire to their houses. Therefore, in the interests of the security of the clan, he decided to leave Makkah and seek safety in a ravine near Makkah that later came to be known as Shi’b Abi Talib. The siege lasted for three years. Abu Talib himself did not sleep at night because for him, the safety of the Prophet took precedence over everything else. When Prophet Muhammad fell asleep, Abu Talib woke him up and asked him to sleep in the bed of one of his four sons, and ordered his son to sleep in his bed. A little later he would again wake up the Prophet and ask him to go to the bed of another one of his sons. He knew that the enemies were tenacious, treacherous, vicious and vindictive and if one of them crept into the ravine with the intention of killing Muhammad, he would rather that they kill one of his own sons instead of the Prophet.
- 25. Referring to the battles of Jamal, Siffin and Nahrawan.
- 26. Referring to the eleven leaders from the progeny of Imam ‘Ali.
- 27. This sermon is known as the Sermon of Shaqshaqiyyah and is counted among the most famous sermons of Imam ‘Ali. It was delivered at Rahbah and although some people have denied it to be his utterance and attribute it to Sayyid Radhi, however there is evidence in non-Shi’a books even that prove that this sermon is from Imam ‘Ali. Ibn Abil Hadid writes that his master, Abul Khair Musaddiq b. Shabib al-Wasiti (d. 605 ah) stated that he heard this sermon from Shaykh Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah b. Ahmad al-Baghdadi (d. 567 ah) known as Ibn al-Khashab, he also saw this sermon in the compilations of his master Abul Qasim (‘Abdullah b. Ahmad) al-Balkhi (d. 317 ah). Other non-Shi’a scholars who acknowledge its veracity are Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanafi (d. 654 ah) in Tadhkiratul Khawasul Ummah, Qadhi Shihab al-Khafaji in Sharh Durrah al-Ghawas, Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Dawla al-Simnani in al-’Urwah li Ahl al-Khalwah wal Jalwa, Abul Fadhl Ahmad al-Maydani in Majma’ul Amthal, Ibn Athir in al-Nihayah, etc.
- 28. Hayyan of Yamaamah was the chief of the tribe Banu Hu Haniifah and was quite wealthy. Jabir was the name of his younger brother while al- A’’sha, whose real name was Maymun Maymun b.ibn QaisQays b.ibn Jandal, enjoyed the position of being his bosom close friend and led a decent and happy life through his bounty. In the quoted verses of poetry, above verse he compares his current life, when he roamed about in search of livelihood, with the previous one wherein he led a happy life in HHayyan’s company. ImamImam ‘Ali quotes this verse comparing his present life wherein he was deprived of his right and persecuted, to the days during the Prophet of Allah when he enjoyed peace and security.
- 29. Imam ‘Ali speaks the truth because during his caliphate, ‘Umar introduced numerous innovations in Islam that did not exist during the time of the Prophet of Islam and forbade things which the Prophet himself had enjoined. To quote a few:
1) He initiated the congregational Tarawih prayer in the month of Ramadhan, which the Prophet himself had forbidden it upon the community (Imam al-Bukhari, “Sahih”, vol. 3 and 8);
2) He added the following line into the adhan of the Fajr prayers, “As-salatu khairum minan nawm (Prayer is better than sleep)” (Imam al-Malik, “al-Muwatta”);
3) Pointing the index finger during recitation of salutations (salam) in prayers towards the Ka’bah (Shibli al-Nu’mani, “al-Faruq”; Shah Waliyullah Muhaddith al-Dehlawi, “Izalatul Khifa”, vol. 3);
4) Changed the ruling of the Noble Prophet by treating three pronounced divorces in one sitting and same time, as one (Imam al-Muslim, “Sahih”);
5) The first one to award himself the title of Amirul Mu’minin (Imam al-Bukhari, “Sahih”; Ibn Khaldun, “al-Muqaddamah”; Shibli Nu’mani, “al-Faruq”);
6) Entered into a treaty with the Christians of Syria in which he offered them entirely new terms by drafting a document that sought to humiliate them, quite contrary to the Prophet’s dealings with them (Ibn Taymiyah, “al-Fatawa”; Ibn Hazm, “al-Muhalla”; Shibli al-Nu’mani, “al-Faruq”);
7) Ordered the killing of Magians (Abi Dawud, “al-Sunan”, bk. 19);
8) Depriving the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet a share from the khums after his death;
9) Despatching cruel commanders (like Khalid b. Walid) with drawn swords and large troops to expand his dominion under the pretext of spreading Islam far and wide;
10) Forbidding the writing of Prophetic traditions (ahadith);
11) Prohibiting the pronouncement of “Hayya ‘ala khairil ‘Amal” (come towards the best deed [as-salat]) in the adhan (Imam al-Malik, “al-Muwatta”; al-Taftazani, “Shahr al-Maqasid”; al-Qushaji, “Shahr al-Tajrid”; ‘Ali al-Halabi, “Siratul Halabiyah”;
12) Prohibited the mut’ah of hajj and mut’ah with women while both of these were permitted during the lifetime of the Prophet (Imam al-Bukhari, “Sahih”; Imam al-Muslim, “Sahih”, vol. 1; al-Taftazani, “Shahr al-Maqasid”; al-Qushaji, “Shahr al-Tajrid”).
He most audaciously declared, “There are two mut’ah which existed in the time of the Prophet of Allah and during Abu Bakr which I have banned and I will punish those who disobey my orders - these two are the mut’ah of the hajj and the mut’ah of the women.” Imam ‘Ali says, “If ‘Umar had not forbidden mut’ah, there would have been only a few unfortunate men who committed fornication.” (al-Tabari, “al-Tafsir”). ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas also comments saying, “Mut’ah was a blessing that Allah, the Almighty, endowed the nation of Muhammad and had it not been prohibited, no one except the truly perverted ones would have committed adultery.” (Ibn Athir, “al-Nihayah”; al-Zamakhshari, “al-Fa’iq”);
13) He forbade the mahr for women to be more than 400 dirhams, even when a woman in the public pointed out a verse from the Qur’an permitting it. (Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, “Tafsir Durr al-Manthur”, vol. 2; Ibn Kathir, “al-Tafsir”, vol. 1; al-Zamakhshari, “Tafsir al-Kashshaf”, vol. 1; Ibn Majah, “al-Sunan” vol. 1; al-Baihaqi, “Sunan al-Kubra”, vol. 1; al-Qastalani “Irshadus Sari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari” vol. 8; Muttaqi al-Hindi, “Kanzul Ummal” vol. 8; Hakim al-Naishapuri, “al-Mustadrak” vol. 2), and many more acts.
One should refer to the words of the Qur’an, “And whatever the Apostle give you, accept it, and whatever he prevents you from, keep away from it; and fear (the wrath of Allah); Verily Allah is severe in retribution.” (Suratul Hashr (59): 7) - however ‘Umar seemed to be heedless of this injunction of the Qur’an!
- 30. Imam ‘Ali revealed his pain for he was extremely aggrieved to find himself being counted among worldly men. It is a proven fact of history that Imam ‘Ali led an austere and simple life, while all of the other people of that committee were stuffed up with large amount of properties and wealth. Ibn Sa’ad in his Tabaqat al-Kubra says about ‘Uthman b. al-Affan, “When he died, he left thirty-five million dirhams, one hundred and fifty thousand dinars, three thousand camels and herds of horses. He built himself a palace in Madinah with marble and teakwood. He also had one thousand slaves.” Zubayr b. al-Awwam built tenement houses in Kufah, Basrah, Fustat and Alexandria (Egypt). His property was estimated at fifty thousand dinars, in addition to which he possessed a thousand horses and one thousand slaves. Talhah b. ‘Ubaydullah built a large tenement house of bricks and precious wood in Madinah. ‘Abdul Rahman b. al-’Awf built himself a rich and spacious dwelling, his stables contained a hundred horses and his pastures had one thousand camels, ten thousand sheep, and one quarter of the inheritance that he left after his death was valued at eighty-four thousand dinars. (“Arabs, Islam and the Arab Caliphate in the early Middle Ages”, New York, 1969). Far be it that Imam ‘Ali should be made to stand with these gluttonous men! He was often heard in the middle of the night, crying, “‘O vicious world! Go away from me, why do you come in front of me like this? Do you want to allure me? Allah forbid that I should be allured and tempted by you and your pleasures. It is not possible! Go and try your allurements on someone else. I do not desire to own you and do not want to have you, I have forsaken you three times. It is similar to divorcing a woman three times after which she cannot be taken back as a wife. The life of pleasures that you offer is for a very little period. There is no real importance in what you offer, the desire of holding you is an insult and humiliation to sober minds. Sad is the plight of those who want to acquire you. They do not provide for the hereafter. They have to pass through a long journey over a very difficult road towards a sad destination.” (Nahjul Balaghah: saying 77). Also, the Imam said: “Now look to your Imam (Imam ‘Ali meant himself). In this world he has satisfied himself with two old, torn and coarse garments and two pieces of bread (one in the morning and one in the evening).” (Nahjul Balaghah: letter 45).
- 31. Imam refers to the council of six men chosen by ‘Umar b. al-Khattab on his death-bed to elect the caliph after him - ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, ‘Uthman b. al-Affan, ‘Abdul Rahman b. ‘Awf, Sa’ad b. Abi al-Waqqas, Zubayr b. al-Awwam and Talhah b. ‘Ubaydullah. It is true that ‘Umar did not designate anyone as his successor, but his electoral committee was in fact, a de facto designation. Its constitution guaranteed the selection of ‘Umar’s own candidate (i.e. ‘Uthman). His first stipulation was that the candidate who gets most of the votes would become the caliph, and there was no way for Imam ‘Ali to get most of the votes because ‘Abdul Rahman b. ‘Awf was the husband of the half-sister of ‘Uthman, and Sa’ad b. Abi al-Waqqas was the first cousin of ‘Abdul Rahman and was under his influence. ‘Tribal solidarity’ or ‘tribal chauvisnism’ was very strong among the ‘Arabs; and Talhah belonged to the clan of Abu Bakr and was married to one of his daughters. Therefore it was unthinkable that any of them would vote for ‘Ali. Thus one could count out four of the votes even before the beginning of the meeting. In any case, ‘Abdul Rahman b. ‘Awf had the casting vote. As ‘Umar’s confidante, it was inevitable that he would give his vote and support only to his (‘Umar’s) favourite and the brother of his own wife, ‘Uthman. Also ‘Umar laid a stipulation that if anyone of them disagreed with the majority, he would forfeit his life. Is this order to kill the dissenting member or members of his electoral committee, who were all companions of the Prophet, a sample of his ‘justice’? In addition, by including name of Zubayr into the electoral committee, he made him stand face to face against ‘Ali whom he had favoured in the beginning. As is related that when the house of ‘Ali was attacked, Zubayr had tried to defend him with his sword, while ‘Umar himself was a witness to it. Thus he succeeded in fuelling the desire of power in the heart of Zubayr and thus he opposed Imam ‘Ali. Later we find the same Zubayr come out in the open to fight ‘Ali in the battle of Jamal!
- 32. ‘Uthman b. al-Affan was a squanderer and bestowed lavish gifts upon his friends and members of his family, the Bani Umayyah, without any legal justification. Ibn Abil Hadid writes in the first volume of his book, The Commentary of Nahjul Balaghah that, “‘Uthman built a sophisticated stone house with doors made of sandalwood. He accumulated great wealth which he bestowed lavishly on the Umayyads and others. For instance, the religious levy (khums) from Armenia, which was conquered during his time, was bestowed on Marwan without any religious sanctions. He also gave him one hundred thousand dirhams from the public treasury and very generously offered him Fadak that had been usurped from Sayyidah Fatimah. He gave four hundred thousand dirhams to ‘Abdullah b. Khalid, a hundred thousand dirhams to Hakam b. ‘As (the father of Marwan), who was cursed and banished (along with Marwan) by the Prophet, and two hundred thousand dirhams to Abu Sufyan. These unjustifiable grants of his resulted in public uproar and many eminent companions of the Prophet protested against him. Even ‘Ayesha is quoted to have said, “Kill the na’thal (a reference to a Jew of Madinah), for indeed he has become an infidel”, because ‘Uthman resembled this particular individual. (Ibn Athir, “al-Tarikh”, Ibn ‘Abd Rabbah, “Uqdul Farid”)
- 33. The Nakithin or the violators of oath, referred to by Imam ‘Ali is the group who fought against him at the Battle of Jamal, derived from the Qur’anic verse: “So whoever violates his oath (nakatha), does violate it only to the injury of his (own) self” (Suratul Fath (49): 10). The Qasitin or The Deviators, referred to by Imam ‘Ali is the group who fought against him at the Battle of Siffin and is derived from the Qur’anic verse “And as for the deviators (Qasitun), they shall be the fuel for the hell” (Suratul Jinn (72): 15). The Mariqin or those who missed or overlooked (the true teachings) of the religion as mentioned by Imam ‘Ali referred to the Kharijites who fought against him at the Battle of Nahrawan, and their name is derived from a prophetic tradition.
- 34. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Qasas (28): 83
- 35. Mir Sayyed ‘Ali Hamadani relates in his Mawaddatul Qurba from Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Karkhi al-Baghdadi, who said that he heard from ‘Abdullah b. Ahmad b. Hanbal who asked his father Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal to rank the companions of the Prophet - he named Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman and stopped. ‘Abdullah then asked his father, “Where is the name of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib?” He replied, “He belongs to the noble descendants of the Prophet. We can not mention his name alongwith those people!” Now such a day had dawned upon Imam ‘Ali that his name was mentioned along side the hypocrites and scoundrels and this episode was very painful for Imam ‘Ali and he was deeply disturbed by it.
- 36. On the Noble Prophet’s return from the expedition of Tabuk, fourteen hypocrites conspired to kill him. The plan was to push him off of his camel at night into a precipice as he rode over al-Aqaba - a narrow passage through which only one person could pass at a time. When they tried to execute their plan, Jibra’il informed the Prophet about it at which point he (the Prophet) sent Hudhayfah b. al-Yaman al-Nakha’i to hide behind a hill. When the conspirators arrived and talked together, he recognized all of them - among them seven belonged to the Bani Umayyah. Hudhayfah came to the Prophet and named all of them however the Noble Prophet ordered him to keep the plot a secret and said that Allah was their guardian. It is from this event that Hudhayfah was referred to as ‘the possessor of the secret’. In the early part of the night, the Prophet began the journey, followed by his army. ‘Ammar led the camel from the front and Hudhayfah drove it from behind. When they reached the narrow passage, the hypocrites threw their leather bags full of sand (or oil cans) in front of the camel making a huge noise, hoping that the frightened animal would throw the Prophet down the steep cliff. But Allah protected him and the conspirators fled away in the crowd. (Refer to Hafiz Abu Bakr Bayhaqi, “Dalailun Nubuwwah”; Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, “al-Musnad”. Imam al-Ghazali in his ‘Ihyaul ‘Ulum relates that ‘Umar b. al-Khattab would often ask Hudhayfah, “You are the possessor of the secret of the Prophet regarding the hypocrites. Do you find anything in me regarding the signs of hypocricy?” Indeed, a guilty mind pricks the conscience!
- 37. Shaykh Sulayman al-Hanafi al-Qanduzi relates in his book Yanabi’ul Mawaddah from (Imam) ‘Ali b. Husayn that he said, “Verily Allah will perfect the Imamat and that is the Light.” Then he recited the above verse (Suratul Saff (61):8) and said, “The light referred to here is the Imam.”
- 38. Noble Qur’an, Surah Yusuf (12): 18
- 39. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Ra’d (13): 42
- 40. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Baqarah (2): 195
- 41. This tradition has been narrated by many narrators of traditions of the Ahlus Sunnah, such as Muhammad b. Yusuf Ganji al-Shafe’i, “Kifayat al-Talib” and “Matalib al-Su’ul”; Khatib al-Khwarizmi, “al-Manaqib”; Sam’ani, “Fadha’il as-Sahabah”; Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki, “Fusul al-Muhimmah”, Khatib al-Baghdadi, “Tarikh Baghdad”, vol. 14; Hafiz Mardawayh, “al-Manaqib”; Ibn Qutaybah, “Imamah wa Siyasah”, vol. 1; Imam Ahmad b. al-Hanbal, “al-Musnad”; Shaykh Sulayman al-Qanduzi, “Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah”, chap 20; and others.
- 42. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Ma’idah (5): 24
- 43. Refer to the Qur’anic verse: “So ask the ‘people of the Dhikr’ if you know not.” (Suratul Nahl (16): 43) Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari in his Tafsir, through his successive chain of authorities, relates from Jabir, who relates from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir that he said, “We are the people of the Dhikr’ (Ref. Jami’ul Bayan fi Tasfir al-Qur’an) Also refer to Mawlawi ‘Ammar ‘Ali, “Umdat al-Bayan”; Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, “Tafsir Durr al-Manthur”; Ibn Mardawayh etc.
- 44. Refer to the Qur’anic verse:
“Remember the Day (of Judgement) when We will summon every people with their Imam (leader).” (Suratul Bani Isra’il (17): 71)
- 45. Talut (Saul) was a virtuous man among the Children of Israel who was appointed by Prophet Ashmawil (Samuel) to fight Jalut (Goliath) who had captured all the land on the shore of the Mediterranean, including Palestine and Eygpt. At the conclusion of this battle, Talut won. This event has been referred to in Suratul Baqarah in the Holy Qur’an and because of the reference to Talut in the above sermon, this sermon is also referred to as ‘Khutbah al-Talutiyah’.
- 46. An area within the city of Madinah.
- 47. The Noble Prophet said, “O ‘Ali! You are to me as Harun was to Musa, except that there shall be no Prophet after me.” This is referred to as the tradition of al-Manzilah and is quoted in various Shi’a and non-Shi’a books of traditions through reliable chains of transmitters. Refer to Imam al-Bukhari, “al-Sahih (Kitab al-Magazi)”; Imam al-Muslim, “al-Sahih (Fadhail as-Sahabah)”; Abi Dawud, “al-Sunan”; Ibn Majah, “al-Sunan”; Imam al-Tirmizi, “al-Sahih”; Abu Nu’aim, “Hilyat al-Awliya”; Imam Ahmad b. al-Hanbal, “al-Musnad”; Imam Nisa’i, “al-Khasa’is”, pg. 19; Khatib al-Baghdadi, “Tarikh Baghdad”; Hakim al-Naishapuri, “Mustadrak”; Ibn Sa’ad, “Tabaqat al-Kubra”; Mas’udi, “Muruj al-Dhahab”, vol. 2; ‘Ali al-Halabi, “Siratul Halabiyah” vol. 2; Sibt Ibn Jawzi, “Tadhkiratul Khawas” pg. 13-14; Shaykh Sulayman Hanafi al-Qanduzi, “Yanabi al-Mawaddah”, ch. 9 and 17; Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, “Tarikh al-Umam wal Muluk”; al-Tahawi, “Mushkil al-Athar”.
- 48. Here, Abu Bakr clearly violated the Qur’an and the Islamic principles which lay down the law to punish an adulterer. How did Abu Bakr, who claimed to be ‘the caliph of the Muslims,’ allow himself to listen to all of these crimes and be silent about them? Moreover he asked ‘Umar to stop attacking Khalid and was very angry at Abu Qutadah because he strongly protested against Khalid’s action! What excuse could be given to those corrupt criminals who violated human integrity?
‘Umar thought that Khalid should be killed because he had killed an innocent Muslim or he should be stoned because he had committed adultery with Layla (Umme Tamim), the widow of Malik. But nothing happened to Khalid - rather, he defied ‘Umar because he had the full support of Abu Bakr, who knew the whole truth about Khalid more than anyone else. Historians have recorded that after this terrible misdeed, Abu Bakr sent Khalid on a mission to al-Yamamah, from which he came out victorious and subsequently married a girl from there in the same way as he had Layla, before the blood of those innocent Muslims and the blood of the followers of Musailamah had dried. Later, Abu Bakr rebuked him in regards to his actions and used stronger words than those he used during the incident involving Layla. (Muhammad Husain Haykal, “Al-Siddiq al-Akbar”).
Undoubtedly, this girl’s husband was killed by Khalid who then proceeded to take her for himself in the same way as he had done with Layla, the widow of Malik! It must have been so otherwise Abu Bakr would not have rebuked him using stronger words than the previous event. The historians mention the text of the letter which Abu Bakr sent to Khalid b. Walid in which he said, “O Ibn Umme Khalid! Upon my life! You are doing nothing but marrying women and in the yard of your house lies the blood of 1,200 Muslims that has not yet even dried up!” (Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, “Tarikh al-Umam wal Muluk”, vol. 3; Husain Dayar Bakri, “Tarikh al-Khamis”, vol. 3) When Khalid read the letter, he commented, “This must be the work of al-A’sar”, meaning ‘Umar b. al-Khattab.
- 49. Khalid b. Walid was the commander of the right wing at the battle of Uhud under the army of Abu Sufyan, and he also fought against the Muslims in the battle of Khandaq. He accepted Islam in the year 8 ah after the Noble Prophet married his cousin Maymunah. It is also reported that he was among the ones who had fled from the battle of Hunain (Ref. Husain Dayar Bakri, “Tarikhul Khamis”; Jamaluddin Muhaddith, “Rawdhat al-Ihbab”; Mir Khund, “Habib al-Siyar”). There is a famous story about Khalid that happened during the lifetime of the Prophet when the Messenger of Allah sent him on a mission to the tribe of Bani Juzaymah (in Yemen) to call them to Islam, and ordered him not to fight against them. However, since they did not declare their Islam completely, and instead kept saying, “We are turning to... we are turning (to Islam)”, Khalid begin to kill them and take them as prisoners, and pushed them towards his friends and ordered them to kill the prisoners. Some of his friends refused to do what they were told because they realized that these people had truly converted to Islam. They went back and told the Prophet what had happened. He said. “O Allah I am innocent of Khalid’s deed.” The Prophet repeated this sentence twice (Imam al-Bukhari, “al-Sahih”, vol. 4).
Then he sent ‘Ali b. Abi Talib to Bani Juzaymah with money to pay compensation for their dead and for the loss of their wealth - even for the loss of a dog! The Prophet of Allah stood up and faced the Qiblah (Ka’bah in Mecca) and raised his hands to the sky, then repeated three times, “O Allah, I am innocent of Khalid’s deed.” (Ibn Hisham, “Sirah”, vol. 4; Ibn Sa’ad, “Tabaqat al-Kubra”; Ibn Athir, “Usdul Ghabah”, vol. 3).
If Khalid b. Walid, who is considered to be one of the greatest military leaders, was ‘the sword of Allah’, does that mean that Allah drew His sword to kill the innocent Muslims and to violate the integrity of people? There is a clear contradiction here, because Allah forbids the killing of human beings and prohibits the committing of vile deeds, but Khalid seems to have drawn the sword of injustice to kill innocent Muslims and to confiscate their wealth and to take their women, while ‘Umar most delightfully bestowed him with the title of saifullah (the sword of Allah)! No doubt the Orientalists find great pleasure in saying that, “Islam was spread by the sword.”
If Muslims pride themselves in following such immoral personalities and portraying them as ‘Islamic Heroes’, no doubt terrorism and bigotry will be linked to Islam. It is upon the Muslims to separate such obscure personalities from Islam and bring forward the true Islamic spirit of peace and tolerance, as preached by Muhammad and his immaculate progeny.
- 50. Revelation of the Qur’an.
- 51. Regarding ta’wil, two views have gained general acceptance: The first is from the early generation of scholars who used the word exegesis, ta’wil, as a synonym for commentary or tafsir. According to this view, all Qur’anic verses are open to ta’wil. The view of the later scholars is that exegesis refers to the meaning of a verse beyond its literal meaning and that not all of the verses have exegesis, rather only the implicit ones. (The Qur’an in Islam by Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Taba’taba’i)
- 52. Among the verses in the Qur’an containing orders or laws, there are verses that abrogate the verses previously revealed and acted upon. These abrogating verses are called nasikh, and those verses whose validity they terminate are called mansukh.
- 53. This is the most renowned tradition of al-Thaqalayn (the tradition of the two weighty things) which has been reported by numerous Shi’a and non-Shi’a traditionists and historians. To quote a few: Imam al-Muslim, “al-Sahih”, Part 7 of Kitab Fadhail al-Sahabah; Imam Hakim al-Naishapuri, “al-Mustadrak ‘ala Sahihain”; al-Tirmizi, “al-Sahih”, vol. 5; Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, “al-Musnad”; Hafiz Abu Nu’aym, “Hilyatul Awliya’”; Ibn Athir, “Usdul Ghabah”; Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, “Tafsir Durr al-Manthur” and “Jami’ as-Saghir”; Hakim al-Naishapuri, “al-Mustadrak”; al-Bayhaqi, “Sunan al-Kubra”; ‘Allamah al-Manawi “Faydh al-Qadir”; al-Darmi, “Sunan”; Abi Ya’la, “Sunan”; etc.
- 54. Muhkam are those verses that are explicit, clear and immediate in their message, and therefore, incapable of being misinterpreted. Mutashabih are those verses whose meanings are implicit and which are allegorical. They outwardly seem to express a meaning, but contain a further truer meaning whose interpretation is known only to Allah, His Prophet and the noble Imams. Refer to the Qur’anic verse, “He it is Who has sent down to you the book, of it there are (some) verses clear, these are the basis of the Book, and others are ambiguous. But those in whose hearts there is perversity, they are after that which is ambiguous therein seeking to mislead and seeking to interpret (to suit their selfish motives). While none knows its (hidden) interpretation except Allah and those firmly rooted in knowledge.” (Surat Ale ‘Imran (3): 7). Shaykh Sulayman Qanduzi al-Hanafi in his book, Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah relates from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq that he recited the above verse of the Qur’an and said, “We are those who are firmly rooted in knowledge.”
- 55. On his death-bed, ‘Umar appointed a counsel of seven men from which one was to be elected as caliph after him, and Zubayr b. al-’Awwam was also included among them. Thus ‘Umar most schemingly made him stand face to face against ‘Ali whom Zubayr had favoured many a times, as is related in the report mentioned, while ‘Umar himself was a witness to it. Thus he succeeded in fuelling the lust of worldy passion into the heart of Zubayr and thus oppose ‘Ali. Later we find the same Zubayr come out in the open to fight Imam ‘Ali in the battle of Jamal!
- 56. Some say that he was also the cousin of ‘Umar b. al-Khattab.
- 57. The people of Thamud acted rebellious to the instructions of Prophet Salih and killed the she-camel that was sent as a trial, and this conduct of theirs brought perdition to them. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“But they belied him (Prophet Salih) and hamstrung her (the she-camel), so crushed them their Lord crushed them for their sins, and levelled them (to the ground). (Suratul Shams: 14)
Sayyidah Zahra refers to the camel of Salih as a similitude that if Allah can send His curse due to the she-camel, He certainly will send curse upon these rebellious people due to His intense love for the children of Fatimah.
- 58. This view of Ibn Abil Hadid is nothing but the outcome of his prejudice and unscrupulous nature. On the one hand, he narrates numerous traditions to prove that Sayyidah Fatimah suffered countless pains at the hands of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, but on the other hand he believes as is stated and tries to defend their stand. He even hypocritically goes on to say that Fatimah forgave ‘Umar, when it is a proven fact, while Ibn Abil Hadid himself relates in his book, that when Fatimah died, she was displeased with ‘Umar and willed that they should not even participate in her funeral rites.
- 59. After bathing a dead body, it is obligatory to perform the act of hunut - to apply camphor on the parts of prostration - the forehead, both the palms, both the knees and the toes of both feet.
- 60. There is no narration which says that Mughirah used his whip against Fatimah, but what Imam Hasan meant was that since Mughirah had disrepected the Ahlul Bayt and due to his vain lies and siding with the oppressors, this act of his was similar to he himself whipping Fatimah - and Allah is the Best Knower!
- 61. This is one of the most renowned verses revealed in praise of the Ahlul Bayt well known as the verse of al-Mawaddah. Numerous narrators of traditions have quoted in their books that the ‘relatives’ in this verse refer to ‘Ali, Fatimah and their progeny. Refer to Abu Nu’aym al-Isfahani, “Hilyatul Awliya’”; al-Tabari, “al-Tafsir”; Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, “Tafsir Durr al-Manthur”; Hakim al-Naishapuri, “Mustadrak ‘ala Sahihain”; al-Zamakhshari, “al-Kashshaf”; al-Tabarani, “al-Awsat” and “Mu’jamul Kabir”; al-Haythami, “Majma’ul Zawa’id”; Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, “Sawaiqul Muhriqah”; al-Nabahani, “al-Sharaf al-Mu’abbad”; al-Wahidi, “Asbabul Nuzul”; Tha’lab, “al-Tafsir”; Husayn al-Bagawi, “Tafsir Ma’alimut Tanzil”; Ganji al-Shafe’i, “Kifayatul Talib”; al-Qastalani, “Mawahibul Ladunniyah”; al-Zarqani, “Sharhul Mawahib”; Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, “Ihyaul Mayyit”; Muhammad al-Sabban, “Is’afur Ragibin”; Ibn Magazili, “al-Manaqib”; Muhibuddin al-Tabari, “Zakhairul ‘Uqba”; al-Hammuwi, “Faraidus Simtain”; Ibn Talhah al-Shafe’i, “Matalibus Su’ul”; Ibn Sabbag al-Maliki, “Fusulul Muhimmah “; al-Shablanji, “Nurul Absar”; al-Samhudi, “Jawahirul Iqdain”; etc.
- 62. Certain people who turn a blind eye to the realities refuse to accept the fact that Sayyidah Fatimah miscarried her child named Muhsin when ‘Umar b. al-Khattab and his cousin Qunfudh (under ‘Umar’s order) attacked her. There are numerous traditionists and historians of the Ahlus Sunnah that have quoted this incident in their books. We read in Sharh al-Kushaji, pg. 407 as follows, “Abu Bakr sent ‘Umar when ‘Ali refused to give allegiance to Abu Bakr. ‘Umar went with fire and this caused Fatimah distress as a result of which she suffered a miscarriage.” Salahuddin Khalil al-Safadi in his book, Wafi al-Wafiyyat under the letter ‘A’ cited the view of Ibrahim b. Sayyar b. Hani al-Basri better known as al-Nazzam that: “On the day of allegiance, ‘Umar hit Fatimah on the stomach such that the child in her womb died.” There are numerous other historians that quote this incident such as Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, “Tarikh al-Umam wal Muluk”; al-Mas’udi, “Muruj al-Dhahab” and “Ithbatul Wasiyyah”; Ibn Abil Hadid, “Shahr Nahjul Balaghah”; Shibli al-Nu’mani, “al-Faruq”; etc.
- 63. Noble Qur’an, Suratul A’raf (7): 150
- 64. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Mujadilah (58): 19
- 65. This letter is quoted by ‘Allamah al-Majlisi in his work, Bihar al-Anwar in which he says that I have related this letter from Dalail’ul Imamah vol. 2 of al-Tabari that after the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn at Karbala, ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar (b. al-Khattab) along with a group of people from Madinah came to Syria. They protested in front of Yazid regarding his atrocities at Karbala and in this gathering, Yazid told ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar, “Do you wish to see the letter of your father”, saying this he brought forth the letter (quoted in the text) of ‘Umar which was kept in a case and then he gave it to ‘Abdullah.
- 66. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Anbiya (21): 104
- 67. Noble Qur’an, Surah Ale ‘Imran (3): 30
- 68. One of the numerous concocted stories of the non-Shi’a historians who allege that the Prophet had three daughters through Sayyidah Khadijah b. Khuwaylid apart from Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra. The names of these daughters are stated as being Zaynab, Umme Kulthum and Ruqayyah, but in reality, they were the daughters of Hala b. Khuwaylid (wife of ‘Amr b. Hadam) and sister of Khadijah, who after her death, were brought up by their aunt, Sayyidah Khadijah and Prophet Muhammad. The Shi’a scholars have put forward several proofs in refutation of this alleged claim which was raised simply to compete with Sayyidah Zahra’s personality and also because two of them were later married (consequently) to the caliph, ‘Uthman b. al-Affan.
- 69. On one hand he agrees and opines that the crime had actually been committed, while on the other hand he hypocritically says that he is in doubt regarding this - such double standards!
- 70. Nafasul Mahmum is a comprehensive book authored by Hajj Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi and is considered to be one of the reliable books written on the episode of Karbala (maqtal). Nafasul Mahmum forms the basis of reference for contemporary authors, researchers, historians and orators and is acclaimed by one and all. I had the honour of translating this magnificent book into the English language and it has been published by Ansarian Publications, Qum, Iran. (Tr.)
- 71. Yahya b. Hasan narrates from twenty different narrators in the book Kitabul Ummah from the Noble Prophet that, “There will be twelve successors after me, and all of them will be from Quraysh.” Imam al-Bukhari has quoted this tradition from three different transmitters in his Sahih; Imam al-Muslim has quoted this tradition from nine transmitters in his Sahih; Abu Dawud in three channels in his Sunan; al-Tirmidhi in one channel in his Sahih. Also refer to Sulayman al-Qanduzi, “Yanabi’ul Mawaddah”, ch. 77; al-Hamwini, “Faraidus Simtayn”; al-Khwarizmi, “al-Manaqib”; Ibn Magazili, “al-Manaqib”; Tha’labi, “al-Tafsir”; Ibn Abil Hadid, “Sharh Nahjul Balaghah”; Sayyid ‘Ali al-Hamadani, “Mawaddatul Qurba”; Imam Ahmad b. al-Hanbal, “al-Musnad”; Abi Dawud al-Tayalisi, “al-Musnad”; Abu Nu’aim, “Hilyatul ‘Awliya”; Muttaqi al-Hindi, “Kanzul Ummal”; Hakim al-Naishapuri, “al-Mustadrak”; Dhahabi, “al-Talkhis”; Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, “Fathul Bari”; Nuruddin al-Haithami “Majma’ul Zawa’id”; Ibn Hajar al-Haithami, “Sawa’iqul Muhriqa”; Jalaludin al-Suyuti, “Tarikhul Khulafa”; Ibn Kathir, “Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya”; etc.
- 72. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Qamar (54): 10
- 73. Noble Qur’an, Surat Maryam (19): 48
- 74. Noble Qur’an, Surat Hud (11): 80
- 75. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Shu’ara (26): 21
- 76. Noble Qur’an, Suratul A’raf (7): 150
- 77. Asma b. ‘Umays b. Ma’ad was one of the devoted and loyal adherents of the Prophet’s family. Her half sister was Maymunah b. Harith, the wife of the Prophet. Her first husband was Ja’far b. Abi Talib who was martyred in the battle of Muta in the eighth year after the migration. She had several children from Ja’far, one of whom was ‘Abdullah, better known as ‘Bahrul Sakha’ (the ocean of munificence). He too was a faithful adherent to his uncle Imam ‘Ali and his affection towards ‘Abdullah can be proven by the fat that he married his daughter Sayyidah Zaynab to him, from whom they had several children, two of them - ‘Aun and Muhammad, were martyred in the battle of Karbala alongwith their uncle, Imam Husayn. Later Asma b. ‘Umays married Abu Bakr b. Abu Quhafa from whom she bore Muhammad b. Abu Bakr. Although being in the house of Abu Bakr, she remained dedicated to Imam ‘Ali and Sayyidah Zahra as is evidenced from the narrated report. After the death of Abu Bakr, Imam ‘Ali married her and consequently Muhammad b. Abu Bakr was brought up by the Imam. Imam ‘Ali loved him immensely and regarded him as his own son and used to say, “Muhammad is my son from Abu Bakr.” Muhammad was appointed the governor of Egypt by Imam ‘Ali and was martyred by the order of Mu’awiyah in 38 ah at the young age of twenty-eight years. (He also took part in the Battle of Jamal on the side of Imam ‘Ali - against his own half-sister, ‘Ayesha.)
- 78. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Qasas (28): 20
- 79. Fadak was a fertile area of land near Madinah. It belonged to the Jews and in the seventh year after the migration, it was given to the Prophet under the terms of a peace treaty. The reason for the settlement was that after the fall of Khaybar, the Jews realized the real power of the Muslims, their martial aspirations were lowered, and noting that the Prophet had spared some Jews on their seeking protection, they also sent a message of peace to him and expressed the wish that Fadak might be taken from them and this area should not be made a battle-field. Consequently, the Prophet accepted their request and gave them amnesty and this land became the Prophet’s individual property wherein no one else had any share in it, nor could there be any such shared ownership with the rest of the Muslim community, because the Muslims only had a share in those properties which they had acquired as booty after a war; while the property acquired without fighting is referred to in Islamic terminology as ‘Fay’ and the Prophet alone was entitled to it. Thus Allah says,
“And whatever Allah has bestowed on his Apostle from them, you pressed not against it any horse or a camel, but Allah grants authority unto His Apostles against whomsoever He wills, and Allah is All Powerful over everything. Whatever Allah has bestowed upon His Apostle from the people of the towns, belongs unto Allah, and for the Apostle, and for his (Prophet’s) kindred, and the orphans…” (Suratul Hashr (55): 6-7).
No one ever disputed the fact that Fadak was secured without a battle and it was therefore the Prophet’s personal property to which no one else had any portion of it. In fact, the historian al-Tabari writes, “Fadak was personal property belonging solely to the Prophet and the Muslims did not use their horses or camels (battled) for it.” (al-Tabari, “Tarikh al-Umam wal Muluk”, vol. 3, pg. 303). Imam al-Balazuri writes, “Fadak was the personal property of the Prophet as the Muslims had not used their horses or camels (battled for it).” (Futuhul Buldan, pg. 37). It has also been proven in the agreed way that the Prophet had given this land to Sayyidah Fatimah as a gift during his lifetime.
- 80. Umme Ayman’s name was Barakah and she was the Abyssinian slave girl of ‘Abdullah, the father of Prophet Muhammad. After his marriage to Aminah she remained in their household serving them. Even after the death of ‘Abdullah, Barakah was always on the side of Aminah to console her until the Noble Prophet was born. When the Prophet was six years old, his mother Aminah too passed away leaving him in the care of Barakah, who most willingly and affectionately brought him up and took utmost care of him such that the Prophet addressed her as ‘his mother’. Later on, she was married to ‘Ubayd b. Zayd and bore him Ayman and thereafter came to be known as Umme Ayman. When he died, she married Zayd b. Harith and bore him Usamah b. Zayd. Although in the beginning, Usamah was not among the adherents of Imam ‘Ali, however later on, he turned to him and remained devoted to him until his death during the Imamat of Imam Husayn. As is related in the above report that the Prophet himself had declared that Umme Ayman was from among the women of paradise and her devoteness towards Imam ‘Ali and Sayyidah Fatimah is also well known.
- 81. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Bani Isra’il (17): 26. When the above verse was revealed to the Noble Prophet, he gave Fadak to Fatimah. Refer to al-Tha’labi, “Kashful Bayan”; al-Suyuti in his Tafsir Durr al-Manthur relates from Hafiz Ibn Mardawiyyah; the famous commentator Ahmad b. Musa as well as Hafiz al-Haskani (in his book Shawahedut Tanzil) report from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri; Faqih al-Shafe’i in his Tarikh; Shaykh Sulayman al-Qanduzi in his Yanabi’ul Mawaddah report from the book Jami’ul Fawa’id; al-Waqidi and Hakim al-Naishapuri relate in their Tafsir; ‘Ali Muttaqi al-Hindi in Kanzul Ummal; Ibn Abil Hadid in Shahr Nahjul Balaghah; Ya’qut al-Hamwini in his Mu’jamul Buldan; etc.
- 82. This prediction of Sayyidah Fatimah came true a few years later. Abu Lu’lu (Fayruz), a Persian slave of Mughirah stabbed ‘Umar (in the stomach) with a two-headed dagger. ‘Umar was brought a drink known as nabith (a drink of dates) and he drank it, but it wasn’t even distinct from the blood (coming from his wound). So they gave him milk to drink and it came out of the wound. He said, “If I had that amount of gold which would fill the earth, I would ransom myself by it from the terror of the resurrection.” (Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, “Tarikhul Khulafa’”). Did not the ‘caliph of Muslims’ read the Qur’an which says,
“The day when beither wealth or sons will avail anyone, save him who comes unto Allah with a heart submissive” (Suratul Shu’ara (26): 88-89).
Or was he fearful of his state in the hereafter due to all of the oppression that he meted upon the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet?! ‘Abdul Rahman b. Aban b. ‘Uthman relates from his father who relates from ‘Uthman b. al-Affan said, “I was the last one to see ‘Umar b. al-Khattab (before his death). I called upon him and saw his head on the lap of his son ‘Abdullah, and noticed that he was in a weary state. He told his son, “Keep my cheek on the ground.” ‘Abdullah refused, so he said again, “Keep my cheek on the ground.” ‘Abdullah refused, so ‘Umar said, “Keep my cheek on the ground, you motherless one.” So he kept his cheek on the ground, and then ‘Umar said, “O my mother! Woe to me my mother! I am not forgiven (by Allah).” He went on saying that until he died. (Shaykh al-Mufid, “al-Amali”)
- 83. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Ahzab (33): 33
- 84. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Qasas (28): 20
- 85. In the second rak’at (unit) of every prayer, the third rak’at in the Maghrib prayers and the fourth rak’at of Zuhr, ‘Asr and ‘Isha prayers one must sit up straightafter the second prostration and recite the tashahud - bearing witness to the Oneness of Allah and the prophethood of (Prophet) Muhammad followed by sending Allah’s blessings on the Prophet and his progeny and the tashahhud is among the obligatory parts of prayers. It will not be out of place to quote the words of Imam al-Shafi’i who says, “O Ahlul Bayt! Your love is a duty imposed on us in the revealed Book (al-Qur’an). It is sufficient evidence of your honour in the eyes of Allah that if a worshipper omits sending prayers upon you in one’s prayers, then their prayers are even void!”
- 86. This is not an acceptable historical proof, rather Imam ‘Ali reverted to leading a quiet life, almost confined to the four walls of his house. This has been pointed out by Veccia Vaglieri in E12, Article “‘Ali and the Sermon of Shaqshaqayyah’ bears witness to this. Ibn Abil Hadid writes a long commentary on this speech and explains major characteristics of the first two caliphs, their policies in arranging the affairs of the community, their attitude towards Imam ‘Ali and his reservations about the handling of matters by them. However Imam ‘Ali never remained obedient to the Caliphs and history narrates numerous incidents wherein he differed from them in various matters. On political and administrative matters, his disagreement with ‘Umar on the question of Diwan (distribution of stipends) and his absence from all of the wars fought under ‘Umar (in name of extending the frontiers of Islam) can be cited. Nevertheless, whenever any serious matters came up for Islam or the Muslims, he was the first one to hasten to their call. There are numerous occasions recorded in history that whenever the Caliphs faced certain straightened circumstances, which were beyond their apprehension and judgement, they would turn to Imam ‘Ali for help and he would most generously offer his excellent and flawless judgement in this regard. Due to this, on numerous occasions ‘Umar is found to have said, “If ‘Ali was not there, ‘Umar would have perished.”
- 87. This was Maqlas al-Asadi al-Kufi and he was an extremist. There are traditions in his condemnation, curse and disassociation and he was killed by ‘Isa b. Musa al-’Abbasi, the governor of Kufah, after Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq cursed him. (Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, “Hadiyatul Ahbab”)
- 88. Noble Qur’an, Surah Taha (20): 47
- 89. This is the renowned sermon of Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra. The words of the Infallibles are far beyond the comprehension of anyone except their Creator, who created them as the epitome of infallibility and embodiment of perfection. Their words are replete with lucidity, insight and perfection, while pearls of wisdom and eloquence flow through their tongues. It is for this reason that I have mainly relied upon the book “Khutbae Hadhrat Fatimah” of one of the present Marja’, Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Husayn ‘Ali al-Muntazari, wherein he explains each of her statements in detail. Instead of translating the literal meanings, I have sufficed upon quoting their explanation. For further study, readers are requested to refer to this informative work.
- 90. Refer to the Qur’anic verse:
“This day have I perfected for you, your religion, and have completed my favour upon you, and chosen for you Islam (to be) the religion.” Suratul Ma’idah (5): 3.
This verse was revealed on the day of Ghadir al-Khum wherein the authority of Imam ‘Ali was established by the Prophet while returning from the farewell pilgrimage. Thus the ‘complete bounties’ in this case refers to the bounty of the wilayah of Imam ‘Ali by whose means the bounty of guidance is completed.
- 91. Refer to the Qur’anic verse:
“And if you reckon Allah’s bounties, you will not be able to compute them.” Surah Ibrahim (14): 34.
- 92. Refer to the Qur’anic verse:
“And when your Lord declared: If you are grateful then I will increase (My favours) upon you, and if you are ungrateful, then verily My torment is indeed severe.” Surah Ibrahim (14): 7.
- 93. Here Sayyidah Fatimah taunts the audience and says that you think that you are worthy of all of these great entitlements and satisfied with it, while the reality is that you do not stand up to defend truth against falsehood. Then what is the use of this status being bestowed upon you when you do not act and defend the rights of the Ahlul Bayt?
- 94. Refer to the Qur’anic verse:
“And when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and be attentive that you might be shown mercy.” Suratul A’raf (7): 204.
- 95. They are the recommended acts which are rewarded, but if they are not performed, then no sin is committed. For example, the optional (nafilah) prayers that either precede or follow the daily prayers.
- 96. Permissible acts, performance or non-performance of these acts does not entail any reward or punishment.
- 97. There are certain unworthy acts, which a Muslim is advised to avoid, but no sin is committed if one engages in them, Allah’s pleasure is not in them.
- 98. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“Take alms out of their wealth (O Prophet), you would cleanse them and purify them thereby.” Suratul Bara’at (9): 103
- 99. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“Verily, only the patient ones will be paid their recompense without any account.” Suratul Zumur (39): 10
- 100. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“And for you there is (security of) life in retribution, O you people of understanding, so that you may guard yourself (against evil).” Suratul Baqarah (2): 179
- 101. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“They who fulfill their vows, and fear the day the woe of which stretches far and wide” Suratul Dahr (76): 7
- 102. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“Intoxicants and games of chance, (dedication of) stones (i.e. idols) and (divination by) arrows, are only an adomination of shaitan’s handiwork.” Suratul Ma’idah (5): 90
- 103. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“Verily they who accuse protected believing women, unaware (of the crime), shall be accursed in this world and in the hereafter.” Suratul Nur (24): 23
- 104. Noble Qur’an, Surah Ale ‘Imran (3): 102
- 105. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Fatir (35): 28
- 106. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Tawbah (9): 128
- 107. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“And call you unto the way of your Lord with wisdom and kindly exhortation and dispute with them in a manner which is the best.” Suratul Nahl (16): 125
- 108. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“Verily Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanliness O people of the House, and purify you (with) a thorough purification.” Suratul Ahzab (33): 33
- 109. Noble Qur’an, Surah Ale ‘Imran (3): 103
- 110. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“And remember when you were few and deemed weak in the Earth, fearing that people may carry you away by force, but He strengthened you with His aide and provided you with the good things (of sustenance) that you may give thanks” Suratul Anfal (8): 26
- 111. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“Soon will Allah bring (forward) a people, them He loves and they love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the infidels, striving hard in Allah’s way, and they fear not the censure of any censurer. This is the Grace of Allah, He gives it to whomsoever He desires” Suratul Ma’idah (5): 54
- 112. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Tawbah (9): 49
- 113. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Kahf (18): 50
- 114. Noble Qur’an, Surat Ale ‘Imran (3): 85
- 115. Refer to the Qur’anic verses,
“They intend to put out the Light of Allah with (the blow of) their mouths, and disdains Allah save that He perfects His Light, though the infidels may detest this.” Suratul Tawbah (9): 32 and
“They intend they to put out the Light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His Light, though the disbelievers may be averse.” (Suratul Saff (61): 8)
- 116. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Ma’idah (5): 50
- 117. Noble Qur’an, Surah Maryam (19): 27
- 118. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Naml (27): 16
- 119. Noble Qur’an, Surah Maryam (19): 5-6
- 120. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Anfal (8): 75
- 121. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Nisa’ (4): 11
- 122. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Baqarah (2): 180
- 123. Noble Qur’an, Suratul An’am (6): 67
- 124. Noble Qur’an, Surat Hud (11): 39
- 125. Refer to the Qur’anic verse,
“And Muhammad is not but an Apostle, (other) Apostles have already passed away prior to him, therefore if he dies or be slain, will you turn upon your heels?” (Surat Ale ‘Imran (3): 144 )
- 126. Noble Qur’an, Surat Ale ‘Imran (3): 144
- 127. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Shu’ara (26): 227
- 128. Noble Qur’an, Surat Hud (10): 121-122
- 129. Noble Qur’an, Surat Maryam (19): 5-6
- 130. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Naml (27): 16
- 131. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Yusuf (12): 18
- 132. Ibn Abil Hadid in the sixteenth volume of his commentary on Nahjul Balaghah writes, “I once asked ‘Ali b. al-Faruqi, the tutor of Madrasah al-’Arabiyah in Baghdad and my teacher, ‘In your opinion, was the claim of Fatimah for Fadak true or false?’ He replied, ‘Fatimah was truthful in her claim.’ Then I asked, ‘Then why did Abu Bakr not return Fadak back to her?’ He smiled at my question and replied, ‘If Abu Bakr had returned back Fadak to her that day, Fatimah would have come to him the following day and claimed the caliphate (for ‘Ali) and Abu Bakr would not have had any excuse and evidence against her. If he would have accepted the truthfulness of Fatimah for Fadak, then he also would have had to accept her claim for caliphate and he would have had no choice but to accept it.’
- 133. Noble Qur’an, Surah Muhammad (47): 24
- 134. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Mutaffifin (83): 14
- 135. Refer to the Qur’anic verse:
“And there shall appear unto them, from Allah, that which they had not been reckoning.” Suratul Zumur (39): 47
- 136. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Mu’min (40): 78
- 137. ‘Allamah al-Majlisi writes in his work, Biharul Anwar that, “People say regarding it (this speech) that even though Fatimah was an infallible personality, she spoke with such harshness with Imam ‘Ali. Was not ‘Ali, the Imam and the ‘one in authority’ and thus, no one should speak with such harsh tones with an Imam? What Sayyidah Fatimah meant was that Imam ‘Ali should reveal to the people the bad deeds of those who had taken hold of the reins of the caliphate and how they had become guilty of a great offense. Due to this reason she spoke harshly, for when a person would like to reveal the gravity of the situation, one uses harsh words though one does not mean to insult the one whom they are addressing. What was intended here was to reveal the gravity of the situation. This can be proved by an example. Suppose a king or a ruler of a country sees that the businessmen of his kingdom have committed a grave error, he scolds his Finance Minister and warns him. The king is aware that the Finance Minister is innocent of the situation, but he would like to straighten the businessmen of his kingdom through this warning. A second example is that when Prophet Musa returned back from the mountain of Tur, he saw that the Children of Israel were involved in worshipping a golden calf. He scolded Prophet Harun for it and warned him by grabbing him by beard and saying, “What have you done?” Prophet Harun replied, “O son of my mother! Seize me not by my beard nor by my head, I was afraid lest you say: You have caused a division among the Children of Israel and they did not respect my word.” (Surah Taha (20): 94).
The attitude of Prophet Musa towards Prophet Harun was not because of any doubt against the stand taken by him against the Children of Israel, but rather, he wanted the matter to be exhibited to the public, and he wanted that Harun should explain his stand so that no room be left for accussing him of joining hands with the Children of Israel or neglecting his duty. Sayyidah Fatimah too desired this as well and wanted to exhibit the tyranny of the oppressors, and thus she used harsh words to reveal to the people of that age and also to the people who would come later as to what oppression has been meted out upon the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet.” [Here ends the discourse of ‘Allamah al-Majlisi.]
It is human nature that when a person faces oppression one turns to nobody except his most beloved ones and those whom one trusts most, and often uses harsh words to complain about the matter. Surely Allah knows best.
- 138. Umme Tahhal was an adultress in the days of ignorance with whom the men of her own family were fond of committing adultery with! Thus Abu Bakr used such offensive language for Imam ‘Ali. The scholars have, in slightly different words, reported from the Noble Prophet that, “One who reviles ‘Ali, really reviles me;and one who reviles me, really reviles Allah.” (Imam Ahmad b. al-Hanbal, “al-Musnad”; Imam al-Nisa’i, “Khasaisul ‘Alawiyah”; Imam al-Dhahabi and Fakhruddin al-Razi in their Tafsir; Ibn Abil Hadid, “Shahr Nahjul Balaghah”; Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Ganji al-Shafi’i, “Kifayatut Talib”; Sibt Ibn Jawzi, “Tadhkirah Khawasul Ummah”; Imam al-Muslim, “al-Sahih”; Muhammad b. Talhah Shafi’i, “Matalibus Su’ul”; Hakim al-Naishapuri, “al-Mustadrak.” Muhammad b. Ganji Shafi’i in Kifayatut Talib reports that once, ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas and Sa’id b. Jubayr saw a group of Syrians sitting on the edge of the well of Zamzam (in Mecca) insulting ‘Ali. They went to them and said, “Who among you was abusing the Noble Prophet?” They replied, “None of us were abusing him.” Then the two of them said, “Well, who among you was abusing ‘Ali?” They replied, “All of us have been abusing ‘Ali.” They said, “Bear witness that we heard the Prophet of Allah saying to ‘Ali, one who abuses you really abuses me; one who abuses me, really abuses Allah and if someone abuses Allah, He will throw him headlong into the fire of hell.”
- 139. Noble Qur’an, Suratul Shu’ara (26): 125
- 140. It is related that during his caliphate, ‘Uthman gifted the property of Fadak to his son-in-law Marwan b. Hakam - one may question under what justification did he do this?
- 141. It is strange that when other claims of this nature came before Abu Bakr, he allowed them in favour of the claimant merely on the basis of the claim while the claimant was neither asked to furnish any proof of claim, nor to produce witnesses. In this connection, Imam al-Bukhari writes: “It is related from Jabir b. ‘Abdullah al-Ansari that he said, ‘The Prophet of Allah had told me that when the spoils of war from Bahrain would arrive, he would allow me such and such out of it, but the spoils of war did not reach us until after the Prophet’s death. It arrived in the days of (the caliphate) of Abu Bakr, so I went to him and told him that the Prophet had promised to give me such and such property out of the spoils of war from Bahrain, whereupon he gave me all of what (was promised to me).” (al-Sahih, vol. 2, part 27, pg. 190).
In the annotations of this tradition, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani has written: “This tradition leads us to the conclusion that the evidence of one just companion can also be admitted as full evidence, even though it may be in his own favour, because Abu Bakr did not ask Jabir to produce any witness or proof for his claim. Thus, if it was lawful to grant property to Jabir on the basis of a good impression (of him) without calling for witnesses or any evidence, then what stopped allowing Sayyidah Fatimah’s claim on the basis of a similar good impression?
Firstly, her known truthfulness and honesty was enough for holding her truthful in her claim, in addition to the witnessing of ‘Ali and Umme Ayman in her favour which was also available.
It has been said that the claim could not be decided in favour of Sayyidah Fatimah on the basis of these two witnesses because the Qur’an lays down the principle of evidence that,
“Then call to witness two witnesses from among you men and if there not be two men, then (take) a man and two women.” (Suratul Baqarah (2): 282).
If this principle is universal and general, then it should be taken into regard for every occasion, but on some occasions it was not found to have been followed.
Consequently, neither the generality of the verse about evidence was hit by this action, nor was it deemed to be against the canons of evidence. So if here, in view of the Prophet’s truthfulness, one evidence in his favour was deemed to be equal to two, then could not the evidence of ‘Ali and Umme Ayman be regarded enough for Sayyidah Fatimah in view of her moral greatness and truthfulness? This verse does not show that there can be no other way of establishing a claim other than these two ways.
In this connection, Shahid al-Thalith Sayyed Nurullah al-Shustari has written in Ihqaqul Haqq in the chapter of Mataen that: “The view of the objector that despire the evidence of Umme Ayman the requirement of evidence remains incomplete is wrong on the grounds that from certain traditions it is seen that it is lawful to give a decision on the basis of one witness, and it does not necessarily mean that the injunction of the Qur’an has been violated, because this verse means that a decision can be given on the strength of the evidence of two men or one men and two women, and that their evidence is enough. From this it does not appear that if there is some other ground besides evidence of witnesses, that would be unacceptable and that verdict cannot be given on its basis, unless it is argued that this is the only sense of the verse. But since the very sense is not a final argument, this sense can be brushed aside, particularly because the tradition clearly points to a contrary sense and ignoring the sense does not necessarily mean violation of the verse. Secondly, the verse allows a choice between the evidence of two men or of one man and two women. If by virtue of the tradition, a third choice is added, namely that the verdict can be passed by means of another evidence as well, then how does it necessitate that the Qur’anic verse should stand violated.”
In this connection, Mulla ‘Ali Muttaqi writes: “The Prophet of Allah, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar used to decide cases on the strength of one witness and swearing by the Qur’an.”
When decisions were passed on the strength of one witness and swearing, then even if in Abu Bakr’s view the requirement of evidence in this case was incomplete, then he should have asked her to swear (on the Qur’an) and he could have passed judgement in her favour. But here the very object was to tarnish the truthfulness of Sayyidah Fatimah so that in the future the question of her testimony should not arise.”
- 142. One of the numerous concocted stories of the non-Shi’a historians who allege that the Prophet had three daughters through Sayyidah Khadijah b. Khuwaylid apart from Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra. The names of these ‘daughters’ are stated as Zaynab, Umme Kulthum and Ruqayyah - while in reality they were the daughters of Hala b. Khuwaylid (the wife of Amr b. Hadam), who after her death, were brought up by their aunt Sayyidah Khadijah and Prophet Muhammad. The Shi’a scholars have put forward several evidences in refutation of this alleged claim, which was raised simply to compete with Sayyidah Zahra’s personality and also because two of them were later married (consequently) to the caliph, ‘Uthman b. al-Affan.
- 143. Some of the defenders of the ‘Caliphs’ claim that Fadak was nothing more than a few palm trees, with an intention of lessening the crime. But it is a proven fact of history that it was a large property whose annual income was either twenty-four thousand or seventy thousand dinars. When Abu Bakr confiscated it, he said he wanted to use it to mobilize the army and guard the frontiers! Thus, if it was only a ‘few palm trees’, then what use would it have been? It is related in al-Manaqib of Ibn Shahr Ashub that, “Harun al-Rashid once asked Imam Musa al-Kadhim, ‘You may determine the four boundaries of Fadak so that it can be returned to you.’ The Imam refused to do so for he knew that if he related to Harun the four boundaries of Fadak, he would never return it to him. But Harun insisted and thus the Imam pointed out to him the four boundaries of Fadak, upon hearing which Harun said, ‘It seems that you desire the entire Caliphate on the pretext of Fadak!’”
It is quoted in Majma’ul Bahrain from Imam ‘Ali regarding the four boundaries of Fadak in which he said that one part stretches from the hill of Uhud; the second is in Arish in Egypt, that was probably a town in the area of Sinai; the third being the Red Sea and Armenia; and the fourth being Dawmatul Jundal, which is probably a town in between Kufah and Sham (present day Syria).
- 144. At one place, al-Naqib says that the Caliphs should have returned Fadak back to Fatimah following the customs (sunnah) of the Prophet, but then immediately he says that, “as per the religious rules, they acted fairly.” He immediately defends their case and comes up with one excuse or another, as is found in this book.