Chapter 16:The Prophet's Disciples Were Not Immune Against Sins
Perhaps our criticism of some groups of Ansars (prophet's helpers) and Mohajirs might puzzle some Sunnites even though the Holy Quran has praised them in two cases:
1. “And as for the leading Mohajirs and Ansars, and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, to endure in them forever, that is the mighty achievement.”1
﴿ وَ السَّابِقُونَ الأَْوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهاجِرِينَ وَ الأَْنْصارِ وَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُمْ بِإِحْسانٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَ رَضُوا عَنْهُ وَ أَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الأَْنْهارُ خالِدِينَ فِيها أَبَداً ذلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ ﴾
2. In another surah, God talks of those who, in the land of Hudabiyyah, swore allegiance to the Prophet:
﴿لَقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ يُبايِعُونَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ ما فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ فَأَنْزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَ أَثابَهُمْ فَتْحاً قَرِيباً﴾
“Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts. So He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory”2
To sum up; In the first verse, God praises that group, among Mohajirs and Ansars, who accepted Islam before others and then praises another group who has followed the previous one.
In the second verse, God expresses his satisfaction with those individuals who, in the seventh year of Hijrah, at the land of Hodabiyyeh, swore allegiance with the Prophet. God promises them tranquility and the victory of Mecca.
With these praises how could we claim that after the Prophet these two groups, turned into wrongdoers or sinners?
Before explaining the content of the above verses however, let us point out that the Sunnite scholars not only consider these two groups and their followers innocent, but they believe all followers of the Prophet were just and pious except for those cases where they committed real crimes.
In short, anybody who had the honor of having talked to the Prophet is supposed to be pure, just and pious except when the opposite is shown to be the case.
From the content of the above statement it is understood that all the Prophet's followers, who were more than one hundred thousand, possessed this specific privilege. It was thought the moment somebody met the Prophet he would encounter a spiritual transformation and from then on he would do nothing except for what was right and appropriate.
Such a judgment concerning the Prophet's followers means to be temperate towards their probable wrongdoings and to over-look their errors. An example of which is their escape in the wars of Uhud and Hunain demonstrating the shaky foundations of their faith and their lack of affection for the Prophet and his sublime aspirations.
A research of the verses which deal with their misbehavior with the Prophet at the Holy war of Uhud will reveal the truth to you.
How could we claim that all of the Prophet's followers were just and innocent while the Holy Quran, regarding a group of them who were among hypocrites, states:
﴿ وَ إِذْ يَقُولُ الْمُنافِقُونَ وَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ ما وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَ رَسُولُهُ إِلاَّ غُرُوراً﴾
“And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease began to say: Allah and His apostle did not promise us victory but only to deceive”3
How could the announcers of such sentences be just while they are not true Muslims.
The Holy Quran refers to a group of the Prophet's followers as “Sammaun” [Hearkeners] meaning those who used to listen to the statements of the hypocrites and accept them as facts immediately.
Concerning those people, the holy Quran says:
“Had they gone forth with you, they would not have added to the corruption. They would certainly have hurried about among you seeking to sow dissension. Among you exist those who hearken for their sake; Allah knows the unjust”4
How could we ever consider such a person as Khalid Ibn Walid a just and innocent person while in accordance with some Sunnite writers, he was called by the Prophet as “Saifullah” meaning “God's sword” but, in the year of the capturing of Mecca, he committed terrible crimes and deceitfully killed a group of Bani Hazaimah after having convened a series of military pacts with them. After the Prophet heard what Khalid had done, he stood facing the Kaaba whilst begging God, he said:
“اللّهُمَّ إِنّي أَبرءُ إَلَيْكَ مِمّا صَنَع خالدُ بنُ الوليد”.
“O God, I abhor what Khalid has done”5 the files of this so-called” the sword of God” does not close here, and his crimes, after the Prophet's demise, towards Malik Ibn Novayran and his tribe are recorded in history. He first killed Malik who was a Muslim, and then raped his wife.
One of the most terrible mistakes for us is to recognize right and wrong through individuals and consider their personalities and traits as the criterion for their doings. While one's ideas and actions are indicators of one's traits the truth will be behind his actions, not the other way round.
Bertrand Russell, the great mathematician, whose theories on mathematics are well-known. As an atheist, in his book called “why am I not a Christian” he writes: “Once I was not an atheist and considered God “the main reason” for creation. Then I changed my mind, telling myself: if any creature needs a Creator, then God needs to be created by another Creator”6.
Could we ever reckon Russell’s mathematical personality as a legitimate reason for the validity of his philosophical views on the existence of God, whose Existence is demonstrated by all particles of the world. It is clear that in our judgment of people we should ignore their scientific and political outlook and investigate their views, thoughts and speeches with no prejudice rather with the criteria of wisdom and logic.
Let us present here Imam Ali's firm and eloquent speech concerning this issue:
In the war of Jamal [Camel] some were for Ali (as) and some were for Talha, Zubayr and Ayeshah (the mother of believers). At this time, one of the double-minded people who was well aware of the character and position of Imam Ali (as), came forward, saying:
How could this group be wrong while they have among themselves personalities such as Talha, Zubayr and Ayeshah? Could we ever say they are wrong?
At this time, Imam Ali (as) expressed a sentence, of which Dr Taha Husain, the famous Egyptian scholar, states man has never heard such a magnanimous and elegant expression:
“إنّكَ لملبوسٌ عليك، إنّ الحقّ و الباطل لا يُعرفان بأقدار الرجال، أعرفِ الحقّ تعرف أهله، أعرفِ الباطل تعرف أهله.”
“You are a man who does not know how to measure right from wrong. Right or wrong will never be recognized by a person's personality.
Rather, you should first recognize right, then identify its holder; or recognize wrong and then identify its doer.”
This great statement, which according to that great Egyptian scholar “nobody has ever heard anything more sublime than it” clearly depicts the baseless principle common to some Sunnite scholars (that the Prophet's followers are always right).
Now it is time we went back and explained those two verses which we have presented earlier.
No doubt, the first verse indicates that God is content with two groups of people and has prepared his heaven for them: these two groups include:
1. A group of Mohajirs and Ansars who adopted Islam earlier than others and made sacrifices for their religion;
2. Those who rightly followed Mohajirs and Ansars.
But what we should reflect on is the following question: was God content with them only because they pioneered in Islam without any conditions whatsoever? If these people later became corrupt and injustice, would they still be loved by God?
Or did the continuity of this satisfaction rely heavily on their faith and in their good deeds during all stages of life?
If these conditions were ignored, then their revolutionary act of accepting Islam would be of no rewarded.
A research on other Quranic verses will firmly confirm the second view that God's satisfaction with his creatures would continue with the condition that one's good deeds continue throughout one's life.
Let us refer to some verses:
In the surah Hashr9, the Holy Quran praises those Mohajirs who deprived themselves of the ordinary goods and headed for Medina. The Quran, then gives the reason for such a praise through the following expression:
﴿يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِنَ اللَّهِ وَ رِضْواناً وَ يَنْصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَ رَسُولَهُ﴾
“They constantly beg God for His satisfaction and help Him and His apostle”.
This verse indicates that the very title of Mohajir, the abandonment of one's friends and family, or one's wealth are not enough for salvation; rather, we should constantly try to secure God's satisfaction with us and through our good deeds help both God and his apostle.
The Holy Quran remarks: Angles pray to God constantly asking God to forgive the believing people, saying
﴿ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَ الَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَماءُ بَيْنَهُمْ تَراهُمْ رُكَّعاً سُجَّداً يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِنَ اللَّهِ وَ رِضْواناً سِيماهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ مِنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُود ﴾
“O God forgive and bless those who have selected Your way and follow Your religion. The Holy Quran praises those followers of the Apostle who were strict and severe towards disbelievers but friendly and amicable with one another; those who bow down and who prostrate; those who try to attract God's satisfaction and the effects of prostration could be seen on their foreheads10“
And Allah says:
﴿ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَ عَمِلُوا الصَّالِحاتِ مِنْهُمْ مَغْفِرَةً وَ أَجْراً عَظِيماً ﴾
“Allah has promised those who believe and do good, forgiveness and a great reward”11
These and other verses indicate that the titles of Mohajirs, Ansars or the descriptions “the foremost” or “the followers” are not enough for prosperity or salvation; rather, besides these titles they should be other virtues such as good deeds and restraining from bad deeds, or else they would be subject to the following verses:
﴿ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَرْضى عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْفاسِقِينَ ﴾
“Surely Allah is not pleased with those who transgress”.12
﴿ وَ اللَّهُ لا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ ﴾
“Allah does not love the unjust”.13
The Great prophet was a sample of virtues and ethics, in the highest degree of faith; Allah warns him:
﴿ لَئِنْ أَشْرَكْتَ لَيَحْبَطَنَّ عَمَلُكَ وَ لَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخاسِرِينَ ﴾
“Surely if you associate with Allah, your work would certainly come to naught and you would certainly be of the losers”.14
Definitely, the Prophet's strong faith, simplicity and chastity would never let him draw towards polytheism, but the Holy Quran, through him warns others not to be deceived by a series of good deeds, but to remain faithful up to the last minute of their lives.
Thus, we should never assume that by being a close follower of the Apostle and by being included in a handfull of the forerunners, one should be immune, forgiven and be loved by Allah even if later he committed crimes. A group of these Muhajirs and Ansars chose to go astray even at the time of the Prophet, and were severely punished by the Prophet and nobody made any protest against the Prophet for his act of punishment.
Here, is a list of such individuals:
1. Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abu Sarah:
He was one of the Muhajirs who wrote a lot on monotheism; but later chose to be infidel and said 15
﴿ وَ مَنْ قالَ سَأُنْزِلُ مِثْلَ ما أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ﴾
“I will write a Quran like that of God's”.
In the seizure of Mecca, the Prophet ordered the killing of some individuals. One of which was Abdullah. However, after the war, he told his foster-brother Othman and upon Othman's recommendation, the Prophet forgave him. The Prophet's hatred towards this man wan so great that after forgiving him he told his friends: when you saw how I refused to forgive him, why didn't you kill him on the spot?16
2. Obaydullah Ibn Jahsh: he was a forerunner in Islam and was one of the Muhajirs of Ethiopia, but upon immigrating to Ethiopia, he converted to Christianity.
3. Hakab Ibn Oss: he is one of the followers who turned to Islam at the seizure of Mecca; however, for some reasons, the Prophet exiled him to Taif.
4. Harqus Ibn Zihayr: he had taken part in the Rizwan allegiance, but at the time of dividing the booty he used harsh words with the Prophet, the Prophet became angry, telling him: shame on you; if I could not be just, then who could be just? Then he predicted his doomed future saying: Harqus would become the head of a group which would leave Islam like an arrow out of the bow 17.
Years later the Prophet's prediction came true and this man became the head of Khawarij [the rebels] and at the war of Nahravan was killed by Imam Ali (as).
This was a sample of the black-list which included a great number of the Prophet's followers (Muhajirs and Ansars). Some other deserters are Hatib Ibn Abi Baltaa, who spied against Islam or Walid Ibn Aqabah, who is referred to as transgressor in the Holy Quran [Hujarat : 6] or Khalid Ibn Walid whose life is filled with wrongdoings18.
With these kind of people among the Sahabah [the Prophet's close followers], could we claim that God was content with them and nobody would ever dare to find fault in them?
To sum up: God's satisfaction was related to certain acts of these people: God was satisfied with those who helped the Apostle.
But this satisfaction was not meant to be everlasting. Rather, the continuity of this satisfaction depended on their continuity in their sincerity and loyalty towards Islam and not on their getting engaged in nasty deeds.
In other words, the faith and sincerity of Muhajirs and Ansars, like other conditions, depended on the future of their actions. As scholars say, the rewards these Muslims received were relative:
This means these people were the center of God's affection while they remained faithful to the principles of Islam. However, it is quite natural, for these people to have fallen out of God's love as soon as they committed vile deeds.
These kinds of verses would never justify the wrongdoings of these people. Such an immunity is not given, even to the Prophet himself.
Concerning Ibrahim and his sons Ishaq, Yaqoob, Musa, Harun and others the Holy Quran remarks:
﴿ وَ لَوْ أَشْرَكُوا لَحَبِطَ عَنْهُمْ ما كانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ﴾
“And if they had setup others (with Him) certainly what they did would have become ineffective for them”.19
If they had ever compared anybody with Allah, then all their deeds would have been ruined.
- 1. . Quran 9:100.
- 2. . Quran 48:18.
- 3. . Quran 33:12.
- 4. . Quran 9:47.
- 5. . Siarah Ibn Hisham, vol. 2, p. 430.
- 6. . Why am I not a Christian?, Bertrand Russell.
- 7. . Quran 9:10.
- 8. . Quran 9:100.
- 9. . Quran 59:8.
- 10. . Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves you will see them bowing down, praying, seeking grace and pleasure from Allah: there are marks on their faces because of the effects of prayer [Quran 48:29].
- 11. . Quran 48:29.
- 12. . Quran 9:96.
- 13. . Quran 3:57.
- 14. . Quran 39:65.
- 15. . Quran.6:92.
- 16. . Al-Esabah, vol. 2, p. 38.
- 17. . The biographies of these individuals could be found in the books of Rijâl such as Al-Esti’ab, Al-Ethaba, Usud al-Ghabah etc.
- 18. . These are different from the group of hypocrites, whose life pattern is more extended.
- 19. . Quran: 6:88.