The Great Disaster in Islam
Imam Husayn (‘a) in his childhood and infancy spent his life in the care of his grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S). He showered him with his kindness and affection and made him blessed with his love and regard and he benefited from all these. And he tried to show him the right path and the straight way till his senses achieved improvement and his qualities matured even though he was just a child.
This brief period that he spent with his grandfather was the most important period of Islamic History. Because it was during this period that the Messenger of Allah (S) established and strengthened the pillars of his government and he built them on the foundation of knowledge and faith and he terrified the soldiers of polytheism and destroyed the foundation of apostasy. And Islam in a good way and powerful arms stood upon its own feet. And the brilliant successes of the Messenger of Allah (S) and his companions took a shape step by step and people entered the religion in groups and the Islamic law spread in most of the areas of Arabian Peninsula.
In the frenzy of his manifest successes the Prophet realized that his life was at its end and his tenure in his world was about to conclude, because he had fulfilled the responsibility entrusted to him and established his great religion till his steps are instrumental in the guidance of humanity and disciplining of their behavior. On the basis of this it was appropriate that he should say farewell to life’And we shall discuss here some parts of the great tragedy that struck Muslims and we shall cast a glance at that dangerous accident that happened at that time, because those events are related to the topic of our discussion and they fix many causes and calamities that Imam Husayn (‘a) had to bear with Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and difficulties and problems that befell upon them. All these have a close connection with these events.
Impending demise and separation from the life of the leader, the salvation giver and the teacher, His Eminence, the Messenger of Allah (S) became apparent, because continuous signs were appearing to prove this matter, and they were as follows:
1. The Quran was revealed on the Messenger of Allah (S) twice and this made The Holy Prophet (S) realize that the end was definitely near.1 That is why He began to talk about his passing away and spread the word about his separation from the Muslims. He told him daughter, the chief of the ladies of the world, Fatima that Jibraeel used to revise the Holy Quran with him once every year but this year he had done it twice. And this indicated that his end was near’”1
2. Secondly the following verse that was revealed:
“Surely you shall die and they (too) shall surely die. Then surely on the day of resurrection you will contend one with another before your Lord.”2
This verse was also an indication that the Messenger of Allah (S) was to pass away very soon that made apparent his hidden thoughts and the Muslims heard that He used to say, “If only I had known when that time shall arrive.”
And the Surah Nasr was revealed on him and He stopped between the Takbir and recitation and to say, “Glory be to Allah and praise be to Him. I seek forgiveness of Allah and to Him I turn.”
Muslims became worried and shocked and they went to him fearful and asked His
Eminence and he replied, “I have received the news of my death’”3
Muslims were worried, shocked and aggrieved and they began to find everything meaningless because this matter had suddenly struck them and they did not know what would befall them if the Prophet departed from the world.
When the Messenger of Allah (S) because aware of his definite end he decided to go for a visit to the sanctified House of Allah so that he may see the common Muslims. And a general congregation was arranged there, that he may specify a reliable way for the salvation of his followers so that it may keep them from misguidance and deviation.
The Messenger of Allah (S) went for his last Hajj in the 10th year of Hijrah, which is known as the Farewell Hajj. And it was announced in the public that it would be their last opportunity to see the Prophet on that occasion at that place. He said, “I don’t know; perhaps after this year I may not be able to see your at this place.”
He used to move about in most of the groups of people and he used to dispense exhortation to them to truth and explain to them their success. “O people! I leave among you two heavy things. The Book of God and my progeny, my Ahlul Bayt (‘a)’”4
The first place of refuge for the security of the community and their protection from every deviation in faith is the same attachment with the Book of God and attachment to the Purified Progeny as these two are the foundations of salvation and success of the community in the world and the Hereafter.
When the Holy Prophet (S) concluded the rituals of Hajj, he stood besides the Zamzam well and ordered Rabi bin Umayyah bin Khalaf, a young man to stand below the chest of his horse. Then he said, “O Rabi! Say: O people! The Messenger of Allah (S) is telling you: Maybe you would never see me in this condition and yourself in this condition. Do you know what it is? And do you know what this day is?”
The people replied, “Why not? This is the sanctified town, the sanctified month and the sanctified day.” After that the people agreed to these matters. The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “The Almighty Allah has made your blood and property prohibited just as is the sanctity of this town, this month and this day. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes,” they replied.
His Eminence said, “O Allah! Be witness! And fear Allah! Do not consider the property of others as valueless and do not spread destruction in the lands. Thus whoever holds a trust with him or her, should restore it.”
Then His Eminence said, “People are equal in Islam and are like Adam and Hawwa. There is no precedence for the Arab over the non-Arab and the non-Arab over the Arab except the fear of God (piety). Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes,” they replied.
His Eminence said, “O Allah, be a witness! Then he said, “Do not bring to me your family and your lineage. Bring to me your deeds so that I can say it is such for the people and it is such for you. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes,” they replied.
His Eminence said, “O Allah, be a witness! Every blood (murder) that was in the period of ignorance, we have put it below our feet (condoned it). And the first murder that we put below our feet is that of Adam bin Rabia bin Harith bin Abdul Muttalib.5 Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes”, they replied.
His Eminence said, “O Allah be witness! And we have destroyed all usury that was in the period of ignorance. And the first usury that I have destroyed is that of Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes”, they replied.
His Eminence said, “O Allah, be witness! O people! In the same way to change the sacred mouths is an increase in disbeliefs that due to which are deviated those who have become infidels, in one year they consider them permitted and the next year they consider them prohibited. So that they may make equal to the number of months that Allah has made sacred.”
Then he said, “I implore you regarding kindness to women. They are weak in comparison to you and they have no power for their selves. Rather you have taken them as a divine trust. And by the Book of Allah they have become sexually lawful for you. And your right is upon you and their right is upon you. For their food and dress with kindness. And it is our right upon them that they restrict themselves to you (in sexual relations) and not admit anyone in your house except by your permission and your knowledge. Then if they commit any trespass of the above you may keep away from their beds and you may beat them with a beating that is not severe. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes”, they replied.
His Eminence said, “O Allah, be witness! Then he said, “I implore you regarding those whom your right hand possesses. Provide food to them from that which you eat and give them to wear what you wear. If they commit a crime you must deal with them as you would deal with your own sins. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes”, they replied.
His Eminence said, “O Allah, be witness! Then he said, “A Muslim is the brother of Muslim. He does not deceive him. He does not betray his trust. He does not backbite about him. He does not consider his blood and anything from his property lawful except by his permission. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes”, they replied.
His Eminence said, “O Allah, be witness!”
Then Messenger of Allah (S) proceeded with his sermon, which was rich with Islamic message and from the clear matters of Islamic law.
After that he concluded his sermon with the following words: “After me do not turn back to infidelity that you may be misguided. And some of you may not enslave others. I leave among you a thing that if you remain attached to it, you shall never go astray. It is the Book of Allah and my Progeny, my Ahlul Bayt. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes”, they replied.
His Eminence said, “O Allah, be witness!” then he turned towards them and desired from them that what was announced to them they should promise for it and consider it obligatory. And He said, “Know that! You are responsible. Then those of you who are present should inform those who are absent.”6
In this way was concluded an important sermon of the Messenger of Allah (S), which contained all the matter for the needs of the community in social and political fields. And he also appointed for them a leader from his Ahlul Bayt (‘a) who would perform the duty for fulfilling the aims of the community in the economic and social fields.
When the Messenger of Allah (S) concluded his Hajj pilgrimage he moved towards Yathrib. When his caravan reached “Ghadeer Khumm” the trustworthy one of revelation descended to him and conveyed to him an important message from the heavens that compelled His Eminence to announce His Eminence Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) as his caliph and point of reference after him.
At that occasion the heavenly command had a severe tone having an urgency that it should be immediately acted upon and conveyed to the Muslims. Revelation descended on the Messenger of Allah (S) with the following verse:
“O Apostle! deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.”7
The Messenger of Allah (S) was warned that if he did not convey the heavenly message, all the efforts that he had put in so far in the propagation of faith shall be rendered void. And all the difficulties that he bore in the path of religion shall become useless.
The Messenger of Allah (S), with a firm determination and strong intention began to fulfill this desire of Almighty Allah. He ignored the difficulties strewn in this path and in that scorching heat of summer he halted at that place and issued orders that all caravans should follow his steps. The atmosphere was so terribly hot that everyone was keeping the corner of their outer garments below their feet so that through it they may shield themselves from the hot earth.
The Messenger of Allah (S) ordered that people should gather and pray in congregation with him. After the prayers concluded, he instructed the people to construct a pulpit with camel saddles for him. They did as bidden and the Prophet ascended the pulpit and the number of those present was 100,000 or more according to the statements of historians. They concentrated all their attention to listen to the sermon of the Messenger of Allah (S).
The Messenger of Allah (S) spoke about the difficulties he had to face and calamites he had to bear in order to bring the people from the life of ignorance towards the respectable Islamic life. And he spoke upon some religious laws and made it obligatory for them to act upon them.
After that he told them, “You must take care how you deal with the two heavy things after me.”
A man from the audience called out loudly, “O The Messenger of Allah (S)! What are the two heavy things?”
He said, “The greater heavy weight is the Book of God that its one end is in the hands of Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime and the other is in your hands. Then remain attached to it and you shall not go astray. And the smaller heavy weight is my Progeny. The Kind and the Informed One has informed me that the two shall not separate till they reach me at the edge of the Pool. And I have petitioned my Lord regarding this for the two of them. Thus do not try to precede them as you shall be destroyed and do not lag behind them as you shall be destroyed.”
After that he took the hand of his successor and the door of the city of his knowledge in order to make his guardianship obligatory for the people. Till the white of his armpits were visible and the people looked at them. Then His Eminence raised his voice and said, “O People! Who is the one more superior to the believers than their own selves?”
All replied in unison, “The Almighty Allah and the Prophet know better.”
Then His Eminence said, “Allah is my master and I am the master of the believers and I am better than their own selves. Thus of whomsoever I had been the master this Ali is also his master.” He repeated this sentence three or four times.”
Then he said, “O Allah! Befriend whoever befriends him (Ali) and be the enemy of whoever antagonizes him; support whoever supports him and abandon whoever abandons him; and make the truth to turn in whichever direction he turns. Those who are present here must inform those who are absent about this’”
The valuable sermon of His Eminence, which conveyed this divine command thus came to an end. He appointed Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) as the caliph and made him the leader of the nation and entrusted him with the position of Imamate and the Muslims rushed to pay oath of allegiance for caliphate and they congratulated him for rulership of the Muslims. And the Messenger of Allah (S) ordered the ‘mothers of the believers’ (his wives) to go to His Eminence and congratulate him and they did as bidden. 8
Umar bin Khattab came forward and congratulated the Imam and shook his hands and told him, “Congratulation, O’ son of Abu Talib! Today you have become my master and master of all believing men and women.”9
“Hissan bin Thabit” stood up and sought the permission of the Messenger of Allah (S) to recite his poetical composition on the occasion. The Messenger of Allah (S) accorded him the permission and Hissan began to recite:
“On the day of Ghadeer, their Prophet called them at the Khumm that it was worth listening to the Prophet.
Then he said: Who is your Master and the Prophet? They said while they were aware:
Your Lord is our Master and you are our Prophet and in mastership none of us shall disobey you.
They he told him: O Ali! Get up, as I have accepted you as the Imam and leader after me.
Then of whomsoever I was the master, this (Ali) is also his master. So follow him with sincerity.
At that time he prayed: O Allah! Love those who love him and hate those who hate Ali.”10
On that memorable day in the history of Islam the following verse was revealed:
“This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion’”11
Religion became complete with the mastership of Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) and the divine bounty for the Muslims with the lofty commands of religion and their high status leader reached to completion, which would enable their aspirations to reach a respectable point in life. By this method the Messenger of Allah (S) took the last step in order to save his community from mischief and deviation, because he did not leave the control of the nation to their own whims and desires. He appointed a leader and a guide for them so that he may mind the social and political affairs of the community.
This great oath of allegiance that the great Prophet of Islam organized for Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) is of the strongest proofs that specifies the Caliphate and Imamate in His Eminence. In the meeting that Imam Husayn (‘a) to oppose Muawiyah’s rule he argued with the same point and said, “So to say. You know that this Satan (that is Muawiyah) has done with us and our Shias. You saw and witnessed it and you have received news of it. And we also desire to question you about a matter. Thus if I say the truth you confirm it and if I am wrong you may deny it. Listen to what I have to say and write it down. After that you refer to those you trust in your towns and to all those whom you rely, you present to them all that you know about our rights. Because I fear that this right may be trampled, destroyed and subjugated while the Almighty Allah perfects His light even thought the disbelievers way be averse to it.”
At that time His Eminence did not leave out anything that had been revealed in Quran about them but that he spoke about it and explained to them and nothing from what the Messenger of Allah (S) had said about his parents and himself his Ahlul Bayt (‘a) remained but that the Imam reiterated it at that time. To all of his statements the audience responded with: “Yes! By Allah! Truly we have heard it.” And the companions of companions used to say, “Yes! O Allah! It has been narrated to me which I testify and from the companions whom I have faith on.”
His Eminence, in order to prove his point asked, “I put you under oath of Allah! Do you know that the Messenger of Allah (S) appointed him (Ali) and called him with his mastership and said: It is necessary for those who are present to inform all those who are not present?”
“Yes, by Allah!” they replied.12
The Imam’s oath of allegiance on the Eid of Ghadeer is a part of Islamic Prophethood and a pillar of religion. So its aim is the protection of the Ummah from the waves of false beliefs and its security from deviation.
After the Prophet returned to Medina, day by day his health began to decline because illness struck him and he had a very high fever as if flames of fire were shooting up from his body. A piece of cloth that covered the Messenger of Allah (S) was so hot that when one of his wives or any other visitor handled it, they could sense the intensity of the fever.13 A vessel filled with water was kept near the Prophet in which he used to dip his hands and wipe his face with the wet hands and he was saying, “As if I feel that it is the pain of what I had eaten in Khaiber. Or as if I see that my jugular vein is cut off and poison is being injected into it.”
Muslims were shocked and aggrieved by these circumstances and rushed to visit the Messenger of Allah (S) in his quarters and a crowd assembled therein. His Eminence spoke to them in his final moments and reminded them to keep on the right path and truth and he made bequest to them and said, “It is near that I shall be taken away and I have told you before so that I may have some excuse for you except that I have left among you the Book of Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime, and my Progeny, my Ahlul Bayt (‘a).”
After that he held the hands of his successor and Caliph, Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) and said, “This Ali is with the Quran and the Quran is with Ali. The two shall not separate till they reach me at the pool.”14
In this way His Eminence arranged the important matter for his community after him so that through it they may be able to achieve all their aims and aspirations.
When illness struck the Prophet, he became certain of his departure and desired to visit the Muslim Cemetery to say farewell to them and pray for their forgiveness. Thus in the darkness of the right he summoned Abu Muhiba and when he arrived the Prophet asked him to accompany him to the Baqi Graveyard and told him, “I have been commended to seek forgiveness for the folks buried at Baqi and for this I desired that you accompany me there.”
The Holy Prophet (S) set out till he reached the Baqi Cemetery. Then he saluted the dead and told them, “Peace be on you. O folks of the grave! Congratulations to that in which you are from that in which the people are involved. Mischiefs have surrounded them like the parts of the dark night as the last of them has become the first and the last is worse than the first’”
The Messenger of Allah (S) understood from the unseen in what debasement his community shall be involved and how there shall be deviation in religion and belief. How terrible mischiefs and calamities they would have to face and what sort of ignorance is taking them towards such a life.
At that point the Messenger of Allah (S) turned to Abu Muhiba and said, O Abu Muhiba! I have been given the keys of the treasures of the world and (choice of) living in it forever and after that I have been given the Paradise and I have been given the choice between them and the audience of my Lord and Paradise.”
Abu Muhiba was astonished and he said, “May my Parents be sacrificed on you. Take up the keys of the treasures of the world and immortality in it and after that Paradise.”
His Eminence said: “No! By Allah! I have chosen the company of my Lord and Paradise.”
The Messenger of Allah (S) sought forgiveness for the folks buried in the Baqi graveyard and then returned to his residence.15 Then Ayesha came out before him while he was moaning due to headache and saying, “O my head!”
The Prophet said, “Rather, by Allah I say! O my head! What problem would you have if you were to die before me and I perform your funeral rituals, put shroud over you and recite your funeral prayer and bury you?”
This shocked Ayesha and she said, “By Allah! As if I see that in such circumstances you would return home and sleep with one of your wives.”
The Holy Prophet smiled16 and met his wives while be himself felt in need of being nursed in his illness. After that he sought the permission of his wives so that he may stay put in Ayesha quarter in order to be nursed in his illness. They had no objection to it and His Eminence came out of his residence while a cloth was tied around his head and supported by Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) and his uncle Abbas he entered Ayesha’s quarters.
The Holy Prophet (S) learnt that a group of people were planning to keep the Caliphate way from Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and realized that the best way to prevent this eventuality was to send all companions to fight against the Romans so that the seat of his government becomes empty of them and the matter of Caliphate is easily and conveniently transferred to his successor, His Eminence Amirul Momineen (‘a). So he ordered the senior Emigrants and Helpers regarding this. On the basis of the statements of historians, Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu Ubaidah Jarrah and Bashir bin Saad17 were included in this group. And he gave the command to Usamah bin Zaid who was just a young boy and this expedition was sent out around 26th Safar, 11 A.H.
The Prophet told Usamah, “Move towards the place where your father was killed and make your horse race towards that land as I have made you the commander for this army. Thus begin your assault in the morning on the folks of Umba18 and attack them fiercely and faster than the news reaches there. Then if Almighty Allah grants you victory on them, stay there only for a brief period and take some advisors with you and send spies and scouts before you’”
On 29th Safar he himself inspected the troops that they have scattered because the senior companions had not joined the formation. The Holy Prophet (S) became angry upon this and in spite of his severe illness he came out and encouraged them to move forward and himself tied a flag for Usamah and told him, “Fight in the name of Allah in the way of Allah and fight those who have disbelieved in Allah’”
Usamah came out with his flag tied up and he gave it to Buraidah and camped at al-Jarf.
A group of companions avoided joining the army and they ridiculed and made fun of it and the commander.
Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah (S) has gone away and you have become our commander?” His statements reached the Holy Prophet (S) while he had high temperature and a severe headache troubled him. Then His Eminence became angry and with a cloth tied on his head he expressed his displeasure over his disobedience by ascending the pulpit and saying, “O People! What is the matter? That some of you say regarding the giving of command to Usamah? Previously you had opposed me when I gave command to his father while by Allah, he was qualified for the commandership and his son after him is also deserving of it’”
After that he came down from the pulpit and entered his quarters19 and requested his companions to join Usamah’s army and he told them, “Prepare the forces of Usamah.”
“Send the forces of Usamah.”
“Curse of God be on one who refrains from joining Usamah’s army.”
However, it was a pity that this strict command was not able to shake their conscience and the orders of the Prophet were not obeyed. Rather they refrained from joining the army and offered excuses to His Eminence while he did not accept any of their excuses. He only showed anger and displeasure at the absence of the obedience to his orders. We have described in detail this tragic event in the first volume of our book, “Life of Imam Hasan bin Ali (‘a) and also discussed some of their aims.
The illness of the Holy Prophet (S) intensified and His Eminence was in severe pain so he called Fadl Ibn Abbas and said, “O Fadl! Hold my hand.”
Fadl held his hand and assisted him to mount the pulpit. The Prophet told Fadl to summon people for congregation prayers; Fadl announced this matter and people gathered.
After that the Holy Prophet (S) said, “O People! My going away from you is near. And you would not see me among yourself at this place and in my place and I see that except for this if there is nothing for me. Thus if there is anyone whose back I have hit, this is my back, here you may take revenge for it. And if I have taken anyone’s money, this is my money. He may come and take it. And if I have harmed the reputation of anyone, I say that he may come and take revenge for it and none should say that he or she is scared that the Holy Prophet (S) may have malice for me, as to have malice for anyone does not befit me and neither is it from my manners and the best of you in my view is one who has some right upon me and he takes it from me and after that he forgives me so that when I meet my Creator I am not having anything upon my neck’”
By this command the Holy Prophet (S) explained justice and truth that no reformer in the world had ever done before because to give retaliation oneself so that one may leave the world in a way when one is not having anyone’s right or consequences upon oneself.
So a person came forward and said, “O The Messenger of Allah (S)! My three dirhams are with you.”
His Eminence said, “Though I am not falsifying you or asking you to swear for it, but tell me how you got three dirhams on me?”
The man said, “Don’t you recall that a beggar came begging to you and you told him to pay three dirhams from my pocket and I gave him?”
His Eminence ordered Fadl to return his money and after that the Messenger of Allah (S) proceeded with this discourse and said. “O people, if anyone of you are having concealed wealth he or she may return it.”
So a man stood up towards His Eminence and said, “O Messenger of Allah (S)! I am having three dirhams that I had concealed with me and I did not spend them on the way of Allah.”
His Eminence asked, “Why have you kept them concealed?” “I needed them,” he replied.
The Messenger of Allah (S) told Fadl to take the money and he took it and after that His Eminence continued his discourse and said, “O People, if anyone of you feels anything, he may stand up so that I may pray for him from the Almighty.”
A man stood up and told His Eminence, “O Messenger of Allah (S)! I am a hypocrite and a liar, can I be reformed?” Umar chastised him and said, “Woe be unto you, O man! The Almighty has concealed you, why are you revealing yourself?”
The Holy Prophet (S) told him, “O son of Khattab! Keep quiet, as the humiliation of the world is better than humiliation of the Hereafter.” Then he prayed for man, “O Allah, grant him truth and faith and remove evils from him.”20
A man known by the name of Suwadeh bin Quays turned to the Holy Prophet (S) at the end of the meeting and said, “O Messenger of Allah (S)! You had hit my stomach with a whip and I would like to take revenge for it.”
The Holy Prophet (S) commanded Bilal to get a whip so that Suwadeh may take his revenge.
Bilal was shocked, and he went to the lanes of Yathrib and yelled, “O people, allow retaliation to be taken from you in this world this is the Messenger of Allah (S) who is himself allowing retaliation to be taken from him.”
Bilal went to the Prophet’s house and took a whip and returned to the Prophet. He told him to give it to Suwadeh so that he may take his revenge.
Suwadeh took the whip and came to the Holy Prophet (S) while Muslims watched this terrible scene in horror, because the Holy Prophet (S) was in terrible pain due to the severity of his illness. He was in terrible pain while he was himself allowing retaliation. Suwadeh stood up near the Holy Prophet (S) and said, “Expose your belly for me.”
The Messenger of Allah (S) exposed his belly and Suwadeh said in a soft and sorrowful tone, “O Messenger of Allah (S) do you allow me to put my face to you belly?”
The Messenger of Allah (S) gave him the permission and he took his face to the Prophet’s belly and kissed it while tears were flowing on his cheeks and he said, “Instead of revenge I seek refuge from the Prophet against the Fire of Hell.”
The Messenger of Allah (S) told him, “O Suwadeh! Do you forgive me or you want to take your revenge?”
Suwadeh said, “O Messenger of Allah (S)! Indeed I forgive.”
The Prophet raised his hands and said, “O Allah! Forgive Suwadeh like he has forgiven Your Prophet.”21
Muslims were astonished and they were lost in the waves of contemplation. They had become certain that death was imminent, because the life of their Prophet was at its end and except for some moments nothing else remained.
Before his illness the Holy Prophet (S) was having seven or six dinars and he was worried about it that he may pass away from the world while the money remained with him. So he instructed his family members to give it away in Sadaqah but since they were occupied with His Eminence they completely forgot about this matter. However, His Eminence was thoughtful about it and he asked them about it and they replied that the money was yet with them. So His Eminence told them to bring the money. When they brought the money to him he kept the dinars on his palm and said, “Muhammad, what do you think about your Lord that when you meet Him while these are with you?”
After that he gave those dinars in Sadaqah and no worldly belonging remained with him,22 while during his life His Eminence had been deprived of worldly pleasures and on the basis of traditionists he died not even satiated with barley bread23 and when he departed from the world, his coat of mail was pawned with a Jew in exchange of three measures of barely.24 The pillow of the Prophet was of leather. It was filled with fiber25 and he used to sit on a mat. So much so that its marks appeared on his body so the companions told him, “If you allow we can arrange a carpet for you.”
He told them, “What I have to do with the world. I am not in the world except like a man who stands under the shade of the tree and then goes away leaving it.”26
One day Fatima brought a piece of bread for the Prophet. He asked, “O Fatima! What piece of bread is it?” She replied, “It is a piece of bread and I could not resist bringing it for you.”
His Eminence said, “This is the first meal that is entering the stomach of your father after three days.”27
His Eminence used to remain hungry for days on end and there was nothing to eat at his home and his family did not have any food.28 Ayesha has narrated about the abstinence of the Prophet, saying, “The Messenger of Allah (S) was fasting and then be continued his hunger and then fasted and then again remained hungry and then fasted again. Then he said, “The world shall not be worthy for the Holy Prophet (S) and the Progeny of Muhammad. O Ayesha! Allah, the glorified and the High was not satisfied with the Ulul Azm Prophets except that they be patient in unfavorable circumstances and favorable circumstances and He has made me responsible for the same things for which they were responsible. And He was not satisfied except that He made me responsible like He had made them responsible. Thus I was patient for Allah as they had been patient. I try and there is no power except from the Almighty Allah.”29
In the same way the Messenger of Allah (S) remained oblivious to worldly pleasures and comforts till the Almighty Allah took him up to Himself.
The Messenger of Allah (S) learnt of various political intrigues of senior companions that they had undertaken to subject the Holy Ahlul Bayt (‘a) to difficulties after the Prophet passes away. They were just waiting for the Prophet to leave the transient world so that they may put these plans into action. So His Eminence decided to protect his followers from deviation and help them against mischiefs and thus he said, “Bring for me the scapula and ink so that I may write for you a document so that you may never go astray after that.”30
Now, was there a greater bounty for the Muslims? It is a security from the chief of the Prophets, that he did not say anything of his own so that his followers are not led astray from their path and that they may support the truth and recognize the true path.
This security was for the balance of the community and for their strength and it was a guarantee of their peace and prosperity in their lives.
This covenant was from the Prophet so that the community is not mired in difficulties in political and economic domains.
Indeed, it was a great and unique opportunity in history for this community but that community did not get benefit from it because they knew the intention of the Messenger of Allah (S) that His Eminence wanted to put in writing the appointment of the gate of the city of knowledge and the father of his grandsons and in this way their desires and plans shall be destroyed. Therefore one of them replied to the Prophet, “The Book of Allah is sufficient for us’”
If the one who said this had considered that the Prophet was requesting help in his illness or wanted cooperation in religious matters he would not have replied with such audacity. Because he understood that the aim of the Prophet was the appointment of Amirul Momineen (‘a) to Caliphate.
Arguments arose between the people. Some wanted the commands of the Prophet to be obeyed and some of them opposed it. So that it should not be that their interest is destroyed. Women spoke up from behind the screens against this audacity towards the Prophet while He has in his last moments. They said, “Do you not hear what the Prophet is saying?”
Umar stood up and fearing that the matter may go out of his hands he told the ladies, “You are like the women of Yusuf. When he is sick you weep and when he is all right you mount upon his neck.”
The Prophet chastised him saying, “Leave them! They are better than you.”
At that time a horrible conflict began in the community and a group wanted the orders of the Prophet be obeyed and that they may become successful. One of them shot an arrow at the aim of the Prophet and wanted to destroy it and so he said, “The Prophet is talking nonsense’”31
Political greed of these people made them forget the position of the Prophet that the Almighty had purified His Eminence and had kept him safe from taking nonsense and other defects that are found in human beings. He had made him infallible.
Were they not aware of the words of Almighty that are intoned day and night and that announce the perfection of the Prophet and the balance of the personality of His Eminence? So much so that Almighty Allah says,
“Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray; Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed. The Lord of Mighty Power has taught him.”32
And the Almighty Allah says:
“Most surely it is the Word of an honored messenger, the processor of strength, having an honorable place with the Lord of the Dominion, One (to be) obeyed, and faithful in trust. And your companion is not gone mad.”33
That nation had understood the verse of the Book of Allah regarding their Prophet and none had any doubt in the infallibility and perfection of the personality of His Eminence. But political intrigue had pushed them towards this attitude which hurt the feelings of every Muslim. And whenever Ibn Abbas recalled this terrible tragedy he used to lament and tears fell on the checks like pearls and he used to say, “The Thursday! What a Thursday it was! The Messenger of Allah (S) said, ‘Get me scapula and ink so that I may write a document for you so that you may never go astray.’ But they said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (S) is talking nonsense’’”34
Indeed this was a great calamity in Islam that prevented Muslims from their success and establishment of truth and justice among them.
A great sorrow fell on the heart of the Prophet’s beloved daughter and the pain made her restless and grief overtook her when she learnt that her father has about to say farewell to the world. She came to His Eminence while he was trashing his legs in the throes of pain. She stood besides her father and glanced at his face and heard him say, “How sad I am!”
The pure heart of Zahra was filled with pain and sorrow and she immediately told
His Eminence, “O Father! I am also aggrieved due to your sorrow.”
The Prophet looked at his beloved daughter to find her face a lifeless picture and she was in a shock that could not be described. In order to reassure her he said, “After this, your father shall not have any sorrow.”35
These words had a shocking effect on the heart because she understood that her father was saying farewell to her. The Prophet saw that Zahra was sad, shocked and worried. The color of her face had faded and she was caught in horrible waves of sorrow; so in order to comfort her he called her near and spoke to her privately and her eyes were filled with tears. At that time he told her a secret, and a smile appeared on her lips. Ayesha was astonished at this and she asked, “Today I have not seen a joy so close to sorrow.”
Ayesha asked Her Eminence, Zahra about the secret that the Prophet had told her but she turned her face away and declined to inform her about it. When some days had passed and Her Eminence spoke about it she said that the Prophet had informed her, “Jibraeel used to revise the Quran with me once a year and this year he did it twice. And I do not interpret it in any other way except that my end is near’”
This caused her to become aggrieved. And as far as the cause of her joy and happiness was concerned it was because the Prophet told her, “You are the first person from Ahlul Bayt (‘a) who shall meet me and I shall be the best of those who go’And I am the best of the former ones. Do you not like that you should remain the chief of the ladies of this community?”36
The reason for the silencing of the flame of her grief was that he informed her that she would be the first to join him from Ahlul Bayt (‘a). After that the Prophet reduced the weight of her sorrow and told her, “O daughter! Do not weep when I have passed away. And say: Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.” And this statement carries a reward if recited at every death.
Her Eminence, in a painful and aggrieved tone told her father, “And even you? O The Messenger of Allah (S)?”
The Messenger of Allah (S) replied, “Yes! I too.”37
At that time the pain intensified for the Prophet and Zahra began to weep and said to her father: “By Allah! You are just as it is said.”
“The bright faced one! Whose face water is demanded from the clouds. He is the guardian of the orphans and the refuge of the widows.”
The Messenger of Allah (S) opened his eyes and told her, “These are the words of your uncle, Abu Talib.” At that time His Eminence recited the following words of Almighty Allah:
“And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least; and Allah will reward the grateful.”3839
Anas bin Malik has narrated that: Fatima came to the Prophet during his illness with Hasan and Husayn and she threw herself at him and kept her chest upon his chest and wept severely. The Prophet restrained her from this and she returned to her house while there were tears in the eyes of the Prophet and he was saying. “O Allah, Protect my Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and I have kept them as a trust with every believer’”
He repeated these words thrice where he was very much aggrieved because he knew what calamities were to befall them.
The Prophet’s Heritage for his two grandsons
When the chief of the ladies realized that the meeting of her father with the Lord was near she hastened to her house and brought her two sons, Hasan and Husayn while the two of them were weeping. She requested His Eminence to bequeath them something from his great virtues with which he had spread fragrance in the world. Then she said, “Dear father! These are your two sons. So bequeath something for them’”
The Prophet gifted them with some of his personal characteristics due to which he had attained superiority over all other Prophets and said, “For Hasan(‘a) shall be my awe and nobility and for Husayn(‘a) is my valor and forgiveness.”40
Hasan(‘a) and Husayn(‘a) stood up from their grandfather while they had obtained awe, nobility, valor and forgiveness from His Eminence in inheritance. Does it not show that could there be greater inheritance than these qualities, as it is having no connection with the material aspects of the world? Rather all perfections and qualities of prophethood were also included in him.
The Prophet made a bequest to Ali (‘a) regarding his grandsons and this was made three days before his demise when he said, “O father of my two beloved ones. I implore you from the world regarding my two beloved ones that very soon you shall lose two supports and Allah is your guardian after me’”
When the Messenger of Allah (S) passed away, Ali (‘a) said, “This was one of the two supports that the Messenger of Allah (S) had mentioned.”
When Her Eminence, Zahra(‘a) passed away Ali (‘a) said, “This was the second of the two supports that the Messenger of Allah (S) had mentioned.” 41
During the time when the Holy Prophet (S) was in severe pain of his illness, His Eminence, Husayn rushed to his grandfather and when the Holy Prophet (S) saw him, he hugged and became oblivious of the pain of his illness and said, “What do I have against Yazid? O Allah, do not bless him, O Allah! Do not bless Yazid’”
After that he became unconscious for a long time and when he regained consciousness, he kissed Husayn excessively while tears were flowing from his eyes and he said, “I shall be face to face with your killer in the presence of Allah.”42
The tragedy of Husayn(‘a) became certain for his grandfather in the last moments of his life and it increased his sorrow.
The Great soul, like whom the Almighty Allah had not created anyone either in the past or the future, finally reached the time when he was to separate from this life so that he may enter into the neighborhood of the Lord and be the recipient of His unlimited mercy and bounties. The Angel of death arrived and sought permission from the Holy Prophet (S) to enter and Her Eminence, Lady Zahra informed him that the Prophet was busy with himself and he went away. He returned after some time and sought the permission to enter. The Messenger of Allah (S) regained consciousness and asked his daughter, “Did you recognize him?”
“No, O Messenger of Allah (S)!” replied Lady Fatima Zahra.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “He is the same one who makes the graves inhabited and who destroys the houses and separates communities from each other.”
Lady Zahra’s heart sank and she remembered the past and the calamity sealed her tongue. At that time she said, “Woe on me from the passing away of the Last of the Prophets! What a tragedy is the demise of the greatest pious one and the separation of the chief of the selected ones. Pity the discontinuation heavenly revelation. Today I have become deprived of your words...”
The heart of the Prophet broke and he became kind at his beloved daughter and said, “Do not weep as you are the first of my Ahlul Bayt (‘a) who would join me.”43
The Prophet gave permission for the Angel of Death to enter and when he came near the Holy Prophet (S) he said, “O Messenger of Allah (S)! The Almighty Allah has sent me to you and has commanded me to obey you in whatever you may command me. If you say that I may take your life, I will take it and if you ask me to leave it, I would leave it’”
The Holy Prophet (S) was astonished and he asked, “O Angel of Death! Would you do thus?”
The Angel of Death replied to him, “I have been commanded that I should obey you on whatever you may command me.”
Then Jibraeel descended on the Holy Prophet (S) and told him, “O Ahmad! The
Almighty Allah is desirous of meeting you.”44
The Prophet chose to meet his Lord and allowed the Angel of Death to take up his great soul. And when the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) realized that the Prophet would separate from them in these moments, they hastened to him and the grandsons arrived and threw themselves upon the Prophet while they were weeping and the Prophet kissed them in excess. Then Amirul Momineen (‘a) tried to take them away from the Holy Prophet (S) but the Prophet prevented him saying, “Leave them alone so that they may benefit from me and I may benefit from them as after me a sorrow shall descend upon them’”
After that he turned towards those who had come to visit him and he told them, “I leave among you the Book of Allah and my Progeny, my Ahlul Bayt (‘a). Then to destroy the Book of Allah is same as destroying my practice (Sunnah) and one who destroys my practice is same as he has destroyed my Progeny because the two shall not separate from each other till they arrive to me at the edge of the Pool’”45
He told his successor and the gate of the city of the knowledge, Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a), “Put my head in your lap as the divine command has arrived. When my soul leaves my body, you take it in your hand and rub it on your face. At that time, make me face the Prayer Direction (Qiblah) and obey my command and you be the first to recite my funeral prayer and do not leave me till you have entrusted me to the dust and seek help from the Almighty Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.”
Amirul Momineen (‘a) took up the head of the Prophet and placed it in his lap and placed his hand under the chin of His Eminence and the Angel of Death began to capture the purified soul and the Prophet became restless in throes of death and severity of trepidation of final moments till his purified life departed and the Imam rubbed it on his face.46
The earth shook and the effulgence of justice and truth was extinguished and the one whose life was effulgence and mercy for all, finally departed from the world. And the humanity had never been struck with such a calamity because he was a leader who bestowed freedom; a teacher who taught had passed away. And the light that had illuminated the path for humanity and guided them to the right path was now extinguished.
Muslims fell into sorrow and grief, they had lost their composure; restlessness and worry surrounded them.
Muslim ladies rushed to the residence of the Messenger of Allah (S) where wives of the Prophet
had a sheet over their heads. The Prophet’s wives used to remove their head coverings and beat their chests. And they were beating their chests and the Ansar ladies were thrashing their own faces in the burning grief till their throats were injured due to their lamentation and moanings.47
Among the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) the Prophet’s beloved daughter, Lady Fatima was the one most devastated by the tragedy and she was the one most aggrieved. She was lamenting the passing away of her father in the following words: “O my dear father! O Messenger of Allah (S)! O Messenger of mercy! Now there would no arrival of heavenly revelation and Jibraeel would be separated from us. O Allah! Join my soul with his soul and intercede for me so that I can see his face and do not deprive me on the Day of Judgment from his rewards and intercession.”48
She moved around that purified corpse and said, “O dear father! I shall mention the grief to Jibraeel’ O dear father! The Garden of Paradise is his repose’ O dear father! It was God who called him and he accepted the call’”49
Muslims arrived confused and shocked while they were drowned in sorrow and lamenting the tragedy and the earth shook below their feet and they were in such a turmoil that they had completely lost their composure and they were all in a state of restlessness.
His Eminence performed the funeral rituals of the Prophet and no one shared this job with him. After that he gave the ritual funeral bath saying all the time, “May my parents be sacrificed on you! By your passing away it is discontinued that which is not discontinued by the passing away of anyone other than you, that is Prophethood, the news and the divine revelation. It was your specialty till finally others have come to give condolence for you and you became so mixed up with the people till all of them became equal to you. If you had not commanded patience and prohibited excessive lamentation the tears would have flowed till they are exhausted. But we shall observe your grief and mourn for you and fulfill our covenant’”50
Abbas, uncle of the Prophet and Usamah passed water to His Eminence from behind the curtain51 and a fragrance spread from the body of the Messenger of Allah (S) and the Imam said, “May my parents be sacrificed on you, O Messenger of Allah (S)! Alive and dead of you both are fragrant.”52 And the water with which the funeral bath was given was from a well called “Ghars” and His Eminence used to drink its water.53 Thus after the funeral bath, His Eminence was shrouded and kept on a wooden plank.
The first one to recite the funeral prayer was the Almighty Allah from the height of the Arsh (throne). After that was Jibraeel, then Mikaeel and then Angels prayed in groups.54
After that Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) recited the funeral prayer of the Holy Prophet (S). At that time Muslims arrived to recite the funeral prayer of their Prophet. Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) told them, “None of you should recite his funeral prayer as an Imam because whether dead or alive, he is your Imam.
After that Muslims arrived in groups and recited prayer on the Prophet without an Imam while Amirul Momineen (‘a) stood at the side of the bier and said, “Peace be on you, O Prophet and Mercy of Allah and His blessings? O Allah! We testify that he conveyed all that was revealed to him and he intended good for his followers and always remained concerned for their well-being. And he performed Jihad in the way of Allah till the Almighty Allah bestowed honor to His religion and He completed His word. O Allah! Make us of those who follow that which was revealed on him and after that keep us steadfast and keep us with him.” And the people charted ‘Aameen’ in response.55
People passed by the Prophet’s purified corpse with their hearts broken and sunken eyes and they were absolutely devastated by the tragedy because the one who had guided them to truth was no more and who had established for them such kingdom that was based on the invitation for justice to the oppressed and to take the right from every usurper.
He was the one who had lighted the effulgence of guidance and bestowed light in every sphere of life in all parts of the world.
After the Muslims had finished praying on that great bier and after they had said farewell to him for the last time, His Eminence Amirul Momineen (‘a) laid him to rest in his final repose and stood at the edge of the grave in such a way that tears flowed from his eyes in torrents and he spoke in a soft voice, “Patience, except regarding you is beautiful and sorrow except regarding you is bad. Your calamity is great and before you and after you also it would remain a great’”56
Flags of justice were rolled up into each other and pillars of truth began to tremble and that divine bounty was raised up from the midst that had transformed the flow of life by an illuminated reality, and wails of the afflicted and oppressed have destroyed them that there is no more scope for deprivation and affliction, and man with all his aspirations that he can obtain, like good remembrance, peace and steadfastness.
The Purified Progeny faced insurmountable difficulties after the passing away of the Prophet. There was a great danger from the Arab clans that they would take revenge from Islam and that they would attack them because revenge taking was a general tendency of the Arabs and non-Arabs of that period. And it was also a fact that they were filled with hatred and malice towards the family of the Prophet and they were just waiting for an opportunity and had their complete attention on the events. They had firm belief that it was Ali who had shed their blood and decapitated their sons. Thus they decided to take revenge from him and other members of his family.
The Prophet’s family spent sleepless nights after the passing away of the
Messenger of Allah (S) and sorrow, grief and memories had surrounded them.
Imam Sadiq (‘a) has described the level of their sorrow in the following words, “When the Prophet passed away, the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) spent the night in such a way that neither was there sky above them nor was there earth below their feet. Because they were the target of revenge from the near and the distant ones’”57
Imam Husayn (‘a), in his early childhood, bore these difficulties and shared the problems that his family was facing. And also His Eminence, by the passing away of his grandfather was deprived of the kindness that His Eminence used to shower upon him in excess. In the same way he was hurt by the grief that had befallen his respected father and mother and a terrible grief fell upon him and surrounded his feelings and sentiments.
The Prophet (S) departed to Paradise when the age of Imam Husayn (‘a) according to statement of a historian, was six years and seven months.58 At the time all his personal qualities had become perfected in him and he recognized the reality of the situation and the dangerous plan the people had drawn to keep the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) away from Caliphate. While they had abandoned the corpse of their Prophet and rushed to obtain power and they began to fight for supremacy. Those events, the natural condition of the society and other qualities and their aspects made him recognize all this till His Eminence has described his view in the following words, “People are the slaves of the world and religion is like a chewed morsel for them. They kept it safe only to the extent that they may obtain its material benefits. Then whenever they are involved in difficulties, they become less religious.”
This natural tendency is dominant in all societies and it shall not be changed in all periods of History.
The passing away of the Prophet was accompanied by very dangerous and horrible events. One of them was the keeping away of the Purified Progeny from political affairs in the country and keeping them away from social life in a time when the community was in no way needless of the intellectual and mental wealth of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) because they had inherited it from the Messenger of Allah (S).
In the same way the loss suffered by the community was a direct result of separating Ahlul Bayt (‘a) from Caliphate because greed and political intrigue became common in most of the companions of the Prophet. Their only aim in spreading political strife and disunity among the people was to obtain power and gain benefit from the dominions.
In any case the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S) was a terrible tragedy that befell the Muslims and the Holy Prophet (S) has described the intensity of the situation in the following words:
“And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least’”59
This terrible reverting that Almighty Allah has mentioned occurred in the general life and the most horrible example of it was the carnage of the Purified Progeny on the plains of Karbala and the raising up of the severed heads of the Prophet’s descendants on spear points and the taking of the honorable ladies of the Prophet’s household as prisoners and taking them around the whole country.
An important step that the Holy Prophet (S) had taken to make arrangements for keeping the system of Muslim society after him was the appointment of Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) to the position of the spiritual and worldly leadership of the community. This would have ensured security and development of Muslim society and it was on the basis of his practical experience and divine knowledge. It was such a foolproof solution that no external factor could have affected its aim. The selection of Ali (‘a) was on the basis of his superiority in every aspect, as is the unanimous opinion of all Muslims and no one other than him possessed these qualifications. We shall discuss the most important of these below:
1. First of all was the juristic capability of the Holy Imam (‘a) and his proficiency in legal maters. He was the greatest point of reference in this field in the world of Islam and the saying of Umar regarding this is famous that: “If Ali (‘a) hadn’t been there, Umar would have perished.” And no other companion was equal to Ali (‘a) in this matter. All are unanimous that after the Messenger of Allah (S), Ali (‘a) was the most knowledgeable and informed person in religious affairs and faculties of the Shariah. And also that His Eminence was the most proficient in political and administrative capabilities. The direction of His Eminence to Malik Ashtar is the strongest proof in this regard. Because this document contains such valuable information and exhortation that it does not have any peer either in secular of Islamic texts. In this way it is a complete guide for rulers regarding their duties towards their subjects and their rights upon them, and the duties of the ruler in order to achieve social and political justice for the people. The powers of the rulers and their responsibilities are fixed and those qualities that an agent of government must possess like competence, and perfect knowledge about the matters entrusted to him, and the necessity of his having good morals. He should possess faith and must follow religious practices. Other important matters are also present in this document and neither the rulers not the subjects can be needless of these teachings.
Numerous letters that His Eminence addressed to governors and other officials are full of political and diplomatic wisdom and they are the best proof that Ali (‘a) was the most accomplished and prominent persons with regard to political administration in the Islamic and the secular world.
In other sciences like scholastic theology, philosophy, mathematics etc. also he was the most knowledgeable and he opened many doors of sciences such that they exceed thirty subjects, according to what the writers stated in his biographies. And in spite of the fact that he was bestowed with such intellectual capabilities how could it have been possible for the Messenger of Allah (S) not to have appointed him at the helm of caliphate ñ which is the pivot of leadership and security of the nation?
On the basis of great intellectual capabilities that the Imam (‘a) possessed and the fact that he always endeavored for the well-being for the common people it was necessary that His Eminence the Holy Prophet (S) should choose him for the leadership of the community and not that he should have selected anyone else for this position because the Almighty Allah says:
“Are those who know and those who do not know alike?”60
Nothing can be more absurd and funny than to prefer the inferior over the superior. This absurdity became the cause of deception in knowledge and ignorance of the merits and the decline of the Islamic nation and its downfall that are the prominent examples of this tendency.
2. His Eminence Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) was the most courageous and valiant of the people and his unique feats of bravery are on the tongues of all the world. And it was he alone who said, “Even if all the Arab unite to confront me, I shall not turn my back in flight.”
And this religion was established through the might of the sword of His Eminence and it was a result of his Jihad and efforts. He was the one who slew polytheists in important battles like Badr, Hunain and Ahzab and he demolished the foundations of infidelity. He killed many of them and no danger confronted Islam but that His Eminence rushed forward to remove it immediately. The Messenger of Allah (S) always preferred him for commandership in all the battles and entrusted the command of all his soldiers to him. He did not participate in any battle but that Almighty Allah bestowed victory through him. It was him that defeated the Jews, uprooted the Gate of Khaiber, destroyed their might and extinguished the fire of their mischief.
And valor is one of the basic factors on which the leadership of the people depends. Because if the nation becomes the prey of attack and it begins to break up and their leader is weak-willed and cowardly, that nation would indeed fall into calamities and destruction and they would be continuously subjected to defeat and subjugation.
In spite of possessing this lofty quality with all its imports how could it have been possible for the Messenger of Allah (S) not to select His Eminence, Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) for Islamic caliphate? Because he was with regard to being incomparable in valor and other perfections that he had it was necessary that even if the appointment of the Holy Prophet (S) had not been present, he was still the most qualified one for the leadership of the Islamic nation.
3. The most important quality that is necessary in the person, who holds the post of leadership of the people, is self denial and self-sacrifice, the well-being of the people over every other thing and not restricting the war-booties and other public- monies for his own self. These matters were the most prominent due to which the Imam earned popularity during his time. History knows of no ruler who had overlooked personal needs for the sake of the people or who had never utilized public funds for his own self or for his family, like Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a). He suffered a great deal in this regard and tried utmost to take such a course of action that was based on justice and truth among the Muslims. The details shall be provided when we write about the reign of His Eminence.
4. Justice is the most important and significant personal quality in the personality of the Imam. Because the self of His Eminence was overflowing with piety and restraint from divine obedience and he did not prefer anything to the obedience of the Almighty and he used to be severely opposed to that which was against religion and that which was unacceptable to divine law. It was the same His Eminence who remarked, “By Allah, if all the seven heavens and all that is below the skies is given to me so that I may disobey God and snatch a grain from an ant, I shall never do so.”
And the signs of justice present in His Eminence were unique and he refused the offer of caliphate when Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf put the condition that His Eminence would have to continue the practice of the first two caliphs. He did not agree to act upon their personal opinions. And if His Eminence had been inclined (power hungry) to material benefits and worldly gains he would have agreed to the conditions and then later acted as he found fit. But he did not even agree to do so because he could not promise something that he opposed in principle. He never accepted anything that possessed any kind of deviation and wrongfulness with regard to Islamic guidance.
Justice with all its meanings had inhabited the personality of His Eminence and it is of the natural elements that are necessary in anyone who holds a responsible position in the affairs of Muslim community.
These were some qualities that are found in an Imam. Then how is it possible that the Prophet could not have appointed him to the position of caliphate? If we agree with the actual successorship that Emigrants won the argument against the Helpers, Imam was the most eligible to the position of successorship of the Prophet because he was the cousin of the Prophet, his son-in-law and the father of his grandsons.
Sedillot says, “If they had accepted the real successorship which was from the beginning in favor of Ali (‘a), it would have saved Islam from the turmoil and bloodshed that was to plague it in the future. The husband of Fatima united in his person the hereditary right with that of election.”61
A careful look which is uninfluenced by elements of partiality and blind faith would decide that the Prophet cannot appoint anyone to caliphate and his successorship merely on the basis of his personal regard for that person. His appointment of Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) was based on divine appointment and not on his personal preference to Ali (‘a). It was because Ali (‘a) possessed all the qualifications necessary for that office’ And it is of the weakest reports and very much against logic that the Prophet ignored the matter of caliphate and did not issue any instructions regarding it. Rather he entrusted the matter to Muslims and allowed them to choose whomsoever they like! Because such a thing on the basis of what the Shia scholars say was sure to destroy the social framework of the Muslim community and subject the nation to untold turmoil and misery. This was also practically seen in the history of Islam when people disregarded the Prophet’s appointment for Imamate this caused untold calamities for the community and the storms of mischief engulfed them as did the selfishness and base desires. While political greed became strong in some Muslims leaders and in order to obtain rulership and power they destroyed themselves and put a large number of people to death through armed conflicts in order to achieve their ambitions and selfish desires till finally it became common place to have ones children killed and to be bereaved and aggrieved.
Ustad Muhammad Sayyid Gilani says, “That community, in the matter of caliphate, became so much involved in such a conflict that is not as much seen in any other communities. They committed such acts that we tend to dissociate ourselves from them. And the result was that lives were destroyed, towns were devastated, villages became deserted, houses were torched to ashes, women were widowed, children orphaned and the majority of Muslim population was on the verge of destruction’”62
It is natural that the destruction that befell the Muslims its necessary consequence was that the caliphate deviated from its real center that the Almighty Allah had determined for them that it should be entrusted to Ahlul Bayt (‘a) who were equal to the Holy Quran.
In any case we shall try with utmost efforts to move towards the exposition of truth in this our discussion regarding the events that accompanied the reigns of Abu Bakr and Umar. We shall describe them in detail and with the perception of reason we shall show them in more prominence than other things. And we shall try our best to reach to the reality of the situations.
I do not consider any other event except the gathering of Saqifah more dangerous for the Muslim community that the Helpers (Ansar) had organized to obtain rulership and political power. Because it was the foundation stone for the downfall of the community and the people as a result had to face untold calamities and destructions. It was this meeting from where spread self-conceit and intrigues dominated psyche of a majority of elders of the community.
Bulis Salamah says, “Such an event occurred in Saqifa under the roof of the Saqifa that the hidden desires and hopes were aroused. The angers spread just as the branches of a thorny tree are full of prickly thorns intertwined.”
This political meet initiated a long chain of terrible events among whom was, according to the statement of researchers, was the tragedy of Karbala.
Imam Kashiful Ghita says,
“By Allah, if Saqifah hadn’t been there, there would have been no Karbala. Such that this is a branch of that same root.”
And we are compelled to ponder upon this meeting and discuss how Abu Bakr emerged victorious in it.
Many motives were responsible for the Ansar (Helpers) hastening to organize their meet without any delay and not even waiting for the Prophet to be laid in his final abode. Some of them are as follows:
1. They realized the political step that the Quraish had taken against the Imam and the plot they had devised against him. That is why they unanimously decided to keep away caliphate from His Eminence Ali (‘a) and signs of disobedience became apparent in them. That is why they avoided joining the army of Usamah and they also prevented the writing of the document that the Prophet desired in order to ensure the security and well being of the community.
It is very likely that the Ansar had much before the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S) understood the animosity of the Muhajireen (Emigrants) towards the Imam. And they knew that they would not obey the Prophetic commands with regard to Ali (‘a) and would not accept his authority because he had killed their ancestors in Holy war and routed their elders in the establishment of religious authority.
Uthman bin Affan had said to the Imam, “What can I do when the Quraish do not like you while you had killed their seventy warriors in the Battle of Badr, whose faces where like shining gold ear rings and their noses were rubbed on the ground before their lips.”63
Uthman has described the hatred of Quraish regarding those who were killed in the Battle of Badr. Those, whose faces shone due to their beauty and joy like gold trinkets while they were thrown headlong to the ground and subjected to humiliation. Without any doubt they were sure that the Imam could only be the one who has killed their men and the Quraish were going to seek revenge for the blood that the Imam had shed.
Canani has versified the encouragement to the Quraish to take revenge from the Imam for the blood he had shed of their ancestors”
“In every gathering you have humiliated those great personalities that has hurt the eyes.
Allah be good for you! Do you not remember when you were emancipated slaves of a great personality.
Shame on you! Do you not recall that which when a free man remembers he feels ashamed?
This is the son of Fatima64 who has beheaded and destroyed you and in revenge of which he has not been beheaded.
Where are those stalwarts that faced difficulties and where is the honor of the land of Mecca.”65
Ibn Tawus has narrated from his father about Ali Ibn Husayn (‘a) that he said,
“Why do the Quraish not like Ali (‘a)?”
His Eminence replied, “Because he sent the first of them to Hell fire and the last of them he humiliated...”66
In any case, the Ansar realized that the Emigrant Quraish had devised an evil plot for the Imam and that they shall not accept his authority while it was announced on the Day of Ghadeer. Because they said, “Muhammad thinks that this matter was to be completed for his cousin. Far from it that it should be fulfilled.” And the Ansar became certain that if the Emigrants took the rein of Caliphate they (the Ansar) would have to bear terrible difficulties due to their regard to the Holy Imam. Therefore they organized a meet to select their own candidate for the post of caliphate.
2. On the basis of the information received from the Prophet, the Ansar were certain that the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) would not be able to get the caliphate and that they shall be deprived after the passing way of the Messenger of Allah (S). The Imamite scholar, Shaykh Mufeed has narrated that during the last illness of the Prophet when only his uncle, Abbas, his son Fadl, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) and some close family members were left alone in the company of the Prophet, Abbas told His Eminence, “If this matter after you is decided among us, let us know about it and if you know that we shall be defeated in it, inform us about it.”
His Eminence replied, “After me you shall be oppressed.”67 And before that too His Eminence had announced this among the Muslims. On the basis of this, the Ansar themselves resorted to precaution and organized a meeting of their own so that they may obtain power and the Emigrants may not precede them in this matter.
3. The Ansar were the strong pillars of the Islamic military. They had devastated the Meccan attackers and routed their elders and killed their stalwarts in large numbers. Hence they knew that if the Quraish were to gain power over them they would definitely subject them to the worst circumstances and extract the most terrible revenge from them.
This matter is clearly delineated in the statement of Habab bin Mundhir that: “But we dread that after you someone comes to caliphate whose sons, fathers and brothers we have killed.” This prophecy became a reality, because not much time had passed when the reign of the caliphs had barely ended that the kingdom reached into the hands of Umayyads, and they began to oppress the Ansar and subject them to poverty and needfulness. Muawiyah tried his utmost to extract revenge from them and when after him the power was transferred to Yazid, he continued the same attacks on them. Their wealth and property was destroyed and their blood was shed in the plunder of Medina. It was such a terrible incident that in history it has no equal.
These were some factors that caused the Ansar to organize a meeting of their own and they endeavored by it to conceal their secret plans.
When the Aws and Khazraj tribes came together at Saqifah Bani Saadah, Saad bin Ubadah, the leader of Khazraj tribe made the opening statement of the meet and as he was indisposed he was unable to speak in a loud voice; his words were repeated by one of his aides. He said,
“O Ansar people! In the religion you have a precedence and you have excellence in Islam and none from Arabs have that excellence. Because the Holy Prophet (S) remained in his people for more than 10 years and invited them to leave idol worship and come to worship One God. But except for few none helped him. Or that they may give strength to his religion and remove his afflictions and none brought faith on him till the time the Almighty Allah selected these merits for you and kept honor and reward for you only. And made you special for His bounties. And gave you faith in His Prophet and belief in Allah and to defend him. And to defend his companions and to accord honor to his religion and to fight his enemies. All these merits were given to you. And you were the ones toughest for his enemies till the time the Arab people willingly or unwillingly submitted to the command of Allah. And the people in far flung areas with degradation had begun to obey. Then the Arabs brought faith by your swords alone. And Allah, the Glorified and the Mighty was pleased with you and when his eyes were lit by your presence, He took him up to Himself while he was pleased with you. Then in this matter (caliphate) you alone should take it upon yourself as you are more deserving of this than all others.”68
Saad’s speech contained the following significant points:
1. He considered the contest of Ansar and their bravery, which was incomparable in the path of Islam and the respect and honor they earned as a result. And how they had devastated the ranks of the foes till finally they became firm and their power was established. They had a greater share in the way of spread of Islam because they were the same who had helped and supported the Prophet during his difficult times. That is why they were more preferable to the Prophet and more deserving to the Prophet and more deserving of rulership than others. “One who has put in more efforts is more deserving of war booty.”
2. The subjugation of the Quraishite clans who had not brought faith in the Prophet, and those who denied his prophethood and fought him, till he was finally compelled to emigrate to Medina. And that those who had brought faith in him were not capable to support and defend him. On the basis of this, a share in rulership and a portion in the share in controlling of Islamic government, that the Prophet has established, they did not deserve any share in the government that could not have been established without the help of Ansar and their struggle.
Among the criticisms leveled against Saad is that he ignored the Purified Progeny, which was equal in importance to the Holy Quran and he did not make any mention about His Eminence, Imam Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) who was the Chief of that Progeny. He was the door of the City of Knowledge of the Prophet and was in relation to the Messenger of Allah (S) like Prophet Harun was to Prophet Musa (‘a). Also Saad feigned ignorance about His Eminence and he made an invitation for himself and his people. The first arrow that was aimed at Ahlul Bayt (‘a) was from that day when Ansar and Muhajireen intentionally closed their eyes to the superiority of the Purified Progeny so that they obtain rulership for themselves and that they may benefit from the rewards of wealth and gifts of rulership, and that they may benefit from the seat of power.
In any case, Saad went to such an extent in feigning ignorance about the right of the Imam and deviated so much into mistake, while we do not pay any attention to this act of his. Through his act he made the community involved into mischief and calamities and a great trouble befell it. Because the caliphate that Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet (S) had intended for the Purified Progeny went away from deserving who were such that they acted on Islam to the letter and observed its laws and commands.
Saad received the punishment of his deed and as soon as Abu Bakr obtained the seat of power he immediately went after Saad. Saad became helpless and at last he had to relocate to Syria from Medina and Khalid bin Walid went along with him from among his friends. In the dark of the night they sat in ambush for him and attacked and killed him. They composed some couplets gloating over their act of killing him:
“We killed Saad bin Ubadah, the chief of the Khazraj. And we shot two arrows and did not miss hitting his heart.”
It is really strange that the political power of that time managed to secure the services of Jinns and made them a medium of their deeds. Some people having less intelligence accepted this explanation without pondering over the political situation of that time.
The Ansar did not possess a firm determination and steadfastness and they were unaware of the political matters and inspite of their large numbers they were fraught with weakness and sloth. On the basis of what the historians say after the discourse of Saad there were arguments among themselves. They said: “If the Muhajireen of Quraish do not accept our claim and say that we Muhajireen are his foremost companions and first friends, why have you debated with us in this matter?” Some of them said: “In that case we shall say that let there be a leader from us and a leader from you and we shall not accept anything less than this.”
When Saad saw this surrender to defeat that has conquered the hearts of his people, he stood up and said, “This is the beginning of weakness.”69
Indeed, the beginning as well as the end was weak because the weak morale of theirs, the dispersal of their rows and their lack of steadfastness became apparent in the political field. When they had organized their own meet and kept it a top secret so that before the Muhajireen of Quraish could learn about the events that were to come, they may obtain political supremacy. But in this contest they had to face humiliation and they did not gain anything out of it and finally they lost the unique opportunity to gain power. When the Muhajireen arrived in the meet without prior information, differences and arguments erupted among the Ansar. The Muhajireen very soon got the control of the situation and got the reins of the government in their hands.
Another factor that became the cause of the defeat of the Anwar was their internal jealousy and malice. Since antiquity there was a great hostility between the Aws and the Khazraj tribes; the two tribes comprised Ansar of Medina. The enmity was so severe that it often led to bloodshed. According to historians the last battle fought between these two tribes in Yathrib was six years before the Hijrah of the Prophet. When the Prophet arrived in Medina and witnessed such enmity between the Aws and Khazraj that even a slightest provocation led to violence, he tried his utmost to forge a bond of friendship among them. Though they agreed to a truce it was an uneasy one and when two people of rival tribes came face to face they betrayed their inner malice for each other. According to historians there were many occasions when this latent malice developed into arguments and fights. This same rivalry came out in the open on the day of Saqifah. Hazeer bin Usaid the leader of the Aws, who had extreme dislike for Saad, when he saw that his people had selected him as their candidate for caliphate he told his people, “If the caliphate goes to Saad even once, his tribe would gain such a merit that you would not have any share in it. So get up and give oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr’”70
This shows the hidden enmity that the Aws had against the Khazraj that if Saad once achieves rulership on the basis of it the Khazraj would gain superiority over the Aws tribe. It was such a thing that was very distasteful for the leader of Aws. And that is why that he, along with his people paid allegiance to Abu Bakr. If it hadn’t been so the caliphate would not have gone to Abu Bakr.
In addition to this some Khazraj people also harbored malice towards Saad and considered the position of rulership too high for him. Because Bashir bin Saad Khazraji who was an important rival of Saad and who was with the Khazraj group, they also paid allegiance to Abu Bakr thus destroying the work of Saad.
In any case, these rivalries and malice became the cause of the caliphate going out of the hands of Ansar and landing it in the hands of Muhajireen.
Umar was instrumental in performing a dangerous and significant maneuver in order to control the situation and he laid a hurdle in every matter that led to the appointment of the Prophet’s successor, because his partner in this mission, Abu Bakr, at the time of the passing away of the Prophet was not in Medina. He was staying at Sunh.71 So Umar sent someone to bring him to Medina, but he feared that before Abu Bakr could return, someone else may arrive in the field. Therefore, he stood in the street in a horrified condition and began to roam the lanes and by lanes of Medina and he addressed every group of people, waving his sword and announcing loudly:
“Some hypocrites have claimed that the Messenger of Allah (S) has passed away while by Allah, he is not dead. Rather he has gone to his Lord like Musa Ibn Imran had gone’By Allah, the Messenger of Allah (S) would return and if anyone says that he is dead, I would cut off his limbs.”
Whosoever said that the Messenger of Allah (S) has passed away was threatened by Umar’s sword and was chastised by him.72
People were frightened and they fell into doubt. They were surrounded by waves of perplexity and they could not decide whether to believe the claim of Umar, which was their favorite wish or to believe in what they had seen with their own eyes that the Prophet lay in his bed at home without making any movement.
Umar was agitated like thunder and lightning and he was so excited that his mouth was foaming. He continued to threaten anyone who dared to make any statement about the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S). Not much time passed when his friend and companion, Abu Bakr arrived from Sunh and along with him went to the Prophet’s quarters. Abu Bakr removed the cloth from the Prophet’s face and became certain of his demise. He came out to the people and refuted the claim of Umar. Then he addressed the groups of people who were compelled to keep quiet even though they were devastated by the passing away of the great one who had brought salvation to them:
“For whomsoever worshipped Muhammad, Muhammad is dead. And for whomsoever worshipped Allah, He is alive and He has not died. And he recited the words of Almighty as follows:
“And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least; and Allah will reward the grateful.”73
Umar did not raise any objection and he also agreed and testified to it and said to the effect: “By Allah, it wasn’t but that when I heard the news of the passing away of the Prophet, my legs gave way and I fell down and my legs were not able to move.”74
If we ponder deeply on these astonishing steps taken by the two Shaykhs we shall be able to note some important points that are worthy of attention and research and they are as follows:
1. Umar became an absolute denier with all certainty in the death of the Prophet and he claimed that the Messenger of Allah (S) has gone to his Lord like Musa Ibn Imran had gone. And that he would indeed return to the earth. He warned with dire consequences all those who dared to oppose his claim. Without any doubt this act of his definitely does not prove his faith in the Prophet’s being alive. Rather it shows his pursuit of an opportunity to reach his aim and it was in perfect accordance with his plan that he had hatched with his group that consisted of persons like Abu Bakr and Abu Ubaidah. The following points prove this matter:
A. Umar was himself among those who were waiting for the Prophet’s demise, and he had asked Usamah, “The Messenger Allah is dying, are you going to be my chief?” This was while the Messenger of Allah (S) was alive and he became sure of the Prophet’s death when the Messenger of Allah (S) spoke to the people about his imminent end, and informed them about the signs of his approaching death as we have explained in the foregone pages.
B. Also Umar had stood at the bedside of the Messenger of Allah (S) during his illness and he had prevented the writing of the document that the Prophet intended to ensure that the people shall not go astray after him. Umar interjected and said: “Book of Allah is enough for us.” It is but natural that he made this statement while he had become certain of the Prophet’s imminent death.
C. The great Book of Allah has announced that every human being would have to taste death. The Almighty Allah says:
“Every soul must taste of death, then to Us you shall be brought back.”75
And the Almighty Allah has also said especially regarding His Messenger:
“Surely you shall die and they (too) shall surely die.”76
And Allah says:
“And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels?”77
These verses are recited in the light of the day and the darkness of the night. Was Umar unaware of these verses while he used to hear them day and night and he used to frequent the company of the Prophet?
D. Finally the silencing of Umar and the cooling of his temper as soon as his friend arrived while he had already announced the return of the Prophet shows that he was acting according to a premeditated plan. He did not say a word against what Abu Bakr said about the fact of the Prophet’s passing away.
2. The declaration of Umar that the Messenger of Allah (S) would return and his warning that he would sever the limbs of anyone who said that the Prophet was dead was not having any weight. Because cutting off of limbs and impaling is for one who becomes an apostate or one who spreads mischief in the land. And the mere saying that the Messenger of Allah (S) had died does not render one liable for such a penalty.
3. Abu Bakr in his statement on the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S) said, “One who worshipped Muhammad, Muhammad is dead and whosoever worships Allah, Allah is alive and He shall not die.” And it is proved that there is absolutely no mention anywhere of anyone from the Muslims ever claiming to worship the Messenger of Allah (S) or that he considered him in place of the Almighty. Rather all Muslims are unanimous that His Eminence is the servant of Allah and His Messenger and that the Almighty had selected him for His revelation and prophethood.
When the Ansar were busy in their machination in Saqifah in order to achieve Caliphate, Awim bin Saada Awsi and Maan Ibn Adi who were confidants of the Ansar but they were among the friends of Abu Bakr and members of his group since the time of the Holy Prophet (S), without any announcement they came out of the Saqifah meet, while their hearts were full of enmity and malice towards Saad. They came running to Abu Bakr and Umar and informed them about the Saqifah gathering. They became very much disconcerted at this and along with the Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah78 and Salim, the slave of Abu Huzaifah they hastened towards Saqifah and some other people from the Muhajireen also followed them. They found the Ansar gathered at their meeting place.
The Ansar were shocked and the face of Saad paled and he feared that the Caliphate would go out of his hand, because he was aware of the weakness, disunity and mutual differences of the Ansar. They had organized this meet and kept it top secret from the Muhajireen but now their unexpected arrival was going to render all their planning ineffective and in spite of all their efforts to obtain allegiance they failed.
After the Muhajireen arrived in the meeting of Ansar, Umar wanted to begin the discourse but Abu Bakr restrained him because he was aware of his acerbic tongue and this would not have in any way solved the impasse in such a delicate situation. It was necessary to observe diplomacy and soft words in order to benefit from the situation. Thus Abu Bakr with a smiling face and sweet words began to address the gathering in a kind way:
“We Muhajireen are the first people to become Muslims and with regard to our origin and lineage we are the most respected of them, from the viewpoint of houses we are in the limits of moderation and from the aspect of faces more beautiful than them and with regard to the Messenger of Allah (S) we are most proximate of them and you are our brothers in Islam and our partners in religion. You have helped and supported. May Allah give you a good reward. Thus we are the rulers and you are ministers. Arab people shall not follow anyone except this branch of Quraish. Thus do not be disheartened by what the Almighty has given superiority of your Muhajireen brothers over you. I have selected one of these two (that is Umar bin Khattab and Abu Ubaidah Jarrah) for you’”79
It is necessary to stop here for a few moments and ponder upon the above statements.
1. Abu Bakr has not accorded any significance to the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S). And this was a great tragedy for the Muslims and the most terrible incident, which had aggrieved the hearts of all Muslims. Therefore to suit the situation he should have first paid condolence at the passing away of the one who had brought salvation for them and he should have remembered his favors upon them. He should have reminded them of the good works he had done in their religious and secular spheres. After that he should have invited them to participate in the final rites of the Holy Prophet (S) so that he may be consigned to his eternal abode. After that he should have organized a general meeting in which all classes of Muslims could have attended and invited them to select a caliph according to their choice and that too with the condition that the Holy Prophet (S) had not appointed any successor after him.
2. The logic of this discourse is pursuit of power and seeking a political post. Apart from this he did not give any importance to anything. He tried to convince and advise the Ansar that for the benefit of the Muhajireen brothers they must let go of the claim for rulership and may not share the seat of power with them. And he gave them the good news that they would be their ministers. However as soon as the caliphate was established for them and they formed their government, they denied the Ansar their rights and did not entrust any official post to them and they were rather deprived of all government posts they formerly held.
3. This speech did not once mention the Purified Progeny who were equal to the Holy Quran, who were like the Ark of Nuh, that whosoever boarded it was saved and whosoever avoided it was destroyed and drowned as the Holy Prophet (S) had informed.
For this, the most preferable thing would have been to wait for sometime so that the funeral of the Holy Prophet (S) was over and the opinion of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) of His Eminence had also been sought so that the caliphate could have obtained legality and it would not have been considered a mistake as Umar has described it saying:
“Indeed the allegiance of Abu Bakr was a mistake but Almighty Allah saved the Muslims from its mischief.”
Imam Sharafuddin says, “Even if it is assumed that there did not exist specific nomination for caliphate in favor of anyone from the family of the Prophet and even if it is assumed that they were not having any precedence over the other companions with regard to their origin and lineage, or morals and valor, or knowledge and good deeds, or faith and sincerity, was there any legal or rational hindrance that the allegiance should have been postponed till after the Prophet had been buried? Or that in order to maintain peace till the matter of caliphate was it not possible to appoint an administrator to keep the situation under control? Would such patience and restraint not been suitable for the household, which was in mourning? While they were the trust of the Prophet and they were the survivors of His Eminence among them and the Almighty Allah has said:
“Certainly an Apostle has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, excessively solicitous respecting you; to the believers (he is) compassionate, merciful.”80
Was it not the right of the Prophet on his followers, the Prophet who had borne severe hardships for his people and who always caring for their well-being that his Progeny should not have been caused grief and that they should not have been deserted in the way they were deserted, while their wound was yet fresh and the Prophet had yet not been buried’?”81
4. The argument that Abu Bakr offered to advocate the superiority of the Muhajireen against the Ansar was that they were much nearer to the Prophet in relationship and he was most close in relation to them. And this standard was more applicable to Ahlul Bayt (‘a) because they were closest in relation to the Prophet than any other people. How perfectly the statement of His Eminence, Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) describes the situation: “They argued by the tree but destroyed its fruit.”
And His Eminence addressed Abu Bakr in the following words: “If you have argued on the basis of relationship, there are others who are closer in relationship to the Prophet than you.
And if you have obtained dominance on them by consensus, some people were absent at the time of consultation.”
And Kumayt says,
“The truth is with you as the Quraish have become our leaders and each word from them is having two meanings.
And they said that we have inherited it from our parents while they have not inherited anything from their parents.”
They think that they have an unjustified right on the people while the right of the Hashemites is more incumbent.82
In a tradition the Holy Imam (‘a) has described his proximity to the Messenger of Allah (S): “By Allah, I am the brother (of the Prophet), I am his cousin and inheritor of his knowledge. Then who could be more superior to me with regard to him?”
Those people fell into desires and selfish desires and in pursuit of political power they killed each other while the Prophet had obliged them to remain attached to his Progeny and not to precede them and to observe their rights in everything. But they completely disregarded all these things.
Abu Bakr succeeded in his above discourse and through it he was able to get the control of the situation in his hands because in that speech he praised the Ansar and extolled their struggle in the path of Islam and by this he cooled the flames of uprising that raged in their hearts. In the same way he made them hopeful of someshare in government by saying that they shall be ministers. As a result he was able to remove their animosity towards the Muhajireen in the matter of caliphate and also their personal ambitions to obtain political power. And he explained to them that he has preferred the Muhajireen because the Arabs would not accept anyone as their rulers except the Quraish. It seemed that this important Islamic matter solely belonged to the Arabs and the other people had no right in it.
This was the most important point to which Abu Bakr called the attention of Ansar and in this way presented himself as the most suitable candidate for rulership while at the same time be pretended to be uninterested in political greed. By this tactic he was able to gain power over the Ansar and also earn their regard’
After that Umar stood up to speak. He confirmed what his friend had said and he added: “It can never be that two persons could occupy one position. By Allah, Arabs would never agree to give you rulership while their Prophet was from a people other than you. However they shall not object if rulership is given to someone who is from the group from which the Prophet was, and that their ruler should also be from them. And for anyone who refrains from this we have a clear argument and a clear power. Who is it that can oppose us in obtaining the kingdom of Muhammad while we are his friends and partners? Except the one who prefers falsehood or is led to sinfulness and throws himself into destruction’!”
There is nothing new in this discourse except that it emphasizes what Abu Bakr had said before; that the Muhajireen were more deserving of the successorship of the Prophet and that they were his friends and partners.
Ustad Muhammad Gilani says, “He argued by the proximity of the Muhajireen to the Prophet in spite of the fact that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) was more deserving of caliphate because this argument had already been used in case of the Prophet’s inheritance because Abbas was the closest in relation to the Prophet and most deserving among the people for caliphate, but he gave this right of his to Ali and from this it became established that the post of caliphate should be solely the right of Ali.”83
Habab stood up to speak and he refuted the statement of Umar saying, “O gathering of Ansar! Get hold of your right and do not listen to this man or his companion because they would deprive you of your share in this matter. Thus if they do not accept what you want, chase them out of this land and gain dominance over them as by Allah, you are more deserving than them in this matter, because it was through your sword that people entered the fold Islam of while previously they had no faith. I am the best refuge and more far-sighted than them, I am a lion among he cubs. By Allah, if you like I can strip them off like a barren tree. By Allah, if anyone refutes my statement I shall cut off his nose with the sword’”
This monologue, which was full of anger and warnings, was a challenge to the Muhajireen to an assured conflict from the people of Medina. At the same time it was a self-praise in their valor.
Umar replied to him and screamed, “In that case, Allah shall kill you.”
Habab said, “Rather, He shall kill you.”
Abu Bakr was terrified at the changing situation, so he turned towards the Ansar and nominated his two companions, Umar and Abu Ubaidah to caliphate. But Umar rushed towards him and said in a flattering manner, “Is it possible while you are alive? No one can push you behind from the position that the Messenger of Allah (S) had accorded to you.”
Some research scholars say: “We don’t know when the Messenger of Allah (S) gave him the position or indicated it in any way. Rather, like his other Muhajireen brothers he was also ordered to join the army of Usamah. If the Prophet had nominated him to the post of caliphate or made him a point of reference for the community and center of knowledge, he (the Prophet) would have kept him in Yathrib with himself and he would not have ordered him to the battlefield; and that too when he was in his final moments.”
Anyway, the members of his group, fearing that the situation may go out of control, acted swiftly as lightning and gave him the oath of allegiance. Then Umar, Bashir, Usaid bin Hazeer, Aweem bin Sa’ada, Maan bin Adi, Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah, Salim, the slave of Abu Huzaifah and Khalid bin Walid gave him the oath of allegiance. And this group made great efforts in order to force the people to pay allegiance, and in this matter, Umar Ibn Khattab was most active and he shouted and threatened the people to secure their allegiance and the stick that the wielded was most effective in this. He heard the Ansar say, “You have beaten Saad.”
Umar replied with fury and anger, “Hit him, Allah shall kill him because he is a mischief-maker.84
They almost killed Saad while he was ailing and was in great pain. They took him to his house while he was empty handed and all his hopes were destroyed and his dreams were over.
When the allegiance of Abu Bakr took place, supporters took him to the Prophet’s mosque as a bride is carried to the bridal chamber85 while the Prophet lay on his death-bed and he was yet to be buried and out of their sight and His Eminence Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) was busy in the funeral arrangements of His Eminence.
When Ali (‘a) learnt about the allegiance of Abu Bakr he recited the following couplet:
“The people became involved in what they preferred and stood up in rebellion while Zaid was surrounded by a great calamity.”86
The lightning speed with which the allegiance of Abu Bakr took place, it completely disregarded the Purified Progeny and did not pay any attention towards them and from that day all types of calamities and taunts confronted them and the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) were subjected to various tortures and calamites, including the carnage of Karbala and all these events were rooted in that meeting of Saqifah and nothing else.
When the seat of power came into the hands of Abu Bakr, the Quraish were overjoyed and they considered it a great victory for themselves because their hopes and aspirations had been fulfilled. Abu Abra Qarashi has described the happiness of the Quraish in his following couplets:
“Thanks be to the One deserving of Praise. The trouble was gone and allegiance given to the Siddiq. (Abu Bakr).
Then the legs of Saad wavered and he was hoping that the Capella star was within his reach.
Caliphate is in the Quraish and by the Lord of Muhammad you have no share in it.”87
These couplets speak ill of the Ansar and their deprivation from caliphate is celebrated in them’
Among those who expressed joy at the allegiance of Abu Bakr was Amr Aas who at that time was not present in Medina as he was on a journey. When he returned and was informed that allegiance had been given to Abu Bakr he remarked:
“When you go to Aws, tell them and when you meet the Khazraj, say to them:
You hoped to rule in Medina? But before it was cooked, the pot was taken off the fire.”88
Happiness and joy had engulfed all the tribes of Quraish and they began to support the rulership of Abu Bakr. When the news of the Prophet’s demise reached Mecca, they decided to announce their apostasy from the Islam but when they were further informed that Abu Bakr has become the caliph, they decided to remain in his obedience and expressed their happiness and pleasure at the turn of the events.
Abu Sufyan rose up against the rulership of Abu Bakr and he came to His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (‘a) and encouraged him to rise up against Abu Bakr and assured him of his support in this regard saying, “I see dust in the atmosphere and nothing except bloodshed would settle the dust. O clan of Abde Manaf! What Abu Bakr has to do with you? Where are those two oppressed ones? I mean Ali and Abbas. Why should this caliphate be in the lowliest family of Quraish?”
Then he told to Ali (‘a), “Stretch your hand so that I may pay allegiance to you. By Allah, if you wish I can fill the land with cavalry and infantry.” And after that he recited the following couplets of Multamis:
“None could remain established against whom destruction is intended. Except those two oppressed ones, the ass of the locality and the nail.
One of them shall be buried totally in the grave and the other one shall be injured and none shall weep on him.”
Abu Sufyan motivated a tribe to oppose the rulership of Abu Bakr; however the Imam was aware of his real intention and knew his original nature. Thus he did not give a positive reply and he refused the offer and told him in an angry tone, “By Allah, you and this statement? Except for mischief, you do not intend anything else. By Allah, for ages you wished bad for Islam and we are not in need of your advice’”89
Abu Sufyan continued to create mischief and instigated the Imam to rise up against
Abu Bakr and he sang as follows:
“O Bani Hashim! Do not let them vie you, especially the family of Teem, bin Marrah or the clan of Adi.
The affair (caliphate) is for none except you and no one is superior to Abul Hasan Ali.
O Abul Hasan! Have courage as you are most deserving of the work that is awaited.”90
What is established is that the opposition of Abu Sufyan was not on the basis of faith in favor of the Imam. It was obvious that it was only a trick against Islam and he was waiting for an opportunity to harm the faith. The Holy Imam declined his offer and gave no importance to his false show of kindness, because Abu Sufyan had a very good connection with Abu Bakr. And Bukhari has narrated that Abu Sufyan passed by some people, among whom were Abu Bakr, Salman, Suhaib and Bilal. One of them said, “Did the swords of Allah not smite the neck of this enemy of God?”
Abu Bakr chastised them in harsh words, “Are you saying this about the Shaykh of Quraish and their Chief?”
Then Abu Bakr hastened to the Prophet and told him what the people had said: The Prophet replied to him, “O Abu Bakr, may be you have displeased them. If you displease them, you have displeased Allah.”91
This matter clearly shows their mutual relationship. While Abu Bakr, during his caliphate tried to win over the sympathy and friendship of Abu Sufyan. He appointed Abu Sufyan as the governor of an area between Hijaz and Najran.92 In the same way he appointed his son, Yazid as the governor of Syria. From that moment the fortunes of the Umayyads began to rise and they finally they gained power.
The star of the Ansar fell down on the earth, their aspirations were destroyed and humiliation came into their share. Hissan bin Thabit has described their despair in the following words:
“We helped and supported the Prophet and we did not fear accidents nor were we afraid of mishaps.
For his sake we gave away half of our wealth, in such a way as the extra meat of the camel is given.
Thus their recompense for our goodness was that in ignorance, they did not take us into consideration and this was not justice on us.”93
The Ansar, in most of the reign of the caliphs had to face many humiliations and it became clear that their greatest mistake was their failure to observe the rights of Amirul Momineen (‘a) and it was that they had on their own thrown themselves to terrible deviations from this life.
Historians are unanimous that the reaction of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) towards the caliphate of Abu Bakr has been that of displeasure, because they did not have any doubt that they were more superior to all others for the caliphate and that they were the most suitable for the caliphate. This was so because they were closest in relation the Messenger of Allah (S). In addition this, they possessed incomparable qualifications, capabilities and ability to bear the responsibility of the leadership of the community. However, those people did not take them into consideration and they intentionally ignored their status with regard to the Holy Prophet (S). They behaved with them in an absolutely cruel manner. This matter became a cause for disunity among the community and it had to undergo all sorts of calamities throughout the stages of history.
Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) severely opposed paying allegiance to Abu Bakr and considered it a clear act of trespass against himself because His Eminence knew that his position with regard to the caliphate was like the pivot of the mill. Such a lofty position that flood is unable to reach it and the birds also cannot scale those heights, as he himself has described.
His Eminence did not expect that this community would dare to promote this and distance themselves from Ahlul Bayt (‘a). It was that occasion when his uncle,
Abbas hastened towards him and said, “O nephew, give me your hand, so that I may pay allegiance to you so that people may say that the uncle of the Messenger of Allah (S) has given allegiance to the cousin of the Messenger of Allah (S). In that case no two persons would differ regarding you.”94
Imam told him, “Who, other than us would lay claim to his matter (caliphate)?”
Dr. Taha Husayn has expressed the same view in this matter and he says, “Abbas pondered upon this matter and concluded that his nephew more eligible than himself for inheriting the Prophet, he had precedence in Islam and possessed excellent virtues in all events as the Prophet had designated him as his brother. So much so that Umme Aiman remarked in a humorous manner, “You call him your brother and marry your daughter to him?” It was from this aspect that the Prophet told him, “You are in relation to me like Harun (‘a) to Musa except that there is no Prophet after me.”
And one day he told the Muslims, “Of whosoever I am the Master this Ali is also his Master.”95
From this aspect it was that after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S), Abbas came to his nephew and said, “Stretch your hand, that I may give oath of allegiance to you.”
Imam (‘a) in an angry way refused to give allegiance to Abu Bakr and he openly announced his displeasure and shock at the trespassing of his rights and the injustices of those people in the matter of caliphate. While those people did not pay any heed. The Imam’s utterances that are recorded in Nahjul Balagha, that is the best of the Imam’s eloquence, contains indications towards this matter.
The people decided that the Imam should be forced to pay allegiance to Abu Bakr. Thus a group was appointed for this. They went to Ali’s house, surrounded it and took out Ali (‘a) forcibly in a disrespectful manner and dragged him to Abu Bakr. Those people screamed that Ali (‘a) pay allegiance to Abu Bakr. The Imam replied to them in a very rational manner without at all being fearful of their might and force, “I am more qualified for this than you that I take allegiance from you, and not that you are more deserving to get my allegiance. You have taken this affair (caliphate) from the Ansar and argued with them on the basis of your proximity to the Prophet while you have usurped it from us, Ahlul Bayt (‘a). Did you not claim to the Ansar that you are more eligible than them in this matter?
Because Muhammad was from among you, and they surrendered the leadership to you and entrusted the command to you? Now I present the same argument that you had presented to the Ansar. We are the most superior whether in the lifetime of the Prophet or after his passing away. So deal justly with us if you have faith and if not then continue in oppression while you know that it is wrong’”
The Holy Imam (‘a) by presenting these brilliant argument showed the matter in clear light that His Eminence was more qualified than them in the matter of caliphate. He argued that he was the closest in relation to the Prophet than all others and it was the same point those people had used to gain victory over the Ansar while the fact was that the Imam was more deserving of it than others because he was the cousin of the Prophet and also his son-in-law.
Ibn Khattab, though had no reply to the statement of the Imam, stood up from his place and spoke up angrily, “You shall not be released till you pay the allegiance.”
Imam (‘a) gave him a firm reply, “Milk the udders as you would receive its gains, and make his position strong and tomorrow it shall be returned to you.”
The Imam exposed the motive of Ibn Khattab because he had not expected such a harsh response from the Imam except for the fact that caliphate and rulership should reach him after Abu Bakr. At that time the Imam (‘a) became furious and he screamed, “By Allah, O Umar, I shall not listen to you and I shall not give allegiance.”
Abu Bakr was frightened that the situation may worsen and he was horrified of the Imam’s anger. So he glanced at the Imam and said in the kindest manner, “If you do not pay allegiance, I would not force you.”
Abu Ubaidah also looked at the Holy Imam and tried to cool the flames of revolt and make peace with him and he said, “O cousin! You are young while they are elders of the community. You do not posses the same experience and understanding and I do not see Abu Bakr but that in this matter he is stronger than you and more than you he is having patience and ability to perform the duty of caliphate. So leave this matter for Abu Bakr, because if you remain alive, you shall one day be most qualified for this post from the aspects of superiority, faith, knowledge, understanding, precedence and your sonship-in-law’”
This deceptive and fraudulent manner further aggrieved the Holy Imam and he faced the Muhajireen and reminded them about the sacrifices and virtues of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and he said, “For the sake of Allah! O Muhajireen! Let the power of Muhammad among the Arabs not be taken away from its abode and center and do not distance the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) from their rights among the people and their actual position’By Allah! O Muhajireen, we are the most deserving among the people because we are the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and in this matter we are more qualified than you. Was the reciter of the Book of Allah, jurisprudent of the religion of God, scholar of the divine practice, caretakers of people’s affairs, remover of harms from them and equitable distributor among them was he not among us? By Allah he had been from us. Therefore do not follow the selfish desires as you would stray from the path of God and you shall become very distant from truth’”96
If they had replied positively to the call of the Holy Imam it would have been a guarantee for the well-being of the community and its protection from deviation and going stray in the spheres of faith and other fields. He would also have saved the nation from many evil consequences. But alas! Since a long time people went towards greed and fulfillment of selfish desires and sacrificed everything on this.
Anyway, the people did not pay any heed to the Imam’s logic and considered their material gains over everything else.
The government of Abu Bakr decided that dreadful steps be taken against the Imam and all efforts must be concentrated to weaken and suppress him in every way. Because His Eminence was the symbol of opposition to the government and the absolute majority were inclined towards that the Imam may take the reins of government in his hands. Here we shall discuss some steps that the government of Abu Bakr initiated.
Economic embargo is the most effective and the most certain way to render ineffective the movement of opposition and to destroy it. Because wealth and riches, in all stages of history were active agents employed by those in power to suppress their opponents who intended to topple the government. This method is followed by all the ruling powers that they confiscate the wealth of their opponents or that they prohibited their rivals from spending anything from their wealth so that they may not employ these funds to topple the government or cause harm to it.
Abu Bakr also took steps in this regard and initiated economic restrictions against the Holy Imam (‘a) so that he may not have any power to rise up against the government. Therefore he initiated the following steps:
Khums is the legal share of the family of the Messenger of Allah (S) and the Holy
Quran has specifically stated it to be in their favor:
“And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if you believe in Allah and in that which We revealed to Our servant, on the day of distinction, the day on which the two parties met; and Allah has power over all things.”97
Muslims are unanimous that the Prophet has specified a share of Khums for himself and his relatives and this practice continued till the Almighty Allah raised His Eminence to Himself. When Abu Bakr received power he abrogated the share of the Prophet as well as that of his relatives and he deprived the Bani Hashim from this making them equal to ordinary populace.98
The beloved daughter of the Prophet, that is Lady Fatima(‘a), sent a message to him to deliver the remaining Khums of Khaiber to her but he refused to send her anything.99 And the ghost of poverty hovered over the family of the Prophet (S) and they were deprived of the most important source of funds that the Almighty had specified for them.
Abu Bakr took over the control of all the property left by the Prophet, which could have become a source of income for Ahlul Bayt (‘a). He did not leave anything but that he included it all in the pubic treasury and in this way every day he imposed a new restriction for Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and established an economic embargo against them so that they may remain incapable of taking any action against him.
In order to justify his confiscation of the Prophet’s inheritance and deprivation of Lady Fatima from it, he presented as proof and support a saying of the Messenger of Allah (S): “We do not leave any inheritance and whatever we leave is charity.”100
On the basis of this ‘tradition’ Abu Bakr deprived Lady Fatima from her inheritance. The tradition presented by Abu Bakr is fraught with numerous defects and weakness:
1. If this tradition had been correct and authentic, the chief of the ladies, Her Eminence, Fatima (‘a) would not have come out to anyone against them. Because how is it possible that being a part of Prophethood, Her Eminence should demand something in which she had no lawful share?
2. How is it possible that the Prophet could deny his beloved daughter something that is from her lawful share? Because this matter would lead the community into destruction and subject them to mutual conflict.
3. It is not possible that the Prophet had concealed this tradition from Imam Ali (‘a) while the Imam was a trustee of all his secrets, the door to the city of his knowledge, the gate of the abode of wisdom, the most equitable of the people and the father of his two grandsons. And if at all this saying had been correct, the Imam would have been cognizant of it and the Prophet (S) would not have concealed it from him.
4. If this saying had been correct, the Bani Hashim who were the trustees of his secrets and the family of the Messenger, why did the Prophet did not convey this tradition to them?
5. If this tradition had any authenticity it would not have remained concealed from the ‘mothers of the believers’ (Prophet’s wives) when they sent a message to Uthman bin Affan that he may requisition their share of the Prophet’s inheritance’”
The above are the objections that apply to this tradition and the conclusion derived from this exposes this saying to be the weakest and most inauthentic.
The world became straitened for the beloved of the Prophet and the steps that Abu Bakr had initiated to impose economic restrictions had made them terribly week economically. Narrators say that Her Eminence with a head covering and a sheet wrapped around her and with some of her female relatives and neighbors walked majestically like the stride of the Prophet till she arrived in the presence of Abu Bakr at a time when a lot of people from the Muhajireen, Ansar, and other people were also present there.
A curtain was put for her and Her Eminence sighed in grief and the people began to weep due to her sad wail and turmoil began among the gathering. She allowed the people respite that their wails may calm and their tears may stop flowing. At that time she commenced her address with praise and glorification of the Almighty and she continued her sermon like flowing water in such a way that no one had heard a more eloquent and meaningful discourse.
In her incomparable discourse, Her Eminence, Zahra (‘a) spoke on the philosophy of Islam and discussed the causes of the laws and the wisdom of Islamic rules and regulations. She described the condition of the people before the dawn of Islam that to what extent they were mired in oppressing each other, how backward they were in knowledge and how ignorance dominated their minds. Especially in the Arabian Peninsula, where they were targets of humiliation and were on the verge of the pit of fire, that every drinker used to derive enjoyment from them and every greedy one was eyeing and everyone who moved used to take advantage from them and they were trampled under the feet of all those who walked. So much so that they were in such terrible poverty that sometimes they had to satiate their hunger with carrion and quench their thirst with waste water. They were getting more and more arrested in those terrible circumstances when through the medium of the Holy Prophet (S), the Almighty Allah bestowed them salvation and freedom and led them on the path of progress and development and made him the leader of their community. How great was the superiority of His Eminence on the Arabs and all the people’
The Chief of the Ladies then alluded to the merits of her cousin, His Eminence, Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) and his manifest Jihad in defense of Islam against the enemies at a time when the Muhajireen of Quraish were spending a life of comfort and security and had no role in the propagation of Islam. Rather, as the Prophet has described that at the time of confrontation they used to run away from the battlefield and they used to flee in horror. While regarding the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) they used to wait for an opportunity or used to wish that some tragedy may befall them.
In her sermon, Her Eminence expressed intense regret and remorse at the changed circumstances and the deviation of Muslims and their falling into the lure of selfish desires and pride and she prophesied how they would be the victims of terrible events and calamities due to their sins and deviations from that which the Almighty had prescribed for them, that they should remain attached to Ahlul Bayt (‘a). And after she had spoken on these matters she indicated towards her inheritance towards her inheritance that she was supposed to have received from her father but she had been deprived from it. She said, “And the claim that you make that inheritance of my father is not for me; are you trying to impose the law of the period of Ignorance? While, which law is better than divine law for a people who believe?”
Don’t you know? Yes, indeed it is obvious to you that I am his daughter.
O Muslims! Will my inheritance be usurped? O son of Abu Quhafa! Where is it in the Book of Allah that you inherit your father and I do not inherit mine? Surely you have come up with an unprecedented thing. Do you intentionally abandon the Book of Allah and cast it behind your back? Do you not read where it says: And Sulaiman inherited Dawood’?
And when it narrates the story of Yahya bin Zakaria and says:
“And surely I fear my cousins after me, and my wife is barren, therefore grant me from Thyself an heir. Who should inherit me and inherit from the children of Yaqoob, and make him, my Lord, one in whom Thou art well pleased.”
And: “But kindred by blood have prior rights against each other in the Book of Allah.”
And: Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance) to the male, a portion equal to that of two females. And, if he leaves any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage; this is due from the pious ones.’ You claim that I have no share! And that I do not inherit my father! What! Did Allah reveal a (Quranic) verse regarding you, from which He excluded my father? Or do you say: “These (Fatima and her father) are the people of two faiths, they do not inherit each other?!’ Are we not, me and my father, a people adhering to one faith? Or is it that you have more knowledge about the specifications and generalizations of the Quran than my father and my cousin (Imam Ali)? So, here you are! Take it! (Ready with) its nose rope and saddled! But if shall encounter you on the Day of Gathering; (thus) what a wonderful judge is Allah, a claimant is Muhammad, and a day is the Day of Rising. At the time of the Hour shall the wrongdoers lose; and it shall not benefit you to regret (your actions) then! For every Message, there is a time limit; and soon shall ye know who will be inflicted with torture that will humiliate him, and who will be confronted by an everlasting punishment. (Fatima then turned towards the Ansars and said:) O you people of intellect! The strong supporters of the nation! And those who embraced Islam; what is this short-coming in defending my right? And what is this slumber (while you see) injustice (being done toward me)? Did not the Messenger of Allah, my father, used to say: A man is upheld (remembered) by his children’? O how soon have you violated (his orders)?! How soon have you plotted against us? But you still are capable (of helping me in) my attempt, and powerful (to help me) in that which I request and (in) my pursuit (of it). Or do you say: “Muhammad has perished;”
Surely this is a great calamity; its damage is excessive its injury is great, its wound (is much too deep) to heal.
The earth became darkened with his departure; the stars eclipsed for his calamity; hopes were seized; mountains submitted; sanctity was violated, and holiness was encroached upon after his death. Therefore, this, by Allah, is the great affliction, and the grand calamity; there is not an affliction - which is the like of it; nor will there be a sudden misfortune (as surprising as this).
The Book of Allah ñ excellent in praising him ñ announced in the courtyards (of your houses) in the place where you spend your evenings and mornings; a call, a cry, a recitation, and (verses) in order. It had previously come upon His (Allah’s) Prophets and Messengers; (for it is) a decree final, and predestination fulfilled: “Muhammad is not but an Apostle: Many were the apostles that passed away before him. If he died or was slain, will ye then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.” O you people of reflection; will I be usurped the inheritance of my father while you hear and see me? (And while) You are sitting and gathered around me? You hear my call, and are included in the (news of the) affair? (But) You are numerous and well equipped! (You have) the means and the power, and the weapons and the shields. Yet, the call reaches you but you do not answer; the cry comes to you but you do not come to help? (This) While you are characterized by struggle, known for goodness and welfare, the selected group (which was chosen), and the best ones chosen by the Messenger for us, Ahlul Bayt. You fought the Arabs, bore with pain and exhaustion, struggled against the nations, and resisted their heroes. We were still, so were you in ordering you, and you in obeying us. So that Islam became triumphant, the accomplishment of the days came near, the fort of polytheism was subjected, the outburst of infidelity calmed down, and the system of religion was well-ordered. Thus, (why have you) become confused after clearness? Conceal matters after announcing them? Turned on your heels after daring? Associated (others with Allah) after believing? Will you not fight people who violated their oaths? Plotted to expel the Apostle and became aggressive by being the first (to assault) you? Do ye fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom ye should more justly fear, if you believe!
Nevertheless, I see that you are inclined to easy living; dismissed he who is more worthy of guardianship (Ali(‘a)); You secluded yourselves with meekness and dismissed that which you accepted. Yet, if you show ingratitude, ye and all on earth together, yet, Allah free of all wants, worthy of all praise. Surely I have said all that with full knowledge that you intend to forsake me, and knowing the betrayal that your hearts sensed. But it is the state of soul, the effusion of fury, the dissemination of (what is) the chest and the presentation of the proof. Hence, here it is! Bag it (leadership and) put it on the back of an ill she-camel, which has a thin hump with everlasting grace, marked with the wrath of Allah, and the blame of ever (which leads to) the Fire of (the wrath of Allah kindled (to a blaze), that which doth mount (right) to the hearts; for, Allah witnesses what you do, and soon will the unjust assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take!
And I am the daughter of a warner (the Prophet) to you against a severe punishment. So, act and so will we, and wait, and we shall wait.’101
The hearts began to burn and the eyes opened wide and the people began to feel suffocated, life went away then came back so that the air which had gone should come back and truth was about to be re-established. However, Abu Bakr was well- known for his quick tongue and with the power of diplomacy he was able to regain the control of the situation and he saved his government from a revolution. Because he expressed utmost honor and respect for the beloved daughter of the prophet as if he had more regard for her than his own daughter, Ayesha. And from the depths of his being he seemed to hold her in reverence. He also expressed a deep grief for the passing away of her dear father, the Prophet of God, while he had actually wished the Prophet had died before his death. He said that he had not initiated these steps on his own and neither had he obtained the seat of rulership of his own. It was actually the choice of the majority and consensus the people!!!
In this way he won over the hearts that had began to dislike him and he cooled the fine of revolution and he destroyed all the signs.
The arguments of Her Eminence, Zahra (s.a) regarding the inheritance of her father, were absolutely solid. Because the proofs she had put forth were in the form of unambiguous verses of the Holy Quran that none could refute. Her Eminence, firstly mentioned the instances of Prophets leaving inheritance to their heirs, in which her father was also included. In this regard she presented two verses about Prophet Dawood and Prophet Zakaria and proved clearly their leaving of inheritance.
Secondly: She mentioned the general verses related to inheritance and also the general verses about the making of wills and she emphasized that it was necessary to act on their generality and her father was also naturally included in them and exceptions to these is only applicable for those who are mentioned in a specific way. Then she explained to them the factors that lead to such exception. She said it was only applicable in case where the one who leaves the legacy and the inheritor belong to different faiths and said to them: Have you deprived me from the inheritance of my father because he and I belong to different faiths? But we belong to one and the same religious order.
Through this logic and clear-cut arguments, Her Eminence reached the highest stage in defending her rights.
Here an important matter remains in the sphere of economics and that is the income of Fadak that used to take care of the expenses of the purified progeny and accorded them economic independence. However this was confiscated and its income was added to the Public Treasury so that it may not enable Ali (a.s) to rise up against the government.
There are many important arguments on this subject and we have spent much time in their investigation but we shall not further go deeper into the matter as it is beyond the scope of this book exclusively about the biography of Imam Husayn (a.s). However since the foregone events had direct impact on the life of Imam Husayn (a.s) we have describe them to some extent so that the readers may gain insight into the political situation of that period and the role he played in the Islamic Polity. Also that all those events belonged to a single chain due to which the Holy Imam (a.s) had to undergo severe difficulties and calamities.
The passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S) was a terrible tragedy for Lady Fatima(s.a) and she was so much devastated by the death of her father that dark clouds of grief surrounded her due to the absence of her father, who was more precious to her than her own life.
Her Eminence used to visit the Holy grave of her father and circumambulate it in an extremely shocked condition. She used to throw herself on the grave and take a handful of dust from it and rub it over her eyes and face and smell it and kiss it and derive some comfort from it. At that time she used to weep in excess and in a mournful recite the following lines of poetry:
“What surprise if one who smell the dust of Ahmad had refrained from smelling any fragrance all the life.
Such calamities have befallen me that if they had fallen on days they would have turned into nights.
Say to the one who is concealed beneath layer of dust if you can hear my plea and entreaty.
I was in the refuge of Muhammad(‘s) in such a way that I never saw hardship or problems as he was my embellishment.
And today in front of the debased ones I am being oppressed and I cannot say anything due to the grief and to remove our oppressors.
Thus just as the pigeon weeps in grief at night on the branches, I weep during the day.
After I have made grief my companion and made it my habit to weep in your separation.”102
These couplets accurately describe the true picture of grief and sorrow of Lady Zahra (s.a) because they speak of the emotions that beset her on the passing away of her father. A father who had so much love and regard for her and she also loved him more than anything else. And if her killing pains had fallen on days they would have removed their embellishments from them...
These sorrowful lines describe her status and position during the lifetime of her father. Her Eminence was the most loved and respected lady among the Muslims. However after the passing away of her father the people did not take into consideration her position and they united in disregarding her status. So much so that Her Eminence had to face injustice from those debased persons and taking care to protect her veiling (purdah) she announced the oppressions to which she was subjected and she defended herself because there was no one who could defend effectively or speak on her behalf.
Her Eminence took refuge in weeping and grief till she became one of the ‘Five most weeping ones’103 as they were the ones who expressed their grief in this life. And the pain and sorrow of Her Eminence at the death of her father was so severe that when Anas bin Malik sought permission to give condolence to her on the great tragedy and he was of those who had participated in the Prophet’s burial. Her Eminence asked him, “Are you Anas bin Malik?” “Yes, O, daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S),” replied Anas. Her Eminence spoke with a heavy heart and asked him, “O Anas, how did you yield yourselves to strew dust on Allah’s Messenger (S)?”104
Anas left his statement incomplete and he came out weeping and devastated in grief.
The Prophet’s beloved daughter insisted to her cousin, His Eminence Amirul Momineen (‘a) to show her the dress of her father, the Messenger of Allah (S) in which he was given the funeral bath.
His Eminence brought the dress to Fatima(s.a). She took the dress in her hands, smelt it and then kissed it because she found in it the fragrance of her father that she had been taken away from her and lay in the everlasting place of rest she put the garment on her eyes and her heart was splitting up in grief and it was as if she has lost consciousness...
The Prophet’s daughter continued to weep and lament in the light of the day and the darkness of the night and the remembrance of her farther remained fresh with her all her brief life after the Prophet’s passing away. Such was the intensity of her lamentation that many people were disturbed by it so much that they petitioned Amirul Momineen (‘a) to ask Her Eminence, Zahra to (‘a) limit her lamentations to a particular time.
Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) spoke to Her Eminence and she accepted it. During the day she used to go to the outskirts of Medina with her two sons. She sat under the shade of a tree and lamented on her father day and night. When the sun was about to set, Hasan and Husayn (‘a) used go with their father and bring her home while she used to be in agony. Those people went out and cut off that tree and Her Eminence had to sit under the sun to lament for her father. Therefore Amirul Momineen (‘a) constructed a dwelling for her and named it “Baitul Ahzan” (the house of sorrows) so that the memory of her grief may endure for a long time. It is related from His Eminence, the Qaim(‘a) of Aale Muhammad that he said regarding that house:
“Have you seen me? No, by His greatness that after the Baitul Ahzan was happiness ever seen in our house?”
The beloved daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S) spent her days in that house of sorrows and lamented on her father addressing him in isolation and wept bitterly in her grief. When night fell, Ali (‘a) used to go and along with her two sons brought her home.
The grief affected the dear daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S) so deeply that she was afflicted with such a terrible illness that she became confined to her bed and did not have any strength to stand up on her feet. Thus some Muslim ladies went to visit her and said to Her Eminence, “O daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S), how do you feel today?”
Her Eminence looked at them in a forlorn manner and spoke in a soft voice full of sorrow, “I am sick of your world and pleased at your separation with sadness, I go for the meeting with the Lord and His Messenger. Neither was our right protected nor our position respected nor the will in our favor was accepted and neither our sanctity observed’”105
A fearful silence fell upon those women and a severe grief beset their features. Their eyes filled with tears and they went to their homes in a slow gait. They told their husbands what the Prophet’s daughter had mentioned. The effect of her words was more severe than the strokes of a sword because they realized their shortcomings regarding the memory of their Prophet (His daughter).
Some wives of the Messenger of Allah (S) went to visit her and said, “O daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S)! Let us help you take a bath.”
Her Eminence did not accept their offer, “Do you want to say the same thing that you say about my mother? I do not need anything from you.”
The remembrance of the Prophet brought such severe illness that the weak physique of Lady Fatima completely weakened in such a way that she did not have strength remaining in her to even get up from her bed. She was slowly withering away like a flower deprived of moisture because death was approaching her fast while she was yet in her early youth. The time of her meeting with her father was near. The father who had separated from her and along with him were gone the affection and kindness he had showered her with.
It became obvious that she was soon to say farewell to the world. She summoned her cousin, Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) and stated her bequest to His Eminence which among other points had express instructions that her holy mortal remains should be consigned to the dust in the darkness of the night and that none of those who had oppressed her be allowed to attend the funeral because they were her enemies and enemies of her father as Her Eminence has stated. She also told His Eminence that after she had passed away he must marry Amamah because she would be able to take care of Hasan(‘a) and Husayn(‘a) the most beloved ones to Lady Fatima(s.a). She told His Eminence to keep the place of her burial secret so that the symbol of her anger which was unexplainable may remain for all days for the future generations.
The Holy Imam assured that all her instructions shall be carried out and the grief and sorrow of Her Eminence was dispelled.
The Prophet’s beloved daughter told Asma binte Umais, “I do not like the way the funeral of ladies is carried out.” Because they used to cover the mortal remains of a female with only a cloth. Thus anyone who glanced at her could easily make out the shape of her body. Her Eminence did not like this and she said that an enclosed bier be constructed for her so that when she is being taken to her grave no one shall be able to discern the shape of her body. Hence Asma made a bier as per her instructions because she had seen a similar device in Abyssinia when she resided there.
When Her Eminence saw it she was pleased and she smiled. This was the first time she had smiled after the passing away of her father.106
On the last day of her life, Her Eminence was seen to be slightly comfortable and she expressed her happiness because she knew that it was the day she would be joined with her father.
Hence she gave bath to her two sons and prepared a meal for them that would suffice them that day and then she told them to go and visit the tomb of their grandfather. She glanced at them for the last time and her heart was filled with pain of grief and sorrow.
Hasan(‘a) and Husayn(‘a) departed with a sort of uneasiness in their hearts. They had a terrible premonition which caused them sadness and grief. The beloved daughter of the Prophet then glanced at Asma binte Umais who was appointed to nurse her, and said, “O mother!”
“Yes, O beloved of the Messenger of Allah (S)?” replied Asma. Fatima(‘a) said, “Prepare bathing water for me.”
She arose and brought the water for Her Eminence and she took a bath. Again she told Asma to bring her new dress to her.
Asma brought her dress and again Lady Fatima(‘a) told her, “Arrange my bed in the middle of the house.”
Asma became greatly worried and she began to tremble because she knew that the time of death of the Prophet’s daughter was near.
Asma provided her with whatever she had desired. Her Eminence rested on her bed and turning towards the Qiblah (Prayer direction) she softly called out to Asma, “O mother, when I am gone away, no one should remove my clothes as I have purified myself.”
Then she began to recite the verses of the Holy Quran till her soul departed to unite with her Maker and the lofty soul ascended to her Lord so that she may meet her father. Such a father that after whom she did not like to live.
That soul hastened towards Paradise and pleasure of the Almighty. Such a soul that none had seen anyone like her in the whole universe. Who had no equal in loftiness, purity, merit and greatness. By her death, the surviving child of the Holy Prophet (S) departed from the world of existence.
Hasan(‘a) and Husayn(‘a) returned but did not find their mother. They rushed to Asma and asked her about their mother but she was weeping. She told them, “O my masters, your mother has passed away, go and inform your father.”
This news fell upon them like a bolt of lightning. They rushed to their departed mother and Hasan(‘a) threw himself upon her saying, “O my mother, speak to me before my soul leaves my body.”
And Husayn (‘a) threw himself on her while he was weeping and saying, “O my mother, I am your son, Husayn. Speak to me before my heart bursts.”
Asma kissed them and comforted them and told them to immediately go their father and convey the news to him.
The two boys went out to the mosque of their grandfather, the Messenger of Allah(S) and when they came near the mosque their wails raised up.
Muslims came forward to welcome them as they thought that the children were weeping in the memory of their grandfather. So they told them, “O sons of the Messenger of Allah (S), what has made you weep? May be seeing the tomb of your grandfather you have become eager for him.”
They replied, “No, it isn’t so. But our mother, Fatima(‘a), has passed away.”
Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) was devastated by the news and it shook his whole being. He said, “daughter of Muhammad, from whom shall we seek comfort? I used to derive comfort from your presence. Now after you who can comfort me?”
Immediately be hastened to his house while tears flowed from his eyes. When he saw the mortal remains of the Prophet’s beloved daughter, the following couplets came on his lips,
“For every friendship there is separation. And what is other than that is less.
And it is that I have lost Fatima after the Prophet, it proves that no companionship is everlasting.”
People rushed towards the Imam’s house to pay condolence for the Prophet’s daughter because by the passing away of Her Eminence the last of the pillars of prophethood had gone. The demise of Lady Zahra reminded them of the love and kindness of the Prophet for them. Wails and lamentations rocked the town of Medina.
Imam told Salman Farsi to inform the people that the burial of the Prophet’s daughter has been postponed to that night. The people dispersed from there.
Ayesha came forward and entered the Imam’s house to see for the last time the Prophet’s daughter. But Asma stopped her saying, “She had told us not to allow anyone to her’”107
When a part of the night had passed Imam (‘a) arose and gave the funeral bath to the purified body. Asma, Hasan(‘a) and Husayn(‘a) were with him and his heart was drowned in a deep sorrow. And after he shrouded Her Eminence, he called his children who were not yet satiated by the love of their mother so that they may see her for the last time while earth was shaking with their lamentations’
After the farewell, the Imam knotted the shroud and when the last part of the night arrived he arose and performed the funeral prayer for Her Eminence. Then he told the persons of Bani Hashim and his close friends to carry the blessed body to the eternal placed of repose and except for his trusted confidants and family members, he did not inform anyone else. Then he placed Her Eminence in the grave and strew dust on her. Then he stood besides the grave and tears flowed from his eyes with such propensity that the earth was becoming wet with them. He uttered the following words describing his shock and grief:
“O Messenger of Allah (S), peace be upon you from me and from your daughter who has come to you and who has hastened to meet you. O Messenger of Allah, my patience about your chosen daughter has been exhausted and my power of endurance has weakened, except that I have ground for consolation in having endured the great hardship and heart-rending event of your separation. I laid you down in your grave while your last breath had passed (when your head) was between my neck and chest. Verily we are Allah’s and verily unto Him shall we return. Now the trust has been returned and what had been given has been taken back. My grief knows no bounds, and my nights will remain sleepless till Allah chooses for me the house in which you are now residing. Certainly your daughter would apprise you of the joining together of your people for oppressing her. You ask her in detail and get all the news about the position. This happened when a long time had not elapsed and your remembrance had not disappeared. My salutation be on you both, the salutation of a grief stricken not of a disgusted or a hateful person; for if I go away it is not because I am weary (of you) and if I stay it is not due to lack of belief in what Allah has promised the endurers.”108
These statements were filled with mortal grief and deep sorrow and they complained to the Prophet about the pains and afflictions that befell his beloved daughter. Imam (‘a) requested the Messenger of Allah (S) to inquire from his daughter directly about the tortures she had to bear in the short period she lived after his passing away.
In the same way His Eminence announced his personal grief at the passing away of the Prophet’s beloved daughter. Because it was such a terrible tragedy for him that the flames of grief were never to cool for him, till he meets the Lord.
The Holy Imam (‘a) came away from the grave of Lady Fatima not due to his desire or something detestable. He did so in order to promote the Islamic teachings that emphasized patience on every tragedy.
The Imam returned home in remorse to find his children weeping severely in the sorrow of their mother and this scene renewed his own grief. His Eminence preferred to keep away from the people and not to participate in any of their activities because they had turned away from him. Hence he also decided to leave them on their own and they did not involve him in any of their affairs but when they used to become helpless in some matter and had no solution for their problem they were compelled to rush to His Eminence that they may gain something from his knowledge.
It is natural that for children the most terrible tragedy is the passing away of their mother because by this they see all the aspirations of their life destroyed.
Imam Husayn (‘a) witnessed great tragedies during his early childhood that had befell his mother. These afflictions had a deep impact on his psyche. These events made it clear to him what the people intended and what their aims were and that they were not inclined towards truth, rather they were in pursuit of greed and selfish desires.
The official machinery of Abu Bakr worked according to the advice of Umar Ibn Khattab because he had the trust of Abu Bakr in matters of external and internal programs of the regime. No decision was ever taken and no official was ever appointed without the consent of Umar.
He used to appoint only those at the position of governorship of various areas and provinces whom he considered loyal to the regime. And if he even slightly doubted the loyalty of any person he did not entrust him with even the most minor government post.
Historian says, “Abu Bakr deposed Khalid bin Saeed bin Aas from the commandership of the army that had been dispatched for the conquest of Syria only because Umar had advised thus. Though Khalid otherwise had all the necessary qualification, his only drawback was his sympathies for Ali (‘a) and his opposition to the selection of Abu Bakr at Saqifah.”109
Abu Bakr did not consider any person from the Bani Hashim for any sort of post and appointment and Umar in his conversation with Abbas has revealed the real cause of this deprivation. It was that he feared that in case he died and someone from the Hashemites became a ruler in part of the Islamic lands, an absolutely undesirable condition will develop in the matter of caliphate.110
In the same way he deprived the Ansar from government posts and it was due to their excessive leanings towards Ali (‘a). However, the majority of officials and governors of the regime belonged to the Bani Umayyah clan. Some of them were as follows:
1. Abu Sufyan: He was appointed as the governor of the area consisting of the farthest limits of Hijaz up to the last limits of Najran.111
2. Yazid bin Abi Sufyan: He was appointed as the governor of Syria.112 Historians say: He escorted him till the outskirts of Medina.
3. Itab bin Usaid: Abu Bakr appointed him as the governor of Mecca.113
4. Uthman bin Abil Aas: He was designated as the governor of Taif114 and from that day the star of the Umayyads began to ascend. And they regained their existence that they lost ñ when Islam was at its zenith.
Observers have expressed amazement at the policy of Abu Bakr to sideline the Hashemites from every sort of official position and instead to shower every kind of favor on members of the Umayyad clan who had opposed the Prophet and confronted His Eminence in every situation.
Alaili says: The Teem clan did not gain anything by the success of Abu Bakr. Only the Umayyad clan derived all the benefits and they shaped the government according to their ways and their politics they considered favoritism and partiality as a norm while they were distant from rulership, as Maqrizi has stated in his book,
Diplomatic capability and skills in the fields of administration and government was present in numerous people from the Muhajireen and Ansar among the companions of the Prophet and it would have been best if they had been entrusted the government posts and the Umayyad clan had been kept away from official posts so that the Islamic society had remained safe their intrigues and mischiefs.
Before we speak about the economic policies of Abu Bakr we would like to discuss in brief about the economic system devised by Islam which was aimed at the eradication of poverty, fighting deprivation and initiation of economic progress so that all the people are able to live a life of economic prosperity in such a way that they do not have to face any sort of economic hardship
The most important principal advocated by Islam was that the ruler must observe absolute precaution with regard to public funds. They were under no circumstance allowed to take anything from public property. And they were also not permitted to spend any of the public funds for strengthening their rule and their personal power.
The general aim of this principle was to establish equality among the Muslims and the ruler had no right to prefer some over others because such a thing would have given rise to class difference and it would have created divisions in the general economy and the society would have become fraught with numerous ills and calamities.
Historians say, “Abu Bakr in distribution of public funds among the Muslims, observed equity and in this field he did not deviate from the Prophet’s practice. However there are some instances that are opposed to this. Because first of all from the charity funds he controlled, he spent a considerable amount to purchase the loyalty of Abu Sufyan.115 And he also distributed a part of public funds among the Muhajireen and Ansar and sent an amount through Zaid bin Thabit to a lady from Bani Adi. The lady was amazed at this and she asked, “What is this?”
They replied, “It is a share that Abu Bakr has distributed to women.”
She said, “Are you bribing me for religion? By Allah, I shall not accept anything from it. Return it to him.”116
These were some of the objections that the critics of the economic policies of Abu Bakr have stated.
Abu Bakr’s rule did not continue for a long time. Hardly two years had passed when illness beset him and he decided to transfer the caliphate to his confidant and supporter, Umar Ibn Khattab. However, this was severely opposed by many companions. Among them all, Talha addressed him saying, “What would you say to your Lord? When you are making a hard-hearted and ill-tempered man as a ruler over us? As everyone hates him and are fed up with him.”117
Abu Bakr became silent and Talha proceeded with his objection and said, “O Caliph of the Messenger of Allah (S), we did not bear that ill-tempered man in your life, while you used to restrain him. Then what shall be our condition when you die and he becomes the caliph?” 118
Numerous Muhajireen and Ansar rushed to Abu Bakr and announced, “We see that you have appointed Umar a caliph upon us while you know about him and are aware of his ill deeds among us and that also in a period when you were among us. Then what would happen when you are no more among us? You are proceeding to meet Allah, the Blessed and the Sublime. What would you say in reply?”
Abu Bakr replied, “If the Almighty asks me, I would say that I have appointed as caliph over them one who was the best of them in my view’”119
According to some research scholars it would have been better if Abu Bakr had taken into consideration the feelings of the absolute majority of Muslims and he should only have followed the opinion of the majority. Or after consulting the experienced persons he should have formed a consultative committee so that it may select anyone as a caliph. But he surrendered to his personal feelings that were imbued with an unprecedented regard for Umar. And in order to gauge the view of the people he asked Mauqib Doosi, “What do the people say regarding the appointment of Umar as Caliph?”
He replied, “Some oppose it and some support it.”
Abu Bakr further inquired, “Those who oppose are more or those who support it?”
He replied, “Those who oppose it are in majority.”120
Thus Abu Bakr ignored the opposition of the majority to his appointment of Umar and he imposed him upon them against their wishes. He did not leave them free to choose a candidate for caliphate.
Anyway Umar always remained with Abu Bakr during the latter’s illness lest that someone may try to influence his decision.
Umar further strengthened the statement and view of Abu Bakr with regard to his appointing him as caliph, “O people, listen and obey the commands of the caliph of the Messenger of Allah (S).”121
Abu Bakr commanded Uthman bin Affan to draw up a document appointing Umar as caliph. Uthman wrote as he dictated. It was as follows:
“This is the will of Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Qahafa. It is his last will of his life when he is about to leave the world and it is his first will of the Hereafter when he is about to enter it. Know that! I have appointed Umar Ibn Khattab as the caliph upon you. Thus if you find him equitable it is what I expect and hope from him. If he does otherwise and changes it, I have only intended good and I am not aware of the unseen:
Abu Bakr signed the document and gave it to Umar. Umar took it and rushed to the mosque in order to read it to the public. A person, who was amazed at his condition, asked, “O Abu Hafs! What is written in this document?”
Umar expressed ignorance about its content but he emphasize that it was for his personal benefit. He said, “I don’t know, however I am the first one who listened and obeyed’”
The man glanced at him while he was aware of the reality of the matter and said, “But by Allah, I know what it contains. In the beginning you made him the chief and he is giving you the rulership this year.”124
Umar rushed to the mosque and read the commandment to the people and in this way; the caliphate became established for him without any problem or opposition. Except that it greatly aggrieved Amirul Momineen (‘a) and His Eminence, years after that, described his distress in the following words in the sermon of Shiqshiqya:
“So I adopted patience although there was pricking in the eye and suffocation (of mortification) in the throat. I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one went his way but handed over the Caliphate to Ibn al-Khattab after himself.”
(Then he quoted al-A’sha’s verse):
“My days are now passed on the camel’s back (in difficulty) while there were days (of ease) when I enjoyed the company of Jabir’s brother Ayyan.
It is strange that during his lifetime he wished to be released from the caliphate but he confirmed it for the other one after his death. No doubt these two shared its udders strictly among themselves’”125
The above words describe the level of the sorrow and pain of His Eminence regarding the trespassing of his rights and how they had destroyed it and once it was usurped by the Bani Teem and then by Bani Adi and they completely disregarded the struggle of His Eminence in support of Islam and they ignored his status with the Messenger of Allah (S).
Once, the illness of Abu Bakr took a serious turn and it herded him towards his imminent end where every man has to ultimately go. He confessed about his regret and pain regarding his injustice towards the beloved daughter of the Prophet in the following words, “I wish I had not opened the house of Fatima even though it had been closed against us.”
He similarly wished that he had asked the Messenger of Allah (S) regarding the inheritance of paternal aunt and niece’
When he became serious and his daughter, Ayesha came to him and found him in the throes of death she recited the following couplets:
“By your life, the wealth of man does not benefit one who is involved in the throes of death.”
Not much time passed but that he reached his imminent end. His friend, Umar performed his last rites and gave him the funeral bath and recited the funeral prayer on him. Then he buried him in the quarters of the Prophet next to the Prophet’s grave.
The critics among the Shias say: If this house was from the heritage of the Prophet, because there is no tradition that states that the Prophet had bequeathed it to Ayesha the same rule should have been followed like they did in the case of the inheritance of the Purified Progeny in the matter of Prophet’s inheritance. On the basis of this Abu Bakr’s burial in that house was not lawful except with the permission of the Prophet’s Progeny. And the permission of Ayesha is of no avail because she does not have a share in the inheritance of land, she is only entitled to a share in the constructed house. [That is she can reside in it as long as she lives or she may take an equivalent amount and go away]. This is in accordance to what the jurists have stated about the inheritance of the wife. And when the Prophet’s house had been added to Public Property on the basis of what Abu Bakr had narrated from the Prophet that: We Prophets do not leave any inheritance. Rather they leave the Book and wisdom as inheritance. And whatever they leave is charity for the common Muslims. In such a case it was necessary to take the permission of common Muslims for burying Abu Bakr in that house. While it is obvious that nothing of this sort was done.
In any case, the brief caliphate of Abu Bakr became the cause of numerous shocking trends and the most terrible of these was the sidelining of the Purified Progeny and considering them as ordinary people. They were removed from the sphere of respect and reverence that the Prophet had designated for them and they were subjected to all sorts of atrocities and hardships while the ruling caliphs considered themselves as representatives of the Prophet and thought that they were more qualified for this position than others. And that controversy of Abu Bakr with the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) which created differences and spread mischief and disunity among the Muslims became the cause of regimes that followed the reigns of the caliphs. They oppressed the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and dealt with them with utmost mercilessness and cruelty. And perhaps the worst calamity that they had to bear was the tragedy of Karbala in which no right of the Messenger of Allah (S) was taken into consideration with regard to his Progeny and his sons.
- 1. Ibne Kathir, Tarikh 5/223
- 2. Surah Zumar 39:30-31
- 3. Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 1/234
- 4. Tirmidhi, Sahih 5/662
- 5. Adam bin Rabiaya in the tribe of Bani Hazeel
- 6. Yaqubi, Tarikh 2/90-92
- 7. Surah Maidah 5:67. Wahidi in Asbaab an-Nuzool, Razi in his Tafsir and others. All clearly mention that this verse was revealed on the Day of Ghadeer.
- 8. Al-Ghadeer 1/214-223, 225, 228, 276, 378
- 9. Ahmad, Musnad 1/281
- 10. Al-Ghadeer 2/34
- 11. Surah Maidah 5:3. According to Khatib Baghdadi in his History 8/290 and Suyuti in Durre Manthur 3/117 and others this verse was revealed on Day of Ghadeer
- 12. Al-Ghadeer 1/198-199
- 13. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 5/226
- 14. As Sawaiq al-Mohreqa 123-124
- 15. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 5/224. Ibne Hisham, Biography 4/642, Tabari, Tarikh, Pg. 188, and Shia sources have mentioned that when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) felt unwell he took the hand of Ali and people followed behind him. Then he went towards Baqi and prayed for their families
- 16. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 5/224-225
- 17. Kanzul Ummal Vol. 10/570. Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 4/66. Tarikh Khamis 2/154
- 18. This place is situated in Syria between Asqalan and Ramlah near Mutah where Zaid Ibne Haritha and Ja’far Ibne Abi Talib were martyred
- 19. Halabi, Biography 3/227
- 20. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 5/231
- 21. Biharul Anwar Vol. 22/508-509
- 22. Ahmad, Musnad 6/104
- 23. Bukhari 7/97, Sahih, Kitab At-ama
- 24. Ahmad, Musnad 6/105
- 25. Muslim. Sahih 3/1650, Kitab Libas wa Zeenat
- 26. Tirmidhi 4/588, Sahih 6/60
- 27. Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 1/400
- 28. Tirmidhi 4/588, Sahih 4/580
- 29. Suyuti, Durre Manthur 4/454 under the exegesis of the verse 46:35
- 30. This tradition is narrated by Tibrani in Awsat and also 6/11 Bukhari and Muslim 3/1259 and others.
- 31. All historians of Islam have recorded this tragic incident and Bukhari has mentioned it in many places in his Sahih in 4/68, 69, 6/8 but he has refrained from naming the person. In the same way it has come at the end of Gharib al-Hadith and in Sharh Nahjul Balagha, 2/296, Tadkiratul Khawaas Pg. 62 quoted from Sirrul A’lameen in clear language.
- 32. Surah Najm 53:2-5
- 33. Surah Takwir 81:19-22
- 34. Ahmad, Musnad 1/355 etc.
- 35. Ibid
- 36. Hayatul Imam Hasan (a.s.) 1/134
- 37. Ansab al-Ashraaf 1/552
- 38. Ansab al-Ashraaf Vol. 1, Pg. 552-553
- 39. Surah Aale Imran 3:144
- 40. Ibne Shahre Aashob, Manaqib 3/396 Nazm Durarus Simtain, Pg. 212 say that Her Eminence, Fatima (s.a.) said, “O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.)! Please bestow a thing to my sons, Hasan and Husayn. Then she said, “To Hasan he gave awe and forbearance and to Husayn he gave forgiveness and mercy.” And in another tradition, “I give awe and forbearance to the elder of them and love and satisfaction to the younger of them.” And it has come in Rabi al-Abraar, Pg. 315 that Fatima brought her two sons to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and said, “O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), bestow something to them. He said, “May your father be sacrificed on you. Your father does does not have anything that he could give them.” Then he held Hasan and kissed him and made him sit on his right thigh and said, “My gifts to this son are my good manners and awe.” And he took Husayn and seated him on his left thigh and said, “My gifts for him are valor and kindness.”
- 41. Saduq, Amali, Pg. 119
- 42. Shaykh Abbas Qummi, Nafasul Mahmoom, Pg. 29-30 quoted from Ibne Numa Hilli, Matheer al-Ahzaan, Pg. 22
- 43. Durratun Naasiheen, Pg. 66
- 44. Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 2/259, Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/139-140
- 45. Khwarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn 1/114
- 46. Al-Manaqib 237. Numerous traditions are recorded based on the fact that the head of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) rested in the lap of Imam Ali (a.s.). Kanzul Ummal4/55, Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 2/262-263 etc.
- 47. Ansab al-Ashraaf Vol. 1, Pg. 574
- 48. Tarikh al-Khamis 2/173
- 49. Seer A’laamun Nubla 2/120 Ibne Majah, Sunan 1/522 and it is mentioned therein that Hammad bin Zaid said that I saw that when Thabit narrated this tradition he was weeping and his ribs were moving up and down.
- 50. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/255
- 51. Wafa al-Wafa 1/319. Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 5/263. And in Kanzul Ummal 7/250 it is mentioned that Ali (a.s.) gave the ritual funeral bath to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Fadl bin Abbas and Usamah passed the water to Ali (a.s.). And it is mentioned in Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 5/260 that Aws bin Khuli, a Badr veteran called out, “O Ali, I implore you in the name of Allah to allow me.” Ali (a.s.) told him to enter and he was present when bath was being given to the Prophet but he did not take part in any of the rituals.
- 52. Ibne Saad, Tabaqat, Part 2, Pg. 281
- 53. Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 5/261
- 54. Hilyatul Awliya 4/78
- 55. Kanzul Ummal 7/254
- 56. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 3/224
- 57. Biharul Anwar 59/194, Chapter on the passing away of the Prophet.
- 58. Minhaj as-Sunnah, 5/45. And it is mentioned therein that when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) passed away Husayn was not even seven years old.
- 59. Surah Aale Imran 3:144
- 60. Surah Zumar 39:9
- 61. Ruhul Islam, Pg. 292
- 62. Athar Tashayyo Dar Adabiyaat-e-Arab, Pg. 15
- 63. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 9/22-23
- 64. That is Fatima binte Asad the mother of Imam Ali (a.s.).
- 65. Sharh Nahjul Balagha
- 66. Ibnul A’raabi, Mojam, 3/504
- 67. Al-Irshad, Pg. 99
- 68. Al-Kamil 2/328, Tabari 3/218
- 69. Ibne Athir, Kamil 2/328, Tabari 3/218
- 70. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 2/331
- 71. Sunh is a locality situated a mile from Medina and it is also said that it is an elevated place at a distance of four miles.
- 72. Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/178
- 73. Surah Aale Imran 3:144
- 74. Kamil 2/324
- 75. Surah Ankabut 29:57
- 76. Surah Zumar 39:30
- 77. Surah Aale Imran 3:144
- 78. Tabari, Tarikh 3/62
- 79. Tabari, Tarikh 3/62
- 80. Surah Taubah 9:128
- 81. An-Nass wal Ijtihad, Pg. 79-80
- 82. Al-Hashimiyaat, Pg. 31-33
- 83. Athar Tashayyo Dar Adabiyaat-e-Arab, Pg. 5
- 84. Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/8
- 85. Ibid, Pg. 8
- 86. Al Iqdul Farid 5/12
- 87. Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/8. Al-Mawafiqaat, Pg. 579-580
- 88. Ibid
- 89. Ibne Athir, Kamil 2/326
- 90. Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/7
- 91. Bukhari, Sahih 2/362. Muslim, Sahih 4/1947. Ahmad, Musnad 5/64
- 92. Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 6/10-11
- 93. Ibid 2/10
- 94. Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/12
- 95. Ali wa Farzandaanash, Pg. 19
- 96. Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/18-19
- 97. Surah Anfal 8:41
- 98. Al-Kashaf, under the exegesis of the verse of Khums
- 99. Bukhari, Sahih 5/177. Muslim, Sahih 3/1380
- 100. Al-Balaghatun Nisa, Pg. 19. A’laamun Nisa 4/116. Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 6/46
- 101. A’laamun Nisa 4/116. Al-Balaghatun Nisa, Pg. 12-19
- 102. Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 1/242
- 103. “The five who wept too much” Implying Adam, Yaqoob, Yusuf, Ali bin al-Husayn and Fatima (s.a.). This meaning is given in Bihar: 12/164. 12/311. 82/86
- 104. Ibne Majah, Sunan, 1/522, Asqalani, Al-Mawahibut Daniyah 4/563
- 105. Yaqubi, Tarikh 2/95
- 106. Hakim, Mustadrak 3/162
- 107. Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 3/365
- 108. Muhammad Abduh, Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/182
- 109. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/58-59
- 110. Muruj az-Zahab (Printed on the margins of Ibne Athir) 5/135
- 111. Balazari, Futuh al-Buldan, Pg. 103
- 112. Ibne Athir, Kamil 2/403
- 113. Al-Isabah 2/444
- 114. Ibne Athir, Kamil 2/421
- 115. Tabari, Tarikh 3/318
- 116. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 2/53
- 117. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 1/164
- 118. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 6/343 (Published by Daar Ahya al-Kutub al-Arabiyya
- 119. Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/25. Tabari 3/433
- 120. Al-Aadaab ash-Shariyah wal Minhal Mariyah 1/42
- 121. Tabari, Tarikh 3/429
- 122. Surah Shoara 26:227
- 123. Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/24. Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 3/429. Tabari, Tarikh 3/429
- 124. Al-Imamah was Siyasah 1/25
- 125. Nahjul Balagha 1/26-27
- 126. Surah Qaf 50:19
- 127. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 2/422