An Important Letter
We should know that most descendants of the Holy Prophet residing in the Indian state of Bihar are Rizwiya. A few of them are Zaidiya also but they are very few. Zaidiya Sayyid are mostly of Imamiyah religion but they are very few from Rizwiya. Mostly Rizwiya are of Sunni religion. Those who have obtained the knowledge of Arabic in the usual manner are mostly of Hanafite religion or non-conformists. Sayyids of the Hanafite religion are of different kinds. Some are convinced of superiority of Abu Bakr and Umar and some believe His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) to be most superior to all the companions of the Holy Prophet (S).
Some Sayyids of Bihar commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and some consider it to be polytheism or idolatry. The following letter is addressed to a relative of mine who follows the Hanafite faith and who is also a great mourner of Imam Husayn (a.s.). In lineage, he belongs to the family of Sayyids. His name is Sayyid Muhammad Khalil. He is a doctor and is very famous in his native place as ‘the Doctor’.
Besides, he was also in the business of saddling as his ancestors were also in the same line. Besides his mourning assembles, I have hearty relation with him personally and he had sent me a letter regarding mourning of Imam Husayn (a.s.). Since I am a well-wisher of his world and Hereafter, according to my knowledge, I preferred to write to him a letter as follows, dated 29 December 1913:
“My dear friend, Salaamun Alaikum. After regards, I would like you to know that I am well and hopeful of your well being. As Allah willed, you have natural sympathy with the oppressed Imam (a.s.) and this good fortune is not a voluntary matter; it is entirely in the hands of the Almighty.
But there can be complete sympathy with Imam Husayn (a.s.) only when a person knows the whole incident of Karbala’. Mostly the matter worth consideration is the detail of this incident, as being unaware of the details, one cannot sympathize with Imam Husayn (a.s.) fully.
I have recently written a book, Misbah-uz-Zulam, to clarify all such issues. This book will be published very soon and you will come to know how this incident occurred. I cannot state all the reasons in this letter, but it is necessary to mention that if one believes in the validity of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar, one cannot believe in the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) to be a true martyrdom and he cannot claim to be mourning for Imam Husayn (a.s.) sincerely or being sympathetic to him.
Here it would be worthwhile to quote the statement of Yazeed Ibn Muawiyah after the incident of Karbala’ when Abdullah Ibn Umar wrote to him that the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was a serious matter; Yazeed said: “You fool, I have only walked the path shown by your father.”
No doubt, it is true. If Saqifah had not occurred, Karbala’ would not have come into being. Undoubtedly, the incident of Karbala’ is the natural consequence of Saqifah.
Therefore, one who believes Saqifah to be true, has no right to view Karbala’ sympathetically. Now, I shall explain how Abu Bakr and Umar caused the tragedy of Karbala’.
It is clear from the books of Saqifah that Caliphate was given to Abu Bakr with the help of Umar while His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and the family of the Holy Prophet (S), that is Bani Hashim, were removed from power. So Abu Sufyan, father of Muawiyah came to His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and said: “O Ali (a.s.)!
Give me your hand, I want to pledge allegiance to you. How is that rivals have achieved the Caliphate and you are debarred from your rights? I am sending Meccan riders to fill the desert of Medina and destroy the Caliphate of Saqifah.” His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) said: “O Abu Sufyan, when you were a disbeliever, then also you were involved in mischief and disturbance and now that you have converted to Islam, you still want to create mischief and disturbance.” The reply of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) was prudent as will be proved later.
Anyhow, after getting this reply, Abu Sufyan went right away to Abu Bakr and Umar and spoke to them in an angry tone: “You obtained the Caliphate and did not care for my rights? I shall destroy your Caliphate just now.” His tone shook up Abu Bakr and Umar said: “If we treat you fairly, would you still take such a severe action?”
Abu Sufyan was neither concerned with His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) nor with Abu Bakr’s Caliphate. He was interested only in personal gain. He said: “Grant me a share in your Caliphate.” So in order to save the Caliphate, Abu Bakr and Umar made him the governor of Syria. Since Abu Sufyan himself could not go to Syria due to old age, he sent his son, Yazeed bin Abu Sufyan instead. We should know that this appointment from Caliphate led to the foundation of Bani Umayyah Empire and in a short time, Umayyads became de facto rulers of Islamic lands.
It is clear that it was on the strength of this affluence that Bani Umayyah dared to confront His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and it was for this reason that His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) was martyred and even Imam Hasan (a.s.) has to abdicate the seat of Caliphate; and Imam Husayn (a.s.) was martyred in Karbala’.
The fact is that whatever calamities befell the family of the Holy Prophet (S), they were because of Abu Bakr and Umar and it is clear that to save their Caliphate, Abu Bakr and Umar made Abu Sufyan’s son, Governor of Syria, leading to the foundation of Bani Umayyah Empire.
After His Eminence, Ali (a.s.), he remained the Caliph for sixteen years. After his death, his son, Yazeed Ibn Muawiyah became a ruler and he almost annihilated the family of the Holy Prophet (S). Without any doubt, this affluence of Bani Umayyah completely destroyed the family of the Holy Prophet (S), his companions and even the religion of Islam. The fact is that during the domination of Bani Umayyah, the religion of Allah fell into decadence and so much sins and transgression increased that it did not remain as a true religion of God.
All know that Bani Umayyah was worthy of dislike and that the Holy Prophet (S) had detested this tribe much and had even cursed it. Allah has called this clan as ‘the accursed tree’. It is no secret that Umayyads were the greatest enemies of Islam and the Holy Prophet (S).
As long as the Prophet remained in Mecca, this tribe endeavored for his destruction and when he migrated to Medina, these people attacked now and then and fought the battles of Uhud, Badr and Khandaq; and at last this accursed tribe was routed in the Battle of Hunayn.
In brief, the Holy Prophet (S) subdued Bani Umayyah in a long period of ten years and these people became so helpless at the time of the Prophet’s passing away that they did not even have any guts to hold their head high. But woe to the Caliphate of Saqifah, it gained power after the Prophet and Abu Sufyan, the chief of Bani Umayyah, accomplished his aim. Abu Bakr and Umar spoilt the Holy Prophet’s consistently hard work in a moment, due to which Bani Umayyah became powerful again. On the contrary, they advanced so much that they became rulers of the entire Islamic world and a big political religious error came to light.
On the basis of their affluence, they subjected the family of the Prophet to very bad circumstances and caused depravity of Islam. This accursed tribe was always malicious to Islam during the time of the Holy Prophet (S) and Abu Bakr and Umar made them rulers of Syria, which was really strange! It is clear that His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) could not accept the support or allegiance of Abu Sufyan because he knew very well that this tribe was a great mischief-monger and Allah and the Prophet were annoyed of it.
How can His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) accept Abu Sufyan’s support knowingly? If Ali (a.s.) had accepted, he would have had to compensate to Abu Sufyan in some way, which would be against the policy of the Prophet. How can His Eminence, Ali (a.s.), who was truly obedient to the Holy Prophet (S), do anything against his policy? His remaining aloof from Abu Sufyan was a matter of the world as well as hereafter; he could never tolerate the support of Abu Sufyan.
Abu Bakr and Umar had to, in any way, save their Caliphate from Bani Umayyah. It was very difficult to pay attention to both, the Prophet’s policy or Abu Sufyan’s threat. The fact is that only His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and few others cared for the Prophet’s aim. If Abu Bakr and Umar had been like that, they would not have run away from the battlefields of Uhud and Hunayn or would not have refused to challenge Amr Ibn Abde Wudd in the Battle of Khandaq.
In short, the action of Abu Bakr and Umar in making Bani Umayyah the rulers of Shaam seems very abominable, as a result of which, the members of the Prophet’s family suffered greatly and they were involved in various calamities.
Undoubtedly, the tragedy of Karbala’ was also a continuation of this calamity. It is clear that if the Caliphate of Saqifah had not come into being, Bani Umayyah would not have achieved glory and Imam Husayn (a.s.) would not have been martyred in Karbala’. Thus, it is beyond logical thinking that one should consider himself a mourner of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and also remain devoted to Abu Bakr and Umar. The mourner of Imam Husayn (a.s.) can address Abu Bakr and Umar in a loud voice that: “All these calamities have befallen the family of the Prophet only because of you.”
Truly, the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar and the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) is as closely connected as cause and effect and both are inseparable. One is devotion and other is atheism. It is impossible for a man to recognize both. If he confesses to Caliphate, he cannot have faith in the martyrdom; and if he believes in martyrdom, he cannot be a believer in Caliphate. Undoubtedly, a follower of Caliphate has no right to sympathize with Imam Husayn (a.s.).
One who accepts the Caliphate and weeps on the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) is involved in an absurd action. The truth is that such people have no right to weep on Imam Husayn (a.s.) and such mourning is of no use. It is necessary for a mourner of Imam Husayn (a.s.) that he should purify his heart from the love of Bani Umayyah and their guardians. Affection of two cannot take place in one heart.
We should also know that one who wants to research about Caliphate, Imamate and martyrdom, can refer to the book of Misbah-uz-Zulam for all historical and religious matters. I hope after your close examination, the book would be printed.
Since you are a mourner of Imam Husayn (a.s.) it is necessary for you to read the book attentively. I don’t want to argue with people who are unconnected with the family of the Holy Prophet (S) or are enemies of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). I don’t need to write to an enemy of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
Well, in the end it is only proper to say that if His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) had become the Caliph after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S), the incident of Karbala’ would not have come to light. Being a Caliph, he would not have been a patron of Bani Umayyah; but suppose His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) had supported Bani Umayyah against the Prophet’s wish, then the blame of shedding the blood of Imam Husayn (a.s.), his relatives and companions would have come on His Eminence, Ali (a.s.), such as, according to sound sense, it lies on Abu Bakr and Umar. The incident of Karbala’ is a result of Saqifah Caliphate and a result of Bani Umayyah’s patronage, the credit for which goes only to Abu Bakr and Umar!
The writer has shown the results of the Caliphate of Saqifah in detail in his book, Misbah-uz-Zulam. He requests you to read it carefully when that book is published. The fact is that this Caliphate has created different kinds of dramas. If it had not come into being, Fadak would not have been taken away from Lady Fatima (s.a.), her house would not have been burnt down. Atrocities would not have been committed on His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) for getting his allegiance. Bani Hashim would not have been dishonored. Umar would not have hit at the stomach of Lady Fatima (s.a.), which caused miscarriage and because of it she passed away from the world very soon.
The Holy Quran collected by His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) would not have been destroyed. The religion of Zaid bin Thabit would not have gained popularity instead of that of Imam Ali (a.s.). Bani Umayyah would not have behaved rudely and would not have gone against His Eminence, Ali (a.s.). His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) would not have been deposed from Caliphate. Bani Umayyah could not have removed Imam Hasan (a.s.) from Caliphate. They could not have martyred Imam Husayn (a.s.), his relatives and companions in the desert of Karbala’.
They would not have taken as prisoners, the family of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and would not have taken them to Damascus. Bani Umayyah would not have tied horses in the Holy Kaaba and would not have behaved rudely with the companions of the Holy Prophet (S). They would not have promoted wine, music, fornication and sodomy. They could not have burnt the Holy Quran and could not have hung it on their flag. They would not have shot arrows at the Holy Quran. They would not have shed the blood of the descendants of the Prophet, like it was water. They would not have made it compulsory to curse His Eminence, Ali (a.s.). Besides such unbecoming things, the Caliphate of Saqifah created great dissentions in Islam.
The truth is that if the Caliphate of Saqifah would not be there, different sects would not have come into being and the history of Arabs would not have been blemished. No doubt, that it was the first mistake of Islam that His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) was excluded from Caliphate. If His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) had been accepted as Caliph, Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbas’s political disputes would not have come into being. As a result, due to the dispute of Bani Hashim, Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbas, Arabian Peninsula would not have been mired in civil war for a long time till this community lost its reputation to Tartars forever.
This consensus not only caused rivers of blood of Bani Hashim, thousands of Bani Hashim continued to be killed. In every Caliphate, Bani Hashim continued to shed their own blood and that of their enemies. It was due to the fact that they considered themselves rightful for Caliphate and many Arab people also accepted their claim. Obviously, the history of Islam seems to be full of revolts of Bani Hashim.
Apparently, all these revolts were to secure the same right that Bani Hashim had lost in Saqifah because of Umar. All these details are given in the book of Misbah-uz-Zulam. Those interested may study this book carefully and decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong? A study of this book would show that all the atrocities upon the descendents of the Holy Prophet (S), the incident of Karbala’, martyrdom of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.), martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and martyrdom of the family members of Prophet (S) are all consequences of the Caliphate of Saqifah and thus, all liability is upon the people of Saqifah.
29th December 1913
Gaya, Bihar, India