It should be noted that the Holy Prophet (S) had very emphatically called upon all Muslims, through the tradition of Two Heavy Things (Hadith Thaqalayn), that they must cling to both Quran and Ahlul Bayt, but Umar considered it sufficient to cling only to Quran. Now let the Muslims see how the ‘clingers’ to Quran behaved with the Quran. During the time of Abu Bakr, copies of Quran were collected. For this task the first Caliph had appointed Zaid bin Thabit, Ubayy bin Kaab etc. So they collected. That collected Quran continued to be read during the days of the first two Caliphs.
But when the turn of Uthman came, he began fresh correction and compilation such a manner that the God-given leadership or Imamate of Ali, the chief of Ahlul Bayt, became a matter of dispute. Generally, Sunnis say that no member of Ahlul Bayt is mentioned in the Quran by name, then how can the leadership or Imamate of Ali or anyone from Ahlul Bayt can ever be proved from Quran?
No doubt, such discarding has also decreased the formal beauty of the Holy Quran.1 Rational thinking never considers this Uthmani arrangement as perfect. It should be remembered that this rearrangement of the Quran was ordered by Uthman with an intention of removing whatever differences etc. were found in the copies arranged by Abu Bakr through this new rearrangement and correction. But Ali (a.s.) and Muhammad’s Progeny were put to a big loss by this work.
For this correction and compilation, Zaid bin Thabit, Abdur Rahman bin Zubair, Saeed bin Aas and Abdullah bin Harith bin Hisham were employed and Ali (a.s.) had an apparent enmity with these persons. On the ground of differences in pronunciation, these gentlemen removed words in favor of Ali and Muhammad’s Progeny, which were in the Holy Quran.
Doubtlessly, this deed too, like the word of Umar, proved to be the remover of the effect of the tradition of Two Heavy Things (Hadith Thaqalayn), because, when the divinely appointed status of Ali and Muhammad’s Progeny did not remain, why one would thereafter, cling to these members of the holy family? Therefore, Muawiyah and his son, and all others of the same thought never turned to Imam Ali, Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn (a.s.). It is noteworthy that, as a consequence of the phrase of “We have the Book of Allah…” (Hasbona Kitabullah), one of the two great things, viz, turning to Ahlul Bayt had already been suspended, now the other great thing, that is, Quran too was curtailed in such a manner that the God-given leadership or Imamate of Ali, the chief of Ahlul Bayt, became a matter of dispute. Generally, Sunnis say that no member of Ahlul Bayt is mentioned in the Quran by name, then how can the leadership or Imamate of Ali or anyone from Ahlul Bayt can ever be proved from Quran?
Now, I want to show that during the Caliphate of Uthman, changes were made in Quran, which resulted in making the God-given Imamate to Ali Murtadha’ (a.s.) a matter of dispute. It should be kept in mind that the verse 67 of Chapter 5 was being recited as:
“O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord, that Ali is the Master of believers2….
This phrase, “that Ali is the Master of believers” has been removed from the present Quran. Everything about this discarding is known from commentaries of Quran. Refer to Durre Manthur of Suyuti and Miftahun Najah by Mirza M. K. Badakhshani. Similarly, commentators have written that in the recitation of Ibn Masood, there was also a phrase: “Bi Ali Ibn Talib.”
Moreover Thalabi, in his Tafseer, quotes his teacher Abi Waail, that “We have read the copy of Quran of Abdullah bin Masood and have found that in the verse:
“Surely Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations.”3
After “the descendants of Imran”, the phrase, “Muhammad’s Progeny” was also there by way of explanation. This goes to show that till the time of the existence of Ibn Masood’s copy, the words of “Muhammad’s Progeny” were there in Quran and that the reciters used to recite so. But how strange that Uthman and his trusted fellows considered them unauthentic and removed them from Quran. Was the correction of Quran dependent on the removal of the words Ali and Muhammad’s Progeny? People of justice should decide!
I need not write more than this. But extremely sorrowful indeed is the black day, which Ibn Masood had to see in connection with this story of Quran. When this great companion refused to part with his own copy of Quran to the effect of the tradition of Two Heavy Things (Hadith Thaqalayn), because, Uthman, he was severely beaten.4 Poor Ibn Masood! He lost that Quran and when the divinely appointed status of Ali and Muhammad’s Progeny did not remain, why one would thereafter, cling to these members of the holy family?
Therefore, Muawiyah and his son, and all others of the same thought never turned to Imam Ali, Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn (a.s.). It is noteworthy that, as a consequence of the phrase of “We have the Book of Allah…” (Hasbona Kitabullah), one of the two great things, viz, turning to Ahlul Bayt had already been suspended, now the other great thing, that is, Quran too was curtailed in also got severely beaten.
How could Ibn Masood reply to this merciless behavior? He just kept quiet. But when a similar attitude was shown to the copy of ‘A’ysha’s father, she became furious and the writer need not repeat what she said to the Caliph. But what was the benefit of such verbal anger? By the order of the Caliph, the copy of her father was also destroyed along with the copies of Ibn Masood and others.
Allamah Qaushiji, in his Sharhe Tajreed, has narrated the event of Ibn Masood in detail and there is no doubt about its factuality. It is noteworthy that what was done in the name of removal of differences was done only to remove the names of Ali and Muhammad’s Progeny.
This clearly shows that the aim behind all the performances of Uthman was to remove the God-given status of Ali and Muhammad’s Progeny so that the Imamate of the leader of Bani Hashim, that is Ali (a.s.) and his progeny, may never be established after the Prophet. These things can be termed by the just observer as despicable. In order to remove blame from Uthman, commentary- related words like “rare recitation” and “abrogated recitation” were coined. In the eyes of just persons, such excuses are worse than the crime.
But alas, aforesaid words were removed from the Quran. Had Uthman kept those words which were found in the Holy Quran right from the days of the Holy Prophet (S) at their places, the problem of Imamate would never have become a matter of dispute and the followers of Islam would have been protected from a very serious misguidance. So the consequence of the removal of the said words in this world, which the just people see now with their own eyes, are indeed very sorrowful.
It is obvious that the removal of the said words was a strategy of the opponents. I do not know whether this plan of self-interest was found by Uthman himself or somebody else had shown him the way. But my guess is that it was shown to him. There were some cunning people with him who were staunch enemies of the holy family of the Holy Prophet (S). No wonder if people like Marwan had shown this intrigue.
Anyway, whatever be the case, this deed shows the foresight of the three Caliphs combined. Doubtlessly, these tricks appear to be intended to complete the effect of “We have the Book of Allah…” (Hasbona Kitabullah). Umar had, through these words shown the way of keeping away from the Holy Family, but the mention of the Ahlul Bayt was there in the Quran.
The Quran was, unequivocally, commanding us to turn to Ahlul Bayt, so until these words were removed it was not easy to act on “We have the Book of Allah…” (Hasbona Kitabullah). But when these words were removed, Umar’s words got total upliftment, that is, this Quranic affair conveniently separated the Ahlul Bayt from the mainstream of Muslims. Of course, it is a fact that since the Progeny and the Quran are closely related, it was never possible to make Umar’s phrase effective without separating Ahlul Bayt from Quran.
In short, it was in Uthman’s Caliphate that the aim of Umar’s words was fully attained. Now those who are just may decide whether through this process, the status of Ahlul Bayt has been lowered or not? In my opinion, not only this process lowered the status of Ahlul Bayt but also it was the reason of all the calamities, which befell Ahlul Bayt after the demise of the Prophet and all this got support through Uthman’s action.
Doubtlessly, such verbal and practical deeds removed the matter of the leadership (Imamate) of Ali and Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) from the minds of common Muslims. So when Imamate no more remained a divinely ordained thing, it cannot be considered astonishing if the Muslims of the time behaved harshly, mercilessly and insultingly with the Imams of the holy family of the Holy Prophet (S). After the subject of clinging to Ahlul Bayt being eaten away by a quadruped and after the removal of the mention of Ali and Ahlul Bayt from the Holy Quran, every kind of bad behavior by Muslims with the holy family was not unexpected as it so happened on different occasions.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that had there been two thousand Husains, Muslims could have enacted two thousand Karbala’s due to the aforesaid teachings. But since there was only one Husayn, Karbala’ was also enacted only once. Had it been considered compulsory to cling to Ahlul Bayt as desired through the tradition of Two Heavy Things (Hadith Thaqalayn) and had the God-given status of Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn (a.s.) not been lowered systematically, what was done to these holy persons, by Muslims of the time would never have been done. All that the holy personalities had to suffer was only due to the fact that these faultless people were not considered divinely appointed for leadership of the Ummah.
Due to the aforesaid faulty teaching, the Muslims of those days as well as of the following days considered Ahlul Bayt as almost lifeless and hence not worth obeying. This will be explained henceforth. Had all Muslims considered them so, as they were indeed worth obeying, Muawiyah would not have fought with His Eminence, Ali (a.s.), nor would he have made Hasan (a.s.) to abdicate Caliphate, nor Muawiyah’s son, Yazeed would have dared to ask for allegiance from Imam Husayn (a.s.).
Doubtlessly, due to this phrase, what Uthman had done to Quran and the status of Ahlul Bayt had been lowered so much that Ahlul Sunnat scholars began to consider Ahlul Bayt as “who could make mistakes”(Jaiz-ul-khata) as Ibn Taymiyyah writes about Ali (a.s.) that the latter erred seventeen times. Maulavi Abdul Ali says that Lady Fatima (s.a.) had erred.
Ghazzali says that the mention and narration of Karbala’ Tragedy and martyrdom of Husayn (a.s.) and his companions is prohibited. On Pg. 117 of Sharh Aqaide Nasafi, Abu Shakoor Salami writes in the margin of Lam Yuqtal that it was compulsory for Imam Husayn to give allegiance to Yazeed. These are his actual words! His argument is that the Caliphate of Yazeed was by way of Muawiyah’s appointment, and the companions and non-companions had obeyed Yazeed.
It should be noted that in the view of non-Imamiyah, appointment is one of the conditions of Caliphate and it was due to this important condition that Umar was considered as the successor of Abu Bakr. What consequence could ever result because of the distancing from Ahlul Bayt and following of “We have the Book of Allah…” (Hasbona Kitabullah), except that scholars like Abdush Shakoor should say that Imam Husayn should have given allegiance to Yazeed? How is it that the sky does not split and fall on the discarders of Ahlul Bayt?
But, yes, oppressors are always given a long respite and a day will come to stand before Allah Almighty for giving account, when it will be known whether following Husayn was compulsory or following Yazeed. One may say whatever one likes against Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) but the Greatest Revenger has not disappeared and the day is not very far when each and every one of us all will get the recompense of our deeds. Allah is the Greatest!
These are the holy Ahlul Bayt, who, because of their inclusion in the Holy Quran are holding a God-given status and about whom the Holy Prophet (S) has said that they are one of the two heavy things (Thaqalayn) and also added in this very tradition that these two, viz Quran and Ahlul Bayt will not separate from one another till they arrive at Kauthar in Paradise. The meaning of these prophetic words is that Quran and Ahlul Bayt are two great things, which will never get away from one another either in this world or in the Hereafter. But how this tradition was followed was that they (Ahlul Bayt) were totally isolated and clinging only to Quran was considered sufficient. Thereafter, it also was considered strategic to remove the names of Muhammad’s Progeny and Ali (a.s.) from the Holy Quran. What an excellent obedience of the Prophet’s command!
Now see where did the clinging to Quran reach? The knowledgeable do know that, after the burning down of copies of Quran, Muawiyah raised hundreds of its copies on the points of spears and after him, Walid also shot arrows at the Quran.
We should know that Abdullah bin Umar is also of the opinion that Quran has been tempered with as he says that much of the Quran has gone out of hand. So this is the story of Quran! Neither the Quran could remain safe from the hands of the enemies or the holy Ahlul Bayt.5 But what can be done? Both Shias and Sunnis have clung to whatever is now before us in the form of Holy Quran. I also consider this Quran as my guide. But had the copy compiled by Ali (a.s.) been available or even if that which was with Ibn Masood, I would have to give up the present Quran. My research shows that nothing at all has been added in the original Quran. The Quran, now in our hands is all in all the Divine script and Allah’s Word, not the word of man. But it is also doubtless that Allah’s word has been rendered incomplete as shown above.
As regards those who say that Allah is the protector of Quran, it is doubtlessly true that Allah is Quran’s protector but it does not necessarily mean that Allah must also be the protector of the writing. Had Allah been the protector of even the written copies not a single copy of the holy book could have been burnt during the time of Uthman nor could have been harmed in any way even thereafter. But it is not so!
Recently a disbeliever entered a mosque and burnt a copy of the holy book! Had the divine protection meant so, that wretched man would never have been able to do that. So it should be understood that though Allah is the protector of His holy Book, but it is not in a sense that even paper books, copies of it cannot be harmed. Quran is the Word of Allah and is indeed preserved in the Divine Knowledge and no one or thing can harm it in this sense whereby Quran can become defective.
Finally, it would not be out of place if I ask how weighty the phrase of “We have the Book of Allah…” (Hasbona Kitabullah) was. Allaahu Akbar! How many different changes did this phrase create in Arab history! The truth is that had this phrase not come to the lips of Umar bin Khattab, not only the history of Arab civilization, but also the culture would have appeared in a different color. What a cunning fellow cannot do in the world! The fact is that the political ability of Umar was indeed extraordinary.
Though Muawiyah, son of Abu Sufyan, also was a clever troublemaker, he cannot come to the level of the political brain of Umar, son of Khattab. It was the ability of only Umar that, with the power of few words, he rendered the Holy Prophet’s tradition of Two Heavy Things (Hadith Thaqalayn) ineffective, as a result of which Bani Hashim, who had considerable respect in those days, were easily driven away from power and could never gain it thereafter.