Biography of Ammar ibn Yasir by Sadruddin Sharafuddin al-Amili
History is like a ship which has accommodated within itself the caravan of mankind. During its long journey it comes across some sensational moments which are called the turning points of history in the sense that during transition from one condition to another, which is a prerequisite of its journey, the movement of time, on some particular occasions, undergoes a special change and evolution, and this change manifests itself in an attractive and delicate form. Appearance of such a condition is the consequence of contact with such a turning point.
Undoubtedly the most sensational summit of history and its most subtle turning point was the moment when the elders of the tribe of Quraysh made an offer to the Prophet of Islam, the greatest leader of mankind, saying, "If you desire status, ruler ship, wealth and luxurious life we are willing and ready to place all these things at your disposal, provided that you don't malign our gods, don't interfere with our traditions, regulations and beliefs; and abandon the call which you have commenced."
When this offer was made, the Prophet (S) remained silent for a moment and then replied: "If you place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left I will not forsake the mission which has been entrusted to me".
During that moment when the Prophet (S) paused and was preparing himself to give a reply history came to a standstill. Time then suspended its journey and was relieved of its responsibility. It waited for the Prophet (S) to give a reply so that it might learn about its duty. However, as soon as a categorical reply emanated from his sacred lips history became aware of its duty and commenced its new journey.
As a result of this a new world and a new history came into being. After a few years the city of Makkah was conquered, the flag of Islam began to fly, and that sacred city was purified and cleansed of the taint of polytheism and ignorance. The Prophet (S) declared: "O people, beware! The period of ignorance has come to an end and a new era has commenced!"
History tells us that with the dawn of Islam the period of oppression, transgression, polytheism, infidelity, materialism, hero-worship, and ignorance came to an end, and an epoch then commenced of justice, brotherhood, equality, monotheism, knowledge, wisdom, education and utilization of hidden human talents without which civilization carries no meaning.
In short, light and luminosity replaced darkness and turbidity, and in this way a new era commenced. One of the features of this new era which is a requisite for such a great change was that with the advent of Islam the history of mankind underwent a change.
Islam practically crossed out the names of the former dignitaries of history in the sense that till that time the title of 'the dignitaries of history' was given to those persons who developed the habit of oppressing the people and transgressing upon their rights, left behind themselves bloody events as their memorials in the pages of history and passed away, but after the establishment of Islamic Government truth and justice came at the helm of affairs, unknown persons like Bilal of Ethiopia, Suhayb of Greece and Salman of Iran rose from the hidden corners of society and became the dignitaries of history instead of the Alexanders, the Caesars and the Khusros, and the pages of history were adorned with their names .
Dr Muhammad Iqbal, the world-renowned thinker has explained this matter in the following words in his Urdu poem entitled "Tulu'i Islam" (Dawn of Islam):
The real object of nature and the secret of being a Muslim means universal brotherhood and abundant love.
Break the idols of colour and race and get absorbed in one single unity. Don't make any difference between the Turk, the Iranian and the Afghan.
How long will you waste your time hearing the melodies of the birds of the garden? Your arms possess strength to fly like a falcon.
The faith of a Muslim in the society is like the flame of a candle in the hut of a hermit in the desert.
Just look into history. What was the thing which destroyed the despotism of Kaiser and Kisra? Then compare it with the strength and devotion of Haider (Imam ‘Ali), the abstemiousness of Abu Dharr and the truthfulness of Salman Farsi.
Just see how the so-called leaders of the nations have, with their pomp and pelf, crushed the people! Hundreds of people who have remained captives for centuries are looking at them through the prison bars!
In this world the firmness and survival of life depend on firm faith, because it is confirmed that the Turk has proved to be stronger than the German in the field of life.
Just look at this creature of dust! It is due to his inner fire (of faith) that it he has been provided with the wings of the Archangel Gabriel to fly on.
Yes, since the singularity of human being is not breakable, and similarly, virtue is not the speciality of any nation, wherever and with whomsoever virtue is found it is respectable and its owner deserves to be honoured; whether he be a Turk, an Iranian, an Arab, a non Arab, an African, a European or an Asian.
Furthermore, by whosoever the lamp of virtue may be kindled it is necessary that one should utilize the rays of its light. It may be added that great and virtuous persons belong to the entire human race and their rank and status is much above that they may be associated with a particular nation especially in the present age, when fortunately the weak brawls of nationalism have gradually changed into the slogans of internationalism.
The extensive horizon of humanity and its beautiful sight have become the object of the wishes of all human beings under the protection of a common thinking and a specified and unvaried ideology, and the thinkers of every creed and school support this lofty human ideal. And on account of the principles of the compulsion of history, and the survival of the fittest, this desire of the suffering humanity will however become a reality one day and the mandatory command of the Qur'an to the effect that Mankind, you are one single nation, (Surah al-Anbiya, 21:92) will be accepted by all the human societies, and the universal government and fraternity will be established under the auspices of monotheism; except which there is no alternative.
One of the distinguished historical personalities is ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, the esteemed and renowned companion of the Holy Prophet (S) who shone like a luminous star in the atmosphere of humanity in the darkest periods of history, and was recognized, on account of the glow of the light of truth, to be the model of training and learning, and an excellent specimen of freedom and justice.
‘Ammar is one of the seven earliest supporters of the sacred movement of Islam, and one of the greatest personalities of whom human history will always feel proud. He will always shine on the crown of humanity, because he was one of the most active and sincere followers of Islam, and one of the devoted servants and builders of the new history of humanity, and as a result of his continuous effort in the path of godliness till the age of ninety-two years, when he met martyrdom in the service of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful.
He did not rest from seeking and saying the truth. He enjoyed such an enviable position that an unparalleled personality like ‘Ali shed tears while mourning for him, recited a painful elegy on having been separated from him and prayed to Allah for his own death after the martyrdom of this great companion of the Holy Prophet.
Originally this book was written with the title of Halif al-Makhzum by Sadruddin Sharafuddin, one of the greatest literary and educational personalities of Arabic language. It consists of detailed biography of ‘Ammar Yasir. It is hoped that the readers will enjoy reading it and will also benefit from it.
The greatest distinction of this unmatched literary and historical monument is that besides depicting a minute picture of the shining face of ‘Ammar with great dexterity, it explains many delicate and important points and mysteries of the luminous history of Islam up to the end of the Battle of Siffin, with an enchanting pen, in a manner that is beyond praise and makes the facts of history available to us with clarity.
The contents of this excellent treatise are not only confined to the correct narration and explanation of the events; the comparison between the two forces of truth and falsehood, clash of the interests of different individuals and groups and hypocritical political games which have prevailed in all times and ages, but it also contains lessons from philosophy of history based on psychology and has conducted minute analysis of social problems and drawn conclusions from events on the basis of the latest principles of psychology.
It has assessed and studied with the most exact measures and standards of sociology all the events of the earliest days of Islam in an unprecedented manner, with thorough research and has recorded by utilizing the sources of Ahlus Sunnat wal Jama'at which may be utilized by all classes.
The study of this valuable treatise will be especially instructive to the enlightened and godly young men of our society, who are keenly devoted to the service of the society under the auspices of the sublime teachings of Islam. This distinguished group will acquire valuable examples from the history of the dignified life of this magnanimous personality of the history of mankind, and will point out to others that the path of truth and of securing human prosperity, is not more than one, and that is the path which the Holy Prophet (S) opened for the misguided caravan of mankind in compliance with the Command of Almighty Allah. It was under the auspices of his guidance, that people like ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, who is reckoned to be the best specimens of humanity were trained and became excellent examples for mankind.
After having realized the fact that unknown persons like ‘Ammar ibn Yasir were recognized in the human society as 'dignitaries of history', and their personalities crossed out and annulled the names of Caesars, Alexanders and Khusros, it may be said with perfect frankness that this blessed and auspicious path is always open to the followers of Islam and those trained in the school of the Prophet of Islam.
We Muslims should, therefore, endeavour to discharge the duty entrusted to us by Almighty Allah and should take lesson from ‘Ammar ibn Yasir in the present day intellectual and moral crisis, which has engulfed the entire world. We should also remember that he was not an Imam or an infallible person, but a staunch believer, who had been trained in the school of Islam and was recognized, on account of his godliness, perseverance and devotion, to be the embodiment of truth.
One point must, however, be mentioned here that experience shows that the only factor, which can purify us of the contaminations of the present age, is undoubtedly our benefiting from the Islamic reserves which are all manifested in the school of Ahlul Bayt, the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (S).
Moreover, the old and rotten slogans of nationalism are now out of date. Hence, keeping in view the fact that Islam has always ensured our deliverance we should also endeavour with all our strength, at this sensitive stage of history as well to gain vigour and strength from the same source and should benefit from the guidance of the descendants of the Holy Prophet (S).
We will soon publish a book on the lives of more than 250 companions of the Holy Prophet of Islam.
How surprising is the state of a man of thirty, whose body is branded with melted iron, on whose head and face fire is poured, who is plunged into water and subjected to all sorts of torture, remains indifferent to all these torments and receives them gladly as if the points of the spears, the flames of fire, and the pressure of water were gifts from his beloved and all these tortures, increase his hope instead of making him despair.
How surprising is the condition of a ninety year old man, who subdues the enemy with a sword, whose blade may be said to be raining fire, and who overcomes every difficulty with a determination much harder than steel. However, you will not wonder any longer when you come to know that this tall-statured brave person is the same man who got accustomed to self-sacrifice and endured all the calamities during his youth as well as in his old age only for the sake of Divine religion.
It was the spirit which was blown into, and the blood which circulated in his veins, which gave such a flaming sword in his hand, and it, was his blood which assumed the shape of solid faith, sincerity, truth and reality. This brave old man did not fight with his enemies with hands and arms but by means of the faith and the principle which he had selected for himself. And, in fact; neither his arms got tired nor did his sword become blunt, but the blow which he struck was actually the glow of the light which splits darkness and annihilates it.
In the circumstances if ‘Ammar remained constant in his youth in the face of every calamity and came out victorious in every test, and mostly showed perseverance, it should not be surprising. And it should not also be surprising if during old age his path became clear and bright because of the radiation of truth. Of course, this godly old man of ours did not stand in need of strong arms in the battlefield like young men.
The question is what is bravery? Is bravery dependent upon age and strength of youth, or, is it specially related to a particular stage out of the different stages of life?
In fact we should say: "It is not so", We should say that it is dependent upon faith; and the more strong one's faith is the larger the share and the enjoyment one derives from bravery, Yes! It is the strength of faith which gives an old man the vigour of a youth. And again it is the strength of faith which gives equal power of resistance, patience, steadfastness, agility, mirth, determination and action to the young and the old.
We see many young men who are low spirited, cowardly and aimless, and we also come across every day many old men, who are courageous, brave, noble minded and strong.
Of course, the noble quality of bravery of ‘Ammar manifested itself every day in an ever increasing manner. So much so that friends and foes alike believed that his sword possessed a special trait, for if the stroke of a strong warrior inflicted one death on his adversary the stroke of our hero inflicted two deaths on one, who opposed him! One of them was the physical death and the other was the spiritual death i.e., eternal curse!
Furthermore, the spirit of courage of this godly old man possessed a special distinction, like the sharpness of his sword, which was praised by his friends as well as enemies. They knew that, whether he lived or was killed, truth was with him! Similarly everyone knew that his enemy, whether he was victorious or subdued, was false.
The noble ‘Ammar was one of the seven stalwart believers of the earliest days of Islam, who bore on their shoulders the burden of the service of the Prophetic message with continuous jihad, perfect devotion and permanent campaigns. And even during his old age, as in his youth, he was one of the first persons who continued his constant jihad and energetic campaign with faithfulness, truthfulness and perfect sincerity, and in whatever enterprise he participated he was recognized to be the sign of guidance and the specimen of justice and virtue of the highest order.
This distinguished brave man was the standard bearer of the believers during the time of the Holy Prophet, and the Prophet (S) tested him at every stage. And he was the person who emerged successfully from the test and trial with perfect purity, and was always like a thorn in the eyes of the polytheists.
Furthermore it was again he who carried the standard of guidance on his shoulders against "apostasy" even after the demise of the Holy Prophet (S)!
These distinctions were peculiar to ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, so that he was recognized to be the sign of guidance. If someone fought side by side with him and lost his life he was sure that he would go to Paradise, and conversely whoever fought against him and was killed was sure to go to Hell.
‘Ammar reported the Holy Prophet (S) to have said: "Whoever holds within himself three habits at one and the same time is like one who has held the principles of faith. Those three habits consist of:
Spending at the time of need.
Establishment of justice in all circumstances.
Planning peace and security for the world.
To sum up, if these three noble traits are collected in a person he will not only be a perfect human being, but his personality will be recognized in the society to be the very substance of faith, and such a person will be the manifestation of generosity, justice and peacefulness whether in the state of war or in the state of peace.
The ally of Makhzum was a swarthy person whose nature had been kneaded with musk. He was of tall stature, square built and awe-inspiring person. He had dark eyes and scanty hair on his head. As has been written by his contemporary narrator 'Zul-Idara' he had a few hairs in the front part of his head and a few hairs on its back and that was all. He was a quiet person as if the angels were conversing with him. He was a man of firm will and determination. He was never deceived; and he never deviated from the right path. He was always governed by reason and he always followed logic. As A’isha says: "If ‘Ammar is doubtful about two matters he chooses the easiest course. He is an intelligent, generous, godly and brave person. He is a man who never turns away from truth".
The great and noble person was born in the tribe of Bani Makhzum during the 570 A.D. and as he has said himself that he was of the same age as the Holy Prophet (S) and from the point of view of age none of the companions was nearer to the Prophet (S) than he;
His mother was Sumayya, the daughter of Khayyat and the slave girl of Abu Huzayfa, the chief of the tribe of Makhzum. Amongst the slave girls of Quraysh none was as noble minded, intelligent, kind-hearted, faithful, chaste and pure as she was.
Yasir bin Amir, the father of ‘Ammar, was an 'Unasi, Mazhaji Qahtini Arab of Yemen who had left his home along with his two brothers named Malik and Harith to find out his fourth brother who had wondered away from Yemen on account of famine, drought and the deteriorating conditions of the government.
It was not only this person who had wandered away from Yemen at that time. A large number of persons were compelled to leave their homes to find out employment and sustenance elsewhere.
Since the time the city of Saba had been ruined a large number of the Yemenite Arabs had migrated to Makkah and Madina. The tribes of Unas and Khazraj settled in Madina and a large number of groups got scattered in Syria, Iraq, Yamama and Najd like ants and locusts. They settled in different parts of the Arabian Peninsula and expanded their civilization and culture to the region of 'Hilali Khasib'.
As the city of Makkah, was a place of peace, it enjoyed superiority over all other places where the immigrants had settled and as it was recognized to be the House of Allah ; the means of welfare, comfort and sustenance were available there and the servants of the Ka'ba paid due attention to the newcomers. For this reason the homeless persons were living there in great comfort without any molestation from any side.
When the three brothers lost all hope of locating their brother, Malik and Harith returned home, but Yasir stayed on in Makkah and became an ally of Abu Huzayfa, the chief of Bani Makhzum. Abu Huzayfa looked after Yasir, and on account of the fact that Abu Huzayfa was so kind and benevolent to him, Yasir also showed great faithfulness and sincerity for him.
Like his brother Hisham in the past and like his second brother Walid afterwards, Abu Huzayfa was a kind and noble chief and leader and a magnanimous guardian of his tribe. He also showed great love and affection for his new ally and loved and respected this stranger 'Unasi whom destiny had compelled to leave his home and country .It would appear that this kind and noble hearted person could see his future to be bright and felt that this man would acquire a high status in future and would become one of the elders of the community. It was for this reason that he becomes his ally and always respected him.
Yasir also valued the good opinion of Abu Huzayfa and did not take undue advantage of his heartfelt love. And notwithstanding the fact that he was nothing more than a stranger he preserved his self-respect and freedom of thought with perfect purity and sincerity.
Such wise behaviour and noble conduct coupled with sincerity, cordiality and faithfulness elevated the position of Yasir so much that within a short time he came to be known as a Makhzumi, acquired all the rights enjoyed by the tribe and was introduced as one of their notable personalities. He also attended the assemblies of Quraysh and was highly respected everywhere.
One day Abu Huzayfa thought of selecting a wife for his 'Unasi ally so that he might get rid of loneliness and he also hoped that Allah might favour him with a worthy child. He, therefore, gave him in marriage Sumayya, daughter of Khayyat who was the noblest and the chastest of his slave girls and decided that her children and her husband would be treated to be freemen.
Notwithstanding the fact that Yasir had not made any such request, Abu Huzayfa, who had realized his valuable personality carried out this plan and made this favour to him. Evidently Yasir was also extremely happy for acquiring this distinction.
After Yasir and Sumayya were married, Allah blessed them with a son, whom they named ‘Ammar.
‘Ammar was passing his days of boyhood and was gradually growing up in advance of his years. The manner of the growth and development of this boy was such that it might be said that he was not allowing the passage of time to transfer him from one stage to the next one and to change him from one form to another.
The boy reached the stage of manhood and when he stepped into the twentieth year of his age the signs of dignity and righteousness could be observed in him and he became well known for his good behaviour towards his parents as well as other people. The people were pleased with him and he also overlooked the bad behaviour of others.
‘Ammar spent his entire time in silence. He was always reflecting and did not pay any heed to things which were alluring for the elders and slaves of Makkah.
‘Ammar avoided the pomp and pelf in which the wealthy persons of that time had fallen and had nothing to do with them.
The superficial observers, who saw ‘Ammar silent, thought that his silence was that of a weak and helpless stranger, who was spending his days under the protection of a benevolent host, and was enjoying comfort and favours and, therefore, avoided interference with the affairs of the people and did not converse with them. However, those who had better contacts with him knew that this silence had a much deeper root, because he as well as other thoughtful, clear-sighted and noble minded persons had become very pessimistic on account of idol worship and vain and futile beliefs and old and rotten customs of the Arabs, but could not criticize them on account of fear for their lives. This was especially the case with a shelter less person like ‘Ammar, whose stay in Makkah was due to his father having become an ally of Abu Huzayfa and his entire strength was limited to this that he was leading his life under the protection of the chief of Bani Makhzum. He and others were, therefore, obliged, in spite of all their sentiments, to keep their mouths shut.
Notwithstanding this, however, whenever ‘Ammar broke his silence he severely criticized the evil deeds and unbecoming conduct of most of the aristocrats of Makkah who were immersed in corruption and prodigality and did not think of anything other than sensuality and profiteering; he said either to himself or to his father: "I am afraid that the evil deeds and corrupt conduct of these greedy and voluptuous persons, who are doing injustice to themselves as well as to the inhabitants of this city , may become the cause of the comfort and tranquillity of this city being converted into perplexity and fear and the blessings available to the citizens being replaced by calamity and affliction.”
One day ‘Ammar said to his father: "Are these mad men not afraid of the consequences of their indecent heresies? Do they not fear that others may snatch this House (Ka'ba) and the ruler ship of this region from them, or discontinue their connections and trade with them, and consequently they may die of hunger and helplessness?" He also said: "I have never seen any people more senseless and foolish than these. This foolishness and impudence of theirs will destroy their lives and take away their comfort and tranquillity from them. These unwise aristocrats and elders do not know the dreadful consequences of their evil conduct and do not keep in view that their master ship and comfortable life is owing to their being the servants of the Ka'ba. And when people who come for the pilgrimage of this House observe their evil deeds and ugly manners, they will certainly deprive them of this sacred House. Then these ignorant and oblivious aristocrats must die in extreme affliction. I have never seen such foolish people as these, who are creating misfortunes for themselves".
Yasir said: "My son! You have transgressed the limits and are saying things which are beyond your age and position. Has anybody else taught you these things or you are saying them of yourself? "
‘Ammar replied: "None has said to me anything on the subject. On the other hand it is my farsighted eye which can see the consequences even now, and it is my hearing ear which can hear the cries of the outburst and rebellion of the oppressed people of Makkah”.
His father Yasir said: "My son! I also know what you know. And you and I are not the only persons who are grieved on account of this state of affairs but I know many slaves and allies of Quraysh and even persons belonging to noble families who think as you do. However, it’s expedient that in the present circumstances you should not say anything on the subject, because otherwise your death is certain. And you should also know that whatever you say will not be of much consequence because this House has a Master, Who protects it and will keep every harm and detriment away from it. My son! You were not in the world on "the Day of the Elephant". I was a boy at that time and am one of those persons who saw that incident with their own eyes, and I still remember the wonderful things about that day like others.
I saw that Abdul Muttalib bin Hashim, the chief of Quraysh was instructing the people not to leave Makkah. Till that day neither Abdul Muttalib nor other members of the tribe of Quraysh had ever to face such a large and organized army.
I could see that Abdul Muttalib was not at all worried. He was consoling and comforting others and was assuring them that Makkah would be victorious without any fighting or bloodshed. And I do not hide the fact that, like all others, I was hopeless and was doubtful that the promises made by Abdul Muttalib would come to be true.
Now you should also keep this thing in mind that the sons of Abdul Muttalib are interested in the sanctity of the House and the peace of the city and even the smallest amongst their children can suppress these fools and prove their mistakes and stupidity. In the circumstances you should leave this task to them or to one of them so that they may explain and clarify the matter and openly spread this thinking among the people. And as and when they take steps in this behalf there will be none in Makkah who may be in a position to oppose them!
I must also tell you that if they take a decision in this behalf and rise to correct these fools, the purposes which both of us have in view will be achieved. And, in any case, if one of them takes steps in this behalf he will face no molestation, whether his action involves pains and hardship or not, because the descendants of Abdul Muttalib are obeyed and respected by the people. However, persons like you and me possess neither authority nor influence. Hence, at present it is necessary for us to be patient and forbearing, because if we take any action these misguided persons will peel our skins like those of the sheep and none will come to our help.
O my son! Over and above these things I must also tell you that it will be very good that they may remove our skins provided this is beneficial to the people, and equity and justice is established. In that case our blood will not be wasted; rather it will fetch more blood money. In case, however, we speak about it now among the people we shall not gain anything except insult and ridicule, and even if we do something we will be rewarded only by rebuke, reproach and taunts.
My son! Don't you know that in the current system and the present regime discussion about the public matters is the monopoly of the powerful oppressors and wealthy persons, and is restricted to the class of chiefs, leaders and aristocrats, and interference in such matters by the deprived and helpless allies like us is not permissible.
In the end I have to advise you to have faith in the Lord of this House and also to repose confidence in those few persons, who belong to the family of Hashim, because they are the best persons in this land, and a bright future await them".
‘Ammar said: "I don't disobey your orders and I find that Bani Hashim believe in different deities and have a commendable way of life, and other Quraysh have neither equalled them so far nor will be their peers in future.
The God of Abdul Muttalib is not a forged and useless god. He is the God whose help is sought by all His slaves and He also helps them. You must remember what I told you about "Abraha" and his army. Small birds by the Command of Allah annihilated his big army which was mounted on elephants. All these are the signs of Allah.
The god of other people whom they have manufactured themselves is a god which is senseless, deaf and dumb and cannot even take care of himself. However, the God of Abdul Muttalib is so great that it is necessary to show humility before Him and not that He should be picked up with one's hand and moved from place to place". ‘Ammar further said: "When I say as to why they don't indicate Him, I don't mean that they should locate his place or should transfer him from place to place. What I mean is this: "Why don't they proclaim the Greatness, Strength and other Attributes of their Lord before the people?"
Yasir said: "My son! Every work has an appropriate time and every step should be taken in a proper and favourable atmosphere. At present, when these superstitious beliefs, ugly habits, futile customs and meaningless traditions rule the Hijaz, it is not possible to invite the people openly to monotheism and supposing that such an invitation is extended to them, it will certainly not produce any fruitful result.
I am aware that in order to promote his object Abdul Muttalib has personally taken some useful and moral elementary steps. And how is it possible for one who believes in Allah, the Great Lord to undertake reformation unless he delivers the people from the burden of ridiculous stories, enslavement to the ugly and indecent habit of egotism and the magic of superstitions and other unwholesome and futile traditions to which they have become habituated?
You yourself know that these corrupt thinking and mental contaminations have entwined their roots in such a way that it is not possible to eradicate them soon, and they can be got rid of only gradually. And it may be hoped that Abdul Muttalib will be able to achieve his object at the appropriate time by means of the decent regulations and traditions which he has introduced with the name of 'Hanifa' .Its principles are based on the religion of his forefather Prophet Ibrahim and that he will be able to take more effective steps later.
Furthermore, besides carrying out religious reformation by means of a revolutionary action he also resorted to welfare work in another form by digging the well of Zamzam in order to provide more water to the people.
Of course, Abdul Muttalib destroyed the respect of the idols by preventing the slaughtering of camels before two idols named 'Asafa' and 'Nai'la' and also became victorious over the superstitions and vain and futile traditions. He also located and dug the well of Zamzam and placed abundant water at the disposal of the people and was recognized to be an example of endeavour and action on this account as well.
In any case all these actions became the cause of the creation of a breach in the strong wall of traditions and superstitions which had surrounded the people of the Hijaz for many years.
Abdul Muttalib abolished many superstitions; one after the other, during the campaign initiated by him and commenced the reformation with his relatives, kinsmen and friends. Now you should rest assured that as soon as he finds an opportunity he will clear and level the path which he has opened.”
‘Ammar said: "O father! Why does Allah not help Abdul Muttalib and why does He not send an army for his assistance just as he had sent one day the birds to destroy the army of Abraha? And why does He act like a creditor who lends money to a debtor in instalments and not in a lump sum?"
Yasir replied: "My son! I cannot give an exact answer to this question at present. However, I know that the God of Abdul Muttalib, while possessing immense power, is Independent, Kind and Beneficent, and it is immaterial for Him whether people worship Him or not, whether they be believers or unbelievers and whether they be lucky or unlucky. He only desires happiness and welfare of the people and He does not provide it to them by force. Hence, it is the duty of the people to distinguish between the path and the pit.
The God of Abdul Muttalib is not only kind to His friends, but is also considerate to His enemies, because He treats the believers as well as the unbelievers to be His slaves. He is not jealous and narrow-minded like us.
My son! At present all the inhabitants of the world, excepting a few who can be counted on fingers, are unbelievers. In the circumstances if He wishes to destroy, on account of His wrath, this majority which is almost the total, what will be the use of the laws and regulations?
My son! The God of Abdul Muttalib distinguished between the right and the wrong path to the people and then leaves them free to choose the way they like. If they choose the path of prosperity they will make themselves happy and if they tread the path of adversity the harm will accrue to them and the God of Abdul Muttalib will not gain anything or sustain any loss".
‘Ammar said: "Father! What a deep impression your words make on my heart! I give place to these eloquent words in my heart like wholesome water! My father! You are not a human being but an angel who is planting its beautiful plumage on me, so that I may fly to the celestial world. Now I have to ask you only one question'.
Yasir said: "I shall give you a reply if I can".
‘Ammar said: "I admit that Bani Hashim are noble, magnanimous, honourable and intelligent. However, Bani Makhzum, too, are your allies. Then why is it that you accord more respect to the people of Bani Hashim?"
Yasir replied: "If we bring in sentiments and bias then what you say will be quite true. However, I always keep facts and reality in view and don't attach any importance to bias and sentiments. It is true that difference exists between these two groups and the same difference exists between the God of Abdul Muttalib and their gods.
My son! If you also wish to differ from me about this reality I shall leave you, and the greatest service which I can render to you is that I should advise you to associate with me in this belief".
This conversation which took place between the father and the son was one of the topics which these two persons used to discuss in the morning. In those days the mornings of the Qurayshites commenced with feasting and drinking, because usually they sat in the morning in a corner in the form of a group and engaged themselves in storytelling and amusements. However, at times Yasir absented himself from the gatherings of Bani Makhzum and instead of participating in their conversation became busy in talking with his son whose words almost enchanted him, and discussed matters with him and gave him instruction.
By dint of the knowledge, experience and wisdom which he had acquired in Yemen, Yasir possessed the capability to become the teacher of his son.
In any case the above conversation between the father and the son is a specimen of the morning talks which they had with each other.
On that very day a cry was heard from Mount Abu Qubays which interrupted the conversation between the father and the son. This cry was heard by all, but had a special impact on this father and son, so much so that their bodies' began to tremble.
The crier was saying with great enthusiasm and forces to seek justice: "O people of Makkah! Is it possible that you may come to the help of a person whose merchandise, has been seized? The oppressed person is one who is away from his tribe and kinsfolk and is presently in the city of Makkah, alone in the state of ehram (ritual act at the time of pilgrimage) and the dust which had settled on his ehram (dress) has not yet been removed from his garments.
Can you support such a person? O Children of Fahr!1 (i.e. O brave men of the family of Bani Hashim!) who are moving between the Stone of Isma'il and the Black Stone! Is there anyone amongst you who may take back the property of a person in ehram who has come to Makkah to perform Umra pilgrimage, from such and such person belonging to the family of Bani Sahm who has taken the merchandise and hidden himself without having made payment, or should the owner of the property lose all hope ? "
‘Ammar said: "Father! Have you seen that, as pointed out by me, the folly of these people has become evident? And do you hear that cry of complaint and injustice is echoing from the mountain?"
Yasir said: "Dear son! I have no doubt that the period of your boyhood has given the good tidings of .your intelligence and insight. However, you should keep in mind the advice which I gave you in the beginning of our conversation. Now get up, go and find out what the matter is. Who has raised the voice of complaint? And also ascertain whether a favourable reply has been given by the people of Makkah to the painful cry of the complainant".
When ‘Ammar returned he said to his father: "Whatever you told me previously about the merit and worthiness of Bani Hashim was correct. The complainant who raised his voice was a man from Zubayd who had brought some valuable merchandise to this city. Abu Amr al'As wa'il al Sahmi purchased some merchandise from him and took it to his house but did not pay the price and hid himself in his house.
The man from Zubayd demanded the price of the property but the purchaser declined to pay it and also failed to return the property although the owner agreed to its being returned. At last the owner of the property sought refuge with the family of Bani Sahm and requested them to help him but instead of helping him they maltreated him, and turned him away. Then he contacted the groups of Quraysh and sought their assistance but they also failed to help him. He was, therefore, compelled to go at the top of the mountain and seek the help of all the people of Makkah with a loud voice for the restoration of his right”.
‘Ammar added: "I made my best efforts to find out to what effect this cry for justice had in this sacred sanctuary and the land of peace and tranquillity, and I learnt it for certain that besides a few persons who enjoy the distinction of possessing dignity and faith, his beseeching didn't make any impression on other groups.
Yasir said: "Perhaps by those 'few persons' you mean the assembly of Zubayr bin Abdul Muttalib".
‘Ammar said: "Yes, father! How well you have identified them! The oppressed person went from one door to another to seek some supporters who might put an end to this anarchy. And it is possible that this much oppressed complainant may prove to be the revolutionary person and the appointed hour may have arrived”.
Yasir said: "I don't think so. However, it is possible that this event may be one of the factors of revolution and the harbinger of reformation. Why are you in so much hurry? Every happening has its particular time".
The efforts of Zubayr were fruitful, because a group of persons belonging to the families of Bani Hashim, Bani Asad, Bani Zohra and Bani Taym gathered in the house of Abdullah bin Jud 'an Taymi and "the Truthful and Honest one" (the Prophet) also joined them, and all of them swore that they would support the oppressed person and take back his right. They also undertook to ensure that there after all persons in Makkah whether kinsmen or strangers and whether freemen or slaves should remain immune from molestation and none should oppress them. Zubayr gave the name of 'Hilful Fuzul' (the covenant of brave persons) to his party.
The first result of the activity of this party was the vindication of the right of the oppressed 'Zubaydi' from the Pharaoh of Bani Sahm.
‘Ammar came to his father once again and related another incident to him in these words: "Today a tradesman belonging to the tribe of Biriq came to the bazaar and purchased some commodity from Abi bin Khalaf. As you are aware Abi is an ill-humoured and deceitful person. For this reason this transaction also resulted in conflict and contention. The Barqi tradesman, therefore, approached the party named 'Hilful Fuzul'.
Zubayr said to the Barqi tradesman: "Go and tell Abi that you have complained to us and, in case he fails to pay what is due to you, come back and let us know, so that we may take necessary steps in the matter".
The Barqi tradesman informed Abi about the matter and he paid his right to him without any delay.
On another day ‘Ammar related a new incident to his father and said: "A tradesman belonging to the tribe of Khathma'i came to Makkah accompanied by his daughter named 'Qatool' who was a very beautiful girl and perhaps the most beautiful girl of her time.
As soon as Nabiyya bin Hajjaj caught sight of the girl, he lost his heart to her and abducted her. In spite of his best efforts the father of the girl could not rescue her from the clutches of this nasty man. Consequently he began exploring ways and means to recover his daughter, and sought help from everyone but without any result. At last he approached 'Hilful Fuzul'.
His contact with 'Hilful Fuzul' became the cause of the deliverance of his daughter, because Zubayr, accompanied by some other brave men who were the members of the covenant went to Nabiyya along with the father of the girl and brought her out of his house. This shameless person said to them: "Let her be with me tonight only". However, they replied: 'May Allah blacken your face! How impudent and shameless you are! Give up the girl and surrender her to her father at once otherwise.”
Nabiyya, who had been overawed by the brave persons of the covenant, reluctantly surrendered the girl to her father, and thus the stain of shame was washed off the Makkans.
Yasir told his son: "Before 'Hilful Fuzul' i.e. before the formation of the association of these brave persons Abdul Muttalib used to solve such problems in this manner: One day Harb bin Umayya sent some men to kill an unprotected wealthy person. The wealthy man was killed and Harb appropriated his property. However, when the news reached Abdul Muttalib and the heirs of the murdered person complained to him he, in the capacity of the chief and leader of Quraysh, took back the property from Harb and made it over to the heirs of the deceased. He also realized blood money from Harb in the shape of one hundred camels".
‘Ammar brought such news for his father every day, notwithstanding the fact that Yasir had heard and was hearing much such news, neither ‘Ammar was tired of bringing the news to his father, nor did his father get tired of hearing them.
As and when Yasir heard such news from ‘Ammar he encouraged him, added new points for his instructor and urged him to have reformative objects in mind. Incidentally, however, he advised him not to disclose these matters and not to speak about them everywhere.
At the end of every story ‘Ammar used to say to his father: "O father! I feel very happy on account of your correct knowledge and information about Bani Hashim being keen to introduce reforms as well as about their chastity and nobleness. How well you have recognized this honourable family".
"I understand that one morning the son of your slave girl Summaya got up and, as a result of a miracle of Muhammad found himself a master and a chief like freemen and other masters. Rather, as I have been given to understand, he considered himself to be higher than and superior to all other chiefs.
This man has built ‘Ka'ba' in his house with a mehr’ab (a place for offering prayers) in it. Of course, previously such a momentous precedent existed among the Sabi'in and nowadays the son of Sumayya has performed this task.
This man is no longer ‘Ammar bin Sumayya but has adopted the title of 'Abul Yaqzin' (The Vigilant).
These days he has become the friend of the Almighty Lord! The same Lord who has manifested Himself in his Ka'ba and radiates in his mehrab, hears his words, and gives inspiration to him. Anyhow, these two (the Lord and His slave) are friends of each other. To my mind if Abu Huzayfa is brought to life again he will consider himself like a beggar before this man.
I am not aware whether in that event this son of the slavegirl would agree to talk with his former master, and whether he would admit him in his presence, or whether. he would turn away his face from him in the same manner in which he turns it away from the chiefs of Quraysh and treats them to be inferior, or whether he would despise him in the same manner in which he turns his face away from the respectable and high-ranking men of Quraysh, whom he treats with scorn, and considers them worse than slaves and slave girls".
These were the words which Abu Sufyan bin Sakhr bin Harb bin Umayya spoke to Abu Jahl 'Amr bin Hisham, the dictator of Bani Makhzum. Without affording Abu Jahl an opportunity to speak he himself spoke on with great excitement: "Would that we too had a strong slave like ‘Ammar whom we could send to Muhammad and his Allah as an intermediary and when all paths were closed to us he might have proved to be like a bridge for us and the doors might not have been closed for us to return. How lucky you are O Abul Hakam! You are under the protection of the son and husband of Sumayya, and you are safe from all sides. But we shall not enjoy security under the rule of the slaves”.
Abu Jahl, whose kuniya (patronymic appellation) was Abul Hakam, said: "I feel that your attention is confined to the slaves and the bondmen and you forget the share of freemen as we are. If our slave ‘Ammar has constructed a Ka'ba and a mehr’ab in his house my cousin Arqam, too, has, as compared with him, made his house situated in safa, the 'house of Islam' and it is in this house that as a result of the activities of Muhammad, the Ka'ba has now been abandoned and the people turn away their faces from it and pay attention to Syria. Furthermore, the position of Darun Nadwa, the house of Qusayy, our noble ancestor, has deteriorated! Why are you disappointed, broken hearted and dejected?"
Are you not hopeful of intercession by Abu Huzayfa Hashim bin 'Utba, brother of Hind, Abdullah bin Sahim, and ‘Uthman bin 'Affan? All of them are competent to intercede for you before Muhammad, as and when the conditions of Batha are turned upside down!"
Anyhow, the notables of Quraysh had assembled in Hajar and were very much worried on account of the influence of the Holy Prophet (S) and the spreading of his invitation among the white skinned and the red skinned persons. This was due to the fact that as the invitation of the Prophet (S) spread, Makkah became divided into two sections and the aristocrat class were worried on account of the end of their luxurious life, their exploitation of the people, and their superiority over others.
The names of the distinguished personalities of this group have been recorded as under:
Walid bin Mughira, the elder of Makhzum tribe and his nephew, the dictator 'Amr bin Hisham, 'Utba and Shayba, the two sons of Tabi'a bin Abd Shams, Abu Sufyan bin Harb bin Umayya, Nazr bin Harth, the standard bearer of Bani Abudud Oar, Aswadbin Muttalib bin Hashim, Abu Lahab bin Abdul Muttalib, Abdullah bin Abu Mayya, Abu Amr As bin wa'il, Nabiyya and Maniyya, the two sons of Hajaj Sahmi, Umayya bin Khalaf Jumahi and 'Uqba bin Abu Mu'it.
As soon as the conversation of Sakhr and' Amr came to an end 'Uqba said to them: "You two are quarrelling with each other like two warriors. It might be said that all of us have assembled here to act as the witnesses and judges of the quickness of your apprehension and the acuteness of your minds! I swear by what I believe to be sacred that if you don't check the contacts of Muhammad with the people he will make them rule over you and will make the rogues the masters of your elders! Then all of you will be obliged to become humble before him and he is the person who will not allow preference of the white over the black, of the masters over their slaves and of the wealthy over the poor.”
He added: "When we sit together we feel that none is superior to you two persons and other persons at the helm of affairs amongst Quraysh in the matter of eloquence, wit, manner of conversation and debate, but in spite of this as soon as Muhammad arrives in our gathering, all of us tremble with fear and our most stubborn persons are reduced to hopeless perplexity before him!"
Umayya bin Khalaf said to Abu Hanzala (Abu Sufyan) and Abul Hakam: "Now that the affairs of Muhammad have assumed such dimensions in the eyes of our elders and he has created differences in our community, and he ridicules our gods, you should no longer find fault with a freeman or be rude towards a slave, because the son of Mughira and the son of Rabi'a look on Muhammad and his innovations with great respect.
Abu Khalid bin Walid who was sitting in the centre of the assembly was leaning comfortably on a pillow and was hearing these discussions with a smile on his lips. When the reproach of Khalaf reached this stage, he (i.e. Walid) crossed his legs and said, without the smile disappearing from his face: “O son of Khalaf! What talent do you see in the person of your own slave, Bilal bin Raba? Do you think that the efforts of Bilal for becoming free from the clutches of the son of Khalaf and his getting rid of his slavery is more important than the injustice and violence committed by the son of Khalaf against Muhammad?
My Qurayshi brethren! you renounce the establishment of truth and indulge in bias. If you behave towards your slaves and slave girls humanly and are just to them, they will never leave you and will have no grudge against you. However, while dealing with them you forget one point and don’t keep in mind the fact that they too are human beings like you and possess eyes, ears and tongues like you and also possess intellects like you to understand the meanings of greatness and nobleness just as your intellects do. If at the time of their becoming your slaves you had not forgotten this simple fact they would have been friendly with you.
However, after having forgotten this point they too don't have any affection for you and if they obey you apparently they are annoyed with you at heart, and this is the very thing which makes them revolt against you. And when Muhammad showed them love and kindness they also planned to achieve freedom so that they might be free and acquire respect. Hence, you should reproach yourselves and get annoyed with you rather than with them!
This is what I feel about these helpless persons and as no stranger is present in our assembly I state this fact openly and believe that it is necessary for you to review your own position. Now as regards the things ascribed to me by the son of Khalaf I shall tell you the truth if you so desire. As all of you are aware the position enjoyed by the father and uncle of Muhammad in the eyes of Quraysh is not equalled by anyone and I must also say that the position and esteem enjoyed by Muhammad alone is much higher than that which they enjoy.
You have been under the impression that Muhammad is a poet, a soothsayer, a magician or an insane person. However, when he contacts the people the falsity of this thinking is abundantly proved. And it is due to the falsity of these very thoughts that the supporters of the Prophet (S) gain strength and become hostile to you. It is in this respect that your action results in profit for him and helps him instead of being harmful to him.
It is due to keeping these facts in view that whatever you ascribe to Muhammad is contrary to my assessment. And if I oppose you in this matter it is because you should adopt a sensible policy in fighting against Muhammad, and should judge the standard of the strength of your adversary. I swear that whatever I have heard from Muhammad is very interesting and pleasant and whatever I see in him is worth confirmation”.
Umayya bin Khalaf wanted to say something but 'Uqba stopped him and said: "Abu Khalid has said the final word and whatever he has said is correct. My views are identical with his. I see in Muhammad the same thing which he has seen and what the son of Khalaf says does not impress me, and I am not prepared to change my opinion. Previously also I advised my people saying: "Leave this man alone and remain neutral". I said this because I was sure that what I heard from him would impress the Arabs and thought that if he was victorious one day his government would be our government and the glory acquired by him would be our glory. In that case we would be the luckiest people. But the reply which my hearers gave me was that the magician had bewitched me, whereas I swear that he is not a magician but says things which we had never heard before".
The fox of Quraysh, Nazr bin Harith, said: "O Qurayshites! You are faced with a great danger which it will not be possible for you to combat later! During the days when Muhammad was young he was considered by you to be the most respectable, the most truthful and the most honest one. Now that grey hairs have appeared, and he has passed the stage of youth, and has become mature and has called you to believe in His Prophethood, you call him a liar!
He contended with you in the presence of all, and before you commenced hostilities against him a few years back, you had yourselves become subservient to him. Many years earlier i .e .from the very days you confirmed his honesty and truthfulness you provided the proof for your acknowledging him your master. You say Muhammad is a magician. However, I swear that he is not a magician. We have seen the magicians and are aware of their activities. Muhammad is not a magician and his actions do not resemble magic.
You say he is a soothsayer, but that too is not correct; we have seen the soothsayers and have heard their rhyming words. The words of Muhammad do not resemble those of the soothsayers. You say that he is a poet. We know the technique of poetry and can very well understand the rhythms and metres of various poets. The words of Muhammad do not resemble poetry. You say that he is insane. We have observed different types of insanity. The actions and the words of Muhammad do not resemble those of the insane persons.
O Quraysh! A calamity has befallen you; you can neither ward it off, nor can you combat with it. You have no alternative left but to adopt the path of anyone of the two elders of Quraysh (Abu Khalid bin Walid or Abu Walid).”
At this moment Abu Jahl broke the silence and said: "You are always quarrelling with one another regarding Muhammad and every one of you considers himself to be more knowledgeable about him than others. You should know that the event related with him has shaken us terribly. One night I found myself in such a condition that I could not have a wink of sleep. Then I realized that a mysterious agent had overpowered me and controlled me in such a way that it might be said that his fingertips were squeezing my back and shoulders and were taking me wherever he liked. Then I reached the pillar of the house where Muhammad offers his prayers and there I heard his voice.
That night I perceived sorcery of magic which changed the places of senses into sight. I considered as if wine was going through my mouth into my body and then I was in a state of intoxication which ran throughout my body. However, the prayers of Muhammad were not like this. This wine entered my body through the ears and was then dispersed in its different parts.
During that night I was thrown, on account of that prayer, into an ecstasy which, I had never experienced in any wine. Do you wonder? That night Muhammad kept me captivated with the strings of his prayers till dawn. As light spread his eyes fell on me. It might be said that before him I had been adjudged to pay a penalty .In the circumstances I feared disgrace and stepped back. When I was returning I met a man who faced me with a drawn sword. I said to myself: "O 'Amr! May your mother mourn your death! Now Quraysh are in search of you!" Then I realized that the man was Abu Hanzala and another man who was standing behind him was Akhnas bin Shariq Saqafi. These two persons were watching me.
When I came to know that the agitation and trembling, which had overpowered me, had affected these two persons also, and they too had been bewitched by the magic of Muhammad and intoxicated by his wine, my fear diminished. Then we recommended to one another that we would not go that way again, because, otherwise we would also become an example and a specimen of those fools who followed Muhammad! In spite of this I lost self-control during the next night also and felt that a mysterious agent was pulling me towards itself and dragging me to the place where Muhammad was offering his prayers and I could hear his voice.
This time also I felt that I was becoming intoxicated by his wine and it gave me a hilarity which is not provided by wine or by victory. And when I came to my senses again at dawn I met those two persons. We advised one another that we should abandon the idea of coming there again, and then parted.
I don't conceal the fact that this incident was repeated during the third night also. I met my two companions as I had met them twice before and we repeated our resolve. I didn't meet the two persons again and do testify now that they heard what I had heard and also perceived what I had perceived.
If we have gathered here to say what we have in our hearts about Muhammad it is the same what we have already said. However; as all of us have assembled here for something else we must think about some remedy.”
Abu Sufyan laughed and said: "O Abul Hakam! It is good that you have reminded me, because, I had forgotten what I had felt earlier.”
Abu Jahl said: "Were you absent and have arrived just now? I had already spoken to you earlier about what you have heard now.”
Abu Sufyan said: "I swear by your own life that I was present here and heard your expressive remarks and perceived everything with my ears and eyes. However, I have a question to ask you; why we have assembled here and what is your opinion about what you have heard?"
Abu Jahl said: "Let me first know your views about what you have heard.”
Abu Sufyan replied: "Only a small part of what I have heard is intelligible, and most of these things are simply confusing and I cannot follow what they all mean.”
Abu Jahl said: "My view regarding what I have heard about Muhammad is this: We were the rivals of the family of Abd Manaf. They pulled the people to themselves and we pulled them to ourselves. They burdened the shoulders of the people and we also did the same thing. They gave things to the people and we too gave them things. We were going side by side with each other till the stage came when they said: 'A Prophet has risen from amongst us to whom revelations come from the heavens'. How can we accept such a claim? I swear by god that we shall never express belief in him and shall never testify to his claim.”
Abu Sufyan said: "O Abul Hakam! You hold a wonderfully good opinion. Don't talk about Abd Manaf. Let us discuss Bani Hashim, The dispute and rivalry between us and Bani Hashim was not about chief ship. The fact is that they sowed the seed and made imposition and we also did the same. And as soon as we became almost equal to them in the field of competition they said: The Prophet is from amongst us. How can we accept this thing? I swear by god that we shall never express faith in their Prophet and shall never acknowledge him as such.”
Abu Lahab said: "This is not the point. I preferred you to his family and as all of you are aware the antecedents, preference, family ties, nobility and the large number of the supporters of this family are quite tangible and evident. In the circumstances don't make a distinction between Hashimis and Makhzumis or Umayyads, and even if you make such a distinction don't make it in respect of Abu Talib and his brothers and sons and their supporters, but fight against Muhammad and be aware that although I am his uncle I am with you. He is the man who has found fault with our beliefs, has abused our gods, and insulted our forefathers. In short none has treated his community and tribe so badly as Muhammad has treated us.”
Then 'Aas bin Wa'il said: “What a strange thing Abu Lahab has said! Did we not excuse your nephew? We placed everything we had at his disposal and relinquished absolute master ship in his favour. We went to the chief of Bani Hashim and the elder of Makkah, Abu Talib, and requested him to act as intercessor and mediator and to tell Muhammad that we were prepared to give him whatever he desired provided that he shouldn't abuse our gods and ancestors. Our request didn't, however, produce any result and he continued to pursue his own path and said: "I swear by Allah that even if they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand I will not give up my mission till I die.”
After having said this he threatened us and checked our business and means of livelihood and destroyed our influence. In the circumstances who can accuse us if we rise against him, forestall his actions and punish him?"
Abu Lahab said: "O Abu 'Amr! May your family and kinsfolk live for over! Do you think that my severity with regard to my nephew has been lesser than yours? Or do you think that I have shown more forbearance towards him than you have shown? I desire success for you so that you may check the success of Muhammad and deprive him of the help and cooperation of his kinsmen so that it may be easier for you to fight against him.”
Abu Jahl said: "If you lend me support and protect me from harm and torture from Bani Hashim I shall kill Muhammad and help you get rid of him.”
'As said: "I don’t agree with this view, because killing Muhammad will create an unprecedented disorder and trouble. We have acquired the habit of not being severe to one another and not going to the extreme severity in the matter of conversation or discussion, not to talk of killing one another. Especially as regards the murder of Muhammad I must say that even if all of us agree on this issue we shall not be able to accomplish this task and that all the persons present in this assembly must lose their lives. O Abul Hakam! Do you imagine that Bani Abdul Muttalib will sit still and allow that one from amongst them whom they expect to be victorious in the near future should be done away with so easily? No doubt, they will not allow this to happen. In the circumstances we must think about some other remedy because the murder of Muhammad will prove very costly for Makkah and will cause great havoc and widespread disaster.”
Walid said: "The view expressed by Abu 'Amr is sensible and he is quite right in saying that we should allow Muhammad to do whatever he likes. We should, however, refrain from killing him.”
Abu Jahl said: "Dear uncle! Give your final decision and think of a plan to solve this problem so that we may act upon it and get rid of this dilemma.”
Walid who was thinking deeply drew his hand on his beard and said: "Combat the actions of Muhammad with hooliganism and noise and say that Muhammad is a magician and practises sorcery. Treat him contemptuously and belittle him. And in case you wish to humiliate and ridicule him you should feign ignorance of his Qur'an and shouldn’t listen to it nor allow others to hear it. And if by chance someone else or you yourself happen to hear it find fault with it by whatever means possible and say that its contents are incoherent and confusing and a source of perplexity. Also say that you are unable to understand what it means.
Leave the body of Muhammad intact, but injure his soul as much as possible and in case you are not successful by these means get hold of his slaves and allies and those who have become his followers, and persecute them.
It is in this way that you can defend your gods and preserve your traditions and customs. In that event Bani Hashim who are besieged in their shi’b (mountain pass) will not find it possible to create any disturbance and how much so ever they are provoked they will not achieve any result.”
Abu Jahl said: "Leave the task of torturing the slaves and the silly persons to me. You will then see what happens to the family of Sumayya tomorrow”.
‘Uqba bin Abi Mu'it said: "Leave the mimicry of Muhammad's way of walking to me. I shall make people die of laughter.”
Abu Sufyan said: "I have heard that Muhammad has learnt the Qur'an from a person named Rajmin, a resident of Yamama, and he is a man who has no parallel in feigning excessive godliness and fabricating superstitions.”
Harth bin Nazr said: “When the persons whom Muhammad has gathered round himself get dispersed from his sides I shall amuse them in another manner. I shall narrate to them the stories which I heard at ‘Hira’ stories which are like those of Rustum and Isfandyir, and the tales of ancient Iran. I shall then show them whether 1 am a more eloquent orator or Muhammad and whether my words are better of his!"
'Uqba said: “Tell Muhammad that if he is a Prophet and his claim is correct he should either remove the mountains encircling Makkah, level the uneven lands like those of Iraq and make two rivers like the Tigris and the Euphrates run in them, or convert this mountain into gold so that we may be relieved of the difficulties and hardships of journeying for purposes of trade; or make our dead ancestors rise from dust, so that we may ask them whether what Muhammad says is true or false and whether it is right or wrong. And if it may be too much to raise all our ancestors we shall be satisfied if he raises only one of, them namely Qusayy, because he was a truthful old man. And if he declines to meet this request ask him that he should make heaps (of stones) fall on our heads from the sky, or, as he claims, we may become involved in painful torture.”
From that day onwards unprecedented pressures and restrictions were imposed upon Islam and the Muslims.
As soon as the Prophet (S) came out of his house dust and garbage were thrown on his head. Every slave or free man who approached him teased and ridiculed him and mimicked his way of talking and walking. And although the atmosphere of Makkah had become dark and gloomy for him it did not diminish anything from his mirth, activity and efforts.
He continued preaching and propagating Islam .He went to those silly persons with perfect cheerfulness, pointed out their follies and mistakes and opened their eyes and ears. And as soon as the day ended, the night came and the stars began to shine he returned home fatigued and exhausted. He had to endure such hardships as had not been endured by any previous Prophet.
‘Ammar Yasir was busy offering his prayers in his house when suddenly some one knocked at the door. The person who knocked at the door was a man of short stature with a flat nose and a darkish swarthy complexion.
‘Ammar's mother went to the door of the house, welcomed the visitor and said: "What a good thing it is that Abu Usama, the freed slave, son and friend of the Holy Prophet (S) has come to see us! He has brought blessings and bliss, and has perfumed our house with the fragrance of the breaths of Prophethood".
The mother of ‘Ammar was saying these words and was guiding Zayd bin Harith to the place of worship of ‘Ammar. She made the guest enter the house and kept standing till he sat down in a corner of the room. Then she began conversing with him so that ‘Ammar might, in the meantime, finish the Nafela (recommended prayers) of his noon prayers.
The whether was cool and the atmosphere was bright. As soon as ‘Ammar finished his prayers he ran towards Zayd and welcomed him and they embraced each other. ‘Ammar had not yet occupied his seat when Zayd began talking and said: 'O Abul Yaqzan! Do you feel inclined that we should go out and peep into the gatherings of Quraysh?"
‘Ammar said: "Why shouldn’t we go to Darul Islam so that during the remaining time we may benefit from the words of the Holy Prophet (S) and offer afternoon prayers along with him?"
Zayd said: "I am just coming from Darul Islam and have good news for you from Abul Qasim (the Prophet). And now that I have come here I wish that we should go to the "House" and present ourselves before the Holy Prophet (S) after getting correct information about the meeting of Quraysh.”
‘Ammar said: "Excellent indeed! What is the good news? Has anyone embraced Islam? What should I say? I don't know why Allah is so patient with these people.”
Zayd said: "We received the news in Darul Islam that Abu ‘Ammara delivered a blow to Abu Jahl in public so that the earth became coloured with his blood. He also warned him that if he maltreated the Prophet again, he would give the same treatment in return to him; and declared before Quraysh that from today he has embraced Islam.”
‘Ammar, who was extremely happy on hearing this news, asked: "Has Hamza done so? By Allah I expected this very thing from the 'unique brave man of Arabia’ and hoped that he would not tolerate the ignorance of Abu Jahl any longer. This malicious man has been inimical towards the Holy Prophet (S) for years and has taken liberties which render him liable to death punishment.”
Zayd said: "It is a matter of regret that these refractory persons still exercise authority over Makkah and the Prophet (S) doesn't permit that we should contend with them, because he has been ordered that as far as possible he should not go beyond the limits of peace and it is an undeniable fact that violence is not permissible in this religion except when it ensures peace. Otherwise the easiest thing possible would have been that one of us should have killed Abu Jahl and then might have been killed himself.”
‘Ammar said; "Let us go to the House. Now that Hamza has embraced Islam and given a blow to Abu Jahl, our condition is different from the previous one. At present the fire of war is blazing. Very good! O Abu Usama! Tell me how Hamza hit Abu Jahl and where he hit him".
Zayd said; "According to our information when Hamza returned from hunting today a slave girl of Abdullah bin Jud'an saw him and reproached him for spending his time hunting in the mountains of Makkah while his nephew was treated with insolence. Hamza asked her as to who had insulted Muhammad. Thereupon she related to him the story of Abu Jahl having molested and insulted Muhammad and said; "Abu Jahl instigated some silly and unwise persons and they were rude and insolent to Muhammad.”
"As soon as Hamza became aware of this incident he went to the Ka'ba and performed 'tawaf' (circumambulation) as usual. After having performed 'tawaf’ he went up to Abu Jahl who was sitting in the circle of Bani Makhzum and said to him: "Do you abuse Muhammad and that also when I am his follower and have embraced his religion? ' Having said this he struck on his head a bow which he was holding in his hand.”
‘Ammar asked: "Then what happened to him?' And what did Abu Jahl do then? Besides this please let me know what effect this action of Hamza had on the kinsfolk and relatives of Abu Jahl. Did they tolerate it or showed some reaction?"
Zayd said: "Some persons belonging to Bani Makhzum got infuriated against Hamza and stood up to take revenge on him but Abu Jahl acted wisely and asked them to resume their seats. It is evident that when the 'unique brave man of Arabia' rises against Abu Jahl and fights openly, he (Abu Jahl) is not in a position to do anything and must remain calm. Is he not aware that to resist Hamza or to fight against him would mean his (Abu Jahl’s) annihilation? And it would also create differences among Quraysh which would become the cause of their destruction.
Anyhow there is no doubt about the fact that with the declaration of war by Hamza the hands of Islam are now free and its arms have gained strength. The polytheists have been overawed by this action and acknowledge this one blow to be as good as one thousand blows. It is now time that we should go and find out what impression this act has made on the people. I am sure that this act must have made a deep impression on them and the news must have become a topic of conversation.
I think all the people of Makkah have been shocked by this news and consider this unprecedented event to be very important. As regards the Muslims I imagine that they treat this incident to be very significant for the victory of Islam and have become confident that all the dignity of polytheism has been smashed. And in their own turn the polytheists also consider it to be their defeat at the hands of the Muslims which has confirmed the victory of the Muslims. At the same time I think that both the Muslims and the polytheists agree that this event is a prelude to the strife which has started between the two parties, and two groups.
I swear by Allah that I don't know why these silly persons fail to acknowledge the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (S) and to express faith in him when Allah has not created anyone who may be more good-natured, kinder and more beneficial to mankind than Muhammad. And I once again swear by Allah that He has not created anyone more becoming and more worthy for guidance towards truth than Muhammad. In case, therefore, these people come to their senses and make their intellect the arbiters and arrive in the world in which we have arrived, they will live comfortably in all respects.”
While ‘Ammar was holding the hand of Zayd and both of them were going to the 'House' he said to Zayd: "O Abu Usama! May Allah grant you a happy future! Have you any doubt about the intelligence, insight and good under Standing of the elders of Quraysh? By Allah, I don't consider their intelligence and understanding to be inferior to my own and am also sure that the standard of their comprehension is not lower than ours. They perceive the same things in Muhammad which we perceive and recognize him in the same manner in which we do.
They know that he doesn't utter even a word of his own desire and also know that he has been truly appointed by Allah. Furthermore, they are well aware that he removes differences between the black and the white, and similarly the barriers between the rich and the poor, and annuls the limits fixed by the people between the employers and the employees. In his eyes all human beings are equal like the teeth of a comb. All are the descendants of Prophet Adam and Adam was created from clay. None enjoys superiority over others except on account of piety and no individual is preferable to another except by dint of good deeds, decency and competence.
Abu Jahl and I are like each other, and Bilal and the son of Khalaf, too, are equal to each other, and similarly you and Hamza are peers of each other. All of us are equals and brothers of one another. There is no master and no slave. It is truth which is the master of all and it is truth which elevates one and brings down another according to its own measures and standards! The measures and standards of truth are not based on wealth, inheritance or old and rotten traditions.
They also know what we know and perhaps they know and understand it more and better than you or I. However, a point is involved in it that they fight against the values and concepts of that which you and I believe in and not against the person of Muhammad. If Muhammad confirms and guarantees their privileges and formally recognizes the principle of slavery and serfdom, which is respectable in their eyes and supports their despotism and selfishness, so that they may suck the blood of the people, you should rest assured that not even two persons from amongst them will disagree about the personality of Muhammad and his appointment to the Prophetic mission.
I know that they are traders and their trade is not only confined to carrying merchandise to Syria and Yemen but they also carry one commodity elsewhere and bring back another here. Rather their trade consists of the worship of their gods and they have made this act the means of their business!
I have realized it clearly that actually they have no love or regard for Hobal and other idols which are introduced as enjoying the rank of 'daughters'. On the contrary they jeer and mock at them. The only factor which is at work is that they have made these idols the means of their fraud and deceit. In this manner they befool the masses and preserve and safeguard their own interest and master ship under the protection of the worship of these idols and override the wishes of the people. If at one time it so happens that the presence of these futile and worthless effigies come in conflict with their own selfishness and egotism you will see that they will trample on them.
The fact is that in the guise of the worship of the idols these people worship themselves and their defence of the idols is actually their own defence. I remember that one day Abu Jahl was punishing one of his slaves and was beating him severely. I heard with my own ears that the helpless slave was swearing by Hobal that he was guiltless, and in the meantime requested him in the name of the same idol to spare him. Do you know what reply Abu Jahl gave to him? Abu Jahl said to the helpless slave: "O fool! What is Hobal? Is it anything but an inauspicious slave like you with a broken hand which was purchased by 'Amr bin Lahi, the chief of Khuza'a tribe, from Balqa in Syria and brought and installed here, so that you and the people like you may worship it and treat it to be a god?1
The same Abu Jahl was punishing another slave one day. The poor slave uttered the names of the two idols called ‘Asaf' and 'Na'ila' and requested him in their names.2
Do you know what reply Abu Jahl gave to the helpless slave? He said: "Shut up, you fool! Are these two idols not the metamorphosed forms of an adulterer and an adulteress? Do you wish to put into my brain the absurdities which have taken their place in yours? Do you want me to believe in the things which we have declared to be sacred for you and people like you, and then take an oath in their names? You should know that these gods are a sort of undiscerning and brainless slave girls of ours, and we ourselves have introduced them to be great and placed them over your heads, so that you may thereby recognize our value and worth, and pay similar respect to us. You are not only my slave but the slave of my slave girl as well. And the system and order which governs us is that just as you humiliate yourself before my slave girl and worship her, you should primarily worship me.
If this idol disobeys my orders I shall whip it as I whip you. We have introduced this system and enforced this law as a corrective measure for you. Be off from my presence. If you remind me of such things again I shall take out your soul from your impure body.
Abu Usama! You should know that the symbol and sign of these stubborn people or in other words the perfect manifestation of these devils is Abu Jahl. He and others neither have any faith in these idols nor have any personal grudge against Muhammad. On the contrary it is their selves and souls which are personified in the shapes of these idols and the people also surround these idols without knowing or assessing the real position. And these fleshy idols frighten away the people of Muhammad and his religion of justice, equity and equality!
It is for this reason that they attack him. And so long as they don't give up the habit of self worship, and don't prefer the equity and justice, which Muhammad is endeavouring to establish, they will always remain oppressed, and deprived of their rights.
It is also an undeniable fact that they will not get out this darkness and ignorance, unless we, with Allah's help, deliver them from this turbidity and perversion."
‘Ammar's remarks ended here and the two friends jointly entered the masjid. At this moment the gatherings of Quraysh were in an agitated and disturbed condition. Abu Jahl's blood which had been shed on the ground had assumed various forms and had become the talk of the town. The various forms of this incident consisted of humiliation and disgrace coupled with the right of revenge on the part of Quraysh who exercised prudence and care, and on the other side it was connected with resolution and amazement.
With all the contradictions which this condition carried it was like a volcano which might erupt any moment. Abu Jahl, from whose head and face blood was flowing, was accusing Hamza of highhandedness, oppression and violence, and his refraining from contention and retaliation showed how intelligent and forbearing he was. He had assumed the image of a person who had been wronged and pretended that his supporters would rectify the wrong which had been done to him and would settle his accounts with Hamza.
When the elders of Quraysh who had gathered round Abu Jahl saw ‘Ammar, they broke the silence. The breaking of silence by them meant the eruption of the volcano. At this moment Abu Jahl said to his associates in a loud voice: "Do you know anyone more despicable and more humble than the man who is coming towards us? Ask him whether he has brought Zayd with him to help me, or whether Zayd has selected him from amongst the slaves of Bani Makhzum and brought him so that he may deal me another blow. I swear by god that I never saw such a state of affairs in Makkah. Neither this earth is the earth of Makkah, nor is this sky the sky of Makkah.”
The slaves of Abu Jahl ran towards ‘Ammar with the intention of taking him to Abu Jahl. Zayd asked Abu Jahl’s slaves: "What does Abu Jahl want from Abul Yaqzin? Tell Abu Jahl that ‘Ammar was busy and cannot attend him. He will come when he is free.”
One of the slaves said to Zayd: "You shouldn't interfere with Abu Jahl contacting his ally. Don't you know? That ‘Ammar is an ally of the tribe of Makhzum? I am afraid if you interfere with the connections between ‘Ammar and Abu Jahl you will meet the same fate which Abu Jahl met an hour ago."
Zayd said: "Woe to you! How ignorant you are! Don't you know that all of us (i.e. Muslims) form one unit, and our smallest person is supported by all? All of us are responsible for the act of the smallest person and are as good as one hand. I order you to leave ‘Ammar alone and return to your master.”
The slave of Abu Jahl said to Zayd: "Have you come to create trouble? I swear by Lat and Uzza (names of the two idols of the polytheists) that if you don't go away you will see with your own eyes what happens to you, and even your master will not be able to defend you. Leave ‘Ammar to himself, so that he may go to the ally of his family. It is sufficient for Bani Hashim that they have made the head of Abul Hakam bleed.”
‘Ammar feared lest the situation should worsen and Zayd should have to face trouble for his sake. He, therefore, said to Zayd: "O Abu Usama! Leave me alone so that I may go with this man, and you need not worry.
Furthermore, it is necessary that we should not do anything which may be contrary to the views of the Holy Prophet. In the meantime it will be better if you go to the Prophet (S) and inform him of the situation.”
Zayd said: "I shall not leave you alone in any circumstances. I am afraid these people may harm you, and if I leave you alone I fear Allah.”
‘Ammar said: "I am afraid that your remaining here may become the cause of disturbance and trouble and the position is that we are not aware of the views of the Prophet (S) with regard to such a situation. Apart from it, if you meet any harm it will be as good as their having harmed Bani Hashim and in that case fighting will become inevitable. And if they treat me with insolence it will be like their having been insolent to Abu Huzayfa and this news will reach the ears of Abu Huzayfa only when it has reached the ears of all others who are dead and gone. Go, my dear, and don't worry. I am a match for this man.”
Although Zayd did not agree with ‘Ammar, the latter accompanied the slaves of Abu Jahl and went to Abu Jahl.
On having approached the gathering he said to Abu Jahl: "Has Abul Hakam any business with his ally?"
Abu Jahl said: "And it is you O son of Sumayya!"
‘Ammar said: "Are there many women like Sumayya in the tribe of Makhzum?" O Abul Hakam! Sumayya was a slave girl who became free. Then Allah favoured her and blessed her with a greater freedom under the auspices of Islam .What freedom can be greater than getting rid of the captivity of infidelity and idol worship! In the circumstances the abusive language used by you towards me is praise for me!"
Abu Jahl: “Woe to you…”
‘Ammar broke in upon Abu Jahl and said: “Of course it was a curse to me, when I was a polytheist and an infidel and worshipped others than Allah".
Abu Jahl: “Sakhar spoke the truth when he said that when I would rise from sleep one day and regain my consciousness I would see, as a result of Muhammad's miracle, a master superior to all masters! I seek refuge from this silence of yours! How much we have been deceived by your silence! Very well! O refugee slave! I shall give you what you deserve! Wait for some time! I excuse you to a certain extent .However, if this presumptuousness continues you should keep yourself ready to face the devils.”
‘Ammar: “Do you enjoy the position to excuse me? O Abul Hakam! May Allah correct you!”
Abu Jahl: “Is there any thing which prevents me from excusing you and forgiving you?”
‘Ammar: “The thing which prevents you from doing so is that you are an idol worshipper! To excuse and to forgive is the right of a Muslim because people are immune from his hands and tongue; and their faith, property and honour is safe. However, as you are not a Muslim you don't enjoy this position. You can be severe with me and you can order your slaves to beat me. However, this action of yours will be a cruel and despicable action, and not that you will be just and forgiving. Allah alone is sufficient for us.”
Abu Jahl: “Don't you see that my face has been besmeared with blood and how much blood from my head has fallen on the earth?”
‘Ammar: “Yes. I can see it.”
Abu Jahl: “Do you know who has shed this blood and who has disgraced me?”
‘Ammar: “It is possible that I may not be unaware of it.”
Abu Jahl: “In that case why have you associated with a slave of Bani Hashim when they have risen against me and resorted to fighting?”
‘Ammar: “That slave of Bani Hashim is a man who is my brother in faith and has had no share in the dispute with you.”
Abu Jahl: “If the position had been the reverse of it and if I had brought that calamity on the head of Hamza as he has brought on mine, would it have been possible that Zayd should have been your associate and companion? And could he like for his master the treatment which you like for your master?”
‘Ammar: “If Hamza had been a polytheist and you had been a Muslim I would certainly have done the same thing.”
Abu Jahl: “However, I have not been cruel and unjust to Hamza and have not even spoken harshly to him, but, as you know, I have been patient and have resisted his oppression and transgression.”
‘Ammar: “You have put the Prophet (S) to great trouble, abused his religion, and have obstructed the way of truth, and even now you are, acting as an obstacle in the path of Allah.”
Abu Jahl: “But hasn't Muhammad abused our faith and religion and called us silly people?”
‘Ammar: “The objective of Abul Qasim (the Prophet) is that he should deliver you from the superstitions of which you are aware and bring you out of darkness, which, as you yourself know, is very intense. If you accompany me tonight to Muhammad, you will find how grateful you should be to Hamza, who has taken this action only in the name of Allah and for the sake of the Prophethood of Muhammad. O Abul Hakam! What I consider to be the right course for you is that you should embrace Islam and become one of its pioneers. In that event your dignity and position will remain intact and all those like ‘Ammar will be obedient to you and will hold you in great respect. I hope you will become a Muslim and acquire such precedence in Islam as may not be ignored by Allah and His Prophet.”
Abu Jahl turned towards Abu Sufyan and said: "I haven't so far seen an obstinate and shameless person like him. Woe to this man! O Abu Hanzala! I wish that people had recognized him.”
Then he addressed ‘Ammar saying: "Woe be to you O son of Sumayya! Are you not an ally of Bani Makhzum? Do you not fight against those who fight against them, and do you not make peace with those who make peace with them?"
‘Ammar: “In order to manifest my sincerity and faithfulness as an ally I don't have any suggestion better than that you should follow Muhammad. I swear by Him, in whose control my life is, that so far I have had no better opportunity than this that I should advise you, as a well wisher, as I am advising you today.”
Abu Jahl: “If I accompany you tonight will you intercede with Muhammad for me?”
‘Ammar: “O Abul Hakam! Don't ridicule me. Don't persist in sinfulness and abandon the pride which has overpowered you. Muhammad is a blessed Prophet and a Messenger of peace. He guides everyone, who seeks blessings, and conveys Divine Commandments to all such persons without suggesting any obligation on them. I have often heard him praying for your guidance and welfare. In the circumstances you should also be attached to him in the same manner in which he is interested in you. Come and be just, so that you may enjoy a high rank among us. In that event you will rest on the principles of truth and will no longer be the leader of ignorance and will shun obstinacy and rebellion. O Abul Hakam! I am not telling you a lie when I say that your ignorance, rebellion and obstinacy will soon collapse. In case, therefore, you are desirous of becoming a leader and a master, you should give up contention and obstinacy. I also reaffirm the covenant made with your uncle and stipulate for the same alliance with you, I swear by Allah that distinction and leadership are in the hands of the Holy Prophet (S) and there is no distance between you and a place of distinction except that you should become a Muslim. “
Abu Jahl: “O fool! Are you now bent upon apologizing on my behalf? Who will blame me if I strip your skin off your body like that of a sheep? Your existence is one of the evil acts of Muhammad who has made your tongue operate with such strange magic arid you have become so presumptuous?”
‘Ammar: “Where was this valour, which you are displaying now, at the time when Abu ‘Ammara struck the bow on your head? Of course, you then feared the power of the brave man of Arabia' and the lionhearted Children of Abdul Muttalib, but you are safe from ‘Ammar and Yasir, the strangers and refugees, and don't have to fear them. If your intellect had worked property, the humiliation and disgrace which you suffered at the hands of Hamza would not have permitted you to feign such bravery before ‘Ammar .It is sufficient for you and the law which you obey that you should disinherit your uncle and be buried by the side of his grave.”
Abu Jahl said to his slaves: "Get hold of this fool and flog him. It is possible that he may change his views when he is flogged.”
Of course, at the moment when ‘Ammar was being flogged, the Almighty Allah blessed and dignified his soul in Darul Islam the place where the Holy Prophet (S) was staying; and the following verse was revealed regarding him and Abu Jahl:
Can the condition of a man, who was dead and whom We brought to life and provided him with light, so that he can walk among the people, be similar to that of a person who lives in darkness and cannot step out of it?(Surah al-An'am, 6: 122)
Ibn Abbas says: "In this verse the man referred to, as having been provided with light, is ‘Ammar and the one living in darkness is 'Amr bin Hisham viz. Abu Jahl".
Sumayya daughter of Khayyit said to her husband Yasir: "Woe to this obstinate, transgressing tyrant! The city of Makkah is resounding with the tales of cruelty and oppression of this man with regard to ‘Ammar and the incident of atrocities committed by this cruel man on him is now the talk of the town .O my dear ‘Ammar! O Allah! What may I do, for I am going to lose my son!
I have learned that Abu Jahl has not permitted ‘Ammar to offer evening and night prayers and has ordered that he should be whipped. What a whipping! The sound of the whips falling on his body is now heard in the same manner in which his own voice used to be heard at dawn when he offered prayers and made supplications to Allah. O my dear ‘Ammar! I am boiling with indignation for the outrage let loose on you.
O my Lord! What may I do? People say that Abu Jahl is not contented with the blows which are being administered to ‘Ammar and which are so severe that they may split even the stones. Besides the torments to which he is subjected at night he is made to suffer torture during daytime also. It is unprecedented even in the jungles.
Alas, my dear ‘Ammar! Is it possible that I may be made to suffer this torture in his place? Will this male violent dictator accede to this request of mine? O Yasir! Get up. Go to Abu Jahl and ask him to torment me instead of ‘Ammar and to agree to let fall on me, those blows, which are being dealt on his delicate body. Do get up, Yasir! You are well aware that ‘Ammar's body is not used to such flogging.”
Yasir said: "O maidservant of Allah! The torments to which ‘Ammar is being subjected will be reckoned before Allah. Our Prophet (S) has ordered us to be patient and for bearing. Don't be in a hurry .Tomorrow your and my turn will come when we shall be subjected to daily torture.
How important it will be if the father and mother of ‘Ammar are sacrificed for the 'Word of Allah' and lay down their lives for the sake of the deliverance and freedom of the people so that these cruelties may disappear and people may live in peace and prosperity!
Furthermore, we know it well that the oppressions and transgressions to which the general public is being subjected are more severe and dreadful than the torture which ‘Ammar is suffering. How good it will be if these sacrifices of ours become the means of the deliverance of the common people and they get rid of servitude and oppression and this dark atmosphere changes into a luminous space.
If we make these sacrifices in lieu of the eternal blessings which soothes our souls we will not be doing any wrong and will not lose anything. On the contrary our good names will survive in both the worlds.
Don't get excited on account of these events. Don't grieve and complain but extinguish these flames with the cold and wholesome water of confidence and faith. In the meantime be cheerful and happy, because tomorrow you will succeed in meeting ‘Ammar, and will also receive your share of whipping and other tortures at the hands of this tyrant, who is called Abu Jahl.
Sumayya, you must keep this fact in view that this harassment and persecution in the path of Islam is not limited to the family of Yasir, but others are also have to face it. There can be nothing of greater pride for us than that we should serve as an example for these helpless people? These poor people have also to bear such sufferings and tortures, but have observed patience and fortitude. All of them are undergoing persecution and are bearing it. It is not only Abu Jahl who is oppressive and cruel, to his slaves and allies. All these unjust and aggressive tyrants who are polytheists oppress their allies and slaves and have made them helpless, so much so that the only food and sustenance which they provide them is whipping and branding of their bodies.
Umayya bin Khalaf Jahami tortures Bilal bin Ruba. ‘Umar bin Khattab torments the slave-girl of Bani Mu'il who belongs to the tribe of Adi.1 Furthermore, Salam, slave of Abu Huzayfa, Khubab bin Art, Suhayb bin Sanan, Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, Amir bin Fahira, Abu Fakiha, Umme Ans, Zanira and many other brothers and sisters of ours are undergoing severe persecutions and tortures. You shouldn't, therefore, grieve because ‘Ammar is being tortured. ‘Ammar is the vanguard of dawn and the leader of the caravan of auspiciousness and quest for reform. All these distinguished persons, pure in heart, follow him and illuminate his dark night. In any case ‘Ammar has become a model for these devoted persons and what pride can be greater for all of them than that Allah should be their Helper, and what honour can be higher than that their reward lies with Allah?"
‘Ammar's mother said to Yasir: "O Abu ‘Ammar! May Allah give reward of the patient persons to you who are manifesting so much fortitude for the sake of Islam! I swear by Allah that you have extinguished the fire of my heart and invigorated my soul. Before I heard these words from you a fire was aflame in my heart. It was consuming my entire being. You might say that I was hearing the sound of the lashes which were being administered to my weak son and was burning with excitement on that account. O Abu ‘Ammar, may Allah give you a good reward! Even now I can hear the sound of those lashes but at the same time I feel that for every lash which is administered to him an angel gives solace to his grieved heart. Get up! This night is very lengthy for us and nothing cuts a lengthy night short like prayers.”
The husband and the wife got up and both hurried to the place where ‘Ammar used to worship and began offering prayers. They kept awake and remained busy in the prayers for a very long time till dawn appeared. Then they heard that someone was knocking at the door. With mixed sentiments of happiness and grief ‘Ammar's mother said with a painful smile on her lips: "Do you think we are being invited to meet ‘Ammar?"
Yasir said: "Don't you hear with what intensity and vehemence the knocker is knocking at the door? As if the door has committed a crime and the knocker is like one whose father has, so to say, been flogged in our house, or some one has abused his father; or, it may be said that the knocker has been commissioned to frighten us in advance and it is intended to vex us before we are subjected to torture. Rise with reliance on Allah. ‘Ammar has been away since long. It is possible that we may be able to see him ".
Yasir's words had not yet ended when the house was attacked by a number of rogues and ruffians. A group of rustics commissioned by Abu Jahl entered the house like the genii holding luminous torches in their hands. Behind this group of torch bearers came men who were carrying sticks on their shoulders. Flames of fire mixed with smoke had enveloped the entire space of the house and the attackers were raising a hue and cry. However, these aged couple did not pay any heed to this tumult.
At this juncture the transgressors stretched their hands to this couple and they were seized at the door of the room in which ‘Ammar prayed and where they were still standing. Later they were tied with ropes and pulled out of the house.
A group of rascals and vagabonds then went ahead and another group drove the innocent Yasir and Sumayya harshly from behind and reviled and abused them. However, these two persons were asking Divine forgiveness and reciting the name of Muhammad with respect and praising him.
The city of Makkah was not unaware of this incident, but the hue and cry of the rogues and vagabonds had filled the atmosphere of that morning with agitation and anxiety. For this reason the people came out of their houses in a confused state of mind and witnessed the hardships of Yasir's family.
This scene roused various sentiments in the hearts of the people. Many unbiased and just persons were apparently calm and quiet, but their hearts were bleeding with grief and the state of affairs was unbearable for them. Evidently, in the circumstances discontent was becoming stronger day by day. However, as the opponents of the prevailing conditions did not display their opposition openly, Abu Jahl thought that the masses that were observing silence were his supporters and endorsed his views. He also imagined that all the people had gathered under his standard. For this reason he felt elated and proud and considered himself powerful and in full authority.
As a result of this wrong thinking he did not give up the policy of cruelty, harshness and oppression, and imagined that the more oppressive he was the more the people would support him, and the followers of Islam would be terrified and would abandon their faith, and consequently the front of the polytheists would become stronger. However, if he had realized his mistake he would have known that the reality of the fact was other than what he had supposed, and would have also realized that the people were in fact the supporters of the family of Yasir and were observing patience for the sake of victory of truth over falsehood.
In the meantime the patience and fortitude of the family of Yasir in the face of the oppression of Abu Jahl was gaining sympathy of the impartial spectators, but an obstinate and despotic man like Abu Jahl could not perceive this fact until he was ruined and annihilated as a result of his mistake, rebellion and intellectual deficiency arising from sheer obstinacy.
Anyhow, when these pious, pure, and chaste couple surrendered to the executioner Abu Jahl said to them: “You traitors! How have you found the promise of Muhammad?”
Yasir: “It is the same promise which Allah and His Prophet (S) made to us.”
Sumayya: “Whatever Allah and His Prophet (S) have said is true and correct.”
They did not say anything more than this. Abu Jahl: “Are you prepared to curse Muhammad and praise our gods so that you may remain safe? Otherwise you will be subjected to an unprecedented torture.”
Yasir: “Whatever we have to endure is according to the promise of Allah and His Prophet.”
Sumayya: “Whatever Allah and His Prophet (S) have said is true and correct.”
Abu Jahl: “Don't be obstinate. I leave you free to make a choice between torture and safety. In any case I would advise you to be wise and not to follow the fool to whom you have given birth, and who is a source of inauspiciousness and bad luck to you as well as to the Makhzum tribe!”
Yasir: “Whatever has taken place is exactly according to the promise of Allah and His Prophet.”
Sumayya: “Whatever has been said by Allah and His Prophet (S) is correct.”
Abu Jahl said to his slaves: "Make them taste the unwholesome and bitter breakfast, and then take them to the place where ‘Ammar is confined, so that punishment may be awarded to all the three.”
The slaves of Abu Jahl dragged aside the innocent aged couple and flogged them continuously. The whips were rolling up round their bodies like snakes and their sound echoed loudly, but these pious persons did not groan or complain.
When the slaves of Abu Jahl got tired of whipping and Abu Jahl himself also was fed up with that he ordered them to be taken to the place where ‘Ammar was confined. When the parents of ‘Ammar met him all the three of them were overjoyed. It might be said that all of them achieved their object, and from that moment onwards the paradisiacal atmosphere, which they were awaiting, spread its shadow on them.
‘Ammar, who was bound in chains, said to his parents: "How do you do?" His parents said with one voice: "How do you do?" ‘Ammar replied: "If no weakness has taken place in my faith as well as in yours I am in a good state.”
Yasir said: "Blessed are you, ‘Ammar! Let me give you the good tidings about something which will be the source of the strengthening of your faith. The good news which I have for you is that I have been told that the Almighty Allah has referred, in one of the verses of the Qur'an, to you and to the masjid which you have built, and which was burnt by the polytheists, and has said:
Do you give attention to the condition of the person who offers throughout the night, whether standing or performing sajda (prostration) and fears the Day of Judgement and hopes for Divine blessings? (O Prophet!) Say: Are the persons who possess knowledge equal to those who do not possess knowledge? Only the people who possess reason take heed. (Surah al-Zumar, 39:9)
On hearing the contents of these verses tears trickled down the cheeks of ‘Ammar on account of excessive devotion, happiness and hope, and he performed a sajda on the earth as a mark of thanksgiving to Allah!
From then onwards the power of resistance of the members of this family against the torture, insults and contempt to which they were subjected by Abu Jahl increased, and as the mischief and shamelessness of the opponents was intensified the spirit of patience, forbearance and steadfastness of these pious persons also grew stronger.
On that very day the Holy Prophet (S) came out of Darul Islam. It was an extremely hot day. The desert of Makkah was as hot as a furnace.
The Holy Prophet (S) was walking unconcernedly with measured steps and with his special peace of mind, dignity and cheerfulness till he reached a particular point and saw that a hug fire had been lit up there and its flames were spreading on all sides, and near it some reservoirs of water had also been prepared. He also saw a group of archers holding arrows in their hands and another group holding torches whose flames were spreading everywhere.
These two groups were sitting in a circle in an extensive enclosure and a comprehensive zone had come into existence by the sides of water and fire.
The Prophet (S) approached the gathering directly with perfect peace of mind. Then he crossed the circle of those gathered there and stepped into the vast area. His eyes then fell on two old persons and a young man who was lying on the earth with naked bodies in the space between fire and water and whose feet had been tied up tightly with ropes. Even worse than that, the executioners had placed heavy stones on their chests and were subjecting them to severe torture. One was pricking their bodies with the point of the spear and the other was branding them with fire.
Abu Jahl was watching these people and was giving continuous orders for tormenting those helpless persons. He was telling them that one of the following three things could ensure their deliverance: (i) Abusing Muhammad;
ii) Abandoning Muhammad's religion;
(iii) Reverting to Lat and Uzza.
The persons who had been arrested were not prepared to submit, but became all the more firm in their belief. They abused Lat and Uzza with perfect steadfastness and mentioned the names of Allah and His Prophet (S) respectfully. As a result of their firmness Abu Jahl became severer and tortured them even more.
When these oppressed persons observed that the Holy Prophet (S) had come to that area as a mark of sympathy with them their love for him increased and their faith became more solid. ‘Ammar's parents began praising the Prophet. As regards ‘Ammar himself, he, with a soul abounding with faith and perfect peace of mind, considered the torture to be something insignificant. He reassured the Prophet (S) and said: "Of course, the world is such."
The Prophet (S) knelt by the head of every one of these afflicted persons and said with great kindness and love: "O members of the family of Yasir! Be patient. You have been promised Paradise.” He also turned his face to the sky and said: "O Lord! Forgive the family of Yasir. I have done whatever I could.”
The Holy Prophet (S) sat by the side of these helpless persons and sympathized with them as long as it was possible and expedient. Then he stood up to attend to other matters relating to Islam, and said good bye to them with complete patience and firmness. The pain and grief which he felt on seeing the condition of these helpless persons had no lesser effect on him than that of the melted iron with which their bodies were being branded.
As soon as the Holy Prophet (S) left them, Abu Jahl's madness reached its peak and his anger was aggravated. He then ordered them to abuse Muhammad, to dissociate them from his religion, and to turn to Lat and Uzza. Quite contrary to the expectations of Abu Jahl the perseverance and steadfastness of the poor oppressed persons continued to increase every moment.
It is not known what factor and cause excited Abu Jahl after departure of the Prophet (S) and increased his anger. It is possible that the kindness of the Prophet (S) and his praying for these zealous and brave persons, which made them more steadfast, became the cause of Abu Jahl’s savagery. Or it might be due to the resistance offered by these heroes to the torture and their indifference to the torments to which they were being subjected, or it was due to their showing indifference to Abu Jahl and insulting him and abusing the gods of the polytheists.
In any case the real cause of this attitude of Abu Jahl is not known to us. However, what is an admitted fact is that Abu Jahl became quite mad after the departure of the Prophet (S) and gave orders that the three persons might be flogged. He also gave orders that the stones might be removed from their chests and then their heads and faces were hit. Thereafter he ordered that the points of the spears might be thrust into their bodies and they might also be branded.
When the executioners could not achieve their object and became helpless before the fortitude of the oppressed ones, Abu Jahl ordered that the use of iron tools and branding implements and whips might be stopped and the poor oppressed ones might be drowned in water.
When the members of Yasir's family were immersed in water and they raised their heads out of it, they uttered praise of Allah and blessings to the Holy Prophet (S) and also spoke ironically of Lat and Uzza and abused Abu Jahl. At that time the severity of Abu Jahl knew no bound, and he ceased to be in his normal disposition. At that time he stretched his hands towards war implements and used them against Sumayya and Yasir. He persisted in this abominable act to such an extent that it ended in the death of the old man.
After killing Yasir, Abu Jahl extended his sinful hand to do away with his wife. Thus these good, devoted and faithful couple were recognized to be the first martyrs of Islam and the pioneers of the caravan of Paradise. Yasir and his faithful and pious wife departed for eternal Paradise and chose their abode in the neighbourhood of the 'Superior Companion '.
However, ‘Ammar survived. He grappled with hard ships and sufferings and left behind himself, in the brilliant pages of history, his name in the form of an immortal hero and became an example of supreme self-sacrifice and specimen of true faith. After the death of his parents he always remained the victim of Abu Jahl’s oppression, and that sinful man took pleasure in teasing him, and tortured him as much as he could, and kept him in prison.
In short Abu Jahl continued the so called fight of the cat and the mouse as far as it was possible for him. Eventually however, the affairs of these two opponents ended in that the perseverance and steadfastness of ‘Ammar in his faith and his bearing the tortures and whipping of Abu Jahl, tormented the soul of Abu Jahl more than it tormented the body of ‘Ammar.
This state of affairs aggravated the enmity and grudge of Abu Jahl and he continued his oppression in a more savage manner. Notwithstanding all this, however, ‘Ammar remained steadfast and firm in his faith.
Whenever Abu Jahl tortured ‘Ammar the Holy Prophet (S) went to see him as a mark of sympathy. He placed his head in his own lap, became the companion of his loneliness and prayed for the alleviation of his suffering and pain, saying: "O fire! Be cool and harmless for ‘Ammar in the same manner in which you became cool and harmless for Ibrahim.” ‘Ammar felt the coolness of this prayer in his heart and it increased his firmness and steadfastness.
Once the burning of iron, the flames of fire and the pressure of water became so painful to ‘Ammar that he did not know what the Prophet (S) was saying. Hence, after having suffered torture at the hands of Abu Jahl he went to the Holy Prophet (S) with a grieved face, a broken heart and weeping eyes. The Prophet (S) inquired: "What is the matter with you?"
‘Ammar said: "O Prophet of Allah! I have brought a bad news and it is that the enemies did not spare me till I was compelled to praise their gods and to say unbecoming words about you".
The Holy Prophet (S) asked: "What is the condition of your heart and what are you feeling?"
‘Ammar replied: "My heart is abounding with faith and satisfaction.”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: "If they compel you to do so again repeat the same method.” Thereafter the following verse was revealed about ‘Ammar:
(There shall be grievous punishment for him) who disbelieves in Allah after believing in Him; other then him who is forced (to recant outwardly) but whose heart is firm in his faith. But those who open their bosom to disbelief shall incur the wrath of Allah and suffer a terrible punishment. (Surah al-Nahl, 16: 106)
‘Ammar could not get rid of Abu Jahl except by migrating to Ethiopia. Hence, he joined the second caravan of the migrants who were proceeding to that country and lived there peacefully till he came over to Madina along with others after the Holy Prophet's migration to that city.
From that day onwards the signs of the steadfastness, firmness of faith, and good conduct of ‘Ammar reflected in such a way that the Prophet (S) said: "You will be killed by a rebellious group"; and also added: "‘Ammar is an embodiment of faith.” On another occasion he said: "Whoever is inimical to ‘Ammar is like one who is inimical to Allah and whoever bears grudge against him is like one who entertains ill will and grudge against Allah.” He also called ‘Ammar pure and pious.
A’isha says that from amongst all the good qualities and virtues possessed by the companions of the Prophet (S) there is not even one good quality which is not found in ‘Ammar and she heard the Prophet (S) saying: "‘Ammar is one of those four persons whom Paradise is keen to see. The first of them is ‘Ali and the remaining ones are ‘Ammar! Salman Farsi and Bilal bin Raba".
Huzayfa Yamani was asked about the 'true Imam' in connection with the disturbance related to ‘Uthman while he (Huzayfa) was at death's door; he replied: "Find out the son of Sumayya, because he is the person who will not forsake truth till he dies.” It is also said that Husayfa added: "I have heard these words from the Holy Prophet.”
‘Ammar offered prayers facing two Qiblahs and migrated twice, and was one of those who took the Allegiance of Rizwan and participated in the Battles of Badr and Uhud as well as in the Battle of the Ditch. He saw all the actions of the Holy Prophet (S) and in most of the battles one of the standards used to be in his hand. He witnessed the war of 'Radda' i.e. apostasy during the time of Abu Bakr. He was the Governor of Kufa during the time of ‘Umar and one of the shrewdest opponents of ‘Uthman. Later in the Battles of Jamal and Siffin he was one of the standard bearers of Imam ‘Ali. ‘Ammar is one of those persons who have been recognized to be the sources of knowledge and hadith, and Ibn Abbas, Abu Musa Ash'ari, Abdullah bin Ja'far, Abul As Khuza'i, Abu Tufayl and many 'Tabein' (followers of the companions of the Prophet) have quoted traditions from him.
Islam had reached Madina before the Holy Prophet's migration to that city, because the leaders of Aws and Khazraj who were the distinguished personalities of these two tribes, and the Yemenite supporters of the Prophet (S) had started propagating Islam on their return to Madina after taking the oath of allegiance to the Prophet (S) at 'Aqaba.
The life of the Prophet (S) in this city was quite different from that in Makkah. In Makkah he lived in the capacity of a missionary and the enmity and obstinacy of Quraysh did not allow that his message should go beyond the stage of an invitation which was confined to promises and threats and giving good tidings and warning about bad consequences. However, when he arrived in the city of Madina his invitation assumed a different shape, because here he performed the role of a founder and a lawgiver, and had been relieved to some extent of the process of invitation and propagation, He started the process of regulation, construction, administration, and foundation of legislation, The things assumed this shape especially after the Muslims had migrated from Makkah and joined the Prophet (S) in Madina.
Later the persons, who had migrated to Ethiopia, also came over to this city, and now onerous duties and responsibilities regarding establishment devolved upon the Prophet. These people who gathered round the Holy Prophet (S) in this land of peace were recognized to be the nucleus of the new Islamic State and took the central authority in their hands. The houses of the Muslim residents of Madina, who came to be known as Ansar, were filled with the Muhajirs (immigrants). The kind-hearted Ansar did not grudge the presence of these guests and accorded them a cordial welcome with great enthusiasm.
As all these Muhajirs who were continuously pouring into Madina, had not come for a temporary stay but had decided to live in this city permanently. As they preferred their new homeland to the old one their arrival was a problem which required tackling,
The difficulty was to be solved in such a way that the guests should live a free life in this city having due regard for the freedom of the hosts, and that everyone must discharge his own responsibility.
For this reason the Holy Prophet (S) started settlement and commenced with the construction of houses and buildings to be occupied by his migrating companions. Before the foundation of any building was laid the Prophet (S) ordered the construction of a masjid i.e. the house of Allah. From amongst the Muhajirs ‘Ammar was for some time a guest of Mubashshir bin Abdul Munzir till the Prophet (S) thought of another house for him. He himself worked with ‘Ammar in constructing the new house for him.
In those days there existed amongst the Muslims a group of persons in whose minds the spirit of Islam had not penetrated and it might be said that whatever they said about Islam with their tongues did not come from their hearts. In other words they were the persons who had embraced Islam on account of covetousness, as they imagined that it would be beneficial for them to do so, and by that means they would acquire wealth and status!
On the whole the number of these persons was not small and they were not weak and helpless. It is evident that the Prophet of Allah was also not oblivious of this state of affairs,
Almighty Allah had specially revealed some chapters of the Holy Qur'an including Surah al-Tawba, Surah al-Munafiqun and Surah al-Ahzab about these persons.
The Holy Prophet (S) was not unaware of their hypocrisy; rather he excused and forgave them; and on the basis of peacefulness, on which the entire programme of Islam rested, he allowed them the same rights and privileges that were granted to the true believers. He accepted such persons as Muslims in accordance with the general rule and the sacred verse of the Qur'an which says:
You should not tell anyone who greets you that he is not a Muslim (Surah al Nisa, 4:94).
This was not withstanding the fact that the faith of these persons was shaky and they entertained doubts in their hearts regarding the limits and laws prescribed by Islam.
In such an atmosphere ‘Ammar was reckoned to be one of the chosen believers and distinguished persons possessing faith and piety. He was one of those persons who had suffered severe persecution and torture in Makkah being a companion of the Holy Prophet, and had since become free from such torments, arrived in the peaceful land of Madina. Not withstanding this he did not slacken the campaign and strife which he had started in the very beginning for the defence of Islam and there was no diminishing in the zeal and enthusiasm of his faith.
The only difference which had taken place was that his resistance against all those tortures, which formerly possessed the form of a negative campaign, had now assumed the shape of a positive campaign in the peaceful atmosphere of Madina, and he sincerely performed functions for the strengthening of Islam, which it was not possible for other Muslims to undertake.
Notwithstanding all this ‘Ammar continued his mission, untainted by hypocrisy and far removed from hue and cry. His silence used to be a long one associated with reflection and insight and he did not speak except when necessary. Whenever he broke his silence he sought Allah's refuge from mischief. It might be said that he was always expecting mischief.
Of course he had tasted the flavour of hardships in advance, and had perceived that a group of hypocrites, who lived among the Muslims, were offended, because Islam had given freedom to persons like ‘Ammar, and had even given them superiority over many others and had elevated their position, established equality between all Muslims, removed discriminations and differences, obliterated bias, and established brotherhood between black and white and master and slave.
‘Ammar was very much worried on this account and as and when he broke his silence he said for the fear of the future mischief which lay in ambush for the Muslims: "I seek Allah's refuge from mischief.”
One morning the Prophet (S) passed along a piece of land which belonged to the orphans of Amr Najjiri, and in which camels were made to rest. He purchased this tract from their guardian, Mu’az bin‘Afra ' for a handsome price so as to build on it a masjid as well as houses for indigent Muhajirs.
At the time of the construction of this building, the Holy Prophet (S) also rolled up his sleeves like other Muslims and began doing work. This Islamic equality was a silent invitation for all the Muslims to show that every one of them should participate in the work without any sense of pride or egotism. The Muslims who observed the conduct of the Prophet (S) said: "If we sit while the Prophet (S) works, our act will be the cause of our perversion.”
This was the melody which the Muslims recited in reply to the action of the Prophet. And while reciting this melody they busied themselves in the constructional work. They carried bricks and mud, rose up the trunks of date palm trees and placed them on the walls. They covered the roof of the building in this manner and remained busy in work with great enthusiasm and fervour. Usually every Muslim worker carried one brick but ‘Ammar carried two and moved with great agility.
When all the Muslims took part in the work the first melody was replaced by a new one. It was said that the new melody had been composed by ‘Ali. ‘Ammar repeated this melody. The Holy Prophet (S) who was working behind him made the bricks and uttered the last part of the melody.
From within his house, which overlooked the masjid, ‘Uthman bin Affan heard this melody and also looked in. As soon as dust and soil of the walls which had been pulled down settled on his hair he turned back his face, cleansed his nose with his dress, and stepped back. Later he came into the masjid and began doing his work.
‘Ammar began reciting the same melody again and said: "Those who construct a masjid while sitting or standing, and make efforts in the performance of this job, are not equal to those who are seen to be turning away from dust.”
‘Uthman could hear the Holy Prophet (S) repeating the verse, and was grieved to realize that the intention behind reciting this melody was to criticize him, As, however, the Prophet (S) was repeating the verse at the back of ‘Ammar and was handing over the bricks to him, he (‘Uthman) could not say anything to him (‘Ammar), Nevertheless, as soon as he (‘Uthman) got an opportunity he turned to ‘Ammar and said: "O son of Sumayya! Today I could hear what you were saying. By Allah, I was going to strike this stick on your head. You slave!"
The Prophet (S) became aware of this. He was annoyed and said: "What do they want from ‘Ammar? ‘Ammar invites them to Paradise and they invite ‘Ammar to Hell. Of course, ‘Ammar is like a skin which lies between my two eyes and protects them. ‘Ammar is like a skin of my nose. If these words reach the ears of ‘Uthman and he does not cooperate with ‘Ammar, you should get aloof from him.” This tradition shows how dear ‘Ammar was to the Prophet (S).
One day ‘Ammar did not participate in the work on account of some dissatisfaction and complaint which he had. It was then said that ‘Ammar had an attack of fever and had died. As soon as the Holy Prophet (S) heard this remark of the hypocrites he threw on the ground the brick which he was holding in his hand and said: "Alas, O son of Sumayya! A rebellious group will kill you!"
On the following day when ‘Ammar turned up to work the Holy Prophet (S) welcomed him with great kindness and love. On account of the great longing which he had to see ‘Ammar he drew his hand on ‘Ammar's head and said: "Rebellious and oppressive people will kill you!"
From that day onwards the hypocrites stung him continuously and discussed his death and the Prophet's remark that he would be killed by a rebellious group was commonly talked about. Thereafter this remark had a great effect on the thinking of ‘Ammar just as he had experienced many such important things regarding Islam.
Five years covering important events passed from the date of migration, and these five years pushed Islam forward as much as five centuries in the sense that during this short period the Prophet (S) humiliated Quraysh and vanquished and made helpless the tribes of Ghatfan and Huzayl and eventually by means of the entire strength, which he had at his command, he put out the flames of the Arabian pride, at times in the shape of attack and at times in the form of defence and broke up the thorns of their communion. Of course, all this success was achieved by him under the aegis of monotheism and through the propagation of peace and security.
As a result of these activities and successes Islam gained strength and became popular and the voice of the Holy Prophet (S) also reached far and wide. Side by side with this the defeated elements joined hands against the Prophet (S) and every enemy who felt even a small vigour within himself rose to take revenge on the Prophet.
During the first thirteen years of his mission in Makkah, Quraysh, who were the Holy Prophet's kinsfolk, had condemned his views and thoughts and the obstinate members of this tribe called him a silly person and waged a war against him. However, he continued his efforts as usual.
During this period of contention Quraysh often placed at his disposal wealth and persons? So that he might abandon his call. He, however, continued to pursue his path and sought aloofness from them, till at last he migrated to Madina.
A few months after his migration, the Prophet (S) organized an army, fought in Badr and at other places and returned to Madina after achieving victory and acquiring war booty. Apparently Quraysh contended and disputed with him as they condemned his mission, but later they rose against him openly as well as secretly to avenge their financial losses as well as loss of their lives, and to check his influence and therefore, began to array troops.
The Jews who lived in the neighbourhood of the Prophet (S) and owned vast lands and also benefited from craftsmanship, requested him to expel the Jews of Bani Qaynuqa' and Bani Nazir from Madina not withstanding all their wealth and position among the Jews.
This group of Jews, all of whom possessed property and wealth, had felt on the very day of the Prophet's arrival in Madina that their influence was in danger. For this reason they planned to create mischief and thought, on account of their wealth and the influence which they wielded in Madina, that they would be able to subdue the shelter less Prophet (S) and his followers.
It is evident that the Prophet (S) could not yield to the enmity of the Jews and if he had surrendered to their strength and influence, it would have been as good as his having proclaimed his own defeat. In view of this he, in the first instance, warned the Jews of Bani Qaynuqa and then those of Bani Nazir to refrain from creating trouble. As, however, they did not pay any heed to the warnings, he was obliged to give orders regarding their expulsion and they left the city in a state of great humiliation and helplessness and thus saved their lives. They were not allowed to carry away anything except the provisions for their journey up to Khayber (in the interior of the Hijaz) or Azra'at (situated in Syria).
On the other side were the Arabs of Ghati'an and Huzayl and other tribes of the suburbs, and similarly the tribes of Najd and the frontiers of Syria, who were seeing the phantom of the new system, felt that Islam had brought its own rules and was inviting people to work and make efforts so that they might lead their lives in this manner, instead of indulging in fighting and plundering. They had therefore, sharpened their stings like a monster and were clutching at the face of the Holy Prophet (S) and had become a barrier before his reforms. They were afraid that the new system would eradicate the very foundations of their tribal life and the ways of their plundering.
In short, Quraysh in Makkah, his neighbours the Jews of Madina, the Arabs of Ghatfan and Huzayl, the tribes living in nearby places and those belonging to Najd and the frontiers of Syria, and so to say the entire Arab world had risen and mobilized against him.
Although Islam had become sufficiently strong, the enemies of Islam who had cooperated with one another possessed a great strength. Apart from that, in those days the Holy Prophet (S) was faced with a group of hypocrites. The hypocrisy of these persons was reckoned to be a weak point of Islam and a proof of the slackness of its authority, and the enemy could break the fort of Islam through this way and enter it.
The proofs of the Prophethood of Muhammad (S) are many, but his greatest miracle and sign was their peace of mind and confidence which was firm in this critical situation and he was not afraid of the fire of mischief and hypocrisy which had encircled him from all sides; rather he gained more strength of mind every day to achieve his cherished goal.
Amidst all the brawls and uproars, and throughout his campaigns, and also during the intervals of these dreadful events, in the course of five years, in which the greatness and honour of Islam increased and at the same time the number of the opponents of Islam also increased, ‘Ammar, the hero of our story, that tall and strong man, who had tasted the flavour of death during summer as well as winter, and was not afraid in any circumstances, had now achieved such a position that death feared him. During the intervals of these campaigns death was under his control and had made a covenant with him. At times he ordered death during summer that it should fall upon and take the life of those enemies who used to pull him to the point of annihilation with cruelty.
According to his old habit of going to the masjid to hear the address of the Holy Prophet (S), ‘Ammar went to the masjid one day to learn something from the Prophet (S) and act upon it or to execute an order given by him. On that day, while on his way to the masjid, he observed, contrary to the previous days, signs and marks which did not augur will for victory and success, as the general conditions of the city had assumed another shape. As soon as he entered the masjid he observed that the condition of the masjid on that day differed from the previous day, because in earlier days, when the companions of the Prophet were relieved of campaigns and were resting under the auspices of his kindness and support, he usually delivered sermons in regard to regulation of the affairs of life and establishment of the rules of discipline and good order. On that day, however, the atmosphere of the masjid had assumed a new shape and the conditions indicated a different outlook.
On observing these conditions ‘Ammar was somewhat worried and wished to enquire about this change in the conditions. However, the wisdom of Luqman i.e. wisdom of silence, which was his old habit prevented him from doing so, and he waited till his turn to speak arrived. And then the position became clear without unnecessary inquisitiveness on his part.
‘Ammar had not made a mistake in refraining from making enquires about the matter, because he enjoyed such a position in the eyes of the Prophet (S) that even the most confidential matter could not remain hidden from him, not to speak of a secret, which had been disclosed now, and the faces of the hypocrites became dark and gloomy on this disclosure. The divulgence of this secret also haunted the entire Muslim community of Madina like a nightmare.
After ‘Ammar had taken his seat amongst the esteemed companions, he learned that the Jews of Bani Nazir tribe had revealed their malicious nature, and had instigated all the tribes of Arabia to rise against the Holy Prophet, and that the criminal minded Jews incited all the opponents of Islam, who were in majority in Arabia, to fight against the Muslims of Madina, who were in the minority, so that they might strike them a final blow.1
‘Ammar came to know that Hay bin Akhtab and Salam bin Haqiq and a group of the Jews belonging to the tribe of Bani Nazir as well as the leaders of the Jews had instigated Quraysh to rise against the Prophet. Abu Sufyan bin Harb had mobilized an army consisting of four thousand warriors out of whom 300 hundred were horsemen and 1,500 were on camels and the standard-bearer of this army was ‘Uthman bin Talha.
Similarly Bani Fazara had been instigated, and 'Uyayna bin Hisn Fazari had mobilized 1000 men mounted on camels; and the tribe of Bani Ashja ' had also risen and 400 warriors of theirs were ready to march under the command of Ma'r bin Rakhila; and the tribe of Bani Murra had despatched Harith bin' Awf with 400 warriors, and the tribe of Bani Salim had also sent 700 fighters against the Prophet of Islam.
Furthermore, Bani Asad and Bani Sa'd were also going to participate in the attack and they and their allies had mobilized and despatched an army the like of which had not been seen by Arabia before. And all these groups had entrusted the supreme command to Abu Sufyan who was on his way to Madina.
In the meantime it also became known that Hay bin Akhtab had undertaken to rouse the Jews of Bani Qurayza against the Prophet (S) and to persuade them to violate the pace concluded by them with the Prophet (according to the pact, they were residing in Madina and were enjoyed the support of the Prophet), and thus create trouble within Madina and pave the way for the victory of their army, so that they might make a sudden attack in the severe winter season and rout the Muslims.
When ‘Ammar learnt about these matters, he realized that the Muslims of Madina were justified in being worried on account the serious situation in which they were placed. However, on such occasions ‘Ammar used to look intently at the face of the Prophet (S) and to judge his impression and anxiety, before being impressed by the anxiety of others arriving at a decision. He, therefore, fixed his eyes on the face of the Prophet.
As a result of this careful observation he felt that the Prophet (S) was as cheerful as ever and he was enjoying perfect peace of mind. At last, therefore, he concluded that the bright countenance of the Prophet (S) showed that the mobilization of forces by Abu Sufyan and the Jews fell under the category of the events which did not call for any worry and that the Muslims should bold and brave. The Prophet (S) did not consider the matter important enough to make others worry about it.
In view of this, ‘Ammar became contented like all those persons whose souls acquire confidence with the strength of faith, and who do not entertain fear on account of any event, however great and terrible it may be.
The Prophet (S) called a meeting of his companions and consulted them about the event which was likely to take place soon, and especially invited their views about the Jews and the polytheists. In this meeting thinkers and warriors from amongst the Muhajirs and the Ansar were present. At the end of consultations two views emerged:
1. The Muslims should go out of the city and face the enemies at Uhud or some other place.
2. They should fortify themselves within Madina and resist the enemies, because by offering such resistance there was no danger of being subdued.
The second view was considered to be the better one. It was supported by the suggestion of Salman Farsi regarding digging a ditch, which was endorsed by all those present. All of them praised Salman for his originality.
On this occasion the Muhajirs claimed that Salman was one of them and said: “Salman belongs to us.”
The Ansar also put forward a similar claim and said: "Salman belongs to us.”
The Holy Prophet (S), however, intervened and said: "Salman is one of the members of my family.”
Salman said: "My suggestion is that we should remain inside Madina and close all the breaches. Thereafter we should dig a ditch round the city which would prevent the entry of the enemies. And when their entry has been blocked we shall overcome them and defeat them by military tactics. In that event time will be in our favour, because we shall be in our own places of safety and the wind, storm and rains will not do us much harm. On the contrary the enemies will be very much harassed on account of harsh winds and severe cold and it is quite possible that the storm may pull down their tents. Further more, we have sufficient stocks and provisions, and can face the enemy for quite a long time. In the circumstances it would be better if we remain within the city and block the entry of the enemies by digging a ditch, so that they may lose patience and if some one of them attacks us he will be annihilated.”
Those present proceeded immediately and occupied themselves in digging the ditch under the guidance of the Holy Prophet (S).
The Prophet (S) ordered a number of shovels, picks and other necessary implements to be brought. The same were procured, and then in the name of Allah he personally started the work. He was the first person who struck the pick on the ground and was the first person on whose head and face the dust settled; while digging the ditch he encouraged the Muslims to work hard and prayed: "O Lord! Verily the life is life of the hereafter. So, O Lord! Forgive the Ansar and the Muhajirs.”
The persons who were sincere and devout in Islam dug the earth as expeditiously as possible and threw the soil out of the ditch, but the hypocrites who were not inclined to work willingly dissimulated, and whenever they found an opportunity they misled others, slipped away to their houses and rested there. It was in relation to the condition of these persons that Allah sent a revelation to the Holy Prophet (S) and said:
Do not address the Prophet as you address each other: Allah indeed knows those of you who slip away surreptitiously and take shelter in their houses. Let those who disobey Allah's command should fear that a calamity may overtake them or a dreadful punishment may descend upon them. (Surah al-Nur, 24:63)
But as regards the true believers, who gave up work on account of some valid excuse, and left with the permission of the Prophet, the Almighty Allah has said:
The true believers are those who have faith in Allah and His Prophet and as and when they cooperate with the Prophet in a particular work, they do not go away without his permission. Surely those who take your permission are the persons who believe in Allah and His Prophet. In this case if they seek your permission (to go) to do some work, which they may have to do, accord permission to whomever you like, and seek forgiveness for them from Allah, because Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Surah al-Nur, 24:62)
Anyhow, for six days the Muslims had been labouring hard to dig the ditch, and eventually they constructed a fort for the city of Madina. This fort did not resemble the forts which the Arabs used to construct, because the forts which they constructed previously were on the ground, but this fort had been dug in the earth and the unbelievers were stunned by this sudden initiative of the Muslims
If we say that during this period of six days every other Muslim was faced with one degree of toil and inconvenience we should say that ‘Ammar was faced with twice as much as that.
Again, during the continuous toils and efforts of these days the Muslims observed that not even a single day passed when the Prophet (S) did not wipe off dust from the head and face of ‘Ammar with his own hands. He repeated this particular sentence: "Alas! O son of Sumayya! A rebellious group will kill you! "
The day of the ditch was the most brilliant and effective factor for the victory and success of Islam and simultaneously it was a period when Islam was threatened with great dangers on account of the presence of the hypocrites because it was these very hypocrites, who dispirited and discouraged the people and said: "Muhammad used to promise us the treasures of Kaiser and Kisra, whereas he is now digging our graves in this ditch. Did he mean this Iranian innovation which will be of no avail before the rush and attack of the, army of Abu Sufyan. He promises us treasure and that too the treasure of gems. But that treasure won't be anything other than our lifeless bodies ".
The hypocrites uttered these words with different tones and these very gossips and rumours became the cause of the fear and worries of the people of Madina.
The Holy Qur'an has described this state of affairs in a very subtle and elegant manner. It says:
When they (the enemies) came upon you from above and from below and the eyes grew wild and hearts reached to the throats, and you were imagining vain thoughts concerning Allah. There were the believers sorely tried, and shaken with a mighty shock. And when the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, were saying: 'Allah and His messenger promised us naught but delusion.’ And when a party of them said: 'O folk of Yathrib! There is no stand (possible) for you, therefore turn back'. And some of them (even) sought permission of the Prophet, saying: 'Our homes lie open (to the enemy)'. And they lay not open. They but wished to flee.2 (Surah al Ahzab, 33:10 13)
In any case the tools of work and the means of victory and success in this dreadful war were three things viz. planning by Salman, the sword of ‘Ali and the war tactics of the Holy Prophet.
It goes without saying that from among thee three factors the most important factor and tool of work was the war tactics employed by the Prophet, because he sent Na'im bin Sa'd, whose embracement of Islam had not yet been made public, to his tribesmen and he made them lose hope of help from the Jews. By this means the morale of those people deteriorated and the sense of mutual confidence and reliance which previously existed between those two parties disappeared. Hence, the tribes were faced with doubt, hesitation and anxiety and their united strength became scattered and divided. As a result of this the Muslims were victorious and the invaders retreated and fled during a dark night when strong and cold winds were campaigning against them.
After having violated the pacts which they had concluded with the Muslims, Bani Qurayza were left alone in their forts and Hay bin Akhtab was also with them. In the circumstances, was it not necessary that they should receive punishment for their treachery?3
After the death of the Holy Prophet (S) one of the following two paths could be selected by ‘Ammar:
Comfort, wealth and power.
Hardship, suffering and privation.
However, as ‘Ammar was a wise, bold, reflective, and far-sighted person he chose the second path. He was one of the earliest supporters of Islam and had fully imbibed the secrets and mysteries of the reality of this religion, possessed such intelligence and insight that he could select, out of the various ways, the way which was nearest to guidance. Apart from that ‘Ammar was a man who put into practice everything that he knew and was aware of the value of Divine blessings.
Of course, ‘Ammar was a sincere servant of Allah. The power of firmness in truth, walking in the path of truth and defence of truth were inherent in him and he did not mind the hardships which he had to bear in this path. On account of the Holy Prophet's remark about him that "A rebellious group will kill him", ‘Ammar was the pivot on whom the eyes of Muslims were fixed from all directions and angles. It is evident that short-lived comfort and the apparent ease and convenience of the world could not deceive such a devout and farsighted person and could not shake his stand and status.
Was this man not the son of the same parents who had the honour of being the first martyrs of Islam? And was not ‘Ammar the same hero who had suffered all those heart rending pains and sufferings to safeguard the principles?
Obviously such a brave person can never permit that history should write thus about him: "After having acquired faith he became a reactionary and an apostate! And after migration he chose Arabism, and Bedoinism; and having acquired strength and authority he inclined to laxity and weakness; and after acquiring victory and success he adopted the path of abjectness and humiliation.”1
The marks of the torture, which ‘Ammar had to suffer at the hands of Abu Jahl twenty years ago, could still be seen on his back. It had, of course, not been forgotten that ‘Ammar bore heart-rending torture and looked at Abu Jahl with derision and contempt. Yes, it was not more than twenty years ago when that terrible event took place.
In the circumstances could it be imagined that ‘Ammar would exchange all those toils and pains, which even the big mountains, would not be able to bear with acquiring brief comfort for a short period? ‘Ammar could certainly not commit such a mistake and go astray.
However when ‘Ammar became free to choose one of the two paths, he decided that the best thing to do was to join the group which was smaller numerically but bigger spiritually.
In those days the Muhajirs as well as the Ansar had formed parties which were indicative of their differences in conduct and taste. Although these differences and disputes existed, more or less, among the people even during the lifetime of the Prophet (S) they were not as evident and open as in these days.
‘Ammar was fully aware of these differences. He had, however, prepared himself beforehand to bear hardships and privations. He now saw that the people of Madina were divided in four parties. Out of these four parties three were political parties which exist in all ages. The supporters of these three parties are persons who quarrel and dispute with one another as and when their interests so demand, but when their objects are achieved, they reconcile mutually and extend hands of peace to one another.
‘Ammar also knew that the persons belonging to these three political parties had been following a common course since the days of the Holy Prophet (S) and their common interests demanded that they should keep ‘Ali away from his status. He also knew that in spite of all the differences which existed between these three parties most of the members of these parties kept ‘Ali in mind and at the same time there were some persons, who sometimes forsook ‘Ali's support and at other times supported him. However, ‘Ali always followed the path of truth, so that if someone withdrew his support from him he did not worry, and if some persons aligned with him he did not rejoice.
Hence, ‘Ammar had pondered over the programmes of all the four parties and had selected a programme, whose mundane aspect was the weakest. The aspect relating to the hereafter was the strongest.
The first party was that of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. This party was a spontaneous generation composed of the rejected elements and sundries of Quraysh and persons like Khalid bin Walid, 'Amr bin As, and Abu Ubayda Jarra formed part of it. The leaders of this party were persons who well known for their harshness and severity.
This group relied and depended on two of the Prophet's wives namely A’isha, daughter of Abu Bakr (who alone was a party by herself) and Hafsa, daughter of ‘Umar.
After this party had been formed they gradually invited some Ansars to cooperate with them and in order to find out the weak points of the masses, they commissioned some persons from out of Ansar for spying, so that they might collect information about the affairs of the opposite parties. The persons so commissioned were those like Uwaym bin Sa'ida, and Ma'n bin Addi. These two persons possessed soft and mild political habits and were reckoned to be the people "whose tears are under their control.”2
The second party was that of the Ansar. This party was next to the first one from the point of view of strength and influence; notable persons and thinkers of the Ansar were its members, who had made innumerable sacrifices, provided quarter to the Muhajirs, and assisted Islam and enjoyed historical influence in Madina, were owners of lands and property, and had also transferred wealth to this city previously from Yemen. The chief and leader of this party was Sa'ad bin Ubada Khazraji, whereas its spokesman was Manzar bin Hubab bin Jumu. Of course, the weak point of this party was their conflict with Bani Aws and their tribal rivalry.
Relations maintained by this party with the first party were due to their common ways and methods. However, when the hopes of this party to acquire the Caliphate did not materialize, they became the supporters of ‘Ali and continued their support to him.
The third party was that of Abu Sufyan. As regards the mysteries and techniques of politics this party was perhaps most competent of all others. However, the defect inherent in this party was the bad record of its leader; and this bad record of his consisted of his violent opposition to Islam since the commencement of the Prophet's mission. And as his continuous hypocrisy and political aspirations were not hidden from anyone the same hampered his success.
For this reason Abu Sufyan had hidden himself behind ‘Uthman, who was his cousin, and similarly behind Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf, who was the son-in-law of ‘Uthman and the chief of Bani Zohra tribe, and had sent two vipers of his (viz. Mughira bin Sho'ba and Mu'awiya) in the field, who joined hands with those polytheists who had embraced Islam unwillingly and considered it to be the ladder for advancement.
In this way Abu Sufyan availed of the opportunity and became active. Abu Sufyan was not happy on Abu Bakr, becoming the Caliph, because Abu Bakr’s family was the smallest amongst the different families of Quraysh. For this reason or apparently for this reason he joined ‘Ali, but when ‘Ali turned him away from his presence he was obliged to seek the favour of ‘Umar by flattering him.
After Abu Sufyan had gained ‘Umar's favour, he instigated Mughira bin Sho'ba to do away with ‘Umar. Mughira discharged this assignment quite admirably because he instigated his slave Abu Lu'lu to kill ‘Umar. Then the blood of ‘Umar, which had been shed as a consequence of the plot of Abu Sufyan, became the cause of the Caliphate of ‘Uthman.
Abu Sufyan killed ‘Umar and got the Caliphate transferred to ‘Uthman.
Incidentally it should be remembered that ‘Umar was deceived by the flattery of Abu Sufyan, and Abu Sufyan was a man who apparently opposed the opponents of ‘Umar but secretly supported them against him.
During the Prophet's lifetime Abu Sufyan, who was a calamity and a genius in the techniques of politics, was the leader and the chief of a party in Madina. However, as the Prophet (S) recognized him fully well, the practical field was not open to him. And as the political activities took place confidentially and secretly, the path of the Holy Prophet's opposition to it was also blocked.
The last party which existed in Madina whose programme was different from that of all other parties was the party of Imam ‘Ali, who was supported by Bani Hashim and a few other persons whose number did not exceed seven, namely: Salman Farsi, Abu Dharr, ‘Ammar, Miqdad, Khalid bin Sa'id bin As Amavi, Farwa bin ‘Umar Ansari, and Zubayr bin 'Awwam.
It should be known that when Abdullah, the son of the last person mentioned above, grew up and came under the influence of his mother, Asma bint Abu Bakr, Zubayr bin Awwam left this party and ceased to be one of the said seven supporters of Imam ‘Ali. This party was in minority as compared with other parties.
‘Ammar had accepted the membership of this party , because he knew that it enjoyed the support of the Holy Prophet (S) and was also aware that Imam ‘Ali, the leader and head of this party, was envied by others on account of the strength and support accorded to him by the Prophet. He also knew that Imam ‘Ali possessed various virtues not even one of which was possessed by his rivals and those who were jealous of him.
‘Ammar was confident that this was the faithful party which was the source of hope of all pious people. This was the party which did not indulge in deceit and conspiracy. Excellence and virtue were its means of activity. Its conduct was honourable, because its target was nothing but acquisition of virtue. He was also sure that if, in order to achieve its object, this party had a choice either to adopt the path of deviation or to retreat that it would certainly prefer retreat.
The aptitude and competence of ‘Ammar in the matter of devotion was one of the biggest factors which separated him from the majority and made him join the minority.
Besides all these things ‘Ammar was travelling on a straight path. In it he considered that success, rather the acme of success, lay in spreading and proclaiming Islam. He never attached any importance to his personal status. It is on this account that ‘Ammar enjoys a very high position among those persons who have achieved historical successes.
However ‘Ammar's joining the small party was not with a view to welcoming misfortune or inclining towards isolation. Rather, the subtleties of his life were the outcome of the severe test which he underwent in support of Prophethood, and this is how his brilliant personality is known. And as he had always enjoyed the favour of the Holy Prophet, his religious fervour had reached its zenith during the last year of the life of the Prophet.
‘Ammar was not absent during this year. With his usual quietness, he was imbibing faith, knowledge and wisdom, through the light of Prophethood.
During the last year of his life the Prophet (S) was very anxious and worried about the future of Islam, so much so that he could not sleep, and this sleeplessness tormented him. Another thing, which added to his torment and mental suffering, was the very mischief which appeared before his eyes like dark and gloomy nights. He tried as far as possible to remove these dark clouds, and saw none else after his death, except ‘Ali, who could dispel them. Hence, all his efforts were directed towards the achievement of this object and he did his utmost to make ‘Ali occupy among these parties, the central place for which he was fully qualified, and thus protect the foundation of the Caliphate as well as Islam.
The tenth year of migration (632 A.D.) was a year of the wonderful victory and success, which had no precedent in the history of human freedom, because Islam had manifested itself with full strength and occupied the seat of honour. To speak more explicitly, in the end of the tenth year of migration the Prophet (S) proceeded from Madina to Makkah to perform the farewell Hajj and 120,000 of his followers, who had come from the north as well as the south of the Arabian Peninsula participated in these ceremonies.
Flags of Islam belonging to the regions of Yemen, Tahama, Hazramoot, Mohra, Yamama, Najd and the entire Hijaz began to fly. The grandeur and the dignity of the caravans were such that it showed that all the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula had bowed down before the new system and regime.
Islam had attained the superb stage of strength and influence and had cleansed not only the entire Hijaz but also the borders of Hilale Khasib of the pollution of polytheism and trinity .And now the stage was set for establishing a worldwide government, proving the reality of spiritual unity in this planet called 'the earth’, and spreading unity, justice, blessings, brotherhood and all human virtues under the auspices of the guidance of Islam.
In the eyes of the Holy Prophet (S) no delight and blessing was greater than that all the human beings inhabiting the earth should participate in this victory and conquest and the rule and supremacy of Divine Commands should cover the entire world. However, this extreme blessing and success which the Prophet (S) achieved, and which he fully deserved, had become associated with severe grief and sadness which had deprived him of his sleep at night. This continuous worry had transformed bright daylight in his eyes into a dark night and he could not sleep on account of excessive grief. During daytime also as soon as he was free from the administration of public affairs he was faced with this worry and uneasiness and thought of some remedy to overcome that grief.
The enactment of the rules, regulations, orders and laws of Islam had been finalized and piety, contentment and their propagation had reached the final stage.
The only thing which remained was that after him all these realities should be spread and propagated through a Caliph, who should be the custodian and guardian of this sacred organization and having obtained inspiration from the spirit and text of these orders, should convey them to far off regions with perfect honesty. And as this religion is eternal and everlasting, it should be communicated to the further times and ages to ensure the freedom, nobleness, greatness, prosperity and advancement of mankind.
The Holy Prophet was confident that the orders, laws, teachings and morals preached by the religion, and their interpretation and application had been guaranteed by Allah's will, they would safeguard human interests. He was not, therefore, worried on that account. The only fear which troubled him was that Caliphs bearing the title of his successors might be covetous of thrones, crowns and worldly spoils!
In the circumstances he reflected that if he did not appoint an honest and strong Caliph who should have acquired his basic knowledge from the fountainhead of Prophethood and Divine revelation it might be feared that his (i.e. the Holy Prophet's) valuable victory would be converted into mischief, selfishness and self conceit, and the spirit of Islam would be killed before the people began killing one another.
The great power and influence, which Islam had acquired, had become for him a source of happiness on the one hand and a cause of grief and sorrow on the other. This was so because he knew that when a power, that has acquired expansion and development in all respects, falls in the hands of others then, as that power automatically becomes the cause of pride and error and makes eyes and heart lose their faculty, and if it falls in the hands of a deserving person in a pious society whose members are honest and conscientious, it becomes the cause of headache, endurance and hardship for the person wielding authority until he conveys this trust to its final destination; and the position would be most terrible when such a heavy responsibility falls in the hands of an incompetent person in a society replete with discord, and where the hypocrites wish to take advantage of it.
The Holy Prophet (S) observed these traits during his own lifetime in many persons, and clearly realized that he was the only barrier in the way of the hypocrites to achieve their nefarious ends. He could also see that they were marking time to fulfil their desire, were awaiting an opportunity, and were hoping every moment that the lamp of Prophethood might be extinguished, and they might achieve their object and satisfy their avarice, and transfer the power of Islam from his house to their own. In the circumstances it was quite natural for him to be worried and anxious.
It is evident that this anxiety arose on account of the doubt which he had about his wives (who were members of the parties). Of course, this doubt was due the activities of those external parties and it is well-known that during this year execution of the orders of the Holy Prophet (S) was opposed on a number of occasions. If he had lived a little longer he might have thought of some solution. However, death did not give him enough time, and on account of the love which he had for Islam he did not wish to make haste in the matter during the last few days of his life.
In any case the Holy Prophet (S) did not fear that the enemies outside the Arabian Peninsula would break up the power and influence of Islam, because he knew that his followers had created in themselves the defenders, who would safeguard the Peninsula from all foreign attacks and no foreigner could entertain the hope of exercising sway and supremacy over the people of the Peninsula.
He was confident that that country and that society would at no time be conquered by the foreigners. He was also not afraid of the domination and influence of the internal princes of Arabia and the people in the street, who were scattered throughout the Arabian Peninsula, because this group of the society were like firm rocks at all stags and all of them rose against the enemies bravely.
However, the Holy Prophet (S) was worried and afraid on account of the parties in the capital and the persons who enjoyed precedence in Islam or those who had provided shelter to the Muslims. He was similarly anxious about those persons who had embraced Islam and were fond of pomp and power.
In any case he was afraid of these persons and also of those who had been with him at home and abroad and during war and peace and had accompanied him while asleep or awake.
He was also afraid that they might not recognize the value of the blessing which they had acquired and abandon the sublime objectives which they had in view and prefer the worldly benefits to the lofty celestial and spiritual objects. But for this anxiety he would certainly have joined the 'Supreme Companion' with a smiling face and a disburdened heart and would have flown away to the eternal world.
As ‘Ammar was one of those persons who were aware of the anxiety of the Holy Prophet (S) and could see like others that after the demise of the Prophet (S) the inheritance of Prophethood viz. the message for the communication of which he had borne so many hardships, might be destroyed, he said: "The sleeplessness of the Prophet (S) is not due to the fact that a caliph who should complement the message of his Prophethood is not available; rather he is aware that a person worthy of Caliphate is present and Allah too, has ordered him to introduce that person as the would-be Caliph and declare him to be the ruler and the Imam. However, he is in a state of suspense and perplexity between the Divine Command and the determination of the hypocrites. Although the interests of Islam, and implicitly the interests of the people themselves, demand that the same person should be chosen for the Caliphate but the selfishness of the people and the egotism of self conceited persons prevent this thing being put into practice. For this reason the Holy Prophet (S) has neither slept at night nor rested during daytime.”
‘Ammar was one of those persons who knew the reason of the Prophet's wakefulness and uneasiness and was also aware that as sleeplessness troubled the Prophet (S) he was obliged to rise from his bed at midnight or at the time of dawn and go to the graveyard and complain to the dead about some of those, who were alive. In other words he carried the complaint of the alive to the souls of the dead which are, in any case, alive.
Abu Muwaibiha, a slave of the Prophet (S) narrates thus: "One night the Holy Prophet (S) was very much disturbed on account of sleeplessness. He got up from his bed and proceeded to the graveyard. He also ordered me to accompany him. Both of us came out of the house and proceeded to Baqi'ul Gharqad, the graveyard of Madina. When we arrived there the Prophet (S) stood in the middle of the graveyard and said: "Peace be upon you O people of the graves! You are lucky for you didn't suffer what the people are suffering now. Troubles have appeared like fragments of a dark night. The latter troubles are subservient to the former ones! And the latter troubles are worse than the former ones!"
It might be asked as, what was the grief which made the Prophet (S) complain? And what sort of complaint was it which was uttered by him alone and not by anyone else? It might also be asked as to the reason for the Prophet's greeting the dead and saying: “You are lucky to have died, for you have escaped these troubles!" And what were the reaction and the apostasy which was treated by the Holy Prophet (S) to be worse than polytheism?
The fact is that no complaint as explicit as the one addressed by the Prophet (S) to the dead has been revealed.
Just imagine that if the Prophet (S) had gone to the graveyard alone to make the complaint before the dead, would he have felt afraid of loneliness? Was it for this reason that he took another man with himself? I don't think that anyone would entertain such a misgiving in his mind. In fact there is no doubt that the object of the Prophet's taking Abu Mu'awiya to the graveyard with himself was that the matter might spread among the people and be recorded in history and this brilliant picture of the Prophet's talking might be preserved in history as a part of the pictures of his campaigns, and he might proclaim his views about the intentions of the self-seekers and the covetous persons, who had interfered with his sacred legacy and had planned to acquire power because the appearance of this mischief meant apostasy and reaction which was worse than polytheism, and a group of persons had ignored, this legacy, which was more dangerous than the group of Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan.
One of the greatest distinctions possessed by ‘Ammar was that he had been brought up to be a jurist and a scholar The Holy Prophet (S) had trained him in the best manner and had declared him to be the specimen of a 'Qur'anic Muslim'.
On account of these antecedents his faith in Islam was not merely a blind faith. Hence, he possessed a thorough understanding and a careful opinion about the appointment to the Caliphate. And keeping these realities in view he felt that in the capacity of a follower of Islam it was necessary for him to be obedient to the Prophet's speech, actions and thoughts, He also observed that the view of the Prophet (S) in this very important matter was certainly connected with the revelation from Allah and obedience to His Command. And very often he also pondered over other matters from the viewpoint of the Prophet (S) of which he was aware and perhaps thought that if the Prophet (S) did not nominate a successor it would be just like his not having done anything!
‘Ammar had not acquired this view from the Prophet, but knew that it was the explanation and interpretation which had been revealed to him explicitly by Allah in the following verse:
O Messenger! Make known that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, for if you don't convey it, you will not have conveyed His message. Allah will protect you from (the mischief of) the people,(Sura al-Ma’idah, 5:67)
After having assessed that Caliphate was a matter expressly mentioned in the text of the Qur'an and dependent on this command and that this reality was the gist of the Book and the Sunna, and having observed that the question of Caliphate was one of the established facts which could not be interfered with or altered even by the Prophet (S) himself ‘Ammar realized that the Holy Prophet (S) was conveying this order to the people in the best possible way, and was making such efforts for its enforcement as he had not made in respect of any other order, And it ought to have been so, because the execution of all other orders was related to this command and if perchance any negligence took place in this matter the harmony of all the orders would have been destroyed and the Divine Commands would have been scattered and divided. But from where he could find a friend of Islam, one which is interested, sincere, and devoted and a follower of the commands?
‘Ammar could observe that the Prophet (S) was so much enamoured of this subject that he did not mention it only once, in one manner, and at one particular place, and time, but repeated it and conveyed it to the people time and again in very skilful, and most eloquent and persuasive ways. He mentioned this matter to the people from the very commencement of his mission up to the last moment of his life and considered Caliphate to be meant for, ‘Ali according to the explicit text of the Qur'an.
The announcement relating to this matter specifically started from the commencement of the Prophethood when Almighty Allah ordered the Prophet (S) to warn his nearest kinsfolk, and lasted up to the last day when the Prophet (S) was in his death-bed, He mentioned this fact in clear terms with regard to ‘Ali on innumerable occasions whether he was in the valley of Abu Talib in Makkah when his mission had commenced or was covering the distance between his house and the Masjid in Madina. Furthermore, he specifically stated that the Caliphate and Imamate was to devolve on the descendants of ‘Ali and also mentioned their names and particulars.
All these consecutive texts, whether Qur'anic, as mentioned above, or in the form of hadith or the text of Ghadir3 and whether in the shape of speech, like the Qur'anic and the Prophetic texts, or in mute language as at the time of the Prophet's migration from Makkah when he placed at ‘Ali's disposal the articles left by the people in his custody, for being returned to them and asked him to sleep in his bed, and also when ‘Ali acted as his successor in Madina and looked after public affairs during his absence in connection with the Battle of Tabuk, or when he acted as his special representative and read out Surah Bari'at before the polytheists at Makkah at the time of Hajj, replacing Abu Bakr, or when he was entrusted various other assignments later; all these things indicated clearly that none of the companions, whether he embraced Islam earlier or later, was more suited for Caliphate than ‘Ali.
By taking into account all these explicit texts and the clear utterances of the Prophet (S) regarding nomination to the Caliphate, ‘Ammar observed that the spirit of these clear texts doubly conformed with the marks of Prophethood and the occult knowledge of Messengership and assessed that the appointment of ‘Ali with necessary proof and implied reasons carried explanations much greater than propagation and more ample than clear texts, because the most sublime facility of propagation is 'necessary' proof .
In order to explain what has been mentioned above it may be stated that from the Holy Prophet's prophecy, ‘a rebellious group will kill you’, ‘Ammar had deduced an indirect authority regarding the Caliphate of ‘Ali. Rather it may be said that from this indirect text ‘Ammar had acquired an analogy regarding the text about Imam ‘Ali and had realized that such a statement indicated that the commentators could not interpret and explain the hadith according to their own views and inclinations as opposed to what the Prophet (S) meant.
It may also be said that this indirect text is similar to the one in which the Holy Prophet (S) said to A’isha: "O Humayra! I Pray to Allah that you may not be that woman.” This is a sentence which the Prophet (S) uttered about one of his wives meaning that she would revolt against ‘Ali and would do injustice to him, and it refers to the 'Battle of the Camel'.
Furthermore, from this indirect text ‘Ammar's attention was drawn to another hadith of the Prophet (S) in which he said to ‘Ali at the time of signing the Peace Pact of Hudaybiya: "You too will be faced with a similar circumstance.” This happened at the time when the polytheists wanted to conclude a pact with the Prophet (S) and declined to acknowledge his Prophethood.
‘Ammar, however, remembered a large number of the hadiths (traditions) of the Prophet, which were indicative of the Prophet's efforts with regard to the future of ‘Ali, and such remarks made it more obligatory for the Muslims, as compared with clear texts, to be mindful about the Caliphate of ‘Ali, so much so that it may be said that supposing that a clear text on the subject had not been available those hadiths would have been sufficient to serve the purpose.
It goes without saying that on the basis of all these facts ‘Ammar was satisfied that the Holy Prophet (S) had nominated his Caliph in such a manner that no one could have the least doubt about it.
‘Ammar had been convinced that this nomination had been ordered by such a source that it could not be repudiated by any scholar in the Islamic system and the regime of that government; and time could not make any alteration in it though in later years most of the Muslims disowned it on the pretext of 'realism' and made interpretations which meant denial and deviation.
The Divine Command and the thinking of the Prophet (S) was like this and it is evident that no thinking or view can interfere with it or change it, and if anyone considers any change in it to be permissible he becomes involved in mistake and intellectual deficiency; except when (God forbid) it is proved that the Divine Command and the thinking of the Holy Prophet (S) are wrong and 'realism' is correct.
I do not know if, when ‘Ammar was reflecting about these matters, he had a misgiving on the basis of the firm views of the Holy Prophet (S) whether or not the Islamic government had a theocratic aspect.
I am also not aware whether at this moment ‘Ammar was thinking about the governmental systems of the Pharaohs of Egypt and the rulers of Athens and Rome, which existed previously, and was assessing the difference between those governments and the pure national celestial government. Of course, I am not aware of it. However, ‘Ammar was undoubtedly giving to himself implicit replies to these questions and was assessing and explaining during the course of his thinking the method of the democratic Islamic government arising out of the decisions taken at Saqifa or a better interpretation of that method resulting in the nomination of ‘Ali by the Holy Prophet.
The fact is that the object of the Holy Prophet (S) in nominating ‘Ali and the shape of the government which he had in view was not understood properly. And there was, of course, no possibility of its being understood in a society which had become very covetous, and in which party spirit had become acute.
It was on this account that these factors created new political difficulties about the type of government and these very political difficulties prompted those parties to think about "the type of government" for which they had endeavoured to find out a way and an excuse, and thus evade the order of the Prophet (S) and the Caliphate of ‘Ali.
For this reason they raised the questions of consultative council and family government and brought under discussion the right of the nation to make a selection. However, ‘Ammar had, with his correct and minute under standing and judgement, understood the views of the Holy Prophet (S) about this unceasing difficulty, and repelled with the same understanding and judgement the misgivings which had arisen about this matter in the people's minds.
‘Ammar's implicit reply about the theocratic government - government based on Divine laws was to seek help from Allah in running the government is certainly the best message and the most expressive good tidings, because such a government prefers the interests of the nation to those of the families, and gives the general welfare preference over the welfare of the individuals. However, the people in general are not prepared to realize this meaning so that they may understand the common interests properly.
In fact, the masses are influenced by thousands of internal and external effective factors and these very factors prevent them from realizing and assessing their general interests. Furthermore, the common people not only do not think about general interest and welfare but, as they are busy in the usual conditions in their daily affairs, they are not in a position to realize the situation and take proper decisions when they are faced with critical problems. Moreover, the factor of prejudice prevails over them and individual intellects automatically become subservient to collective intellect, and falsehood manifests itself in an attractive and brilliant shape.
In any case there are many such factors under the influence of which truth cannot be distinguished from falsehood, and if occasionally right prevails over wrong it will be something very rare. For this reason it was decided according to the viewpoint of the Prophet (S) that from the region of Islam there should be a nominated ruler, who should remove the social deficiencies, and it is evident that the appointment of such a person by the Prophet (S) was on account of the distinctions which that person enjoyed in respect of justice, knowledge, prudence, self-sacrifice, chastity and selflessness, although the rule of such a person might manifest itself as rule by an individual. In the circumstances such a person would have the requisite strength to enforce pure Islamic national laws, and to put into practice the programme of Islamic Government which ensures the comfort and welfare of the society.
Now from another side all agreed that ‘Ali was the most suitable and important person in the Islamic society, who could look after the common Islamic interests in the best possible manner and was the most capable of all others to give a concrete form to the Islamic spirit theoretically as well as practically. And the Holy Prophet (S) could not also ignore the presence of such a worthy and high-principled person, and delay his nomination, keeping in view the fact that during the period of his Prophethood no Prophet (S) can be influenced by the factors of personal and family inclinations. Hence by taking into account all these realities and keeping in view all these established elements the Prophet (S) nominated ‘Ali to the Caliphate.
The Prophet (S) abstained from referring this matter to a consultative body, because he considered reference to consultation to be equivalent to surrendering the question of government to the waves of a roaring sea whose share is not known. He in fact thought that the undulations and fluctuations of this sea would make the matter of government end in despotism and stubbornness and would eventually take it to a far off island and place it in the hands of a ruler who would not have anything in view except his own interest. In that event government will be nominal without anything so named and without any meaning.
After having abstained from consultation the Prophet (S) nominated ‘Ali to the Caliphate, because, as admitted by all, ‘Ali was superior to all the companions and his characteristic to ignore personal gains was his foremost virtue. He was a man who inherently possessed the qualities of the Holy Prophet. He was a man who could manage to establish the Qur'anic Government and could maintain peace and order and remove the obstacles, discriminations and differences.
The facts were not hidden from the eyes of the people and all the contemporaries of, ‘Ammar knew them. However, the parties who entertained pride in their minds neglected to pay heed to this noble object. There were also persons who, on account of their failing to understand Islam properly, were under the erroneous impression that the Prophet (S) was also one like themselves and wanted to promote the interests of his family, and had therefore confined ruler ship to his family!
In any case this was the wrong assessment which created a wide gap between the way of thinking of the Holy Prophet (S) and that of his companions and followers. These people thought or wished to think that the Caliphate was like a kingdom. Hence, on account of the keen interest which they had to achieve this status and their pursuit of personal gains they endeavoured to attain this office. However, the vision of the Prophet (S) was free and extensive, for it worked for general welfare. In order to achieve this object he selected ‘Ali who was the hero of Islam. In case, however, Abu Sufyan had also possessed this capability the Prophet (S) would certainly have kept him in view and would not have failed to nominate him.
The clearest proof of the vast difference between the views of this group and those of the Prophet (S) is that after depriving ‘Ali of the Caliphate the leaders of this group said: "The Arabs are not prepared to see the Prophethood and the Caliphate in on and the same family!" Of course, the expression of this view was a sort of apology with which they implicitly showed off the spirit of democracy and pretended that the willingness of the people is a condition precedent. And these were the difficulties and the excuses which brought about a deep split between the viewpoint of the Prophet (S) and that of this group.
The members of this group failed to perceive the viewpoint of the Prophet. Hence, if they had pondered over the essence of Islam and had kept the character of the Holy Prophet (S) in view they would have realized that Islam forbids hero-worship and absolute rule and establishment of a family government. And supposing that the Prophet (S) entertained such an idea he should have nominated his uncle Abbas and would have totally refuted, by this means, the arguments which the opponents put forward to deprive ‘Ali of the Caliphate, because Abbas, along with being one of his nearest relatives, was neither young nor had shed the blood of anyone, and these were the two objections which the opponents raised against ‘Ali .However as a matter of fact the general welfare was the only motive for the Prophet (S) nominating ‘Ali, and the Prophet (S) did not possess any personal choice or authority in the matter of this nomination .
‘Ammar was scrutinizing these events step by step, and formed opinions about men and things with special insight. He felt that the most important and the most effective factor which had created deep gap between the views of the Holy Prophet (S) and those of the most of the parties about this critical situation was that a large number of the Muhajirs and the Ansar had newly joined that movement and had hopes and desires in their hearts from the day they embraced Islam and the efforts which they made earlier in this path were to achieve their own aims and objects. Hence, when they saw that Islam had made great achievements they became very much influenced by their old ways and historical traditions. Otherwise why should they have said that ‘Ali had killed their fathers and their sons, when all knew that ‘Ali never killed anyone to take personal revenge, and had no enmity with anyone, for he was only discharging his duties towards Allah, therefore, the real killer of the persons concerned was Islam.
In any case, it is undeniable that if these persons had embraced Islam in a proper manner, they should not have given vent to their grudge which had been deeply rooted in their hearts.
Evidently in these circumstances the people were not able to understand the secret of the Prophet's nominating ‘Ali to the Caliphate and it was natural that the Prophet (S) was accused of personal inclination and special sentiments in this matter.
It was also natural that in such circumstances those persons should have gathered in a meeting so that ‘Ali might not assume the office of Caliph, but they should become the rulers in the first instance, and then take revenge, and when they have set ‘Ali back and make excuses before the people, saying, "‘Ali is young, ‘Ali is interested in the family of Abdul Muttalib. ‘Ali is the destroyer of the Arabs". Or that they might say: "‘Ali is a man of faith, knowledge, justice and war and was the foremost in Islam. But he is not a politician".
They were, however, unaware of the fact that by saying these things they were doing harm to themselves, because firstly they were Opposing the Holy Prophet (S) and secondly they were uttering with their own tongues the most correct and the most logical proofs of ‘Ali's superiority over them. This is so because faith, knowledge, justice and war are proofs of the superiority of a ruler or a person nominated to ruler ship. But when one surrenders to the defect attributed by them to ‘Ali in the matter of politics it should be said: "When the authority and supremacy of the advanced Islamic Government is established all defects can be overcome. However, this group considered government to be only politics and imagined that government meant politics”.
Furthermore, when this difficulty arises it should be said: "When the honesty, justice, knowledge and bravery of ‘Ali have been admitted ho is he deficient in the matter of the politics of truth?”
Of course, ‘Ali abstained from falsehood, intrigue and deceit and forsook all these devilish gifts which others were proud to own.
Now it should be asked: "If the other persons enter the field with these weapons and take the government in their hands will it be a proof of their enjoying preference and superiority?"
The fact is that if the opponents had such an object they succeeded in achieving it. However, the point which deserves consideration is that the Holy Prophet (S) nominated ‘Ali for the Caliphate because he knew that ‘Ali was a person who could save the supporters of such ideas from mistaken pride, and could guide them to the message of reparation and amendment on the bais of faith, knowledge, justice and war, and not to the politics of opportunism, allurement and self-interest.
Perhaps one of the most surprising occasions on which a person resorts to such excuses is that he does not take the trouble of drawing a logical conclusion but submits to accountability.
Furthermore, in the face of the four distinguished qualities mentioned above, not even one of which can be replaced by any virtue, it will be quite easy in the eyes of those who submit to logic to eliminate or remove the defect named 'politics'.
Among the things said on that day perhaps the most adequate logical argument which they put forth was that of consultation. However, the supporters of consultation did not show constancy even in the observance of this principle, because it was proved that basically it was against the need of the time to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr, and they did not think it properly when they did so. And their allegiance to ‘Umar, too, was not confirmed by consultation, because it took place as a result of Abu Bakr's will. And what is all the stranger is that a similar will by the Prophet (S) for ‘Ali being his Wasi (successor) was rejected by them.
Thereafter allegiance to ‘Uthman also took place by means of deceit and ended in the corruption of the theory of election, because this action was taken in a limited gathering and in an atmosphere which was not free.
Later the Roman system of government began to be followed in the matter of Caliphate. Its pivot was family interest and not the welfare of the nation or the advancement of religion. And eventually the factor of consultation ceased to be effective, because, according to the theoretical concept of Islam it was opposed to the view of the Holy Prophet.
‘Ammar had not forgotten that the Prophet (S) made efforts in different ways in regards to the appointment of ‘Ali to the Caliphate and the obligation of the Muslims in this regard. He made him eligible for succession by all means and did not care for the consequences and difficulties involved in achieving that end.
Hence, in his own turn ‘Ammar was also treading the same path and keeping in view the same precedents profited from many realities in this regard and made his best efforts to fulfil his obligations.
‘Ammar was particular about the fundamentals of faith and the real principles and bases of Islamic life, and the first reality which dawned upon him on this account was the perception of the spirit of Islam which is based on equality. He paid minute attention to the two elements of decency and good acts which are hidden in the essence of Islamic equality.
The second point with regards to Islamic equality was the subject of eradication of party spirit, and campaign against thinking in terms of tribes, and transforming these two things into Islamic brotherhood and Qur'anic instruction in the most extensive meanings and in the sense of human training, and ‘Ammar made serious efforts to enforce this concept.
Of course, if the Muslims had relied on these two basic elements of Islam, and had been steadfast unanimously in the matter of their advancement, they could very easily comply with the objectives of the Holy Prophet (S) about the Caliphate of ‘Ali and would have remained immune from the sorrowful mischief which created such evil consequences in the history of Islam that their effects will continue to exist forever.
However, the problem of some of the companions, whether Muhajirs or Ansar, could be solved if they had realized this reality about the appointment of ‘Ali to the Caliphate i.e. if they had directed their attention to the two elements mentioned above just as ‘Ammar had relied on these two strong elements and had fully perceived the Divine aspect in the appointment of ‘Ali.
Apart from this, paying attention to these very two particular elements had provided insight and guidance to ‘Ammar and he had realized that the Islamic system and the Divine regime had not till then made the requisite impression on the hearts of the Muslims, and the old traditions still ruled over them, and every voice which came out of the throats of the conservative people impressed their minds like magic.
‘Ammar had contented himself with the general and intellectual principles on the subject to this extent and incidentally the keenness and efforts of the Prophet (S) during the last year of his life in connection with the appointment of ‘Ali to the Caliphate had also not been forgotten by him.
The Holy Prophet (S) endeavoured to express this view at different stages and by various means and the most patent manifestation of this endeavour was on the day of Ghadir when he was returning from the Farewell Hajj.
The position was similar to that when he had urged the Muslims to prepare themselves for the battle and had entrusted the command of the army, which included distinguished Muhajirs and Ansar, to a young commander named Usama bin Zayd. And the same was the case when he wanted to make a will with regard to the position of ‘Ali and to write something, so that the Muslims might not be misled after his demise.
All these things bear testimony to the intention of the Prophet (S) to nominate ‘Ali to the Caliphate.
As you have observed in this chapter, the day of the Eid (Festival) of Ghadir was closely connected with the importance and greatness of Islam. Although the previous declarations of the Prophet (S) were clear and explicit, and he mentioned this matter to his companions and kinsfolk as and when an opportunity occurred, but on the whole the action of the Prophet (S) on these lines was received in the shape of a formal action so that reference to the office of Caliphate might not be in such a form that it could be explained away and the people should not be in a position to escape it. It was categorical.
The Holy Prophet (S) could hear the humming of the different parties from far and near and was aware that they intended to deny his explicit remarks or wished to deviate from their correct interpretation. He, therefore, decided to proclaim this matter in a formal gathering and to silence these voices. In that event this explicit proclamation would resound throughout the Arabian Peninsula and this voice would reach the farthest Islamic territories.
Hence, he invited the Muslims to undertake the journey for the Farewell Hajj. In response to this special invitation as many as 120,000 persons belonging to different Islamic regions got ready and accompanied the Prophet.
The Prophet (S) performed the ceremonies of Hajj and, as ordered by the Almighty Allah, kept waiting (for Divine revelation) till the Hajj came to an end.
The pilgrims adopted various routes with the intention of returning to their homes, but the Prophet (S) asked them to come to Ghadir Khumm, so that he might communicate this important matter to the people in a general gathering.
When the people gathered at this point with great eagerness to hear the Divine revelation and were all ears to hear the Prophet's message, he ordered that a pulpit might be prepared for him with the .saddles of the camels, Then he mounted the pulpit and spoke briefly about the most important reformatory programmes which he had already executed, and also about the order and discipline which he had established for the security and comfort of the society. He also enumerated one by one the past important events as well as the momentous responsibilities which he had discharged. All those present confirmed that his message was true and he had duly conveyed it to them.
After these preliminaries were over the Prophet (S) held ‘Ali with his two hands and raised him so that the blackness under his arms appeared and then confirmed the text which will last forever. He had not yet dismounted the pulpit when the tidings of the celestial revelation about the appointment of ‘Ali reached all those who were present there.
At this moment Almighty Allah congratulated all the Muslims for this great celebration by revealing the following sacred mandate:
This day have I perfected your religion and completed My favours to you and have chosen Islam as your religion.(Surah al Ma'idah, 5:3)
If we now cast aside the time factor from the eyes of the spectators, you will see that a large number of persons have encircled ‘Ali and have drowned him in greetings and, congratulations; And you will also see that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar have placed their hands in the hand of ‘Ali and are greeting him, congratulating him for acquiring this office and this Divine robe, promising assistance and saying openly before all those present: "O ‘Ali! Accept our greetings and congratulations, for now you have become our master as well as the master of all faithful men and women".
It is evident that the declarations of these two persons do not carry any meaning other than the acknowledgement of ‘Ali's Caliphate and, ruler ship and cannot be given any other name.
After the journey in connection with the Farewell Hajj the mobilization of Usama's army was the step which was aimed at achieving this very object. And if you ask me to provide proof for it, I shall say: "The decision taken by the Holy Prophet (S) to equip the army of Usama, and the steps taken in this behalf, were a reply to the activities of the various parties who were opposed to the declaration of Ghadir and had started dispute with ‘Ali. And in any case what stands proved and established is that in his last illness the Prophet (S) did not perform this act for any other purpose but to help ‘Ali".
In the circumstances it can be observed that the Prophet (S) did not put in as much effort in any other matter of fundamental importance as he did in this case. And for the achievement of this object he had also in view another important matter that he wished to establish the eligibility of young men to undertake great responsibilities and achieve high positions in the light of their efficiency and competence, and to elevate everyone to a status for which he deemed him fit without taking his age into account.
Hence, the position becomes quite clear and the intention of the Prophet (S) becomes abundantly known when he entrusted the command of the army to young Usama and placed distinguished Muhajirs and Ansar like Abu Bakr , ‘Umar, Abu 'Ubayda bin Hajjaj, Abdur Rahmin bin Awf, Talha, Zubayr etc under him. And by appointing Usama, whose father was a slave of Lady Khadija, as commander of the army; the Prophet (S) not only ignored the factor of age, but also disregarded the distinction of class and blood, and treated competence to be the only criterion for entrusting a task to anyone he deemed fit. He thus made it known to all that this and nothing else is the real and fundamental principle of true Islam.
Anyhow, by entrusting the command to Usama the Prophet (S) wished to put this sacred principle into practice openly and to make it known to all that just as the basis and foundation of true Islam is the recognition of suitability and competence, and just as this principle had been observed in appointing Usama a Commander of the army regardless of his age and blood, the same principle had also been kept in view in the appointment of ‘Ali to the Caliphate, and the question of his age, or his Qurayshite or Hashimite blood had nothing to do with it, and had not been taken into consideration at all.
Another point which the Prophet (S) had in view in connection with the mobilization of Usama's army was that he wanted to clear the atmosphere of the city of Madina for the Caliphate of ‘Ali and to send out of the city his opponents and those persons, who coveted to grab his office and position, so that he might assume authority at the appropriate time, and by the time the army returned from the front, ‘Ali should have settled on the seat of Caliphate.
It was for this reason that even when he was on his death-bed he was very keen about the mobilization of the army, and when he regained his senses the first question which he asked was about Usama's army. And when he was told that the army had not moved till then he said: "Usama's army should move immediately. May Allah curse the man who opposed the mobilization of Usama's army.” Then he moved with difficulty and, while leaning on Abbas and ‘Ali and showing himself to be healthy, mounted the pulpit and persuaded the people to mobilize Usama's army, and cursed those who declined to join the army.
Notwithstanding this the army did not move. All the elders of the nation violated the orders, declined to serve under the command of Usama and delayed matters till the Holy Prophet (S) breathed his last!
The object of the will which the Prophet (S) wanted to write and seal was that by means of this will he wished to employ his full strength and authority for conveying the Divine message once for all just as he had done it at Ghadir Khumm. In this way he intended to proclaim his views about the Qur'an and his own progeny on these lines: The Holy Qur'an is a Book which comprises the general laws, and the Prophet's progeny are the legal personages and the enforcing authority, and evidently law should be enforced through particular persons. They are the legal personages and the executors of Divine Commands, who can assume responsibility to enforce them and to persuade the people to observe them. And in the eyes of the Prophet (S) the Qur'an and his progeny are two branches which have grown from the same tree and are concomitants. Both of them occupy such a position that none of them is independent of the other, and in Islam they cannot in any way be separated from each other, and they have assumed such a form that their unity cannot be destroyed.
To sum up: whoever holds both the branches achieves guidance and salvation, and whoever contents himself with anyone of them loses everything, because these two objects have joined each other like the components of a single reality. In the case of a chemical composition if one of the various ingredients is eliminated the composition loses its property. Islam too has the same characteristics. If one part of this composition in ignored, its efficacy is gone.
Keeping this fact in view the Holy Prophet (S) felt that his followers needed, more than mere laws, the legal personages i.e. those who were conversant with laws and their becoming enforceable depends on the existence of the people who might put them into force, and so long as they are not made enforceable and do not reach the stage of execution neither can an offender be punished nor can one who does good deeds be recompensed.
Furthermore, the education and training of the people and inculcating the legal material in them is not possible except through capable scholars whose words are heard and whose orders are binding: In the circumstances when the laws are framed and compiled, and sincere and interested persons are not available to execute and enforce them, they automatically remain suspended and deferred. That being so these laws will neither prevent corruption nor check rebellion and crime.
‘Ammar, who was a witness to these developments, was taken aback in connection with the document which the Prophet (S) wanted to write as it shows all his efforts in the path of guiding and advising the people. And it was still more surprising to him that he saw the followers of the Prophet (S) declined, as far as possible, to accept his advice.
He also observed that notwithstanding the fact that the Prophet (S) was nearing death he was making his best efforts with firm determination to carry out the Divine Command and although he was grappling with death he was not afraid of it. He was, however, extremely disturbed as he saw that discord and dispute would take place among his followers after is demise, and it was on this account that he was trying during the last moments of his life to guide and counsel the people.
‘Ammar observed that the room of the Prophet (S) was full of the Muhajirs and the Ansar, and his sacred heart was full of worries about the question of Caliphate, the destiny of his progeny, disturbances and destruction of the traces of his message. The efforts and worries of the people with regard to these difficulties were no lesser than the interest and worries of the Prophet; though the worries of the people were on account of different reasons which did not conform with the worries of the Prophet.
This condition of worry and agitation continued for some time till the Prophet, with a red handkerchief tied to his head and a red Hazrami mantle on his shoulder, rose from his bed with the assistance of ‘Ali. Those present protracted their necks, looked intently at the Prophet (S) and became attentive to hear what he was going to say.
In this dilemma there were a number of hearers among those present for whom the words of the Prophet (S) were more indigestible than the news of his death and added to their indignation.
Do you know what the Prophet (S) said at this moment with great kindness and love? He began to speak eloquently and said: "O people! I feel that I shall leave you soon. I offered you an apology previously and told some important things to you. Now be attentive and listen to what I have to say: "I leave the Book of Allah and my progeny among you as a trust.”
Then he held the hand of ‘Ali, raised it and said: "This is ‘Ali, who is with the Qur'an, and the Qur'an is with ‘Ali. These two will not separate from each other until they meet me at the bank of the Fountain of Kauthar.”
By saying these words and stressing the point the Prophet (S) entrusted all his distinctions and jurisdiction to ‘Ali and made over to him the office of Mastership which includes the Caliphate.
After making this statement the Prophet (S) got tired and reclined. Silence then prevailed over the assembly. Although some of the hearers were agreeable to die before this explanation they became all the more agreeable to die after hearing these words!
How strange! Notwithstanding the fact that these words were full of insight it seemed that they had fallen on deaf ears and had not made any impression on them.
O Allah! How did it happen that these explicit and clear words did not make any impression on their hearts!
‘Ammar says: "These statements, like many of the previous statements of the Holy Prophet, entered the core of my heart; rather they made a deeper impression on me and I was convinced that there is no fault or defect in the voice. If there is any defect, it is in its reflection; because my soul which has always been thirsty of speaking the truth and searching for the truth was greatly moved by the impressive words of the Prophet. These statements came to an end; silence continued to prevail. At that moment the Prophet, who had become silent on account of excessive fatigue and annoyance, reclined, and reinvigorated himself. Then he began speaking again and said: "Bring me an inkpot and a pen so that I may write something for you and by possessing that document you may not go astray after my death.”
Strangely enough before anyone out of the assembly got up to bring an inkpot and a pen the silence was broken and a jangle arose in the assembly.
Do you know what the reason for this rude and churlish behaviour was?
Those present were afraid lest the Prophet (S) should reduce to writing what he had said verbally, for in that event it would not have been possible for them to explain away or deny the contents of the document appointing ‘Ali to the Caliphate. They were anxious that such a document would close all paths for them. ‘Umar, who broke the silence of the assembly, said with a loud voice: "Allah's Book is sufficient for us.”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: "‘Ali is with the Qur'an and the Qur'an is with ‘Ali.” By saying this the Holy Prophet (S) meant that ‘Ali was not separate from the Qur'an and the Qur'an was not separate from ‘Ali.
‘Umar said to those present: "The Prophet (S) is speaking in delirium (talking nonsense)". At that moment tumult and jangle arose in the assembly.
One of those present said: "Bring a pen and an inkpot.”
Another said: "What ‘Umar says is correct.”
Thereupon the Holy Prophet (S) said: "Get out from here, because it is not right to wrangle and make a noise in the presence of a Prophet.”
‘Ammar got up from the assembly and said: "I don't remember that after Abu Jahl any person may have uttered such words against the Holy Prophet.” He added: "I never imagined that a nephew might inherit from his maternal uncle in this manner."
‘Ammar was keenly observing all the events, developments and tribulations related to this matter and even before clarifying his position before the gathering at Saqifa he came into the row of the Shi'a of ‘Ali and joined Salman Farsi, Abu Dharr and Miqdad. And everyone knows how keen the members of this group were about the security of the elements of Islam and how with their Islamic spirit, which they had imbibed, bravely fought for the uplift and security of Islam, so much so that they were recognized to be the pioneers and vanguard of Islam! Anyhow, the Prophet's room was closed. He was lying in his bed while his daughter and wives were weeping and crying and ‘Ali as well as some other members of his family were sitting by his side sorrowful and grief-stricken, and were reciting the Qur'an.
As ‘Ali was very much interested in the safety of the religion he did not pay heed to his proved and undeniable right and endeavoured to remain aloof from the campaign which might end in mischief. He was aware of the activities behind the doors, the grudge which surged up within the parties, the matters which they exchanged with one another, and the things which they coveted. Notwithstanding this he preferred to remain sad and not to rise to claim his right, in order that Islam might remain safe.
Imam ‘Ali relied on Allah and was sure that his proved and undeniable right was safe with all the Muhajirs and the Ansar, as Zubayr bin Bakaar said about him: "What is required is that people respect Divine Command and the wishes of the Holy Prophet (S) and this reality was established in ‘Ali. For he is not a man who would create trouble to achieve this end and become the source of an agitation and revolt which should adversely affect Islam.”
Furthermore, he was the Wasi of the Prophet (S) who had advised him to observe patience, forbearance and self-sacrifice and to safeguard the higher interests of Islam. For this reason ‘Ali remained patient, showed forbearance, awaited the development, and did not make haste in inviting the people to take oath of allegiance to him, And notwithstanding the great sadness which he felt for his having been separated from the Prophet, he on account of his sincerity of faith, did not take steps to claim his established right. He was also sure that people would not ignore his right, although certain parties might endeavour to tarnish it. Of course, Abbas wished to take a forward step in this regard. He, therefore, stretched out his hand so that he might take the oath and the members of his family should follow suit and the matter might be settled. But, ‘Ali declined to accept the oath of allegiance of his uncle and said to him: "Who other than us will rise in such a matter?"
The door of the Holy Prophet's room was closed, although ‘Ali and the members of his family were there round the Prophet's body. A large number of the people had gathered outside the room and while crying and lamenting, were aghast and stupefied on account of the tragedy, because they saw that the pulse of truth and the heart of reality had ceased to work. The people were puzzled and bewildered on account of the terrible disaster, the seriousness of the loss, and fear of the future events, and were at their wit's end.
‘Umar was running in the midst of this gathering in confusion and was shouting. It seemed that he was afraid lest the matters should take an undesired turn and people should take oath of allegiance to ‘Ali. Abu Bakr was absent at this juncture and was spending his time with one of his wives in Sanah, and ‘Umar did not know what the end of it was going to be.
It, however, occurred to him that he should raise a hue and cry and keep the people occupied, so that they might not take an oath of allegiance to ‘Ali and in the meantime Abu Bakr should arrive and they should chalk out a programme as to what they should do. Although just as it appeared difficult for ‘Umar to achieve his object, it also seemed difficult for Abu Bakr to attain such a high position, still ‘Umar did not abandon pursuing his plan. He, therefore, continued shouting and running about hither and thither. All those present were out of their wits. In such circumstances every society is rendered inactive and powerless and in such an uproar it becomes possible for a leader to strike the sensitive chord of the people, take the authority of the society in his own hands and relieve it of irresponsibility.
The people could see that a close companion of the Holy Prophet (S) was raising a hue and cry and saying loudly: "Some hypocrites have spread the news that the Prophet (S) of Allah is dead, whereas I swear by Allah that he is not dead; he has gone to meet his Lord, just as (Prophet) Musa bin Imran went to see his Lord and remained away from his people for forty nights and then, while it was said that he had died, he returned and joined them. In the circumstances I swear by Allah that the Prophet (S) will return just as Musa had returned. "O people! Know and beware that when the Prophet (S) returns he will cut off the hands and feet of those who talk nonsense and say that he is dead. If I hear anyone saying that the Prophet of Allah is dead I shall chop of his head with this sword.”
It may now be asked: In such an uproar what should be the condition of the people, who are perplexed and stupefied and are hearing the words of a close companion like ‘Umar, who threatens with death in a severe religious tone, those, who confirm the Prophet's demise and assures them of his return, and at the same time hearing from the Prophet's house the cries and wailings of women? Evidently nothing except perplexity, irresponsibility, doubt and denial would prevail over these people, and it need hardly be said that ‘Umar, too, wanted this and nothing else.
‘Umar claimed that the Prophet (S) had disappeared from amidst the people and proceeded on a heavenly journey. Hence, the cry of ‘Umar and his threats contradicted the cries and wailings of the afflicted ones, which could be heard by the people, and he claimed that spreading the news of the Prophet's death was vain and futile hypocrisy and amounted to one's denying the miracle of Prophethood and insulting the Messenger of Allah!
These preliminaries and scenes, which were created, threw the people into a terrible religious blind alley. All of them were terrified and threatened with death and were required to admit that what had happened was only an outward appearance. They were also given to understand that the hypocrites had surrounded the Holy Prophet. In the circumstances why should they not have confirmed what a close companion was saying and disbelieved that the Prophet (S) would return soon? In any case, if, in such circumstances and situation, the people had not confirmed what ‘Umar was saying then, besides the fact that they were threatened with death, it would have amounted to their denying a miracle of the Prophet.
The fact is that ‘Umar, who was quite shrewd, availed of the opportunity, and by means of the talent, which he possessed for subjugating the minds, he took over the reins of the thinking of the astonished people, imposed his will on those, who had lost their intelligence, and began walking between them and speaking vociferously and continuously. Eventually Abu Bakr came back from Sanah and saw ‘Umar in the same condition, but did not object to him. Rather he went straight to the Prophet's house with perfect dignity, and entered it after having obtained permission to do so. He pulled aside the sheet which had been drawn on the Prophet's sacred face and kissed the face. Then he again drew the sheet on the Prophet's face, left the house and joined others. He made a sign to ‘Umar to remain quiet, but he continued to shout. Then he said to him explicitly: "O ‘Umar! Be patient.” However, when he observed that ‘Umar was not becoming silent he began speaking himself.
At this moment the people turned to Abu Bakr and began listening attentively to what he said. At the very outset Abu Bakr refuted the viewpoint of his friend and said: "O people! Whoever worshipped Muhammad should know that Muhammad is dead and whoever is a worshipper of Allah should know that Allah is alive and shall never die.”
Then he recited the following verse of the Qur'an:
Muhammad is but a messenger, many other messengers have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dies or is slain, you will turn back to your pre-Islamic behaviour? He who turns back does no harm to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful. (Surah Ale Imran, 3: 144)
Abu Bakr's statement was logical and accorded with the factual position and the people wondered as to why they had not paid heed to this established fact earlier and had not uttered such remarks themselves.
Abu Bakr's words were also accepted by the people as they were sound, and especially because they were uttered after ‘Umar's having put forward his view so vehemently, and relieved them of astonishment and anxiety.
Furthermore, the situation created by ‘Umar was such that it had dissuaded the people from thinking about a calamity like the demise of their Prophet (S) and they had no opportunity to think about the losses which they had suffered on this account and the evils which were to attend on them in future.
We are not aware of the cause which prompted ‘Umar to create this anxiety. Possibly what ‘Umar desired was that the people should be dissuaded from thinking that such a calamity had occurred. Or perhaps he and others wished to delay the people taking oath of allegiance to ‘Ali and check such an oath. Their aim, therefore, was that the people should remain in a state of nonalignment and their senses should be off the track.
In any case what is an undeniable fact is that Abu Bakr's success in controlling the situation was the result of the conditions created by ‘Umar. It was in this sense that if ‘Umar had not created a doubt in the minds of the people regarding divulging the news of the Prophet's demise in such a rude and immodest manner, and had not divested them of their perception and true judgement, and had not created such a strange atmosphere, the situation would not have permitted Abu Bakr to speak on the subject and relieve the people of consternation and astonishment and be introduced as the man of the day.
Disregarding the confused and critical situation created by ‘Umar it should be remembered that the words uttered by Abu Bakr were not new for the people and every one of them could understand the reality, particularly because everyone was convinced that the Prophet (S) had died, and none treated him as an idol. Rather, every one of them possessed as much knowledge of the tenets of Islam as Abu Bakr did, and they knew that he was a human being with the distinction of Prophethood. They were grieved on account of having been separated from him. They were grief-stricken and that was all. They did not think of any reaction or reversion to the ways of their forefathers.
But ‘Umar came and created this doubt. He called the Holy Prophet's death a mere rumour and brought about such an atmosphere to play with the thinking of the nation, keep the people away from taking oath of allegiance to ‘Ali and incidentally to attract their attention to the personality of Abu Bakr.
It must be admitted that like every experienced politician who is a scholar of two schools of politics and society- ‘Umar took the maximum advantage of the situation and applied all the techniques and rules related to these two sciences to the events of that day. It might possibly be said that: it is not improbable that the spirit of dispute and challenge prevailed in the situation.
It is true that during the days of the Holy Prophet (S) some parties had plans to keep ‘Ali away from the office of the Caliphate. But, the oath of allegiance to ‘Ali taken on the day of Ghadir, and the steps taken by the Prophet (S) to stabilize and strengthen the position of his successor by various orders and regulations were difficult to be defied and it was in view of these antecedents and on this very account that ‘Ali said to his uncle in connection with the oath of allegiance: "Who other than us is there to pursue this matter?"
Of course, ‘Ali was aware that many persons were desirous of occupying this position. However, as his position had been recognized officially and this office had been confirmed for him, he very well knew that it would be very difficult for others to achieve their purpose.
It may be said in this connection that the step taken by ‘Umar in the matter was a bold and enterprising one, and he acquitted himself well in this behalf, and performed this dangerous act in a masterly manner and paved the way for Abu Bakr on that great day, so that he was recognized as the 'champion' or 'the man of the day' in modern terminology, and could enter the field from the nearest place and the easiest path.
The skill and competence of Abu Bakr which made him command the respect of the people was not dependent upon his rational and correct statement, but the sensitiveness of the situation and time and a greater part to play in introducing him as the 'man of the day'. For this very reason he contented himself with a brief statement and left the gathering. His entire distinction lay in the fact that he relieved the people of astonishment and perplexity and then left them alone, so that they might remain occupied with themselves. It may also be said that the victory and dexterity of Abu Bakr mostly arose from the fact that he left the people to themselves, so that he might dominate them at the appropriate time. It was for this reason that he left them soon although the people expected that he would stay on with them for a longer time and remove the last shadows of their astonishment.
However, Abu Bakr did not want this, but desired that the signs of astonishment should continue to exist for a longer time, so that he might establish his position as a moderate, influential and dignified person possessing true Islamic distinction. It would appear that after having acquired so much success and advancement Abu Bakr held the hand of ‘Umar and left the gathering fearing that the adventurous behaviour and boldness of ‘Umar might affect his success, upset his design and deprive him of his decisive delicate attainment.
After having acquired his position among the people, as mentioned above, Abu Bakr, accompanied by ‘Umar, proceeded towards the Muhajirs and the Ansar who were sitting in front of the Prophet's Masjid. He was awaiting further developments and incidentally pretended that he was waiting for ‘Ali to come out of the house, so that he might take oath of allegiance to him (‘Ali).
At this moment the spy of Abu Sufyan viz. Mughira bin Sho'ba came to collect information. The object of Mughira at this time was also to read the people's mind, and to create mischief in the interests of his party, so that they might dominate the situation. Immediately on his arrival Mughira stood behind Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, who were sitting side by side and said to them: "What are you two sitting here for?"
Abu Bakr, who was aware of the satanic intentions of the Umayyads and especially the evil designs of this malicious person, knew that he was a spy of the Umayyads, said to him in reply: "We two are awaiting ‘Ali to come out, so that we may take oath of allegiance to him.”
Mughira, who was in fact aware of the intentions of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar said to them: "Do you wish to give the snare of this prey in the hands of this family? It will be better if you expand it so that it may find place in the hands of Quraysh.” 4
As the situation was delicate, the opportunity was narrow and the shape of the society was very intricate, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar did not give any reply to Mughira, fearing that they might commit some mistake. At the same time, however, they kept the point in view that possibly the parties might be united in their views and might be thinking alike to deprive ‘Ali of the Caliphate, but, on account of their mutual rivalries they could not agree upon a particular person.
Hence, prudence and care demanded that these two persons should keep their views concealed, especially because if they made their views known, it was possible that the factor of quarrel and dispute might perforce make some parties join ‘Ali and become his supporters in oppositions to other parties. And then it was also known that on that occasion none of the Ansar was present, and obviously the absence of the chiefs of the party of Ansar was also a source of anxiety to some extent. However, as Abu Bakr had already appointed spies on them to inform him of the developments he was satisfied on this account. He was also convinced that on account of their mutual disputes it would not be possible for them to arrive at a decision and eventually he himself would go and meet them.
In any case every thing was clear to Abu Bakr except that he did not know from which path to enter the field. Of course, it was possible for Abu Bakr to open a path for himself, but there was a danger of the path thus opened leading to his defeat. Furthermore, he did not want to open a path lest the others should also enter the arena from the same path. Eventually Abu Bakr came to the conclusion that if he postponed action and decision, it would be possible for him to gain from the mistakes of others.
However, events took place as anticipated by him, because two of his agents named 'Uwaym bin Sa'ida and Ma'n bin Adyy came up to him and whispered: "If you are desirous of Caliphate take necessary steps, because Sa'd bin Ubada is in the Saqifa of Bani Sa'ida and is about to assume ruler ship.” On receiving this report Abu Bakr proceeded to the Saqifa and ‘Umar followed him. Abu Ubayda bin Jarra was also walking behind them.
When they reached the Saqifa they saw that Sa'ad had concealed his face under his cloak in such a way that his voice could not be heard, and his son Qays, who was a tall man, was standing behind him, and they were conversing with each other. All the Ansar were also present. However, those among them, who were faithful and sincere and were aware of the correctness of the claim of ‘Ali to the Caliphate, were anxious and perturbed although their attachment with ‘Ali was necessarily to the disadvantage of the Ansar.
Greedy and ambitious persons supported Sa'd, and believed that with Sa'd becoming the ruler the superiority of Aws over Khazraj would become an established fact, though the Ansar might be the losers on account of this superiority. Although Sa'd cooperated with other parties explicitly or implicitly in the matter of depriving ‘Ali of the Caliphate he became anxious when he came to know about the arrival of Abu Bakr along with his two companions.
Sa'd had co-operated with others to forestall them and by stealing a march on others in the formation of the committee, he thought that by taking this step he could prevail over other claimants of the Caliphate and overcome ‘Ali. However, the events made him desperate.
Abu Bakr arrived at a moment which was most opportune from the viewpoint of his interests, but was detrimental to Sa'd's interests in all respects.
Sa'd continued talking with the Ansar and wished that they might take oath of allegiance to him. The condition of Sa'd was such that if Abu Bakr had arrived a little later the ambitious Sa'd would have achieved his object and compromise would have taken place between him and the people of the suburbs. However, his bad luck or male violence (or both) snatched away the opportunity from him and Abu Bakr got the upper hand of the situation. At this moment the matter in dispute between Abu Bakr and Sa'd was that of obtaining the Caliphate.
Sa'd was in a position in which he imagined himself to be entitled to priority because of his having taken the lead and making haste in the matter, and he considered the strength of the Ansar, to whom the Saqifa belonged, to be sufficient to achieve his purpose.
Abu Bakr too, was not a person who might be regarded to be cowardly or thoughtless. However, as the unconscious mind of Sa'd believed in the entitlement of ‘Ali to the Caliphate5 the same instability of mind and lack of decisiveness became the cause of his defeat. This condition was indicative of a hidden factor and an internal motive which was not evident from his ambitious countenance, and had no effect on the course of events, and his discussions, and he himself too could not return from the gulf in which he was plunged and from the path of usurpation of the right which he intended to acquire, and was obliged to own the consequences, whatever they might be.
On hearing these words from Sa'd, his son Qays said to him: "Did you hear these words from the Prophet (S) and still ignored to follow ‘Ali? By Allah, so long as I am alive I will not talk to you.” And he continued this quarrel.
Another factor which brought about the defeat of Sa'd was the envy of his tribes men and fellow-citizens and the avarice of the intruders. In any case all these factors combined and resulted in his defeat.
It was in such a favourable atmosphere that Abu Bakr and his two companions found their way and made efforts with perfect care and determination to achieve their object. ‘Umar wanted to speak but Abu Bakr stopped him, saying in a dictatorial tone: "Remain silent.”
‘Umar, therefore, kept quiet and did not say anything. Then Abu Bakr began speaking, and confirmed the superiority of the Ansar on account of their having provided asylum to the Muslims and assisting the Muhajirs. As regards the right of ruler ship, however, he considered it to be one of the special rights of Quraysh on the ground that they were the kinsmen of the Holy Prophet (S) and were the first to assist him. During the course of his speech Abu Bakr promised the Ansar that they could partake in government as ministers.
Abu Bakr was a very mild person and spoke with leniency and gentleness. However, the way of his speaking and the leniency and gentleness which he displayed was of the type which a powerful ruler shows to his companions and subordinates. Sa'd did not say anything in reply to the remarks of Abu Bakr but Manzar bin Hubab spoke with great vehemence on behalf of Sa'd. He addressed the Ansar and ordered them in a dictatorial manner to oppose Abu Bakr and his two companions and incidentally reminded them of the superiority of the Ansar on account of their rendering assistance to the Holy Prophet, providing asylum to the Muhajirs. At the same time he showed superiority on account of the wealth, numbers, equipment and nobleness of the Ansar and later transgressed this limit and explicitly threatened them saying, "Don't listen to this man and his companions. By Allah you are superior to them in this matter. There were many who didn't embrace Islam except at the point of the sword. I am the haven and the place of safety for all, and the root and origin of all powers. By Allah, none can dare oppose me and if anyone opposes me shall cut off his nose with this sword.”
After these disputes and exchange of words, ‘Umar began speaking, and after him Abu Ubayda delivered a speech, and repeated similar arguments. Now the Ansar put forward the question of share in the government and said: "There should be one ruler from amongst us and another from amongst Quraysh”. They were of the view that such a government would automatically be more suitable to ensure justice. And the basic condition therefore was that a guarantee should be obtained from Quraysh, who had shed their blood in the path of the advancement of Islam, because the Ansar were afraid that the sense of revenge might stir in the hearts of Quraysh and they might control the means of livelihood of the Ansar and subject them to financial distress.6
‘Umar rejected this suggestion and said: "Two swords cannot be put into one sheath.”
However, the dispute revolved round one pivot and was sometimes violent and sometimes mud and gentle.
Abu Bakr was afraid lest the matter should end in a quarrel and the opportunity might be lost, and this dispute might end in the same way in which all disputes of Byzantium end. He, therefore, began speaking himself. After praising the Ansar, he mentioned the question of succession to the Holy Prophet (S) and reminded them of the authority enjoyed by the Prophet, and said that his inheritance belonged to Quraysh and none else. He also threatened the Ansar incidentally lest, as a result of usurping the authority and inheritance, they should lose the spiritual reward for the services rendered by them, and become apostates as a consequence of their violating the authority and inheritance of the Prophet.
Abu Bakr expressed this view and did not wait for a reply, but said in a decisive manner, pointing towards ‘Umar and Abu Ubayda: "I have chosen these two persons for you"; and then added: "You may select anyone of them.” By expressing this view Abu Bakr overpowered the meeting and put an end to all noise and contention.
Evidently the object of Abu Bakr in proposing these two persons and asking the people to take oath of allegiance to them was that the oath should be taken to him, and the same thing happened, because ‘Umar stretched his hand to Abu Bakr at once, and took the oath to him. After ‘Umar the oath was taken by Bashir bin Sa'd Khazraji and then by Usayd bin Khuzayr Uwaysi who were friends of Abu Bakr in the army of Usama. These two persons had previously been rivals of Sa'd bin Ubada and had been envious of him. As a result of the oath taken by these two persons the front of the Ansar sustained defeat and none out of them was left there except Hubab who drew his sword and intended to attack. However, the people overpowered and disarmed him. After having been overpowered Hubab took, off his garment and struck with that very garment on the heads and faces of those who had taken the oath of allegiance, and abused them.
In the meantime Sa'd said to Abu Bakr: "I swear by Allah that if I had possessed strength you would have seen that I would have acted in such a way that you and your friends would have been turned out of this place, and you would have gone to the place where you would have been a subordinate as before, and not a leader, and would have lived in obscurity and not as a respected and honoured person.” Then he was led out of the meeting and other Ansar began taking oath of allegiance.
At this moment Hubab struck on the faces of others with the same garment which he held in his hand and abused them. After this boisterous quarrel, however, he could not do anything.
A noise was heard from the masjid resembling that of the celebration of a marriage. ‘Ali who was sitting by the side of the sacred body of the Prophet, drowned in grief, was surprised to hear this jubilation and asked: “Has the Holy Prophet (S) returned and we are not aware of it or have the people resorted to merry-making on account of this sad occurrence?”
The reply given to ‘Ali was to this effect: Contention took place in Saqifa between the Ansar and the Muhajirs in the matter of Caliphate and Abu Bakr was the winner. For this reason Abu Bakr is being carried on the shoulders of the lackeys, and every passer by is being persuaded to take oath of allegiance to him. The hand of Abu Bakr is being brought in contact with the hands of others as a token of acceptance of the oath, and this process has deprived the people of security.
If it is imagined that it may be possible for a person in the most critical circumstances to give a smile mingled with grief it may be supposed that on hearing this news ‘Ali gave such a smile or a scornful laugh and that too coupled with the peace of mind and dignity indicative of supreme degree of magnanimity.
Notwithstanding the fact that ‘Ali did not favour anything other than truth and reality he asked again quite impartially, like a just arbiter: "What did the Ansar say?" He was informed that they said: “One ruler should be from amongst you and another from amongst us.”
Then ‘Ali said: "Was no argument put forward against them and was it not said that the Holy Prophet (S) had willed that favour should be done to those who are good and their sinners should be excused?"
‘Ali was asked: "What proof can be adduced from this point?" He replied: "If the Imamate and ruler ship had fallen in their hands they would not have needed an explanation.” Then he asked: "What did Quraysh say?" He was informed that the argument of Quraysh was that they were the "tree" of the Holy Prophet. Commenting on this argument ‘Ali said: "They argued with regard to the tree of Prophethood but wasted its fruit!"
With this brief statement which is replete with knowledge, wisdom and magnanimity ‘Ali manifested the reality about this matter and then continued reciting the Holy Qur'an along with his kinsmen and followers.
‘Ammar too was a member of this gathering and all those present had a feeling of excessive remorse and surprise on account of this occurrence. They were extremely annoyed and while their eyes were fixed on ‘Ali's face were awaiting his permission to move and rise. They did not, however, perceive an inclination from his side for any such action and he was busy reciting the Qur'an as usual with deep grief and without paying any heed to what others were thinking.
Of course, in these new circumstances there were persons belonging to far and near places, who picked up courage to approach him and keeping in view their own strength for fighting of which they were conscious, they sought his permission to initiate action and predicted their sure victory, but Imam ‘Ali silenced them with perfect prudence and composure and said: "It is sufficient for us that religion remains intact.”
Possibly ‘Ali was aware of his own strength to face the campaign, but he possessed much deeper insight to discern the great responsibility which devolved upon him, and the results of the campaign which was being suggested to him, and could assess its outcome much better than others. It was for this reason that he said briefly: "It is sufficient for us that religion remains intact.”
In any case keenness to delude the people, quickness in acquiring ruler ship and depriving Bani Hashim of the Caliphate was not peculiar to Quraysh, for the current feeling was that most of the deprived people were trying through intimidation and threats to take the reins of government in their own hands. Furthermore there were persons even amongst Quraysh who, after depriving ‘Ali from the Caliphate, considered themselves superior to Abu Bakr for that office.
In short the thinking which prevailed over the people in those days was merely that of families and tribes, because the old rivalries were revived among them. ‘Ali was very much grieved and anxious on this account and was obliged to make self-sacrifice and stay at home. None was more aware of this nature and habit of ‘Ali than Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and they, therefore, took maximum advantage of his leniency, gentleness and coolness.
The Umayyad party, which played a major role in depriving ‘Ali of the Caliphate than any other party, hoped that one day they would get an opportunity and install ‘Uthman or Abdur Rahman bin' Awf the ruler. In the same way the Ansar too eagerly desired to attain ruler ship.
Abu Sufyan was active at the back of the Umayyad party and was working for the benefit of ‘Uthman and Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf. He imagined that the contention between the Ansar and Abu Bakr, who attacked and counter attacked each other, would continue, and the field of strife would extend, and consequently the two families of Taym and Adyy, who were the largest amongst Quraysh, would come at the helm of affairs.
Of course, in the activities and efforts conducted by the Umayyad party Islam was of no consequence; for their platform was founded on party-spirit and their object was to make mischief.
For this reason, just as before the advent of Islam, Quraysh used to sit in groups round the Ka'ba and arranged their assemblies; the Umayyad party now sat in the Prophet’s Masjid by the side of ‘Uthman and Banu Zohra, and surrounded Abdur Rahman.
In the meantime Abu Sufyan went round the streets of Madina and propagated in favour of ‘Ali. However, the people were waiting for ‘Ali to take his stand, so that they might not be deceived by another person who misused his name. Incidentally, people stood forewarned and were careful on account of the fact that previously ‘Umar had threatened them and prevented them from taking any action, and had promised the return of the Holy Prophet. However, Abu Sufyan who had intruded everywhere reached the door of a house in which ‘Ali was present. He then recited the following couplet:
"O Bani Hashim! Do not invite the people, especially Taymbin Murra or Adyy to partake in government, because none except you are fit for ruler ship and this office is specially meant for Abul Hasan (‘Ali).
O Abul Hasan! Take this office firmly in your hands with great prudence and care, because for this object of desire (on which all have fixed their eyes) your suitability and fitness is established and confirmed.”
Then Abu Sufyan entered the house and said: "O Abul Hasan! Stretch your hand so that I may take oath of allegiance to you. By Allah, if you so desire I shall fill the city of Madina with mounted soldiers and infantry men and shall use them against your opponents.”
However, ‘Ali declined to stretch his hand and keeping in view the protection of the basic ideas and principles he ignored his personal interest and said: "I don't stand in need of your oath of allegiance; your purpose is to create disturbance and mischief. Previously you used to create troubles for Islam. Now I must ask you if you want to create similar trouble in Islam as you created during the time of ignorance!”
Although Abu Sufyan had been disappointed so far as ‘Ali was concerned, but he had not lost hope about the achievement of his object and approached everyone in that behalf; and notwithstanding the fact that he knew that Abbas considered ruler ship and chiefdom to be the right of his nephew ‘Ali and respected him, he went up to him to achieve his end through him.
When Abu Sufyan reached in the presence of Abbas and offered to take oath of allegiance to him, Abbas said:
"O Abu Sufyan! May Allah reform you? Don't you know that my nephew is my chief? Approach him to take oath of allegiance. I shall follow you.” He said: "I approached ‘Ali but he rejected my offer.”
Abbas laughed and said: "I proposed to take oath of allegiance to him earlier than you did, but he didn't accept my offer, because the Prophet (S) ordered him to observe patience, and he is steadfast with regard to the promise made by him to the Prophet (S) and is prepared to sacrifice his office and position for the sake of Islam, so that Islam may remain safe. Moreover, ‘Ali is a person whose principles and intellectual elements conform to the teachings of Islam. In the circumstances Abbas too is not a person who may seek something which is avoided by ‘Ali."
Abu Sufyan had realized that in those days there was no chance for anyone except ‘Ali to be victorious. Hence, it was natural that after having lost hope of taking oath of allegiance to ‘Ali he should have returned to his party, busied himself in chalking out new plans, and spent his time in his nest till he found a favourable opportunity.
At that very moment ‘Umar arrived in the masjid, contacted these two circles and persuaded them to take oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr.
The members of this circle also took the oath knowing that ‘Ali's refusal to accept the oath of allegiance was considered to be the strongest basis for taking such an oath to Abu Bakr and it is possible that these persons were not unaware that the reason for ‘Ali's confining himself to his house was his keen desire that all should be united against the reactionary tendency and apostasy of the Arabs which had been formed outside Madina. And if ‘Ali had risen it would have been necessary for him to fight against this strong party and there is no doubt that such an action would have benefited the reactionaries and apostates outside Madina: and the light of Islam would have been extinguished.
However, as in the eyes of ‘Ali the interests of Islam enjoyed priority over his own right, the disturbed and confused conditions of these environments obliged him to confine himself to his house and to ignore his right.
Anyhow, the body of the Prophet (S) had been lying oh his bed for two days and the people contended with one another about his inheritance and argued against and flogged one another in his name while he himself was resting in the midst of his real successors; The women of the Prophet's family were wailing and crying whereas the men were busy praying to Allah and reciting the Qur'an.
After the people had become free from their work ‘Ali got up to bathe the body of the Prophet. He was accompanied by his uncle Abbas and the two sons of his uncle named Fazal and Qashm, and Usama bin Zayd and Shaqran, the slave of the Prophet.
‘Ali personally bathed the body of the Prophet (S) and asked Usama and Shaqran to pour water.
‘Ali did not remove the Prophet's shirt from his body and after having bathed him offered his funeral prayers. Then the corpse was taken into the chamber and the Muslims, including men, women and children, went there in groups to bid him farewell.
After the farewell ceremonies, the Holy Prophet (S) was buried during the night of Wednesday, the fourteenth of Rabi al-awwal, at the place where he had been lying ill his bed.
On the following day the city of Madina was faced with a tragedy which made the people forget the demise of the Prophet.
It was seen that the threshold of the house of Fatima, the dearest daughter of the Prophet (S) and the chief of women in both the worlds, was set on fire. The people saw that a police party headed by ‘Umar bin Khattab had surrounded this sacred house. They also saw that Fatima had been besieged within the door and the four walls of the house, and the sword belt or turban of ‘Ali had been tied round his neck and he was being dragged!
Most of these actions were intolerable, but what could be done? These were the general orders and in modern term the orders of the military government.
The details of the incident are as follows: On the day following the burial of the Prophet (S) ,’Umar bin Khattab went to see Abu Bakr and said that Khalid bin Walid from amongst Quraysh and Usayd bin Khuzayr from amongst the Ansar, and some others attached to the new government were present, and were talking about the position of the important and influential personalities and the leaders of those, who had declined to take the oath of allegiance, and the discussion mostly related to ‘Ali and Sa'd bin Ubada.
‘Umar was of the view that severest action might be taken against these two persons and they might be summoned and beheaded in case they declined to take the oath of allegiance:
One of those present was of the view that Sa'd might be excused, because after the Ansar had taken the oath, his refusal to do it did not entail any danger and taking severe action against him would be something dangerous. He added that while Sa'd was not prepared to take the oath, he could not be killed unless his sons were killed first, and his sons could not be killed unless the members of Khazraj tribe were killed, and even if they (Khazrajites) were killed, the new government and its supporters would not be safe from the tribe of Bani 'Aws.
The same speaker adding fuel to the flames further said: "And besides all this Sa'd is waiting for someone to molest him, so that he may make it an excuse for declaring war. However, suppose ‘Ali had been furious, the situation would have been more dangerous.
But the fact is that his knowledge, forbearance and wisdom, and his love for, public welfare, restrain him from showing his indignation in this house and taking a severe action. The same motives which prevented him from inviting the people to his side for his personal interest will also not permit him to rise or create disturbance. For this very reason it will be better if you first obtain oath of allegiance from him, and you should rest assured that you will remain safe from his wrath. And after he has taken the oath the refusal by Sa'd and others like him will be of no consequence and the oath by ‘Ali will be equivalent to oath by all the Muslims.”
Consequent upon these discussions Abu Bakr sent some one to ‘Ali and called him, but ‘Ali declined to go and said to the messenger: “Tell Abu Bakr that I am collecting and compiling the Holy Qur'an and am endeavouring to complete this task before any changes are made in it, or the lapse of time allows any encroachment on this Holy Book. And I have decided not to go out of my house until I have collected and compiled the Qur'an, nor to place a cloak on my shoulder till that time.” Abu Bakr again sent some one to summon ‘Ali, but this time also ‘Ali declined to go and remained in his house.
At this juncture ‘Umar volunteered to bring ‘Ali by force. Abu Bakr ordered Khalid bin Walid, Usayd and some policemen to accompany ‘Umar.
Anyhow this open and undisguised attack was conducted under the command of Abu Hafs. While some persons were walking behind ‘Umar and others in front of him they proceeded to the house of ‘Ali in a threatening and intimidating manner. Some slaves like the former slaves of Abu Jahl were walking in front of them with sticks and burning fire, and vulgar persons of various kinds like the vulgar persons of Harth bin Nusayr also set moving, When the invaders reached the door of the house of ‘Ali and kindled a fire there it was said to ‘Umar:
"O Abu Hafs! What are you doing?”
‘Umar replied: "By Allah! If he doesn't come out of the house and doesn't take the oath of allegiance I shall set the house on fire,”
At this moment ‘Umar was reminded: "But Fatima is in this house.’
‘Umar said: "In spite of this fact, I will do that”.
In any case ‘Umar succeeded in bringing ‘Ali out of the house and managed to take him to the masjid.
Although this action had assumed an indecent and sad plight but the forbearance of ‘Ali prevented him from showing any reaction. And no doubt the regulations of the military government also demanded this.
Notwithstanding all this ‘Umar did not succeed in obtaining the oath from ‘Ali. It was however decided that the ceremony of taking oath of allegiance from ‘Ali might be deferred to a later day when more persons were present in the masjid. On that day ‘Ali was to come along with Fatima and these two persons might express their views (which were like the views of the Holy Prophet) and were equivalent to the views of thousands of those persons who were disturbed on account of this tragic event and were spending their days restlessly under its pressure.
The appointed day arrived and in this new atmosphere ‘Ali got an opportunity to put forward his case. Just as Abu Bakr had advanced arguments before the Ansar, he too should place before Abu Bakr and others present in the masjid, his own arguments which were based on truth, knowledge, logic and moderateness, which were not denied by anyone of those present.
This very favourable atmosphere was found by lady Fatima Zahra also in this manner that a curtain was hanged between her and the people, and she narrated the story of Islam word for word and stage by stage, and explained all its secrets and mysteries till the matter ended with the problem of the day, and the new ruler was identified to be a usurper and the general public was also reckoned to be reactionaries and apostates. She adduced abundant arguments to prove this and made the following declaration in the light of these decisive arguments: "My father didn't die on the day on which his soul left his body. Rather he died on the day on which another person sat on this pulpit, and that person is not fit to acquire this position and no right or rule entitles such a person to occupy this position.”
Then Fatima Zahra begin reproving and blaming the Ansar, and condemned the general public, who refrained from supporting the right of her husband and feigned ignorance of the appointment of which they were aware.
In the end she spoke thus regarding honouring truth and expressing respect for right and reality: "O people! Keeping in view the knowledge and information of, and perfect acquaintance with, the conditions which I possess, and taking into account the weakness of spirit and faith which has overtaken you, I can very well perceive in what disgrace, hardship, abjectness, and shame you have become involved. I have said what I ought to have said, and I say again; now it may be so that you may assume control over this mount (caliphate and ruler ship) and put on its back whatever you possess.
However, you should know that it is a camel whose back is wounded and whose feet are smashed, and it is a weary mount. This mount will always bear the scars of shame and disgrace and the sign of infamy! And it is this very mount which will carry you towards the glowing Divine fire, which blazes up in the hearts. However, if you and all other human beings in the world become infidels it does not matter, because Allah is free from want and is Praiseworthy.”
The voice which was reverberated in this manner was a reaction to the rudeness and harsh action of ‘Umar. And in case the wisdom, forbearance and self-control of ‘Ali had not been at work the history of Madina would certainly have run into another channel at this critical moment and the conditions and circumstances of this city would decidedly have assumed a different shape.
Of course, the fact is that ‘Umar's action in committing this error on that particular inauspicious day in the shape of breaking the rib of Zahra and pulling ‘Ali to the masjid in that rude manner, and kindling fire in front of their house, was like a very heavy burden, which was being placed on the intellects and thinking of the people, and the people did not possess patience to bear it, because ‘Ali was Sayfullah (the Sword of Allah) and deputy, and Fatima was the dearest daughter of the Holy Prophet (S) and chief of the women in both the worlds, and the house of this couple was the central point of the hopes of the people and focus of the love and attachment of all the believers.
Obviously the occurrence of every one of these tragic events and calamities which the Muslims observed with their own eyes shook the people in such a way that it might be said that their entire thoughts and intellects were faced with a severe earthquake.
What factor could be stronger and what event could be stranger for shaking the Islamic belief of the people of that time than that a person like ‘Umar should attack the house of ‘Ali with such violence, when from every reckoning and in every respect there was a world of difference between these two personalities. And it was ‘Umar who had mentioned this great difference between his own personality and that of ‘Ali in these words: "During the days of the Holy Prophet (S) we looked at ‘Ali in a way as if we were looking at a star at its zenith. And again in those very days also the position of ‘Ali in the eyes of the people vis-à-vis ‘Umar, apart from his proximity and blood relationship with the Prophet (S) and other things common with him, shone like a star over the head of ‘Umar in the sky of dignity from the point of view of precedence, jihad, self-sacrifice, knowledge and justice, and all classes of people, whether the Muhajirs or the Ansar, whether the strong or the weak, whether the Muslims or the non Muslims and whether the true believers or the hypocrites, acknowledged these special features of ‘Ali. In the circumstances it would not be something strange if treating ‘Ali with such insolence might have created doubts in the minds of the people of Madina and affected their intellects.
‘Ammar investigated into all the stages in the light of the Holy Prophet's remarks and came to the conclusion that according to all those versions ‘Ali is the leader and the ruler; and when he studied the conditions of the political parties he saw that all the parties had assumed a political bias, except the pious party whose members had brotherly relations with ‘Ali. For this reason ‘Ammar preferred this party to others and joined it.
Before joining this party he took all eventualities into consideration and became ready to make sacrifices for the achievement of the objects of this party. He also prepared himself for the hardships which he was likely to suffer by treading on this path.
However, it had not occurred to him at any time that immediately after participation in the mourning of the Prophet, ‘Ali and Zahra would be faced with such a calamity and trouble and the sky would not fall on the earth, the earth and the stars would not be shattered and would not fling the inhabitants of this globe to an unknown point in the infinite space. Or that a storm like that in the days of the people of 'Ad' would not come, and violent wind would not begin blowing and destroy all the people!
When ‘Ali was arrested, ‘Ammar was watching the people and the conditions very carefully, and when ‘Umar approached there, he (‘Ammar) also followed other persons who had risen in support of ‘Ali, and wished to cooperate with them. However, when he looked at ‘Ali's face intently he felt that ‘Ali did not approve of the rising of the people, and although he was being dragged to the masjid he was going there and was not in any way resisting his enemies.
In these circumstances ‘Ammar said to himself: "Woe be to ‘Ammar! If ‘Ali is the Imam, and undoubtedly and in fact ‘Ali and none else is the Imam, why should I not defend the Imam? If ‘Ali is really the Imam; undoubtedly it is only he who is the Imam. So why does Allah not become angry and kill these persons who are oppressing him? Why does Allah not order me to rise along with all godly persons and resort to fighting? If ‘Ali is really the Imam, the guide and the ruler when in fact he is, then why are these persons putting up an affected look at him, and why are they sparingly looking at him. And if ‘Ali is really the Imam, and in fact he is the Imam, then what is the meaning of Islam in these present circumstances. By what means should we interpret the words of the Holy Prophet (S) with regard to ‘Ali and how should we understand his interest in considering ‘Ali preferable to and better than others?"
Then ‘Ammar questioned himself and said: “Am I alone a believer and are all other people’s atheists and strangers to faith? Or is it so that faith is an easy, simple, soft and mild thing which is being taken and interpreted by the people according to their own interests? So how is our adversity and temptation being determined and why are we courting death in this manner?"
‘Ammar knew the replies to these questions very well since olden times and they were not new for him. When he was only twenty he knew these matters and had discussions with his father about them, for he saw that the Holy Prophet (S) was in danger, but in spite of that he did not defend himself, and Allah, too, was not angry with his enemies and did not destroy them. Fearing trouble, the Prophet (S) neither planned defence for himself, nor permitted his companions to defend him. He also saw that the Prophet (S) and his companions were in the minority and their enemies were in the majority. And similarly ‘Ammar knew very well that Islam accorded precedence to ‘Ali whereas the parties had pushed him back.
He also knew that ‘Ali's being pushed back by the parties in spite of his having been accorded precedence by
Islam did no harm either to ‘Ali or to the spirit of Islam and his pushing back would result in loss to the parties themselves. Besides this ‘Ammar knew already, and had no doubt about it, that if the believers being small in number was not a proof of the correctness of the faith it was also not a proof of its falsity, and how much so ever hypocrisy might prevail and the number of the hypocrites might increase, even if they do not acknowledge the abomination and indecency of hypocrisy, it would never be a proof of its correctness.
‘Ammar had full knowledge of all these questions and replies and had already learnt all these matters by experience. However, this tragedy had placed a heavy burden on his heart which he was unable to bear. The world had become dark in his eyes, as if it was going to perish.
This condition of perplexity and astonishment was not peculiar to ‘Ammar, because Salman Farsi, with all his deep knowledge and learning of the books of faith and wisdom, was also faced with the same mental torture. Salman, along with his other brothers-in-faith turned his face to their chief and looked intently at his face, He saw that, although Imam ‘Ali had been arrested and made a prisoner, he did not favour the gathering and rising of his supporters and did not permit that they should contend with his enemies.
From the very beginning Salman was very much disturbed on account of the deep sorrow and regret which he felt for the people. For this very reason, with these conditions in view he sadly said: "They became Muslims, but did not become Muslims." 7
Then he looked at the face of his chief very care fully and found that his countenance was open, clear and bright. He was then surprised to see the appearance of ‘Ali, so much so that he lost his power of speech. At this moment ‘Ammar let out a painful sigh and said: "O Lord! What am I seeing? If this man resolves he can bring down the sky on the earth.”
‘Ammar did not exaggerate when he was uttering these words. Rather his expression was indicative of the power of ‘Ali that is, if he had not been afraid that disturbance would take place he would have staged a rising.
At the end of this discourse ‘Ammar explained his aim in these words: "Woe be to these people! If they had sworn allegiance to him there would not have been even two persons who might have differences with each other.”
Salman recovered from the condition of perplexity and amazement which had overtaken him, and felt that if his power of speech had not been taken away he too would have uttered the same words.
Miqdad was also astonished and perplexed along with his two brothers. He went up to ‘Ali in the same condition and realized that his bright features did not permit formation of factions and resistance. He again looked at the face of his chief anxiously hoping that he might possibly grant permission for contention and resistance, but did not gain any such impression from Imam ‘Ali.
This condition of perplexity and amazement was not peculiar to a few persons only; there were others also who were similarly perplexed and amazed.8
The Umayyad party, which had strong persons in it, made the same assessment on some other grounds, and even the Ansar, who had taken oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, were in the same state of mind, and said: "lf ‘Ali had been present in Saqifa and had stood by the side of Abu Bakr there would not have been two persons who might have differed with each other about him.”
This was also the opinion of all the inhabitants of Madina. They believed that if ‘Ali had moved in time this conspiracy against his established right would not have taken place, and this tragedy, which had shaken the thoughts and beliefs and did not possess a rational aspect, would not have occurred. However, notwithstanding the extreme aversion which the people had with regard to the said incident, the action of the conspirators silenced all of them, at this moment, and the thing which became the cause of the silence of the people all the more was no doubt the wonderful sense of self-sacrifice displayed by ‘Ali. Apart from this it is also a fact that otherwise the opponents would have been threatened with annihilation.
Furthermore, this state of perplexity and amazement was not peculiar to ‘Ammar, Miqdad, Salman and other supporters of ‘Ali, for all the people of Madina were faced with it, and the political blunder committed by ‘Umar in taking steps to obtain oath of allegiance from ‘Ali had added to their amazement and astonishment, although, from the political point of view, the first step taken by ‘Umar after the demise of the Prophet (S) was also similar to this.
‘Umar wanted to persuade ‘Ali to take the oath of allegiance. However, the refusal of ‘Ali became the cause of the fact that most of the people could see this ugly state of affairs and became the witnesses of the hatred of ‘Ali.
‘Umar wanted to show that the presence of all those persons who were witnessing this incident should be recognized as the proof of the strength of the new government, whereas, by this demonstration, ‘Ali wanted to show the cruelty and injustice of that period and an attempt by the new government to measure its strength.
‘Umar wanted to diminish the prestige of ‘Ali but, in spite of his (‘Umar's) intentions, all these actions culminated in ‘Ali's benefit and added to his greatness, dignity and reverence.
Again, ‘Umar wanted to confirm ‘Ali's conviction on account of his refusal to take the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr and this period did not last for more than two and a half months, because Zahra, his beloved wife lived only till that time after her father's death, and because the person of Zahra, who did not agree to the oath of allegiance, was the real factor for this refusal.
Nevertheless, this was the most critical period for the new government and it is not known whether or not Abu Bakr's government would have been destabilized if Zahra had lived longer!
In any case ‘Ali remained angry with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar even after the death of Zahra and although he declined to take the oath of allegiance he did not contend with the government of the time but the refusal by ‘Ali and his kinsmen and companions to take the oath had endangered the oath taken by others and had affected its legal aspect throughout the world of Islam.
‘Umar's stern attitude and errors were not confined to these actions, but were increasing day after day, because within other parties and groups which did not possess a firm footing and programme there appeared other parties and groups which became active.
Would that these activities and movements had resulted in the betterment of the government of the time so that ‘Umar might have been successful. However, as his mistakes mostly sprang from hot temper and stern decision coupled with superficial heroism, they provided an opportunity and liberty of action to the destructive parties who were acting deceitfully to harm Islam and were endeavouring to earn benefits for the parties and the individuals. And eventually one of the results of these mistakes was that ‘Umar involved himself in another difficulty. It was in this sense, that owing to the quarrel and dispute which had spread, ‘Umar was obliged to seek the cooperation of other parties and individuals who had no contacts with him and whose way of thinking, methods and. principles were different from his.
The object of ‘Umar in extending these invitations for cooperation was to create a balance between the two sides or to strengthen Abu Bakr's ruling party for fighting against the party of ‘Ali. At last this very error put him on the path of dictatorial government which was and still is quite different from the spirit of Islamic Government. As a result of this very action he continued to adopt the dictatorial policy when he assumed the reins of government till it ended in his assassination. And it is an established fact that the plot for ‘Umar's murder was engineered by those persons who were previously his associates!
Of course, it is undeniable that if ‘Umar had not caused delay in the departure of Usama's army, and if he had not exploited the diversion of the people to the wars which took place later, and if ‘Ali had not cooperated with the public in the higher interests of the society, others would have killed him before Abu Lu'lu’ did so. And again what is undeniable is that if ‘Umar had not succumbed to the injuries sustained by him at the hands of Abu Lu'lu and had lived a little longer, and continued to rule, he would have seen that the people were different from the earlier ones, and he would have become involved in a greater calamity at their hands. At that time he would have felt and realized better that the source of his pain, suffering and hardship was his very first error which had created that situation!
However, the circumstances became favourable for him, because the people got engaged in wars and conquests. Then he was killed at the hands of the said person.
Now that the incident has taken place and what has been done cannot be undone, if it be permissible and it is not considered a crime that someone should like this occurrence and consider it to the advantage of ‘Umar, it may be said that: This very undesirable occurrence relieved Abu Hafs from other more unwholesome and dreadful events which were lying in ambush for him, for if those events and dangers had made their appearance ‘Umar's awe would not have been able to prevent them, and his destiny would have been more tragic.
Although in the early days this mistake of ‘Umar resulted in his advantage from the point of view of strengthening the foundation of the government of Abu Bakr, but Abu Bakr himself was not oblivious of it and ‘Umar's error was not hidden from him. For, soon afterwards the results of these repugnant actions and formation of factions appeared in the shape of rising and apostasy of the Muslims and a group of believers who were firm in their Islamic faith declined to pay zakat and to fill the public treasury for the benefit of the new government on the ground that they did not consider the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr to be lawful. Even some residents of the city of Madina declined to pay zakat on the same ground. They believed that payment of zakat and taxes to the government of the time was tantamount to payment of bribes, and Islam does not allow bribery.
The error, which had been committed by ‘Umar, was the cause of Abu Bakr's regret and always kept him terribly uneasy. Before his death Abu Bakr wished that his life had been immune from two things i.e. two embarrassments viz. besieging the house of ‘Ali and acceptance of the responsibilities of government on the day of Saqifa.
‘Ammar accompanied by Salman, Miqdad and Zubayr returned from the masjid along with Bani Hashim who were walking behind ‘Ali and Zahra. Although he was absolutely quiet, he was reflecting over the conditions and circumstances in the light of complete knowledge of the Islamic affairs possessed by him. This small group of the companions of ‘Ali who from that day became known as the Shi'a were preparing themselves for continuous service in the path of Islam.
In case ‘Ammar desired wealth, comfort and high status he should have joined the other row. But he was an adherent of truth and justice and everyone knows that truth and justice must be purchased at a high price. And ‘Ammar, from the day he had become a Muslim, had been paying this price, in instalments, by way of continuous jihad, which proved to be very dear to him.
It may be asked: Can such a person refrain from service in the path of truth at such a sensitive moment when, if he does so, it would amount to rendering all his sacrifices null and void, and losing that great spiritual wealth, which is not possessed by any except a few like him?
‘Ammar who possessed correct judgement, enlightened mind, moral soundness and virtue, and was always keen on refining his soul, reflected on these matters and asked himself questions about these matters.
Not a few months had passed since the installation of Abu Bakr to ruler ship when the followers of ‘Ali felt that his silence and relinquishment of his admitted right was a rational and moderate policy and his opponents who had deprived him of his right also realized their mistake.
The later events and occurrences, which took place one after the other also confirmed the reality of this fact.
Were the consecutive events, which revived the spirit of apostasy and reaction among the Arabs and severance of connections with the Government of Madina, and refusal to pay zakat by another group, not a practical reply to the delay in granting ‘Ali his right and giving precedence to another person?
It was definitely so and had no meaning other than this. Incidentally all these events proved that the self sacrifice, fortitude and resignation of ‘Ali and his stead fastness in deprivation was proper and purposeful in all respects.
Of course, keeping in view both sides of the proposition, whether from the viewpoint of the supporters or that of the opponents, all these things had taken place as an accomplished fact in such a way that amends could not be made either for the mistake of the opponents or for the confirmation of the supporters. And as all was over, split, debate, contention, and vilification was of no use. The best thing to do, therefore, was that all should put in continued efforts for the preservation of security, integrity of the State and defence of faith.
Under these circumstances and keeping all these realities in view ‘Ali was the first and foremost in responding to the call of conscience for the preservation of the prevailing conditions and the defence of the faith, as he said: "By Allah! It never crossed my mind that after the Holy Prophet (S) the Arabs would take away this thing from the people of his House and would deprive us of our established right after his death. The thing which made me observe silence was the oath of allegiance taken by the people to Abu Bakr. For this reason I kept aloof until I felt that the conditions had assumed such a shape that the people were inclined to deviate from Islam and were endeavouring to destroy the religion of Muhammad (S)!
I therefore feared that if I did not lend support to Islam and the Muslims there was a real danger of Islam becoming extinct. And it is evident that it was a much greater and a much heavier calamity for me than being deprived of ruler ship and Caliphate. This is so because ruler ship is something transitory and nothing can be found in it except temporary delight, and its sight is just like a deceptive mirage or like a piece of cloud which appears in the atmosphere and passes away soon. For this reason I rose at the proper time so that falsehood was subdued and the structure of the faith became firm!”
Of course, ‘Ali was not interested in anything other than the safety of Islam, and his only worry that this religion was going to be destroyed. And as he saw that if he rose and acquired his right people would turn away from Islam, so he overlooked his established right of Caliphate. Instead he equipped himself for the defence of Islam and also mobilized all his companions and followers for this purpose. He thus showed that he was the foremost defender of Islam and became the leader of the defenders of Madina. Then others marched behind him and he took his position against Tulayha bin Khuwaylid and his supporters, belonging to the tribes of Asad, Qatfan, Tayy and Kanana, who were planning to capture Madina.
In this battle also it was observed that Sayfullah i.e. Imam ‘Ali terrified the reactionaries and the apostates with his usual strength in the same manner in which he had fought with the polytheists in the past and no power could have the courage to face him.
The fact is that in order to safeguard monotheism and the unity of Muslims ‘Ali preferred cooperation with Abu Bakr's government to seclusion and retirement and, as you have read and heard, after his having achieved the object viz. subduing the opponents and reactionaries of Yemen, he returned to his house and busied himself in collecting the Qur'an, spreading knowledge and administering intellectual movement. And on appropriate occasions when Abu Bakr or the distinguished men of government needed his advice they consulted him freely.
In the last mentioned battle ‘Ammar was one of the soldiers of ‘Ali's army and was performing jihad under the banner of the command of Khalid bin Walid.
The details of the event are given here: The affairs of Musaylima, the impostor and Bani Hanifa, who were the successors of Tasam and Judays, took such a turn that they made an attack. The two armies met each other. In this battle the Muslims had to face the furious enemies in an unprecedented manner. When fighting commenced the apostates put up severe resistance and the Muslims lost heart and began to flee in such a way that Khalid lost the command.
In the meantime Musaylima and his followers who were lying in ambush attacked the Muslims. The Muslims were faced with great trouble and began running away like a scared flock of sheep.
Historians like Waqidi, Ibn Sa'd and others who have recorded the biography of ‘Ammar have written that Abdullah bin ‘Umar said: "I saw ‘Ammar Yasir on a hillock while his detached ear, wounded by a sword, was bleeding, and he was going on fighting in the same condition, and was calling out the fleeing Muslims and saying “O' Muslims! Are you running away from Paradise?” Then again he raised his voice and said: "I am ‘Ammar! I am ‘Ammar! Come to me, and run towards me!"
"I (Abdullah) saw that the ear of ‘Ammar was hanging and I also saw that in that very condition he was killing the enemies, reciting epic verses, shouting and encouraging others so that eventually the Muslims gathered round him. When the Muslims had gathered near him he attacked the enemies and came out victorious from the battlefield.”
After two years three months and a few days since the oath of allegiance taken at Saqifa Abu Bakr breathed his last and as ordered by him ‘Umar assumed the Caliphate.
The views of the distinguished companions and the intellectuals of Madina are not available with us. However, none of the dignitaries of those days contended or rose against ‘Umar.
The day on which ‘Umar was persuading ‘Ali to take the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, ‘Ali had said to ‘Umar inter alia: "Draw the milk for him and take half of it for yourself. Strengthen his power today so that tomorrow the same is entrusted to you.”
It has also been said that while Abu Bakr was lying in his death bed Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf spoke to him on the same lines regarding transfer of authority to ‘Umar.
Furthermore, among the group of the Muhajirs and the Ansar who came to enquire about Abu Bakr's health there were persons who expressed their views regarding the appointment of ‘Umar more clearly as compared with Abdur Rahman, and Talha was the foremost among them. On hearing the news of ‘Umar's appointment he went to Abu Bakr during his illness (which culminated in his death) and said to him: "We have learnt that you have appointed ‘Umar to succeed you as Caliph and given him authority over us although you are well aware of his harshness, obstinacy and malice for us. When you meet Allah and He questions you about it what reply will you give?”
Another man said to ‘Umar: "In the first year it was you who selected Abu Bakr for ruler ship and this year he has appointed you to ruler ship.”
Anyhow ‘Umar came out of Abu Bakr's house holding a sealed decree in his hand. He showed it to the people and demanded their submission to himself. In the meantime a witty person approached ‘Umar and enquired from him about the contents of the decree.
Abu Hafs said in reply: "I don't know.” Thereupon the witty person said openly in public: "You don't know but we know that in the first year you elevated him to ruler ship and in lieu (it he has elevated you to ruler ship this year.” The views of the companions of all other people in regard to this decree are not so important; what is important is that none of the companions objected to it nor did they resist it. Abu Bakr had gained an experience from the oath of allegiance taken in his case and the utilized that experience on this occasion.
The experience was that Abu Bakr considered it his duty to select a caliph before his death and place all the military forces under his control and the military should recognize him officially.
In his turn ‘Umar also utilized the experience gained by him during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr with regard to the companions and did not permit them to go out of Madina lest they should instigate the people to oppose him, or be influenced by the people, and the people should encourage them to display resistance and stability.
He, therefore, kept all the companions in Madina and took care that all of them should be under his vigilance and obedient to his views and thinking, and incidentally he should avail of their thinking, information and ideas and be victorious in the battles. It was to achieve this end that he provided them all the amenities of life so that they might be comfortably placed.
More important than all these matters was the attention paid by him to administration and discipline, as a consequence of which all the military and State matters were disposed of according to his wishes.
Another factor which contributed to the stability of the conditions was that he persuaded the people to take part in jihad and consequently the strength of his government expanded and large incomes came to his hands. And as he was the authorized representative and trustee of the public treasury he acted justly in the matter of distribution of property1 and was extremely careful in the matter of trusteeship and department of justice. And similarly he appointed experts to various jobs. They managed the courts and administrative organizations very minutely. Statistics of workers and unemployed persons had been prepared for the state organizations and the same statistics were the basis for the preparation of public budget and rationing for the military men and others. Welfare of the society was ensured in all respects and everyone, whether a worker, an unemployed person or a disabled person received ample share from the public treasury.
To sum up: He had provided in his territories all means and factors necessary for stability and perfect peace, so that all were happy and satisfied. Those, who were competent to take part in the construction and organization of the society, participated in building up the social structure of Islam, and he silenced those, who planned sabotage, by satisfying their greed.
Accordingly all his efforts were directed towards the strengthening of the foundation of the Islamic Government in all the conquered territories, and at last ‘Umar transferred these subjugated nations from their old world to the new world of Muhammad.
In the meantime ‘Umar resorted to spreading knowledge in a school of his and remained sleepless for the security of the interest of the State, He kept the path of work and earning livelihood open for everyone, and took steps to ensure that the affairs of the State should at no time be faced with intervention or be at a standstill, In this manner he solved the difficulties, one after the other, quite easily.
The disciples of the school of ‘Umar exactly followed in his footsteps, they worked among the people with wisdom and peace of mind and cooperated, in the path of goodness and security of public interests, with everyone who had good intentions for the affairs of the State.
Amongst this group of people including the disciples of this school there were persons who earned their livelihood with much difficulty and by undergoing great hard ships, and endeavoured day and night to solve the difficult problems. They arranged the spreading of Islamic learning with great sincerity and cooperated with one another for the strengthening of the Islamic Government on the basis of goodness and felicity.
‘Ammar was one of the guided, trained, and refined persons of this group who had acquired perfect guidance and possessed an attractive spirit of leadership. Possibly it was due to his prolonged silence and quietness that he was considered to be happy and satisfied during the rule of ‘Umar and possibly it was due to his antecedents that ‘Umar felt lesser anxiety on his account as compared with others.
Incidentally it should be kept in mind that one of the policies of ‘Umar was that he should keep the Hashimites and their followers, as well as those, who desired their ruler ship, away from the centres of government, so that they might not propagate in favour of Bani Hashim, He calculated that in that event (i.e., if they were allowed to support the cause of Bani Hashim) troubles and difficulties would arise, and it would not be possible to control them. 2
Keeping all the pros and cons of the matter in view and the fear which he had in his mind on account of the prevailing conditions and the inclination of the people towards Bani Hashim, ‘Umar felt that ‘Ammar was neither a tyrant nor was he covetous or authority. Besides all this ‘Ammar was a person who was not concerned with anything other than piety, moral soundness and correct thinking. It can however be safely said of him that he knew everything but he kept quiet. Of course, he was a staunch follower of ‘Ali. His general condition did not cause any anxiety.
Now for certain reasons it became expedient that ‘Ammar, too, should be selected for governorship. It was thought that on account of his belonging to the Hashimite party his appointments as governor might possibly become the cause of the satisfaction of those belonging to that party. And even if they were not satisfied with this appointment it would at least help the Caliph proclaim his impartiality, justice and innocence to the people. Although we do not know it for certain but it is possible that the Caliph thought that by appointing ‘Ammar as the Governor of Kufa he would be able to attract him to himself and thus reduce the number of the supporters of Imam ‘Ali.
However, we may suppose whatever we like, but what is certain is that if we do not say that ‘Umar appointed ‘Ammar to the governorship of the biggest province of the Islamic territories we can say that he appointed him as the governor of one of the biggest provinces viz. Kufa.
However, ‘Umar sent Abdullah bin Mas'ud and ‘Uthman bin Hunayf (who belonged to the Shi'a faith) along with ‘Ammar as ministers, and ordered that Abdullah was to be responsible for financial and educational matters and ‘Uthman was to take care of the suburbs of Kufa and the gardens. ‘Ammar was to exercise supervision over these two persons.
‘Umar wrote a letter to the people of Kufa on these lines: "I am sending ‘Ammar Yasir as your governor and the Ibn Mas'ud as the teacher and minister. I have made the Ibn Mas'ud the trustee and treasurer of your public treasury. These two persons are distinguished companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) and are included among those who fought at Badr. You should act according to their directions and obey their orders and follow them. Incidentally you should know and be aware that my sending Ibn Mas'ud to you is tantamount to my relinquishing the right of benefiting from him and giving you preference over myself. I have appointed ‘Uthman bin Hunayf for the administration of the suburbs. I have fixed the boarding expenses and the ration of this body of men to be one sheep. Half the meat and the belly of the sheep shall be given to ‘Ammar. As regards the remaining half one fourth shall go to ‘Uthman bin Hunayf.”
In any case the son of Sumayya or ‘Ammar ibn Yasir was the same strong willed powerful person and the mighty rival who was not cowed down by the torture to which he had been subjected by Abu Jahl. He set a fine example of perseverance and steadfastness. Even now he was not one who should show pride, and in spite of the fact that he had attained a high position, and had become the chief of all dignitaries and chiefs, he was as humble and meek as ever. He had acquired these distinctions by his faith in truth and by the blessings of the religion which was given to him by Allah and explained by Prophet Muhammad (S). On becoming the chief such a person should behave like this and for this very reason his way of working and moral attitude was exactly like that of those days when he was just like an ordinary subject.
Governorship and authority was something which had no effect on him, because his personality was much above these things. The only use which he made of his position was that he put the power into action for the benefit of the society. He was a person who applied law to himself in the same way in which he applied it to others.
As soon as ‘Ammar was free from public affairs he took off the official dress and once again became the same quiet, tranquil and reflective as before. He did not fly high and did not display superiority. He had no sentry and no screen or chamberlain. He lived among the people as an ordinary man or even below an ordinary man. Many a time people insulted him or contended with him but he did not display any anger. Sometimes he was charged for a commodity more than its real price, but he did not take advantage of his position and power as the governor. Sometimes others spoke rudely to him but he replied to them only with a smile.
When he spoke he did not say anything vain or absurd and if a person committed transgression against him he prayed and sought Divine mercy and prosperity for him.
Ibn Sa'd, the author of Tabaqat, relates the following story about ‘Ammar: "One day ‘Ammar purchased fodder worth one dirham from a man and asked him to give the string with which the fodder had been tied, but the seller declined to give the string. ‘Ammar pulled up the string and cut it into two halves. Then he tied the fodder with the same string and, being the Governor of Kufa, he put it on his shoulder and set off for his place.”
He goes on to say: "‘Ammar sent one of the members of the Attar and Tamimi tribe to the opening of Mah on a military expedition. Later it became necessary that a letter should be sent to him. He wrote the letter and took it personally to deliver it to his appointee. When that man saw that ‘Ammar had come personally to deliver the letter he became annoyed because he knew that by bringing the letter in the battlefield ‘Ammar would become entitled to share the possible booty. He received ‘Ammar coldheartedly and said with extreme impudence: "You with a cropped ear! Have you come to share our booty?"
‘Ammar who was the Governor and Ruler of Iraq laughed on hearing these words and said: “You have insulted my best ear.” By the best ear ‘Ammar meant the same ear which was chopped off in the Battle of Yamama. Anyhow the battle ended in victory, but the Tamimi man declined to allow ‘Ammar to share the war booty. The matter was then referred to the Caliph (‘Umar) who decided that ‘Ammar should get a share of the booty in accordance with the rule: "Whoever is present in the battlefield gets a share of the booty!”
With all these good manners and meekness ‘Ammar was a prudent man with decisive character and at the same time possessed dignity and was obeyed and loved. None of the events which took place during the period of other rulers of Kufa occurred during his rule and his reputation remained always stainless. This was so, because he was a wise and pious person who was within the limits of rules and regulations and did not add anything to them.
Ibn Sa'd (the historian) has narrated that once a question was asked from ‘Ammar. ‘Ammar asked the enquirer: "Has such a problem taken shape actually?" The enquirer replied in the negative. Then ‘Ammar said: "Whenever such a problem actually crops up we shall solve it.”
Sense of responsibility in the matter of giving judgement is observed only by those who fall in the category of Siddiqin (very truthful), because such persons believe in accounting and weighing every word, and just as they avoid indecent deeds they also refrain from uttering improper words, and fear lest they should give an incorrect reply and thus commit a sin.
For this reason ‘Ammar did not give a definite reply to any doubtful problem, except when necessary, so that he might remain immune from mistake.
One of the most evident and attractive manifestations of ‘Ammar's piety was perhaps that instead of reciting the Friday sermon he used to recite Surah Yasin.3
In order to explain the matter it may be pointed out that as ‘Ammar was living at a time when he did not look at the government of the time favourably and had not expressed an agreeable opinion about it, and in the meantime wanted to say something which was not opposed to the establishment of security and contrary to the order of the day, he used to recite the Qur'an instead of delivering a sermon.
It is evident that in the circumstances the safest and most correct policy was to adopt this method, because Friday sermon had been invented with a view to strengthening and supporting the government of the day and the preacher was to pray for the safety of the ruler or the Caliph.
However, ‘Ammar had been appointed as governor at a time when in his heart of hearts he was not in favour of the government. In the circumstances if he had prayed for the government of the time it would have amounted to his playing with his faith and if he had said anything against the government he would have plunged himself into trouble. To get rid of this deadlock he had definitely no alternative except that instead of reciting the Friday sermon he should have recited one of the Surahs of the Holy Qur'an, especially Surah Yasin.
In any case it is not known whether this sermon had anything to do with the removal of ‘Ammar from his office. However, what is undeniable and cannot be doubted is that the Caliph was not happy with ‘Ammar's reciting this sermon. It was especially so, because he was suspicious about the members of the family of Bani Hashim and their well-wishers, and did not entrust them any duty lest the people should incline towards Bani Hashim and consequently troubles should arise.
We are not aware whether or not this Friday sermon affected the ‘Ammar's position in the eyes of the Caliph and made him disappointed. However, Ibn Sa'd quotes another story which may not perhaps be irrelevant to quote here. He says: "One day Mutarraf arrived in Kufa and sat in the shop of a resident of that city. At that time another man was also sitting by the side of the shopkeeper, and a tailor, who was busy sewing a dress of sable fur or fox fur, said.
"……….I said: Have you not seen that ‘Ali did this and that?" Mutarraf narrated:
"Then that very man said: "O libertine! Do you mean the Commander of the Faithful?"
"The shopkeeper said to me: "O pious man! Don't take offence at the words of this man who is my guest.”
Mutarraf: "I understood at once that it was ‘Ammar.” As you can observe this story is brief and ambiguous.
However, the former attachments and inclinations of ‘Ammar make the matter clear and remove ambiguity to some extent.
Suppose that the newcomer had mentioned the act attributed to ‘Ali in good terms or suppose that he had explained it in bad terms. In either case his praise or vilification would have been equal in the face of the clear reply given by ‘Ammar. And again if the newcomer had praised ‘Ali and ‘Ammar had felt from this praise that the speaker meant to attack the Caliph (and this meaning would have been more conformable to the circumstances of the time) and had criticized the speaker and shouted upon him this criticism and shouting would have meant mistrust on the part of ‘Ammar, indicating that he considered the speaker to be a spy who wanted to find out his views after his appointment to the governorship of Kufa.
And there is a great probability of the fact that the environments of ‘Ammar necessitated that he should have been awake and careful on such occasions. And if we suppose that the new comer was speaking about ‘Ali in a manner which was not liked by ‘Ammar (and we do not imagine that the situation was such) ‘Ammar's reply should be regarded to be a reflection of his inclination and heart felt attachment to ‘Ali. In any case the meaning of this action for drawing the attention of the new-comer about the conduct of the Caliph is not free from criticism and he deserved to hear such a reply.
What is undeniable is that during the period of his appointment as Governor of Kufa ‘Ammar as faced with a very difficult test and he carried out his duties with firm faith and special care. In any case it can be understood very well as to what the real talk had been.
Nevertheless it is possible that in this incident the object was to discover the views of ‘Ammar about the Caliph after ‘Umar. However the attachment of ‘Ammar with ‘Ali during the period of his governorship is considered to be one of the factors which led to the prevalence of Shi'aism in Kufa during the later period.
Ibn Sa'd in Tabaqat has narrated another story which is not less obscure and ambiguous than the foregoing one. He says: "Someone told tales about ‘Ammar in the presence of ‘Umar and this news also reached ‘Ammar. On hearing this ‘Ammar raised his hands and said: ‘O Lord! Give strength in the world to the person who has slandered me and leave him without punishment.’”
Self-purification and godliness are evident from these words. However, I have another point in view. The historians and traditionalists have not expressed a clear opinion about this incident and have not clarified the matter about which the tale-bearer spoke to the Caliph against ‘Ammar.
Did ‘Ammar take bribes? Did he commit adultery? Did he drink wine? Did he indulge in nepotism? Did he do anything unlawful? And did he contravene rules and regulations? Evidently ‘Ammar was too prudent and careful to do such things and none of these acts could be ascribed to him.
In that event it may be asked: What art did the tale bearers and backbiters possibly employ? Of course, a definite reply to this question cannot be given, but it is not improbable that the tale bearing about ‘Ammar might be related to his petty activities because the Caliph was very much annoyed on account of those activities and could not see his agents and appointees in such a condition, And it is also not improbable that the curse, uttered by ‘Ammar might have created further misgivings although the sense, denial, and refutation is perceptible and patent in ‘Ammar's curse.
What actually happened is not known to us. However, the point which is proved and admitted is that after the occurrence of these ambiguous and brief events ‘Umar removed ‘Ammar from the governorship of Kufa. History does not specify the reason of ‘Ammar's removal. However, at the same time, ‘Umar retained Abdullah bin Mas'ud, who was ‘Ammar's minister. The only excuse about ‘Ammar's removal however, is stated to be that ‘Ammar had been removing the appointees so soon.4
On having been relieved of the governorship of Kufa ‘Ammar went to Madina. ‘Umar asked him: "Did you feel unhappy on account of my having removed you from office?" ‘Ammar replied explicitly and firmly: "The fact is that I didn't like my appointment nor my removal.”
To sum up, it may be said that the relations between these two persons were such that in their heart of hearts they did not hold a favourable opinion about each other.
After having been relieved of his office ‘Ammar dedicated himself to worship and good deeds and in the meantime succeeded along with his other brothers in acquiring knowledge and wisdom from ‘Ali. He was busy guiding and educating the people on the basis of goodness and truth till the time when the disturbance during the last part of ‘Uthman's rule took place.
The physician said; "Which beverage do you like most?" ‘Umar replied: "I prefer nabiz (wine of date).”
Nabiz was brought and he took a few draughts. The beverage came out immediately from the place of wound. When the beverage came, out the appearance of the physician changed, and there were signs of despair on his face. However, those present around him did not lose hope.
One of those present said to the physician: "You are mistaken in imagining that nabiz has come out of the wound. What has come out is contaminated blood and its colour has misled you,”
As directed by the physician some milk was brought and the Caliph drank it. Soon afterwards the milk also flowed out of the wound.
Keeping this state in view the physician said to the Caliph with confidence and in decisive terms; "I don't think you will survive this night. Now you can do whatever you like.”
Ka'b al-Ahbar said: "O Commander of the faithful! Did I not tell you in advance that you would be killed?"1
‘Umar said: "What kind of martyrdom is this when I am in the Arabian Peninsula!"
Sometime earlier ‘Umar had prepared a plan which he was determined to implement and was awaiting an opportunity to do so, now the time of his death had arrived and it was feared that the opportunity might be lost. In the circumstances it was no longer proper that he should delay its implementation for fear of excessive bloodshed or losing hope of life. Furthermore, fear and despair could on no account ensure his deliverance. In the circumstances he decided that in the last moment of his life he should, before implementing the plan, assess the standard of his influence, and find out whether anything out of that influence still remained, so that he might enforce his orders and make the people obedient and humble for the third and the last time.
‘Umar had decided since long to retain authority in his hands during his life time as well as after his death. How ever, he knew that a number of persons who coveted the Caliphate were not well-disposed towards him. He had also no doubt that his assassination at the hands of Abu Lu'lu, was the result of a preconceived deep conspiracy. Or else how could a man like Abu Lu'lu, without the support of one of the internal powers of Madina and without the instigation of one of the enemies (if we don't say the enemies) of ‘Umar, dare stab the man (‘Umar), who had humiliated the Kaisers and the Kisras, when all these enemies were wise men among the Muslims and had influence in the organization of the Islamic State?
In any case the real inciter or inciters of this crime were known to ‘Umar (whether on the basis of correct knowledge and information or on that of guess and conjecture), but he had no means of retaliation or revenge. Furthermore; he did not have enough time at his disposal to pursue this object. In the circumstances it was necessary for him to implement, during the last moments of his life, the plan which he had already in view, although the real culprit might not be identified and might profit from this absence of prosecution.
The only difficulty which already existed was that he should have used his previous influence and adapted it to the enforcement of the plan which he had in mind, and give up the hard task of the prosecution of the culprit. At that moment the condition of ‘Umar was such that as a result of the blows of Abu Lu'lu's sword blood was gushing out of his body in torrents. The question, therefore, was as to how he could act in those circumstances to solve his difficulty.
Evidently the danger which attended upon ‘Umar's influence at instigation of the real culprit (or culprits) was something which had not taken place except with the consent and approbation of all the leaders and the persons at the helm of affairs and the prevailing conditions also showed that this occurrence was supported by public thinking as well. And if this influence was lost it would amount to condemnation of his policies and destruction of his intellectual influence.
Now if the matter had ended at that the public opinion had approved his assassination and ‘Umar himself might have departed from the scene but his intellectual influence had not perished and was not treated as condemned, the position could have been tolerable for him. But if his influence had not perished and his policies had continued and history and the course of history had been humble before his policies, it would have amounted to his having achieved his object.
All these thoughts crossed ‘Umar's mind at a great speed and in order that he might put these thoughts to test he ordered Abdullah bin Abbas, who was one of his associates and advisers, to go out of the house, make enquiries regarding the views of the people about his assassination, and ascertain whether the people approved of this occurrence, or whether they had received it as an unexpected event. Abdullah began investigations outside the house and concluded that the people had not approved of the occurrence.
‘Umar was contented with this and did not need anything more. After having been satisfied that his awe and influence had not been lost he felt relieved and did not worry about anyone having dared to assassinate him.
The people wondered within themselves at ‘Umar's way of doing things because in these last moments of his life he began remembering, for nomination of the next ruler, persons who were already dead; and ignored the ability and competence of the suitable persons who were still alive and were much superior to those who were dead!
‘Umar was saying at that time: "I wish that Salim the slave of Abu Huzayfa had not been dead so that I could nominate him as my successor.” And according to another narration he began remembering persons like Mu'az bin Jabal and Khalid bin Walid as well as some non Qurayshites, and mentioned the names of persons from amongst the petty slaves, and uttered the names of even those of his opponents and enemies who were all dead. In short he did not nominate any living person to the Caliphate although he knew well that none of the dead was superior to those who were alive, and perhaps also knew very well that there was one among the contemporaries who was much superior to all the dead ones.
The thing which was very surprising for the people was that ‘Umar did not nominate his son to this office and did not wish that he should assume responsibility for his deeds after his death. However, at the same time he indirectly entrusted the responsibility to another person and nominated him to Caliphate with great insistence!
Another interesting point which became the cause of surprise of the people was that for the interval of a few days which ‘Umar had taken into account for purposes of consultations, he nominated Sohayb for leading the congregational prayers. It means that he believed there was a difference between leadership in the matter of congregational prayers and leadership for the administration of public affairs! And what surprised the people all the more was that on the day of Abu Bakr's selection ‘Umar had put forward his Imamate (leadership) of congregational prayers as an argument for fitness for caliphate and leadership of public affairs.
Besides all this the surprise which people expressed about ‘Umar's action was that they saw that ‘Umar testified that the Holy Prophet (S) had breathed his last and was satisfied with a council of six men. However, when he analysed the personality of each one of those persons one by one he testified that the Holy Prophet (S) breathed his last while he was angry with some of them, but his anger was buried with his death! And this anger was clearly sensed by the people and none denied it.
In any case the people were very much surprised on account of these apparently contradictory things and mentioned these contradictions to one another. However, none of them said: "The Caliph has been overcome by pain and torture.” It was because they saw that the Caliph had a plan and these very surprising acts were its requisites or the preliminary requisites of its enforcement so that it might go through its stages.
Furthermore, as the people were divided into parties and groups they could not oppose his plan and every party and group was anxious to achieve its own object. The people who were faced with all these prolonged surprises and speculations and wished that these surprises should end, and a bright path should be shown to them went to ‘Umar and, in order to put an end to these differences, requested him to nominate a particular person for the Caliphate.
In the end ‘Umar once said to those who approached him: "After all this talk I have decided to appoint as your ruler a person who is superior to all others so far as truthfulness and guidance to the right path is concerned.” And in this connection he mentioned the name of ‘Ali. However, in the meantime a thought crossed his mind which did not permit him to hand over the reins of office to ‘Ali either during his (‘Umar's) own life or after his death. He, therefore, went back on his word with regard to the nomination of ‘Ali and consequently appointed six persons from amongst Quraysh to the Caliphate. These six persons were ‘Ali bin Abu Talib, Zubayr bin 'Awwam, ‘Uthman bin Affan, Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqis and Talha bin Abdullah with whom the Holy Prophet (S) was pleased.
Then he directed those present to ask these six persons to see him. Soon afterwards the six persons arrived there. Then ‘Umar said to them: "After me all of you are candidates for the Caliphate!" As against this question the hearers had no alternative except to keep quiet on account of excessive anger and not to say anything.
‘Umar, however, repeated his proposal so that the said persons might break the silence and he might also hear a reply. Eventually Zubayr said: "What is the harm if we be the candidates for the Caliphate? In these circumstances I wish that you had remained alive and continued to shoulder this responsibility. However, amongst Quraysh, none of us is inferior to you from the viewpoint of our antecedents and affinity.”
Zubayr's reply was not liked by ‘Umar; it stirred him, and it is evident that if he was capable he would have seized a scourge and struck it on Zubayr's head. However, he did not possess enough strength to do so and the question of revenge ceased to exist.
At this moment, when ‘Umar was journeying in another world, he contented himself with one other biting remark and addressing all the six persons said: “Do you like that I should introduce all the six of you to you as you actually are?" They replied: "Speak. If we spare you, you won't spare us.”
‘Umar said: "As regards you, O Zubayr! You are satisfied with something small and then get annoyed soon. You are a human being on one day and a devil on another! If I hand over the Caliphate to you, you will destroy the city of Batha for ten seers of barley! And who will look after the affairs of the people on the day on which you appear in the shape of a devil? And again who will take care of the matters on the day on which you are angry? Should I say anything more or keep quiet?"2
Then ‘Umar addressed Talha and said: "Should I say something or not?"
Talha replied: “Speak you are one who never speaks the truth.”
‘Umar said: "I know you from the day of the Battle of Uhud when your finger was severed. And I have not forgotten the words which you uttered on the day on which the verse relating to Hijab (Veil) was revealed.3 And I remember how much the Holy Prophet (S) was annoyed with you and remained angry with you on account of those words till the last day of his life.”
Then he turned to Sa'd bin Waqqas and said: "You are a man who has a platoon of horsemen under his command you wish to engage yourself in massacre with their help and acquire booty.”
Then he addressed Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf and said: "O Abdur Rahman! If the faith of all the Muslims is weighed and assessed and compared with your faith, your faith will certainly be superior to theirs. However, this task is not appropriate for a person like you, because you possess a weak point, and, as I have already said, the tribe of Bani Zohra has nothing to do with the Caliphate.”
After ‘Umar had analysed and explained the position of these few persons and taken notice of the fact that they would not attain to the Caliphate he turned to ‘Ali and said: "How fit and suitable you were for the Caliphate! I swear by Allah that if the spirit of humour was not in you and I selected you for the Caliphate you would lead the people to clear truth and right path!"
In the end he turned towards ‘Uthman and in a tone which showed that he was desirous of the Caliphate for him and was inviting him to it he said: "You are fit for this task. However, I can see that if I hand over the Caliphate to you; you will make Bani Umayya and Bani Abi Mu'it ride on the necks of the people, grant them concessions and give them wealth and property. Then a pack of the wolves of Arabia will attack you and kill you in your bed. I swear by Allah that if they (Quraysh) do so, this event will take place and the wolves of Arabia will resort to this action. Remember my words on the day on which events take such a turn and know that this has to happen.”
It is evident that the expression of views by ‘Umar about the members of the council in the capacity of men, as mentioned above, accorded perfectly with his plan and it is also clear that the proclamation of these views was one of the main elements for the enforcement of his plan, because ‘Umar was not concerned with the members of the council and their like viz. neutral parties and groups. What really he had in view was the enforcement of his plan and these views as expressed by him impressed the people. Then ‘Umar was undoubtedly very keen to give this shape to his views on the subject with great care and enthusiasm so that they might be compatible with his plan.
It may however be noted that on the one hand he invited the six persons before taking a decision regarding the council system and making necessary arrangements in the matter, and on the other hand he wanted to establish a base with the words which he was uttering and to build the council system on it.
Apart from these two aspects you can observe that, notwithstanding the fact that the words of ‘Umar are mixed with various kinds of criticism, they possess two characteristics in the sense that on the one side they have been expressed with a tone of ridicule and derision, and on the other side they appear in the shape of a special topic.
If someone says that the combination of these two characteristics took place without any prior aim and intention, do not believe him. The fact is that the mental and intellectual factor of Abu Hafs (‘Umar) in combining these two characteristics certainly arose from his political skill and not from his aesthetic sense, and he wished that all these matters should come to the knowledge of every one, so that they should impress every class in a special manner. And eventually the general effect of conveying these matters to others was to throw all of them into an abyss from which they had no way of escape.
By commencing the conversation in a facetious and jesting tone ‘Umar wanted to satisfy his anger and to take revenge on those who dared talk with him impudently while he was in his death bed. However, if this personal factor is compared with other political factors which were agitating his mind, it will carry no importance. This point may be explained thus: Keeping in view ‘Umar's derisive criticism coupled with the delicate touches and wit, which he was employing, it would appear that his object was to prompt the members of the council all the more to attain to Caliphate, and not that he wanted his action to be a means of his personal gratification, because he deprived every one of them very explicitly of the position of Caliphate and ruler ship with a special language and in a particular manner.
The point which he had in view during these proceedings was that with these stinging words he should rouse them to action so that everyone of them might express his candidature and competence and incidentally refute his thinking. Otherwise, if he had told them openly and explicitly: "Every one of you who can or wishes to enter this competition should do so and gain his object"; none of them would have come forward to compete with others. In that case ‘Umar would not have achieved his object. He, therefore, adopted the method of derision and ridicule and stung them, so that they might show their reaction and at the same time might riot have any other recourse except that of executing his plan.
‘Umar had also another object in view in resorting to ridicule and it was that he wanted to remove the veil from the real faces of these distinguished men and leaders of the nation and to tear the curtain which had been hung between them and, others. Furthermore, as a result of this action he wanted their personalities to become a topic of general discussion for the people and to make his own high position which he had acquired stabilized, and impress this matter on the minds of the people so that they might confirm that ‘Umar was such a person that none after him possessed similar competence for the Caliphate and ruler ship. And possibly this remembrance of ‘Umar was the most important factor which caused the setting aside of ‘Ali and the tacit nomination of ‘Uthman.
For if ‘Ali had assumed the reins of the Caliphate after the death of ‘Umar no difference would have been felt in the outward appearance of the matters and the course of events as compared with the period of ‘Umar's Caliphate and consequently the value and worth of ‘Umar which was felt during the Caliphate of ‘Uthman would not have become known during the Caliphate and ruler ship of ‘Ali. Furthermore by adopting a special style and method on the subject while criticizing the members of the council he had something else in view. His idea was that outwardly he should not assume any responsibility for the appointment of the Caliph but should pretend that he had handed over this matter to the people and his own part was only that of an adviser and a guide!
The result of all this thinking was that he invented a system which was a combination of nomination and election. From the point of view of election, however, he contented himself with the idea that its outward shape should remain intact, although, in fact, it did not conform either to the rules of religion or with the national spirit. And his main idea was that none should be considered responsible for nomination and appointment.
When the preliminaries for the enforcement of the mental plan of ‘Umar were completed and their results which were the effects of different factors and objects became apparent, he did not permit that the election should take place in a natural manner. He compelled the people to execute his plan in a decisive manner without creating any differences or diversions, and ordered that if the election ended in diversity of opinions the nominees should be beheaded!
Caliph ‘Umar, therefore, took into consideration such a council and formulated such severe regulations for them, and strangely enough he did not delegate the authority for the execution of the regulations to the members of the council or to anyone of them but entrusted this task to an external force viz. the police. Thus he did not leave any path open for them except submission because he had ordered that whoever opposed his command should be beheaded and if all the members of the council opposed it, they should meet the same fate!
Hence, one of the minutest points which he had taken into account for creating a favourable atmosphere for the implementation of his plan was that he decided that during the intervening period i.e. till the appointment of the Caliph one of the freed slaves of the Muslims would look after the state affairs. By this means he wanted the people to believe from the psychological point of view that the matter had a national shape. And by limiting the time for the election and subjecting it to strict supervision and control his object was that whatever he had intended should be accomplished without any negligence and respite.
The law relating to the council was neither ambiguous nor detailed. It had been prepared in a very easy and simple manner and was exact and decisive in all respects.
He called Abu Talha Ansari, the Chief of the Police Department and ordered him as follow:
"When I am dead collect fifty of your men. Then confine all the members of the council in a room and keep them under supervision. Give them three days for consultations and in any case do not allow the period to exceed three days. Then keep it in mind that if five persons are agreeable and one man differs you should cut off his head, and if two persons are not agreeable you should kill both of them. In case, however, they are equally divided i.e. three persons hold one view and the other three hold the other, enforce the view of the group to which Abdur Rahman belongs and the three persons belonging to the other group should either submit or be killed. And in case unanimity is not achieved during the period of three days, kill all of them and then leave it to the people to elect whomsoever they like!"
In any case it was a law which was easy, simple and straightforward and at the same time decisive, binding and exact. It was exact, because its ease, simplicity and firmness revolved round the pivot of a particular object and possibly such an incident had no precedent in the political history of the world!
It was simple because its implementation was allied with great weakness and severity and at the same time it had been designed in a strange manner and its form was such that ‘Ali should have remained aside and might not have been able to get elected.
There may be some persons who may say: "If the intention of Abu Hafs (‘Umar) in designing this plan had been to deprive ‘Ali from the Caliphate and to appoint ‘Uthman to that position, he could, as was his wont, nominate ‘Uthman to the Caliphate explicitly and decisively.” It should, however; be remembered that the position enjoyed by ‘Ali in the minds of the people and his influence on public thinking was very well known to ‘Umar and did not need any proof. Hence, for his and other reasons he had no alternative except to come to terms with public thinking in such a way that the people should automatically implement what ‘Umar desired and his plan should be enforced without their facing his anger.
The point which attracted attention in this dexterously drawn plan was that he mentioned the name of ‘Ali and extolled his qualities and thus apparently did not oppose public opinion regarding attachment for ‘Ali, except in respect of this point which he apparently expressed unintentionally although in fact intentionally and purposefully.
Then he mentioned the names of five others. He was not worried about their enjoying public confidence and did not also fear the opposition of their supporters.
Hence, the implementation of his plan with a firm resolve was fit to make its headway and his purpose was being achieved without any trouble or inconvenience and without his nominating any particular person to the Caliphate. And incidentally he had also not taken responsibility for the actions of the future Caliph.
In short, by taking the preliminaries of the matter into account the deprivation of ‘Ali from the Caliphate and the coming into office of ‘Uthman was abundantly clear. The above mentioned point may be elaborated thus: The victory of ‘Uthman was certain because Abdur Rahman was his son in law and Sa'd was his cousin (paternal uncle's son) who could in no circumstances oppose him or leave his group, Apart from this Talha belonged to the tribe of Taym and if he had lost hope of becoming the Caliph he would certainly not have elected a Hashimite, In that event out of the six persons only two viz.
‘Ali and Zubayr would have been left and in case they had expressed opposition they would naturally have been beheaded. In any case, irrespective of the distinction which had been given to Abdur Rahman for .the good order and management of the consultations ‘Umar's plan was being implemented automatically.
However, the prudence and care of the Caliph demanded that Abdur Rahman should, in any case, have been the central figure. The fact that ‘Umar relied on the honesty of Abdur Rahman and in the meantime did not consider the tribe of Bani Zohra fit for the Caliphate (as mentioned above) simply meant that Abdur Rahman should enjoy a special position in the council, and if by chance the two pans of the scale became equal Abdur Rahman should make that of ‘Uthman heavier.
The secret of the matter was not hidden from ‘Ali or from those persons who were occupied with public matters in those days. However, when the pros and cons are studied and the ways and means of the business are taken into consideration it transpires that politics is politics, whatever it maybe and in whatever shape it may appear!
The fact is that the aim of the council and the time which had been fixed for the implementation of the plan were quite clear to ‘Ali and if our interpretation is permissible we may say that, in fact, the attitude of ‘Ali in the matter of politics had an aspect of idealism. He did not give up this course and policy at any cost and sacrificed his personality for the sake of his principles. We shall not be exaggerating if we say that the method and policy of ‘Ali helped the advancement of the scheme of others, because, whether before the consultations or thereafter he acted time and again to his own disadvantage.
When Caliph ‘Umar had finished with his remarks with regard to the council and had also given order to Abu Talha Ansari, Imam ‘Ali and his uncle Abbas departed from ‘Umar's presence, and the members of Bani Hashim's family and their supporters, who were present there, also accompanied them. They had not yet covered a long distance when ‘Ali began explaining the matters and said to his uncle: "The aim and purpose of this plan is that I should be deprived of the Caliphate and ‘Uthman should attain to it.”
It may be pointed out that ‘Ali gave these explanations in reply to his uncle's question, because Abbas had asked ‘Ali: "What is your view about the Council?"
When the secrets of this council and its aims and objects had been explained, Abbas suggested to ‘Ali that he should not attend the meeting of the council. However, ‘Ali, who possessed a policy and an ideal, did not agree to his uncle's proposal, and prepared himself for every sacrifice. People knew that he was a man, who was firm and constant against every happening, was steadfast in the path of truth, never abandoned this policy and object at any time, and considered the greatest victory and success to lie in that he should prefer his sublime intellectual and religious interests to worldly benefits.
The six persons concerned assembled in a room and Abu Talha Ansari and a party of armed police stood outside the door in a row. Behind the strong group of fifty police men there was a larger group of sentries who formed a row like a chain and were guarding the premises. And still behind the sentries a large number of the people had gathered in different rows in the form of a crowd. The number of persons forming these rows was large and they were all armed. Generally the people had only two thoughts and two opinions.
It is true that six persons were sitting in the room, but according to the calculation of the people they were not more than two. One of them was ‘Ali and the other was the nominee of ‘Umar.
Furthermore, those present in the gathering had no doubt about the fact that the supporters of ‘Ali were in a majority and were superior to others from the point of view of past record, steadfastness and firmness.
‘Ammar and Miqdad were mentioning in their place the priority of ‘Ali was certain and indisputable, but the second position of ‘Uthman had a different shape, because two government parties who had power in their hands were his supporters viz. well equipped and armed soldiery which was under the command of Abu Talha Ansari, and the group which was represented by Ibn Abi Sarah, the head of the deceitful and the hypocrites.
A person who observed the conditions and witnessed the combat during those days from close quarters narrates that the two rival groups had arrayed themselves opposite each other and each of them was crying slogans in favour of its candidate. The favourable and opposing voices were reaching the ears of the six persons who had retired in the room and it was known that four persons out of the six members did not in fact have any supporters.
The voices which were being raised outside were clearly indicatives of support for either ‘Ali or ‘Uthman. In the circumstances what was the proper course for the remaining four persons to pursue? And why should they have involved themselves in trouble when they had no hope of success? And none had nominated them and the people, too, did not attach any importance to them. No doubt this external pressure cut the matters short and the field of contest lay open for the two real rivals. And there is no doubt about the fact that this external pressure placed the remaining four members of the council virtually in the same position which ‘Umar had prepared for them before his death.
The first person who assessed the situation properly (and was also acquainted with the 'conditions beforehand) was Talha, who removed the doubts of those who were raising a hue and cry, and, when he felt that he had no supporters, he withdrew in favour of ‘Uthman. Then Zubayr withdrew in favour of ‘Ali. Then Sa'd joined these two persons and thus surrendered the authority to Abdur Rahman. After these developments ‘Ali observed silence and ‘Uthman, too, remained quiet.
Abdur Rahman had not yet left the room when the secret of Abdur Rahman's taking oath of allegiance to ‘Uthman became evident and all realized that Abdur Rahman while taking the oath had the same hope which ‘Umar had when he took a similar oath to Abu Bakr, with the difference that ‘Umar's hope materialized whereas Abdur Rahman's did not.
As and when he remembered the forecast of the people and was reminded of it he felt grieved. However, he was never grieved as much as he was when he was coming out of ‘Uthman's palace called Tamaruz Zahra. The details of this incident are given here: This was one of the royal palaces of ‘Uthman. Profuse aristocratic ceremonies were arranged for the opening celebrations of this palace. Unfortunately for Abdur Rahman, however, a painful incident happened on that day, because the slaves, sentries and sentinels of the palace of ‘Uthman turned him out with severe rudeness. This was due to the fact that Abdur Rahman advised ‘Uthman not to incur lavish expenditure in connection with the opening celebrations of the palace and ‘Uthman did not like his advice which smacked of criticism.
What is more surprising is that Abdur Rahman's chastising ‘Uthman was not limited to this expulsion alone. The matters had taken such a turn that ‘Uthman excommunicated Abdur Rahman and ordered that whoever conversed with him would be deprived of his social and civil rights.
It will be better now to dispense with the discussion about an event which did not take place and to turn to what happened at the end of the meeting of the council. Hence after the appointment or election of ‘Uthman to the Caliphate Abdur Rahman got up; and was priding himself and singing epic verses on account of his having elevated ‘Uthman to the position of Caliph .
Anyhow, by Abdur Rahman's taking oath of allegiance to ‘Uthman the latter acquired the Caliphate and ‘Ali was deprived of it.
On coming out of the meeting of the council ‘Ali proclaimed Abdur Rahman's mistake and openly predicted the unpleasant encounters between him and ‘Uthman and the ugly era and the evils which would follow.
The people who were waiting outside were anxious to know what transpired in the proceedings carried on in the room. When the news of the so called election reached them they were beside themselves with sorrow and anger.
Amongst the people the countenance of ‘Ammar and the expression of the face of Ibn Abi Sarah were indicative of the intentions of the two factions.
As soon as the sings of happiness appeared in the face of ‘Ammar the expression of Ibn Abi Sarah became grim and he threatened the opposite party with revengeful voice and raised uproar; and when sign of happiness appeared in the face of Ibn Abi Sarah ‘Ammar began reciting epic verses and threatened the opposite party.
Of course, during the course of these events epic verses and threats were not confined to these demonstrations only. There were many people standing behind these two persons who had contradictory sentiments and every group confirmed the speech of one of these two speakers. Some persons said: "‘Ammar is right". Some others said: "What Ibn Abi Sarah says is correct.”
A person who witnessed this campaign narrates that this dispute between the two groups was not one between two persons but was in fact a contention between two ways of thinking and whereas ‘Ali was the manifestation of one of them ‘Uthman was the representative of the other. In more appropriate terms it may be said that it was a quarrel between the proposition of a Caliphate and that of monarchy; or it was a fight between the principles and elements of national government and the principle and origin of despotic government.
In short the scuffle which had taken place indicated in fact the struggle of independence against despotism, struggle of justice against tyranny and oppression and struggle of equality against egotism and personal aggrandizement. In other words it was a contention between public interests on one side and personal and individual interests and egotism on the other side.
Hence, what could be expected from ‘Ammar? It was that he should rise to oppose a government which was headed by ‘Uthman.
We know that ‘Ammar always lived quietly and peace fully except when there was a danger of disturbance and mischief.
What could be expected from ‘Ammar when he had not forgotten the day on which he was working with the Holy Prophet (S) for the construction of the masjid and ‘Uthman was threatening him?
Hence who except ‘Ammar could save the people from the blows of the stick and the scourge of ‘Uthman during his caliphate when he was wielding great authority!
‘Ammar remembered that the Prophet (S) considered him to be as good as 'skin between the two eyes' and 'like the skin of his own nose' and had said: "With the good intentions which ‘Ammar possesses he invites the people to Paradise whereas others invite them to Hell.”
Besides all this ‘Ammar was a man who remembered his own good intentions and firm faith and the persecution and torture suffered by him during the early days of his embracing Islam and knew the troubles and sufferings which he had borne!
Now the same brilliant, intellectual, and practical record and sincere faith, and valuable remembrances, coupled with noble principles which were the capital of his personality, and his mission to invite the people to truth, besides which he had not assumed any other responsibility, demanded that he should rise at that critical moment, with which the fate of all the people was linked. It was a matter with which the upper class of the nation was in agreement, but the general public was divided. It was therefore obligatory for him to express his views openly and not to abstain from speaking the truth. It was on this account that he spoke loudly and made these words reach the ears of the members of the council: "If you want to get rid of differences elect ‘Ali.”
At the same time Miqdad followed ‘Ammar and said loudly: "‘Ammar is right. If you take oath of allegiance to ‘Ali all of us are agreeable to it.”
At that very moment, as opposed to what was said by ‘Ammar and Miqdad, a man named Abdullah bin Abu Sarah, who was one of the notorious hypocrites and has also been introduced by the Holy Qur'an as such, rose from amongst the gathering and said with a loud voice: "O members of the council! If you consider yourselves to be in need of our support; take oath of allegiance to ‘Uthman.”
At this moment ‘Ammar took serious exception to it and facing Abdullah said: "O hypocrite! What have you to do with these words? Allah and all the people know that you have always been deceitful towards Islam and have been committing treachery with it and creating mischief and trouble persistently.”
Hence, some Umayyads objected to what ‘Ammar was saying, and, as opposed to the Umayyads, some Hashimites, who were standing behind ‘Ammar, confirmed what he had said, and the matters took such a turn that there arose the danger of a scuffle between the two parties. However, ‘Ammar stood up personally among these two groups and spoke with an enchanting tongue and uttered effective remarks and penetrating words. He explained the secrets of the teachings of Islam, and its good intentions, wisdom and regulations, and clarified as to why Islam and the Muslims needed the leadership of Imam ‘Ali.
If ‘Ammar had been given some time at this critical moment he would certainly have won the campaign.
However, when the sound of ‘Ammar's shouting resounded within the room Abdur Rahman feared that this tumult might create difficulties in the implementation of his plan. In the meantime Sa'd Waqqas also feared trouble and advised Abdur Rahman to expedite the matter. Hence Abdur Rahman placed the conditions before ‘Ali as quickly as possible and decided the issue in favour of ‘Uthman.
Do you know what ‘Ammar did when ‘Ali walked out of the council room gracefully after having lost his right and the result had also been proclaimed?
‘Ammar did not make any change in his condition except to the extent to which it was demanded by change in the atmosphere. When the result of the election was announced he adopted the attitude of protest and addressed Abdur Rahman thus: "O Abdur Rahman! You abandoned ‘Ali and pushed him aside. However, truth didn't abandon ‘Ali and didn't push him aside; and you haven’t selected a just person.”
Miqdad also followed suit and repeated the same facts and said: "It is very strange on the pan of Quraysh! They have lost a man in comparison with whom I don't know anyone as learned in judicial matters, and I don't see any one as wise and pious as he is. Alas! If I had a friend and a helper I would have known what to do!"
Abdur Rahman, who considered himself to be the champion of the election, threatened ‘Ammar and Miqdad and warned them of the consequences of contention and dispute but they did not pay any heed to him. However, ‘Ali was endeavouring to make them tolerate the circumstance and said: "I can read the thinking of Quraysh better than anyone else and know all of them thoroughly. They are the people who seek their own benefit and want to serve the interests of their own people and relatives and say, if the authority is vested in Bani Hashim it will never go out of their hands, but if someone other than Bani Hashim assumes the reins of ruler ship it may be hoped that the bellies of Quraysh will get a share from this bait".
Then he advised and emphasized ‘Ammar and Miqdad to watch the developments and assured them that whatever they expected would happen and the future would confirm their forecast. He added that at that moment they had no duty except to resort to exhorting the people. Hence these two persons undertook the task of guidance and exhortation.
It must also be stated that the viewpoint of ‘Ammar and the opinion of his other companions who thought like him and had resorted to protest and contention was based on progressive and firm thinking, because they knew for certain the troubles which the nation would experience during ‘Uthman's regime. They also knew very well how the rules and principles would be turned topsy-turvy, and the result which these inauspicious events would produce would certainly be the awakening of the sense of apostasy and reaction in the sense that the progressive Muslim society would be converted from a great and comprehensive just socialism to a hideous and repugnant capitalism. Then naturally prejudice and party spirit would be revived and competency and efficiency would disappear; and all our affairs would be left to the tender mercy of some particular persons. And these men would somehow or other suck the blood of the people, would tarnish the peace of the society, and would throw it into disunity and confusion. Consequently the society which had become affluent after indigence, had acquired honour and credit after humility and meekness, had achieved strength after weakness, and had succeeded in attaining freedom after slavery, would topple down.
‘Ammar and his friends believed that the politics of expectation and in modern terminilogy the politics of wait and see had a reactionary aspect and said: "The result of allowing an interval of relief to the government of the time, and giving respite to the capitalist ruler or submitting to the influence of this class and waiting for the evil consequences of the establishment of such an organization, will be that with the help of the wealth which such an organization has at its disposal it will bring about evil, mischief and corruption in the beliefs.
Naturally in such an atmosphere every mean and incompetent person will acquire a position. Hence, when such persons are successful they will snatch the wealth and the provisions of the people and will pride themselves on account of this loot and plunder and give it the name of victory and success. Eventually owing to the rule of such a corrupt government an atmosphere of feudalism will be created and the pious minority will become subservient to the corrupt majority. Consequently developments adversity, misfortune, and affliction will engulf the society.
Keeping in view all these matters ‘Ammar rose against the government. A calm and quiet person though he was, his protest could be heard by the people during these days in the loudest terms.
‘Ammar and others of the same track wished that if possible, they should eliminate the cause which was making a new history on a wrong and deviated path and their real object was to forestall the mistakes with which the new course would be contaminated and would lead the progressive Islamic society to reaction, egotism and profiteering and create unpleasant situations for it, because they knew thoroughly that if this bitter experience and unwholesome course made its appearance in the history of Islam even the bloody revolution which was naturally waiting for the society would not be able to correct it .
‘Ammar and those who shared his views wished to protect Islam from this covetousness and grave dangers and felt that this system of government which was based on equality and everyone could benefit from its sufficiency and efficiency should not be faced with rigidity and stagnancy, and these valuable teachings should not be treated as marketable commodities to be sold or purchased and this precious capital of human life should not be annulled, changed, and tampered with to serve the interests of mean and abominable persons, nor should anyone be allowed to interpret it according to his own wishes, and lastly this new order and sacred system should not be allowed to change gradually into capitalistic feudalism.
In short ‘Ammar and his advanced and progressive associates who shared his views believed that they should refrain from cooperating with the new administration and to protect and guard the environments of Islam from the pollutions of this government.
‘Ammar gave the agents and workers of this new government the name of barren infidelity and said: "These are ungrateful, brainless, ignorant and unblessed persons; they are thankless; they are a calamity and deceit for us; they are now at the helm".
Anyhow the schemes and the collusions of the various parties and groups of those days were very strong and public thinking could make no impression on their perverted minds. And as it is not an easy task to enlighten the public on the future mistakes and errors which are in the making, the pious and enlightened elements of those times could not easily depict the future unpleasant events before the people.
It was for this reason that ‘Ali advised ‘Ammar and Miqdad and their associates to await future events and to content themselves with guiding and advising the people. This was the only duty which they could discharge in these circumstances.
These persons, who were not happy with the prevailing conditions, were passing their, days with fortitude and expectation. Their expectation was like that of faithful revolutionists who spend their time with zeal and devotion.
In the meantime the employees and officials of the government of the time were committing acts which provided excuse to ‘Ammar and his comrades for criticism and protest and gave arguments in their hands which proved the truth of their claim and the correctness of their views and confirmed the policy of guidance adopted by this pious minority.
The historians, or some of the historians, believe that the members of the Umayyad party had been trying secretly for six years before ‘Uthman's attaining to the Caliphate to elevate to government a despotic, sentimental and egotistic ruler who should prefer himself and his relatives to others.4
The fact is that ‘Uthman was a tender-hearted and mild person and was deeply interested in his relatives, and showed great partiality to them. These very sentiments and regard for consanguinity made him a bridge for the predominance of aristocracy over democracy i .e. the public Government of Islam.
It was for this very reason that those related to ‘Uthman and similarly others had kept him in reserve for years to achieve their ends; and from the benefits derived by the Umayyad party it was proved that a period of only six days and not six years was required for this purpose.
Keeping ‘Uthman in reserve for this purpose has behind it a story whose origin was the day of Saqifa. This was the same day on which the party of Abu Bakr availed of the opportunity provided by the demise of the Holy Prophet (S) and made haste in making use of the principle let the Caliphate be confined to Quraysh. Later it will expand automatically and will also reach others.
Furthermore we have not forgotten the resentment felt by Abu Sufyan on the day on which Abu Bakr was selected for the Caliphate. It was the result of that very resentment that he volunteered to support ‘Ali and hurried towards him and offered to take the oath of allegiance to him.
We have also not forgotten that many interested persons, while studying the events of this interval, have considered this occurrence to be a minor one and have passed it by quickly! Although this is one of the most subtle events of the period of interval and is connected with the destinies of the Islamic Government, they have not conducted thorough research in that behalf.
In order to give a true description of the conditions during the period of ‘Uthman it is necessary to explain the causes of Abu Sufyan's resentment and its reactionary factors, which later gave the pact of the time of ‘Uthman a new form and ensured its enforcement, so that it may become clear that the later events did not have an Islamic form and did not move in the path of gradual change and development.
No doubt history has omitted facts while discussing the Sufyani incident and has been stingy and sparing of giving information relating to it, and has not quoted any thing about its importance except to a very small extent.
In short history alludes very briefly to the mischief mongering of Abu Sufyan and mentions as against this instigation the water which ‘Ali threw on this fire, and then keeps silent.
Then it briefly mentions in connection with the same happening the astonishment of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar regarding the attitude of Abu Sufyan and alludes to the consultations and exchange of views by these two persons to avoid the mischief of this genius and explains that, in order to remain safe from the wrong-doing of Abu Sufyan, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar decided to soften and win him over by means of money, just as the Holy Prophet (S) paid him money by way of placating him.
However, the position of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar vis-à-vis Abu Sufyan and the gift which they had decided to bestow upon him was different from the position of the Prophet, because, as written by Ibn Athir, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar elevated the position of Abu Sufyan from that of a hypocrite, in which capacity he used to receive the money, to that of the 'noble of Makkah'. ‘Umar abolished payment of money to him as he used to get before, and for this his plea was that Islam possessed sufficient strength and there was no need for placating him. Now this became the basis for the establishment of class system which came into existence after him.
The objection which has been raised against the action of ‘Umar is that his purpose was not achieved, but only the title of the subject was changed, and if the first title had not been abolished it was possible that this class of hypocrites would gradually have been eliminated.
However, the second title viz. 'nobles of Makkah’, became the cause of this class being given position and power, and naturally the question of exception and discrimination arose, and should not have arisen, because Islam had abolished discrimination.
Here it is necessary that we should discuss the nature of the period of ‘Uthman on which the six days and not six years penetration of Umayyad rule had its effect.
As we have already said history has not discussed the 'Sufyani' incident in detail, and has only hinted briefly at the anxiety of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar with regard to the difficult posture of Abu Sufyan, and has then assumed silence. However, persons who are well acquainted with the mentality and disposition of Abu Sufyan know that he was not a man of the type who should be easily contented with getting money and become satisfied, because his covetousness went beyond this limit.
As Abu Sufyan was a trader and was well-acquainted with ruler ship and the principles of life, it was not possible that all his objects and desires should be fulfilled by a good deal of money. And even if he occasionally obeyed the Prophet (S) at a fixed price and pretended to follow him, he was no longer prepared to give similar authority to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and in other words, to sell himself to these two persons at the same price, because he looked at them with the same opinion which he held about them earlier.
It must also be made clear that his submission and obedience to the Prophet, too, was only by way of deceit and hypocrisy, and, when he was compelled to submit, he did not consider this compulsion to be an insult for himself because he saw the Prophet (S) at a position of leadership, which did not interfere with his own position of being an aristocrat. Nevertheless his submission was still allied with transgression.
In the circumstances would it be rational that such a person should submit, and be obedient, to Abu Bakr. And again would it be rational that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar should feel secure from him after meeting his demands?
The fact is that we should believe that Abu Sufyan's agreeing to submit to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and their being satisfied with him, had a stronger reason. It may be asked as to what that strong reason was. The reply to this question is this: Abu Sufyan was a feudalist, who spent lavishly and lived a life of pleasure. He was a profligate aristocrat, who considered himself and those like him to be entitled to special respect.
This class of persons considered themselves to be the masters and others to be their slaves. Naturally they looked at Islam from the standpoint of their own views and considered Islam to be a movement for profiteering and imagined that just like idol-worship the spirit of profit- making was hidden in its teachings. For this reason they thought that the fundamentals and principles being preached by the Prophet (S) of Islam were like king-worship of olden times and as a consequence of this groundless thinking they imagined that Islam, too, considered that it was necessary for all persons to serve the aristocrats.
Hence, in the eyes of Abu Sufyan, the difference between the factors of idolworship and Islam was indeed the difference between the results obtained from them. If the principles of Islam were useful and more paying for the aristocrats and the elders of the nation, it was well and good, but if Islam did not guarantee this object, and did not prove to be a means of service to the aristocrats, it would be better for them to seek some better ways and means to achieve their ends.
Anyhow, the minute factors which existed in the brain of Abu Sufyan made him think on these lines and he held such views about Islam.
Of course, Abu Sufyan was the head of the caravan of the camel owners and the chief of the polytheists, and the head and guide of a materialist party, and every one of these factors and stimulants was sufficient to make him think himself an idol superior to other idols.
With this disposition Abu Sufyan also possessed sufficient cunning, deceit and ingenuity, and had supporters, who propagated this way of thinking. It was these very supporters of his who rose to fight against other parties and groups to acquire the ruler ship. He, therefore, utilized all these means to achieve his object.
It is evident that such a person is not tamed easily in such an atmosphere and does not sell himself at a cheap price. Rather he would submit only when, besides acquiring material benefits, he becomes a partner in the government and the State organizations. Keeping in view Abu Sufyan's posture and position, his characteristics may be fully explained by relating the following story.
Before the event of Saqifa Abu Sufyan was certainly desirous of partaking in government and had been endeavouring to achieve this object. And as soon, however, as he felt that the various parties and groups had joined hands against ‘Ali and had decided to deprive him of succeeding to the Caliphate after the Holy Prophet (S) and wished to give the Caliphate to Quraysh, he joined the pioneers and leaders of the nation and cooperated with them, although he was not one of them.
His cooperation with the opponents of ‘Ali did not end there. He wanted to share the gains with them; but as he could not hope to succeed in attaining to government according to the standards which were considered in those days to be the criterion of distinction, he could not get a share in it. At the same time he did not imagine and consider it reasonable that the Caliphate should go to the smallest family of Quraysh.
He thought it to be rational that ‘Ali should succeed the Holy Prophet (S) and considered this tradition to be something quite natural. However, when he saw that the real successor did not secure his right, he picked up courage and began thinking about the transfer of the Caliphate to the Umayyad family. He calculated that if it was not possible for him to acquire the Caliphate himself, he could nominate someone else from amongst Quraysh for this office. The only person belonging to the Umayyad family who had a long previous record and had undergone many hardships for the advancement of Islam and fulfilled all requirements of success according to the prevailing standards was ‘Uthman and none else. He, therefore nominated him for the Caliphate.
By chance he realized on the day of Saqifa that his thinking about ‘Uthman had been incorrect. However, at the same time he was so emotionally shocked at the success of Abu Bakr that he was about to become insane.
In the meantime he felt that a secret game had been played in the matter which he had not taken into account. Besides this he realized that Abu Bakr's Caliphate was a dangerous precedent for the tribes and would cost the aristocrats dearly in future.
For this reason he hastened to ‘Ali with utmost sincerity and in other words volunteered for ‘Ali's service with good intention from the viewpoint of aristocracy, and waived all other credits to protect this vital position and credit. However, ‘Ali, whose way of thinking was opposed in principle to that of Abu Sufyan in all respects declined to accept his assistance and ignored the trouble which he was prepared to take. At the very outset Abu Sufyan was very much grieved on account of the following two severe shocks:
(i) Rule of Bani Tamim;
(ii) Weakness of Hashimite family.
As these two shocks were intolerable they made him confused. When he came to his senses he profited by the second shock. This matter was explained years later by Mu'awiya during the Caliphate of ‘Ali in a letter written by him to Muhammad bin Abu Bakr wherein he admitted that if Abu Bakr and ‘Umar had not rebelled against ‘Ali, ignored his right, and formed factions, he and his father would not have rebelled. Thereafter Mu'awiya wrote thus in the same letter especially about the common action of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar against ‘Ali: "These two persons (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) caused great pain and grief to ‘Ali and were very harsh upon him.”
These two severe blows which Abu Sufyan experienced did not bring about any change in his ideas and way of thinking. No doubt, no change could be expected from the mentality of Abu Sufyan, because Islam, with all its strength, had not been able to bring him round.
Abu Sufyan observed that the elevation of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar to the status of the Prophet (S) was something unnatural and these two persons transgressed their limits and undertook a task which was not suitable for them. Now he attributed the staying at home of ‘Ali to a strange weakness or lapse on his part, because he who had a clear and admitted right had abandoned it. Then after minute reckoning and comparison between these two strange incidents he came to the clear conclusion, and thought, that it was also possible for Bani Umayya to achieve this object through a short cut, and even if he himself could not attain to the Caliphate his nominee could do so.
When Abu Sufyan rose in support of ‘Ali he drew such benefits from the second shock, which he had to suffer, as had not crossed his mind earlier. As this rising of his was prompted by selfishness, he could not think of anything else. That is to say, that although ‘Ali did not attach any importance to his rising or opposition, but this rising had great significance in the eyes of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and these two persons attached great importance to it.
Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were frightened of Abu Sufyan's rising because they imagined that it would open the doors of danger and create troubles. They thought that although the sobriety, coolness and firmness of ‘Ali had relieved them of trouble in the circumstances then prevailing, none would be able to obviate Abu Sufyan's mischief, if he resorted to it on some other occasion; and none would be able to resist the biting stings and sharp claws of this reactionary ghoul.
No doubt Abu Bakr and ‘Umar pondered deeply over this difficulty, and acted with utmost courtesy and, according to some historians, found out a solution of the problem, that is, they silenced him with money; but ignored the most subtle points of his personality, because Abu Sufyan was not a man who might have kept quiet as he had been during the days of the Holy Prophet. In any case however he could not be satisfied with the share which he got secretly from the budget of expenses.
Besides all this he was far above that he should admit Abu Bakr and ‘Umar to be superior to him, and his condition was such that although apparently he was obliged to remain silent but was secretly engaged in fraud, deceit and obstruction, and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar did not know how to remain safe from his mischief. Apart from rendering him financial help, therefore, they were obliged to seek his good will confidentially. We are not aware whether Abu Sufyan saw Abu Bakr and ‘Umar at a particular spot or they met him at an appointed place.
It is an admitted fact, however, that all the parties were unanimous that the Caliphate should be confined in the tribe of Quraysh. The questions which arise in this behalf go to show and we can give a definite reply in this connection and say that the silence of Abu Sufyan was more meaningful than that he should be treated to fall under the category of "placating their hearts" by means of the money which he realized from Abu Bakr. Similarly the silence of this man before ‘Umar was much more valuable than that he should be contented with receiving money in the capacity of an aristocrat.
Rather the real value of his silence was that ‘Uthman should be promised the Caliphate after ‘Umar, and incidentally Mu'awiya, with the means and resources in his hand, might prepare a favourable atmosphere for the achievement of this end.
This point is quite obvious that in the matter related to Bani Umayya they were aware that the nomination of ‘Uthman for the Caliphate was not in Abu Sufyan's interest so that they might agree with each other in the matter and form a front.
Furthermore, the supremacy of the orders and commands of the Holy Prophet (S) did not permit that people should rise openly in opposition to them, because such an action involved serious collision and was bound to end in bloodshed. For this reason it was necessary to attain to this end and to enforce this programme, that they (Abu Sufyan and his party) should build a bridge and cross it.
They could not also help creating a point of transition so that actions and reactions might come in contact with each other at that point and the profit and loss of the actions taken might have equilibrium and balance. In that event it was necessary for the enforcement of the plan and the programme that there should be a tender-hearted and mild companion, who should also be attached to his relatives, so that they might place him in the first row of the selfish persons and profit seekers, and under the protection of the rule of such an element they might oppose the Prophet's orders as much as they could.
The reaction of this action should be that the Caliph, whom they used as a tool to achieve their end, might be annihilated. After the annihilation they might themselves show another reaction so that they might achieve the required balance; and eventually Abu Sufyan might assume the reins of office in the shape of Mu'awiya, who should be sitting in ambush in Damascus. In case such a helpless old man lacking self reliance had not been available, Bani Umayya would have been faced with much trouble and hardship to solve their difficulty.
However, ‘Uthman was a person who was suitable for this task and had been made for this purpose. Eventually, therefore, he was treated to be fit for being praised for his past and to serve as a stepping stone for the future.
The historians imagine that the Umayyad agents were secretly active for a period of six years behind ‘Uthman in the shape of profiteering despotic tribal government, although if proper care is exercised it becomes clear that before ‘Uthman's coming at the helm, these agents had been struggling in this path for twelve years, and on account of his leniency, tender-heartedness and strong attachment for his kith and kin, ‘Uthman had been placed in such a situation that he could not keep the government of the Umayyad party hidden even for a moment.
The fact that ‘Ammar had taken the initiative in the matter of holding disputation with the government of the time and leading the disputants was certainly the result of ‘Uthman's supporting his near relatives and showing partiality to Bani Umayyah and Bani Mu'it.
‘Ammar knew thoroughly how dangerous the influence of this group was for the just regime of Islam from the economic point of view.
Now the substantial proofs of this reality which were felt at the very first moment, and disturbed the people, and made them plan revenge, became the cause of ‘Ammar's assuming the leadership of the disputants and consequently facing the tribulations and tortures.
To make it more clear it may be said that when the oath of allegiance had been taken, instead of ‘Uthman going to the masjid and explaining the plan of his government and associating the Muhajirs and the Ansar with his ruler ship, his special companions and courtiers picked him up on their hands and took him to his personal house so that they alone might enjoy their victory there.
This very occurrence became the cause of the people openly expressing their suspicions and doubts and discussing the matter fearlessly in every lane and street.
When the Caliph heard about these things he was obliged to approach the people and offer them an apology, because he explained to them that as he had taken over the task only recently he might be given some time so that he might study and reflect over the problems. He added that as soon as he was free he would contact the people as desired by them, and as he himself also wished.
The celebration held by the first family gathering of Bani Umayyah on their success had not yet come to an end when Abu Sufyan announced his views regarding the plan for the Umayyad rule which he had sketched in his mind long ago, and had been seeking an opportunity to enforce it. As Abu Sufyan had become blind in those days he asked those present: “Is there anyone in the assembly before whom we should observe taqayya (be cautious)?" Those present replied: '"Don't worry. There is none here except us.”
Then Abu Sufyan began expressing his views and said: '"O Bani Umayya! Hold firmly the government which you have acquired like a ball. For I swear by one by whom I swear that I had desired this position for you for years. Now that you have achieved your cherished goal, you should endeavour to transfer the Caliphate to your children. I swear by god that there is neither a Paradise nor Hell."
It is strange and surprising that the Caliph (‘Uthman) supported what he said, because he did not contradict him.
If we undertake to express our views in this behalf with due respect, and offer an excuse and explanation for, ‘Uthman's silence and his failing to object (against Abu Sufyan) we shall say that on account of the tie which existed between these two persons, ‘Uthman attributed the words of Abu Sufyan to his weakness and old age and did not object to what he said.
Abu Sufyan did not content himself with the proclamation of this family programme, for the grudge and ill will which he had in his mind for long years erupted and the same unclean feeling took him to the grave of Hamza. He kicked the grave and said: “O Hamza! Rise and see that the kingdom for which you fought with us is in our hands now.”
These expressions of Abu Sufyan are an evidence of his inclination and love for the thinking of the Period of Ignorance which he showed with so much anger and party spirit to satisfy his feelings. From another angle, however, these expressions possess a good deal of importance, because the views of Abu Sufyan distinctly show the type of government which he desired, and he thinks the government to be like a mirror in which he sees his own face.
Again it is most probable that if Abu Sufyan had uttered these words only on his own account they would have been destroyed and eliminated like many personal and individual sentiments of ill will and grudge and would not have been recorded in the pages of history .However, as he expressed his views in an authoritative tone and with the tongue of the government of the time, we see that they have remained a memorial of Abu Sufyan in the texts of history till today and fully indicate the dangerous deviations of the government of that time.
Anyhow the authority of Abu' Amr ‘Uthman bin Affan and his government advanced with great speed on the track set by Abu Sufyan, without seeking directions from the Book of Allah, or the Sunna of the Holy Prophet (S) or the conduct of the two shaykhs. Owing to the enforcement of the plan chalked out by Abu Sufyan the government of the new Caliph quickly adopted a course from which ‘Uthman could not deviate.
To sum up it may be said that ‘Uthman was going one way and the rest of the people were going another way.
In the meantime ‘Uthman was faced with a judicial problem and everyone knows what authority and importance the rule of law carries in Islam. At the same time it is admitted that the Holy Prophet (S) prescribed certain conditions and standards for regulating the laws. He explained the stipulations attached to it and declared piety to be the prerequisite for holding charge of this task. He recommended strict equality and justice in this behalf and made a judge free and independent.
It is evident that all these provisions have been made with the sole object of creating a peaceful atmosphere so that no fear and alarm should exist in it, and the people should remain safe from injustice and transgression, and the law court should be the authority to whom problems related to blood, property and honour may be referred for solution in accordance with truth, and the judge should be able to look independently into every matter which affects peace or eliminates the comfort of the people, and should give a decisive judgement.
Now let us see how Caliph ‘Uthman was faced with these problems and how he solved them.
During those days a man named Hurmuzan lived in Madina. Unfortunately after the assassination of ‘Umar by Abu Lu'lu he (i.e. Hurmuzan) happened to come face to face with Ubaydullah bin ‘Umar, while crossing a street.
Hurmuzan was in no way responsible for the assassination of ‘Umar and none had accused him of having had any hand in it. In fact no fault on his part had been seen. Hurmuzan knew his position and the people also recognized him as a non Arab. No such thing as racial conflict was at all known in those days in the city of Madina, except in the Umayyad period.
The fact is that Hurmuzan was leading a very peaceful life under the auspices of the laws of Islam. However, Ubaydullah son of ‘Umar killed him only for the offence that he and Abu Lu'lu were both non Arabs.
This occurrence involved ‘Uthman into difficulty; and however, if such a problem had risen during the days of ‘Umar he would not have felt the least difficulty in solving it, because he used to adjudicate justly and preferred to meet the general rights as compared with special interests. This is proved by the fact that he enforced law in the case of his son who had been guilty of a crime. However, in contrast with ‘Umar, ‘Uthman became involved in serious difficulties. The result was that at the very outset this just authority weakened the principles of justice by his conservativeness, because he sided with the strong one as against the weak one, and preferred the Arab to that of non Arab origin. Consequently he adopted those standards of justice which were a memorial of the feudal period and the prejudices and oppressive regulations of that age.
All the persons who watched the result of this trial shuddered with horror, when they saw that ‘Uthman supported Ubaydullah and let the blood of Hurmuzan go in vain without any valid reason.
This conservativeness became the cause of the suspension of a Divine penance and consequently one of the patent traditions of the Age of Ignorance was revived. Who knows that possibly by taking this action ‘Uthman wanted to show his gratitude to ‘Umar for the favour he had done to him and to support his son against the law i.e. in opposition to the Command of Allah!
It might be said that this support had become obligatory for him and it is not unlikely that Abu Sufyan had imposed this duty on him so that by this means ‘Uthman might express his faithfulness to ‘Umar.
By making this recommendation Abu Sufyan possibly took another advantage in the sense that non-enforcement of this punishment necessitate corruption, destruction and derangement of the judicial order of Islam, and owing to the derangement of this judicial order the most basic socialistic system of Islam was set at naught, the tribal regime of the Age of Ignorance was revived, and the judicial power of Islam was sacrificed for the interests and benefits of the groups and tribes.
In any case ‘Uthman did not solve this problem on the basis of Islamic rules and regulations but solved it on the basis of prejudice, and disappointed and offended all Muslims. As a result of this negligence and carelessness all the Muslims became terrified, because they felt that from then onwards the life and property of everyone would not be safe and by the violation of the judicial regulations of Islam the rights of all persons would naturally be the object of attack of the desires of the upper class.
Another difficulty which ‘Uthman had to face related to the financial affairs as a large amount of public funds had accumulated in the Baitul Mal (public treasury).
Earlier ‘Umar too had been faced with the same difficulty, because as a result of the conquest made by the Islamic forces a large quantity of booty had come in their possession. ‘Umar consulted the wise and clear-sighted persons as to how this large wealth might be spent. They suggested that it might be recorded in the registers and ‘Umar should distribute the amount available amongst all the people according to the socialistic principles of Islam, and he acted accordingly.
However, after the death of ‘Umar some quantity of the jewellery and ornaments of the Iranian Kings were still present in the treasury and on the day ‘Umar went to the masjid he showed them to the people.
The jewels glittered in the sunlight like burning fire and ‘Umar feared that by looking at them he might be involved in trouble. He, therefore, ordered the treasurer to distribute them and relieve him of their mischief.
However, the treasurer replied: "Distribution of the jewels is not compatible with justice and involves the loss of a good deal of property.” He added: "This heap of jewels cannot possibly be distributed among all the adult persons; and if some of them get a share and others don't get it, it would be opposed to the rules of justice.
Furthermore, the share of someone who gets it may exceed his entitlement. And if we break these jewels into small pieces they will lose their value and this will amount to wasting them. Wastage of such wealth amounts to breach of trust and the treasurer will be answerable for it. It is, of course, possible to seal these jewels and convert them into cash which may be distributed among the deserving persons. In that case the wealth will remain safe. However, at present the value of the entire belongings of the Muslims is not equal to that of these jewels. Hence the only solution is that we may keep these jewels intact till the next year. It is possible that in the meantime the wealth of the nation may increase and in that event we shall put the jewels to sale.”
‘Umar accepted the suggestion of his treasurer and ordered that the contents of the treasury should remain intact until they were sold and the sale proceeds were distributed among the deserving persons. But ‘Umar was killed and the bright jewels which were lying in a corner of the public treasury lost their lustre.
Once again the people saw those very luminous jewels which shone in sunlight like burning fire. However, this time they saw them on the breasts of the daughters of ‘Uthman and not in the courtyard of the masjid.
Then they saw that their rights had fallen under the control of the family of the government of the time in a ridiculous and dreadful manner.
This was another problem which was perhaps considered to be the most serious problem of the Islamic regime, and ‘Uthman had solved this problem in a manner which was not at all compatible with the Commands of the Book of Allah, the Sunna of the Holy Prophet (S) and the conduct of the two shaykhs. In this matter he resorted to a rash 'ijtihad' which was based on hoarding and despotic rule.
Again ‘Uthman was faced with another problem which had a political aspect and was related with the civil security of the society and deliverance of the people from corruption and disorder.
The Prophet (S) had solved this problem in such a way that the two shaykhs (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) could not dare oppose it after his demise. This problem related to the family of Hakam who belonged to the tribe of Bani Abil As and had been banished by the Prophet (S) to the interior of Waj in the vicinity of Ta'if.
This Hakam and his sons were the cousins of ‘Uthman and were very dangerous parasites. The Prophet (S) endeavoured to reform them, but their corruption was so deep-rooted that they were incorrigible, because it was an inherent spiritual and intellectual corruption. It had a hereditary aspect and prevailed over them like an ailment which could not be remedied.
These persons were so corrupt in essence and by nature that as compared with the weak-minded and low people they had become the example of meanness and carelessness and provided the means of the agitation and disturbance of mind of the society day after day in one way or the other. The meanness and impudence of these people had reached such a stage that Hakam often walked behind the Prophet (S) and imitated his gait by way of ridicule. One day the Holy Prophet (S) happened to see these impudent and comic actions of his and said: "Be as you are.” From that day onwards the people called him a clown, a buffoon and a mimic by way of hatred and contempt.
This presumptuous and shameless person carried his disrespect to its extremes and often peeped impudently into the Prophet's house through the shutter like a spy. On such occasions the Prophet (S) burst into rage and said: "Who can relieve me of the mischief of this lizard (scoundrel).”
Thereafter as and when the name of this man was mentioned the people used to call him lizard or the son of lizard.
This man and his sons and followers were very often guilty of such meanness and turpitude, and those who co-operated with this man in his mean acts were the near relatives of ‘Uthman. The cooperation of such persons in the commission of such mean acts was the evidence of their close contact with one another. Their co-operation was like the actions of the rogues and ruffians who do not refrain from attacking their opponents in order to protect the position of every feudalist and to form groups to insult and ridicule those, who do not obey the feudalist or occasionally oppose him. They do not spare any disgraceful and mean action.
In spite of all these disgraceful actions and the meanness and impudence on their part the Holy Prophet (S) did not make haste in excommunicating and banishing these 'lizards'. He guided and advised them and tolerated their meanness and kept patient. However, eventually the position became such that the fear of this moral disease being communicated to other people by contagion became very strong. Only when the villainy and wickedness of these persons became known to all, the Holy Prophet (S) ordered them to be excommunicated. He was obliged, for the sake of preventing this dangerous disease from affecting others, to banish them so that they might live in the interior of Waj. And as Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were not unaware of the reason of their excommunication and banishment they, during their lifetime, kept these persons in their place of banishment and did not permit them to return to the society. They also rejected the repeated recommendations of ‘Uthman in this behalf.
In more clear terms it may be said that grant of freedom to these banished persons or the continuance of their banishment meant two different ways of thinking reactionary and progressive. That is to say, that if they were allowed to return to the society it meant the revival of the reactionary way of thinking, and if the status quo was maintained it went to show that the laws and principles were respected and the regulations for the security of the society and its progress would continue to be in force.
However the patent shape of the matter is as stated by us and no blind alley is observed in this case except that both sides of the matter may be taken into account in the manner detailed above, and the important results which appeared in those days may be investigated.
We are not aware whether ‘Uthman could personally get out of this blind alley easily in those days or Abu Sufyan aided him to get out of it, and that the simple nature, mildness and tender sentiments of ‘Uthman prevented him from realizing the bad intention of Abu Sufyan.
In any case we cannot express a definite opinion about this matter, but what is an undeniable fact is that ‘Uthman was faced with this problem just as he was faced with the former two problems. He solved it with great ease just as he had done previously not on the basis of accountability to Allah nor to the nation, nor on the basis of the authority of the Qur'an, nor on the commands of the Holy Prophet, nor on the basis of respect for the legal precedents and the conduct of the two shaykhs (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar), but according to his personal inclination and individual liking and on the basis of aristocratic rule and protection of family honour.
The only factor which was effectively used in solving this problem was indeed the calculation of influence and respect with a strong will, and the protection of the family position and credit, and nothing else.
By keeping this act in view and after explaining these social, economic, political and civil difficulties, it is not necessary to discuss the pulling down of the grand and real pillars of the structure of Islam which were being destroyed one after the other.
The fact is that the system and regime of Islam, generally speaking, and from the stand-point of its socialistic and philanthropic aspect and absolute justice, was intolerable for the Umayyads who were living under the protection of the kindness of ‘Uthman, and the encounter of this group with the rules and regulations of Islam, whether in full or in part, was very burdensome for them. Hence it should be said that: Every act and movement which took place from the side of the Umayyads during this period was in the eyes of the Muslims like an axe struck on the root of Islam!
Keeping in view the events which these innumerable and endless petty difficulties entailed, it is natural that such proceedings should have known no limits as the different events and occurrences which were the cause of the activities of the Umayyads were opposed to the unity of Islam in all respects. This was so, because the Umayyad unity was established on the basis and principle of 'difference', and it is evident that each of these two principles were based on rules and regulations which had no common frontier and comprehensive value except war!
The Islamic principle has no aim and object except the prosperity and welfare of the society. As opposed to it, the entire attention of the Umayyad principle was directed towards the safeguarding of personal interests and profit.
The Islamic principle is established on the foundation of knowledge, action, goodness and justice, whereas the Umayyad principle was established on zeal, influence, intervention, mediation, betrayal of secrets and revilement, and the fact is that these two principles and origins are the reverse of each other in all respects.
As you have become accustomed to the oppression and encroachment by the strong i.e. powerful persons, and consequent upon the stupefaction of the distinguished religious men, who sell you, and those like you, to the feudalists like merchandise, and divide your rights and hard work between themselves, your Islamic sense as well as of others like you has ceased to work, you are not moved by the narration of these small stories of the period of ‘Uthman's rule, and do not attach any importance to such events. It should, however, be remembered that before the Islamic sense was lost and the conscience of the Muslims was inhibited, even a small news of this kind shocked the Muslims society, because the people saw that the publication of such a news foreboded the taking place of an accident which would mean that the principle of 'difference' and 'egotism' had risen to stand against the principle of 'equality'.
Anyhow, there was a green pasturage outside the city of Madina where the Muslims used to graze their flocks of sheep and as the principle of cooperation and brother hood governed the people, everyone was permitted to use the pasturage.
The Holy Prophet (S) had allowed free use of the pasturage and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, too, did not interfere in this matter because the principle of equality and the observance of the policy of common animal wealth also demanded it. However, Abu Sufyan and Marwan bin Hakam, who had become habituated to the system of capitalism and had monopolized the sources of income, so that they might expand their authority over the people, made many suggestions to ‘Uthman. One of them was that the pasturage in question should be monopolized for use by Bani Umayya and that it should be exclusively reserved for the animals of Bani Umayya.
During the present times you and I do not treat such an act to be something big and often consider the grant of such concessions to be the prerogative of the Caliph. It should, however, be known that our view in such matters does not have a legal aspect, because we have seen and still see many such events and have become accustomed to the oppression and encroachment by obstinate rulers and similarly to the deviations and deceit of religious persons for the sake of the reward which they get to endorse and approve the oppressions of those who violate public rights.
To defend their own sins and fraudulent actions which far exceed the transgressions of the rulers and their deceiving the simple-minded people by various means they give unjust rulings. But the common people of those days who watched this situation treated the monopolization of the pasturage by the Umayyads to be a dangerous tragedy and considered this act to be tantamount to a war started by the Umayyads against their rights and property. This was so because the people looked at these actions with the same eye with which they ought to have looked at them. The opinion of the people with regard to this incident was based on principles and they saw that this step was a specimen of the aggressive activities which had attacked the paradise of their peace and order, from all sides, and deprived them of the blessing of security, and stained the beauty of their comfort and tranquillity.
Anyhow the opinion formed by the people was not wrong, because they saw very soon that seven royal palaces were constructed for the Caliph in the city of Madina. They also saw that a similar royal palace was also constructed for Marwan in Zi Khashab. Then the matters reached such a stage that the very 'lizard' constructed markets and shops with the property looted from the Muslims. Also the people saw in those days that Sa 'id bin As, Governor of Kufa, had fixed his eyes on the gardens of the mujahids and the farms of Euphrates in the suburbs of the city.
They also saw that Abi Sarah had allocated the entire income of the Nile valley to himself and was plundering the wealth of the labourers and farmers.
Besides the oppressions committed by these men of the first degree, people saw that the descendants of Umayya and Abi Mu'it had extended their hands of encroachment to all sides and openly attacked the honour, religion and property of the people, and did not desist from any aggression.
Then the people realized fully well that their fear and anxiety about the monopolization of the common pasturage at the very outset was not uncalled for and this encroachment served as a bridge over which all the future evils and mischief were to pass.
In the meantime the thing which surprised the people most was that the Caliph was supporting this selfish, proud, and stubborn man (Walid bin 'Uqba) and the judicial precedent as in the case of Ubaydullah bin ‘Umar was repeated in his case as Walid first drank wine and then insulted the very basis of the religion, and in spite of this the Caliph was supporting him and did not permit that he might be awarded legal punishment.
The matter may be explained as follows: Walid bin 'Uqba was the Governor of Kufa before Sa'id bin As. He spent a night in drinking and merrymaking along with his companions and minstrels and then went to the masjid to offer prayers while he was still intoxicated and was wearing the same dress which he had worn during night. He offered two rak'ats of dawn prayers. After he had finished the prayers and his intoxication had also lessened to some extent he turned to the people and said in a jesting and ridiculous tone: "If you wish I can add a few rak'ats to the prayers.”
Of course, when the people realized that this man was ridiculing prayers, which is one of the pillars of the faith, like an atheist and was entitling himself to increase or diminish it, they were disturbed and sent witnesses to Madina. As a result of this the sentiments of the Muslims in general were roused.
In spite of this the Caliph supported Walid and sided with him as against the authority of law rather against the authority of the Almighty! However, when the public anger became very intense the Caliph ordered that legal punishment might be awarded to this depraved atheist.
It was a verbal order and at the same time the countenance of ‘Uthman showed that in his heart of hearts he did not wish that the order might be executed. Hence, none dared to award the punishment till ‘Ali was obliged to rise and carry out the punishment.
The wicked Walid was confident that none would be prepared to execute the sentence against him, but as soon as he saw that ‘Ali had got up and was going to execute it he became worried and was sure that he had no way out, especially because he knew ‘Ali from his boyhood. He knew that his (Walid's) father 'Uqba bin Abi Mu'it was a polytheist who tortured the Holy Prophet (S) much, and ‘Ali had killed him in compliance with the orders of the Prophet.
Keeping these antecedents in mind Walid was trying to escape from ‘Ali's hand, but the latter caught him, knocked him down on the ground and executed the sentence on him. However, ‘Uthman objected to the action of ‘Ali and said that he should not have knocked him down on the ground but should have executed only the sentence on him, although ‘Ali was the same person, from whom ‘Uthman used to take religious commands for guidance. Apart from the open support given by ‘Uthman to Walid the thing which became the cause of the dejection and resentment of the Muslims was that they saw that the Caliph had changed the socialistic regime and the administration of public Justice into the capitalistic system and had acted in such a way that the wealth was concentrated only in the hands of the rich and was not circulated from hand to hand. They also saw that in the matter of bestowing property and position the Caliph gave the enemies of the Prophet (S) preference over the Muhajirs, and acted against the Book of Allah, which is the Divine constitution, without offering any explanation or making any secret of it. For example:
(1) He granted freedom of movement to Hakam bin Abil As, who had been excommunicated and banished by the Prophet, and thereafter gave him 1000 dirhams.
(2) Out of the various endowments made by the Prophet (S) for being spent on the welfare of the Muslims and for the assistance of the needy, there was a bazaar in Madina which was called ‘Shehr Roz', ‘Uthman gave this bazaar to Harth bin Hakam as a feudatory gift.
(3) Fidak which had been inherited by Lady Fatima Zahra from her father was given by ‘Uthman to Marwan bin Hakam to be held by him as a feudatory gift. Besides this he gave him one-fifth of the income from Armenia as well as 100,000 dirhams in cash
(4) He gifted 4000 dirhams to Khalid bin Usayd alone.
(5) Besides appointing Abdullah bin Abi Sarah as Governor of Egypt he made over to him one-fifth of the income from Africa.
(6) Besides other concessions and gifts which ‘Uthman bestowed upon Abu Sufyan he, at the time of granting him 200,000 dirhams, also sent a transfer order to the Baitul Mal (public treasury) for 100,000 dirhams in favour of Marwan. It was as a result of these uncalled for gifts that Zayd bin Arqam, the treasurer, came to ‘Uthman with tears in his eyes and said: "I swear by Allah that, not to speak of 100,000 dirhams, even if you transfer 100 dirhams in favour of Marwan it will be too much”.
Saying this he threw the key of the Treasury before ‘Uthman and walked away.
(7) He distributed the wealth received from Iraq exclusively amongst the members of Umayyad family.
(8) He gave one of his daughters in marriage to Harth bin Hakam and gave her on this occasion 100,000 dirhams.
Innumerable events of this kind were taking place and these developments encouraged the powerful persons to avail him of every opportunity to benefit by unlawful means and add to their wealth. And very often he intentionally provided such opportunities to the powerful persons so that they might share in his burden and troubles, and to prevent them from rising against him.
This very dirty politics became the cause of Zubayr's accumulating fabulous wealth in a surprising manner.
The foundations of the surprising financial strength of Zubayr had been laid firmly in Kufa, Basra and Egypt.
Consequently, besides his owning 1000 horses and 1000 slavegirls, this companion had more than 50,000 dinars in cash. Besides all this wealth Zubayr had also acquired abundant landed properties.
Talha had also obstructed a lofty palace in Madina and a similar one in the city of Kufa. His product of grains was valued at 1000 dinars.
Zayd bin Thabit, too, had acquired landed property worth two and a half million dinars, besides the great mass of gold and silver accumulated by him which was broken with hatchets.
Besides these persons there were others also who were mad after wealth, and relished sucking the blood of the people. They had also adopted the methods of the Umayyads and the Sufyanis. The day on which ‘Uthman was besieged and he sought ‘Ali's help he hinted at some of these profiteers saying: "That person, who himself is polluted and cannot defend himself, finds fault with me and accused me!"
Of course, ‘Uthman forgot at the same time that the policy and way of working of the Umayyads was that the Umayyads should be near him and should be the first to make a beginning and then thrust the responsibility on him and should cut off his contact with the public and should keep him away from the just and truth seeking persons and the activities of truth should come to a standstill.
In spite of all this if the Caliph had not blocked the path of criticism, and had not claimed absolute authority, it was possible that most of these things might have been left unsaid, and the people might have observed patience. However, his own deviation from the right path and the claim of absolute authority prevented the improvement of the state of affairs, because he shut the mouths of the objectors and the critics sometime with threats and sometimes by means of whipping and military rule. And it was the Caliph's resorting to the military rule which eventually made the people revolt and bring about a revolution.
The persons belonging to all the parties raised their voices, and in connection with the grievances, which they had about the evils and malpractices, they first objected to the construction of the palaces, and the gifts, and the governors of ‘Uthman, As soon as these objections reached the ears of ‘Uthman he came out of his house with anger and concern, mounted the pulpit and rejected the objections of the critics with aristocratic logic saying: "My forbearance and broadmindedness have been the cause of the people criticizing me and daring to raise their objections openly. If I had been severe like ‘Umar, who was inferior to me, the sense of obedience of the people would have increased, and they would have desisted from criticism and hue and cry. However, as I am a forbearing person the people have become bold and daring.”
Then he referred to the objections and criticism directed against his own actions and declared openly: "Whatever I have done was a part of my prerogatives, and if I wish to exercise the authority vested in me, and the rights which I enjoy, I shall spend more money out of the public treasury and nothing will restrain me from doing so."; and in a threatening tone ‘Uthman declared: "I shall rub the noses of a number of people on the ground with my future actions."
‘Uthman had not yet dismounted the pulpit when ‘Ali said with a loud voice: "In that case you will be restrained from doing so.”
Then ‘Ammar spoke and said: "I swear by Allah that I shall be the first person whose nose will be rubbed on the ground.”
Of course, this was not the first objection raised by ‘Ammar. As you already know that he was most vociferous in raising objections at the time of the meeting of the six member council, which was constituted to select a Caliph and even after that he did not restrain from criticizing the government of the time on different occasions.
However, as he was a man who never lost calmness and tranquillity and made use of a thorough study and judgement and kept quiet when he saw that others were also saying the same thing in their criticism, he had remained safe from the sting of ‘Uthman's tongue and the blows of his lash. Furthermore, he had a special dignity and distinction among all classes of the Muslims. And more important than all these things was that the memorable remarks and traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) about him had provided him a special security, especially because these remarks and traditions had been heard from the Prophet (S) against ‘Uthman and in favour of ‘Ammar on the day on which the foundation stone of the masjid at Madina was laid and ‘Uthman, too, had not forgotten that incident. Above all the influence of ‘Ali and the awe inspired by his party was also an effective and important factor in favour of ‘Ammar.
Earlier than this Abdullah bin Mas'ud had become subjected to ‘Uthman's wrath, because this man also grappled with ‘Uthman fearlessly and without hiding his opinions. ‘Uthman banished him from the masjid and some of the officials dragged him out in such a manner that his ribs were broken and he fainted. Then he was taken to his house, and was deprived of all his rights on the public treasury. The people were forbidden from visiting him and none except a few particular companions including ‘Ammar visited him to enquire about his health.
When Abdullah's death drew near, ‘Ammar reached his bedside and listened to his last will. Abdullah asked ‘Ammar to offer his funeral prayers and to bury him secretly.
‘Ammar acted according to Abdullah's will. However, when ‘Uthman became aware of it later, he became angry, but kept his anger hidden.
Abu Dharr also became the target of ‘Uthman's wrath in his turn, because he raised objections publicly and did not refrain from open criticism. ‘Uthman, therefore, banished him to Damascus and asked Mu'awiya, the genius of the Umayyad family, to take corrective measures against him. However, Abu Dharr recommenced his religious activities in the capital and created such a hue and cry that Mu'awiya became worried. And as he had not yet occupied the royal throne and did not wish that his political career should become unstable he wrote to ‘Uthman about the activities and movement of Abu Dharr and sought remedy from him. ‘Uthman ordered that Abu Dharr might be mounted on a vicious animal of riding and sent to Madina.
Abu Dharr had not yet reached Madina when his bones had broken and the flesh of both of his thighs had worn away. The uneven movements of the vicious camel also broke his backbone.
Immediately on his arrival at Madina Abu Dharr was handed over to the administrative authorities and later banished to Rabaza.
At the time of Abu Dharr's banishment from Madina people were forbidden from seeing him off and none except ‘Ali, Aqil, Hasan, Husayn and ‘Ammar could pick up courage to escort him and bid him farewell.
Marwan was commissioned to banish Abu Dharr and he was taking care that none should talk to him. However, ‘Ali turned away Marwan and said good bye to Abu Dharr with a special remark which made the banishment easy for him and increased his steadfastness. Then ‘Ali turned to Aqil and ‘Ammar and said to them: "Bid farewell to your brother.” Then he addressed both of his sons and said to them: "Bid farewell to your uncle.”
Aqil, Hasan and Husayn bade farewell to Abu Dharr one by one and uttered remarks similar in principle to those uttered by ‘Ali.
At last ‘Ammar bade farewell to Abu Dharr and said: "May he, who has thrown you in loneliness, be deprived of the blessings of Allah! May he, who has frightened you, never see comfort and security! Of course, if you had sought their world they would have provided you with security and if you had expressed your consent to what they did they would certainly have loved you!
The only factor and reason which does not permit the people to share your views is certainly their attachment to the world and fear of death. Yes! The people love power and the State and sovereignty belongs to him who dominates and takes the power in his hands. It is due to this fact that the people have sold their faith to such persons and they, too, have given gifts to the people from the resources which are at their disposal. Alas! These people have lost their faith and the next world and what a patent and certain loss it is!"
This incident became the cause of ‘Uthman becoming annoyed with ‘Ali, although he had been accusing ‘Ali even before this event, but he had no ground and no excuse to his side.
‘Uthman used to abuse Talha, A’isha, Hafsa and Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, and was also harsh towards Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf. With the exception of ‘Ali everyone who criticized him became involved in hardships. As regards ‘Ali he was not a man who might say anything with the intention of opposition. His objections were based on principles and he had no object other than reform; and as he avoided haggling and rashness his position had remained safe, and this fact was perhaps the main factor which made ‘Uthman inimical towards him. However, farewell to Abu Dharr took place in such a manner that it provided an excuse to ‘Uthman; and as the personality of ‘Ali was in itself a fort in which Abu Dharr had entrenched himself and the matter was of utmost importance ‘Uthman strongly criticized ‘Ali immediately after the departure of the banished companion, Abu Dharr and said: "When Marwan had been appointed by me to put with effect the banishment of Abu Dharr and was performing his duty why did you turn him away?"
‘Ali replied: "As Marwan prevented our saying farewell to Abu Dharr it was necessary that I should have turned him away.”
‘Uthman said: “Marwan was my appointee and I had given him orders in the capacity of a Caliph and it was his duty to enforce them!"
‘Ali said in reply: "The Caliph should not give orders which involve sin and should not prevent the performance of an act which is obligatory and as and when he gives such orders it is not worth being obeyed or enforced.”
At this stage ‘Uthman, in order to put an end to the controversy, asked ‘Ali to apologize to Marwan.
‘Ali said: "If there be an occasion to apologize I can speak affably to you, but it is something impossible to apologize to Marwan. And it is also necessary to make this point clear that my refusal to apologize to Marwan is only for the reason that if this is done he will dominate you all the more, and his power will increase, and thereafter he will impose his pervasive politics on you to a still larger extent. And I tell you once again that it is in your interest to drive this child of Satan away from you.”
At this time the sensual problem which had formed a knot in ‘Uthman's mind and was stinging him, opened a path before him for cooperation.
‘Uthman knew very well that ‘Ali did not deviate from moderation while giving advice and he was a reformer and admonisher whose advice was not prompted by spite and rancour and he had no personal consideration or avarice, as distinguished from other chief contenders, everyone of whom was influenced by a special factor and made a rush upon ‘Uthman. For this reason he considered the criticism by others to be insignificant and not deserving of contention and campaign .Furthermore, as during those days he was under the influence of the factor and motive of benevolence and expedience, he endeavoured to find out the reason for the rebellion which had taken place against him. And incidentally he was thinking of assessing the standard of the capability and efficiency of the rival. For this and other reasons, therefore, he chose the path of accusing ‘Ali and his recourse to this action resembled that of a mental patient. ‘Ali was not oblivious of this fact. He had, therefore, reminded him about this matter a number of times.
Whatever the real matter may have been, the relations between ‘Ali and ‘Uthman's adherents became strained after Abu Dharr had been seen off, and the opposition became acute. In other words accusation of ‘Ali by ‘Uthman increased so much that the equilibrium was lost and the dispute assumed such dimensions that ‘Uthman invited ‘Ali in the middle of a hot summer day and, in order to satisfy his own heart, struck him with a bamboo cane. In spite of this ‘Ali continued to tender him advice and prayed to Allah for his cure.
Eventually ‘Uthman softened and went to ‘Ali once again with kindness and love, sought his help with the consideration of kinship, and requested ‘Ali not to give away the family bias and dignity.
Once Abbas rose to mediate and thereafter Abdullah bin Abbas intervened a number of times to obtain the co-operation of ‘Ali and was under the impression that he would succeed in his efforts.
Abdullah apologized to ‘Uthman and said "I haven't been able to achieve any result from my mediation, because ‘Ammar opposed me, for he does not wish that you should obtain ‘Ali's support.” We are not aware whether these remarks of Abdullah emanated from his cunning or he was true in what he said.
In any case on all these important and delicate occasions the shadow of ‘Ammar was visible and his personality and views was the subject of discussion and attention. However, ‘Uthman was well aware of the rank, popularity and position of ‘Ammar in the society and was afraid of the memorable remarks and tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) about him. He was also worried about his (‘Ammar's) relations with ‘Ali. For these reasons he excused him from the sting of his tongue, verbal molestation and whipping. And the whip was the very tool which brought worst reproaches on ‘Uthman
However, as ‘Uthman introduced himself as an absolute ruler and, as explained above, ‘Ali restrained him and ‘Ammar rejected his claim, he (‘Uthman) got excited and burst out in the masjid. As at that time he had regard for ‘Ali he did not say anything to him, but he abused ‘Ammar. As a result of this ‘Ammar also got excited and burst forth, and attacked ‘Uthman and severely criticized his actions.
This annoyed ‘Uthman all the more and he summoned ‘Ammar before himself again but ‘Ammar refused to go. Hence he was dragged forcibly and taken before ‘Uthman and there a strong altercation took place between them.
Immediately on leaving ‘Uthman ‘Ammar proceeded to the masjid. He entered the mosque, where the people sat round him and began conversing with him. ‘Ammar began speaking and discussed the dangers which had arisen from the rebellion of the people against the unjust activities of ‘Uthman and explained all his unwarranted actions to the people.
On receiving information about this development ‘Uthman deputed a police party to drive away and disperse the people from around ‘Ammar.
This campaign by ‘Ammar against ‘Uthman resembled that which had taken place in Makkah some years ago.
‘Uthman was puzzled and perplexed and feared that he might be obliged to perform the role of Abu Jahl in this dispute. And as ‘Ammar had been recognized by all the Muslims to be the missionary and proclaimer of Paradise and the sign of guidance, he (‘Uthman) was worried, because if he stood against him, he would be recognized as his opposite pole and among people like Abu Jahl.
One day some companions including Zubayr, Talha, and Miqdad met together and after serious deliberations decided unanimously to write a letter to ‘Uthman. It was proposed to explain in the letter ‘Uthman's deviations and unlawful acts and to ask him to repent for them and also to resign from the office of Caliphate.
A letter was however written on these very lines, and ‘Ammar and ten others proceeded to deliver it to ‘Uthman. However, on their way all others slipped into the lanes one by one and ‘Ammar alone approached ‘Uthman and handed over the letter to him. ‘Uthman took the letter, read it and then said to ‘Ammar: "Has this letter been written by you?" ‘Ammar replied: "Yes I have written it". ‘Uthman asked: "Has it been written by you only?"‘Ammar replied: "I was not alone. Some other persons were also with me, but, being afraid of you, they have dispersed.” ‘Uthman said: "Tell me their names". ‘Ammar replied: "In no circumstances shall I mention their names.” ‘Uthman asked: "Why did you take this step alone when others feared?"
At this moment Marwan hurried up to give a reply, and said to ‘Uthman: "How long will you observe patience before this black slave? It is this very man, who has emboldened the people against you. If you kill him, the persons who have been supporting him will be terrified and other rebellious people will take lesson from his being put to death.”
After hearing the words of Marwan ‘Uthman ordered that ‘Ammar might be beaten. His slaves began beating ‘Ammar and he himself also joined them. They beat him so much that he suffered from hernia and became senseless.
Thereafter he was raised from the ground and thrown into the street like refuse.
After this incident Umme Salma came to know about all the hue and cry and came up to ‘Ammar. When she saw him in a state of coma, she directed that he might be taken to her house. People lifted the unconscious ‘Ammar on their hands and took him to the house of Umme Salma. There ‘Ammar kept lying in the same condition and as a consequence of this his noon, afternoon and dusk prayers lapsed.
As soon as he regained his senses he saw that the Mothers of the Faithful (Umme Salma, A’isha and Hafsa) and other parties to the dispute had encircled him. He then praised and thanked Allah and thought of his prayers, and offered them.
After having offered the prayers he was reminded of the mischief of Abu Jahl and said: "If I have been beaten it is not for the first time that I have been persecuted and subjected to torture in the path of Allah.”
After the incident of ‘Ammar being beaten and his becoming senseless ‘Uthman came out of his house and saw that Bani Makhzum had assembled there, and were making a hue and cry, and their chief viz. Hisham bin Walid bin Mughira was also present, and they were annoyed on account of the insult meted out to their confederate.
On this occasion Hisham keeping in view the tragic condition of ‘Ammar, turned to ‘Uthman and said: "I swear by Allah that if ‘Ammar dies I shall kill one of the elders of Bani Umayyah.”
‘Uthman smiled jestingly and went his way so that he might contact ‘Ali and have a talk with him.
The occurrence of this incident was a spark of danger which kindled a fire and its flame culminated in the assassination of the Caliph. But the Caliph's officials did not take these incidents seriously because they thought they might once again take the government in their hands thus claiming punishment for the murder of ‘Uthman. However, in spite of the vehemence with which ‘Ammar contended with the undesirable actions of the government of the time, he did not participate practically in the assassination of ‘Uthman. Rather he followed in ‘Ali's footsteps in connection with his efforts to save ‘Uthman.
‘Ali was endeavouring to save the Caliph from the evils of the revolution and its factors. It was for this very reason that when ‘Uthman was besieged ‘Ammar followed ‘Ali into his (‘Uthman's) house and ‘Ali advised ‘Uthman to resign his office or to surrender Marwan to the people.
Although ‘Ammar personally did not consider ‘Uthman to be a true believer, he did not take any further step and used to say: "‘Uthman was guilty of ingratitude (or inclined towards infidelity) in a very ugly manner.”
One day Hasan bin ‘Ali was arguing with ‘Ammar about the Islam and infidelity of ‘Uthman. However, as ‘Ammar was not satisfied, they referred the matter to ‘Ali for decision. ‘Ali gave a mild and gentle reply to both of them.
The period of ‘Ali was the period of ‘Ammar and, in fact, of everyone, because it was undoubtedly the period of justice, freedom, equality and the domination of Islam. In the circumstances it should not be expected that in such a period ‘Ammar should have remained obscure, idle and quiet. And again, keeping in view the fact that in the eyes of the Muslims, ‘Ammar was recognized to be the symbol of guidance, it is evident that in such an atmosphere and situation his activity, zeal, virtuous part and good reputation should have been utilized. Hence, in this historical period of theirs which was replete with various campaigns and battles all the Muslims had fixed their eyes on ‘Ammar for the solution of their problems. That is, in whatever row they saw ‘Ammar, they were satisfied that, that row was on the side of truth.
In short, the people distinguished goodness from evil and truth from falsehood through ‘Ammar.
The people were entitled to hold the view which they did about ‘Ammar and did not exaggerate or went beyond the bounds, because ‘Ammar was like a crescent which had risen from the horizon of Islam and had been striving for the last forty five years as a mujahid (warrior). He had witnessed the greatest perils and troubles which Islam had to face. He saw around him anxiety and agitation of mind as well as avarice and greed. He remained steadfast with perfectly solid faith, firm views and constant thinking, when most of his companions had become shaky and had become apostates. In the circumstances it is not surprising that out of all those different people such a weak and at the same time an active person should attain such honour, greatness, dignity and importance.
Imam as-Sadiq said to one of his companions: "Some people imagine: that until ‘Ali drew his sword he was not an Imam. If that be so it must be admitted that ‘Ammar (notwithstanding the fact that he had always been a sincere companion and follower of ‘Ali) was a loser.”
The point is that if ‘Ammar and his steadfastness in following ‘Ali did not accord with the established rule, the logic of Imam as-Sadiq would not have introduced him as the proof and sign of the Imamate of ‘Ali before his (‘Ali's) drawing the sword, and would not have treated his oath of allegiance a proof of the correctness of Shi 'a faith during the difficult situation for Imamate when ‘Ali was confined in his house.
From another point of view if amongst the Muslim sects this verdict had been peculiar to the Shi'a, only this logic would not have been firm, because so long as an argument is not supported by friends as well as foes it is not convincing. The fact is that this statement of Imam as-Sadiq, which was made more than a hundred years after the martyrdom of ‘Ammar, by way of proof, was a reflection of the views of all the Muslims about ‘Ammar during his own age, and during that time different sects, and ways of discussion and debate, which had appeared during the period of Imam as-Sadiq did not exist.
We shall however, discuss the depth of this view and the impression made by it on the enemies of ‘Ammar. In any case if we want to know about the piety of ‘Ammar this very testimony of Imam as-Sadiq which is the result of his reasoning should suffice.
The point which deserves attention in this discussion is that now we have before us the personality of ‘Ammar, the same personality which was recognized as the criterion of human values and example of virtuous concepts.
When we keep in view the fact that his right behaviour and conduct in the path of humanity elevated him to the summit of dignity and excellence, for which the flesh, blood, lineage and relationship are not needed so that he might have become honourable and dignified by these means. The fact is that those people, who had much nobler flesh and blood and much better origin as compared with him, praised his spiritual merits, dignity and rank.
For this very reason it may be said that it was necessary that as opposed to the period of ‘Uthman, which was the period of his weakness and limitation, this valuable element (‘Ammar) should have become active as soon as he found an opportunity and should have made his voice reach everywhere and eventually manifested his character.
During the rule of ‘Uthman the contention was initiated by ‘Ammar. He rose and revolted and declined to take oath of allegiance to that man. And ‘Uthman also during his rule took the initiative to forsake common practices and violate Islamic regulations which is proved by the fact that he supported Ubaydullah bin ‘Umar, who had killed Hurmuzin without any fault of his, and did not enforce the Islamic penal law against him.
From that day onwards ‘Ammar commenced his campaign and contention and approached ‘Ali and said: "O proclaimer of Islam! Get up and make a call! Virtue is dead and vice is alive. Pollution and indecency have taken the place of goodness and honesty!”
He also used to say: "I swear by Allah that if I had supporters I would have risen to oppose these people and I again swear by Allah that if one man steps forward to combat I shall be the second one".
Anyhow the jihad, steadfastness and self-sacrifice of ‘Ammar did not produce any result other than that he was recognized as one of the pivots of the Alavid period and this was a reality which was basically expected of him. Furthermore, during these days ‘Ammar was not the man who should have sat in a corner observing a long silence and become secluded like the ascetics, who sign and say "May Allah save us from the mischief!" Now ‘Ammar had become a perfectly different man. He had become vociferous and began his activities with comprehensive lectures and detailed discussions and debates. He went on speaking ceaselessly with great zeal and enthusiasm and made his voice reach everywhere.
The source of change and transition on this occasion is quite clear and if any person wishes to analyse the matters in this connection and to make a thorough study of the conditions of those days it will be quite easy for him to assess the position because the crescent of the Alavi State appeared in a disturbed, convulsive and foggy horizon and at the time of the appearance of this crescent troubles arose and divided the people into factions and groups and made the parties covetous, and darkened the thoughts in their entirety.
The effects and results of these convulsions, agitation and encounters affected ‘Ammar more than anyone else, for he was more worthy of being impressed by them.
As a result of this ‘Ammar was obliged to manifest his personality from the viewpoint of his obligation to invite and propagate Islam. And it is evident that while encountering such uproar a personality like him needs means and implements other than silence and muteness. Further more, this was not the first occasion when he had broken his silence and burst out, because he had been vociferous from the very early days of the rule of ‘Uthman and even if his tune and accent had changed due to the positive and negative aspects of the matter it must be admitted that the essence of his personality had been one and the same and he always sought help from this inherent essence for his missionary work.
In the light of the praise which the Holy Prophet (S) bestowed on ‘Ammar and as a result of the perseverance and stead-fastness which he showed on all occasions he had reached the summit of dignity, and had found his place at the pinnacle of confidence, reliance and honour. However, ‘Ammar calculated that staying at this status and continuance at this high summit of dignity, honour and greatness was not possible without sincerity, propagation of Islam, inviting people to it, and self-sacrifice for the sake of ‘Ali. He also felt that spending a long period replete with pain and hardships for the acquisition of all this dignity, honour and virtue had been a preamble to that he should play his role in this real period, the period of Alavi rule.
The Prophet (S) had told ‘Ammar things about his future as well as that of others and had also fixed his and others duties.
All that the Prophet (S) had predicted about ‘Ammar had happened except his martyrdom at the hands of a rebellious group. Now ‘Ammar was awaiting this very prophecy of the Prophet. Of course, after having passed ninety years of his age what else could he think of and what other thing could he desire to have?
Now dreadful disturbances had taken place and ‘Ammar had been recognized by the people as the sign of truth and the mark of guidance and now truth in the eyes of ‘Ammar meant ‘Ali.
"From today onwards there is no occasion for silence; dissimulation and caution." He said these words to himself and later these very concepts flowed on his tongue in the shape of words like a torrent with sweet and agreeable statements uttered in a vehement tone. He now got up to pursue his campaign with his hands and tongue, and took the initiative in action.
After the assassination of ‘Uthman his opponents who belonged to the tribe of Quraysh once again became his supporters and advocates And possibly the condition and position of the Mother of the Faithful A’isha in this tragedy was the manifestation of the most complete and perfect self-contradiction and strange distortion which the covetous Quraysh openly told about the murderers of ‘Uthman in these words: "A’isha has been the cause of the assassination of ‘Uthman by her strong incitement and continuous and extensive efforts and was anxious that in future the reins of government should go to the tribe of Taym through her cousin Talha.
Talha, Zubayr and Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas killed ‘Uthman by means of the money spent by them and their under hand plots.
Mu'awiya and the Umayyad party were treated to be the murderers of ‘Uthman, because they left him alone and did not come to his help.
Marwan and the descendants of Hakam and their friends, belonging to the tribe of Abi Mu'it killed ‘Uthman as a result of their selfish motives.
In spite of all this, however, when ‘Ali was elected as Caliph with the consensus of the Muslims these very groups changed their attitude and suddenly the same ‘Uthman who was an oppressor and an unbeliever yesterday became an oppressed martyr today!
The sad and doleful thing which one observes among these events is that a group of capricious, cowardly and impudent persons who were not ashamed of anything, and the covetous and greedy people who indulged in flattery and baseness, drove them to every direction, and joined hands and formed a group. This association and alliance and preparation of a mischievous programme created intricacies and difficulties not only in the city of Madina but in the capitals of all Islamic territories.
Talha, Zubayr and Sa'd broke their allegiance to the Caliph of the time, and a small group of people in Madina followed them. Then revolt broke out in all the Islamic territories. Mu'awiya refused to pay allegiance to the Caliph of the time.
Abu Musa Ash'ari left himself and others without any responsibility, with a strange obstinacy and stagnation.
In short the spirit of fear, anxiety, caution, circumspection and irresponsibility penetrated everywhere and most of the people awaited the appearance of a bright horizon so that their responsibility might be determined.
As against these conditions, as we are aware, the followers of ‘Ali displayed a sort of noble activity coupled with magnanimity and greatness and looked at this dark horizon with a firm resolution and an unprecedented stead fastness. However, among all of them ‘Ammar was more free from care, more active, more zealous and more self sacrificing and none could match him in oratory .
‘Ammar was informed that A’isha had left Makkah for Madina to avenge ‘Uthman's murder, but when the news of ‘Ali having assumed the Caliphate reached her, she abandoned her former decision.
On receiving this information ‘Ammar sent someone to A’isha. He reminded her of Allah and His Prophet (S) and also made a mention of her good fame and said: "It is not worthy of the Mother of the Faithful that she should forget what her attitude towards ‘Uthman was yesterday. She should remember that she used to say: ‘Kill Na'thal’. 1
It is also not worthy of the status of the Mother of the Faithful that she should forget the opinion already formed by her about ‘Ali. It is not also worthy of her to involve herself in such controversial affairs and in the field of politic, become a tool in the hands of those who have nefarious objects and evil intentions, and are opportunists and adventurous.” Unfortunately, however, the Mother of the Faithful, to whom his message was communicated, did not pay any heed to it. She remained with Talha and Zubayr till the day of the Battle of the Camel.
‘Ammar also observed that Mughira bin Sho'ba came to the Commander of the Faithful and made suggestions to him, and had some hopes and wishes while paying these visits. ‘Ammar understood his satanic politics and was also well aware of his deceitful life and hypocritical relations. He, therefore, watched carefully every step taken by this licentious person and in view of the fact that the position of a missionary of truth demanded that he should work for the mobilization of truth he did not refrain from inviting to his side even this obstinate person, so that he might also possibly join the camp of ‘Ali.
However, as Mughira had developed hostility against ‘Ali, he evaded agreeing to do so and preferred joining the camp of the Mother of the Faithful A’isha so that he might get the reward for the hostility against ‘Ali from her. Moreover, Mughira's being a member of the Umayyad party also did not allow him to become a follower of ‘Ali.
Above all Mughira was not, intrinsically a person who might have taken a decision and undertaken a task in such an agitated and convulsive atmosphere unless his material benefit was ensured. Hence, keeping all these matters in view, he said to ‘Ammar with a glib and soft tongue: "I need time till this dark horizon becomes bright and the moon appears. At that time I will take my step clear-sightedly in the light.”
Although this was the most explicit reply which was compatible with the condition and position of Mughira in all respects and represented his way of thinking. However as a missionary of truth always pursues his object with insistence ‘Ammar said to Mughira emphatically: "O Mughira! I seek refuge in Allah! Do you want to remain blind and sit in a corner like the blind when your inner eye has already been opened? Just reflect about your condition and see what you are seeing and what you are doing. I tell you that I am one who will not take a step except in the foremost row.”
When ‘Ammar said 'I' he did not utter this word in the capacity of the speaker but in the capacity of a sign of guidance and a symbol of exhortation.
‘Ammar drove Mughira into a corner, putting forward arguments continuously and making him dumbfounded. Mughira was looking this way and that way like a prey which wants to slip away from the hand of the hunter.
‘Ali was hearing the conversation of ‘Ammar and Mughira and fully realized that the discussion was futile and useless. He, therefore, said to ‘Ammar: "Leave Mughira alone. He wants only that much from the religion which guarantees his world (i.e. worldly gains). He purposely makes things dubious for himself and his idea is that these doubts should cover his lapses and serve as an excuse for his deviations.”
‘Ammar was not surprised at the deviation and aloof ness of Abdullah bin ‘Umar. He, therefore, obtained permission from the Commander of the Faithful to go and discuss the matters with him as well and to invite him to support the truth.
After having obtained the requisite permission in the name of Islam ‘Ammar went to Abdullah so as to remove the doubts which had become the cause of his deviation and aloofness, and to guide him with logical argument.
Immediately after his arrival at the residence of Abdullah, ‘Ammar initiated discussions with him and said: "O Abu Abdur Rahman! As you are aware the Muhajirs and the Ansar have taken the oath of allegiance to ‘Ali. If we prefer ‘Ali to you, you should not be annoyed, and if we prefer you to ‘Ali, you should not be pleased. Indeed, as regards your acknowledging that a sword should be drawn against one who offers prayers, it is an established fact.
I also held this belief before the ruler ship of ‘Ali and still hold the same view and you know that a murderer should be killed and an adulterer should be stoned to death. And then you know that ‘Ali has not killed any person who offered prayers.”
Abdullah understood what ‘Ammar wanted to say and also realized that ‘Ammar's reasoning was binding and according to Abdullah's past record he had taken oath of allegiance to one who had killed those who offered prayers and had also taken oath of allegiance to one who had forgiven an adulterer. However, as Abdullah was a person who was involved in deviation and crookedness like the Khawarij and had a special sense of love for renown coupled with the weakness of an ascetic, he contented himself with giving only the following reply to ‘Ammar: "I believe in the rightfulness of ‘Ali and can say at least this much with confidence that on the day of Shura (meeting of the consultative council) injustice was done to him as he was deprived of his right at the point of the sword.”
Incidentally he criticized his father (‘Umar) and hinting at the fact that his father was inimical towards ‘Ali secretly and openly, exonerated himself and said nothing else.
‘Ammar also contented himself with invitation and preaching to this extent only. Beyond that he had nothing to do. He then left Abdullah's house and treated him as excused.
‘Ammar was also told that the son of Abi Waqqas was making excuses and going back on his promises. He, therefore, went to him but realized that Sa'd was a low spirited man with a disturbed and confused intellect. Hence, he abandoned him to his illness and suffering and did not have any discussion with him.
‘Ammar learned that like other pleasure-seeking and voluptuous persons who falter in the path of truth and hold themselves aloof from godliness, Muhammad bin Muslima Ansari was entangled in a mental problem and was in a state of doubt and uncertainty .He, therefore, hurried up to Muhammad to relieve him of his perplexity. Muhammad said: "O pious Abul Yaqzan, you are welcome. I regret I have not seen you for so long a time! I swear by Allah that if the report which I happen to have with me had not emanated from the Holy Prophet. I would have taken oath of allegiance to ‘Ali even if all the people had been opposed to him.” While saying this Muhammad kept looking intently upon ‘Ammar's face to find out the impression made by his words on him. Then he added: "What can I do in the matter when the Holy Prophet (S) has already expressed his views on the subject?"
‘Ammar said: "O Muhammad! Speak clearly and explicitly. If what you say is correct I shall be with you and I swear by Allah that I shall not go against truth in any circumstances and if I realize that you are right I shall surrender.”
Muhammad said: "The Holy Prophet (S) has ordered us that when we see that the Muslims have begun killing those who offer prayers, we should remain aloof and neutral.”
‘Ammar said: "Did you hear these words from the Holy Prophet?"
Muhammad replied: "Yes. I heard these words from him with my own ears.”
‘Ammar said: "I don't accuse you. However, if it is proved that the Prophet (S) said this, it needs correct interpretation. You have said that the Prophet (S) was pleased to remark that whenever you see the Muslims killing one another… ...I must tell you that it is not at all possible that two Muslims may draw swords to kill each other. And if you see at any time that two Muslims are drawing swords against each other you should know for certain that one of them is not a Muslim. In that case it is your duty to side with the Muslim who is right. And if the Holy Prophet (S) mentioned those who offer prayers you will be one of the two witnesses. Do you mean to say that the Holy Prophet (S) said anything on the subject after the sermon of the farewell Haj? Did he say anything besides this: ‘Your blood and your property are unlawful for one another except when someone may create an accident...’ O Muhammad! In that case do you want to say that we should not fight against those who create mischief?"
The son of Muslima surrendered before this logical argument and elaborates jurisprudence, especially because this very strong logic made him understand the difference between a true Muslim and a hypocritical worshipper, and he was obliged to give a judgement that it was necessary to kill those who created mischief and had risen against the sacred Islamic principles.
Eventually Muhammad contented himself with discussion and debate to this extent only and said: "O godly man! Put an end to the matter now.”
The son of Muslima was afraid that after removing his doubt ‘Ammar would also solve his mental problem. And this problem which could not be solved had arisen from the fact that ‘Ali had killed one of Muhammad's brothers in the Battle of Khayber.
Among the supporters of ‘Ali, ‘Ammar was the person, whose outward movement was slower than that of others, but in fact its enthusiasm and activity were much greater than those of others.
At the same time he was the person who endeavoured more than others for the advancement of truth on all occasions and kept an eye on all the developments which took place in those days. And on the whole he excelled all others so far as capability, merit, intellectual power, correctness of views and knowledge were concerned.
During the four months since the oath of allegiance was taken to ‘Ali (i.e. before ‘Ali's departure to Basra to meet those who had been guilty of breach of promise) ‘Ammar was occupied in Madina, in inviting one, strengthening another to remain constant, and putting still another in his proper place.
Anyhow, when ‘Ali became aware of the proceeding of A’isha, Talha and Zubayr to Basra he decided to stop them so that mischief could be avoided. He left for Basra with this purpose, and nine hundred companions consisting of the Muhajirs and the Ansar also proceeded with him.
‘Ammar was the chief of this army and a large number of Muslims had also proceeded with him. When the army reached Rabaza it became known that A’isha, Talha and Zubayr had already proceeded towards Basra and no time was left to overtake them. ‘Ali, therefore, sent his nephew Muhammad bin Ja'far and Muhammad bin Abu Bakr to Kufa along with a letter addressed to Abu Musa, the governor of that city, wherein he directed that Abu Musa should equip the people and send them to Basra to meet him (‘Ali) there.
However, when the said two persons arrived in Kufa they realized that the agent of the Commander of the Faithful in Kufa, or, in more appropriate words, the agent of Ashtar2 was an enemy whose hostility ought to have been avoided. It was so, because Abu Musa was asking the people to refrain from rising or taking any action and was fabricating traditions and inviting the people by this means to neutrality, fear and seclusion. This state of affairs became the cause of the two Muhammads quarrelling seriously with Abu Musa, and harsh words were exchanged between them.
The Commander of the Faithful then sent Abdullah bin Abbas and Muhammad bin Abu Bakr to Abu Musa along with a strongly worded letter by means of which he dismissed him and ordered him to hand over the government of Kufa to these two persons. And when some days passed and no news was received from Kufa the Commander of the faithful became anxious lest some disturbance should have taken place there! ‘Ali then proceeded from Rabaza to Zi Qar and reached near Kufa.
He once again confirmed the orders regarding dismissal of Abu Musa through Hasan (his son) and ‘Ammar (his minister) and also sent along with them some competent and distinguished persons like Qays bin Sa'd and Zayd bin Sohan so that if possibly Abu Musa declined to carry out the orders Ibn Abbas and Muhammad bin Abu Bakr might persuade him to comply with the same.
In these circumstances, however, Abu Musa's resistance increased with the arrival in Kufa of the last delegates of the Commander of the Faithful and he showed obstinacy to Ibn Abbas and his companions. And when the new delegates of the Commander of the Faithful communicated the orders to the people Abu Musa mounted the pulpit, reproached the people and invited them to deliberate and reflect! He fabricated traditions attributing them to the Holy Prophet (S) and asked the two parties to refrain from fighting!
‘Ali had friends as well as some enemies in Kufa. However, Kufa has a strange characteristic in regard to friendship and hostility, because friendship and hostility of its people is without any base or foundation. In other words the standard of social relations in this city is certainly the special likings, and the people are subordinate to the atmosphere of the events.
During those days the atmosphere of Kufa required that the people should tread the path of procrastination, hesitation, and selfishness, and did not demand seriousness of action, and Ibn Abbas too had not been ordered to take any severe action. He was not, therefore, harsh with Abu Musa and did not also prevent him from mounting the pulpit. In the circumstances it was natural that so long as the government house and the pulpit were under the control of Abu Musa these characteristics of procrastination, hesitation, and selfishness and egotism were quite in keeping with the taste of the people of Kufa.
At this juncture Hasan bin ‘Ali arrived in Kufa accompanied by ‘Ammar. And as you are aware ‘Ammar was the Governor of Kufa of yesterday and a friend of the people of this city. He had ruled there for quite a long time during the reign of Caliph ‘Umar and acquired successes which resulted in his removal from office!
The nature of the people of Kufa is like that of naughty and wicked students who welcome their teacher in the beginning and show him regard till they understand his personality. As soon as they realize that the teacher is a gentle, simple-hearted and good mannered, they begin teasing and annoying him. However, if they find that he is a stout-hearted and severe man, they try to win his heart and to take precedence of one another in obeying him.
The relations of the people of Kufa with their rulers were similar to this and they knew the features of ‘Ammar.
Before this time ‘Ammar too had tested the people very well. However, Hasan bin ‘Ali who had arrived there for the first time was not acquainted with the people. Only the people knew that he was the son of the Imam, the grandson of their Holy Prophet (S) and the chief of the young men of Paradise. In the circumstances the people looked at him with curiosity and appointed spies and reporters on him.
The attractive personality, dignity, and fascinating speech of Hasan drew the attention of the people towards him and when he addressed a public gathering for the first time all were stunned by his superiority .Before he began speaking, the people felt that he was a unique person and as soon as he commenced his speech and spoke a few sentences the people said:
“Allah knows better where He places His Message.” (Surah al An'am, 6:124)
When Hasan son of the Commander of the Faithful sat down after delivering his speech, ‘Ammar walked up with his hand on the belt of his sword and began speaking. In his address he explained to the audience the principles of the religion, the elements of Islam and the value of its campaigns. During the course of his speech he also explained all the qualities and distinctions and the status of ‘Ali in accordance with Islamic standards and said: "At present the people are faced with two difficulties viz. opposition to the religion or respect for the Mother of the Faithful, and now they are to be tested". He then solved this difficulty in the shape of an explicit legal problem and based his judgement on giving priority to more important over important i.e. preferring religion to the respect for the Mother of the Faithful and emphasized that in any case safety of the religion enjoyed priority over the respect for the Mother of the Faithful.
Notwithstanding the fact that Talha and Zubayr were the companions of the Holy Prophet, ‘Ammar did not attach much importance to them, because they had broken the oath of allegiance and had risen to the detriment of Islam and the security of the State. He then invited the people to receive and meet ‘Ali and said: "If you are not prepared to assist him you should at least discuss the matter with him so that the reality may become known to you. If, as a result of this, some people agree with him they will assist him and if they are opposed to him they will reproach him.”
Democracy and steadfastness in proving the truth based on absolute freedom are quite evident from the speech of ‘Ammar, and similarly the power of conviction based on reasoning, before the rule of the sword, is also clearly perceptible and clear from it.
The fact is that the reflection of these realities is the manifestation of the spirit of ‘Ali. This shows the method of contention and the policy of his government and which also displays itself in his followers in this manner.
Of course ‘Ali was a man who opened as extensive a field for discussion before the people as possible, and gave them so much opportunity and liberty of action in this behalf, that even during the present times none of the most modern democratic societies can match it. There are people who find fault with him on this account and consider this policy to be a weak one, although this very thing is the peak of his politics.
Abu Musa who was aware of the broadmindedness and extensive noble sense of indulgence and leniency of ‘Ali refrained from sending his representatives to him. Hence, in that very assembly he stood up after ‘Ammar had spoken and expressed his views before the people, and advised them to remain secluded and neutral and spend their time quietly. He also put forward before the people arguments like display of Islamic brotherhood, respect for the blood of the Muslims and refraining from mischief, and said to them: "It is obligatory for the people to throw their arms on the ground.”
With his monotonous logic Abu Musa was firm in his opposition to ‘Ali. He prohibited the people incessantly from supporting ‘Ali and impressed upon them the respect due to the Mother of the Faithful and said: "All the people should remain neutral so that the person, who has kindled the fire of war, should himself be devoured by it.”
Abu Musa mostly supported his words with the verses of the Holy Qur'an, Hadith and general principles of Islamic Jurisprudence and the most important report which he relied upon was this that he said, I have heard the Prophet, who mentioned this trouble saying: “When this trouble arises it will be better for you to be asleep than be sitting; and if you are sitting it is better than that you should be standing. And if you are standing it is better than that you should be walking.”
‘Ammar stood up before Abu Musa sat down. He began arguing on the basis of the principles of jurisprudence and immediately attracted the attention of the people. He turned to Abu Musa and said: "Did you hear the Holy Prophet (S) saying this?" Abu Musa said: "Yes. I put this hand of mine in pledge.”
‘Ammar said: "If you have spoken the truth you alone are responsible and according to this argument you should confine yourself to your house and should not witness the trouble. However, what I heard from the Holy Prophet (S) was that he ordered ‘Ali to fight with Nakithin (those who broke the covenant) and he also told me the names of those persons. Furthermore, he ordered ‘Ali to fight against Qasitin (the deviated ones). If you desire I can produce witnesses who may testify that the Prophet (S) prohibited you and you only.”
At that moment, while he was standing firmly, he said to Abu Musa in a decisive and determined tone: "Give me that hand which you pledged falsely.”
Abu Musa extended his hand. After having expressed his views ‘Ammar held Abu Musa by the hand, pulled him down from the pulpit, and threw him among the people.
Then he turned to the people and said: "Abu Musa has asked you to remain neutral with regard to the two armies which have been mobilized and what he has said is not correct" He further added: "If people act upon the advice of Abu Musa, Allah will not be pleased with them, because He has said:
If two groups of the believers begin fighting with each other, you should reconcile them. However, if one group commits aggression it is incumbent upon you to fight against that rebellious group till it submit to the Command of Allah and then reconcile them in accordance with justice. (Surah al-Hujurat, 49:9)
The Almighty Allah has also said:
Fight against them till mischief is put down and the Divine Religion (Islam) becomes firm and secure. (Surah al-Baqara, 2: 19)
O people! Ponder carefully and say as to which of these Divine verses conforms to the false and deceitful suggestions of Abu Musa. Allah will not be pleased with you unless you stand up and enquire about the rebellious group and fight against the rebels till right returns to the appropriate authority, unity of purpose is established and trouble is eliminated.
O people! Ask Abu Musa as to who has created this trouble. Did the public not take oath of allegiance to ‘Ali and is this oath not binding upon all the Muslims? Did not Talha and Zubayr, who have deluded the Mother of the Faithful and are dissuading the people by her means from paying attention to truth and are, defrauding them, take oath of allegiance to ‘Ali? Are not these two persons committing breach of covenant? Has ‘Ali created trouble and started a quarrel that he should deserve to be removed from office? Is ‘Ali a man who should be put on trial on account of sin?
Ask Abu Musa these questions and also demand proof from him so that his fraud and deceit may be revealed to you. Then rise according to the Command of Allah to administer justice and to support your Imam and leader. May Allah bless you!
O people of Kufa! If previously news about us reached you from a far now you can see our condition from near. What I mean to say is that the murderers of ‘Uthman don't regret before the people what they have done and don't apologize. They don't also deny their act. Although I didn't participate in this act personally but I must say that I didn't hate this occurrence. Those who have killed ‘Uthman have made the Book of Allah the judge and arbiter between themselves and those who have raised a hue and cry in connection with the murder of ‘Uthman and have resorted to discussions and disputes. The Book of Allah contains orders regarding the life of those who are alive and the death of those who are dead, which should be acted upon: In this way those who are pursuing the path of dispute should desist from rebellion. A court should then be set up for the solution of the problem.
Now as regards Talha and Zubayr, they have broken their allegiance to their Imam and leader without his having created any mischief.
This is Hasan, son of the Prophet's daughter. All of you know him. He seeks your help and ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali will also be arriving soon accompanied by a number of the Muhajirs and the Ansar who fought in the Battle of Badr. Rise and make haste to assist him so that Allah may make you victorious.”
‘Ammar did not become quiet till he acquired mastery over the intellects and sentiments of the people and held the reins of their thinking and will in his own hands. In spite of this Abu Musa did not despair and began speaking again hoping to defeat ‘Ammar by means of conversation and discussion. However, as soon as he started his speech, Zayd bin Sohan broke the calmness of the assembly and said: "O Abdullah bin Qays! (Abu Musa's first name) Do you want to turn back the waves of the river Euphrates? Refrain from discussing a matter with which you are not conversant".
At this time Shith bin Rabi'i and some members of Taym tribe who were the supporters of Abu Musa were cross. Then Qays bin Sa'd and the judge Sharih spoke one after the other.
Thereafter voices were raised in support of ‘Ammar from all sides and a smaller number of persons supported Abu Musa. Consequently Abu Musa was obliged to leave the assembly and proceed to his official residence.
Abu Musa, who had abandoned speaking any more in the public gathering, went to his house and having placed a pulpit there continued his invitation in favour of the Mother of the Faithful A’isha and preventing the people from supporting and assisting ‘Ammar.
The persons present in the masjid encircled Hasan, ‘Ammar and their companions, In the meantime the news was received that Abu Musa had placed a pulpit in his palace and was busy addressing the people. Thereupon Hasan, ‘Ammar and their companions went to the palace.
During this conflict when the people had crowded and a new hue and cry had a risen someone said loudly: "Here comes Ashtar!" Ashtar came. On hearing the voice and becoming informed of his arrival the guardsmen of the palace went to Abu Musa and told him that Ashtar had arrived.
The person who had seen Ashtar said: "On hearing this news the colour of poor Abu Musa's face changed on account of acute anxiety, and the saliva in his mouth became dry, so much so that he gave himself up completely. At that moment he dismounted the pulpit in great fear, and his head fell down in such a way that the onlookers thought that he was crawling on the ground”.
‘Ali had sent Ashtar in order to suppress the disturbances, because he was receiving news regularly.
The moment Ashtar arrived and Abu Musa was dismounting the pulpit on account of his fear, Ashtar said to him loudly: "O donkey! Have you still not given up braying? When the Commander of the Faithful has issued orders regarding your dismissal what are you doing here? Get out. You have no longer any right to stay here even for a moment.”
Poor Abu Musa requested Ashtar for time to stay on in Kufa for one more night so that he might settle his affairs and then go away.
The vulgar and roguish people thought of availing themselves of the opportunity afforded by the dismissal of Abu Musa and planned to attack and plunder his property. However, Ashtar stopped them and said: "It is sufficient that you are driving him away from here.”
With the going away of Abu Musa the conditions in Kufa calmed down and order was restored.
Volunteers joined one another in the shape of military columns and a well-equipped army was formed whose rows marched in an organized manner under the standard of guidance and order.
‘Ammar was one of the standard-bearers of the Battle of the Camel. The day of the Battle of the Camel was interesting in one respect, and frightening and dreadful in another. In this battle ‘Ali selected ‘Ammar as the commander of the cavalry. ‘Ammar proceeded to organize a part of the army in accordance with the programme of the Alavi military technique and led the cavalry like a formidable thunderbolt with a special pride of faith which acquired strength from the Battle of Badr.
In this troop there could be found no man, who should be ready to fight with as much joy and mirth as ‘Ammar.
Breaches or weak point could often be seen in some parts of the military troop of ‘Ali but the front of ‘Ammar was more lofty and elevated than surging of the sea.
With the strength of constancy and steadfastness peculiar to him, ‘Ammar strengthened all sides of the organization related to his army and then gave orders for an attack. As a result of careful arrangement and the discipline maintained by him the army under his command gained complete victory over the opponents.
The army of the Mother of the Faithful possessed the strength of party spirit only and had not other support, whereas in the Army of ‘Ali a greater power was available in the shape of spirituality and godliness and ‘Ammar was one of the manifestations of these established realities. For was ‘Ammar not the same martyr who was to be killed at the hands of a rebellious group?
One of the wonderful points which deserve notice in connection with this battle is the following incident: At one of the critical moments of the battle, ‘Ali was occupying the seat of command and was issuing orders when sleep overtook him. And at that very moment both the wings of his army were attacked and the enemy made breaches in them.
Hayyan bin Jahin came to inform ‘Ali of the impending danger and wondered to see that at that critical moment the Supreme Commander was feeling sleepy.
While relaxing the Supreme Commander was soliloquising and calling Allah to witness regarding his innocence with regard to that mischief (Battle of the Camel) and the one relating to ‘Uthman.
After uttering these words he girded his loins, entered the battlefield, attacked the enemy forces and strengthened the two wings of his army which had sustained injuries and then returned to his camp.
As he was feeling thirsty at the time of his return he asked for water. The sentinel posted at the seat of command did not give him water keeping in view his fatigue and thirst, and need to safeguard his health, but instead of it supplied him with some honey to suck.
While sucking the honey ‘Ali asked: "Nephew! Is this honey of yours from Ta 'if?”
The man who presented the honey says: "I wondered at the sensitiveness of the taste, presence of sense and concentration of the thoughts of the Commander who could distinguish between the honey of Ta 'if and other places when he had just then returned from the battlefield and was tired and thirsty!"
In reply to his expression of wonder the Commander of the Faithful said: "Son! Don't wonder. I swear by Allah that it has not happened so far that something should occupy the thoughts of your uncle or that he should be frightened of something"
Then he began fighting again and within a short time the army of 'the camel' retreated and the camel on whose saddle the standard had been hoisted fell down on the ground and the standard also fell down along with it. At that moment the adherents and sentinels of the camel also scattered and some relatives (of ‘Uthman) including Marwan bin Hakam and Amr bin ‘Uthman were taken prisoners.
The first person who reached by the side of the fallen camel was ‘Ali and after him ‘Ammar, Malik Ashtar, Muhammad bin Abi Bakr and some other brave men reached there.
At this moment the proclaimer of the Commander of the Faithful announced the end of the battle of Islam and said: "None is entitled to pursue a fugitive or to attack a wounded person or to tear a curtain.”
These announcements were not mere moral directions but were legal orders. They provided a correct view of the logic and conduct of ‘Ali and were a part of his plan in the matter of executive powers and organization of the State and protection of the higher interests of Islam and were expressed and acted upon with perfect gentleness and leniency and without subjecting the people to hardship or duress.
Unfortunately this intelligent viewpoint made the actual matter dubious for the people, because in spite of the expression of this view they did not understand the real limits of the matter. According to custom it was rumoured that: "The blood, property and women of the combatants are recognized to be lawful" and the people did not know the solution of this problem.
The ambiguous irrational and tingling voice of the people reached the ears of ‘Ammar and there was a strong probability that he knew the solution of the problem. And as we have heard and seen in connection with ‘Ammar's debate and discussion with Muhammad bin Muslima Ansari as to what extent he was conversant with the elements and principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, he could not also be accused of lack of knowledge in the present case. However, he wished that ‘Ali should solve this problem. He, therefore, approached ‘Ali and said: "O Commander of the Faithful! Accord permission that the persons who have been taken prisoners in the Battle of the Camel may be killed.”
The Commander of the Faithful replied: "I am not going to kill the people of the Qibla”.
As you are aware ‘Ammar knew the difference between a Muslim who had understood the elements of Islam and one who offered prayers but was faced with anxiety and agitation in connection with these elements, and possibly he did not show any kind sentiments and love for such worshippers till that moment. However, the point at issue was that he considered that law, about the correctness of which he had not doubt, to be sufficient for himself but in order that the position might become clear to others he considered it necessary that the requisite declaration should be made by the competent authority. However, there were persons whose knowledge of legal matters was lesser than that of ‘Ammar and who did not content themselves with the judgement.
It was for this reason that ‘Ali explained the philosophy of this order to them, but it was difficult for them to comprehend it and they could not analyse the matter. ‘Ali, therefore, acted leniently with them so that he might find a perceptible reality to serve as a means of giving them a convincing reply. Hence he said to them: "Draw lots and every one of you should take his share of the booty accordingly.”
When they got ready to divide the booty the Commander of the Faithful said to them: "Your mother A’isha has now become a prisoner. Who from amongst you is agreeable that she should fall to his share?"
All of them said: "We ask Allah to forgive us.”
‘Ali said: "I also seek His forgiveness.”
It was then that all of them realized the position.
After Abdullah bin Abbas, the new Governor of Basra, assumed the reins of office and acquired control over the state of affairs and the life of the people became normal, peace prevailed throughout the vast Islamic territories except in Syria.
However, the conditions in Syria was not important in itself because the rebel in that area was Mu'awiya, and if, according to the values prevalent in the world of Islam in those days, some people had regard for Talha, Zubayr and the Mother of the Faithful A’isha. Mu'awiya, on the contrary, did not enjoy any value in the eyes of the Islamic world and was known as a freedman son of a freedman.
All knew that he was the son of that very person who assumed the leadership of the clans (Ahzab) and instigated the Jews to annihilate Islam. For this reason the circumstances of Syria or the mischief of Mu'awiya in Damascus had no real importance, but its importance was connected with the historical environments and the factors of the time. In fact these very factors were the cause of campaign against ‘Ali and not that the fraud and deceit practised by Mu'awiya in his Machiavellian politics strengthened his position.
In any case the reasons advanced by Mu'awiya for rebellion against ‘Ali had no basis except vain sophistry, and he was automatically considered annihilated even before he was subjected to the blow of truth.
Mu'awiya accused ‘Ali of the murder of ‘Uthman, but there was not even one person throughout the world of Islam of that day who might confirm this charge.
Those who considered ‘Ali innocent of this accusation had no doubt that Mu'awiya himself was an accomplice in the murder of ‘Uthman, because, notwithstanding the fact that he could save ‘Uthman he refrained from doing so. Moreover, ‘Uthman had sons who were his heirs and the guardians of his blood. Mu'awiya stole a march on them and assumed this title himself. And even if he had taken a step in this behalf in the capacity of an agent it may be said that he would have made a mistake, because the proper way for solving such problems is to approach the law court and not to resort to rebellion and revolt.
Besides this Mu'awiya claimed that he had not taken an oath of allegiance to ‘Ali, as had been done by Talha and Zubayr and it was not, therefore, incumbent upon him to obey the new Caliph.
It may be said in this connection that Mu'awiya’s ignorance of the problem was more baseless then his original claim, because he wanted to provide for a rule on the subject on the basis of exceptions and to make it prevail over the general orders and forge a sanctity for himself so that by this action he might show the Islamic society to be false and depraved. And relying on this he claimed that the vote of the people of Syria and not of those of the Hijaz was worthy of obedience.
Anyhow I do not know, if this claim of Mu'awiya was not domineering and coercion, what else domineering and coercion are!
All the reasoning and arguments of Mu'awiya were feeble and baseless like the vegetables which grow on the surface of water and he himself knew that they were even feebler than that. He relied on this pretext only for the reason that he knew that the power of understanding and assessment of the people was weaker and more baseless than even the strength of such vegetables.
Apart from this the decision taken by Mu'awiya in those days was not something new.
It was a deep and comprehensive decision which had traversed many stages with care and solidity. This fact has already been referred to in this book and the readers have not perhaps forgotten Abu Sufyan's having been turned away by ‘Ali after the meeting at Saqifa.
Anyhow these stages were the outcome of some historical factors which proved to be more beneficial for the Umayyad party-spirit as compared with the Hashimite justice. Furthermore, the historical events which manifested themselves during the period of the third Caliph were the most effective factors which according to the exigencies of the time proved harmful to ‘Ali. ‘Ali had all these matters in view and none knew better than he that during this interval, as demanded by the circumstances, the only way of over coming the difficulties and the last means to arrive at a final solution was soothing covetousness and returning to the revival of party spirit and purchase of consciences! But Imam ‘Ali was a man who said: "I am not going to seek help from the deviated seducers or to make them the means of success.” He made this position clearly known to Mughira who contacted him and suggested that Mu'awiya might be allowed to retain Damascus.
Imam ‘Ali gave the same reply to Mu'awiya when he asked him to entrust the government of Damascus and Cairo to him so that he (Mu'awiya) might take oath of allegiance to him. ‘Ali rejected his request. He adopted this attitude because he considered himself under obligation to enforce Islamic principles and at the same time the path of solving the political problems in the manner in which his contemporary politicians and those of later ages reflected upon was closed before him and he was not neglectful of it.
However, he was on his guard against treachery, deceit and bargaining and as his conduct was peculiar to himself he did not pay attention to the political behaviour and policies of others. For this reason and taking into account the rule and principle which he had in view he did not agree to allow Mu'awiya to retain Syria and as a matter of principle his action with regard to Mu'awiya was based on the same rule and principle according to which he had rejected Mu'awiya's request previously and had said: "I am not going to seek help from the seducers.”
He also knew very well that the observance of this rule and principle was not compatible with the spirit of his time and following this policy would create the greatest difficulties for him. Nevertheless the only factor and cause which made him persevere and consider the exigencies of time to be insignificant was that, he wished that there should be ‘Ali and not Mu'awiya.
Imam ‘Ali was struggling to safeguard and enforce this principle and rule and not to attain to ruler ship and kingdom. He did not desire a transient victory but wished to achieve a permanent and eternal victory.
The clearest proof of the correctness of this claim and of his careful attention towards these things is that he said to some of his companions who were showing much humiliation before him: "I know with which factor and means I should make you obey me. However I tell you that I am not the man who would spoil and corrupt his faith so that your material desires may be fulfilled.”
Yes, the crux of the matter is that ‘Ali was campaigning against immorality, mischief, indecency and corruption and in this struggle which he had undertaken against moral vices and to uproot indecency and uncleanness from the souls of the people, he did not exempt even those of his friends and kinsmen in whose nature this ailment had penetrated. In short in this campaign friends and enemies were equal in his eyes and in the circumstances it is evident that for Mu'awiya, who was drowned in intellectual and practical evils, there was no place in this organization and he was a man who could not succeed by any other way except evil.
However the object of dwelling at length on this subject is that the genius and intelligence which has been attributed to Mu'awiya, and his extraordinary efficiency and competence about which much has been said, is all exaggeration and idle talk. In fact the entire success of this man was indebted to those very fictitious qualities mixed with mischief and evil and such successes and victories as are the consequences of such vicious practices.
Another important point in this connection is that the apparent successes of Mu'awiya certainly sprang from the perseverance and steadfastness of ‘Ali in protecting the principles and elements of truth. It is evident that persons who were after worldly gains and pleasures and could not achieve their ends by associating with ‘Ali naturally turned to Mu'awiya to secure their goals.
Incidentally this aspect of the matter should also be made clear that the atmosphere preceding the ruler ship of ‘Ali had distracted the people from true Islamic principles and matters had taken such a turn, that it was said: "Only that person who is dominant and powerful has a right to live, and predominance and victory can only be gained under the shadow of accumulation of wealth, hoarding, seizing an opportunity, enlargement of influence and acquisition of the objects of desire.”
It is apparent that if, in these circumstances, ‘Ali had resorted to diplomacy, he could have very easily eliminated the gains made by his opponents. And it is also evident that it was easier for ‘Ali to overcome Mu'awiya with the same weapon of politics then to subdue those who had broken the covenant.
The revolt of Mu'awiya during those days was not very important in the light of the true Islamic criteria. The real danger arose from the causes and effects of the prevailing atmosphere and the danger of resistance and perseverance in seeking absolute truth was the greatest of all.
However, in spite of all these conditions and circumstances it must be admitted that, the most important factors were perseverance, resistance and steadfastness in protecting and supporting absolute truth and ignoring the suggestions of those who asked Imam ‘Ali to resort to compromises and flattery.
Anyhow during the days when ‘Ali was staying in Kufa the condition of Mu'awiya and his activities which seemed languid and weak to every reflective and sensible person appeared all the more worthless and unimportant to ‘Ali. Notwithstanding this, however, ‘Ali did not ignore the elements which had been created by the circumstances and events to the benefit of Mu'awiya which had prepared favourable environments for strengthening his position. The matters had taken such a turn that Mu'awiya had begun coveting the office of the Caliphate and nurtured this fancy in his mind that he might be nominated for it.
However, ‘Ali, while being fully cognizant of this state of affairs, remained steadfast and well composed. At the same time he could not only read clearly in the horizon of the coming events the evil results of the preliminaries of future campaigns, but he also afforded liberty of action to the enemy with perfect calmness, so that he might have a clear and well-founded ground for jihad against Mu'awiya, and the responsibility for the war which the agitators were going to start should be on the oppressive deviated persons, just as the responsibility for the previous war fell on the covetous breakers of the covenant and that for the future war was to fall on the Khawarij .
During the time when ‘Ali was in Kufa letters were exchanged between him and Mu'awiya, ‘Ali consulted his companions about current affairs and apprised them of the developments. His companions suggested that they might spend that year in Kufa and wait, but ‘Ammar, Ashtar, Adyy bin Hatim (famous for his generosity) and Shurayh bin Hani opposed this view.
‘Ammar said: "O Commander of the faithful! We have taken oath of allegiance to you and find none, who may rise against you. Previously there were persons who rose to fight against you but the Almighty Allah routed them and helped you in accordance with the verse: Whoever retaliates in the same manner as he was made to suffer and then is oppressed again, Allah will certainly help him. (Surah al-Hajj, 22:60) And as clearly stated by Him in another verse: Whoever breaks the covenant breaks it to his own detriment, (Surah al-Fath, 48: 10), those who broke the covenant received punishment for their conduct.
Another point is that during those days Kufa supported us and Basra was opposed to us. One group from amongst us was rewarded and the other was excused.
At present, however, we are involved in an irremediable trouble in Syria and a person, who has revolted, will not submit unless he is killed or defeated. In the circumstances we should forestall him. I would, therefore, request you to issue orders for mobilization".
Ashtar and others who were of the same opinion supported ‘Ammar's view. Soon afterwards ‘Ali received news of the mobilization of Mu'awiya's forces and it became certain that Mu'awiya was on the war path and was preparing to attack.
The Commander of the Faithful, therefore, equipped an army consisting of 190,000 warriors and proceeded to Siffin at the head of this army. In this army as well the Commander of the cavalry was ‘Ammar.
The result of the first encounter of the two parties was that Mu'awiya obtained control of the water-way and did not allow ‘Ali and his forces to use it.
Before the brave and distinguished warriors of Badr and the Muhajirs and the Ansar and the soldiers of Muzar and Rabi 'a and the chiefs of Yemen and Iraq could commence fighting and achieve any result from it, Ashtar, in order to achieve victory, put forward suggestions which obliged Mu'awiya and his minister to resort to cold war by discussion, debate, oration, lecturing and sending letters. These were the prerequisites for such a war. It is evident that the superiority of the supporters of ‘Ali in this cold war was as much established in the minds of the enemies as their superiority in the matter of swordsmanship.
If there were Mu'awiya, 'Amr As and his son Abdullah in that party, there were on this side, besides Imam ‘Ali, great orators like Abdullah bin Abbas, ‘Ammar Yasir, Malik Ashtar, Ash'ath bin Qays (although a hypocrite), Ahnaf bin Qays, ‘Uthman bin Hunayf, Sa'sa'a bin Sohan, Adyy bin Hatim and hundreds of others from amongst the Muhajirs and the Ansar of Badr, all of whom possessed intelligence, insight, sagacity and experience and were very eloquent, whereas the persons in the opposite row did not possess these qualities.
Mu'awiya and his minister ‘Amr As were persons who were extreme opportunists. They had gained experiences regarding the conduct of ‘Ali in the Battle of Basra so as to utilize them at the opportune time. They had now acquired an opportunity and wanted to profit from those experiences. Hence, in order to strengthen the morale of the Syrian soldiers and to dodge military action they resorted to stratagems. To achieve this end they decided to defame the outstanding leaders and distinguished personalities of Iraq and to make them appear despised and degraded in the eyes of the Syrians.
Amr As who had previously carried on correspondence with some Iraqi hypocrites like Ash'ath now began to lecture to the Syrians and endeavoured to delude and seduce them.
As soon as the sound of the speech of ‘Amr reached the ears of ‘Ammar he got up to put an end to this cold war. In spite of his old age and feebleness, he raised his thunderous voice which was sustained by resolution and determination and said: "O slaves of Allah! Rise and hurry up towards these people who want to avenge the murder of a tyrant. Some benevolent and righteous persons who were opponents of cruelty and oppression and supporters of justice and goodness rose and killed that man. Now these people have risen and want to avenge the murder of such a person upon us. These persons who claim to be the avengers of his murder are of a type that if their worldly ambitions are achieved and Islam is destroyed they will not mind it. Such persons asked us: "Why did you kill him?" We replied. "On account of the unlawful things he did.” They said: "He didn't do anything unlawful.”
Do you know why they said all this? It was because he ensured their worldly gains. These are the people who plundered his existence and will not worry even if the mountains are demolished. I swear by Allah that they don't want to avenge the murder (of ‘Uthman}. They relish and have become fond of worldly gains. They think that if the righteous person assumes the reins of government he will restrain their unlawful profits and unlimited greed. These people have no previous record in Islam so that they should be worthy of ruler ship, but they have deceived their followers and told them: "Our chief and leader was killed unjustly". They said this in order to acquire the ruler ship and power. As you see and know this claim is nothing except deceit and fraud. And if they had not practised this fraud none would have taken oath of allegiance to them.
O Lord! If You help us it will not be Your first help because You have granted us victories earlier, and if Your Will is that they should assume ruler ship then put in store for them the result of their illegal acts whereby they have subjected the people to tyranny and torture".
When ‘Ammar concluded his speech and enlightened the minds of the hearers in all respects he ordered his standard bearer, Hashim Marqal, to advance, and said: "May my parents be your ransom! Advance and attack these Syrians and break up their rows.”
‘Ammar himself also went forward and reached in the centre of the opposing army near 'Amr As. Addressing 'Amr he said: "O 'Amr! You have sold your faith for the sake of Egypt. Woe be to you! What mischief and evils have you roused against Islam!”
Then ‘Ammar began praying to Allah in the presence of the Syrians and said: “O Lord! You know that if I realize that Your Will is that I should throw myself in this river I shall do so. O Lord! If I realize that You desire that I should thrust the point of my sword into my belly and bend myself, so that the sword may come out of my back, I shall do so.
O Lord! You know that I have acquired what You have taught me and I know it very well that today no pious act is better than that I should perform jihad against these people who have violated human rights, and if I come to know that in the present circumstances there is an act which is liked by You more, I shall perform it.”
As soon as 'Amr As heard these words of ‘Ammar he left the battlefield and hid himself.
The Syrian army also trembled more on hearing ‘Ammar speak than they trembled for the fear of his sword, though all of them knew well that a rebellious group would kill ‘Ammar. The importance and the danger of the presence of ‘Ammar was not unknown to Mu'awiya, and he was afraid of what was going to happen, he expressed his anxiety every now and then in various ways.
‘Ammar attacked valiantly and his standard bearer Hashim Marqil and his companions fell upon the Umayyad army like a furious storm and pushed it back.
At this moment ‘Ammar remembered Abdullah bin 'Amr As (who in the beginning appeared to be a devout person and hesitated to support Mu'awiya but later joined his army saying that he was a follower of his father and not of Mu'awiya) and called out from the battlefield with a loud voice: "O Abdullah! Have you sold your faith for the world?”
Abdullah replied: "It is not so. The fact is that I have risen to avenge the murder of ‘Uthman.”
‘Ammar said: "It is not at all so. I bear witness to the fact that you do not do anything for the sake of Allah. You should know that if you are not killed today you will be killed tomorrow. Ponder carefully. When Allah gives recompense according to the intentions of the people, let me know what your intention is?"
‘Ammar uttered these words and commenced his attack. This attack by ‘Ammar was the commencement of an extensive battle during which the most severe and the most intense scenes of war were witnessed continuously for three days and nights. The third night of this battle is known as 'Lailatul Harir’.
In the afternoon of the day of the battle ‘Ammar called back his soldiers from the front for rest. When his soldiers were resting the people were saying to one another: "The enemy will be immune this night from the blows of the swords of ‘Ammar's soldiers.”
‘Ammar was hearing these words and sharpening his sword and stimulating and equipping with arms his standard bearer and brave officer Marqil. Soon afterwards he ordered Marqil to attack and himself got ahead of the army. Then he said aloud: "Who wants to proceed to Paradise? Paradise is under the shadow of the swords and the arrows. Today I shall meet my friends. Today I shall meet the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) and his party.”
‘Ammar was moving ahead and other warriors were moving behind him, and all were advancing. The sun was about to set and the only light which could be seen in the extensive horizon was the lustre of the sword and the sparks of the blows. Once again ‘Ammar decided to take rest and it was the moment when the last rays of the sun were shining on the stream of blood and its crimson rays were being reflected on all sides. At that moment, before ‘Ammar could take rest, his eyes fell on 'Amr As who was carrying Mu'awiya's standard on his shoulder. ‘Ammar was reminded of something and shook his sword. Then he struck his hand on the back of his standard bearer and said: "O Marqil! I swear by Him under whose control my life is that even if these people are in a position to annihilate us by dealing successive blows no weakness will take place in my faith, because we are right and they are following the wrong path. O Marqil! The standard which' Amr As is carrying on his shoulder is the same against which I have fought in the company of the Holy Prophet (S) and it is the fourth time that I am campaigning against it".
Then he made an attack and said to Hashim 'Utba (Marqil): "O son! Advance! Advance! May my parents be your ransom!"
During this terrible fighting ‘Ammar did not rest even for a moment. He fought on and persuaded his soldiers to do the same and ordered them to attack. He continued attacking the enemy like deadly lightening till the third day of the battle arrived on that day the fighting reached its climax and continued unabated. For the self-sacrificing warriors who accompanied ‘Ammar it was immaterial whether they killed or were killed. ‘Ammar, the old man, who was ninety four years of age, was fasting and in spite of this he made deadly attacks on the enemy and pushed his standard bearer Hashim forward.
Hashim insisted upon him to hand over the command and responsibility for attack to him and to take rest for sometime to get rid of the fatigue caused by fasting but ‘Ammar shouted at him and said: "O son! May my parents be your ransom! Advance!"
Anyhow, as a result of the severe and continuous attacks by ‘Ammar, the cavalry of the Syrian forces fled. In this combat Zul Kala' Humyari, who was the commander of the Syrian army wavered and lost the power of resistance in the row which was the target of ‘Ammar's attack. When the news of Zul Kala's hesitation and fear reached Mu'awiya he summoned him and deceived him with the assistance of his minister 'Amr As, and two persons took oath that what Zul Kala had heard about ‘Ammar and had reported was true (i.e. the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (S) that a rebellious group will kill ‘Ammar) but ‘Ammar would at last leave his own army and would join the army of Mu'awiya and 'Amr As. Hence, Zul Kala' had no alternative and must partake in fighting. They also assured him that eventually, when the dust of the war had settled, he would see that ‘Ammar had arrived in his (Zul Kala's) row. Incidentally they also told him that if the prediction made by them did not come out to be true he would be entitled to continue to remain hesitant in the future wars, and that he would have ample time for this.
On the third day the battle came to an end and ‘Ammar, as steadfast as ever, remained busy in fighting like a champion. When the sun was about to set and the night called Lailatul Harir arrived ‘Ammar asked for water to break his fast.
A vessel containing milk was brought for him. Before drinking milk he smiled and it might be said that his soul shone with that smile.
In an ecstatic and happy condition he said: "My friend, the Prophet of Allah told me: "Your last food in the world will be a gulp of milk mixed with water.”
‘Ammar drank the milk and then made an attack along with his military column and hastened towards Paradise which was embodied and perceptible in his eyes. There he saw the Holy Prophet (S) receiving him as he used to receive him previously in this world.
There is a great probability that Mu'awiya had fixed a big prize for the 'head of ‘Ammar' so that he might be relieved of the embarrassment caused by the grinding argument which existed in the minds of the army personnel, just as he had ordered that all should guard the head of Zul Kala, lest he should receive any injury, and he had also promised awards for the safety of Zul Kala'.
Anyhow if Zul Kala' had remained alive after ‘Ammar he would have created a great difficulty for Mu'awiya, and he could not satisfy him by any means. And the most important thing was that the tribe of Zul Kala' and the number of its members exceeded that of all other tribes.
In any case ‘Ammar, while he had no guardsman to protect him drove forward dauntlessly like a lion and on having reached the battlefield said with a loud voice: “Is there any combatant here?"
At that moment a mounted soldier belonging to the tribe of 'Sakasak' came to fight against ‘Ammar and was killed at his hands. Another horseman from amongst the Humyaris came in the field and he, too, was killed by ‘Ammar. And all others who came thereafter met with the same fate.
Abul Ghadiya Juhani, who had been on the track of ‘Ammar since the days of ‘Uthman, came near him. At this moment the cuirass of ‘Ammar had fallen aside from his thigh. This man availed of the opportunity and gave a blow on the thigh of ‘Ammar .Two other mounted men attacked ‘Ammar simultaneously and put an end to his life.
Anyhow one of the particular pieces of good luck of Bani Umayya was the coincidence that at the moment when ‘Ammar was killed Zul Kala' was also killed.
‘Ammar's martyrdom was a sorrowful event for the members of both the armies. One of the effects of this tragedy was that the defensive movement of Mu'awiya's army came to a standstill and the sound of the epic verses recited by the army of ‘Ali reached the sky. Before ‘Ammar was killed there were, in both the armies, persons who entertained doubts in their minds, but after he was martyred truth became evident to them.
As a result of this tragedy anxiety and agitation prevailed in the minds which ended in the retreat of the Syrian army. Mu'awiya and 'Amr As were then compelled to deceive their own army by means of misinterpretation and, in order to remain immune, delude and deceive their opponents in another manner.
However, if during these critical moments fate had not predominated, history would have adopted a course other than that which it did owing to the hypocrisy and discord of Ash'ath bin Qays.
When Abul Ghadiya killed ‘Ammar, voices rose from both the camps saying: "O Abul Ghadiya! Woe be to you! It was you who killed Abul Yaqzan (the pious man)! May Allah kill you!"
Muhammad bin Muntashir said to Abul Ghadiya: "O Abul Ghadiya! On the Day of Judgement your enemy will be a mighty enemy with a strong hand.” The only reaction of Abul Ghadiya was that he laughed and went his way.
Hana, a slave of Caliph ‘Umar bin Khattab says thus about himself: "In the beginning I was with Mu'awiya and his companions used to say: "Allah forbid! In no circumstances shall we kill ‘Ammar, because if we kill ‘Ammar then, as it is said, we too shall be regarded as a rebellious group. On the day the Battle of Siffin ended I was walking about amongst those who had been killed. Suddenly I saw that ‘Ammar Yasir had been killed. I went to 'Amr As and saw him resting on his throne. I asked him: "What have you heard about ‘Ammar Yasir?"
'Amr As said: "I heard the Holy Prophet (S) saying: A rebellious group will kill ‘Ammar.”
I said: "I swear by Allah that ‘Ammar has been killed. What do you say now?"
'Amr said: "It is a false claim.”
I said: "I have seen with my own eyes that ‘Ammar has been killed.”
Amr said: "Let's go and see. Show me his dead body.”
I took 'Amr As up to the dead body of ‘Ammar, and on seeing the corpse of ‘Ammar the colour of the face of 'Amr As changed. Then he turned his face and began walking and said: "‘Ammar has been killed by the person who brought him in the battlefield!"
Khuzayma bin Thabit was a witness to the Battles of Camel and Siffin. He did not draw his sword in either of these battles and remained neutral. However, after ‘Ammar was killed he said: "I have now become convinced of the rebellion and deviation of the Syrians.”
Then Khuzayma partook in the battle and fought till he was killed.
Each of the two horsemen who had assisted Abul Ghadiya in killing ‘Ammar were trying to take from Mu'awiya the prize which had been fixed for the head of ‘Ammar. 'Amr As said to both of them: "You two are fighting for the Fire of Hell and nothing else! I have heard the Prophet (S) saying: "One who kills ‘Ammar and one who takes his clothes off his body will both go to Hell!" Mu'awiya interrupted Amr As and said in a reproachful tone:
“What you are saying is a dangerous jest. These two persons are fighting on our side and you are telling them that both of them will go to Hell!"
Amr said: “I swear by Allah that this is a fact and you also know it. I wish that I had died twenty years earlier than today.”
When Abdullah bin 'Amr As was returning from Siffin along with his father and Mu'awiya, he turned to his father and said: "Father! I heard the Holy Prophet (S) saying to ‘Ammar: “A rebellious group will kill you.”
After hearing these words 'Amr As turned to Mu'awiya with a peculiar malice and said: "Do you hear what this boy is saying?"
Mu'awiya said; "Have we killed him? This is not at all the position. I hope people, who brought him into the battlefield have killed him.”
Then the two sly persons laughed.
One day 'Amr As said to his companions who had gathered round him: "I wish that when the Holy Prophet (S) breathed his last he might not have hated anyone, so that Allah might not send any person to Hell!"
His companions said: "What we felt was that the Prophet (S) loved you and appointed you to governorship.”
'Amr said: "Allah knows better whether he loved me or was kind to me just by way of affability. However, I observed that he loved a particular man.”
'Amr was asked: "Who was that man?" He replied: “He was ‘Ammar ibn Yasir.”
Then he was asked: "Was he the same man whom you killed in the Battle of Siffin?”
'Amr replied: “Yes, by Allah! We killed him.” Anyhow, after ‘Ammar was killed the Syrians were leaving their own standard and were scattering, and as they did not wish to be styled the rebellious group they were mixing with the people of Iraq. It was at this juncture that 'Amr As endeavoured to test the intelligence and insight of his 'king' in respect of this difficulty and in the meantime to strengthen what he had injected in the minds of the Syrians regarding ‘Ammar and to confirm the constancy of their power of insight. Mu'awiya turned his face from his minister and went to his army, stood at the head of the row and said to them: "I am going to speak to you about the most sensitive matter of the day. This is the most important of all the topics and it concerns the Hadith regarding the rebellious group which is being passed on from one mouth to another.”
It should be known that the Hadith relating to the rebellious group is to our advantage and not detrimental to us. All of you should come to your senses and ponder carefully over the Hadith of the Holy Prophet. No doubt the 'rebel' stings us and we have become subjected to reproof. Well, let it be so! But it should be asked: "Are we not the same rebellious group who have risen to avenge the murder of ‘Uthman and have been touched on account of that man having been oppressed? Yes, we are a rebellious group in this sense.”
The hearers heard this bombastic logic of Mu'awiya and were convinced. The Syrians then departed with a light heart and a tranquil conscience.
'Amr As laughed and appreciated Mu'awiya's skill.
‘Ammar's martyrdom created a tumult in the Iraqi camp and the echo of this tumult draws a most vivid picture of the condition and position of Imam ‘Ali. It is not necessary for us to discuss this point.
As soon as the news of ‘Ammar's martyrdom reached ‘Ali he began weeping. Then he looked at those present round him and said: "How long did you wish ‘Ammar to live?"
It might be said that the Commander of the Faithful wanted to ask: "How long did you wish Islam to live?"
Then he stood up and went towards the corpses of those who had been killed and reached by the side of the dead body of ‘Ammar. At that moment he expressed grief over the martyrdom of ‘Ammar in these splendid words: "Any Muslim, who doesn't consider the event of ‘Ammar's being killed to be great, and doesn't treat it to be a painful tragedy, won't be recognized to be adult and mature. May Allah bless ‘Ammar on the day on which he embraced Islam, the day on which he was killed and the day on which he will rise from earth once again! I saw ‘Ammar at such a position that if the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) were reckoned to be four he was the fourth and if they were five he was the fifth and none of the companions of the Prophet (S) doubted this. Paradise has become essential for ‘Ammar and his entitlement to Paradise did not depend on one or two instances.”
It has been said: "‘Ammar is righteous and truth is with him. To whichever side ‘Ammar turns truth turns along with him. One who kills ‘Ammar will go to Hell.”
Anyhow, ‘Ali ordered that the funerals of ‘Ammar and his standard bearer and aide-de-camp Hashim Marqil might be placed side by side. He then offered prayers for both of them without, bathing their bodies and thereafter they were buried in Siffin in 37 A.H.
For all those acquainted with the mysteries of realities, and all the reflective and clear sighted persons among whom ‘Ammar occupied the position of a leader, nothing was more surprising than that there should be persons who should be knowing the personality of ‘Ammar and the way of his thinking, and consider it the criterion of truth, but may not apply the same argument in the case of ‘Ali. Yet all knew that there was a world of difference between the status of Imam ‘Ali and ‘Ammar.
Again how surprising it is that these people neglected and did not take into account the indisputable remarks of the Holy Prophet (S) based on authentic evidence, regarding the position and rank of ‘Ali, which reached the ears of the people time and again, and his explicit statement that "Truth is with ‘Ali just as ‘Ali is with truth, and ‘Ali always travels in the orbit and path of truth!" These remarks which are exclusively used for Imam ‘Ali should not be used in respect of the conduct and merits of ‘Ammar.
In any case Mu'awiya and his minister endeavoured to find fault with the pious conduct of ‘Ammar and to remove this obstacle from their path. At times they tried to diminish his position and at other times acted to counteract his arguments. However, their efforts did not materialize at any stage and they did not achieve any success. During the plots woven by them they once sent two men of Zul Kala' Humyari, about whom they knew that his faith in ‘Ammar was dangerous for both ‘Amr As and Mu'awiya, to his cousin Abu Nuh Humyari, who was one of the supporters of ‘Ali, so as to dissuade him from his faith and degrade ‘Ammar in his eyes. In this interview the discussions between these two persons centred round the topic of the eminence of the person of ‘Ammar.
Abu Nuh wondered that these persons had so much faith in ‘Ammar, who himself was a staunch follower of ‘Ali, but called ‘Ali a heretic!
The arguments which Abu Nuh put forward against these persons on the subject were very eloquent and expressive. Later in a meeting these two persons held discussions with 'Amr As about ‘Ammar.
‘Ammar was also invited personally to attend the meeting so that he might wonder all the more about the weakness of their views about him as they considered him to be the criterion of truth but did not admit ‘Ali to be the criterion of truth, and might consequently quarrel with them and censure them with his authoritative speech, as harsh words are more penetrating than arrows.1
Incidentally it should be remembered that Allama Ibn Abil Hadid Mu'tazali2 has solved this problem very clearly and thoroughly analysed it. After explaining the characteristics of ‘Ammar and the son of Tayhin and Khuzayma bin Thabit, all of whom were martyred in this battle, the said Allama considers their self-sacrifice and martyrdom a proof of the invalidity of Mu'awiya 's claim and says: "One of the most shameful and indecent incidents which have arisen and arise from the indecent and abominable party-spirit is the fact that Abu Hayyan Tawhidi has written in his book entitled al-Basa'ir that Khuzayma bin Thabit who was killed in Siffin and was a supporter of ‘Ali was someone else and not the well-known Khuzayma bin Thabit, whereas all the books on genealogy and Hadith have stated explicitly that amongst all the companions, whether they were the Ansar or non Ansar, there was only one Khuzayma bir Thabit Zush Shahadatayn. However, the trouble is that caprice is an irremediable ailment.
Another point is that the notable historian Tabari has preceded Abu Hayyan in making this suggestion and the latter has quoted it from him, but all the books which have mentioned the names of the companions give evidence against the Abu Hayyan.
Besides this why should the supporters of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, take trouble to prepare a long list of persons like Khuzayma, Abul Maysam ‘Ammar etc?
In short the matter is absolutely clear that if all the people had reflected about Imam ‘Ali and seen him with the eyes of justice they would have certainly realized that even if he had stood alone on one side and all the people had risen to campaign against him he would have beer true and all others would have been false.
The facts we have discussed here are based on the history of Islam, and I am neither the first person to initiate this discussion nor am I the last person to under take such a discussion.
This action which has been performed does not necessitate the assertion that many persons have already spoken on this subject and it is not a new topic which should be worthy of being propounded, regardless of the fact that consistency and firmness of truth is a matter which is related with continuation, repetition and reference.
Another point which deserves consideration is that we should take lesson from history as it is linked with thorough thinking in respect of all historical topics and is also linked with commentary, regulation, amplification, explanation and research in it, and the shortage of the investigators and narrators has nothing to do with it. And possibly in this sense an original subject may not be existing and again there may be original matters about which there may be difference of opinion, and there may be many capable and powerful brains which may be able to find out something valuable with their power of initiative from past record.
Anyhow nothing is more in need of revision, narration and presentation into the modern language than history. History has always been one of the causes of our backwardness and is one of the factors which has prevented our advancement and has driven us back.
This has been due the fact that we have always perceived history with a reactionary spirit and have been unable to treat the ailments, because the hardships of history have affected us, and there has been no justification for the supremacy of history except its remoteness, intricacies and ambiguity. Moreover, history has also been subordinate to commercial and political explanation. Hence, if we are able to extricate history from these bonds it will become a factor of our progress and advancement in the same proportion in which it has so far been the cause of our backwardness.
History is a collection of the experiments of life. In this collection honest and pious persons have attained success and the sinful and deviated persons have remained unsuccessful and helpless. And again history shows that many sinners have succeeded and many honest and worthy persons have remained deprived and oppressed.
When we look at history from this point of view we find comfort and profit from it, and in the meantime doors which show an evolutionary brilliant future are opened before us. However, if we look at history as it is With its merits and demerits and remain unmoved and stagnant considering ourselves bound in the same manner in which the past people considered themselves to be bound, it will be as good as condemning ourselves as great sinners who should retrograde for centuries, and this is what we are doing at present.
In this treatise our main object has been to explain the most important events of the early days of Islam and the greatest factors which have been at work in connection with the developments which have taken place from the day of Siffin till the present times. There has been no motive other than sincerity and search for truth and the party spirit which is so common these days has been avoided at all costs.