After the Demise of the Prophet (S)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) was appointed as Prophet in the cave of “Hera “. With this nomination (bethat), fourteen chapters of the Quran were revealed, and the Prophet’s “Sunnah” (practice of the prophet) was presented for our guidance. Islam came into force as a religion. It is practiced until date (in whatsoever manner), and shall continue till the Day of Judgement.
For the sake of inviting the people towards Islam, Abu Talib (the Meccan chief and the Prophet’s uncle), helped the Prophet (S) in his mission while amongst the women, it was Khadija, the Prophet’s (S) wife. The first among men to bring faith in the Prophet (S) was Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and again, amongst the women, it was the Prophet’s wife, Khadija.
Long before, the Holy Prophet (S) had taken Ali (a.s.), a child, to his own house. He (S) would put morsels of food in his mouth and feed him. He (S) would cling to Ali (a.s.) and make him smell the sweet fragrance emitting from his body. It was Ali (a.s.) who had accompanied the Prophet (S) at the time of revelation in the cave of “Hera “.1
When the Prophet (S) invited the Bani Hashim to accept Islam (on the day of Dhul Asheerah) and inquired about their willingness to help him, it was only Ali (a.s.) who paid allegiance to him (S). In the tenth year of the Prophet’s (S) appointment, Abu Talib and Khadija, the Prophet’s (S) two helpers on the path of Islamic propaganda expired. The Prophet (S) named that year as the year of sorrow.
The Prophet (S) migrated to Medina. In Medina, the Prophet (S) would constantly remember Abu Talib and Khadija. Whenever he would sacrifice a sheep, he would distribute its meat amongst Khadija’s friends. After Abu Talib, his son Ali (a.s.) became the Prophet’s (S) special friend and helper.
- Amongst the Muslims, Ali (a.s.) killed and captured the maximum number of the Quraishite infidels in the battle of Badr.
- In the battle of Uhud, it was Ali (a.s.), who used his sword to protect the Prophet (S), battling the Quraish single-handedly while the others fled.
- In the battle of Khandaq, Ali (a.s.) killed Amr, the hero amongst the Quraish and the polytheists fled from the battlefield.
- At Khaibar, it was Ali (a.s.) who conquered the fort.
For the Prophet (S), Ali (a.s.) was Abu Talib’s remembrance and Fatimah (a.s.) was that of Khadija. The Prophet (S) gave Fatimah’s (a.s.) hand in marriage to Ali (a.s.) in Medina.
Fatimah (a.s.) gave birth to Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.). After the revelation of the verse,
فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وَأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ
“Then say, come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and ourselves and yourselves, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars “ (Qur'an, 3:61),
The Prophet (S) caught hold of Hasnain’s (a.s.) hands and along with Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (a.s.), went for Mubahela (malediction or mutual invocation of a curse) against the Christians of Najran.
When the verse of purity,
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا
“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House and to purify you a (thorough) purification”2
was revealed, the Prophet (S) made Hasnain (a.s.) sit on his knees, Fatimah (a.s.) in front of him and Ali (a.s.) behind him, and while spreading the cloak over all, he (S) said,
“O Lord! These are my Ahl-ul-bayt (people of the House).” In this manner, these five personalities were named as “Ashaab al-Kisa” (privileged ones of the cloak).
After revelation of this verse, the Prophet (S) would visit his daughter’s house five times a day before every obligatory prayer.
The door of Fatimah’s (s.a.) house would open inside the mosque and there was no other door. Before the very eyes of the worshippers (the Muhajirs and the Ansars) who would await the Prophet’s (S) arrival by standing in the rows of the congregational prayer, the Prophet (S) would stand on the threshold of her house and say,
السلام عليكم يا أهل البيت! (إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا) الصلاة! الصلاة!
After reading out this series of traditional prayers, the Prophet (S) would move towards his mehraab and then lead the congregational prayer.
And with the revelation of the verse,
قُل لَّا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ
“Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near kinsfolk” (Qur’an,26:23)
Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husain became recognized as the Prophet’s kinsfolk.
With the revelation of the verse,
وَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَىٰ حَقَّهُ
“…and give to the near ones their right3” the Prophet (S) donated Fadak to Fatimah (a.s.).
After the revelation of the following verse in Ghadir al-Khum,
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ
O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. (Qur'an, 5:67)
The Prophet (S) held Ali’s (a.s.) hand, and raising him high, he proclaimed,
مَنْ كُنْتُ مَوْلاهُ فَهذا عَلِيٌّ مَوْلاهُ
The Holy Prophet (S) appointed Ali (a.s.) as his legatee in a very lucid manner.
The Prophet (S) fell sick and on Monday, he rested his head on Ali’s (a.s.) chest and expired.
As a duty, Ali (a.s.) along with just a few of his close friends and relatives were engaged in giving Ghusl (ceremonial bath) to the Prophet (S) and shrouding him.
At that very moment, the Ansars had gathered at Saqifa Bani Saaedah for paying allegiance to Sa.’d ibn Ubadah and for appointing him as the Prophet’s (S) successor.
Among the Muhajirs, the Quraish dashed to Saqifa. Once there, they claimed their right for the caliphate and argued, “The Prophet was from the Quraish. (So) the Arabs will not allow the caliphate to fall in the hands of the non- Quraish. “
The Muhajir Quraishites achieved their objective through this dispute, and paid allegiance to Abu Bakr! They said to each other, “If anyone from the Prophet’s (S) Ahle-bait becomes the Caliph, then nobody else will get a chance of attaining the caliphate ever. Allow the caliphate to rotate amongst the Quraish families so that every tribe of Quraish gets a chance (to rule). “
The group that paid allegiance to Abu Bakr took him around the streets till dawn (to introduce him as the new Caliph). They brought whomsoever they met on their way before Abu Bakr and urged him to pay allegiance to the Caliph. Thus passed the black Monday in Islamic history.
On Tuesday, they took Abu Bakr to the Prophet’s (S) mosque and made him sit on the Prophet’s (S) pulpit and paid allegiance to him for the second time. Thereafter, Abu Bakr and Umar delivered sermons and the people recited their prayers behind the former. This was the manner in which allegiance to Abu Bakr came to an end on Tuesday.
During these two days (when the mockery of appointment of caliphate was going on), the Bani Hashim had gathered in the Prophet’s (S) house and a few amongst them were busy helping Ali (a.s.) in giving the ceremonial bath and shrouding the Prophet (S), followed by the ritual funeral prayers. The Muslims of Medina came in groups to the Prophet’s (S) chamber and independently offered prayers over the blessed coffin of the Prophet (S).
This took place on the whole of Monday and terminated on Tuesday evening.
The same night, Ali (a.s.) and a few others buried the Prophet’s (S) Holy body.
During these two days, the caliphate gang strove hard to bring to the matter of Abu Bakr’s allegiance to a conclusive acceptability. Thus, this was the manner in which Abu Bakr became the Caliph and gained allegiance from the people!
By means of this very allegiance, Umar became the Caliph!
By means of this very allegiance, Uthman became the Caliph!
By means of this very allegiance, Moaviyah became the Caliph!
By means of this very allegiance, Yazid became the Caliph!
By means of this very allegiance, the Bani Umayyah, the Bani-Abbas and the Uthmanis became the Caliph!
By means of this very allegiance, Abu Bakr did whatever he desired!
By means of this very allegiance, Umar did whatever he lusted for!
By means of this very allegiance, the Bani Umayyah, Uthman, Moaviyah and Yazid did whatever they wished!
By means of this very allegiance, the Bani Abbas and the Uthmani Caliphs did whatever they liked!
By means of this very allegiance, (undesired and unfortunate) events took place in Islam from that very day and will continue to occur till the advent of the Mahdi (a.s.)!
* * *
In this discussion, we shall examine the policies of the following Caliphs, which left a deep impression on the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah. Insha’Allah
1. Abu Bakr
4. Ali (a.s.)
In this discussion we shall review first of all that portion of their general policies, which throws light on their stand towards the Prophet’s hadith and Sunnah.
لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
“Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much “ (Qur'an, 33: 21)
وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
“And whatever the Apostle gives you, accept it and from whatever he forbids you, keep back and be careful of (your duty to) Allah: surely Allah is severe in avenging (evil) “ (Qur'an, 59: 7)
Abu Bakr attained the caliphate in the month of Rabiul-Awwal 11 A.H. just after the Holy Prophet’s (S) demise and he died in Jamaadi-us-Saania 13 A.H. His rule lasted for over two years.
Those who swore allegiance to Abu Bakr belonged to the tribe of Quraish, which differed from the clan of Bani Hashim. His opponents within Medina were the clan of Bani Hashim from the Quraish as well as the Ansars and his foes outside Medina consisted of a few Arab tribes.
The Muhajirs (the Immigrants) from the Quraish supported Abu Bakr’s allegiance. They emphasized that the Caliph should be from the tribe of Quraish but excepting the Bani Hashim. In this regard, as mentioned before, the Muhajirs addressed the Ansars (the Helpers) as such, “The Prophet (S) is from the Quraish and so the Arabs will never agree the caliphate to be selected from a tribe other than the Quraish. “ Practically too, it was Abu Bakr, Umar or Abu Ubaidah who introduced the candidate for the Caliphate and they never even once uttered the name of Ali or Abbas (the Prophet’s uncle). They swore allegiance to Abu Bakr for the reason that he was from the Quraish.
During Umar’s caliphate, while Umar was conversing with Ibn Abbas, he stressed on this point and said, “O Ibn Abbas, your father is the Prophet’s uncle and you are his cousin. What made your tribe and your people keep a distance from you? (In other words, why didn.’t your own tribe viz. Quraish appoint you to the seat of caliphate?)
Ibn Abbas said, ‘I do not know.’!
Umar said, ‘I know. They disliked your rule upon them.’.
Ibn Abbas said, ‘Why is it so while we are good and beneficial to them.’?
Umar said, ‘May Allah shower His Mercy! They feel unpleasant if the prophet hood and caliphate are (both) placed in your household lest pride overcomes you. Perhaps, you may say Abu Bakr had done such and such act. By Allah, no!
Abu Bakr acted most prudently with regards to the affair entrusted to him..’4
In another tradition, Umar addressed Ibn Abbas thus, ‘O Ibn Abbas, do you know what made your tribe (the Quraish) keep a distance from you?.’
Ibn Abbas says, “I did not want to reply to this question and so I said, ‘If I am unaware of the reason, Amir-ul-Mumineen (Umar) will make me aware “!
Umar said, ‘they were reluctant to see the prophet hood and the caliphate merge in your household (Bani Hashim) as in such a case you would have behaved arrogantly and braged over your tribe and nation. For this reason, the Quraish selected a Caliph for themselves and in this selection they have traversed the true path and turned successful.’!
Ibn Abbas says, “I said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen! If you don.’t turn angry and allow me to speak, I shall reply.’.
Umar said, ‘Ibn Abbas, you may speak.’.
Ibn Abbas said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen! As for your saying that the Quraish appointed a Caliph for themselves and in their selection they traversed the true path and became successful, I reply, ‘If the Quraish had selected the one whom Allah, Exalted be He, had appointed for this affair, they would have traversed the true path and would have become successful. And as for your saying that the Quraish were reluctant to see the prophet hood and caliphate gather in our household, Allah says about the nation, which is reluctant as such:
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَرِهُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالَهُمْ
“That is because they hated what Allah revealed, so He rendered their deeds null “ (Qur’an, 47:9)
Umar said, ‘Alas! O Ibn Abbas! By Allah, I was informed of your talks about which I was reluctant to accept. Let not your position fall before me.’!
I said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen! What were those talks? If it is the truth, then truth should not bring down my position before you and if its false, then someone likes me will repel falsehood!
Umar said, “I have been informed that you say, ‘They have done injustice against us and cherished jealousy and for this very reason, they have kept away the caliphate from us “!
I said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen, the point that we have been done with injustice is a matter well known to all - the learned as well as the ignorant. With regards to jealousy, the Satan cherished jealousy against Adam and we are Adam’s sons against whom jealousy has been cherished too.’!
Umar said, ‘Alas! O Bani Hashim! Your hearts are filled with jealousy, which will never fade away, and full of spite and deceit, which will never file away! I said, ‘Be calm, O Amir-ul-Mumineen; about the hearts from which Allah has kept away every kind of impurity and uncleanness5, do not say that they are filled with jealousy, spite and deceit; as the Prophet’s heart too is the same as ours i.e. Bani Hashim’s heart.’.
Umar said, ‘Get out of my sight.’!
I said, ‘I shall do so.’!
“When I was about to depart, he felt ashamed and said, ‘Ibn Abbas, wait! I swear by Allah that I shall observe your right and I prefer whatever pleases you.’!
I said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen, I have right over you and every other Muslim (for being the Prophet’s cousin). Whosoever observes this right will earn his reward and whosoever tampers my right has indeed ruined his own lot.
After this conversation, Umar stood up and departed. “6
* * *
In this connection, Ali (a.s.) too, while referring to the event of the Consultative Committee of six men for the appointment of a Caliph, said after Uthman’s death as such, “The people fixed their eyes on the Quraish and awaited their action. The Quraish reflected on their own affairs and said, ‘If the Bani Hashim takes over the caliphate, then at no time will the caliphate depart from them.
However if the caliphate and government is handed over to the people from the Quraish but not the Bani Hashim then it will rotate amongst them and all will get a chance to rule.7
The aforesaid three speakers were the three exact witnesses to these events and two amongst them were two rulers from hostile flanks. Umar was the chief figure who hatched the conspiracy at Saqifa. Can anybody know the reality of those events better than they can?
In the course of these conversations, Umar wished to acquaint himself of the internal secret of Bani Hashim through Ibn Abbas, who was then a youth. He would repeatedly provoke Ibn Abbas and persuade him to talk.
Umar repeatedly tells Ibn Abbas as such, ‘Your tribe (Quraish) were reluctant enough to see the prophet hood and caliphate gather in your household (Bani Hashim) lest you take pride over them. For this reason, the Quraish appointed a Caliph for themselves and succeeded in their affair..’
After seeking the Caliph’s permission and assurance that he would not get angry, Ibn Abbas says, ‘Had the Quraish selected the same leader, whom God had appointed, then surely they would have been successful in their affair. And about your saying that they were reluctant to see the prophet hood and caliphate gather in our household, Allah says, “That is because they hated what Allah revealed, so He rendered their deeds null “
Umar said, “I have been informed that you say, ‘Injustice has been done and jealousy cherished against us and for this reason they have kept away the caliphate from us. “
Ibn Abbas said, “That injustice has been done to us is something well known to all, the learned as well as the ignorant. With regards to jealousy, the Satan bore jealousy against Adam and we too are Adam’s sons against whom jealousy has been cherished.
* * *
In these conversations, all the three speakers were unanimous in this that whatever had occurred in the matter of caliphate was due to the endeavors of the Quraish. Amongst them, Umar explained the reason for the action initiated by the Quraish. He stressed that the Quraish were reluctant in seeing the prophet hood and caliphate gather in the Bani Hashim because the latter would have taken pride and bragged over all the tribes of the Quraish.
And Ali (a.s.) adds to this reality and says, ‘The Quraish feared lest the caliphate would rotate amongst the Bani Hashim and (so) the other household amongst the Quraish would not get the chance to rule. They wished that the caliphate should rotate amongst all the Quraish and so they kept away the caliphate from the Bani Hashim.
Ibn Abbas reckoned this action to be the result of the jealousy cherished by the Quraishite families against the Bani Hashim. In this regard, he claimed that they had committed injustice against the Bani Hashim and kept away the caliphate from the one appointed by God.
Umar failed to give any reply except that he cursed Ibn Abbas!
* * *
From what was explained, it becomes obvious that the selection of the first three Caliphs was based on this argument that the caliphate should circulate amongst the household of the Quraish, save the household of Bani Hashim. In implementing this policy, the Qurasihites first selected “Abu Bakr “ from the family of Teem, followed by “Umar “ from Adi, and “Uthman “ from the Bani Ummayah for the post of caliphate.
Such was the opinion of those who supported Abu Bakr’s allegiance and such was the consequence of their action. The consequences of the opposition’s actions are as follows:
Three groups amongst the Muslims opposed the matter of allegiance to Abu Bakr: The Ansars and Bani Hashim in Medina and the Arab Muslim tribes outside Medina. Hereunder, we mention the results of their action:
After the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.wa.) demise, the first group that abandoned his corpse and assembled to attain the caliphate was the group of Ansars. Allah too deprived them from the caliphate forever and after their defeat against the Quraish, they were driven from the political arena.
The Bani Hashim’s candidate for the post of caliphate was the very legatee of the Prophet (S) i.e. Ali Ibn Abi-Talib (a.s.). After burying the Prophet (S), Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) went to his house. Ali’s house was the same as that of Fatimah, the Prophet’s (s.a.wa.) daughter. For this reason, this house was commonly named as “Fatimah’s house “ in history just as the Prophet’s houses were named after his wives.’ names such as “Ayesha’s house “ And “Umm-Salma’s house “. While referring to this house, we too have followed their style and given the same name as they have given.
The Bani Hashim and a few of Ali’s followers who had not paid allegiance to Abu Bakr rallied around Ali in Fatimah’s house and discussed the matter of allegiance.
Abu Bakr Jauhari narrates that during those days, Ali (a.s.) would make Fatimah (a.s.) sit on a long-eared animal at night and together, they would visit the houses of Ansars seeking their assistance (in the matter of his own allegiance). (In Shi’a traditions, it has come down that Hasan and Husain (a.s.) would accompany them too, holding their father’s hand).
Fatimah (a.s.) too would seek their assistance (in this affair).
The Ansars would say, ‘O the Prophet’s daughter! We have paid allegiance (the matter is already over) to this man (Abu Bakr). If before allegiance, your cousin had approached us, we would have given our allegiance to him and none else.’.
In reply, Ali (a.s.) would say, ‘Was it appropriate for me to have abandoned the Prophet’s (S) corpse and refrained from giving him the ritual ablution?
Was it proper for me to have abstained from shrouding him, offering prayers over him and burying his blessed body and instead, come out of the house and scuffled with the people over this government?
And Fatimah (a.s.) would say, ‘Abul Hasan (Ali) did nothing except whatever was worthy of him. And they did that what Allah will certainly take their reckoning.’.8
Fatimah’s utterances applied to the Ansars too.
The reaction of the caliphate vis-à-vis Fatema’s house and its inhabitants For the purpose of creating discord amongst the Bani Hashim, the caliphate went to the house of Abbas, the Prophet’s uncle. Abu Bakr said, ‘We wish to keep a share for you in this affair (caliphate).’. Abbas replied in the negative, forcing them to leave in despair.
Consequently, the caliphate system, which saw its affairs incomplete, found no alternative but to attack Fatimah’s house. This task was put into action under regarding the story of Saqifa.
the leadership of “Umar “ and a few companions amongst the Quraish. They attacked the door of Fatimah’s house but could not force through. And finally, they set the door of Fatimah’s house on fire - the house of the Prophet’s daughter. The very door besides which the Holy Prophet (S) would stand five times a day before his prayers and cry out,
السلام عليكم يا أهل البيت..
And after reciting these words, he would return to the prayer-niche to establish the congregational prayer.
The same companions of the Prophet, who used to witness the latter paying respect to this very house, burnt down its door and they did what they did. They entered the house and dragged Ali (a.s.), who had been instructed by the Prophet (S) to adopt self-control, to the mosque, forcing him to pay allegiance.
There, Ali (a.s.) delivered a speech. When the Ansars heard his utterances, they said, ‘O Ali, if the Ansars had heard these words before their allegiance to Abu Bakr then, (not even) two amongst them would have infringed upon your right of allegiance. But it is now all over and they have paid their allegiance.9
Here, Ali (a.s.) did not pay allegiance and the caliphate left him off. Ali (a.s.) returned to Fatimah’s (a.s.) house.
Following this event, the caliphate began a severe economic campaign against the Prophet’s (S) legatee and daughter. In this regard, they deprived them from their right of receiving the Khums (one fifth levy). And this deprivation took place while they were forbidden and not permitted to utilize Sadaqah (which is today commonly known as Zakat).
In their enmity, they (also) deprived the only heir to the Prophet i.e. Fatimah (a.s.) from receiving the inheritance of the Prophet (S). They usurped the “Fadak “ that was given to her by the Prophet (S) whereas others, who had received gardens and farms from the Prophet (S) were not treated in this manner.
Considering that Ali (a.s.) and the other Ahle Bayt (a.s.) were not having any other source of income, we can easily perceive the effect of this economic war against the Prophet’s (S) household.
Consequent to the sanctions, it had become impossible for the household members to arrange any sort of gathering.
In this economic campaign, a hot and severe dispute and debate took place between the caliphate and the Prophet’s daughter. Fatema (a.s.) made this dispute and debate public by discussing it in the Prophet’s mosque and sought help from the Ansars but they turned silent. The Prophet’s daughter returned to her house with almost unbearable pain. It was not long before she passed away and joined her great father (S)!
After Fatimah’s demise, Ali (a.s.) remained alone and the people kept a distance from him. We have explained the events that followed in the first volume of the book “Abdullah-ibn-Saba “ (on the subject of Saqifa). Thus came to an end the affairs of the opponents of Abu Bakr’s allegiance.
Following these events, the caliphate kept off the Ansars and the Bani Hashim from the political arena and under no circumstances did the military directorship permit the Ansars and the Bani Hashim to participate in the conquests and rule of the Islamic cities.
Such was the affairs of the caliphate system against these two opponents within Medina. Their treatment with the opponents outside Medina was as follows:
The ruling caliphate labeled the group of Arab tribes who resided outside Medina as renegades. They were killed, their property plundered and taken as war-booty, and their women, children and the aged taken as captives to Medina. A few amongst them, who possessed means of transportation, were set free while others were taken as slaves.
Amongst these tribes, three persons from three Arab tribes claimed to be the Prophet. The ruling caliphate attacked them too and gained victory over them. They killed their warriors, seized their property and took their survivors as captives. In the initial stages of Umar’s caliphate, Umar set free every Arab, man and woman, held as slaves.
Keeping in view the general policy of the caliphate during Abu Bakr’s rule, one can examine his policy with regards to the Prophet’s Sunnah and ahaadith. Now, while examining in brief all that was mentioned, we shall narrate a tradition approving Abu Bakr’s government.
After the Holy Prophet’s (S) demise, the Ansars assembled in “Saqifa Bani-Sa’eda” for swearing allegiance to “Sa.’d ibn Obadah “ as the Prophet’s (S) successor. But they did not possess any proof from the Quran or the Prophet’s Sunnah to endorse their claim. Rather, tribal prejudice persuaded them to resort to such a step.
When the Muhajirs amongst the Quraish received this news, they rushed to Saqifa and argued their case, “The Prophet is from the tribe of Quraish and (so) it is unacceptable to the Arabs that his successor should be from a different tribe. “ For this reason, they swore allegiance to Abu Bakr. This was while the Bani Hashim were engaged in giving ablution, shrouding and offering prayers over the Prophet (S) and were absent from the entire dubious proceedings.
Finally, allegiance to Abu Bakr came to an end and he became the Caliph. The parties to the dispute over the matter of caliphate viz. the Ansars and the Quraish had no proof from the Quran or the Prophet’s Sunnah to support their claims! Thereafter:
1. They deprived the Prophet’s (S) household as well as the entire Bani Hashim from their right of acquiring the Khums (one fifth levy), without any documentary evidence from divine texts for their move. On the contrary, this right (of the Ahle Bait (a.s.)) was firmly established in the Quran in the verse regarding Khums10 and the Prophet too acted upon it during his own lifetime.
2. They took away the garden of “Fadak “ from Fatimah (a.s.), which was given to her by the Holy Prophet (S), and demanded evidence to establish that the Prophet (S) had gifted her the “Fadak “. This occurred while the gardens and the agricultural lands, which the Prophet (S) had given to others, were not seized and no evidence was demanded from them!
3. They deprived the Prophet’s (S) daughter, Fatema (s.a.) from her rightful inheritance. Inheritance by son from father was a part of the clear Islamic commandments, and all the Muslims had read about this in the Quran and acted upon it during the Prophet’s (S) lifetime. Now, the caliphate had no alternative but to forge and fabricate a tradition from the Prophet (S) to cite an exception to the rule
Therefore, Abu Bakr (mis)quoted the Prophet (S) saying, “We Prophets do not leave behind any inheritance. What remains behind us is “Sadaqahh “ (charity). “ Considering that “Sadaqahh “ is forbidden for the Prophet’s household, the tradition was fabricated in the reverse.
This tradition was narrated in the debate that occurred between the Prophet’s daughter, Fatema (a.s.) and Caliph Abu Bakr. After these events, the Prophet’s daughter thought it expedient to disclose publicly this row between herself and the caliphate. In this manner, she wanted all the companions and the Muslims to become aware of these events and by listening to the arguments from both sides; she wished to hold them equally responsible for non-observance of this commandment.
For this task, she went to the Prophet’s (S) mosque along with a group of female relatives. A curtain was put up for the Prophet’s daughter and her accomplices. The Prophet’s daughter along with her accomplices took position on one side of the curtain while the companions, the entire Muslims and the ruling government were placed on the other side.
The Prophet’s daughter sighed as a result of which the attendants started to weep. Thereafter, she praised Allah and then said, “I am Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad (S). She continued until she said:
“O son of Abu Qahafa (the name of Abu Bakr’s father)! Have you the right to inherit from your father but not me? “
Thereafter, she addressed the Ansars and criticized them. After she finished her sermon, Abu Bakr delivered a sermon wherein he praised the Prophet (S) and then addressed the Prophet’s daughter and extolled her. Then, he said,
“O daughter of the Prophet (S)! I personally heard the Prophet saying, ‘We Prophets do not leave behind any inheritance. Whatever remains with us is the “Sadaqah “ (charity)..’ And I have acted upon his commands. “
In reply, Fatimah (a.s.) said,
.‘Have you intentionally set aside and forsaken Allah’s Book, wherein the Almighty says:
وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُودَ
“And Sulaiman was Dawoud’s heir” (Qur’an, 27:16)
Thereafter, she recited a few other verses too and openly challenged Abu Bakr in the presence of all the Muhajirs and Ansars concerning the hadith that he attributed to the Prophet. Not one among them said, ‘O daughter of the Prophet (S)! I too have heard this tradition from the Prophet (S)..’
Taking into account whatever was explained, the policy during Abu Bakr’s rule called for the narration of such traditions that substantiated their actions. They achieved their objective and it was for the first time that a hadith, contrary to the text of the Holy Quran, quoting on authority of the Prophet (S), was officially narrated. Apart from this, numerous similar instances can be found in the affairs of the caliphate.
Here, a point which attracts one’s attention is this: Despite the caliphate’s harsh behaviour towards the Prophet’s household; the narration of hadith contrary to the Quranic text; the killing of those who opposed Abu Bakr’s allegiance (like Malik-ibn-Nuwairah) and many other similar incidents, the Prophet’s companions kept silent. Why?
For a proper perspective, recognition of the general state of the people of the Arabian Peninsular and in particular the Prophet’s companions, is of utmost necessity. The matter concerning justice of the Prophet’s companions has been adequately discussed in the second section of the book titled, ‘On the Path of Unity.’. In connection with the general condition of the people of the Arabian Peninsular, we remind you of the points discussed in the introduction of our previous discussions (i.e. Examination of the Prophet’s way of life)
The Arabs, who were unaware of reading and writing, based their commitments on verbal promises and contracts. Thus, by uttering a few words like, “He is my son “, a stranger would become the announcer’s son and the children of the latter would be regarded as former’s brothers and sisters and the entire tribe would consider him as a member of their society.
Similarly, to boycott a rebel from a tribe, suffice it was to say “This man is not from us “ and automatically he would be cut off from his tribe and kinsmen. The same policy was pursued in the matter of buying and selling and bequeathal of land and property amongst each other or in cases where two tribes would agree on a pact during war or peace or promise to give shelter to someone.
On occasions too, they would shake hands in cases of positive contracts and would name such a contract as (“Bai’at meaning allegiance). In those days, magnanimity and dignity depended on the fulfillment of such contracts. In abiding by these contracts, the Arabs would take precedence over each other and were even ready to sacrifice their lives.
The Islamic “Shariah “ (divine canon) made firm the necessity of abiding by the legal contracts. The Prophet (S) laid the foundation for acceptance of allegiance and in contrast, abolished illegal contracts like the contract of calling someone as “my son “.
Keeping in view the above explanation, one can follow the reason for the companion’s silence and their succumbing before the unfair policies of Abu Bakr’s government.
After hearing Ali’s conversation with Abu Bakr and Umar in the Prophet’s mosque, the Ansars said, “Had the Ansars heard your utterances before their allegiance to Abu Bakr, they wouldn.’t have given their allegiance to anyone but you. “
In reply to the Prophet’s daughter who would visit their houses to seek their assistance, they would say: “We have given our allegiance to this man and everything is now over. “
The same was the situation when the Prophet’s daughter debated with Abu Bakr in the Prophet’s house over her right of inheritance from her father.
In all these circumstances, we saw how the Ansars reckoned themselves to be bound by the allegiance with Abu Bakr and how they believed that any kind of violation in their promise and contracts would bring them disgrace. Although they did not believe that truth was on Abu Bakr’s side, nevertheless breach of promise and pact under any situation was something disgraceful for the Arab society. Notwithstanding the fact that the Islamic “Shariah “ did not recognize the illegal contracts to be enforceable.
According to the Islamic “Shariah," if a few people make an agreement with someone else and swear allegiance to him that they would unjustly seize someone’s property, then the very essence of such an allegiance is null and void and thus not enforceable. But, this matter could only be acceptable to someone who had the guts to tolerate the blame and reproach of the Arab society of that time. The disposition of the majority of the Prophet’s companions reveals that since the companions had given their allegiance to the Caliph, they felt themselves to be obliged in obeying the Caliph under all circumstances.
Taking into account the above explanation, we can explain the gist of Abu Bakr’s policies vis-a-vis the Prophet’s hadith and Sunnah as follows: As against all Islamic rules and customs, the Ansars who abandoned the Prophet’s dead body in his house and (instead) assembled in Saqifa Bani- Saa.’eda to appoint a ruler for the Muslims had not reflected over the Prophet’s Sunnah at all.
Rather, they acted upon their personal opinion and overlooked the Prophet’s Sunnah so much so that they even left behind the funeral proceedings of the Prophet (i.e. the acts of ablution, shrouding, prayer and burial). Under all these circumstances, the Ansars took into consideration their personal wellbeing and acted on their personal opinion. As such, it was for the first time in Islam that after the Prophet’s demise, the Muslims (i.e. the Ansars) acted upon their personal opinion in contradiction to the Prophet’s Sunnah.
Following them, the Muhajirs amongst the Quraish did the same and their action in this matter did not differ in any way from that of the Ansars. They too thought that the welfare lied in leaving behind the Prophet’s corpse and instead, congregate in Saqifa and elect a leader from their side. Here too, they gave priority to their personal opinion rather than the Prophet’s Sunnah.
It was only the Bani Hashim and particularly Ali (a.s.) who acted upon the Prophet’s Sunnah and till the completion of the Prophet’s funeral procedure, did not pay any heed to all this uproar.
Following this important event in Islam, the policy of “acting on personal opinion “ as against the “Prophet’s Sunnah “ became the policy and way of the caliphate school of thought. Also, in their economic campaign against the Ahlul- bayt, they acted upon their personal opinion. However, in this regard, they found no alternative but to narrate such traditions from the Prophet, which contradicted the Quran but at the same time substantiated their own views. As stated earlier, they achieved this goal too.
Our proof that their hadith contradicted the Quranic text is the same that the Prophet’s daughter disclosed publicly in the Prophet’s mosque. Another proof is that none of the Caliph’s accomplices were able to assist the Caliph in this debate and say, ‘O daughter of the Prophet! Apart from Abu Bakr, so and so companion too has narrated this hadith from the Prophet..’
Abu Bakr’s daughter (Ayesha) has further clarified this point by saying, “When the Prophet (S) expired and they disputed over the inheritance (i.e., the dispute between the Prophet’s daughter and the caliphate, the details of which was discussed before) we did not find the true judgment with anyone but him! Abu Bakr said, I heard the Prophet say, ‘We Prophet’s do not take any inheritance. What remains with us is “Sadaqah “ (charity). “11
By this tradition, which only the Caliph has narrated from the Prophet (S) and none else, the Prophet’s (S) daughter was deprived from acquiring her father’s legacy.
In another tradition, which he narrated supposedly from the Prophet (S), Abu Bakr fixed the use of a Prophet’s inheritance as such, “The Prophet (S) said, ‘After a Prophet passes away, anything that the Almighty Allah bestows on him would belong to his immediate successor. “12
According to this tradition, the Prophet’s inheritance after his death should reach Abu Bakr and with the help of this very reasoning, Abu Bakr did not give the Prophet’s inheritance to the Prophet’s daughter and instead appropriated it for himself.
Therefore, the Prophet’s (S) daughter questioned Abu Bakr, ‘After your death, which will have the right to take inheritance from you?.’ He replied, ‘My family members..’
Fatimah (a.s.) questioned, ‘Then for what reason did you take inheritance from the Prophet (S) and deprived us from the same?.’
Ayesha reckoned Abu Bakr to be the only person to have been aware of the Prophet’s (S) hadith about non-inheritance from the Prophet (S), who did not make this known to Fatimah (s.a.). Whereas, Fatimah (s.a.) was the only heir to the Prophet (S) and it was necessary for her to know her rights or otherwise vis-à-vis her inheritance.
The result of Ayesha’s statement would be this that the Prophet (S) has erred (God-forbid) in propagating this decree!
* * *
This was one type of narration of tradition in support of the ruling government’s policy that prevailed during and before the period of this very government. Another kind of such narration is the hadith substantiating the policy of the government, which dominated after this government like the quote of Abu Huraira, which has come down in Sahih-Bukhari and other books of hadith as follows:
The Prophet said: “Nothing shall be distributed from my inheritance; not even one dinar. Whatever I leave behind (as inheritance) will be ‘sadaqah.’ (charity) after deducting the amount of alimony for my wives and the expenses for my servants.13
Our proof that Abu Hurairah has narrated this hadith in the post-Abu Bakr era is the very statement of Ayesha, who said:
“After the Prophet’s departure, they disputed over the Prophet’s inheritance. We did not find the decree over this dispute with anyone save Abu Bakr who said:
The Prophet said: .‘No inheritance is taken from us, the Prophets..’
If Abu Hurairah had narrated this hadith then, it was out of place for Ayesha to have uttered the above sentence.
In contrast to Abu Bakr’s tradition, Abu Hurairah’s tradition, which substantiates the policy of Abu Bakr’s rule, is like the case of a vessel which is hotter than its contents because, Abu Bakr had said: “There cannot be any inheritance from the Prophets. Whatever remains with them is Sadaqah (charity) “. But, Abu Hurairah said, “The Prophet said, ‘No inheritance shall be taken from me, even to the extent of one dinar..’ After deducting the alimony of my wives and the expenses of my servants, the balance will be the Sadaqah (charity). “ By assigning a decree in the case of the Prophet (S) and fixing the measure of one dinar, he tightened the noose still further.
Also, by determining its usage (alimony of the Prophet’s (S) wives and expenses of his servants) he not only deprived the Prophet’s (S) daughter but also presented as correct its usage for the Prophet’s (S) wives and government servants (as the Prophet’s (S) servants).
* * *
The tradition, which we set forth from Abu Bakr substantiating his own government policy, was only a specimen. Other similar traditions too have been narrated from him, which have been collected in Suyuti’s “Tarikh al-Khulafa “ under the topic: “Abu Bakr’s biography “. God willing, we shall mention such traditions in the latter part of our discussion when we review the policies of all the Caliphs vis-a-vis the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah.
Similarly, traditions like the tradition of Abu Hurairah, which substantiate the policies of the Caliphs and have come into being after the end of the respective Caliph’s era of rule, are plenty. We have presented a few of these at the end of the topic: “Muta.’h al-haj (greater pilgrimage) in the second volume of the book “Maa’lem al-Madrasatain”. Thus, a person who is not an expert in this field will fail to distinguish the true traditions from the false ones, which have come down in the books of the caliphate school.
The aforesaid hadith from Abu Bakr reveals only a part of his policies regarding the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah. The other part of his policy is the preventive orders he issued against the narration of the Prophet’s (S) hadith. In this regard, Zahabi relates:
“After the Prophet’s (S) demise, Abu Bakr warned the congregation of Muslims thus, ‘You narrate traditions from the Prophet (S) and have differences in them. These differences will multiply amongst those who are to follow you. (So), do not narrate any tradition from the Prophet (S). To those who ask you any query, say that the Quran suffices us. Consider as lawful whatever the Quran labels as lawful and unlawful all that it has labeled as unlawful. “14
Abu Bakr’s statement is contrary to the explicit text of the Quran, which declares,
وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ
“And We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them “ (Qur’an, 16:44)
All the commandments of the Quran, the lawful and the unlawful along with its explanation have come down in the Prophet’s (S) hadith and its embodiment in his practical life. Accessibility to both these requires narration of is hadith. One unit of prayer cannot be performed without recourse to the Prophet’s (S) hadith. Thus, this part of the Caliph’s statement is absolutely incorrect and invalid.
However, the other part of his statement, (i.e. “You have differences in them “) is right. This is because freedom of narration of the Prophet’s hadith could lead to narration of such hadith, which was against the government policies. Under the circumstances, a group of Muslims would follow the Prophet’s hadith and Sunnah while another group would act upon the personal opinion of the Caliphs, naturally resulting in a severe rift between the Muslims.
* * *
Abu Bakr’s statement contradicts this verse and tens of other verses of the Quran, which command us to follow the Prophet’s (S) utterances and deeds. For acting upon the commandments of the Quran, it is necessary to narrate the Prophet’s (S) hadith.
Besides, Abu Bakr’s statement contradicts all those traditions of the Prophet (S) that emphasize the narration of his traditions. Anyhow, the aforesaid two-fold policy of Abu Bakr against the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah was an opening chapter in this field. The Caliphs who followed him pursued the same policy but with greater force. The reason for uttering the above statement (too) by the Caliph was only one i.e., “the Caliph’s personal opinion “! During the last moments of his life too, the Caliph acted upon “his personal opinion “ and appointed Umar as his successor and the ruler of the Muslims!
In Tarikh Tabari and other books of history, it has been narrated as follows:
While breathing his last, Abu Bakr summoned Uthman in private and dictated,
“Write- In the Name of Allah, the All- Compassionate, the All Merciful. This is Abu Bakr’s covenant to the Muslims. However, after me.… “ Merely uttering these words, he fell unconscious. Uthman completed the will, “I have appointed Umar-ibn-Khattab as the Caliph for you. For, I know that your goodness lies in this. “
After a while, Abu Bakr regained consciousness and asked Uthman to read what he had written. Uthman duly complied. On hearing this, Abu Bakr exclaimed, “Allah is the Greatest! Verily, you feared lest I die in a state of unconsciousness and the people would then fall into dispute? “
Uthman replied in the affirmative. Abu Bakr appreciated, “May Allah rewards you with goodness! “ and put his seal of endorsement!!
“Shadid “, the freed slave of Abu Bakr brought this letter to Umar, who addressed the people in the mosque thus, “O people! Listen to the words of the Prophet’s Caliph and obey him. The Caliph says, ‘I only desire goodness for you.’. “15
Consequently, the people paid allegiance to Umar, thereby making him as the Caliph of the Muslims!
Umar became the next Caliph after Abu Bakr in Jamadi-us-Sani, 13 A.H. and died on 26, Zilhajj, 23 A.H. His Caliphate lasted for ten years and six months.16
In this discussion, we set below five specimens of Umar’s policies, which left its influence on the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah.
1. Preferential treatment for the tribe of Quraish.
2. Preferential treatment for the Arab race.
3. Creating class system in the Islamic society.
4. Confining the Prophet’s (S) companions.
5. Forging Ahl-ul-bayt and family members (other than the real ones) for the Prophet (S).
1. Policy of preferential treatment for the Quraish
The policy of tribal preference during Umar’s reign was similar to the one prevalent among the Arabs in the pre-Islamic era. The Arab society, in the era of paganism, was founded on the basis of tribal system and preferential treatment for the Arab race.
In this system, the basis of discernment and course of action was the tribe, its allies,17 its chief, its poet, its water and its land. In this society, if an individual from one tribe killed a person from another tribe, all the people from the victim’s tribe would seek revenge from all the people belonging to the killer’s tribe. In this connection, vengeance was considered to be achieved only when someone from the killer’s tribe was killed.
In pursuit of this policy, an Arab desert-dweller would never give his daughter’s hand in marriage to the noblest non-Arab. Such was the state of the Arab society during the age of paganism.
The Prophet (S), through Islam, demolished this system by deeds and words. In this connection, the following verse was revealed to the Prophet (S):
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوباً وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ
“O people! Surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other. Surely the most honorable of you in front of Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty) “ (Qur’an, 49:13)
In the last year of his blessed life, the Prophet (S) during the Farewell Pilgrimage (Hajjatul Widaa) said,
‘O People! Your Lord is One and your father is one! Know that no Arab is superior to a non-Arab and no non-Arab is superior to an Arab (by birth); and no red-skinned person enjoys superiority over the black and no black enjoys superiority over the red except through piety. Is my message clear to you?’
All of them confessed, ‘Yes, O Prophet of Allah.18
In practice too, the Prophet (S) laid the Islamic society on the basis of a single human race. He appointed Bilal, a (black) Ethiopian, as the “Muazzin “ (the one who calls to prayer) of the Islamic society (a post that was quite coveted). Likewise, he took tens and hundreds of other steps in this direction. This was the state of the Islamic society during the Prophet’s (S) era.
During Umar’s time, the government policy deemed advisable to restore the Islamic society on the ways and discrimination of the Arabs during paganism.
And now for the details of these events:
After the Prophet’s (S) demise, the conflict at Saqifa Bani Saa.’eda for the appointment of a Caliph took place with tribal slogans. The reason for bringing Sa.’d Bin Ubaadah to Saqifa was not because he possessed greater virtues than the other companions but because as the Ansars asserted, “The Caliph should be from our tribe. “
The Muhaajir (Emigrants) retorted, “The Prophet was from our tribe, the Quraish. So, the Caliph should also be from the Quraish. The Arabs will not accept the caliphate if it is vested in a tribe other than the Quraish. “ For this very reason, allegiance was given to Abu Bakr in Saqifa.
Thereafter, Abu Bakr became busy in suppressing his opponents and strengthening the base of caliphate. However, after Abu Bakr’s rule, the Quraish nepotism in the caliphate became more so apparent during Umar’s era. The manner in which the Quraish ruled the Muslim
During Umar-ibn-Khattab’s rule, the government belonged to the Quraish clan and its allies and the leadership of the Muslim army and the governance of the big Islamic cities were in the hands of the Quraish clan and its allies but not those who were from the clan of Bani Hashim. In this connection we set hereunder, a gist of what Masoudi has narrated:
“The governor of Hamas died. Hamas was a big city in Syria and was one of the Islamic military centres. During that period, Umar summoned Ibn Abbas and said, “The governor of Hamas has died and he was a virtuous man. Virtuous men are few and you are one of them. However, there is in my heart something against you although I have failed to find any evidence for it and have become weary in search for it. Now, what is your idea about becoming the governor of Hamas? “
Ibn Abbas said, “I shall not accept unless you inform me of what you have in your heart against me. “
Umar asked, “Why do you wish to know? “
Ibn Abbas said, “I wish to know because if in case the matter is something fearful then I too should fear from it and if I turn out to be innocent, I should know that I am innocent and then I can accept the post.
Umar said, “O Ibn Abbas, I fear that when I die and you become the governor, you will invite the people towards yourselves. Nay! The people should not turn your side and forsake the others. “19
Umar feared lest he dies and Ibn Abbas remains the governor of Hamas (which was then one of the centres of the Islamic army), he would later invite the people to the caliphate of Bani Hashim i.e. the caliphate of Ali (a.s.). Thus, he said, “Nay! It should not happen that the people refer to the Bani Hashim and forsake the other Quraish! “
As explained, Ibn Abbas’s appointment to the post of governor of Hamas confused Umar and inspite of his confidence in Ibn Abbas’s capability, he had his own fears. In this conversation, he wanted to be sure that his fear was only an illusion. But Ibn Abbas did not give him any assurance and (so) he did not become the governor of Hamas!
In this conversation, two things become clear for us:
Firstly, the reason why Umar kept away the Bani Hashim from sensitive posts Secondly, Umar thought of appointing a Caliph from the Quraish, exclusive of the Bani Hashim
Another policy was to keep the Ansars away from caliphate and sensitive posts except in cases where no Quraish or their allies were found, or when the post itself was insignificant. This policy lasted till the last day of Umar’s rule just as in the council of six members for the selection of a Caliph, Umar had not appointed even one person from the Ansars.
* * *
Such was the basis of the Quraishite rule over the Muslims during Umar’s era, which left its indelible impression on the Islamic societies for centuries to follow; and its effect on the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah too has remained till today.
In connection with the preferential treatment exhibited by Umar for the Arab race, we shall explain the following four instances:
(a) A non-Arab was forbidden from marrying an Arab woman. Moreover, an Arab but a non-Quraishite was forbidden from marrying a Quraish lady.
(b) A person whose mother was a non-Arab was deprived of the inheritance of his father unless he had Arabian domicile by birth.20
The above rule is in vogue in England today. If an Englishman marries a non- English lady who gives birth to a child in the English territory, that child enjoys the right of being given an English identity card. Otherwise, he is not entitled to this identity card.
(c) The Arab Christians were exempted from paying the Jizya (poll tax). Rather, like the Muslims, they were liable to pay Zakat (alms tax).
(d) No non-Arab was permitted to reside in Medina except those who had being residing in Medina from the Prophet’s (S) time, like Salman and Bilal.
Two persons were exempted from this rule: One was “Hurmazan “, the commander of Shustar. The Caliph depended on him for war counsel in the conquests over Iran21 and the other was “Abu Loulu “, a skillful worker. The people of Medina greatly needed him for his workmanship22.
In this connection, Masoudi says:
“Umar would not allow any non-Arab to enter Medina. Mughaira-ibn-Shu’aba wrote to him, ‘I have with me a slave who is a painter, carpenter as well as an ironsmith. He is useful for the people of Medina. Allow me to send him to Medina. Umar obliged “23
He was given permission and his name was Abu Loulu.
About Umar’s consultation with Hurmazan, suffice it is to narrate one instance.
Masoudi says: ‘Umar consulted Hurmazan on the battle of Fars, Esfahan and Azarbaijan..’
Hurmazan said, ‘Fars (in Iran) is like a head while Esfahan and Azarbaijan are its two wings. If you cut off one of the wings the head will preserve the other wing. But if you severe the head the two wings will collapse. Thus, you may begin your work with the head.’.24
In his time, the Prophet (S) distributed the warbooty amongst the Islamic soldiers but only after setting aside one fourth of it for himself. This practice was in vogue even during Abu Bakr’s caliphate and continued till the early period of Umar’s caliphate.
When conquests multiplied, a section of Iran was conquered and the war booty began to be amassed, Caliph Umar consulted the Muslims on the matter of distribution of the war booty. Imam Ali (a.s.) said to Umar, ‘Every year, distribute whatever wealth is amassed with you and do not keep anything with you.’. Others too chipped in with their suggestions. One of them said, ‘I have witnessed the Syrian Kings possessing a list of names as well as army for wars.
You too do the same.’. The Caliph obliged and the people’s names were written clanwise.25
In Fotouh al-Buldaan, Balaazari has mentioned the manner of distribution of the public treasury amongst the people as follows:
‘Each of the Prophet’s (S) wives was given ten thousand dirhams per year while “Ayesha “ was given twelve thousand dirhams. Those who had participated in the battle of Badr were given five thousand dirhams and those who were not in Badr but were present in Uhud were given four thousand dirhams per annum. These yearly stipends were downgraded to such levels that some Muslims received only two hundred dirhams. In this manner, the names of Muslims got registered in the books.26
By this act, the Caliph created class distinctions in Islam. The Islamic society got accustomed to it and a large number of people reckoned this to be a part of the Islamic insight.
Umar strengthened the class system by his other sayings and deeds too. For example, he said, “This affair (caliphate) is restricted to the people of Badr till the last of them. When none amongst them remain, this affair will go the people of Uhud till the last of them. When none amongst them remain, the caliphate will.….…and he continued naming the Prophet’s (S) battles. Then, he declared, “The caliphate shall not go to those who turned Muslims after the
Meccan victory. “27 Moreover, in the council of six members set for the appointment of his successor, all were participants of Badr.
A subtle policy dominated this approach. By this policy, he kept the Prophet’s (S) companions happy and preoccupied in amassing wealth but at the same time, aloof from reflecting in politics. He made them busy in amassing exorbitant riches through tending flocks of cows, sheep, camels and horses as well as farming and agriculture.
This action of the Caliph gave birth to feudalism in the Islamic society as two classes came into existence: the aristocratic and the oppressed. Besides, it resulted in other sufferings too but the size of this book does not permit us to analyse them.
Umar’s government was determined in imprisoning those companions of the Prophet (S) in Medina, who he feared would narrate his (S) hadith, contradicting his approach. In this regard, Abdullah ibn Umar says: Zubair was a valiant and majestic figure. He approached Umar, who feard him (for keeping his sword ready for taking allegiance for Ali).
Zubair: Allow me to fight a Holy war in the path of Allah.
Umar: Suffice is the Holy war, which you fought in company with the Prophet (S).
Zubair left murmering in anger.
Umar claimed, “Who can understand my pretext before Muhammad’s (S) companion? If I do not close the opening of this sedition, it will destroy the Prophet’s (S) nation “!28
In another tradition, he says:
I shut the door of this valley (meaning the valley of Medina) lest the Prophet’s (S) companions meet the people and deviate them.29
Abdur Rahman-ibn-Auf narrates:
Before dying, Umar assembled the Prophet’s (S) companions in Medina from various places and addressed them thus, “What are these traditions (quotes of the Prophet) that you are spreading in the world?
They said, ‘Are you forbidding us (from narrating the Prophet’s hadith)?.’
He said, ‘You shall all stay besides me! I swear by Allah, you shall not separate from me until my last breath! We know better what hadith to accept from you and what hadith to reject..’
They all remained in Medina near Umar until he died.30
For this reason, Umar prohibited the Prophet’s (S) wives from making the Haj (greater pilgrimage) and Umra (lesser pilgrimage).31 Nevertheless, there were women like Umm-Salma whom Umar failed to prevent from narrating such traditions of the Prophet (S) which were contrary to the ruling policies.
This prohibition continued during Umar’s rule until the last year of his rule when he took them for Haj. However, the vigilant eye of Uthman and Abdur Rahman-ibn-Auf prevented anyone from coming in contact with them.
With numerous conquests during Umar’s rule, people from thousands of cities experienced new developments. They were now eager to know Islam and its historical background.
For acquainting them with Islam, the caliphate introduced to them the recitation of Quran, the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah, which was in conformity with the government policies and all that the Caliphs had themselves stipulated. However, the caliphate faced severe difficulty in introducing the Islamic history.
This difficulty arose due to the newly converted Muslims.’ eagerness in knowing the Prophet’s (S) biography, Islam’s progress chart, the people who helped the Prophet (S) in propagating the religion, the people who created hindrances, the names of those who were nearest to the Prophet (S) and the Prophet’s (S) household members.
Apart from these obvious queries, the newly converted Muslims had also come across Quranic verses like:
قُل لَّا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْراً إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَى
“Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my kinsfolk “ (Qur’an, 42: 23)
فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْاْ نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءنَا وَأَبْنَاءكُمْ وَنِسَاءنَا وَنِسَاءكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وأَنفُسَكُمْ
“Say: Come let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves.… (Qur’an, 3:61)
The newly converted Muslims realized that:
The first male helper who assisted the Prophet (S) was “Abu-Talib “, the Prophet’s uncle and “Ali’s “ father.
The first Muslim woman was “Khadija “ and the first Muslim male was “Ali “ (a.s.).
The next greatest helper to the Prophet (S) in the battles was “Ali “ (a.s.).
In interpreting the aforesaid verses and tens of other verses as well as hundreds of hadith, they recognized Ali (a.s.) to be the Prophet’s “Ahl-ul-bayt” (household members) and “Zul-Qurba” (kinsfolk).
Among the women, they recognized Fatimah, Prophet’s (S) daughter and Ali’s (a.s.) wife.
Among the youths, they recognized Hasan and Husain (a.s.), Ali’s (a.s.) two sons.
In their eyes, all the magnificence of Islam, and all its virtues, terminated in Ali (a.s.), his father, his mother-in-law, his wife and his two sons. And it was this very Ali who opposed the caliphate and refused to pay allegiance to the first Caliph for six months. Often, he would claim, “I am the Prophet’s legatee and successor. “
All these factors together created chaos and confusion among the rulers.
Practising utmost discretion, the caliphs obviated these confusions by employing the following methods:
In our discussion on Abu Bakr’s allegiance, we saw how Abu Bakr, Umar and his accomplices visited Abbas.’ house with the intention of creating discord between him and Ali (a.s.) and how they offered him a share in the caliphate, which was rejected by Abbas.
Besides pursuing this policy, Umar, during his reign, attempted to introduce someone other than Ali (a.s.) as the Prophet’s (S) kin. In implementing these two policies, Umar gave preference to Abbas.
Incidentally, Abbas was not with the Prophet (S) in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Khaibar and Tabuk. Rather, he was in the company of the infidels in the battle of Badr and was taken captive by the Muslims. He was preferred over all those who had participated in the battles of Badr, Uhud, etc.
Umar honoured him in the class system and fixed twelve thousand dirhams as his annual stipend.32
In 18 A.H., the year of famine in Medina, Umar requested Abbas to intercede and pray before Allah to send down rain under this pretext that he was the Prophet’s (S) uncle.33
On the other hand, Umar would allow “Abdullah “ (son of Abbas) to accompany him on grounds of being the Prophet’s (S) cousin and would consult him and ask him meanings of verses from the Holy Quran in the presence of the eminent companions. Abdullah, who knew numerous Arab poems by heart, was not unfamiliar with the literal meanings of the Quran.34
By resorting to such tactics, the Caliph made Abbas and his son Abdullah popular in the society and introduced them as the Prophet’s (S) kin. Earlier, we had also mentioned Umar’s desire of making Ibn Abbas the commander of Hamas, provided he was assured that after his death, Ibn Abbas would not utilize his post for Ali’s (a.s.) caliphate.
Keeping in view the philosophy behind the divine command in introducing the Ahl-ul-bayt, the consequences of the Caliph’s policy becomes apparent. The philosophy behind the divine command in introducing the Ahl-ul-bayt
On divine command, the Holy Prophet (S) introduced the Ahl-ul-bayt to the Muslims, so that after his demise, they would derive from them the Islamic creeds and precincts, learn from them the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah and hadith, assemble around them and pay allegiance to them in forming the Islamic government. The Islamic Ummah (nation) was to accomplish these tasks with full knowledge of their status and were obliged to follow them, love them and be attached to them.
When the caliphate system presented others instead of them, it left the following contradictory impressions:
During the era of the three caliphs, the newly converted Muslims reckoned that the verses and hadiths that have come down in honour of the Prophet’s (S) Ahl-ul-bayt applied to Abbas and his sons. Their views on the Prophet’s (S) legatee were focussed on Abbas and his sons.
Its long-term effect was felt during the era when the Muslims revolted against the Bani Umayyah and they formed an Islamic government under the leadership of the Ahl-ul-bayt. The Bani-Abbas succeeded in introducing themselves as the Ahl-ul-bayt in the cities of Khorasan (far from Medina, the centre of Ahl-ulbayt and far from Kufa, the Shiite hub) and there, they began their military expedition, culminating in the downfall of the Bani Umayyah government.
In this manner, they succeeded in forming a seemingly legitimate government on the grounds that they were the Prophet’s (S) cousins and Ahl-ul-bayt. In reality, they resembled the oppressive Bani Umayyah government and pursued their very style in the matter of hadith and Sunnah, as mentioned in the caliphate school. This dynasty (Bani Umayyah) brought such harm to the Muslims for hundreds of years so much that volumes are needed to describe them.
The caliphs introduced Abu Bakr and Umar in Mecca and Medina as the Prophet’s (S) two friends, companions, ministers and counsellors and Islam’s second and third ranking figures. In a few traditions, they have also assumed these two figures to be more pious and learned than the Prophet (S).
Moreover, it introduced Abu Bakr instead of Ali (a.s.) as the first believing man and showed Umar as more sympathetic than the Prophet (S) towards Islam and the Muslims (a nurse being more sympathetic than mother!) and the one who presented true insight to the Prophet’s (S) persona.
Thus, at a time, when all the Prophet’s (S) companions were prohibited from narrating the Prophet’s (S) hadith (except when the Caliph asked them any questions), Umar and Ayesha narrated from the Prophet (S) whatever they liked.
Consequent to this policy, not only Umar became the hero of Islam and the one superior than Ali, but his act of alteration in the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah greatly influenced the Islamic society, the effects of which can be felt even today.
The caliphate introduced Ayesha as the most beloved human being in the eyes of the Prophet (S) and the most esteemed one before Allah. Similarly, it bestowed upon her other distinctions too. Moreover, it recognized her to be the distinct Ahl-ul-bayt and such figures like Khadija and Fatimah were consigned to oblivion.
Considering that the Caliphs would seek legal opinion and inquire matters related to the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah from her, Ayesha was presented to be the supreme authority in his Sunnah. Her traditions left negative effects in understanding the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah and way of life and instead consolidated the life-style of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, which will continue to prevail till the advent of Mahdi (at.f.s.).
Considering the points that we have discussed, we can now examine in brief, Umar’s policies with regards to hadith.
During Umar’s reign, four dangerous methods were implemented and reinforced with respect to the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah. They were as follows:
(a) Prohibition against propagation of the Prophet’s (S) hadith.
(b) Official licence by the caliphate in spreading thoughts and beliefs of the (condemned) Bani Israel amongst the Muslims.
(c) Implementation of the Caliph’s personal views as against the explicit text of the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah. This, in itself, was reckoned to be a part of Umar’s policy against the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah. We have already mentioned two such instances.
(d) Narration of hadith in conformity with government policies and attributing unfair things to the Prophet (S).
These four affairs were implemented in the following manner:
In this regard, the Caliph strictly prohibited any kind of narration of the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah (whether verbal or in written form).
Similarly, he ordered everyone to bring for him the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah in writing and when all the writings were collected, he burnt their entire lot!
Besides, he prevented some of the Prophet’s (S) companions from leaving Medina lest they narrate the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah in other cities far from the Caliph’s view. Likewise, he prevented the Prophet’s (S) wives from travelling outside Medina. They were even disallowed to go for the Haj Pilgrimage, save on one occasion when they were kept under the vigilant eye of Uthman and Abdur Rahman-ibn-Auf.
Now we shall mention three examples, which reveal the effect of ban on narration of the Prophet’s (S) hadith:
(a) In the to and fro Haj journey from Medina to Mecca, Sa.’d-ibn-Waqqas did not narrate even one tradition from the Prophet (S).35
The author says: Considering the significance of expressing the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah in the Haj rites, such heedlessness on the part of the Prophet’s (S) companion reveals the extent to which Umar’s ban on narration of the Prophet’s (S) hadith left its impact on the Prophet’s (S) companions.
(b) Abdullah-ibn-Umar did not narrate for his associates even one tradition from the Prophet (S) for one complete year.36
(c) When Umar sent Qarazah-ibn-Ka.’b Ansari on a mission to Kufa, he advised him not to narrate any hadith from the Prophet (S). Whenever the people asked him to narrate hadith from the Prophet (S), he would say, “Umar has forbidden us from narrating traditions.37
* * *
Instead of propagating the Prophet’s (S) hadith, Umar would command the people to recite the “Quran “. However, in the case of Quran too, he strictly prevented anyone from inquiring about its meaning and interpretation.
Once, a person named Saabigh-ibn-Asal Tamimi who belonged to the aristocratic tribe of Tamim, inquired about the meaning of:" «... وَالذَّارِيَاتِ ذَرْواً».
Umar summoned him to Medina and beat him so much that his clothes became soaked with blood, followed by imprisonment! After a brief period, he summoned him once again and caned him a hundred times, causing grievous injury to his back! Finally, he exiled him to Basra and prohibited the people from talking to him until Abu Musa Ash.’ari interceded and requested Umar to set him free.
The reason behind Umar’s ban on narration of hadith and interpretation of Quran:
In the discussion on Abu Bakr’s policy vis-a-vis the Propet’s (S) Sunnah and hadith, we had explained in brief the reason for the ban on the propagation of the Prophet’s hadith. Here, we shall discuss this matter in detail:
Since the start of the Prophet’s (S) mission in Mecca, the Quraish created hindrances for the Prophet (S) and tortured the Muslims through various means. After the Prophet’s (S) migration to Medina, they continued their enmity and killings against the Prophet (S) and his followers in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, etc.
Against them was “Ali”, the first Muslim, “Abu-Talib”, the obliger of Islam, “Khadija”, (Fatimah’s mother) the devotee and lover of Islam. In the battles against the Quraish, the hero among the Muslims was “Ali “ and the selfsacrificing Islamic soldiers were from the “Ansars”. This was discussed in length in the topic on the Prophet’s (S) biography.
Similarly, there was the verse:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيراً
which applied to the Prophet, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husain (a.s.). And the verse of “Mubahela “:
فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْاْ نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءنَا وَأَبْنَاءكُمْ وَنِسَاءنَا وَنِسَاءكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وأَنفُسَكُمْ
“Say: Come let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves.… (Qur’an, 3:61)
proved applicable only in the case of Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husain (a.s.).
And in the verse:
.« وَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَى حَقَّهُ »
and give to the near ones their right.. (Qur’an, 17:26)
there was the command for granting the “Fadak “ to Fatimah, the Prophet’s (S) daughter and many others.….….….…..
For this reason, the caliph found it necessary to prevent the propagation of the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah and forbid any type of questioning on the interpretation of the Quranic verses. In this regard, he even resorted to violence like beating and imprisonment, so that the true face of Ali’s enemies, those irate with his caliphate and the opponents of the Prophet’s household, as well as the self-sacrificing deeds of the Ansars remain concealed from the Muslims, who resided away from Medina.
On the other hand, it was indispensable for the caliph to fabricate traditions, which were in conformity with the policies of the Caliphs. We have already indicated this matter in our previous discussions and shall explain them in length in the coming lessons.
This task was set up during Abu Bakr’s caliphate and gained momentum during Umar’s reign. Instead of setting forth the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah in the Islamic society, the rulers brought counterfeit for them, which you will read, in the following discussions:
From Umar’s era, the caliphate hired agents for spreading “Bani-Israil “ Tales amongst the Muslims in lieu of the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah. A stooge in this design of the caliph was K.’ab al-Ahbaar, the renowned Jewish scholar who outwardly brought faith in Islam during Umar’s era and remained the official scholar of the caliphate court till Uthman’s period.
Another counterfeit-producing sychophant was “Tamim Dari “, a Christian monk, who accepted Islam outwardly and on Umar’s instructions used to deliver sermons in the Prophet’s (S) mosque prior to the Friday prayers!
About their deeds, we shall confine ourselves to whatever we have explained in the preceding discussions and concerning their destructive consequences, we shall discuss them (God-Willing) in the coming discussions.
The second Caliph altered numerous Islamic ordinances, which have come down in the Quran and the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah. We have mentioned a few of these in the preceding topics of this book and a few others have been discussed in length in the second volume of the book: “Maalem al- Madrasatain “ (the topic concerning the independent judgement of the Caliphs).
Analysing all these would require volumes.
The caliphate named such ratification and distortion of laws in 2 A.H., as “Ijtihad “ and they would say, ‘The Caliph in so and so matter has made such an “Ijtihad “ (independent judgement)..’
Previously, we had mentioned instances where the Caliph strictly prevented the propagation of the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah. At that time, two persons were excluded from this prohibition.
One of them was “Ayesha “ who was the official speaker of the caliphate during the era of the three Caliphs. The Caliphs would inquire from her whatever they needed and she in turn would fabricate traditions on the authority of the Prophet (S) in support of their policies. We have brought several traditions from her in support of the policies of Abu Bakr and Umar in the book, The Role of Ayesha in the History of Islam vol.1, p.119, under the topic “Ayesha’s hadith in support of the caliphate “.
Another figure who was excluded from this ban was Caliph Umar-ibn-Khattab. Now, by the Almighty’s support, we set below instances of Umar’s traditions in support of his own policies.
Previously, we saw that during the second Caliph’s era, the government policy was founded on the basis of the Caliph’s “Ijtihad “ (independent judgement) in the Islamic ordinances, as against the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah. The instances of the second Caliph’s “Ijtihad” were such that it was practically impossible to cite a hadith of the Prophet (S) in its support.
This problem was tactfully and cunningly solved as follows, which is unparalleled in history:
Traditions about the second Caliph’s excellences and virtues were narrated. Consequently, the Caliph’s “Ijtihad” took precedence over the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah like the traditions concerning “Umar’s consent “ Wherein Caliph Umar had said: “I consented with my Lord on many issues. “ In yet another hadith, he says: “My Lord agreed with me in many affairs! “ In giving explanation about the instances wherein he agreed with his Lord (or his Lord agreed with him), he says:
.‘In certain matters, I recommended the Prophet to act in so and so manner. Thereafter, Allah revealed to His Prophet my proposal and commanded all to follow that matter according to my recommendation and this became obligatory for all Muslims (to follow).’.
In another tradition, he says, ‘I forbade the Prophet from such and such act and he did not oblige. Then, Allah revealed to him a verse forbidding him from that act and this became haram (unlawful) for all the Muslims..’
In all these traditions, it has been so explained that the verse would be revealed for the Prophet (S) in exactly the same words as Umar’s utterances.
In yet another tradition, he says: When the verse:
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن سُلَالَةٍ مِّن طِينٍ . ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً فِي قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ . ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا
And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay. Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging. Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation… (Holy Quran, 23: 12- 14)
concerning man’s creation was revealed, I said:
فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
Blessed be Allah, the best of the Creators. (Holy Quran, 23: 14)
Allah added my utterance after the verse: أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقاً آخَر and the verse became:
أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقاً آخَرَ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
It was for this reason that the scholars belonging to the caliphate school said: In the Quran, one can find Umar’s utterances!
As per these traditions, Umar-ibn-Khattab would put forth certain proposals to the Prophet (S) and accordingly, Allah would make that affair obligatory for His Prophet (S) and all the Muslims till the Day of Judgement.
Moreover, in instances where the Prophet (S) would perform a certain deed, which consequently would become his Sunnah, Umar would dispute and forbid the Prophet (S) from it. Consequently, a verse would be revealed commanding the Prophet (S) to forsake that act and instead act in consonance with Umar’s command.
Thus, in the eyes of those who believe in the authenticity of such traditions, if after the Prophet’s (S) demise, Umar forbids his Sunnah in some particular matter, it is necessary to follow Umar’s command.
This perspicacity was further strengthened by other traditions too like the one stating that .‘angels conversed with Umar.38’or, ‘Allah has made the truth to flow from Umar’s tongue.’ or, ‘If there should be a Prophet after me, it will be Umar..’39
* * *
Among these traditions, the tradition concerning Umar’s consent was fabricated during Umar’s era because its narrator is none other than the Caliph himself. However, the traditions that solidify the hadith about Umar’s consent are supposed to have been forged after Umar’s era.
Here, the following queries arise:
How did the Prophet’s (S) companions allow the narration of traditions like the one about “Umar’s consent with Allah “, wherein Umar is deemed to be superior to the Prophet (S), who is constantly sought to be degraded?
Besides, how did they permit Allah, the Almighty, and the Noble Quran, to be freely insulted by Umar’s statement that Allah accepted my words and entered in His Book my utterance:
فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ""
What made the Prophet’s (S) companions be sitting ducks in the face of such outrage?
This query is answered when we compare the condition of the Prophet’s (S) companions in the pre-Islamic era, with their state during Umar’s reign.40
In the pre-Islamic era, these companions were predominantly nomads of the Arabian Peninsula, who could afford only a few sips of sweet water and pieces of bread. But during Umar’s caliphate, these very companions turned kings of the best nations and cities of that time - cities with rivers, fountains, plantations, fruit-bearing gardens, beautiful women and men with Iranian and Roman culture.
Thus, for achieving all these worldly pleasures, it was necessary to satisfy the Caliph.
Didn.’t Umar Sa.’d agree to become the commander of Ibn Ziyad’s army and massacre the Prophet’s (S) progeny in Karbala? Did he not trample their blessed bodies with horses and sever their heads, and then take them along with the Prophet’s (S) daughters in the presence of Ibn Ziyad, all for just becoming the governor of Rayy?
So, is it astonishing that their forefathers i.e. people like Sa.’d Waqqas, Amr Aas, Mughaira ibn Shu.’ba and other companions, who had heard the Prophet’s (S) sayings, took precedence over one another in drawing the Caliph’s satisfaction simply for worldly pleasures?
In this regard, how beautifully the Prophet’s (S) offspring, Imam Husain (a.s.), has said:
“People are the slaves of this world and religion is the taste of their tongues (i.e. something which they only utter and not practice). As long as they live happily, they gather around religion, but when they are tested with calamities, only the pious remain steadfast “
* * *
After the expansion of the Islamic State, leading companions would take precedence over one another in getting the Caliph’s satisfaction. With the consent of their majority, traditions like the tradition on Umar’s consent and his independent judgements spread in Mecca and Medina and later to other numerous cities whose people had brought faith in Islam only after those conquests.
The four methods employed by Umar in connection with the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah, had the following impact for Islam and the Muslims:
1- The ban on the Prophet’s (S) hadith continued for more than seventy years right till the end of the Bani Ummayyah rule (except for four plus years during Amirul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s rule and two years and a few months during Umar ibn Abdul Aziz’s rule).
2- During the era of compilation of the Prophet’s (S) hadith, Judaic beliefs and dogmas got mixed with the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah, and then found their way in the books on hadith. (Since then) this matter has created severe deviations in the belief of the Muslims. Insha’Allah, we shall examine them in the discussion on Allah’s Names and Attributes in the subsequent chapters.
3- On numerous occasions, the second Caliph would alter the Islamic decrees, which had come down in the Quran and the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah, whose details are beyond the scope of our discussion and would require volumes. Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) has pointed out in one of his sermons more than twenty-five such instances and we have explained these in the second volume of the book “Maa’lem al-Madrasatain”.
In the final stages of the second Caliph’s life, these independent judgements increased to such an extent that Islam got divided into two:
(a) The Islam of the Prophet’s era, which had remained intact in the Quran and the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah.
(b) The Islam of the caliphate system, as accepted by the majority of early Muslims as well as new converts, and most of its commandments were inconsistent with the Quran and the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah.
When Umar was wounded by Abu Loulu, he nominated a six-member Committee consisting of Ali (a.s.), Uthman (from Bani Abde Manaaf), Abdur Rahman (from Bani Zuhrah), Sa.’d (from Bani Zuhrah), Zubair (from Bani- Asad) and Talha-ibn-Ubaidullah (from Bani-Taem) and appointed Abdullahibn- Umar as the arbitrator of this committee.
Similarly, he appointed Abu Talha Ansari with fifty armed men from the Ansars and ordered, “If five agree about one and the sixth disagrees, and then strike him with your swords. If four among them agree about one and the other two disagree, then you may kill both of them. If three agree about one and the other three about another, then Abdullah ibn Umar should act as the arbitrator. If they do not accept Abdullah ibn Umar’s verdict, support should be given to the group that includes Abdur Rahman, but if the other three disagree, they should be beheaded. “
Umar said: I believe it would be either Ali or Uthman.
When they left Umar’s place, Ali (a.s.) said to the Bani Hashim, “The caliphate has been turned away from us. “
They asked, ‘How can you say this?.’
Ali (a.s.) replied, “Sa.’d is the cousin of Abdur Rahman and Abdur Rahman is the husband of Uthman’s sister. These three will surely reach a compromise.
Even if the other two are with me, it is in vain because it has been laid down that support should be given to the group that includes Abdur Rahman.41
The author says, ‘By this command, Umar made “Abdur Rahman “ the pivot of this caliphate committee. Also, from his statements, it is obvious that the mystery of this committee lied with Abdur Rahman ibn Auf. Now, let’s see the manner in which Abdur Rahman acted thus enabling us to unravel this mystery.
For three days, Abdur Rahman created a scene wherein he gathered the Muhajirs, Ansars and the other Muslims in the Prophet’s (S) mosque and addressed the candidates thus, “I separate myself and Sa.’d (who was Abdur Rahman’s cousin) from the caliphate so that I have the right to choose one among the four as the Caliph. “ The first to agree to this was Uthman. Then, all others except Ali (a.s.) agreed.
Abu Talha, who led the fifty armed men, said to Ali (a.s.), ‘Why don.’t you agree?.’ Abdur Rahman is a reliable man in the eyes of the Muslims!.’
Ali (a.s.) was forced to agree and allow Abdur Rahman to act after the latter took an oath to act on the basis of truth and not out of his desire.
Thereafter, Abdur Rahman pretended that he was electing Ali (a.s.) and Uthman as the candidates to the caliphate and asked the people their opinion. At this time, each one’s supporters campaigned and strived hard in gaining victory for their respective candidate.
Ammar said, ‘If you wish that discord should not occur among the people, then pay allegiance to Ali (a.s.)..’
Miqdad said, ‘Ammar is speaking the truth..’
Abdullah ibn Sa.’d ibn Abi Surah, who was Uthman’s foster brother, said, ‘If you do not wish discord among the Quraish, then pay allegiance to Uthman..’ Abdullah ibn Abi Rabih Makhzumi said, ‘Abdullah ibn Sa.’d ibn Abi Surah is speaking the truth. If you swear allegiance to Uthman, we shall obey and give our allegiance..’
Ammar addressed Abdullah ibn Sa.’d ibn Abi Surah and asked scornfully,
“Have you ever wished good for Islam? “
At this juncture, the Bani Hashim and the Bani Ummayyah delivered speeches. Ammar stood and said, ‘O people! Allah honoured you with His Prophet (S) and bestowed glory to His religion. Till when you shall keep this affair far from the Prophet’s (S) household?
A Quraishite, belonging to the clan of Makhzum, retorted, ‘O son of Somaiya!
You have exceeded your limits. Why do you interfere in the affairs of the Quraish in the matter of selection?42
Sa’d ibn Abdul Rahman thundered, ‘Finish off the matter before a sedition is raised..’
Abdur Rahman, who had craftily scripted this scenario and shrewdly engaged the people in fight against each other, approached Ali (a.s.) after three days of delay and deceitful pretension and said, ‘I pay you allegiance on your following the Book of Allah, the Prophet’s Sunnah and the way of Abu Bakr and Umar..’
Ali (a.s.) said, ‘I shall act by the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) and my own findings..’
Abdur Rahman turned to Uthman and said, ‘I pay allegiance to you on your following the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) and the way of Abu Bakr and Umar..’
Uthman said, ‘I shall act as per the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet and the way of Abu Bakr and Umar..’
Again, Abdur Rahman turned to Ali (a.s.) and repeated his question. Ali (a.s.) gave him the same reply. Then, he turned to Uthman and repeated the same question and Uthman repeated his previous reply.
For the third time, Abdur Rahman asked Ali (a.s.) the same question. This time, Ali (a.s.) replied, ‘By acting on the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s Sunnah, its no more necessary to follow others way and conduct. You (only) desire to keep this affair (the caliphate) away from me!.’
Abdur Rahman then turned towards Uthman and repeated his question and received the same reply.
Abdur Rahman stretched his hand and paid allegiance to Uthman as the Caliph of the Muslims under the aforesaid conditions.43
Thus, the secret behind Umar’s Consultative Committee lied with Abdur Rahman and he (i.e. Abdur Rahman) implemented it with his branded cunningness.
After Abdur Rahman swore allegiance to Uthman, Ali (a.s.) left the place angrily. Abdur Rahman, who had a sword in hand (nobody else had a sword) said to Ali, ‘Pay allegiance or else I will strike you with my sword!.’ The committee members pursued Ali (a.s.) and said, ‘Swear allegiance or else we shall wage war against you!.’ Hence, Ali (a.s.) was coerced into allegiance.44
1. The committee comprised of six men from the Quraish. The working procedure of the committee was laid down in such manner that would enable Abdur Rahman to elect Uthman to the caliphate. Considering the fact that Uthman was a trusted figure in the eyes of Abu Bakr and that when Abu Bakr fell unconscious while writing the appointment of the next Caliph, Uthman had written Umar’s name, the latter’s loyalty to him (i.e. Uthman) becomes clear for us.
2. It was impossible to omit Ali (a.s.) from this committee. However, for overcoming this situation, Umar had secretly planned with Abdur Rahman to include the clause of “following the two Caliph’s conduct “, along with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) as a condition for allegiance. This is because he knew that Ali (a.s.) would never accept allegiance under this condition.
3. The appointment of fifty swordsmen for killing anyone who disagreed with the results was a plot for eliminating Ali (a.s.) since it was clear that the other five members would not oppose the allegiance. On the other hand, Ali (a.s.) was the only one who had disagreed with the first caliph’s allegiance too and Zubair at that time was ready to fight in favour of Ali; and (they feared) perhaps this time too, Zubair would assist Ali. Thus, this plan was also clear and obvious.
4. The condition of following the two Caliph’s conduct left three vital effects on the Prophet’s Sunnah:
(a) By virtue of this allegiance, all the innovations and distortions that came in the form of ordinances and were supported by forged and fabricated traditions, now gained official recognition in the Islamic society. Their implementation remained firm amongst hundreds of Muslims right from the time of the two Caliphs till the advent of the Promised Mahdi (a.s.) and in contrast, the ordinances, which had come down in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S), were abrogated by them.
(b) By this allegiance, the two Caliph’s way and conduct was set as a proof of the Islamic ordinances (in the caliphate school) in line with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S).
(c) By virtue of these independent judgements and their being complemented by such an allegiance, the door of independent judgement (ijtihad), based on conjecture, was opened for those to come. That is, two groups in the caliphate school acted according to their personal opinion as against the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) i.e. the rulers and scholars of the caliphate school.
Concerning the independent judgements of scholars belonging to the caliphate school, we shall discuss them God-Willing under the title, The birth of different sects in the caliphate school.
With regards to the independent judgements of the Caliphs in the Islamic ordinances (as against the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S)) refer to the second volume of the book “Maa’lem al-Madrasatain” under the topic, “Mujtahid (religious jurist) and the caliphate school “. Here, we restrain ourselves by setting forth just one evidence.
Suyuti in “Tarikh al-Khulafa “ says,
Allegiance to the Abbasid Caliph, Az-Zaher-Be-Amrillah, son of al-Naser ledeenallah was as such:
I swear allegiance to my master and Imam, (whose obedience is obligatory upon all) Abu Nasr Muhammad az-Zaher-be-Amrillah on his following the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet and his own Ijtihad and that there is no Caliph but him. “45
This allegiance took place in 623 A.H. This allegiance implies that the Muslims paid fealty to the Caliph to rule by following the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) and his own independent judgement vis-à-vis the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah i.e. act as per his personal opinion.
As per the above explanation, during the Prophet’s (S) era, the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah were the only evidences of the Islamic ordinances. All the Islamic ordinances were revealed and perfected and Allah revealed this verse:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ
“Today I have perfected your religion for you…”
This was the Islam during the Prophet’s (S) era.
After his demise, a part of the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah was altered by the Caliphs and scholars from the Calipahte School and such changes gained official recognition. This gave the enemies of Islam a chance to say, “The Islamic ordinances and beliefs gained perfection in a gradual manner “. A Jew Orientalist Goldzeiher has written a book titled “Gradual changes of Beliefs and Shariah (laws) in Islam”
These were the consequences of those “Ijtihads “ (independent judgements) and allegiances. It was by means of such allegiance that Uthman became the Caliph. Now, we shall examine the state of Sunnah and hadith during his era.
Uthman gained the caliphate on 1, Muharram 24 A.H. and was assasinated in Zilhaj 35 A.H. His Caliphate lasted for twelve yerars.
Uthman attained the caliphate at the time when its path had already been smoothened vide the second Caliph’s endevours. As the people had given allegiance to Uthman under the condition that he should act in accordance with the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) and the mode of the two Caliphs, there was no room left for any kind of objection. Uthman’s rule can be divided into two six-year terms:
During this term, Uthman pursued Umar’s policies and acted as the enforcer of his Ijtihads (independent judgements). However, he acted moderately with the people. Among his decisions, was the lifting of the ban on the non-Arabs for settling in Medina as well as removing the prohibition on the companions for migrating from Medina to the other cities? Thus, this term came to a close with complete peace and harmony between the rulers and the people.
During this period, Uthman had several new Ijtihads (independent judegments), the most important amongst them being about his kinsmen viz. Bani Ummayyah. During Umar’s rule, the governance of cities was the exclusive privelege of the Quraish and their allies except in cases where no competent person amongst them was found for the post. He would grant exhorbitant monetary incentives to the Prophet’s (S) companions under the pretext that they were participants in the battle of Badr, Uhud etc. Moreover, he also donated generously to their sons, citing the reason that their fathers had participated in the battle of Badr, Uhud, etc.
But, Uthman had new Ijtihads in this regard and accordingly, he handed over the rule of the cities to his own tribesmen i.e. the Bani Umayyah instead of the well-known Quraishiites. He took away the government of Kufa from Sa.’d Waqqas (the conqueror of Iran and Iraq) and handed it over to his brother Walid, a drunkard and boozard. He also replaced Amr Aas (the victor over Egypt) as the government of Egypt with his foster brother Abdullah Ibn Sa.’d ibn Abi Surah.
Similarly, other cities too experienced such changes. Moreover, he kept open the public treasury for his relatives and kinsmen under the pretext of observing the bonds of relationship and he did this till the end of his caliphate. During these six years, the Bani Ummayyah committed various atrocities against the Muslims. When the victims would complain before the Caliph, the latter would reject their complaints against his relatives and instead, beat and curse them.
In these six years, Uthman laid the foundation of the Bani Ummayyah dynastic rule and became its first Caliph. Uthman’s policy vis-a-vis the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah:
During this era, Tamim Daari who in reality was a Christian monk and who had been permitted by Umar to deliver speeches in the Prophet’s (S) mosque prior to the Friday prayers, was now permitted by Uthman to deliver speeches twice a week. Moreover, Ka.’b al-Ahbar became the official scholar of the Court.
In the second term of Uthman’s rule, certain companions of the Prophet (S) like Abu-Zar and Ammar dared to narrate and propagate the Prophet’s (S) hadith and Sunnah. In certain instances, they would narrate in secret and would even face severe action on the part of the caliphate. Abuzar was expelled from Medina to Syria and then exiled to Rabzah, where he died. And, Ammar was tortured.
In the first six-year term, the Caliph did not find it necessary to seek support of the hadith for the approval of his policies. In the second six-year term, the government affairs had become so chaotic that there was no chance of resorting to such a step. In this manner, Uthman’s period of rule came to an end.
Consequent to the brutalities and atrocities committed by the Bani Umayyah rulers, the Muslims revolted in the cities of Kufa, Egypt and Medina. Renowned personalities from various sects of the Quraish like Ayesha, Talha and Zubair led these rebels. The strife between the Bani Umayyah and rebels continued for several years.
During this period, the Prophet’s (S) traditions condemning Bani Umayyah heads like Hakam ibn Abil Aas (Uthman’s uncle), Walid (Uthman’s drunkard brother) and Abdullah Ibn Sa.’d ibn Abi Surah spread among the people.
On several occasions, peace was concluded between the Caliph and the rebels through the mediation of Imam Ali (a.s.). But each time, the Caliph would break his commitments, causing the rebels to return to Medina and demand justice from him. In these conflicts, the Bani Hashim under the leadership of their leader Imam Ali (a.s.), remained neutral and to some extent even protected Uthman from the rebels.
At the end of this term, the Muslims were delivered from the pain and agony they suffered for a period of twenty-five years. A few companions succeeded in reminding the people about Imam Ali’s (a.s.) previous record and narrating to them the Prophet’s (S) hadith about his virtues, which they had never heard before. As a result of all these endeavors, all eyes now lay fixed on Ali (a.s.). His name was on every Muslim’s lips (from near and far) and was considered to be the only saviour of the nation.
For the last time, the rebels besieged Uthman’s house. Ali (a.s.) placed his two sons Hasan and Husain (the Prophet’s (S) two offsprings) at the door of Uthman’s house so that the rebels would not attack and kill Uthman. In these skirmishes, Imam Hasan (a.s.) was injured. Eventually, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr along with some rebels managed to enter Uthman’s house from an adjacent building and killed Uthman. When the Muslims gained freedom from all sorts of restrictions and shackles of the caliphate and undue allegiance, they expressed their loyalty to Ali (a.s.). Thus, the caliphate of Ali (a.s.) was convened, just as we shall now explain, Insha’Allah.
After Uthman’s assassination in Zilhaj 35 A.H., the people paid allegiance to Ali (a.s.); and in Ramadhan 40 A.H. Ali (a.s.) was martyred in the mosque of Kufa. His period of caliphate lasted for four years and eight months.
After Uthman’s murder, hordes of people swarmed Ali (a.s.) in order to express their loyalty to him but he refused. Finally, Ali (a.s.) yielded but after numerous discussions and stipulation of certain conditions. Among the conditions set by him, two were as follows:
1. He would ask them to follow truth and justice and act upon the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah.
2. He would not spend from the public treasury even one dirham without the prior knowledge of Muslims.
By laying down this condition, he closed the path upon the rulers, who sought to have a greater share than others did.
All the companions, Taab’een, and residents of Medina paid allegiance to Ali (a.s.) on these terms, save the Bani Umayyah and their cohorts like Hassaan ibn Thaabit, Uthman’s poet, Zaid-ibn-Thabit, Uthman’s scribe and multiplier of Quran, Sa.’d Ibn Abi Waqqas and Osamah ibn Zaid, who said, ‘After this, disputes shall take place in the Islamic society..’
Only one day after his allegiance, Ali (a.s.) gave commands for the equal distribution of the public treasury and ordered that each should receive three dirhams. He did not make any distinction between the people of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Muhajir, Ansar, and their freed ones, from the non-Arabs. Ali (a.s.) and his slave, Qanbar took an equal share too.
This step by Ali (a.s.) antagonised the society’s elite and a revolt started to simmer. They assembled in the Prophet’s (S) mosque and addressed Ali (a.s.) thus, ‘O Ali, you have not observed justice in your affairs! You have put us on par with those who have brought faith in Islam by means of our swords and were our slaves, whom we set free for the sake of Allah’s satisfaction. By resorting to this act, you have neglected our past record in Islam!.’
Imam (a.s.) replied, ‘With regards to past record and virtue in Islam, Allah shall bestow its reward on the Day of Judgement. We are all aware that the Prophet (S) used to distribute the public treasury among Allah’s servants in this very manner. (in other words, this was the Prophet’s (S) Sunnah).
At this moment, the Bani Umayyah appeared in the Prophet’s (S) mosque and joined this group. They approached Imam (a.s.) and named those whom he had killed from their side in the Prophet’s (S) battles. Thereafter, they demanded, ‘We shall pay allegiance to you on the following conditions (a) You ignore our affairs, (b) allow us to keep whatsoever is in our hands and, (c) kill Uthman’s murderers!.’
On hearing these conditions, Imam (a.s.) became angry and said, “Your blood was shed by the truth (on Allah’s commands) and not me! And I shall act with justice concerning the wealth that lies in your hands but belongs to Allah and the Muslims. And if it is necessary to kill Uthman’s murderers, it shall be done.46 However, my condition is that I will lead you by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S). Those who perceive that truth straitens their affairs, (should know that) the falsehood worsens it. If you do not accept such an allegiance, you may go wherever you wish and you are safe. “
They replied, “Nay! We shall not let this happen! Instead, we shall swear allegiance to you and will remain besides you. “47
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) appointed the governors of states on the basis of merit and knowledge; and obviated the deprivations suffered by the Bani Hashim and the non-Quraishiites. Among the Ansars, he appointed Qais ibn Sa.’d ibn Obaadah as the governor of Egypt; Uthman ibn Hunaif as the governor of Basra and Sahl ibn Hunaif as the governor of Medina.
Among the Bani Hashim, he appointed Qothm ibn Abbas as the governor of Mecca; Ubaidullah ibn Abbas as the governor of Sana in Yemen, and in the post-Jamal war, Abdullah ibn Abbas as the governor of Basra. Likewise, he appointed others for the remaining states.
With the progress of such policies, all the distinctions enjoyed by the privileged strata of the society were now done away with. Ayesha, who used to receive twelve thousand dirhams annually, was now on par with her freed slave, who received two hundred dirhams. The same applied in the case of Talha, Zubair and other eminent companions.
This justice and equality cost the Quraish dearly but not for the Ansars as, for the first time in twenty-five years, they were treated on par with the Muhajirs who belonged to the Quraish. For this reason, the Quraish Muhajirs who had lost all their concessions warned one another and thought of seeking some solution. Amr al-Aas wrote to Moaviyah,
“Henceforth, be ready to give away to Ali whatever you possess and (soon) he will turn you like that branch of a tree which has shed all its leaves. “48
Now, the Quraish could not say to the people, ‘Ali has abolished our privileges; (so) fight against him..’ Rather, in their characteristically shrewd style, they cried, ‘O Muslims! The Caliph and the Imam of the Muslims (Uthman) was killed innocently. So rise and avenge his blood!.’
After provoking the Muslims, the Quraish introduced Ali (a.s.) as Uthman’s murderer. The first to raise this slogan was Ayesha.
As mentioned earlier, the caliphate had chosen Ayesha as a member of the Prophet’s (S) household and introduced her as the most distinguished figure of his family. They strove hard in turning her into a hallowed personality in the eyes of the people so that in this manner, the eminent position of Fatimah (the Prophet’s (S) only daughter) is lowered and her severe campaign against the caliphate comes to naught.
As a result of this policy, Ayesha succeeded in revolting against Uthman during the latter’s rule, which resulted in his death.
After Uthman’s death, Ayesha revolted against Ali (a.s.). In order to rally the people round herself, she set forth and raised the slogan of vengeance for Uthman’s death. She set up a tent in the House of Allah and cried, “Uthman was killed innocently and his killer is Ali. Arise and seek vengeance for his blood!
One day of Uthman is better than the entire life of Ali.…. “
This news reached the Quraish in Medina and other cities. They travelled to Mecca and assembled there. The Bani Umayyah too came to an agreement with the other sects from the Quraish. Murderers of yesterday turned combatants today and marched to Basra under the leadership of Ayesha!
Ali (a.s.) pursued them. Ayesha’s army comprising various sects from the Quraish and Ali’s (a.s.) army comprising the Ansars and a few Quraish, battled one another. Ayesha faced defeat and the battle ended in Ali’s (a.s.) favour.
After the battle, Ali (a.s.) travelled from Basra to Kufa.
Once again, the Quraish rallied but this time around Moaviyah. Consequently, Moaviyah succeeded in amassing one hundred thousand swordsmen against Ali (a.s.) in the battle of Siffeen. In this battle, (only) two among the Ansars were on Moaviyah’s side while the rest were with Ali (a.s.). By decree of arbitration, this battle came to a halt. However, the Quraish continued their revolt against Ali (a.s.), who would complain before Allah,
“O Allah, I complain before Thee about the Quraish who have overturned my vessel and unanimiously confronted me and ............. “49
During the Prophet’s (S) era, the Quraish set up revolts against the Prophet (S) and fought against him, one battle after another. On the other hand, the Ansars supported the Prophet (S) in all the battles against the Quraish.
In Ali’s (a.s.) era too, the Quraish revolted and fought against him, while the Ansars assisted Ali (a.s.). Ali (a.s.) returned to Kufa and set Kufa as the center of his govenment.
Kufa was the center of the Iranian government (save a part of southern Iran) and the newly converted Iranian Muslims, who were named as “Mawali” and “Alhamrah”50 had assembled in this city. In the class-system society of that period, the “Mawali” formed the lowest strata of the society and this was recognised as nothing but an Islamic order. When Ali (a.s.), the Prophet’s (S) legatee made Kufa his capital, he shattered this class system. In all the affairs, he did not make any distinction between the non-Arabs and the Quraish leaders, the chief of the Arab tribes and the renowned companions.
The newly converted Iranian Muslims could get a feel of Islamic justice in the affairs of this ruler and leader. They swarmed round him like moths round a candle. Such an affair cost the entire stratum of the Arab race very dearly.
1) Once two women, one from the Arab tribe and the other from the “Mawali”, approached Imam (a.s.) and pleaded for assistance. Imam (a.s.) offered each of them a few dirhams as well as food equally.
One of them said, ‘I am an Arab, while this lady is not!.’
Imam retorted, ‘I swear by Allah, I do not see any difference between the sons of Ismail and the sons of Ishaq in the matter of wealth..’51
* * *
Ismail (a.s.) and Ishaq (a.s.) were the two sons of Ibrahim (a.s.). Ismail (a.s.) lived in Arab territory in Mecca and his offspring are considered Arab. The Quraish, in particular, came from the generation of Ismail (a.s.). On the other hand, Ishaq (a.s.) lived in a non-Arab territory and his offspring are reckoned to be “Ajam” "ÚÌã" (i.e. non-Arab).
2) One day, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) was sitting in the mosque of Kufa surrounded by these very non-Arab “Mawalis”. Ash.’ath-ibn-Qais al-Kindi, who during the era of paganism was among the rulers from the tribe of “Kendeh” in Yemen52, entered the mosque. He failed to find a place besides Imam (a.s.). He said, ‘O Amir-al Momineen, these “Hamrah”53 have become an obstacle between you and us.’. Saying this, he took steps amidst the huge crowd in the direction of Imam (a.s.). In this process, he pushed backed the newly converted Muslims so that he could find a place to sit near Imam (a.s.). Ali (a.s.) cried out:
“Who is there to understand my position and not find fault with me when I punish such useless and arrogant people!?”
By this biting sentence, Imam destroyed Ash.’ath’s character, nurtured by him right from paganism through Islam.
Such an approach by Imam (a.s.) vis-a-vis the “Mawali” and the Arabs would end in favour of the “Mawali” and to the detriment of the ignorant culture of the Arabs. In certain cases, Imam (a.s.) found a “Mawali” preferable to an Arab, like the case of Imam’s (a.s.) behaviour with Maitham Tammar. The incident goes as follows:
3) Maitham Tammar was a slave of a woman who belonged to the tribe of Bani Asad. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) bought him and set him free. He had a shop in Kufa selling dates and Imam would sometimes visit him at this very shop. Once, Imam even sold dates on his behalf.
Maitham had turned into one of Imam’s special companions and confidantes. In the year 60 A.H., when Maitham travelled for the Haj pilgrimage, Umm al-Salma met him in Medina and said to him, “One night, I heard the Prophet (S) recommending your name to Ali (a.s.). “
Thereafter, she ordered that his beard be perfumed with musk. Maitham said, ‘If today, you are applying musk on this beard, it will not be late when it will be soaked with blood on the path of love for Ahl-ul-bayt (a.s.)..’ Thereafter, he left Umm al-Salma and went to visit Abdullah-ibn-Abbas. There, he said, ‘Ask me whatever you wish about the exegesis of the Quran. Amir-ul-Momineen has taught me the “esoteric exegesis “ and the “occasions of revelation “ of the Quran.
Ibn Abbas ordered for an inkpot and paper and noted down Maitham’s statements. Maitham said to Ibn Abbas, ‘How will it be when you hear that they have hanged me? I shall be the ninth person to be hanged on the gallows and my gallow shall be shorter than others..’
Ibn Abbas became disturbed and said, ‘Have you turned an astrologer and predict things for us?.’ Then, he began to tear the paper on which he had written the exegesis of the Quran!
Maitham thundered, ‘Stop it! Be calm! Do preserve these writings. If whatever I have uttered does not turn out to be true, then you may shred these writings..’ Ibn Abbas agreed and he kept the writings, awaiting the results of Maitham’s prediction.
Maitham returned to Kufa after the completion of his Haj. Ibn Ziad condemned him to death by hanging (just as he had predicted). Before dying, Maitham turned the gallows into a pulpit54 and narrated before the people (who had come to witness his execution) the Prophet’s (S) traditions regarding the virtues of the Ahl-ul-bayt (a.s.).
On Ibn Ziad’s command, Maitham was struck with a weapon. Blood dripped from his mouth and nose all over his beard and he was martyred55 ten days prior to Imam Husain’s arrival in Iraq.
- 1. Nahjul-Balagha (Sermon of disparagement)
- 2. Qur'an (33:33)
- 3. (Qur'an, 17:26)
- 4. The detail of this tradition has come down in Tarikh-Tabari 5/2768; (printed in Europe).
- 5. It is in reference to the verse:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا
“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House and to purify you a (thorough) purification. (Qur'an, 33:33)
- 6. Tarikh-Tabari 5/2770-2771; printed in Europe.
- 7. Tarikh-Tabari 5/2787; printed in Europe.
- 8. Refer to the commentary on Sermon No. 66 of Nahjul-Balagha by Ibn Abil-Hadid; Egyptian edition 6/`13
- 9. Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha - Ibn Abil-Hadid 6/12.
- 10. Ref. To Holy Qur’an, Anfal, 8: 41.
- 11. Refer to the chapter: “Ma-waqa.’-fi-Khilafatehi “ in .‘Tarikh al-Khulafaa “ of Suyuti; page 73 regarding Abu Bakr’s biography.
- 12. Sunan Abi Dawood 3/144; chapter: “Fi-Safaya-Rasulillah “, hadith 2973 and Musnad al-Ahmad 1/4.
- 13. Sahih-Bukhari 4/110; Chapter: «قول النبي لا نورث ما تركناه صدقة » from the Book: “Faraaez “ (On the same page, a tradition has been narrated from Ayesha too supporting her father); Kitab-ul-Khamsah 2/126; Sahih Muslim, Kitab-ul-Jihad, Hadith No 55; Sunan Abi Dawood, 3/144 Chapter: « صفايا رسول الله (ع) » and Musnad al-Ahmad, 2/242 and 276.
- 14. Tazkera al-Huffaz 1/2 & 3; topic concerning “Abu Bakr’s life-history.
- 15. Tarikh Tabari; European edition 4/2138.
- 16. Tanbia wal-Ashraf: Masoudi; Duwal al-Islam: Zahabi, p. 19.
- 17. The freed slaves of the tribe too were considered as the tribe’s allies.
- 18. Musnad al-Ahmad 5/411.
- 19. Muruj al-Zahab: Masoudi 2/321
- 20. This sentence has come down in Mawatta Malik 2/60 (Egyptian print) as follows:
<<ابى عمر بن الخطاب أن يورث أحد من الاعاجم إلا احدا ولد في أرض العرب>>
The writer deduces from this sentence the same meaning, which has come down in the text.
- 21. Refer to Muruj az-Zahab; Masoudi 2/322
- 22. Refer to Umar's life history in Suyuti’s “Tarikh al-Khulafa" page 133.
- 23. Refer to Muruj az-Zahab: Masoudi 2/322.
- 24. Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa; page 143-144.
- 25. Muruj az-Zahab: Masoudi 2/322.
- 26. Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibn Abil Hadid 12/214; Fotouh al-Buldaan, page 549.
- 27. Tarikh al-Khulafa: Suyuti; page 144.
- 28. Tarikh Baghdad: Khateeb Baghdadi 7/453.
- 29. Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibn Abil Hadid.
- 30. Muntakhab al-Kanz-il-Ummal 4/61.
- 31. Tabaqat: Ibn Sa.’d 8/208-209.
- 32. Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibn Abil Hadid 12/214.
- 33. Refer to Sahih Bukhari: Kitab al-Estesqah, chapter concerning “People questioning Imam about want of water during famine “ 1/124 and Book about “The Prophet’s virtues “, Chapter concerning Virtues of Al-Abbas-ibn-Abdul-Muttalib 2/200; Tabaqat: Ibn Sa.’d, European edition.
- 34. Tabaqat: Ibn Sa.’d 2/120; Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibn Abil Hadid.
- 35. Sunan Darami: 1/84 and 85.
- 36. Sunan Darami: 1/84 and 85.
- 37. Sunan al-Daarami vol.1, p.85; Jaameh-Bayan al-Ilm written by Ibno Abdil Birr 2/147; Tazkerah al-Huffaz by Zahabi vol.1, p.4 & 5.
- 38. Sahih Muslim, Book: Virtues, Chapter concerning Umar’s virtues; Tradition No: 23; Musnad Ahmad 2/339 and 6/55; Musnad Tayalesi, Tradition No: 2348.
- 39. Refer to the traditions about Umar’s virtues in Umar’s biography in Tarikh Zahabi, Tarikh Ibn Kathir, Tarikh Ibn Asaakir and Tarikh al-Khulafa by Suyuti.
- 40. After the Prophet’s (S) demise, his daughter Hazrat Zahra (a.s.), disclosed their condition during the pre-Islamic era in the Prophet’s mosque. Refer to the Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha by Ibn Abil Hadid; first Egyptian edition, 4/79-87 and Balaghat al-Nisa page 12-15.
- 41. Tarikh Tabari, European edition: 5/2777-2781; Ansab al-Ashraaf 5/15-18.
- 42. Tarikh Tabari, European edition: 5/2776-2787; Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha by Ibn Abil Hadid in explaination of the sermon of Shiqshiqayya 1/193.
- 43. Refer to Tarikh Tabari, European edition: 5/2794; Tarikh Ya.’qubi: 1/162; Ansab al-Ashraaf by Balazari: 5/19-21; Iqd al-Farid: 3/74-76.
- 44. Ansab al-Ashraaf by Balazari: 5/21.
- 45. Tarikh al-Khulafa: Suyuti, Egyptian edition, page 26.
- 46. Imam (a.s.) implied that Ayesha, Talha, Zubair, some Ansars and Muhajirs, and the people of Egypt and Kufa, all had a hand in this murder. Thus, if their killing was essential, then it was indispensable to fight against thousands of them.
- 47. Refer to the Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha, by Ibn Abil-Hadid; First edition, Egypt 2/170-173.
- 48. Muruj al-Zahab 2/354.
- 49. Nahjul-Balagha; Sermon No 215.
- 50. In the Arab texicons, it is known as:
الحمراء: العجم، لأن الشقرة تغلب عليهم، وابن الامة.
- 51. Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibn Abil-Hadid; commentary on Sermon No 34.
- 52. A.’laam Zarkoli 1/333.
- 53. The Arabs labeled the non-Arabs as ‘Hamrah “
- 54. In those days, someone who was condemned to death by hanging would only be tied to the gallows until he would die by himself. Unlike our times, when a noose is tied around his neck and then the person is hanged to death.
- 55. Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 42, p.121-133.