Analysis of the method and type of His Eminence, Amirul Momineen Ali’s (‘a) government was one of the subjects for a thorough research in recent years, that is two years (Solar) were named after Imam Ali (‘a). This resulted in an abundant output in this field, either in books or in shape of articles written on this matter.
Our main aim of writing this is to gauge the originality of these endeavors by means of criticism and analysis into claims such as:
“His Eminence, Ali (‘a) was not a governor or an administrator in an ordinary sense. He was not a Caliph as those of Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties. But he was a Caliph at parity with Abu Bakr and Umar!
The pivot around which policies of our Lord and Master Ali rotated was the spirit that protected Caliphate of the prophets and the way of the Righteous Caliphs.”!1
“And this statement is not correct that Caliphate of the preceding Caliphs and the four members, altogether, differed from one another in thought, policy and aims. Each of these four Caliphs was a mirror reflecting one image. They together reflected and represented Caliphate of the Prophet. One spirit ran between the four. These four collectively completed one image, one system and one aim.”!2
“Salient here is conduct and true faith of Caliphs in Islam and divine teachings. Humility of Caliphs, their unanimity in word and deed, their moderation and honesty is worth appreciating. Scrutiny into their life shows that they collectively had one and same moral and manner.”!3
“When Islam was subject of conversation and Islamic teachings and law, Ali did not discriminate between the learned and ignorant. In the same way was Umar.”!4
“Ali was like Umar in piety of a poor life.”!5
“Ali was strict and hard like Umar. He acted as per laws of religion.”6
In order to answer these claims and conjectures we have tried to scrutinize the praises rendered to Caliphs and their rule. We have tried to display contrasts and contradictions in narrations based on documents of Sunni sources. This will assist the reader to conclude for himself in the light of proofs and reach a judgment about the claims made in this regard.
Perhaps after reading the above statements our reader might ask why in this analysis of thirteen years of the rule of two Caliphs nothing is mentioned about usurpation of Ali’s Caliphate which is followed by denial of his Imamate and Wilayat, attack on Zahra’s house which resulted in the martyrdom of Zahra (s.a.) and Mohsin Ibn Ali (‘a), usurpation of Fadak, denial of Khums and inheritance etc. and all the other crimes committed with regard to Ahlul Bayt (‘a)?
Because these events themselves are self-explanatory about the behaviors and moral of Caliphs and their tyrant rule.
In the same way some of you might think that if the analysis done so far had been compared with the method of administration of Imam Ali (‘a) the result would have been more beneficial and satisfactory.
In reply, we should say that the thing which impeded us to write these points is that extensive influence of the outlook of open-minded people who urge us to avoid criticizing this period of thirteen years. They insist to not compare this period with Ali’s government. Else, the reader would see the simplicity and matchlessness of Ali’s government in those days. The reader would see the status of freedom and liberty. Thus they say:
“Had there not been shed the pure blood of these men of liberty, equality and justice; and had there not been the self gleaming path of God and its devotees, today we would have thought Islam and the spirit of Quran and Prophet’s traditions to be in the royal court of Uthman, sycophant courtiers, deceptive people, the Green palace of Muawiyah and his murder agents, the ignorant days’ arrogance and Arab bigotry. Not in the astonishing life of Ali and not in the simplicity, equality and freedom of the government of Abu Bakr and Umar.”!7
In continuation of this same text written as preface to the book of Hujr bin Adi, we read in the footnote:
“Here the criticism of Shia narrated from Ali’s tongue that personifies the spirit of Islam, is accurate and detailed. But no historian having a least information about world politics will ever judge the government of these two renowned companions of Prophet at the scale of Choesroe’s and Caesar’s governments. He cannot resist admiring these governments. The only misfortune of these two, Abu Bakr and Umar, was that their rival was Ali an extraordinary man. Historians judge them at the level of Ali and hence condemn them.
If there were no Ali the rule of Abu Bakr and Umar would have been recognized as the best government in the world and a model.”!8
Regarding the analysis of the question why Iran displayed its weakness when the soldiers entered, we read:
“It is quite obvious as to why: Umar was then the Caliph and advisors and commanders were close companions of Prophet. (continuation of the footnote). Indeed, in comparison to Ali they did have shortcomings and weakness. However, comparing to Sassanides and Rome they were paragons of freedom and justice in the eyes of non-Muslims.”!9
Therefore, it seems necessary to scrutinize the system current in those days in order to provide information to our Shia youths. It is a dire necessity of the day that they, our youths, should become strong and powerful with knowledge to be able to answer such conjectures or not fall a prey to these conjectures. They should be acquainted with relative historical documents to make their answers weighty with reason and evidence. We will to try to prove here to our youths that Caliphs within themselves were not bound to any teaching of Islam. They wanted Islam only to the extent of their interests to have a ground to put their foot. They needed Islam as much as they needed power because Islam gave them a ground to establish their power. Therefore when necessary to their own interests they did not hesitate to crush under their feet principles and fundamentals of freedom and justice. On most occasions, they too acted as Romans and Sassanides. The only difference was that their rule was in a guise and name of Islam. From one side the name of Islam covered their real horrible designs and from the other side dishonest historians did not record the truth. Therefore, it vanished from the history also. The record of thirteen years’ tyrant rule was wiped out from the annals. Therefore, we face a great many difficulties on way of research; we face many shortages and lack of documents. For instance:
“Ahmad bin Hanbal in his book Al Ilal (The Causes) says: Abu Awana10 in his book had recorded the defects of the companions of Prophet of God. Salam bin Abi Mutee came to him and said: Give this book to me. Abu Awana gave to him the book. Salam took and burnt it.11
Ahmad bin Hanbal in the same book has narrated from Abdur Rahman bin Mahdi that: I seek forgiveness of Allah for having seen the book of Abu Awana.12
He seeks God’s forgiveness for having seen the book. And another one takes the book and burns it without the owner’s permission.
In the biography of Abdul Rahman bin Kharash is written that he had recorded the defects of Abu Bakr and Umar in two volumes.
In the biography of Husayn bin Hasan Ashqar it is mentioned: Ahmad bin Hanbal has narrated traditions from him and said that no one has called him a liar.
Someone told Ahmad bin Hanbal that Husayn bin Hasan Ashqar narrated traditions against Abu Bakr and Umar and that he had a separate chapter in his book in this regard.
Ahmad bin Hanbal said that he (Ashqar) was no more competent and trustworthy to be quoted traditions from.13
Where are those two parts or chapters about defects of Abu Bakr and Umar?
Why nothing from its contents is narrated and reached us?
As soon as Ahmad bin Hanbal understood that Husayn bin Hasan Ashqar has narrated traditions against Abu Bakr and Umar he changes his opinion. Ashqar, all of a sudden becomes a liar, unreliable and untrustworthy. He is not worth relating from. Why? But why!
In the biography of many great tradition scholars except the authors of Sihah Sitta it is mentioned:
In the middle of third century curse and abuse of Abu Bakr and Umar was a common practice. Zaid bin Qadama who lived in that period (3rd Century) writes:
What a time has come! People abuse Abu Bakr and Umar.18 This matter spread till in the Sixth Century prominent hadith scholar of Ahlul Sunnat Abdul Mughees bin Zuhair bin Harb Hanbali Baghdadi wrote a book in praise of Yazid bin Muawiyah. He defended Yazid and prohibited cursing him (Yazid). The author of the book was asked why he had written it. He replied: To prevent the people from cursing the Caliphs.19
At the end of the eighth century we come across Taftazani. In Sharh al-Maqasid (Explanation of Purposes) he says:
If it is asked why some religious scholars consider Yazid eligible for curse but still consider it impermissible to curse him? In reply we say: It is so because that they may prevent cursing of persons beyond Yazid (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Muawiyah etc.)20…”21
“In view of what we said, after necessary search in sources we first conclude that there are many scholars and writers of Sunni school who have written about the impolite and indecent behavior and conduct of companions of Prophet either during his lifetime or after his death. But these narrations are missing mostly due to various reasons. Or these narrations are distorted.
Ibn Adi, died 365 Hijra, writes about Ibn Kharash:
He wrote two volumes containing defects and shameful actions of Abu Bakr and Umar.
Then Ibn Adi regards it most reliable.22
In the biography of Abdul Razzaq bin Hamaam he writes after praising him very much:
He has many things by way of defects of some companions and Caliphs which I shall not mention in my book. He has mentioned excellences of the Prophet’s Household and shameful behavior of companions and Caliphs, which is hard to accept.
Ibn Adi considers this also reliable.23
Zahabi (d. 798 A.H.) in the biographies of Abu Sult Haravi24 and Rawajini25 and similarly Ibn Hajar (d. 852 A.H.) in the biography of Ja’far bin Sulaiman26 have mentioned the defects of Caliphs. According to them it is a weakness to mention the defects of companions and Caliphs.
In his Sahih, Muslim has mentioned:
Abdullah bin Mubarak used to say in public: Do not narrate anything from the tongue of Umar bin Thabit because he speaks ill of companions.27
In this regard we can refer to biographies of Ahmad bin Muhammad Ibn Saeed bin Uqda,28 Ismail bin Abdur Rahman,29 Taleed bin Sulaiman,30 Qadasi,31 Amr bin Shimr,32 Muhammad bin Abdullah Shaibani,33 Ziyad bin Mundhir34 and others.35
Why did they curse Abu Bakr and Umar?
Did a narration or narrations reach them that encouraged them to curse them and themselves gave permission to curse the First and Second Caliph? Now where have those narrations and matters gone?”36
“The information certainly was within books. So what happened to those books?
Did they meet some other fate? Ahmad bin Hanbal says that the books were burnt. Whether all that information is locked in boxes of bigotry and obduracy? Or it is concealed in obstinacy and stubbornness? It is another tyranny that made such rare information inaccessible.
Though writings and books are full of texts that convey disputes, brawls and skirmishes among companions, however at the same time some stories are short of documents and proofs. We must hide them. We must destroy them. This will pave way to make the people to love companions. People must be made pleased with them.
This reflects to our readers how difficult has become the job of scrutiny or research into history of the thirteen years since passing away of Prophet. Therefore, it must be said:
Discussions in this book have limited scope and from the whole it is very little. This clearly shows that Islam served their own interest and was a tool to them to do what they wanted. They had no belief in its teachings. The enthusiastic reader will shift from plain thinking towards Caliphs’ government under the title of Islam to the depths of thought. If one performs a postmortem of those days one will see the cause of illness of Islam and the reason for its decline. Then he will be able to reach a correct and accurate judgment.
Analysis of Honorable Ustad Sayyid Muhammad Dhiyabaadi about the reign of Caliphs39
“It might not be out of place here to remind them by way of admonishment. We mean the simple-minded people.
Sometimes we hear and read appreciations of deeds of the first category hypocrites of early days of Islam. They made wars and expanded territories of Islam. They extended far and wide the rule of Quran and laws of Islam. They lived a simple life. They were humble and were not worldly men. They hated the world and its enchantments. Such a show demonstrated by those hypocrites, indeed, has gone a long way to deceive many simple-minded people. They believe that it was a service to Islam and Muslims. It was propaganda in name of Islam disseminated by them. Therefore, they consider those hypocrites worthy of praise. These simple-minded believe that a good deed should be praised and a bad one censured.
We have this to comment to tell them in reply to such thinking and such conclusions:
First you must know the wrong or sin in usurping something which does not belong to one. The office of Caliphate was already made known by the Prophet as to whom it belongs. But this was snatched away in a plot designed since long and in secrecy. The infallible Imam was set aside. In other words, he was discarded. Caliphate, which belonged to Ali by Divine command, was against God’s orders taken from Ali. This action ended in undesired consequences which contrast to God’s obvious orders and His Prophet’s instructions and teachings. By so doing, they changed the straight path of Islam shown by God and the Prophet. They indulged the society into misfortune and perversion. Everything went wrong. The direction, which was towards heaven, was changed to hell.
If you could understand this crime and reach into its depths then only you can guess or at least imagine the dimensions resulted therefrom. You can hear its agonies from the tongue of history of Islam. You will then be able to see the real ugly faces of these betrayers hidden in the guise of Islam. They concealed their face of paganhood behind a veil of false Islam. There is no havoc that they did not bring to the Muslims. There no calamity they did not bring for Islam.
They led the Ummah to a horrible valley of darkness. You will understand that their good deeds too were not good. In those good actions were hidden several crimes. Their good actions were their additional crimes, harmful and hurtful to mankind.
Suppose: A cheater comes to you. By a trick, he occupies your house and expels you from there. Then he behaves as if he is the real master of everything. He expands the house and builds it in the way he wants. He decorates and paints it after his own taste. This rogue got hold of your house by force and fraud, by trick and tyranny. So his later actions such as building and rebuilding and decorating the house would be regarded by you as service to you? Would you be indebted to him? Would you owe any gratitude to him? Of course not! It is usurpation. It is immoral. It is a transgression. It is regarded a sin, a crime, a tyranny.
In the same way we know that they forcibly occupied the seat and place of the Prophet and laid hands on the Prophet’s pulpit and niche. Their outward show was their good actions that they fought against pagans and the tribes of Arabs and Ajam (non-Arab).
They also waged wars and occupied countries where they hoisted the Islamic flag. They posed themselves as protectors of justice and guards of Islamic territories. They showed themselves as executors of Divine laws. In this respect, they even scourged their own son for his wrong or sin. But any of their deeds, however admirable, was not to the pleasure of God. From the root it was wrong. It originated from illegitimacy. They first robbed and from usurpation, they spent on good things. Therefore, they did not deserve reward. They stand answerable for their very first step – that is their occupation of the Prophet’s seat which should have been occupied by his rightful successor, Ali. Their every good deed shall be counted as a sin for them.
One who, without having the capability and divine permission claimed to be Prophet’s successor, which is a divine office (caller towards Allah), in the view of Quran he is the greatest liar and most unjust being and will be liable to the most terrible punishments and most serious chastisements; even though from the position of the usurped pulpit and prayer niche in a show of piety delivers lectures of guidance calling people to god-worship, truth, honesty, trustworthiness and fear of God. And he makes war on the infidels and defeats them widening the territories of Islam and bringing countries under the banner of Quran!
Possibly the simple-minded people on the basis of this outward show could have accepted them as contributors to Islam and Quran. But their real features with real identities are seen by those who have insight and look deeply into issues. The lack of leadership of an infallible Imam was the cause of these fatal results that the tyrant Caliphs prepared ground for peoples’ negative thinking. They made people to doubt about the divine religion. They posed Islam as a tool to expand territories and to gain worldly purposes. Islam was looked upon not as a religion but a reason to rule and govern.”40
- 1. Abdul Qadir Dahqaan Siraawaani: Article quoted in Nida-e-Islam Magazine, Issue No. 17, (9000 copies), Spring 83, Pg. 14.
- 2. Ibid. Article quoted in Nida-e-Islam Magazine, Issue No. 2, (copies not mentioned), Summer 79, Pg. 30; Bani Khatam wa Deen-e-Kamil (1st Edition 1379), Pgs. 102-103.
- 3. Fawad Farooqi: Beest-o-panj Saal Sukoot-e-Ali (2nd Edition 1379), Pgs. 49-50.
- 4. Ibid. Beest-o-panj Saal Sukoot-e-Ali (2nd Edition 1379), Pg. 101.
- 5. Ibid. Beest-o-panj Saal Sukoot-e-Ali (2nd Edition 1379), Pg. 139.
- 6. Ibid. Beest-o-panj Saal Sukoot-e-Ali (2nd Edition 1379), Pg. 244.
- 7. Dr. Ali Shariati: Husayn Warith-e-Adam (Collected Writings 19), 1st Edition Pg. 356.
- 8. Ibid. Husayn Warith-e-Adam (Collected Writings 19), Pg. 356.
- 9. Dr. Ali Shariati: Tarikh O Shanakht-e-Adyan (Collected Writings 15), Vol. 2, (8th Edition 1381), Pg. 18.
- 10. Abu Awana was a prominent Hafiz and scholar of Ahlul Sunnat.
- 11. Quoted from: Al-Ilal war-Rijaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 60.
- 12. Quoted from: Al-Ilal war-Rijaal, Vol. 3, Pg. 92 (New Edition).
- 13. Quoted from: Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, Vol. 2, Pg. 291.
- 14. Quoted from: Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, Vol. 1, Pg. 274.
- 15. Quoted from: Tahdhib al-Kamal, Vol. 4, Pg. 322.
- 16. Quoted from: Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, Vol. 2, Pgs. 82-83.
- 17. Ustad Sayyid Ali Husayni Milani: Guftaarhai-e-Peeramoon Mazloomiyat-e-Bartareen Banu (Translation: Masood Shikohi), Pgs. 38-40.
- 18. Quoted from: Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, Vol. 3, Pg. 264 From his statement it seems that talking about the defects of Caliphs was a common practice in those days.
- 19. Quoted from: Seer Alaamun Nubla, Vol. 21, Pg. 161.
- 20. Quoted from: Sharh Maqasid, Vol. 5, Pg. 311.
- 21. Ibid. Pgs. 41-42.
- 22. Quoted from: Al-Kamil fee Zo’fa ar-Rijaal, Vol. 5, Pg. 519.
- 23. Quoted from same source, Vol. 6, Pg. 545.
- 24. Quoted from: Seer Alaamun Nubla, Vol. 11, Pgs. 447-448.
- 25. Quoted from same source, Vol. 11, Pgs. 537-538.
- 26. Quoted from: Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, Vol. 2, Pg. 83.
- 27. Quoted from: Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, Pg. 12.
- 28. Quoted from: Al-Kashful Hadith, Pg. 70.
- 29. Quoted from: Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, Vol. 1, Pgs. 273-274.
- 30. Quoted from same source, Vol. 1, Pg. 447.
- 31. Quoted from: Seer Alaamun Nubla, Vol. 18, Pg. 12.
- 32. Quoted from: Lisanul Mizan,, Vol. 4, Pg. 366.
- 33. Quoted from same source, Vol. 5, Pg. 231.
- 34. Quoted from: Al-Majrooheen (By Ibn Hibban), Vol. 1, Pg. 302; Refer: Tahdhib al-Kamal, Vol. 10, Pg. 136 & Vol. 21, Pg. 594.
- 35. Shaykh Abduz Zahra Mahdi: Bibliography of Al-Hujoom Alaa Bait-e-Fatima, Pgs. 186-188.
- 36. Ustad Sayyid Ali Husayni Milani: Guftaarhai-e-Peeramoon Mazloomiyat-e-Bartareen Banu (Translation: Masood Shikohi), Pg. 40.
- 37. Quoted from: Seer Alaamun Nubla, Vol. 10, Pgs. 92-93.
- 38. Shaykh Abduz Zahra Mahdi: Bibliography of Al-Hujoom Alaa Bait-e-Fatima, Pg. 190.
- 39. This text is included with permission from the author.
- 40. Extract from Dar Justujoo-e-Ilm-e-Deen (In search of religious knowledge), Pgs. 165-182.