The following paragraph appears in a book attributed to “Shibl al-Dawla” Muqatil ibn ‘Atiyyah known as “Conference of Baghdad’s Scholars,”
When Fatima (sa) came from behind the door in order to send ‘’Umar and his party back, ‘’Umar squeezed her hard between the wall and the door, causing her to miscarry, and a nail was planted in her chest. Fatima (sa) then screamed, “O Father! O Messenger of Allah!”1
The philosopher-researcher Grand Ayatollah Shaikh Muhammed Husayn al-Isfahani, may Allah sanctify his resting place, composed the following verses of poetry:
No, I cannot tell the tale
Of the report of the nail.
So ask her very chest:
And leave out the rest;
It is the storing chest
Of every secret.
We cannot either confirm or deny this matter although we are discussing the attribution of the book titled Mu’tamar ‘Ulama’ Baghdad (Conference of Baghdad’s Scholars) to “Shibl al-Dawla,” and we think it is possible that someone who came after him wrote it. But this does not mean that its textual contents, be they historical or otherwise, are inaccurate.
The author of this book (referred to above) may have derived his information from sources with which we are not familiar. Our discussion of the accuracy of attributing a book to him does not mean that the book’s contents are subject to debates and doubts. It has a good deal of accurate information definitely supported by confirmed and authentic narratives. Yet we have to distinguish between what is lean and what is fat, what is accurate and what is not, according to the criteria of scholarly research and its fundamentals. Here we would like to state our bases for doubting the book being his; so, let us say the following:
The author of the book detailing the conference of Baghdad’s scholars has stated that his book, or booklet, is the summary of a theological debate which he says took place between ten senior Sunni and Shi’i scholars in Baghdad who responded to the invitation of the Seljuk Sultan Malik-Shah and his vizier, Nizam al-Malik; both men attended and participated in it.
In this debate, which lasted for three days, it is proven that Shi’ism is right, so Sultan Malik-Shah embraced Shi’a Islam and so did his vizier, Nizam al-Malik, as well as a number of army commanders and prominent government officials.
The question that forces itself here is: Is this debate a fact or fiction?! It awaits an accurate and frank answer.
If we are permitted to voice our opinion, we would like to say that we tend to espouse the second option, that is, that it is fiction. We rely on many matters to issue such a judgment, though each of them by itself cannot be a definite evidence. But collectively, they grant us the courage to register our exclusion which reaches the degree of feeling confident that it is fiction the author of which wanted to promote his own sect and coin sectarian proofs which rely on famous historical facts recorded in the Muslims’ books as well as narratives the authenticity and accuracy of their isnad are recognized. He coins them in an exciting and captivating manner which stimulates the reader’s interest and possesses his feelings.
The issues on which we rely to derive this view are the following:
The first that attracts the reacher’s attention to this book or booklet is its method of exposition. Many of its parts employ expressions which were not in circulation during that period. We would like here to mention some of them while referencing the numbers of the pages of the book which was printed in 1415 A.H./1994 A.D. at Dar al-Irshad al-Islami (House of Islamic Guidance) of Beirut, Lebanon, and is edited by Shaikh Muhammed Jamal Hammad. So let us say the following:
The word “conference” is used in the book’s title and on pages 17, 25-28 and 37.
“He was not a blindly fanatical man.” __ p. 17.
“He was an open-minded young man.” __ p. 17.
“Books and encyclopedias were written about it.” __ p. 25.
“... and we see through the talks and discussions...” __ p. 26. Also refer to pp. 32, 34.
“... and that seeking the truth is everyone’s quest.” __ p. 46.
“... this incivil action...” __ p. 96.
“... some evil narrators and those who sold their conscience...” __ p. 98.
“... and he regarded his belief as exemplary...” __ p. 101.
“ ... He imagined them as being good believing people...” __ p. 111.
“Sayyid al-’Alawi tore the curtain of silence.” __ p. 109.
“But the qualifications of Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) were few.” __ p. 116.
“In fact, the qualifications of the caliphate and Imamate were available in full in Ali (as).” __ p. 116-17.
“And I spend most of my time hunting and [busy] with administrative affairs.” __ p. 153.
“And they kept weaving the plots against the king and Nizam al-Malik, making him responsible for this matter, since he was its mastermind, so much so till the evil hands stretched out to snatch him away.” __ pp. 154-55.
“And it had negative results.” “And it produced reverse negative results.” __ p. 127.
“Is not mut’a their only solution for ridding themselves of reckless sexual energy and in order to protect themselves against debauchery and men’s delinquency?! Is not mut’a better than adultery, homosexuality or masturbation?” __ p. 124.
The book contains a host of weak expressions such as:
“... a blindly fanatical man” __ p. 17.
“... were fully available in Ali (as)” __ p. 116.
“... and he used to love Ahl al-Bayt (as) very, very much.” __ p. 17.
“Second: Its narrators and isnad are inaccurate.” __ p. 76.
“Some of those present ridiculed and slandered him.” __ p. 18.
“He was young, whereas Abu Bakr was advanced in age.” __ p. 113.
“It was I who attended the meeting and the debate.” __ 156.
“The religion of Shi’ism is the truth, there is no doubt about it.” __ p. 156.
Arabic grammatical errors can be detected (by those familiar with Arabic grammar) in many places [in the said book]. Refer to these page numbers: 61, 93, 115, 151 and 149.
Other grammatical errors occur on these pages as well: 144-45.
Another oversight in the book occurs in the Arabic text of verse 10 of Chapter 90 [of the Holy Qur’an].
On p. 17, he has described the Seljuk king Malik-Shah as “a young man, open-minded, loves knowledge and scholars.”
Although he loves knowledge and scholarship, he apparently did not benefit from such love. He, as the book under discussion portrays him, was the most ignorant of all people about the simplest matters and the most axiomatic Islamic and historical matters, as if he lived in an island then entered just recently in the Muslims’ lands. He even does not know about the existence of followers of a sect called “Shi’a” who, as the book states on pages 25-26, comprise half the population of the Muslims whom he ruled. He does not even know the meaning of the word “Shi’i” in addition to other historical and non-historical issues.
We do not know why his father, Sultan Alp Arsalan, neglected to educate him and prepare him to assume his post, and why he did not gather the most learned, renown and experienced scholars and specialists to teach him. Kings and caliphs used to take special care to teach and educate their sons, especially those whom they delegated to succeed them in their posts to run the affairs of the land and its inhabitants.
He has also stated on p. 25 that the Seljuk king Malik-Shah almost decided to kill all Shi’as unless they accepted to turn Sunnis although his vizier told him that they amounted to almost half the Muslim population. On p. 27, the vizier told him that killing half the Muslims was not possible.
Is there any recklessness and indiscretion worse than that? How can he still be described as straightforward and just, sophisticated and wise?!
The same book says that Nizam al-Malik was assassinated by instigation of the Sunnis. Then they themselves assassinated the Seljuk Sultan Malik-Shah as well.
History records that Nizam al-Malik was assassinated by a Daylami (Persian) slave adhering to the Batinide sect. Ibn al-Athir narrates a story which points out to Malik-Shah himself as the person who arranged to have Nizam al-Malik killed. As to Malik-Shah, they say that he fell sick and died.2
Although the attendants were among the most prominent Sunni scholars of Baghdad, we find the king still asking his vizier about everything, and the latter kept answering him by saying that thus did the scholars of exegesis, or historians, or narrators…, etc. say. So why did he not trust those senior scholars and refuse to accept what they transmitted and circulated?
What puzzles us more is this: Although Baghdad, during that time, was full of famous scholars, be they Shi’i or Sunni, the same book does not provide us with anything about those twenty scholars who participated in that debate whom he describes as among the most prominent scholars of Baghdad from both sects.
Yes, there are four names who, the author claims, are scholars; they are: al-Husayn ibn Ali, nicknamed “al-’Alawi,” Ahmed ‘Othman, Sayyid Jamal ad-Din and Shaikh Hassan al-Qasimi. We could not get any information about these names, nor about their scholarly degrees nor roles and influences on the land and its inhabitants. Why were the famous scholars of Baghdad, Sunnis or Shi’a, absent from that sensitive and fateful debate or, say, why no names of any of those “famous” scholars were mentioned?
The book states that the vizier, Nizam a-Malik, and so is al-’Abbasi, who debated on behalf of the Sunnis, and also the scholars who were with him, remained silent and refrained from answering a question about the attempts by Talhah and al-Zubayr to get ‘Othman (ibn ‘Affan) killed.
The author commented on that saying, “What could they say? The truth?! Does Satan permit admission of the truth?! Does the evil insinuating self agree to surrender to the truth and to the reality?! Do you think that admitting the truth is easy and simple?!
“No! It is very difficult because it requires crushing the fanaticism of the days of ignorance, acting contrarily to inclinations. People follow their desires and falsehood except the believers, and surely few are these!” __ p. 109.
We invite the kind reader to consider the following:
A: The author himself has described Nizam al-Malik in the beginning of the book as “... a man of wisdom and distinction, a man of asceticism, one who renounced the world, a strongly willed man who loved righteousness and the righteous, always seeking the truth.” __ p. 17.
B: Nizam al-Malik, the vizier, had answered all the reporting questions of the king, although many of them were more embarrassing to him than this quite ordinary question. Some such questions were relevant to the first caliphs, Abu Bakr and ‘’Umar, in particular.
C: Nizam al-Malik returned to admit to the king that the ‘Alawide’s conclusions were accurate. When he asked him why he kept silent at the beginning, he said, “I hate to cast doubt about the sahaba of the Messenger of Allah S.” __ p. 11.
He himself had answered in the affirmative when the ‘Alawide cast doubts about ‘’Umar’s conviction, and ‘’Umar to him was a lot greater than Talhah and ‘Othman; so, refer to p. 100.
It is noteworthy that this same ‘Alawide, while talking about Abu Bakr, ‘’Umar and ‘Othman, confused the concepts of Imamate with those of caliphate. So he talks about caliphate as if he is talking about Imamate. Refer to what he states on p. 111 where he says, “Not all Muslims accepted them as the caliphs. Only the Sunnis did.”
This sentence means that the discussion was about Imamate, not caliphate, because their caliphate and government is a historical event which no Shi’a nor Sunnis person can deny. But the discussion and argument revolved around the question “Was that government legitimate or not?” just as the discussion and debate revolved around the Imamate of Ali (as) where the government is one of its facets. So; the usurpation of the government is a transgression on some of the aspects of Ali’s Imamate.
Sometimes we see him falling into contradictions for which there are no justifications. He did that in two areas:
FIRST: Hypocrisy of those who “elected” ‘Othman
We find him on p. 106 describing those who sided with ‘Othman in the shura and who swore the oath of allegiance to him. On the same page, he mentions what indicates that they are not hypocrites but pious believers. Says he, “They abandoned ‘Othman when they witnessed his oppression and annihilation of the sahaba of the Messenger of Allah S and how he used to consult, regarding the affairs of the Muslims, with people such [Jews] as Ka’b al-Ahbar, and how he distributed the Muslims’ wealth to the descendants of Marwan. So, these three individuals started enticing the Muslims to kill ‘Othman.”
He means by these three individuals Talhah, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas and ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf. We wish he had added the reasons why they did so. Those reasons were: They did not find with ‘Othman the fulfillment of what they had preconditioned to him, that is, that they would always share in his decision-making process. He preferred his relatives over everyone else. Everyone knows that Talhah fought Ali (as) because he did not respond to his ambitious demands. Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas took a similar stand towards Ali (as) for the same reason.
SECOND: Who “Elected” ‘Othman?!
On p. 106, we find his statement: “‘Othman did not get to rule except through a recommendation from ‘’Umar and the election of only three hypocrites who were: Talhah, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas and ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf.” Yet he is in doubt about these three, too, saying on p. 61, “He was elected by three, or by two of them.” ‘’Umar did not recommend ‘Othman to be his successor as the caliph, the writer claims.
Also, his statement saying that he (‘Othman) came to rule through the recommendation of ‘’Umar and the election of three (other men) is neither harmonious nor balanced except if he wants to say that ‘’Umar over-rode the shura so as to make the “electing” of ‘Othman inevitable, considering doing that as recommending him to be the caliph.
Statement Lacking Historical Precision
There are many statements in the book which lack historical precision; here are some of them:
1. He, on p. 48, says that Mu’awiyah kept cursing the Commander of the Faithful (as) for forty years and that such cursing was prolonged to seventy years.
We say that Mu’awiyah publicly continued to curse Ali (as) for about 23 years, 17 years less than the number stated by the author. As for the second point, they kept cursing Ali (as) for more than eighty years; so, refer to history books.
2. On p. 150, he says, “Abu Hanifah, Malik ibn Anas, al-Shafi’i and Ahmed ibn Hanbal were not alive during the lifetime of the Prophet S but came about two hundred years after him.”
Abu Hanifah was born in 80 A.H./699 A.D. and died in 150 A.H./767.
Malik was born in 93 A.H./712 A.D. and died in 179 A.H./795.
Al-Shafi’i was born in 150 A.H./767 and died in 204 A.H./819 A.D.
Ahmed ibn Hanbal was born in 164 A.H./780 A.D. and died in 233 A.H./847.
3. On p. 82, he says, “‘’Umar prohibited Abu Hurayra from transmitting hadith because of his lies about the Messenger of Allah S but the scholars accept his (Abu Hurayra’s) false ahadith.”
It is well known that the policy of the second caliph dictated the prohibition of transmitting the hadith of the Messenger of Allah S, and Abu Hurayra was beaten because of that since he, as he himself admitted, transmitted more ahadith than anyone else, not because he told lies about the Messenger of Allah S, as the writer claims.
4. Compiling the Qur’an: On p. 48, the text of the book reads: “One of your innovations, you Sunnis, is that you do not recognize the Qur’an. The proof is that you claim that the Qur’an was compiled by ‘Othman; so, was the Messenger of Allah S ignorant of what ‘Othman was doing?!”
He continues his attempt to disprove the compilation of the Qur’an by ‘Othman and to prove that it was compiled during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah S.
A. It is obvious that the story of ‘Othman compiling the Qur’an does not mean lack of recognition of the Qur’an. To use the first argument against the second is out of place.
B. ‘Othman did not compile the Qur’an. He unified all people to follow one text of the Qur’an only when Huthayfah ibn al-Yeman expressed to him his fear of variations in its text among the people. The Commander of the Faithful (as) supported Huthayfah’s fears; that is, he, too, wished all people should follow only one and the same text and, according to some narrators, the Imam said, “Had I been placed in charge, I would have done the same.”3
Perhaps the writer means that the Qur’an was put together during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah S, but both the first and second caliphs refused the Mushaf of the Messenger of Allah S because it contained the revelation, interpretation and reasons for such revelations as well as exegesis and other such texts which may have embarrassed many of those who were not pleased with the rulers being thus embarrassed, nor by disseminating facts relevant to them personally. They themselves collected the verses of the Qur’an in one single Mushaf, dropping the exegesis, interpretation and reasons of revelations, as is well known.
Most conclusions reached in the book are good and accurate, but there are some statements in it where the deduction is not sound at all. They could have been strong and sound had hey been replaced by elements that make them more precise and effective.
The statements which caught our attention are the following:
A combination of cursing and condemning exists in the book which claims it is permissible to curse the sahabi who deviates from the right path. But he uses proofs justifying condemning, not cursing; so, refer to pp. 47-48.
It is obvious that Ali (as), during the Battle of Siffeen, prohibited the cursing of Mu’awiyah and his followers, asking people instead of cursing to describe their abominable deeds. Also, Imam al-Sadiq (as) ordered his followers not to curse and not to be a cursing people so that it would be said, “May Allah have mercy on Ja’far! He disciplined his followers, having done so very well.”
As for condemning, which means supplicating to Allah to distance a certain person from His mercy, it is something else. Allah Almighty has condemned, in His Book, many groups. He, Glory is His, also expressed His pleasure with the believers who condemn certain groups of people, saying, “These it is whom Allah shall condemn, and those who condemn shall condemn them (too)” (Qur’an, 2:159). Perhaps the reason is that condemning implies dissociation from and indictment of the deviation which they chose and of any aggressive conduct or a criminal act they committed. It does not aim at personally belittling them, as is the case with cursing.
He also says on p. 91: “The Sunnis say that the Messenger of Allah S was in doubt about his own Prophetic Mission.” He supports his statement by what they have narrated that the Prophet S said, “Every time Gabriel was slow in visiting me, I thought that he descended on the son of al-Khattab.”
The writer could have added that the Qur’anic text proves that he is the Seal of all Prophets, and the hadith clearly states that there will be no prophet after him, so the argument will thus be complete. Without it, he may be rebutted by saying that there is no harm in the presence of two prophets at the same time as was the case with Moses and Aaron, peace with both of them, and other prophets.
On pp. 51-52 as well as 92, “As for the Sunnis, they say that there is addition to and deletion from the Qur’an.”
He also says on pp. 72, 76,
What is well known about you, Sunnis, is that you claim that the Qur’an is distorted.” Al-’Abbasi said, “This is clearly a lie.” The ‘Alawide said, “Have you not narrated in your books that verses about the crane idols were revealed to the Messenger of Allah S then they were abrogated and deleted from the Qur’an?
Here, we would like to say, for the record, the following:
A. Members of the Islamic nation are unanimously in agreement with each other that there is no addition to (nor any deletion from) the Holy Qur’an.
B. Attributing the claim of addition to or deletion from the Qur’an to the Sunnis, or to those famous men among them, under the label of “a group among them,” is also not precise at all.
Had the writer said that there are some narratives reported by Sunnis in their Six Sihah books and other respected references which, had the Sunnis upheld their contexts, would have concluded that there is distortion in the Qur’an which is attested to by definite proofs and glorious evidences that there is no such thing at all…, his statement would have been accurate and solid.
C. The narrative talking about praising the idols in the shape of crane birds is rejected and refuted by many Sunni scholars although it seems that al-Bukhari does not refuse to accept it.
D. The story of crane idols does not say that the expression “The cranes! How sublime! Their intercession is earnestly anticipated” is a Qur’anic verse, nor does it claim that it used to be part of the Qur’an then was abrogated and deleted from it!
But this false narrative claims that Satan was the one who made the Prophet S pronounce it, then Gabriel went to him to acquaint him with the truth in its regard.
Regarding verse 1 of Chapter 80 (‘Abas), he says on p. 97, “Authentic traditions transmitted by the Family of the Prophet S, in whose homes the Qur’an was revealed, indicate that this Chapter was revealed about ‘Othman ibn ‘Affan.”
This statement is not precisely accurate. The narrative is mentioned by al-Qummi in his Tafsir, and it is mentioned by al-Tibrisi in Mujma’ al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an. There are no traditions (thus, plural, more than one); rather, al-Tibrisi’s narrative transmitted from Imam al-Sadiq (as) does not even mention ‘Othman by name. Instead, it says, “It was revealed about a man from Banu Umayyah.”
Describing this narrative as authentic, by saying that its isnad seems to be accurate, may be regarded as a loose expression. Let us keep in mind that the lack of an accurate isnad in the common way does not mean that the context of the narrative is not true. No matter what, this subject was researched by our Brother, ‘allama Shaikh Ridwan Shararah in a separate book titled Abasa wa Tawalla; Fiman Nazalat? (The Chapter starting with “He frowned and turned his back away”: Regarding whom was it revealed?); so, reference should be made to it.
On pp. 98-99, the book claims that “The Shi’as believe that they (the three caliphs) were not inwardly believers in their heart although they pretended, with their tongue and superficially, that they believed in Islam.”
Regarding this statement and others, we have many objections some of which are here recorded:
A. This “belief” is not recorded by the Shi’a, as a sect, in their books which deal with beliefs, nor did they contemplate it while discussing one’s creed and the crystallization of its particularities.
B. The Prophet S marrying their daughters is based on these daughters’ conviction, and it is not linked to their conviction or to the lack of it, or to that of each daughter’s father. There is no harm in a Muslim, including the Prophet S, marrying the daughter of someone who does not strongly believe in Islam. So, what would you say about someone who pretends to be adhering to Islam and to be convinced of it?!
C. As regarding ‘Othman being the “son-in-law” of the Prophet S, this is not proven at all because I have shown how ‘Othman married the Prophet’s step-daughters, not his biological daughters.”4
The author of the book provides a “proof” for Abu Bakr’s betrayal of the Prophet S from:
FIRST: the Qur’anic verse saying, “They do not believe (in reality) until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them” (Qur’an, 4:65).
SECOND: The Prophet S cursed all those who did not enlist in Usamah’s army, and Abu Bakr was one of them. Refer to p. 99.
This “proof” does not hit the mark because this sacred verse is not relevant to their betrayal of the Prophet S. Yes, it does mean that those who did not accept the Prophet’s judgment are not true believers except if they pretend to accept it, then, when they get together, they cast doubt about such a judgment.
Also, the Prophet S cursing those who did not enlist does not prove the betrayal of those who did not enlist. Rather, it proves that such an individual is guilty of mutiny and of disobeying the Prophet’s order. It also proves that anyone who is cursed by the Prophet S is not a believer.
Perhaps the writer wants to say that when they refused to abide by the Prophet’s decision, thus disobeying his order, they did not do so openly. Rather, they did it in a cunning way wherein there is circumventing, evasion and trickery, pretending what was the opposite of their real intentions. They pretended that they were believers, obedient to the Prophet S, concerned about him during his sickness, which was all not true at all.
He concludes on p. 100 that ‘’Umar [ibn al-Khattab] was always doubtful of the Prophet’s prophetic mission, providing evidence for that by quoting him as saying the following during the incident of the Hudaybiya (treaty): “I have never doubted the Pophethood of Muhammed more than I doubted it on the day of the Hudaybiya.”
We say that this statement of ‘’Umar does not prove that he was always doubtful of the Mission of our Prophet Muhammed S. Rather, it proves that he was quite doubtful of the Prophetic Mission, and that this happened to him many times, but that his doubt on the day of the Hudaybiya was the strongest and the deepest.
On p. 103, he cites the Prophet S as saying, “My nation’s consensus shall never be wrong” as evidence to the soundness of people killing ‘Othman ibn ‘Affan, using the same as evidence of the latter’s disbelief (in Islam).
It needs no argument that people’s consensus to kill someone who committed a crime for which the punishment is execution does not mean that everyone agreed to strip him of his attribute as a believer in Islam. Belief is something, while committing crimes punishable by death is something else. They may agree with each other, or they may not. The sacred hadith indicates that one may be worthy of punishment but does not prove that it was the consensus of everyone that he was not a believer. His disbelief may be proven through other proofs which have to be tangible and taken into consideration. Add to this the fact that Ali (as) and many others with him did not take part in killing ‘Othman5. This is a well known fact, although Ali (as) was neither pleased nor displeased with ‘Othman being killed as he himself is quoted as having said.
The ‘Alawide decided that the hadith about the ten men who were (supposedly) brought the glad tiding of going to Paradise is false, basing his judgment on many proofs such as:
Talhah hurt the Prophet’s feelings when he said that he would marry his wife (‘A’isha, a cousin of Talhah) after his demise, so the following verse was revealed: “It does not behoove you to annoy the Messenger of Allah, nor should you marry his wives after him ever; surely this is grievous in the sight of Allah” (Qur’an, 33:53).
Another occurs on p. 107 where he says that Talhah and al-Zubayr conspired to get ‘Othman killed, and that the Messenger of Allah S had said, “The killer and the one killed are both in hell.”
We support his claim that the said verse was revealed with regard to Talhah, and that the latter did hurt the feelings of the Prophet S. We also rebut what some people claim, that is, that Talhah repented thereafter and did good deeds, then the hadith of the ten men given the glad tidings of going to Paradise came to be, so he was given such a glad tiding. To say that this “hadith” proved that Talhah repented is impossible. Also, his supposedly going to Paradise contrasts his disobedience of the Imam of his time, namely Ali (as), after that. Anyone who disobeys the Imam of his time goes to hell. It also contradicts his reneging from the oath of allegiance which he had sworn to the Commander of the Faithful (as).
Yes, although we support it, we say that to use the hadith relevant to the killer and the one killed going to hell is not applicable in every place. It does not apply to Talhah declaring mutiny against the Imam of his time whose Imamate was announced by the Messenger of Allah S.
As regarding his disobedience of ‘Othman, one may claim that it is justifiable since ‘Othman’s caliphate was dependent on the “correctness” of the caliphate of ‘’Umar, and ‘’Umar’s caliphate was dependent for its “correctness” on that of Abu Bakr. The latter was not legitimate because it came against the final Divine Decision which decreed that both Imamate and caliphate were relegated to Ali (as) and to nobody else. So, his disobedience of ‘Othman, when the latter introduced so many new things in Islam, follows a verdict, whereas his mutiny against Ali (as), who was nominated through texts as the Imam and the caliph, follows another.
We are very surprised at a statement which he makes on p. 124. He says, “Do not they through mut’a receive an amount of money to spend on themselves and on their orphaned children?”
Such a statement may give the wrong impression that the Shari’a legislated mut’a as a source of income and to trade in one’s honor. This is neither reasonable nor acceptable. The dower in mut’a is just like it is in permanent marriage. Mut’a has its noble objectives and subjective justifications, as is the case with permanent marriage. It involves a solution, permitted by the Shari’a , a healthy one, too, for problems faced by humans; so, refer to my book about temporary marriage in Islam.
Then we find him saying the following on p. 119: “He [Ali (as)] was independent of others, whereas others depended on him. Did not Abu Bakr say, ‘Let me resign, for I am not good enough for you so long as Ali (as) is among you’?”
What attracts our attention is the following:
FIRST: The circulated and well known text says, “Let me resign, for I am not the best of you so long as Ali (as) is among you” which carries a different meaning than the phrase “not good enough for you.”
SECOND: Abu Bakr’s statement “Let me resign..., etc.” has nothing to do with Ali (as) being independent or not. The most knowledgeable scholar may not be the very best among the public because what is the best is one thing, while dependence or independence is another.
- 1. Conference of Baghdad’s Scholars, p. 135.
- 2. Refer to Al-Kamil fil Tarikh, Vo. 10, pp. 204-05, 210.
- 3. Refer to my book regarding important facts about the Holy Qur’an.
- 4. Refer to my book titled Banat al-Nabi am Raba’ibih? (Daughters of the Prophet or his step-daughters?).
- 5. If you research the incident of the attack on and the killing of `Othman in which protesters against his policies who came from various Islamic lands, even as far as North Africa, and how he was killed, you will come to know, just as I did, that Ali (as) sent both his son, al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as), to defend `Othman when the latter’s mansion was besieged and when his life was in danger. Al-Hassan (as) was wounded in his forehead as he defended `Othman. Despite all of this, `Othman’s wife, Na’ila daughter of al-Qarafisah, urged Mu`awiyah and his supporters, such as Talhah and al-Zubayr, to accuse Ali (as) of being responsibile for `Othman’s murder. Na’ila was supported by `A’isha who raised an army to fight Ali (as) in the Battle of the Camel which took place in Basra in 36 A.H./656 A.D. and in which thousands of Muslims from both armies were killed. This was the first time a Muslim killed another Muslim, a prelude to what is now taking place throughout our Islamic world at the hands of the Wahhabi, Salafi and Takfiri terrorists. –Tr.