The Verse of Sa`il
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
One demanding, demanded the chastisement which must befall. The unbelievers there is none to avert it. From Allah, the Lord of the ways of Ascent. (70:1-3)
To cite the exegesis of the Verse of Sa`il (the demanding one), it is necessary to remark a deal of serious events that cropped up during the last days of the Holy Prophet (S)’s lifetime. Some of them have been proven to be provoked by people of Quraysh who seem to be the creators of the others according to many indications putting a finger of accusation at them.
We have already presented that many of the Qurayshite chiefs confessed that they tried to assassinate the Holy Prophet (S) during the Battle of Hunayn.
They again attempted to assassinate the Holy Prophet (S) in al-`Aqabah when he was back from the Battle of Tabuk. This attempt, given effect by twenty hypocrites, was planned so properly. The executors knew that the Holy Prophet (S) would take the mountainside alone that night while the army would take the other. They planned to waylay aloft that mountain and as soon as he would reach the narrowest point, they would throw rocks as many as possible so that they would hit him. Then, they would run away and hide among Muslims’ groups. They aimed at seizing the Holy Prophet (S)’s authority while they would show their deepest grief for him. The Lord, however, respited them. When they were about to throw rocks, Archangel Gabriel lit that mountain that the Holy Prophet (S) could see and recognize them. He called them by names. Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman and `Ammar ibn Yasir could also see and recognize them. The Holy Prophet (S) then made them the witnesses on that plot. The hypocrites had nothing to do other than descending the mountain as speedy as possible to hide among Muslims.
Why did the Holy Prophet (S) hide their names?
There is no reason for the Holy Prophet (S)’s having hidden their names except that they were Qurayshites and celebrities; and to declare their names would certainly lead to punishing them; and to punish them would cause danger of apostasy; and to apostatize from Islam would mean that they would convince some of the Arab tribes to mutiny claiming that Muhammad (S) had given everything to his relatives and deprived people of Quraysh and the Arabs; and to arouse such a claim would create an ill reputation of Islam since it would be said that the Holy Prophet (S) disputed his believing companions and fought them; and to invent such an ill reputation would lead to new wars the results of which would not be better than the earlier ones. Hence, the divine solution is to keep the matter hidden as long as those men admitted Islam.
Because the narrations that recorded the plot of al-`Aqabah named famous Qurayshite personalities, the pro-Quraysh Hadithists have had to suspect them although most of them have had to regarded Ibn Jumay` and the other narrators who mentioned the names of the planners and the executors of that plot as trustworthy. In addition, Sunni reference books of Hadith have recorded that Hudhayfah and `Ammar were frequently asked by Qurayshite chiefs whether they had seen them on that night with the executors of the plot or not and that such chiefs attempted to gain the acquittal of hypocrisy from Hudhayfah and `Ammar. The same reference books have also recorded many narrations asserting that people could identify the hypocrites, after their death, by noticing whether Hudhayfah would offer the ritual Funeral Prayer for them or not. Finally, they have narrated that Hudhayfah did not offer the Funeral Prayer on any of the Qurayshite chiefs!
The story of Surah of Tahrim implies that one of the Holy Prophet (S)’s wives violated his instructions of concealing the news he had recounted to her exclusively and, backed by her well-wisher, worked for people of Quraysh against her husband. The Lord, again, informed His Prophet (S) about divulging the secret and the Holy Prophet (S) conveyed this divine information to her as well as her well-wisher who was also one his wives. Thenceforth, the Holy Qur’an revealed her secret and the intentions of those for whom she had worked and threatened a punishment and cited as examples for them the wives of Prophet (S) Noah and Prophet (S) Lot who were atheists because they had betrayed their husbands and thus would be in Hellfire.
As usual, the pro-Quraysh Hadithists have distorted the story making it a simple family affair respecting the wives’ jealousy and some slight flaws with the Holy Prophet (S)!
They want Muslims to close their eyes before the clear-cut Verses of Surah of Tahrim that declare the occurrence of a striking danger on the Holy Prophet (S) and the Divine Mission and the enlisting of a great army for defying the situation. Almighty Allah says, “If you both turn to Allah for indeed your hearts are already inclined; and if you back each other against him, then surely Allah it is Who is his Guardian, and Gabriel and the believers that do good, and the angels after that are the aiders. 66/4.”
Towards whom were their hearts inclined? For whom did they back each other against the Holy Prophet (S)? What sort of family affairs was that which incited such a great army that Almighty Allah uses only in cases of ultimate emergency?
Ibn `Abbas used to interpret ‘inclined’ into ‘deviated.’ On that account, two of the Holy Prophet (S)’s wives needed to renew their converting to Islam!
For a whole month, the Holy Prophet (S) deserted his wives and confined himself in the house of Mariah the Coptic on the outskirts. Consequently, rumor has it that he would divorce all his wives.
The pro-Quraysh Hadithists have described the matter as a personal affair although it had preoccupied the Holy Prophet (S), the Divine Revelation and Muslims. The reason, according to their narrations, was the usual demands of wives away from the Islamic issues that occupied the political area to excess and engaged the Qurayshite chiefs in particular.
People of Quraysh worked as hard as possible for offending against `Ali ibn Abi-Talib’s personality making the Holy Prophet (S) very much angry. He defended `Ali and honored his personality in the same way as he had always done in war, peace, journey and residence. Yet, the matter increased in the last period of his lifetime when such campaigns against Imam `Ali increased causing the Holy Prophet (S) to deliver many sermons in many instances to declare the merits of Imam `Ali (a.s.) and regard anyone who would hurt him as misled and atheist.
The overwhelming story of Buraydah al-Aslami that has found itself a place in the best regardable pages of each and every Sunni reference book of Hadith unveils clearly the organized plans that people of Quraysh executed against Imam `Ali and due to which the Holy Prophet (S) reproached everyone who would criticize Imam `Ali and declaring that he would be the leader of this Ummah after him and anyone who detests or disobeys him would be indisputably hypocrite. This event shows how much malice and envy the Qurayshite chiefs bore against Imam `Ali (a.s.).
The Qurayshite chiefs precluded people from recording the Holy Prophet (S)’s words and deeds during his lifetime. People used to record the Holy Qur’an as soon as it was revealed and the Holy Prophet (S) ordered to put the fresh Qur’anic texts between the minbar and the wall where papers and ink were available for anyone to record.
Imam `Ali (a.s.) used to write down all the Qur’anic texts and the Hadiths after the Holy Prophet (S) would order him to write. Others, such as `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As the young Qurayshite, also used to write down the Hadiths; but some of the Qurayshite chiefs prevented them from recording the Hadith because they knew that they would face a horrible hazard if the Hadiths praising the Ahl al-Bayt and the Hashimites and cursing the Qurayshite chiefs would reach the hands of the coming generations. Yet, some of such chiefs used to record the Jewish culture and attend their classes every Saturday!1
Sunni reference books of Hadith have confessed that `Abdullah ibn `Amr complained before the Holy Prophet (S) that people of Quraysh warned him against recording the Hadiths. Abu-Dawud, in al-Sunan 2/176, records the following:
It has been narrated that `Abdullah ibn `Amr said, “People of Quraysh told me not to record every single word said by the Holy Prophetsince he was an ordinary mortal who may be erring when enraged. I ceased the recording and told the Holy Prophet (S) about their words. He pointed at his mouth and said, “Record every thing. By the Prevailing of my soul I swear that nothing but truth comes out of my mouth.”2
An attempt to assassinate the Holy Prophet (S) was planned on his way back from the Farewell Hajj at Arsha. The details of this plot was similar to great extent to the plot that was executed after the battle of Tabuk and, again, the divine revelation unveiled it.
People of Quraysh escalated their disapproval of the Holy Prophet (S)’s activities to direct the leadership of his family. Some of them objected openly and shamelessly and demanded with positions of leadership for the other clans of Quraysh. However, the Holy Prophet (S) rejected all such demands because he had nothing to do about this divine directive.3
In his final ailment, the Holy Prophet (S) order to enlist an army to be joined by all the Qurayshite chiefs except the Hashimites and nominated Usamah ibn Zayd as the commander. He then ordered Usamah, the young African Muslim, to advance towards Mu`tah in Jordan to fight against the Romans. The Holy Prophet (S), however, wanted to strengthen the Islamic State and to revenge for the martyrs of the Battle of Mu`tah. Yet, these were the open aims, while the actual aims were to take the opposers of Imam `Ali’s leadership away from al-Madinah.
Usamah and his army camped out of al-Madinah and the Qurayshite chiefs showed reluctance to join that army so that they would fail the Holy Prophet (S)’s plan. They also worked on detaining as great numbers of the army as possible. Finally, they criticized the Holy Prophet (S) for nominating Usamah for commandment. Hence, they wanted to interrupt the course of the army so that they would gain more time. As a reply, the Holy Prophet (S) delivered a speech emphasizing on expediting the march of Usamah’s army and declaring that Almighty Allah and he would curse those who would fall behind.
People of Quraysh decided to stop frankly in the face of the Holy Prophet (S) to preclude him from handing the leadership of the Ummah officially over to the Ahl al-Bayt. `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the new chief of Quraysh, volunteered to carry on the decision. In his last hour, the Holy Prophetsummoned the chiefs of Quraysh and Ansar and asked them to fetch him a paper and a pen to record for them an official document saving his nation against deviation forever. As he realized that this document would mean nominating `Ali and his household as the only leaders of the Ummah, `Umar stood in the face of the Holy Prophetshouting, ‘No, we do not need your document and your security against deviation. We also do not want your traditions and people. Allah’s Book is sufficient for us; and it is we, neither you nor your Ahl al-Bayt, who should interpret it.’
Unfortunately, the attendants, from people of Quraysh and the deceived Ansar, supported `Umar and shouted before their Prophet (S), ‘We support `Umar’s saying from top to bottom.’ Hence, a discrepancy broke out while the ailed Prophet (S) was looking. A group supported the Holy Prophet (S)’s saying and the others supported `Umar’s. Then the latter group shouted, ‘Do not give him anything! Let him not record anything.’
It is most likely that Archangel Gabriel was attendant for he used to visit the Holy Prophet (S) recurrently these days. The Holy Prophet (S) might have sought his advice and the Archangel instructed him that he had accomplished his mission completely and the best solution for such a discrepancy would be to dismiss all of them so as to impede the apostasy of Quraysh. Hence, the Holy Prophet said, ‘Leave me! It is inappropriate to issue disputation before a Prophet (S)! And the pains that I am suffering are easier than what you are dragging me to.’
This story is above dispute because al-Bukhari has recorded it in six positions of his al-Sahih. Ibn `Abbas called this incident ‘the calamity of Thursday.’
Owing to harsh fever, the Holy Prophet (S) fainted for minutes and then regained his consciousness. That was during his final ailment. He could understand that some of those around him intended to pour a drug in his mouth when he fainted. When he regained his consciousness, he ordered them not to give him any medicine when he would faint. On the contrary, as soon as he fainted, they poured a medicine in his mouth. As he tried to vomit it, they forced him to drink. When he regained consciousness, he reprimanded them and ordered all of them, except the Hashimites, to have from that medicine. According to narrations, all of them had to have some of that ‘medicine’.
Reference books of Hadith have called this incident ‘forcing the Holy Prophet (S) to have the medicine.’ It is important to study this incident carefully for it might have been an attempt to poison the Holy Prophet (S)!
The presentation of the previous events is the introduction to the interpretation of the Verse of Sa`il. As a matter of fact, each event is worthy of thorough study since the source of all of them was people of Quraysh taking in consideration their close relationship with the Jews.
The caravan of the Holy Prophet (S) and the Imam left Ghadir Khumm towards al-Madinah. While the Holy Prophet (S)’s heart was calmed, people of Quraysh were so disturbed out of their spite and wickedness for they would never relax unless they would exercise the painful agony.
During many events in the Farewell Hajj, in Makkah, on `Arafat, the three sermons in Mina and the sermon of al-Khayf Masjid, Almighty Allah protected his Prophet (S) as promised in the Verse of `Ismah. Finally, Almighty Allah ordered Muslims to stop in a place under burning midday so that the Holy Prophet (S) would raise `Ali ibn Abi-Talib’s hand as high as possible and declare, ‘This man will be your leader after me. After him, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and nine Imams from al-Husayn’s offspring will be your leaders.’ In this very situation, the divine promise of protection manifested strongly. Almighty Allah shut the mouths of people of Quraysh so that they would not oppose or object and opened their mouths with words of agreement only, ‘We admit that you have conveyed your Lord’s messages completely and have been excellent Messenger. We will surely obey.’
Afterwards, they hurried to Imam `Ali’s tent to congratulate him on the leadership and showed compliments when Almighty Allah revealed, ‘This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed on you My favor and chosen for you Islam as a religion.’ They then lent their ears to Hasan ibn Thabit’s poem describing the Holy Prophet (S)’s conveyance of the Lord’s instruction of nominating Imam `Ali for the next leadership.
The ceremonies of offering congratulations to Imam `Ali lasted to night and only could darkness stop Muslims’ gathering before his tent for offering congratulations; therefore, the Holy Prophet (S) had to pass that night in Ghadir Khumm—Ghadir of Imamate. After the Fajr -dawn- Prayer, he moved. Other narrations affirm that the Holy Prophet (S) had to settle for two days there.
This was the first divine method of protecting the Holy Prophet (S). The second method, however, was the divine punishment. Like the Jews during their Prophet (S)’s reigns, people of Quraysh had to counter the divine punishment.
Sunni and Shiite reference books of Hadith have named those who objected to the Holy Prophet (S)’s nominating Imam `Ali for leadership in Ghadir Khumm. Yet, some narrations have made clerical errors in some of the names because such divine punishment fell on more than one occasion. Those inflicted by heavenly stones or punishment were Jabir ibn al-Nadr ibn al-Harith ibn Kildah al-`Abdari, al-Harith ibn al-Nu`man al-Fihri, `Amr ibn `Utbah al-Makhzumi, al-Nadr ibn al-Harith al-Fihri, al-Harith ibn `Amr al-Fihri, al-Nu`man ibn al-Harith the Jew, al-Nu`man ibn al-Mundhir al-Fihri, `Amr ibn al-Harith al-Fihri, a man from the tribe of Taym, a Bedouin man and a Bedouin man from Najd who belonged to the tribe of Ja`far ibn Kilab ibn Rabi`ah.
Save the Bedouin and the Jew ones, all the others were from Quraysh for Ansar had never objected to any privilege that the Holy Prophet (S) gave to his progeny though they, later on, showed disloyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt.
The incident in abstract is that one, or more, of those persons protested against the Holy Prophet (S)’s nominating Imam `Ali for the coming leadership and accused him of passing his personal caprices in the form of divine commandments. Although the Holy Prophet (S) asserted that the decision had been issued by the Lord, that man was not convinced. He left the place angrily and asked the Lord to rain him with a heavenly stone if the matter was indeed His. The Lord inflicted him with a heavenly stone that killed him or inflicted him with a heavenly flame that burned him.
From this incident, we understand that the Lord used a threatening style with people of Quraysh for protecting His Messenger against their expected apostasy. Consequently, they understood that failure would be the decisive result of any political combat with the Holy Prophet (S) and that they should wait until he would die. This incident reveals a number of issues to be hereinafter presented:
Not only have Shiite reference books of Hadith recorded the incident of the stones from heaven, but also many Sunni reference books have documented it. Abu-`Ubayd al-Harawi have been the first to record the incident in his book entitled Gharib al- Qur’an.
Ibn Shahrashub, in Manaqib Ali Abi-Talib 2/240 has recorded the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-`Ubayd, al-Tha`labi, al-Naqqash, Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah, al-Razi, al-Qizwini, al-Nisapuri, al-Tabrasi and al-Tusi that when the news of the Holy Prophet (S)’s having conveyed his Lord’s commandment in Ghadir Khumm spread out among people, al-Harith ibn al-Nu`man al-Fihri (or Jabir ibn al-Nadr ibn al-Harith ibn Kildah al-`Abdari, according to Abu-`Ubayd’s report) came to the Holy Prophet (S) and said, “Muhammad: You have ordered us to declare that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad being his Messenger, to offer the prayers, to fast, to undertake the Hajj and to pay the Zakat. All these that we have admitted were not sufficient for you until you raised your cousin from the arm and preceded him to us saying, ‘`Ali shall be the master of him who has regarded me as his master.’ Is this your own desire or was it according to Allah’s instruction?”
The Holy Prophet (S) answered, “I swear by Allah the only Lord that it was certainly Allah’s instruction.” Jabir then turned his face towards his animal saying, “O Allah! If Muhammad’s words have been true, then rain us with a heavenly stone or inflict a painful chastisement upon us.” Before he could reach his animal, the Lord rained him with a stone that fell on the head and went out from the anus and he thus was killed. Consequently, Almighty Allah revealed the Verse of Sa`il.
Some Shiite scholars4 have listed more than thirty names of Sunni scholars who recorded this incident, such as al-Harawi, Abu-`Ubayd (died in AH 223), in Gharib al- Qur’an, al-Baghdadi, Abu-Bakr al-Naqqash al-Mawsili (died in AH 351), in his book of Tafsir, al-Tha`labi, Abu-Ishaq al-Nisapuri (died in AH 427), in al-Kashf wa’l-Bayan, al-Hasakani, al-Hakim Abu’l-Qasim, in Ada` Haqq al-Muwalat, al-Qurtubi, Abu-Bakr Yahya (died in AH 567), in his book of Tafsir, Abu’l Mu¨affar, Shams al-Din—the grandson of Ibn al-Jawzi (died in AH 645), in al-Tadhkirah, al-Hamawini, Shaykh al-Islam (died in AH 722), in Fara`id al-Simtayn, al-`Imadi, Abu’l-Sa`ud (died in AH 982), in his book of Tafsir 8/292, al-Shirbini, Shams al-Din of Cairo (died in AH 977), in al- Siraj al-Munir 4/364, al-Halabi, Burhan al-Din `Ali (died in AH 1044), in al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah 3/302, al-Hafni, Shams al-Din (died in AH 1181), in Sharh al-Jami` al-Saghir 2/387 and al-Zarqani, Abu-`Ali (died in AH 1122), in Sharh al-Mawahib al-Ludaniyyah.
The general sense of the Verses of Surah of Maarij, up to Verse 36, seems to be revealed in al-Madinah for it comprises laws similar to those mentioned in Surah of al-Nur and Surah of al-Mu`minun, while the rest seem to be revealed in Makkah for they refer to questions of belief and the Hereafter. In due course, it is difficult to discern the place of its revelation. We should thus regard, yet presumably, the second part of the Surah as revealed in Makkah and the first in al-Madinah, but it was preceded thereafter. The text of the Surah is the decisive criterion.
In Sharh al-Akhbar 1/241, al-Nu`man has narrated on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) that it was revealed in Makkah to show the manners of those who dissented the leadership of Imam `Ali. According to a narration recorded in Shaykh al-Kulayni’s al-Kafi 5/450, the Surah was revealed in Makkah. Be it revealed in Makkah or al-Madinah, the chastisement mentioned in the Verse of Sa`il refers to the stones of heaven that were inflicted upon the man who objected to the nomination of Imam `Ali as the leader of the Ummah. Moreover, the stones that inflicted al-`Abdari and al-Fihri and their likes was a part of the threatening chastisement most of which will be sent down in order to pave the way for the advent of Imam al-Mahdi.5
Apart from the various interpretations and narrations of the Surah, it seems that it refers to the chastisement of the world to come. It is also empty of any condemn against the demanding one who may be a suppliant who seeks the falling of such chastisement. For al-Qurtubi, the ‘demanding one’ in the Verse is Prophet (S) Noah or Prophet Muhammad (S)! Therefore, it may be asked how Sunni and Shiite scholars have concluded that the Verse refers to worldly chastisement and the ‘demanding one’ wanted to challenge and belie.
The answer is lexicological. The Arabic item ‘sa`ala bi’ refers to asking about a matter in a form of challenge and indicates that the ‘demanding one’ has already heard of such a worldly chastisement from the Holy Prophet (S) who used to threat and forewarn; therefore, he demanded with it and the Lord answered him through these Verses. Because the chastisement of the world to come is more important, the Lord has emphasized on it without neglecting the worldly one.
The Surah states, ‘O you who are deriding the chastisement against which our Messenger forewarned you! Surely whatever he has menaced will befall, be in this world or the Hereafter. Nothing will guard the atheists against it. Hence, you are advised to believe in Allah so that you will avoid that chastisement, which will not inflict the believers.’
The second Verse negates the possibility of averting that chastisement away from the unbelievers. In other words, it will inevitably inflict the unbelievers for they definitely deserve it and will also inflict those who pretended to be believers whose repentance may save them from it.
It is not unlikely that ‘the unbelievers’ mentioned in the Verse stands for those who disbelieve in Almighty Allah’s marvels or graces.
Sunni scholars have fallen in contradiction because they argued that the chastisement mentioned in the Verse being the Hereafter that will inflict the unbelievers only and, meanwhile, they argued that it refers to the worldly chastisement that inflicted al-Nadr ibn al-Harith al-`Abdari who was killed during the Battle of Badr. At any rate, they have always endeavored to make any chastisement mentioned in the Holy Qur’an stand for the chastisement of the Hereafter and, sometimes, they dedicated it to the Jews and Christians so as to take it away from people of Quraysh and the hypocrites and prove that Almighty Allah did not respond to His Messenger’s invocations against people of Quraysh. Moreover, they accused the Holy Prophet (S) that he was reproached by the Lord because he had called down evil upon people of Quraysh!6
Sunni scholars have had different opinions regarding the Hadith; some of them, like Abu-`Ubayd, al-Tha`labi and al-Hamawini, have accepted and preferred it to the other opinions while others have recorded it indirectly. A third group have recorded it but preferred the other opinions. At any rate, all of them have accepted it yet in different degrees. Hence, Sunni scholars have to accept it because master scholars, such as Abu-`Ubayd and Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah, have admitted it. Al-Albani, whom is regarded as the leading Hadithist in this age, has decided the authenticity of any narration that is accepted by two or three master scholars.
Al-Shawkani, in Fath al-Qadir 5/352, says that the demanding one intended in the Verse was al-Nadr ibn al-Harith who said, ‘O Allah! If this is the truth sent from Thee, then rain us with a heavenly stone or inflict painful chastisement upon us.’ He was killed during the Battle of Badr. Other scholars have referred to Abu-Jahl or al-Harith ibn al-Nu`man al-Fihri.
Shams al-Din al-Shirbini, in `Abaqat al-Anwar 7/398, says that various opinions have been cited about the demanding one; Ibn `Abbas says that he was al-Nadr ibn al-Harith and others say that he was al-Harith ibn al-Nu`man.
Abu-`Ubayd, in Nafahat al-Azhar 7/291, confirms that the Verse was revealed after the declaration of Ghadir and the demanding one was Jabir ibn al-Nadr ibn al-Harith ibn Kildah al-`Abdari
Al-Qurtubi, in Tafsir 18/278, presents the various opinions respecting the interpretation of the Verse of Sa`il among which is the narration involved. This is in fact sufficient evidence on the existence of the Holy Prophet (S)’s declaration of the leadership of Imam `Ali. Hence, we, the Shi`ah, have to appreciate this situation and thank them for it because they admit our claim.
It is thus unanimous that the demand in the Verse actually occurred and that al-Nadr challenged the Holy Prophet (S) regarding the divinely commissioned leadership of Imam `Ali. Yet, the Verse that indicates the descending of the heavenly stone was revealed together with the Verses discussing the rulings of spoils, which was revealed after the Battle of Badr.7 On that account, it is irrational to accept that the Lord’s replication to al-Nadr’s demand was revealed in Makkah while the demand itself was revealed afterwards in al-Madinah after the demise of al-Nadr.
The saying of the demanding one –that is, ‘O Allah! If this is being the right sent from Thee, then rain us with a heavenly stone or inflict painful chastisement upon us,’- is more applicable to Shiite interpretation. As a general rule, the general sense of a Verse or a Hadith must be preserved as much as possible. Hence, the defeats of the disbelievers in the Battle of Badr and al-Khandaq as well as the other sorts of punishments, such as the draught, starvations and humility during the conquest of Makkah, were parts of the chastisement.
Correspondingly, it is unnecessary to restrain the scope of the chastisement to the case of al-Nadr or any other individual incident.
Except Ibn Taymiyah and his fans, Nasibis have not refuted the narration. Muhammad Rashid Rida, in Tafsir al-Manar, also imitates Ibn Taymiyah who attacked the narration coarsely and blundered blindly through it. Misusing the name of his master Shaykh Muhammad `Abduh, Rashid Rida has been highly influenced by the ideas of Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn al-Qayyim.
As he, in 6/464, records the narration, he decides it as untrue for Surah of al-Maarij was revealed in Makkah while the unbelievers who challenged a chastisement are mentioned in Surah of al-Anfal, which was revealed after the Battle of Badr and many years before the revelation of Surah of al-Ma`idah. It seems that Rashid Rida could find his intent through Ibn Taymiyah’s criticism of the narration because its documentation has been too authentic to be refuted. The main point upon which Ibn Taymiyah and Rida depended in criticizing the narration is that the Holy Prophet (S) did not return to Makkah after the Farewell Hajj and that al-Abtuh, the place where the events of the narration took place, is situated in Makkah. Unintentionally or intentionally, they both neglected that there is in al-Madinah a famous place also called al-Abtuh.
The other point they have used is that the Verse that rendered the unbelievers’ challenge was revealed in al-Madinah while Surah of Maarij was revealed in Makkah. They have also ignored that the general sense of the first thirty-six Verses and the narration involved suppose and indicate that it was revealed in al-Madinah. Even if it was revealed in Makkah, there is no flaw if we admit that it was revealed more than once for more explication. Scholars have confirmed that Surah of al-Kawthar was revealed more than once. Furthermore, it is reasonless to refute the whole narration even if it is proved that the Verse was not revealed on that occasion. Finally, Sayyid al-Tabataba`i, in Tafsir al-Mizan 6/54, has refuted all the points of criticism aroused by Rashid Rida. Al-Amini, in al-Ghadir 1/239, and al-Naqawi, in `Abaqat al-Anwar 7-8, have also refuted the points of criticism of Ibn Taymiyah through decisive proofs and overwhelming facts. Yet, it seems suitable to add the following three points to the topic:
First: The narrations is neither baseless nor invented by the official narrators of the Qurayshite caliphate for it proves the divine ground of the Imamate of Imam `Ali and invalidates the authority of Abu-Bakr. In due course, it is very dangerous to claim that the narration and its likes were intruded by the Shi`ah in Sunni reference books of Hadith for such a claim will devastate the entire structure of Sunni reference books of Hadith as well as the Qurayshite caliphate. Finally, it was narrated by the same reporters depended by Sunni reference books.
Second: Matters that are admitted by both Sunnis and Shi`ah are more acceptable than others for one can believe a Hadith narrated by both Sunni and Shiite books while it may be rather difficult to believe a Hadith about which Muslim scholars have had opposing opinions.
Third: When the other qualities of the authenticity of a narration are present, the discrepancy about the first name of its star becomes unimportant for many endeavors must have been made to conceal his name that brought dishonor to his family.
In any event, we prefer that the man was Jabir ibn al-Nadr ibn al-Harith ibn Kildah al-`Abdari, not al-Harith ibn al-Nu`man al-Fihri, for Abu-`Ubayd, whom is highly esteemed by Sunni scholars for his experience and knowledgeability, have recorded this name in his Tafsir. Jabir was a famous Qurayshite personality; his father was the chief of Banu-`Abd al-Dar.
The first way is the narration of Abu-`Ubayd in Gharib al- Qur’an and the second way is the report of al-Tha`labi on the authority of Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah upon which (i.e. the report) many scholars have depended, such as Sayyid al-Mar`ashi, in Ihqaq al-Haq 6/358, al-Hamawini, in Fara`id al-Simtayn, al-Zarnadi, in Nu¨um Durar al-Simtayn 93, Ibn al-Sabbagh, in al-Fusul al-Muhimmah 24, `Abd al-Rahman al-Saffuri, in Nuzhat al-Majalis 2/209, al-Qurtubi, in Tafsir, Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Shirazi, in al-Arba`un Hadith, `Abdullah al-Shafi`i, in Al-Manaqib 205, al-Qanduzi, in Yanabi` al-Mawaddah 247, al-Amrutsari, in Arjah al Matalib 568, `Abd al-Ra`uf al-Mannawi, in Fayd al-Qadir, Muhammad Al-Qadiri, Al-Sirat al-sawi, al-Halabi, in Insan al-`Uyun, Ahmad ibn al-Fadl Bakthir, in Wasilat al-Amal, Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-Amir, in al-Rawdah al-Nadiyyah and Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Kanji, in Kifayat al-Talib.
In Shawahid al-Tanzil 2/381, he records the following:
It has been narrated to the authority of Abu-`Abdullah al-Shirazi on the authority of Abu-Bakr al-Jarjara`i on the authority of Abu-Ahmad al-Basri on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sahl on the authority of Zayd ibn Isma`il on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ayyub on the authority of Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah on the authority of Ja`far ibn Muhammad on the authority of His father on the authority of `Ali… etc.
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Bakr al-Subay`i on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Nasr Abu Ja`far al-Dab`i on the authority of Zayd ibn Isma`il ibn Sinan on the authority of Shurayh ibn al-Nu`man on the authority of Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah on the authority of Ja`far ibn Muhammad on the authority of His father on the authority of `Ali… etc.
In Shawahid al-Tanzil 2/381, he records the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Kufi on the authority of Nasr ibn Muzahim on the authority of `Amr ibn Shamr on the authority of Jabir al-Ju`fi on the authority of Muhammad ibn `Ali… etc. Similar narrations have been reported from Hudhayfah, Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas, Abu-Hurayrah and Ibn `Abbas.
In Shawahid al-Tanzil 2/381, he records the following:
It has been narrated from Abu’l-Hasan al-Fasi on the authority of Abu’l-Hasan Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-Hasani on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Hasan al-Asadi on the authority of Ibrahim; and it has been narrated from Abu-Bakr Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi on the authority of Abu-Muhammad `Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Ja`far al-Shaybani on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Hasan al-Asadi on the authority of Ibrahim ibn al-Hasan al-Kisa`i on the authority of al-Fadl ibn Dikkin on the authority of Sufyan ibn Sa`id on the authority of Mansur on the authority of Rab`i on the authority of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman… etc.
In Shawahid al-Tanzil 2/381, he records the following:
It has been narrated from `Uthman on the authority of Furat ibn Ibrahim al-Kufi on the authority of al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Mus`ab al-Bujali on the authority of Abu-`Imarah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mahdi on the authority of Muhammad ibn Abi-Mi`shar al-Madani on the authority of Sa`id ibn Abi-Sa`id al-Miqbari on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah… etc.
Furat ibn Ibrahim al-Kufi, in Tafsir 505, has recorded the following:
It has been narrated from Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Tabyan on the authority of al-Husayn ibn Muhammad al-Kharifi that he asked Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah… etc.
In Ta`wil al-Ayat 2/722, the following is recorded:
Muhammad ibn al-`Abbas has narrated on the authority of `Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Mukhallad on the authority of al-Hasan ibn al-Qasim on the authority of `Umar ibn al-Ahsan on the authority of Adam ibn Hammad on the authority of Husayn ibn Muhammad that he asked Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah… etc.
The following is quoted from Madinat al-Maajiz 1/407:
Sharif al-Murtada, in `Uyun al-Mu`jizat, has recorded that Abu-`Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad has narrated on the authority of his father on the authority of `Ali ibn Farrukh al-Samman on the authority of Yahya ibn Zakariyya al-Minqari on the authority of Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah on the authority of `Umar ibn Abi-Sulaym al-`Isa on the authority of Ja`far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq on the authority of his father… etc.
The following is quoted from al-Arba`un Hadith 82:
It has been narrated from Abu’l-`Ala` Zayd ibn `Ali ibn Mansur al-Adib and Sayyid Abu-Turab al-Murtada ibn al-Da`i ibn al-Qasim al-Hasani on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad on the authority of Muhammad ibn Zayd ibn `Ali al-Tabari Abu-Talib ibn Abi-Shuja` al-Buraydi on the authority of Abu’l-Husayn Zayd ibn Isma`il al-Hasani on the authority of Sayyid Abu’l-`Abbas Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Hasani on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Hasan al-Khaqani on the authority of `Abbas ibn `«sa on the authority of al-Hasan ibn `Abd al-Wahid al-Khazzaz on the authority of al-Hasan ibn `Ali al-Nakh`i on the authority of Rumi ibn Hammad al-Makhariqi that he asked Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah… etc.
The following is quoted from Tafsir al-Mizan 6/58:
It has been recorded in Majma` al-Bayan8 that Sayyid Abu’l-Hamd has narrated on the authority of al-Hakim Abu’l-Qasim al-Hasakani on the authority of Abu-`Abdullah al-Shirazi on the authority of Abu-Bakr al-Jurjani on the authority of Abu-Ahmad al-Basri on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sahl on the authority of Zayd ibn Isma`il on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ayyub al-Wasiti on the authority of Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah… etc.
The following is quoted from al-Kafi 1/422:
It has been narrated on the authority of `Ali ibn Ibrahim on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad on the authority of Muhammad ibn Khalid on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sulayman on the authority of his father on the authority of Abu-Basir on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq… etc.
The following is also quoted from al-Kafi 8/75:
It has been narrated from a number of our companions on the authority of Sahl ibn Ziyad on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sulayman on the authority of his father on the authority of Abu-Basir… etc.
The following is quoted from Furat’s Tafsir 503:
Al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Mus`ab al-Bujali on the authority of Abu-`Imarah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Muhtadi on the authority of Muhammad ibn Mi`shar al-Madani on the authority of Sa`id ibn Abi-Sa`id al-Miqbari on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah… etc.
Ja`far ibn Muhammad ibn Bishrawayh al-Qattan has narrated on the authority of al-Awza`i on the authority of Sa`sa`ah ibn Sawhan and al-Ahnaf ibn Qays on the authority of Ibn `Abbas… etc.
Abu-Ahmad Yahya ibn `Ubayd ibn al-Qasim al-Qizwini on the authority of Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas… etc.
The following is quoted from Ta`wil al-Ayat 2/722:
Ahmad ibn al-Qasim has narrated to us on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Sayyari on the authority of Muhammad ibn Khalid on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sulayman on the authority of his father on the authority of Abu-Basir on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq… etc.
Muhammad al-Barqi has narrated on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sulayman on the authority of his father on the authority of Abu-Basir that Imam al-Sadiq… etc.
The following is quoted from Bihar al-Anwar 33/165:
`Ali ibn `Abdullah al-Ziyadi has narrated on the authority of Ja`far ibn Muhammad al-Duristi on the authority of his father on the authority of Shaykh al-Saduq on the authority of his father on the authority of Sa`d on the authority of Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn Abu’l-Khattab on the authority of his father on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sinan on the authority of Zurarah on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq… etc.
The following is quoted from Madinat al-Maajiz 2/267:
`Allamah al-Hilli, in al-Kashkul, has recorded on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn `Abd al-Rahman al-Bawardi… etc.
The following is quoted from Bihar al-Anwar 31/320:
It has been recorded in Ibn Shahrashub’s al-Manaqib on the authority of Abu-Basir on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq… etc.
The following is quoted from `Ali ibn Ibrahim Al-Qummi’s Tafsir 2/385:
It has been narrated from Ahmad ibn Idris on the authority of Muhammad ibn `Abdullah on the authority of Muhammad ibn `Ali on the authority of `Ali ibn Hasan on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Kathir that Imam al-Rida… etc.
Two results can be obtained from the numerous narrations that recorded the incidents of the stones from heaven inflicted upon those who objected against the leadership of Imam `Ali (a.s.).
First, the narrations are qualified according to the criteria of the authenticity of Hadith. It is thus illogic to accept the claims of the narrow-minded and the suspicious who allow themselves to say that the Shi`ah had fabricated such narrations because the very narrations are found in the major Sunni reference books of Hadith. However, some Sunni extremists may claim that these narrations have been reported from the Holy Imams (a.s.). Our answer is that Sunni scholars have respected the Holy Imams and depended upon their reports and knowledge and they have only objected to the narrations that are reported by Shiite ways of narration. Furthermore, the series of reporting the narrations involved do not include only Shiite narrators; al-Hasakani, for instance, has report them to Hudhayfah and Abu-Hurayrah as well as many others.
Second, according to the various narrations reporting the incident, it is clear-cut that there were more than one incident because of the variety of names, sorts of punishment, places, times and events mentioned in the narrations.
Societies of the Arab Peninsula were tribal and thus struggles, combats and tribal alliances were common among them. The Alliance of ‘Fudul’ was the most famed in history. It was established by `Abd al-Muttalib, the Holy Prophet (S)’s grandfather, and was also called the Alliance of Mutayyibin (People of Odor) because the parties swore alliance by immersing their hands in a vessel of odor made by the daughter of `Abd al-Muttalib. The most important terms of that alliance was to protect the Holy Ka`bah, prohibit any sort of injustice and support the wronged until they recover their rights. The Holy Prophet (S) was twenty years old when he partook in that alliance. Moreover, narrations have stated that he passed the alliance after Islam. In this regard, he said, ‘I was boy when I witnessed the Alliance of Mutayyibin with my uncles. I prefer it to having the best kinds of camels.’9
Th alliance was an answer for an opposite one established by Banu-`Abd al-Dar. Some Qurayshite tribes responded and partook in that alliance, which was called the ‘blood lick’ because its members swore alliance by licking the blood of a cow slaughtered on that occasion.
Different opinions have been stated about the reason and time of these alliances. Some narrators have mentioned that they were established during the building of the Holy Ka`bah when each tribe wanted to have the honor of putting the Black Stone in its place. The most acceptable narration in this regard is that recorded by al-Ya`qubi who said that because Banu-`Abd al-Dar envied `Abd al-Muttalib, they decided to conclude an alliance against him.10
Historians have confirmed that Banu-`Abd al-Dar inherited Dar al-Nidwah and the Qurayshite standard of wars. Hence, they used to bear the standards during battles.11
Imam `Ali (a.s.) killed more than ten individuals from the knights of Banu-`Abd al-Dar who raised the standard of the polytheists’ army against the Holy Prophet (S). Yet, other narrations have mentioned that some of them were killed by Hamzah ibn `Abd al-Muttalib.12
Historians have recorded that ‘the courageous knights’ of Banu-`Abd al-Dar taught people of Quraysh a peculiar lesson in self-defense against the Hashimites taking advantage of their high morals. Ibn Kathir, in al-Sirah 3/39, quotes the following narration from Ibn Husham:
In the gravest moments of the Battle of Uhud, the Holy Prophetsat under Ansar’s standard and ordered `Ali to march carrying the standard. `Ali marched challenging the foes. The bearer of people of Quraysh’s standard, Talhah ibn Abi-Talhah, accepted the challenge. As the two warriors stopped between the two armies, `Ali stroke him so heavily that he fell to the ground. Suddenly, `Ali left him and came back! ‘Why did you not kill him?’ Muslims asked `Ali. ‘He showed me his anus! I then realized that Almighty Allah has actually killed him,’ `Ali answered. On the Battle of Siffin, Busr ibn Arta`ah did the same thing when `Ali was about to kill him; hence, `Ali left him out of his high morals. `Amr ibn al-`As also showed his anus during the Battle of Siffin when `Ali knocked him down and was about to kill him. `Ali also left him. A poet recorded this strange incident… etc.
Ibn Husham, in al-Sirah 1/195, has recorded the following:
Al-Nadr ibn al-Harith was one of the Satanic enemies who used to harm the Holy Prophet (S). In al-Hirah (Iraq), he learnt the tales of the Persian kings. Whenever the Holy Prophetsat to remind people of their Lord and warn against His punishment that befell the past nations, al-Nadr came to the same place and recounted the tales of the Persian kings. He asked people to gather around him so that he would tell him stories better than the sayings of Muhammad! He challenged the Holy Qur’an and claimed that he would reveal the same thing that was revealed by Almighty Allah. Ibn Ishaq has narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that eight Verses were revealed reproaching al-Nadr and unveiling his fake claims.13
Al-Nadr was the representative of his clan in the wicked conference that people of Quraysh held for conspiring with each other against the Holy Prophet (S).14 He was selected as their courier to the Jews seeking their advice in the issue of the Holy Prophet (S).15 He participated in recording the First Accursed Document against the Hashimites.16 He served food to the warriors who fought against the Holy Prophet (S) during the Battle of Badr.17 He finally was killed during that battle at the hands of Imam `Ali.18
Reference books of history have stated that other individuals from Banu-`Abd al-Dar bore the standard of people of Quraysh after al-Nadr. Yet, it has not been mentioned whether al-Nudayr succeeded his brother in bearing the standard and became the chief of Banu-`Abd al-Dar was warrior or not. The fans of Quraysh have described him as shrewd man whom the Holy Prophet (S) gave one hundred camels from the spoils of the Battle of Hunayn just like the other chiefs of Quraysh so as to make them accept Islam.19
Many narrations have confirmed that al-Nudayr was one of the Qurayshite chiefs who plotted for assassinating the Holy Prophet (S) during the Battle of Hunayn.
As usual, the Pro-Quraysh narrators have made al-Nudayr one of the Muslim celebrities who immigrated to al-Madinah and was martyred during the Battle of Yarmuk! Likewise, they have changed all the Qurayshite people whom were plagued into martyrs in the Battle of Yarmuk.20
Shiite reference books of Hadith have reported a strange disputation made by al-Nadr ibn al-Harith al-Fihri with the Holy Prophet (S) in al-Madinah. It seems that it was al-Nudayr, not al-Nadr, who disputed the Holy Prophet (S) in al-Madinah after the Farewell Hajj.21
Ibn Husham22 has stated that al-Nudayr is called also al-Harith, and al-Ya`qubi23 has misnamed him al-Harith ibn al-Harith ibn Kildah. Accordingly, it is probable that they had a third brother named al-Harith. This might have been the very person whom was cast by a heavenly thunderbolt or stone because he objected to the Holy Prophet (S)’s declaration of the leadership of Imam `Ali. In due course, the befalling chastisement was inflicted upon three individuals from this family—the father, during the Battle of Badr, Jabir and al-Harith. Hence, they should be called the family of the befalling chastisement.
At any rate, the most ascertained matter is that a man objected to the Holy Prophet (S) and a stone from heaven was inflicted upon him; and that man, according to al-Tha`labi, in Tafsir, and many Shiite reference books of Hadith, was al-Harith ibn al-Nu`man al-Fihri. Al-Hasakani, Shaykh al-Kulayni and Ibn Shahrashub have also referred to this name.
This proves that al-Harith upon whom the heavenly stone was inflicted is different from the son of `Abd al-Dar and that another heavenly stone was inflicted upon Jabir ibn al-Nadr al-`Abdari.
Reference books of Hadith have confirmed that the most evil Qurayshite tribes that harmed the Holy Prophet (S) were Banu-Umayyah and Banu’l-Mughirah to whom Abu-Jahl ibn Makhzum belonged. They are described as the two most licentious. We should add Banu-`Abd al-Dar to them.
Al-Suyuti, in al-Durr al-Manthur 4/85, has recorded on the authority of al-Bukhari, in Tarikh, on the authority of Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, ibn Mardawayh that `Umar ibn al-Al-Khattab said, “Regarding Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘Have you not seen those who have changed Allah’s favor for ungratefulness,’ these are the two most licentious houses of Quraysh—sons of Umayyah and sons of al-Mughirah. Concerning the latter, you have completed with them on the Battle of Badr and as to sons of Umayyah, they are respited for a term.”
This statement seems to be said by the Holy Prophet (S) and repeated by `Umar who must thus be asked why he appointed Muawiyah as the governor of Syria and allowed him to behave as he liked and why he arranged the matter of caliphate in a way enabling `Uthman to be the caliph and, consequently, the Islamic State was completely prevailed by the most licentious house of Quraysh!
- 1. An expansive documentation of this fact has been presented in `Ali al-Kurani: Tadwin al-Qur`an.
- 2. Ahmad: al-Musnad 2/192, 215 and al-Hakim: al-Mustadrak 1/105 and 3/528.
- 3. Sharif Al-Murtada: Tanzih al-Anbiya` 167.
- 4. Sayyid Hamid Husayn al-Lakahnuwi: `Abaqat al-Anwar, Shaykh al-Amini: al-Ghadir, al-Mar`ashi: Ihqaq al-Haq and al-Milani: Nafahat al-Azhar.
- 5. `Ali al-Kurani: Mu`jam Ahadith al-Imam al-Mahdi 5/458 as quoted from `Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi: Tafsir 2/385 and Abu-Zaynab al-Nu`mani: al-Ghaybah 272.
- 6. Al-Bukhari: al-Sahih 5/199, Muslim: al-Sahih 8/129 and al-Fakhr al-Razi: Tafsir 3/122.
- 7. Holy Qur`an: Surah of al-Anfal Verse 32.
- 8. By Shaykh al-Tabrasi.
- 9. Ahmad: al-Musnad 1/190 and al-Hakim: al-Mustadrak 2/220.
- 10. Al-Ya`qubi: Tarikh 1/248 and 2/17 and Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 1/85.
- 11. Al-Balathiri: Fath al-Buldan 60.
- 12. Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 3/587.
- 13. Also, al-Sirah 1/239, al-Suyuti: al-Durr al-Manthur 3/181, 5/297 and 6/263 and al-Suyuti: Tafsir al-Jalalayn 540.
- 14. Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 1/191 and 2/331 and Al-Tabari: Tarikh 2/98.
- 15. Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 1/195 and Ibn Sayyid al-Nas: `Uyun al-Athar 1/142.
- 16. Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 1/234 al-Ya`qubi: Tarikh 2/31.
- 17. Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 2/488 and al-Tabari: Tarikh 2/142.
- 18. Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 2/206-7, al-Tabari’s Tarikh 2/157 and 286 and Yaqut al-Hamawi: Mu`jam al-Buldan 1/94.
- 19. Al-Tabari: Tarikh 2/358, Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 4/ 929, Ibn Kathir: 3/682 and al-Ya`qubi: Tarikh.
- 20. Al-Sam`ani: al-Ansab 3/110 and Ikmal al-Kamal 1/327.
- 21. Al-Bahrani: Madinat aul Maajiz; 2/267
- 22. Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 2/488.
- 23. Al-Ya`qubi: Tarikh 2/63.