Sunni sources mention that Bay’at with Abu Bakr took place in a free atmosphere with a free choice. Ibn Abil Hadeed Motazalli (d. 656) has this to say in this aspect:
“This is what a group of narrators say and reputed persons of prominence among them too say. He (Ali) did not do Bay’at with Abu Bakr for six months. He remained in his house. He did not do Bay’at until the death of Fatima. When she died he did Bay’at voluntarily.”1
Readers by now must have become aware of the claim Sunni sources allege that Ali performed Bay’at with Abu Bakr by his own will and wish, after Zahra’s martyrdom!!
As if the only hindrance of his willing Bay’at was remaining alive of the daughter of the Prophet. And if there was delay in this for some months it was only because of this hindrance and there was no other reason!!
Such claims convey that Ali did not see any wrong in doing Bay’at in addition to his having recognized the legitimacy of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate. The handicap was the daughter of the Prophet whom he revered and respected.
Therefore as soon as she passed away he hurried over to Abu Bakr and paid allegiance to him!!
It is nothing but a clever ploy to gain legitimacy of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and to cast doubts on the sacredness of the anger of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) on Abu Bakr and make it as insignificant as female emotion.2
Analysis and criticism about allegation that Bay’at with Abu Bakr took place with his (Ali’s) free choice becomes important:
In fact, the text runs thus:
Likes of Muhammad bin Ismail Bukhari and Muslim bin Hajjaj Nishapuri have used words like: “So Fatima, daughter of Prophet of God, got enraged at Abu Bakr and left him (deserted). She boycotted him till her death.”5
“and Fatima got angry at Abu Bakr. So she left him and did not talk to him till she died.”6
They have mentioned these points in their books. Indeed, it had been their efforts to invalidate or discredit these narrations. So they took to vague claims such as Bay’at willingly after the martyrdom Zahra.”
They have cast suspicion on anger of God in the person of Zahra – Siddiqa Tahera – on Abu Bakr and her most elevated station.
First the allegation that Bay’at was by Ali’s desire should undergo a thorough scrutiny then alone would it enable us to rely on narrations regarding anger and discontent of Zahra against Abu Bakr. Criticism is necessary to bring out the treasury of history where its gleam and glitter will dazzle and astonish the fact-finding sights and blind the prejudiced eyes.7
On the basis of this to establish the falsehood of claim that Bay’at was of free choice goes parallel to defend Zahra’s anger against Abu Bakr. Exposing this matter will enable one to draw a line between wrong and right after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S) especially regarding the discussion of Imamate and Caliphate.
With reference to suspicion surrounding the correctness of Bay’at of Imam Ali (‘a) with Abu Bakr during the early stage of the usurpation of Ali’s Caliphate, defenders of Caliph have preferred to pave the way for another Bay’at free from all these troubles which the first Bay’at carried. They thought this would be advantageous to wipe out stigmas of shame, which the preceding events brought to them.
To get more familiar with the above refer to following sources:
Ibn Hazm: Al-Fasl Fil Milal Wan Nihal, Vol. 4, Pg. 235
Ibn Athir: Al-Kamil Fit Tarikh, Vol. 2, Pg. 10
Abil Fida: Al-Mukhtasar, Vol. 1, Pg. 165
Ibn Jauzi: Tadhkiratul Khawaas, Pgs. 60-61
Ibn Athim Kufi: Al-Futuh, Pg. 8
It is interesting that some have come under the influence of these writings of Sunni Sources and they say:
“Some say that Ali never did Bay’at with Abu Bakr. This is against historical reality. Such sayings are outcome of bigotry which conceals historical facts.”8
And more interesting is that other defenders of School of Caliphate allege that Imam Ali (‘a) did Bay’at in the very early days of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate, and he did it with all his pleasure and willingness.
Some have inserted thoughts, which are their own created lies between the lines of their writings:
Ibn Abde Rabb: Al-Iqd al-Fareed, Vol. 4, Pg. 247
Tabari: Tarikh al-Umam wal Mulook, Vol. 3, Pg. 207
Ibn Katheer: Al-Sirah al-Nabawia, Vol. 4, Pg. 495
Nuwairi: Nihayat al-Arab, Vol. 4, Pg. 37
It should be mentioned here that the allegation is in open contrast with all historical documents. Further, it clearly contradicts the view of Sunni scholars, which says that Ali did not do Bay’at with Abu Bakr as long as Zahra was alive.9
These narrations can be divided into three categories:
Type One) Issue of Murtad (apostasy)
Type Two) Issue of the letter of Ali
Type Three) Special meeting of Ali with Abu Bakr
It must be mentioned that some have tried to establish legality of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate by means of these very narrations, which to them serve as a foundation. They go on and make claims like:
“After passing away of Prophet, Ali did not enter into Bay’at with Abu Bakr for a period. Then afterwards he agreed and did Bay’at with Abu Bakr.”10
“Ali refrained from Bay’at for a short period. But his high moral and generous nature impelled him to agree to Bay’at.”11
“Ali and a group of elder companions of Prophet refrained from Bay’at with Caliph whom they themselves had selected. But after a period they saw that their refusal to do Bay’at would result in undue repercussions in Islamic world. So later they paid allegiance. Secondly, they saw that one who had occupied the seat of Caliph is a man who would make every possible effort to strengthen Islam. This was the final aim and aspiration of Ali from Caliphate. So he did Bay’at.”!12
Balazari (d. 279) writes:
“When the issue of apostasy arose Uthman came to Ali and said:
Cousin, as long as you do not give Bay’at no one will go out to fight these enemies. And he insisted on this so much that Ali came to Abu Bakr with Uthman and pledged allegiance.”
After Ali’s Bay’at to Abu Bakr Muslims became glad. They prepared to fight the Murtads and from every side people went to the battle.”!13
In view of the above document the issue of this Bay’at can be divided into three original pivots, which are as follows:
1 – Apostasy of Arabs and its danger to Islam and Muslims.
2 – The allegation of Uthman that no one was willing to join the campaign to crush the movement as long as Ali refrains from Bay’at.
3 – A vast army set out to crush the apostates as a proof of completion of this Bay’at.
Allegation of Sunni Sect concerning the Bay’at having had taken place because of Murtads cannot be considered reliable
The real pivot of this Bay’at is Arabs becoming Murtad in the time of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate. Now we must see whether there is any or a little truth in it and to what extent.
Biographies in Sunni historical sources show a vast canvas of ‘Denial of Faith after accepting it’ (which in Arabic is Irtitaad – the noun of the Adjective Murtad) during Abu Bakr’s Caliphate. This creates a probability of imminent danger that could change into a terrible attack on Medina.
“Tabari from Saif and he from Sahl bin Yusuf narrates that: the various tribes of Thalaba bin Saad and other tribes who had associated with them under a pact like the tribe of Murra and Abas in a place called Abraq, which was in the territory of Rabaza. Another group from Bani Kinana too had joined this confederation. They became a large multitude, which this location fell short to house them all.
Being short of accommodation, they divided into two groups. One group remained in that same location, Abraq. The second group moved to another location named Zilqissa. Tolaiha Asadi who had claimed himself to be a Prophet sent help and forces to his brother, Jibal, who was the chief there.
Among these tribes, the tribes of Diyil and Laith and Madhij too were present. Auf, son of Falan bin Sanin, administered the Marra tribe in Abraq. The leadership of the tribe of Thalaba and Abas was responsibility of Harith bin Falan. Harith was one of the folk of the tribe of Bani Saba.
So their number went on increasing and their multitude widened.
These tribes delegated a number of their men to Medina as their representative. The representative of the Murtad groups that returned from Medina reported to their respective tribes the weakness and paucity of men in Medina. What they had witnessed in Medina they reported to their chiefs concerned. The weakness among Muslims, the little number of Muslims created greed in the minds of the chiefs of the various tribes gathered in Abraq. Their strength and extraordinary manpower encouraged them to attack Muslims and they got ready for it.
After three days, a large number Murtads started the most calculated attack on Medina by night.”!14
These events are related as a preliminary ground for the battle of Abraq. This is the first battle of Murtad by the soldiers of Abu Bakr. Historians have stated these events in various versions but the point of apostasy is same. The danger inherent in it is reflected in the narration of Balazari.
In the course of Tabari’s narration of these developments and events, we come across preliminary events that preceded the Abraq battle. We give hereunder extract from Tabari:
“Abu Bakr got the intelligence of the attack designed by Murtads. He appointed Ali, Talha, Zubair and Ibn Masood at the entrance points of Medina.”15
In view of this allegation the Bay’at (of Ali) was concluded in those early days, that is when the Murtads delegated their representatives to Medina and Abu Bakr became aware of their plan.
Therefore Abu Bakr was able to provide the people of Medina with necessary elements of defense. According to the claims he (Abu Bakr) made Ali the commander of the army stationed at the entrance point to Medina.
There is a close link between the narration of Balazari about Bay’at and credibility of events related to the battle of Abraq. This link enhances credibility of Balazari and makes the events believable.
In spite of this, the events are surrounded by surmise and suspicion.
Allamah Al-Askari in Volume Two of Abdullah bin Saba and other historical stories has dwelled much on the analysis of battles and victories during Abu Bakr’s Caliphate. In his analysis he has exposed the fabrications and lies of Saif bin Umar.
Regarding the reliability of report about Abraq battle and events ensued therefrom, which we have mentioned, he writes:
“Through serious research it should be said with certainty:
Things narrated with so many details about Abraq battle and story of Zilqissa16 – all are fabricated and created by Saif. No historian except Saif has narrated them. So it is nothing but a lie and imagination of Saif.
Neither is true apostasy of most of these tribes whom Saif has accused of being Murtads. There was no gathering of Murtad in Abraq and Zilqissa. There is no basis of sending representatives of Murtad to Medina. Likewise, the choice of Abu Bakr has no base. There is no truth in it. Again, he posted soldiers at entry points of Medina. He sent army to fight them. All this is again wrong. Nothing of it is correct. The four battles17which Saif has attributed to Abu Bakr are also without ground.”18
The following extracts from Rijaal books sufficiently prove that Saif bin Umar was a liar
“1 – Yahya bin Moin (d. 233) says about him:
His sayings are weak and feeble.
2 – Nasai, author of Sahih (d. 303) says:
Many have avoided him. They do not quote from him because of his not being honest or reliable.
3 – Abu Dawood (d. 275) says:
He is worthless. A great liar!
4 – Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327) says:
They have ignored his narrations.
5 – Ibn al-Sakan (d. 353)
He is weak.
6 – Ibn Hibban (d. 354)
He used to invent traditions and narrate them attributing to some reliable source. He is accused of being an atheist. Saif is accused of creating false traditions.
7 – Darqutni (d. 385) says:
He is weak. His narrations are avoided.
8 – Hakim (d. 405) says:
His traditions are avoided because he is said to be an atheist.
9 – Firozabadi (d. 817) complier of Qamoos says:
He is weak.
10 – Ibn Hajar (d. 825) says:
He is weak.
11 – Suyuti (d. 911) says:
He is very weak.
12 – Safiuddin (d. 923) says:
He is considered weak.”19
Most narrations regarding Bay’at quoted by Sunni writers are from Saif. Similar is the issue of Murtad and battle of Abraq. Hence it loses credit and does not carry any historical credibility.
The issue of Bay’at is related to the issue of Murtad and battle of Abraq. Its correctness too is related to the above.
In Sunni books, like Tarikh Tabari, the issue of Murtad and story of attack of Medina by Murtads commences from the battle of Abraq and ends at Umm Zamal becoming a Murtad.
Continuation of scrutiny about authenticity of Abraq battle and events following it
According to Sunni sources, Murtads after their defeat in Abraq battle invited the Tai tribes to co-operate with them and another battle took place in Zilqissa at Buzakha. They confronted eleven divisions of Abu Bakr’s army but were again defeated.
These people who were defeated for the second time gathered around a woman who had become Murtad. Her name was Umm Zamal. Again they posed danger to Islam. This movement too was crushed by forces of Caliph.20
On the basis of this authenticity of Bay’at, narrator of which is Balazari, is related to authenticity of the four battles:
1 – Battle of Abraq.
2 – Campaign at Zilqissa and battle at Buzakha.
3 – Apostasy of Tai tribe.
4 – Apostasy of Umm Zamal.
The interesting point is that some researchers consider all narrations relating to above events as fabricated. They give credibility only to developments that occurred at Zilqissa – and that too not totally. We quote some texts:
“Usamah along with his army returned to Medina from the battle of Syria. It was the time Abu Bakr was preparing for confrontation with Murtad. With a group of Muslims he left Medina and reached Zilqissa, which is twelve miles from Medina on route to Najd. He camped here and his army also remained alert.
Khalid bin Waleed was sent to Murtad tribes. Abu Bakr vested the command Ansaar to Thabit bin Qays and made Khalid commander-in-chief. Abu Bakr ordered Khalid to move towards Tolaiha and Oyinat bin Hisn who were stationed in the vicinity of Bani Asad tribe at a place called Buzakha.
In the meantime, Abu Bakr told Khalid: Good will shortly ensue from this meeting of yours with my army at Khaiber. Of course Abu Bakr’s words were based on policy and were a trick. His idea was that the enemy would come to know; and this would create a dread in their hearts. It is concluded thus because Abu Bakr had already sent all his warriors with Khalid towards the enemy. There remained no one with Abu Bakr to be sent to the support of Khalid either to Buzakha or Khaiber.21
Yaqubi too has mentioned in his history the incident in which Abu Bakr moved towards Zilqissa and appointment of Khalid as Commander. Yaqubi adds that the appointment of Thabit as leader of Ansaar was after Ansaar objected to Abu Bakr why he did not appoint anyone of them as the commander.”22
“When we compare the narrations of Saif regarding Abraq battle and story of Zilqissa with narrations of other historians it obviously shows the imaginative mind of Saif. Because all other historians are unanimous in saying that Abu Bakr left Medina for battle only once. After the return of Usamah from Muta23 he moved towards Zilqissa. There he provided a well-ordered army and vested Khalid with command of this army. He made Thabit chief of Ansaar under supervision of Khalid. Then Abu Bakr ordered them to move towards Buzakha to crush Tolaiha and those from tribes of Asad and Fuzara who had gathered around him.”24
“Other historians write regarding this that from groups living on outskirts of Medina only two tribes rose against Islam. One was Asad, the tribe of Tolaiha himself and the other was Fuzara a branch of Ghatfan and Ghatfan itself was a sub tribe of Qays Eylan. Except these two, no other tribe is seen aiding Tolaiha or fighting against Muslims.”25
“In the army of Tolaiha there were a few persons from Asad tribe, which was his own tribe and a few other from Fuzara tribe under the supervision of their chief Uyanna bin Hisn.”26
“Some historians again write that soldiers of Tolaiha assembled in Buzakha a populated place of Asad tribe. Khalid bin Waleed came from Zilqissa with two thousand seven hundred men from Fuzara and confronted them. A severe battle took place between them.”27
More interesting is the point that the issue of Bay’at of free choice is related to the issue of apostasy of Tai tribe while the fact is that:
“Tai is the same tribe, which was not Tolaiha’s supporter, but they took the stand against – Tolaiha. Whenever an army confronted Tolaiha, they too joined them against Tolaiha. They used to say: Abu Bakr must fight you so hard that you will name him Abul Fahal. Besides, he (Khalid) sought help from them in the battle against Tolaiha.”28
For the first time issue of Murtad was shown as a great danger:
1 – Usamah’s army had returned from Muta so Abu Bakr had no shortage from military aspect.
Therefore there was no need for him to demand Ali’s allegiance in order to call for volunteers.
2 – Tolaiha and his associates were not in considerable number and the issue of apostasy was not so widespread that it needed a huge army to be crushed.
As a matter of fact, the issue of Murtads was not a serious danger to threaten a town like Medina that it should have required demanding Ali to give Bay’at to Abu Bakr.
The issue of Bay’at of free will of Imam Ali (‘a) for the sake of crushing the revolt of Murtads is a thing added to historical documents. The propaganda disseminated on the wings of falsehood was so high that the issue of Murtads gained a ground.
The researchers have acknowledged the Murtad Arabs were few in number. In his research into the history of battles against Murtad, Allamah Al-Askari has concluded that it was not such a serious matter.
The issue of apostasy was such that researchers have very simply passed by without pursuing it like Allamah Al-Askari.29 So the lies written by Tabari in this respect remained unchallenged. But when historical records and documents mentioned in Sunni books are scrutinized it proves that:
“The vastness of Arabian Peninsula caused the historians to believe that apostasy was also so widespread. While the limited number of inhabitants who accepted Islam during Prophet’s lifetime remained adherents of Islam.”30
“Most historians have exaggerated the matter. They imagined the length and breadth of Arabian Peninsula and fancied that the issue of Murtads31 was also as widespread. So they wrote: The Arabs became Murtads – a superlative expression reflecting a wrong idea that all the population apostised while in fact it was not so. They exempted three towns: Medina, Mecca and Taif from being Murtad. But research shows a different picture. Many tribes were loyal to Islam and government at Medina. If was quite likely they even helped the central government in crushing Murtads.
Through historical testimonies and sources we shall prove that most of these tribes and people adhered to their faith in Islam and the exaggeration in this issue is uncalled for…
There are many reports that indicate people’s loyalty to Islam and their scorn of apostasy. A few instances are as under:
1 – Most historians are unanimous that there was no apostasy in Mecca, Medina and Thaqif and they even came out to help in crushing the apostates of Asad, Zibyan and Ghatfan.32
2. Loyalty of tribes living between Mecca, Medina and Taif like Muzina, Ghiffar, Johaina, Balla and…to Islam.33
After the Prophet’s passing away some of these tribes paid Zakat to Abu Bakr. The Caliph sought their help in his coming battle of Ridda.34
There are indications that some individuals of Amir and Hawazin also remained loyal to Islam. As mentioned in the report of Fujaat that Amir and Hawazin used to support all the Muslims of Sulaym tribe.35
A group among the tribe of Bani Kalb under leadership of Imrul Qays bin al-Asbagh and similarly a group from Bani al-Qain under leadership of Umar bin al-Hakam who was an agent of the Prophet, remained Muslims until the last.36
Besides these there are many in Yemen such as Nakha, Jofi, Murad and Madhij who separated themselves from Aswad Ansi and protected themselves from apostasy…
A large number of tribes from Bani Tameem also remained Muslims and they remained firm against the claim of prophethood of Sajjah. On the basis of this it can be said that among the Bani Tameem the number of those who remained Muslims was more than those who had doubts about Islam or those who had apostised.
Maqdasi has absolved many from Nakha’a and Kinda from being Murtads in addition to Bahrain, Mecca and Medina.37
The fact is that to give such vastness to the issue of apostasy is a mistake. So the right thing is that some claimants of prophethood and their followers and some others who attacked the central government of Medina may be called apostates. Even the claimants of prophethood cannot be called apostates because they had not accepted Islam in the first place that they could turn away from it.
Perhaps the fact that apostates were scattered in a large area caused the historians to believe that they were in such a large number.
In Tarikh Ridda while listing apostate tribes the following are absolved from being Murtads: Abas, some from Ashja, Ghiffar, Juhaina, Muzina, Kaab, Thaqif, Tai, Huzail, people of Sarrah, Bajila, Khathama, Hawazin, Nasr, Jusham, Saad bin Bakr, Abdul Qays, Doos, Shajeeb, Hamadan and Anba in Sanaa.38
…the result is that the issue of apostasy was not so widespread in Arabian Peninsula as historians have made it out to be and most of them remained Muslims and were loyal to Islam.”39
As you saw the magnitude of apostasy described by Waqidi and Tabari is not having any truth as shown in analysis of Allamah Al-Askari. But researchers have not followed the line of Allamah Al-Askari and thus apostasy remains in the same exaggerated condition.
On the basis of this from every angle you look at the issue of apostasy you will conclude that:
The apostasy of Arabs was neither so widespread nor such a serious danger to Islam.
Therefore its suppression has no connection with the Bay’at of Imam Ali (‘a) to Abu Bakr.40
Three main outcomes of scrutiny of the issue of Apostasy of Arabs
Conclusion 1 – The scrutiny can be summed up in one sentence: The issue of apostasy of Arabs was a fabricated case. Bay’at of Imam Ali (‘a) had no bearing on it as Sunnis claim.
Conclusion 2 – Even if for the sake of argument we even accept the issue of apostasy of Arabs in the magnitude as is claimed, yet we do not see any Bay’at taking place. In narration of Balazari the words (so he gave Bay’at) are fabricated and a presumption of narrator himself.
Conclusion 3 – Even if for the sake of argument we accept the narration of Balazari it does not exercise any influence on historical realities as the Bay’at itself was a forced one. It was only a show.
In other words, the Bay’at which occurred as a show was basically invalid.
On the margins of analysis of issue of apostasy of Arabs
If for the sake of argument we suppose that the matter of Bay’at is correct we must pursue the concealed motives and aims of Caliphate about the Bay’at and make a fresh analysis of circumstances surrounding its occurrence.41
Because in this issue there is likelihood of preparation of background to a psychological war in Medina as Uthman’s meetings with Ali shows.
This idea arises because the name of Tai has crept in the case of Tolaiha and battle of Buzakha while according to historical records they were not apostates but among supporters of Abu Bakr.42
Therefore there is probability that from the very base, the matter narrated by Tabari on the authority of Saif43 –was not a lie but the tribe of Tai demonstrated Irtitaad to the benefit and advantage of Abu Bakr. It can be said to be a pre-prepared game with mutual understanding. An emergency atmosphere is created in Medina. And they send representatives to put awe in the people which evidently served to benefit the Caliph.
Therefore it can be said:
Upon the martyrdom of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) all the attention of the system of Caliphate concentrated in subduing the opponents living outside Medina.44
In the meantime, that which was a source of anxiety to the Caliph was effort of Amirul Momineen (‘a) to overthrow his regime. That also at a time when he wanted to send all available troops out of Medina and his own departure from Medina to Zilqissa.
Therefore they had to find a way that this time they had to without any ceremony and show off and also without any display of threats and enmity take assurance from Amirul Momineen (‘a) that he will assume silence and abstain from an armed uprising.
In these circumstances they initiated a systematic propaganda.
So first of all they spread the terror of attack of apostates on Medina.
Then Uthman pressurized Ali to give Bay’at so that the regime can mobilize people for suppressing the apostates and that there was no other way to defend Islam and Muslim.
Because of this propaganda it seemed that if Ali still refused allegiance it would at least tarnish his character in the view of people and put a question mark on his rightfulness.
From this aspect Bay’at to the Caliphs was under the pressure of public opinion and widespread propaganda of government machinery against His Eminence (‘a).
In the analysis of this issue Allamah Al-Askari writes:
“The correct Bay’at is that which must be given at pleasure and with willingness, otherwise it is not Bay’at. It is only a handshake, or at the most a show of Bay’at.
So Bay’at of Amirul Momineen (‘a) after six months took place under pressure and for preservation of Islam. So in fact, it was a Bay’at without any willingness and just a show and a handshake.”45
More interesting is the point that some narrations regarding the issue of apostasy do not mention anything about the occurrence of Bay’at of Ali, they only repeat the matter of silence.
These documents clearly prove that the phrase ‘so he did Bay’at’ in the narration of Balazari is an interpolation by the narrator and there is no truth in it.
Tabari Imami (4th century) narrates from Waqidi (d. 207):
“When Arabs turned Murtad, Uthman came to Ali and said: O, cousin of Prophet! As long as you do not do Bay’at with Abu Bakr, no one goes to fight the enemy. You yourself are better aware of things. Your viewpoint is correct. But I fear this present issue could develop into a great trouble and might bring havoc to all of us.
Uthman kept on insisting on Ali and his pleadings bore fruit. Finally he brought Ali to Abu Bakr.
Muslims became happy with this development. From every side the horse riders came out. People became desirous to fight. They got ready for the battle.
His attitude that he will neither undertake a movement not an armed uprising alone acted as a deterrent. Because swords of mischief were pulled out and flames of havoc were leaping high. The lances were directed against Islam and Muslims. So he gave up demand of restoration of his rights.46”47
Second standard: Scrutiny into narrations regarding the letter of Ali
Another document used to prove willing Bay’at is Imam’s letter to his companions. On the basis of it they claim:
“Ali refrained from Bay’at for a certain period. The hypocrites started their activities. Then the issue of Murtad arose. These two issues posed an eminent danger to Islam and Muslims. Therefore for sake of Islam Ali did Bay’at with Abu Bakr at his free will.”!48
A) A look at this letter
1 – The letter in Al-Imamah was-Siyasah is as follows:
“I withheld my hand even though I considered no one more deserving than myself for the successorship of Prophet. So I remained patient on destiny till I saw a group departing from Islam calling others to give up the religion of Muhammad and Ibrahim.
So I feared that if I do not help Islam and Muslims the havoc will be far greater than that of giving up succession to the Prophet. So I went to Abu Bakr and did Bay’at.”!49
2 – In Ansaab al-Ashraaf the letter is referred to without its contents.50
3 – In Al-Gharaat the contents of this letter are:
“I withheld my hand even though I considered no one more deserving than myself for the successorship of Prophet. So I remained patient on destiny till I saw a group departing from Islam calling others to give up the religion of Muhammad and Ibrahim.
So I feared that if I do not help Islam and Muslims the havoc will be far greater than that of giving up succession to the Prophet. So I went to Abu Bakr and did Bay’at.”!51
A – 1) Remark about Al-Gharaat
Although the writer of this book is Ibrahim bin Muhammad Thaqafi Kufi (d. 283) an Imamiyah scholar but the first copy of Al-Gharaat has come down to us only through a Sunni channel so we treat it as a Sunni source.
A – 2) Common points in Narrations of Ibn Qutaibah and Thaqafi
A close attention to the above will bring to light two basic pivots common in both.
People going Murtad in the period of occurrence of this Bay’at as proved from the words: ‘I saw people returning from Islam’.
Going of Imam Ali (‘a) to Abu Bakr and doing Bay’at with him as mentioned in the words: ‘Then I went to Abu Bakr and did Bay’at’.
B) A glance at the incident mentioned in this letter
1 – Ibn Qutaibah writes about the reason of writing this letter:
“Hujr bin Adi, Amr bin Hamaq and Abdullah bin Wahab Rasibi visited Ali to inquire Imam’s opinion about Abu Bakr and Umar…”52
2 – Balazari writes:
“Hujr bin Adi Kindi, Amr bin Hamaq Khuzai, Habba bin Juwin Bajili Urani, Abdullah bin Wahab Hamadani and Ou bin Saba came to Ali…”53
3 – Thaqafi Kufi writes:
“Amr bin Hamaq, Hujr bin Adi, Habba Urani, Harith Awar and Abdullah bin Saba visited Ali…”54
B – 1) Outcome
As you must have noted in the documents of this letter appear some personalities such as Abdullah Ibn Wahab Rasabi Hamadani Sabayee. Balazari calls him Ibn Saba. Thaqafi calls him Abdullah bin Saba as one of the questioners, which is a point worth contemplation.55
Abdullah bin Wahab Rasabi Hamadani was among the Khawarij and was the commander of Khawarij in the battle Nahrawan.
Shia and Sunni, both sects, regard Abdullah bin Saba as a perverted and deviated person. According to research of Allamah Al-Askari, he (Abdullah) is a creation of Saif bin Umar and was a design to distort historical facts.
On the other hand Tabari Imami, the elder,56 (4th century) has mentioned this letter in his book, Al Mustarshid Fil Imamah57 from Shoba (Amir bin Saraheel Abu Umar Kufi) who is only considered reliable by Sunni sect and the Shias have opposed him.58
C) Investigation of credibility of sources mentioned in this letter
As you must have noted the text of this letter is mentioned in two ancient sources: Al-Imamah was-Siyasah by Ibn Qutaibah Dinawari and Al-Gharaat by Thaqafi Kufi.
Since only Thaqafi Kufi was of Shia faith and Ibn Qutaibah was a follower of the School of Caliphate his quotation in this particular case cannot be trusted.
In the coming pages you will see that Ibn Qutaibah is very much inclined to represent Ali firstly, in good terms with Abu Bakr; and secondly to do Bay’at with him on his own willingness and desire.
Therefore Ibn Qutaibah in quoting the matter about the willing Bay’at of Amirul Momineen (‘a) to Abu Bakr blames the associates of the Caliph and therefore assumes an external position; so in this pursuit he has dared to confirm fabricated documents in which the signs of fabrication and deviation are very much prominent.59
Therefore there is likelihood that the letter might have been distorted by Ibn Qutaibah and since he has quoted it regarding willing Bay’at it becomes unreliable.
As for Al-Gharaat the most genuine and reputed source of this letter it must be said:
1 – This book Al-Gharaat has reached to us through Sunni sources only.60
2 – The writer of Al-Gharaat has written it in Isfahan. In those times in Isfahan lived stanch anti-Shia people. Most were opposed to Imam Ali (‘a).61
Muhaddith Armavi in preface to this Al-Gharaat gives the reason why Thaqafi lived in Isfahan. According to him:
“…Thaqafi was originally from Kufa, later he migrated to Isfahan because in Kufa he had written a book on the virtues of the Purified Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and the defects of their enemies which the people of Kufa admired and appreciated very much. But they advised him not to publish it as it was time to be in dissimulation. Thaqafi asked them of a place where Shias were less or it is far from Shias. They told him such a town was Isfahan. So Ibrahim swore that he would not publish the book but in Isfahan.
So he migrated from Kufa to Isfahan and published the book which was against dissimulation there.”62
Hence there is very strong likelihood that the copy makers of Isfahan who were of the Sunni School mixed and interpolated the material of the book with their own prejudice against Ahlul Bayt of Prophet.
Evidence 1 – In the printed copy of Al-Gharaat we read the instructions of ablution in line with Sunni sect. the instructions direct to wash the fact instead of passing of palm over them. This is Sunni practice which contradicts Shia method.63
Such interpolation is also found in the letter of Imam Ali (‘a) addressed to Muhammad bin Abu Bakr in Egypt.
Shaykh Mufeed has copied this letter in Amali. He has taken it from Al-Gharaat. Some among its contents are like this:
“Then pass your palm over your head and feet.”64
The interesting thing is that Ibn Al-Hadeed Motazalli has also not mentioned it in Sharh Nahjul Balagha.65
Therefore it can be said:
This interpolation was done by those who duplicated Al-Gharaat. It served their purpose to insert their belief within the words of Imam Ali (‘a).
Muhaddith Armavi has mentioned in the footnote in Al-Gharaat quoting from Muhaddith Noori:
“It is clearly known that contents of Al-Gharaat have been distorted by Sunnis; because they narrate from it.”66
Evidence 2 – The printed copy of Al-Gharaat contains many virtues and superior qualities of Caliphs. While the irrefutable fact is that all qualities attributed to Caliphs are false on the basis of the attitude of Imam Ali (‘a) in the six-persons Shura committee formed to appoint a Caliph. Abdur Rahman bin Auf laid a condition that the new Caliph must follow the path of Abu Bakr and Umar. The reply of Ali was so severe and harsh67 that it leaves no room to doubt that the text concerning Caliphs is nothing but a fabrication.
The fabrication that has taken place concerns two letters of Imam Ali (‘a). One was addressed to Qays bin Saad bin Ubadah in Egypt and the other to his (Ali’s) own companions.
The text of this letter68 is as follows in Al-Gharaat:
“After the Prophet Muslims chose from among themselves two virtuous men as their Caliphs and leaders who acted on the book of God and administered the affairs in the best possible way. They did not go beyond the tradition of Prophet. Then God captured their souls. May God have mercy on them.”!69
In this concern, Allamah Mirza Habeebullah Hashimi Khoei writes in his commentary of Nahjul Balagha:
“They could have been such as a show off to the people. Although it is also possible that these interpolations were made by the opponents of Shias and inserted into the text.”70
That which proves the veracity of Allamah Hashimi Khoei is that:
What has come in the statements of Amirul Momineen (‘a) is actually the people’s view about the two Caliphs. There is another letter of Ali addressed to Huzaifa bin Yaman in the town of Madayn. The letter reads as follows:71
“After passing away of Prophet some Muslims raised two men to Caliphate. They were pleased with the behavior and the conduct of those two.”72
The difference in the words of Ali is another proof of deviation in the text. The difference in the wording is clear comparing the printed copy of Al-Gharaat with the narration of Sayyid Ali Khan Madani.
He (Sayyid Ali Khan Madani) has copied the letter in his book Al-Darjaat ar-Rafiya from Al-Gharaat. The text concerning Caliphs runs as follows:
“After the Prophet, Muslims brought among themselves two men into succession as their chiefs who acted in the best way till their death.”73
The difference in the text with that of the printed copy of Al-Gharaat shows that Al-Gharaat gradually underwent deviations by several hands. There does not exist any copy which may tally with another. However little or trifle, but there is a deviation in each. One differs from another. This is an open proof of it not being original.
This letter in Al-Gharaat74 reads thus:
“Umar took over the charge of affairs. He administered the things in the best way. He had a blessed soul.”75
Muhaddith Armavi writes in footnote of the text of this letter from Allamah Muhammad Baqir:
“It seems it was such in the eyes of the people. He has mentioned about Abu Bakr in the same manner. Of course dissimulation too is obvious in the speech. It is also quite likely that deviation should have taken place by opponents.”
Allamah Majlisi too writes that the contents of the letter reflect the view of the people about the Second Caliph. It is not that of Imam Ali (‘a) himself. If cannot be. There is narration regarding the letter, which we refer to.
Tabari Imami, the elder (4th century) is among those who have mentioned the contents of the second letter. In his book Al-Mustarshid fil Imamah the contents pertaining to the Second Caliph are:
“And he (Umar) was among the people of good character and a blessed soul.”76
Difference in the text with that of Al-Gharaat indicates deviation and shows hand-to-hand circulation of the copy.
As such, the copy of Al-Gharaat is short of credibility as that of Imamate and Siyasat regarding the Bay’at at a free will.
Once again, if we divert our attention to the reasons common between narrations of this letter (Point A-2) and place it by the side of Balazari’s narration we will find that the narration of Balazari is in line with the contents of Imam Ali’s (‘a) letter telling the same thing.
In the contents of the letter inserted in the book Al-Mustarshid, difference is recorded. This makes complete the application of the letter with the narration of Balazari. The text in the book Al-Mustarshid reads thus:
“And I saw people not moving against them (the enemies of God) because of my isolation and non-participation.”77
With reference to the above points following questions arise:
1) Balazari himself is one of the narrators of Arabs turning Murtads and the Bay’at of Imam Ali (‘a) with Abu Bakr at his free will. He has refrained from mentioning the contents of the letter. He only mentions the primary ground that cause the writing of the letter. Why?78
2) What justification could be there for Balazari for ignoring to mention the text of this letter?
3) The copy of the letter which was in possession of Balazari whether it did not indicate occurrence of such a Bay’at? All present copies of the letter mention that a Bay’at of Ali with Abu Bakr did take place at his own choice and willingness. This is quite in line with the religious inclinations of Balazari and his taste of writing history.
The answer of these questions can be found in the narration of Muhammad bin Jurair bin Rustom Tabari (4th century). In his narration, there is no mention of Bay’at. So such a letter does not meet any of the aims of Balazari.
The text of the letter according to Al-Mustarshid is as follows:
“I withheld my hand though I saw myself more deserving for the place of Muhammad among the people as one who denies his self.
So I endured what God had desired. Then I saw among the people their return from Islam openly. They invited the people to give up God’s religion and change the Ummah of Muhammad.
So I feared that if I do not support Islam and sit idle I will have to see ruin and destruction therein. Its havoc upon me will be greater than losing Caliphate.
And I saw people not inclined to fight the enemy of God because of my isolation and lack of participation.
So I went to Abu Bakr and co-operated with him. Had I not done this, Islam would have been destroyed.”79
The words of Imam Ali (‘a): Had I not done this, Islam would have been destroyed convey the meaning of ceasefire and that is all.
The false story of Arabs going Murtad, which Tabari has created and publicized to make it doubtless, is used as a tool to draw benefit from this letter. With the help of this letter, deviations are made according to their desire. Misunderstandings and advantages are drawn to support the claims of Sunnis.
It is important to note that we should not necessarily go to the Arabs Murtad when the subject matter happens to be any Murtad. Muhaddith Armavi writes in the footnote of Al-Gharaat in explanation of ‘Return of the people’ on the authority of Allamah Majlisi:
“It is likely that he should have meant the hypocrites who had gathered around Abu Bakr and were always seeking an opportunity to create mischief or an element to provide them with an excuse to become Murtad.”80
This idea is supported by Imam Ali’s (‘a) wordings. He refers to the time after the incident of Saqifah and the early Caliphate. A little attention is enough to reach to the said conclusion. Hypocrites are meant here not Murtads. It corresponds to the time when Ali had not isolated himself. He was after an armed uprising to take his usurped right.
It was exactly when Ali sensed the danger of people turning their back upon Islam. He felt the danger of Islam’s annihilation. It is the same meaning in which Allamah Majlisi has said that the Imam assumed silence. And the words: “I saw ruin and destruction of Islam more terrible than losing authority over your affairs.”
So the Bay’at which is the theme of this letter on the ground of Arabs Murtad is fabricated.
Sunni historians have a very strong inclination to pose the Bay’at of free choice as linked to the issue of Murtad which is false and lacking veracity and this has led to interpolation in the letter to their advantage.
The alterations were as follows:
Supposition A) The words: “So I went to Abu Bakr and did Bay’at with him” are added in the original letter to so that it will support the false narrations of Ahlul Sunnat in this matter.
Supposition B) The words: “I saw that as I had not given Bay’at people refrained from campaign, so I went to Abu Bakr” are added to the original letter so that people may began to think on the lines of a Bay’at done willingly and accept the claims of historians like Balazari.
These additions in the contents can give three dimensions to the sense of “I co-operated with him.” This phrase exists in the narration of Tabari Imami in a sense of ‘ceasefire’. It was later changed to Bay’at. There are several possibilities in it.
The ups and downs of the letter do not carry any reference to incidents of Arabs becoming Murtad or Bay’at at free choice which is the subject of Sunni claim. It seems to be of the early days of usurpation of Caliphate from Ali. In those days, Ali went into isolation. Those days were very hard and difficult for Ali.
Supposing this letter was at the time of Murtad issue, the phrase: “I did Bay’at” is conjecture of the narrator81 or it was added later.
If we suppose the correctness of the whole text of this letter and the correctness of the phrase: “So I gave Bay’at to him”, the phrase of “So I feared that if I do not help Islam…” which is common82 in all narrations, will makes it ‘a Bay’at for show, which is invalid’; still they claim:
“His Eminence (‘a) did Bay’at at his free will.”83
If we treat this letter in accordance with the narration of Balazari, the analysis previously done becomes applicable here too. As a result:
The Bay’at mentioned in this letter is of show without reality. It is nothing more than a handshake, so it is devoid of any effect or reliability.84
In fact with reference to this letter the event that ensued should be named as “Show of Bay’at which is basically invalid”.
Third standard: Scrutiny of Narrations about the secret meeting of Ali with Abu Bakr
“It is mentioned in Tarikh Tabari85 that a man told Zuhri: Is it not that Ali did not do Bay’at with Abu Bakr until six months? Zuhri said: Not only Ali, but no one among Bani Hashim did Bay’at until Ali did. Because when Ali saw that people were not inclined to have him as their Caliph he was compelled to compromise with Abu Bakr. Therefore he sent a messenger to Abu Bakr and invited him to come for talks, but alone. Ali did not like Umar to accompany him. He knew the roughness of Umar and the extent of his impoliteness. Umar told Abu Bakr not to go alone but Abu Bakr replied: No, by God, I’ll go alone to him. What do you think they will do? Abu Bakr visited Ali all alone. He saw all the members of Bani Hashim were around Ali. Ali got up; received Abu Bakr. First, he (Ali) thanked and praised god. Then said: O, Abu Bakr! Your virtues we do not deny, nor does it stand on way to do Bay’at with you. I do not envy with what God has directed to your side. But in our view in this affair we too have a share. You have laid hand over it. You have withheld it from us. After this, Ali recalled his relation and close link with the Prophet of God. Then Ali dealt in detail on things that relate him with the Prophet. Abu Bakr was so influenced that he wept. Ali became silent. Then Abu Bakr spoke after thanking and praising God: I swear by God, kinship with the Prophet of God is the dearest thing to me. I do not give preference to my own relations and kinship to that of Prophet of God. I again swear by God that the properties that are between you and me I have not laid possession thereon but for the sake of good and for benefit of all. I have heard from the Prophet of God: We do not leave anything for inheritance. What we leave is charity. The progeny of Muhammad too feeds thereon. I take refuge of God. I do not recall anything that the Prophet had done. I too shall do it. Then Imam Ali (‘a) said: Our rendezvous is afternoon for Bay’at. Abu Bakr after finishing prayers faced the people and narrated the conversation between him and Ali. Then Ali got up. He spoke to the people about the greatness of Abu Bakr and his right. Then he went towards Abu Bakr and did Bay’at with him.
Then people gathered around Ali and appreciated him for what he had done. This narration is quoted by Tabari on the authority of Ayesha.”!86
Ibn Qutaibah Dinawari in his book, Al-Imamah was-Siyasah has given another version of the special meeting of Amirul Momineen (‘a) with Abu Bakr.
“Then Abu Bakr went to the Prophet’s mosque and faced the people then he excused Ali for not giving Bay’at to him.
After that Ali got up and praised his station and extolled his greatness and precedence. After this he went to Abu Bakr and did the Bay’at. People approached Ali and said: You did a good thing. After the matter of Abu Bakr’s Bay’at ended he used to tell the people for three days: I left you free for my Bay’at. Is anyone you displeased with it?
Ali stood up before the people and said: By God! We have not appointed you as our leader and chief. It is the Prophet of God who has preferred you over all of us so that our religion remains safe. Now who could drag you behind for the sake of our world?”!87
Each points of this event is astonishing and indicates the falsehood of these two narrations
The Arabic word used means ‘made himself little’ or ‘vilified himself’. This means Ali accepted to vilify himself to compromise with Abu Bakr.
In the two books of Bukhari and Muslim the words are: ‘he implored to compromise with Abu Bakr and do Bay’at.’ In a sense it is near to the above meaning.88
The sentence: ‘It does not restrict us to do Bay’at with you, Abu Bakr nor is it a denial of your virtues.’ is a vain allegation in open contradiction with Sunni view of ‘Elected Caliphate’.
It is surprising why Abu Bakr in chaos of Saqifah while disputing with Ansaar did not refer to his virtues or superior qualities.
It cannot be believed that Ali (‘a) said: ‘Caliphate was a bounty God directed towards you (Abu Bakr).’89
It is meant by the words: ‘I have heard from the Prophet of God: We do not leave anything for inheritance. What we leave is charity.’
As mentioned in the statement: ‘…Who can detain you for the sake of our world?’
1 – Interpreting and replacing the divinely ordained Caliphate of Amirul Momineen (‘a) with precedence and replacing the Imamate that is divinely ordained into that of Imamate by selection.
2 – Deviation in the meaning of rightfulness of Amirul Momineen (‘a) and change in the meaning of protests of His Eminence, Ali (‘a) in this regard.
3 – Separation of position of Imamate from the position of Caliphate and separation of the holders of these offices!
4 – They not only believe but even persist on Caliphate being at the choice of people.
5 – A wrong interpretation of Ali’s refraining from Bay’at with Abu Bakr and distortion in the analysis of his aims in not doing Bay’at with Abu Bakr.
6 – Finally Ali’s willingness to do Bay’at with Abu Bakr without any compulsion.
7 – Giving legitimacy to Abu Bakr’s Caliphate and bringing it out of the circle of usurpation.
8 – Excusing Abu Bakr for his perversion from religious course.
9 – Showing as though Islamic regulations were practiced in Abu Bakr’s rule.
10 – Showing as though Abu Bakr had committed himself to follow the conduct of the Prophet.
11 – Showing as though Ali had a belief in fitness of Abu Bakr to the office he had usurped.90
12 – Showing as though Ali participated in the administration of the government.
13 – Showing as though Ali compensated the shortcomings of Abu Bakr.
14 – Showing as though there lasted good relations based on good terms with Ahlul Bayt (‘a) of the Prophet from the side of Abu Bakr.
15 – Showing as though there lasted goodwill, peace, affection and friendship from the side of Ali towards Abu Bakr.
Thus they say:
“Imam Ali (‘a) had another point in his view. He feared the things would spoil and a chaos might take place if the administration falls in incompetent hands. So he hesitated to do Bay’at for some period. He was very much concerned that no corruption creeps in religion or belief of people. But later Imam Ali (‘a) saw Abu Bakr handled the matters prudently. He was particular to keep within bounds of religion and also particular to carry out the penalties, decrees and other religious commitments. This satisfied Ali. At this point, he did not allow himself to prolong his hesitation. So he finally did Bay’at.”!91
“Ali inspite of his position did Bay’at with Abu Bakr without any coercion. First he pointed out his mistakes then drew Abu Bakr’s attention to failings in administration. He gave legitimacy to Abu Bakr’s Caliphate. When all the loopholes were filled, he saw no reason to not enter into Bay’at with Abu Bakr. Later he co-operated with Abu Bakr in running the government.”!92
This shows how elevated the position of Ali was. In fact, Ali occupied the highest rank. His position was greater than Caliphate. He invited Abu Bakr to his house. Abu Bakr repeatedly acknowledged the superiority of Ali and verbally and practically extolled the greatness of Ali. Ali too frankly said:
“We do not deny your bright past nor do we deny your virtues.”
“We are not rivals to you in your Caliphate. We do not envy you. Bay’at was withheld for this reason that Imam Ali (‘a) because of his position as Imam and a guardian should have been consulted.
But when Abu Bakr swore that he endears the link with the Prophet more than his own relatives and kinship and commits himself to follow the footsteps of Prophet, Ali said to him: Tomorrow for Bay’at our rendezvous is the mosque.”!93
“There is no crime greater than that there be accord between the Imam and Caliph but discord among the people.”!94
We need not go after a proof or testimony. The falsehoods are obvious and evident in both the narrations of Tabari and Ibn Qutaibah. We suffice only with the statement of the Second Caliph to Ali and Abbas, the Prophet’s uncle.
It is a confession of Umar in the presence of Uthman, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Zubair and Saad bin Abi Waqqas.95 The falsehood of above narrations is proved at once.
This document is recorded and mentioned in Sahih Muslim one of the most reputed and reliable sources among Sunni sect. In this document Umar bin Khattab says:
“The Prophet passed away. Abu Bakr said: I am the (wali) successor96 of the Messenger of Allah (S) in your leadership.
You two (Abbas and Ali) came to demand your inheritance. You (Abbas)
demanded inheritance of your nephew and you (Ali) inheritance of your wife from her father.
Then Abu Bakr said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: We are not inherited. What we leave is charity.
But you accused him to be a liar, a sinner, a cheater and a betrayer.”97
Even if Imam Ali (‘a) had accepted one of these things for Abu Bakr was it proper for him to praise him before the people?
Indeed even if claims of Bukhari, Tabari and Ibn Qutaibah regarding the issue of Bay’at of free choice and the conversation of Ali with Abu Bakr and his words – all this were also true, why did Ali in the six-person committee openly reject the condition put forward by Ibn Auf that made it compulsory to follow the conduct of two Caliphs? Ali openly refused to follow the footsteps of Abu Bakr and Umar and put to question the legality of their Caliphate.98
Similarly, there are other historical documents that Imam Ali (‘a) did not do Bay’at with Abu Bakr after Zahra’s martyrdom. Because as it is said:
The term Bay’at carries a distinct sense in Islam. It makes some matters necessary for one who enters into Bay’at.
On the basis of this foresight of Umar bin Khattab and Amr Aas about the reactions of Amirul Momineen (‘a) that it would be at least a ceasefire between His Eminence (‘a) and Abu Bakr and Amirul Momineen (‘a) will only give up his dispute with Abu Bakr.99
Abu Bakr says to Umar in consultation:
“I plan to send Ali to the battle against Kinda and Hadhramaut (in Yemen) as I am aware of his courage, bravery and virtues. He is a man of Justice. So a majority of people would be pleased with him.
Umar agreed and confirmed the qualities, which Abu Bakr attributed to Ali but said: I am afraid Ali would not agree100 and if he refused no one would show any inclination to go to war except by force.101
Therefore, I suggest that Ali remains in Medina and the Caliph benefits from his consultation while Akrama bin Abi Jahl can go to fight.
Abu Bakr agreed to Umar’s proposal.”102 “Ali did not go to fight their battles since neither he considered their Caliphate illegitimate not the Kinda people apostates but the Caliph and his advisors feared in this matter and delegated Akrama to the battle.”103
Abu Bakr summoned Amr Aas and asked his opinion how to utilize the services of Ali in suppressing Tolaiha.
“Amr said: Ali will not obey your order.”104
In conclusion, it can be said:
These two documents clearly indicate that Bay’at which took place was not at a free choice nor it was done willingly and nor it was in relation to Murtad Arabs otherwise Ali (‘a) would have accepted the command of the Caliph’s army and obeyed his orders.
Final conclusion about Bay’at by choice as Sunnis claim
A) From all investigations in this regard it can be concluded that except for the attack on Zahra’s house no other efforts were made by the Caliph to take allegiance from Ali (‘a). Still with every leniency we can say:
Ali performed something similar to Bay’at.105 This also he did to save Islam within a limited framework.
Imam Ali (‘a) about his attitude says:
“People did Bay’at with Abu Bakr while (by Allah) I was more superior to him and deserving of it.106 So I too obeyed107 fearing the people would return to infidelity. Some would cut throat of some by sword. After Abu Bakr Bay’at was given to Umar [and he was made Caliph] while (by God) I was more deserving108 than he to it. But I feared people might become infidels.”(109)(110)
B) All narrations, which take root from various and several sources, are dubious and not certain. They are rife with signs of falsehood and deviation. In such a way that it can be said:
The aim of spreading these narrations is to veil the shameful deeds and attack on Zahra’s house to take Bay’at from His Eminence (‘a) in the initial period of the usurped Caliphate of Abu Bakr.
C) If we pay attention to the conditions under which Bay’at of Ali was, it would be clear that it was invalid from religious viewpoint.
D) Analysis of events after passing away of Prophet rescinds the use of the word Bay’at even if it were concomitant with its conditions. The sense by terms of such ‘silence’ or ‘not campaigning by sword’ do not convey the meaning of Bay’at. Therefore it would be better to use them instead of Bay’at.
E) In the analysis of events after the martyrdom of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) – supposedly accepting the historical documents – it could only be called a Bay’at of show and hence invalid from the legal point of view.
- 1. Ibn Abil Hadeed: Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 2, Pg. 22.
- 2. Thus Ibn Kathir in his audacity has put a question mark of the infallibility of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) who is protected by the guarantee of the Verse of Purification. (Ibn Kathir: Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 5, Pg. 249 & Pg. 286).
- 3. Tradition No. 3913.
- 4. Tradition No. 3304.
- 5. Muhammad Ismail Bukhari: Sahih Bukhari, Tradition No. 2862.
- 6. Ibid. Tradition No. 3913; Muslim bin Hajjaj: Sahih Muslim, Tradition no. 3304.
- 7. As you will see in the text of Ibn Qutaibah Dinawari in Al-Imamah was-Siyasah in the description of the condolence of these two for Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) the same attitude is present.
- 8. Asghar Qaidan: Tahleeli Bar Mawaze Siyasi Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) Research on political stands of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a), Pg. 89.
- 9. Even though these clarifications close all avenues of falsehood propagators we must not be unmindful of the aims of confession makers.
- 10. Mustafa Husayni Tabatabai: Raahi Bi Soo-e-Wahdat-e-Islami (Way to Islamic Unity), Pg. 163.
- 11. Abdul Kareem Bi-Aazaar Shirazi: Mashal-e-Ittehaad (Torch of Unity), Pg. 20.
- 12. Ibid. Paara-e-Payambar (Portion of the Prophet), Vol. 6, Pgs. 14-15.
- 13. Balazari: Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Vol. 1, Pg. 587.
- 14. Allamah Sayyid Murtadha Al-Askari: Abdullah Ibn Saba Wa Deegar Afsaane (Abdullah Bin Saba and other legends), Vol. 2, Pgs. 29-30; quoting from: Tarikh Tabari, Vol. 1, Pgs. 1871-1875.
- 15. Ibid. Vol. 2, Pg. 30.
- 16. The details of this forgery are as follows: Tabari proceeds: Abu Bakr’s army chased them (the Murtad) until Zilqissa. This was the first victory gained by Abu Bakr.
(Ibid. Vol. 2, Pg. 32; quoting from: Tarikh Tabari, Vol. 1, Pgs. 1880-1885)
Then he continues. The followers of Tolaiha remained in Abraq – Rabaza. The army (of Abu Bakr) chased them upto Zilqissa. Tolaiha sent a message to Gidila and Ghouse. They were two branches of Tai tribe and invited them to help him. Some at once marched towards him in compliance with his message. They enjoined others to join Tolaiha gradually.
(Ibid. Vol. 2, Pg. 52; quoting from: Tarikh Tabari, Vol. 1, Pgs. 1871-1873)
When Abu Bakr saw such developments, he was encouraged and moved towards the territory of Zilqissa. There he gathered a large army of Muslims. Since the army was great and vast in manpower, he divided it into eleven battalions, each under a commander. He gave a banner to each commander and ordered each of them to move to a tribe that had gone Murtad. In biographies Saif bin Umar is described as follows; it is enough to prove that he was a liar.
(Ibid. Vol. 2, Pg. 52; quoting from: Tarikh Tabari, Vol. 1, Pgs. 1880-1885)
- 17. The first and the second battle was related to the Abraq wars and it the preface of it and the fourth battle was connected to Zilqissa expedition in the eleventh group (Refer: Ibid. Vol. 2, Pgs. 45-46).
- 18. Ibid. Vol. 2, Pgs. 46-47.
- 19. Ibid. Vol. 1, Pg. 70.
- 20. Refer: Tarikh Tabari, Vol. 1, Pgs. 1871-1872 (Events preceding the battle of apostates); Ibid. Vol. 1, Pgs. 1873-1875 (Battle of Abraq); Ibid. Vol. 1, Pgs. 1880-1885 (Battle of Zilqissa and war of Buzakha); Ibid. Vol. 1, Pgs. 1871-1873 (Apostasy of Tai tribe); Ibid. Vol. 1, Pg. 1902.
- 21. On the basis of this same quotation we will analyze the claim of free Bayyat.
- 22. Allamah Sayyid Murtadha Al-Askari: Abdullah Ibn Saba Wa Deegar Afsaane, Vol. 2, Pgs. 40-41.
- 23. On the basis of this same quotation we will analyze the claim of free Bayyat.
- 24. Ibid. Vol. 2, Pg. 43.
- 25. Ibid. Vol. 2, Pg. 58.
- 26. Ibid. Vol. 2, Pg. 61.
- 27. Ibid. Vol. 2, Pg. 58.
- 28. Ibid. Vol. 2, Pg. 61.
- 29. Refer: Ali Gholami Dahqi: Janghai Irtdidat wa Bohran Janasheeni-e-Payambar, Pg. 34; Pg. 41 (Commanders of Ridda wars); Pg. 39 & Pg. 117 (Instruction of Abu Bakr to Amirul Momineen (‘a) for defending Medina).
- 30. Ali Gholami Dahqi: Janghai Irtdidat wa Bohran Janasheeni-e-Payambar, Pg. 120.
- 31. Refer: Waqidi: Kitab Al-Ridha, Pg. 48; Ibn Kathir: Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 312; Tabari: Tarikh al-Umam wal Mulook, Vol. 3, Pg. 242.
- 32. Quoted from: Tabari: Tarikh al-Umam wal Mulook, Vol. 3, Pg. 242.
- 33. Quoted from: Mahdi Razaqallah Ahmad, Ath-Thabitoon Alal Islam Ayyam Fitnatur Ridda, Pg. 20; quoting from: Kalai Balansi: Haroob Al-Ridha, Pg. 41.
- 34. Quoted from: Ibn Saad: Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 1, Pg. 293; Ibn Hisham: As-Sirah an-Nabawiya, Vol. 2, Pg. 309; Dayar Bakri: Tarikh Khamees, Vol. 2, Pgs. 21-22; Waqidi: Kitab Al-Ridha, Pgs. 54-67.
- 35. Quoted from: Tabari: Tarikh al-Umam wal Mulook, Vol. 2, Pg. 264; Dayar Bakri: Tarikh Khamees, Vol. 2, Pg. 202.
- 36. Quoted from: Tabari: Tarikh al-Umam wal Mulook, Vol. 3, Pg. 243.
- 37. Quoted from: Maqdisi: Al-Bado wat-Tarikh, Vol. 6, Pg. 151.
- 38. Quoted from: Khurshid Ahmad Farooq: Tarikh Al-Ridha, Pgs. 5-8.
- 39. Ali Gholami Dahqi: Janghai Irtdidat wa Bohran Janasheeni-e-Payambar, Pgs. 33-37.
- 40. Regretfully the author of Janghai Irtdidat wa Bohran Janasheeni-e-Payambar has ignored this point and he thinks that the apostasy of the people was a factor of Bayyat by Amirul Momineen (‘a).
But he has also mentioned about the dissatisfaction of His Eminence Ali (‘a) with Abu Bakr in the matter of dealing with the apostates without his direct intervention.
(Refer: Ibid. Pgs. 115-118 & Pg. 120)
- 41. It is matter for contemplation and there is stronger possibility of it being fabricated.
- 42. Refer: Abdullah Ibn Saba Wa Deegar Afsaane (Abdullah Bin Saba and other legends), Vol. 1, Pg. 196; Vol. 2, Pgs. 56-57.
- 43. Refer: Ibid. Vol. 2, Pgs. 51-52.
- 44. Refer: Ali Labbaf, A Victim Lost in Saqifah, Vol. 3, Pgs. 140-173; Pgs. 183-190.
- 45. Allamah Sayyid Murtadha Al-Askari: Saqifah, Edited by Mahdi Dashti, Pg. 116.
- 46. By sword.
- 47. Tabari Imami: Al-Mustarshid, Pgs. 383-384 (Published Mahmoodi).
- 48. Muhammad Waizzaada Khorasani: Nahjul Balagha Magazine, Issue No. 4-5, Pg. 181.
- 49. Ibn Qutaibah: Al-Imamah was-Siyasah, Vol. 1, Pg. 175.
- 50. Balazari: Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Vol. 2, Pg. 383.
- 51. Thaqafi Kufi: Al-Ghaaraat (with Preface and Notes by Meer Jalaluddin Muhaddith Armawi), Vol. 1, Pgs. 305-306.
- 52. Ibn Qutaibah: Al-Imamah was-Siyasah, Vol. 1, Pg. 154.
- 53. Balazari: Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Vol. 2, Pg. 383.
- 54. Thaqafi Kufi: Al-Ghaaraat (with Preface and Notes by Meer Jalaluddin Muhaddith Armawi), Vol. 1, Pg. 302.
- 55. Some researchers consider him responsible of making alterations in this letter.
(Refer: Ali Akbar Zakiri: Hukoomat O Siyasat, Pg. 61, Possibility B); This view also supports that the mentioned letter is not reliable and there is greater possibility of it being forged.
- 56. Muhammad bin Jurair bin Rustam.
- 57. Mahmoodi Edition, Pg. 408.
- 58. Refer: Ali Akbar Zakiri: Hukoomat O Siyasat, Pg. 32.
- 59. In the coming pages we will criticize this quotation and also discuss the intellectual inclinations and religious leanings of Ibn Qutaibah.
- 60. Ali Akbar Zakiri: Seemai Kaarguzaaraan Ali Ibn Abi Talib Amirul Momineen (‘a), Vol. 2, Pg. 124.
- 61. Rasool Ja’faryan: Manabe Tarikh Islam, Pg. 150.
- 62. Quoted from: Muhaddith Qummi: Tatammatul Muntaha, Pg. 270.
- 63. Thaqafi Kufi: Al-Ghaaraat (with Preface and Notes by Meer Jalaluddin Muhaddith Armawi), Vol. 1, Pg. 245.
- 64. Shaykh Mufeed: Amali, Pg. 267.
- 65. Ibn Abil Hadeed: Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 6, Pg. 71 .
- 66. Thaqafi Kufi: Al-Ghaaraat (with Preface and Notes by Meer Jalaluddin Muhaddith Armawi), Vol. 1, Pg. 245; quoting from: Muhaddith Noori: Mustadrak al-Wasael, Vol. 1, Pg. 44.
- 67. Refer: Ibn Qutaibah: Al-Imamah was-Siyasah, Vol. 1, Pg. 26; Ibn Abil Hadeed: Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 1, Pg. 188; Tarikh Yaqoobi, Vol. 2, Pg. 162; Balazari: Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Vol. 5, Pg. 22.
- 68. Sayyid Abul Fazl Barqai in his Preface to the book, Shahira-e-Ittihaad has argued on the basis of these sentences.
- 69. Thaqafi Kufi: Al-Ghaaraat (with Preface and Notes by Meer Jalaluddin Muhaddith Armawi), Vol. 1, Pg. 210.
- 70. Hashimi Khoei: Minhaaj al-Bara-a, Vol. 6, Pg. 106.
- 71. His Eminence, Ali (‘a) by these words has put a question mark on the public and general acceptance of the Caliphs.
- 72. Muhammad Baqir Mahmoodi: Nahjus Saada Fee Mustadrak Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 4, Pg. 23.
- 73. Sayyid Ali Khan Madani: Ad-Darajaat ar-Rafia (Elevated Positions), Pg. 336.
- 74. Muhammad Waizzaada Khorasani: Article in Collected Papers of International Conference on Imam Ali, Vol. 2, Pg. 38.
- 75. Thaqafi Kufi: Al-Ghaaraat (with Preface and Notes by Meer Jalaluddin Muhaddith Armawi), Vol. 1, Pg. 307.
- 76. Tabari Imami: Al-Mustarshid, Pg. 415 (Mahmoodi Edition).
- 77. Ibid. Pg. 412 (Mahmoodi Edition).
- 78. Balazari: Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Vol. 1, Pgs. 282-283.
- 79. Tabari Imami: Al-Mustarshid, Pg. 412 (Mahmoodi Edition).
- 80. Thaqafi Kufi: Al-Ghaaraat (with Preface and Notes by Meer Jalaluddin Muhaddith Armawi), Vol. 1, Pg. 306.
- 81. It denotes a phrase of marginal notes inserted into the actual text.
- 82. Quoted from: Al-Mustarshid, this statement is also worth noting: If I had not done so, Islam would have been destroyed.
- 83. Muhammad Barfi: Article quoted in Collected Papers of International Conference on Imam Ali, Vol. 2, Pg. 49.
- 84. Only in this instance we can say that it was show Bayyat because there is no indication of force in it.
- 85. Tabari Shafei: Tarikh al-Umam wal Mulook, Vol. 2, Pg. 447.
- 86. Haider Ali Qalamdaran: Shahira-e-Ittihaad, Pgs. 20-21.
- 87. Ibn Qutaibah: Al-Imamah was-Siyasah, Vol. 1, Pg. 33.
- 88. Bukhari: Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Tradition no. 3913; Muslim: Sahih Muslim, Tradition no. 3304.
- 89. If the Imam (‘a) really had such beliefs how can we justify his refraining from allegiance of Abu Bakr for six months and what about the anger of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) against the Caliphs?
- 90. Results no. 8-11 are that they begin to think that Abu Bakr had the capability to obtain Caliphate.
- 91. Haider Ali Qalamdaran: Hukoomat Dar Islam (Government in Islam), Vol. 1, Pg. 169.
- 92. Ibid. Shahira-e-Ittihaad, Pg. 292.
- 93. Abdul Kareem Bi-Aazaar Shirazi: Seemai Imam-e-Muttaqeen, (Portrait of the Imam of the Pious), Vol. 5, Pgs. 21-22.
- 94. Ibid. Hambastigi-e-Mazaahib-e-Islami (2nd Edition), Pg. 255.
- 95. At the beginning of the narration it is mentioned that these people were present.
- 96. It is interesting that Abu Bakr uses the word of Wali for his Caliphate but Sunnis take it in the meaning of friend!
- 97. Muslim bin Hajjaj Nishapuri: Sahih Muslim, Tradition no. 3302.
- 98. Refer: Ibn Qutaibah: Al-Imamah was-Siyasah, Vol. 1, Pg. 26; Ibn Abil Hadeed: Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 1, Pg. 188; Yaqoobi: Tarikh, Vol. 2, Pg. 162; Balazari: Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Vol. 5, Pg. 22.
- 99. Most of Ahlul Sunnat sources mention that the role of Amirul Momineen (‘a) in this matter was giving counsel with regard to the battle of Zilqissa (Ref: Ibn Kathir: Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 315).
- 100. The aim of the regime in sending Uthman to Amirul Momineen (‘a) must also be in pursuit of this same point.
- 101. Such refusals clearly show absence of Bayyat.
- 102. Ali Gholami Dahqi: Janghai Irtdidat wa Bohran Janasheeni-e-Payambar, Pg. 116; quoting from: Waqidi: Kitab Al-Ridha, Pgs. 197-198; Ibn Athim: Al-Futuh, Vol. 1, Pg. 57.
- 103. Ibid. Pg. 117.
- 104. Ibid. Pg. 117; quoting from: Yaqoobi: Tarikh Yaqoobi, Vol. 2, Pg. 129.
- 105. Shaykh Tusi (q.s.) remarks: “Can anyone whose door is burned upon him has any other choice than giving Bayyat?” (Shaykh Tusi: Talkhees Ash-Shafi, Vol. 3, Pg. 76).
- 106. The right of Caliphate was restricted to me.
- 107. It implies second obedience. Second obedience is obeying kings and rulers whose obedience is not divinely ordained and they have occupied the seat of power by force. The Almighty Allah has allowed their obedience for Amirul Momineen (‘a) because it was necessary for security of religion and preventing people from turning back from Islam. (Ref: Muhammad Biyabani Iskoi, Marefat-e-Imam, Pgs. 22-23).
- 108. The right of Caliphate was restricted to me.
- 109. Khwarizmi: Manaqib, Section 19, Pg. 313; Juwaini: Faraidus Simatain, Vol. 1, Pg. 320, No. 251; Ibn Asakir: Tarikh Madina Damishq, Vol. 42, Pg. 434; Dhahabi: Mizan al-Etedaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 442; Asqalani: Lisanul Mizan, Vol. 2, Pg. 156; Muttaqi Hindi: Kanzul Ummal, Vol. 5, Pg. 724.
- 110. Amirul Momineen (‘a) was forced to give up armed resistance as he feared the apostasy of Ummah and destruction of Islam.