The Role of Holy Imams (A.S.) In The Revival of Religion
By: Allamah Seyed Murteza Askari
Translated by: Michele Ahmadi
In the Name of Allah
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH THE ALL-BENEFICENT, THE ALL- MERCIFUL
In our previous discussions, we witnessed the chaotic state vis-à-vis the biography of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), his traditions (ahaadith) and the exegesis of the holy Quran (after his demise). We saw the manner in which the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a ) sunnah was distorted, as a result of this chaotic state, and how these came to be recognized as Islamic thought, Islamic reflection and original Islam in Muslim societies.
Now, by the Power of the Almighty, we intend to examine the manner in which the twelve legatees of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) have remedied and settled this chaotic condition. This will be examined under the following five topics:
1. Analysis of that part of the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) life which is necessary for recognizing the factors influencing the spread and survival of Islam.
2. The stance of the four Caliphs towards the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah and the manner in which various sects came into existence in the Caliphate school of thought.
3. Attitude of the Muslim Caliphs, from Muawiya to Ma’mun.
4. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) entrusts his sunnah to his true successors.
5. An inquiry concerning the manner in which the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.)
successors struggled for the resurgence of the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah, their role in the revival of religion and recognition of Shiasm. In fact, we began these discussions with this very name. These topics will be dealt with in the next volume, Inshallah.
و ﻪﻤﻜﺤﻟا و بﺎﺘﻜﻟا ﻢﻬﻤﻠﻌﻳ و ﻢﻬﻴﻛﺰﻳ و ﻪﺗﺎﻳآ ﻢﻬﻴﻠﻋ ﻮﻠﺘﻳ ﻢﻬﻨﻣ ﻻﻮﺳر ﻦﻴﻴﻣﻻا ﻲﻓ ﺚﻌﺑ يﺬﻟا ﻮﻫ »
:«ﻦﻴﺒﻣ لﻼﺿ ﻲﻔﻟ ﻞﺒﻗ ﻦﻣ اﻮﻧﺎﻛ نإ
“He it is Who raised among the illiterates an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, although they were before certainly in clear error.”
:«نﻮﻛﺮﺸﻤﻟا هﺮﻛ ﻮﻟ و ﻪﻠﻛ ﻦﻳﺪﻟا ﻲﻠﻋ هﺮﻬﻈﻴﻟ ﻖﺤﻟا ﻦﻳد و يﺪﻬﻟﺎﺑ ﻪﻟﻮﺳر ﻞﺳرأ يﺬﻟا ﻮﻫ »
“He it is Who sent His Apostle with the guidance and the true religion, that He may make it overcome all religions, though the polytheists may be averse.” (Saff /9)
ﻦﻣ ﻼﻀﻓ نﻮﻐﺘﺒﻳ اﺪﺠﺳ ﺎﻌﻛر ﻢﻫاﺮﺗ ﻢﻬﻨﻴﺑ ءﺎﻤﺣر رﺎﻔﻜﻟا ﻲﻠﻋ ءاﺪﺷأ ﻪﻌﻣ ﻦﻳﺬﻟا و ﷲا لﻮﺳر ﺪﻤﺤﻣ »
ﻞﻴﺠﻧﻹا ﻲﻓ ﻢﻬﻠﺜﻣ و ﺓارﻮﺘﻟا ﻲﻓ ﻢﻬﻠﺜﻣ ﻚﻟذ دﻮﺠﺴﻟا ﺮﺛأ ﻦﻣ ﻢﻬﻫﻮﺟو ﻲﻓ ﻢﻫﺎﻤﻴﺳ ﺎﻧاﻮﺿر و ﷲا ﷲا ﺪﻋو رﺎﻔﻜﻟا ﻢﻬﺑ ﻆﻴﻐﻴﻟ عارﺰﻟا ﺐﺠﻌﻳ ﻪﻗﻮﺳ ﻲﻠﻋ يﻮﺘﺳﺎﻓ ﻆﻠﻐﺘﺳﺎﻓ هرزĤﻓ ﻪﺌﻄﺷ جﺮﺧأ عرﺰﻛ
:«ﺎﻤﻴﻈﻋ اﺮﺟا و ﺓﺮﻔﻐﻣ ﻢﻬﻨﻣ تﺎﺤﻟﺎﺼﻟا اﻮﻠﻤﻋ و اﻮﻨﻣآ ﻦﻳﺬﻟا
“Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves. You will see them bowing, prostrating, seeking Allah’s grace and His pleasure. Their marks are on their foreheads due to the effect of prostration. Their like has been described in the Torah and in the Injeel as a seed-produce that puts forth its sprout, and then strengthens it, so it becomes stout and stands firmly on its stem, delighting the farmers, that He may enrage the unbelievers on account of them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do good, forgiveness and a great reward.”
Before commencing the main topic of this section (i.e. a short review of the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) biography), we shall look into two vital matters in this introduction:
1) Human instincts and the roots of need for religion for humanity.
2) The Arab world during the prophetic mission and before the advent of Islam.
On elucidation of the aforementioned points, the necessary background for acquiring the finer aspects of the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) life will be provided for, Inshallah.
HUMAN POWERS AND INSTINCTS
Man is a combination of material-physical powers as well as sensual-spiritual powers. He possesses animal instincts, human instincts and metaphysical instincts. Every set of these powers possess some needs related to their state and these instincts too, possess some desires connected to those very instincts. The Lord of the Universe has created on this earth all that is required by mankind.
The holy Quran says:
.« … ﺎﻌﻴﻤﺟ ضرﻻا و تاﻮﻤﺴﻟا ﻲﻓ ﺎﻣ ﻢﻜﻟ ﺮﺨﺳ و »
“And He has made subservient to you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth.”
Thus, it becomes obvious that man is in need of guidance, in order to recognize the manner in which he should utilize all that has been created for him in the
best possible manner. For example, to show him as to how he should overcome his hunger and thirst by eating and drinking, useful and healthy things, and not harmful foods and drinks.
And how he should satiate his sexual instincts through legitimate and healthy intercourse and not through illegitimate and fatal homosexuality. And how he should utilize the instinct of egoism in the correct manner and not to the extent of inflicting harm on others.
In all these affairs, man should be directed as to how he should tread the moderate path and abstain from extremities so that the evolution and progress of his existence reaches the utmost level of human perfection. For this reason, Allah the Almighty guided man to the religion of “Islam” through the Prophets
(a.s.). On sending the last of His Prophets (s.a.w.a.) He perfected Islam for man and said:
“This day have I perfected for you your religion.”
.« … ﻢﻜﻨﻳد ﻢﻜﻟ ﺖﻠﻤﻛأ مﻮﻴﻟا »
By the Power of the Almighty God, we shall discuss in the near future, the means and channels provided for His Prophets (a.s.) by Allah, to enable them to propagate Islam and allowing it to remain in the hands of the people until the end of this world. We shall also review how the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) endeavored and strove on this path on the commands of God.
In order to prepare the ground for such types of research, it is also necessary to study the Arab society before Islam. By the Power of the Almighty, let us
commence our discussion.
THE STATE OF ARAB SOCIETY IN THE PRE – ISLAMIC ERA
In order to explore the condition of Arab society in the pre-Islamic era, it is indispensable to examine the following three affairs:
1) Arab race and origin.
2) Religion, culture, economic and social conditions of the Arabs before Islam.
3) Situation of Mecca and Medina before the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mission and migration.
1. THE ARAB RACE AND ORIGIN
It is said that the Arabs are from the descendants of Saam, son of Prophet Noah (A.S.). Originally, all Arabs are divided into two generations of Adnan and Qahtan. The description of these two races is as follows:
1) The Adnan race is from the progeny of Ismaael, the son of Ibrahim. Initially, they were living in Mecca but later on, they resided in the lands of Najd and thereafter all over the Arabian Peninsula. Those who lived in Mecca before the
prophetic mission belonged to the tribe of Quraish.
2) The Qahtan race is from the offspring of Yahrab-ibn-Qahtan. Originally, they resided in Yemen. Thereafter, ten of their clans migrated to Syria, Iraq and
Medina. At the time of their settlement in Medina, they consisted of two tribes- Aws and Khazraj.1
2. THE RELIGIOUS, CULTURAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF THE ARABS IN THE PRE-ISLAMIC ERA
1) Religious Conditions in the Arabian Peninsula:
In Arabia and its environs, Allah revealed three divine laws (shariah) the Almighty for the guidance of the people, all of which were distorted by its followers before the advent of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
First- The Shariah of Ibrahim (a.s.), the Friend of Allah (Khaleel al-Rahman)
In the holy Quran and the prophetic traditions, the followers of this “Shariah” are called as “Hanif”. Its plural is “Ahnaf” and “Hunafa”. “Hanafa” in Arabic means “turning away from falsehood towards the truth”2 and “Hanif” means: “(the one who has) turned away from falsehood towards the truth.” This name has appeared in the holy Quran along with the word (Muslim) as follows:
:« ﺎﻤﻠﺴﻣ ﺎﻔﻴﻨﺣ نﺎﻛ ﻦﻜﻟ و ﺎﻴﻧاﺮﺼﻧ ﻻ و ﺎﻳدﻮﻬﻳ ﻢﻴﻫاﺮﺑإ نﺎﻛ ﺎﻣ » “Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was a “Hanif” (upright man), a Muslim,”
After Ibrahim, his son Ismail and thereafter the son of Ismail pursued Ibrahim’s “Shariah” and they were the “Hunafa”. The first one who effected a change in Ibrahim’s “Shariah” was “Amr-ibn-Lahy”, a descendant of Ismail.
In his journey to Syria, he reached the city of “Ma’ab” in the land of “Balqah.”3
There, the tribe of “Amaaleqah” worshipped the idols. Amr inquired: What are these that you worship? They replied, ‘These are idols. We ask rain from these
idols and we receive it. We seek help from them against our enemies and they assist us!’
Amr requested, ‘Give me one of these idols’. They gave him the idol “Hubal”. He took it to Mecca and setting it there, he invited the people to worship and to revere it. He also brought about other innovations in Ibrahim’s religion.4
1 Refer to “Mukhtasar Jumharah Ansab al-Arab” of Ibne-Kalbi and “Ansab” of Ibne-Hazm. For acquaintance with the Arab places, refer to “Qab’el al-Arab” of Omar Ridha Kahhale.
2 Refer to “al-Mufradaat by Raagheb Isfahani”.
3 Balqah is situated between Syria and Wadi al-Qura (which is near Medina). For a detailed description on
Balqah and Ma’ab, refer to “Mu’jam al-Buldaan.”
4 Refer to Seerah Ibne-Hisham 1/81-82:- The story of Amr-ibn-Lahy and the worship of idols.
Thereafter, idol-worship became rampant amongst the Quraish and other tribes from the offspring of Ismail. This took place while they were the sons of Ibrahim, till then the biggest idol-breaker in human history!
In this manner, Ibrahim’s followers (who were from the offspring of Ismail and were living in Mecca) erected the most famous idols of the Arabs around the
very Ka’ba, which the greatest idol-breaker in human history had constructed for the worship of the Unique God. Over there, they circumambulated around the idols and asked their needs from them!
Under these circumstances, the Quraish reckoned themselves to be the heirs to
Ibrahim’s “Shariah”, the custodians of the House of Ka’ba and the host to the pilgrims to the House of God. Thus, they imagined themselves to be the chosen ones amongst the descendants of Adam!
The rest of the Arab tribes were also idol-worshippers (except for a few who were inclined towards Judaism and Christianity) and they all would perform the pilgrimage to the House of God. However, they had distorted the “Haj” rites too
as preached by Ibrahim.
They considered four of the months as forbidden, and did not fight or participate in battles during these months. These four months comprised of Zil-Qadah, Zil-
Hajjah and Muharram during which they undertook the pilgrimage and Rajab during which they performed the “Umrah” (lesser pilgrimage).
In these four months, the people of the Arabian Peninsula lived in peace. Even if ever a person came across the murderer of his father, he would not cause him
any harm. During these four months, they would also engage in trade, and attend markets for buying and selling goods.
The tribe of Quraish and the other Arab idol-worshippers were not at all aware
that Ibrahim’s “Shariah” was distorted until four of them discovered this distortion on an occasion of idol-worship.
Few Who Sought Ibrahim’s “Shariah”
Before the prophetic mission, four Meccan residents viz. Waraqah-ibn-Naufal, Ubaidullah-ibn-Jahash, Uthman-ibn-Huwairath and Zaid-ibn-Amr-ibn-Nufail said to each other, “Our nation has been led astray and they are not following the path of our father Ibrahim! What are these stones, around which they circumambulate and ask their needs from, while these can neither neither see nor hear? Come and let us visit the cities until we find the upright (Hanif) religion of Ibrahim.”
Consequently, Waraqa and Uthman pursued Christianity; Ubaidullah accepted
Islam, then became a renegade and reverted to Christianity; Zaid-ibn-Amr-bn- Nufail abandoned idol-worshipping and other heresies of the Quraish and called
out to the Quraish in the House of Ka’ba, “You are not on the path of Ibrahim’s religion.”5
The work of these men acted as a catalyst in preparing the minds of the Quraish for the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mission.
Second- The “Shariah” of Moses son of Imran (A.S.)
Although in the beginning, the “Shariah” of Musa-ibn-Imran (A.S.) was revealed to him in Mount Sinai, yet the addressee nation (i.e. the Bani-Israil) were in the state of journey towards Bait-ul-Muqaddas in Syria, and their “Qiblah” (direction of prayer) and religious center.
After their wars and skirmishes with other nations and prior to the proclamation of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), a small number of Jews (who were the inheritors
of this “Shariah”) lived in Yemen anonymously, while a few others lived a life of disgrace in Syrian cities. However, a majority of them lived in Medina and its flourishing outskirts like Khaiber, Wadi al-Qura and Taima (near Syria).
Like Ibrahim’s “Shariah”, the “Shariah” of Moses and his heavenly Book “Torah” too could not escape from the clutches of distortion. Moreover, the same distorted “Torah” was not within the reach of the common Jews. Rather,
these were manuscripts in the hands of their religious leaders, the descendants of Harun (a.s.). Therefore, some parts were kept concealed by them. Besides, Moses’ “Shariah”, was mainly confined to such slogans like: Baitul-Muqaddas
as the “Qibla”, Saturday being a holiday and the spirituality of Harun’s descendants.
These books, in the possession of the Jewish religious leaders, also contained the glad-tidings given by the Prophets of Bani-Israil about the holy Prophet’s
mission (along with his distinct characteristics) and had remained safe and intact. Of course, such prophecies were not in conflict with their daily affairs. Hence, the Jewish scholars residing in Medina conveyed about the holy
Prophet’s mission and his stay in Medina to the people of Aws and Khazraj.
Third- The “Shariah” of Jesus son of Mary (A.S.)
After Moses, Jesus son of Mary (a.s.) was sent on a mission as a Prophet in Bait- ul-Muqaddas and he too was from Bani-Israil. After his ascension to the heavens, his “Shariah” too got severely distorted like the previous two “Shariahs” so much so that his followers started believing in the Trinity: Father, son (Isa) and the Holy Spirit and changed the holiday from Saturday to Sunday. Therefore, nothing remained much from Christianity either except for a few slogans like “Qiblah” and the carrying of the cross (where they believed that Christ was crucified on it).
5 The life-history of Zaid has come down in length in Seerah Ibne-Hisham 1/242-247
Nevertheless, the glad-tidings of Christ and the Prophets before him about the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) remained safe from distortions in the religious books of the Christians, simply because these did not come in conflict with their day to day affairs. Moreover, wherever they went, the Christian scholars would inform the people about the expected arrival of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
In the Arabian Peninsula, the majority of the Christians lived in Syria and only a few amongst them lived in Yemen and Iraq. Some of their priests lived in monasteries on the way from Syria to Mecca where on occasions; they would come in contact with the trade caravans and talk to them about the holy Prophet’s mission.
Relationship between the followers of the three religions
The Jews and the Christians were at loggerheads from times ancient. While accounting their sayings against each other, the holy Quran says:
نﻮﻠﺘﻳ ﻢﻫ و ءﻲﺷ ﻲﻠﻋ دﻮﻬﻴﻟا ﺖﺴﻴﻟ يرﺎﺼﻨﻟا ﺖﻟﺎﻗ و ءﻲﺷ ﻲﻠﻋ يرﺎﺼﻨﻟا ﺖﺴﻴﻟ دﻮﻬﻴﻟا ﺖﻟﺎﻗ و »
.«… بﺎﺘﻜﻟا “And the Jews say: The Christians do not follow anything (good) and the Christians say: The Jews do not follow anything (good). This is while they recite the Book (perhaps implying that they do not act upon it)
The idol-worshippers reckoned themselves and the followers of the Book to be on the right path but respected the Jews more and called them as the first
followers of the Book.
Belief in the Resurrection and Day of Judgement
Before the holy Prophet’s mission, none of the religious groups, whether they were Sabians (star-worshippers), Magians (dualists), Jews or Christians, had any clear belief about resurrection and the Day of Judgment. The Arab idol worshippers too, denied resurrection and the Day of Judgment. As per the holy Quran, they would say:
:« ﻦﻴﺛﻮﻌﺒﻤﺑ ﻦﺤﻧ ﺎﻣ و ﺎﻴﺤﻧ و تﻮﻤﻧ ﺎﻴﻧﺪﻟا ﺎﻨﺗﺎﻴﺣ ﻻإ ﻲﻫ نإ » “There is naught but our life in this world; we die and we live and we shall not be raised again.”
Moreover, their belief vis-a-vis god and the idols (which they reckoned to be
God’s partners) was such that they sought all their worldly needs from them. For example, they would ask them to degrade and despise their foes, send rain for them, cure their sick, make their camels and sheep give milk, etc.
Thus, they did not fear from indulging in any wicked and unjust acts like killing, plundering, persecuting, cursing and imprecating others save whatever was
unpleasant for them in this worldly life. For instance, as they were aware that if they killed someone, a person from the victim’s tribe would seek revenge by killing someone from the assassin’s tribe, they would refrain from committing such an act. Or they would desist from deeds that was considered improper by the society and would be because of disgrace for them.
Such was the religious state and belief of the Arabs in the pre-Islamic era.
2) The culture of the Arabs:
The Arab culture in those days consisted of two vital branches:
(a) Science of Genealogy
In the era of paganism, the Arabs would lay tremendous amount of emphasis on the memorization of genealogy of their race (lineage of ancestors). Until the second century of hijri, every Arab knew by heart his ancestors lineage down to Ismail and Ibrahim (if he was from the descendant of Adnan), and to Ya’rab- ibn-Qahtan (if he was from the descendant of Qahtan). They lent such significance to this science that they had memorized the genealogy of Arabian horses as well. The book, “Ansab al-Khail” of Hisham-ibn-Muhammad-ibn-al- Kalbi6 can be cited as an evidence of our point. Yet, notwithstanding the aforementioned information, whatever is within our reach and has come down in the books of genealogy about the descent of the Arab tribes is doubtful and
refutable due to a number of reasons.
Firstly, sometimes a group amongst a tribe would detach from their original clan and join another tribe. In this regard, Ibne al-Kalbi has a book titled “An- Nawaaqil”7, which in itself means those groups amongst the Arab tribes who transferred their genealogy from one tribe to another. Consequently, in the books of genealogy, these sects have been related to those tribes to which they had moved.
Secondly, many of the Arabs would adopt children, with the result, that while citing his genealogy, a person would not be linked to his real father but to the man who adopted him.
Lastly, during the period of paganism, there are other instances, which tamper the authenticity of the aforesaid descents in such documents. We shall relate one
such example. Ibne-Abil Hadid narrates from Rabii al-Abrar Zamakhshari as follows:
The mother of Amre Aas was a wicked bondmaid living in Mecca and her name was “Naabegha”, the freed one of Abdullah-ibn-Jad’an. Five men slept with her
in one “Tohr” (Tohr means the period of a woman’s purity between two menstruation cycles). These five men were Abu Lahab, son of Abdul-Muttalib,
6 A manuscript of this book can be found in the library of Majma’ Ilmi-e-Islami.
7 Refer to the life history of Hisham-ibn-Abi Nasr in “Hadiyat al-Aarefeen”; 2/509
Amiyya-ibn-Khalaf, Hisham-ibn-Mughaira, Abu-Sufyan-ibn-Harb and Aas-ibn- Waael. The result: Naabegha gave birth to Amr and though he resembled Abu Sufyan, all of them claimed to have fathered the child. Finally, they asked Naabegha to judge this matter herself. She said: “Amr is the son of Aas-ibn- Waael.” After this, Amr was called as Ibne (son of) Aas-ibn-Waael and was linked to his tribe and descent. The reason why Naabegha selected Aas-ibn- Waael was because he had endowed her with numerous gifts and presents.8
Thereafter, Amr is introduced as the son of Aas-ibn-Waael in the books of Arab genealogy till date.
Numerous incidents similar to the above exist in the Quraish genealogy.9
Besides the Quraish, the tribe of Thaqif, who lived in Taif some 72 Km away from Mecca, had also experienced similar incidents. However, experts on
genealogy have not said anything about the tribes of Aws and Khazraj in
Medina, the tribes of Hamadan in Yemen and the other tribes of Qahtan in the
Experts On Genealogy In The First And Second Centuries
In the first and second Hijri, there existed experts on genealogy amongst the Arabs such as Abu-Bakr, the first Caliph, and Aqeel-ibn-Abi Talib who were well aware of these events and people would acquire knowledge from them in this regard.
(b) Eloquent poems
“The Arabs reckoned poems rather than knowledge and other sciences to be the true wisdom. Whenever an accomplished poet would emerge in a tribe, they would bring him to the market places (that were set up on special occasions during the year) and to the House of God during the Haj season so that the Arabs would gather and listen to his poems. This act, according to them, was the source of their honor and dignity.
Except for poetry, they did not possess any other culture or attraction in their activities. Sometimes, the poems would lead them towards hostility and enmity and on other occasions, it would result in friendship and unity. They would use these poems to enrich their speeches, seek precedence over each other and
8 The genealogy of Amr Aas has come down in detail in the commentary of Ibne-Abil Hadid 6/283–Sermon No
83 of Nahjul-Balagha.
9 Refer to the genealogy of Muawiaya and Ziyad in the commentary of Ibne-Abil Hadid 1/336 and 16/187; and also the incident of Zekwaan, the slave and adopted one of Amiyya whose agnomen changed to Abu-Omar and Walid-ibn-Uqbah-ibn-Abi Ma’eet-ibn-Abi Omar was his grandson and Uthman’s brother. (Refer to Aghaani
1/24); and also the incident of Walid in “The role of Ayesha in the Islamic history.” 1/152
10 Tarikh-Ya’qubi 1/262: Arab poets
distinguish good and evil amongst themselves. By the help of poems, a tribe would fight with another tribe, engage in flattery and rebuke the other tribe.
The Arabs would compose poems having four different implications:
1. In describing the velour of a person in battles and their tools of war such as sword, spear, bow and arrow and horse riding. In this regard, their poems are
similar to the poems of Firdousi about Rostam and his horse and tools of war (in Persian literature). The only thing addition in Arabic poems is the description about camels.
2. In describing their own generosity and their tribe’s munificence, especially
the food prepared for guests. Such type of poems is not in vogue in Persian.
3. In describing the beloved and the beloved’s house and whatever is related to the beloved. This kind of poem is found in all languages. In this regard,
sometimes very ordinary poems can be found in their lyrics like the poems of
4. In describing the glories of a tribe, which the like of it cannot be found in any other nation.
Occasionally, of course, they rhymed verses on practical knowledge. Therefore, odes on good ethics by Arab poets can also be seen. Eloquent sermons calling
for praiseworthy morals were delivered in the Arab market places. Inshallah, we shall mention these in the near future.
Before the advent of Islam, the greatest poet in Mecca was “Abu Talib” and the most famous poet in Medina was “Hassaan-ibn-Thabit”.
3) The economic condition of the Arabs in the pre-Islamic era:
Arab tribes residing in Yemen, Medina, Iraq and Syria were involved in farming, gardening and cattle breeding, while the Meccans who belonged to the Quraish tribe were engaged in trade and business. During winter, their trade caravan would move from Syria, Iran and Iraq towards Mecca and in summer, they would move from Mecca to Yemen and Ethiopia in Africa. In this regard, the Almighty God informs through the holy Quran:
ﺖﻴﺒﻟا اﺬﻫ بر اوﺪﺒﻌﻴﻠﻓ . ﻒﻴﺼﻟا و ءﺎﺘﺸﻟا ﺔﻠﺤﺭ ﻢﻬﻓﻼﻳإ . ﺶﻳﺮﻗ فﻼﻳ ﻻ .ﻢﻴﺣﺮﻟا ﻦﻤﺣﺮﻟا ﷲا ﻢﺴﺑ »
:« فﻮﺧ ﻦﻣ ﻢﻬﻨﻣآ و عﻮﺟ ﻦﻣ ﻢﻬﻤﻌﻃأ يﺬﻟا .
“For the protection of the Quraish,
Their protection during their trading caravans in the winter and the suummer, So let them serve the Lord of this House,
Who feeds them against hunger and gives them security against fear”.
Verily, the Quraish had gathered enormous wealth as a result of these trade trips, which was unparalleled amongst other Arabs.
Such was the economic condition of these few Arab tribes. Except for them, all other tribes that formed the majority of the Arabian Peninsula were nomads
living in distressing conditions. They lived in dry and arid places with scanty water and grass.
The real and vital wealth of these tribes was the camels, which possess greater power of withstanding thirst than other four-legged creatures. A few tribal warriors also possessed horses for the purpose of battles, hunting wild animals
and fleeing (from the enemy).
Like the Europeans of today who eat all kinds of animals and insects, the desert dwellers too, used to hunt and eat all types of animals!
Sometimes, a particular tribe would attack another tribe and after a battle with
one another, the victor would plunder the wealth, women and children of the vanquished to the maximum possible extent. On occasions, they would even sell their captives to other tribes.
In all these situations (i.e. at the time of hunting wild animals or grazing camels or wars), the women and children were considered a heavy burden for the men and had no share in this entirely onerous life. Therefore, some of the fathers
would bury their daughters alive. In this regard, the holy Quran says:
:« ﻢﻫﺎﻳإ و ﻢﻜﻗزﺮﻧ ﻦﺤﻧ قﻼﻣإ ﻪﻴﺸﺧ ﻢﻛدﻻوأ اﻮﻠﺘﻘﺗ ﻻ و » “And do not slay your children for (fear of) poverty. We provide sustenance for you and (and so will We do) for them.”
Another source of income for the Arabs was slavery, where they derived benefit from the work of their slave or bondmaid. At times, they would set their bondmaids to fornicate for the purpose of earning income and if in this the bondmaid became pregnant, their child would become a slave of their owner and this itself was another profit for the owner of the bondmaid!11
If a bondmaid was set free and she continued in the act of fornication and consequently gave birth to a child, it was she who would determine the father of this child. Consequently, the newborn would be linked to his tribe.12
Sometimes, these harlots would fix a flag on top of the doors of their houses, a sign of their willingness to indulge in prostitution.13
Whatever we have mentioned was only a hint of the economic condition of the Arab society in those days. In those periods, all Arab tribes would organize markets on special occasions.
The Arab Markets
The Arabs arranged markets on special occasions during the year where people from all over the Arabian Peninsula would congregate. At such times, their life and property was secured. Amongst all these markets, the market of “Akkaz”,
11 Refer to the story of Abdullah-ibn-Ubayy in the forthcoming discussion on the state of Taif.
12 Refer to the story of genealogy of Amr Aas mentioned above.
13 Refer to “Al-Muhbar”, p. 340. Such houses existed in Mecca and Taif.
situated beyond Najd (a distance of one day from Taif and three days from
Mecca) was the most important one.
During the month of Zil-Qadah, the Quraish and other Arab tribes would gather in this market. Apart from being a place for trading, it was also a ground for extolling tribal glories and virtues, a place for reciting poems and delivering sermons. Moreover, contracts were signed between the tribes at this very place. From here, they would depart for the market of “Majaanah” (a day’s distance from Mecca) where they would stay until the end of Zil-Qadah. Thereafter, they would leave for the market of “Mujaz” (a distance of 6 km from Arafat) and there, they would halt until the 8th of Zil-Haj. On the 9th of Zil-Haj they would
leave for Arafat for performing the Haj rites.14
4) The sociopolitical condition of Arabs in the pre-Islamic era: Human societies run either on system formulated by man himself, or a divine one. In case of the latter, people learn gnosis, world-view and ordinances
pertaining to life from their Lord through Prophets. In such type of societies,
they perform every act for the satisfaction of God and are called as monotheists. As for a society based on man-made regulations, its people perform every act as
per their desire, personal gains and losses being their primary concern. Of course, if man thinks that the benefits and losses of a society is his own gain and loss, he will sometimes perform acts to the benefit of the society even though it
may result in personal loss.
In a society based on man-made system, or established on racial principles, like the German Nazi society of yore and the present Zionist state in occupied Palestine, or founded on the basis of nationalism, a person acts for the interest of
his society, even if he has to inflict loss on other societies and transgress their rights. But, in a society whose people are monotheists and fulfill the affairs for divine satisfaction, they perform acts for their personal benefits as well as for the
benefit of the society but never to the extent of transgressing the rights of others. During the era of paganism, the Arabs were egoists possessing strong patriotic feelings towards their own tribes. In other words, they performed acts for their
own personal benefit as well as for their tribe’s benefits even if this resulted in loss for other people and societies. This is because the tribal societies are either racial or nationalists.
The basis of the Arab tribal system in the pre-Islamic era:
The hierarchy of the Arab tribes during the period of paganism was established on four pillars:
1. The chief of the tribe.
2. The poet of the tribe.
14 Regarding this discussion, refer to the Arab history in the pre-Islamic era in Tarikh-Tabari, Yaqubi, Muruj az- Zahab and Seerah Ibne-Hisham.
3. The heroes and warriors of the tribe.
4. The income of the tribe.
The details of this resume are as follows:
First: The Power Of The Tribe’s Leader
In Arab society of those days, the leader of a tribe possessed the rank of a ruler and commander and the entire tribe was submissive before him. His rule over the people was established on the basis of love, respect and fear. One fourth of the war-booty belonged to the leader of the tribe15 and in exchange to this; he entertained his tribe, defended their rights and protected them.
In Mecca, the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a) forefathers were the leaders of the Meccan tribes, till this rule was taken over by Hisham and then by his son Abdul-Muttalib. After him, Abu Talib became the Meccan chief.
In Medina too, the various sects from the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj possessed various leaders in every era.
Second: The Power of Poems
In the Arabian society, poetry was the only beautiful art and admired culture. A tribe’s poet was the official speaker, who waxed eloquent tribal glories. He was the protector of his tribe’s interest and the defender of its dignity. Sometimes, through a single verse or a few lines of a poem, the antagonists were humbled and degraded. At times, battles and bloodshed would take place between two tribes because of a couplet or a few lines of poem. In contrast, an ode would bring friendship and love between two tribes.
Elegant poems would be recited in tribal gatherings during Haj and the market seasons and then, these very poems would be transferred from one person to another amongst the entire Arab tribes. In this way, poems were the only means for disseminating good and evil thoughts and ideas in the Arab societies. It shows that the power of poem was more than the might of wealth and sword in that society.
Third: The Heroes And Warriors Of The Tribe
In the early society of desert-dwellers, championship and physical power exerted considerable influence. Amongst the Arabs, the value of gallantry was much higher than other desert-dwellers. In the pre-Islamic era, Hamza-ibn- Abdul Muttalib and Amr-ibn-Abdawud were the most famous champions of the Quraish in Mecca.
15 One-fourth of war-booty that belonged to the leader was called as “Mirbaa”. Refer to the description of “Robh” (one-fourth) in Sihah Jauhari, Qamoos al-Muhit, Lisan al-Arab, Taj al-Arous and the story of Adi-ibn- Hatims’ meeting with the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in Seerah Ibne-Hisham.
Fourth: The Power of Wealth
Wealth and property have always had a significant effect in human societies. But wealth exerted a greater influence in the Arab society of those days than in many other human societies. They also reckoned spiritual values to be untrue and worthless.
They would say,
:« ﺮﻫﺪﻟا ﻻإ ﺎﻨﻜﻠﻬﻳ ﺎﻣ و … ﺎﻴﻧﺪﻟا ﺎﻨﺗﺎﻴﺣ ﻻإ ﻲﻫ ﺎﻣ » “There is nothing but our life in this world; we live and die and nothing destroys us but time.”
The Positive Aspect
In their greedy, ignorant and malicious life, they possessed one righteous facet rarely seen in other human societies, especially the present day civilization. And that was their fulfillment of all promises and agreements.
The Importance of Promises and Agreements in Arab societies
The flow of social affairs in the human societies is based on fulfillment of promises and pacts between individuals in a society. Buying and selling of goods, property and necessities of life, partnership amongst individuals in various affairs, marriage contracts, and stipulation for their annulment are all based on reliance of promises and contracts.
Today, pledges and contracts are written down and are usually registered and notarized by government organizations, which ensure their implementation. But,
in the pre-Islamic tribal Arab societies, pledges and contracts were based on an individual’s respect for promises and contracts and he would strive hard to
implement them in order to exhibit his worthiness. Implementation of promises and pacts was also the proof of one’s dignity and superiority. Every member of that society strove to respect and fulfill his promise to others.
By uttering a few words like, “You are my son”, to an alien belonging to another
tribe (no matter how distant he was from the announcer in race, genealogy, place of residence and customs), this stranger would become the announcer’s son, a brother to his sons and in genealogy; he would be counted amongst his tribe. The adopted son also had the right of inheritance. Moreover, the experts on Arab genealogy have registered such a stranger as the announcer’s son in the books of genealogy and have reckoned him to be amongst the announcer’s tribe.
* * *
If two tribes concluded a peace contract and vowed to support each other, then each individual from these two tribes would become prepared to sacrifice even
their lives for the sake of their respective tribe’s honor and dignity.
Moreover, if a person belonging to a tribe would announce, “So and so person from so and so tribe is under my protection”, then all the announcer’s sons, relatives and near ones would sacrifice their lives for the sake of protecting that man’s life. Besides, each of his tribesmen too would protect this man in turns. Similarly, if a person paid allegiance to another to cooperate with him in an affair, he would assist him to the extent of sacrificing his life.
If two fighters clad in their war outfits faced each other in the battle-field with their swords and horses (where everything is fair) and if one would address the other, “You are safe”, then both could dismount peacefully, throw off their war-
outfits and rest side by side without fear.
An individual’s firmness in fulfilling promises depended on the extent he held in esteem his own dignity, prestige and human values.
This ethic and behavior prevalent in those days of ignorance was a plus point of that society, the like of which cannot be found in any modern civilization.16
The above mentioned quality by no means implies that disputes and conflicts did
not exist amongst the Arabs. Rather, like all other humans, the Arabs too were involved in disputes and feuds and would drag their opponents to court. These courts were presided by judges accomplished to solve such disputes.
The Arab Judges
In every human society, there exist arbitrators and judges for settlement of disputes. The Arab society before Islam, was no exception to this rule and in every era, there was one or more persons (known for their intelligence, sagacity, steadfastness and rectitude), who settled litigation and cases among the various Arab tribes. These men were called as “Hukkaam” ((ÍßÇã. People from far and near would approach these judges for solving any matter that required court proceedings.
In Mecca, Abdul-Muttalib, followed by his son Abu Talib, were amongst the
Arab judges during their respective times.17
Such was the condition of the Arabs in the entire Arabian Peninsula and its environs. Now, by the Power of the Almighty, we shall further examine, in an
impartial manner, the condition of the people of Mecca and Medina.
16 With regards to this discussion, refer to the Arab history in the pre-Islamic era in Tarikh-Yaqubi, Tarikh- Tabari, Muruj az-Zahab and Seerah Ibne-Hisham.
17 Tarikh-Yaqubi 1/258: The Arab Judges.
3. THE CONDITION OF MECCA AND MEDINA IN THE PRE-ISLAMIC ERA
A- CULTURE OF MECCA AND MEDINA
1. Culture of the Meccans:
Due to their trade journeys to Syria, Iran, Iraq and Ethiopia, the Meccans were better acquainted with the culture of the civilized nations of their time than all other Arabs were. As a result of their social links with the people of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) they were aware of their habits and customs. Similarly, owing to the constant inflow of the Arabs in Mecca for Haj and Umra and the markets in its outskirts (especially the market of Akkaz, which was an arena for the Arab poets and orators), the language and accent of the Quraishites, were the most eloquent amongst the Arabs.
In the pre-Islamic era, seventeen people from Mecca had learnt how to read and write.18
2. Culture of the people of Medina:
The people of Medina had close relations with the Jews and Jewish scholars. Consequently, they acquired most of their cultural information from them.
Before Islam, there were eleven people in Medina belonging to the tribes of Aws and Khazraj who had learnt reading and writing. Amongst them, seven were
called as “Kaamil” because besides reading and writing, they also knew swimming and archery. Anyone who would learn these three arts would earn for himself the epithet “Kaamil” (meaning perfect).
B- THE SOCIO-POLITICAL CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE OF MECCA AND MEDINA
Like the entire Arabian Peninsula, politics in Mecca and Medina was ruled by the tribal system. However, the social system of these two, just as we shall see, differed vastly with each other.
1. Sociopolitical condition in Mecca:
In Mecca, the Quraish reckoned them to be the descendants of Ismail and Ibrahim and this itself made them feel haughty against all the other Arab tribes. Similarly, nearness to the House of God wherein all the Arab tribes (except the Jews and Christians) would gather for Haj and Umra had also become a source of additional honor and glory for the Meccans.
18 “Futuh al-Buldaan”: Balaazari, p.580 and 583.
Moreover, the Quraish linked the incident of “Abraha” (who had come with the intention of destroying the House of God) to them and in this way, unduly held themselves to be dear before the Arab tribes.
On the other hand, various indecencies and unlawful acts like usury, gambling, fornication, arrogance and insolence was rampant amongst them. This was due
to their regular trade with Iran, Syria, and Iraq, Yemen and Ethiopia and consequently, their amassment of enormous wealth. For this reason, they were unparalleled during those days in the Arabian Peninsula. The following verse applied to them:
:« ﻲﻨﻐﺘﺳا هآر نأ . ﻲﻐﻄﻴﻟ نﺎﺴﻧﻹا نإ » “Man most surely becomes inordinate, when he sees himself free from want”. (Alaq /6&7)
In that era, immorality and corruption was not as prevalent in any part of the Arabian Peninsula as they were in Mecca. This was due to a number of reasons, a few of which are as follows:
(1) As they disbelieved in the resurrection and the Day of Judgment, they would, during their leisure time, engage in trade and during their stay in
Mecca, involve themselves in debauchery and all sorts of voluptuousness.
(2) As a group of Quraishites would move to tropical and cold regions during their trade journeys, it would be months that their families would remain
without any male member. Consequently, with the absence of any interactive barriers between the members of the two sexes in the Arab society, there remained no obstacle for sin between the voluptuous men who stayed behind
and the womenfolk present.
(3) The presence of slaves and virgin bondmaids in the houses of the aristocrats amongst the Quraish, facilitated illicit sexual intercourse for both men and
The aforementioned factors were influential in the spread of sins and indecencies in Mecca, more than in all other Arab societies. For better acquaintance with the morality of the Meccans, suffice it is to mention the following event taken from the book “Aghaani”:
Abu-Lahab, son of Abdul-Muttalib, laid a bet with Aas, son of Hisham, over a hundred camels. Their gambling was such that they would design a hole in the
ground to the size of a pebble or walnut. Then, they would stand at a distance and cast this pebble or walnut in the hole. If the object would find its target then
that person would be declared the winner.
In this gambling, Abu-Lahab won a hundred camels from Aas. Once again they laid a wager, with the same result. Again, for the third time, they played and
Abu-Lahab emerging as winner. After losing whatever he owned, Aas addressed
Abu-Lahab, ‘O son of Abdul-Muttalib! I feel that the dice has befriended you.
Let us take a final gamble and see which one of us will become the slave of the other.’
Abu-Lahab said: ‘So be it.’
Once again they cast the dice. Abu-Lahab emerged as winner and took Aas as his slave.
After this incident, Aas would pay tax to Abu-Lahab. During the battle of Badr, the Quraish had stipulated that all should either themselves participate in this war or send someone as a proxy. Abu-Lahab sent Aas in his place and promised to set him free after his return. But he got killed in the battle of Badr.19
The state of Taif, a rural district of Mecca
The wide spread fornication and indecencies in Mecca had their effect in Taif, a rural district located some twelve leagues from Mecca. A majority of the people of Taif belonged to the tribe of Thaqif. Also, a few affluent Quraishite also lived in this place. Perhaps, due to this very reason, the people of Taif were only second to the people of Mecca in fornication and usury.20 Now, in order to throw light on the influence of the Meccans on the people of Taif and the tribe of Thaqif, we relate a story narrated by historians:
In Taif, Harith-ibn-Kaldah Thaqafi owned a bondmaid named “Somayyah”. He got her married to his Roman slave and was collecting tax from her prostitution business. Meanwhile, Abu-Sufyan returned from a journey and straightaway went to Taif. After getting on a high from his drinks, he approached Abu Maryam Saluli, a wine-seller and asked, ‘Indeed, my journey was a long one. Do you have any prostitute at your disposal?’ Abu Maryam took him to Somayyah. After this event, Somayyah gave birth to “Ziyad” in the year 1 A.H. Initially, Ziyad was reckoned to be Ubaid’s son (the Roman slave who was Somayyah’s husband). It was in the year 41 A.H. or 42 A.H., when Muawiya declared Ziyad to be Abu-Sufyan’s son and his own brother because of his father’s adultery with Somayyah. Right till the end of Bani-Ummayah’s rule, Ziyad was reckoned to be Abu-Sufyan’s son. Thereafter, during the Abbasside
reign, he was called as “Ziyad-ibn-Abih”.21
From the above incident, we draw two conclusions:
1. As mentioned previously, the affluent Quraish had polluted the city of Taif and the tribe of Thaqif with their (evil) deeds.
2. The Quraish spread their wings of vices and evil not only in their own city and at their leisure time; rather they did not desist from their reproachable ways and habits, even during their travels and jaunts to other cities.
19 Aghani: 4/179–In explanation of the battle of Badr from the words of Hassaan-ibn-Thabit. Aas was the son of
Hisham-ibn-Mughaira-ibn-Asad and his agnomen was Abul-Bakhtari. Refer to Seerah Ibne-Hisham 2/281-283.
20 Refer to the description of Taif in Mu’jam al-Buldaan; 6/10-16.
21 Refer to the narration of the event of the year 44 A.H. in Tarikhe Ibne-Athir 3/223-225; Estia’b 1/548-555 and
Perhaps, the following incident is yet another evidence for such state of affairs: After the battle of Badr, the Muslims held as captives about seventy people from Quraish. Amongst them, was a group of the affluent and the elite?
Abdullah-ibn-Ubayy, a hypocrite, tried to persuade one of his two bondmaids to have intercourse with one of the wealthy Quraishite captives, hoping that she
would become pregnant and would give birth to a child. After the return of the captives to Mecca, he (Abdullah) would receive enormous amount of money from the wealthy Quraishite in return for his illegitimate son (who, as per the Arab custom, belonged to Abdullah-ibn-Ubai).
However, none of these two bondmaids resorted to this wicked act and they complained to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Thereupon, Allah the Almighty revealed the following verse:
« … ﺎﻴﻧﺪﻟا هﺎﻴﺤﻟا ضﺮﻋ اﻮﻐﺘﺒﺘﻟ ﺎﻨﺼﺤﺗ ندرأ نإ ءﺎﻐﺒﻟا ﻲﻠﻋ ﻢﻜﺗﺎﻴﺘﻓ اﻮﻫﺮﻜﺗ ﻻ و »
“Do not force your slave girls for prostitution to seek the life (wealth) of this world, if they want to protect their chastity…” [Nuh/43]
This incident shows that this rich Quraishite had made a request to Abdullah-
ibn-Ubai to have sexual intercourse with his bondmaids and hence the persuasion.
To conclude, we shall remind you of a story, which depicts noteworthy diligence of the tribe of Thaqif in prostitution and perversion.
In the year 9 A.H., a group belonging to the tribe of Thaqif left for Medina in order to accept Islam conditionally. At that moment, they consulted amongst themselves and laid the following condition to accept Islam, “(We, the) Thaqif
cannot refrain from fornication and wine.” But when the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) rejected their condition, they were forced to agree to abstain from these two evil deeds.23
Such was the state of Mecca and its rural outskirts (i.e. Taif) during the era of paganism.
2. Sociopolitical conditions in Medina:
As far as Medina is concerned, its state of affairs was as follows:
Before the holy Prophet’s migration to Medina, the Jews were residing in it and its outskirts, and possessed firm strongholds. They were equipped with the best
war equipment of their time, complemented well with experienced men for warfare. In a few flourishing areas, they lived with the most advanced methods of gardening, farming and animal husbandry. All of them (especially those
residing in Medina) engaged in trade and usury as well.
22 Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthur of Suyuti 5/47. On the same page, in connection with “occasions of revelation” of this verse, he has narrated other traditions as well. However the traditions that describe the above event are considered to be correct by us and we have explained it in brief.
23 Refer to “Amtah al-Asmah” by Muqrezi; Page 492 about the visit of the group of Thaqif to Medina.
As per the revelation in their religious books, the Jews believe that God has created them a privileged nation to rule over all other nations and reciprocally He has created all other people to serve the Jews.
Hence, the Jews have always strove to dominate and behaved arrogantly with others, regardless of the society they lived. Similarly, taking into consideration
their inclination for accumulating wealth and their greed, they have an astonishing exploration for appropriation of other nations’ wealth by all possible means.
For achieving these two aims (i.e. gaining supremacy over all nations and
appropriating their wealth), they have resorted to all conceivable means within their disposal. Such a situation prevailed in every era and in every society that they lived. Moreover, as the Jews fail to achieve their objectives in a society established on ethics, they become the source of propagation of every type of sin and slipshod and indulge in all sorts of conspiracies.
Keeping in view these Jewish qualities, the Jews living in the ancient Arab society were rich and arrogant. Reading and writing were widespread amongst
them and they reckoned themselves to be from the progeny of Bani-Israil, the chosen ones of mankind, the people of the “Shariah” (religious laws) and the
first heavenly book. They spread such ideas amongst the entire people of the
In order to manifest their virtues, they would narrate to the people of Medina all that the Torah had foretold about the advent of the last Prophet. They would
explain the signs of his emergence, prophesying that his coming is near and
Medina will be his place of residence.
These prophecies, prompted Abu-Aamer (whose name was Abd-Amr and who belonged to the tribe of Aws) to resort to the worship of God with this hope that he would become this promised Prophet—–24 He would wear coarse, woolen clothes such that he was addressed as Abu-Aamer, the monk. However, on the occasion of the Prophet’s migration to Medina when he realized that he had not become the Prophet, he engaged in sabotage!25
As per their customary habit, the Jews in Medina would arouse antagonism between the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj and set them to fight against each other. Resultantly, on occasions, bloody wars would take place between them. The tribes of Aws and Khazraj each had a treaty of friendship and cooperation with one of the Jewish tribes. During wars, both the tribes would hire arms from their Jewish ally. Thus, the Jews would derive massive gains, while the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj would receive nothing but desperation and distress. This is quite similar to the dealings of America and Russia today with their allies in the third world….
24 Ansaab al-Ashraaf: Balaazari 1/340.
25 Seerah Ibne-Hisham 2/234 and Mughazi of Waqedi in the narration of the battle of Uhud.
By comparing the state of the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj with the state of the tribes residing in Mecca and Yemen, which coexisted peacefully in the same era, it becomes obvious that the wars that took place were the result of Jewish conspiracies!
The people of Medina lived under such conditions till the holy Prophet’s migration to Medina, when the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj planned to find a remedy for their helplessness. They arrived at a solution that all should agree to elect a king, whereupon they would take commands from him to prevent future wars.
Thus, they selected an eminent person of Medina named Abdullah-ibn-Ubaiy. They were in the process of setting up the royal crown for him and buying the
necessary jewels from the Jews that they came into contact with the holy Prophet in Mecca and realized that he is the same Prophet about whom the Jews had foretold. Hence, they accepted Islam and invited the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
along with his companions to Medina.
After his entry into Medina, a treaty was signed between all the Medinites viz. the Jews, Aws and Khazraj, in accordance with the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) guidance
and instructions. This truce stipulated that nobody would commit injustice against the other and if ever anyone did commit any wrong, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would be the judge. Moreover, the entire Medinites were also backed up in the face of any possible external aggression or invasion.26
Also, taking into consideration the Arab habits and customs of that time, the consequence of the treaty of fraternity and brotherhood between the Muslims and the pact with the Jewish tribe residing in Medina becomes obvious and
By paying attention to what was said about the state of the Arabs in the pre- Islamic era, we can now cast a glance over the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.)
A BRIEF GLANCE AT
THE BIOGRAPHY OF THE HOLY PROPHET (S.A.W.A.)
BEFORE APPOINTMENT (be’sat) The holy Prophet’s ancestors:
To the best of Arab knowledge, the holy Prophet’s ancestors were leaders of the Quraish in Mecca. And considering that the pilgrims to the Ka’bah were guests in Mecca, the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) ancestors assumed the responsibility of serving food and water to the pilgrims in the hot hills and valleys until this
26 Seerah Ibne-Hisham 2/234 and 147 and Uyoon al-Athar 1/197.
authority was taken over by “Abd-Manaf”. He (Abd-Manaf) had four sons namely Hashim, Abd-Shams, Nufel and Muttalib.27
After Abd-Manaf’s demise, a severe power struggle in Quraish took place between “Hashim” and “Abd-Shams”, leading to hostilities and conflicts. Ultimately, Hashim emerged victorious. During his time, he earned more fame than even his forefathers did.
Hashim was the first person who established the two summers and winter trade trips for the Quraish. During the summer season, their trade caravan would set
out for Syria and they named this journey as “Rehlat al-Saif”. In winter, they would depart towards Ethiopia and Africa via Yemen and called this trip as
In those days when no individual or tribe was safe from loot and plunder, Hashim at first entered into a security pact with Caesar, the Emperor of Rome
who was in Syria, for protecting the trade caravans of the Quraish. Later, while returning to Mecca, he also took an undertaking from each Arab tribe on the route that the trade caravan of Quraish would not be harmed while passing
through their territories. Thus, the safety of these caravans moving on trade trips was fully guaranteed. As mentioned earlier and as described by the Quran, the treaties of the Quraish with the Arab tribes were named as “Eelaf”.
During famine, Hashim would provide food for the Meccans.
On one of his journeys to Syria, he alighted in Medina and got himself married to “Salma”, daughter of Zaid who was from the tribe of Khazraj. Salma stayed back in Medina and Hashim continued his trade journey. As a result of this
wedlock, Salma gave birth to a son named “Shaibah” (Abdul-Muttalib).
When Hashim died, the tribe of Quraish feared that other Arab tribes would prevail upon them and consequently, their trade caravans would come to a
standstill. Therefore, Hashim’s two brothers, Abd-Shams and Nufail renewed their covenant and treaty with Najashi the King of Abyssinia and Casra the King of Iran.
A few years later, these two also died and the reigns of governance fell in the hands of their brother “Muttalib”, the son of Abd-Manaf. Muttalib went to Medina and brought his nephew Abdul-Muttalib to Mecca. After Muttalib’s
demise, the power was transferred to Abdul-Muttalib.
Several reasons contributed to the increase in Abdul-Muttalib’s authority over the Quraish and the Arabian territory than his forefathers.
27 Refer to Seerah Ibne-Hisham 1/11 and the biography of the tribe of Fahr in the book Ansab Ibne-Hazm.
Firstly, he belonged to the progeny and race of both the great Arab sects of
Adnan and Qahthan.
Secondly, there were many worthy deeds to his credit. Like the digging of the ZamZam well which was utilized by the inhabitants of Mecca and the pilgrims to the House of Allah right from the time of Hazrat Ismail (a.s.). Consequently, the few elements that were buried under the soil were discovered by Abdul- Muttalib and barring him, none was aware of its whereabouts.
After his skirmishes with the Quraish, Abdul-Muttalib excavated the well with the help of his only son Harith and quenched the thirst of the pilgrims.
In digging this well, Abdul-Muttalib had no helper, save his only son Harith. At that moment, he took an oath that if God provided him with ten sons he would sacrifice one of them in His way. When the Almighty granted his prayer, his youngest son “Abdullah” was selected to be the sacrificial offering, for the fulfillment of his covenant.
Abdul-Muttalib wanted to sacrifice his son Abdullah in front of the House of
Allah. But the elite of the Quraish, who had gathered there, advised him against it, saying, “Such an action would set a bad example for the others amongst the
Quraish and others too would pursue your footsteps and sacrifice their sons.”
Consequent to this argument, it was resolved that Abdul-Muttalib would draw a lot between a hundred camels and Abdullah for the sacrifice. If the lot fell on the
camels, he would sacrifice them but if it fell in favor of Abdullah, his son would be sacrificed. When the lot was drawn it fell on the camels. Abdul-Muttalib did not accept this verdict until the lot was drawn thrice and on all the three
occasions, it was in the favor of the camels. Abdul-Muttalib sacrificed the one hundred camels and prepared food out of their meat. Thus, Abdullah was delivered from sacrifice.
Abdul-Muttalib’s action brought back memories of Ibrahim’s attempt to sacrifice his son, Ismail. Hence, Abdul-Muttalib was also called as “the second Ibrahim”.
Abdul-Muttalib got his son Abdullah married to Aamena, the daughter of Wahab. A son was born to them and they named him, “Muhammad-ibn- Abdullah-ibn-Abdul-Muttalib” (the last prophet-s.a.w.a.).28
Aam-ul-Feel (Year of the Elephant)
The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was not yet born when his father Abdullah died. In the year of the Prophet’s birth, Abraha the commander of Ethiopia advanced
28 Refer to “Tarikh Ya’qubi”- Vol 1; page 242-252.
from Yemen to Mecca along with huge army and war elephants, the aim being the destruction of the House of God.
Abdul-Muttalib climbed the mountains of Mecca and raised his hands in prayers and cried. God answered his prayers and sent the birds (Abaabeel) against Abraha’s army and destroyed them in entirety.
Such incidents related to Abdul-Muttalib found fame amongst the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula and earned special laurels for him. The Arabs named this year as the year of the elephant (Aam-ul-Feel).
Initially, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was put under the guardianship of his grandfather
Abdul-Muttalib. He was only a child when his mother Aamena died. Thereafter, when he turned eight, his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib too became fatally ill. Before dying, he entrusted the guardianship of his grandson to his noble son, Abu Talib.
Abu Talib’s Authority
After Abdul-Muttalib’s departure, the onerous task of governing the Quraish fell upon his son Abu Talib. In the same year, Abu Talib, like all other Quraishites, departed for Syria for trade, but in this journey, his nephew, Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), accompanied him.
During this excursion, the Christian monks discovered the qualities of the last
Prophet present in Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and disclosed the same to Abu Talib. They also warned him of the lurking danger from the Jews and insisted that Abu
Talib should return to Mecca along with Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and strive to safeguard him. Acting on their admonishments, Abu Talib returned to Mecca and took real care of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.).
When he was twenty-five years old, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) married the wealthiest woman of Quraish, Khadijah (s.a.), and the daughter of Khuwaylid.
In the year when severe famine struck Mecca, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) requested
his uncle Abu Talib to entrust his son Ali to him so that he could take him home and keep him under his special guardianship. Abu Talib accepted his nephew’s request29 and Ali who was only a child was brought-up in the house and under the guardianship of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Construction of the Ka’ba
The holy Ka’ba possessed a low wall, slightly taller than the height of one standing figure but sans any ceiling. Inside the Ka’ba was a well wherein laid its treasures. In the thirty-fifth year of the holy Prophet’s life, some thieves stole these treasures, on which the Quraish decided to re-build the Ka’ba. They divided the work of re-building the Ka’ba amongst their own tribes. When the work reached the stage for fixing Hajar-ul-Aswad (the black stone), a dispute
29 Tarikh Tabari, European Ed., 3/1163.
arose amongst the tribes of Quraish, as each was determined to place the black stone themselves to earn a distinction.
Things reached to a stage where the various tribes prepared themselves for a battle so that the one emerging victorious would place the black stone.
At this moment, the eldest man amongst the Quraish, Mughaira-ibn-Abdullah
Makhzumi, (to prevent unnecessary bloodshed) addressed the Quraish who had gathered in Masjid-ul-Haraam, ‘O the tribes of Quraish! Anyone who enters the mosque at this very moment will judge this dispute and you should accept his verdict.’
Everybody accepted his suggestion and fixed their eyes on the entrance of the mosque when suddenly they saw Abdul-Muttalib’s grandson, Muhammad-ibn- Abdullah (s.a.w.a.) setting foot in the mosque. Joyously, they all cried in one
:« ! ﺪﻤﺤﻣ اﺬﻫ ! ﺎﻨﻴﺿر ﻦﻴﻣﻷا اﺬﻫ »
“It is Muhammad, the trustworthy. We are satisfied with his judgement”.
When the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) came nearer, they narrated to him the incident. He (s.a.w.a.) ordered them to fetch a piece of cloth and they duly obliged. The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) placed the Hajar-ul-Aswad on this cloth by his own hands. Thereafter, he (s.a.w.a.) ordered every tribe to hold a portion of this cloth containing the black stone and carry it to the desired spot. When they did so, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) elevated the stone by his own hands to its place, thereby bringing a threatening dispute to a friendly end.30
People of the Book awaiting the arrival of the last Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
Allah, Exalted be He, had informed His prophets (a.s.) about all the qualities of the last prophet (s.a.w.a.). He informed them about his birthplace, his house, the signs of the period of his mission and migration, the signs present in his stature, his characteristics, his behavior, the distinctions present in his sacred laws, etc. He had commanded His prophets (a.s.) to reveal all these qualities to their nations and to take an undertaking from them that whenever such a prophet arrived with these characteristics and qualities, they should believe in him.
The prophets (a.s.), in turn, had propagated all these qualities and particulars to their people and divulged these to their own legatees. Moreover, this matter was recorded in detail in heavenly scriptures and their commentaries, written by the legatees.
As long as these were not detrimental to the worldly lives of the people of the book, such news and information remained untouched in these heavenly canons
30 Seerah Ibne-Hisham (hadith regarding ‘Construction of Ka’ba) Vol 1; pg. 204-210.
and were not distorted and were available with the Jew and Christian scholars and priests.
The Jew and Christian scholars would relate and explain these prophecies to all and sundry, including Abdul-Muttalib and Abu Talib, the Prophet’s grandfather and uncle respectively.
Moreover, the Jew scholars disseminated this report in Medina and informed that this Prophet would migrate to this city. It was for this reason that after the Prophet’s appointment, Abu Talib would repeatedly stress this point in his poems. Also, for this very reason, when the people of Medina came in contact
with the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in Mecca, they realized that he was the same Prophet about whom the Jews had talked and they brought faith in him. Inshallah, we shall explain this matter in its proper place.
THE HOLY PROPHET’S APPOINTMENT
Before turning forty, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would seclude himself every year in the cave of “Hera” for a few hours and preoccupy himself in the worship of God. In this seclusion, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would allow Ali (a.s.) to accompany him.
At forty, a revelation descended upon the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for the first time in this very cave. Ali, who had accompanied him on that occasion as well, became the first witness of the divine revelation.
After revelation, Ali (a.s.) and Khadijah (s.a.) were the first to bring faith in the
Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They performed the congregational prayers with the Prophet and except for these three, none believed in Islam. In this connection, Tabari and other historians have narrated from Afif Kandi as such:
“During the era of paganism, I went to Mecca and was the guest of Abbas-ibn Abdil Muttalib. One day when the sun was above the horizon, I cast my glance over the Ka’ba. I saw a youth approaching and he looked towards the sky. Then,
he stood in the direction of the Ka’ba. A few moments later, I saw a child approaching and he stood on his right side. Moments later, a woman too approached and stood behind them. Then, the young man bowed in obeisance.
The child and woman too followed him and bowed down. The young man stood on his feet. The child and woman too repeated the same action. The young man went in the state of prostration. The two followed suit.
I said, ‘O Abbas! It is indeed amazing.’ Abbas queried, ‘A great affair indeed!
Do you know the identity of this young man?’ I replied in the negative. He said,
‘He is my nephew Muhammad-ibn-Abdullah-ibn-Abdul Muttalib’. Again, he inquired, ‘Are you aware of the youth accompanying him?’
I replied, ‘No.’
He said, ‘He is my nephew Ali ibn Abi Talib ibn Abdul Muttalib! My nephew (once) told me: “My Lord! The Lord of the heaven and earth has ordered them (i.e. the heaven and the earth) to follow the path for which they have been created.”
I swear by Allah that I am unaware of anyone on earth who is steadfast on this religion save these three.31
Commencement Of The General Call
Till the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) message and practice was confined to the four walls of his house, nobody bothered him. But in the third year of his mission, the verse,
.«ﻦﻴﺑﺮﻗﻻا ﻚﺗﺮﻴﺸﻋ رﺬﻧأ و » was revealed and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) invited his relatives over for dinner. When he finished serving, he invited them to Islam and said, ‘who amongst you is ready to assist me in this affair so that he will be my successor, vizier and legatee?!
All refused except Ali who was then only in his teens. He responded, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I am ready to assist you in this affair’. The Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) repeated this call three times and on each occasion, the people refused to acknowledge positively save Ali. Thereafter, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) embraced
Ali and said, ‘You are my successor, vizier and legatee’.
At this, Abu Lahab scoffed insultingly at Abu Talib and left in a huff.32
Later, Zaid, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) freed slave, and Jafar ibn Abi Talib, the
Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) cousin, accepted Islam followed by Abu-Zar and a few others. The tenth to accept Islam was Fatemah, the wife of Abu Talib and mother of Ali-ibn-Abi Talib (a.s.).33
Reaction of the Quraish and their leader’s support for the
Islam spread in Mecca and a few from the various tribes of Quraish converted to Islam. However, till the time the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his followers were busy in the worship of the One God and did not condemn their idols, the Quraish did not show any reaction except astonishment. But when the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was commanded by Allah to warn the idol-worshippers and explain to them the folly of idol-worship, the situation exploded. The polytheists approached their leader Abu Talib, saying, “You are our leader and master. Your nephew insults our gods and calls them names. Restrain him from defaming our idols and abusing them. We too will allow him to be free with his own God.”
31 Tarikh-Tabari, European Edition, Vol. 3, p. 1161.
32 Refer to Tarikh-Tabari; 1/1171-1172 and Uyoon al-Athar 1/98-100.
33 Refer to Tarikh-Ya’qubi; 2/23 and 28.
Abu Talib called the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in a gathering and addressed him thus,
‘They are eminent personalities and leaders of your nation and have requested to be allowed to worship their idols’.
Prophet (s.a.w.a.): ‘O Uncle! Shouldn’t I invite them to something better?
Abu Talib: ‘What’s that’?
Prophet (s.a.w.a.): ‘I invite them to utter a creed (of faith) by which the Arabs would become humble before them and the non-Arabs would come under their domination’.
Abu Jahl: ‘What is the single creed? Tell us for we are ready to utter this creed ten times’.
Prophet (s.a.w.a.): ‘The creed to be uttered is:
[meaning: there is no god but Allah].’
:« ﷲا ﻻا ﻪﻟا ﻻ »
On hearing this, they all got up angrily and left, saying, ‘By god! We shall defame you and your God who has given you such commands’.34
Other Recommendations of the Quraish
The Quraishite polytheists offered another proposal to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They suggested that for one year they would worship the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) God and for one year, the latter would worship their gods. As a riposte to this demand, the following verse was revealed,
:« … ﺪﺒﻋأ ﺎﻣ نوﺪﺑﺎﻋ ﻢﺘﻧأ ﻻ و نوﺪﺒﻌﺗ ﺎﻣ ﺪﺒﻋأ ﻻ نوﺮﻓﺎﻜﻟا ﺎﻬﻳا ﺎﻳ ﻞﻗ » “Say: O Unbelievers! I do not serve that which you serve. Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve….You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.”
And the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) continued his task………………
For the third time, the Quraishite polytheists approached Abu Talib. This time, they took with themselves “Ammaarah” the most handsome and astute youth
amongst all Quraish. They addressed Abu Talib thus, ‘We offer you this youth who is the best amongst all the Quraish and you hand over to us Muhammad so
that we can kill him and hence bring to an end this atmosphere of anxiety’.
To their absurd suggestion, Abu Talib replied, ‘Should I hand over to you my son for you to kill him and keep your son to take care of him’?
At this juncture, the Quraish saw no alternative but to torment the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) followers. Consequently, each tribe began to trouble and torture the Muslims of their tribe.
34 This verse refers to the above event:
« داﺮﻳ ء ﻲﺸﻟ نإ ﻢﻜﺘﻬﻟآ ﻲﻠﻋ اوﺮﻴﺻا و اﻮﺸﻣا نأ ﻢﻬﻨﻣ ﻸﻤﻟا ﻖﻠﻄﻧا و »
When the torture and harassment increased, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) commanded the Muslims to migrate from Mecca to Ethiopia, with “Jafar ibn Abi Talib” as their leader.
The polytheists dispatched Amr-e-Aas and Ammaarah to Ethiopia with gifts and presents to meet “Najashi”, the King of Ethiopia and request him to extradite the
Muslims to Mecca. However, Najashi declined their request and instead, continued to honor Jafar and his companions.
When Abu Talib received this news, he recited the following poem in honor of
Najashi and amidst his poem; he invited the King to Islam:
ﻢﻳﺮﻣ ﻦﺑ ﺢـﻴﺴﻤﻟا و ﻲﺳﻮﻤﻟ ﺮﻳزو ﻢﺼـﻌﻳ و يﺪـﻬـﻳ ﷲا ﺮـﻣﺄﺑ ﻞﻛ و ﻢﺟﺮـﺘﻟا ﺚـﻳﺪﺣ ﻻ ﺚﻳﺪﺣ قﺪﺼﺑ
اﺪﻤﺤﻣ نأ سﺎﻨﻟا رﺎﻴﺧ ﻢﻠﻌﺗ ﻪﺑ ﺎﻴﺗأ يﺬﻟا ﻞﺜﻣ يﺪﻬﺑ ﻲﺗأ ﻢـﻜﺑﺎﺘﻛ ﻲﻓ ﻪﻧﻮﻠﺘﺗ ﻢﻜﻧأ و
مﺮـﻜـﺘﻟﺎﺑ اﻮـﻌﺟرا ﻻإ ﻚـﻠـﻀﻔﻟ
ﻪﺑﺎﺼﻋ ﺎﻨﻣ ﻚﻴﺗﺎﻳ ﺎﻣ ﻚﻧأ و
In this poem, the leader of Mecca addressed the King of Ethiopia as follows:
Behold! O best of men! Know that Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) is the helper of Musa and Isa Messiah, son of Maryam,
Like them (Musa and Isa), he (s.a.w.a.) too has brought the guidance. Each of these three Prophets guides according to the divine command and protect the people from the evil deeds,
You (Christians) read about him in your own Book (Injeel) unambiguously, and not out of words based on conjecture and surmise,
Indeed when any group amongst us (Muslims) take refuge in you out of your grace and magnanimity, they will surely respond with honor and respect.
Najashi called a joint meeting of Amr-Aas and the Muslims under the leadership of Jafar ibn Abi Talib. Jafar gave (positive) replies to Amr, while Najashi rejected Amr disdainfully.
Najashi accepted Islam and introduced it as the official religion of the state, just like the “Shariah” of Moses (a.s.) and Jesus (a.s.). The number of emigrants to
Ethiopia exceeded eighty. The news spread like wildfire amongst the various tribes in the Arabian Peninsula. Islam had crossed the frontiers of Mecca and people from other Arab tribes, such as “Abuzar Ghaffari”, began accepting
In his poems, while expressing support for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Abu Talib also invited the people to Islam,
35 Seerah Ibne Ishaaq, p.222.
قوﺮﺒﻟا ﻊﻤﻠﻛ ﻷﻸﺗ ﺾﻴﺒﺑ
ﻚﻴﻠﻤﻟا لﻮﺳر لﻮﺳﺮﻟا ﺎﻨﻌﻨﻣ
:ﻖﻴﻔﺷ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ مﺎﺣ ﻪﻳﺎﻤﺣ
ﻚـﻴﻠﻤﻟا لﻮﺳر ﻲﻤﺣأو بدأ
We supported and defended the Prophet, the master, with a sword that flashes like lightning.
I will support and defend the Prophet, the master; a support from a supporter
who is tender and sympathetic to him.
In another poem, he challenges,
I swear by Allah that I shall die but not allow them (i.e. the polytheists) to lay hands on him.
You presented us a religion, which according to me, is the best religion for mankind.37
In yet another couplet, he questions,
Don’t you realize that we have found Muhammad to be a Prophet, similar to
Moses, whose name has come down in the first Book (Torah)?38
* * *
Once again they suggested that if the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) desired worldly wealth, they could offer him so much that he would become the richest man in Mecca or if he craved for power, they were willing to select him as their ruler.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) responded, “By Allah! If they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, I shall not refrain from inviting the people (to Islam).”
In these exchanges of offers and refusals between the Quraish, Abu Talib and
the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Abu Talib expressed his helplessness before the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), saying, “O my nephew, your nation has spoken as you see. Ponder over my affair and your affair and do not ask me something which I am unable to fulfill!”
At this moment, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) cried. Turning back, he began to walk away, but Abu Talib called out to him. When the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) halted,
he said, ‘O my nephew, you may continue to preach as you wish (and) I shall not forsake you, come what may.’
Conflict between the Prophet’s uncle (Hamza) and Abu Jahl
One day Abu Jahl, finding the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) all alone near Mount Safa, insulted and abused him, and called Islam by ugly names. A bondmaid witnessed this scene.
36 Seerah Ibne Ishaaq, p.149
37 Tarikh Ya’qubi; vol. 2, p. 31.
38 Seerah Ibne Ishaaq, p. 157; Seerah Ibne Hisham, vol. 1, p.373.
At that moment, Hamza Ibn Abdil Muttalib, an eminent Quraishite known for his bravery and valor, had left Mecca for hunting. It was his practice that after returning from hunting, he would hasten towards Masjid-ul-Haram and circumambulate the Ka’ba and then depart for his house. Inside the mosque, he would visit every group from the Quraish who would assemble in some corner of the mosque and offer his greetings to them.
This time, on the way back, the aforesaid bondmaid narrated to him the incident of Abu Jahl’s misbehavior with the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Hamza was furious and hastened to the mosque angrily. But this time, without approaching anybody, he
simply dashed towards the group amongst who was Abu Jahl.
When he approached them, he stood before Abu Jahl and raising his bow struck
Abu Jahl’s head as a result of which his head split open and challenged, ‘How dare you insult my nephew while I follow his religion and pay heed to his
words? If you can, try to get rid of me!’
People belonging to the tribe of Bani-Makhzum (Abu Jahl’s relatives) wanted to assist Abu Jahl. But the latter, sensing the consequence, refrained them saying,
‘Leave alone Abu Ammarah (Hamza) for I have insulted his nephew very badly’.
* * *
For the sake of supporting the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the chief of the Quraish
(Abu Talib) stepped up his campaign against the Quraishite infidels.
His blazing attacks on them in form of odes were like thunderbolts from the sky. In this battle, he also encouraged his relatives and associates to assist the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). His odes would comprise of significant imports, a few of which were as follows,
“Nay! I swear by Allah that none can lay their hands on my nephew
On this path, the brave warriors of Bani-Hashim shall draw their swords from the scabbard and like lions, which attack their prey,
They will tear apart the enemies. (Even if) on this path, women may turn widows.”
Abu Talib recited many such odes and one of them comprised ninety-four verses.39
Revolt against the Meccan chief
The infidels among the Quraish became helpless in the face of all-round support by Abu Talib for the Prophet, Islam and the Muslims. Thus, in the sixth year of the Prophet’s mission,40 they gathered to find a solution. In this meeting, they agreed to revolt against their chief as well as the tribes of Bani-Hashim and Bani-Muttalib who were backing the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
39 Seerah Ibn Hisham; 1/286-298.
40 Tarikh-Ya’qubi 2/31; Beirut print-1379.
For achieving this aim, they prepared an agreement to impose sanctions on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) supporters. They signed a covenant not to enter into matrimony with them, not to buy or sell anything from/to them and not to sit with them in any gathering. After signing this treaty, they hung it from the wall of the Ka’ba.
At that moment, the two sects of Bani-Hashim and Bani-Muttalib (with the exception of Abu Talib) abandoned their houses in Mecca and took refuge with the help of Abu Talib in a valley, which still stands in his name and is called “Sheb Abi Talib”.
Under the circumstances, Abu Talib addressed the Quraish through the following brilliant poem,
1. ‘Lo! Send message on my behalf to Lui’s tribe and in particular the tribes of Ka’b:41
2. Don’t you realize that we have found Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) to be a
Prophet similar to Moses; whose name has come down in the first Book
3. And that God has placed in the hearts of His slaves the love for
Muhammad and who is better than the one in whose heart God has placed his love?
4. And whatever you have written down in your agreement shall indeed become ominous for you just as the cry of the young one of Prophet Saleh’s she-camel (after her union with her mother) became ominous for
that nation. (In other words, a great calamity shall befall you as a result of your deeds).
5. Awake! Awake! before your grave is dug and the innocent become like
the sinful (equal in punishment)
6. Do not follow the slanderers and do not break off ties of relationship and kinship after friendship and fraternity!
7. And do not cause a severe prolonged war for it is likely to be unpleasant and severe for the one who kindles the flames of war.
8. I swear by the Lord of the Ka’ba that we shall never abandon Ahmad
(s.a.w.a.) in times of difficulties!
9. Until our hands and face are severed with the naked sword.
10.And in the battlefield are scattered pieces of spears and the black eagles gather for devouring the dead bodies.
11.And the hippodrome of horses and the roaring of the warriors fill the scene of the battlefield.
12.Is it not that our father Hashim tightened the belt and stated in his will
that we should familiarize ourselves with the spear and the sword.
41 Lui-ibn-Ghalib is the great ancestor of the Quraish tribe and Ka’b and Aamer are his sons. The lineage of the tribes of Quraish traces back to this very Ka’b-ibn-Lui who is the addressee in Abu Talib’s statement. Refer to the genealogies of Ibne-Hazm; the detailed account of the tribes of Bani-Lui.
13.We, the Bani-Hashim never get weary and depressed from war until the war (itself) gets tired of us and we have no grievance against events following the war.
14.Yet, we are men of war and men of reason at the time when the lives of the champions are at their wit’s end.
Abu Talib’s odes had a comforting effect on the Quraish. Moreover, the Prophet (S.A.W.A.) and the other Hashimiites were in peace from the harm of the Quraish. However, the economic sanctions had its effects on them, which lasted for years. During these three years, Khadijah (s.a.), the wealthiest lady of Quraish, donated her wealth to all those who suffered from this economic blockade.42
During this period, they procured their foodstuffs by way of smuggling. At night, Abu Talib would send his son Ali to Mecca for procuring the necessary provisions. In this regard, Ibne Abil Hadeed narrates,
“At night, Ali would exit from the mountain-valley and wear the disguise of a bandit in order to conceal his identity. Then, he would travel to the same place as instructed by Abu Talib and return carrying loads of wheat and flour.43
During this period, none would come out from the mountain-valley and others too would not visit them.44
Abu Talib would make the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) sleep at night in such a place where he could not be seen easily. When a part of the night elapsed, he would
transfer him to another spot and instead make Ali sleep in his place so that if in case anyone had marked the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) place with the intention of assassinating him, Ali would be there instead of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).45
Those at the receiving end of this economic blockade were severely afflicted with poverty and want. Allah assigned the ants to eat away the writings of the pact. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed Abu Talib about this incident. Abu Talib
approached the Quraish in Masjid-ul-Haram and narrated to them the incident and said, “Go and see the pact. If it is as my nephew says, then you should lift the economic sanctions. However, if his words turn out to be false, I shall
surrender him to you so that you may kill him”.
The Quraish became glad. They brought the pact and saw for themselves that the writings had been destroyed except the words: “ÈÇÓãß Çááåã” (In Thy Name O
Lord). They said: ‘This is nothing but sorcery…………! At this moment, a group accepted Islam.46
42 Seerah Ibn Hisham, vol.1,p.373-376.
43Sharh-o-Nahjil-Balagha by Ibn Abil Hadeed; vol.13,p.254
44Ibid., vol.14, p.58.
45Sharh-o-Nahjil-Balagha, vol.14,p.64, and Uyoon al-Athar, vol.1,p.127.
46 Tarikh-e-Ya’qubi vol. 2, p.31-32.
Thereafter, five people (who were related to the Bani-Hashim) along with Khadijah (s.a.) got together and tore apart the pages in the presence of the Quraish.47
After this event, the Bani-Hashim and the Bani-Muttalib came out from the mountain-valley and returned to their houses in Mecca.
The demise of Khadijah (s.a.) (A.S.)
As against the interests of the Arabs, Islam began to spread beyond the frontiers of Mecca. More than eighty Muslims traveled to the African continent and spread monotheism as far as Ethiopia. In all these places, they recited the holy Quran and worshipped the One and Unique God. Under these circumstances, the Quraish could no longer impede the progress of Islam as they did in the first year of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mission.
On the other hand, at the age of eighty-four and after severe confrontation with the Quraish, Abu Talib had turned old and feeble. Khadijah (s.a.) too, after
completing sixty-five years of age and spending her entire wealth in the way of Islam, had become indigent and physically shattered. Both these companions sincerely strove to their utmost capacity in assisting the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Finally Khadijah (s.a.) expired in the month of Ramadhan, three years before the
The last moments of Abu Talib’s life
When he was on his deathbed, Abu Talib put in his last effort in the path of Islam and protection of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). He addressed the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) thus:
‘O nephew, after me, you may approach your uncles from the sect of Bani- Najjaar (from the tribe of Khazraj in Medina) as this tribe is more devoted than all other people from the viewpoint of protection and assistance of their household.’49
When Abu Talib was breathing his last, his brother Abbas and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were besides him. Abu Talib spoke in a frail voice. Abbas listened attentively and could hear Abu Talib uttering, “La-ilaha-illallah” (there is no god but Allah).50
Thus, during the last moments of his life, Abu Talib uttered the same words for which he had spent his life (in its promotion and propagation). He passed away while uttering the word: “Allah”.
Taking into account his services on the path of Islam, his help to the Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) and the creed “La-ilaha-illallah”, it can be said with certainty that Abu
47 Seerah Ibn Hisham, vol.1,p.400, and Tarikh Tabari vol.1,p.1196-1199.
48 Tarikh-e-Ya’qubi, vol.2, p.35.
49 Tarikh-e-Islam by Zahabi, vol.1, p.138
50 Seerah Ibn Ishaaq in the Chapter of ‘Demise of Abu Talib’, p. 238, and Seerah Ibn Hisham vol.2, p.95.
Talib was unparalleled. But since he was Ali’s (a.s.) father, the pagans labeled such a Muslim an infidel due to their enmity with Ali! What a great injustice they have indeed inflicted on themselves!
The Prophet uttered these words over the dead body of his uncle:
“O uncle! You fostered me while I was a child; you acted as my guardian when I was an orphan and assisted me in my adulthood. May Allah give you a good reward?”
“He would sorrowfully walk back and forth before Abu Talib’s coffin and
would then stand in front of the coffin and say:
“May you receive the reward for strengthening blood-kinship; and the reward for goodness has also been attained by you.”51
The Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) uttered these words. But the Muslims said, “Abu Talib shall burn in the Fire of Hell.” And they narrate this from this very Prophet (s.a.w.a.)!
In our view, those traditions which are indeed inconsistent with these set of traditions (which were mentioned before) were forged by them during the era of Muawiya Ibn Abi Sufyan, and were falsely attributed to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Thereafter, all the Caliphs have substantiated and strengthened the aforesaid view, particularly the Caliphs of Bani-Abbas who faced the mutinies of Abu Talib’s offspring.
By such traditions, they wished to convince the Muslims that since they were
from the descendants of Abbas (the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) uncle) who was a Muslim, they were the legal heirs to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in all aspects, material and spiritual. On the other hand, the progeny (of Abu Talib) was from the descendants of Abu Talib (another uncle of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)) who according to them was an infidel and in Islam, a believer and non-believer cannot inherit from each other.
However, they do not possess any evidence to prove that Abu Talib was a non- Muslim. Besides, a lot has come down from the sayings and poems of Abu Talib in the books of history and biographies. In these books, not even one instance can be found wherein Abu Talib has called out the names of idols belonging to the Meccans and Arab infidels such as Laat, Hubal and Uzza.
In all the instances, words like Allah, Lord of the Ka’ba and such other names of
Allah were on his lips and he would swear by these names. Moreover, these names were his habitual phrase, whereas the names of such idols have excessively come down from the Arab polytheists.52
51 Tarikh-Ya’qubi 2/35.
52 It is worth mentioning that numerous books have been written about Abu Talib’s faith. Some of them have been mentioned in the book “Az-Zariah” 2/510-514 mainly: Baghyat-ul-Talib and Imaan Abi-Talib wa husna
khatamah written by Allama Suyuti; Asnal-Matalib-fi-Nejat Abi-Talib written by Shafaee Mufti of Mecca
Sayyed Ahmad-ibn-Zaini Dehlan and the books which have been been recently printed like: Imaan Abi-Talib
Abu Talib passed away53 just three days after Khadijah (s.a.)’s demise and as per some sources, he died even before Khadijah (s.a.). Thereafter, Allah assigned his son Ali (A.S.) to assist the Prophet (S.A.W.A.) and Ali too exhibited such a role against the Quraish.
The stalwart of Islam face to face with the Quraish
After Abu Talib’s demise, it was necessary on the part of the Bani-Hashim to instil some fear in the hearts of the Quraishite infidels so that they would never ever imagine that with Abu Talib’s departure, the Prophet has now been left without any helper and that the Bani-Hashim would abandon the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
This task was performed by Abu Talib’s son, Ali (A.S.) in the best possible manner. In the Arab society of those days, the best means were the very
composition of odes. After his father’s demise, Ali (A.S.) warned the Quraish in the form of a brilliant ode as such:
1. I remained awake at night after receiving news of Abu Talib’s demise; (he was) a shelter for the helpless accompanied by generosity and forgiveness.
2. A master possessing forbearance, who was neither hot-tempered nor rough nor disabled, they gave me the news of my master’s demise, a great
3. Redresser for the distressed (such) that if any grievance would occur in any place, he would redress it; the protector of Bani-Hashim and the supporters of Bani-Hashim from oppression and aggression.
4. The Quraish became glad by his departure but I do not see life to be immortal.
5. They intended to commit such deeds, which their carnal desires
manifested to be pure and good and eventually a day will come when these very deeds will cause them to deviate.
6. They wished to display the Prophet as a liar and wanted to kill him. They
strove to defame him and disparage his affairs.
7. You have exhorted falsehood! Nay, I swear by the Ka’ba; until we make you taste the tip of the spear and the sharp sword.
8. And until you do not witness an irresistible and difficult scene from our side; at that moment when we shall be ironclad.
9. And until when either you shall destroy us or we shall annihilate you, or that you consider peace with the people of your own tribe to be more
written by Shamsuddin Abi Ali Fakhr-ibn-Ma’dal-Musavi and Abu Talib-the innocent figure in history, written by Allama Amini which is the translation of a portion of Al-Ghadir.
53 About Abu Talib’s demise, refer to Seerah Ibne-Ishaaq; page 236; Seerah Ibne-Hisham and Tarikh-e-Ya’qubi.
10.Otherwise, this tribe is on the side of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and they are his heralds. I am speaking about the Bani-Hashim; those very ones who are the best warriors.
11.The Prophet’s succor is Allah against you people.
12.A Prophet who has brought for us a revelation and my Lord has named him Muhammad in the heavenly Book.
13.His face is radiant like the sun so much that nothing can overcome the brightness of his face (just as the clouds cannot prevent the radiant sun from shining).
14.He is trustworthy upon what Allah has deposited in his heart, and whatever he utters is salvation.54
In this ode, Ali (a.s.) warns the Quraishite infidels that they should never ever imagine that since Abu Talib, the chief of the Quraish has passed away, the Bani-Hashim have now become helpless.
Like his father, Ali (a.s.) too declares in his ode, the prophet hood of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) from Allah’s side and creates fear of Allah in the hearts of the Quraishite infidels. And if in case they do not fear and they will not fear so,
he warns them of the fierce spears and sharp swords of Bani-Hashim who will be clad in iron.
And he warns them that for the sake of the Prophet’s protection, confrontation is inevitable, wherein either the Bani-Hashim or the Quraishite infidels will be
annihilated except if the Quraish follow the path of peace with their cousins Bani-Hashim. And here too, like his father, Ali (a.s.) strives to enliven the affection for ties of relationship amongst the tribe of Quraish.
In this ode, Ali (a.s.) appears to be the same Abu Talib, who is rebuking the Quraishite infidels. How beautifully the Arabs have painted the scenario, (Verily, this lion-cub is the son of that same lion).
The effect of this ode
In order to perceive the effect of this ode, kindly pay attention to the following story:
After the end of the battle of Jamal in Basra, Amir-ul-Mumineen (a.s.) went to
Kufa and in a sermon delivered on the pulpit in the mosque of Kufa, he called the people to prepare themselves for a battle with Muawiya in Syria.
At this moment, a man stood up and facing Ali (a.s.) said, ‘You wish to send us to Syria so that we kill our brethren just as you took us to kill our brethren in Basra? Nay, I swear by God that we shall never do such a thing!’
This talk had its effect on the morale of the people. However, the brave commander of Ali (a.s.), “Malik-e-Ashtar” sprang on his feet and said that very
54 Seerah Ibne-Ishaaq; page 239-240.
soon he would give him his reply. Seeing Malik’s mood, the man took to his heels. The people chased him until they caught him in the market where mules were sold. There, they trampled him (down) and fisted and kicked him to death. Amir-ul-Mumineen (a.s.) gave his blood money to his family members from the public treasury and then said: “His murderer is unknown and his blood-money is being given from the public treasury of the Muslims”.55
Here, if Malik Ashtar had not stood on his feet and uttered these words then those of the same mind (as the murdered man) would have approved the murdered man’s sayings and consequently, Amir-ul-Mumineen (a.s.) would have been defeated. However, Malik Ashtar’s (the chief of the Hamadan tribe) remark prompted the people of his tribe and others to get on their feet and kill that man. In this manner, the enemies held back their breath.
The situation in Mecca was equally or even more dangerous. Bani-Hashim had lost their chief and leader and one critical blow from the Quraish was enough to destroy them. This ode from the son of the Quraish chief left two positive effects on that society:
1-Effect on the tribe of Bani-Hashim and the entire believers:
The Bani-Hashim needed a strong-hearted pivot, who could cheer them up and give them hope and release them from dispersion and fear. Ali’s ode met such a
need and also filled the other oppressed Muslims’ hearts too with hope and courage.
2-Effect on the Quraish:
Under the given circumstances, if only one person from the Quraish had attacked the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), hundreds of others would have followed suit and
a common assault resulted on the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the Bani-Hashim as well as the oppressed Muslims.
Allah appointed Ali (a.s.) and by means of this ode transformed the state of
Mecca to the advantage of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Islam and the Muslims just as Malik Ashtar’s statement had changed the situation to the benefit of this Ali (a.s.) in Kufa.
The Quraishite infidels intensify their persecution on the Muslims Although the unbelievers amongst the Quraish were aware that after Abu Talib’s demise, the Bani-Hashim would not abandon the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and they
would not succeed in killing the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), nevertheless, they inflicted
such persecutions on the Prophet that they never ever dared during Abu Talib’s lifetime.56
55 This was narrated in brief from “The Event of Siffeen” by Nasr-ibn-Muzaahem; page 94.
56 Concerning the events in the post Abu Talib era, refer to Seerah Ibne-Ishaaq, Seerah Ibne-Hisham and Uyoon
Now we shall mention the names of two tormenters who tormented the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) throughout his stay in Mecca and describe a few instances of the impediments laid by them in the way of Islam and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Abu-Lahab and his wife Umm-Jameel
Abu-Lahab was Abdul-Muttalib’s son and the Prophet’s uncle. “Lahab” means the flames of fire and he was titled as Abu-Lahab because of his handsome face (i.e. one whose appearance emits light like the flames of fire).
The persecution and impediments by Abu-Lahab began right from the day the
Prophet (s.a.w.a.) invited Bani Abdil Muttalib to his house. It continued until after the battle of Badr, when Abu-Lahab died from a contagious disease called “Adsah”, similar to the disease of plague. Amongst his persecutions and impediments were the following:
At the outset of his general invitation, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) once climbed the mountain of Safa and cried out: “Wa Sabahah!” This cry is commonly used
amongst the Arabs for inviting the people and warning them from frightful events.
After this call, the Quraish gathered around the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) sough confirmation, ‘If I tell you that mounted soldiers are approaching you (for attack) from this mountain slope, will you believe me?’ They affirmed, ‘We have never heard you utter a lie.’
At this moment, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘I warn you from a severe retribution.’
Amongst all the people, it was the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) uncle Abu-Lahab who reacted and said, “May you perish! Have you called us here just to listen to these words?”57
Abu-Lahab continued his vitriolic, “This Muhammad promises us the world after death and in this regard, makes certain claims. I for myself do not reckon that there is any news after death.” To display his mockery, he opened his hands and blew into it and said, “May it be severed! I do not see anything but vain words coming out from Muhammad’s mouth.”58
Abu-Lahab’s wife, “Umm-Jameel” (daughter of Abu Sufyan and aunt of Muawiya who belonged to the tribe of Bani-Umayyah) was another person who tormented the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) with no end. She would throw thorns on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) path and excite sedition against him. About Abu-Lahab and his wife, the blessed verse of “Masad” was revealed where Allah says:
ارﺎﻧ ﻲﻠﺼﻴﺳ . ﺐﺴﻛ ﺎﻣ و ﻪﻟﺎﻣ ﻪﻨﻋ ﻲﻨﻏأ ﺎﻣ . ﺐﺗ و ﺐﻬﻟ ﻲﺑأ اﺪﻳ ﺖﺒﺗ . ﻢﻴﺣﺮﻟا ﻦﻤﺣﺮﻟا ﷲا ﻢﺴﺑ »
:« ﺪﺴﻣ ﻦﻣ ﻞﺒﺣ ﺎﻫﺪﻴﺟ ﻲﻓ . ﺐﻄﺤﻟا ﺔﻟﺎﻤﺤ ﻪﺗأﺮﻣا و . ﺐﻬﻟ تاذ
57 Refer to the exegesis of Sura Lahab in the books of exegesis and in Sahih Bukhari.
58 Seerah Ibne-Hisham 1/372.
“Perdition overtakes both hands of Abu Lahab, and he will perish. His wealth and what he earns will not avail him,
He shall soon burn in fire those flames, And his wife, the bearer of fuel,
Upon her neck a halter of strongly twisted rope.”
Abu-Lahab’s two sons “Utbah” and “Utaibah” had married the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) two daughters and “Aas-ibn-Wael Sahmi” had married yet another daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The Quraish advised them to divorce the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughters so that their lives turn miserable and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) invitation to Islam is hindered. In return, we shall allow you to marry any woman from the Quraish of your choice.
Aas-ibn-Wael did not accept the advice and refused to divorce the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughter. However, Abu-Lahab’s two sons divorced the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) two daughters since, after the revelation of Sura Lahab, their mother Umm-Jameel threatened them that, “If you refuse to divorce Muhammad’s daughters I shall not speak a word to you.”
Umm-Jameel did not stop here in her enmity with the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Once, while reciting a poem condemning the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), she picked up a stone
and went to the House of God for flinging it at the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) face. However, even though she came face to face with the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) she could not see him and returned disappointed.59
The obstacles created by Abu-Lahab on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) path were more than the all other Quraishites put together.
As stated earlier, following the pact designed by the Quraishite infidels, the holy
Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his followers (the two sects of Bani-Hashim and Bani- Muttalib) were left in “Sheb Abu Talib”, walled on all sides by the infidels. Moreover, the Quraishite had prohibited all sorts of trade with them and they passed their lives in hardship and hunger.
At that time, whenever a trade caravan would enter Mecca and someone from
Sheb Abu Talib would approach the caravan to purchase some provisions, the enemy of God (Abu-Lahab) would stand up and address the traders thus,
“Increase the prices of your merchandise for Muhammad’s followers so that they are unable to buy them. You are aware of my wealth and know very well
that I fulfill my promise and agreement. I give you a guarantee that you shall face no loss or damage.”
Thereafter, the tradesmen would increase the prices of their goods to such an extent that the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) followers were rendered helpless and would
return empty handed while their children would cry and wail due to hunger.
59 Refer to Seerah Ibne-Hisham 1/378-379.
At the end, Abu-Lahab would give the tradesmen a good profit for whatever clothes and foodstuffs they had not sold to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) followers. In this manner, the Muslims passed their lives in hardships and difficulties.60
MIGRATION TO MEDINA
Before migrating to Medina, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) sought assistance from the Arab tribes during the Haj (pilgrimage) season so that he could succeed in propagating his message. At that moment, he came across a group from the tribe of Khazraj, which had come for Haj from Medina and invited them to Islam. This group, which had heard from the Jews the prophecy of the last Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) advent, recognized the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and accepted Islam. Moreover, while returning to Medina, they gave news about the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to the people of Medina and thus, gradually, Islam spread in Medina.
In the subsequent year, a group from Medina came for Haj and there, paid allegiance to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) dispatched “Mus’ab-ibn-Umair” from amongst the Muslims to accompany them so that he could preach Islam and the Quran to the newly converted Muslims of Medina and lead them in the congregational prayers.
Thereafter, Islam spread rapidly in Medina until in the third year; more than seventy Medinites came to Mecca for Haj. There, they swore allegiance to the
Prophet (s.a.w.a.) promosing to establish the Islamic government if the Prophet came to Medina. When this group returned to Medina, they established the congregational prayers under the leadership of Mus’ab and Islam was
recognized as the official religion.
At that very moment, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) issued an order to the Muslims residing in Mecca to migrate secretly to Medina. No Muslim remained in Mecca
save Ali (a.s.), and a few other Muslims who were imprisoned by their parents and relatives.
On the other hand, the infidels among the Quraish, who now feared from the
increasing number of the Muslims in Medina, gathered for consultation. At the end, they agreed that one person from each tribe should be selected for the task of killing the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and that overnight they should enter the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) house and kill him so that Islam is uprooted once and for all. Jibraeel, the Archangel informed the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) about their (evil) intention and on behalf of Allah, ordered him to migrate to Medina.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) charged Ali (a.s.) with four duties: Firstly, to prepare the required mounts for this journey
60 Seerat -un-Nabawiya 2/17.
Secondly, to sleep on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) bed for that night so that the killers would be under the impression that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is lying on the bed and hence, he (s.a.w.a.) could leave Mecca safely.
Thirdly, to return the things, which the Quraish had deposited with the Prophet as trust and to repay his debts
Fourthly, to take along with himself the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) household members to Medina
Later, the same night, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) left Mecca along with Abu Bakr and together they hid themselves in the cave of ‘Thaur’, situated outside Mecca.
Ali (a.s.) slept on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) bed. The Quraish, among them Abu- Lahab (the Prophet’s uncle), besieged the house with the intention of killing the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). From behind the wall (which was of a low height in those
days), they fixed their eyes over the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) bed so that with the approach of dawn they would kill the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They reckoned Ali (a.s.) who was lying on the Prophet’s bed to be the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). But at
dawn, when Ali (a.s.) got up from his bed, they realized their folly.
When the infidels recognized their mistake, they searched for the Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) almost as far off as the cave of Mount Thaur.61
At that moment, Abu Bakr was very scared. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘Do not grieve, for Allah is on our side.’62
The Quraishites returned from the cave. Ali (a.s.) purchased a camel for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).63 A camel was brought for Abu Bakr along with Aamer-ibn- Fahira, the slave of Ayesha’s stepbrother.64
They also took along with them a guide by the name of Abdullah ibn Areeqah, a non-Muslim from the tribe of Bani Dail.65
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) migrated from Mecca along with these three fellow travelers until they reached the village of Quba, which was situated two miles from Medina. They remained there until Ali (a.s.) returned the things which the
Quraish had deposited with the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and then joined the Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) in Quba along with his family members.
This news reached the Muslims in Medina. Consequently, they would come out of Medina every morning and await the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) arrival until the end
of the day. This continued till Monday, the eighth or twelfth of Rabiul-Awwal when the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) finally arrived in Medina along with his
The Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) camel halted at a place in the centre of Medina. The
Prophet (s.a.w.a.) bought this place and built there, the mosque of Medina, with
61 Seerah Ibne-Hisham vol.2, p.127
62 It is in reference to the blessed verse:
.ﺎﻨﻌﻣ ﷲﺍ ﻥﺇ ﻥﺰﲢ ﻻ ﻪﺒﺣﺎﺼﻟ ﻝﻮﻘﻳ ﺍﺫﺍ
63 Muruj az-Zahab – Masoudi; Chapter of “Migration”
64 Uyoon al-Athar 1/181
65 Uyoon al-Athar 1/184 and Murooj az-Zahab, Chapter of “Migration” 2/279
bricks and mud and covered its ceiling with branches of date trees. On the rear side of the mosque, he constructed a small shed named “Junhah” and made the homeless “Muhajirs” (the Immigrants) reside in this place.
Similarly, he built houses alike the structure of the mosque for each of his spouses adjoining the mosque. Seven months after migration, he married
Ayesha. Thereafter, he got his daughter Fatemah, his daughter from Khadijah (s.a.), married to his cousin Ali, the son of Abu Talib, and constructed a house (which looked similar to his own house) near his own house for Fatemah (a.s.)
The foundation of the Islamic society
As such, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) founded the first Islamic society. He created brotherhood between every two persons from the Muhajirs (immigrants) like Abu Bakr and Omar. Moreover, he set every Muhajir as a brother to every Ansar (Helpers) like in the case of Abu-Bakr with Kharejah ibn Zubair Ansari and Omar-ibn-Khattab with Etab-ibn-Malik Ansari.
On both these occasions, he called Ali (a.s.) as his brother and addressed him as such,
“You are my brother in this world as well as the Hereafter.”66
Similarly, for the sake of safeguarding this small society, he entered into a peaceful coexistence treaty with the Jewish tribes of Medina who were
financially sound and wealthy. Moreover, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) signed a pact of cooperation with them (in particular, the tribes of Bani-Qainaqa who were tradesmen and usurers and the two tribes of Bani-Nazir and Bani-Quraizah, whose professions were farming, gardening and cattle-rearing) to fight against
anyone who wanted to attack Medina. In this pact, they had implicitly acknowledged the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) authority and rule in Medina.67
After concluding these agreements and gaining confidence in the internal
security, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) turned his attention to the enemies of Islam (i.e. the Quraish in Mecca). This was while hundreds of Muhajirs existed who had left their entire wealth in Mecca under the occupation of the Quraish and was now living in utmost hardship, with the assistance of the Ansars.
To solve this problem, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would dispatch warriors to overcome the trade caravans of the Quraish who would pass near Medina on
their way to Mecca. On one occasion, they gained control over a small trade caravan belonging to the Quraish and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) distributed the spoils amongst the indigents.
The battle of Badr
This state of affairs continued until the month of Ramadhan 2 A.H. when it was reported to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that a big trade caravan belonging to the
66 Refer to Uyoon al-Athar 1/200-201.
67 Refer to Uyoon al-Athar 1/197.
Quraish was on its way from Syria to Mecca. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) persuaded a few Muslims to move out of Medina to keep watch over this trade caravan. For this purpose, one hundred and thirteen men set out of Medina until they halted near a place called “Badr”. The valley of “Badr” is situated seven stops from Medina.
The big trade caravan of the Quraish, under the leadership of “Abu Sufyan”, received news of this event. Abu Sufyan informed the Meccans about this entanglement but he managed to escape.
The Quraish set out from Mecca with a thousand well-equipped men for
encountering the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). A few men from Bani Hashim too had accompanied this army, albeit reluctantly, and amongst them were Abbas, the Prophet’s uncle and Talib (Ali’s brother). The Quraish rebuked them and as a consequence, Talib managed to escape and returned to Mecca.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) became aware of this event. A great portion of the Islamic army was formed by the Ansars (the helpers) who in their allegiance to the
Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in Mecca had promised to assist the Prophet but only during his stay in Medina. Thus, now that they were outside Medina and they had also not set out of Medina for the purpose of war, it was not out of place for the
Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to inquire whether they reckoned themselves to be obliged to fulfill their promise or not under the present circumstances.
For this reason, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gathered together his army for consultation and informed them about the flight of the trade caravan and the
approach of the equipped army. He addressed them, “Let me have your opinion. What should be done”?
At this moment, Abu Bakr and Omar suggested,
“O Prophet of Allah! We swear by Allah that these are the Quraish who have come forward with all their might and splendor.
We swear by Allah that from the time the Quraish have gained power and
splendor, they have never been defeated and humbled.
We swear by Allah that from the day the Quraish have turned infidels they have not brought faith.
We swear by Allah that the Quraish will never forsake their power and splendor and will fight against you. So be prepared for a battle.”68
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not pay heed to these two and their intimidating sayings.69
After them, Miqdad said, “O Prophet of Allah! Act according to the divine command as we are on your side. We shall not repeat the statement of Bani Israel who said to their Prophet (s.a.w.a.), ‘You go along with your Allah and
68 The references for this statement as well as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) consultations with the companions will appear in the next reference.
69 About the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) heedless behaviour towards these two figures, one can refer to Sahih Muslim; Book of Jihad and As-Sair; Chapter of Badr.
fight while we shall remain here’. But, we say, ‘Fight against them. We are on your side and we shall fight against them. I swear by the One who sent you by the truth! If you go as far as the shores of the sea we shall follow suit.”
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) sent blessings on him and repeated his earlier statement and said, (O people let me have your opinion).
The Ansars became aware that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) wanted to know their response. Sa’d-ibn-Ma’z, an Ansar chief, stood on his feet and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah. It appears that you want our reply?’
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied in the affirmative.
Sa’d said, “I give my response on behalf of the Ansars and say, ‘O Prophet! Perhaps you have set out of Medina for some particular task and now, you have
received a divine command for another task. O Prophet! We have brought faith in you and have testified in you. We have also vowed to be obedient and submissive before you. You may act as per the divine command. I swear by the
One who sent you by the truth, if you head towards the sea we (too) shall head for the sea even if only one amongst us may remain alive. You may establish relationship with whomsoever you wish and severe relationship with whosoever
you desire. You may take from our wealth whatever you wish. If you take from our wealth we will be happier, than if you refuse.”
After Sa’d’s speech, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘You have the blessings of Allah who has promised me victory. At the moment, I can see the destruction of the
Thereafter, he showed them the killing spot of each of the eminent ones from the
The Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) army descended upon Badr. They prepared a shady place for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and then put guards near it. Abu Bakr went near this safe spot and remained there till the end of the battle.71
The army of Quraish arrived, all decked up and ostentatious. And on the seventeenth of Ramadhan, the famous battle of Badr came to an end between the Muslims and the infidels.
From the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) army, Ali (a.s.) and Hamza (a.r.) exhibited their valour more than anybody else and killed the chiefs and champions amongst the Quraish.72 Amongst the Ansars too, the valiant battled fiercely. The few men from the Hashimites, who had come to Badr by force, did not assist the polytheists in their fight against the Muslims.
In this war, the Muslims emerged victorious. Amongst them, fourteen achieved martyrdom, six from the Muhajirs and eight from the Ansars. Amongst the
70 Refer to the incident of the battle of Badr in “Maghazi” of Waaqedi, Oxford publication; 1/48-49 and “Emtah al-Asmah” of Muqrizi; 1/74–75.
71 Refer to Seerah Ibne-Hisham 2/267.
72 Refer to the incident of the battle of Badr in Seerah Ibne-Hisham. In this book, Ali’s name has been mentioned seventeen times in the list showing the killers of the Quraishite infidels.
polytheists, seventy got killed and another seventy were taken as captives. Amongst those killed were Utbah, Shaibah and Hanzalah, Hind’s father, brother and son respectively, and Ali (a.s.) and Hamza (a.r.) killed them all.73
On the day of Badr, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared as prohibited the killing of certain figures amongst the Bani-Hashim as well as a few others. These people were those who had either come with the Quraish involuntarily, like the Bani- Hashim, and a few others, or had devoted some kind of service to Islam and had defended the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) during his stay in Mecca like Abul Bukhtari, who was amongst those who had cooperated and torn apart the pact of the Qurasih against the Muslims.
In particular, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) announced the name of Abbas and said, ‘Do not kill him as the Quraish have brought him by force’.
At that moment, Abu Huzaifa, the son of Utbah said, “Should we kill our fathers, sons, brothers and near ones but leave Abbas unharmed? I swear by Allah that if I see him, I will pierce my sword in his body”
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) turned to Omar and said, ‘Do they wish to strike the
Prophet’s paternal uncle with the sword?
Omar retorted, ‘O Prophet, allow me to severe his head with the sword. I swear by Allah that he has revealed his dissension.’74
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not give him permission.
Disagreement in distribution of the spoils of war
When the Quraishite army faced defeat and turned its back in the battle-field, a group of Islamic soldiers pursued them in the desert and whoever was caught, was either killed or taken as captive. Another group stormed the enemy’s tents and seized their belongings. A few others guarded the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) place lest the enemy finds an opportunity and attacks the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) when the Islamic soldiers were away.
After the termination of the battle, a dispute arose between these three groups over the distribution of the spoils of war. The group that had brought the booties along with themselves reckoned they were the sole owners and believed that others had no right over them.
The group that had pursued the enemy said, ‘We swear by Allah that you do not deserve this booty more than we do. Had we not pursued the enemy and kept
them busy in fighting, they wouldn’t have allowed you to seize their wealth. Moreover, the group which was on duty guarding the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said,
‘We saw the enemy’s belongings without any caretaker but resisted from collecting the booty, lest the enemy might see the Prophet’s place unguarded
and hence return and attack the Prophet. Thus we remained in our position and
73 Refer to Seerah Ibne-Hisham 2/365.
74 Refer to the word “ÓíÑ” in Mu’jam al-Buldaan and Seerah Ibne-Hisham 2/281.
guarded the Prophet and so you are not as worthy as we are in acquiring this booty.’
Under such circumstances, a revelation descended upon the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) according to which he earmarked this wealth as that belonging to Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.). The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) commanded all those who had
taken these spoils of war to return them back and assigned one of the Ansars to collect and safeguard them. Thereafter, he set out from the land of Badr towards Medina until he reached a territory named “Seer” near Medina. He halted at this place and issued a command for the equal distribution of the spoils of war amongst all.75
The effect of the battle of Badr on the people of the Arabian
Amongst all the tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, the most respected and affluent one was the tribe of Quraish in Mecca and its awesome presence was felt by one and all. In contrast, the most helpless people in the Arabian Peninsula were the Muslims of that time where a group amongst them fled to Ethiopia due to fear of torture and persecution by the Quraish while another group got scattered and secretly sought shelter in Medina. Amongst this helpless group, “one hundred and thirteen” unarmed men set out of Medina for the purpose of laying hands on the trade caravan of the Quraish. And in contrast, “one thousand well-armed and fully equipped men” from the Quraish set out of Mecca with the aim of destroying the Muslims.
These two groups, with all the differences that existed in their forces, battled fiercely in the land of Badr. Eventually, seventy men (amongst who were
Quraishite chiefs) got killed and seventy men were taken as prisoners and this helpless group took with themselves the tents, horses, camels, warring-
equipment and other belongings of the Quraish to Medina. The survivors fled from the battlefield and retreated towards Mecca. This astonishing phenomenon moved these stonehearted men and altered their assessment on Islam and the
With the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) entry into Medina and the conclusion of a security treaty between the tribes of Ansars and the Jewish tribes, Abdullah ibn Ubai’s
wishes came to a naught. (The same Abdullah ibn Ubai who before the Prophet’s migration to Medina was a candidate for being its king and the people had prepared the royal throne for him). Just before the battle of Badr, he passed his days and nights praying for the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) defeat. But after the
battle of Badr, he gave up and accepted Islam along with all his followers.
75 Refer to the word “Seer” in Mu’jam al-Buldaan.
On the other hand, the Jewish tribes, who had no consideration for this helpless group of new-entrants to Medina, realized their error after the battle of Badr. With the progress of Islam in Medina, they were losing their own factors of advancement, superiority and lordship. For, the Jews always thrived in undisciplined, aimless and chaotic societies and engaged in usury and wealth- accumulation. With the advent of Islam in Medina, the disorder was done away with. The tribes of Aws and Khazraj (whose futile arguments would lead to bloody wars, where each tribe would take on rent, the war-tools from different Jewish tribes and hence provide them the chance of engaging in usury) had now pronounced the formula of brotherhood with each other. They were now living in a society abounding in peace, calmness, purity and stability where no stranger had any influence on it.
After the battle of Badr, the Jews became alert and started engaging in the sabotage of the Islamic affairs and creation of hatred amongst the Muslims. In this subversion, the most arrogant amongst them was the tribe of “Bani- Qainaqah”. Ibne-Hisham writes, “The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gathered them in the market of Bani-Qainaqah and addressed them in this manner thus, ‘O Jews! Fear Allah and accept Islam, lest you suffer the same fate as the Quraish. You are aware that I am the divine Prophet. My prophet hood has been mentioned in your heavenly books and Allah has taken a promise from you regarding my prophet hood.”
The Jews replied, “O Muhammad! Do you think we are like your tribe, the
Quraish? Do not become proud as you encountered (and got victory) over a nation that lacked the knowledge of warfare. By God! If we engage in a battle against each other, you will realize our identity (i.e. if there are worthy humans, it is only us!).
The First Encounter with the Jews
The Jews continued their subversive activities and treason until one day the wife of one of the Ansars (the Helpers)76 visited a jeweler shop in the market of Bani- Qainaqah. They forcefully demanded her to uncover her face but she refused. Taking some tool in hand, the goldsmith raised her skirt till her waist and when she stood up, her nakedness was manifested. The Jews had a hearty laugh. When the lady cried for help, a Muslim stepped forward and killed the goldsmith.
A mob of Bani-Qainaqah gathered and killed the Muslim. They broke their pact with the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and gathered in their castles and fortifications and prepared themselves for a war.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) laid a siege on them for fifteen days i.e. from the 15th
Shawwal, 3 A.H. till 1st Zilqad. Eventually, they surrendered before the Prophet
76 Waaqedi has narrated that the lady was the wife of one of the Ansars.
77 The history of this event was narrated from “At-Tanbih wal Ashraf” of Masoudi.
Amongst those who surrendered were seventy warriors. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) dispatched all of them to the land of Azaraat in Syria and took away their wealth as spoils of war. This wealth did not include their farms and palm groves. They were tradesmen and possessed abundant war tools as well as goldsmith tools. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) took one-fifth of the war booty and distributed the rest amongst the Muslims.78
After the battle of Badr, the Meccans were mourning for their dead for almost a year and were now preparing for avenging their murder. Finally, they headed for Medina with three thousand soldiers, three thousand camels, two hundred horses and a well-organized army.
The battle of Uhud
Uhud is the name of a mountain situated one mile from Medina. In the year 3
A.H., the Quraishite infidels marched towards Medina under the leadership of
Abu Sufyan with a well-equipped army and on Wednesday, 12th Shawwal of the same year, they set up tents near Mount Uhud.
Abu Sufyan had brought along with his army the two idols of the Quraish, Laat and Uzzah. Moreover, fifteen of the Quraishite chiefs’ wives too, headed by
Abu-Sufyan’s own wife (Hind) had joined his army with the aim of encouraging the soldiers.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) consulted the Muhajirs and the Ansars whether they
should remain in Medina and fight the Quraish in hand to hand combat in the streets of Medina, with which the Quraish soldiers are unacquainted, and the women and children attack them from roof-tops? Or, they set out of Medina and fight the Quraish in the desert?
As far as strategy was concerned, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) personally thought it to be more prudent to stay in Medina and fight. Abdullah-ibn-Abi Manafiq, the leader of the Aws tribe, held the same view. But, most of the warriors including
Hamza said, ‘If we don’t go outside Medina to face the enemy, then defeat is certain.’
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) thought it wise to accept the opinion of the enthusiastic
Islamic soldiers and confront the Quraish outside Medina because, if he stayed back in Medina, the Islamic soldiers’ morale (for achieving martyrdom) which was accompanied with fervor and excitement would be shattered.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) left Medina with a thousand soldiers and amongst them were Abdullah ibn Ubai and his followers. On the way, Abdullah ibn Ubai addressed his followers as such, “The Prophet acted upon the opinion of the youngsters while he disregarded our views.” Saying this, he returned to Medina
with three hundred of his followers.
78 Refer to the battle of Bani-Qainaqah in Maghazi of Waaqedi 1/176-180 and Seerah Ibne-Hisham 2/426-428.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) reached near Mount Uhud with seven hundred soldiers and there, they came face to face with the Quraish army. The battle began on Saturday 15th of Shawwal and ended on the same day too.
Array of troops on both sides
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) marshalled seven hundred Islamic soldiers in front of Mount Uhud in such manner that Mt. Uhud lay behind them. He placed fifty archers headed by Abdullah ibn Zubair behind the army for the purpose of guarding the mountain slope, so that if ever the Quraish horsemen thought of attacking the army from the rear, the archers would drive them away.
Abu-Sufyan appointed “Khalid-ibn-Walid” to lead the two hundred Quraishite horsemen and handed over the army banner to the heroes from the tribe of Bani-
Abdud Dar. Hind and other women, who accompanied her, walked behind the rows of the polytheist army and played the tambourine. They encouraged the soldiers by reciting epic verses. When they reached behind the heroes from the
tribe of Abduddar and the standard bearers of Quraish, the ones reciting the epic verses recited as such:
“Behold O men of Bani-Abduddar!
Behold O the heroes supporting the army and guarding the rear side of the army! Strike by your naked swords.”
In the Quraishite army was a black and fearless slave called Wahshi, who from a
far distance would take aim at the champions with his sharp weapon and inflict effective blows. Hind said to him, ‘If you kill Muhammad, Hamza or Ali in this battle, you shall be set free; either Muhammad or Hamza or Ali.’
Wahshi said, “I can neither kill Muhammad nor Ali. As for Muhammad, a group
of soldiers are guarding him and as for Ali, he attacks like a lion while fighting although at the same time he is vigilant on his left, right and all other sides. However, I can kill Hamza because, even though he advances like a roaring lion, he is not careful on his left or right side.”
The commencement of the battle
Talha ibn Uthman, the standard bearer of the polytheist army, who was called “Kabshul-Katibah” (indicating the hero of the army) started the battle and cried out, ‘O champions of Muhammad! Do you think that God will send us to Hell by means of your swords and will send you to Paradise through our swords? Is there anyone amongst you whose sword can dispatch me to Hell or that my sword will dispatch him to Paradise?!
Ali (a.s.) approached him and said, “I swear by the One to Whom I owe my life, I shall not depart until you step into Hell by means of my sword or I enter the
Paradise by means of your sword. At that very moment, Ali (a.s.) struck him with his sword. He lost one of his legs and fell on the ground with his private
At that moment, Talha said: “O cousin! For the sake of God and our kinship, let me free.’ Ali (a.s.) left him unharmed and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) cried, “Allah-O- Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest).
When Ali (a.s.) went back to his position, the companions said, ‘Why didn’t you kill him?’ Ali (a.s.) said, ‘When my cousin’s private part was exposed, he swore
by our kinship and (so) I felt ashamed.’
At that very time, the battle between the two armies began. Ali (a.s.) displayed such magnanimity that he destroyed the standard bearers of Quraish. When one would fall, the other would raise the flag on his shoulder. The battle continued in
this manner until ten amongst them were killed. Thereafter, the freed one amongst them carried the flag. Ali (a.s.) killed him as well. At this moment, the Quraishite flag fell on the ground.
When the Quraish witnessed this scene, they began to flee. Hamza, Abu Dajjaneh Ansari and other Muhajir and Ansar warriors too exhibited their valour. The Muslim warriors pursued the Quraishite soldiers until they reached
their camps. The Quraish fled from their tents as well and headed for the desert. The Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) army went inside the Quraishite camp and became busy in collecting the spoils of war.
When the men guarding the mountain slope saw this, they felt that the battle had come to an end. Amongst them, forty disobeyed their commander and abandoned their duty and joined the Islamic soldiers in plundering the Quraishite tents.
Observing this scene, Khalid ibn Walid took advantage of this opportunity and appeared from the rear of the mountain with two hundred horsemen and killed Abdullah ibn Jubair and a few of his associates. Thereafter, he attacked the rear
side of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) army from the mountain-peak. He entered the battlefield and attacked the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) soldiers who were now in disarray.
Under these circumstances, a man from the Quraish picked up the Quraishite flag from the ground. When the Quraishite army found the situation changed and witnessed their flag raised once again, they returned from the desert and
attacked the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) army from another side. The Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) army found itself sandwiched, being attacked by the Quraishite army from two sides. A fierce battle took place.
At this moment, Wahshi found Hamza unguarded and flung a spear at him. Hamza fell on the ground and was martyred. A group amongst the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) army was martyred.
The polytheists attacked the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) from all sides. When Nasibah
Mazniah, a lady from the Ansars who had come to the battlefield for providing
water to the injured79 saw this situation, rushed to defend the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). She received injuries and became weak as a result of the battle.
The news spread in Medina. Men from the Ansars who were in Medina came to the battlefield and got martyred. Under such circumstances, a polytheist flung a stone at the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) face. The Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) blessed forehead
and tooth broke. His nose received injuries and blood flowed down his face.
At this moment, one group after another from the Quraishite heroes attacked the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) from all sides with the aim of killing him. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) cried out to Ali, ‘O Ali! Repel this group.’ At this time, Jibraeel (a.s.)
addressed the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) thus,
‘O the Messenger of Allah, this is what is called self-sacrifice.’
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) retorted, “Ali is from me and I am from Ali.” Jibraeel (a.s.) said: “And I am from you two.”
Thereafter, they heard a cry:
‘There is no sword but Zulfiqar (Ali’s sword) and there is no stalwart but Ali.’ Under such circumstances, a polytheist killed Mu’sab-ibn-Umair, one of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions and thinking that he had killed the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he cried out, ‘I have killed Muhammad.’
This cry spread on both sides of the army and had a disastrous impact. The Islamic soldiers fled in all directions from the battlefield. Ya’qubi says, ‘No one remained near the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) save Ali, Talha and Zubair.’
A group of deserters, who had climbed on Mount Uhud, assembled together and
said, ‘We wish someone would go and request Abdullah ibn Ubayy to seek protection for us from the Quraish.’
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself saw a few fleeing from the battlefield. He called
them one by one by names. A few amongst them returned until they became fifteen in number and they rallied around him (s.a.w.a.). Moments later, they took the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on top of Mount Uhud. Ali (a.s.) brought water and washed the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wounds.
The battlefield became devoid of Islamic warriors. Hind brought her female accomplices to the battle arena and personally cut off Hamza’s and other
martyrs’ noses and made a necklace and an anklet out of them. She then wore them and gave away her own necklace and anklet to Wahshi. Her accomplices too did the same. Hind split open Hamza’s stomach and extracted his liver. She
tried to chew the liver but it fell off from her mouth.
79 Anyone, who bleeds profusely, becomes severely thirsty. In the past, it was the practice to appoint a few people in the battlefield for the job of providing water and first aid to the injured. Nasibah fulfilled this responsibility in the battle of Uhud. Those who set forth Nasibah’s participation in the battle as the proof for permissability of women’s participation in other such activities should take note of the following:
Firstly, this war took place only a mile away from Medina and did not involve travelling.
Secondly, Nasibah had entered the battlefield for the purpose of providing water to the injured and when she saw the polytheists attacking the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), she hastened to defend the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and defending the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is obligatory upon every Muslim. However, this affair cannot be taken as a proof for permissibility of women’s participation in all other fields.
Abu-Sufyan came over Hamza’s corpse and while striking Hamza’s face with the tip of his spear, said, ‘Taste it for you have broken off ties of kinship.’
Halees, the chief of the Ahabeesh tribe (an ally of the Quraish), was a testimony to the entire scenario. He cried out: ‘O tribesmen see what the Quraish chief is doing to the lifeless body of his cousin!’ Abu-Sufyan said to him, ‘Excuse me! It
was an error!’
Thereafter, Abu-Sufyan cried out, ‘Is Muhammad (still) alive?’ His people replied in the affirmative.
Once again Abu-Sufyan cried out, “Exceed in superiority O Hubal! Exceed in
superiority O Hubal!
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied: “Allah is most High and Glorified.”
Abu-Sufyan yelled, “We are having the idol Uzzah with us while you do not!” The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: “Our Master is Allah whereas you do not have a
The battle of Uhud ended with sixty-eight Muslims dead. On Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.)
command, the dead were buried in that very mountain slope and all returned to
Medina on the same day.
A brief comparison
In this battle, Ali’s (a.s.) behavior with the standard bearer of Quraish is worthy of attention in contrast to Abu-Sufyan and Hind’s (Muawiya’s parents) behavior with Hamza, the chief of the martyrs. Similarly, the behavior of one Ansar woman (Nasibah) in connection with her love and self-sacrificing attitude towards the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the behavior of one Quraishite woman (Hind) in connection with her hatred against the Muslims are also noteworthy.
The battle of Hamrah-ul-Asad
On their return journey to Mecca, the Quraish consulted with one another and said, ‘After the defeat of Muhammad’s army, why didn’t we make an assault on Medina so that Muhammad’s affairs would come to an end!’
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) received this news on the first night after his arrival from
Mount Uhud. The next day, Sunday, 8th of Shawwal, he commanded his army to set out of Medina with the aim of pursuing the enemy. For this task, he permitted only those who had fought and received wounds to participate. This itself was a severe admonition for those who had deserted the battlefield. On the same day, the soldiers who had suffered injuries left Medina and moved forward until they reached Hamrah-ul-Asad, situated at about eight miles away from Medina. The soldiers halted at this place and two persons were dispatched in the direction of the Quraishite army for the purpose of collecting information.
A man belonging to the tribe of Khazah (an ally of Bani-Hashim) gave news of this event to Abu Sufyan and in an elegant poem, warned him of the awe-
inspiring army of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Fear-struck and scared, Abu-Sufyan commanded the Quraishite army to move in the direction of Mecca and dispatched someone to warn the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) not to pursue the Quraish. After staying in Hamrah-ul-Asad for three days and receiving news of the Quraishite army’s departure to Mecca, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) returned to Medina.80
80 The battle of Hamrah-ul-Asad has been mentioned in “Maghaazi” of Waaqedi 1/334 and Seerah Ibne-Hisham
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) was appointed as Prophet in the cave of “Hera”. With this nomination (bethat), fourteen chapters of the Quran were revealed, and the Prophet’s “Sunnah” (practice of the prophet) was presented for our guidance. Islam came into force as a religion. It is practiced until date (in whatsoever manner), and shall continue till the Day of Judgement.
For the sake of inviting the people towards Islam, Abu Talib (the Meccan chief and the Prophet’s uncle), helped the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in his mission while
amongst the women, it was Khadija, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wife.
The first among men to bring faith in the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was Ali ibn Abi
Talib (a.s.) and again, amongst the women, it was the Prophet’s wife, Khadija. Long before, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had taken Ali (a.s.), a child, to his own house. He (s.a.w.a.) would put morsels of food in his mouth and feed him. He (s.a.w.a.) would cling to Ali (a.s.) and make him smell the sweet fragrance emitting from his body. It was Ali (a.s.) who had accompanied the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) at the time of revelation in the cave of “Hera”.81
When the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) invited the Bani Hashim to accept Islam (on the day of Dhul Asheerah) and inquired about their willingness to help him, it was only Ali (a.s.) who paid allegiance to him (s.a.w.a.). In the tenth year of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) appointment, Abu Talib and Khadija, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) two helpers on the path of Islamic propaganda expired. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) named that year as the year of sorrow.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) migrated to Medina. In Medina, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
would constantly remember Abu Talib and Khadija. Whenever he would sacrifice a sheep, he would distribute its meat amongst Khadija’s friends. After Abu Talib, his son Ali (a.s.) became the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) special friend and helper.
• Amongst the Muslims, Ali (a.s.) killed and captured the maximum number of the Quraishite infidels in the battle of Badr.
• In the battle of Uhud, it was Ali (a.s.), who used his sword to protect the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), battling the Quraish single-handedly while the others fled.
• In the battle of Khandaq, Ali (a.s.) killed Amr, the hero amongst the
Quraish and the polytheists fled from the battlefield.
• At Khaibar, it was Ali (a.s.) who conquered the fort.
For the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ali (a.s.) was Abu Talib’s remembrance and Fatemah
(a.s.) was that of Khadija. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gave Fatemah’s (a.s.) hand in marriage to Ali (a.s.) in Medina.
81 Nahjul-Balagha (Sermon of disparagement)
Fatemah (a.s.) gave birth to Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.). After the revelation of the verse,
ﷲا ﺔﻨﻌﻟ ﻞﻌﺠﻨﻓ ﻞﻬﺘﺒﻧ ﻢﺛ ﻢﻜﺴﻔﻧأ و ﺎﻨﺴﻔﻧأ و ﻢﻛ ءﺎﺴﻧ و ﺎﻧ ءﺎﺴﻧ و ﻢﻛ ءﺎﻨﺑأ و ﺎﻧ ءﺎﻨﺑأ عﺪﻧ اﻮﻟﺎﻌﺗ ﻞﻘﻓ »
“Then say, come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and ourselves and yourselves, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.” (Al-Imran-61), the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) caught hold of Hasnain’s (a.s.) hands and along with Ali (a.s.) and Fatemah (a.s.), went for Mubahela (malediction or mutual invocation of a curse) against the Christians of Najran.
When the verse of purity,
.«اﺮﻴﻬﻄﺗ ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧإ »
“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House and to purify you a (thorough) purification” was revealed, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) made Hasnain (a.s.) sit on his knees, Fatemah (a.s.) in front of him and Ali (a.s.) behind him, and while spreading the cloak over all, he (s.a.w.a.) said,
“O Lord! These are my Ahl-ul-bayt (people of the House).”
In this manner, these five personalities were named as “Ashaab-e-Kisa”
(privileged ones of the cloak).
After revelation of this verse, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would visit his daughter’s house five times a day before every obligatory prayer.
The door of Fatemah’s (s.a.) house would open inside the mosque and there was no other door. Before the very eyes of the worshippers (the Muhajirs and the Ansars) who would await the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) arrival by standing in the rows
of the congregational prayer, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would stand on the threshold of her house and say,
( اﺮﻴﻬﻄﺗ ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧإ) !ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺎﻳ ﻚﻴﻠﻋ مﻼﺴﻟا »
.« !ﺓﻼﺼﻟا ! ﺓﻼﺼﻟا After reading out this series of traditional prayers, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would move towards his mehraab and then lead the congregational prayer.
And with the revelation of the verse,
.«ﻲﺑﺮﻘﻟا ﻲﻓ ﺓدﻮﻤﻟا ﻻإ اﺮﺟأ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﻢﻜﻟﺄﺳأ ﻻ ﻞﻗ » “Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near kinsfolk” (Shoura- 23)
Ali, Fatemah, Hasan and Husain became recognized as the Prophet’s kinsfolk. With the revelation of the verse,
. « ﻪﻘﺣ ﻲﺑﺮﻘﻟا اذ تآ و »
“…and give to the near ones their right” the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) donated Fadak to Fatemah (a.s.).
After the revelation of the following verse in Ghadir-e-Khum,
.«ﻪﺘﻟﺎﺳر ﺖﻐﻠﺑ ﺎﻤﻓ ﻞﻌﻔﺗ ﻢﻟ نإ و ﻚﺑر ﻦﻣ ﻚﻴﻟإ لﺰﻧا ﺎﻣ ﻎﻠﺑ لﻮﺳﺮﻟا ﺎﻬﻳا ﺎﻳ » The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) held Ali’s (a.s.) hand, and raising him high, he proclaimed,
.«… هﻻﻮﻣ ﻲﻠﻋ اﺬﻬﻓ هﻻﻮﻣ ﺖﻨﻛ ﻦﻣ » The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) appointed Ali (a.s.) as his legatee in a very lucid manner.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) fell sick and on Monday, he rested his head on Ali’s (a.s.)
chest and expired.
As a duty, Ali (a.s.) along with just a few of his close friends and relatives were engaged in giving Ghusl (ceremonial bath) to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and shrouding him.
At that very moment, the Ansars had gathered at Saqifa Bani Saaedah for paying allegiance to Sa’d ibn Ubadah and for appointing him as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) successor.
Among the Muhajirs, the Quraish dashed to Saqifa. Once there, they claimed their right for the caliphate and argued, “The Prophet was from the Quraish. (So) the Arabs will not allow the caliphate to fall in the hands of the non-Quraish.”
The Muhajir Quraishites achieved their objective through this dispute, and paid allegiance to Abu Bakr! They said to each other, “If anyone from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) Ahle-bait becomes the Caliph, then nobody else will get a chance of attaining the caliphate ever. Allow the caliphate to rotate amongst the Quraish
families so that every tribe of Quraish gets a chance (to rule).”
The group that paid allegiance to Abu Bakr took him around the streets till dawn
(to introduce him as the new Caliph). They brought whomsoever they met on their way before Abu Bakr and urged him to pay allegiance to the Caliph.
Thus passed the black Monday in Islamic history.
On Tuesday, they took Abu Bakr to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mosque and made him sit on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) pulpit and paid allegiance to him for the
second time. Thereafter, Abu Bakr and Umar delivered sermons and the people recited their prayers behind the former. This was the manner in which allegiance
to Abu Bakr came to an end on Tuesday.
During these two days (when the mockery of appointment of caliphate was going on), the Bani Hashim had gathered in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) house and a few amongst them were busy helping Ali (a.s.) in giving the ceremonial bath
and shrouding the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), followed by the ritual funeral prayers. The Muslims of Medina came in groups to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) chamber and independently offered prayers over the blessed coffin of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
This took place on the whole of Monday and terminated on Tuesday evening. The same night, Ali (a.s.) and a few others buried the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) holy body.
During these two days, the caliphate gang strove hard to bring to the matter of
Abu Bakr’s allegiance to a conclusive acceptability. Thus, this was the manner in which Abu Bakr became the Caliph and gained allegiance from the people!
By means of this very allegiance, Umar became the Caliph! By means of this very allegiance, Uthman became the Caliph! By means of this very allegiance, Moaviyah became the Caliph!
By means of this very allegiance, Yazid became the Caliph!
By means of this very allegiance, the Bani Umayyah, the Bani-Abbas and the
Uthmanis became the Caliph!
By means of this very allegiance, Abu Bakr did whatever he desired! By means of this very allegiance, Umar did whatever he lusted for!
By means of this very allegiance, the Bani Umayyah, Uthman, Moaviyah and
Yazid did whatever they wished!
By means of this very allegiance, the Bani Abbas and the Uthmani Caliphs did whatever they liked!
By means of this very allegiance, (undesired and unfortunate) events took place in Islam from that very day and will continue to occur till the advent of the Mahdi (a.s.)!
* * *
In this discussion, we shall examine the policies of the following Caliphs, which left a deep impression on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah. Inshallah
1. Abu Bakr
4. Ali (a.s.)
In this discussion we shall review first of all that portion of their general policies, which throws light on their stand towards the Prophet’s hadith and sunnah.
.«اﺮﻴﺜﻛ ﷲا ﺮﻛذ و ﺮﺧﻵا مﻮﻴﻟا و ﷲا اﻮﺟﺮﻳ نﺎﻛ ﻦﻤﻟ ﺔﻨﺴﺤ ﺓﻮﺳأ ﷲا لﻮﺳر ﻲﻓ ﻢﻜﻟ نﺎﻛ ﺪﻘﻟ »
“Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.” (Ahzab: 21)
.«بﺎﻘﻌﻟا ﺪﻳﺪﺷ ﷲا نإ ﷲا اﻮﻘﺗا و اﻮﻬﺘﻧﺎﻓ ﻪﻨﻋ ﻢﻛﺎﻬﻧ ﺎﻣ و هوﺬﺨﻓ لﻮﺳﺮﻟا ﻢﻛﺎﺗآ ﺎﻣ و » “And whatever the Apostle gives you, accept it and from whatever he forbids you, keep back and be careful of (your duty to) Allah: surely Allah is severe in avenging (evil).” (Hashr: 7)
THE SUNNAH DURING ABU BAKR’S ERA
Abu Bakr, the Caliph from the Quraish
Abu Bakr attained the caliphate in the month of Rabiul-Awwal 11 A.H. just after the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a) demise and he died in Jamaadi-us-Saania 13
A.H. His rule lasted for over two years.
Those who swore allegiance to Abu Bakr belonged to the tribe of Quraish, which differed from the clan of Bani Hashim. His opponents within Medina
were the clan of Bani Hashim from the Quraish as well as the Ansars and his foes outside Medina consisted of a few Arab tribes.
Abu Bakr’s policy vis-a-vis the supporters and opponents of his allegiance
The Muhajirs (the Immigrants) from the Quraish supported Abu Bakr’s allegiance. They emphasized that the Caliph should be from the tribe of Quraish but excepting the Bani Hashim. In this regard, as mentioned before, the Muhajirs addressed the Ansars (the Helpers) as such, “The Prophet (s.a.w.a) is from the Quraish and so the Arabs will never agree the caliphate to be selected from a tribe other than the Quraish.” Practically too, it was Abu Bakr, Umar or Abu Ubaidah who introduced the candidate for the Caliphate and they never even once uttered the name of Ali or Abbas (the Prophet’s uncle). They swore allegiance to Abu Bakr for the reason that he was from the Quraish.
During Umar’s caliphate, while Umar was conversing with Ibne Abbas, he stressed on this point and said, “O Ibne Abbas, your father is the Prophet’s uncle
and you are his cousin. What made your tribe and your people keep a distance from you? (In other words, why didn’t your own tribe viz. Quraish appoint you
to the seat of caliphate?)
Ibne Abbas said, ‘I do not know’!
Umar said, ‘I know. They disliked your rule upon them’.
Ibne Abbas said, ‘Why is it so while we are good and beneficial to them’?
Umar said, ‘May Allah shower His Mercy! They feel unpleasant if the prophet hood and caliphate are (both) placed in your household lest pride overcomes
you. Perhaps, you may say Abu Bakr had done such and such act. By Allah, no! Abu Bakr acted most prudently with regards to the affair entrusted to him.’82
In another tradition, Umar addressed Ibne Abbas thus, ‘O Ibne Abbas, do you
know what made your tribe (the Quraish) keep a distance from you?’
Ibne Abbas says, “I did not want to reply to this question and so I said, ‘If I am unaware of the reason, Amir-ul-Mumineen (Umar) will make me aware”!
Umar said, ‘they were reluctant to see the prophet hood and the caliphate merge
in your household (Bani Hashim) as in such a case you would have behaved
82 The detail of this tradition has come down in Tarikh-Tabari 5/2768; (printed in Europe).
arrogantly and braged over your tribe and nation. For this reason, the Quraish selected a Caliph for themselves and in this selection they have traversed the true path and turned successful’!
Ibne Abbas says, “I said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen! If you don’t turn angry and allow me to speak, I shall reply’.
Umar said, ‘Ibne Abbas, you may speak’.
Ibne Abbas said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen! As for your saying that the Quraish appointed a Caliph for themselves and in their selection they traversed the true path and became successful, I reply, ‘If the Quraish had selected the one whom
Allah, Exalted be He, had appointed for this affair, they would have traversed the true path and would have become successful. And as for your saying that the Quraish were reluctant to see the prophet hood and caliphate gather in our
household, Allah says about the nation, which is reluctant as such:
.«ﻢﻬﻟﺎﻤﻋأ ﻂﺒﺣﺄﻓ ﷲا لﺰﻧأ ﺎﻣ اﻮﻫﺮﻛ ﻢﻬﻧﺄﺑ ﻚﻟذ » “That is because they hated what Allah revealed, so He rendered their deeds null.” (Muhammad/9)
Umar said, ‘Alas! O Ibne Abbas! By Allah, I was informed of your talks about which I was reluctant to accept. Let not your position fall before me’!
I said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen! What were those talks? If it is the truth, then truth should not bring down my position before you and if its false, then someone
likes me will repel falsehood!
Umar said, “I have been informed that you say, ‘They have done injustice against us and cherished jealousy and for this very reason, they have kept away
the caliphate from us”!
I said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen, the point that we have been done with injustice is a matter well known to all – the learned as well as the ignorant. With regards to
jealousy, the Satan cherished jealousy against Adam and we are Adam’s sons against whom jealousy has been cherished too’!
Umar said, ‘Alas! O Bani Hashim! Your hearts are filled with jealousy, which will never fade away, and full of spite and deceit, which will never file away!
I said, ‘Be calm, O Amir-ul-Mumineen; about the hearts from which Allah has kept away every kind of impurity and uncleanness,83 do not say that they are filled with jealousy, spite and deceit; as the Prophet’s heart too is the same as ours i.e. Bani Hashim’s heart’.
Umar said, ‘Get out of my sight’! I said, ‘I shall do so’!
“When I was about to depart, he felt ashamed and said, ‘Ibne Abbas, wait! I swear by Allah that I shall observe your right and I prefer whatever pleases you’!
83 It is in reference to the verse:
.«اﺮﻴﻬﻄﺗ ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧإ »
I said, ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen, I have right over you and every other Muslim (for being the Prophet’s cousin). Whosoever observes this right will earn his reward and whosoever tampers my right has indeed ruined his own lot.
After this conversation, Umar stood up and departed.”84
* * *
In this connection, Ali (a.s.) too, while referring to the event of the Consultative Committee of six men for the appointment of a Caliph, said after Uthman’s death as such, “The people fixed their eyes on the Quraish and awaited their action. The Quraish reflected on their own affairs and said, ‘If the Bani Hashim takes over the caliphate, then at no time will the caliphate depart from them. However if the caliphate and government is handed over to the people from the Quraish but not the Bani Hashim then it will rotate amongst them and all will get a chance to rule.85
Appraisal of these utterances
The aforesaid three speakers were the three exact witnesses to these events and two amongst them were two rulers from hostile flanks. Umar was the chief
figure who hatched the conspiracy at Saqifa. Can anybody know the reality of those events better than they can?
In the course of these conversations, Umar wished to acquaint himself of the
internal secret of Bani Hashim through Ibne Abbas, who was then a youth. He would repeatedly provoke Ibne Abbas and persuade him to talk.
Umar repeatedly tells Ibne Abbas as such, ‘Your tribe (Quraish) were reluctant enough to see the prophet hood and caliphate gather in your household (Bani
Hashim) lest you take pride over them. For this reason, the Quraish appointed a
Caliph for themselves and succeeded in their affair.’
After seeking the Caliph’s permission and assurance that he would not get angry, Ibne Abbas says, ‘Had the Quraish selected the same leader, whom God
had appointed, then surely they would have been successful in their affair. And about your saying that they were reluctant to see the prophet hood and caliphate
gather in our household, Allah says, “That is because they hated what Allah
revealed, so He rendered their deeds null.”
Umar said, “I have been informed that you say, ‘Injustice has been done and jealousy cherished against us and for this reason they have kept away the
caliphate from us.”
Ibne Abbas said, “That injustice has been done to us is something well known to all, the learned as well as the ignorant. With regards to jealousy, the Satan bore
jealousy against Adam and we too are Adam’s sons against whom jealousy has been cherished.
* * *
84 Tarikh-Tabari 5/2770-2771; printed in Europe.
85 Tarikh-Tabari 5/2787; printed in Europe.
In these conversations, all the three speakers were unanimous in this that whatever had occurred in the matter of caliphate was due to the endeavors of the Quraish. Amongst them, Umar explained the reason for the action initiated by the Quraish. He stressed that the Quraish were reluctant in seeing the prophet hood and caliphate gather in the Bani Hashim because the latter would have taken pride and bragged over all the tribes of the Quraish.
And Ali (a.s.) adds to this reality and says, ‘The Quraish feared lest the caliphate would rotate amongst the Bani Hashim and (so) the other household amongst the Quraish would not get the chance to rule. They wished that the caliphate should
rotate amongst all the Quraish and so they kept away the caliphate from the Bani
Ibne Abbas reckoned this action to be the result of the jealousy cherished by the
Quraishite families against the Bani Hashim. In this regard, he claimed that they had committed injustice against the Bani Hashim and kept away the caliphate from the one appointed by God.
Umar failed to give any reply except that he cursed Ibne Abbas!
* * *
From what was explained, it becomes obvious that the selection of the first three
Caliphs was based on this argument that the caliphate should circulate amongst the household of the Quraish, save the household of Bani Hashim. In implementing this policy, the Qurasihites first selected “Abu Bakr” from the family of Teem, followed by “Umar” from Adi, and “Uthman” from the Bani Ummayah for the post of caliphate.
Such was the opinion of those who supported Abu Bakr’s allegiance and such was the consequence of their action. The consequences of the opposition’s
actions are as follows:
The result of the opposition’s actions against Abu Bakr’s allegiance
Three groups amongst the Muslims opposed the matter of allegiance to Abu Bakr: The Ansars and Bani Hashim in Medina and the Arab Muslim tribes outside Medina. Hereunder, we mention the results of their action:
A) The result of the actions of the Ansar
After the holy Prophet’s (s.a.wa.) demise, the first group that abandoned his corpse and assembled to attain the caliphate was the group of Ansars. Allah too deprived them from the caliphate forever and after their defeat against the Quraish, they were driven from the political arena.
B) The result of the actions of the Bani Hashim
The Bani Hashim’s candidate for the post of caliphate was the very legatee of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) i.e. Ali Ibn Abi-Talib (a.s.). After burying the Prophet
(s.a.w.a.), Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) went to his house. Ali’s house was the same as that of Fatemah, the Prophet’s (s.a.wa.) daughter. For this reason, this house was commonly named as “Fatemah’s house” in history just as the Prophet’s houses were named after his wives’ names such as “Ayesha’s house” and “Umm- Salma’s house”. While referring to this house, we too have followed their style and given the same name as they have given.
The Bani Hashim and a few of Ali’s followers who had not paid allegiance to Abu Bakr rallied around Ali in Fatemah’s house and discussed the matter of allegiance.
Abu Bakr Jauhari narrates that during those days, Ali (a.s.) would make Fatemah (a.s.) sit on a long-eared animal at night and together, they would visit the houses of Ansars seeking their assistance (in the matter of his own
allegiance). (In Shia traditions, it has come down that Hasan and Husain (a.s.)
would accompany them too, holding their father’s hand). Fatemah (a.s.) too would seek their assistance (in this affair).
The Ansars would say, ‘O the Prophet’s daughter! We have paid allegiance (the matter is already over) to this man (Abu Bakr). If before allegiance, your cousin had approached us, we would have given our allegiance to him and none else’.
In reply, Ali (a.s.) would say, ‘Was it appropriate for me to have abandoned the
Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) corpse and refrained from giving him the ritual ablution?
Was it proper for me to have abstained from shrouding him, offering prayers over him and burying his blessed body and instead, come out of the house and
scuffled with the people over this government?
And Fatemah (a.s.) would say, ‘Abul Hasan (Ali) did nothing except whatever was worthy of him. And they did that what Allah will certainly take their reckoning’.86
Fatemah’s utterances applied to the Ansars too.
The reaction of the caliphate vis-à-vis Fatema’s house and its inhabitants
For the purpose of creating discord amongst the Bani Hashim, the caliphate
went to the house of Abbas, the Prophet’s uncle. Abu Bakr said, ‘We wish to keep a share for you in this affair (caliphate)’. Abbas replied in the negative,
forcing them to leave in despair.
Consequently, the caliphate system, which saw its affairs incomplete, found no alternative but to attack Fatemah’s house. This task was put into action under the
leadership of “Umar” and a few companions amongst the Quraish. They attacked the door of Fatemah’s house but could not force through.
86 Refer to the commentary on Sermon No. 66 of Nahjul-Balagha by Ibne Abil-Hadid; Egyptian edition 6/`13 regarding the story of Saqifa.
And finally, they set the door of Fatemah’s house on fire – the house of the Prophet’s daughter. The very door besides which the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would stand five times a day before his prayers and cry out,
.«… ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺎﻳ ﻢﻜﻴﻠﻋ مﻼﺴﻟا » And after reciting these words, he would return to the prayer-niche to establish the congregational prayer.
The same companions of the Prophet, who used to witness the latter paying respect to this very house, burnt down its door and they did what they did. They entered the house and dragged Ali (a.s.), who had been instructed by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to adopt self-control, to the mosque, forcing him to pay allegiance. There, Ali (a.s.) delivered a speech. When the Ansars heard his utterances, they said, ‘O Ali, if the Ansars had heard these words before their allegiance to Abu Bakr then, (not even) two amongst them would have infringed upon your right of allegiance. But it is now all over and they have paid their allegiance.87
Here, Ali (a.s.) did not pay allegiance and the caliphate left him off. Ali (a.s.)
returned to Fatemah’s (a.s.) house.
Following this event, the caliphate began a severe economic campaign against the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) legatee and daughter. In this regard, they deprived them
from their right of receiving the Khums (one fifth levy). And this deprivation took place while they were forbidden and not permitted to utilize Sadaqah
(which is today commonly known as Zakat).
In their enmity, they (also) deprived the only heir to the Prophet i.e. Fatemah
(a.s.) from receiving the inheritance of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They usurped the
“Fadak” that was given to her by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) whereas others, who had received gardens and farms from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were not treated in this manner.
Considering that Ali (a.s.) and the other Ahle Bayt (a.s.) were not having any other source of income, we can easily perceive the effect of this economic war against the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) household.
Consequent to the sanctions, it had become impossible for the household
members to arrange any sort of gathering.
In this economic campaign, a hot and severe dispute and debate took place between the caliphate and the Prophet’s daughter. Fatema (a.s.) made this
dispute and debate public by discussing it in the Prophet’s mosque and sought help from the Ansars but they turned silent. The Prophet’s daughter returned to her house with almost unbearable pain. It was not long before she passed away
and joined her great father (s.a.w.a.)!
After Fatemah’s demise, Ali (a.s.) remained alone and the people kept a distance from him. We have explained the events that followed in the first volume of the
87 Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha – Ibne Abil-Hadid 6/12.
book “Abdullah-ibn-Saba” (on the subject of Saqifa). Thus came to an end the affairs of the opponents of Abu Bakr’s allegiance.
Keeping Aloof the Ansars and the Bani Hashim from the Political
Following these events, the caliphate kept off the Ansars and the Bani Hashim from the political arena and under no circumstances did the military directorship permit the Ansars and the Bani Hashim to participate in the conquests and rule of the Islamic cities.
Such was the affairs of the caliphate system against these two opponents within
Medina. Their treatment with the opponents outside Medina was as follows:
C) The actions of the Arab tribes who resided outside Medina
The ruling caliphate labeled the group of Arab tribes who resided outside Medina as renegades. They were killed, their property plundered and taken as war-booty, and their women, children and the aged taken as captives to Medina. A few amongst them, who possessed means of transportation, were set free while others were taken as slaves.
Amongst these tribes, three persons from three Arab tribes claimed to be the
Prophet. The ruling caliphate attacked them too and gained victory over them. They killed their warriors, seized their property and took their survivors as
captives. In the initial stages of Umar’s caliphate, Umar set free every Arab, man and woman, held as slaves.
The Policy of Abu Bakr’s Government Towards the Prophet’s
Sunnah and Hadith
Keeping in view the general policy of the caliphate during Abu Bakr’s rule, one can examine his policy with regards to the Prophet’s sunnah and ahaadith.
Now, while examining in brief all that was mentioned, we shall narrate a
tradition approving Abu Bakr’s government.
Narration of a Hadith in Approval of Abu Bakr’s Rule of
After the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise, the Ansars assembled in “Saqifa Bani-Sa’eda” for swearing allegiance to “Sa’d ibn Obadah” as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) successor. But they did not possess any proof from the Quran or the Prophet’s sunnah to endorse their claim. Rather, tribal prejudice persuaded them to resort to such a step.
When the Muhajirs amongst the Quraish received this news, they rushed to Saqifa and argued their case, “The Prophet is from the tribe of Quraish and (so) it is unacceptable to the Arabs that his successor should be from a different
tribe.” For this reason, they swore allegiance to Abu Bakr. This was while the Bani Hashim were engaged in giving ablution, shrouding and offering prayers over the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and were absent from the entire dubious proceedings. Finally, allegiance to Abu Bakr came to an end and he became the Caliph. The parties to the dispute over the matter of caliphate viz. the Ansars and the Quraish had no proof from the Quran or the Prophet’s sunnah to support their claims! Thereafter:
1. They deprived the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) household as well as the entire Bani
Hashim from their right of acquiring the Khums (one fifth levy), without any documentary evidence from divine texts for their move. On the
contrary, this right (of the Ahle Bait (a.s.)) was firmly established in the
Quran in the verse regarding Khums (Anfal: 41) and the Prophet too acted upon it during his own lifetime.
2. They took away the garden of “Fadak” from Fatemah (a.s.), which was given to her by the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), and demanded evidence to
establish that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had gifted her the “Fadak”. This occurred while the gardens and the agricultural lands, which the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had given to others, were not seized and no evidence was
demanded from them!
3. They deprived the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughter, Fatema (s.a.) from her rightful inheritance. Inheritance by son from father was a part of the clear Islamic commandments, and all the Muslims had read about this in the
Quran and acted upon it during the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) lifetime. Now, the caliphate had no alternative but to forge and fabricate a tradition from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to cite an exception to the rule
Therefore, Abu Bakr (mis)quoted the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) saying, “We Prophets do not leave behind any inheritance. What remains behind us is “Sadaqahh” (charity).” Considering that “Sadaqahh” is forbidden for the Prophet’s
household, the tradition was fabricated in the reverse.
This tradition was narrated in the debate that occurred between the Prophet’s daughter, Fatema (a.s.) and Caliph Abu Bakr. After these events, the Prophet’s
daughter thought it expedient to disclose publicly this row between herself and the caliphate. In this manner, she wanted all the companions and the Muslims to become aware of these events and by listening to the arguments from both sides;
she wished to hold them equally responsible for non-observance of this commandment.
For this task, she went to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mosque along with a group of female relatives. A curtain was put up for the Prophet’s daughter and her
accomplices. The Prophet’s daughter along with her accomplices took position on one side of the curtain while the companions, the entire Muslims and the ruling government were placed on the other side.
The Prophet’s daughter sighed as a result of which the attendants started to weep. Thereafter, she praised Allah and then said, “I am Fatemah, the daughter of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.). She continued until she said:
“O son of Abu Qahafa (the name of Abu Bakr’s father)! Have you the right to inherit from your father but not me?”
Thereafter, she addressed the Ansars and criticized them. After she finished her sermon, Abu Bakr delivered a sermon wherein he praised the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and then addressed the Prophet’s daughter and extolled her. Then, he said,
“O daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)! I personally heard the Prophet saying,
‘We Prophets do not leave behind any inheritance. Whatever remains with us is the “Sadaqah” (charity).’ And I have acted upon his commands.”
In reply, Fatemah (a.s.) said,
‘Have you intentionally set aside and forsaken Allah’s Book, wherein the
“And Sulaiman was Dawoud’s heir” (Naml: 16)
.«دواد نﺎﻤﻴﻠﺳ ثرو و »
Thereafter, she recited a few other verses too and openly challenged Abu Bakr in the presence of all the Muhajirs and Ansars concerning the hadith that he attributed to the Prophet. Not one among them said, ‘O daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)! I too have heard this tradition from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).’
Taking into account whatever was explained, the policy during Abu Bakr’s rule called for the narration of such traditions that substantiated their actions. They achieved their objective and it was for the first time that a hadith, contrary to the text of the holy Quran, quoting on authority of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), was officially narrated. Apart from this, numerous similar instances can be found in the affairs of the caliphate.
The Reason for the Silence of the Prophet’s Companions Before the Caliphate
Here, a point which attracts one’s attention is this: Despite the caliphate’s harsh behaviour towards the Prophet’s household; the narration of hadith contrary to the Quranic text; the killing of those who opposed Abu Bakr’s allegiance (like Malik-ibn-Nuwairah) and many other similar incidents, the Prophet’s companions kept silent. Why?
For a proper perspective, recognition of the general state of the people of the
Arabian Peninsular and in particular the Prophet’s companions, is of utmost necessity. The matter concerning justice of the Prophet’s companions has been adequately discussed in the second section of the book titled, ‘On the Path of Unity’. In connection with the general condition of the people of the Arabian Peninsular, we remind you of the points discussed in the introduction of our previous discussions (i.e. Examination of the Prophet’s way of life)
The Importance of Promises and Contracts in the Eyes of Arabs of the Arabian Peninsular
The Arabs, who were unaware of reading and writing, based their commitments on verbal promises and contracts. Thus, by uttering a few words like, “He is my son”, a stranger would become the announcer’s son and the children of the latter would be regarded as former’s brothers and sisters and the entire tribe would consider him as a member of their society.
Similarly, to boycott a rebel from a tribe, suffice it was to say “This man is not from us” and automatically he would be cut off from his tribe and kinsmen.
The same policy was pursued in the matter of buying and selling and bequeathal
of land and property amongst each other or in cases where two tribes would agree on a pact during war or peace or promise to give shelter to someone.
On occasions too, they would shake hands in cases of positive contracts and
would name such a contract as (“Bai’at meaning allegiance).
In those days, magnanimity and dignity depended on the fulfillment of such contracts. In abiding by these contracts, the Arabs would take precedence over
each other and were even ready to sacrifice their lives.
The Islamic “Shariah” (divine canon) made firm the necessity of abiding by the legal contracts. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) laid the foundation for acceptance of
allegiance and in contrast, abolished illegal contracts like the contract of calling someone as “my son”.
Keeping in view the above explanation, one can follow the reason for the companion’s silence and their succumbing before the unfair policies of Abu
After hearing Ali’s conversation with Abu Bakr and Umar in the Prophet’s mosque, the Ansars said,
“Had the Ansars heard your utterances before their allegiance to Abu Bakr, they wouldn’t have given their allegiance to anyone but you.”
In reply to the Prophet’s daughter who would visit their houses to seek their
assistance, they would say: “We have given our allegiance to this man and everything is now over.”
The same was the situation when the Prophet’s daughter debated with Abu Bakr
in the Prophet’s house over her right of inheritance from her father.
In all these circumstances, we saw how the Ansars reckoned themselves to be bound by the allegiance with Abu Bakr and how they believed that any kind of violation in their promise and contracts would bring them disgrace. Although
they did not believe that truth was on Abu Bakr’s side, nevertheless breach of promise and pact under any situation was something disgraceful for the Arab society. Notwithstanding the fact that the Islamic “Shariah” did not recognize
the illegal contracts to be enforceable.
According to the Islamic “Shariah,” if a few people make an agreement with someone else and swear allegiance to him that they would unjustly seize
someone’s property, then the very essence of such an allegiance is null and void and thus not enforceable. But, this matter could only be acceptable to someone who had the guts to tolerate the blame and reproach of the Arab society of that time. The disposition of the majority of the Prophet’s companions reveals that since the companions had given their allegiance to the Caliph, they felt themselves to be obliged in obeying the Caliph under all circumstances.
The Policy of Abu Bakr’s Government vis-a-vis the Prophet’s Hadith and
Taking into account the above explanation, we can explain the gist of Abu
Bakr’s policies vis-a-vis the Prophet’s hadith and sunnah as follows:
As against all Islamic rules and customs, the Ansars who abandoned the
Prophet’s dead body in his house and (instead) assembled in Saqifa Bani- Saa’eda to appoint a ruler for the Muslims had not reflected over the Prophet’s
sunnah at all. Rather, they acted upon their personal opinion and overlooked the
Prophet’s sunnah so much so that they even left behind the funeral proceedings of the Prophet (i.e. the acts of ablution, shrouding, prayer and burial). Under all
these circumstances, the Ansars took into consideration their personal wellbeing and acted on their personal opinion. As such, it was for the first time in Islam
that after the Prophet’s demise, the Muslims (i.e. the Ansars) acted upon their personal opinion in contradiction to the Prophet’s sunnah.
Following them, the Muhajirs amongst the Quraish did the same and their action in this matter did not differ in any way from that of the Ansars. They too thought
that the welfare lied in leaving behind the Prophet’s corpse and instead, congregate in Saqifa and elect a leader from their side. Here too, they gave priority to their personal opinion rather than the Prophet’s sunnah.
It was only the Bani Hashim and particularly Ali (a.s.) who acted upon the Prophet’s sunnah and till the completion of the Prophet’s funeral procedure, did not pay any heed to all this uproar.
Following this important event in Islam, the policy of “acting on personal opinion” as against the “Prophet’s sunnah” became the policy and way of the caliphate school of thought. Also, in their economic campaign against the Ahl-
ul-bayt, they acted upon their personal opinion. However, in this regard, they found no alternative but to narrate such traditions from the Prophet, which contradicted the Quran but at the same time substantiated their own views. As
stated earlier, they achieved this goal too.
Our proof that their hadith contradicted the Quranic text is the same that the Prophet’s daughter disclosed publicly in the Prophet’s mosque. Another proof is that none of the Caliph’s accomplices were able to assist the Caliph in this
debate and say, ‘O daughter of the Prophet! Apart from Abu Bakr, so and so companion too has narrated this hadith from the Prophet.’
Abu Bakr’s daughter (Ayesha) has further clarified this point by saying,
“When the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) expired and they disputed over the inheritance (i.e., the dispute between the Prophet’s daughter and the caliphate, the details of which was discussed before) we did not find the true judgment with anyone but him! Abu Bakr said, I heard the Prophet say, ‘We Prophet’s do not take any inheritance. What remains with us is “Sadaqah” (charity).”88
By this tradition, which only the Caliph has narrated from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and none else, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughter was deprived from acquiring her father’s legacy.
In another tradition, which he narrated supposedly from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.),
Abu Bakr fixed the use of a Prophet’s inheritance as such, “The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘After a Prophet passes away, anything that the Almighty Allah bestows on him would belong to his immediate successor.”89
According to this tradition, the Prophet’s inheritance after his death should reach Abu Bakr and with the help of this very reasoning, Abu Bakr did not give the Prophet’s inheritance to the Prophet’s daughter and instead appropriated it for
Therefore, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughter questioned Abu Bakr, ‘After your death, which will have the right to take inheritance from you?’
He replied, ‘My family members.’
Fatemah (a.s.) questioned, ‘Then for what reason did you take inheritance from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and deprived us from the same?’
Ayesha reckoned Abu Bakr to be the only person to have been aware of the
Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith about non-inheritance from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who did not make this known to Fatemah (s.a.). Whereas, Fatemah (s.a.) was the only heir to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and it was necessary for her to know her rights or otherwise vis-à-vis her inheritance.
The result of Ayesha’s statement would be this that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has erred (God-forbid) in propagating this decree!
* * *
This was one type of narration of tradition in support of the ruling government’s policy that prevailed during and before the period of this very government.
Another kind of such narration is the hadith substantiating the policy of the government, which dominated after this government like the quote of Abu Huraira, which has come down in Sahih-Bukhari and other books of hadith as
The Prophet said: “Nothing shall be distributed from my inheritance; not even one dinar. Whatever I leave behind (as inheritance) will be ‘Sadaqah’ (charity)
88 Refer to the chapter: “Ma-waqa’-fi-Khilafatehi” in ‘Tarikh al-Khulafaa” of Suyuti; page 73 regarding Abu
89 Sunan Abi Dawood 3/144; chapter: “Fi-Safaya-Rasulillah”, hadith 2973 and Musnad-e-Ahmad 1/4.
after deducting the amount of alimony for my wives and the expenses for my servants.90
Our proof that Abu Hurairah has narrated this hadith in the post-Abu Bakr era is the very statement of Ayesha, who said:
“After the Prophet’s departure, they disputed over the Prophet’s inheritance. We
did not find the decree over this dispute with anyone save Abu Bakr who said: The Prophet said: ‘No inheritance is taken from us, the Prophets.’
If Abu Hurairah had narrated this hadith then, it was out of place for Ayesha to have uttered the above sentence.
In contrast to Abu Bakr’s tradition, Abu Hurairah’s tradition, which substantiates the policy of Abu Bakr’s rule, is like the case of a vessel which is hotter than its contents because, Abu Bakr had said: “There cannot be any
inheritance from the Prophets. Whatever remains with them is Sadaqah (charity)”. But, Abu Hurairah said, “The Prophet said, ‘No inheritance shall be taken from me, even to the extent of one dinar.’ After deducting the alimony of
my wives and the expenses of my servants, the balance will be the Sadaqah (charity).” By assigning a decree in the case of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and fixing the measure of one dinar, he tightened the noose still further. Also, by
determining its usage (alimony of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wives and expenses of his servants) he not only deprived the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughter but also presented as correct its usage for the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wives and government servants (as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) servants).
* * *
The tradition, which we set forth from Abu Bakr substantiating his own government policy, was only a specimen. Other similar traditions too have been
narrated from him, which have been collected in Suyuti’s “Tarikh al-Khulafa” under the topic: “Abu Bakr’s biography”. God willing, we shall mention such traditions in the latter part of our discussion when we review the policies of all
the Caliphs vis-a-vis the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah.
Similarly, traditions like the tradition of Abu Hurairah, which substantiate the policies of the Caliphs and have come into being after the end of the respective
Caliph’s era of rule, are plenty. We have presented a few of these at the end of the topic: “Muta’h al-haj (greater pilgrimage) in the second volume of the book “Maa’lem al-Madrasatain”. Thus, a person who is not an expert in this field
will fail to distinguish the true traditions from the false ones, which have come down in the books of the caliphate school.
90 Sahih-Bukhari 4/110; Chapter: «ﻪﻗﺪـﺻ ﺎـﻨﻛﺮﺗ ﺎـﻣ ﺙﺭﻮﻧ ﻻ ﱯﻨﻟﺍ ﻝﻮﻗ»
from the Book: “Faraaez” (On the same page, a
tradition has been narrated from Ayesha too supporting her father); Kitab-ul-Khamsah 2/126; Sahih Muslim, Kitab-ul-Jihad, Hadith No 55; Sunan Abi Dawood, 3/144 Chapter: «(ﻉ) ﷲﺍ ﻝﻮﺳﺭ ﺎﻳﺎﻔﺻ »and Musnad-e-Ahmad, 2/242 and 276.
Prohibition on the Narration of the Prophet’s Hadith
The aforesaid hadith from Abu Bakr reveals only a part of his policies regarding the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah. The other part of his policy is the preventive orders he issued against the narration of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith. In this regard, Zahabi relates:
“After the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise, Abu Bakr warned the congregation of Muslims thus, ‘You narrate traditions from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and have differences in them. These differences will multiply amongst those who are to
follow you. (So), do not narrate any tradition from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). To those who ask you any query, say that the Quran suffices us. Consider as lawful whatever the Quran labels as lawful and unlawful all that it has labeled as unlawful.”91
Abu Bakr’s statement is contrary to the explicit text of the Quran, which declares,
.«ﻢﻬﻴﻟإ لﺰﻧ ﺎﻣ سﺎﻨﻠﻟ ﻦﻴﺒﺘﻟ ﺮﻛﺬﻟا ﻚﻴﻟإ ﺎﻨﻟﺰﻧأ و » “And We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them.” (Nahl: 44)
All the commandments of the Quran, the lawful and the unlawful along with its explanation have come down in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and its embodiment in his practical life. Accessibility to both these requires narration of his hadith. One unit of prayer cannot be performed without recourse to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith. Thus, this part of the Caliph’s statement is absolutely incorrect and invalid.
However, the other part of his statement, (i.e. “You have differences in them”) is right. This is because freedom of narration of the Prophet’s hadith could lead to
narration of such hadith, which was against the government policies. Under the circumstances, a group of Muslims would follow the Prophet’s hadith and sunnah while another group would act upon the personal opinion of the Caliphs, naturally resulting in a severe rift between the Muslims.
* * *
Abu Bakr’s statement contradicts this verse and tens of other verses of the
Quran, which command us to follow the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) utterances and deeds. For acting upon the commandments of the Quran, it is necessary to
narrate the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith.
Besides, Abu Bakr’s statement contradicts all those traditions of the Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) that emphasize the narration of his traditions.
Anyhow, the aforesaid two-fold policy of Abu Bakr against the Prophet’s
(s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah was an opening chapter in this field. The Caliphs who followed him pursued the same policy but with greater force. The reason
for uttering the above statement (too) by the Caliph was only one i.e., “the
91 Tazkera al-Huffaz 1/2 & 3; topic concerning “Abu Bakr’s life-history.
Caliph’s personal opinion”! During the last moments of his life too, the Caliph acted upon “his personal opinion” and appointed Umar as his successor and the ruler of the Muslims!
In Tarikh Tabari and other books of history, it has been narrated as follows: While breathing his last, Abu Bakr summoned Uthman in private and dictated,
“Write- In the Name of Allah, the All- Compassionate, the All Merciful. This is Abu Bakr’s covenant to the Muslims. However, after me…” Merely uttering these words, he fell unconscious. Uthman completed the will, “I have appointed Umar-ibn-Khattab as the Caliph for you. For, I know that your goodness lies in
After a while, Abu Bakr regained consciousness and asked Uthman to read what he had written. Uthman duly complied. On hearing this, Abu Bakr exclaimed,
“Allah is the Greatest! Verily, you feared lest I die in a state of unconsciousness and the people would then fall into dispute?”
Uthman replied in the affirmative. Abu Bakr appreciated, “May Allah rewards
you with goodness!” and put his seal of endorsement!!
“Shadid”, the freed slave of Abu Bakr brought this letter to Umar, who addressed the people in the mosque thus, “O people! Listen to the words of the
Prophet’s Caliph and obey him. The Caliph says, ‘I only desire goodness for you’.”92
Consequently, the people paid allegiance to Umar, thereby making him as the
Caliph of the Muslims!
THE SUNNAH DURING UMAR’S ERA
Umar, the Caliph from Quraish
Umar became the next Caliph after Abu Bakr in Jamadi-us-Sani, 13 A.H. and died on 26, Zilhajj, 23 A.H. His Caliphate lasted for ten years and six months.93
Polices during Umar’s era
In this discussion, we set below five specimens of Umar’s policies, which left its influence on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and Sunnah.
1. Preferential treatment for the tribe of Quraish.
2. Preferential treatment for the Arab race.
3. Creating class system in the Islamic society.
4. Confining the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions.
5. Forging Ahl-ul-bayt and family members (other than the real ones)
for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
92 Tarikh Tabari; European edition 4/2138.
93 Tanbia wal-Ashraf: Masoudi; Duwal al-Islam: Zahabi, p. 19.
1. Policy of preferential treatment for the Quraish
The policy of tribal preference during Umar’s reign was similar to the one prevalent among the Arabs in the pre-Islamic era. The Arab society, in the era of paganism, was founded on the basis of tribal system and preferential treatment for the Arab race.
In this system, the basis of discernment and course of action was the tribe, its allies,94 its chief, its poet, its water and its land. In this society, if an individual from one tribe killed a person from another tribe, all the people from the victim’s tribe would seek revenge from all the people belonging to the killer’s tribe. In this connection, vengeance was considered to be achieved only when someone from the killer’s tribe was killed.
In pursuit of this policy, an Arab desert-dweller would never give his daughter’s hand in marriage to the noblest non-Arab. Such was the state of the Arab society during the age of paganism.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.), through Islam, demolished this system by deeds and words. In this connection, the following verse was revealed to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.):
ﷲا ﺪﻨﻋ ﻢﻜﻣﺮﻛأ نإ اﻮﻓرﺎﻌﺘﻟ ﻞﺋﺎﺒﻗ و ﺎﺑﻮﻌﺷ ﻢﻛﺎﻨﻠﻌﺟ و ﻲﻨﺛأ و ﺮﻛذ ﻦﻣ ﻢﻛﺎﻨﻘﻠﺧ ﺎﻧإ سﺎﻨﻟا ﺎﻬﻳأ ﺎﻳ »
“O people! Surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other. Surely the most honorable of you in front of Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty).” (Hujarat: 13)
In the last year of his blessed life, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) during the Farewell
Pilgrimage (Hajjatul Widaa) said,
‘O People! Your Lord is One and your father is one! Know that no Arab is superior to a non-Arab and no non-Arab is superior to an Arab (by birth); and no red-skinned person enjoys superiority over the black and no black enjoys superiority over the red except through piety. Is my message clear to you?’
All of them confessed, ‘Yes, O Prophet of Allah.95
In practice too, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) laid the Islamic society on the basis of a single human race. He appointed Bilal, a (black) Ethiopian, as the “Muazzin”
(the one who calls to prayer) of the Islamic society (a post that was quite coveted). Likewise, he took tens and hundreds of other steps in this direction. This was the state of the Islamic society during the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) era. During Umar’s time, the government policy deemed advisable to restore the
Islamic society on the ways and discrimination of the Arabs during paganism. And now for the details of these events:
94 The freed slaves of the tribe too were considered as the tribe’s allies.
95 Musnad-e-Ahmad 5/411.
After the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise, the conflict at Saqifa Bani Saa’eda for the appointment of a Caliph took place with tribal slogans. The reason for bringing Sa’d Bin Ubaadah to Saqifa was not because he possessed greater virtues than the other companions but because as the Ansars asserted, “The Caliph should be from our tribe.”
The Muhaajir (Emigrants) retorted, “The Prophet was from our tribe, the Quraish. So, the Caliph should also be from the Quraish. The Arabs will not accept the caliphate if it is vested in a tribe other than the Quraish.” For this very reason, allegiance was given to Abu Bakr in Saqifa. Thereafter, Abu Bakr became busy in suppressing his opponents and strengthening the base of caliphate. However, after Abu Bakr’s rule, the Quraish nepotism in the caliphate became more so apparent during Umar’s era.
The manner in which the Quraish ruled the Muslim
During Umar-ibn-Khattab’s rule, the government belonged to the Quraish clan and its allies and the leadership of the Muslim army and the governance of the big Islamic cities were in the hands of the Quraish clan and its allies but not
those who were from the clan of Bani Hashim. In this connection we set hereunder, a gist of what Masoudi has narrated:
“The governor of Hamas died. Hamas was a big city in Syria and was one of the
Islamic military centres. During that period, Umar summoned Ibne Abbas and said, “The governor of Hamas has died and he was a virtuous man. Virtuous men are few and you are one of them. However, there is in my heart something against you although I have failed to find any evidence for it and have become weary in search for it. Now, what is your idea about becoming the governor of Hamas?”
Ibne Abbas said, “I shall not accept unless you inform me of what you have in your heart against me.”
Umar asked, “Why do you wish to know?”
Ibne Abbas said, “I wish to know because if in case the matter is something fearful then I too should fear from it and if I turn out to be innocent, I should
know that I am innocent and then I can accept the post.
Umar said, “O Ibne Abbas, I fear that when I die and you become the governor, you will invite the people towards yourselves. Nay! The people should not turn your side and forsake the others.”96
Umar feared lest he dies and Ibne Abbas remains the governor of Hamas (which was then one of the centres of the Islamic army), he would later invite the people to the caliphate of Bani Hashim i.e. the caliphate of Ali (a.s.). Thus, he said, “Nay! It should not happen that the people refer to the Bani Hashim and forsake the other Quraish!”
96 Muruj al-Zahab: Masoudi 2/321
As explained, Ibne Abbas’s appointment to the post of governor of Hamas confused Umar and inspite of his confidence in Ibne Abbas’s capability, he had his own fears. In this conversation, he wanted to be sure that his fear was only an illusion. But Ibne Abbas did not give him any assurance and (so) he did not become the governor of Hamas!
In this conversation, two things become clear for us:
Firstly, the reason why Umar kept away the Bani Hashim from sensitive posts Secondly, Umar thought of appointing a Caliph from the Quraish, exclusive of the Bani Hashim
Another policy was to keep the Ansars away from caliphate and sensitive posts except in cases where no Quraish or their allies were found, or when the post itself was insignificant. This policy lasted till the last day of Umar’s rule just as
in the council of six members for the selection of a Caliph, Umar had not appointed even one person from the Ansars.
* * *
Such was the basis of the Quraishite rule over the Muslims during Umar’s era, which left its indelible impression on the Islamic societies for centuries to
follow; and its effect on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah too has remained till today.
2. Policy of preferential treatment for the Arab race
In connection with the preferential treatment exhibited by Umar for the Arab race, we shall explain the following four instances:
(a) A non-Arab was forbidden from marrying an Arab woman. Moreover, an
Arab but a non-Quraishite was forbidden from marrying a Quraish lady.
(b) A person whose mother was a non-Arab was deprived of the inheritance of his father unless he had Arabian domicile by birth.97
The above rule is in vogue in England today. If an Englishman marries a non- English lady who gives birth to a child in the English territory, that child enjoys the right of being given an English identity card. Otherwise, he is not entitled to
this identity card.
(c) The Arab Christians were exempted from paying the Jizya (poll tax). Rather, like the Muslims, they were liable to pay Zakat (alms tax).
(d) No non-Arab was permitted to reside in Medina except those who had being residing in Medina from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) time, like Salman and Bilal.
Two persons were exempted from this rule: One was “Hurmazan”, the commander of Shustar. The Caliph depended on him for war counsel in the
97 This sentence has come down in Mawatta Malik 2/60 (Egyptian print) as follows:
«ﺏﺮﻌﻟﺍ ﺽﺭﺃ ﰲ ﺪﻟ ﻭ ﺍﺪﺣﺍ ﻻﺇ ﻢﺟﺎﻋﻷﺍ ﻦﻣ ﺪﺣﺃ ﺙﺭﻮﻳ ﻥﺃ ﺏﺎﻄﳋﺍ ﻦﺑ ﺮﻤﻋ ﰊﺍ»
The writer deduces from this sentence the same meaning, which has come down in the text.
conquests over Iran98 and the other was “Abu Loulu”, a skillful worker. The people of Medina greatly needed him for his workmanship99.
In this connection, Masoudi says:
“Umar would not allow any non-Arab to enter Medina. Mughaira-ibn-Shu’aba wrote to him, ‘I have with me a slave who is a painter, carpenter as well as an ironsmith. He is useful for the people of Medina. Allow me to send him to Medina. Umar obliged.”100
He was given permission and his name was Abu Loulu.
About Umar’s consultation with Hurmazan, suffice it is to narrate one instance. Masoudi says:
‘Umar consulted Hurmazan on the battle of Fars, Esfahan and Azarbaijan.’ Hurmazan said, ‘Fars (in Iran) is like a head while Esfahan and Azarbaijan are
its two wings. If you cut off one of the wings the head will preserve the other wing. But if you severe the head the two wings will collapse. Thus, you may begin your work with the head’.101
3. Policy of setting up class-system in the Islamic society
In his time, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) distributed the warbooty amongst the Islamic soldiers but only after setting aside one fourth of it for himself. This practice was in vogue even during Abu Bakr’s caliphate and continued till the early period of Umar’s caliphate.
When conquests multiplied, a section of Iran was conquered and the war booty began to be amassed, Caliph Umar consulted the Muslims on the matter of distribution of the war booty. Imam Ali (a.s.) said to Umar, ‘Every year, distribute whatever wealth is amassed with you and do not keep anything with you’. Others too chipped in with their suggestions. One of them said, ‘I have witnessed the Syrian Kings possessing a list of names as well as army for wars. You too do the same’. The Caliph obliged and the people’s names were written clanwise.102
In Fotouh al-Buldaan, Balaazari has mentioned the manner of distribution of the public treasury amongst the people as follows:
‘Each of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wives was given ten thousand dirhams per year while “Ayesha” was given twelve thousand dirhams. Those who had participated in the battle of Badr were given five thousand dirhams and those
who were not in Badr but were present in Uhud were given four thousand dirhams per annum. These yearly stipends were downgraded to such levels that
98 Refer to Muruj az-Zahab; Masoudi 2/322.
99 Refer to Umar’s life history in Suyuti’s “Tarikh al-Khulafa” page 133.
100 Refer to Muruj az-Zahab: Masoudi 2/322.
101 Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa; page 143-144.
102 Muruj az-Zahab: Masoudi 2/322.
some Muslims received only two hundred dirhams. In this manner, the names of
Muslims got registered in the books.103
By this act, the Caliph created class distinctions in Islam. The Islamic society got accustomed to it and a large number of people reckoned this to be a part of the Islamic insight.
Umar strengthened the class system by his other sayings and deeds too. For example, he said, “This affair (caliphate) is restricted to the people of Badr till the last of them. When none amongst them remain, this affair will go the people of Uhud till the last of them. When none amongst them remain, the caliphate
will……and he continued naming the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) battles. Then, he declared, “The caliphate shall not go to those who turned Muslims after the Meccan victory.”104 Moreover, in the council of six members set for the appointment of his successor, all were participants of Badr.
A subtle policy dominated this approach. By this policy, he kept the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions happy and preoccupied in amassing wealth but at the same time, aloof from reflecting in politics. He made them busy in amassing exorbitant riches through tending flocks of cows, sheep, camels and horses as well as farming and agriculture.
This action of the Caliph gave birth to feudalism in the Islamic society as two classes came into existence: the aristocratic and the oppressed.
Besides, it resulted in other sufferings too but the size of this book does not permit us to analyse them.
4. Policy of imprisoning the Prophet’s companions:
Umar’s government was determined in imprisoning those companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in Medina, who he feared would narrate his (s.a.w.a.) hadith, contradicting his approach. In this regard, Abdullah ibn Umar says:
Zubair was a valiant and majestic figure. He approached Umar, who feard him
(for keeping his sword ready for taking allegiance for Ali). Zubair: Allow me to fight a holy war in the path of Allah.
Umar: Suffice is the holy war, which you fought in company with the Prophet
Zubair left murmering in anger.
Umar claimed, “Who can understand my pretext before Mohammad’s (s.a.w.a.) companion? If I do not close the opening of this sedition, it will destroy the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) nation”!105
In another tradition, he says:
I shut the door of this valley (meaning the valley of Medina) lest the Prophet’s
(s.a.w.a.) companions meet the people and deviate them.106
103 Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibne-Abil Hadid 12/214; Fotouh al-Buldaan, page 549.
104 Tarikh al-Khulafa: Suyuti; page 144.
105 Tarikh Baghdad: Khateeb Baghdadi 7/453.
Abdur Rahman-ibn-Auf narrates:
Before dying, Umar assembled the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions in Medina from various places and addressed them thus, “What are these traditions (quotes
of the Prophet) that you are spreading in the world?
They said, ‘Are you forbidding us (from narrating the Prophet’s hadith)?’
He said, ‘You shall all stay besides me! I swear by Allah, you shall not separate from me until my last breath! We know better what hadith to accept from you and what hadith to reject.’
They all remained in Medina near Umar until he died.107
For this reason, Umar prohibited the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wives from making the Haj (greater pilgrimage) and Umra (lesser pilgrimage).108 Nevertheless, there were women like Umm-Salma whom Umar failed to prevent from narrating such traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) which were contrary to the ruling policies.
This prohibition continued during Umar’s rule until the last year of his rule when he took them for Haj. However, the vigilant eye of Uthman and Abdur Rahman-ibn-Auf prevented anyone from coming in contact with them.
5.Policy of fabricating kinsfolk and Ahl-ul-bayt for the Prophet
With numerous conquests during Umar’s rule, people from thousands of cities experienced new developments. They were now eager to know Islam and its historical background.
For acquainting them with Islam, the caliphate introduced to them the recitation
of Quran, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah, which was in conformity with the government policies and all that the Caliphs had themselves stipulated. However, the caliphate faced severe difficulty in introducing the Islamic history. This difficulty arose due to the newly converted Muslims’ eagerness in knowing the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) biography, Islam’s progress chart, the people who helped the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in propagating the religion, the people who created hindrances, the names of those who were nearest to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) household members.
Apart from these obvious queries, the newly converted Muslims had also come across Quranic verses like:
.« ﻲﺑﺮﻘﻟا ﻲﻓ ﺓدﻮﻤﻟا ﻻإ اﺮﺟأ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﻢﻜﻟﺄﺳأ ﻻ ﻞﻗ »
“Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my kinsfolk.” (Shura:
.« … ﻢﻜﺴﻔﻧأ و ﺎﻨﺴﻔﻧأ و ﻢﻛ ءﺎﺴﻧ و ﺎﻧ ءﺎﺴﻧ و ﻢﻛ ءﺎﻨﺑأ و ﺎﻧ ءﺎﻨﺑأ عﺪﻧ اﻮﻟﺎﻌﺗ ﻞﻗ »
106 Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibne-Abil Hadid.
107 Muntakhab-e-Kanz-il-Ummal 4/61.
108 Tabaqat: Ibne-Sa’d 8/208-209.
“Say: Come let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves… (Ale Imran: 61)
The newly converted Muslims realized that:
The first male helper who assisted the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was “Abu-Talib”, the
Prophet’s uncle and “Ali’s” father.
The first Muslim woman was “Khadija” and the first Muslim male was “Ali” (a.s.).
The next greatest helper to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the battles was “Ali” (a.s.).
In interpreting the aforesaid verses and tens of other verses as well as hundreds of hadith, they recognized Ali (a.s.) to be the Prophet’s “Ahl-ul-bayt”
(household members) and “Zul-Qurba” (kinsfolk).
Among the women, they recognized Fatemah, Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughter and
Ali’s (a.s.) wife.
Among the youths, they recognized Hasan and Husain (a.s.), Ali’s (a.s.) two sons.
In their eyes, all the magnificence of Islam, and all its virtues, terminated in Ali (a.s.), his father, his mother-in-law, his wife and his two sons. And it was this very Ali who opposed the caliphate and refused to pay allegiance to the first
Caliph for six months. Often, he would claim, “I am the Prophet’s legatee and successor.”
All these factors together created chaos and confusion among the rulers. Practising utmost discretion, the caliphs obviated these confusions by employing
the following methods:
(a) Introducing Abbas and his son as the Prophet’s Ahl-ul- bayt and kinsfolk:
In our discussion on Abu Bakr’s allegiance, we saw how Abu Bakr, Umar and his accomplices visited Abbas’ house with the intention of creating discord between him and Ali (a.s.) and how they offered him a share in the caliphate, which was rejected by Abbas.
Besides pursuing this policy, Umar, during his reign, attempted to introduce someone other than Ali (a.s.) as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) kin.
In implementing these two policies, Umar gave preference to Abbas. Incidentally, Abbas was not with the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the battles of Badr,
Uhud, Khandaq, Khaibar and Tabuk. Rather, he was in the company of the infidels in the battle of Badr and was taken captive by the Muslims. He was preferred over all those who had participated in the battles of Badr, Uhud, etc. Umar honoured him in the class system and fixed twelve thousand dirhams as his annual stipend.109
109 Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibne Abil Hadid 12/214.
In 18 A.H., the year of famine in Medina, Umar requested Abbas to intercede and pray before Allah to send down rain under this pretext that he was the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) uncle.110
On the other hand, Umar would allow “Abdullah” (son of Abbas) to accompany him on grounds of being the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) cousin and would consult him and ask him meanings of verses from the Holy Quran in the presence of the eminent companions. Abdullah, who knew numerous Arab poems by heart, was not unfamiliar with the literal meanings of the Quran.111
By resorting to such tactics, the Caliph made Abbas and his son Abdullah popular in the society and introduced them as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) kin. Earlier, we had also mentioned Umar’s desire of making Ibne Abbas the commander of Hamas, provided he was assured that after his death, Ibne Abbas would not utilize his post for Ali’s (a.s.) caliphate.
Keeping in view the philosophy behind the divine command in introducing the
Ahl-ul-bayt, the consequences of the Caliph’s policy becomes apparent.
The philosophy behind the divine command in introducing the
On divine command, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) introduced the Ahl-ul-bayt to the Muslims, so that after his demise, they would derive from them the Islamic
creeds and precincts, learn from them the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah and hadith, assemble around them and pay allegiance to them in forming the Islamic government. The Islamic Ummah (nation) was to accomplish these tasks with
full knowledge of their status and were obliged to follow them, love them and be attached to them.
When the caliphate system presented others instead of them, it left the following
During the era of the three caliphs, the newly converted Muslims reckoned that the verses and hadiths that have come down in honour of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.)
Ahl-ul-bayt applied to Abbas and his sons. Their views on the Prophet’s
(s.a.w.a.) legatee were focussed on Abbas and his sons.
Its long-term effect was felt during the era when the Muslims revolted against the Bani Umayyah and they formed an Islamic government under the leadership
of the Ahl-ul-bayt. The Bani-Abbas succeeded in introducing themselves as the Ahl-ul-bayt in the cities of Khorasan (far from Medina, the centre of Ahl-ul-bayt and far from Kufa, the Shiite hub) and there, they began their military
expedition, culminating in the downfall of the Bani Umayyah government.
110 Refer to Sahih Bukhari: Kitab al-Estesqah, chapter concerning “People questioning Imam about want of water during famine” 1/124 and Book about “The Prophet’s virtues”, Chapter concerning Virtues of Al-Abbas-ibn-Abdul-Muttalib 2/200; Tabaqat: Ibne Sa’d, European edition.
111 Tabaqat: Ibne-Sa’d 2/120; Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibne Abil Hadid.
In this manner, they succeeded in forming a seemingly legitimate government on the grounds that they were the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) cousins and Ahl-ul-bayt. In reality, they resembled the oppressive Bani Umayyah government and pursued their very style in the matter of hadith and sunnah, as mentioned in the caliphate school. This dynasty (Bani Umayyah) brought such harm to the Muslims for hundreds of years so much that volumes are needed to describe them.
(b) and (c) Introducing Abu Bakr and Umar as the Prophet’s two distinguished friends:
The caliphs introduced Abu Bakr and Umar in Mecca and Medina as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) two friends, companions, ministers and counsellors and Islam’s second and third ranking figures. In a few traditions, they have also assumed these two figures to be more pious and learned than the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Moreover, it introduced Abu Bakr instead of Ali (a.s.) as the first believing man and showed Umar as more sympathetic than the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) towards Islam
and the Muslims (a nurse being more sympathetic than mother!) and the one who presented true insight to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) persona.
Thus, at a time, when all the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions were prohibited from narrating the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith (except when the Caliph asked them any questions), Umar and Ayesha narrated from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) whatever they liked.
Consequent to this policy, not only Umar became the hero of Islam and the one superior than Ali, but his act of alteration in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah greatly influenced the Islamic society, the effects of which can be felt even
(d) Introducing Ayesha as Islam’s symbolic woman:
The caliphate introduced Ayesha as the most beloved human being in the eyes of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the most esteemed one before Allah. Similarly, it bestowed upon her other distinctions too. Moreover, it recognized her to be the distinct Ahl-ul-bayt and such figures like Khadija and Fatemah were consigned to oblivion.
Considering that the Caliphs would seek legal opinion and inquire matters related to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah from her, Ayesha was presented to be
the supreme authority in his sunnah. Her traditions left negative effects in understanding the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah and way of life and instead consolidated the life-style of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, which will continue
to prevail till the advent of Mahdi (at.f.s.).
Considering the points that we have discussed, we can now examine in brief, Umar’s policies with regards to hadith.
Umar’s policy vis-a-vis the Prophet’s hadith and sunnah:
During Umar’s reign, four dangerous methods were implemented and reinforced with respect to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah. They were as follows: (a) Prohibition against propagation of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith.
(b) Official licence by the caliphate in spreading thoughts and beliefs of the
(condemned) Bani Israel amongst the Muslims.
(c) Implementation of the Caliph’s personal views as against the explicit text of the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) Sunnah. This, in itself, was reckoned to be a part of Umar’s policy against the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah. We have already mentioned two such instances.
(d) Narration of hadith in conformity with government policies and attributing unfair things to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
These four affairs were implemented in the following manner:
1. The ban on the propagation of the holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.)
hadith and sunnah:
In this regard, the Caliph strictly prohibited any kind of narration of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah (whether verbal or in written form). Similarly, he ordered everyone to bring for him the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah in writing and when all the writings were collected, he burnt their entire lot! Besides, he prevented some of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions from leaving Medina lest they narrate the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah in other cities far from the Caliph’s view. Likewise, he prevented the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wives from travelling outside Medina. They were even disallowed to go for the Haj Pilgrimage, save on one occasion when they were kept under the vigilant eye of Uthman and Abdur Rahman-ibn-Auf.
Now we shall mention three examples, which reveal the effect of ban on narration of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith:
(a) In the to and fro Haj journey from Medina to Mecca, Sa’d-ibn-Waqqas did not narrate even one tradition from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).112
The author says: Considering the significance of expressing the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah in the Haj rites, such heedlessness on the part of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companion reveals the extent to which Umar’s ban on narration of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith left its impact on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions. (b) Abdullah-ibn-Umar did not narrate for his associates even one tradition from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for one complete year.113
112 Sunan Darami: 1/84 and 85.
113 Sunan Darami: 1/84 and 85.
(c) When Umar sent Qarazah-ibn-Ka’b Ansari on a mission to Kufa, he advised him not to narrate any hadith from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Whenever the people asked him to narrate hadith from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he would say, “Umar has forbidden us from narrating traditions.114
* * *
Instead of propagating the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith, Umar would command the people to recite the “Quran”. However, in the case of Quran too, he strictly prevented anyone from inquiring about its meaning and interpretation.
Once, a person named Saabigh-ibn-Asal Tamimi who belonged to the aristocratic tribe of Tamim, inquired about the meaning of:” «… اورذ تﺎﻳراﺬﻟا و ». Umar summoned him to Medina and beat him so much that his clothes became
soaked with blood, followed by imprisonment! After a brief period, he summoned him once again and caned him a hundred times, causing grievous injury to his back! Finally, he exiled him to Basra and prohibited the people
from talking to him until Abu Musa Ash’ari interceded and requested Umar to set him free.
The reason behind Umar’s ban on narration of hadith and interpretation of Quran:
In the discussion on Abu Bakr’s policy vis-a-vis the Propet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah and hadith, we had explained in brief the reason for the ban on the propagation of the Prophet’s hadith. Here, we shall discuss this matter in detail:
Since the start of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mission in Mecca, the Quraish created hindrances for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and tortured the Muslims through various means. After the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) migration to Medina, they continued their
enmity and killings against the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his followers in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, etc.
Against them was “Ali”, the first Muslim, “Abu-Talib”, the obliger of Islam,
“Khadija”, (Fatemah’s mother) the devotee and lover of Islam. In the battles against the Quraish, the hero among the Muslims was “Ali” and the self- sacrificing Islamic soldiers were from the “Ansars”. This was discussed in length in the topic on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) biography.
Similarly, there was the verse:
.«اﺮﻴﻬﻄﺗ ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧإ »
which applied to the Prophet, Ali, Fatemah, Hasan and Husain (a.s.). And the verse of “Mubahela”:
.« … ﻢﻜﺴﻔﻧأ و ﺎﻨﺴﻔﻧأ و ﻢﻛ ءﺎﺴﻧ و ﺎﻧ ءﺎﺴﻧ و ﻢﻛ ءﺎﻨﺑأ و ﺎﻧ ءﺎﻨﺑأ عﺪﻧ اﻮﻟﺎﻌﺗ ﻞﻗ »
114 Sunan-e-Daarami vol.1, p.85; Jaameh-Bayan al-Ilm written by Ibno Abdil Birr 2/147; Tazkerah al-Huffaz by
Zahabi vol.1, p.4 & 5.
proved applicable only in the case of Ali, Fatemah, Hasan and Husain (a.s.). And in the verse:
(Asra/26) .« ﻪﻘﺣ ﻲﺑﺮﻘﻟا اذ تآ و » There was the command for granting the “Fadak” to Fatemah, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughter and many others…………..
For this reason, the caliph found it necessary to prevent the propagation of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and Sunnah and forbid any type of questioning on the interpretation of the Quranic verses. In this regard, he even resorted to violence like beating and imprisonment, so that the true face of Ali’s enemies, those irate with his caliphate and the opponents of the Prophet’s household, as well as the self-sacrificing deeds of the Ansars remain concealed from the Muslims, who resided away from Medina. On the other hand, it was indispensable for the caliph to fabricate traditions, which were in conformity with the policies of the Caliphs. We have already indicated this matter in our previous discussions and shall explain them in length in the coming lessons.
This task was set up during Abu Bakr’s caliphate and gained momentum during
Umar’s reign. Instead of setting forth the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and Sunnah in the Islamic society, the rulers brought counterfeit for them, which you will
read, in the following discussions:
2. Spread of Bani-Israil ideas:
From Umar’s era, the caliphate hired agents for spreading “Bani-Israil” tales amongst the Muslims in lieu of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah.
A stooge in this design of the caliph was K’ab al-Ahbaar, the renowned Jewish scholar who outwardly brought faith in Islam during Umar’s era and remained the official scholar of the caliphate court till Uthman’s period.
Another counterfeit-producing sychophant was “Tamim Dari”, a Christian monk, who accepted Islam outwardly and on Umar’s instructions used to deliver sermons in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mosque prior to the Friday prayers!
About their deeds, we shall confine ourselves to whatever we have explained in the preceding discussions and concerning their destructive consequences, we shall discuss them (God-Willing) in the coming discussions.
3. The rules and ordinances laid down by the Caliph:
The second Caliph altered numerous Islamic ordinances, which have come down in the Quran and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah. We have mentioned a few of these in the preceding topics of this book and a few others have been discussed in length in the second volume of the book: “Maalem al- Madrasatain” (the topic concerning the independent judgement of the Caliphs). Analysing all these would require volumes.
The caliphate named such ratification and distortion of laws in 2 A.H., as “Ijtihad” and they would say, ‘The Caliph in so and so matter has made such an “Ijtihad” (independent judgement).’
4. Narrating hadith in support of the Caliph’s policy:
Previously, we had mentioned instances where the Caliph strictly prevented the propagation of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah. At that time, two persons were excluded from this prohibition.
One of them was “Ayesha” who was the official speaker of the caliphate during
the era of the three Caliphs. The Caliphs would inquire from her whatever they needed and she in turn would fabricate traditions on the authority of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in support of their policies. We have brought several traditions from her in support of the policies of Abu Bakr and Umar in the book, The Role of Ayesha in the History of Islam vol.1, p.119, under the topic “Ayesha’s hadith in support of the caliphate”.
Another figure who was excluded from this ban was Caliph Umar-ibn-Khattab. Now, by the Almighty’s support, we set below instances of Umar’s traditions in support of his own policies.
A few specimens of hadith in support of Umar’s policy:
Previously, we saw that during the second Caliph’s era, the government policy was founded on the basis of the Caliph’s “Ijtihad” (independent judgement) in the Islamic ordinances, as against the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah. The instances of the second Caliph’s “Ijtihad” were such that it was practically impossible to cite a hadith of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in its support. This problem was tactfully and cunningly solved as follows, which is unparalleled in history:
Traditions about the second Caliph’s excellences and virtues were narrated. Consequently, the Caliph’s “Ijtihad” took precedence over the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah like the traditions concerning “Umar’s consent” wherein Caliph Umar had said: “I consented with my Lord on many issues.” In yet another hadith, he says: “My Lord agreed with me in many affairs!” In giving explanation about the instances wherein he agreed with his Lord (or his Lord agreed with him), he says:
‘In certain matters, I recommended the Prophet to act in so and so manner. Thereafter, Allah revealed to His Prophet my proposal and commanded all to follow that matter according to my recommendation and this became obligatory
for all Muslims (to follow)’.
In another tradition, he says, ‘I forbade the Prophet from such and such act and he did not oblige. Then, Allah revealed to him a verse forbidding him from that
act and this became haram (unlawful) for all the Muslims.’
In all these traditions, it has been so explained that the verse would be revealed for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in exactly the same words as Umar’s utterances.
In yet another tradition, he says: When the verse:
.«ﺮﺧآ ﺎﻘﻠﺧ هﺎﻧﺄﺸﻧأ ﻢﺛ …. ﻦﻴﻃ ﻦﻣ ﻪﻟﻼﺳ ﻦﻣ نﺎﺴﻧﻹا ﺎﻨﻘﻠﺧ ﺪﻘﻟ و »
concerning man’s creation was revealed, I said:
.«ﻦﻴﻘﻟﺎﺨﻟا ﻦﺴﺣأ ﷲا كرﺎﺒﺘﻓ »
Allah added my utterance after the verse: ﺮﺧآ ﺎﻘﻠﺧ هﺎﻧﺄﺸﻧأ and the verse became:
.«ﻦﻴﻘﻟﺎﺨﻟا ﻦﺴﺣأ ﷲا كرﺎﺒﺘﻓ ﺮﺧآ ﺎﻘﻠﺧ هﺎﻧﺄﺸﻧأ » It was for this reason that the scholars belonging to the caliphate school said: In the Quran, one can find Umar’s utterances!
The insight created by such traditions:
As per these traditions, Umar-ibn-Khattab would put forth certain proposals to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and accordingly, Allah would make that affair obligatory for His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and all the Muslims till the Day of Judgement. Moreover, in instances where the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would perform a certain deed, which consequently would become his sunnah, Umar would dispute and forbid the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) from it. Consequently, a verse would be revealed commanding the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to forsake that act and instead act in consonance with Umar’s command.
Thus, in the eyes of those who believe in the authenticity of such traditions, if after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise, Umar forbids his Sunnah in some particular
matter, it is necessary to follow Umar’s command.
This perspicacity was further strengthened by other traditions too like the one stating that ‘angels conversed with Umar’115 or, ‘Allah has made the truth to flow from Umar’s tongue’ or, ‘If there should be a Prophet after me, it will be Umar.’116
* * *
Among these traditions, the tradition concerning Umar’s consent was fabricated during Umar’s era because its narrator is none other than the Caliph himself. However, the traditions that solidify the hadith about Umar’s consent are
supposed to have been forged after Umar’s era. Here, the following queries arise:
How did the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions allow the narration of traditions
like the one about “Umar’s consent with Allah”, wherein Umar is deemed to be superior to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who is constantly sought to be degraded? Besides, how did they permit Allah, the Almighty, and the Noble Quran, to be
115 Sahih Muslim, Book: Virtues, Chapter concerning Umar’s virtues; Tradition No: 23; Musnad Ahmad 2/339 and 6/55; Musnad Tayalesi, Tradition No: 2348.
116 Refer to the traditions about Umar’s virtues in Umar’s biography in Tarikh Zahabi, Tarikh Ibne-Kathir, Tarikh Ibne-Asaakir and Tarikh al-Khulafa by Suyuti.
freely insulted by Umar’s statement that Allah accepted my words and entered in His Book my utterance: “ﻦﻴﻘﻟﺎﺨﻟا ﻦﺴﺣأ ﷲا كرﺎﺒﺘﻓ”
What made the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions be sitting ducks in the face of
This query is answered when we compare the condition of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions in the pre-Islamic era, with their state during Umar’s reign.117
In the pre-Islamic era, these companions were predominantly nomads of the Arabian Peninsula, who could afford only a few sips of sweet water and pieces of bread. But during Umar’s caliphate, these very companions turned kings of
the best nations and cities of that time – cities with rivers, fountains, plantations, fruit-bearing gardens, beautiful women and men with Iranian and Roman culture.
Thus, for achieving all these worldly pleasures, it was necessary to satisfy the
Didn’t Umar Sa’d agree to become the commander of Ibne Ziyad’s army and massacre the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) progeny in Karbala? Did he not trample their
blessed bodies with horses and sever their heads, and then take them along with the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughters in the presence of Ibne Ziyad, all for just becoming the governor of Rayy?
So, is it astonishing that their forefathers i.e. people like Sa’d Waqqas, Amr Aas, Mughaira ibn Shu’ba and other companions, who had heard the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sayings, took precedence over one another in drawing the Caliph’s
satisfaction simply for worldly pleasures?
In this regard, how beautifully the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) offspring, Imam Husain
(a.s.), has said:
“People are the slaves of this world and religion is the taste of their tongues (i.e. something which they only utter and not practice). As long as they live happily, they gather around religion, but when they are tested with calamities, only the pious remain steadfast.”
* * *
After the expansion of the Islamic State, leading companions would take precedence over one another in getting the Caliph’s satisfaction. With the
consent of their majority, traditions like the tradition on Umar’s consent and his independent judgements spread in Mecca and Medina and later to other numerous cities whose people had brought faith in Islam only after those
117 After the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise, his daughter Hazrat Zahra (a.s.), disclosed their condition during the pre-Islamic era in the Prophet’s mosque. Refer to the Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha by Ibne Abil Hadid; first Egyptian edition, 4/79-87 and Balaghat al-Nisa page 12-15.
Return to the discussion on Umar’s policy
The four methods employed by Umar in connection with the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.)
hadith and sunnah, had the following impact for Islam and the Muslims:
1- The ban on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith continued for more than seventy years right till the end of the Bani Ummayyah rule (except for four plus years
during Amirul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s rule and two years and a few months during Umar ibn Abdul Aziz’s rule).
2- During the era of compilation of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith, Judaic beliefs
and dogmas got mixed with the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah, and then found their way in the books on hadith. (Since then) this matter has created severe deviations in the belief of the Muslims. Inshallah, we shall examine them in the discussion on Allah’s Names and Attributes in the subsequent chapters.
3- On numerous occasions, the second Caliph would alter the Islamic decrees, which had come down in the Quran and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah, whose
details are beyond the scope of our discussion and would require volumes. Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) has pointed out in one of his sermons more than twenty-five such instances and we have explained these in the second volume of
the book “Maa’lem al-Madrasatain”.
In the final stages of the second Caliph’s life, these independent judgements increased to such an extent that Islam got divided into two:
(a) The Islam of the Prophet’s era, which had remained intact in the Quran and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah.
(b) The Islam of the caliphate system, as accepted by the majority of early
Muslims as well as new converts, and most of its commandments were inconsistent with the Quran and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah.
The end of Umar’s rule and the appointment of a six-member
When Umar was wounded by Abu Loulu, he nominated a six-member Committee consisting of Ali (a.s.), Uthman (from Bani Abde Manaaf), Abdur Rahman (from Bani Zuhrah), Sa’d (from Bani Zuhrah), Zubair (from Bani- Asad) and Talha-ibn-Ubaidullah (from Bani-Taem) and appointed Abdullah- ibn-Umar as the arbitrator of this committee.
Similarly, he appointed Abu Talha Ansari with fifty armed men from the Ansars
and ordered, “If five agree about one and the sixth disagrees, and then strike him with your swords. If four among them agree about one and the other two disagree, then you may kill both of them. If three agree about one and the other three about another, then Abdullah ibn Umar should act as the arbitrator. If they do not accept Abdullah ibn Umar’s verdict, support should be given to the group that includes Abdur Rahman, but if the other three disagree, they should be beheaded.”
Umar said: I believe it would be either Ali or Uthman.
When they left Umar’s place, Ali (a.s.) said to the Bani Hashim, “The caliphate has been turned away from us.”
They asked, ‘How can you say this?’
Ali (a.s.) replied, “Sa’d is the cousin of Abdur Rahman and Abdur Rahman is the husband of Uthman’s sister. These three will surely reach a compromise.
Even if the other two are with me, it is in vain because it has been laid down that support should be given to the group that includes Abdur Rahman.118
The author says, ‘By this command, Umar made “Abdur Rahman” the pivot of
this caliphate committee. Also, from his statements, it is obvious that the mystery of this committee lied with Abdur Rahman ibn Auf. Now, let’s see the manner in which Abdur Rahman acted thus enabling us to unravel this mystery. For three days, Abdur Rahman created a scene wherein he gathered the Muhajirs, Ansars and the other Muslims in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mosque and addressed the candidates thus, “I separate myself and Sa’d (who was Abdur Rahman’s cousin) from the caliphate so that I have the right to choose one among the four as the Caliph.” The first to agree to this was Uthman. Then, all others except Ali (a.s.) agreed.
Abu Talha, who led the fifty armed men, said to Ali (a.s.), ‘Why don’t you agree?’ Abdur Rahman is a reliable man in the eyes of the Muslims!’
Ali (a.s.) was forced to agree and allow Abdur Rahman to act after the latter took an oath to act on the basis of truth and not out of his desire.
Thereafter, Abdur Rahman pretended that he was electing Ali (a.s.) and Uthman as the candidates to the caliphate and asked the people their opinion. At this time, each one’s supporters campaigned and strived hard in gaining victory for
their respective candidate.
Ammar said, ‘If you wish that discord should not occur among the people, then pay allegiance to Ali (a.s.).’
Miqdad said, ‘Ammar is speaking the truth.’
Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Surah, who was Uthman’s foster brother, said, ‘If you do not wish discord among the Quraish, then pay allegiance to Uthman.’
Abdullah ibn Abi Rabih Makhzumi said, ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Surah is speaking the truth. If you swear allegiance to Uthman, we shall obey and give our allegiance.’
Ammar addressed Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Surah and asked scornfully, “Have you ever wished good for Islam?”
At this juncture, the Bani Hashim and the Bani Ummayyah delivered speeches. Ammar stood and said, ‘O people! Allah honoured you with His Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) and bestowed glory to His religion. Till when you shall keep this affair far from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) household?
118 Tarikh Tabari, European edition: 5/2777-2781; Ansab al-Ashraaf 5/15-18.
A Quraishite, belonging to the clan of Makhzum, retorted, ‘O son of Somaiya! You have exceeded your limits. Why do you interfere in the affairs of the Quraish in the matter of selection?119
Sa’d ibn Abdul Rahman thundered, ‘Finish off the matter before a sedition is raised.’
Abdur Rahman, who had craftily scripted this scenario and shrewdly engaged the people in fight against each other, approached Ali (a.s.) after three days of delay and deceitful pretension and said, ‘I pay you allegiance on your following the Book of Allah, the Prophet’s sunnah and the way of Abu Bakr and Umar.’
Ali (a.s.) said, ‘I shall act by the Book of Allah, the sunnah of the Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) and my own findings.’
Abdur Rahman turned to Uthman and said, ‘I pay allegiance to you on your following the Book of Allah, the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the way of
Abu Bakr and Umar.’
Uthman said, ‘I shall act as per the Book of Allah, the sunnah of the Prophet and the way of Abu Bakr and Umar.’
Again, Abdur Rahman turned to Ali (a.s.) and repeated his question. Ali (a.s.)
gave him the same reply. Then, he turned to Uthman and repeated the same question and Uthman repeated his previous reply.
For the third time, Abdur Rahman asked Ali (a.s.) the same question. This time, Ali (a.s.) replied, ‘By acting on the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s sunnah, its no more necessary to follow others way and conduct. You (only) desire to keep
this affair (the caliphate) away from me!’
Abdur Rahman then turned towards Uthman and repeated his question and received the same reply.
Abdur Rahman stretched his hand and paid allegiance to Uthman as the Caliph of the Muslims under the aforesaid conditions.120
Thus, the secret behind Umar’s Consultative Committee lied with Abdur
Rahman and he (i.e. Abdur Rahman) implemented it with his branded cunningness.
Events following the allegiance
After Abdur Rahman swore allegiance to Uthman, Ali (a.s.) left the place angrily. Abdur Rahman, who had a sword in hand (nobody else had a sword) said to Ali, ‘Pay allegiance or else I will strike you with my sword!’ The committee members pursued Ali (a.s.) and said, ‘Swear allegiance or else we shall wage war against you!’ Hence, Ali (a.s.) was coerced into allegiance.121
119 Tarikh Tabari, European edition: 5/2776-2787; Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha by Ibne-Abil Hadid in explaination of the sermon of Shiqshiqayya 1/193.
120 Refer to Tarikh Tabari, European edition: 5/2794; Tarikh Ya’qubi: 1/162; Ansab al-Ashraaf by Balazari:
5/19-21; Iqd al-Farid: 3/74-76.
121 Ansab al-Ashraaf by Balazari: 5/21.
Assessing the Consultative Committee and Uthman’s appointment
1. The committee comprised of six men from the Quraish. The working procedure of the committee was laid down in such manner that would enable Abdur Rahman to elect Uthman to the caliphate. Considering the fact that Uthman was a trusted figure in the eyes of Abu Bakr and that when Abu Bakr fell unconscious while writing the appointment of the next Caliph, Uthman had written Umar’s name, the latter’s loyalty to him (i.e. Uthman) becomes clear for us.
2. It was impossible to omit Ali (a.s.) from this committee. However, for overcoming this situation, Umar had secretly planned with Abdur Rahman
to include the clause of “following the two Caliph’s conduct”, along with the Book of Allah and the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) as a condition
for allegiance. This is because he knew that Ali (a.s.) would never accept allegiance under this condition.
3. The appointment of fifty swordsmen for killing anyone who disagreed with
the results was a plot for eliminating Ali (a.s.) since it was clear that the other five members would not oppose the allegiance. On the other hand, Ali (a.s.) was the only one who had disagreed with the first caliph’s allegiance too and Zubair at that time was ready to fight in favour of Ali; and (they feared) perhaps this time too, Zubair would assist Ali. Thus, this plan was also clear and obvious.
4. The condition of following the two Caliph’s conduct left three vital effects on the Prophet’s sunnah:
(a) By virtue of this allegiance, all the innovations and distortions that came in the form of ordinances and were supported by forged and fabricated
traditions, now gained official recognition in the Islamic society. Their implementation remained firm amongst hundreds of Muslims right from the time of the two Caliphs till the advent of the Promised Mahdi (a.s.) and in
contrast, the ordinances, which had come down in the Book of Allah and the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), were abrogated by them.
(b) By this allegiance, the two Caliph’s way and conduct was set as a proof of
the Islamic ordinances (in the caliphate school) in line with the Book of Allah and the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
(c) By virtue of these independent judgements and their being complemented by such an allegiance, the door of independent judgement (ijtihad), based on
conjecture, was opened for those to come. That is, two groups in the caliphate school acted according to their personal opinion as against the Book of Allah and the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) i.e. the rulers and scholars of the
Concerning the independent judgements of scholars belonging to the caliphate school, we shall discuss them God-Willing under the title, The birth of different sects in the caliphate school.
With regards to the independent judgements of the Caliphs in the Islamic ordinances (as against the Book of Allah and the sunnah of the Prophet
(s.a.w.a.)) refer to the second volume of the book “Maa’lem al-Madrasatain” under the topic, “Mujtahid (religious jurist) and the caliphate school”. Here, we restrain ourselves by setting forth just one evidence.
Suyuti in “Tarikh al-Khulafa” says,
Allegiance to the Abbasid Caliph, Az-Zaher-Be-Amrillah, son of al-Naser le- deenallah was as such:
I swear allegiance to my master and Imam, (whose obedience is obligatory
upon all) Abu Nasr Muhammad az-Zaher-be-Amrillah on his following the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet and his own Ijtihad and that there is no Caliph but him.”122
This allegiance took place in 623 A.H. This allegiance implies that the Muslims paid fealty to the Caliph to rule by following the Book of Allah, the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his own independent judgement vis-à-vis
the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah i.e. act as per his personal opinion.
As per the above explanation, during the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) era, the Book of Allah and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) Sunnah were the only evidences of the Islamic ordinances. All the Islamic ordinances were revealed and perfected
.«ﻢﻜﻨﻳد ﻢﻜﻟ ﺖﻠﻤﻛأ مﻮﻴﻟا »and Allah revealed this verse:
“Today I have perfected your religion for you…”
This was the Islam during the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) era.
After his demise, a part of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah was altered by the
Caliphs and scholars from the calipahte school and such changes gained official recognition. This gave the enemies of Islam a chance to say, “The
Islamic ordinances and beliefs gained perfection in a gradual manner”. A Jew
Orientalist Goldzeiher has written a book titled “Gradual changes of Beliefs and Shariah (laws) in Islam”
These were the consequences of those “Ijtihads” (independent judgements)
and allegiances. It was by means of such allegiance that Uthman became the
Caliph. Now, we shall examine the state of sunnah and hadith during his era.
122 Tarikh al-Khulafa: Suyuti, Egyptian edition, page 26.
THE SUNNAH DURING UTHMAN’S ERA
Uthman, the Ummayad Caliph
Uthman gained the caliphate on 1, Muharram 24 A.H. and was assasinated in
Zilhaj 35 A.H. His Caliphate lasted for twelve yerars.
Policies during Uthman’s rule
Uthman attained the caliphate at the time when its path had already been smoothened vide the second Caliph’s endevours. As the people had given allegiance to Uthman under the condition that he should act in accordance with the Book of Allah, the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the mode of the two
Caliphs, there was no room left for any kind of objection. Uthman’s rule can be divided into two six-year terms:
(1) The first six-year term:
During this term, Uthman pursued Umar’s policies and acted as the enforcer of his Ijtihads (independent judgements). However, he acted moderately with the people. Among his decisions, was the lifting of the ban on the non-Arabs for settling in Medina as well as removing the prohibition on the companions for migrating from Medina to the other cities? Thus, this term came to a close with complete peace and harmony between the rulers and the people.
(2) The second six-year term:
During this period, Uthman had several new Ijtihads (independent judegments), the most important amongst them being about his kinsmen viz. Bani Ummayyah. During Umar’s rule, the governance of cities was the exclusive privelege of the Quraish and their allies except in cases where no competent person amongst them was found for the post. He would grant exhorbitant monetary incentives to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions under the pretext that they were participants in the battle of Badr, Uhud etc. Moreover, he also donated generously to their sons, citing the reason that their fathers had participated in the battle of Badr, Uhud, etc.
But, Uthman had new Ijtihads in this regard and accordingly, he handed over the rule of the cities to his own tribesmen i.e. the Bani Umayyah instead of the well-
known Quraishiites. He took away the government of Kufa from Sa’d Waqqas
(the conqueror of Iran and Iraq) and handed it over to his brother Walid, a drunkard and boozard. He also replaced Amr Aas (the victor over Egypt) as the
government of Egypt with his foster brother Abdullah Ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Surah. Similarly, other cities too experienced such changes. Moreover, he kept open the public treasury for his relatives and kinsmen under the pretext of observing the
bonds of relationship and he did this till the end of his caliphate. During these six years, the Bani Ummayyah committed various atrocities against the
Muslims. When the victims would complain before the Caliph, the latter would reject their complaints against his relatives and instead, beat and curse them.
In these six years, Uthman laid the foundation of the Bani Ummayyah dynastic rule and became its first Caliph.
Uthman’s policy vis-a-vis the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah:
During this era, Tamim Daari who in reality was a Christian monk and who had been permitted by Umar to deliver speeches in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mosque prior to the Friday prayers was now permitted by Uthman to deliver speeches twice a week. Moreover, Ka’b al-Ahbar became the official scholar of the Court.
In the second term of Uthman’s rule, certain companions of the Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) like Abu-Zar and Ammar dared to narrate and propagate the Prophet’s
(s.a.w.a.) hadith and sunnah. In certain instances, they would narrate in secret and would even face severe action on the part of the caliphate. Abuzar was expelled from Medina to Syria and then exiled to Rabzah, where he died. And, Ammar was tortured.
In the first six-year term, the Caliph did not find it necessary to seek support of the hadith for the approval of his policies. In the second six-year term, the
government affairs had become so chaotic that there was no chance of resorting to such a step. In this manner, Uthman’s period of rule came to an end.
How Uthman’s Caliphate came to an end
Consequent to the brutalities and atrocities committed by the Bani Umayyah rulers, the Muslims revolted in the cities of Kufa, Egypt and Medina. Renowned personalities from various sects of the Quraish like Ayesha, Talha and Zubair led these rebels. The strife between the Bani Umayyah and rebels continued for several years.
During this period, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) traditions condemning Bani
Umayyah heads like Hakam ibn Abil Aas (Uthman’s uncle), Walid (Uthman’s drunkard brother) and Abdullah Ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Surah spread among the people.
On several occasions, peace was concluded between the Caliph and the rebels through the mediation of Imam Ali (a.s.). But each time, the Caliph would break his commitments, causing the rebels to return to Medina and demand justice
from him. In these conflicts, the Bani Hashim under the leadership of their leader Imam Ali (a.s.), remained neutral and to some extent even protected Uthman from the rebels.
At the end of this term, the Muslims were delivered from the pain and agony
they suffered for a period of twenty-five years. A few companions succeeded in reminding the people about Imam Ali’s (a.s.) previous record and narrating to
them the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) hadith about his virtues, which they had never heard before. As a result of all these endeavors, all eyes now lay fixed on Ali (a.s.). His name was on every Muslim’s lips (from near and far) and was considered to be the only saviour of the nation.
For the last time, the rebels besieged Uthman’s house. Ali (a.s.) placed his two sons Hasan and Husain (the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) two offsprings) at the door of
Uthman’s house so that the rebels would not attack and kill Uthman. In these skirmishes, Imam Hasan (a.s.) was injured. Eventually, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr along with some rebels managed to enter Uthman’s house from an adjacent
building and killed Uthman. When the Muslims gained freedom from all sorts of restrictions and shackles of the caliphate and undue allegiance, they expressed their loyalty to Ali (a.s.). Thus, the caliphate of Ali (a.s.) was convened, just as
we shall now explain, Inshallah.
THE SUNNAH DURING ALI’S ERA
Ali-ibn-Abi-Tablib (a.s.), the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) legatee
After Uthman’s assassination in Zilhaj 35 A.H., the people paid allegiance to Ali (a.s.); and in Ramadhan 40 A.H. Ali (a.s.) was martyred in the mosque of Kufa. His period of caliphate lasted for four years and eight months.
Allegiance to Ali (a.s.)
After Uthman’s murder, hordes of people swarmed Ali (a.s.) in order to express their loyalty to him but he refused. Finally, Ali (a.s.) yielded but after numerous discussions and stipulation of certain conditions. Among the conditions set by him, two were as follows:
1. He would ask them to follow truth and justice and act upon the Prophet’s
2. He would not spend from the public treasury even one dirham without the prior knowledge of Muslims.
By laying down this condition, he closed the path upon the rulers, who sought to have a greater share than others did.
All the companions, Taab’een, and residents of Medina paid allegiance to Ali (a.s.) on these terms, save the Bani Umayyah and their cohorts like Hassaan ibn Thaabit, Uthman’s poet, Zaid-ibn-Thabit, Uthman’s scribe and multiplier of Quran, Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas and Osamah ibn Zaid, who said, ‘After this, disputes shall take place in the Islamic society.’
Policies of Ali’s (a.s.) government
Only one day after his allegiance, Ali (a.s.) gave commands for the equal distribution of the public treasury and ordered that each should receive three dirhams. He did not make any distinction between the people of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Muhajir, Ansar, and their freed ones, from the non-Arabs. Ali (a.s.) and his slave, Qanbar took an equal share too.
This step by Ali (a.s.) antagonised the society’s elite and a revolt started to simmer. They assembled in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mosque and addressed Ali
(a.s.) thus, ‘O Ali, you have not observed justice in your affairs! You have put us on par with those who have brought faith in Islam by means of our swords and were our slaves, whom we set free for the sake of Allah’s satisfaction. By
resorting to this act, you have neglected our past record in Islam!’
Imam (a.s.) replied, ‘With regards to past record and virtue in Islam, Allah shall bestow its reward on the Day of Judgement. We are all aware that the Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) used to distribute the public treasury among Allah’s servants in this very manner. (in other words, this was the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sunnah).
At this moment, the Bani Umayyah appeared in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mosque
and joined this group. They approached Imam (a.s.) and named those whom he had killed from their side in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) battles. Thereafter, they demanded, ‘We shall pay allegiance to you on the following conditions (a) You ignore our affairs, (b) allow us to keep whatsoever is in our hands and, (c) kill Uthman’s murderers!’
On hearing these conditions, Imam (a.s.) became angry and said, “Your blood was shed by the truth (on Allah’s commands) and not me! And I shall act with
justice concerning the wealth that lies in your hands but belongs to Allah and the
Muslims. And if it is necessary to kill Uthman’s murderers, it shall be done.123
However, my condition is that I will lead you by the Book of Allah and the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Those who perceive that truth straitens their
affairs, (should know that) the falsehood worsens it. If you do not accept such an allegiance, you may go wherever you wish and you are safe.”
They replied, “Nay! We shall not let this happen! Instead, we shall swear allegiance to you and will remain besides you.”124
Distributing the governance of states
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) appointed the governors of states on the basis of merit and knowledge; and obviated the deprivations suffered by the Bani Hashim and the non-Quraishiites. Among the Ansars, he appointed Qais ibn Sa’d ibn Obaadah as the governor of Egypt; Uthman ibn Hunaif as the governor of Basra
123 Imam (a.s.) implied that Ayesha, Talha, Zubair, some Ansars and Muhajirs, and the people of Egypt and Kufa, all had a hand in this murder. Thus, if their killing was essential, then it was indispensable to fight against thousands of them.
124 Refer to the Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha, by Ibne Abil-Hadid; First edition, Egypt 2/170-173.
and Sahl ibn Hunaif as the governor of Medina. Among the Bani Hashim, he appointed Qothm ibn Abbas as the governor of Mecca; Ubaidullah ibn Abbas as the governor of Sana in Yemen, and in the post-Jamal war, Abdullah ibn Abbas as the governor of Basra. Likewise, he appointed others for the remaining states.
Consequences of such a policy
With the progress of such policies, all the distinctions enjoyed by the privileged strata of the society were now done away with. Ayesha, who used to receive twelve thousand dirhams annually, was now on par with her freed slave, who received two hundred dirhams. The same applied in the case of Talha, Zubair and other eminent companions.
This justice and equality cost the Quraish dearly but not for the Ansars as, for the first time in twenty-five years, they were treated on par with the Muhajirs
who belonged to the Quraish. For this reason, the Quraish Muhajirs who had lost all their concessions warned one another and thought of seeking some solution. Amr-e-Aas wrote to Moaviyah,
“Henceforth, be ready to give away to Ali whatever you possess and (soon) he will turn you like that branch of a tree which has shed all its leaves.”125
Now, the Quraish could not say to the people, ‘Ali has abolished our privileges;
(so) fight against him.’ Rather, in their characteristically shrewd style, they cried, ‘O Muslims! The Caliph and the Imam of the Muslims (Uthman) was killed innocently. So rise and avenge his blood!’
After provoking the Muslims, the Quraish introduced Ali (a.s.) as Uthman’s
murderer. The first to raise this slogan was Ayesha.
As mentioned earlier, the caliphate had chosen Ayesha as a member of the
Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) household and introduced her as the most distinguished figure of his family. They strove hard in turning her into a hallowed personality
in the eyes of the people so that in this manner, the eminent position of Fatemah
(the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) only daughter) is lowered and her severe campaign against the caliphate comes to naught.
As a result of this policy, Ayesha succeeded in revolting against Uthman during the latter’s rule, which resulted in his death.
After Uthman’s death, Ayesha revolted against Ali (a.s.). In order to rally the people round herself, she set forth and raised the slogan of vengeance for Uthman’s death. She set up a tent in the House of Allah and cried, “Uthman was
killed innocently and his killer is Ali. Arise and seek vengeance for his blood! One day of Uthman is better than the entire life of Ali….”
This news reached the Quraish in Medina and other cities. They travelled to
Mecca and assembled there. The Bani Umayyah too came to an agreement with the other sects from the Quraish. Murderers of yesterday turned combatants
today and marched to Basra under the leadership of Ayesha!
125 Muruj al-Zahab 2/354.
Ali (a.s.) pursued them. Ayesha’s army comprising various sects from the Quraish and Ali’s (a.s.) army comprising the Ansars and a few Quraish, battled one another. Ayesha faced defeat and the battle ended in Ali’s (a.s.) favour. After the battle, Ali (a.s.) travelled from Basra to Kufa.
Once again, the Quraish rallied but this time around Moaviyah. Consequently, Moaviyah succeeded in amassing one hundred thousand swordsmen against Ali
(a.s.) in the battle of Siffeen. In this battle, (only) two among the Ansars were on Moaviyah’s side while the rest were with Ali (a.s.). By decree of arbitration, this battle came to a halt. However, the Quraish continued their revolt against Ali
(a.s.), who would complain before Allah,
“O Allah, I complain before Thee about the Quraish who have overturned my vessel and unanimiously confronted me and …………..”126
During the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) era, the Quraish set up revolts against the
Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and fought against him, one battle after another. On the other hand, the Ansars supported the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in all the battles against the
In Ali’s (a.s.) era too, the Quraish revolted and fought against him, while the
Ansars assisted Ali (a.s.).
Ali (a.s.) returned to Kufa and set Kufa as the center of his govenment.
Kufa was the center of the Iranian government (save a part of southern Iran) and the newly converted Iranian Muslims, who were named as “Mawali” and “Al- hamrah”127 had assembled in this city. In the class-system society of that period, the “Mawali” formed the lowest strata of the society and this was recognised as nothing but an Islamic order. When Ali (a.s.), the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) legatee made Kufa his capital, he shattered this class system. In all the affairs, he did not make any distinction between the non-Arabs and the Quraish leaders, the chief of the Arab tribes and the renowned companions.
The newly converted Iranian Muslims could get a feel of Islamic justice in the affairs of this ruler and leader. They swarmed round him like moths round a candle. Such an affair cost the entire stratum of the Arab race very dearly.
A few instances of the anti-apartheid policy during Imam Ali’s
1) Once two women, one from the Arab tribe and the other from the “Mawali”, approached Imam (a.s.) and pleaded for assistance. Imam (a.s.) offered each of them a few dirhams as well as food equally.
One of them said, ‘I am an Arab, while this lady is not!’
126 Nahjul-Balagha; Sermon No 215.
127 In the Arab texicons, it is known as:
. ﻪﻣﻷﺍ ﻦﺑﺍ ﻭ ,ﻢﻬﻴﻠﻫ ﺐﻠﻐﺗ ﻩﺮﻘﺸﻟﺍ ﻥﻷ ,ﻢﺠﻌﻟﺍ : ﺀﺍﺮﻤﳊﺍ
Imam retorted, ‘I swear by Allah, I do not see any difference between the sons of Ismail and the sons of Ishaq in the matter of wealth.’128
* * *
Ismail (a.s.) and Ishaq (a.s.) were the two sons of Ibrahim (a.s.). Ismail (a.s.)
lived in Arab territory in Mecca and his offspring are considered Arab. The
Quraish, in particular, came from the generation of Ismail (a.s.). On the other hand, Ishaq (a.s.) lived in a non-Arab territory and his offspring are reckoned to be “Ajam” “ÚÌã” (i.e. non-Arab).
2) One day, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) was sitting in the mosque of Kufa
surrounded by these very non-Arab “Mawalis”. Ash’ath-ibn-Qais al-Kindi, who during the era of paganism was among the rulers from the tribe of “Kendeh” in Yemen129, entered the mosque. He failed to find a place besides Imam (a.s.). He said, ‘O Amir-al Momineen, these “Hamrah”130 have become an obstacle between you and us’. Saying this, he took steps amidst the huge crowd in the direction of Imam (a.s.). In this process, he pushed backed the newly converted Muslims so that he could find a place to sit near Imam (a.s.).
Ali (a.s.) cried out:
“Who is there to understand my position and not find fault with me when I
punish such useless and arrogant people!?”
By this biting sentence, Imam destroyed Ash’ath’s character, nurtured by him right from paganism through Islam.
Such an approach by Imam (a.s.) vis-a-vis the “Mawali” and the Arabs would
end in favour of the “Mawali” and to the detriment of the ignorant culture of the Arabs. In certain cases, Imam (a.s.) found a “Mawali” preferable to an Arab, like the case of Imam’s (a.s.) behaviour with Maitham Tammar. The incident goes as follows:
3) Maitham Tammar was a slave of a woman who belonged to the tribe of Bani
Asad. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) bought him and set him free. He had a shop in
Kufa selling dates and Imam would sometimes visit him at this very shop. Once, Imam even sold dates on his behalf.
Maitham had turned into one of Imam’s special companions and confidantes.
In the year 60 A.H., when Maitham travelled for the Haj pilgrimage, Umm-e- Salma met him in Medina and said to him, “One night, I heard the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) recommending your name to Ali (a.s.).”
Thereafter, she ordered that his beard be perfumed with musk.
Maitham said, ‘If today, you are applying musk on this beard, it will not be late when it will be soaked with blood on the path of love for Ahl-ul-bayt (a.s.).’ Thereafter, he left Umm-e-Salma and went to visit Abdullah-ibn-Abbas. There,
he said, ‘Ask me whatever you wish about the exegesis of the Quran. Amir-ul-
128 Commentary on Nahjul-Balagha: Ibne Abil-Hadid; commentary on Sermon No 34.
129 A’laam Zarkoli 1/333.
130 The Arabs labeled the non-Arabs as ‘Hamrah.”
Momineen has taught me the “esoteric exegesis” and the “occasions of revelation” of the Quran.
Ibne Abbas ordered for an inkpot and paper and noted down Maitham’s statements. Maitham said to Ibne Abbas, ‘How will it be when you hear that they have hanged me? I shall be the ninth person to be hanged on the gallows
and my gallow shall be shorter than others.’
Ibne Abbas became disturbed and said, ‘Have you turned an astrologer and predict things for us?’ Then, he began to tear the paper on which he had written the exegesis of the Quran!
Maitham thundered, ‘Stop it! Be calm! Do preserve these writings. If whatever I
have uttered does not turn out to be true, then you may shred these writings.’
Ibne Abbas agreed and he kept the writings, awaiting the results of Maitham’s prediction.
Maitham returned to Kufa after the completion of his Haj. Ibne Ziad condemned him to death by hanging (just as he had predicted). Before dying, Maitham turned the gallows into a pulpit131 and narrated before the people (who had come to witness his execution) the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) traditions regarding the virtues of the Ahl-ul-bayt (a.s.).
On Ibne Ziad’s command, Maitham was struck with a weapon. Blood dripped from his mouth and nose all over his beard and he was martyred132 ten days prior to Imam Husain’s arrival in Iraq.
131 In those days, someone who was condemned to death by hanging would only be tied to the gallows until he would die by himself. Unlike our times, when a noose is tied around his neck and then the person is hanged to death.
132 Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 42, p.121-133.
In the last section, we discussed the approach of the four Caliphs vis-à-vis the Prophet’s Sunnah, soon after his demise. We also took note of the scant regard that the caliphs displayed towards the Prophet’s Sunnah during their respective regimes.
In this section, we will delve into the factors that divided the Islamic nation into myriad sects of Muslims. To this end, we shall introduce the sects ascribed to the two schools of thought along with their views and beliefs.
We shall also discuss the historical background of the emergence of the various groups in the Muslim society and the fundamental cause of their origin. Nevertheless, we will also elaborate on the fact that in the Ahl al-bayt (as)
school, only one group exists i.e. the “twelve-Imam Shiites” (Isna-Ashari) and the sects which are ascribed to this school are either imaginary; false or existed briefly.
We hope that the discussion helps the seekers of the truth and enhances understanding among the Muslims.
After the Prophet’s demise, there was a sharp division in the Islamic Ummah:
those who believed that the Prophet (saw) has appointed Ali (as) as his successor, caliph and Imam after him and those who claimed that Allah and His
Prophet have not issued any command concerning the ruler and leader after the
Holy Prophet and the decision was left to the community.
A brief account of what transpired after the Prophet’s demise is mentioned below:
At Saqifa, Abu-Bakr attained the caliphate through allegiance of a few people.
Before his death, Abu Bakr nominated Omar as his successor and he became the second caliph. When Omar was fatally injured in an assault, he formed a council (shu’ra) of six men from the Muhajirs who were responsible for the caliph’s appointment. Uthman gained the caliphate due to the cunning maneuvers of Abdul-Rahman-ibn-Auf.
After Uthman’s assassination, the common companions from the Muhajirs and
Ansars as well as the disciples of companions swore allegiance to Ali (as). Talha and Zubair who had pledged allegiance to Ali (as) revolted against him. Under
the leadership of Ayesha and on the pretext of avenging Uthman’s blood, they fought pitched battle with Ali (as). Consequently, they suffered a humiliating
defeat in Basra. Later Muawiyah too waged a war against Ali and fought the battle of Siffeen.
Even as Ali (as) was poised to win the battle, Muawiya played a trick by inciting the soldiers to abandon battle and accept arbitration of the Quran. Consequently, some of Imam’s soldiers compelled Imam to accept the appointment of Abu Musa Ash’ari as an arbitrator. Muawiya, on his part, appointed Amr Aas as the arbitrator.
These two arbitrators reached an agreement. Abu-Musa was outsmarted by Amr Aas’ deception and decreed that Ali (as) and Muawiya both be deposed from the seat of caliphate. However, Amr Aas concurred with Ashari as far as deposition of Ali (as) was concerned but he insisted that Ali (as) be replaced, and Muawiya should be appointed as caliph.
Consequently, a group from Imam’s army from Kufa who believed in caliphate ideology and maintained that caliphate is by selection, separated from the
mainstream and branded Muslims as infidels. This group revolted against Ali (as). Another battle was foisted on Imam who fought with them in Naherwan and killed the majority of them. A minuscule minority had survived including
the assassin of Imam Ali who later fatally assaulted him in the mosque of Kufa. Thereafter, the Muslims swore allegiance to the Prophet’s grandson, Hasan-ibn- Ali. When Muawiya prepared himself for a battle against him, the people of
Kufa betrayed Imam Hasan. Consequently, in 40 A.H., Imam Hasan (as)
forcibly signed a peace treaty with Muawiya. The caliphate school named that
year as “ﻪﻋﺎﻤﺠﻟا
مﺎﻋ” (Year of reunion) because Muawiya was unanimously
accepted as caliph.
* * *
Muawiya ruled for twenty years. During this period, Muawiya ensured that numerous traditions in support of the caliphate system were forged and attributed to the Prophet (saw). The caliphate school mistook these fabricated traditions (which were mentioned in the last lessons) as the Prophet’s Sunnah. These fabricated traditions are divided into four categories:
a) Traditions that were genuinely narrated by the Prophet but over a period of time, while being narrated by one narrator to another got distorted. Naturally,
several of the Prophet’s sayings lost its originality.
b) Traditions, which were originally opinions of the Ahle- Sunnah scholars or their students but were so mingled and merged with the Prophet’s traditions that
it became impossible to distinguish them from the genuine traditions.
The belief in the physicality of God and His resemblance with creatures is the fallout of such traditions.
c) Traditions that were narrated from the Prophet but were moulded to serve the interest of the ruling government.
d) Traditions that were blatantly distorted and forged in the interest of the
caliphate system. These traditions itself are divided into many groups:
1. Traditions which were forged in praise of caliphs.
2. Traditions which were fabricated to denigrate the caliphs’ opponents.
3. Traditions which have been forged to suit the policies of the Caliphs and their erroneous judgments.
Traditions prohibiting revolt against the ruler belongs to this group. According to them, the Prophet has said, “Obedience to a ruler is obligatory under all circumstances; even if he professes sin and tyranny. His government is the Wish
of Allah, as good and evil are all Allah’s Acts:
They further say that man is not free in his actions”.
! « ﷲا ﻦﻣ ﻪﻠﻛ ﺮﺸﻟا و ﻪﻠﻛ ﺮﻴﺨﻟا »
These sets of traditions caused further schism and resulted in the formation of sects like Jabriah (necessitarians) and others in the caliphate school.
These four set of traditions; the sayings of the companions and their independent judgments in the ordinances as well as the views of their disciples (some of which are contrary to the text of the Quran and the Prophet’s sunnah133 but nevertheless are now being narrated with the Prophet’s traditions in the caliphate school) created differences in the ordinances. Thus numerous jurisprudence schools of thought in the caliphate school came into existence. For instance the believers in Ijma (the consensus), believers in independent reasoning (aql), the school of the predecessors and others were offshoot of the caliphate school due
to such traditions.
Permission for compilation of hadith in the caliphate school
In 100 A.H. when Omar-ibn-Abdul Aziz lifted the ban from recording of the
Prophet’s Sunnah in book format, the followers of the caliphate school strived hard in collecting the Prophet’s traditions from the narrators. Traditionists would travel from one city to another for collecting as well as narrating traditions. They would receive traditions from the traditionists of one city and in turn, they would also narrate traditions to the traditionists of that city.
As a result, the traditions that were confined among a few individuals in
Medina, Kufa, Basra and Damascus spread in the entire Islamic nations of those days. Dissemination of such traditions created severe differences in the caliphate
school, which will be explained, in our subsequent discussions.
The dissemination of Ahl al-bayt (as) ahadith during the tussle of power between the leaders of the caliphate school
After the issuance of Omar-ibn-Abdul Aziz’s command, the followers of Ahl al-
bayt (as) approached Imam Baqir (as) and learnt from him the Prophet’s traditions. This continued until Hisham came to power in 105 A.H. and began to
subjugate the Ahl al-bayt (as) and their followers. According to one narration, he even poisoned Imam Baqir (as) in 117 A.H.
133 The details concerning ‘Ijtihads’ (independent judgments) by the Caliphs and disciples can be read in the second volume of the book: Ma’lem al-Madrasatain.
Hisham died in 125 A.H. After him, Walid-ibn-Yazid-ibn-Abdul Malik attained the caliphate. At that time, the campaign of Bani-Abbas began to gain grounds in Khorasan. Soon a group of campaigners and preachers from the Bani-Abbas (including Abu Muslim Khorasani) left Khorasan with gifts for Mohammad-ibn- Ali Nawadeh bin Abdullah-ibn-Abbas. He appointed Abu Muslim Khorasani as the chief.
Mohammad died in the same year. Following him, his son Ibrahim nominated Abu Muslim to his post. Marwan Hemar, the last of the Bani-Umayyah Caliphs, killed Ibrahim. After him, the followers of Bani-Ummayah swore allegiance to
his brother Abdullah, famous as Saffah. He managed to wrest the seat of caliphate in 132 A.H.
From 125 A.H. till 132 A.H., the Bani-Umayyad were preoccupied on the two
fronts, they were constantly fighting battles with the Bani-Abbas and also faced a series of Khawarij revolts. The incessant power struggle and battles took its toll on the Bani-Umayyads.
Following Yazid-ibn-Muawiya, the second most notorious person for his sin and tyranny was Walid-ibn-Yazid from the household of Bani-Umayyad. He was so sinful that he contemplated building a structure on the roof of the holy Ka’ba
where he could engage in drinking wine. For accomplishing this task, he had even dispatched an engineer to Mecca.134 As a result of his tyrannical and corrupt rule, chaos took place in every city. His cousin, Yazid-ibn-Walid-ibn- Abdul Malik joined hands with a group from the Bani-Umayyad chiefs and fought against him until Walid-ibn-Yazid’s defeat in 126 A.H. Walid-ibn-Yazid was killed and Yazid-ibn-Walid-ibn-Abdul Malik gained the caliphate. In the meanwhile, those who had inclination towards the Islamic sciences and the Prophet’s hadith, rallied around Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) and acquired from him
the Prophet’s sunnah, the exegesis of Quran and other Islamic sciences. Particularly, during the Haj pilgrimage, people from distant cities would come to Mecca, Medina, Arafat and Mina to visit Imam (as). Imam’s debates with the heretics and other followers of Milal-wan-Nihal (heresiography) are well known.
This state of affairs continued from 125 A.H. till the beginning of Manthur Abbasi’s rule. For more than twelve years, Muslims would come for the Haj pilgrimage from cities stretching from Khorasan province till Rai, Qum, Kufa and other cities and learn the Prophet’s Sunnah and Islamic sciences from Imam Jafar Sadiq (as). The narrators who had learnt the Prophet’s hadiths from Imam exceeded three thousand in number. Thousands of traditionists would say:
“Abu-Abdullah Jafar-ibn-Muhammad Sadiq (as) narrated to me from his father, who related from his grandfather, who in turn narrated from his great father,
who quoted from the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.A.), who related from Gibrail and he narrated from The Creator……………”
134 Refer to Tarikh-Ya’qubi 2/333. Ibne Kathir too has pointed out this matter in his Tarikh, 8/10.
Sometimes, they would say:
“Abu-Jafar Muhammad al-Baqir (as) narrated to me from his father, who from his grandfather and he directly narrated from the Messenger of Allah
During this period, the number of small treatises compiled in the Ahl al-bayt’s science of traditions and which were called ‘Asl’ (fundamental) amounted to
four hundred. This is how collection and spread of hadith were done in the Ahl al-bayt school.
Compilation of hadith in the caliphate school
Omar-ibn-Abdul Aziz, who allowed the recording of traditions, remained in power for a short period. He gained the caliphate in Rajab 99 A.H. and died in
Safar 101 A.H., probably poisoned by the Bani-Ummayads. The other Bani- Ummayad caliphs did not approve his ideas. It is said Zuhri (died in 124 A.H.) wrote a book but could not reach Omar-ibn-Abdul Aziz’s tenure.135
After the fall of the Bani-Ummayad government, the Bani-Abbas Caliphs who came to power in 132 A.H. were occupied in destroying the signs of Bani- Ummayad and their ringleaders. Manthur Dawaniqi gained the caliphate in 136
A.H. and faced the uprising of “Muhammad” and “Ibrahim”, the two brothers from Imam Hasan’s lineage who called the people towards the Ahl al-bayt
Thereafter, the Bani-Abbas faced successive revolts by the offspring of Ali and Fatemah who exhorted the people to the government of the chosen one from Muhammad’s progeny. In this period, the spread of hadith from the Ahl al-bayt
school and students of Imam Sadiq and Imam Baqir reached its peak. Thousands of traditionists in the Islamic cities were heard saying: (Al-Baqir narrated to me) and (Al-Sadiq narrated to me).
The Bani-Abbasid government faced two dangers: One was the uprisings by offspring of Ali and Fatemah and the other was the spread of true Islamic reflections through traditions narrated from the Prophet’s legatees by the
These traditions awakened the Muslims and exposed the caliphate system as an unjust government and proved the ordinances enforced by the Caliphs as anti-
The successive uprisings waged by offspring of Ali were also triggered due to these traditions. When the Muslims realized that the Caliphs’ verdicts were not in consonance with the Islamic ordinances, they refrained from giving them such
title as “Ulul-Amr” (master of the affairs). Instead, they gathered around the offspring of Imams to overthrow the Caliphs tyrannical rule.
135 Refer to the book: Qawaed al-Tahdith, page 46-47 written by Muhammad Jamaluddin al-Qasemi, Cairo print; Tadrib al-Raawi page 41, written by Suyuti and Al hadith al-Nabaviyah al-Sharif, page 43 written by Muhammad al-Sabbagh, Damascus print.
The Bani-Abbasid Caliphs made efforts to crush the rebellion of the offspring of Imam with force. But they could not suppress the truth of genuine traditions, which had unmasked the falsehood of their un-Islamic government. Thus, they countered the genuine traditions by propagating the fabricated traditions, which were common in the past.
Consequently, the policy of Bani-Abbas government (from Abu-Jafar Manthur’s era onwards) was based on propagation of hadith related to the caliphate school. Moreover, the traditionists from the caliphate school enjoyed special respect in the Bani-Abbas court.
Traditionists from Balkh, Bukhara and Samarkand would travel to Naishabour, Rai, Kufa, Basra, Baghdad, Damascus, Mecca, Medina, Alexandria and Spain for the purpose of learning and teaching of hadith to the people.
It was during this very era that hadith from the caliphate school was compiled and Malik-ibn-Anas (died in 179 A.H.) wrote his book: “Muwatta”. In this book, he collected together the traditions narrated from the Prophet as well as the
personal opinions of the Prophet’s companions and their disciples.
The other writers that followed Malik have also collected the same traditions
(the four categories) in their books such as Darami (died in 255 A.H.), Ibne- Maajah (died in 273 A.H.), Abu-Davoud (died in 275 A.H.), Tirmidhi (died in
279 A.H.) and Nesaee (died in 303 A.H.). They have named their books as “Sunan” (plural of Sunnah) meaning the Prophet’s Sunnah. The “Sunan” of the last four traditionists are reckoned to be the authentic books on hadith in the
Bukhari (died in 256 A.H.) and Muslim (died in 261 A.H.) have also compiled such category of traditions in their books named “Jameah-Sahih”. The caliphate
school considers their traditions to be as authentic as the verses of the holy Quran and condemn those who doubt the authenticity of traditions recorded in these two books.
The propagation of such traditions in the Muslim states and their compilation in the books on hadith generated severe differences among the followers of the caliphate school in matters concerning Islamic beliefs and precepts.
Differences and division of sects in the caliphate school
The Islamic nation was further divided into two groups
1. Differences in the Islamic ordinances.
2. Differences in the Islamic beliefs.
Now, we shall point out these differences only to the extent necessary for understanding the future discussions.
1. Differences in the Islamic ordinances
The cause of sectarian differences was mainly due to acceptance or rejection of the Prophet’s traditions. In this regard, the most renowned person who
categorically rejected the Prophet’s traditions that were in contradiction with his personal views was Abu-Hanifa (died in 150 A.H.). We have mentioned his biography in detail in the book: Ma’lem al-Madrasatain in the chapter concerning “Al Ijtihad Fi’l Quran al-Thani” and have also discussed a few
examples wherein Abu-Hanifa has pronounced certain decrees contradictory to the Prophet’s Sunnah.136
In fact, Abu-Hanifa and his followers had laid down certain rules called as Qiyas
(syllogism), Estehsan (preference) and Masaleh Marsaleh (the sent affairs) which in reality are based on one’s personal opinion. Like the Quran and the Prophet’s Sunnah, they have set these rules as proof of the Islamic ordinances and have named the one who extracts the ordinances as Mujtahid and his actions as Ijtihad.
Incidentally, according to caliphate school, Ijtihad or independent reasoning is in contrast to the ordinances which were described in the Quran and Prophet’s
sunnah was founded from the time of the (Prophet’s) companions and the first three Caliphs. It has already been discussed as also in the second volume of the
book Ma’lem al-Madrasatain.
After the companions, the first person who set the independent reasoning of the companions and their disciples at par with the Prophet’s sunnah and declared them as proof of the Islamic ordinances was Malik-ibn-Anas. He accomplished
this task in his book “Muwatta”. However, Abu-Hanifa was one step ahead of Malik and devised certain rules for putting into effect the independent reasoning on ordinances.
Following Abu-Hanifa, his students (especially those who were employed in the caliphate system like Abu-Yusouf, Chief Judge of Haroun al-Rashid) distorted the ordinances to such extent that numerous haram (forbidden) acts were declared as halal (lawful) and they named this as “Al-hiyal ash-Shari’yah.”137
Of course, Malik refused to accept such a brazen attitude on the part of Abu- Hanifa and his students. It has been narrated from Malik as saying: “No face as sinister as Abu-Hanifa has been born in Islam. The Prophet passed away after Islam having reached its perfection. It’s worthy to follow the Prophet’s hadith and the Prophet’s companions and not to follow independent reasoning……..”138
To counter the spread of Abu-Hanifa’s creed and the rise of some of his students in distorting the Islamic ordinances under the name of ‘religious ruse’, various ideologies came into existence. The most renowned cogitative creed against
136 It implies Abu-Hanifa’s opposition to the Prophet’s sunnah which has come down in the Prophet’s hadith.
137 Refer to Al-Muhalla, by Ibne-Hazm; 11/251-257.
138 Tarikh-Baghdad 13/396.
Abu-Hanifa’s school was founded by Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal (died in 241 A.H.). He is the author of Musnad, the book on hadith.
The motto of Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal’s school: Return to the era of the Prophet and his companions who were named as “Salafe-Saleh” (predecessors in goodness). This difference between the two schools widened and both sects labeled each
other as sinners and declared them to be out of pale of Islam. Khateeb, in his
Tarikh narrates from Abu-Hanifa’s opponents, the following poem:
“If someone produces a vain and blatant heresy by using independent reasoning and syllogism, we shall set forth reasoning in accordance to the Divine sayings
and traditions. How often it has happened that by Abu-Hanifa’s Fatwa (independent reasoning), the marriage of already married chaste spouse has been declared lawful for a stranger.”139
Political stance of Abu-Hanifa and his students
According to Khateeb-Baghdadi, Abu-Hanifa exhibited two different attitudes vis-a-vis Manthur, the Abbasid Caliph. Initially, he served Manthur as Khateeb in his Tarikh says:
In construction of the Baghdad wall (during 142 A.H.), Abu-Hanifa supervised the workers in laying the bricks and counting them by means of bamboo sticks. (i.e., he would hold a stick after every hundred or thousand bricks and then
count those sticks). He was the first person who employed this method for counting bricks.140
But, towards the old age, he became the Caliph’s opponent. According to
Khateeb and others, when Ibrahim rebelled against Abu-Jafar Manthur in Basra, Abu-Hanifa pronounced a Fatwa (decree) in favour of Ibrahim’s uprising against the Caliph.141
Irked at the fatwa, it is said that Manthur imprisoned Abu-Hanifa in Baghdad who later died in the prison.
After Abu-Hanifa, his students such as Abu-Yusouf (the Chief Judge during
Haroun al-Rashid’s era) joined the group of scholars in the caliphate court. Abu- Yusouf would say: “We would approach Abu-Hanifa and learn Fiqh (jurisprudence) from him and would not follow him in religious affairs”.142
Anyhow, the Caliphs would propagate mostly Abu-Hanifa’s school of jurisprudence. During the Othmani rule too, Hanafi was the state religion of the caliphate court.
This was an example of difference between two schools of jurisprudence in the caliphate school arising out of adherence or non-adherence to traditions. Now,
139 Tarikh-Baghdad 13/408.
140 Tarikh-Baghdad 1/71.
141 Tarikh-Baghdad 13/284-286
142 Tarikh-Baghdad 13/386-375.
we shall explain some other differences in the caliphate school in matters pertaining to beliefs.
2. Differences in beliefs
Aside from the differences in the Islamic jurisprudence and ordinances, the followers of the caliphate school had several other serious differences in fundamental beliefs as well;
(a) One sect believes: “The legs, hands, eyes and occupation of space are among
God’s attributes. According to them, anyone who disbelieves that God possesses organs, limbs and space has nullified God’s attributes and they are called “Mu’attaleh al-Sefaat” (one who suspends the attributes).”
Another sect maintains: “Possession of limbs and organs are among God’s physical attributes and God is just like the creatures.” Those who held such a belief were named as “Mujassameh” (anthropomorphists) and “Mushabbeheh”
(likeners) i.e., those who considered God to be a body and likened Him to the creatures.
(b) The first sect also believes that God is eternal and His attributes too are
eternal. The Quran, which is God’s words, is among God’s attributes. Thus, the
Quran too is eternal and is not created.
The second sect asserts: God is eternal and the Quran is God’s words but not eternal. Anyone who says that the Quran is eternal has believed in the eternity of
Quran just as he has believed in the eternity of God whereas belief in two eternal beings is tantamount to polytheism.
Author says: I fail to understand what is wrong with these people who have not
paid attention to God’s words in the Quran where He says:
:« … لﺎﻔﻧﻷا ﻦﻋ ﻚﻧﻮﻟﺄﺴﻳ و »
“O the Prophet, they ask you about the windfalls….. (Anfal/1)
Did the dispute among the companions over the distribution of windfalls and their questioning before the Prophet take place before their birth and was this
matter eternal so that we can say that the Quran is eternal!?
Similarly, there are fourteen other instances where the word “ﻚﻧﻮﻟﺄﺴﻳ” has been mentioned in the Quran. In two other instances, the word “ﻚﻧﻮﺘﻔﺘﺴﻳ” has been
used meaning: they ask you a decree. There are other cases too where the Quran relates the dispute among the people of that time and their recourse to the Prophet for setting aside their differences like:
:« …. ﻲﻜﺘﺸﺗ و ﺎﻬﺟوز ﻲﻓ ﻚﻟدﺎﺠﺗ ﻲﺘﻟا لﻮﻗ ﷲا ﻊﻤﺳ ﺪﻗ » “Allah indeed knows the plea of the woman who pleads with you about her husband and complains…..” Mujadilah/1
Under such circumstances, can one regard the Quran to be eternal? Or that these instances had occurred from eternity and the people had taken recourse to the
Prophet from eternal time (even before the Prophet’s era) and the Quran relates whatever had occurred since eternal times? The less said about it the better?
(c) There is another sect which claims: All human actions are God’s actions and man is not free in his actions.143
Yet another sect opines: Man’s actions are his own actions. It is against Divine
Justice to punish someone for an act performed under compulsion.144
The second sect named the first sect as “Jabriyah” and themselves as
(d) Majority of the followers of the caliphate school are unanimous on the necessity of obeying the Caliphs even though they may be unjust and sinful.
However, a small group existed among them who considered the uprising against the unjust and sinful Caliph as lawful although they would be crushed by
the caliphate system and their names would be recorded in the history as sinners. The origin of these differences was those very traditions of the caliphate school, which was fabricated or forged in the past.
Now, we shall discuss the sects, which had deep differences concerning these beliefs:
1. The Jahmiyah sect:
Jahmi or Jahmiyah are the followers of “Jahm-ibn-Sefwan”145
The beliefs of Jahm and Jahmiyah
Most of the contents of the beliefs of Jahm and Jahmiyah sect have reached us through mainly two sources:
a) Whatever their enemies have written against their beliefs and have remained
intact until now.
b) Whatever the authors of Milal wal-Nihal have written about this sect.
Hence we will have to practice caution while dealing with the beliefs of the
Jahmiyyah, moreover when there is no evidence to verify the authenticity of the writings of rivals against the Jahmiyah.
Nevertheless, while discussing the existence of different sects (like Sabaeeyah
and Navvasiyah) and their beliefs, we realized that the writings of Al-Milal wan- Nihal in most cases, lacked research.
Sometimes, their references regarding a particular sect were nothing but
whatever were written by the rivals of the sect. Occasionally, their writings about a sect comprise the notions, which were prevalent among the people of their era.
Obviously in the scientific discussions, neither of the references can be relied
upon absolutely. Thus we have to be all the more cautious while discussing
143 Al-Milal wan-Nihal/Sha’restani 1/85; second chapter: “Al-Jabriyah”.
144 Al-Milal wan-Nihal/Sha’restani 1/43; first chapter: “Al-Mu’tazilah”.
145 Ansab Sam’aani; under the word “Jahmi”.
Jahmiyah. We will restrict our discussion about Jahm and his ideology to the limit which is essential for our future discussion.
1. Jahm and Jahmiyah denied that God possesses limbs and organs.146
2. They believed that the Quran is not eternal but created.
3. They believed that God is the source of man’s actions and that man is compelled in his actions.147
4. They say: Jahm believed that Imamat has three pre-requisites: Knowledge of the Divine Book, knowledge of the Prophet’s sunnah and consensus of the Muslims on Imam’s selection.148
Jahm’s life in brief
Jahm was the freed slave of the tribe named Azd. He hailed from Balkh and his agnomen was Abu-Mahraz.149
Once, Jahm visited Kufa and held a series of debates with Abu-Hanifa.150 When
he returned to Balkh he held debates with Maqatel-ibn-Sulaiman who exaggerated the incarnation of God.151 Consequently, at the instance of Maqatel, the ruler of Balkh externed Jahm to Termez.152
In Termez, there were many Samaniyah. It is said the Samaniyah were in reality the Buddhist who did not believe in any existence other than the material bodies.153
During the Islamic conquests in Termez, there were twelve temples and one thousand Buddhist monks lived in Termez.154
Jahm’s debates with the Samaniyah led them to convert to Islam.155 It is said
Jahm also debated with Mu’tazilah through correspondences. 156
Jahm’s political movement
During Jahm’s era, which was the fag end of the Bani-Ummayad rule, the masses were weary of a tyrannical government and throughout the Islamic nations revolted against the governments.
146 The Book of Jahm-ibn-Sefwan, page 71: chapter three: Negating attributes for Allah, Exalted be He.
147 Refer to Al-Radda alal Jahmiyah wa’l Zanadiqah written by Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal (died in 241 A.H.) Cairo print; Al-Radda alal Jahmiyah written by Uthman-ibn-Saeed Darami (died in 280 A.H.) and Jahm-ibn-Sefwan written by Hamed, Baghdad print. The last book is a comprehensive book on Jahm.
148 Refer to Feraq ul-Shiah, page 145
150 Refer to Manaqib-Abi Hanifa; 1/145-148 written by Muwaffaq-ibn-Ahmad Makki, printed in Hyderabad.
151 Biography of Maqatel in the chapter concerning: The effects of beliefs of Ahl-Kitab (people of the Book).
152 Tarikh Ibne-Kathir 9/350 and Tarikh ul-Islam Zuhbi 5/56.
153 Tabaqaat al-Mu’tazilah, page 34 written by Ahmad-ibn-Yahya-ibn-al Murtaza (died in 840 A.H.) Beirut edition 1961 A.D.
154 Da’era al-Ma’aref Islami; Article “Termez”.
155 Tabaqaat al-Mu’tazilah, page 34; Al-Radda ala’l Jahmiyah, written by Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal, page 15.
156 Tabaqaat al-Mu’tazilah, page 32.
Harith-ibn-Shuraij Tamimi led one of these uprisings. He revolted in 116 A.H. and exhorted the people to follow the Divine Book and the Prophet’s Sunnah and to oust the Ummayad Caliph, Hisham-ibn-Abdul Malik.
It is said that his army comprising sixty thousand men conquered the cities of
Balkh, Jauzejan and Taleqan. However, he lost the battle of Marv and had to escape to Turkestan. He lived for twelve years in Turkestan and with the
assistance of native Turks led several rebellions against the Bani-Ummayad.
In 118 A.H., the Bani-Ummayad attacked the citadels which were stronghold of
Harith’s relatives and massacred them. The survivors were made captives and later sold as slaves in the market of Balkh.
In 126 A.H., Nasr-ibn-Saiyyar, the governor of Khorasan requested the
Ummayad Caliph, Yazid-ibn-Walid-ibn-Abdul Malik to give protection to
Harith-ibn-Shuraij Tamimi. Subsequently, Harith returned to Marv. The Ummayad governors offered cooperation to Harith so much so that he offered him the post of the minister of a state and send him a hundred thousand dirhams. However, Harith refused the offer and wrote to the governor thus: “Since I wanted to denounce the unlawful and rebuff the injustice, I avoided this city for thirteen years. I do not seek the world and its pleasures while you entice me towards it. I want you to act upon the Divine Book and the Prophet’s Sunnah and to appoint virtuous governors upon the people. Once you have done this, I shall join your army and fight your enemies” Nasr-ibn-Saiyyar, the governor of Khorasan refused his request. Once again, Harith renewed his earlier call and amassed an army. This time, Sefwan-ibn-Jahm joined him. Harith suffered defeat and was killed in 128 A.H. Thereafter, Sefwan-ibn-Jahm was taken
captive and killed.157
* * *
Jahm was an active preacher and a die-hard zealot. His most vital difference with the traditionists from the caliphate school was his rejection of their belief
on anthropomorphism (humanization of God) and eternity of the Quran.
Jahm had a sizeable following.158 The traditionists from the caliphate school have refuted his beliefs in their books and probably the oldest writing in this
regard belonged to Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal (died in 241 A.H.) named:
«ﻪﻗدﺎﻧﺰﻟا و ﻪﻴﻤﻬﺠﻟا ﻲﻠﻋ دﺮﻟا » (Refutations against the Jahmiyah and the Zanadiqah). Jahm was a contemporary of the founders of the Mu’tazilah sect and some of his views were similar to their creeds. However, it’s not clear which sect influenced whom.159 We believe both sects have acquired a few of their beliefs (like negation of anthropomorphism) from the students of Ahl al-bayt school although they have described them vaguely.
157 Refer to Tarikh Ibne-Athir in the narration of events of 116-128 A.H. European edition, 5/126-261. Some of these events have come down in detail in Tarikh-Tabari and in brief in Tarikh Ibne-Kathir.
158 Ansab Samaani.
159 Refer to the book Jahm-ibn-Sefwan, page 161; chapter six.
Now, we shall mention a few points on the Mu’tazilah and their beliefs.160
2. The Mu’tazilah sect:
The founder of the Mu’tazilah sect was Wasel-ibn-Atha Gazzaal (died in 131
A.H.). His agnomen was Abu-Huzaifa, while he the freed slave of the Arab tribe
“Zabbah” or “Makhzum”. He resided in Basra and attended the lectures of Hasan-ibn-Yasaar Basri (died in 110 A.H.). Later, he quit his lectures because of difference in opinion between the two on certain issues related to belief. “A’tizal” is the Arabic word for separation and “Mu’tazil” means separatist. Thus, the followers of this sect are called as “Mu’tazilah” and their sect as “A’tizal”.
Wasel-ibn-Atha dispatched emissaries to the west (Alexandria to Spain), Khorasan, Yemen, Kufa and other Islamic cities for propagating the “A’tizal” sect.161
Amongst those who followed him was “Amr-ibn-Ubaid’ (died in 142 A.H.) who was the freed slave of the tribe of ‘Taiyem’. He lived in Basra and attended Hasan Basri’s lectures. However, Wasel-ibn-Atha influenced him to leave Basri’s lectures and consequently he joined the “A’tizal” sect.162
The Mu’tazilah creed
Like the Jahmiyah, the Mu’tazilah does not believe in human traits of God. Besides, they believe that the Quran is created and not eternal. They disagree
with the Jahmiyah in the matter of compulsion (predestination) and say that the actions of human beings are their own actions and not that of God.163
This sect thrived till the era of Mutawakkil, the Abbasid caliph, launched a campaign to suppress and subjugate them.164 However, after Mutawakkil’s death, Mu’tazilah remained in constant conflict with the Ash’arite school and Ahle-hadith for centuries and continuously held debates with them. But, the Ash’arites with patronage of the Ottoman caliphate managed to eliminate the Mu’tazilah. Now, we shall describe the two sects of Ash’arite and Ahle-hadith.
3. Ahle-hadith (people of tradition):
Earlier, we mentioned Abu-Hanifa’s derogatory attitude towards the Prophet’s
hadith and developed a principle called: “Analytical reasoning and preference”
160 Reliable references is at hand about the discussion that will take place henceforth on muslim sects like, the writings of those very sects or the writings of reliable contemporary scholars such as Masoudi and others.
161 His biography has come down in ‘Wafayat al-A’yan – Ibne Khallakan 5/60, Tarikh al-Islam – Zuhbi 5/311, Muruj al-Zahab – Masoudi 4/22 and Ansab Samaani.
162 The biography of Amr-ibn-Ubaid has come down in Tarikh-Baghdad 12/166; Wafayat al-A’yan-Ibne
Khallakan 3/130 and Tarikh-Ibne Kathir 10/10.
163 Al-Feraq bain al-Feraq, page 114, chapter three: discourse on the Mu’tazilah and Qadariyah.
164 Refer to Mutawakkil’s biography in Tarikh Khulafa-Suyuti; Tarikh-Tabari and Tarikh-Ibne Athir.
(for extracting the ordinances) which is in stark contrast with the Prophet’s traditions.
We had also mentioned that the Jahmiyah and the Mu’tazilah reject (unlike the Ahle-hadith) all traditions that describe God’s organs and limbs and God’s movement from one place to another.
Consequently, intellectual disputes arose between the traditionists and these sects. Over a period of time, the supporters of hadith (traditions) took a firm step against these sects leading to the formation of a new sect called “Ahle-hadith” (people of tradition).
The most renowned figure in this front-line is Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal (died in 241
A.H.). He has written a book comprising of traditions called “Musnad Ahmad- ibn-Hanbal”. He has other books to his credit too, the most important among them being “Al-Radd ala-Jahmiyah” and “Faza’el Ali-ibn-Abi Talib”.165
The reason for Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal’s fame was his rejection of the notion that the Quran is created. This belief had reached its peak during Ma’mun’s (Abbasid caliph) era where scholars of that time were forced (through tortures) to believe that the Quran is created. After Ma’mun (died in 218 A.H.), Mu’tasim (died in
227 A.H.) imprisoned Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal for his belief that the Quran is eternal until he was released during Wasiq’s (died in 232 A.H.) era. When Mutawakkil
(died in 247 A.H.) came to power, Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal gained his favour because the former believed in the eternity of the Quran. By then Ibn Hanbal had achieved a legion of followers.166
Soon after the death of Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal, dispute between the Ahle-hadith and
Mu’tazilah gained momentum. The Ahle-hadith re-christened themselves as
‘Ahle-Sunnah-wal-Jama’at’ which then turned into a distinct and separate sect. In the meanwhile, the caliphs ordered the translation and dissemination of the
Greek philosophy among the Muslims spreading the philosophical thinking and reasoning among them. This deeply influenced the written and oral debates of
the Mu’tazilah and led to the evolution of ‘Ilme-Kalam’ (theology) in the Muslim theological centres. Inevitably, the Muhaddeseen (traditionists) were further sub-divided and it was during this period that the Ash’arite sect branched
out from the caliphate school.
165 Refer to Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal’s biography in Tarikh-Baghdad 4/412 and Tarikh Ibne Kathir 10/325-343.
166 In order to realize the consequence of sectarian disputes in the caliphate school, its worthy to mention in brief, the sayings of Imam al-A’aimma, Ibne-Khuzaima in support of Abu-Huraira which has come down in
Mustadrak-Hakem 3/513. Ibne-Khuzaima says:
“Those who talk against Abu-Huraira’s traditions are either the Jahmiyah who have negated God of all attributes and who find Abu-Huraira’s traditions contrary to their faith.
Or they are the Khawarij who do not consider as obligatory the obedience to the caliph and ruler but rather believe that revolt is compulsory.
Or they are the Qadarites (free-willers) who believe that man’s actions have been decreed by God from eternity
and find Abu-Huraira’s traditions contrary to their views.
Or they belong to the jurisprudents who reckon Abu-Huraira’s traditions to be contrary to their views on jurisprudence.
These are the people who reject Abu-Huraira’s traditions.
4. The Ash’arite sect:
The Ash’arite sect follows Abul-Hasan Ali-ibn-Ismail Ash’ari (died in 324
A.H.). He was a descendant of Abu Musa Ash’ari. He lived in Basra for forty years and was a student of Jabba’ee Mu’tazila (died in 303 A.H.).167 Thereafter, just like the two founders of the Mu’tazilah sect (i.e.,Wasel-ibn-Atha and Amr- ibn-Ubaid) who at first were among Hasan Basri’s students but later separated from him, founded the Mu’tazilah sect, Ash’ari too quit his Mu’tazilah master168 and exhorted the masses to refer to the hadith (like the traditionists). Subsequently, Ash’ari traveled to Baghdad and strived hard to repudiate the Mu’tazilah sect. However, in his debates he would not only employ the traditions of the Muhaddeseen (traditionists) but would also seek benefit from the Mu’tazilah theology.169 In some cases, his beliefs did not reconcile with the traditions in its apparent form. Therefore, in-spite of reckoning himself to be the promoter of Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal’s school of thought, all the traditionists (particularly, those following Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal’s school) did not follow him. But since he attended the classes of Abu-Ishaaq Maruzi, (a Sha’faee jurisprudent), a group of Sha’faee scholars welcomed Ash’ari’s beliefs, though another group followed the Mu’tazilah beliefs.
Thus the caliphate school got divided into two major sects in matters of beliefs: The Mu’tazilah sect and the Ash’arite sect. In fiqh (jurisprudence), they followed the Hanafi, Maaleki, Sha’faee and other legal (jurisprudence) sects. Later, the school of Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal too was included among the legal (jurisprudence) sects of the caliphate school.
From the fourth century A.H. onwards, Muslims used Ilme-Kalam (theology) in their debates. The constant polemics between the Ash’arites and Mu’tazilites led to the formation of Ahle-Hadith from these two sects.
During this period, numerous jurisprudence sects spread in the caliphate school. Finally in 665 A.H., Malik Zaher Baibars al-Bunkukdari from “Hukkam- Ma’maleek”170 officially recognized the four schools of Hanafi, Maaleki, Sha’faee and Hanbali, however, they adhered to the Ash’arites in matters of belief. The verdict is still valid among the followers of the caliphate school.171
4. The Salafiyah sect:
The end of seventh century A.H. saw the rise of Ibne-Taimiyah (died in 728
A.H.) from the Hanbali sect who rebelled against all other Muslim sects.
167 Da’ert ul-Ma’aref ul-Islamiah 2/218.
168 Refer to Ash’ari’s biography in Wafayat al-A’yan 3/398.
169 This will become apparent by referring to the Ash’arite works.
170 Hukkam-Ma’maleek in Egypt were those rulers who in reality were slaves but later freed.
171 Refer to Khutat-Maqrezi 6/161, Cairo edition.
Although, he closed the door of Ijtihad (independent reasoning) in the caliphate school, he claimed to be a Mujtahid (religious jurist) himself.172
His belief in anthropomorphism exceeded all bounds. Once, while stepping down from the pulpit, he said that the way he was stepping down from step to another God descends from the first heaven to the next heaven in the similar manner.173 He considered the cry: O Muhammad and the act of imploring help from the Prophet as unlawful.174
Moreover, Ibne-Taimiyah refuted the virtues of Ali (a.s.) to such an extent that the scholars from the caliphate school consider this to be the sign of his animosity towards Imam (a.s.). The scholars have said: ‘Ibne-Taimiyah is a hypocrite because; the holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) once addressed Ali (a.s.) as such:
“Nobody will hate you except the hypocrite”.175’
On several occasions, the scholars from the caliphate school from Damascus, Cairo and Alexandria held debates with him and adjudged that he should be imprisoned. At times, they would ask him to recant his beliefs176 and repent. After Ibne-Taimiyah’s death, his followers honoured him with the title of Shaikh-ul-Islam (chief of the Muslims) and called themselves as the Salafiyah i.e., the sect that follows the Salaf (ancestor). According to them, Salaf includes the companions, disciples of companions and a few traditionists from the first, second and third century A.H. like Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal.
The Salafiyah sect is very harsh in their behaviour towards other Muslims. They consider themselves as believers and pious and all other Muslims (from third century onwards) as deviators and heretics.177
5. The Wahabiyah sect:
Th twelfth century witnessed the movement of Muhammad-ibn-Abdul Wahab
(died in 1207 A.H.) who was a staunch believer in the Salafiyah creed. He launched an unabated bloodletting spree against the Muslims and renewed Ibn- Taimiyah’s call more intensely than even Ibn-Taimiyah could manage to do it. His followers were branded as the “Wahabiyah”.
According to Muhammad-ibn-Abdul Wahab, visitation of graves is heresy;
seeking intercession from the Prophet after his demise is perdition and the cry:
O Muhammad and imploring help from the Prophet is polytheism. According to him, all Muslims from the third century onwards save Ibn-Taimiyah’s followers
172 Al-Durral ul-Kamenah Fi A’yan al-Ma’at al-Saamenah written by Ibne-Hajar Asqalani (died in 852 A.H.) on page 163; Cairo edition 1385 A.H.
173 Ibid; page 164.
174 Ibid; page 158.
175 Ibid; page 166.
176 Ibid; page 150-170.
177 Refer to Ibn-Taimiyah’s works like Minhaj al-Sunnah and ——————
are polytheists. He adds: ‘Polytheism of our times is more intense than the polytheism that prevailed during the era of paganism.’178
The Wahabi sect differs from the Salafiyah sect in three respects:
1. Their intense hostility against the holy Prophet.
2. Their belief that a Muslim’s blood is lawful until he accepts Wahabism or according to them, quits polytheism and accepts monotheism. For this
reason, they presume the Muslim lands to be the land of the polytheists and the Wahabi lands and territories to be Islamic lands.
3. Their belief that God would forgive all their sins and would bestow them the
Paradise regardless of the magnitude of their sins.
During my pilgrimage to Mecca on 10 Safar, while holding discussions and debates with various classes of people from the Wahabi sect, I noticed the above
three points in their deeds and words. I investigated the cause for such a belief and derived the following conclusion:
1. Regarding their intense offences against the holy Prophet, a few of my
observations have already been explained in the previous discussions. They reckon the Prophet’s blessed corpse to be decayed and decomposed like all other corpses hence they refrain from showing any reverence to him after his death or give any distinction to the Prophet’s grave over the graves of other human beings!
Author says: The reason of such a notion is the result of thos fabricated traditions wherein the Prophet’s position is shown lower than even an ordinary man.179 Similarly, the false traditions that have been attributed to the holy Prophet wherein he says:
‘O Allah, do not allow my grave to become an idol. O Allah, curse those tribes that have converted their prophet’s graves into mosques.’
That this hadith is fabricated has already been explained in Vol: 1 of “Ma’lem al-Madrasatain” in the chapter concerning
«ﺎﻴﺒﻧﻻا رﻮﺒﻗ ﻲﻠﻋ ءﺎﻨﺒﻟا لﻮﺣ فﻼﺨﻟا» About their belief regarding the permissibility of killing the Muslims, we have already discussed before, the reason for such an idea which is also reflected in their speeches, writings and deeds.
About their belief that God would forgive all their sins and they would not be sent to Hell, I would like to narrate an incident which I had witnessed
The pilgrims to the House of Allah would relate to me about the indecencies practiced by the Wahabi people in the two holy shrines. When I heard some of
these incidents for the first time, a shiver went down my spine. Subsequently I
personally witnessed them committing sinful acts in reckless manner. What
178 Refer to Ma’alem al-Madrasatain 1/62
179 Refer to the previous discussions concerning the second factor of distortion. Similarly, refer to Ma’alem al- Madrasatain, Vol 1 page 39, second edition.
surprised me was that they believed that such acts were sin, yet they indulged in it shamelessly. I was curious to find out the cause for such a wanton behaviour. Finally, I found the answer during one of my visits to the Khif mosque. I heard a Saudi preacher delivering a sermon on the subject concerning polytheism. He enumerated the various types of polytheism practiced by the non-Wahabi sects such as the very utterance, ‘O messenger of Allah, making a vow for those in grave, etc etc…. At the end of his speech, while going into a state of ecstasy, he said: The Prophet said: “Allah says, ‘O My slave! You may indulge in sins to the extent you want! You may fill the world with sin, but do not become a polytheist. I will forgive all your sins and consider them as insignificant; you
only avoid becoming a polytheist!180
While narrating this hadith, I found the preacher, as if recalling some of his sins and experiencing a feeling of joy on the pulpit!
* * *
History of Wahabism: Muhammad-ibn-Abdul Wahhab and the Sauds
Muhammad-ibn-Saud, the king of Dareeya in Najd, embraced the doctrine of Muhammad-ibn-Abdul Wahhab in the second half of twelfth century A.H. Later his son, Saud and his followers attacked the Muslim tribes under the pretext of Jihad (holy war). They killed Muslims, looted their property and violated their rights; all in the name of holy struggle in the path of Allah.
Until this date, they have spilled so much of Muslim blood and plundered their property that it was unprecedented in the Islamic history. The last of their
atrocities was in 1407 A.H., when they massacred more than four hundred pilgrims during the Haj ceremony.
These aforementioned sects are the most prominent ones in the caliphate school.
Now, we shall discuss the sects and their differences from the Ahl al-bayt school of thought.
180 The preacher narrated this hadith from Sahih-Bukhari. However, the author has found this hadith in Musnad- Ahmad 5/167 as follows:
The prophet said: Allah says, ‘O sons of Adam! Verily, if you call and beseech Me, I shall forgive you, whatsoever your condition. If it happens you meet Me on the day of judgement with sins to the size of this earth,
I too will meet you while bestowing My forgiveness to the size of this earth. If your sins reach the heavens, I
would still forgive you and pay least attention (to your sins) provided you do not seek any partner with Allah and seed forgiveness from Me.”
This tradition has partly come down in Sahih-Bukhari 1/150; Book of ………………, chapter concerning……………………..
Numerous other traditions of this nature have come down in their reliable books and God-willing, we shall
discuss them in the coming lessons.
Unity in the Ahl al-bayt (as) school
At the outset, its necessary to pay attention to the following five issues:
1. Appointment of the prophet’s legatees.
2. Concealment of hadith.
3. Uprisings by followers of Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) against the tyrant rulers
4. Consequences of appointment of prophet’s legatees and consequences of concealment of hadith.
5. Recognizing Shia and Shiasm.
A detailed explanation of these five issues
(I) Appointment of the prophet’s legatees:
1. The duty of the prophets and their legatees is to inform the masses of their religious obligations. Considering that the Muslims living during the
Prophet’s era needed to know the Imam after the Prophet, the holy Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) introduced Ali (a.s.) as his legatee on the very first day of his call to
Islam when he invited the Bani-Hashim to his house.
The Prophet repeatedly maintained this introduction of Ali until it culminated on the occasion of Ghadir-e-Khum. On the day of Khum, by Divine order, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) introduced Ali (a.s.) as the “master of the
affairs” (Vali-Amr) before tens of thousands of Muslims.
2. The prophets are supposed to convey to the people their legal duties after his death. Nevertheless, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) too, introduced his legatees
and the “masters of the affairs” after Ali-ibn-Abi Talib till the day of judgement:
i) He conveyed the tidings about the advent of the Promised Mahdi and that he
would be the last Imam.
ii) He explained that Imams would be twelve in number.
iii) He introduced Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) as the two Imams who would succeed the first Imam in the chain of Imamat.
iv) He specified the names of each Imam through his elite companions like, Jabir-ibn-Abdullah Ansari. Besides, in the writings delivered to his first legatee, (Ali-ibn-Abi Talib) the names of Imams and prophecies about their
lives have been related in an elaborate manner.
It was not a widespread or universal announcement instead the holy Prophet
(s.a.w.a.) explained these things in an informal manner. Inshallah, we will discuss the reason behind such an informal mention.
successive Imam to their followers. They would also convey tidings about the advent of the Promised Mahdi and to a few followers, even mention the names of rest of the Imams.
(II) Concealment of hadith:
In the Caliphate school
Earlier, we had discussed that until the end of the first century A.H., the Caliphs had prevented the recording of the Prophet’s hadith. However, the scholars from the caliphate school have managed to conceal the Prophet’s hadith until the end of 7-century A.H in various ways.181
In the Ahl al-bayt (as) school
Due to killings, tortures and imprisonment of the Ahl al-bayt and their followers, the followers of Ahl al-bayt always practicing taqiya (dissimulation) except during the end of Imam Baqir’s era and the beginning of Imam Sadiq’s era. Which is why they could not preach the Prophet’s Sunnah openly that had been entrusted to them.
(III) Uprisings by followers of the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) school:
In the school of Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) and their followers, two types of uprisings took place against the tyrant governments:
• Uprising for the sake of enjoining goodness and forbidding the evil.
• Uprising in the name of Mahdaviyat.
In the series of uprisings of the first category, we know the uprising by the chief of the martyrs, Imam Husain (a.s.). In his will to Muhammad-ibn-Hanafia, he
described the intention behind his revolt as follows:
“Indeed I have set out only for the purpose of rectifying the nation of my grandfather. I wish to enjoin the good and forbid the evil.”
181 In Vol 1 of Ma’lem al-Madrasatain, we have explained in detail, the following ten type of concealment:
a) Omission of part of the Prophet’s hadith and replacement with vague words.
b) Complete omission of news about Seerah (way of life) of the Prophet’s companions c) Interpreting the Prophet’s traditions contrary to their real meaning.
d) Omission of some of the sayings of the Prophet’s companions.
e) Complete omission of tradition about the Prophet’s Sunnah.
f) Prohibition from writing the Prophet’s Sunnah.
g) The endeavors in weakening the traditions and narrators as well as the books that were detrimental to the ruling government.
h) The burning of books and libraries.
i) Omission in part, of the news about the companions Seerah and distortion of facts.
j) Fabrication of traditions replacing the true traditions concerning the Prophet’s Sunnah and his companions
uprising was not for the purpose of attaining the caliphate and forming a government. This was the first and the most manifest example of uprising of the first kind.
Regarding the uprising of the second type, we may mention the uprising undertaken by Muhammad-ibn-Abdullah from the progeny of Imam Hasan
(a.s.). The purpose of this rebellion becomes evident from the reply which Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) gave to Abdullah when the latter asked Imam to swear allegiance to his son Muhammad. Imam (a.s.) replied:
“If you imagine your son is the same Mahdi then, you are wrong. Besides, this era is not the era of Mahdi. However, if you desire that he revolts due to his zeal for Allah’s sake and enjoins goodness and forbids the evil, then by Allah, we
shall not abandon you while you are our elder and we shall swear allegiance to your son in this affair.”182
This uprising was one instance of uprising by the descendants of Imams under
the guise of the Promised Mahdi.
From the remarks of Imam Husain (a.s.) concerning his own uprising and the remarks of Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.), it appears that the Prophet’s legatees
considered as correct, only those uprisings that took place with the aim of enjoining good and forbidding the evil.
(IV) The effect of appointment of the legatees and effect of concealment of hadith:
Due to the Prophet’s propagation, all the residents of Medina and all the companions were fully aware about the identity of Imam Ali (a.s.), Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.). After Imam Husain’s martyrdom on the hands of
caliph Yazid and subsequently, the destruction of the Ka’ba by the same caliph, the mistake of the caliph’s appointment through allegiance of the people had become clear. Thus, after Imam Husain’s martyrdom, there remained no choice
for the Muslims, but to accept the chain of Imamat.
Since Imam Husain (a.s.) had entrusted his heritages to Umm-Salma before setting off on journey to Mecca and Iraq and later Imam Sajjad (a.s.) had
collected the same in Medina, it was not difficult for anyone in Medina to recognize the successor of Imam Husain and the Imam of his time.183
* * *
After having briefly discussed the consequences of appointment of the legatees by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), we will now discuss the negative effect of concealment
of the Prophet’s hadith.
182 In Islam, swearing of allegiance is of various types. One type is to swear allegiance for uprising on the path of enjoining to good and forbidding the evil. The above belongs to this category.
183 Refer to Ma’lem al-Madrasatain, 2/320; discussion on “how Imams (a.s.) circulated the books of knowledge”;
chapter concerning “Al Imam Ali-ibn-Husain (as)
The caliphs had prevented the propagation of the Prophet’s hadith, particularly the spread of traditions concerning the Prophet’s legatees and the advent of the Promised Mahdi, especially the ones which conveyed tidings of his establishing justice and equity in the earth after it was filled with oppression and tyranny. These traditions were in such a large number that the offspring of Imams and the Prophet’s cousin (the Bani-Abbas) gathered in Medina to swear allegiance to Muhammad-ibn-Abdullah as the Promised Mahdi. Later, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) informed them of their error.
Although recognition of each of the Prophet’s legatee was clear to a few elite, it could not remain apparent for the general public after the era of Imam Baqir
(V) Recognition of Shia and Shiasm:
For recognizing Shiasm, it’s first necessary to recognize Islam.
Islam is to have faith in monotheism (Divinity and Lordship) followed by faith in all the prophets till the last of them; faith in the Islamic commandments accompanied with sincere intention of acting upon them; belief in the Prophet’s Sunnah; belief in physical resurrection, the reckoning of deeds, reward and punishment on the Day of judgement.184
Shiasm is a school wherein its followers, in the era soon after Prophet, accept these beliefs and commandments from the Prophet through his successors–the Imams from Ahl al-bayt; and they follow the Prophet and Imams. The condition for following the Imams from Ahl al-bayt during Imam Husain’s era is to recognize and accept the three Imams; and similarly during Imam Sadiq’s era, to recognize the six Imams.
The same rule prevails until the time of the Promised Mahdi (a.j.t.s.) and during his time, a Shia is one who recognizes the twelve Imams and follows them all.
Now, we will discuss a few examples of the way the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) introduced his legatees after him as well as the manner in which each legatee would appoint his own immediate successor. We shall also discuss the result of
these methods of appointment.
First example: The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) introduces Imam Baqir (a.s.)
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) introduced Imam Baqir (a.s.) in his lifetime as can be seen from the following tradition related by Jabir:
(i) Jabir-ibn-Abdullah Ansari would sit in the Prophet’s mosque wearing a turban on his head185 and would cry out: “O Baqir! O Baqir”186. By this act,
184 In Islam, there exists a difference between a hypocrite and believer. The former accepts Islam in a pretentious manner and not at heart.
185 In those days, people would put on a turban during official meetings. The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) too would put on a turban during his official meetings as well as during Eid prayers. Refer to Abdullah-ibn-Sabah, Vol 2.
attention of the people who would come from far flung areas for performing the Haj rites.
(ii)The people would say: Jabir speaks in delirium! (I.e. old age has turned him feeble-minded). Jabir would reply: Nay, I swear by Allah, I’m not speaking
in delirium but I heard the Prophet saying:
:« اﺮﻘﺑ ﻢﻠﻌﻟا ﺮﻘﺒﻳ . ﻲﻠﺋﺎﻤﺷ ﻪﻠﺋﺎﻤﺷ و . ﻲﻤﺳا ﻪﻤﺳا . ﻲﻨﻣ ﻼﺟر كرﺪﺘﺳ ﻚﻧإ » “You will (live to) see a man from me; his name will be my name and his character will be like my character. He will split the knowledge and unfold
This was the reason for my utterances and you heard it.187
Another important point in this hadith that calls for attention is that the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) refers to Imam Baqir (a.s.) as: kfslkfslkfjlskdjflks meaning, a man from me. Earlier, we had discussed about this expression and
concluded to mean: ‘His task in propagating Islam is the same as mine.’
(b) Jabir would also walk down the streets of Medina and cry out: “O Baqir! O Baqir!” Once again, the same conversation would take place between him and the people in Medina.188
Second example: Imam Sajjad (a.s.) introduces Imam Baqir (a.s.)
Before his demise, Imam Sajjad (a.s.) handed over the books of Imam Ali (a.s.) and the armoury of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to Imam Baqir (a.s.). When Imam Sajjad (a.s.) passed away, Imam Baqir’s brothers approached him and claimed
their share in these books and the armoury. This dispute gained prominence in Medina thus the inhabitants of the entire city heard that the books that were written by Imam Ali (a.s.) himself in his own hand-writing were now in the
possession of Imam Baqir (a.s.)
* * *
Similarly, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and subsequently the Imams from Ahl al-bayt, (a.s.) conveyed the matter of executorship [until Imam Baqir (a.s.)] to all the
companions and people of Medina.
However, after Imam Baqir (a.s.), the events took a different course and situation changed for the rest of the Imams until the Promised Mahdi (a.s.). The
When caliph Manthur received news of Imam Sadiq’s demise, he wrote a letter to the governor of Medina: “Kill whosoever he has appointed as the legatee
(wasi).” The governor of Medina replied: “He has appointed five people as his
186 Arabic Arabic Arabic meaning, he lifted the curtain from the hadith; and slkjlksdjflksd means, he lifted the curtain from the knowledge and gave light; and slkfjskldjfkls means, one who lifts the curtain from the knowledge.
187 Refer to Al-Kafi, 1/469 and Bihar al-Anwar, 46/225-228.
188 Esferayeni (died in 429 A.H.) in his book Al-Feraq bain al-Feraq, Cairo print, page 60; and Tarikh-Ya’qubi
2/61 while describing the Imam’s demise.
two sons Abdullah and Musa and 5) Hamidah, mother of Musa. The caliph said: They cannot be killed.189
Thus, it’s evident that in the era after Imam Sadiq (a.s.), his successor would have been killed if publicly declared. Thus the duty entrusted to him by Allah in
guiding the people and safeguarding Islam would have remained unfulfilled. After Imam Baqir’s era, the other method of appointment of Imams was as follows:
The Imam would introduce the next Imam only to the elite among the Shi’as.190
Thereafter, on the people’s request for recognizing the Imam of their time, Allah would smoothen the way until the Imam of the time gained prominence amongst friends and foes. In order to protect the Imams against the hostile attitude of the ruler, it was essential to be discreet in the announcement of their successors. Haroon al-Rashid summoned Imam Kazim (a.s.) from Medina to Baghdad and imprisoned him. Ma’mun ordered relocation of Imam Ridha (a.s.) from Medina to Khorasan and kept him under surveillance in the pretext of making him his heir apparent. Similarly, Imam Javad (a.s.) was escorted to Baghdad; Imam Ali an-Naqi (a.s.) and Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) were summoned to Samerra. In short, every Imam was kept under vigilance of the caliphs right till the end of their holy lives.
What reason could the caliphs give for treating these Imams in such manner? Wasn’t it that they were aware that these personalities are the Imams of the
This matter was clear for the people of Medina and the people residing in the ruling capital wherein Imam was either imprisoned or kept under vigilance. This
was more so after the people used to witness Imams’ debates and discourses and saw their pious ways of life (seerah).
Concerning those living in faraway cities,191 they too could clearly perceive this
matter by inquiring from the citizens of Medina and from the surviving companions and their disciples.
* * *
While Imam Sadiq’s last will over the matter of Imamat remained a secret for the caliphate organisation and kept them confused, it did not create any sort of doubt for the Shiites. Rather, the matter became clearer for them:
When the Shiites in Kufa were informed about the demise of Imam Sadiq (a.s.), Abu Hamza Thomali asked the informer: ‘Did Imam appoint anyone as his legatee?’ He replied: ‘Yes, his two sons, Abdullah and Musa as well as caliph Manthur. The informer had hardly finished that Abu Hamza laughed and said:
189 Kafi 1/310 and Bihar al-Anwar 47/3.
190 Refer to the biography of each Imam in Bihar al-Anwar, by Allama Majlisi.
191 In those days, the distance of some cities from Medina was equal to one or more than one year’s journey. However, every year, people from these cities used to travel to Medina for performing the Haj.
All praise is to Allah who has guided us; Imam has made us aware about the state of his eldest son; and guided us towards his youngest son (Musa-ibn-Jafar) and kept concealed a great affair.
When asked about his comment, Abu Hamza explained thus: By nominating his younger son along with his elder son, Abdullah, he has given us an indication
that his elder son is not eligible for the Imamat. Instead he had conveyed that by referring to his younger son, that he is the Imam and the successor. When he mentioned the caliph he clearly indicated that he want to be secretive about his true legatee. Now, if Manthur will inquire about Imam Sadiq’s successor and legatee, he would be told: You are his legatee.192
Incidentally, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) disclosed Imamat of Musa-ibn-Jafar (a.s.) to the elite among the Shiites prior to his departure from this world.193
Such an event was not hidden from someone like Abu Hamza. By this explanation, Abu Hamza wanted to dispel any doubt concerning Imam Kazim’s succession and Imam Sadiq’s (a.s.) intentions in defeating the designs of
We will now focus our discussion on the differences among the followers from the Ahl al-bayt school.
Differences amongst the followers from the Ahl al-bayt school
The differences attributed to the followers of the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) are not insignificant in most cases.
Let us recount the sects they claimed that appeared during the lifetime of the
Imams and then review the disputes that arose during the major occultation.
This is the first sect attributed to Shiaism. In the three volumes of the book
“Abdullah-ibn-Saba”, we have proved that such a sect did not exist in the first place. Rather, it had only an imaginative existence in the minds of malicious authors who wrote books about Milal wan Nihal (stories about nations and cultures) and later claimed their own books to be the documentary evidence of existence of the sect.
Kaisaniya was ascribed to Kaisan. According to a group of writers on Milal wan
Nihal, Kaisan was the freed slave of Imam Ali (a.s.).194
According to another group, Kaisan is none other than Mokhtar Thaqafi and the
Kaisaniya sect is attributed to him.195
192 Bihar al-Anwar 47/4, tradition 11 narrated from Manaqib of Ibne Shar Aashoub, 3/434.
193 Refer to Bihar, 48/12-28.
194 Milal wan Nihal, by Sha’restani; commentary on Al-Kaisaniya, 1/147.
195 Al-Farq bain al-Firaq, by Abdul Qaher Esfarayani (died in 429 A.H.), Cairo print, chapter concerning Al- Kaisaniya, page 38.
According to yet another view, Kaisan was one of the names of Muhammad- ibn-Hanafia and this sect is attributed to him.196
The Kaisaniya belief:
Numerous contradictory claims have been made about the Kaisaniya belief. We can summarize them as such:
They were the followers of Muhammad bin al-Hanafia (died in 81 A.H.) and they considered him to be the Promised Mahdi. Mokhtar Thaqafi (died in 67
A.H.) was one of his followers and has claimed the prophethood for him.
It was also claimed that the Kaisaniyas believed that the Imamat after
Muhammad bin al-Hanafia was transferred to his son Abu-Hashim (died in 98 or
99 A.H.) who in turn transferred the leadership to Muhammad bin Ali bin
Abdullah bin Abbas (died in 124 or 125 A.H.). After Muhammad, the Imamat was transferred to his son Ibrahim and then to the two Abbasid caliphs, Saffah and Manthur197 who set up the Abbasid caliphate.
As per this view, Kaisaniya was one sect from Shiaism which established a
Sunni caliphate lasting for five hundred years!! Naturally questions arise:
· Finally, who amongst the three figures was the real Kaisan?
· Except for the writers on Milal wan Nihal, has any other writer attributed to
Hazrat Ali (as) any freed slave by the name of Kaisan?
· Muhammad bin al-Hanafia, son of Imam Ali (as), is a famous figure and his biography is recorded in all the books on ‘Rijal’ (distinguished men) and books on hadith and seerah (life-history).
Barring the books on Milal wan Nihal, has anybody mentioned anywhere that
Kaisan was the title given to Muhammad bin al-Hanafia?! The same is true for Mokhtar too!
It was much easier for these scholars from the caliphate school to have said that
Kaisan, the founder of the Kaisania sect was actually a jinn. This is because it wouldn’t be easy for someone to disprove a creature like jinn. Just as they have attributed the killing of Sa’d bin Ebadah to jinn and said, “The jinns have killed Sa’d. His killers were from jinn and not men!”198
Thus, like the Saba’eeya sect, the Kaisaniya sect is only a imaginative creation on the part of the authors of Milal wan Nihal.
The True story:
After the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.), a group among the lovers of Ahl al- bayt gathered in Kufa for seeking vengeance for Imam’s blood and they named
themselves as the Tawwabeen. In 65 A.H., they waged a war against the Syrian army headed by Ibne-Ziyad and got killed.
196 Maqalat al-Islamiyeen, by Ali-ibn-Ismail Ash’ari, page 21.
197 Al-Farq bain al-Firaq, by Esfarayani, page 40 and Milal wan Nihal, by Sha’restani, 1/147 and 150-151.
198 Refer to the story of Sa’d’s murder in the book Abdullah bin Saba, vol 1, chapter concerning Saqifa.
In the following year, Mokhtar-ibn-Ubaid Thaqafi took vengeance for Imam’s blood by revolting against Ubaidullah-ibn-Ziyad in Kufa. In this battle, Ibne- Ziyad and seventy thousand Syrian soldiers were killed.199 Moreover, Mokhtar killed all of Imam Husain’s murderers like Omar-ibn-Sa’d, Shimr and others and dispatched their severed heads to Medina as a gift for Imam Sajjad (a.s.).200
In the meanwhile, Abdullah-ibn-Zubair claimed the caliphate in Mecca and sought allegiance from the people. Muhammad-ibn-Hanafia refused to swear allegiance to him. Abdullah imprisoned Muhammad-ibn-Hanafia and his near ones in a mountain pass named Aarem in Mecca. Abdullah piled up firewood at the mouth of this mountain pass and threatened to burn, Muhammad-ibn- Hanafia and his relatives, alive if they refused to pay allegiance to him within the stipulated period. Muhammad sent someone to Kufa and sought Mokhtar’s help. Mokhtar dispatched four hundred men and eventually, freed Mokhtar and
his nears ones from the captivity.201
Thereafter, in 67 A.H., Abdullah dispatched an army headed by his brother
Ma’sab-ibn-Zubair to confront Mokhtar. In this battle, Mokhtar was defeated and finally killed.
Mokhtar had killed a great number of men from the army of Bani-Ummayad.
Similarly, he had killed the tribal chiefs and their relatives from Kufa (who had massacred the prophet’s progeny in Karbala under the leadership of Ibne-Ziyad). Consequently, after Mokhtar’s death, the survivors of Mokhtar’s victims, who now possessed the power and pen, said and wrote whatever they liked against Mokhtar. Later, these were recorded in the books of history and in Milal wan Nihal
Regarding Muhammad-ibn-Hanafia, the truth is that he died without staking any claim to the Imamat. Thus, the allegation that he transferred the Imamat to his
son Abu-Hashim and he to others proves baseless.
Since there was a restriction on the spread of the Prophet’s traditions, the concept of Mahdaviyat was vague in those days. As explained earlier, the Bani-
Hashim who had gathered to swear allegiance to Muhammad-ibn Abdullah were also uncertain on this issue until Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) enlightened them.
Therefore, after Imam Husain’s (a.s.) era, it is likely that a few individuals must have recognized someone as the Promised Mahdi until they were corrected by the Imam of their time.
About Mokhtar, it can be said that the exigencies of war may have compelled him to use equivocal statements and references for Muhammad-ibn-Hanafia or Imam Sajjad (a.s.). It is also likely that he must have heard and known the prophecies (through the Imams) about his own revolt against the Bani-Umayyad
and killers of Imam Husain (a.s.).
199 Al-Farq bain al-Firaq, page 46.
200 Refer to Tarikh Ibne Athir, in the events of 66 A.H. and 67 A.H.
201 Refer to Tarikh Ibne Aithi, in the events of 66 A.H.
In neither case, the imaginations of a few individuals about Muhammad-ibn- Hanafia and the sayings of Mokhtar (assuming he ever said anything) can be taken as a sectarian view in Islam and Shiaism. Which means that no sect by the name of Kaisaniyah ever existed in history except in minds?
About the Gharabiyah, it is said:
“Gharabiyah are a group who believe that Allah sent Gabriel to Ali (a.s.) but
Gabriel made an error of judgement and instead approached Muhammad
(s.a.w.a.), and gave him the revelation. This error was because Muhammad resembled Ali in appearance! And they have said that Muhammad and Ali were more alike than even two crows or two flies. Similarly, they believed that Ali is Allah’s messenger and Ali’s sons are the prophets!
This group advises its followers to curse the creature with wings i.e., Gabriel! The infidelity of this group is more condemnable than the infidelity of the Jews!
The Jews asked the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.): Who brings to you God’s revelation? The Prophet replied: Gabriel. They said: We do not like Gabriel because he is the carrier of chastisement. They further said: Had Meekaeel, who
is the carrier of mercy, brought revelation to you, we would have brought faith in you without the least hesitation.”
Thus, though the Jews disbelieved the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and bore enmity with
Gabriel, they did not curse Gabriel; they only imagined Gabriel to be the angel of chastisement and not mercy.
But, the Gharabiyah from the tribe of Ra’fiza, curse Gabriel and Muhammad
(s.a.w.a.)! And the Almighty Allah says: “Whoever is the enemy of Allah and
His angels and His apostles and Gabriel and Meekaeel, so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers.” [Baqara/98]
According to this verse, the one who bears grudge and enmity with some of the
angels is an unbeliever and whoever is labeled as an unbeliever by Allah, can no longer be called a Muslim.202
They name such vain discourses as scholastic discussions! The writers of Milal
wan Nihal have falsely attributed some more of such fancy sects to the Ahl al- bayt school. The motive becomes obvious if we compare these with the sects that have appeared and still continue to exist in the caliphate school.
202 Regarding this imaginary sect, also refer to “Al-Tabseer Fi’d – Deen wa Tameez al-Ferqat-ul-Najiah Min al- Feraq-al-Halekeen”, page 75 written by Abul-Muzaffar Muhammad-ibn-Taher Esferayani (died in 471 A.H.), printed in 1374 A.H. in Cairo.
A comparative analysis of the sects ascribed towards the Ahl al-Bayt school and the sects of the caliphate school
In the caliphate school, the Ash’arite, Mu’tazilah and Salafiya sects dominate in
matters of belief while the Hanafia, Malikiya and Sha’fieeya sects are followed in matters of jurisprudence. The scholars of their respective sects have recorded their sect’s views on beliefs and precepts and rationalized their authenticity with great pride. Besides, each of these scholars has researched the history, origin, and the classification of scholars of their respective sects.203
For instance, the history of the Asharite including its founder, the date of foundation, the year of birth and death of its founder has been recorded in detail. Besides, his views have been extensively recorded and are unanimously accepted by all the scholars.
Similarly, the lineage, death and writings of scholars who emulated the founder of this school are also known and recorded and made available to the common
readers. A glance at these is sufficient to know everything about the Asharite sect. In the scholastic discussions, the correct method for recognizing any sect is
to refer to the writings of the scholars of that sect. It is through these that the concerned sect can be appreciated or criticized.
Let us have a look at those sects that have been falsely attributed to the Ahl al-
bayt school by the caliphate school:
i) The Saba’eeya sect
They claim Abdullah-ibn-Saba is the founder of this sect. There are several unanswered questions in this regard.
Did Saba, father of Abdullah, descended directly from the heaven or did he have a father at all? If he had a father, what’s his name? What is his lineage?
Is there any example of the writings of Abdullah-ibn-Saba?
Did the Prophet’s companions like Abu-Zar and Ammar or the disciples of companions like Malik-Ashtar and Muhammad-ibn-Abi Bakr who were alleged
to have to belong to Saba’eeya sect have themselves ever said: We are from the
Is there any writing from the Saba’eeya sect or even from Ammar, Abu-Zar, Hujr bin Adi and Sa’sah bin Sauhan? Or whatever is available is actually the
creation of their enemies, which was written after their death, and those pious men did not have the least knowledge about the existence of such sect?
ii) The Kaisaniya sect
Was Muhammad-ibn-Hanafiya himself ever called Kaisan with whose name this sect is referred? Or was the freed slave of Ali (a.s.) known as Kaisan? If no then
what was the name of this freed slave?
203 Like, Tabaqat-Shafiyyah, by Tajuddin Sabaki (died in 771 A.H.); Tabaqat al-Hanabilah, by Abu Ya’li
Muhammad-ibn-Husain and Tabaqat al-Mu’tazilah, by Ahmad-ibn-Yahya.
Who are the Kaisaniyas? Who has claimed to be Kaisan? Is there any documentary evidence at all about this sect except whatever has been written by the enemies of Mokhtar?
iii) The Gharabiya sect
Who was the founder of the Gharabiya sect? When and where did he live? Who staked a claim to the title of Gharabiya? And who has claimed to have seen or met the mysterious Gharabiya?
Apart from the imagination of certain prejudiced writers and historians did this
sect exist at all?
Such was the difference between the sects falsely attributed to Shaiism and the sects that existed and still continue to exist in the caliphate school!
Amongst the sects attributed to Shiaism, only two sects, actually existed
Ismailiyah and Zaidiyah.
The Zaidiyah is a sect among the Muslims and it follows Zaid-ibn-Ali-ibn- Husain.
In 121/122 A.H., Zaid-ibn-Ali had traveled to Syria where he felt offended by the then Umayyad caliph, Hisham bin Abdul-Malik and his governor in Kufa. Both of them also slandered the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.). Angered at the humiliation
and encouraged by the support of the citizens of Kufa, who pledged allegiance to him, Zaid revolted against the governor of Kufa and got martyred.204
After him, Yahya, son of Zaid revolted in 125 A.H. against the Umayyad caliph in Khorasan and was maryrted in the city of Juzjan.205
The uprising undertaken by both Zaid and Yahya were for the sake of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil (Amr bil-Ma’fuf and Nahy an-Munkar).206
After the martyrdom of Zaid and Yahya, a group emerged who claimed to be the
followers of Zaid and became famous by the name of Zaidiyah sect. Unlike the Shiaites, this group does not believe that Allah has appointed the Imams nor that the Prophet has propagated this matter to the people on divine commands. Rather, they believe that after Imam Ali (a.s.), whoever from the progeny of Ali and Fatemah (a.s.) revolts with the sword becomes the Imam of the Muslims.207
Thus, the Zaidiyah are common with the Sunnis in their belief that Allah has not appointed an Imam for the Muslims. In legal provisions (Ahkam) too, they follow Abu-Hanifa, the Imam of one of the Sunni schools of jurisprudence. The reason they follow Abu-Hanifa is because he had given a verdict in support of
204 Refer to Bihar al-Anwar, by Majlisi 46/170-188 and Maqatel al-Talebeyeen, Cairo print, 1368 A.H., page
127-151. Ibne Athir, in his Tarikh, while discussing the events of 121 A.H, has explained the injustices faced by
Zaid and has referred to his martyrdom in the events that occurred in 122 A.H.
205 Refer to Maqatel al-Talebeyeen, page 152-158; and Ibne-Athir in his Tarikh, while explaining the events of
206 Refer to Ibne-Athir in his Tarikh, topic concerning the martyrdom of Zaid and Yahya.
207 The author has perceived this matter out of the scholastic discussions with Zaidiyah. Also, refer to al-Milal wan Nihal, by Sharastani, 1/154: Al-Zaidiyah.
the uprising of Muhammad and Ibrahim against Manthur, the Abbasid caliph. Moreover, he had also urged the people to give their support to them.
Their peculiar beliefs raise the following questions:
♦ If revolt against the government is the pre-requisite of Imamat, then how will they explain the Imamat of Imam Ali, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s.) when they were kept confined to their houses? Did Imam Hasan (a.s.) cease to be the Imam after his signing the peace treaty with Muawiya?
♦ How will they explain the Imamat of Imam Sajjad and Imam Baqir (a.s.) who never revolted against the caliphs and never possessed the reins of government?
♦ In the final analysis, how can they ever follow Abu-Hanifa and consider him to be their Imam in fiqh (jurisprudence) and Ahkam (ordinances) while he (i.e., Abu-Hanifa) never subscribed to their principle in Imamat and did not recognize the Imams which Zaidiyah accepted (i.e., Imam Ali and his two sons, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain). Besides, he considered the caliphate of the three caliphs to be in order and opposed the views of Zaid and his forefathers in matters of jurisprudence and acted upon his own judgement!
If Zaid happened to meet them how will he react to their beliefs? Anyway, the
Zaidiyah have accepted partly the Sunni belief and a little of Shia belief. Besides, they have added something of their own belief too.
They are neither Sunnis nor Shias; rather, they have formed a third sect by the
name of Zaidiyah. However, their beliefs and deeds fundamentally differ with the belief and deed of Zaid, son of Imam Sajjad and all other followers of the Ahl al-bayt school, while their ideology is closer to the caliphate school. Fathiyeh
This sect is attributed to Abdullah, son of Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) who was given the title “Aftah”.208 After the demise of Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.), Abdullah was the eldest living son and his name was included along with others in Imam’s will.
After his father’s death, Abdullah left open the door of his house and kept a gatekeeper besides it. He sat over the uppermost portion of his house and claimed the Imamat.209
A few Shias approached him and asked a few questions related to Islamic
precepts. Abdullah gave them wrong answers. The Shias realized that he was ignorant in the Islamic ordinances. Consequently, they approached Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.).210
208 A person whose head or leg is broader than the usual limit is called an “Aftah”.
209 Bihar al-Anwar 47/252-253.
210 Bihar al-Anwar 47/252-253; and Al-Maqalat; and al-Farq, by Sa’d bin Abdullah Ash’ari (died 301 A.H.), page 86, Tehran edition, 1963.
After his father’s demise, Abdullah lived only for seventy days.211 Practically it was not possible for him to set up a sect within this short period and anyway which sect could have existed in his name during that era.
When the sect was founded, the Ismailiyah sect believed in the Imamat of the Imams until the sixth Imam, i.e., Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) and claimed that after Imam Sadiq (a.s.), the Imamat has been transferred to his son, Ismail.212 For this very reason, they are known as six Imamiah.213 Thereafter, they got divided into various sects with diverse beliefs.
We shall now glance over the belief and history of this sect as follows: Ismail to whom this sect is attributed died during his father’s lifetime. After Ismail’s death, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) behaved in a manner, which was unusual for an Imam. Amongst them, we may mention the following:
When Ismail died, Imam (a.s.) gathered thirty of his Shias in his house. Then, he addressed Davood, one of his companions as such: ‘O Davood! Uncover his
face. Then, he asked all the thirty men to look at Ismail’s face carefully and he asked each of them: Is Ismail alive or dead? Everybody replied: “He is dead”.
Then, he said: “O Allah, Thou be witness!”
Thereafter, he ordered that Ismail’s corpse be given the ceremonial washing and then shrouded. Later, he said to Mufazzal: ‘O Mufazzal, uncover his face. He
repeated the same question again after asking the people to look carefully at Ismail’s face. This surprised all of them and they replied in an astonishing tone: “O our master, he is dead”. Imam said: O Allah, Thou be witness!”
When Ismail was laid to rest on the niche, Imam (a.s.) said: ‘O Mufazzal,
uncover his face. Then, Imam (a.s.) said: ‘O people, have a look. Is he alive or dead? They replied: He is dead, ‘O Wali (Friend) of Allah. Imam (a.s.) said: ‘O Allah, Thou be witness! Certainly, the people of falsehood shall doubt Ismail’s death.’
When Ismail’s corpse was covered with soil and his burial ceremony completed, Imam (a.s.) once again said: Who is this dead man shrouded and buried? All
replied: He is your son, Ismail! Imam (a.s.) said: O Allah, Thou be witness.” Then, he caught hold of his son, Musa’s hand and said: “He is with the truth and truth is with him.214
In another tradition, it is related that, as per Imam Sadiq’s (a.s.) command, the sentence: ksjfklsj flksjfklsjflks djfklsjflksjd (Ismail bears witness that there is no god but Allah)215 was written at the side of Ismail’s shroud. Following Imam’s instructions, he was washed and shrouded. After Ismail was wrapped in the
211 Al-Maqalat and al-Farq, by Ash’ari, page 86; and Milal wan Nihal, by Sharastani, 1/167.
212 Refer to Milal wan Nihal, by Sharastani 1/167.
213 In our era, it is the Shias who oftently call them by such title.
214 Bihar al-Anwar, 47/254 narrating from Manaqib, by Ibne-Shar Aashoub, 1/228.
215 Bihar al-Anwar, 47/248, hadith 11, narrating from Kamaluddin, by Saduq 1/160; Tahzib, by Shaikh Tusi
1/289 and Bihar al-Anwar, 47/255 narrating from Manaqib, 1/229.
shroud, his face was repeatedly uncovered and Imam would kiss his forehead, chin, and throat.216
During the funeral procession, the coffin was laid on the ground for several times on Imam’s (a.s.) command. Each time, Imam (a.s.) would push aside the shroud from Ismail’s face and look at him so that the people would not doubt in Ismail’s death.217
Moreover, it has been repeatedly narrated in several traditions that Imam Sadiq
(a.s.) sent some of his Shias to perform the Haj on behalf of Ismail.218
After Ismail’s death, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) summoned thirty of his eminent Shias and gave order for uncovering Ismail’s face. He asked each of them whether
Ismail has died or is still alive! Everybody answered that Ismail has indeed died! Later, he gave orders for washing and shrouding Ismail and inscribing the
sentence “Ismail bears witness that there is no god but Allah” over the coffin. This was just to emphasize that this coffin bear the corpse of Ismail.
He repeated his action after shrouding. Several times Ismail’s face was
uncovered and he asked everybody to look once again at Ismail’s face. Then, he asked: Whose corpse is this?
All of them replied, ‘He is your son, Ismail and he is dead!
Thereafter, during the funeral procession that was attended by more than thirty people, he ordered for the corpse to be laid on the ground. He removed the shroud and looked at Ismail’s face. He repeated this act several times so as to attract the participant’s attention!
And after placing Ismail on the niche, he once again asked the people: Whose corpse is this? All of them affirmed that it was Ismail’s corpse! After completion of the burial ceremony, he once again asked: Who is he, who has been washed
shrouded and buried? All of them said in unison: He is your son, Ismail! Later, he contracted some of the Shias to perform the Haj on behalf of Ismail. Despite the best efforts of Imam (a.s.) to convince people of Ismail’s death, a
group asserted: “Whatever Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has said is not true! Ismail has not died! He has been living after Imam Sadiq (a.s.) and he is the Imam after him.” This group too should have been given the title of six Imamiah because, they
believed in the Imams till Imam Sadiq (a.s.), the sixth Imam. But, they cannot be called as such! They are not six Imamiah; rather, they are zero Imamiah. They did not recognize any of the Imams before Ismail and did not accept the sayings
of any of the six Imams. They said: “Ismail continue to live after Imam Sadiq (a.s.) and the Imamat was transferred to him.” A few amongst them said: “After Ismail, the Imamat was transferred to his son, Muhammad.”
216 Kamaluddin, by Saduq 1/160.
217 Bihar al-Anwar, 47/242 narrating from Irshad, by Shaikh Mufid, page 304.
218 Bihar al-Anwar 47/254 narrating from Manaqib, by Ibne-Shar Aashoub 1/228; and Bihar al-Anwar 47/255 narrating from Manaqib, by Ibne-Shar Aashoub 1/230.
With the passage of time, this sect, (called as Ismaili or Ismailiyah), got split from the Shias and the Imams of the Shias. Subsequently, they splintered into various sects.
Amongst them, we may mention the Qarametah group that went on a killing spree in Mecca and who stole the Hajar al-Aswad (black stone) from Holy Kaaba until it got restored after several years by the Fatimid caliph in Egypt.219
Yet amongst them were the followers of Hasan Sabbah who lived in the Alamut forts……and the other sub-sects, which exist until these days are the Druze in Lebanon and Palestine and the Agha Khani sect, scattered in various parts of the world. The Ismailiyah sect, since its inception, was not a Shia sect for two reasons:
• They opposed Imam Sadiq (as) and
• Gradually, they deviated from Islam and even turned anti-Islam and anti- Shia!
For better understanding of the Ismailiyahs, here is an example.
The example of Ismailiyah is like the example of Bani-Hunaifa and
Musailamah, the liar.
The story of Musailamah, the liar and Bani-Hunaifa
During the Prophet’s time, those Arab tribes that would accept Islam would send a few of their representative to the Prophet for expressing their faith and swearing allegiance to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The Prophet in turn would accept their profession of faith and offer them some gifts. In Arabic terminology, these people approaching the Prophet are named as “Wafd”
The Bani-Hunaifa tribe who lived in Yamamah220 sent a “Wafd” on behalf of their tribe to the Prophet for announcing their faith in Islam. Amongst the
“Wafd” from the tribe of Bani-Hunaifa, was Musailamah, the liar.
According to one tradition, when the “Wafd” visited the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Musailamah stayed back to look after the luggage and belongings of the “Wafd”. Once in the holy Prophet’s presence, the Prophet offered each one of
them some gifts. He also sent a gift for Musailamah and said: Musailamah is no worse than you.
When the “Wafd” returned to Yamamah, Musailamah turned an apostate. He
claimed the prophethood and said: The Prophet said about me: ‘I’m not worse than anyone of you. Thus, God has made me his partner in the prophethood.’ Thereafter, in the Islam, which he introduced for the Bani-Hunaifa, he declared the ‘Salat’ (prayers) as null and made drinking of wine and fornication as lawful. Like the western Islamicists, the Islam that Musailamah portrayed before his tribe was approved and sought by the people of that time! The Bani-Hunaifa
219 Refer to Tarikh-Ibne Athir; events of 339 A.H.
220 Yamamah is situated in Najd, the place from where the followers of Wahabi sect raised their heads and massacred the Muslims.
accepted the prophethood of Musailamah, the liar. Subsequently, Musailamah wrote a letter to the Prophet in the following manner:
“From Musailamah, the messenger of Allah to Muhammad, the messenger of
Allah. Peace is to you!
I have been made a partner with you in the prophethood. Half of the land belongs to us (Bani-Hunaifa) and half of the land is for the Quraish (i.e., the
Prophet’s tribe). But the Quraish wishes to infringe on our right.” The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied:
“From Muhammad, the messenger of Allah, to Musailamah, the liar. Peace is to
the one who follows the guidance.
The land belongs to Allah. Whosoever He wishes, will surely inherit it.”221
After the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise, the Muslim army attacked Bani-Hunaifa at
Yamamah. In this fierce war in which thousands were killed from both sides, Musailamah was killed and the Bani-Hunaifa were either killed or taken as prisoners of war.222
In this story, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) accepted the Islam of “Wafd” from the tribe of Bani-Hunaifa and presented them with gifts. He also accepted Musailamah’s belief in Islam and offered him gifts too.
The Prophet’s conduct with Musailamah, the liar was similar to his conduct with all other hypocrites (like, Abdullah-ibn-Abi for whom Sura Munafiqun has been revealed). About the Prophet’s remark that, “he is no worse than you”, perhaps the Prophet wished to say that he has accepted Islam for the moment and his
case is like your case where you have accepted Islam now but would all turn apostates later.
Musailamah was one of the “Wafd” from Bani-Hunaifa, which had accepted
Islam and had received gifts from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Under the circumstances, they were all Muslims and formed a part of the Islamic “Ummah” (nation). But, after Musailamah claimed the prophethood and the Bani-Hunaifa followed him, all turned into renegades. Thus, after this incident, one cannot accept them as a Muslim sect just because in the past, they had approached the Prophet and the Prophet had accepted their Islam and offered them gifts.
Therefore, we can neither name them as Musailamah sect or the Bani-Hunaifa sect nor we can say that this sect had accepted Allah, His messenger and the
Islamic precepts and their difference with other Muslims was only that they believed Musailamah to be a partner with the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in prophethood and their views differed with them in matters like prayers, fasting and fornication! These are such issues where nobody has said so far and rather,
has no right to comment on them on his own accord. The truth is that
Musailamah was far from Islam and a liar and someone who had falsely claimed
221 Refer to Seerah Ibne-Hisham, 4/245-272; Tarikh Tabari, European edition, pages 1737-1739 and 1748-1749.
222 Refer to Tarikh-Tabari, page 1943 and Seerah Ibne-Hisham, 2/5.
the prophethood. Thus, he and all his followers from Bani-Hunaifa had turned apostates.
Similarly, the Ismailiyah who believed in the Imamat of the six Imams until Imam Sadiq (a.s.) and thereafter in Ismail, followed by his son Muhammad and others are like the example of Bani-Hunaifa who although believed in the holy
Prophet (s.a.w.a.) of Islam and the Musailamah’s prophethod, they exited from
Islam and ceased to remain Muslims.
The same is true about the Ismailiyah. The moment they said Ismail is the Imam followed by Mohammad as Imam, they exited from Islam. Thus, one cannot
reckon them to be a Shia or a sect among the Shias. Besides, considering that they kept themselves aloof from the Imams (a.s.) and developed certain commandments contrary to the Islamic commandments which gradually took
them farther from Islam. Thereafter, one can neither call them Muslims nor recognize them as a sect in Islam or a sect among Shia.
Small groups emerged during the era of the Imams that made tall claims about the Imams and invited the people towards themselves. Considering that the
Imams would condemn these groups in their statements and expose their true faces, Shias and Sunnis had no doubt about the true identity of such groups.
Often, they would disappear after a while. Shahrestani, (died in 548 A.H.) a renowned scholar from the caliphate school who followed the Ashari in beliefs and the Shafei in jurisprudence writes in his book “Milal wan Nihal”, chapter “Al-Ghaliyah”, about the Ghulat sect and the polemics Imams had with them.
Towards the conclusion, he says:
:«…. ﻢﻬﻨﻌﻟ و ﻢﻫدﺮﻃ و (ضر) قدﺎﺼﻟا ﺪﻤﺤﻣ ﻦﺑ ﺮﻔﻌﺟ ﻢﻬﻠﻛ ءﻻﺆﻫ ﻦﻣ أﺮﺒﺗ و » “Jafar-ibn-Muhammad-Sadiq (may Allah be satisfied with him) expressed his disgust with all the aforesaid sects. He drove them out and cursed them.”223
Reason for emergence of religious sects
Before we conclude this discussion, we will briefly review the basic reasons behind the emergence of sects in the human societies.
1- “Egoism” is the most important motive behind man’s drive and mundane activities. Often man strives to fulfill his carnal desires out of eccentricity. Perhaps, man’s most powerful attraction is his quest for power, combined by
his free will in achieving desires.
For achieving these two types of lusts, man wants to amass wealth. Considering that man is an egoist, hunger for fame and popularity in the
society is also a part of his carnal desire. Consequently, man approves and
223 Milal wan Nihal, by Sharestani 1/173-181
follows any social system that helps him in achieving the aim of his carnal desires.
2- In Allah’s way of creation, mankind has been created in two forms:
• Man, as a leader.
• Man, as a follower
Man, as a leader is again divided into two categories. As Allah, the Almighty says:
:« ﺎﻧﺮﻣﺄﺑ نوﺪﻬﻳ ﻪﻤﺋأ »
· “Imams to guide by Our command” (Anbiya/73 & Sajdah/24)
:«رﺎﻨﻟا ﻲﻟإ نﻮﻋﺪﻳ ﻪﻤﺋأ »
· “Imams who call to the fire” (Qasas/41) Man, as a follower is also of various types:
· Those who by correct insight, follow such leaders who lead them to
perfection (leaders of the first type)
· Those about whom Imam Ali (as) says:
“Those who run after every caller and bend in the direction of evry wind.”224
3- Progress of true knowledge and insight in human societies as also human ignorance and lack of culture among people plays an evident role in the
formation or disintegration of these sects.
Thus these factors help us understand the reason for the occurrence of social disputes in the Islamic countries in the name of religion.
In all these groups, there existed people who loved power and leadership. For gaining power and position, they exploited the “weak mentality” of a society
and used such names and titles that were accepted by the people of their time. They would also convey tidings about rule and authority to others who, like them, were fond of ruling. They would introduce a religion to the ignorant
masses, which suited and satisfied their carnal desires. In this manner, by attracting a group around themselves, they would devise a sect under the name of that very religion. Thereafter, the continuity or discontinuity of that sect depended upon internal and external factors.
For instance, in the case of the Bahai sect, Husain Ali Baha initially enjoyed the support of the Russian Czar government. After the Russian revolution and downfall of the Czar government, Husain Ali and his son, Abbas Afandi lived
under the protection of the English government. At present, the survivors of this sect enjoy the support of the U.S.A. In every era, the leaders of this sect have acted as secret agents for the powerful colonial government of their time and
were it not for this collusion, this sect would have perished long ago.
224 Nahjul-Balagha (Subhi Saleh), page 496
This example will help us to examine the cause of formation of the social sects that came into existence as religious sects. Subsequently, we can investigate the reason for the stability of some sects and the destruction of few others.
Musailamah, the liar and Bani-Hunaifa
Bani-Hunaifa was inclined towards Islam because it had spread in the Arabian Peninsula. This feeble-minded tribe had its existence in a remote place at Najd. A man from this tribe claimed the prophethood and recited for them a few
Arabic proses and rhymes as revelation and then said: “God has raised me from your tribe and made me a partner in prophethood with Muhammad, from the Quraish. God favoured the Quraish with half the land leaving the other half to
you. Besides, He declared the prayers (Salat) redundant for you and made adultery and wine permissible to you.
Thus, he propounded a religion that made them the owners of half the land and
set them free in adultery and wine thereby fulfilling their carnal desires and released them from the hardship of Salat (prayers). Consequently, all the people of this tribe followed his religion en masse. They devoted all their life on this path merely because it satisfied their lust and carnal desires.
Similarly in the Ismailiyah sect also those who desired to hold the reigns of government denied the death of Ismail. In the pretext of acting as Ismail’s representative, they gained power and prominence among the feeble-minded
people. Thereafter, their continued success depended on the ignorance of their weak followers which they achieved by keeping their followers away from the Imams (a.s.). Besides, they altered the Islamic injunctions in every era and
place, thus making it convenient for their followers in fulfilling their carnal desires so much that they turned anti-Islam. In the contemporary world, the Ba’hai sect is following the same principle and had joined hands with the
The story of Ghulat is close to the story of the Ismailiyah sect. Some of the contemporaries of Imam were overtaken by the desire to rule (like Musailamah,
the liar). Initially, they introduced themselves as Imam’s representative. Thereafter, with the aim of introducing themselves as prophet, they described certain divine attributes for the Imams. Sometimes, their sensual desires exceeded all bounds and they introduced themselves as God!
However, due to the Imams’ constant efforts, the people did recognise their true face. Consequently, their claim to Imamat, prophethood and divinity were rendered ineffective and in most of cases it resulted in their death.
Regarding the sects attributed to the Ahl al-bayt school, we shall review once again the following two points:
(i) Uprisings by descendants of Imams
Previously, we had divided the uprisings by the Prophet’s descendants into two: Uprising for the sake of enjoining good and uprising in the name of Mahdaviyat. It was also said that in the uprising undertaken by Imam Husain, (which was progenitor of all uprisings for enjoining good), Imam (a.s.) did not practise
dissimulation. At all times, Imam’s slogan was the one that he .wrote for the
“Anyone who joins me shall be martyred and anyone who will desert me will not achieve victory.”
This was Imam’s slogan under all circumstances. On the other hand, the descendants of Imam who would revolt for the sake of enjoining good (like
Zaid), would not communicate with the people in precise terms and would adopt dissimulation. Mokhtar too, who revolted to avenge Imam Husain’s blood, preferred dissimulation in speech?
This send confusing signals in the Islamic society concerning Imamat and Mahdaviyat, as they were unaware of the Prophet’s hadith on these issues (due to the ban imposed by the ruling government from spreading the Prophet’s hadith). Consequently, any Imamzadeh who would revolt from a distant place
would receive the support of any Muslim group that had suffered injustice by the ruling government. For example, the support Harith received during his revolt in Termez.
In all such uprisings, after the leader’s defeat, the people found themselves on the crossroads again and hence it did not lead to formation of a particular sect. The only exception being Zaidiyah sect, which came into existence much after
Zaid’s failed revolution and martyrdom.
(ii) Groups that were confused in recognising their Imam Sometimes, after the demise of one of the Imams, a few Shias who were unaware or at the time of Imam’s demise was situated in far off places refused to believe in the Imam’s demise. Thus they would practise caution until they would become certain about the Imam’s demise and then would follow the successive Imam.
The biographers of Milal wan Nihal have recorded these groups as a Shia sect. For example, a group that was uncertain about the demise of Imam Musa Kazim
(a.s.) and continued to believe in his Imamat even during the period of Imam
Ridha’s Imamat, was considered as a Shiite sect by the writers of Milal wan
Nihal, though this belief remained only for a few days. The biographers have written detailed account of this group and have termed them as ‘Sabeeyah’ i.e.,
seven-Imamiyah or ‘Waqefiyah’. They would conveniently ignore the group’s return to the mainstream.
The biographers have followed the same approach in case of some Imamzadehs who claimed the Imamat for a brief while, like the Imamat of Abdullah Aftah, which lasted merely seventy days. In this period, a handful of Shias were
confused and remained lost for a while. The biographers would record the action of these few men as a sect among Shias.
In fact, they were so zealous to enumerate sects in Shias that even if a crow would have sat over the wall of an Imamzadeh’s and made a noise they would
have called him a Crow Sect and began to write a biography for this sect!
During this era of confusion, if an impostor staked a claim of Imamat from the Ahl al-bayt, then Imams ensured that he should not succeed and his lie should be exposed. During the time when Imam Ridha (a.s.) was designated as the heir- apparent, all such fabrications were dealt in debates of Imam (a.s.) which he had with the writers of Milal wan Nihal in the caliphate court.
Thereafter, the successive Imams who became famous as Ibne-Ridha, were well known as the Shiite Imams among the Muslims. The ruling caliphs’ behaviour with them, their relocation from Medina to the government capital in Baghdad and Samerra made their Imamat all the more clear.
During the tenure of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.), the selection of special representatives was initiated with the appointment of Uthman-ibn-Saeed. This continued in the era of Imam Hasan Askari when Uthman acted as the Ma’rjae
(religious authority) over all the Shiites holding the title of special deputy. Nevertheless, during the time of Imame Zaman too, initially Uthman was Imam’s special deputy and the Ma’rjae of all the Shiites. Before his death, as per
the instructions of Imam, Uthman-ibn-Saeed appointed his son, Muhammad-ibn- Uthman-ibn-Saeed as Imam’s special deputy. After Mohammad, Imam-e-Zaman (a.j.t.f.) had two more deputies namely Husain-ibn-Ruh and Ali-ibn-Muhammad
During the time of Imams, no group got separated from the Shia sect except the
Ismailiyah. The Ismailiyah sect was not even a Shia sect as they were against the
Imams and later even turned anti-Islam. As regards the Zaidiyah sect that emerged after Zaid’s martyrdom, the exact date of its formation is not known. More so they are a Muslim sect and not a sect from Shiaism.
Similarly, a mammoth task of compilation of ‘Usul’ or principles (that
comprised of four hundred or more principles) was completed during the era of the Imams. Moreover other books on various subjects were also compiled. The Prophet’s twelve legatees spread the Islamic insight and knowledge among the Shiites to such an extent that all followed the twelve Imams and all had faith in
the occultation of Vali-Asr (a.j.t.f.) and received through them, the Prophet’s
Let us have a look at the intellectual differences in the Ahl al-bayt school during the period of major occultation.
* * *
Differences in the Ahle-bayt (as) school during major occultation We have discussed that Imams ensured that their Shias should not be confused or suffer from mental distress. As a result of Imams efforts and their followers’ efforts two concepts had become evidently clear for the Muslims after the twelfth Imam’s major occultation:
1- Everybody had commonly known the 12 Imams of the Shias, their names and lineage.
2- The Shia beliefs (or rather the pure Islam) concerning ‘tafsir’ (exegesis of
Quran), the Prophet’s Sunnah and other Islamic sciences that were explained by the Prophet’s twelve legatees were recorded by their students in their books. Such compilations continued till the end of the twelfth Imam’s minor occultation and were made available to all the Muslims.
Of course, since the beginning of the twelfth Imam’s occultation until his reappearance, there is no possibility of formation of a new sect in Shiasm,
except the differences in comprehending the hadith from Ahl al-bayt (a.s.). However, two diverse opinions have emerged, namely the Akhbari and the Usuli.
The Akbariyah and the Usuliyah
The Akbaris difference with the Usulis originated from the assumption that the scholars of Usul have extracted some of the terms of Usul (principles) from the
caliphate school. Such an assumption has led some of the traditionists from the
Ahl al-bayt school to have a cynical approach to “Ilme-Usul” (theology) and made them believe that all matters related to “Ilme-Usul” has been transmitted
from the caliphate school. However, it is not correct except in few cases, they have made use of terminologies from the caliphate school for the purpose of
deriving correct meaning.
For example, the term “Mujtahid” in the caliphate school has been defined to mean someone who is allowed to legislate legal ordinances according to his personal opinion.
But, in Ilme-Usul in the Ahl al-bayt school, this term applies to the one who is an expert in extracting religious ordinances from the Book of Allah and His messenger’s Sunnah. In other words, they mentioned a “Faqih’, which is an
Islamic term for a “Mujtahid”.
The only other similarity is that of traditionists from the caliphate school, who consider traditions from only selected books of hadith to be correct. Similarly,
the scholars of Usul, too regard traditions from the four books (Kafi, Man-la- Ya’zur al-faqih, Tahzib and Estibsar) to be authentic.225
The method of our “Muhaddesin” has been to analyse one by one the terms of Usool and then, based on solid proofs, reject all such cases that do not agree with the insight of the Ahl al-bayt school and accept the rest.
Nonetheless, with regard to the books on hadith, the correct method is to examine the chain of transmission and text of each and every hadith. Any hadith that meets the criteria set by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his legatees (a.s.) for a reliable hadith is accepted while the one fails to meet the standards is rejected.
These were some of the instances of differences between the Akhbaris and the Usulis. Occasionally, the differences of view among some of the scholars from both sides are of individual nature and cannot be considered to be the general
view of the Akhbaris or Usulis.
This clearly indicates that the Akhbaris and Usulis are not two different sects. Rather, they are followers of the same school and they differ only in the method
of extracting the ordinances from the Book and the Sunnah. Besides, such a difference existed in the past and at present there exists no separate group by the name of Akhbaris, they are named as “Muhaddesin”.
After the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise, the Muslims were divided into two groups:
the caliphate school and the Ahl al-bayt (a.;s.) school.
The caliphate school claimed: After the Prophet’s demise, Allah and His messenger left the leadership of the Ummah (nation) at the discretion of the
people. This school maintains that the caliphate till the last Uthmani caliph (died in 1336 A.H.) to be in accordance with the Islamic law. They believe that the
sources of Islamic Shariah (religious laws) are the Quran, the Prophet’s Sunnah and the Ijtihad (independent judgements) of the prophet’s companions (particularly, the independent judgements of the first three caliphs). Soon after
the Prophet’s demise, they were ready to learn the Prophet’s Sunnah from anyone who claimed to be the ‘Sahabi’ i.e., the Prophet’s companion.
The Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) school believes: After the Prophet, Allah has appointed
twelve guardians to lead the Islamic Ummah and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has conveyed this matter to the Ummah in clear and lucid terms. This school believes the true Islamic sources are the Quran and the Prophet’s Sunnah. And after the Prophet’s demise, they receive the Prophet’s Sunnah from his twelve legatees. This school also accepts narration of traditions from the Prophet’s faithful companions.
225 Refer to Ma’alem al-Madrasatain, Vol 3.
Besides, during the last part of the 40 A H, one group separated from these two schools. It branded the Muslims as infidels and polytheists and attacked them with swords. This group was named the “Khawarij”.
Gradually, the caliphate school divided into various sects the most famous among them being the Mu’tazilah, Asharite and Salafiya (in matters of belief).
The Wahabiya sect is an offshoot of the Salafiya sect.
And in matters of Ahkam (precepts), the most famous sects in the caliphate school are the Malekiyah, Hanafiya, Shafiya and Hanbali sects.
As for the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) school, their differences among the followers were
confined to only two stages: differences during the Imams’ lifetime and differences during the major occultation of the twelfth Imam.
During the Imams’ lifetime, occasionally few Shias were at loss to understand
the truth after their Imam’s demise. This was because they had no access to the subsequent Imam and their knowledge about the Prophet’s hadith and the hadith of his legatees was limited. This uncertainty continued until a few learned among them would meet the Imam and the issue would become clear for them. Besides, the Imams would constantly strive to guide the Shias in matters of Islamic beliefs and precepts.
During the era of the Imams (a.s.), nobody thought of propounding new sect among the followers of this school. In fact, when the era of the 12th Imam began, all the Muslim sects were entirely familiar about the twelve legatees by name, lineage and character. Besides, all the Islamic sciences were recorded in books by the students of the Ahl al-bayt school and were accessible to everyone. Thus, the propagation of Imams was concluded and the period of major occultation began.
During the lifetime of the Imams (a.s.), no controversial sects could raise its head among their followers because of the diligence exhibited by the Imams.
As for the Zaidiyah sect, they barely acquired their creeds from the Ahl al-bayt
school while a major portion of their beliefs was extracted from the caliphate school. They combined these together and formed the Zaidiyah sect. Thus, they are neither Sunni nor Shia sect but rather form a third sect among the Muslims. As for the Ismailiyah sect, they are like the Bani-Hunaifa and the followers of Musailamah, the liar who at first were Muslims but following their belief that Musailamah has become a prophet like Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), they turned apostates. Thereafter, they no longer could be recognised as a Muslim sect as they left the domain of Islam.
Similarly, the Ismailiyah sect too, after they believed in the Imamat of the deceased Ismail, they exited from the domain of Shiasm. Gradually, by
legislating certain laws contrary to the Islamic precepts, they exited from Islam too. Thus, one cannot count them to be a sect among the Muslims.
The same holds true about the Ghulat where they cannot be called Muslims.
As for the imaginary sects like the Sabaeeyah, Kaisaniyah and Gharabiyah, the authors of Milal wan-Nihal have falsely attributed them to the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) school whereas such sects did not have any existence at all in history. In this regard, we quote a famous saying:
“I am powerless against the liar who fabricates lies against me!”
This was the gist of differences between the followers of the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) school during the lifetime of the Imams (a.s.). Even when the major occultation of the twelfth Imam (a.j.t.f.) commenced, the names of twelve Imams (a.s.) were
so well known among the Muslim sects that nobody could dare to claim the Imamat. Rather, the power-hungry individuals could only claim the deputyship of the twelfth Imam, which was concluded by Imam after the death of his fourth
special envoy. Under the circumstances, those who claimed the deputyship were dismissed from Shiasm and Islam like, the Ba’hai sect in Shiah and the Qadiyaniah sect in Sunnis.
The followers of the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) school wrote such insightful and comprehensive treatises and compiled books of hadith narrated from the twelve legatees that no sect could dare to stake a claim among the Shias. However,
differences of opinion did exist among the Shia jurists concerning hadith as a result of which some were named Akhbari and some as Usuli. Presently, the Shia jurists are Usuli and there is no separate group called as Akhbari.
* * *
In the future discussions, we shall discuss that why after the Prophet’s demise, the followers of the Ahl al-bayt school learnt the Prophet’s Sunnah and the Islamic beliefs and precepts from the Prophet’s twelve legatees.
STATUS OF AHL-UL-BAYT (A.S.) IN DIVINE WORDS
:اﺮﻴﻬﻄﺗ ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧا » “Allah only desires to keep away the impurities from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying.”226
:«ﻲﺑﺮﻘﻟا ﻲﻓ ﺓدﻮﻤﻟا ﻻا اﺮﺟأ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﻢﻜﻟﺄﺳأ ﻻ ﻞﻗ »
“Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives.”227
IN THE PROPHET’S SUNNAH
:« ﺎﻤﻴﻠﺴﺗ اﻮﻤﻠﺳ و ﻪﻴﻠﻋ اﻮﻠﺻ اﻮﻨﻣآ ﻦﻳﺬﻟا ﺎﻬﻳا ﺎﻳ ﻲﺒﻨﻟا ﻲﻠﻋ نﻮﻠﺼﻳ ﻪﺘﻜﺋﻼﻣ و ﷲا نا » “Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet; O you who believe! Call for divine blessings for him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation”228
In Tafsir al-Qurtabi as well as in other exegesis of the Holy Quran, this verse has been explained. Also in Sahih Muslim and other books on hadith it has been narrated from Abu Masoud Ansari that:
“The Prophet (S.A.W.A.) approached us while we were in the company of Sa’d- ibn-Ebadeh. Basheer-ibn-Sa’d addressed the Prophet; `Allah has commanded us to send greetings upon you. Tell us, how one should send greetings upon you. The Prophet fell silent for such long time that we wished such a question had not been asked at all. After a while, the Prophet (S.A.W.A.) replied: Say:
لآ ﻲﻠﻋ و ﺪﻤﺤﻣ ﻲﻠﻋ كرﺎﺑ و .ﻢﻴﻫاﺮﺑا لآ ﻲﻠﻋ ﺖﻴﻠﺻ ﺎﻤﻛ ﺪﻤﺤﻣ لآ و ﺪﻤﺤﻣ ﻲﻠﻋ ﻞﺻ ﻢﻬﻠﻟا »
.«ﺪﻴﺠﻣ ﺪﻴﻤﺣ ﻚﻧا .ﻦﻴﻤﻟﺎﻌﻟا ﻲﻓ ﻢﻴﻫاﺮﺑإ لآ ﻲﻠﻋ ﺖﻛرﺎﺑ ﺎﻤﻛ ﺪﻤﺤﻣ
In salutation too, you may recite what you have just learnt.”229
Tirmidhi in his Sunan writes: “Traditions in this regard have also been narrated from other companions like Ali, Abu Hamid, Ka’b-ibn-Ajareh, Talha-ibn-
Ubaidullah, Abu Saeed, Zaid-ibn-Harith and Bareedah.”
226 Ahzab / 33
227 Shura / 23
228 Ahzab / 56
229 Refer to the following sources:
Sahih-Bukhari: 3/159 & 160 and 4/72; Sahih-Muslim, Book of Salat, hadith 65, 66 & 69, page 305-306; Sunan- Abu Davoud; Book of Salat; 1/257-258; Sunan-Nesaei, Beirut print, 3/45 and 3/47-49; Sunan-Ibne Maajah,
1/292-294, hadith 903-906; Sunan-Tirmidhi, 1/179-180 & Kitab al-Tafsir, Tafsir Sura al-Ahzab, Ayah 56,
12/95; Sunan-Darami; 1/309-310; Muwatta-Malik, 1/179-180 and Musnad-Ahmad 1/162, 3/47, 4/118, 119,
241, 243, 244 & 424; 5/274.
Tirmidhi says: `this hadith is acceptable and correct.’
Moreover, Ibn Hajar Haithami has recorded in Sawa’eq al-Muharreqa and
Samhoudi Shafa’ee has related in Jawaher al-Aqdain that the Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: “Do not send imperfect salutations upon me.” The people inquired: ‘O the Messenger of Allah! What is an imperfect salutation?
The Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: “That you say:
.« ﺪﻤﺤﻣ ﻲﻠﻋ ﻞﺻ ﻢﻬﻠﻟا » (O Allah send salutations on Mohammad) and conclude. Desist from such a recitation, rather say:
:« ﺪﻤﺤﻣ لآ ﻲﻠﻋ و ﺪﻤﺤﻣ ﻲﻠﻋ ﻞﺻ ﻢﻬﻠﻟا »
(O Allah sends salutations on Mohammad and his progeny)
Thus, reciting the words (progeny of Mohammad) after sending greetings and salutations on the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.A.) is one sunnah, neglected and
forsaken by a section of the Muslims.
General overview of our discussion
In the previous discussions, we examined the manner in which the Caliphs treated the Prophet’s Sunnah. God-willing, in this discourse, we will review the
mode and method followed by the Prophet’s legatees in their efforts towards the revival of his sunnah.230 These reviews can be summarized on the following four bases:
(1) At Allah’s behest, the Holy Prophet inculcated and entrusted Hazrat Ali (a.s) with the actual interpretation of Quran, his sunnah, various sciences and other vital informations. Hazrat Ali (a.s) devoted his entire life under the special training and guidance of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Subsequently, Hazrat Ali passed on the trust to his eleven successors one after the other.
(2) For the safeguard and dissemination of Islam until the day of judgement, Allah appointed Ali and his eleven descendants as the Prophet’s legatees.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) decisively and repeatedly introduced these 12 venerable persons to the Islamic nation so that they may recognise their leaders and guides. Thus the religion of Islam attained perfection and Allah completed his favours on the mankind.
230 Sunnah is a set of sayings and actions of the Prophet (S.A.W.A.). However, in the caliphate school, the actions of the first three Caliphs is reckoned to be the same as the Prophet’s actions and some like Imam Malikiah (Malik-ibn-Anas) reckon the Prophet’s companion’s actions too to be in line with the Prophet’s actions and consider them as the proof of the Islamic commandments.
In the Ahl al-bayt school, the sayings and actions of the twelve Imams who are the Prophet’s legatees are reckoned to be an exposition of the Prophet’s sunnah.
(3) After the holy Prophet’s demise, his legatees remained upright and protected the exegesis of Quran, the Prophet’s sunnah and the Islamic precepts and beliefs from all kinds of distortions and misinterpretations. They relentlessly strived and struggled for three centuries and succeeded in conveying the trust of the Holy Prophet (saw) including the true exegesis of Quran, the genuine set of Islamic traditions and the divine sciences and gnosis within the reach of the people of the world.
(4) Each of the infallible Imams (A.S.) endeavoured to protect Islam and remained accessible to the people until their last breath in this world.
Their sacrifices and efforts for protection of Islam have made them indispensable.
By God’s Grace and Help, we shall discuss and explain these four important issues in the following discussions.
BY DIVINE COMMAND, THE HOLY PROPHET (S.A.W.A.) ENTRUSTED THE EXEGESIS OF QURAN AND HIS SUNNAH WITH HIS TWELVE LEGATEES
Those who laid the foundations of a political caliphate after the Prophet’s demise had during the Prophet’s life-time maintained:
“No need to write the Prophet’s traditions, since he too is a human-being who
speaks out of joy and anger!”
And during the final hours of his life, they did not allow him to put down his will in writing which could have saved his nation from deviation astray. Instead,
`The Prophet is ill and (thus) speaks in delirium!! The Book of Allah is sufficient for us!!’
Alas, what a great pain!!!
After the Prophet’s demise too, the act of writing down traditions had been banned (till the end of first century). Of course, until the first quarter of the century, it was an offense to even recount the Prophet’s hadith. Thus, they ill-
treated those companions of Prophet who related his traditions.
Notwithstanding, the embargo on Prophet’s traditions during the caliphs’
regime, Prophet’s family members got busy in recording and preservation of his sunnah.
It is must be noted that there are several historical evidences to substantiate the arbitrary behaviour of the caliphs regarding the Prophet’s sunnah.
Nevertheless, for an indepth understanding of Ahle-bait’s endeavours for preservation of Prophet’s sunnah, we have to essentially delve into the historical accounts of Ahle-bait.
Scientifically speaking, this is the most logical method of research. Even earlier, during our discourse on caliphate, we had gleaned from those books that were regarded reliable on the subject of caliphate.
THE CHRONICLE OF HADITH DURING AHLE BAIT’S REGULATION
The regulation of hadith and Prophet’s sunnah by the Ahlebait had begin during
the life of the Holy Prophet.
As explained earlier, the basic source of Islamic precepts and tenets is the Holy Quran. The responsibility of elucidation and interpretation of the Holy Quran vests with the Holy Prophet and his designated successors.
After every revelation, the Prophet use to dictate the verse of Quran and hadith explaining the same, to Hazrat Ali (a.s.) who scripted his teachings and compiled it for the posterity.
The Prophet’s (S.A.W.A.) imparted his teachings to Ali (A.S.) in different gatherings the details of which are as follows:
(A) Systematic teaching sessions:
Several authentic books of hadith have recorded the teaching sessions that Amir- ul-Mumineen, Ali (a.s.) had with the Holy Prophet (saw). In this context, Hazrat
Ali (a.s.) himself has been quoted in the book of `Kafi’. Imam (a.s.) says: “Verily, I am the only person who had a daily admittance to the Prophet (at least) once during the day time and once during the night when I used to be
alone with him.
On such occasions, I had the honour to discuss with him on whichever subject he was inclined to talk. The Prophet’s companions were aware that none else
except I enjoyed such a privilege with the Holy Prophet. Such visits would often take place at my house and the Prophet used to come to see me. When I was to enter any of his (Prophet’s) room to see him he would ask his wives to vacate
the room for the sake of privacy with me and there would be none with him besides me.
But when the Prophet had his turn to visit my house for private conversation, he would not exclude Fatemah (my wife) and any of my sons from this
conversation. In such meetings, he would reply to my queries and when I had exhausted my queries then he would initiate further discussions. The Prophet never missed recitation of even a single verse and I did not miss writing any of
his dictations. Similarly, the Prophet never skipped the mention of any
revelation to me. Thus he taught me the basic import of each and every verse, its complete explanation including the verses that were abrogative and the verses that were abrogated, the clear verses and the ambiguous ones and also those verses that were general and specific.
And then the Prophet prayed to Allah to bestow upon me the true understanding of Quran and its unfailing memory. Ever since the Prophet had prayed for me, I
never forgot a single verse from the Book of Allah, nor did I forget the knowledge which the Prophet had imparted to me and which I had written down.’’
It is a lengthy hadith. Before we proceed further with this tradition, let us mention another tradition at this juncture.
In this hadith, Zaid-ibn-Ali-ibn-al-Husain (died in.120 A.H.) has repudiated
certain objections which often comes in some people’s mind.
Zaid-ibn-Ali quoted Amir-ul-Mumineen (A.S.) as saying, “Sleep would not overtake me until the Prophet (saw) had taught me whatever Jibrail had brought
on that particular day, the commands about the lawful and unlawful things, permissions or prohibitions of actions regarding a particular person or certain act.’’
Zaid was asked: “How could this be possible when these two were far from each other and spatial distance prevented them from seeing each other?” Zaid replied, “The Prophet would remember the days on which he was unable to meet Ali and when the Imam would meet him next day, the Prophet said, `O Ali, on such a
day, these points were revealed and on such a day these matters were revealed to me.’ He would continue until he would reach the day on which Imam had met him.231’’
Now we shall continue with the earlier tradition of Imam Ali (A.S.).
“Nothing from what was revealed to the Prophet, the lawful and the unlawful;
nothing from the divine imperatives and the prohibitions, nothing from what had been and what would be, and nothing from the books revealed previously to any
of the Prophet regarding divine obedience and disobedience did the Prophet skip teaching me. I fully grasped it and did not forget a word from it. Then the
Prophet put his hand over my chest and prayed to Allah to fill my heart with knowledge and understanding, wisdom and enlightenment.232 ”
This was a gist of Imam’s regular meetings with the Messengerof God.
231 Basa’er al-Darejat; page 197, tradition No 4. Three traditions in support of this hadith have come down in the caliphate school sources. Refer to Sunan Nesa’ee 1/178 Chapter concerning: Clearing one’s throat in Salat (prayers); Sunan Ibne-Majah; book concerning: Manners, Chapter: Seeking permission, tradition No 3708; Musnad Ahmad Vol 1/85, tradition No 647, Vol 1/107; tradition No 845, Vol 1/80; tradition No 608 and Tarikh al-Bukhari 4/2/121.
232 Kafi 1/62-63; Wasa’el Shia (old edition) 3/396, tradition No 1; Mustadrak al-Wasa’el 1/393; Ehtejaj Tabarsi page 136; Tuhof-ul-Uqul page 131-132; Wafi 1/63; Meraat al-Uqul 1/210.
In Ibne-Sa’d’s “Tabaqat” (a Caliphate school reference) in the section concerning Imam Ali’s life-history
2/2/101 (European edition) three traditions in support of this hadith has been narrated where one of these has come down in a manuscript titled: “Faza’el Ali-ibn-Abi Talib” from Ahmad-ibn-Habal.
(B) Imam’s unscheduled sessions and meetings with the Prophet
Unlike earlier discussion in which we talked about regular meetings of Hazrat Ali with the Holy Prophet (saw), in this discourse we will talk about those sessions, which were not unscheduled and indeterminate.
According to a tradition recorded in `Sunan Tirmidhi’ and other authentic
sources of the caliphate school, it has been narrated from Jabir-ibn-Abdullah Ansari233 who said, “In the battle of Taif, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) called Ali (a.s.) close to him and whispered a few words in his ears. The other companions cribbed, how long he has been whispering in his cousin’s ears’
When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) overheard this remark, he said: “The act of whispering was not from my side. Rather it was Allah who resorted to such whisperings.”234
While explaining the hadith, Tirmidhi says: “Allah’s whispering” implies
Allah’s command to His Prophet to whisper in his (i.e. Ali’s) ears.”
The reason behind such whispering especially that it took place in the battle of Taif could not be about a consultation on the battle since the Prophet never sought advise on war matters from any single person but rather preferred group consultation. The battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq and others were clear examples of his group discussions on war strategies.
Thus, it is clear that this and such other unusual conversations235 between the two are in line with their daily regular meetings. Or perhaps these meetings are
those very meetings which Zaid-ibn-Ali-ibn-Husain had explained that whenever the Prophet (s.a.w) and Ali (a.s.) got separated from each other for a few days, the Prophet (s.a.w) in his first contact with Ali (a.s.) would sit in
private with him and say: ‘O Ali! On such a day, these matters were revealed to me……. which makes the reason for the Prophet’s long act of whispering with Ali (a.s.) evidently clear.
* * *
The purpose of all such regular or unscheduled meetings was that the holy
Prophet (s.a.w) imparted and entrusted with his cousin Ali-ibn-Abi Talib (A.S.)
all the Islamic sciences related to beliefs, commandments and others important matters.
233 Jabir-ibn-Abdullah-ibn-Omar-Ansari was one of the companions of the Prophet who had lived right till the era of Imam Baqir (A.S.). He died in 70 A.H. in Medina. Taqreeb al-Tahzeeb 1/122.
234 Sahih Tirmidhi: Book: Al-Manaqib, Chapter: Virtues of Ali-ibn-Abi Talib Vol 13/173 and Tarikh Baghdadi
7/402. The same has also come down from Jabir-ibn-Abdullah in Tarikh Ibne-Asaker 2/310 & 311; Tarikh Ibne- Kathir 7/356 and Osd-ul-Ghaba 4/27. Almost similar contents has also been narrated from Jundab-ibn-Najiyah (or Najiyah-ibn-Jundab) in Kanz-ul-Ummal – Hyderabad print 1312 A.H. 6/399 and second edition 12/200, tradition No 1122 and Al-Riyaz al-Nazarah 2/265
235 Other similar meetings between Ali (A.S.) and the Prophet (S.A.W.A.) took place in Medina. Reference to these has come down in the books on “Tafsir” (Exegesis) below the verse on whispering (Mujadela/12,13). Refer
to Ma’lem al-Madrasatain 1/322.
The Prophet (s.a.w) instructed his first legatee to make a record for the other legatees:
In Amali (of Shaikh Tusi), Basa’er al-Darajat and Yanabi al-Muwaddah it has been narrated that,
Ahmad, a son of Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s.) has related from his great grandfather: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) asked Ali (a.s.), `Write down
whatever I tell you.’
Ali (a.s.) said: ‘O the Messenger of Allah, do you fear that I will I forget if I
He (saw) replied, “You are not forgetful and I have no such fear. I have pleaded with Allah to preserve these sciences in your memory so that you may never forget them. Rather, you record these for posterity for the benefit of your associates (in the affair of Imamat).’
Ali (a.s.) inquired: ‘O the Prophet of Allah, who are my associates? The Holy Prophet (saw) answered:
They are the Imams from your offspring through whom the Divine Mercy descends upon my nation. Through them, the prayers are answered and the disasters and calamities are averted from my nation. It is due to them that the
Divine blessing descends from the heavens upon my nation.”
Then he pointed his blessed finger at Hasan (a.s.) and said: “He is the first of them.” Thereafter, he pointed at Husain (a.s.) and said: “The Imams are from his progeny.”236
Two kinds of propagation:
The commands of Allah to His prophet can be divided into two categories depending on the manner of communication.
First set of commands were those which the Prophet, deemed essential to be conveyed directly to the people without any intermediary, since he knew that it
was the opportune moment and conducive circumstances for such an explanation.
The second sets of commands were those which the Prophet could not convey
directly due to a variety of reasons and had to leave the matter for a future date. These were supposed to be carried out after the Prophet’s time. The Prophet (s.a.w) would teach these matters only to Ali (a.s.) and he in turn would record these matters in two separate books, as directed by the Prophet.
This recording and writing continued until the death of the Prophet (s.a.w). It is said that moments before the Prophet breathed his last, he conveyed the last of the divine commands to Imam Ali(a.s.) in absolute privacy.
236 Tusi’s Amali (Najaf 1384 A.H.) 2/56; Basa’er al-Darajat, page 167; Yanabi al-Mawadda of Qunduzi and
Darul Khilafa al-Othmania 1302 A.H. page 20.
The last session:
Abdullah-ibn-Amr Aas says:
During his last illness, the Prophet (s.a.w) said:
“Call my brother near me.’ At this, Ali got closer to the holy Prophet (s.a.w). Then, the Prophet draped his garb over Ali and whispered something in his ears.237
This incident has been narrated by Umme-Salma too with a slight variation.
`I swear by the One in Whose Name I always take oath that verily Ali was the last one who conversed with the holy Prophet (s.a.w)
`At dawn, we visited the Prophet. He repeatedly asked: “Has Ali come? Has Ali come?” Fatemah (a.s.) said; `It seems you have sent him for some work!’
Moments later, Ali arrived. I sensed that the Prophet had something very important to discuss with Ali and so I vacated the room along with the others. I was nearest to the door of the house than all others.
`The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) drew Ali very close to himself and began conversing with him in a muffled voice, akin to a whisper. The Prophet passed away on the same day. Thus, Ali was the last person who conversed with the Prophet.238’’
Also, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) himself had talked about this last conversation.
“In his last illness, the Prophet (s.a.w) said, `inform my brother to visit me.’ When I went to him, he said: “Come closer to me.”
I went close to him. He leaned over me and in the same position, he talked to me for a while; often I could feel droplets of his blessed saliva on me until the time approached for his departure and he breathed his last on my bosom….239
It has become crystal clear from these narrations that the Prophet (s.a.w) dictated all the Islamic sciences and gnosis to Ali (a.s.) and entrusted him with these sciences in the form of a compiled book so that Ali (a.s.) could pass on these
records to his successors as a written proof of the Islamic sciences.
JAMI’AH (The assemblage) OR THE BOOK OF IMAM ALI (A.S.)
From the numerous traditions that have been narrated it becomes evident that
Imam Ali-ibn-Abi Talib (a.s.) had maintained several books, which comprised
237 Tarikh Ibne-Asaker (Beirut edition 1395 A.H.) Translation of Al-Imam Ali (A.S.) 2/484; Tarikh Ibne-Kathir
7/359; Kanz-ul-Ummal (First edition) 6/392.
238 This hadith has been described as correct in Mustakrak Hakim and Talkhis Zuhbi 3/139. Also in Musannaf
Ibne Abi Shuibah 6/348; Majmah al-Zawaed 9/112; Kanz-ul-Ummal, second edition 15/128, chapter concerning,
‘he virtues of Ali-ibn-Abi Talib’, tradition No 374 and Tazkerat Khawas al-Ummah narrated from “Faza’el” by
239 Tabaqat Ibne-Sa’d; European print Vol 2/
the Islamic commandments and gnosis. In this discussion, we shall only mention one of his compilations known as “Jami’ah”, the assemblage.
This book was dictated by the holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) and written by Ali (A.S.) over the period of years. Apparently, those traditions, which referred to “The Book of Ali” for all intent and purposes, implied towards this very book. Abu Baseer240 has related a tradition, which is quoted in Usul-Kafi and Basa’er al-Darejat. The exact text of the tradition from Kafi241 is reproduced below:
Abu-Baseer has narrated, `I approached Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) and asked: `May my life be sacrificed on you! I have a question, though I don’t want others to hear what I am going to ask?
Imam (a.s.) drew back a curtain that was between his room and the other room, and looked inside the room. When he was satisfied, he said reassuringly: ‘O Abu
Muhammad! Ask whatever has occurred to you.’
I continued: ‘May I be made your ransom! Your Shias are saying that the
Messenger of Allah (saw) taught Ali (A.S.) a door (of knowledge) which opens a thousand doors? Imam (as) replied: ‘O Abu Muhammad! Verily, the Jami’ah
is in our possession and what do they know what the Jami’ah is?’ I asked: May I be made your ransom! What is the Jami’ah?
He answered, ‘The Sahifah (scroll) whose length is seventy cubits, according to (the measure of) the cubit of the Messenger of Allah (saw). The Holy Prophet himself had dictated each and every word, which was transcribed by Ali in totality. In it is every permitted thing and forbidden thing (halal wa haram), and
every thing which people need, even the penalty for inflicting a scratch on somebody.’
Then he touched me in gesture of seeking permission, ‘Do you allow me, O Abu
I said: May I be made your ransom! Indeed I am yours, do whatever you desire! Then, Imam (A.S.) pinched me with his hand and said: ‘Even the mulct of this.’
And then the countenance of Imam suddenly changed and he seemed to have become serious.
I said: ‘By Allah, this (itself) is knowledge…’’
There have been several such traditions about “Jami’ah” and Imam Ali’s book. Now, we shall explain how the Imams after Ali (a.s.) would entrust all such compilations (particularly the “Jami’ah”) to their successors at the end of their respective eras.
240 Two figures are well known by this name (i.e., Abu-Baseer). One is Yahya, son of Abul-Qasim alias “Abu Muhammad”, a companion of Imam Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Sadiq (a.s.) and he was strictly called “Abu Baseer”. Here, our reference is this very figure. Refer to Qamus al-Rijal.
241 Kafi 1/239, Basa’er al-Darejat, page 151-152; Wafi 2/135. Ofcourse, this tradition is very lenghty and we have selected only some portion from it keeping in view our purpose. Another tradition too has been narrated
from Abu Baseer which differs slightly in words from the aforesaid hadith. Refer to Basa’er al-Darejat, page
149, Tradition No: 14; page 154, Tradition No: 1 and Wafi 2/135.
IMAM ALI’S BOOKS IN THE HANDS OF SUCCESSIVE IMAMS
Heritage of Imamat – Ali, his sons and grandson
Shaikh Kulaini has quoted from Sulaym-ibn-Qais242 in Usule-Kafi as follows:
“I witnessed the declaration of the will of Amir-ul-Muminin (a.s.) when he nominated his son, al-Hasan (a.s.) as his successor. At the time, he made al- Husain (a.s.), Muhammad Ibne-Hanafiyah, his other sons, the heads of his Shias and his entire household, as witnesses to the declaration of his will. Then he entrusted with him the book and the armour, and said to his son, al-Hasan (a.s.):
‘O my dear son, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) commanded me to appoint you as my successor and to hand over to you the books and the armour which were
in my possession just as the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) appointed me as his successor and handed his books and armour over to me. He also ordered me to convey his instructions to you that, when you are close to death you should
entrust the same to your brother al-Husain (a.s.). Then he turned to his son, al- Husain (a.s.) and said: ‘And the Messenger of Allah (saw) commanded you to hand it over to this son of yours’. Then he took the hand of Ali-ibn-al-Husain
(a.s.) and said to Ali-ibn-al-Husain: ‘And the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) commanded you to hand it over to your son, Muhammad-ibn-Ali, and to convey greetings of the Messenger of Allah (saw) as well as my greetings to him.”243
In another tradition from Kafi which is also related in Basa’er al-Darejat, Humran244 has narrated:
“I asked Abu Jafar, that is Imam Baqir (a.s.) about the reports that the people were saying that a sealed sheet of paper had been entrusted to Umme Salmah. Imam Baqir (a.s.) replied: ‘When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) departed (from us), Ali (a.s.) inherited his knowledge, his armour and other bequests. Then they passed on the legacy to al-Hasan, which in turn was bequeathed to al-Husain. When we feared that we would be beleaguered (during the events of Karbala), al-Husain entrusted them to Umm Salmah (in Medina) which was later returned to Ali-ibn-al-Husain.’
I said: ‘so after your father it reached you’’ Imam Baqir (a.s.) replied in affirmative’245
It has also been narrated from Omar-ibn-Aban246 who said247:
242 Sulaym-ibn-Qais Abu Sadiq al-Halali al-Aameri was amongst the companions of Amir-ul-Muminin (A.S.). He lived till the era of Imam Sajjad (A.S.) Qamoos al-Rijal 4/445.
243 Kafi 1/297-298; Wafi 2/79.
244 Abu-Hamza or Abul-Hasan Humran-ibn-A’yan Shaibani was a follower (of Ali) and a trustworthy figure. He has narrated traditions from Imam Baqir (A.S.) and Imam Sadiq (A.S.). Refer to Qamoos al-Rijal (4/413).
245 Kafi 1/235, Basa’er al-Darejat, page 177, 186 & 188; Wafi 2/132.
246 Abu-Hafas Omar-ibn-Aban Kalbi Kufi was amongst Imam Jafar Sadiq’s companion. Mu’jam Rijal al-hadith
247 Kafi 1/236, Basa’er al-Darejat; page 177 & 184; Wafi 2/133.
“I asked Abu-Abdullah Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) about the reports doing the rounds that a sealed sheet of paper had been entrusted to Umm Salmah. Imam (a.s.) said: ‘When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) departed (from us) Ali (a.s.) inherited his knowledge, his armour and other belongings. Then these bequests were passed to al-Hasan after whom al-Husain received it. I said: ‘Subsequently the prophetic heritage was passed on to Ali-ibn-al-Husain who later on handed it over to his son. Finally the inheritance reached you.’’
Imam (a.s.) replied in affirmative.’’
Fuzail248 is quoted by Shaikh Tusi in Ghaibah, Ibne-Shahre-Ashoob in Manaqib and Allama Majlisi in Beharul-Anwar that: ‘‘Abu Jafar, Imam Muhammad
Baqir (a.s.) told me that when Husain (a.s.) set out for Iraq, he entrusted the
Prophet’s (s.a.w) will, books and other belongings to Umme Salmah and asked her that when his eldest son visits her, she should hand him over whatever
Husain had entrusted to her.’’
After Husain’s (a.s.) martyrdom, Ali-ibn-Husain approached Umm-Salmah who returned to him Husain’s legacy (a.s.) that he had deposited with her.249
In another tradition which has been narrated in Kafi, A’lam al-Wara, Manaqib Ibne-Share Ashoob and Bihar al-Anwar which is narrated by Abu-Bakr Hazrami250 that Imam Sadiq (A.S.) has said:
“When al-Husain, may the Blessings of Allah be upon him, proceeded to Iraq, he deposited the books and the legacies with Umm Salmah, may Allah be pleased with her. When Ali-ibn al-Husain returned (to Medina), she handed them over to him.”251
Apart from the belongings with Umme Salmah, there were other essentials things (different from those which one Imam inherits from another) that Imam Husain had entrusted with his daughter Fatemah in Karbala who later handed them over to Ali-ibn-al-Husain (a.s.) who was seriously ill at that time.
Heritage of Imamat and Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.)
In Kafi, A’lam al-Wara, Basa’er al-Darejat and Bihar al-Anwar traditions has been reported from Isa-ibn-Abdullah252 who related his father who turn had narrated from his grandfather that :
“When Ali-ibn-al-Husain (a.s.) was close to death he looked at his sons who all had gathered around him. Then he addressed Muhammad-ibn-Ali (Imam Baqir)
248 Abul-Qasim Fuzail-ibn-Yassar the freed slave of “Bani-Nahd” was amongst the companions of Imam Baqir
(A.S.) and Imam Sadiq (A.S.). Qamoos al-Rijal 7/343.
249 “Al-Ghaibah”: Shaikh Tusi (Tabriz 1323 A.H.) page 128; Manaqib Ibne-Share Ashoob 4/172 and Bihar al- Anwar 46/18, Tradition No: 3.
250 Abu Bakr Hazrami Abdullah-ibn-Muhammad was a renowned figure who has narrated numerous traditions
from Imam Sadiq (A.S.). Qamoos al-Rijal 16/15.
251 Kafi 1/304, A’lam al-Wara: page 152; Bihar al-Anwar 46/19, Manaqib Ibne-Share Ashoob 4/172.
252 Isa-ibn-Abdullah-ibn-Omar-ibn-Ali-ibn-Abi Talib who was called Hashim was Imam Sadiq’s companion and has narrated numerous traditions from Imam (A.S.). Qamoos al-Rijal 7/275-276.
and said: ‘O Muhammad, take this box to your house,’ he continued: ‘Certainly, this does not contain dinars or dirhams, but it was filled with knowledge.”253
In Basa’er al-Darejat and Bihar al-Anwar too, Isa-ibn-Abdullah-ibn-Omar has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) who said:
“Before death overtook Ali-ibn-al-Husain (A.S.), he took out a coffer that was
with him, and said: ‘O Muhammad, this belongs to you now.’’
Imam Baqir had to summon help from four men to transport that coffer to his place. When he (Ali-ibn-al-Husain) passed away, my uncles came to him to claim what was in the coffer and said: ‘Give us our share from whatever is in the
Imam Baqir (a.s.) replied: `By Allah, there is nothing in it that belongs to you. Had there been something of yours in it, he (my father) would not have handed
it over to me alone.’ The coffer comprised armour of the Messenger of Allah
(saw) and his books.”254
Heritage of Imamat and Imam Sadiq (A.S.)
In Basa’er al-Darejat, Zararah255 narrates from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) as follows: “Imam Baqir (as) transferred these heritage and books to me during his life-
Imam Musa-ibn-Jafar (a.s.)
In Ghaibah of Nu’mani and Bihar al-Anwar of Majlisi it has been reported from
Hemad Sa’egh who said:
“I was present in the gathering where Mufazzal-ibn-Omar was questioning Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (A.S.). At that moment, Abul Hasan Musa (Imam Kazim) arrived. Imam Sadiq (as) turned to Mufazzal and asked: ‘Do you wish to see the owner of Ali’s book after me?’
Mufazzal replied: What could be better than this!
Imam pointed at Imam Kazim and said: He is the heir and owner of Ali’s
Imam Reza (a.s.)
A tradition from Imam Kazim (a.s.) is narrated in Kafi, Al- Irshad of Shaikh
Mufid, Ghaibah of Shaikh Tusi and Bihar al-Anwar in the following manner:
253 Kafi 1/305, Tradition No:2; A’lam al-Wara, page 260; Basa’er al-Darejat, page 44; Bihar al-Anwar 46/229 and Wafi 2/83.
254 Kafi 1/305, Tradition No: 1; Wafi 2/82; Basa’er al-Darejat, page 165; A’lam al-Wara, page 260 and Bihar al- Anwar 46/229.
255 Zararah Abul-Hasan called Abdullah was the son of A’yan the freed slave of Bani-Shaiban Kufi. He has narrated traditions from Imam Sadiq (A.S.) and he died in 150 A.H. Qamoos al-Rijal 4/154.
256 Basa’er al-Darejat, page 158, 180, 181 and 186.
257 Al-Ghaibah Nu’mani, page 177; Bihar al-Anwar 48/22, Tradition no: 34.
“My son Ali is the eldest of my sons, he cherishes me more than they do, I love him more than all of them, and he refers the “Jafr” which cannot be browsed by anyone but the Prophet’s successors or his successors’ successor.”258
IMAMS BROWSE FROM THE “JAMI’AH”
The first ever Imam who mentioned about Amir-ul-Muminin’s book and spoke about it is Imam Ali-ibn-Husain Zain al-Abedeen (as). The fact has been widely reported in Kafi, Man-La-Yahzur-al-Faqih, Tahzeeb, Ma’ni al-Ahkbar and
Wasail. Here, we quote from the book “Kafi”:
It has been narrated from Aban-ibn-Tughlab259 who said:
“Ali-ibn-al-Husain (a.s.) was questioned about a person who had willed a part of his wealth (i.e. he had made his will in vague terms such that he had stated that a
part of his wealth was to be donated to such and such person but had not specified its exact amount and had used expressions like: “ÔíÁ ãä
ãÇáí“(something from my wealth).
Imam (a.s.) replied: In the Book of Ali, “ÔíÁ” is counted as one-sixth.’260
Moreover, in Khesal, Eqab al-A’mal and Wasail al-Shiah it has been related from Imam Baqir (as) who said:
In the Book of Ali (a.s.) it is narrated as follows: ‘The one who commits three mistakes will not die until he faces the consequences of his misdeeds during his
life-time. These are bad temper, severing ties with relatives and taking false oath’’.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) too has quoted from Amir-ul-Muminin’s Book for evidence of new month through sighting of the moon.261
Apart from these instances, we have collected thirty-nine other instances where in, Imam Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Sadiq (a.s.) have cited from Amir-ul-Muminin’s Book in their sayings.262
Moreover, often both the Imams have scoured through the Book and read263 out its exact text for some of their companions like Zararah, Muhammad-ibn- Muslim264, Omar-ibn-Uzainah265, Abu Baseer, Ibne-Bukair266 Abdul Malik-ibn-
258 Usul-Kafi 1/311; Irshad-Mufid, page 285; Ghaibah-Shaikh Tusi, page 28; Wafi 2/83. Also, refer to Basa’er al-Darejat, page 164, Tradition 7-9.
259 Aban-ibn-Tughlab-ibn-Riyah, Abu Saeed Bukri was from Bani-Jareer. He has narrated traditions from Imam Sajjad (A.S.), Imam Baqir (A.S.) and Imam Sadiq (A.S.) To those who rebuked him for narrating traditions from Imam Sadiq (A.S.) he said: How do you allow yourselves to reproach me for narrating traditions from a man
before whom I have never asked any question except that he replied: The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.A.)
260 Kafi 7/40, Tradition No: 1; Man-La-Yahzar-ul-Faqih 4/151; Ma’ni al-Ahkbar, page 217; Tahzeeb 9/211, Tradition No: 835 and Wasail al-Shiah 13/450, Tradition No: 1
261 Khesal Shaikh Saduq, page 124; Eqab al-A’mal Shaikh Saduq, page 261and Wasail al-Shiah 16/119.
262 Istibsar-Shaikh Tusi 3/64 and Wasail al-Shiah 7/184.
263 Refer to Ma’lim al-Madrasatain 2/336-339.
264 Abu-Jafar Auqas, Muhammad-ibn-Muslim-ibn-Riyah Tahan has narrated traditions from Imam Baqir (A.S.)
and was the author of the book titled:
He died in 150 A.H. – Qamoos al-Rijal 8/378.
A’yan267 and Mu’tab.268 Not to mention those instances where both the Imams kept the Book of Amir-ul-Muminin (a.s.) open in front of non-shias so that they may acquaint themselves with a few significant issues.
Najashi has written:
Azafer Sairafi269 and Hakam-ibn-Utaibah270 approached Imam Baqir (a.s.). Although, Imam (a.s.) disliked Hakam, he replied to his queries until it turned
into an argument. Hakam refused to accept Imam’s explanation. Finally, Imam
Baqir (a.s.) asked his son to bring the Book of Ali.
The book that Imam’s son brought was a huge book, which looked like a scroll. Imam (a.s.) opened the Book and looked for the disputed issue. Thereafter, he
said: ‘This is the Prophet’s dictation and Ali’s handwriting.’ Then he turned towards Hakam and said:
‘O Abu Ahmad! You, Salmah271 and Abul Miqdam272 may turn towards any direction (east or west) of your preference, yet I swear by Allah that you will not find anywhere the knowledge that we possess which has reached us through
Sometimes, the Imams (a.s.) would adjudicate on the basis of Ali-ibn-Abi
Talib’s Book, while at times they delivered verdict without citing reference of the Book. We have explained this matter in the book “Ma’lem al- Madrasatain”274
For this reason, all the hadith narrated by Imams possess a single chain of transmission and their traditions spring from a single source and thus are originally unique.
265 His name was Muhammad-ibn-Omar-ibn-Uzainah. He was Imam Sadiq’s companion – Mu’jam Rijal al- hadith 13/21.
266 Ibne-Bukair Abu Ali Abdullah-ibn-Bukair-ibn-A’yan Shaibani. He was from and has narrated traditions from Imam Sadiq (A.S.) – Qamoos al-Rijal 5/399.
267 Abdul-Malik-ibn-A’yan Abu-Faras-Shaibani who has narrated traditions from Imam Baqir (A.S.) and Imam
Sadiq (A.S.). He died during the era of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) – Qamoos al-Rijal 6/181.
268 Mu’tab is the freed slave of Imam Sadiq (A.S.). By order of Mansur Dawaniqi, the Abbasid Caliph, Mu’tab was given one thousand lashes as a result of which he died – Qamoos al-Rijal 9/47.
269 Azafer-ibn-Isa-Khaza’ee Sairafi who has narrated traditions from Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S.) – Qamoos al-Rijal
270 Hakam-ibn-Utaibah Kufi who has narrated traditions from Imam Baqir (A.S.) and Imam Sadiq (A.S.). He died in 113 or 114 or 115 at the age of 60 odd years. The authors of “Sihah” from the Caliphate school have narrated traditions from him – Qamoos al-Rijal 3/375 and Tahzeeb 1/292.
271 Salmah-ibn-Kuhail Abu Yahya Hazrami Kufi. He lived during the era of Imam Baqir (A.S.) and Imam Sadiq
(A.S.) – Qamoos al-Rijal 4/439.
272 Abul-Miqdam Thabit-ibn-Hormuz, an Iranian blacksmith. He lived during the time of Imam Baqir (A.S.) and Imam Sadiq (A.S.). He as well as Salmah were from “Batriyah” (sect) who called the people towards Ali’s Vilayat (mastership) but at the same time accepted the Imamat of Abu-Bakr and Omar too. On the other hand,
they considered Uthman, Talha, Zubair and Ayesha as foes. They believed in the policy of revolt with the help of
Ali’s offspring. In this regard, they would even enjoin good and forbid evil and considered any of Ali’s offspring who would rise and rebel against the ruling government as the Imam – Qamoos al-Rijal 2/287-289.
273 Rijal Najashi, page 279.
274 Ma’lem al-Madrasatain, 2/344.
Hisham-ibn-Salem275, Hammad-ibn-Uthman276 and others have narrated that
Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“All I narrate are the words of my father. And all the narrations of my father are the words of my grandfather. And all the narrations of my grandfather are the words of (my great grandfather) al-Husain. And all the narrations of al-Husain are the words of al-Hasan. And all the narrations of al-Hasan are the words of his father Amir-ul-Muminin Ali and all the narrations of Amir-ul-Muminin are the words of the Messenger of Allah. And all the traditions of the Prophet are the words of Allah, the Almighty, the Great.’’277
For this very reason, when Jabir-ibn-Abdullah requested Imam Baqir (a.s.) to mention the chain of narrators for every hadith, he said:
“My father narrates from my grandfather who narrates from the Messenger of
Allah who narrates from Jibrail who narrates from Allah, the Almighty, and the
Great. The chain of transmitters is the same for every hadith I relate to you.”278
Nevertheless, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (a.s.) addressed Hafas-ibn-Bukhtari279
“Whatever you hear from me can be related on the authority of my father. Besides, you may attribute to the Messenger of Allah whatever you hear from me.”280
In this regard, a poet has poignantly observed:
“So make friendship and follow those whose sayings and hadith are like this:
Our fathers have narrated from Jibriel who in turn has narrated from the
At this juncture, we conclude our discussion on the subject that how the Imams substantiated their claim of being the heirs of Holy Prophet (saw) and his
heritage of knowledge and precepts to the Islamic nation which included a discussion on the Book transcribed by Ali (a.s.) at the behest of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w).
The recording of hadith during the caliphs’ regime
Contrary to an orderly procedure followed by the followers of the Ahl-ul-bayt, the collection of traditions by the followers of the caliphs was haywire and haphazard.
Recording or writing of the Prophet’s hadith was banned till the era of Omar- ibn-Abdul Aziz. However, after the instructions of Ibn Abdul Aziz, the embargo
275 Hisham-ibn-Salem, Abu Muhammad Jawaliqi Kufi. He has narrated traditions from Imam Sadiq (A.S.) and has also written a book – Qamoos al-Rijal 9/357.
276 Hammad-ibn-Uthman Fazari has narrated traditions from Imam Sadiq (A.S.), Imam Kazim (A.S.) and Imam
Ridha (A.S.) – Qamoos al-Rijal 3/397.
277 Kafi 1/53; Irshad-Mufid, page257.
278 Amali-Mufid, page 26.
279 Originally a Kufi, Hafas-ibn-Bukhtari Baghdadi is among those who has narrated tradition from Imam Jafar
Sadiq (A.S.). He is also the author of one book. – Qamoos al-Rijal 3/355.
280 Wasail al-Shia 3/380, Tradition No: 86.
on hadith was lifted. Subsequently, the followers of the caliphate ideology began to compile hadith from the beginning of the 2nd century A.H.
Until then whatever existed in the form of Prophet’s hadith were actually transmissions from several channels.
Traditionalists say, in the span of one century, a hadith is narrated via four
classes of narrators:
For example, if a traditionist quotes a tradition of the Holy Prophet from Caliph Omar-ibn-Abdul Aziz (died in 101 A.H.), who gave commands for writing down of hadith, then the chain of transmission of hadith in this case would be as
1. Caliph Omar could have narrated this hadith from his father Abdul-Aziz-ibn- Marwan.
2. Abdul-Aziz-ibn-Marwan could have narrated this hadith from his father
3. Marwan-ibn-Hakam who during the Prophet’s era was an infant, could have narrated this hadith from his father Hakam-ibn-Abil Aas.
4. Hakam-ibn-Abil Aas who had seen the Prophet during adulthood could have narrated the hadith from the Prophet (s.a.w).
Thus, in the aforesaid example, the hadith has been narrated from the Prophet via four channels.
Can this tradition that is transmitted through four channels over a period of a hundred years be considered reliable?
Now let us discuss the above example with clear evidence in this regard:
Zuhbi and Ibne-Kathir narrate from Basheer-ibn-Sa’d who said `Fear Allah and practice self-control while narrating traditions! I swear by Allah I have seen
people attending Abu-Huraira’s gatherings wherein Abu-Huraira would narrate hadith from the Prophet (s.a.w) and narrate hadith from Ka’b al-Ahbar too. Then he would leave the gathering. Later, I would hear some of the attendants
attributing to Ka’b al-Ahbar traditions, which Abu-Huraira had narrated from the Prophet. Conversely, they would attribute to the Prophet, the traditions that Abu-Huraira had narrated from Ka’b al-Ahbar and hence narrate them in the name of the Prophet (s.a.w).’’281
We have not even discussed those traditions that were forged during Muawiya’s era or were altered to the benefit of the Caliphs. The issue was mentioned under the discussion `The role of Ayesha’, particularly, the chapter on Muawiya.
Even if we did not present any further evidence to our discussion that Prophet had got all sciences and knowledge recorded, those Muslims who want to conduct a comprehensive and indepth research had to refer to Prophet’s
281 Abu-Huraira’s life-history has come down in “Sair A’lam al-Nabalah 2/436 and Tarikh Ibne-Kathir 8/109. The wordings of this hadith is in conformity with the narration of Ibne-Kathir. Refer to Tafsir Ibne-Kathir 3/104-
descendants and their explanations on the various aspects of Islamic creed and precepts.
Besides, following the Divine command, the Prophet (s.a.w) had clearly and decisively declared to the Muslims that the guides and leaders after him are his twelve legatees. We will now begin our discussion on the subject.
The Divine proclamation of the custodians of Islam through Holy
At the outset, it is important to analyze the difference in the basis of reasoning of the followers of caliphate vis-à-vis the followers of the Ahl-ul-bayt on the issue of Imamat.
The basis of reasoning of the two schools on Imamat:
Soon after the holy Prophet’s demise, two divergent schools of thought had originated in the Islamic world:
(1) The Imamat school of thought and
(2) The Caliphate school of thought
The partisans of caliphate claimed that leadership is by selection while the believers in Imamat ideology maintain that the leaders and rulers of the Ummah
are the Prophet’s legatees; and this position is by nomination and not by election.
The partisans of caliphat assert that a leader is determined on the basis of
election and such an election takes place by means of the people and after the
Prophet’s departure it is the people who determine and elect a ruler.
However, the believers in Imamat say appointment of a leader (the Prophet’s legatee) is through designation. And it is Allah who designates, not even the
Prophet so leave alone the people and their election. The Almighty Allah nominates a leader and the Prophet (only) conveys the divine appointment and
designation to the people.
Before going into the details of these two ideologies, it is necessary to remind you of two vital points in this introduction:
(1) The scholars from the caliphate school have access to books which covers
topics like: Rules and methods concerning setting up a government; the upshot of this set up; the duties of a ruler; the rights of an Islamic government upon the people; the rights of the people upon the Islamic government; the manner in which a governor and minister is appointed; the manner in which a judge and leader of congregational prayer is selected; the mode of tax-collection; the
measure of Zakat (alms), Kheraj (tax) and Jaziyah (tribute); those who are entitled to these; the manner by which they can receive such revenues and such other matters. On the basis of these very books and writings of reliable and renowned scholars from the caliphate school we shall discuss the views of the caliphate school concerning the appointment of a Muslim ruler and the manner of such an appointment.
(2) Another crucial point is the meaning and interpretations of word Khalifa or
(a) The literal meaning of Caliph:
Ibne-Athir says: A person who acts as a vicegerent and succeeds someone is called as Caliph.282 Ragheb Esfahani says: Caliphate is legacy from others.283 In a few verses of the holy Quran, the words (Khala’ef) and (Khulafa) which are plural of (Calipha) have been used in this very literal sense. Verse 69 from Chapter A’raf says:
“He made you successors after Nuh’s people”.
:« حﻮﻧ مﻮﻗ ﺪﻌﺑ ﻦﻣ ءﺎﻔﻠﺧ ﻢﻜﻠﻌﺟ و »
In some of the Prophet’s sayings too, the word Caliph has been used in this very sense. For example, the Prophet says:
‘O Allah! Have Mercy on my Caliphs……….. (He uttered this sentence thrice).
The people asked: ‘O the Messenger of Allah, Who is your Caliph? He said:
Those who will succeed me and shall impart my sunnah and hadith…..284
(b) Caliph in the Muslim terminology:
Earlier, it was explained that certain terms and expressions had gained currency during the era of holy Prophet (saw). These terms were either chosen by the
Prophet himself or were proffered at the behest of Allah. These terms were later referred as Islamic idioms or religious proverbs.
Subsequently, the Muslims scholars coined certain expressions and terms, which
later came into circulation and were referred as `Jurist idioms’ and or the
The word Caliph or Khalifa as commonly known (i.e. a ruler and statesman of the Muslims) is not a religious title. In other words, this term was not used
during the Prophet’s era. This expression was used after the Holy Prophet (saw)
which means the Muslims had introduced the term. Initially, they limited the use
282 Nehaya al-Lugha; the term: “Khalaf”
283 Mufradat Ragheb; the term: “Khalaf”
284 Ma’ani al-Akhbar, page 374 & 375; Uyoon Akhbar, Najaf edition 2/36; Man-La-Yahzur-al-Faqih, research by Ali Akbar Ghaffari 4/420 and Bihar al-Anwar 2/152, Tradition No: 7.
In connection with the Caliphate school sources, refer to Al-Muhadith al-Fasel (Ramhurmuzi), page 163; Qava’ed al-Tahdith (Qasemi), second edition, page 48; Sharafo Ashab al-hadith (Khatib Baghdadi), page 30;
Jameh Bayan al-Ilm (Ibne Abdul-Berr) 1/55; Akhbar Asbahan (Abu Na’eem) 1/81; Wal-Fath-al-Kabeer (Suyuti)
narrated from Abu Sa’eed 10/233; Kanz-ul-Ummal (Muttaqi Hindi), second edition, 10/128,133 Tradition No:
1086 and 1127 and 10/181 Tradition No: 1407 and Al-Ilmah, (Qazi Aiyaz), page 11
of expression to whom they selected as rulers after the Prophet as “The Messenger’s Caliph” ( لﻮﺳﺮﻟا ﻪﻔﻴﻠﺧ ) and thereafter simply as “Caliph” (ﻪﻔﻴﻠﺧ). A few have also called some of the rulers and statesmen as “Allah’s Caliphs” (ﷲا ﻪﻔﻴﻠﺧ).
(c)Caliph in the Islamic terminology:
According to the Islamic terminology and Quranic verses, it is evident that “Allah’s Caliph” refers to someone who has been appointed by the Almighty Allah to preach “Islam” to the people of his time. This person may either be the
Prophet or the Prophet’s legatee.
Thus, in the holy Quran, the word “Caliph” has been used in this very sense. For example, refer to verse 26 from Chapter Suad285 and verse 30 from Chapter Baqarah286.
In short, “Allah’s Caliph” is the Imam of the Age in every era who bears the responsibility of preaching and safeguarding Allah’s religion and the divine commandments. It is for the people to recognize the Caliph appointed by God and considers him as their authority and Master.287
The Concept of Imamat according to followers of Caliphate
The discussion is outlined from the books which was pointed out in the beginning of our discussion and are called as “Al-Ahkam al Sultaniah”.
Qazi Maverdi (died in 450 A.H.) and Qazi Abu Ya’li (died in 458 A.H.) who were chief Judges during their respective times had discussed this matter in their books and had chosen the same name.
Imamat is actually caliphate after the Prophet and it can be concluded in three ways:
1. A Caliph appoints his successor:
It means that if Harun al-Rashid appoints Amin and Ma’mun as the Caliphs after him, then the Muslims shall become bound to follow him. These Caliphs are the legal and Islamic Caliphs and it becomes a divine duty for the Muslims to follow
them. These two scholars say:
“There exists no dispute in this matter and acceptance of a Caliph in this manner is unanimous and by common consent.”
The argument these two scholars set forth for the validity of such type of appointment is this that Abu-Bakr appointed Omar as his successor and nobody opposed him in this matter. Acceptance by the common Muslims proves that this approach was approved by them and was by their consent. Thus, an
appointment that takes effect by the preceding Caliph was rendered correct by
285 O Davoud! Surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between men with justice.
286 ………I am going to place in the earth a Caliph.
287 In Vol 1 of Ma’lem al-Madrasatain (another work from this author), a more detailed description about the term ‘Caliph’ can be seen.
Abu-Bakr’s action and the people’s approval. As far as its authenticity and validity is concerned, there exists no dispute in the caliphate school.288
2. A Caliph is elected by the people:
About the caliph’s election, there has been a difference of opinion among the scholars of the caliphate ideology. Mavardi says: “Majority of the scholars are
of opinion that a Caliph is appointed by means of five “resolvers of difficulties” i.e. the eminent and learned ones among the nation or by means of one person who is approved by the other four.”289
They support this view by referring to Abu-Bakr’s caliphate when five men
swore allegiance to him. Thereafter, this allegiance became formal and gained acceptance. These five men were Omar-ibn-Khattab, Abu-Ubaideh Jarah, Salem the freed slave of Abu-Huzaifeh, Numan-ibn-Basheer and Usaid-ibn-Huzair. As such, allegiance took effect in Saqifa and Abu-Bakr gained the caliphate. Then, the selected Caliph was introduced to the people and the people too accepted him after initial hesitation.290
Thus, on this basis, (i.e. these few people’s course of action), a Caliph can be appointed by means of allegiance and consent of five “resolvers of difficulties”. Another reason propounded by them to support their view is the statement which Omar uttered in the Shura council set up for the appointment of his successor as such: If five amongst these six men appoint anyone as the Caliph, then that person shall indeed become the Caliph.
About this norm, there has been a consensus among the scholars of caliphate ideology.
Another group of scholars from the caliphate school say: Caliphate is like a marriage contract. Just as in a marriage contract, it is necessary to have one
priest or notary and two witnesses, in the case of caliphate too, one person swears allegiance and two others give their consent. This number is enough for the appointment of a Caliph and ruler.291
However, a third group believes: Suffice it is if (even) one person swears allegiance to a Caliph. Election of one person and allegiance to that very person chooses the Caliph for the Islamic nation.
Abbas-ibn-Abdul-Muttalib said to Ali:
“Stretch out your hand so that I may swear allegiance to you. The people shall (then) say: The Prophet’s uncle has sworn allegiance to his cousin. Thereafter, not even two people will oppose you.”292
288 Mavardi /10, third edition, Egypt; Abu-Ya’li Hanbali /25, second edition, Egypt. Also, refer to Qazi
Ruzbahan: Suluk al-Muluk, command of Islamic government/44 &55, printed in Hyderabad, Deccan.
289 Mavardi/7 and Abu Ya’li /23. Reference is made to mere “selection by people” and not about other various sayings. Also, refer to Suluk al-Muluk / 43 & 44.
290 Mawerdi/7. For further information on Saqifa and its events, refer to Abdullah-ibn-Sabah 1/78-139, fourth edition, Tehran.
291 Mawardi: Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniah and Al-Wilayah-al-Deeniyah/7.
292 Tabaqat al-Kubra Vol 2 2/38; Masoudi 2/200 and Al-Imamah al-Siyaseh 1/4.
Second reasoning: Allegiance is like a judge’s verdict and decree, which is binding and any opposition to it unlawful.
According to these two arguments, even if one person swears allegiance to another, that person’s caliphate is established and his rule is formal and legal.293
3. Caliph may grab caliphate on the dint of sword and military coup:
As per this view, if government is overpowered by means of force and military conquest, the ruler becomes the just Caliph and his caliphate is Islamic and formal. According to judge Abu-Ya’li: It is unlawful for the one who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgement to pass his night and day but not consider him
(i.e. the ruler) as Imam (Caliph) – whether the Caliph is criminal in nature or a pious one.294
About this type of caliphate, Fazlullah-ibn-Ruzbahn, a reliable jurisprudent
belonging to the caliphate school writes in his book “Suluk al-Muluk” as follows:
“The fourth means is through formation of kingship and Imamat, power and
domination. Scholars have said that when an Imam dies and someone takes charge of the Imamat but with no allegiance and no support (by the people) and he employs force against the people then, his Imamat (without allegiance) is established – whether he is a Quraish or an Arab, a non-Arab or a Turk; whether he is fit for this position or not; whether he is a sinful and ignorant person or…………………and he can earn the title of Imam and Caliph.”295
CALIPHS AND THE MUSLIMS
If someone attains the caliphate by any of the afore-mentioned ways i.e. by force or allegiance by one, three or five people or by means of the preceding Caliph’s
choice, then it is obligatory for the common muslims to recognize his name and character and accept his caliphate just as it is obligatory upon them to recognize
their Lord and His Prophet.
Besides this view, the majority believe that it is sufficient for the people to know who the Caliph is. They need not know other details about him; just a brief acquaintance is enough.296
The followers of the caliphate school quote traditions from the prominent narrators in their reliable books which say:
The Imam and Caliph of the Muslims is free to perform any act and even if he committs oppression, tyranny, injustice and debauchery it is forbidden for the Muslims to oppose and revolt against him with the sword. We reproduce some of those traditions as follows:
293 All these sayings can be found in Mawardi’s “Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniah / 7; Egyptian edition 1393 A.H.
294 Abu-Ya’li /23
295 Suluk al-Muluk–Command of Islamic government / 47; Hyderabad-Deccan edition.
296 Mawardi / 15.
(1) Huzaifa narrates from the Prophet (saw) as such:
“I will be followed by such leaders who will not follow my path and will not act upon my ways. A few of them will have hearts like the hearts of Satans even though apparently they will be humans!”
Huzaifa says: I asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I come across such an era, what
I should do?
He replied: “You should listen still adhere to him and obey him fully. Even if he hits at your back and plunders your wealth, you should still obey him and listen to his commands.”297
(2) Ibne-Abbas narrates from the Prophet (saw) that:
“If someone witnesses anything unpleasant from his leader, he should bear patiently because if he keeps aloof from the caliphate and the muslims even by one span and then dies in that state the he has indeed died a death of ignorance.”298
(3) In another tradition, it has been narrated from Ibne-Abbas who related from the Prophet (saw) that:
“Nobody is supposed to revolt against the King and Imam of his Age and should not disobey his orders. If he does so and dies in that state he has indeed died a death of ignorance.”299
One of the leading scholars from the caliphate school records traditions in a
chapter titled “The necessity of obeying rulers”:
The common Ahl-Sunnah i.e. the jurisprudents, traditionists and theologians say that a ruler cannot be deposed because of his sins, tyranny and unjust dealing
with the people. Basically, it is unlawful to revolt against him and rather obligatory to advise and admonish him and warn him of God and the Day of
Resurrection. This is because traditions in this regard have been reported where the Prophet (saw) has forbidden us from revolting against the ruler.
In short, revolt against the leaders and rulers (no matter how sinful and tyrant
they may be) is forbidden which is unanimously agreed amongst all the
According to this belief, it is forbidden to revolt against Yazid-ibn-Muawiya a drunkard, keeper of dogs, mass murderer and criminal. It is also forbidden to
oppose Abdul-Malik-ibn-Marwan whose contingent of soldiers destroyed the holy Kaa’ba by catapult. It is also prohibited to object to Walid who showered Quran with a barrage of arrows!!
Regarding the above discussion, Nauwi, commentator of Sahih Muslim opined:
297 Sahih Muslim 6/20-22, Chapter concerning Command for following the soceity; Muhammad Ali Subhi edition, Al-Azhar Cairo.
298 Muslim: Chapter concerning Command for following the society 6/22-60; Egyptian edition 1334 A.H.
299 Muslim: Chapter concerning Command for following the society 6/22-60; Egyptian edition 1334 A.H.
Numerous traditions support and substantiate this view. Besides, the Ahl- Sunnah have consensus that a sinful and lewd ruler cannot be dethroned from Imamat.”300
At this juncture, Nauwi proffers the Quranic verse to substantiate his opinion:
:«ﻢﻜﻨﻣ ﺮﻣﻷا ﻲﻟوأ و لﻮﺳﺮﻟا اﻮﻌﻴﻃأ و ﷲا اﻮﻌﻴﻃأ » [Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you; Sura Nisa/59]. He also adds his comments that: “Since the rulers are patrons in the affairs, they should necessarily be obeyed.”
This was an extract of what has been reported in the reliable books of hadith from the caliphate school of thought.
IMAMAT IN THE AHL-UL-BAYT (A.S.) SCHOOL OF THOUGHT
In the Ahl-ul-bayt (AS) school of thought, Imamat is believed to be a divine office and needs an appointment by Allah. The leaders of this school as well as its scholars cite the following verse in support of their belief:
:«ﺎﻣﺎﻣإ سﺎﻨﻠﻟ ﻚﻠﻋﺎﺟ ﻲﻧإ لﺎﻗ ﻦﻬﻤﺗﺄﻓ تﺎﻤﻠﻜﺑ ﻪﺑر ﻢﻴﻫاﺮﺑإ ﻲﻠﺘﺑا اذا و » “And when His Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely, I will make you an Imam of men.”
The words by which the Almighty tested Ibrahim were not made clear. Whether it was related to the sacrifice of his dear son Ismaeel or his struggle against
Namrud, the evil king of his time? Or was it about his launch into Namrud’s fire? Quran let it remain vague.
Nevertheless, Ibrahim had successfully passed through ordeals and was blessed with the esteemed position of Imamat.
Ironically, Ibrahim was already a prophet and an exalted one at that, not to
mention the honour of being Allah’s friend, yet when Allah bestowed Imamat on him he was so ecstatic that he requested the continuation of the same for his offspring.
Thus, he asked:
«ﻲﺘﻳرذ ﻦﻣ و »
And what about my progeny?
Naturally, being human, he is fond of his children and wishes that they too should be equally blessed with this honour.
The Almighty Allah replied:
300 Nauwi’s commentary on Muslim, Chapter concerning Command for following the society 12/229. Also, refer to Sunan Baihaqi 8/158 and 159; Muntakhab Kanz-ul-Ummal-ala-Hamesh al-Musnad 2/146, 147, 148, 149 onwards; Musnad Ahmad 2/93, 306, 381, & 388; 3/114; 4/126 & 202; Abu Davoud 4/241 & 242, traditions:
4758, 4759 & 4762; Tirmidhi 4/488, tradition 2199.
.«ﻦﻴﻤﻟﺎﻈﻟا يﺪﻬﻋ لﺎﻨﻳ ﻻ »
“My covenant does not include the unjust ones.” (Baqarah/124)
Who are the unjust ones? According to Quranic terminology, a person who does injustice to himself is branded as an unjust person. For instance, the one who
worships idol or commits suicide has done injustice to him and so Islam calls him an unjust one. Sometimes too, the one who oppresses others and transgresses their rights is called an oppressor like the one who grabs others
wealth or demands usury from them or violates the chastity of women. Generally, from the viewpoint of Islam and the holy Quran, anyone who disobeys the Almighty Allah in any manner is termed unjust.301
Thus, the divine system judges that whoever does injustice to himself and others is an unjust person and is not eligible for receiving Allah’s covenant (i.e. Imamat).
On the basis of this Quranic precept, Imam should be infallible. Apart from this holy verse, other verses also emphasizes that Imamat is a divine decree and an Imam is designated by Allah:
ﺎﻨﻟ اﻮﻧﺎﻛ و ﺓﻮﻛﺰﻟا ءﺎﺘﻳإ و ﺓﻮﻠﺼﻟا مﺎﻗإ و تاﺮﻴﺨﻟا ﻞﻌﻓ ﻢﻬﻴﻟإ ﺎﻨﻴﺣوأ و ﺎﻧﺮﻣﺄﺑ نوﺪﻬﻳ ﻪﻤﺋأ ﻢﻫﺎﻨﻠﻌﺟ و »
“And We made them Imams who guided (people) by Our commands and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve.” (Anbiyah/73)
.«نﻮﻨﻗﻮﻳ ﺎﻨﺗﺎﻳĤﺑ اﻮﻧﺎﻛ و اوﺮﺒﺻ ﺎﻤﻟ ﺎﻧﺮﻣﺎﺑ نوﺪﻬﻳ ﻪﻤﺋأ ﻢﻬﻨﻣ ﺎﻨﻠﻌﺟ و »
“And from them We made Imams to guide by Our command when they were patient, and they were certain of Our communications.” (Sajdah/24)
Therefore, in the Ahl-ul-bayt school, Imamat has been introduced as per the
Quranic tenets and an Imam is designated only through divine appointment.
The second significant issue of Imamat is the matter of Imam’s infallibility that has been stressed in verse 124 from Sura Baqarah (which was briefly explained in the discussion on Ibrahim’s Imamat).
Subsequently, we find in the holy Quran that Allah says:
.«اﺮﻴﻬﻄﺗ ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧا » “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purification.” (Ahzab/33)
301 “And whoever goes beyond the limits of Allah, he indeed does injustice to his own soul.” (Talaq/1).
The word ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞها(Ahl al-bayt) used in this verse is a divine terminology which has been introduced by the Quran. The holy Prophet (saw) too has decisively determined the people belonging to this group.302
The Prophet (saw) gathered Ali, Fatemah, Hasan and Husain under his cloak and proclaimed this holy verse, which was revealed in their praise and in this manner clearly specified that the Prophet’s wives are not included amongst the Ahl al- bayt.303
Thus, `Ahl al-bayt’ became the special name of this group and whenever the name of Ahl al-bayt is mentioned in Islam, it is exclusively about this very group. And above all, Quran has certified their infallibility.
Explanation about divine appointment
As mentioned, Imamat in the Ahl al-bayt ideology is through designation by
Allah. The Prophet’s mission is to disseminate the message; he is not responsible for appointing an Imam or recommending any ruler.
Just as the holy Prophet (saw) preaches about ‘Sala’t’ (prayer), ‘Haj’ (pilgrimage) and such other obligatory acts, as only Allah’s Messenger and acts
on divine commands, similarly he only conveys Allah’s message in the matter of Imamat as well. He propagates Imamat at the behest of Allah, while selection and nomination is done entirely at the divine decree. So, whatever the Prophet
(saw) said about Imamat is exactly the same as his sayings and explanations on
Sala’t, Haj, Zakat and Jihad.
About Sala’t, he taught the manner of recitation, the method of ablution;
recitation of suras in the first and second units of prayers, mode of ruku
(genuflection) and sajdah (prostration). Moreover, he specifies the number of units for each prayer and other paraphernalia.
But the most important issue is that the Prophet on his own accord did none of
these things but purely on Allah’s instance. Similarly whatever the Prophet has inculcated about Imamat is on entirely on the command of the Almighty Allah and not on his personal whim.
.«ﻲﺣﻮﻳ ﻲﺣو ﻻإ ﻮﻫ نإ يﻮﻬﻟا ﻦﻋ ﻖﻄﻨﻳ ﺎﻣ و » “Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed.” (Najm/3 & 4)
Now, we shall divide a few of the Prophet’s hadith on Imamat into two distinct groups and discuss them briefly in the following two chapters.
302 These are the same fourteen Infallibles i.e. the Prophet (S.A.W.A.), his noble daughter Fatemah Zahra (A.S.)
and the twelve Imams (A.S.).
303 Refer to “Hadith Kisa” (another work from this author).
Traditions which prove the Imamat of Ahl al-bayt in general
In this set of traditions, none of the Imam’s proper name has been mentioned though, the Imamat of the Ahl al-bayt (as) has been discussed in general. Below, we shall elaborate on two specimens of such traditions from this group:
The first tradition is narrated from Sahih Muslim304, which is also recorded in several other reliable books of the caliphate school of thought like Musnad
Ahmad, Sunan Darami, Sunan Baihaqi and Mustadrak al-Sahihain305
Zaid-ibn-Arqam relates: On the way from Mecca to Medina (while returning form the Farewell Pilgrimage) close to a pool called “Khum”, the Prophet (saw)
delivered a sermon as follows:
‘O people know that I am a human-being. Soon, I shall be summoned (towards the eternal world) and I shall respond to the Divine call.
I shall leave with you two precious things: The “Book of Allah” wherein is found the guidance and the light. Do not abandon it but hold on to it fast. The other is my “Ahl al-bayt” and I remind you of Allah about them!’
(Mustadrak relates the tradition with an addition 🙂
‘Beware of how you treat these two things which I shall leave behind with you after me. These two shall not separate from each other until they meet me at the
“Kauthar” (a fountain in Paradise)’.
The Prophet’s hadith clearly indicate that one of the Imams from the Ahl-ul-bayt
(whose numbers too have been fixed in other reliable traditions) should possess such a long life that he remains alive till the end of this world alongwith the
Book of Allah, so that the Prophet’s saying about the inseparable bond of these two comes true.
Jabir has narrated similar contents from the Prophet’s sermon of Arafat. He says: I saw the Prophet in Arafat during the Haj pilgrimage. He was astride his she-camel named “Azbah” and addressed the people as such:
‘O people, I have left amongst you such a thing which if you cling to it and not forsake it, you would not go astray — (they are) the Book of Allah and my progeny i.e. Ahl al-bayt’.
Tirmidhi adds that Abu-Zar, Abu Saeed Khudri, Zaid-ibn-Thabit and Huzaifah- ibn-Usaid too have narrated this tradition306. In this tradition, the holy Prophet
304 Muslim Vol 7/pages 122 & 123; Egyptian edition 1334 A.H.
305 Al-Mustadrak 3/109 & 148. For access to the remaining references, refer to Al-Mu’jam al-Mufahares Alfaz al-hadith Nabavi.
306 Tirmidhi 5/662; tradition No: 3786.
(saw) has placed his Ahl al-bayt on par with the Quran and emphasized that guidance is achieved through them and the holy Quran. He reiterated that holding fast to them brings decisive deliverance from deviation and error. He warns the people to be careful in their behaviour towards them and prophesizes that these two would never separate from each other and that they would meet him at the “Kauthar” (the entrance for the fortunate ones on the Day of Resurrection).
The divine scriptures are the Imams of the people and from the theoretical viewpoint, they are the leaders of the people’s thoughts, beliefs, ethics and deeds, is indeed a Quranic matter.307
Thus according to this very principle, the placement of the Prophet’s Ahl al-bayt on par with the Quran makes their Imamat more than evident.
In other words, the theoretical aspect of Islam is explained and described in the holy Quran, while the Ahl al-bayt have explained the practical aspect of the religion. Therefore, once we accept the Imamat of Quran in theoretical, we are
bound to accept the Imamat of Ahl al-bayt in practical form.
Besides, considering the fact that guidance is confined to these two precious legacies (as per the Prophet’s statement) wherein Quran comprise of Islamic
beliefs, ethics and practice thus it is imperative that the explanation of Quranic precepts will be the duty of the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) so that guidance is imparted in its full and perfect form.
This tradition has been narrated in so many diverse forms and through various
chains of narrations that reproduction of each and every tradition will need a separate volume. Our purpose is to elaborate the fact that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) through Divine commands has limited Imamat to his Ahl al-bayt and placed them on par with the Quran.
(b) Traditions concerning number of Imams
In another set of traditions, the number of Imams, Caliphs and rulers who are to succeed the Prophet is stipulated but without any reference to their names. We
have come across these traditions from four of the Prophet’s companions, Jabir- ibn-Samareh being one of them. His narrations are recorded in Sahih Muslim, Sahih Bukhari, Sunan Abu Dawood, Sunane-Tirmidhi, Musnade Tayalesi,
Musnad Ahmad and others.
Here, we shall narrate traditions from Jabir from Sahih Muslim.308 He related: ‘I approached the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) along with my father. The Prophet said: “The religion shall survive until the advent of Day of Resurrection and
307 Hijr/17 and Ahqaf/12.
308 Muslim 6/2-4; Bukhari 9/81; Tirmidhi 2/45, Indian edition and 4/501, Tradition No 2225 Egyptian edition. Abu-Davoud 4/106, 107 and Musnad Ahmad 5/86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 106,
until there remains among you, the twelve Caliphs who are all from the
In this tradition, nothing more has been mentioned whereas in Nahjul-Balagha, Amir-ul-Muminin (a.s.) refers to the omitted part and says:
“Surely, the Imams would be from the Quraish. They have been set in this
branch from the household of Hashim. This position does not suit others and no ruler or statesmen (other than them) are suitable as heads of state.”309
In another tradition which has been reported in Musnade-Ahmad, Mustadrak- Hakem and others from a person named Masruq who is the narrator of this
tradition says: ‘We were in the presence of Abdullah-ibn-Masoud in Kufa and he was busy teaching us the Quran. A man asked: ‘O Abdul-Rahman, didn’t you inquire from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) concerning the number of Caliphs this nation
‘Abdullah replied: Since my entry into Iraq, nobody except you has inquired about this matter. Thereafter, he added: Verily, we did inquire from the Prophet
about this issue and the Prophet had replied:
“Twelve persons equivalent to the number of the chiefs of Bani-Israil.”310
This tradition has also been narrated from Anas-ibn-Malik and Abdullah-ibn- Amr-ibn-Aas. Of course, each of these traditions has been narrated by various
narrators as a result of which their narration enjoys successive transmission and certitude.
Interpretation of hadith and erroneous interpreters
In such traditions, the interpreters and scholars from Ahl-Sunnah have reached a serious deadend and have miserably failed to interpret a meaning in consonance
with the beliefs prevailing in the caliphate school and specify clearly the identity of these twelve people. They have also failed to explain how a group of twelve
can remain and survive till the Day of Judgement. Moreover, they have failed to recognize the qualities possessed by this group such as that the exaltation and honour of Islam is interlinked to this very group. Can any ordinary person hold
this esteemed position or it is absolutely necessary for a Caliph to be a just ruler?
Hereunder, we set forth a few specimens of their sayings:
The renowned jurisprudent Ibn al-Arabi says in Sharhe- Sunan-Tirmidhi:
“We shall enumerate the Caliphs who have come after the Messenger of Allah:
1- Abu Bakr, 2- Omar, 3- Uthman, 4- Ali, 5- Hasan, 6- Muawiya, 7- Yazid-ibn- Muawiya, 8- Muawiya-ibn-Yazid, 9-Marwan, 10- Abdul Malik-ibn-Marwan,
11- Walid, 12- Sulaiman, 13- Omar-ibn-Abdul Aziz, 14- Yazid-ibn-Abdul
309 Sermon 144, page 201. Research by Subhi-Saleh.
310 Musnad-Ahmad 1/398 and 406; Mustadrak al-Sahihain 4/501; Kanz al-Ummal 3/26 and 27; Muntakhab al- Kanz 5/312 in the margin of Al-Musnad; As-Sawaeq al-Muharraqa/20, second edition 1385 A.H; Majma al-
Zawa’ed 5/190; Al-Jame al-Sagheer 1/75 and Tarikh al-Khulafa/10, Pakistan edition.
Malik, 15- Marwan-ibn-Muhammad-ibn-Marwan, 16- Safah, 17- Manthur………..”
He continues counting the Caliphs and counts twenty-seven more till his own era (543 A.H.) and then adds:
“If we count twelve of them right from the beginning of caliphate and consider
those who have possessed the prophet’s heritage in its apparent form, we shall realize that this figure (i.e. twelve) is completed with the counting of Sulaiman- ibn-Abdul Malik. However, if we count among them those who have possessed the prophetic caliphate in its true sense, (i.e. were just) we should consider only five of them who consists of the first four Caliphs and Omar-ibn-Abdul Aziz. Therefore, I fail to find any meaning for this hadith.”311
Regarding this question that: “A large number of people far exceeding twelve in numbers has attained the caliphate”, Qazi Aiyaz, a renowned traditionalist from the caliphate school says:
“This is a futile objection because the Prophet (s.a.w) has not said: ‘None shall attain the caliphate save twelve people’. Nay, he has (only) mentioned that this
number (of Caliphs) shall come after him, who have indeed come and his statement does not imply that Caliphs exceeding this figure will not follow.”312
Another scholar has said:
“The Prophet meant that twelve just Caliphs would exists during the entire period of Islam till the Day of Judgement and succession as a condition would not apply to this group………Thus, the Prophet’s statement: ‘Thereafter shall
follow chaos and disorder’ refers to the preliminaries of the Day of Judgement and the troubles and seditions before Resurrection like: the uprising of Dajjal.” He says: The twelve Caliphs refer to the first four Caliphs, Hasan, Muawiya, Abdullah-ibn-Zubair313 and Omar-ibn-Abdul-Aziz (totalling eight in number). Mahdi Abbasi (127-169 A.H.) too can be included since his case among the Abbasids is similar to the case of Omar-ibn-Abdul-Aziz among the Ummayads. We can also add Zaher (another Abbasid Caliph) because of his just and honest character. Two more remain, one being the Mahdi (The Promised One) who is from the Ahl al-bayt.”314 (And the other is unknown!?)
Moreover, they have said:
“In this hadith, the Prophet meant to say that twelve Caliphs shall exist in an era when the caliphate will be grand and honourable and Islam will be powerful and
its affairs in order. Thus, from the viewpoint of the Prophet, the Caliphs are
311 Shar Sunan-Tirmidhi 9/68-69.
312 Nauwi: Shar Muslim 12/201; Fath al-Baari Fi Shar Bukhari 16/339 and 341.
313 This man did not send salutations on the Prophet (S.A.W.A.) in the forty sermons of friday-prayers and about the Prophet’s household, he would say: It is now forty years that I bear enmity and hatred against them. Muruj
al-Zahab 3/79 and 80.
314 As-Sawaeq al-Muharreqa/19; Egyptian edition and Tarikh-Khulafa/16, Pakistan edition.
those during whose era Islam is held in high esteem and all the Muslims have one opinion about them.315”
After explaining the above view, Baihaqi a renowned commentator and traditionalist from the caliphate school says:
“This number (twelve Caliphs) possessing the afore-mentioned qualities became
complete during the era of Walid-ibn-Yazid-ibn-Abdul Malik and thereafter, troubles and seditions became rife. Then, the Abbasids took charge of the affairs. Verily, if we overlook the aforesaid qualities, we shall have more than twelve Caliphs. The same is true if we take into account the Caliphs in the post- turmoil and sedition period.”316
In elaboration of this view, they have said:
“Amongst those whose right over the seat of caliphate has been unanimous are the first three Caliphs. Following them is Ali until the matter of arbitration arose
in the battle of Siffeen. Thereafter, Muawiya declared himself the Caliph (and the unanimity about Ali’s caliphate ceased to exist). After Imam Hasan’s peace
treaty, all were unanimious in their opinion about Muawiya. Following him, there took no dispute regarding his son Yazid, Husain’s endeavours and caliphate too proved futile. Rather, Husain was soon killed. After Yazid’s death,
once again dispute took place over the caliphate until Abdul-Malik-ibn-Marwan became the Caliph. A common consensus existed about him. Undoubtedly, we know that this consensus became apparent only after Abdullah-ibn-Zubair’s assasination (73 A.H.). After Abdul-Malik, there occured no dispute with
respect to the caliphate of his four sons namely Walid, Sulaiman, Yazid and Hisham. Later, as per Sulaiman’s will, Omar-ibn-Abdul-Aziz became the Caliph. The twelfth person from this group who gained the consensus of the
people and ruled for four years is Walid-ibn-Abdul-Malik.”
Ibne-Hajar, an eminent traditionalist and famous jurisprudent from the Shafaei sect says:
“This explanation is the best interpretation for the aforesaid traditions.”317
Ibne-Kathir, a famous historian, traditionalist and interpreter of Quran from the eight century writes:
“The path adopted by Baihaqi and his supporters that this hadith refers to the Caliphs which have come in succession till the era of the wicked Walid-ibn- Yazid-ibn-Abdul Malik is a path which calls for great deliberation. The Caliphs
coming in any order (and not in succession) till Walid’s era are more than twelve. Our reasoning: The caliphate of the four Caliphs i.e. Abu-Bakr, Omar, Uthman and Ali is unanimious and certain…………Hasan-ibn-Ali too follows them since Ali had mentioned so in his will and the Iraqis too had given their
allegiance to him…………..until he entered into a peace treaty with Muawiya.
315 Fath-ul-Baari 16/338 and 341; Nauwi: Shar Muslim 12/202-203 and Tarikh al-Khulafa/12.
316 Ibne-Kathir: Al Badayah wa-Nahayah 6/249.
317 Fath-ul-Baari 16/341.
“After Muawiya came Yazid followed by Muawiya-ibn-Yazid. Thereafter, the rulers and Caliphs who followed in succession were Marwan, Abdul-Malik-ibn- Marwan, Omar-ibn-Abdul-Aziz, Yazid-ibn-Abdul-Malik and Hisham-ibn- Abdul-Malik.
So, this group consists of fifteen people. Moreover, Walid-ibn-Yazid-ibn-Abdul
Malik (who is counted by Baihaqi to be the twelfth in number) followed them. If we take into account Abdullah-ibn-Zubair’s rule before Abdul Malik they will total sixteen in number.
“Aside from all these complexities, Yazid-ibn-Muawiya is included in the group
of twelve Caliphs recommended by the Prophet (on the basis of counting from the beginning of caliphate) while someone like Omar-ibn-Abdul-Aziz who has been praised and honoured by all the eminent ones has been omitted. This is while he has been counted among the “Khulafa-Rashideen” (rightly-guided Caliphs) and all are unanimious about his justice and believe that his era has been the most justful era of Islamic rule. Even the “Rafezi” (Shiite) admit this point.
“If someone says that we should take into account only those who have been favoured by the nation, we shall reach a stalemate where Ali-ibn-Abi-Talib and
his son will have to be omitted from the list of Caliphs. This is because people were not unanimious about their caliphate and none of the Syrians gave allegiance to these two men.”
Ibne-Kathir further adds:
“One of the scholars has included Muawiya, Yazid and Muawiya-ibn-Yazid in the list of the twelve Caliphs but excluded Marwan and Abdullah-ibn-Zubair because the “Ummah” (nation) had no consensus about them. I say: If we accept this, we have to enumarate the Caliphs as follows:
Abu-Bakr, Omar and Uthman followed by Muawiya, Yazid, Abdul Malik, Walid-ibn-Sulaiman, Omar-ibn-Abdul Aziz and Yazid-ibn-Hisham who become
ten in number. After them comes Walid-ibn-Abdul Malik, the sinner. But this is something impossible to accept because we will then have to leave out Ali and his son Hasan from the list of Caliphs. This is against the principle which the
Ahl-Sunnah and the Shiite scholars have emphasized. Moreover, it is contrary to the tradition which “Safineh” has narrated from the Prophet who said: After me, the Caliphate shall continue for thirty years. Thereafter, you shall face bitter kingship”.318
Ibne-Jauzi has attempted to explain these traditions in his book Kashf al- Mushkel with the help of following two rationales:
1) The Prophet (saw) has pointed out in a tradition about the events that would
occur after him and his companions. He prophesized about the governments that would come to power after him. He also pointed out the number of Caliphs in
318 Al-Badayah wal-Nehayah 6/250 Beirut edition.
such governments. Perhaps, his words: … ﻦﻳﺪﻟا لاﺰﻳ ﻻ319implies that government is always active and powerful until the twelve Caliphs come to power. Thereafter, the situation would be something different and conditions extremely difficult.
The first amongst the Prophet’s Caliphs from the Bani-Umayyah is Yazid-ibn- Muawiya and the last of them is Marwane Hemar and they are all thirteen in
Uthman, Muawiya and Abdullah-ibn-Zubair have been left out in this enumeration, because they are amongst the Prophet’s companions. Thus, if we
omit Marwan-ibn-Hakam (because of the probability of being the Prophet’s companion or because he had attained the caliphate by force while the people of his time had given allegiance to Abdullah-ibn-Zubair of their own free will) the
number of twelve people becomes complete (and thus the Prophet’s prophecy comes out true).
When the Bani-Ummayad were deprived from the caliphate, serious troubles
and seditions took place. This continued till the time the Bani-Abbasids gained control over the caliphate. Thereafter too, the caliphate underwent turbulence and chaos.”320
Ibne-Hajar repudiated the plausibility of such an explanation in his book “Fath al-Baari”.321
Concerning the second rationale in the analysis of these traditions, Ibne-Jauzi says:
2) Perhaps, the caliphate of these twelve responsible figures refers to the period after Mahdi who shall emerge at the end of time. I have found in the book of Daniel as such: When Mahdi shall depart from this world; five stalwarts from
the progeny of ‘Sibt-Akbar’ (Imam Hasan) shall gain power. Thereafter, five stalwarts from the progeny of ‘Sibt-Asghar’ (Imam Husain) shall attain this position. The last person from this group shall state in his will that someone
from the progeny of ‘Sibte-Akbar’ should succeed him. After him, his son will take over the caliphate. In this manner, the afore-mentioned twelve rulers becomes complete and all of them are the Imams, the guided ones (Mahdi).”
Ibne-Jauzi adds: “There exists a tradition too which states that after him (i.e. Mahdi), twelve men shall come and rule, six from the progeny of Hasan, five from the progeny of Husain and the last one from the progeny of others. Then he shall die and time shall decay.”322
319 As per the narration of Muslim 6/4, Egyptian edition 1334 A.H. i.e. “Till the time the twelve men remain the Caliph, religion would always reign supreme. In fact, the word religion which has come down in the tradition has wrongly been interpreted to mean government.
320 Fath al-Baari 16/340 narrated from “Kashf al-Mushkel”.
321 Refer to Fath al-Baari 16/340.
322 Fath al-Baari-Fi-Shar Sahih Bukhari 16/341; first edition, Egypt.
About this tradition, Ibne-Hajar Haithami says: “This tradition is indeed a weak tradition, so one cannot rely on it.”323
Another group of scholars have opined:
In this hadith, it appears that Hazrat (peace and salutations be upon him) has informed about the strange events that would follow and has predicted the
anarchy and turmoil that would occur during that era — the era in which people would gather around twelve chiefs at one time. If the Prophet had meant otherwise, he would have said: There would be twelve chiefs where each would do so and so work. But, as he has not given such news about them it implies that
the Prophet meant to say that all these Caliphs would come at one time.
They say that this prophecy (in the aforesaid sense) took effect in the fifth century because at that time, six people in Spain declared themselves the
Caliphs. In addition, there were the Egyptian rulers (the Fatimid Caliph) and the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad (which become eight in number). Besides, those who have claimed the caliphate have also to be taken into account. They
comprise the Khawarij and the Alawites who started a rebellion against the
Abbasid Caliphs during this era and staked their claim for the caliphate. After recording the tradition, Ibne Hajar Asqalani says324 :
“This report is exclusive to those who are aware with Bukhari’s summarized tradition and have not seen the other side of this tradition (which speaks in length about the twelve Caliphs). Moreover, the existence of this numerous groups of Caliphs is itself an evidence of deviation and error which clearly
proves that it is not what the Prophet had meant.”
These were the interpretations and explanations given by scholars from the
Caliphate ideology regarding the twelve caliphs.
The actual meaning of these traditions:
Let us analyze the correct meaning of the traditions, which will also expose the hollowness of these explanations.
1. The Prophet’s Caliphs and the Islamic leaders will not exceed twelve in
number and will belong to Quraish. As it is decisively said by the Prophet,
“There are twelve leaders for this nation who are all from the Quraish.”325
“There shall come twelve Caliphs for this nation.”326
“After me shall come twelve Caliphs who are all from the Quraish.”327
323 As-Sawaeq al-Muharreqa/21; second edition, Egypt.
324 Fath al-Baari 16/338 and 339 and Shar Nu’awi 12/202.
325 Kanz al-Ummal 13/27, hadith No 164, 165 & 166.
Sentences like: “There are twelve Caliphs after me” and such other traditions distinctly specify that the number of Caliphs and leaders of this nation are twelve.
2. These leaders and Caliphs shall remain among the Ummah (nation) till the
Day of Judgement.
As a proof, we quote from Sahih Muslim:
“If only two people remain on the earth, one of them will be a caliph who will belong to Quraish.”328
This tradition, which is recorded in the most reliable books of the Ahl-Sunnah,
clearly announces the perpetuity of the Caliphs till the end of this world.
In another tradition, which was also mentioned earlier, the Prophet has said:
“Till the time the twelve Caliphs rule upon you, this religion will continue till the Day of Judgement.”329
This tradition conveys the glad-tidings about Islam’s continuity till the Day of
Judgement. Besides, it also declares the caliphate of the twelve Caliphs. In other words, the Prophet (saw) has proclaimed that throughout the duration of this
world, one caliph must rule over the world where essentially the age of one of them should be prolonged to run parallel with the age of this world.
Why and how this hadith has remained immune from distortions? It is imperative to delve into the fact that how this tradition was not erased, distorted or censored by the enemies especially by Umayyids.
Apparently, when this hadith was narrated for the first time by the Prophet’s companions the number of Caliphs at the time was barely few. Obviously, the rulers failed to foresee the complications they would face in the future in explaining such a hadith. If they had anticipated such troubles they would have ensured that it should not be recorded in the reliable texts of the caliphate school. Or they would set such manipulations into motion that the tradition was distorted beyond redemption, the way several traditions of the Prophet were distorted.
In other words, this hadith was narrated during the reign of Muawiya or Yazid- ibn-Muawiya and till then, the official Caliphs had not been more than four or five. Thus, the caliphate did not apprehend any danger from dissemination of this hadith. When the Caliphs exceeded twelve in number, it was impossible to prevent the spread of such traditions, leave aside the question of tampering or distorting the text of narration.
* * *
After browsing through the various speculations and baseless explanations about the traditions it becomes more than evident that the belief of Ahlebait’s ideology is the only proper and exact meaning of the tradition.
328 Sahih Muslim 6/3; Egyptian edition.
329 Muslim 6/4 and Kanz al-Ummal 13/27; tradition 162.
In the end, it is important to know that this hadith gains extreme importance because it is recorded in most of the Sunni books of Sihah, Sunan, Musnad and others which is considered reliable and authentic among the sunni scholars unanimously.
Traditions specifying the names of the Prophet’s successors
In the aforesaid traditions, no reference is made about the Imams’ and Caliphs’ names. Now we shall discuss those traditions, which specifically and particularly mention the names of the Prophet’s successors.
The Prophet’s first proclamation:
The first time ever the Prophet announced his successor was in his first open invitation which is recorded as Hadith-Enzar or Hadith-Yaum’ud-Daar. This hadith is reported in numerous authentic books of traditions as well as historical
source books from the Sunni references including Tarikh-Tabari, Tarikh-Ibne Kathir and Abul-Fidah, Musnad-Ahmad, Kanz al-Ummal, Tarikh Ibne-Wardi, Dala’el-Nabuwah, Baihaqi and others. These books contain the same hadith though with minor variations.
We shall reproduce the hadith from Tarikh-Tabari, which is the oldest reference in this regard and is regarded as the most authentic historical text in the Sunni school of thought:
Amir-ul-Mominin (as) says: When the blessed verse:
«ﻦﻴﺑﺮﻗﻷا ﻚﺗﺮﻴﺸﻋ رﺬﻧأ»
[And warn your nearest relations] (Shuara/214) was revealed, the Messenger of
Allah (saw) called me and said:
‘O Ali! Allah commanded me to call my kith and kin towards Allah and warn them. I have undertaken this task, as I was apprehensive of my relatives’
defiance. I deferred the mission until Jibraeel descended with the verse and said:
‘O Muhammad, if you do not act upon that which you have been commanded
(and delay further the matter) God shall punish you. Therefore, (O Ali, there is no reason for procrastination; hence) arrange for some food and………… Then
gather the sons of Abdul-Muttalib (Bani-Hashim) so that I speak to them and convey that for which I have been appointed.330”
Imam Ali (as) says:
I obeyed the Prophet’s commands and invited them for food. They were all forty in number. When everybody assembled around the Prophet, he ordered for the
330 This is the first time that the Prophet’s call extended the limits of his house wherein lived the Prophet, Ali and Khadija. Till this day, the third year after the Prophet’s appointment, Islam prevailed in the Prophet’s house and the only muslims on earth were the members of this house.
food that I had prepared. When I served the meal and laid it in front of them, the Messenger of Allah (saw) picked a piece of meat and divided it into several pieces. Subsequently, he evenly placed it in front of his relatives. Thereafter, he said: ‘Eat in the name of Allah.’
The attendants ate to their full……….and I swear by Allah Who possesses my soul that the food served to them was actually meant for only one person though,
the entire gathering had food to their hearts’ content. Then the Prophet (s.a.w) said: ‘Give them to drink’. I served yogurt with water and they drank to their full. I swear by Allah that the drink served by me was sufficient for only one
When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) wished to address them, Abu-Lahab took precedence and said: He has indeed cast his spell on you!
Following Abu-Lahab’s remarks, the gathering dispersed without the Prophet having uttered anything to them. The Prophet remained quiet and did not speak a word. He was responsible for inviting his near ones (to the divine path) and
hence this gathering. However, in a gathering where his action was termed as
‘magic’, it was no longer proper for him to say anything.331
Ditto, the next day, Imam was assigned the same task. The same people gathered and the same events prevailed. Of course, the Prophet did not allow Abu-Lahab
to speak this time and addressed his near ones as such:
‘O the sons of Abdul-Muttalib! I swear by Allah, I do not know of any Arab youth who has brought anything better than that which I have brought as a gift
for you. I have brought for you the goodness of this world as well as the Hereafter. The Almighty Allah has commanded me to call you towards Him. Now, who among you is ready to become partner in my sufferings and my
assistant in fulfilling my divine mission so that he remains my brother, vicegerent and Caliph amongst you?”
Total silence prevailed in the room and none responded to the Prophet’s call. But I, who at the time was the youngest amongst them, answered the Prophet’s call:
‘O the Prophet of Allah, I am ready to be your vizier and helper in your affairs.’332
The Prophet laid his hands on my neck and said:
“He is my brother, vicegerent and Caliph amongst you. Follow his commands and obey his instructions.”
331 The most sensible reaction for the Prophet under the circumstances (where he is rejected even before he could utter a word) was to adopt silence. It was for this reason too, that the Prophet kept silent vis-a-vis Omar’s remarks who said: [This man speaks in delirium].
332 Just as Haroun was Musa’s vazier. Holy Quran: Taha 29/33 & Furqan / 35.
The elders and the eminent men from the tribe of Bani-Hashim rose and sarcastically told Abu-Talib: Your cousin commands you to obey your son! (whereas you are the chief and leader of the Quraish!)333
This is the first day on which the Prophet (s.a.w) proclaimed Ali (a.s.) as the Imam of the nation. In the first ever official announcement, the Prophet had drawn people’s attention to three fundamental points:
1. The Almighty Allah’s message.
2. His own Prophethood.
3. Ali ibn Abi Talib’s status as his vizier, his caliph and executive of his mission.
The first title (i.e., viziership) is relevant to the Prophet’s lifetime, while the second and third title (i.e., caliphate and executorship) is relevant to the period
after the Prophet’s demise.
The responsibility of being a vizier implies Ali’s total dedication to the Prophet in enduring the hardships of the mission during the Prophet’s lifetime. Caliphate
and Executorship purports the responsibility of bearing this onerous burden alone after the Prophet’s demise.
It was mentioned that the Caliph of any responsible person performs the same
task which that responsible person performs. The Prophet’s Caliph bears the responsibility of fulfilling the Prophet’s task; he is the Prophet’s assistant in his special mission i.e. propagation. After the Prophet’s demise too, his only aim is to continue the Prophet’s task and not to rule.
Of course, leadership and rulership is one of the (and not all) inseparable aspects of the Prophetic mission.334
Similarly, it is also one of the responsibilities (and not the only one) of the
Prophet’s Caliph. The Prophet should be a ruler and none except him can be a legitimate ruler during his era. But the Prophet’s prime objective is not establishing a kingdom lest he fails to acquire the government it would harm his prophethood and his very purpose is destroyed. Hazrat Isa (a.s.) did not establish a government and attain material power during the entire length of his prophethood. However, he passed his entire life propagating the divine message. Did this create a flaw in his prophethood!?
Before migration to Madina, the last Prophet (s.a.w) was neither a ruler nor did he possess power to rule over Mecca for a period of thirteen years. But, this did
not undermine his prophethood in any manner.
333 Tabari: Tarikh Al-Rasul wal-Muluk 2/319, 321. Daarul-Ma’aref, Egyptian edition 1968; Tafsir Tabari 19/75-
76 and Ibne-Athir: Al-Kamal-Fi-Tarikh 2/41-42, Daarul-Kitab al-Arabi editon.
334 Here, the Prophetic mission refers to “Messengership” which differs in meaning from Prophethood. It is likely that a Prophet may only be responsible for conveying one message during the entire period of his life and not have any other duty. But, as per the Quran (Nisa/64), a messenger bears the responsibility of propagating the
divine Shariah (religious laws) and his obedience is obligatory. Therefore, governing the society is also a part of
Thus, taking into account Ali’s caliphate, it makes no difference whether he is the chief and ruler of the nation or not as the basis of his Imamat remains unaffected.
What was Prophet’s intention in declaring Ali (a.s.) as the Caliph? Did he intend to introduce him as the ruler and chief of the Islamic society after his demise?
No. He did not merely appoint a ruler. Rather, he established something greater and more superior than rulership. He appointed his legatee, vizier and emissary of the divine message after him. The Prophet’s caliphate, signifying a sublime position, includes:
i. the protection and dissemination of pure Islam ii. the just Islamic rule
iii. the high position of adjudication as well as
iv. the leadership (Imamat) of Friday and congregation prayers
However, any one of the above by itself is not sufficient.
THE GUARDIAN AFTER THE PROPHET
In yet another tradition which was quoted earlier (in the first section), it is narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w) had dispatched two contingents of soldiers to
Yemen – one under the leadership of Ali (a.s.) and the other one under the command of Khalid-ibn-Walid. Moreover, he clarified that if both these contingents were merged, the command would go to Ali (a.s.).
Mean and cunning as he was, Khalid was outraged at the Prophet’s remarks.
Thus, when the mission was fulfilled, Khalid sent couriers to the Prophet carrying a grievance note against the Imam (a.s.).
Bareedah, the letter-bearer says: I delivered the letter to the Prophet. The letter
was read out to him. Its contents angered the Prophet so much so his countenance changed and anger was writ large on his blessed face. Thus, I said:
‘O the Messenger of Allah! I seek refuge in you. Khalid has sent this letter and
commanded me to forward it to you. I have obeyed him since he is my commander. The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Do not speak ill of Ali! He is from me and I am from him. He is your custodian, guardian and master (of the affairs) after me.335”
In one of the texts, there is an addition to the hadith: When Bareedah witnessed the Prophet’s wrath; he began to doubt his own faith and said: ‘O the Messenger of Allah! Stretch out your hand so that I swear allegiance to you anew and my sin is forgiven.336’
According to this tradition, Imam Ali (a.s.) is the guardian, man of authority and the master of the Muslims after the Prophet (s.a.w). In more precise terms, he is the Prophet’s successor, possessing mastership over the people’s life and wealth.
335 Musnad Ahmad 5/356; Khasa’es Nesa’ee/24; Majma al-Zawa’ed 9/127 and Kanz al-Ummal 12/207 & 212.
336 Majma al-Zawa’ed 9/128.
In another tradition related from Ibne-Abbas, the Prophet (s.a.w) had addressed
Amir-ul-Mumineen (a.s.) as follows:
“You are the master, guardian and an authority for every believer after me.”337
In yet another tradition in which the narrator complains to the Prophet (s.a.w)
about Imam (a.s.), the Prophet (s.a.w) said: ‘Never speak in this manner about Ali. After me, he possesses the greatest authority, judgeship and mastership over the people than any other men.338
It can be deduced from these traditions it becomes clear that the Prophet (saw) confered positions like caliphate, viziership and executorship on Ali (a.s.). He introduces him with such exalted titles and says: ‘Ali is the master of all believers after me.’
Nevertheless, the incident concerning donation of a ring to a beggar in the mosque and subsequent revelation of the holy verse,
.«نﻮﻌﻛار ﻢﻫ و ﺓﻮﻛﺰﻟا نﻮﺗﺆﻳ و ﺓﻮﻠﺼﻟا نﻮﻤﻴﻘﻳ ﻦﻳﺬﻟا اﻮﻨﻣآ ﻦﻳﺬﻟا و ﻪﻟﻮﺳر و ﷲا ﻢﻜﻴﻟو ﺎﻤﻧإ » substantiates Ali’s position and authority. A fact that is supported by numerous traditions recorded in several sunni books.
These traditions quoted from reliable reference books of sunnis proves that the
Prophet has made his will and testament during the various stages of his life.
We had discussed earlier about the Prophet’s desire of putting down his will in writing during the last moments of his life.
At that crucial hour, the Prophet wished to write down his last will regard his successor who will be his caliph, legatee and ruler after him.
Whenever the Prophet wished to write a letter, he would ask one of his
companions to do so. He would then affix his seal on the letter and call to witness this act. Thereafter, he would dispatch it to the Arab tribes or non-Arab chiefs.
The Prophet intended to do the same during the last moments of his life and wished to write a will that would prevent the people from going astray in the future. But his companions did not allow him to fulfill his wish and instead replied to him so impertinently and impudently that the Prophet preferred to
But as it was clarified that the issue of successorship was mooted not at the final hour. Rather, for all intent and purposes, the Prophet (saw) made it a point that
he repeatedly announced his successor during the entire length of his life including war, peace and at various other important occasions of his prophethood. Despite the censors, the massacres perpetrated by the despotic
Ummayids and Abbasids rulers and their terror tactics, so that these narrations should never reach the future generations, all these traditions are found in the reliable texts from the caliphate ideology.
337 Musnad Tayalasi 11/360.
338 Osd al-Ghabah 5/94 and Majma al-Zawa’ed 9/109.
Before concluding the discussion, we narrate two traditions from the Sunni books which shed light on the issue of the Prophet’s legatee and will:
Tabarani and other eminent traditionalists from the caliphate ideology have narrated from Salman, the great companion of the Prophet as follows:
I said: ‘O the Messenger of Allah, for every Prophet there is a legatee. Who is your legatee?
The Prophet (saw) did not reply until he called me later and said: ‘O Salman!’ Hearing my name I rushed towards him and respondend, ‘Here I am’.
He said: ‘Do you know who Musa’s legatee was?’
I said: ‘Yes! Yushua-ibn-Nun. He said: For what reason?
I said: Because he (Yushua) was the most learned man of his time.
The Prophet said:
So my legatee; the place of my secrets; the best man whom I shall leave after me and who will fulfill my promises and pay my debts is Ali-ibn-Ali Talib.”
An analysis of the hadith
The inquirer in this hadith is “Salman” the Prophet’s great companion. Before becoming the Prophet’s companion, Salman lived in Isfahan and was the son of an eminent Magian. After coming into contact with a Christian caravan, he converted to Christianity and abandoned his home for the sake of joining their caravan.
Later, he lived in the monasteries in Syria and Iraq listening to the talks of the eminent Christian monks. He acquired knowledge of the past Prophets’ books (like the Torah, Evangel and Psalms) and the histories of Prophets, their legatees and nations. Under their guidance, he left for Medina for the sake of listening to the last Prophet’s words.339
After embracing Islam and turning into a close companion of the Prophet, he questioned from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.):
For every Prophet there is a legatee. Who is your legatee? The Prophet did not reply.
Was it difficult for the Prophet to fix a legatee for his nation or was he worried of his nation’s reaction?
Such instances were noticed even earlier like his marriage with Zainab-binta- Jahash, divorcee of Zaid (foster son of Prophet). Allah addressed the Prophet
and resolved his anxiety: “And you concealed in your soul what Allah would bring to light, and you feared men.”340
339 Refer to Salman’s biography in “Al-Estiab, Osd al-Ghaba wal-Asabeh.
The Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) silence in reply to Salman could be similar to the case of his marriage with Zainab. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) later met Salman and told him about his successor but only after inquiring from him about Musa’s legatee Yushua bin Noon who succeeded Musa because he was the most learned man among the Bani Israel.
Here, the Prophet says:
‘So my legatee; the protector of my secrets; the best man to remain after me who shall fulfil my promises and repay my debts is Ali-ibn-Abi Talib.’
In the Prophet’s answer, we find several explanations:
(a) Yushua bin Nun succeeded Musa because he was the most learned man. (b) Similarly, the Prophet emphatically said, Ali is his legatee for the same. (c) The objective of this dialogue between the Prophet (s.a.w.) and Salman was to apprise the Muslims that Ali’s status of legatee was a divine decree not because he was the Prophet’s relative and cousin otherwise, Abbas the Prophet’s uncle too was alive at the time.
Moreover, it was also not because Ali was the Prophet’s son-in-law; since the
Prophet had another son-in-law too.
It was also not due to his sacrifices in the battle with the polytheists; although none were like him in the battlefield.
It was also not because he had taken precedence over others in accepting Islam.
It was also not because he had not worshipped (unlike the rest of the Prophet’s companions) any idol.
Although all the above as well as other factors were applicable to Ali (a.s.) and are counted among the unparalleled virtues in Islam, nevertheless, the Prophet’s legatee is responsible first and foremost to safeguard the Prophet’s Shariah
(religious laws). So, he should be the most learned one in this regard. And amongst all the companions, Ali (a.s.) was the most learned man in Islam.
(d) Salman’s statement bears testimony to the fact that the past Prophets possessed legatees. To some Muslims, such a testimony on the part of
Salman happens to be:
ﻲﺒﻠﻗ ﻦﺌﻤﻄﻴﻟ ﻦﻜﻟ و ﻲﻠﺑ While for others who were among the hypocrites, this testimony was more enlightening than the Prophet’s remarks.
Bareedah,341 another companion of the Prophet related the same tradition in the following words:
“Every Prophet has a legatee; Ali is my legatee and heir”.342
341 Bareedah-ibn-Abdullah Aslami’s agnomen is Abu-Abdullah. After the battle of Uhud, he migrated to Medina and had witnessed all the battles of the holy Prophet. At the time of construction of the city of Basra, he migrated to that place. Thereafter, he participated in the battle of Khorasan and died in Marv. Osd al-Ghaba 1/175.
342 The chain of transmitters of these two traditions (from Salman and Bareedah) as well as other traditions about Imam Ali’s executorship along with the poems and debates which have taken place in this regard in the
length of several centuries has come down in the first section of the book “Ma’lim al-Madrasatain”.
The significance of Ali’s immediate succession
Since centuries, the sunni scholars have been striving hard to interpret the
Prophet’s hadith concerning Imam Ali’s Imamat (like hadith-Ghadir and hadith- Manzelat):
.«ﻲﺳﻮﻣ ﻦﻣ نورﺎﻫ ﻪﻟﺰﻨﻤﺑ ﻲﻨﻣ ﺖﻧا »
Their efforts are directed at underplaying the significance of Ali’s Imamat and cite these traditions as mere virtues of Ali rather than his successorship of the
At the same time, they have fabricated and concocted traditions describing much higher and superior merits of other Caliphs. Thus the virtues of Ali pale in comparison with those forged traditions.343
However, the traditions have clearly indicated that these hadith do not describe them as virtues of Ali but evidently signify Imam Ali’s status as the Prophet’s successor and legatee.
For over seventy years, beginning from Ayesha’s era, the enemies of Imam Ali made every conceivable effort to conceal, distort and misinterpret the terms used in the traditions on Imam Ali’s (a.s.) imamat.
The machinations of the inimical scholars have resulted in absolute obliteration of the title, Al-Wasi meaning legatee which has been Imam’s most famous title. In the first section of the book, Ma’lim al-Madrasatain344, we have already discussed ten such cases in more than 80 pages.
Inshallah, we shall discuss more such Ahadith that have been distorted and falsely attributed to the Prophet (saw). These fabricated traditions have ruined the faith of numerous Muslim groups by leading them towards unfounded and false beliefs regarding the Divine attributes, the Prophet’s Seerah (way of life) and the Islamic precepts. Consequently, the Islamic doctrines, creeds and tenets are far from the original teachings of the Prophet.
On the contrary, we shall examine the endeavours of the Imams from the Ahl al- bayt (a.s.) in presenting the genuine traditions and true life history of the Prophet, and their efforts in restoring the true Sunnah to the Islamic society.
There exist numerous sources and references for exegesis of the holy verses and their explicit explanation on the infallibility of the Prophet’s household. We shall confine our discussion to only few of them. We begin with the following tradition:
343 Refer to the previous discussions like the Ahadith on song and music, Uthman’s shame and Omar’s consent.
344 Outstanding examples can be found in Enclosure No 2.
.لﺎﻤﺸﻟا بﺎﺤﺻأ و ﻦﻴﻤﻴﻟا بﺎﺤﺻأ و :ﻪﻟﻮﻗ ﻚﻟﺬﻓ ,ﺎﻤﺴﻗ ﺎﻤﻫ ﺮﻴﺧ ﻲﻓ ﻲﻨﻠﻌﺠﻓ ,ﻦﻴﻤﺴﻗ ﻖﻠﺨﻟا ﻢﺴﻗ ﷲا نا »
ﻚﻟﺬﻓ ,ﺎﺘﻴﺑ ﺎﻫﺮﻴﺧ ﻲﻓ ﻲﻨﻠﻌﺠﻓ ,ﺎﺗﻮﻴﺑ ﻞﺋﺎﺒﻘﻟا ﻞﻌﺟ ﻢﺛ … ﻦﻴﻤﻴﻟا بﺎﺤﺻأ ﺮﻴﺧ ﺎﻧأ و ,ﻦﻴﻤﻴﻟا بﺎﺤﺻأ ﻦﻣ ﺎﻧﺄﻓ ﻦﻣ نوﺮﻬﻄﻣ ﻲﺘﻴﺑ ﻞﻫأ و ﺎﻧﺄﻓ .(اﺮﻴﻬﻄﺗ ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧا ) :ﻪﻟﻮﻗ
(199/5 رﻮﺜﻨﻤﻟا رﺪﻟا ).بﻮﻧﺬﻟا
The verse as interpreted by the past and contemporary interpreters:
و ءﻮﺴﻟا ﻦﻣ ﷲا ﻢﻫﺮﻬﻃ ﺖﻴﺑ ﻞﻫأ ﻢﻫ :لﺎﻗ «… ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧا » :ﻪﻟﻮﻗ ﻲﻓ (ضر) هدﺎﺘﻗ ﻦﻋ
.199/5 رﻮﺜﻨﻤﻟارﺪﻟا و ,5/22 يﺮﺒﻄﻟا ﺮﻴﺴﻔﺗ .(ﻪﻨﻣ ﻪﻤﺣﺮﺑ) ﻪﺘﻤﺣﺮﺑ ﻢﻬﺼﺘﺧا
و ءﻮﺴﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧا
,ﺖﻴﺒﻟا ﻞﻫأ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻳ نا ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻣا
.5/22 يﺮﺒﻄﻟا .ﷲا ﻲﺻﺎﻌﻣ ﻞﻫأ ﻲﻓ نﻮﻜﻳ يﺬﻟا ﺲﻧﺪﻟا ﻦﻣ ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و ,ﺪﻤﺤﻣ ﺖﻴﺑ ﻞﻫأ ﺎﻳ ءﺎﺸﺤﻔﻟا
و ﺎﻬﺑ ثﻮﻠﺘﻳ تﺎﺤﺒﻘﻤﻠﻟ فﺮﺘﻘﻤﻟا ضﺮﻋ نﻷ
,بﻮﻧﺬﻠﻟ رﺎﻌﺘﺳا و
.م 1953 ﺮﺼﻣ ﻊﺒﻃ ,425/3 فﺎﺸﻜﻟا .سﺎﺟرﻷﺎﺑ ﻪﻧﺪﺑ ثﻮﻠﺘﻳ ﺎﻤﻛ ﺲﻧﺪﺘﻳ ﻊﻠﺧ ﻢﻜﺴﺒﻠﻳ يأ «ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و » بﻮﻧﺬﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﻞﻳﺰﻳ يأ :«ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ » ,ﻲﻟﺎﻌﺗ ﻪﻟﻮﻘﻓ : يزاﺮﻟا لﺎﻗ
.209/25 ﺮﻴﺒﻜﻟا ﺮﻴﺴﻔﺗ .ﻪﻣاﺮﻜﻟا
» ﻲﺻﺎﻌﻤﻟا و «ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و » … ﻢﻜﺿﺮﻌﻟ ﺲﻧﺪﻤﻟا ﺐﻧﺬﻟا «ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧإ» :يوﺎﻀﻴﺒﻟا لﺎﻗ
1305 ﻊﺒﻃ ,557 / يوﺎﻀﻴﺒﻟا ﺮﻴﺴﻔﺗ .ﺎﻬﻨﻋ ﺮﻴﻔﻨﺘﻠﻟ ﺮﻴﻬﻄﺘﻟﺎﺑ ﺢﻴﺷﺮﺘﻟا و
ﺔﻴﺼﻌﻤﻠﻟ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا هرﺎﻌﺘﺳا و .«اﺮﻴﻬﻄﺗ
و ﻖﺴﻔﻟا ﺲﻧد ﻦﻣ ﻢﻛﺮﻬﻄﻳ و ,لﻮﺳﺮﻟا ﺖﻴﺑ ﻞﻫأ ﺎﻳ ءﺎﺸﺤﻔﻟا و ءﻮﺴﻟا ﻢﻜﻨﻋ ﺐﻫﺬﻴﻟ ﷲا ﺪﻳﺮﻳ ﺎﻤﻧا ,ﻲﻏاﺮﻤﻟا لﺎﻗ
.ﺮﺼﻣ ﻊﺒﻃ 7/22 ﻲﻏاﺮﻤﻟا ﺮﻴﺴﻔﺗ .ﻲﺻﺎﻌﻤﻟا و بﻮﻧﺬﻟا بﺎﺑرﺄﺑ ﻖﻠﻌﻳ يﺬﻟا رﻮﺠﻔﻟا
The term ﺲﺟر, (a KO Mur Rijs) is explained by the lexicographers as an expression which denotes absolute purity and infallibility.
Ragheb Esfahani says: ﺲﺟر (Rijs) refers to something filthy. It is said: “ﻞﺟر
ﺲﺟر : (A filthy man) and سﺎﺟرأ لﺎﺟر (Filthy men). The Almighty says: ﻦﻣ ﺲﺟر نﺎﻄﻴﺸﻟا ﻞﻤﻋ (Filthiness is the act of Satan). Filthiness can be examined from three angles; intellectual, religious and the laws of nature, or from all these aspects like for example a corpse which is filthy from all three aspects i.e., religion, intellect as well as human nature. From the religious aspect, filthy things are those like wine and gambling. Some are of the opinion that these are filthy from the intellectual aspect too…….” Mufradat al-Quran; topic concerning ﺲﺟر Page
187; Tehran edition.
Ibne Athir, a renowned lexicographer writes in his book Al-Nihayeh as such:
:«ﺢﻴﺒﻘﻟا ﻞﻌﻔﻟا و ماﺮﺤﻟا ﻦﻋ ﻪﺑ ﺮﺒﻌﻳﺪﻗ و .رﺬﻘﻟا :ﺲﺟﺮﻟا » ﺲﺟر refers to something filthy and sometimes it refers to forbidden and indecent acts. An-Nihayeh-Fi-Gharib al-hadith wal-Athar 2/200; Egyptian edition 1383
Allama Ibne-Manzur has said:
:«ﺮﻔﻜﻟا و ﻪﻨﻌﻠﻟا و باﺬﻌﻟا و ﺢﻴﺒﻘﻟا ﻞﻌﻔﻟا و ماﺮﺤﻟا ﻦﻋ ﻪﺑ ﺮﺒﻌﻳ ﺬﻗ و .زﺬﻘﻟا :ﺲﺟﺮﻟا» ﺲﺟر refers to filth. Sometimes, it is interpreted as forbidden and indecent acts, punishment, curse and infidelity.
Lisan al-Arab al-Muhit; topic concerning ﺲﺟر 1/1128. Firuzabadi says:
:«ﺐﻀﻐﻟا و بﺎﻘﻌﻟا و ﻚﺸﻟا و ,باﺬﻌﻟا ﻲﻟإ يدﺆﻤﻟا ﻞﻤﻌﻟا و ,ﻞﻤﻌﻟا ﻦﻣ رﺬﻘﺘﺳا ﺎﻣ ﻞﻛ و رﺬﻘﻟا :ﺲﺟﺮﻟا»
ﺲﺟر refers to things, which are filth as well as every evil and polluted deed that leads to punishment, suspicion, evil retribution and anger.
Al-Qamoos al-Muhit; topic concerning ﺲﺟر 2/227; Egyptian edition. Jauhari writes:
.«ﺐﻀﻐﻟا و بﺎﻘﻌﻟا ﻪﻧإ :«نﻮﻠﻘﻌﻳ ﻻ ﻦﻳﺬﻟا ﻲﻠﻋ ﺲﺟﺮﻟا ﻞﻌﺠﻳ و» :ﻲﻟﺎﻌﺗ ﻪﻟﻮﻗ ﻲﻓ ءاﺮﻔﻟا لﺎﻗ و ,رﺬﻘﻟا :ﺲﺟﺮﻟا »
Al-Sihah; topic concerning ﺲﺟر 2/930; Egyptian edition; research by Ahmad
Abdul Qadir Raazi too has interpreted the same meaning for ﺲﺟر in his book
“Mukhtar al-Sihah / 234. Fayumi says:
و .ﺲﺠﻨﻟا ﺲﺟﺮﻟا :شﺎﻘﻨﻟا لﺎﻗ و .ﺲﺟر ﻮﻬﻓ رﺬﻘﺘﺴﻳ ﻲﺷ ﻞﻛ و :ﻲﺑارﺎﻔﻟا لﺎﻗ .رﺬﻘﻟا :ﺲﺟﺮﻟا و ,ﻦﺘﻨﻟا :ﺲﺟﺮﻟا»
.«ﻲﻨﻌﻤﺑ ﺎﻤﻫﻮﻠﻌﺟ يأ ,ﺔﺴﺎﺠﻨﻟا و ﺔﺴﺎﺟﺮﻟا :اﻮﻟﺎﻗ ﺎﻤﺑر و :عرﺎﺒﻟا ﻲﻓ لﺎﻗ
Al-Mesbah al-Munir; topic concerning ﺲﺟر 1/266. Ibne-Farsi says:
Mu’jam Maqa’es al-Lugha 2/490.
.«ﻂﻠﺧ و ﺦﻄﻟ ﻪﻧﻻ زﺬﻘﻟا :ﺲﺟﺮﻟا »
Hubaish Taflisi: “Know that “Rijs” in the Quran has three aspects:
The first aspect gives the meaning of gambling, idol, gambler’s dart and the second aspect denotes infidelity and hypocrisy while the third aspect signifies
evil acts.” (Quranic Aspects /110 & 111.)
Here, we discuss only a few of their most brazen steps taken for concealing and omitting the terms of traditions wherein the Prophet has used the adjective of “Wasi” (æÕìø) for Amir al-Muminin (A.S.).
1. Tabari in his ‘Tafsir’345 and Ibne-Kathir in ‘Al-Badayah wal-Nehayah’346 have omitted the word “Wasi” from the Prophet’s hadith on Yaum ud-Dar:
.«ﻢﻜﻴﻓ ﻲﺘﻔﻴﻠﺧ و ﻲﻴﺻو و ﻲﺧأ نﻮﻜﻳ نآوﺮﻣﻷا اﺬﻫ ﻲﻧرزاﺆﻳ ﻢﻜﻳﺄﻓ »
In place of that, they have inserted the word .اﺬآ و اﺬآ و
345 Volume 19/72-75
346 Volume 3/40
2. Muhammad Hasnain Haikal has noted down this hadith in its complete form in the first edition of his book “Haya’t-Muhammad”, page 104. However, in the second edition of the same book printed in 1976, he has fully omitted the hadith.
3. Ibne-Hisham who has extracted his book “Seerah” from Seerah Ibne-Ishaaq writes in the preface of his book as such: “I have omitted some of the matters
narrated in Seerah Ibne-Ishaaq that is not liked or approved by the people!!” Among the omitted matters was hadith Yaum ud-Dar which was recorded in Seerah Ibne-Ishaaq but left out by Ibne-Hisham. For this reason, Seerah Ibne- Ishaaq has become obsolete and major portions of its manuscripts are missing.
On the other hand, Seerah Ibne-Hisham has been shown as the most important and renowned Seerah.