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  • 10/24/2011

Peshawar Nights: Evidence regarding Umar's saying "Had Ali not been there, Umar would have been ruined"

Sixth Session-part  2


*Evidence regarding Umar's saying "Had Ali not been there, Umar would have been ruined"

*Caliph Umar's bravery was never observed on any battlefield

*Hadith of the standard in the conquest of Khaibar

*Uthman's character and way of life compared to that of Abu Bakr and Umar



Qazi Fazlullah Bin Ruzbahan, the fanatic, in his Ibtalu'l-Batil; Ibn Hajar Asqalani in his Tihdhibu'l-Tahdid, printed in Hyderabad Daccan, page 337; Ibn Hajar in Isaba, Volume II, printed in Egypt, page 509; Ibn Qutayba Dinawari in Ta'wil-e-Mukhtalafu'l-Hadith, page 201-202, Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq-e-Muhriqa, page 78; Hajj Ahmad Afindi in Hidayatu'l-Murtab, page 146 and 152; Ibn Athir Jazari in Usudu'l-Ghaiba, Volume IV, page 22; Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa, page 66; Ibn Abdu'l-Birr Qartabi in Isti'ab, Volume II, page 474; Seyyed Mu'min Shablanji in Nuru'l-Absar, page 73; Shahabu'd-Din Ahmad bin Abdu'l-Qadir A'jili in Zakhiratu'l-Ma'al; Muhammad bin Ali As-Saban in Is'afu'r-Raghibin, page 152; Nuru'd-Din bin Sabbagh Maliki in Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 18; Nuru'd-Din Ali bin Abdullah Samhudi in Jawahiru'l-Iqdain; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazili in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, page 6, Allama Qushachi in Sharh-e-Tarid, page 407, Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib, page 48, 60, Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul sub-Chapter 6, page 29, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Faza'il as well as Musnad; Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira, page 85, 87, Imam Tha'labi in Tafsir Kafshu'l-Bayan, Allama Ibn Qayyim Jauzi in Turuqi'l-Hakim, recording Ali's judgments from page 41 to page 53; Muhammad bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 57; Ibn Maja Qazwini in Sunan, Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in Manaqib; Ibrahim bin Muhammad Hamwaini in Fara'id; Muhammad bin Ali bin Hasani'l-Hakim in Sharh-e-Fathi'l-Mubin, Dailami in Firdaus, Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 14, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya as well as in Ma Nazala'l-Qur'an fi Ali, and a host of other great ulema of your sect, with slight variation in words, have narrated Umar's saying, "If there were no Ali, Umar would have been ruined."

The great theologian, Ganji Shafi'i, in Chapter 57, of his Kifayatu't-Talib Fi Manaqib Ali Bin Abu Talib, after narrating some authentic hadith, reports from Hudhaifa Bin Yaman that "one day Umar met him and asked him: 'What was your condition when you awoke in the morning?' Hudhaifa said, 'I rose in the morning hating the Truth, liking mischief, bearing witness to the thing unseen; learning by heart the uncreated, reciting salutations without being in the state of ritual purity, and knowing that, what is for me on the earth is not for Allah in the Sky.' Umar was infuriated by these remarks and intended to punish Hudhaifa when Ali came in. He noticed the signs of rage on Umar's face and asked why he was so angry. Umar told him, and Ali said: 'There is nothing serious about this remark: What Hudhaifa said was correct. Truth means death, which he detests; mischief means wealth and children, which he likes; and when he says he bears witness to what he has not seen, this means that he testifies to the oneness of Allah, death, the Day of Judgement, Paradise, Hell, the bridge over it named Sira, none of which he has seen. When he says he learns by heart what is uncreated, this refers to the Holy Qur'an; when he says that he recites salutations without ablution, this refers to reciting salutations on the Prophet of Allah, which is permissible without ablution; when he says he has for himself on earth what is not for Allah in the sky, this refers to his wife, as He has no wife or children.' Umar then said, 'Umar would have been lost had Ali not arrived.'" Ganji Shafi'i says that Umar's statement is verified according to reports of most of the narrators of hadith. The author of Manaqib says that Caliph Umar repeatedly said: "O Abu'l-Hasan! (Ali). I would not be a part of a community without you." He also said: "Women are unable to give birth to a child like Ali."

Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in his Matalibu's-Su'ul and Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 14, narrating from Tirmidhi, record a detailed report from Ibn Abbas at the end of which he says: "The companions of the Prophet used to seek religious judgments from Ali, and they accepted his decisions. Thus, Umar Bin Khattab said on various occasions, 'If it were not for Ali, Umar would have been ruined."

In religious matters and learned discussions Umar showed no vehemence. On the contrary, he admitted his own inability and acknowledged Ali as his refuge. Even Ibn Hajar Makki in Chapter III of Sawa'iq Muhriqa, reporting from Ibn Sa'd, quotes Umar as saying, "I seek Allah's help in deciding those difficult problems for which Abu-l-Hasan (Ali) is not available."



As for Umar's vehemence on the battlefield, history recorded no instance of it. On the contrary, historians of both sects relate that whenever Umar encountered a powerful enemy, he took to his heels. Consequently, other Muslims also fled, and the Muslim army was often defeated.

Hafiz: You have gradually increased the unkindness. You have insulted Caliph Umar, who was the pride of the Muslims and in whose age the Muslims achieved great victories. Because of Umar, Muslim armies won their battles. You call him a coward and say that he ran away from the battlefield and that the defeat of the Muslim army was due to him! Is it proper for a man of your caliber to defame Caliph Umar?

Well-Wisher: I'm afraid you are mistaken. Though you have been with me for many nights, you have not understood me. Perhaps you think that it is due to enmity that I criticize or praise men. It is not. There is a great liability in religious debates, which has been a source of antagonism among Muslims for centuries. Such debates often excite malicious tendencies, which are not in accord with the injunctions of the Holy Qur'an. The Qur'an clearly says: "O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin." (49:12) You assume that my statements are motivated by malice. The fact is otherwise. I have not uttered a word contrary to what your own ulema have written. You have just said that I have insulted Caliph Umar. But there was not the slightest indication of an insult. What I said corresponds to the records of history. Now I am constrained to give a clearer view of facts in order to quiet this antagonism.



You said that Caliph Umar was responsible for the Muslim conquests. No one denies that the Muslims achieved great conquests during the caliphate of Umar. But remember that, according to the evidence of your prominent ulema, like Qazi Abu Bakr Khatib, in his History of Baghdad, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharhe-Nahju'l-Balagha, and many other writers, Caliph Umar sought guidance from Ali in all administrative and military matters. And he acted on Ali's advice. In addition, there was a difference in the Islamic conquests of different periods. The first kind refers to conquests during the time of the Prophet himself, which were due primarily to Ali's gallantry. Everyone agrees that Ali was the bravest of the brave. If he did not fight in a battle, victory was not achieved. For instance, in the Battle of Khaibar, he suffered from an eye ailment, and it was impossible for him to go to battle. The Muslims suffered repeated defeats until, when he was cured by the Prophet, Ali advanced toward the enemy and conquered the forts of Khaibar. In the Battle of Uhud, when the Muslims broke ranks and ran, it was Ali who stood firm. Dauntless, he protected the Prophet from the enemy until a hidden voice proclaimed, "There is no sword other than Dhu'l-fiqar, and there is no brave youth other than Ali."

The second kind of conquest pertains to those battles which were fought after the Prophet's death. These victories were due to the bravery of the great Muslim soldiers and their expert planning. But we are not concerned here with the Islamic conquests during Umar's caliphate. Our topic is the courage of Caliph Umar himself. It is not verified by any historical evidence.

Hafiz: It is insulting to claim that Caliph Umar ran from the battlefield and that this led to the defeat of the Muslims.

Well-Wisher: If citing historical facts about men is an insult, then this insult has been recorded by your own ulema.

Hafiz: Where have our ulema written that Caliph Umar fled from the battlefield? When did he cause the defeat of the Muslims?



Well-Wisher: Since Ali was suffering from an eye ailment on the first day of the battle of Khaibar, the Prophet gave the Muslim flag to Abu Bakr, who led the Muslim army against the Jews. Suffering a defeat after a short battle, he returned. The next day the Muslim flag was given to Umar, but before he reached the place of battle, he fled in panic.

Hafiz: These statements are Shia fabrications.

Well-Wisher: The Battle of Khaibar was an important event of the Prophet's life, recorded in detail by historians of both sects. Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in his Hilyatu'l-Auliya, Volume I, page 62, Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 40, from the Sira of Ibn Hisham, Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 14, and many others of your ulema have recorded this event.

 But the most authentic narrations are those of two great scholars: Muhammad Bin Isma'il Bukhari, who writes in his Sahih, Volume II, printed in Egypt, 1320 A.H., page 100, and Muslim Bin Hujjaj, who writes in his Sahih, Volume II, printed in Egypt, 1320 A.H., page 324, that "Caliph Umar fled from the battlefield on two occasions." Among the many clear proofs on this point are the unambiguous verses of Ibn Abi'l-Hadid the Mu'tazilite, known as "Alawiyyat-e-Sab'a, in praise of Ali. Regarding the "Gate of Khaibar," he says: "Have you heard the story of the Conquest of Khaibar? So many mysteries are linked together which bewilder even the wise mind! These two (Abu Bakr and Umar) had no liking for, or acquaintance with, bearing a flag (leading an army). They did not know the secret of maintaining the prestige of a flag, they covered it with scorn and took to their heels, though they knew that fleeing from the battlefield is tantamount to infidelity. They did so because one of the brave Jewish soldiers, a tall youth with a naked sword in hand, riding on a steed of towering stature, attacked them, like an excited male ostrich, which had gained its strength from spring air and vegetation. He was like a huge bird which had adorned itself with a beautiful color and was going towards its beloved. The blaze of the fire of death from his sword and lance shown and frightened the two men." Ibn Abi'l-Hadid addressing them (Abu Bakr and Umar) says further: "I apologize for you, for your defeat and fleeing, since everyone dislikes death and loves life. Like all others, you too did not like death although there is no immunity from death. But you could not court death."

My purpose is not to insult anyone. I relate historical facts to show that the Caliph had no such bravery which would entitle him to the epithet "vehement against the infidels."

The fact is that he ran from the battlefield. The attribute in question belonged to Ali alone, who in every battle was vehement against the infidels. This fact has been attested to by Allah in the Holy Qur'an. He says: "O you who believe! Whoever of you turns away from his religion, soon Allah will bring another people; He loves them and they love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the infidels, striving hard in Allah's way, and they fear not the censure of any censurer; this is the grace of Allah. He gives it to whomsoever He desires."

Hafiz: It is astonishing that you try to ascribe this verse to Ali. It refers to the believers who possess these qualities and are Allah's loved ones.

Well-Wisher: It would be better if you asked me what argument I could furnish in support of my assertion. My reply is that if this verse were revealed in praise of the believers, they would never have run from the battlefield.

Hafiz: Is it fair to accuse the believers and the Prophet's Companions of fleeing from danger? These people fought bravely in battle.

Well-Wisher: It is not I who have called them "runners." History shows them as such. Perhaps you have forgotten that in the battles of Uhud and Hunain both the believers and the companions in general, including the great companions of the Prophet, sought safety in flight. As reported by Tabrini and others, they left the Prophet alone among the infidels. Is it possible that those who turned their backs to the enemy leaving the Holy Prophet alone to face the enemy were the loved ones of Allah and His Prophet?

I am not the only one to claim that this verse is in praise of Ali. Abu Ishaq Imam Ahmad Tha'labi, whom you regard as the chief of your traditionists, writes in his Kashfu'l-Bayan that this verse was revealed in praise of Ali because no other person possessed the attributes mentioned in it. No historian - ours or foreigners - has written that in any of the 36 battles fought by the Prophet did Ali ever falter. In the Battle of Uhud, when all the other companions fled, and the enemy's 5,000 troops attacked the Muslims, the only person who stayed at his post until victory was achieved was Ali. Although wounded in several places and bleeding profusely, he rallied those who had fled and continued fighting until victory was achieved.

Hafiz: Are you not ashamed to attribute "fleeing" to the great companions? All the companions in general and the two Caliphs - Abu Bakr and Umar - in particular, bravely surrounded the Prophet and protected him.

Well-Wisher: You have not studied history very carefully. In general, historians have written that in the battles of Uhud, Hunain, and Khaibar all the companions fled. I have told you about Khaibar. As for Hunain, Hamidi in his Jam'-e-Bainu's-Sahihain and Halabi in his Siratu'l-Halabiyya, Volume III, page 123, say that all the companions fled, except four: Ali and Abbas were in front of the Prophet, Abu Sufyan Bin Harith held the reins of the Prophet's horse, and Abdullah Bin Mas'ud stood on his left. The fleeing of the Muslims at Uhud has not been denied by anyone. Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 27, with his own sources, quotes Abdullah Bin Mas'ud as saying that the Prophet said: "Whenever Ali was sent alone in a battle, I saw Gabriel on his right side, Michael on his left, and a cloud sheltering him from above until Allah made him victorious."

Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i narrates hadith 202 in his Khasa'is-e-Alawi that Imam Hasan, wearing a black turban, came to the people and narrated the qualities of his father, saying that in the Battle of Khaibar, when Ali went toward the fort, "Gabriel was fighting on his right and Michael on his left side. He encountered the enemy with great valor until he achieved victory and was entitled to Allah's love."



In this verse Allah says that He loves those who possess these attributes and that they too love Him. This quality of being loved by Allah is peculiar to Ali. There is a great deal of evidence in support of this view. Among the many hadith relating to this matter is the one reported by Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 7. He narrates, through his own sources, from Abdullah Bin Abbas, who said that one day he was sitting with his father, Abbas, before the Holy Prophet, when Ali came in and saluted him. The Prophet stood up, took him into his arms, kissed him between his eyes, and made him sit down at his right side. Abbas then asked the Prophet if he loved Ali. The Holy Prophet replied, "O my respected uncle! By Allah, Allah loves him more than I love him."



The strongest proof of Ali's being the loved one of Allah, and of his bravery on the battlefield, is the hadith-e-Rayat (Hadith of the Ensign), which is part of your authentic collections of traditions. None of your prominent ulema has denied it.

Nawab: What is the hadith-e-Rayat? If you don't mind, please quote it with its sources.

Well-Wisher: The prominent ulema and historians of the two sects have both narrated the hadith-e-Rayat. For instance, Muhammad Bin Isma'il Bukhari, in his Sahih, Volume II, Kitabu'l-Jihad Wa's-Siyar, Chapter Du'au'n-Nabi, also Volume III, Kitabu'l-Maghazi, Chapter Ghazawa-e-Khaibar; Muslim Bin Hajjaj in his Sahih, Volume 2, page 324; Imam Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in his Khasa'isu'l-Alawi; Tirmidhi in his Sunan; Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Isaba, Volume II, p. 508; Muhaddith-e-Sham in his Ta'rikh; Ahmad bin Hanbal in his Musnad; Ibn Maja Qazwini in Sunan; Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda Chapter 6; Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira; Muhammad bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Isfahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya; Abu Qasim Tibrani in Ausat; and Abu Qasim Husain bin Muhammad (Raghib Isfahani) in Muhaziratu'l-Udaba, Volume II, page 212. In short, virtually all of your historians and traditionists have recorded this hadith, so that Hakim says: "This hadith has reached the stage of unanimity." Tabrini says: "Ali's victory in Khaibar is proved by its unanimity."

When the Muslim army laid siege to the Fort of Khaibar, it suffered defeat three times under the command of Abu Bakr and Umar, and they fled. The companions were greatly frustrated. In order to inspire the companions, the Prophet announced that Khaibar would be conquered. He said: "By Allah, tomorrow I will give the standard to one who will return successful. He is one who attacks repeatedly and never leaves the battlefield and never retraces his steps until he achieves success. He loves Allah and the Prophet of Allah, and Allah and the Prophet of Allah love him." That night the companions could not sleep, wondering who would be given this special favor. At dawn, all put on their military garb and presented themselves before the Prophet. The Prophet asked, "Where is my brother and son of my uncle, Ali Bin Abu Talib?" They told him, "O Prophet of Allah, he is suffering so much with sore eyes that he cannot move." The Prophet asked Salman to call Ali. Salman took Ali by the hand and brought him to the Prophet. He saluted the Prophet, and after returning the salutation, the Prophet asked, "How are you, O Abu'l-Hasan?" He replied, "It is all well by the grace of Allah. I am suffering from headache and so much pain in the eyes that I cannot see anything." The Prophet bade him come near. When Ali had moved closer, the Prophet applied the saliva of his own mouth to Ali's eyes and prayed for him. Soon his eyes were bright, and his ailment vanished completely. He gave Ali the flag of victory. Ali proceeded to the forts of Khaibar, fought against the Jews, slew their brave soldiers, like Harhab, Harith, Hisham, and Alqama, and conquered the hitherto invincible Forts of Khaibar.

Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 21, has quoted this report from the six books of tradition, while Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 14, after narrating the hadith says that the Prophet's chief poet, Hasan Bin Thabit, was present on this occasion. He composed couplets in praise of Ali: "Ali was suffering from an eye disorder. Because there was no physician, the Prophet cured him with his own saliva. So both the curer and the patient were blessed. The Holy Prophet said, 'Today I will give the standard to a highly skilled horseman, valiant and chivalrous, my comrade in battle. He loves Allah and Allah loves him; so through him He will make us conquer the Forts.' After this, leaving all others aside, he selected Ali and made him his successor."

Ibn Sabbagh Maliki narrates from Sahih Muslim that Umar Bin Khattab said: "I never aspired for bearing the standard, but that day I had a keen desire for it. I was repeatedly making myself conspicuous before the Prophet, wishing that perhaps he might call me, and that I might be blessed with this honor. But it was Ali who was called by the Prophet and the glory went to him." Sibt Ibn Jauzi has recorded this report in his Tadhkira, page 15, and Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Ahmad Bin Ali Nisa'i in his Khasa'isu'l-Alawi, after narrating twelve hadith on the topic of Ali's bearing the standard at Khaibar, quotes the same report in the eighteenth hadith about Umar's hope for getting the standard. Also Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in his Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa, Ibn Hajar Makki, in his Sawa'iq, and Ibn Shirwaini in his Firdausu'l-Akhbar, narrate that Umar Bin Khattab said: "Ali has been endowed with three things, and if I possessed only one, I would have preferred it to all the camels in my possession: Ali's marriage with Fatima; his staying in the mosque in every condition, and this was not permissible for anyone except Ali, and his bearing the standard in the Conquest of Khaibar."

My argument, based on the records of your own traditionists, proves that the reference in the verse - "He (Allah) loves them and they also love Him" - is to Ali. Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 13, relates that the Prophet said: "If one wishes to look at Adam, Noah, and Abraham, look at Ali." He says that Ali is the one Allah refers to in the Holy Qur'an, "And those who are with him are strong against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves." (48:29). As for your contention that the phrase in the verse "Compassionate among themselves" refers to Uthman and indicates his place as the third Caliph, this is not supported by historical evidence. In fact, his character was just the opposite. There are many arguments to prove this, but I will stop here. What could be said might provoke hostility.

Hafiz: If you confine yourself to authentic references, there is no reason why we should be displeased.

Well-Wisher: I will mention some of them.



Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Khallikan, Ibn A'sam Kufi (it is also recorded in Siha-e-Sitta), Mas'udi in Muruju'dh-Dhahab, Volume I, page 435, Ibn Hadid in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, and others of your ulema affirm that when Uthman Bin Affan became Caliph, he acted against the examples set by the Holy Prophet and also against the ways of Abu Bakr and Umar. Both sects agree that in the Consultative Council in which he was selected as Caliph Abdu'r-Rahman Bin Auf offered him allegiance based on the Book of Allah, the hadith of the Prophet, and the ways of Abu Bakr and Umar. One condition of his allegiance was that Uthman would not let the Bani Umayya interfere nor would he give them any authority. But when his position became secure, he violated these pledges. According to the Holy Qur'an and reliable hadith, to violate an agreement is a great sin. Your own ulema say that Caliph Uthman broke his pledge. Throughout his caliphate he acted in contradiction to the way of Abu Bakr and Umar. He gave the Bani Umayya full authority over the people's lives and property.

Source: al-islam.org

Other Links:

Peshawar Nights: The Sunni Ulemas condemnation of Abu Hanifa

Peshawar Nights: Authenticity of Hadith of Manzila from the usual sources

Peshawar Nights: Characteristics of Ali

Peshawar Nights: Clear ahadith about the Caliphate of Ali

Peshawar Nights: Characteristics of the Companions

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