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  • 11/2/2011

Peshawar Nights: Ali was deliberately kept uninformed of the meeting at Saqifa

Seventh Session-part 2


*The mirror of all the Prophets as shown by the hadith of similitude (Hadith‌e‌Tashbih)

*Consensus for Abu Bakr

*Arguments against validity of Ijma

*Ali was deliberately kept uninformed of the meeting at Saqifa



It is also recorded in the books of your ulema that Ali was the mirror of the high qualities of all the prophets. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali in his Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume XI, page 449, Hafiz Abu Bakr Faqih Shafi'i, Ahmad Bin Husain Baihaqi in Manaqib, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi in Tafsir-e-Kabir in connection with the verse of Mubahala, Muhyi'd-Din Ibn Arabi in Yawaqit-o-Jawahir, Issue 32, page 172; Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, the beginning of Chapter 40 on the authority of Musnad of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Sahih of Baihaqi, and Sharhi'l-Mawaqif wa't-Tariqati'l-Muhammadiyya, Nuru'd-Din Maliki in Fusuli'l-Muhimma, page 120; from Baihaqi; Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 22; and Muhammad bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 23, have narrated from the holy Prophet with slight differences of words here and there, saying: "Whoever wishes to see the knowledge of Adam, the piety of Noah, the submission of Abraham, the sublimity of Moses, or the devotion of Jesus, may look upon Ali Bin Abu Talib."

Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani has narrated the same hadith with some additions, in his Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda VIII. He narrates from Jabir that the Prophet said: "Verily, Allah has combined ninety qualities of the prophets in Ali, which He has not given to anyone else." The great Hafiz Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i, after quoting this hadith, makes this comment:

"Ali was similar to Adam in knowledge in that Allah taught Adam everything, as He says in the Holy Qur'an, 'And He taught Adam All the names....'" (2:31)

Similarly, Ali had knowledge of all things. Because of knowledge which came directly from Allah, Adam was granted the vicegerency of Allah, as the Holy Qur'an says: "...I am going to place in the earth a Caliph...." (2:30) Since Adam's knowledge led to his superiority, so that even the angels prostrated themselves in obeisance to him, Ali was also most exalted of the whole creation and the caliph after the Prophet. Ali's knowledge is similar to Noah's in that Ali was vehement against the infidels and compassionate toward the believers. Allah praised him in the Holy Qur'an: "...And those who are with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves." (48:29) This is another proof that this verse was revealed in praise of Ali, as I have said earlier. Noah was very harsh towards the infidels, as the Holy Qur'an says: "And Noah said: 'My Lord! Leave not upon the land any dweller from among the unbelievers.'" (71:26)

Ali was similar to Abraham in tenderness of heart. The Holy Qur'an says of Abraham: "Most surely, Abraham was very tender-hearted." (9:114)

Ali possessed all the qualities and attributes, which the other prophets possessed individually. This unanimously acknowledged hadith proves that Ali possessed the highest virtues, each of which was equivalent to the most exalted qualities of the prophets. Obviously, one who possessed the highest virtues of all the prophets excelled all others in rank. Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 40, quotes from Manaqib of Khawarizmi through Muhammad Bin Mansur, who said that he heard Ahmad Ibn Hanbal say, "There were no such praises for any of the companions of the Prophet, as there were for Ali Bin Abu Talib." Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i also narrates words to the same effect. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali in his Sharhe-Nahju'l Balagha, Volume I, page 46, says: "Ali was the most fitting person for the position of Wilaya (guardianship) by virtue of his excellence. With the exception of the Prophet of Allah, he was the most deserving person for the office of caliph."

Ali was certainly most deserving of the caliphate, but he was cast aside by the political maneuvering of lesser men. At least they should have informed Ali that they were convening a meeting at Saqifa Bani Sa'da to deliberate on the important issue of electing a Caliph. They did not do so in order to deprive him of his right of succession.



Hafiz: Are we unjust or you? You say that the Prophet's companions elected those who usurped the caliphate. Of course you think we are all fools who blindly follow our ancestors. But what proof is stronger than Ijma, general consensus? All the companions and umma, including Ali, appointed Abu Bakr and swore allegiance to him. Obviously common agreement by the people is final, and agreeing to it is compulsory. The Prophet said: "My people do not agree in error; my people do not agree in deviation from the right path." So we have not followed our ancestors blindly. The fact is that on the first day after the Prophet's death, the community unanimously decided in a meeting to elect Abu Bakr as Caliph. Because it was a settled fact, we should acknowledge it.

Well-Wisher: Please let us know on what grounds is the caliphate based?

Hafiz: It is obvious. The best proof for the existence of the caliphate after the Prophet is the ijma (general consensus) of the umma through which the caliphate came into being. Apart from this, the best qualification for Abu Bakr and Umar for the caliphate was their maturity. Ali, for all his virtues and nearness to the Prophet, had to be passed over because of his youth. And, to be just and fair, it was not appropriate for a youth to override the claims of the mature companions. And we do not regard this passing over of Ali as a defeat for him, for his excellence is otherwise generally accepted. There is also a hadith narrated by Caliph Umar from the Prophet, who said: "Prophethood and leadership are not combined in one family." Accordingly, Ali was denied the caliphate because he belonged to the Prophet's family. He was not eligible for that office.



Well-Wisher: I'm astounded that you can put forward such silly arguments. First, you said that ijma, the consensus of the umma, is the most valid reasoning, and in support of your point you narrated a hadith. The word "ummai" means "my umma," so the hadith (supposing it to be true) means that when the whole umma agrees to something, the decision cannot be wrong. I cannot accept this. Allah has distinguished this umma by virtue of the fact that among them there shall be a rightly guided sect. A vicegerent of Allah will be among them. When the umma gathers together, that rightly guided sect will be among them. But this hadith (even if genuine) does not furnish any evidence that the Prophet surrendered his own right and authorized the umma to appoint the caliph. And even if the Prophet had left it to his umma to choose the caliph, this right is assigned to the entire umma. Since all Muslims benefit from the caliphate, they should have the right to express their opinion in the choice of a caliph. Accordingly, the assembly of the whole umma after the death of the Prophet would have been necessary so that, with their common consent, a perfect man might be appointed as the caliph. Was there was such an assembly of Muslims? Was this the way Abu Bakr came to the caliphate?

Hafiz: Abu Bakr remained in the office of the caliphate for a little more than two years. During this period Muslims in general swore allegiance to him and obeyed him. This in itself means unanimity of opinion among them, which is a proof of legitimacy.

Well-Wisher: You are trying to skirt the issue. My question was not about the whole period of Abu Bakr. I asked about the decision made under the roof (Saqifa) of Bani Sa'da. Did the gathering there comprise the whole umma, or were there only a few people who took the oath of allegiance?

Hafiz: Obviously there were only a few of the Prophet's prominent companions, but later ijma did take place.

Well-Wisher: Did the Prophet, the most fit person to guide the umma, surrender his right in favor of his umma? Did he surrender his right so that the people of the Aus clan, who were hostile to the Khazraj clan, might take the oath of fealty for fear of their opponents coming to power? Did he abandon his right so that his people could form a government based on fear and greed? Can you call such a small group of people a community? Didn't the Muslims of Mecca, Yeman, Jeddah, and other cities belong to the umma? Didn't they have a right to give their opinion regarding the caliphate? If there was no conspiracy, why didn't they wait to find out the viewpoint of all Muslims in such an important matter as the caliphate? In this way, the ijma in its true sense might have been achieved. Even today, in order to establish a democratic state or to select a nation's leader of a nation, general elections are held. Citizens cast their votes and the leader is selected by majority vote. Leaders of civilized countries and all cultured people would scoff at the crude proceedings of your "ijma."

Hafiz: Why are you indulging in unpleasant talk? Ijma means that there was a gathering of intelligent people and prominent companions who assembled in the Saqifa.

Well-Wisher: You say that ijma meant that there was an assembly of intellectuals and distinguished companions of the Prophet, but you have no basis for this assertion except the hadith you cited. Where do the hadith mention intellectuals or distinguished companions? I repeat that the word "ummai" means the entire umma, not a limited number of companions, even though they be learned. Even if what you say is correct, that "ijma" means "the assembly of intellectuals and distinguished companions," were the intelligentsia and the companions of the Prophet confined only to those few people who assembled under the small roof on that day? Were there no other intelligent people and distinguished companions in the Muslim world? And did they, unanimously vote for the caliph?

Hafiz: Since the matter of the caliphate was a serious affair, the people were afraid that some disturbance might arise. It was not possible to inform Muslims in other places. When Abu Bakr and Umar heard that some Ansars had gathered there, they also went there to talk. Because Umar was a seasoned statesman, he considered it desirable for the umma to swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr. Others followed him and offered the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, but a faction of the Ansars and the people of the Khazraj clan, supporting Sa'd Bin Ubaida, did not swear the oath of allegiance and left the Saqifa. That was why they made haste.

Well-Wisher: So you also acknowledge, as your prominent historians and ulema have acknowledged, that on the day of Saqifa, when the basic proceedings were held, there was no ijma. Abu Bakr, for reasons of political expediency, proposed the names of Umar and Abu Ubaida Bin Jarra, and they too, returning the proposal, suggested the name of Abu Bakr, telling him that he was the most qualified for the position. They immediately swore allegiance to him. Some of the Aus clan also present took the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr in view of their hostility against the Khazraj clan, and also because they feared that Sa'd bin Ubaida might otherwise become the Amir. In this way support gradually grew wider. However, if ijma were a strong argument to be relied upon, they should have waited until the whole umma - or, as you said: the intelligentsia - had gathered there, to achieve the entire community's consensus.

Hafiz: I told you that fear of disturbances forced the group to act. The people of Aus and Khazraj clans had assembled in Saqifa and were confronting each other. Each of them wanted to decide the sovereignty of the Muslim state for itself.

Well-Wisher: I agree with what you say.

Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari (see his Ta'rikh, Volume II, page 457) and others have written that the Muslims had not assembled under the Saqifa to elect their caliph. The Aus and Khazraj wanted to appoint an Amir for themselves. Abu Bakr and Umar benefited from their differences. If they had really gathered together to discuss the caliphate, they should have surely invited all Muslims to express their opinion in the matter.

As you said: they were not in a position to inform all Muslims, and time was running short. It was true that they had no immediate access to Mecca, Yemen, Ta'if, or the other distant Muslim cities. But had they no means of approach even to Usama Bin Zaid's army, which was encamped near Medina? Couldn't they have informed the notable companions of the Prophet who were there? One of them was a distinguished personality, the commander of the Muslim army, appointed by the Holy Prophet himself. Abu Bakr and Umar were subordinate to him. When Usama heard that through a conspiracy three persons had appointed the caliph without consulting other people or even informing them, and that they had sworn fealty to one man, he rode his horse to the door of the mosque and cried aloud: "What is all this uproar? With whose permission have you appointed a caliph? What was the significance of a handful of people who, without consulting the companions, appointed a caliph?"

Umar stepped forward to appease him and said: "Usama! The work is finished. The oath of allegiance has been sworn. Do not create discord now among the people. Take the oath of fealty yourself." Usama became angry. "The Prophet made me your Amir," he said. "How is it possible that the Amir appointed by the Prophet should pay homage to the subordinates who were placed under his command?" Although much more happened this much is sufficient to make my point.



If you say that Usama's army was also at a distance from the city and that time was running short, will you also claim that the distance from the Saqifa and mosque to the residence of the Prophet was also great? Why didn't they inform Ali, or Abbas the respected uncle of the Prophet? Why didn't they consult the Bani Hashim, the descendants of the Holy Prophet?

Hafiz: In all probability the situation at that time was so tense that they dared not be careless and leave the Saqifa.

Well-Wisher: Excuse me, they had time. They deliberately avoided informing Ali, the Bani Hashim, and the distinguished companions.

Hafiz: How can you say that they deliberately did not inform them?

Well-Wisher: One obvious indication is that Umar came to the door of the Prophet's house but did not enter it.

Hafiz: Assuredly this story is fabricated by the Rafizis.

Well-Wisher: Look at page 456 of the Ta'rikh, Volume II by Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari, one of your eminent ulema. He writes that Umar came to the door of the Prophet's house but did not enter. He sent a message to Abu Bakr: "Come immediately; I have urgent business with you." Abu Bakr sent word to him that he had no time. Umar sent another message: "We are faced with a crisis. Your presence is necessary." Abu Bakr came out and Umar told him secretly about the gathering of the Ansars in the Saqifa and said that they should immediately go there. Both departed, and on the way they met Abu Ubaida and took him with them. For Allah's sake, be fair. If they had not hatched a conspiracy, why did Umar go to the door of the house of the Prophet but not enter it? They could have asked for help. Was there in the whole umma only Abu Bakr, who was all wisdom, and were the other companions and the descendants of the Prophet aliens who did not deserve to be informed about this matter? Was this ijma of yours rightfully constituted by three men? Where in any part of the world is such a procedure acceptable? Suppose that three people or any group of people, assemble in a city and form an ijma and appoint the head of the state. Is it incumbent on the ulema and intellectuals of all other cities or towns to obey them? Or even if some intelligent and learned men who have not been selected by others give an opinion, is it necessary that the rest of the intelligentsia follow them? Is it proper to suppress the feelings of the entire nation through the intimidating behavior of one group of people? If on the other hand, in learned discourses, a group of people reveals that the caliphate was not justified by religious or natural law, is it right to call them Rafizis?

You say that the Holy Prophet left the issue of the caliphate to the umma or to the "intelligentsia" of the umma, as you call it. Was the intelligentsia of the umma composed of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Abu Ubaida Jarra. Each proposed the name of the other, and then two of them acknowledged the third. That was all. Is it obligatory for all Muslims to follow them? "Minority," "majority," and "ijma" mean quite different things. If a consultative meeting is held for the consideration of some particular problem, and a smaller number of people gives one opinion, while the larger number gives another opinion, then it is said that one is the opinion of the minority. The opinion of the larger number is called the opinion of the majority, and if all of them (without a single exception) give a unanimous opinion, it is called ijma.

Was an ijma reached in the Saqifa or later in the mosque, or after that in the city of Medina? If, however, in deference to your wishes, we take away the rights of the general umma and say that the opinion of the intelligentsia and the Prophet's companions was sufficient for ijma, I ask whether there was an ijma in which all intelligentsia and the Prophet's distinguished companions participated? Did the small group at the Saqifa unanimously agree in its opinion? The reply must be in the negative. The author of Mawaqif has himself admitted that there was no ijma during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, and there was certainly no unanimity of opinion among the learned people in Medina, either. Sa'd Bin Ubaida Ansari, his descendants, distinguished companions of the Prophet, all the Bani Hashim, their friends, and Ali Bin Abu Talib, - all opposed Abu Bakr for six months. These people never did take the oath of fealty to him. In Medina, the seat of prophethood, no ijma was reached in which the intellectuals and the companions supported Abu Bakr as Caliph. Your own great historians, like Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali, Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim, recorded that ijma never occurred in Medina.

The Bani Hashim, the Bani Umayya, and the companions in general - except the three people mentioned above - were not present in the Saqifa to cast their vote. Moreover, many strongly opposed the decision. In fact, some prominent companions, who rejected the allegiance at the Saqifa, went to the mosque and protested to Abu Bakr. Of the Muhajirs were Salman Farsi, Abu Dharr Ghifari, Miqdad Bin Aswad Kindi, Ammar-e-Yasir, Buraida Aslami, and Khalid Bin Sa'id Bin As Amawi. Of the Ansars were Abu'l-Hathama bin Tihan, Khuzaima Bin Thabit Dhu'sh-Shahadatain, Abu Ayyub Ansari, Ubai Bin Ka'b, Sahl Bin Hunaif, Uthman Bin Hunaif, who remonstrated with Abu Bakr inside the mosque. I have given only this brief outline of events. No ijma of any kind was reached. The ijma of the intellectuals and the prominent companions of Medina is a flagrant lie.

Based on your own sources, I will give you a list of names of some of those who opposed the caliphate. Ibn Hajar Asqalani and Baladhuri, each in his Ta'rikh, Muhammad Bin Khawind Shah in his Rauzatu's-Safa, Ibn Abdu'l-Birr in his Isti'ab, and others say that Sa'd Bin Ubaida and a part of Khazrajis and a group of Quraish did not swear the oath of fealty to Abu Bakr. Moreover, eighteen people who were prominent and distinguished companions of the Holy Prophet did not take the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr. They were Shias of Ali Bin Abu Talib. The names of those eighteen people are as follows:

1. Salman Farsi

2. Abu Dharr Ghifari

3. Miqdad Bin Aswad-e-Kindi

4. Ammar-e-Yasir

5. Khalid Bin Sa'id bin al-As

6. Buraida Aslami

7. Ubai Bin Ka'b

8. Khuzaima Bin Thabit Dhu'sh-Shahadatain

9. Abu'l-Hathama Bin Tihan

10. Sahl Bin Hunaif

11. Uthman Bin Hunaif Dhu'sh-Shahadatain

12. Abu Ayub Ansari

13. Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari

14. Hudhaifa bin Yaman

15. Sa'd Bin Ubaida

16. Qais Bin Sa'd

17. Abdullah Bin Abbas

18. Zaid Bin Arqam


And Yaqubi writes in his Ta'rikh: "A group of Muhajirs and Ansars kept themselves aloof from allegiance to Abu Bakr and had were followers of Hazrat Ali. Among them were Abbas Bin Abdu'l-Muttalib, Fazl Bin Abbas, Zubair Ibnu'l-'Awwam Bin As, Khalid Bin Sa'id, Miqdad Bin Umar, Salman Farsi, Abu Dharr Ghifari, Ammar Yasin, Bara'a Bin Azib, and Ubai Bin Ka'b."

Weren't these people the intellectuals of the umma? Ali, Abbas, the uncle of the Holy Prophet and other distinguished persons of the Bani Hashim - weren't these people wise and trustworthy? What kind of ijma was it, which was held without the consultation of these people? When Abu Bakr is selected secretly and other prominent companions are not informed, does this constitute ijma? Or is it political conspiracy?

Source: al-islam.org

Other Links:

Peshawar Nights: Characteristics of the Companions  

Peshawar Nights: Hadith that both Hasan and Hussein are foremost of youth of paradise

Peshawar Nights: Holy Prophet preferred Ali to all other men 

Peshawar Nights: Argument from the Verse of Cave and its reply  

Peshawar Nights: 300 Hundred verses in praise of Ali  

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