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  • 11/10/2011

Peshawar Nights: Other proofs for invalidity of consensus (Ijma')

Ninth Session0part 3


*Contradictory statements of A'yesha about Uthman

*Hadith of mending shoes is the greatest proof of the Imamate and Caliphate of Ali

*Difference in mode of appointment of the first three Caliphs is proof of invalidity of their Caliphate

*Other proofs for invalidity of consensus (Ijma')

*Holy Prophet's nomination of Ali ignored and Abu Bakr's nomination of Umar held invalid

*Objection to Majlis‌e‌Shura (consultative body)

*Objection to Abdu'r‌Rahman bin Auf being arbiter

*According to the Holy Prophet, Ali should be followed in preference to all the others



At this time I recall another thing. You people object to the Shias because they criticize Caliph Uthman for his faults, faults which your own ulema have recorded in their books.

Accordingly, you should not look with favor on Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha either because ulema and historians, like Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. II, p.77; Mas'udi in his Kitab-e-Akhiru'z-Zaman and Ausat; Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira Khawasu'l-umma, p.36; Ibn Jarir, Ibn Asakir, and others have written that Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha always spoke ill of Uthman, so much so that she called out: "Kill Na'thal (the old dotard)! May Allah kill him, as he has become an infidel." But as soon as Uthman was killed, she, because of her opposition to Ali, began to say: "Uthman has been killed as an oppressed one. By Allah, I will avenge his death. So rise up and help me."

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes, "Certainly A'yesha was the greatest enemy of Uthman. So much so that she hung the garment of the Holy Prophet in her house and used to tell the people who came there: 'This is the garment of the Holy Prophet of Allah. It has not yet become old, but Uthman has made the Holy Prophet's sunna old and worn out.'"

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid writes that, when A'yesha heard in Mecca the news of Uthman's murder, she said, "May Allah reject him from His mercy. He committed bad actions. And Allah does not oppress His subjects." That is, if He chastises anyone, it is because of his sinful actions.

You hear these remarks from A'yesha about Uthman without any proof and yet you take no notice of it. But if the same words are used by Shias, you immediately call them infidels.

We should take an impartial view of things. It is an established fact that Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha bitterly opposed Imam Amiru'l-Mu'minin. When she heard that the Muslims had sworn allegiance to the Holy Imam she said: "The falling of the skies on the earth is better than the establishment of Ali's caliphate. Uthman has been slain as an oppressed one."

Certainly these inconsistent statements indicate an unstable mind.



Sheikh: These inconsistencies of Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha have of course been generally reported, but two things are accepted and proved. First, that she had been deceived and that for a brief time she was not mindful of the vicegerency of Ali. She herself said that she had forgotten it and only remembered it at Basra. Second, she repented for her action. Certainly Allah, having forgiven her, will give her a high place in Paradise.

Well-Wisher: I will not repeat what I have already said on the question of repentance. The blood of those Muslims who were killed for no fault, the disgrace and insults they were subjected to, and the plundering of their property will not go unquestioned.

It is true that at the place of forgiveness, Allah is most merciful, but at the place of chastisement He is most strict. Apart from this, she herself admitted until her death that she was responsible for all those odious events. As your own ulema have reported, she stipulated in her will that she could not be buried by the side of the Holy Prophet. She knew that she had sponsored many of the disturbances after him. Hakim in his Mustadrak; Ibn Qutayba in his Ma'arif, Muhammad Bin Yusuf Zarandi in his Kitab-e-A'lam bi siratu'n-Nabi and Ibnu'l-Bayya Nishapuri and others have reported that A'yesha exhorted Abdullah bin Zubair in these words: "Bury me beside my sisters in Baqi. I brought about innovations and novelties after the Holy Prophet of Allah."



You said she recollected the virtues of Ali at Basra and had forgotten what the Holy Prophet had forbidden her to do. This is not true. You should consult the authentic books of your own prominent ulema. For example, refer to Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol. II, p.77, by Ibn Abi'l- Hadid.

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid reports from the Ta'rikh-e-Abi Makhnaf Lut Bin Yahya Azadi that Umme Salma also was present in Mecca when she heard that A'yesha intended to take vengeance for the murder of Uthman and was going to Basra. She was shocked at this and began proclaiming the merits of Ali in all congregations. A'yesha went to Umme Salma in order to win her over to her point of view before leaving for Basra.

Umme Salma said to her, "Until yesterday you were abusing Uthman and calling him a stupid dotard, and now you have turned against Ali to avenge Uthman's murder. Are you not aware of Ali's virtues? If you have forgotten them, I would recall them to you."

"Remember the day, when I came to your room along with the Holy Prophet of Allah? Then Ali came in and began talking privately with the Holy Prophet. When the private talk continued for some time, you got up to scold the Holy Prophet. I dissuaded you from doing that, but you did not pay any attention to my advice. You said to Ali in anger, 'Of every nine days, one is for me, and on that day too you come in and keep him engaged in talking.'

At this the Holy Prophet became so indignant with you that his face became red and he said, 'Get back! I swear by Allah that whoever has any hostility towards Ali, whether he belongs to my house or otherwise, is excluded from Iman (belief).' Then, being ashamed, you turned back."

A'yesha said, "Yes, I remember it."

Umme Salma said: "You may remember that one day you were washing the head of the Holy Prophet, and I was preparing 'hais' (a kind of food). The Holy Prophet raised his head and said: 'Who among you is that sinner who will mount the camel, and at whom the dogs of Haw'ab bark, and who will fall headlong from the Bridge of Sirat?' I then left the 'hais' and said, 'O Holy Prophet of Allah! I seek refuge of Allah and His Holy Prophet from such an action. After this the Holy Prophet, striking you in your back said, 'Eschew this; it is you who will do these deeds.'"

A'yesha said, "Yes, I remember it."

Umme Salma further said, "I remind you that on one of the journeys you and I were with the Holy Prophet. One day Ali was mending the shoes of the Holy Prophet, and we two were sitting in the shade of a tree. It so happened that your father, Abu Bakr, and Umar came and sought permission. You and I went behind the screen. They sat down and after talking for a while said, 'O Holy Prophet of Allah! We do not know the value of your companionship. So we ask you to let us know who will be your successor and caliph, so that after you he may be our guide.'

The Holy Prophet said to them: 'I know his place, rank, and position, but if I introduce him directly, you will reject him as the Bani Israel rejected Aaron.' They both were silent and soon left. After they left we came out. I said to the Holy Prophet, 'Who will be your caliph for them?' The Holy Prophet said, 'He is mending my shoes.' We saw that there was no one except Ali. Then I said, 'O Holy Prophet of Allah! I did not find anybody except Ali.' He said, 'The same Ali is my caliph.'"

A'yesha said, "Yes, I remember it."

Umme Salma then said: "Since you know these hadith, where are you going?" She replied: "I am going to make peace among the people."

It is clear, therefore, that Ummu'l-Mu'minin A'yesha had not been merely deceived by others. She herself caused huge problems and, knowing all these things, she deliberately rose in rebellion even though Umme Salma reminded her of the hadith of the Holy Prophet. Even after admitting the rank and position of Amiru'l-Mu'minin, she left for Basra and created a violent tumult, which resulted in the killing of many Muslims.



The hadith of mending shoes is the greatest proof for the Imamate and caliphate of Ali.

The Shias make searching inquiries into the affairs of the past 1400 years. With a knowledge of the verses of the Qur'an and the authentic books of the ulema of both sects, they draw fair conclusions. Accordingly, we believe that, although historically Ali was given the fourth place, this apparently inferior position does not affect his superiority nor belittle the importance of the hadith that prove his rightful place as the Prophet's successor.

We also admit that it is a recorded fact of history that Abu Bakr (through political devices) was nominated caliph in the Saqifa in the absence of Ali, the Bani Hashim, and other prominent Companions, in spite of the opposition of the Khazraj clan of the Ansars. After that it was through personal dictatorship that Umar and Uthman occupied the seat of the caliphate. But there is a difference. These men were caliphs of the Community; their associates made them caliphs. On the other hand Amiru'l-Mu'minin Ali was the caliph of the Holy Prophet and was ordained by Allah and the Holy Prophet to be the vicegerent.

Sheikh: This is unkind of you. There was no difference between them. The very people who unanimously decided to entrust the caliphate to the three caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman also entrusted it to Ali.



Well-Wisher: There were many clear differences in the manner of the appointments of the caliphs. First, you referred to the Ijma.' (unanimous decision). It is unnecessary to repeat my point. I have proved the baselessness of the issue of Ijma' in the previous nights. There was in fact no unanimous decision about the caliphate of any one of them.



Second, if you rely on consensus as the basis of the caliphate and consider it permissible from the side of Allah and the Holy Prophet then whenever a caliph died, the whole Community should have gathered together to appoint a caliph. Whoever would have been unanimously elected would have been the caliph of the people (of course not of the Holy Prophet of Allah). And this procedure should have been followed in all ages.

You must, however, acknowledge that such an Ijma or consensus has never been held. Even the incomplete consensus for which the Bani Hashim and the Ansar were not present was not held for any one except Abu Bakr Bin Abi Qahafa. The caliphate of Umar, according to the opinion of all historians and traditionists of Islam, was based on the solitary verdict of Abu Bakr Bin Qahafa. If consensus were a requirement for the appointment of a caliph, why was it not held for entrusting the caliphate to Umar and why was consensus of opinion not obtained thereon?

Sheikh: It is obvious that when Abu Bakr was made the caliph through consensus, the verdict of the caliph for the appointment of his successor was quite valid. There was no need for calling another consensus. Rather, the verdict of every caliph for the appointment of the caliph after him was basically sound and sufficient. This right is vested in the caliph that he might appoint a caliph after him so that the people might not be thrown into confusion and perplexity. Accordingly, when the acknowledged caliph, Abu Bakr, appointed through general agreement, nominated Umar as the next caliph, the latter became the rightful caliph of the Holy Prophet.



Well-Wisher: You believe that the acknowledged caliph has the right to nominate his successor. It is his responsibility not to leave the Community confused and unguided, and his decision is sufficient for the appointment of the caliph. But if you believe this, why do you deprive the Holy Prophet of this right? And why do you disregard all those clear indications which the Holy Prophet explicitly and repeatedly gave on different occasions, naming Ali as his successor, and which are all present in your authentic books. You simply sidetrack the issue and advance irrelevant interpretations just as Ibn Abi'l-Hadid has rejected the hadith of Umme Salma on ridiculous grounds.

Moreover on what basis can you claim that the first caliph, who was appointed by means of consensus, had the right to nominate his successor. Did the Holy Prophet give any such instruction? No. You also claim that when the first caliph secured his appointment through consensus, there was no need for the appointment of other of the caliphs through ijma. The same caliphs had the authority from the Community to nominate the caliph after them.



If that were so, why was that principle adopted for the caliphate of Umar alone? For the caliphate of Uthman this principle was not followed. Instead of nominating a caliph after him, Umar left the question to be decided by a consultative body of six members. I do not know what you consider the principle on which the selection of a caliph is based. You know that if there are basic differences in the arguments, the real issue becomes void.

If your position is that the basis of the caliphate is consensus and the entire Community should unanimously make the decision (not to mention the fact that such a consensus was not held for the caliphate of Abu Bakr) why then was such a consensus not held for the caliphate of Umar? If you consider that consensus was necessary only for the first caliphate, and for the appointment of the future caliphs the verdict of the elected caliph was sufficient, then why was this principle not followed in the case of Uthman? Why did Caliph Umar abandon the principle enunciated by Abu Bakr? Why did he leave the selection of the caliph to a Majlis-e-Shura (a consultative committee)? Caliph Umar arbitrarily nominated the committee though it should have been the representative body of the community (so that there might be some slight representation of the views of the majority).



The most surprising thing is that the rights of all other members of the committee were made subservient to Abdu'r-Rahman Bin Auf. We do not know what was the basis of Abdu'r-Rahman Bin Auf's selection. Was it religion, reputation, knowledge, or performance? We can only note that he was a near relation of Uthman and would not support any one else except him. It was decided that what Abdu'r-Rahman said was right, and when he swore allegiance to somebody, all others must follow him.



When we consider the matter carefully we find that it was a dictatorial order issued under the guise of Shura (consultation). Even today we see that the principles of democracy are completely contrary to it. But the Holy Prophet repeatedly said, "Ali revolves round the truth and truth revolves around Ali." Also the Holy Prophet said: "Ali is the 'Faruq' (Discriminator) of this Community and draws a distinction between right and wrong." Hakim in his Mustadrak, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim in Hilya; Tabrani in Ausat; Ibn Asakir in Ta'rikh; Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib; Muhibu'd-din Tabari in Riyazu'n-Nuzra; Hamwaini in Fara'id; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha and Suyuti in Durru'l-Mansur narrate from Ibn Abbas, Salman, Abu Dharr and Hudhaifa that the Holy Prophet said, "Soon after me a disturbance will take place. On that occasion it will be necessary for you to attach yourselves to Ali Bin Abi Talib since he is the first man who will clasp hands with me on the Day of Judgement. He is the most truthful one and is the Faruq of his Community; he draws a distinction between right and wrong, and he is the chief of the believers."

According to a hadith from Ammar Yasir (to which I have referred earlier with full details of its sources) the Holy Prophet said: "If all the people go one way and Ali goes the other, you should follow Ali and leave all the others. O Ammar! Ali will not misguide you and will not lead you to destruction O Ammar! Obedience to Ali is obedience to me, and obedience to me is obedience to Allah."



Even then, Caliph Umar, defying the instructions of the Holy Prophet, makes Ali subordinate to Abdu'r-Rahman in the Shura. Is that authority justified which repudiates the distinguished Companions? Respected men! Be fair! Study the historical accounts of this period, such as Isti'ab, Isaba and Hilyatu'l-Auliya. Then compare Ali with Abdu'r-Rahman, and see whether he deserved to have the right of veto or Amiru'l-Mu'minin. You will find that it was through political manipulation that Ali's right was usurped.

Moreover, if the method of selection adopted by Caliph Umar Bin Khattab was worth following, that is, if the Majlis-e-Shura was necessary for the appointment of the caliph, why was it not done when Amiru'l-Mu'minin was made caliph?

It is strange that for the caliphate of the four caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali) four different methods were adopted. Now which of those methods was basically right and which one was void? If you say that all four methods were justified, then you must admit that you have no fundamental principle for the establishment of the caliphate.

Sheikh: Perhaps your statements are correct. You say we should deeply ponder this question. We find that the caliphate of Ali is also of a dubious nature since the kind of consensus, which appointed the previous caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman also elected Ali caliph.

Well-Wisher: What you say might be considered tenable were it not for the statement of the Holy Prophet. In fact the caliphate of Ali did not depend upon the ijma'(consensus) of the Community. It was ordained by Allah.



The Holy Imam assumed the caliphate by way of taking back his right. If somebody's right has been usurped, he may take it back whenever he gets the opportunity to do so. Accordingly, when there were no obstructions and the atmosphere demanded it, the Holy Imam secured his right.

If you have forgotten the points we have made previously, you may consult the newspapers, which reported information we presented regarding this issue. We have proved that Ali's occupying the caliphate was based on Qur'anic verses and on the hadith of the Holy Prophet.

You cannot cite a single hadith accepted by both sects in which the Holy Prophet said that Abu Bakr, Umar, or Uthman were his successors. Of course, apart from hadith in Shia books, there are a large number of hadith from the Holy Prophet recorded in your own authentic books, which show that the Holy Prophet expressly appointed Ali as his successor.

Sheikh: There are also hadith which show that the Holy Prophet said that Abu Bakr was his caliph.

Well-Wisher: Apparently you have forgotten my argument of previous nights which disproves the acceptability of those hadith.

 I will, however, reply again tonight. Sheikh Mujaddidu'din Firuzabadi, the author of Qamusu'l-Lughat says in his Kitab-e-Safaru's-Sa'adat: "What ever has been said in praise of Abu Bakr is based on such fictitious stories that common sense does not admit them as true."

If you properly scrutinize the problem of the caliphate, you will find that there was actually no consensus for any of the four major caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali) or for any of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. The whole Community was never assembled nor were representatives of the entire community gathered together to cast their vote. But, comparatively speaking, we find that Ali's caliphate was supported by what was very close to consensus. Your own historians and ulema write that for the caliphate of Abu Bakr at first only Umar and Abu Ubaida Jarra, the grave digger, were present. Later some of the Aus clan swore allegiance to him only because they were opposed to the Khazraj clan which had nominated Sa'd Bin Ubaida as a candidate. Later on others through intimidation, (as I have stated in detail earlier) and another group prompted by political considerations swore allegiance to Abu Bakr. The Ansars, who followed Sa'd Bin Ubaida, did not acknowledge the caliphate till the last moment. Then the caliphate of Umar was founded only on Abu Bakr's proposal, which had nothing to do with consensus. Uthman subsequently became caliph through the decision of the Majlis-e-Shura (consultative committee) which had been arbitrarily formed by Caliph Umar.

At the time of Ali's caliphate a majority of the representatives of most of the Islamic countries, who by chance had come to Medina to seek redress of grievances, insisted on Ali being the caliph.

Nawab: Did the representatives of the Islamic countries gather in Medina for the purpose of electing their caliph?

Well-Wisher: No. Caliph Uthman was still caliph. Representatives of most of the major Muslim tribes and clans assembled in Medina to complain of the atrocities of the Umayyad governors, officers, and other notables of the court, like Marwan. The result of this consensus was that Uthman, who persisted in his oppressive policies, was murdered.

It was after this affair that the people of Medina approached Ali and with insistent entreaties brought him to the mosque, where all the people swore allegiance to him. Such an open consensus had not been held for any of the caliphate of any of the first three caliphs. The people of Medina and the leaders of the nations swore allegiance to a particular person and acknowledged him as their caliph.



But despite this consensus held for Amiru'l-Mu'minin, we do not consider it the basis of his caliphate. To validate his caliphate we rely only on the Holy Qur'an and the ordinances of the Holy Prophet. It was a practice of the Prophets that they themselves, in accordance with the command of Allah, appointed their successor and caliph.

You said that there was no difference between Amiru'l-Mu'minin and other caliphs. And yet there are many indications that there was a vast difference between Ali and other caliphs.



The first characteristic of Amiru'l-Mu'minin which made him distinctly superior to other caliphs was that he was appointed the Prophet's successor by Allah and His Prophet. All others were appointed by small groups of people. Obviously the caliph appointed by Allah and His Holy Prophet must be superior to those who have been appointed by the people. Of course the most distinguishing characteristic of Amiru'l-Mu'minin was the superiority of his knowledge, virtue, and piety. All the ulema of the community (except a few Kharijis, Nasibis, and followers of Abu Bakr) are unanimous in their view that, after the Holy Prophet, Ali surpassed all others in knowledge, virtue, justice, nobility, and piety.

In support of this fact, I have previously quoted a number of hadith and verses from the Holy Qur'an. Now I have recalled still another hadith regarding this point.



Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, Abu'l-Mu'ayyid Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad Khawarizmi in the fourth chapter of the Manaqib; Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Hafiz Abu Bakr Baihaqi Shafi'i in his Sunan, and many others have narrated from the Holy Prophet in slightly different words and versions that he said: "Ali among you is the most learned scholar, the most virtuous man, and the best judge. He who rejects his statement, action, or opinion, really rejects me. He who rejects me, rejects Allah, and he is within the confines of polytheism." Moreover, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali, who is one of your eminent ulema, has written in many places in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha that the superiority of Amiru'l-Mu'minin Ali was the belief of many companions and followers. The Sheikhs (the chiefs) of Baghdad also acknowledged it.

Would you kindly let me know what you consider to be the virtues in man which make him superior to others?

Sheikh: In fact there are many virtues and praiseworthy qualities which can claim superiority to others, but in my opinion the most meritorious qualities after believing in Allah and the Holy Prophet are these: (1) pure ancestry (2) knowledge, and (3) piety.

Well-Wisher: Allah bless you! I will confine my discussion to these three points.

Of course every companion, whether he was the caliph or not, had some distinctive quality. But those who possessed all these virtues were definitely superior to all others. If I prove that in these three characteristics it was Amiru'l-Mu'minin who excelled all others, then you must admit this holy man was the worthiest claimant for the caliphate. And if he was deprived of the caliphate, it was because of political contrivances.



In the matter of ancestry with the exception of the Holy Prophet, no man can compare with Ali. Even some of the fanatical ulema of your sect, like Ala'u'd-din Mulla Ali Bin Muhammad Ushji, Abu Uthman Amr Bin Bahr Jahiz Nasibi, and Sa'idu'd-din Mas'ud Bin Umar Taftazani have said: "We are in awe at the words of Ali who said, 'We are the Ahle Bait of the Holy Prophet. No one can bear comparison to us."

Also, in the second sermon of Nahju'l-Balagha, the Holy Imam after accepting the caliphate said, "No person of this Community can bear comparison with the family of Muhammad. How can those who have received blessings, knowledge, and kindness from them equal them? They are the foundation of religion and the pillars of belief. Those who diverge from the right path turn to them, and those who lag behind, step forward to attach themselves to them. They alone have the exclusive right of vicegerency and Imamate. It was for them alone that the Holy Prophet made his will. They were his rightful inheritors. Now the right has returned to its legitimate claimant and has again reached the place from which it had been removed."

These statements of Amiru'l-Mu'minin about his claim for the caliphate are the best proof for his right to the caliphate.

But these words were not uttered by Amiru'l-Mu'minin alone. Even his opponents have acknowledged the same thing. I have pointed out on a previous night that Mir Seyyed Ali Hamdani reports in his Mawaddatu'l-Qurba Mawadda 7, from Abi Wa'il, who reports that Abdullah Bin Umar said: "In pointing out the companions of the Holy Prophet, we mentioned the names of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. A man asked where was Ali's name. We said, 'Ali belongs to the Ahle Bait of the Prophet, and no one can bear comparison with him; he is with the Holy Prophet of Allah in the same rank.'"

Also he narrates from Ahmad Bin Muhammad Kurgi Baghdadi, who said that Abdullah Bin Ahmad Hanbal (the Imam of the Hanbalites) about the Companions who were worthy of praise, he named Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. He then asked what he thought about Ali Bin Abi Talib. Ahmad Bin Hanbal said, "He belongs to the Ahle Bait. The others cannot be compared to him."

As for the ancestry of Ali, it has two aspects: one of light and one of the body. So in this respect Ali had a unique position after the Holy Prophet of Allah.


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