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  • 11/10/2011

Peshawar Nights: Amiru'l‌Mu'minin's sermon after martyrdom of Muhammad bin Abi Bakr

Ninth Session-part 10

ali-jan

*After the death of the Holy Prophet Ali's patience was for the sake of Allah

*Amiru'l‌Mu'minin's letter to the people of Egypt explaining his silence when deprived of the Caliphate

*Amiru'l‌Mu'minin's sermon after martyrdom of Muhammad bin Abi Bakr

*Sermon of Shiqshiqayya also explains Ali's silence

*Doubt about the sermon of Shiqshiqayya

*Seyyed Razi (compiler of Sermons of Ali)

*Sermon of Shiqshiqayya recorded long before the birth of Seyyed Razi

 

AFTER THE DEATH OF THE HOLY PROPHET ALI'S PATIENCE WAS FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH

Second, Amiru'l-Mu'minin never looked to himself but was always mindful of Allah. He was completely absorbed in Allah. He resigned himself and his people to the will of Allah. Hence, his patience and forbearance in gaining his right were for Allah's sake so that there might not be discord among the Muslims and that people might not return to their previous infidelity. When Fatima's property was taken from her, she came home, depressed and dismayed. She said to Ali: "You have receded like a foetus. You have retired from the world like an accused person and have broken your hawk-like wings. Now the weak wings of a bird do not support you. This Ibn Qahafa (Abu Bakr) is forcibly snatching away from me my father's gift and my children's means of subsistence. In fact these people abused me with open ill will and railed at me." She spoke for a long time.

The Holy Imam listened to Fatima until she was silent. Then he gave her a short reply which satisfied her. He said: "O Fatima! In the matter of religion and preaching truth, I have never been inactive. Do you wish that this sacred religion remains secure and that your holy father's name is called in mosques until eternity?" She said: "Yes, that is my most ardent desire." Ali said: "Then you should be patient. Your father has given me instructions regarding this situation, and I know that I should be forbearing. Otherwise, I have such strength that I could subdue the enemy and take back your right from them. But you should know that in that case the religion would be destroyed. So, for the sake of Allah and for the security of Allah's religion, be patient. The recompense in the hereafter for you is better than your right which has been usurped."

It was for this reason that Amiru'l-Mu'minin made patience his custom. He assumed forbearance and silence for the safety of Islam. In many of his sermons he has referred to this point.

 

ALI'S STATEMENTS ON THE EXPEDIENCY OF HIS SILENCE AFTER THE DEMISE OF THE HOLY PROPHET

Ibrahim Bin Muhammad Saqafi, who is one of the trustworthy ulema of the Sunnis, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, and Ali Ibn Muhammad Hamadani report that when Talha and Zubair broke their allegiances and left for Basra, Ali ordered the people to assemble in the mosque. Then after praising Allah Almighty he said: "After the death of the Holy Prophet, we said that we were his Ahle Bait, his successors, and the rightful people to receive his heritage. No one except us could claim the right of rulership after him. But a group of the hypocrites snatched away our Holy Prophet's rulership from us and entrusted it to those who were our opponents. By Allah, our hearts and eyes wept for it. By Allah, we were full of grief and indignation. I swear by Allah that if there were no fear that the Muslim community would be shattered, we would have overturned the caliphate. They occupied the seat of power until they reached their end. Now Allah has returned the caliphate to me. And these two men (Talha and Zubair) also swore allegiance to me. Now they have proceeded to Basra intending to cause dissension among the people."

Among your great scholars, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid and Kalbi, have reported that at the time of his setting out for Basra Ali addressed the people. He said: "When the Holy Prophet of Allah died, the Quraish swooped down upon us and deprived us of the right which we deserved more than anyone else. So I thought that it was better to adopt patience at that time, rather than allow the Muslims to disintegrate and their blood to be spilled, for they had embraced Islam only recently."

Ali's silence and his abstaining from challenging the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar was not due to his concurrence with them. It was because he wanted to avoid causing bitter conflict among the people and because he wanted to save the religion from annihilation. So after six months of silence and disapproval, then, as stated by your ulema, he offered allegiance and cooperated with them. In a letter sent to the people of Egypt through Malik Ashtar, he clearly writes that his silence was for the sake of preserving Islam.

The original text of Ali's letter, which Ibn Abi'l-Hadid has recorded in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol.IV, p.164, is as follows:

 

AMIRU'L-MU'MININ'S LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF EGYPT EXPLAINING HIS SILENCE WHEN DEPRIVED OF THE CALIPHATE

"Allah Almighty sent Muhammad as a witness of the prophets to warn the people. So when the Holy Prophet died the Muslims disputed among themselves as to who should succeed him. I swear by Allah that I never thought or believed, nor were there the least signs of it, that the people of Arabia would take away the right of succession from the Ahle Bait and give it to others after him. It was unimaginable that after the death of the Holy Prophet, in spite of his clear decree, they would deprive me of that right.

I was greatly distressed that the people ran to a certain person (Abu Bakr) and swore allegiance to him. So I withdrew myself until I saw that a group of people diverged from Islam and intended to destroy Islam. Then I feared that if I did not help Islam and the Muslims, Islam would suffer such destruction as would be more painful to me than the snatching away of the caliphate. Of course political power cannot last long. It must dissipate like the clouds. It was under these conditions that I had to rise, so that paganism would become weak and Islam become firm."

 

AMIRU'L-MU'MININ'S SERMON AFTER MARTYRDOM OF MUHAMMAD BIN ABI BAKR

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol.II, p.35, reports from Kitabu'l-Gharat of Ibrahim Ibn Sa'd Bin Hilal Saqafi, who reports from Abdu'r-Rahman Bin Jundab, who reports from his father that when the enemy occupied Egypt and Muhammad Bin Abu Bakr was martyred, Amiru'l-Mu'minin gave a sermon in which he expressed his bitter feelings against the attitude the Muslims had adopted after the death of the Holy Prophet. He wrote his remarks in a letter to the people of Egypt. The Holy Imam said: "A man said to me 'O son of Abu Talib! How greedy you are for the caliphate.'"

I said to him: 'You are greedier than I and are far removed from that position. Who is the greedier between us? Is it I, who am demanding my right, for which Allah and His Holy Prophet have made me the most rightful claimant, or you, who have debarred me from that right and have created obstruction between me and my right?'

They were all dumbfounded and could not utter a word. Verily, Allah does not help the oppressors."

This account and other sermons of Imam Ali show that the reason the Holy Imam did not confront the enemy, but assumed silence and (as alleged by your ulema) offered allegiance after six months, was not that he concurred with them in their decision concerning the caliphate. It was because he feared that Islam would perish and that the Muslims would be divided.

If Ali had risen to secure his right, some of the people would certainly have supported him (many had urged him to come forward) and civil war would have started.

The Holy Prophet had only recently died. The Muslims were quite close to the age of infidelity, and the roots of belief had not been securely established. The Jews, the Christians, the idol worshipers, and the hypocrites, who were the worst enemies, would have had an opportunity to destroy the honor of the Muslims. Consequently, Islam would have collapsed.

Amiru'l-Mu'minin understood these matters. Moreover, the Holy Prophet had told him that the basis of Islam would not be destroyed and that religion was like the sun, which could be concealed for some time under the clouds of ignorance and hostility but would eventually come out, shedding its light everywhere.

In short, he claimed his right for six months and proved the righteousness of his cause in a number of congregations and assemblies, but did not swear allegiance. Though he did not resort to fighting, he continued claiming his right through arguments and protests.

 

SERMON OF SHIQSHIQAYYA ALSO EXPLAINS ALI'S SILENCE

The Holy Imam begins his sermon of Shiqshiqayya with the same point. "By Allah! The son of Abu Qahafa (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (caliphate) though he certainly knew that my relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the mill. The flood water flows down from me, and no one can reach the height of my knowledge. I kept myself detached from the caliphate. Then I began to consider whether I should take my right by force or calmly endure the darkness, wherein the mature are enfeebled, the young grow old, and the true believer acts under strain until he meets Allah (at death). I found that endurance was a wiser course to adopt. So I was patient although there was pricking in the eye and suffocation in the throat. I watched the plundering of my inheritance until the first one went his way. But he handed over the caliphate to Ibn Khattab (Umar) after himself."

This sermon is filled with the powerful emotions of Ali. But this much is sufficient to prove our point.

 

DOUBT ABOUT THE SERMON OF SHIQSHIQAYYA

Sheikh: In the first place this sermon does not prove the displeasure of the Imam. Second, this sermon does not concern Ali. In fact, it is the work of Seyyed Sharif Razi, who has included it in the sermons of Ali. In fact, Ali has no complaint against the caliphs. Rather, he was quite pleased with them.

Well-Wisher: This statement of yours is based on extreme prejudice. What Ali stated and complained of has already been narrated earlier. The Holy Imam's grievances are not confined to this sermon. Your allegation that the author of this sermon was the pious and distinguished scholar, Seyyed Raziu'd-din, is inaccurate. Your eminent scholars, like Izzu'd-din Abdu'l-Hamid Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, Mufti of Egypt, and Sheikh Muhammad Khizari (in Muhazirat-e-Ta'rikhu'l-Uma'imu'l-Islamiyya, page 127, have declared that this sermon is Ali's. Your own scholars have written commentaries on it. Some of your fanatical ulema of the later age made passionate efforts to create doubts about its authenticity, but none of the more than forty prominent Sunni and Shia ulema, who have written commentaries on Nahju'l-Balagha, has said such a fantastic thing.

 

SEYYED RAZI

Of course the piety of the great scholar, Seyyed Raziu'd-din, would preclude his attributing one of his own sermon's to Ali. Moreover, experts in the Arabic language and its literature, who have studied the sermons of Nahju'l-Balagha, have decided that, in view of the excellent style and profound thoughts, the work is inimitable.

Your distinguished ulema, like Izzu'd-din Abdu'l-Hamid Bin Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali and Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, have admitted that the beauty and deep knowledge of the sermons of Ali prove that this work is inferior in merit only to the words of Allah and the Holy Prophet.

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid reports Musaddiq Bin Shabbib as saying that the famous Ibn Khashshab said: "It is impossible for Razi or for anyone else to produce such a composition. We have gone through Razi's works; they stand no comparison to these writings and holy sermons."

 

SERMON OF SHIQSHIQAYYA RECORDED LONG BEFORE THE BIRTH OF SEYYED RAZI

Ignoring all other aspects of the question, many scholars, traditionists, and historians (both Shias and Sunnis) have recorded the existence of this sermon before the births of the great scholar Seyyed Razi and his father Abu Ahmad Naqibu't-Talibin.

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha writes that he found this sermon in the books of his Sheikh, Abu'l-Qasim Balkhi Imam-e-Mu'tazila, who lived in the time of Muqtadir B'illah Abbasi. Obviously, Seyyed Razi was born long after him. He also writes that he has seen this sermon in the Kitabu'l-Insaf, of the well known preacher, Abu Ja'far Bin Qubba, who was one of the pupils of Sheikh Abu'l-Qasim Balkhi, and who died before the birth of Seyyed Razi.

Also Sheikh Abu Abdullah Bin Ahmad, commonly known as Ibn Khashshab, is reported to have said: " I have seen this sermon in books written 200 years before Seyyed Razi was born. I have also seen this sermon in the works of literary scholars who wrote them before the birth of Seyyed Razi's father, Ahmad Naqibu't-Talibin."

As for your claim that Ali was pleased with his opponents. This of course ignores countless statements to the contrary made by your ulema, which I have cited previously. I will cite still another example.

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, vol.II, p.561, records Ali as having said: "I remained with the Holy Prophet from the beginning until his death. The Holy Prophet breathed his last on my chest. It was I who washed his body with the help of the angels, performed his funeral prayers, and buried him. So there was no one nearer, or a more rightful successor, to him than I."

Towards the end of his sermon he refers to his opponents in these words: "I swear by Allah, the One, that I am on the right path and that my opponents are on the wrong path."

But you claim that Ali considered his opponents on the right path. I wish you could seriously look into the verse of the Holy Qur'an, which says:

"They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, and Allah will not permit aught but the perfection of His light, though the unbelievers are averse." (9:32)

Source: al-islam.org

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