Title: The Prohibition of Recording the Hadith, Causes and Effects
Author(s): Sayyid Ali Al-Shahristani
Translator(s): Badr Shahin
Publisher(s): Ansariyan Publications - Qum
Category: Early Islamic History Hadith Sciences
Topic Tags: Prohibition Hadith
Appearance: 600 p
Congress Classification: BP106/5/ش9م804952 1383
Dewey decimal classification: 297/29
National bibliography number: 1745489
سرشناسه : شهرستانی، سیدعلی
عنوان قراردادی : منع تدوین الحدیث. انگلیسی.
عنوان و نام پدیدآور : The prohibition of recording the hadih: causes and effects: a glance at the methodologies and principles of the two Muslim schools of hadith/ by Ali al-Shahristani; translated by Badr Shahin.
مشخصات نشر : Qum: Ansariyan, 2004=1383.
مشخصات ظاهری : 600ص.
شابک : 964-438-612-4
یادداشت : انگلیسی.
یادداشت : کتابنامه: ص.  600.
موضوع : حدیث -- منع تدوین
شناسه افزوده : شاهین، بدر ، مترجم
شناسه افزوده : Shahin,Badr
شناسه افزوده : Shahin, Badr
رده بندی کنگره : BP106/5/ش9م804952 1383
رده بندی دیویی : 297/29
شماره کتابشناسی ملی : 1745489
A Glance at the Methodologies and Principles of the two Muslims Schools of Hadith A Glance at the Methodologies and Principles of the two Muslims Schools of Hadith . A critical evaluation of the reasons why several Hadith from the Ahlul Bayt are not included in the Hadith Books of the Ahle Sunnah.
I dedicate this work to the pioneers of recording the Hadith from the past generations, and to those who follow their steps in principles, course and belief, and to men of the Shariah—students, teachers and researchers, and to everyone who looks for the fact after releasing from the chains of blind imitation and inactivity, and to every owner of boundless intellect, sound nature, and genuine thinking.
‘The Islamic Legislation and the Confusables of the Muslim Issuance of Rulings’ is the title of a scientific encyclopedia that has been undertaken by the author of this book. So far, a number of studies of this encyclopedia have come into sight. ‘The Prohibition of Recording the Hadith,’ the fifth study of this encyclopedia, has been deposited in two frames—foundational and practical.
The author has made many studies in the fields of the Hadith, the different recitals of the Holy Qur'an, the repeal of certain Qur'anic verses, and the major points of differences between the Islamic schools of law, such as Inerrancy (‘Ismah), Analogy
(Qiyas), Equitable Preference (Istihsan)(1), and the like questions.
Regarding the author’s practical studies, he has written a number of volumes about ‘the Holy Prophet’s Ritual Ablution’ and the causes of the Muslims’ disagreement in this issue. Without neglecting the methodology of the past jurisprudents who hint at these issues, the author has also taken in consideration the modern Muslim’s mentality in understanding the events and texts explaining plainly the circumstances that created such disagreements among the Muslims about the religious rulings. Thus, he has written ‘Adhan Between Genuineness and Distortion’ and ‘the Holy Prophet’s Ritual Prayer’ as well many similar issues.
The author’s methodology in investigating the Islamic jurisprudential questions and the doctrinal topics rests upon the study of the legislative and historical confusions that caused the issuance of certain rulings or religious belief. He thus acquaints the reader with the time and circumstances that surrounded a narrative or a narrator as well as the hidden themes that influence the understanding of a text.
Following this methodology, a new stage of study exceeding the limits of the fundamentals, molds, and frames that each school has had to observe in understanding the sacred texts(2) and deducing the religious laws. Due to such commitments, each school of law has rejected or detained any other viewpoint or concept even if it is closer to the actuality.
Such a new methodology has freed the Islamic jurisprudence from its sectarian limits and untouchable bases invented by each Muslim jurisprudential schools and has given it a new wider and more
comprehensive perspective enabling it to unify or, at least, reaches closer steps of unity after it has lived in irony and restricted concepts.
Finally, the author has briefed about some of the roots of separation after the departure of the Holy Prophet in addition to the ideas that branched out the Muslims into numerous sects and schools.
The book has been reprinted three times so far. The first edition was published by Imam `Ali Foundation - Qumm, Islamic Repulic of Iran in Safar, AH 1418. The second edition was published by al-A`lamiy Foundation - Beirut, Lebanon in AH 1418/1997. The third edition, upon which the translator has depended, was published by Dar al-Ghadir - Qumm, Islamic Republic of Iran in AH 1425/2004.
In the Name of Allah, the All-compassionate, the All-merciful
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. Endless blessings and peace be upon Muhammad—seal of the Prophets and head of the Messengers (of Allah), and upon his immaculate family and choice companions.
All the Heavenly revealed religions are undoubtedly based upon intellectual grounds, legislative bases, and theoretically and practically positive principles for sake of the religion and humankind’s goodness. Islam, too, has been at the top of the Heavenly revealed religions, and has been in contact with life more than any other religion.
Moreover, it has been the most successful in the field of applying the principles to the practical life since it has been the leader of many nations throughout many successive generations. It is thus logic that such
a religion enjoys the largest amount of principles, grounds, and bases of thought. The Holy Qur’an and Sunnah have been the first and most fundamental sources of the Islamic statements and rulings. Another distinctive feature of Islam is that the Almighty has undertaken protecting the Holy Qur’an against extinction and distortion. In this regard, Almighty Allah says,
“Surely, We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian” (Holy Qur’an: 15:9)
As a result, the Holy Qur’an has not encountered the same fate of the Torah and the Gospel as well as the other distorted Heavenly revealed Books. Nevertheless, the second source of the Islamic legislation, namely the Holy Sunnah, has been unfortunately exposed to distortion and fabrication since the lifetime of the Holy Prophet who attracted attentions to this point by saying,
“Anyone who attributes false reports to me must certainly find himself a place in Hellfire.”(1)
From this cause, as well as so many other causes, the Holy Sunnah is described as presumptive. Distortions and forgeries against the Holy Sunnah have influenced the other sources of legislation and, thus, each group has interpreted the Qur'anic texts -Āyahs- according to its narrations of the Sunnah claiming the objective.
Other groups have exceeded all limits when they argued that the individually codified principles and rulings dispense with the reported heritage and replace its contrasts. Thus, discrepancies have branched out to include most of the principles and secondary affairs of Islam.
In the same way, the ummah (i.e. Muslim community) has branched out
forming various sects and schools, each claiming following the guidance of the Holy Qur’an and the course of the Holy Prophet as well as having the right to its side and the Sunnah in its purest form.
Is it then possible to believe that all the different Islamic sects and schools are true and receiving their genuineness from Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet, although the right path is singly one and it is necessary to search for it? Likewise, should we believe all the accusations that all the Islamic sects and schools have charged with each other?
In this manner, disputations of the various sects and schools have revolved upon vicious circle of reciprocal accusations, while the one and only thing to be adopted by a sound reason with regard to such discrepancies is to give preference to a sect over the others since it is unreasonable to decide all of them as true or decide all of them as false.
This is because the right takes only one form, and the true sect is only one. On this account, it is inescapably obligatory upon all Muslims to take individual endeavors for hitting upon the genuine norm that takes to the reality of what the Holy Prophet had conveyed from Almighty Allah.
Because the issue of regarding the Sunnah as the second authoritative principle in Islam is unanimously acceptable by all Muslims, the study should be consecrated to identifying the methods of proving a saying’s ascription to the Holy Prophet. In other
words, which item of the heritage attributed to the Holy Prophet should be regarded as authoritative?
To answer, it is perhaps claimed that the true Hadiths are only those authenticated according to the rules of `Ilm al-Rijal (The study of the manners and history of the narrators of a Hadith in order to attain reliability), while those not authenticated must be thrown away and neglected.
At first blush, the previous claim may seem to be true; but the well-versed in the affairs of the Islamic law recognize that the reliability on a definite Hadith does not depend on the isnad(1) only; rather there are certain standards and regulations to be necessarily observed in this regard.
Nevertheless, some principles and criteria of the `Ilm al-Rijal have been submitted to certain regulations; and neither logic criteria nor have Qur'anic principles been set as the judges in such issues. Discrepancy and contrast are therefore obvious in the judgment of a certain narrator. Moreover, the founders of the major School of Sunnite Muslim jurisprudence have been also exposed to such campaigns of criticisms and vilifications.(2)
Thus, a researcher will inspect nothing but a huge pile and dense mist of criteria prevailed by political senses inclining to certain sects or schools. Therefore, many untrustworthy narrators have been decided as reliable and decent, and many trustworthy have been decided as weak and doubtful.
By the same token, the isnad of many narrations that are contradictory to the reality has been decided as sound, while the isnad of many others
that are soundly applicable to the reality has been decided as doubtful or even ill.
For the previous reasons, it has become inevitable that we study the Sunnah as thoroughly as possible depending upon a more series method and founding on the invariable fundamentals of Shari`ah, history, reason, and nature through investigating all the aspects, circumstances, and aims associated with a Hadith.
On the other hand, we do not intend to cancel the role of the isnad in the evaluation of a Hadith rather to have recourse to other proofs and presumptions the purpose of which is to rectify the trends of some reports that have not been duly studied.
At any rate, the matter has winded up with the result that we, at present, see a great sect of Muslims devotionally follow definite reference books of Hadith that they call al-Sihah al-Sittah (the six most reliable reference books of Hadith) and, on the other hand, another, yet big, group follow other reference books of Hadith that they call al-Kutub al-Arba`ah (the four books) regarding them as the most authenticated and the furthest from distortion and fabrication.
Thus, the following questions should be necessarily answered, at least after exposing the roots of the studied issue through historical and reported texts:
Which is the most authenticated, and where can it be found?
Are all the Hadiths recorded in al-Sihah al-Sittah wholly authenticated, or there lie some weak, doubtful, or even false reports?
What about the narration on the authority of the Ahl al-Bayt(1); is it wholly
authenticated, or there lie some interpolated or forged statements?
The most important and noteworthy event that has left the greatest influence on the Sunnah, in both text and significance, was the prohibition of recording and narrating the Holy Prophet’s heritage. The application of this decision, taken by the two Shaykhs (namely, Abu-Bakr ibn Abi-Quhafah and `Umar ibn al-Khattab), extended to the reigns of `Uthman ibn `Affan and Mu`awiyah ibn Abu-Sufyan up to the reign of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz who canceled it and ordered people to record the Sunnah.
Nevertheless, a group of the grand Sahabah (the Holy Prophet’s companions)(1) and Tabi’un (the followers of the Sahabah—the generation that came after the Sahabah) considered the recordation of the Hadith the one and only method that they followed even during the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab whose cruelty and severity with anyone who would oppose him were the distinctive features of his reign. `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, Mu`adh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Ka`b, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Anas ibn Malik, Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy, Lady Fatimah al-Zahra’, and Abu-Dharr, as well as many others, were among those Sahabah who recorded the Hadith.
Such great Islamic figures recorded and spread the Hadith as they regarded the decision of the prohibition as baseless and neglected the personal opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar, as well as those who followed them, and emptied them of any sanctity due to which they might be indisputable.
Furthermore, those Sahabah did not fear what others did. This was the origin of the discrepancy
between the two methods; one is recording and narrating the Sunnah, while the other prohibiting the reporting, recordation, and writing; or ordering to reduce it. Thus, each method has had its own intellectual principles.
On this account, it is inevitable to study carefully the two schools in order to make out which is the nearest to the reality and furthest from personal motives. Away from calumniation and fabrication, this study must be dedicated to analyzing the prevalent circumstances at that time as well as the characters of the individuals involved on the different levels of their lives.
The study will also not be sufficed with a Hadith’s being classified as authenticated (Sahih), trustworthy (muwaththaq), good (hasan), or weak (da’if); rather it will comprehend all the aspects involved.
This is because most of the Sahabah stated that they had no knowledge whether the contents of a report they themselves narrated had been repealed or not, or whether a text said by the Holy Prophet had been his own saying or quoted from the Holy Qur’an, or the ruling appearing in the Holy Prophet’s saying had been general or dedicated to definite individuals.
Likewise, they affirmed on various occasions that the verdicts they issued had not been based upon any reference of legislation; if it therefore was true, this would be originated from Almighty Allah’s guidance, but if it was not, it would be Satan’s, as well as their, fault.
For the previous reasons, it has become necessary to make a wide-ranging study for shedding
light on the general and the obscure matters that enclosed the Sunnah and its transmitted heritage in accordance with the new scientific methodology for the purpose of distinguishing the true for the false, since such study will surely bring forth many new facts.
In addition to too many affairs respecting the Islamic legislation, the knowledgeability of the Sahabah, the jurisprudential trends that prevailed in that age, and the motives of such various trends, the study will show the contrast between the reports of those who prohibited the recordation of the Hadith and those who challenged the decision and thus recorded and narrated it.
Additionally, the study will give a perfect idea about the way of deducing the authentic reports from the sihah and the Four Books plus the other reliable reference books of Hadith.
Let us now begin our investigation in order to set eyes on the effect of the decision of prohibiting the recordation and narration of the Sunnah along with its numerous, yet negative, consequences that contributed in the formation of the past and present structures of the Islamic schools of law.
Sayyid Ali al-Shahristani
The issues of Abu-Bakr’s prohibition of recording the Hadith and `Umar’s decision of the reduction of reporting the Holy Prophet’s heritage(1) are worth studying and investigation, because it is associated with the history of the second source of authority in Islam. Although this study is purely academic, it gives to the gentle readers a clear picture about the most important
issue in the history of legislation, and the exposition of this issue can find solutions to a big number of the issues related to the controversial questions and help understand the reality and roots of the problem.
The most important reasons for the issuance of the decision can be shown in the following points:
First Reason: Justifications of Abu-Bakr
Second Reason: Justifications of `Umar ibn al-Khattab
Third Reason: Justifications of Ibn Qutaybah and Ibn Hajar
Fourth Reason: Justifications of Abu-Zahw and Shaykh `Abd al-Khaliq `Abd al-Ghaniy
Fifth Reason: Justifications of al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy and Ibn `Abd al-Barr
Sixth Reason: Justifications of some Orientalists
Seventh Reason: Justifications of the majority of Shi`ite writers
Last Reason: Our conclusions
Our discussions of the aforementioned reasons will be based on our understanding of the actuality of the Islamic legislation and its surrounding conditions; therefore, they are not aimed at attacking anyone’s standing since the whole matter is revolving upon the field of study and arguments in an age prevailed by logic and proof.
The presentation of someone’s opinion does not mean encroaching upon or doing harm to his/her personality and dignity; rather all the statements mentioned in the book, including my own conclusions, are subject to study and discussion because the top goal of any individual who cares for the right knowledge as well as the best readiness to the inescapable meeting with Almighty Allah is to reach at the truths in general and the religious truths in particular.
The presence before Almighty Allah on the Judgment Day is based upon right and honesty. It is
thus binding for any mortal who seriously ponders on that horrifying and great situation on that Day to spare no efforts to find himself an exit from the criteria of the transient and illusive world towards the criteria of the right and virtuous abide. Finally, help is sought only from Almighty Allah Who is the Guide to the right path.
Abu-Bakr’s justifications can be concluded from the following two texts:
(1) It has been narrated that `Ā`ishah said, My father collected the Hadith (of the Messenger of Allah), which was five hundred texts. He spent that night so sleeplessly and restlessly that I was sad for him. I therefore asked, ‘Are you moving restlessly due to an ailment or information that you received?’
In the morning, he asked me to fetch him the collection of Hadith that he had put with me. When I fetched them, he set fire to them. As I asked for the reason, he replied, ‘I anticipated that I would die while I still have this collection among which there might be reports of a man that I deemed trustworthy while he was the opposite; therefore, I would be the narrator of such false reports.’(1)
(2) The following report has been within Ibn Abi-Mulaykah’s incompletely transmitted Hadiths (mursal):
After the demise of the Holy Prophet, Abu-Bakr gathered people and said, ‘You are reporting about the Messenger of Allah inconsistent narrations. People coming after you will be engaged in more intense discrepancy.
Therefore, do not report anything about the
Messenger of Allah, and if anyone asks you, you should refer to the Book of Allah as the arbitrator. You should thus deem lawful whatever is lawful therein and deem unlawful whatever is unlawful therein.’(1)
Before discussing the two previous texts, two questions must be answered:
First: Did Abu-Bakr collect the five hundred texts during the life of the Holy Prophet and by his commandment, or did he collect them after that as a consequence of the political circumstances and the social exigency?
Second: Was the decision of prohibiting the recordation and reporting of the Sunnah issued in a late period, or was it the Holy Prophet who prohibited recording it during his lifetime.
It has been related to Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy that the Holy Prophet said, ‘You must erase anything that has been recorded about me except the Holy Qur’an.’(2)
From the expression of the first text ‘My father collected the Hadith,’ it can be noted that Abu-Bakr recorded the Hadith after the Holy Prophet’s demise, especially the text affirmed that he had quoted them from other narrators, ‘I anticipated that I would die while I still have this collection among which there might be reports of a man that I deemed trustworthy while he was the opposite; therefore, I would be the narrator of such false reports.’
Abu-Bakr’s anticipation that such texts would be falsely related to the Holy Prophet does not agree with the supposition that the Hadith had been collected during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime; otherwise he could show the collected texts to
the Holy Prophet for scrutiny.
If it is claimed that the idea of showing such texts to the Holy Prophet for scrutiny had just slipped away from Abu-Bakr’s mind, the answer should be that, firstly, it is unreasonable for Abu-Bakr to miss such a thing, especially that he had a close position to the Holy Prophet in addition to the fact that doubt regarding these collections was rooted in his mind.
Secondly, it is unlikely that Abu-Bakr had overlooked neglectfully such an important issue until a time close by his death, whereas the Sahabah used not to neglect asking the Holy Prophet about even the most trivial questions and whenever they had felt any suspicion.
The question of setting fire to the collections of Hadith and Abu-Bakr’s concern about attributing them to the Holy Prophet and that he ‘would be the narrator of such false reports,’ since death was about to knock his door—this question proves that Abu-Bakr had collected the Hadith in the last of his reign and that he had never heard even one Hadith directly from the Holy Prophet; lest it would be extremely odd for him to set fire to Hadiths that he had heard from the Holy Prophet directly!
What is more is that had Abu-Bakr collected such Hadiths during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, historians and biographers would have certainly referred to this issue and he would never have spent that night restlessly plus `Ā’ishah would have narrated that her father had collected the Hadith
during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet or any alike statement.
The reports that Abu-Bakr had written down the laws of almsgiving in the missive that he sent to Anas ibn Malik;(1) the governor of Bahrain at that time, and `Amr ibn al-`Ās(2) do not contradict the reports narrating his setting fire to the collections of Hadith, because the points that he had recorded to Anas ibn Malik were no more than the laws of almsgiving and taxation upon which a state relies, and a caliph must not forget for the good of his state.
It has been also narrated that `Amr ibn Hazm had recorded the laws of almsgiving as quoted from the Holy Prophet orally. `Umar ibn al-Khattab also had such a recording kept by Hafsah, his daughter, and then his family. Hence, the recordation of an issue upon which a state relies is a matter very different from the prohibition of recording something else.
The second question can be easily answered through the acts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar as well as the general conduct of the Muslims. Abu-Bakr’s collecting five-hundred Hadiths is a sufficient proof on the Holy Prophet’s having not prohibited the recordation of the Hadith. If such a decision of prohibition had been really issued, Abu-Bakr would not have had such collections of the Hadith recorded.
The same thing can be said about `Umar; had a decision of prohibiting the recordation of the Hadith been already issued, he would not have gathered the Sahabah, who advised him to
record the Hadith,(1) to discuss the matter.
Even if we give up our opinion and accept the claim that the Holy Prophet had prevented people from recording anything in general and his Hadith in particular, we would not find any persuasive meaning to the authentically narrated report that ‘the Holy Prophet ordered the Muslims to record the laws that he said on the day of conquering Mecca,’(2) or the report that after his migration to al-Madinah, he had ordered to record the laws of the Zakat and their amounts, which were accordingly written in two papers and kept in the house of Abu-Bakr, the caliph, and Abu-Bakr ibn `Amr ibn Hazm,(3) or the authentic report that he said ‘Feel free to record’ as well as the other clear statements urging to record the laws and the Holy Prophet’s conducts.
It is thus proven that the recordation was not prohibited in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet and that neither Abu-Bakr nor did `Umar record the Hadith during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime; rather, Abu-Bakr recorded it after the Holy Prophet’s departure. The Holy Qur’an has urged writing and recording the knowledge upon Muslims as is in the following Verses:
“Noon. I swear by the pen and what the angels write.” (Holy Qur’an: 68:1)
“…Who taught (to write) with the pen.” (Holy Qur’an: 96:4)
“O you who believe! when you deal with each other in contracting a debt for a fixed time, then write it down.” (Holy Qur’an: 2:282)
“And be not averse to writing
it (whether it is) small or large.” (Holy Qur’an: 2:282)
“He said: The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a book.” (Holy Qur’an: 20:52)
The Arabs used to revere the writers and desire to learn it. Ibn Habib al-Baghdadiy has listed the names of the famour personalities who could write in the pre-Islamic as well as the Islamic eras.(1) Ibn Sa`d has said that the Arabs in the pre-Islamic and the early Islamic eras used to regard as perfect anyone who could write Arabic, swim, and shoot.(2)
Lessons of learning how to write used to be held in Makkah,(3) al-Madinah,(4) al-Ta’if,(5) al-Anbar,(6) al-Hirah,(7) and Dawmat al-Jandal.(8) It has been also narrated that the Holy Prophet established a class in his Masjid (mosque) where `Abdullah ibn Sa`id ibn al-`Ās used to learn writing and calligraphy to all comers.(9)
Dr. Ahmad Amin says,
“Illiteracy of the Arabs was not as common as presented by some authors and Orientalists. Because of their neighborhood to the Persians and Romans for ages, their surrounding circumstances, and the stages by which they passed with such civilized nations, it was not difficult for the Arabs, especially those lived in al-Hirah as well as the nomads of Syria, to learn how to write and acquire sciences and customs that would contribute in achieving a better living for them.”(10)
The Holy Qur’an has thus prescribed writing and recording, and the Holy Sunnah has also cared for the issue of writing to a considerable extent that a prisoner of the war of Badr was
released after he would teach ten Muslim children how to read and write.(1)
On that account, the claim that the Holy Prophet prohibited recording the Holy Sunnah is definitely meaningless, since his conduct generally attracts attentions to the fact that he very much encouraged on culture, thinking, and learning.
Furthermore, he reproached some people saying, ‘Why have some people neither educated, nor taught, nor admonished their neighbors; nor have they enjoined them to do good nor forbidden them from doing evil? And why have some people neglected learning from their neighbors or received their knowledge and instructions?’(2) From this reproach, we must understand a clear point as regards our topic.
It has been also narrated that the Holy Prophet once asked the delegation of the tribe of `Abd-Qays, saying, ‘How was your brethren’s hospitality?’
‘They have been the best brethren,’ answered they, ‘they offered the best beds and food and taught us the Book of our Lord and the conduct of our Prophet night and day.’
This answer pleased the Holy Prophet who asked each one of them about what they had learned and what they had been taught.(3)
It has been also narrated on the authority of Hudhayfah that the Holy Prophet once ordered them to write down the names of everyone who declared being Muslim orally. They therefore wrote down the names of one thousand and five hundred men.’(4) Finally, biographers have recorded that twenty-six, forty-two, or forty-five men used to record the Divine Revelation under the supervision of the Holy Prophet.
adding the previous proofs of the Holy Prophet’s emphasis on learning reading and writing to the previous narrations of the Holy Prophet’s issuing the order of recording the Sunnah and the Sahabah’s carrying out this order during his lifetime up to a period after his death -when Abu-Bakr prohibited recording the Holy Sunnah-, it becomes clear that the ascription of the prohibition of recording the Hadith to the Holy Prophet is no more than a fallacy aimed at deforming the sheer figure of Islam.
Likewise, such a fallacy gives reason for the enemies of Islam to claim Muslims’ being in opposition to science, because they first decided that their Prophet had prevented them from narrating and recording the Sunnah while they, later on, violated their situation and went on recording it! If the recordation of the Hadith was permissible, why did they prohibit it; and if it was prohibited, why did they record it?
If true be said, the claim of the Holy Prophet’s prohibition from recording the Hadith is contradictory to his famous sayings, ‘write down,’(1) ‘record,’(2) ‘I swear by Him Who has full control over my soul, my mouth has never said anything other than the truth,’(3) ‘Use your right hand to help you learn,’(4) as well as so many similar sayings not to be mentioned at this point for fear of lengthiness.
Let us now discuss the first text that shows Abu-Bakr’s justification of issuing the decision of preventing recording the Holy Sunnah, putting the following questions:
Why did Abu-Bakr spend
that night restlessly and sleeplessly? Was it because of an ailment, or was it because of a serious affair of caliphate and Muslims?
We have previously mentioned `Ā’ishah’s wonderment, ‘Are you moving restlessly due to an ailment or information that you received?’ and Abu-Bakr’s reply.
Would we accept his justification that ‘I anticipated that I would die while I still have this collection among which there might be reports of a man that I deemed trustworthy while he was the opposite; therefore, I would be the narrator of such false reports’?
Does such a justification allow him to set fire to the collections of the Hadith?
Why did he treat the Hadith with fire, not water or burying in the ground?
To answer the first question, we say that the reason beyond Abu-Bakr’s restlessness and sleeplessness was, as is proven by `Ā’ishah’s words, ‘In the morning, he asked me to fetch him the collection of Hadith that he had put with me. When I fetched them…’ not an ailment or a matter respecting the campaigns or the like political affairs; it was rather because of the Hadiths contained by these papers to the degree that he thought that the reporting of the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds would be the main cause of disagreement among Muslims, without making any distinction between the different kinds of the reported items or between the direct and the indirect reports. Abu-Mulaykah reports that Abu-Bakr said, ‘Do not report anything,’ while in the beginning he had not adopted such a
Abu-Bakr’s excuse for setting fire to the Hadiths, —‘I anticipated that I would die while I still have this collection among which there might be reports of a man that I deemed trustworthy while he was the opposite; therefore, I would be the narrator of such false reports,’— is subject to a number of objections:
First: how did the trustworthy man (whom Abu-Bakr accepted his narration) change into untrustworthy? Did Abu-Bakr—who lived near the Holy Prophet in the holy city of al-Madinah—require mediation in narrating the Hadith of the Holy Prophet?
The news of Abu-Bakr’s close association with the Holy Prophet are inconsistent with the existence of mediation between the Holy Prophet and him, especially for those who claim Abu-Bakr’s having been the first to embrace Islam.
Second: Once a reporter is trustworthy; for Abu-Bakr says, ‘…reports of a man that I deemed trustworthy,’ how is it acceptable to reject such an individual’s reports because they are probably fabricated or originated from inadvertence?
According to such a rule, the authority of the reports of the trustworthy must unquestionably be invalid and it is not viable to depend upon the report of any narrator because it contains any amount of probability of fabrication.
Rafi` ibn Khudaykh reported that the Holy Prophet, once, passed by them while they were having a discussion and asked about it. “We are mentioning what we have heard from you, Allah’s Messenger,” answered they.
“Yes, mention it; but one who forges lies against me must find himself a place in Hellfire,” said the
Holy Prophet as he went on.
They therefore kept silence.
“Why have they stopped talking?” asked the Holy Prophet.
“Because of what we have just heard from you,” one answered.
“I have not meant that you should not discuss what you hear from me,” explained the Holy Prophet, “But I have only meant one who forges lies against me deliberately.” We then resumed our discussion.
“O Allah’s Messenger,” one asked, “Can we record the matters that we hear from you?”
“Yes, you can,” replied the Holy Prophet, “Record, and feel free to record.”(1)
The previous report supports openly our claim that practice of reporting and recording the Hadith was not prohibited during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime; rather it was totally legal. Besides, the phrase ‘yes, mention it,’ confirms the permissibility to relate the Holy Prophet’s Hadith but with verification in order to avoid forging lies against the Holy Prophet.
Likewise, it confirms that the probability of a reporter’s being liar or the fear of forging lies does not allow Abu-Bakr to neglect the Hadith. Focusing on being careful in the narration of a report in order to make distinction between the true and the false, the Holy Prophet never issued any order preventing from reporting and recording the Hadith.
As a sequence, Abu-Bakr should have examined these Hadiths; if there were inaccurate ones, he would correct them; if there were forged ones, he would delete them; if there were ambiguous ones, he would explain them; and if there were hidden themes, he would expose them. He should have
never annihilated all the collections for the reason that he suspected or supposed falsity.
Generally speaking, any item of science must never be erased, especially when it is said by the Holy Prophet! Reported items must not be burnt under any circumstance, especially when most of them contain the Sacred Name of Almighty Allah and His laws, while it is impermissible to insult them at all. As an Islamic ruling, when such items are decided to be damaged, they must be erased by water, buried in the ground, or destroyed by any other unproblematic method.
Out of their cognizance and education, Muslims realized the fundamental correlation between reporting and recording the Hadith; they therefore asked the Holy Prophet permission to record his sayings since they expected that the Hadith would be prohibited or put under conditions. The Holy Prophet’s answer came: ‘Record, and feel free to record.’
This answer cancelled any problem that may be expected from recording the Hadith and gave full freedom to report it. A Muslim must be sure before he relates something to the Holy Prophet and must avoid recording the forged. These are the only conditions of reporting and recording the Hadith, and there is nothing more.
Third: If we agree with Abu-Bakr’s opinion that the likelihood of fabrication in the reports invalidates a narration’s consideration, this will require all the Holy Prophet’s narrated reports be unacceptable even if they are recorded in reliable reference books of Hadith, for the reason that they all are exposed to the
likelihood of forgery; and if such an opinion is accepted, it will certainly overthrow one of the two major principals of the Islamic legislation, eradicate the Holy Sunnah completely and terminate all the secondary rulings that have been derived from the Hadith. Abu-Bakr’s opinion is thus completely unacceptable.
We should then wonder how he adopted it. Did he close his eyes to the fact that the Holy Prophet used to entrust the decent Sahabah with affairs like these of the campaigns and battles in order that they would convey them to the others? He should have understood that the Holy Verse regarding the instruction of looking carefully into any news that is conveyed by an evil-doing, lest others would be harmed ignorantly(1) as well as many other Verses in this regard.
Furthermore, Muslims used to follow the reports of the decent ones and avoid those of the indecent. Likewise, reason judges that the report of a decent one must be believable, while the likelihood of fabrication, unintentional mistake, inadvertence and the like matters must be passed up due to the rule of the originally nonexistence of fabrication.
Consequently, Ibn Hajar’s claim that Almighty Allah has purified the Sahabah of all vices, including lying, negligence, suspicion, arrogance and the like, has been proven as contradictory to Abu-Bakr’s previous testimony when he had only suspected some of the Sahabah to have all the previous vices up to forging lies. Undeniably, Abu-Bakr knew the Sahabah better than Ibn Hajar did.
Even if we accept the notion
that suspicion and likelihood of forgery may invalidate the authority of a report in the view of the one suspecting, we must not consider such invalidity in the view of the others who neither suspect nor suppose the probability of forgery.
Abu-Bakr should thus have reported such narrations and presented his suspicion in certain reporters as well as the reasons beyond such suspicion. Then, the recipient of such narrations will have the freedom to accept or reject as maintained by the laws of the religion.
The most unquestionable issue that is concluded from Abu-Bakr’s justification, in the event of its acceptability, is that it never imposes upon others to stop reporting or recording the Hadith. Nevertheless, his one and only purpose beyond his justification has been to prohibit reporting and recording the Hadith as a general rule; he therefore ordered people, as in the second text, not to report the Holy Prophet’s Hadith at all.
As long as it has been proven that reporting and recording the Hadith had been permissible during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, what is then the meaning of its prohibition? And if it was really prohibited by the Holy Prophet, why did Abu-Bakr compile five-hundred items of Hadith?(1)
As a conclusion, Abu-Bakr’s having prohibited Muslims from reporting the Hadith and having set fire to the collections of Hadith that he had compiled are not founded on any Islamic law.
The second text sheds light on the real situation of the ummah after the departure of the Holy Prophet. Abu-Bakr however
referred the disagreement and discrepancies of the Islamic community to their disagreement in the narration of the Hadith and Sunnah. In this regard, he says,
‘You are reporting about the Messenger of Allah inconsistent narrations. People coming after you will be engaged in more intense discrepancy.’
Although it is incompletely transmitted, the narration of Ibn Abi-Mulaykah expressed the opinion of the master scholars who objected to the decision of the prohibition of recording the Hadith. It also indicates that the insistence on the recordation of the Hadith became one of the means of opposing the caliphs. Muslims who felt the necessity of protecting the Holy Sunnah against waste and spreading the religious laws publicly began, soon after the departure of the Holy Prophet, to report his sayings so as to achieve the goals that they deemed necessary.
In their capacity as being the first generation of Islam, the Sahabah were bound by the explanation of the religious laws for people and the reporting of every single word that they had heard from the Holy Prophet to the new generation who were in urgent need for the acquaintance with the religious laws whose major source was the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds. This was, of course, unfeasible except through the decent Sahabah who represented the thriving archives of the Holy Prophet’s lifetime.
Having realized the new generation’s urgent need for the religious data and the first generation’s duty to answer, Abu-Bakr used the expression, ‘and if anyone asks you…’ in the decision of the prohibition
of recording the Hadith.
In any event, the urgent need for reporting the Hadith and the existence of discrepancies in the narrations were two serious issues that required solutions by all means.
As a solution for the crisis that augmented dangerously after the Holy Prophet’s decease, Abu-Bakr opted for prohibiting the reporting and recordation of the Hadith and the restriction to the Holy Qur’an in order to get rid of the contradictory narrations that he seemed not to be skillful enough to bring them into agreement. He therefore had to ban them all unexceptionally, especially after he had anticipated that the problem would increasingly be bigger and bigger for the coming generations. All the same, Abu-Bakr’s decision of the prevention of recording the Hadith arouses a number of questions to be presented hereinafter:
First: It has been proven that the Holy Prophet used to order the grand Sahabah to spread in the different areas so as to teach people and invite them to the religion. Also, he used to order people to learn and listen to those instructors. These procedures became more binding after the revelation of Almighty Allah’s saying:
“And it does not beseem the believers that they should go forth all together; why should not then a company from every party from among them go forth that they may apply themselves to obtain understanding in religion, and that they may warn their people when they come back to them that they may be cautious.” (Holy Qur’an: 9:122)
To prevent the Sahabah from reporting
and applying to themselves what they had directly heard from the Holy Prophet has no meaning other than canceling the religious function of the well-versed in the religious affairs whose main task is to teach and edify the people; while the events of some of the Sahabah’s having fabricated lies against the Holy Prophet must have been encountered by means of preventing the very fabricating ones from reporting the Hadith, not preventing everybody and for good!
It was also possible to refer to the Holy Prophet personally during his lifetime regarding the questions that were unsolvable and to check the matter with the Sahabah, after the Holy Prophet’s departure, if they had heard something respecting the question involved in order to attain peace of mind or verification of the authenticity of the reporting. As a matter of fact, such conferences have been actually adopted by some of the Sahabah.
Second: In order to compile the reports of the Hadith, Abu-Bakr should have established a committee comprising the grand Sahabah for listening to the reports and then confirming the sound and rejecting the doubted.(1) For Abu-Bakr, this was easy, because they had not yet been engaged in the campaigns and conquests nor scattered in the remote countries.
Furthermore, they had soon departed the Holy Prophet and consequently their memories were still powerful and flaws were hardly expected from them. Hence, it was actually an excellent opportunity to easily unify the reports of the Hadith, and it was also easy to identify the actual
reality of a narrator before the multiplication of the media of narration, since most of them were still alive and living in al-Madinah.
Third: The prevention of recording the Hadith would, with elapse of time, increase the number of the religious laws unknown by Muslims. They therefore would have to extract them from the general and the undeniable narrations. As a result, the ways of extraction would vary and the viewpoints would multiply. All such variant viewpoints would have been nonexistent had the reporting and recordation of the Hadith been operative.
Because Abu-Bakr had notified of the fact that the coming generations would be engaged in bigger discrepancies, he should not have left the people rolling about ignorance in the religious laws or sinking in bitterer discrepancies owing to the rise of the variant personal viewpoints of the many investigators.
One of the results of such prohibition was that Abu-Bakr, despite his precedence to Islam and close relation with the Holy Prophet, reported no more than one hundred and forty two narrations, as Ibn Hazm claims.(1)
If the compiled narrations are compared to the collections which had been damaged, the result will be that great numbers of the Hadith were unfortunately damaged.
Fourth: It is impracticable to prohibit the reporting of the Hadith when it is known for sure that such reports included the major questions that Muslims would urgently require in their daily, worldly, and religious, activities. On this account, the eradication and intentional loss of such questions, including the religious laws, is
considered forbidden, since it results in the loss of the fundamentals and laws of the religion.
The most proper situation to be taken in this regard should have been that all the reports would be decided according to a definite criterion adopted by Abu-Bakr, the fabricators would be forbidden from reporting the Hadith and the outward contrast between the reports would be removed by means of the Holy Qur’an or the other trustworthy Sahabah as well as other ways of checking up and adopting the authentic reports of the Hadiths in order that Muslims would successively follow.
Abu-Bakr’s having instructed the Sahabah to answer the askers, whatever their questions would be, by referring them to the Book of Allah is obviously out of the question, since it is impossible to infer a question respecting a religious law from the Holy Qur’an alone without the reference to the Holy Sunnah.
Furthermore, a single statement in the Holy Qur’an may hold so many different notions; some are general, private, decisive, allegorical, common, odd, repealed, or repealing. How is it then possible to specify what is allowable and what is forbidden from the Holy Qur’an alone? Similarly, how is it possible for Abu-Bakr to order people to refer to the Holy Qur’an alone while he himself had said about the kalalah,
‘I will say my own opinion; if it be true, this will be Allah’s, but if be untrue, I alone should be responsible for it’?(1)
If the Holy Qur’an has sufficiently covered all the questions of
the religious laws, why did he wish had he asked the Holy Prophet, before he had departed life, about the amount of the inheritance of grandmothers and grandfathers, about the Ansar whether they should be given any position of leadership, and about the inheritance of nephews and paternal aunts?(1)
If his claim about the possibility to refer to the Holy Qur’an alone in the religious questions was true, what would we say about the unanimous agreement of the Muslims on the necessity of referring to the Holy Sunnah in order to acquaint ourselves with the religious laws?
What would we say about the Holy Prophet’s having nominated the Holy Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt, or the Holy Sunnah according to other narrations, as the only two principals of the Islamic legislation in the famous Hadith of al-Thaqalayn (the two weighty things)?
Unquestionably, this meant that the two aforementioned principals would persist among the Muslims; therefore, the Holy Prophet said, ‘I have left among you… etc.’ It also meant that an interpreter for the Holy Qur’an, whether in a form of the Holy Sunnah or one of the Ahl al-Bayt, must be present among the Muslims since the Words of Almighty Allah cannot be individually comprehended. Hence, the Holy Sunnah or the Ahl al-Bayt to whom the Holy Prophet had referred his people after his departure must be clear enough in order that people would follow.
The previous instruction of Abu-Bakr draws our attentions to the famous Hadith that has been related to
“I see coming very soon that a man from you will be leaning on a couch and as my Hadith is said to him, he will answer, ‘the Book of Allah is the decisive judge; I will deem lawful only what I find lawful in it and deem unlawful only what I find unlawful in it.’”
According to other forms of the same narration, the Holy Prophet then say, ‘Verily, I have been given the Holy Qur’an and its like,’(6) or ‘Verily, I have been given the Holy Book along with its like,’(7) or ‘I see coming that a man from you will be leaning on a couch and as a matter that I have enjoined or forbidden is presented before him, he will answer: I do not know! I will follow only what I find in the Book of Allah.’(8)
In al-Kifayah fi ‘Ilm al-Dirayah, al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy records on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah that the Holy Prophet said,
“One of you will be leaning on a couch and as he receives one of my Hadiths, he will say: Do not mention that! I will follow only what I find in the Book of Allah!”(9)
Ibn Hazm, on the authority of al-`Irbas ibn Sariyah, have recorded that the Holy Prophet, once, delivered a speech to people saying,
‘One of you will be leaning on his couch thinking that Almighty
Allah has not deemed unlawful anything other than what is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an! I swear by Allah that I have verily enjoined you to do good, warned you against immoral things, and forbidden you from evil. These things are surely like the Qur’an.’
Commenting on this Hadith, Ibn Hazm says, ‘The words of the Holy Prophet have been utterly true. His verdicts are similar to the Holy Qur’an; no difference is seen between both respecting all that which is obligatory upon us.’
The Holy Prophet’s saying has been verified by Almighty Allah Who says,
“And whatever the Messenger gives you, (then you should) accept it; and from whatever he forbids you, keep back.” (Holy Qur’an: 59:7)
The Holy Prophet’s instructions are also similar to the Holy Qur’an since the source of both is the Divine Revelation. In this regard, Almighty Allah says,
“Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed”. (Holy Qur’an: 53:3-4)(1)
Before we leave the Hadith of Arikah, let us read the following quotation:
As long as the Arabic ‘arikah’ stands for a well-upholstered couch found in a house,(2) or any couch,(3) the ruler who governs the affairs of people must be the first one for whom an ‘arikah’ is arranged. If the phrase ‘very soon’ that appeared in the Holy Prophet’s words of the Hadith is taken in consideration, it will be clear that the ruler who governed the people’s affairs directly after the Holy Prophet was Abu-Bakr who actually said the very words predicted
by the Holy Prophet.
Al-Dhahbiy has recorded that Abu-Bakr, immediately after the demise of the Holy Prophet, gathered people around him and said to them, ‘You are reporting about the Messenger of Allah inconsistent narrations. People coming after you will be engaged in more intense discrepancy.
Therefore, do not report anything about the Messenger of Allah, and if anyone asks you, you should refer to the Book of Allah as the arbitrator. You should thus deem lawful whatever is lawful therein and deem unlawful whatever is unlawful therein.’(1)
Consequently, it has become obvious that Abu-Bakr is the very ‘a man from you’ intended in the Hadith of Arikah and whom the Holy Prophet had predicted that he would oppose the Hadith saying, ‘The Book of Allah is the arbitrator. You should thus deem lawful whatever is lawful therein and deem unlawful whatever is unlawful therein.’
This fact has been one of the greatest points of evidence on the soundness of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet.(2) Historically, Abu-Bakr and `Umar were the closest rulers to the lifetime of the Holy Prophet who opposed the Hadith.
Therefore, the Hadith of Arikah has meant them personally, none else. Those who came after them and adopted their decision of the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith were only following their examples and were not as strict as Abu-Bakr and `Umar in the application of the prohibition.(3)
Having covered almost all the aspects of Abu-Bakr’s prevention of reporting and recording the Hadith, another question floats on the
surface. Did Abu-Bakr prohibited the reporting of the Hadith and the recordation of it at the same time? Or were the two separate decisions that a period of time occurred between them?
It seems that Abu-Bakr prohibited the reporting of the Hadith after he himself had recorded it. The reason beyond such procedures will be mentioned later on within the discussion of the last reason. Abu-Bakr might have anticipated that the prohibition of reporting the Hadith would facilitate him to practice the legislation and hold the legislative authority besides the political one. In other words, he might have intended to put the two administrative and legislative authorities under the same cover so that the Islamic caliphate would be easily governed.(1)
Because of the departure of the Holy Prophet, the issuance of the prohibition of reporting the Hadith and the emergence of the movement that called for the adaptation of individual opinions—because of the three aforementioned matters, some of the Sahabah had to record the Hadiths that they had directly heard from the Holy Prophet in order to preserve them for the coming generations. Hence, Abu-Bakr issued the second decision of the prohibition of recording the Hadith.
Such sequence in the issuance of the decisions of the prohibition are not so important if compared to the historical influence of the events; because the two decisions were issued in a period of four years only, and formed the first seed that produced other decisions issued by `Umar ibn al-Khattab as well as the other
rulers, except Imam `Ali, until it was canceled in a late time of the Umayyad State.
Although Abu-Bakr, `Umar, and `Uthman achieved great success in the prohibition of recording the Hadith, they could not achieve such success in the field of the reporting of it. Neither the Sahabah nor did the Tabi’un observe the prohibition even if they pretended that they had nothing to do with the recordation of it; and this manner lasted until `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz opened the door of recording the Hadith.
Even when the doors were opened for the ‘governmental’ recordation of the Hadith during the Umayyad State, it unfortunately acted as introduction to the currency of the phenomenon of recording false Hadiths so publicly that the rulers, especially during the first days of the era, could induce big numbers of writers to record for them the Hadiths that they liked.(1)
For instance, Mu`awiyah, the founder of the Umayyad State, ordered Ka`b al-Ahbar to sit in the Masjid and narrate for people the relations that Mu`awiyah would like and to prove the falseness of other Hadiths that he would not. On that account, many fabrications were forged against the Holy Prophet.
To sum it up, Abu-Bakr’s opinion about the reporting and the recordation of the Hadith was the same, since he had already decided to ban both even though he justified the prohibition of reporting the Hadith by saying that he had anticipated discrepancy in the narrations.
He therefore ordered people to accept the Book of Allah
only. Because of the anticipated discrepancy that urged him to issue the decision of the prohibition, Abu-Bakr’s heart was filled in with suspicion that included even those whom he had deemed trustworthy; therefore, he rejected all the reported items, including those whom he himself had collected, and, having been more intense, prohibited the recordation of the Hadith, too.
In a reference to the origination of the Hadith, Dr. Husayn al-Hajj Hasan, in his book entitled Naqd al-Hadith (Critique of the Hadith), says,
“If we move to the age of the Sahabah, we will find most of them dislike recording the Hadith but like reporting it. This is in fact out of the ordinary and in need for search and interpretation.”(1)
On the surface, this can be understood from the justification of Abu-Bakr, whereas the reality imposes that there were other reasons, save the two justifications that he had presented and we have beforehand proven their impracticability through many critiques, beyond the prohibition. Forthcoming in the chapter of the last justification, the actual reasons of the prohibition will be discussed thoroughly.
In abstract, we have previously proven that Abu-Bakr’s justifications for the decision of the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith have been neither convincing nor conclusive when they were exposed to discussion and investigation.(2)
`Umar’s justifications can be concluded from the following texts:
(1) It has been narrated on the authority of `Urwah ibn al-Zubayr that when `Umar had intended to record the Holy Sunnah, he consulted the companions of the Holy Prophet,
and they advised him to record. For about a month, `Umar set to seek Almighty Allah’s proper guidance in this regard. One morning, after Allah had decided for him, `Umar said,
‘I had intended to record the Holy Sunnah, but I remembered some past nations who applied themselves completely to the items they had written and, as a result, neglected the Book of Almighty Allah. By Allah I swear! I will never allow anything to interfere with the Book of Allah.’(1)
Yahya ibn Ju`dah narrated that after `Umar ibn al-Khattab had intended to record the Holy Sunnah, he changed his mind and distributed a missive in the countries ordering people to erase any item of the Holy Sunnah that they might have recorded.(2)
(2) It has been narrated on the authority of al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu-Bakr that `Umar, after he had received news confirming that people started to hold (or write) books, denied and disliked the matter saying,
‘O people: I have been informed that you have started to hold books. Allah’s most beloved books must be the fairest and the straightest. Now, I order you all to bring me all the books that you hold so that I will decide about them.’
Thinking that `Umar wanted to correct and submit the books to a certain criterion, all people brought their books to him. Instead, he set them all to fire and said,
‘This is a false wish just like that of the Christians and the Jews.’(3)
According to Ibn Sa`d, in his al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, `Umar
From the previous text, we understand that the justifications that `Umar ibn al-Khattab presented for the prohibition of recording the Holy Sunnah can be summed up in the following points:
1. The anticipation that the Holy Qur’an would be abandoned and replaced by other things.
2. The apprehension that other things would be mixed with the texts of the Holy Qur’an.
The earlier justification can be refuted by the following points:
First: It is clear that this justification was based upon previous convictions and special circumstances, because he said, ‘as I remembered some past nations…’ and, ‘This is a false wish just like that of the Christians and the Jews.’
Details will be given about the backgrounds of this justification during the discussion of the last reason.
Furthermore, `Umar should not have had such a conception about the grand Sahabah whom must not be subjected to such convictions and cases.
Second: The justification is ambiguous to a great extent; therefore, we doubt its being the direct reason beyond Umar’s decision of prohibition. No Muslim would ever deny the fact that to abandon and ignore the Holy Qur’an so as to attend to something else is unlawful and is forbidden by the Shari`ah, but the claim that to attend to something other than the Holy Qur’an results in the abandonment of it is obvious confusion and inaccurate wording.
Undoubtedly, what is actually resulting in the abandonment of the Holy Qur’an is only what contradicts it,
such as the adoption of the other Scriptures along with the doctrines written therein; but to regard the attention to the interpreter of the Holy Qur’an; namely the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet about whom Almighty Allah says,
‘And We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them, 16:44’
to regard such attention as the main cause beyond the negligence of the Holy Qur’an is definitely delusion and confusion between the right and the wrong. Logically, to attend to the Hadith is to attend to the Holy Qur’an, since the Hadith interprets and reveals the true meanings of the Holy Qur’an.
Third: Umar’s justification implies that the Sahabah are accused of their incapacity to make distinction between the Words of Almighty Allah that they memorized and reported and the words of the Holy Prophet that stood for the interpretation and explanation of the Holy Qur’an. Everybody knows that the Holy Qur’an enjoys such an incomparable style of typical eloquence, unique phraseology, and spiritual attraction that it cannot be confused with the Hadith.
The Qur’anic verses enjoy such a special motif and coherence that they cannot be confused with any other speech. If `Umar anticipated the occurrence of confusion between the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, like that which occurred to some of the Sahabah who confused a few words of a verse with the Holy Prophet’s words, he could deal with the matter by ordering the narrators to be sure of
a text, before reporting it, by asking the other experts who were many in that period. When he compiled the scattered papers of the Holy Qur’an, Abu-Bakr did the same thing.(1)
However, such a simple question does not require general prohibition of the reporting and recordation of the Hadith. Having taken notice of this point, Abu-Bakr did not claim such confusion as the justification for the prohibition after he had solved this problem and dispensed with the method that was later on taken by `Umar in his dealing with the issue.
Umar’s justification might have found a ground if the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah had been written in the same papers. However, none of the Muslims had ever mixed the texts of the Holy Qur’an with those of the Holy Sunnah in the same paper. Despite the passage of long ages, the earliest books of Tafsir (Exegesis of the Holy Qur’an) reached at our hands without having any single confusion between the texts of the Holy Qur’an and those of the Holy Sunnah.
The latter justification adopted by `Umar ibn al-Khattab can be refuted by the following points:
First: As far as style and eloquence are concerned, indisputable characteristics have distinguished between the Qur’anic and the narrative texts. The Qur’anic texts have been revealed in the form of inimitability, challenging all the Arab polytheists, who were masters of eloquence, to produce the like of it. More than once and in different eloquent and reproachful styles, the Holy Qur’an challenged the unbelievers to bring
its like. Listen to the following Qur’anic texts,
“Say: Then bring some (other) book from Allah which is a better guide than both of them, (that) I may follow it, if you are truthful.” (Holy Qur’an: 28:49)
“Say: If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Qur’an, they could not bring the like of it, though some of them were aiders of others.” (Holy Qur’an: 17:88)
“Or, do they say: He has forged it. Say: Then bring ten forged chapters like it and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful.” (Holy Qur’an: 11:13)
“And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful. But if you do (it) not and never shall you do (it), then be on your guard against the fire of which men and stones are the fuel; it is prepared for the unbelievers.” (Holy Qur’an: 2:23-4)
The articulacy, fluency, and expressiveness of the Holy Qur’an astonished the polytheists shockingly that they found nothing to say about it except being ‘transient magic’. On the other hand, the Hadith has not been challenging the eloquence of the polytheists.
Second: The main topic of the Holy Prophet’s words was to explain the religious laws, aside from the eloquence of his language. Moreover, some of the narrations that are reported from the Holy Prophet conveyed only the meaning, not the very words spoken by
him. In the meantime, Muslims have recognized, favored, and memorized the Holy Qur’an since it has occupied a special position in each and every Muslim’s heart. For instance, they should never touch its letters unless they are pure, for their compliance with Almighty Allah’s saying,
“None shall touch it save the purified ones”. (Holy Qur’an: 56:79)Finally, they have been always observing and reciting the Holy verses day and night.
Inasmuch as Muslims used to care for the Holy Qur’an to such a great extents, it is illogical to anticipate its confusion with the Holy Sunnah! Likewise, the Sahabah were too aware to lack distinction between what is divinely revealed and what is said for mere explanation.
Nevertheless, everybody admits to the fact that the Holy Prophet’s articulation was so expressive that it was easily distinguished from ordinary people’s diction, since he was the most eloquent of the Arabs. It is thus claimed that not all people were talented enough to tell apart between the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet’s words.
However, such a claim is too far from the truth; in addition to the aforementioned differences between the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, the latter embodies words, deeds, and confirmations half of which have been ordinary statements that never promote to the level of the Holy Qur’an. Moreover, even if the previous claim is accepted, yet supposedly, it should apply only to some of the verbal part of the Holy Sunnah. In addition, we have previously cited that some of the narrations
that were reported from the Holy Prophet conveyed only the meaning, not the very words spoken by him.
Third: Supposing the aforementioned claim is accurate, it does not necessitate the desertion of the Holy Sunnah in order to observe the maintenance of the Holy Qur’an, because the Hadith is the explanatory body of the Holy Qur’an and, as a result, to report, record, and study it achieves a big service for Muslims to understand the Holy Qur’an without making any contradiction with it.
What must be verified and checked is the reporting from the Holy Prophet. In this regard, the Holy Prophet said,
“Anyone who attributes false reports to me must certainly find himself a place in Hellfire.”
A deep look at this Prophetic statement shows that the Holy Sunnah, unlike the Holy Qur’an, can be exposed to forgery.
Let us now wonder how `Umar ibn al-Khattab had been so ignorant that he could not appreciate such clear-cut facts and, consequently, claimed matters revealing the absence of differences between the texts of the Holy Qur’an and those of the Holy Sunnah in aspects of eloquence and perspicuity!
In addition, let us wonder how it is possible that none paid attention to the clear-cut question that such confusion leads to disbelief and that one who claims confusion between the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Sunnah must be regarded as belying Almighty Allah’s saying—in the Holy Qur'an,
“And indeed it is a Book of exalted power. No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: It is sent
down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of all Praise.” (Holy Qur’an: 41:41-42)
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from distortion).” (Holy Qur’an: 15:9)
It is not unlikely that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, in order to find foundations for his own opinions, had to resort to various justifications, such as the anticipation of confusion between the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, or that he recalled the manners of peoples of bygone times who dedicated all their efforts to studying the books of their doctors of laws and rabbis and left the Book of their Lord, or that he intended to be sure of the authenticity of the reports ascribed to the Holy Prophet as being within his Sunnah... etc.
Due to such justifications, `Umar ibn al-Khattab reduced the reporting of the Holy Prophet’s traditions and tightened the grip around the throat of anyone who had kept a report from the Holy Prophet.
In any case, as `Umar ibn al-Khattab prohibited the reporting and recording of the Hadith, he violated the unanimous consensus of the Muslims on the acceptability of the single-reporter narration (khabar al-wahid). He also violated the majority of the Sunnite Muslims who believe in the ultimate decency of all the Sahabah.
Moreover, he violated the rational principle of respecting the report of the trustworthy. Such being the case, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the caliph, caused a large number of the Holy Prophet’s traditions to be lost and aroused suspicions around the principles of the Islamic legislation
since the majority of the Sahabah heard, from the Holy Prophet, what many others had not heard; while the caliph’s determination decided the impermissibility of such reports unless a witness and proofs on their having been said by the Holy Prophet would be presented.
Of course, such proofs could not be presented by most of the Sahabah except in a few cases such as that of Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy, which happened by chance.
From the above, we reach the conclusion that the justifications of `Umar ibn al-Khattab for prohibiting the reporting and recordation of the Hadith have not been sufficiently convincing. We therefore have to search for other justifications, hoping that we may find a persuasive answer!
Ibn Qutaybah(1) and Ibn Hajar,(2) as well as other historians,(3) have attributed the reason for the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith to the matter that most of the Sahabah had not mastered writing.
As faced by criticism and scrutiny, this opinion has proven its inaccuracy. Further, it has been opposed by many objections and refutations, such as that of Mr. Muhammad `Ajjaj al-Khatib who says,
“Having found out that there were more than thirty clerks recording the Revelation for the Holy Prophet and many others were in charge of other clerical affairs, we cannot accede to the opinions of Ibn Qutaybah and Ibn Hajar. Also, we cannot believe in the scarcity of those who could write in that period; therefore, Ibn Hajar’s generalization is unproven.”(4)
In his book entitled al-Sunnah qabl al-Tadwin (The Holy Sunnah
before the recordation), Mr. Muhammad `Ajjaj al-Khatib says,
“In such a deep thesis, we should not submit to the traditional reasons the authors used to use for justifying the refraining form recording the Holy Sunnah. Furthermore, we cannot accept their claim that the paucity of the records of the Holy Sunnah during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime was due to the irregularity of recording in general and the small number of those who were able to write as well as the miswriting that was common at that time.
We should not accept such false claims after we have found out that there were more than thirty clerks recording the Revelation for the Holy Prophet, and many others were in charge of the other clerical affairs.
We should not also agree to the claim of the fewness of people who could write and the miswriting in that era, because we know for certain that there were proficient writers in that period, such as Zayd ibn Thabit and `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-`Ās. Supposing we accept the claim of the scarcity and unavailability of the writing tools, how could Muslims record the Holy Qur’an without difficulties?
If they had had the desire to record the Hadith, they would have easily done it in the same way as some individuals had asked the Holy Prophet’s permission to record the Hadith, and he permitted them. Therefore, there must have been other reasons… etc.”(1)
Dr. Mustafa Al-A`dhamiy has said,
“If we accept the charge that people who lived in the
time of the Holy Prophet did not master writing, how can we accept the reports telling that the Holy Qur’an was recorded in that period? We all know that the Sahabah used to record the holy verses as soon as they were revealed. What is the meaning of the Holy Prophet’s instruction, ‘Record not anything about me except the Holy Qur’an?’
Such an instruction would be unnecessary if people in that time could not write. Nevertheless, the previous report itself bears out that they used to record the Holy Qur’an as well as other things. The existence of a big number of clerks who worked for the Holy Prophet violates the aforementioned claim; and the administration of a big state, like that reigned by the Rashidite caliphs,(1) required the presence of people mastering writing, arithmetic, and similar basic sciences.
As a result, it is inescapable to admit to the fact that a big number of people, including the Sahabah themselves, could read and write in that time. Furthermore, the Holy Prophet’s educational policy brought forth its initial fruits during his lifetime, and consequently, the fruits must have increased manifold afterwards. On this account, albeit that most of people in the Holy Prophet’s time could not read and write, there were many others who could read and write and could meet the clerical requirements of that time.”(2)
Aiming at identifying a convincing reason beyond the prohibition of recording the Hadith, Mr. al-Khatib returned to some of the traditional reasons by which he fell
upon others, saying,
“The reason beyond the official prohibition of recording the Hadith during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime was not the Muslims’ having been illiterate; rather some of them could read and write and, thus, they recorded the Holy Revelations.
As a matter of fact, there were other reasons, such as the fear that the Holy Qur’an would be confused with the Hadith and that Muslims would engage themselves with the recordation of the Holy Sunnah and consequently would ignore the recording, study, and memorization of the Holy Qur’an.”(1)
Dr. `Abd al-Khaliq has fallen in the same mistake; refuting the words of Ibn Qutaybah, he says,
“The narration of Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy seems to be the basic evidence on the prohibition of recording the Hadith. However, the narration confirms that the Holy Prophet permitted the recordation of the Holy Qur’an in the same time as he prohibited the recordation of the Hadith. Providing the reason beyond the prohibition was the fear of miswriting, how did he permitted recording the Holy Qur’an?”(2)
Mr. Ma`ruf also has his own opinion,
“As a result, it has been proven that writing was not as scarce as described by al-Buladhiriy who says, in Futuh al-Buldan, that only seventeen Qurayshite men could read and write when Islam emerged, and only eleven from the tribes of al-Aws and al-Khazraj could learn from their neighbors. Since the literate persons among people of Quraysh and people of Yathrib (later al-Madinah) were as few as the aforementioned numbers, one could hardly find a single literate person
among the people of the other tribes and towns.”(1)
Ahmad Amin’s opinion has been previously cited.(2)
Dr. Subhiy al-Salih says,
“As long as the Sahabah, regarding the preservation of the Holy Sunnah, depended upon the hearts of those who had memorized it, not documents, it has been necessary to find another reason rather than the traditional ones to which everybody has referred whenever this topic is concerned.
It is impracticable to accept the claim that the reason beyond the prohibition of recording the Hadith had been the scarcity of the tools of writing during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, because such tools were not as scarce as they described.
However, they might have been one of the factors, and undoubtedly not the one and only factor, which resulted in the negligence of recording the Hadith, because such a factor had not precluded the companions of the Holy Prophet from exerting all efforts for sake of recording the Holy Qur’an entirely on rocks, leaves of date-palm trees, shoulders of animals, and other tools.
Had their psychological motives towards the recordation of the Hadith been as enthusiast and strong as the motives they had had towards the recordation of the Holy Qur’an, they would have certainly found the proper tools.
Rather, they, having followed the instructions of the Holy Prophet as well as their own desires, compiled the Hadith in a way completely different from that used in the compilation of the Holy Qur’an.”(3)
Sayyid al-Jalaliy, commenting on Ibn Hajar’s opinion, has said,
“It is very odd
that a Hadithist, a biographer, and a historian as weighty as Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalaniy had missed such an apparent fact, claiming that the reason beyond the prohibition of recording the Hadith was that people were illiterate!
By such a phrase, it is understandable that Ibn Hajar meant all the people of that time. Taking notice of such a flaw, al-Suyutiy had to put the situation in order and thus say that most of the people in that time could not read and write!”(1)
From the previous quotations and comments, we realize that the generalization of illiteracy on all of the companions of the Holy Prophet has been unsound, because it is illogical to warn an illiterate against recording! The Holy Prophet’s forged prohibition from recording the Hadith is in itself a proof on the existence of those who could read and write or, more precisely, on the actual occurrence of the recording, otherwise to warn intensely against a nonexistent thing is meaningless.
Explaining the Hadith of ‘Do not write anything from my wording except the Holy Qur'an, and anyone who has written any material must erase it,’ the reviser of the book of ‘Thabt al-Baladiy’, comments,
“The words of this Hadith proves that the Hadith was written down during the lifetime of the Holy Messenger...”(2)
Mr. Abu-Zahw says,
“There was another thing that urged the Holy Prophet to prohibit them from recording the Hadith; it was the maintenance of their talents of memorization! Had they recorded the Hadith, they would have depended upon the
records completely and neglected their capacities of memorization. With the elapse of time, such great capacities would certainly vanish.”(1)
Shaykh `Abd al-Ghaniy says,
“The Holy Prophet prohibited the recordation of the Hadith for fear that they (the Sahabah) would entirely depend upon the records and neglect the memorization, which was their nature and innate disposition and, as a result, their talents would be exposed to weakness.
Therefore, the Holy Prophet’s prohibition was dedicated to those whose memories were too strong to be affected by oblivion.”(2)
Before the above-mentioned text, Shaykh `Abd al-Ghaniy has said,
“Memorization and recording alternate in the protection of the Shari`ah, yet in most cases one faints when the other grows stronger. On this account, we can understand the causes that incited the Sahabah to urge their disciples to depend upon their memories and neglect their pens; they understood that writing would certainly weaken the talent of memorization, which was in their natures, and as a general rule, human soul always tends to whatever nourishes the nature and avoids whatever opposes or weakens it.”(3)
Dr. al-Khatib says,
“They refused that the students of Hadith would devote themselves to their records, making them the stores of their knowledge. They also did not want to violate the Sahabah in the question of the compliance with memorization and the complete dependence upon the memory, since to depend upon the records results in the weakening of the memory and the negligence of the memorization.”(4)
Commenting on the words of Shaykh `Abd al-Ghaniy, Sayyid al-Jalaliy says.
“Except its oratory purpose,
the wording is empty of any scientific or conclusive matter. Moreover, it is far away from subjectivity since the main topic of the study is the prohibition of the recording, while the wording is only agreeable to personal desires!
How can an epidemic that affects the memory or the probability of oblivion necessitate the negligence of a major source of the Islamic law, namely the Holy Sunnah, which accordingly was left without verification, documentation, or even recording?”(1)
In any event, two more points must be added to the critique of this justification:
First: It might have been acceptable if the prohibition of recording the Hadith had been issued by the Holy Prophet. In fact, the false Hadiths of the prohibition were fabricated under certain political circumstances and preceding convictions of definite individuals who insisted on narrowing the reporting and recordation of the Hadith in a restricted zone. Hence, the decision of the prohibition was neither legal nor issued by the Holy Prophet, as will be detailed later on.
Second: Supposing this justification is acceptable, it does not reveal the illegality of recording the Hadith, since to dislike depending upon the records does not indicate its illegality; rather it means to desire not to do it.
Had the process of recording been illegal, some of the Sahabah would not have recorded anything of the Hadith. It has been narrated on the authority of `Ayyad, the judge, that some of the Sahabah used to record the Hadith and that they would erase after memorizing.(2)
justification is contradictory to great extent! It is unimaginable to think that a teacher who persistently urges his pupils to learn and safeguard the items of knowledge that they would study—such a teacher will at last instruct his pupils not to record or note down the items of knowledge that they learnt! Indisputably, to record and write down the knowledge is better for preserving it than memorizing it.
An Arabic proverb says, ‘Whatever is recorded will be established, and whatever is memorized will flee.’ What is then the reason beyond the emphasis on the memorization of the Hadith, and what is the reason beyond the claim that the prohibition of recording the Hadith will protect the memory? What is the use of a memorizer’s recollection after his death? Although the angels have been more capable of memorization than man has, Almighty Allah has ordered them to record. Listen to the following holy verse:
“But verily over you (are appointed angels) to protect you; kind and honorable, writing down (your deeds).” (Holy Qur’an: 82:10-1)
It may be true that the talent of memory becomes stronger through training just like the sense of hearing for the blind, which is usually stronger than it for the endowed with eyesight, because the earlier use it as a substitute for the sight. The same thing can be said about the illiterate merchant whose memory is usually stronger than that of the literate for the same reason.
Albeit the previous fact is undeniable, it cannot be applied to the Sahabah
whom Almighty Allah has chosen for protecting and conveying the religious laws to the next generations. If the reason beyond the prohibition of the recording was to keep the Sahabah’s brilliant memories as strong as they were, we have to find appropriate interpretation for the following narration:
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy, al-Bayhaqiy, in Dala’il al-Nubuwwah, and al-Qurtubiy have narrated on the authority of authenticated series of narrators that `Abdullah ibn `Umar said,
Accordingly, we have to condemn Shaykh `Abd al-Ghaniy and Mr. Abu-Zahw as well as the other scholars who have adopted the same opinion, otherwise we have to belie Ibn al-Jawziy, al-Dhahbiy, and al-Qurtubiy as well as the other narrators of the previous report.
As a result, there must have been a reason other than the preservation of the talents of memorization. Such a reason will be exposed in the coming chapters of this book.
In the preface to Taqyid al-`Ilm, Mr. Yusuf al-`Ishsh says,
“The memories of most of people are too weak to load a whole material of a science and safeguard it from waste. Naturally the capacity of memorization is different among people; as it be strong for some people, it will surely be weak for others and, consequently, it will not always help them and keep its material forever.”(3)
Biographers have listed the names of the Sahabah who used to confuse the narrations by interfering.
The question is thus not as accurate as
conceived by some scholars.
Another point must be aroused in this regard; to accept the justifications of Shaykh `Abd al-Ghaniy and Mr. Abu-Zahw who have claimed that the Arabs enjoyed brilliant memories, we must believe that the Holy Sunnah has been dedicated to the Arabs exclusively. History has told that there were many non-Arab Sahabah who also intended to record the Holy Sunnah. Thus, how should the justifiers come back with this fact?
If it had been obligatory to memorize a thing, that thing would certainly have been the Holy Qur’an. And if the brilliant memory and the good memorization required the memorized material not be recorded, why would the memorization of the Holy Qur’an not stop against recording it, taking into consideration that many of the Sahabah did memorize the Holy Qur’an.
What is more is that the memory, which was claimed that the decision of the prohibition from reporting and recording the Hadith would maintain it, could not meet the Muslims’ need for the Holy Prophet’s traditions; therefore, Abu-Bakr ibn Abi-Quhafah, the fist caliph, stated that the Sahabah reported from the Messenger of Allah narrations about the reporting of which they had disagreed. Undoubtedly, lack of memory was one of the active reasons beyond such disagreement.
Having realized the new generation’s urgent need for the religious data and the first generation’s duty to answer, Abu-Bakr used the expression, ‘and if anyone asks you…’ in the decision of the prohibition of recording the Hadith.
In the same speech, Abu-Bakr said, ‘You are reporting about
the Messenger of Allah inconsistent narrations.’ From this statement we understand that the reason beyond the inconsistency in the secondary questions was the different reports of the Sahabah,(1) meaning that either some of them did forge lies against the Holy Prophet who, having predicted this question, said,
‘After my departure, forging lies against me will increase’;(2)
or others were exposed to oblivion, inattention, or mistake and as a result, inconsistency in the narration occurred; or the narratives were too contradictory for the well-versed in the religious laws to educe a conclusion.
Imam `Ali ibn Abi-Talib has had a nice explanation regarding the inconsistency in the reports from the Holy Prophet. Later on in this book, this explanation will be cited.
As a conclusion, in order to learn with certainty about a Hadith, one must take precautions in the adoption of a narration; but if the authenticity of a Hadith is doubted, verification must be made so as to discriminate between the forged and the sound.(3)
But, under any circumstances, it is unacceptable to issue orders of erasing and setting fire to the recorded Hadiths because of a mere, refutable probability. Such being the case, the orders would certainly cause waste and abuse, not precaution and accuracy.
In this connection, it is important to cite that there are many issues confirming the invalidity of the memorizer’s wording, such as the narrations telling the Sahabah’s reporting and accepting narrations and the narrations telling the anticipation of Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, as
well as others, from reporting the Hadith... etc.(1)
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy says,
“The following question may be cited: Why did `Umar reproach and prevent the Sahabah from reporting to the Holy Prophet as intensely as he could?
To answer, he did that so as to sustain the religion and choose the best for Muslims; he anticipated that they would pass over the acts of obedience to Almighty Allah and depend upon the outward significances of the narrations.
Not all the narrations can be understood through their seeming significances and not are their actual meanings feasible for everybody; it happens that a Hadith is reported in its general sense, while to understand it requires proficient deduction and interpretation.
On this account, `Umar anticipated that Hadiths would be misunderstood as their outer significations would be adopted. Furthermore, `Umar’s preventing the Sahabah from reporting has safeguarded the Hadith and warned the others from forgery against the Holy Sunnah.”(2)
Having quoted the aforementioned essay, Dr. Muhammad 'Ajjaj al-Khatib says,
“In addition to al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy, this opinion has been adopted by Ibn `Abd al-Barr and many other master scholars. I myself, too, adopt the same opinion.”(3)
Many questions can be aroused against the aforementioned opinion:
Did `Umar ibn al-Khattab care for the religion more than the Holy Prophet?
What was the meaning of such care for the religion while the Holy Prophet answered him who asked his permission to record the Hadith, ‘Feel free to report,’ and ‘Feel free to record?’
Why did the grand Sahabah, such as Abu-Dharr al-Ghifariy about whom the
Holy Prophet said, ‘Neither the blue sky nor has the dingy earth ever shaded or carried a speaking creature that is more honest than Abu-Dharr,’(1) Ibn Mas`ud and many others—did they not care for the religion in the same degree as `Umar did?
All the incidents of `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s prohibiting the reporting and recordation of the Hadith as well as his arresting of some of the Sahabah, such as Abu-Dharr, Ibn Mas`ud, Abu-Mas`ud and others—all these incidents proves obviously the forgery of the narrations about the Holy Prophet’s having prohibited the reporting and recordation of the Hadith that were ascribed to those Sahabah.
It is illogic that the same Sahabah whom `Umar ibn al-Khattab, as proven by authenticated reports, put under house arrest in al-Madinah because they did not stop reporting to the Holy Prophet, had reported from the Holy Prophet that he prohibited the reporting and recordation of the Hadith.
Had they really heard the Holy Prophet prohibiting the reporting and recording, they would certainly have never reported a single word from him! Likewise, had they reported the decision of the prohibition, `Umar would not have had to gather them to warn against reporting the Hadith.
Moreover, by this justification, `Umar actually poured scorn on the Sahabah and belied Ibn Hajar’s claim that all of them are, divinely, saved from forgery, error, inattention, suspicious, and arrogance!
If the Sahabah recorded the Hadith little by little and out of their own desires, how would it be permissible for `Umar to violate their deeds? If
not, how would it be permissible for him to bring to him all their records? This is sufficient evidence on the permissibility to record the Hadith during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime.
How can one imagine that the Holy Prophet did prohibit people from reporting and recording his sayings that comprise clear messages for mankind whereas he had said,
‘May Allah have mercy upon anyone who listens to my saying, understands it, and then conveys it to others.’(1)
The strangest matter in this regard is the claim that the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith is considered maintenance for the religion, while the objection to the decision of the prohibition is in fact the actual maintenance of the religion, because the prohibition causes the loss of many religious rulings as well as the waste of Almighty Allah’s judgments, while the reporting and recordation of the Hadith, although making the Hadith exposed to errors and other discommended things, will surely yield advantageous results for Muslims who, without the Hadith, will plunge in ignorance and lack understanding of the religious laws.
Even if we condescendingly accept that `Umar’s care for the religion incited him to prohibit recording the Sunnah, we will be faced by the problem of `Umar’s repetitive precipitancy in assuming inaccurate situations throughout his life whether before or after Islam.(2)
Such precipitancy does not comport with his apprehension that ‘they –the Muslims- would pass over the acts of obedience to Almighty Allah and depend upon the outward significances of the narrations,’ in the words of
al-Khatib, because `Umar ibn al-Khattab was known of impetuosity and recklessness; therefore, he used to rash in many situations and then feel sorry.
On many occasions, he felt sorry for previous actions, such as the issue of al-Hudaybiyah Truce,(1) and that when the Holy Prophet offered prayer for (the dead body of) a hypocrite,(2) and that of the prisoners of the Battle of Badr.
For instance, the Holy Prophet, once, was urging al-Hakam ibn Kaysan, who had been presented before him as prisoner, to embrace Islam; but when that took a long time, `Umar intruded saying, ‘O Allah’s Messenger: what for are you talking to this man? He will never become Muslim! I swear it by Allah! Let me behead him so that he will go straightly to Hell!’ Being indifference to `Umar’s statements, the Holy Prophet kept up urging al-Hakam until he embraced Islam.
Commenting on the incident, `Umar said,
“As I saw al-Hakam embrace Islam and become a pious Muslim, I felt sorry for what I had said. I then said to myself, ‘How could I drive myself in a matter about which the Holy Prophet is more knowledgeable than I am! However, I only wanted to provide an advice for sake of Allah and His messenger!
Al-Hakam acted as a pious Muslim and fought for the sake of Allah until he was martyred in the battle of Bi’r Ma’unah; hence, he was honored by the satisfaction of the Holy Prophet and, naturally, Paradise will be his abode.”(3)
Even during the reign of
Abu-Bakr, `Umar had similar injudicious situations; once, a group of the inclined for Islam (al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum)(1) came to and showed him a document in which Abu-Bakr had ordered for them to receive their shares from the alms, but `Umar refused, tore that paper into pieces, spit on it, and threw it at their faces. Having become furious, they returned to Abu-Bakr and asked, ‘Which one of you is the caliph (ruler)? Is it he or you?’ Abu-Bakr answered, ‘He is, if he wants!’(2)
During his reign, `Umar’s injudicious decisions increased; he once exiled Nasr ibn Hajjaj because his wife raised her voice in his face,(3) legalized a divorce that was said three times on the same occasion,(4) and decided to strip the gold of the Holy Masjid, but the Sahabah rejected,(5)… etc.
From the previous, we conclude that `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s conduct does not support the claim that he had prohibited the reporting and recordation of the Hadith for his care for the religion, since rashness and baseless decision are completely the opposite of precaution and concentration.
Another question must also be cited: What about the other Sahabah who objected to the decision of the prohibition and did report and record the Hadith? Did they not care for the religion? Or did they understand that the carefulness for the religion lied in the opposition of `Umar’s viewpoints? How is it acceptable to claim that `Umar cared for the religion and, thus, issued the decision of the prohibition, while the Sahabah advised him to
record the Holy Sunnah?
Neglecting the Sahabah’s opinions, `Umar followed his own view, set fire to the records of the Holy Sunnah, and prohibited the reporting and recordation of the Hadith. As a result, `Umar’s violation of the congruity of the Sahabah has become care for the religion!
The actual care for the religion is to accept and implement the Sahabah’s advice because Almighty Allah has said,
‘…And their rule is to take counsel among themselves, (Holy Qur’an: 42:38)’
and `Umar himself believed in the principal of Shura (taking counsel); therefore, the violation of the Sahabah’s advice is the actual breach of the carefulness for the religion and infringement of the principle of Shura that was strongly adopted by `Umar ibn al-Khattab himself.
From the previous discussions, we can obviously see the weakness of the justifications of al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy and Ibn `Abd al-Barr whose opinions collapsed in the presence of logical critiques. Let us now refer to another justification, hoping we will find a solution for our problem.
Springer, a German Orientalist, says,
“Not only did `Umar al-Faruq aim at educating the Bedouin Arabs, but also he wished to save their courage and strong religious belief so that they would be the rulers of the world. Writing and expansion of knowledge were not compatible with this aim.”(1)
Springer’s previous text reveals that the author intended to take advantage of `Umar’s decision of the prohibition of recording the Hadith so as to expose that the spread of Islam depended upon an illiterate power, and that neither
writing nor was the expansion of knowledge compatible, in `Umar’s conception, with the Bedouin courage and `Umar’s combative spirituality. If truth be told, Orientalists, all the time, used to disperse false and unproven claims and delusions in their essays, such as the aforementioned one.
Another Orientalist, namely, G. Schacht, has claimed the nonexistence of even a single authenticated Hadith about the Islamic jurisprudence since all of the available ones were invented after the demise of the Holy Prophet for pure religious interests!(1)
Moreover, Goldtzeher exceeds the limits when he claims that all the narrations regarding the recordings were invented and that all the compilations of Hadith that belong to the first age of Islam were fabricated.(2)
However, he has issued many such baseless opinions. Muslim authors, too, have adopted such opinions. Isma’il ibn Ad-ham, in his thesis published in AH 1353, claims that all the authenticated Hadiths do not rely upon firm fundamentals and principles; rather they are doubtful and clearly shown as invented.(3)
For more details about the unsubstantiated opinions of the Orientalists and their answers, we refer the gentle reader to Dr. Muhammad Mustafa Al-A`dhamiy’s book entitled Dirasatun fi’l-Hadith al-Nubawiy (Studies about the Holy Hadith) and Muhammad Abu-Zahw’s book of al-Hadith wa’l-Muhaddithun (The Hadith and Hadithists), as well as many other books comprising refutations of these sayings and fabrications, where this topic is discussed thoroughly. In this place, we see that to shun such unfounded vanities is the best thing to select.
Most of the Shi`ite Muslims believe that
the prohibition of the recordation and reporting of the Hadith was aimed at stopping the narrations regarding the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt, since the adopters of the decision were afraid of the spread of the Holy Prophet’s sayings about the merits(1) and Imamate(2) of Imam `Ali and his descendants.
The decision was applied more intensely during the reign of Mu`awiyah, the first Umayyad ruler, who used to order people to curse Imam `Ali during the ritual Friday Sermons from the Muslims’ minbars.(3)
This opinion has been also concluded from the reality of the ummah after the Holy Prophet as well as the political and social structure of the caliphate; the cultural act was not unfamiliar to the political act and the caliphs exerted all their efforts to keep the Ahl al-Bayt as far as possible from the new system of the Islamic State (namely, System of Caliphate) and, furthermore, they disrobed the Holy Prophet’s Family from any rest they would rely upon; consequently, it is not strange to say that `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s decision of the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith was issued for this very purpose, nothing else.
Some authors have recorded `Umar’s statements that were quoted from al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy in the following narration:
It has been narrated on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Aswad on the authority of his father that `Alqamah once brought a book from Makkah (or Yemen) comprising Hadiths about the Ahl al-Bayt. We then visited `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud and gave him that book.
He asked his bondmaid to fetch him a washtub filled with water. We asked him to read that book since it contained great Hadiths, but he put the book in the water reciting (Almighty Allah’s saying),
‘We narrate to you the best of narratives, by Our revealing to you this Qur’an. (Holy Qur’an: 12:3)’
He then said, ‘Hearts are like bowls. You should thus fill in them with the Qur’an, nothing else.’(1)
From the previous narration, the adopters of this opinion have concluded `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s deviation from the line of the Ahl al-Bayt, which is consequently regarded as deviation from the line of Imam `Ali,(2) or that his indifference to the topic and tearing of the book were aimed at deluding the people that the Holy Qur’an is sufficing for anything else.(3)
As a result, such acts have been seen as attempts to eradicate the evidences on the Imamate of the Ahl al-Bayt, which was the one and only purpose behind the issuance of the decision of prohibiting recording and reporting the Hadith.(4)
(1) Reference books of Hadith have proven that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud encouraged the reporting and recordation of the Hadith; therefore, he was summoned to al-Madinah during the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab and was arrested there to the last of `Umar’s reign. Confirming this claim, we cite the following narrations:
It has been narrated that `Amr ibn Maymun said, “I have always been present before `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud on every Thursday night and he was always reporting the Hadith
of the Holy Prophet.”(1)
It has been narrated that `Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr said, I asked my father, “Why have I never heard you reporting the Hadith of the Holy Prophet as Ibn Mas`ud and others do?”(2)
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Qulabah that Ibn Mas`ud said, “Persist in knowledge before it is removed. Its removal stands for the departure of its bearers. You do not know at which time you will need knowledge. You will also find some peoples claiming that they are encouraging you to abide by the Book of Allah while they have, in fact, flung it behind their backs.”(3)
Ma`an also narrated that `Abd al-Rahman ibn Mas`ud took out a book (copy of the Holy Qur’an) and sworn that it had been handwritten by his father personally.(4)
In Sahih al-Bukhariy,(5) the chapter regarding the recitations of the Holy Qur’an, there is an indication to the existence of a copy of the Holy Qur’an found with or handwritten by Ibn Mas`ud. His disciples were reported to have traveled for sake of seeking and recording knowledge.
In this regard, al-Shi`biy said, “As much as I know, none was more active in seeking knowledge than Masruq in all countries. The disciples of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud who used to teach people knowledge in general and the Holy Qur’an in particular were `Alqamah, Masruq and… etc.”(6)
Ibn `Ayyash was reported to have said that he had heard al-Mughirah saying, “The only ones who used to report `Ali’s narrations as authentic as they were except
the disciples of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud.”(1)
`Alqamah, who was known of his love for Imam `Ali, was one of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s disciples.
According to al-Fasawiy’s book of history (al-Tarikh), one of the grandsons of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud showed Ma`an a copy of the Holy Qur’an that had been handwritten by his father, `Abd al-Rahman, comprising Hadiths and religious verdicts issued by `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud.(2)
On the authority of him, al-Tabaraniy narrated that `Āmir ibn `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud had handwritten some Hadiths as well as the religious verdicts issued by `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud and sent them to Yahya ibn Abi-Kathir.(3)
In addition to the previous narrations, what has been said about `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud who was one of the foremost six Sahabah who hurried to accept Islam; about whom the Holy Prophet said, ‘You are certainly a skilled boy,’(4) and ‘If you desire to listen to the Qur’an as fresh as it is, you should listen to him from the mouth of Ibn Ummi-`Abd (`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud)’(5) and whom `Umar ibn al-Khattab sent to al-Kufah for teaching the people there the issues of the religion—all these matters, if considered deliberately, prove that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud enjoyed the clearest Islamic view and education. He insisted on teaching people the Holy Qur’an as accurately as he had heard from the Holy Prophet until `Uthman ibn `Affan broke one of his ribs.(6)
As a result, any reports narrating that an individual enjoying such characteristics supported the prohibition of recording the Hadith must be carefully and deliberately scrutinized.
could not put our hands on the other part of `Alqamah’s narration that has been quoted by al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy from Ibn Sallam’s Gharib al-Hadith where he mentioned that the Hadiths were about the Ahl al-Bayt.(1) This narration also opposes other reports that narrate `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s being one of the twelve individuals who disapproved of Abu-Bakr’s having seized the position of leadership saying,
“O People of Quraysh: Your chiefs and you have known for sure that his Household (Ahl al-Bayt) are closer to the Holy Prophet than you are. If you claim that you are the most rightful in holding this position for your kinship to the Holy Prophet or claim your being the foremost, his Household are, of course, closer to him than you are and more advanced than you are. You should then avoid turning on your backs for then you will turn back losers.”(2)
According to al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah and other reference books of Hadith, Abu-Musa (al-Ash`ariy) said:
“When my brother and I came (to al-Madinah) from the Yemen, we though that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud had been one of the family members of the Holy Prophet for we used to see his mother and him always visiting the Holy Prophet.”(5)
`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud also quoted the Holy Prophet as saying,
“The leaders (caliphs) coming after me will be twelve in number, which is the
number of the Israelite Chieftains.”(1)
Al-Khazzaz, in Kifayat al-Athar, has quoted `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud as saying,
“I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: The Imams to come after me will be twelve in number. Nine of them are from the offspring of al-Husayn and the ninth of them is (their) al-Mahdi.”(2)
On the authority of Masruq, Ahmad (ibn Hanbal) narrated the following:
“We were accompanying `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud in the Masjid when a person asked him, ‘Did your Prophet inform you about the number of his successors?’ ‘Yes,’ answered `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, ‘Their number is the same as the number of the Israelite Chieftains.’”(3)
The following narration is quoted from al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah:
“The Holy Prophet said: The number of the caliphs to come after me will be as same as the number of the Disciples of Prophet Moses.”(4)
Al-Hakim al-Nisapuriy has recorded the following on the authority of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud:
“One time, we visited the Holy Prophet who received us with great pleasure due to which he answered all our questions and, moreover, had informed us of things before we asked him. This situation lasted until some Hashemite youngsters, among whom were al-Hasan and al-Husayn, passed by us.
Having seen them, the Holy Prophet kept silent as his eyes shed tears. ‘O Allah’s Messenger,’ said we, ‘Your face is showing a scene that we dislike.’ He answered, ‘Almighty Allah has chosen for us, the Ahl al-Bayt, the Hereafter to this world.
Verily after me, my Household shall have to encounter expulsion and displacement until black standards will
be raised from the East, and their bearers will demand with the right but they will be denied. Again, they will demand with it but they will also be denied and then they will be fought and victory will be given to them…”(1)
Al-Hakim al-Nisapuriy, also, has quoted `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud as saying,
“The Messenger of Allah said: Fatimah has verily guarded her chastity; therefore, Almighty Allah has forbidden Hellfire to consume her progeny.(2)
The Messenger of Allah also said,
To look at `Ali’s face is an act of worship.”(3)
`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud was the narrator of the Holy Prophet’s famous saying about Imam `Ali when proceeded to fight `Amr ibn `Abd-Wudd (during the Battle of Khandaq):
“The whole faith is now facing the whole polytheism.”(4)
He also narrated the Holy Prophet’s saying,
“Anyone who declares that he believes in me and in that which I have brought but he, meanwhile, dislikes `Ali is actually liar, not believer.”(5)
In addition, he reported that the Holy Prophet handed the standard of the Muhajirun(6) to Imam `Ali during the Battle of Uhud.(7) He also reported that when the Holy Prophet was asked about `Ali’s position to him, he said,
“`Ali’s position to me is as same as my position to Almighty Allah.”(8)
Moreover, he reported many Hadiths praising `Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. He was quoted to have said,
“In the age of the Holy Prophet, the only means through which we used to recognize the hypocrites was their having hated `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.”(9)
“Wisdom has been divided into ten parts; nine parts are given
to `Ali while the people’s share is one part only. Yet, `Ali is more knowledgeable than they are on the subject of this part.”(1)
“The Holy Qur'an was revealed in seven characters of knowledge each of which has a definite explicit and implicit signification. `Ali ibn Abi-Talib has for sure known all the explicit and the implicit indications of each of these characters.”(2)
“I have learned seventy Surahs of the Holy Qur'an at the hands of the Messenger of Allah and learnt the rest at the hands of the best people—`Ali ibn Abi-Talib.”(3)
Al-A`mash has narrated on the authority of Abu-`Amr al-Shaybaniy that Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy said,
“Whenever I saw `Abdullah (ibn Mas`ud), I thought of him as the slave of the family of Muhammad.”(4)
It is also well known that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud issued the verdict that seeking Allah’s blessings for Muhammad and the Family of Muhammad(5) during the Tashahhud is obligatory.(6) It has been recorded in Qadi (Judge) `Ayyad’s al-Shifa that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud reported the Holy Prophet as saying,
“A prayer in which seeking Allah’s blessings for my family (the Ahl al-Bayt) and me is not mentioned will not be admitted.”(7)
In order to avoid lengthiness, the aforementioned citations are sufficient if they are considered properly. What is more is that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud is well-known to have disagreed with `Uthman ibn `Affan on more than one situation and about more than one issue.
In spite of the pressure that he had to encounter because of the policies of the ruling authorities, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud
used to declare whatever he had heard from the Messenger of Allah. So long as these reports are authentic, the words of al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy quoted from `Alqamah must be seen as suspicious.
Nevertheless, if al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy’s words are accepted as true, we will face the problem of the authentic narrations that reported `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud as having been one of the few men who were permitted to participate in the funeral ceremonies of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra’ and offer the Deceased Prayer (Salat al-Mayyit) for her.
We all know for certain that the permission of attending the burial of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra’ was given exclusively to the choicest of the Shi`ite Muslims and the superior disciples of Imam `Ali. If we give credence to the aforementioned narrations that report `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s having been loyal to the Ahl al-Bayt, we must not believe the claims that he erased the Hadiths revealing their merits. In al-Khisal and al-Amaliy, Shaykh al-Saduq has recorded that Imam `Ali said,
“The earth was created for seven individuals in favor of whom (the other) peoples are given their sustenance, bestowed with rain, and given victory (over their enemies). They were permitted to offer the Deceased Prayer for Lady Fatimah—peace be upon her. One of them was `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud.”(1)
Moreover, he was one of those who offered the Deceased Prayer for Abu-Dharr and witnessed the ceremonies of bathing, coffining, and burying his body. On the grounds of the authenticated narration that quotes the Holy Prophet as saying, “Abu-Dharr’s funeral will be
All the previous statements demonstrate the grandeur and standing of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud about whom Sharif al-Murtada, in his book entitled al-Shafi, says,
“Consensually, the ummah has confirmed the purity, virtuousness, and faithfulness of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud whom was praised and honored by the Messenger of Allah and who persisted on his praised characteristics until he died.”(3)
Supposing al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy’s narration was true, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud probably warned against some myths that were included in such Hadiths. As evidence, the narrator added that Ibn Mas`ud erased such narrations with his hand while he recited (Almighty Allah’s saying),
‘We narrate unto thee (Muhammad) the best of narratives. (Holy Qur’an 13:3)’(4)
Supporting this probability, it has been narrated that a Syrian man carrying a paper on which several statements and myths of Abu’l-Darda’ were written brought it to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud and asked him to evaluate the texts therein. He took the paper and read it. He then came to his house and asked his bondmaid to bring him a vessel full on water. When she did, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud rubbed the inscriptions out while reciting Almighty Allah’s saying,
“Alif. Lam. Ra. These are verse of the Scripture that maketh plain. Lo! We have revealed it, a Lecture in Arabic, that ye may understand. We narrate unto thee (Muhammad) the best of narratives in that We have inspired
in thee this Qur'an, though aforetime thou wast of the heedless. (Holy Qur’an: 13:1-3)”
He then added twice, Do you expect to find accounts better than those of Almighty Allah?”(1)
The previous report can have two probabilities:
a) Ibn Mas`ud might have erased that paper for it comprised Hadiths indicating the virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt. This opinion is carried by the scholars under the seventh reason.
b) Ibn Mas`ud mighty have erased that paper for it comprised some fables since he knew that Abu’l-Darda' and Ka`b al-Ahbar had not cared to narrate the fables of the ancient nations that are related to the Islamic beliefs. Besides, he justified his action by reciting the holy verse,
‘We narrate unto thee (Muhammad) the best of narratives. (Holy Qur’an: 13:3)’
Experts have regarded such fables and sermons as one of the twelve or sixteen reasons beyond forging lies against the Hadiths.(2)
It is thus probable that Ibn Mas`ud, having noticed such fables fabricated against the Ahl al-Bayt, erased them because he would not accept such lies to be forged against the Ahl al-Bayt. On this account, to decide the first justification as the true and the main reason beyond Ibn Mas`ud’s erasing these papers is unambiguously beyond limits.
Inasmuch as `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud is intended, it seems necessary to mention that some people criticized him for he, like some of the Sahabah, had issued personal opinions. This is in fact not untrue; since Ibn Mas`ud was a religious authority, he must have issued some verdicts depending upon certain
narrations that, in his conception, were the truest or acting upon his conclusions or inference.
This situation can be noticed with the Tabi`un or their followers, such as Abu-Hanifah, Sufyan al-Thawriy, al-Hasan al-Basriy, and other scholars who issued personal verdicts. Yet, the situations of these scholars did not mean that they intended to keep pace with the ruling authorities, since not all of their opinions agreed with the regulations of the ruling regime.(1)
Nevertheless, unlike al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, `Ammar ibn Yasir, and Abu-Dharr, as well as other Sahabah and Tabi’un who believed in the religious opinions and course of Imam `Ali as being a true copy of the Holy Prophet’s Sunnah, the aforementioned scholars had their own principles and bases that have created such variety of opinions.
This is on the assumption of compromise. Yet, the reality is that if we consider the jurisprudential aspect of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud objectively, it becomes unfeasible to throw him in the side of the Opinionists who depended upon their personal views.
For instance, when some people referred to him in a religious question more than once, he used to answer them each time that he had not been acquaintanted with the answer. Had it not that the obligation of issuing religious verdicts was individual for him (because of the absence of any other individuals authorized enough for issuing religious verdicts), he would not have issued such a verdict.
In this connection, Ahmad ibn Hanbal has narrated that the following question was put before `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud:
A man died before he consummated his wife for whom he had not nominated a dowry. After they had referred to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud in this question for about a whole month, they finally forced him to issue any verdict.
He thus said, “I decided that this woman’s dowry should be as much as the dowry of ordinary women without addition or reduction and that she is worthy of her share of inheritance and she must observe the ritual waiting period of widows. If this judgment is true, it is then due to the guidance of Almighty Allah; and if it is incorrect, it is then due to my own fault as well as Satan’s seduction.
Yet, Almighty Allah and His Messengers are released from such a flaw.” A group of people, from the tribe of Ashja`, among whom were al-Jarrah and Abu-Sinan stood up and said, “We do witness that the Messenger of Allah issued this very judgment as regards the case of one of our women named Buru` bint Washiq.” On hearing this, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud became terribly delighted as he noticed that his judgment had agreed with the Holy Prophet’s.(1)
On the contrary of the claims of Ibn Shadhan, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud did not follow, support, incline to, or repeat the same words of the party who violated the Holy Prophet’s instruction regarding the divinely commissioned leadership of Imam `Ali.(2) According to reliable books of Hadith, Imam `Ali, having been asked about `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, said,
“He learnt the Holy
Qur'an and Sunnah and stopped. This is in fact the utmost knowledge.”(1)
“He has studied the Holy Qur'an and thus followed its instructions and refrained from doing what is deemed unlawful therein. He is expert in the religion and authority in the Sunnah.”(2)
If truth be told, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s virtues that have been recorded in the books of the other sects are more than these mentioned in the Shi`ite books. Yet, everybody testifies his great personality and high reputation.
As a result, the words of al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy and the facts adopted by some of the Shi`ite scholars so as to prove that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud had torn and erased some papers that comprised Hadiths about the virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt cannot be taken as irrefutable evidences because
(1) the statement ‘Hadiths regarding the Ahl al-Bayt’ does not necessarily refer to words of praising them; therefore, it is probable that Ibn Mas`ud erased such papers because they contained words of exaggeration about or condemnation against the Ahl al-Bayt, and the latter probability agrees with our aforementioned statements about the life account of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud who used to report the Holy Prophet’s words of praise about the Ahl al-Bayt, and
(2) the claim that the prohibition of recording the Hadith was intended to eradicate the virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt and the evidences on their Imamate—such a claim does not agree with Abu-Bakr and `Umar’s general prohibition of recording the Hadith since the evidence is more specific than the claim. In other words, Abu-Bakr
and `Umar ibn Al-Khattab issued a general decision of preventing from recording any Hadith.
The earlier prohibited reporting the Hadith and called for referring to the Qur'an exclusively after he had set to fire his five hundred recorded Hadiths. The latter ordered everyone who had kept such papers of Hadith to bring them to him so that ‘he would take up the most appropriate.’
Had their one and only purpose beyond the decision of the prohibition been to erase the virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt and the evidences on their Imamate, Abu-Bakr could have erased, among the five hundred Hadiths that he had kept, the ones that he had not liked and kept the others.
Similarly, `Umar would have erased such narrations only and kept up the others in a definite book and then ordered people to conclude the religious precepts from that book. He would also have forwarded the Hadiths of the exegesis of the Holy Qur'an, morals, virtues, sermons, instructions, and the like to definite preachers whom he trusted so that he would conceal his main purpose beyond the prohibition of recording the Hadith from the Muslims by creating a confusion between what is right and what is wrong!
In addition, the justification that `Umar prohibited the recordation of the Hadith in order to eradicate the Hadiths regarding the virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt denotes that `Umar was not brave enough to prevent spreading the Hadiths indicating the virtues of Imam `Ali and the Ahl al-Bayt and he therefore
had to declare a general prohibition of recording the Hadith so as to achieve his aim and avoid the consequences of a decision preventing the spread of the Hadiths indicating the virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Nevertheless, everybody knows that `Umar was so severe and harsh-hearted that he feared nobody at all. History has proven that he attacked those who protected themselves in Lady Fatimah al-Zahra'’s house because they had not accepted the leadership of Abu-Bakr.
Among those persons were Imam `Ali, al-`Abbas, al-Fadl ibn al-`Abbas, al-Zubayr, Khalid ibn Sa`id, al-Miqdad, Salman, Abu-Dharr, `Ammar, al-Barra’ ibn `Āzib, Ubayy ibn Ka`b,(1) Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas and Talhah ibn ‘Ubaydullah.
All the same, `Umar carried a torch of fire to set it to the house while they were therein. Lady Fatimah faced him and said surprisingly, “Son of Al-Khattab! Have you come to set our house on fire?” “I will do it unless you follow what people have followed,” answered `Umar.(2)
According to Kanz al-`Ummal, `Umar said to Lady Fatimah, “Although I know for sure that you were the most beloved to your father and the most beloved to us after your father, this will not stop me from setting the door of your house on fire while you are in as long as those people are gathering therein.”(3)
According to al-Imamah wa’l-Siyasah, after the group who gathered in Imam `Ali’s house refused to respond to `Umar and come out, he ordered his followers to bring him firewood saying, “I swear to Him Who prevails on
my soul that if you do not come out right now, I will certainly set this house and its inhabitants on fire.” Some of the attendants warned him that Fatimah was there in the house, but he answered, “So what!”(1)
According to Ansab al-Ashraf, when `Ali refused to swear allegiance to Abu-Bakr after he had invited him to it, `Umar, carrying a torch of fire, came to his house. Facing him, Lady Fatimah said, “Son of al-Khattab: Do you intend to set the door of my house on fire?” “Yes, I do,” answered `Umar, “This will be stronger in what your father has carried.”(2)
The previous narrations and their likes that confirm `Umar’s coarseness and impudence in presenting his opinions make it unlikely to believe that he prohibited the compilation of Hadiths for nothing other than erasing the texts that manifest the Ahl al-Bayt’s merits and prove their divinely commissioned leadership.
Had `Umar wanted this, he would not have feared anything or anybody, he would not have anticipated the Sahabah’s misgiving, and he would not have stopped for fear of the consequences; rather he would have shown the red lines of this decision in the very same way as he had done when he openly and bravely declared,
“Two issues were allowed during the age of Allah’s Messenger, but now I deem them forbidden and will punish anyone who violates this prohibition. These are the temporary marriage and the allowable period during the Hajj (mut`at al-Hajj).”(3)
Thus, the questions of the seizure of Imam
`Ali’s divine position of leadership, the usurpation of Fadak, the transgression against Lady Fatimah al-Zahra', forcing Imam `Ali to swear allegiance to Abu-Bakr, and many other behaviors—all these questions are different from the purpose beyond the question of prohibiting recording and compiling the Hadith.
It has been proven that Abu-Bakr and `Umar narrated numerous Hadiths concerning the virtues of Imam `Ali in specific and the Ahl al-Bayt in general. Muhibb al-Din al-Tabariy, for instance, has dedicated a chapter of his book to the narrations that Abu-Bakr reported from the Holy Prophet about the merits of Imam `Ali, such as the Hadiths:
‘Looking at `Ali’s face is a sort of worship.’
‘The palms of both the Holy Prophet and Imam `Ali were even.’
‘The Holy Prophet once gathered `Ali’s sons under the same tent under which he was sitting.’
‘Imam `Ali’s position to the Holy Prophet is as same as the Holy Prophet’s position to his Lord.’
‘On the Resurrection Day, nobody will be permitted to pass the Path (Sirat) before he obtains a license written by Imam `Ali.’
‘The Holy Prophet declared that Imam `Ali was the closest to him.’
As well as his reference to Imam `Ali when he was asked about the features of the Holy Prophet.(1)
In al-Mustadrak `Ala’l-Sahihayn (The Narrations Subjoined to al-Bukhariy and Sahih Muslim), we read that `Umar ibn al-Khattab said,
“`Ali ibn Abi-Talib has been given three characteristics which I would prefer to the best kind of camels if I was given only one of them… (1) he married Fatimah, daughter of the
Messenger of Allah, (2) he was the only one to be permitted to live in the Masjid with the Holy Prophet and (3) he was given the standard (i.e. the commandment of the army) in the war of Khaybar.”(1)
Through authentic reports, it has been proven that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, during his reign, used to ask and adopt the rulings issued by Imam `Ali. Al-Khawarzmiy, in al-Manaqib, has recorded the following:
When two men asked him about the rulings of the divorcement of bondmaids, `Umar turned to a bald man to his side and asked the same question. As he received the answer from the man, `Umar said it to the two men verbally. Wondering at `Umar, the two men asked, “We asked you because you are the caliph! But you referred to a man to take the answer from him!” “Woe to you,” said `Umar,
“Do you know who the man to whom I referred the question is? He is `Ali ibn Abi-Talib! I have heard the Messenger of Allah saying: If the heavens and the earth are put in one scale of a balance and the faith of `Ali is put in the other, the faith of `Ali will certainly exceed in weight.”(2)
In addition, `Umar is quoted to have said,
“`Ali is the most experienced of us in the field of judicature,”(3)
“Without `Ali, `Umar would have perished”(4)
“May Allah take my soul before I face a problem while Abu’l-Hasan (Imam `Ali) is not present.”(5)
Tarikh Dimashq reads that `Umar narrated the Holy Prophet’s saying,
position to me is same as (Prophet) Aaron’s position to (Prophet) Moses; yet, no Prophet is to come after me.”(1)
“`Ali: You are the first to embrace Islam and the first to believe (in my Mission).”(2)
Al-Bukhariy has recorded that `Umar ibn al-Khattab said,
“When the Holy Prophet departed life, he was pleased with `Ali.”(3)
Muhibb al-Din al-Tabariy has also dedicated a chapter to the Hadiths that `Umar narrated concerning the merits of Imam `Ali, such as, ‘the commandment of the Muslim army was given to `Ali during the war of Khaybar,’ ‘`Ali has had three characteristics I wish I had only one of them,’ ‘`Ali’s position to the Holy Prophet is as same as Aaron’s to Moses,’ ‘`Ali’s faith is overweighing the heavens and the earth,’ ‘the Holy Prophet said that `Ali must be the leader of him whoever had taken the Holy Prophet as his leader,’ ‘the Holy Prophet said that he would send `Ali for definite honorable acts and `Umar expressed his wish to have leadership at that situation,’ `Umar said to `Ali: You have become my master and the master of every male and female Muslim,’ ‘
`Ali is the master of everyone who has regarded the Holy Prophet as his master,’ ‘`Umar declared `Ali as his master,’ ‘referring the religious questions to `Ali more than once,’ ‘`Ali’s being the most experienced in the Islamic judicature’ and ‘depending upon `Ali’s opinions in many questions.’(4)
It has been also proven that the Sahabah used to narrate the merits of Imam `Ali during the
reigns of Abu-Bakr and `Umar. On the authority of `Uqab ibn Tha`labah, al-Hakim al-Nisapuriy has recorded that during the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Abu-Ayyub al-Ansariy narrated that the Holy Prophet ordered `Ali ibn Abi-Talib to fight against the breachers (those who breached their swearing of allegiance to Imam `Ali’s leadership), the violators (those who rebelled and waged war against the army of Imam `Ali) and the apostates (the Khawarij who invented their own beliefs and apostatized from the Islamic beliefs).(1)
Had it been true that Abu-Bakr and `Umar prohibited reporting and recording the Hadith only for purpose of eradicating the merits of and the evidences on the divinely commissioned leadership of the Ahl al-Bayt since such Hadiths formed a source of challenge against the ruling authorities and their policies—had this been the only reason beyond the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith, the numerous Hadiths mentioned in the Sahih books (Sunnite reference books of Hadith) concerning the divinely commissioned leadership of the Holy Imams would not have reached us.
Examples on such Hadiths are the Holy Prophet’s sayings ‘`Ali is with the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Qur'an is with `Ali,’(2) ‘I am leaving amongst you the two weighty (precious) things—the Holy Qur'an and my Household; Ahl al-Bayt,’(3) ‘the example of Ahl al-Bayt is Noah’s Ark; anyone who embarks on it will be certainly saved while those who abstain will certainly fall and drown’(4) and ‘`Ali must be the master of him whoever has regarded me (i.e. the Holy Prophet)
as his master’(1) in addition to many similar narrations.
To be reasonable, we have to say that although Abu-Bakr and `Umar reported Hadiths concerning the merits of and the evidences on the Ahl-Bayt’s divinely commissioned leadership (Imamate), they were extremely cautious of the explanations and discussions about the matter of choosing Imam `Ali for the leadership of the Islamic community or the existence of a number of Sahabah supporting the necessity of the pure commitment to the divine commandments and violating the personal opinions and inferences regarding the religious issues.
Abu-Bakr and `Umar, though they did not take strict procedures in the field of reporting the merits alone, did not like the spread of the Hadiths that injured their caliphate. In this regard, Abu-Bakr attempted to take the publics away from discussing the affairs of the leadership and from reporting the Holy Prophet’s sayings about the merits of Imam `Ali ibn Abi-Talib and his most worthiness of holding this position.
This is because to explain, display, and divulge the dimensions of the Hadiths indicating the leadership and Imamate of Imam `Ali would be the main factor that terrifies the ruling authorities, not mere reporting from the Holy Prophet. From this cause, Abu-Bakr warned against such sort of display and divulgence.
Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman ibn Yahya al-Mu`allimiy al-Yamaniy says,
“As regards the origin of the incompletely transmitted narration of Ibn Abi-Mulaykah, it derives its significance from the fact that it followed the decease of the Holy Prophet and was related to the affair of the
It shows that the people, after having paid homage to Abu-Bakr as the successor of the Holy Prophet, disputed among them; some of them claimed that Abu-Bakr was worthy of the position because the Holy Prophet said to him so-and-so, while others claimed another ones’ having been the worthiest for the Holy Prophet had said about them so-and-so... etc. To avoid such, Abu-Bakr, willingly, decided to take them away from such disputes.”(1)
`Umar criticized and threatened `Abdullah ibn `Abbas for he used to defend earnestly the divinely commissioned leadership of Imam `Ali. Having heard Ibn `Abbas’s opinion on the caliphate and the worthiness of Imam `Ali in the position of leadership, `Umar said, “Ibn `Abbas: I have been informed that you have been spreading among people some words about which I do not like telling you so that you will keep the same position that you have with me.”
“What are these words?” asked Ibn `Abbas.
“Rumors have it that you always claim that this position (of leadership) was seized from you out of envy and wrong,” said `Umar.
Showing no flattery, Ibn `Abbas insisted on his opinion; therefore, `Umar said to him when he was about to leave, “In spite of your opinion, I still respect your position.”(2)
On another, yet similar, situation, Ibn `Abbas narrated that `Umar did not like his argument and he thus flamed up with rage; but Ibn `Abbas could amend the situation.(3)
On a third situation, after Ibn `Abbas had overwhelmed in argument, `Umar ordered him to keep the
matter secret, for if he would hear it from a third person, he (either `Umar or Ibn `Abbas) would not spend another night in the city.(1)
The previous situations prove that `Umar feared that the same words of Ibn `Abbas would be repeated by people whom would have rallied against his government whose legal bases would thus be collapsed.
The previous constraint on displaying the proofs on the Imamate of the Ahl al-Bayt and, for the meantime, the reporting of the Hadiths proving such divinely commissioned position make us understand that Abu-Bakr and `Umar intended smartly to conceal the features of their policy by reporting and listening to the Hadiths revealing the Ahl al-Bayt’s merits.
From the other side, they stopped strictly against anyone who would exceed the defined limits of reporting the Hadith. Accordingly, the blackout practiced on the Hadiths revealing the Ahl al-Bayt’s merits and divinely commissioned leadership was not the one and only reason for the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith.
Nevertheless, it is undeniable that this issue played a role in the decision of the prohibition, especially the prohibition from explained matters that dealt with the origin of the caliphate, but this role was partial as it had come under a more comprehensive frame that surrounded a wider, more general, and more wide-ranging purport.
To sum it up, the claims of al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy (died in AH 463) mentioned in his book entitled ‘Taqyid al-`Ilm’ cannot stand for a perfect proof on the aforementioned opinion for the phrase
‘Ahl al-Bayt’ has not been mentioned in the narration of al-Qasim ibn Sallam (died in AH 224), in addition to the criticisms that were addressed to him. As a result, the prohibition of recording the Hadith was not purposed for this reason, which cannot be regarded as the one and only cause of the decision.
In addition to the aforementioned report about `Alqamah’s book of Hadith that was erased by `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, there are other seven reports relating similar events. Let us now display these reports:
1) Ibn Fudayl has narrated that Husayn ibn `Abd al-Rahman ibn Murrah said: We were visiting `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud when Ibn Qurrah came carrying a book: “I found this book in Syria and it was astonishing; therefore, I have brought it to you.”
2) As `Abdullah looked in the book, he commented, “The past nations perished only because they followed such books and left their (divinely revealed) Book.” He then asked for a washtub in which he put that book and erased it.(1)
3) `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Aswad has narrated that his father said: `Alqamah and I found a book and took it directly to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud. It was about midday when we sat at his door waiting for permission.
When he woke up, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud sent his bondmaid to see who was at the door. When she informed him, he permitted us to enter. As we were in, he asked us, “You have been waiting for a long time, have you not?”
we have,” answered we.
5) “Why did you not ask for permission to get in?” asked `Abdullah. “We expected that you were asleep?” answered we.
6) “You should not have thought so, because this is an hour that is as valuable as the hours of the Night Prayer (Salat al-Layl),” said `Abdullah.
7) We then showed him the book saying, “This is a paper containing an astonishing narratives.”
8) Surprisingly, he took the book, asked his bondmaid to bring his a washtub full of water, and erased that book with his hand reciting (Almighty Allah’s saying) ‘We narrate unto thee (Muhammad) the best of narratives.’”
9) We asked him to look in the book for it contained good Hadiths, but he kept on erasing it saying, “These hearts are containers; therefore, you must full it with the Qur’an and nothing else.”(1)
10) It has been narrated on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Aswad on the authority of his father that `Alqamah once brought a book from Makkah (or the Yemen) comprising Hadiths about the Ahl al-Bayt—the Holy Prophet’s Household. We then visited `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud and gave him that book. He asked his bondmaid to fetch him a washtub filled with water. We asked him to read that book since it contained great Hadiths, but he put the book in the water and erased it reciting (Almighty Allah’s saying),
‘We narrate to you the best of narratives, by Our revealing to you this Qur’an. (Holy Qur’an: 12:3)’
He then said, ‘Hearts are like bowls. You
should thus fill in them with the Qur’an, nothing else.’(1)
11) It has been narrated on the authority of Sulaym ibn al-Aswad that he said: `Abdullah ibn Mirdas and I found a book comprising some narratives and Qur'anic verses with a man from the (tribe of) al-Nakha`. We arranged to see him in the mosque after `Abdullah ibn Mirdas had decided to buy that book with one dirham(2).
While we were still in the mosque, a man came and told us that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud wanted us. I passed through the circle of the people until I reached `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud and found him catching with that book. He then said, “Verily, the best guidance is that of Muhammad and the best narrative is the Book of Almighty Allah.
Similarly, the worst matters are the innovated. You are conveying narratives and listening to others’ narratives. If you happen to find an innovated matter, you must adhere to the foremost guidance.
Nothing except this book and its likes had caused perdition to the past nations. They inherited it through generations until they neglected the Book of Almighty Allah as if they had never known it. I hereby adjure you by Almighty Allah to bring me any similar book you may find. I swear by Almighty Allah that if I know that such a book is found in Dayr al-Hind, I will go there to bring it.”(3)
12) It has been narrated on the authority of Ash`ath ibn Sulaym that his father said: I
used to sit with some people in the mosque and one day, I found them reciting a book that contained astonishing statements of glorification and praise of Almighty Allah. I then asked the owner to give them to me so that I would take a copy, but he apologized that another man had asked for them.
One day, I entered the mosque and listened to a boy summoning people to be present in `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s house. I therefore went there and found him carrying the same book that I had intended to copy.
He then said, “Verily, this book contains sedition, delusion, and heresy. The past nations who had Divine Books perished because they followed such books and neglected the Book of Allah. I hereby ask anyone who knows where such books are found to lead me to them. I swear by Him Who prevails my soul that if I know that such a book is found in Dayr al-Hind, I will bring them even if I will have to go there on foot.” He then asked for water and erased that book.”(1)
13) …`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud made all efforts for obtaining the book found with some people until he obliged them to bring him that book. When he obtained it, he erased its contents saying, “The past nations who had Divine Books perished because they entered upon the books of their scholars and bishops and neglected their Lord’s Book. (according to another narration, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud said, “They neglected
the Torah and Gospel until they, as well as the religious rulings therein, were obliterated.”)(1)
14) It has been narrated on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Aswad that his father said: A Syrian man carrying a book that comprised Abu’l-Darda’s words and narratives came to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud saying, “Abu-’Abd al-Rahman: may you have a look in this book that comprises words of Abu’l-Darda, your brother?” `Abdullah took the book and read it until he reached his house.
Upon reaching there, he asked his bondmaid to bring him a washtub filled with water. He then erased the contents of the book reciting Almighty Allah’s saying, “Alif. Lam. Ra. These are verse of the Scripture that maketh plain. Lo! We have revealed it, a Lecture in Arabic that ye may understand. We narrate unto thee (Muhammad) the best of narratives in that We have inspired in thee this Qur'an, though aforetime thou wast of the heedless.” He then added twice, “Do you intend to find narratives better than those of Almighty Allah?”(2)
A comprehensive look in the previous narrations altogether brings forth conclusions that are contrary to those presumed by the adopters of the aforementioned opinion. Let us now refer to these conclusions in the following points:
1) The narrations of reporting and recording the knowledge prove that all or most of the books mentioned in the previous narrations comprised astonishing materials of which the Muslims had not heard before because they did not agree with the nature of the Islamic legislation.
From this cause, such contents were objects of surprise and astonishment. Had such contents been harmonious to what the Muslims had received and comprehended, they would not have surprised the Muslims.
The previous narrations comprised statements like “I found this book in Syria and it was astonishing,” “This is a paper containing an astonishing narratives” and “I found them reciting a book that contained astonishing statements of glorification and praise of Almighty Allah” all of which prove clearly that the contents of these books did not comprise texts of the Holy Qur'an or the Hadith; otherwise they would not have been astonishing.
2) Except the book that comprised Abu’l-Darda’s words and narratives, all these books did not comprise the words of a definite Sahabiy or narrator of Hadith since the previous narrations had not referred to any definite name being the narrator of such stories and words. Accordingly, the authors of such books are unknown and their contents are not reported from any individual. In other words, they are completely unidentified.
Besides, some of the narrations have proven that the owners of these books were unknown. This is clear in some statements like “I found this book in Syria,” “Alqamah once brought a book,” “A Syrian man carrying a book,” “I found a book comprising some narratives” and other similar statements all of which prove that the source of such books was unknown and thus they cannot be reliable. Correspondingly, Abu’l-Darda’s book contained his own words and stories that he
derived from unreliable sources.
3) Some of these books were brought from Syria and others from Makkah or the Yemen. Yet, the source of the others is unknown. Thus, these books were not written by the Sahabah nor were they brought from the center of the Divine Revelation, the seat of the Prophethood, or the home of the Sahabah. Some of these narrations carried statements like “I found this book in Syria,”
“`Alqamah once brought a book from Makkah (or Yemen)” which prove that such difference in identifying the source of these books was because of the uncertainty of the matter, not the narrator. In other words, the carrier of these books did not know the source of these books whose narratives were influenced by the social and geographical factors because Syria was the neighbor of the full-Christian Rome and the center of the Christian momentousness. In view of that, these books might have been ‘missionary’ papers through which the Christians attempted to penetrate the Islamic ideology.
Because of the inconsideration of such books whose sources, writer, and reporters are unknown, the Ahl al-Bayt used to confirm that the books that they have are of famous source, writer, and narrator. In this regard, Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq, answering those who accused him of having derived his information from the books of the past nations, says, “This is true. Abu-Hanifah has said the truth. I have read the (Divine) books of Prophet Abraham and Prophet Moses as well as my forefather’s books.”(1)
Describing the Book
of Imam `Ali, the Holy Imams say, “It has been written by Imam `Ali as exactly as received from the mouth of the Messenger of Allah.” As a result, the Holy Imams have declared that the books that they kept and copied were inherited from the most trustworthy ones of each generation up to the Messenger of Allah and that they comprised the laws of Allah beginning with Prophet Abraham and Prophet Moses up to Prophet Muhammad. `Abdullah ibn `Adiy al-Jurjaniy, in al-Kamil, writes down that “Ja`far ibn Muhammad (Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq) have narrated very much on the authority of Jabir (ibn `Abdullah al-Ansariy—one of the most trustworthy Sahabah) and on the authority of his father who narrated from his fathers. He also kept many copies (books) that belonged to the Holy Prophet’s Household.”(1)
4) Most, if not all, of these books comprised neither religious rulings and laws nor exegesis of the Holy Qur'an. Apparently, they comprised narratives, accounts, and invocations whose source was something other than Almighty Allah. Usually, such narratives, accounts, and invocations were invented by storytellers and taletellers who used to overstate some facts and belittle others according to certain conditions, tendencies, and tribal fanaticism as well as similar circumstances that change one’s inclinations.
The aforementioned narratives included statements like “A Syrian man carrying a book that comprised Abu’l-Darda’s words and narratives,” “I found a book comprising some narratives and Qur'anic verses” and “a book that contained astonishing statements of glorification and praise of Almighty Allah” that prove
that these books comprised astonishing stories and tales similar to those currently found in some books of Tafsir (Exegesis of the Holy Qur'an) regarding the details of the Holy Prophets’ stories, such as the falsehood that Prophet Joseph was seduced by the chief’s wife to such a degree that he took the same position that a husband takes with his wife;(1) and the falsehood that Prophet David sent one of the commanders of his army to the battlefield so that he would be killed and the Prophet would marry his widow thereafter;(2) and the falsehood mentioned in the distorted Torah that after the Flood that Almighty Allah sent to destroy the world, all the people perished; therefore, the two daughters of Prophet Lot got their father to drink wine and then lay with him!(3)
Hence, they became pregnant and, thus, the line of humanity was survived from extinction;(4) and the falsehood that Khadijah bint -daughter of- Khuwaylid(5) conspired against her father who would not accept Prophet Muhammad as her husband, got her father to drink and then asked the Prophet to come and propose her; therefore, her father accepted unconsciously.
When he regained his consciousness, he had to accept the matter.(6) Such lies and their likes cannot be produced by anyone except Abu’l-Darda, Ka`b al-Ahbar, and their likes who were influenced by the Christian and Jewish cultures.
This fact is supported by the statement that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, having looked in these books, recited Almighty Allah’s saying, “We narrate unto thee (Muhammad)
the best of narratives in that We have inspired in thee this Qur'an, though aforetime thou wast of the heedless.” He then commented, “Do you intend to find narratives better than those of Almighty Allah? Do you expect to find accounts better than those of Almighty Allah?” He also said, “Verily, the best guidance is that of Muhammad and the best narrative is the Book of Allah. Similarly, the worst matters are the innovated.” All these quotations and words hint at the contents of these books.
The word of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, “Verily, the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad... etc” confirms that the materials that he erased with water had not been within the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad; rather they had been within the invented innovative material that he would not accept.
By saying such, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud wanted to inform those who were admired by such materials that they had not belonged to the Holy Sunnah, the guidance of the Holy Prophet, or to the Holy Qur'an, because the Holy Prophet had reproached `Umar ibn al-Khattab for he had shown admiration for taking from the papers (i.e. books) of the Christians and Jews and neglected the Hadith of the Holy Prophet.
In this respect, al-Suyutiy has recorded that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, once, said to the Holy Prophet, “O Allah’s Messenger: the Ahl al-Kitab(1) are reporting us narrations that grasped our hearts and we were about to write them down.” Reproachfully, the Holy Prophet said,
al-Khattab! Will you frivolously engage yourselves in perplexity in the same way as the Jews and Christians have engaged themselves in perplexity? I swear by Him Who grasps my soul that I have brought it to you purely white and I have been given the comprehensive wording.”(1)
Ponder carefully over `Umar’s saying, “...that grasped our hearts...” and compare it to the words said about the papers that were brought to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, such as “People are keeping materials that have admired them...” “This paper comprised an admiring narration...” “They have a paper that admired them...” “I found it and it admired me...”
Again, ponder over the Holy Prophet’s reply to `Umar, “I have brought it to you purely white...” and compare it to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s reply to those whose hearts were grasped by such papers, “Verily, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad...” Thus, the result will divulge the secret beyond that admiration and the similarity between the reply of the Holy Prophet and that of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud. In addition, it is impossible to find any narration showing such admiration and presenting the Holy Prophet’s threat except those reported on the authority of `Umar ibn al-Khattab through which he showed his admiration for the Jews’ recordations. A deeper ponderation over `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s having erased these papers with water demonstrates that his justification meets the legal trend, especially when we notice that he, instead of burning, erased these papers with water confirming that the best guidance is the
guidance of Muhammad and the best of narratives is the Holy Book of Almighty Allah and that the most evil of affairs are the innovatives.
More obviously, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud stated, “Verily, this book contains sedition, delusion, and heresy. The past nations who had Divine Books perished because they entered upon the books of their scholars and bishops and neglected their Lord’s Book. They neglected the Torah and Gospel until they, as well as the religious rulings therein, were obliterated.”
From the previous, we conclude that the books that were brought to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud did not comprise religious rulings and laws; they in fact comprised stories, tales, and some invocations related to these fables. It is thus probable that these books comprised the stories of Tamim al-Dariy—the monk who obtained `Umar’s permission to tell tales that might have been similar to those found in these books.(1)
`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud also said, “I hereby adjure you by Allah to bring me any similar book you may find. I swear by Allah that if I know that such a book is found in Dayr al-Hind, I will go there to bring it.” “I hereby ask anyone who knows where such books are found to lead me to them. I swear by Him Who prevails my soul that if I know that such a book is found in Dayr al-Hind, I will bring them even if I will have to go there on foot.” A narrator said that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud said, “I swear
On the face of it, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s insistence on erasing such books was because they comprised narratives derived from Christian and Jewish sources. He understood that they had been made by monasteries so as to confuse the feeble-minded Muslims as well as those who were ideologically attached to the Christians and Jews. As if the matter was deliberately studied by the Christians, the monasteries intended to draw the feeble-minded Muslims towards the styles of narrating myths and legends.
Having been aware of this objective, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud used to erase these books as soon as he had a primary look at them because he had already known their contents. On this account, he stood firmly against such attempts.
In the meantime, `Umar ibn al-Khattab led a campaign against reporting and recording the Hadith; therefore, some people mixed the two campaigns while, if truth be told and if the matter is seen prudently, there was a great difference between the two.
On the grounds of this conclusions obtained from our comprehensive look in the narrations that reported `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s having prevented recording the Hadith, it has been quite true to allege that al-Darimiy’s narration saying that these books erased by `Abdullah comprised statements of praise and glorification of Almighty Allah cannot be sufficiently taken as evidence.
This is because these books did
not comprise only such statements; rather there were other things similar to the previously discussed statements, such as those about which `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud said, “Verily, this book contains sedition, delusion, and heresy.” It is absolutely irrational to claim that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, or any other ordinary Muslim, could ever say these words about statements of praise and glorification of Almighty Allah that he, as well as every Muslim, uttered each day more than once.
Some have claimed that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud warned against the process of recordation, considering it as delusive, apart from what would be written. Yet, the actual statement of `Abdullah does not indicate such, since he said, “Verily, this book contains sedition, delusion, and heresy” and this statement obviously means that the intended was the very contents of that book, not the process of recordation; otherwise, he would have said, “The recordation is sedition, delusion, and heresy!”
The same previous discussion is applicable to the single narration that claimed the existence of Hadiths revealing the Ahl al-Bayt’s merits in the book that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud erased. Supposing the narration is authentic, a number of evidences prove that the book might have comprised fabricated or exaggerated information about the Ahl al-Bayt and their merits.
All the same, it is impossible to believe that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud intended to erase or eradicate the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt after it has been proven that he was one of the grand narrators who reported and spread the merits and remarkable
situations of them.
Unlike Abu-Bakr and `Umar, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud did not exercise massive eradication of the records of the Hadith nor did he set fire to them; rather he used the method of erasing with water, which is the legal method of eradicating the books comprising delusive materials and, in the meanwhile, they contain the Holy Names of Almighty Allah, the Prophets, the Prophets’ Successors, and the Imams. As a religious law, it is forbidden to set fire to the Sacred Names; rather they must be erased with water or buried.
Supporting our conclusions, Abu-`Ubayd, a famous scholar, says,
“Since he believed that such books were taken from the Christians, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud disliked looking into them at all.”
Murrah, a famous scholar, says,
“Had these books contained texts from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud would not have erased them. Actually, these books belonged to the Christians and Jews.”(1)
There is another probability; `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud might have done so because he understood an advantage (maslahah) that would not have been practiced by another means, or because he practiced Taqiyyah (pious dissimulation) or because he feared the famous rod of `Umar who, in addition to instructing people not to report the Hadith commonly, ordered all the records of the Hadith to be burnt and used that rod against some of the Sahabah who did not carry on that order and, for the same reason, imprisoned others among whom was `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud himself.
As a consequence, it is not unlikely that `Abdullah
ibn Mas`ud might have done so in order to comply with the general situation of the state and in order not to challenge the orders of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the caliph, for the aforementioned reasons. In this regard, it has been narrated that al-Harith ibn Suwayd heard `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud saying,
“I will certainly utter the words which any authority orders me to say in case these words will save me from one or two lashes.”
Commenting on these words, Ibn Hazm says that none of the Sahabah violated this rule!(1)
It has been also narrated that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, out of Taqiyyah, followed al-Walid ibn `Aqabah ibn Abi-Mu`it, the governor of al-Kufah during `Uthman ibn `Affan’s reign, in a congregational prayer when al-Walid, having been drunk, performed the Fajr Prayer in four Rak`ahs (units of prayer)(2) then turned his face towards his followers and said, ‘Do you want more?’ `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud answered, ‘We have had it.’(3)
It is thus not inaccurate to claim that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud might have warned against recording the Hadith because he feared the rod of `Umar and intended to act upon the protection of the Islamic entity. In this regard, it has been authentically narrated that `Abdullah offered a four-Rak`ah prayer with `Uthman ibn `Affan at Mina although he had already declared that such prayer must be shortened into two Rak`ahs (qasr) because he intended to avoid sedition and evil. When he was asked about that while he had reported that the Holy Prophet and Abu-Bakr used
to offer a two-Rak`ah’s prayer on such a situation, he answered,
“It is true that the Holy Prophet and Abu-Bakr used to offer a two-Rak`ah prayer on such a situation; but since `Uthman is now the leader, I must not challenge him, for discrepancy is evil.”(1)
It has been narrated that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud said to Ibn `Awf—who wondered about his objection against `Uthman ibn `Affan in the ruling that the Prayer at Mina must be shortened and, in the meantime, he offered that prayer with him in its shortened form—“Discrepancy is evil. When I was informed that `Uthman offered that prayer in its perfect form, I followed him.” Ibn `Awf then decided to imitate `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud in this regard.(2)
From the previous narrations, we conclude that the Sahabah, the first generation of Islam, used to do anything for the sake of protecting the Islamic entity even if that would cause them to hide their own beliefs and opinions. This fact does not stand against the statement that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud was a Sahabiy (singular form of Sahabah) who encouraged the reporting and recordation of the Hadith and spread the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Generally, it happens that one may conceal his beliefs and opinions for the sake of a greater aim or for avoiding a danger. This is applicable to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud who, according to narrations, spread the merits of Imam `Ali, Fatimah al-Zahra', al-Hasan, and al-Husayn; and was one of the seven persons who witnessed the burial ceremonies of
Lady Fatimah al-Zahra' and one of the twelve persons who objected Abu-Bakr’s having seized illegally the leadership of the Islamic community, which had been divinely commissioned for Imam `Ali.
Moreover, his verdicts concerning the religious laws were similar to those issued by the Ahl al-Bayt. All these facts deny the Shi`ite writers’ claim that `Umar ibn al-Khattab prohibited the reporting and recordation of the Hadith for one and only reason—preventing the spread of the Hadiths revealing the merits and the divinely commissioned leadership of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Besides, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud has been regarded as “the slave of the Ahl al-Bayt” for his frequent visits to them; and he believed that to add the Ahl al-Bayt to the Holy Prophet in the ritual blessings of the prayers and other religious rites is obligatory. Accordingly, it is logical to believe that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud warned against recording the Hadith on account of his concern for the general Islamic entity or similar reasons.
Although we do not deny the aforementioned ‘seven’ reasons as a whole and, meanwhile, do not accept it as the major reasons beyond the prohibition of recording the Hadith, it may be, by the consideration of our previous discussions, accurate to some extent and a part of the question.
Let us now keep on investigating the actual reason beyond the decision of prohibiting reporting and recording the Hadith issued by Abu-Bakr and `Umar who forced people to abide by the Holy Qur'an and neglect the Holy Sunnah as proved by the narrations
of Ibn Abi-Mulaykah according to which Abu-Bakr said, “Only does the Holy Qur'an stand between you and us,”(1) and `Umar and `Ā’ishah said, “The Book of Allah must be sufficient for us,”(2) “Nothing must be considered after the Book of Allah” and many similar statements.
Previously, we have mentioned seven justifications for the decision of the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith that was issued by Abu-Bakr and `Umar. These justifications have been presented by Abu-Bakr and `Umar themselves in addition to some past and modern authors among whom were Orientalists, Sunnites and the Shi`ites. Let us now cite the last reason that will hit the mark.
It is unfeasible that the prohibition of reporting, writing down, and recording the Hadith was simultaneous or ascribed to one factor only. As a matter of fact, there must be a number of factors and introductions that contributed in the rise of such decision. In my conception, these factors and introductions can be summarized in the following four factors, yet there must have been more factors:
The first factor is the aforesaid discussion of the seventh reason, yet in the sense that the prohibition of spreading the exegesis, explanation, and explication of the Hadiths demonstrating the actual status of the Ahl al-Bayt, especially the Hadiths that have definite dimensions striking the other School of Caliphate (i.e. School of Ijtihad and Opinionism) in the depth.
To a great extent, the reporting of the Ahl al-Bayt’s merits without enlightenment was not intended by the decision
of the comprehensive prohibition from reporting and recording the Hadith. In the same point, the prohibition from spreading the flaws and shortcomings of the famous personalities of Quraysh is included, since the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet have praised certain persons and condemned others.
Hence, the Sahabah’s explanatory interpretation of the Holy Qur'an, the expounding recitations of the Qur'anic texts,(1) and the merits and flaws of certain persons(2)—all these matters were prohibited or, at least, reduced under the claim that they would be confused with the Holy Qur'an or it was anticipated that they would be falsely reported.
As the rulers did not have full acquaintance with the religious laws, they had to, step by step, create for themselves a trend in the Islamic legislation although many people would disagree with them about it. In the first, the caliphs used to refer to the Sahabah as regards what they had not known from the religious laws mentioned in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah and had to submit to the answers without showing any apparent embarrassment.
However, by passage of days, these answers were characterized by finding faults with the rulers and disputing with them on the matters involved, as will be detailedly discussed later on in this book. For instance, it has been narrated that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, once, recited the verse,
“The vanguard (of Islam)—the first of those who forsook (their homes), and of those who gave them aid, and those who follow them in (all) good deeds.” (Holy Qur’an: 9/100)
in an erroneous manner; therefore, Zayd ibn Thabit recited the accurate form before him in order to show him his mistake.
However, `Umar insisted on his mistake, and Zayd said, “Amir al-Mu'minin (i.e. `Umar) must be more knowledgeable!” Yet, `Umar summoned Ubayy ibn Ka`b (the expert in the recitation of the Holy Qur'an) and presented the question before him.
Ubayy said, “Indeed, I recited this verse in the very form recited by Zayd ibn Thabit before the Messenger of Allah while you were abiding in Baqi` al-Gharqad (a place far away from the abode of the Holy Prophet).” `Umar thus commented, “You have memorized while I have forgotten, and you devoted yourself to learning this while I was engaged with other affairs, and you witnessed while I was absent...”(1)
In order to evade such troubles and to lock the door of objections and embarrassments, the best way was to prohibit the reporting, writing down, and recording of the Hadith. Accordingly, the caliphs began to threat and arrest the reporters of Hadith after they had ordered to reduce reporting it.
On later stages, the caliphs permitted themselves to be semi-sources of the religious legislation. As a result, the conducts of the two Shaykhs, namely Abu-Bakr and `Umar, were legislated to be the partner of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, as a first stage, and then other legislations were enacted—all for purpose of corroborating the legislative rulership of the caliphs besides the political authority.
As examples on this legislative authority, `Umar ibn al-Khattab said about
the enactment of the Salat al-Tarawih, “Excellent is this heresy,”(1) and about the prohibition of the temporary marriage, “Two issues were allowed during the age of Allah’s Messenger, but now I deem them forbidden and will punish anyone who will violate this prohibition. These are the temporary marriage and the allowable period (Mut`at) during the Hajj.”(2)
Afterward, these laws have been called ‘Ijtihad’ and thus the caliph was given the same position of the Holy Prophet and, in the intervening time, they reduced the position of the Holy Prophet to the level of those who issue religious verdicts according to their personal conjectures! This process called for locking the door of reporting, writing down, and recording the Hadith lest contradiction between the caliph’s opinion and the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah would be manifestly clear.
The factors of environment and society influenced the mentalities and cultures. Those who prohibited the reporting and recording of the Hadith grew up in a society that had not paid any attention to the recordation and writing; rather it had concentrated on poetry, history of campaigns, and pomposity. In fact, this was another motive that led to the issuance of the decision of prohibiting reporting and recording the Hadith. It goes without saying that the exaggeration in such matters, by virtue of historical necessity, cut across the general culture of Islam.
The seven reasons previously discussed have not been convincing enough to stand as perfect motives for the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith. To explore the actual
motives of the decision, we have to, first of all, pass through two introductions that will be useful in the discussion involved:
A deep look into the history of Islam takes to the conclusion that the Sahabah in the age of the Divine Mission and legislation can be classified into two groups in the capacity of their conducts towards the Holy Prophet’s words and instructions. The representatives of the fist group entered upon the ultimate compliance with all the rulings issued by Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet. This situation was based upon a number of considerations such as
(1) the sacredness of such rulings, for they are issued by Almighty Allah, the one and only God,
(2) the obligation of the compliance with the Holy Legislator and the impermissibility of breaking
His laws as is deduced from Almighty Allah’s sayings
“O ye who believe! Obey Allah and His messenger, and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak), (Holy Qur’an: 8:20)”
“He who obeyeth Allah and His messenger, and feareth Allah, and keepeth duty (unto Him): such indeed are the victorious, (Holy Qur’an: 24:52)”
“And whatsoever the messenger giveth you, take it. And whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstain (from it), (Holy Qur’an: 59:7)”
“But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decidest, and submit with full submission, (Holy Qur’an: 4:65)”
“The saying of (all
true) believers when they appeal unto Allah and His messenger to judge between them is only that they say: We hear and we obey. And such are the successful, (Holy Qur’an: 24:51)”
“And it becometh not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious to Allah and His messenger, he verily goeth astray in error manifest, (Holy Qur’an: 33:36)”
and similar verses, and
(3) the fact that personal opinions in the fields of systemizing the social and individual conducts are worthless so long as there is a perfect legislation and flawless elucidation of all the laws comprised by the Holy Qur'an. In other words, since there is an all-inclusive and unqualified legislation, it is meaningless to adopt anything claimed to make up for such unblemished code of law. In this regard, Almighty Allah says,
“And We reveal the Scripture unto thee as an exposition of all things, and a guidance and a mercy and good tidings for those who have surrendered (to Allah). (Holy Qur’an: 15:89)”
The members of this group were characterized by their incontrovertible abidance by the Prophet’s words and instructions and their negligence of any personal opinion alongside of the Divine legislation and elucidation taking into consideration that the members of this group are exposed to flaw, oblivion, or inadvertence because they are not sinless! Later on, we will present models of this group.
The second group
includes those who treated the Holy Prophet as an imperfect mortal who is liable to making mistakes such as insulting and cursing others and then asking Almighty Allah’s forgiveness for them.(1)
They neither confessed of the sacredness and actual position of the Holy Prophet that he received from Almighty Allah nor did they treat him as exactly as Almighty Allah has commanded. This fact can be proven through many Qur'anic verses and narrations. As much as the Qur'anic verses are concerned, let us cite the following:
“O ye who believe! Lift not up your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor shout when speaking to him as ye shout one to another, lest your works be rendered vain while ye perceive not. (Holy Qur’an: 49:2)”
This verse shows that some of the Sahabah did not observe the sacredness of the Holy Prophet; therefore, Almighty Allah has instructed them to conform to his unattainable position.
“O ye who believe! What aileth you that when it is said unto you: Go forth in the way of Allah, ye are bowed down to the ground with heaviness. Take ye pleasure in the life of the world rather than in the Hereafter? The comfort of the life of the world is but little in the Hereafter. (Holy Qur’an: 9:38)”
This verse, too, shows that some of the Sahabah did not carry out or comply with the Holy Prophet’s command of participating in jihad (holy warfare); rather they bowed down to the ground with heaviness.
“Lo! those who malign
Allah and His messenger, Allah hath cursed them in the world and the Hereafter, and hath prepared for them the doom of the disdained. (Holy Qur’an: 33:57)”
“And of them are those who vex the Prophet and say: He is only a hearer. Say: A hearer of good for you, who believeth in Allah and is true to the believers, and a mercy for such of you as believe. Those who vex the messenger of Allah, for them there is a painful doom. (Holy Qur’an: 9:61)”
These verses show clearly that some of the Sahabah used to vex the Holy Prophet.
“Hast thou not observed those who were forbidden conspiracy and afterward returned to that which they had been forbidden, and (now) conspire together for crime and wrongdoing and disobedience toward the messenger? And when they come unto thee they greet thee with a greeting wherewith Allah greeteth thee not, and say within themselves: Why should Allah punish us for what we say? Hell will suffice them; they will feel the heat thereof - a hapless journey's end. (Holy Qur’an: 58:8)”
All the forecited Qur'anic texts indicate the existence of some men among the Sahabah who did not realize the actual connotation of the Holy Prophet’s position in the Islamic legislation in specific and all fields of life in general.
They also issued personal opinions in his presence.(3) Exceeding all limits, some of them asked him to change some religious laws just because they did not meet their interests. Facing such objections, the Holy Prophet used to recite Almighty Allah’s saying,
“Say (O Muhammad): It is not for me to change it of my accord. I only follow that which is inspired in me. Lo! If I disobey my Lord, I fear the retribution of an awful Day. (Holy Qur’an: 10:15)”
Meanwhile, Almighty Allah, on more than one occasion, confirms to the Holy Prophet to abide by the divine commands. In this regard, He says,
“And now have We set thee (O Muhammad) on a clear road of (Our) commandment; so follow it, and follow not the whims of those who know not. (Holy Qur’an: 45:18)”
Not only were the hypocrites and opportunists who fall under the category of ‘al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum—Those whose hearts are made to incline to Islam’—classified under the second group of the Sahabah, but there were also some ‘first-class’ Sahabah who, as is concluded from historical facts and biographies of the Holy Prophet’s companions, carried wrong impressions towards treating the divine texts in general and the Holy Prophet’s words and instructions in particular.
Since they were still holding the traditional concepts that a Prophet is no more than an ordinary mortal who may be right or wrong, they used
to object to the Holy Prophet in the same way as they object to any man. Both Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet have frequently denied such concepts. In this regard, the Holy Prophet is reported to have addressed to his companions,
“What for are you attempting to violate the Book of Allah? Because of this very thing did the past nations perish.”(1)
“How dare you act playfully in the Book of Allah while I am still among you?”(2)
“Have you been ordered of or created for violating the Book of Allah? Only because of such acts did the nations that preceded you go astray. You are not allowed to do anything with these instructions except to obey. You must carry out what you have been ordered to do and must refrain from what you have been ordered to avoid.”(3)
Too many are the Holy Prophet’s words that hint at the same topic and confirm his inerrancy and extraordinary character because the community, due to a traditional view, regarded him as an ordinary person who may make mistakes, forget or neglect… etc.
As a consequence, many of the Holy Prophet’s decisions, which were taken in compliance with the Divine Commissions, were objected by his companions; such as releasing the prisoners of the Battle of Badr, offering the Dead Prayer for the hypocrite, entering into the Hudaybiyah Truce, and many other occurrences.
Nevertheless, an inclusive study of this topic leads us to a bitter fact that most of those who used to object to the Holy
Prophet did not stop and did not accept the divine elucidations in this regard; rather they, disregarding the divine instructions, exerted all efforts in instilling this wrong idea in the minds of the Muslims after the departure of the Holy Prophet.
oHolAAAlthough it goes without saying that by uttering the shahadah (the two creeds of Islam), one’s blood becomes too regardful to be shed unjustly, and although the Holy Prophet had been confirming on this principle since the first stages of his promulgation for Islam, Usamah ibn Zayd killed Mirdas ibn Nuhayk, the Muslim, unjustly.
When Usamah was the commander of a brigade, he ordered to raid on a group of people among whom was Mirdas who had already converted to Islam. Having seen the attacking horsemen of Usamah’s brigade, Mirdas drove his sheep towards a corner in the mountain so as to save them. When the horsemen caught him, he received them with statements of Allahu Akbar and the two creeds of Islam; but Usamah ibn Zayd killed him and took his sheep.
When the Holy Prophet was informed about this incident, he was terribly depressed. He then said to them, “You have killed him only because you wanted to seize his sheep!” He then recited Almighty Allah’s saying,
“And do not say to any one who offers you peace: You are not a believer. Do you seek goods of this world's life! (Holy Qur’an: 4:94)”(1)
The incident of Khalid ibn al-Walid’s awful deed with the Banu-Judhaymah is a more expressive example.
Writing the incidents that fell in AH 8, al-Tabariy recorded that after the Conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet decided to promulgate Islam in the neighboring districts through groups that he appointed for this purpose.
Khalid ibn al-Walid was the leader of the group sent to the Banu-Judhaymah as promulgators about Islam, not fighters. When Khalid resided in an area there, the men of Banu-Judhaymah armed themselves. Khalid then ordered them to lay down their weapons for all the people had accepted Islam. When they did, Khalid ordered his men to tie their hands behind their backs. He then killed a number of them.
When the Holy Prophet was informed about this massacre, he raised his two hands towards the heavens and declared, “O Allah: I repudiate Khalid’s deed before You.” He then ordered (Imam) `Ali to take with him some money and pay them to the heirs of the victims of Khalid’s massacre as blood money. `Ali carried out… etc.(1)
Such incidents and such mentalities did not stop; they left their imprints on the events of the social life of Islam and continued to influence the reigns of Abu-Bakr and `Umar. In this regard, Ibn Hajar records that Khalid ibn al-Walid used to issue personal orders without letting the caliph, Abu-Bakr, know about him.(2)
In addition to Khalid ibn al-Walid and Usamah ibn Zayd, too many were the Sahabah who used to act upon their own opinions, which were in violation of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, while the Holy Prophet
was among them. In fact, the Muhajirun rested upon their personal views that violated the divine laws and instructions more than the Ansar(1) did. Most of the Ansar complied with the divine laws and instructions without discussion.
Those Sahabah who objected and acted upon their personal views were the originators of the schools of Ijtihad(2) (personal inference) and Ra’y (personal opinion) that emerged thereafter. Similarly, they were the cornerstones of the decision of prohibiting reporting and recording the Hadith.
It was they who warned `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-`Ās against recording the Hadith during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet and it was they who spread definite opinions and concepts that were later on included with the Holy Sunnah.(3)
In order to sketch a clearer picture about the motives of the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith, it is necessary to probe the situations of Abu-Bakr and `Umar towards the divine texts and instructions and their intuition about the Holy Prophet though we do desire to skip this page so as to avoid sectarian matters that are unnecessary in this discussion.
In spite of that, this study requires matters of this kind the skipping of which results in the concealment of important facts, the deprivation of the actual motive beyond the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith, the curtailment of the ideas and beliefs, and the confiscation of the freedom of presenting the concepts and motives.
On account of the abovementioned introduction, we have to tackle this topic even if it
may add some points to the characters of Abu-Bakr and `Umar in particular and some of the Sahabah in general.
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy, Anas ibn Malik, Jabir ibn `Abdullah al-Ansariy, and many grand Sahabah that Abu-Bakr, once, came to the Holy Prophet and told that he saw such a pious and religious man offering prayers in so-and-so valley. Suddenly, the Holy Prophet ordered Abu-Bakr to go back there and kill that man. Abu-Bakr did; but when he saw the man offering prayers in such a state of piety, he disliked carrying out the Holy Prophet’s order. He therefore came back. The Holy Prophet then ordered `Umar to carry out that order; but when `Umar went there, he also disliked killing the man for the same reason that made Abu-Bakr break the Holy Prophet’s order. When `Umar came back without carrying out the order, the Holy Prophet ordered Imam `Ali to go there and kill the man. Unfortunately, Imam `Ali could not find that man; he therefore came back and told the Holy Prophet. Commenting on the situation, the Holy Prophet said,
“Verily, that man and his companions recite the Holy Qur'an but it does not reach even their clavicles. They will slip from the religion in the same way as an arrow slips the hit; then they will never return to it until the arrow corrects its position!”(1)
It has been also narrated that Anas ibn Malik said: We, once, were sitting with the Holy Prophet
in the yard of the mosque when one of us mentioned the manners of an individual known for his bravery and diligence. The Holy Prophet denied the man although we mentioned other characteristics. Meanwhile, the man appeared before us and we said, “This is the man, Allah’s Messenger!” The Holy Prophet said, “I did not know him. This is the leader of the first straying group in my nation in the first age. Verily, he holds a characteristic from the Devil.”
When the man came near the Holy Prophet, he greeted him, and the Holy Prophet replied and then said, “I adjure you by Almighty Allah to answer me frankly; when you came to us, you thought of yourself as being the most excellent and that none of us is better than you are, did you not?”
“Yes, I did,” answered the man who, then, entered the mosque to offer a prayer.
The Holy Prophet then ordered Abu-Bakr to go and kill that man. When Abu-Bakr entered the mosque, he found the man offering a prayer. He thus thought that because a prayer had sanctity, he should go back to the Holy Prophet and ask him. When Abu-Bakr came back, the Holy Prophet asked whether he had killed the man or not.
“I did not. I found him offering a prayer and I know that prayer has sanctity. However, I could have killed him if I had wanted,” answered Abu-Bakr.
The Holy Prophet said, “You are not the appropriate man for this mission.” He then
ordered `Umar ibn al-Khattab of the same matter.
When `Umar entered the mosque, he found the man prostrating himself. He thought that prostration has sanctity and that he should ask the Holy Prophet about the matter before he would kill the man in the same way as Abu-Bakr had done.
He thus returned to the Holy Prophet who asked him whether he had killed the man.
“No, I did not. I found him prostrating himself and I know that prostration has sanctity and I could have killed him if I had wanted,” `Umar answered.
The Holy Prophet said, “You are not the appropriate man for this mission.” He then asked `Ali to kill the man if he would find him.
When Imam `Ali entered the mosque, he could not find the man. He thus returned to the Holy Prophet who asked him whether he had done the mission.
“No, I did not,” answered Imam `Ali.
The Holy Prophet commented, “If this man was killed this day, no single dispute would ever take place in my nation up to the coming of the Dajjal.(1)”
The Holy Prophet then spoke to them about the past nations, saying,
“The nation of (Prophet) Moses separated into seventy-one sects all of whom will be in Hellfire except one only. Similarly, the nation of (Prophet) Jesus separated into seventy-two sects all of whom will be in Hellfire except one only. My nation will exceed these two nations in the number of the separating sects in one degree. They will separate into seventy-three sects all of
whom will be in Hellfire except one only.”(1)
From the previous narration, we conclude that Abu-Bakr behaved according to his own view believing that it is proper not to kill the man because he was offering prayers so piously. He therefore violated the Holy Prophet’s command and followed his own opinion. This proves that he did not comply with the divine texts and the Holy Prophet’s words and instructions as exactly as divinely commissioned.
The same thing is applicable to `Umar ibn al-Khattab who, too, had followed his personal opinion and disobeyed the Holy Prophet’s command after he had heard Abu-Bakr’s excuse and the Holy Prophet’s confirmation.
It is now fair to put the following questions:
What does the Holy Prophet’s confirmation on killing that pious man mean especially after he had heard Abu-Bakr’s excuse to give up carrying out the Holy Prophet’s order? Is it permissible for the Holy Prophet to order of killing a pious man? Did he have the right to kill people unjustly? How can one accept a personal error from the Holy Prophet especially in a question of suppressing innocent souls? Supposing that it was acceptable or even obligatory to kill that man, why did Abu-Bakr and `Umar break the Holy Prophet’s order?
Abu-Bakr and `Umar should have understood Almighty Allah’s sayings,
“And whatsoever the messenger giveth you, take it. And whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstain (from it). (Holy Qur’an: 59:7)”
“That this is in truth the word of an honored messenger Mighty, established in the presence of the Lord of the
Throne (One) to be obeyed, and trustworthy And your comrade is not mad. (Holy Qur’an: 81:19-22)”
“That it is indeed the speech of an illustrious messenger. It is not poet's speech—little is it that ye believe nor diviner's speech—little is it that ye remember. (Holy Qur’an: 69:40-41)”
“Your comrade erreth not, nor is deceived nor doth he speak of (his own) desire It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired. (Holy Qur’an: 53:2-4)”
It is vastly important to study, investigate, and analyze the question of the disobedience that Abu-Bakr and `Umar showed towards the commissions of the Holy Prophet and their objections to his decisions as well as their acting upon their personal opinions in his presence. Let us refer to an example on such objections:
During the Hudaybiyah Truce, `Umar objected to the Holy Prophet, saying, “Are you really the messenger of Allah?”
Answering him, the Holy Prophet said, “Yes, I am.”
“Are we really the right while our enemies the wrong?” `Umar asked again.
“Yes, this is true,” answered the Holy Prophet.
“Why are we then making relinquishments for them?” wondered `Umar.
The Holy Prophet replied, “Verily, I am the Messenger of Allah and I will never disobey Him, for He will certainly give me victory.”
Keeping on asking, `Umar said, “Have you not told us that we will be at the Holy House (the Ka`bah) and circumambulate it?”
“Yes, I have,” answered the Holy Prophet, “Have I told you that we will come to it this very year?”
“No, you have not,” answered `Umar.
“You will certainly come to
and circumambulate the Holy House,” asserted the Holy Prophet.
`Umar then came to Abu-Bakr and asked, “Is he really the prophet of Allah?”
“Of course he is,” answered Abu-Bakr.
“Why are we then making relinquishments for our enemies?” `Umar asked again.
Abu-Bakr answered, “Listen man! He is verily the messenger of Allah; and he will never disobey his Lord Who will surely give him victory. You must thus hold fast to him for he is surely the right. I swear it by Allah.”
Keeping on asking, `Umar said, “Has he not told us that we will come to and circumambulate the Holy House?”
“Has he told you that you will come to it this very year?” asked Abu-Bakr.
“No, he has not,” answered `Umar.
“You will then certainly come to and circumambulate the Holy House,” confirmed Abu-Bakr.(1)
The clearest thing that can be concluded from the aforementioned incident is `Umar’s having suspected and mistrusted the Holy Prophet’s words—the obvious fact that none can ever doubt about it. Although the Holy Prophet explained the question of the prediction for him, `Umar repeated the same questions for Abu-Bakr. This means that he was not sure of the Holy Prophet’s words.
Yet, Abu-Bakr confirmed the fact that the Holy Prophet would never disobey the Lord for he was surely His Messenger. He also urged `Umar earnestly to adhere to the Holy Prophet for he was right.
Although he heard the same words from Abu-Bakr, `Umar insisted on the question and again doubted the Holy Prophet’s words by asking, “Has he not told us
that we will come to and circumambulate the Holy House?”
This incident proves that `Umar did not belong to the group of the Sahabah who practiced ultimate compliance with all the rulings issued by Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet; otherwise he would have complied with the Holy Prophet’s words, deeds, and instructions and would not have needed the confirmations of Abu-Bakr or anyone else.
History has kept for us other situations in which `Umar ibn al-Khattab expressed his personal opinions. Moreover, he confirmed such opinions and obliged the Sahabah to follow them although he knew that the Holy Prophet had rejected them. In the presence of the Holy Prophet, he once beat some of those who wept for the demise of Ruqayyah and Ibrahim, daughter and son of the Holy Prophet(1) because he did not like weeping for the dead. In the same situation, the Holy Prophet said,
“Verily, the heart naturally grieves and the eye sheds tears.”(2)
This sacred saying means that those who weep for their dead people must be treated mercifully, not severely. In the same manner, the Holy Prophet is reported to have wiped the tears off the eyes of Lady Fatimah when she wept for her sister, Ruqayyah, and the ladies of the Ansar to weep for the martyrdom of Hamzah, his uncle, saying,
“How is it that none is weeping for Hamzah?”(3)
Moreover, the Holy Prophet himself wept for the martyrdom of Hamzah.
It has been also narrated that `Umar, once, objected to the Holy Prophet who wanted to offer
the ritual Deceased Prayer for a hypocrite. Further, `Umar pulled the Holy Prophet round and shouted, “How come you are offering a prayer for a hypocrite?”(1) From then on, `Umar expressed his remorse for his situation.
As a matter of fact, `Umar’s situations of objection to the Holy Prophet were more serious than the aforementioned incidents; he protested against the Holy Prophet’s decision of releasing the prisoners of the Battle of Badr in return for a definite ransom. In this issue, `Umar suggested that Hamzah should have killed al-`Abbas, his brother who was within the prisoners, and `Ali should have killed `Aqil, his brother, and the same should have been applied to every Muslim who had relatives within the prisoners so that all the prisoners would be killed.(2)
Out of his compliance with the Divine Revelation Whose distinctive feature has been mercy and wisdom, the Holy Prophet rejected this opinion totally.
As a sequence, a big number of historians and traditionalists have dared to criticize the Holy Prophet in order to justify the objections of Abu-Bakr and `Umar against him! Of course, such audacity has been the result of the distorted principles of history and Islamic jurisprudence, which were sketched by or during the reigns of Abu-Bakr and `Umar themselves and which have been, unfortunately, still depended by some sects that claim their belongingness to Islam.
One of such historians has claimed that the objections of Abu-Bakr and `Umar were in fact the actual exegesis of the Qur'anic texts revealed during that
incident! Exceeding all limits, this historian has added that Almighty Allah’s saying,
“It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise, (Holy Qur’an: 8:67)”
was no more than condemnation addressed to the Holy Prophet and some of the Sahabah who, according to the speech of this historian, desired the lure of this world against the Hereafter and took ransoms from the prisoners before they had ‘thoroughly subdued in the land.’ Moreover, this historian and his likes have claimed that none was saved from that ‘sin’ except `Umar ibn al-Khattab!
In order to avoid the lengthy details of this issue, it is sufficient to quote Sayyid Sharaf al-Din’s words explaining the holy verse involved:
Anyone who claims that the Holy Prophet had prisoners and accepted ransoms from them in return for releasing them before he had fought and triumphed—anyone claiming such is definitely liar! Only after he had fought, triumphed, and killed the tyrannical heads of the polytheists of Quraysh, such as Abu-Jahl, `Utbah, Shaybah, al-Walid, and Handhalah up to seventy foes—only after that, the Holy Prophet took prisoners.
This fact is openly known for everybody. In view of that, the Holy Prophet is too far above any censure mentioned in the holy verse involved. Glorified is Allah and High Exalted above what those unjust people say.
The truth is that the holy verse blamed those who
desired to gain the caravan rather to fight for the sake of Allah. About them, Almighty Allah has said,
“And when Allah promised you one of the two bands (of the enemy) that it should be yours, and ye longed that other than the armed one might be yours. And Allah willed that He should cause the Truth to triumph by His words, and cut the root of the disbelievers. (Holy Qur’an: 8:7)”
Counseling his companions, the Holy Prophet said to them:
“The polytheists have set off riding any possible ridden animal. Do you desire to have their properties, including the animals, or to fight them for the sake of Allah?”
Although they noticed that the Holy Prophet desired earnestly to fight the enemies, they answered that they would rather seize the enemies’ animals than to fight them. Some of them, however, suggested to him that he should have identified fighting the enemy so that they would be ready for it, because they had readied themselves for seizing the enemies’ caravan. This situation saddened the Holy Prophet so much that the color of his face changed. Consequently, Almighty Allah revealed to him saying,
“Even as thy Lord caused thee (Muhammad) to go forth from thy home with the Truth, and lo! A party of the believers were averse (to it), disputing with thee of the Truth after it had been made manifest, as if they were being driven to death visible. (Holy Qur’an: 8:5-6)”
As Almighty Allah wanted to convince the Sahabah of the Holy Prophet’s
insistence on fighting the enemies and disregarding seizing their caravan, He revealed the verse involved. The explanation of the verse is put between parentheses in the following exposition:
“It is not for any prophet (among those whom were chosen by Almighty Allah before Muhammad) to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. (Thus, your Prophet, following the norms of the Prophets who preceded him in time, shall not take captives before he fights and triumphs. From this cause, he did not care about the seizure of the caravan and the imprisonment of its owners—Abu-Sufyan and his companions) Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter (through terminating the armed enemies), and Allah is Mighty, Wise (and might and wisdom, on that day, required eradicating the enemies and extinguishing their fire of polytheism). (Holy Qur’an: 8:67)”
Reproaching and threatening those who desired for the properties of the polytheists’ caravan, Almighty Allah then says,
“Had it not been for an ordinance of Allah which had gone before (in His eternal Knowledge that He would prevent you against seizing the animals of the caravan and capturing its people, you would have captured them and seized the animals of their caravan; and had you done this), an awful doom had come upon you on account of what ye took (before you would fight and triumph). (Holy Qur’an: 8:68)”
This is the exact meaning of the holy verse; and Almighty Allah is too Glorified to reproach His Prophet, as has
been claimed by those ignorant people.(1)
During the battle of Uhud, the same Sahabah committed such acts that prove our exposition. Facing al-Madinah and turning the back to Mount Uhud, the Holy Prophet ordered the archers, who were fifty in number, to stay behind the army. Historians and traditionalists have confirmed that the Holy Prophet appointed `Abdullah ibn Jubayr as the commander of the archers and ordered him saying, “Pelt the horsemen with arcs so that they will not come upon us from the back; and never leave your place whether we win or lose.”
Besides, the Holy Prophet urged them earnestly to keep their places and to obey their commander. Nevertheless, they preferred their personal opinions to the Holy Prophet’s orders as they did not comply with his emphatic instructions. When the battle reached its climax and the Muslim army beat the enemies so fiercely that Imam `Ali could kill the bearers of the enemies’ standard one after another causing their standard to be thrown on the ground as none of them had the courage to raise it, the enemies absconded disorderly.
Hence, the Muslim army attacked their camp looting whatever they found there. On account of their avarice to gain such loots, the archers left their positions breaking the Holy Prophet’s orders and paying no attention to the instructions of their commander. They said to him, “Why should we keep up our positions while we have seen how the enemies ran away?”
Yet, `Abdullah ibn Jubayr said, “I swear by Allah
that I will never violate the order of Allah’s Messenger. Together with less than ten archers, `Abdullah did not leave his position. Khalid ibn al-Walid, accompanied by `Ikrimah ibn Abi-Jahl, seized the opportunity and led a brigade of horsemen to attack the archers who were behind the Muslim army. They killed `Abdullah ibn Jubayr so savagely that they mutilated his limbs. They then stroke the Muslim army from the back raising their voices with the names of their idol-gods; Lat and `Uzza.(1)
It is worth mentioning that to refer to the witticism that although those who supported, welcomed, and defended the raising of personal opinions, especially by the Sahabah, in the face of the divine texts and the Holy Prophet’s words and instructions have claimed that a mujtahid –one who rests upon his personal opinion in the face of the divine texts- will be given twice as the reward when his opinion hits the target and will be rewarded once when his opinion is wrong—although they maintain such a principle, they have not applied it to the Holy Prophet when they claimed that Almighty Allah blamed him -Allah forbid- for accepting ransoms in return for releasing the prisoners of the Battle of Badr! Moreover, they have fabricated the lie that the Holy Prophet, after the incident, wept heavily for he knew that the heavenly chastisement was on his doorstep; therefore, he said, “The heavenly chastisement is very close. If it will befall us, nobody will be saved from it except
In short, a group of the Sahabah used to act upon their personal opinions disregarding the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds; they therefore used to deem incorrect the Holy Prophet’s deeds and declare openly that his deeds were in violation of the Divine Commissions -Allah forbid-.
On the other side, another group of the Sahabah believed in the obligatory compliance with the Holy Prophet’s instructions and the forbiddingness of violating his words, deeds, and confirmations as evidenced by Almighty Allah’s saying,
“And your Lord creates and chooses whom He pleases; to choose is not theirs. (Holy Qur’an: 28:68)”
Above and beyond, the Holy Qur'an is full of such verses confirming the impermissibility to go over the Holy Prophet’s instructions:
“They only are the true believers who believe in Allah and His messenger and, when they are with him on some common errand, go not away until they have asked leave of him. Lo! those who ask leave of thee, those are they who believe in Allah and His messenger. So, if they ask thy leave for some affair of theirs, give leave to whom thou wilt of them, and ask for them forgiveness of Allah. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Holy Qur’an: 24:62)”
“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and the messenger when He calleth you to that which quickeneth you, and know that Allah cometh in between the man and his own heart, and that He it is unto Whom ye will be gathered. And guard yourselves against a chastisement which cannot fall exclusively
on those of you who are wrong-doers, and know that Allah is severe in punishment. (Holy Qur’an: 8:24-25)”
It has been narrated that al-Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam, explaining the aforementioned verse, said,
“Although we were with the Messenger of Allah, we did not recognize that this verse intended us and nobody else.”(1)
He is also reported to have said,
“We have been reciting this verse for ages without noticing that we might have been intended. We are now fully aware that the verse intended us and nobody else.”(2)
According to al-Siddiy, the verse intended the warriors of the Battle of Badr by name. It thus was applied to them during the Battle of the Camel (al-Jamal) when they fought against each other.(3)
We have previously pointed out that too many were the situations on which `Umar ibn al-Khattab objected to the Holy Prophet; yet, some historians and biographers have considered them special talents that were given to `Umar exclusively after it had been made obscure to the others, including the Holy Prophet, so as to present what is advantageous and refrain what is not! One of such situations is `Umar’s having prevented the Holy Prophet from recording his last will, which he described as ‘perpetually protecting the Muslim community against deviation.’
While he was in the last hours of his honorable life, the Holy Prophet ordered the attendants to bring him a paper and a pen so that he would write for them a will that would protect them from deviation forever. Yet, `Umar said, “This man is
hallucinating! Sufficient for us is the Book of Allah!”(1)
Let us make a comparison between the last hours of the honorable life of the Holy Prophet and the last hours of Abu-Bakr’s life in order to allude to an important, yet ironical, affair. `Umar rejected and deterred from the carrying out of the Holy Prophet’s final will that would, in the words of the Holy Prophet, save the ummah from deviation forever, but when Abu-Bakr, having been in the final hours of his life, wanted to appoint `Umar as the coming caliph, he uttered a few words then he was fainted. Hence, `Uthman ibn `Affan wrote down the name of `Umar ibn al-Khattab as the successor of Abu-Bakr.
When the latter regained consciousness, he accepted `Uthman’s personal dictation.(2) Historians have not regarded the recordation of `Umar’s name as the next caliph as hallucination, but they have regarded the Holy Prophet’s request to write down a document protecting his ummah from deviation as absolute hallucination!
We should thus wonder why Abu-Bakr was not accused of hallucination while the Holy Prophet, who does never speak out of desire in the words of the Holy Qur'an, was! In fact, the state of Abu-Bakr was greatly more intense than the Holy Prophet’s.
In like manner, why did they accept the words of `Umar, while he was intensely ailed, that defined the names of the members of the so-called Shura Committee and reject the words of the infallible Prophet? Why did they oppose each other before the
Holy Prophet while they all together accepted `Umar’s will?
Why have we never heard that anybody had the courage to accuse `Umar of hallucination in spite of his too many contradictory words and deeds while they have dared to accuse the Holy Prophet of such a disgraceful charge although they, yet openly, confess that `Umar would have never reached the rank of the Holy Prophet?
Is it not rightful for every Muslim individual to declare his will? If so, why did `Umar stood against the declaration of the will of the Holy Messenger of Allah? Was the Holy Prophet less ranked than any other ordinary Muslim?
If the Holy Prophet did not appoint any individual as his successor leaving his ummah to select a leader for themselves, why did Abu-Bakr violate this Prophetic method when he nominated his successor?
Furthermore, how can one believe that the Holy Prophet left his ummah for themselves while he used to tell them about what the past generations had done to their religions and used to declare that people had not had full faith yet since they were very near to the pre-Islamic era (Jahiliyyah)? According to authenticated narrations, the Holy Prophet had never left al-Madinah before he would appoint an individual as his representative.(1)
Similarly, Prophet Moses did not go at Almighty Allah’s Appointed Time before he had appointed his brother, Aaron, as his representative.(2) These facts are in violation of the claim that he left his ummah without leader.
Similarly, Abu-Bakr did not depart his
subjects before he nominated `Umar as his successor so that, as has been claimed by his fans, he would avoid dispute and disagreements among the publics,(1) and `Umar, too, did not depart them before he nominated the six members of the so-called Shura Committee.
After all, it is unbelievable that the Holy Prophet left his ummah for themselves without nominating a successor while, according to authenticated narrations, he emphasized on joining the phalanx of Usamah until the last spark of his honorable life. Undoubtedly, this indicates his interest in the matter of his successorship.
Throughout this study, the trend of those who followed and complied with the Holy Prophet’s instructions thoroughly will be called “The School of Thorough Compliance with the Sacred Texts” while the trend of those who adopted and depended upon their personal views and opinions will be called “The School of Ijtihad and Opinionism.”(2)
To sum it up, the aforesaid, as well as the coming, discussions prove unquestionably that Abu-Bakr and `Umar were not accustomed to follow everything said by the Holy Prophet; rather they used to depend upon their personal views in defining the good of a question in his presence. Of course, such a spirit was the product of their tribal tendency that was, in their conception, above everything.
During the lifetime and in the presence of the Holy Prophet, the companions generally followed two methods as regards their attitude to the Holy Prophet. One group purely adopted and followed every single word or commanded said by the
Holy Prophet without any argument, while the other group, to which Abu-Bakr and `Umar belonged, presented the Holy Prophet’s commandments to their personal viewpoints; if they were compatible, they would carry out otherwise they would follow their opinions violating the Holy Prophet’s instructions. These two trends continued to exist even after the departure of the Holy Prophet.
For instance, although the Holy Prophet very frequently confirmed the impermissibility to observe fasting incessantly and, instead, instructed that to observe fasting on the first, middle, and last days of a month would be regarded as fasting all the days of one’s lifetime,(1) some of the Sahabah did not stop observing fasting incessantly.
Another example is that although the Holy Prophet, during the Battle of Tabuk, permitted his companions to slaughter and eat the meat of camels, some of the Sahabah denied this matter.(2)
During the Battle of Uhud, five warriors from the polytheists’ army attacked the Holy Prophet. One of them hit his forehead, another broke his scapula, another hit him on the cheek… etc. He then did not want the polytheists to know that he was still alive lest they would again attack the Muslims and him. When Ka`b ibn Malik knew that the Holy Prophet was not killed, he, intending to convey this good tiding to the Muslims, shouted that the Holy Prophet was still alive.
Yet, the Holy Prophet gestured him not to declare it so that the enemy would not attack him again. The man understood and kept silence. Then Abu-Sufyan
overlooked the Muslim army and shouted, “Is Muhammad still among you?” The Holy Prophet ordered his army not to answer him at all. Abu-Sufyan then asked `Umar by name, “Did we kill Muhammad?” Breaking the Holy Prophet’s order, `Umar shouted, “No, by Allah! He (the Prophet) can hear your words!” Having been happy for this reply, Abu-Sufyan said, “You (`Umar) have been more truthful that Ibn Qama.”(1)
Although the Holy Prophet ordered, confirmatively, his army not to tell the enemies about his having been still alive, `Umar broke this order and informed Abu-Sufyan. Beyond doubt, `Umar followed his personal conjecture and he was definitely wrong.
One day, the Holy Prophet distributed the almsgivings in a definite way, but `Umar objected saying, “Allah’s Messenger: there are others who are worthier than those whom you have given.”(2) The Holy Prophet answered, “You are asking me to be unfair! You are forcing me to be either spendthrift or niggardly; yet I am not ungenerous.”(3)
It has been narrated on the authority of `Abdullah that, once, the Holy Prophet distributed the almsgiving in a definite way, but one of Ansar objected saying, “I swear by Allah that this distribution has not been purely intended for the sake of Allah.” I (`Abdullah the narrator) decided to bear this wording to the Holy Prophet. When I did, yet secretly, the Holy Prophet’s color changed out of rage for he was very upset. He then commented, “(Prophet) Moses suffered injuries that were severer than this one; yet he could stand
Talhah and `Uthman ibn `Affan are reported to have said, “How is it that Muhammad is allowed to marry our widows while we are not allowed to marry his? As soon as he dies, we will certainly have all of his women by lottery!” (2) Talhah intended to marry `Ā’ishah(3) and `Uthman Ummu-Salamah (the Holy Prophet’s wives). By such words, they both wanted to hurt the Holy Prophet; therefore, Almighty Allah revealed to him saying,
“Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah's Messenger, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly, such a thing is in Allah's sight an enormity. (Holy Qur’an: 33:53)”
“Whether ye show what is in your minds or conceal it, Allah Calleth you to account for it. (Holy Qur’an: 2/284)”
“Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger - Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment. (Holy Qur’an: 33/57)”
“The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves, and his wives are (as) their mothers. (Holy Qur’an: 33/6)”
Among the many incidents of this kind is the occurrence narrated by al-Bukhariy, al-Sahih, Kitab al-Ādab, that some of the Sahabah(4) disdained to carry out one of the Holy Prophet’s orders; he therefore was angry. He said,
“What for do some people disdain carrying out the order that I myself do. I swear by Allah that I am more knowledgeable and more pious than they are.”(5)
Among the Sahabah, there
were those who slandered the Holy Prophet in the matter of the distribution of the almsgivings,(1) those who, when seeing some bargain or amusement, disperse headlong to it and leave the Holy Prophet’s standing alone,(2) those who injured the Holy Prophet,(3) those who escaped participating in jihad,(4) those who raised their voices about the Holy Prophet’s voice,(5) those who falsely ascribed... to the chastity of the Holy Prophet’s wife,(6) those who conspired with each other to assassinate the Holy Prophet at the night of al-`Aqabah,(7) those who disobeyed the Holy Prophet(8)… etc.
On the other side, among the Sahabah were those who followed him on any matter that required collective action, those who complied with his commandments and refrained from matters that he deemed unlawful, and those who never broke his orders, and those who accepted to sleep in his bed in order to save him from assassination.
For instance, Handhalah, the one washed by the angels, never absented himself from any campaign led by the Holy Prophet except on one occasion after he had obtained the Holy Prophet’s permission to stay with his bride on his wedding night.(9) In the same time, too many were the Sahabah who refused to join the Holy Prophet.
This paradox indicates that Handhalah belonged to the group of the Sahabah who purely followed the Holy Prophet’s orders and instructions while the others belonged to the group of the Sahabah who followed their personal conjectures and opinions.
It is worth mentioning that the Holy Prophet, through such
commandments, wanted to test definite individuals. The strange story of killing Dhu’l-Thadyah while he was in an elevated state of piety; the request of recording his will in the final hours of his honorable life; the appointment of the eighteen year old Usamah ibn Zayd as the commander of aged men like Abu-Bakr, `Umar and Abu-`Ubaydah—all these are points worthy of considerable investigation.
By giving the name of ‘the group of identifying what is good and personal conjecture’ to the group of the Sahabah who followed their personal opinions even if they would violate the Holy Prophet’s orders, I mean that, whenever they were asked for explanation for their deeds, they always answered that they identified the advantage or that they attempted to infer the best but they failed! And one who attempts to infer the best (mujtahid) and finds it will be rewarded twice but one who attempts but fails will be rewarded once!
It also seems that most of the previously represented issues were in the form of a divine test for those Sahabah and purposed for distinguishing the obedient believer from the disobedient.
According to the Shari`ah, the followers must obey whatever the Holy Prophet instructs and refrain from doing whatever he forbids, whether his commandment and forbiddance are related to the religious or the ordinary affairs.
In other words, the Holy Prophet’s orders must be always obeyed under any circumstance. Besides, the followers do not enjoy any right of choice in this regard according to the following holy
verse that reads,
“It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path. (Holy Qur’an: 33/36)”
On the grounds of the aforementioned givings, it is very likely that the Holy Prophet’s request for a paper and ink to record his will and the events that resulted from this request was only intended to uncover the reality of those Sahabah before the attendants as well as to expose their actual view about the Holy Prophet.
The same conclusion can be deduced from the nomination of Usamah ibn Zayd as the commander of the Muslims. When the Holy Prophet was informed that a group of the Muslims rejected the commandment of Usamah and thus refused to join his army, he went out and said,
“O People: Is it true that some of you have denied and rejected the commandment of Usamah? It is yet not strange from you, because you also denied my decision of nominating his father as your commander some time ago.”(1)
As a conclusion, there were two trends during the life of the Holy Prophet; one trend includes those who followed their personal opinions even if that would lead them to violate the Holy Prophet’s orders. Abu-Bakr and `Umar were among this trend. The other trend represented the sincere Sahabah who would never break the Holy Prophet’s order whatever
the consequence would be.
As the second introduction and its appendages has been elaboration of our opinion as regards the prohibition of recording the Hadith, and in order not to avoid reference to some of the appertained wonderments and probabilities, it seems necessary to cite `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s justifications for the prohibition of recording the Hadith. As a matter of fact, he presented two justifications only. First, he anticipated that the Muslims would be influenced by the Ahl al-Kitab and, second, he anticipated that the Muslims would follow the Holy Prophet’s instructions and forsake the Holy Qur'an.
However, Ibn Hazm has regarded as improbable that `Umar’s prohibition of recording the Hadith included the Holy Sunnah; rather the decision, according to Ibn Hazm’s opinion, was aimed at the very tales of the past nations. In this regard, he says,
“The meaning of `Umar’s prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith, had this thing been true, is manifested in the narration that I recorded on the authority of Qaradhah.(1) `Umar only prohibited reporting the narratives regarding the past nations and their likes. To prohibit reporting the conducts and norms of the Holy Prophet is absolutely violation. It is impermissible for anyone to believe that an ordinary Muslim individual may prohibit the spread of the Holy Prophet’s heritage.
On this account, it will be extremely unacceptable to think that `Umar would do so. My proof is that `Umar himself reported many things from the Holy Prophet. Had the reporting of the Hadith been discommended,
`Umar would have contradicted himself when he reported very much from the Holy Prophet. It is impermissible for any Muslim individual to believe that `Umar had prohibited a matter and than he himself did it.”(1)
Imitating Ibn Hazm, Muhammad `Ajjaj al-Khatib deemed unacceptable to say the `Umar ibn al-Khattab prohibited the Sahabah from reporting and recording the Hadith or imprisoned `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud and others when they violated this decision because this claim is contrary to sense.(2)
Nevertheless, a deep investigation in the events of the first age of Islam will unquestionably prove that the arguments of Ibn Hazm and his fans have not been accurate as they are far away from the reality. The uninterruptedness of the narrations that reported `Umar’s having decided to prohibit recording and reporting the Hadith are undeniable and irrefutable.
Other narrations have confirmed that `Umar’s decision generally included any sort of Hadith and any Sahabiy. Moreover, it has been authentically narrated that `Umar treated the reporters and recorders of Hadith with ultimate brutality. This fact cannot be denied save by unreasonable contenders.
On this account, Ibn Hazm and his fans have attempted to invent justifications for `Umar’s deed. Yet, they have had nothing other than regarding as improbable or wonderments that are not based upon any scientific ground.
Regarding `Umar’s ordering Qaradhah and his companions to reduce reporting the Holy Prophet’s narrations, it must be exposed to one of two probabilities; either `Umar accused them all of fabricating lies against the Holy Prophet or he ordered them
to conceal the revelations of Almighty Allah that were said to the Holy Prophet in private.
Neither Ibn Hazm nor would anyone of his fans accept any of these two probabilities. Yet, I accept the first probability provided that another matter is added to it. My proof on this is that `Umar used to accuse his officials of bribery and very often he seized half of their fortunes in addition to the fact that he used to be severe with them to the degree that his famous rod played on their bodies over and over again! `Umar’s general behaviors with the Sahabah proves that he distrusted them, railed at them, and exposed their defects to the publics.
Because Ibn Hazm and his fans would never accept the two aforementioned probabilities, they have had to claim that `Umar prohibited reporting and recording the narrations concerning the manners of the past nations only. This voluntary claim cannot withstand in the face of the many evidences inferred from the narrations that recorded the decision of `Umar’s having prohibited recording and reporting the Hadith.
To explain, the narrations intended have carried general sense and `Umar’s conducts as regards his application of the decision of prohibition indicate generality, not specification, and his well-known brutality has been too excessive to include a definite sort of narration. `Umar prevented `Ammar ibn Yasir to report an undoubted incident (concerning the Dry Ablution; Tayammum) that `Umar himself witnessed during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet!
Thus, `Umar’s decision of prohibiting reporting and
recording the Hadith is not restricted to the narrations reporting the manners and tales of the past nations although it is probable that he opted for this justification in order to hide the actual purpose beyond his decision, which is related to the psychological backgrounds of `Umar who, during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet and in the beginning of the Divine Mission, was prohibited from tracking and reporting the traditions of the Jews. Hence, his decision could act as negative reaction of the Holy Prophet’s situation against his reporting the Jews’ traditions.
As a result, `Umar bore malice against reporting and recording any tradition, including the Holy Prophet’s, whether these traditions were authentic or not or whether they related to the manners of the past generations or not.
Khalid ibn `Urfutah narrated that `Umar said: Once, I… copied a book belonging to the Ahl al-Kitab and brought him before the Holy Prophet.
“What do you have in your hand, `Umar?” asked the Holy Prophet.
“This is a book that I have copied so as to increase my knowledge,” answered I.
The Holy Prophet became so angry that both of his cheeks turned red. He then called people to gather. Having seen this situation, the Ansar knew that the Holy Prophet was enraged; they therefore armed themselves and surrounded the minbar. The Holy Prophet then said,
“O People: I have been given the comprehensives and seals of good wording (of knowledge), which has been briefed for me. I have hence given them to you as
white and pure as they are. You must thus neither be confused nor be deceived by the nonbelievers.”
Soon after that, I (`Umar) stood up and declared, “I have accepted Allah as my Lord, Islam as my religion, and you as the Messenger.”
The Holy Prophet then descended from the minbar.(1)
According to another narration, `Abdullah ibn Thabit reported that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, once, came to the Holy Prophet and said, “As I have passed by one of my Jew friends, he recorded for me comprehensive paragraphs from the Torah. May I show them to you?” On hearing this, the Holy Prophet’s face changed. I (`Abdullah) reproached `Umar saying, “May Allah spoil your brain! Can you not see what occurred to the Holy Prophet’s face?” `Umar hence shouted, “I have accepted Allah as my Lord, Islam as my religion, and Muhammad as the Messenger.”(2)
It has been authentically narrated that `Umar associated the Jews and copied some of their books. Having read these books, he liked their materials. He therefore read these books not for investigation and refutation; rather he was admired by their contents as he aimed at educating himself through them. For this reason only, the Holy Prophet became so angry since he had already warned his followers against associating with the Jews. Likewise, the Holy Qur'an, on more than one occasion, has declared the cunning and cheating of the Jews. In this regard, Almighty Allah says,
“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors:
They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust. (Holy Qur’an: 5/51)”
“Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans. (Holy Qur’an: 5/82)”
This incident had left a deep and negative reaction in `Umar’s mentality due to which he stood so severely against the reporters and recorders of the Hadith some of whom were detained by him and others were beaten by his famous rod. From this cause also, he confirmed the decision of prohibition by saying, ‘This is a false wish just like that of the Christians and the Jews.’
Supporting our discussion, Khalid ibn `Urfutah narrated that he, once, was sitting with `Umar when a man from (the tribe of) `Abd-Qays residing in Sus was brought before him.
“You are so-and-so from A`bd-Qays, are you not?” asked `Umar.
“Yes, I am,” answered the man.
“You are living in Sus, are you not?” asked `Umar.
“Yes, I am,” answered the man.
`Umar then hit the man with a rod he had in his hand. “What have I done, Amir al-Mu’minin?”(1) shouted the man.
`Umar then ordered him to sit down. When the man did, `Umar recited, (the holy verses)
“In the Name of Allah, the All-compassionate and the All-merciful. Alif. Lam. Ra. These are verse of the Scripture that maketh plain. Lo! We have revealed it, a Lecture in Arabic, that ye may understand. We narrate unto thee (Muhammad) the
best of narratives in that We have inspired in thee this Qur'an, though aforetime thou wast of the heedless.” (Holy Qur’an: 12/1-3)
`Umar repeated these verses thrice and each time he recited, he beat the man with his cane.
“What have I done, Amir al-Mu’minin?” asked the man again.
“It was you who copied the Book of Daniel, was it not?” asked `Umar.
The man answered, “Well, I will carry out anything you will say.”
`Umar thus instructed, “Go and erase it with fire and white wool. After that, you must not recite it ever again and must not show it to anybody at all. Beware! If I am informed that you will have recited it before anybody, I will kill you under punishment.”
`Umar then related to the man his story with that book of the Jews that he had copied during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet… etc.(1)
If truth be told, the decision of prohibition in this narration would have been acceptably pleasing and accurate had it been dedicated to it. Yet, the purpose of the decision has been trailed by many personal opinions and intrusions that confused its path and contents.
Such a negative reaction occurred to Usamah ibn Zayd, too, when he killed a Muslim individual thinking that the man had only declared being Muslim because he feared of being killed. When Usamah was back, Almighty Allah revealed the holy verse,
“O ye who believe! When ye go abroad in the cause of Allah, investigate carefully, and say not to any one who
offers you a salutation: ‘Thou art none of a believer!’ Coveting the perishable goods of this life. (Holy Qur’an: 4/94)”
Thus, Usamah became so fearful and hesitant that he abstained from participating in Imam `Ali’s campaigns against the breachers, the violators, and the apostates, claiming that he would not kill Muslim individuals. Yet, he forgot the many holy verses, Prophetic deeds, Hadiths, and consensus of the Sahabah on the legality of putting to death the Muslim married who commits fornication, the Muslims who deny one of the fundamentals of Islam, the Muslims who violate the souls of other Muslims, and many others. Pretending to have forgotten all these Islamic laws, Usamah rested upon his personal views that to fight against the breachers, violators, and apostates is not permissible although his personal inferences were in violation of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
By the notice of `Umar’s negative reaction against the aforementioned incident that occurred to him in addition to his frequent encroachments against the Sahabah whom are accused of treachery and fabrication, detained and beat—by noticing all these factors, it becomes easy to understand why `Umar prohibited the others from reporting and recording the Hadith while he allowed himself to do it.
Because he was the caliph, he thought that he had full authority to report the Hadith while the others, because they were object to doubt, distrust, and flaw, must not enjoy such an authority.
Moreover, the conduct of `Umar ibn al-Khattab contradicts the justification of Ibn Hazm. It is known that `Umar
was fond of the narratives of the Ahl al-Kitab as well as the Jews who converted to Islam and still kept the Torah, especially Ka`b al-Ahbar who brought to `Umar a book, whose edges were torn due to oldness, comprising the Torah and asked for permission to read it;(1) hence, `Umar permitted him to read it day and night.(2) In other words, `Umar ordered him neither to erase that book, nor to set fire to it, nor did he warn him against such thing.
When he conquered Bayt al-Maqdis (in Jerusalem), Ka`b al-Ahbar said to him, “Your deed was predicted by a Prophet five hundred years ago! Good tidings, Jerusalem! Al-Faruq (i.e. `Umar) will purify you from what you keep!”(3)
According to another narration, Ka`b al-Ahbar said to `Umar ibn al-Khattab, “In the Torah, it is written that this land, which was inhabited by the children of Israel (i.e. the Israelites), would be conquered at the hands of a virtuous man.” On hearing this, `Umar thanked Almighty Allah.(4)
Ka`b al-Ahbar also said to `Umar, “In the Torah, we read that ‘Woe to the king of the earth from the King of the Heavens.” `Umar added, “Except those who watch themselves.” Ka`b al-Ahbar commented, “I swear by Him Who grasps my soul; it is written in the Torah in this very form (i.e. with the addition of `Umar).” `Umar thus raised his sound with ‘Allahu Akbar’ and prostrated himself.(5)
When a man, who had absented himself in a hole in a mountain for four days,
claimed that he had entered Paradise, `Umar ibn al-Khattab summoned Ka`b al-Ahbar and asked him, “Can you see in your books that a man belonging to our nation would enter Paradise and then come out of it?”
Ka`b al-Ahbar said, “Yes, I have read such a thing and, further, I can tell which one is that person if he is now among you.”
`Umar said, “Yes, he is among us.”
Ka`b al-Ahbar looked at the attendants and then pointed at the man!(1)
One day, `Umar ibn al-Khattab summoned Ka`b al-Ahbar and asked, “How am I described (in the Torah)?”
Ka`b al-Ahbar answered, “You are described as an iron age.”
“What comes next?” asked `Umar.
“Then will come a caliph killed by an unjust faction,” answered Ka`b al-Ahbar.
“What comes next?” asked `Umar.
“Then will come ordeals!” answered Ka`b al-Ahbar.(2)
Furthermore, `Umar ibn al-Khattab sought the advice of Ka`b al-Ahbar in the most serious question of the Islamic nation; he consulted him about the leadership of the ummah, saying, “What is your opinion about the leadership of `Ali? I need your conception in this regard.”
Ka`b al-Ahbar answered, “From the aspect of personal opinions, he is not fit enough. This is because he is very strict in the religious affairs. He never overlooks any flaw, never shows mercy in any mistake, and never acts upon his personal opinions.”(3)
Ka`b al-Ahbar also came to `Umar ibn al-Khattab to inform him about his eminent death as mentioned in the Torah. He said to him, “You should, Amir al-Mu'minin, prepare your will, for you will die
in three days.”
“How do you know?” `Umar asked.
Ka`b al-Ahbar answered, “I read that in the Book of Allah—the Torah!”(1)
In addition, al-Bukhariy has recorded, in his book of Sahih, narrations that refute Ibn Hazm’s justification. He narrated that it is permissible to report from the Children of Israel. In this connection, he has recorded on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah that the Ahl al-Kitab used to recite the Torah in Hebrew then translate it into Arabic for the Muslims. Commenting on this, the Holy Prophet said, “You should neither believe nor belie the Ahl al-Kitab; rather you should only repeat (the verse that reads):
Say: We believe in Allah and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit. (Holy Qur’an: (2/136))”(2)
Ibn Kathir says, “When he converted to Islam during the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ka`b al-Ahbar used to discuss, in the presence of the caliph, matters driven from the sciences of the Ahl al-Kitab. `Umar used to listen to him in order to encourage him and also because he was admired by these narratives. Many people thus sought `Umar’s permission to write down these narratives of Ka`b al-Ahbar; therefore, they were permitted to report from
the Children of Israel. However, a big amount of mistakes and a great deal of confusion occurred due to such.”(1)
Although none is responsible for the contradictions between `Umar’s deeds and words, the previous discussion removed the accuracy of all the justifications of Ibn Hazm and his fans in which they have spared no efforts for fabricating excuses for `Umar’s unacceptable deeds.
Other authors have attempted to find other justifications for `Umar’s decision. They have claimed,
“`Umar only wanted to protect the Hadith against fabrication through reducing the reporting and recordation of it; therefore, experts in Hadith and the truthful reporters were excluded from the decision.”(2)
Such sayings cannot convince any rational! Protection is senseless since it is meaningless to prevent a trustworthy narrator from reporting the Hadith, taking into consideration that some of those whom were directly prohibited from spreading the Hadith were such trustworthy that the Holy Prophet said about them words of praise and respect.
To actually protect the Hadith is to urge such persons to report it so that others will spread the Holy Prophet’s heritage and convey it throughout the Islamic regions and thus people would know the details of their religion saving themselves from ignorance with the religious rulings.
If `Umar’s protection signifies the fear of a reporter’s inaccuracy, oblivion, or the like flaws, this meaning must be first applied to `Umar himself without expecting it from others and hence preventing them for reporting.
It is also so surprising to say that the experts in Hadith and the trustworthy reporters were
excluded from `Umar’s decision because it has been authentically narrated that `Umar jailed grand Sahabah, such as Abu-Dharr, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu-Mas`ud al-Ansariy, and Abu’l-Darda’ because of their having breached the decision. He also warned `Ammar ibn Yasir, Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy and other Sahabah against violating it.
It is also very improbable to say that acts like prohibition, putting in jail, and beating were incompatible with `Umar’s psychology for his having been the caliph and one of the grand Sahabah and thus he should be deemed far above committing such things! To refute it, we say that `Umar ibn al-Khattab has been well-known for his brutality and rough treatment since the lifetime of the Holy Prophet.(1) This is an irrefutable fact. He also continued such behaviors during the reign of Abu-Bakr.(2) When he came to power, his rod did not depart him for a single moment; he used to beat, punish,(3) detain,(4) exile, and displace peoples(5) for matters that could have been treated through other means of discipline and guidance. Finally, in the first days of his reign, he prayed to Almighty Allah to make him lenient!(6)
Historians have conveyed various pictures of `Umar’s norm as regards treating the subjects. Describing `Umar, the author of Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah says,
“`Umar’s tempers and words were full of violence and patent abuse. He was intensely cruel, unsociable, harsh, and frowning. He regarded these features as virtues and any opposite quality would be defect.”(7)
As a consequence, it is not strange for `Umar to adopt such a strict
situation against anyone who would break his decision of prohibiting recording and reporting the Hadith, especially after he had been reproached by the Holy Prophet for having copied a book of the Jews. To add to the previous facts `Umar’s overflowing tribalism and the danger that the reporting of the Holy Prophet’s heritage would cause to the legality of his position of leadership, the matter becomes easily understandable.
Above all, `Umar detained Abu’l-Darda’ who had disagreed with him on certain jurisprudential issues and detained Abu-Dharr and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud who both disagreed with him as regards the issue of forbidding the temporary marriage. The same thing is applicable to the others whom `Umar disallowed to leave his capital.(1)
These incidents indicate that `Umar was extremely coarse to those persons because they reported Hadiths whose significances did not appeal to him or violated his personal legislations. On the other hand, he neither detained nor beat nor censured Abu-Hurayrah who reported more than 5374 Hadiths. He only satisfied himself with menacing and banishing him for a period before he permitted him alone to report the Hadith.
The most obvious evidence on `Umar’s having enjoyed this feature is the narration that he, once, saw off a group of the Sahabah that he had delegated to al-Kufah.
“Do you know why I am seeing you off?” asked he.
“Yes, we do,” they answered, “This is for the sake of our being the companions and supporters of the Holy Prophet.”
Replying them, `Umar said, “This is true. But I am seeing
you off for another matter that I wanted to tell you in private… you must reduce reporting the Hadith and I am responsible for this decision.”(1)
Because they were from the Ansar—the group of the pure compliance with the Holy Prophet’s commandments whom are expected to report things that `Umar would not like to be spread among the Muslims lest his flaws would float to the surface—`Umar had to prevent them from reporting the Hadith or had to order them to restrict it so that his lack of experience would not come to view.(2)
As has been earlier proven, all the invented justifications that have been presented for defending `Umar’s decision of prohibiting the reporting and recording of the Hadith will never withstand the criticism and investigation that is based on logic and knowledge.
For that reason, the foundation on which they have built their opinions of finding suitable justifications for `Umar’s decision has been the big hallo that they sketched around `Umar’s personality in their mentalities as is seen in Ibn Hazm’s statement, “It is impermissible to anyone to believe that an ordinary Muslim may prohibit the spread of the Holy Prophet’s heritage. On this account, it will be extremely unacceptable to think that `Umar would do so.”
Moreover, other reasons, to be mentioned later on, prompted `Umar to prohibit reporting and recording the Hadith and expand the circle of personal inferences and identification of advantages. The proofs on which the adopters of this opinion depended were in fact present in the
mentalities of some of the Sahabah, headed by `Umar, since the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. Yet, `Umar worked for establishing this idea.
The discussions of the first introduction can be summarized in the following points:
1) Since the age of the Holy Prophet, the Sahabah followed two different trends; some of them complied thoroughly with the sacred texts and the instructions of the Holy Prophet, while others followed their personal opinions and views.
2) Abu-Bakr and `Umar, the first and second caliphs, followed the second trend of Ijtihad and Opinionism.
3) `Umar ibn al-Khattab made expansive steps in the field of establishing the foundations of his personal opinions that he unveiled during his reign.
4) One of the factors that urged `Umar ibn al-Khattab to prohibit the reporting and recording of the Hadith was the negative reaction that inflicted him due to his having copied the books of the Jews.
5) The justifications of Ibn Hazm as regards `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s prohibiting from spreading the Hadith are actually baseless, because `Umar’s decision was general. The conducts of `Umar with the Ahl al-Kitab in general and Ka`b al-Ahbar in particular, even during his reign, contradicts the claims of Ibn Hazm. Similarly, the two last justifications—that `Umar issued such decision due to his excessive carefulness to the religious affairs or that the decision would not befit his psychological personality—have been proven as inaccurate.
Muslims believe that a caliph must enjoy two authorities:
(1) Political Capacity: A caliph must enjoy experience in the management of the ummah’s affairs
in both states of war and peace, protecting the frontiers of the Islamic State, confronting the enemies of the religion, and subjecting them to the Islamic laws as well as the other secondary affairs, such as organizing the economic affairs, covering the requirements of the needy and the like.
(2) Scientific Capacity: A caliph must be capable of issuing verdicts according to the rulings of the Holy Qur'an and the heritage of the Holy Prophet. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, people used to receive rulings directly from the Holy Prophet to whom they referred in any new question. In the caliphs’ reigns, they should refer to the caliphs for learning the laws and the innovated affairs.
Furthermore, most of them did not reside in Makkah or al-Madinah and thus they should receive the religious knowledge from the companions of the Holy Prophet. Hence, the majority of Muslims should have received their religious directives from the caliph and their retinue taking into consideration the big difference between a caliph and the Holy Prophet.
During the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, people considered him as legislator for he, in the word of the Holy Qur'an, never speaks out of desire.(1) Accordingly, the Holy Prophet’s instructions were so authoritative that none had the right to violate or disobey since their source was the Divine Revelation.
A caliph does not enjoy the authority of the Holy Prophet or a legislative role as regards the religious laws;(2) rather he is regarded as no more than a reporter
from the Holy Prophet.
Having realized this fact, Abu-Bakr and `Umar, in the beginning, used to convey the religious laws as exactly as found in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. When they had to face an ambiguous issue, they would refer it to the grand Sahabah asking them whether they had heard from the Holy Prophet something in this regard. Then, they would convey the ruling to those involved in the issue. Let us now cite examples on this information:
(A) Maymun ibn Mahran is reported to have said, “When an issue is presented before Abu-Bakr, he used to refer to the Holy Qur'an first. If he found the answer, he would say it lest he would look in the Holy Sunnah. If he would not find the answer, he would ask people whether they had heard something in this regard from the Holy Prophet. One of them would say what he had heard from the Holy Prophet about the issue. When he could not find anything related, he would gather the most experienced ones and consult them. When they agree on a definite ruling, he would pass it.”(1)
(B) Malik, Abu-Dawud, Ibn Majah, al-Darimiy and others have reported that Abu-Bakr, once, said to a grandmother who came asking for her share of an inheritance, “In the Holy Qur'an, I could not find anything related to your case. Also, I could not find anything in the Holy Sunnah. You should now wait until I consult people.”
Al-Mughirah said, “When such a case was
submitted before him, the Holy Prophet decided to give the one-sixth of an inheritance.” “Does anyone else have anything in this respect?” asked Abu-Bakr. Muhammad ibn Muslimah al-Ansariy stood and confirmed al-Mughirah’s claim. Thus, Abu-Bakr accepted.(1)
Like Abu-Bakr, `Umar used to ask the Sahabah on such issues and then judge.
(C) On the authority of al-Salamiy, al-Bayhaqiy narrated that `Umar consulted the people whether he would sentence to stoning punishment the lady who committed adultery with a shepherd who refused to give her water, while she was extremely thirsty, unless she would allow him to sleep with her.
(Imam) `Ali answered, “This lady was compelled; therefore I see that you should release her.” Following `Ali’s verdict, `Umar did.(2)
(D) `Umar asked Abu-Waqid al-Laythiy about the Surahs that the Holy Prophet used to recite in the Prayer of the Feast (Salat al-Īdayn). “The Holy Prophet used to recite Surah of Qaf (No. 50) and Surah of Iqtarabat (al-Qamar 54),” answered Abu-Waqid.(3)
(E) On the authority of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab, al-Hakim reported that while `Umar ibn al-Khattab was reciting the Holy Qur'an, he passed by the holy verse,
“Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with iniquity.” (Holy Qur’an: 6/82)
He summoned Ubayy ibn Ka`b and asked, “Are we excluded from this verse because none of us has ever committed iniquity?” Ubayy answered, “Iniquity in this verse stands for polytheism as is proven by the holy verse,
“And when Luqman said to his son while he admonished him: O my son! Do not associate aught with Allah;
most surely, polytheism is a grievous iniquity. (Holy Qur’an: 31/13)”(1)
(F) `Umar ordered to apply the sentence of whipping to one of the first Muhajirun because he had had strong drink. The man objected saying, “You should not sentence me to whipping penalty; I can prove it in the Holy Book of Allah (the Qur'an).”
“How is that?” asked `Umar.
“Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur'an,
‘On those who believe and do deeds of righteousness there is no blame for what they ate, when they guard themselves from evil, and believe, and do deeds of righteousness,(or) again, guard themselves from evil and believe,(or) again, guard themselves from evil and do good. For Allah loveth those who do good.’ (Holy Qur’an: 5/93)
I am one of those who believed, did deeds of righteousness, then guarded themselves from evil and believed and did deeds of righteousness. I participated with the Holy Prophet in the battles of Badr, al-Khandaq, and the Truce of al-Hudaybiyah as well as other campaigns.”
`Umar asked the attendants for an answer; therefore `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said, “The verse that you have cited as your excuse carried excuses for the deeds that were done in the pre-Islamic era and also carried arguments against the coming generations. This is because Almighty Allah says elsewhere,
‘O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,—of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper(Holy Qur’an: 5/90)’
This holy verse carried a clear-cut prohibition of drinking strong drink.”
Having been convinced by `Abdullah’s
refutation of the claim, `Umar said, “You have told the truth! Now, what do you think this man should undergo?”
(Imam) `Ali answered, “We see that because this man drank strong drink, he has raved; and because he has raved, he forged fabrications (against Almighty Allah); and the sentence of him who forges fabrications is to undergo eighty whips.” `Umar thus ordered to sentence the man to eighty whips as punishment.(1)
The aforementioned narrations, as well as many others that have not been mentioned for fear of lengthiness, prove clearly that neither Abu-Bakr not did `Umar claim full knowledge with all the religious laws that were said by the Holy Prophet or that they, and none else, were versed in the Hadith; rather they, like the majority of the Sahabah, did not go through many issues of the religious legislation.
On this account, the exaggerated claim that they were the most acquainted with the Hadith and the most knowledgeable in the issues of the religious knowledge and laws has been based upon a purely extreme emotional, not rational, situation that is far away from the historical reality. Moreover, the majority of the reports that narrated or confirmed such claim are exposed to suspicion and uncertainty. One of such fake reports has been the following: Imam `Ali is reported to have said, “We were telling each other that an angel was talking on behalf of `Umar!”(2)
`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud is reported to have said, “If the knowledge of `Umar is put in a scale of
a balance and the knowledge of all the peoples in the other, the scale of Umar’s knowledge will certainly incline!”(1)
The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, “Had there been a prophet to come after me, `Umar would have certainly been that prophet!”(2) And, “In the past nations, there were individuals communicated by the angels. If this occurs to my nation, `Umar will certainly be the one communicated by the angels!”(3)
The likes of such exaggerated superstitions are too many. Similarly, too many are the motives and reasons beyond them.
One of the clear-cut issue is that had Abu-Bakr and `Umar enjoyed special knowledge in this respect, they would have directly given out religious verdicts without need for consulting the Sahabah in matters they ignored, no contradiction would have ever occurred in their opinions and verdicts, they would not have withdrawn many of their verdicts in view of the reports and opinions of the other Sahabah and `Umar would not have come to a point where he declared openly, ‘All people are more knowledgeable than `Umar,’(4) and ‘Even women in boudoirs are more knowledgeable than `Umar!’(5)
In conclusion, the recognition of the religious laws among the first generation of Islam was not attained except through pure compliance with the laws issued by Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet. This fact was known by everyone during that period of the Islamic history. Similarly, neither Abu-Bakr and `Umar nor did any of the other Sahabah have the right to adopt their personal opinions in issues
judged by clear-cut texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
Nevertheless, they committed a breach of the Holy Prophet’s orders on certain occasions when they adopted their personal views and violated the sacred texts.
Referring to a necessarily obvious fact, Ibn Hazm says, “The Holy Prophet, at issuing a verdict or a judgment, did not summon all the inhabitants of al-Madinah to inform them; rather it was sufficient in his view that the attendants listened to that judgment and they would certainly convey it to the others whom, after that, would not be allowed to claim unfamiliarity with that judgment.
Obviously, some of the Sahabah used to interpret a Hadith—that reached his hearing—in such an inaccurate way that it would lose its actual purport. In addition, some of them confessed that they were unaware of many religious laws. In this connection, Abu-Hurayrah declared,
“The Muhajirun, my brethren, were always engaged in making deals in marts; and the Ansar, my brethren too, were engaged by guarding their fortunes.”(1)
It has thus been obvious that the exaggerated picture in which `Umar was given such special and unattainable rank was the product of an inordinate emotion that is rejected and denounced by `Umar himself. To make it more obvious, let us cite the following reports about the Sahabah’s relationship with `Umar.
(A) A man complained to `Umar ibn al-Khattab that after he had been away from his wife for two years, he found her pregnant. `Umar consulted people whether he would sentence her to the
punishment of stoning. Mu`adh ibn Jabal said, “If she is guilty, the fetus in her womb is not. You should leave her until she gives birth. `Umar did and the woman gave birth of a baby whose father avowed for the similarity between them. Commenting on the matter, `Umar said, “Women are too inadequate to give birth of one like Mu`adh. Without Mu`adh, `Umar would have perished.”(1)
(B) `Umar decided to sentence a retaliation punishment against a Muslim who had broken the head of a Dhimmi (a non-Muslim enjoying the protection of the Islamic state). Mu`adh intruded, “As much as I know, you are not allowed to decided such according to a report from the Holy Prophet.” `Umar therefore gave the Dhimmi one dinar(2) as recompense, and he accepted it.(3)
(A) Mujahid narrated that when he was in Syria, `Umar decided to sentence the retaliation punishment to a Muslim who had killed a Dhimmi. But Zayd intruded, “You should not make your slave retaliate upon your brother!” `Umar therefore decided that the Muslim would undergo blood money.(4)
(B) Makhul narrated that `Abadah ibn al-Samit, once, asked a non-Muslim Bedouin to guard his riding animal while he would offer a prayer in the holy Mosque of Jerusalem. The man rejected and `Abadah, out of rage, hit him on the head.
The man complained before `Umar who decided to sentence retaliation punishment to `Abadah who claimed that his temper was so bad that he could not control himself. Yet, Zayd ibn Thabit intruded, “You should
not allow your slave to retaliate upon your brother.” Hence, `Umar decided that `Abadah would undergo blood money.(1)
(C) Zayd ibn Thabit narrated that `Umar, once, visited him… and said, “I visited you to counsel me about the share of a grandfather from his grandson’s inheritance. Zayd apologized because he had known nothing about the matter. Once again, `Umar visited Zayd for the same matter. As he insisted, Zayd decided to write down his opinion. He also cited the following example, “This issue is like a tree that grew up on one trunk, which, later on, produced a branch.
That branch also produced another. The trunk thus supplies the first branch with water. If the first branch is cut, water will directly go to the second branch and if the second is cut, the water will directly go to the first.” `Umar recited this before people and decided to depend upon Zayd’s verdict.(2)
`Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz narrated that `Umar decided to kill the Muslim individual who had killed a Dhimmi in Syria when he was there. Objecting to him, Abu-`Ubaydah said, “You are not allowed to do this.” “Why am I not allowed to do it?” asked `Umar. “Is it lawful to kill a master as retaliation for his having killed his slave?” Abu-`Ubaydah asked. `Umar could not find a reply; he therefore decided that the Muslim should undergo one thousand dinars as blood money.(3)
One morning, `Umar met Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman and greeted him. Hudhayfah said, “How do you expect me
to be! Indeed, I dislike the right, love the temptation, testify the existence of a thing that I have not seen, learn by heart what has not been created, offer the prayer without ablution, and possess on this earth that which is not possessed by Almighty Allah in the Heavens.”
On hearing this reply, `Umar became so enraged that he left hastily as he decided to harm Hudhayfah for such saying. On his way, he passed by `Ali ibn Abi-Talib who noticed his rage and thus asked, “What for are you so enraged, `Umar?”
“As I greeted Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, he said to me that he dislikes the right,” said `Umar.
“This is true,” said `Ali, “the man dislikes death, which is right!”
“He also said that he liked temptation!” added `Umar.
“This is true,” said `Ali, “the man liked his fortune and sons; and Almighty Allah says,
‘Your wealth and your children are only a temptation.’ (Holy Qur’an: 64/15)”
“`Ali: he also claimed that he testified the existence of things that he had not seen!” added `Umar.
“This is also true,” said `Ali, “He testifies of Allah’s Oneness, the death, the Resurrection, the Judgment Day, Paradise, Hell, and the Path (al-Sirat) while he had not seen any of these.”
“`Ali: he also said that he learnt by heart that which was not created!” added `Umar.
“This is also true,” said `Ali, “He has learnt by heart the Holy Book of Almighty Allah—the Qur'an that is not created.”(1)
“He also claimed that he offered prayer without performing the ritual ablution!” said
“This is also true,” said `Ali, “He prays to Almighty Allah to send blessings upon my cousin, the Messenger of Allah, without need for performing the ritual ablution. This is of course permissible.”
“Abu’l-Hasan: he said a more serious thing,” said `Umar.
“What was that?” asked `Ali.
“He said that he possesses on this earth what is not possessed by Almighty Allah in the heavens!” explained `Umar.
“This is also true,” said `Ali, “the man has a wife and sons on this earth while Almighty Allah is too Exalted to have a wife and sons.”
Pondering over the answers of `Ali, `Umar confessed, “Son of al-Khattab would have perished were it not there `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.”(1)
Ibrahim al-Nakha`iy narrated that `Umar ibn al-Khattab decided to sentence death penalty to a man who had murdered another premeditatedly although some of the victim’s heirs pardoned the murderer. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud intruded, “The soul of the murderer was in the hand of all of the victim’s heirs, but when one of them allowed him to keep it, it was thus given life. This one cannot take his due unless the others do.”
“What do you think the judgment must be then?” asked `Umar.
“I think that you must decide that the murderer will undergo the blood money and then you can exempt him from the share of the heir who pardoned him.” `Umar then agreed to this judgment.(2)
(A) Al-Hasan al-Basriy narrated that when `Umar ibn al-Khattab decided to distribute all the gold and silver that were in the Holy Ka`bah, Ubayy
ibn Ka`b objected.
“What for do you object?” asked `Umar.
“Almighty Allah, through the Holy Prophet, has explained the expenditure of each and every fortune,” answered Ubayy.
“This is true,” confirmed `Umar.(1)
(B) Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has reported that `Umar intended to seize the fortunes of the Holy Ka`bah claiming that it did not need them. He also intended to order the people of the Yemen to stop dying their clothes with the urination of camels and to forbid the Muslims from the Mut`at al-Hajj.(2)
Objecting to all of these, Ubayy ibn Ka`b said, “Although they needed the fortune of the Holy Ka`bah, neither the Holy Prophet nor did the Sahabah take it. Accordingly, you must not take it. The Holy Prophet and the Sahabah used to use the Yemeni clothes while they knew that they were dyed with the urination of camels. Yet, they did not warn people against using them. In the presence of the Holy Prophet, we practiced the Mut`at al-Hajj about the forbiddingness of which the Holy Qur'an has not said anything.”(3)
Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab narrated that `Umar ibn al-Khattab decided that the blood money in an issue of slaughter would be distributed among the victim’s kinsmen while the widow’s share is nothing. But when al-Dahhak ibn Sufyan informed him that the Holy Prophet had ordered him to give the widow of Ashyam al-Dhababiy a share of his blood money, `Umar retracted his decision.(4)
Shafiq reported from Shaybah ibn `Uthman that `Umar, once, sat down and decided to distribute all the fortunes of
the Holy Ka`bah among the poor Muslims.
“You are not allowed to do so,” said Shaybah.
“What for?” asked `Umar.
“This is because neither the Holy Prophet nor did Abu-Bakr take anything of these fortunes although they need them more than you,” explained Shaybah.
On hearing this, `Umar left the place.(1)
Nafi` ibn Jubayr narrated on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas that he witnessed the event when a lady that had given birth of a child only six months after her marriage was brought before `Umar to judge. All the attendants disapproved of her but `Abdullah said to `Umar, “Do not be unfair!”
“How is that?” asked `Umar.
`Abdullah answered, “You should consider Almighty Allah’s sayings (in the Holy Qur'an),
‘And the bearing of him and the weaning of him is thirty months.’ (Holy Qur’an: 46/15)
‘Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years.’ (Holy Qur’an: 2/233)
As twenty four months is the period of the two whole years, six months remains for pregnancy as a minimum. Almighty Allah advances and delays the periods of pregnancy as He desires.” On hearing this answer, `Umar accepted it.(2)
(A) `Abdullah ibn `Abbas narrated that `Umar, once, decided to sentence to stoning punishment an insane woman who had committed fornication. While she was led to the place where she would undergo the punishment, `Ali passed by her and asked about the matter, “This is so-and-so, the insane. `Umar decided to sentence her to stoning punishment after he had consulted people.”
`Ali asked them to take her back to `Umar. He then followed them
and said to `Umar, “You should have known that the Messenger of Allah said that three categories of people are not condemned for any deed they would commit—these are the immature, the asleep, and the insane. This lady is insane. Perhaps, she committed this crime while she was in a brainstorm.”
`Umar thus released the lady and repeated saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ as sign of his admiration of `Ali’s answer.(1)
(B) A young woman was fond of one of the Ansar’s youths but he did not respond to her. She therefore decided to resort to trickery; she took an egg, threw away its yolk, and poured the albumen on her dress and thighs.
She then came towards `Umar screaming and claiming that she had been abused by that young man. `Umar intended to punish that young man as soon as some women, whom he had appointed to see the traces of the crime, confirmed the existence of sperms on the young woman’s dress and body.
Defending himself, the young man began shouting at `Umar to be sure of the question since he had not done it although she had sought to seduce him but he rejected. When `Umar referred the question to (Imam) `Ali, he looked at the traces on the dress, asked for a boiling water, poured it on the dress, and then the albumen solidified. As he smelled and tasted it, he knew that it was the white of an egg; therefore he scolded the young woman and she confessed of
(A) `Abdullah ibn `Abbas narrated that `Umar, once, asked him whether he had heard anything from the Holy Prophet or the Sahabah as regards the doubts of the prayers. Meanwhile, `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf cam and asked about the question, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying that if one doubts in the prayer… etc.”(2)
(B) Qatadah reported that `Umar, once, was asked about the ruling if a lady was divorced twice in the pre-Islamic era and then divorced once in Islam. As `Umar excused, `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf said, “I have the solution. Divorce before Islam is ineffective.”(3)
Finally, even his wife corrected `Umar’s information and cancelled his verdict when he wanted to forbid rise in dowries.(4)
The aforementioned examples prove evidently that the accurate course that should have been followed by the Sahabah was the full compliance with the judgments of Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet and caliphs should have referred to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah in the issuance of verdicts. This fact seemed to be firmly present in the mentalities of the Sahabah who corrected for the caliph his errors depending upon the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
These events also confirm that `Umar did not claim special rank in the knowledge of the religious laws or having a distinctive mentality that enabled him to extract the religious laws in such an idiosyncratic manner that bespoke his unique mastermind due to which the Divine Revelation used to depend his opinion and reproach the Holy Prophet for not having acted
upon `Umar’s opinions, and the Holy Prophet said, ‘the Right is following `Umar wherever he would go’(1) and `Umar carried the whole knowledge of the Holy Prophet as well as many alike fabrications that `Umar himself would have certainly denied had he heard them!
As has been previously demonstrated, `Umar’s compliance with the Sahabah’s opinions appertained to the religious laws, as well as the evidences that they used to infer from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, proves that he, on the first days of his reign, did not argue with them on their verdicts and proofs; yet, he, later on, changed his trend by confirming his personal opinions. He thus granted the caliphs a distinctive feature due to which they alone have had the right to issue religious verdicts. This issue will be discussed in details shortly.
The previous discussion can be summarized in the following three points:
1) `Umar ibn al-Khattab did not have full acquaintance with the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet’s instructions. Also, the Sahabah did not submit to his personal opinions.
2) The Holy Qur'an and the Holy Sunnah are the one and only sources of the Islamic legislation and, in the conception of the Sahabah including `Umar himself, nothing can ever replace or be as important as them.
3) From the aforecited texts, we conclude that `Umar ibn al-Khattab was about to be engaged in the most intense embarrassment, since it was not easy for the absolute ruler of the Islamic State to confess of his lack, in the
field of knowledge, at all times, especially when we know that the majority of those who were experienced in the knowledge of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah did not agree with `Umar in principle, conceptions, and values. The coming discussions will demonstrate these facts more obviously.
Naturally, the continuity of finding faults with the caliph, namely `Umar ibn al-Khattab, would certainly impair his position and lessen his social status in the view of the Muslims. Furthermore, this would affect the structure of the position of caliphate as a whole. If the caliph allowed the Sahabah in general and the reporters in particular to find faults with him accusing him of ignorance and inaccuracy in the religious laws, they would certainly have the courage to stop in his face directly.
It would thus be necessary to provide a new course owing to which the phenomenon of finding faults in the caliph’s verdicts would be eliminated and also the caliph’s deeds and personal judgments would be acceptably effective.
In fact, to compare the caliph’s verdicts to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, which would demonstrate the differences between the sources of the Islamic legislation and the caliph’s opinions, would give people the opportunity to criticize him and object to his judgments. As a result, the caliph’s position will be disrespected by people.
On the grounds of the previous consequences, `Umar believed that it is necessary to strengthen the trend of depending upon personal judgments in front of the divine instructions and publicize the concept
of Ijtihad among the Sahabah so that he would be excused in any verdict that he would issue. As a consequence, `Umar adopted two conceptions that moved to some of the Muslims thereafter;
(1) the dependence on personal views and
(2) the acceptance of the Sahabah’s personal opinions as authority.
Later on in this book, we will present the historical progression of these two conceptions as well as their actuality. Let us first quote the statement of Muhammad `Abduh, the great Muslim intellectual, regarding the Sahabah’s personal identification of the advantage. He says,
“As if they believed that the origin of a judgment in an issue is to do what is good, not to follow the religious laws, the Sahabah used to issue a judgment that is compatible to their personal identifications of the advantage even if such would violate the Holy Sunnah.”(1)
Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhab Khallaf says,
“Whenever they could not find a text in the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah that is related to the issue with which they were dealing, the Sahabah would infer a judgment depending upon their personal views. In their practice of Ijtihad, they rested upon their talents that they had acquired from oral communication with the Holy Prophet as well as their familiarity with the secrets and general principles of the Islamic legislation. They, sometimes, compared the issues about which there was no holy text to similar issues explained in the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah.
On other occasions, they issued judgments depending upon their personal identification of the advantage without
committing themselves to any other consideration. On this account, the scope of their Ijtihad in the matters that are not explained in holy texts was very much expansive that it could contain the people’s needs and interests.”(1)
Evidences on the accuracy of the aforesaid quotations are `Umar’s personal verdicts some of which have been previously illustrated. The gentle reader has thus realized the scope of `Umar’s Ijtihad that opposed the actuality of the Islamic legislation.
It is thus probable that `Umar’s personal views that were not accepted by the Sahabah acted as motives beyond the issuance of the decision of prohibiting the reporting and recording of the Hadith. At any rate, the undoubted result in this respect is that both the trends of the adoption of personal opinions and the compliance with the sacred texts perpetuated after the departure of the Holy Prophet.
The trend of the adoption of personal views and the consideration of the Sahabah’s opinions expanded its steps and did not stop at any red line after the departure of the Holy Prophet who was the only one to stop them.
Overstepping all bounds, the Sahabah’s personal opinions crept into the issues about which there were clear-cut text from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. To give it a title, this trend should be called ‘Ijtihad and Opinionism.’
Referring to the representatives of this trend, Dr. Muhammad Sallam Madkur says,
“Imitating the Sahabah in general and `Umar, the caliph, in particular who very frequently replaced some of the religious laws with others
claiming having taken the advantage in consideration and interpreted the holy texts in a way compatible to the advantage, the generation that came next issued verdicts that were in violation of the Holy Sunnah, such as the permissibility of pricing of the goods although the Holy Prophet obviously prohibited such. On violating the Holy Prophet’s instruction, they claimed that because people exceeded all limits, they have to be restrained through pricing their commodities.”(1)
Further, `Abd al-Wahhab Khallaf says,
“When the men of legislation (among the Sahabah) existed in large numbers, disagreement in some of the religious laws occurred. In a definite incident, they gave various opinions. As a matter of fact, such disagreements were necessarily expected, because each one of those issuers of verdicts had his own scope of understanding the holy text and thus his own viewpoint since they did not comprehend the Holy Sunnah in the same degree and, definitely, some of them were present during a certain event from which others were absent.
Moreover, the advantages on the basis of which a verdict was issued were not estimated in the same way for the difference in the environments in which those authoritative individuals lived. For these reasons, miscellaneous judgments were issued in a certain issue.
The scope of disagreement between the authoritative men of legislation expanded more and more during the second century (of Hijrahh) when a class of mujtahids came into sight in the Muslim community.
However, in addition to the three aforesaid reasons beyond the disagreement among the
Sahabah in issuing religious judgments, the reasons beyond the disagreement among the mujtahids of the second century were too many.
Some of them were related to the sources of the legislation, the various tendencies of the Muslims and the linguistic principles upon which the understanding of the holy texts relied.
On this account, the disagreement was not only in the verdicts and the secondary religious laws but also in the bases and plans of the legislation itself. Thus, each group formed a definite sect that adopted certain secondary laws inferred by a special plan of legislation.”(1)
From the previous citation, we conclude that the multiplicity of the centers of giving legal opinions created the disagreements of opinions and Ijtihad. Such a disagreement would possibly occur among the Sahabah or between the caliph and them. Shedding light on this point, Dr. Madkur says,
“The Ijtihad of the Sahabah was not restricted to analogy; rather it included all the aspects of opinion where they rested upon intuition, nature, and observance of the spirit of the Islamic legislation in addition to a perfect recognition of the rational foundation of opinions and its role in the formation of the religious laws.
Hence, when they practiced Ijtihad, they were fully aware of what they were doing. Nevertheless, the aspects of their Ijtihad were miscellaneous; some depended upon analogy, others depended upon the identification of the advantage and so on.
The same thing can be said about the rational sources that were given terminological titles later on. It is
natural that the Ijtihad that is based upon personal opinions results in disagreements in the viewpoints and variety in the verdicts. When the Muslim jurisprudents separated in the various regions of the Islamic State, they formed the core of the various trends that originated the two schools of Hadith and personal opinion (Ra’y).”(1)
In the course of presenting the evidences provided by those who deny considering the Sahabah’s opinions as sources of the Islamic legislation, Dr. Dib al-Bagha says,
“The Sahabah disagreed with each other on several questions, such as the issue of a grandfather’s share with the existence of the testator’s brothers and the issue of a husband’s saying to his wife, ‘Anti `Alayya Haram’ (You are forbidden for me.’ Had the sayings of the Sahabah acted as proofs against the following generations, the proofs of Almighty Allah would have been contradictory and any one of the coming generation would have had the right to follow the course, or verdict, of any of the Sahabah.”(2)
The acceptance of the validity of Ijtihad will make the multiplicity of opinions valid. Likewise, the validity of the disagreement in Ijtihad leads to the validity of accepting contradictory opinions. As he used Ijtihad as the starting point and justification in the understanding of the Shari`ah, `Umar ibn al-Khattab should have allowed the others to act upon the same idea so that his Ijtihad would be valid, the others’ words and interpretations would have supported his or, at least, his opinion would have been respected and
accepted even unwillingly.
As he ordered Qaradhah to reduce reporting the Hadith and then permitted the Sahabah to declare their personal opinions, `Umar proved that he only intended to move the subject of the Islamic legislation from the sacred texts to the personal opinions.
Some of the Sahabah, however, referred to the inaccuracy of this idea since the right cannot be discerned by intellects -in other words, the right is too broad to be identified by ordinary intellects.- In this respect, Imam `Ali said,
“You have been trapped by confusion. Neither the right nor can the wrong be identified by men. On the contrary, if you realize the right, you will then realize its people.”
Having expanded the circle of Ijtihad, `Umar wanted to grant himself a special standing in the Islamic legislation through permitting the others to act upon their personal opinions. He, the political leader of the Islamic State, understood that he would never be able to pass his personal opinions unless he enjoyed a legislative authority. Undoubtedly, he would always regard himself as the right party because he was the worthiest of legislating due to his position of leadership.
Actually, `Umar, step by step, became the only one who had the right to issue verdicts. A little while after that, he gave himself exclusively full rein to judge depending upon his personal views and to identify the advantage preventing the others from presenting their opinions since his views were always the most acceptable and irrefutable!
As a result, `Umar started identifying the
features of the Ijtihad that he had invented so that he would have the lion’s share. He therefore answered the questions without consulting any of the Sahabah and without allowing any other opposing opinion to be in motion.
He furthermore promulgated his personal opinions, after he had frequently sought the actual Sunnah, and insisted on his opinions even if they would violate the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah since he was the most knowledgeable in these fields. He once gathered the Sahabah and said to them, “Do not separate from me, for I am more knowledgeable than you are. I will hear from you and reply.”(1)
He also did not allow `Ammar ibn Yasir and other Sahabah to remind him of what he had done during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime.
Al-Nassa’iy narrated that a man came to `Umar and asked what he would do after he met the major ritual impurity (Janabah) while he had no water (with which he should perform the ritual ablution) at all. “Well, you should not perform the prayer such being the case,” answered `Umar.
`Ammar then reminded `Umar of a similar incident that occurred to him during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime. He said, “We were on a function when Janabah occurred to both of us. You then stopped offering the prayer while I rubbed my organs of ablution with dust and then offered the prayer.
When I told the Holy Prophet about that, he said, “What you have done was sufficient. Teaching me the appropriate way, the Holy
Prophet beat the dust with one hand then blew at it. He then rubbed his hand with the other and passed them over his face.”
Having listened to this incident, `Umar said, “I do not know what that is.”
`Ammar said, “If you wish, I will not tell it to anyone else.”(1)
This narration shows that `Umar did not decide that one on Janabah should perform the Dry Ablution (Tayammum) instead of the ordinary ablution; rather he permitted such individuals to neglect offering prayers until they find water.
Commenting on the aforesaid narration, al-`Ayniy says that `Umar did not decide the Dry Ablution for those who are on Janabah. This is proven by `Ammar’s saying to him, “You did not offer the prayer.” `Umar dedicated the Dry Ablution to the minor ritual impurity and, following his Ijtihad, issued that one on Janabah should not perform the Dry Ablution as substitute.(2)
Commenting on the incident, Ibn Hajar confesses that `Umar’s opinion in the issue is very famous.(3)
On the authority of al-A`mash, al-Bukhariy has recorded that Shaqiq said: I was sitting with `Abdullah and Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy who said, “How is it acceptable for you to decide for one who is on Janabah and cannot find water of a whole month to stop offering the prayers until he finds water? Then, what do you say about the holy verse in the Surah of al-Ma’idah that reads,
‘And if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have touched the women,
and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith. (Holy Qur’an: 6/6)’?”
Answering him, `Abdullah said, “If people were allowed in such cases, they would certainly perform the Dry Ablution even if water would be a few steps away from them.”
“So, you have decided that for this reason only, have you not?” asked Abu-Musa.
“Yes, we have,” answered `Abdullah.
Abu-Musa said, “Have you not heard what `Ammar said to `Umar about this issue when… etc.”(1)
The aforementioned narration has proven `Umar’s violation of the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah when he issued such verdicts because of which `Ammar ibn Yasir and Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy, two of the grand Sahabah, objected; and the Muslim jurisprudents have found strange the rulings that were created by `Umar.
From this cause, it is definitely unacceptable to regard such verdicts and personal opinions as laws of the Islamic legislation and to argue that the Sahabah had the ultimate right to use their personal views in the religious issues and to define the religion as whatever was said by those Sahabah, even if it violated the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah!
Supposing that the aforesaid suppositions had been true, `Umar would not have had the right to order `Ammar, using words of scolding and warning, to hide that issue because, according to the supposed opinion, `Ammar concluded the religious ruling from the sacred text and from what he had heard from the Holy Prophet in addition to the spirit of the Islamic legislation that
he had very well discerned, for he was one of the grand Sahabah. `Umar thus should not have objected to him; rather he should have respected `Ammar’s opinion.
The same thing can be said about the other Sahabah; had all the Sahabah had the right to act upon their personal opinions, `Ammar, Abu-Musa, and the others should not have objected to `Umar as regards the issue.
I should thus wonder whether `Umar had not heard the narrations of Abu-Hurayrah, Abu-Dharr, and the other Sahabah concerning the Dry Ablution and the many narrations that reported from the Holy Prophet the necessity of the observance of the obligatory prayers that must not be stopped under any circumstance. In any event, sufficed to us is the following narration of `Imran ibn al-Husayn, the grand companion of the Holy Prophet:
The Holy Prophet, once, asked a man the reason for having not joined the Congregational Prayer.
“I am on Janabah and I could not find water,” answered the man.
The Holy Prophet instructed, “You should have used dust (to perform the Dry Ablution). It is sufficient in such cases.”(1)
All the previous narrations prove that `Umar was inaccurate in this issue and, accordingly, was not more experienced than others in the field of the religious issues, as was later on claimed by him, and was not marked with such an unparalleled mentality that enabled him to see what others could not see, as claimed by Dr. Nadiah al-`Umariy and her likes.
Not only did `Umar issue inaccurate religious laws, but
also he issued various verdicts in the same issue. In this respect, Mas`ud al-Thaqafiy is reported to have said,
`Umar, once, issued that the paternal half-brothers, the mother, and the maternal half-brothers of a testator should be the partners in one-third of the legacy. When a man reminded him that he had issued another verdict in the same question, `Umar answered, “Well, that verdict was for that occasion and this verdict is for this one.”(1)
These narrations confirm that `Umar worked for sketching the principles of his own jurisprudence regarding it as the only one that should be adopted. This view was in fact derived from the circumstances that he had to experience; yet it extended after him so largely that some of the Muslims have decided to regard the Sahabah’s opinions as above the Words of Almighty Allah. In this respect, Dr. Madkur says,
It is undeniable that all the religious rulings during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet were derived from the Divine Revelation; and this rule has not been violated except by those who have argued that the Holy Prophet had the right to depend upon his personal opinions in the issuance of religious verdicts.
However, al-Dawalibiy, in al-Madkhal ila `Ilm Usul al-Fiqh (A Preamble to the Islamic Jurisprudential Fundamentals), claims that the Holy Prophet founded Ijtihad as the third source(2) of the religious laws. This is in fact not accurate. Ijtihad was not regarded as source of the Islamic legislation during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime.(3)
The followers of the Caliphate
School have furnished a justifying analysis for `Umar’s opinions that violated the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah by different ways.
If truth be told, `Umar’s having invited the Muslims to adopt his personal opinions and to stop reporting and recording the Hadith was a political necessity imposed on him by the social reality, for the Holy Prophet did not say any single word in this respect.
Regarding the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith, had the Holy Prophet said anything about it, `Umar would have certainly reminded the Muslims of it and have betaken it as his argument. Yet, he declared his responsibility alone for this decision.
It was the surrounding conditions, some of which have been previously discussed, that forced him to invent this view and violate the sacred texts. On this account, `Umar’s objectional situations with the Holy Prophet can be explained in the same way. In the pre-Islamic era, `Umar practiced some personal competences that he wanted to expand in Islam with the Holy Prophet. Yet, the difference between the two ages is extremely big.
It is also worth mentioning that some scholars have denied this fact regarding `Umar as one of those who committed themselves to the Holy Prophet’s practice. For instance, it is narrated that while he was standing on the Rukn of the Holy Ka`bah, `Umar said, “I do realize that you are no more than a rock that neither harms nor is useful. But unless I saw my dear, the Holy Prophet, kissing and touching you,
I would never kiss or touch you.” He then approached and kissed it.(1)
It is also narrated that Ya`liy ibn Umayyah, once, was with `Umar ibn al-Khattab when he took his hand to touch the Rukn. “While you were circumambulating the Holy Ka`bah, did you see the Messenger of Allah touching it?” asked `Umar.
“No, I did not,” answered Ya`liy.
`Umar commented, “So, let this thing. You should have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example (i.e. you should imitate him in everything.)”(2)
Although such text cannot refute the fact that `Umar founded and practiced Ijtihad so expansively, they can prove that he did not intend to violate the sacred texts through adopting his personal opinions; rather he planned for another thing.(3)
By notice of the question that `Umar, through words and instructions, confirmed the necessity of adherence to the Hadith and negligence of personal opinions and the question that he did depend upon his personal opinions so expansively that he had to violate the sacred texts, one can conclude that it was the circumstances that forced him to adopt such a trend due to which he, intentionally or intentionally, had to violate the Holy Sunnah.
The perpetuity of the trend of finding faults with the caliph would have definitely created a gap between the political and scientific authorities of the Muslims which, as a result, would lead to the Muslims’ abandonment of the habit of resting upon one person only, as was followed during the Holy Prophet’s age, as well as their disrespect
to that authority’s spiritual standing.
Advancing as a pretext the identification of advantage, they have argued that the personal opinions of the Sahabah can stand as a third source of Islamic legislation besides the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. Particularization has occurred even to this point; the opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar were regarded as the worthiest of being followed according to Hadiths that they have reported from the Holy Prophet.
All the Muslims realized that the ruling of any new incident would be deduced from the sacred texts and the Holy Prophet’s words, deeds, and confirmations and, in this field, nobody at all is allowed to issue personal verdicts. Because the caliph did not comprehend all the words of the Holy Prophet or did not have the capacity of interpreting them, he founded analogy to act as the justification of his personal opinions so that the others will say that the caliph’s opinion was based upon a definite source of the Islamic laws.
Thus, Ijtihad has become such a familiar thing for the Muslims that it could be practiced by all the Sahabah taking into consideration that some of them issued verdicts originated from personal views while the others’ verdicts were based upon the sacred texts although they did not accept reporting anything except the Holy Qur'an or the Holy Prophet’s words and practices.
Such being the case, those Sahabah worked in the frame of the accurate deduction from the source of the Islamic legislation through following nothing but the proper ways
that take to the exact denotations of the sacred texts and, thus, this is not regarded as personal opinions.
Nevertheless, the truth is something else; the legislation of Ijtihad was no more than a political step taken by `Umar so as to stop any criticism of his verdicts and make everybody follow him. In this respect, it has been narrated while Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy informed people about the legality of the temporary marriage, one of the attendants interrupted him saying, “Slow down in issuing such verdicts! You do not know what Amir al-Mu'minin, `Umar, has decided in this matter.”
As he was asked about the matter, `Umar answered, “I know that the Holy Prophet and the Sahabah practiced the temporary marriage. Yet I dislike for people sleeping with their women under the trees. Then, they will come to the Hajj with wet heads.”(1)
This wording and its like confirm the idea of the religious laws’ having yielded to `Umar’s personal opinions. Thus, although he was one of the grand Sahabah, Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy could not inform about the legality of the temporary marriage because he did not know the caliph’s situation about it. He should have waited until a decree would come from `Umar.
Furthermore, `Umar condemned others because they had issued personal verdicts. He said, “How do you issue verdicts while you are not the leader? None should enjoy this right except the leaders.”(2)
After the investigation of the accompanying conditions of the Islamic legislation, it has been possible to say that the claims
of regarding the Sahabah’s personal views as proofs and the taking advantage of the concept of the Holy Prophet’s Ijtihad, such as his inaccuracy in the issues of the redemption of the prisoners of the Battle of Badr, the offering prayers to the body of a hypocrite, and the fabrication that he said, ‘I am no more than an ordinary mortal. If I instruct you about a religious question, you should obey; but if I instruct you out of my own opinion, you should not, because I, like any other mortal, may be right or wrong,’(1) as well as similar things—all these were no more than worthless claims sketched in order to support `Umar’s personal views and to justify his decisions.
When the caliph consulted the Sahabah about a religious question or when the Sahabah asked him about such an issue, this meant that everybody desired to identify the very decision of Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet in that question.
Accordingly, had the personal views of `Umar been regarded as sufficient proofs for issuing religious laws, the Sahabah would have followed him and would not have objected and reminded him of the Holy Prophet’s decision in that respect and he himself would not have retreated on many occasions.
Obviously, the Sahabah’s objections to `Umar and to each other prove that the so-called ‘Sirat al-Shaykhayn’ (the conducts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar) was not taken as proof by the first generation of the Muslims up to the foundation of the Shura Committee.
Had the Hadith that reads, ‘Follow the two who will come after me—Abu-Bakr and `Umar’ been true, the Sahabah would have certainly adhered to it and would not have objected to Abu-Bakr and `Umar on many occasions.
In the course of presenting the evidences provided by those who deny considering the Sahabah’s opinions as sources of the Islamic legislation, Dr. Dib al-Bagha says,
“Unanimously, the Sahabah who enjoyed the right of Ijtihad agreed upon the permissibility to disagree with each other. As a result, neither Abu-Bakr nor did `Umar object against those who disagreed with them on religious issues;(1) rather they asked each mujtahid to adopt his personal views. Had the Sahabah’s opinions been within the sources of the Islamic legislation, it would have been obligatory upon each of them to follow the other. This is of course impossible.”(2)
As a matter of fact, people wanted to know the conducts of the Holy Prophet, not Abu-Bakr and `Umar. Yet, the caliph did not know all the aspects of the Holy Prophet’s conducts. Therefore, he had to face a serious problem for which he should have found a solution.
The Sahabah, through reporting and recording the Hadith, would reveal before the people their caliph’s weak opinions and detachment from the Islamic legislation; and this would naturally do wrong to the fresh entity of the caliphate through making a separation between the political and scientific leaderships, which would serve neither the general situation nor the caliph’s decision. As a result, it became necessary to put
a plan and sketch a course that would take the caliph out of this ordeal.
First of all, `Umar adopted the claim that personal opinions and analogy can stand as proofs on the validity of a religious law. Although he had denied these two matters, `Umar adopted them again since they acted as supports for issuing personal opinions.
We have previously cited some examples in which the Sahabah used the styles of simile and exemplification in order to convince `Umar of their objections to him, such as the narration of Abu-`Ubaydah who said to `Umar ‘Is it lawful to kill a master as retaliation for his having killed his slave?’ and Zayd ibn Thabit who likened the testator to a tree… etc.
Hence, analogy and simile were the rational exit that some people have taken as courses to the recognition of the religious rulings while the Sahabah had adopted them for convincing `Umar who also adopted them, though he had concentrated on analogy, for convincing people of his personal views. In his epistle to Shurayh, `Umar says,
“You should judge according to the Book of Allah (the Holy Qur'an) and nothing else. If you face an issue whose judgment is not existing in the Holy Qur'an, you should move to what the Messenger of Allah had decided. If you face an issue whose judgment is existing neither in the Holy Qur'an nor was said by the Messenger of Allah, you should judge according to the consensus of people.
If you face an issue
whose judgment is existing neither in the Holy Qur'an nor in the Sunnah nor has been mentioned by anyone, you should then either use your own opinion or suspend it. In fact, I think it will be better for you to suspend.”(1)
In a similar epistle, `Umar says to Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy,
“You should first recognize the matches and examples of an issue so that you will compare one to another. Afterwards, you should follow the most similar to the right.”(2)
Ibn Hazm doubted that `Umar had sent the aforesaid epistle to Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy and accepted the one directed to Shurayh with little reservation.(3) Dr. Nadiah al-`Umariy says,
“Although `Umar ibn al-Khattab used the term of analogy in his epistle to Abu-Musa, these terms and rules were not common during that period.”(4)
Although analogy, in its terminological concept, was used many ages after the Rashidite Caliphate, the results of its seeds and origins emerged clearly with Abu-Bakr and `Umar chiefly. This fact cannot be denied except by unreasonable contenders. Whether he did or did not use analogy as a term, `Umar practiced and applied it in his jurisprudential opinions.
The present critiques of the methodology of Abu-Bakr and `Umar and their fans as regards the sources of the Islamic legislation were not unnoticed by the majority of the Sahabah; rather many of them, on many occasions, opposed the personal opinions, analogies, and the so-called identifications of the advantage on the grounds of which many of the religious laws were modified, suspended, or distorted.
Moreover, having not been
sufficed with opposition, condemnation, and finding faults, some of the grand Sahabah declared a general rule, though has been mentioned by both the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, saying that it is unlawful to use personal opinions in the religious questions because any opinion that is not deduced from the two sources of the Islamic law will definitely indicate imperfections of the code of the divine law and the conveyance of the Holy Prophet. No Muslim would ever claim such imperfections.
It will also indicate that the Sahabah recognized a general law that had not been realized by the Legislator; or that some religious laws had been concealed from the publics; or that some of the Sahabah recognized the laws that the conveyor, namely the Holy Prophet, had not shown to people! In fact, some of these indications contributed greatly in the materialization of the concept of Ijtihad and personal opinions (Opinionism).
Because the imperfect mentalities of human beings cannot comprehend all the advantages of the rulings, Almighty Allah has not granted anybody the right to issue judgments. It is He, the All-knowing of what is good and what is bad, Who is the only source of all laws.
Thus, the code of the Islamic law is perfect and meticulous; and all of its laws have been demonstrated through the aspects of identification to which the Holy Prophet guided the choice ones.
It is thus the mission of those whom are described as ‘firmly grounded in knowledge’ (al-rasikhun fi’l-`Ilm) to show the religious
rulings to the people and to deduce them from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah as exactly as commissioned by Almighty Allah avoiding depending upon their personal identifications of the advantage and the tendencies of their imperfect intellects.
In addition to many of the grand Sahabah, Imam `Ali and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud declared this fact when they affirmed that men’s understandings are too short to realize the purposes of the divine legislations; they (the people) therefore think that a definite law is not found in the Holy Qur'an. In this respect, Imam `Ali is reported to have said,
“The knowledge of all things is existing in the Qur'an; yet, men’s intellectualities are too short to recognize it.”(1)
`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud is also reported as saying,
“The judgments of all questions are shown in the Qur'an; yet, our intellects are too short to realize them. Almighty Allah says:
And We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them. (Holy Qur’an: 16/44)”(2)
The aforesaid quotations prove that all the religious laws are existing in the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet is commissioned to show them to the people; therefore, Almighty Allah has ordered the believers to refer to the Holy Prophet. He says,
“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best,
and most suitable for final determination. (Holy Qur’an: 4/59)”
This holy verse also confirms that every matter of dispute is existing in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. Had this not been accurate, Almighty Allah would not have ordered us to refer to the Holy Prophet since it is illogic to refer to the unqualified.
Rejecting completely the arguments of Isma’il Ad-ham and Ahmad Tawfiq Shawqiy and their likes who have called for adherence to the Holy Qur'an and negligence of the Holy Sunnah, I just want to hint at the point that it was possible for the mindful Sahabah who lived with the Holy Prophet to conclude the religious law from the Holy Qur'an; and when this was arduous, he would find it in the Holy Sunnah.
As a general rule, all the religious rules are existing in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah; it is thus impossible to refer to personal views or analogy. If a Sahabiy could not deduce the law, this would not mean that the law did not exist there, because if he referred to the other experts, he would find the answer.
Many examples have been cited on `Umar’s having referred to the Sahabah when he could not recognize a religious ruling. It is thus unacceptable for `Umar to say in his instructions to Shurayh, “If you face an issue whose judgment is existing neither in the Holy Qur'an nor was said by the Messenger of Allah, you should judge according to the consensus of people.”
Not all the religious
laws that which we ignore were not explained by the Holy Prophet; therefore, `Umar should not have instructed his official to act upon his personal opinions. Too many are the narrations that have carried warnings against dependence upon personal opinions. Having contradicted his instruction to Shurayh, `Umar said on another occasion,
“O People: Trust not your opinions about the religious affairs. I used to object to the Messenger of Allah out of my personal view… On that day when people of Makkah and the Messenger of Allah agreed to sign a truce, they rejected his suggestion to begin the truce with the phrase ‘Bism-illahir-rahmanir-rahim (In the Name of Allah; the All-compassionate, the All-merciful)’ claiming that they had not yet believed in the Messenger of Allah. They insisted to write down instead, ‘Bismik-Allahumm (In Your Name; O Allah)’ Although the Messenger of Allah accepted, I rejected ferociously until the Messenger of Allah said to me, ‘I have accepted and you are still rejecting!’ Only then did I accept.”(1)
From the following saying of `Umar himself, it is understood that one who depends upon one’s personal views in the issuance of the religious laws is in fact unacquainted with the Holy Sunnah:
“Beware the Opinionists, for they have become the enemies of the Sunnah. When they have been too short to comprehend it or to catch it, they have vied with it using opinion; they had therefore gone astray and misled the others.”(2)
This is extremely ironic! `Umar, once, defended and legislated the resting upon personal
opinions in the face of the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds so intensely that he prevented them from carrying out the Holy Prophet’s order of bringing a paper and a pen to write down his final will and claimed that the Holy Messenger of Allah was hallucinating!
The one and only explanation of such ironic situations is that `Umar passed through two different stages each of which imposed him to take a definite situation.
In case there are several aspects of analogy, what should an analogist, on the criteria of `Umar, do to choose the one more acceptable by Almighty Allah? If analogy has been one of the sources of the Islamic legislation, the one whom should be sentenced to whipping penalty must be the accuser of atheism rather than the accuser of fornication.
Similarly, there must be no difference in the ruling regarding the discharge of semen and the discharge of the menstruation blood as regards the re-performance of the obligatory prayer since the ritual bathing (ghusl) must be done for both the discharges.
In the same manner, the pre-seminal fluid, the urination, and the semen are having separate rulings while their source is the same. As a religious ruling, it is unlawful to look at women’s hairs while it is lawful to look at their faces. The ruling concerning the hunting of games is the same whether it was intentional or unintentional while the ruling of intentional murder is different from the unintentional. All these religious rulings are against analogy.(1)
analogy is generally based upon conjecture against which the Muslims are warned according to Almighty Allah’s saying:
“And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge. (Holy Qur’an: 17/36)”
“But they have no knowledge therein. They follow nothing but conjecture; and conjecture avails nothing against Truth. (Holy Qur’an: 53/28)”
Is analogy not based upon the difference of views about the religious laws; while there must not be any contradiction between the religious laws?
Al-Wafi al-Mahdiy says,
“The Sahabah rested upon analogy. As they elected Abu-Bakr as the successor of the Holy Prophet, they rested upon the incident that the Holy Prophet had appointed Abu-Bakr as his representative in the congregational prayer. Hence, they said, ‘We must accept for leading our worldly affairs the one whom the Holy Prophet had accepted for the religion.’
Abu-Bakr, too, rested upon analogy; he compared the zakat to the obligatory prayer and said, ‘I will certainly fight against anyone who differentiates between the prayer and the zakat.’ When he appointed `Umar as his successor, Abu-Bakr compared the will to the contract.”(1)
Although this topic necessitates more presentation, let us suffice with this amount so that the gentle reader will have a thorough view about the conceptual trends during the first age of Islam and identify the roots of the fundamentals of the Islamic jurisprudence.
In many narrations, Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq explained the reason beyond Abu-Bakr and `Umar’s having rested upon analogy and personal opinions:
Nu`man ibn Muhammad ibn Mansur al-Maghribiy, the judge of Egypt, narrated that one day, a man asked Imam
Ja`far al-Sadiq why the ummah disagreed about the religious issues and laws while the religion is one and the Prophet is one. Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq answered him with a question, “As much as you know, did they (the Muslims) disagree on such issues during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime?”
“Of course not,” answered the man, “They would not disagree because they would refer all their affairs to the Holy Prophet.”
“Thus was the reason!” explained Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq, “Had they carried out the Holy Prophet’s commission and chose the one whom he had nominated as their leader, they would not have disagreed.
Rather, they elected those who were not full aware of all the questions that were filed before them. They therefore referred these questions to the Sahabah who gave various opinions and thus disagreement was originated. Had there been only one definite person before whom the issues were filed and who would certainly give a definite answer, as was done during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, they would not have disagreed.”(1)
In al-`Ayyashiy’s book of Tafsir, it has been narrated that Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq said,
“Those people thought that they were so experienced in the religious affairs that they comprehended anything needed by the ummah. Yet, they did not learn all the instructions of the Holy Prophet nor did they convey to them his knowledge. When issues of the religious rulings were referred to them, they would not have knowledge with them or with the Holy Prophet’s instructions in that respect.
Moreover, they would be embarrassed
if people would accuse them of ignorance or if they could not find answers for the people’s questions and, as a result, people would refer their issues to the sources of knowledge.
They therefore used opinions and analogy in the religion of Almighty Allah, abandoned the Holy Prophet’s knowledge, and adhered to heresies about which the Holy Prophet said, ‘All innovated things are heresies.’
Had they referred the questions that they ignored to Almighty Allah, His Messenger, and those of authority (Uli’l-Amr) among them, those among them who can search out the knowledge of it, namely the Household of Muhammad, would have certainly known it.”(1)
Nu`man, the judge, narrated on the authority of Muhammad ibn Qays on the authority of his father that al-A`mash said…
“When those who lack knowledge managed the affairs of the ummah, they referred the questions that were directed to them to the people who, as a result, gave different opinions causing disagreement.”(2)
Ibn Hazm, as well as other scholars, has excused that the hardships of life prevented the Sahabah from learning from the Holy Prophet. He says,
It is known for everybody that the Sahabah surrounded the Holy Prophet in al-Madinah; yet each one of them had to work and seek earnings taking into consideration the harsh circumstances that they had to experience.
This fact has been reported in many narrations. For instance, the Holy Prophet, Abu-Bakr, and `Umar, once, had to leave their houses because of the harsh hunger that they felt. The Sahabah therefore had to work
in marts, manage ranches of date-palm trees, and the like.
Only did a party of them attend before the Holy Prophet on specific times whenever they could find spare time. This is also an undeniable fact which was expressed by Abu-Hurayrah who said, ‘The Muhajirun, my brethren, were always engaged by making deals in marts; and the Ansar, my brethren too, were engaged by guarding their date-palm trees. As for me, I was such a poor man that I accompanied the Messenger of Allah so as to satisfy my appetite.’(1)
Having confessed of this truth, `Umar said, ‘I have missed learning this (issue) from the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah. I was engaged in making deals in marts.’”(2) It has been narrated that `Umar alternated with another man (from the Nizar tribe) on visiting the Holy Prophet for learning.
The aforesaid narration of Abu-Hurayrah had added to us a new information about Abu-Bakr and `Umar who cared for commerce more than learning the religious affairs from the Holy Prophet. On the other side, we notice the existence of other Sahabah for whom the Holy Prophet prayed knowledge and understanding. About `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, the Holy Prophet said, ‘You are a learnt boy.’ About `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, he said, ‘O Allah! Increase his knowledge in the religion.’(3)
The same thing is applicable to other Sahabah. Nonetheless, those Sahabah whom were praised by the Holy Prophet as having been acquainted with an amount of knowledge have never been declared as having had full knowledge
with the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah save `Ali ibn Abi-Talib about whom the Holy Prophet, very frequently, confirmed that he learnt his entire knowledge. Moreover, the Holy Prophet used to be alone with him twice a day during which he taught him his knowledge.(1) In this respect, Imam `Ali used to say,
‘Ask me any question about the Book of Allah, for I certainly am acquainted with the knowledge of the revelation of each and every verse, whether it was revealed at night or on day, or on a mount or in a plain.’(2)
For more details, let us cite the following narrations:
Al-Bukhariy has narrated on the authority of `Ubayd ibn `Umayr that Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy, once, asked permission to see `Umar but he was not permitted because `Umar seemed to be busy. He therefore returned. When `Umar asked them to let him in, they searched for him until he was found.
‘Why did you leave?’ asked `Umar.
‘We have been ordered of doing so when we are not permitted,’ answered Abu-Musa.
‘Bring a proof on this claim lest I will hurt your back and belly,’ threatened `Umar.
Hence, Abu-Musa left `Umar to bring witnesses. As he passed by a group of the Ansar and asked them to witness, they were so certain of the matter that they suggested to him to take the youngest among them since even he heard the Holy Prophet’s instruction in that regard. Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy thus came with Abu-Musa and testified the matter.
Commenting on it, `Umar said, ‘I have missed learning
this (issue) from the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah. I was engaged by making deals in the marts.’(1)
The Holy Qur'an has also mentioned the matter of asking permission on more than one occasion:
“If ye find no one in the house, enter not until permission is given to you. (Holy Qur’an: 24/28)”
“O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses until permission is given you. (Holy Qur’an: 33/53)”
Finally, asking permission is not only a religious instruction but also a human manner.
Why did `Umar threaten hurting Abu-Musa’s back and belly if he would not prove his claim? Was it for the sake of careful investigation in the Hadith? If Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy had not witnessed that the Holy Prophet warned against entering on somebody without asking permission, what would `Umar have done with Abu-Musa? This situation of `Umar is completely contradictory to the conception of the Sahabah’s ultimate decency.
If Abu-Musa is regarded as one of the decent Sahabah, `Umar’s asking for investigation will be meaningless? `Umar should have taken his time before accusing the Sahabah and should not have jumped to conclusions before investigation! Even if we yieldingly accept that `Umar only wanted to investigate that matter carefully, the following narration will be meaningless:
In al-Madkhal ila ‘Ilm Usul al-Fiqh, al-Dawalibiy narrates on the authority of `Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Sallam, in his book of al-Amwal, that a Bedouin, once, came to `Umar and complained, ‘In the pre-Islamic era, we fought for our land and then we converted to Islam on it.
From what are you then protecting it?’
This statement made `Umar so angry that he nodded his head down, puffed, and played at his mustache.(1) Having noticed his anger, the Bedouin went on repeating his statement. (As he relied upon the idea of the identification of advantage, and without investigation in the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah,) `Umar answered, ‘The fortune is Allah’s; the subjects are His servants; I swear that unless I… etc.(2)
It has been narrated on the authority of Bujalah on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, once, passed by a boy who was reading from the Holy Qur'an the following verse,
‘The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers,’ (Holy Qur’an: 33/6)
with the addition, ‘and he is as their father.’ On hearing this, `Umar ordered the boy to erase that sentence. The boy rejected since the copy was Ubayy ibn Ka`b’s. `Umar then went to Ubayy and asked about the matter. Ubayy answered with strict language, “While you were engaged in making deals in marts, I was engaged in the Holy Qur'an.”(3)
A similar narration is that when Ubayy ibn Ka`b recited the holy verse,
‘Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils),’ (Holy Qur’an: 17/32)
adding ‘and odious’ after ‘a shameful’, `Umar came and asked him about it. Yet, Ubayy answered, “I have heard it directly from the mouth of the Holy Prophet while you were making
deals in the mart of al-Baqi`.”(1)
A third narration is that when `Umar heard a boy reciting a holy verse in a definite way, he asked him about it. The boy referred to Ubayy as his teacher. `Umar hence went to Ubayy and asked about it.
“The Holy Prophet himself recited it in this way before me while you owere merchandising in the mart of al-Baqi`,” said Ubayy to `Umar.
“This is completely true,” answered `Umar.(2)
It has been narrated on the authority of Idris al-Khawalaniy that Ubayy ibn Ka`b, while reciting the holy verse,
“While the unbelievers got up in their hearts heat and cant—the heat and cant of ignorance—Allah sent down His tranquility to his Messenger and to the believers,” (Holy Qur’an: 48/26),
added the phrase ‘Had you got up in your hearts heat and cant like theirs, the Sacred Mosque would have been full of mischief,’ in the middle of it. When `Umar was informed about this, he became angry and summoned Ubayy. He then asked a number of the Sahabah, among whom was Zayd ibn Thabit, to be present. He then asked Zayd to recite the Surah of al-Fath (that includes the verse involved) and Zayd recited it without that addition.
Hence, `Umar reproached Ubayy. Defending himself, Ubayy asked permission to speak. When he was granted permission, he said to `Umar, “Indeed, you know that I was permitted to be present before the Holy Prophet while you were on the door. Now, if you permit me to recite as same as I
was taught by the Holy Prophet, I will; otherwise I will not recite a singly letter of the Qur'an from now on.”
Yet, `Umar permitted him.(1)
According to another narration, Ubayy said to `Umar, “You indeed know that I frequently attended before the Holy Prophet while you were absent; and I was permitted to visit him while you were not; and I was given knowledge at that time. Hence, if you want me to confine myself to my house, I will do it and will then never say anything more in this respect.”(2)
The aforesaid narrations may carry the idea that Ubayy ibn Ka`b had recited the Holy Qur'an erroneously; therefore, `Umar came to correct it for him. Yet, this is not quite true, because Ubayy was taught the knowledge of the Holy Qur'an in a special way.
In this regard, Anas ibn Malik narrated that the Holy Prophet, once, said to Ubayy, “Almighty Allah has ordered me to recite the Surah of al-Bayyinah (No. 98) before you in particular.”
“Has the Lord mentioned me by name?” asked Ubayy.
“Yes, He has,” answered the Holy Prophet.’
On hearing this, Ubayy wept.(3)
Any further details on this matter will take us away from our main topic, which is that `Umar’s knowledge has not been as exactly as depicted by some scholars; rather he spent most of his time making deals in markets.
Further, his situations were not purposed for careful investigation in the reporting of the Hadith and he was not given special knowledge by the Holy Prophet;
rather, and to be more precise, he alternated on visiting the Holy Prophet. He was also reported to have said, “I was engaged by making deals in the marts,” the same statement that was, more than once, said to him by Ubayy ibn Ka`b.
Away from debasing `Umar, this fact is only intended to show the actual manners of the Sahabah in general and `Umar in specific during their stay with the Holy Prophet. As a result, the haloes that were later on drawn around their characters have not been actual.
In plain words, what has been said about `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s aptitude in the fields of conquests and military is different from his role in the prohibition of the recordation and reporting of the Hadith and setting fire to the records of Hadith.(1)
At the same time as we do not pretend to forget `Umar’s Islamic conquests, we do not accept his decisions regarding the reduction in reporting and the prohibition of recording the Hadith.
Unfortunately, the majority of scholars have confused these two matters. When one objects to `Umar’s role in resting upon personal opinions in the religious questions, their answer will be concentrated on his military achievements. Such irony indicates a gloomy thought that lacks accuracy and perspicacity.
A personal fitness in the military management does not necessarily mean the capacity of the mastership of issuing religious verdicts since defense of the authority and expansion in the frontiers of the State are matters that promote the caliph and the Muslims although
they have nothing to do with the educational structure of the caliph’s personality.
Although history has granted al-Mu`tasim, the `Abbasid caliph, loftiness sublimity when he responded to the lady who raised her voice with his name calling for help, it has not concealed his lack of education, knowledge, and religious wisdom.
According to the previous discussion, we can list three of the grand Sahabah with the names of those who objected to `Umar. Those three were `Ammar ibn Yasir, Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy, and Ubayy ibn Ka`b.
Mr. Khalid Muhammad Khalid says,
“`Umar ibn al-Khattab neglected the sacred texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah when the advantage (maslahah) imposed him to do so. While the Holy Qur'an ordains that the party called ‘al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum (those whose hearts have been reconciled to the Truth)’ must have a share in the Zakat, `Umar canceled this share saying, ‘We will not give anything for the sake of being Muslim.
Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve’ although the Holy Prophet and Abu-Bakr did observe this share. Similarly, while Abu-Bakr permitted selling the bondmaids who have given birth of children to their masters, `Umar forbade it.
Also, the Holy Sunnah and the consensus of the Muslims have decided to treat the three statements of divorce that are uttered on one occasion as one only, but `Umar violated the Holy Sunnah and infringed the consensus.”(1)
Ibn Qudamah says,
“It is impermissible to ignore the rulings of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah unless there is
an abrogation. Yet, abrogation is not subjected to probabilities; rather it must be issued during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet because it must be included by a sacred text; and sacred texts stopped after the demise of the Holy Prophet and the termination of the age of Revelation.
In addition, a Qur'anic law cannot be abrogated by any text other than the Qur'an itself. How was it then possible for them to neglect the judgments of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah and, instead, invent others out of their personal opinions? Or how was it possible for them to neglect texts from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah and adopt a personal view said by one of the Sahabah although the personal views of the Sahabah are preceded to the so-called ‘Qiyas’? ”(1)
Rashid Rida, the author of Tafsir al-Manar, says,
“Nowadays, the imperialist powers that work for enslaving all the Muslims through keeping them away from their religion are dedicating a part of their budgets to the Muslims whom are inclined to other religions. Such efforts of inclination have taken several forms, such as protecting them or seducing them to disturb the Islamic countries or disunite the Islamic unity. The Muslim authorities should have exerted similar efforts for encouraging others to be Muslims.”
According to the expression of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, it seems that he understood that the share of the al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum was given as bribe for Islam or was restricted to those who had actually converted to Islam.
In other words,
his speech is another picture of the speech of the missionaries who rest upon the policy of supplying people with food and medicine so as to make them convert to Christianity.
He should have understood that the Holy Prophet, through dedicating a share of the zakat to that party, did not want to seduce them to convert to Islam by money; rather he aimed at preparing their hearts to receive the invitation to Islam so that they would believe by heart.
The Holy Prophet’s ways for achieving this aim were various; he once appointed one of them as the commander of a Muslim campaign, consulted with them about some affairs of the Muslims and so on. The question had nothing to do with the power or weakness of Islam; the Holy Prophet only wanted them to be faithful believers.
The following citation of Dr. Muhammad `Ajjaj al-Khatib disproves the justification of `Umar as regards the deprivation of the al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum of their shares from the zakat:
“On the Makakh Conquest day, the Holy Prophet ordered his companions and army to uncover their shoulders and trot so that the polytheists would notice their power and toleration that would express the power of Islam.
During his reign, `Umar thought that the purpose of this act had been no more existent. Yet, he said: For which reason are we now uncovering our shoulders and trotting? Allah has fortified Islam and defeated atheism and its people. Nevertheless, we must never neglect anything that we used to
do during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah.”(1)
This is irony! According to this text, `Umar complied with the sacred texts; therefore, he can be added to the group of those who followed the sacred texts completely. According to the previously cited narrations and discussions, he was at the top of those who followed Ijtihad, adopted personal opinions in the issuance of religious verdicts, and identified the advantages that were unknown for the sacred texts!
Had he abided by the sacred text, he would have certainly followed the Holy Prophet as regards the share of the al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum; and had he been a mujtahid, he should have pointed out the matters upon which he rested in preferring a ruling to another!
It is worth mentioning that Dr. Nadiah al-`Umariy, in her book of Ijtihad al-Rasul, has thoroughly discussed the issue of the three-time divorce in the course of citing examples on the scholars’ disagreement about the Ijtihad. In this regard, she says:
Originally, the validity of divorce is materialized when it is said on three different occasions. In this respect, the Holy Qur'an reads,
‘Divorce must be pronounced twice and then (a woman) must be retained in honor or released in kindness.’ (Holy Qur’an: 2/229)
The purpose beyond the separation of the divorce is that a husband will be given an opportunity to think deeply over the marital bond that the Almighty has confirmed the significance of its continuity. After the two times of divorce, Almighty Allah says,
‘And if he hath divorced her (the
third time), then she is not lawful unto him thereafter until she hath wedded another husband.’ (Holy Qur’an: 2/230)
This is the divorce as has been explained in the Holy Qur'an; it is valid only when it is separated (i.e. repeated on different occasions).
What should the ruling be if a husband wastes the opportunity and pronounces the form of divorce three times on one occasion? As a matter of fact, you cannot find in the Holy Qur'an any text that treats this question; yet, the Holy Sunnah has something about it.
It has been narrated that after Rukanah ibn `Abd had pronounced the form of divorce in his wife’s face three times on the same situation, he was deeply grieved; he therefore referred the question to the Holy Prophet. ‘How did you divorce her?’ asked the Holy Prophet.
‘I pronounced the form of divorce three times,’ answered Rukanah.
‘Were the three times on the same situation?’ asked the Holy Prophet.
‘Yes, they were,’ answered Rukanah.
‘Well,’ said the Holy Prophet, ‘These three utterances are regarded as one. You thus can take your wife back.’ Rukanah therefore take his wife back.(1)
Nevertheless, the people, during the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, underrated the divorce that most of them pronounced the form of divorce three times on the same situation. `Umar therefore considered what was advantageous for them and decided to regard the three-time divorce that was said on the same occasion as valid.(2)
However, have the Muslim jurisprudents, throughout ages, agreed to what `Umar had done? The majority
have agreed to `Umar while others have not!(1) In my conception, the judgment in this matter relies upon the people’s advantages; if the men in authority consider, as `Umar did, that the advantage requires deciding the three-time divorce as valid, they should then do; but if they consider that the public advantage requires regarding it as one only, they should also do it.
Yet, up to two years after the reign of `Umar, the three-time divorce was regarded as one. On this account, Ibn al-Qayyim has decided that to regard such divorce as one (i.e. not final) is more corresponding to the public advantage in the late ages as it will block the path before any social corruption.(2)
Ibn al-Qayyim then makes a comparison among the various ages and the difference in the public advantages that is the result of the public’s circumstances.(3)
Undoubtedly, the Ijtihad of `Umar has influenced the Muslim jurisprudence. The Malikiyyah School(4) and the Hanbaliyyah School(5) have decided him who pronounces divorce three times on the same situation as sinful because he has wasted the opportunity granted to him by the Islamic Legislation.
The Shafi`iyyah School,(6) as well as Ibn Hazm, have decided it as opposite to the most preferred; yet it is not banned because the text appertained is general. The Hanafiyyah School(7) have decided it as heretic when its utterance is the same or when it is said in the same interval between two periods of menstruation of the wife.(8)
Dr. Mustafa al-Bagha, after quoting `Umar’s opinion about
the divorce, says,
“This matter is one of these whose rulings have changed according to the change of the time. As they recognized `Umar’s excellent policy of disciplining his subjects, the Muslim jurisprudents have agreed to him on this point and carried out his decision.”(1)
As a matter of fact, there is a number of questions that must be provided in this respect: How did `Umar identify the advantage and understand the spirit of the Islamic legislation in the question of the shares of the al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum? Yet, the refutations of Ibn Qudamah and the Rashid Rida have been previously cited.
Is it acceptable that `Umar, alone, recognized what is good for the publics while neither the Holy Prophet nor did Abu-Bakr recognize it?
Is it rational that Abu-Bakr and the Holy Prophet, who is connected to the Divine Revelation, might ignore what is good for the publics? If it is allowable for mortals, save the divinely commissioned leaders of the ummah (namely, the holy Infallibles), to change the religious laws according to the change of time and place, what are the extents of such permission?
It is possible that some of the secondary rulings may be changed when they compete with matters that are more important, or when their titles are, in a general manner changed; but how can we accept the claims of those who violate the religious rulings claiming the change of their titles although we do realize that the principles and purposes of the religious rulings are originated by Almighty Allah
and are known by the Infallibles only?
In case one of the Infallibles informs us about the change of a religious ruling, we must then accede to him because the Infallibles are the divinely commissioned leaders of this ummah whose mission is to convey the instructions and ordains of Almighty Allah.
However, when such a change is made on bases of guesswork and conjecture, it cannot be acceptable. The same thing can be applied to the purposes beyond the religious rulings; in most cases, they involve wisdoms rather than causes.
For instance, it is said that the purpose beyond the forbiddingness of adultery is that the semen of two, or more, men will not be confused and then a baby may be ascribed to a man by mistake.
This is in fact the wisdom, not the purpose, of forbidding adultery. According to many narrations, the decision of defining a term of waiting for divorcees and widows has been made for the very aforesaid wisdom.
Yet, if the womb of a woman is removed by a surgical operation or if a woman is decisively recognized as barren, will it be obligatory upon such women to observe the terms of waiting defined by the Islamic legislation? The answer is yes; because Almighty Allah has imposed such periods on women for an advantage recorded in the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfudh) and not allowed for people to see.
Hence, it is impulsive to exclude such women from observing the term of waiting decided by the code of
the religious law on the claim of the nonexistence of the cause of the decision. In any event, some of the religious rulings are dependent upon definite causes. For instance, wine is forbidden so long as it intoxicates; and when intoxication is absent, it is legal to have it. On this account, the rule that “the much amount of a drink the little of which is intoxicating is forbidden” has been decided.
However, the case is very different with the rulings invented by Abu-Bakr and `Umar; they contrived rulings that are nonexistent in the Islamic legislation or are opposite to rulings that are openly mentioned in the sacred texts.
Besides, they stretched and shrank rulings as they claimed advantage while it is known for everybody that unless all-inclusive knowledge with the principles and purposes of the religious laws is attained and unless there is a divine commission, none is permitted to act freely with the religious rulings.
For the above mentioned discussion, Abu-Bakr and `Umar did not enjoy such knowledge and were not commissioned for such positions. Besides, as he decided the three-time divorce as final, canceled the share of the al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum, and prohibited the temporary marriage, `Umar wanted for his decisions to be perpetual, not subject to the advantage. Thus, he blocked the way in the face of anyone who would claim that `Umar’s decisions were secondary or subject to his authorities as caliph.
Even if we yieldingly accept the change of the religious laws according to the change of
advantages; what was the advantage of canceling those religious rulings? Who is authorized to identify such advantages? Were the substitute rulings based upon personal passions and opinions or upon observance of the religious laws and proofs? If there were a proof and a sacred text; what are they?
Alluding to the stipulations of the satisfactory advantages, Shaykh Khallaf says,
“There are three stipulations for the achievement of advantage;
(1) an advantage must be actual, not illusory. In plain words, it must be confident that the issuance of a verdict will truly achieve advantage and prohibits damage. In case it is only conjectured that an advantage can possibly be achieved without comparing it to the damage that can possibly be drawn, advantage is thus not actual rather illusory.
(2) An advantage must be general, not specific or personal. It must be confident that the issuance of a verdict will achieve advantage to or deter damage from the largest number of people, not an individual or a small group of individuals. Thus, when the issuance of a verdict achieves a personal advantage apart from the publics, it will not be acceptable.
(3) The issuance of such a verdict must not be contradictory to a religious ruling or principle that is openly mentioned in a sacred text.”(1)
On the light of the aforementioned stipulations, let us ask whether `Umar’s decisions have achieved advantage to or deterred damage from the largest number of the publics taking into consideration the problems and confusions of life along with all of its pressures
that make it difficult to go against one’s habit.
For instance, if a husband wastes the opportunity of returning his wife, through pronouncing the utterance of divorce three times on the same occasion, will it be obligatory upon him to succumb to `Umar’s ruling and lose his wife?
In the word of Dr. Nadiah, “the wisdom of separating the utterances of divorce is to give the husband the opportunity to think deeply about the matter. This is the divorce as has been explained in the Holy Qur'an; it is valid only when it is separated (i.e. repeated on different occasions).”
What can we say to those who confess that the wisdom of specifying the pronouncing of the utterances of divorce on different occasions as the stipulation of its validity is to give the husband the opportunity to think deeply about the matter and then, falling in irony, they themselves claim that it was the public advantage that made `Umar decide the three-time divorce that is said on one occasion as final?
Undoubtedly, it is fanaticism that has made them fall in such irony! It is definitely irrational to say that it is advantageous to regard the three-time divorce as one but the breaking of this issue was based upon advantage! Unfortunately, Dr. Nadiah has said such while she was fully aware that it was `Umar, neither the Holy Qur'an nor the Sunnah, who violated the law and decided its opposite.
It is now absolutely impossible to accept the claim that `Umar’s decisions
were derived from the Holy Qur'an or that his decisions were not in violation of the sacred texts although the advantage that he adopted was completely opposite to the Holy Qur'an.
Of course, uttering the word ‘three’ after the form of the divorce does not validate it. It is as same as saying ‘Allahu Akbar five times’ instead of repeating the statement five times or saying ‘SubhanAllah one hundred times’ instead of repeating it one hundred times! Many of the scholars have decided divorce twice is enough for the materialization of divorce. Going over the holy verse,
“Divorce must be pronounced twice,” (Holy Qur’an: 2/229)
al-Jassas says that a two-time divorce definitely validates the divorce, because one who utters the form of divorce twice cannot be regarded as two divorces. In the same manner, one who pays two dirhams cannot be regarded as paying twice unless each dirham is given on a definite occasion.
The same thing is applicable to the divorce; therefore, the verse indicates that in order to validate the divorce, it must be said on two different occasions. In addition, the verse carries warning against gathering the two divorces on the same occasion.(1)
`Umar’s personal jurisprudence has affected the religious rulings; and it is known to everybody that he subjugated the religious laws to the advantage that he, personally, considered or supposed to be the perfect cause upon which a ruling must rest.
He therefore modified the rulings according to what he would consider as suitable or advantageous and canceled the
actual advantages that are realized by none save Almighty Allah.
About the proof of seeking the advantage, Dr. Mustafa al-Bagha says,
“The Sahabah, as is indicated by too many incidents, decided definite rulings for the incidents according to their personal consideration of the advantages that bring about benefit and prohibit damage depending upon their own thoughts. They then regarded such considerations as sufficient for the issuance of religious rulings.”(1)
Hinting at the same point, al-Wafi al-Mahdiy says,
“When the Islamic conquests continued incessantly, especially during the reign of `Umar, various nations of various civilizations were included to the Islamic authority. As a result, the Muslims had to encounter complicated problems, whether in the military, financial, personal, or penal affairs, that they had not known before.
They therefore had to use analogy when they could not find related texts neither in the Holy Qur'an nor in the Holy Sunnah. Before that, they used to rest upon Ijtihad through the Holy Qur'an and then the Holy Sunnah. When they could not find anything in these two sources, they would consult the experienced Sahabah.
When they also could not find anything with those, they would use personal opinions. `Umar, for instance, used to ask whether the involved issue had been treated by Abu-Bakr or not. Analogy (Qiyas), Equitable Preference (Istihsan), advantage (Maslahah), and blockade of excuses (Sadd al-Dhara’i`)—all these matters were well-organized in the opinions on which they depended. In this age, consensus (Ijma`), which is a new source of the Islamic Legislation since it was not present
in the first age of Islam, has emerged.
When he could not find a solution neither in the Holy Qur'an nor in the Sunnah, Abu-Bakr would refer the matter to a legislative body. `Umar did the same thing, too. Any decision that was made by that legislative body would be regarded as issued by all of them…(1)
To sum it up, when the Holy Prophet was among them, the Sahabah used to refer to him in the religious questions in most cases. Yet, when he departed life, they lost their religious authority. Therefore, their Ijtihad entered upon a more serious stage.
In the words of Mr. Mustafa al-Zarqa’, the Sahabah’s custom, during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, was to listen to and follow him and to refer to him in any question that would face them.
In other words, they depended totally upon him in the understanding and guidance as regards each and every matter. By his demise, they suddenly moved to the stage of Ijtihad since the authority had left them and his constitutional heritage, namely the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, replaced his oral elucidations. Since then, it has been unavoidable to resort to Ijtihad, in an unlimited way, for solving the emergent questions.”(2)
Ijtihad was thus the shield of the first generations and, at the same time, has been the justification of the next generations for their ancestor’s deeds. A deep investigation of the so-called acceptable advantages (al-Masalih al-Mursalah) proves that they all were invented for correcting the Sahabah’s deeds.
regarded Abu-Bakr’s nominating `Umar as his successor—while they have claimed that the Holy Prophet did not nominate any successor—as acting upon the advantage of the ummah and the protection of the Muslims’ unity.(1)
Similarly, they have justified `Uthman ibn `Affan’s setting the copies of the Holy Qur'an to fire as he had only intended to make all the people follow the same copy(2) so as to save them from disagreement. For fear of lengthiness, the other innumerable examples on such justifications will be avoided.
To have a look at the general fundamentals of the Islamic jurisprudence proves that the so-called al-Masalih al-Mursalah have not been among the subjective fundamentals as is confirmed by all the Muslim schools of law except that of Malik ibn Anas who regard them as independent fundament.
The advantages have been classified as canceled, acceptable, and considerable and the latter has been further classified into necessary, exigent, and preferable. Resting upon these classes, the rulings and branches of the Islamic jurisprudence have been defined.
Let us throw more light on `Umar’s situation about the religious rulings to see whether his personal judgments stopped at this level or pushed their way to include other religious affairs. Although we can dispense with the details of this topic, our elucidation of the issue of prohibiting reporting and recording the Hadith forces us to give a thorough idea about the jurisprudential side of `Umar’s personality and the items and major issues of the Islamic jurisprudence form which he benefited in the formation
of his personal opinions and judgments.
`Umar ibn al-Khattab legislated the Salat al-Tarawih (the recommended nightly prayers during Ramadan) describing it as “the best heresy.”(1) As he liked the statement of “al-Salatu Khayrun mina’l-Nawm (Prayer is better than sleeping)” after he had heard it from a Sahabiy, `Umar added it to the adhan (declaratory call to prayers) of the Fajr (morning) Prayer and canceled the statement of “Hayya `Ala Khayr al-`Amal (Come to the best of deeds)” which was used during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime claiming that such a statement would prevent the Muslims from jihad!(2)
He also prohibited the weeping for the dead,(3) decided that the sign of attaining maturity is to be six spans tall(4) while it has been authentically narrated that the Holy Prophet said, “Maturity is attained when wet dreams occur.”(5) `Umar decided to deprive the non-Arabs of any share of the legacies and excluded those whom are born in the Arab lands(6) while the Holy Prophet is authentically reported to have said, “Except by means of piety, no Arab individual should be preferred to a non-Arab,”(7) and, likewise, Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur'an,
“Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (Holy Qur’an: 49/13) (8)
Regarding the doctrinal provision (Hadd) of the drinkers of intoxicants, `Umar issued various rulings; he once decided to sentence them to eighty-lash punishment(9) and, at other times, made them sixty only. He also ordered to omit twenty lashes of
After he had finished the prayer, he was reminded that he had omitted the Reciting. “Were the Genuflection and Prostration good?” asked he. “Yes, they were,” he was answered. “Well, it does not matter!” answered he.(3) Yet, it has been authentically narrated that the Holy Prophet said,
“The prayer of him who neglects reciting the Surah of al-Fatihah (The Opening Chapter; No. 1) is invalid.”(4)
`Umar is also reported to have whipped his two sons because they had the surnames “Abu-`Īsa (father of Jesus)” and “Abu-Yahya (father of Jonah)” claiming that Prophet Jesus and Prophet Jonah had no fathers!(5)
Husham ibn `Urwah has narrated on the authority of his father that `Umar, one Friday, recited the Surah of al-Sajdah (Prostration; No. 32) and after reciting the Verse of Prostration,(6) he descended the minbar and prostrated himself. People, of course, followed him.
On another occasion, he recited the same verse, but when people prepared themselves to prostrate, he said, “Calm down! It is not obligatory upon us to prostrate ourselves at the reciting of these verses; rather it is optional.” He therefore prevented people from prostration.(7)
This violation of the religious rulings has left its effects on the schools of Islamic law causing the Muslim jurisprudents to give different rulings regarding the obligatoriness or optionality of the prostration after reciting the Verses of Prostration.
Thus, the Malikiyyah scholars,(8) the Shafi`iyyah
Explaining Malik’s al-Muwatta’, al-Zarqaniy says, “The most famous jurisprudential opinions as regards the prostration after reciting the Verses of Prostration are that they are Sunnah and highly recommended (Fadhilah).”(4)
Yet, it has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, while reciting the Surah of al-Najm (the Star; No. 53), prostrated himself and thus all the attendants prostrated except two men.(5)
Zayd ibn Thabit yet narrated that the Messenger of Allah, while reciting the Surah of al-Najm, did not prostrate.(6) It has been further narrated that the Holy Prophet said,
“Prostration is obligatory upon him who hears and recites the Verses of Prostration.”(7)
Many similar narrations have been fabricated for the sake of justifying `Umar’s decision and the opinions of the various Sunnite jurisprudential schools. The matter will be more obviously understood if an investigation is made to the effects of the Sahabah’s personal opinions on the Islamic law.(8)
For instance, Malik ibn Anas, the founder of the Malikiyyah jurisprudential school, argues that because `Umar neglected prostrating himself in the presence of the Sahabah none of whom objected to him or was reported to have opposed, his act can be taken as valid.
On this account, Malik decided the prostration as recommended since the Sahabah, in his conception, were the most knowledgeable with the religious laws!(9)
Referring to the narrations that report the
permissibility of Ijtihad during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, Dr. Madkur says,
“As a matter of fact, none of these narrations can ever prove that anyone other than the Holy Prophet, who received directly the Divine Revelation, did ever enjoy any legislative authority in that age.
These narrations have discussed partial issues some of which were adopted only after it had been impossible to refer to the Holy Prophet directly owning to long distance or fear of missing the opportunity; others were issued practically not legislatively. We thus can argue that the Holy Prophet did not require Ijtihad in this very sense.
After the departure of the Holy Prophet and, more precisely, during the age of the Sahabah that ends with the elapse of the first century after the Hijrah, the Sahabah, because of the expansion of the Islamic State and the conquests, had to encounter new questions that they had never known before.
They therefore had to experience the jurisprudential questions, especially after the cessation of the Divine Revelations, so as to find solutions for the first-time issues that occurred to their cursorily incremental state that comprised miscellaneous countries and races.”(1)
From the above, we can conclude that `Umar rested upon pure personal opinions in issuing religious laws without referring to the Holy Qur'an or the Holy Prophet’s practices and confirmations.
Moreover, he, on several occasions, violated the clear-cut texts of the Holy Qur'an -such as in the case of the divorce-(2) and the Holy Sunnah -such as in the case of killing
the man who was engaged in offering prayers(1) and the case of the Disastrous Thursday,(2) which is preventing from carrying out the Holy Prophet’s order of bringing him a pen and a paper so as to record his final will- because he thought that the advantage would be achieved on the violation of these orders.
Even if we consider the personal opinions of the Sahabah as sources of the Islamic legislation and even if we consider all the Sahabah as ultimately decent, it is still unfeasible to violate the clear-cut texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. The Sahabah who violated the sacred texts should have at least freed the others from following their personal opinions and, such being the case, they would possibly be excused.
Although Ijtihad is defined as doing one’s utmost and exerting all efforts for the sake of deducing a religious ruling from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, `Umar used to issue verdicts before he would skim through the pages of the Holy Qur'an or review the Holy Sunnah. A little ponderation over the question of the woman who was pregnant only six months after marriage would have made `Umar deduce the possibility that her pregnancy was illegal. Yet, he immediately sentenced her to the doctrinal provisions (Hudud) that must be undergone by the fornicatresses!
Likewise, had he weighed up the question of depriving the Holy Ka`bah of its share, he would not have decided to seize that share. Without the intrusion of Shaybah ibn `Uthman and Ubayy
ibn Ka`b who told him that the Holy Prophet and Abu-Bakr did not seize the fortunes of the Holy Ka`bah although they needed these fortunes more than he did, `Umar would have proceeded in his decision.
Similarly, all the aforementioned issues prove that `Umar used to issue religious verdicts without any ponderation over the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. Nevertheless, he wanted the Sahabah to follow his personal opinions and violate what they had personally seen and heard from the Holy Prophet!
Had the Sahabah’s opinions been added to the sources of the Islamic law, it should have been obligatory upon `Umar himself to adopt the Sahabah’s opinions, especially in the questions that they had directly heard from the Holy Prophet. Similarly, it should have been obligatory upon him to accept their verdicts and opinions for they acted as arguments against him and he, thus, should not have forced them to follow his personal opinions.
It is now permissible to wonder how it was possible for `Umar to threaten `Ammar, Ubayy ibn Ka`b, Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy, and others. In this respect, he said to Abu-Musa, “You must prove your claim or I will hurt you.”(1) To Ubayy, `Umar said, “You must retreat what you have said,” he then pulled him to the Masjid… etc.(2) To `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, `Umar said, “You are reporting too much from the Messenger of Allah.”(3) To Abu-Hurayrah, he said, “If you do not stop reporting from the Messenger of Allah, I will banish you to Dus.”(4) `Umar also whipped Tamim
al-Dariy for the same reason.(1)
In order to find excuses for `Umar and belittle the influence of the Sahabah’s objections to him, Sunnite scholars have decided that the foremost Sahabah are not bound to follow each other!(2)
In view of the abovementioned narrations, it seems that the decision that the foremost Sahabah are not bound to follow each other is effective only on the Sahabah who objected to `Umar; yet Sunnite scholars have projected sanctity on the Sahabah who agreed to him and criticized any objection to the caliphs and their fans. They have even regarded the conducts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar as an indisputable source of the Islamic law although they have not decided the inerrancy of those Sahabah.
As he concentrated on analogy, `Umar only wanted to fix his personal opinions; and as he insisted on resting upon personal views, he only wanted to find himself a higher standing in the Islamic State. He therefore used to behave as if he was the legislator whose decisions must not be broken. Yet, when he was objected by a deep-seated intellectual trend depending upon a unanimous proof cited from the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah, `Umar would have to submit and retreat.
Hence, the arguments that the Sahabah’s opinions are regarded as sources of the Islamic legislation and that the caliph has the right to issue verdicts depending upon his consideration of the advantage—these two arguments were the base and purpose of the Caliphate School of Jurisprudence.
So far, our conclusions can be defined in
the following points:
1) Abu-Bakr and `Umar were not characterized by any feature that would distinguish them from the others.
2) The Muslims separated into two intellectual trends after the departure of the Holy Prophet.
3) `Umar ibn al-Khattab worked painstakingly for forcing the others to accept and act upon his personal opinions.
4) The Sahabah’s opinions cannot be taken as sources of the Islamic law because they violated `Umar’s opinions and he violated theirs in numerous issues.
5) The conception of the Sahabah’s ultimate decency is proved as unfounded since `Umar often belied and distrusted the Sahabah’s claims and vice versa.
6) The arguments that it is possible for the Sahabah to dispute with each other but it is impermissible to refute their opinions—these arguments were fabricated for the purpose of justifying their disagreements in issuing religious verdicts in the first age of Islam. Sarcastically, such disagreement has been decided as constructive!
7) The fundamentals of Ijtihad, such as analogy, Equitable Preference, and advantage, have been proven untrue because they were founded later on owing to temporal necessities and because they are found neither in the Holy Qur'an nor in the Holy Sunnah.(1)
Such being the case, the Sahabah escalated their objections to the adoption of personal views and Ijtihad through means of reporting from the Holy Prophet since much reporting of the Holy Prophet’s heritage would naturally prove the disagreement between the Holy Prophet’s school and the school of Ijtihad.
Moreover, the Holy Prophet’s school comprises edificatory truths that are opposite to the intents of the
Ijtihadists. These truths can be manifestly shown through any investigation to the books of Hadith and Islamic history.
In this manner, a group of the Sahabah objected to the adoption of personal views and Ijtihad, called for the derivation of the religious laws from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah only and rejected the baseless opinions and conducts of the Sahabah in general and Abu-Bakr and `Umar in particular. The other group of the Sahabah argued the legitimacy of `Umar’s opinions regarding them as sources of the Islamic law that must be followed.
In brief, reporters and recorders of the Hadith lined themselves with the group of the pure compliance with the sacred texts and thus corresponded to the spirit of the Islamic law, which encourages learning, and to the instructions of the Holy Prophet who concentrated on recording the items of knowledge.
Thus, they reported and recorded the Hadith as much as they could. On the other side, those who prohibited reporting and recording the Hadith lined themselves with the group of Ijtihad and personal opinions, following the ruling authorities.
Unfortunately, reporters and records of the Hadith had to suffer humiliation and disparagement during the ages of the caliphs to the degree that al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafiy, the governor of Iraq during the regin of `Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan the Umayyad ruler, stamped on the hand of Jabir ibn `Abdullah al-Ansariy and the necks of Sahl ibn Sa`d al-Sa`idiy and Anas ibn Malik so as to mark them as unwelcomed persons and
ordered the people to leave them and not to listen from them.(1)
Let us cite some examples on the continuity of the two trends for the purpose of making the matter more obvious:
Ibn Sa`d has recorded that `Abdullah ibn al-`Ala’ asked al-Qasim to dictate to him some of the Hadiths. Al-Qasim said,
During the age of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the records of Hadith increased vastly that `Umar ordered people to bring any record they had kept. When all the records were brought before him, `Umar set them to fire and said, “This is a Mishna just like that of the Christians and the Jews.”(2)
In view of such incidents, many questions that search for convincing answers jump to the mind of the readers: Why did the records of the Hadith increase in the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, not any other caliph? What is the significance of such an occurrence? Why did `Umar set them to fire, instead of erasing them with water of burying them? Why did `Umar do in hurry without investigation or thorough examination? Why did both Abu-Bakr and `Umar select the same method of annihilating the records of the Hadith, which is setting them to fire?
Although the intellectual trend of the majority of the Sahabah was against wiping out the records of the Hadith, the other trend of Ijtihad, having been the executive authority, insisted on its opinion and hence wiped out these records. What for was such belittlement and indifference to the Sahabah’s opinions that
were congruent to the Holy Prophet’s Hadith and conducts as well as the spirit of the Islamic legislation?
The gentle readers will certainly conclude the answers of these questions from the previous as well as the coming narrations. First of all, let us cite the following narration:
Sa`id ibn Jubayr narrated that `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said that the Holy Prophet permitted the temporary marriage. Yet, `Urwah ibn al-Zubayr intruded to say that Abu-Bakr and `Umar prohibited it. Having been very resentful of `Urwah’s answer, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said,
“I see coming that you shall certainly perish! While I say to you that it was the Messenger of Allah who deemed it lawful, you answer me that Abu-Bakr and `Umar prohibited it!”(1)
According to another narration narrated by `Abd al-Barr and Ibn Hazm, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said,
“I am sure that you will not stop such things until you are chastised by Allah! I am reporting to you from the Prophet and you are reporting to me from Abu-Bakr and `Umar!”(2)
According to a third narration, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said,
“I am reporting to you from the Prophet and you are bringing to me what was said by Abu-Bakr and `Umar!”
According to a fourth narration, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said,
“I see coming that you shall be inflicted by stones from the heavens!”(3)
Yet, `Urwah answered, “I swear by Allah that Abu-Bakr and `Umar were more knowledgeable than you are as regards the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.”(4)
On this statement, al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy commented,
“`Urwah was right. Yet it is unacceptable to
follow anybody in violating what has been authentically proven as said by the Messenger of Allah.”(1)
It has been also narrated that `Abdullah, son of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, learnt people that Almighty Allah has revealed the temporary marriage and the Holy Prophet passed it. Some objected to him that he was disagreeing with his father. His answer was “You should have followed the Holy Prophet’s Sunnah, not `Umar’s!”(2)
According to another narration, he answered, “Whose commandment should I follow? The Holy Prophet’s or my father’s? Indeed, the Holy Prophet did it.”(3)
It has been narrated on the authority of `Abd al-A`la that Zayd ibn Arqam, while leading a Deceased Prayer, repeated the Takbir (the statement of Allahu Akbar) five times. Hence, Abu-`Īsa `Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi-Layla, the official jurisprudent of the State, hurried towards Zayd, took him from the hand, and said, “Have you forgotten (the number of the Takbir)?” “No, I have not,” answered Zayd, “I personally followed my dear, the Holy Prophet, in such a prayer when he repeated the Takbir five times only. I therefore shall never leave it.”(4)
A similar narration has been narrated from `Īsa, the manumitted slave of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, who confirmed that his master reported to him that the Holy Prophet repeated the Takbir five times only while he was offering a Deceased Prayer.(5)
Wabrah ibn `Abd al-Rahman narrated that a man came to `Abdullah ibn `Umar and asked whether it is valid to circumambulate the Holy Ka`bah while being Muhrim (entering into Ihram: putting the
pilgrimage uniform and entering the state of being performing the obligatory rites of the ritual Hajj). “Nothing prevents you from it,” answered `Abdullah ibn `Umar. The man added, “We have been told by so-and-so that it is unlawful to do so before the pilgrims’ return to the Mawqif. Yet, I do not like that man since you seem to be more pious than he is.” Giving details of the question, `Abdullah ibn `Umar answered, “The Messenger of Allah, while being Muhrim, performed a pilgrimage, circumambulated the Holy Ka`bah and roamed between the Safa and Marwa. If you are truthful, you should then follow the practice of Messenger of Allah rather than so-and-so.”(1)
He is also reported to have said that the Messenger of Allah instructed not to prevent the bondmaids from offering their prayers in mosques. Yet, one of his sons expressed that they were preventing them from such. This statement made `Abdullah ibn `Umar very angry that he said, “I am reporting to you from the Messenger of Allah and you say that you are preventing!”(2)
According to another narration, `Abdullah ibn `Umar chided him saying, “I have said that the Messenger of Allah instructed and you insist on violating him!”(3)
It has been narrated that `Umar hit Tamim with his rod because he was offering a two-Rak`ah supererogatory prayer although `Umar had warned them against such. Tamim, as having been in the prayer, pointed to `Umar to sit down and `Umar did. When he finished his prayer, Tamim asked `Umar why
he had hit him. “You know that I have prohibited you from offering such a prayer,” answered `Umar. But Tamim said, “I offered such a prayer while I was with the Messenger of Allah who is certainly superior than you are.” `Umar commented, “Well, I have not meant you and your likes; but I anticipate that the coming generations will offer prayers in the period between the `Asr (afternoon) Prayer and the Maghrib (sundown) Prayer passing by the very hour during which the Holy Prophet warned against offering any prayer; hence, they will connect the two obligatory prayers in the same way as they have connected the Dhuhr (noon) and `Asr Prayers.”(1)
It has been also narrated that Abu-Ayyub al-Ansariy, after the demise of `Umar, returned to offering a supererogatory prayer between the `Asr and Maghrib Prayers after he had stopped during the reign of `Umar. When he was asked about the reason, he answered, “`Umar used to hit with his rod anyone who would offer such a prayer.”(2)
It has been narrated on the authority of Zayd ibn Thabit that Abu-Bakr, after his campaign against the people of Yamamah, ordered him to allow the alive to inherit their shares from the deads’ legacies and to cancel the shares of the deads. `Umar also ordered Zayd to do the same thing with the individuals of the `Amwas tribe whom were plagued.(3)
The abovementioned narrations hint at the points of disagreement among the Sahabah. The majority of such disagreements were in the issues of
the Islamic jurisprudence and the secondary rulings of the religion. By the application of his new policy, `Umar wanted all the Sahabah to follow his opinions without dispute.
They therefore rejected that because his opinions were contradictory to what they had witnessed from the Holy Prophet, such as in the case of the Takbir of the Deceased Prayer, the supererogatory prayer between the `Asr and Maghrib Prayers, the temporary marriage… etc. Nevertheless, `Umar, after he had not been able to impose his opinions on them, justified that he did not mean them; rather he meant the coming generations!
The obligation of acting upon the personal verdicts of `Umar was one of the fundamentals of the his new policy; as a result, `Ammar ibn Yasir said to him, “If you wish, I will not tell it to anyone else.” Similarly, Ubayy ibn Ka`b loathingly said, “If you want me to confine myself to my house, I will do it and will then never say anything more in this respect.”
All such narrations confirm the existence of pressure and threat, which has been manifestly presented in abovementioned narrations, such as `Umar’s threatening `Ammar and Abu-Musa with whipping as well as his actual hitting Tamim and Abu-Hurayrah. This threat, too, proves that a clash between the two trends actually occurred during that period.
It is now unfeasible for anyone to deny that `Umar ibn al-Khattab did prohibit reporting and recording the Hadith. Similarly, any attempt to arouse doubts around the narrations that reported `Umar’s prohibiting the
spread of the Hadith and detaining some of the grand Sahabah is refuted by the clear-cut historical events and reports about `Umar’s practical and conceptual issues.
All such historical texts have supported and confirmed the prohibition of the recordation and reporting of the Hadith and, at the same time, decided as worthless all the justification of Ibn Hazm, al-Dhahbiy, and their likes who claimed that the decision of the prohibition and the detainment of the Sahabah were not compatible to `Umar’s psychology and standing!
For more confirmation, let us cite the following example concerning the distribution of the lands in Iraq and Egypt that were conquered by the Muslim warriors by force during the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab. As has been confirmed by the Holy Qur'an, one-fifth of such spoils of war must be deposited in the public treasury and then expended on the categories defined by the holy verse,
“And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer.” (Holy Qur’an: 8/41)
The other four-fifths must be distributed among the warriors as is declared in the holy verse and was practiced by the Holy Prophet in Khaybar.
As usual, the warriors came to `Umar asking for distributing the one-fifth and giving them their shares. Yet, `Umar said, “What shall we say to the other Muslims who will find these lands distributed, inherited, and seized? This is indeed not accurate!”
al-Rahman ibn `Awf asked, “What is the accurate opinion, then? The lands and the non-Muslims therein are within the spoils of war that Almighty Allah has given exclusively to the warriors.”
“This is true, but I do not think so,” answered `Umar.
The warriors then talked very much with `Umar about the matter showing that it would not be fair to give the lands that they could occupy by their own swords to others who neither participated nor even saw these lands. Whatever they said, `Umar answered with “This is my opinion!”
Finally, they had to succumb and say, “It is up to you.”(1)
Of course, such a furious clash between the Sahabah, about one of the simplest jurisprudential terms, would have never occurred during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime where there was an authority to whom all the Muslims would refer as regards any issue.
Hence, because the Muslims did not gather around the divinely commissioned authority, their personal opinions and disagreements in the religious affairs increased causing dispute and even fighting. Immediately after the departure of the Holy Prophet, the negative consequences of the Muslims’ negligence of the divinely commissioned authorities appeared although the Holy Prophet had warned them against such in many traditions, such as the famous Hadith of Arikah and the other Hadiths of the warning against personal opinions.
Imam `Ali and the honest Sahabah not only were depressed for the seizure of the political leadership of the Muslims but also they felt greater pains for the occurrence of such disagreements, separation,
and violations of the unity and religious authority of the Muslims.
For this very reason, the complaints of Imam `Ali, Anas, `Ammar, and many other Sahabah increased during that period. Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, the keeper of the secret regarding the names of the hypocrites among the companions of the Holy Prophet, warned so sorrowfully against disagreements and contradictions of opinions that occurred after the waste of the actual authority of Islam and the foundation of ungrounded leaderships.
In this respect, it has been narrated on the authority of al-Barra’ ibn `Āzib immediately after the departure of the Holy Prophet, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, in the presence of al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, `Abadah ibn al-Samit, Salman al-Farisiy, Abu-Dharr, and Abu’l-Haytham ibn al-Tayhan, said,
“I swear by Allah that my prediction shall take place. I have not told lies and I will not be belied. Those people are intending to restrict the matter (of the leadership) to the Muhajirun. You can ask Ubayy ibn Ka`b about it. He has also have knowledge of this.”
They therefore went towards Ubayy’s house. As they knocked the door, Ubayy stood behind the door and asked whom it was. Al-Miqdad talked to him, but Ubayy asked him why he had come.
“Open the door! The matter for which I am here is more serious than being discussed through closed doors,” said al-Miqdad.
Yet, Ubayy said, “I will not open my door. Now, I know exactly why you are here. You have come asking about the matter of the Meeting (in Saqifah). Have you
“Yes, we have,” answered they.
“Is Hudhayfah with you?” asked Ubayy.
“Yes, he is,” answered they.
Here, Ubayy said,
“The matter is as exactly as informed by Hudhayfah. I therefore will never open the door of my house until the predicted thing will occur. What will come next will be more catastrophic! I have nothing to do other than complaining about it to Almighty Allah!”(1)
It has been also narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka`b said,
“The parties of that Meeting (of Saqifah) have destroyed themselves. I swear it by the Lord of the Ka`bah. Yet, I am not lamenting over them; rather I lament over the Muslims who shall perish for such.”(2)
A third narration reads that Hudhayfah said,
“I will say such a great word about it that I do not care whether you will keep me alive or kill me.”(3)
Hence, the following names can be added to the list of the Sahabah who disagreed with `Umar as regards jurisprudential issues:
1. Zayd ibn Arqam,
2. Al-Barra ibn `Āzib,
3. `Abdullah ibn `Umar,
4. Salman al-Farisiy,
6. Tamim al-Dariy,
7. Al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad,
8. Abu-Dharr al-Ghifariy, and
9. The warriors to whom Almighty Allah has restored(4) among the Sahabah and others.
To be surer about our claim and discussions, more investigation in the situations of the forecited Sahabah is required since it is insufficient to mention a single incident or situation; rather it is necessary to study the general features of those Sahabah’s religious and jurisprudential trends.
As I examined thoroughly the personalities of those Sahabah, I found that most of them had compiled books or,
in other words, the majority of the authors of the first age of Islam disagreed with the Opinionists and the adopters of Ijtihad. In fact, the compilations of those Sahabah acted as frank objections against the policies of `Umar. Let us now refer to those Sahabah in brief:
None can ever deny the fact that Imam `Ali used to write down the Divine Revelations and the dictations of the Holy Prophet. Ummu-Salamah, the Holy Prophet’s wife, narrated that Imam `Ali, once, was with the Holy Prophet when the latter asked for a piece of leather (to write on). He then dictated to Imam `Ali who filled the face, back, and even edges of that leather with the Holy Prophet’s dictations.(1)
As has been confirmed by more than ten of his disciples, Imam `Ali used to keep a paper comprising dictations of the Holy Prophet in the sheath of his sword.(2) Previously, many situations of Imam `Ali’s disagreement with the opinions of `Umar have been cited.
Abu’l-`Āliyah narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka`b had compiled a big book about the exegesis of the Holy Qur'an.(3) It has been previously proven that Ubayy disagreed with `Umar and declared that he did not enjoy a distinctive knowledgeability of the religious affairs and that he did not agree to his decision of prohibiting reporting and recording the Hadith.
When the Holy Prophet sent Mu`adh to the Yemen, he gave him a book in which he dictated the rulings of the alms as well as many Hadiths.(4) Musa ibn
All these reports prove that Mu`adh ibn Jabal recorded many books that could survive in spite of `Umar’s decision of setting all the records to fire after he had prohibited and threatened Mu`adh. Yet, examples on Mu`adh’s situations against `Umar have been previously cited.
Examples on Hudhayfah’s situations with `Umar have been previously cited, especially his words with `Umar ibn al-Khattab in which he said that he hated the right, liked the seductions... etc. Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman used to write down the Holy Prophet’s dictations about the alms of dates,(3) the taxes of Hijaz,(4) and the taxes on date-palm trees.(5)
Al-Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam was the Holy Prophet’s clerk of the alms, but when he would be absent, Jahm ibn al-Salt and Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman would replace him(6) according to the order of the Holy Prophet himself.(7)
Juwaybir has narrated on the authority of al-Dahhak that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud said: “During the age of the Messenger of Allah, we used to record nothing of the Hadith except those appertained to the Tashahhud (a major section of the obligatory prayer) and Istikharah (Seeking goodness from Almighty Allah).(8) It has been also narrated on the authority of Ma`an that `Abd al-Rahman, son of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, showed him a book and swore that it had been written by his father personally.(9)
Yet, it has been narrated that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud prohibited the recordation of the Hadith. This is
in reality a fabrication and is refuted by the aforesaid reports, as well as many others, and by the fact that he was detained by `Umar for his having violated the decision of prohibiting reporting and recording the Hadith.
Other narrations have affirmed that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud erased the contents of some papers that comprised narrations. On the assumption that these narrations are authentic, it is possible that these papers comprised narrations of the Jews and Christians, as has been previously proven.(1)
It has been also narrated that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud disagreed with `Umar on many issues or, as is quoted from Ibn al-Qayyim, on one hundred questions.(2) This fact proves that he joined the group of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts and proves the falsehood of the narration reporting his having said,
“If all the people enter upon a certain path but `Umar enters upon another, I will surely take the path of `Umar!”(3)
Later on, we will discuss in details the role that `Abd al-Rahman played in sketching the conducts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar and his standing in the view of `Umar in particular. Yet, nothing has been reported from him concerning the recordation of the Hadith.
This man died before the caliphate of `Umar and did not record any book.
It has been narrated that Zayd was the first to compile a book about the rulings of inheritance. Ja`far ibn Burqan narrated that he had heard al-Zuhriy saying,
“Unless Zayd ibn Thabit compiled a book on the rulings of heritage, they
would be unknown by the people.”(1)
Zayd, however, disagreed with `Umar on the issues of the share of grandmothers (from the heritage), the retaliation of Muslims who kill Dhimmis, and other issues.
It has been reported from Salma that she saw `Abdullah ibn `Abbas carrying tablets that comprised the writings of Ibn Abi-Rafi’ about some of the Holy Prophet’s deeds.(2) It has been also narrated that he left numerous books after his demise.(3) Many narrations have been reported from him confirming the necessity of recording knowledge.(4)
Yet, the narration of Tawus that `Abdullah ibn `Abbas disliked recording the knowledge requires thorough investigation because it opposes many other narrations. Previously, we have cited his disagreement with `Umar regarding the issue of the lady that became pregnant only six months after her marriage.
The Holy Prophet wrote a message to al-Dahhak instructing him to give the widow of Ashyam al-Dibabiy her due from the legacy of her husband.(5) Al-Dahhak, then, sent a message to `Umar telling him about the contents of that message.(6)
Al-Muzziy, in Tahdhib al-Kamal 12:604, has written the biography of Shaybah without mentioning that he had compiled a book. Yet, he referred to the aforementioned narration concerning his disagreement with `Umar on the issue of the fortune of the Holy Ka`bah.
It is probable that this woman was Fatimah bint Qays, al-Dahhak’s elder sister, about whom Abu-Salamah reported some narrations. Muhammad ibn `Amr narrated that Abu-Salamah reported that Fatimah bint Qays compiled a book in which she related her story…(7) According to one of
her narrations, `Umar said to her, “We should not neglect the Book of our Lord and the Sunnah of our Prophet because of a statement said by a woman whom we cannot tell whether she is honest or not!”
`Ammar is one of the excellent and grand Sahabah. Having been one of the adherents to Imam `Ali, he was martyred during the Battle of Siffin. The Holy Prophet predicted his martyrdom at the hands of the despotic party.
Although any compilation of `Ammar cannot be found, he joined the school of reporting the Hadith since he, in the issuance of religious verdicts, thoroughly complied with the sacred texts, he objected to the caliphs’ adoptions of personal views and imitated the jurisprudential course of Imam `Ali.
It has been narrated that Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy, replying to the message of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, wrote that the Holy Prophet used to… etc.(1) Abu-Zayd Bakr ibn `Abdullah said, “The Shahid `Ali Library in Turkey keeps a manuscript compiled by Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy.”(2)
It has been also narrated that he defended the recordation of the Holy Sunnah. Later on, we will discuss in details the jurisprudential course of Abu-Musa to prove whether he backed the Opinionists or the compliers with the sacred texts.
Abu-Sa`id is reported as saying, “Except the Holy Qur'an and Hadiths concerning the Tashahhud, we used not to record anything.”(3) Al-A`dhamiy says: “It is probable that Abu-Sa`id wrote down some of the Hadiths for `Abdullah ibn `Abbas.”
Yet, these reports are contradictory to the narration that Abu-Sa`id reported
the Holy Prophet’s saying: “Do not record anything of my words and deeds. Now, anyone who has recorded anything other than the Qur'an must erase it.”(1)
Zayd recorded some of the Hadith and sent them to Anas ibn Malik, such as the Holy Prophet’s praying to Almighty Allah to forgive the Ansar and their descendants.(2) He also objected to some of `Umar’s verdicts and narrated too much about the merits of Imam `Ali.
Muhammad `Ajjaj al-Khatib has recorded that al-Barra ibn `Āzib used to report and record the Hadith.(3) It has been also narrated from Waki` on the authority of his father that `Abdullah ibn Hanash said that he had seen them (seekers of knowledge) recording al-Barra'’s lectures on the palms of their hands using canes.(4) Besides, al-Barra' narrated numerous traditions about the merits of Imam `Ali. Yet, his situation concerning the meeting of Saqifah has been previously cited.
It has been narrated that `Abdullah used to record the Hadith. Ibrahim al-Sa'igh narrated on the authority of Nafi` that `Abdullah ibn `Umar kept many books which he used to read.(5) Later on, we will discuss `Abdullah’s situation against his father and arguments about the necessity of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts, although he himself violated this trend on definite occasions.
Ibn Shahrashub has recorded that Imam `Ali followed by Salman al-Farisiy were the first to compile books in Islam.(6) About Salman, Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr says, “He recorded the conversation the Roman Catholicos whom were sent by Caesar after the Holy Prophet’s departure.”(7)
Al-A`dhamiy has also recorded that Salman seemed to write some of the Hadiths for Abu’l-Darda’.(1)
Ahmad ibn Hanbal, in al-Musnad, has recorded a number of narrations reported by Salman indicating that he followed the trend of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts. As a matter of fact, a deep look in the life account of Salman demonstrates that he was one of the chief adopters of the School of Through Compliance with the Sacred Texts. This is not strange, since he was, in the words of the Holy Prophet, one of the Ahl al-Bayt in honor, not reality.(2)
Al-Fadl ibn Hasan ibn `Umar ibn Umayyah al-Dumayri has narrated that his father said that Abu-Hurayrah denied a Hadith after he had heard from him. Yet, his father said, “I have heard this Hadith from you personally!” Abu-Hurayrah replied, “If you have heard this Hadith from me, this means that it is written with me.”(3)
Generally, some of Abu-Hurayrah’s statements indicate that he followed the trend of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts and others indicate that he supported the Opinionists.
Previously, Tamim’s objection to `Umar’s having prohibited him to offer a prayer after the `Asr (obligatory) Prayer has been cited.
Al-Miqdad has not been reported as having compiled or recorded the religious knowledge. Yet, he is well-known for his following Imam `Ali in everything. He must thus have been following the trend of the thorough compliance with the sacred texts.
Ibn Shahrashub has added Abu-Dharr’s name to the list of the foremost compilers in
Islam.(1) It is also well-known for everybody that Abu-Dharr disagreed with the Opinionists and the ruling authorities in general and `Uthman ibn `Affan in particular. Besides, he was one of the sincere disciples of Imam `Ali.
On the strength of the previous simple inventory, we conclude that the Sahabah who objected to the Opinionists were either the compilers of the Islamic knowledge or the disciples of Imam `Ali who participated in his campaigns.(2)
As regards the earlier, the compilers of books on the Islamic knowledge are those who thoroughly complied with the sacred texts. They are also not reported to have narrated any item revealing the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith. Rather, the Sahabah who thoroughly complied with the sacred texts encouraged on reporting and recording the Hadith.
They thus disagreed with the other party whose members practiced Ijtihad and prohibited the reporting, writing down, and recording of the Holy Sunnah.
In other words, there is inherence between the recording of the Hadith and the thorough compliance with the sacred texts. Similarly, there is inherence between the prohibition from recording the Hadith and the practice of Ijtihad and Opinionism.
For instance, `Ammar ibn Yasir followed the School of Thorough Compliance with the Sacred Texts, as will be proven in the coming chapters, although he did not write down any book in the field of the religious knowledge. On the other side, `Umar ibn al-Khattab and Zayd ibn Thabit followed the School of Ijtihad and Opinionism although they did write down
However, ponderation over their books proves that these books comprised nothing more than their personal views and opinions and that all the narration mentioned therein supported their trend. As a result, the compilers of books on Islamic knowledge are those who followed the School of Thorough Compliance with the Sacred Texts.
The following points can also be concluded in this respect:
1) The claim that the Holy Prophet had prohibited from recording his traditions is unsubstantiated.
2) The recordation of the items of knowledge started during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime and under his commandment. This trend then extended with the Sahabah who believed in the sacredness of the texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
3) During the reign of `Umar, there were records comprising the Holy Prophet’s Hadith. From this cause, he ordered such records to be brought to him.
4) The prohibition of recording the Hadith was issued during the reigns of Abu-Bakr and `Umar and under their commandment. Thus, the decision did not acquire any legitimacy from the Holy Prophet’s texts.
In this regard, al-Mu`allimiy says:
“Had the Holy Prophet prohibited the recordation of the Hadith, Abu-Bakr would not have recorded some Hadiths and, likewise, `Umar would not have had the intention to record, too.”(1)
Since the records of the Hadith were available, why did `Umar have an aversion to spread them and why did he declare that the Book of Allah was sufficient? Similarly, why have Ibn Hazm and his likes found it improbable for `Umar to detain some of the Sahabah?
answer these questions, we say that the reporting and recordation of the Hadith were the basic barriers against the acceptability of the personal opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar. Hence, the first step on their course of the adoption of personal opinions was directing the people to depend upon the Holy Qur'an alone, reduce reporting the Hadith, and stop recording it.
Such directions created a huge gap between ordinary people and their Prophet’s traditions and paved the way for the new substitute, which was the Ijtihad of the Sahabah. The following step was therefore the presentation of the Ijtihad as the substitute of the Hadith.
As a matter of fact, the Holy Prophet anticipated openly the imminent happening of such and declared his displeasure with it as he confirmed that his words are as sacred as Almighty Allah’s Words.
In the conception of `Umar, the prohibition of spreading the Hadith was a social necessity imposed upon him by the surrounding circumstances. It was tantamount to the reaction of his ignorance with the Holy Prophet’s traditions as well as the reminiscence that he had kept in his mind when the Holy Prophet prohibited him from recording the distorted heritage of the Christians and Jews when he had written sections from the distorted Torah.
By the prohibition of recording the Hadith, `Umar only wanted to apply the Holy Prophet’s prohibition from recording the heritage of the Ahl al-Kitab. Yet, the difference between the two is totally clear. Finally, had Abu-Bakr and `Umar recognized the instructions of
the Holy Prophet, they would not have violated his orders and invented contradictory courses.
It has been narrated on the authority of Sa`d ibn Ibrahim on the authority of his father that `Umar detained three individuals in the charge of much reporting from the Holy Prophet. These three were `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu’l-Darda' and Abu-Mas`ud al-Ansariy.(1)
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadiy, in Sharaf Ashab al-Hadith, has recorded that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, once, summoned `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu’l-Darda' and Abu-Mas`ud and said to them, “Why are you reporting so much from the Messenger of Allah?” He then detained then in al-Madinah.
It has been narrated on the authority of Sa`d ibn Ibrahim on the authority of his father that `Umar reproached `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu’l-Darda', and Abu-Dharr for they have reported too much from the Holy Prophet. He then detained them in al-Madinah until his death.(2)
`Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf is reported as saying, Before his death, `Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered the companions of the Messenger of Allah, namely `Abdullah (ibn Mas`ud), Hudhayfah, Abu’l-Darda', Abu-Dharr, and `Uqbah ibn `Āmir, to be present before him although they lived in remote countries. He then reproached them for having spread the traditions of the Messenger of Allah in these countries.
“Are you now preventing us from such?” asked they.
“No, I do not,” answered `Umar. “Yet, you will reside here, and you will never depart me so long as I am alive. I am more knowledgeable. I will hear from you and reply.” Hence, they could not leave the capital until the death
In `Umar’s statements of reproach, he used the words ‘too much reporting’ and ‘spread of the Hadith’. This obviously indicates that the ‘too much’ reporting from the Holy Prophet would create comprehension of the Muslims and embarrassment of `Umar on definite circumstances.
Yet, `Umar did not accuse them of fabrication or forgery; rather they were accused of too much reporting and spreading of the Hadith since spreading of the Hadith was harmonious to the finding faults with `Umar’s decisions and verdicts, especially when the Hadith carries a clear-cut statements of the Holy Prophet. This fact can be much more understood through the following narration:
When `Umar summoned Ubayy ibn Ka`b and ordered him to reduce reporting from the Holy Prophet, Ubayy answered, “Does this mean that you are accusing me of forgery against the Messenger of Allah?”
“No, it does not,” answered `Umar. “Yet, I dislike seeing the reporting from the Messenger of Allah such expansive.”(2)
On other occasions, `Umar ordered the Sahabah to reduce reporting from the Holy Prophet except in common questions.(3)
The purpose beyond the prevention in the earlier narration is too clear to require explanation; `Umar disliked seeing the Hadith expansively widespread so that the errors and jurisprudential defects of his government and him would not be known to everybody. In the latter narration, `Umar permitted reporting the Hadiths that discuss common questions that are known to all Muslims.
Alternatively, it is impermissible to report Hadiths unknown for the people and, perhaps, for `Umar himself since such Hadiths would
possibly be contrary to his personal opinions and Ijtihad and thus a problem would occur to the ruling system, which is seen as the religious authority of the Islamic community. From this cause, `Umar ordered the Sahabah to reside near him and never depart so long as he would be alive for he was more knowledgeable… etc.
The aforesaid discussions prove that `Umar disliked reporting from the Holy Prophet and the Sahabah disliked such. This is of course opposite to the claims that `Umar prohibited only the recordation of the Hadith!
It is now possible to add other names to the list of those who objected to `Umar. These are Abu’l-Darda', Abu-Mas`ud al-Ansariy, and `Uqbah ibn `Āmir.
Details about the personalities, manners, and courses of those Sahabah will be postponed to other occasions;(1) yet the point to be aroused hereby is that the Sahabah who objected to `Umar were not only thirteen, as has been claimed by Ibn Hajar, or only seven, as has been claimed by Musa Jarullah; rather they were more and more. It is thus sufficient to mention that too many were the Sahabah whose jurisprudential opinions were congruous with the Ahl al-Bayt’s jurisprudence.
It has been narrated that a man, once, asked (`Abdullah) Ibn `Abbas about the legal share of a daughter from her father’s legacy when there is also his full sister. Ibn `Abbas answered, “The share of the testator’s sister is nothing. The whole inheritance must be given to the daughter who receives a half of it in
the form of her legal share and the other half in the form of the nonexistence of other heirs.”
“But `Umar decided something else,” said the asker.
“Are you more knowledgeable that Allah?” answered Ibn `Abbas with annoyance.
The asker then went to Ibn Tawus al-Yamaniy because he could not understand Ibn `Abbas’s statement. Explaining the question, Ibn Tawus said to the asker, “My father has told me that he had heard Ibn `Abbas saying, Almighty Allah says (in the Holy Qur'an),
“If it is a man that dies leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/176);
while you are deciding that such a sister shall have half the inheritance even if she has children!”(1)
In the aforesaid question, `Umar distributed equally the inheritance between the testator’s daughter and full sister. In his opinion, daughters are not included when the word ‘son’ is used.(2) This is in fact a concept that was used in the pre-Islamic era. Yet, this opinion is obviously opposite to the Holy Qur'an that reads,
“Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children's Inheritance: to the male, a portion equal to that of two females. (Holy Qur’an: 4/11)”
Accordingly, the word ‘children’ in the holy verse indicates both sons and daughters. Hence, the children’s testator prevent the brothers and sisters (i.e. their uncles and aunts) from receiving anything from the inheritance. In this respect, the Holy Qur'an reads,
“If it is a man that dies leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance: If
such a deceased was a woman, who left no child, her brother takes her inheritance. If there are two sisters, they shall have two-thirds of the inheritance between them. If there are brothers and sisters, they share the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah make clear to you His law lest ye err; and Allah hath knowledge of all things.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/176)
Ibn `Abbas also objected to another decision of `Umar as regards the shares of inheritances. When he was asked to distribute an inheritance, `Umar did not recognize how the shares should be distributed; he therefore had to confess, saying, “In fact, I do not know which category of you (the heirs) has been preferred according to the law of Allah. The best solution that I can see is that to distribute the inheritance among you in equal shares.”
Objecting to this opinion, Ibn `Abbas said, “I swear by Allah that if you had followed the instructions of Allah in this regard, the shares of the inheritances would never have been imperfect.”(1)
On a third occasion, `Umar issued two different verdicts for the same question. About the shares of the inheritance of a lady who had a husband, mother, two half (maternal) brothers, and two full brothers, `Umar decided to give the husband half the inheritance, the mother the sixth, and the two half brothers the remainder, which is the one third. Hence, the two full brothers were given nothing because no shares remained.
question was provided before `Umar and he decided to follow the same previous distribution. But one of the full brothers objected to him saying, “We share with the testator in the father while they only share with a mother.
Hence, if you will deprive us of shares because of our father, you should give us a share through our mother in the same way as you have decided a share for these half brothers through their mother. Even if our father was a donkey, we and they lived in the same womb!”
Having been convinced of their pleading, `Umar decided to make them partners in the remainder, which is the one-third of the inheritance.(1) When he was reminded that his decision about a similar case had not been this one, `Umar said, “Well, that decision was for that case and this decision is for this!”(2)
Al-Shafi`iy, in al-Risalah, Abu-Dawud and al-Bayhaqiy have recorded on the authority of Tawus that `Umar, once, asked the attendants whether they had heard anything from the Holy Prophet about the blood money for fetuses. Haml ibn Malik ibn al-Nabighah stood up and said, “One of my bondmaids, once, hit another pregnant one on the abdomen that she aborted her fetus.
In this case, the Holy Prophet decided a coot as the blood money for the fetus.” `Umar thus said, “If I have not heard this story from you, I would decide another thing. In fact, I was about to depend upon my own opinion in this
`Ubaydah al-Salmaniy is reported as saying, “I have memorized one hundred different rulings that `Umar had decided as regards the share of grandfathers from inheritances!”(2)
Dr. Muhammad Madkur, commenting on `Umar’s various opinions about the share of grandfathers from inheritances, says,
“`Umar insisted on making grandfathers precede brothers as regards the shares of inheritance. He used to say, ‘If I have the right to decide, I will give the whole inheritance to the grandfather.’ He then changed his mind and said, ‘I am afraid that I will disappoint them. They all may be right.’
He then again changed his mind and decided to distribute it among them provided that the share will not be less than one-sixth. Again, he changed his mind and decided to distribute it among them provided that the share will not be less than one-third.
Such contradiction and instability occurred only because the question was not explained by any sacred text at all; therefore, personal opinions must have been the judge. From the dialogue between Zayd ibn Thabit and `Umar ibn al-Khattab, we can conclude that Zayd used a style of simile making his opinion logic and acceptable.”(3)
After citing the statement of `Ubaydah al-Salmaniy and the holy verse,
“For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/11)
Dr. Qal`achiy says,
“From this verse, we can conclude that the remainder is the share of the grandfather. In fact,
`Umar noticed his instability as regards the share of the grandfather with the existence of brothers of the testator; he therefore consulted the Sahabah more than once. Yet, he could not reach at a decisive resolution.
A little time before his death, `Umar wanted to find a positive solution for the question so that the matter would not be left unsettled. He consequently wrote an epistle in this regard and prayed to Almighty Allah saying: ‘O Allah! If this matter is correct, I please you to bring it to an end.’
When he was stabbed, he erased that epistle so that none would realize what had been written therein. He then declared: ‘I have written a book about the share of the grandfather and the Kalalah and I have prayed to Almighty Allah to guide me in this matter. Yet, I think that I would better leave you in the state in which you were.”(1)
Al-Suyutiy, in al-Ashbah wa’l-Nadha'ir, commenting on `Umar’s various opinions about the question of the grandfathers’ share of inheritances, says,
“The reason of such variation is that the second Ijtihad was not better than the first. This means that he could not determine anything. This of course would bring about intense hardship since if a decision is canceled, the other will be canceled and so on.”(2)
The following issue proves unfalteringly that `Umar ibn al-Khattab used to practice Ijtihad in questions the rulings of which have been previously decided by the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah:
The Holy Prophet, once, told
him that he would never understand the ruling regarding the share of grandfathers from inheritances. Nevertheless, `Umar exceeded that prediction and acted upon his personal opinions in this issue. In this connection, it has been narrated on the authority of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab that `Umar, once, asked the Holy Prophet, “How are the shares of grandfathers from inheritances counted?”
The Holy Prophet answered, “Why are you asking about this, `Umar? I see coming that you will die before you understand this issue.”
Truly, `Umar departed life before he could understand that question.(1)
Al-Salihiy al-Dimashqiy, in Subul al-Huda wa’l-Rashad 9:287, has recorded that Ibn Rahawayh and Ibn Mardawayh narrated on the authority of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab that `Umar asked the Holy Prophet about the shares of the Kalalah from inheritances.
“Has Almighty Allah, in the Holy Qur'an, not explained it (saying,
And if a man or a woman leaves property to be inherited by neither parents nor offspring, and he (or she) has a brother or a sister, then each of them two shall have the sixth, but if they are more than that, they shall be sharers in the third after (payment of) any bequest that may have been bequeathed or a debt that does not harm (others); this is an ordinance from Allah: and Allah is Knowing, Forbearing (Holy Qur’an: 4/12))?”
`Umar yet did not understand the verse; therefore, Almighty Allah revealed his Saying,
“They ask you for a decision of the law. Say: Allah gives you a decision concerning the person who has neither parents
nor offspring; if a man dies (and) he has no son and he has a sister, she shall have half of what he leaves, and he shall be her heir she has no son; but if there be two (sisters), they shall have two-thirds of what he leaves; and if there are brethren, men and women, then the male shall have the like of the portion of two females; Allah makes clear to you, lest you err; and Allah knows all things. (Holy Qur’an: 4/176)”
Again, `Umar did not yet understand the verse. He thus asked his daughter Hafsah, one of the Holy Prophet wives, to ask the Holy Prophet to explain the question for her when she would find him relaxed and pleased. When she did, the Holy Prophet said, “It was your father who asked you to do such. I see that your father shall never understand this question.”
As a result, `Umar used to say, “I shall never understand this question. It was the Messenger of Allah who said so.”(1)
In conclusion, it is not improbable to say that Imam `Ali’s famous saying, ‘One who likes throwing oneself in the depths of Hell may issue a verdict about the grandfather’s share of inheritance,’(2) arose from the innumerable contradictory verdicts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar, in particular, as regards the matter involved about which they openly violated the Holy Qur'an.
In the light of the preceding discussion, the caliphs had to adopt Ijtihad as a starting point through which the difference between
the Sahabah’s religious opinions, or the caliph for one side and the Sahabah for the other, can be justified since it is the shelter to which the Opinionists and their fans can resort for solving any opposition noticed in the Sahabah’s religious opinions.
Yet, the subject must be investigated from its roots with rationality so that it will be proven whether the Holy Prophet used his personal views in the issuance of religious rulings or this claim has been fabricated against him for the sake of giving good reason for the Sahabah’s Ijtihad.
At the outset, it is illogic that the Messenger of Allah whose divine mission is to convey the laws of Almighty Allah to all the peoples on this planet could betake personal views as method of identifying the divine laws.
Had he been allowed to use his personal outlooks, he would not have waited for the Divine Revelation so as to judge in the questions of the li`an (oath of condemnation between spouses),(1) the shares of maternal and paternal aunts from inheritance, and others.(2)
Since the Holy Prophet was able to obtain certainty through waiting for the Divine commandments, it should be illogic for him to depend upon hypothetical decisions that are the natural outcomes of Ijtihad. Furthermore, the Holy Qur'an has confirmed the necessity of the commitment to the Holy Prophet’s words, such as in the holy verses:
“And whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back. (Holy Qur’an: 59/7)”
by the Lord, they can have no real faith until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. (Holy Qur’an: 4/65)”
It is thus impossible for Almighty Allah to order us to commit to words that are grounded upon conjectures and are mistakable, while He, the Almighty, has taught us that
“conjecture avails nothing against Truth. (Holy Qur’an: 53/28)”
It is now obvious that the insistence on the argument that the Holy Prophet rested upon his personal views in the issuance of religious rulings has been invented in order to find acceptable excuses for the Sahabah’s Ijtihad in general and the personal opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar in particular and to grant such Ijtihad and opinions a legal mark.
A thorough, yet impartial, investigation of history and Hadith proves this fact. Again a thorough investigation of the proofs on the Holy Prophet’s supposed Ijtihad that the Opinionists have provided shows that their one and only purpose has been the meaning that he made mistakes in the field of issuing religious rulings. They therefore attempted to find solution for this complicated problem through the invention of Ijtihad and Opinionism.
Even if we succumb to the idea that the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds were originated from his personal opinions that are, according to the Opinionists’ supposition, allowable, why do most of their statements and intimations suggest that he broke the commandments of Almighty Allah on many occasions,
such as the famous narration of offering prayer for a hypocrite, and also failed to meet the humanitarian restraints, such as in the story of the blind when he frowned and turned away, to the degree that al-Zamakhshariy has been so impolite that he claimed that Almighty Allah’s saying “Allah pardon you” stands for the happening of a felony since pardon is always associated with felonies; therefore the interpretation of the verse is that ‘you have made a mistake and very bad was your deed!’(1) It is extremely impudent to dare say such a thing about the Holy Prophet.
The Opinionists who prohibited the recording and reporting of the Hadith have dared to say such things about the Holy Prophet while they have confirmed that the Divine Revelation agreed to `Umar in all the questions in which the Holy Prophet was wrong! Then, the Holy Prophet submitted to `Umar!
The gentle reader is now dispensing with further explanation and can easily understand the mystery beyond such contradiction and the secret beyond their ascribing mistakes to the Holy Prophet while `Umar’s situation was always so accurate that even the Divine Revelation testified for him!
Again, even if we yieldingly accept that the Holy Prophet was no more than an ordinary mortal who enjoyed divine talents; most of his worldly affairs and decisions had nothing to do with the Divine Revelation; even in military affairs he used to consult the Sahabah, such as in the truce with the Ghatafan tribe during the Battle of al-Ahzab,(2)
the decision of fighting during the Battle of Uhud,(1) the adoption of Salman al-Farisiy’s opinion about the digging of a trench around the city of al-Madinah during the Battle of al-Ahzab,(2) the adoption of Habbab’s opinion about choosing the place of residence just before the Battle of Badr, and the adoption of Sa`d ibn Mu`adh’s opinion concerning the establishment of an arbor(3) and many other occasions.
Even if we overlook the fact that all the words and deeds of the Holy Prophet, throughout his holy lifetime, were on the instructions of Almighty Allah and that he consulted his companions only to appease them and teach them experience and management since his final decisions were all received from the Heavens—even if we overlook all theses fact, still the Holy Prophet’s issues were unlike `Umar’s Ijtihad and adoption of personal views all of which were in the field of the religious rulings, not in worldly affairs. Besides, even if we accept to them as regards the personal opinions of the Holy Prophet, he (the Holy Prophet) is still unlike others, for his opinions were based upon sound grounds since he had full acquaintance with the actual advantages, disadvantages, overtures, and results of all subjects. On this account, his supposed Ijtihad is not like the others’ Ijtihad.
Back to the main topic, the Opinionists have just intended, by the invention of the conception of the Holy Prophet’s having rested upon his personal views, to argue that the Sahabah were only imitating the Holy Prophet;
hence, they must not be blamed for such.
To rest upon the explicit circumstances of an issue does not denote the Ijtihad as a term. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said,
“My judgments are based upon the explicit circumstances of an issue that is filed before me. While you are making me the judge in your disputes, some of you may err in providing his case or his evidences.”(1)
This statement denotes that a judge must give a verdict on the light of the presented proofs and claims, not the actuality that may be hidden or unknown unless awareness of the unseen is obtained. Although the Prophets, Messengers, and their Successors can be acquainted with the unseen, they have been ordered to judge according to the explicit claims and proofs except in special cases, such as the story of al-Khidr with Prophet Moses.
It has been also familiar that the Holy Prophet used to judge according to the regulations and laws known to everybody so that the human regulations and legal laws will not be infringed. On account of his connection with the Divine Revelation, the Holy Prophet recognized the actuality of each issue because he has been full acquainted with the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfudh).
In this regard, all Muslims agree unanimously that the Holy Qur'an was revealed twice; the first complete revelation occurred on the Grand Night (Laylat al-Qadr)(2) and in the second time, the Qur'an was revealed in sections on definite involved occasions.
It is now not unacceptable to
claim that some of the Holy Prophet’s judgments were issued on the grounds of his previous knowledge of the unseen -of course, only when the situation requires such- before the second partial revelation of a verse in this regard.
Another example that supports our discussion is the Holy Prophet’s having wished had the Kiblah(1) been turned to the Sacred Masjid. Had he been permitted to rest upon his personal views, he would certainly have decided the Sacred Mosque as the new Kiblah and would not have turned his face towards the holy Mosque of Jerusalem (for prayer) for more than six months. Only when the holy verse,
“We see the turning of thy face for guidance to the heavens: now Shall We turn thee to a Kiblah that shall please thee. Turn then Thy face in the direction of the Sacred Masjid. (Holy Qur’an: 2/144)”
was revealed, he turned his face towards the new Kiblah. This is of course a clear-cut proof that the Holy Prophet waited for and firmly observed the commandments of Almighty Allah, unlike the claim that he might have rested upon personal opinions as regards the religious issues.
Then, the Opinionists have argued that the following holy verse encourages Ijtihad and deems legal for the Holy Prophet to rest upon it:
“We have sent down to thee the Book in truth, that thou mightest judge between men, as guided by Allah: so be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust. (Holy Qur’an: 4/105)”(2)
The statement ‘as guided by
Allah’ comprised by the holy verse has been interpreted into ‘by means of your view and personal efforts in the field of deducing the religious rulings’. This is indeed contrary to the actual meaning of the verse, since in its first part, Almighty Allah tells that ‘Book’ must be the reference in the deduction of rulings.
The fans of the School of Opinionism has intended to validate their personal views even in the field of the religious schools. During the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, they used to prefer the rulings to be derived from the Holy Qur'an and the words of the Holy Prophet who prohibited them to rest upon their opinions since he was the authority that protected against committing mistakes. Yet, as soon as he departed this world, they applied their personal views to all the issues, whether there were sacred texts in this respect or not.
During the reign of `Umar, this trend attained its climax after the Opinionists and the ordinary people had been influenced by this trend.
The Sahabah’s reference to and receipt from the Holy Prophet indicated that their opinions might have been acceptable due to the approval of the Holy Prophet, not the personality of the owner of the opinion.
Incidents prove that resting upon personal opinions in the issuance of religious rulings was definitely rejected during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime: It has been narrated that when Usamah ibn Zayd was the commander of a brigade, he ordered to raid on a group of people among whom was
Mirdas who had already converted to Islam.
Having seen the attacking horsemen of Usamah’s brigade, Mirdas drove his sheep towards a corner in the mountain so as to save them. When the horsemen caught him, he received them with statements of Allahu Akbar and the two creeds of Islam; but Usamah ibn Zayd killed him and took his sheep. When the Holy Prophet heard of this incident, he was terribly depressed. He then said to them, “You have killed him only because you wanted to seize his sheep!” He then recited Almighty Allah’s saying,
“And do not say to any one who offers you peace: You are not a believer. Do you seek goods of this world's life! (Holy Qur’an: 4:94)”(1)
The Holy Prophet then ordered Usamah to undergo the blood money for the man.
Because Usamah rested upon his personal view in the issue, the Holy Prophet reproached him and regarded his decision as invalid. Accordingly, he ordered Usamah to undergo the blood money.(2) Similarly, the Holy Prophet said about the crime of Khalid ibn al-Walid, “O Allah! I am releasing myself before You from the deed of Khalid.”(3)
For shedding more light on the subject, let us re-quote Dr. Madkur as saying:
“We thus can argue that the Holy Prophet did not require Ijtihad in this very sense. After the departure of him and, more precisely, during the age of the Sahabah that ends with the elapse of the first century after the Hijrah, the Sahabah, because of the expansion of the Islamic
State and the conquests, had to encounter new questions that they had never known before.
They therefore had to experience the jurisprudential questions, especially after the cessation of the Divine Revelations, so as to find solutions for the first-time issues that occurred to their cursorily incremental state that comprised miscellaneous countries and races.”(1)
Dr. al-Dawalibiy also says,
“During the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, the Ijtihad did not play any considerable role; rather it was restricted to certain issues.”(2)
Dr. Nadiah al-`Umariy says,
“Even during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, `Umar used to suggest verdicts that he considered in agreement with virtue, right, and advantage.”(3)
All the aforecited quotations support our confirmation that Ijtihad, as a current term, was not regarded as valid during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime; rather it became a meaningful term at the hands of Abu-Bakr and `Umar and their fans because they required the issuance of ruling verdicts with which they had not had acquaintance.
Back to the main topic, which is `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s situation with the Sahabah and their opinions about him, we have previously cited his situation with a Sahabiy, namely `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, about him he said to the people of al-Kufah when he decided to send him there along with `Ammar ibn Yasir to teach them religious affairs: “These two are among the most excellent companions of the Holy Prophet and among the warriors of the Battle of Badr. You should thus follow and listen to them. Be it known to you that I have preferred you to myself as
I sent to you `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud.”(1)
Despite such praise and appreciation, `Umar detained and settled an account with `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud because he had spread and reported very much of the Hadith. Because of this very situation, `Uthman, later on, durst prevent `Abdullah from reporting the Hadith and reciting his own copy of the Holy Qur'an although the Holy Prophet has been reported as instructing his people to rest upon `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud’s copy of the Holy Qur'an, and durst lash him forty whips causing some of his ribs to be broken and forcing him to emigrate and die away from his hometown.
`Umar had to resort to violence as having dealt with the Sahabah because he knew that they had been unsatisfactory with his jurisprudential opinions and had objected to his views that were against the Holy Sunnah. Nevertheless, the Sahabah did not change their situations; they insisted on following what they had received from the Holy Prophet to the degree that one of them directed embarrassing questions to `Umar, in the presence of people, in order to inform that his personal views had been always inaccurate and far away from the Sunnah.
The following citations are sufficient for proving such questionings:
Al-Harith narrated that `Abdullah ibn Aws came to `Umar and asked him about the ruling appertained to a lady who menstruates during circumambulating the Holy Ka`bah.
“Such a lady must postpone the Circumambulation to be the last of her rituals,” answered `Umar.
“This is true,” said al-Harith, “The Holy Prophet also said
the same answer.”
As he heard this statement, `Umar said to the man, “Damn you! You have asked me a question that you had put before the Holy Prophet so that I would contradict him.”(1)
Husham ibn Yahya al-Makhzumiy narrated that a man came to `Umar and asked about the ruling concerning a lady that, during the season of the ritual Hajj, menstruated on the Nahr (Immolation) Day.
`Umar answered, “It is impermissible for such a lady to continue unless she is clean.”
The man objected saying, “The Holy Prophet gave me a ruling other than this.”
`Umar immediately hit the man with the rod he had in his hand and reproached, “Why do you ask me about a matter that the Holy Prophet had already decided?”(2)
It is worth mentioning that there is a big difference between the decisions of the Holy Prophet as regards religious questions and the verdicts of `Umar. The Holy Prophet’s decisions are unrepealable since their source is the Divine Revelation, while `Umar’s verdicts, like any other verdict, can be generally repealed.(3)
`Umar thus aimed at canceling any difference that could be cited between the Holy Prophet’s decisions and his verdicts so that he would be able to find a legal feature to his personal views to take them to the level of the Holy Prophet’s words.
Yet, he had to pass by many stages before he could attain such a rank. He therefore claimed that the Holy Prophet rested upon his personal opinions in some religious rulings and thus his
words might descend to the rank of the ordinary Opinionists and might be compared to any other verdict and then rejected! This is of course one of the most anomalous opinions!
A thorough investigation in the Sahabah’s objections to `Umar’s opinions proves obviously that the Sahabah doubted the accuracy of `Umar’s views. Yet, presentation of the aforesaid narrations does not authorize testing the capacities of a Muslim since this matter has been largely condemned through many traditions. Imam `Ali is reported as saying,
“When you ask, you must intend for learning something, not for embarrassing the addressee, for an ignorant is similar to a knowledgeable and, thus, an arbitrary scholar is similar to an obstinate ignorant.”(1)
He has also said,
“People are generally imperfect and self-important. The asker is obstinate and the answerer is conceited.”(2)
The Sahabah, although they were acquainted with the abomination of putting question for the purpose of test and obstinacy, tended to ask `Umar in order to embarrass him since they thought that such embarrassment would save them from their troubles and would make the others understand that `Umar’s opinions were not always compatible to the religious instructions and the Holy Prophet’s jurisprudential questions most of which were ignored by `Umar.
They also intended to inform the Muslims that `Umar had not possessed a distinctive capacity of inferring the religious rules from the sources (namely, the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah).
In my conception, the Sahabah, by presenting such issues before `Umar in order to embarrass him, did not mean to criticize the
personality of `Umar; rather they only intended to defend the Islamic legislation and to prevent the personal views from finding a place in the sacred field of the issuance of religious issues.
Many are the narrations that prove that the Sahabah did not belittle or criticize the personalities of Abu-Bakr and `Umar, even when they disagreed with them, since the two held the leadership of the Islamic nation. The ordinary Sahabah who were not experts in the religious issues, however, adopted the opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar because they used to refer to the supreme leader in these questions.
It is now clear that the Sahabah disagreed with `Umar on various questions and he himself gave different opinions on the same question and such disagreements would affect the religious laws in the coming ages.
On this account, a big number of Muslim jurisprudents, in order to evade confusion between the Holy Prophet’s decisions and the personal opinions that were issued after his noble lifetime, have made great efforts in the field of differentiating between the two since the Holy Prophet’s decisions rested upon the Divine Revelations; therefore the Holy Prophet’s decisions were called ‘Sunnah’ while the personal opinions were called ‘Ijtihad’. In this respect, Dr. Madkur says,
“Naturally, the Ijtihad of the Sahabah created disagreement in viewpoints and contradiction in religious verdicts. Having not stopped at analogy, the Ijtihad of the Sahabah included all the aspects of opinions on bases of intuition, sound nature, and the spirit of Islamic legislation in addition
to full awareness of the rational ground on which opinions were founded and its role in issuing religious questions.”(1)
Some authors have argued that the reason beyond the Sahabah’s having issued disagreeing religious rulings was the difference in their intellects, awareness, and courses. Yet, those authors have absolutely pretended to forget the actual motives that made `Umar and his fans, who rested upon their personal opinions since the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, adopt Opinionism in addition to the requirements of the general situation of the Islamic State.
Everybody knows that the Muslims’ disagreements were not about whether the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah can be accepted as sources of the Islamic legislation or not; rather they disagreed about the point whether the words that were reported from Holy Prophet were actually said by him so that they would be included with the Sunnah or they were only fabricated for personal interests.
It seems that discrepancy in the reports from the Sahabah as regards the religious laws had a conception other than the claim of its having been a natural result of resting upon Ijtihad. This is because such discrepancy signifies disagreement about the intellectual trends that ruled at that time in addition to the fact that not every discrepancy can be justified as being personal Ijtihad.
Let us take the Basmalah (the phrase Bism-illahir-rahmanir-rahim: In the Name of Allah; the All-compassionate, the All-merciful) as an example: reference books of Hadith and biography of the Holy Prophet comprises a variety of opinions regarding this statement even
in the opinions of a definite Sahabiy.
In a narration, Anas ibn Malik is narrated as having recited the Basmalah, during the obligatory prayers, in audible voice; and in another narration he is narrated as having instructed not to recite it audibly since Abu-Bakr and `Umar, when he had followed them in congregational prayers, did not recite it audibly; and in a third narration he is narrated as having issued another ruling about this very issue.
Referring to the four discrepant opinions of Anas ibn Malik as regards the Basmalah, al-Fakhr al-Raziy says,
“Three reports from Anas support the opinion of the Hanafiyyah School and three others contradict it: First, it has been narrated from Anas that when Mu`awiyah neglected the Basmalah in a prayer, the Muhajirun and Ansar objected to him.
This narration proves that reciting the Basmalah in the obligatory prayers was such a ordinary thing that all the Sahabah knew and practiced. Second, Abu-Qulabah narrated on the authority of Anas that the Holy Prophet, Abu-Bakr, and `Umar recited the Basmalah during the prayers. Third, when he was asked whether it is obligatory to recite the Basmalah audibly or not, Anas answered that he did not know.
Hence, reports from Anas as regards this question have been immensely confusing and contradictory. It is thus imperative to investigate the other indications. There is also another accusation concerning the same question; it has been narrated that `Ali used to recite the Basmalah in audible voice during the prayers and he also emphasized
on it; yet when the Umayyad dynasty came to power, they emphasized on neglecting it so that they would cancel all the traditions of `Ali. Anas might have feared the Umayyad ruling authorities and therefore his verdicts became contradictory and confusing.
In my conception, whatever contradiction occurs between the verdicts of Anas and Ibn al-Mughaffah from one side and `Ali from the other, we will certainly accept `Ali’s verdict, which is more acceptable under all circumstances. This is in fact a decisive solution for the question.”(1)
The aforesaid discussion of al-Fakhr al-Raziy proves the intrusion of the ruling authorities in the religious laws. `Abdullah ibn `Abbas is also reported as saying,
“Have the people comprehended a verse that was not given to any Prophet other than our Holy Prophet and Prophet Solomon, son of David? This Verse is Bism-illahir-rahmanir-rahim (In the Name of Allah; the All-compassionate, the All-merciful).”(2)
It has been also narrated that Muhammad ibn Mansur said,
“I have heard Ja`far saying that people have neglected one of the grandest Names (of Almighty Allah). This is Bism-illahir-rahmanir-rahim.”(3)
Although many religious laws have been exposed to such discrepancy and contradiction, let us cite another example on the ruling regarding extending the arms during the prayers (instead of folding them).
Some narrators have reported that the Holy Prophet used to extend his hands during prayers and accordingly Malik ibn Anas decided this method as the Sunnah (the Holy Prophet’s actual deed)(4) while others reported the opposite.
A third group of narrators have reported that he put
one hand on the other without specifying the very place and a fourth group reported that he put his hands above the navel and so on. Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad was reported as saying,
“If I neglect the audible reciting in the prayers, some men of authority did neglect it, and if I do it, also some men of authority did do it.”(1)
This narration proves that the two trends were followed by two groups of grand Sahabah each of which was followed by people.
It is now obvious that the expansive reports of the Sahabah, especially in the questions were the Ahl al-Bayt’s opinions were opposed, establish the existence of two trends as regards the Islamic law:
The first trend included the Ahl al-Bayt and a few of the Sahabah who confirmed the Basmalah being a part of the Surahs and thus it is obligatory to recite it audibly in prayers. The second trend included others who opposed this ruling. The same thing is applicable to the question whether it is obligatory to extend one’s arms in prayers or to put them one on the other.
Hence, discrepancy among the Sahabah was deep-rooted and based upon adopted fundamentals. A group rested upon the authentic traditions of the Holy Prophet while another group depended upon the verdicts of grand Sahabah who decided their personal views, according to definite criteria, even if such would oppose the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds.
In other words, one who decided the impermissibility of adding ‘Amen’ to the Surah
of al-Fatihah had depended upon a fundamental of the Muslim jurisprudence while he who decided the Basmalah as being a part of the Surahs had also depended upon a fundamental in which he believed.
The same thing can be said about all the religious laws that were opposite to the words of the Ahl al-Bayt. From this cause, it can be confirmed that the discrepancies of the Sahabah were originated from their personal tendencies and trends that they had decided as fundamental pillars of the code of Islamic law; therefore, not all of them were pure Ijtihad, especially in the questions in which they have agreed with the Ahl al-Bayt that prove that some of the Sahabah observed certain fundamentals despite everything. It is thus quite inaccurate to claim that such narrations are doubtful because they were added by the miscreants to the Muslim jurisprudence as well as other unfounded claims.
As they inferred the religious rulings from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, the Sahabah wanted to attract people’s attention to the existence of some people who issued personal views in the questions about which there were sacred texts just because those people were not full acquainted with all the indications of such sacred texts. Hence, people should follow either those who rested upon their personal opinions or those who committed themselves to the sacred texts.
Let us have another look at the aforementioned narration about the ruling appertained to a lady who menstruates during circumambulating the Holy Ka`bah. According to `Umar’s verdict,
such a lady must postpone the Circumambulation until she would be pure and only then she would be permitted to perform the Circumambulation.(1)
It is yet well-known that Zayd ibn Thabit and `Abdullah ibn `Umar, having been influenced by `Umar’s verdict, also decided the same thing. However, both Zayd(2) and `Abdullah(3) changed their verdicts later on. It has been also narrated that `Umar himself retreated perhaps after he had been informed about `Ā’ishah’s famous report that when Safiyyah menstruated after she had performed the Ifadah (one of the rituals of the Hajj), the Holy Prophet permitted her to continue.(4)569
It has been also narrated that `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, answering the message of Zayd ibn Thabit in which he confessed of his inaccuracy in the question involved, said,
“I know better what the Holy Prophet said about (the rulings concerning) women. Yet, I desired to provide the proof on my claim from the Holy Qur'an that reads:
‘Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and (again) circumambulate the Ancient House. (Holy Qur’an: 22/29)’
Such a lady did complete the rites, perform the vows, and circumambulated the House. Nothing thus remained.”(5)
The previous words of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas demonstrate that the Holy Prophet’s decision was based upon the Holy Qur'an to which `Umar himself invited people by his famous saying, “Sufficient for us is the Book of Allah.” Hence, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, after Zayd ibn Thabit had informed him that `Umar contradicted the Holy Qur'an, wanted to bind `Umar with his own
Imam `Ali and `Abdullah ibn `Abbas presented the Holy Qur'an’s texts, conceptions, and indications as their evidences on the actual rulings of the Islamic law in face of the personal views of the other Sahabah. Such presentations occurred so repeatedly that they undoubtedly indicate the following points:
First, they intended to prove to the Muslims that the majority, if not all, of the religious rulings can be deduced from the Holy Qur'an though the matter requires a little investigation, ponderation, inference, and sound rationality. Hence, it is unnecessary to resort to innovated sources of deduction, such as analogy and its likes, establishment of new fundamentals, and thorough dependence on Ijtihad and personal opinions.
Second, because scandalous discrepancies and contradictions occurred in the reports of the Sahabah, and even in the reports of a single Sahabiy, in addition to the imperfect conveyances from the Holy Prophet that they, in many cases, did not receive directly from him—these matters and others would make it unfeasible to rest upon the Sunnah in the issuance of religious rulings. Besides, not all the reporters have understood the very signification of the Holy Prophet’s words.
If we add to the previous the ruling authorities’ having prohibited the reporting and recording of the Hadith and the Sahabah’s having been afraid of breaking this decision, we conclude that thorough resting upon the Sunnah would be unconvincing except in a few cases when reports support each other in a definite matter. Hence, reference to the Holy Qur'an would be inevitable taking
into consideration the fact that an inference from the Holy Qur'an cannot be denied or refuted.
Third, Imam `Ali and `Abdullah ibn `Abbas aimed at binding those who claimed the sufficiency of the Holy Qur'an in solving all the problems with their claim. Such binding would show clearly the inconsistency between those Sahabah’s claim and their theoretical and practical failure in the deduction of rulings from the Holy Qur'an.
On the other hand, the Sahabah who complied with the sacred texts comprehensively and who believed in the necessity of joining the Holy Sunnah to the Holy Qur'an were proven as the most experienced in deducing the religious rulings from these two sources.
To sum it up, the Islamic jurisprudence has unfortunately been influenced by the personal opinions of `Umar and thus the religious rulings have been affected by the discrepant and contradictory opinions of the Sahabah. This is because `Umar exerted all efforts in binding people with his decisions making them as sacred as the Holy Sunnah.
Similarly, some of the Sahabah pursued him in this regard causing discrepancy to the Islamic law. For instance, Abu-Hanifah, his two disciples, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Zufar, and Ibn Abi-Layla—all these master scholars of Sunnite jurisprudence have decided that full brothers must be deprived of the heritage of their sister who had a husband, a mother, and two half (maternal) brothers in addition to these two full brothers as has been decided by `Umar in an earlier issue. Malik and al-Shafi`iy, however, have decided shares to
those full brothers as has been decided by `Umar on another occasion.
Yet, the most astonishing matter in this respect is that those master scholars have decided the accuracy of `Umar’s both decisions although the question was the same! Moreover, they have decided that `Umar was not inerrant; that he might have committed mistakes! To support their claims, each has searched for other ‘evidences’.
As a consequence, none should ever blame one who wonders whether Almighty Allah has decided the earlier or the later opinions of `Umar in this very issue! If the earlier decision was the correct, why did `Umar give the two full brothers shares of the heritage on the second occasion despite the fact that he knew that heritage is a financial right; and if such a right is violated, one will be responsible for the shortage in the shares of the others? Correspondingly, if those two full brothers should have enjoyed certain shares from their sister’s legacy, why did `Umar deprive them of their shares in the earlier case?
Because of their intense emphasis on following the manners of Abu-Bakr and `Umar, the Holy Sunnah has been overlooked in such cases and none has recognized it save its real people. Unfortunately, such Ijtihad that violated the sacred texts found a large area in the field of the Muslim jurisprudence and thus became the ruler. Hence, in that age, the fabricated reports that claimed the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith were the prevalent.
In plain words, the manners of
Abu-Bakr and `Umar became the dominant over the code of the Islamic law; and the Sahabah’s questions that were directed to the caliphs became a common feature of their relationship with the ruling authorities.
It has been narrated that when Sa`id ibn Sufyan asked him about a religious question, `Uthman ibn `Affan interrogated him whether he had asked anyone else about the same question. When Sa`id answered negatively, `Uthman said: “Well, I will certainly behead him whom you ask about the very question and give you an answer dissimilar to mine!”(1) Commentary on this incident is left for the gentle readers.
The fans of `Umar undertook the mission of conveying `Umar’s justifications for his decision of the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith as extensively as they could. Thus, `Umar’s justifications could not be distinguished from the justifications of the other Sahabah who followed him. This manifestly demonstrates an undeniable political fact that was invented by `Umar and his fans.
`Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered people to neglect the Holy Sunnah because he feared that it would be confused with the Holy Qur'an or that people would adhere to the Sunnah and disregard the Qur'an. Abu-Hurayrah also repeated the same justifications on more than one occasion. According to al-Mahkiy, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy, and Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy, too, repeated the same justifications. It has been narrated on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam on the authority of his fathers on the authority of `Ata' ibn Yasar that Abu-Hurayrah reported,
day, the Messenger of Allah came to us while we were recording the Hadith. He asked, “What are writing down?”
“These are Hadiths that we have heard from you,” answered we.
“Do you want to depend upon a book other than the Book of Allah (the Holy Qur'an)?” reproached the Messenger of Allah. “The nations who came before you were misled only when they recorded books besides the Book of Allah.”
Then I (Abu-Hurayrah) asked him, “O Allah’s Messenger: May we report your words?”
“Yes, you may,” answered the Messenger of Allah. “Anyone who forges lies against me deliberately must find himself a place in Hellfire.”(1)572
It has been also narrated from Ibrahim al-Tamimiy that when `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud was informed about the existence of a book that they had with them, he came to them and insisted on seeing that book. They finally brought it to him. He then erased it and said,
“The peoples of the Divine Books who existed before you perished only because they attended to their scholars’ books and neglected the Book of Allah.”(2)
According to another narration, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud said,
“The past nations attended to the books of their scholars and monks and neglected the Torah and Gospel so casually that they and the knowledge therein were lost.”(3)574
Abu-Nadrah narrated that when Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy was asked to dictate the Hadith, he said,
“We must not dictate for you! You must take it from us in the same way as we took from our Prophet.”(4)
According to their narrations, Abu-Sa`id said,
“Do you intend to betake
such books as Qur'an? When your Prophet was talking to us, we memorized.”(1)
Abu-Nadrah also narrated that he once said to Abu-Sa`id al-Khidriy, “You are reporting to us from the Holy Prophet astounding things and we fear lest we will not memorize them as exactly as they are.”
Abu-Sa`id answered, “So, you want to make it as Qur'an! No, you must receive from us in the same way as we have received from the Messenger of Allah.’(2)
It has been also narrated that Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy said,
“When they wrote down a book with their own hands, the Israelites followed that book and neglected the Torah.”(3)
All these texts have a common justification, which is that the Israelites followed their scholars’ books and neglected the Torah. The same justification was presented by `Umar. Moreover, the same justification has been ascribed to Imam `Ali and `Abdullah ibn `Abbas. Again, all these prove that there has been a trend confirming and supporting `Umar’s opinion although we have previously discussed in details the inaccuracy of `Umar’s justifications for his decision.
As a conclusion, such contradiction between the Hadiths that confirmed the Holy Prophet’s permission to write down his traditions and the Hadith that confirmed his warning against so is meaningless unless a comparison will be made between the two.(4)
Yet, the comparison involved has acted as supporter for my own conception about the issue because the claim that the recordation of the Hadith was permitted only for the acquainted Sahabah while the ordinary people were not permitted to record—this claim
is contrary to the deeds of `Umar with the grand Sahabah as regards this issue when he ordered them, without exception, to bring to him all their records of the Hadith and none has ever narrated that he accepted a single record.
Likewise, it has been argued that the prohibition of recording the Hadith was issued in the first Islamic age when the Qur'an was still revealed and thus the purpose behind such prohibition is to evade any confusion that would occur between the Holy Qur'an and the Hadith.
Yet, when the Holy Qur'an was completed and fully recognized by the Sahabah, only then were they permitted to write down the Hadith. This argument proves that the Holy Prophet, in the last of his holy lifetime, permitted the recordation of the Hadith and such permission was thus active.
Again, this proves my discussion that the decision of the prohibition was based upon a personal view of `Umar himself, not a religious ground. Even if we accept the contention that the Holy Prophet ordered not to write down his words and to erase anything that they had recorded as regards his traditions,(1) the Sahabah would have certainly known these orders and applied it; and these orders should have been the main justification adopted by Abu-Bakr and `Umar for the issuance of their decision of prohibiting the recordation of the Hadith. The clear-cut conclusion that can be inferred here is that the Holy Prophet never warnws against recording the Hadith.
If we suppose that the
Holy Prophet did prohibit recording the Hadith, then why did Abu-Bakr record these five hundred Hadiths and thus break the Holy Prophet’s order? Why did `Umar consult the Sahabah about this issue?
Moreover, why did he pass over their advice of permitting the recordation of the Hadith? Finally, how come that they advised him to permit the recordation of the Hadith while they had heard the Holy Prophet prohibiting it?
In addition, `Umar’s orders of erasing all records of Hadith and bringing to him all such records prove the existence of many records and books that had been written down before his reign.
Besides, their justification cannot support their claim; this is because the past nations went astray after they had tended to the books of their monks and rabbis and neglected the Torah and the Gospel but they did not tend to the records of their Prophets.
The difference between the words of the monks and rabbis from one side and the Holy Prophet’s words from the other is too large to be ever compared. The Muslims recorded the words, deeds, and confirmations of the Holy Prophet and nothing else, while the past nations went astray when they distorted the words of their Prophets and the concepts of the Divine Books.
On the contrary, the scholars of the Muslim nation maintained the religion and explained the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet’s traditions and laws.
Such a justification can be acceptable only when such records comprised personal opinions and inferences. The prohibition of
recording such items would be reasonably satisfactory since personal opinions are exposed to errancy and inaccuracy and books of such opinions could be authored by nonbelievers or deviants who might cause confusion in the religious rulings for the coming generation. Conversely, the prohibition from recording the traditions of the Holy Prophet can never be justified through such ill excuses.
Some of those who regarded the prohibition of recording personal opinions of the scholars as same as the prohibition of recording the Holy Sunnah might have accepted `Umar’s decision from this angle after they had not understood the big difference between the scholars’ personal judgments and the Holy Prophet’s traditions. In consequence, such prohibition was accepted by the next generations until it was canceled during the reign of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz, the Umayyad ruler.
In any event, all proofs confirm that the recordation of the Hadith was permitted during the Holy Prophet’s age and the prohibition was invented afterwards under certain circumstances. It has been also confirmed that some of the Sahabah attempted to consolidate `Umar’s prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith in the Muslims’ mentalities for nothing other than `Umar’s disliking it.
Yet, when `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz canceled the prohibition and decided the recordation of the Hadith as commendable matter, those individuals changed their minds and liked the matter. Al-Zuhriy says,
“We disliked the recordation of the knowledge until we were forced by those rulers. We thus decided not to prevent any of the Muslims from it.”(1)
According to another narration,
“… until the ruler compelled us to do it.”(1)
According to a third narration, he said,
“The kings ordered me to write down these items of knowledge; I therefore wrote them down. Then I saw it is shameful to write down for the kings and deprive the people of these items. So, I decided to write them down for the people.”(2)
Abu-Malih was reported as saying,
“We despaired of writing down any item of knowledge from al-Zuhriy. But when Husham, the Umayyad ruler, compelled him to write down for his sons and al-Zuhriy did, people could record.”(3)
In my book entitled Wudu’ al-Nabiy (The Ablution of the Prophet) the Introduction, I have set forth in details the influence of the rulers on the recordation of the Holy Sunnah and the secrets behind their showing interest in this respect.
I also established that the scientific shortage from which they suffered pushed them to prohibit the recordation of the Hadith and then for the same reason to make it public since the Sahabah used to object to them through Hadiths; they therefore had to lock this door in order to fill this gap and not to expose their educational weakness in face of a strong trend that refuted the ruling authorities’ decisions through traditions of the Holy Prophet.
The matter then expanded so largely that the trend of Ijtihad invented the law of considering consensus as source of the Islamic legislation so that they will bind the publics with the decisions of the caliph that would naturally
take the quality of the ummah’s consensus.
They thus decided that the verdicts of the Private Committee that was founded by `Umar would replace all the Sahabah and would be considered as consensus that nobody is allowed to transgress or breach.
About the age of the Sahabah, al-Wafi al-Mahdiy says,
“In this age, consensus, which is a new source of the Islamic Legislation since it was not present in the first age of Islam, has emerged. When he could not find a solution neither in the Holy Qur'an nor in the Sunnah, Abu-Bakr would refer the matter to a legislative body. `Umar did the same thing, too. Any decision that was made by that legislative body would be regarded as issued by all of them…”(1)
In practice, `Umar formed a committee for administrating the affairs of the Muslims and meeting their legislative requirements and appointed some individuals whom he had trusted as issuers of verdicts so that he would be able to administrate other affairs. It has been narrated on the authority of `Ali ibn Rabah al-Lakhmiy that `Umar delivered to the people the following address,
“One who has a question about the Qur'an must refer to Ubayy ibn Ka`b. one who has a question about what is lawful and what is not must refer to Mu`adh ibn Jabal. One who has a question about the legal shares of inheritances must refer to Zayd ibn Thabit. One who has a financial question must refer to me, for I am the treasurer.”(2)
This text corroborates that
`Umar needed to establish a foundation for protecting himself from danger and for rooting his personal inventions, such as Ra’y (Opinionism) and Istihsan (Equitable Preference).
It is worth mentioning that it was not `Umar who betook personal opinions as a course for the issuance of religious verdicts; rather Abu-Bakr preceded him in this respect when he neglected carrying out the Holy Prophet’s order to kill that pious man who was offering prayers and also when he declared openly the principle of adoption of personal views and Ijtihad in his first speech to people when he said,
“I have been chosen for your leadership while I am not the best of you. Hence, if I am right, you should then help me; and if I am wrong, you thus lead me to the right.”(1)
In addition, Abu-Bakr said about Khalid ibn al-Walid who had killed a Muslim individual deliberately and married his widow on the same night,
“As Khalid tried to infer the ruling (i.e. use Ta’wil: interpretation), he missed the right.”(2)
This very statement was used by Khalid himself when he wanted to find an excuse for his deed.(3)
The aforesaid texts substantiate the fact that the terms of Ra’y (opinion) and Ta’wil (interpretation) occupied a large area in the words and deeds of the Sahabah; therefore, Imam `Ali, during the age of his caliphate, tried to treat and fill this gap after it had been opened largely against the Islamic jurisprudence, history, and religion. He thus went on explicating the reasons for such
inventions, classifying the peoples who disagree about the religious rulings, and proving the falseness of their course and arguments. Let us now exhibit some of such texts: In disparagement of the differences of view among the theologians, Imam `Ali says,
“When a problem is put before anyone of them he passes judgment on it from his imagination. When exactly the same problem is placed before another of them he passes an opposite verdict. Then these judges go to the chief who had appointed them and he confirms all the verdicts, although their Allah is One (and the same), their Prophet is one (and the same), their Book (the Qur'an) is one (and the same).
Is it that Allah ordered them to differ and they obeyed Him? Or He prohibited them from it but they disobeyed Him? Or (is it that) Allah sent an incomplete Faith and sought their help to complete it? Or they are His partners in the affairs, so that it is their share of duty to pronounce and He has to agree? Or is it that Allah the Glorified sent a perfect faith but the Prophet fell short of conveying it and handing it over (to the people)? The fact is that Allah the Glorified says:
‘…We have not neglected anything in the Book (Qur'an)… (Holy Qur’an: 6:38)’
And says that one part of the Qur’an verifies another part and that there is no divergence in it as He says:
‘…And if it had been from any other than Allah, they would
surely have found in it much discrepancy. (Holy Qur’an: 4:82)’
Certainly the outside of the Qur’an is wonderful and its inside is deep (in meaning). Its wonders will never disappear, its amazements will never pass away and its intricacies cannot be cleared except through itself.”(1)
About those who sit for dispensation of justice among People but are not fit for it, Imam `Ali says,
“Among all the people the most detested before Allah are two persons. One is he who is devoted to his self. So he is deviated from the true path and loves speaking about (foul) innovations and inviting towards wrong path. He is therefore a nuisance for those who are enamored of him, is himself misled from the guidance of those preceding him, misleads those who follow him in his life or after his death, carries the weight of others’ sins and is entangled in his own misdeeds. The other man is he who has picked up ignorance. He moves among the ignorant, is senseless in the thick of mischief and is blind to the advantages of peace.
Those resembling like men have named him scholar but he is not so. He goes out early morning to collect things whose deficiency is better than plenty, till when he has quenched his thirst from polluted water and acquired meaningless things.
He sits among the people as a judge responsible for solving whatever is confusing to the others. If an ambiguous problem is presented before him he manages shabby argument about it of
his own accord and passes judgement on its basis.
In this way he is entangled in the confusion of doubts as in the spider’s web, not knowing whether he was right or wrong. If he is right he fears lest he erred, while if he is wrong he hopes he is right. He is ignorant, wandering astray in ignorance and riding on carriages aimlessly moving in darkness. He did not try to find reality of knowledge. He scatters the traditions as the wind scatters the dry leaves.
By Allah, he is not capable of solving the problems that come to him nor is fit for the position assigned to him. Whatever he does not know he does not regard it worth knowing. He does not realize that what is beyond his reach is within the reach of others. If anything is not clear to him he keeps quiet over it because he knows his own ignorance.
Lost lives are crying against his unjust verdicts, and properties (that have been wrongly disposed of) are grumbling against him. I complain to Allah about persons who live ignorant and die misguided.
For them nothing is more worthless than Qur’an if it is recited as it should be recited, nor anything more valuable than the Qur’an if its verses are removed from their places, nor anything more vicious than virtue nor more virtuous than vice.”(1)
About the admixture of right and wrong, he further says,
“The bases of the occurrence of evils are those desires which are
acted upon and the orders that are innovated. They are against the Book of Allah. People co-operate with each other about them even though it is against the Religion of Allah. If wrong had been pure and unmixed it would not be hidden from those who are in search of it. And if right had been pure without admixture of wrong those who bear hatred towards it would have been silenced.
What is, however, done is that something is taken from here and something from there and the two are mixed! At this stage Satan overpowers his friends and they alone escape for whom virtue has been apportioned by Allah from before.”(1)
Ra’y and Ta’wil were the first terms to enter the Islamic legislation. Yet a confusion has occurred between the two; by Ra’y, they have meant interpretation, and by both Ra’y and Ta’wil, they have meant Ijtihad. As for the other terms, such as Qiyas (analogy), Istihsan (Equitable Preference) and Maslahah (advantage), they have been modern terms that were rarely used in some texts.
Although their roots were practically existent in that age, these terms were not used as expansively as they are now. The matter attained climax when the Tabi'un (followers of the Sahabah) interpreted Ta’wil into alteration so largely that this signification became common in the Muslim community. For instance, they asked Imam al-Husayn to rest upon Ta’wil and stop his blessed march towards martyrdom. It has been narrated that `Umar ibn `Ali came to Imam al-Husayn and
suggested, “You may rest upon Ta’wil and thus you can swear allegiance to Yazid!”(1)
Hence, the term of Ijtihad is equivalent to that of Ta’wil whose signification was increasingly distorted until it reached its climax during the ages of the Umayyad and `Abbasid dynasties.
Even `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf, who at the Shura (consultative) Committee tried to bind `Uthman and the Muslims with the adoption of the manners of Abu-Bakr and `Umar only, could not stop against the torrential trend of Ra’y and Ta'wil that continued expansion after it had been rooted by Abu-Bakr and `Umar.
Similarly, `Abd al-Rahman’s attempt to restrict the Ijtihad to the deeds of Abu-Bakr and `Umar and ban the other Sahabah from practicing it failed, too. This is because the door of Ra’y and Ta'wil was wide open and thus it was unfeasible to close it causing each and every individual to demand with having his personal views accepted in the same way as the personal views of Abu-Bakr and `Umar were accepted.
It seems suitable in this respect to refer to the fact that `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf, by specifying the adherence to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah and to the conducts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar as stipulation of holding the position of the leadership of the Islamic State, aimed at depriving `Uthman ibn `Affan of the right of legislation and the resting upon his personal views although `Uthman was seen as one of the foremost Muslims, the Holy Prophet’s son-in-law, and the coming caliph (leader of the
However, the most important issue in this regard is that the political and religious plan that was constituted by Abu-Bakr and `Umar in support of restricting the legislative circle to them in particular and depriving anyone else of issuing any decision concerning to this—this plan was aimed at making the sayings of Abu-Bakr and `Umar as sacred as the Holy Sunnah although the reality rejected this restriction totally causing their plan to take a path other than what they had expected.
Imam `Ali was one of those who realized the objective of the political plot of Abu-Bakr, ``Umar, and `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf and knew exactly what those individuals meant by emphasizing on the resting upon opinions, which was essentially aimed at deciding the personal views of Abu-Bakr and `Umar as true and valid.
From this cause, Imam `Ali rejected the stipulation of `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf during the Shura Committee since such stipulation stood for validating the innovated concept of resting upon personal opinions in the affairs of the religious rulings and also stood for the recognition of Abu-Bakr and `Umar’s decisions some of which were in violation of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
As Imam `Ali rejected this stipulation and accordingly `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf rejected him as the coming caliph, Imam `Ali confirmed that he was rejecting the conducts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar in general and their resting upon their personal opinions in the issuance of religious rulings in particular. This is because Imam `Ali, undoubtedly, understood and
had full knowledge of the Islamic legislation in such an unmatched form that the Holy Prophet was reported as saying,
“`Ali is the most knowledgeable.”
“`Ali is the most acquainted with the religious rulings.”
“`Ali is the most conversant with the judicial questions of the Muslim jurisprudence.”(1)
“The right is following `Ali wherever he would go.”(2)
In addition, the events of the so-called Shura Committee demonstrate clearly the features of the two trends; the trend of the Opinionists specified the acceptance of and the adherence to their trend as stipulation of holding the caliphate while the trend of thorough compliance with the sacred texts, represented by Imam `Ali and his faithful adherents, rejected this stipulation and called for thorough observance of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah even if this situation would cause them to lose the practical leadership of the Muslim community.
Abu-Bakr, the caliph, declared openly that he rested upon Ra’y and Ta'wil when he was asked about the meaning of Kalalah although the Holy Qur'an has comprised a clear-cut text in this respect. Abu-Bakr said,
“I will say my own opinion in this question. If it is true, this will be the guidance of Allah; but if it is not, this will be my fault as well as the whisper of Satan. Yet, Allah and His Messenger are released from my misinterpretation. The Kalalah, in my conception, is anything other than the father and the son.”(3)
It is obvious that this opinion is awfully contradictory to the text of the Holy Qur'an that reads,
“They ask thee
for a legal decision. Say: Allah directs (thus) about the Kalalah (those who leave no descendants or ascendants as heirs). If it is a man that dies, leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance: If (such a deceased was) a woman, who left no child, Her brother takes her inheritance: If there are two sisters, they shall have two-thirds of the inheritance (between them): if there are brothers and sisters, (they share), the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah make clear to you (His law), lest ye err. And Allah hath knowledge of all things.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/176)
“If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to any one). Thus is it ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-knowing, Most Forbearing.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/12)
It is worth mentioning that some scholars who defended the opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar have argued that when the Sahabah used the word Ra’y (opinion), they proposed the interpretation of the sacred texts. In this respect, Dr. Madkur, referring to the stages of the resting upon opinions in the Islamic history, says,
“The word ‘Ra’y’ was then used for the texts that were exclusively defined by the word `Ilm (knowledge). We also
can find some of the experts in the Fundamentals of the Muslim Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh) interpreting Ra’y as specifically analogy while others have made it a comprehensive term that stands for the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah and consensus. As much as this very concept is concerned, Ra’y is more specific than Ijtihad, which is a kind of it. As has been previously cited, scholars have called this kind as Ijtihad bil-Ra’y (Exerting efforts through resting upon opinion), which is corresponding to the exerting of efforts (Ijtihad) in the circle of the interpretation of the sacred texts.
Hence, Ra’y can be defined as prudence and thinking through one of the means to which the Legislation (Shari`ah) has directed in the field of the inference of a ruling about which there is no sacred text. Ijtihad also includes the inference of a ruling from presumptive texts as well as the aforesaid Ijtihad bil-Ra’y (Exerting efforts through resting upon opinion).
Since Ra’y relies upon the rule that all the rulings of the Islamic legislation are reasonable, it has been commonly used in the field of the ordinary affairs that are aimed at the achievement of worldly interests; therefore, the rulings whose significances cannot be realized, such as the obligatory acts of worship, must be purely followed, not exposed to Ra’y.”(1)
Dr. al-Rudayniy says,
`Umar ibn al-Khattab, the lofty Sahabiy and the leader of the Opinionists, restricted the general meaning of the verse that reads:
“And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire, a
fifth share is assigned to Allah, and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer, if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing—the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things.” (Holy Qur’an: 8/41).
This holy verse decided that one-fifth of the booty must be given to the categories mentioned therein, and the Holy Prophet himself followed this division when he distributed the booty of the Battle of Khaybar, and thus was the distribution of the booty on every occasion.
In the face of all these facts, `Umar ibn al-Khattab used his own opinion and violated the general and explicit meaning of the holy verse that decides the right of the looters in all the movables and the immovables when he restricted its significance and decided to give to the looters only the movable booty and deprive them of the immovable.
In such restriction, `Umar depended upon the public interest that can be inferred from his arguments with the other Sahabah who rejected this restriction. Moreover, `Umar made all those who rejected to his opinions to understand all the texts of the Islamic legislation in the light of the public interest and nothing else. Hence, the one and only evidence that `Umar betook in the restriction of the significance of the holy verse was the public interest or the so-called ‘spirit of the legislation’ since
it has not been proven that `Umar rested upon a specific matter in this question.
As a matter of fact, the circumstances of the meaning and the public interest were taken into consideration in the application of the sacred texts. Yet, circumstances played a substantial role in the adaptation of the application that emanated from the understanding of the holy verse and in the restriction of the very purpose of the Holy Legislator under those very circumstances for a simple reason, which is that the outcome of this application under these circumstances influence greatly on the public interest itself.
From this cause, it was imperative to identify the Legislator’s very purpose of the text of the holy verse that can be extracted from its linguistic conception as well as the requisites of the general fundamentals of the legislation.
Only then can we understand `Umar’s insistence on a definite purport and saying, “This is my opinion.” `Umar then justified his personal opinion that he had relied upon an essential purpose, which is the public interest. In this respect, he said, “I see that I should detain the non-Arab disbelievers in their lands which I also decided to expose to taxes and that they should defray the jizyah (tributes) to the Muslims who fought and their descendants.”
Ta'wil, in the conception of the Sahabah, is then the core of Ra’y so long as `Umar relied upon the public interest in restricting the general conception of the holy verse. From the very form, it was concluded
that the holy verse’s ruling should be restricted to a part of its general meaning, which is namely the movable, not the immovable, booty.(1)
It is now clear that to rest upon personal opinions that was adopted by the caliphs had been exposed to definite circumstances, be it political or social, and that the situation of Abu-Bakr in the issue of exempting Khalid ibn al-Walid from the doctrinal provision; and in the issue of the Kalalah; and in the issue of the confiscation of the “Near Relatives (Dhawi’l-Qurba)” share and the gift of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra’; and in the issue of prohibiting the recordation of the Holy Prophet’s traditions; and in the issue of setting the records of the Hadith to fire; and in the issue of breaking the Holy Prophet’s order of joining the phalanx of Usamah ibn Zayd; and in many other issues when he violated the sacred texts—all these issues prove that definite circumstances forced Abu-Bakr and `Umar to take such situations and rest upon their personal opinions in the issuance of religious rulings!
On this ground, a researcher must investigate thoroughly the texts that support the opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar; if such texts correspond to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, it will be acceptable to adopt them; but if they are based upon their personal opinions, they must be rejected because it is impermissible to depend upon personal opinions when it is possible to refer to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
Besides, there are numerous matter
that should be studied carefully from all angles, such as the claim that the Holy Prophet warned against recording his traditions and the claim that he said that a mujtahid would be rewarded doubly when he hits the target and would be rewarded one fold when he misses the target as well as the other narrations that convey the legality of Ijtihad, such as those reported by Mu`adh and others.
It has been previously proven that most, if not all, of these matters were issued by the ruling authorities’ formal decisions. Likewise, the decision of the prohibition of reporting and recording the Hadith was issued by the ruling authorities since it has been proven that the Holy Prophet permitted to record his Hadith and thus some of the Sahabah kept some records of it.
Besides, many other evidences prove this fact; therefore, it is unnecessary to investigate the fabricated texts that claim the Holy Prophet’s prohibition of recording his traditions.
Due to the aforesaid conclusion, the Hadiths that validate the Ijtihad must be studied carefully in order to prove whether they were actually said by the Holy Prophet or not; whether all the interpretations that have been depended in the Muslim jurisprudence were true or not; whether the Hadith that reads: “My nation’s disagreement is mercy for them”(1) is authentic or not; or whether its interpretation in the very common sense is true or not although it is contrary to many other Hadiths that read:
“Do not disagree with each other lest you
all will be perishing just like the nations that preceded you; they perished because they were engaged in discrepancies.”(1)
“My nation shall be separated into more than seventy parties one of which only will be saved while the others will be in Hellfire.”(2)
The disagreement among Muslim sects has reached a serious stage although their Book is one and their Prophet is the same. What is then the reason beyond such disagreement due to which a group of Muslims are extending their hands during the prayers while another group are hanging them to their bellies or chests; and a group of them are opening their legs wide while another group are lining them together; and a group of them are reciting the Basmalah audibly while another group are reciting it with low voice; and a group of them deem obligatory to say ‘Amen’ after the recitation of the Surah of al-Fatihah while another group are deeming this forbidden and so on? The most surprising matter is this issue is that all the groups are ascribing their deeds, in spite of their contrast, to the Holy Prophet!
We should then wonder whether the Holy Prophet adopted a certain act only or he did all these acts on different occasions! If he adopted a certain act, what is the origin of the other acts that caused such undeniable and irrefutable disagreements?
Why have two contradictory trends emerged concerning the Islamic legislation; one trend called for the plurality of opinions and the other called for unity?
If the Holy Legislator allowed plurality in the religious rulings, why did the Holy Prophet inform that only one group among the seventy-two or three Islamic sects would be saved while the others would be in Hellfire?
And if unity was ordered by the Holy Legislator, why have the scholars adopted and argued the validity of plurality? Is it rationally acceptable to claim that the disagreement of a nation is a kind of mercy for it? If so, why has Almighty Allah emphasized on the unity among Muslims? Has He, the Almighty, ordered us to be united or to be separated? Again, if He has allowed us to disagree and separate, what will be the meaning of His sayings in the Holy Qur'an,
“Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/82)
“Verily, this is My way, leading straight! Follow it; follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from His (great) path: thus doth He command you. that ye may be righteous.” (Holy Qur’an: 6/153)
In order to answer all these questions, let us cite the following dialogue that took place between `Umar ibn al-Khattab and `Abdullah ibn `Abbas:
Al-Muttaqiy al-Hindiy, in Kanz al-`Ummal, has narrated the following on the authority of Ibrahim al-Tamimiy:
One day, `Umar ibn al-Khattab was alone thinking about a question. He therefore summoned `Abdullah ibn `Abbas and asked, “How come that this nation disagree with each other while their Book (namely,
the Holy Qur'an) is one, the Prophet is the same, and their kiblah is also the same?”
Answering him, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas said, “When the Qur'an was revealed for us, we have read it and known what for it was revealed. Yet, the coming generation will read it but they will not know what for it was revealed. Hence, each group will rest upon their own opinion. When each group will have their own opinion, they will disagree with each other; and when they disagree with each other, they will fight each other.”
On hearing this, `Umar reproached `Abdullah ibn `Abbas who then left.
Afterwards, `Umar realized the meaning of `Abdullah’s words; he therefore summoned him again and asked him to repeat his words.(1)
This narration and its likes can form a basis for investigating many of the inherited texts and concepts, especially those related to the text appertained to the disagreement among the Muslims. This matter will positively open the door of thorough investigation of the mystification of such texts before the objective researchers and, as a result, it will be unacceptable to adopt such confused texts before studying them carefully.
As a matter of fact, the thorough study of the confusables of the Muslim legislation, the time of the issuance of a text, the recognition of the backgrounds of a question, the caliphs’ adoption of a question—the study of all these matters improve our capability to distinguish the right from the wrong and to discover historical facts that are helpful for the
Muslims in the adoption of legislative situations in the matter. Finally, such studies will make us follow the trend of the thorough compliance with the Holy Prophet’s instruction,
“May Allah have mercy upon him who understands my saying after listening to it and then conveys it to him who has not heard it.”
However, the trend of Ijtihad has adopted another opinion, which has been reported from `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz who says,
“I like the disagreement of the Sahabah, for if they had rested upon one decision only, there would have been constraint in the question.”(1)
Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad is reported to have said a similar saying.
Even a simple look at this saying proves its inclination towards meekness that causes underestimation of the religion since it goes without saying that Almighty Allah has not aimed at creating contradiction or opposition.
Even if we accept `Umar ibn `Abd al-Aziz’s opinion, Almighty Allah would have decided all the laws as optional and instructed us to adopt the easiest for us and to throw away the difficult. Moreover, it is unacceptable to consider the law of Almighty Allah as restriction! It is therefore imperative to search for the only law in the Muslim jurisprudence. In this respect, al-Shatibiy says,
“It is essential to refer to one opinion only in the investigation of the secondary laws of the Islamic legislation no matter how big is the discrepancy. In the same way, in the fundamentals of the Islamic legislation one law only must be adopted. In other words, the
Islamic legislation does not comprise any contradiction or contrary laws at all since all of its evidences are in origin free from contradiction despite the existence of discrepancy.”(1)
By investigating the traditions that guide us to the necessity of testing the Sunnah through the Holy Qur'an and the necessity of following definite regulations for distinguishing the authentic Hadith from the fabricated and by the observation of the many narrations that confirm the obligation of making careful investigation about the reporter of a Hadith, we will find out that all these narrations and criteria on which all the Muslims agree unanimously support the fact that the laws of the Islamic legislation must be one and refute the arguments of the Ijtihad bi’l-Ra’y, the plurality of the laws, and the validity of discrepancy.(2)
As a matter of fact, the opinion of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz is no more than a step in the path of originating the Opinionism and inventing excuses for the rulers who depended upon their personal views and practiced Ijtihad.
It is thus inescapable to admit the necessity of studying the texts that were issued in the first age of Islam and not to neglect such studies for no reason other than that `Ā’ishah adopted this opinion or that `Umar, the Muslims’ caliph, adopted that one or that al-Bukhariy and Muslim accepted that one because its reporter is Abu-Hurayrah and the like!
A Muslim individual must be so enthusiastic and adhering to his religion that he must embrace Islam in such a
sound and strong way that is free from feebleness or suspect. In this regard, Almighty Allah says,
“Take hold of that which We have given you with firmness.”
The required qualities of piety, honesty, fairness, and holding fast to the facts provoke us, the Muslims, not to show indifference in the investigation of the pure sources from which we must receive our religious duties and to neglect considering the inherited issues unquestionable facts.
Our criterion in this respect must be the Holy Qur'an that tells between the right and the wrong and the genuine and the fake and distinguishes what is an actual religious meaning from the irreligious indications that were inserted into the religion due to certain historical circumstances.
Yet, this mission requires religious courage and audacity that must be aimed at nothing other than exploring the genuine indications that are as pure as the right so as to save from the wrath of Almighty Allah.
In this regard, it seems important to invite the attentions to the matter that some people have surrounded the men of the first generations of Islam with haloes of sacredness and committed themselves to the impermissibility of discussing their words and deeds since, as has been claimed, those men passed away bearing their deeds with them and it is thus improper for us to engage ourselves in their affairs.
This claim can be true when those men were such ordinary persons who had nothing to do with the religious issues; yet the truth is the opposite. Most
of the religious issues were referred to those men who played big roles in the issuance of the religious laws.
It is thus very important to investigate their texts, conducts, and manners since they are connected to our religious affairs as well as our practical lives. Of course, in the study of the words and deeds of these men, we must rely upon the constant fundamentals of such studies, such as the Holy Qur'an, Sunnah, and reason.
From this cause, the Ahl al-Bayt, through many narrations that have been reported from them, have emphasized on making the Holy Qur'an as the criterion to which all the questions of discrepancy must be referred and have invited all the Muslims to release themselves from the complex of the fear from exposing everything to the Holy Qur'an for its being the prevalent distinguisher between the right and the wrong and thus everything that may oppose it or is not concordant with it must be thrown away.
In the course of teaching the Muslims and supplying them with the true religious responsiveness, the Ahl al-Bayt have declared openly that every matter that contradicts the Holy Qur'an is absolutely false and fabricated.
This invitation, however, is not opposite to the telling that Abu-Bakr and `Umar abstained from many worldly pleasures and contributed greatly in the expansion of the area of Islam and the promulgation for it throughout the globe, since these matters cannot be denied.
Yet, it must be understood that abstinence from worldly pleasures and leading
campaigns and conquests are matters quite different from the issues of the divine law as well as its characteristics and the purity of its sources.
This fact is clearly understood by every individual who possesses an accurate mentality and capacity of discrimination between the fundamentals and the secondary issues and comprehension of the historical and social circumstances that have been intruded in the core of the religious affairs.
As a matter of fact, the prohibition of reporting the traditions of the Holy Prophet—although the Sahabah insisted on the necessity of recording the Hadith, as has been confirmed in the aforesaid report of `Urwah ibn al-Zubayr,(1) but `Umar, who himself established the foundations of the Shura (consult) Committee in the matter of the next leadership, brushed their opinions aside—is an extremely serious matter that corroborates the fact that the recordation of the Hadith was a cultural and intellectual issue that was firmly linked up with the political affairs to such a great extent that `Umar could not neglect.
It is thus conclusible that the issue of prohibiting the reporting and recordation of the Holy Sunnah was not a pure cultural issue that `Umar excused his having feared for the Holy Qur'an to be mixed with the Holy Prophet’s traditions or that the Muslims would be influenced by the past nations; rather the question was related to the scientific capacity of `Umar who did not enjoy a sufficient, shrewd view about the religious rulings and was not qualifiedly acquainted with the statements of the
However, Abu-Bakr and `Umar might have had capacities and sophistication in the military and political affairs; and it is known for the experts that one who enjoys a political sophistication can contain the authority of knowledge, not the opposite.
This fact makes it obligatory upon us to re-investigate the texts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar with a pure religious intention that provokes us to seek the right and to study them in such an objective manner that protects us against rashness and imperfect conclusions.
It is also not improbable that covering the words and deeds of Abu-Bakr and `Umar with haloes of sanctity causing the Muslims to fear discussing such words and deeds has created a sort of discommended intellectual terrorism that confiscates any attempt of conversation or discussion other than objection taking into consideration the fact that such haloes have been purposed for making Abu-Bakr and `Umar as holy as the Prophets or even holier.
Of course, this is unacceptable for everyone who respects his mind and religion, especially when we know for sure that the Sahabah were men of different degrees of knowledge, faith, and esteem as has been proven by historical events. Moreover, we notice that they, on many occasions, disagreed with each other, found fault with each other, and even criticized each other. Yet, these situations have been acceptable.
It is known for everyone who has acquaintance with the reports, Hadiths, and history of the first age of Islam that neither Abu-Bakr nor `Umar were sinless; rather reports have
substantiated that most of their decisions and verdicts were reliant upon their personal views and conjectures rather than inferred from the Holy Qur'an.
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has argued that all the decisions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar were dependent upon one of the following six probabilities and nothing else,
First, they heard them directly from the Holy Prophet.
Second, they heard them indirectly (i.e. through a mediator) from the Holy Prophet.
Third, they understood a verse of the Holy Qur'an in a way that we cannot comprehend.
Fourth, these decisions were unanimously agreed upon by the advisories but only the saying of the issuer was reported for us.
Fifth, they issued such decisions due to their perfect acquaintance with the language and the indications therein in such a way that we cannot attain or due to nearby presumptions that were connected to the issue or due to the totality of matters from which they understood that decision owing to their long company with the Holy Prophet during which they noticed his deeds, manners, conducts, and words and thus they understood the indications and witnessed the Divine Revelations and how the Holy Prophet used to interpret. According to these five probabilities, the decisions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar must be considered sources of the Muslim legislation.
The sixth probability is that the caliph might have misunderstood what the Holy Prophet had meant; hence, his decision should not be betaken as acceptable source of legislation. Of course, five probabilities are more powerful than one only.”(1)
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has not been accurate
in the previous argument; rather he has been too far away from the right. We have previously cited many examples on Abu-Bakr and `Umar’s clear-cut deliberate violations of the texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. Except for anticipation of accuracy and seeking excuses for the past generations, their verdicts should have been considered as challenge rather than Ijtihad!
The other part of the verdicts of Abu-Bakr and `Umar are also clear-cut violations of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah rather they differ from the previous in the point that they had issued such verdicts while they had not known the actual ruling of the Holy Prophet; hence, they retreated and accepted the Holy Prophet’s ruling when their attentions were invited to this point. Yet, this part of verdicts is the lesser evil.
Had Ijtihad been practiced according to its regulations and principles issued by the master scholars, the issuer of a verdict should have covered all the directives and fully checked the primary proof; and when despair crept into him, he would have decided according to his personal view.
However, neither `Umar nor did the majority of the scholars of the first generation follow such secure and trustworthy regulations in the course of the issuance of personal opinions because they were too hasty in delivering judgments before exerting any effort in investigation or because they were negligent in the comprehension of the whole subject when they did not ask the experts in the Holy Qur'an and legislation although such individuals were among them.
the avoidance of reference to the experts in the questions that they did not know sufficiently means carelessness and inattention, since the decisions of such experts are considered as source of legislation. To this very point, Ibn Hazm, in the aforesaid quotation, has referred.
From this cause, the abovementioned probabilities of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah have not been covering all the causes beyond the Sahabah’s resting upon personal views in the issuance of religious rulings; rather there must be other probabilities to be hereinafter cited:
First: They might have violated the words of the Holy Prophet; and when the Sahabah reminded them of such violation, they retreated. In most cases, one cannot find any extension of such violations of the Holy Prophet’s words in the jurisprudence of the next generations because the caliph himself retreated from his decision.
Second: They might have insisted on their opinions that disagree with the texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah although the Sahabah would remind them of such violation. Such rulings can be noticed in the Muslim jurisprudence. Moreover, the scholars have preferred Abu-Bakr and `Umar’s opinions in this respect because the opinions of the Sahabah have been considered as sources of the Islamic legislation and thus they cannot be canceled.
Third: They might have issued verdicts opposite to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah when the Sahabah were absent and thus none would remind them of the accurate ruling in this very question. Hence, the opinions of the caliphs in this regard are more than these of the
Fourth: They might have issued verdicts opposite to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah but the Sahabah did not correct for them for fear of their authority or for anticipation of punishment or because such verdicts became too common to be canceled.
Hence, the trend of the caliphs in this regard would be more powerful than the previous probabilities since the Muslims acted upon them. It happens that we, through this study, meet texts of the Sahabah that are opposite to the caliphs’ opinions, yet they are not taken into consideration.
Fifth: They might have issued verdicts on bases of individual or collective interests since the caliphs claimed that they were more knowledgeable than the other Sahabah were in this respect. Yet, they were imprecise in the conception of the public interests; therefore, their inaccuracy in the identification of advantage resulted in the inaccuracy of their verdicts. And because none noticed so, the verdict extended to the next generations.
Too many are the historical witnesses on these probabilities that Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has forgotten or pretended to have forgotten. However, some of such points have been previously cited in this book.
It is now clear that the resting upon personal views in the issuance of religious rulings, despite the existence of sacred texts, was widely practiced during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime and the first Islamic era. Under the same circumstances, the slogans of “The Book of Allah is sufficient for us!” and “The Book of Allah is the arbitrator between us!” were raised
although the Holy Prophet warned against such, as has been previously proven.
However, not all the Sahabah practiced or acceded to this odd tone! `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, for instance, rejected these slogans. When `Abdullah ibn `Abbas decided to argue with the Khawarij, Imam `Ali advised him not to use the Holy Qur'an as his evidence, since it bears more than one meaning and the Khawarij also can use it in refuting `Abdullah ibn `Abbas’s claims; rather Imam `Ali advised him to rest upon the Holy Sunnah in disputation, because they would not be able to refute.(1)
This is because the Khawarij adhered firmly, yet blindly, to the explicit meanings of the Holy Qur'an causing many misfortunes to the Muslims. Thus, it was sagacious to advance the words and deeds of the Holy Prophet as arguments against them because none can deny the Holy Prophet’s practices and because the Khawarij would not commit the same mistake of misunderstanding of the texts.
As a consequence, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas advanced as his argument the Holy Prophet’s action when he agreed to erase the statement “the Messenger of Allah” that he had used in his signature on the Hudaybiyah Truce with the polytheists. In the same way, Imam `Ali agreed to erase the statement “Amir al-Mu'minin” that he had used in his signature on the Truce with Mu`awiyah.(2) Because of this argument, the Khawarij could not object to `Abdullah ibn `Abbas’s debate since he had used the best way of dealing with them.
Undoubtedly, the Holy Qur'an
and Sunnah are completing each other; and it is unfeasible to rest upon one and reject the other. All Muslims have decided unanimously that these two sources of the Islamic legislation are not contradictory at all and they have also decided that to depend upon one and reject the other is definitely wrong. In this regard, Ibn Hazm, in al-Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam, says,
No contradiction can ever be found between the texts of the Holy Qur'an from one side and the words and deeds of the Holy Prophet from the other. Informing about His Messenger, Almighty Allah says:
“Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him.” (Holy Qur’an: 53/3-4) “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.” (Holy Qur’an: 33/21) “Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other Than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.” (Holy Qur’an: 4/82)
Hence, Almighty Allah has informed us that, exactly like the Holy Qur'an, the source of the words of His Messenger is nothing but the Divine Revelation.(1)
Nevertheless, immediately after the demise of the Holy Prophet, Abu-Bakr declared his famous statement, “The Book of Allah is the arbitrator between you and us.” By this statement, which has been narrated by Ibn Abi-Mulaykah in his famous piece of narration, Abu-Bakr wanted to
declare that only would the Holy Qur'an be accepted in arguments.
Yet, he was not the originator of this opinion, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, during the famous incident of the Disastrous Thursday, declared his famous statement, “The Book of Allah is sufficient for us!” while the Holy Prophet was suffering the pains of his final ailment.
As Abu-Bakr and `Umar committed themselves to the resting upon the Holy Qur'an anole, Lady Fatimah al-Zahra' advanced the Holy Qur'an alone as her argument against them in the issue of the confiscation of Fadak. She generally specified the holy verses of the laws of inheritance as well as the holy verses that confirm the Prophets having been inherited as her argument against them.
Ironically, Abu-Bakr answered her with a Hadith that reads, according to his claim, “We, the Prophets, do not leave inheritance.” Hence, Abu-Bakr, who rejected the Holy Sunnah and claimed reliance on the Holy Qur'an alone, had to find himself an exit through the Holy Sunnah itself. This is of course a clear-cut contradiction!
It is now acceptable for us to wonder what Abu-Bakr and `Umar meant by such restrictions to the Holy Qur'an while they were the closest to the age of the Islamic Legislation. Did they, just like the Khawarij later on, aim at resting upon the Holy Qur'an alone in the understanding of all of the affairs and neglecting the Holy Sunnah? Or did they bear in their minds another purpose?
In fact, the invitation to the resting upon the Holy Qur'an alone
and shunning the Holy Sunnah was no more than a political decision that was taken for the purpose of justifying the opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar. Although the Holy Prophet, as is in the famous Hadith of Arikah (the couch), declared openly that his words are actually the Words of Almighty Allah and that He is the expounder of the laws of Almighty Allah, Abu-Bakr and `Umar removed the Holy Prophet’s words away and placed their personal opinions instead. Besides, they knew for sure that not all the laws can be derived from the Holy Qur'an merely.
Answering those who ordered him to depend upon the Holy Qur'an alone and neglect the Holy Sunnah, `Imran ibn al-Husayn said, “Supposing that you rested upon the Holy Qur'an merely, would you be skilled enough to recognize that the `Asr Prayer must be of four units (Rak`ah), the Maghrib Prayer be of three, the Fajr Prayer be of two? And would you know that the Circumambulation of the Holy Ka`bah must be repeated seven times… etc?”(1)
It is thus illogic to think that Abu-Bakr and `Umar did not have acquaintance with such matters; and if they had actually ignored them, why did they call people to satisfy themselves with the Holy Qur'an claiming that “the Qur'an is sufficient for us!”?
It is now obvious that the narrations that are forbidden are those comprising what the caliphs did not know and those comprising objects of embarrassment for them. In this fashion, it was allowable to report and
record the traditions that comprised information known by the caliphs as well as everybody else.
Abu-Bakr, in the same speech in which he declared the decision of resting upon the Holy Qur'an alone and neglecting the Holy Sunnah, foretold that the people of the coming generations would be more discrepant. This prediction implied that the Muslims would follow inconsistent trends because each group would follow the opinion of a certain Sahabiy.
To this very fact, the Holy Prophet invited the attentions by saying on more than one occasion that his ummah would separate after him. Undoubtedly, the discrepancy in the reports of those Sahabah would contradict the personal opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar.
If truth be told, the replacing of the personal opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar with the Holy Sunnah—or the rising of their opinions to the level of the Holy Sunnah—that resulted in the coming caliphs’ having entirely adopted these opinions and made them the course and constitution of the government is no more than an expression of the interest for which the caliph called and the clue that was used in solving all the problems.
We have previously discussed that `Umar, out of his fear from the reporters, restricted the activities of them and ordered them to decrease reporting the Hadith and detained them in the capital on the pretext that they reported excessively and contributed largely in the spread of the Hadith.
Such excessive reports and spread of the Hadith prejudiced `Umar since it showed the contradiction between his
personal opinions and the traditions of the Holy Prophet. Such being the case, he had to order them to rest upon the Holy Qur'an alone so that he would be able to decide the substitute, which is his personal opinions and the claim that he, representing the ruling authority, was the most knowledgeable in this respect and thus all the matters must be, first and last, referred to him.
Of course, he did not believe that the Holy Qur'an could present solutions for all problems; rather he knew for sure that the Holy Qur'an needed the Holy Sunnah and that the Holy Prophet was ordered, by Almighty Allah, to explain the religious laws that are mentioned in the Holy Qur'an that reads,
“We have sent down unto thee the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought.” (Holy Qur’an: 16/44)
From this cause, some of the Sahabah did not accept the personal opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar since they knew the Holy Book and Sunnah, not Ijtihad, having been the main sources of the Islamic legislation.
Similarly, had those Sahabah known that the personal judgments of Abu-Bakr and `Umar were based upon these two sources, they would have accepted them and would not have declared resentfully “Will we follow `Umar or the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet?”(1) and “I see coming that you shall certainly perished! While I say to you that it was the Messenger of Allah who deemed it
lawful, you answer me that Abu-Bakr and `Umar prohibited it!”(1)
In order to throw dust in the eyes and confuse the matter, historians have added some names to the list of the Opinionists, such as `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Mu`adh ibn Jabal, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas and many others while it is evidentially known that these men rejected the resting upon personal opinions in the issuance of religious verdicts, adopted the course of thorough compliance with the sacred texts and practically wrote down many records that comprised the Hadith.
Some fabricated texts, corroborating the trend of Opinionism, have been ascribed to those Sahabah, although the series of narrations have been omitted, because of the exigent need of `Umar for supporters for his invention of Opinionism and because of the confusions that surrounded this trend.
To study such texts, one can obviously point out numerous contradictions, confusions, and objections. Likewise, Ibn Hazm and others have decided Mu`adh’s narration about Ijtihad as doubtful and fabricated. In this regard, he says,
My evidence on the fabrication of this narration is that it is impossible for the Holy Prophet to put the probability of the nonexistence of a solution in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah while Almighty Allah says:
“And follow the best of (the courses) revealed to you from your Lord.” (Holy Qur’an: 39/55) “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Holy Qur’an: 5/3) “And any who transgresses the limits of Allah,
does verily wrong his (own) soul.” (Holy Qur’an: 65/1)
It is also authentic that the Holy Prophet prohibited resting upon personal opinions in religious matters.(1)
The investigation of such matters in the Islamic legislation will lead a searcher to look at them from a wider horizon and more scientific angle provided that a searcher throws away all passions and bears in mind freedom of thinking and deeps study of the surroundings.
Only then will a searcher consider whether the Holy Prophet actually permitted the resting upon personal opinions in the issuance of religious verdicts while he was present or he only wanted the verdicts to be issued according to the authentic traditions and texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, not according to the Ijtihad that is based upon conjectures.
It is said that Goldtzheir, the famous German Orientalist, argued that Opinionism was not founded during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime; rather it was added to the sources of the Islamic legislation later on. Discussing this argument, Dr. Muhammad Yusuf Musa says,
“This Orientalist researcher, who is well-versed in the Islamic studies, argues that Opinionism was used among the first generation of the Islamic history although it was, in that very stage, ambiguous, negative, and far away from its private belief and method. Only in the next generation did Opinionism acquire a certain definition and identity and begin to move towards a constant trend obtaining the logic form of analogy.”(2)
Dr. Musa then launched an attack on Goldtzheir arousing doubts around the worth of his opinion
that is also adopted by the Orientalists generally. He accused them of being far away from understanding the spirit of Islam since, in his view, the evidences submitted by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah being enough for proving the Opinionism. Ironically, he then agrees with the Orientalists by saying,
“It is true that Opinionism on that very period was unlike the analogy (Qiyas) as was defined during the Age of the Scholars (namely, the founders of the four major Sunnite Schools of Jurisprudence). Yet, the opinion that was used by some of the Sahabah was not very far from the analogy; rather it might have been the very analogy, although it has not been narrated whether those Sahabah used the bases of analogy, as a term, such as cause, method, and other bases that were commonly known during the Age of the Scholars.”(1)
No matter how much valuable the doubt of Dr. Musa is, what we need to know is the attitude of Abu-Bakr and `Umar from Opinionism and whether they rested upon it although they had known about the laws of Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet in that very question or not since they believed that their opinions are as important sources of Islamic legislation as the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah.
The aforementioned texts have confirmed that both Abu-Bakr and `Umar decided their own opinions although they had known about the actual ruling decided by the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. Although Abu-Bakr knew about the holy verse that reads,
“If any of you die
and leave widows behind, they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days: When they have fulfilled their term, there is no blame on you if they dispose of themselves in a just and reasonable manner. And Allah is well acquainted with what ye do.” (Holy Qur’an: 2/234),
he violated this verse in the issue of Khalid ibn al-Walid who married the widow of Malik ibn Nuwayrah a few hours after he had killed her husband unlawfully. As `Umar asked him to punish Khalid for this violation of the Islamic laws, Abu-Bakr answered, “No, I will not kill him. He tried to infer the actual law in this issue, but he missed it!”(1) It is illogic to claim that Khalid, or Abu-Bakr, had never known about the aforesaid holy verse.
Was this case not a clear example on the resting upon personal opinion that is totally opposite to the sacred text?
Did Abu-Bakr really not know about the holy verse or did he know but he believed that interest necessitated resting upon his opinion and disregarding the holy text?
Are the anticipation of advantage and analogy practiced only when sacred texts are absent or is it permissible to practice them even if sacred texts are available?
Let us now present the story of Khalid ibn al-Walid, yet in brief, as has been narrated by al-Tabariy,
… When Khalid came back and entered the Masjid, `Umar went towards him, took out the remains of arrows from his head, and smashed them, saying, “This is only for
showing off! You have killed a Muslim individual then slept with his widow! I will certainly stone you.(1) I swear it by Allah!” Yet, Khalid kept silent as he thought that Abu-Bakr would have this very impression about his deed. But when he saw Abu-Bakr… etc.(2)
Al-Tabariy narrated that `Umar, once, met a man who had provided his case to `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, and asked him what `Ali had decided for him. As the man told about `Ali’s decision, `Umar said, “Had you submitted your case before me, I would have decided another thing.”
The man wondered, “What prevents you from doing so while you are the authority?”
`Umar answered, “If I judged in your case according to the laws of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger, I would do so; rather I judge in it according to a personal opinion; and opinions are common. I thus cannot tell which one is more accurate.”(3)
Ibn Hazm, in al-Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam, says,
“Abu-Muhammad says: It has been proven that the Sahabah did not oblige people to act upon their personal opinions and did not claim their having been ultimately true; rather they decided them as conjecture and sought Allah’s forgiveness against them, or decided them for reaching at reconciliation between the two parties of a case.”(4)
Ibn Hazm further says,
“There is no indication that `Umar’s having taught people the form of Tashahhud while he was on the minbar was a part of the Holy Prophet’s instructions; rather it was his own opinion.
Similarly, everybody knows that `Umar, while he was on the minbar also, warned people against exaggeration in the values of the dowries out of his own opinion, not according to the instructions of the Holy Prophet.
Therefore, he canceled this decision afterwards when he was informed that the decision was in violation of the Holy Qur'an. The forms of Tashahhud that are reported from `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, `Ā’ishah, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, and Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy must not be violated since their source was the Holy Prophet.
Although they witnessed `Umar using his own form of Tashahhud while he was on the minbar, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, `Ā'ishah, and many other grand Sahabah disagreed with him.”(1)
Trying to deny the reports that when `Umar could not find a ruling in the Holy Qur'an or Sunnah, he would investigate whether Abu-Bakr had issued a judgment in that regard; and when he would find such a thing, he would follow it, Dr. Nadiah al-`Umariy says:
“Although he had great regard for Abu-Bakr, `Umar would not commit himself thoroughly to the opinions of Abu-Bakr unless such had been inferred from the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah; and such a commitment was in fact to the sacred text rather than Abu-Bakr’s opinion. An example on this commitment is the incident when, immediately after the demise of the Holy Prophet, Abu-Bakr reminded `Umar of a holy verse from the Holy Qur'an.
However, when the case is exposed to the Shura or to personal opinions, opinions
would be, in the word of `Umar himself, common. In the case of the cessation of the shares of al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum, `Umar disagreed with Abu-Bakr who, then, accepted `Umar’s view. Similarly, In the case of the appointment of the coming leader, `Umar violated Abu-Bakr’s opinion and ordered of the establishment of the Shura Committee.
In plain words, although `Umar acceded to Abu-Bakr’s opinions, he did not commit himself to them in the same way as he had committed himself to the texts of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. The evidence on this claim is `Umar’s having violated Abu-Bakr’s opinion on more than one occasion.”(1)
Let us now put the following questions:
How is it possible to take in the manners of both Abu-Bakr and `Umar while they disagreed on many points concerning their reports and personal judgments?
Concerning the aforementioned issue of Khalid ibn al-Walid; whose decision was the more accurate—Abu-Bakr or `Umar?
Is it logic that the Holy Prophet imposed upon us to follow a person subjectible of making mistakes although this very person had attempted to rest upon his personal opinions and judgments as regard the religious issues during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet?
How can we justify `Umar who canceled the share of the al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum(4) while we read in the Holy Qur'an Almighty Allah’s saying,
“Alms are for
the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum (those whose hearts have been recently reconciled to truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: thus is it ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (Holy Qur’an: 9/60)
What is the appropriate justification for `Umar’s too many judgments that he issued out of his personal opinions, such as in the case of the grandfather’s share of the inheritance with the existence of brothers;(1) the three-time divorce;(2) the sale of bond mothers;(3) the shortage in the shares of inheritance;(4) the non-obligatoriness of practicing the Dry Ablution (Tayammum) for the obligatory prayers when water is missing;(5) the warning against offering supererogatory prayers after the `Asr Prayer;(6) the four prayers in the funerals(7)—and in all of these issues, the Holy Prophet had issued rulings that were disagreeing `Umar’s judgments?
How is it feasible to find excuses for Abu-Bakr and `Umar and consider their opinions validly acceptable while `Umar himself declared openly that the Salat al-Tarawih had been a heresy; an excellent heresy?
Despite of everything, some of the so-called scholars have interpreted the word “heresy” said openly by `Umar in this issue as bearing a linguistic rather than a terminological meaning. They have then cited as evidence a report telling that the Holy Prophet, once, went to the Masjid for a prayer and people followed him; on the next day, the number of people increased and on
the third day, the number was too large to be contained by the Masjid; therefore, the Holy Prophet had to leave the Masjid to the courtyard.
On the fourth night, he refrained from going to the Masjid; yet he did not warn people against such collective prayers! Accordingly, the Salat al-Tarawih is legal!
If the Salat al-Tarawih is legal and the Holy Prophet did not warn people against participating in it, why have those scholars interpreted `Umar’s word of “heresy” as bearing a linguistic, not terminological, meaning? The likes of such ironies and contradictions in the field of finding acceptable excuses for individuals are unfortunately very numerous; yet, a fair researcher can identify them easily.
Should we believe the texts that came to us from our ancient heritage or should we believe the scholars’ justifications for the violations of Abu-Bakr and `Umar?
Has Allah preserved Abu-Bakr and `Umar from making mistakes and instead given them exclusively the right to act upon their personal views as regards the religious laws?
Has he commissioned the Muslims to comply with the opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar other than the other Sahabah according to the claim that the Holy Prophet said, “You have to adhere to my Sunnah as well as the Sunnah of the orthodox caliphs who will succeed me?”(1)
Is it rational that the Holy Prophet decided the “sunnah” of the caliphs who came after him as the equivalent of his Holy Sunnah while he knew for sure that his ummah would be engaged in discrepancies after
him according to the holy verse that reads,
“Muhammad is no more than a messenger: many Were the messenger that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then Turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude. (Holy Qur’an: 3/144)”
Even if we accept the aforementioned “Hadith”, although it is subjected to many contradictions, we will face another problem, which is the contradictory words and deeds of the caliphs who came after him. Which opinion should we then accept and which should we reject? Who are the caliphs whom have been described as orthodox? Are they exclusively the first four ones; or does the “Hadith” involve every one who came to power and was entitled “caliph”?
Again, if we accept the “Hadith”; why do we not choose the Twelve Successors who defended the Holy Sunnah and worked on spreading the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds as the intendeds? Imam `Ali has narrated that the Holy Prophet said,
“O Allah! Have mercy upon my successors who will come after me, reporting my Hadith and Sunnah and teaching them to the people.”(1)
About those successors, the Holy Prophet also ordered us not to precede them, lest we will perish, and not to fall behind them, lest we will perish too, and not to claim being more knowledgeable than they are, for they are
always more knowledgeable than we are.(1) He has also said about them, “If you adhere to them, you shall never be led astray,”(2) “The Ahl al-Bayt preserve my ummah against discrepancy,”(3) as well as many other Hadiths.
In his famous Hadith of “The Divine Pool”, the Holy Prophet warned us that a group of his Sahabah should be prevented from joining him on the Resurrection Day.
Those who have claimed the authenticity of the Hadith of the adherence to the “sunnah” of Abu-Bakr and `Umar must explain to us why the Holy Prophet did not define the Holy Qur'an and his Sunnah as the only sources of the religion! Have these two sources needed the “sunnah” of Abu-Bakr and `Umar because they are inadequate? Can we accept the claim that the Holy Sunnah is incomplete; therefore, it required the “sunnah” of Abu-Bakr and `Umar?
The statements of “the sunnah of the caliphs who will come after me” and “follow those who will come (to power) after me” reveal the emergence of new opinions, opposite to the Holy Prophet’s Sunnah, in the scientific lives of the Muslims and thus these statements were fabricated against the Holy Prophet so that the opinions of Abu-Bakr and `Umar would be acceptable.
On both levels of reason and Muslim legislation, the adherence to the “sunnah” of the caliphs are unacceptable since it is ironic to accept both the Holy Prophet’s Sunnah and `Umar’s sunnah because they are at odds. For instance, the temporary marriage is either legal, according to
`Umar’s declaration that it was legal during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, or illegal, according to `Umar’s decision of prohibiting it. A simple look in the history of the Islamic legislation leads to tens of examples on such contradiction.
The most acceptable probability in this regard is that all the texts in which the names of the caliphs or their chronical order (Abu-Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali) are mentioned were later on fabricated in order to justify the Opinionism invented by `Umar and followed by his fans. Later on in this book, we will provide many evidences on this claim.
Let us now bring up the manners of the Islamic ummah in the later ages as regards the religious legislation. In al-Ijtihad fi’l-Islam, Dr. Nadiah al-`Umariy says,
“It has been proven that the later jurisprudents modified many of the religious laws that they had received from their masters when exigency demanded so. When he moved to Egypt and left Iraq and Hijaz, al-Shafi`iy modified his whole sect into a new one. He then wrote his famous books of Kitab al-Umm and al-Risalah. The same thing was done by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah.”(1)
Dr. Turkiy says,
“Istihsan (Equitable Preference), which is in fact a method of escaping analogy for personal reasons, emerged in the third century. Ibn Hazm has reported this piece of information.”(2)
Al-Wafi al-Mahdiy also says,
“In the age of the establishment of the (Sunnite) Schools of jurisprudence, the Islamic legislation was greatly influenced by the social customs. As a result, many master jurisprudents decided the
social customs as restricting the sacred texts. For instance, the Islamic legislation has prohibited the contracts of sale of what is not possessed (in Muslim jurisprudential terminology: istisna`), that is to agree on selling a thing that is not within the hand or not currently available; rather the purchaser will agree on such a contract according to the descriptions of the stock before seeing it. Yet, this sort of sale has been deemed legal according to the social customs.”(1)
It has been reported that Mr. Rashid Rida says,
“To argue that hundreds of the verses of the Holy Qur'an were repealed, to invalidate positive contentions through hypothetical arguments, and to prefer personal opinions to sacred texts—all these rules are irresponsible Qiyas (analogy) and challenge to Almighty Allah. Al-Shafi`iy says that Qiyas must not be used except in emergency, such as the necessity of eating the meat of an animal that is not slaughtered according to the religious laws.”
Shafiq Shahatah, an Egyptian researcher, says,
“Qiyas has been elevated to a level due to which it has been a source of Islamic legislation. The reasons beyond this must be purely historical.”(2)
It is regrettable to end up this discussion with a text said by one of the extremists, namely al-Sawiy, in his commentary on Tafsir al-Jalalayn,
“It is impermissible to act upon any school other than the Four Schools (of Sunnite jurisprudence) even if such schools agree with the Sahabah’s words, the authentic Hadiths, and even the holy verses. One who exceeds the acting upon the Four
Schools is definitely straying (from the right path) and misleading. Perhaps, such thing may lead to infidelity, because to act upon the external manifestations of the Book (i.e. the Holy Qur'an) and the Sunnah are among the principles of infidelity.”(1)
The previously mentioned summary of the history of the Islamic legislation and the confusive issues of Muslim jurisprudence has been presented for purpose of giving the gentle readers an idea about the topic discussed herein and to acquaint them with some of the principles that were invented during the first age of Islam as well as the roots of discrepancy among the Muslims due to which multiplicity of religious opinions have been validated while the Lord is One, the Messenger is one, and the Holy Book is one although Almighty Allah has called us to be united in laws and doctrines and warned us against discrepancy and disunity; and the Holy Prophet has confirmed that only one sect shall be saved.
It is known for everybody that the Holy Prophet managed the legislative and political affairs of the Islamic State; therefore, his successor must be qualified in these two aspects. Yet, Abu-Bakr and `Umar were rulers rather than versed in religious knowledge; and because the authority in Islam requires knowledge in addition to administration, they had to make some changes to the principles of the religious laws so that they would be able to legalize their words and deeds and to take them out of the circle of personal views that would
be criticized in the coming ages.
As previously cited, neither Abu-Bakr nor did `Umar, in the beginning of their reign, claim that they had full acquaintance with the knowledge of the Holy Prophet; rather they used to consult and ask the Sahabah about the question that they had not known, such as in the issue of grandmothers’ shares of inheritances and many others.
In addition, when their opinions violated the Holy Prophet’s decisions, they would retreat their personal decisions, as took place on many occasions. Yet, in the last period of his reign, `Umar increasingly refused to retreat his opinions, and claimed his having been the first and last criterion of discriminating the authentic from the untrue until he detained some of the Sahabah who could not release themselves before `Umar’s death.
Abu-Bakr and `Umar, as well as all the Muslims, knew that only Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet had the right to legislate; and when a ruling is issued by the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, none else would have the right to repeal or violate; yet, the others’ mission would be no more than inferring rulings from these two sources of legislation.
As a result, as Abu-Bakr and `Umar had retreated their decisions when they were informed of the actual ruling of the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah as regards a certain question, this means that they knew for sure that the source of the Islamic legislation had been the Holy Sunnah, not their personal judgments.
However, they then went on
emphasizing on their personal judgments and opinions even if they would violate the Holy Prophet’s words or their past judgments. For instance, `Umar, in one of the issues, stated “That decision was for that case and this decision is for this case!”(1)
He knew for sure that if the demonstration of the contradiction between the Sahabah’s reports from the Holy Prophet continued, it would certainly lead to the detachment of the political leadership from the religious; and this would not be admitted by `Umar under any circumstance.
As an undeniable fact, the allowance of reporting the Holy Prophet’s Sunnah would lead to the raising of the levels of cognizance and perceptiveness of the Muslims as they would have acquaintance with the Holy Prophet’s decisions; and because `Umar did not know all these decisions and rulings, he would certainly issue verdicts that are in violation of the Holy Prophet’s; and this would put him in an embarrassing situation before the Sahabah and would cause their opinions as regards the religious issues to be contradictory.
In order to stop all these results, he summoned all the Sahabah and said to them, “You have spread the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah,” or “You have reported extremely much the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah.” This is because he knew that the spreading and reporting of the Hadith would make his conflict with them more complicated.
He therefore confirmed on analogy (Qiyas) and the resting upon individual opinions in the issuance of religious rulings as has
been previously cited in his message to Abu-Musa al-Ash`ariy and Shurayh the judge. The same thing can be said about the Hadiths of Ijtihad that have been narrated on the authority of Mu`adh, `Amr ibn al-`Ās, and others that were invented for the purpose of justifying `Umar’s decisions.
Our assertion that `Umar ibn al-Khattab suggested Ijtihad more than Abu-Bakr does not oppose the arguments that Qiyas, as a term, was originated in later ages because of temporal necessities experienced by the ruling authorities and their jurisprudents. The first seeds of Ijtihad were sowed by `Umar, as has been proven in the previous discussions.
Yet, that sowing and origination was not perfect in aspects and fundaments; rather it stumbled and was hindered by many of the Sahabah and their disciples. However, its final picture was displayed in later ages, precisely in the beginning of the second century of Hijrah, after it had taken definite principles and structure that discriminated it from the other sources of Muslim jurisprudence. From this cause, we can notice the emergence of other titles and terms, such as Istihsan and Masalih (advantage), beside it.
As a result of the above, not all the religious rulings were decided according to sacred texts and authentic reports from the Holy Prophet; rather personal opinions and analogy were inserted into the Islamic legislation.
For that reason, some of the Sahabah, as has been previously cited, did not accept Ijtihad in matters about which sacred texts are not available because they were close to the age
of the direct legislation and also because they knew the very persons who had texts from the Holy Prophet concerning the new issues.
However, it is not justifiable for `Umar to open wide the doors of Ijtihad just because he had not known such sacred texts, since his act would cause danger to the Islamic jurisprudence and doctrine. Imam `Ali unquestionably identified the actuality of the Islamic nation in general and the situation of the first age of Islam, which was indeed critical, through a section of his famous sermon of al-Shaqshaqiyyah as he said,
“It is strange that during his lifetime he (Abu-Bakr) wished to be released from the caliphate but he confirmed it for the other one (`Umar) after his death. No doubt, these two shared its udders strictly among themselves. This one put the Caliphate in a tough enclosure where the utterance was haughty and the touch was rough.
Mistakes were in plenty and so also the excuses therefore. One in contact with it was like the rider of an unruly camel. If he pulled up its rein, the very nostril would be slit, but if he let it loose, he would be thrown. Consequently, by Allah people got involved in recklessness, wickedness, unsteadiness and deviation. Nevertheless, I remained patient despite length of period and stiffness of trial… etc.”
Expanding on this sermon, Ibn Abi’l-Hadid says,
“Imam `Ali wanted to say that the path to which they led people were not easy; rather it is so rough that a walker will
certainly stumble. By ‘mistakes were in plenty and so also the excuses therefore,’ Imam `Ali meant that `Umar very frequently repealed the decisions that he had decided concerning religious laws.
Similarly, he very frequently apologized for having issued inaccurate verdicts. Another meaning may be cited for this very statement is that the people’s deeds and movements might be excused for it… etc.”
This statement reveals the actual situation of the ummah during the reign of `Umar ibn al-Khattab who made many changes and modifications due to which people had to experience such a chronic disease that took them away from the right path, which they should have taken in their religious, political, and social lives.
Describing this stage, Imam `Ali says that people were certainly involved in recklessness, wickedness, unsteadiness, and deviation. After the departure of the Holy Prophet, it became clear that those who held his position and came to power after him were too weak to represent him as regards the religious, cultural, educational, and even political affairs when they could not discriminate the apostates from others for purpose of annihilating all the enemies of Abu-Bakr. For instance, the murder of slaying Malik ibn Nuwayrah passed without punishment or even reproach.
However, the short period of Abu-Bakr’s caliphate covered some of his mistakes and concealed the actual appearance of confusion, unlike the period of `Umar’s caliphate that took long time during which all the matters and incidents that had been veiled were unveiled.
As a result, Imam `Ali emphasized on the
reign of `Umar for it carried the greatest share of changing and distortion. In addition, because their caliph ignored many of their affairs, the people correspondingly ignored these affairs since a caliph is the ruler and reformer of the subjects; and because the reformer confessed of his need for reformation since he was incompetent, confusion prevailed on the situation and caused the people to take a path other than the one sketched by the Holy Prophet and the Muslims.
As a consequence, opinions and personal views seized the lion’s share of the Islamic legislation and each individual claimed accurateness of his opinion and inaccurateness of the others’ views.
Furthermore, the caliph himself issued certain judgments and then repealed or canceled them claiming all these opinions having been true even if they opposed each other because all of his opinions, for his having been the highest authority of Islam, were true. Consequently, the right path was missed and nothing remained other than a rough one. The people therefore had to take wrong paths.
To this very point, Imam `Ali referred by saying,
“He sits among the people as a judge responsible for solving whatever is confusing to the others. If an ambiguous problem is presented before him he manages shabby argument about it of his own accord and passes judgment on its basis. In this way he is entangled in the confusion of doubts as in the spider’s web, not knowing whether he was right or wrong.
If he is right he fears lest he
erred, while if he is wrong he hopes he is right. He is ignorant, wandering astray in ignorance and riding on carriages aimlessly moving in darkness. He did not try to find reality of knowledge. He scatters the traditions as the wind scatters the dry leaves.”
Having demonstrated the feature of the first stage, Imam `Ali described the second stage as wickedness since the natural result of neglecting the right path and taking other paths without guidance was alienation and sorts of unintentional reactions.
Hence, wicked incidents emerged among the Muslims who unfortunately acquired unprecedented manners, which were the natural result of missing the right path. In that period, many masters killed their slaves; therefore, `Umar, having tried to stop this event, violated the Holy Prophet’s decision of the impermissibility of retaliating upon masters who kill their slaves(1) although this decision was known by every Muslim.(2)
Unnatural conducts were obviously noticed from both the caliph and the subjects because the earlier caused the latter to miss the right path and because the latter misused the Islamic law because of the absence of the religious awareness that are inspired from the sacred texts that prohibited intensely suicide and mistreatment of others.
This is the very “wickedness” mentioned by Imam `Ali. It is also a serious danger suffered by the communities on which complexes and states of revenge, quarrel, and social disorder prevail.
Other examples are the emergence of states like women’s calling at men (Nasr ibn al-Hajjaj) and the state of people’s detestation
towards definite jurisprudential terms that are unfitting to their tastes disregarding the sacredness of the Holy Legislator, such as the forbiddingness of the temporary marriage that leaves a great effect on the stability of communities, especially in cases of war, fewness of men… etc.
A little ponderation over the aforementioned conducts of `Umar and the Sahabah’s objections to his decisions although a group of them supported him causing secession and irregular states that were not found during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime—a little ponderation over these things proves that `Umar could not do anything about them or took negative decisions, such as in the issue of seizing the half of the fortunes of his officials.
During the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, there was not any disloyal official who would appropriate the public treasury; and the Holy Prophet never seized any part of those offi