The Shi'ites Under Attack
In the name of the Almighty the Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
Praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds.
The Muslims were never at any time more in need of mutual understanding and unity than they are today. The conspiracies against Islam never were more serious than they are at the present time.
Unfortunately, many Muslim governments have taken a very unholy direction, spreading hatred among Muslims. Unsound and erroneous books and pamphlets were, and still are, distributed among the Muslims, telling lies and hurling numerous accusations against the Shi'ite Muslims while the latter were seemingly unaware of those accusations.
During the centuries following the birth of Islam, many accusations were made to disgrace the followers of the members of the House of the Prophet. However, they never took the shape of the serious and malicious campaign that has taken place during the last six years.
This false and malicious campaign started after the birth of the Islamic Republic in Iran. It seems that some of the Arab governments found the birth of this Republic a threatening danger. This Republic reminds Muslims of the period of the righteous caliphate and makes a clear distinction between the words and the deeds of the Arab governments who claim to be committed to Islam, yet spend the public wealth to satisfy the low desires of the rulers. These governments tried to extinguish the light of the Islamic Republic by war, but they did not succeed.
Therefore, they are trying to deceive the Muslim population and turn them against the Iranian Muslims by fabricating accusations in a sectarian campaign, aiming to convince the innocent Muslims that the Shi'ites have deviated from the path of Islam. Should such a campaign succeed, unsuspecting and unsophisticated Muslims may find it religiously legal to combat the Shi'ites and shed the blood of the Iranians, who have sacrificed for Islam more than any other people.
The Shi'ites have tried for many years to meet this campaign with silence, closing their eyes and hoping that it would come to an end, and that there would be no need to refute the malicious accusations. It was also hoped that some of the Sunni scholars would try to refute these accusations. There is no doubt that many Sunni scholars are aware of the Islamic doctrines to which the Shi'ites subscribe.
Should they be unaware of the Shi'ite doctrines, it would be very easy to become acquainted with them. There are numerous books written by Shi'ite scholars about those doctrines, and those books are available. It is possible for the Sunni scholars to call for an Islamic conference in which religious differences may be discussed and an appreciation for each other's viewpoint developed. This is what the Qur'an calls for:
"O you who believe, if a transgressor brings to you news, verify it, lest you inflict damage on people unwittingly; you may consequently regret your hasty action." (ch. 49, v.6)
It is regrettable that the Sunni scholars did not move in this direction and did not try, as far as is known, to refute the untrue accusations which were publicized by the hypocrite campaigners. Our silence did not stop this campaign. It made it more vehement. Many people thought that our silence is evidence of the truthfulness of the accusations, and that we are unable to answer them.
Thus, it has become necessary to clarify the truth and inform all the Muslims who like to know the truth. In this effort, we shall not accuse the Sunni brothers of disbelief, deviation, or transgression, as some of them have accused the Shi'ites. We shall not place ourselves in such a position, which is improper for any Muslim to take. We obey the Almighty in His prohibition:
"O you who believe, let not a folk ridicule another folk who may be better than they are; nor should women ridicule other women who may be better than them. Neither defame one another nor insult one another by calling names. That is the name of lewdness after faith and whoso turns not in repentance, such are evildoers." (ch. 49, v.11)
It should be pointed out to the reader that those who make these prohibited accusations use a very strange method to indict millions of Muslims whom they do not know, did not see, and with whom they did not speak. They tried and convicted millions of Muslims who lived centuries ago, along with the numerous future Shi'ite generations yet to be born. They have also convicted millions of contemporary Muslims without questioning them and without searching for the truth, which is within easy access to any interested person.
Do the Shi'ite Muslims Say That the Revelation Came to Muhammad by Mistake, and That it Was Intended for Ali?
This is a vicious lie widely spread in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries in order to discredit the followers of the members of the House of the Prophet. This accusation was made during periods of oppression against the Shi'ites. The rulers of the periods of the Umayyads and Abbasids used to consider every follower of the Members of the House of the Prophet revolutionary and dangerous. They conspired against these Shi'ites and accused them of heresy and disbelief in order to encourage the Muslims to shed their blood and usurp their rights and wealth.
The centuries of oppression passed with all their injustices and terrors. It was expected that during the new period of freedom, the mistakes of the past would be corrected. It was hoped that the Muslim scholars would make a serious study in order to see if there is any justification for such terrible accusations. It is very easy to know the truth. There are hundreds of books written by Shi'ite scholars about their beliefs.
Had the Sunni scholars read any of these books, they would have found that the Shi'ite beliefs are in full agreement with the Book of God and the well-known statements of the Prophet. We are living in the era of speed and easy movement. It is easy for Muslim scholars to have conferences, discuss problems, and find solutions. The simplest principle of justice is to follow the commandments of the Holy Qur'an:
"Oh you who believe, if a transgressor comes to you with news, try to verify it, lest you inflict damage on people unwittingly; then you may consequently regret your hasty action" (ch. 49, v.6).
The Almighty commanded us to try to find out whether an accusation is true or false, and that we ought not to try people and convict them without questioning them. We do not know of any court in the world in which the judge convicts a person before interviewing him, provided the accused is available and honors the summons. In spite of the ease with which one can find the correct information nowadays, we find that those who accuse and spread hatred among Muslims do not take one single step in order to find the truth which may unite the Muslim world.
While writing these words, I recollect that the Egyptian government during the fifties sent the late Dr. Muhammad Bisar to Washington, D.C., as director of the Islamic Center there. I went to visit him and he received me kindly and informed me of the knowledge he had acquired concerning American Muslims. He initiated a dialogue between us, saying:
"Some of the Muslims in this country asked me about the various Islamic sects. I declared to them that all Muslim sects are good except the Shi'ite Ithna 'ashari."
I immediately realized that Dr. Bisar did not know the meaning of the Shi'ite Ithna 'ashari. Otherwise, he would not have been rude enough to say that to me while I am a Shi'ite Ithna 'ashari. Thus, we had the following dialogue:
Chirri: What is wrong with the Ithna 'ashari?
Bisar: They believe in things opposed to Islam.
Chirri: Give us an example of their wrong belief.
Bisar: They say the revelation came to Muhammad by mistake, and that Ali Ibn Abi Talib was supposed to receive the revelation.
Chirri: How did you learn that?
Bisar: I read it in the book of Al-milal wa al-nihal by al-Shahrastani.
Chirri: Have you asked any Shi'ite scholar about this subject?
Bisar: No, I have not.
Chirri: Then you have convicted millions of Muslims and considered them "kafir" without asking any of them about this serious accusation. Did the Almighty command you to do that? And did Egypt send you to propagate such a vicious message?
A year after our meeting in Washington, I met Dr. Bisar in Philadelphia at an Islamic conference. He informed me that he re-examined the book of AI-milal wa al-nihal by al-Shahrastani and found that what was attributed to the Shi'ites, that the revelation came to Muhammad by mistake, was not the belief of the Ithna 'ashari Shi'ite school of thought. It was, rather, a sect which existed and disappeared hundreds of years ago. Hearing that from him, I accepted his apology.
Yet, I was amazed that it took him a whole year to re-read the book and discover the truth. I spent years studying hadith and Islamic history books which were written by Sunni and Ithna 'ashari scholars. I never found in any Shi'ite book a hadith or historical report indicating that Ali Ibn Abi Talib was higher than or equal to Muhammad. As a matter of fact, I found only the opposite.
The Shi'ites consider Ali to be the best man after the Messenger because he was the most obedient to him. One of the hadiths which the Shi'ites pride themselves upon is a hadith attributed to the Messenger of God.
The Prophet said to the tribe of Wulay'ah: "Bani Wulay'ah, you must change your attitude, or I shall send to you a man who is from me to punish you severely."
Some of the people who were present asked the Prophet
"Who is the man you are going to send to them?"
The Prophet replied:
"He is the man who was patching the sole of my shoes."
They looked around and found Ali patching the sole of the Prophet's shoes. It is inconceivable that the Shi'ites can be proud of the fact that Ali was the patcher of the Prophet Muhammad's shoes and claim that the Imam is higher than or equal to the Prophet.
Therefore, I do not find any justification for directing such an accusation at the Shi'ites who glorify the Prophet the most. The Shi'ites say that the highest honor the Imam Ali acquired is that he was chosen by the Prophet to be his brother. When the Prophet commanded every two Muslims to become brothers, he held Ali's hand and said
"This is my brother." Thus, the Messenger of God, the highest Messenger, the Imam of all righteous people, the one who had no equal among the servants of God, made Ali his brother. (Al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah, by Ibn Hisham, part 1, page 505).
Are The Sunnites Clear Of Exaggeration?
Certainly the Shi'ites are not extremist, and there is no hadith reported by the Shi'ites that may justify such an accusation. However, it would not be improper to ask the following question: Are the Sunnites and their scholars free of exaggeration and extremism concerning the position of some prominent companions of the Prophet? It would not be out of place to say that the Sunnites are closer to extremism than the Shi'ites.
We find in the books of the Sunni scholars and hadith recorders indications that they put 'Umar in a position higher than that of the Messenger of God. The following are some of the hadiths:
"Al-Hakim Al-Nisaburi (in his book AI-Mustadrak, part 3, page 84), reported that Ubayy Ibn Ka'b said the following:
"I heard the Messenger of God saying: The first one the Almighty will embrace on the Day of Judgement is 'Umar. The first one the Lord will shake hands with will be 'Umar, and the first one the Almighty takes by His hand and admits to paradise is 'Umar."
Al-Hafiz Muhammad Ibn Majah in his authentic Sunan reported that Ubayy Ibn Ka'b said:
"The Messenger of God said: The first one God will shake hands with (on the Day of Judgement) will be 'Umar. The first one God will greet is 'Umar, and he is the first one Allah takes by His hand and admits to paradise." These hadiths clearly indicate that 'Umar will be above all the Prophets including the head of the Prophets, Muhammad. When 'Umar is to be the first embraced and his hand shaken by the Almighty, all the prophets will be after him. This is a strange and astonishing hadith.
It portrays the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth as a human who embraces people and shakes hands with them. Al-Hakim also reported that Jabir Ibn Abdullah said that Abu Bakr said that he heard the Messenger say: "The sun never rose on a man better than 'Umar." Al-Hakim said "This hadith is authentic." (AI-Mustadrak, part 3, page 90).
If the sun never rose on a man better than 'Umar, it means that 'Umar was not less than any of the Prophets of God including their highest, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah. It is reported among the virtues of 'Umar that the Messenger of God said:
"Whenever Gabriel delayed in his visits to me, I guessed that he was sent to 'Umar." (Ibn Abi Al-Hadid, Vol.6, part 12, page 178).
It is also reported that 'Umar is the lamp of the people of paradise. (Ibn Hajar, Al Sawa'iq AI-Muhriqah, page 97).
If the Prophet had been concerned whether Gabriel could have visited 'Umar, 'Umar would have been equal to the Prophet in position and would have been a competitor. Furthermore, how could 'Umar be the light of the people of paradise while the Prophets, including the Messenger of God, are among the people of paradise?
This means that the light of 'Umar is higher than the light of all the prophets. Furthermore, if 'Umar is the light of the people of paradise, and the width of paradise is the Heaven and the Earth, it means that 'Umar's light is the light of the universe. Should that be the case, all the prophets would be in need of his light, and that would mean that 'Umar is above the messengers of God. In conclusion, I would like to say that I do not mean, through these hadiths, to accuse our Sunnite brothers of placing 'Umar above the Final Messenger of God and the rest of the prophets.
This is certainly not my intention; but I wanted to say that what the Sunnites attributed to the Shi'ites, that Ali is above Muhammad, is an unjustifiable and vicious lie because there is nothing in the Shi'ite books that indicates this allegation. The Shi'ites consider the spread of such a lie a flagrant aggression against the glory of Islam and the honor of the Shi'ites. I wanted to bring to the attention of the readers that the Imamite Shi'ites are too righteous to accuse their Sunnite brothers of placing a man above the Prophet in spite of the fact that there are many hadiths, which are considered by the Sunni scholars to be authentic, indicating that 'Umar is higher than the great Messenger and the messengers who were before him.
Do the Imams Have Any Authority on the Universe?
The mercenary writers have tried more than one way to insult the followers of the Members of the House of the Prophet Muhammad. Among these shameful ways is the allegation that the Shi'ite Muslims believe that the Imams from the Members of the House of the Prophet Muhammad control the atoms of the universe.
These writers declare that such a belief is a belief in the divinity of the Imams. They tried to prove this accusation by another allegation. They accused the revolutionary Islamic leader, Imam Khumayni, of saying in one of his books or lectures that the Imams from the Members of the House of the Prophet Muhammad control the atoms of the universe.
I have never read such a statement in the books or lectures of Imam Khumayni. However, let us assume that he indeed said this. But let us try to understand his words instead of deliberately trying to misunderstand them. Did the revolutionary leader mean that the Imams have an independent authority over the atoms of nature separate from the authority of God Almighty? Did he mean that the Imams are able, by their own power, to change the course of nature?
Could he not have meant that the Imams are so absolutely obedient to God, and that because of their purity and obedience to Him, He responds to their prayers? Therefore, if they ask Him to change a natural course, their prayers are answered. There is no doubt that Imam Khumayni does not think that the Imams have power independent from the Almighty. He is too pure and righteous to voice such a thing, write it, or think it. He is one of the most righteous, pure, and obedient to the Almighty.
If Imam Khumayni had said that the Imams can control the atoms of the universe, he undoubtedly meant that the Imams of the House of the Prophet Muhammad had ascended in their obedience and worship to God to such a high degree that they could have asked the Almighty to transform the atoms of one object into the atoms of another, and He would have granted their request.
Furthermore, if they had asked Him to revive a dead person, God would have brought him back to life. Is this a belief in the divinity of the Imams? Those who attribute such a statement to Imam Khumayni and consider it a deviation from the Islamic course should give the matter serious thought. They should test such a statement with the contents of the Holy Qur'an.
The Great Book informs us of the miracles of the Prophets of God. And what is that in thy right hand, O Moses? He said: This is my staff. On it, I lean, and with it, I beat branches for my sheep, and in it I find other uses. "God said: Cast it down, O Moses! He cast it down, and behold! It became a snake, slithering. God said: Grasp it and fear not. We shall return it to its former state. "And draw thy hand to your side, it will come forth white without harm. That will be another miracle." (ch. 20. vs. 17-22).
This means that the dead cells which composed the rod of Moses were transformed into living cells. Then those living cells miraculously went back to dead cells.
In chapter Al-Shu'ara, we read the following words of the Almighty: "We revealed to Moses: Strike the sea with thy staff. It parted, and each part was like a huge mountain." (ch. 26, v.64)
Does this not mean that God made the sea obedient to Moses to such a degree that Moses was able to divide the water of the sea into two solid parts, each of them as huge as a mountain in height and size?
The Qur'an Informs Us Of Jesus
In Al- 'Imran, we read that the Almighty informed us about Jesus: "And we will make him a messenger to the children of Israel (with this message): I come to you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird, by Allah's leave. I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by Allah's leave . . ." (ch. 3, v.49)
Here we see that the Almighty enabled Jesus to transform a piece of clay into a living bird that could fly like other birds. Is this the work of Moses or Jesus? Would the Qur'an invite us to deify someone other than God?
The Qur'an Informs Us Of Muhammad
In regard to the Prophet Muhammad, we read God's word in the chapter of The Moon: "The hour (of judgement) is near, and the moon has been split. But if they see a sign, they turn away and say: This is prolonged magic." (ch. 54, vs. 1-2)
This verse informs us that Allah split the moon in response to His Messenger Muhammad's prayer, and this never happened before the time of Muhammad.
A Tree Walked In Response To The Order Of Muhammad
We find in Nahj al-Balaghah that Imam Ali reported that he was with the Prophet when the chieftains of Quraysh challenged him and asked him to order a nearby tree to uproot and walk to him. They said that this would be visible evidence of his prophethood. The Messenger of God spoke to the tree saying:
"Tree, if you believe in Allah and the Hereafter and know that I am a Messenger of God, uproot and walk until you stand in front of me, with permission of God."
The tree, obeying the Prophet, uprooted and walked to him while making a loud noise like the wings of a flying bird. When the chiefs saw the tree standing in front of the prophet, they asked him to make half the tree come forward and keep the other half in its original place. When he did that, they said: "Let the half that came to you go back to the other half. He did." (Nahj al-Balaghah, part 2, pp.158-9)
Ibn Hisham reported similar to this: "Rukanah Al-Muttalibi was the strongest man in Mecca. He met the Messenger outside Mecca and the Messenger invited him to Islam. Rukanah said:
"If you can prove that you are a true messenger, I will follow you."
The Messenger said:
"What do you say if I wrestle you down? Will that make you believe that I am a true prophet?"
The Prophet wrestled him down twice.
"Muhammad, this is really amazing. Did you really wrestle me?"
The Prophet said:
"I will show you more amazing things than this if you obey God and follow my way."
Rukanah said: What is it?
The Prophet said: "I will call this tree which you are looking at, and it will come to me."
Rukanah said: Call it, and the Prophet called it. The tree came until it stood in front of him.
The Prophet said to it: "Go back to your place," and it went to its original place. (Ibn Hisham, AI-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah, part 1, page 391)
These miracles which occurred in response to prayers of the Messenger of God testify, as documented in the Qur'an, that Allah empowers His great servants to perform miracles by His permission.
In other words, He responds to the prayers of His Messengers by creating miracles. What happened through the prophets does not indicate that they had any touch of divinity. On the contrary, it testifies that those prophets were true servants of God. They ascended to the highest degree of servitude to Him, and that their obedience to Him was absolute. Had they been otherwise, they would not have been able to perform any miracles, and no prayer by them would have been answered. They obeyed God completely and He responded to their prayers.
Are The Imams Like The Prophets?
It may be said that miracles are conceivable when they are attributed to messengers of God. However, the Imams of the Members of the House of the Prophet are not prophets. They were men of knowledge and righteousness, but none of them ascended to the degree of prophethood.
This is true, but the Imams from the House of the Prophet were non-prophets because the prophethood was concluded by the Messenger of God, the Prophet Muhammad. Had the Messenger not been the last of the prophets, it would have been possible for the Imams, or some of them, to be prophets. Probably other people could have become prophets as well. The evidence of this is that the prophet said to Ali:
"You are to me like Aaron was to Moses except that there shall be no prophets after me." (al-Bukhari, his Sahih, part 5, page 24).
This means that Ali was like Aaron in everything except the prophethood. If any of the Sunnite scholars think that we are exaggerating by saying that Ali and the Imams from his children were qualified for the prophethood if the Messenger had not been the last of the Prophets, they should remember that prominent Sunnite scholars reported similar to this concerning 'Umar.
The hadith-recorder Ahmad Ibn Hajar Al-Haythami in his book AI-Sawa'iq AI-Muhriqah, page 96, documents that Imam Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Hakim, and Al-Tabarani reported that 'Uqbah Ibn 'Amir said that the Messenger of God said:
"Had it been possible to have a prophet after me, that prophet would have been 'Umar."
Why should anyone think that it would be an exaggeration to say that Allah would make nature and the atoms of the universe obedient to the Imams of the House of the Prophet Muhammad when we do not consider it an exaggeration to say that 'Umar could have been a prophet if Muhammad had not been the final prophet.
Ibn Hajar, in his Al-Sawa'iq, page 102, reported that when Egypt was conquered by the Muslims, there was a custom to throw a girl in the Nile River on the 11th night of one of the non-Arabic months in order that the Nile would continue to flow. It was believed that without throwing a girl into it, the Nile would not flow. Amr Ibn al-As wrote to the Caliph 'Umar concerning this custom. 'Umar sent a message to the Nile saying:
"If you were flowing before by your own power, we do not want you to run; and if Allah is the one who makes you flow, we ask the Almighty to make you flow." Amr Ibn al-As threw the letter of 'Umar into the Nile one day before the Christian commemoration of the crucifixion. The following morning they woke up to find the river flowing stronger and had gone up 48 feet in one night.
Did the Shi'ite Muslims Borrow Some Jewish Teachings?
The mercenary writers whose goal is to split the Muslims allege that a Yemenite Jew from Sana', Abdullah Ibn Saba (also called Ibn al-Sawda), adopted Islam during the reign of the third Caliph 'Uthman. They allege that Ibn Saba, through some doctrines that he spread among Muslims, was a big factor in causing the revolt against 'Uthman.
The following are some of the doctrines attributed to Ibn Saba.
(1). This alleged Jew invented the idea that the Prophet Muhammad would return before the Day of Judgement. He based his allegation on the return of Jesus, saying:
"If Jesus is going to come back, Muhammad will also return because he is more important than Jesus."
He also quoted the following verse from the Qur'an to support his allegation: "Certainly the one who revealed the Qur'an to you shall return you." These writers say that the Shi'ite school borrowed from this imaginary Jew the idea that the Prophet would return.
(2). Ibn Saba is the one who propagated the idea that Ali Ibn Abi Talib is the executor and successor of the Messenger of God. He said that there were a thousand prophets before Muhammad, and that each prophet had an executor after him, and that Ali is the executor of the Prophet. Furthermore, Ibn Saba said that the three caliphs who ruled after the Prophet were usurpers of the Islamic rule.
(3). Ibn Saba is the one who instigated the two prominent companions of the Prophet Muhammad, Abu Dharr and Am-mar Ibn Yasir, against 'Uthman. The mercenary writers also allege that this imaginary Jew met Abu Dharr in Damascus, and that he introduced him to the idea of prohibiting treasuring gold and silver. He also said that the revenue from Zakat and land tax belongs to the Muslims rather than to God.
(4). Ibn Saba persuaded the men who participated in killing 'Uthman to start the battle of Basra (at night) between Imam Ali's camp and the camp of the three leaders (A'ishah, Talhah, and Zubayr). He wanted to make each of the two armies accuse the other of starting the battle. Let us discuss each of these allegations in order.
The Return Of The Prophet Muhammad
The attribution to Ibn Saba of the idea that the Prophet would return is ridiculous. It shows the ignorance of the mercenary writers who write such allegations. They misunderstand the history of Islam. Had these mercenaries studied Islamic history carefully, they would have known that the first one who declared the idea of the return of the Messenger of God was 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab.
Muslim historians agree that 'Umar stood at the Mosque of the Prophet when the Prophet passed away and said:
"There are hypocrite men who allege that the Messenger of God has died. Certainly the Messenger of God did not die, but he went to his Lord as Moses, son of 'Imran, went to his Lord (for receiving the Heavenly commandments). By God, Muhammad will return as Moses returned, and he shall sever the hands and legs of the men who alleged that the Messenger of Allah has died." (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, part 2, page 655)
We cannot say that 'Umar took this idea from Abdullah Ibn Saba or any other person. Ibn Saba did not even exist at that time, not even in the imagination of Sayf bin 'Umar al-Tamimi, who invented the entire allegation.
The Shi'ite school of thought does not consider the Prophet's return a part of Islamic belief. If any Muslim believes in this, it would only be logical to say that the source of this doctrine is the second Caliph's speech on the day the Messenger of God died, rather than Ibn Saba.
The Doctrine Of Ali's Executorship
The dividers of Muslims alleged that Ibn Saba is the one who invented the doctrine of Ali's executorship. Yet history testifies that the Messenger of God himself is the one who declared that Ali would be his executor. Imam Ali reported the following: When the Qur'anic verse:
"And warn your closest relatives"
was revealed, the Messenger of God called me and said:
"Ali, certainly Allah commanded me to warn my closest relatives, and I feel the difficulty of this mission. I know that when I confront them with this warning, I will not like their response."
The Prophet invited the members of his clan to dine with him on a small amount of food and little milk. There were forty of them. After they ate, the Prophet spoke to them:
"Children of Abdul Muttalib, by God, I do not know of any young man from the Arabs who brought to his people better than I brought to you. I have brought to you the goodness of this world and the Hereafter. The Almighty commanded me to invite you to it. Who among you will assist me on this mission and become my brother, executor, and successor?"
No one accepted the invitation, and I said:
"Messenger of God, I shall be your assistant."
He held my neck and said to them:
"This is my brother, executor, and successor. Listen to him and obey him." They laughed, saying to Abu Talib: He (Muhammad) commanded you to listen to your son and to obey him. (al-Tabari, al-Ta'rikh, part 2, pages 319-21)
This hadith was reported by Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, and Al-Bayhaqi in his book aI-Dala'il. This was also reported by a number of historians including Abu al-Fida and Ibn al-Athir. In addition, Muhammad Hussein Haykal recorded it in his book Hayat Muhammad (first edition).
Here we should ask the following question: Imam Ali reported that the Messenger of God is the one who granted him the office of executorship, brotherhood, and successorship. Sayf Ibn 'Umar reported that the idea of the executorship of Ali had come from a Jew called Abdullah Ibn Saba.
We should ask the members of the Takfeer University (who call everyone who disagrees with them "Kafir"-unbeliever) the following question: Do you believe Imam Ali's report or Sayf Ibn 'Umar's?
Sayf was accused by prominent Sunnite scholars of weakness, forgery, and heresy. Of course, we should not expect any true Muslim to choose the report of a liar such as Sayf Ibn 'Umar and reject the report of the Imam of the faithfuls, Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the brother of the Prophet. The Messenger of God once said to Ali: "Would you not be pleased to be to me like Aaron was to Moses, but there shall be no Prophet after me?" (al-Bukhari in his Sahih reported this through his channel to Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas, part 6, page 3). Muslim also reported this in his Sahih, part 15, page 176.
Do the mercenary writers who endeavor to spread hostility among Muslims forget that while returning from his farewell pilgrimage, and in the presence of over a hundred thousand pilgrims, the Messenger of God declared:
"Do I not have more right over the believers than they have over themselves?"
'Yes, Messenger of God.'
"The Prophet held up the hand of Ali and said:
'Whoever I am his Mawla (leader), this Ali is his Mawla. God, love whoever loves him, and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him.'
" No Muslim would doubt that the Messenger of God is the leader of all Muslims from all generations.
The Prophet in his statement granted Ali the same position as his when he said that Ali is the leader of everyone who follows the Prophet. This declaration which was reported by about a hundred companions does not just indicate that Ali is the executor of the Prophet, but also indicates that Ali takes the place of the Messenger in the leadership of all Muslims.
However, these mercenaries still allow themselves to say that the belief that Ali was the executor of the Messenger had come through a Jew who declared his Islam during the days of 'Uthman.
The Mercenaries Try To Defame The Two Beloved Companions Of The Prophet, Abu Dharr And
Ammar Ibn Yasir
The mercenary workers did not even hesitate to attack the outstanding companions, Abu Dharr and Ammar. They said that Abu Dharr and Ammar met the imaginary Jew Ibn Saba, were affected by his propaganda, and thus turned against 'Uthman.
They say this while history testifies that Abu Dharr said to 'Uthman in the presence of Ka'b Al-Ahbar:
"Do not be satisfied that people do no harm to others. They should try to assist one another. It could be that the person who pays Zakat should do more. He should assist his neighbors and Muslim brothers and be generous to his relatives."
Ka'b Al-Ahbar said:
"Whoever performs his duty would be free of any other additional charitable spending."
Abu Dharr immediately took his cane and hit Ka'b on the neck injuring him and said:
"Son of a Jewish lady, are you trying to teach us our religion?"
With such a firmness in religion which made Abu Dharr hit and injure Ka'b (who was highly respected by 'Umar and 'Uthman) because he tried to give a verdict in the Islamic religion, it is inconceivable that Abu Dharr would learn from the imaginary Ibn Saba, who never met 'Uthman or any other caliph before him.
The dividers of Muslims do not hesitate to attack Abu Dharr and Ammar by saying that they were affected by Ibn Saba. However, we should not forget that by their attacking two prominent companions, they actually are attacking the Messenger of God who attested to their purity and righteousness.
Ibn Majah, in his authentic Sunan, reported that the Messenger of God said: "Certainly Allah commanded me to love four persons and informed me that He loves them."
The companions asked the Prophet:
"Messenger of God, who are these four persons?"
The Prophet said:
"Ali is from them (repeating that three times), Abu Dharr, Salman, and Al-Miqdad." (part 1, page 52, hadith No.149)
Al-Tirmidhi, in his authentic Sunan, reported that the Messenger said: "Every prophet was given by God seven righteous companions. I was given fourteen righteous companions." He included in them Ammar and Al-Miqdad. (part 5, page 329, hadith 3877)
Al -Tirmidhi also reported that the Prophet said:
"Heaven has not shaded, nor has the earth carried a truer person than Abu Dharr. He walks on earth with the immaterialistic attitude of Jesus, son of Mary." (part 5, page 334, hadith 3889)
Ibn Majah, in his authentic Sunan, reported that Imam Ali said:
"I was sitting in the house of the Prophet and Ammar asked to see him. The Prophet said 'Welcome the good and the purified.'"
Ibn Majah also reported that 'A'ishah reported that the Messenger of God said "Whenever Ammar is given two alternatives, he always chooses the most righteous of the two."
Al-Tirmidhi, in his authentic Sunan, reported that the Messenger of God witnessed Ammar and his two parents tortured in Mecca. The Prophet said to them: "Members of Yasir's family, be patient. Your destination is paradise. (part 5, page 233)
Thus, Ammar and his parents were the first people to be declared by the Prophet to be dwellers of Paradise. Here we should say: When a Muslim knows that the Prophet has commended these two important companions so highly, and if he is a believer in the truthfulness of Muhammad, he does not allow himself to insult these two companions. Such an insult discredits the Prophet.
We find that the hostility of Sayf Ibn 'Umar Al-Tamimi, who lived during the second century after the Prophet, and the hostility of his students towards the Shi'ites motivated them to spread cheap propaganda. Sayf knew that attributing the revolt against 'Uthman to the work of Ibn Saba contradicted known historical facts which show that the two companions, Abu Dharr and Ammar, were opposed to 'Uthman 's ever coming to power.
Because Sayf knew of their opposition to 'Uthman, he tried to smear their reputations by adding the names of the two prominent companions to the list of students of the imaginary Jew.
If Ibn Saba ever existed he, according to the tale of Sayf Ibn 'Umar, had declared his Islam after 'Uthman came to power. Abu Dharr and Ammar Ibn Yasir, on the other hand, had been opposed to 'Uthman's caliphate before he came to power. The two companions were followers of the Imam Ali. They were firm believers that he was appointed by the Prophet to be his successor.
Since this was their belief before Ibn Saba's existence, Sayf's story about their being influenced by Ibn Saba is unfounded and untrue. Thus, in order to clear the third caliph from all the accusations pertaining to his ill-management of the Islamic treasury, Sayf accused the revolters of being students of Ibn Saba. He then completed his story by adding the two companions to the class of Ibn Saba's students, intentionally overlooking the fact that the two companions belong to the first successful class of the school of the Prophet Muhammad. They were among the important companions who were honored by the Prophet. In the end, Sayf was led by his untrue story to reject the testimony of the Prophet. By this, Sayf had disproved his whole tale.
Who Is Sayf Ibn 'Umar?
The books that deal with the reporters of hadiths inform us that Sayf was a well-known liar.
Ibn Ma'in (died in 233 AH) said: Sayf is weak.
Abu Hatim (died in 277 AH) said: Sayf's hadith is rejected.
Al-Nisa'i (died in 303 AH) said: Sayf is weak.
Abu Dawud (died in 216 AH) said: Sayf is nothing. Some of his hadiths were conveyed and the majority of them are denied.
Ibn Hibban said: Sayf attributed fabricated hadiths to good reporters. He was accused of being a heretic.
Al-Darqutni (died in 385 AH) said: Sayf is weak.
Al-Hakim Al-Nisaburi (died in 405 AH) said: Sayf is accused of being a heretic.
Ibn Abd Al-Barr (died in 462 AH) said in his writing abut Al-Qa'qa': Sayf reported that Al-Qa'qa' said: I attended the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Ibn Abd Al-Barr also said: Ibn Abi Hatim said: Sayf is weak. Thus, what was conveyed of the presence of Al-Qa'qa' at the death of the Prophet is rejected.
Ibn Hajar (died in 850 AH) said: Sayf's hadith is weak.
Al-Suyuti (died in 900 AH) said after conveying a hadith: "Many reporters of this hadith are weak and the weakest among them is Sayf."
(Sayyid Murtada Al-Askari, Abdullah Ibn Saba, pages 27-28)
I should mention that Al-Askari had a very distinguished achievement. He proved beyond any doubt, in his book Abdullah Ibn Saba, that Ibn Saba never existed, and that he was invented by Sayf Ibn 'Umar.
Was Ibn Saba the Organizer of the Revolt Against 'Uthman in Basra, Kufa, and Egypt?
Should a reader of Islamic history be liberated from his emotions towards or against the Third Caliph, he can be assured that the call for a revolt against the Caliph did not start in Basra, Kufa, Syria, or Egypt.
The agitation against the Caliph started in Medina by prominent and influential individuals. The most prominent among them were 'A'ishah, the mother of believers, Talhah, Zubayr, Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf, Amr Ibn al-As, and Ammar Ibn Yasir.
The Third Caliph, 'Uthman, was given the allegiance of the people with the stipulation that he would manage the affairs of the nation according to the Book of God and the teachings of the Prophet. He was to follow the method of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, if there was no instruction from the Qur'an or the Prophet.
It is well-known that the first two caliphs lived very simple lives. They did not give members of their clans a preference over other people, nor did they appoint any of their relatives to prominent positions in the State. 'Uthman, on the other hand, had his own opinions. He allowed himself to live luxuriously. He put members of his clan in prominent and strong positions in the State, preferring them over other Muslims. However, his relatives were not righteous
. 'Uthman thought that his preference towards them was in accordance with the Book of God because the Qur'an urges people to be kind to their relatives. This method of handling the affairs of the State did not please many companions. They found it extravagant and extreme. They criticized the Caliph for the following things:
(1). He brought his uncle Al-Hakam Ibn Al-As, (son of Umayyah, son of Abd Shams), to Medina after the Prophet had exiled him from Medina. It was reported that Al-Hakam used to hide and listen to the words of the Prophet as he spoke secretly to prominent companions and circulated what he heard. He used to imitate and ridicule the Prophet in the way he walked. The Prophet one time looked at him while he was being imitated and said: "This way you will be." Al-Hakam started immediately shaking and continued that way until he died. One day, while sitting with some of his companions, the Messenger of God said, "A cursed man will enter the room." Shortly thereafter, Al-Hakam entered. He was the cursed man. (Yusuf Ibn Abd Al-Barr, AI-Isti'ab, part one, pages 359-360)
(2). After bringing him to Medina, 'Uthman gave his uncle Al-Hakam 300,000 dirhams.
(3). He made Marwan, son of Al-Hakam, his highest assistant and top advisor, giving him influence equal to his own. Marwan bought a fifth of the spoils of North Africa for 500,000 dinars. However, he did not pay this amount. The Caliph allowed him to keep the money. This amount was equal to ten million dollars.
(4). The Caliph appointed his foster brother Abdullah Ibn Sa'd governor of Egypt. At that time, Egypt was the largest province in the Muslim State. Ibn Sa'd had declared his Islam and moved from Mecca to Medina. The Prophet enlisted him as a recorder of the revelation. However, Ibn Sa'd then deserted the faith and returned to Mecca. He used to say:
"I shall reveal equal to what God revealed to Muhammad."
When Mecca was conquered, the Prophet ordered the Muslims to kill Ibn Sa'd. He was to be killed even if he was found tying himself to the cloth of the Ka'bah. Ibn Sa'd hid himself at the house of 'Uthman. When the situation calmed down, 'Uthman brought Ibn Sa'd to the Prophet and informed him that he had put Ibn Sa'd under his protection. The Prophet remained silent for a long while, hoping that one of those present would kill Ibn Sa'd before he honored 'Uthman's request. The companions, however, did not understand what the Prophet meant by his long silence. Since no one moved to kill Ibn Sa'd, the Prophet approved the protection of 'Uthman.
(5). The Caliph 'Uthman appointed Al-Walid Ibn 'Uqbah (one of his Umayyad relatives), governor of Kufa after dismissing the previous governor, the famous companion Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas. Sa'd was a famous marksman known for combating enemies of Islam in front of the Prophet at the Battle of Uhud. The Prophet prayed for him saying:
"Lord, I ask Thee to make his arrow accurate as I ask Thee to respond to his prayer."
Walid's past during the time of the Prophet was not honorable. The Qur'an discredited him and called him a transgressor. For instance, the Messenger sent him to Banu Al-Mustalaq to collect their Zakat. Walid witnessed from a distance the Mustalaqites coming toward him on their horses. He became frightened due to a previous hostility between the Mustalaqites and him. He returned to the Messenger of God and informed him that the Mustalaqites wanted to kill him. This was not true. However, Walid's information infuriated the Medinite Muslims, and they wanted to attack the Mustalaqites. At this time, the following revelation came down:
"Oh you believe, if a transgressor comes to you with news, try to verify it, lest you inflict damage on people unwittingly; then you may consequently regret your hasty action. (ch. 49, v.6)
Walid continued in his non-Islamic way for the rest of his life. He used to drink wine and several witnesses testified to the Caliph that they had witnessed Walid drunk while leading a congregational prayer. Upon the testimony of good witnesses, Walid was lashed eighty times and was dismissed by the Caliph. The Caliph was expected to replace this transgressor with a good companion of the Prophet but, instead, he replaced Walid with Sa'id Ibn al-As, one of his Umayyad relatives.
The Companions Of Medina Wrote To The Companions Outside Medina
Al -Tabari reported that when people witnessed what 'Uthman had done, the companions living in Medina wrote to the companions living in other provinces: "You have left Medina to endeavor in the way of God and promote the religion of Muhammad. The religion of Muhammad has been corrupted. Come back and straighten the religion of Muhammad." The companions came from every province and killed the Caliph. (Al-Tabari, al-Ta'rikh, part 4, page 367)
Talhah Ibn Ubaydullah was one of the biggest agitators against 'Uthman. It is reported that Imam Ali said to Talhah:
"I ask you in the name of Allah to deter people from attacking 'Uthman." Talhah retorted:
"No, by God, until the Umayyad returns to the people their rights." 'Uthman was the head of the Umayyads. (Al-Tabari, page 405)
'Uthman was besieged in Medina while Imam Ali was in Khaybar. The Imam came to Medina and found people gathering at the residence of Talhah, one of the influential people in Medina. 'Uthman came to Imam Ali and said:
"You owe me my Islamic right and the right of brotherhood and relationship. If I have none of these rights and if I were in the pre-Islamic era, it would still be a shame for a descendant of Abd-Manaf (of whom both Ali and 'Uthman are descendants) to let a man of Taym (Talhah) rob us of our authority."
Imam Ali said to 'Uthman:
"You shall be informed of what I do."
The Imam went to Talhah's house. There were a lot of people there. Imam Ali spoke to Talhah saying:
"Talhah, what is this predicament in which you have fallen?"
"Abu al-Hasan, it is too late."
The Imam went to the treasury and ordered people to open it. Unable to find the key, he broke the door and distributed some of the money among the people. People then deserted Talhah. 'Uthman was very pleased. Talhah came to 'Uthman and said:
"Amir Al-Mu'minin, I tried to do something but Allah prevented me from doing it."
"By God, you did not come as repenter; you came only because you were defeated. May God punish you for your intention." (Ibn Al-Athir, AI-Kamil, part 3, page 84).
Al-Tabari reported in his history that when 'Uthman was besieged, Ibn Abbas came to see him. 'Uthman said:
"Ibn Abbas, come with me." He made him listen to some of the conversations among the besiegers outside the house. They witnessed Talhah pass and ask the people:
"Where is Ibn 'Udays (the leader of the Egyptian revolters)?"
Ibn 'Udays came and conferred secretly with Talhah. Ibn 'Udays then returned to his group and said:
"Do not let anyone enter or leave 'Uthman's house."
'Uthman said to Ibn Abbas:
"This is an order from Talhah. God, I ask Thee to take care of Talhah Ibn Ubaydullah. He instigated these people against me. By God, I hope his share of the caliphate is zero and that his blood is shed." (Al-Tabari, part 4, page 379)
Talhah was not the only collaborator against 'Uthman. His cousin, 'A'ishah, was collaborating and campaigning against 'Uthman as well. She was hopeful that Talhah would be the successor to 'Uthman.
She said to Ibn Abbas while both were performing the pilgrimage:
"Ibn Abbas, you are endowed with an effective tongue. I ask you in the name of God not to try to scatter people away from Talhah by putting doubt in their minds. The situation of 'Uthman has become obvious. People have come from many locations for something big that is about to happen. I know that Talhah Ibn Ubaydullah has acquired the keys of the treasury houses. If Talhah succeeds 'Uthman, he will follow the path of his cousin Abu Bakr . . ." (Al- Tabari, page 407)
Al-Baladhuri in his history (Ansab Al-Ashraf) said that when the situation became extremely grave, 'Uthman ordered Marwan Ibn Al-Hakam and Abdul Rahman Ibn Attab Ibn Asid to try to dissuade 'A'ishah from campaigning against him. They went to her while she was preparing to leave for pilgrimage and said:
"We pray that you stay in Medina and that Allah may through you save this man ('Uthman)."
"I have prepared my means of transportation and vowed to perform the pilgrimage. By God, I shall not honor your request."
Marwan and Ibn Attab stood up and Marwan said:
"Bishr built the fire to stir up the people against me; and when the fire became large he left the scene."
"Marwan, I wish that he ('Uthman) was in one of my sacks, and that I could carry him. I would then throw him into the sea." (AI-Baladhuri, part 1 of Vol.4, page 75)
Certainly the revolution against the Third Caliph started in Medina, not in Basra, Kufa, or Egypt. The prominent people of Medina are the ones who wrote to those outside of Medina and instigated them against 'Uthman. To say that a Jew named Ibn Saba is the one who inspired people to revolt against the Caliph is not logical unless we say he is the one who inspired 'A'ishah, Talhah, and Zubayr to revolt.
But those who speak of Ibn Saba and his role do not include 'A'ishah and the people of her position as followers of Ibn Saba. The alleged role of Ibn Saba, in the revolt against 'Uthman, would also be credible if we were to say that Ibn Saba was the one who persuaded the Caliph to follow a path contrary to that of the first two Caliphs, and that he was the one who advised 'Uthman to give Islamic funds to his relatives and appoint them governors of Islamic provinces.
The manner in which 'Uthman conducted the affairs of the Islamic State gave 'A'ishah, along with Talhah, Zubayr, and others, reason to instigate the Muslims against 'Uthman. However, those who attribute the revolution against 'Uthman to Ibn Saba do not accept that Ibn Saba was the one who advised 'Uthman to follow that wrong policy. They are correct, because that alleged Jew never existed except in the imagination of Sayf Ibn 'Umar Al-Tamimi
It is amazing that such an important role in the revolution against 'Uthman is attributed to a man whose existence has no evidence. Yet historians forget the important role which was played by a person well known in Islamic history, namely: Amr Ibn Al-As. He was more intelligent and more clever than any Jew that ever existed in that era. Amr had all the reasons to conspire against the Caliph and he had all the abilities to instigate most of the Medinite personalities against him.