CONSPIRACY

 
 

THE CONSPIRACY AT SAQIFA

 

While the Prophet (S.A.W) was being buried by Ali (A.S.) his family members his clan and some of the immigrants and Ansars, men like Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Obaida with their friends were arguing with some 350 Ansars at Saqifa Bani Saeda, a place not far from the Prophet (S.A.W)ís house as to who should succeed Mohammad (S.A.W). Saqifa Bani Saeda was a shedded place in Madina which belonged to the tribe of Bani Saeda, where generally notorious people assembled to hatch conspiracies or plan dacoities. [Gaisul Logaat page 408]. The Prophet (S.A.W) in his stay of ten years in Madina never visited this place nor did he ever send his representatives or companions for the purpose of preaching.

 

 

Though the members of Bani Khazraj and Bani Aws, the two branches of Bani Azd clan and the oldest residents of Madina had stopped fighting among themselves, which was their history they were always eager to oblige the Prophet (S.A.W) and his men from Mecca so that at the time of any conflict among themselves they may not be overpowered by the other clan. The immigrants who were till late living on the mercy of these tribes had now emerged as the third and most dominating force. They always boasted of their close relationship with the Prophet (S.A.W), of their being from the tribe of Quraish which was considered to be noblest clan of Arabia. They fully exploited this relationship and always talked with an air of superiority and authority.

 

The people of Madina who at one time did not hesitate to kill a person in the cause of Islam be he a close relative of these immigrants or any infidel of any part of Arabia were now afraid to do so. Their sole protectors the Prophet (S.A.W) was no more. They had also seen how some of the immigrants whose relatives were killed by the sword had now suddenly become all the more powerful. They could now

take the revenge of their dear one, and there was nobody to help them. The mistrust among both the tribes was always there and the feat that the immigrants whose mind and attitude was known to them may exploit this situation and rule them made them more panicky. They now wanted to unite and fight these forces. They wanted to protect themselves and their children. With this fear in mind the Ansars on hearing the news of the demise of the Prophet (S.A.W) gathered here to decide their future course of action. There was tension, commotion and arguments. Some wanted Ali (A.S.) as their Caliph some wanted to choose somebody from the Ansars themselves. As they feared that they might be made the target of intrigues, conspiracies and politics of the immigrants.

 

Addressing the gathering of the Ansars Sad Bin Obada one of their leaders said, "O helpers the honour and respect you possess today no other tribe enjoys. The Prophet taught Islam to his people for twelve years, but only a few obeyed and they too were so weak and humble that they could not protect him. They neither followed the tenets of Islam in the true sense, nor were brave enough to keep his enemies away from him. Till Allah showed us the path of righteousness and gave us honour for protecting his Prophet and his followers. He gave you courage to strengthen Islam and fight its enemies. It was your sword which helped the Prophet to crush the infidels. Allah then recalled His Prophet, who went much satisfied with you. Therefore secure the leadership for yourselves as you are the most deserving of all." The gathering agreed to his suggestion and proposed his name for the leadership.

 

It was at this point when Umar entered Saqifa with Abu Bakr and Abu Obaida. Umar wanted to interrupt Saad Bin Obada but Abu Bakr stopped him and himself spoke. "Allah bestowed upon Mohammad His guidance and His religion and in turn Mohammad invited the people to accept them. We the immigrants were the first in whose heart the Almighty filled the respect for him, and we bowed our heads before him. Those who followed us came next to us. Therefore we stood more closer to the Prophet than others. Then we also belonged to the respected lot (Quraish). You helpers (people of Madina) too gave us shelter and helped our religion spread, but your position before the Prophet (in comparison to ours) was that of a Vazir. The Holy Quran has called you our brothers and partners and truly you have shared our sufferings and gains equally. By Allah you are more dear to us than others. You have always been contented with what Allah gave you. You carried His orders when he asked you to look after the immigrants whom He sent to you. Therefore donít be jealous of us, help us as you have helped us before. Today it is your duty to see

that the Muslims are not divided among themselves. Donít feel bad at the honour Allah bestowed upon your immigrant brothers. I therefore call upon you to pay allegiance to Obaida or Umar whom I have

chosen for the leadership."Obaida and Umar immediately rose and declined the honour saying "You (Abu Bakr) deserve more than us."

 

Refuting Abu Bakrís remarks the Ansars said, "By Allah we are not jealous of what Allah has bestowed upon you and we also ensure you that of all the human beings on this earth we love you the most. What we fear is that tomorrow a person who is neither from you nor from us grabs the leadership then what will be our position? Therefore it would be better if we have one leader from you and one from us, and let all the Muslims pay allegiance to both. We may also decide here that when the leader of the Ansars dies, the Ansars may choose another leader from them and similarly when the leader of the immigrant dies they too will choose their own leader from amongst them. And this system can go for ever."

 

Abu Bakr not arguing with this said, "Allah made Mohammad His Prophet so that his men (Quraish), may pray to Him alone, though there were so many other gods from whom they (the people) expected prosperity and good things forgetting that they were all hand made gods and carved from stones or wood. Because the Arabs did not want to leave the religions of their ancestors. But Allah chose some people who were though very few, but sacrificed everything they had in His name. They suffered all hardships, faced oppositions but did not deter from the path of His obedience. These people were the firsts to pray with him (the Prophet ), they should truly be called his near ones and deserve to be his heir. Anyone who challenges this right is a tyrant. Similarly your status among the followers of Islam cannot be degraded. Allah created you to help His religion and His Prophet and towards you He asked his Prophet to migrate. Therefore position wise we are first and you stand second. We are the rulers and you are our vazirs. Whatever we shall do or decide will be with your consultations." Sensing the intentions of Abu Bakr, Habab Bin Manzar said to the people, "O Ansars do not pay allegiance to these immigrants. They are under your obligations and control. They are not strong enough to go against you. You are honourable, respectable, rich and more in number. You are also the fighting arms of Islam. With your help Islam could stand on its feet. Act as your people want you to act today, do not betray them and do not defeat your cause. It was you who gave refuge to the Prophet when he migrated to your city. By Allah they did not dared to pray openly till they stepped on your soil. Even their Friday prayers were offered in our mosque. Our swords forced the infidels of Mecca to surrender before the Prophet. Therefore you are superior to the immigrants and have more right to get the Caliphate. This is not the time for us to be divided or get dispersed. This is the time to insist for our rights, and if they do not agree to accept an Ansar as the Caliph of all the Muslims then let us have one

Caliph from the Ansars and one from the immigrants."

 

Refusing to accept the suggestion of Habab bin Manzar, Umar said, "Two swords are not kept in one sheath. The Quraish will never accept an Ansar as their Caliph, because the Prophet was not from them. The heir of the Prophet must be from the same clan as that of the Prophet (S.A.W) only. And as the Prophet was from the Quraish therefore it is our right to be the heir of this government and his assets. This right of ours is unchallengeable. We are the Prophet near and dear ones and whoever challenges this right is a sinner and will be damned."

 

Hubab bin Manzar rose in anger and pointing at Umar said to his men, "Do not listen to this man or his companions otherwise you will lose your right to govern. If they do not accept your rights throw them out of your city and choose your own Caliph. You can do that because you have earned this position through your sword. If you agree with me, by Allah, I can drive these people to their old positions and whoever comes in my way will be dealt with this sword."

 

Then Abu Obaida bin Jarrah whom Abu Bakr and Umar had brought with them stood up and said, "O Ansars, do not spoil your good name which you have earned by being the first to help the immigrants and

the first to give them shelter." But nobody listened to him. When Bashir bin Saad saw that the Ansars are bent upon making Hubab bin Manzar the Caliph whom he hated most inspite of his being from the same clan and also his cousin, stood up and said, "O Ansars we have earned our names in the wars we fought for the Prophet and we have also earned the respect of being true Muslims, then why should we be so selfish today? Why donít we put an end to this matter? We are already enjoying the high status Allah has bestowed upon us as the `Helpers of Islamí then let the heir of the Prophet be from Quraish as the Prophet himself was from them. In my opinion it is not proper for us to dispute their rights of being his heir. I therefore request you to fear Allah and do not defraud the immigrants of their right."

 

Taking advantage of the difference thus created by Bashir among the Ansars Abu Bakr rose and said, "I advise you to choose one of these two (pointing towards Umar and Abu Obaida) as your Caliph." Umar

immediately stood up and apologized, "How can I be a candidate in presence of a man of your caliber and status. You have embraced Islam much before me, you are also rich and have the honour of being the Prophetís companion in the cave. Who can dare to challenge you. Raise your hand and I will pay allegiance to you." Accordingly Abu Bakr stretched his hand before Umar, but before Umar could grasp it, Bashir bin Saad jumped on it and holding Abu Bakrís hand pledged allegiance to him. Hubab bin Manzar shouted at Bashir and said, "You are sacked from our clan. What forced you to do that? It is your jealousy with me that has forced you to do that." Bashir replied, "No it is not so. The Quraish deserve this honour."

 

When the members of Bani Aws saw that Bashir who was from the clan of Khazraj and one of its leaders have stolen the initiative and has sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr, even before the immigrants could do so and have thus gained favour they too rushed forward and started pledging their allegiance to Abu Bakr lest they may have to face the wrath of the immigrants. They were so excited by this situation that one of them remarked, "If Saad bin Obada becomes the caliph then his tribe will gain respect and we shall be treated as inferiors. Therefore let us (Aws) all pledge our allegiance to Abu Bakr."

 

Hubab bin Manzar pulled his sword but was overpowered by his opponents and his sword was taken from him. The scuffle continued and Hubab was heard shouting, "O Ansars, what are you doing? I can see your children begging on the doorsteps of the immigrants and they do not get even water." Abu Bakr asked Hubab if he was afraid of him. Hubab said, "No, but I am afraid of your successors." Abu Bakr said, "At that moment you do what you deem fit. I will not come in your way Hubab." But alas neither you nor I will be alive to see the disaster these people will spell.

 

The fear of losing the sympathy of the immigrants grew so much among the Ansars that they madly rushed towards Abu Bakr to pledge their allegiance and in that melee, Saad bin Obada was almost

trampled. When his people protested Umar cried, "Kill him! May Allah kill him." Saying this Umar jumped on Saadís head and sitting on it and pressing it he said, "I will crush you in such a way that your body will break into pieces." Saad catching Umar by his beard shouted back, "By Allah if you take even one hair of my body, I will break all your teeth and you will go home toothless." Abu Bakr separated the two and advised Umar to cool down lest his mission fails. Saad then told Umar, "By Allah if I would not have been sick today, and if I could only stand on my own you would have heard such echoes of my voice from the lanes and by lanes that you and your people would have vanished into the holes of this earth. If my health would have been better today I would have sent you to such people who would have made you their subjects and slaves and you would never have been Caliph."

 

Then he asked his men to carry him home. Thus he went away without pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr. Similarly many others who were neither in favour of Abu Bakr nor Hubab bin Manzar went away saying we will pledge our allegiance to only Ali (A.S.) and none else. Umar pledging his allegiance to Abu Bakr said, "Think that my strength has also been added to your strength."

 

Abu Bakr who was not happy with the attitude of Saad bin Obada. He sent for him to come back and pledge his allegiance, but Saad refused and told the messengers, "Tell him I will hit him with all the

arrows I have and I will paint my lance with his blood. I, my relatives and the people of my clan will fight with him, and by Allah if all the men and even the Jinns come to pledge their allegiance to him I will not

pledge mine." On hearing this Umar asked Abu Bakr not to let go Saad but force him to pay allegiance to him. But Basheer intervened and advised them not to precipitate the matter saying, "Leave Saad alone.

Because if he has refused once he will never do it now even if you kill him, and he will not be killed till all his relatives are killed, and you will not be able to kill his relatives till you do not kill all the members of

Bani Khazraj clan, and that will only be possible when you first finish the clan of Bani Aws. Therefore, be content with what you have achieved. By sparing him you lose nothing." Abu Bakr accepted Bashirís advice and did not touch Saad.

 

Saad never forgave them for this. He neither pledged his allegiance to them not was he ever seen with them, nor prayed in their company, nor went to Hajj with them.

 

 

 

 


 

ABU BAKR BECOMES CALIPH

 

After being forcefully elected as the caliph, Abu Bakr delivered his first sermon in the mosque, with the following sentences :- "O people! Know that there is a devil who constantly haunts me. Then if I do good, follow me. But if I commit evil, keep away from me" [Al-Imamah was Siyaasah of Ibn Qutaybah, 3rd century]. This confession of Abu Bakr has confused the traditionalists of every era who have tried their

best to justify them but have miserably failed to do so. Particularly when you compare them with Ali (A.S.)ís historical claim, "Ask me before I go away from you."

 

After the death of Abu Bakr, when Umar became the Caliph, Saad migrated to Syria but was way laid and killed by some unknown persons.

 

The speeches and counter speeches, the slogans and counter slogans between the Ansars and imigrant rose to such a pitch and created such a drama that none could realise the consequences of their behaviour at Saqifa Bani Saeda. With the result many of the Ansars who had voted for Abu Bakr later withdrew their allegiances from him. But it was too late. The chair of the Caliphate was already grabbed and there was nobody who could take it back from them. The Ansars felt cheated and often taunted the immigrants for their manipulations at Saqifa. The group of Abu Bakr from which three Caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman came were so scared of the Ansars that none of them gave any governmental jobs to the Ansars in their regimes.

 

Umar narrating his feelings about the whole Saqifa affair to Ibne Abbas said, "Do not call it accidental and snatching an opportunity though it was all. Allah saved his nation from this misadventure. Now if anyone repeats this act you should kill him". [Tabari, Vol. 3, Page 20].

 

Ali (A.S.) speaking about the happenings at Saqifa said, "By Allah the son of Abu Qahafa (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (Caliphate) knowing for certain that my position in relation to it (caliphate) was the

same as the position of an axe with the handmill. The flood water flows down from me, and the bird cannot fly upto me. I put a curtain against the Caliphate and kept myself detached from it. Then I began to think whether I should assault or endure calmly the blinding darkness of tribulations wherein the grownups are feebled and the young grow old, and the true believer acts under strain till he meets Allah (on his death). I found that endurance thereon was wiser so I adopted patience, although there was a thorn pricking in the eye and suffocation (mortification) in the throat. I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one (Abu Bakr) went his way, but handed over the Caliphate to Ibnul Khattab (Umar) after himself."

 

Sahih Muslim has also recorded a tradition that Umar did not like Ali (A.S.) and his uncle Abbas calling Abu Bakr a liar, a sinner, a fraud and a cheat. He always complained to them for using these derogatory terms [Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, page 71].

 

After finishing the task at Saqifa, Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu Obaida and Bashir Bin Saad came to the mosque where the members of Bani Hashim had assembled near Ali (A.S.). The members of Bani Umayya

forming another group sat near Usman, and the members of Bani Zaheera with Abdur Rahman Bin Awf. The Prophet (S.A.W) was already laid to rest by Ali (A.S.), his relatives and friends. The atmosphere in the mosque was of gloom and sadness. Neither Abu Bakr nor any of his companions enquired about the Prophet (S.A.W)ís burial or uttered a word of condolence to Ali (A.S.) or anybody from his family or friend. Umar straight away asked every person present in the mosque to pledge their allegiance to Abu Bakr. Usman and the members of his clan immediately went to Abu Bakr who had gone and sat on the pulpit, pledged their allegiance to him. Seeing them Abdur Rahman Bin Aof and his men too went to Abu Bakr and pledged their allegiance to him.

 

When Ali (A.S.) and his men saw this atmosphere in the mosque of the Prophet (S.A.W) soon after his death they walked away from the mosque and went to the house of Ali (A.S.). Those who left the mosque with Ali (A.S.) were Salman Farsi, Abu Zar Ghaffari, Miqdad, Khuzaima Bin Saabit, Abu Ayub Ansari, Jabir Bin Abdulla Ansari, Talha, Zubair Bin Awan and Abu Sayeed Bin Khudri. All trusted friends of the Prophet (S.A.W) and distinguished characters of Islamic history.

 

Humiliated by the walking away of Ali (A.S.) and his relatives and companions Umar asked Abu Bakr to summon Ali (A.S.) and ask him to pay his allegiance. Abu Bakr sent his slave Qinfuz to bring Ali (A.S.). Qinfuz came to Ali (A.S.) and said, "The successor to the Prophet of Allah has called you." Ali (A.S.) replied, "You people have so soon started heaping allegations against the Prophet ." Qinfuz returned and

told Abu Bakr what Ali (A.S.) had said. Abu Bakr began to cry. Umar who also did not like Ali's (A.S.) answer asked Abu Bakr not to give time to Ali (A.S.) but force him to pay allegiance. Abu Bakr again sent

Qinfuz to Ali (A.S.) to say that the leader of the faithful is calling him to pledge his allegiance. When Qinfuz repeated the words of Abu Bakr Ali (A.S.) replied, "Praise be to Allah, your master has claimed a title to which he is not entitled."

 

Qinfuz came back and conveyed what Ali (A.S.) had said. Abu Bakr again began to cry. This reply of Ali (A.S.) infuriated Umar so much that he took some people with him and came to Ali (A.S.)ís house and

started banging the door. Hearing the noise Fatema (S.A.) came to the door and asked Umar as to why he was misbehaving. Addressing him she said,"I do not remember any other nation who has done worse than what you are doing. You left the body of the Prophet (S.A.W) without burial and went away to decide the issue of Caliphate." [Allama Ibn Qutaiba].

 

Umar putting fire to the door kicked it so hard that Fatema (S.A.) was crushed between the wall and the door. Fatema (S.A.)ís ribs and hands were broken and the baby she carrying was still born. Fatema (S.A.) began to wail, "O my revered father, O Messenger of Allah see what miseries have been hurled upon us after you by Abu Kuhafa (Abu Bakr) and Ibnul Khattab (Umar)."

 

When the companions of Umar heard the wailing of Fatema (S.A.) many of them left the place weeping. and only a few remained with Umar. These companions of the Prophet (S.A.W) who were inside the

house with Ali (A.S.) to avoid further confrontation came out. Zubair Bin Awan the son in law of Abu Bakr who was also inside with Ali (A.S.) pulled out his sword but Umarís men pounced upon him on Umarís orders and Salman Bin Asham overpowering him snatched his sword dashed him to the wall. Umar then dragging him and other companions of the Prophet (S.A.W) brought them to the mosque where Abu Bakr was still waiting for them. Abu Bakr asked them as to why are they refusing to pay allegiance to him. The he reminded them his services in the cause of Islam. But none replied. Umar them forced them all pay allegiance to Abu Bakr [Al-Melal Wan Nehal by Shahrastani].

 

After completing this task again came to Ali (A.S.)ís house and dragging Ali (A.S.) who was attending to his injured wife and suffocating children brought him to Abu Bakr to force him pay allegiance. Abu Bakr too asked Ali (A.S.) to pay allegiance, but Ali (A.S.) refused and said, "I am more deserving than you, you

must pay allegiance to me because you have taken the Caliphate from Ansars on the plea that Mohammad (S.A.W) was from your tribe, that you were more closer to him than the Ansars. Then are we the members of his family not nearer to him than you? The Ansars have conceded and have accepted your arguments, now I am putting the same arguments before you. If you are a true Muslim then do justice to me or be called a tyrant."

 

Umar said, "We will not leave you till you pledge your allegiance to Abu Bakr." Ali (A.S.) replied,
"I know why you are so anxious. Milk the cow today as much as you can so that tomorrow you may get the same for you. And make this post so strong for Abu Bakr that tomorrow he will pass it to you. I am not going to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr." Umar said, "If you do not pledge allegiance by Allah we will kill you." Ali (A.S.) asked, "Will you kill the person who is a slave of Allah and brother of the Messenger of

Allah?" Umar replied, "We accept you as the slave of Allah but we do not accept you as the brother of the Prophet." As Abu Bakr was silent all this time, Umar angrily said, "Why donít you speak? Why donít you

order him to pledge his allegiance to you?" Abu Bakr replied, "So long as Fatema (S.A.) is alive, I will not force Ali (A.S.) to pay his allegiance." Then he told Ali (A.S.), "If that is your wish I will not press."

 

Abu Obaida Bin Jarrah who was also anxious to see that Ali (A.S.) pledges allegiance intervened and said to Ali (A.S.), "Brother you are younger to them in age (Ali (A.S.) was thirty three and the others were

over sixty). Your experience in these affairs is less than theirs. They know more of politics than what you know. I find Abu Bakr more competent than you. Therefore it is your duty to pledge allegiance to him. And if you live after them then this post is for you, because you are respectable, strong, full of knowledge and understanding, a senior Muslim and also the son in law of the Prophet." Replying to Obaida Ali (A.S.) said, "O you immigrants do not remove the leadership of the estate and the government from the Prophetís house and take it to your house, and do not deprive his family of the honour they possess. By Allah O immigrants we are more deserving for this post than you because we are his family. We have the best knowledge of Quran, the traditions and the tenets of Islam. We are more informed about the religion than you. If there is anybody who can solve the difficulties of the people it is we. We will give them better justice. Do not follow your desires otherwise you will be misled."

 

Basher Bin Saad the man from Ansars, who had jumped at Saqifa to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr because of his enmity with his cousin Saad Bin Obada said, "Ali had you addressed us (the Ansars) before

we pledged our allegiance to Abu Bakr we would not have opposed you." Ali (A.S.) then left the mosque and came to the grave of the Prophet wailing, "O brother see how our people have rendered me weak to the utmost and were about to kill me." History has recorded Umarís visit to the house of Abu Obaida to offer him the chair of the caliphate. Abu Obaida turning down the offer said, "I have never heard you talking so foolishly before" [Tarikhul Khulafa, page 48].

 

When Abu Bakr returned home his father Abu Qohafa asked him as to who got the Caliphate. Abu Bakr said that he was chosen. Abu Qohafa surprisingly asked, "How come that the descendants of Abde Munaf (Bani Hashim and Bani Umayya) and Bani Mogheera did not object." Abu Bakr said Bani Hashim did not oppose him. Abu Qohafa asked, "On what grounds did they choose you"? Abu Bakr replied, "Because I was the oldest among the immigrants." Abu Qohafa retorted, "Then why not me? I am older than you. Why did you not suggest my name." Abu Bakr did not answer.

 

For three days Abu Bakr did not come out of his house. He kept the doors closed and whenever he came out he asked the people to withdraw their pledge as he finds himself inefficient (for the job). When Umar heard this he came to meet him. Abu Bakr cursed him for putting this burden on him [Kanzul Ummal, vol. 4, page 135].

 

It is significant to note here that the tribes of Bani Taem (Abu Bakrís tribe) and Banu Adi tribe (the tribe of Umar) were not on friendly terms with the tribe of Bani Hashim even before the advent of Islam

[Sawaequl Mohreqah, page 31].

 

At the time of Prophet (S.A.W)ís death Abu Sufian was not in Madina. When he was returning home he met a traveller coming from Madina who informed him of the Prophet (S.A.W)ís death. Abu Sufian asked,

"Who is the ruler in place of Mohammad?" "Abu Bakr" replied the traveller. "What about Ali and Abbas, how did they reconcile this? Were they considered so weak as to be ignored?" asked Abu Sufian. "They remained silent" said the traveller. Abu Sufian remarked, "By Allah if I remain alive I will get their honour back to them. I can see the dust of trouble and mischief rising. This dust can only be removed by

bloodshed."

 

On entering Madina Abu Sufian roamed the lanes and bylanes expressing his anger and surprise at Abu Bakr becoming the ruler of the Muslim world. Addressing the tribes of Bani Hashim and Bani Umayya he asked, "O tribes of Hashim and Umayya, how can Abu Bakr rule over you. The Caliphate has gone to the most wretched and lowest tribe of Arabia. It has to be with the Hashmis and towards them it has to go. Only Abul Hasan (Ali (A.S.)) deserves this honour. Therefore, rise O Hashmis and take back your right which has

fraudulently been snatched from you."

 

After creating an atmosphere against Abu Bakr, Abu Sufian came to the house of Abbas Ibne Abdul Mutallib uncle of the Prophet (S.A.W) and said, "See how these people have grabbed the Caliphate from

Bani Hashim and have confined it to the clan of Bani Tayem. And this man (Abu Bakr) will pass it to a haughty man Umar of Bani Adi, after himself. Let us go to Ali and persuade him to come out of his

seclusion and take up arms to regain his right. When we both will pledge our allegiance to him others will follow us. As you are the uncle of the Prophet (S.A.W) and my words carry weight with the Quraish. Then whoever dares to oppose us will be killed."

 

When he found Abbas convinced, he brought him to Ali (A.S.) and said, O Ali! What a fall for this seat of Caliphate. How can the Caliphate go to the lowest tribe like Banu Tayem" [Tabari vol. 3, page 202]. "Give

me your hand and I will pledge my allegiance to you, and if any one dares to oppose me I will fill the streets of Madina with the calvaries and infantries of Mecca." Abbas too persuaded Ali (A.S.) to declare his

Caliphate and said, "Stretch your hand and I will pledge my allegiance to you so that the people may know that the Prophetís uncle has accepted Ali as the Caliph, and nobody will dare to oppose then." Ali (A.S.) replied, "Who else can have this right but me. I do not accept Caliphate under cover. If I accept it I will accept it openly." Ali (A.S.)ís answer silenced Abbas. Then Ali (A.S.) turned to Abu Sufian and said, "I do not need your help or sympathy. You have always tried to harm Islam. By Allah your only purpose of coming to me is to create dissensions among the Muslims." Then addressing the Muslims who had gathered by then, Ali (A.S.) said, "O people steer clear through the waves of mischief in boats of deliverance. Turn away from the path of dissensions and remove the crown of pride. Prosperous is he who

rises with wings (when he has power) or he remains peaceful and allows others to enjoy peace. It (the aspirations of Caliphate) is like turbid water or like a morsel that suffocates the person who swallows it. One who plucks fruits before its ripening is like one who cultivates in anothers field. If I speak out they will call me power greedy, but if I keep quiet they will say that I am afraid of death. It is a pity that after all the ups and downs (I have experienced in my life) I have to hear this. By Allah the son of Abu Talib (himself) is more familiar with death than an infant with the breast of his mother. I have some knowledge if I disclose you will tremble like ropes trembling in deep well."

 

But all these words of Ali (A.S.) did not change the mind of Abu Sufian because he had not come to Ali (A.S.) with honest intentions. His intention was to create trouble so as to get a share in the power. When he failed to take Ali (A.S.) with him, he went back to the streets and bazaars of Madina again accusing Abu Bakr for usurping the rights of Ali (A.S.). When Umar saw that the utterings of Abu Sufian in the streets and bazaars of Madina may encourage the people to revolt against them he advised Abu Bakr to silence him some how. Abu Bakr immediately summoned Abu Sufian and offered him the right to collect Saqa.(a source of good income) But Abu Sufian refused because that was not enough for him. Abu Bakr then offered him the governorship of Syria which he readily accepted but on the condition that his son Yazeed will act as the governor instead of him. This change made no difference to Abu Bakr and he not only accepted it but also gave Yazeed a grand send off. Abu Bakr himself accompanied the caravan of Yazeed on foot for two miles. When Yazeed asked him to return Abu Bakr refused. Yazeed then

requested Abu Bakr to at least sit with him on the mount, he did not oblige nor he allowed Yazeed to descend from his mount and walk with him saying, "Neither I will sit down on the mount nor you will walk with me." [Eqdul Fareed, Vol. 10, Page 37]

 

 

 

THE REGIME OF ABU BAKR

 

Before we proceed further let us find out who Abu Bakr was, what was his clan, who were his family members, what was their contribution in the propagation of Islam. What relationship he and his family had with the Prophet (S.A.W), and what was his attitude with Ali (A.S.), his family members and the clan of Bani Hashim.

 

Abu Bakr belonged to the clan of Bani Tayem. Abu Bakrís grand father Sakhar bin Umrao also did not command much respect among the Meccans. It is said that when Herb bin Ummayya had to hire two

killers to kill a wealthy Jew businessmen of Mecca and a neighbour of Abdul Muttalib, Herb was one of them and the other was Amir bin Abde Munaf. They killed him and looted his wealth and hid in a village

called Sakh, 3 miles from Madina. (Later after migration Abu Bakr married a girl from this village, and also stayed in this village after migration). Abdul Muttalib not only chased them and caught them but also saw to it that Herb bin Ummayya compensated for the murder.

 

Abu Bakrís fatherís name was Usman and was called Abu Qahafa. He accepted Islam only after the fall of Mecca. Till then he remained an infidel and always used bad language and abused the Prophet (S.A.W). [Tabari, Riazun Nazarah, Page 122] He earned his bread by catching birds and pigeons and selling them. Abu Bakr neither stayed with him nor supported him. [Allama Ibnul Hadid Motazeli, Vol. 3, Page 274] When Abu Qahafa became blind due to old age and couldnít earn his living, a philanthropist named Abdullah bin Jaadan employed him to drive away flies when Abdullah sat to take food. Abu Qahafa was

not happy with the attitude of his son towards him. Thus, after the death of Abu Bakr when he was offered his share of the estate left by Abu Bakr he refused to take. Abu Bakr married four times. Twice

before the advent of Islam and twice after he embraced Islam. The first wifeís name was Qateela and the second was Zoundi. From Qateela he had Abdullah and Asma mother of Abullah bin Zubair. From Umme

Rooman he had Aisha and Abdur Rahman. From his third wife Asma bint Anees he had Mohammad. The fourth wife was Habiba binte Kharja, from her he had Umme Kulsoom. [Tabari, Vol. 4, Page 50] Qateela and Zomeen embraced Islam only after migration to Madina, till then they were infidels. The eldest son Abdullah died an infidel in the year 11 Hijri. The second son Abdur Rahman embraced Islam after the treaty of Hudaibia. Before that he stayed back in Mecca for 13 years, he was an arch enemy of the Prophet (S.A.W). He came with Abu Sufianís army in the wars of Badr and Ohad. He boasted that there is no one among the Muslims who is equal to him. He also came to fight Ali (A.S.) in the battle of Jamal. He died in the year 53 Hijri.

 

Abu Bakrís third son Mohammad was born during 10th Hijri at the time of the last Hajj performed by the Prophet (S.A.W). He was only three years old when Abu Bakr died. Mohammad was called Abul Qasim. He was a devout Muslim and was counted as one of the most pious persons. He fought on behalf of Ali (A.S.) in the wars of Jamal and Siffin against his own sister Aisha and Moaviyah. During the year 37 Hijri, Ali (A.S.) appointed him as governor of Egypt. Moaviyah bin Khudaij an officer of Moavia bin Abu Sufian fought Mohammad and arrested him, and putting him in the skin of a donkey and getting it stitched he burnt Mohammad alive. Only the burnt head was outside the skin and visible. This was in the year 38 Hijri.

 

When this news reached Madina, Umme Habiba one of the wives of the Prophet (S.A.W) sent a roasted goat to Aisha with a massage that see Moavia has roasted your brother this way. But Aisha was not sorry for her brother. Usmanís wife was so happy with this news that she rushed to Moavia bin Khudai, the killer of Mohammad and kissed his feet for thanksgiving. [Tarikhe Khamees, Vol. 2, Page 266].

 

The three daughters were Aisha, Umme Kulsoom and Asma. Asma was married to Zubair from whom she got Abdullah. Aisha was married to the Prophet (S.A.W) and she had no issues. Aisha also fought against Ali (A.S.) in the war of Jamal. She also did not allow the body of Hasan (A.S.), the grandson of the Prophet (S.A.W) to be buried near the grave of the Prophet (S.A.W). [Rozatul Manazir, Vol. 11, Page 133] The third daughter was Umme Kulsoom. Aisha got her married to Umar during his regime.

 

During the year 56 Hijri Moavia came to Madina and got dug a pit which was covered with grass and weak sticks. He then put a chair on it and invited Aisha to sit on it. As Aisha sat the chair fell in the ditch, Moavia immediately got it filled with stone and lime then quietly went away to Mecca. [Hadiqai Hakim Nesai & Habibusseer] Abu Bakrís niece Joada, daughter of Umme Farwa (Abu Bakrís sister) gave poison to Imam Hasan (A.S.) and Abu Bakrís nephew Mohammad was one of the killers of Imam Husain (A.S.) at

Kerbala. [Tabari, Vol. 6, Page 210] Talha bin Obaidullah was Abu Bakrís cousin. Abu Bakr was a cloth seller by profession. He used to carry cloth mostly bed sheets on his shoulders and went hawking, or

attended bazaars.

 

Abu Bakr was known for using filthy language. [Tareekhul Khulafa, Page 37] Though he was one of the earliest converts yet history has very little record of his contribution towards the spread of Islam. It is also very strange that though his association with the Prophet (S.A.W) was for more than twenty years yet we find only ten traditions narrated by him in the history books. While his daughter, Aisha was one of the ten wives of the Prophet (S.A.W) and as such got very little time to be with the Prophet (S.A.W) knew more than five thousand traditions and all are recorded in the history books as narrated by her. Similarly Abu Huraira one of the companions of the Prophet (S.A.W) who was very young and had embraced Islam only three years before the Prophet (S.A.W)ís death also knew five thousand traditions. Aisha swore that her father did not ever compose any verse either during the days of his infidelity nor after embracing Islam. [Tareekhul Khulafa, Page 22] History has also not recorded any where that Abu Bakr killed any infidel either in war or otherwise, nor spent any money in the cause of Islam, nor did any preaching except once when he tried to give a sermon at Mecca. The infidels hammered him so much that his nose was completely smashed. From then on he was so afraid of the infidels of Mecca that he never attempted to do any preaching. On the contrary during the 6th year before the Hijrat he fled Mecca and was proceeding towards Yemen when an infidel friend of his recognized him and brought him back assuring

him of his protection. Similarly when the infidels of Mecca ostracized the Prophet (S.A.W) and his entire clan of Bani Hashim and they were compelled to go and stay at a mountain pass and eat even tree

leaves for their survival Abu Bakr made no attempt either to see the Prophet (S.A.W) or arrange for their food or made any attempt to bring them back to their houses.

 

As the news of Abu Bakrís Caliphate spread the Muslims all over the Muslim world resented and revolted against him. They refused to accept him as the heir of the Prophet (S.A.W) and in retaliation stopped paying zakat to him. Even the governors and officers of many provinces revolted and refused to act on his behalf. Khalid bin Saeed and many such companions of the Prophet (S.A.W) who were governors appointed by the Prophet (S.A.W) resigned from their posts. Abu Bakr asked them as to why they do not want to continue since they are the most efficient governors and the Prophet (S.A.W) had appointed them for the job. He even ordered them to go back to their posts but they declined and said, "We are the descendents of Abi Asseha and do not want to be the tax collector of any body else." Fearing danger to their lives they even migrated to Syria but they were all killed. [Izalatul Khefa, Vol. 2, Page 37]

 

Many others argued that the Prophet (S.A.W) had not nominated and therefore he cannot be his heir. Then they would also have not minded if in his place any body else from the Prophet (S.A.W)ís family

would become the Caliph. They openly accused him of depriving the real heirs of the Prophet (S.A.W) and grabbing the Caliphate for himself. The refusal to pay tax angered Abu Bakr. The movement had

spread in such a big way that according to Masoodi, "Within ten days of the Prophet (S.A.W)ís death the entire Arab community became non believers." [Moroojuz Zahab, Vol. 5, Page 101] Umar and Abu Obaida,

Sulaym Mooli sensing trouble and revolt advised Abu Bakr not to take any drastic step and in support of their advice they cited the example of the Prophet (S.A.W) who neither forced nor harassed the non

payers of zakat. They even warned him that the history of Hazarmoot may not be repeated but Abu Bakr listened to none and criticising Umar said, "You were harsh before embracing Islam now what has made you a coward. I will take everything from them what they have been paying to the Prophet. Even if it is as small a thing as the rope with which a goat is tied." He wrote open letters to all his opponents informing them that he is sending Khalid bin Waleed with an

army and with the instructions to spare those who are prepared to obey him and to fight those who refuse to obey his orders. I have ordered him to kill all such men mercilessly and burn their bodies and

make all the ladies and children slaves.

 

When Abu Bakrís men began to harass the Muslims to recover zakat they protested and said, "Why are you killing us. We are Muslims, and believe in one Allah and that Mohammad (S.A.W) was His Prophet. We

offer our regular prayers facing Kaaba and perform all the rites the Prophet had ordered us. We are only not paying zakat to Abu Bakr because we do not accept him as the heir of the Prophet which is not unIslamic." But Abu Bakrís men did not listen to them and they not only killed them or arrested them and made them prisoners but confiscated all their property and wealth and took their ladies as slavegirls. When Umar became the Caliph he set free all such prisoners and slaves and returned their property and wealth.

[Tareekhe Khamees, Vol. 2, Page 224] History has recorded some verses composed by the nongivers of taxes to Abu Bakr, "As long as the Prophet lived we obeyed him but who is this Abu Bakr to claim this right. What does he want that after his death the state should go to his children. By God this is a great calamity which will destroy us." [Tabari, Vol. 3, Page 213; Abu Bakr Siddique, Page 193].

 

Bilal the famous Moazzin of the Prophet (S.A.W) was so disgusted with the happening in Madina that he stopped giving Azan and left the city. Among the many non tax payers to Abu Bakr was one Maalik bin

Novaira, a close friend of the Prophet (S.A.W). He was not only handsome and possessing a very good personality, but was also a brave soldier and a poet. He commanded great respect among his clan of Bani Haifa. They loved and respected him like a king. When Maalik came to the Prophet (S.A.W) to embrace Islam, his personality impressed the Prophet (S.A.W) so much that not only did he give Maalik the honour of his friendship but also authorized him to collect zakat from his tribe Bani Haifa on his behalf. So that Maalik may continue to enjoy the respect, status and honour of his men as he enjoyed before. [Tabaqate ibne Saad, Vol. 5, Page 80]

 

When Maalik learnt about the Prophet (S.A.W)ís death and Abu Bakr becoming his caliph he stopped taking zakat from his people and ordered them to preserve the money till the matter of caliphate is

decided. As he himself did not accept Abu Bakr as the caliph of the Prophet (S.A.W). When Abu Bakr learnt about Maalikís non acceptance of his caliphate he ordered Khalid bin Waleed to go and fight with him just as he had fought with other non tax payers. As Khalid had an eye on Maalikís wife, who was very beautiful, he immediately went to Maalikís village with an army and confronted him. Maalik like other non tax payer Muslims argued that he was the follower of Islam and believes in Allah and His Prophet (S.A.W). He offers Namaz and performs all other rites Allah has ordered except that he does not pay zakat to Abu Bakr because he does not consider him to be the Caliph of the Prophet (S.A.W). The non acceptance of Abu Bakr as the caliph of the Prophet (S.A.W) does not make him a sinner or a non Muslim. Why should he be punished for that. Abdullah ibn Umar and Abu Qatada who were present during the argument advised Khalid not to ill-treat Maalik or be harsh with him. But Khalid did not listen to them and ordered Zarar bin Azvar to kill Maalik.

 

Maalik protested and gave another alternative to Khalid, that he should be taken to Abu Bakr where he can discuss the matter with Abu Bakr. But Khalid did not agree to this and ordered Zarar to behead Maalik. As Zarar approached Maalik, Maalik turned to his wife who was standing behind him and said, "It is because of you that Khalid is murdering me." Zarar then beheaded Maalik in the presence of Abdullah bin Umar, Abu Qatada and some Ansars and Maalikís wife. Khalid then ordered the head of Maalik to be burnt and a pot of food to be put on it for being cooked. As Malikís hair were very beautiful Khalid ordered that the fire must be put to the hair first. Abdullah ibn Umar, Abu Qatada and the Ansar protested but to no avail. Khalid then took hold of Maalikís wife and raped her, and took her as his mistress. Khalid then got all the men of Bani Haifa killed and their ladies were taken as prisoners and slaves. They were

all brought to Madina and lodged in the Prophet (S.A.W)ís mosque. It was from these slaves that Ali (A.S.) took the hand of Khoola and made her his wife. Mohammad bin Hanafia was the third son of Ali (A.S.) from her.

 

As the news of the murder of Maalik and his tribe, and the rape of his wife by Khalid spread the Muslims became very angry and upset. But Abu Bakr was very happy over the tragedy, and he declared, "No

other woman can produce such a brave person as Khalidís mother." [Tabari, Vol. 4, Page 11] Umar who was very angry at the attitude of Abu Bakr shouted, "Stone Khalid to death, he has raped Maalikís wife." Abu Bakr replied, "No, I cannot do that. Khalid must have erred in performing his duty." Umar: "Sack him atleast." Abu Bakr: "I cannot put this sword back in the sheath which Allah has pulled out on my

opponents." [Tarikhe ibne Khallekaan, Vol. 5, Page 172. Tarikhe Tabari, Vol. 3, Page 241] While Abu Bakr was busy beheading and burning the bodies of those Muslims who refused topay taxes to

him, Ali (A.S.) was busy with:-

(1) fulfilling the wishes of the Prophet (S.A.W)

(2) declared that the Prophet (S.A.W) had willed him to pay his debts and to fulfill the promises the Prophet (S.A.W) had made to the people. He also took the responsibility of returning the valuables

people had kept with the Prophet (S.A.W) for safe custody. He deputed men to go round the cities and announce that whosoever had given loan to the Prophet (S.A.W) or had kept his valuables with him for safe custody or any person to whom the Prophet (S.A.W) had made any promise should come to him. Ali (A.S.) will fulfill it whoever come with a claim to Ali (A.S.) was immediately satisfied. He was not asked to bring any proof or witness. Every year during Hajj the same announcement was made on behalf of Ali (A.S.) before the huge multitude of pilgrims. And his practice was continued even after his death, first by his son Hasan (A.S.) and after his death Ali (A.S.)ís second son Hussain of announcing at the Hajj till be was martyred.

 

When Abu Bakr saw that he canít succeed by using force and the situation was fast getting out of control he changed his attitude towards the revolutionaries. He realised that the government which he formed at Saqifa in haste and under duress was not a true representative government and would not last long. He began to pay large sums and gifted properties to shut peopleís mouth and buy them. Whoever claimed for anything was paid from the government treasury without any inquiry, whoever demanded was immediately given for no reasons the looted jewelry from the wars was distributed freely to buy the people. [Fathul Buldan Belaazari, Page 6) To drive the Muslims away from the Prophet (S.A.W)ís household he began to twist the religion in his favour and gave different perception by using guesswork to convince the new believers. The companions of Prophet (S.A.W) whom he found to be against Ali (A.S.) were given more importance than the family members of the Prophet (S.A.W) and their friends like Abu Zare Ghaffari, Salmane Farsi, Ammare Yasir, Miqdad and others. Thus a line was divided between the two groups. The group that supported Ali (A.S.) was degraded in the eyes of the people. When these acts were not found to be sufficient he diverted the attention of the Muslims by declaring war against the weaker governments of Rome and Persia and encouraging them to loot and plunder their wealth and property so that they may not look at their activities and criticise their misrule.

 

Therefore, the expedition of Osama bin Zaid was immediately ordered. Every Muslim was ordered to leave Madina soon under the command of Osama. When Umar and his friends advised Abu Bakr to change the leadership of Osama, Abu Bakr holding the beard of Umar said, "Your mother may weep on you, Allah may destroy you, you want me to do what the Prophet had himself done. The appointment of Osama was made by the Prophet and now you want me to change it." [Tabari, Vol. 3, Page 212]

 

The expedition of Osama left Madina with each and every Muslim except the companions of the Prophet (S.A.W) on the advice of Umar lest they may not incite the other Muslims residing outside Madina against them. When Zohair (a companion of the Prophet (S.A.W)) asked the permission to participate in the expedition of Osama. Umar replied, "I will not allow any of the companions of the Prophet to move out of Madina." [Ibne Abil Hadid, Vol. 4, Pg. 457] Even Aisha and other wives of the Prophet were not allowed to go for Hajj for the same reason. [Tabaqate Ibne Saad, Pg 205]

 

 


 

 


 

وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ {41:18}

But We delivered those who believed and practised righteousness

 

 Conspiracy at Saqifa
 
 

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وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ     اللهم صلى على محد و ال محد.... و عجل فرجهم