20-Mar-01, 06:38 PM (GMT)

43. "RE: The Shia and the Sahaba."

As a non muslim, I am not engulfed by pro or anti Sahaba prejudices. However as a student of history, I have conducted an exhaustive study of the question of Caliphate after the Holy Prophet. My impartial conclusion is that Ali ibn Abi Talib was designated by the Prophet as his successor. The Prophet on numerous occasions expressed his desire that Ali should succeed him. However, an influential and politically powerful group of Sahaba not only opposed the Prophet on this question, but also aspired to capture the political leadership upon the demise of the Prophet. This becomes very evident upon analysis of the proceedings that took place in Saqifa bani Saada where Abu Bakr was chosen Caliph upon the proposal of Umar that was seconded by Uthman. The fact that Ali and Bani Hashim were excluded from these proceedings testifies to the theory that a section of the Sahaba had planned to capture the Caliphate. Later, on his deathbed, Abu Bakr nominated Umar as his successor and this nomination was witnessed and seconded by Uthman. When Umar was fatally wounded, he set up a committee of six men from whom the Calipha was to be chosen. But very cleverly, he gave Abdur Rahman bin Aauf the deciding vote.Abdur Rahman was very close to Uthman. Thus, Umar ensured Uthman's Khilafat. The uprising against Uthman, denied him tbe opportunity to appoint a successor. Had he not been murdered, he would have certainly passed the Caliphate to one of his kinsmen from Banu Ummayah and Ali would have certainly been bypassed. Again, when Ali became the Caliph, the revolts against him were led by some of the most influential and close companions of the Prophet. This fact proves that some of the Sahaba had conspired to deny political power to Ali. The rebellions against Ali were led by Aeysha, Talha, Zubair, Muawiya, Umaroo bin Aas, Ubaidullah bin Umar. Some of the Sahaba who opposed Ali's Caliphate were Abdur Rehman bin Abu Bakr, Abdullah bin Umar, Saad Bin Waqass. Curiously, Saad's son Umar was the commander of Yazid's army who killed Hussain bin Ali at Karbala. The attempts of Ahle Sunnah to cover up the misdeeds of some of the Sahaba and their progeny are an attempt to distort Muslim History.




                                                                                                        22-Mar-01, 02:57 PM (GMT)

64. "RE: The Shia and the Sahaba."

Dear Shahab,

First of all, I thank you and Hasan for welcoming my participation in this forum. Please rest assured that I have no intention of embracing the beliefs of any Muslim sect be it Sunni or Shia. My interest in Muslim history lies in the fact that Islam has had a profound universal impact on human history in several dimensions. Thus, my interest is purely academic. The issue of Khilaphate ie. succession to the political leadership after the Prophet is of vital historical importance because the differences between Muslims on this question were responsible for shaping the development of Muslim thought on government, politics, and law which includes jurisprudence and divergent Fiqi schools of thought.


Ali Ibn Abi Talib is a central and legendary figure of Islam. He is respected and revered by both Sunni and Shia Muslims. Speaking strictly from a spiritual point, Ali is accepted as the undisputed master of all the Muslim mystic systems ie.the 'sufia'. Great Muslim saints like Hasan Basri, Nizam ud Din Auliya, Moin ud Din Chisti, Farid Shakar Ganj, Sharaf ud Din alias Booh Ali Qalandar, Shabaz


Qalander and many others pay handsome and rich homage and tribute to Ali in their works, and acknowledge him as the Sultan and Imam of all the Auliya. During the life of the Prophet, Ali's contributions towards the development and establishment of Islam by far exceeded the contributions of the other companions of the Prophet. Ali's father Abu Talib protected and supported the Prophet from the very moment the Prophet announced His divine mission and Prophethood. The question therefore arises that despite the established impeccable credentials of Ali, why was he not chosen Caliph after the demise of the Prophet, especially considering the fact that the Prophet on numerous occasions beginning from the 'Feast of Zulashira' to His very last moments nominated Ali as His successor. The obvious answer to this question is provided by the events that took place in Medinah immediately after the death of the Prophet. Events that followed the demise of the Prophet, had a profound impact upon shaping the course of Muslim society and history. Is it not a fact that barely 25 years after the Prophet, civil war broke out in the Ummah, and thousands upon thousands of Muslims were killed fighting each other. Is it not of significance that the opposing warring factions were commanded by no other but by central figures like Ali on one hand, and Ayesha the widow of the Prophet, Talha, Zubair and Muawiya on the other hand. The effects of those civil wars are even felt today in the Muslim Ummah which has remained effectively divided ever since. Is it not true that barely 50 years after the death of the Prophet, the Grandson of the Prophet, Hussain Bin Ali along with the male members of His family and companions were mercilessly slaughtered at Karbala upon the orders of the Muslim King Yazid, and the army that carried out the slaughter were commanded by sons of famous Sahaba. Is it not true that a year after the massacre at Karbala upon the orders of Yazid, Medinah the City of the Prophet was sacked because the people of Medina withdrew their allegiance from Yazid and condemned the massacre of Karbala. Hundreds of Medinites were killed, their daughters raped and their possessions looted. Following the sack of Medina, is not true that Yazid sent an army to sack Makkah because the people of Makkah revoked the allegience due to Yazid's excesses and vices and in this attack the Kabah was damaged and the sanctity of the Kabah was violated. Again, during the reign of Abdul Malik Bin Marwan, his governor Hajjaj Bin Yousaf, who is famous for sending his nephew Mohammed Bin Qasim to conquer Sind, attacked Makkah to quell the revolt of Abdullah Bin Zubair. Again, the Kabah was damaged and the sanctity of the Harim was violated. Is it not true that the Prophet abhorred monarchial hereditary form of government and He had explicitly prohibited it. Yet, it was a Sahabi Muawiya who introduced hereditary monarchy by appointing his son Yazid as his successor. Is it not a well recorded historical fact that during his reign, Muawiya ordered the public cursing of Ali and this practice continued throughout the Umaiyyad rule with the exception of the 4 or 5 year rule of Umar Bin Abdul Aziz. The Sunnis lament the cursing of some Sahaba by the Shia. Here, a prominent Sahabi ordered the public cursing of Ali who without any doubt was the most beloved of the Prophet. What do Ahle Sunnah say about Muawiya's act? Anyway I cannot understand why Sunnis condemn the Shia for cursing some Sahaba, after all they are only following in the footsteps of a Sahabi and according to Sunni traditions of Hadees, the Prophet said, "All my Sahabah are like stars, follow any one of them and you shall find salvation" If the Sunnis wish to condemn the Shia for cursing some Sahaba, they shall first have to condemn all those who cursed their fourth Calipha e Rashid and condemn those who rebelled against His authority. Failing to do so shall only mean that Sunnis have double standards. The above facts prove that soon after the Prophet, the morals of the Ummah began to deteriorate. Within a period of 50 years after the Prophet, the whole complexion of the Muslim society had changed. No wonder when Ali was offered the Caliphate upon Uthman's murder he refused it and the office of Caliph was forced upon him. In his refusal, he clearly said that that the outlook of the Ummah in the preceding years had changed so drastically that it would not bear the imposition of pure Islamic rule. He was right. The Muslim society of that time put up a fierce resistance when he attempted to bring back the rule of pure Islam. Consequently, Ali failed as a ruler because he was not willing to compromise on the Principles of Islam whereas a large and powerful section of Muslim tribal chiefs and nobility no longer wished to adhere to pure Islam. As a result they joined Muawiya and received financial and other gains and favours. The decline of Islamic political morality, and the emergence of disregard for Islamic Principles as guidance in political affairs is a direct result of the proceedings at Saqifa. Before I proceed any further, I would like to clarify certain points which you have raised but are not essentially relevant to the gist of the issue under discussion. In your first point, you have implied that I am prejudiced against the Sahaba. I am certainly not prejudiced against or in favour of anybody. Calling a spade, a spade is not wrong but calling a spade, a pickaxe or something else would certainly be wrong. The events that I have mentioned are historical facts how can they be denied. How can the quoting of well documented and recorded historical facts be construed as prejudice? Can you dare to refute the truth of any of the facts mentioned by me by quoting any Sunni historical authorities? Did not Ayesha lead an army against Ali in the Battle of Jamal? Was not her act against the Quranic injunctions laid down for the Prophet's wives in Surah Al-Ahzab? Have the courage, either declare that Ali was wrong and Ayesha was right or vice versa but for truth's sake don't take the hypocritical stance that both parties were right because this argument is worthless against non-Muslim researchers like myself. Your second point implies that because I am a non-Muslim, I do not possess the knowledge of the procedures that are involved to verify historical accounts. This is merely an assumption on your part. Do you know the extent of my education, qualifications and knowledge on Muslim history and relating issues? Your assumption is simply a manifestation of your arrogance. You find it strange that I referred to the Prophet as 'Holy'. I referred to the Prophet as 'holy' out of respect for Muslims. However, I deeply respect and admire the Prophet. His achievements and efforts for the betterment of mankind are unique and outstanding. His contribution for the welfare of all mankind is unsurpassed. He is undoubtly the greatest law-giver that has ever lived. His entire life was devoted to establish social justice and equality. For the welfare of all humanity, He achieved against overwhelming odds what no other man has ever achieved or could possibly achieve. He is a man for all times. His teachings transcend time and space. He is the greatest of the great. My dear Shahab, despite being a non-Muslim I revere, admire, respect and love Mohammed. If you have a problem in accepting this, then the problem is yours not mine.


Your account of the events that transpired at Saqifa testify that either you know very little or you are being economical with the truth. In the final days of the Prophet's life, a tragic incident happened. This incident has been recorded in al- Bukhari on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Abbas. Maulana Shibli Naumani mentions it in his famous book Al-Farooq and Maulvi Nazir Ahmed Delhvi in his book Umhat ul-Umata. During His illness, the Prophet commanded that a pen, ink and parchment be provided so that He may dictate His final wishes, so that the Ummah be saved from going astray. Some Sahaba realized that the Prophet intended to dictate Ali's appointment. A vocal mob of Sahaba led by Umar opposed the Prophet's command. Umar said that in the presence of Allah's Book we need no other guidance. He further added that the Prophet was hallucinating under the influence of illness. A fracas followed between the Sahaba present and the annoyed Prophet ordered them to leave his house. Thus, the Prophet's last attempt to settle the question of succession was foiled. The Prophet lay dead. Bani Hashim led by Ali and Abbas Ibn Adul Mutlib began to prepare for His burial. Medinah was in shock and grief. Whilst Ali's love and loyalty to the Prophet prevented him from pursuing political power, those who were more interested in securing power for themselves began their bid for power. From the events that took place, it is evident that two groups of Sahaba, a group of Mohajirs led by Abu Bakr and Umar and a group of Ansar led by Saad Bin Ubadha began jostling for power. The parties confronted each other at Safiqa, a place outside Medinah. The meeting was attended by some Mohajir Sahaba and by members of the two tribes of Ansar who themselves opposed each other. Both parties ie. Ansar and Mohajirs presented their respective credentials and claims for their respective right to the Caliphate. The Ansar claim was based on that they were the ones who supported the Prophet when His own kinsmen opposed Him, and that they had provided refuge to the Prophet and provided Him security and the base for the spreading of Islam. The Mohajirs countered this claim by claiming that they were the first ones to accept Islam and that they did hijarat for the sake of Islam. Further, the Mohajirs based their right on the saying of the Prophet that His successor can be no other but a Quraishi. Note that Abu Bakr's claim was based on that he was a close relative of the Prophet and not on his personal attributes. The Ansar suggested that there be two Caliphs one Ansar and the other Mohajir. The Mohajirs rejected this that this would divide the people. Umar nominated Abu Bakr as the Mohajir candidate for Caliphate and Uthman seconded him. Some from the Ansar nominated Saad as the candidate. At this point Bashir Bin Manzar, a cousin but opponent of Saad sided with the Mohajirs to prevent Saad from becoming Caliph. Fist fighting broke out Umar grabbed Saad's beard, he retaliated by punching Umar. At this point, another group of Ansar joined the Mohajir camp primarily due to the reason that Saad was unacceptable to them. Umar sealed his group's victory by immediately stretching out Abu Bakr's hand and gave his allegience. All the other Mohajirs present, led by Uthman followed suit so did the most of the Ansar that were present. Luck favoured Abu Bakr's party. According to Umar, as he and the rest departed from Saqifa, they came across the tribe of Bani Aslim who had converged on Medinah upon hearing the news of the Prophet's death. The chiefs of Bani Aslim asked Umar that who had been elected Caliph, he replied Abu Bakr and immediately secured the allegience of that tribe. Now this alliance put Abu Bakr in a very strong position. Thus Abu Bakr was elevated to the position of Caliph. According to the historian Ibn Abi al-Hadid, upon hearing the news that Abu Bakr had been elected Caliph, Ali said,"If their claim to Caliphate was based upon their closeness of relationship to the Prophet then who can claim more closeness to Him then me. If their claim was based on Shoora then what kind of Shoora was this from which I was excluded".


Before I finish this contribution let me add a few more words in reply to some of your points. Saad Bin Abi-Waqqas may not have cursed Ali but nevertheless this does not mean that he approved Ali's Caliphate. I reiterate, Saad Bin Abi-Waqqas never gave his allegience to Ali and did not accept Ali as Caliph. Provide me the historical evidence that Saad disowned his son Umar for committing the murder of Hussain. Saad was not even alive when the tragedy of Karbala happened. Talha and Zubair both initially swore their oath of allegience upon Ali's hand but later negated and rebelled against him.


You object that I called Amr Ibn al-Aas 'Umaroo'. I am fully aware of his name. he has been written down both as Umaroo and Amr and you have acknowledged that yourself. Incidentally, I also know his mother's name. She was a well known prostitute of Makkah known by the name of 'Nabgha'. Upon Amr's birth four men of Makkah claimed to be the father. She named Aas Bin Wael as the father because he was more generous to her. It was a custom in pre-Islam Arabia, that men would not shy from claiming fatherhood of male children born of prostitutes. Although Abu Sufyan is the recognised father of Muawiya, nevertheless a few other men including Abbas Bin Abdul Mutalib have been named to be his actual father. Muawiya's mother Hind was notorious for 'zina'. Upon her acceptance of Islam, the Prophet made her promise not to commit 'zina'. This is well documented. But old habits die hard. Muawiya, during his rule declared that Ziyad Bin Abeed or Abiya was in fact his brother because Ziyad was conceived as a result of Abu Sufyan's adultery with Ziyad's mother Sumaiya or Samiya who was a prostitute. Finally, my dear Shahab, you inquire about my sources of historical information, well they are Sunni sources and if required I can quote them. Once again, I reiterate that I have no intention of embracing Islam, I am quite happy as I am.





   Harnam                                                                       27-Mar-01, 01:09 PM (GMT)

97. "RE: The Shia and the Sahaba."

Saqi's unpleasant and negative reply that "Shias are real kaffirs" is the attitude of a defeated person who has lost the argument and is now resorting to abuse. This is truly sad. It reminds me of an incident that happened in 1972. Whilst walking through a bazar in Delhi I came across a Sunni friend of mine. He told me that he was going to see a local Deobandi Sunni Maulvi for an exlanation of an Ayat of the Quran concerning Jesus. Apparently this friend of mine had been involved in a discussion with a Qadyani. When we met the Maulvi, my friend told him about his discussion with the Qadyani and asked him to explain the tafsir of this particular Ayat. The Maulvi replied that "you do not discuss religion with Qadiyanis by reasoning" My friend inquired, then how was he supposed to discuss with Qadiyanis. To this the Maulvi replied, "you should swear at Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiyani and then when the Qadiyani gets angry and says something back at you, you should then punch his face". I hope that the Shia paticipants shall ignore Saqi's ignorance,and will not retaliate in the same manner, and will continue to conduct this debate by relying on the strength of lucid reasoning. In my opinion both Sunni and Shia are Muslims.


Returning to the debate itself, I wish to raise a few more points with my Sunni friends. Allama Ibn Hajjar Makki, in his book 'Swaiqe Morkah' quotes Imam Ghazali that he i.e Imam Ghazali said that "We the Ahle-Suunah refrain from commemorating the murder of Hussain Bin Ali because this would make apparent the differences that existed between the Sahaba of the Prophet and Ahlul Bayat of the Prophet". Very clearly Imam Ghazali a great distinguished Scholar of the Ahle-Sunnah admits that fundamental differences existed between the Sahaba and the Ahlul Bayat of the Prophet.


Historically, differences between some of the Sahaba and Ali Ibn Abi Talib began to show even during the life time of the Prophet. It is reported in al-Bukhari that the Prophet appointed Ali as the Qadi of Yeman. When Ali returned from Yeman, Khalid Bin Waleed and some of his friends made a series of complaints against Ali's conduct in Yeman. The Prophet not only refused to entertain their complaints against Ali but also rebuked the complainants by saying that whoever was an enemy of Ali was His and Allah's enemy.


Historically it is very clear that during the last months of the life of the Prophet, Four groups emerged. The first group consisted of Sahaba like Salman al-Farsi, Miqdad Bin Aswad, Ammar Bin Yassar, Abu Zar al-Ghaffari, Jabar bin Abdullah Ansari, Bilal, Hudaifa etc etc clustered around Ali. The other group comprised of Sahaba such as Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Khalid Bin Waleed, Saad Bin Abi Waqass, Obaida Bin Jarrah and most of the Meccans who had accepted Islam upon the conquest of Mecca. The third group was comprised of Sahaba who were indifferent to the differences that were emerging between the first and second groups of Sahaba. They were people who mostly lived away from Medinah and had no interest in the politics of Medinah, they kept out of the power struggle, and were prepared to accept who ever came into power. The fourth group was comprised of certain personalities who opposed Islam and the Prophet till the last possible moment. Their leader was Abu Sufyan Bin Harb Bin Ummaya. These people had accepted Islam with a grudge. Their own adverse credentials prevented them from securing high office but they were influential enough to influence the course of events. These people simply waited for the outcome of the struggle between the first and second groups and to join the victorious group. Thus, when Abu Bakr became Caliph, Abu Sufyan thought that Ali would raise his sword to secure his own Caliphate. Abu Sufyan came to Ali and said, "Bani Hashim and Bani Ummaya are the two most respected tribes of Quraish and should not allow persons from the lowly and humble tribes of Quraish rule. Ali allow me to fill the streets of Medinah with infantry and horsemen and we shall secure your Caliphate". Of course Ali knew that Abu Sufyan was merely trying to incite him to start a civil war and he rejected Abu Sufyan's proposal. Abu Sufyan disappointed by Ali's reply, joined the ranks of Abu Bakr and Umar. History tells that Abu Sufyan managed to secure a high rank for his son Yazid from Abu Bakr in Syria. Later, when Yazid died from plague, that rank was given to Abu Sufyan's other son Muawiya. Umar elevated Muawiya to the rank of governor of Syria. He remained in this position throughout the rules of Umar and Uthman and became so powerful that when he was deposed by Ali, he rebelled, and eventually after the abdication of Hasan Bin Ali, Muawiya became the sole ruler of the Muslim world. Thus, Abu Sufyan had very clearly sown the seeds of the Ummayad rule. It is well documented that during the rule of Uthman, Abu Sufyan who was very old and blind would ask to taken to the grave of Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet. He would repeatedly kick Hamza's grave and say, "get up Abu Omara and see for yourself that the Caliphate for which you gave your life, is now a toy in the hands of our children". Not to mention that what Abu Sufyan's wife Hind did to the corpse of Hamza when he fell in the Battle of Uhad.


The Prophet was fully aware of the situation that was developing and therefore tried His best to make the situation favourable for the succession of Ali. So far, he had repeatedly told His Sahaba that Ali was to succeed Him. Now He decided to remove Ali's opponents from Medinah to ensure Ali's succession. The Prophet assembled an army in which all of Ali's opponents were enlisted and placed this army under the command of Osama Bin Zaid. The Prophet ordered this army to march towards the borders of Syria and engage the Roman army and avenge the defeat of the Battle of Mohtah. The opponents of Ali realized that the Prophet,s demise was near and that He was trying to remove their presence from Medinah. They reacted by objecting to the command of Osama on the grounds of his youth. The Prophet replied that, "Earlier people had objected to the command of Osama's father Zaid. By Allah, Osama is capable of being commander just like his father was". The Prophet ordered the army to begin its march immediately. However, differences in the army broke out by the time it had only reached the outskirts of Medinah. The Prophet was informed about the differences and that the army had encamped just outside Medinah. Despite His illness, the Prophet came into Masjid-e-Nabwi and gave a sermon. He ordered the departure of the army and cursed those who refused to obey His orders. Despite this the army never departed, and as the news of the Prophet's severe illness reached the army camp, the army dissolved and the people returned to Medinah. Thus, the Prophet's last attempt to remove the opponents of Ali was foiled.


Upon the death of the Prophet, it is widely reported that, Umar became so grief stricken that he drew his sword and said that, "whoever shall say that the Prophet is dead, I shall slay him". Upon this Abu Bakr said, "Those who believed in Mohammed should be aware that Mohammed is dead, but those who believe in Mohammed's God should be aware that He i.e. God is alive". This incident is reported to have taken place in Masjid-e Nawi which was adjacent to that house of the Prophet in which He had died. This proves that at this point both Abu Bakr and Umar were in the Masjid next to the Prophet's house. After a short while, a man came to the Masjid and reported to Umar that the Ansar had gathered at Saqifa to decide the caliphate. All of a sudden Umar's grief evaporated. He informed Abu Bakr about the development and then both of them got their supporters together and went to Saqifa to lay their claim to the Caliphate.


The question is that if Abu bakr and Umar were sincere and they had no differences with Ali over the issue of Caliphate, could they have not informed Ali of the situation and the developments that were taking place. After all Ali was just a few yards away from the Masjid. If urgency is pleaded as an excuse for not telling Ali, then the question is that how long would it have taken to get a message to Ali. It would have taken less then 5 minutes to contact Ali. Was the situation that desperate, that Abu Bakr or Umar were not able to spare a few minutes. The fact is that they had no intention of informing Ali. There is no historical evidence that they attempted to inform Ali. Then at Saqifa, instead of registering their claim to the Caliphate, could they have not said to the Ansar that look the Prophet has just passed away minutes ago. It is disgusting and wrong that while the Prophet's body lies unburied we are here sqabbling over the Caliphate. How will history judge us? We will be called a bunch of opportunists who deserted their Prophet's corpse to grab power. They could have also said to the Ansar that, it is only proper that we include Ali, Abbas and the other elders of Bani Hashim in the selection of the Calipha.


However, unfortunately, history provides us with no evidence that Abu Bakr or Umar said any of the above things. The only thing that is evident is that Abu Bakr and his party joined the struggle to secure the Caliphate for themselves, while the Prophet's body lay unburied. May I ask was this the true extent of their love for the Prophet. The man who had brought them out of 'jahilliya' lay dead in his House, and whilst His Ahle Bayat along with some devoted followers mourned His passing away, all what some of His Sahaba could think of was power. This is a very dark episode in Muslim History. Contrary to the conduct of these Sahaba, when the news of the gathering at Saqifa reached Bani Hashim, Abbas Bin Abdul Mutalib the uncle of the Prophet and Ali, Said to Ali, put forward your hand so that I may swear allegience and recognise you as Caliph and that all Bani Hashim shall give you allegience and then we shall sort out these lot who deny you your right. Ali refused, declaring that the Prophet lay unburied and that he shall be not first to sow the seeds of division in the Ummah.


No matter how hard the Ahle-Sunnah try they cannot deny these historical facts that some of the Sahaba whom they adore so much in the the end were merely opportunists who left the unburied body of the Prophet just simply to grab power. Let me ask the Ahle-Sunnah particpants in this debate question of common sense. When a man dies, What are his sons expected to do? Fight amongst each other over the issue of inheritance or first give their father a decent burial, and then later discuss the issues of inheritance.


Shahab, Hijjab, Saqi and the rest I appeal to your sense of justice and fairness and truth, tell me what would you say about the sons of a deceased man who instead of giving their father a decent burial first, began to fight amongst themselves for the inheritance. Surely you would abhor this kind of behaviour. I need not say any more.






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