Our History

Our History

By G.A. Parwez  translated by Dr. Suhail Alam
In the last letter, Saleem, you saw glittering gems of our past accomplishments strewn amongst the pages 1
st
century Islamic history. However, my great regret is that ourpages of history are not only a collection of glittering gems. Also included in those pagesare such vile accounts that one feel’s great embarrassment in associating them with thatblessed era, and one’s face lowers to the ground in shame. The truth is that history is apowerful double-edged sword. If a nation has its true past history, then it is better able to besuccessful in the present and prospective in the future. But if all it has is a mutilated versionof its history, then that nation will become so entangled in past mistakes andmisunderstandings that freeing itself from that obscure darkness will be extremely difficult.This is what has happened to us. Amongst the reasons for our decline, our corrupted historyis an important element.With us is the book of Allah, upon which we all have
i man
(conviction). Based on fact and understanding, we believe that it is a constitution that covers life’s every corner andis sufficient to establish nourishment in an all-encompassing manner for all time to come. If we truly follow it, we can become the most successful of nations. But obviously, the Quran can only provide this benefit and nourishment if we understand it correctly. The biggest obstacle in our understanding of the Quran, however, is our mutilated and corrupted history.Perhaps this statement startles and bewilders you, but when all the facts are presented, you will accept the truth of this statement without hesitation. But before I give you any examples of this, I find it necessary to make some introductory remarks that explain how corrupted history can become such a massive barrier to the proper understanding of the Quran.In the system the Quran illustrates for us, it characterizes its citizens’ (
mu’mineen
)as, “they spend and make available to others whatever Allah grants them of His bounty.(2:3)” The Quran also clarifies to what extent their personal wealth should be made open toothers by stating, “Oh Prophet, they ask you what they should give.” The
mu’mineen
askedhow much personal wealth should be given to the other members of Islam, to fosteruniversal growth and nourishment. The answer was, “Tell them, whatever is left over afteryour necessities are taken care of. (2:219)” In other words, after you deal with your ownexpenses, give everything that remains. Clearly, these verses order the citizens of theIslamic system to keep only that much of their hard work’s pay as they needed. The restwould go to the Quranic system (Islamic government), which would then spend thecollected wealth to equally spread nourishment to all citizens of Islam.There is no difficulty in understanding the concepts of the above verses, nor is thereany doubt or ambiguity in them. But if you take these concepts and verses and present themto someone, the usual response is that so-and-so
sahaba
(companion of the Prophet) used tohave over a hundred-thousand dinars and dirhams, another had piles of silver and gold, andanother had caravan upon caravan filled with goods of trade. So if no one was allowed tokeep more wealth than his personal needs required, then why did these blessed souls amassso much wealth? Then, the conversation usually takes a turn like this:

Question: Tell me, did the sahaba understand the Quran properly, or do you claim to 

understand it better than they did?
 
Answer:
I could never say that I understand the Quran better than the
sahaba
did.
Question:
Tell me, did the
sahaba
live their life according to the Quran, or did they actagainst its commands?
 
Answer:
 A’oothu Billah!
How could I ever claim that their actions were against theQuran? Their lives were totally in accordance with its teachings.
Question:
Well, if their lives were in accordance with the Quran, and if they had so muchwealth and money in their possession, then how can you claim that according to the Quran,extra wealth cannot remain within the possession of individuals?And at this point, you no longer have an answer to their questions. Observers of thisconversation will also become satisfied and side with the other person, nodding their headsand claiming “What he’s saying is absolutely right. If the blessed
sahaba
had so muchwealth and money, then how can it be said that accumulating wealth is against Islam! Howdare someone claim that the
sahaba
did not even understand this little Quran!”?Did you see, Saleem, how history can stand in the path of the Quran? You will beshocked to know that the current “Islam” is mostly based on an arrangement of historicalaccounts, the greater part of which are against the Quran. Go and ask for the proof or
sanad 
” on any topic in our current Islam. That proof or “
sanad 
” will often be providedthrough history, and if you request a proof based on the Quran, the response will be “We arepresenting the history and sayings of the Prophet and the
sahaba
as our evidence. What canbe a greater proof than this in Islam? These items are critical in our ability to understand theQuran. Without them, the Quran cannot be understood.”
This response is so silencing that you cannot say anything in reply. The result is that history becamethe source of proof in Islam, and the Quran is left merely as a token, to be read as a virtuous deed. If it everhappens that a certain historical precedent concurs with Quranic teaching, then this agreement is proudlydisplayed. But if it ever happens that the two items contradict, the limelight is shone upon history while theQuran is thrust into the shadows. 

The True Position of History

Until we understand the true positions of the Quran and of history and use them accordingly, Islamwill not be established in its true form. So Saleem, let us investigate this matter!Every single word of the Quran has come to us in its totally preserved state; there is no room fordoubt or disagreement. But as for history (whether it comes from books of hadith or from other sources),neither the Prophet arranged it and gave it to the ummah, nor did the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (
khulifa ar-rashidoon
)
 
arrange it, nor was any historical work compiled during the life of any sahaba. The book of hadithwhich is called the “most correct book after the book of Allah,” i.e. Sahih al-Bukhari, was not compiled untilaround 250 years after the death of the Prophet. At that time, there wasn’t even a written record from whichthese books of hadith or history were compiled. Mostly, they merely consisted of verbal accounts that wereheard from the contemporary Muslims of Bukhari’s time. This is the position of the first history books, fromwhich we derive our knowledge about the life of the Prophet and the lives of the
sahaba
(keep in mind, that alarge part of the Prophet’s life and the characteristics of the
sahaba
are also contained within the Quran. But atthis time, we are only talking about the history that has been written in other books.)Based on the positions of the Quran and history/hadith described above, every sound-minded
individual will conclude that when a contradiction is discovered between the accounts of the Quranand the history regarding the blessed period of the Prophet and those with him, then the Quran should beconsidered correct and that part of written history should be considered false. This is one of those obvioustruths that should not even require proof; it is its own proof. Even for those accounts about which the Quranremains silent, we still have some working principles:1) Our
iman
(according to the Quran) is that the Prophet and his companions lived their lives exactlyaccording to the Quran.2) Therefore, if history presents us with any account regarding the Prophet or the companions in which theyare shown to disobey the Quran, we should without hesitation declare that historical account as false. Thisway, the true ideology of Islam will be preserved, and the history of the Prophet and the companions willremain pure and be for us in its true form (whereas accepting such accounts not only allows corruption of history, but also of our Islamic ideals).Whatever I have said above will not become totally clear until I present an example from history.Many examples can be given from the records of the Prophet’s and his companions’ lives, but since there isnot enough room in this letter (one could write endlessly on the topic), I think one example should suffice.This event relates to all the
sahaba
that were in Medina at the time the Prophet took his last breath in thisworld, and his body had not even been buried yet.First, let’s review some basic Quranic principles. The Quran’s unchangeable words state that “Trulywe have made mankind worthy of respect. (17:70)” That by merely being a human, one deserves respect. Therich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, regardless of nationality, family, status or religion, every humandeserves respect.Secondly, as far as distinction amongst human beings, the principle is “Everyone’s distinction will bemade according to their deeds. (46:19)” In other words, their levels will be determined according to theirpersonality and their actions. Again, family heritage and ties, tribes, caste, wealth, etc., will not be used todistinguish people.Thirdly, based on this very principle, it follows that the one most worthy of respect in the nation is hewhose lifestyle and character are most concordant with Allah’s laws. “Truly the most honored of you is theone who is the most righteous of you (49:13).”With this unchangeable eternal ideal, the Quran clearly wiped out distinctions based on color, race,blood, family, tribes, caste, etc., and kept only one criterion for distinction amongst human beings, namely, thebeauty of character and actions. 
Now let’s move on. The Prophet brought into shape a society based upon the principles of the Quran,a government whose purpose in this world was to “invite to the good, and prohibit the evil.” This society wasto continue even after the Prophet’s demise since Islam is to be the system of life for all time. The entirenation had to be established with the same goals and purposes. And regarding that nation, the Quran declares,“You are the best nation on earth. Your duty is to order the good and prohibit the evil. (3:109)”This is the same nation that was chosen to inherit the book of Allah. It says in the Quran “Then wemade those people inheritors of the book, from whom we had chosen people for this ultimate goal. (35:32)”This nation, in those days, consisted of the
muhaajireen
(migrants from Mecca) and the
ansar 
(natives of Medina). Allah himself describes their loyalty and faith in the Quran. “And those who had
iman
and migratedand did jihad in the way of Allah (
muhaajireen
), and those who had sheltered and helped them (
ansar 
), theseare true and steadfast believers. And for them is every kind of protection and provision. (8:74)”In another place, Allah claims that he gave them mutual love for each other, which Allah himself describes as something even the entire wealth of the world could not purchase (8:63). The description of thesetrue believers provided in Surah Fat-h is a living testament to their high regard. Read carefully, how thesepeople joyfully exclaimed:
“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are strong against theunbelievers, but compassionate amongst each other. You will see them bow and prostrate themselvesin prayer, seeking grace from Allah and His Good Pleasure, on their faces are their marks of humility,being the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Torah; and their similitude in theGospel is: Like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong, it then becomes thick and itstands on its own stem, filling the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the disbelieverswith rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deedsforgiveness, and a great reward. (48:29).”The Prophet and his companions, what a fascinating group! Against the disbelievers they are as firmand solid as the mountains, but with each other they are very warm hearted and understanding. Always readyto carry the weight of their responsibilities, how willfully they accept the laws of Allah. But they are not like agroup of Rabbinic monks either. According to Allah’s laws, they are also busy in searching for the necessitiesof life and knowledge in every field of life. They remain balanced and develop within themselves thecharacteristics that Allah asks of them. Their faces clearly show the peace and tranquility achieved by their
iman and righteous deeds. These characteristics were described in the Torah as well as the Injeel.The metaphor of the way they established that divine system is that of a precious seed, which whenplanted gives rise to a blossom whose first shoot is very tender. In time, its strength increases until it standsfirm and stable on its own trunk or stem, and its branches finally yield fruits. This is the way Allah promisesany group who takes action and implements Allah’s divine program of life with deep conviction in the truth of its unseen results, that the tiny and tender seed of their actions will remain safe from all dangers and theirfields will be filled with the best fruits.The first group of believers was personally trained by the Prophet; however, after his death, it was theduty of the entire nation to perpetuate the Quranic system. For this end, the Quran describes true believers asalways carrying out their affairs after mutual consultation. “And they conduct their affairs with mutualconsultation. (42:38)”Now Saleem, the above clarifications make it clear that:1)
 
The criteria for respect and recognition is beauty of character and righteous actions.2)
 
The
sahaba
were true and steadfast believers. Their lives were very righteous and their charactersvery pure. They had undying love for each other in their hearts.3)
 
To establish and continue the Quranic system is the collective duty of the nation. For this end, theyshould implement mutual consultation, for example in selecting from amongst their best citizens (bestby the criteria described above) who should be the leader after the Prophet, in other words, the
khalifa
.The first opportunity for the nation to act upon these principles came at the time of the Prophet’s death.Well, these are the teachings of the Quran and the characteristics of the
sahaba
(
muhaajireen
and
ansar 
). Now let’s see what history has to tell us about this chapter in Islam.
Ali and Abbas’s (RA) ideas about the
 Khilafat
 
In Bukhari (chapter 57, book of al-Maghazi), the following account is narrated by Abdullah ibnAbbas:“When the Prophet was afflicted with the sickness that led to his death, Ali was coming out of theProphet’s quarters that morning. The people asked Ali, “Oh Ali, how is the Prophet’s health thismorning?” Ali replied “The Prophet has recovered by the Grace of Allah.” Then Abbas ibn AbdulMutallib took Ali’s hand and pulled him aside and said to him “By Allah, after 3 days you will beruled by someone else, and by Allah, I feel that Allah’s messenger will die from this ailment, for Iknow how the faces of the offspring of Abdul Mutallib look at the time of their death. So let us go toAllah’s messenger and ask him who will take over the caliphate. If it is given to us, we will know as
to it, and if it is given to somebody else, we will inform him so that he may tell the new ruler to takecare of us.” Ali said, “By Allah, if we asked Allah’s messenger for it, and he refused to give it to us,the people will never give it to us after that. And by Allah, I will not ask Allah’s messenger forit.” (
Sahih al-Bukhari, the Book of al-Maghazi, 57:1707)
Can you believe it Saleem? This account claims the Prophet had not even died, yet his uncle andnephew/son-in-law began having thoughts of how to take control of the
khilafat 
. Ali was confident that the
khilafat 
would surely be his, but Abbas felt otherwise. That is why he wanted to take Ali to the Prophet andconfirm that indeed the
khilafat 
would be given to Ali. The response that Ali gave to Abbas’ request is worthyof reflection: if he went to the Prophet and requested the
khilafat 
and the Prophet refused, then he would nothave any chance of getting it.Did you know, Saleem, that Shias believe that Allah, through His divine process, bestowsProphethood and
khilafat 
to whom He wills, without room for election or consultation. There is no question of “choosing” a
khalifa
. He is considered to be divinely chosen and commissioned by Allah himself (called
imam
by Shias). They believe this
imamat 
was given to Ali and his descendents.But Sunnis, however, do not believe this. They believe that the
khalifa
is chosen by mutualconsultation. The
khilafat 
is not property to be distributed to one’s relatives after one’s death. A leadershippassed down from father to son would be a monarchy, one of the things Islam was meant to abolish.
If We Consider This Account To Be True, Then…
 Surprisingly, the above narration is not from Shias, rather it is from the most respected Sunni book of hadith. Now think, if we consider this account to be true, then what kind of impression do we get regardingtwo of the Prophet’s closest companions (Ali and Abbas)? The impression is that (God forbid) they did noteven understand some of Islam’s most basic and fundamental principles, that the
khilafat 
is not received on thebasis of inheritance or as a claim or right. This matter is decided based on mutual consultation of the entirenation. There is no need to explain what kind of damage is done to Ali’s character by the story that is beingascribed to him.Now let’s move forward. The blessed Prophet passed away. Because the
khilafat 
was to be decidedby the mutual consultation of the whole nation, the Prophet did not leave any will or wishes regarding thematter; this way, the free will of the nation would not be bound or constrained by anything. This matter was of utmost importance; one cannot even conceptualize the Islamic system without a central government. That iswhy even before the funeral rites were done, they thought it necessary to deal with that matter first.History tells us that within the courtyard of Saqifa bani Saida was a group of 
ansar 
of whom Saad ibnUbaadah was vying for the
khiaifat 
. One account reports that some believed that one leader should be chosenfrom the
ansar 
, and another should be chosen from the
muhaajireen
. At that time, the
muhaajireen
(includingAbu Bakr, Umar, and various other
sahaba
) arrived. The details of that meeting according to “history,” areworthy of reflection. It is said that Habbab ibn Munzir gave the following speech:“Oh
ansar 
! Keep the leadership in your own hands so that people remain obedient to you. No onewill even have the guts to speak against you or to do something against your wishes. You are worthyof both respect and riches. You are superior to others in both experience and number. You arecourageous and brave. People look up to you. At this time, don’t spoil your opportunity by arguingamongst yourselves. These people (
muhajireen
) will be forced to accept your demands. The most wecan compromise with them is that one wealthy among us will rule with one wealthy amongthem.”
(Muhammad Hussein Haykal’s book Abu Bakr Siddiq Akbar, page 107)
 Are you getting the picture, Saleem? This “historical account” is regarding those very
ansar 
whomAllah himself declares as being totally selfless and considerate towards the
muhajireen
. Yet according to“history,” these selfish emotions and words came from them at a time when the Prophet’s blessed corpse wasstill in front of their eyes.Now that was in regards to the
ansar 
. Now listen to what the
muhajireen
had to say. History tells usthat in response, Umar made the following comments:

Umar’s Speech

wo swords cannot fit into one sheath. By Allah, our tribes will never agree to make you the leaderwhen the Prophet had not come from you. But if the leadership is given to someone who is of thepeople from whom the Prophet came, then we will have no objections.And if any Arab denies our leadership and
khilafat 
, then we can present clear proofs and evidences torefute him. Who can dare quarrel with us regarding it when we were the most devoted and closest infamily to him? In this matter, anyone disputing us must be one who follows evil, polluted with sinsand ready to fall into a pit of destruction.” (
Abu Bakr Siddiq by Haykal, page 108
)In response to this, Habbab says:“Oh
ansar 
! Be strong and don’t be persuaded by Umar and his crew. If you show weakness now thenyour portion of the kingdom will be snatched away from you. If they oppose you, then exile them andtake the kingdom for yourselves. Because, by Allah, you are the most worthy of it! It was by yourswords that Islam was blessed with power and success. You are the ones who brought it dignity andrespect. It is you who gave Islam shelter and demonstrated your allegiance to it. And if you wish, youcan also take back the power and honor you gave it.

Manner of Speaking?

This single example is enough to support those who claim the Quran’s teachings and the Prophet’sexample are not righteous. But we still ascribe this saying to our Prophet and that Abu Bakr openly used thisquote as proof to his claim, in front of the collection of 
ansar 
and
muhajireen
, and everyone accepted it! Inother words, by just one account, our “history” was able to ascribe the very same ancestor-worship that theQuran had come to eradicate to the Prophet and his companions!Are you still with me Saleem? See how our “history” has painted a rather disgraceful picture of ourblessed
sahaba
(
ansar 
and
muhajireen
) even in their first meeting after the Prophet’s death? Can you believethe shameful condition of mutual relations, manner of speaking, and style of reasoning? Now let’s moveforward. In his history, Imam Tabri writes:Abdullah ibn Abd-ur-Rahman narrates that everyone came to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr, to thepoint that Saad was about to be trampled by the crowd. One of Saad’s men began shouting for help,but Umar yelled, “May Allah destroy him!” wishing him to be killed, and eventually went and stoodover Saad, exclaiming that he wished to trample and kill him. Saad grabbed hold of Umar’s beard.Umar shouted for him to let go, and that if even one hair was out of place, not one tooth wouldremain in Saad’s mouth. Abu Bakr then intervened, silencing Umar and claiming that at this time,tenderness would be more prudent and beneficial. Umar then let go of Saad. Saad then claimed thatas long as the strength to stand remains in him, he would fill the streets and alleys of Madina with hisown supporters such that Umar and his followers would be left bewildered. And by Allah, at thattime I would hand you over to such a nation that wouldn’t listen to me, rather I would follow them.He then asked his men to pick him up and take him home. His men came and took him home. For afew days he was not bothered at all. Then he was summoned and told that since everyone includinghis own supporters had now pledged their allegience, he should as well. He adamantly refused,claiming that he would not join them until his family and remaining followers and even his last arrowwas spent in opposing them, and his swords and spears were colored with their blood. He declared byAllah, that if along with the humans even the Jinn pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr, even then hewould not.
(Tareekh Tabri, volume 1)
Now if we continue to the next page, we read that:Dahhak ibn Khalifa narrates that at the occasion of the selection of the
khalifa
, Habbab ibn al-Mundhir stood up and unsheathed his sword and exclaimed, “I will immediately settle this problem. Iam a lion, I am on a lion’s mountain, and I am a lion’s son.” Umar then attacked him. Habbab’s handwas wounded and his sword fell. Umar picked up the sword, and then jumped on Saad. Others joinedhim and jumped on Saad as well. Abu Bakr remained aloof from this. When people started jumpingon Saad, someone shouted that you people have killed Saad. Umar then cursed him, asking Allah todestroy him, declaring him a hypocrite. As Umar was about to strike him, a stone came in the way of his sword and his attack was thwarted. After this, everyone came one by one to pledge theirallegiance to Abu Bakr, including Saad. At this time, bickering and quarreling began, portraying asight reminiscent of the days of ignorance (
 jahiliyyah
).Saleem, read that line again, where it actually says, “bickering and quarreling began, portraying a sightreminiscent of the days of ignorance (
 jahiliyyah
).” (God forbid).Anyway, Abu Bakr was selected as the khalifa. But whatever happened to Saad, the other hopeful?Listen to this!After this, Saad neither prayed with Abu Bakr whether he was leading prayer or not. Even duringHajj, he would not offer the rites if Abu Bakr was there. And until the death of Abu Bakr, hecontinued with these practices. (
Tabri, page 8
)We have seen above that Saad pulled on Umar’s beard. The “history” of Tabri tells us that the pulling of beards had actually (God forbid) become commonplace for these men. For example, in the same volume fromwhich the above quotes were taken, is an account of the disagreement between Umar and Abu Bakr, regardingUsama ibn Zaid:Abu Bakr, who was sitting, became enraged, and sprang upon Umar and grabbed his beard. “Oh Ibnal-Khattab! May Allah do badly with your mother that you may die! You tell me to remove that person whom the Prophet himself appointed as the army’s leader?” (
Tabri page 12)
 Well, that was just an aside. Now let’s return to the colorful story of the selection of the first
khalifa
.In this entire episode, no mention of Ali has yet been made. You must be restless to find out what his reactionwas. After all, it was he who first had the ambition for the
khilafat 
. History has much to tell us about this.Listen to what Muhammad Hussein Haykal (Misri) writes in his book:A few
muhajireen
and
ansar 
did not pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr. Their support was for Ali IbnAbi Talib. Well-known amongst them were Abbas ibn Abdul-Mutallib, Fazal ibn Abbas, Zubair ibnAwaam, Ibn-al-Aas, Khalid ibn-Saeed, Miqdar ibn Umar, Salman Farsi, Abu Dhar Ghaffari, Ammaribn Yasir, Bara’ ibn Azib, Ibn Kaab. Abu Bakr had counsel with Abu Ubaida ibn Jarah and Mugheeraibn Sho’ba, regarding what to do about Ali. They told him to meet with Abbas ibn Abdul-Mutallib,and give them a portion of the
khilafat 
that will carry on in his family. In this way, we can cause anargument and fight between Ali and Abbas, which will be a great benefit to you against Ali.According to this advice, Abu Bakr met with Abbas and had a long talk with him. Abu Bakr said, youare the uncle of the Prophet, and I want that you also have a part in the
khilafat 
, which after you, willpass down in your family. However, Abbas rejected the offer and claimed that if the
khilafat 
is ourright, then we will not settle for only a part of it.” (
Abu Bakr page 119)
 After this, Haykal writes:In another relation that Ya’qoobi and some other historians have mentioned, we are told that in hopesof pledging allegience to Ali, a group of 
ansar 
and
muhajireen
went to the house of Fatima Az-Zahrabint Rasool. Khalif ibn-Saeed was amongst them. Khalid said to Ali that “I swear by Allah, there isno better man to succeed the Prophet than you. So please accept our pledges of allegience.”When Abu Bakr and Umar heard of this gathering, they took a few men and went to Fatima’s houseand attacked it. Ali, with sword in hand, came out of his house. His first encounter was with Umar.Umar broke Ali’s sword, and then taking some men, entered Ali’s house. At this, Fatima came out of the house and said, “Get out of my house, or else by Allah, I will pull out my hair! And I will ask forhelp against you from Allah.” Hearing these words from Fatima, everyone left her house.For some days, the
sahaba
mentioned above continued to resist pledging allegience to Abu Bakr. Buteventually, one by one, each one accepted Abu Bakr’s pledge except for Ali, who did not do so for 6or 7 months. It was only after the death of Fatima that he did so.Until now, we have not discussed what Ali’s reasons were for his position regarding this issue. Haykalwrites:The most famous narration regarding the refusal of Ali and a few of Bani Hashim’s people to pledgeis found in Ibn Qutaiba’s book “Al-Imaamah was-Siyaasah.” The narration states that after pledgingallegience to Abu Bakr, Umar and a few men went to meet with Bani Hashim, who at the time weregathered at Ali’s house. He wanted to ask them to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr, but everyonerejected his request. Zubair ibn Awaam even took out his sword and stepped forward to confrontUmar. Seeing this, Umar told his comrades to seize Zubair. Umar’s men caught him and took hissword and forced him to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr. Ali was also asked to pledge. However, hetoo refused and claimed “I am not going to pledge allegiance because I am more worthy of the
khilafat 
than Abu Bakr. Instead, you all should pledge allegiance to me. You refused to pledgeallegiance to any
ansar 
claiming that you were closer to the Prophet, and only those close to theProphet should hold the
khilafat 
. According to this principle, you should have handed over the
khilafat 
over to me, but instead you stole the
khilafat 
from the Ahl-ul-Bait (Prophet’s family) andusurped it for yourselves. Didn’t you present this proof to the
ansar 
? That because the Prophet wasfrom amongst you, you were more worthy of the
khilafat 
and that they should follow you? That sameargument you confronted the
ansar 
with, I now confront you with. I am more close to the Prophetthan any of you were; therefore, the
khilafat 
is my right. If you have the least bit of Iman in you, thendo justice and follow me. But if you want to be tyrants, then do whatever you wish.”
(Abu BakrSiddiq – page 122)
Just reflect on that Saleem. How the same proof accredited to Abu Bakr and Umar (that the
khilafat 
should stay in the Quraish tribe because they were closer in relation to him), is now ascribed to Ali as well!None can fault the reasoning of Ali, who uses the same evidence used by Abu Bakr and Umar in order toclaim his right to the
khilafat 
. This is the whole basis of the never-ending Shia-Sunni debate. Truth be told,given narrations like the one above, the Sunnis position becomes so weak that they cannot provide anysatisfying answer to the Shia’s objection. History has attached that reasoning to the very first and greatestkhalifas, Abu Bakr and Umar.Anyway, in response to Ali’s argument, Umar merely claimed “I am not going to let you go until youpledge your allegiance.” (
Abu Bakr Siddiq – page 122)
Ali then pointedly remarked “Umar, you eagerly milk the cow when part of that milk is going to beyours. You now aid Abu Bakr’s
khilafat 
today so that you can take it for yourself tomorrow. But I will neverpledge my allegiance to him.”Abu Bakr at this point began worrying that this tense matter would escalate and progress to a battle of harsh words. He then said “Ali, if you do not want to pledge allegiance, then I will also not force you into it.”At this, Abu Ubaida ibn Jarah turned his attention towards Ali and with the kindest words possiblesaid “Nephew! You are still young and these people are older. Neither are you experienced as they are, nor areyou yet as broad-minded. If there is one person in our nation successfully able to handle the duty of succeeding the Prophet, then that person can only be Abu Bakr. So, accept his
khilafat 
. If you live a long life,then your knowledge, level of religion, intelligence and understanding, and your being the nephew and son-in-law of the Prophet will all give you the right to the
khilafat 
.”Hearing this, there was no end to Ali’s rage. He angrily claimed, “Allah, Allah! Oh
muhajireen
! Donot take the office of the Prophet from his house and put it into your own homes. You must honor your
ahl-ul-bait 
(family of the Prophet) and give them the rights befitting their status. Oh
muhajireen
! By Allah! We arethe rightful owners of the
khilafat 
because we are the
ahl-ul-bait 
. We will be the rightful owners as long asthere are amongst us reciters and scholars of the Quran, scholars of the Prophet’s sunnah, and just and uprightleaders. By Allah, all these characteristics are within me, so do not become a follower of your own desires andfollow a misled path rather than Allah’s path. Do not go astray.” According to narrators, Bashir ibn Saad wasalso present at this occasion. When he heard these words of Ali, he said “Oh Ali! If the
ansar 
had heard thesebefore they pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, they would not have pledged allegiance to anyone except you.”After this discussion, Ali went home in a fit of rage. At night, he sat Fatima on a mule and took her tothe
ansar 
. As they went from house to house, Fatima would beseech help from the
ansar 
. But everywhere theywent, they were met with the same reply, “Oh daughter of the holy Prophet! We have already pledgedallegiance to Abu Bakr. If your husband had come to us before, we surely would have pledged allegiance tohim instead.” Hearing this, Ali would angrily reply “What, should I have left the body of the holy Prophetwithout performing any funeral rites or ceremony, to fight and argue for succeeding him?”Fatima would also say “Ali did exactly what was appropriate. As for what the others did, Allah will surelybring them to account for their actions.” (same – 122-25)Haykal has related these events from various references. On this topic, Bukhari provides the followingnarration:Fatima stayed alive for 6 months after the Prophet’s death. When she died, Ali buried her alone andeven prayed the funeral prayer alone, without informing Abu Bakr. While Fatima was alive, Ali helda certain dignity in the eyes of the people. But after her death, Ali felt their attitudes had changed andtherefore, he finally decided to reconcile with Abu Bakr and to pledge his allegiance to him. So hesent a message to Abu Bakr requesting him to meet him at his house (Ali was not unaware of the factthat Abu Bakr may bring Umar along, and therefore asked Abu Bakr to come alone). At this, Umarsaid “No! By Allah, you cannot go to meet him alone.” Abu Bakr replied “What do you think? Whatcan he do to me? By Allah I will definitely go to him.” So Abu Bakr went to his house and Ali spokewith him and said “I now recognize your excellence and what favors Allah has graced you with, and Iam not jealous of any of them. But, in the matter of khilafat 
, you have dealt unjustly with me. I feltthat because of my closeness to the Prophet, I should have a part in the
khilafat 
After Zuhr, Abu Bakr got up on the podium and gave a speech describing the circumstances andreasoning behind Ali’s change of heart. Then he prayed for forgiveness (and after that) Ali read hisspeech and praised Abu Bakr’s virtues. He said, “Whatever I have done until now, was not becauseof any jealousy towards Abu Bakr, nor did I reject his God given excellence and virtues, but rather Ifelt that I had a part in the
khilafat 
, and that Abu Bakr had dealt with me unjustly, and because of that, we were bitter in our hearts.”
(Bukhari – Book of Skirmishes)
From this narration of Bukhari’s, we note a few points worthy of great scrutiny:1)
 
Ali was so upset with Abu Bakr that he did not even give him notice of Fatima’s death and secretlyburied her during the night.2)
 
While Fatima was alive, Ali refused to pledge to Abu Bakr. But right after her death, he felt that inthe eyes of the people, he did not have the same prestige as before, and therefore felt it prudent tosimply pledge to Abu Bakr3)
 
To prove his right to the
khilafat 
, Ali claimed that he was the closest by relation to the Prophet.Just think Saleem! If we consider these reports from history to be true, then what picture is painted of the great
sahaba
, Ali?According to history, Ali accused those people who kept him from the
khilafat 
of snatching it awayfrom him unjustly. This is the very “crime” upon which Shia Muslims base their belief that after the death of the Prophet, except for the few
sahaba
who did not pledge to Abu Bakr, the rest all became apostates! Inresponse to this, Sunnis say that this belief is prejudiced. But what reply can they give when the followingnarration is contained within their own most reliable book of hadith, Sahih al-Bukhari:Ibn Abbas relates that the Prophet said “Naked, without circumcision, you will be gathered.” TheProphet then read the ayah “Kama bada’na awwala khalqin nu’eeduhu wa’dan alaina inna kunnafaaileen. (21:104)” And on the day of judgment, the first who will be clothed will be Ibrahim. And onthat day some of my companions will be taken to the left side (towards Hell). I will say, these are mycompanions! Then Allah will say that these people reverted to their old religion ever since you lefttheir midst [the actual word Bukhari uses is murtad (apostate)]. Then I will say as the pious servant of Allah (Jesus) said, “And I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when you took me up, you were the watcher over them and you are a witness to all things. If you punish them, theyare your slaves and if you forgive them, verily only you are the all mighty the all wise5:117.”
(Bukhari – Book of the Prophets 1406
)Just think Saleem! How this hadith of Bukhari takes the discussion to a new low. These are those companionsregarding which the Quran declares that these are the true believers (8:74)! If the
iman
of even those believerswas such that as soon as the Prophet turned his head, their iman wavered and broke, then what can we expectof others? And if any critic should say (and they certainly do) that “a tree is known by its fruits,” then think what kind of picture is painted of our beloved Prophet!At this point, the question must be boiling in your heart that if this is the condition of history, thenwhy is it not rejected or revised? Why is it forbidden to do such a thing? This a very logical thought, and thereshould not be any hesitation carrying out this task. But the problem is that our history was sanctified and putinto the position of religious doctrine. The belief regarding these narrations is that they were divinely revealedto the Prophet through unrecited revelation (wahi ghair matloo’). Not only that, but there is also a belief that if there is any discrepancy between the Quran and the hadith, then that item in the Quran should be consideredobsolete or replaced, and the hadith should receive precedence. One of Karachi’s religious organizations
Tahqeeq e Haqq
” printed a pamphlet entitled “Fitna e Inkaar e Hadith (The corruption of the rejection of hadith),” written by Allama Hafiz Muhammad Ayyub Sahib Dehlwi. He writes,“It is wrong to claim that “fahkum baynahum bima anzalallah,” means the Prophet is being told togovern Muslims only according to the book of Allah, and therefore, the Prophet did not give usanything else to govern by. “Ma anzalallah” does not mean only the Quran, rather it means the Quranas well as the Hadith.” (page 20)
fter this, he writes that if the words of the Prophet are against the Quran, then the Prophet’s wordsshould take precedence. To prove this, he states that in verse 2:180, Allah says “It is prescribed whendeath approaches any of you, if he leave any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin.According to reasonable usage; this is due from the God-fearing.” But the Prophet in a famous hadithhas said “La wasiyyatu lil-warith,” that a will cannot be made for one’s family/successors (they canonly receive the estate through fixed inheritance laws). From many sources it is established thataction has been taken according to this hadith. So this shows how the words of the Prophet shouldtake precedence over the words of the Quran. (page 80)After this, he writes:Now if one does not understand how it is possible that the Prophet’s words could be against the Quran and thathis words could supercede those of the Quran, one should first remember that the Prophet’s words were nothis own. Rather, they were the words of Allah. The same way that the Quran is the words of Allah, theProphet’s words are actually the words of Allah. And in the same way that one verse of the Quran canoverride another verse, one type of Allah’s words (Prophet’s hadith) can supercede another type of Allah’swords (Quran). (page 86)Saleem, I previously said that we should take the piles of history from the first century, the era of the Prophetand those with him, and test that against the criteria of the Quran. Those items that are in accordance with theQuran can be kept, whereas those that are against its values and principles should be rejected. In response tothis, Hafiz Ayyub states:In the same way that it is not necessary for Allah’s words to be according to logic in order for us toaffirm them as true, it is also not necessary for the Prophet’s words to be according to the Quran inorder for us to accept them. That is because the Prophet’s words are also the words of Allah, and theQuran is also the words of Allah. So it is not necessary for Allah’s words that there be no variation, just as it is not necessary that his one action be a result of another action. On the one hand, themountain’s top reaches towards the skies, and on the other hand, its valley reaches way far below theearth. In the same way that his one action does not have to be according to another action, his oneword (in the Hadith) does not have to be according to another (in the Quran). (Page 51)There is a hadith recorded in Kitab-at-Tawdeeh wat-Talweeh (page 480), that states that the Prophet said“After me, there will be many hadiths ascribed to me. So if any hadith is narrated to you, test it against theQuran. If it is according to it, then accept the hadith; if it is not, then reject it.” There can be no doubt about thevalidity of this hadith, because it is exactly according to the teaching of the Quran. And none of the Prophet’swords or commands could ever be against the teachings of the Quran. But Saleem, do you know what these“scholars” claim when hearing this hadith? The group Ahl-e-Hadith’s monthly magazine “Raheeq” in its April1958 issue claimed that this hadith was introduced by heretics and these hadiths now are being propagated byfools who have plagiarized their ideas from heretics. Imam Khattabi
(Zafar al Mani ‘ala Mukhtasar alJarjani, page 267)
says in regard to this hadith, “Those heretics and enemies of hadith introduced thisfabricated narration for the purpose of disproving hadith and to create chaos in the religion and religioussystem. This hadith is refuted by the Prophet’s own words that ‘I have been given the Quran and somethingsimilar to it.’ Only hadith is similar to the Quran because in another narration it is said that the hadith aresimilar to the Quran (
Zafar al Mani page 267, and Dari page 140 volume 1).
(Note: The above hadith in question simply asks that hadiths at least be tested against the Quran beforeacceptance. Why are these scholars so scared of doing that?)The above scholar, for a total of 1009 pages, explained why the hadith should not be refuted. ImamKhattabi, Imam Shafi, Imam al-Muhaddithin abdur Rahman ibn Mahdi etc., also claim this hadith wasintroduced by heretics. Imam Baihaqi claims that any hadith made to be presented before the Quran is false.Allama Mistami writes if a narrator of hadith does this, he will be a forsaken denier of hadith (
Majmuah az-Zawaid vol 1 page 68).

So according to these individuals, the belief that whatever is according to the Quran is right and whatever isagainst the Quran is wrong was introduced by heretics and apostates!Given the above references, Saleem, it must be evident to you that certain things are contained in our books of 

hadith and history that:1.
 
Are against the teachings of the Quran2.
 
Malign the character of our Prophet3.
 
Malign the character of our companions4.
 
Are even against common sense and wisdomAfter considering this, the following questions must rise in your mind:1.
 
How did these things appear in our books?2.
 
For 1000 years, why have these things been passed down? In other words, why didn’t people removethese things?3.
 
Why do there continue to be groups engrossed in forcing the acceptance of these things?These questions should arise in the heart of any person who takes his life seriously, with wisdom, andreflects deeply upon this matter. The first two questions (how did these things appear and why weren’t theyremoved) require a detailed discussion, and the proper time for that is when we inspect and revise our entirehistory from scratch (an abbreviated form of this is contained in Shahkaar e Risaalat). It’s obvious that thereisn’t room for this in one letter. For now, I’d like to present an explanation as to why there is such a push, eventoday, to make people accept these things.This point can be clarified by an anecdote. But before that, I find it necessary to tell you a few things.Saleem, you know that I am not associated with any religious denomination or political party, nor am Iinvolved with any other group. That is why, as you may have noticed, I have written very little regardingindividuals. But occasionally, in certain situations it becomes necessary for me to mention names. Now listenclosely to this.About two years ago, some authorities of Jamat e Islami separated to form their own group. Theseindividuals presented a very compelling reason for their separation. They claimed that in the initial stages of the Jamat e Islami, certain principles were proclaimed as a necessary part of the Islamic system. But after theestablishment of the group and its inception as an active force, some of those principles were ignored and evendiscarded (you can find details in Al-Munir Lailpur, 31 Jan 1958 and Tolu e Islam, March and July 1958). It isobvious that this objection was sound and the crime was serious. But the leader of Jamaat e Islami (MaulanaMaududi) claimed this was not an extraordinary action, and that even the Prophet himself (A’oothubillah),after the establishment and active implementation of Islam, bent the rules and values that he presented duringthe initial invitational period of Islam. For example, amongst the various principles of the Islamic system wasa movement to wipe out race and family as a means of discrimination amongst people, differentiating themonly on the basis of piety. After eliminating all such factors, Islam unites mankind into one brotherhood andcalls them to one message and one truth. This has been espoused in the Quran many times. The Prophet notonly proclaimed this message with his tongue, but also in action by attempting to free slaves and give themequality. But when the issue of the leadership of the entire nation arose, he changed his tune, claiming “Alaaimatu min quraish.” The leaders shall only be from the tribe of Quraish. Maududi goes on to claim that anyperson can see that this declaration was directly against the original basic principle. This, according toMaududi, shows how even the Prophet bent and changed rules as he wished.Did you see that Saleem! How the leader of the Jamaat e Islami took advantage of this one falsely insertedhadith that has been written down in our history books? Obviously, if only the Quran was considered thesource of proof and reference, then these kinds of leaders would have no evidence to support their fraudulentclaims. But unfortunately, “history” has been taken as the source of proof and reference (in some cases equalto or even more important than the Quran). Every imaginable account and story can be found in it, and everyaction or decision can be justified through it.But those separating from the Jamaat, in response, argued: 
Brothers, please reflect on this matter. Imagine that the last Prophet of Allah had acted this way, andthe Islamic movement emulated the Prophet’s example and acted this way, and every group standingfor the establishment of the Islamic system acted this way; that after the Islamic system was finallyactively implemented, its leader reserved the right to change or make exceptions to the principles andvalues under which people were initially rallied (with the exception of fundamental principles such astawhid and prophethood). If those leaders annulled, at their discretion, whatever guarantees andpromises they made to the people during the initial stages that they now deemed harmful to theircause, then what is the difference between these Islamic movements and those fortune-seekingpoliticians with corrupt political campaigns? For the achievement of power they present very pureand lofty ideals and make very beautiful promises to the public, and on that basis, they gather thepublic’s trust and confidence. But as soon as they establish power, in order to maintain their power,they go back on their ideals and promises.In response to this, the leader of Jamaat e Islami goes on to say that for the important purpose of establishmingthe deen, making exceptions to and bending the rules is one thing, but even lying for that cause is not onlypermissible, rather it is necessary! He says that in Islam, truthfulness and plain-dealing is a very importantprinciple and lying is looked upon as evil, but in real life matters sometimes it becomes necessary to lie. Notonly is permission given for this, but in certain cases, it has been determined an Islamic duty by fatwa (legalruling). (
Tarjuman al-Quran, May 1958
)You must be shocked, by how these people dare to make such claims, and what kind of proof they can give tosupport their claims. But from that same history from which they presented their first proof, they find theirsecond proof as well.And so they presented a few hadith supporting the “duty of lying,” amongst which Asma bint Yazid relatesfrom the Prophet that lying is not permissible except in three cases. When a man talks to a woman in order towoo her, in war, and to repair relations between people. (
Tirmidhi
)And then they go on (A’oothubillah) to present examples from the Prophet’s uswa e hasana (perfect example),in proof of their claims. In their words:“Practical examples of this are found in hadith. When the Prophet asked Muhammad ibn Muslim to murderKa’ab ibn Ashraf, he asked the Prophet, “If it becomes necessary then may I lie?” And the Prophet in clearwords gave him permission to do so. (
Bukhari
)I hope you now understand why these gentlemen are so eager to make everyone accept such “history” andnarrations as an unchangeable part of Islam. It’s obvious that (as has been said before) if the Quran is the onlysource of proof and we reject any narrated history of the first century of Islam that is against the Quran, thenno one will find an Islamic proof for their lies and deceptions. History can only be abused when it is broughtinto religion, sanctified, and made to be accepted as an authority to justify one’s decisions and declarations.I do not mean to say that every single person accepted and made others accept this history for thesedevious ends. Most of them, in fact, wholeheartedly and sincerely believe that all these things are true. (Purelybelieving in something with sincerity and wholeheartedness is not a proof of that belief’s truth. There aremany idol-worshippers who worship idols with the utmost sincere intentions, but this fact does not make idol-worshipping right.) After centuries of accepting these beliefs on the basis of taqlid (blind following), people’sability to think for themselves has slowly withered away. They even claim critical thinking and reflection isnot permitted in religious matters, claiming that whatever has been accepted is what is right. There is no roomfor criticism. These people believe they are doing a great service to Islam by protecting these items. But thatdoes not stop the selfish from taking advantage of these beliefs, and in fact, they are the ones who initiatedthese beliefs and inserted them into our history. They are the ones who have propagated these beliefs forcenturies, and they are its biggest supporters today.Listen to this example! In the beginning, I mentioned that in the Islamic system, no one can storeextra wealth. Rather, it should be pooled together for the general betterment and improvement of the nationand mankind at large. In regards to this, the Quran is so clear, precise, and frank that there isn’t even room foralternative interpretations. It is also evident that the period of the Prophet (p) operated under such guidelines.But after this, when the
khilafat 
was turned into a monarchy and capitalism was solidly established, it becamenecessary to create proofs and authorities justifying these changes in the Islamic system. Of course, they could
Page 13 of 15Our History2/13/2010http://www.tolueislam.com/Parwez/skn/SK_39.htm
not derive this from the Quran because it is an unchangeable and protected book. So they devised aclever scheme to insert whatever ideas they wished through the back door of history. And so, they inserteddeceptive stories claiming that huge estates, landlords and the capitalist system were the Sunnah of theProphet or the precedent of the
sahaba
.For example, in one narration Ibn Abbas relates that “The revelation of ayah 9:34-35 had a strongeffect on the Muslims. (Oh you who believe. There are indeed many among the priests and anchorites who infalsehood devour the wealth of men and hinder them from the way of Allah. And there are those who hoardgold and silver and spend it not in the Way of Allah. Announce unto them a most grievous chastisement. Onthe day when it will be heated in the fire of hell and used to brand their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs.This is the treasure you hoarded for yourself, taste the treasures you hoarded!) Meaning that they thought thiscommand was rather costly and excessive. Umar calmed the other Muslims saying, “I will relieve you of yourconcerns regarding this.” And so he went to the Prophet and said “Oh Prophet. This verse is rather weighty onyour
sahaba
. The Prophet replied “Zakat was made mandatory on Muslims to purify their remaining wealth,and inheritance was made mandatory to spread your wealth amongst your successors.” Upon hearing this,Umar joyfully exclaimed “Allahu Akbar!” After this the Prophet said “Let me tell you a very good thing that aman can collect which will make him very happy, and that is a good woman. If the man looks at her, his heartfeels content, and when he gives her an order, she obeys, and when he is not present she takes care of hischildren and his wealth.” (
Abu Daood. Mishaat vol 1, page 309
).This narration resounds through-and-through that it was fabricated. Can even the thought occur to a Muslimthat Allah makes an order that is too hard for the
sahaba
? And then, none other than Umar (renowned for hisstrict and steadfast character) goes to the Prophet in order to get the order repealed? And then the Prophetchanges the order such that as long as you pay 2.5% of your wealth every year, then it is permissible for you tohoard piles of silver and gold? Inspection of this narration can only lead us to believe that it was fabricated at atime when such a hadith was needed to corrupt the government of Allah. But since the current capitalistsystem gains support from this narration, those with self-interests declare it as the utmost truth. And when oneobjects, claiming that these teachings are against the Quran, he is silenced by the response “Do you understandthe Quran better, or did the Prophet (p) and
sahaba
?”Since the purpose of this letter was not to summarize all of Islamic history, I will conclude having given theabove examples. Now, bring to mind once again the history of choosing the first
khalifa
that has beendescribed in our books of hadith and other scholarly works, and then consider that if we accept this history asbeing true, then what dignity will Muslims and Islam have in this world, and what kind of chaos would beunleashed if Muslims attempt to follow that “holy” precedent?The real question is what can be done to rectify the situation. The answer is simple:1)
 
Our iman is that the Quran is Allah’s book, in its original pristine form right down to theletter.2)
 
The Prophet’s and the
sahaba’s
lives were lived according to the Quran.3)
 
Therefore, if historical accounts claim things that are against Quranic teaching or that malignthe Prophet or
sahaba
, then without hesitation we should declare those accounts as false.(Whether those accounts are in a book of hadith or in any other book)4)
 
In light of the above principles, we should compile a new history of that period. That historyshould illuminate in what way the Quran was put into action by the Muslims of that period.5)
 
After the blessed initial period of Islam, the Islamic system was corrupted. So the history wehave of that latter period to this day is likely the true history of Muslims. This history cannotbe called a true representation of Islam, nor can it be used as a proof or authority in Islam,nor is it worth our time to spend our energy in its defense. We are not obligated to anythingmore than acknowledging that these are they who have passed on (2:141).6)
 
As far as understanding the Quran is concerned, it is not subservient to outside historicalinformation. It can be understood in any time period. In the Islamic system, the Quran is the only authority and precedent, and only it is the measure of good or evil, and right or wrong.Whatever is according to it is the truth, and whatever is against it is wrong.Until we take the above principles into action, we cannot establish the true Islamic system. So did youunderstand Saleem? What history’s true position and value is and how we should deal with it? Take care myfriend.

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